Monday, January 31, 2011

Here we go again.

Ah, life. Lots of opportunities to start and stop things. And to re-start after I stop.

Reminds me of all the data analysis in public schools. Try, succeed, fail inevitably, feel bad, shame others, work hard, succeed again, congratulate self. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The cirrrrrrrrrrrrrrcle of liiiiiiiiife!

But I digress.

I'm able to run again as of today. I sat on my hands and waited it out until the four additional weeks my sports medicine doctor suggested were able to pass. I did my theraband exercises. I stretched four times a day--I really did. Mostly I just drove myself and everyone else nuts.

I say "run" but what I mean is run/walk. Don't care, it's something! I'm in the second phase of the plan I've dubbed "Rehab Running", the run/walk phase. Phase II is supposed to last another month. If you remember from my last post on the subject, the doc told me to treat my hip like it's a person who has been sitting on the couch her whole life and never run a lick. When she told me that I thought oh, sure. But my hip is special (or thutt--ha!, as I read on this blog and totally snorked my coffee). Um, yeah. I got on the treadmill today and my thutt was not special, it was tight and a little tender. It didn't hurt, per se, but I could feel that it wasn't up to par. Day 1 of Operation re-Couch to 5K-Myself? Juuuust right.

Dang doc was right. Dangit. *Kicks dirt clod.*

I can report that just the promise of being closer to a real running schedule and the freedom to move my body up and down in a repetitive running motion (even for shortshortshort periods of time) as though escaping from a giant bear has made me happyhappyhappyhappy today. Like, "I got up at 5:15 and got on the treadmill"-happy. And it appears that happy breeds happy. Getting my workout over and done with--CHECK--means I can sit around all night watching ma'Stories and nobody can make me feel guilty about it. Sweet.

Today's workout:

Walk 2 minutes, run 1 minute. Times ten.

See, I told you it was weak. But I feel good that I got up, I did it, I'm one day closer to a real training schedule, blah blah blah Science Science Science BABY STEPS.

Best part of my little plan is that the doc forbid me to run on consecutive days. So tomorrow? Mandatory rest day. I like this schedule already.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hometown Blogger Meet-Up

Being a blogger is kind of weird, honestly. I don't mean that it's weird to write about my life--I've been doing that since long before I had a blog. I don't think it's weird that people read it, either. There's nothing here that I wouldn't tell you if we were talking and you really wanted to know. But there's a whole lot of my routine that's unique to blogging. People read things that I write, but there are not a whole lot of people in my life who go through the same tasks every day as a part of blogging.

Tonight was a nice evening of kindred spirits, a peek into what I am sure all those ginormous blogger conferences are like. But this was my kind of "conference"--five ladies sitting around, drinking wine (okay, that was just me n' Hutch) and carb-loading like tomorrow was a marathon... Lots of laughing, lots of getting to know each other and everything linked by a common thread of understanding what the process is like.

Left to right: April, Tracy, Me, Katie, Hutch

Tonight was our first gathering of Elk Grove Bloggers and I have to say that even though I thought I'd like it, I liked it way more than I anticipated. Little ol' introvert me doesn't normally meet people who she doesn't know in real life. True, my SIL April was there too. But I hadn't ever met any of the other EGBs in person. I've been stalking their blogs for some time and we comment, facebook, and tweet each other. But it was cool to meet face to face.

And not in a scary "internet people are bad pimply basement-dwellers" kind of way.

The thing about small towns is that people know you before they really know you, anyway. We all graduated from the same high school (I was the old lady of the group--they graduated two years after me) and the web of connections was a little astounding once we started to figure all that out.

It's an interesting thing to forge a friendship without seeing or hearing someone. It was really easy to talk to everybody because I felt like I was up on exactly what they'd been doing. In some ways, blog friends who really take the time to read what you write are more "in the know" than people you see, casually, every day. It was weird, but cool.

I really liked everyone. I hope we get together and do this again.

I thought I'd tell you a little about each of them and link to their blogs. I respect these ladies. They're so different, but they each have something really cool to offer. So here ya go (yes, friends, I totally ganked your profile pics for my own use):

Hutch writes at Be Awesome Instead, a blog that consistently makes me snort coffee on my computer keyboard. She's ten shades of hilarious, but I love her for her Hamburger Alerts and her consistent use of jazz hands the most.

I enjoyed getting to talk to her since I've been twitter stalking her for some time. In real life Hutch is sincere, equally funny as she is on her blog, intelligent, and... yes. Awesome. True story. I was totally jazzed to meet her. Get it?

Katie's blog, Suicide Blonde, takes its name from an INXS song. This surprises me not, since Katie is, like, the personal embodiment of all things music. She's been to like a billion and a half concerts and she does all kinds of Top 5 posts. I tried to have a consistent theme once and I failed after like three weeks. Katie manages to keep it going and keep it interesting.

Katie's a fashion merchandiser, which I don't pretend to understand, but it means that she is able to make things look good so schmucks like the rest of us will spend all our moolah on it. Or something. She is down-to-earth in person. Funny. Out there, but in the best way. I like that she seems bold. Oh, and she is not blonde anymore, so way to go on the blog title, Katie. Obsolete, much? Time to go blonde again?

April is my SIL. So I know her already. But she has a blog, See April Work. She's been on maternity leave, so if you click over to it, be patient. She's in the middle of a remodel and probably not expecting houseguests just yet. April's blog is a little bit of everything: an ode to Starbucks, office supplies and crafts. Well, crafts, but she also does stuff like make her own laundry soap. Yeah. Amazing. Apparently the whole rant thing must run in our family, too. She's pretty good at it. :)

April wasn't new to me tonight, but let me tell you why I love her, Internet. She's smart as hell, assertive, BEAUTIFUL, and a good sister-in-law. She is a wonderful new mama to the best niece and auntie could have. She's just rad.

Last but not least is Tracy, of Tracy on the Cheap. Tracy's blog has a simple premise: one outfit a day, FOR CHEAP! She's been on a little blog vacay for a while too (taking care of real life) but her archives are still amazing. When she was posting regularly I always had to check out her stuff in my reader first. She is able to put together chic outfits for next-to-nothing, and she takes requests. I consistently get inspiration from her, and whenever I am out and I find a bargain, I think of her.

In real life, Tracy was sweet, so friendly, so genuinely interested in everyone and so funny. I really enjoyed meeting her and I had the sense that she was an amazing person. She is the kind of person you talk to and it feels like you already knew them.

I had a great night tonight, and it felt so good to do something different. It was fun to meet (and re-meet) them and figure out how our lives have been overlapping for years. I definitely see EGB happenings in our future.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A quick rant.

So this one time, I got an owie eye.

I woke up on Sunday to a red, swollen eye and the light hurt it. So I took my contacts out. Yeah, I was sleeping with them in. I always do. Don't judge. I have the kind where you can do that.

Anygrodies, I took my contacts out and I wore Addie's old eye patch for like an hour. Yes, Roo had an eye patch back when she was a pirate kindergartner, because she had to build strength in her weaker eye. So I wore my daughter's eye patch like some kind of gleeful peg-leg BA and all was well--nay, better--within about two hours. My eye was kind of wonky all day so I didn't put my contacts back in that day or the next.

But there be trouble ahead, says I.

I had a scratched eye when I was a teenager (courtesy of Thanksgiving, a tennis ball, and my dad--but that's a story for another time) so I knew that if I scratched it, it would heal pretty quickly on its own. I assumed I scratched it, and I moved on with my awesome little life.

I resumed contact lens-wearing on Tuesday. All was right with the world. I slept in my contacts like it was my job. Again. Don't judge.

Cut to me waking up at 4:00 AM today with the same "look, Ma! Pinkeye!" air about me. I took my contacts out, rinsed my eyes and set the alarm for 6:00 so I could sleep in, natch. The alarm went off and I was still Squinty McGee. So I put on my glasses, showered, (not in that order) and packed some eye makeup in my purse, hoping things would clear up and I could resume my regularly scheduled awesomeness by lunchtime.

You bet I put my eyebrows on, even though I couldn't mascara it up. A girl has to maintain some sense of mystique.

So no amount of asking my students to feel sorry for me was able to heal my eyeball. It kinda felt all day like I had accidentally sprinkled a little laundry detergent in there. Just a smidge. Ask me how I know.

It wasn't getting better, so for the enjoyment of my sixth period class (who were silently "reading"--reading being in air quotes, actually, because they were not reading at all, they were eavesdropping) I called the advice line of my doctor. By sixth period I had learned that a kid was out today FOR PINKEYE, so my hypochondria was having a happy dance in my brains.

The advice nurse suggested I have my GP doctor call me--at about 5:00--and apparently do some sort of over-the-phone-eye-exam-voodoo to see what was wrong with me. I mean--hear what was wrong with me. So I was like, okay, and when she said I should call my optometrist (not on the same insurance as the regular doc--following?) I was like yeah, probably I'll do that. Not.

But the eye didn't get better so probably turned to a dammit, now I have to. The eye doc (not part of my regular insurance) was all kind of accommodating. And by accommodating, I mean that they were like you can come sit here and we'll try to squeeze you in but I don't know how long you will have to wait and I was like I'll take it because I'm pretty sure I'm going to be blind by tomorrow. So I waited for what didn't feel like the longest hour of my life at all, and I found out that I haven't had the kind of contacts I am allowed to sleep in since 2005.


Okay. Whoopsies. That was a new bit of information. Totally owning it that someone probably told me that in 2005 but I was too great with child to remember it for more than five minutes. Or even if it was after I was great with child, I was not so great with my little bundle of Hank who didn't sleep through the night until he was THREE. Either way, I forgot about it because I was too busy growing a human.

So the eye doc gave me a prescription but since eye docs are not pharmacies I was going to have to go over to Big Doctor across the street. Big Doctor pharmacy is never fun in the afternoon when the pharmacy line is as long as the list of excuses why Lindsay Lohan couldn't make it to court last year. Whatevs. I stood in the first line to drop off my scrip (see how I'm talking like I'm an actor on ER? I miss the Clooney days...) and the girl told me it would be a half hour before my name would even be up on the board--the board that tells you to get back in line to pick up your drogas.

I was trying not to cry by this point, so I bought myself some Popchips and a decaf Americano at the little cafe. I organized my purse trash and after a half hour I saw that my name came up and I got back in line.

After a 20 minute wait, the guy at the counter was trying to force a fake look of sympathy when he said "oh. Mmmkay. We're out of this medicine here. You can go to the other Big Doc pharmacy in Sacramento and get it if you want."

I squinted back at him and in my best Angry Pirate voice I said "No. My eye hurts. I just waited in line for 20 minutes after I waited in the chair for 30. I don't want to go to Big Doc in Sac. You couldn't have told me that when I dropped it off? What else can you do?"

"Well, we can order it for you."

"Do that."

"Okay, but it will take a week to get here."


Okay, that's what I thought, but what I said was, "that isn't going to work for me."

And then in his infinite douchebaggery, he let me know, "well, that medicine isn't covered by your Big Doc insurance, anyway. You saw a non-Big Doc doctor, so it's going to cost you $136 for those eye drops."

Have you seen that scene in Kill Bill, friends? The one where torso juice is spewing all over the Yakuza because that skank's arm just dun' got sliced off? I had to leave before there was torso juice. I just took off, kind of stunned.

So I got in car and fought back tears--again--all the way home. I just wasted almost an hour and I was still Infecty McAngrysauce. My diagnosis and my prescription meant nothing because there was no way on God's Green Earth I was going to pay $136 for eye drops. I might just have had to say goodbye to ol' Righty.

There was still hope, though. My Big Doc doctor (the GP) was supposed to call between 4:50 and 5:20. I went to bed thinking that at least I could lay down, cool down, and give my right eye a little break. Fine. I made sure to be awake at 4:50. Nothing. Checked the clock again at 5:15. Nope. Aaand, I definitely fell asleep and missed the doc, who called at 5:45.


Luckily she called back about a half hour later. There was still some more drama about what was prescribed and how "out of stock" they really were. Short answer: they're not out of stock at all. Irony of all ironies. At this point, I didn't even care because all I want is me special drops. Yarrrr. I sent E out to get it for me because I was pretty sure if I drove tonight I was going to either rear-end someone out of poor vision or in some kind of Fried Green Tomatoes-style parking lot rage. I can't wait for my special steroid eye drops.

Hear that, eyeball? Time to pump.... YOU UP.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


A keen whisper pierces the flannel sheet swathing my back. It surprises me in the shower; my intentions* and shampoo suds fall to the floor. It nips at my heels while I pace the muddy stretch from driveway to creek. It haunts the margins of my resume, the unfilled minutes in my car.

You’re not enough.

What makes you think you deserve this?

Don’t hope for it, you’ll just get disappointed. That’s what always happens, right?

I check this unwritten “to-do” from my list; I humor the nagging houseguest.

Doubt is a sinking sandpit; so often we dance at its edge. Out of fear that we’ll go under, we set up camp and make ourselves comfy, impervious, tame. We fortify our current station to avoid potential danger in the unknown.

Doubt is a perfectionist’s curse, too; it’s for the good girl, painfully conscious of looking haughty or too confident, so afraid to offend. I deserve this sounds entitled, snobbish. The words feel wrong in my mouth as a square of tin foil. We’re not supposed to look like we think we can do things. They’re supposed to be a surprise to us, too. We test ourselves only on the chapters we’ve already learned. Look how good I am, we sing. I never fail because I never try.

But I itch to go, to abandon the fief I owe to apprehension. I want to sink in that pit, even. Down is a direction, too. I want to abandon the protection of I know this for I would like to try that. Applying to schools means admitting I think I am good enough, and that has turned up the volume on doubt.

Doubt comes with risk. It isn’t failure, though. Neither is failure, frankly. As I push forward--pick up my feet like obstinate dog paws at the door to the vet—I have to make friends with doubt and remember it’s normal.

Instead of jumping out of my skin at that whisper, I’m trying to let it in--and move forward anyway.

*Yes, like that Live song.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


photo via weheartit

I know dreams aren't real, aren't predictions. I know they're just our brains' ways of reorganizing the info from the day, the worries, the events, the junk.

But man, my dreams have me shaken tonight. I had a horrible dream this morning right before I woke up--late--and then another equally awful one after school when I took a nap.

My brain is doing some crazy sleepytime shenanigans.

I came home from school beat. I danced through lunch and forgot to eat when I went back to class. By the time I came home I had all the zeal of a deflated balloon.

I know I need more sleep tonight but I'm slightly nervous about it. Both dreams involved the worst type of circumstances, bad things happening to the people I love, imminent doom, and being trapped and/or out of control. You know, that old chestnut.

I'm gonna go bake and try to shake it off.

-Dreamy McCrazypants

American Graffiti

Another night, another walk with the dog to a nearby field. 
 Hurley was happy to run circles around us the entire time. Again.

Ad leaned back and watched the horizon for trains and birds. The boys tossed around a ball.

I know it's socially unacceptable (and probably a byproduct of living in the squeaky clean suburbs) but I like graffiti.  I can feel E rolling his eyes as I type that.


I mean, the idea of graffiti is so wrong.  I'm not pro-vandalism.  But I kind of like it in that it's a little surprise art.  It's the flash mob of painting (more permanent, yes).  No hate mail.  I know it's wrong.  But anyway... I just like to look at it.  It fascinates me in cities and hidden corners of suburbia.

And tonight when I was looking at the graffiti on the railroad bridge, I noticed that the bridge was built in 1934.  Does anybody else do that?  Look at bridges and buildings and daydream about their beginnings?  I'm always looking at the dates on things and then trying to picture what was happening at the time they were brand new.

1934, right smack in the Great Depression,  this little railroad bridge was built.  I wonder what was around it.  My guess is, nothing.  And here it sits today.

Weird, right?

Weird to me.  And cool.

After the walk we came home and Twinkle did her best "I can't hear you."

Oh yeah, and this.  It was on my camera from school.

John Locke.  Me.

No?  Not so much?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Residency, Schmisedency.

In my goals post for 2011, I said I wanted to go back to school, to "do what I would LOVE to do, a low-residency MA in creative writing. My goal: decide, apply, begin, thrive."

*Deep breath.*  So here I go.  I don't know that I'm going in the order I intended... it's more like decide, begin, then apply.  I can't really think about thrive so much yet, but looking at these schools makes me happy and it feels like it would be a really good direction for me to go with my writing.

Specifically, as I mentioned, I'm only looking at low-residency programs in creative writing.  If you've never heard of that before (as I hadn't, until I read Danica's post on Chic Runner last year).  You can start at Wikipedia, but the description of the programs is pretty brief.  UC Riverside has a decent website, too.  But in a nutshell, a low-residency program is a MFA in creative writing that is done as a combination of independent work and study in consultation with a professor and once or twice-yearly visits to the campus to do intensive study and attend workshops.  Most programs are 2-3 years, and most residencies are ten days, once or twice a year.

The low-residency model seems like the best fit for me for several reasons.  First, as I said, I began a MA in Education a few years ago through an online university.  I hated that I was not dealing with a brick and mortar institution, and most of what I was doing felt like busy work.  I don't mind working independently, but I like the idea of the work being tied to a physical institution (and let's not quibble over how real some schools are--my degree would have been real, but there were some things that I didn't like so much about the online-ness of that particular degree).  I didn't finish that degree because E and I had a giant blowout and almost quit our marriage, but it wasn't a good fit for me before that.

Physically going to a school is not an option.  I can't be away from the kids and E on a regular basis like E was for law school.  Been there, done that.  Not going back.

The other reason I think these type of programs are a better fit is that I'd actually get to study something I care about.  I care about it a lot.  Like, infinity, a lot.  (I can't believe I put that sentence in a blog post about wanting to be a writer.  Oh, the horror.)  The more I teach, the more I realize that I'm disinterested in all the B.S. theory that's a part of teaching--which, I am convinced, survives only to keep the administrative juggernaut that is the US Education system alive--and the more I am interested in the art of teaching, the part that can't be quantified on a bubble test: specifically the art of teaching about the magic and the power of words.  I love me some magic words.  Mud-luscious words.  Puddle-wonderful words.

{Somebody call the Cheese Police, PDawg has gone off the deep end.}

But listen!  I'm not crazy.  Blogging and teaching AP have shown me that there is so much more to the study of English than I ever thought there was in college.  (And I already loved to write then!)  This blog has helped me find my voice.  It's made me practice regularly.  It's helped me hone my craft and to see that it needs a lot more honing.  But it's helped me realize that calling myself writer isn't out of the realm of possibility in my lifetime.  I never ran before because I wasn't a runner.  And then one day I went for a run.  Something changed.  I'm hoping for the same kind of deal with this: that I can go back to school and immerse myself in it the way I couldn't at 18.  So much life has happened and I know so much more about myself now.  I know so much more about what I want.

I have so much more to say.

I'm completely overwhelmed by all the information there is to sort through as I even start to think about applying.  I need 15-40 (depending on the school) pages of my writing that I can submit as a sample.  I have to make such life (and path) altering decisions as: fiction or nonfiction?  This stuff is heavy.  I have to ask people to write letters for me.  I have to request transcripts.  I feel like I'm eighteen again.

I'm trying not to do the thing where I feel like there's so much to do so I just put on my jammies and fall into my couch in a state of overwhelmed paralysis.  It has been a while since I applied for anything.  There's a lot to go through.

But I made a chart.  I talked to E about wanting to do this.  I'm researching my patootie off.  I'm taking steps... forward.

Good times, Internet.  Good times.  More to follow, I'm sure.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

wherein I pursue perfection of the chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Today I woke up and weighed myself.  I am happy with the number, but it hasn't really changed in a long time, so I was all (I kid you not),  from now on, I'm done eating sugar and processed foods.

And within about twenty minutes, I followed this declaration by making myself a mocha (oops) and then taking it upon myself to bake cookies.  What?  Yeah, I don't know.

I'm on a mission.  A few weeks ago, I made chocolate chip cookies and they came out a little cake-like.  Puffy.  Thick.  Not gooey or melty at all.  I am on a mission to recreate these cookies.

I'm no n00b when it comes to choco-chips.  They're the only cookies that will really get eaten in my house, so since I've been married I've probably made them eleventy billion times.  When E was really trying to stick to a Gluten-free diet, I'd made his cookies and then I'd make a batch of "real" cookies for the rest of us.  In-laws and friends request them.  Children cry with overwhelming joy when I pull them from the oven.  They make teenage girls scream.

My cookies are the Justin Bieber of baked goods.

So why can't I recreate that magical accident that happened the other day?  I mean, they're good cookies of their own right.  Don't get me wrong.  But now I'm curious.  (Read: obsessed.)

The cookie expert, "Google" seems to think that flat cookies arise from one of the following possible mistakes:

-old ingredients (nope)
-over-mixing, thereby letting too much air into the batter (nope)
-too much fat (butter, margarine, or shortening) (shouldn't be)
-a too-warm cookie sheet to start (nope, room temp)
-an oven that's too hot (nuh-uh)
-not enough flour (I err on the side of a little more than the recipe)
-dough gets too warm before it's cooked (nope)

A few websites suggested using bread flour or cake flour.  So, this made me realize that those magical mystical cookies could have been made with bread flour.  I have a whole load of twist-tied bags from Winco with various unlabeled flours (white, whole wheat, bread, whole wheat bread) that I *ahem* may or may not just grab at random when I make cookies.  It is possible that the magical rainbow butterfly unicorn glowing batch of world peace and happiness was made with bread flour.  I have no way of knowing, since I broke my flour canister a few weeks ago and have decidedly not allowed myself to think too hard about flour, since.

The only thing I know for sure that was different that day was that I used a combo of Nestle chips and Gluten-free chips because I came up short.  So maybe the secret's also in the chips?  I know that using good butter is a must (organic=worth it, IMHO).  I prefer the taste of unsalted butter in mah cookies.  Fresh eggs? Def.  New-ish baking soda?  Good vanilla? Fer sure.  I measure carefully, because I had a few times when I got heavy handed with the vanilla and it was like, wow.  And not in a good way.

So these are my normal tweaks to the standard Toll House recipe (yep, that's the base for my wondrous cookies--don't hate!), and I find they come out consisently delicioso:

1) Not letting the butter get too warm.
2) I use 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 a cup of regular instead of an even ratio.
3) For chewier/more oatmeal-like cookies, I use 100% whole wheat flour.  (For lighter, more cake-like cookies, I use bread flour.)
4) Sometimes if the dough is too warm, I will chill it before I scoop it.
5) I use a Pampered Chef scooper so they come out uniform and kind of tall.  Tall dough means it doesn't spread out as much.
6) Never--and I mean NEVER--leave the kitchen when they're baking.  Stay in, set the timer early, and watch 'em like a hawk.  Take 'em out *just* this side of looking done.
7) Good equipment is a must.  I swear by my Kitchen-Aid mixer and a good jell-roll pan that's NOT nonstick.  Nonstick will mess your cookies up, friend.

Today I tested two things: bread flour and chilling the dough for a good, long while.  The cookies came out lighter than the last batch, but still not up to par with the accidental cookies of legend that I stumbled upon a few weeks ago.  What makes me mad is that I basically threw everything in the bowl that day without one ounce of care, and they came out better than ever.


An-y-hoo, the cookies I made today came out close.  I'm sure they'll be gobbled up in two days, and I think I still keep my title as bomb-diggity cookie master.  But I have decided to make this little science experiment my new obsession hobby.  I will perfect you, cookie recipe.  Besides, everyone I know is all I'll taste test them for you.

And no, Mom, I didn't make any without chips for you because that's just weird.  I'm surprised I ever recovered from living in such a house where some of the cookies were chocolate chipless.  Ew.

I will defeat you, Toll House.  Victory will be mine.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Finding Center


To the new ballet student, "center" is a mysterious promised land. "Girls, find your center," goes the refrain; she is assuredly unclear about its meaning. Her ballet classes are a journey through a desert of asymmetrical anatomy and habitual posture with occasional glimpses into the luscious green valley that is center. To a new dancer it feels like a mirage. Center means the point of perfect balance, a different science in each unique body. It isn't found in one try, ever. The dancer has to try and fail repeatedly, hoping one day hit the center of the dartboard without even having seen it.

Once a dancer finds center in her own body, a world of complex movement opens to her. Pirouettes multiply, her body is able to sustain weightlessness for moments at a time. It is zen, like the calm of a mind in prayer or the roar of a river. It is the perfect moment of joy before the Christmas presents open, the sweet spot on the baseball bat.

Muscle memory is powerful. As I lay in bed typing, my brain is sending messages about center to my core like an operator sending telegraphs out into a world that's moved on. I haven't been to a dance class in years. Ballet? Fughedaboutit. Though these signals are echoes, anachronisms, my muscles twinge at their memory, awakened by this habitual code.

In ballet, all things derive from center. It isn't a hippy-dippy mystical magical place. Center is very real. It's the point at which one's upper and lower-body strength align, the convergence of movement between left and right sides. Understanding center is understanding one's power to jump, ability to spin, and stability in small footwork. Ballet arms grow out from the center of the body rather than dangling from the shoulder joint. Legs come from the bellybutton, rather than pushing up from the foot. Truly technical dancing is anchored in a strong center that blooms outward, gentle foliage supported by strong root.

I lost my center this week. Life got all wonky and crumbled. (My ballet center, I abandoned years ago.) I suppose it's inevitable, especially when I move out of my comfort zone like that new dancer. I know I'm capable of regaining balance, but I feel as though I attempted a triple pirouette and landed three feet stage right.

By today, everything I tried felt wrong because it wasn't anchored in anything sturdy. This week was the equivalent of the class where I tried and tried to repeat a movement only to feel myself grasping for a center that was untenable. As in ballet rehearsals, this week's repeated exercises in futility and fatigue meant I couldn't find it. There came a point where my every action was out of frenzy, frustration, fatigue, and a near-crazy obsession with getting back to normal. There's no way I'm going to find center like that; I have a better shot at blowing something entirely. Whammo, that's (predictably) what happened.

But my life can't be about blaming myself anymore for losing balance. I'm trying hard to make it about learning from mistakes and missteps.

What I need is to step away, rest, regain strength, and try again.

What my brain needs is a good run.

What my marriage needs is a little time.

What my immune system needs is about two days of sleep.

What my house needs is a good scrubbing.

What my emotions need is a quick inventory.

I can't run for one more week. (Sads.) But for the last two days I've made efforts at just being outside. It's a step in the right direction, or a check box, checked, on my "fix things good so I ain't got the Crazies no more" list.

I feel the call to pause, again. Amazing how that message has been repeated to me this week. Pause. Listen. Let go (and let God). Only then can I move outward from strength again, centered.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sunshine: good for what ails ya

Sunshine feels like freedom.

I don't care that I'm still sick. I thought a walk would do me some good.

I was right.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Watermelon Cantaloupe

Every winter for most of high school and college, my dancer friends (who were also my friend friends and my church friends) and I would be a part of this huge Christmas show. The show featured plenty o' choir members and regular folk singing and dancing, and at times we had bigger parts because we could tap dance on boxes or point our toes and smile at the front of the stage so it looked like (all the) people knew what they were doing.

The show involved singing--lots of singing--and while I am comfortable making my joyful noise unto the Lord (and let me tell you that my noise is SO JOYFUL), my lack of training in the vocal arts meant that my, um, noise was less than angelic to the ears of the masses. Ditto for my motley crew of dance-mates.

At some point I remember being told "Dancers, just mouth the words 'watermelon cantaloupe' over and over again."

image via weheartit

Got it. WatermelonCantaloupeWatermelonCantaloupeWatermelonCantaloupe.

On and on we would go, a silent choir of melon-praisers at the front of the stage, our jazz hands flared, our red lips smiling and our crisp taps tapping for Jesus. I'm sure Jesus didn't mind the specifics of my contribution, anyhow. Hey, we all give according to our gifts, right? It was enough to be a part of the experience, even if I was mostly mouthing the words. I will avoid a pun on the word melancholy here, but it pains me.

Today my voice is 200% more absent then it was yesterday. When I woke up, all I could manage was a squeak. A sad, bleating little squeak that made E laugh.

I spent the better part of the day mouthing WatermelonCantaloupe. I might as well have been. Nothing of any substance from my thoughts registered with any other humans. My students kind of gave me the pity laugh that E did. Being reduced to silence is so frustrating, it bred a fatty headache by the afternoon.

I did capitalize on my silence in order to perform (thrice) a goofy lip-sync and dance number to my current obsession, Cee-Lo's "Forget You" in several of my English classes. I can't help myself. I have to move. Yes, I said FORGET YOU, of course I wasn't playing the explicit version. I so totally love that song, you know? Get ready to hear me talk about it all the time, even though it's so last fall. Don't care.

Now if you'll 'scuse me, I have a hot toddy to attend to.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Losing my voice

My sister, Lis, is now carpooling to work daily with Gluten-free E and my SIL April.  Are you following?  There's a lot of sisterage around here and I'm not even talking about the generation before.  This carpool extravaganza means all kinds of people in my life are all getting together all the time and talking, and I'm not there.   Boo.

I kid, I kid.

It's fine.  I'm glad they all get along and it's funny that E is now spending so much time with both of our sisters all of the sudden.  It's nothing new--various family members on both sides of our family have carpooled in the ten years we've been married.  That's what happens when exactly most of your family works for the state, and works downtown(ish).

The other day E came home with a story from Lis about how when we were kids, I would argue a point even after it behooved me to do so anymore.  Scenario:  I do something my parents don't like.  They tell me to go to my room.  I don't go.  I need to tell them why I did it, or why I should not really be in trouble.  They don't want to hear it.  I keep talking.  I get grounded.  Dad says something like "keep talking, and it will be another week."

It was always another week.

Most of my memories are centered around this idea that I've been so scared of everything for my whole damn life.  I forget that once upon a time (and before I got shut down, hard by a teacher in junior high) I was a bratty creative and verbal child who fought hard to make her point when she felt she'd been subject to a certain injustice.  Indignant was a word I knew well, only kids aren't allowed to be indignant.  It didn't matter if I really did whatever it was I was being punished for.  I was gonna get punished, end of story.

There are lots of reasons to miss childhood.  NOT BEING LISTENED TO or taken seriously?  Those are not two things I miss.  Being a grownup rocks.  Bonus points for being over 30. *high fives self*

It made me laugh to hear Lis' words (through E) because I had forgotten about that.  I know I carry that same sentiment in my heart today.  If something is not right, boy am I going to tell you about it.  I think I've gotten a little (I said a little) better at reading people and rating the plausible success of the scenario before I dive in headfirst as in my insolent youth, but that same fire is in me.

I feel myself chomping at the bit when I don't have a say in things.  I miss having a leadership position at work.  It hurts when (in large family decision-making) I'm told I don't get a vote.  I don't like it when I don't have control over things that happen in my marriage.  We had just one of those kind of situations yesterday (which was, truthfully, an extension of a long-running pattern around here) and it drove me nuts.  I had to sit on my hands and let control go and it made me a teensy bit batsh*t crazy.  Like, 40% batsh*t.

Today my voice is gone, literally.  Laryngitis.  Yesterday's powerlessness over life left my body weak enough for a cold to sneak in.  Illness is a terrible squatter who waits until the front door of your heart is unguarded to sneak inside.  I'm having to choose my words sparingly today so I don't do a week's worth of damage to my glorious vocal cords, and I'm being forced to consider what silence means.

Silence is peaceful only when you want silence.  Forced silence is crazy-making.

But it is a pretty good exercise, right?  Not speaking.  Letting others step forward.  L-I-S-T-E-N-I-N-G.  Letting things play out without trying to alter their course to suit your own needs.  Losing your voice means you have to let go.

This is me letting go.

Um, not really!  That's from last week when I was waiting to go somewhere and I was all eyelinered-up and was still trying to figure out Photo Booth.  I'm not putting up any post-work pics of myself with no makeup on because I might scare the bejeebies out of you.  The emotion is the same.

You get it.

Okay I'll be quiet now.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pause button

I didn't blog today.  I didn't do much of anything, really, except let life happen.  Wait for life to happen.  Hope life would happen.  Even though I'm prone to verbal spew, there are times that real life needs attention and can't be easily shaped into a blog post.

So today I hit pause.  I'm about to go to bed and nurse a headache that is, I'm sure, a result of too much thinking and too much feeling.  I am going to lay in the quiet dark and think about peace and calm and spaces between things.

I'll be back with regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book review: Cleopatra: A Life

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

I remember well the day in tenth grade that I learned about Cleopatra; the idea of someone hiding herself inside a bundle of carpets in order to sneak in and present herself to Caesar seemed magical and mysterious, not like it was a story about a real person. The details about her barge, her parties, her seduction of Mark Antony and her death seem (still) almost too good to be history. It wasn't a leap to see them in the lush scenes depicted in HBO's Rome. I was unsure how her biography would read, but I found myself spellbound. Even though I knew the story already, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and there was plenty of new detail to devour.

Throughout the book, the author repeats the refrain that what we don't know about Cleopatra is almost as interesting as what we do know. There are conflicting accounts from even the earliest sources, and Octavian's desire to see her name smeared in the public mind meant that even initial accounts were scrubbed of many details involving her political intelligence and influence. These were replaced with archetypal images of her as a siren or a harlot. One of the things I like best about this book is that it doesn't assert a pretense of the correct storyline. At times, Schiff shows us two possibilites, or what might have been possible, given Cleopatra's family history, stature, or even the customs or geography at the time.

The various possibilities don't detract from the narrative, though. It reads like a story first and and foremost. Commentary is sprinkled throughout and it gave me an interesting mix of academic and the gossipy. Make no mistake, Cleopatra's life was one heck of a soap opera. But intermixed therein are many important political details and a lot of Mediterranean shenanigans that involve most of the "biggies" of her time. I know this was a good book because it inspired curiosity--a lot of googling, a desire to read more books on the subject. It made me want to watch Rome again (and consequently I felt that it was extremely helpful to have the image of HBO actors firmly implanted in my head--I had no trouble distinguishing any of the major players), and it made me want to pick up Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, which I haven't yet read.

My recommendation: Read this book!

How to be the worst seatmate in the history of the movie-watching world

Last night E and I saw The Fighter.  The movie was well-done, gritty, realistic.  This realism, however, paled in comparison to the obstuse behavior of our seatmates.  I don't normally go to the movies on a Saturday night, so I had a nice reminder of how people behave.  I therefore present to you,

How to be the worst seatmate in the history of the movie-watching world:

1) Come in late.
2) Talk as though you're at home in your living room.
3) Crawl over everyone, pick a noisy, broken seat.
4) Fall into the seat, then realize it really is broken, so move over to the empty seat directly next to me.
5) Make sure your bluetooth is still on your ear.
6) For optimum annoyance, leave the bluetooth on so the blue light goes blink blink blink in my eye.
7) Grunt every ten minutes or so.  Twitch.  Tap your feet.
8) Sing along with the movie's soundtrack, making sure to be ever-so-slightly behind the lyrics How do you like me now--me now; How do you like-like me now--me now.
9) Lean back as far as you can in your seat so you take up as much legroom for the person behind you as you can.
10) Choose a seat directly in front of us, and wear your hair piled high like it's 1965.
11) Ask obvious questions in a really loud voice.
12) Answer obvious questions (e.g.: What is he doing now?) With even more obvious answers (HE'S GOING TO SMOKE SOME MORE CRACK!)  Alternately: repeat lines of dialogue as though they are the best thing you've ever heard.  Repeat them a lot.  Just say what the people on the shiny screen say.
13) Bring your children to a movie laced with the F-word; invite them to go in and out of the theater throughout the movie whenever they please.
14) Have your wife rub your shoulder on the side closest to me as LOUD AS SHE CAN.  Make sure you say mmm in that really awkward way that you should save for your private time.
15) Turn your head to look at me a lot while I watch the film.  Be all up in my bubble.
16) Sing some more.
17) Do not under any circumstances wash yourself or your clothes before you come to the theater.
18) Death-breath? A must. Also, loud nose-breathing.
19) Laugh at things (like poverty, racist comments, crack addiction) that are clearly not supposed to be the funny parts of the movie.
20) Take the armrest.

Yeah, I'm picky about watching movies.

Cranky McCrankerson

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mise en Place

The faces at the podium change but the message is the same. She is respected, fair, creative, funny. Coworkers extol her dependability, her honesty. Friends smile through tears about memories of jokes, kazoos, a good heart, true support. I feel like an eavesdropper but in the best way. I am both outsider and insider to her life, and privileged to hear her career lauded today. My aunt--who I know well as the thoughtful shopper, the effortless hostess, the creative cook and crafter, the dedicated volunteer--is being recognized at her retirement.

I applaud with pride and awe that I am a part of a family with so many models of what it means to be the right kind of person. The nuanced descriptions of her work history and friendships are, in some ways, a collage of traits I know well in my grandparents. Here is also a reorganization of what I see in my mom, a true sister piece: each diptych with its own fresh perspective and value, each sister living out this kind of integrity her own way. The praise for my aunt is well-deserved. She has touched all who she's worked with. She made a difference. I see my own career goals in everything she embodies at the podium.

Family is a salad bar of personality, values, and humor. Or perhaps it's a stew of the same, assembled anew and seasoned each generation to a different set of tastes. At any rate I'm thankful for the store of hereditary ingredients--they so clearly have been compiled to great ends in the generations preceding mine. I often consider how lucky I am to come from such honorable grandparents; what I see in my aunt today are the same qualities arranged in different order and quantity, equally admirable.

The luncheon is an affirmation that strong roots bear rich fruit, that one's greatness doesn't come at random. I feel like this is possible because it lies in me, too. Family matters. The lessons and the values we learn from family might look different as we each live them, but their common source ties us together. I'm proud that she's my aunt.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Joyful, joyful

photo via weheartit
Mmmm, I just got back from the hospital after a healthy dose of new baby-visiting! I was overjoyed tonight to get a text from my good friend ML asking if I could come visit her new arrival. So happy that even though I was already in bed (yes--at 6:30), I jumped up and put on some pants.

Their little sweet pea is adorable. Exquisite. Bright. Wonderful. Worth the pants.

I just realized I forgot to catch a whiff of baby smell, that heavenly combo of Dreft and possibility. Dang. Oh well, now I have an excuse to go visit again. You bet I've got plans to burrito that little bundle sometime in the future, too.

It makes my heart glad to see ML and B as proud new parents again. They're the kind of people that you have in your life no matter what, because they're just that good. I'm so happy their little family has grown. Their joy is our joy.

What a good day. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Well hello there, Monday.

Monday, Monday...

Today was over faster than Hanson's musical career. (Mmm-bop!) Amazing how being busy helps the time to zoom. If last week was about finding routine, today was about autopilot. Autopilot, I missed you.

Things I've enjoyed on this fine little Monday:
  • A Green Monster
  • Some time grading papers before school (okay, enjoyed is a strong word, but it wasn't torture)
  • The space heater behind my desk--holler.
  • Alone time with Pandora to keep grading before school started
  • A brisk--I SAY BRISK--walk to the closest teacher restroom, which is approximately 2.5 minutes from my classroom, only to find that the only toilet was clogged, which meant about another minute walk to another faculty restroom. The passing period is five minutes long. FAIL. Now that I give it some thought, that was less than enjoyable. I know you're glad I shared that with you. If you have a job where you can pee whenever you want, you should hug a teacher. We can't.
  • A little lunch-time meeting, a little website design.
  • Finishing school and still seeing sunshine! I missed you, Sun.

  • Coffee at home, ALL THE TIME. All the time today, all the time, in general. Why the heck was I spending so much money on Starbucks? Makin' a pot is oh-so-nice. And CHEAP. Black coffee in Henry's Christmas bear mug is--as Miley Cyrus would say, "prettycool."

  • The fruit of my labors, as I made both pizza dough and bread dough yesterday. We're about to chow on some chicken red potato pesto pizza, and I can't wait. Been craving it for a few weeks. So I guess that's an "about to enjoy," not an "already enjoyed."
I'm feeling good, this Monday. Feeling like this week isn't going to be so much of a massive fail in the "exercise other than physical therapy" department. While I'm proud of myself for keeping up the PT (I have to go see the therapist this week, so fear has been a great motivator), I didn't make it out of the house once to swim last week. This week I've set my goals low, hopefully making them attainable. I'm gonna start by doing a walk on my treadmill tonight and then I'll swim at least Tuesday/Thursday.

If I have one complaint about today, it is that my house has been nonstop NOISE since I got home, and I can barely compose a thought. Santa and I didn't really conference before Christmas about how much Weird Al was going to be blasting playing chez nous 24/7 once the H-man got his iPod.

Addie looked at me the other day and said Mom, I swear if I hear The White Stuff ONE. MORE. TIME...

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Date Night

Green eyes study me. Herbed boullion perfumes the negative space.

Our booth is unromantically close to the kitchen; I try to ignore it. In happy contrast, our skewered meats snuggle beneath intertwined forks balanced at the lip of the fondue pot. "I think about that sometimes, you know? Like, if we didn't know each other and I saw you, what would I think?"


"I'm pretty sure I'd spend all night trying to stare at you without being caught."

"But you wouldn't try to come talk to me? To get my number or something? So you'd spend the whole evening staring and then I would leave and you'd never see me again?"

"I think we both know I wouldn't be able to work up the nerve."

He's right, I know. Not because he's not attracted to me in this hypothetical scenario (he's been flattering and clear about how I look this evening), but because I know the same would be true for me if he wasn't in my life already. I'd be terrified to even try to approach him because it's just not in my nature. It is fortunate, then, that we had enough nerve to talk in biology class in 1994. It is fortunate that we've weathered so much marital, personal, emotional and financial strain to be where we are now, which is generally quite comfy.

But there's something to be said for being a little uncomfortable for each other, too. Going out when you'd rather stay in, because she likes it better. Straightening your hair, wearing something that shows effort, because you know he'll notice. Ironing a shirt that's normally for workdays, because she'll eye the silhouette. Eating fondue because she loves it. Walking blocks in the stinging night air because you know how she'll feel when she's taken out.

We find ourselves with a regular babysitter this month; last night we ventured into Sacramento for fondue and drinks. It's a gift to spend time together without worrying about the clock. It's unfamiliar but wonderful. Part of this is K's generous offer to babysit without a curfew, but the other component is knowing that our kids are so easy and require so little effort from anyone that we can enjoy each others' company once again. Years and years of diapers, law school, Cheerios, and crying (child and adult) are behind us. There's such a nice peace in our family now. The kids are so easy, so polite and fun. It makes it much easier to ask people to watch them.

(Side bonus of "date night"--knowing someone is coming over to your house to watch your kids means you're more likely to clean it before she gets there. It has a nice "kick in the pants" quality to it, and that means I'm not having to clean today.)

As we left DeVere's for the cold walk back to our car, we gave ourselves a little pat on the back for being done with all of that baby stuff. Of course there's so much about it I miss, but there's a nice confidence now in allowing ourselves to spend time alone. Date nights remind me that I really do like E, a lot. Being out of the house puts us in a different frame of mind for conversation and we move away from perfunctory toward things that are actually interesting, fun, adult.

I feel like I've really done something this weekend. I suppose that's the best I could ask for. Love tank, full.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Rock, Paper, fail.

Henry: I always go "paper, paper, rock."

Me: Okay, Bud. Let's play.

(Scissors. Win. Scissors. Win. Paper. Win.)

Henry: Hey! How did you beat me?

Friday, January 07, 2011

What. The. Fuzz.

Ugh, this week! I was only off from school two weeks, but my body slipped into a kind of summertime ease that I haven't been able to shake. I tricked myself into believing that my duties at home required full-time care, and now I'm stuck trying to accomplish them on a part-time schedule. I'm amazed by how difficult it is to make it out of bed, get everyone ready, drive to school, work a full day, pick up the kids, and cook dinner. Weeks like this I wonder how I ever did anything like run, walk or swim in my free time. My free time seems to be eaten up by things that need doing, and even if I had a moment off, I'd sooner pass out in my bed than accomplish anything extra. I've been treading water all week just to stay afloat. Fancy tricks would send my tired ass to the bottom of the pool.

School-wise, I had a good week. Or, I suppose, I should amend that to say that classroom-wise, I had a good week. A great one. Unfortunately this was a total sucktastic week when it comes to the cesspool of negative bullshit that swirls around outside the classroom. I wonder all the time lately if my entire teaching career is going to be tinged with the difficulty that has trickled down from the bad economy all the way to the local educational institution. I wish I had a better memory for the years o' plenty when I first got hired, and that was only the early 2000's--not so long ago. It's all doom and gloom and ridiculous arguing and poor communication and people being bitchy and idiotic for so long now. This was no glowing week of perfection in the educational system. *sigh* But like I said, my kids were great. I tried hard this week to teach well. I guess that's what I have to hang on to, right? Things are bound to improve, sometime.

At least that's what I tell myself. Repetitively.

We've been grayed in since Christmas--and yes I know there are worse things for one than two weeks of fog--but it's making me sad and cranky and impatient. My every meditation this week is some variation of feeling sun on my shoulders. Sun on the beach. Sun in the backyard. Sun in a field. Maybe I need to drive to the hills for a reprieve.

This weekend E and I have a planned date night and I hope to sneak over to the cheapie massage place for a little beat down. Hopefully I can get in a little Sunday walk with K. Mostly I'm looking forward to not being at work for two days so I can recharge my batteries.

The weekend forecast shows sunshine--I've got my fingers crossed and my heart set on it.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Around the House

I love being a bum at home.  I can't wait to walk in the front door, lose my work clothes, bundle up in my comfies, grab a cat, and get cozy.  Tonight we're watching my niece.  Well actually, E is currently rocking her--or at least, he was until they both took a snooze in the chair--so Henry, Twinkle, Hurley and I are livin' it up.

Isn't she getting big?  This was her just back in September:

Henry and I played a new game from Christmas, Left, Right or Center.  I promise it has nothing to do with politics.  :)  After that we played a round of Go Fish.  He's a total card shark.  I love one-on-one time with him because he is so polite and such a crack up!

I thought I'd share this is from this afternoon, too. Big boy growl.  Hurley Dog appears to be feeling much better and has more energy than I've ever seen.  He also just learned how to play tug-of-war a few days ago.  What dog has to be taught tug-of-war?  It's our new favorite thing to do after school, though, right before we take a big nap and before Dad gets home to take him for a walk/run down by the creek.  I'm happy our pup is feeling well again.  He's following E and our niece around like crazy.  He's so concerned about that little crying human.

Ah, lazy nights.  Love 'em.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

New "Key Posts" Page

Hi friends.

I spent a crapload of time last night working on a new feature for the blog, a page of Key Posts. You can CLICK HERE to visit it, or you can find it at the top of my page with my About and Contact pages. Be sure to check it out--I tried to bring together all of my favorite posts from the last two years, the ones that I really worked hard on, or those that represent something significant in our lives.

Be sure to hop on over to my post from last night, Resolution and a Request, if you haven't already--and leave me a comment with your blog address so I can visit.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Resolution and a Request

I did make one real resolution (as opposed to Goal Setting I and II), of the New Year's Resolution sort. I resolved to comment more often on other people's blogs. I love the blog world and all the people I have met in it... Sometimes I get down that I can go for long stretches and not get comments on my posts. Well, duh! Those are the same stretches where I'm guilty of reading other people's blogs daily--obsessively--and not leaving them a little comment to say hello. Comments rock, right? If I'm going to read so many blogs daily, I owe it to the authors to leave them a little comment love.

So here's my request. Can you leave a comment here with your blog address? I would love to come over and say hi. I know that I follow some of you, but I would like to add more to my list and check out your sites. I'm always looking for something new to read, another peek into someone's life. I'm not picky! I would love it if you'd introduce yourself and leave a link.

I figure this way my other readers will get some ideas of new blogs to read too. Ready, set, comment!

Thanks mucho.

P.S. Regulars, comment too! That way everyone else can find you in all your fabulousness. And that way I don't look like the kid with no friends at her birthday party. OMG, the attention-whoring is strong in this post. Humor me?

Holy Sweaters a total P.U.

Right after Addie was born, I was on this orange kick with clothes. Maybe it's because she was due on Halloween, and we had this cute little pumpkin outfit for her to wear home from the hospital.  Maybe it's because she was a November baby, on parade for Thanksgiving.  I don't know if I was trying to match her or if it was inadvertent, but that time period in my wardrobe is marked by orange sweaters, like nubby-wool tree rings.

Tonight, in an effort to curb my uncontrollable bone-chill, E tossed this old friend at me.  It had been a while since I'd worn it.  Apparently some hungry little bugga-buggas found it in the meantime.  Sad.

Yeah, my bedroom walls need repainting.  For, like, years.

I hate when things get ruined.  Grrr... (I hate when people post "womp womp" on the internet because I feel like that such an incorrect spelling of the perfect sound.  But this is a womp womp kind of moment.  Only I think I'd rather spell it whaa-whaaaaa.... because that seems more onomatopoetically correct.)  Stupid bugs.  Stupid sweater that I liked so much.  Stupid, stupid.

Oh, Debbie Downer.  You gave me great LOLs.

Also in whaa-whaaaaa... tonight, we have the fact that I got all excited when I saw on Facebook that the California Lottery is up to some ridiculous--like, crazy money--number.  I sent E out to get a ticket, but of course it was too close to tonight's draw so it wouldn't let him.  Sheesh.  Not our night.  Hopefully nobody wins (sorry Traci) and it rolls over?  Maybe?  One can only hope.

For realsies, I want to know what the deal is with me and being so frozen I can't get anything done at night.  Our house is warm.  We have lots of blankets.  I'm wearing sweats and sweaters and socks and blankets and a cat.  And I can't heat up at night, ever.  I always feel by the end of the day like the cold has soaked into my bones and I can't get it out.  I took a nap under my electric blanket this afternoon (didn't help), cooked dinner (still cold), ate dinner (icicle hands) and finally decided I needed to scorch myself in the tub because it was my only hope.  I'm feeling warm-er, kind of warm-ish, but I know tomorrow afternoon it will start all over again.  Poor circulation?  Fatigue?  Every freaking winter.

Also, I wouldn't normally give so much attention to something so... base... but THE DOG IS STINKING UP MY ROOM TO HIGH HEAVEN.  P. U. Good lord.  Hurley Dog has had some tummy troubles of late and he's just now back on his regular food.  It's an adjustment period, apparently.  Time to crack a window.

And on that note, I bid you adieu.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Ten things I'm thinking right now

1. I wish I would have watched Dr. Quinn this afternoon. I'm having work-related sappy TV withdrawals.

2. I want Tabatha to come to my work and take over.

3. Today didn't suck as bad as I thought it would, so there's that.

4. I'm not really sure who thought that sweat pants with a cuff on the bottom were a good idea. I feel like no matter what size pants I buy, they ride up and leave a cold little strip of skin between pant and sock. (Related: Saggy socks are the pits.)

5. I should be working, just like I should have been working when I redesigned my blog this afternoon. Whoopsies.

6. I'm so jealous that E has advanced degree bragging rights and a lawyer job.

7. I ate too much for dinner. Now there's no room for snacking.

8. I have so much to do.

9. I don't wanna.

10. Winter is totally harshin' my buzz.


P. S. I made a new blog button.
P. P. S. You can add it if you want.
P. P. P. S. Here it is:



Remember how this fall I was redefining Mondays?  I'm going to make a conscious effort to do that today. In fact, I'm looking at today like a big-fatty-fat-fat opportunity.  It's a new Monday, a new week, a new year, a new semester at school.  It's a fresh chance to be successful, to make healthier choices, to do a better job, to enjoy the moment more.

On second thought, this photo just might be HORRIFYING.
Sorry 'bout that, friends.  
I spent ALL DAY yesterday being awesome wearing jammies prepping for the week.  I was at one with my inner Martha.  Made some serious bread, soaked some beans for tonight's dinner and thawed some rib tips, spatchcocked/ brined/ roasted a whole chicken, washed and chopped veggies and put them to bed in their cute little tupperware beds, made a rice-cooker full of (duh) rice, baked cookies for the munchkies, hard-boiled some eggs, and cooked a pot of oatmeal for the week.  A-men.  I feel so good with all those options in the fridge.  It's like I stockpiled for the winter, only by "winter" I mean the next five days.  Like having money in the bank, my friends.

Confession: doing all this means I didn't do a lick of other housework.  My Christmas tree is still up.  However, I'm sure if I go back a year in me posts (yarr), I'll find a similar confession with the same admission that I like Christmas anyway so I won't mind enjoying the warm glow of my tree for another day week or so.

The eponymous changes mentioned are blog changes.  I'm working on a slight redesign lately with Annemarie of Brunch at Saks, and while that's in the works I'm trying to divorce myself from how this blog has looked for a long time.  It was okay, but I am ready for a change.  So if you notice anything out of place, bear with me.  In the meantime I've been updating some tidbits that I'd been ignoring and playing around with different templates.  Don't mind me.

I thought it worth mentioning that last night I updated and streamlined my "Regular Reads" list and moved them to my sidebar.  Be sure to check it out (scroll down), because I added some of the blogs that I read obsessively.  In fact, I was shocked that some of them weren't on my original list.  I've been a little lazy.

So here's to the Mother of All Mondays.  May she be kind to you and to me.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


Today my blog is two years old.