Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

I'm not big on making resolutions. It seems kind of silly. I gave it a try last year, but didn't do so great. I think it's because I felt like I was forcing myself to do things I'd rather not do. I decided to make some manageable resolutions this year...

1. My house will be cleaner. (I can see my sisters rolling their eyes right now because I'm always freaking out and cleaning, but they haven't seen the basement or the bookcase in my bedroom.)

2. I will be more conscious of what I'm eating. I've defied the diet I'm supposed to follow and I'm seeing the sad results. I've gotta keep thinking...HEART HEALTHY! This is the only ticker I've got and if I'm going to run the half-marathon in 2008, I need to treat it a little bit better. FYI: I was supposed to run the 2007 half-marathon, but had to withdraw due to a kidney infection that had a huge impact on my training schedule. Bummer.

3. I will work less. I've been on vacation for the past week and haven't checked my messages or called a single co-worker at all. It was very liberating. Working less=More time with my sweet kiddo.

4. I will not wait for a special occasion to get a pedicure.

5. I will finally finish writing my book. I may not get it published, but I will get it finished.

I think that's enough for now. Anyone else out there making resolutions?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Traditions (?)

Well, the Christmas celebrations kicked off on December 22nd with a visit to my parents. It was sort of a traditional Christmas gathering, complete with a nice, sit-down dinner. It was relatively peaceful, and really enjoyable with my little nephew having his first Christmas. Nothing beat all the kids opening up their gifts and "oooh"-ing and "aahhhh"-ing over their new treasures. My munchkin was especially thrilled with a box of dress-up clothes. She's getting to that age where she really enjoys fantasy-play.

Sunday the 23rd, we made long, arduous drive to the Hicktown of the Great White North--also known as Lomira, Wisconsin. The drive normally isn't too bad, but the weather was not cooperating at all, and we needed to stop and eat. It ended up taking about 5 hours total. We had a nice visit with my husband's youngest brother and wife. Things started getting a bit hectic Christmas Eve when my mother-in-law (also known as Grandma Claus) showed up with about 200 gifts. I swear, I'm not exaggerating. My sister-in-law and I were almost in tears, because we had agreed we would sort the gifts ahead of time for easy-opening on Christmas Day. It took about 2 hours; and all of that was blown to bits later when Grandma Claus came back later with more gifts and then moved our neatly made piles. Then there was a fight, because even though my husband told his mom about a month ago that we needed to leave by 11:30 on Christmas morning, she had a fit and said we were messing things up for everyone else. She ended up calling my husband's other brother and insisted they come that night and spend the night. So, he, his wife and two kids came late Christmas Eve. Really late. Late as in my little girl woke up and would not go back to sleep. Everyone ended up spending the night. There was a lot of drinking. And playing video games. And arguing. And more drinking. My husband and I rarely drink at all, so it was a bit anxiety-provoking.

In between all of that, there was a big fiasco about how we don't go to church for Christmas. This has been an argument since our daughter was born. We do not bring our daughter to church on Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday or Christmas. It's really long, terribly crowded, and honestly, we get cranky. We attend church the rest of the year, and even though most Catholics would be shocked, we just choose not to go on those days. Actually, I go on Palm Sunday, but the kiddo stays home with daddy. We all skip Easter and Christmas. But I digress.

Anyhoo, my sister-in-law had to follow up on some work-related issues because she was on-call Christmas Eve and wasn't able to put dinner together before church. I told her it was no big deal--the rest of the family could go, and we'd make the lasagna while they were gone. It was a different recipe, one I hadn't made before, but it was really, really good. We pulled it off without a hitch, except for the fact that it bubbled over some in the oven. *Someone* was really upset with me. I promised to clean it up, but it was met with huffy sighs and eye-rolling. Ah well. No good deed goes unpunished, right?

During dinner that night, there was another fight between my hubby and his mom about us leaving early, and of course, the whole guilt trip about how she was going to have to get up at 4am to make dinner. She was told she didn't have to--we were going to eat breakfast, open gifts, grab a snack and then hit the road. Oh no. She was having none of that. She was bound and determined to make a complete dinner so the family could sit and eat before we left. I appreciated the effort, but she knew plenty in advance that none of that was necessary. And she refused our suggested alternative to have a nice Christmas Day breakfast or brunch.

Christmas morning finally rolled around. The kids were excited to open their gifts. Mountains of gifts. I personally struggled with the severity of the...I don't know what word to use...excess? I mean, this was beyond excessive. And speaking of excess, due to the imbibing of certain family members the night before, tempers were flaring and by 8:15am, many adults were on their second rounds of Bloody Marys. Yeah. Then there was yelling about how the kids were too loud. Except that they weren't. Not at all. But I guess hangovers do that--kind of amplify all noises. Now, after two hours of opening gifts, the kids started getting irritable and fussy--they're all under the age of four, mind you, and the parents finally just started tearing them open to get them finished.

My mother-in-law guilted us into staying to eat. That was uncomfortable because the (by then, quite drunk) brothers and sisters-in-law were complaining that it was too early to eat such a big meal. So, 11:45am is too early to eat some turkey and potatoes, but 8:15am isn't too early for Bloody Marys and bottles of Watermelon Smirnoff? Go figure.

We finally, blessedly, got out and made our way home. The drive back was better than the drive up and we spent the evening relaxing. We had an intimate family Christmas the day after, just the three of us. It was wonderful and peaceful. My daughter's favorite gift was a Hello Kitty wafflemaker and a Little People school bus. Then we spent the day just hanging out on the couch. Nice.

So, just to reinforce, I'm having the Christmas gathering at my house next year. A nice brunch--with whole grain pancakes, a fluffy egg quiche, and of course, Hello Kitty waffles. I can't wait.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sweet Relief

Well, I got my computer back up and running, so the three hundred packs of Rolaids I bought in anticipation of my body freaking out and sending liquid hot magma through my esophagus can now get shoved to the back of the linen closet.

I lost a lot of information--all of my music and most of my Word documents, but I was able to save all of my pictures. The music is no big deal--I can download all of that again when I have time (...time? What is this four-letter-word I speak of??). The Word documents, I'm pretty bummed about. The only good thing is that I have hard copies of everything for the classes I teach, so I can re-type all of them. My handouts needed some updates anyway, so I'm looking at this as an opportunity to improve. The pictures--wow. It was by a sheer stroke of luck that I downloaded all of my photos onto CD-Rs only two days before the hard drive went kaput. Strange how that works...women's intuition? Dumb luck? I don't know. But I'm so glad, because I have almost a thousand photos--mostly of my cutie-pie daughter, that are now safely backed up.

Funny thing...I got a flash drive that's big enough to back up my whole system. Too little, too late, but much needed and very appreciated, MIL!

I've got some fun stuff to share about Christmas--stories about screaming toddlers, too many gifts, lasagna and Bloody Marys. Good times, I tell ya. I'll have to share another time, though, because right now, I'm exhausted. It's that whole post-holidy-family-get-together-syndrome. Next year, I'm hosting Christmas Eve at my house. Still stressful, of course, but at least I won't have to go anywhere.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Loud Screaming...

...because for the second time in less than a year, Windows XP has crashed my hard drive. I've spent a good chunk of today trying to retrieve my files. It's a long, arduous process, and a pain in the you-know-what. Postings will be few and far between until I get this fixed...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Slow Night

I don't know what I did to be blessed with such an amazing, beautiful child. After dinner, I spent the evening with my daughter, and all she wanted to do was snuggle in my lap, with her warm, soft cheek pressed against mine. Before I knew it, an hour had passed. Then she sang me a song ("Happy Birthday" even though it's not my birthday yet) and wrote her name for me. Afterward, she splashed around in the tub for fifteen minutes then curled up in my lap again so I could read her a story. She was asleep before I got through the first page.

For a half-hour, I sat, quietly rocking, thinking about the hours spent in that chair when she was an infant...the hours I spent nursing her and stroking her soft head, singing to her. She's two and a half now, and the rocker is starting to squeak a little. I think that's testament to how much time we've spent in it. I love watching her sleep--her little, round face is so peaceful and relaxed. I wish I could sleep like that. And yet...I would gladly give up hours and hours of sleep to watch her sleep. In fact, I think I'll skip the household stuff tonight and sneak into her room for a few minutes and watch her in her peaceful slumber.

Funny how motherhood does that.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Rise and Shine!

Holy cow, it's not even 6:30am and I'm a raw bundle of energy!

I just finished a 2-mile walk/jog workout. It's better than coffee. Or, at least I think it is, because I don't drink coffee. Lots of my co-workers ask me why I get up so early to exercise, when I could do it in the evening after my daughter goes to bed. I tell them that there's too much other stuff to do around the house after she goes to bed--laundry, dishes, cleaning bathrooms, mopping, etc. But it's more than that. My workout time in the morning is the only time I have to myself to be alone and enjoy some peace and quiet. And I pray, too. I think God can hear me better in the mornings before my day gets too chaotic and noisy.

Okay, enough of the feel good stuff. I have to pull myself together and leave for work in 45 minutes, but it's good, because after I get through today and tomorrow, I have a week off. Hooray!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Good Day Continued

I found this template at www.finalsense.com. That made my day go better!

My little girl came barrelling into my arms after a long day, shrieking, "I love you so much mommy! Hug me!"

My husband promised to rub my back tonight.

My jeans fit. After the whole fiasco of trying to squeeze into teeny-bopper jeans, I got my behind into a wonderful, comfy pair. And I don't even need a long sweater to conceal anything!

Yay!

Good Day

I'm sneaking a few minutes on a break at work to post really quick. I'm having a good day today! No particular reason, but I felt like sharing. My boss, who is a great woman, took the whole management team out for breakfast, so I'm stuffed silly and it's doubtful I'll eat anything else until dinner tonight. Plus, I'm getting some warm, fuzzy feelings that I do believe may be the return of my Christmas spirit! I was feeling kind of Scrooge-ish for a few days, but now I'm ready to dress in an elf costume and drink hot chocolate. Okay, maybe not the elf costume! But on a related note, I had a funny dream last night that my husband bought me a submarine for Christmas. A REAL submarine. And it was tied with a big, red, sparkly bow. Strange...I wonder what that means?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Under Construction

I'm going to be playing with some new templates. Something's up with this template--the margins keep cutting off and it's getting annoying. I'm bummed because I like this format, but I'm sure I can find something comparable. So, we'll see what happens over the next few days. The last time I did this, I lost all of my links, my profile, everything. I'm going to be very careful this time around...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dump Truck

Warning: Mindless ranting ahead.

Bring on the dump truck, because I've got a big load of guilt to dump...

Working full-time and being a mom and wife is way more difficult than I thought it would be. I feel bad enough, and believe me, I do a perfectly wonderful job of feeling guilty without any added help.

I need to figure out a way to (kindly) tell my husband that.

Tonight, our dear, darling daughter is on sleep strike. She should be tired. In fact, I think she is tired, but is just in that loopy, two-and-a-half-year-old state of mind. The state of mind that says, "Sorry, but you're not the boss of me and you can't make me go to sleep even if it is two full hours past my bedtime." The good thing is that she's laying in bed--reading books and singing at the top of her lungs, but at least in bed.

So, where does the whole guilt thing come in?

Okay. Since July, I've been working my regular job, doing all the "regular" stuff that I do around the house, plus teaching two graduate classes at night. That means two very long days, back to back. It also means that I miss my little munchkin's bedtime two nights in a row. That by itself is enough to make me shrivel up into a rotten-mommy prune. But tonight, I was expressing some anxiety about why our daughter doesn't seem to want to go to sleep, and my wacky husband says, "Well, I think she's tired, but she's just fighting it because she wants to see you before bed and she never knows what time you're going to get home."

Ouch.

Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but now I'm feeling mean. I love my husband, and part of that love extends into me wanting to occasionally kick him in his keester. Like now.

Here's my mindless rant...Never mind the fact that I'm working an extra job to pay off the mountain of medical expenses we've had since our daughter came barrelling into lives--she's a beautiful, wonderful blessing. But an expensive blessing. Never mind that for the first two years of her life, I was the one taking care of her every single time she was sick. Never mind that I used all of my sick time at work and had to dip into the little bit of vacation time I had to cover the time. Never mind the days when I was home with her, pounding her back to break up the crud in her lungs, forcing steroids into her tiny body to help her lungs stabilize and cleaning up the vomit that resulted from the breathing treatments. Never mind the anxiety riddled-days and sleepless nights, trying to maintain the delicate balance of, well, everything. Never mind the hours I've spent rocking her, singing to her, reading to her, praying for her and with her...and never mind the fact that I would do it again in a heartbeat, not even a hint of hesitation in my mind or soul. Never mind the fact that the motherhood is as new to me as fatherhood is to him.

Never mind any of that.

And never mind him, either. People have told me that being a mother is a thankless job. I don't buy it. Being a mommy is the most rewarding thing I've done in my life. Now, the possibility that being a wife is a thankless job, maybe that's another story.

I'm making a mean face, because my husband is standing right behind me, all smiling and telling me he loves me. I should feel guilty about posting this. But I don't. Yet.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Body Image

I went shopping first thing this morning. On a Saturday. Ten days before Christmas. Ugh.

I'm more of a window shopper, but today, I was on a mission. I really, really needed a new pair of jeans. My most favorite, soft, broken-in, perfectly conformed to my body, mid-rise, bootcut jeans with just a hint of stretch, went to the The Big Closet in the Sky. The zipper broke. Bummer.

Anyway, I just need to rant for a minute. I'm not skinny. I'm curvy in all the right places, a little too curvy in some of the wrong places, but for the most part, I'm pretty comfortable with my body. Today, though, I fully realized that there's a reason why so many women have body image issues.

It's the darn designers of clothes. Seriously.

Since when can I slide beautifully into a size 10 pair of jeans, but all of a sudden--when I haven't gained or lost a single pound in several weeks--the NEW jeans I tried on just didn't fit, even though they were my regular size? And it wasn't that they just didn't fit. It was that I could barely get them over my knees. I grabbed a few more pairs in different sizes, and finally reached the peak of disgust, when, jumping around the dressing room, I realized I was trying to squeeze myself into a size 14 and couldn't get them to zip.

Apparently, "slim fit, low-rise" jeans are in right now. And that means that a regular chickie-doo like myself has to buy pants that are 2-3 sizes bigger, because holy crap, I actually have a butt and hips. And then the pants look stupid, because I have these pants on where the "waist" of the jeans is just above my rather wide, post-baby hips, and they fit great there, but they sag everywhere else.

For a split second, I wanted to cry. Finding clothes is difficult enough being tall and leggy, but you throw in curvy, and it's like I may as well just break out the sewing machine and make my own clothes--which I do on occasion, but it's usually skirts for summer.

After this very keen disappointment, I bought two sweaters instead. They're long enough that they'll cover the broken zipper on my favorite jeans. Take that, you naughty designers!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Aside from the fact that it’s painful, it’s also a terrible…I don’t even know what the word is…a terrible something to wake up with a tension headache. Two mornings in a row! Ugh. My head, neck and shoulders feel like they’re full of hot, jagged little rocks. I’ve determined that I’ve been letting myself get too stressed.

Through the haze of pain, I’ve also determined that my daughter wants to be a stay-at-home-kid as much as I want to be a stay-at-home-mom. My heart does this weird cross between melting and breaking when she looks up at me with those soulful brown eyes and says, “Mommy, I stay home with you today because I love you so much.”

Man, do I love her, too!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Cooking with Puree

So, last weekend, I went through one of my cooking extravaganzas and utilized three recipes from Deceptively Delicious, the big-hype cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld. I'd heard a lot about it and was pretty intrigued.

Thanks to my sister, who found the darn book for me, since I couldn't find it anywhere in a 12-mile radius of my house.

Anyway, the whole concept has to do with pureeing vegetables and adding them to everyday recipes. For my first round of experiments, I opted to whip up some cauliflower puree and try out a few recipes.

Oh. My. Gosh.

They were so good. I made mashed potatoes, banana bread and peanut butter banana muffins, all with the cauliflower puree. Nobody could taste the cauliflower! Now, my husband, daughter and I love our veggies, but honestly, cauliflower makes me gag. I can't stand the smell, and to me, it looks like little brains (I know this from when I was pre-med and dissected a sheep's brain--I decided shortly thereafter to go into psychology instead). So, I figured if I could eat something with cauliflower puree, it had to be good. And it was.

I'd originally had a rocking post started for this, but it's been a particularly hellish week at work--lots of tragedy, and it's kind of put a damper on everything. If I can pull myself together, I might post about it, but it's going to have to wait until I get some emotional energy back.

That being said/written, I'm going to settle down and watch Grey's Anatomy.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Running on Empty

Whew! It was one heck of a weekend and it's not even done yet!

Friday, I got into one of my cleaning-modes. We all know what that means...hours of scrubbing, scouring, vacuuming, etc. I was up late, taking care of laundry and whatnot. It's so unfair that if I skip even one day of cleaning/straightening during the week, everything seems to multiply by ten. Or twenty. Do you think dirty laundry splits and replicates itself? I do. I'm also pretty sure that the two plates in my kitchen sink were doing something naughty overnight, because the next morning, there were four plates, a bowl, two spoons and a glass. They must have been getting busy.

Yesterday, my in-laws came for a visit. That's always an adventure. I spent the whole morning and afternoon cooking. Of course, that was after I assaulted a chicken in my kitchen sink. Not a live chicken. It was dead. And plucked. And gosh darn it, still partially frozen on the inside! Here I was, all set at 8:30am to get busy (in a good way--not like my naughty dishes the night before) and begin working on my culinary masterpiece, when I realized the bag of chicken parts (what is that stuff? goo? something else equally gross? I don't know because I never use it.) was still frozen solid on the inside. I dutifully ran cold water over the chicken, rinsing, rinsing, rinsing, pouring water on the inside, too. Didn't help. Finally, out of frustration, I grabbed that stupid plastic bag and started pulling. Bad idea. In the process of trying to get it out, I didn't realize that the bag had ripped a little bit and filled with water. So what happened when I squeezed it? It sprayed. Everywhere. I shrieked as raw chicken water splashed my face and clothes. But I was more upset by the chicken water spraying on my clean counter and floor.

That was it. I decided to show that chicken who was boss.

I used my wrist to shove my glasses up on my nose, than grasped that chicken between my forearms, solidly anchoring it in the colander that was in the sink. With a heave and a blood-curdling war cry, I shoved my hands into the butt of that chicken. Actually, it was still pretty frozen, so I used two fingers, then four to pry it open. Then I used both hands to grab that ripped open bag of chicken nastiness and put it where it belongs. In the garbage (but only because I don't know what else to do with it--if anyone has any suggestions, I'm open to trying them).

It was smooth-sailing after that. I made some yummy southwest chicken with rolls and mashed potatoes (more about the potatoes in my next post). I also made a side of taco salad, which my dear hubby had been begging for. I made it, in spite of the fact that a few nights earlier, he said that my foot resembled a wild animal that he swore was going to eat him.

It was a nice evening overall. After the in-laws left (in the middle of an ice-storm that had dropped a solid two inches of ice on our driveway), I got some stuff done for my second job. It's the end of the semester and students are having some anxiety about final projects. I spent time grading papers and projects--I'm kind of nerdy, so I enjoy that stuff. Then I took a shower and curled up in bed with a good cookbook. I read on Cheryl's blog a little while back that she reads cookbooks in bed, too. I'm glad I'm not alone. I had tried a mashed potato recipe that day that was great, and I flagged two more recipes to try. Speaking of which, I need to get those out of the oven right now!

I can't wait to share my thoughts on this cookbook...more later!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's My 100th Post!

For my 100th post, I wanted to write about something big…something amazing…dazzling!

Um, not quite. But I thought I’d share this for a few laughs:

I was laying in bed last night drifting off to sleep when I shifted to get more comfortable and barely brushed my husband’s foot with mine.

He’s a grown man, but he began flailing his arms and legs, squealing like a terrified child, yelling, “Oh my God, oh my God!”

I shot straight up and was all, “Holy crap, what’s the matter?”

His bulging eyes were darting around the room and he said, “I was kind of zoned out and when I felt your foot touch mine, I thought it was a wild animal.”

I looked at my slender size 8 foot. “A wild animal?”

“Yeah,” he swore. “I thought it was going to eat me.”

“Nice, honey. Really nice. You know I’m going to blog about this.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“I would.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What's That Funky Smell?!

I'm sitting in my office with a runny nose and watery eyes. Allergies? No.

A co-worker was in here wearing a coat with a very, very strong and stale cigarette odor. I sprayed lemon-scented air freshener when the co-worker left.

My office now smells like pickles.

I like pickles. But the smell right now is nauseating. Gag, gag. Even the fan isn't getting rid of the odor. See?? It's just one more reason for me to figure out a way to become independently wealthy. Then I wouldn't have to worry about a stinky office.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dreamscape Re-Visited

I try not to put too much value on my dreams. I have some crazy ones, in sort of weird, 3-D technicolor. I don't remember ever not having strange dreams. Sometimes I feel like they mean something, and when I get that feeling, I pay attention. Most of the time, though, it's just sort of nonsensical stuff. Not lately.

I had that dream again. I don't like how I'm feeling today, just kind of unsettled, a little irritable. Why can't I seem to get to the end of that dream?

And then I had another dream, too. There was a young man on a bicycle hit by a car and I was administering first aid. He knew me, but I had no idea who he was. His name was Ryan, and he kept saying, "Just get me to where I need to be." I kept telling him it was dangerous for me to move him, that we had to wait for an ambulance. He gripped my hand and said the same thing..."Just get me to where I need to be."

I woke up just as I was lifting him in my arms. I was sweating and my heart was racing, but I just lay in bed, trying to quiet my breathing, knowing that there was unfinished business. Where does he need to go? And why does he need me to take him there?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pre-Thanksgiving Festivities

Today was a busy, busy day.

In keeping up with tradition, I took today off work and devoted the afternoon to baking. My sister hosts the annual Thanksgiving dinner (can't wait for tomorrow--yummy!), but I'm bringing something for dessert. I decided to try out something new, which can be dangerous the day before a holiday, but I figured it was early enough in the day that if it came out terrible, I could make something else.

After thumbing through some recipes, I finally decided on Outrageous Cookie Bars. I actually made those first, around two o'clock this afternoon, and my kitchen still smells heavenly. I snuck one after they cooled, just to make sure they taste as decadent as they smell. Um, believe me, they do.

After that was settled, I started on my next endeavor: a quadruple recipe of classic chocolate chip cookies. Why quadruple? Well, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, and truly giving thanks, I bake like crazy to share with a few of the local fire stations. See, back in Spring of 2005 after I had my daughter, there was this big episode where my heart went haywire and landed me in critical care until things got figured out. That sounds so non-chalant, doesn't it? It wasn't at the time, but I'm healthy now. I start thinking about it a lot around Thanksgiving and realize just how much I have to be thankful for. Anyway, since then, as a way to show my appreciation and support of the men and women who operate out of the fire stations, I stuff them with goodies. Usually, I deliver to the two fire stations that are within 2 miles of my house, but this year, I'm adding a third, that's clear on the other side of the city. Why? My husband ran into the paramedic who initially responded to the frantic 911 call two and half years ago, and that's the station he's working out of now. Funny how things circle around like that.

I have a lot to be thankful for--a home, a family, a job, food on the table...but I wouldn't have had any of those if not for the quick arrival of emergency workers who cared for me in 2005. Who needs a knight in shining armor when you've got a paramedic in a shining ambulance?

And who needs Thanksgiving dinner when you've got twenty dozen chocolate chip cookies just begging to be eaten??

Monday, November 19, 2007

Anti-Viral Tissue Cures World's Woes

You know how Kleenex sells the tissue that supposedly kills 99.9% of cold and flu viruses? I've been blowing my nose in that. And I got to thinking...if it works so well, why don't people just eat it instead? It could cure colds and flus before they start. It could stop indigestion. It could make the biggest jerks in the world turn into nice people.

Ri-i-i-i-ight. Like eating tissue just might be the answer to all the world's problems. Maybe it would work if we liquified it and shot it at people using blow-darts. Bah. I'm going back to Puffs Plus with Lotion. At least those are easier on my Rudolph-red nose.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

War on Germs

I hate being sick. Hate it, hate it, hate it. And did I mention that I hate it? Arghhhh.

The cold I had last week has morphed into a sinus infection. It's so bad that my top teeth hurt and my face is swollen, especially around my eyes. I've got two small, dark, beady spots where my expressive brown eyes usually reside. And since I'm so stuffed up, I'm having to mouth-breathe, which leaves that icky film around my lips. Yuck. I got a good look at myself in the mirror and lo and behold! It was like there was a rabid animal staring back at me! Funny. But not. Definitely not. There's nothing funny about gobs of goo and mountains of tissues.

My throat is finally feeling better, which is good. I forgot what a real sore throat felt like. I haven't been sick too much since I had my tonsils taken out last year. For those who don't know, I spent most of 2005 (which included a good chunk of my pregnancy) and the first several months of 2006 on and off antibiotics for a chronic throat infection and recurring strep. When my tonsils finally got to the point that they were interfering with my daily activities--namely, my ability to breathe properly--and the antibiotics just weren't working anymore, I finally took the ENTs advice and scheduled a tonsillectomy. Hands down, probably the best decision I've made in my adult life so far. During the surgery, the doc checked my adenoids, too, and discovered they were as big as rocks, so those came out, along with golf ball-sized tonsils. I remember waking up right after surgery, and even though I was in a lot of pain, it actually wasn't as bad as I had feared--it actually hurt less than my throat felt on a typical day with the tonsils in there! Of course, I was doped up on all kinds of good pain meds, but even when they wore off, I didn't feel too bad. Don't get me wrong, it did hurt, but the anticipation of the pain was way worse than the real thing...just a little FYI for anyone out there wondering what a tonsillectomy as an adult is like.

Sorry, just a little rambling there. Anyway, my point is that it's weird to have a sore throat now. I guess I could have said that right at the beginning and been done with it. Ah well.

My little munchkin is doing better, too. The worst part for her is that when she gets sick, her breathing problems flare up. Not asthma. It's worse than that. There's not even a name for it, at least not as far as I know. She had RSV as an infant, and it did a number on her tiny little lungs. We started her breathing treatments on Friday and she's showing some spunk today, which is a relief. We've dodged every bullet so far, and she hasn't had to be hospitalized even once. I hope I didn't just jinx it.

We all went to the dentist yesterday--stellar outcome, no cavities for anyone! My daughter hopped right up in the seat, sending out friendly greetings to the doctor and his staff. She was delighted with the blue bracelet she got from the prize chest since she was such a good girl for the doctor.

Oh, and the War on Germs? I went through the house today after I was done moaning and writhing on the floor from the pain of my sinus infection and sanitized every single doorknob, light switch, remote control and phone. After the munchkin goes to sleep tonight, I'll attack the hostile little things that are probably living on her toys. Great fun, huh?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nothing Much

It's been a busy week--busier than usual, which is sad since I scheduled a few vacation days. Nothing, and I mean nothing, puts a cramp in plans like a sick family. Yesterday morning, my husband, my daughter and I all woke up with some weird cold bug. My husband is better today, I'm the same, and my daughter is worse. I actually don't feel that bad. It's just that my head feels like it's stuffed with cotton and the scar tissue in my throat from last year's tonsillectomy is painfully swollen and stretched and just really uncomfortable. Yuck.

I'm only bummed because I was going to paint the bathroom today, but I'm thinking paint fumes might irritate my nose and throat. I'm hoping this blows over fast, because we're all going to the dentist on Saturday.

Boring post, I know. I'm going to go sit in the sun on my very cold deck. Even though the air is chilly, there's something comforting about the sun warming up achy bones.

More nonsense later...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Almost Finished!

My closet is almost complete. I really wanted to be finished by tonight, but Target didn't have a few of the things I needed. Plus, I always fail to take into account my tad little bit of OCD, and things take longer than I anticipate...ah well. So, my "one thing at a time" plan is a work in progress. For your viewing pleasure though, here's a picture of my dresser--beautifully organized and completely clean. Yay!

Aren't the candles pretty? I love 'em! I decided to be lazy and not crop the picture...so you can see a little bit of the bathroom on the left and my closet door on the right. But it still looks good!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

End of the Year Resolutions

One of my co-workers said this to me yesterday: “Hey Atlas. You’re slumping under the weight of the world.” I laughed, straightened up and wiped the scowl off my face. Things aren’t so bad.

I believe there’s a fine life between being unhappy, being disappointed and being dissatisfied with one’s own life.

I think I equate unhappiness with a combination of being really miserable, sad and angry. It’s the mentality of, “This is hopeless. I’m hopeless.” I don’t feel those things. Thank goodness!

Being disappointed is sort of like, “This isn’t what I thought it was going to be. Definitely not what I was planning on when I planned out my life!” But there’s an element of hope, because the downward turn of life and circumstances can be changed.

The most frustrating position, I think, is just being dissatisfied. It’s sort of like, “There’s so much more I could be doing, so much more I should be doing. So much more that I want to do!”

I know I’m not alone in this. I know I’m also not alone in the struggle of finding my way in life (I just made a funny…finding my way…that’s the name of my blog!). There is so much that I want to do with my life, and I always have this sort of low-grade frantic feeling that I’m running out of time. I mean, we’re all running out of time, in some general way. Life is finite and I think being aware of that is so important if we’re going to live the way we really want to. Jeepers criminy, I sound like an existential philosopher. But the thought and the meaning behind it is true.

I had a bit of an emotional meltdown Tuesday night and told my husband, “I just want to be finished with something!” We moved into our house before our daughter was born, and we still need to paint and do some odds and ends around the place. I have a book that’s dangling near the finish line, but I’m too busy being a wife and mom and working and teaching to finish the thing. I have half a dozen art projects that need finishing. I have a how-to book so I can crochet a blanket. I have hundreds of photos that I need to finish organizing. And I realize that it’s not having too much to do that’s stressing me out. It’s the fact that nothing’s finished!

That’s when it hit me. That’s where that general feeling of dissatisfaction is coming from! I take on too much, no doubt, but I do it to myself. Then I get angry when I don’t finish it. I’d always been good at goal-setting and goal-meeting. I got way off track over the past few years. Kind of lost myself and my identity over the course of saving a marriage, being a mom, teaching therapists-to-be how to be therapists…and occasionally donning tights, boots and a cape to crush the evil in the world. The “old” me would have said, “Nope, I’m not doing anything else until [X] is finished. And I’m definitely not doing anything until I find a replacement for these control-top tights, hideous boots and cape.” I mean, what woman can save the world when her control-top whatevers are cutting off her circulation?

Now that I’ve ditched the control-top tights for a pair of baggy jeans that flow nicely over my bodacious booty and I’m in tennis shoes and a trendy wrap in place of boots and a cape, I think I’m going to go back to my original mentality. One thing at a time, one day at a time. So, onto my End of the Year Resolutions...

Goal #1: Finish organizing my closet. I’m going to buy the rest of the stuff I need from Target and get it done by Sunday night. Once that’s finished, I’ll focus on Goal #2: Painting the downstairs bathroom. The one that I painted last year, only to find out two days later that the hardware store sold me bedroom paint, not bathroom paint. The water streaks are getting on my nerves. It’ll be good to get that done. I plan on finishing that by next Friday. I’ll come up with more goals after that.

Hey, I’m feeling more satisfied already!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Dreams

Every now and then, I see something that (in a good way) slaps me in the back of the head. I have about 35 pages left to type before my first novel is complete. Here's to making dreams become reality...

From http://postsecret.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween Hilarity

After my little munchkin missed out on her first two Halloweens due to being very sick, I was about out of my head with excitement that not only was she healthy enough, but also old enough to enjoy the fun of it all. Last night went something like this...



Me: C'mon sweetie. We're going to go trick-or-treating.

Her: No thank you mommy.

Me: (slight panic in my voice): But we can go get candy!

Her: I don't want candy mommy.

Me: Please? Look, you can have a piece of candy now.

Her: No mommy. No candy.

Me: Babycakes, come on. We'll just go to a few houses and say, "Trick or treat!"

Her: No.

Me: Well, what do you want to do?

Her: I want some mostaccoli for dinner.

Me: Can we go trick-or-treating when you're done?

Her: No, I don't want candy. Just mostaccoli.


It was a done conversation after that. We did finally get her to a few houses, but she wasn't happy about it. The little stinker didn't even eat any of the goodies she got. She was way more interested in what was left of the mostaccoli and garlic bread. Parenthood. Gotta love it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I got about six hours of sleep last night and I’m feeling pretty good. Those long days took a lot out of me, but I’m pretty close to normal today. Well, normal for me, anyway.

So, I had commented in my previous post that I would share the story of the ex-convict who made my sandwich at the conference. Now, I didn’t know he was an ex-convict, not that it matters. I work with the down-trodden of society and applaud anyone trying to make a decent living. Anyway, I’ve seen him many times at other conferences, and he’s always done a good job of putting lunches together. He recognized me and our conversation went something like this…

Him: Hey there young lady. Long time, no see. What can I get for you today?

Me: I think I’m going to have a chicken wrap.

Him: You got it ma’am. I’m very good at makin’ these wraps, yes I am. I am an ex-peer-ee-yanced food man.

Me [smiling]: You do make a mean sandwich. I have no complaints.

Him: Ain’t nobody ever be complainin’ about the sandwiches I make, no ma’am.

[We made idle chit chat about the crazy weather while he expertly arranged the chicken, cheese and vegetables in the wrap, bringing in the ends and tucking them in tightly so the filling wouldn’t come out while I was eating. I appreciated that. There’s nothing worse than rushing through a short lunch break, biting into a wrap and having the bottom fall open and everything landing in a heap on the wrapper.]

Him: Is there anything else I can be gettin’ for you today?

Me: I don’t think so. I’m happy with just this. You do a good job.

Him: I sure do. I got me the best experience preparing meals for hundreds of people every single day, yes I did. Ain’t never heard a complaint yet.

Me: That’s amazing. No complaints. You must have done a heck of a job. And had good training.

Him: Yes ma’am, I did have some good training. It helped too that my fellow prisoners just didn’t have much to say about my culinary skills.

With that, he gave me a big, gold-toothed smile and moved on to the next customer. Good for him.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Highway of My Mind

It’s been a long couple of days. I had to attend a 2-day conference downtown on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was only a pain because I had to set my alarm for zero-dark-thirty to catch an early train. Lots of people ask why I don’t drive downtown for the conferences. I say it’s because I can make it on time if I catch the train by 7:30. Otherwise, if I’m driving, I have to leave by 8:00. The night before. Just kidding. I just really don’t have the patience for dealing with rush hour traffic and on the train, I can just zone out.

I don’t really zone out, though. I start to think. A lot. And not just about the fact that I had to put in back-to-back seventeen hour days.

As the train rumbled out of the station, I thought about how the whole world seems to change over the miles between my home and downtown…going from modest homes and businesses where I live, past rolling landscapes, wetlands with deer milling about while geese take flight overhead, past million dollar homes and stunning golf courses, to a sort of barren wasteland of run down buildings, junkyards, and miles of decrepit land sprinkled with garbage and broken glass. Looking out the window, watching the city come to life, it’s hard not to notice the drastic line between the haves and the have-nots. I’ll never live in a million dollar home. I wouldn’t want to. But I wouldn’t want to live in a tiny, cramped space with bars on the windows to keep out the violence that lurks outside the front door, either. As the sun cracked open over the cloudy horizon and shed its light on the waking city, I watched young children hurrying along to school, weighted down with backpacks, looking straight ahead and trying to avoid eye-contact with the lingering drug dealers hanging around just outside of the schools. Every single day is such a fight for them. I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before those children succumb to their circumstances, how many children will get themselves out of those situations, how many will be featured on the news in the coming years as either criminals or victims.

I thought about my career thus far…how the days have turned into weeks and the weeks into years. Eight years trying to save everyone and everything. Trying to house every homeless person, trying to rescue every abused and neglected child, trying to help every addict stay clean and sober, trying to find every unemployed person a job. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it in.

I thought about my family…my sisters, who I think sometimes know me better than I know myself…my husband and daughter, who mean so much to me, and how in the world I ever managed to live my life before I was blessed with a child. I thought about how I got to where I am and wonder how things would be if I’d made different decisions.

I thought about me…about who I am and whether I’m happy with who I am. I thought about how, if I’m going to answer myself honestly, I have to admit that I’m not always happy with who I am. And I have to acknowledge that part of the reason I’m not happy with who I am is because I set standards for myself way too high.

I started thinking that I’m pretty sure that I’m the person I’m supposed to be, even if I keep telling myself I’m supposed to be better than what I am. And at the risk of sounding like a Bible-beater, I think I’m getting closer to being the person that God intends for me to be. There’s some peace in that bit of knowledge.

Looking over these sort of mindless ramblings, I’m also thinking that I’m badly sleep deprived and my mind is taking on a life of its own.

One more thing…remember that barren wasteland I saw from the train, the miles of decrepit land strewn with garbage and broken glass? If you look at it just right in the rising or setting sun, the light reflects off the glass and looks like thousands of diamonds sprinkled on the ground. Beautiful in its own way, you know?

I’m going to make my way through the rest of my workday, catch up on some much-needed sleep, and tomorrow, I’ll share the story of the ex-convict who made my lunch at the conference!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Weight Loss Woes

Caution: Lots of whining ahead.

I'm not skinny. Not by a long shot. I was thin in grade school, thin in high school, then filled out in college. Not in a bad way. I think my body just started looking the way it was supposed to. Since I had my daughter, though, I gained quite a bit and my weight has sort of re-distributed itself around the typical female problem areas--belly, butt, thighs and hips. Mostly butt.

Anyway, last summer, I found out that part of the problem with the weight gain was a result of a problem with my insulin levels. I've been working on following the food plan I'm supposed to, but it's hard for one reason. I love potatoes. Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em. I've cut out a lot of other "naughty" foods, but I'm clinging to my potatoes. It doesn't help that my favorite food is baked potato soup. Even so, I'm limiting my intake.

So why the heck have I gained 8 pounds instead of losing? My husband swears that muscle weighs more than fat, but I don't think I believe that. I mean, a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat right? They're both a pound. So, I'm trying to convince myself that while I'm building healthy muscle with my regular workouts, I'm just not losing any fat yet. When I flex my muscles, you can see them and feel them. There's just a layer of fat on top.

Which brings me back to my butt. I don't know how with the seven-mile daily bike rides and the two mile daily walks, but my butt is getting rounder. My legs are getting leaner, as is my waist, so my pants are fitting nicely in those areas, but my backside is still filling up my pants.

I've got a pregnant-looking rear end. But I'm not pregnant. I wish real-life had an edit button like in Photoshop. Then I could just erase the edges of my behind and be perfectly proportioned!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Daydreamin'

I love my family more than I can describe, but there are some days--like today--when I entertain the fantasy of being single again. No whiny, irritable, strep-throat-infested husband, no little girl with a sore thigh from her flu shot who doesn't want to go to sleep, no mountains of dishes or dirty floors or piles of laundry.

Just me.

And then, something happens that makes me smile and makes the daily grind a little bit easier to bear...I hear my little girl, still crabby and not sleeping, shrieking at her daddy to "GO AWAY! I WANT MY MOMMY!"

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pumpkin Hunting


We made the long trek this afternoon out to Dollinger Family Farm to get our pumpkins for Halloween. It's silly to make the long drive, I know, but this place is fantastic. We wandered the pumpkin patch, walking through rows and rows of thousands of pumpkins, letting our little sweetie pick out the ones she wanted. We ended up with 5 large pumpkins, and 3 teeny little baby pumpkins. It seems kind of excessive, but the pumpkins are enormous (except for the itty bitty ones, of course), and the prices are so reasonable, that honestly, it's hard not to get carried away.

After that, we spent about an hour petting the goats, cow, pigs, the biggest sheep I've ever seen, as well as watching the honeybees in the gift shop. I now fully understand the term "busy as a bee." Those furry little buggers were working hard. We also rode the miniature steam engine and then, just for fun, let the munchkin get her face painted. I took this picture of my two sweeties to mark the occasion. We really wanted to go on the hayride, but they were completely sold out of the tickets for the rest of the day. Even though we missed out on the actual ride, we did get to hang out with the massive Clydesdale horses. Those things are HUGE. And I got my hands on a much-coveted jar of apple butter.

After all that, we came home to a fabulous dinner of chicken and vegetables. And I opened that jar of apple butter and had a big spoonful of it with some animal crackers. YUM!

It was a beautiful day and a good time was had by all.

Formatting Woes

I was smack in the middle of changing the template and formatting on my blog when my computer overheated and shut down. *Sigh* And things were going so well. I'm now in the process of updating my link list with all my favorite blogs. I think I'm still missing a few, but hopefully, folks will e-mail me and ask why the link to their blog is missing. If you let me know, I'll replace it. I can't seem to find the Mundane Kate B. It disappeared from my list, and I can't remember the web address. Argghhhh. Ah well. My NavBar also disappeared. That just bugs me because I lost the ability to sign in, search and click that fun "Next Blog" button. Maybe I can figure out how to get that back. If not, oh well. At least I like the template! It would have sucked if I had done all that work, had the computer shut down and then ended up hating the results.

More nonsense later...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Film and Mental Illness

I am posting a copy of an e-mail I received regarding a movie that has recently been released based upon a true story of the life of a boy growing up with a mother who had Schizophrenia. It details the experience that the family goes through as they struggle to help the mother receive help for her syptoms, stigma that the boy faced in school, and how they worked to overcome the damaging effects of this illness on the family.

In order for the movie to be released to other movie theatres, it has to have a large showing since it does not have the money to back it up.



Dear Richard,

I hope this finds you well. I believe Dona De Sanctis in DC has already written you. I am a proud Italian-American and the writer & director of the film "Canvas" -- an independent film that stars Joe Pantoliano and Marcia Gay Harden. In addition to the Sons of Italy endorsement, "Canvas" has received awards & endorsements from MHA (Mental Health America), NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), and the endorsement of several well known doctors, including Dr. Ken Duckworth, Dr. Paul Summergrad of TUFTS University just to name a few. "Canvas" has also received numerous awards at film festivals and rave reviews in Variety and most recently by Peter Travers of Rolling Stone Magazine. "Canvas" is a film inspired by my own childhood growing up with a mentally ill parent, and the movie is a wonderful opportunity to combat stigma and education -- a real advocacy tool if promoted properly. It is also a film about unconditional love and a positive portrayal of an Italian-American family.

Unfortunately, even though the film has won awards at film festivals, it is a small movie with a tiny advertising budget. As a result, we are relying on the goodwill of fellow Italian Americans such as yourself to spread the word. If the film does well on opening weekend, it will stay in the theaters and spread to cities across the country. Would you be so kind as to encourage your lodges in Chicago to come see the film on opening weekend? Perhaps one of your colleagues can send an email blast out to your membership about the film? We can also send you posters to put up at the lodges. Below is a link to the film's website where you can watch the trailer and read about the film in more detail. I truly hope you can help us spread the word. Anything you can do would be most appreciated. Thank you for your valuable time. ps: below is the theater and date where "Canvas" will be playing. Best, Joseph Greco


http://www.canvasthefilm.com/


CANVAS in Chicago October 12th


AMC Loews 600 North Michigan 9
600 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 255-9347

Monday, October 08, 2007

Time for a Change

To the wonderful readers who stop by to peek at my blog, please bear with me the next few days...I'm trying out some new templates and whatnot. I'm just feeling like it's time to jazz things up a bit. Now, with my luck, I'm going to play around with the format and then go back to exactly what I had originally!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Christmas in October

I was at Target today, getting a few odds and ends for Halloween, when, lo and behold! I ran into Christmas decorations! Are you kidding? Christmas decorations in October? There I was, pushing my card with the fake spiderwebs and 3-foot stuffed spider for my front porch, when all of a sudden, my eyeballs began melting from the sudden onslaught of blinking Christmas lights. I mean, hello? It's only October!

Of course, the months don't mean much here the Midwest. It was so hot out yesterday and today. Record breaking heat. It's October and the temperatures are in the 90s. It's crazy, I say. Crazy. There's something wrong, wrong, wrong with having to put the air conditioner on in October. I felt so bad for everyone running the Chicago Marathon today. It had to have been like running in a tropical jungle. And I got sunburn yesterday while doing some fall planting in my garden. Sunburn in October? Christmas decorations in October? What is the world coming to?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wedding Bells

I've been wanting to post this video from Big and Rich for a while, but every time I try, I come up with an error message. So, even if you're not a country music fan, I hope you check it out. Anyway, the song is called "Lost in the Moment" and the video shows a series of clips from various weddings.

It makes me feel nostalgic. Makes me think about my own wedding day. But that's a story for another time. Maybe someday I'll tell everyone about how Shawn didn't look at me when I walked down the aisle...

Anyway, I went to a wedding on Saturday with Shawn and our little munchkin. I felt so honored to be a part of it all. See, the groom, Jason, was my very first "boyfriend." From kindergarten through fifth grade, we were an "item." Or, at least as much as kids can be items at that age. I remember him blowing kisses to me in first grade during lunch. He was the first boy to give me flowers--tulips, to be exact, for my tenth birthday. He was also the first boy to give me a piece of jewelry--a small silver rose on a thin silver chain, also for my tenth birthday. He gave me two books, too. I remember feeling kind of overwhelmed by it all.


Time passed, as it does, and as fifth graders, he decided he liked one of my friends. Bummer. We still hung out and talked at school, shared all the same classes until the day in sixth grade when his family moved. My family moved a year later. We lost touch for a brief time, finally re-connecting when we were in high school and staying in semi-regular contact through college. He came to my wedding six years ago, but I hadn't seen him since then. There were a few letters, holiday cards, and so on over the years. Then, this past spring, he wrote to say he was getting married and to save the date for his wedding. Of course, I did.


It was so nice to see him again this past weekend. His wife is beautiful and while I don't really know her at all, she seems like a genuinely nice person, and the two of them are obviously a wonderful match for each other. It's funny seeing people get married now when I've been married for six years. There's a part of me that wants to stand up and yell, "Don't do it! Turn back while you can! You don't know what things will be like three or four years down the road!" I said this to Shawn, and he gave a thoughtful reply..."I get it, but who knows what it'll be like three or four years after those three or four years." I grudgingly admit, he makes a good point. I've got a way to go before my faith in the institution of marriage is completely renewed. My issues, I know. *Sigh*

So, after the bride and groom set the dance floor on fire, Jason told me that they're heading off for a fairy-tale honeymoon in France. I told him that I'm appropriately jealous. I've never gotten to travel. Shawn is kind of a homebody, and that's okay. Shawn doesn't like to dance, either, which is harder. I haven't done any "real" dancing in over eight years, and that's something that I sorely miss. While contemplating my adorable daughter's face as she and I shared a slice of wedding cake later in the evening, I realized that I'm not really jealous. There's a tiny ping of envy, but the truth is, I don't wish for what Jason and Erin have. I just admire it.

I know the people in my life are valuable. Maybe I'll never glide across a ballroom floor or do any crazy swing dancing again. I'll probably never make my way overseas to experience the wonder of another culture. I might get wistful thinking about it, but the truth is, I've got a beautiful child who thinks I'm the best dancer in the world (you should check out my mad moves when I get down to The Wiggles singing about how we should shake our sillies out) and who thinks that going to the store with mommy is practically like visiting the wonders of the world.

It is, all in all, a beautiful life.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Food For Thought

I didn't put up my Menu Plan on Monday, but I did have one in the works. Here's what's cookin' this week:

Monday~Egg salad, strawberry-banana smoothies (This was a last-minute, throw-together meal since I thought my bladder infection was killing me and I could hardly move off the sofa)

Tuesday~Slow cooker chicken, roasted potato wedges, green beans, homemade blueberry pie (This meal turned out FABULOUS!)

Wednesday~Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with sweet peppers and mango (Easy for the hubby to make since I'm teaching until 9pm and he's on his own with our munchkin)

Thursday~Slow cooker turkey-veggie chili, garlic bread (Have I told you how much I love my Crock Pot?)

Friday~Pork chops, brown rice, baked apples

Monday, September 24, 2007

Moaning Me

I am grumpy.

Why? Over the spring/summer, I had a kidney infection that lasted over 2 months. I just finished antibiotics at the end of July and thought I was free and clear. Last Thursday, I started getting that "yucky" feeling again. I didn't know it was humanly possible to pee lava. Even though I've been on antibiotics since Thursday. Gross? Yes. True? You bet. I feel like I need to carry around a fire extinguisher in my back pocket. Or, well, it would probably serve me better if I kept it in my front pocket. Hahahaha. Not.

Ah well. I think I'm going to gobble some Advil and go to bed early tonight.

G'night.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dancing with the Stars

No, not the TV show.

Different kind of dancing. Different kind of stars.

Late at night, when the world is silent and I’m alone with my thoughts, I find my mind drifting…

Insomnia has been an unwelcome visitor this summer. There was a time when the summer storms were rolling through the Midwest, I sat on my bedroom floor, gazing out the window at the velvety black sky. Nighttime was made even darker by the ominous clouds. There was something achingly familiar about that darkness. No moon. No stars. Just an occasional flash of lightning, blazing across the sky, like the mighty sword of some demigod, slicing the heavens and earth open and momentarily transforming the raindrops into diamonds. The thunder would rumble, waves of sound shaking the earth, vibrating the floor where I sat.

In those hours, I would linger a while longer, a lone silhouette, watching the sky open and Mother Nature unleash her fury. I never grew tired of the fascinating display. I remember one night, over the steady sound of rainfall, I heard a clock ticking. Three thirty-four in the morning. My husband was sprawled across the bed, lost in slumber. A quick check on my daughter revealed that she was peacefully asleep, clutching her favorite pink bear. Her small round face reflected an innocence that was not of this world, a smile playing on the corners of her mouth, her hair slightly damp and curling in the humid night air.

I went back to my post at the window, watching the storms. I wondered what it would be like to ride on the rainclouds, to dance among the stars that I couldn't see, but I knew were hiding behind the clouds. Would it be like riding on the wispy, curled tails of dreams…dreams that have an odd, almost lifelike quality to them? Would I tumble into a deep abyss, a warm oblivion, through a misty fog, before lightly floating down and softly landing in an un-world?

In the distance, I hear another sound. Not thunder this time. Drums. A solid, steady rhythm. A heartbeat. A pulse. The pulse of the un-world that I landed in, pumping lifeblood into my dreams.

I had one of those moments where I realized I was asleep and dreaming, yet feeling completely awake and aware.

There were woodland fairies, flitting between flowers, tiny beams of ethereal light hovering and darting…the soft whinny of a horse, tethered somewhere nearby…a baby cooing in the still night air…and a man…a much older man with a benign smile on his face, wisdom in his deep-set eyes…a large pool of water that was so still, it reflected everything around and above it…and the drumbeat.

In that hazy place between being asleep and awake, I realized the drumbeat was, in fact, a heartbeat. My own heartbeat. In that moment of realization, there was a sense of falling, then silence.

I was still sitting in front of the window, my forehead pressed against the glass. The first beams of pale sunshine were beginning to break through the rainclouds, the last of the stars fading into the morning sky. The same rainclouds I had just been riding, the same stars that had just been hiding.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fun Monday

Mondays really aren't that much fun. I dragged myself into work this morning and walked into a pile 'o stuff that needs to get done before lunch. (It needs to get done before lunch, but I'm blogging. Hmmmm. Don't worry, I'm on my break!) I didn't plan my dinner menu for the week, which means things are getting off to a bumpy start. I think tonight will be fried chicken, but beyond that, I'm not sure yet. Maybe I'll get to the rest later.

But just in case you need a little chuckle this morning, I have something to share. While sorting through the "pile 'o stuff", I was doing some organizing, which is always a good thing. Except for the fact that I stapled the sleeve of my sweater to random stacks of papers. Notice I wrote "stacks." Yes, I actually stapled myself to my work more than once this morning. I finally rolled up my sleeves. It looks a little dorky, but at least my sleeves are out of harm's way.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm Baaaaack!

I have been a busy little chickadee this past week. I haven't posted since Sunday!

Let's see...Monday, I had a chaotic day at work. Our agency had an unannounced survey from the state. Not my division, thankfully. But even when it does happen, I think I'll feel pretty confident. I run a pretty tight ship. Tuesday and Wednesday were my lo-o-o-ng days. I didn't get home until 9pm both nights--all because I'm working toward a career change and I teach two graduate classes after my regular workday. Ugh. Thursday was a good day, although my allergies went haywire and my nose and eyelids were about twice their normal size. Friday I worked from home, which was nice. I'm able to get a full day of work done in about a half-day because I have no other-work-stuff distractions. And my munchkin and I had a blast in the afternoon. We baked angel food cupcakes and frosted them. Well, she pretended to frost. Mostly, she licked the spatula. Then we spent an hour reading a variety of books and another hour after that dancing to her favorite CD--Sticky Bubble Gum. This morning, I went and got my allergy shots (never a good time), then spent the afternoon organizing my closet. While doing that, I found some letters I wrote to my daughter while I was still pregnant--we didn't know it was a girl, so they all started out "Dear Baby". Awwww. Sniff, sniff. She's certainly not a baby anymore.

Anyway, the evening is winding down. My husband just snuck out and got us milkshakes. Yummy. Milkshakes are not on my doctor-approved list of foods for controlling my insulin levels, so I'll just have to be extra-good tomorrow.

I don't know about anyone else, but it got down in the 40s last night here. I will never understand weather in the midwest. We had our air conditioner on a week ago because it was in the upper 90s. Sheesh. But I love the cooler weather. Gives me a good reason to snuggle under a bunch of warm blankets with a good book.

After I catch up on everyone else's blogs, of course!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bony Fingers

You know that old saying about "working your fingers to the bone"? I think that's me.

Hot tamale, I was busy this weekend. My sweet little girl was miserable beyond belief from Thursday morning until about midnight last night when her fever finally broke. Today, she was running around like a...a...like I don't even know what. But it was so good to see her smiling and happy, for some pinkish color to be back in her little round cheeks.

Yesterday was long because my husband was working and my little one was sick. Today, with my sweetie feeling better and the hubby finally (blessedly) having a day off, I cleaned like a mad woman--like Martha Stewart, Merry Maids and the Tasmanian Devil all rolled into one. Did you see the movie There's Something About Mary? There's a crazy scene where Magda ingests *something* and is going crazy cleaning, lifting her couch and all other goofy stuff. Um, yeah. That was me. Minus the *something* of course.

I did six loads of laundry (the seventh is in the washer right now). It's amazing how fast laundry piles up when there's a sick kid in the house. It wasn't anything gross. Normal clothes and towels, which I usually do at least every other day, but I got behind with the whole up-at-2am-soothing-a-crying-toddler-until-7am thing. Anyway, her fever was so bad that she was sweating and just soaking through her sheets. Plus I had the regular loads of sheets to wash. Eeek. I also decided to clean up our bedroom. That took about 4 hours. It was just bad because our bedroom tends to come last and gets put off because my husband and I are the only people who see it. Then I cleaned out my closet. And the linen closets. After that, it was time to clean up the bathrooms. And the kitchen. And the living room. Thank goodness the dining room was already in pretty good shape. All I have left tonight is to fold the load of stuff in the dryer, transfer the stuff in the washer to the dryer (which, since it's only some blankets, can sit in the dryer over night--I hardly ever do that, though), and sweep the kitchen floor.

I will then take a super-long shower and collapse in a heap on the bed in my now very clean bedroom. I'm skipping my workout tonight, but getting up a little early tomorrow to squeeze it in. It's only Sunday night, but I already feel like it should be Friday.

Oh man, I just realized I didn't plan my dinners for the week. No Menu Plan Monday this week. I'll be flying by the seat of my pants this time around.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Long Days/Daze

I think being human is hard. I think being a woman is even harder. As a woman, I'm probably biased. I think of the women I know...single moms, married moms, non-moms (yet), non-moms (forever), full-time employees, full-time other stuff. And I think we're all full-time jugglers. Juggling our schedules, others' schedules, so on and so on.

I feel like I'm always trying to perfect this dance that I do on a daily basis. Little things build up (like today) and I'm spinning in circles, dazed, trying to be everything to everyone while still trying to be me, and I'm just...tired.

My poor little girl has, in the past 12 hours, come down with some kind of virus. Her tummy is not so good tonight, her cute li'l nose has turned into a faucet, and her body is just burning up with a fever. She's sleeping peacefully now, thank goodness. I curled up with her, keeping her warm--her little body is hot to the touch, but covered in goosebumps, poor kiddo--until she drifted off. And I said a prayer that she'll be feeling better tomorrow.

My husband had a very late night at work and is about ready to fall over from exhaustion. And I'm thinking about the bathrooms that need to be cleaned. I'm also thinking they can wait until tomorrow. Right now, a long hot shower and my soft bed are way more appealing.

Hopefully, the weekend will be relaxed and easy.

Hey, before I forget...can you believe that Autumn is almost here? It was in the 80s today, but as I was driving home earlier tonight, I noticed the number of yellow leaves drifting down off the trees...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Menu Plan Monday


I was so busy blogging about our zoo trip (see below for a cute pic) that I forgot to tell everyone what I'm cooking up this week!
Monday (Today)~Popcorn chicken, steamed mixed veggies, macaroni and cheese, baked apples (it'll be a miracle if anyone can actually move from the table after this meal)
Tuesday~Grilled cheese, mixed fruit (nothing fancy--I've got a late night for work)
Wednesday~Slow cooker turkey breast; green beans; nutted rice
Thursday~Spincach stuffed pork, seasoned whole grain pasta
Friday~Veggie-filled meatloaf, mashed potatoes
Weekend~not sure yet, but something spicy might be in the works

Zippity Zoo

We had a blast at the zoo this past weekend. Living in Illinois, we have access to all kinds of neat attractions--including the Brookfield Zoo! It was a lot of fun to just hang out, enjoy the phenomenal summer weather (not too hot, nice breeze), and look at everything through the eyes of a two year old. Her favorites include the giraffes (which were close enough to touch), the elephants (who were acting goofy and bumping into each other) and the apes (where she was dumbfounded by a large primate playing with its feet--she thought it was doing Little Piggies on its toes).


The most exciting part for all of us was the Stingray Bay exhibit. Now, stingrays have gotten a less than stellar reputation since the tragic and untimely death of Steve Irwin but they are truly amazing and from what we saw, very docile. And in this case, the poisonous barbs are trimmed off to avoid potential injuries for the visitors. For the low price of a dollar, we got to go into the tank area and put our hands in the water, and actually touch the stingrays as they swam around. We didn't even really have to reach out. The swam right up to us and brushed against our hands.


We went to the Safari Grill for lunch and had our first experience with Dippin' Dots, too. All in all, it was a peaceful day. And for your viewing pleasure...



I am one lucky lady!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Major Labor Day

Well, I certainly put the "Labor" into this Labor Day weekend. As planned, I spent most of the day outside doing yardwork. I'm completely exhausted, but I accomplished so much. I cut the grass (not usually my chore, but my poor hubby hurt his back and could barely move this morning, so I volunteered). After that, we went back to Home Depot to get more goodies for the front yard.

I planted five more shrubs and six flowering plants. I also planted 4 flowering plants that I'd had sitting in the garage. I'm sore, but in a good way, you know?

The only downfall today is that my husband's mother paid a visit. It wasn't her visit that messed things up. It was an unpleasant conversation that happened as a result. Before I could hit my personal "Edit button" or perhaps "Mute", I told her off. It was something that was a long time coming, and I think I shocked everyone when I told her she needed to quit speaking in the tone she was using in front of my daughter. I don't know who looked more shocked--her, my husband or me. It just finally came down to the fact that if I'm not going to let my own parents use that tone of voice in my home, I'm certainly not going to let anyone else get away with it.

The fallout was pretty mild, all things considered. Now, it's late, I'm tired--and itchy, no thanks to the dozen mosquito bites I got while digging in the dirt. Yowch!

Hopefully, I'll tell you tomorrow about our fun zoo visit!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Mental Health Day Part II

So, the day started out pretty well--check out my previous post from a few hours ago for proof--but it's quickly turning into something else.

My poor little girl has suddenly developed...shall we say...a turbulent tummy that is resulting in a busy bottom. About a half hour ago, after an, um, episode, she ran up to me with a pull-up and said, "No mommy. No more underwear. Pull-up. Please." I certainly understand she's upset. She was down to one accident a day, sometimes every other day, but in less than an hour, she'd had five rather messy accidents. And she's so sad about it. It's no big deal to me. Clean it up and move on. Stuff happens, right? But she's laying on the couch right next to me with some dry Cheerios and a cup of water, her big, soulful brown eyes leaking big ol' crocodile tears.

I just offered to put on a movie for her--a pretty rare treat since I typically don't let her watch much television. I'm going to cuddle with my little Baby Cakes and try to make her feel better.

Mental Health Day

In honor of the upcoming Labor Day holiday, I've decided to do no laboring at all. I took today off in an effort to restore some sort of balance and sanity to my life. Here's what I've done so far...

1. Woke up at 5:30am. Of course, the one day I actually can sleep in, I don't.

2. Laid in bed until 7am. Not sleeping, but at least resting.

3. Morning routine.

4. Went to the post office.

5. Stopped at Home Depot. By some sort of miracle, I left without buying anything. I am, however, planning on going back later to get the rest of the stone edging I need for my front yard.

6. Stopped at Wal-Mart. Didn't buy anything there, either.

7. Planned on going to IKEA, but I was feeling too lazy to make the drive. Plus, my husband has the tollway pass in his car and I didn't feel like digging for change in my car.

8. Went to Target instead and bought a 25-pair shoe holder. Yes, I own 25 pairs of shoes. More, actually. I am a shoe "ho". I love shoes. The good thing is that I wear all of them. I'm not the kind of person to waste money on shoes and then not wear them.

9. Came home for a while and started this post. Then had to stop because...

10. I went for a haircut. I adore my stylist. She does a great job, every single time. And while I waited for the miracle cure on my hair to work, I read a really trashy celebrity gossip magazine.

Then I came home and finished this post. Even if it's short-lived, I feel like a new woman. My poor little brain has been working overtime and I'm pretty sure I was on the verge of short-circuiting. Today helped. I don't know what I'm doing the rest of the weekend. We were supposed to have a garage sale tomorrow, but my husband "forgot" to get the permit. Arghhh. I think I'm just going to take all the baby clothes to a consignment shop. Tomorrow, I think we're going to the zoo with one of his co-workers and her boyfriend. I've got mixed feelings about that. Long story, one for another time. Sunday, I plan on working outside as much as possible. Autumn is fast approaching, and I'm determined to the rest of the necessary landscaping so that next growing season, our yard looks put together. In between all of that, I'm just going to zone out, live in the moment, and...and...I don't know what, yet. But I'm sure I'll figure it out!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

I can't get the cute l'il picture up this week, but I'm posting my menu anyway!

Monday~Grilled cheese, roasted potatoes, zucchini

Tuesday~Roasted chicken with steamed peppers and whole grain pasta

Wednesday~Breakfast for Dinner

Thursday~Spaghetti with mushroom sauce and garlic toast

Friday~Pork chops, asparagus, rice, baked apples

Weekend~No plans yet; depends on if we're having our garage sale

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Age of Innocence

There is something truly charming about watching a little two-year-old bounce through life. The pure joy on her face when she's happy, the sweet innocence in her eyes when she does something wrong and doesn't realize it. Makes me feel good.

And then I get a little annoyed. But not with her.

I just can't remember ever feeling as happy as she looks. I'm sure I have been that happy, I just don't have any recollection of it. Well, there was the day when I had her, so that counts, but other than that, I can't remember. Some people ask me, "What about your wedding day?"

I thought about that. It's not that I was unhappy. Not even close. I just felt...confident. I wasn't one of those brides that walked down the aisle all weepy-eyed with butterflies in the stomach. When the church doors opened and I saw my husband-to-be standing there, I just remember thinking, "This is it. The path to the rest of my life is starting with my first step down this aisle. I'm marrying the man that I'm going to devote myself to, the man who I know is going to do his best to be a good husband and an amazing father. He's going to do his best to provide for his family and walk side-by-side with me." And I felt good and comfortable in the knowledge that I was making a solid choice by choosing him to be my husband.

That's not to say our marriage has been perfect. Two years ago, I wasn't sure we were going to make it. But we did, and we have this amazing child who makes me feel glad to be alive. And I feel glad because I see that beautiful innocence in her eyes. She's as perfect in my eyes as I'm sure I am in hers.

And it feels good to be perfect in someone's eyes.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Good Fortune

I saw this on Cheryl's blog and just had to try it.


I got this one first...

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Your true value depends entirely on what you are compared with. Start small.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune


Didn't like it.



So, I tried again...

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Do not take a corkscrew inside a bouncy castle.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune


Still not thrilled.



Went for it one more time. Third time's a charm, right?

My Fortune Cookie told me:
You will stop at nothing to reach your objective, but only because your brakes are defective.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune


Strangely accurate.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Back to My Goofy Self

First, I have to send out a sincere thanks to those of you who left comments on my last post. Last week was difficult, to say the least, but I'm feeling much better. It took some time to process what I was feeling, which is never easy. I attended the funeral of the client who died, and while all funerals are hard, this one left me feeling shredded inside.

It was a military funeral.

I'm pretty stoic. Or, at least I like to pretend that I am. But anyway, I don't think it's possible for someone not to cry at the sound of twenty-one guns and the wail of "Taps" while watching a flag being gingerly and respectfully removed from a casket, then being folded into a perfect triangle. I held it together pretty well until all of that. And then, something inside of me just came undone. It was like every feeling and emotion I've ever had, both good and bad, came rushing up to the surface.

As I stood there, watching this man's grieving family struggle to say good-bye to someone they loved so much, I was struck with a thought that made me cry even harder.

Someday, I'm going to stand in that same Veteran's Cemetery and have to say good-bye to my father.

My dad is a veteran. He served his country proudly and I know the day will come when he will be called Home. I had this conversation with a co-worker, whose father is also a veteran, and she said she thought the same thing. We had a long discussion about it. In the end, it reinforced my belief that death is a natural and expected outcome of life. Sometimes it comes long before we believe it should, but it is what it is. I know my time here is limited. It's a shame that it takes these kind of reminders for people to appreciate their lives and remember that all moments, even the bad ones, are gifts. I certainly fall into that category sometimes, and I have to tell you that for the past few days, I've absolutely smothered my daughter with hugs and kisses. Not that I don't do that already--it's just been more intense lately. Poor kid's face is constantly wet from me kissing it.

On a lighter note, which does have to do somewhat with all of this, I got to thinking about something. I know, I know. I shouldn't let my mind wander. Anyway, it's related to the the passing of time. I had a funny thought this morning. In the past eleven months, my daughter has learned how to walk, run, skip, jump, hop, speak in full sentences, use the toilet and other things too numerous to count. It's amazing watching her grow and change.

Now, I have to think...what have I done in the past eleven months? Ummmmmm...uh...that is...HEY! What have I done? I mean, I do all my daily stuff. You know, the expected stuff that grown ups are supposed to be doing. But I haven't done anything extraordinary. And I want to live an extraordinary life! I better get busy. Starting now.

I'm going to go make an extraordinary dinner. According to my menu plan, it's Mexican night!

One last goofy thought...normally, doesn't the prefix "extra" at the beginning of something mean, well, "extra"? Like if someone wears an x-small or x-large. It means smaller than small and larger than large. Right? It makes me think that extraordinary should mean More Ordinary Than Ordinary. But my life is far from ordinary. Ha! Crazy English language. No wonder my foreign clients prefer their native tongues. I remember having to explain the phrase, "I'm beside myself" to a young man whose native language was German. Funny, funny, let me tell you.

Yeah. I'm definitely back to my old self...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Crying Eyes

I made a choice to work in social services. The only regret I have, if it can be called a regret, is that I still don't know how not to lose a part of myself when someone I have worked with dies. I think many times about how I had longed to go to medical school, to be a cardiologist, but found myself to be far more interested in the psychological foibles of the human race. Plus, I knew that if I went into medicine, there would be days that I could not avoid human misery...there would be days when no matter how hard I tried, even if I did the very best that I could, lives would be lost. I wasn't sure of my ability to handle it. So I decided to go into social services. Human misery on a different scale, I suppose.

Today, I decided that working in medicine would have been easier, as there's the expectation that life is not forever. It comes to an end. But when someone you've seen day in and day out for seven years...someone who fought a hard fight to get on the road to recovery...someone who only a few days ago was smiling and happy...suddenly becomes physically ill and loses that fight in less than forty-eight hours...it seems so rotten, stinking unfair.

I want to behave like my two-year-old daughter, just for a little while. I want to cry and stomp my feet and throw things, because maybe, just maybe, I can get a different outcome.

But I know there is no other outcome. So I guess all I can do is cry.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Night Prep for Menu Plan Monday



It's that time again...Sunday night and getting the menu together for the week!

Monday~Sloppy Joe's, homemade fries

Tuesday~Tater tot casserole, zucchini

Wednesday~Slow Cooker chicken, broccoli, brown rice

Thursday~Mini meatloaves (made with ground turkey and veggies), steamed asparagus

Friday~Sour cream chicken quiche

Saturday~We're going on a date and I'm not cooking!

Sunday~Mexican steak and bean bake with sliced avocados
Hosted by Org Junkie

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Secret of Life

Words of wisdom, courtesy of yours truly...

The Secret of Life

1. Say what you mean.
2. Mean what you say.
3. Do what you say you're going to do, when you say you're going to do it.
4. If possible, do it a little bit sooner.
5. Keep the promises that you make. No matter how "small" a promise is, it's a big deal to someone.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

I was tagged by Jamie for the Middle Name Meme!

Here are the rules:

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.
2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.
3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog post containing your own middle name game facts.
4. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

The Middle Name Meme

Serious: Lighten up! Replace "Serious" with "Silliness"
Underrated: I wish I got more credit for the good things I do
Zany: I am a little zany
Annoyed: I've been testy lately no thanks to work stress
Nerdy: I don't mind being a little nerdy. It just means I'm smart!
Nervous: About possibly embarking on a new career
Enlightened: Not quite, but I'm working on it

I'm working on my list of 7 people to tag...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Menu Plan Monday


This is the first time I'm doing Menu Plan Monday--even though it's Sunday night right now. Many thanks to Org Junkie!

Monday~Slow Cooker turkey breast, steamed potatoes, carrots

Tuesday~Spaghetti with chunky vegetable tomato sauce, mixed salad greens

Wednesday~Italian Marinated chicken breast, brown rice, green beans

Thursday~Whole wheat pasta tossed with green peppers, broccoli and ground turkey

Friday~Breakfast for Dinner (omelettes with diced veggies, turkey sausage)

Saturday~No plans yet...hopefully we'll be going out to celebrate our wedding anniversary!

Sunday~Hail Mary, It's Almost Monday Pizza

Friday, August 03, 2007

Going Slow

I'm learning in life that things take time. Many, many, many things. Like healing from a major hurt.

I had the craziest experience last night. I finally had the opportunity to set the record straight with two people who really, really hurt me. It wasn't so much that I told them off. It wasn't like that at all. There was no screaming, no swearing, no accusations or finger-pointing. I just spoke freely, totally cleared the air about the lies that were told--not only the lies they told me, but the lies they told to each other about me.

I felt angry, but I was surprised by how calm and confident my voice was, how I was able to be so matter-of-fact about all of it. I really think I got it all out. At the end of it, I realized there was nothing more to say and I said good-bye and walked away.

They were both dumbfounded. Stunned into silence, I suppose, by the fact that after all this time, I still had so much to say about what happened. But I felt light, totally released from the burden I'd been allowing myself to carry.

And then something crazier happened.

I woke up.

It was a dream. Only a dream. Everything inside of me sank. It was, in actuality, a terrible, terrible dream that stirred up feelings I had convinced myself were long gone. I know they were never gone. I had just pushed them down so far, I was really able to trick myself into believing they were gone, or at the very least, that they had faded and no longer mattered. I convinced myself that I had moved on, because not being honest about my feelings is easier than having to acknowledge that I was hurt so badly. It's almost like if I admit that I was hurt--that even with the passing of time, it still hurts--then they win. They bested me.

It's not rational, I know.

I keep telling myself that it's just this time of year. A different kind of anniversary, I guess, one that evokes feelings of sadness and defeat, insecurity, makes my head hurt and my heart ache. A bad anniversary that coincides with what's supposed to be a good anniversary. They're separate, yet indelibly intertwined. I really thought that this year, I'd be able to look at the present and the future without getting tripped up by the past. And yet, the past is so very much a part of my present. I really don't think I'm stuck in the past, but I do think the past has affected me more than I would ever let on to anyone, ever.

Until now.

So, there you have it. I'm haunted by a past that I can't change, can't outrun, but still not quite able to figure out how to get past it.

And it hurts. So much.