Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

I want to send a very public shout-out to a few people tonight.

In a freak accident, where thank God nobody was hurt, my daughter and I ended up in a snow and ice-filled ditch, both front tires of my car firmly entrenched in pure white hell. With my daughter firmly strapped in her car seat, I got out of my car and was knee-deep in snow, trying to dig out my tires with my snow brush. Police were rushing all over, doing what they could for the other dozen or so cars that were involved, but I wasn't a priority since nobody was hurt and my car hadn't completely flipped over. Twenty seven cars drove by me--several paused long enough to see my daughter sobbing in the backseat, only to proceed to drive right by me. My dad, who I had called from my cell phone to come and get my daughter, couldn't make it to me in his truck because the police had the road shut down right where he needed to get through. My tears were freezing in the frigid temperatures as I made a call to AAA, only to be told that it would be an hour wait for a tow truck. Car number twenty-eight pulled up next to me. It was a woman with a vehicle full of kids, and she called out, "Honey, what can I do to help you? Can I give you a lift? Sit with your daughter? Anything?" Twenty-seven cars before her didn't even stop to see if I was okay. Here she was, a complete stranger, offering her help. There wasn't anything she could do, but I so appreciated her offer. So, thank you, kind woman in the gray SUV.

As the tangle of cars gradually cleared, a kind police officer made his way back to me, blew some raspberries at my crying daughter and told me to hang in there. He promised to get someone over to help me...and he did.

A Good Samaritan in a Hummer came over and offered, along with the help of his friends and a few strangers who had finally noticed my plight, to get me out of the ditch and safely back on the road. The police officer and three other men positioned themselves at the hood of my car, while two other men latched my Saturn to the Hummer. On the count of three, that Hummer pulled while the men pushed and I got back on the road.

I shook each of their hands and got their names--I only remember Anthony, John and Demetrius. I forgot the names of the others, but I remember their faces. And the police officer wouldn't give me his name because he didn't believe that I owed him any thanks. All he wanted was for me to get safely home. And I did.

Thank you, so much, to every person who helped me and my daughter tonight. You stopped to help just because. There was nothing in it for you, and that gives me a good, warm feeling in my soul. After a long, bad day, it was nice to know that I'm right in continuing to have faith in the human race.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Well, it's been a busy few days here in Casa de la Craziness. We made a last-minute trip to Wisconsin on Saturday, then spent a good chunk of Sunday running around, doing errands. Work today was a lot busier than usual with back-to-back appointments and enough paperwork that I'm pretty sure I single-handedly annihilated a small forest. Boo to bureaucracy.

After all was said and done, I ran to the grocery store after work. I could have been the poster child for why people should NOT grocery shop when they're hungry. I ended up buying more than I needed. Fortunately, it wasn't junk food--I stocked up on things like yogurt, granola bars and whole grain crackers. And a strangely giant bunch of bananas. I'm really quite proud that I passed by the bakery without giving it a second glance, even though by that time I was hungry enough to start gnawing on my own arm.

So, now to my menu plan...

Today (Monday): I made a yummy casserole with diced ham, potatoes and sweet peppers. I was going to make a blueberry cobbler with it, but I got home late and I was too flippin' tired.

Tuesday: Pot roast, roasted potatoes, yellow squash, baked apples

Wednesday: Dinner is Daddy Duty. Who knows what'll be cookin' then!

Thursday: Italian chicken breasts, rice, green beans

Friday: Butternut squash, bean and cheese burritos

The weekend is up in the air. It may just be a free for all with leftovers. Right now, even though I ate dinner, my belly is yowling and screeching for more food. Bad stuff happens when I don't eat...ever see Gremlins? You can't feed them after midnight--but you better feed me straight up until midnight! Okay, I think I'm having hunger-induced-bad-sense-of-humor-tremors. Must. Eat. Chocolate.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Random Work Stuff

For a little laugh...there are some things that should be banned in office buildings.

1. Microwaving cauliflower in a non-ventilated lunch room. I would never offend anyone's olfactory sensitivity by doing something so cruel. So that goofy girl who DID...cut it out already! Eat the stuff raw!

2. Farting in the hallway. Especially after you've eaten the above-mentioned cauliflower. And most especially when I'm the one walking behind you! Your gas may have been silent, but the trail of stench led straight to you.

3. Shared bathroom space with visitors and clients. I fully believe in staff bathrooms...that way, when someone leaves something gross behind, you can narrow it down and administer a light beating to the culprit.

4. Intercoms. I swear, there are overhead pages on the intercome approximately every two minutes. It's distracting.

5. Flourescent lights. Being a migraine-sufferer, I despise fluorescent lights. Plus, it's the harshest, most un-kind light. Step in front of a mirror and it's like every bump, blemish and wrinkle you've ever had in your whole entire life is magnified.

6. Work. Work should be banned in office buildings. But I should still get a paycheck.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Feelin' Fine!

Well, after a rather miserable morning and afternoon yesterday, things finally settled down here. Once I got into the kitchen and started getting things ready for dinner, I really started to feel better. I love puttering around in the kitchen.

I made lasagna last night. I took the easy way out and used a jar of mushroom/greenpepper tomato sauce, but I added my own seasonings and threw in some butternut squash, too. The squash thickens the sauce and tastes phenomenal. Instead of adding meat to the sauce, I mixed some frozen spinach with about a cup of ricotta and added that in as a layer, along with a few sprinkles of mozzarella. Of course, the base was whole-grain lasagna noodles. Doesn't that sound terribly healthy? It's no wonder my daughter is such a big girl. She'll be three this spring and is inches taller and pounds heavier than her little friends.

Anyway, after dinner, I actually (finally!) got about an hour to myself to start working on the quilt I've been so anxious to start. I got a bunch of squares cut--only making a few mistakes along the way--and started working out a pattern. Now, the "pattern" is really a matter of personal opinion. When I went to the fabric store last month, I just bought a bunch of stuff that was on sale or on clearance. I thought I didn't want to spend too much in case this whole quilting thing was a bust. So, it's a lot of random patterns in varying sizes, but here's what I've got so far...

I need to cut some more squares and then start pinning everything before I can even think about sewing it all together and adding the batting, backing and trim. This is a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I Love My Honey But He's on My Last Nerve!

Isn't Sunday supposed to be a day of rest?

I got up this morning and went to church, which was nice. I go to 8:30 mass, and it's relatively empty. This morning was a little more hectic than usual, just because the Youth Ministry was putting on their very first Pancake Breakfast. It smelled good, but I'd eaten before church, so I didn't stop in.

Then I went grocery shopping after church. Normally, the Super Wal-Mart is flooded with post-church shoppers, but not today. Maybe because of the pancake breakfast? Or the fact that two feet of snow has melted and now it's raining, so the streets are flooded? Tough call. Anyway, I got a cart full of disgustingly healthy food and came home.

That was when everything started going wrong.

I was carrying a bag of groceries from the back of my car when I tripped on my husband's shoes, which were right outside the door that leads to the laundry room. In a feeble attempt to catch myself, I grabbed at my daughter's ride-on fire truck to try and steady myself.

Bad idea.

See, my darling "forgot" to put out the recycling bin on Friday, and it was precariously full, sitting on top of the fire truck. Down went the bin and everything in it. As I attempted to dodge the tumbling mixed-recyclables, I completely lost my balance, falling backward onto my rear end (thank goodness there's a lot of cushioning back there) and hitting my head on the back of my car. I was dazed for a second, but then I was pissed off. Not just about that fact that I had taken a seriously nasty fall. Not just about the fact that I tripped on a stupid pair of shoes. Not just about the fact that I was covered in empty milk jugs, spaghetti jars and soda cans. I was pissed off that my husband didn't even bother to come and see if I was okay. I didn't ask why, but I'm sure if I did, he'd probably say, "I didn't hear you." (FYI: That phrase is among the phrases I hate the most--others include, "I forgot" and "I don't remember" or "Did I really say I was going to do...?")

I hoisted myself to my feet, carefully picked my way around the fallen items and once again reached for the door. Except there was an empty plastic bag on the first step going into the house. Mix that with the wet pair of running shoes I was wearing and what to do you get? One more nasty fall. I slipped and fell--sideways this time! I scraped my leg and back on the edge of the step. I let go with a string of expletives that would have done the proverbial drunken sailor proud.

Okay, take three.

So, I thought that instead of going into the house, I would pick up everything that fell on the garage floor and put it back in the bin. I gathered it all up and as I went to put the bin where it belongs, my foot got tangled in a string of Christmas lights (that *someone* was supposed to throw away over a month ago) and I went down for a third time.

This time, I was so mad that I picked up the recycling bin and threw it across the garage. By the time I got in the house, my little girl was standing on the other side of the door, her eyes wide and frightened. She looked at me and said, "Is mommy okay? You fall down?" Funny that she heard all of it and checked on me.

After getting all the groceries in, seething and in pain, I went upstairs to change my dirty, damaged clothes and to clean up the scrape on my leg. The scrape isn't that big of a deal--it sort of looks and feels like a bad rug burn--but my head is throbbing from the blow it took. As I'm attempting to get myself settled, it occurs to me that my darling is still in his pajamas, the bathrooms are still dirty, the floor hasn't been swept and the dishes he told me he'd take care of yesterday were still sitting in the sink.

In that moment, I'd had it. Had. It. HAD. IT. HAD! IT!

I did every crazy stereotypical thing a woman can do. I stomped around. I huffed and puffed. I shot dirty looks. And during all of it, I managed to unload and re-load the dishwasher, clean two bathrooms and mop the floors, put clean sheets on my daughter's bed and do two loads of laundry.

Now, my leg is throbbing. I have a headache. My daughter doesn't want to take a nap. It's raining. Hard. And I'm hungry, too. And I have to get things together for dinner soon, because I'm making lasagna tonight and it takes a while to put together. Plus I have to do my lesson plans, clean the downstairs powder room, dust, vacuum and mop downstairs--and in between or after all of that, I really want to start working on the quilt I have planned for my daughter. My husband promised I could have a few hours to myself today to do whatever I wanted. I think I just might get to start that "me-time" around 11:30pm.

Bah. More nonsense later...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Personal Bias and Ranting Ahead

I’m having a difficult morning.

I’m offering sort of a weak apology in advance if this post seems like a public-service message/commentary on everything wrong in the world. I’m saying a “weak apology” because this is going to be very one-sided. My-sided, obviously. If you don’t want to read a long editorial about violence, guns, parenthood and discipline, you should probably stop reading now. I’m hoisting myself up onto a giant soapbox today.

As many of you may have heard, about two weeks ago, there was a bizarre shooting at a Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park, Illinois. That’s less than hour from where I live. Five women were brutally gunned down by an apparent would-be robber who became enraged when he discovered one of the women had called 911. I didn’t personally know any of those women, but as it turns out, one of the women was a close friend of several people I work with. My heart went out to them as they tried to cope with their grief and the senselessness of it all.

Then last night, after a long and busy day at my full-time job, I was driving to the university where I teach when I heard my cell phone ringing. Now, keep in mind that I don’t answer my cell phone when I’m driving, because I’m not talented enough to fumble for a small phone and have a conversation while keeping my vehicle in its lane. But I had the strangest, eeriest feeling and felt like I needed to answer, so I did. It was my husband, telling me that there had been a shooting at Northern Illinois University. Once again, a major tragedy only about an hour from where I live. That’s not where I teach, thank goodness, but for a moment, I had an overwhelming sense of dread that dropped like a lead ball into the pit of my stomach. I have a friend who teaches at NIU and my first thought was, “I hope she’s okay.” Then I thought about the moments of terror that the people in that lecture hall had to endure. So far, there have been six deaths as a result of that shooting attack.

By the time I got home from class last night, I was a nervous wreck. Even though I’d found out that my friend was fine, my heart felt like it was going to take flight out of my chest and my mind was so loud with buzzing thoughts that I could barely hear anything else.

I spent a long time in bed last night, just staring at the ceiling, thinking about all kinds of things. I have strong feelings about guns and gun laws and the public’s right to protection—I won’t get into it here, because I know I’ll irritate somebody, so I’ll keep those opinions to myself.

But I got to thinking about something even more.

I got to thinking about my daughter. I worry about the world she’s going to grow up in. If nothing else, I can use these two random shootings as examples of what I worry about. I’ve spent most of my time as a mother (which admittedly, hasn’t been very long) protecting her as best as I can, but I know I can’t protect her forever. Someday, she’s going to go to school by herself or shop at a store alone. Just like those women in the store or those students in the lecture hall. I can’t protect my baby from everything. But I can sure as heck do my best.

My daughter is typically very well-behaved and a good listener—she rarely requires even a raised voice on the occasions when she’s misbehaving. If she’s really acting up, I tell her I’m going to nibble on her toes. She shapes up immediately when I say that. It’s funny, but it works. More often than not, I just have to give her a “mommy-look” and say, “Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.” She immediately covers her toes with her hands or hides them under a blanket and yells, “I’ll be a good listener!”

Now, for the record, I’ve never really nibbled on her toes. It actually consists of me kissing and tickling them. The kissing she thinks is funny, but she hates having her feet tickled. It’s very effective and not painful like hitting. My husband and I agreed early on that we didn’t want to hit our children. Some parents disagree, saying that spanking or an occasional smack/slap is perfectly fine, it teaches a lesson, it teaches respect, etc., etc., etc. I may keep my opinions on guns to myself, but I’m a little more vocal about hitting children. Part of that is born of personal experience, part of it is born of working with children who have been brutally abused at the hands of the people who were supposed to care for and love them the most, and part of it is that it’s really what I believe in my heart to be true. Don’t think that I’m some hippie-dippie woman who doesn’t believe in discipline. I do believe in discipline, very much actually. But I also believe that the line between abuse and discipline is very fine and very gray. I guess I just have different beliefs about what works.

Here’s what I know—if an adult is at work and gets irritated with a co-worker and slaps him/her across the face, it’s considered assault. In domestic violence cases where a man and woman are hitting each other, they both get arrested. If an adult were to pull another adult’s pants down and start smacking his/her bare bottom, it’s considered sexual assault. If an adult hits another adult with a belt, stick or anything else, there’s a good chance of being arrested for assault with a weapon. And yet, grown adults subject their children to this all the time.

For anyone wondering, yes, I was spanked as a child, but it never made me feel like I was learning anything. It made me angry and it hurt. I love my parents, but I still have some animosity toward them. My parents hit me (and my sisters, too) because they were angry. As far as I know, no parent has ever said or thought, “I’m going to spank you because I’m happy.” It’s “I’m going to spank you because I’m pissed off.” More often than not, it’s more along the lines of, “I’m going to hit you because you made me angry.” To me, that’s the epitome of not being accountable for one’s own actions. Hitting releases tension in the hitter, while hurting the person on the receiving end of it. In a heated moment, I don’t really believe that a parent (or anyone) can fully control the strength in their hands and honestly say, “I’m only going to hit a little bit and not too hard.” What’s supposed to be a slap in the face results in a broken jaw or nose. What’s supposed to be a slap on the hand results in a red mark that lasts hours or bruises. What’s supposed to be a smack on the butt results in the kid not being able to sit down.

I think parents hit their kids for crazy reasons. Siblings are fighting and hitting each other, so let’s diffuse the situation by hitting them some more? A child does something wrong, makes a mess, breaks something, whatever, so it gets resolved by hitting? How would that be any different from a husband slapping his wife across the face because she overcooked dinner? Or a wife kicking her husband because he knocked a glass of milk over? And I don’t know what’s worse—a parent who becomes angry in the heat of the moment and hauls off and smacks a kid, or a parent who takes time to think about it and then methodically carries out a physical punishment. That’s called premeditation. I believe that hitting has the potential to not only seriously injure a child, but also to break a child’s spirit. Think about a person who’s been hit repeatedly by a supposed loved one—maybe you don’t know anyone who has been abused, but if you do, you know that look I’m talking about. There’s a look in their eyes—sometimes it’s a slowly simmering rage lurking just below the surface, but more often than not, it’s a look of fear and helplessness. I never want my daughter to look at me like that.

When my daughter was born, I made a promise to myself to never, ever put my hands on her when I’m angry. It doesn’t matter if I’m angry at her or angry about something else. I believe that in this world, there are going to be enough people and events that are going to disappoint her and hurt her—probably physically and emotionally—and I don’t want to be part of that. I will support her when she is hurt and disappointed, but I don’t want her to be on the receiving end of pain coming from my hands.

And when I am angry—especially when I’m having feelings of anger toward her for misbehaving—I remind myself of something. I remind myself of the first few moments after I gave birth and saw her tiny face. I swore that I would protect her as best as I could. I swore that I would morph into a mother lion and take down anyone who ever laid a hand on her. I remember my heart stopping (literally) in the back of an ambulance and as I drifted in a state of unconsciousness, hearing the voices of the paramedics telling me that there was a 5-day-old baby girl in my husband’s arms outside the ambulance, and that she needed a mommy to love and care for her. I remember in the weeks after she and I were both safely at home, how tiny and innocent she was, totally dependent on me for everything. I remember the pure love and trust that shone in her eyes as she would gaze up at me while I was rocking or feeding her. I remember that I want her to always look at me that way.

Maybe having come so close to meeting my Maker puts a different spin on things. I know that my time here is limited. I remember that my child is a precious gift from God and He expects me to care for her and love her the same way He cares for and loves me. God may present me with trials and tribulations, but He has never reached down and slapped me across the face or intentionally inflicted physical harm on me. He is the Father of all fathers and I only hope that I can come close to being the kind of parent worthy of raising and caring for the tender soul that resides in my daughter. We’re all souls on loan from Heaven.

I’m getting off my soapbox now.

I know people do the best they can with the hands they’re dealt in life. I’ve had unique experiences that have shaped my thoughts and beliefs. And that’s all they are—the thoughts and beliefs of one woman. Everyone else has had unique experiences that have shaped who they are, too. The gunman in Lane Bryant. The women who were his victims. The gunman at NIU. The people he shot. The parents who hit their kids, the parents who don’t, people who abuse, people who don’t, people who’ve been victimized, people who haven’t been victimized. Everyone doing the best they can in this story called “Life.” Everyone doing the best they can…and me hoping that no matter what, they can always work to do better. I know I’m always working toward that.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

29 Hours

If days were 29 hours long instead of only 24, here's what I'd do...

I would get at least two extra hours of sleep each and every night, that's for sure.

I'd still only work an 8-hour day, so I'd have some extra free time to spend with my family.

I could read my daughter seven books before bed instead of the usual three or four.

I could actually work out for one full hour, instead of frantically squeezing in mini-workouts throughout the day. I'd much rather do all my sweating at once.

I'd have more time to devote to the things I love doing in my "spare" time. Namely cooking, baking, gardening and quilting.

I'd remember to say, "I love you" more often to the people who need to hear it.

I might even go to church twice a week instead of once a week.

I'd catch up on reading blogs.

I think I'd volunteer somewhere--maybe at an animal shelter.

I would sit down, close my eyes, and just be thankful for that moment.

Then again, maybe I can just manage my schedule and do all of that in the 24 hours I already have...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Water World

The basement is finally drying out. Even with the sump pump running, my poor husband manually removed about 240 gallons of water. That doesn't sound like much--except for for the fact that IT IS!

I was so completely stressed out this weekend that I've been having heart palpitations and feeling sick to my stomach. It's funny how I can cope with major crises every single day at work--and sometimes in my personal life, too--but a little water in the basement, and I just become unhinged.

There is a silver lining to all of this--the basement is almost clean. Tons of stuff thrown in the trash, other things organized and put in their proper places, so on and so on. I'd been hassling my hubby for a while because he said he'd take care of it ages ago, but now it's finally getting done. Not quite the way I wanted it to happen (obviously), but in the end, there's not much to do about it now!

My husband will also see it as a positive experience, in spite of his aching back, neck and shoulders. See, I told him I'd more seriously consider adopting a dog after he got the basement clean. Famous last words, eh?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Abstract Meaning of Water

I've been told that water symbolizes many things:

1. Life
2. Purity
3. Good luck
4. Healing power
5. Sustenance
6. A bunch more good things, all kinds of stuff from mythology, the Bible, etc.--too many to list here.

Fooey. To all of it.

Eight days after we moved into our house, we had a water leak that dumped gallons of H2O into the linen closet, hallway, kitchen, dining room and basement. Got that fixed lickety-split by the builder's men and had everything that was damaged completely replaced.

Last year, the motor on the sump pump burned up and we didn't discover it for 2 days--thus, gallons and gallons of water in the basement.

Today, we discovered part of the sump pump drain hose that's buried outside is frozen solid--thus, gallons and gallons of water in the basement again.

Normally, I don't hold grudges against the universe (or against anyone who innocently decides not to listen to my handy ideas when preparing to bury the sump pump hose). Today, I'm making an exception. Just for today, I'm going to be crabby and mad.

The good news is that Mr. Rooter came out to assess the situation (and didn't charge us anything, which was nice) and my husband took it from there. The sump pump is now working like mad and pumping gallons and gallons of water into my backyard. By tomorrow, there should be enough for an ice-skating rink. Too bad my skates were damaged by ALL THE FREAKING WATER IN THE BASEMENT!

I'm better now.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Crazy Weather

What's up with this weather? I know it's winter and snow is to be expected, but this is getting a bit ridiculous. There's a mountain of snow in the local Wal-Mart parking lot that I'm seriously considering skiing down. Of course, that would require me actually knowing how to ski.

I'm looking forward to Spring, but not only for the warmer temperatures. I'm really looking forward to it because I'm anxious to see how my spring garden is going to look. Over the past two years, I've planted about 300 bulbs--snow crocuses, tulips (6 different varieties), daffodils, hyacinth, and probably more that I'm forgetting about. That's okay, though. It'll add a nice surprise for me!

I'm especially excited about a new variety of tulips I planted last year. They're called "Sultans of Spring" and, if the garden company was telling the truth, I'm going to have 36-inch tall tulips in my front yard. They'll be acting as the backdrop for my 26-inch tall "Big Eartha" tulips. I can hardly wait. Last spring, a lady actually rang my doorbell and asked where I got my bulbs from because the flowers were so huge. I felt so good about that. I've got a few tulips that randomly pop up in my yard, thanks to the squirrels who occasionally dig in my garden and move the bulbs. That's always an interesting sight.

Once it's warm enough, I'm planning on putting in some shade hostas along the north side of my fence and tilling up the garden. I'm getting things ready for spring planting already. I also need to fill in the area around my front porch with some extra ground cover, transplant a few lilies down the sides of the driveway, get some containers started for the (surprise!) container garden I'm starting for the deck and...and...I don't know, but something to further beautify the landscape.

My name is Martha and I'm a gardening junkie.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Ghostly Encounters

Do you believe in ghosts? If you do, good. If you don't, please don't make fun of me for the following...

Every now and then, someone will ask me if I believe in ghosts. I do.

I believe.

Maybe that's a little bit of goofiness, but I do believe in ghosts, spirits, angels, all of the above, whatever you want to call them. My motto is, "I can't see you, but I know you're there."

When people find out I believe in ghosts, they inevitably ask if I'm afraid of cemeteries, of dead people, of dying. Not really. I mean, I'm not afraid of going into a cemetery. It's silly to be afraid of dead people. I think once a soul leaves a body, it ceases to be a person, and cemeteries are full of precious remains, not full of dead people. More often than not, when I'm in a cemetery, I just feel an overwhelming sense of sadness, because it represents so many lives lost. Maybe not lost, but ended. I maintain that death is a natural and expected outcome of this process called life; no matter what road people take--whether it's a straight and narrow path, or a road full of bumps, potholes and detours--we all end up in the same place. We all end up at the end of the road. Some are far too young when the path ends. Others are waiting patiently to get there. Others are heading there, full-speed ahead.

But back to the ghost thing. When my husband and I decided to buy a house, he wanted to buy an old, Civil War-era house and rehab it. I told him it would be too expensive and there was too much of a chance of it being haunted. I wanted to either buy something newer or build from the ground up. We opted to build, and when we moved in, I felt like there was no chance of any hauntings.

Wrong. Very wrong.

There is something in my house. I don't feel threatened or anything--I don't really believe that a "haunting" (if that's what you want to call it) is always bad. I think often times, ghosts/spirits/souls are hanging around because of unfinished business, or they don't realize they were supposed to move on. Anyway, I'm convinced there is an invisible child in this house. I've felt that way from the time we moved in. It wasn't anything I could put my finger on. Just a sense of something or someone in the shadows. That feeling got stronger when my daughter was a baby and she would be laying on the changing table or in my arms and sort of look past me, point and smile. Once she learned the word "baby", she would point, smile and say "baby." Freaky, huh?

Her toys randomly move around and whoever this anonymous child is, he or she absolutely loves the talking puzzles. There's nothing like waking up at 3am and hearing a cartoon monkey making noises in the living room. The first time it happened, my husband tried to convince me it was just the batteries getting low and that's why it was talking on its own.

But then it started happening with ALL of the talking puzzles. Then it was her Winnie-the-Pooh potty that has a little handle, and when you "flush" it says, "All done! Nice job!" Nobody's using that at 9pm. Or 4am. There was the Tickle Me Elmo, the Wiggles guitar, the musical books...then there was the time the PlayStation turned on by itself. Weird stuff. My friends joke that I have a funny electro-magnetic field around me and that's what causes it--the same thing that always sets off metal detectors in court houses and airports and makes the store scanner thingies at the door start blaring when I walk IN. Maybe it is me.

Or maybe, just maybe, there's a lost child having a good old time with my daughter's toys. Or maybe it's my guardian angel enjoying some down time. I don't know what it is, but it's here, and it's welcome in my home.

Of course, it would be MORE welcome if it finished the Power Point presentation I have to have ready for work tomorrow morning. *sigh* I guess I better get working on that now.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Random Rambling

There's 11 inches of snow on my deck right now. Actually, there's 11 inches of snow all over the yard, my front porch, the driveway and the street, too. The snow doesn't really bother me, especially since I'm off work today. I do, however, have to do some errands later, so I'm hoping the plows will come by before lunch. My husband keeps telling me to take it easy, to stop and relax, but that's not something I'm particularly good at.

Does anyone else have trouble relaxing?

For me, it's getting worse. I hardly sleep at night because my mind is just racing with thoughts of all that I have to get done the next day. It's all part of a vicious cycle. Maybe someday I'll calm down. Someday.

Anyway, with the cold weather and all the snow, I decided to make a hearty breakfast this morning. I'm sitting in front of my computer with a fully belly, thanks to my no-egg, multi-grain apple-blueberry pancakes. I made some turkey sausage, too. Doesn't that sound disgustingly healthy? My munchkin loved it. She gobbled up her food, then curled up on the couch under a warm blanket to watch "Super Why." You have to understand that this is a big deal--when I'm home, she rarely gets to watch television, but I really like this show a lot. I'll let her watch "Word World" too. She won't know what to do with herself! TWO television shows in one day? Mommy must be crazy.

Speaking of crazy, I think I'm going to go outside and see how the street looks and determine if I can get my car out of the driveway so I can go shopping.

More later...