Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fun Times

I had a really terrible day at work today, but after I picked up my daughter, things turned around in a hurry. We went to Target to pick up a prescription and a few household items, but the real fun started in the car on the ride home.

My daughter challenged me to a singing contest. The rules? Make as many animal sounds, as loud as you can, to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."

I tried to do it. I really did. But I was laughing too hard to finish. I laughed so hard that I snorted and that sent my munchkin into hysterical giggles while she shrieked out, "You're a piggy, you're a piggy!"

And then there was the priceless look on the face of the teenage boy in the car next to us at the red light. Apparently, he could hear us through the closed car windows. Oooops.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Random Thoughts...Brought to You by Me!

I planned on blogging yesterday, but time really got away from me. I'd been working on a post about dealing with guilt, but it was kind of depressing, so I scrapped that. Just wasn't in the mood to think a bout all the things I've felt guilty about over the years. For the most part, I feel like guilt is a waste of time, so I try not to dwell on it.

On a lighter note, I've decided that now is the time for me to get myself in gear and get healthy. I'd been doing really well with exercising and eating right, but for a while, I wasn't motivated and just gave up. It wouldn't be so bad, except that I have a metabolic problem and if I'm not careful, I can gain a lot of weight very, very fast. That's pretty much what happened over the past few months. I've been doing Pilates, which I love, but it's not enough to offset the poor food choices I've been making.

In an effort to step up my cardio exercise, I took inventory of my options. Of course, there's the treadmill and recumbent bike. I could run, walk, or bike outside. I could do Tae Bo with Billy Blanks or Walk Away the Pounds with Leslie Sansone...but in the end, I decided on The Wiggles. No, no I'm not kidding.

My daughter wanted to watch a Wiggles DVD and I've got to tell you that after trying to keep up with their singing and dancing, I can understand why those guys are so thin. I was panting and sweating three songs into the video! Maybe I can whip myself into shape by dancing like Captain Feathersword, moving my arms like Henry the Octopus and shaking my hips with Wags the Dog. I'll top it off by making some Fruit Salad. Yummy, yummy! I know at least a few parents who are reading this and laughing!

How's that for some random thoughts? More nonsense later!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Two Hundred

I can't quite believe that this is my 200th post. Who knew I had so much to write about?!

Ah well. Today was sort of a "blah" day. I went for a haircut today--I love my stylist. I've been growing out my hair for Locks of Love and by the time my next haircut rolls around, I'll be ready to chop it all off. FYI: I do NOT recommend growing out ten inches of hair during the summer. I'll be very happy when September gets here and I'll be able to drive without feeling like my head is stuck (because my ponytail hangs halfway down my back, I lean against it and try to turn my head and get stuck...). Whatever.

I went shopping after that. Ran to Ulta for two things, then stopped off at Trader Joe's for some produce since I was in the neighborhood. Got home, did some cleaning. Went the neighbor's house for dinner, which was nice, because I didn't feel like cooking tonight. Ran out to Wal-Mart for some odds and ends, including a new flat screen monitor for the used computer we just bought. Came home and cleaned some more. It was a quiet day. Nothing much to share, but I thought I'd share it anyway. The same thing happened when I did my 100th post--meaning I wanted to write something meaningful, but didn't.

Now I'm blogging. I had a great idea in my head, something that I've been thinking about a lot lately--has to do with old feelings of guilt. But right now, I'm pretty tired and not really in the mood to write about anything earth-shaking. I'm too tired to even write about anything not earth-shaking. I'm going to go lay my aching head on my nice, soft pillow and try to get some sleep. More blogging on Sunday!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How to Motivate a Slacker

Here's my cure for motivating people who regularly don't do what they're supposed to do, and come back later either with the famous phrase, "I forgot," or offer a slew of excuses for why something didn't get done.

I told someone today, "For the next month, do not, under any circumstances come to me and say, 'I forgot.' Do not tell me any of the great excuses you've come up with for why you didn't do what you were supposed to. Instead, come to me and say, 'I know you told me to do X, but I didn't do it.' If you miss a deadline, tell me, 'I know this was due by X date, but I didn't do it.' Simple as that. Don't say anything else. Just tell me you didn't do it."

The poor woman looked at me, completely terrified. "But what if I do forget?"

"I don't care. If you forgot, it still means you didn't do it. So just tell me you didn't do it."

Before the end of the day, she turned something in to me that wasn't even due until tomorrow. I told my husband about it and he asked why I thought it would work. I can't guarantee that it will work after today, but I believe it's all about personal accountability. By saying, "I forgot," or saying that something interfered with getting it done, that person is not taking any responsibility. By saying, "I didn't do it," the person is forced to take ownership of his or her actions.

I may also try this with my husband when he tells me he's going to vacuum up the dirt he tracked into the laundry room...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Friendly Conversations

One of my friends got engaged recently and I'm absolutely thrilled for her. She's had so many difficulties in her life, and I'm happy that she's met someone who loves her and accepts her just the way she is. Like many newly engaged women, she had that dreamy look all day today and she ended up asking me when I "knew" that Shawn was the one for me.

I shared a bunch of stories with how he's just a nice person, what a great dad he is, how he changed our daughter's first "tar poop" diaper after she was born, how he goes out of his way to help people, things like that. I also shared how, back in 2006 when I had my tonsils removed and was half out of it when (grossness alert!) I threw up on our bed and all over myself after the anesthesia and pain medicine wore off, he didn't even flinch as he got me settled in a warm bath and changed the sheets and blankets. I told her how, even though we had really hit a rough patch in our marriage, I knew at that moment that we were going to be okay.

She laughed and pointed out that most of those moments happened after we were already married. I told her that was true, but it's easy for people to keep up an act early on in the dating relationship. When their real colors come out, that's how you can tell if you're meant to be together. Then I asked her what her defining moment was and she said...

"Well, the night before he proposed, we got lost on this deserted road after leaving the county fair and I really had to go to the bathroom. I told him I couldn't hold it, and if he didn't pull over, I was going to pee on myself. So, he stopped and walked around to my side of the car as I hovered in the grass. I yelled at him that he couldn't watch me. Next thing I knew, he was standing there with his hand over his eyes, leaning over and handing me a napkin to use as toilet paper. I realized then that he'd probably seen me at my worst, but there he was, still trying to take care of me."

I almost fell out of my chair laughing. I guess nobody ever said that "the moment" has to be romantic!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pity Party

I am a big mope tonight.

I made a chocolate-chip pound cake this morning before I started work. Why? Because my husband was going to a company party and promised he'd bring a cake. So, I got my behind in gear before my workday to make a lovely little cake. I used my lunch break to run out and buy a book for one of my girlfriends, who is expecting a baby later this summer. I bought her "Super Baby Food" by Ruth Yaron. You can check it out here. I pored through that book even more than I did all my pregnancy books. Anyway, that errand was pretty much my whole lunch break, no thanks to the train that got stuck at the railroad crossing for fifteen minutes--leaving me stranded in the 95 degree heat, because I refused to leave my car running and waste the gas if I wasn't actually driving.

Fast forward. Had ten yards of mulch delivered the house for the purpose of uber-gardening this weekend. Finished my crazy workday. Made a totally fab dinner...pork tenderloin roast in the crock pot with mushroom sauce, fresh veggies, smashed potatoes and blueberry cobbler. Yum.

What stinks is that I sat at the kitchen table, all by myself and ate dinner alone. Why? Because my darling husband brought our daughter to his company picnic and decided to stay two hours longer than he originally told me.

I was done eating by the time they got home. And he sheepishly told me that they had already eaten, so they wouldn't be eating dinner. I got mad and started gardening. I raked out the front of the house and pulled every offending weed--yanked 'em out by the roots and got started hauling mulch. Then my husband asked me if I could take care of the little one because he wanted to rake the backyard before it rained. I gave him a dirty look (you know, the kind that women give when they're mentally thinking, "Oh no you di-int."), then stomped into the house. I'm posting this, then I'm going to snuggle with my little girl and give her a bath. Then I'll mope a little more about the fact that about five other things happened today that upset me, and the missed dinner was just the unfortunate final straw.

I have plenty of leftovers in my fridge if you're hungry. You can come sit at my table and tell me all about your day. We'll have ice-cream after. Anyone?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Scent of a Woman

No, not the movie...which, by the way, I've never even seen. It was a brief interaction today that went something like this:

Co-Worker: What's that smell?

Me: What smell?

CW: I'm not sure. It's not bad. It's different, though.

Me: I don't smell anything.

CW: Really? Because it's totally coming from your office. I smell it every time I walk by.

Me (getting worried): What does it smell like?

CW: It's sort of a cool, citrus smell, but with a little bit of a sweet, musky fragrance. (Pause.) You're not wearing perfume?

Me: Nope.

We parted ways and I thought:

The "cool" scent is the eucalyptus-mint cleaner I used to sanitize my phone and keyboard. The citrus smell is the Meyer Lemon Air Freshener I spritzed to get rid of the smell of the chicken enchilada I ate for lunch. The sweet smell is the hint of Johnson & Johnson pink baby lotion on my arms. And the musky frangrance? Oh yeah, that's me--from working in an un-air conditioned office all day!

When I get home tonight, I'll be able to add a hint of pasta and a waft of toilet bowl cleaner, counter-balanced by the delicate scent of Cheer detergent and Snuggle dryer sheets.

Now THAT is the scent of a woman. What's your fragrance?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

After a very hectic weekend (including an unexpected visit from my MIL, being on-call for the Crisis Line, a sick little kiddo, and seven more finals to grade for summer school), I've finally put together a menu for the week.

Monday~ Chicken and bean quesadillas with sliced, fresh veggies

Tuesday~ Cheese tortellini with sugar snap peas

Wednesday~ Potato pierogies with sliced bell peppers and macaroni and cheese

Thursday~ No plan yet. I'm completely drawing a might be a kid's choice night!

Friday~ Pork tenderloin roast with mushroom sauce, apple-nut brown rice and zucchini

My wonderful husband just pulled in the driveway, which means it's time to eat dinner. Yay!

Friday, July 11, 2008


I was planning to write about my garden and the incredibly humid weather, but something very controversial happened to me today. If you feel very strongly about Right to Life issues, you may want to stop reading. I'm not going to be writing about abortion or women's rights or Roe vs. Wade, but I'm sure this discussion will stir up some feelings. This is just my take on something that happened to me today.

I was driving to the local gas station, down a busy expanse of street when, faster than I could blink, a swarm of abortion protesters started marching into traffic. To their credit, they weren't purposely trying to be disruptive--they were apparently crossing to get to their assigned posts around an approximately half mile radius of the intersection I was approaching. And they were carrying extremely large (approximately five foot tall), extremely graphic (close ups involving blood and broken limbs) pictures of aborted fetuses.

I almost threw up in my lap. I choose not to discuss hot topics. Those who are close to me and know me very well, know exactly how I feel about those hot topics. I choose not to broadcast them--whether it's about gay marriage, abortion, politics, or whatever. My opinions are MY business. Other people want to share their opinions, and that's fine, I don't say much about it.

What is NOT fine with me, is individuals carrying around graphic pictures and waving them for drivers to see. And for young children in the backseat to see. Young children who cry hysterically for twenty minutes afterward, asking what's wrong with the babies in the pictures.

I believe in freedom of speech, freedom to gather, etc. I also believe that people should not infringe upon other people's rights.

I believe that if parental consent is required for fifth graders to participate in sex education in school...if parental consent is required for a twelve year old to get into a PG-13 rated movie...if parental consent is required for a sixteen year old high school junior to watch the movie "Glory" (about the Civil War) in a U.S. History class...then parental consent should damn well be required for those demonstrators to wave their pictures in front of children in cars. I would challenge any of those demonstrators to allow a complete stranger to force their (demonstrator's) toddler to see a graphic, bloody, violent, R-rated movie. I'm guessing they wouldn't go for it. So what gives them the right to inflict any of that on MY child? What gives them the right to force me into a position to attempt to explain something that a toddler can in no way understand?

Do any of those demonstrators have consent forms from the mothers to advertise the photos of those allegedly (I only say "allegedly" because I have no idea where those pictures came from) aborted fetuses? Because if not, then in my mind, how is it any different than child pornography? What would happen if another random group of "demonstrators" paraded around showing blown up pictures of naked, dead adults? What would happen then? I bet there would be a media frenzy, uproar from churches and politicians and police. But this? There was nothing! Nothing to stop these individuals from displaying their propaganda to the unsuspecting citizens of that neighborhood.

And get this...the demonstrators had "warning" signs posted about the graphic nature of the photos--facing the opposite direction in areas past any streets, so there was no way to turn around and avoid it. It was the worst when I was stopped at the red light at the intersection, and there was no safe place to look. There were pictures everywhere--in front of, behind and on both sides of me. So I looked down in my lap, trying not to lose my temper. And trying not to notice the faces of the children in the car next to me, tears running down their faces as they pointed to the pictures and the man behind the steering wheel reaching back and trying to cover their eyes.

I'm a big girl. I'm an adult and I can handle it. I'm upset, but I'll recover. I'll pray about it and ask God for help in getting my temper to simmer down. But I'm also a mother and as long as my child is a minor, it's MY right to determine when I think she can cope with discussion about issues like this, not some anonymous demonstrator waving a giant picture in front of my windshield.

I'm done with this now. If you read this far, thank you.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Two More Things

I almost forgot two of the greatest things I did on my vacation. In addition to the things I listed earlier, I also hung some pretty, farm-themed border in my kitchen (actually, it's only halfway done, but I'll be finished hopefully by Wednesday):

Sorry about the bad glare coming in through the back door. But aren't the cows adorable? I'm crazy about cows, so the border totally goes with the rest of my kitchen.

I also made this blanket for one of my friends who is expecting her first baby in September (just ignore the toys on the floor and the wacky green couch):

I have some fabric left over (even with the wild fringe on all four sides), so I'm going to wrap it up in pink fabric instead of wrapping paper. Oh, I love being so domestic!

Farewell, Free Days

The worst part about being on vacation is knowing that it's ending. Going back to the daily grind is not leaving me with a warm, fuzzy feeling. I'm feeling pretty good about things that got done around the house.

1. The deck is stained.
2. Eight yards of black dirt have been carefully distributed around the perimeter of the fence and deck.
3. Caught up on laundry.
4. Moved flower garden clear across the backyard--including rocks to outline it. Also added 2 Nikko Blue Hydrangeas and some pretty purple balloon flowers.
5. Started building cedar dividers for the vegetable garden.
6. Almost done grading 38 papers (only six left to finish!).
7. Slept nine hours. IN ONE NIGHT. That by itself is freakin' magical.
8. Cleaned and dusted dining room--including all the knick-knacks.
9. Got a slight hint of color in my face (perhaps from working outside for 6 hours??) and a very light tan. Very light. In other words, I'm no longer transparent. Now, I'm just white.
10. Finally got onto my blog and posted about my vacation!

I'm off to catch up on everyone else's blogs!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Vacation (Not)

First, my little munchkin is doing much better. She actually ate food today! Yay! I think we're finally on the upswing here...

Anyway, I know I'm supposed to be basking in the glow of my vacation, but to be perfectly honest, it stinks. I ended up working on Monday instead of starting my vacation. That wasn't particularly fun. Tuesday was just crazy--taking care of regular daily stuff, managing a few more work-related issues that popped up, etc. The only down time I got was when I spent 45 minutes sitting on the deck while I graded papers. And even then, I ended up with sunburn. Today, I sent my little one to pre-school, then went grocery shopping and did some cleaning. I'm going to get the little one as soon as I get myself cleaned up. Tomorrow, depending on the weather, I'll either stain the deck or clean the basement. Friday, I'm hoping to paint the kitchen. And that'll be my vacation. Ugh.

This has nothing to do with anything, but I'm just kind of in a sour mood today, and I'm trying to figure out how to explain OCD to my husband. He gets irritated that there are days when I just can't seem to stop whatever it is that I'm doing--I can't get my mind to shut down, either, which is part of the reason I can't sleep. The only thing I can think of is to tell him that it's like Attention Deficit Disorder (I know, I know, lots of people assume that "Hyperactivity" should be in there, but it's possible to have ADD, not ADHD), but the complete opposite. Instead of having a very short attention span, it's like I can't refocus on anything except the task at hand. Which is exactly why my eyes keep wandering to my dirty kitchen floor as I type this.

I better go mop before I spontaneously combust.