Friday, March 28, 2008

Art? Trash? Just a Big Mess?

When we painted the boy's room a year and a half ago we allowed him to choose his own colors. He chose some loud and crazy Nickelodeon colors. This past week Jay got around to finishing the trim in the boy's room. (Jay has had a busy week. He has definitely earned his golf weekend.) Once it was painted we had no need for the rest of the paint so I thought maybe the kids would like to get creative and use it on the picnic table. Here is the result:
Has anyone noticed that there is almost always a dog in the background of every picture I take? It's like a canine version of Where's Waldo?

I really had no high hopes of the picnic table looking like some great work of art so I let the project be totally unstructured. You can't tell by the picture but the boy actually got pretty creative and added hand prints and splatters of different colors. My only rule was that they not paint the house. I should have made the second rule be to not paint yourself because about 45 minutes into the project I looked at the girl and noticed that this was happening:
I suppose it's a good thing I let her do this in only a diaper. Thank God for the naked phase she is going through. As if this wasn't bad enough, when I came back from rinsing out paint brushes I noticed this:

Now in case you can't tell, my daughter's arms aren't that long so a certain big brother had to help her paint the middle of her back. Jay had kindly asked that we try to keep the cement paint free. Jay is going to be very disappointed.

Yesterday my dad called. He's going to Tampa for the weekend to run some errands and he wanted to know if the boy would go with him and then they'd go to Busch Gardens. After changing his mind about three times he decided to go. So now not only do I have no husband home this weekend, but I'm also down a kid. I was sort of disappointed to see him go because we had planned to stay up watching movies but what could I do? I couldn't stand between a boy and his first Log Flume ride.

I guess I really am going to get a lot of reading done this weekend.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Weekly Update

Jay, being a man of his word, tiled the bedroom in one weekend, and it looks great. I have to admit, I was a bit concerned about how the project would turn out since I've heard laying tile can be tricky and Jay had never done it before. But I shouldn't have worried. He really did a great job.

But now, in comparison to my awesome floor, the rest of my room looks like utter garbage.

My bedroom is in desperate need of a paint job, but before that can be done the walls need to be completely sanded down. Whoever painted our room last decided to add "texture" and the paint juts out from the wall in sharp little peaks. It is dangerous and hideous. Let me put it another way, if I were to do squats with my yoga ball against the wall, much like this fellow:My ball would pop. And my back would be covered in deep gouges. It's possible I would need some form of medical attention. So as much as Jay and I want to paint our room, we aren't real motivated to do it. I've never used an electric sander before and learning how really isn't high on my list of things to do.

My mom and I are working on a vegetable garden out back. I have some broccoli plants and strawberry plants that have not only stayed alive, but produced food as well. Huge accomplishment for me. We've extended the garden to include two types of squash, some cucumber plants, green beans, watermelon, peppers, and tomatoes. This garden is something I'm very excited about. Plus, it's been a great way to bond with the girl because she loves coming out and helping us.

Tuesday night the boy was in a "Music in our Schools" program. I always look forward to my son's school performances because he seems to enjoy them so much so he's a lot of fun to watch. He taps his feet and snaps his fingers and just seems to generally have a good time.

Jay is going on a golf trip this weekend so I will be somewhat of a single parent for a few days. As much as I love my husband I'm looking forward to the time alone. Not much planned for my weekend other than to read, read, read. I finally finished A Prayer for Owen Meany last night. I almost didn't make it through this book because at times I found it kind of wordy. It wasn't until I finished the entire book though that I realized how important all the words were to the beauty of the story. If you don't already know, the book is about a boy, Owen, who accidentally kills his best friends mom with a baseball. Owen comes to believe that he is God's servant and that God has plans for him. I really don't want to mention much more for fear of revealing a giant hunk of the plot, but it really is a beautifully written book.

Next on my reading list is Kafka on the Shore, which is a book my friend Ann-Eliza mentioned about two years ago and I'm just now getting around to reading. Then I think I'm going to throw in a few graphic novels to speed this process along a bit. I can usually read a graphic novel in a day or two so a few of those will definitely throw me a little closer to my goal of fifty books.

Well, I suppose that wraps it up for now. I need to go and watch "Waitress" with the man. It's been sitting on my desk for the last three weeks waiting to be watched. I've just been busy with Owen.

Trifle Part 2

Ever since I first learned to make trifles a few years back, there is a bit part of my brain that is constantly devising new and interesting things to throw together all in the name of Trifle.

My mom is a chocolate freak so this weekend I made a chocolate/butterscoth trifle. Behold:

Obviously it's not a "traditional" Trifle since it contains no fruit. I replaced that pesky fruit layer with chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. As I was preparing it I was worried it would be much too heavy but it wasn't nearly as rich as I had anticipated, yet it was still decadent and yummy.

It lasted less than 24 hours.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Weekly Update

My neighbor across the street has put his home up for sale. This is slightly bumming me out for two reasons. The first is that even though he has a somewhat unhealthy fascination with year round fireworks, he's a nice guy and a good neighbor and I hate to see him go. The second reason is that there is now one more "For Sale" sign I have to look at when entering and exiting my neighborhood. The street I live on is U-Shaped and there are now five homes for sale and one for rent on the U. Not to mention the countless others I have to look at on my nightly walk. There are some homes that haven't had occupants since we've moved into this neighborhood. Things are definitely very, very bleak in terms of real estate and the economy.

When Jay and I bought this stupid house it wasn't with the intention of flipping it. Our family had grown and the circumstances of our extended family were changing so we needed more room. And we wanted it on the cheap. Because we have given this house so much TLC, we thought that when we did sell it, we'd probably be able to make a decent profit. Cue sarcastic laughter NOW. I'm not saying that if we tried to sell this house tomorrow we wouldn't make a profit, but it certainly wouldn't come with the quickness we had hoped for. I guess we are going to be here a while.

It wasn't my plan to be in Florida this long. Gainesville certainly isn't the worst of places, but I say that now. I will be singing a different tune come Summer when I have to revisit the 100 degree heat and $450 electric bills. I am not looking forward to it. Everyday when I wake up and the temperature is less than 60 degrees I am simultaneously overjoyed and saddened. I love the cool weather but I also know that since it's almost April, it will be ending soon.

Jay is using this weekend to lay tile in the bedroom. Jay has actually been wanting to do this for the last few weeks but I've been vetoing it because I don't want my bedroom all tore up for any great length of time. Our bedroom is a sanctuary I go to when I need to escape the madness of this house. Actually "sanctuary" is much too grand a word to use to describe my bedroom. My bedroom is hideous. And with it's bare cement floors, almost prison like, but it's mine. But we cannot keep walking on cement. We ripped up the carpet some time ago because it smelled as if animals had pissed and then died on it. No amount of steam cleaning and Febreeze could help it anymore. Jay has promised to have the job mostly completed by Sunday.

I have no fancy plans for this coming holiday weekend. Everyone will be off work and at home though so I may be drinking early. No, actually I'm going to try to get some reading done. I have goals now you know.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Books

It's good to have goals, correct? I have to admit that I'm not much of a goal setter, which also means I'm not much of a goal reacher. Oh I do set goals, but they are usually more along the lines of, "My goal is to not eat this entire tub of Chubby Hubby in one sitting," or "My goal is to clean all four bathrooms today." Even if I achieve them, not much really to brag about. (For the record I have never achieved the Chubby Hubby one.)

Well people I am here to tell you that I have set a goal. I'm going to read fifty books this year. I'm up to only ten so I have my work cut out for me. Let me say right now that I will be surprised if I actually reach my goal. Starting in April I would have to read about four and a half books a month to reach fifty. Now you might think I'm being negative by admitting at the outset that I don't think I'm going to achieve my goal. I don't think that's the case though, I'm trying to be realistic. Even if I only manage to read thirty five books I will be immensely proud of myself. I'm just going to try my best to reach fifty.

It isn't going to be easy. I don't have a lot of time in my day to read uninterrupted. I have time to read short things like newspaper or magazine articles but reading a book is a different story. (no pun intended) So this goal of mine is really going to cut into my TV time. Which is fine I suppose because there really is no need for me to watch Flavor of Love, or Rock of Love, or anything with New York(the skank not the city) in it, or any of those other mindless shows that I enjoy watching with my nightly glass of wine. I'm going to have to consciously make it a point to read everyday.

Another thing I'm going to have to do to achieve my goal is purchase new reading glasses. This is something I've needed to do for a while, 15 years actually. I've always put it off because I hate going to the eye doctor and I hate spending money on that kind of junk. But I really can't wait any longer, plus we have an excellent vision plan this year so I figure now is the best time. I've always known that I heavily strain my eyes when I read but it really hit home the other night when as I was reading I relaxed my eyes just a bit and literally could not see a single word! All the letters and words and sentences had run together as if the page went black. So yeah, I'm just a bit overdue.

I'm trying to get most of my book selections from the library but it's been difficult. I have gone into the library with a list of eight or ten books only to leave with two. The libraries here have no late fees. I used to think this was a good thing but then I realized that without the threat of nickel a day late fees hanging over their heads, people just keep books indefinitely. I'm sorry but I feel that if you've kept a book for more than six months, it's no longer late--it's yours. You've stolen it. Jerks.

There is a website I've been utilizing since I started this project. It's called Goodreads and it's sort of a social networking site for book nerds. You can make friends and meet people all the while keeping track of books you've read. I'm using my page on Goodreads less for socializing and more for record keeping. I'm supplying a link at the end of this post to my Goodreads page so you can look at my various "shelves" and check out the books I'm reading.

I would also appreciate any book recommendations. But I must ask you to keep your recommendations to books with less than 500 pages if at all possible. I'm reading John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany right now and it is 617 pages of small print that is murder on my eyes.

So there you have it! A goal. Poor eyesight, shitty library, and lack of time be damned---I'm going to do everything in my power to get as close to fifty books as possible.

http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/926229?shelf=2008-books

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dr Laura

I usually don't like to use my blog to talk in an in depth way about anything of a political nature. Although I follow the news and politics pretty closely, I don't feel that I follow it close enough to really say anything especially thoughtful. There are a lot of other people out there who could put things much more eloquently than I ever could.

I changed my mind though when Jay called me and told me that crazy ass Dr. Laura Schlesinger was implying that the fact that Eliot Spitzer cheated, is partially his wife's fault. I honestly don't even know where to begin to type out the many ways in which this insane woman's thoughts are pissing me off.

I have known a lot of married people. I've been married almost 11 years. I've seen a lot of couples go through rough spots and I know that those rough patches are rarely just the fault of one person. I will agree with Dr. Laura that much. But if there are problems existing in a marriage, no one should have to worry about them being compounded by one spouse not only cheating, but cheating with a hooker.

Dr Laura said, "The cheating was his decision to repair what’s damaged and to feed himself where he’s starving. But, yes, I hold women responsible for tossing out perfectly good men by not treating them with the love and kindness and respect and attention they need.”

Maybe I hold men to a higher standard than the good Dr. but it is my belief that if a man goes out and pays for sex while he is in a relationship with me, then he is not a "perfectly good man." In fact he is quite the opposite.

And what about the woman? Dr. Laura doesn't even suggest that if his wife isn't having sex with him, maybe there is a reason. If a married couple isn't having sex, that means something is probably wrong. Again, that problem isn't going to be fixed by the man paying to have sex with a stranger.

Dr. Laura later went on to say that she wasn't excusing Spitzer's behavior. Whatever Dr. Laura. It sure sounds like you're excusing it.

The thing that bothers me the most is that I expect this kind of garbage to come out of a man's mouth. If Rush Limbaugh had said something like this I would have just considered the source and gone on with my life. But as much as I disagree with Laura on just about everything, I NEVER expected another woman to imply that women have to have sex, even if we may not want to, or be prepared to face the consequences of what our poor, sex starved husbands may do. Making women feel forced to have sex diminishes any type of respect, love, and partnership that is in the relationship.

Whether Dr. Laura believes it or not, she has implied that when a woman stops performing as her man would like, it's perfectly acceptable for him to go out and replace that woman with a better model, instead of just finding a way to fix the model he already has. If you truly love and cherish something that's broken, then you work to fix it. You don't replace it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

weekly update

I had a weird dream last night. In my dream Keith Olbermann was helping me shop for bras. This struck me as odd because although I like Keith, it really isn't in that way. And frankly, I don't want any man helping me shop for over the shoulder boulder holders. It's been my experience that they tend to choose style over function and comfort. And by "style" I mean sexiness. And by "sexiness" I mean utter trashiness and skankitude. In my dream I was supposed to meet Keith at the bra shop and he was late so I was out front waiting for him. He finally showed up riding a 10 speed bike. When I woke up and remembered this I had to snicker to myself because Keith doesn't drive in real life so I find it slightly humorous that I would dream about him on a bike. After telling Jay about my dream he said that he would have seen Keith as more of a beach cruiser/vintage bike kinda guy. For the record, I imagine he takes a taxi everywhere but whatever.

Anyway.

Yesterday Jay called me and told me he had bought me something. Yay. Then he got home and it was a cookbook. Boo. At first I was kinda disappointed because a cookbook seems like such a cruddy gift, but I'm totally loving this one. It's called Vegan with a Vengeance and it's filled with all sorts of yummy sounding recipes that look fairly easy to make.
In the past I've been turned off of vegan cookbooks because they usually are filled with recipes containing strange ingredients that cannot be found at the local grocery store. This one seems different. There are plenty of baked goods in it that I plan on making but tonight I made a side dish called Chickpea Broccoli Casserole. When opening all the cans of chick peas I got many cat friends thinking I was opening cat food. Below is Elsa.


Cats are ever present in my kitchen. Adult humans are gravely outnumbered in this house. There are no rules here anymore. We give the animals what they want so that they will leave us alone.
But back to my casserole. I thought it was tasty and Jay thought it was tasty. The kids...not so much. I was going to post a picture of it here but I am of the firm belief that the tastiness of certain foods just doesn't translate in photo form and this would have definitely been one of those foods. Frankly, it was kinda fugly. I will be making it again though because it was healthy and delicious. The kids will just have to choke it down.


Tomorrow the girl and I are having company. My friend Sarah is coming over and bringing her son, who is about the same age as Lucy. Lucy has never had a play date with anyone other than her brother because I am somewhat of a slacker on the play date front. Setting up play dates is not one of my strengths as a mother.Hopefully it will go well and my daughter won't be completely terrible.

Well that's all for the update. I'm tired, my allergies are bugging me, and I'm ready for a beer.



Sunday, March 9, 2008

Does a Princess feel the effects of one less hour of sleep?

The time change has me all screwed up so when I woke up this morning feeling less than with it, I made tentative plans to do nothing. Well, not absolutely nothing because, as much as I may want to, I can't just ignore the children and tell them to fend for themselves. But I thought I could maybe get in some reading and listen to my new Wilco cd. (Jay bought me Wilco's Sky Blue Sky yesterday. After I saw them on SNL last weekend I had to have it, and I'm in love with it. It may soon be replacing Teddy Thompson's Separate Ways as the cd that I constantly and psychotically obsessively play.) But back to my idea of ignoring the children. It just isn't going as planned.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I got the book, "I was a Really Good Mom before I had Kids." It was a bit more of a self help book than I originally thought, but I basically liked it. It was a quick and entertaining read. The basic premise of it is how we as moms aren't happy with the life choices that we've made because we don't really allow ourselves to be. We are constantly judging and critiquing every decision we make instead of living in the moment and not worrying so much about everything. We don't allow ourselves to enjoy our children because there is always so much else that needs to be done. I definitely find myself falling into this trap sometimes. Even though I'm with my daughter all day long, there are always so many chores and errands to get done that at the end of the day I sometimes feel as if I haven't spent any time with her at all. I know this isn't the way it's supposed to be and this wasn't my goal when I decided to be a stay at home mom. But when the list of things to get done is a mile long, it's really hard to schedule in "play with play-doh" or "play My Little Ponies." Honestly, as much as I love my daughter, I don't really find those things appealing. It's easier to decide to fold the three loads of laundry that are taking over the laundry room than it is to sit down and make one more god forsaken snake out of brown, half dry play doh. The book goes on to say that the happiest moms are those that have found a balance between doing all the yucky chores/work, spending time with the kiddies, and scheduling in some "me" time.

Anyways, admitting you have a problem is the first step, right? I realize my daughter needs me so I consciously made the decision to hang out with her. That's when I ran into another problem: My daughter is three. This means that, basically, she is not that pleasant to be around. Studies have been done that prove that children don't fully grasp the concept of sharing until they are at least four. (My mom has been teaching pre schoolers for the better part of the last 25 years. I have an expert living with me.) What this means is that it's almost impossible to do anything with my daughter. I can do things next to her or in the same room, but any kind of joint activity is pointless and usually ends with her having a tantrum and getting sent to her room.

Take today for example, I thought it would be nice if we both sat and colored. She got a new Disney Princess coloring book that I knew she was itching to scribble scrabble in and I was perfectly happy coloring Elmo. But once she saw the mighty fine job I was doing coloring Elmo, she wanted my book. Now just because she doesn't understand the concept of sharing doesn't mean that I should just sit back and let her be a brat. So I told her she had to color in her Princess book because that was the one she chose. To which she yelled, "I don't want Princess book." And then she hurled it at my head. Coloring time was officially over.

That was about an hour ago. Soon after that she was screaming and crying because I wouldn't let her take off all her clothes and "run around nakey." Another thing a three year old doesn't grasp is reason. I've been explaining to her all day that 55 degree weather is much too cold to run around "nakey." She doesn't care.

It's almost 3:00 already and I'm just now sitting down to some "me" time. Where did the day go? Pretty soon I'm going to have to schlep to the kitchen and find a few somethings to throw together for dinner. Right now though, the girl is sitting quietly watching the Smurfs and eating her bowl of Pirates Booty. I think I'm going to listen to my Wilco cd.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Trifle Update

A mere four hours later:

That's right, the last few gooey bites were scooped out hobo-style with a cheap, plastic spatula. We have no shame.

Baked Goods

I've really been wanting to make a trifle lately and I gave in to the urge today and made one. It came out especially pretty so I thought I'd take some pictures of it for you all to drool over.

Doesn't it look tasty and sexy and delicious?

It sort of makes me sad to think that after dinner we are going to rip into this beauty like a pack of starving wild animals.




Monday, March 3, 2008

In praise of my husband

I really don't give my husband enough credit.
About six months ago my friend Dawn recommended that I read "I was a Really Good Mom Before I had Kids."
I've been trying to cut back on the amount of money I spend on books so I tried to get it at the library. It wasn't available so I put my name on the waiting list. I still haven't heard from the library. Keep in mind this was six months ago and I haven't really mentioned anything more about this to Jay.
When we were in Savannah, he walked to a market to get some beer. This wasn't your typical market, it also sold gifts, gourmet foods, and books. Jay saw this book, remembered that I wanted it, and picked it up for me.

Maybe he does listen to me after all.


Savannah

Jay and I were desperately needing a mini break, so we spent the last three days in Savannah. Our last few vacations were either "working vacations" spent doing stuff at home, kid friendly vacations, or vacations that were heavily booked with specific things to do, so we decided to take it easy this time and just do nothing. Savannah is the perfect place to do nothing, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing.

I hadn't really expected Savannah to be as touristy as it is. Having lived in Florida most of my life, I know a tourist activity when I see one and I avoid them at all costs. I have no desire to take a guided tour in a trolley and you will never see me wearing a tee shirt with the name of a city on it. There is a lot of this in Savannah. Jay and I are apparently the only ones not bothered by activities that are blatantly geared towards tourists though because the lines for the tours routinely wrapped around buildings. There were also plenty of people willing to pay for a ride in a horse drawn buggy. (I'm mentioning this because I want to get up on my high horse for a minute and say: The horses don't really like toting people around. It's actually kinda cruel.) Because Jay and I didn't want to hang out with tourists, most of whom were 65+, we wandered the city on our own.

Our hotel, The Planters Inn,(http://www.plantersinnsavannah.com/History.asp), was right in the middle of the historic part of the city. It's a beautiful old building that is supposedly haunted but I saw no evidence of this. A lamp in our room flicked on and off a lot but I think that can be attributed to a faulty bulb, not a couple of ghosts dressed in period clothing. Our hotel:

Because of the excellent location of our hotel, we walked just about everywhere.

Since Savannah is such an old city, there are statues everywhere of various local historical figures. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit it, but I absolutely hate history. I find it incredibly boring and I basically just don't feel a need to learn about it. I'm one of those people that doesn't know dates of wars or when specific people died. I'm not bragging about this, being completely ignorant about an entire subject is nothing to brag about. But it's just the way it is. So I wasn't real interested in all the statues. Although I did find this girl intriguing:
Supposedly she waved to every single ship that passed for 44 years. During the day she waved with a cloth, at night a lantern. Now of course I'm no historian but I gotta think she was probably a lunatic or half a retard because I see no logic in this. But that's just me. (I should be totally honest and say that I hate history so much I didn't even take the time to learn the story of "The Waving Girl" on my own. Her tale was written on the tourist map that is free everywhere.)

One thing Savannah does well is the restaurants. There are a lot of yummy places to eat and Jay and I took full advantage of this and ate until we felt as if we were going to explode. When I'm at home I really can't be bothered to cook for myself. I eat granola bars, fruit, and whatever is leftover from the girl's lunch. So when I go out to eat, I tend to act like a wild animal. This was fully evident when we ate at Churchills (http://www.thebritishpub.com/). I love traditional British food. I ordered the fish and chips and covered it with malt vinegar. It was delicious. I was somewhat disappointed they didn't have mushy peas though. Oh well. I had trifle for dessert and it was good but I don't think it was as good as the trifle I make at home. I don't do many things well in the kitchen but I do make a mean trifle!

As I mentioned, Savannah is filled with gift shops where tourists can buy junk, but I don't want to give the impression that those are the only places to shop. There are a lot of other neat shops as well and I picked up some things for the home and family that I don't think I would have been able to find easily anywhere else. But I do think that a lot of these shops were directed more towards out of towners with vacation money than just the average shopper.

All in all, I think Savannah is a nice place to visit but I don't think I'd want to live there. And it certainly isn't a place to take the kiddies...I know mine would have been very, very bored. But it is a nice place to relax and that was our goal, so mission accomplished.