Monday, June 30, 2008

My Girl

My daughter is having a rough time lately. She's developed a stutter and although I'm told this is totally normal for a child her age, especially a talkative child, it's still hard to deal with. Just because something is normal, doesn't mean it's normal for me. I can see her getting frustrated as she tries to tell me things. This morning she was attempting to tell me something about her brother and after stumbling over a word for quite some time, she finally just yelled, "I CAN'T DO IT!" It broke my heart to see her walk away exasperated.

All the experts say to just do your best to ignore the stuttering and not draw any kind of attention to it. So at this point she's just getting a lot of extra hugs. She probably wonders why I keep hugging her.

This morning when the boy was still in bed and everyone else had gone to work, she came in the kitchen with me and helped make banana pancakes. She loves the Jack Johnson song of the same name and was thrilled to finally be able to make and taste the actual food.

The finished product:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weekly Update

I haven't posted too much this week because every time I've had a few spare moments to blog, we've had horrendous thunder storms. I'm not really a chicken when it comes to weather, but considering our computer is right next to a glass door, I don't think using it is a wise idea when there is crazy lightning outside. Call me silly.

This morning, before the afternoon storms started, Jay, my mom, and I packed up the kids and went to Mill Creek Farm, which is a retirement community for horses. They provide a safe home for retired work horses or horses that have been abused. We've been here about half a dozen times since moving to Gainesville but this is the first time the girl is old enough to appreciate and enjoy it. There is no cost to get in but they do accept donations. The only thing they ask is that you bring carrots or other fruits and veggies to feed the horses. Growing up, I was never really one of those girls that wanted a pony, but I love these horses and I totally get into feeding them and watching the kids enjoy themselves. Plus, spending a few hours on a horse farm puts you far, far away from cable TV, the internet, and video games. It's nice to unplug, even if just for a few hours. Plus, I was able to ignore the many overflowing laundry hampers, at least for one more day.

Beginning the walk through the farm.

The boy and a horse. (Boy is on the left. HA)
The best thing about the above picture is what you don't see. Immediately after turning the corner, the boy slid right into a giant mud puddle, splashing mud on me, Jay, and the girl. It was awesome. My only complaint is that now I have muddy horse farm laundry to add to my eight tons of regular laundry.

As regular readers will know, I love to bake. Yesterday I was really in the mood to bake a vegan cake so I looked through my recipes and all the vegan cake recipes I have were just way too complicated for the mood I was in. So I decided to make a beer cake instead. About a year ago, Jay clipped the recipe for this cake out of the paper and it's been stuck to my refrigerator with an 'I brake for Intercourse, PA' magnet since then. I didn't have all the ingredients for this cake either, but it wasn't too difficult to talk Jay into going to the store for me since he knew that he'd get all the Guinness that wasn't used for the cake.

I admit that Guinness isn't my favorite kind of beer, but it does make a mean cake. Ten minutes after this picture was taken, the cake was half gone. (The boy helped me make it and he is well on his way to becoming a great pastry chef.)

One more thing I wanted to share is a picture of my latest purchase:

How adorable is that? It's the perfect size for holding a little bit of cash, some lip gloss, and a bunch of maxed out credit cards. You can have one too, for the low, low price of $6 plus shipping at Kung Fu Cowgirl. I especially love the way it was sent with a bunch of inexpensive trinkets like an eraser and some scratch and sniff stickers. I gave those to the girl and it totally distracted her from the fact that I had this fantastic new pouch that she would surely want.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Blog Games

Gili tagged me! Which means I get to play the "about me" game. Yay. I love these games.

Six unimportant things about me:
1. I hate eating with a spoon. I feel as if I'm eating with a shovel. Except when absolutely necessary (ice cream and soup), I eat everything with a fork.
2. I love, love, love the Barry Manilow song 'Mandy'. If I'm in the car and it comes on the XM, I replay it loudly and continuously.
3. I still legally use my maiden name.
4. As a teenager I had a crush on Rick Moranis. Quit laughing.
5. My first job was at a bank. I hated it and only worked there for a day.
6. I have never watched a full episode of American Idol.

Now, according to the rules I have to tag six more folks to play along. This is going to be hard because I'm not sure if six people who read this will actually take the time to do it. We'll see.

dysFUNctional Mom
Sarah P
Soccer Mom

The rules are as follows:
1. Link back to the person that tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your entry.

Now get to work ladies!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We need bleach. Lots and Lots of bleach.

The other evening I was relaxing in bed with my book when suddenly I hear the panicked voice of one of my children yelling, "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!" As I leave my room I'm met by water streaming from the toilet in the bathroom that's off the living room. The entire floor of the bathroom is under water and so is one quarter of the living room. Toilet water is under the piano and making its way to throw rugs and the curtains. Like a filthy, disgusting, dirty tsunami, it's overtaking any toy or doll in it's way.

Fortunately, Jay was level headed enough to handle the situation and stop the flow of water.

This incident taught me two things and I'm going to pass them on to you, my loyal readers. The first being, as soon as your kid can use the toilet, teach them how to turn the water off to the toilet. Really. Take my word on this. Secondly, children are not good helpers in a time of crisis. Especially if the crisis involves messy potty water. Mine could be seen speeding from the bathroom, underwear in hand, and yelling that the "potty is throwing up."


Although she isn't supposed to, my daughter routinely jumps and bounces on my bed. I, of course, routinely grow weary of yelling at her for it. So I was more than a little tickled when she was doing it yesterday and got stuck between the mattress and the foot board. We delayed her rescue a few moments so I could snap some pictures.
No matter how hard we pulled, she wouldn't budge. We finally had to lift up the mattress and then she could climb out.
I have to admit that the thought of leaving her there for a bit did cross my mind. The alone time would have been nice.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekly Update

OK. I give up. I'm no good at summer. I don't like the heat or outdoor activities. I hate the sun. (That's right Sun, you heard me.) I love the summer rains but not the humidity. I'm ready for fall. Even better if we could just skip it and go straight to winter.

I'm having a very difficult time entertaining the children this summer. The boy is almost ten and the girl is three. Their interests don't often converge. The only thing they both have in common is eating, which they seem to want to do constantly. They are fighting and yelling over everything from who gets to watch the TV in the living room to who gets the last Pop Tart. It's going to be a long summer.

I finally finished "Eat, Pray, Love." It seems as if I've been reading this book for weeks but in reality I don't think it was that long. The ending of the book bugged me a lot. I feel like the story really wasn't finished, but the author was just finished telling it. Plus, of course she found love in the end which, even though it's true in this case, is just kind of nauseating and much too predictable of an ending. Also, I really grew to hate Liz so I kind of wanted her story to end sad and miserably. I think any small amount of affection I had for her disintegrated when she paid an Indonesian official "a few hundred bucks of under-the-table cash" to illegally extend her visa so that she could stay in the country a bit longer. I just thought it incredibly hypocritical that she is bribing people on her spiritual journey. On a personal level, it's a huge pet peeve of mine when people think the rules don't apply to them or that they are above the law. Especially when they use money to get their way. It seems as if Liz learned nothing at all on her quest for enlightenment.

Next book up is "Wacky Chicks" by Simon Doonan. Simon is that crazy fabulous guy you might have seen on various VH1 shows and he's also the creative director at Barneys New York. The book profiles various eccentric ladies, one of them being Amy Sedaris, who I love. I'm very excited about this book. It should be a fun, quick read, especially in comparison to "Eat, Pray, Love."

Before I close out this Update, I want to congratulate my mom on her new job, which she starts the end of this week. Going to work everyday at her old job had become unbearable so she's spent most of the last year updating her resume, calling perspective employers, and going on interview after interview after interview. Finally, she found a company with a philosophy she agreed with and they were willing to pay her what she deserves. I'm proud of you Mom!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Luggage

The other night Jay and I were online. (Have you noticed a pattern in our nightly activities? Such thrilling lives we lead.) Anyways, we headed over to Macy' and found this 5-piece luggage set on clearance for a mere $50. Before you start cracking wise about the color, it's also available in black, which is what we bought. This may all seem unremarkable to you. That's because you hadn't seen our old luggage. Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to Thing One and Thing Two. Thing One (the brown one) was bought by my mom and dad when I was a kid. My first memory of it is from around 1989, although it's quite possible that it's even older than that. Thing Two (the giant green one) was promptly saved from the dumpster area of our old condo when we saw a neighbor going to discard it. (I occasionally take things from dumpster areas and am not ashamed to admit it. Okay maybe a little ashamed. If I wasn't ashamed, the suitcase wouldn't have been retrieved under cover of darkness. If I wasn't ashamed, I would have run out in the street when I first saw my neighbor carrying it to the dumpster, yelling something like, "Stop, where are you going with that fine piece of luggage?" And then I would have snatched it from his hand. But really this is all beside the point.)

The point is, our luggage is a freaking embarrassment. Honestly, I think a matching set of plastic Target bags would be less embarrassing. We don't travel often. Once, maybe twice a year. But when we do, we stay in fancy hotels. I love a fancy hotel. In fact, my love of a fancy hotel is the main reason we only travel once or twice a year. We'd probably travel more if I would agree to stay in a Holiday Inn every now and then. My idea of "roughing it" is staying at a Hilton Garden Inn, the cheap ugly step-sister of the real Hilton.

I can only imagine what the concierge and other hotel employees are thinking as they take our luggage from the back of our car. They probably assume that we won a contest and the prize was something along the lines of a "two night stay at the hotel of your choice anywhere in the continental U.S."

I've shared elevators with people with Louis Vuitton luggage and I've never envied them. I don't want to be the type of person who spends thousands on a bag that is going to spend most of the year in my closet, probably as a cat bed. I have been wanting a set of luggage just a bit less conspicuous though. And we got it. For $49.99 plus shipping at Macys.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Candy Land

The other day I was cleaning my daughter's closet when I saw her unused Candy Land game, and I felt guilty. The side of the box says that the game is appropriate for ages 3+. My daughter is 3+. I'm late.

I've known all along I was late. I was just putting it off until.....well, hopefully forever. It's not that I don't like my daughter. She's nice enough I suppose. (of course I love my daughter!) It's just that playing a board game with a child under the age of seven is a tedious experience. It is a lesson in patience that you will learn no where else. I had done it before with my son, and just wasn't looking forward to doing it again.

In the commercials for Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders there is usually a kid or two and a parent. The parent is laughing and having a good time. This is false advertising. No where in the commercials do they show game pieces being thrown across the room. The camera didn't stick around long enough to film the kid having a tantrum when he was thisclose to meeting King Kandy and he picked up that damn Gingerbread Tree card that put him all the way back to the beginning of the game. No, the Milton Bradley people don't want you to see that.

Even though these bad memories were suddenly fresh in my mind, I decided to teach the girl to play. I poured myself a big, strong cup of coffee and sat down at the table with her. We played two whole games. Time did not stand still and no one died. We actually had a good time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Notes on Entertainment

Right now I'm listening to the new Teddy Thompson cd and loving it of course. I was worried this cd would be upbeat but I was wrong. Uptempo possibly, but not upbeat. It is impossible to be cheery while listening to a song that is titled, 'Turning the Gun on Myself'. Teddy is still bummed out. Bad for him. Good for me.

Last night Jay and I watched The Darjeeling Limited. Despite the fact that I don't find Jason Schwartzman, Adrian Brody, or Owen Wilson attractive in the least, I still really liked this movie. In short, it was about three brothers who travel around India trying to find their mom. It was funnier than I thought it would be and then sadder than I thought it would be. At the beginning of the movie was the short film, "Hotel Chevalier." A few months back I remember seeing this all over the internets, mainly because Natalie Portman's bare ass is in it, and anytime her naked ass is in anything it becomes hugely popular. I don't understand why this was a separate part of the movie, since it kind of explains a lot about Jason Schwartzman's character. And if you watched it without The Darjeeling Limited, it explains nothing. You really have to watch both together. The whole shebang is really worth your time. (Interesting fact: Had my second child been born a boy, we were seriously thinking of naming him Owen. My husband's last name is Wilson. Owen Wilson. Thank goodness she was a girl, since her parents forgot there was a doofy actor of the same name.)

I'm still reading 'Eat, Pray, Love'. I mentioned before how I'm liking it but having a hard time with the narrator. This is still ringing true. I love that Liz is taking time out of her life to nurture herself, so to speak, but she just seems to have such a selfish, self-obsessed view of everything. I am now reading the 'Pray' portion of the book which takes place in India, where she spends time (six weeks I think) at an Ashram. The Ashram is located in a very poor village. The author mentions only in passing how everyone living around the Ashram is dirt poor. She doesn't seem bothered by the fact that while she is spending hours upon hours working on her meditation, the people outside the Ashram are struggling just to survive. If I were in her shoes, I would have a hard time getting past this fact. I don't think I would be able to relax enough to meditate.

As much as I'm disliking Liz and her attitude, I think it's interesting how much I keep thinking about her. She is a good writer. If the book where crappy I would have thrown it aside by now. But it's making me think a lot---just in a different way than she would. I see things through the eyes of someone who is and always has been very working class, so I see Liz as a brat. But it's more than that. I guess I've always basically liked and been happy with myself, even when I'm a mess. So I find it irritating that Liz has to travel the world to find this part of her that makes her happy. It's almost childlike. AND THEN THERE IS THE CRYING! All the time with the crying. Seriously, if I were her friend in real life, I think I'd stop answering her calls.

I say all these bad things about her, but as soon as I get off the computer I'm going to pick up the book. I'm reading it every time I have a spare moment.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jane Jenni stuff

When Jay and I went to Savannah we went into a shop that sold all sorts of fun and interesting kitchen items, (think Anne Taintor). I can't remember the name of the store for the life of me, but it was different from all the other kitchen stores in Savannah because it wasn't filled to the ceiling with Paula Deen items. She appears to be the Queen of Savannah dining.

I really could have blown a wad of cash in this store but my kitchen is cluttered as it is, and I didn't really have a wad of cash to blow in the first place. I couldn't resist purchasing a few of the Jane Jenni melamine plates pictured below. Jay says that when I bought them he was internally grumbling about the $9 a piece price tag, but he's since changed his mind because we use them all the time. The kids love them but they aren't too kiddie for adults to use when we cook out.We've been grilling out a lot lately and it's nice to not have to take glass plates outside or use wasteful paper plates.

Jay and I were fooling around on the internet the other night and we found this store that sells the full line of plates at 50 cents less than I paid in Savannah. They also carry cups and porcelain mugs of the same design. Now I just need a wad of cash.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Weekly Update

I woke up this morning to rain, which I love. Here in Florida we get most of our rain in the afternoon which is nice, but not nearly as relaxing as a morning rain. When it rains in the morning it sets a very lazy tone for the day. I plan on doing nothing but reading and eating. I hope the sun doesn't come out at all.

The boy is gone again this weekend. This time he's in Georgia to spend some time with my dad. I miss him but it's been nice just being able to hang out with the girl. She and I sat at the table this morning and actually ate breakfast together. Sounds simple, but I hardly get the chance to eat breakfast with the kids. They are early risers and want to eat before 7 a.m. I, on the other hand, cannot even think about eating until after a few cups of coffee. And even then it's usually something small. Somehow this morning we were in sync though and we sat and pigged out on whole wheat pancakes. Then I was stuffed and took a nap. All before 10:30. If I continue at this rate, I will have had dinner and be back in my pajamas by about 3 in the afternoon.

Yesterday I tried my hand at stenciling designs on stationery. The tree stencil in the picture below is from the Lotta Jansdotter book. The brown and green sprig like designs I copied from a picture in the same book and then made the stencil myself. The plain stationery was bought at Target and was quite a deal at only $9.99 for fifty card sheets and fifty matching envelopes. (By the way, you can all just quit snickering about my very 1970's green and yellow bed spread. It was on sale at Urban Outfitters for $12.99 and I was moved by the bargain. Plus, I think it's kind of groovy.)

Having just finished "When you are Engulfed in Flames" by David Sedaris, I've now read twenty-nine books this year. Still on track to meet the goal of fifty. I hate to talk about this too much though for fear of jinxing myself.

Last night I started reading, "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I've heard a lot about this book and picked it up at the store many times only to put it back on the shelf. Well, I was saved from buying it myself when Beauty Guru sent it to me in the last care package. In case you don't know, the book is basically about a woman's search for spiritual enlightenment and a certain amount of peace. I'm enjoying the story well enough I suppose, but I think the author is kind of self absorbed and whiny. I'm finding it hard to relate to a woman who thinks the only way she can find herself and learn how to be happy is by taking a year off of work and traveling the world. Wouldn't everyone be happy doing this? I just think it's more important to learn to find happiness in the smaller, everyday things.

But like I said, I am enjoying the story well enough. The author is really good at describing the places she visits and the people she meets. I'm just liking the other characters much more than the main character. I'm in the "Eat" portion of the book right now and it takes place in Italy. All the descriptions of the Italian food are mouthwatering and I'm so glad that Jay is making pasta and shrimp for lunch. I may even have a glass of red wine with lunch because unlike the spoiled Elizabeth Gilbert, I don't have to leave the country and shirk all my reponsibilites to appreciate it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

She's Crafty

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I planned on stenciling some designs on the girl's dresser. Since I didn't receive my stencils until yesterday, I prepared for this project by giving the dresser a paint job. It's previous color was a dingy pale green and it took a surprising amount of paint to cover it. I chose just a solid white because I wanted it to look as clean as possible. Well once I had done that, I couldn't just slap the old, ugly drawer pulls back on, so I replaced them with brushed silver ones. Well, once I had done that I was so pleased with the way the dresser looked that I decided to stop. I just really love the clean lines and simplicity of it. I'm posting a picture of the end result, although since I had no camera available to take a "before", I understand if the picture is rather boring to you. You'll just have to trust me that this version is much nicer.
Well, then I got my stencils. The stencils I ordered are from the Lotta Jansdotter book, "Lotta Prints." Once I looked through the book, I got so excited and I had to do something with those stencils. Early in the book Lotta says,"You do not need any prior experience or knowledge to create the projects in this book." Check! That's me. I stenciled some tree like designs on the girl's door and I love the way that they came out. Even though I'm loving Lotta lately, I looked around a lot before settling on her stencils. Most of the others I came across were of very detailed, specific objects or animals. I like the Lotta stencils because they are a bit more abstract and goof-ups are less obvious.

Everything in the book looks super easy to do, and Lotta gives very basic instructions, which I totally appreciate. For example, she mentions how if you want to stencil a design, but want two different colors of it, then you need to make a separate stencil for each color. Something like that might seem obvious to more experienced crafters, but I wouldn't have realized it until it was too late.

There are a lot of other things in the book I want to try, from using the stencils to decorate clothing and linens, to stamping my own stationery and making homemade cards.(Which reminds me, my gal Ivy did a great post the other day about making homemade cards. She created one that is quite funky and fun. Do check it out.)

In the past week I did so much work to the girl's room and I'm so pleased that it cost me very little money. My biggest expenses were the green paint which cost about $25 and the Lotta book which was about $14 at Amazon. The white paint and most of the supplies we already had laying around. Even the new drawer pulls were only $2 a piece.

Now to get rid of that nasty grey carpet.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rare Minerals Blemish Therapy

This past Saturday I received a care package from Beauty Guru. This is the kind of friendship she and I have. Over the course of a few months, we compile things we know the other one will like. Usually it includes books we've read, magazines, small inexpensive trinkets, beauty products and samples, etc. I'm always so excited when I get a box because I never know what is going to be in it. I was simply over the moon when I opened this particular box and saw the Rare Minerals Blemish Therapy. (Yeah, I still get the occasional pimple. You wanna make something of it?)

I've been using the Bare Escentuals line for a few years now, having been introduced to it by, duh, Beauty Guru. Their products do not disappoint and the Blemish Therapy is no different. It dried out my blemish in one night which I thought was awesome. Even more awesome though was that it didn't dry out the skin around the blemish. Pretty amazing really. Another plus is that it also conceals, so it can be worn during the day as well. I am now devoted to this product.

Prior to this, when I would get a pimple I would use Kiehl's Blue Herbal Spot Treatment. The Kiehl's stuff works, don't get me wrong, but it hurts like all get out. Seriously, when I put it on I feel as if my skin is being eating by millions of tiny little bloodthirsty barracuda. The Rare Minerals is much gentler.

If you need this kind of product, and lets be honest, most of us do sometimes, I highly recommend the Blemish Therapy. If you don't have a Beauty Guru for a best friend who will send it to you for free, it will cost you twenty-eight buckaroos. Kinda pricey, but I see mine lasting quite a few months before needing to be replaced.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Not to Beat a Dead Horse but.....

Much like Triton hurling his trident towards an enemy, the pine tree in my neighbors yard hurled a branch taller than myself directly at the shed in our backyard. It stabbed through the roof, stopping only at the floor of the shed when it could obviously go no further. Which is where it will remain until Jay has time to cut it away piece by piece.

Miraculously, nothing in the shed was damaged by the branch. There are some books that probably have some water damage from the rain that poured in, but they were books no one read anyway, which is why they were in the shed in the first place.

I really, really wish I had my camera.

Monday, June 9, 2008

What Could Have Been a Great Week in Pictures

Yes, I'm still bitching about my lack of a camera. The Geeks have informed me that my camera has been shipped back to my local Best Buy, but considering I don't know where the Geek Headquarters is (im assuming the Bermuda Triangle area), I still have no idea how long it will be before the camera is actually in my hands.

Jay and I had a busy weekend doing home improvement projects. After living in this house for about a year an a half, I finally got around to painting the girl's room. It needed it desperately. The previous owners had slopped some paint on the walls when they put it on the market, but they basically only painted the dirty spots and the color they used was different than what was on the walls. It was a sight. It is now a lovely pale green with white trim. It really is amazing the difference a coat of paint makes.

While I was painting, Jay, with help from our neighbor(thanks Dennis!), was busy installing French doors. Previously there was a huge space where the sliding glass doors leading outside would have been before the addition was built. It was never really an eyesore, but it just looked as if something was missing. Now it looks like our house is almost complete. It will look even better when we put new trim up, re-do the kitchen and paint the rooms on either side of these fancy new doors, but one step at a time. Deep breaths.

I've really been trying to be more crafty lately. I seem to have caught some type of craft bug that there is no cure for. I suppose this wouldn't be much of a problem if I had even, say, a modicum of talent. All I am doing though is cluttering up the house with my "projects" and littering counter tops with hot glue gun rods. Today I attempted to make a bowl out of magazine pages. I have been to numerous crafty websites and blogs over the past few days and they all say the magazine bowl is super easy. Apparently I missed the small print at these websites that said something like "This is easy for everyone except you Tammie. If you want to do something arty you need to just go back to coloring in your daughter's Spongebob coloring book. Don't forget to stay in the lines." Sigh. This is what the magazine bowl is supposed to look like(picture courtesy of my new fave crafty site, Mamiedale Does it Again) :

Lets just say, mine doesn't look like that. It's slightly lopsided and not nearly as neatly made. I am a crafting retard. (Maybe I'm being too hard on myself though because when my mom came home she picked it up and said, "Oh, how cool." And when Jay came home he asked me where it came from, like it was possible that I actually bought it or something. Not like, "Where did this piece of garbage come from? Have you been dumpster diving again?") My next art project is going to be to stencil some designs on the girl's dresser. Hopefully this project will not end in me needing to buy new furniture.

The boy came back from Orlando with a raging, blister filled sunburn. He has basically spent the first official day of summer sitting on the couch and trying really hard to a.) not move and b.) ignore his sister, who keeps laughing and telling him the skin on his back looks like an alligator. I may be in for a long summer.

Well, it's getting late and I think I'm going to crawl into bed with the new David Sedaris book. It has so far lived up to the hype and made me laugh out loud.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Weekly Update

I am beginning to believe that the members of the Best Buy Geek Squad are not actual Geeks. If they were true Geeks wouldn't my camera have been fixed in less than a day? Wouldn't it be back in my hands by now? But no, it's still at Geek Headquarters.

There have been numerous times in the past few weeks when I wanted my camera. For instance today when I was hanging laundry, there was a huge yellow butterfly fluttering over my head. Although I love nature, I'm not usually awed by it. But this butterfly was easily bigger then my hand and he lingered long enough that had my camera been available, I would have had plenty of time to get it and snap a picture.

Another time I wished for my camera was earlier in the week when Jay painted the laundry room. The "before" picture of my laundry room would have revealed a dingy, sad, sorry room complete with flat white paint that held on to every grubby hand print. The "after" picture would have been happier. Bright yellow walls with white trim. The boy's framed artwork all along the walls. It's still a laundry room but a much more pleasant one. We had actually wanted a pale yellow but paint swatches can be deceiving and we ended up with more of a Spongebob yellow. It's nice though and I'm happy with the outcome.

Yes, a camera would have been helpful this week. Looking at pictures is much more interesting than reading a description of what would have been in a picture. Hopefully the Geeks will return my camera soon. I miss it.

In other news, the boy left home today with a packed suitcase. No, he wasn't running away. He was going with his friend to Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando. He won't be back until Sunday evening. I'm sure he'll have a good time. The house is so quiet but I have to admit I kinda miss the turd. It will be nice to only have to make dinner for one kid though. And by "dinner" I mean Easy Mac. Or possibly a cheap ass Totino's Pizza that I would inevitably eat half of.

The fact that my son is gone for the weekend prepares me for another trip he will be taking---the safety patrol trip to Washington D.C. at the end of next school year. Yes, I know it's exactly one year away but considering it costs $500, I'm lucky I found out about it when I did. I have some saving to do before then. I'm still trying to decide if I want to attempt to save another $650 to pay for Jay or myself to go along as chaperone. I don't really want to go and I know Jay has no desire to sit on a chartered bus with a bunch of ten and eleven year olds, but the thought of sending my son that far without a parent totally freaks me out. But the thought of attempting to set aside $1150 in one year also freaks me out. I'm going to try to not spend the entire summer thinking about this. I will save all these worries for next school year.

I just talked to Jay on the phone and he is having quite the shitty day at work. Literally. All three toilets in the women's bathroom at his store are overflowing. I feel bad for him. Especially because in comparison, I had a relatively easy day with one less child than usual. The girl was not her usual spawn of Satan self. Plus, she's in bed asleep and I'm on my second glass of sangria. I feel almost guilty for having such a decent day. Not too guilty though--I'm sure I'll have a sucky day soon enough.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lack of Motivation and One Cause of It

At this very moment one of the many cats that call this place home is meowing at the door with a half-dead lizard in her mouth. She wants me to let her in so she can finish the murdering on my bath mat and then drop the lizard corpse at my feet as some sort of gift. I cannot be bothered with this today so I just chose to shut the blinds instead. Some days I go out and save the lizard. Not today. Today I turn a blind eye and hum "The Circle of Life."

I'm not very motivated today. In fact, I have been quite the slacker. Even after drinking two Diet Pepsi Max's, nothing seems manageable. Like, I look around and all the tasks that I normally have no problem completing seem incredibly daunting so I just think, Why should I even bother trying today? I'm aware that if everyone in the world took this attitude, then nothing would get done. I'm trying not to think about that and instead just hope that I get back on track tomorrow.

Mostly, I think I just feel like being lazy. But I must place partial blame for my lack of motivation on my daughter who has been talking since about 6:15 this morning. She has always been a loud, vocal child, literally since birth. On the evening after she was born, Jay and the boy were asleep and I was lying in the hospital bed holding the girl, and I remember her making some of the prettiest gurgling noises imaginable. I was in love with those sounds. I was in love with all the sounds she made.

What a damn fool I was. Seriously the child has not shut up since. Not only does she talk constantly. But she talks loudly. Her everyday speaking voice borders on that of a holler. Her inside voice is the average child's outside voice. I blame this on my husband. His whisper is on the same decibel level as my everyday voice. When we are in public and Jay whispers something to me like, "Wow...check out the misshapen melon on that guy"---I cringe. I just know that melon head probably heard every word.

But back to my daughter. Today her noise level has been exceptionally loud and it has worn me out. Her vocabulary has expanded quite a bit in the past few weeks and she talks in, not only complete sentences, but complete paragraphs. Long paragraphs. I don't allow her to outright yell at me, or anyone else in the house for that matter, so she has taken to yelling at her toys. The discipline she hands out isn't reserved just for dolls, but anything that she perceives as disobeying her wishes. A ball of Play-Doh falls on the floor, she yells to it, "I SAID NO!" If she's having trouble jamming together some Tinker-Toys, they also get the "I SAID NO!" When I first witnessed this behaviour, I thought it was slightly humorous. Now I see it for what it is--irritating and bratty. The sound just scrapes at my nerves, much like nails on a chalk board. Or a meowing cat with a lizard in her mouth, scratching on my glass door.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Six Random Thoughts

Sometimes I want to blog but my brain isn't working properly or my daughter won't hush so I end up compiling a list for your reading pleasure. The fact that you may not be getting any actual pleasure out of the list is lost on me, so don't bother e-mailing me with your complaint.

1. Big News: Teddy Thompson has a new CD coming out on the seventeenth of this month titled, "A Piece of What You Need." I realize this may only be big news to me. (note to Jay: get out your earplugs--you know how it is when I get a new Teddy Thompson cd.)

2. I accidentally put way too much makeup on this morning. I feel as if I belong in a wax museum.

3. If the older gentleman that lives with me doesn't stop leaving the stove burners on, I will be forced to take away his stove burner privileges.

4. My neighbor is moving and he doesn't want to take some of his furniture with him. Jay pillaged his house yesterday and brought some stuff home to sell at the next garage sale. I have two giant, executive sized desks on my back porch. I have become one of those people that have inside furniture on the outside of their house. Thank God I have a fenced in yard so the freakin' office in my backyard cannot be seen from the street. I am so ashamed.

5. I think know there are mice living in the shed in the backyard. As much as this bothers me, I can't really bring myself to take any action to, um, dispose of them. (Especially after reading the Maus books by Art Spiegelman---I'm starting to see my cats as Nazis.) I'm going to take a sort of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" attitude with them. As long as they stay in the shed I will pretend I don't know they are there.

6. Nerds candy fresh from the box taste the same as year old Nerds candy scraped from the bottom of the glove compartment in the car. The color changes though---they turn brown over time. Don't ask how I know this.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Phone Call

Monday afternoon I was washing windows when I heard the phone ring. I looked at the caller ID and it's the boy's school. My first thought was "Uh-oh, he's sick and needs me to come get him. My baby boy needs me." I quickly push the on button and say "Hello."

I hear my son's faint voice, "Hey mom. I just wanted to tell you I'm going to be late coming home from school because I have safety patrol training. Bye."

Although I was pleased that he was responsible enough to call me and tell me he would be late, I was also shocked and a little bit sad. He didn't really need me at all. Well, not this time anyway.

This is what I want though---responsible, independent children. I guess I just didn't expect it to happen so soon.

(As a side note to this, when did everyone in my household go out and get lives of their own?)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Weekly Update

I must start out this update by mentioning the BIG news. (No, I'm not pregnant. That would not be big news---it would be bad news and I wouldn't be at the computer. I'd be somewhere curled up in the fetal position and crying.) The big news is that my son made the safety patrol squad for next year! I don't know if a lot of kids were vying for the various safety patrol positions. I don't know if competition was fierce. All I know is that my son wanted this badly and he got it and I'm proud of him.

Friday night my mom and I went to a restaurant/sports bar to hear The String Kings. I don't know how it happened exactly, but sometime in the past year or so, while I've been sitting home reading books, playing video games, and watching Keeping up with the Kardashians, my mom went out and got a life and is now almost hip. Well, hipper than I am. My mom danced the night away. Sometimes with other ladies, sometimes with Super Dave (more about him later), sometimes by herself. My mom was having a blast.

I actually was having a blast as well, just on a much less effusive level. I'm not really much of a "joiner." At social functions I tend to maintain a permanent spot as wallflower or chair warmer. Because of this, everyone always assumes I'm not having a good time. I find myself constantly having to convince people that I'm enjoying myself.

As I mentioned earlier, we hung out with Super Dave. Dave is a relative of a String King and all around friend of the band. I guess he's also on the local Lex and Terry radio show, although I wouldn't know anything about this since I only listen to moody folk music and cheesy Brit pop on satellite radio. (See, I told you people I'm not hip.) Dave is fun and wild and definitely made the night interesting. Now I understand why my mom so looks forward to her nights out. I hope I get to go out with her again soon.

There are only four more days of school. Every year about this time I get happy. I look forward to my son being out of school. Then, a few days later when he's eaten a weeks worth of groceries in about 16 hours, I am so ready for school to start again. I'm sure this summer will not be any different.

Lastly, I would like to show you a recent purchase I made. Late last week, Lotta Jansdotter merchandise was mentioned over on the Dooce site. Of course I clicked over to Jansdotter's site to check her stuff out for myself and I'm in love with it all. I try to avoid all forms of copy-catism, but forgive me for a moment and look at this:
Is that the cutest check book cover you've seen in your life? I'm hoping it will put me in a good mood when I am forced to write out unspeakably large checks to the electric company this summer.