Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm Doing This

October is National Blog Writing Month.

I've pledged to write a blog post everyday for the entire month.

I'm not sure I'll succeed. The idea of 31 consecutive posts is very, very daunting.

I almost didn't sign up but Betts was so damn convincing.

Do you want to do it too? If so, hop on over to NaBloWriMo and leave a comment saying you're in.

I'll be back here on October first.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What Really Grinds My Gears :: Part Five

What's grinding my gears today, you ask?

My husbands shoe collection:The above pile you see on my bed is most of Jay's shoe collection. He also has golf shoes, flip flops, a rarely worn pair of lace up boots, and the shoes that he wore to work today. Fifteen pairs. For him, that number isn't that obnoxious. There have been times in our marriage that he's had closer to forty pairs.

In recent years, he's gotten better about keeping his addiction under control. Plus, since we aren't using credit cards this year, he hasn't been able to purchase every brown lace up that crosses his path.

You'd think that having his shoe collection whittled down to a paltry fifteen pairs would make it much easier to care for the beloved collection. And by "care for" I basically mean "put away." But no, I find them everywhere but the closet. I walk the house daily picking up shoes. They're by the front door, the back door, the couch, the piano, and once, most inexplicably, directly in front of the refrigerator. How? Why?

Sometimes if Jay is motivated, he'll carry his shoes into the bedroom and I'll get all excited thinking he's finally learned. But then he'll stop and put them directly in front of the closet. Why? Is he doing this just to piss me off?

This morning I took a few moments to organize Jay's shoes for him. Not because I'm a good wife, but because I actually wanted to walk in to my walk in closet and that couldn't be done because the floor was covered with random shoes and empty shoe boxes. Now Jay just needs to do something about the rest of his side of the closet or else I will be forced to discuss the following questions here:

*Does one man really need 15 pairs of flat front, relaxed fit chinos?

*White linen shirts: How many is too many?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Short List of Random Thoughts

Sigh.

Can we just discuss for one moment how tired I am of cleaning up vomit? In case you can't guess, I'm really, really tired of it. After about five days of being "better," my son had another bout of illness. Fortunately, it didn't last long, but I have to say that this years cold and flu season has already completely destroyed my will to live. As for myself, I feel as if my body has been fighting something off all week. Please, no.

In other news:

*As previously mentioned, on Tuesday I went Alec shopping and one of the dvd's I bought was Lymelife. We watched it that night and it was funny and sad and dark and had an ending that was completely torturous and unfulfilling. I loved it. Even the man liked it since it reminded him of growing up in New Jersey.

*I know I haven't reviewed a book in a while, but I have been reading. The most recent book that I finished was Malcolm Gladwell's Blink. It was all about how the mind makes judgements and decisions about things within just a few seconds, often without us even being aware of it. One of the most revealing parts of the book for me, was when I took the skin tone preference test that Gladwell mentioned. (I urge you to take the test, I'm positive your results will be eye opening.) I thought that the book dragged at times, but ultimately it was fascinating.

Right now I'm reading Mississippi Sissy and I hope to review it here when I'm finished.

*It's science fair time at the my son's school. I'm going to be blunt: I have absolutely no desire to help my son with this project. Don't get me wrong, I'm going to help him and I'm going to try to make it fun, because I'm a parent and that's what we do. But I'm not going to enjoy it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Things That Moved In With My Mom's Boyfriend:: Part Four

See that little boy?

He is my mom's boyfriend's son. He's about a year older than my daughter. Which means that if my mom and the boyfriend were to ever marry, you shouldn't even begin to attempt to diagram this family tree.

The little boy and my girl get along typically of kids this age. They play nicely. Then they fight. And tattle. Then they play nicely and fight some more.

I'm thinking of buying earplugs for everyone in the house over the age of 10.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Random Thoughts

There isn't much going on today so I thought I'd leave you with a few of the random things that are floating around my brain:

*Last Thursday the boy's school called because he was in the clinic with a fever. Once we were home, the fever was joined by body aches and vomiting. Although he's much better today, it was very ugly around here for a few days. I'm hoping I don't get sick next. I really don't have time for that.

*Have you read the fascinating story about Baby X? I read it the other day after being pointed in that direction by Gili, and found it thought provoking. I highly suggest you read it too.

*I'm also loving this video of Al Franken drawing a map of the United States.

*Tomorrow is the day I've been waiting for. I have my Borders coupon and I'm ready to go Alec Baldwin related dvd shopping. As you know, I tend to get overly excited by this sort of thing. I find myself singing the Spongebob Squarepants Best Day Ever song.

*I seem to have broken out in hives. (Are skin conditions inappropriate blog talk? I don't know. My gauge that measures the appropriateness of a topic has been broken for some time now.) Anyway, I have sensitive skin so I'm used to dealing with this type of thing, but it's incredibly frustrating this time because I haven't been able to pinpoint a cause. All the usual triggers (stress, new/different soap, lotion, laundry detergent, etc..) don't seem to apply this time. So I sit and scratch and cover myself with medicated powder. I feel so sexy right now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Egghead

This is Egghead.

I don't know why Egghead is so angry. Maybe it's because he's missing an arm and his one good arm is stuck on his hip all feminine like. Maybe he thinks it's sending the wrong message. I don't know.

Jay picked Egghead up when we were thrifting a few weeks back. He was 40 cents. I almost didn't buy him because I heard the creepy, middle aged, male cashier say that the money from all the sales at this particular thrift store goes to support religious missionaries. I really don't want to support something like that but I figured the missionaries couldn't mislead too many people with my forty cents. Still, I don't think I'll be returning to that thrift store. The cashier really did give me the heebie jeebies. I felt as if he kept staring at me and making judgments about me based on my extremely short hair. Frankly, I don't care about the opinions of the fanatically religious, but I just didn't feel welcome and I won't be going back.

Anyway. Back to Egghead. He was purchased because the boy likes to eat soft boiled eggs and we had no egg cups. It's never occurred to me to purchase egg cups but now I'm seeing cute ones everywhere. (Like here.)

I uploaded Egghead's picture because I was thinking of making him my new header photo, but now I'm not so sure. I don't know if I want to look at that scowl and those arched eyebrows every time I click on my blog. My blog is in a state of limbo at the moment. I'm so sick of the header photo since its theme is clearly summer and mentally that isn't where I'm at. But yet it's not quite fall here so I don't have any better images to replace it with. You may have to keep looking at that beach scene until mid-October. Please direct all complaints to Mother Nature.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just A Little Bit Longer

So, I bought these jeans for the girl at a thrift store. They were one of our usual brands and her usual size. But when I got them home and put them on her, they were short. Not capri length short, that would be cute. But awkward, nerd length, short.

Well, you can't return things to the thrift store and I was pretty pissed that I spent $2 and had nothing to show for it. (What? I'm cheap.) I looked around on the internet for a tutorial on adding length to kids pants, but just couldn't find anything that excited me. Don't get me wrong, there are tutorials out there, but a lot of them involve ruffles. I'm just not down with ruffles. Especially ruffles added to denim. No. So the jeans sat on top of the dryer for a few weeks until I could decide what to do with them.

Then on Monday I saw this post on Salt and Chocolate and I was immediately inspired by her "mama embellished pants." Yes! Embellishments that aren't tacky. So I got to work.

Since I was adding length and not just embellishing, my fabric section is longer than Mary Beth's, but I still love the look.I chose some navy ticking striped fabric because I really wanted these pants to be as subtle as possible. I didn't want them to scream out that they used to be too short.

I wish I could tell you how I did it, but honestly I just played around with it until I found a look that pleased me. I measured, cut, ironed, and pinned over and over again. The process took me all day, but the girl was home sick so this pants project was what I did in between emptying the puke bucket.

The girl is quite happy with the pants I *made* (ahem) for her. Even Jay was forthcoming with the compliments, although he thought the stripes were prison-like. Frankly, I think that's fitting considering my parenting style is quite warden-like.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Breaking the Rules (Sort of) and a Giveaway

In the backwoods, southern county I live in, it's illegal to buy or sell alcohol before 1:00PM on Sunday. We found this out the hard way when we moved here six years ago, and ever since then it's been a non-issue. Believe me, all it takes is one cashier to tell you that you can't purchase that beer or wine, and you'll never make the mistake of having an understocked refrigerator again. Granted, it's not often I want alcohol in the early afternoon. In fact, usually I'm still drinking coffee at that time. But I just hate being told that I can't do something. Especially if it's for some nonsensical reason.

Sometimes on Sunday I like to thumb my nose at the law and drink my alcohol before 1:00. OK, technically I'm not breaking any laws, but for a goody-goody such as myself, this is as naughty as it gets.

This past Sunday I took my beer out to the back porch and enjoyed the almost fall air. Sweater weather is still probably a month or two away, but every now and again I feel a breeze, a fleeting temperature drop, or a bit less humidity and I do my best to soak it up.

The book I read was the graphic novel At a Crossroads: Between a Rock and My Parents' Place. It wasn't a life changing book, but it was enjoyable, slightly humorous, and took about 15 minutes to read. Which was about as long as my beer and the breeze lasted.

If you'd like to read At a Crossroads, leave me a comment and I'll randomly choose a winner on Friday. (If you don't want to risk losing, I have another copy for sale for $3 on half.com.)
RANDOM.ORG CHOSE #3: Barefoot Mommy. I'll be contacting you for your address!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Things That Moved In With My Mom's Boyfriend:: Part Three

My mom's boyfriend is in the landscaping business, but for him it's not just a job, it's more of a passion. He knows the common and scientific names for all sorts of plants, trees, and weeds. When he moved in he brought books and dozens of little laminated cards with leaf samples on them.My favorite horticultural related find that he brought is this: It looks dead doesn't it? It's called a resurrection fern and it's growing on a piece of a tree branch. It can survive for a long period of time without water, but once it gets wet, it becomes green and lush again: (You can read more about the resurrection fern here.)

Not only did the boyfriend bring his stuff, but he brought his expertise as well and has kindly and tirelessly worked to spruce up our yard. Along with the usual mowing and weed whacking, he's trimmed trees (we have a lot of trees), shaped bushes, and filled the yard with bird feeders.

Now when neighborhood kids come around wanting to work on my yard for a few dollars, I can say, "Oh no, I'm not in need of your services. Thank you, but we have a man on site who takes care of all of that." I reckon I'll sound pretty darn fancy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Swim Suits, Self Esteem, and the Sixth Grade

The boy's last class of the day is gym. For the first month and a half of school, gym class is spent at the community pool that's conveniently located right next to the middle school. My son loves swimming so this is, of course, the highlight of his day. If I were eleven and in his class, I would be completely mortified. I don't feel as if I have many self esteem issues (no more than the average woman anyway), but I don't like being seen in a swimsuit now. I can't even wrap my brain around the idea of a pre teen me wearing one in front of the entire gym class.

Tuesday I was running ahead of schedule and arrived at the school early, there was still 25 minutes before dismissal. As I sat in the car waiting, I watched the assistant gym teacher take a dozen or so kids outside and make them walk laps around the field.

Once school was dismissed and the boy got in the car I asked him what was up...why did those kids have to run laps? I really didn't need to wait to hear his answer though, I knew it was because they had "forgotten" to bring their swimsuits.

I had figured it out when I watched them do laps. A large portion of the kids were overweight, some looked as if they might not even own a swimsuit, others were just awkward. Either way, this wasn't the popular in crowd doing laps, it was the misfits. And it broke my heart.

I remember the sixth grade and I remember being the fat girl. My best friend Dawn says that I was never fat and insists that instead it was she who was the "squat" girl in our little group of dorks. I don't remember it that way, but it doesn't matter now. What matters is, at that time, for whatever reason, I hated my body and now I cannot imagine being forced to wear a swimsuit for a grade.

All of this made me wonder...what's the point? If someone doesn't want to wear a swimsuit, couldn't something suitable be found for them to do in class, something that's less like a punishment? Frankly, as far as the 'swimming' portion of class goes, it's not very organized. The kids who play around in the water or jump off of the diving board get an automatic "A." Or, providing they are in a swimsuit, they can sit on the edge and just put their feet in and earn a "B." There is no structured learning, it's basically 45 minutes of free swim.

What are the kids learning by all this? I imagine that the lesson the coaches are trying to pass on is that the rules apply to everyone and that they can't just slide by, but is that really what the kids are taking away from this? And if so, at what price? Because the way I see it, the school is helping to ostracize the kids that are already being ostracized.

The whole thing really makes me sad. I'll be 33 next month and I still remember what it was like to be a kid. I wish some gym teachers could remember as well.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Things I'm Into Right Now

So, the boyfriend has moved in and it's been less of an ordeal than I had originally envisioned it would be. It's a change of course, but that's life. Also, let's not forget that this is a change that will hopefully keep our plans of leaving Florida on track. Definitely a plus. It puts me in a mood to focus on the positive.

Things I'm Into Right Now:

*Crystals week with Edward gave me a good gut busting laugh and I highly suggest you pop over there. Pay special attention to Day 2, it was my personal favorite.

*Sunshine Cleaning-Definitely one of my top ten movies of all time. I laughed, I cried, and everyone in it was brilliant.

*The Graveyard Book-The boy and I are reading this one together. It's the story of a child raised in a graveyard. I was so excited when I finally saw this at the library. I may have actually ran towards it.

*Cloth Napkins
When I started sewing last year, cloth napkins were one of my first projects. At that time we were going through upwards of twelve rolls of paper towels a week and I really wanted to cut back. Those original cloth napkins have held up well enough, but the way I make them has evolved over the past year. I now almost always use this pattern because it produces neat, clean napkins with minimal fuss.

I had been wanting to make more napkins for the last few months but couldn't get motivated. My sewing area is at the front of the house in one of the warmest rooms and this past summer I just couldn't drag myself in there to use my machine, much less the inevitably needed iron. But, our napkins were looking rough so when the kids started school I cut some fabric and made more napkins.
Do you want to know a little secret? My napkins are quite imperfect. They are never uniform in size and in fact they are rarely perfectly square. Mostly this is because I'm lazy, but it also has to do with the fact that I like to use every last bit of fabric I have on hand. All the above napkins were made from scraps of leftover projects or clothes. The purple one on top was made from one of the girl's long since outgrown dresses, the black and white checked one was once a shirt. Is it wrong that I make napkins from old clothes? I keep telling myself I'm going to buy some nice fabric to make a couple sets of napkins to use when the kids aren't around---but seriously, when are the kids not around? I have a good 10 or 15 more years with these little people.

So tell me please, what are you into right now?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Things That Moved In With My Mom's Boyfriend:: Part Two

I know, technically he isn't a thing, but this is Sebastian.He's a six month old chocolate lab. Right now he's the size of Liz Lemon, but he's going to be a big boy. He and Liz Lemon get along perfectly. They do all the fun things that dogs do.

Butt sniffing:Sniffing where someone else just urinated:More butt sniffing:More sniffing where someone else just urinated:Sadie the overweight teacup chihuahua isn't as impressed with Sebastian. I think she's of the opinion that there is far too much butt sniffing going on.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Life According to Literature

I stole this idea from Daphne. I know, I steal a lot of things from Daphne but she always has such fun lists.

Using only titles of books you've read this year, cleverly answer the following questions:

Describe Yourself: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

How do you feel: Dead to the World

Describe where you currently live: Camp Foxtrot

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Club Dead

Your favorite form of transportation: The White Tiger

Your best friend is: Coraline

You and your friends are: Women who Eat

What’s the weather like: One Hundred Demons

Favorite time of day: Twilight

If your life was a(n): Diary of a Wimpy Kid

What is life to you: Gods Behaving Badly (HA! So true.)

Your fear: Whistling in the Dark

What is the best advice you have to give: Make Your Place

Thought for the Day: Dreams Underfoot

How I would like to die: Kissed by an Angel

My soul’s present condition: I'm Perfect, You're Doomed.

Two thoughts:
1. This was harder to do than you'd think.
2. Clearly, I've read way too many vampire books this year.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Things That Moved In With My Mom's Boyfriend:: Part One

My mom's new man is a bit of a pack rat. Most of his stuff is in storage, but he brought enough things with him that I figured I could get at least half a dozen blog posts out of it. Thus begins a new series: Things That Moved In With My Mom's Boyfriend.

We begin the series with the ThighMaster. The ThighMaster is a workout device that was popular in the early nineties and was endorsed by actress extraordinaire, Suzanne Somers. You can watch the commercial here.

If you use it regularly, supposedly it tones the thighs. I may or may not scientifically test this in the coming weeks. We'll see how motivated I am.

Here is Jay kindly demonstrating the ThighMaster:

Work those thighs!

In my mom's boyfriends defense, he says he didn't plan on bringing the ThighMaster and that his son threw it in the moving truck at the last minute. I suppose we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Baldwin. Pumpkins. Fall.

It's been like a ghost town around my blog lately, hasn't it? For that I apologize. I'm still working on adjusting to my new schedule, plus Jay has taken a few vacation days. And who has time to blog when their husband is home? I have had a lot floating around in my head though, just no time to type it all out. We'll have to settle for this abbreviated list of sorts:

*First off, thanks so much to everyone who participated in the discussion on The Poisonwood Bible. I loved it, thought it was fun, and I'd like to do it again sometime. Maybe we could all choose a book together, have a month or two to read it, and then discuss it here?

*I had a really nice Alec Baldwin dream last night, which I'm not going to share with you people but rest assured it was very satisfying. I woke up in a good mood(a rarity for me-I'm not a morning person) and I'm going to do my best to hold on to this feeling all day. I put my dress on and I plan on spending my day as if I have no cares in the world. We'll see how this goes.

*Speaking of Alec Baldwin, Lymelife and the third season of 30 Rock come out on the 22nd of this month. Which is also the first official day of fall and, as I've been told by my local Starbucks folk, the day I will be able to get my beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte. I've decided that September 22 is going to be my best day ever and god help the person that tries to screw it up.

*I saw Pumpkin Beer in the store the other day. I love fall.

*My mother's boyfriend is moving in with us. Today, actually. Do you remember me mentioning last month that there were plans in the works to lighten her financial load? Well, this is part of the plan. I'm hoping everything goes smoothly and no massive fights erupt. For my part, Bitch Tammie is well hidden and I'm on my best behaviour. At least for today.

I have a busy day ahead of me. Hopefully I won't become a miserable, emotional wreck. If I find myself slipping into crazy territory, I'll just close my eyes and silently say Baldwin. Pumpkins. Fall. and maybe I'll return to my happy place. You know, just like the way Dorothy needs to say There's no place like home at the end of The Wizard of Oz. Only I'm nothing like Dorothy and my life is more like a white trash soap opera than a beloved family classic.