Friday, December 30, 2005

Starting the Weekend Off With a...Well, It's Not Exactly a Bang, Now Is It?

This afternoon I got off work a bit early, so I came home, read a portion of one of my dictionaries, and took a nap.


It was perfect.

I Just Couldn't Sleep Without Telling You This

(I also can't sleep without flossing my teeth, but that's another discussion for another day.)

Today I got my latest issue of my alma mater's alumni magazine, and the main story is about the swearing in of the new university president. It says all sorts of hokey crap about him being a "servant leader" who "ushers in a new era of servant leadership." Which is all fine because I know my alma mater, and I know how they like to say hokey crap and be redundant (must be where I got it) all the time and think it's fabulous, and so I skim the story but mostly look at the shiny pictures. Wherein I find my piece of entertainment for the evening: In one photo, the new university president and his wife are standing in front of a hideous ice sculpture of an eagle with wings spread wide, but the angle at which the right wing is captured makes it look less like a wing and more like an alien nebulous mass, poised directly above the servant leader university president's bald head, ready to vaporize his brain matter.

Or else it looks like a crystalline mohawk. Either way, not what the editors of The Accent intended, I'm sure.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Just a Bunch of Stuff I'm Going to Tell You

Last night when I was pretending that the rest of the world ceased to exist briefly for the sake of my personal convenience, I stumbled across something that made me laugh so hard I may have just snorted. I started out giggling, but by the time I made it to, "You could maybe hide it in cheese or peanut butter?" I had completely lost it, and by the time I hit "Pony Hole," I may have just been crying from the glee. I don't know if this makes me immature or just in desperate need of a good laugh, but whatever. Enjoy the link. Let me know if you snort when you laugh.

Earlier this month I gave a little plug for Ashton Allen on another little blog I have (ssshhhhh, it's a secret, don't tell), and he found it and sent me an e-mail thanking me for the plug and wishing me a happy new year. (I probably should have used some capitalization there. I don't care.) Right, so anyway, I felt that Ashton, being so nice as to take the time to write me an e-mail, deserved better than a mention on my sort-of-secret blog, so I'm giving him a plug right here. Ashton's music is fantastic, and I encourage a download or a purchase directly from his site. Also his t-shirts are pretty fun, and if you want to buy one for yourself or someone else (ahem*iwearsizesmallandlikebothshirtssoeitheroneisfine*ahem), I'm sure that would be a good idea. In addition (the fun never ends!), Ashton is playing some shows soon. If you're in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and some other places I'm too lazy to type out, chances are that he's playing near you. Many of his shows are in Barnes and Noble, and please, people, is there a reason not to go? Good music, lots of books about, high quality snacks in the cafe... You should check it out. Because I said so. And a big thank you to Ashton for the e-mail.

On a related note, related because it's about purchasing music, I recently ordered both CDs that are available on Kim Taylor's website, and they're perfect, of course. My favorite part was that the envelope they came in was hand addressed. In ink pen. I'm a sucker for things written by hand, even if it was just my address. She has a new album coming out next spring-ish (if I remember right), which thrills me no end. Kim has had the recent honor of being played in my car on the way to work, and I rarely play anything but the sweet sound of silence on my way to work, so she must be very good indeed. I recommend a purchase from her site or a download from iTunes. (But let me remind you that if your purchase from her site, the envelope is hand addressed. By hand. In ink pen. It's very nice.)

So last night after I'd watched Monsoon Wedding and caught up on blogs, I decided to play beauty parlor and assaulted my hair with a curling iron. I'm happy to report that I have settled on a hairstyle for New Year's Eve and that it also looks fabulous slightly messy the next day, which means that I've settled on a hairstyle for New Year's Day as well. It's really a shame I have no date for the New Year's Eve festivities, or even one for, say, doughnuts the next morning, as I will be foxy like, like a fox. I guess I'll have to settle for the attention of my many fine friends and just show you all pictures later so you can tell me I look pretty. (I don't fish for compliments, people, I just tell you right out that I should get them. So humble, yes, I know.)

Today the little girls from across the street are hanging out with us, and they are the most precious things ever. This morning as I was knitting, Kate mentioned that she and Greta were going to learn to knit, but they couldn't do it last night because, "there just wasn't so much patience." Must be on backorder. Mine is.

I am looking forward to the holiday season being over. I'm ready to get back to my usual pace of life. This time of year, as enjoyable as it can be, really stresses me out, and I'm more than ready to return to the ordinary.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I'm Ditching You All for Monsoon Wedding

I'm officially all peopled out. Go away, people. I'm turning off the phone, dimming the lights, and settling in front of my computer with a plate of microwave nachos and a BIG BAG of Hershey's Chocolate Mint Kisses (it really does say BIG BAG on the bag, just like that, in all caps). If I do not respond to your call or e-mail in a timely manner, bite me I apologize. I'll get back to you when you're less annoying I'm a little less irritable.

GO AWAY ALREADY! Enjoy your Wednesday evening.

Monday, December 26, 2005


During the Season of Gluttony (also known to some as "The Holidays"), I think this quiz is appropriate.

filet mignon
You taste like filet mignon. You are the epitome
of fine taste and everyone knows it. You are
expensive, well aged, and in demand!

How do you taste?
brought to you by Quizilla

Please share your own results; I'm curious.

Link via Holly, who tastes like fajitas. Thanks, Holly!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Little Bit of Christmas

niece and nephewage

I've got a little Christmas photo set over at flickr. I didn't take a ton of photos today, but what I've got, I'll share.

I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I hope you have a ball!

GEDDIT? GEDDIT? A ball? And they're in the ball pit?

My gift to you this Christmas is a bad pun. Are you thankful or what?

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope it's all you're wishing for and more.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Just What You've Been Waiting For: The marymuses King Kong Review

I'll make this short, mostly because I'm tired and lazy.

Tonight Tim, Julianna, and I went to see King Kong. When we used the ticketing kiosks, in the bottom of mine was an abandoned ticket for Memoirs of a Geisha, and in the bottom of theirs was one for Munich. Perhaps we should have taken this as a sign that there are other films, quality films, no less, that are playing, and why mess with the blockbuster? However, we missed the sign, and King Kong, it was.

I think the most telling thing I could say to you is that I had two favorite parts during the movie:

1. The part where I was eating candy and not really paying attention.


2. The part where Julianna put her scarf over her eyes and I put my cardigan hood over my eyes and we started laughing.

The main issue I have with Peter Jackson, and I had it in the first Lord of the Rings, too, is that he enjoys chase scenes too much. Someone is always being chased, running pell-mell through some jungle/cave/field/river/underground labyrinth, and it lasts for. ev. er. Then when it's done, he lets his audience breathe for precisely 2.45879 seconds before beginning another chase scene. Because chase scenes are so exciting! And suspenseful! And crowd-pleasing! And...boring after awhile, once you get past the point where you feel like you might go right over the edge from the tension he builds up but doesn't relieve in a timely manner. To build up suspense throughout a film, thus leading to an impressive climax and resolution, is one thing, but to employ it over and over again when we all can guess (or already know) what is going to happen is simply a waste of time.

I will give props to Peter for an impressive cast and stunning visual effects. He is talented, for sure, and I don't want to imply otherwise. I'll subtract props, however, for the nightmares I'll be having thanks to the creepy people and the insect/arachnid/wormish life he indulged in so liberally between the chase scenes. (Couldn't someone have warned me about that? Or at least offered to sit guard by my bed while I sleep with all the lights on?) Overall, I'll give the movie an, "Um, Okay" and let the rest of you judge for yourselves. I won't be recommending it, but if you're a big Peter Jackson fan, I won't attempt to hinder you from attending.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Even When She's Serious, She's Funny

Yesterday my phone rang repeatedly throughout the day. I kept having to interrupt what I was doing with Mary Liz to answer it, and she was more patient than usual, so near the end of the day I turned the phone off and said, "Thank you SO much for being so quiet while I answered the phone today. Now that everyone we know has called, I can turn off the phone and just spend time with you."

"Everyone has called us?" she responded.

"Yes," I replied emphatically, "at least, everyone we know."







And on we went, listing everyone who had called. At the end she paused, trying to think of one more person who may have called. "Did John Mayer call?" she inquired.

"Um, sweetpea?"


"We don't know him."

"Oh," she answered, clearly puzzled, "we don't?"

We sure don't. But something tells me I may have been playing his new album a little too much in the car.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

So How Are You Going to Use That, Then?

It's one of my least favorite questions, but people ask it often. This last time I was standing next to an older gentleman, waiting for my drink at Starbucks. He inquired about my order, and I reciprocated. He asked about Jack, and I said something, because for some reason it's important to me that people know, to indicate that I'm his nanny, not his mother. He asked if I was in school, and I said, no, that I have a degree already, and am not planning on a graduate degree just yet. He queried as to my major, and I told him, English. And then he asked the question. "So how are you going to use that, then?" And I didn't have an answer. I don't ever, really, except the smart-alecky one.

"I use it to create sparkling dinner conversation with my many suitors and also to feel superior to those who use apostrophes inappropriately."

I got an English degree because I like to read. That's all there is to it. I tried other majors, but nothing thrilled me as much as reading great books. I remember telling my mom when I was in high school that if I could major in anything, regardless of its usefulness, it would be English. I just wanted to read. It took two other majors and a threat of dropping out to bring all of us who were paying for my schooling to the conclusion that maybe I should just do what I love to do. And so I have an English degree. I have no plans as to do anything specific with it, and I really don't mind. I suppose I could say that I've used it to write a lot of really bad poems. I guess I could admit that I have more than one children's book scribbled on scraps of paper, bound together in a folder somewhere on my desk shelf. But those things aren't important to me in any professional sense right now. They're just for me, because I like them. I like my life as it is, with no pressure to take things further if I'm not ready or willing to put out the effort it would take to make something more substantial of that part of my life. My English degree is just one small drop in the bucket of all the things I've learned, and right now I'm making use of some of the other drops. The English degree deserves a break already. After all, I don't feel that my college education is more important than my other education.

Except, of course, when I'm making sparkling dinner conversation with my many suitors. Then it's downright crucial to my success.

A Thousand Tiny Deaths

I've perfected my loud, sharp claps for occasions like this:

singing beautifully

Today was Jack's Christmas program at school. I attended the dress rehearsal, and let me just say: IT KILLED ME. Over and over again, those kids were killing me. I forgot how much I love school Christmas programs, but please. If I had more time I'd find out when all the kids I know are performing and I'd show up.

First of all, Jack was magnificent in his usual way. He stood in the back, third from the right, with his shirt accidentally unbuttoned, and sang his little heart out. My one regret for the day was that I didn't have my camera out at the moment that he, between hand motions, put his hands behind his head, making his elbows jut out to the sides as if he were relaxing in an easy chair. Classic Jack moment. The kid just never quits doing funny things with his gangly appendages. I only wish I could have seen what he was doing with his feet.

During the portion of the program in which Jack sang, there were a number of solos. A little boy I know named Sam sang an earnest solo which he just belted right out, and I was hard pressed not to employ the loud, sharp clap right in the middle of the song. So I died a tiny little death right there in my chair and managed to resurrect for the next song, which did, indeed, feature another tiny death, many of them, actually, this time by my heart bursting into a million tiny pieces when the little girl sang:

I light one candle to watch for Messiah
Let the light banish darkness
He shall bring salvation to Israel
God fulfills a promise

It was so sweet and clear and perfect. My heart burst over and over and over and I wanted to go, "Little girl, you are killing me. Please stop, please. Except don't. Maybe sing forever." And then later I saw her in her pink crocheted hat with the sequins all around it, and I wanted to ask her mother if I could take her home with me as a Christmas present. She was just that perfect.

For their big finale, Jack's group sang a song which involved much shouting instead of singing (indicated in the following by caps) and big hand motions:

Pre-PARE the way for the COM-ing of God
Make STRAIGHT the way for the COM-ing of God

Join in if you know it, and don't forget the hand motions:

Pre-PARE the way for the COM-ing of God
Make STRAIGHT the way for the COM-ing of God

what is it with my charges wanting to have their hands higher than anyone else's?

Man, I love Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2005

O is for Overachiever

I decided this morning at 2:45am that since I only have two varieties of cookies to make, 150 Christmas cards to print for someone else who hasn't approved the design yet, three items to take to the dry cleaners, eleventy bajillion dirty dishes to clean, 43 photos to process, who-knows-how-many photos to back up from the hard drive, one extra day of work with one extra child to boot, and three loads of laundry to do this week, I should probably do a last minute Christmas project involving at least four errands and a lot of printer ink.

Someone, please, hit me hard with something heavy. Preferably right on the noggin.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Somehow I Don't Think This is What the Editors of Southern Living Had in Mind

This is what we call "Mary taking a perfectly good crafty idea waaaaay too far." But it's cute, right? Just say, "RIGHT!"

It all started because Jack and Mary Liz were playing nicely together, and I had nothing else to do but read the latest Southern Living magazine which had arrived at their home. I'd decided long before that I wouldn't have a Christmas tree, that I'd just set up my smallest nativity set, the one that is in all one piece so as not to require any actual set-up, unless you count putting a new tea light (which may or may not be lit during the season) in the hollow behind it. It was brilliant! The Christmas decorating was done! No one really cared! But then Southern Living had to put all those mantle decorating ideas, none of which required obtaining or watering an actual evergreen tree, in their issue, and I had the stroke of genius to steal one of those ideas and take it much, much (much, much) further.

The original idea was to put two curved branches (preferably found in one's yard or the yard of a friend or neighbor, thereby making them free) in a rectangular vase filled with gravel, disguise the gravel with moss, and hang nice, matching ornaments spaced evenly throughout the branches. It was simple, it was sophisticated, it did NOT involve a popcorn tin full of Hallmark ornaments collected over the years and two full strands of white Christmas lights.

And also their branches were not so...branchy.

What I have now are some tree branches that look as if they were vomited on first by a bunch of white lights and then by a bunch of ornaments. It's kind of tacky. I kind of love it.

If you look at it from the right angle, it's actually quite cute. The ornaments are many and varied, and I do believe there is something for everyone to enjoy, even grinches and Southern Living editors, who surely do not wish to take credit for my branchy work of Christmas art. If you look at it from the wrong angle, however, you will poke your eye out, for there is not quite enough room for the average adult to pass by the curved branch into the living room.

I guess if you come over, you'll just have to remember to duck.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Because I'm Bigger Than You, That's Why

Tonight I looked after six boys. Don't worry; it was lucrative enough to make the torture worth it. In fact, I'd say the torture was much less than my current personal hell and paid much better. (I don't get paid extra to listen to Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits, but so help me, I should.) Also, to be fair, one boy was sick and so was sleeping the entire evening.

The rest of the boys were busy being boys which kept me busy breaking up tussles and keeping balls from flying towards breakable objects all night.

When it was late enough, I sent them to bed and/or to rest watching a DVD. (Two of them were from a different house, so their beds were waiting for them for later.) The problem was that one of them, the eldest, actually, refused to go to bed.

And when I say "refused," I mean he wrapped himself around a chair and clung to it as if it would save his life. Which really? Not so much, seeing as I'm bigger and stronger and used to maneuvering a chubby four-year-old who has the "make myself like lead" deal down pat. By comparison, this kid barely put up a fight, though I will give him credit for reaching longingly in the direction of the chair as I climbed up the bunk bed ladder with him under one arm and my other arm steadying our ascent. As I slipped him effortlessly over the railing, I apologized, probably more for damaging his self-esteem than anything else. I gave some lame excuse for tossing him in there like that and scratched his back for a bit to make him feel better. I imagine it's hard being the biggest most of the time, only to be outdone by some random babysitter.

Sorry, kid. Better luck next babysitter. Unless, of course, it's me. Then luck's not going to help you much.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Note to Those Who Allow Their Dogs to Poop in my Yard and Do Not Clean It Up Already

I am of the opinion that if I do not own a dog, I should not have to clean dog poop off of my shoes after walking through my own yard. If you own a dog, it is your responsibility to clean up after it. If you don't want to pick up your dog's poop, either don't have a dog or keep it confined to a space where you will be the only one likely to step in the droppings.

I have had to clean dog poop off my shoes twice this week. TWICE. You know what that means don't you? It means that if I catch you, I'm going to have to kick you.

And your little dog, too.

So there.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

I meant to write about this yesterday, but the day got away from me. So here we go, one day late: It's over. Yesterday marked one year on my experiment, thus bringing to a close something that's been, and that I hope will continue to be, good for me. This year of, for the most part, not buying food if I have some at home already, not eating out, and foregoing new clothes has been quite an adventure. I've never eaten so many beans in my life. My level of window shopping has decreased dramatically. And best of all, I spent a lot less money this year on clothing and food. While I am not completely financially free yet, I've made a bigger dent than I would have otherwise, and for that I am so grateful. Now that it's all over, I think the question is: Where do I go from here? Surprisingly enough, I have an answer.

What this experiment taught me first and foremost was how better to distinguish need from want, to be happy with what I have, to distinguish between true value and cheap stuff I'll never really use. It has also taught me to appreciate the privilege of being prosperous enough to get what I need (or even just want) whenever I need (or want) it. We live so richly--having whatever food we want at any time, being able to choose from an endless array of items to consume.

What I hope to take away from this, or rather, what I hope to practice as a result of what I learned, is financial judiciousness. I want to continue to recognize what is need and what is want and to make my decisions regarding filling my needs with thought and care. I will continue to eat what I have at home before I buy more food, to eat out rarely, to purchase clothing for specific purposes as opposed to purchasing it only because it's on sale or because it's pretty. I suppose it comes down to this: I will treat myself occasionally, but for the most part I want to make mostly need-based purchases.

I went to The Gap today to pick up a few things that will benefit my wardrobe. I have to admit, it was really fun. The colors! The styles! The many things I tried on that I realized were too frivolous! I left feeling good about my choices; my wallet was a little lighter, but the lightness was from money well spent. I hope I feel that way about all my purchases in the future.

Friday, December 09, 2005

I Have Not Gotten Urine-Soaked Today, and Neither Has My Bed

Clearly, so far today has advantages over yesterday.

Yesterday was Jack's first snow day ever, but Mary Liz still had school, so I decided we should have a Very Special Time in honor of the Very First Snow Day. Once Mary Liz was off, Jack and I headed over to my place, where I gathered a few extra things together before we hit the Plaza. We had such a great time walking and snow-fighting our way down the street that we only had time to make one stop before we met Jack's mom for lunch. Naturally, we chose the Apple store, where Jack explored a new game and I typed ninety words per minute. (I had to throw that last bit in just to impress you with my typing prowess. Are you impressed? Yes? No? Maybe a little bit?) Jack's mom met us there and we all headed to PF Chang's, where Jack had to be cajoled by his mother to eat (I wouldn't have cajoled; I would have just let him be hungry, but that's me). Though the food he insisted he'd like was completely unappealing to him, the lemonade was not, and he sucked down as much as the server brought him until we told gave the signal to halt beverage delivery. Perhaps you can see where this is going already?

After lunch, true brilliance struck, and I decided that it would not only be more efficient to stay at my place until it was time to get Mary Liz from school, it would also be Tons! Of FUN! And so we trudged to my cozy apartment, Jack got settled in my bed, and we all (cats included) hunkered down for a toasty afternoon. All was quiet on the western front until Jack appeared at the office door, wet from chest to knees, insisting that, "It must be sweat, Mary, it's just that hot in here." I tried to break it to him gently, but quickly, that it wasn't sweat, but was, in fact, pee. And it was, in fact, all over my sheets, soaked through nicely to the feather bed, pressed into the feathers with the weight of a large six-year-old who sleeps on his stomach.

I sent him off with a pair of my pants which could be held up by drawstring, the smallest long-sleeved shirt I own, a slightly used Old Navy bag, and the instructions to take off all the wet clothing (which was, um, all of his clothing), put it in the bag, re-dress, and come to me for help with the drawstring. While he stripped himself, I stripped the bed, and it was done. Gross? Sure. Complete and utter tragedy? Nope. I patted myself on the back for not freaking out and we got in the car to put the finishing touches on Jack's tranformation--finishing touches meaning getting him into clothes that didn't belong to me.

And that was that. We did a bunch of other stuff, I dropped everybody off, the end.

Oh, wait, no, not the end.

From my usual job I headed straight over to Round Two out south. The kids I had in my care for the evening had been playing outside all day, and consequently they were too tired to do much of anything but sit around. With minimal effort, I got them all settled in front of a Christmas movie, and I sat down to read a magazine I found (I think it was Elle). Within forty-five minutes, the middle child was sawing logs in the easy chair and the other two weren't far behind. I declared it officially Time For Bed and attempted to wake the sleeper. He didn't budge. We tapped him, we shouted his name, we moved him around in the chair, all to no avail. I finally decided to just carry him upstairs and put him into pajamas while he slept. I heaved him onto my shoulder and began the trek upstairs, pausing on the middle step because, oh dear, something seemed a little too warm about my arm. And also a little bit wet. Sure enough, I'd woken him just enough to make him pee all over both of us. Awesome.

At least I got it all out of the way in one day.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Of COURSE I Already Submitted My Resume and Photos of Myself

Shiz passed this ad on to me. Don't you think it sounds just perfect??

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Pucker Up, People

Because I've got a PERFECT Christmas elf name:

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at

What's yours?

If You're Going to Travel the Illinois Tollway, Bring a Roll of Dimes

And also possibly other loose change, but I definitely recommend the dimes.

After the Over the Rhine show Saturday night, I dropped Nicole off at her apartment and borrowed her car to drive back to the hotel in Elgin. I passed through a manned toll station, where I paid my 80 cents by way of a dollar bill, and the toll booth operator called me sweetie and told me to be careful as he dropped two dimes into my outstretched hand. I had then in my posession two dollars and two dimes.

Which did me no good at the unmanned toll station, where exact change is required and the toll is 60 cents.

On the toll receptacle, a sign was posted stating that if you do not have correct change, you should proceed through the tollway and call a certain number within four days. I called today, and the automated system informed me that I still had time to pay my toll and included an address to which my payment could be mailed, as well as instructions on how to find out how much is due. I checked the appropriate charts, addressed my envelope, included the necessary information about the toll station I'd left in my dust, the car make, model, and tag numbers, and my own contact information. I then made out my check.

For sixty cents.

Avoid the hassle, people. Just bring a roll of dimes.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Chi. Ca. Go.

The weekend kind of made a swooshing sound as it went by. These Chicago weekends with John & Judy are always this way, though; by now I shouldn't be surprised.

We headed out Friday at 2:30pm, all six of us and our gear in a Dodge Durango. We were short on legroom and long on road time, so we did the best we could to manage without complaining, even through a snowstorm. I think we did all right, but I'm probably not the right one to make that assessment. I may be giving those of us in the middle seat a wee bit more credit than we deserve. We hit Elgin, Illinois, Barren Wasteland of Nothingness, shortly after midnight and settled in for a short night.

Saturday morning we all showered and shuffled about our adjoining rooms and one of us (*ahem*yourstruly*ahem*) went shamelessly to the lobby wearing no footwear whatsoever to get coffee. As soon as we were all properly dressed for the weather (socks and shoes included), we headed out. There was a very large breakfast which left no room for food until dinnertime, and then only limited room. There was shopping. There was Starbucks. And then, thank heaven for 7-Eleven and the fact that Nikki Nicole moved to Chicago, there was a dropoff of one certain person (moi) who was grateful to be hanging out with a friend and attending an Over the Rhine show instead of making an appearance at the annual Meat and Cheese Extravaganza Christmas party, which is the official reason for the trip.

Over the Rhine was an added bonus, an afterthought, a happy coincidence, but such a good one. For me it was the highlight of the trip. Nicole is my favorite show-going companion for many reasons, not the least of which is her sincere appreciation for a good live show and her willingness to express it enthusiastically and out loud. To have her along for a night of good music is always a pleasure. Over the Rhine cosistently puts on a good show, which we anticipated, but we had the added enjoyment of a cozy venue and a great opener. Kim Taylor was exquisite, and I was pleased as punch that Nicole thought so, too. We raved about the whole thing all the way back to Nicole's apartment. It was fantastic.

And then I drove back to Elgin, Illinois, Barren Wasteland of Nothingness.

Luckily I only had to sleep there, and not for very long, either. Sunday morning found one of us (*ahem*yourstruly*ahem*) in the lobby in her pajamas getting coffee, and once we were all showered and dressed, we hit the ground driving. We had a few more good stops, some detours (two of which involved the consumption of bacon), and finally we were back on our way home.


I do enjoy Chicago, but it feels more than good to be back in my own warm apartment, and with a full night of sleep ahead of me besides. Goodnight, all.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Fruits? Vegetables? What?

Sometimes I find it strangely satisfying that I can make it through the day on chocolate-based liquids and mint M&Ms alone.

Other times I think that vitamins and minerals might be a good idea.

People like me are the reason that the multi-vitamin business is thriving.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sex, Guns, & Cash

Apparently 50 Cent is going to start publishing a line of novels and novellas written in gangsta style (Not by him, I hope, but then again, why do I care? Am I buying the books? Um, no.). When asked what the theme would be, he replied, "Sex, guns, and cash." Why this is so funny to me, I do not know. But I keep walking around the house going, "Sex. Guns. And CASH." Which has nothing to do with what this post is about, except if you include the part about cash.

I have a knack for taking a week off of work and making it far busier than my working week would be. Chalk it up partly to my need for the aforementioned cash (I have iTunes and Starbucks habits to support, not to mention the fact that my microwave gave up the ghost and my shocks are far bouncier--painfully so--in the winter than in the warmer months) and also to my delusional mind thinking that I! Can! Do! Everything! I was actually relieved to return to work today and get back to my normal schedule. Despite my best efforts to sleep in, I was more sleep-deprived over my week off than I am during the work week. You may ask how that happened, and I would reply that I really don't know and also don't want to think too hard about it.

And now it's officially the holiday season, which means more schedule disruption. My posts here might be quite disjointed (hopefully you're used to that by now) as time flies by and leaves little time to think while typing. So I'll just spew out whatever comes to mind and you can read it until it gets unbearable. I'll try to throw in a lot of photos on flickr to keep you visually stimulated, and somehow we'll make it to the other side of New Year's. Already I can promise you something: This weekend I'm making what has become the annual trek with John & Judy & Co. to Chicago, so there will be plenty of photos from that. Look for those next week, say Tuesday(ish).

For now, the stuff of life calls, so I'm off.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

And Then There Was Pie

my birthday pie

The birthday party was wonderful. There was (and is) a LOT of pie. Thanks to all who sent their good wishes and to everyone who came to the party. I feel so loved and special! You made turning thirty twenty-four fun. There aren't a ton of photos, as I was busy celebrating and just gave the camera a break, but you can see a little album here.

It was just the kind of party I'd hoped for: Plenty of people came, and then at the end there were some folks from what I like to call "way back in the day" lingering to chat and munch and just hang out. I went to bed well past midnight and woke up tired this morning, but it was worth it. It was most definitely worth it. Thanks, everybody. You're the best!

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Celebration May Now Commence

Because it is, indeed, MY BIRTHDAY!!!

Friday, November 25, 2005

We May Have Been Having Too Much Fun

This weekend I'm hanging out with my friends' daughter. We're only half a day into it, but we've already been Living. It. Up. Tonight we abused our Apple store privileges by spending excessive amounts of time taking and retaking photos using the photo booth software. See the flickr album here. You can also click on our fabulous mugs below to get in there.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

On Calling

The post over at David's got me to thinking about calling, and specifically how I'm not sure what that means anymore. I've been having trouble with the voice of God lately anyway, having recently lodged a formal complaint with him, and so it shouldn't surprise me that I have trouble with the idea of calling. I thought for years that I knew what it sounded like, the "call", but I think I may have gotten it wrong. Because I never thought I'd be called to be a nanny, and I certainly haven't asked the big guy about it lately, but here I am anyway, and it seems very good. I'll be honest and tell you that my decision to apply for a nanny job in New York had nothing to do with prayer. I didn't ask. I'm kind of tired of asking. I just decided that I would try it out and see how it went, and by way of how it went, I'd have an answer, if there was an answer to be had. I decided to use the brain I have been given, and the heart as well, and make a decision, and just plunge in.

So far it's gone well. Very, very well. The agency loves me. The family I work for loves me, and everyone I've contacted as a reference has been excited to hear from me and eager to provide a good recommendation. I had no idea that I would be considered one of the best candidates in my field, yet here I am, assured by a prestigious nanny agency that I am, indeed, a very strong candidate and will be snapped up very quickly. More importantly, I've discovered that I really do love my job. Once I got over myself and my need to receive some sort of recognition from the world at large for the kind of work I do, I realized that it is a very good fit for me. I like going to work. I can't imagine something else that would pay my bills in a more satisfying way, at least not right now. And here I am with the opportunity to move up, to pay those bills faster, to get to a place where I won't have to worry so much about my finances. It will be a gift, one I'll be truly thankful to enjoy.

So here's what I'm thinking about it lately: Maybe calling isn't so much praying and praying and praying until the ears of God bleed with the fervency of my request for wisdom, and I hear something, have some strange stirring in my soul, and can tell for certain just exactly what he must be saying. Maybe calling has more to do with being wise with who I am, as I am, and what I can do. Maybe it's got a lot less to do with knowing for certain and a lot more to do with making a leap and just trusting, knowing what I know, that it will all turn out fine in the end. Maybe it has less to do with the words (mine go pleasegodpleasegodpleasegodplease or whygodwhygodwhygodwhy, and it's gotten old, probably for both of us), and more to do with the action. Whatever the case, I'm trying this now. I don't know if it's my "calling" per se, but I know I'm good at it, and I think it's worthy of a good effort, whether I hear directly from heaven or not.

And also? Happy Thanksgiving. Go forth and be thankful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Jeremy Byrne, Is the Title of the Post a Good Enough Place for Your marymuses Mention?

Jeremy Byrne went all out last night just because he wanted a marymuses mention. I really went over there to see his fabulous wife, Anita, who gave me a Fabulous! New! Haircut! (I feel pretty!), but Jeremy stole the show. When he pulled out the real dinosaur tooth, I decided I'd have to at least give him a courtesy mention.

Actually, the dinner alone would have merited a mention. I was terribly thankful to be invited to eat some of the delicious dinner Jeremy fixed, as my power was out and I couldn't use my microwave. (My power is back on, by the way, but whatever happened to it fried the microwave, so I still can't use it. I have to heat my pre-cooked and zip-locked meals in the oven. The OVEN. How quaint. And also very slow.) I was also thrilled to be able to do my very first graffiti tagging in their home. As you can see, I'm not very good at it yet.

tagging the byrne's floor

Really, it was kind of like a night at kindergarten. We had snacks (er, dinner), arts & crafts (tagging the floor), show & tell (dinosaur tooth), and even naptime. I have a photo of naptime, but I'm not sharing it because I think I look funny in the picture. And most importantly of all, they let me spread the word about right on their very floor.

they let me advertise my blog for free--how nice!

Thanks, Jeremy and Anita. I hope I'll be invited back soon.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

So Diligent! So Determined! So....Stupid.

I made a series of choking sounds earlier today, and I'd just like to let my neighbors know, if they're reading, that I am fine. That was just the sound of me choking on my own stupidity. But it's okay now, because I figured out what was wrong (nothing!) and am now back to churning out back-up CDRs of all the photos that are currently not backed up (let's not talk about how many that is). I am determined to get all the files backed up and all the photos off my CF cards by the time the sun rises in the morning. Further choking may ensue, but don't worry: I'll be fine. Just put on something that can serve as white noise and go on about your business.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mary the Movie Critic

Last night Rachel and I caught the late showing of Elizabethtown with Adam, her landlord/downstairs neighbor, who just happened to come up at the right moment to be spirited away to Starbucks and the movies (lucky guy, yes?). We had a good time, and it was great to sit in the theatre so late knowing that I could go to the grocery afterwards and still not worry about getting enough sleep to wake up in the morning because: I didn't have to wake up this morning. (I did anyway, actually, at 11:46, but could have taken the sleepfest past noon without any worries.)

Right, so, the movie critic part: Orlando Bloom was horrible. I'm sorry, Orlando, but you were doing this little thing we call overacting and it was annoying. You're a decent actor, Or (Can I call you Or? Or do you prefer Landy?), but this was pretty shabby. I'm guessing the director may have had something to do with it, as Kirsten Dunst was similarly stiffly overacting at many points, but you really took the cake. Tell Cameron Crowe to calm down and stop making his drama too dang dramatic. You're distracting me from the plot. Seriously.

Thank you for your cooperation, Or (Landy?). I look forward to seeing you in better movies in the future.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hint, Hint

It's not too late to get me something special for my birthday.

It's also not too late to make fun of me for putting Fraggle Rock plush items on my list.

Or for having absolutely no shame when it comes to begging for birthday presents.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mary Plus The Movies Equals True Love Forever

For quite some time now I've tried to pretend that my affection for the silver screen is not what it is. It seems frivolous to me, when I am trying to pay off my debt and be fiscally responsible, that I would, with the swipe of a card, spend at least six dollars and two hours of my time enraptured by what are mostly fictional works played out by people who make a lot more money than I ever will. But it's true anyway, whether I want it to be or not: I simply love the movies.

Tonight I went to my second viewing of Pride and Prejudice. In my defense, yesterday's viewing was cut short due to my inability to accurately estimate the amount of time previews take, and I had to leave to fetch Jack from kindergarten a good twenty minutes before the credits rolled. I know the story, and I could have refreshed my memory with the book, which I have in my living room, but I felt the overwhelming need to see it in its entirety on a screen that is larger than my apartment building. And so I went again tonight.

It is some consolation to me that tonight's feature did double duty as another opportunity to see the trailer for The Chronicles of Narnia. Yesterday when I saw it for the first time in all its huge-screen glory, I sat with my breath caught in my throat and at the end wanted to jump up and yell, "AGAIN! AGAIN!" So tonight I was indulged and saw it a second time, though to be truthful I could have watched it even again, could have sat there for hours even, just having it play over and over and over. I hate to admit it, but I am in danger of becoming like those ardent Star Wars fans that would pay to get into a movie just to see a trailer. This trailer is that beautiful. And I always did like talking animals besides.

Anyway. Back to my point, which doesn't exist. But here's something to consider anyway: Pride and Prejudice was very well done. The cinematography was beautiful, music pretty near perfect, and both Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen exceeded my expectations, bringing the characters alive in the way I've imagined them when I've read the book (which is high praise, let me tell you). This film is well worth the second viewing, perhaps even a third. Yes, yes, a third. I know.

But hey, at least then I wouldn't be paying just to see the Narnia trailer.

Um, so... Who wants to come with me?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It Was Sad, So They Gave Me a New One

And now I'm sitting here, enjoying watching all 2212 of my songs load from iTunes into my shiny new iPod.

Really, I love it. It scrolls down as it loads them in. Quite soothing, really. You should get a new iPod and try it.

In other news, today is Jack's 6th birthday. Happy Birthday, Jack. You're one of my very favorites.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Month Eleven: Cheater, Cheater, Chocolate Eater

I may as well begin by telling you that I got all emotional one evening and impulsively bought fifteen dollars and thirty-seven cents' worth of imported chocolate and French sparkling pink lemonade at World Market.

I may as well also tell you that it was completely worth it because I felt so much better once I'd consumed most of my stash.

The Experiment: It's just a sham.

Okay, not really. But kind of. For some reason, this month was more difficult than the others. I thought it would get easier as I progressed through the year, but this month felt much harder. I cheated with the chocolate, and that was a definite cheat, but there were some other situations in which the lines were a little blurred.

In case you haven't heard, I'm going through the process of finding a nanny job in or around New York City. Because I have chosen to stay with Jack and Mary Liz through the end of May, I won't begin interviewing until April. This is great in the sense that it gives me a lot more time to pack up my stuff, spend time with Kansas City friends, and figure out where everything and everybody (in the case of the cats) goes before I leave. It is unfortunate in the sense that a review of my spring and summer wardrobe revealed that I had (note the past tense--oooh, foreshadowing) pretty much jack squat nothing in the way of decent spring and summer clothes. The family I'm with is pretty laid back about what I wear to work, and I've known them long enough that I no longer need to make a good impression appearance-wise. So I'd let my spring and summer wardrobe dwindle, which was no big deal until I decided to try for a job that may require a bit more sophistication, at least at the outset.

So here was my dilemma: I was still in the middle of my experiment, yet the clearance racks were bursting with bargain basement cheap spring and summmer clothes that were also quite cute and professional for a nanny hoping to score her dream job in a new city. I realized that I could either shop right away and save a bundle, though I'd be violating the rules of my experiment, or I could stick it out until December 11 and risk having to buy most things at full price in the spring. I chose to shop immediately. This experiment is as much about learning to be wise with my finances as it is about learning to be happy with what I've got, and so I chose to be wise and save as much money as possible. In the end I came home with (or had shipped to my home) ten shirts, three skirts, three pairs of pants, and two pairs of capris, all for just $170.75 plus tax. The full price total of those items would have been $588. In order to honor the experiment as much as possible, I packed the new stuff away in a suitcase, and it won't be opened until I begin interviewing in the spring. Sound fair? I hope so, because I'm not taking it all back now.

And now there's just one more month of the experiment. I'm going to try very hard not to cheat at all this month, to really do the experiment justice before it's over. When it is actually over, I hope to continue to conduct my life in much the same way, being happy with what I have unless I truly need something new, and eating at home much more than I eat out. I plan to continue eating what I have before I buy more so that nothing will go to waste, though I will allow myself to eat out every now and again with friends. (I say "with friends" because when I'm alone I just eat chocolate chips anyway, and there's no reason to go out for those. I can just open up a fresh bag at home.)

This experiment has been interesting and challenging and in many ways a lot of fun as well. It is rewarding knowing that I can be just as happy eating at home as eating out, that I am inventive enough to come up with new ways to wear the same old clothes and feel just as cute and pretty as I do in something brand new. I look forward to having a little more freedom to do as I wish, but I hope that what this experiment has taught me above all else is to be more responsible with my freedoms, whether they are in the financial realm or elsewhere.

Onward to Month Twelve. I think I'm going to make it...

The Weekend: Kind of a Blur

But I did take some pictures. You can head on over to my flickr page if you'd like to see them. Some of them are so adorable that you might not live to tell about your visit. There's even a new one of me, sporting a case of the puffies (from excessive pizza consumption) and a really cute scarf (courtesy of my knitting habit).

It's past time for another experiment update, but I'm a little too tired to take care of that now. I'll do my best to give you a little something tomorrow. It should probably be titled something like "Cheater, Cheater, Chocolate-Eater," which should give you a hint about how the month went.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Spiritual Instruction, From the Mouths of Babes

"God doesn't like it when people lick their own butts."

You can thank Mary Liz for that one.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Dear __________

Dear Mars, Incorporated,

Thank you so much for making mint M&Ms available for my consumption during the holiday season. Now could you please make them available throughout the year so I can stop stockpiling them in my freezer like a crazy person? I'll be moving that stockpile (what remains of it, anyway) to New York in June, and you know that looks weird. Help a girl out, won't you?


Dear New York & Company,

First of all, why did you change your name from Lerner to New York & Company? I still want to call you Lerner, and now I sound like all those old ladies I used to make fun of that called what was obviously a Ben Franklin store TG&Y because that's what it was before. Are you trying to make me old before my time?

Second, whatever your name is, I heart you very much. Where else can I go for vanity sizing and deep discount pricing? Nowhere, that's where! For $9.99 or less per item, you will be my main work wardrobe supplier. I love your prices first and foremost, and second? I wish I weren't so shallow, but putting on those pants that are the smallest size I ever buy and having them be a tiny bit loose made my day.

Hearts and flowers,

Dear iTunes,

Please stop taking all my money.

Gratefully yours,

Dear Starbucks,

Please stop taking all my money.

Sincerely yours,

Dear Phae,

I'm sorry about the suitcase. I didn't realize that the reason you were peeing on my bed was that you thought I was packing to leave. For crying out loud, cat, I just brought it home and I haven't put it away yet. Stop peeing on the bed or I will hose you down with Febreze.

But also thank you for curling up against my back last night because that was really warm and cozy and special.

That Girl Who Feeds and Pets You

Dear Eponine,

Hunting and eating spiders is your favorite thing in the world, and yet you let one get away and bite my neck, leaving a very unattractive red welt with a bright red dot in the center. Please patrol the bedroom, especially the area on and around the bed, a little more vigilantly in the future. Thank you and enjoy the spider snacks.

That Girl Who Keeps Stepping on You and Apologizing

Dear Camper Shoes,

I wish I'd found you sooner, and at the same time wish I'd never found you at all. You make the cutest shoes I've ever seen, and I'm certain that at some point in the future I will both love and curse you with the same fervency that I both love and curse the aforementioned iTunes and Starbucks.

Newly yours, but yours forever, I'm sure,

Dear Readers,

Are you still reading? I am impressed by your dedication. Now get up, stretch, and go get some fresh air or something. Autumn is beckoning; you should accept its invitation.

Most sincerely,

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oh, The Temptation

Do you know how tempting it is, when one has a large bonus coming, to entertain the thought of purchasing what may be the cutest shoes ever?

So. Very. Tempting.

This Second Post Brought to You By My Desire to Eat a LOT of Pie

I'd like to officially invite you all to celebrate my upcoming birthday with me by eating pie. Those of you who are in the Kansas City area are invited to my apartment for the Blessed Occasion (Amen, Hallelujah) of my something-th birthday, and the rest of you can eat pie in your own homes and think of me. (Let me know if you'll be joining in, and I'll think of you, too.) For those of you who are close enough to make it, the details are:

Monday, November 28
6:30pm to ??
My place (If you don't know where it is, please e-mail me for directions:
I'll be providing one pie and soda. If you are willing and able, please bring a pie to share and/or whatever else you might like to eat or drink. Appetizers are fine, too, but the party is about pie, so please, some of you, BRING SOME PIE.

RSVPs to the e-mail address listed above, or by phone, if you have the number, would be greatly appreciated so that I can get enough plates/forks/cups/soda/etc.

And I'm serious that you're invited, even if I don't know you yet. Come on over! Let's eat pie!

Amen. Hallelujah. You may now return to your previously scheduled weekday events.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Let The Corny Sentimentalities Begin!

This morning when I told Kelly that I would stay through the end of May, she jumped up and down with her arms in the air and gave me a big hug. She's normally very reserved, so to say that it was an indication of her excitement is perhaps an understatement. She also told me that yesterday when she was talking to the nanny agency, answering all their questions for my reference, she almost started to cry, thinking of all I'd done for them and how much they were losing. I am bowled over by how much she cares for me, by how grateful she is, by how I have affected her life, and the lives of her children, in ways I never guessed. I am truly blessed to work for someone who appreciates what I do so much. I am grateful, more than I can express, to work for this family, to have found them when I did and to be able to stay with them as long as I have.

There have been a great many people who have encouraged me in my new endeavor, who have helped me get certain requirements for the agency taken care of, who have prayed for me and loved on me and supported me--and who have also expressed that they'll miss me very much when I go. I am blessed beyond any measure to have so many people in my life who care for me so much. I really don't know how to thank all of you. I am grateful to all of you--whether I know you in real life and see you on a regular basis, or you read here and sometimes leave your comments. I am so very, very thankful to all of you for your support, for your prayers, for your encouragement. How amazing it is that some of you have never met me, yet you have been praying for me? How cool are you? Seriously.

So thank you, one and all, for being here for me. You are amazing and wonderful and super-fantastic, and I am thankful for you, each and every one of you. You rock. Back and forth and side to side. I can't wait to share the rest of this journey with you.

Monday, November 07, 2005


I've begun feeling sleepy earlier in the evening, which is what happens for a time when my lack of sleep catches up with me. I'd been on a roll, with two nights of decent sleep in the bag, but last night disrupted it, and I was up for an hour in the middle of the night, just thinking, and then half in and out of sleep for the rest of it. But tonight I am able to relax, knowing that if all else fails, I can go back to sleep after I drop the kids off and I send my Very Important E-mail. I fretted over a certain decision all day, bounced my thoughts off both Nicole and Rachel, and finally made what I feel is the best choice for me right now. Let me fill you in.

This morning the kids' mom offered me a substantial bonus if I would stay through the end of Jack's school year. Her husband recently acquired an out of town job, which, without me around, would leave her alone during the week, trying to piece together drop-offs and pick-ups at two separate schools and find care for Jack on the days his school is not in session. It is worth it to them to offer me extra pay to enjoy the security of a nanny they know and trust taking care of all those things for them. Though the numbers don't quite add up in terms of what I'd gain taking a job earlier in New York as opposed to staying here and taking the bonus, it makes sense to both my head and my heart to stay. I'll get to enjoy Jack and Mary Liz for a bit longer while still making a bit more to use towards debt relief. In addition, it will ease the transition to a new city; as it was, I was going to have to scramble to make interviews and get everything done while trying to have some sort of holiday season worth enjoying. It would have been a frantic, hectic mess. I would have made it work, and I was quite excited and willing to do so, but I must admit there is some relief in having five additional months to go through this process. I will not be rushed in finding a family to work for, I will have plenty of time to pack up and find a place for Phae and Eponine to stay, and above all I will have the satisfaction of being able to leave Jack and Mary Liz at a time that the transition will be a little more natural for them. This way we all win. The agency is anxious to work with me, but content to wait until I am ready. So tomorrow I will e-mail them to tell them that June 1 will be the date I am ready. More than ready. I look forward to New York City, to the change, the challenge, the adventure that my time there will bring. In the end, I may come back right to where I started, but I'll have lived a little more, and I'll know I'm not settling for here just because I'm here already.

These past couple of weeks have been a wild ride. After thinking that I'd be jetsetting through the rest of the year, it's a beautiful thing to have life settle down for a bit, to have a chance to ease into the holidays, to take some time to relish the process of relocating to a new city. A part of me still wants to go soon, but the rest of me...well, the rest of me knows that this decision will let me sleep soundly tonight.

And I'm all about sleeping soundly tonight. Goodnight, all. May all your dreams be sweet ones, and may some of the best of them come true.

More Words From Productivity Central

Seriously people: If I continue to be this productive, I will soon have nothing left to do. Mary Liz and I ran errands today, and here is where we went, in chronological order, beginning at 8:20am: doctor's office for Mary Liz's flu shot, DMV, park by the DMV, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Target, the bank, my place (to change clothes since I spilled oil on my favorite jeans), Starbucks, FedExKinko's, Tim's office to pick up my DVD (thanks, Tim!), Target again (we had to wait to hear back from MLiz's mom about a dress she wanted), the post office, and home for lunch. We are Dy. Na. Mite. And we are also very tired. MLiz is sleeping now, but I am up taking care of a few little things, one of which will affect your reading pleasure here at Because my blog shows up when I am googled, I am removing anything that may seem offensive to prospective employers. I'm saving the entries that I really love, so if one of your favorites disappears and you just simply have to have it because you love it so very much (um, right), you can e-mail me ( and I'll send you a copy.

There are some other things going on around here that I'd love to tell you about, but I don't want to say anything until I've weighed my options and made a sound decision. (And the sound of Mary's head spinning was heard throughout the land...)

Just when I think I know what's going on, I find out that I'm mistaken. In this case, though, either way things go will be good for me. So that's good news, very good news indeed.

Enjoy your Monday.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I Even Wrapped All My Christmas Presents

Greetings from Productivity Central. I returned home last night after an endless night of babysitting, which had capped off an endless week of lots and lots and lots to do, looked around my apartment, and asked myself, "What slob lives here?" Oh, wait, it's me. Right.

One of the things I love about Sunday is that, once the Sunday Sleep-In is over, I've got the whole day to putz around the apartment putting all the things away that I've left out during the week. This week, since I was so busy with other things, I had more than usual out, plus there was the unfortunate truth that I couldn't remember the last time I swept the floors. They were pretty gritty. So I tidied, and I straightened, and I swept, and I Windexed, and pretty soon I'd made a nice, clean space of floor on which to wrap gifts. And so I set to work, starting with the November birthday presents, and continuing on (while I was at it, and since I wasn't sick of it yet) with the Christmas gifts. They're all done now except for the two I have to finish making. Yes, just two. I know, it's sick. Of the two, I only have to buy supplies for one; I'm already set to go with the first one. Doubly sick, yes, yes, I know.

I used to be a master procrastinator. I would put off anything. In college, I remember rushing into the library at 10pm and grabbing a stackful of books to use as reference materials for a paper that was due the very next morning. At 8am. I didn't have a computer then, and the computer lab opened at 7am, so it's a good thing I'm a fast typist. It was kind of crazy, but I did it all the time, and not just with schoolwork, either. When it came to Christmas, I was a Christmas Eve shopper. It's a wonder anyone ever got anything worth keeping and that I wrapped the poor gifts.

I don't know when the tide turned--it was most likely quite gradual--but at some point I did realize that my life was a whole lot easier when I got things done as soon as I knew I needed to do them, or at least somewhat ahead of time. If I pushed through and finished right away, I didn't have to spend any time worrying. Maybe it's part of growing up, or maybe it's just part of wising up, but I very much prefer the way I do things now. It's fantastic. You procrastinators should try it.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I Know It's What You've All Been Waiting For

autumnal nanny
Originally uploaded by marymuses.
Here it is: the Official Nanny Photo. I was going for cute, but not too cute. I think my hair is a bit...fluffy. Still, I'm happy with the result, and hopefully I look like the kind of girl any parent would want to help raise their children, fluffy hair and all.

Friday, November 04, 2005

It's Not Just Any Chocolate Malt

"Would you like that made with chocolate or vanilla?" he asked.

"Chocolate," was my firm reply.

At which point he queried, "Do you want chocolate sauce in that, too?" and, leaning over, in low tones, "because that would make it, you know, wicked chocolatey."

I almost handed him my number right then and there.

Wicked chocolatey, indeed.

I'm All About Bunnies Achieving World Domination

Let's just face the truth: I love bunnies. I found this bit over at Holly's, and it said to paste it your livejournal. However, since I don't have one of those, I'm putting him here. This is bunny, and he'd like to achieve world domination. Put your own bunny on your blog and help him reach his worthy goal.

(> <)

Impulsive? Perhaps. Tired Beyond Belief? Definitely.

This New York thing came up a little fast, I'll admit. It was just a week and a half ago that I sat on the deck at Starbucks with Rachel, discussing what would come next in our lives, and I mentioned that I might be interested in living in New York City once Mary Liz hits kindergarten. The next day she forwarded me an ad from Craigslist as an example of the kind of work that is available there. I was enticed by the high pay and benefits (oh, the benefits--apartment! car! health insurance!). Somewhere in there, it crossed my mind that maybe, just maybe, I could do this right now. Once the wheels started turning, they only gained momentum, and they haven't stopped since. And people? Suddenly I'm just so dang tired. You have no idea.

Or maybe you do.

Tonight it's all about the Nyquil and my cozy bed, for on the morrow I must look bright and competent for my photo and my video. Nobody wants a nanny with dark circles under her eyes and disheveled hair. I may not have had more than six hours of sleep a night for nearly two weeks, but no prospective employer needs to know about that. By Monday morning, all the necessary information will be on its way to the agency, and I can finally rest easy, knowing that my least favorite part is done.

So here's to a good night's sleep, tonight and for many nights: I hope you get some, too.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

New York Nanny Job Search 2005: The Update

The interview went well, and I am very encouraged by what they told me. I am incredibly impressed by the professionalism of this agency and their commitment to finding good placements for their nannies. In all my years of nannying, I have never heard of an agency turning a family away, but this one turns families away on a regular basis if they feel the home would not be a positive, professional environment for their nanny candidates. From here I have to have a new photo taken (in which I'll try my best to look fabulously nanny-esque), film a video clip, update my resume, and get some other paperwork in order. Once everything is in, my file will be sent to families, and I will begin interviewing. Like, next week. It's kind of making my head spin; this is happening so fast.

To get away from it all, I took a break this afternoon for a field trip, so: Coming Soon to Mary's Flickr Page: Monks! Sand Art! The Excitement! (Actually, it was very, very cool, and I forgot to bring cash for their donation fund--only fair since I got so many great photos out of the deal--so guess where Mary Liz and I are going tomorrow?)

A nanny's work is never done, so I'm off again.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Holy Thoroughness, Batman

I just got off the phone with a representative from the nanny agency with which I have applied. My application has met with their approval, and they are interested in interviewing me. They will do so tomorrow at 9am. I was told to expect to be interviewed by three people and to be prepared to give a detailed work history of all jobs since high school, including dates and phone numbers. And yes, they will call them all. Every. Single. Job. Since. High. School. They would also like me to send copies of letters of reference, a current resume, a photo, and a video clip. Video. Clip. That's right. They want it ALL.

Have mercy.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

And Then I Hit Send

The thing about me and writing essays for some specific purpose (besides entertaining myself--what, you don't write essays just to entertain yourself?) is that I always doubt their quality. So I let the nanny application rest for the afternoon, came back to it, and decided that it was just as good as any other essay I'd ever written, so it was time to just send it already. I double and triple-checked the rest of the application, did my best not to freak out, and sent that puppy on its way.

Now we just get to wait and see if they think I'm completely fabulous or completely full of crap. Neat.

It's Giving Me a Headache, So I'm Taking a Short Break

I'm trying to write an essay for my nanny application, and the truth is that I think that what I have down now kind of sucks. I don't think anyone who will be reading it will notice, but I pretty much hate it. The instructions are: In the space below, write an essay that tells us about you, your family, and where you grew up. Also tell about experiences with children, including the ages of the children and your responsibilities. Tell us why you want to be a nanny and the qualities you have to offer a family.

I've already written ninety-four quintillion words, and I'm not even to the part where I tell them how fabulous I am and why they want to hire me. Apparently I have done entirely too much in my life and I need to slow down. Do you know how many children I've taken care of? No? Neither do I! Because there have been a whole darn lot of them! Good grief. And truly, my writing is all sorts of awful.

Except for my first paragraph. I write a dang good first paragraph.


Okay, back to work.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Trick or Treat

Tonight I'm going trick or treating, and not with the kids, either. I'm going by myself, and I'm dressing up as a runner. Okay, okay, I'm just running to a friend's house and back home, but I will ring their doorbell and expect some candy. And I hope it's good candy, too.

Other than that, it will be just the cats and me and maybe a big bowl of pudding.

Happy Halloween, people.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I Do It So That I Can Sleep at Night

I'm a list-maker, a note-taker, a writer-downer, if you will. I'll resort to using my hand in a pinch, but if a Starbucks receipt is available, I'll use the back of that. Even better, if I'm at home, I'll use one of my 3x5 index cards, which I keep in abundant supply. In my "To Do Now (If Not Sooner)" tray is a stack of notes and lists and quotes and observations, waiting to be dealt with. They contain snippets, reminders, schedules for paying bills. And they are in no particular order. They don't need to be. I know what is what and where it is in the pile or on the card. I can see it in my mind, its place but not necessarily its exact details recorded in some random corner of my brain. Sometimes I guess at the details (especially if it's an address or the correct spelling of an uncommon last name) and am right. But I shouldn't say sometimes; it's closer to most times. I suppose I write things down to help me remember them, and find that once it's been written down, and the image burned into my memory, I no longer need the reminder. Still, I keep the scraps on which they are written to go over later, just in case some of the information slips through the swiss cheese holes that exist in my grey matter. Often I can't sleep, afraid that I'll forget something, but once the list is made, I rest easy. The little notes help me relax.

Tonight I was thinking ahead to events of the coming week and the one to follow it, and I got a little edgy, feeling like all the bits and pieces swirling in my mind were about to attack me and eat me up whole, possibly with ketchup, or maybe, heaven forbid, ranch dressing. (The overuse of ranch dressing is something that troubles me greatly.) So I made a list, and I feel much better.

For your entertainment, and so you can see just how it all goes down, in classic Mary organized disorganized fashion (and in uni-ball Vision Exact micro black pen every time unless there's a pen emergency), here's tonight's list:

(on the unlined side of a 3x5 card, vertical)

This week:
car inspection
tags for car (fri??)

nanny app:
-contact potential references
-current numbers for Snelling & KCRF
-fill out and SEND

ML Halloween treat bags
ML party - drop off
& then go get Jack
(OK w/ Ms. Opal??)
Jack check-up Tues--
have Kelly write
note for Mrs.
Jack early release
Sat. 7pm Presley
Herbie Hancock from iTunes??

Obviously it's very important that I remember what I'm considering downloading from iTunes. I mean, what if I forget all about poor Herbie Hancock?? He'll be crushed, I'm sure. It's a good thing I squeezed that in at the bottom.

Also please note the random capitalization, punctuation, and use of dashes and double question marks.

Man, I love my lists. How about you? Anyone else out there who's a list-maker? A note-taker? An obsessive writer-downer? I just want to know who else is in the club.

Is It Weird That Vitamins and Dayquil Make Me Feel Full?

I haven't had breakfast, but seriously: After taking my vitamins and cold medication, I feel full. I was thinking I might want a snack before Mark's birthday dinner, but...yeah. No room at the inn. Weird. I might eat a brownie anyway, just in case it's necessary.

(This snippet brought to you by The Laryngitis, which aims to keep you entertained for longer than I'd like it to.)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Laryngitis! New York City! The Fun Never Ends! (Y'all!)

(I still feel like typing "y'all" a lot. You'll have to deal. Sorry.)

First, The Laryngitis: Still here, but waning, which means my voice is waxing. My voice: It's like the moon. And my throat: It's like a big mosquito bite, but I can't get my arm down my throat to scratch it. Last night the itching kept me awake for, um, EVER. And then it woke me up this morning. And then it made me cough all the livelong day. On the way home tonight, I'm stopping at a drugstore and purchasing copious amounts of throat-numbing drops, liquids, sprays, and lozenges. Because, y'all, I need my beauty rest. I'm wearing generic brand sweat pants, y'all, that's how bad it's gotten. I can't even be bothered to put on normal pants to leave the house.

All right, second: New. York. City. Y'all. (It's where all your dreams come true. Or wait, no, that's Atlantic City. I think.) Tonight I'm babysitting for Jack and Mary Liz, so I decided the time was as good as any other to pull their mom aside and talk to her about my plans. I let her know that I'm applying for jobs in New York and that it may mean that I'll leave their family sooner than anticipated. I told her that I'd love to be able to use her as a reference and that I'd give her thirty days' notice if I find something worth taking. And she was completely and totally awesome about it. She encouraged me to apply, said she wished she could keep me forever, even when the kids are in school, that she can't imagine their lives without me, but that she knows that this is an amazing opportunity. She is certain I will love New York, and I have her full support in pursuing whatever I decide to pursue, whenever I decide to pursue it. The woman is beyond cool. I have always been impressed with her, but this is just one more reason to think she's one of the most splendid people I've ever met.

So now begins the hard work. I have to admit that I hate filling out applications, that I have a fear of rejection during that part of the process even though I know I'm well-qualified, and that the sooner I can get through it, the better. This agency is prestigious, and they require a bevy of background and reference checks, plus a specific CPR/first aid course and a pre-employment workshop. The phone interview will be 2 1/2 to 3 hours long. Good grief.

But then I get into the part that is my strong suit, which is the family interview. I know I'm a good nanny. Once I get into a room with a child, it all comes easily to me. I am confident about what I can do for a family and what I require as a childcare professional. I won't hesitate to say no if it's not a good fit.

And that's what I'm looking for: A good fit. In a way, finding a good nanny family is a lot like finding a significant other. While there are certain things on a list I can check off in my head as I'm asking questions, there's also that certain indescribable something that lets me know that it will be good. If that's not there, I won't make the leap, because even with that, there will be hard times, and there will be times I want to quit. I just know that with the right fit, those times will be fewer and farther between, and they will work out smoothly with a little time, effort, and communication.

And so, here we go. (I'm taking you with me.) We're leaping in the direction of New York, and it's a big leap. I'll need one of you to take care of my cats, and many more of you to help me pack. I might need to use your basement for storage. It'll be a year at least. Are you ready? You can come visit anytime; I'd love to see your faces. Now let's get going, y'all, before I completely chicken out.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Should This Throat Drop Be Making My Throat Itchier?

The Laryngitis: It's so exciting. I just can't stand it.

Hey, look! I'm posting again! What? You're not surprised?

So here's the big news which I've been wanting to discuss at length with someone, but, well, LARYNGITIS: I'm considering doing a New York nanny job search. A friend e-mailed me an ad for a position that pays 30% more than I make now, plus is live-in (separate apartment) with health insurance and a car provided. In addition, agency policy states that live-in nannies must be provided with meals or with a food allowance. This, kids, means that I would have absolutely no expenses of my own except for a cell phone (and I'm guessing most families throw that gem in as well). I contacted the agency that ran the ad, and I do, in fact, meet all the qualifications. Furthermore, most of the jobs for which they recruit are similar in pay and benefits; even if I didn't get the position they're currently advertising, chances are that I'd find something just as good. There are a lot of reasons to search for and take a job like that now, but just as many to stay where I am and wait, and I've been debating with myself about it all week. Here is why I'd like to go for it: The pay and the benefits, and the fact that if I start now, by fall of 2006, I'd be done with the required year-long commitment and free to pursue something else if I so choose. A year at that rate of pay, with no expenses, would allow me to pay off my debt quite quickly and save a great deal. I've always wanted to take time off to travel without having to worry about money; this would be an excellent opportunity to make that dream a reality.

The reasons not to go for it, well, those are more complicated, or maybe it's just more simple than I think it is and I'm being foolish. I'm very attached to Jack and Mary Liz, and I feel that their family has been very good to me. My plan has been to get Mary Liz into kindergarten because I feel it would be best for her, and that is what I've told the family. She has a hard time with change, and I think it would be difficult for her to understand why I would leave to go take care of some other kids. Because I came into her life when she was still a baby, she doesn't remember life without me in it. In my opinion, the smoothest transition for her would be for me to leave at the point she starts kindergarten full time. Because my heart is involved in this job, I have trouble drawing any clear lines between what would be best for Jack and Mary Liz and what would be best for me.

I could always start the search later, but I feel that the time is ripe now for me to do something new. I have no significant commitments here other than to Jack and Mary Liz; it would be easy to pack everything up and just make the leap. I guess the way I'm leaning is toward applying and seeing what is offered to me. I don't have to say yes to anything, even if it is offered. But still...


Any opinions? No assvice, please, but nice opinions are a-okay with me.

Laryngitis, Y'all. Still.

I think I have the urge to post a lot because I can't talk to tell people about my day. Take that entry about my sunglasses below--normally I would've just called Nicole and gone, "NICOLE. MY SUNGLASSES. They're ENORMOUS." But it's been three days since I've been able to hit speed dial five and have a frenzied conversation about how unfortunate it is that my hair prefers to be constantly disheveled except when no one is looking (when it looks Oh! So! Fabulous!) or how the chocolatey brownness of Nicole's sneakers is just right for every single outfit she owns. Please, people, I need some time for shallow, pointless conversation so the rest of the time I can make some sort of sense. At least I haven't watched anything wretched on cable television lately, because I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't call someone up and rant about how unfortunate it is that I could be watching a moving documentary about the fall of the Berlin Wall, but what I chose is Dr. 90210 or American's Next Top Model. (There are many good reasons for my home to remain televisionless; my poor taste is only one of them.)

And also I have the urge to use the word y'all, but only in print. I don't really want to say it out loud. Yet. If the laryngitis has its way with me, I may have sunk to that by the time I can speak aloud again. I may be willing to say just about anything once I can say it in my usual tone, at my usual volume.

Let's all hope I wake up tomorrow with a functioning set of vocal chords. It will be best for all of us this way, trust me.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

No, It's Not a Bad Connection, It's Just My Lack of Voice

I went to pick up my car from Hunt Electric today, where it was being magically transformed into a vehicle whose tail and dash lights work, and the guy who greeted me asked if he could help me. I answered him, but the sound that came out was not of significant volume. So he asked the question again, and I walked closer to answer as opposed to trying to squeeze more volume out of my throat. "I have a small case of laryngitis," I explained. "Oh," he replied, "All day as I was calling you I was just thinking that your phone had a really bad connection." Nope, Glenn, that was just me.

Glenn was a peach, actually, very easy-going and honest, and when he called (finally!) to let me know that he'd found the problem and fixed it, he said, "So your hotrod is all ready to go. Just come and get her." I drive a 1985 Subaru station wagon. Hotrod indeed.

So the car is fixed. It took two hundred dollars (EEK!--but a reasonable price considering the problem, and much less costly than having to go buy a whole new car), a few strained instructions over the phone, and a corny joke, but it's ready to pass inspection now, and I am grateful. So. Incredibly. Grateful. Thank you, Glenn.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Category: Ridiculously Huge

sunglasses of ridiculous size
Originally uploaded by marymuses.
The day after I gloated to Rachel that I'd had the same pair of sunglasses, which actually fit my big noggin, for years, I lost them. Pride goeth before a fall, indeed--right before a fall of the sunglasses out of the pocket of a bag. I didn't want to spend a great deal of money on new ones since I tend to lose the more expensive ones the fastest, so today I made a beeline for the bargain rack and proceeded to try on eighty-three kajillion pairs of sunglasses, all of which were too small for my head. The final pair, the ridiculously huge ones you see gracing my large head, were the only ones that a) didn't give me a headache and also b) didn't have mirrored lenses. Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! I popped them in the cart and checked out.

I'm not quite sure I like them yet, but look how small they make my nose look!

One Reason I Like My Starbucks So Much Is Because When I Have Laryngitis, They Know What to Ask Me So That I Don't Have to Speak to Order

Of all the days to have laryngitis, this is one of the worst. By the time I was done attempting to book Jack's birthday party (Why are you never in your office, Gretchen of Science City? Why??) and getting Mary Liz's school pictures taken (You'd think they'd stop asking me questions after it became apparent that I could only whisper in response.)(And also, what's the deal with telling us be there at 10:15 and then not taking the photos until 11? Are you trying to torture me multiple ways?), I'd had enough of trying to coax sound out of my swollen throat. So when we showed up at Starbucks and they knew what we wanted and could ask about the things at which I pointed, but which weren't part of our usual order, I was downright relieved. Thank you, Plaza Starbucks. Thank you very much. I heart you forever, or at least until I run out of cash.

One Post Right After the Other, Aren't You Lucky?

For some reason I felt it necessary to share this with you before going to bed.

I just cut my tongue on a throat drop. Seriously. And it bled a LOT. I kept thinking, "Okay, it's slowing down now," but then it just kept gushing. Ten minutes later it's finally slowed to a drip, and I can live with that.

Who cuts their tongue on a throat drop? I mean, really. I'm switching to ibuprofen for my throat (which, upon closer inspection is very red, swollen, and quite possibly just plain angry, necessitating something a little stronger than an herb-laced piece of candy) and going to bed.

Goodnight, sweet dreams, and be careful with the throat drops.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It Was...Nice

I had a nice night. I'm sure that's not incredibly exciting for you to read (you're going, "uh, why do I come here again?"), but it's something that doesn't happen a whole lot for me. Usually it's a busy night or a tired night or an exciting night or a working night. But tonight I got to hang out at Rachel's, have some good shiraz, and watch some Felicity. We chatted, I ate a little pumpkin bread, and then I came home. It was the kind of night I really like to have--relaxed and comfortable, but not in the least boring.

In other news, I've come to accept that fact that my brain doesn't like me to go to sleep at a decent time at night, even with sleep aids, but that it will accept long naps as compensation for the short nights. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings after I drop the kids off at school, I have the freedom to come home and crash right back into bed, and I'm going to relish that and use it wisely. I'm hoping that someday I'll be able to return to semi-normal sleeping patterns, but for now I'll take what I can get and try not to feel too sorry, knowing that so many of you are working your way all through the day while I am playing sleep catch-up in my very own cozy bed. I think it probably all evens out in the end, unless you're a workaholic, and then, well, sorry, I'm not going to try to keep up with you anyway.

Tomorrow will be a full day of work and then evening activity. I'm hoping the shiraz I had tonight will inspire sleepiness and it won't take me too long to drop off. Some nights can be magical like that; I'm hoping this is one of them.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Some Thoughts While Opening the Mail

1. SBC is obviously trying to kill as many trees as possible notifying me that my paper bills will be stopped. They sent three separate notices. In three separate envelopes. Separately. They may also be trying to use a lot of postage on me before their privileges are cut off. It's rather like an alcoholic going on a last drinking binge before checking into rehab. (I watched Intervention last night, and that's EXACTLY what that one girl did before the car arrived to take her to the airport.)

2. I really don't need so many offers to help me pay off my debt in as! little! as! four! years! Because, hey, guess what GE Finance and MBNA Gold Somethingorother? I'm paying it off in a year on my own; I think that's a little bit better deal.

3. Part of the reason I'm blogging right now is because I'm not hungry, but Shiz sent me a Coffee Crisp candy bar from Canada, and I'm trying to keep my hands busy so I won't eat it right this second. (Normally I wouldn't care, I'd just eat it anyway, but I kind of overdid it on doughnuts yesterday, and I'm trying to do that thing where I "listen to my body" and "give it what it needs." But PLEASE. COFFEE CRISP. DELICIOUSNESS.)

4. Missy Higgins: great music for when you're opening the mail. Or for when you're pretending to nap, but it's just not happening. Or for when you're folding the laundry. Or for when you're changing the sheets the cat peed on. I especially enjoy Any Day Now and This Is How It Goes. Yes, you can get it on iTunes. Do you really think I get music anywhere else anymore unless it's a present?

5. Phae and Eponine would like to thank Shiz for the fabulous new kitty toy and especially for the paper towels you used as packing material. The toy is great, but the paper towels are AMAZING! (It's just like when you give a kid a great toy and they just play with the box.)

6. Oh, forget it, I'm going to eat that Coffee Crisp now.

Well, Of Course

This morning I was so tired that my large cup of coffee didn't even make a dent. (Or at least the right kind of dent: I still felt tired, but as if someone had come in and scotch-taped my eyes open. Thanks, coffee! I feel great!) I caught myself shuffling as we walked along, as if I'd been transformed into an old lady overnight. Or maybe over three or four nights. I can't remember how many nights it's been that I've been mostly not sleeping, but it's at least three, and I hate to count back more than that because, well, my brain can't handle it on so little rest.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. So this morning when I got dressed, all I could think about was comfort and also, "Does it smell clean?" I selected my most comfortable pair of pants, which are men's cargo pants from the Gap, circa 1999 or so. They've got a fading ink stain at the top of the left leg, but I like to pretend that no one can really see it. I also like to pretend that they look somewhat presentable, maybe even cute, but the truth is that in those pants I'm a walking What Not To Wear target. Still, they're the most comfortable pair of pants I own, and I was too tired to wear anything that required any amount of fuss. So on they went. I then proceeded to get ready for work, take out the trash (which I'd neglected to do last night), and throw all sorts of laundry (cat-urine-soaked and otherwise dirty or somewhat not fresh) into a basket. I walked out the door on time, but without remembering to brush my hair. In fact, it was still in the same half-pulled-through ponytail I'd put it in so I could wash my face. Very glamorous, I'm sure you can imagine. I'm normally not at all fussy about my appearance (I'll run errands in my pajamas without a second thought), but even so I felt a little...undone. Mary Liz and I rarely see people we know (aside from Apple, Starbucks, and Barnes & Noble employees, of course) while we are out, but I was certain that today, thanks to my stunning appearance, we would.

Yeah, guess what? I was totally right. Dangit.

Yes, We Made It to LaMar's

kate and her doughnut
Originally uploaded by marymuses.
My only other goal was to survive the weekend, and it seems I've managed that as well. If you click on the photo of Kate, you'll be taken over to flickr, where another one of her is waiting for you as well. There will be a few more from the weekend coming soon (tomorrow night-ish), as well as some anecdotes (if I can remember them), but there's too little space between right now and my regularly scheduled employment type activity to spend one more moment with my head away from my pillow.

Until tomorrow...(or, um, later today...)

PS: My cat peed on my bed while I was gone. To punish me. Because nothing makes me want to come home more than the odor of cat urine where I sleep.

Whatever would I do without Febreze for pet odors? (To spray directly on the cat, in order that she might know that I am NOT HAPPY.)

Now that the cat smells lovely, I'm going to go take care of the bed. Gross.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I'd Like to Make an Announcement

Not only is my overnight bag completely packed for my weekend job, but also: I am going to bed earlier than is necessary. You may now applaud my amazingness. Bonus points: I'm actually tired for once at an hour that is before midnight, which is quite rare. Now let's see if I can sleep... (Fellow insomniacs can attest to the fact that being tired does not mean that one can fall asleep. That would be entirely too easy and actually make sense, which goes against the grain of everything insomnia stands for.)

Goodnight, be good while I'm away, and I'll see you cats on Sunday night. But don't wait up; I'll be late.

I'll Fold the Laundry in a Minute

I actually really enjoy folding laundry when I am on my own and it is quiet. I'll do it in silence or put something nice on the iPod and just go to town. In fact, I enjoy the whole laundry process except for the part where I have to turn the dirty socks right side out (for some reason I object to washing them inside out). I used to think that I'd make a great laundress, but I hate ironing, so I think that kind of puts that career out of the running for the What Should Mary Do Once Mary Liz Is In Kindergarten? Challenge. I guess I'll have to figure something else out.

Nothing much to see here; we're doing all of our usuals in one day. This morning we made the Plaza loop, and I promised Jack (who was kind enough to run an errand with me instead of doing something fun yesterday afternoon) that we'd do our Union Station/Crown Center thing this afternoon. I tend to do this to myself on Fridays, to fill the day up with activity so that I go home annoyed at the end of the day. At least it makes the weekend seem all the more appealing. Oh, except...

Except this weekend will be a working weekend with Joe, Mark, and Kate (ages 6, 4, and 2, respectively). I report for duty tomorrow morning at 8:30 and will be done late Sunday night. The kids are good, and I genuinely enjoy them, but I've been spoiled by having just one child for the bulk of my working hours, so I'm sure that I'll be nearly dead from the exertion by the time the weekend is over. Still, it's good for me to put some extra coins in the coffer, so I'll do it (mostly) without complaining, especially if I can figure out a way to get us all to LaMar's for doughnuts Sunday morning. (And I'm certain I can.)

So that's all, I suppose. Like I said, nothing to see, but I thought I'd at least pop in and let you all know what's up. I'll see you on the flipside, sometime late Sunday night. If you're nice, I'll even bring you pictures.