Friday, January 28, 2005

And We're All So Excited To Be Here

Last night when I was leaving work, Mary Liz was a little sad that I wouldn't stay to play, so I promised her we'd do something special today. My original intent was to take her and Jack someplace, but when I got to work this morning, I realized that I just wasn't up for going out. In the first place, I really don't like to drive. In the second place, getting everyone out the door and into the car and to the place and out of the car and into the place and out of the place and into the car and home again and out of the car and in the front door seemed like a monumental task. Some days it seems like no big deal; today was not one of them. So I did what cheaters do, which is to pull out a toy that the kids aren't allowed to play with all the time and say that it's a "special surprise." Right now they're playing with Play-Doh, making a huge mess, and having a great time. I am afforded a few moments of peace and quiet, which I need. It works out well for all of us.

I am looking forward to my weekend, specifically to the sleeping in part of the weekend. I had to laugh a little at myself this morning when I had been out of bed five whole minutes and was already looking forward with great anticipation to bedtime tonight. Looks like I'll be in my pajamas early, and that's okay with me. No need for any added excitement on a Friday night around here.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Salt in an old wound? Why, thank you. I needed that.

One cat puking on another, while on my bed, and having it dry on both the cat and the bed before I got home to discover it? Perfect.

Car leaking coolant and smoking/steaming like a dragon while I have a toddler in the car? Impeccable timing.

Toddler throwing toys into the litter box while I was out of the room for 8.2 seconds to answer the phone? Bonus.

What a great day. I'm so happy, I could cry.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Wednesday And The Post Of Random Nothingness

If you're looking for a post with some sort of point, please look elsewhere. This isn't it.

It is, instead, a place where I get to tell you a whole bunch of stuff and you can, you know, read it. If you're bored or something.

1. Last night I made pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pasta salad, and a really big mess. I have never been able to cook something involving sauce or batter without getting the sauce or batter on some innocent, unsuspecting small appliance. Last night's victim was the coffee pot.

2. After making the big mess, I did all the dishes except the ones with food items still cooling in them. As I am the type to put off doing the dishes forever and ever amen, I am very proud of myself--not only for doing the dishes, but for figuring out how to stack them all to dry in the drainer and on that one sliver of countertop my kitchen came with. Talent folks, pure talent.

3. I finally remembered to Drano my bathroom sink drain.

4. Now that I've actually put some movies in my queue at Blockbuster online, I figured I should maybe watch the movies they've already sent me. One down, two to go.

5. I don't understand why it is that some people can survive on five or six hours of sleep a night and I still get up tired after actually getting eight.

6. Wednesday is becoming our regular Starbucks/Apple store/bookstore day. If you want to find us and feed us snacks on Wednesdays, you now know where to look. (We like cheese danishes. And by WE I mean ME, and I will hide it in my bag and sneak bites of it when no one is looking.)

7. The hardest part about eating at home instead of out is giving up Starbucks pastries. Monday night I had the urge to get a cinnamon chip scone, but I ate some graham crackers at home instead. Highly dissatisfying.

8. Though I am committed to eating at home, I can still buy beverages when I'm out, but I only get Starbucks once a week unless there are special circumstances. There is no limit to fountain drinks from Quik Trip, but I'm not that tempted to get them very often.

9. My life is so much more peaceful simply because I have decided not to buy new clothes and shoes for the year. I didn't realize how much I agonized over my purchases until I gave up purchasing. Hello, freedom.

10. If you made it all the way down to number ten, you deserve a prize. Come on by for some pasta salad or a pumpkin muffin.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Let's Get Some Things Straight

Often when I write about my job, I think it comes across differently than I hope it will. This is due in large part to the fact that most people I know have not had my sort of job and don't know what comes with the territory, or what sort of jokes are made once that territory has been inhabited for some years. So today (lucky you), I am going to tell you a little about what it means to be a nanny.

First of all, no two nannies are alike, just as no two sets of parents are alike. How I raise children during my work hours may differ from the way you would do it. That's okay. I've had my hand in raising more than a dozen children, and the way I do things comes largely from experience, study, and good old-fashioned trial and error. My job, as I see it, is to raise children to be healthy, happy, compassionate people who will contribute good things to the world they live in. It is my hope that the way I treat them and teach them will allow them to grow up in such a way that their transition into tweenhood, the teenage years, and finally adulthood will be a smooth one. I desire that they learn good habits, that they understand their own worth and value, and that they feel loved and treasured and secure. I'm like Mary Poppins, firm, but kind. I run a tight ship, as the saying goes, and for the most part it has allowed us to get along famously. There are a few things that I bear in mind every single day:

1. I am the grown-up, and I am in charge. This means that though I may allow the children to choose some things and to make suggestions, ultimately the responsibility is on my shoulders to determine which instances are appropriate to offer choices and which instances they simply need to do as I ask them to do.

2. I make mistakes sometimes, and I must apologize when I make them. When I have made a judgment error or been unkind or simply a little snarky, it is my responsibility to say I'm sorry and to ask for forgiveness. I believe that this, above all things, builds trust in authority. If a child knows that a grown-up will admit when they're wrong and apologize, they will trust your judgment all the more.

3. Consistency is key. This means consistency in praise as well as in discipline. This way, the children know where the boundaries are, and know what to expect. It makes them feel more secure. A certain action will always elicit the same response. For example, if you do a good job eating your lunch, I will always say, "Very nice job. I love it when you eat all your peas like that," and offer a small treat. At the other end of the spectrum, if you throw a screaming fit to try to get what you want, you will be put somewhere where you will not disturb everyone else until you are done, and furthermore, you will not get the thing you were screaming about, because screaming is not an acceptable way to communicate.

4. It's important to make sure that the children know that, naughty or nice, they are loved. I will take time out to give a quick hug in the middle of doing something else, and if they've been naughty, I make sure to remind them that I love them, love them, love them, NO MATTER WHAT.

5. If I don't use my sense of humor, I'll be way too uptight and possibly lose my mind. There's nothing wrong with joking around a bit amongst adults, out of earshot of the kids (lest they pick something up and take it literally), about your day. For example, saying, "I almost had to duct tape them to their chairs to get them to sit still" does not mean that I ever considered getting out the duct tape. I don't feed them cat kibble or force them to scrub toilets with toothbrushes, though I may jokingly allude to that possibility. It's a joke, folks. Lighten up already.

6. I do what I have to do to survive, and to keep being the best nanny I can be. Sometimes this means that we don't go anywhere, even though the kids really want to leave the house. Sometimes it means that we go out to eat, and the most nutritious thing the kids have on their plates is a pickle. Sometimes it means that I say, "I'm not going to read you another book right now; I'm going to finish reading the thing that I am reading." Sometimes it means we have a big dance party in the living room. Sometimes it means that I refuse to watch Barney under any circumstances at all ever. Sometimes it means we eat Lucky Charms in the middle of the afternoon.

That's not all there is to it, of course, but there's a little something to go on. My job, like yours, has many facets and responsibilities and complexities, all of which I chose to embrace when I accepted the position. I may whine now and then or get a little frustrated, but ultimately I am glad I have the job I do. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need to go have a dance party in the living room.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Who's In Charge Around Here Anyway?

I know, I know, this is my third post in twelve hours. You can thank me later. All the writing I wanted to do but didn't have time for over the weekend is just spilling over. Aren't you lucky? Now to the matter at hand.

Mary Liz has recently decided that she can give me orders. It started with food. "Mary, for lunch I want noodles and rice and oranges and grapes and milk." That's nice, this is not a restaurant, and I am not your personal chef. We're having hot dogs and Pringles.

Next we get this: "Mary, why did you leave when I said you couldn't leave on last week?" Um, because, as much as I love you, and I really, really love you, I still go home when someone else shows up to take care of you, whether you say I may or not.

Today we have this one: "You must wash my blankie. It is dirty and it needs to be fluffy and soft and smell nice." Well, chicken little, lucky for you that I'm doing your laundry today anyway. Throw it in the hamper.

And the best one: "You forgot to go to the Apple store. I said go to the Apple store, but we didn't go." Well, first of all, I never said we'd go, and last time I checked, I'm the only one with a car to take us there, and second, we'll take care of that one later in the week. (And that, folks, is a promise.)

Oh, yeah, and one more thing, just to make sure we're clear: Mary Liz is totally NOT THE BOSS OF ME. So there.

Dear Single Gentlemen

Shiz has some great advice for you right here. If you know what's good for you, you'll go read it straightaway.

(Some of you, by the way, know and do these things already, and I commend you. You may continue on with your day. Others of you? NEED SOME WORK. Trust me fellas, I've been out with you, and I know all about it. Go. Read. Now.)

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Whether You Can Sleep or Not

Some time ago, when I realized that the insomnia wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, I determined that I should do things that were in some way either productive or enjoyable during those hours when I should be sleeping but couldn't manage it. I've been known to read, to reorganize, to listen to music, to window shop on the internet, to clean my bathroom floor with Windex. Tonight, recognizing that sleep wouldn't come before midnight, at the very earliest, I decided that a movie was in order. I made the proper arrangements (meaning I checked the showtimes and put snacks in my bag) and set off to see Hotel Rwanda.

At this point I could praise Don Cheadle's finesse as an actor or criticize Nick Nolte's, but the truth is that I have nothing to say about the film itself which would convey exactly why you should see it, and the rest of what I could say should be saved for after you've seen it. So let's just leave it at this: I urge you to see it for yourself, even if you have to stay up past your bedtime to do it. This is a film that, in my opinion, should not be missed.

Friday, January 21, 2005

I Hope This Is Not An Indication Of How The Rest Of The Day Will Go

In a bizarre, pre-dawn hair-taming incident today, I managed to burn my eyelid with a large curling iron. That's right, my eyelid.

Feel free to cringe and make little gasping noises on my behalf.

I Should Be Sleeping, But I Was Up Laughing At This Instead, So I Thought I'd Share

This may be disgusting or disheartening to some of you, particularly if you're either having a baby in the near future or have romanticized the idea of what having children really means, but I think it's terribly funny, so by all means, if you're game, go read it already.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

By The End Of The Week, I Totally Expect To Come Home And Find Him Sitting On My Couch, Looking Incredibly Uncomfortable

Because the kid is everywhere.

Until a month ago, I had not heard of Bright Eyes, or the man behind the name, the adorable Conor Oberst. (I'm not sure he would appreciate the adorable reference, but really, go take a look.) I was first introduced to his music by the object of this post (who I will henceforth refer to as My New Blog Friend Chris, as he is new, and is also the first person I've met because of this blog--Hi, Chris!), and honestly? First listen via iTunes was a NO. But I decided to give him another chance, and the clips at Barnes & Noble were much better. Then, lo and behold, a walk upstairs to the magazine racks revealed none other than Conor himself, displayed prominently on the cover of Filter magazine. I was interested enough in what I managed to read while watching my young charges that I went back alone to give it another go when I could actually concentrate. I thought, "Not only is he adorable, I kind of like where he's coming from. I might purchase his music. Someday." But someday was not that day, and I went along my merry way, with Bright Eyes' and Conor Oberst somewhere in the "someday I might purchase something" recesses of my mind. Life moves on, and poor Conor is briefly forgotten.

But then: Enter a Saturday night babysitting job. They have a television (I don't, so it's a treat to watch it after the kids go to bed) and cable to boot. What Not To Wear was long over, and there was nothing, and by nothing I mean nuh. thing. on cable. So I'm channel surfing, hopping around to various shows and channels, trying desperately to find something mildly interesting so that my TV time is not wasted, when I see a somewhat familiar frame on Austin City Limits. A closer look reveals that it is, in fact, Conor Oberst, looking so uncomfortable I want to pull him right off the stage and tell him that it's not necessary to keep playing shows. Seeing him partially bent over, unable to make eye contact with anyone, rocking stiffly, my nanny reflexes kick in and I want to send him the secret, "It's okay, just come here" signal. (Come off the stage, Conor, I'll make you some cookies. And I bought you some Nacho Cheesier Doritos and Mountain Dew, too. Just let me drive you back to your hotel room and you'll be all right. No need to torture yourself for the benefit of the audience and the entire U S of A, which may or may not be watching this program on PBS on a Saturday night.) Unable to stand watching him be absolutely tortured for long, I change the channel. Conor Oberst is lost in PBS time and space.

Or not. During the following week (maybe two?) I see his name various places on the internet and in print, and find out that My New Blog Friend Chris is going to Omaha to see Bright Eyes play a show. I wish My New Blog Friend Chris good luck sitting through poor Conor's obvious discomfort. My New Blog Friend Chris reports back about the show, but other than that, poor Conor again escapes from my mind.

Until today, that is, when my free copy (one of many free copies I've been sent, without asking, without receiving any sort of solicitation--they just show up, and I sometimes read them) of Rolling Stone arrives. I'm in the middle of chuckling over "Gwen Stefani A Rock Goddess With Major Issues" (duh), and reprimanding her in my mind (Gwen. Sweetie. Wearing a bra on top of another bra does not make up for lacking a shirt.), when I see in the corner, right below "Mr. Bling Big Pimpin' With Rap's Top Ice Man", the printed words "Rock's Boy Genius Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst".

You see, he's everywhere. Either God's trying to speak to me through Conor Oberst or Bright Eyes is just the New Hot Thing In Music. Either way, he's welcome at my place.

Come on in, Conor, and make yourself at home. There are brownies on the counter and drinks in the fridge. I'll see you after 6.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I Already Felt Like Whining, And Then Blogger Lost My Post

Still, I will not put you through the agony of reading my whining. Maybe blogger will find the post later and double post it, as they are known to do. So ANYWAY, what I said before in the lost post was that instead of whining, I would just tell you about how I'm pretty sure I'm getting a nice tax refund, and how we're going to Starbucks and the Apple store, and isn't today just a very special good day.

Call the waaahmbulance, I still feel like whining.

A lot.

Monday, January 17, 2005

My Mom Would Kill Me If She Knew I Was Posting Something About Her Underwear

But it's her fault I'm awake at 3am, so all's fair, right? And good thing she doesn't know the URL of my blog, yeah? Right. On to the story.

At 1:34am, the phone rang; incoming call from The Folks. In my state of sleepy stupor, I briefly considered letting the voicemail get it, but then I realized, "Hey, Mary--It's 1:34am, it's probably important." Sure enough, my mom had had some major issues thanks to a colonoscopy prep (she's going to love it that I told you that, too--don't tell, Mark & Amy, or I will buy your children more noisy toys and tell them all your secrets when they're teenagers); she was on her way to the hospital kitty corner from my apartment, and she wanted me to meet her there. I grabbed a couple of magazines, a bottle of water, and some minty gum and then I hit the street. Half an hour later, my mother arrived at the ER, a little worse for wear, but fine. They decided, for her convenience, to keep her and pump her full of fluids until her colonscopy appointment at 8:30am. My dad arrived in time to hear the plan and to confess that he'd forgotten what every husband forgets when packing his wife's bag in the middle of the night: clean underwear.

My mom joked that she'd borrow some of mine, but they would be too small. Not so, I assured her; just last summer I had purchased some that looked like the right size, but were much stretchier than I anticipated, and so I was unable to wear them myself. I'd washed them by the time I'd figured it out (always wash your undies before you wear them; you never know who's touched them, even if they are new) and couldn't return them. I offered to run over to my apartment and get them; Mom accepted the offer, unaware that I would be setting her up for some fun. Thanks to Mary Liz, who was my shopping companion at the time of the purchase, the pair I was able to offer have pink polka-dotted puppies all over them.

Think she'll like the surprise?

What Would Jesus Do?

I grew up in the church. Let's start there. I don't remember a time when I didn't know about Jesus. I also don't remember a time when I didn't pray the sinner's prayer every single time it was suggested, just to be sure that I'd said it right this time and wouldn't suffer eternal damnation should I perish in the next week or so. I don't know if it had something to do with the way I was raised ("Would you do that if JESUS were sitting right next to you?" Well, if he's here, yes, apparently, I would.) or the general direction evangelical type churches were headed in my generation's growing up years, but I spent a whole lot of my life scared that if I didn't do everything just right, Jesus wouldn't know me on judgment day. Emphasis on achievement, lacking in grace. Sure, grace was discussed, but more in a sense of, "You'd be going straight to judgment and from there to hell if it weren't for grace, you poor, black-hearted sinner." I was overwhelmingly scared of death, rapture, tribulation, and the Book of Revelation altogether. Nothing seemed so scary to me as royally screwing up and forsaking the Lord, thus disappointing not just Him, but my whole family and church. To their credit (family, church, et al), I don't think they meant it to come off this way. Still, it's with this sort of thought clanging around in my head that I grew up. The fact that God loves me was expressed, and I guess that I tried to believe it, but it was hard for me to understand a love and grace that would drop me if I didn't live up to its high expectations. I couldn't have put it in words then, but now I wish I'd had the capacity to form the question, "Is this really love and grace, that God would expect me to do everything right or not know me at all?"

You might say I had a pretty screwed up picture of the gospel.

You might also say that someone needed to shake up everything I ever though or believed to get me somewhere halfway sane.

You would be right on both accounts.

What I have discovered in recent years, after a shake-up of mammoth proportions, is that I have a lot more questions than answers, that grace is not at all related to achievement, that love has nothing to do with anything but just plain love. In a time when I desperately needed someone to love me as opposed to tell me what my life should look like if I truly loved God, a whole lot of people showed up. They never told me that my life should be perfect. A lot of them said it was okay to be broken and hurt. No one reprimanded me when I said that I was a little bit confused and that I was having a hard time trusting God. I don't think a lot of them knew what they were doing, but by loving me in the way that they did, and do, they reconciled me to a God I could barely stand to talk to anymore. They created small miracles, and planted seeds in my mind and heart about what it really means to follow Jesus, about the practical as well as the spiritual. About how love is whole, not broken into pieces. Out of love flows tenderness and caring and a little bit of action. It makes small miracles, miracles like this:

brand new bed

That's my new bed.

You may think it has little to do with following Jesus or the gospel or love or grace, but from where I sleep, it looks a whole lot like the kind of love God meant for us to display to one another.

Jason and Megan, thank you for taking time out of your busy Friday night to deliver a mattress simply so that I might be more comfortable. I think I'm beginning to understand what Jesus looks like; he looks a lot like you.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

This Is Like, The Cutest Thing Ever

On the computer for more than 2 hours a day? At the end of the day, do your eyes sting and you can't see straight? It's the fault of the screen. It's dirty, but on the inside. A quick and free visit here will take care of the problem.

In 30 seconds, your screen will re-become transparent. No downloading of software, no viruses. Office friendly.
This is absolutely amazing!

(Special thanks to my friend Sarah for passing this on.)

Friday, January 14, 2005

Until Wednesday Night, I Was Sleeping On A Foam And Water Bed

Okay, you can stop pointing and laughing now. I know it's kind of 1988, but it was free, all right? And soft and smooshy and comfy, all right? ALL RIGHT? Good. Thank you.

The reason I accepted the bed in the first place was because A) my other bed was incredibly uncomfortable, so I figured this would have to be better and B) it was bigger than my former bed, and I had fully bought into the American idea that (in the case of beds, anyway) BIGGER is BETTER. I had a sneaking suspicion all along that I really wasn't supposed to have it in my apartment without consulting the leasing company first, but did that stop me? Of course not! Did I call them once I had read the lease and discovered that I was, indeed, supposed to consult them AND pay a deposit? Absolutely not! Did I suffer small pangs of guilt every now and again, but small enough to resist calling and paying said deposit? 100% YES! In fact, for some time I'd been considering getting a different bed and eliminating both my guilt and the potential for a very wet problem.

Um, I waited a smidge too long.

When I arrived home Wednesday evening, ready to slip into pajamas and curl up tight and cozy, I discovered...A LEAK! Or rather, I discovered that the bed was leaking, but was unable to find the actual leak, which meant that, tired or not, I had to drain that water bed bladder ASAP. My hope of sleep, either that night or during my off hours during the next day, disappeared completely. By the time Thursday was over, I had:

1. Snuck outside to borrow, without asking a hose that does not belong to me.
2. Drained a water bed bladder.
3. Discovered via maintenance man that water had leaked into the unoccupied apartment below.
4. Drained a water bed bladder a second time, this time with a hand-squeezed siphon.
5. Told that same maintenance man that I had "spilled a bunch of water" and offered to pay for repairs, never mentioning that the water I had "spilled" had indeed come from an unreported, un-deposit-paid-on water bed.
6. Thanked the maintenance man profusely for just taking care of the little mess the leak had made and not reporting it as an expense for my account.
7. Begged for help in disposing of the water bed evidence.
8. Secretly stowed the water bed bladder in the trunk of the car and stashed the remaining water bed accessories in the basement.

It wasn't the perfect crime, but I seem to have gotten away with it. Feel free to laugh about my 1988 bed all you want; just don't tell my maintenance guy what you're laughing at.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I'm Awake Due To An Unfortunate Discovery, And I Think It Might Make Me Feel Better To Whine A Little Bit

I walked into my bedroom tonight noticed a strange smell, the origins of which were various stagnant water-soaked spots on my hand-me-down foam and water bed. I couldn't find the leak, so now I have to drain a waterbed before I can sleep, or else it will slowly leak all over my apartment and into the apartment below.

There's more to the story, of course; I'm just too tired to tell it.

I've made my bed (in the living room, on the fold-out); now I just wish I could go lie in it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

And I'll Take Your Pretty Little Shoes, Too

One of the not-so-fabulous things about my insomnia is that I have very vivid unpleasant dreams which, because I wake often and can't get back to sleep right away, I remember in horrifying detail. Last night's most memorable dream (and there were several to choose from) involved a department store at which I was employed, whose employees were all participating in some sort of shady something-or-other. One guy was stealing gum (for some reason this seemed much more horrible in the dream, just work with me here), a girl was cheating on her husband, another guy was planning something violent involving the know, brilliant things like that. There was one girl, though, that I thought was all right; she seemed nice enough...until she started to BEAT EVERYONE UP. So we're all running from her like she's more than some 110 pound weakling, and I convince this other girl to hide with me under a table. Realizing that she can see us under there, I start to panic a little and then I say out loud to my under-the-table companion, "What are we doing? I could totally kick her ass right now."

And I did.

And then I took her pointy-toed, pointy-heeled boots right off her pointy little feet.

You know, so she couldn't put someone's eye out with those later.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A Quiet Revolution

"I’m skeptical of New Year’s resolutions. They’re too easy to make, rarely carried out, and often cover up what really needs to change. If we’re honest, few of us really want things to be completely different. We just want life to get better, or easier. We can handle a tune-up or face-lift, but drastic change? Medication, yes; surgery, no. Reform, maybe; revolution, never."
-Charles Moore

Like Mr. Moore, I have always been a little skeptical of New Year's resolutions. It seems to me that many are made under a bit of duress, a hasty promise to satisfy a cultural requirement. We are expected to make them and then, laughingly, not expected to keep them. It is our way. What could be serious and, indeed, revolutionary, becomes a bit of a joke. We may truly want our lives to change (Mr. Moore and I disagree on this point), but we are not in an environment conducive to change. What we need is not encouragement to do things differently because it is the New Year, but instead a heart that is open to change at the appropriate time.

One month ago today I began my little experiment. I didn't do it because it was recommended to me or because I was encouraged directly by outside forces to do it. Sure, there were a great many instances along the way that affected my thought process, but what truly mattered was that inwardly, I found I was ready--not just ready to want change, but ready to commit do doing something that would cause it. My resolution has succeeded thus far not because of good intentions, but because of heart readiness, because of a condition that had been cultivated, slowly and steadily, over time. What I am doing now, I would say, is a small reform. It follows on the heels of a series of small reforms that have been made in my life over time. To look at each small bit that has changed would make it appear that not much is happening. So I made a decision to floss my teeth every night, big deal, right? But after the flossing came eating fruit every day and after eating fruit came giving a small bit every month to someone in need and after that came something else which, over time, has created a much different me. Each small piece of reform is not a revolution in and of itself, just as one puzzle piece does not make a whole puzzle. But put them all together, and there you will find in the larger picture, a revolution has occurred.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

It's Only Fair

I was sitting here, a little bored waiting for my microwave dinner to heat up, wishing that more people had updated their blogs recently so that I would have something else to do besides the dishes and the cleaning. One might even say I was a little frustrated with how few people had updated recently. And then I realized: Um, I haven't exactly given you much to go on lately, either. I had intended to finish up all my holiday ofoto albums and present them at once as my next entry, but since there are five already and I'm not quite done, I figure it's okay to give you the first installment and promise you the rest later. Here ya go:

A Day With Someone Else's Grandma

White Elephant Exchange (in which we meet Raoul and Juanita for the first time)

Photos and Presents

Christmas Day 2004

Branson = Family Fun ??? (in which Raoul goes out of town with me for the first time)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

I'm Sorry, John Mayer...

...but Ray LaMontagne is about to kick you right out of number one on my iTunes "Top 25 Most Played" list. You had a long run, John, but it's time to give it up and start slipping down the charts. It will probably sadden you a great deal, since the Marymuses iTunes Charts are THE definitive source for What's Hot Now In Great Music, but don't worry: You could come back...if you get me to take Ray's "All The Wild Horses" off repeat, that is. Good luck, and make me a new album soon.

I have to go, I'm about to relax into a puddle courtesy of my new number one.

Two Kids, One Ice Storm, No Electricity

This is the stuff that ofoto albums are made of. Take a look at yesterday's morning on the town here

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Happy De-Lurking Day!

Did you know that today is De-Lurking Day?

And do you know what De-Lurking means?

It means that if you read my blog and never comment, you are invited, strongly encouraged, requested, required, etc., etc., etc., to comment now so I'll know who's out there. Stop lurking and say hello already! (This goes for other blogs you've been lurking on, too. Some of you may have a lot of commenting to do today.)

On a side note, I heart the employees at the Plaza Apple store. They were so sweet and welcoming to the kids and me today when we came in to play because the power was not on here (thank you, ice storm). When we got up to leave, they asked us not to go. How special do we feel now? I think I should thank them by buying a PowerBook and an iPod and maybe that Incredibles game while I'm at it.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Spread Some Love

Shiz is having a birthday today. Go on over and tell her she's super special.

Monday, January 03, 2005

To My Hair: An Apology

Dear Hair,

I am so, so sorry for the trauma I have caused you as of late. If I had known that our favorite color-enhancing product, L'Oreal Colour Experte, would cause such a disaster, I never would have taken the box off the shelf. I wouldn't have combined the color with the developer, and I most definitely wouldn't have made you all shades of red and orange. I know that, in my distress, I may have made a teensy little mistake by going ahead with the highlighting paste and then the five shampoos, but can you blame me? I just wanted you to be pretty.

Which is why, dear hair, I brought you to Beauty Brands today to be pampered. I thought the professionals there would treat you like a queen, but I was wrong. First you were pulled, and then you were tugged, all the while enduring the application of yet another coloring product. And then--then!--you were rinsed to reveal a shade not unfamiliar to Morticia Addams. It was humiliating, I know, and I am sorry. I am sorry I let her blowdry you on top of it all, into that unfortunate style that went contrary to your very nature.

But then, hair, I gave that look, the look of, "This is unnacceptable and horrifying beyond belief!"--just for you I did it!--which prompted our stylist to apologize profusely and offer highlights for free. I know there was more pulling and tugging and yet another coloring product, and even another horrifiying blowdry, but this time the rinsing revealed a passable new you. In fact, in time we may discover that you are actually quite pretty.

I do hope you will, in your own time, forgive me for all the damage I have caused you, how I have dried you out and made you less soft and silky. I am doing my best to repair you, please believe me. The stylist promised that the new products I purchased, the ones that smell like coconut and bananas, will soon make you good as new. And I will never torture you this way again. I promise.

Very sincerely,

brand new brunette

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Considering That You Are What You Eat, And I Eat Mostly Sugar Based Foods, This Thing Is Completely Correct

What Flavour Are You? I am sweet, like Sugar.I am sweet, like Sugar.

I am all sweetness and light; fluffy bunnies and dancing fairies; happiness and joy. Too much of me will make you sick. What Flavour Are You?