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

Mon-
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.
Opdyke
Jack early release
Wed.
Sat. 7pm Presley
babysitting
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...

Gah.

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.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Look What I Did Tonight!

pumpkin

And I bellyached about the degree of difficulty the WHOLE TIME, too. I'm sure I was delightful.

See a photo of a bunch of us and our pumpkins right over here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Two Things

You might despise me just a wee bit for this first one. Feel free.

Okay, so a couple of months ago I ran the Pikes Peak Marathon, for which I had to train very hard. Most weeks I was running upwards of sixty miles per week, and some of those weeks, being all sick from heartbreak and all, I was eating, um, not much of anything but saltines. And also drinking Kool-Aid. (I credit Kraft Foods, distrubutors of these and other fine products, for keeping me alive during that time.) Before I traveled to Colorado to run, I weighed myself, just to see. I then went on an eating spree that consisted mainly of fudge, cheeseburgers (many with bacon and more than one kind of cheese), and copious amounts of bleu cheese salad dressing. I ran the marathon, I came home, I took a week off of running. I started to eat a bit more normally (read: mostly chocolate and chocolate related products, with big glasses of milk thrown in for good measure) and eased back into running. By eased, I mean: I run when I feel like it and stop when I feel like I'm done. I've started walking most of my errands, but still my weekly mileage hasn't topped thirty miles--less than half of what I was running before, and I am consuming a lot more calories than the days when I was at my worst. In fact, last night for dinner I ate six cream cheese brownies without batting an eyelash. I've been putting enough half & half and sugar in my coffee to both clog my arteries and acquire type II diabetes. It hasn't been pretty. I've been sure I must have gained a fair bit of weight since Heartbreak and Pikes Peak Diet 2005, and I thought I might need to lay off the chocolates. So today, in an effort to give myself a reason to eat a little better, I decided to get on the scales. And they read...two pounds more than before Pikes Peak. Seriously. I'm a freak of nature. I shrugged my shoulders, breathed a prayer of thanks, and took that as my cue to go have a few fun size Snickers.

Okay, now Thing Two:

The rules of Mary's keys are that no child is allowed to touch said keys, lest they become lost and we are stuck in the house forever and ever amen (a true tragedy in which we all would die of the combined evils of boredom and too many electronic toys that make hideous noises--you can guess who is dying from what). Jack is great about leaving them alone, but Mary Liz seems to have magnets in her fingertips, and the moment the keys are within reach, her little paws are making their way towards their intended prey.

Today while I was in another room, I heard Mary Liz pick up the keys and begin to jangle them. She paused to examine the heart (a small tag on which I've inscribed my first name and cell number in case of loss) and asked Jack, "What does this heart say?"

Without looking up, Jack replied, "It says, 'LEAVE MARY'S KEYS ALONE!'"

Spot on, kiddo. Spot. On.

Something Pretty For Later

I have a habit of copying and pasting little snippets into the body of e-mails and then saving them as drafts. Most of the time the subject line is blank, but for this one I'd typed "something pretty for later." I hadn't attributed the work to anyone, but I guessed at it, and I was right.

"Leap.

God lets us make a mess in the kitchen, a friend once said. So make the first move. Our boat is leaky, but it's the right boat. (We're out on the lake now.) This gift is for us. You will be my diary. I will be your mason jar full of backyard flowers."

-Linford Detweiler


Read the rest here.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I Could Have Gone to Bed Hours Ago, If Only I'd Wanted To

But here I sit anyway, up for no good reason except that I feel like being up. When I exited Barnes and Noble close to 11pm, I felt that I could go for a very long run, if only it weren't so late. Or maybe I could go for a very long run simply because it was so late, and I have always been best at accomplishing things late at night. Truth be told I prefer to run in the dark, regardless of whether it is late at night or early morning. It's more still somehow, even if there are people out and about. The darkness provides a buffer between the world at large and me. The cars roar by just as loudly as they do in the daytime, but I seem to hear the soft tread of my own feet more clearly. The air is not so thick with heat, which makes a difference this autumn, when summer has stayed long past its welcome. I simply like it better. It feels nicer. I wish I could head outside right now.

Instead, I'll save my energy expenditures of that sort for tomorrow's twilight and try to head to bed. Goodnight, all.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

What Are You Looking At?

(Or, as the English major in me prompts me to say, "At what are you looking?" )

I put some work into getting some new photos onto flickr this week. There are even some new ones I processed and uploaded today, because I am just that diligent. Some of the freshly uploaded images are from the past, and some are recent; I'll let you guess which are which, as the photos I took with film (film! how quaint!) do not have an accurate "taken on" date. I've also updated my sets so that it's a little easier to browse. I feel like the full photostream is just a jumble of images, and it's a little overwhelming. So if you've got some time on your hands and an inclination to look at some new (and old) photos, head on over.

A Time for Sleep (Lots and Lots and Lots of Sleep)

After a few days of endless tasks and too little sleep (my fault, don't pity me), things are slowing down. Or, in the case of that final pot of beans on my stove, just heating up; it's on the brink of boiling. I'm not watching it, though. I'll just swoop in and set it to simmer when I hear the first telltale hiss of water hitting the stovetop. It is my last task of the weekend, all I need to finish in order to feel perfectly deserving of rolling over and pulling the covers up several times once morning hits. I love knowing I've earned the Sunday sleep-in. On Sundays following a week of too much laziness, I begin to feel restless even before 9am, knowing that I could sleep in, but that I don't deserve it, and that there's always plenty to do around here. Those mornings are maddening, but tomorrow will be peaceful; the most I'll do before noon is move the cat off my pillow so that my head will fit.

It's going to be perfect.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

It Wouldn't Be As Funny If I'd Made It Up (A Real Conversation from the Back Seat)

Jack: Mary Liz, you know that a mommy has babies, right?

MLiz: (without turning towards Jack or paying any attention at all, really) Yeah.

Jack: Well, a mommy and a daddy have a baby together. They do something together to have a baby.

(Nanny's eyes widen in shock and ears perk up for extra-close listening type supervision as she prepares to cut the conversation off at the pass and recommend a private talk with his own mommy if necessary.)

Jack: So do you know what they do? Do you know what the daddy does to the mommy for her to have the baby?

MLiz: (obviously not caring a whit about the conversation) Um, no. (continues to play with her own fingers and make puppy noises in the direction of her own window)

Jack: You know, they have a baby together, so before the baby is born, the dad has to do something? Mary Liz? MARY LIZ! MARY LIZ! M-A-A-A-RY L-I-I-I-I-Z!!!!!

MLiz: (audible sigh and turn of head away from her window, indicative of relenting to be part of the conversation if he will just stop saying her name so loudly)

Jack: Okay, so they have to have a baby and the dad has to do something. You know. In a car.

(Nanny starts to giggle on the inside.)

MLiz: (perks up at the thought of actually knowing the answer) OH! I thought the ambulance would take her to the hospital. The dad has to do that? Okay.

(Mary Liz returns to playing with her fingers and looking out her window, satisfied that she's contributed to the conversation. Jack throws his hands up in the air, makes a gutteral sound of disgust, mutters, "Of COURSE he has to drive her; she's not SICK," and rolls his eyes. The nanny, whose head is about to explode from the pressure both of trying not to laugh out loud and also ward off any semblance of a birds and bees discussion, relaxes a little and finishes driving her young charges home.)

I can't wait to see what the kid will come up with tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Breakfast of Champions (A Morning Nutritional Confession)

This morning for breakfast I had deli-sliced roast beef directly from the baggie in the fridge (the baggie never left the drawer, actually, I just snarfed it right there), three stale brownies (there were five, but I felt that eating all of them at once would be, you know, wrong or something), and two fun size Snickers bars (one regular, one cruncher, to make up for the brownies I did not eat).

And now we're off to Starbucks to round out the meal with something nice to drink. Because obviously that meal needs rounding out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

And Then I Threw Myself a Pity Party, and Of Course I Needed Snacks for That (The Experiment, Month 10)

Here we are, just two months shy of the official end of my experiment. This past month, I've cheated some. Most recently it was a maple oat (or is it oat maple?) scone from Starbucks. I was having a pity party at the movies, and I just couldn't resist. Well, I could have, but I didn't. I also cheated by buying some chocolate earlier in the month. So there. Now you know. And now I come to the part where I explain that I don't think my cheating was all bad. One point of this experiment was to figure out how to live my financial life more responsibly even after the Official Experiment Rules have expired, and this gave me a little taste of what it feels like to have that kind of freedom. In the case of the chocolate, I knew I should probably just walk out of the store and have some candy at work. In the case of the scone, I felt it was all right. This is the kind of distinction I'd like to be able to make when I am no longer bound by this year. I'd like to be able to pay closer attention to my intuition, even in the case of something that seems so small, like a piece of chocolate, and less attention to my inner justifier, which would tell me that, hey, it's just a piece of chocolate, go ahead, whip out that credit card, you'll pay it off in no time. All those small things add up, and I'd like to have a better sense of when it's good to treat myself to something and when it's better to save the dollars for another time.

All in all, I feel that it was an okay month, not great, not terrible. I still have vacation expenditures hanging over my head, as well as some other random expenditures that I need to pay off. I paid off my business debt this month, which was fantastic. By the end of October, I'm hoping to pay off one more card (there are three right now because, um...), and by the end of the year I'd like to have just one card left, the one that has what I like to call The Big Kahuna Debt on it. When I sit down with the calculator and a pen, it doesn't look like that's quite possible, but I have some things in the works that may help me out (Which I'll be sharing about in once I get all my ducks in a row! Stay tuned! Do your Christmas shopping here!), and I'll also have plenty of extra childcare work over the holidays (which I love because a) I get paid to hang out with kids for just a couple of hours before I'm being paid to hang out and watch cable television and eat snacks and b) wait, there's not a b.) I'm kind of banking on a big tax return to put a Big Dent in The Big Kahuna Debt, but we'll see about that. The eventual goal is to have the entire debt paid off by the time Mary Liz goes to kindergarten (and I have to find a new job) at the end of August 2006.

So there we have it: Month Ten. I'm sure Month Eleven will fly right by, and then will come Month Twelve, after which not much will change, except that I might buy more scones.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Memories: Vanuatu, 1999

champagne beach

I remember the first time I looked down into the Pacific on our boat ride from Santo to Ambae, and the water was clear all the way to the bottom. We'd spent the night nauseated, with the squeals of the hog and the pre-dawn rooster calls as the only soundtrack to our seasick misery. I had curled around the smokestack coming from the engine to keep warm; it was the only time I felt chilly in the South Pacific. When one of our kids came to me to complain of motion sickness, I'd merely said, "Try to vomit over the railing and not on other passengers." There was nothing else I could do. We were crowded together, American teenagers and leaders and the ni-Vanuatu, sharing a boat with all manner of cargo, both living and inanimate. To wake up to the beauty of crystal clear waters and vibrantly colored fishes gliding in the depths was a gift.

During our two day layover in Fiji, we'd gone with another group to the beach; it was grey and muddied. I was less than impressed, and considered the opportunity to buy a Cadbury milk chocolate bar the highlight of the venture. To this day, I still hold a low opinion of Fiji. At that beach, I began to wonder what all the fuss over the South Pacific was about; it took Vanuatu to prove to me that people did indeed have a reason to fuss. I'd always thought myself to be more of a damp, chilly, English countryside kind of girl, but that string of islands revealed my inner bent towards tropical paradise. I guess it was just waiting for the right opportunity to reveal itself.

At night on Ambae we fell asleep to the rhythm of breakers hitting the beach. I've never drifted off in such bliss. I've been asked, and the answer is yes, I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Because: Ew.

It's really disgusting. You should totally go look at it. No, really. It's gross. (Yet strangely entertaining.)

Saturday nights aren't for going out, they're for staring at disturbing images on flickr.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

How To Entertain Me

Link to the Bacon of the Month Club. Did you know that there are people out there that sell BLT candles? And also bacon soap and bacon air fresheners?

These people are a little nuts about their bacon. I kind of dig them.

I'd like the Swiss Sugar Cured Award-winning Bacon, please. And don't forget my bacon t-shirt! SOOEY!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

And Then I Decided That I Deserved a Second Trip to Starbucks Because I Touched a Dead Spider and Didn't Even Cringe

It was too close to the wall for the vacuum to suck it up; something had to be done. It kind of crumbled when I scraped it towards the vacuum with my finger, which: Ew, disgrossting. But at the time I was all hopped up on caffeine and sugar from my iced grande hazelnut percent no whip mocha, so it didn't really phase me. I think of it now and it grosses me out, but then: Meh. Who cares. My lack of care may also have to do with the fact that I'd wiped down a bunch of wooden blinds with a Pine Sol solution and I was happy to be doing anything (and I mean anything) other than that, so one measly little dead spider was not going to ruin my morning. Or was that early afternoon? Hard to tell. The mocha didn't wear off until two, at which point I wanted to curl up and sleep forever and ever and ever, except that I was driving, so it wasn't really handy. I hung in there long enough to make it home, change, walk over to get Jack, and head back to Starbucks for round two. Thank heaven for round two. It is what got me through the day until it wore off about 3.2 seconds ago. I'd be in bed right now, but I don't want to leave you hanging, wondering what the point of this post is. And the point is...um...it's...oh, yes, here it is:

The point is that if you are considering new window treatments, go for curtains. Trust me, you'll thank me later when you can just pull those puppies down, pop them in the wash, send them for a tumble in the dryer, and hang them right back up. Get blinds and you're dooming yourself to a life of torture.

And now: Goodnight.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Monday, and Already I'm Exhausted

I'm blaming the weekend. All would be well, honestly, despite the busybusybusy and the cramonemorethinginwhydon'tya, except that the busy weekend led straight into a busy week. You may call me Whiney O'Complainerton; I deserve it.

The weekend started out wonderfully, what with the Felicity viewing and the picking up of Julianna and the attending happy hour at our friends' new home. We added Jill to the mix, and then there were three for the Jason Mraz show, which was at UMKC's Swinney Rec Center. The show itself was good; the music is good, and Jason is funny (how many musicians do you know who throw Nerds candy into the crowd for people to catch in their mouths?), but UMKC has a little bit of work to do to make shows there more appealing for the audience. I mentioned it in the last post, but I think it's important enough to mention again: There were no concessions. My guess is that they didn't want anything spilled that might need to be cleaned up, but they'd covered the floor with plastic to protect the hardwood, so I have trouble seeing what the problem would be once all was said and done and the plastic was gathered up and disposed of. They also did not allow cameras of any kind, which is unusual for a Mraz show, as he welcomes photo submissions from fans, particularly in Polaroid form. So whatever. Jason: GOOD! Venue: BAD! New crush on semi-celebrity-but-not-really-but-still-close-enough-for-yours-truly-type figure: OBTAINED! (It's on Dennis the merch guy, in case you were wondering. You can see his photo on the Mraz website, though I don't think it does him justice. He's shorter than I thought he'd be, but really quite pleasant.)

Right, so that was Friday. I dropped everyone off at their homes, came home myself, and went to bed at 1am after watching one last episode of Felicity.

Saturday morning was somewhat of a gem. I rolled out of bed and hit the floor with a thud (feet first--it was intentional, I didn't just fall out while sleeping) and decided it would be a fine idea to take my new bus pass for a spin down to the City Market and Crown Center. I got dressed, threw my camera and some other essentials in a backpack, and hit the road. I neglected to wash my face or brush my teeth, but I had some gum, so I figured at least bad breath wouldn't be a problem. The bus ride was peaceful, contrasting with the bustle of City Market. After grabbing a coffee and chatting a bit with the barista, I searched in vain for some good $1 fruit, but finally gave up and opted to spend an additional 50 cents and get banana chips instead. I snapped some photos, bought some yarn I shouldn't have even looked at, and wandered back down to the bus stop. The man already seated there didn't look exactly like quality conversation material, what with his mullet and summer teeth (some are there, some are not), but I'm sorry now that I made such an ill-informed judgment about him. As it turns out, he was intelligent and witty and kind. I enjoyed him so much that I was a little sad when he got off the bus quite a bit before my stop at Crown Center.

Crown Center was packed, which surprised me, as I am usually there on weekday mornings, when it's practically deserted. I suppose it never occurred to me that it might fill up on the weekends. In total I saw five people I know while I was wandering around, which is unheard of in my Crown Center experience. By the time I looked at my watch, it was way past time to go, and I ended up forgoing a shower in favor of being on time to my nephew's dedication. Which is where the busybusybusy began.

From home it was off to the grocery to grab some items as my contribution for dinner, then to Warrensburg for my nephew's dedication (introduce babies! pray! eat cake!), then to Leavenworth, in the rain, and with much road construction on the way, for dinner (to which everyone was late! and there was much food! and still more food! and then some pasta!). After dinner we watched a movie, after which we chatted, after which I got in the car to go home. It was midnight. It was raining. I was freaking out because I couldn't see properly and my contacts were drying out. Surprisingly enough, I did not die or hit another car. It was a miracle. Shortly after 1am (are we sensing a trend here?), I was home and ready to start all over again.

Sunday found me awake just before noon, downloading photos from my camera onto the computer. At one point I thought I'd deleted all my photos from the month of January, but it turns out I'd just hidden them from myself. By the time it was all sorted out, I needed to leave for a baby's birthday party.

Can I pause here and say something about baby birthday parties and how they're not fun? No? Okay, forget about that. They're fun! And not stressful! With no small talk with people I barely know! And no one ever tries to get me to do something I don't want to do and then gets mad when I don't do it right! No, no, never! Never, I say!

Right. Back to the day. After the birthday party, there was some fabulous road construction through which I had the pleasure of navigating, making me completely relieved to get out of the car and walk to church. And so there was church, and there was communion serving, and the Body of Christ, it was very tough, so tough that when someone tried to take a piece of bread from the edge, I had to pull hard in the opposite direction so they could detach it. Deanne asserted that Jesus was a sinewy guy; I believe it. Good thing there was also the Blood of Christ to soften it up.

And that folks, was...oh, wait, I'm not done. After church there was the walk home, and after the walk home there was a run, and after the run there was garbage to take out, and after garbage being taken out there were coins to gather together, and after coins were gathered together, there was a walk to the grocery to buy milk, and after the milk-buying there was the walk home, and after the walk home there was the making of the quilt photo album (see previous post), and after the making of the quilt photo album, there was bed, where I proceeded to mostly not sleep all night long.

The end. For real.

Yes, I Attended a Quilt Show for Fun

I'm like a nerdy grandma. I even accepted the gloves they offered so that I could touch the quilts.

And then I stayed up late and made an album of quilt photos.

Busy weekend, and I've got plenty to tell you, but it's way past bedtime now, so I'll have to fill you in later. Remind me to express my displeasure at UMKC's failure to offer concessions at the Jason Mraz show. (Seriously. They sold no Coca-Cola. Not one single nacho. No over-priced cups of pasteurized processed cheese food product to accompany dried out, over-salted big pretzels. What's wrong with them?)