Saturday, March 28, 2009

An Almost Ode (to my Watch)

About a week ago, the battery died on my second string watch (the first string watch's battery had been dead since 2008), and I was left watchless. I know this is not a problem for many people, as a cell phone will display the time nicely, and most folks sit in front of a computer for much of the day. But my schedule is harried enough, and I am nervous enough about being late to something, that I require something attached to my person that shows me the time at a glance. The past week was busy enough that I didn't manage to get the battery replaced until today, so all week I was glancing at my wrist only to be met with disappointment and the inconvenience of digging out my cell phone. Once the battery was installed on my first string watch and the watch repairman had set the time, I suddenly felt like breaking into a dance of joy, or at least writing a love poem to my timepiece. I didn't, though. There wasn't enough time. I checked. By glancing at my wrist. Delightful!

...

Speaking of time, and not having enough of it, I never did tell you how the party we threw went. It was fantastic. I could fill you in on all the details, but I doubt you'd be able to stay awake. Instead, here's a photo of the birthday boy with frosting in his hair:

it's not a party until someone gets frosting in their hair

...

Tonight was Earth Hour, which we observed by turning off everything and reading. I read a book by candlelight, and Jarod read whatever was on his iPhone screen. I think he was kind of cheating, and I say that mostly because he used that very iPhone to twitter that I was cheesy because the book I happened to be reading by candlelight was Twilight. I think if anyone gets an A for Earth Hour effort, it should be me. He can have a D for Doing What He Always Does.

...

I am now reading by the light of a CF bulb, thank heaven. There's a reason Ma Ingalls used to get out the oil lamp for Laura and Mary to do their homework by on the prairie. Candles really don't cut it.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a teenage vampire romance to finish reading.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy Accident

I thought that this week I would get back to a regular schedule, but as usual, I was just fooling myself. When is my schedule ever regular? Never. And this is why I keep forgetting things. I need routine to remember everything, and when I don't have it, the swiss cheese holes in my memory open right up and let things drop out. I'm pretty comfortable with this happening as long as it doesn't inconvenience anyone else.

So tonight I was preparing this new recipe, because if there's one thing I love to do, it's to get rid of extra food from my house by foisting it on others in the form of something delicious. We had a ton of extra croissants leftover from the party on Sunday, and tonight is our Lost night with friends, so voila. A dessert shall be made! And is being made! Is in the oven right now, actually! Hooray!

Except there was a small problem during the making of the dessert. Mostly this problem boils down to me reading the recipe off the card I'd scribbled it down on, then forgetting that it was six croissants and six eggs, but only three cups of milk. I simmered six cups of milk, let six cups of milk cool, whisked in six ounces of chocolate and thought, "Gee, that looks kind of...not very chocolatey." At which point I consulted the recipe card and discovered my mistake. Luckily, I always keep an excessive the perfect amount of chocolate chips on hand, so I ran to the basement for a bag and added six ounces. A few turns of the whisk later and I had twice the amount of chocolatey milk that I needed, which also meant that I had about four cups of...(wait for it)....

Remarkably Delicious Hot Chocolate!
(Yep, I'm giving you a recipe, and I'm calling it Remarkably Delicious Hot Chocolate! Please take care to use the exclamation point.)

2 cups half and half
1 cup 1% milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (six ounces) chopped chocolate or chocolate chips

Heat half & half, milk, and vanilla over medium heat until it simmers, taking care not to watch it too closely, because, as we all know, watched milk never simmers. Cool, covered, for fifteen minutes. Whisk in chocolate. Drink up!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

If You're Looking for Something Interesting or at Least Longish, You'll Have to Wait

Earlier this evening I brought home a dozen balloons, light blue and red, for the party tomorrow. A moment before I opened the door to bring them in, I had the urge to just let them go. The weather was perfect with just a slight breeze, and it seemed like a nice thing to do, just let them go and watch them float away. But I guess I'll have to dig up another $12.99 and another perfect day because I kept 'em for the kids. They're pressing against the ceiling near the front door now.

Most of the things for the party are in order. I played a round of Refrigerator Tetris and won, surprisingly. For the first time this week, I am sitting idle with nothing pressing to do besides pet a cat.

Except, crap, I just remembered one more thing I need to do...

I Think We've Become "Those People"

On Sunday we are hosting our godson's first birthday party. His mother said they'd like to keep it small and intimate, only inviting family and close friends. Being still childless, when I think small, I think, oh, maybe...a dozen. But when you think about it, if a family of five invites other families with children, a dozen just isn't practical. So we're having between twenty-six and thirty guests. This has caused me a bit of worry, seeing as our house is kind of little and we don't have a ton of chairs, but when it was offered to change locations to the birthday boy's home (previously we didn't know if this would be an option or not, as his dad has been going through some serious medical treatments), I decided that it would be far more stressful to get all the party gear to their house than it would be to have it here and risk having some of us sit on the floor (I know, horrors!). Also, I've already made a birthday banner that fits our dining room.

So you're maybe you're thinking, "Uh, Mary, what's the big deal? So you throw the plates and cups and food into your car and drive it over. What are you, stupid?" Well, no. We're those people. We're the ones who are not using disposable tableware and who have made a cake that is sitting on our bamboo cutting board. We're even (oh, dear, how annoying) using cloth napkins. For a party for a one-year-old.

We are so annoying.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!

I often find myself getting jealous of people who say they get up around 7am or even 7:15 (the luxury!), who do not have to be to work until eight or even nine. Waking at six-something, six days a week, is wearing on me. I am not a morning person. This morning, though, I got to sleep until 9:30, and it was glorious. I could have slept until noon if I'd wanted to, but I have this small guilt complex when I am doing nothing and most of the rest of the world is up and about, accomplishing things and whatnot. I figure I should at least have some breakfast and fold one load of laundry or something by the time the rest of y'all are eating lunch. That seems fair, doesn't it?

Sure it does.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And the Winner is...

CHARLIZE!

haircut!

It's still got a little growing to do before being truly ready for Ponytail Summertime, but it won't take long. I do love the new side-sweepy bangs and the fact that it's a bit more refined. My girl does good work. If you need a good stylist, do tell me, and I will point you in the right direction.

This has been a very satisfying day, from the nap to the haircut to the coffee with Rach to the roller shades I picked up at Lowe's. The evidence of my morning nap is there behind me in the form of the duvet and mussed up pillows on the sofa, which I've left in place for snuggling into with a book later tonight, and the evidence of things getting accomplished is all around. There are bits of the kitchen and bathroom in the living room (though that's not a toilet seat on the chair to the left, in case you're wondering--it's a ceiling medallion for above our dining room light), and there's a load of laundry waiting to be folded. It will have to wait a bit longer, though--I'm going to indulge in a workout while the house is still quiet.

(Though, honestly, can I call it quiet with the 30 Day Shred on? Probably not.)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I'm Still Undecided About My Hair

But I may be close to a decision, unless lots more people vote for the one I'm not favoring at the moment. So far it's two and two in the comments, plus an extra for Charlize from my husband. I still lean in the direction of Charlize for two reasons: 1. ponytail summertime FTW!!!, and also 2. I can always do the Selma on my next appointment, and will likely return to it in the fall or winter anyway. It sounds counterintuitive, but it's actually cooler to have longer hair in the summer. It's all about the ponytailabilty factor. Conversely, in the chill of winter, shorter is warmer since I'm more likely to blow dry it completely. (I cannot be bothered to blow dry long hair.)

All that to say, if you really adore the Selma cut and have not commented, you might want to put in your vote now. No matter how you vote, please remember to factor in how I would look with that cut while wearing a bathing suit.

...

I'm trying to take a more gentle approach to getting things done around the house as opposed to getting in a tizzy and never feeling like I've gotten enough done. This is...hard. I'm attempting to take deep breaths and remind myself that each thing I get done is one step closer to finishing off the list, but my true impulse is to go racing around the house, doing thing after thing after thing and collapsing at the end of the day, rendering myself too exhausted to do anything of value the next day, except maybe long for caffeine. Which, I know, isn't really of value to anyone except my local Starbucks or Latteland.

With that in mind, yesterday I painted the bathroom while the baby napped, and today I sanded and oiled the butcher block that goes on top of our kitchen drawer unit. Later I may scrape a bit more wallpaper from the bedroom walls. Which sounds perfectly calm and wonderful of me, except that in my mind I'm thinking, "And then I need to figure out when to fix the drawer that Lucy took apart and paint the bathroom ceiling and wipe down the bedroom walls and sand the plaster parts of the bedroom walls and caulk the bedroom and paint the bedroom and find a piece to fix the kitchen light fixture and buy the medallion for the dining room light fixture and make a list for Jarod and organize the office and do the dishes and oil the kitchen counters and and and AND AND AND ANDANDANDANDAAAAAAAAAND..." It will help you get the general feel for things if you read that without taking a breath and then hyperventilate into a paper bag. At the end, remind yourself that the exterior of the house needs to be painted and the numbers need to be put up and the window boxes need to be made.

And don't forget to plant the garden!

...

I am working a lot lately, perhaps too much. For now I feel like it's fine, despite my inner anxiety about all the things that are not getting done at home, because we've had some extra bills, and once those are paid it will be nice to have the additional funds to sock away for our autumn European vacation. We'll do London again, and possibly Nice, and if Nice, possibly Corsica (heads up, Cara, we're coming your way...we hope). Nothing is set in stone, and all depends on my ability to save the appropriate amount. I've promised Jarod a new laptop with the money we save by not having to pay our mortgage for a month (thanks, mortgage refinancing!), but after that all our extra dollars are for ME! ME! ME! Well, for us, as I won't leave Jarod at home, but I think we can all guess who will be purchasing most of the souvenirs on the trip. The name of that person is not Jarod.

...

I visited Old Lady Mary today and taped some pictures to her wall for her. I got so many compliments on my skill and speed that I'm thinking of adding it to my resume. It will go right under "Senseless Blog Posting" and above "Compulsive Kitchen Cleaning," which is what I'm off to do now.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Dilemma!

Yesterday, while I was being my own personal assistant, I scheduled a hair appointment for next Wednesday. Here's the problem: I can't decide if I want to take it back to the easy, usual bob with bangs or if I'd like to grow it out a bit so as to be able to ponytail it for the summer. I need you to help me decide. Selma Blair or Charlize Theron?

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

(And if you must know, I'm leaning toward Charlize due to the ease of restyling after swimming, which I will undoubtedly do with most, if not all, of my kiddos this summer.)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Day Two of Excellent Nutrition, and I Really Miss M&M's as a Late Night Snack

I totally forgot about the sugar withdrawal headaches on this eating plan. I think that's because last time I did it, I was too distracted by the gnawing hunger of the first three days to really notice if I had a headache or not. That or I hadn't been eating as much sugar leading up to it last time, so the glucose drop off wasn't so severe. I don't really care, though. I'm fairly certain that if I did have headaches last time, they cleared up right about the time the longing to gnaw my own arm off did, which was near the end of day three. Day three is tomorrow! Convenient! I can totally do this!

For those who are wondering, I'm doing Mary's Interpretation of the celebrity favorite, Harley Pasternak's 5 Factor Diet. Honestly, the book is a little cheesy and the celebrity endorsements are nice for Harley, but kind of a pain in the ass as far as I'm concerned. However, the principles behind the plan are solid, so I do it. Except for two things:

1. Fat free dairy products? GROSS. I can do the yogurt since I'm always mixing it with something else, but cheese? Is there anything redeeming about fat free cheese? I don't think so. I use 1% yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk, and I use full fat cheese. Reduced fat or fat free cheese can suck it.

2. No thank you to the Splenda, which he recommends for his sweet treats. It's chlorinated sugar. DO NOT WANT. I use agave. It's got calories, sure, but it's nutritionally better for you than chlorinated sugar. And since this is more about getting more nutrition into my body instead of crap, I think that a wise nutritional choice is something that is a natural, whole food.

If you're the type of person that cannot do moderation very well, this is a good plan for you. You still get the reprieve of a cheat day once a week, when you can eat anything your little mouth desires, but don't have the temptation of any small treats all around you the rest of the time. I do much better just forgoing all the sweets until I can go whole hog. If moderation works out for you, then great. But I know myself, and I know that it isn't my thing. I need structure! Rules! Routine! And then? A nice break. I know I cannot sustain the program in a strict way for the long haul, but it works out well for me to follow it strictly for a few weeks and then add things back in as part of the routine. I fully intend to add back in a weekday afternoon Starbucks run once a week, but for the first few weeks I'm just working on eating well all the time (aside from the cheat day, of course). Other things I'll probably add back in will be one convenience dinner per week (usually pizza on Tuesday nights, since that's the evening I get in too late to really feel like cooking) and coffee with half & half in the morning. So there you have it.

Not that you asked.

...

So of course I decided to start my fabulous new nutrition-filled life during a week that begins with yet another 8am blood draw and Jack and Mary Liz having a day off school. I had promised them that we'd go out to my parents' farm the next time they had a day off, so we went. It worked out well for everyone--burned a lot of daylight and allowed me to drop off and pick up some things from my parents, but man was it ever tedious overall. No one was ready when I arrived at work this morning, and then there was the drive. Driving any distance greater than three miles reminds now results not in little heads nodding off in the back seat, but little mouths asking lots of questions the whole way, and then arguing about the answers, either with me or with each other. I do miss the days when I answered a question and they took it as fact. Now that they can read, they like to correct each other and me. Delightful!

Of course I came home and made dinner after that. I wouldn't want to be a slouch! I also had convinced myself that I would work out following dinner. I made it five minutes. Great job, yeah?

Now there's nothing I want more than to do a face plant into my pillow.

The end.