Monday, September 28, 2009

Bonjour! Nice est Bon!

Here we are in beautiful France, and of course we're loving it. And by "we" I mean "mostly me" since Jarod has jet lag and pretty much sleeps while I wander through Nice. Generally I am the one to be awake half of the night, but I think I've figured out a new strategy--no serious sleep on the plane (dozing is okay), and then do not sleep until it is night wherever I've landed. This guarantees that I am exhausted enough at bedtime that I'll sleep soundly and wake up feeling as if it's morning instead of like I should just be heading to bed. I'll admit that my bleary-eyed walk through London wasn't entirely enjoyable, but I'd much rather suffer through it and wake up raring to go the next morning than be the one who is currently conked out on the sofa.

Our apartment this time is sweet and simple, and the shower is magnificent, but overall I'd say it's my least favorite of the three we've rented here. The bed is a bit to firm for my taste, plus it is a bit short, and the sofa doesn't have arms, which has proven to be inconvenient when I'd like to lie on it and read. So I've made a makeshift ottoman of a chair and a throw pillow, but it's just not doing it for me. Additionally, we are right across the street from a (24-hour) McDonald's and right next to the tram line and the bus station. In a town where the weather is perfect, so having the windows open is desirable, this can make for noisy, smelly times. I still opt for windows open during the day, but at night the late night McDonald's crowd and the noisy automobiles are completely undesirable. I latch the windows tight and turn on the air conditioning unit, which, in addition to cooling the apartment in the absence of a breeze, also creates enough white noise to help me sleep.

When I'm out of the apartment, though, of course it's fantastic. While Jarod has been sleeping off his jet lag, I've been wandering on my own, popping in wherever I please and making questionable purchases from time to time. I'm sorry, but I just can't help buying souvenirs simply because I find them to be completely ridiculous. So far I haven't added to my la cigale* collection, but that's only because the shop selling the salt & pepper shakers was not open. Rest assured, though, that I have already procured one of the hideous kitty cat themed items on offer. It is simply spectacular, and yes, I am going to make you wait to see it. Jarod prefers to purchase sensible things like sandwiches and other edibles, while I would gladly eat the trail mix we brought along so I could bring back all the things I find to be too hilarious to leave behind (pit bull beach towels, so help me). However, since we are both on vacation and sharing the wealth, we have picked up some good food. The pain au chocolat was delicious, and I'm sure our baguette with goat cheese will not disappoint. Now, if I can just figure out how to sneak in an owl themed sweater dress when we pick up the fruit for dinner, I'll be all set.


*La cigale is French for cicada. They are considered to be lucky, and you can find all manner of Provencal items that feature the illustrious insect.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hit Refresh

vacation shoes, kitty paw

When we pulled up to the house tonight, I let out a little cry: SHOES! Leave it to me to be worried about whether the shoes I'd ordered would show up before vacation. It's not like I couldn't just pack an alternate or something. But these were the shoes that I'd pictured myself in with the sneaker-appropriate outfits I'd packed--it just wouldn't be the same in my old Vans, and the Campers have seen enough of Europe to satisfy them for at least another year. So there they were, and they fit, and now I am breaking them in. It wouldn't do to be cursing my new footwear while on vacation.

I have so many grand expectations for this trip, but not of the sort you might imagine. Mine are limited to sleeping in and eating gelato and walking through Old Town over and over again. And being refreshed. I suppose there could be some unforeseen tragedy looming, but I'm fairly certain that these are all easily reachable goals. I set the bar low so as not to disappoint, so as to come back from vacation not needing a vacation in order to recover from vacation.

Because let's face it; these past few months I've kind of sucked at a lot of things. I've sucked at keeping up with friends, I've sucked at keeping up with my garden, I've sucked at making dinner for myself and the guy who is not satisfied just eating snacks instead of meals. And this week I'm starting to kind of suck at my job. It's not that I'm neglecting the children or causing harm, I'm just not at the top of my game. My energy is low, my level of direction interaction is suffering, and I find that I'm showing up at work with a sigh and resolve to make it through to the end instead of being excited to see my little people. So it's good that tomorrow is my last day before vacation. I know that in many jobs it's possible to half ass it and feel okay about it, but I don't like that feeling, knowing that what I do affects little people. And though I know that a couple of days of the sitter not being as fun as usual won't hurt them, I look forward to coming back and really enjoying my job and having my job really enjoy me back. To go away and come back with a bit more spring in my sneaker-clad step is just what will do the trick.

I'm certain of it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Just One More Week, Hallelujah, Bless the Virgin Mary

I realize that we have seven days until we leave for vacation, so maybe I shouldn't be so obsessed with being mostly packed, but come on, guys, seriously, I need to have the good underwear on vacation, and I'm not waiting until the last minute to do laundry. The last minute is reserved for watching Jarod pack and feeling like I've forgotten something important.

I know it's beating a dead horse to keep mentioning this, but I have earned and am earning this vacation. We've got a busy weekend followed by a busy week ahead, plus plenty of things to get in order before we head out. I'm one of those annoying sensible people that likes to have the house cleaned and de-cluttered before we leave, plus we have a housesitter coming, and I am giving her the gift of clean sheets on the bed. You're welcome, Livie!

In the days before we leave it's pretty much work, work, adoption paperwork, work, work, work, find my freaking postage stamps that I know I have here somewhere, then off we go.

Hooray!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Not Crazy Enough to Start Documenting Cat Nap Schedules (Yet.)

A friend of mine recently told me that she didn't know I had three cats. This is probably because only one is completely nuts does things worth mentioning. For example, while Lucy is busy doing things like this:

laundry supervisor
Mind if I vault off your shoulder onto the closet shelf? You do mind? How about if I stare at you the whole time you're working here? Will that change your mind?

The other cats prefer to pretty much just do this:

leave us alone
Why did you wake us up? Now we're going to have to start this nap over.

I had no idea just what I was in for when I decided to make this a three cat household. Lucy eats plants. She sits on my butt while I work out. She licks plastic with wild abandon. She takes things out of my purse. She leaps to my shoulders after I shower so that she can groom my hair. She is equal parts awesome and annoying, except that the annoying parts sometimes turn into awesome. Lucy is just the cat I needed to prepare me for parenthood. With Phae's help, she's even helping break in Magnolia's nursery.

thanks for fixing up this room for us

I guess I'll keep her.

Friday, September 04, 2009

ROAR!

This morning I took two naps, one short and one long. Now I feel like I can do anything! I called the CPA! I cried after the CPA told me he'd get the forms in the mail today! (Sufficient sleep does not prevent me from being touched by the actions of someone who is a decent human being.) I put on clothes that weren't lounge pants or pajamas! I paid bills! (Wait, that's out of order; I paid bills while still wearing pajamas.) I conquered the grocery list! I obtained enormous containers of really excellent hair care products! I picked up the kids! I checked homework! I'm making cookies! Right now! I can do anything!

(I also had an extremely large coffee. In case you couldn't tell. If I'd had two coffees, that list would have been in all caps--consider yourself spared the pain of that kind of reading.)

...

While mixing up the aforementioned cookies, I noted that the dough seemed a bit anemic. It was downright pale. I was a bit concerned. Then I realized that I was in the kitchen of the Standard American Diet, not my own kitchen, so not only were the whole wheat pastry flour and organic sugar replaced with the store brand bleached versions, but the eggs were not the glorious eggs of summer farm freshness to which I have become accustomed. Standard American Diet cooking is kind of depressing now that I know about the delicious alternative. Not to mention the fact that we put in some white chocolate chips, and seriously? If it's white, it's not chocolate.

...

I am currently enamored of very expensive rugs for our hypothetical baby's room. We were given a rug which will look very sweet in there, and I have every intention of using it, partly because it was free and partly because I want this baby's room built by love, and to put things in it that we get from people we care about seems the right way to go. However, if someone would like to gift us with this Pottery Barn rug in the 8x10 size or enough of these Flor tiles in Leaf to make a rug of a similar size, I would not say no. I would say thank you and probably do an inappropriate amount of hugging and possibly crying. So you'd have that to look forward to. Yay!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Another Task for the Current "Can't Be Bothered" File

Lately I have little interest in dinner--either making it or eating it. I'm interested instead in a handful of chocolate covered almonds and sitting firmly on my butt until I force myself to work out. I think it's got something to do with this thing where I leave the house by 6:50am and then am forced to stay awake for the entire rest of the day. Oh, the suffering. So tonight I waved a box of organic mac & cheese in front of my husband, indicating that if he wanted it, he could make it. Also available: cheese and crackers and a bunch of tomatoes I picked and just left on the counter like little tomato orphans, homeless and without anyone to tuck them in at night.

I'm tired is what I'm saying. But working out every night makes me feel better about the chocolate almonds, and in the case that the workout is a run or solo bike ride, it gives me a chance to sort through all the thoughts that would otherwise keep me awake at night. I've committed to working out six nights a week, and so far it's working for me. Whether or not it's working for that guy on the couch that I used to make dinner for, I'm not so sure, but he hasn't died yet, so that's a good sign.

Vacation in three weeks. We're ready.