Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

One thing about getting older is that you stop going out for New Year's Eve. Part of the reason, in my case, is because I have a small child, but also I just don't really like being in crowds of drunken people (never have) and now, at 30 years old, it's socially acceptable to stay home.

So, the hubby, the kid, and I are all spending a quiet evening at home. The kid just went down to bed and the time is now 8:04 pm. We bought a bottle of prosecco, there is a Twilight Zone Marathon on, and we'll probably jump on Stickam to hang out with some of our virtual friends. Nerdy? Yes. Enjoyable? Sure thing!

With the new year upon us, all I see/hear are ads for weight loss solutions. Why do so many people choose the new year to begin a weight loss regime? Do you think it's because we've all over-indulged at Christmas? Maybe partly, for a small fraction of the population. Seeing the amount of Americans who are overweight, it would seem that the answer has more to do with these diet companies realizing that the beginning of January is when everyone still has their resolutions intact.

Sad as it may be, the commercials have been getting to me. Maybe I could use to lose a few pounds...just five or so. I hate that I even think like that, because I am at a healthy weight, and I really don't want to let Hollywood ideals lead me to feeling bad about myself, but it's hard to resist. After Brittany Murphy's recent untimely death, I have been valuing my health more and more. I know that the autopsy results are not yet in, but it seems to me, even if she did die of "natural causes", it is abundantly clear that she was not a healthy person. Look at the photos of her from early December:



Yikes! Perhaps my resolution should just be never to look like that. I loved the girl, she was very funny, cute, and talented--especially as a singer--but it makes me sad to see what she had become. Is this what women should strive to look like? I seriously hope not.

Anyway, I'll probably just lay off of the holiday foods and be fine. What else would I like to do this year? Oh! Well, maybe not this year, but sometime in the near future I'd like to go back to school and take some creative writing courses and possibly photography classes. I've been thinking about it, and photography and writing are definitely two things I would absolutely love to make a living at one day. In fact, I will say right here and now, New Year's Eve 2009, I will one day be a paid writer and/or photographer. There. That's my resolution!

Now I will stop ignoring the hubby and go spend the rest of 2009 with him. See you in 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Just one.

The stomach flu hit me and the hubby yesterday, and as expected, it sucked big time. We were hoping to get out of the house to do some grocery shopping and see a movie, but needless to say that did not happen. The kid was VERY good, however, entertaining himself, and even helping out a little bit. I'm so proud of him.

He's been driving us a little crazy, asking us to play with him and his new toys, but I suppose that's the price we pay for deciding to only have one child. All day long, he guilt-trips us with cries of "Don't you wanna play with me, mom? Don't you wanna play with me?" to which we generally relent because he sounds so darn pitiful.

Case in point:



Do I wanna play with your castle? Of COURSE I do! I'm not made of stone! Poor li'l guy. Of course, if it weren't for us having
only one child, Santa may not have even been able to afford that castle.

People are always saying, "He needs a playmate!", meaning "You need to have another kid!". I get it--I mean, I had two sisters growing up, and we always played together--but I don't really want to have another one. One child is expensive enough, and he does have playmates (neighbors, cousins, etc.) so I don't really think he lacks that interaction. Also, even though I'm sure two would play together well, they would also fight: do I want to be breaking up toddler fights? Not really. My sisters beat up on me when I was a kid, and all I ever wanted was to be an only-child. Maybe that's the reason for my decision?

I have other reasons, too, all of which are valid:

- I'm a worrier. What if I have a second kid and he/she has a birth defect or some terrible disease? We got one healthy, intelligent child, I'm not pressing my luck.

- The world is over-populated as it is. I know that one's a cliche, but it is true. If we want another kid, we'll just adopt one. There are lots of kids out there in need of families.

- We want to travel. Extensively. I know that you can travel with two or three kids, but who really wants to? Plane tickets are expensive, and if we're going to Europe, that's definitely something to consider. Again, the arguing thing comes in here, because although it would be nice for him to have a brother or sister to share the experience with, I'm not keen on breaking up fights the whole trip.

- I hated being pregnant. People aren't supposed to say that, but it's true. Sure, there were good parts, magical parts, but mostly I was just ridiculously uncomfortable, nauseous, and unable to breathe or walk. Why put myself through that again?

- I don't want to take care of another newborn. Don't get me wrong--I love babies, but taking care of them when they are new is the most exhausting thing anyone could ever do. The lack of sleep ALONE is enough reason not to do it again. As my stepmother says, the first year of their life, your major responsibility is just to not let them die, which is harder than you may think if you've never had one. So many things could kill them! I'm not up to that amount of stress again, thank you very much.

- I enjoy giving all my attention to one child, and I don't really want to have to split that attention.

I know there are even more reasons, but I don't feel like sitting here all day, so you get the picture. If it sounds like I'm defending my decision, it's because I am--I have to. Do you know how often another mom asks me when I'm having another one? All the time. I almost feel like it's more socially acceptable to have no kids than it is to have only one. It's like they think I'm a horrible mom because I don't want siblings for him.

I feel like I'm jinxing myself by being so adamant that I will not conceive again.
I want to make it clear--this is not to say that I would not have another baby if I got pregnant accidentally, of course I would. Pregnancy would not be my first choice, that's all. And with that disclaimer, I'm going to clean. :)


Saturday, December 26, 2009

The holiday season is almost over....

So, rather than go on and on about how guilty I feel (which I do) about abandoning my blog for so long, I will say a short "I'm sorry" and get started on getting you all up to speed on the happenings of my life lately.

Eileen got her kidney! She took part in the world's largest kidney exchange and her husband donated his in return for hers. So far, they are doing well and she seems to be on the road to a full recovery. Needless to say, I did not have to lose any of my organs for this to happen, which I have mixed feelings on. I suppose I should just be thankful, but I was actually sort of looking forward to helping her out in such a profound way. Oh well.

We have decided to take our house off the market, again. The amount of showings in our area, including our home, has been just pitiful, so the likelihood of selling it right now is very poor. The hubby has decided that the commute isn't all that bad, but the bad news is that now we have to figure out a vehicle situation, because the 1983 BMW will not be a great commuter car for long if we drive it into the ground like that. I'm excited to be staying in our home, but I'm very sad that we won't be getting more storage or a better yard for the kid in the foreseeable future. As I always say, at least we have an affordable home to live in!

Last weekend, we drove to Omaha for the wedding of two dear friends of ours. Although hectic, we had a wonderful time. I was asked to sing in the wedding, and I felt very honored to have obliged. I sang a duet of "Come What May" with an amazing baritone (and consequently an amazing person) named Brian.
The bride also asked me to sing a solo version of "Forever" by the Beach Boys. I was incredibly nervous for weeks before-hand, but the songs were performed without any major mistakes, and I got a lot of very nice compliments after the ceremony. The bride was possibly the most beautiful I've ever seen, with a gorgeous train-length veil and impeccable hair and makeup (not that it would have mattered--she's a knockout anyway).

The best part of the whole wedding weekend was relaxing after the ceremony was over and heading out to the reception. The kid surprised us all with his dancing skills, burning up the dance floor whether he had a partner or not. I've never seen him enjoy himself that much, and the joy and excitement he felt was contagious--it really seemed to spread throughout the entire party. I can't remember a night where I smiled so much. Just a perfect event.

Other than those three items, our lives have just been busy with the normal holiday madness that happens every year around this time. Thanksgiving was spent with my sister, then Christmas celebrations were had early with my side of the family. We were lucky enough to be able to stay home for Christmas this year, which has been really lovely. I made Christmas Dinner of baked glazed ham, homemade mac n cheese, sweet potatoes, and rolls on the Eve, which we all thoroughly enjoyed (and will continue to enjoy for the next week). We have been under a blizzard warning for the past couple of days, beginning on Christmas Eve, and woke up on Christmas morning to a winter wonderland outside!

The kid had a wonderful Christmas, as Santa brought him exactly the toy he asked for when they met at the mall, and his stocking was stuffed to the brim with treats. He must have been a really good boy this year, is all I can say! He has been enjoying his new toys, barely wanting to nap or eat for fear of missing out on playing with them. If the hubby or I take a break from playing, he always says, "Don't you wanna play with me?" Gets us every time, darn it!

Spending Christmas at home meant relaxing more than we normally give ourselves time for, which we have all appreciated so much. I got to take a nap in the middle of the day yesterday! That was the BEST.

After we were all rested up and ready to go, we made the trek over to the home of some friends who invited us for Christmas dinner. Now, maybe this wasn't the smartest thing in the world to have done, considering the blizzard and all, but we were really looking forward to it, so we went anyway.

I'm glad we went! Dinner was tasty, the company was wonderful, and the kid got to spend some quality time with other children. All-in-all, our Christmas was perfect!

Monday, November 2, 2009

So much to say, so little time...

I began a blog about my visit to Lynette's the day I left, but by the time I finally got home (a full day later), I was too emotionally exhausted to finish.

The trip home was one of the worst I've ever experienced, and I was one of the unlucky people stranded over 9/11, so that's saying something! I plan on writing a very stern letter to Delta soon, and when I do that, I will post a copy of it here so that I don't have to write it more than once. In the meantime, if you are reading this, please do your best to avoid flying on Delta or Northwest airlines--no ticket, no matter how good a deal, is worth it!

So much going on, where to start? Let's number them off, shall we? It's a lazy way of writing, but I have a lot to do:

1. Eileen is getting a kidney! She will be taking part in the largest paired donor exchange in history, come December. Her husband will be donating his kidney in order for her to receive someone else's. Very exciting!

2. I'm weaning myself off of sertraline, which is exciting but is giving me headaches. Last time I tried to do this, the withdrawl effects made me stop. This time, since I'm off the pill entirely, I'm hoping it will be better. So far, so good (except for the headaches).

3. Halloween was great! I will post pictures on a separate entry.

4. Nobody has looked at our house in weeks (possibly a month), but I am remaining optimistic since I just saw a man take a flyer. Hopefully my dog didn't scare him off.

5. I recently re-connected with my first-ever friend, Stephanie, from kindergarten! It's really weird, because I wouldn't have recognized her, but I'm enjoying catching up over facebook. I've been searching for her for about ten years now, and I'm very happy to finally re-connect. Really exciting!

6. The kid and I both have colds. Sucks bad.

7. I started working on a photo album on blurb.com and I'm really excited! 2008 is nearly done, then I'll do Christmas albums to give as presents to grandparents, then I'll start on 2007 and 2009! You can make bookstore-quality books on that site. I think I'm going to be addicted.

8. Speaking of addicted...I'm addicted to Amazon. I just bought an old album for the hubby and two books: Un-Sweetined and Eat This...Not that! Can't wait to get them!

9. Heading to Dad's again this coming weekend for his annual bonfire. Not looking forward to it so much, but I'm sure we'll have fun.

I think that's all for now. I will try and get on again later to post Halloween pictures...they are GREAT. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Leaving Rhode Island

On today, my last day in Rhode Island, I just figured out that if I move the laptop into the dining room, I can connect to someone's Linksys internet. And I'm supposed to be smart. Don't know why I didn't think of it sooner, but oh well!

Just got finished uploading a bunch of photos to facebook, and while the videos are uploading seemed like the perfect opportunity to blog about my trip. It has been SO lovely! I love New England. I can understand why the cost of living is so high out here now--because if everyone could afford to live here, they would! The fall colors are beautiful, of course, but I think that what I like best about this area is the towns. They really are towns in the purest sense of the word; like the images you see in movies portraying small-town life. I didn't even really think they existed, but they do here!

Of course, there are Wal-Marts, Targets, KFCs, and pretty much any other chain you can imagine, but they haven't taken over the landscape the way they have in the Midwest. The highways are lined with trees, which is very pretty, as well. Not as crowded as I would have imagined at all, either--quite the opposite, actually. Love it.

Here are some photos of my trip, just for fun:
Look at the cute earrings I got in Putnam, CT! They were only $10 at an antique store. :)

At dinner with Lynette at Guytanno's in Westerly, RI. The cook was in love with us. :)


When in New England, eat seafood, I always say! Well, I don't always say it, I suppose, but it is good policy...


That was some delicious wine!

Lynette's dog was so sweet! He loved to lick my face. :)


This was how most of the trip was spent...relaxin' on the couch with a Snuggie. What?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

1.5 days!

I am soooooo psyched to go to Rhode Island and see Lynette on Saturday!!! I began packing already, just to make sure I don't forget anything and that I can fit everything in a carry-on (screw NW Airlines and their first checked bag fee!) and I think it's all going to fit. I'm bringing a ton of movies and this laptop computer, so I will try my best to update my blog whilst there and add some pictures too.

The weather forecast looks pretty dismal--rain up until Monday--but I won't let that get me down. The only thing I'm worried about is making sure I have a warm enough coat, without being over-bundled. Big problem.

The kid is crying in bed now, better go get him. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Well, that was unexpected!

The painter showed up at 8am! I think he may have seen me half-naked...or maybe not...but anyway, how exciting is that? He's actually going to finish today!

I had to pay him early, because he ran out of paint. AGAIN. We have given him paint money twice, so I'm pretty sure he's not spending the whole thing on paint. I'm hoping he comes back and finishes, but I'm not terribly worried because the hubby is supposed to give him some football tickets as part of the deal, and he hasn't gotten those yet. Plus, I think he left his stuff out back while he ran to Home Depot.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this guy has no idea what he's doing. Other than the fact that he's very messy with his work, he's afraid to take the numbers off the house because he says he thinks he's going to damage it because they're nailed in. So, rather than taking them off, he painted over them with the house paint, and now he wants to buy black plastic numbers to put over top of the beige-colored numbers. Y-eah. Well, when he finally gets out of here for good, I'm just going to go back and fix what he did, maybe painting the numbers by hand with a brush if I have to. I am meticulous, so I wouldn't mind so much, because at least I know it will be done right!

Yesterday, I was outside cleaning up the yard while he was painting, and I noticed several beer cans thrown into the hedge. I didn't pick them up then because I didn't want to embarrass him. I can't wait until he's done today and we're finished with this whole crazy experience.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Argh

Bah! My email is messed up. Apparently, my website is down, and I route all my email through that address, just because it's easier. I'm pretty sure that this is messing up my life, but there's no way to tell really since I don't really know what I'm missing.

I am drinking coffee, which doesn't really agree with me, but it just smelled so appealing that I couldn't help it. Coffee always makes me feel nauseous, but I am powerless in its delicious presence. I actually drink about two cups of tea (at least) a day, but sometimes I just feel like coffee, you know? I wish it didn't affect me so adversely. :(

I need to get dressed because the painter is coming soon--or he's coming SOMETIME today, I should say. I'm supposed to walk around the house with him and point out all his mistakes so he can fix him, but I'm really not looking foward to that. I know for a fact that he didn't power wash the front porch, even though he took $100 from me to rent one (which is about twice what one costs to rent anyway). He painted the porch the other day when I was gone, but rain came that evening and washed some of it away. I can see the part of the porch with the mildew on it that he was supposed to power wash off. The green is peeking through the paint. Fabulous. I just want him to be done so I don't have to see him anymore.

I have a huge urge to go shopping, but I am resisting. I'm trying to save up for my Rhode Island visit (in 8 days!) but it's incredibly difficult. I've done all the grocery shopping, but something will always pop up before two weeks are over. Not sure how much money I will need when I'm there, but I'm hoping it will be minimal, since I don't have a lot anyway! I'm thinking I'll mainly need money for food, and that's about it.

I'd really like to buy a sweater dress to go with my boots. They had some cute ones at Old Navy...Willpower, damnit! This is so hard. :( The worst part is that I have a card for a free panty at Victoria's Secret, but I'm afraid to walk into the store to get it, for fear of over-spending! Making it even more difficult is that the hubby is working long hours today and tomorrow, so I have to find something to do that doesn't cost a lot of money--and it's RAINY. Where do we usually go when it rains? The mall. They have a play area. They also have a great many things I would like to buy.

It's not that I even have a lot of money. We are on a pretty tight budget, actually. I just really enjoy shopping, and keeping my wardrobe current. It makes me feel good to look nice, is there anything wrong with that? At least I don't charge up credit cards and have a ton of debt. Learned that lesson early on!

Ok, ok...gotta get dressed. I'm getting nervous that the painter will come early. Which he won't, as long as I get dressed, probably.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Excited and excitment!

I am so excited! In less than two weeks, I am flying to Rhode Island to visit my best friend, Lynette! WOOHOO!!!!

She is pregnant, as you may remember, and her husband is currently living in North Carolina, waiting on her to get a transfer there to be with him. I thought it would be perfect timing to go visit her since she will be lonely anyway, Autumn in New England will be in full-swing, and I've never flown out to see her the whole time she's lived there. I can't wait!

The kid will be staying here with the hubby, and I do admit that I will miss them both, but it will be so nice to have time alone with Lynette. I am so looking forward to having the time to visit with her, uninterrupted. I think I'll bring an arsenal of chick flicks. She's Having a Baby, Steel Magnolias, that sort of thing. I'll take lots of pictures, too, since she lives on the coast. Should be beautiful!

What else, what else? Well, the hubby had the weekend off, and so we made the most of it. On Saturday, we went to the Oztoberfest in Wamego, KS. Wamego is the home of the Wizard of Oz museum, so the whole main street there is pretty much themed out in Oz. It was a lot of fun! As you know, I am a huge Oz fan, so spending the day immersed in it was awesome. They even had the surviving munchkins there signing autographs, but we weren't exactly able to stand in the line for it with a two year-old. Oh well.

There were lots of people dressed up in costume there, and every time the kid saw one, he'd get excited and want to go see them. Then, when we got there, he would be terrified of them. I thought it was just the Witch at first because, well, of course the witch would be scary, but actually, it was everyone in costume he was afraid of, right down to Dorothy, and I have the pictures to prove it. Of course, as soon as they were all out of view, all he wanted to do was go and find them again, but this cycle continued pretty much all day. Oh well. Whatareyagonnado?

Wamego has an amazing park! I know that sounds silly, but it really is awesome, especially for such a small town. There is more playground equipment there than I have ever seen on any park in the city. The kid really enjoyed going down the very tall slide, the likes of which are mostly extinct, due to liability issues, I imagine. He would climb up, hesitate at the top, go down the slide, then say, "I do it again!". This park also had an old-fashioned merry-go round, the sort that you push around and can make children fly off like Superman due to the centrifugal force.

We got in a lot of walking that day, which was good since we ate so badly! After the kid had a nice nap on the way home, we decided that the weather was too nice to stay inside for the evening, so we ended our day with a trip to the Plaza. There is just something about a brisk Autumn evening on the Plaza and a hot Chai Latte that is unbelievably good. In that moment, everything is right with the world.

The kid really enjoyed drinking his "coffee" (aka hot chocolate) at the table with us outside. I think he really felt like a big boy sitting there with his paper cup. The couple at the next table was going on and on about how adorable he was and how stylish he was dressed, but then he threw a tantrum as we were leaving, so I'm pretty sure I spoiled that illusion for them, lol.

On Sunday we went to the Renaissance Fair, but I haven't uploaded any photos yet. I never really enjoy them very much, but this was far more enjoyable now that we have a kid. We got him a wooden sword and he spent the whole time attacking bushes, trees, and his friend, who also had a sword.

The hubby always wants to squish as much as possible into his days off, which is fun but exhausting. I get really frustrated with him when he wants to get up early on a weekend and go clean the car and whatever else he has planned, but I understand that he has little free time in which to do these things. I just don't really get why he wants his whole day to be scheduled--it's like he's at work.

In house-painting news, I am getting even more annoyed with this painter. Last week, he missed a day because he said his Grandmother is sick and dying, which I hate to not believe, but it's sort of the oldest excuse in the book. I gave him $100 to go rent a power washer, and he still has not power washed the front porch, which he said was going to be painted before last week was over. There is still paint all over the window panes, and the shutters are not back up yet. He did paint the shutters, to cover up what he got on them, but in doing so, he leaned them against the garage and now our garage looks like it's got graffiti on it. Why does he only come for two or three hours a day? I have no idea. I am considering just asking him for the rest of the paint and doing it myself. I'm pretty sure that I could finish more in a day than he can, which is really saying something since I am meticulous at painting, and rather slow. I just want him to be finished already, so I don't have to see him! I'm getting so annoyed that it's hard to keep my composure when he does come around.

I guess I'd better get off this computer and get ready for the day. The hubby is working late tonight, so as soon as the kid wakes up, I'm going to take him out to do something. The thought of being inside for an entire day is just more than I can take, especially with a high of 65 degrees! Maybe I'll take him to the park, then out to a friend's house. Should be nice. I should probably clean a bit before we leave, too.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Writing to write

I have lately had an insatiable need to write. To write what? I do not know. Anything, really, I suppose. I wish I could channel that energy into song writing, and come up with a hit, but now does not seem to be the time for that, so I will just record my thoughts rather than my voice for the time being.

I love Bonnie Hunt. Her show comes on right around the kid's naptime, so
I usually hold him on my lap and turn her on while he falls asleep. Maybe it's because she was raised in the midwest, but she seems like a really sweet person--someone I would love to get to know better, in person. She is moving to the top of my list of celebrities I'd like to meet--right up there with Dolly Parton.

The weather today is gorgeous--a high of 68, sunny, and windy. I can't understand for the life of me why the painter is not here enjoying it while painting my house. What is this guy's deal, anyway??? He missed Friday because he said he had a sick kid, then I saw him on Saturday before we left to a birthday party. He said he was going to stay late that day because he needed to be done by Monday. Well, he was gone by the time I got back around four, then he didn't even show up on Sunday. Here it is 12:13pm and he's still not here today, so I truly doubt he will be finished today. There is no way, in fact. He still haas half the house to paint, window sills to glaze, white trim to be done, the porch floor, and scraping and painting of the garage. If he'd worked all day Saturday and Sunday, he would have easily finished by today.

I think I brought this on myself, sadly. He needed more money for paint for the front porch, because we aren't paying him in total until the job is done and he's out of supply money. I gave him $100 for paint on Saturday, and I haven't seen him since. The reason he said he had to be done by today was because he had to pay his phone bill, but now I see that he probably took that money and paid his phone bill with it rather than buying paint. Not sure how this is going to go down, but I sure wish the hubby would be here to deal with it so I didn't have to, because I'm not good with confrontation!


Yesterday was a nice, lazy Sunday. The hubby actually had the day off, so we took the kid to the Plaza Art Fair, which was lovely. The weather was a bit hot (85 yesterday!), but we all thoroughly enjoyed taking in the art, food, and people/dog watching. There were so many cute dogs there!

Speaking of dogs, we have been talking more and more about finding new homes for Daisy and Vinnie. I feel like the worst dog parent ever, but I don't know what else to do: Vinnie bit the kid on Friday so bad that he cried himself to sleep. He bit him on the soft part of the palm, under his thumb, and bruised him terribly. He didn't break the skin, luckily, but it was not pretty. I was in the bathroom at the time. If I could think of some way to keep them, I would definitely do that, but I feel like I'm being forced into re-homing them. Maybe we just need to wait until the kid is a little older before he can have a dog, so he can understand their boundaries.

It broke my heart this morning, when the kid was sitting with Daisy on the couch, petting her. He kept saying, in this adorable high voice, "Daisy, so cute! Aw, look at your ears! So cute! I love you, Daisy!" She was growling the whole time, and all he wanted was to love her. I'm still trying to figure something else out, so maybe we will be able to keep them, but I'm just not sure right now. They were here first, and it seems terribly unfair to have to give them up for a kid who's been here only two years, but I can't very well give the kid away now, can I? And he's just not learning any lessons. One would think that after being bit several times, he would stop chasing them and pulling their tails and jumping on them, but it's just not the case. :(

I seriously need to get dressed. Preferably, I would take a shower, but I know that as soon as I get in the kid will wake up or the painter will arrive and make the dogs bark. I think I'm going to dye my hair tonight, which could be a serious mistake, but I'm itching for a change. We shall see!

On the agenda today: Bank, park, cleaning...I think that's about it! Lazy day. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Life on the market

So, I'm getting kind of frustrated with having our house on the market. Selling a house is such a personal thing, and every time someone comes to look at it and doesn't like it, it's like they're kicking me in the shins. What's wrong with my house? It's perfectly lovely!

The hubby just took the kid out to clean the car after we drove down the road and back to allow for a showing. We cleaned like mad while I made chocolate chip cookies to leave on the table as a bribe. They actually DID eat some cookies, but they weren't in here very long, so I'm assuming she doesn't like something about my adorable house.

I've been trying to stay positive through this whole experience. Every time we have a showing, I go around telling everyone, "We are selling our house tonight. This one's the one! I can feel it!" But The Secret doesn't seem to be working out very well for me, because so far no one has bitten. Maybe I need to write myself a check for the amount of the house? They say that works. I'll try anything at this point!

It's not only that the whole thing is insulting, but it's just very tedious trying to keep the house spotless all the time. You see, I am not a super-clean person. I'm no pig either, but I don't mind a little clutter here and there. With the house on the market, I can never let the cleaning go for very long, because I know if I do I'll get a call saying someone wants to show the house in an hour. You think I'm kidding, but that actually happened one time! I had to decline, because I didn't have enough time to clean everything, and the clients never came back again. I hope that wasn't the one we were going to hook, because I sure screwed it up!

We have been dumping money into this house left and right, trying to get someone to buy it. A couple months ago it was a new roof, and now we're having the whole exterior painted. The painter is a hoot, by the way. He looks and sounds a lot like Joaquin Phoenix, if Joaquin Phoenix had grown up in Kansas and become a house painter. On the days he comes (which is by no means every day), he gets here around noon, scrapes paint off the side of the house for a few hours while drinking malt liquor and smoking, then leaves. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, because this guy charged about a third of what other contractors quoted, but I just think it's funny. I'm really hoping he gets the work all done by next week, because it's stressing me out. Today, he actually started painting, which was exciting, though he only did 1.75 sides of the house, and only one coat done. I can't understand why he doesn't hire someone to work with him, because surely that would be faster and he'd make his money back in the time saved anyway, but I guess this is just how he does it.

Today, I went out to give him some cookies that I made and I caught him peeing on our house. He was really embarrassed, but I didn't really mind so much. He kept apologizing, saying that in Oklahoma City where he used to live, he would have gotten fined and fired if someone caught him doing that. The guy's gotta put all that beer somewhere, though, right? I'm just glad he didn't come in and track paint all over the floor!

Hopefully we can get this house sold after it's painted and looking all beautiful. Please, readers (if you are out there), send the good vibrations our way! Life on the market is getting to me, it just must sell soon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Disclaimer.

I can't seem to get my settings perfect on this here blog, but I'm sticking with this new layout (I think) from here out, so hopefully my photos won't be cut off any more. As a result of changing the layout, some of my past posts have look a little screwy, but rather than going back and fixing them all, I am just posting this disclaimer. Consider yourself disclaimed. That is all.

Autum Euphoria!


Perhaps it's the weather. Or the fact that I'm off the pill. Or maybe I'm getting used to the hubby's crazy work schedule. Or it could be the fact that I have the cutest kid in the world living in my home...whatever the cause, I have had a fabulous sense of euphoria lately. I keep catching myself in these moments where all of a sudden, everything is wonderful in my world and I am so grateful that I want to dance.

I've actually been dancing a lot lately, with the kid. We'll be watching tv and a song will come on and he'll say, "Mommy, dance!" and we'll bounce around like crazy people. Good exercise and an excellent energy boost!

The kid must be really enjoying this state I've been in lately, also. I've got a new-found patience for him and his antics, and I find myself wanting to treat him to movies and candy. Yesterday, we had to go to the bank, so I bribed the kid with the quarter-candy machine in the lobby. There were skittles, hot tamales, and peanut M & M's to choose from, so he chose the skittles. Nope--"too chewy", he said, spitting them out on the bank floor. M&M's?
I told him he wouldn't like them because they had nuts, but he insisted I was wrong. Two bites and..."I don't like these, mom". Yep, it was the nuts. We didn't try the hot tamales, since I was sure that they would be too chewy as well, so I told him he could get some candy at Wal-Mart when we went.


The kid was good all through Wal-Mart, so when we checked out, I let him pick out the candy. Starburst. Ok, that'll do...he's had them before and liked them. I paid for them and he opened the package as I was still checking out. "I don't like these, mom", he stated as he spit a yellow candy onto the floor. Great. So, I threw the Starburst in my purse, got him a giant roll of Smarties and he was finally happy. See? That kind of thing would have brought me to the end of my rope a couple of weeks ago, but this time I just kept buying him candy. Maybe that wasn't the best choice, from a parenting standpoint, but I'm pretty happy that I didn't blow up at him. After all, it's not his fault he didn't like any of that candy...a kid's gotta figure out his likes and dislikes!

With the cooler weather and warmer clothes, I'm finding myself breathing in a little deeper and stopping to appreciate the slowly changing leaves. Throwing in a fall movie, brewing myself a cup of tea, and lighting some spicy candles is my idea of heaven. I want to bake cookies and make soups. I want to put together outfits of sweaters, skirts, and boots.

Speaking of boots, I got the most fabulous pair of them the other day. I have had the same Timberland ankle boots for three years. They are comfy, stylish, and practical, but they are slowly falling apart. I ventured out to find a pair just like them, but tall, so I could wear them with skirts. It was a seemingly impossible mission: Brown suede, round toe, stacked heel, good traction, knee-high. After five stores and no matches, I ventured into Nordstrom and found exactly what I was looking for. And I do mean EXACTLY. It was like a miracle! How cute are these boots???? Unfortunately, they were Franco Sarto and $200. Lucky for me, the hubby was feeling very generous and allowed me to spend part of our escrow surplus check we recently received unexpectedly, so I got them anyway! . Score!

I can't wait for tonight, because today is the 70th anniversary of the release of The Wizard of Oz, so they are showing it in digitally remastered Hi-Definition at select theaters. One show only! I got our tickets yesterday and I hope to show up early so that we can get good seats. I wish I had a costume so the the kid could go dressed up as the tin man or the scarecrow, but I think about it until now, darn it. How cute would that have been? Oh, and if you are thinking I am dragging a two-year-old against his will to the movie theater, you are wrong. He LOVES the Wizard of Oz, and he LOVES the movie theater. He will sit through an entire movie without misbehaving at all, which is remarkable for someone of his age (26 months). Not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed of this fact, but it serves me well, so I guess I'm proud!

On the agenda today: Send family pictures to walmart.com to be printed and picked up, go get bug bomb for the garage so that we can park the car in there without fear of being eaten by giant spiders, make chocolate chip cookies if I think the better of it after weighing their affect on my hips, and exercise when the kid takes his nap. Oh, and I plan on making my special Spicy Chorizo soup for dinner! This recipe is mine and mine alone, and I would like to share it with all of you, in honor of the beautiful Autumn weather:




TB's Spicy Chorizo Soup

1 lb. spicy Chorizo - crumbled (I generally just use one package, so it's not always exactly a pound)
1/2 lb. smoked bacon - chopped (I use turkey bacon to make it healthier)
1 qt. water
(2) 14.5 oz. cans (about 3 2/3 cups) chicken broth
3 lg. russet potatoes - scrubbed clean, cubed
3 garlic cloves - peeled, crushed
1 med. onion - peeled, chopped
3-4 cups chopped kale (One large bundle will do, you can sub swiss chard if needed, but I love kale)
1 cup half and half
salt and pepper - to taste



-In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown chorizo, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain, set aside.
-In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown bacon; drain, set aside.
-Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in a pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are almost tender.
-Add chorizo and bacon to pot; simmer for 10 minutes.
-Add kale and half and half to pot; season with salt and pepper; heat through.

You can add more hot sauce, like Cholula, if it's not spicy enough for you. Serve with a really spongy bread for dipping!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Some recent photos

Since I've already posted some personal photos, I guess I'll just go ahead and post more! I debated ever posting any photos of myself or my family, but I guess it's ok. It's a struggle for me to not share this kind of thing, since I really am proud of my family! I'm still using the pseudonyms anyway, so I guess it's fine. *shrug*


Here's my little family after my friend's wedding on the 19th. We wanted to get a picture all dressed-up together, since that rarely ever happens. I was planning on getting some professional pictures done this fall, but I'm not sure we'll have the time, with the hubby's job and all. Busy season, you know. These turned out especially nice anyway, so I guess we can forgo the $150 sitting fee I was going to pay and just get these framed for friends and family. These were taken at my Dad's house, and I really couldn't ask for a prettier setting, unless maybe the leaves had been turning. That dress is a BCBG dress I got last year and have already worn several times, but I still really love the thing. It is even more beautiful in person than in the photo--it shimmers with copper threads. The shoes are also a favorite of mine, and aren't nearly as uncomfortable as one would expect!

Here's my Grammy, who we went to see when we were visiting my mom. Grammy lives in a nursing home and suffers from dementia, but is getting a whole lot better, if you ask me. We went to see her both days we were at my mom's house, and she actually remembered that I was coming back the second day, which I was surprised about. I put her hair up in that pony tail and told her she looked like a teenaged cheerleader. She got a kick out of that. :) The kid wouldn't pose with her, so I got him behind her in the photo.

We took the train home from my dad's house, and this is us before we boarded, in Hermann, MO. I was really excited to get on the Amtrak, but I was a little worried when we got there and there was no ticket agent or anything at the station. It was basically just a big shelter with a bench, like at a bus stop. The sign said something about "no checked luggage at this location", so I thought maybe I was in trouble and they wouldn't take my big bag, but that was all for nothing as I had no trouble whatsoever getting on the train. As soon as he saw it coming down the track, the kid yelled, "Blue train!" and ever since then, when he talks about it, he tells people "I ride on blue train." So cute!

Anyway, we really enjoyed our ride. The price really wasn't too expensive...$25 for me, $12.50 for him. It was nice to be able to watch movies and socialize rather than having to drive the whole time, and it only took an hour longer than driving would have taken, so I think it was well-worth the money. The train was also much wider than an airplane, with more leg room, too. There is something to be said about being able to get up and walk around instead of being buckled into a seat the whole time!


After we got back and were all together as a family again, the hubby got an invite to sit in a box at the Chiefs game, so of course we went! It was a very nice day for a game, and the seats were great (although none of those pictures came out). Though he works a lot, it's nice that the hubby has such great perks to take advantage of through his job when he gets the opportunity. The kid was afraid of the cheerleaders when they walked in, but after they left he was looking for them and now that he's home, he constantly wants to look at their picture together. I'm going to print one out so he can look at it whenever he wants. How cute is that? ;)


So, that's the fam! I'll post more photos as I get them, when I remember. I'm sure it's more fun to read a blog when pictures are involved, so I'll try and do that more often.

Note to self:


Never leave the kid out of my view with spaghetti-o's.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Home free

So, obviously I'm home from my trip. All that traveling left me with a stiff neck and a greater appreciation of my comfy, cozy home.

My day at Barnes-Jewish went well, but it was tiring. I had a counseling session, a CT scan with contrast dye, and a consultation with a kidney specialist. The CT was really weird--the dye makes you feel like you're peeing on yourself, believe it or not. Speaking with the doctor made me a little nervous, because she told me that my liver enzymes were elevated and they needed to re-test them. Apparently, they thought that I went on a booze bender the night before my first test, the reading was so high (I didn't).

Today, I spoke with the kidney donor office, and the representative told me that the re-test came out fine, so hooray! I was worried! Now, all I have to do is get clearance from my OB/GYN and I'll go on the paired kidney exchange list! Isn't that exciting? I'm nervous about being called in to donate a kidney, but I'm also really excited at the prospect of being able to help at least two people with this paired exchange. The only thing I'm really concerned about is the recovery period, since I won't be able to pick up the kid for at least six weeks. That's a long time!

So, as a result of this whole kidney exchange, I've gone off of my birth control pill. The doctor told me that I needed to be off the pill for at least three months before donating, as hospital policy. Apparently, with all the thousands of transplants they've done at that hospital, only one live donor died, and that was the result of a blood clot. She was on the pill. Makes sense from a liability standpoint, I guess.

In all actuality, I'm really excited to be free from the pill! Sure, it's got some benefits--painless periods, clearer skin, convenient birth control--but it's so nice not to have the synthetic hormones in my body. I'm hoping that I'll be able to go off Zoloft now, since I think that the pill was partly to blame for my depression in the first place. I'm also hoping that I'll lose these ten pounds that have recently, for no reason, taken up residence on my frame. Luckily my clothes still fit, but that number on the scale is still bothering me.

The weather here has been so lovely, I've been looking forward to Halloween this year with great enthusiasm. We've been invited to my cousin's house for a family Halloween party, so that's what we'll do. She has three kids who get along famously with mine, so it should be a really great time! I need to get to work on a super hero costume for him, as all he can talk about is flying and being super-strong. I was going to do Buzz Lightyear, but I may go with one of the Incredibles, since that would be so much easier. I was looking through photos of last Halloween today and the kid looked so adorable, I can't even tell you. I guess I'll have to show you:



He was dressed as Vinnie, our dog. I worked tirelessly on that costume--searching everywhere for a black sweatsuit and beanie, cutting the ears out of paper patterns first, then tracing them onto felt and sewing them on the hat, making sure that the white pattern on the kid's belly matched that of the dog's--but I must say that the whole thing was worth it when I saw him dressed up, smiling. This year will be even better than last, because he already understands Halloween! He's been saying to me, "Mom, I wanna eat Halloween!" The kid's got a memory for candy, I'll tell ya!

That picture makes me miss having long hair. :( I've really enjoyed this short haircut, but I think it's time to grow it back out. I've even started taking prenatal vitamins to try and get it to grow before Christmas. Maybe I'll just dye it for now, to mix it up a bit. Darker, maybe? We'll see what happens!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Still out of town.

So, as we were locking up the house for our long weekend with family, I got a call from the kidney donor office, saying that I was cleared for the next round of testing to participate in the paired kidney exchange for Eileen. Woohoo! The bad news? They can only do this next round of testing on a WEDNESDAY. We were only planning on staying through Monday, as the hubby had to get back to work, but we figured out a plan for me and the kid to stay past Wednesday so that I don't have to drive all the way back to St. Louis again. He would take me to my mom's house before leaving on Monday, where I would stay with the kid until Wednesday when my mom could take me up to Barnes-Jewish for testing. Then she would take me back to my dad's house Wednesday night, and they would take me and the kid to the train station on Thursday to ride the Amtrak home.

So, I'm at my mom's house right now. She also lives in the middle of nowhere, but it's much more relaxing than my dad's house, as there isn't a gaggle of kids running around arguing with one another and their parents. She has a beautiful deck off the back of her house, woods all around, with four bird feeders set up around the perimeter. The hummingbirds offer constant entertainment, and the kid hasn't even gotten bored yet, which is saying something since she doesn't really have any toys. The weather has been absolutely beautiful, so we've been spending a lot of time outdoors and the kid often exclaims, "Nice weather!". So cute!

I've never really seen the appeal of living in the country, but I always enjoy my time when I visit. There is something so sweet about having only four television channels and bird watching. I don't think I've ever quite fully enjoyed the coming of Autumn as much as I have this year--it's so lovely to have the time to take it all in.

The weekend was a lot of fun. Very relaxing, and so nice to be able to take advantage of the hubby's time off. We went to a wedding of one of my high school friends on Saturday. It was in a very very small town, so the hubby and I were incredibly over-dressed. Oops. I always forget that people don't dress up as much in small towns! I'm glad that he has gotten to a point where he doesn't even flinch when he goes to a wedding and sees people wearing shorts. He's just accepted small-town life in Missouri, and he doesn't judge. He even said he had a great time! I love him so much. :)

On Sunday, we took the kid to the zoo with Eileen. St. Louis zoo is really fun! It's free to get in, but parking is $11, lunch was $25, and the kid's zoo cost $3/person, so...yeah, not actually free. It was ok, though. Still had a great time! I enjoyed a delicious sugar-free cherry sno-cone, which I suspected wasn't actually sugar-free, but that's ok.

OMG, there is a guy on tv who is trying to put on like 200 t-shirts. He only got to 177 and he almost passed out. Dummy.

Anyway, I have to go do my last round of kidney testing tomorrow, which includes a talk with the doctor, a CT or MRI scan, and a talk with a counselor. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm getting a little bit nervous! The way it works is, if I get approved as a donor, they'll put my info on a national list. If there is someone out there who I am match for, and THEY have a loved one who is a match for Eileen, then I will donate to them and their person will donate to her. I like it, because two people get kidneys instead of just one! I am a little concerned about the recovery, and not being able to hold the kid, but he is two now and can mostly walk everywhere, and I imagine that my mom and sister will be very helpful after the surgery, so it should be fine. I'll write more about all this after my appointment, or after I hear my results.

On the agenda today: get dressed, clean up a bit, then go and bring my Grandma some pictures in the nursing home. We went to see her yesterday, but I promised her I would come back today since our visit was so short. I wish I could think of something to do with her...she just sits there and I have to shout everything I say to her, but I know she really appreciates the company.

Better get going!

Pseudonyms

I'm considering scrapping this whole pseudonym thing, but I don't want anyone to be pissed off at me. It's getting kind of tedious, coming up with one for everyone and not saying my hubby's or kid's name!

Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So busy, so busy...

It's been a while since I've written but, as you can see by this blog title, I have been very busy.

The kid and I went out of town last Thursday to Monday while the hubby stayed home and worked. He had opening weekend (he works for KU athletics) and so he wasn't home at all anyway, which allotted a good opportunity for me to go out and see some family.

On Friday, I went with my brother in-law to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis to get some testing done for his wife, Eileen. She is suffering from kidney failure and needs a transplant. The first round of testing revealed that I am not a match for her, but I am hoping to participate in the paired kidney exchange, where they put me on a national list and I can donate to someone who has another donor for Eileen. Like on that one episode of Grey's Anatomy, where they had like 10 pairs? Like that. Anyhoo, the testing was a breeze: 8 tubes of blood, a cup or urine, a chest x-ray and an EKG. I was incredibly impressed with the speediness of it all! I was seriously in and out of there in 45 minutes, tops. Very well-oiled machine they have running over there at Barnes-Jewish!

On Saturday, I had to take the kid to the emergency room because we thought he broke his wrist. It was such a fluke: he was just crawling around on the floor (which he is, admittedly, out of practice doing since he has been walking for over a year now), and next thing you know, he's face down, screaming his head off. Poor li'l guy. Usually, when he gets injured, he just cries for a good thirty seconds then stops and says, "I fine", while wiping away his tears. This time he would NOT stop crying. He even let me put ice on his wrist, which was a good indicator something was seriously wrong, since he never lets me put ice on him.

I gave him some Tylenol and buckled him in his seat while my step mom drove us to the closest ER, about 40 miles away. Sometimes, living in the middle of nowhere can be a real pain in the ass. Makes me glad I live in a city!

Anyway, the kid was a real trooper, only crying when someone touched his ailing arm, and making polite conversation ("Monsters Inc a good movie."). After a round of x-rays, it was determined to be only a bad sprain--not a break, thank God. The nurse wrapped his arm up in an Ace bandage as he sipped on a Sprite and ate cookies that my step mom got for him to make him feel better.

On Sunday, I was fortunate enough to meet up with my friend Lynette, who was in town for a wedding over the long weekend. She was meeting her family at the zoo, and she graciously asked me and the kid to tag along. He was getting around very well with the one hand, so we jumped in the car and headed to the zoo. Seeing Lynette and her husband was so great! I miss her so much. She just found out that she is expecting her first baby, so it's a very exciting time for both of them. The zoo was fun, but hot, and we didn't get to stay and visit near long enough, but I was very thankful for the time we did have together.

So, the trip to my dad's house was eventful. In between outings, my dad kept trying to engage me in political conversation, which I tried my best to avoid. The only news channel he watches is Fox, and he's pretty much worried himself into a frenzy over all the doom and gloom he hears day in and day out, thinking that our country is going to become Communist or something. It makes me really sad to think that he believes all that crap, but he does it to himself by immersing himself in that sort of rhetoric day in and day out, so I can't feel too bad for him.

When we got back on Monday, the hubby's dad was here visiting, and he left yesterday. This Friday, we are leaving AGAIN to go visit my family and Eileen's family, because the hubby has a three-day-weekend and we want to take full advantage of it. I am really not looking forward to the three-hour drive there and the three-hour drive back, but I guess it will be worth it to spend some time with the hubby. His hours have been so ridiculous lately that I am coming to the end of my rope. I don't feel like I know him very well anymore, and parenting by myself is definitely taking a toll on my nerves! Let's just hope it gets better soon...everyone says it will, so I'll trust that.

This weekend we are going to sell our house. I can feel it. Our Realtor is doing an open house while we're gone on Sunday, and I'm sure someone will come in and write up a contract on the spot. This is me being positive. Positive, positive, positive! I got all the repairs done, all that's needed for it to be perfect now is an exterior paint job, which we will be hiring someone to do in the next couple of weeks.

On the agenda today is the bank, Sam's Club, and Wal-Mart, in that order, then cleaning and making dinner. Do you think that housewives in the 50's were able to get so much more work done because they didn't have the internet to distract them? I'm guessing that's the case. Either that, or it wasn't as lovely and perfect as everyone made it out to be. Probably the latter, actually.

Well, better get going. So much to do, so little time...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The perfect day

So, the hubby has been working crazy hours. He leaves in the morning and comes back at night, working 60 or more hours a week. This sucks the big one. Nobody signs up for this sort of thing, and I'm actually kind of sad that we've adjusted to it, but we have and we are making the most of the time we have together as a family.

Last night, he got home around 6:00, and we immediately left to go out to dinner and a movie, on a family date night. We had the best time! Who'd have thought that Panera and a movie at the dollar theater could have brought so much joy to everyone? We saw Up, and the kid stayed glued to the screen the whole time, except for during the climax of the film, where he announced he needed to go pee, so I took him to the bathroom (he was dry! Woohoo!).

This morning, we woke up, packed a lunch, and headed off to the zoo with some friends. Another perfect day! The weather has been unseasonably cool for a Kansas August, and the high today was only 72. I can't remember ever enjoying a day so fully, and I say that with all honesty. Walking around the zoo is SO much better when it's not 100 degrees!

The kid did really well today, too--excited at every animal, naming the ones he could pronounce, and even stopping for a bathroom break. He ate pretzels in his stroller and chased us down the hills with sticks. Everything really was perfect.

The kid zonked out in the car on the way home, and the plan is for the hubby and I to join him in his siesta as soon as I'm done with this blog. I threw in some delicious country style pork ribs for dinner, which will slow cook until I'm ready to make the mashed potatoes and green beans to go along with them. We have the windows open and the candles lit, and I don't think I could be any more happy than if Publisher's Clearing House showed up with a giant colorful check.

As a gift to you, my readers, in celebration of my perfect day, here is my delicious rib recipe:

TB's delicious country-style pork ribs!

Buy some boneless country-style pork ribs. That's what they're called here, but there is a slight chance they are called something else in your neck of the woods. They are basically just really big strips of meat, with little or no bones in them.

Pre-heat the oven to 275.

Take the ribs and pour liquid smoke over them, and then sprinkle them with this rub:

brown sugar
Lawry's seasoned salt
onion powder
garlic powder
pepper

I don't know how much of each I put on, I just sprinkle them as I go, from the bottles or with a spoon. Rub that all in, then repeat on the other side of the ribs, making sure to cover the whole piece of meat.

Take the meat and put it on a slotted broiler pan, with maybe an inch of water in the pan below. Cover tightly with tin foil and bake the ribs in the oven for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. You'll know they're done if you stick a fork into the meat and it falls apart.

Next, take them out and brush them with a good bbq sauce. I like to use Jack Daniel's original 7 bbq sauce, but use whatever you like. You can put them back in the oven to heat the sauce, but I usually just leave them and let them cool as they are.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Drinks with friends, dampered by racism.

I went out to dinner on Friday night with a couple of good friends. It was a belated birthday gift from one of them, to take me out for Thai food, and I was very thankful for that lovely offer.

The hubby got home around 6:00, and I headed out, all gussied up, to the tune of the kid saying, "Mommy, stay here!". Very difficult, but I soldiered on and headed out to the restaurant.

Again, beautiful weather, so I drove with my widows open, fixing the hairdo that I took down in the car. Too overdone with all the bobby pins and hairspray, so I turned to the wind, which has become my own personal stylist since I cut my hair short a month ago.

Dinner was fabulous. Yellow tofu curry and a lemon drop. Mmmmmmm. What is it about Thai curry that is so superior to other curries? I couldn't say, but if I could make it at home, I would! I once got some Thai curry paste from the Asian market, but my recipe didn't turn out half as good as what I can order at a good restaurant. Oh well.

After dinner was drinks at a local bar where the waitresses show way too much cleavage and dance on the bar. There was a time in my life where I wouldn't think twice about that, and would even maybe consider working there if I could make enough money, but now I just find it degrading. I don't know if it's my age or the fact that I'm a mother now, but I just feel bad for all those girls, being objectified and drooled over.

I only had one beer and a Coke at the bar since I was driving home, but the conversation was great, and it was really nice to go out with friends. One trip to the bathroom, however, put a damper on the whole night. I was walking with my friend to the facilities (we girls pee together, you know) and on the way we both spotted a girl wearing a tube top with a giant tattoo on her back. It was a confederate flag that said "WHITE POWER" across it in giant letters. WTF????

What is wrong with people? Why does someone think it's ok to have a tattoo like that, and on top of that, go into a public place and show it off? There were people of all races there, and I was just waiting for her to start a brawl. In fact, I almost went up to her and kicked her myself. Had I been drinking more, or if the hubby had been present, a fist fight would definitely have ensued.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but the hubby is half Filipino and I am white, which makes us a mixed-race couple. We really don't run into many problems--in fact I can count on one hand the number of times in our twelve years together that someone has expressed a problem with us as being a couple. It's pretty much a non-issue in our relationship, and friends tell me that they don't even think of him as Asian, though he clearly is when you look at him.

The fact that there are people out there who will hate us, or hate my CHILD because we are not of the same race is deeply disturbing to me. I actually try not to think about it, and when I do, I have a hard time grasping the issue. The hubby likes to watch documentaries on white power groups and finds the whole thing incredibly interesting, but I really would rather avoid seeing or hearing about anything so hateful.

My friends and I sat at that table, expressing our shock and awe about this person waltzing around with something so vile written on her shoulder blades. I watched her do a lap around the bar, making sure to walk slowly past a whole table full of African-Americans, with no result. As we walked out the door on the way to our car, I made a point to ask the woman at the door if they could ask the girl to cover up or leave, and she said she would talk to a manager about it, but I couldn't tell if she was really going to do it or not.

I can tell you that I will not likely go back to that bar. The fact that they allow someone like that in the door to begin with, with such a horrid advertisement of hate on her back, is reason enough for me. It's possible that she got through the bouncers and door girl without them looking at her back, but it is entirely impossible that the waitresses and bartenders didn't notice it. I just don't want to patronize a place that won't stand up for what's right without someone else having to complain about it.

So, the night was a lot of fun, but we left on a very sour note. I'm going to try and make a point of it to go out with just "the girls" on a more regular basis, even though it can be difficult to schedule it in. From now on, though, we're going to make sure and visit more upstanding establishments. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Daisy the dog.

The weather is getting cool already! So exciting! I'm supposed to take the kid to a playdate at the park with my mom's group, but it's kind of wet and rainy out, so we'll see if that happens or not. I'm not too keen on him playing on a damp playground with wet wood chips under foot.



My dogs are driving me freakin' nuts.
Daisy, in particular, barks constantly. She is an an epileptic, so I try and cut her some slack, but she's *this close* to moving. We gave her away twice now, and both times she came back. Actually, she didn't really start out as our dog. The hubby was weed-eating the lawn one day and she just showed up in the middle of the road, watching him. We took her in, gave her a bath, took her picture and put up fliers, but nobody ever claimed her, poor thing. I can't imagine why--she's super-cute.

We already had two dogs at the time, which is the legal limit in our county, so we gave her to my sister's sister-in-law. She kept her for a few weeks before her cat started chewing a hole in her own side in retaliation. So, back she came and we took her in as our own.

Earlier this year, we had some horrible neighbors. They had a dog that ran around the neighborhood all the time and someone called animal control on them. When the officer showed up to take their dog, they got mad and told the guy that we had three dogs and that they should take one of ours too, presumably because they thought we turned them in (we didn't). The animal control officer was really nice to me, possibly because I came to the door in pajamas with no bra and a baby on my hip, then proceeded to cry when he told me I had to get rid of a dog. He ended up backtracking and telling me that he hated his job and he was so sorry and actually, I didn't have to get rid of one, just to take out two out at a time so the neighbors can't complain. Well, I figured they would see what we were doing and call us in again, so off Daisy went to stay with a friend.

During the time we had only two dogs, one of them, Chiko, began to get aggressive with the neighborhood kids, so I took him to live with my mom in the country.
He now lives a very happy life, chasing rabbits and rolling in mud puddles. As soon as he was gone, Daisy began to have seizures while living with our friend. The day I took her back home, she had EIGHT and I had to take her to the Emergency Vet that evening. SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS later, we found out that she was epileptic and will have to be on seizure meds for the remainder of her life. Great.



So, that's Daisy for you. She's cute as a button, just came into our lives one day, and now she's a sickly thing. The kid loves to terrorize both Daisy and Vinnie, and he's taken to pulling Daisy's tail, which she does not seem to appreciate as much as he does. He also chases them around with bats, hitting them. Vinnie seems to tolerate it pretty well now, even though he's going on 8 years old.





Ok, yeah, so Daisy's getting a new home. As I took a little break from writing this blog, she bit the kid on the cheek/mouth. He bled. Not ok. I'm not blaming the dog, because obviously she was pushed to her breaking point, but I certainly can't find the kid a new home, and it seems that they are unable, at least right now, to live in harmony. This sucks. Guess I'd better get on that.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Woohoo! I got a parking ticket!


That sounds silly, but this was a very exciting parking ticket. Let me explain:

My friend Kim was in town for my birthday party and we went to Lawrence to do some shopping and walking around in the unseasonably cool August weather. It was one of those days when I was truly thankful to live in the Midwest--the sky was bright blue, the clouds were white and billowy, and the air was fresh, with a high of 75 degrees. Ah, so beautiful!

We headed down to Massachusetts Street and found a meter. As I attempted to transfer the kid from the car seat to the stroller without waking him up, Kim plopped two hours worth of my quarters into the meter.

Well, the kid did wake up, resulting in a little bit of a meltdown, but he did his best for running on such little sleep. We all started out and did a little shopping in the antiques mall and the British Goods store before ending up at The Toy Store. Oh, The Toy Store! SUCH a great store. My kid could play in that store for hours without getting bored, and nobody ever yells at him for being too loud or rambunctious. VERY good store.

Creeping up on an hour in The Toy Store and no bathroom break for the kid (potty training derailed...ugh), Kim gently reminded me that our meter was likely about to expire. After a minor meltdown, we all left the store and hauled-ass to the meter, a few blocks away.

Upon arriving at our meter, we immediately checked to see if it was expired and, luckily it had five minutes left! Unluckily, my car had a ticket on it. So...turns out we fed the wrong meter. In Kim's defense, it was a little confusing! There were two meters there, each with an arrow pointing at the car it belonged to, and she just sort of misread the arrows.

I was a little upset, but was cutting my losses when I opened the envelope to read the ticket. "Are you FREAKIN' KIDDING ME???" I shouted out while Kim braced herself for the worst and begged me to let her pay the ticket. I could not believe my eyes. Take a look for yourself:






I had to read it a couple times to make sure I was reading it right, but it was not a mistake: my ticket was for TWO DOLLARS. TWO DOLLARS??? How the heck does Lawrence even afford to pay their parking enforcement officers? If I pay it late, I have to add $8 more, bringing the total of my fine to a whopping $10. I have never been so happy to get a parking ticket! Well...I have never been happy at all to get a ticket, to be honest, but for some odd reason, this one left me with a feeling of euphoria.

Lawrence stole my heart that day. On top of the town being beautiful, liberal, and fun, it's proven itself to be highly rational and affordable as well. Who could ask for more?




Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our first home

I have that horrible, anxious feeling. Maybe it's because I had too much tea this morning. Or maybe it's because I had an annoying conversation with my sister. Anyway, I am now very anxious and want to get out or just scream, but I can't because I have a two-year-old sitting here who is almost ready for his nap. He just crawled up on me, gave me a hug and said, "I miss you! So much!" I'm pretty sure that he means "I love you so much", but he always says he misses me.

Is he ultra-perceptive, sensing that I'm not quite myself? Maybe he knows what he's saying, and he means that he misses the happy, congenial me when I'm in this mental state. Hm.

Oh, I have so much to do! I am in the middle of repairing a corner in my bathroom that has gotten wet too many times and corroded away--not something you can ignore if you are trying to sell your house, which we are. This house is great, but it does have its flaws.

We moved here in July 2004, after my husband got transferred from his job from California. It was a deliberate transfer, as I am from the Midwest and wanted to be closer to my family for a while after having lived in California for the six years prior. He was willing to give it a shot, so he put in for a transfer, which ended up being a promotion, and we started the process of buying our first home and moving to Kansas.

We would never have been able to afford to get into the market there in California, so when we saw that you could buy entire homes here for under $100K, we jumped at the chance. I made one trip there by myself to scout out neighborhoods and find a house, which was unsuccessful, so I had to do the rest of our house hunt by internet. We had a very helpful Realtor who took pictures of homes for us from all angles, and my sister joined in on the house hunting process by going along with him and giving her opinion.

As we started to count down the weeks, we realized that we needed to get into a place fast and we settled on the 2 bedroom/2 bath house we now live in. We bought it for $89,900, thinking that if we didn't end up liking it there we could always sell it and move again later.

On the day we arrived in Kansas, the first place we stopped was the escrow office to sign the papers and buy our first home. With our Realtor leading the way, we drove to the house under a stormy July sky along roads aligned with emerald green trees and grass: it was the complete opposite of California, and I loved it.

The house was just as we thought it would be, but it was very old and smelled like an old house. You see, the home was built in 1900 and had recently been completely gutted and remodeled, so while the walls and fixtures were new, the floors and basic structure were all over 100 years old. In all honesty, we were probably both a little disappointed with the house at first, but we were so excited to finally have a home of our own that we didn't complain. At first.

As the months and years went by, we found plenty to complain about. From the old floors, to the leaky roof, to the neighbors who we had to call the cops on in the middle of the night for having a knock-down-drag out fight on their front porch, our new home was far from perfect.
Here's a tip if you ever buy an old house: original hardwood floors are good in theory, but once you hear the creaks and see the cracks big enough for ants to crawl through, they sort of lose their romance.

We tried to sell the house two other times, never with any success, but this time we mean business. My husband has been transferred to a job about 45 minutes West, and that commute is incredibly inconvenient when you actually like your family and want to spend as much time with them as possible. So, we've got it on the market and are doing all the things one does when one's house is up for sale. Keeping it clean is the hardest part: Have you ever tried to keep a house presentable, much less sparkling clean, with a two-year-old, two dogs, and a husband who is gone 60-70 hours a week? Ye-ah. Close to impossible.

Actually, I sort of wish we could stay here. Because even though the schools aren't that great and every closet and storage space is overflowing, this house really has become our home. All the unsavory neighbors have finally moved out and the whole neighborhood is full of children playing in the streets and in our double-lot every day. My son has friends who actually enjoy his two-year-old company, even though they are mostly much older. We carpeted most of the floors when our son started crawling, and we just added a new 30-year Timberline roof, so leaks are a thing of the past. I even have come to appreciate the small size of our home, if only for the fact that it's so much easier and quicker to clean than a larger house would be. Add all that to the fact that this is the longest we've ever lived in one place and it becomes clear that I'm really going to miss this place.

So here I've been blogging about our house when what I really need to do is clean and repair it. On a final note, as an ode to our first home, I'll post up some pictures of the old gal. Here's to you, House!



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