Thursday, December 31, 2009

I wanted to get a few more Christmas pictures in here before January.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Egg on my face.

I broke out the new mixer today. Just when I started thinking: Wow! This is easy! I cracked an egg and dropped (the whole thing) into the bowl of the mixer.

CRUNCH! Crushed to pieces. I tried to get it out but don’t think I necessarily salvaged all of the shell. So we might have a slightly crunchy pound cake to enjoy later.

I couldn’t start over because I used the last of my real butter on the project. Paula Deen I am not, but I did learn a lesson in humility from my Kitchenaid this morning. Now, onto the cheese ball covered in nuts! I have faith this one is going to turn out better than my first foray into auto-mixing my food.

I was so looking forward to sharing the pound cake with my grandmother as we both have a love for buttery, sugary pound cake. But now I don’t know if I can risk giving it to her unless I warn her first. A baked gift just isn’t the same if you have to say,

“There’s a possibility it may have eggshells in it.”

Not much can deflate the ego faster than admitting that something you’re usually good at has turned into a failure. The only other thing I can think of at the moment is stepping on the scale after New Year’s Day and realizing that the pound cake you’ve been eating should really be called:

Pack on the Pounds Cake

Why do you think I’m trying to give the cake away?

To avoid that particular scenario 5 days from now.

One day left of 2009! I am so looking forward to making that final X on my calendar for the year. I just know 2010 holds better things for our family. I hope you are all looking forward to the future as well, and enjoying the end of the year.

Go Big Red!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thank you Grandma.

I think I'm going to stop reading the news. Between the underwear bomber, Charlie Sheen's most recent arrest, and msnbc constantly warning me that what I eat could kill me (heart attack, stroke, drug resistant e-coli, oh my!).

It's just one of those days today.

Holden received a playskool farm for Christmas from Grandma and played with it for about 4 hours yesterday, constantly hitting the button and making it sing, "Old McVinkle had a farm...eeeiiiieeeeiiiiooooo."

I'm not exaggerating about the 4 hours straight part either. Thankfully (sort of) old McVinkle ran out of batteries today. But now Holden is bugging me to fix it and I don't have 3 AAA batteries to replace the ones he wore out yesterday.

On another note, who the hell is Old McVinkle? Has Old MacDonald kicked the bucket?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Again with the Reese's Pieces...

Any amount of snow that makes my Cadillac look small is...well...a lot of snow.

We had to hire somebody to come and clear the driveway because it was drifted up above the roof of the Sentra--all the way across the driveway and up to the house.

My dear husband trying to shovel snow up to his shoulders was something I'm sorry I missed, but I was sitting at the only bar in town that was open having dinner with my son.
Before you get this picture in your head of me drinking mixed drinks and having a good laugh, it was me trying to keep my kid from screaming his head off in a small bar over two medium rare hamburgers (sent back and then still red the second time--the waiter did give me a discount since I couldn't even take a bite without gagging and didn't want to feed Holden any sketchy hamburger).
Then I fed him Reese's Pieces from one of those bar candy machines (I'm not worried about the candy because my cousin happens to own the ones in that bar--strangely enough I know two people in two different states who own candy machine businesses.) one at a time with the $0.50 I had fished out of my purse.
I get that Reese's Pieces are made from peanut butter and my toddler isn't supposed to have peanut butter products, but I was desperate--and let's face it, I wanted to have some candy for my trouble. I did get to open my new mixer and enjoy the gleam of the new stainless steel when I got home, so it was all worth it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas to me! For Christmas from Santa* I received the long coveted KitchenAid mixer. It’s white if you care. I also got the mini food chopper I wanted and a pair of gloves I really need (among many other things—our family is so generous).

The main thing I received this Christmas was the ability to spend it with my immediate and extended family despite what will forevermore be known as:

The Blizzard Of 2009.

Sitting in my grandparent’s basement in an old blue wingback chair watching football while my husband lies on the bed snuggling with my son…I don’t think life can get much better than this.

We have power, food, and water to boot.

I am running out of diapers and my husband is getting a little stir crazy (I think that has more to do with a certain nicotine habit than actually sitting and watching football all day), but luckily we should be able to make it home tomorrow with Holden, the dogs, and the presents in tow.

*Hereafter "Santa" and "Dear, doting husband" will be used interchangeably.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?

You know the claymation version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? I walked outside this morning to let my dogs out and the weather is sort of like that. With the whistling wind and all.

Without a flying sleigh, and a neon nosed reindeer, I somehow doubt we're going to make it to the Christmas eve/day festivities.

So at 6:50 this morning I called my husband.

"Why did you go to work today and why did you not take a cell phone?" (It's too early in the morning to be this irritable, isn't it? I still have a few dozen cutout cookies to bake).

"It wasn't that bad. I left the phone so you can pick me up when I get off work and we can go and stay in Lincoln."

Left me the rear wheel drive car for a road with 0.25" of ice. And a 20 month old. And three dogs. And wants me to stay at his grandparents (3 bedroom) house with 10 other people for 3 days? Oh my goodness I don't know which is a worse idea. But my wonderful husband just wants us to have a wonderful Christmas and see our family. I have to give him tons of credit for being a good family man. Which he is.

So now all I have to do is bake cookies, clean our house, load up ALL the presents, pack two bags with enough clothing for 4 days, find the dog's leashes, fill up the car with gas, put an emergency kit in the car, get my kid bundled up, hope I (we) don't die on the road, pick up my husband from work, drop the dogs off at the vet, and find somewhere to sleep (probably on the floor) at my in-laws house. Fun.

Not unlike Santa in the Rudolph movie, our Santa isn't quite ready for Christmas either, but the storm will stop (ahem) him from finishing gift buying. There were only two left to buy anyway. Can you believe I'm feeling guilty for something I have no control over (the weather, not the gift buying)(this is a rhetorical question)?

I'm so calling my dear husband back later today and discussing this further.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feels like home to me

I was thinking about the song "I'll be home for Christmas" because we have an impending ice storm/blizzard this week. Which means we may not make it to my DH's family Christmas. And while the family Christmas is wonderful and warm and cozy and very Norman Rockwell (except with more booze--don't tell them I said that). I'd like to say it's home to me, but it's not.

I have spent the last 4 years in this house. I love this house. But it is probably best described as a starter home, 1000 square feet with two bedrooms and one bath--one that we can't over improve because if we do we will lose money selling it. So while I love this house, it's hard to spend money on it and make it feel like home because I know if we sell it in a couple of years all of it will be for naught.

This year I have a fake Christmas tree with white lights and no ornaments because I don't want to have to yell at Holden all day long about messing with them. It was looking a little forlorn, so I have been tucking all the Christmas cards we receive into the branches to make is more festive. There are no presents under the tree, they are all stacked in a corner in my bedroom where Holden can't get to them. This isn't exactly the cozy, homey Christmas I had envisioned. The coziest thing I have this year is a Christmas DVD/CD that plays music and a video of a crackling yule log (fire). It actually looks pretty cool on the flat screen TV next to the Christmas tree.

My dad's birthday is/was December 24th. Yes, Christmas eve. So if we can even get to the family Christmases I wonder how it will be, the first year without him there. It's also the first Christmas without Ally--she would be 5 months old this Christmas if she was alive. I told my dear husband that this year I just feel unmoored.

I'm losing my train of thought here, and obviously lacking the focus to wrap this up as usual. I seem to have lost my blogging edge (if ever I had it). I will try to post again before Christmas. Something more clever and less sad. I'll work on it.

Merry Christmas to you all. Be careful if you're traveling! And doesn't like the perfect Christmas robe? Maybe my husband should buy it for me (hint, hint) (actually I don't think he ever reads this so I will have to direct him to this post).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

These boots are made for walkin' (sort of)

The picture really speaks for itself.*

My son has been climbing on things for quite some time, but this week I found him face-climbing the front of his high-chair. I spotted him for awhile and then had to remove him when he ended up with his belly flat on the tray of the chair looking like a beached whale. His arms and legs were flailing around and I figured he had learned his lesson about trying to climb into the chair by himself.
Or maybe not, we'll see.
I walked into the house today after a nice evening of shopping and dining with one of my friends. The first thing Tony said was,
"You bought another pair of boots?"
I was so excited about my acquisition I put the boots on in the bathroom of the store and wore them for the rest of the evening. So he noticed them when I walked in the door.
I didn't mention to him how much better retail therapy** is than swimming in the bottom of a bottle of red wine, I just used Christmas, my birthday, and my stressful life as my excuse.
Merry Christmas to me!
(They weren't that expensive anyway.)
(Can you tell I'm trying to rationalize this purchase?)
* Please note the orange-y stain on the ice/water dispenser is not because I'm too lazy to clean it (which I may be) but that our water is so hard it looks like that when it dries. I have a two year old dishwasher with a broken motor because the water is so hard. Did I mention both my cars broke down and so did my dishwasher the same week my dad died?
**I know the lottery is just a tax on the poor and those who can't do math but would it hurt to buy a lottery ticket just for fun? $92 million and I could buy all of you some impractical boots just like mine!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hot apple pie

This morning at 11:10 a.m. I was frantically searching for my toddler's red mittens which seem to have disappeared. I just don't understand how within 2 months I could have lost every single mitten of the 3 pairs I bought. I did manage to stuff him into his coat and find a camouflage hat for him to wear.

Because for some reason people think that my dear husband being a former Marine means we love camouflage. We don't. I think my DH would rather not ever look at anything camouflage again. But my dad bought this camo diaper bag and hat and I've been too lazy and cheap to buy anything different.

Let me tell you, me dressed up accessorizing with a camo diaper bag is smokin' hot. Even better if I have granola bar in my hair.

So now I will be carrying these things not only because I am too lazy and cheap to go buy new ones, but because they have sentimental value (dad bought them). Speaking of granola bars and dad...

Without fail every single time we get into the car my kid is suddenly starving,

"Num num? Num num? Num num? (higher pitched) Num num? NUM NUM?"

He will seriously do that for a full hour in the car if you don't get him something to eat. Even though last time I cleaned out the carseat I spent the entire time swearing that I would never again allow my child to have any sort of food or milk in the carseat ever again, I caved about 10 minutes into the next car ride.

So we got into the car at 11:15 a.m., pumped gas in the frigid weather with no pay at the pump (the freezing price I pay for living in a small town), and got on the road at 11:25. Holden started his num numming about 30 seconds into the drive, and the car was still pretty cold. I opened the console to fish out one of the sugar laden store brand apple cinnamon nutri-grain bars I had stuffed in there for emergencies.

And then I remembered that after my dad's funeral I had decided that the safest place for a little baggie of his ashes would be in the console of the car. I swore to Tony that I would take it out when we got home, but apparently forgot. So right next to Holden's mid-morning snack were my dad's ashes.


Okay, but the cereal bar was wrapped, so I threw it on top of the defroster to soften it up (tastes like hot apple pie!) and gave it to my dear boy. I know, unthinkable, right?
Such a proud motherly moment. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and so on and so forth.

And I promise those ashes are going somewhere safe until I can get to Africa to spread them (I really am going in the next 10 years or so).

I honestly think dad would kind of like his ashes in a ziploc baggie. I don't think it's disrespectful, it's the sort of practical thing he would appreciate. It's what the funeral home gave us, so it must be legal. And his ashes are riding in style in my caddy anyway. For now.

I miss him.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm going to try to make this post the last sad one for awhile, because it is the season of joy and happiness, and overall I really am very happy. Just a few things beyond my control have left me staggering behind my normal pace.

It's funny the things that bother you when someone dies. It's never something normal, like that person being absent and leaving a huge vacuum in your life. Its little things like when I look at the little 3X5 pictures that don't even exist anymore (you can't even find a 3X5 frame anymore...I looked) and I see pictures of my smiling mom with a black and white cat, and a separate picture of my dad at 25 years old smiling with the same black and white cat, but no one can tell me what the cat's name was. I asked around, and no one seems to know. I think it may have been Bradley, but I really have no idea.
I once read that to lose your parents is to lose your past, to lose your child is to lose your future, and to lose your spouse is to lose your present. The past thing rings true to me right now. It makes me sad that no one can recount memories of walking the floor with me as a baby, screaming and colicky. And no one remembers that day I was sitting on my dad's shoulders in my favorite Berenstain Bears pajamas at age 4. No one except me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

On Monday, I knew when I walked into the room it was going to be my dad’s last night with us. Startled, my stepmom looked up at me from her position at his side. She had a nearly unreadable expression on her face. One I have never seen before. She quietly suggested that I might not want to see my dad like this. Because if any of you have seen impending death, it’s not all that pretty. It’s loud, and gray, and each minute that passes is suffocating in its grief. Keeping watch is exhausting. It’s all dark circles and red, puffy eyes. It’s all praying the Lord’s Prayer because you just can’t think of anything else to say to God that you haven’t already said. Too tired to beg and too sad to talk about hope just yet.

He took his last breath at about 9:27 p.m. It wasn’t dramatic; drama just wasn’t really his style. We left my stepmom to say goodbye on her own, and when she was done, I went and sat in the room. Nothing about those moments strikes me quite so much as how quiet it suddenly was. No breath, no machines, no TV. Just me sitting in dim light pondering where I go from here.
I was asking God the other day, “Why?” Just one of those questions that most people who have lost someone ask.

“Why? Why can’t I just be like other people? Why couldn’t my parents have died when they were old?”

And I felt an impression again (you know I’ve talked about it before).

Because I don’t want you to be like other people, I want you to be extraordinary.

As I walked out the door of the hospice house and started the car the world outside seemed a little darker, the night enveloping the car, snow from a looming blizzard starting to swirl in the path my headlights cut into the night. I drove slowly, carefully, knowing that many tears will fall, but sometimes you just have to drive through the stormy night to get to the place you really want to be.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I have to say, this is by far the worst year of my life. The. worst.
My dad died last night at 9:30. It was his and my stepmom's 13th anniversary. He died peacefully and we were there. I'll write more (much more) later.

Friday, December 4, 2009


You know, it's pretty damn depressing when I go to Target, find a cute black dress, hold it up and say,

"I could wear this to my dad's funeral."

You should have seen my poor friend's face when I said this today. We were rifling through sweaters to find the perfect one, because if you have more than a B cup most sweaters are out. Unless you want to look like you gained ten pounds in ten seconds.

My dear friend is always pulling accessories out for me to try and telling me they go together, but I have no funky style, and no Tim Gunn standing in my bathroom mirror telling me to "make it work" in the morning, so I tend to just try on that cute outfit and then take it off, throw it on the floor where it gets dog hair all over it, and find a sweatshirt. Because it is cold here. And I don't care what you say, hosts of What Not To Wear, a sweatshirt is more comfortable than your stupid cute outfits.

And friends who read this, you should also note that if all of a sudden you think it's a good idea to submit me to What Not to Wear to be embarrassed on national television we would not be friends for very much longer. Just had to make sure and tell you that.

Okay, so I'm not that bad. I clean up real nice.

I have the house to myself for two nights in a row. The only other living thing here is my cat (and possibly some mice that may be living outside under the stair to my garage). On a side note, I think my dog ate the peanut butter off the mousetrap. Wish I could have watched that go down.

Anyway, house to myself...

It is (was) my mom's birthday today. My brother emailed me and called me and told me what he did to remember her today. Then I felt guilty because all I did to remember her today was try to distract myself into forgetting. Although I did have a few moments with my dad where I was sobbing--but that was really unrelated to my mom being dead and more related to his impending death.

Today I also almost went and wrote the check for my daughter's headstone but thought better of it. My new rule for myself is: You only have to deal with one death at a time. Today and for the duration until he dies, grieving will be for dad.

It is quite important to have coping mechanisms like these, because when you look at me and wonder to yourself how I do it: that is how I do it. Break it into smaller things and it doesn't feel quite so big and quite so unbearable. All things that can be put off until tomorrow are put off until tomorrow. Case in point:

I'm going to sleep now.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Red Friday

I woke up at 2:30 a.m. on Friday. I drove into Lincoln to meet my sister-in-law and DH's cousin and we went to JC Penney first where I bought these fabulous red leather boots on sale for $35. After I bought them DH's sister said,

"You don't seem like the type to buy red leather boots."
Don't seem like the type indeed. If you know me you'd know that I have very expensive taste and love fashion but don't have the body or the budget to do much about it. Not that I'm complaining, because even if I had tons of cash sitting around for clothing purchases I can guarantee you I wouldn't spend $500 on a purse or pair of shoes (no matter how cute they are). Or any article of clothing for that matter.
I try not to keep up with the Joneses, because we all know the Joneses are broke.
That being said I think my shopping companions did spend more than the average American does on the entire Christmas season before 6 a.m. on black Friday. We're all doing our part for the economy. Responsible citizens.
I even went to Starbucks and Panera in the same day. I felt like such a middle class suburbanite I wanted to throw up. Not that there's anything wrong with middle class suburbia. Except the cookie cutter houses. But everyone I know pretty much lives there and most people who read this probably live there too. I just don't want to live within 15 feet of my neighbors. I'm not a city or town kind of person, but I can certainly understand wanting a neighborhood with lots of other kids and close proximity to schools, work, church, and of course...
Panera. Because I love Panera. I'm only lukewarm about Starbucks mostly because I don't even really drink coffee. Another thing my dad taught me. He would always tell me never to get started drinking coffee because he did and hated the habit. So now every time I have a tall nonfat caramel macchiato I feel guilty
1) because my dad told me not to and
2) because I always forget to tell them no whipped cream

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It should be noted that at 9:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving eve I inhaled a 410 calorie piece of chocolate cheesecake. It was delicious, but doesn't bode well for the weekend.

Wish me luck.

Bless Her Heart

My husband has a lovely family. They are helpful, and kind, and very close on both sides. They watch Holden all the time, and his grandmother even comes to visit and see Holden. In fact, last week she came to take care of him so that I could do homework for two days straight because I had a couple of tests and I hadn’t read any of the material (we’re talking hundreds of textbook pages here).

Like I told you before, we moved the “guest room” to the basement so that’s where she has to sleep. One morning she came up and said,

“I see you got all your laundry done, that looks nice.”

Harmless. If I told my dear husband that a comment like that bothers me he would call me crazy. It’s one of those comments sort of like “You look great! Have you lost weight?” See prior post about it here:

I’m pretty sure when I’m not around my in-laws say stuff like,

“She is just not a housekeeper, bless her heart…”

Because you know you can say bless her heart after anything and it’s no longer a put-down. Yeah, little known fact. That’s why you come and visit me, for tidbits of useful information like that.

Okay, it’s true that for the last 2 months or so I have had piles of laundry stacking up with lots of used lavender scented dryer sheets littering the floor. Yes, it was disgusting—I don’t deny it. But I don’t care how disgusting you think I am—don’t tell me about it. I know I’m messy, I have always been messy, and I always will be messy.

I’ve tried to change, but to my chagrin I found that I still set things down and don’t really care if they get picked up right away. Just don’t care. And I like that my car is messy because if I ever need a sweatshirt, I’m almost guaranteed to find one in the backseat. It’s sort of like the time I quit biting my nails, only to find that I truly enjoyed biting my nails, and as it turns out they are much easier to keep clean if they are short.

I’m not saying I’m going to give up. I’m going to fight the good fight of clutter, but if I’m knee deep in laundry again in two months, don’t be surprised.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Price Match

There are three types of people I'm guessing are reading my blog (because on the visitor counter all I see is your location and if you're a returning visitor. Yes, I've been watching you. I know, what ever happened to anonymity, right? Damn cookies.)

1) You like me! You are my friend/family/neighbor/acquaintance and you think I'm interesting...

2) You don't really like me but as most humans do you have a genuine curiosity about human nature and want to hear about the good, the bad, and the ugly in my life. But just so you know, if you're waiting for me to post pictures of myself looking ugly or fat--it's not gonna happen. I even untag myself from facebook pictures if they don't meet my criteria.

I'm not saying it's impossible that one might slide by, but it's unlikely.

3) You stumbled across my blog completely by accident and decided I wasn't too boring, so what the hell, you may as well read it. Because who are we kidding, otherwise you'd just be channel surfing. Or pressing the button on the top of the webpage that says "next blog" and sends you to some blog written entirely in Portuguese.

I'm feeling especially festive this week, and today I *almost* got the ladder out and started clipping Christmas lights to my gutters. But then I laid on the couch instead.
I did go to Target thinking I might find some good decorations. I decided I would find something new rather than sift through the 8 large plastic Christmas storage bins currently sitting in my garage. I do not exaggerate, there are at least eight. And two fake Christmas trees. But then I got to Target and was too cheap to buy anything there ($5 for one ornament? Are they on crack?).

I better wait until Friday to break out the decorations anyway. I've decided I'm going to pore over the ads on Thanksgiving day, find everything I want from each ad, and then go to Wal-Mart and make them price match everything. Yes, on the second* busiest shopping day of the year I am going to be that person standing in line and pointing at the target ad saying,

"This is the one, here is the price."

For every single thing I can find. It's a new form of laziness. Less driving and more strategizing. Wish me luck.

*I'm pretty sure I read last year that Christmas Eve was the busiest shopping day of the year. But I could be wrong.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wild Hogs

I’ve resisted the thought of this blog being about coming of age, because let’s face it: It's mostly just an outlet for the running commentary in my head.

But I was thinking this morning about how as adolescents and young twenty-somethings we want our lives to be original. We want proof that we are special and that our life is different. Now I find myself just hoping that my life isn’t different…that the things happening to me as I get older are the same as what happens to other women my age.

I’m always thinking about the future, about retirement, about our golden years. It occurred to me this week that I’m 27, and my dad will be 54 next month. Essentially that means at 27 he was at mid-life. So maybe that knowledge has started my own mid-life crisis. The other day my dear husband and I were sitting on the couch watching TV, and I turned to him and said,

“If Tina needs to sell stuff do you think we could buy the BMW?” (the BMW is a yellow motorcycle of my dad’s)

He turned to me, surprised,

“Neither of us knows how to ride a motorcycle.”

“I know, but I think it would be fun.”

He turned back to the TV. We didn’t discuss it further.

When I was a baby my dad had a motorcycle he sold because his kids were still young. When I graduated from high school in 2000 he bought a Harley. I heard whispers and outright jokes about a midlife crisis, but now I can’t tell you how glad I am that he did some of those things. It's vindication...He was right to do all those things he wanted to do--no matter how strange it looked to outsiders.

Dad and Tina spent the intervening years working and taking long vacations to exotic locales. They went to Belize, Costa Rica, Europe, and Thailand. They rode motorcycles in different countries, spent weekends going on poker runs, and always walked into our house with sweaty hair and their bright leather jackets. They sampled exotic cuisine, got sick from the cuisine, swam in rivers running through caves, drank beer with the locals, and once dad even got hit by a Tuk Tuk. He had more than a few brushes with death.

Oh, but he lived. He lived.

What an extraordinary legacy he is leaving for his children and grandchildren.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I woke up at 4 a.m. to use the bathroom and my husband was still awake and downstairs. He was trying to use a kitchen knife to sharpen a pencil so that he could finish his accounting homework. He had been at it all night. I offered my pencil sharpener from my eye pencil to help out.

Then I gently suggested he go to sleep and take the day off tomorrow instead of trying to get through a 16 hour day on 1 hour of sleep. Stubborn as always, he said no.

But when I woke up again this morning at 7:45 he was still here. Reason had won out, and what is paid time off good for if not for desperate moments like these? He spent an hour or so this morning doing more homework and then when it came time for him to go to work I started begging him to stay home for the rest of the day.

Because despite taking shooters of store brand cherry Nyquil every 4 hours for the last 4-5 days, I still feel really really bad. And I think Holden may be getting sick—but the idea of a sick mommy trying to take care of a screaming, sick Holden is just too much. Thus the begging.

My dear husband acquiesced, sensing my desperation when I said,

“I don’t even care if it’s a paid day off. We can live without one day of pay…”

That and I was begging him not to go to class either, which he doesn’t like so that was a pretty easy sell. He did go to the office for awhile because he had something that needed to get done today, but he did promise to be home shortly.

I have an extremely annoying habit of storing leftovers in containers not meant to store leftovers--like mixing bowls—or pretty much anything I can find. I’m sure this annoyed the hell out of my roommates in college because they were all very neat, orderly people.

This habit originated when I was younger and didn’t feel like transferring things to a new dish (because why have to wash another dish?). It has continued because I buy Tupperware, use it, and then leave it in the fridge so long that rather than open it and gag I just throw it out. So there is a constant shortage of Tupperware at my house at all times.

I have a point.

I have some antique Pyrex nesting mixing bowls in primary colors that are probably worth about $60 for the set. I got them from my mom and I LOOOOOVE them. Last night I was desperate for a storage container so I used the orange bowl to store leftover chili and covered it with saran wrap, placing it on the top shelf of the fridge.

This morning while I was rummaging around on the top shelf for some cottage cheese for Holden’s morning snack I knocked the bowl off. It was one of those comical, slow-mo,

“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!” moments.

I ended up with chili in my hair, but the bowl was intact. Another lesson learned.

Friday, November 6, 2009

As seen on TV

My dear son picking "pretty" dead dandelions and giving to me as a gift. So sweet.
Tony received this gift in the mail courtesy of one of his Marine buddies.

I about fell over laughing last night when he opened it because on the side of the box it says:

"Hail to the Ch-Ch-Ch-Chief!"

My dear husband and his friends are so weird.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Merry Little Christmas

When do kids start building forts? I've been thinking I need to purchase some pillows because I have a pillow shortage at my house. When guests come to stay I have to use throw pillows. I always mean to buy them but it's one of those things that I hate spending $10 on because it feels like they just sit around and are only functional once every 2 months. Except my own pillow, which has been the same for a few years (don't gross me out with stories about dust mites, please. I know my house is teeming with them).

Yes, we treat our guests well here. They get to sleep in the basement with sheets I scrounge together and a mix of blankets that don't match on a double bed that we got free from Tony's grandparents (that may tell how old it is). And my brother says the bed is uncomfortable. But one thing I do know:

A trick I learned from my aunt is to prepare a little (or big) basket for your guests with all kinds of toiletries, so that if they forgot anything they don't have to ask and they don't have to go buy them (especially if they had to travel by plane). I have received many compliments on my thoughtfulness from guests. I hope the toiletry/food basket in some way offsets the other not so savory parts of the visit. Loud dogs, crying kid, floors you can hear everything through, and of course the pillow thing.

I'm working on a list of some great Christmas buys (some for me, some for everyone else). To be clear, it's not my own Christmas list, just some things I've seen around that look fun/cool. Tony and I were sitting around the other night and I forced him to have the Christmas discussion where we decide who is on our list and the Christmas budget. It's not fun but it must be done. And then...I realized that I have a very limited immediate family (no parents to buy for) and my brother is in Reno. So the family gift giving ratio is:

Tony's family: 8

My family: 2

or 4:1 if you want to be picky.

I got a little jealous when I realized this, but I like buying gifts for people (doesn't really matter who) so I got over it quickly. I can make up for my shortage by giving Holden more gifts. However, I am trying to limit the madness this year because he's not going to remember and I have enough crap in my house already

(remember what my garage looks like? I'm totally blanking on hyperlinking so it's in the August archives (the 4th) if you want to re-read it. I'm working on being more blog-savvy but not there yet. As you can tell).

And I'm obviously buying into the evil genius marketers and their Christmas saturation because I never used to think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving. A little embarrassed, a little angry (damn them!), but also very, very excited! As a mommy I get to experience a two year old at Christmas. Is there anything more fun than that? (I mean the joy and delight, not the sugar hangover after he eats his weight in Christmas goodies).

Friday, October 30, 2009

I was having lunch with K the other day and talking about how tired I was and how my dear son hadn't slept and I never have any time to myself. (Yes, whining)
And she said,

"You make it sound really fun to have kids. Can't wait."

I backpedaled, hard and fast.

Because you see, having my son has been and continues to be the absolute best part of my life so far. Marriage is great too, but there is something so incredibly interesting about raising a child. His accomplishments make me feel like they are my accomplishments--I get so excited about them. I'm not talking about the people who live vicariously through their children by forcing them to do sports and stuff. I'm just talking about the triumphant feeling when your 18 month old poops and pees in the toilet.

Not only am I excited for him, I'm excited for me.

Because that means I'm getting closer to being done with the diapers.

Sometimes I look at other moms and wonder if I haven't adapted well enough, because some of them seem to make life all about the kids. I'm so not that person. I find that after a few days of no breaks from my kid that things get a little intolerable, and you just get the feeling that you are sucked dry.

I need sleep. I need to shower without a kid waiting in the pack'n'play in the hallway. I need a restaurant meal that does not involve me paying $13 for an entree and spending the meal picking up food off the carpet (and really? Carpet in a restaurant? Not great interior design work there) and taking so long managing my kid that my food gets cold.
A maid and a dog-walker would be nice too.

I am blessed with a wonderful husband who takes care of Holden a lot on evenings when I have homework or for a Saturday afternoon (his ulterior motive is watching football). But that doesn't fill up the empty tank. Even when I'm taking a "break" from my son, I'm feeling guilty that I'm not with my dad. Or my "break" is spent at the hospital with my dad. Or doing homework. Or getting groceries.

I'm stretched about as thin as you can get without falling apart.

I'm starting to miss my old self. The self that wasn't quite this exhausted or this sad. The self who didn't burst into tears in the cereal aisle of Wal-Mart. I'm missing the self who used to talk about things other than housecleaning, medical terminology, and grief. She existed before all this, I know she did. On my drive home today I was imagining her well rested with a new pedicure, new highlights, and wearing a cute little outfit and very high heels sipping a martini with a friend at the Starlite lounge.

I haven't asked my husband, but I'm sure he'd like to see that woman again soon too.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

So it begins

You know how some people tell the same stories over and over almost every time you see them? Or they told you yesterday, forgot, and are telling you again today? But you can't tell them you've already heard the story because then the conversation comes to an abrupt halt.

If you've talked to me recently, I'm one of those people. But I don't care, I'm going to tell the story again.

The other day I was sitting on the computer and the TV remote was sitting next to me on the table. Holden was running around and playing. He walked up to me, reaching for the remote,

"Tee? Tee? Tee?" (he is an insistent fella)

"No Holden, I'm not turning on the TV."

"Tee? Futball! Tee? Futball! Futball!"

Shocked (and embarrassed because do we really let him see so many sports that he's begging to watch them?), I said,

"No Holden, we're not watching football today."

He toddled away, looking for a toy. And then the next night Tony held him as they watched my dear husband's beloved Yankees in game 5 of the ALCS before bed. Tony put him in his crib half-asleep clutching a baseball. Yes, he went to sleep with a baseball.

The sports obsession has officially begun.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tony made fried pork chops for dinner last night. They looked and smelled delicious, but I didn't eat any because ever since I got pregnant with Holden I have had an incredible aversion to pork products. Which is a shame because I have an entire standing freezer full of pork. Oh the things I do in the name of love. Things like spending $100 on pork. A snapshot of my evening around 5:00 p.m. :

"Ham hock soup?" He inquires.

"No, I don't like pork." I reply. Five seconds pass,

"Ham steak? Pork chops?" He asks earnestly.

"Nope, still don't like pork." I smile.

"How about bacon? Sausage? Pork roast?"

"No honey, I'll just find something on my own. Make whatever you want."

This is the conversation we have had every day for the past week and a half. You have to hand it to him, he is persistent. And the man likes his pork.

"Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor but they couldn't possibly all have good taste and a sense of humor."
I decided today as I was looking at my blog that the pity party should be put on hold for just a few days. But don't worry, I'm sure it will be back in full force sometime soon. I know how much you enjoy my pensive, depressing posts.
I think everyone has a certain way they see themselves at the very core. Not necessarily a realistic part of themselves but an image that is really part of their soul, part of who they are and how they see themselves. For example: My husband is a major league pitcher in his soul (among other dreams).
I happen to be a book editor, a rancher, a missionary, a wonderful pastry chef, and a mother at the core. It's interesting how marriage takes a mirror and shows you these things, in some ways shows you how to mold yourself so a part of you can be the things you want to be--but for a myriad of other reasons--time, talent, money--you aren't. Could I be those things? Yeah, probably.
The important thing is that for this moment, I have chosen this life. In the future could I be called to mission work, work in editing, or have a ranch in Western Nebraska (I doubt the ranch thing unless I meet Ted Turner and somehow get him to leave me land in his will, since I think he owns a significant portion of the panhandle)? Yes, I could. And perhaps I will.
The lesson I have to keep on learning day in and day out is one of contentment. When one dream/wish/goal comes true, you can move on to the next one. But more than ever with an 18 month old child, the lesson has become:
Don't miss the moment in the process of following your dreams.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Above pic is totally unrelated to blog topic. But doesn't Holden look like me in this pic?

This is just one moment; it’s not the rest of your life.

I’ve been having a little bit of trouble lately. I start writing a word or two and then sit as the cursor flashes, waiting for something more to come out. I have to admit I have also been screening calls, it’s gotten so bad that the only calls I answer now are from my dear husband, my stepmom, or my brother. It’s nothing personal; I just have nothing to say. I don’t want to hear stories about how your cat did something funny today or about you. The thing about grief is that it is pretty consuming and becomes all about me. Which is a shame because everyone involved wants to help the other people but doesn’t generally have the emotional resources left after doing their own grieving to help the others.

Yesterday was a good day with dad, yesterday he spoke to me. I was crying, saying,

“You always had all the answers, you’re my dad.”

He looked up at me and said clearly,

“I don’t have all the answers.”

I’ve known it for years in my head, since I was much younger and there were questions my parents couldn’t answer anymore. But in my heart he is still the person I go to for all the answers. How to change the oil, how to tape drywall, how to get my kid to sleep through the night, how to lay bathroom tile—the person I call to help with my taxes and to babysit. He has always been that person.

It annoyed my husband when we first got married, but I became more creative about asking Dad’s advice. I didn’t do it in front of my dear husband. There were/are just things we haven’t done and don’t know at our (young?) age.

I have always been a main beneficiary of Dad's wisdom, and his memory is akin to a steel trap. You want to know how to fly-fish? He can tell you. Would you like to learn how to be a great wrestler? He can teach you. You want to know how to start a fire like a boy scout? He will show you. Do you want to know the names of every battle of the war of 1812? He can tell you that too.

I was listening to a sermon on the radio the other day about people and prayer. The host was talking about how many people think God is their errand boy. If I ask Him to do this, then He will do it. Need to lose weight? God will help with that. Want to get rich? God will help with that too. Want someone to keep on living? Oh, God will answer that prayer.

I get a little confused when people say they will pray for my dad. I’m not really sure what that prayer sounds like. If someone is terminally ill, are they praying that he gets better? That he is comfortable? Every time someone tells me they’re praying for him, I want to say: You should be praying for the family. He is going to be in a good place when this is all over and we are going to be in pain.

But maybe that’s just the grief talking.

Friday, October 16, 2009


I am supposed to be sleeping. If you asked my husband he would say that I came downstairs to start laundry--he doesn't know I am writing in my blog. He doesn't like me to get on the internet late at night because much like most of you, the internet becomes a labyrinth I get lost in and tend to go in at 10:45 p.m. meaning to look at a few quick things and 1:00 a.m. rolls around and I feel like I have amnesia as to what I've been doing for the last 2 hours. Mostly looking at facebook I suppose. Then I'm tired the next day and generally kind of a whiner. It adversely affects my hubby.

We had a short date night tonight and ended up at the Macaroni Grill...we usually don't go to chain restaurants on dates but I don't get out much so as long as I'm going out to eat I don't care. We had the best waiter ever, and his name was Simon. He was so good it prompted us to ask for the manager and compliment the service. He was efficient, friendly, I always had a full glass and he never, never interrupted our conversation but somehow managed to ask if we liked everything. It was sort of like having a house elf a la Harry Potter (only not annoying). Like he wasn't even there but managed to get everything we needed. In addition, the food was piping hot and we watched the bread come out of the oven and to our table within 30 seconds. It was like the nirvana of restaurant service. It wasn't even painful to pay the bill because it was so good. And I know you're wondering...I had the seasoned halibut topped with tomato basil relish and served with pine nut pesto Parmesan risotto.
Jealous? You should be.

My dad is in hospice care at the hospital. There are just too many factors for his body to overcome at this point. I am overcome with grief at the thought of losing him, but I've known the day has been coming and was hoping it wasn't coming so soon. But it is. So forgive me if blog entries are sporadic and/or disjointed. We could use lots of prayers if you are so inclined.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Fish! Fish! Fish!"

The eerie silence on my blog has been due to my dad being in critical condition at the hospital. Saturday I really thought he was going to die. But he didn't. It's a long story and I don't really want to get into it on the internet, but he has a staph infection in his brain and blood. He is doing much better than he was, and I no longer believe that death is knocking (it is more lurking than actively knocking).
So my brother is in town because when I talked to him on Saturday night pretty much all I said was,
"I think you better come now or as soon as possible."
They (brother and future SIL) hopped on a plane and landed in Omaha yesterday--and of course after they spend hundreds on tickets and flew 2000 miles dad looks much better. Maybe even like he could make it out of the hospital.
I obviously didn't have my crystal ball with me on Saturday night--all I had was a neurosurgeon telling me dad was gravely ill so I thought maybe it would be a good idea to get the family there. At this point I think the word gravely might be pushing it, since today he was able to say his own name, my name, my brother's name and Holden's name. None of which he has said in months. Months. We have seen vast improvement but I do keep reminding myself that a blood/brain infection is never a good thing.
The picture above is my sweet little (slightly) spoiled son looking at his fake fish tank (it moves and sort of looks like a real fish tank). My brother and (future) sister-in-law were sitting at the window of the hospital gift shop and I mentioned how much Holden loves the fish, so they insisted on getting it for him. And since I got home and set it up he won't stop looking at it. I originally had it set up in his room and he kept grabbing my hand and asking for the fish so I had to set it on the kitchen table next to the computer so he is able to look at it to his heart's content.
I was at the hospital earlier this afternoon to see my dad and I've spent the remainder of the afternoon trying to forget the body bag I saw being wheeled onto the staff elevator as I walked out of the critical care unit. All I could think was oh, so that must have been why that big family was here all day yesterday and today there was an empty waiting room.
I know my blog is depressing now, just bear with me here for a little while and I promise it will get better. It really can't get a whole lot worse (knock wood).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Here is a pic of my favorite (only) Brother and future Sister-In-Law on the beach in Cabo...I didn't even mention I'm going to Reno on Oct. 22nd for their wedding! I'm leaving the boys at home and taking a quick weekend trip...
But don't worry, I won't spend the weekend at the tables, I'm not much of a gambler. I am contemplating learning how to play craps though.
Whenever I think of playing craps I think of the movie Indecent Proposal. I've never really liked Woody Harrelson but I can't put my finger on why I don't like him. Dear Husband and I were talking about it the other day and I believe his exact words were,
"Woody Harrelson is an amazing actor."
I laughed and said,
"I think the word you're looking for is adequate or mediocre, not amazing." (Sorry Woody.)
DH conceded, admitting I was probably correct in my assessment, and that the movie Kingpin doesn't necessarily qualify Woody for the title of amazing actor. Tom Hanks is an amazing actor. But that's a whole different post.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I never gave you a picture of my Halloween rug: so here it is.

This is what my child looks like when his mother lets him eat two chocolate chip cookies (and milk of course) at 9:30 in the morning. In hindsight, maybe chocolate chip cookies aren't such a good idea before church.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I had a meeting with my counselor last week. So all of you who kept gently (and by the way could you be more obvious?) suggesting that I go see someone, I am—although I am loath to admit it. There is something delightful to a slight narcissist (and of course I am or I wouldn’t have a blog) about having a captive audience…even if I have to pay her. But then again, I haven’t received her bill yet.

She handed me a list of stressful events and had me circle the ones that had happened to me since January 2009. The directions said to circle all that had happened in the last two years, but I think she wanted to narrow the scope of this particular exercise so limited it to the last 9 months.

Instead of scoring it like the directions said, she handed it back to me and asked me to look over the list and tell her how I felt about what I saw. I studied it for a few minutes and then said,

“Well, my first thought is that life could be worse.”

She laughed.

I continued, “I know that’s not the answer you were looking for, but my first instinct is to say that it could be much, much worse based upon this list of bad things. I know you were looking for me to say that my life has been really stressful though.”

She nodded. Then asked, “How could it be worse?”

“Well, at least my spouse didn’t die and/or I didn’t get divorced."
I don't remember how she redirected the conversation--which she has to do often because I tend to go off on long tangents (can you tell?)
If we were scripted charaters in a TV show like Gossip Girl or Dawson's Creek where the characters have unusually extensive vocabularies and are always witty she would have responded,

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yesterday when Tony came home he found me lying on the couch watching Rosemary’s Baby (which happens to be directed by Roman Polanski--coincidence that they are running it this week? I think not) on HBO and Holden running around the house playing with toys. But don’t worry, if you’ve ever seen Rosemary’s Baby it’s mostly just a girl sitting around her apartment having weird feelings. And the one part in the beginning with the dream/drugged scene he wasn’t anywhere near the TV so I know he didn’t see it.

I didn’t get to the end before I had to leave for an appointment so I don’t know how it ends. Don’t tell me though because I’m thinking that sometime before Halloween I’m going to be able to finish watching it.

There is one HBO station that is kind of fun right now because it’s all scary movies all the time…

I’m guessing it's just for the month of October but maybe it’s always like that.

To celebrate the beginning of my favorite month of the year I've compiled a list of my favorite scary movies/thrillers:

1.) The Exorcist (I used to think the name Reagan was cute for a little girl, now not so much)
It happens to be the scariest movie of all time.

2.) Poltergeist (I just enjoyed the vibe of it and that it was an older one—and could my house have been built on an ancient Native American burial ground?)

3.) The Shining (all work and no play makes Kara a dull girl)

4.) It -- (The nursery in my church has a clown theme with a figurine of a clown sitting on a shelf. I have a hard time sitting in there alone with the clown. It creeps me out. And right after I watch IT I have a hard time looking at the bathroom drains too.
The movie scared the crap out of me when I was a kid except I had never seen the end of it until last year because I guess I’m like Phoebe Buffay and don’t watch the end of scary movies. I am determined to finish Rosemary’s Baby sometime this month though. It’s a classic.

5.) Mothman Prophecies (I still imagine sometimes that I’ve seen the mothman and that some horribly tragic event will befall me—I guess things like suicide and cancer and death of loved ones don’t count for some reason in my mind).

Just talking about my favorite scary movies makes me want to put up the kitschy (or tacky as my husband refers to it) Halloween shower curtain and bath rug I bought from the Terry’s Village catalog one year. My sister-in-law happens to be head of one of the design teams for that company and when he told her that I bought that particular set she looked at him incredulously, laughed and said,

No, she didn’t. Only little old ladies buy those!”

I sheepishly admitted that I had, in fact, just purchased the curtain and rug but held off on buying the whole Halloween bathroom set with soap dish, towels, Kleenex covers and the like.

I do still allow myself this one tacky pleasure…decorating my bathroom using a black shower curtain with a large pattern of bright orange jack-o-lanterns all over it and (of course) the matching rug…

For the entire month of October every year for the last 4 years.

It’s really the small things in life, you know?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The thing I love about babies and little kids is that the concept of how things "should" be is foreign to them (example: a fork is only used for eating, the rings must go from biggest to smallest stacked in order). I appreciate the openminded creativity I see, and it's a lesson to me every day that should is a word to be used carefully and sparingly.
I think Carrie Bradshaw said it best,
"Are we should-ing all over ourselves?"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Favorite Things

When I have time “off” I like to: Surf all TV stations and watch marathons of Project Runway, House Hunters, NCIS, Ghost Hunters, The Office, Friends…and the list goes on. I also like to write in my blog and write cryptic status updates on Facebook. During most of this time I am thinking about how I have to do homework, scrub the shower, etc.

It’s funny how now that I’m married and a mother the definition of doing nothing has expanded to include laundry, dishes, and mopping.

Anyway, I was sitting around and watching House Hunters today and made a list of some of my current favorite things:

Slippers These slippers from Cabelas don’t look all that pretty but they are the best slippers ever. They go on sale every year at Christmastime for about $40 (instead of the regular price of $50)

reed diffuser Pretty, and smells good too!

Plaid crinkle scarf You have to have something plaid this season

Aldo boots It may just be me but how cute would these be with a brown leather jacket or long cardigan/blazer and that scarf?

sugar plum candies hand dipped chocolate

Wine New vineyard in the area with great wine

Bath and Body Works also used to have something in their spa collection called Body Butter which I loved, but I can’t find it on their website. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention cherry Chapstick. It’s one thing that makes the winter months bearable.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Today I was in line at The Cookie Company to get a cookie to take to my dad for after dinner. And I have to admit I did get a cookie for myself too. They have a cookie called the E.T. which is a chocolate cookie with peanut butter chips inside and it is something I crave but rarely eat.

So while I was in line waiting to get the cookies I had to fight the urge to de-pants the kid in front of me. I don’t consider myself old—though I’m definitely not 17, and it was the same way when I was a teenager but the way these guys dress today is incredibly annoying. I hate those hats that have flat bills—and they wear them sideways, and their stupid pants are falling off. I do sound like an old lady, but it’s true. I know I’m an adult but I still get the urge to tell them how goofy they look.

And then I got to the front of the line and I don’t know if I looked surprised but it appeared as if I had a runway model selling me cookies. You should have seen her. She was young enough that she didn’t realize how stunning she was, which just made her that much more disarming. You know how there are girls who wear too much makeup and over accessorize because they know they are pretty and think that makes them even more pretty?

She wasn’t like that at all.

Minimal makeup—because she didn’t need it, and of course the requisite Cookie Company t-shirt. Anyway, someday if I have another daughter, I hope she is like that. Young people don’t realize that just being young lends them a certain amount of beauty that doesn’t need to be covered up with a bunch of extra makeup and too-trendy fashion.

I usually only get a cookie there when I have the day to myself (which I did today) because every time I happen to be around my dear husband eating one of these E.T. cookies or Reese’s Pieces I feel compelled to hold up my pointer finger and say,

“Phone home…phone home…phone home...”

Until he touches pointer fingers with me. Yes I really do this. So I guess not getting cookies when I am with him is my little effort to be less weird and also to avoid consuming 500 calories in one cookie. Two birds, one stone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Six Months

I was at a Target trying on clothes the other day (just to see if I could fit into a size smaller—success!) and they had the most horrific mirrors I’ve ever experienced. They were perfectly aligned so that you could clearly see your butt. And all sides, which was nice. I tend to believe that God put the butt back there for a reason and the less I have to look at my own the better! Trying to not see it while trying on jeans was an exercise in futility in this particular 8 X 8 foot space. I guess it could have been worse. I could have been 35 lbs. heavier and looking at my ass in the mirror.

There are two places in the South I’ve always wanted to go—one being New Orleans and the other Savannah, Ga. I mostly want to go to these places because of books I’ve read. The only reference I have to New Orleans is:

1) Anne Rice novels, sort of envision it as sultry heat, moss draped trees, and old Victorian style houses. Is this accurate? I don’t know, but it sounds cool.

2) The travel channel food episode where they’re eating some sort of pastry.

I’m not interested in Mardi Gras. I’m not all that into flashing people, I think I’m past that particular phase in life. Who am I kidding? I never really was in that particular phase in life. Now I just want to side on a wide porch in a hammock or rocking chair, drink some wine, and do nothing.

I want to go to Savannah because of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Not the movie. The book. Read it.

Now that I’ve given you some inane thoughts for the day I’ll tell you what I’m really feeling. Frustrated, sad, sick to my stomach--but I think the sick to my stomach part is that I've been taking NSAIDS since the beginning of July and drinking way too much caffeine. So my stomach lining is probably doing really well right now, as you can imagine.

We had the meeting with my dad’s rehab. center today and they told us he’s not really improving, but rather has gone downhill since the last time he was there. We are going to have to send him to a nursing home October 8.

Holy crap, I feel like I’m 50. Don’t people do this when they are 50, not when they are in their 20’s? Almost $7000 a month for nursing home care is a tough pill to swallow. And I’m not even the one who is going to have to pay for it. I don’t know how to help my stepmother. This is perhaps the most powerless I have ever felt, the least equipped I have ever been in coping with something.

The one person who has been there for me since the moment I was born is suddenly mute, having a hard time comprehending things and confined to either bed or his chair. Now people are looking to me (and my stepmother and brother) to make these decisions. Asking about DNR orders (do not resuscitate), telling us to pick a nursing home.

Six months ago everything was fine. Or as fine as could be. I had a baby on the way and my dad was feeling good. There aren’t even any words to describe this particular feeling. This particular emotional place.

I want to be strong enough for this.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Black retro couch: $1

Listening to my son say "Quirl! Quirl!" (squirrel) as he points out the window: Priceless.

The couch really was $1. I ended up giving her $5 for it just because I felt like I was getting a steal. I'm getting pretty good at this bargain hunting stuff. The dear hubby won't let me keep it upstairs though because we have those brand new leather ones. How sweet and retro would my living room look if I could talk him into it?
“…I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

My child spent the day intermittently screaming like a banshee, proudly (and impudently) prancing on the sofa, stepping on the dogs and generally giving his parents a hard time. The poor kid has another molar coming in and my dear husband accidently woke him up from his afternoon nap by (loudly) removing the air conditioner from the bathroom window 20 minutes after the little guy fell asleep (which took 30 minutes lying with his mommy to even happen).

So I was (am) exhausted. Even though I did get to sleep in until 9 this morning. It was one of those days when I was just desperately watching the clock and counting the minutes until bedtime. He went to bed at exactly 7:13 p.m. which is a little early for him, but I rationalize that he missed most of his afternoon nap, so it’s okay.

I gave him his nightly bath, brushed his (8—almost 9) teeth, and zipped him into his footie pajamas. Then I lied down with him on the bed again and held him tightly, my arms fully encircling his little body and his head snuggled in the nook of my neck.

As I prayed with him and quietly held him in the twilight of the bedroom I thought
No matter how big you get, you will always be mine.
And immediately thereafter the verse from Jeremiah came to my mind.

It’s amazing how much broader the love of God is than a mother’s love. That moment left me with tears rolling as I contemplated what that type of love, A Father’s love, has done in my life. My son slowly drifted off to sleep, his breathing becoming deep and regular, and I prayed that someday with gentle guidance from those who love him he too will be drawn into God’s loving kindness.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Dear Wal-Mart Checker,
I understand that it is 5:00 p.m. on a Friday evening and you are busy. I get that, I do. I also understand that you are probably tired. You are probably working two jobs or something like that. But you’re old enough that I know you don’t have a 17 month old at home so I don’t feel that sorry for you. But maybe your grandkid is staying with you. I don’t know.

I really don’t think you need to take 10 minutes to check my groceries. Especially since I’ve been waiting in line for 8 minutes since the lady before me also had a full cart. This ain’t my first rodeo, lady. I’ve spent a hundred dollars on groceries before and it took 3 minutes to finish at the checkout.

I can’t say that I blame you necessarily, for this passive aggressive behavior. Because if I had to stand there and listen to that godforsaken beeping all day I might try to find a way to stick it to the 27 year old blonde smiling in the checkout lane too. To be honest, it’s not all that bad standing here. It’s one of my only opportunities all day to do something as mindless as read OK! magazine.

If I were you I’d probably want me to buy 2 things and then hurry to my Honda minivan in the parking lot and go to my kid’s soccer game. Sadly, although this may be the impression I give you, I really drive a Nissan Sentra with a leaking oil pan and a bumper sticker my husband slapped on that is pretty right-wing. I’m enough on the conservative side that I can't help but flinch at pro-choice bumper stickers. However, I’m not so conservative that I say, “F--- you!” (quietly and directed at a bumper sticker) when I see one that says Nebraskans for Peace. I won’t name names but I know someone who does that.

It amuses me.

In any case, lady at the checkout line, I hope you have a good night. As for me, I’m starving and heading home to crack open that 4 pack of mini bottles of Sutter Home Cabernet I just bought (classy, huh?). But what did you expect from a girl in lounge pants, tennis shoes, and a ponytail?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Getting better

The art on the right I have been looking at all summer. Finally bought it. The "art" on the left is my own photography. The cord snaking along the far wall is my dear husband's antenna project. Last night he got it hooked up to the roof antenna, vastly increasing the amount of channels we receive and making the bunny ears unnecessary in the front yard. Thank goodness.

I found the rug yesterday on clearance for $20. Although I did see a couple others that might really look good


What do you think? I need help here! Also, need ideas on how to use accessories with a one year old trying to ride the dogs, knock over lamps, and play with cords on a minute-by-minute basis. I fear the accessories wouldn't stand a chance against such a determined adversary.

Also, try this recipe:

1 tyson spicy chicken patty

1 kaiser roll or bun

1 slice provolone cheese

1/4 mashed or sliced avocado

1-2 slices bacon (if you're feeling naughty)

Prepare chicken patty as directed (in oven). Melt cheese on patty. Toast bun and spread avocado on bottom half. add bacon to top of melted cheese. Eat.

Not healthy but delicious.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Today I was listening to a song on the radio by Taylor Swift and it got me all nostalgic. It also got me thinking about how Kanye West is a d-bag, but that’s been overdone in the media already so I’m not going to touch on that too much. Plus, I would never watch the VMAs. Mostly because I hate MTV and think that type of programming is what is wrong with America today (Hah, among other things).

I have to eat my words today because yesterday when I got home from my night out I found that my dear husband had rigged the TV to work. He was so desperate to watch football on his TV that he connected bunny ears outside. They are currently sitting in the front flowerbed. If you want to adjust the TV station you have to open the curtain, move the bunny ears, and look at the TV until the digital picture comes in. It didn’t end up doing him any good yesterday because all the games were on ESPN.

But I appreciated his ingenuity.

And I have him to thank because this morning I was standing out in my front flowerbed in front of my busy street with wet hair trying to get public television to come in on my TV. I’ve said a million times that I don’t want my kid watching TV until (what is it that the American Academy of Pediatrics says?) three years old. But then today I thought to hell with it. I want to watch Sesame Street. See what’s new in the ‘hood. I haven’t been there for at least 22 years. They’ve done some remodeling, but I’m happy to say that my favorite Sesame Street friend ‘The Count’ is still alive (cue vampire voice) “Two yellow birds…Three red cars…Ah…Ah…Ah.”

Maybe to take care of my mosquito problem I will install a bat box in the back of my lot. I can be like The Count and his pet bats,

Grisha, Misha, Sasha, Tatiana…four pet bats…AH…AH…AH.”

Love that guy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Let me preface this by saying: I am overwhelmingly happy for people who have healthy pregnancies and would not wish a bad one on anybody. It's easy for me to be happy because I have the cutest kid ever (and I'm sure all of you parents out there do too).

However, I think I may need to take a break from facebook. One comment in particular stuck in my craw and I can't get it out (it was approximately two weeks ago). Someone I don't know was commenting to my friend on her recently announced pregnancy: "12 weeks! You're safe!"

Now for someone in her (my friend's) position it was meant to be a happy congratulatory comment. To someone with my particular experiences it couldn't sound like a more ignorant statement. I don't know this person. I'm sure she is very nice and well intentioned. But I saw it and it felt like a swift kick to the gut. I understand that statistically speaking, yes, she is "safe". But for someone like me reading it for which most good statistics are not applicable, it was so not cool.

I have a girls night out I am looking forward to going to tonight, but having trouble with leaving my dear husband here with Holden (again) because I feel guilty about it. I can't recall changing one soiled diaper this entire weekend. That's how much he loves me. And he took me out on Friday night, and he let me have all afternoon to myself yesterday to do whatever I wanted (ended up buying a picture I was looking at for the wall). He has also been watching Holden at night so I can get my homework done. And letting me sleep in on the weekend.

But Monday night football is probably on so I shouldn't feel that guilty, right?

Totally off topic but I could really go for a California roll right now.
Cucumber, crab, rice, & avocado--some of my favorite foods! Too bad there isn't a sushi restaurant within 50 miles of me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I'm making some headway on Operation: You have no style, decorate your damn house as evidenced by this picture. I do have a couple of art-y things to hang on the far wall and will probably be doing it tomorrow if I can manage to convince the husband.
And that coffee table may not look like much to the untrained eye but it was a garage sale treasure I got for $10 and is by a famous designer from the 1950's and worth about $600 depending on the market (I used to believe stuff like that only happened on HGTV but I guess if you know what you're looking for, it can happen on occasion).
I also need to buy a 10X8 rectangular rug to go in between the couch and chairs to tie it all together. I am having a problem with accessories which seems to be a running theme in my wardrobe as well as my house.
For one thing, my accessory use is limited based on my son's age--because who am I kidding--if I buy some glass balls and put them in a bowl for decorative purposes or put a vase or something out it will be smashed into pieces in about 1.5 seconds.
Also, I have found that I am having difficulty with space to put possible accessories on. I don't like clutter, but I do want it to be cozy and eclectic. I'm going to have to keep working on that. I have a tendency to just put everything away as I don't like to have things sitting out anywhere (if the house is going to be clean I want it clean!). However, I don't like the minimalist look all that much either and I can't have it both ways. I will post new pics again once I find the rug and get my dear husband to hang the pictures on the wall for me (both could take awhile).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

French fries are vegetables, right?

I took my first-ever power nap today. I’m not a napper by nature, usually I can’t sleep during the day but I was up most of the night with Holden. As a mother I thought I would eventually be able to decipher what he needed, but sadly, no.

Today, desperately seeking answers for my lack of sleep, I commented to Tony,

“Maybe he’s teething?”

In what can only be described as a curt response I got, “He’s always teething.” The dear hubby is trying to quit previously mentioned nicotine habit and was also trying to escape to the basement to watch football. Clearly not the time to start a conversation. Or argument. Or both. So I requested a mere five minutes of discussion and let him retreat to his cave.

When I woke up from my power nap I proceeded to eat a whole order of steak fries dipped in nacho cheese for dinner (Healthy I know. Blame it on the fatigue and general weakness of willpower.) To round it out nicely and make myself feel less guilty I did manage to grab a bag of steamfresh vegetables and throw them in the microwave for 5 minutes.

My dear hubby took my son downstairs until his bedtime to play so I could study for a huge effing test I have tomorrow that I’m quite concerned about. Between the dogs, the kid, and the husband I have to say it’s very hard to get anything done for school. I had a moment after I was done with the two hours of studying where I allowed myself to wonder if perhaps two years of a stress level this high might somehow do permanent damage to me. I think the answer is possibly. But come hell or high water I’m finishing the program this time.

Sometimes I do wish I was able to muster the kind of enthusiasm for life that say, my son has. All I have to do is lay him on the changing table, and he starts talking, delighted to be obtaining a fresh diaper,

“Pee Pee! Poo Pee!”

Where does he learn these things?