Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Pet peeve #234: The way the table is always sticky at pancake houses.

I don't know what made me think of this while I was in the shower this morning. It wasn't precipitated by any breakfasts, lunches, or dinners. I was just wondering if this bothers anyone else? Makes me wonder what the kitchen looks like if the top of the table isn't even clean. Although I do think that maple syrup would be a bitch to clean up all the time. And it's not like they pay those waitresses enough to deal with stupid drunks that come in at 1:15 a.m.


I had the best idea today...I was looking for a good dessert to take to a 3rd of July party and found this recipe by Paula Deen

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, plus more for pan
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
With a mixer, cream butter and shortening together. Add sugar, a little at a time. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl and add to mixer alternately with milk, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Mix in vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

I haven't actually tried this recipe, but based on the fact that it's Paula Deen's recipe I'm willing to make it and take it without a test run. I won't actually eat any (because look at the recipe!) because I am watching what I eat. But apparently I am some kind of masochist--because just imagine this on a cake plate with the center of the ring of the cake filled with sliced strawberries...mmmm....

Monday, June 29, 2009


I was just filling out a form for the nursing program I'm starting in August (!). It is a health questionnaire. You are supposed to use your own words to describe your level of stress. This is what I wrote,

Recent stressors:

I had a stillborn daughter 3 months ago and my father is in radiation after brain surgery. He had brain surgery on the same day we buried our daughter. It is a level 2 or grade 2 tumor and his prognosis is a 50% chance of living 5 years or more. These have been very stressful events but I am someone who truly enjoys school (unlike many) so I think it will be manageable even with the current stress level. It may actually improve my stress level to have something else to do/think about--especially something I enjoy.

So...is there too much crazy in there to turn it in to the nursing program chair? I don't honestly think they would not let me in on account of it, but when I sat back to look at it I sort of thought wow, maybe you are pretty stressed Kara. Maybe you should take it easy. Maybe you should stop referring to yourself in the third person. Crazy old bat.

Finally I have my physical today so I can get the doc to look at my bum knee and my bum neck/head (for the headaches, not the craziness). Looking forward to that--and going to the lake this week with the family! I love the 4th of July. I will do my summer love/4th of July post later this week though.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


"Marriage is a long walk two people take together. Sometimes the
terrain is very interesting, sometimes rather dull. At times the walk is
arduous, for both persons or for one. Sometimes the conversation is
lively; at other times, there is not much to say. The travelers do not
know exactly where they are going, nor when they will arrive." --Kathleen
and Thomas Hart

I am reading a fantastic book called Sacred Marriage. I think it's just about perfect for a couple in their fifth year of marriage. The fifth year is a point where you are no longer really newlyweds. When I was a newlywed I used to get cranky at married people who would roll their eyes and my dear husband and I mooning over each other in public. Now I feel that more relaxed, easy rhythm of someone who has been married longer than a few minutes. But along with the time come not only positive things, but negative as well. Unhealthy ways of arguing, just wanting to tune out and not have to TRY so hard. Sometimes this marriage thing is really hard work--and I won't lie--sometimes I miss the newlywed days when it wasn't such hard work because of all those happy hormones (and a lot more sleep of course).

But I love now that what we have is deeper and stronger than it was before. That our lives are so mingled together I wouldn't even think of trying to disentangle them. That I feel so comfortable around his family now I feel like it's my family. That all we need is a look to know what the other one is thinking.
Today in church we heard someone talking about the "foyer" and he nudged me because a couple of weeks ago we were wondering in a quite long discussion about what that area of the church was called (i.e. the Narthex, the Foyer, the Entryway, the Hallway, etc.). Little things like that. I love that he doesn't mind when I look at boring web pages about retirement funds, knows that I can appreciate Michael Jackson's music without actually liking it much, and he allows my quirks like brushing my teeth, flossing, then brushing my teeth again (OCD much?).
I like that as much as I look forward to time alone with him, he doesn't mind when I tell him I just need to be ALONE. It makes me appreciate even more when we get a weekend alone together and can hold hands and walk on a Saturday morning through the farmer's market or leisurely lie around in bed together.

"In fact, some experts suggest it takes from nine to fourteen years for a
couple to truly "create and form it's being." When I hear of couples
who break up after just three or four years, I feel sad because they haven't
even begun to experience what being married is really like. It's sort
of like climbing halfway up a mountain but never getting to see the sights;
you're in the middle of the task, your soul is consumed with the struggle,
but it's much too soon to experience the full rewards. Evaluating your
marriage so soon is like trying to eat a cake that's half-baked. Becoming one--in the deepest, most intimate sense--takes time. It's a journey that never really
ends, but it takes at least the span of a decade for the sense of intimacy to
really display itself in the marriage relationship." --Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Follow me!

Please use the "follow me" link if you are a reader of my blog! I want to know that people are actually reading this thing--otherwise I'm wasting my time thinking up clever things to say. I never get any comments so it feels more like a diary than a blog. And as fun as a diary is, a blog is more fun if it's interactive.
Is anyone out there? (I feel like I can hear a large echo).


It was so hot today I walked into Walmart with my boy on my hip, put him in the cart and then seriously considered hanging out by the refrigerated foods for awhile. I walked really sloooow to the milk area and just as slow to the checkout line--via the entire wall of cold foods.

And yet strangely enough I felt like making chili for dinner.

I've had a long day. Quite the experience trying to get my yearly OBGYN exam done with a one year old in the room. I would have found a sitter but I didn't know they were doing it today! I thought I was just going in for a postpartum visit. I'm pretty sure as he was using the speculum I was telling Holden to stay out of the biohazard trash. Nice. That's probably something only a mother would mention in passing conversation,
"So as he was using the speculum..."

Ok, no it's not. It's probably something only I would mention. I guess I like to imagine my readers cringing sort of like people do while watching The Office when it's just over the top embarrassing.

Oh, and if you don't know what a speculum is, don't ask. I know I kind of sprung that TMI on you...so sorry--I usually try to give more warning. Maybe I should caption this post:

My dear husband won't be home till 9 so I have the evening to myself (well, sort of--there is Holden). Unfortunately I already watched my missed episode of The Bachelorette. I'm thinking of watching Wipeout tonight but think that I may be getting dumber with each episode of reality TV I watch.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I started watching the HBO series True Blood via Netflix at the suggestion of one of my friends. I still haven't quite decided what to think of it but I've only watched the first disc.
I haven't read Twilight, so don't ask. I tried, I really did...but I only got through the first few pages and wasn't impressed with the quality of writing (sorry to the author, but true). I'd rather read Anne Rice if I want a vampire fix. Those are REAL vampire books, well woven and highly sexual--because for some reason it seems like vampires like sex--A LOT.

Case in point: the True Blood HBO series. It was a little graphic (in both sex and violence), too much so for my taste, but I'm willing to give it another shot because I liked Sex and The City and we all know what that wonderful series was about. I also don't mind gore--proven by last years marathon of 4 seasons of The Sopranos in a row. I still haven't finished the series so don't tell me what happens. What's that you say? The camera just cuts out? It's not really fun to watch a series finale if you already know the end--which is the reason (among others) that I haven't finished it. That and I like to pretend that the Sopranos actually live somewhere in New Jersey. Isn't that all that is in New Jersey? The Italian Mafia?

Abbie, that one is for you.

My new disc came today in the mail, and I'm set to watch it tonight after my sweet boy is in bed. Also, this is post #100! I should drink some red wine to celebrate. And it will go well with my vampire show.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I am posting to tell you that MY BLACK DRESS FITS! FINALLY! Ok, so I can squeeze into it. I'd like it to fit better but I still have about 2 1/2 weeks for it to look nice. I'm trying to celebrate my successes though, so I wanted to post it today. I think going to the gym 4-5 times a week is really helping (duh). I haven't fit into the dress since before I got pregnant with Holden. And I found some great shoes and bracelets to go with it. I'm still looking for a necklace though.

I have to admit I'm a little disappointed because we're going to have to take Holden to the wedding with us. Which is ok because obviously he's my kid and I like having him around...
But it's really hard to go to a wedding and reception with a one year old in a different city. And stay in a hotel with him. And my dear husband will be in the wedding party so it will just be me taking care of him. My MIL did say she would help but there is no way I can drink at the wedding now. And it's going to be a little hard to wrangle a kid in my (fabulous) 3 1/2 inch heels.

This is the type of thing that makes me remember how much it sucks to not have my mom here and to have my dad in poor health. Sometimes my family support system isn't quite what I wish it was--by no fault of their own. These are just the cards that were dealt.

I started this post meaning for it to be a happy post. Now I've gone and made it all depressing.
I really am pleased about the dress. The rest will work itself out.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Please Excuse Our Mess

You know what I like? The kind of person who knows what they don't know. One who will tell you: Yes I know how to fix that stove, but no I do not know what the square root of 4096 is. (It's 64 by the way...thought I could save you some math there). Up front I will tell you: I--in fact--do not know how to raise a child, I'm just flying by the seat of my pants. I think anyone who says differently is flat out lying.

I had my cousin's wedding this weekend and my sweet child was being a little bit of a terror (not really in a bad way, just wild and crazy). So my husband who really didn't want to have to sit through the mass anyway considered it a get out of mass free card and took him to the great grandparents' house for an hour while I stayed at the wedding.
So I had to catch a ride over to the reception with my dad and stepmom. I must have been really cross on the phone with Tony (most of all because he didn't follow the well laid out plan to meet after the wedding) because my stepmom said,

"Wow, you have a shorter fuse than I do." Not an entirely accurate statement but I am a little fussy at times so I didn't argue the point. I just said,
"Well, I have a headache and I've had about 600 calories today (it was 8:00 p.m.) and my dear husband didn't listen to me the first 16 times I told him where the reception was located."

So when the dear parental figures (or grandparents) aren't questioning why I snapped at my husband on the cell phone when he asked for directions they are questioning why I don't put shoes on my kid most of the time or why I decided that a one year old shouldn't sit in a Catholic Mass/Wedding for an hour and a half. To me it seems like a no brainer, but apparently not so to other people.

It all worked out well for everyone because on the way to the reception they bought me two hamburgers from McDonald's (they are 250 calories each, by the way) (They just had appetizers at the reception--not a meal)

But that isn't really what I'm getting at here.

I like that everything I do now makes me wonder what I will think about it in 15 years.
Like when I go to the gym and see the 20 year olds with glowing skin and firm bodies and don't envy them (much) because I just didn't have the years of great experiences under my belt yet (pun intended).

In my early 20's my favorite day of the month used to be payday(s). Now I have a little metal clip magnet on the side of my refrigerator where I clip bills that are due for the month in order of when they are due. My favorite day of the month is when the clip is empty. It stays that way for about a week and a half and then I get the next bill in the mail for the next month.

For 3 months one summer when I was 22 I had an apartment to myself. It was always clean. It was just me--no dogs, husbands, cats, or kids. It was pretty great, but lonely. Now I have the husband, child, dogs, and cat and my house is always always messy. But it's not lonely.

I don't know, I guess I made all these plans about what my life would be like and nothing really turned out like I thought it would. But that would have been pretty boring. It makes me think of someone I know whose life has turned out pretty much exactly like she had planned from the tender age of 15 or so...married the high school sweetheart, went to college, then grad school and surprisingly I don't envy a life that well planned. I guess I'm a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person.

Also, sorry about the stream of consciousness typing. It's late and I wanted to get a post up since I haven't posted in awhile.

Had lots of fun at my cousin's wedding! Here is my fantastic hubby and me at the reception. Grandma and Grandpa were even nice enough to take Holden for the night. Had a great time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I haven't been slacking, I promise. I wrote this long post Monday about how I yelled at some guys I didn't know and called them assholes. I don't know what happened to the post--it seems to have disappeared...but just know this: The yelling and swearing? It was much deserved.

I MAY have had PMS but that is beside the point. They really did deserve it.

Anyway, onto a different topic. Our dream is to buy an acreage in the country (the real country, not something off the highway or on the edge of town). I've always wanted a big, rambling old house with big porches and lots of bedrooms. Even better if it has a good view and good position to the West and South.

We have found a house that fits this description. Only it's not nice. It's like the "before" picture of a big renovation project. The only problem is A) we don't have the money to hire a contractor to do all of it. B) We don't have time to remodel it ourselves. and C) even if we did have time neither of us likes to work on houses. But it's our DREAM. Despite the many things that need to be done it doesn't change that the house fits the bill.

And also, our house isn't in sellable condition. We'd have to do a lot of work to it in a very short period of time to put in on the market. I have been letting the idea ruminate in the back of my mind for the last week or so and I'm still pretty much right where I started. I like my house now. I don't feel like going through the process of buying a house. But then I think about how great we could make that house, and how I could live in it for 60 years (that is how long Tony's grandma has lived in her house). A kitchen and living room with a view, 5 bedrooms, 2 baths, walkout basement, fireplace, and on 4 acres.

Next topic: I reached my first weight loss goal! Now I'm down a total of 23 lbs. since I had Allison (and I only gained 11 with the pregnancy). My reward was a tube of lip gloss. Well, I guess I did buy some really expensive shoes the other day too...so those probably count. I'm having trouble with my knee though so that is slowing down my progress getting in shape. Headed to the doctor for that next week.

Storm is rolling in so I should get off the computer.

Another thought about the house: Caveat Emptor

Monday, June 15, 2009

Every day I love them more.

It's late so I don't want to do a long post. Will post tomorrow or Tuesday. I imagine everyone will be waiting with bated breath until then. :) Ok, so my life isn't that interesting--but I do try to make it sound interesting at least.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let your life speak

This topic constantly keeps coming up in my life, in our family life. Where do our priorities really lie?

What does my life say to other people? How can my experience benefit others and myself? I'm not talking about worrying what other people think, I'm talking about being a witness for others-without words.

When I first married Tony I joked that Methodists are the "do whatever you want" religion. And I was partially right, after going to the membership class I realize that they are certainly more open minded than many. This coming from a woman with a Catholic upbringing with a tendency toward Protestantism. The other night we had a membership class at our (Methodist) church because we technically aren't members there yet.

Something the pastor said to me made me stop in my tracks. I asked him the question about "finding Jesus" (I can't think of any other way to put it) and he said that yes, some people experience an absolute moment of conversion, but many others just feel that they've always believed. And should the experience of some be the experience of all? This goes back to the measure of faith question from one of my earlier posts.

It's hard for me to pinpoint a time when I didn't believe. I have certainly had my doubting moments, but I have always been a Christian. I do think there is room for doubt in faith. I am incredulous at people who say they have never had a doubt about God. But I think doubt makes faith grow, it does not weaken it. It proves that faith is a choice.

But that wasn't what I was trying to get at with this post. What I'm wondering is: If I'm trying to let my life speak for my faith, how do I navigate the other things?
How many Mai tais or glasses of wine can I have before it's too many (before it becomes wrong)? What about sex and my personal beliefs about it? What about being overweight? What about my disgust with abortion? I didn't always have such an extreme reaction to it, but now I do. I can't even watch news stories about it because it literally makes me so angry that I shake. It's not righteous anger (if there even is such a thing--I think only God has that and it's called wrath). What about when I'm yelling at my husband? What about those questions I still have about and for God? What about those people I haven't forgiven yet?

I'm afraid of what those things may say about me. But I know that perfection isn't really the goal. The goal is choosing each day to serve God and not myself. Down this road all I can do is put one foot in front of the other and trust in God's mercy and healing.

What does your life say?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The other day Tony was eating a 3 musketeers bar and shoving it at my mouth trying to get me to take a bite for some reason. So I took a tiny bite and gave it to Holden.
After Holden had finished his chocolate with a big smile Tony said,

"You know that nougat has nuts in it, right?"

If any of you realize what a paranoid mother I am, you'd know that I would never knowingly give my child anything with nuts in it under the age of 3. I'm that paranoid. I won't even let him sleep with a blanket yet (he has a sleep sack). I keep thinking it's going to improve as he gets older, but the paranoia stays pretty high at all times.

That's just the type of person I am.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Blind spot

One of the symptoms of macular degeneration according to the mayo clinic is: Blurred or blind spot in the center of your visual field combined with a profound drop in the sharpness (acuity) of your central vision.

I do not have this physical condition.

I hesitated to use this physical (disease) condition as a metaphor but I'm going to go ahead here. If you know someone who has had it, I don't mean to make light of it, I know it is very serious to lose your vision.

While I was driving today I started thinking about my blind spot. Nothing precipitated this, no near miss with the car or anything. I just started thinking about how in my car there is a big blind spot behind the back passenger doors.

And then it struck me: That is how I'm feeling. Only I feel like the blind spot is smack dab in front of me. I can see things on the periphery, but they seem fuzzy. I'm seriously considering school, but don't know what I want to be (really). I'm already doing something I love, but know that it won't last. My sweet child will grow up, and I'd like to retire someday so I really need to think of something to do in the meantime.

I hesitate to tell people anything about what I want to do, that I want to be in school because I don't want to disappoint them and myself again when I don't follow through. It really depressed me this year for some reason at graduation time because it seems EVERYONE but me has graduated college. I know this isn't reality but it felt that way.

But the metaphor isn't only about school. All I can see in front of me is the unknown. Not that it ever really was "known" but when I was younger it was easier to ignore. All I can feel is my son on my hip and my husband holding my hand and walking into a big black hole (that's how it looks in my mind--not in a bad way necessarily). I suppose maybe the important thing is that I have those two with me walking into the future.

Whether I become a self-saboteur again or smashing success they are there. When I just want to stop walking and sit down, I have a little hand tugging me up, marching along. And the comfort of my husband's hand in mine.

My pastor told a story this week about a passenger ship in WWII crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The captain went to the leader of the British (Royal?) Navy and asked what to do about his fear of being sunk. The commander told him to stay the course. No matter what he saw, he should stay the course, do not turn to the right or left.
When they were well underway, the captain of the ship saw an enemy destroyer to the North. His instinct was to veer left, but remembering what the commander had said, he continued straight for New York City and they were left unharmed.
When they reached the City and had been in port for a few hours, a large destroyer from the British Navy came into view. Unseen, the destroyer had escorted the captain's ship all the way across the Atlantic.

I guess even if I have that huge blind spot I don't need to feel anxious about it. I have my wonderful husband beside me, my son in my arms, and God behind me. Nothing seems quite as scary when I put it that way.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It ain't just a river in Egypt

I was on a walk the other day with someone I would consider a new friend. Although we have known each other for quite some time, we were never friends until recently. She has been one of the most supportive people so far in this recent loss. Most people just don't know what to say, so they say nothing.

She has emailed me asking how I am doing, telling me she is praying for me, spending time with me. At first I was nervous because I don't really know her and I take a very long time to make friends. I'm kind of hard to get to know. But I am quite loyal once I make a friend, even to the point where I don't get rid of them if they betray me. That is a fault I have. I'm starting to drift from the topic at hand...

Anyway, the other day she asked me how I was feeling about Ally. She even used Ally's name. No one has asked me that for a few weeks. People start to forget, and it happens with every loss. I do it too. I try to remember people's losses but just get so busy and since the person isn't here anymore--it's hard to remember that they lost someone. But it is really important to do that for people. Just to let them know their loved one isn't forgotten. So if you're reading this, I want you to know what a nice thing you did for me that day.

Tony is gone tonight to a party for charity, and I have been sitting here trying to study while watching NCIS. I quit studying and since then (an hour ago) the tears have been rolling. I'm not alone very often with my thoughts, and I realize I have been avoiding myself. For six weeks I have been avoiding myself.

I wouldn't call it denial, but maybe the sister of denial. Avoidance. I've been avoiding thinking about my daughter. Trying not to think about what I will say when people ask how many children I have. Distracting myself with housecleaning and school so that I don't cry.

It is surreal. I know I held her and touched her and I remember what an active little baby she was when she was inside. I've been trying not to think about how now my children will be so far apart in age. It won't be so bad, I keep telling myself. We don't always get what we want. God has a plan.

I just wish He would calm the storm a little bit.

Instead of thinking about formula and diapers and little pink outfits I'm left thinking about how to scrape the paint off my windows so I can repaint them, how to landscape my yard, buying a new couch, how many calories are in an egg roll, should I start paying on my dad's life insurance? And is Holden still breathing in the other room?

How do you miss someone you never really got to meet? Ally looked a lot like Holden. Same cute nose and lips, and I know she would have had blue eyes. She also had really long feet like Holden did when he was born. It's strange but the one thing I've missed is people asking how we picked our name. Everyone asked with Holden and I liked telling the story.

I'll tell you her name story. I liked the name Allison and told Tony that I wanted to use it, and he didn't want to because his grandma is named Alice and there are already two cousins named after her.
We decided long ago that we wanted literary names (from famous books). Then I realized that in the book The Catcher In the Rye the character Holden has a brother who died named Allie, so we nixed the name Allison because I thought it would be bad luck.

As it turns out, our luck was bad. So I thought the name Allison was perfect. Holden's sister ended up being named Ally. After her great-grandma and The Catcher In the Rye.

I packed up Allison's stuff a couple weeks ago. I had two packages of diapers, one newborn and one size 1/2. I know at least 4 different families I could give these diapers to but I just can't. I couldn't bear to give them away because that would mean giving away her things. I packed them away in the storage bin, hoping that someday we'll get to use them on one of her siblings. Or maybe when it doesn't hurt so much we'll find someone else to give them to.

I have finals tomorrow so I need to get to bed. Less thinking, more sleeping.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I've been catching up on my missed episodes of NCIS today and I just have to say I have a mad crush on Mark Harmon. He was named sexiest man alive by PEOPLE magazine in 1986.
I was four in 1986.
But I like the older ones (have you noticed? Kevin Costner, Paul Newman...they all have one thing in common: Older, much older).

I was at Walmart yesterday (I know, big surprise, right?) and my child--my sweet angel--started screaming. The offense? I had taken away the scrap envelope he was playing with (it had my shopping list on it). Keenly aware of the many eyes on my neck--most likely people with no children wondering why I can't control my kid--or old ladies who have trouble remembering what it's like to have a one year old and thinking mean things about me, I tried to make him stop. I was suddenly propelled into my new role as mother-of-toddler by this particular incident and foresee many like it in the near future.

Am I one of those mothers who will do anything to pacify her child? Am I one that starts yelling at their kid in the aisle? I don't know.

I was saved by the fact that he has an extremely short memory since he is only one and also on my list were some pool toys I was going to buy anyway. So that made him very happy from the toy section to the cold foods. Crisis averted.

Something no one ever told me about marriage is how much diplomacy and negotiation is involved. I mean really. I think when I do this another 40 or 50 years I would be a good candidate for secretary of state (assuming in 50 years things in our government haven't significantly changed--and that I'm still alive).

For example, when my hubby calls and asks if he can go have a beer with the guys? Someday it will become easier for me to say yes. I won't have to think about how I've been with a child all day and really just want to not have to take care of him for awhile, and wouldn't it be nice if my husband would just come home and not be so social?

But I am getting better because I actually said yes the other day and it didn't bother me much. I think it helped that The Bachelorette was on for two hours that night and Holden went to sleep without so much as a peep. If I had just gotten married (it's been 4 years already!) it could have been a fight, but I was in such a good mood when my dear husband got home it prompted him to ask if I was drunk (and no I wasn't).

I must be bitchy a lot if he thinks the only time I'm happy is when I'm drunk. I'm gonna have to work on that. Or start drinking more.