Monday, August 22, 2011

Sleepy heads

E and Soph are both in bed asleep--probably because they both have...bronchitis.  Yepper. Took Soph to the doctor today, and she'll be out of school for another day at least. It's times like this that make me so glad E works from home. I can't even imagine trying to plan for a sub this week.  Yikes.

In other riveting news, we're about 90% moved in. I guess that's the upside of moving twice in 7 months. We have really scaled back on the crap, which makes finding a place for everything much more doable. Our new funky 50s era split level came complete with a storage basement--no windows, no frills, just space--which is now referred to as the bat cave. It's also handy for those odds and ends that we can't seem to throw away. There's also a little room especially designed for storing canning. So, that's sure to stay conveniently empty.

I have a handful of pictures to find homes for, and then, I shall distribute the turtle collection. For some reason they stay in the box until everything else is done. And then I get to go through them and find just the right place for each one. I love my San Diego shell turtle from my gal pal Denice--complete with little wire glasses. My newest one is from Phoenix--and brings back memories of Katy and my dad. It's blown glass, and the shell looks like a little miniature galaxy. I have one from Santa Fe and one from San Francisco. Pretty much all of my family members and most of my friends have gifted me a turtle, and I love it.

My first turtle was actually a little stolen. I rescued it from a roommate who wasn't keeping track of it properly. It was ceramic jewelry holder with a removable shell. I had it for a long time--until toddler Janz (who is now a senior--gah!) knocked over a table and it smashed to simtherines. After that, the turtles kind of kept coming. When people ask me, why turtles?, I do have an answer. For one, they remind me that it's ok to go slowly. Also, they are always at home, no matter where they go. I dig that.

Today's best thing about being a mom: Watching Matilda. Yikes. The Trunchbull is scary!

Today's worst thing about being a mom: Netflix on demand guilt. I know she's sick, but 7 hours of TV/movies is still WAY TOO MUCH. God. I suck.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pork Sickness

Soph kept asking me today if people still get pork sickness. I thought for some weird reason she was referring to trichinosis--right? Isn't that what you get if you eat raw pork? So I went into this whole song and dance about cooking meats to their proper temperature and what have you.

She got way confused, and said she thought her teacher wanted kids to bring wet wipes to school because of pork sickness, and what did that have to do with cooking meat?

Light bulb. Pork sickness=swine flu. I'm assuming most of you got that one before I did.

Her backpack is ready to go, sitting by the front door. We now live less than a block from her elementary school, so she'll be walking. Her friend Beesley is picking her up at 8:30, and then off to the 4th grade.

Today's best thing about being a mom: Helping put new pencils in the new pencil box.

Today's worst thing about being a mom: Worrying about mean kids.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I promise to stop bitching

sometime next week.

I feel like every single part of my life is unsettled. The only way to the other side is through it, I guess, so even though I mostly want to sit and bawl, I'm going to do some laundry and then unpack a few more boxes.

Today's best thing about being a mom: What? I have a daughter. Funny. Haven't seen her in a while.
Today's worst thing about being a mom: No really. Where is she?

Monday, August 15, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge...FAILED

Yup. Failed. No internet access, no time, no energy. I thought this move was going to be hard, but I really had no idea. It's not the moving so much as the unpacking and cleaning. Jesus, the cleaning. We were only in the other house 7 months. Just long enough to get it good and fucking filthy. I couldn't believe the refrigerator once it was empty. My family and I are apparently slobs of the highest caliber.  I've spent at least 8 hours now trying get that place clean. It belongs to my in-laws, and I don't want them to think I trashed their house. That said, there are only so many hours in a day, and at some point, I'm going to need to unpack the rest of the boxes here--and perhaps plan a bit for the start of school. Sheesh

Today's best thing about being a mom: Going out together for lunch at Ninja.

Today's worst thing about being a mom: Having to supply regular meals even when life is chaotic as hell.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My carefully constructed bubble of denial

has officially popped--and been replaced with an eyeball popping headache.

Today was my first day back at school. 7+ hours of meetings today and 7+ hours of meetings tomorrow. The summer is officially kaput.  My mantra for tomorrow will be (as it should have been today) KEEP YOUR DAMN MOUTH SHUT. I just can't help saying what's on my mind sometimes, and I'm afraid that didn't endear me to my new principal today.

In Sophie news, my girl is turning 9 tomorrow. What? Yep, 9. I, of course will be at work and am ass deep in moving and work prep, so the celebrations will be somewhat more subdued than usual. Tonight I'm taking her to a play (The Music Man) and tomorrow she's being taken out to breakfast by grandma, lunch by grandpa, and then out for a crab dinner with mom and dad. This is the first year she's getting money instead of presents. I just don't have time, plus she wants to do a little "big girl" upgrading to her room, so I'm going to take her to Bed Bath and Beyond for a little shopping after we move in.

Today's best thing about being a mom: Yesterday we went out to dinner at our local cowboy diner, The Market Grill. (If you want it breaded, with gravy, the Market is your place.) As we were eating, she noticed a girl about her age, sitting at a table with 3, let's just say it, old farts. These 3 guys were going on and on and on about gun control laws and political conspiracies and who knows what else, and the little girl was obviously bored out of her mind, but trying to be good. Soph kept mentioning her--worrying about how bored she must be, and taking the grownups to task for not letting her in on the conversation. One of the Market Grill's main draws for Soph is the bank of vending machines out front. When she was done eating, I gave her a couple of quarters to spend while her dad and I finished up. She came back with some kind of little sticker book, took it over to the girl, and gave it to her saying, "Here. I bought this for you because you looked kind of sad.

Today's worst thing about being a mom: Every year it seems like I'm way stressed for her birthday. It's always right when the new school year is starting up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Watching Weight

I always thought Weight Watchers was a weird name for a weight loss program. Watch it do what? Decrease, I guess, but that's a bit like watching paint dry, isn't it?

It's been 6 months now since I signed up, and I'm down about 30 pounds.

When I first started blogging, YEARS ago, I was working my own weight loss program. It consisted of prescription diet pills, bulimia, and cigarettes. The physical results were fantastic. I looked super. Emotionally, though, things were pretty dire. So once I kicked all 3 of those nasty habits (mostly) the pounds didn't just sneak back on. They leapt--sprinted--jockeyed for position on various bits and pieces of me.

So now here I am, 6 months into this process of trying to do it the old fashioned way--eating less and exercising. And for several months, it was going great. Then the summer hit. BBQs and holidays and (lovely) visits to and from family and the slide down the slippery slope commenced. Thankfully, I haven't gained--but I haven't lost either. To be in my healthy range, I need to be down at least 10 more pounds, and those last 10 can be a bitch.

At the beginning of the summer, I alternated jogging and swimming--like, every day--and was making really substantial progress. I even sprouted a muscle or two. But now--I've lost that mojo. No matter how long I do it, jogging HURTS. I keep waiting for that day when I head out the door and fall into a zen like stride, but so far, I can only describe my runs as anywhere from excruciating to tolerable. As for swimming, it feels great. But finding all the swimming stuff, getting to the pool and jockeying for a lane is kind of a pain.

As a replacement, I've been doing at home "Walk Away the Pounds" DVDs, and they're fine, but not nearly as effective as the jogging and swimming were.

I know it's time to stop making excuses and just do what I know works, but not today. Once we've settled in the new house and I have a couple weeks of the new school year under my belt, we'll see.

Until then, my goal is to focus on portion control--and to get at lest a bit of exercise every day, even if it's just a walk.  Better than nothing, I suppose.

Today's best thing about being a mom: We're going to see The Music Man--hopefully--today.
Today's worst thing about being a mom: School shopping

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Because I said I would...

here is day 2 of my 30 day blog a day goal.

I made the big mistake of starting  Catching Fire last night--the second Hunger Games book, if you happen to have just landed on planet earth.

So now I need to pack and get ready for school, but also fight the urge to sit in my reading chair with snacks and just blast through that thing.

I always say that I'm not a big fan of the teen dystopias that seem to be all the rage, but that's not really the truth. I try to keep abreast of "what the kids are reading" these days, and I'll admit that the dystopian selections are super engaging. Hunger Games, Uglies, Unwound, Ship Breaker, and Matched all are pretty tough to put down once started. But they're no good for my apocolyptophobia, (I hope I just made that word up.) and like many others, I can't help but wonder why this particular genre seems to resonate so deeply with kids right now.

Soph is going to be spending most of the day with her great-grandma Gene, and I hope to bust ass and get some work done--both at home and at school.

Today's best thing about being a mom: Going for walks together--and stopping to sit under a shady tree and eat apples.

Today's worst thing about being a mom: Brushing her hair. As an almost 9 year old (!!) she should be doing this by herself, but her hair so thick and prone to tangles, that ain't going to happen anytime soon.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Why moving totally sucks

On Saturday, I'm moving, again. That will mean we'll have lived in 3 different houses in the span of 7 months. Hopefully, this time we'll stay put for longer than a 2 year old's attention span, but who knows?

Why the move? I don't want to talk about it.

But when you move, you have to take stock of your shit. (Why the 40 remotes? None of them work. Should we throw them away? Is Soph now ready to give the dolls to charity? Does she play with the blocks anymore? If I give away the size 20 pants, will the weight suddenly land right back on my ass? Should we go ahead and move the 5 boxes of trash from the office, again, without going through them, again?) I just did this 7 months ago, and am barely recovered from giving away the board books. Plus, 7 months ago I gave away my size 14 pants, and now I wish I hadn't. I don't want to take stock of my shit, because that means taking stock of my life, and I try to avoid that as much as possible, even if to do so I'm forced to play Scramble for 3 hours a day.

Also, the sweet, kind souls who are helping you move get to see your shit. And I know they're not judging--but I still feel the need to create the illusion for them that I am an organized, together person who stores all the batteries and light bulbs in one strategic location, rather than spread out all over the house, handily lost so that each time we need them we just go to the store and buy more.

Plus, some of my shit is private. Last time we moved, someone, and I have no idea who, packed and moved the stuff in the sex drawer while I was over at the other house. Now don't get me wrong--it was nice of him/her to do that, and there was nothing too exciting in there, but nonetheless, someone, not me, put the condoms and what have you into a box, labled it "master bedroom" and packed it into the truck. Because in my heart, I'm really a Puritan about such things, this really freaks me out. (Aside, this box was lost, and only discovered--in the laundry room--1 week ago while I  was finally UNPACKING THE LAST BOXES FROM THE LAST TIME WE MOVED.)

 And not to get to "men are from mars women are from venus" about it, but men and women, at least E and I, don't see the process or the work involved in the same way at all. This causes us to have to communicate; something we've studiously learned to avoid after 15 years of marriage. We have to talk about expectations and time tables and money and work allocation. I get that he's the one who is going to have to move the washer and dryer and couches up stairs and down stairs. That will suck. But so does packing and unpacking the kitchen, pummicing (a word?) toilets, and suddenly realizing that the ceiling fans haven't been dusted in 7 months.

Did I mention I'm going back to work on Thursday? And that Soph's birthday is Friday?

Pity me.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Signed up for Weight Watchers yesterday...

while eating a double cheeseburger and fries from Dairy Queen.

Because I am that girl.


Today's best thing about being a mom: Our first day WALKING home from school together instead of driving.

Today's worst thing about being a mom: Soph quit holding my hand (she took my hand to begin with, not vice versa) whenever anyone she might possibly know walked by us.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


It's so nice to have a Sunday stretching out before me with all of the housework done.  Yesterday we had a couple of pals over to break in the pool table, so today, with the exception of tidying up from that, I can just sit in my clean house and not feel like I have a million things to do.

So, the main items on the agenda for today are to tally and submit my troop's GS cookie orders and finish an afghan I've been working on for a few weeks.

There is one tiny little fly in my ointment, though. E bought Sophie this little kit that has a recipe book and silicone baking cups in it.  I feel like it's called "Party in a Cup."  It has recipes for everything from chocolate mousse to shrimp-cocktail cups to gazpacho. And I know he did it to be nice. And I know he didn't think "Hmmm. Here's something for Soph to nag Boo about until she goes mad and finally goes and buys the shit for it and spends 3 hours of her weekend preparing drippy and probably nasty recipes that no one will actually want to eat." I KNOW that wasn't the intent. But it is the reality.

I call them "Soph's Notions."  That girl gets an idea in her head and is so fucking tenacious about it.  Sometimes I worry that the OCD on her dad's side of the family is poking its rotten little head out.  It's like she's in a constant state of disappointment because none of her visions are being completely fulfilled.  From sales ventures to major theatrical productions, she wants things to happen, on a large scale, just so, right now.

Today's best thing about being a mom: Having a built-in duster.

Today's worst thing about being a mom: Sitting here trying to come up with a best thing about being a mom and getting interrupted like 8 times with questions and requests and just needing five fucking minutes already!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You know you were booked into a shitty hotel when...

1. The hotel shares a parking lot with a gentleman's club named "Allure."
2. The front desk clerk makes you line-item initial 10+ items, including "no fires of any kind."
3. The room itself smells like feet.
4. The view out the window is train tracks and trailer parks.
5. The toiletries include shampoo but no conditioner.
6. The remote is bolted to the night stand.
7. There are HAIRS in the bed.
8. You spend the night laying on top of the bed, fully clothed, and spend the next morning checking for bed-bug bites.

Spent an un-lovely night last week at a dive in South Salt Lake, and have been exponentially grateful for my own bed ever since.

Today's best thing about being a mom:  Listening to her giggle to herself while reading Calvin and Hobbes (again.)
Today's worst thing about being a mom: Not always, but today, freaking Girl Scouts.  Don't get me wrong. I'm not a Girl Scout hater (well, not always) but after teaching teens all day, hanging out with a gaggle of giggling 8-10 year old girls for an hour brings out the Mrs. Hannigan in me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Get good soon...

When I'm trying to convince a class full of teenagers who really don't give a shit that there is, actually, a difference between "good" and "well," I often remind them that there is no such thing as a "get good soon" card.  But frankly, I don't give a flying fuck if you want to call it good or well, just as long as some time in the near future, I can have a day or two of being in reasonably good health.

A couple of months ago it was the bizarre torso/boob rash from hell that none of the doctors could figure out. And now it's the cough that won't end. I hate to just keep upping the ante on medication, but have gone from OTC to antibiotics and now am on a steroid (Prednisol?)  plus a super-fly cough syrup with codeine.  The combination gives me wicked night sweats, and last night I literally (yes, literally) had to change the sheets twice after waking up soaking wet.  (Either that or I grew some phantom male parts and enjoyed my first nocturnal emissions.)

Enough with the old lady health woes.

Soph is spectacular.  She's in the school play (based on School House it) and is one of the capital kids in the "Only a Bill" song. She's also ass deep in Girl Scout Cookie sales.  Other than a minor incident with some nail polish and her bathroom counter, we're getting along great.

And she still keeps growing up, no mater how many weights I pile on her little head.

The older your kids get, the more you start to get your life back, but frankly, who wants it?  By the time they're big enough that you have chunks of time for actual living, you've forgotten what to do with them, or you've gotten to old or rigid to do them justice. 

Honestly, I think I'd much rather cuddle and read Olivia Forms a Band and make Care Bear costumes and even do all the kid wiping (noses, butts, etc.) than try to truly understand and engage in most of shit going down in the world today.  Two little girls and only one crown at the play date?  That problem I can solve. National health care reform?  Fuck if I know.

Today's best thing about being a mom: Planning and making dinner together.

Today's worst thing about being a mom: Failing to keep us both at a more healthy weight.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Things that go bump…

(This is an assignment I just finished for a literacy endorsement class I'm taking. It's a bit vanilla since it's for school, but I still figured I'd toss it up here.)

I'm 35 years old, and I'm afraid of the dark. This realization came to me a couple of months ago, when, because of the time change, I found myself walking to my car from a class after the sun had gone down, rather than before as I had done in previous weeks. I remember leaving the building and suddenly feeling my heart begin to thump, and then scurrying to my car like a frightened rabbit. The parking lot of SEDC, a harmless enough space which I had frequented weekly for several months, suddenly felt unsafe to me. While hurrying to my car, I nervously pushed the unlock button on my key chain several times, and when I slid into the driver's seat, I turned to check the back seat to make sure no one with malevolent intentions was hiding back there (even though I knew perfectly well that the car had been locked). I then speedily locked the doors and drove home, feeling anxious and confused and a little disgusted with myself

Surprisingly, even after this event, I hadn't put a name to my fear. It seems obvious on reflection, but it wasn't until a similar event occurred after stopping by Wal-Mart to grab a loaf of bread on the way home from work that I realized what was going on. I repeated the earlier process: hurry to the car, check the back seat, lock the doors, and then drive away feeling equal parts afraid and sheepish. On the way home, I quizzed myself. I am I afraid of being alone? On the contrary-- I enjoy solitude, and am more likely to feel upset by the lack of "alone time" in my life than by too much of it. Could I have developed a phobia of parking lots? Ridiculous. Like most working moms, my life is often a series of errands requiring me to get into and out of the car several times a day. Then I considered why my anxiety had cranked up on this particular errand, remembered my mini-panic at SEDC, and it hit me. The dark. I wondered-- really? Was I really afraid of the dark?

And the answer is, unfortunately, yes. I was, am, and probably will always be afraid of the dark. When I mentioned this fear to my mom, she chuckled a bit, and reminded me that this fear is nothing new, but somehow I had forgotten it. As a young child, my fear of the dark was a bit of a joke in the family. I refused to go trick-or-treating, pointing out that there was a perfectly good bowl of candy right here, thank you very much, and I didn't need to go traipsing about the neighborhood in the dark on a night known for its spookiness to get more. I also didn't like fireworks, and one or the other of my parents usually had to miss the show because of staying home with me. How embarrassing. No wonder I'd "forgotten."

My childhood fear of the dark was compounded in my adolescence when I began more and more to realize how my gender made me a target of violence. I remember being warned about going out at night alone. One particular youth activity sticks with me. A self-defense teacher came and talked to a group of girls about safety. He showed us how to hold our keys grasped in the fist, creating a mace-like weapon to fend off possible attackers. He told stories of women who got into their cars at night, only to be abducted by a hidden assailant in the back seat, and warned us to keep the car locked at all times. I remember going home feeling so unsafe, and feeling how unfair it was that that fear was generated because I'm a girl, a member of "the weaker sex."

As an adult though, I guess I began to just find ways around the fear. As a school teacher, my work day ends in the late afternoon, and so I'm usually home before dark. When there are errands to run once the sun goes down, I generally pass the buck to my husband. Really,  I haven't consciously realized how I subtly maneuver my plans and schedule around this phobia until now.

Another minor hint in my adult life of my nyctophobia is my dislike of winter and my love of summer time. I've long described myself as being "solar powered person with no battery back-ups" and while the cold of winter repels me and the warmth of summer compels me, I think the root of my preference is light. In the summer, there are hours and hours of lovely light, and the evening stretches on and on. It's easily 8:00, and often later before I have to start thinking of wrapping up my "out and about" activities in order to beat the dark home.

Fortunately, my fear of the dark is very specifically limited to darkness "out there," and not "in here." That is to say, I am fine with darkness in my home. (In fact, in order to sleep well, I like a completely dark room.) Furthermore, I'm usually ok in the dark if I'm with an adult that I know. I feel no anxiousness sitting on my back porch with friends on a warm summer night, and I don't panic in a dark movie theater. It is only in public or unfamiliar places when I am alone, or with my young daughter, that I feel the panic, the feeling of being unsafe.

As a result, I've learned to avoid certain things. Parking lots are the worst, so I try and do most of my errands over the weekend instead of during the evening. Anywhere else in the car is a close runner up. In fact, driving alone on the freeway in the dark is something that I'll go to some lengths to avoid. I don't go for walks alone in the dark, and even with my dog I feel anxious, so I get less exercise during the winter months than I should.

I do feel embarrassed about this fear. After all, I'm not five. I'm a grown woman with a mortgage and a child--but somehow, I just can't shake it. So, do me a favor. If you invite me to the movies, just casually walk with me to my car after. If you need a ride somewhere, try to call someone else if it's late. Because I can do it. I can be alone, outside, in the dark. But I'd sure rather not.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Most exhausting week ever

In one week, I managed to...

totally clean the old place
celebrate Christmas
take care of a kid with a very ugly flu (and she's still sick.  Please god, please let her get well soon.)

Wouldn't have been able to do it without my family and friends. Thanks all. Going to fall over now.

Today's best thing about being a mom: Watching Ponyo
Today's worst thing about being a mom: Cleaning up shit and vomit