Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Starting Over

I think I have my new blog up and running.  However, because I didn't want it tied at all to this one, I linked it up to a different e-mail and have a different login and, well, it's yet another beast in my life to nail down.  It's weird to log in to that blog account and see that I'm not following any blogs yet, and I'm not authoring this blog or the BL blog...and and and.  It's like starting over from scratch.  That can be good and refreshing, but it also can be kind of sad to go back to ground zero.  I can't point to this blog and say, "Hey, I have almost 2 years of steady blogging here" and before that I had Myspace for another 2-3 years and in a parallel universe I had a LiveJournal for 3 years.  Nope, I have absolutely no history there.  Again, can be good to build something from ground up but sad at the same time to start all over again.

I shall call it a night.  Night! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Belated Thanksgiving Post

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of family, friends and FOOD!  Mine was good.  There was a wee bit of a snow and ice storm on Monday of last week, which kept us homebound for 48 hours.  For Thanksgiving my mom and stepdad came over.  I made some awesome cinnamon rolls while hubby made the turkey, and there were various side dishes.  On Friday, I woke up at 3am to start Black Friday.  I got home at 9am.  Lots of deals were to be had; I tried not to go too crazy and look mainly for gifts I will be giving to people or get stuff that we actually need or really, really want.  I scored a rather inexpensive game for the Wii, which hubby and I have been obsessed with over the weekend.  Then on Friday night I went out for some MORE Black Friday shopping.  Saturday and Sunday are a blur: chores, grocery shopping, movie watching, decorating for Christmas.

I did make a huge batch of turkey soup on Thursday night.  It's SO good and filling despite being really light.  It kinda balanced out the heaviness of the Thanksgiving meal.

Here's my belated Thanksgiving post:

I am thankful for those connections I have made with other people over the years.  The girls I knew often didn't share similar interests with me, and the guys were considerably easier to understand and easier to share interests with.  In fourth grade I made my first connection.  As time went on, I met more people who I made connections with.  I assert that it is relatively easy to make a friendship connection with a guy.  Growing up they are taught to not express feelings with most people, so once you have established yourself as someone who will listen to them without judgment, they do tend to open up.

As I've said before here, when I met my husband, he had been dating someone else for a few years.  I was kind of dating someone else initially as well.  We met in July of 1996 (see, I remember these things) while he was working security.  He had a girlfriend, and I was sort of dating someone.  There were only two jobs on campus that you could have even though you didn't qualify for work study, and the police station was one of them.  Perhaps in the back of my mind, I did want to spend more time with that intriguing guy I met.  Who knows.  Since he fed me all the interview questions beforehand, I was relatively set for the police station interview.  I got the job, and we ended up working the same "week" (there were two sets of weeks, and you rotated working one week one and one week off).  Since he had more seniority, he had the better shift of 8pm-11pm.  I had the 11pm-2am shift, so we saw each other on the shift overlap from roughly 10:45pm - 11:00pm.

We generated a connection pretty quickly.  Meaning that we had our little inside jokes and talked quite a bit.  One of my co-workers on my shift was a complete drama queen.  The kind of girl I love to hate, but she's so ridiculous that most of the time you can only laugh at her.  So he and I would chat about the so many dramatic incidents she would start, usually involving her flinging things around the police station or the multiple dramatic sighs she would do to make you ask, "What's the matter?"

As time went on, he would sometimes stay after his shift ended and walk with me on my dorm route.  He would say that he had a few minutes before he went to his industrial engineering lab or he was on his way to his car.  I was usually pleased to have company, and I didn't think much of it.  I enjoyed chatting with him, he was smart and funny.

Occasionally we would see each other on campus.  There are those people you see around campus who you wave to.  Then there are the people who you stop to say hi to.  And then there are the people who you end up walking with.  We were usually in the second or third category.  It was rarely a wave, more like we'd have a conversation.  He was kinda popular too.  Everyone seemed to know him, or at least it felt that way when I was talking to him on campus.

It was easy to forget that he had a girlfriend.  I mean, I intellectually knew that.  But when I saw him at work, he was alone.  After I started my shift and he would occasionally accompany me, he was alone.  When I saw him on campus, he usually wasn't with her.  So the few times I actually did see him with her were really jarring.  That's when the cold hard reality would set in.  But it was easier to take because I was seeing someone too.  Still, I considered him a good friend despite us being with other people.

The next summer (1997) was really defining.  We had developed a connection over the past year.  Then you add the layer of us both working on campus when almost no one is there.  Shifts over the summer were longer; so instead of 3 hours, they were usually 6 hours.  He would drive the car around or was training to do dispatch.  I stuck with the dorms because A) I didn't like to drive and B) it was easier.  There were 1/4 the people in the dorms as there were during the school year, and most of the people in the dorms were Japanese exchange students who weren't known for being party-ers.  So my job was basically ambling about the dorms and making sure doors weren't propped, there weren't massive parties, that sort of thing.  That summer when he was in the car, he'd often meet me, and we'd drive around in the car together or he'd hang out in the dorms with me.  A lot.  Just hanging out and talking, but building even deeper connections than in the past year.

In short, while I am thankful for all of the connections I've made with people over the years, I am most thankful for my wonderful husband and the foundation we built because, after all, a relationship is like a house (insert hand gestures that mimic a house); you have to have a strong foundation*.  :)

* That's an inside joke about a co-worker from the security department who practiced his break up speech to his girlfriend with me.  I really appreciated the hand gestures that illustrated the house and the whole strong foundation thing.  He really got into it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Eighth Batch of Dewey Entries

A few books on religion and science this time.  My husband has found my criteria (other than the whole Dewey decimal number) in selecting books.  I like provocative titles.  If it has a good title, I will read it.  If it doesn't have a good title, I'll bypass it.  In case you haven't noticed this trend, like I hadn't, I'm pointing it out.  I'm soooo superficial when it comes to books. 

I really liked Bad Language in this batch of books.  It was intriguing and made me think.  My least favorite in this batch was Language and Human Behavior.  Oh my, was that tedious!  The circular logic and I disagreed with the fundamental basis of his theory, plus I didn't like his writing style.  I must say that I just scanned the last 50 pages. 

I've read about 45 books thus far for the Dewey project.  Not too bad.  I'm not sure how much progress I'll make through the end of the year, but I know I will make it a priority in 2011.  I'm kinda burnt out on non-fiction, so I may choose to read some engaging fiction books for the rest of the year.

Making My Way Through Dewey

011.73      Pearl, Nancy.  Book Lust.
020           Johnston, Marilyn.  This Book Is Overdue.
031.02        Frauenfelder, Mark.  The World's Worst.
051           Fraterrigo, Elizabeth. Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America.
081               Rakoff, David. Don't Get Too Comfortable.
121.63    Berger, Peter and Anton Zijderveld.  In Praise of Doubt.
133        Horn, Stacy.  Unbelievable.
153.83   Welch, Suzy.  10-10-10.
177.7    Stone, Deborah.  The Samaritan's Dilemma.
200     Ward, Keith. Is Religion Dangerous?
248.845             Neumann, Connie. Parenting in the Home Stretch.
255.1                Okholm, Dennis.  Monk Habits for Everyday People.
261.850973     Zacharias, Karen Spears. Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide?
277.3083         Meyers, Robin.  Why the Christian Right Is Wrong.
289.3082          Solomon, Dorothy Allred.  The Sisterhood.
299.94               Russo, Steve.  What's the Deal with Wicca?
302.34082           Paul, Marla.  The Friendship Crisis.
305.4092             Merrill, Wendy.  Falling into Manholes.
310                      Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009.
327.73009            Dobbs, Lou. Exporting America.
332.02401            Epperson, Sharon.  The Big Payoff.
343.730523         Lange, James. Retire Secure.
352.480973        Rivlin, Alice and Isabel Sawhill. Restoring Fiscal Sanity.
362.196852        Schaefer, Jenni.  Goodbye Ed, Hello Me.
378.19822           Peril, Lynn.  College Girls.
381.120973        Mitchell, Stacy.  Big Box Swindle.
392.6                  Shapiro, Bill.  Other People's Love Letters.
400                     Bickerton, Derek. Language and Human Behavior.
417.2                 Battistella, Edwin. Bad Language.
428.13              Jackson, R. W.  You Say Tomato.
500       Goodstein, David.  On Fact and Fraud.
608    Cooper, Christopher.  Patently Absurd.
612     McCardle, William D, Frank I. Katch, Victor L. Katch.  Essentials of Exercise Physiology.
621.38456  Baig, Edward C.  iPhone for Dummies.
636.7527  Koontz, Dean.  A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog.
641.58      Hall, Dawn.  Busy People's Slow Cooker Cookbook.
658.812     Price, Bill and David Jaffe.  The Best Service Is No Service.   
663.61      Gleick, Peter H. Bottled & Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water.
750.11        Richardson, Joy.  Looking at Pictures.
771.33         Revell, Jeff.  Nikon D5000: From Snapshots to Great Shots.
782.421649  McQuillar, Tayannah Lee.  When Rap Music Had a Conscience.  
794.000     Orbanes, Philip E. Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game.
817.000 Scottoline, Lisa. Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog.
828.92    Browning, Guy.  Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade.
910.4     Leffel, Tim.  Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune.
937       Nardo, Don.  Life of a Roman Slave.
940.21   Netzley, Patricia D.  Life During the Renaissance.
956.7044  Life.  Last Letters Home.
973.92      Strauss, William and Elaina Newport.  Sixteen Scandals.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thirteen Reasons Why, a Summary

Never before have I felt so in tune with a book as I felt when I read Thirteen Reasons Why.  The premise of the book is that a teenage girl commits suicide and leaves behind thirteen reasons why on cassette tapes.  The set of tapes is to go each of the thirteen people involved in turn.  One of the recipients of the set of cassette tapes is Clay, a guy Hannah went to school with and worked with.  He’s unsure of why he’s included in all of this. He knew Hannah, but not well, and he never did anything that could be construed as negative (or so he thought) to her.

Essentially there are two narrators. Hannah is the narrator of the tapes themselves interspersed with Clay’s reaction to the set of tapes. Despite the two narrators, the book isn’t choppy, is fast paced, and is extremely engaging.   

I could have spoilers, so if you’re one that’s sensitive to that, then you probably shouldn’t read further.

I have a lot of empathy for the female narrator.  She’s the victim of rumors, used as a weapon to get someone else back, witness to a few crimes, torn down, and her pleas for help are all dismissed. The only true connection she makes is with Clay, but it’s too late.  You want to fault Clay for not trying hard enough, but you can’t because he did even more than the average person likely would. 

The tapes that Hannah leaves behind are a blog of sort.  They are 13 interwoven stories that lead up to her culmination act of suicide.  And she forces the 13 people involved to listen to her story and their part in it.

I am a firm believer that we all have crap in our lives.  Being a teenager sucks; other teenagers suck. They can be cruel, misguided, vengeful, immature, irresponsible, and many other unfavorable adjectives. What is interesting is that most teenagers can put all that crap aside and move on.  And a few others can’t.  Suicide is an awful thing, and the main premise of this book is to increase suicide prevention awareness.  I think anyone who is around teens should read this book if even for that reason. 

Oftentimes I think the biggest teen suicide prevention technique is caring for a teen. Seriously, being there to listen, empathize, help in any way you can.  If they can gain some perspective on their issues and know that someone cares for them as a person, I think you can really make a connection and raise the self-esteem of a teen.  That’s why there’s always a special place in my heart for teenagers.  If I ever did teach, I would definitely choose high school.  I can find those kids that have internal struggles and reach out to them.  If they know that I care about them and they trust me, then maybe they have one less reason why.

I never seriously considered suicide. I was very close to a number of adults, mostly teachers but some mentors such as the staffperson to the youth commission I was on, my boss at the stockbrokerage firm, my co-workers at the doctor’s office.  I could talk to a number of adults who would understand. I was also close to a few peers. They may not have been the peers you would expect that a straight A, quiet, 16 year old girl would become close to. Still, I made a few close connections that really mattered. 

In my next few entries, I’d like to delve more into this book and the issues it brings to light. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Disconnected: The Documentary

I watched this tonight:


It's about 3 Carleton College students who go without computers for 3-4 weeks in 2007.  I suppose 2007 isn't all that different than 2010; the 'Big Three' computer methods of communication are still e-mail/Facebook/blogs.  It was interesting that throughout the documentary they thought they would miss e-mail and Facebook the most.  Turns out that their e-mail and Facebook while they were offline was merely junk mail because their core circle of friends knew they would be unreachable via computer and kept in contact through the phone and in person.  Those that went through the experiment seemed to miss their blogs the most, which I totally understand.

Watching the documentary illustrated two things to me (other than I think it's sad that kids these days do not know how to operate a typewriter):

1 - The computer is required for so many things now.  If you're in college, you now have to submit assignments online, register online, etc.  There's a high probability you have to use a computer in your job.  There are a large amount of things that can be done offline (type papers, pay bills, submit forms, reserve library books, make purchases, etc.) but are much, much easier to do online. 

2 - It is so easy to waste time with a computer.  I can be completely accused of this.  I start doing one thing and then get detoured online.  Yes, I like to check blogs, check Facebook, write e-mails, do consumer research, etc.  But if I only had half an hour of computer access a day, I could fit all that in.  So why do I waste 3 or more hours on the computer a night?  I dunno, I guess part of it is that I feel that I'll "miss out" on something if I don't compulsively check, and part of it is that being on a computer is easier than the alternatives. 

Watching this documentary helped me really classify how I spend my computer time and perhaps more strategic computer use would be more advantageous to allow me to get more things done.

Monday, November 22, 2010

First Snow of the Season

Interesting weekend.  Craft bazaars, pumpkin bread, game night, the most incredible picture of Miss J that I'm putting on the family photo card, SNOW, doing 4 hours of much needed yardwork in the backyard (before the snow started), more snow...

I can't wait for Turkey Day!  AND Black Friday!  Oh how I love Black Friday.  I'm not a marathoner on Black Friday.  I'm a targeted hunter and gatherer with my mind on my money and money on my mind on Black Friday.  Up at 4am, usually home by 8am to eat Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast.  Yummmmm...

I must confess that I bought Julia another Christmas gift at the craft bazaar, and I plan to get her something else on Black Friday.  Up to 19 gifts from us to her.  Ugh, it seems like the earlier I start, the more gifts she gets!!!!!!  Again, they weren't expensive.  I'll be up to $110 spent on her total when I had budgeted $100, but still...

I really wish I could be finding stuff for the other people on my list.   I did get a little shopping done at the craft bazaar, but the parents and niece/nephews aren't really ones to buy for there. 

My mom asked what Julia wants for Christmas, and I suggested the Leaptop, which she went out and got her that day.  Yay!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Oh so random

I do have a post that's almost done.  I'm just trying to work up the courage to post it.  In the meantime, here are some random thoughts and things I did today and this week:

1. Let's start out on a positive note.  I made someone's day today.  As in, I really made her feel proud of herself.  I like to do that.  When people impress me, I like to give them the accolades they deserve.  Considering that I complain 95% of the time, it's nice to see the effects of doing the opposite.

2. I got asked to do something this week.  And even though I was asked to do it for the wrong reasons, in my estimation, I suppose it's still a compliment.

3. I went scoping out some Black Friday deals.  Do you know that at some stores' customer service is completely horrible?  I bet you already know that.  But I don't hang out at retail establishments all that often, so this was news to me.

4. Going along with that, as much as I tease myself about being white trash, I don't think I am after tonight.  When you see someone who is a 10 on the 1-10 white trash scale, you start to feel that you might really only be a 3 instead of an 8.  But I will still tease myself about it.

5. I almost lost my Sonic virginity tonight.  I've lived all over the country, but for some reason I've never lived anywhere there is a Sonic.  Earlier this year a Sonic came to town; it's about 15 miles away.  Well, tonight I actually drove by it!  And I stopped!  I wanted to order their famous cherry limeaid (?) with the pebble ice, but at the last minute I decided not to.  Sonic virginity retained.  (whew, that was close)

6. But I did stop at Wendy's.  I haven't eaten there in about a year.  I really don't do fast food, but I was out late and hadn't eaten since 1pm, so yeah...

7. I watched "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" tonight.  Did you know that I love raunchy movies, particularly if they have Seth Rogen in them?  It definitely wasn't a movie for the faint of heart.  I don't think my husband could have tolerated it...or most people could.  I wonder if people judge me on my horrid movie taste.

8. I'm reading Thirteen Reasons Why for book club.  I read it a few months ago and LOVED it.  I suggested it for book club, and it got enough votes.  So I'm re-reading it.  :)  Love love love love it.

9. I thought I had camera envy.  See, when I had a point and shoot camera, my pictures were awful.  So I thought a DSLR would fix it.  Then I got my Nikon DSLR, but then I started liking photos taken with the Canon Rebel better.  But then I saw some pics that caught my eye and learned they were taken with a Nikon DSLR.  So now I know that it's never been my freaking camera that has been the problem; it's been ME with the problem.  The thing is, I have read two separate books on my camera as well as the owner's manual.  Someone (me) really needs some practice.

10. My aunt from California coming for a visit in a few weeks.  Of course it would be on the same day that my husband is taking his black belt test.  It's feast or famine around this place.

Night!  Got a date with my book.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How to tire me out

It's really quite simple.  To tire me out to the point of exhaustion, make me wrap 20 gifts in 2 hours.

I suck at wrapping gifts.  I suck at picking out gifts.  The whole gift giving process is just not my thing.  You know what else is not my thing?  U-scan checkouts.  Yep, I can take 45 minutes at one of those dang things.  Between finding the bar code on each item, processing coupons, bagging, fighting with the machine...seriously, it's tons quicker if I just go to a checker.  I always respect checkers - they've got skillz, and I've got nada.

Back to gift giving.  I *think* I'm done Christmas shopping for Julia and my husband.  There's the possibility of a stocking stuffer or two still, but for the most part I'm done done done done.  So why not finalize it by wrapping all the gifts?  I have a compulsion to complete things, so wrapping is what I did tonight.  Everything I wrapped looks mangled but oh well.  I put sticky bows on every gift because I don't want to deal with ribbon and curling it.  Yep, I'm not skilled AND lazy, awesome combination.   Julia's 2 years old and probably not all that judgmental yet.  My husband already knows I can't wrap.  They should be an easy audience, at least as far as wrapping goes.

My husband and I decided not to exchange much in the way of gifts this year.  That's cool, because I never know what to get him.  He buys what he wants throughout the year, and what would probably impress him is something like a new laptop or a big ass TV for the bedroom.  Since we don't want to buy big ticket items just to buy big ticket items, we're just not doing much for each other.  I got him 1.5 gifts.  The .5 is particularly lame.  The 1 gift I think he'll like, and it was well within the dollar limit we set.  And a couple stocking stuffers, and he's done.

Now I did end up getting Julia a LOT of things (17 wrapped things), but nothing cost much.  Her most expensive gift is the bicycle helmet, which I had neglected to get her when I got her a tricycle for her birthday...ummm, five months ago.  Oops.  Yeah, a bicycle helmet as a Christmas gift.  See, I told you I suck at gift giving. 

Like I said, I got her a lot of stuff despite not spending much.  Still, I worry about setting an expectation on her part about quantity of gifts.  This is her first real Christmas.  Last year was lame because we were moving during Christmas.  She got some gifts, but it was really toned down just because I didn't have the time or really inclination to do much.  There was no Christmas tree, no decorating, no cookie making, nada.  And she was still really young.

S and I talked, and we're not going to focus on the Santa part of Christmas.  I just want to avoid it as much as possible, although I know if we skate by it this year, we'll have to deal with it next year.

So here is what she will get:

bicycle helmet with lady bugs and flowers
Thomas the Tank Engine toothbrush
Mickey Mouse coloring book
Minnie Mouse puzzle
Winnie the Pooh puzzle
sticker book
flashcard puzzle with numbers
flashcard puzzle with letters
lunchbox for school
2 pairs of pajamas
Don't Break the Ice (game)
Hi Ho Cherri-O (game)
several cans of Playdoh (she LOVES playdough, and we couldn't find our playdough after we moved)
Playdough food kit

Is that it?  I think it might be.  Although I could be forgetting something. See, not much in expense (probably about $100 total) but a lot of things to unwrap. 

S's parents asked us to get her something from them since they will get here on a plane on Christmas Day.  So I got her a fake food set & a cash register from them.  If my side of the family asks for any ideas, I will suggest a Leaptop.  It has gotten rave reviews.  Combined with what we are getting her, that all seems plenty, and I think she will like most of the gifts.  I've seen most of the Black Friday ads, and no other toys really struck me as being ones that she'd enjoy.  I am actually glad that I won't be standing at Toys R Us at 4am this Black Friday.  Because as I learned the previous 3 Black Fridays, Toys R Us's lines suck almost as much as my U-scanning abilities.

Now I just have to figure out stuff for everyone else.   That's the really difficult part.  What do you get the family you see once a year or less?  I usually just send money because I'm lazy and suck at gift giving. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pimp my Basement

I always enjoyed watching the TV show Cribs.  Voyeurism + blatant materialism + looking into people's fridges.  Loved it.  I didn't care who was featured.  It could be a basketball player, a country music star, a rap mogul...I loved them all.  With maybe the minor exception of the D list "star" who had the 2 bedroom condo.  I mean, their condo was just like any other 2 bedroom condo.  If I wanted to see a 2 bedroom condo, I'd watch House Hunters instead.

Of all of the houses featured on Cribs, I tended to like the basketball players' houses the most.  They had some awesome rec rooms.  Big ass TVs with video games, cushy theater seats, pool tables, ARCADES, full-service bars!   It was the perfect set-up.  I could live in that rec room.

We got a basement rec room with the house we bought.  It has about a 100 sq ft mini kitchen, which is frankly bigger than a lot of people's normal kitchens.  Then it has about 800-900 square feet of open rec room space.  There's also 2 big bedrooms, a big bathroom (about 100 sq ft), and a big storage closet down there.  The property assessor says the basement is 1,650 square feet.  The real estate appraiser says it's 1,800 square feet.   

Of course we know what to do with the mini kitchen, the 2 bedrooms & the bathroom.  But what do we do with the 800-900 square feet of open space?  It's L-shaped. The little part of the L is functionally next to the kitchen, so it's kind of a dining area.  We have our old dining set there now.  But that still leaves a whole lot of space that's not accounted for.

Needless to say, I want to pimp my basement.  Big LCD TV hung on the wall, sectional couch, a couple arcade games (ya know, the 80s stand-up type), pool table, ping pong, air hockey/foosball, change the carpet, maybe paint one or two walls kind of funky (I'm thinking of a burnt orange).  In my head, I'm really envisioning it all and the associated price tags.  I could probably do it all for $13,000, which is nothing when you compare it to the basketball players' rec rooms.  However, for our meager budget, it's a little (or a lot) over the top.  Even if we did have $13,000 laying around, it's probably preferable that we put that toward a new roof.  Because, after all, you can have a pimped out rec room, but if it's waterlogged from the leaky roof, you just lost that rec room.  Once the roof is done (estimated to be $30k), then we need to work on the master bathroom ($10k), the floor in Julia's bathroom ($1k), the upstairs and stairs carpet ($6k), refinishing the hardwood ($4k), getting a new built-in entertainment center for the family room ($8k), doing something with the deck ($3k), and blah blah blah.  So after ALL of that is done, then we can start planning the rec room.  Given the cost estimates of all that, we will probably get to the rec room in the year 2054.  By then we'll be in Craftmatics and blind.

Anyway, one thought is to do a little of it each year.  I'm thinking of a game table/billiards table as an initial purchase.  Husband is on board; he's a guy after all, and it doesn't take a whole of sweet talking to get him to agree to a pool table.  See, this is why he probably appreciates me as a wife.  I'm kinda cool like that.  Most girls would want to buy purses, shoes, jewelry.  I'm like, "Can we get a pool table?  And a Pacman stand-up arcade game?"  Then he can talk me down by saying that we already have Pacman (...on a video game console), but he is cool with a pool table. 

You should have seen me in 2007 when I was bugging him about getting him a Wii.  We got a Wii, and the picture quality just wasn't good enough...so I said, "Let's get a big ass TV." 

Mission: a pool/billiards/game table as the first purchase for Operation Pimp My Basement.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's all about spin

I've been in a funk lately.  I know the signs by now, and I'm just hoping to sail out of it soon enough.  I wanted to do a post about my holiday un-cheeriness, but alas, I've done that post for the past few years now. Instead let my gift to you this holiday season be less griping about how much I dislike the holidays.  

Let me instead spin it by saying what I want to do this holiday season:

1 - Decorate the tree with Julia
2 - Pipe Christmas music through the intercom system, starting the day after Thanksgiving
3 - Make turkey soup from turkey carcass (usually I'm too lazy to actually do this)
4 - Do targeted Black Friday shopping - i.e., we really need an external hard drive, so possibly go out for that and a few other things.  But not go wild and crazy with shopping.  Get my drift?
5 - Make at least 5 different types of holiday cookies - perhaps have some gals over to do a baking event
6 - Make a lasagna and at least one other "big" dish during December
7 - Drive Julia around to see the Christmas lights

(Okay, so 3/7 of the items relate to food...)

8 - Lose those 4.3 pounds so I can change my profile picture.  (This may be at odds with the soup, cookies & lasagna from up above.)
9 - Try not to kill relatives
10 - Repress the urge to do holiday cards.  Or because I have such a high guilt complex, I will probably only send to those who we receive cards from.
11 - Do holiday pictures (family or just Julia).  And use my fancy dancy camera so I don't have to pay anyone to do it.  Cuz I'm cheap like that.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thank you Miss J

I know I give Miss J a bad rap most of the time.  Her first year really, really sucked for everyone involved.  She screamed all the time.  In the odd moment that she wasn't screaming, she looked like she would erupt in a pissed off tantrum at any second.  I still haven't recovered from that year completely.  When I see babies now, I'm afraid if I look at them wrong, they'll erupt in pissed off shrieking.

But overall, she's a pretty good kid now.  In stores she's pretty darn good.  There are those kids that run off, and there are the ones that have major tantrums, and there are the ones that take stuff off shelves.  She doesn't really do that stuff.  She won't sit in carts, but she'll hold your hand and walk along with you.  She doesn't run away; we haven't even contemplated getting her a kid leash.

Since we've moved, we've never childproofed the new house.  It just wasn't needed.  No toilet locks, no cabinet locks, we leave breakable stuff out in reach and she knows not to mess with it.  Of course little accidents happen, like she bumps her head on things (because she got my lack of grace).  Our white couch is still white, no major spills, she's never broken anything of ours.  She's broken some of her toys, but nothing that is technically ours.  We've broken our own stuff more than she ever has.

So tonight we had the 2 couples over with their 3 kids.  One couple has one kid, and the other couple has two kids.  First of all, it went pretty well.  It's hectic, as expected, when you have to take care of getting dinner for 4 kids.  They are natural conversation pieces, though, plus all of the kids go to the same daycare.  Then there's the parenting class we attended.  Then there's simply learning about what each other does as a profession.  So really there's no lull in the conversation, especially when you're taking care of the kids on top of all that.

I do appreciate Julia so much after it.  She is rather reticent to mingle with the other kids, so she mostly stays close to us.  I wish she would be more outgoing, but I understand her shyness.  I really do.  We knew the boy was pretty wild.  And he didn't disappoint.  Running cars all over, reaching for things on shelves, breaking a glass.  Ugh, yes, shattering glass everywhere.  Luckily no one was hurt, but he knocked a glass off the table breaking it and splattering soda everywhere.  It was a pain to clean up, and I swear you are never completely sure you picked up all the glass.  The girl was bossy.  Smart, but bossy.  Julia sat on our lap most of the time, taking turns looking at the destructive boy and the bossy girl. 

So thank you, Julia, for not being destructive and not being bossy (at least so far).

It was a nice evening.  As I predicted, the lady that was my age is very, very girly.  She watches the Real Housewives, as we learned from out TV trivia game.  I know the 90s teen dramas (a la Dawson's Creek).  The older couple husband has the cop shows from the 60s and 70s.    

Can't wait to do another fun night like that again, maybe next time sans kids!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Exes and Commonalities

Setting this post to during the day, just to keep people on their toes...

My darling husband has a group of friends from college that he keeps in contact with.  When we first started going out, back in the dark ages, it felt like they had SO much history.  And it took a while for me to understand their whole social group dynamic.  Because, as social groups go, there was lots of "he hooked up with her but he's now married to her," and she hooked up with him but she doesn't want the rest of us to know, and there is a perpetual joke about pastel M&M's being the only refreshment at a wedding they were all attendants in.   He's not that much older than me, but there were at least 2 separate failed marriages within the group by the time I was introduced, and that was 1997-98.

And my husband partook in all these adventures as well; he dated two of these ladies in that social group before me.  So it's not like he's innocent in all this.  He will admit, as will I, that his personal way to a relationship is usually friends first. So why not first look to the group of people you already hang around with as potential relationship partners?

His first girlfriend is lovely.  And soooooo not like me, and both one reader and my husband can attest to this.  I would love to have more of her qualities because she's very bohemian and such a free spirit and just rolls with things.  Those qualities are awesome.  I can see why my husband appreciates those aspects of her, but on the other hand he got a tad frustrated with her struggle to get everyday things done in a timely fashion.  As a friend, though, she's awesome.  It helps greatly that in a friendship (versus a relationship) you don't have to worry if the bills have been paid or if the dishes have been washed this month.  She and he still have a friendship, and they keep in touch frequently, and they both share a passion for writing and reading science fiction and fantasy and art.  Again, I adore her.   

His second girlfriend isn't as redeeming.  Isn't that a nice way to put it?  I really never knew her personally, only through stories from S and first girlfriend and S's mother, so I can't say a whole lot there.  They did date for 2 years though.  Outside of a very small exchange* with her, I really only saw her one time.  That would be at first girlfriend's baby shower.  See, I told you I like his first girlfriend.  I'm there at her baby shower, and this girl is sitting at the table I'm at with Other Friend I know through S.  I'm talking with Other Friend, catching up, and in the back of my mind I'm thinking that the person I'm sitting next to looks awfully familiar.  Must be someone I saw at college.  Other Friend then starts asking about S, so I'm spouting off about what he's been up to.  After a few minutes, the person I recognize vaguely gets up to get some food.  I then take that opportunity to ask Other Friend who that was, and I find out it was second girlfriend.  Oh freaking great, if she didn't already know who I was before she sat down, she certainly knew who I was now.  And I just (unintentionally) shoved that in her face.  Dang, Other Friend, why did you have to ask in front of her?  It could have been that Other Friend didn't like her and was doing it intentionally, or Other Person could just be clueless. Second girlfriend kept looking at me the rest of the time, but she never said anything to me.

And I still keep in contact with an old boyfriend.  Just like me compared to S's exes, my old boyfriend that I keep in contact with is extremely different from S.  He's a wonderful friend, he's the sort of friend that you KNOW will be there 30 years down the road and will drop anything for you across time and place.  He's a hard guy to get know on the surface, but once you've gotten past that, you're golden forever.  But just like S's first girlfriend, being in a relationship with him is completely horrendous as the day-to-day part goes.  I still love him, but don't ever make me live with him.  Not that he's messy, he's just really, really, really, really quirky. 

What's kind of humorous about both of these is that I know someone who is a sort-of member of S's group from college AND who is friends with my ex-boyfriend.  I'm not really friends with her because I cannot follow a darn thing she says (they're English words she speaks, but how they are put together puzzles me).  But I run across her all the time because she's a relatively active member in both social circles.  This whole post was prompted because she posted after me on something, and I was reminded of her being that common link in all of our post-relationship friendship oddities.

*  Me:  "Is S there?"
Her: "Who is this?"
Me: Say my name
Her:  "Oh, it's .... YOU."**

**  Not that I really blame her for that response given the end result***.

*** Is it my fault that he talked about me with her?   And I was calling him about a work shift switch when I did call, it's not like I was just calling him to chat while he was dating her.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I wrote about that...in college

There's been someone I've known for quite a while, but we haven't really spent a lot of time together.  She's one of those people I know at a distance, and it's okay.  While I think she's a good person for the most part, there are a few hesitations I have about getting to know her more.  Within the past 6 months or so, she's been really forward about us doing more stuff together. 

And she IS interesting, smart, and several other good qualities.  Again, there's some vague hesitation on my part to move to that next friendship level, whatever that level may be.  I can't describe my hesitation well, but I trust that it's there for a reason.  Even with that hesitation, she and I have quite a few engaging conversations.  A number of times I've wanted to say, "If you read my blog..." or "I wrote about that a few months ago in my blog." We do have compatible ideas and views, and we do talk about some interesting concepts (at least to me).

One time recently with her I did say, "I wrote about that..."  fumble, fumble "ummm...in college."  And she looked at me like I was all kinds of weird, which I was because I just about spit out the truth and had to backpedal mid-sentence.  I know that if I let it slip once, she will not stop hounding me until I let her see this blog.  And I don't want her to.  Why?  I dunno, but I just don't have a good feeling about it.  Some vague, indescribable, not good feeling.  In every other respect, I do think she's a good friend.  She remembers random crap about me and tells me when I might like a certain book or a certain store or a certain website.  She makes an effort.  A large part of me won't allow myself to take that leap into a deeper friendship with her. 

Maybe there can be some compromise.  Like I'll go out with her the next time she asks, but I follow my gut reaction to never disclose the existence of this.  Something like that.  I don't want to miss out on the opportunity, but at the same time I've got to trust my gut, which has rarely failed me over the years.

Acceptable substitutes?

Still feeling crappy.  Still haven't gone to the doctor.  It's my own damn fault.  I don't want to wait for an appointment, go through the stupid quiz the nurses give you, pay the copay, deal with the pharmacy for an hour, etc.  I already did all that with Julia on Monday night, and I just don't wanna do it all again.  I'm stupid and irrational, and I don't care (too much) that I'm probably making it worse. 

So here is the Quietly Subversive's list of acceptable substitutes for going to the doctor and getting a real Augmentin prescription:

- Pilfering her daughter's liquid amoxicillin (it kinda tastes like Pepto)
- Taking a hideous amount of Tylenol to get through the day
- Ransacking drawers for last remnants of old antibiotics prescriptions (I scored 2 pills this way)
- Emergen-C every so often
- Huge quantities of vitamin D every so often
- Zyrtec every so often
- Snorts of Afrin every so often
- Asking my husband to rub my sinuses

What I really need is an on-call doctor to give me Augmentin whenever I need it, which is about 4 times per year.  My allergies get out of control and give me a sinus infection once or twice a summer.  I get a fall/early winter respiratory "thing" that becomes a sinus infection, and then I get an early spring "thing."   It's not like it's Vicodin or Percocet.  I just wanna score some antibiotics.  But I'm too lazy to go do it, and I rely on a vast array of questionable methods to substitute.

And those dang doctors won't ever give me refills for my drug of choice.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not quite right

This Saturday the two couples from the parenting class will be coming over for dinner and games.  I'm trying not to stress.  I'm trying not to go into it with preconceived notions either.  Hopefully, it will all go well.


In other contemplations, have you ever thought someone was going through something and things just weren't quite right?  I have this eerie sixth sense about this things, and it seems like I always know that SOMEthing is up with someone based on extremely subtle things, but I always waffle around trying to figure out whether I should say something or just let the person come to me when they want to or feel comfortable.

In one extreme case, I had figured something out in March and waited (very impatiently) until August when the person finally told me.  (Oh yes, that would be YOU, madam baker.)  That was arduous.  But it was the right decision at the time. 

There are those people in the world who I feel I can be a little more assertive with.  It's not necessarily that I have a better relationship with them than I do with other people; it's just that we have a different sort of relationship.  I can be more, "I'm seeing these things, and these make me think ________.  Care to share anything?"  That approach tends to work better with some than others.  But you have to have a pre-existing relationship.

Then there are those people that I get the eerie "something is not quite right" feeling from, but I don't really have much of a pre-existing relationship with them & it feels really, really awkward to approach them seemingly out of the blue to help them or even just being their sounding board.  If I know they would appreciate it, I should probably attempt anyway.  I definitely have to get better about taking that leap and putting myself out there.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Seriously this week is insane

There's nothing like getting 100 feet from the work entrance and coming upon an accident that has closed both lanes.  It was a wicked accident - one that makes you think: how in the WORLD did that happen because it wasn't even in the middle of an intersection and one lane going in each direction.  Anyway, both lanes closed.  The tow truck hadn't even gotten there yet.  Now in any other city, you could turn around and then backpedal a street or two and go around.  Well, not in this place.  There's a lake on one side, and there's the corporate Weyerhaeuser campus (you know, the paper people) on the other side.  And a freeway is beyond the campus.  "Going around" means adding another 7 miles to my trip.  Lovely.  I should have just left my car there and walked the 100 feet, but I was afraid my car would end up getting towed. 

Seriously, I do not need all this Cialis and Viagra spam.  Even if I did need Cialis and Viagra, I wouldn't buy it off some Russian lady over the internet.  I'd, like, get a prescription even if it might be a potentially embarrassing doctor appointment or just deal with the ramifications of the disorder.  Alas, I'm a girl, and I don't even want to imagine what would happen if I took the stuff...

$143 for 7 milliliters?  7 milliliters is about 1/4 of an ounce.  I don't even think cocaine or heroin costs $143 for 1/4 ounce.   What cost this much?  Ear antibiotics.  Seriously????

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Family history and trying not to repeat it

Three serious posts in a row???  How can that be?  Again, I'm trying to make a more concerted effort here to be more honest.  We'll see how this goes.
My dad's side of the family was extremely evasive about ... ummm.... everything.  My dad's mother told me her name was Esmerelda whenever I asked her what it was (it was really Anna), and she always said she was 104 years old when I asked her age (she was in her late 60s/early 70s around this time).  This was before the Alzheimer's kicked in, so it's not like she honestly thought she was 104 with the name of Esmerelda.  My grandfather was the king of changing the subject and curmudgeonly; he always complained about everything (hmmm...who does that remind you of?).  I never had a serious conversation with my dad because I knew I'd never get anywhere since he was a compulsive liar.  Really, he would even lie about where he was when he was gone for a few hours, so I knew I was out of luck if I asked him about his past. So most of the factual information I have about my dad's side of the family is from my uncle, who was the most lucid of the bunch.  However, he doesn't have much info because he was kind of the black sheep of the family and had the same people as parents and a brother who lied to me as my grandparents and my father.   :/

Then there's my mom.  My mom has 1,573 subjects that Thou Must Never Talk About.  Talking about how perfect she is will always be allowed, but anything that alludes to any possible mistake she ever made in her life Must Never Be Talked About.  Despite multiple attempts, I know very, very little about her life.  I do know that her mother died when my mom was in her early 20s, and that royally screwed her up affected her. Her mother wasn't a very nice person in general, according to my mom's sister.  On her deathbed my mother's mother was very cruel to her (again, I learned that from my aunt), and I don't think she has ever let any of that go.  I don't know much of my mother's dating life either.  She has said she didn't date in high school.  She mentioned a guy in college.  I asked about him and what happened with them, and I was told it was too complicated.  Because, yes, relationships between 18-20 year olds are incredibly complicated, and they are a lot like the Reagan/Gorbachev government relations negotiations.  Get real, she just doesn't want to talk about it!  I've run into all sorts of roadblocks with her.  And you can't even bring up my dad's name without starting an argument.  Again, I don't know much; what I know I got from my aunt (mom's sister) and a little bit about my mom and dad's relationship from my uncle (dad's brother). 

I find it weird that I know almost nothing about my genetic family, but I know a huge amount about my husband's family.  Scratch that, I know even more about my friends' families than I know about my own family.  Sometimes I think I learn more about strangers' families than I know about my own.  It truly is pathetic.  Maybe that's why I'm so interested in everyone else's lives - to make up some void in my own life. 

One of my resolutions to myself is to share as much about my life with Julia as possible (of course within age-appropriate parameters).  I want her to know me.  I want her to know how I got to where I am, the problems I encountered, the mistakes I made, my unique path.  Sure, I made some huge mistakes along the way and lots of smaller ones.  A couple of mega awful ones.  I can look back and acknowledge the bad, but in the bad there are small kernels of good as well.  Maybe my intentions weren't the most honorable in certain situations, maybe my actions weren't the most honorable in certain situations, but I learned.  As awful as things felt at the time, what I can be most proud of is that I didn't keep repeating the same mistakes over and over.  Yeah, I screwed up (and still screw up) ALL THE TIME.  But each time I screw up in a slightly different way, so I suppose in a weird way that might be progress.  Or a horrendous amount of epic fails in every area of my life. :P  I'm trying to look at it as lots of life experiences though.  See, whenever anyone tells me that I'm a pessimist, I can show them this post as a one-time glimmer of optimism.  :)

I want to convey in my blog when taken in aggregate (not necessarily every single post) that I struggle with things: self-image, anxiety, remorse and forgiveness, societal pressures, family crap, the kind of parent I want to be, the kind of person I want to be.  I don't want those topics to unnecessarily weigh down the mood of this blog, but I do think I need to address them and continually work on them and/or keep them in the forefront of my mind.  On my other blog, I did go into things deeper for the few years I was there, but I doubt I will be able to do that as much here.  Just know that I am trying, and this (blog / life) is a learning process.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

And one time, at church camp

Okay, I'm going to do another serious post.  And I'm not proceeding with caution, so if I offend anyone, I'm sorry in advance. 

I was raised Catholic.  I went to two years of private Catholic school.  When my mom decided to put me in public school, she put me in CCD, which for non-Catholics is a religious education class one night a week.  We attended Catholic mass every Saturday at 5pm and every holy day of obligation until I moved out of the house.  I was confirmed as a Catholic when I was 16, and I was married in the Catholic church.  The only way I could have been more immersed into Catholicism is if my mother had enrolled me in private Catholic school for the whole 12 years, instead of just 2 of those years.

Yet I have a confession.  I know nearly nothing about Catholicism.  Yes, I can tell you the sequence of a Catholic mass, when to sit and stand and kneel.  But if you were to ask what the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism is, I'd shrug my shoulders.  It might have something to do with the Holy Ghost...maybe.  But it's not like I could tell you what the Holy Ghost is.  My Biblical knowledge is nil.  I've never read it.  I know colloquialisms that came from the Bible...Moses and parting of the sea, Jonah and the whale, Noah and the ark, David and Goliath, but I have no real grasp of these stories other than the very basic surface concepts. 

It's really an abomination.  There were attempts at giving me a religious education, but I purposefully tuned it all out.  During mass I never paid much attention, as I was forced to be there.  Same thing for CCD. 

Confirmation was a slightly different story.  The vast majority of us who signed up for confirmation class when we were in our teens were forced to be there by our parents.  There were a few that were gung ho about it.  The rest of us just slumped there and whispered during every weekly session.  Then we heard that the confirmation class was going away for the weekend.  What do I (and probably most of the other kids there) think?  First thought: we're going away with the boys for a whole weekend with limited adult supervision!  Sign me up.  From the adult chaperone perspective, all of us kids were a complete mess that weekend.  We teens were treating it like a weekend long party.  "Lights out" at 9pm meant let's pull out all the stuff we probably shouldn't have brought to church camp, and let's go mingle with the guys.  Of course I was found in the guys' cabin at 1am along with a few other girls.  The next day the youth minister gave us all a huge speech about how we need to be confirmed to be closer with God and if we don't want that commitment, perhaps we shouldn't choose to get confirmed now.  I completely agreed with the youth minister.  I didn't feel that I was ready to be confirmed to a religion that I didn't have much knowledge of or was invested in.  But if I didn't go through with this confirmation thing, my mom would kill me.  Other people were in that same position, which kind of sucked, because free will was not involved even though we were old enough to have free will. 

So I got confirmed because there was no other legitimate choice.  Anytime church confirmation comes up in conversation with anyone, I immediately think back to that party weekend that was supposed to be anything but.  Confirmation was a sacrament, and one that I didn't take seriously.  In my defense, I didn't have a choice whether or not to go through with it.

My husband is Catholic.  If you put him on a scale of Catholic-ness, he's probably a 6 or 7, and I'm probably a 1 or 2.  I was honest when we got together and said I was "raised Catholic."  He knew my views contradicted the church in many respects.  Hey, I was upfront with him.  I'm not going to pretend I'm something I'm not.  His previous girlfriend thought the Catholic religion was Satanic, so at least I was ahead of her.  What's interesting is that he's not confirmed because of living overseas.  His mother is very passionate about him getting confirmed.  Of course I have to laugh at the confirmation thing because I just went through the motions with confirmation, and completely half-hearted at that. 

When we took the baptism class for Julia (husband insisted that she be baptized Catholic), there were about 12 of us in that room taking the class.  Of all of those people, guess who had the most official sacraments?  ME!  Yes, me.  12 Catholic people, and I was the most "official" of all of them, even having more sacraments than my husband. 

What was I thinking when I realized I of all people had the most sacraments in that room?  "This is completely effed up.  I know almost nothing about Catholicism, and if you get all technical, I have the most likelihood of all these people to get into heaven?  This does not make any sense."  I stand by that.  It's completely ridiculous. 

And here I sit, working my way through the Dewey project and the religion section (200s, if you're keeping track of the Dewey decimal system).  This is a perfect opportunity for me to actually read about Catholicism.  Maybe I'll understand it if I actually read a book about it.  Hmmm, but then I think most books about it will already assume you have a basic knowledge of it (which I don't).  Maybe there's a Cliff Notes version for those people who have all of their sacraments thus far but have no freaking idea what they signed up for.  Ya think? 

Julia's daycare is Quaker, which I didn't find out about until a year ago.  "Friends" churches are Quaker, just in case you didn't know either.  At first I was really hesitant, but I've warmed up to the concept in the past year.  They are rather evangelical, lots of Bible quotes and "God will provide"-isms.  But I've found that they are very good people and not quite as ...ummm...fervent as some other Christian religions. 

I wish I was more passionate about religion and had more indication of its place in the grand scheme of life.  Please, don't try to recruit me into any religion.  It's something I have to figure out for myself, but I have almost no desire to figure it out.  Not particularly caring about religion is what I'm most disappointed in. I wish I did have that desire to find a religion that I do connect with.  

Friday, November 5, 2010

And now...a serious post

I don't like doing serious posts.  For someone who is serious 99.9% of the time in real life, I find it fun to write silly posts about my celebrity crushes, my numerous failed attempts to lose weight, those crazy curveballs that life throws you, and complaining about the idiocy of the world.  It's my little haven of being silly within the construct where you, the reader, fundamentally know who I am the other 99.9% of the time.  Do I know who I am?  Sometimes I think a blog reader here knows me better than I know myself some days.  Or maybe I like to keep myself hidden behind all of my silly entries, I dunno.

Along with consolidating my journals and blogs into one, I also told myself that I need to focus on more *real* entries...you know, that personal improvement crap mantra.   So this post will be one attempt at that, and for what it's worth I've spent an hour writing up to here.  Yep, I do the silly stuff a lot letter better than I do the serious stuff.

Julia's daycare was doing a parenting class for the past 8 Thursdays, which we signed up for.  I have been hearing about this parenting method for quite a while now, and I was intrigued.  Julia's teachers use it, I've seen them use it, and I've seen it work.  That was one reason I signed up.  Another reason was that the class was really affordable and included babysitting, so it was kind of 8 date nights (with other people, but hey you can't be picky when you have a toddler).  Another reason was that I have been itching to meet other parents and form friendships.  It seems like a lot of people that we knew in college or in our early working years have moved far, far away.  Those that haven't moved away are single or with someone but not married.  When you've been married for over 10 years and have a child, you are in a totally different place than someone who has been dating their partner for 6 months or less.  When we didn't have kids, we could overcome that difference.  But now the chasm is even bigger with us having a child.

S's brother and sister-in-law are only an hour away, but - ummmm - we have completely different values than they do.  Enough said on that.

I tried a few mom's groups when I was on maternity leave hoping to meet other couples with kids.  Julia was a colicky newborn, and my attention wasn't quite there to devote to forming friendships as much as I would have liked.  With the church group, I did meet some great people, but outside of 1 couple, we don't really interact much within the group (our own fault).  With the other community group, I got the vibe that everyone else felt their baby was a freaking genius -- you know the people who would gloat about how 'advanced' their baby was to all the other mothers.  A baby is a baby is a baby.  There's only so much I can take of the gloating and competitiveness before I snap.  Sorry, I hated that act when these people were in junior high and gloating about their new clothes & privileged lives.  And now they have children to carry on their aggravating personalities...sigh.  So let's just say I didn't meet anyone in that group.

What was great in this parenting class for the past eight weeks is that we met a few couples who live nearby and that we seem fairly compatible with and have kids the same age.  Score!  One couple seems about 5-10 years older than us, and the other couple seems a few years younger than us or our same age.  Score!  And BOTH couples have approached us about wanting to get together now that the parenting class is over.  Score!

In some ways, it feels like dating another couple, if that makes any sense.  What do we do for our first date?  Do we invite them here for dinner and a playdate?  Do we go out with just the adults and get a babysitter?  Should we ask to set a date now, or should we wait awhile (like after the holidays)?  Should we invite both couples or just one couple?  I was thinking a casual game night and pizza with both couples and all the kids might work well.  Or is that completely lame?

Sometimes I think I'm always going to be that wallflower who is too nervous to ever attempt anything for fear of rejection.  Dating was so much easier than this couple group stuff.  With dating, I could always tell a guy's interest level very accurately.  Now this couple friendship thing...it seems like a whole different ballgame trying to ensure your chemistry as a couple works with another couple well enough to carry on a friendship.  There's more people involved, more outside obligations, and (I feel) it's harder to know where you stand - either individually or as a couple.  Then, on top of all that, S and I tend to have a very different marriage than most.  We're not a stereotypical marriage, so not only are we quirky individually, we're even more quirky when put together. 

Ugh!!!  I suppose I need to stop analyzing it and just need to make an invitation, hoping to not get rejected by both couples.  (I hate rejection!)  If I got rejected, I'd go hide in the corner and cry.

It's Friday (morning)!

A quick post at 5am.  Yes, and I've been up for many hours.  Ugh!  I've felt like crap all week.  And last week.  But at least last week I could sleep.  This week I've felt like crap and have been a complete insomniac.  I think I've slept about 12 hours total since Monday.  Thursday night (meaning last night) I doped myself up on Tylenol, which put me out by 8:30pm.  Let's not talk about the time I woke up this morning (at least it was technically Friday).  I'm thankful that it's Friday, for the mere fact that I might be able to catch up on sleep. 

The next work week is gonna suck.  Lots of meetings, including 1 in the evening, oh how I dislike weeks that are literally FULL of meetings.  If they went anywhere, I could at least say they were productive.  But usually they have the opposite effect.  And work stacks up while you're in them.  Thankfully I'm not sentenced to full weeks of meetings usually.  I guess the one bright spot is that Thursday is Veteran's Day, which I have off.  Daycare's closed, so I have Julia.  S does have to work though, so it's not going to be a family day.  The plan is for us girls to hang out in our jammies all day and take lots of naps.  Or maybe she can watch TV while I sleep.  Yeah, I don't think she's going to go for that.  I can always hope!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Defending Her Honour

I have this friend.  She and I hung out a lot in 2006-07.  She’s kind of intimidating, as far as girls go.  She’s probably intimidating as far as most guys go too.  I like her because she’s quite a bit different from me on the surface and really interesting.  She curses up a storm (I don’t, at least not out loud), she drinks heavily (I don’t), she chain smokes (I don’t), she spits in public (I think that’s kinda tacky, especially when women do it.  I think it’s kind of gross when guys do it too, but I’m a bit more apt to give them a pass on it. Yeah, judge me), she is really into guns (I’m not).  She’s really into sci fi and fantasy too (I’m not).  We do share similar views on politics, religion, and ethics.  On most other topics, though, we’re very different.  And we have very, very different taste in men.  This is actually good, even when one of us is already married.  When we went out, she tended to want to go to bars (remember that drinking habit), so I spent several nights out at bars with her.  We never thought the same guy was attractive.  Not that I was looking since I was married, but despite wearing a wedding ring, guys will attempt to pick you up in a bar.  It’s one of those givens in life.  I tended to get approached by the clean cut type; she got approached by the ones that, well, had 100 tattoos or were too high on my personal skeevy scale. 

Again, my friend is a little more than rough around the edges.  There must be a type of guy who likes a girl who spits, drinks in excess, plays World of Warcraft, chain smokes, and cannot say one sentence without swearing.  I can’t see an average guy’s mom being too happy if he brought my friend home to meet them.  For instance, if my husband brought home someone like that, my parents-in-law would be horrified.  Absolutely horrified.  I’m a bit too much for them as it is – you know, how I don’t know my subservient place and all.  They have a hard time dealing with the facts that I don’t shop for shoes and clothes all the time, that I do the finances, that I’m not moving across the country so my husband can get a very small pay raise, that I don’t cook dinner for my husband every night, and that I don’t want to have twelve kids.  My friend would really, really put them over the edge. 

Even though I like her, I find her intimidating.  She's kind of crass.  There are those friends that you can tell the truth to in a completely honest way.  Then there are those friends who you kind of have to dance around the truth a bit.  Then there’s her, who I was afraid would kick my ass even if I danced around the truth.  Since I’ve never felt completely comfortable around her, I wouldn’t call her a great friend.  Now that I’m a mother, I don’t really foresee us spending a lot of time together because I’m not that jazzed about my child being around swearing and smoking.  And I’m really not interested in the bar scene anymore. 

So we’ve kind of distanced ourselves from each other; however, we’ve remained friends through Facebook.  I like to see what’s going on with her.  She’s at her same job, still working on her master’s degree, and she’s dating someone.  I think it’s been about a year and a half now that she’s been seeing him, and they moved in together about 6 months ago.  Even through FB, she’s still intimidating.  There’s a lot of angry undercurrent and plain anger from her.  Of all my FB friends, I find her the most intimidating and not really sure what to say/how to respond/what tone to take.  So I usually don’t say much when she posts anything.  I do like posting comments to what people say ordinarily and even trying to make them laugh, but with her I’m just not really sure where things will go and she'll tell me to go to hell.  So if I do say anything to her, it’s generic things like “Yep!  Me too,” and “That sucks.”  Just enough to not be thought of as a creepy lurker who never comments on her stuff, but nothing substantial enough to ever get my ass kicked.  :)  

So today she posted something about how she wished people would smile at her work.  I think nothing of it, la dee dah, then about an hour later she posts this rant about if people start conversations with other people on other people’s statuses, she’s not going to defend them.  Hmmm?  So then I go back to see what caused the controversy because, yes, I freaking love controversy.  Especially when I’m not involved. 

What had happened is that a guy responded to her status saying that if she took off her shirt, she’d probably see a lot more people smiling.  Then my friend’s boyfriend just laid into him, swearing and calling him all sorts of things in 2 separate responses.  Then the guy who initially commented said for the boyfriend to take it easy, he was sorry and just trying to be funny.  And then it got even weirder when the boyfriend didn't back off and continued on his rant saying he would beat him up for hurting his girlfriend’s feelings (which implies that she sent in her boyfriend to do the tough guy thing).  My friend didn’t say one thing during this whole FB conversation between the two guys except when she posted her next status about not defending other people who provoke conversations. 

I thought the whole thing was odd.  Maybe it’s a gender thing, but I might (depending on the mood I’m in) say that to someone in a joking way.  Of course, I’m a girl and might be able to get away with saying that to another girl just on the gender card.  It just doesn’t seem what the guy’s comment was that bad, from my perspective.  And I've seen this girl in action; she can put people in their place.  If someone said that to me in a comment, I would have laughed it off and made a sarcastic comment back like “You wish  :)”.  I dunno, maybe I don't get all hypersensitive.  I do tend to dish it out, but I think I can take it right back, at least most of the time.  And never would my husband bounce in and threaten to kick the guy’s ass.  Of course, there could be history with this situation and a lot more context there that I don’t have. 

But of all of my FB friends, she is the one person who I thought who would be the least likely to send in her boyfriend to do her dirty work.  If she was truly offended, why couldn’t she have just said “not funny”? Based on how the guy responded when the boyfriend pounced on him (the “I’m sorry, I was just joking” response), he probably would have immediately apologized and said it was his lame attempt at a joke.  Done, problem solved.  But noooooo….we’re up to 30 some comments on two different statuses, upset boyfriend defending her honour (I like the British spelling, so there!) while she huddles in a corner.   I dunno, I just find it odd that 1) she got sooooo offended by the comment based on what I know of her and 2) she chose to go that route.  Maybe she’s just the type who likes all that testosterone fighting over her.  Or, again, there might be some context that I don’t know about. 

Just thought the whole thing was odd and overblown.  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

4.3 to a new picture

One of my friends is challenging herself to lose 10 pounds, and she can't change her FB profile pic until she does.  She calls it the humiliation diet because she's not fond of the pic she has posted.  I kind of like that tactic (nothing else has worked for me thus far), so I'm stealing it and modifying it for my own situation. I said I won't change my profile pic until I lose 4.3 pounds.  I haven't changed my picture since July, so I'm itching to change it and this will give me some motivation.  4.3 pounds won't put me exactly where I want to be, but it will be close enough that I will be content, particularly because the holidays are approaching, and let's face it, I wanna have a few sugar cookies with frosting.

4.3 pounds.  Yes, I know HOW to do it.  Exercise regularly, eat less calories, blah blah blah.

If I had bulimia, I'd have a certain advantage.  But, alas, I don't.  I threw up once in 1994 and twice in 2009.  Three times in 20 years.  I think I'm good until the year 2020 at least.   Although I have to admit that there were plenty of times I wish I had bulimia, and two of those times may have occurred in the past few days as I was gorging on Halloween candy (sigh).

I ran in October, and I ended up gaining a few pounds.  Blah.

I did a cleanse, gosh, was it March or April.  I gained weight!  How can you gain weight on a cleanse?  I dunno, but I did.

I really like the Lose It app on my phone.  I need to track, track, track what I eat.  And not gorge on Halloween candy.  Even if there were 0 trick or treaters and Julia got a buttload of candy herself, that's no reason for me to raid her stash.

And exercise.  Need to exercise, which I actually do.  I need to focus on the exercises I like to do because it seems easier that way: pilates and strength training.  My uber exerciser friend Rachel says strength training is where you lose weight, which I know sounds counter intuitive.  But since my cardio running experiments always resulted in gaining weight, I'm actually going to listen to her advice this time. 

So 4.3 pounds to a new picture!  I'm hoping this doesn't take an eternity.  A month sounds reasonable, except for Thanksgiving.  Dang it, Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

James, no, Isaac, no, James

I wish I had more in me today.  Last week I got sick, and it's still hanging on.  Not ever really getting over the whooping cough 8 week horror  incident has weakened my immune system apparently.  Oh, yeah, and I'm sharing because I got one co-worker sick and my husband sick.  I get a gold star for sharing. 

Because I have a very, very bad feeling about this election, I'm sticking my head in the sand and forcing myself to think about other (happier) things. 

I'm a NaNoWriMo widow this month.  Yep, hubby has signed up for it.  And here I sit, with waterfalls of snot stuck in my sinuses all alone as he burns the midnight oil on his story.  (He's got waterfalls of snot too, so it's probably best that we're each doing our own thing anyway.)  I'm hoping I can kick this within a few days and make some major headway on my November goals.

A week ago I made a CD for the car.  I can plug my iPhone into the car stereo, but my commute isn't that long, and I tend to make frequent stops with daycare dropoff, library stops, grocery stores, etc.  Hooking it up/turning it on/fiddling with playlists each time takes too long. So it's just easier to make a CD with 18 or so songs and just set it to repeat.  When I was making this CD, I was obviously smoking crack at the time.  That's the only explanation for these songs that have no flow at all.  Kurt Cobain would definitely roll over in his grave knowing what else I put on the CD with him.  At least I don't call the CD a grunge mix, like what iTunes did to poor Kurt.  The CD I made has some range, as in Chicago - Pink - The Fray - Nirvana - Ice Cube - Bon Jovi - Positive K - White Town - Counting Crows - Nine Inch Nails - One Republic - 30 Seconds to Mars.  Let's just say there are some rough transitions.  I'm certainly not going to ever be a DJ.

I just love The Fray.  And Pink.  I know I've stated my Fray and Pink obsessions previously, but just to reiterate - I love both of these artists.  I would love if they did a combo concert, or heck, I'd love to go to either concert.  I'm going to have to move aside both Mr. Smiths (that would be Will and James...aka LL Cool J) to make room for Isaac Slade, the lead singer of The Fray.  Isaac isn't all that cute (have never really liked blonds), but you have to admit that he's talented as a musical artist.  And he has that wonderful body type to me - lean with just a little bit of muscle in the arms. 

I'm just realistic. Not every guy wants to spend 5 hours in a gym every day to look like this:

But I can admire all of that goodness, right?  (Although I do want to tell him to pull up his pants...or pull them down...just make a decision, dude.) I could listen to all his goodness all day long.  He has the best voice ever.  LL Cool J could tell me to jump off a cliff, and I'd sigh happily.  In fact, LL Cool J is my personal trainer when I run.  I imagine looking at him right in front of me as I listen to him say sweet nothings in my ear. Whatever works.  While I won't miss running, I will miss LL whispering how he wants to do me with vanilla ice cream... on repeat.  ;P 

How I've wished that my name was Lisa, Angela, Pamela or Renee.