Saturday, October 31, 2009

happy birthday to...

...Nevada! One hundred and forty five today!

Pic and I have been doing a small bit of learning about this thirty-sixth state, known as Battleborn. We've been reading S is for Silver: A Nevada Alphabet, which I love. I think we'll be trying to add this book to our library (once buying new books is in the budget). Actually, I'd like all the books in this series so far -- not all of the states have yet been covered, and I think I saw a Canada book also.

This book has a quatrain on each page, focusing on a letter of the alphabet and a Nevada-related noun. A = animal (bighorn sheep, our state animal). S = sagebrush (our state flower). V = Virginia City (home of the Comstock Lode). The illustrations are also nice. On the sides of the pages are a couple of paragraphs pertaining to each topic. For this year, Pic and I just focused on the pictures and the quatrains. When she's a bit more ready for it, we'll also read the side information. We did read about Virginia City today. When she's ready to move past that, we can do some more thorough research, using the information presented in the book.

I had big plans for Halloween/harvestime/Nevada Day this year, and most of them were cut back. I had planned out all of these pumpkin patches and harvest festivals we could visit, but we ended up only visiting one. It was great and perfect for Pic. I was thinking we might go trick-or-treating both yesterday and today, but we ended up only going today. I had been planning on us going to Carson for the parade today, but we didn't make it out. I'm okay with that.

Yesterday, we did manage to get in an impromptu trip to the above-mentioned Virginia City. We drove past the more modern parts of it to get downtown. We haven't been in a while, but I love to go. I love to read the historical markers, look at the buildings, walk on the boardwalk sidewalks and imagine what life might have been like when Virginia City was born in 1860. While I really try not to idealize the time (I'm sure that I can't even imagine the hardships of life then and there), I do like to think about the history, about what this part of Nevada was founded on.

So, now, I've rambled on and on. I'll share more on this night of the living dead later, except to say that pretty much as soon as we got home, Cardo pretty much passed out asleep in bed and Pic has also been asleep for quite a while now.


Before I go, of course, I have one more item of clutter needing to move out of my home. I bought this at Costco quite some time ago, and even wore it quite a few times, although it isn't at all my style.

We now have four bags in Cardo's trunk waiting to be dropped off at Goodwill tomorrow. I'll be starting a new bag and hunting out new treasures to add to the outflow.

Friday, October 30, 2009

exhaustion and decluttering

Pic has been taking daytime naps* lately, which means her nighttime sleep is wonky. Yesterday, she took a pretty late nap and then...she and I were up until almost three o'clock this morning. Suffice it to say that I didn't want to get out of bed for pictures (of Pic, not me) this morning and Cardo did not want to wake Pic up. However, we all finally dragged ourselves out of bed, grabbed everything we needed and got ourselves to the studio. I'm glad we got the pictures done, but I've been in a funk for the rest of the day. Everything has felt a little weird, I've been a bit dizzy with exhaustion.

I'm heading to bed in a moment, but first, I have to post my decluttering item. And, oh my, I have run out of things to give away. Feel free to come over to my apartment and disagree with me, but, really, I can't seem to find anything. So, today, I cheat. Or not. It's not like I really have rules for myself, other than get rid of one piece of clutter every day for thirty days. Today, I'm getting rid of an almost empty can of shaving gel that's moved to several new homes with us.

I stopped using shaving gel so long ago, that I can't even remember the last time I did use it. For a while, I was just wetting the areas to be shaved and going with that. Then, I saw this commercial basically counseling against the use of bar soap for shaving lather. The commercial was for some kind of shaving gel, but all I got from it was, 'Oh, I could be using my soap on my legs.' So, yeah. Go shaving gel're incredibly convincing (please note the ironic tone). Getting rid of this useless can is decluttering my life, works. Especially because I'm tired and I want to go lay in bed, read my book and fall asleep.

STOP THE PRESSES. (Or, hesitate in clicking on the 'publish post' button.)

I have found something donate-able. Not the paper plates, we'll be using those for crafts. The sign, however. Yeah, that. This came into our home after some redecorating at Cardo's work. It has since lived in our bathroom cupboard. We're apparently not so into the welcoming of others to our home, as everyone who knows me knows. So, yea, we can get rid of this and I can feel a bit better about having something for Goodwill. However, I will start referring to this project as decluttering and not donating. This frees me up to get rid of so much more (like that grey toothbrush from my first post on this).


*It is possible to take nighttime naps. 'Nighttime nap' is actually a pretty good descriptor for how I usually sleep.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

aha! (but only kind of)

I knew that we had Arthur's Nose by Marc Brown. I knew that, at some point, Arthur had a long, long nose. After all, he is an aardvark, no?

[Google Images]

So, where is his perfectly-fine nose? Apparently, I need the 25th anniversary edition which explains this? Possibly?

Anyhow, every time I think of/read Arthur books now, I think of this Bringing Up Ben & Birdy post. I never did find out if Catherine Newman received a response.

craft ideas needed

Pic's been very into several books lately, one being Don't Cry, Big Bird. Because we buy pretty much every book used, we occasionally come across rips, doodles and other injuries. Our copy of Don't Cry, Big Bird is missing a page (which didn't phase Pic and Baby K when I read it to them, but it did bother me).

This morning, though, Pic revealed that she had found another copy of the same book in her room (I promise, I'm working on the catalogue today...I just added thirty more books), this one completely intact. Of course, we immediately sat down and read it (solving the mystery of Betty Lou's kite ending up in a tree).

In cleaning up, I just found the copy missing a page and was about to put it in the giveaway bag, but...really? I loathe giving away something that is kind of ruined. So, although I'm still feeling trepidation about tearing out pages, I'm wondering if anyone has any craft-type projects we mght do with the remaining pages in the 'ruined' book?

At the very least, I was thinking we could frame some of the pictures for artwork for Pic's room. Any more adventurous ideas?


Oh, and before I sign off, I'll share my donation for the day: another book. We were given this book as a gift...six years ago. Yeah, I'm not so good with the memory books. Ah, well. Perhaps someone else will love it and actually use it.

(Ha! No more Photo Booth photos. Ha! That doesn't make my 'photography' any better.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

donation and sales

Whoo-hoo. The title is fab, I know. Whatever.

So, I finally have a donation picture that doesn't completely suck. For the last year, Pic's pool toys have lived in her bathtub (she bathes in our bathtub). This bear floatie was a gift from Peecho when we went to visit two years ago. Pic has since outgrown it and I think it's time to give it up. (The baby will be kept, the floatie will be donated.)

Also, book sales. Yes, because, I know, we need more books. I borrowed the car on Monday and bought sixteen new books for Pic's library. Used books. Books that cost $.79 each. (I'll never be able to catalogue all of the books if I don't actually, finally put into effect my rule that I have to catalogue each book as it comes into the apartment.)

Oh, wait. I just totally sidetracked myself from the booksale announcements. This Sunday, Grassroots Books is having a $3.99/bag sale (standard plastic grocery bag sized bag, but you can bring a reusable bag of that size if you have one). Grassroots has moved over near Costco. It's at 660 E. Grove Street. The bag sale begins at 3p.

Also, the Friends of the Washoe County Library System is having their bag sale at 5202 Mill Street on November 8th. The sale begins at 9a and it's $6/bag (they provide the bags). The 7th, they are having the 1/2 price sale.

Finally, National Blog Posting Month (the official one with the prizes) is coming up next month. You can sign up now and the process is so much quicker than it has been (I'm not sure how Mrs Kennedy changed it, but it worked nicely). I know that I just went on about how I should be glad that people don't post more often (because then I'd be spending even more time reading blogs), but I'd really love to read more from everyone. Also, there're prizes (which you can contribute to through the end of November, I believe). I'm all signed up. I'm just waiting to see if someone creates a fun badge I'll want to post on my page. See you there? Ms B has already signed up...anyone else?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

proof our our oddballness

-- Earlier tonight, Pic and I stood in Costco, transfixed by the coffee grinding area. We sang B-52s' songs and swept up the mess of coffee grounds with the attached brushes that look like giant makeup brushes.

-- I just translated my blog into Italian (well, only the first 500 words) and was pleased to see that 'stagno per anitre' wasn't changed at all (meaning, I either got that right, or the translation machine had no idea what I was going for).

-- I'm having a late-night roasted zucchini snack. (I'd really love to accompany that with some S'mores ice cream, but, alas, we have none.)

-- I turned on a movie the other day and Pic glanced at the screen and asked in ecstatic anticipation, 'Dolly?!' hoping that we were about to rewatch Hello, Dolly!


P. S. I don't find these things odd, but you should see the looks we get from Papi.

donation: day six

First...I truly and deeply apologize about the picture. The camera is not in the apartment and it's cold outside (snow has dusted the ground). I will try to be less lazy tomorrow and get the camera for some 'better' pictures (let's face it, I'm no great photographer under any circumstances, but I can do somewhat better than Photo Booth.

So, then. Here are the nail polishes that no one else wanted when I offered them (with the tempting information about formaldehyde and phthalates, no less). I still can't just throw them away, though, so into the bag they go. We've got a fun, clear one with sparkles and then some Mardi Gras colors (teal and purple). Goodbye, dear hardly used nail polishes.


I just checked and there are TWO HUNDRED blogs in my 'blogs' bookmark folder.

No, I don't read all of those. I just have a compulsive problem, adding more and more to the list, anytime something looks somewhat promising. My tastes keep taking off in different directions and suddenly I'll have a ton of parenting blogs, food blogs, crafting blogs. I really try not to add anything new and occasionally I'll pare a few off.

It helps that not all of these blogs are still being kept up. Some are completed, but I keep them in my folder in case I ever want to go back and read them again. (Yes, I actually have done this. I think I might have read through Bringing Up Ben and Birdy three times. Auntie L isn't a fan of rereading books, but I am. I love the familiarity. This is how I feel with blogs. And movies, but that's a whole different post (maybe).)

There are about thirty-three that I regularly read. I suppose I'm just lucky that most people don't post more often than they do. I know that I'm always whining (if not always here, at least to myself) that everyone should write more, especially people I know personally. However, perhaps I should be grateful that people don't.

I sometimes wonder when or if I will tire of blogs, if I'll stop writing here, move even further into this disappearing act I'm so lately trying to perfect. I'm hoping that time doesn't come, because blogs have been somehow so good to me and writing here seems to have been good for me.

Anyhow, I just thought I'd share that moment of insanity and self-reflection.

Monday, October 26, 2009

donation: day five

Hey, how about some more crappy pictures of the crap in my life? Okay.

A box of random cards. I have come to realize that I'll never be a person who sends out cards for any holiday. I'm lucky to even get birthday cards sent out. So, I no longer need these cards from high school. (Yes, high school.)

You've got your Little Mermaid, your Scooby Doo, your Hercules and your Sailor Moon. Yeah, I wasn't so concerned with the whole trademarked deal back then.


P. S. I might just have to break down and start taking real pictures, because this is going to make me crazy. I can only imagine the fits these photos are giving you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

donation: day four


Yeah. Sometimes I buy random movies at the thrift shops. I figure, 'Hey, they're cheap. Cheaper than renting even. And, I'll probably at least be able to tolerate the movie and watch it occasionally.' And then there was this movie.

[I might hereafter include some spoilers, just to let you know in case you ever feel like watching this...without me.]

I loathed this movie pretty much throughout. I don't like to give negative reviews of anything, but I'd rather be honest here. There were plot elements that were so totally outrageous that I was actually shaking my head in disgust. People being taken hostage and tied up naked. It was just silly. And then? They requested to relive it. Oh, oh, and let's try not to let me get started on the whole winning of the money. What kind of insane, insane gaming machine (it's been a while since I've seen the film, so I can't remember exactly what the machine looked like) blasts money into the air? What kind of other casino patrons don't come running to snatch at it? (Well, so I wouldn't, and maybe I'm just being overly-cynical.) And the ending? Entirely too predictable.

Let's just say that if I never watch this movie again, it'll be too soon (or something like that). (Although, I might prefer it to Johnny Mnemonic...but I'm really not sure.)


P. S. I have no idea how to flip the image. Any suggestions? I can crop it and rotate it and play with the color saturation and sharpness, but I can't get the mirror image.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

grand plan

I have too much stuff. I've always had too much stuff. I've always been labeled a 'pack rat.' Even when I gave away bags and bags of my belongings -- precious to me because of the memories I associated with them -- because I was tired of the supposed-to-be-lighthearted nickname, I was still know as a keeper, a collector, a pack rat.

Over the years, I've gone back and forth, trying to purge myself of as much stuff as I could comfortably part with and trying to accept that I am just a person with too much stuff.

I've gotten 'better' about my tendency to hold on to things (although you might not be able to tell by the state of my apartment). I've decided that instead of collecting everything, I'll choose certain things that I'll allow myself to collect. Books, definitely. Some magazines. I don't know what else?

Anyhow. The grand plan? Find one thing to give away, every day for thirty days. Why? Eh. I'm in a purging mood. I need a bit less stuff. I truly have things I haven't really done much more than glance at for years and years, so why hold onto it?

So, get ready for some crappy pictures (I'll just be using the camera on the computer), as I try to keep myself on track by logging my outgoing stuff.

I started doing this two days ago, so here's what I've put in the giveaway bag so far:

Halloween party invitations. We've never thrown a Halloween party, nor have we ever planned on throwing one. I'm pretty sure that Cardo bought these for me at some point because he knows I like Halloween. At some point (we've had these for years), Pic found and opened them. I'll put them in a bag and hope that someone browsing at Goodwill will be able to use them.

An activePAD thingie-ma-bob. Yeah. I've never even looked very closely at this thing, but I'm pretty sure that I get the general idea. We were given it before Pic was born and I really did think that I would use it with her, but, well, no. So, out it, and the three booklets that we got with it, goes. [Yeah, I suddenly had no idea what verb to use at the end of that sentence.]

Okay, so I shouldn't pick three things in one day, but I did. The first is a stress-squeezy thing I got while I was in high school (and very into the whole alien-life thing). It's still in the little mesh bag I got it in. I used to always carry this in my backpack. Then, we have a dusty, grey toothbrush. I once read this trend-tip in Seventeen (oh, the things I admit here) that said to use pliers to remove the bristles, place the handle in boiling water and then, when the handle was soft, shape it into a bracelet. Obviously, I never got past buying the toothbrush. And it has been with me for the past fifteen years. [This one went in the trash. I have enough household-cleaning toothbrushes.] Finally, something that I don't think was actually ever mine. I have no idea how I ended up with this lizard bead thing, so into the bag it goes.


P. S. Yeah, the pictures. I know.

feel the burn...

Okay, so 'feel the burn' doesn't exactly describe my exercise philosophy (explains so much), but I really cannot think of a better title. Geez.

Pic is doing pilates on my mat here. I swear, there are days she'll pull out my mat and once she even asked me to put on a pilates video for her. If I'm using my mat, she'll sometimes drag her sleeping bag out and use that instead. She'll stick with the pilates through a move, maybe two, then she'll get up and jump and wiggle around like crazy.

As for the covert cat? Yeah, that's about where he always likes to be, no matter how much I warn him that he'll get kicked in the head. I guess it's better than it used to be. When I started doing pilates (I started very briefly right before we conceived Pic and my body gifted me with almost four months of 'morning' sickness), the covert cat would attack me every time I laid (lay? quissa?) on the floor to exercise.

I don't know that I see my own slow-paced mat workouts in Pic's future, though. She's leaning much more toward futbol (takes after her Papi, there) and dance (takes after my daydreams, there).


I actually said to Cardo, earlier, 'If we had another chid (NOT that I want another child), I could homeschool our kids.'

Yes, I am/we are still very certain that our family is perfect just the way it is. There are times when I am a tiny tinge of a bit sad that Pic won't have any siblings, won't have that bond, but I stand by my decision. I've still [knock on wood] never experienced baby blues, although several people I know have gotten pregnant and have had babies since Pic's come along. Also, starting over again when I've already gotten through five years? No, thanks much. (I'm just sharing what Cardo and I want and what works for us. Lots of other people I know have/want more than one child and that's perfect for them...I only have to raise this one.)

Anyhow, there's been a lot of soul-searching type stuff going on inside of me lately. I feel like I've come back around to some kind of starting point that I lost sight of for a while. I feel like it's time to stop looking at everyone else's expectations for me (and, hey, most of these 'expectations' are mainly in my head anyhow, I know this) and start figuring out what really will be best for myself and for my family. I'm still not sure where I'm headed next, but I'm willing to gradually figure it out. I'm trying to not be so fervent in my searching for what's next.

As Poke said to me earlier, it might be nice to settle down for a bit without looking forward and stressing about what I 'need' to be doing next. In the last year, Cardo has hinted that he's wanting to settle down. As I said, I'm not sure what we'll do, but if it involves settling down now, know that we'll be doing plenty of traveling as a family (yes, even when I'm trying to focus on now, I'm dreaming about the future).

How can I possibly still have so much growing up to do at the end of my third decade on this planet?

Friday, October 23, 2009

bit quote

From this month's Self:

Hair affair: Forty-six percent of women would rather forgo social networking sites for a month than skip their favorite hair product -- and 18 percent would forfeit sex, a poll by Pantene in Cincinnati finds. Tweet that!

First, let me note that the 'Tweet that!' comment annoys me. Probably just because I'm a Twitter holdout. (Yeah, I thought the same about myspace several years ago and then finally gave in to joining that, but I'm really holding out on Twitter.)

Second, if I forwent (questionable conjugation, I know) my 'favorite' hair product, I'd have nothing. I only use something for washing it. It's been a long while since I gave up conditioner. Anything other than that? Please. Like I have a clue about beauty products. Please, direct your attention to the evidence:

Note the unwashed hair (it might be hard to tell here because it's dark in this room and I have my hair pulled back) and the shiny (read: oily) face. Actually, the darkness in here helps. Perhaps I'll conduct all face-to-face business in the dark from here on out.

Okay, so, yeah, thrilling, titillating stuff, I know. I just had to post something to get back into the habit. I can't hit a dry period because I want to join NaBloPoMo next month. I need to keep writing (for that and a few other reasons -- such as sanity).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

crafting for all of those hallows

Pic wants to be a 'marmaid' (that's how she pronounces it) for Halloween this year. While I'm fully behind this decision, I'm not sure how to go about the costume. I got the idea from a Family Fun e-mail (most of which I don't even open, but I'm glad I opened this one). It's a crafty kind of costume, much more so than last year's. Also, the materials? Most of them, we don't normally have on hand (paper plates, fishing line, double-sided tape, cupcake liners), so we had to go buy all of them. However, last night, as we were making our purchases, I found some aqua-ish-colored sequined material that would make a perfect mermaid tail, and I wanted to buy it. But, alas and alack, I don't sew. I try, sometimes, I really do, but that won't exactly be helpful here. I'm still tempted to buy the material and still try to make the tail on my own.

I just don't like the idea that the crafted tail is so much, well, disposable garbage, basically (or so it seems when I think about it). And, yes, we have already bought the stuff, but I could use some of it for other things. We are planning on making Halloween decorations with the paper plates and maybe I'll actually make some cupcakes at some point. I just don't want to end up with a crappy Halloween costume that won't even last through pictures.

All in all, though, we already have the materials to make the costume, as shown here, so I'll just go ahead and do it and work on my sewing skills in the meantime. I really want Pic to have a stash of really fun dress up clothes (capes, anyone?), although she does love to dress up in her very own clothes thirty times a day, especially if those clothes are dirty (I actually said to her tonight, 'Okay, that's enough dirty clothing from the hamper for now, no more.'). Let's just hope the costume holds up under my four-year-old's vim and vigor.

And, while we're at it, I'm happy to say that I have managed to steer Pic away from all things trademarked so far, as far as costumes go (and, yes, I do know that the site for her costume is DISNEY Family Fun). Here's what the line-up has been so far: pumpkin, lion, witch (she wore the witch dress for a good two years, no matter the place or occasion), monkey princess. I doubt this trend will last much longer after she's in school full-time with the influence of so many little peers, but here's hoping.

Monday, October 19, 2009

it's a musical life

Cardo's car speakers are not working all that well right now. We recently went out of town and while I wasn't driving, the lack of music/talk radio wasn't a problem: I simply read. I very often read aloud, sometimes for school, sometimes just for the family. On our way back, Cardo was the passenger. He doesn't much like reading aloud, so he only read for a bit before I stopped him and told him to enjoy the scenery, which was beautiful. After a while, though, I was bored with the silence, so I decided to sing.

I know very few complete songs by heart, so we had about five renditions of Janis Joplin's 'Mercedes Benz', getting progressively more passionate.

-- Janis Joplin, Mercedes Benz [I'm pretty sure that I have posted this video before. I don't love it, but trying to find something good for this song is beyond my attention span at the moment.]

When I was tired of singing that (hey, it's short and I like to sing it), I got about halfway through my next song before Cardo turned and asked me, 'Are you singing the himno?' Yes, I was singing the national anthem. I didn't do half bad either, although no one is going to be inviting me out to a ballgame to perform it. (And, I have to admit that it wasn't half bad for me, which means it was way below the level of anyone who can actually sing.)

-- The Star-Spangled Banner - Jimi Hendrix (High Quality) [Yeah, I so wasn't playing any instrument, I just thought I'd go with this since I've got Janis here too. Actually, I've never heard Jimi play this before, not that I know of. I have to say that considering it's a song/poem about war/the morning after, the cacophony here works rather well. Sorry if 'cacophony' offends, but it seems fitting to me.]

-- josh groban - the star-spangled banner [I had to add this one. When I saw him on Ally McBeal (which has finally been released on dvd, by the way), I was kind of in love. I didn't know that he was somewhat (really?) well-known already by then. It wasn't until much later that I started hearing about him.]

So, I need to learn a whole bunch more songs by heart, pretty much right now. Suggestions? Something easy, short, fun, peppy. My range is just about nil, but I still love to sing out loud (very loud if there's music playing to cover up my voice).


P.S. Cardo didn't provide any musical entertainment. It's his turn to sing next time!

autumn hibernation?

So, let's see. What did I do today? Slept? That's right. All I have done today is sleep. Actually, that's not entirely true. I have filled up the sink with dishes to be washed. I've made Pic some oatmeal and poured out some watered-down juice for her. We've eaten some mandarin orange slices. We've had our daily dose of learning/reading/activities. I've caught up on a couple of blogs. But, mainly I slept. I have no idea why I slept so much today, but I suppose I needed it, so I'll try to feel okay about it.

I still need to shower, because here I sit in sweatpants and my pajama top, my hair hanging limply around my cheeks. I need to figure out what we're having for dinner. I need to figure out when I want to bake, because I have a vast list of items I'd like to try (or try again).

Mainly, though, I want Cardo to be home so we can all bundle up and head out for a walk. We haven't taken any pictures of autumn temperatures taking over, of leaves turning brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. Either we forget the camera or the batteries run out of juice (or whatever). However, yesterday, I charged the batteries and today I'm determined to take some pictures that will probably end up disappointing me, but ah well. It's pretty gorgeous outside. I love living somewhere that has actual seasons. I don't care what the naysayers say, here in the biggest of the little cities, we have seasons. Some have asserted that we don't, but I'm guessing those people didn't live thirteen of their growing-up years in Vegas, where it's hot and cold, the end (yea for oversimplification!).

Anyhow, let's all cross our fingers, please, in hopes that I remember the camera in a lame attempt to capture the beauty of my favorite season. For now, though, I'm off to shower in an attempt to transform myself into an actual human.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

social butterfly or wall flower...

...or a bit of both.

So, today, I socialized. This is not something I do. In fact, just a few days ago, I was invited to go hang out and declined. (Yes, I was out of town, but I was also feeling apprehensive. I wanted to go, but still with the apprehension. Next time, definitely.)

Today, though, was a day to get out, to be a part of conversations, to even have myself as the focus of a few moments of discussion. This is nerve-wracking to me, but I did it and I'm glad I did. (Yes, I realize that I sound like a recluse or someone bordering on agoraphobia, but, well....)

We started the day with family time. Guess how we spent that time. Go on, guess. Did you guess 'walking?' Ding, ding, ding! Yes, we're the Boring Boringtons and we like to take long ambles that occasionally also include roller skating (for a whole ten minutes today...maybe) and retracing several streets in search of lost items (today's was a sun hat).

After that, it was home to change out of sweaty clothes (it was actually quite warm out there) and then on to our social engagements. First, we went to hang out with J and her daughter D. Cardo has been acquainted with J for some time now and she has been asking to meet Pic and myself. Last week, Pic and I accompanied Cardo to J's and we're planning on that being a weekly get-together. Pic has, once again, so wonderfully fallen in love and this makes me happy.

From J's, Cardo, Pic and I headed over to a nearby restaurant to meet up with my godparents, their great-grandaughter and her friend/sister (I'm not sure how the two would define their friendship, so I'll leave it at that). I really can't remember the last time we saw my godparents, and it has to be sometime within the last ten months, but it always feels like forever. These people have been in my life my whole life. They are some of the most loving, warm, accepting, open people I've ever known and I feel so incredibly lucky to have them in my life. I love that they are a part of Cardo's and Pic's lives too. The possibility of being close to them is the only draw for one of the schools I'm thinking of applying to.

I'm not ending this day on a sad comedown that I often feel after spending time in social situations. Rather, I'm happy. It's good to be happy.

a bit of pic

Last week, at a group activity, an opportunity for Pic to dance came up. The dance she chose? The Time Warp.

Excellently well done. Mamma of the Year for me...again.


Note: I feel the need to point out that Pic has never seen Rocky Horror. I'm holding off until she's at least in elementary school...

a moment with sarah

[Target Women: Beauty Contraptions]

Feels good! Looks normal!

Cracks me up! (The commentary, not so much the perceived need for the products. Just thought I'd clear that up.)

blog sprint

One Minute Writer from Tuesday: What good thing could you have too much of?

Ben & Jerry's S'mores ice cream

I hate to say it, but it's true. Oh, how I wish it weren't.

Friday, October 16, 2009

checking in

Wow. October is looking dismal as far as posts. Also, as far as keeping in touch (that phrase always reminds me of yearbook signatures: v, it was really neat knowing you, K.I.T.!!!).

We have been out of town for a few days now. Pic and I accompanied Cardo on some business and then we spent some quality family time away from the quality family apartment. Okay, so we spend tons of quality family time together. In fact, of late, I have used my family and my family time as a blanket in which to wrap myself as I try to figure out if I'm ready to open the doors and the lines of communication and really have to talk to people about the abrupt departure for far-flung places and the equally abrupt return. It's nice here in my family quilt.

So, anyhow, I've made a decision. I've decided that my thirties will be my years to grow up. Yes, I know that I have a decade of college work under my belt. I've held numerous jobs in those same last ten years. I've been with Cardo for eight years and we've been married for six. I have a four-year-old. You'd think I'd have already grown up, or at least I'd feel as if I had. Not so. thirties. That gives me a bit more time to even get there and then an entire decade to figure 'it' out. I can do that. In fact, I have a lot of 'it' figured out, just not so much of the dotting of the 'i' and the crossing of the 't.' (Yeah, yeah, I know that was an awkward figurative trip I just took you on. All I mean is that I've got the big picture figured out -- I've had that down for the past twenty-five years or so. Now, I just need to begin filling in the details, hence the dotting and the crossing.)

Possibly pictures later. This means that I'll actually have to charge the camera battery which died at precisely the moment I was going to take a picture of a B&B Cardo and I keep threatening to go to. Ah well, it lives on in our imaginations (and, y'know, in all of its solid glory of actual existence).

Also, possibly a weekly dinner menu soon. We need to grocery shop. I'm hoping that happens tomorrow. Although what we buy might start to look different. Okay, not all that much different. I, along with the help of a certain journalist, somewhat freaked Cardo out today and he's all ready to go vegetarian. First of all, we barely buy meat. I don't really like to cook it. Second, I'm not sure that this new resolution of his, made in the passionate moment of hearing something disturbing, will really take hold.

Well, I just wanted to get back in the habit of actually posting here. I like the habit. I like the space. It's a great place to come to both vent and avoid all at the same time, a great place to put myself out there and to hide. It's my kind of space. Thanks be for the interweb.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

notable days?

That question mark is there because I've been so tired that I've noted nothing here. Oops.

A year ago yesterday (the 10th, it was a Friday), this is what we were dealing with around La Casa B. Not fun times. Things have been pretty calm since Cardo's five-and-a-half day stint in the hospital. He's still on medication, and he might be on that for years or forever. He might be off of it soon, if he ever has another follow-up with his cardiologist (he was telling me yesterday, he needed to schedule a check-up).

A year ago, I was relying on friends to help out with Pic so that I could go watch my partner lay in a hospital bed, trying not to beg to go home. He was miserable and I'll be glad if he never has to go through that again. I am glad that he hasn't gone through it since and that he came home. I'm still glad that we have health insurance. We're still paying the bill, but instead of another ten years, we have about another year to go.

On to not-so-daunting now? Okay. Yesterday or the day before, I don't even know for sure, was my ten-year high school reunion. I didn't go. (I hope that if I had, I'd at least know when it had happened). I thought about it for so many years (hey, I tend to live in the past and the future, which I'm working on, along with so many other things) and thought that I wanted to go. In the past several months, though, I wasn't so enthusiastic about it. There are definitely people I would have liked to have seen in person, to have caught up with, but only a handful or two.

We'll see if we make it next time around.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

i may look like a kid...

...but I'm definitely not. The other day, at Costco, I got carded. Cardo was buying some riesling, his new favorite wine, but because I had used my Costco card at checkout, the cashier asked for my ID. As usual -- yes, this is a somewhat frequent occurence, although it's becoming less so -- Cardo joked with the cashier about how young I look and how people must think he's a dirty old man (his phrase). The cashier said I looked twenty and Cardo and I both immediately noted how at least I was looking in my twenties now. Then, the cashier admitted that she thought I was younger than that, but assured me that when I'm in my forties, I'll be loving this. I don't mind it now. If I stop to think about it, I find it amusing. I've found there's not much I can do about others' perceptions. Even when I trade my glasses for my contacts (which isn't that often anymore) and even when I dress up and wear makeup, people still think I'm much younger than I am. I don't see it. When I look in the mirror, I see how tired I look. How I look so much older than I did in my senior class high school picture (okay, so I was seventeen and looked about twelve). But, I'm so bad at guessing people's ages that I've just given up.

Yesterday, I was talking to my older sister and she said something about Rebecca Romijn, referring to her as a young woman (I had asked her if the stars of a new show were teenagers, and she told me they were young women). I told my sister I thought Romijn was in her forties (because I'm apparently clueless). Let me just pause a moment and say that I, by no means, think of forties as old. I would just describe a forty-year-old woman as 'a woman' and not 'a young woman.' Okay, then. Anyhow, my sister said Romijn was in her thirties, somewhere between my age and my sister's age.

And, wow, I thought, 'How close I am to being in my thirties.' I have this thought a lot. I'm not sure what to do with it. It's not like it really means anything significant, right? It just means my age will start with the number three instead of the number two. However, I do feel like it should mean something. Something like, I'll be a grown-up and I should have things in order, I should have things figured out. Perhaps I should. Perhaps I will. Perhaps that whole 'having things figured out' deal kind of scares me because it feels like settling or tying myself down or something. Finally, perhaps I should realize that I do have things figured out. I know where I am right now. I know where I want to be in a year and then five years after that and even five years after that.

Perhaps I'll focus both on that and on where I am right now: this place where I get to wake up every morning to Pic's demands that I get up let her watch a little tv because her room is clean; this place where Pic and I take long walks to the post office, the coffeehouse, the library, the park; this place where I get to spend this one last year with her before she's caught up in the whirlwind of school that, for some, lasts for decades once it's begun.

I've probably said this here before, but I'll say it again. Both in my life and here in the pond (ha!), I am trying to focus more on what's good, more on what I have right now. I often use this space to purge all the ugly going on in my head, but then it's out there infecting everyone else. I apologize for that. I'm not promising that I'll stop doing that, but I'll make a concerted effort to not do it so much. I'll also be making an effort to not mentally compare myself with everyone else and to not wallow in the results (because I can often only see the great parts of others' lives). And, if I stop putting so much energy into all that ugly, perhaps I'll be able to funnel that energy into reaching my goals. Duh, I know, but sometimes I need to write it out for myself to be able to really see it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

give me 100ccs of something, stat

Am I the only one who ever wonders if I should be medicated? Are, am I the only one still wondering while everyone else is medicated? (I more doubt the second.)

I've been wondering more and more often lately if I should be on something. I don't know what. Anti-anxiety medication (which my doctor has told me is what is prescribed for depression)? Sleeping pills? Get-off-my-butt-and-get-motivated-and-stop-whining pills? All of the preceding?

There are lots of days, most days sometimes, when I wonder if the way I always feel is normal, if it's the way I'll always feel and if it's right or if I could and should feel differently, less full of worry and woe, less tired, lethargic, apathetic.

Right now, I'm coasting. I'm doing well enough. I'm trying to keep busy. I'm dreaming, but not sleeping. I'm trying to give myself over to the direction I'm taking in my life, but I'm also trying to figure out who I am and what I want. It's been a long time since I've been here. I've been floating along for so long, doing what was supposed to come next because I'm always overwhelmed by the vast amount of possibilities. Now, I've put things on hold and I see that vast horizon and, well, I like the mountains. (That was a fun, convoluted metaphor, no?)

I keep thinking of the Dixie Chicks's "More Love". Specifically, the line, "We're afraid to be idle/So we fill up the days." I spend a lot of time there.

So, general advice? Other than, 'Just get over it already,' because that doesn't work for me.


P. S. That song keeps freezing up at about 1:15 for me. Sorry if it does the same for you. I swear the lyrics are there.

Monday, October 5, 2009

preternatural productivity

(But not reproductivity, mind you.)

Again, I am up at an hour I should not be awake. You might be thinking, 'Hello, seven? How is that an hour at which one should not be awake?' Okay, so I went to sleep pre-nine-o'clock last night. I'm dragging along here under the weather. So, once again, I fell asleep on the couch. Cardo, once again, came to retrieve me for bed. He got me up at about one (wow, that man is staying up pretty late, lately). I fell right back asleep. The next thing I know, Pic is there, asking to get in our bed because her bedroom is scary to her (this is a new one for us). I figure it's pretty close to the time Cardo has to get up for work, so I go back to sleep for what I believe will only be a few minutes. And, I was right. However, it was somewhere around two when Pic came in and somewhere around two-thirty when she decided to get up for the day. Yes, that's right.

I got her some fruit, which she insisted on eating in her room. I thought she'd go back to sleep and I went to check on her around 3:45. She was not asleep. She joined me in the living room to watch some Gilmore Girls. Then, she cleaned her room so that she would be able to watch something of her choosing.

So, what have I gotten done today? I have washed the dishes. I have given the covert cat fresh water and food and replenished the food in the bin. I have cleaned the cat pan and emptied all of the small waste baskets around the apartment. I took out the trash from the apartment, plus the bag we had sitting on the porch (classy, I know). I have read a couple of Newsweek articles. I have made toast for Pic and tea for myself. I have sorted out the recyclables and put the paper products in Cardo's car for him to take out (they no longer have a bin for that at our's been gone for years now, actually). I have planned out what Pic and I are going to do today (aside from taking a looong nap). I have made myself a cup of tea. (I have decided that this would have worked well as a bullet-point list.)

Now, if I can get around to showering, vacuuming and putting away that last load of laundry today, I'll feel that today has been something of a success.


Well, I'm off to wake up Cardo and see if he wants some coffee (and, if he does, I'm also off to ask him what the coffee/water ratio is again).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

sleep, glorious sleep

Yesterday was one of those totally blah days. I had no energy, very little appetite and no desire to be anywhere but bed. This could have something to do with inadvertently pulling an all-nighter the previous night. I just couldn't sleep. Then, Cardo got up at five and he and I spent three hours watching Gilmore Girls. (I only have up until the end of season four, so we're almost finished. Then, it's off to Netflix.) I took a nap for almost three hours, or about three hours, or something, on Friday, but, hey, that's not enough.

So, yesterday, I was asleep by about seven in the evening. I woke up a couple of times and Cardo came to the living room to get me when he went to be at almost one (that's really late for him). I just got up about twenty minutes ago. I'm hoping for a better, more productive day today. Although, yesterday, we did run several errands, including hitting the Grassroots Books parking lot sale, the rest of which has been postponed until next weekend due to the weather.

Speaking of the weather, though, I believe we're going to get all bundled up la questa mattina and go for a walk at the parks. We did this on Friday, also, although we didn't make it as long as usual. I hurt my foot a couple of weeks ago and, while it's almost back to normal, it isn't up to more than an hour of walking on it at one time (hello prepositional phrases!). It could also have something to do with our trying out some roller skating for the first time in so many years I cannot even recall. I believe it's been more than a decade. I didn't make it very far, but I'll keep trying. I have even more respect now for Furie Queene and her skating abilities!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

from the end of time

From the last few pages of the September 21st issue of Time. A few points of interest, for one reason or another.

I see that Dolly Parton is releasing a four-disc box set next month. Sign me up, please.

I also see that A. S. Byatt has a (or, should I say the) children’s book coming out next month also. It’s called The Children’s Book. Here’s the synopsis from the magazine:

A. S. Byatt (Possession) returns to the 19th century with The Children’s Book, which centers on English fairy-tale author Olive Wellwood. The novel traces the Wellwoods’ fortunes – and reveals their secrets – as they navigate the tectonic cultural shift from Victorian to modern.

I once wrote a paper entitled “On Possession” and I used the word ‘possession’ so many times that it lost all meaning to me. Perhaps I should read that book again, though, as it has been calling to me from my shelf for quite some time now. ‘Hello, v. Here I am possessing your thoughts. Read me NOW.’ How can I resist that?

Finally, something I’m not really interested in, although I know Cardo will want to read it, a brief sum-up of Dan Brown’s recently released The Lost Symbol. (Actually, if it’s in the apartment, I’ll probably read it also, even if I do figure out the freaking answer a couple of hundred pages before Langdon does as I did with the book with the Pope clue.)
Dan Brown’s follow-up to The Da Vinci Code reunites symbology-starved fans with their spiritual leader, Robert Langdon. The book follows 12 hours of his life and involves Freemasonry. Also, a symbol.

Hee hee. [I so try to not to write out my giggles, chuckles, snickers and chortles, because I feel so dorky doing so, but I couldn’t help it here.]

Friday, October 2, 2009

gee, thanks...i suppose

I found this (TX Board of Ed Member: Minorities Must Be Thankful To Majorities) here.

I love that he points out that women didn't vote for our right to vote. Men gave that to us. Um, duh.


(I also love that the woman standing at the podium is just speechless. I like to think it's because she can't think of any publicly appropriate response to this man who seems to want the very ground he walks on to be worshipped.)

a few favorites

These are a few of my favorite children’s books. As I come across more that Pic and I enjoy, I’ll share more…possibly. (I tend to start projects and let them drift off into the ether.)

The Piggy in the Puddle by Charlotte Pomerantz, illustrated by James Marshall. I love to read this book aloud. Immediately after I finish it, I want to read it aloud again. It’s that fun.

See the piggy,
See the puddle,
See the muddy little puddle.
See the piggy in the middle
Of the muddy little puddle.

Also, there’s a great Reading Rainbow segment (ah, Reading Rainbow) in which clay artists create a claymation version of this.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko. I’m not sure how the paper bag survived the initial disaster, but that’s okay. I love the story. I love that the prince and the princess both have personalities and that this doesn’t end up all sappy and conventional. (Oh, and apparently, you can buy a copy on amazon for $112...I'm hoping it comes with a dragon.)

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood and Audrey Wood. I love the illustrations. I love that Pic had this memorized just about the first time she heard it and that she reads it to me. Oh, and I love the illustrations.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

london calling…sorry, wrong number; or, involuntary self-reflection

(the second part of my title is a phrase i heard once in class. rather than question it, i smiled and wrote it down)

i’m sitting in a hotel room on bedford place, london as i write this. i can hear the constant traffic and the echoing voices from three stories down from outside my open window. i don’t have internet access here (hell, i don’t even have a toilet in my room), so, by the time i post this, i will be back in my somewhat cluttered office in my apartment. my apartment in reno, yes.

this is not easy for me to compose. i have been mentally doing so and i keep stalling. i am pretty sure that over these past few months and, in a much-concentrated way, over the past few days, i have experienced something akin to a midlife crisis…except, i am hoping that i still have a while to go before i reach midlife.

anyhow, as i said, this is difficult for me to compose. let me start by apologizing, because i feel that is what i need to do. i feel like i have been on autopilot for so long now, not stopping to really, deeply examine any particular aspect of my life, simply going in the direction i thought was forward, not realizing that there wasn’t only one ‘forward.’

so, about that apology. i apologize to cardo, pic and the covert cat for having disrupted so much in my efforts to do what i thought i might possibly want. i apologize to the rest of my family for asking for their support (especially the financial support i asked of my parents) in reaching this goal. i apologize to those of you from whom i asked well wishes and who i led to believe that this was the next step i really wanted to take. i apologize to dr jones and to dr hoxton (as i will refer to her) and to ms s for putting in so much effort to get me to where i am right now (at the time of composing this, not so much at the time of posting). i greatly and deeply appreciate the support, the well-wishes and the efforts made on my behalf and i don’t know how to repay them, except to be there to support your goals and your hopes in whatever way i can, even if it is only to offer my wishes for your happiness and fulfillment.

i apologize to myself for not listening. i have never been good at this. i either ignore or i shut down, which leads to too much involuntary self-reflection and then jumping into whatever is available and once again ignoring.

i thought that this might be what i wanted. i refused to say ‘when’ this happens, but stuck with ‘if’ this happens. every time another hurdle was behind me, cardo asked me if i was excited, and i was never able to answer with a ‘yes.’ i know that i probably sounded excited to others, but this is part of how i work. i don’t want others to be uncomfortable or to worry about me. i don’t always share the truth because it’s easier to say that everythig is ‘fine’ and let others believe that everything really is.

everything isn’t and hasn’t been for some time. i’m not sure what to do about this. there are some things i am still sure of. i still want to teach. i still want to go on to get my phd. i still hope that that will be possible. i still want to own a house. i still want to be with my family as much as possible.

there are many things i am unsure of. i am not sure what my next step is going to be. i am not sure that i won’t shut down now, refusing to let people in and shutting myself off from others who might need me. i am unsure of who i am and where i will end up.

i despise those big questions looming. they pick me up and drag me to the cave of despaire, where i have no una to reassure me that i am chosen and that no matter what, i will survive because that is how it is meant to be. at times, i feel i have no armor to shield me from what i let attack me, what i attack myself with.

i meant this to be much more lighthearted, as casually joking about hardship is how i usually cope, but i’m not feeling lighthearted right now. maybe in a few years. maybe when i feel that things are back on track. maybe when i figure out just where that track even is.

in the meantime, thank you for all of your support. it’s good to know that others have faith in me, even when i have none. i’ll start now in trying to internalize some of that, even if it means reciting affirmations a la stuart smalley. (perhaps there is a bit of the lighthearted in me yet.)

[note: i wrote this elsewhere. as usual, that 'elsewhere' doesn't adhere to upper-case letters. also, i've had a couple of days to let this sink in and i'm calm and doing pretty well. i hope you all are doing well also.]

[p.s. if you now need to hear the song, you can go here. embedding has been disabled.]