Sunday, December 27, 2009

that tricky turn signal & the cardboard box debacle

Ben and I own three cars, superfluous and luxurious we know. Yet for all the excessiveness of this, we have truly used each of them extensively since we procured the third one in April. And before you scoff at our waste, they are all between 9 & 12 years old and they are all paid for and we haven't had a car loan payment for a year and a half now. We have waffled for several months on whether or not to sell Ben's truck, which is oh so wonderful and would be undoubtedly missed. But then months like this month happen and I'm quite thankful that we have three cars. It all began 3 weeks ago...

Ben's truck (let's call it Bernard) doesn't so much like the cold and protests by making its turn signals not work. We have a two car garage, but Bernie has basically been relegated to the driveway because he's the first one to leave in the morning, and that way, I can drive whichever of the two cars I need as each has a different function for us. So as the weather has been getting colder, Bernard has been getting touchier. Bernie is so spiteful in fact that he tricks us into taking him to his friends at the auto spa shop (otherwise known as the mechanic) where they sit around and sip cocktails and then decide that nothing is really wrong with him, whereupon he comes back to us and continues his wily ways.

Bernard happened to be moved to the street to allow our Abby car, an (old) SUV that we shall call Ruthie, to go do something. I forget what we needed Ruthie for, but we did have to move Bernard to use her. Ben didn't get around to moving Bernie back into his normal spot, which he was apparently peeved about because he just belligerently decided not to start AT ALL for two weeks. Really what happened is Ben couldn't start Bernard in the wee small hours of the school morning, so he grabbed the keys to our long distance runner Honda (who I think of as a Molly) and took off, grumbling about Bernard under his breath.

Life was busy. The end of the semester was busy. Bernard wasn't hurting anyone where he was parked. Ruthie and Molly were working for us. Bernard sat. For two weeks. By this point, he was soooo peeved that he refused to start again when Ben went out and sweet talked him a week ago. Ben got mad & Bernard's feelings remained hurt. A tow truck was called to mediate their conflict. Bernard got his wish for a trip to his little spa retreat, whereupon he and his mechanical buddies laughed some more and decided that really, nothing is wrong with him. The joke is on us. Ben's super ticked about how things have been going with Bernard and having to call a tow truck. And then Ruthie gets a bruise.

We were coming back from my parents' house on the way to Ben's parents' house the day after Christmas. Ben was driving. Ben decided to drive over a cardboard box that is in the road rather than drive around it. He claims there was no space. Well, he was wrong. And, in driving over the box, it got stuck on Ruthie's undercarriage. More grumbling ensued. Abby was grumbling at this point to, so it was a jolly little family.

Ben pulled over, we turned on Ruthie's hazard lights, Ben fishes the box out, we take off... Lo and behold, NO turn signal. Nothing will make the turn signal work. Nothing. So we take Ruthie through town to his parents' house and home again. I take her to Target that night and back. We take her to Winchester today, all with no turn signals. Ruthie was just at the auto spa getting fine tuned, but it looks like we'll have to take her back. Maybe Bernard whispered something about tire rotations that sounded appealing and she thought that she'd join in on the fun.

I was driving Ruthie today to Winchester, which is (in good weather) 1 1/2 hours from our house. All of a sudden (dramatic music...kablam!), Ruthie's left turn signal pops on and will NOT turn off, no matter what I do. I must have looked like an idiot driving down the road in the snow turning lights on and off and whatever other gesticulations I was making. For the record, a turn signal that won't turn off is super annoying. Really super annoying.

And then I notice--the hazard lights button is still on. I turn them off and what do you know? The turn signal went off. They have not been flashing this whole time unless they're turning on and off with Ruthie, which means that I've been looking like an idiot driving with my hazards on for longer than just a few moments. But, crisis averted. If Molly pulls anything funny this week then I'll know that there's some sort of conspiracy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Spurn me once, shame on me. Spurn me twice, I'm starting to wonder if it's personal.

I have a desire-hate relationship with a restaurant right now. I'm not even sure if it's a love-hate relationship since the "hate" part comes from the restaurant that has spurned me twice now.

I exaggerate...which is, incidentally, one of those words that I'm eternally thankful for spellchecker seeing as how I obviously don't know how to spell it. Ever. (kind of like "weird" and "apparently")

I digress. Kokomo has your basic American chain restaurants that are all lovely in their own way and basically all offer the same thing with some variations--Applebee's, Outback, Chilli's, Texas Roadhouse, etc. Okay, there's quite a bit of variation between Chilli's and Texas Roadhouse, but still, it's not like you don't already know exactly what they offer before you go.

And within the last mmm....year or so, there have been two exotic new restaurants that have opened up waaaaaay on the other side of town from us (which means a) about 2 minutes from the in-laws and b) about 3.5 miles away...really far, I know). Ben and I used the prom last May as a chance to have one last wildly fantastic date together B.A. (before Abby) at one of the joints, a rather posh (for Kokomo standards), modern place called The Quarry. And, they definitely offer a menu that isn't your standard Applebee's fare (again, not that there's anything wrong with that...I rather enjoy Applebee's). Ironically, the other new establishment is located almost exactly right next door to The Quarry.

This is where my desire-hate relationship begins and sadly, ends. It's like the awkward 13-year old girl who has a crush on the exotic quarterback senior who doesn't even know that the 13-year old exists. I'm the awkward teenager; The Olde Oaken Door is the big stud quarterback. It's an intriguing place simply because it's a family style restaurant, and I've never experienced that in a restaurant before. I'm not sure why it's really that exotic, seeing as how it's how I eat every day (you know, communal bowls of food in the middle of the table and two people fight over the last roll...incidentally, I can easily war with myself over bread, so when I say "two people," I very well might mean me). But never have I feasted a la family style in a restaurant exciting! how unique! how different! I must try it.

Months ago, again, B.A., I tried to enlist the help of the in-laws to join us so that we can witness the family style experience in a group rather than a two-some. Alas...that never panned out. And then, I had an invite to join a group of lovely teacher buddies for a retirement party at...The Olde Oaken Door! Victory! Defeat...I gave birth two days before this extravaganza, which resulted in me being, ironically, directly across the street in the hospital while this shindig took place without me. Fast forward 6 1/2 months...Christmas date! (Sidenote--Ben and I started a tradition our senior year in college where we go on a Christmas date where price is not really a factor and we go somewhere where we wouldn't otherwise likely go and revel in the luxury of a credit card and two-full time jobs, throwing sense and 403Bs (the teacher equivalent of a 401K) to the wind.)

Christmas date...where do we want to go? We're dropping the little one off at the grandparents for a couple of hours, and in order to utilize our time most efficiently, we should try to stay within a few minutes of their house. Aha...The Olde Oaken Door!!! Granted, this isn't quite my fantasy as it's just going to be the two of us instead of a noisy, happy family/group, but still. I can just envision the fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Oh yum. I love fried chicken and the last time that I had it was literally 2 1/2 years ago, June 15th, 2007, for a catered rehearsal dinner. I remember weird things (look no spellcheck this time!).

Anyway, long story almost over--the restaurant isn't open on Mondays and Tuesdays, which we didn't know until we pulled up on a Tuesday night in eager anticipation. Denied again. I'm starting to think that the restaurant doesn't even know that I exist. Breaking up is hard to do. Off to the pasta restaurant we went. Spurned.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas photo shoot

Abby's Aunt Megan & Uncle Sam gave the little munchkin an early Christmas present at Thanksgiving. This was a lovely surprise as it totally inspired a mini Christmas photo shoot. If Meijer and I can ever agree on prices for pictures, this might get sent out in Christmas cards, too.
She really makes our $4 tree look prettier.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

new culinary explorations

How gourmet can baby food get? Pretty yummy, I dare say.

I couldn't wait to start Abby on solid foods, so much so that when she hit four months, we hit the highchair right away. It didn't take long to master cereals, which made me happy to get some more interesting viands introduced to her palate. I'm someone who, while always enjoying the standard fare of middle class American fruits and veggies during my younger years, has rediscovered a love of veggies in my 20s, now that I have found new and exciting ways to make them besides throwing some frozen broccoli bits & pieces in the microwave. The oven and veggies are made for each other. Roasted anything is pretty much a-okay with me! Couple that with a little (or a lottle) bit of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano and I'm a happy happy veggie camper.

Something else that I blame on Manchester influences, I'm pretty sure that I could be a vegetarian after all if I wanted to be one. Right now, I'm really more of an often-but-not-always-just-because-I-still-enjoy-meat vegetarian. In other words, I'm a healthier eater now than I ever was growing up just because I'm willing to eat more veggies and in different forms now than I have before. Dare I say that I even ask for tomatoes on my sandwiches at Subway now??

I deeply wish that my Abby Shedabby will have a healthier lifestyle than me, especially what she eats. I can't wait to start a love of good food with Abby now. My plot involves two key components.

1. Do not use food as a bribe. As I watch my parents and siblings interact with my two nieces and nephew, who are 5, 4 and almost 2, respectively, I realize that this type of food-child relationship is ingrained in our society. "Eat three more bites of potatoes and then you can go play...Eat two more bites of your sandwich and then you can have a cookie...Since you asked so nicely, you can have a doughnut..." I can't help but think that this is why I eat the way that I do. I have been taught to reward myself. It also worries me that our families will continue this "tradition" with my daughter because that is what they do. I'm not sure if this is "wrong," but it is something that I'm now very uncomfortable with to teach my own child. Abby is only 6 months old, and already I have heard this sentiment multiple times: "This [the freezer] is where your mommy and daddy keeps ice'll get to have ice cream some day soon" or "Does Abby want a cookie? I bet that Abby wants a cookie!" No no no! Not my child!!!

2. Give Abby the very best food that I possibly can from the first spoonful of squashed squash. My theory is that I'm not going to have a bajillion kids, so I can afford to invest more quality in my small quantity. That means that I am willing to pay more for organic baby food, without complaint. It also means that I am intent on making my own baby food as is feasible. Herein lies my new culinary explorations.

So far, I've dabbled in pears and fiddled with sweet potatoes. I find that my blender is not the best aid in my endeavors. I did score a sweet, only used twice, 12-c Kitchenaid food processor this summer at a garage sale just with the intent of blitzing and blending to my baby's content. I haven't exactly mastered the art of using the big black machine yet, though, which means that I'm still reliant on my blender. Perhaps by the end of the month I will have figured out how to conquer the giant that lurks on the floor of my pantry. I have managed to stockpile the aforementioned pears and sweet potatoes in my freezer, though. And just in case you were wondering...Abby loves them. She loves all food that she's tried so far, except avacadoes. We're still working on that one.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Three things of randomness

Abby loves hair. She'll love Sarah Reed.

My "swans" are gone. Maybe someone with young children complained that the listing swan was disturbing. I miss them.

I'm not going to try the homemade baby wipes until paper towels don't cost as much as the wipes. Seriously.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

animals around town

#1. I forget if I wrote about this already. Abby and I took a walk a week or so ago and walked/strollered by a couple walking their parrots. One on each arm. Now I can cross that off of my list of things to do before I die. (Walk park...who each have...a...parrrrroooottt.....on Kokomo.)

#2. Same park--I find dogs who wheeze after struggling up a small hill humorsome. Except that to be fair, I sometimes wheeze a bit on that hill, too. But I'm pushing a stroller and am lugging around an extra 10 lb. that I'm still not used to. But still, sorry excuse for a dog.

#3. 2 months ago, I got excited to see that a lovely pair of swans had settled in a pond outside of our Kohls (I know...weird, right?). Every time I drive by them, I admire their loveliness. Alas! One of the swans has died as it now floats all cockeyed. Odd, day after day it is still floating at this bizarre angle. Why hasn't anyone taken care of this bird that has to be scaring children. I mean, I'm fascinated by it, so children must be freaked out, too. Why does the other swan seem so unaffected by his deceased partner in swan crime? Seriously, 2 weeks later, and he's still there! Ewwww. Abby and I talk about it every time we drive by. I slow down and swerve into the other lane so that I can gawk at it if I drive by (no cars were coming, I really wasn't driving all that dangerously). I give Ben swan updates. And finally it hits me...the dead swan and its oblivious partner are fake. Ben drives by one time and confirms my suspicions. If I hadn't been busy dodging non-existent traffic in my gawking sprees, I might have noticed that the bottom of the listing swan was flat and lacked anything resembling legs and webbed feet. Seriously, someone...put the bird back upright! It's disturbing (me)!!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Can a baby be earth friendly?

***Preface note--I have this whole thing typed out in a Word document, which apparently isn't compatible with this blog, so I'm retyping/copying the entire thing over again. It's a 3 1/2 page Word document that I began yesterday afternoon around 3 and it's now 9:30 the next morning. I have that much to say that obviously must be said. :-)***

Everyone who has had a baby in the past 20 years or so has likely been asked if they are going to use cloth diapers or disposable ones. Never for one moment prior to having Abby did I even remotely consider cloth. It's not that I don't like to hug the world now and again, but the safety pins, the leakage, the diaper rash, the goo oozing from clothy places, the plastic pants, the folding, the sanitizing, the LAUNDRY!!! It just seemed tooooo much, especially too much time invested for the net outcome. Not me! quoth I.

But two nights ago, a revelation of sorts. I'm a member of our church's Green Team/Care for Creation team (really, I think that we decided on the longer, more cumbersome name, but we still go by either, like what often happens with organized people), and another member of the team asked me to prepare some information on the environmental impact of baby products--diapers, wipes and such. Okay, no prob, I thought. I'm pretty invested in this and am rather curious myself, I thought. This won't change my mind one bit...I thought.

Aha, you think you know where I'm going with this. Curveball...I'm still gladly using disposable diapers and have no intention of plunking down my little credit card for any clothy, cottony nappies neither today nor tomorrow. However, maybe in a couple of days. The idea needs to ferment a bit before I act on it.

I was looking up some information for my "report," and I came across this website for Nicki's diapers, which looks to be pretty much THE place to go for cotton diapers. I say cotton instead of cloth for a very specific reason...these ain't ya momma's cloth nappies! Really, I just like the word "nappie" instead of "diaper." It is now going to be a staple in my baby lexicon. I found myself particularly intrigued by the "Mommy's Touch One-size All-in-one diapers," which seem to be much more accessible and dare I say less "work" than I thought cotton diapers were.

Pro for cotton nappies--less landfill waste, which can also potentially cause long term toxic effects on our environment that we still don't totally understand, and they're super uber cheap in the long run.

Con for cotton nappies--water & energy waste in the making, producing the cotton for these nappies is quite draining on our natural resources just like disposable, and it's really just convenient to be able to pitch out the mess

Consider the following (on average) facts:
*every child using disposables contributes approximately 6500 diapers to landfills
*those suckers take about 500 years to decompose (no recycling potential), though really how valid is this number? It's not like anyone has been able to hang around for 500 years to determine this.
*one baby can produce 1-2 tons of landfill waste
*from 2 years of disposable diaper usage, every child consumes the equivalent of 4.5 trees
*it takes 1 cup of crude oil to make the plastic necessary for 1 disposable diaper
*it takes 286 pounds of plastic (including packaging) to keep one child in disposable diapers for one year
*18 billion disposables are used in the U.S. alone in one year
*it takes 200-400 kg of "fluff" (the inner workings of a diaper) to keep a baby in disposables for one year versus 10 kg of cotton for a 2-year supply of cotton diapers
*diapers are the 3rd largest single consumer item and 30% of non-biodegradable waste in landfills
*a so-called "biodegradable" diaper really isn't so much because it still doesn't have access to the 2 main components that makes something decompose--air and sunlight--if it's all tightly rolled up and stuffed in a landfill
*technically, putting a poopy diaper in the trash is ILLEGAL because it is disposing of human waste, which is absolutely a no-no, but generally ignored for the good of all nappie needs
*the Landbank Consultancy, commissioned by the Women's Environmental Network in London, found that diapers create 2.3 times as much water waste, need 3.5 times as much energy in the making, use 8.3 times as much non-regenerable material and 90 times the amount of renewable resources, and need 4-30 times as much land space to grow the raw materials as cotton nappies. This means that they basically use 70% more energy than the equivalent cotton diaper.

If you're interested, I have the websites where I got this info.

There are a plethora of "greener" disposable options, for that matter, which I discovered as I was trying to reaffirm why I don't use reusable nappies (that snobby attitude didn't last long). Organic cotton nappies...hemp cotton/hemp blend nappies. Why doesn't Manchester sell these?!?

But something that is absolutely attainable and easy to fix in my greenest-baby-products quest is baby wipes!! You can totally make your own, and all that you need are four basic, every-parent-has-these "ingredients."

1 roll of good paper towels (cut in half)
2 c of boiling water that has been cooled (not every "recipe" called for this boiling/cooling method, but I think that it makes sense)
2 T baby shampoo/wash
2 T baby oil/olive oil

Seriously. How easy and cost effective is that!! Mix the liquids. Pour over one half of the paper towels. Let them soak it up. Put in a reusable container. Enjoy! So easy. So cheap. I'm going to try them as soon as I run through the current batch of wipes. And, they're completely as portable and convenient as wipes that you buy.

I did find one different recipe for homemade baby wipes, but it is more labor intensive, hardware intensive and cost intensive (for no apparent reason). I'm going to skip that one.

Though it seems like I'm just ragging on disposable diapers here, with the amount of energy that it takes to produce cotton diapers and then the amount to keep them squeaky clean and sanitized, it's really just 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of another. It comes down to maintenance cost. Really and truly. Energy wise, I could also put up a lot of statistics about how much energy it takes to produce a cotton nappie and then keep them chugging along in their absorbent glory. But I won't. This is really long. It's just cost, which isn't something to wholly ignore. Using 10 diapers/day for 2 years at $.15/diaper (which is approximately what we spend, give or take a penny now and again when something isn't as on sale or the coupons aren't as fabulous), which is quite a bit cheaper than Huggies & Pampers that aren't on sale and have no couponage (those run around $.22/diaper), it all comes down to just shy of $1100 for all of those disposables versus $200 or so for a 2-year supply of cotton nappies, depending on the brand and the amount that you need.

Think of the money that could be put away toward Abby's education instead of being currently used to absorbed and protect her (really cute) little bum.

But then again, I don't feel guilty or superior about either choice. Each one has merit. Each one has downfalls. Kind of like organic baby food...another post for another day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Who We Are

I hate housework with a deadly passion. I'd usually rather grade than clean. Seriously, a deadly passion, I know. Here's a credit shout out to the Jane, who taught her children how to do housework, the boys as well as the girl. Because this means that...

...Ben knows how to do things like laundry and dishes. But if there's any particle of housework that I "like" to do, it's laundry, and now that I'm on maternity leave, I've really taken that over 100%. We used to share it but since the beginning of the school year, Ben has started one load. I have done every other, probably-3-7-loads-of-laundry-a-week-depending-on-how-much-bedding-needs-to-be-washed-oh-my-gosh-one-little-kid-produces-a-lot-of-laundry. This also means that...

...Ben sometimes gets my most hated cast offs. And when I say sometimes, I mean pretty much always. When we got married, we had a 5 minute discussion about who was going to be responsible for what job, and really so far, over 4 years later, it's still a rock solid system. He gets dishes. I get floors. He gets bathrooms. I get pretty much everything else like running errands because he's "stuck" at school and I'm somehow way more flexible even when I'm teaching full time and taking two graduate classes but that's okay because I get out of school 1/2 hour earlier than he does so that means I get to go to the bank and the credit union and take the cars to get serviced and everything else plus a bag of chips. Which means that...

...I have a hard time being calm about things that are his responsibility when they aren't done on my time schedule. It makes perfect sense to me. I do 100 billion things during the day and try to be done by 9. Ben does 100 billion things during the day and then comes home and plays video games or watches tv (to his credit...fits it around helping with Abby). This is a fundamental difference between us. He drives me crazy by starting to do his jobs at 9:30 at night. I drive him crazy by asking him if he's planning on cleaning the bathrooms tonight. All of this means that...

...over 4 years later, we still drive each other crazy and our rock solid system of doing things is really only rock solid 5 out of 7 days a week. Those other 2 days sometimes involve me muttering craziness about dirty dishes, and oh my, why aren't the dishes washed, and seriously, are we going to start the dishes yet, and I can't take it anymore, please start the dishes, thoughts to myself. Dishes are probably the #1 source of discontent between us. I think that we're cumulatively getting better about accommodating each other while still getting stuff done, but sometimes I wonder. And when I feel guilty about sitting on the couch reading the newspaper while he's in there doing dishes, which incidentally our couch is 10 feet away from the sink so it's rather obvious that I'm sitting doing nothing while he is doing something that I could be helping with, I remember--it's his own darn fault that he's waited this long. And then I sigh a bit, snuggle deeper into my cushy couch and rattle my paper just a bit. But this also means that...

...I really have to be careful about holding up my end of the bargain before I criticize his. For example, I find it challenging to get the floors swept around Abby's schedule, partly because it's such a low priority for me that I just plain forget when I have the opportunity. And now that we have considerably less carpet in the house, and I (imagine) hate sweeping, it doesn't get done on any sort of regular basis. Next time I get overworked up about the dishes, maybe I'll remember that Ben never comments on my lack of floor sweeping. But that might not be entirely truthful either. This boy never looks at the floor. Seriously, he doesn't notice anything below the horizon. Somehow we get things done, and really, it's the kind of house that I'd rather have. My mom is a bit of a cleaning nut, in my opinion, and it always bugged me to no end that we had to sweep and dust and wash and wipe everytime someone like my grandmother (who is absolutely not a cleaning person!!) came over. I always used to mutter as I dusted (big surprise...another job that I hate) that I would have a house that looked lived in rather than a house that looked sterile. I give you credit, Mom...I understand your position now. There's no bigger incentive for me to clean that to have someone come over to visit. Don't expect me to dust, though.

Fact of the day: if you leave the door to the bathroom open even the slightest of smidgens while you are taking a shower, you can absolutely count on having a furry little cat face poke in on your showering self at some point.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

a Twitter-ish blog entry

Gorgeous November day! Just got back from walking 2 miles with Mr. Ben and Miss Abigail. Ben ran 1 (show off). Abby didn't walk at all. Supper--hot Culver's french fries and 2 mini brown sugar bagels with cream cheese. Nothing like a healthy supper after a modicum of exercise.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I have to write a paper...update

I'm now into my 7th page of a 3-5 page rough draft position paper that will eventually morph into a 15-20 page seminar paper. This is what I should have been working on last night. But now I feel vindicated for slouching last night. It's 7:56 and I declare myself officially slouchy again tonight!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I have a paper to write

I have a paper to write, so I shall blog instead. This is eerily similar to New Tech/problem based learning? Slam New Tech! No one who reads this, all 3 of you, will get that. But I'm giggling on the inside.

I have a paper to write, so I suddenly realize all that I need to do on Facebook and how badly I need to save and organize all of the pictures from the last month.

I have a paper to write, so I think about how I have 2 full days at home with nowhere that I have to go so surely I will be able to get more than enough done then.

I have a paper to write, so I'm doing what any normal student does and procrastinate, at least just a wee bit. I actually worked on it earlier today, for about 20 minutes. But a good 20 minutes it was!! Truly, I got more done today in that amount of time than the terrible 90 or so minutes that I worked on it Monday.

I have a paper to write, and my tooth, which has already had a root canal, a crown and then another crown hurts. I think I'm cursed.

I have a paper to write, but it seems like I should just gaze fondly upon pictures of Abby from her first few days of life and remember the good old days. How long ago they seem. I saw a 2 week old baby today and thought, was Abby ever that small? Undoubtedly, she was. How strangely perspective shifts in the space of a few days.

I have a paper to write, but Ben's now rubbing my feet. Mmmm. There's absolutely nothing happening with the paper tonight. And I don't care. I feel good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Facebook and my fear of losing my privacy

Really, this seems like an oxymoronic thing to say--being able to maintain privacy on Facebook. But thus far, I have felt more or less in control of my Facebook-iness. I'm learning to deal with my squeamish qualities, which has for a year and a half included going by my maiden name on Facebook though it is no longer my legal name. Why??? I fear what could happen when student/teacher barriers are crossed, regardless of whether students are graduated or not. I fear much. I look at other teachers, my husband included, and think...oh just hope and pray that nothing gets posted or suggested or egads anything!

But then I also began thinking, if other people, teachers included!, can live by their legal, married names, surely I can as well. I'm kind of a sucker and will pretty much accept anyone who friends me...oh, except for the 2 people who are languishing in the black hole of "will you accept my friend request?" on my profile right now. These two persons have been lurking for a couple of months now. I can't get up the nerve to deny them, though I'll never see them ever again (hopefully).

So I bit the proverbial bullet tonight and changed my name on Facebook. I'd like to be all cool like other wonderful women and say my maiden name in single quotes, but that just doesn't work out so well for me. You know what I'm saying.

And, while I'm being all radical, I even added my employment history...another step that I avoided until now in search of anonymity. But I also realize that there are many people out there who I could be virtual buddies with if only I would open up and learn to cuddle up with my insecurities instead of banishing them to the corner in hopes that they'll be ignored.

I feel reckless.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bleeding blue

First Colts game ever!! But no pictures to share. There's a short video on my camera, but there it must stay as we have no means of taking it off of the camera.

First Colts game ever...and it was a blast!!

Rewind a second--Ben and I give ourselves "fun money" every month where we cannot dictate how the other person spends their allotted cash and it can be accrued. I usually spend mine on me things, like candles and Crocs. Sometimes some Vera Bradley bags. Ben often saves his up until he has a considerable chunk and then spends it in a made whirl of luxury on something like a flat panel computer monitor or Colts tickets. Almost a year ago, he decided that he was going to buy 2 tickets to a Colts game with his fun money. I was luckily his numero uno choice to go with him. Pre us-ness, I was a baseball nut and didn't follow football whereas Ben was a football nut and hated every baseball team except the Reds on principal only cause he never watched the games. Post us-ness, we're both pretty much hooked on each other's sports passions.

I bleed Atlanta Braves blue in the summer, but with the changing of the leaves in the fall, my blue blood changes to Colts blue. I admittedly love watching football with Ben to the extent now that I watch it without him and am the proud owner of my own fantasy football team. It doesn't hurt that Colts just has the cutest, goodest guys amongst all of the teams. Really, these players are just good guys who are part of the Indianapolis community, and I dig that a lot.

In order to go on this jaunt, we had to give up Abby for the day. Not tragic but still not something that comes all that easily to me/us yet. Thankfully, all went well, which will help in the future when the need for some considerable babysitting time pops up again. It did make preparations for this all day adventure quite a bit more time consuming and the shtuff that had to be hauled 8 miles away to the grandparentals' house seemed to fill up the car.

Okay, so the game...there really isn't anything quite like watching your team charge onto the field in their home stadium. In the beautiful, sparkly new stadium, it's just infectiously fun. Ben parked us on the 45 yard line, 2nd row from the very top of the stadium. Really, wonderful seats despite the long trek to the top. You could see everything and there weren't any annoying people sitting behind us. Neither of us had ever been to a pro football game, so we didn't know what to expect really. But, pleasantly surprised that the crazy drinking fools were basically nonexistent and there was no beer splashed around on me. Could it be in part because it was a 1:00 game and that's a wee bit early to become too sloshed? Probably not. We just ended up in a good, controlled section.

The super creative costumes that people uninhibatedly wear to these games is amusing...purses out of coffee can sized cans, feather headdresses, dangly blue earrings, bangly necklaces, and even a Colts chef's hat. I felt underdressed in my Colts jersey, Colts sweatshirt and Colts stretchy band bracelet thing.

Favorite-ish part--Every time the Colts got a first down, the announcer says "And that's another Indianapolis Colts..." and everyone yells "FIRST DOWN!" The funniest part was when a Colts player got an interception, the announcer comes back with "another Indianapolis Colts..." and no one yelled anything. Another interception? Wasn't that the first one?

Amusing-ish part--the 30-something couple beside me that was acting like annoying teenagers, play fighting with each other. And contrary to whatever the lady was thinking, yes, the HUGE sliding window at the north side of the stadium was in fact closed, not opened, and no, the roof of the stadium is not made of glass. It was actually open.

Least favorite-ish part--didn't really have one. Guess what Ben...I had a great time, too. It was a rockin' date. Thanks for taking me. :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a blog of randomness...try to keep up

I think that it will be fun to write a stream of consciousness-esque, word association blog. Here's my go at it.

I have coffee breath from just drinking coffee. I now drink coffee basically every day, but only a couple of very specific ways--never black, never with milk, never with straight up white sugar, never the way that my mom does so I don't drink it much when I'm at her house. This all adds up to my ever nauseating compulsions. Frighteningly, this reminds me of my dad.

I also want to comment on Disney, Strawberry Shortcake and princess shtuff that just permeates every imaginable product in every store everywhere. I just picked up the Strawberry Shortcake blanket that Abby had been rolling around on today. It came from my niece/sister-in-law, both of whom are mega huge Strawberry Shortcake fans. It's okay to have an item or two sprinkled around haphazardly, but I forsee this as being a great challenge in my immediate future to clothe and toy my child without falling too much under the spell of Disney and all things popular. It's just not me. That being said, I saw the cuuuutest little 11-month old Minny Mouse this morning.

The World Series is on right now. a) What else is on? b) I love baseball. c) Even I, who adores all things except the Yankees and usually the Mets baseball, am tired of the baseball season being dragged out. It shouldn't take over a month to complete the playoffs. Seriously. Down with the Yankees, too.

Ben is reading a Scientific American that is all about the origin of things and is thus also telling me about these fun little facts--bones, chocolate, the uterus, and my favorite one so far--vibrators. After you get that mental picture out of your head, hear me out. The origin of the vibrator was as a medical device to cure hysteria because the "by hand" method was time consuming and tiring for doctors. No kidding. And, hysteria, in case you weren't aware already, is from the Greek word, "hyster," which basically means the female organs. And, hysteria was long thought until the 1950s even (which I didn't know it was THAT long until Ben read the article to me) to be a purely feminine disorder dealing with a malfunction of a female's reproductive organs. Dumb men who call themselves scientists.

I don't know why but I looked at that last sentence that I just typed and thought, "Shakespeare." Don't know why and have nowhere to go with this.

Toby is sprawled across me right now. It's too bad we don't have video blogging. Even if you're not a cat person because they like to sleep on your face and cuddle in your unruly hair, even you would agree that she is cute. I'm just that good that I can type ad naseum while providing cushion and support for a sleeping feline. Or maybe she is that good...

I'm tired of typing journal responses for the class that I'm taking right now. But I'm done with presentations. But I still have a big old paper to write. But I'm almost done with my Masters. But, I still have three classes (technically). Shoot.

My back hurts. I have nothing left. I lost a bet with Ben and have to rub his head. Peace out.

(Sidenote...this style of writing really reminds me of all of my other blogs. I'm thinking specifically of two entries ago, "Mom-ness," when I never wrote about what I had intended to write about and still can't remember what that was supposed to be.)

Okay, one more thing. Random Abby update--15 lb. 8 oz. and seriously adorable when she was laughing and giggling during today's partaking of pureed squash and oatmeal. You wish you had one...and Abby, that is. Too bad she's mine and I'm not very good at sharing.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Here's something I don't say enough and undoubtedly should say more

I heart my mom-in-law tonight, my MIL. Mother-in-law just sounds a bit dowdy and old fashioned and you-play-by-my-rules-or-else-you-can't-marry-my-son-a la-Edith-Wharton-era-esque to me. So I shall call her my mom-in-law, at least here.

Her real name is Jane. Jane Cox. Nothing fancy, nothing flashy. Pretty much a plain Jane in appearance but not so much in personality. No one is quite like Jane, and if you know her, you would likely agree.

I've had and continue to have my (large) share of frustrations with her. Mostly this comes from me being really super duper resistant to being parented by anyone other than my own lovely mum and dad. (No, I don't call Linda Eager "mum"...she would not so much appreciate that. There was one day in my life when I decided to mimic Nellie Olson on "Little House on the Prairie" and call her "mother." That one didn't last long in no uncertain terms.) It has taken me and continues to take me time to figure out how to be an adult and still parented in a special way by John and Linda. Heaven help Dave and Jane for all of the times that they have most likely unconsciously tried to gently parent me, via the extension of my spouse in particular. That's a unique challenge for a parent. You don't just stop being a parent to your child, but their spouse is by definition so attached to and a part of your child that you kinda have to parent them by default. Poor Dave and Jane. Did they know what they were getting into? Did they???

Jane loves people. People intimidate me. Jane loves to talk with people. I pretend like I don't see people whom I know in public so that I don't have to strike up an awkward conversation. Jane likes to share all sorts of details about her life, which means her children's lives as well, with everyone whom she is acquainted with. I have difficulty bumping into someone whom I vaguely know or recognize via Jane/Dave/Ben and having them know so many details about me. I'm a pretty private person, and I'll let you know what I want you to know about me. To have that filter removed because someone else shares details that I would not necessarily share is super uber uncomfortable for me. Ben and I struggle a bit with this. I try to be less anal about it. Ben tries to be more sensitive. But Jane, bless her young at heart mommy heart, just wants to share in the joys of her children. And she has just accepted me from day one. The first time that Ben took me out to dinner at East of Chicago Pizza to meet the judge and the mom (no kidding...try meeting your boyfriend's parents for the first time and his dad is a judge. I dated rarely before Ben, so this was a challenge anyway!), Jane has been as warm and gracious and accepting of me that she is today. That's saying a lot! I have some weird idiosyncrasies that my mom knows about and doesn't question, but seriously, I get them from her... It's a lot to ask another, sane (ish) individual to accept my quirks and love me anyway!

At this point, I realize that I sound really me me me...accept me and I'm not going to try to change. Oh not so. I have tried and tried and tried some more. I have changed. I have adapted. I have attempted to become more normal and less anal about many an issue. I have succeeded and I have failed. I still try, though. Honestly. But I also stink at it a lot. Yeah, I have 2 older brothers, but seriously...I'm pretty good at not sharing too well.

Jane frustrates me to no end sometimes, but without a doubt, 100% of the time, if I just have the chance to talk with her, I always feel better about "x" issue; it may not be perfectly resolved, but we really communicate pretty well. And you know what, I enjoy just hanging out with her. She drives me crazy sometimes, but she also teaches me much and dare I say, parents me time and time again. Really, it's not such a bad deal.

"There is...nothing to suggest that mother cannot be shared by several people." H. R. Schaffer

(Am I going to share this with her...?)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


When I was waaay preggo back at the beginning of May, I said something to the effect that staying home with Abby would feel a lot like a vacation for me and how I was really looking forward to it. My sister-in-law's mom heard me say it and just laughed at me with something of a deprecatory manner and just went, "Yeah, right..." I so hate that "You're just stupid for thinking that" attitude. It made me feel immature and foolish. Well, I stand by my earlier statement. It does feel like something of a vacation. It was everything in it that I love most--sunny mornings, mugs of hazelnut coffee enjoyed in solitude, productive morning time, and my fav little girl, ever. full time with 100+ snotty, apathetic teenagers and then go to school at night while trying to manage a full load of grading and my own homework OR what I just mentioned as some of the things that I love most. Yes! It's vacation-ish!! I love it.

Surprisingly, I might add. I never saw myself as all that stay-at-home mom-ish. But then again, I told several people in college that if I ever teach for more than 10 years, to please shoot me. I'm going into year 5 and don't see an end in sight. Partly because I'm still 2 classes and a big ol' paper away in the 2-year degree that is taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Maybe I enjoy the at-home mom role so much because it really might be my only go at it. Something else that I have never seen myself as--the mom of lots of kids. I've had kind of a 2 kid limit type of mindset for a long time, but really, I'm not even sure that I'm going to make it. It's up for debate in the distant future. I can't fathom more children at this point. I had to pop in at school a few days after Abby was born because it just so happened to be finals week and I had to verify grades. Another (female) teacher was all like, "So, you ready to have another kid yet??" implying from the general context of the conversation that childbirth was horrible. Me answering seriously--"I don't know if I'll have another." Her answering from her "lofty"-because-she-has-2-kids perch just scoffed at me with a "Yeah, right..." This was the same teacher that assured me that I would be miserable at the end of it all. Guess what you-think-that-you're-being-funny-and-helpful teacher, I wasn't miserable! I really don't know if I want more children not because labor was horrible (it wasn't!) but because I'm just so darn happy with us as we are now. There really is something to be said for just feeling complete.

This has turned into a sappy digression. Thanks for staying with me.

So I just really love having Abby. I'm sure that I've said or implied this before, but I just can't get over how good this feels. This is the coolest thing ever. And if I had to choose today whether to have another child sometime in the future or just stay as is, I really think that I'd choose Abby. But, wierdly enough, I just know that if we try to have another one, it will be a boy. And I don't want a boy personally, though they are quite lovely, I'm sure. I'm not sure why, but they just kinda freak me out a bit to be responsible for one.

I'm part of a corner group (we all sit at a specific corner) who all have babies within a month or so of each other at my weekly Mom's meeting group (really, a highlight of my week!). I have friends there! It's shocking, I know. Me, the person who is intimidated by strangers, actually has made friends with people all by myself. Half of us have girls and half have boys. Those little guys just seem so foreign to me. They're cute and all that, but ... they're not girls. I don't know how else to articulate it than that. Color me odd. Case in point--I really dig my 2 nieces. They rock and we have a blast playing together. I also have a nephew, but I just don't get him. He's not all that into me, either. I love him, but we've not really bonded yet. Maybe the timing is just wrong with him. I'm all wrapped up in Abby now and don't have as much time to learn about his little 1 1/2 year old person. So all in all, I guess God knows what he's doing and gave me a gift in more ways than one.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Things I'm Into Right Now

Every Tuesday and Thursday when I drive back from Ball State, I ponder many a point. Lately, my ponderous thoughts have vacillated anywhere from my dream house to deciding who should be Abby's legal guardian in the circumstance that both Ben and I die. Funny how I always settle on the same things to think about; maybe it's like how I always listen to the same 3 cds, but that's really because I keep forgetting to bring different ones to the car. Here's what I am rather fixated on right now, just in case you wanted to know.

I am totally totally to-ta-lly into the Emerald's Nuts Cocoa Roasted Almonds. So delish. So easy to keep in the car for my lunch break/commute.

I really dig "Mr. Pitiful" by Matt Costa. Check him out if you haven't.

I have my dream house half way blueprinted in my mind. Gorgeous kitchen WITH an island. Separate dining room. Breakfast nook attached to aforementioned gorgeous kitchen (WITH an island). Three bedrooms. Extra room for Ben's office so that we can have a guest bedroom. Library with built in bookshelves spanning two walls. Sunroom. Greenhouse. Windows windows windows everywhere. Neighbors within shouting distance but far enough away that I can walk around the house with in my underwear and no one would notice. And, it wouldn't be in Kokomo.

Coldplay makes me happy. Dave Matthews Band makes me very happy. These cds seem to always be a part of the rotation that just languish in my car's cd player. A 6-cd player really really rocks. I'm not so much into changing cds all of the time and I listen to them most of the time, so it just makes sense.

Apples. We're almost out of our 1/2 bushel that I picked on September 25th. We've never gone through that many apples so quickly before though both of us just really enjoy them. Are they particularly good this year?

Abby. I think about her a lot. I think about her clothes and what she needs.

The old model red Volvo that a professor in my building drives. It is perhaps the coolest car second only to Mini Coopers. It has eeny teeny windshield wipers attached to its headlights. So rockin' cool. And I can't trump the tiny headlight wipers, so...that' it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I remembered something else

Ball State wants to kick me out it seems. If I don't turn in records of vaccines that I undoubtedly suffered through 26 years ago, it's kaputz on the degree. Did it really take them 2 1/2 years to figure out that they have no record of my baby immunizations?

This is really nothing more than an annoyance until I realized this point. I'm going to have to get a new Tetanus shot seeing as how my last one was in May 1999, which now exceeds the 10-year booster. Big bummer. Those smart a bit if I remember correctly (facetious...they really hurt!).

Is this the only time in the history of mankind when someone had to get a Tetanus shot just to complete their Masters degree??? I'm willing to wager a penny on it.

I just wanted to post something

Ben may be able to teach our daughter all that she wants to know and more about the periodic table and momentum, but I think that I still hold the upper hand on vocabulary.

Ben: They're the only team that is without wins. Unwinning. Not winning?

Amy: Winless?

Ben: Stop being such a teacher.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The first time ever

We've lived in our house since July 2006, so 38+ months now. We have never ever ever seen a squirrel at our house in that amount of time. How bizarre! Squirrels are as numerous as cows in Indiana. When is the last time you've ever thought to yourself after a drive pretty much anywhere in Indiana outside of a city, hmm...I didn't see a cow today. Probably never since they're everywhere. As are squirrels. Everywhere! My parents even have mean little black squirrels. I'm not really all that upset that I don't have squirrels because then I have more birds. I even have a hawk who comes by and visits once in a while.

We've had bunnies.We've had other little birds who tap on the glass and just hang out in our bushes.

But we've never had a squirrel until today. And then he stole the entire head of one of my sunflowers, which he's hiding behind the fence & eventually dropped. The bugger.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My fantastic (with a capital FAN) husband

For any and all of the times when Ben and I get frustrated with each other, or we're not on the same page, Ben really rocked yesterday. Here's how it went down...

Ben coaches middle school boys & girls cross country, and this is getting on toward the end of that season. This keeps him away a lot of nights and Saturdays, like yesterday. I rely on Ben to help with the Abby-girl on those times though too so that I can get homework for my grad class done. Never once has he complained about taking care of Abby after coming home from school/cross country when I know that he's tired and just wants to sit down. I know how draining teaching all day is, and then to come home to a fussy infant...not easy! But that's not why I'm putting the FAN in Ben's fantast-cism.

Abby came down with a cold on Friday that turned into a full blown snot dripping, don't-lay-me-down-just-hold-me, sad little Saturday. We were supposed to go to a wedding in Indy Saturday afternoon/evening, which was going to be a long and probably grumpy trip for Abby anyway since we wouldn't be getting home until at least an hour after her bedtime. But we've also been putting her to bed a bit earlier than her bedtime, so even her bedtime is kinda past her bedtime. But anyway...neither here nor there.

This was a Manchester wedding, which means that anyone (you know, so to speak) who wasn't at Homecoming yesterday was going to be at this wedding...lots of friends from college. And these are all wonderful, funny, smiley people who we never see and Ben especially loves to talk to old friends. I am the very epitome of awkwardness, so I enjoy it less, but I still reallllly wanted to go, too. I also just love weddings; they're so optimistic!!

Sidenote...I was so looking forward to going that I even scheduled my haircut for Saturday morning and arranged for Ben's mom to come over to watch Abby (Ben had a cross country meet) so that I could at least have decently styled hair. For me, a haircut is really a 4-times-a-year luxury.

So Abby has a cold and it became very obvious yesterday morning that we wouldn't both be able to go to the wedding because that would have been nothing short of child abuse to take her with us and make her sit through all of that and be accosted by bright noises and lots of people and have all of her routine thrown off. She's been to 2 weddings so far and hasn't been a huge fan of either of them. Throw her beleaguered immune system on top of it and it wasn't going to be a fun times for all event. Like the adults that we are, we had a parental discussion about what to do.

Amy: We're not both going to be able to go to the wedding, and I'm going to be selfish and suggest that you stay home with Abby since it would give me the chance to get out of the house. (totally childish)

Ben: I agree. (no hesitation...totally selfless)

Not only was Ben giving up the chance to see good college friends again (and seriously, we've never felt more a part of a community than we did at Manchester) and take care of a cranky 4-month old by doing so. That's testing your parental chops and totally being the wonderful wonderful FANtastic person that I love and married. He did it for me. He wanted me to have the chance to be able to see other people and have a mental break. He knows that I love staying home with my little one, but he also knows that I needed this and that he alone could give it to me. I think that he loves me. I think that I definitely don't deserve it but glory in it anyway. I think that I picked a good one. I'm his FAN, and I hope that I can remember this the next time a grumpy moment pops up.

"Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows a person who he [or she!!] should be." Anton Chekov

Friday, October 2, 2009

How to make apple dumplings with a 4 month old, a step by step tutorial

1. Put baby down for an afternoon nap. Figure that she'll sleep for at least 2 hours since she had a rough morning where her napping was thrown off because of her 4 month well baby check-up and subsequent vaccines. Ouch.
2. Poke around on the internet for at least the first 20 minutes of her nap figuring that you have all the time you need and more. While poking, do pretty much absolutely nothing but check email for about the third time of the day and then look at the Atlanta Braves website again.
3. Strain ears to hear even the slightest peep from sleeping baby. Nothing? Proceed to step 4.
4. Pull out recipe. Since you only make these once a year, refresh your memory about how these all go together. Note that apple dumplings really consist of three basic parts--making the syrup, making the dough, cutting up the apples and assembling the dumplings.
5. Make the syrup. Easy.
6. Begin to make the dough (aka the no-turning-back-now part). Hark! A peep.
7. Try to ignore the increasing peepage coming from the other part of the house in hopes that baby will put herself back to sleep as she's only been asleep for about 35 minutes now, a bit short even by her standards. (Sidenote...this is completely wishful thinking as baby neeeever puts herself back to sleep after waking up from her afternoon nap.)
8. Lament the 20 minutes that you wasted poking around mindlessly on the internet at the beginning of baby's nap.
9. Put wooden spoon down in semi-frustration. Go check on the loud protestations and gnashing of gums issuing from the crib.
10. Try to calm irate baby. Change diaper. Feed baby. Mentally rue the oven that was started to pre-heat about 20 minutes ago. It's ready.
11. Sigh at unhappy baby, who was not mollified by fresh diaper and mid-afternoon meal. Baby demands to be held. Clingy baby will not tolerate being set down.
12. Go rummage out carrier that sister-in-law made for you as a baby shower present. Frustratedly mess with carrier, trying to figure out how to put it on and secure it and having poor success. Baby cries.
13. Attempt to work on cutting up apples with crying baby in carrier. Baby cries some more. This is not working for her but you give it a go anyway. Remove baby. This is just as well.
14. Put baby in exersaucer. Baby is satisfied just long enough only so long as you are within her sight at all times. Baby does not play, but just kind of props her head up. You sing songs to her about what you are doing. 15. Construction of dumplings complete and pans in oven.
16. Sigh.
17. Hug and soothe baby while wishing that your spouse would just come home to give you a break for a few minutes.
18. Enjoy delicious dumpling knowing that you're a multi-tasking expert.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

a blog about eating (more or less)

Sometimes, Abby has epicurean tastes, like frog legs.

Sometimes, she just likes to eat junk plastic rattles.
(The quality on this picture isn't that great for some reason?)

Regardless, her milk supply is by far her favorite. There's always some serious sucking going on when the bottle is around. It's too bad that pictures don't come with sound effects.

Abby turned 4 months old and marked the occasion with her first ever apple pickin' at the orchard trip. It was also her way cute 4 year old cousin Macy's first ever apple pickin' trip, too. Overall, fun times!

Nice, cool weather brought upon a lovely, albeit brief, nap.
This was by far my favorite apple picking trip ever, and I always enjoy going. It's so cool to share things like this with your child, even if they will never remember. I will.

I needed a mental break tonight, so I hopped over to Panera to pick up something to eat, and yay...Panera is now posting the caloric content of all of their menu items! Fantastic!! It made me feel somewhat gooder, too, that my fav sandwich is *low* on the caloric scale and my fav coffee, a hazelnut latte, is absolutely not that bad for me, forgetting the sugar content, especially compared with the super sweet carmel/mocha drinks. I love Panera!

Friday, September 18, 2009

my once-every-6-years-mood has passed, maybe

I told Ben that this information was not to leave the house, but since he never reads this, he won't know that I'm writing about it. But of course, you are also held up to the same promise. If you want to read my forthcoming revelation, you must promise not to spread this news around. I can't want to tarnish my reputation.

(Disclaimer...this blog explores the painful topic of exercise. Should you find yourself working up a sweat while reading this, please find some good, crunchy dark chocolate to calm down.)

I jogged last night. Granted, in the loosest sense of the word. There was a point on my nightly walk where I ran/shuffled from point A to point B, not once but threeeee times. Three very short times. But thrice, nonetheless. My observations were surprising, especially considering that my basic exercising philosophy entails exercise just enough to be able to eat what you want.

1. I feel heavy when I run. This is one good reason why I don't like it.
2. I did not feel nauseous or have a stitch in my side at the end of any of the three spurts. This in and of itself is amazing. The last time that I chose to attempt to jog, I experienced both. And, I was about 25-30 pounds lighter then and 6 years younger. The 20s are rougher on a person that one would expect!
3. I actually found the perfect time of day to jog, should I ever become possessed as I obviously was last night. Dusk. No one is outside anymore. No one is watching me jog/shuffle.
4. The dang earbud, which doesn't stay in well when I walk, really doesn't stay in well when I jog/shuffle.
5. I wish that I did enjoy running simply for glorious weather like we've been experiencing lately. My daily prayer--Please let me be in shape enough to run just during lovely weather. That's all I ask. Amen.
6. I can see how people dig it as a chance to wind down and clear your mind after taking care of kids and problems all day. It was somewhat, begrudgingly, mentally refreshing.
7. I might just do it again, should I find myself with an Abby free moment at exactly the right lunar moment when the temperature is just perfect.

"I believe that every human has a finite number of heart-beats. I don't intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises."
--Buzz Aldrin (this coming from an astronaut who must be in peak physical shape, which just proves that exercise is waaaaay overrated)

Monday, September 14, 2009


My thoughtful pondering of the day include a number of conundrums, including this:

Why do cats enjoy a) staring at the refrigerator and b) sleeping with their noses mere centimeters from it, even when there is a perfectly lovely patch of warm, morning sun one foot to their left?

I would have taken a picture to exemplify my point this morning, but I was busy doing something and then forgot and then the cat moved. So illustrate this one yourself.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I feel all bloggy lately

(a poem with no meter and no apparent talent)

As I strolled across the campus
on a day so bright and sunny
I spied a goodly amount of undergrads
all technologically addicted

I studied them one by one
each with thumbs a flying
with earbuds pushed in their ears
to drown the world out

A revelation I suddenly had
while walking by myself
the difference between the undergrad
and grad student quite succinct

The "younger" set so full of youth
with all their bizarro or namebrand outfits
no social status amongst their peers
unless a technology addict they be

The "wiser" group by one or two
instead of tuning the world out with music or staring at their hands
a stroll from place to place
eyes up with only a laptop to qualify them as "student"

(like tips at a coffee shop, polite snaps always appreciated)

Monday, August 31, 2009

2 more things

Oh, how could I forget?

***baby yawns

***baby stretches

Things I love

***having a super soft, downy baby head snuggled into the sensitive crook of your arm or up against your neck

***waking up a little body in the morning and have her look up at you, blink in the shadowy summer morning sunlight and smile

***walking into a quiet house where there is a babbling little girl and no signs of weeping or gnashing of gums

***tiny hands holding onto you when eating

***cooing and smiling on the changing table at 3:30 in the morning in the soft glow of a dim lamp

***a sweet little sideways smile that seems like it's meant just for you, even though you just happen to be in the line of vision at the moment that the smile errupted

***crazy splashing and nonstop smiles and chatter in the bathtub

***standing in front of the bathroom mirror with biiiiig blue eyes that are delighted at her own self

***finding her wee little diapered rump stuck up in the air when she's asleep

***an elfish little face poking out of a ducky towel that just has that sweet smellin' baby smell

***crazy, wackadoodle hair after a bath

***that wide eyed, comatose state that the little one falls into when Ben holds her as she's winding down for a nap

***sucking on three fingers at once

***seeing her learn how to do things...the first time rolling over, reaching for a favorite toy

***big, beautiful blue eyes

Friday, August 28, 2009

Side note

Abby finally weighs more than Leo. It only took 3 months to catch him...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The proof is in the pictures

My cat is socially damaged! I felt like taking pictures to prove my point since I talk about it enough. I'm a slight bit miffed that the vet insists on ruling out every other possibility before he will treat this as a social disorder, even though he tells me that is what it probably is. I watch the cat pull his hair out! It's not fleas!!

This is the best "before" picture that I could find. It was taken about...9 months ago.

This is an okay picture, taken today, of his poor, bare-to-the-skin back.

The spots on both sides...
and giving Toby some I'm-happy-cause-I-just-had-my-snick-snacks love.

Quote of the day: "I had a sophomore girl tell me today that my shirt looks like a puffy cloud." -Ben

Sunday, August 16, 2009

glad that's not my cat

My parents have been out of the "cat business" for over a year after having variable amounts of cats ever since I was approximately 5. That was basically 20 years of having cats. Four different felines have taken up permanent residence there and have also subsequently gone. After the last one, my mom was pretty emphatic--no more cats! They puke, they make messes, they get in fights, etc. She wants freedom! She wants plants inside the house! She wants to not have to leave the garage door cracked! She wants to not have litter box duties anymore! Guess who just adopted a cat this week?

Apparently, the little bugger showed up about a week ago and immediately ingratiated himself with my parentals and my four-year old niece, of course, who spends many a day at their house. Not only did my mom immediately name it and let it into the house (two big mistakes if you declare yourself to be rid of cats), but my dad (the talks-big-about-how-he-doesn't-care-about-cats-and-doesn't-care-if-they-disappeared-forever guy) brought the cute little fluffball into the house that night when my mom wasn't around and not only fed him ("What? We can't just let him starve!!") but had already begged cat food and other sundry necessities like cat litter from his sister (who is very solidly, in fact waaay too solidly, in the cat business). So now, the little puffy kitten hath been given the moniker of "Buddy" (my mom was very adamant about this one; but then again, I can't really remember her ever having the chance to name one of our cuddly critters before) and has the finest in eating, sleeping and bathrooming accomodations. Buddy is probably 3-4 months old, really fluffy and has an old department store shirt box for a litter box. Throw in a couple of Lean Cuisine containers for food and water dishes, and his run of the garage for a bedroom, and you have about the happiest, purriest, squirtiest kitten ever.

Oh, but the point of this. My mom brings him inside the house when she's around so that he can gambol and cavort at his leisure. He's often clingy (especially to my ankle & ankle bracelet) and quite enjoys chasing his tail (sometimes behind the couch...quite the feat). Basically, he's just a cute little guy who thoroughly is enjoying his new life in all of his adorable kitten-ness.

(Sidenote--we just returned from spending the night at my parents house. Yesterday, we celebrated with my family and some friends at a luau-themed party to celebrate a cancer-free diagnosis for my niece (yay!). Today, her little brother was baptized, so more celebrating and family fun times. Everyone converged on my parents' house for lunch after church. My mom takes these events very seriously. For this event, she decided to decorate cupcakes to spell out my nephew's full name and had them oh so nicely arranged on a tray.)

After traipsing across the kitchen table to watch the bird feeders, Buddy was being feisty. Mom decided to take no chances and moved the aforementioned cupcakes to a safer spot--the kitchen island. (She's totally been out of the cat business if she thought that this was a safer spot. She has an entire, fully secure, finished basement at her disposal.) Mom was doing something. I was whipping up a really mediocre breakfast (to my credit, I was trying to remember a specific recipe without aid of the desired recipe). Buddy was...

...licking the cupcakes of course (quite slurpily).

Don't worry. The tainted cupcake was replaced with a freshly frosted one. Mom claims he licked the "C"; I still avoided the "O". Lesson(s) learned: teach any new cats some table manners and seriously, don't let a feisty little bugger loose around gooey cream cheese frosting. Highly irresistible by all.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

the times, they are a changin'

I have long disliked the general greeting of "Hi, how are you?" Truly, no one answers sincerely. Okay, Jeremy VanDeeman does. But no one else. Why say something that is so vacuous and empty of meaning? But yet! I do it too. It's a habit, and one that I wish I didn't have. But then again, I really don't enjoy meeting people, so really, it's a security thing. But more on not liking new people for a different day.

Anywho. My point is that quite often when I'm asked this question, usually at church it seems, I get a bit miffy on the inside about how dull my response is. But nothing really truly happens with me much. Nothing out of the ordinary; I thrive on order and a schedule. My life is really, fairly predictable. Alas! No longer!

Hence, the times...they are a changin'. My life is not so scheduled! (But then again, it is even more so in some ways.) My life is different! It is changed! I have variance amongst my endless days of monotony and minutiae! I have stuff to talk about. (I confess, however, I still answer "fine" at church. Unless I really know the person. Then I say that I'm well.)

No job for the moment. No blase (pretend that the "e" has an accent) drive to and from a windowless room. No windowless room for that matter; I changed rooms and now have a veritable room with a view. No same old same old to bring for lunch each day. No come home, do homework for the rest of the night. No grading papers and homework assignments. No bells running my daily life. No schedule!

No paycheck (ah, there's the rub!), but still...

Basically, I'm feeling a bit sad in a I'm-missing-out-on-everything sort of way. Teachers reported to work today to begin the new school year, and shockingly, it apparently went smoothly even without me. I wonder how long it will take for me to stop checking the time each day and thinking, "Okay, I would be in 2nd period now...Alright, the bell is going to ring for lunch in a few minutes...Whoa, it's already three o'clock. I would have been home by now."

All in all, Abby and I had a great day capped by an impromptu shopping expedition and free sandwich at Arby's. I'm glad that I'm out of the loop for a few months, cause seriously, that means that I'm way more in the loop with my daughter who needs me oh so much more than some boogery teenagers. Besides, once the new-school-year smell wears off, it's not nearly as much fun.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Because we like to do things the hard way

The saga began two years ago. We went to the flooring stores, compared flooring options, had all but picked out new flooring for over 1/2 of the house. Then tragedy struck and the new flooring got put aside in favor of replacing the failing water heater. This made me mad, in a way, for 2 reasons. First, I didn't get new flooring to replace the stained stained stained beeeiiiiggggeeeee carpet. Second, no one ever gets excited about buying a new water heater. It's like spending money on a water softener or a furnace. You hate having to do it, but you just have to do it sometimes.

The saga continued over the last 2 years as we contemplated what to do with our superfluous wealth. We could do the flooring....yeah, but let's wait...but we could do the flooring...maybe we'll start saving up for it...we could do the flooring...

The saga finally reached a conclusion at the beginning of July when someone's spouse FINALLY agreed that it will be much easier to sell the house someday (maybe sooner rather than later???) if the flooring isn't stained stained stained and beeeeiiiiiigggggeeeeeeeeee. Yay. So let's load up a 6-week old and cart her around town so that we can compare and shop and compare and shop and think and compare some more. That sounds easy.

OR, we could have done this a few months or a year ago. But that wouldn't make life more challenging and altogether frustrating.

Consequently, Abby and I were somewhat banished from the premises for a couple of nights (which wasn't well thought out as far as how long we would need to be gone and then what we would need to bring with us), and the flooring wasn't quite done. And, it's still not quite done. Darn. But it looks really great what is here!! :-)

Today's blog sidenote: Abby slept 9 straight hours 2 nights ago! Good for her!! Too bad the overall exultation of waking up at 7 am instead of 3:30 am was somewhat marred by waking to the noise of a retching cat at 6 am. But I still enjoyed being in bed at 6. And Ben cleaned it up, so I won't complain.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

last post on this topic, I promise

(this will be the last post on this topic at least for a while; I promised Ben)

Okay, so seriously. The exploding poo is NOT stopping! We went up another size in diapers (thanks for the tip, Megan!). Can I just duct tape them to her back in an attempt to create an airtight seal that poo cannot permeate?

ICK! This time, it soaked through my pants and underwear. And, in some freak of nature, it barely got onto Abby's outfit despite getting alllll over my own clothing and the chair upon which we were sitting. Is this what we can expect until potty training succeeds?!? NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT EXPLODING DIAPER POO!!!! I might rescind earlier statements about vomit; poo smeared all over me might just gross me out the most. But then again, I haven't been vomited upon.

In the meantime, we're having fun throwing our legs in the air and rolling over all while making cute, pay-attention-to-me-cause-I'm-just-cute-(and smart) noises.

(The lactation consultant at the hospital where we delivered told us a story about when she just had her daughter, who is now a teenager, that she thought how unfair it was that girl babies were always referred to in diminuitive terms like "cute" and "precious" while boys get stronger adjectives like "smart." So, whenever she told her infant daughter how beautiful she was (which, I have come to discover, is impossible to avoid because it's oh so true), she always told Kate that she was smart, too. Ben and I have decided to follow her example. We do have a beautiful daughter; and she's smart, too!!)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another point of view on my previous thoughts

I look back at what I wrote a couple of days ago about baby blowouts, and I think...egads, it can get worse. Incredibly enough, a little bitty baby can create quite a bit of poo damage in the space of just a few seconds.

It begins like this: "My stomach feels oddly warm."
It continues like this: "My hand is disturbingly wet."
And then like this: "What...?!?!?"
And: "Oh good gracious. Again?"
Then: "What!!!!!!!!!!!! Ben!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need you!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Finally: "How is this possible? Where to start? There is so much poo. It's everywhere. And, why have you never done this to anyone but me??"

Today's damages include Abby's bloomers, Abby's dress, Amy's shirt, Amy's stomach (soaked through), Amy's shorts, Amy's legs (it was dripping), and the carpet! Seriously, the carpet. Talented, my daughter.

My shirt was suddenly so full of poo that is soaked through and couldn't hold more, so the excess started dripping down the front onto the aforementioned shorts, legs and carpet. Oh so gross. At least the carpet it getting ripped out in a few days because now it sports not only the multi-colored stains from the previous owners (pink, blue, brown...), the grayish wear and tear, probably some random cat puke spots, but now it has verifiable poo stains. I shudder.

Friday, July 17, 2009

stress issues

My little fluffy guy has a new (or worsened) stress disorder. Leo, my big poofy, has taken to pulling his fur out tuft after orange tuft, leaving a good sized baldish spot and a smaller, going-to-be-baldish spot on his back. Egads, this can't be good.

It took the combined efforts of Ben and me 15 minutes (two capable adults v. disgruntled cat) to get him in the cat carrier just so that I could drag him to the vet, whereupon he was combed for fleas again (still nothing) and then diagnosed with a stress/anxiety disorder.

Alas, what has brought about this hair-pulling inclination in my lovable boo? Ah, yes...there is a new little member of the fam who cries a lot. Leo has never been socially inclined, and I guess that he sees Abby as some little usurper who just won't go away. He's getting better, but he's still pulling the fur out. What's to be done? Is he destined to a life of cortizone shots or Prozac?? Those seem to be the options.

And, oops, didn't think about how the new carpet was going to send him into a mini tizzy. I found 3 clumps of pulled out fur on him yesterday, the day after the carpet came. How's he going to react to the rest of the new flooring that's going to be installed in a few days? Sigh.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Watch out for tails

Here's some miscellaneous gumbo that's been simmering on my stove lately.

***We got new carpet! We almost got it 2 (or 3?) years ago but a new hot water heater took precedence. Since then, I kept bringing it up. Ben kept putting it off. And now that we have a wee little lass, why not totally disrupt everything and throw the house into chaos??? Sounds like a plan. Or, Ben finally acknowledged that if we want to be able to sell our house some day, we should probably replace the stained, frayed excuse for carpeting that is/was in our house. So the bedroom has been transformed, and the living room is up next. We decided on wood laminate for the living room instead of carpet, which won't be installed for another week and a half or so. Ben and the neighbor are going to do it, which might inspire another post on another day depending on how it goes.

***Ben's been watching a lot of what I categorize as dumb movies lately. I guess that's what happens when you spend more time than normal in a recliner trying to feed, burp, quiet, get to sleep, or otherwise mollify a little girl. Currently, "Dragonheart"...this is the type of movie that makes me think, "I used to like Dennis Quaid and Sean Connery until now." I still like them, but my allegiance is seriously tested when I see a big, doofy dragon with the voice of Connery. Oh James Bond, how you've fallen.

***We're having issues with blow outs. And, as I discovered yesterday, a baby doesn't have to be laying down for poo to flow up and out of a saturated diaper. Four blow outs in just over a week. And all while laying on my lap or being held upright against my stomach. I even asked her to not overflow her diaper yesterday when it was apparant that she was in the process of filling it. She didn't listen, and my white tank top is no longer just white. Really, I didn't need the brown Rorschact splotch on that particular shirt. Abby is 7 weeks old now, and I'm already tired of cleaning up poo-ed clothing. Though, I dare say that no one is ever really not tired of it or happy about it. If you are, you're mental (to quote Ron Weasley).

***We're going to use our first babysitter so that we can see the new Harry Potter movie sometime soon. I kinda hate this.

***Last night as I was washing my face and preparing for bed, I was deep in thought about what to blog about today. Leo came in (ventured across the new, funny feeling, smelly carpet) to hang with me in the bathroom like he likes to do. I thought he left, turned to leave the bathroom, and promptly trod quite heavily on the poor guy's tail. This cat who normally squeeks let out a rather harsh spit. Oops. I've kicked my black cat in the dark before, but I've never walked on my cat. Lesson learned. Keep your friends close and your tails closer.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A new list for a new way of life

What I take with me to enjoy the 4th of July fireworks age 18-25:
*comfortable chair
*picnic/outdoor blanket
*something to drink/snack on
*softball & mitt to pass the time
*frisbee for the same reason
*a good friend or multiple good friends and/or Ben (who does fit into the first category but really is a category of his own, too)

What I take with me to enjoy the 4th of July fireworks age 26:
*comfortable chair (knowing that I probably won't be able to use it)
*sweatshirt (mid 60s)
*soft fleecy blanket for Abby (a picnic blanket would be just too big)
*something to drink/snack on...for Abby (granted, a given)
*diaper & wipes (not a fun way to pass the time, but refreshing nonetheless for some of us)
*rattly toys (this does pass the time, but again, only for some of us)
*a cute, little, out-past-her-bedtime-and-missed-her-bath, girl (she's also a given)

*3 diapers
*2 burp cloths
*a changing pad
*trash bag for used diapers (eww)
*2 pacifiers (a user and a spare)
*an extra onesie (no one wants to wait until returning home to change out of messy clothes)
*a light blanket for the car ride
*a stroller to soothe the (expected) wailing

It's a veritable expedition just to drive to a parking lot to watch fireworks for 30 minutes. It takes planning (when to eat...before? after? during?) and luggage (albeit, cute Vera Bradley luggage). She was hungry and therefore grumpy. It's a pain to try to feed her in the backseat when you share it with a car seat and have limited room. We waited and waited and waited. She wailed and fussed and was generally unhappy, which makes me unhappy that she's uncomfortable.

And then we figured out that the fireworks were postponed one night because of the drizzle (seriously...drizzle). Ironic. Aggravating, but mostly ironic.

"Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on." Samuel Butler (ah, the return of the quote)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another sign that I'm not really a gardener

Okay, two more signs.

#1: I *had* a gorgeous, bright green, lush (if such is possible) aloe starter plant given to me by Ben's mom from her own established plant. Mine, wierdly enough, soon overtook hers for gorgeousness. We both tend to let our plants sit and forget about them a bit, so I can't claim any aloe plant competence here, but they are somewhat hard to kill, for which I am thankful. I gave another plant (another gift) a sunburn. Maybe I should have rubbed some aloe on it to help with the sting.

You can, actually, kill an aloe plant when you put it in the back of the family vehicle and then let Ben (he's a maniac, maaaaniaac, for suuurreeeeee) drive. It fell over. It dumped out. It fell apart. It basically had no root system, and my big, gorgeous, lush plant fell apart into lots of little aloe plant clumps. All the Ben's horses and all the Ben's men couldn't put aloe plant back together again. About half of it got put back in the pot and now it looks...transplanted. Brown, limp, sickly, not lush. And I love the word lush. Maybe one day it will be lush again. I say that this is a sign that I'm not a gardener because yes, it was my decision to let the poor aloe plant fend for itself in the back of the family car. Unloved. Not buckled in. Allllll byyyyy itselllll-e-elllllffffff. And now it looks pathetic again.

#2: I have been outside exactly once this summer doing anything worth anything. I basically just plant things and then forget about them. My thistles and weeds tend to overshadow my plants. But, I do have very hearty, healthy thistles.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Day in the Life (guest blogger)

Given the invite, I've decided to document a day in the life of me. And, with some helpful assistance, I'm adding pictures to prove how fascinating my day to day life truly is. Actually, instead of fascinating, dare I say...luxurious. At any rate, enjoy.

4 a.m. My day starts early. In fact, I'd already been up once or twice on this particular day for about 2 hours or so. At this point, I've already eaten (mmm), had my diaper changed (I love the fresh fresh feeling of a clean diapy), and am hanging out for a few minutes as I'm getting ready to nap (note the heavy eyes). I loooove stretching, too; I especially love stretching right after the aforementioned eating and diaper change (I just feel that good). Outfit #1

7 a.m. I got to eat again (mmm), which again made me sleepy. Notice my stuffed friends. They give me something to look at when I get a little bit of alone time. The caterpillar rattles. He's kind of fun. He was a particular favorite of my cousins', I hear.

8 a.m. This is the outfit that Daddy chose for me today. But, Mommy didn't really like it. It's not exactly my color (or fit), I guess. Accomodating as I am, I did my part and promptly made a mess when Daddy had my diaper off. Hehe. Outfit #2

10 a.m. New outfit ("So Sweet"...this shade of blue is a nice color for me, I think) yet lack of blanket underneath me. This can only signify one thing--spit up. An unfortunate occurence that doesn't really seem to bother me all that much. It's not like I do the laundry. This is some of my "just me" time. Outfit #3

See...I told you that the caterpillar is kind of cool.

11 a.m. I tired of the alone time. Really, I'm a cuddler and really just want to be held 95% of my day. Obviously, Daddy gave in to my demands.

I feel limp. Ergo, I am relaxed. Utterly and completely.

1 p.m. Daddy finally got a shower and a fresh change of clothes. He came back in time to help out when I was fussing. Really, I was just tired and needed a comfortable position. This is a particular favorite when I'm unhappy. I'm really good at holding my head up for long moments at a time, though you can't see that in this picture. My little outfit is unbuttoned cause I just got my diaper changed, and Daddy was trying to let my little belly button stump get some air (it hadn't fallen off yet...ewww). Mommy loves my little frog legs when I'm in this position.

A little later... I'm a bit of a trickster, and like to leave little suprises for Daddy, especially. His shirts are particularly nice to spit up on. It's just about a daily occurence with him. I've only felt the need to spit up on Mommy once or twice. Maybe I'll be nice to Daddy tomorrow...Happy Father's Day.

5-ish p.m. Mommy reads a lot with me. She finally figured out how to read while I eat, too (no idea why it took her so long to learn this skill). She found time for a shower today, too, but the hair didn't get dried.

7 p.m. Another feeding, another fresh diaper, another moment with Daddy while Mommy does something else. I love him.

8 p.m. More Mommy time. More reading. Falling asleep. Outfit #4

8:30 p.m. Every once in a while, I will sleep by myself during the day. And when I do, I epitomize cuteness...and froggy legs.

10 p.m. Laying on Mommy's lap...this is my I'm-filling-my-diaper (yet again) look.

Ready for another night of cuddles and a snack or two throughout the wee mornin' hours. All I need is my sleep sack and sockies.