Monday, December 15, 2008

December Twelve-of-Twelve

i'm not doing well this fall/winter with the whole blogging thing, or with the whole twelve-of-twelve thing, either! i anxiously awaited december 12th, only to have my memory erased at 11:59pm on the 11th and not think of it again until yesterday. what's up with that?! so, instead of the usual, present my december 12-of-12:

Friday, November 14, 2008

november's 12-of-12

several days late in posting my 12-of-12, but when you take into account how long it's been sincei posted at all, it doesn't seem so bad, now does it?

something so funny to me: i printed out my text to review for typos and found none. then, after i'd printed it onto the cardstock (no going back), i re-read the first sentence: "Once again, I did not beat Timmy up." lol!

what i meant to say was that i failed to wake up before timmy. but i suppose the other possible meaning is also true. i did not assault my little guy, either. once again. :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

October's 12-of-12

october's 12-of-12 was fraught with difficulties. for example, i forgot about it for an hour or two first thing in the morning. then, i forgot again mid-day. then, my camera battery went dead because i forgot to charge it.

ah, well, i improvised, and here's my layout:

quite the artist, aren't i? :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

so much to say . . .

well, this blog certainly isn't doing its job of recording all my memories. stinkin' blog. when will they come up with one that just pulls the data out of my mind and updates itself daily? that's the blog i want!

today is october 12th, which of course is twelve-of-twelve day! i remembered yesterday. and forgot by this morning. but i recovered quickly when i saw susan's email. so i'm taking pictures of my life today. my boring, house-is-not-tidy life.

also, i plan to work on my week 2 layouts for cz's design your life class. i finally finished week 1 the other day. this first one is a 12x12.

and this 8.5x11 2-page spread (and not a very good scan).

i am so insanely proud of myself! for actually finishing the first assignments, yes, but also for my newly developed ability to put all my worries and obsessiveness aside and just do it! it always takes me forever to come up with any idea and then i obsess about it and about the paper and everything else until it's just torture. not this time, baby! i am going to jump right in every week. the topics of my assignment pages almost don't matter to me. i do not need the "perfect" topic. i'm learning about design. my pages will slowly but surely become more perfect as i go along.

in other news . . . preschool. ugh. timmy is engaged in a battle over who rules timmy. thursday when i went to pick him and ethan up, i passed ms. brenae, our classroom helper, who said timmy politely told ms. abby (another helper), "i will not cooperate with you." (big sigh) as it turns out, he did eventually do what ms. abby wanted him to do. but only after he'd made it clear he was doing it on his terms. (heaving another big sigh)

oh! the weather has been so nice here lately that the boys and i drive with our windows down - especially when we go past the several blocks of street construction on the way to wal mart. they love to see which piece of equipment is working and which workers might be taking a break at that moment. aaaaaaanyway, the other day we were driving along with the windows down. timmy rested his foot up on the door's armrest and said sweetly, "look, mommy, i'm just like you - one of my leg whiskers is blowing in the wind!" God love him.

Friday, September 26, 2008

expanding vocabulary

timmy's new favorite word?


no kidding. it's true. "boodWAH! boodWAH!"

thank you, cash cab.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

timmy's first field trip

timmy's preschool went to the zoo yesterday. because friday is not a normal preschool day for timmy and ethan, i debated whether to go. my cousin vicki, who works in a kindergarten class, warned me that field trips are very different from family outtings. she said you have to zoom through everything at top speed.

she wasn't kidding! but first, we waited. and waited. at the gate, with the zoo stuff in sight. we waited for one of the teachers, i think. finally, after about 15 minutes (an eternity to a 3yo and a 4yo), ms. brooke gave up and we got to go in. ethan and timmy had busied themselves digging in the dirt, but i called out, "smile, guys!" ethan is always ready to have his picture taken. timmy? not so much.

i could share pictures of the boys looking at elephants, chimpanzees, gorillas, giraffes, otters, meerkats (love 'em!) and many other animals. but i couldn't take many. mostly because my little guy is used to strolling through the zoo in super slow-mo, reading every placard, getting to know each animal, drinking from each water fountain (shudder) and splashing through each and every puddle. but that's not how we do things on a field trip. vicki was right - we flew through each exhibit. causing many a tear and many a tantrum.

about halfway through, during a potty break, timmy had reached his breaking point. he informed me he just needed a little break.

much to the detriment of my back's health and happiness, i carried timmy most of the rest of the way until lunch time. please keep in mind, timmy (and ethan, for that matter, although he is such a compliant child that he rarely complained all morning) is unused to going so long without food and water. i usually give them one or two snacks between breakfast and lunch. nuts, raisins, cheese, yogurt, juice. good stuff. and they are never without their water. until the zoo trip.

ah, but lunch time finally came. they were both starving! the could barely contain their excitement when ms. brooke announced we'd be heading toward the pavillion to eat. at home, we do the occasional burger king or make chili dogs, but mostly we eat a big supper-type meal.

this may be why, when ms. brooke and some helpers started passing out our turkey and cheese sandwiches, carrot sticks and and juice boxes, timmy and ethan looked like this (captions suggested by my brother, ethan's dad):

Sunday, September 14, 2008

i am an indian princess

like my friend moon ko, one of the photos in the yearbook yourself options shows an exact replica of a hairdo i myself sported at one time.

i was not in high school, however. i was in kindergarten. while i do admit i looked pretty stinkin' cute in my little bouf, let me take you below the surface. read on, my faithful friend, for a story rife with mystery, tragedy - and comedy.

on this fateful friday, about a week into the school year, our class was to dress like indians. i'm sure we must have been learning about native american culture, but the lesson has been lost to me. buried deep beneath the horror.

my mother took so long doing my hair that morning, even though i was impatient and excited. she had no reason to hurry. she only had one girl's hair to worry about. and she was not a gentle hair stylist, either. my hair follicles still cringe in abject terror at the memory of their morning torture sessions.

when mom finally finished her masterpiece, i could hardly contain myself as i raced to the bathroom to behold what i was sure would be the most beautiful indian princess ever. long, flowing black tresses interwoven with the feathers we'd been given. maybe a few wildflowers, too.

but when i gazed into those marbled mirror tiles covering one wall of the bathroom, all i saw was a huge light brown bouf with the curl at the bottom resting on my shoulders like a stole of shame, a yellow polka-dot bow perched precariously right above the bangs. i stared, frozen in open-mouthed shock, for several seconds before i could tear myself away.

i stumbled, sobbing, back down the hall to where my mother now worked to dress one of my younger brothers. "i-, i-, i- "

"what? what's wrong?! did you hurt yourself?"

"noooooooooo. (sob, choke). i'm su-su-supposed to b-b-be an indian p-p-prinnn-cessss!" and i dropped my pathetic face into my little hands and wept.

my mother, ever resourceful, picked up one of the feathers, stuck it into the top of my bouf and declared, "there. now you're an indian princess. go get your shoes on."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

september's 12-of-12

i finished my september 12-of-12 layout in record time! (this will change, come january, when i will abandon this super-simple layout and begin shamelessly scraplifting some of the other layouts i've seen there.) once again, by mid-morning, i completely forgot to take pictures. but i did remember gain right at the end of supper time. i also forgot a self-portrait again. oh, well.

we didn't leave the house all day. hurricane ike, along with the tropical depression (can't remember its name) off the west coast of mexico, has wreaked havoc here in kansas.

nothing like texas - i'm not whining or comparing our plight to theirs. i'm just saying it's been really rainy here and that'll continue for another week or so. which means we will not have much time to play outside. which means (again, i'm not trying to compare my teeny problems with those who've had to leave their flooded homes) we will most probably have time-out-o-rama at our house. our little guy needs his outside time. i'm not opposed to a little fun in the mud, but not all day every day! or maybe . . .

Friday, September 12, 2008

what a day already!

today is the 12th of the month. 12-of-12. i could fill my page with pictures of temper tantrums and time-outs. maybe even if today were 30-of-30, lol. but i'm determined to keep my patience and my good humor. i have taken just one photo of one time-out.

yesterday i finished my pre-work layout for cathy zielske's "design your life" class at big picture scrapbooking. it was torture, i'll be honest. even though we were given exact measurements, colors and basic layout (nine squares).

my scanner isn't twelve inches wide, so i scanned from one edge, then from the other and combined them in photoshop elements. i wonder how other people do that . . .

i'm still worried i will not be successful in this class. i have an abstract picture in my mind of exactly how i want my pages to look and what i want them to "do," but rarely can i translate that idea into reality. (much like how i cannot translate the precise mathematical calculations i make on the golf course into a long straight drive.)

by the end of this class, i expect to know a lot about design. i also expect to have a much higher level of scrapbooking comfort. i want to be able to put a photo and story down on paper in a pleasing manner and in a reasonable time frame and with a minimum amount of emotional discomfort. that's it! so, cz, don't fail me!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

girliness lost

i don't know what it is about me these last few days, but i've been emotional, sentimental, nostalgic. thinking deep thoughts about so many things, past and present. for example, i've been lamenting the fact that i grew up with no sisters. no girlie influence at all.

having four brothers, all the tv i watched was that which appealed to males. shows like "the incredible hulk," "a-team," westerns. i don't even know the names of any shows with a female audience from that time period.

playing with dolls? i had some barbies, but my brothers' g.i. joes usually blew them up. or they buried them in the yard. or hung their severed heads by their hair from the clothesline. i did get a holly hobby bicycle for my birthday one year, but by the end of summer, she'd been disassembled for parts for various violent experimental machines.

farewell, hollie. you are missed.

polishing nails, playing dress-up, putting on make-up? huh-uh. nope. i didn't even feel like i was "allowed" to dream of prince charming and a fairytale wedding. i would have been laughed at for sure. and no girl-emotions, either. no crying, no female drama.

when added to our frequent moves, this equals a serious retardation of the ability to make girlfriends. not the desire; just the ability.

i made my first girlfriend in seventh grade. she moved away. and so, coincidentally, did we. i missed most of the eighth grade due to illness, but the summer before ninth grade, i really "blossomed," as they say - got boobs and hips and had great hair and learned how to use make-up to my advantage.

i became friends with the sister of one of the boys who liked me. butch and beverly (and bev's boyfriend) and i were inseparable. such intense but innocent good times. then . . . we moved away. (note: bev and i now live about an hour apart and we see each other every year or so, although we email back and forth frequently.)

i can't remember exactly how i met angela, but we became bff's. we had a lot in common, but were different enough to be interesting to each other. our friendship cooled a bit when we both moved twice more before graduation. but we went to the same college and jumped right back into our friendship. then, toward the end of our sophomore year, something happened. a gradual distancing at first and then someone told me she'd said horrible things about me. i never asked her if it was true. but i think about angela often. i wonder what happened back in college. i wonder how her life turned out. if she's happy.

fast forward to today. my cousin vicki and i've been best friends since we've lived in the same town since 1992. i made two very good girlfriends after hiring them, debbie at one company and susan at the next. then i became friends with susan's sister sharon. susan and sharon remain good friends and may be the first women, other than vicki, who i've felt i could confide my truths to.

what's the point of all this? i don't . . . know. i think there may be no point at all. but if there were a point, it would be that tomorrow is my very first ever pedicure appointment. tim gave me a gift certificate two birthdays ago and i'm finally using it, due in part (maybe wholly due) to my recent yearning for the girliness i should have had growing up. and i am so incredibly nervous about it. dumb, but true.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

emotional day

i am exhausted today. tired and cranky. my eyes feel sandy and they're red and puffy. and did i mention i feel fat and homely? ah, it's one of those emotional days. so lovely.

but while i'm all crabby, i'm also feeling appreciative. i got to see the kids (minus michelle) this weekend. good stuff. and i have a great husband. i would appreciate him more, i suspect, if he were more like dr. mcdreamy on grey's, but he's ok, i guess.

just last night, he brought me a chocolate malt. and i didn't even tell him i was feeling "snacky." (note to self: this chocolate malt consumption does not help with the whole chubster thing.) and, come to think of it, he brought me a happyccino yesterday morning when he came home from work, too, because i'd been up several times in the night with timmy, who caught a cold from preschool. yup. good guy.

i am not appreciative of my hair. or that big mole on my cheek! or my planning skills, as we decided last minute to get pictures taken at one of those drop-in places. it would have been nice to have a picture of us in dressy clothes. and maybe i could have done something with my hair and maybe put on some makeup.

i am, however, appreciative of preschool. i am alone right now. and my home is utterly silent, except for the sound of my wind chimes on the front porch and the patio in back. ahhhhhhh . . .

Sunday, August 24, 2008

coffee break

friday was errands day. we went to the library. returned some books, checked out some books. (i am currently in love with llama llama mad at mama. also, i am so excited that we'll be getting scholastic book order forms from preschool each month. i miss them! when looking over our first one, which we received on "meet the teacher" day, i immediately noticed llama llama and his little pouty lip. so, i was glad to see the library had a copy.)

and, as always, timmy is in love with the little plastic coffee service at the table in the children's library. we sat and had a cup o' joe or two before we left and when it was time to go, timmy asked me so sincerely why he doesn't have a coffee pot at home. since wal mart was our next stop, i decided we'd look for one.

i know it exists because the library has one, but i could not find a regular, plain ol' plastic coffee/tea pot and cups! however, we did find one blue one amid the mountains of pink. it was a cinderella tea service. timmy fell instantly in love. so we bought it. and timmy interrupted his important work as a police officer, a firefighter, an ice road trucker and a dishwasher to have many relaxing coffee breaks, complete with plastic chocolate chip cookies and "dog food" (pecans, walnuts & raisins) in his "dog dish" (a plastic gold-panning pan). and he always made some for me, too. quite the gentleman, that boy.

please note the camouflage shorts, rifle, wal mart smiley-face sticker and look of satisfaction.

tim did not instantly fall in love. in fact, he offered to return it to wal mart while timmy napped and find a camping coffee pot and cups instead. he smugly asked timmy's opinion: did he want this cinderella coffee pot . . . or a camping coffee pot and camping mugs just. like. daddy's? timmy chose cinderella. no hesitation. poor tim. but the rifle's gotta count for something, right?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

pre-formal education angst

two days from now is the official "meet the teacher" day at timmy's new preschool. yikes! we've already met his teacher, miss brooke, earlier in the summer, but this official meeting marks the end of his toddlerhood and the beginning of his preschoolhood (is that a word?)

i haven't even gotten over the end of his babyhood yet and now he's starting his formal education. look at him - does he look like he should be leaving his mommy for 3 hours twice a week already?  

well, after he helped me make bierocks sunday, i admit i may have been ready for 3 hours of timmylessness. but only so i could clean my kitchen. i swear!

note: my sister-in-law, taryn, is to blame for the end of my baby's toddlerhood. my 4yo nephew, ethan, needs preschool this year so he'll be ready for kindergarten next year. oh, he's smart as a whip and already knows a lot of things, but he has trouble with transitions. and since our school district just went to all-day kindergarten (don't even get me started on that mess!), he really needs the help . . . but, back to the  point: stinkin' taryn! since ethan stays with me while his mom and dad are working . . . well, it didn't seem fair to take ethan to preschool and not let timmy go, too. stinkin' taryn.

i've had this undefined dread about preschool for a couple months now. even as i type this, it's not yet defined (although my hope is it will be by post's end). i am not so much worried about him being away from me for the first time (except for 3 days of vbs this summer, during which he did just fine) because he is not a clingy, needy boy. i am sad for me, of course, but that's not it, either. he is polite and respectful and he gets along well with other children, but he's not timid, so i'm not worried he be a bully or be bullied. 

no, i think it's . . . i'm worried about whether he will learn there. he's done just fine here at home with me. he knows, by sight and verbally, all the letters of the alphabet and all the sounds each letter makes. he can identify which letter "makes the beginning/middle/ending sound" of most words. we accomplished this through playing with foam bathtub letters and just talking about words and letters throughout the normal course of our day. we learn about animals and airplanes and money and books and history and . . . we just learn. as we go about our regular activities, while we're in the car. that's how kids learn at home, right?

but this preschool . . . it seems a little . . . weird. i wouldn't have chosen it (stinkin' taryn). the parents' manual doesn't mention much about regular school-type topics. they don't do worksheets. they don't practice writing or cutting paper with scissors. instead, there is a lot of information about avoiding gender stereotyping and about "cultural inclusiveness" and self-esteem. is this what school is about now? if not, why is this what preschool is about?

i want timmy to learn to read and write. i want him to learn proper grammar. and math. and history. government. literature. science. critical thinking skills. maybe a foreign language or two. you know. the things i learned in school and the things that will help him succeed in college and adult life. self-esteem, et al? let us handle that at home.

i swear, if i had more than one child at home now, i would seriously consider homeschooling. our neighbors when andrew and tori were little homeschooled their kids and they turned out well-educated, well-mannered and well-adjusted.

but, all this (admittedly, self-created) drama may turn out to be no big deal. because timmy's birthday is in february, he won't be eligible for kindergarten for two more years. next year, when ethan is already in kindergarten and timmy's good and crunchy (i picture the preschool administration wearing birkenstocks and pookah shell necklaces - i sure hope that is just my imagination!), i can send timmy to a more traditional preschool. but at least i feel better now that i've droned on and on about my worries. thank you, bloggy-blog!

Monday, August 18, 2008

designing my life

i signed up for cathy zielske's design your life class at big picture scrapbooking! i'm nervous and excited. i'm alternately filled with doubt and squealing with anticipation.

when cz first announced the class, i really, really wanted to do it. but then i talked myself out of it. the money. the commitment. my lack of scrap-esteem. and then i just forgot all about it. until my sista-girl moon asked if i was taking the class.

tim's all for the class, especially since i don't have to go anywhere to take it. back when i was still a full-time wage earner and working so much my family rarely caught sight of me, it was tim who requested i get a hobby in the hopes i'd gain some balance. now . . . if i had my old paycheck, i might be as obsessed with my hobby as i once was with my work, lol!

but, speaking of my current obsessions . . . i've got to record this little timmy story before i forget:

over this summer, we've developed a new habit. maybe not a great one, but a fun one. we eat dinner on our bed while watching "ice road truckers" on the history channel. last week, tim bought timmy some "ice road ice cream dots" for dessert. last night tim was working and timmy and i had bierocks. but i digress.

timmy asked me yesterday while we were eating, "are you married to daddy?" i acknowledged it and he said, "i want to marry you, too." i know every little boy wants to marry his mommy at about this age, but it still melted my heart. ah, i love that little guy!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

the kind of day (week) i'm having

i finished my 12-of-12 layout for august. and a couple hours later i removed it from the scanner to put it into the album and i read it. oh, boy. i got the date right! but, my journaling sounds like it was written by an esl student. i flipped two pictures around. i left the end of one sentence off. i misspelled many words.

but you know what? it is, as written, an accurate portrayal of my day. my real life. one day many years from now, my descendents will read this page and know their grandfather and great-uncle drove me crazy on august 12, 2008. and that my house was a mess.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


yesterday, i used my entire harvest of tomatoes (upside-down tomatoes, remember?). to make blt's. for one meal. my tumbling tom produced five grape-tomato sized tomatoes and three cherry-tomato sized tomatoes. my two early girl plants have produced the five big (well, comparatively - they're bigger than the tumbling toms . . . a little bigger than golf balls, a little smaller than tennis balls) tomatoes, plus the three still green on the vine. 

ah, the fruit of my labors:

my entire summer harvest

i don't know why they look so spotty here - they were deLISH! and although it might sound like a big waste of time to nurture three tomato plants all summer in exchange for such a paltry harvest, i'm still happy. my herbs (in the tops of the hanging baskets) really did well! they're so pretty growing, particularly the oregano (which i have decided i do not like to cook with as much as with dried). the tomatoes might have needed a deeper basket. more room for roots might have meant more tomatoes.

i will beg tim to put in (and care for) a "real" garden next year in the back yard, but i think i'll continue to grow herbs in hanging baskets each year. maybe i'll even try to bring them inside somehow for the winter, even though my kitchen garden experiment from last winter failed miserably. (my mom, ever my unconditional cheerleader, says the problem was probably the seeds.)

other highlights of the day yesterday . . . i was able to sit in a lawn chair outside. sitting at all is an accomplishment, but in the slouchy lawn chair? oh, yeah. my little guy was desperate for some outside time!

he and ethan hunted for buried treasure (chuck e. cheese coins) in the gravel pile, went to "the dump" with many loads of "garbage" (leaves and sidewalk chalk) in the dump trucks and discovered a new species (three caterpillars i found eating my italian parsley leaves!). why, oh, why did i not take even ONE photograph of the day's activities? what a shame.

but i'm making up for it today, because today is the 12th of august. 12-of-12, baby! documenting my everyday life. the life i'd better get back to right now, since timmy has NO clean underwear and both boys are starving . . .

Sunday, August 10, 2008

sweet nothings

i like to know the stories of how couples met and fell in love, but i think the stories behind pet names are even more interesting.

tim, my wonderful husband who has had a happyccino waiting for me when i woke up each of the past two mornings, mostly calls me sweetie. (i secretly believe that's a left-over from his wild and woolly teen years, when it may have been somewhat difficult to remember each girl's exact name.) but he also calls me his little flintstone feet girl. (i have very tiny feet, but they're wide and my toes are short.) lovely, no?

he also calls me his jolly green giant because i always think i'm much taller than i am, especially in comparison to him. (i'm almost 5'5" and he's 6'2". but it feels like we're almost the same height.)

when i was still a working woman, i wore my hair short. andrea, my stylist at the time, did whatever the heck she wanted with my hair - i had no say, but neither had i the time to worry about it. once, she cut it SO short and put SO much goop on it that when tim saw it, he began calling me his little chemo girl. mildly offensive, but what could i do?

tim has also been known to tilt the lampshades in the living room and close the miniblinds behind the sheers a little bit (i keep them closed at night and all the way up in the daytime) so that i will fix them when i walk through. again and again. and he thinks it's funny to call me his little ocd girl. nice.

rod and vicki call each other "babe." that's it. no imagination, i say. but at least it's nicer than "old lady," which is what lonnie calls sandra.

tori told me yesterday that her boyfriend todd calls her his little black-footed pachyderm. what the?! alas, there is a reasonable explanation. todd can never remember where he parked his car at the mall or a restaurant, but tori never forgets (it is said elephants never forget). tori has had a life-long aversion to wearing shoes. her friends from school called her "hobbit" because of it. and, as she explained, her feet often are filthy by the end of the day (thus, she is black-footed). he also calls her his baby elephant. now that i know the story, i think both are sweet.

tim and i used to, when we were young and carefree and had time to shop together, make up life stories for strangers in the store. part of the fun was imagining what their pet names for each other were. it's just this moment i realized we don't do that anymore. when i see him tomorrow, i'm going to convince him to take me to lunch (at fiesta, of course) and then i'm going to inquire as to whether he'd like to imagine our neighbor's pet names. i will report back.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

where to begin?

last night was the first time i'd been upright in days. cleaning the stupid bedroom closets and doing the dumb laundry pulled a stinkin' muscle in my back. i've never injured my back before, but let me tell you - i will never again make a nasty (albeit under my breath) comment about someone whose back "went out."

by friday afternoon, though, i was up and showering and dressing for my youngest brother's wedding. the one i missed going to chicago for. (which was the right decision, dang it.) i hardly know the bride, but i like what i do know. and of course i love josh. and all my brothers were groomsmen. a chance to see my brothers (particularly lonnie) in tuxes comes along only once a decade or so. oh! funny story that should live in our family's history forever: when ethan saw karissa (the bride) in her flowing white gown, he whispered in awe to taryn, "mommy . . . is that . . . God?" love that kid.

please note i included for your viewing pleasure not only the wedding party, but also the seats in front of where i was precariously perched, as well as the shoulder, hand and lovely blue hair of a grandmother. i'm here to serve.

i could barely walk and sitting upright was SO hard. even though i'd doped up on my two pills and some extra tylenol in preparation for the event. also, i was shaky. very shaky. causing all my snapshots to be blurry, among other problems. i've never, ever used illegal drugs. or legal drugs illegally. or even legal drugs ill-advisedly. i use drugs of any kind very sparingly and cautiously because you just never know. you know? but i imagine that head-covered-with-wet-towel-and-eyes-straining-to-see-through-vaseline-curtains-while-room-is-spinning feeling must be what it feels like to be high. and why would anyone ever do that to themselves on purpose?? aaaaaaaanyway, back to the point: i was stiff, sore and shaky. and today when i looked at my sd card, i was way disappointed in the low-quality and often strange shots i took.

but not all the strangeness was my own. my brothers were directly responsible for much of it. for example, the ol' "captain morgan" shot was choreographed by lonnie. and who was i to deny him?

and how about this one, entitled "stoics." tom suggested it, and i think it works (even overexposed and somewhat blurry).

Monday, August 4, 2008

a wild hair

by the end, the hair on my head will most certainly be a little wild (it is humid, as well as 104 degrees today, which results in corkscrews and general frizziness), but what i really mean is that i've got a crazy obsessive idea in my head that i cannot stop myself from acting upon. you know - a wild hair.

you see, my bedroom is a pit. and i can. not. tolerate. it! not one moment longer. i dreamed last night that i got a new bedroom. beautiful hardwoods with a gorgeous wool berber rug and nothing visible save my sparsely-yet-comfortably-clad bed. and then i woke up and tripped over tim's book on the way to the bathroom. i need (need!) a calm, serene, orderly, clean bedroom. my husband? not so much.

my husband . . . oh, it raises my blood pressure just to think about it . . . is a pack-rat. he loves stuff. he loves multiples of his stuff. he loves his stuff and their multiples to remain accessible to him in any area of the house. when he and i met, we were like long-lost soulmates. it took a few years for our few differences to become obvious. and this thing with stuff? it's a big one.

used to be, it was just tim's closet and dresser drawers that were chaotic and scary. i'd bravely venture in twice a year or so to clean and organize them. not because he asked me to, no. huh-uh. he would prefer i stay out of his things. no, the pressure would just build within me until i felt i could no longer survive unless i cleaned, sorted and organized his areas. then, ever so slowly, the madness began taking over our home. our lives. i may be exaggerating. but if i am, it is to such an infinitesimal degree that it may as well be the whole unvarnished truth.

anyway, i gradually got more and more discouraged and finally gave up. and now, my room is horrible.

i should note that tim fully intends to hang up every shirt, to put every tie in the tie holder, to put every pair of boots and shoes away on his shoe shelves in his closet, to put every ball cap away in his ball cap holders, to throw away the (insane amount of) pocket stuff he arrives home with each day. but he never gets around to it. then, he begins to think of the piles as storage devices in their own right. he really, truly cannot understand why i get so upset about it.

but today? today i can conquer anything! i have a wild hair on my side! i've already got two bags of clothes to send to goodwill. i had to stop to feed the kids lunch and put them down for a nap . . . and take a manic-typing break because i was close to passing out from heat exhaustion (have i ever mentioned our house is old and so is our heating and air conditioning unit? and that our really big bedroom has ONE really small vent? yeah. we freeze in our room in winter and boil in summer.) but now i'm cool and still possess my wild hair.

i'm off! please pray for me. and if i do not emerge before nightfall, please send help.

Friday, August 1, 2008

what is this "blog" of which you speak?

as i go about my day and do the things i do, i frequently think, "oo! i should blog about that!" then, when i finally get a chance to get online (not often, since it's 100+ degrees every day and i do NOT want my hot laptop on my already hot lap outside), i read all the blogs in my ever-growing list. and those posts remind me of some story and i think, "oo! i should blog about that!"

but when i finally navigate over to my page, all those ideas seem so dumb. and boring. boring is a horrible thing to be; boring to oneself is even worse! but i don't want to be fake, either. what if i develop alzheimer's and my journals and blog are the only memories i have? i don't want to "remember" something untrue. (although . . . if i weren't going to know any better, maybe i should start planting exciting tales to entertain my elderly self . . . something to think about, at least.)

so, boring wins. timmy and i and taryn, ethan and new baby michael went to lunch today. timmy ate FIVE broiled flounder filets and most of my rice pilaf (which was much more delicious than his rice pilaf, as it turns out), as well as all the tomatoes and cucumbers from my salad. ethan ate a bunch of clam strips and not a veggie in site. what those two eat is very important to us, because they're both skinny. boring, but true.

also: michael (whom i call "mr yakimoto" now and whom i fully intend, against his mother's wishes, to call "mikey" later on) is so stinkin' cute! he's a crabby little old man in a tiny baby body. he has taryn's eyebrows. on her, they're just regular ol' eyebrows, but on him? SO adorable! especially when he's mad - his eyes squish closed, his forehead wrinkles up and his eyebrows stick straight out. a nephew is not like one's own child - not at all! - but his grouchy little eyebrows still make my heart jump a little in my chest.

here are a couple pics of him at two days old.

one with daddy:

and one with mommy

see those eyebrows?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

mah bay-bee is growing up!

we visited preschool today. (sob)

timmy poopied in his potty seat of his own free will yesterday evening, with no prompting from us. even though we have a "meet the teacher" group scheduled august 21st, we called to ask if we could drop in today as a reward for such wonderful big boy behavior.

we arrived and were escorted to miss brooke's classroom. timmy was inexplicably shy and whispered his greeting. then he noticed the sink. a kitchen-style sink at his height. with a magic faucet (just waive your hand beneath and the water comes on). he asked, "may i please wash my hands?" he found no bar soap, so miss brooke talked him through the pump and the magic faucet and the paper towel dispenser and the waste bin.

miss brooke also introduced him to the class caterpillar. whom timmy poked and almost squished. out of love, though. love; not malice.

then timmy noticed the bin of dinosaurs.

and the bin of tinker toys.

and the bin of cars.

and the reading area, where i read a book about emergency vehicles to him (but skipped four of every five pages, b/c that was one long book!) and miss brooke promised to read "chicka chicka boom boom" (a very fun book) at the "meet the teacher" event.

timmy was well-behaved even though he wanted to see it all and do it all. i was proud of him.

but my baby! (sob) he's growing up! (sob) i'm not ready! (sob)

i suppose it's a good thing he'll have these two mornings a week for two years before kindergarted, eh?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

i listen. i learn. i do.

oh, my. busy, busy, busy.

my basic digital photography class is going well. my brother thomas and my gf sharon are taking it with me and if nothing else, we're having a good time together. we meet for dinner at one of the old town restaurants before class. we email each other links to good articles about exposure, etc.

exposure. man. i like the instructor, brian. he's nice and he knows what he's doing. he doesn't seem to think we're all a bunch of idiots. (although we very well may be. :D) the first night we learned where all our buttons and knobs are and what they do. no kidding. but what's worse than the sound of that is . . . we had some trouble. all of us. even those of us who scoured our manuals intent on remembering every little thing. (i guess i really do need to know what "shutter speed," "iso" and "aperture" mean and how they interact before i can begin to remember how to change one of them.)

our first week's assignment was to take pictures of things in and around our homes, making changes to the above three mystery concepts as we go. however, none of the three of us understood, in practice, how to go about this task until the day before the second class. i came across a bunch of articles online that helped it click for me and promptly emailed t and s. the piece that we all needed was how to find from what settings we should start (and from which we should begin making those incremental changes). i did feel comfortable with each of the three concepts individually. on paper. but i needed to know how they interact. apparently, so did my cohorts.

we are now a couple days post-second class meeting and i am back to discouraged. we took night pictures. my (free with purchase of my camera. should have known.) tripod has a screw loose. literally, because the plastic into which it - well, screws - is cracked. thus, my camera shakes. and slowly droops. resulting in crappy, blurry photographs. and frustrated photographer.

although! there was one bright point in the evening. i was approached by an extremely handsome man on crutches early on. i did not run away because of the crutches, which just now (!) made me think of ted bundy's broken-arm-need-assistance ploy. (pausing to thank God for protecting me, even though i am so obviously a dolt.) he asked if i were taking a photography class (the six of us standing around with our tripods must have clued him in). he said (oh, did i mention his delicious accent? maybe italian?), "look around at all your friends. they are all taking the very same picture. you do something different. lie on the ground or stand atop this fence. (it was a wall.) you see? all the same subject, but yours will be beautiful." ah, good times. good times.

oh, my LORD, this is a boring post! but, as this is my journal, my diary (and as i am my only regular reader), i owe no one a good read, right? i want to document my rise from pathetic less-than-beginner to competent and (dare i hope?) good photographer. from this day foreward (please picture scarlett o'hara with her turnip) i will enjoy my own pictures.

just like the time tim tried to teach me how to golf, i am frustrated. then, i could see in my mind's eye exactly where the ball should go. it consistently refused to cooperate and flew off behind me. (no kidding - some of our friends did not believe i could do that until i showed them.) now, i see in my mind's eye what my photographs should look like. they also consistently refuse to cooperate. i need a rosetta stone to translate what my eye sees into what my camera sees. (maybe this will come with class number three? please?)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

the wilds of my back yard

as usual, we're spending the morning in our back yard. we wake up, we eat breakfast, we get dressed. or not. today he preferred to play with no undies - just an undershirt. since it's my own back yard and my neighbors (both sides and the back yard neighbor) are all non-weirdo women, i say "nakie? ok. why not?" so, we go out. we swing, timmy chases louie, ike chases timmy and louie, rosie lounges on the shelf beneath the barbeque grill. we have a wonderful, peaceful time in our back yard until it's time for lunch and nap. then we do it all again in the afternoon. (see? it's not my fault the dishes from last night are unwashed and the family room is unvacuumed.)

something i most enjoy about being out here? the bird songs, the rustling of the leaves overhead, the squirrel chatter. something i don't enjoy? about a week ago, louie realized his life's dream and caught a squirrel. they sit on the tree branches or roof top scolding the doggies and laughing their furry little butts off as the doggies are jumping and screaming and unable to come near them.  i guess the fat little terrorist wasn't paying attention, b/c louie crept up on him and snatched the hairs right off his tail. (squirrels are not nearly as cute with no tail hair - they look like huge mice. i'll never look at another squirrel the same again.) tim came out and made louie let him go, but he may have been injured b/c the next morning as i'm reading in my lounge chair, i saw louie proudly prancing to and fro with a tail-hairless squirrel in his mouth. i'm sure i woke up every day-sleeper in the city as i screamed for tim to come out and take care of it.

aaaaaaaanyway, in the early morning or late afternoon we sometimes see our neighbor's (wild) rabbits crossing from her back yard to our back yard neighbor's back yard. they are not disturbed in the least by louie's and rosie's scream-barking fits. they know there is a fence between them.

one little guy this morning, however? not so lucky. no fence. timmy first noticed louie's strange bark - i was gazing up through the leaves of a maple tree to the teeny bits of blue sky above, so the bark didn't quite enter my consciousness. after running to the patio to investigate, he called me over to see the surprise louie and rosie found.

a toad! a scared and peeing toad. i am sad to say louie and rosie flitted to and fro on the patio, dodging and dancing around the toad like mohammed ali, striking with lightening speed to him (her?) up the toad in their mouths and toss him into the air.

now, i have no desire at any time to pick up a toad. but i couldn't just let louie and rosie play with him until he expired, could i? so, i grabbed timmy's john deere hat to scoop him up without the doggies knowing what i'd done and carried him to the sand box. where he'd be safe. but not unbothered.

see how he's just covered in sand? yeah. timmy poured sand onto him. many times. and it stuck - maybe because of all that pee or dog slobber? he hopped away from the sand box several times (see the blue aquarium-like glow in the second picture? that's the morning sun shining through our kiddie pool.) but i dutifully carried him back. (shudder. i deserve a medal.)

timmy eventually got bored with the toad, but you know, the whole time he was being bothered first by the doggies and then by timmy, he seemed remarkably calm. except for the peeing thing. but i tend to have to go when i'm nervous, too, so who am i to judge.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

does this make sense to you?

i like things the way i like them. is that so wrong?

i wouldn't call myself picky, but maybe particular is a good word to describe me. i like to be as obsessive-compulsive organized as possible.

here's one example: i hang my laundry on the clothes line (oh, i do so love the smell of clothes fresh off the line!) in a particular (see? there's that word) order. each person's clothes are their own group, as are towels, bedding, doggie items (my doggies not only have regular ol' dog bedding that needs washing from time to time, but they also get cold and wear "fweaters" and jammies. but i digress). within each of these groupings, there are sub-groupings. clothes are separated by type, such as tops (sub-sub-grouped by sleeve-length, color and fabric weight), bottoms (jeans, shorts). underwear and bras go on the first line so my backyard neighbors don't see them. not that they're interested, but . . . just in case, you know? towels are grouped by location (bathroom, kitchen) and then by size and style. sheets - well, i'm sure you get it.

but see? i don't do this because i'm picky! i choose to organize my laundry on the four long rows of clothesline i have so i can easily fold them as i take them off, place them in the basket, take the basket from room to room and put the items away. just like that. no sorting through the folded clothes (which encourages wrinkles, people) to find all of, say, timmy's clothing. it's all right together - and it's separated by drawer! and further separated by how it goes in that drawer! timmy's "summer clothes" drawer, por ejemplo, is organized by shirts (stripes in one spot, solids in another, logos or characters in another, etc.) and shorts (knits vs twills vs denim - and all those sorted by color). see?

organization makes me happy. clutter makes me nervous and cranky and just . . . down.

timmy likes to be organized, too, although not nearly to the same degree. he likes to have all his toys put away before going to bed. his toys all have a place. balls have a balls bin. cars, because he has so many, have a medium cars bin and a small cars bin , and his very large cars (cop car, ambulance, fire truck and a huge motorcycle) are parked on the shelf above the cars bins. his musical instruments go in the musical instruments basket on top of the trains bin. for some reason, his soldiers go in the trains bin. (?) tools go in the drawer of his workbench. all the unrelated toys go into a generic toys bin. he has a very small room and being organized keeps it open and spacious-feeling.

so, why doesn't tim see any value in being organized? believe me, i am grateful he emptied the dishwasher for me last night, but why did he put the innards of timmy's cups (straws, valves, etc.) in the knife section of the silverware drawer instead of into the lids of the cups (on the cup shelf!) themselves? why slide the microwave bacon crisper between the cereal containers? and please, for the love of pete, can anyone tell me how it makes any sense at all to forgo the cabinet containing all the measuring items in favor of putting the glass measuring cup down into the pots and pans cabinet? why? (why?)

and while you're pondering, could you please explain why the man cannot close his closet door?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

july's 12-of-12

the twelfth of this month dawned grey and rainy. just like the three days preceding it. yuck. i needs me some sunshine. (maybe that's why i used such a retina-searing color of cardstock?) and timmy needs him some outside time.

but . . . i powered past my feelings of blah-ness and made sure my camera was ready to go. i lived my life. i took my pictures. once again, i forgot to take pictures of meals. however! i did type in the correct date this month. this is progress.

i hope my photos next month will be shockingly improved after my photography class (which was scheduled to start on the 10th but was canceled at the very last minute b/c the instructor's wife was involved in an auto accident - she's fine, and we'll make it up with a class meeting added to the end). i plan to learn the heck out of it. 

Friday, July 11, 2008

photo shaZAM

i stole that title from jessica sprague. she finally posted another photoshop friday! woohoo! it's a quick and dirty tutorial for adding some wow using screen and overlay layers. she calls her technique photo shaZAM. and i tried it.

i've already posted this picture:

plain ol' picture
it's ok. he's cute, no? i love his hair. i love the look on his face. i love his necklace. but the photograph itself is just ok. i didn't realize this until i read today's photoshop friday post. in fact, i really loved it prior to reading that post and trying the technique myself.

now that i've been properly educated on this topic, i love this one:

i greedily await photoshop friday posts. i also check the pioneer woman’s photography section once or twice or twenty times a day, hoping to learn something. ree also burns the edges of a lot of her photographs. i've never done it until now. i think i may have been a little heavy-handed, but i'm still happy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

all i can say is SQUEEE!

tonight begins my photography class! i've been reading my manual like crazy to prepare. my gf sharon and my brother tom are coming, too. i have been wanting to take one for years, but now that i have my d40, it's time.

the college in town does not offer any photography classes - can you believe that? every semester, i look in the catalog, but no. the arts and recreation department of the big town/small city near me does, though, so that's what i'm doing.

their catalog does not give a big description, and the receptionist didn't have details (though she was SO friendly and otherwise helpful), so i'm afraid "basic digital photography" might be too basic for me. but if i weren't worried about that, i'd worry about something else, so i say for $50, it's worth it. in the fall, we can all sign up for the advanced digital photography class.

speaking of squee, i have an opportunity to go to chicago in a few weeks. i haven't seen tori since january and haven't seen andrew, michelle & baby arie since september!

there's only one problem. the opportunity arose b/c a friend and her friend are driving and offered to take timmy and me along. we'll split the gas 3 ways. none of us can afford to fly anymore (stinkin' oil prices!), so it's a great alternative. however, the dates are set in stone b/c of the friend's son's navy graduation and i just realized yesterday after finally consulting my planner that it's also the weekend of my youngest brother's wedding.

dang it! i don't know what to do. it's his 3rd marriage (don't ask), but that doesn't mean it isn't important and isn't the one that will finally "take." but i haven't seen my first two babies in so long! and i suspect they won't be able to fly down for the holidays (again i curse those oil prices!). i just don't know what to do. but i'm excited i have the opportunity to consider anyway.

in the meantime, it's just 8 hours until i begin taking better pictures!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

forgiveness: not my strong suit

i am not easily hurt or offended. i'm just not that sensitive, i guess. growing up an only girl with four brothers may have something to do with it - maybe i am less comfortable allowing myself to feel stereotypically "female" emotions. (oh, how we could delve into the depths of my psyche on this issue. maybe some day. then again, maybe not.)

i also do not trust easily. i'm polite. i'm friendly. i have a lot of "friends." i am a good friend to others, but there are only two women in the world who know the real entire me. i have a close relative who was, after ten years, becoming a friend. i haven't shared any deep dark secrets with her, but i am almost another parent to her child.

(deep breath.) ok . . . she criticized my child and my parenting skills. in a semi-public setting. it took no more than a few hours for the story to reach me.

i was devastated. i didn't know how to handle it. i decided almost immediately to forgive her, but what to do about it was beyond me. (my willingness to confront issues early and head-on has diminished since i've left the corporate world behind.) after several hours of hard thinking, i called my mom and cried. she listened and told me the criticisms were not accurate.

my mom is not the type to insert herself into her children's lives. she minds her own business. but in this case, she butted in. she called the relative. i do not know what she said, but whatever it was, it was the right thing to say, judging by the end result.

i would have waited until i wasn't so emotional before calling my relative to talk about the issue. so when caller i.d. showed she was calling that very night, i debated whether to answer. but i did. she was outside on the front porch and asked me to come out and talk to her.

i honestly do not know if i could ever be brave enough to do what she did - she got right to the point, told me she was very wrong, had no excuses and apologized. i did not make any effort to ease her discomfort (totally unlike me). i acknowledged her "wrongness" and let her know how deeply it hurt me. but i also told her i'd forgiven her almost immediately and accepted her apology.

i'd thought that even though i forgave her, our relationship would be forever damaged and doomed to remain politely distant, but as she answered my question of why she would say such things, something happened. the hurt i'd felt melted away and my broken trust mended. just like that. i didn't excuse her behavior - and she didn't ask me to - but over the hour or so we talked, we reestablished the foundation of our relationship.

forgiveness is always necessary, but not always easy for me. i should say it this way: forgiveness is a decision. not a feeling. sometimes the decision is made with gritted teeth and the "feeling" comes later. sometimes so much later that i wallow in my feelings of hurt or anger and realize i have to decide all over again to forgive. eventually the feelings match the decision. it's hard work!

but i know two things about forgiveness. the first is that it's required. if i want God to forgive me, i've got to extend forgiveness to others, even if they don't "deserve" it. the second is that withholding my forgiveness makes me a hostage to my pain and anger and prevents me from feeling peace in my life.

like i said, it's difficult. but this one time, God made it easy for me. for that, and for the repaired relationship with my relative, i'm grateful.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

peepee in the pot-TAY!

peepee in the pot-TAY! (say that like the bunny hop: "bump-ba, bump-ba, bump! BA!")

we've had no peepee problems here for weeks. timmy uses the potty seat with no intervention from me. he went to vacation Bible school last week. no peepee problems. he did not "go" while at vbs. no, he saved it all until he got home, each day calling out, "mommy! can you hear my peepees? it's a lot! it's making bubbles!" (now, that IS a lot of peepees!)

see the picture below? i took this right after vbs, before he had a chance to go peepee. see how proud he is of the handsome necklace he made? proud, yes, but i think i also see a hint of "good lord, woman - my bladder is SO full!"

needs a haircut!

timmy has never used a public restroom. firm refusal. slight hysteria at the mere suggestion. so i normally load up the potty seat into the cargo area when we go somewhere. but i didn't today when we went to mcdonald's playplace. just forgot. i noticed him dancing a bit, but he said he didn't need to "go." soon, he was dancing and "pinching." i knew he couldn't hold it much longer.

i snatched him up after grabbing a french fry off the floor. (i know that's gross, but stick with me here.) i threw the french fry into the toilet, stood him on the seat (thank goodness he still had his shoes on!) and told him to pee on that silly french fry. eureka! our very first public peepee!

ah, it's times like this that buoy my spirit and encourage me to keep at the poopoo training.

Friday, July 4, 2008

happy independence day!

bugs me when someone refers to this holiday as "the 4th of july." i mean, it IS the 4th of july, yes, but to call it that rather than "independence day" loses all significance. don't you think? independence! it's important to us Americans.

oh, i feel a big political rant about the erosion of our rights as citizens coming on . . . but that's not what i want to talk about. i hope to celebrate in a way that looks attractive and fun in photographs. if so, i hope to make a nice layout. before this year ends. but that's not what i want to talk about, either.

last night was not a restful night for several reasons, not the least of which was timmy waking up several times. "mommy? come in! i'm cold/hot/thirsty/i can't find chickie." or "mommy? do you hear the fireworks? is it still sleepy time?" or my personal favorite, "mommy? i have a question for you!" (last night's "question" was a recitation of the lyrics of 'heartland' by george strait.)

so, i was tired. and when i did sleep, i had one of my recurring dreams. i have several, but in last night's the brakes on my car weren't working. not hurtling-toward-death-with-no-way-to-stop not working. no, that would have been preferrable, i think. in my dream, my brakes slow me down, but i can never quite come to a complete stop.

and for some reason, i am loathe to tell anyone. i do not understand why, but i am reluctant to (and, in fact, don't) tell anyone. people ask me to drive them here, pick up that there - and i know i should refuse, but i can't. when it's time to stop at a traffic light or when parking, i push the brakes with all my might (remember the strength of my thighs?) but all i can do is slow down.

so far, in all the years i've had this dream, i have not crashed into the car ahead of me at the light or into the building in front of which i am attempting to park. but i know it's only a matter of time. i spend the entire dream worrying about the people in the car in front of me, the people in the car with me, property damage.

and all the time i am certain at any moment i and my faulty brakes will be exposed. exposed for what? in the clear light of day, it seems obvious to me that worn brakes are a common and easy to fix problem one should be completely unashamed to confess, but . . . not in my dream.

what the heck is my psyche trying to tell me? (and do i really want to know?)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

i used to be a professional

and by that, i do not mean a "professional." as in a pro. you know, a "working girl?" no, i mean i used to work all day in the corporate world. and i was a star. no, really. i have confidence issues in many areas, but not regarding my work. i really was an expert in my area of expertise. my advice and counsel were sought by many (which is a fairly good thing for a consultant).

i do not regret, for one solitary moment, being home to raise my baby. i believe every woman who can, should. please note the italics. many women can not afford to stay home with their babies. i feel for those moms who wish they could but must work to pay the bills. being married to a cop, i know a thing or two about money crunch. (why is it that police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and military members do such dangerous work for others' benefit and yet make so little money? does this make sense to you? can you explain it to me?)

other women feel they can not be good moms at home if they are not also active in the working world. these women should do what's necessary to allow them to be the best mothers they can be. their children are better off with a mom who is fully present and engaged at the end of the work day than one who is bitter and distracted all day long at home.

as i said, i believe it is best for children to be raised by a stay-at-home parent whenever possible. it is especially so for my child(ren). because my working self thinks nothing of being away at work from 6am-10pm and then working from home several hours more. because my working self's mind is totally, completely engaged in (obsessed with? i'm not too proud to admit it) the intricacies of the myriad laws and regulations that change seemingly daily; with the research so integral to finding and implementing just the right solution for a particular client; with planning and teaching the university courses that prepare fledgling (or veteran) professionals to pursue or advance in their own careers. oh, my heart is pounding even as i type this. that old addiction is still unbelievably strong. and so i stay away.

my children deserve my best. and i am unable to give my best to them when i give my all to work. unfortunately, i am unable to maintain balance. i have tried. i am sorry to have to confess that andrew and tori did receive less than my best during their early high school years. i thought i had a handle on it, but it slowly took over, this monkey on my back. but i dialed it back in time. they are relatively well-adjusted and healthy adults. and now we have timmy. and i am determined to give him my best. (i have taken the odd project here and there, but only short-term projects and those that allow me to work mostly from home. and still i must remain on guard. i wonder if this is a disability?)

again, i do not regret this decision to be a full-time sahm. i don't. i am fully committed to this, my job as mother. i am my child's first - and i hope best - teacher. he will grow up more independent, more confident, more engaged in learning. and so, on the rare day when i wake up feeling a little depressed about my absense from my former world, i just remind myself of the importance of my current job. i may be dressing in a t-shirt and crocs every day, but i am raising a fully-fuctioning, mentally and physically healthy, thinking and reasoning person here. and i am a star in this job, too.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

happyccino is my only friend

i sometimes suffer insomnia. for weeks, out of the blue, i wake up many times during the night. so annoying! and i'm a little sleepy the next day, but nothing too traumatic.

but those other times. ah, jeez. i have trouble falling asleep until the wee hours of the night. i watch tv for a while, i read for a while. then i give up and lie there in the dark trying to bore myself to sleep.

and hey - if it happened only once in a while, i wouldn't complain. well, ok, maybe just a little. but i wouldn't need my friend, my love, the english toffee cappuccino tim brings me when he comes home from work in the morning following my night of sleeplessness. my happyccino.

i try to stay away from caffeine normally. but, oh, the sweet nectar of wakefulness. when i need you, you're there for me with no questions. steaming away my sluggishness. fortifying my foggy mind with your frothy faithfulness. calming me with creamy caffeination. and surely my trembling appendages are your way of ensuring my body burns off the extra calories you provide? oh, how i love thee.

plus, isn't that cup fabulous? i am inspired by the color combination and the gentle waves and that bold font on the horizontal strip. i'm not kidding. i'm going to translate this cup into a scrapbook page. maybe about happyccino.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

my babies! they're adults!

andrew was my first baby. my chubby bubby. for seventeen years, my chubby chickie tori was the baby of the family. (note: andrew was most certainly chubby. tori? not so much. she was a scrawny thing like timmy. but we still called her chubby chickie.)

i can't believe they're adults. twenty-one and twenty. and that they live regular ol' adult lives in chicago. so far away! i miss my babies. and i can't post any pictures of them. my stinkin' desktop needs to go into the shop and i don't have any on my laptop.

on the bright side . . . i can listen to whatever music i want in the car. what? no i can't! timmy is a little dictator when it comes to his music machine cd. but my house smells a lot less like stinky socks and there are no stray dishes in the family room. i suppose it's true everything's a trade-off.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

highway safety, or the incident

one time? on the way to sears in the mall? we needed to merge into the right-hand lane and our turn was fast approaching on an insanely busy street.

at this point in time, tim hadn't too many years of city driving under his belt yet, having mostly experienced the wide-open, can-see-for-miles highways of western kansas. so stop-and-go traffic wasn't his thing. gas pedal? oh, yeah. but followed immediately with the brake? what nonsense!

so, we're lurching along when we notice our immediate need to be in the other lane. in front of us was a huge city bus. behind us? a tour bus. beside us in our lane of choice? a large dump truck and just the tiniest of open space behind it with another city bus fast approaching.

my mario andretti took milliseconds to decide, shouted, "hang on, family!" hit the brakes to swerve into that minuscule (and getting "minusculer" by the second) spot and instantaneously stomped the gas to shoot onto the frontage road as that same spot closed again with the city bus now bumper to bumper with the dump truck.

it all happened so quickly. at the first swerve, i looked back at the kids (who were, oh . . . 7 and 8 years old?). andrew's eyes were wide with horror and his mouth hung open. tori's balled fists pressed against her eyes. my only thought? 'my children!' but nobody made a sound.

tim moseyed into a parking spot at sear's, turned off the ignition, laughed nervously and inquired, "everybody ok?" andrew and i were still stunned (the hysteria came much later), but tori's small sad voice floated up from the back seat, "i never knew how much i love my family until just now."

this story became known as "the incident." it was the first in a long line of incidents at which we can now laugh.

apparently, observation is not my forte

my friend cruz emailed me that she'd just discovered the ends of her aluminum foil box had tabs to press in to prevent the roll from jumping out of the box when used. i'd never heard such a thing.

i looked in my drawer and sure enough! my plastic wrap, my foil - every one of them has offered me a very simple way to avoid the less-than-Christlike attitude resulting from my roll jumping right out of the box at the most inopportune time.

sometimes i get a little . . . oh, i don't know . . . judgmental? . . . about people in my life. i think i'm pretty successful at not behaving or speaking in a judgmental way, but having those thoughts is wrong. i'll be well-served by remember what an idiot i can be, and this picture will certainly remind me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

i need more sleep and fewer pounds

just messing around this afternoon while tim and timmy are running errands. found a website that uses face recognition software on a photo you upload to determine your celebrity look-alikes. being curious (and bored), i snapped a quick self-portrait.

and, of the ten look-alikes, i most resembled . . .

a bunch of fat old asian men.

plus kathy bates.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

alcohol + big mouth = jail

tim came home from work this morning a little scraped up. i sometimes dread hearing the answer to, "how was your day/night, honey?" because i worry. worrying is what i do best.

and i've seen firsthand how danger can come out of nowhere on the job. when andrew and tori were teenagers going out with their friends on the weekends (and before timmy), i'd occasionally ride along with tim for a few hours. i never got out of the car and if the need for an arrest arose, another officer would take me home, generally. but i did see a few scary things.

and once, after a dinner out on tim's night off, we encountered a seemingly drunk driver - or who maybe, we thought, was having a diabetic emergency? - who drove wicked-fast and super-slow and weaved (wove?) violently from lane to lane to lane, even kicking up gravel from the opposite shoulder. tim called for an officer and got out to explain the situation when the stop was made. suddenly, tim reached in and pulled the driver out through his window and onto the ground. before we (andrew and tori and i) could take our next breaths, the driver was cuffed and being held against his car hood. (note to the young and/or stupid: seriously? do not reach toward a weapon "just to let the officer know it's there" as this could result in your demise.) this night, everyone went home safely, but it so easily could have ended tragically.

but this morning? tim's hand suffered a few scrapes and scratches from tackling a guy who ran. after running his mouth non-stop. i believe alcohol was involved, as is so often the case. always patient and slow to be provoked, i've noticed tim's even more reluctant to engage in physical altercations as he ages, but sometimes cannot avoid it. and so i worry. and pray. and thank God he grew up a "fightin' sumbitch" as was common in his neck o' the woods. i take comfort in knowing he can throw a beat-down when necessary to preserve life and limb.

oh, and happy father's day, tim. i love you!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

tt's on the telephone

my boy loves the linen closet. always has. starting when he was just a year and a half old, he's gone to the linen closet's second shelf to sing, throw tantrums, drive (he's an "ice road trucker" this week) or, like today, have long phone conversations to avoid putting on sleepie-time undies and nappie-time clothes.

please witness today's conversation with his sister "tt" [tori]. he's asking (and i quote), "tt, what day was it you came to our home to visit after going to outback steakhouse after we picked you up at the airport, but it wasn't the airport in sugarcago [chicago, where tori lives and we visit] but it was near my home when we drove to the airport and there was a really big sculpture at the airport and we saw an airplane in the sky and we thought you might be driving it? was it dark? i think it was dark." i opened the door and took his picture just as he finished his question/monologue:

he got a little cold, so he asked me to please close the door while he was talking. he told tt our little secret: "i peepeed on some berries on the evergreen tree at mcdonald's today." (please forgive me, mcdonald's. we forgot to bring our potty seat and he simply refuses to enter your disgustingly filthy restroom.)

when i opened the door again, he looked like this:

above, you see him asking me "mommy? could you please cover up my toes with this towel so i can cozy up here and nap?"

and then he spit when i told him it was time for nappie in his bed. those toddler moods can turn on a dime, i tell ya.

Friday, June 13, 2008

june's 12-of-12

i finished my june 12-of-12 page today. not on june 30th, but today. go me! something i've noticed these past three months i've been doing the 12-of-12 thing? i forget to take pictures around mid-day. i guess i forget often throughout the day. see below? no pictures of meals. oh, we did have meals - at the table, talking about our day. just no proof. until next month, when i will accomplish my goal of remembering to take pictures all day!

3rd month in a row with wrong date i RAWK!
i love the shot of timmy peeing on a tree in the back yard. twenty years ago when andrew was potty training, i would never have allowed such a thing. now? who cares? i'm just thrilled he's keeping peepees out of his undies! when we travel - even to the grocery store - we have a potty seat in the cargo area. no peepees on trees in public. that you know of.

next year, i'm copying sara's layout, as seen on susan's 12-of-12 blog. but you know what? the simplicity of slapping it all down on a sheet of cardstock and being done with it is very freeing. i suffer from low scrap-esteem and foiled perfectionism, so i finish very few pages, even though i have journal page after page of ideas and even sketches. i just feel more successful and want to start and complete more pages after this. after doing last month's 12-of-12 page, i completed two more within a couple days.

if i never do another page other than these 12-of-12s, my family will still have an accurate record of our daily lives. and that's really the point, isn't it?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

the burning bed

domestic violence is a serious problem and not something about which to joke. no. having said that, i would like to report that my husband once threw me from a golf cart.

the day dawned peacefully and developed into a real stunner, sunny and mild. perfect for golf. normally, tim golfed alone or with guy friends. on this fateful day, however, i decided to go along, provided we use a cart. i don't play, but i like to be outside, and golf is usually a time of pleasant banter and catching up with each other.

i obliviously sipped my large iced tea with lemon and browsed through a magazine as tim's mood darkened hole after hole. his swing was off, slicing to the left, and his score suffered.

things went from bad to worse at the 5th hole. tim stomped, cursing, to the cart and gunned it. my now empty cup tumbled out, tim aimed a few choice words back toward it and i pleaded, "tim! go back! we can't just leave it on the ground!" no sooner were the words spoken than tim whipped a wicked u-turn accompanied by the most splendid of curses.

it all happened in super-slow-mo except for my thoughts, which raced at the speed of light. my inner voice calmly informed me, 'you are now exiting the golf cart. there is a slight chance you may be mangled and broken under those tires. you must save yourself.' so, of course i used every bit of strength my (at that time) quite nicely toned thigh muscles could muster and launched myself up, out and twisting free of the vehicle.

fortunately, the cart's position at the top of a hill aided me in my escape. i landed, hard, and rolled to the bottom of the hill, magazine still gripped and unwrinkled in my hand. my paralyzation (and possible death) worried me not as i gazed upward in awe of the beautiful contrast between the impossibly blue sky and the glossy leaves of the tree under which i'd come to rest.

tim's laughing (laughing!) face came floating into focus above me. his mouth seemed to be moving and seconds later the sound came to me: "sweetie, are you alright? are you hurt?" indignation and realization of my inability to breathe battled for prominence in my still-tumbling brain. the fog slowly cleared. no, i would not die today! i would live, if only to seek revenge.

tim laughed as he carried me back up the hill to the cart, kissing that spot on the bridge of my nose and apologizing profusely the entire way. he laughed while examining my extremities for injury, finding only a mildly stiff and uncomfortable ankle. he laughed as my dad approached (we'd passed him - played through?- on the last hole). he did not laugh as he explained the incident to my dad.

although tim's swing did not improve throughout the afternoon, i've never seen him - before or since - in such a good mood or so attentive. if memory serves, tim cooked every meal for a week after "the incident."