Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last post of the year

I'm leaving tomorrow for a 3 week trip (similar to the fateful 3 hour tour, but hopefully with a less climactic outcome), so this will be my last post for a while. A few reflections on 2007:

What I am most grateful for: My family. It's been a year of changes & transitions for all of us, but I feel we are stronger than ever. M graduated and started medical school. Peaches has grown and evolved, and is very much the young lady. Sometimes when I look at her, I can see her 12 year old self just bursting to get out. We've got another monkey on the way, and although there are days when I have no clue how I am going to handle another baby, I am so excited that our family is expanding and my parental dreams are beginning to be fulfilled. This year has also shown me how important they are to me. Despite taking a 40% pay cut when we moved to Iowa, the time I now have with them is precious and irreplaceable. This change has really shown me how unhappy I was with work in Oregon, and how negatively it was impacting me as a parent and a wife.

Best purchases: 1. Sorel snow boots 2. Twin bed for Peaches 3. 37" LCD TV 4. Louis Vuitton wallet (fake or not, I get a little thrill of pleasure every time I pull it out of my purse - I know, it's selfish and completely shallow, but I can't help myself)

Lessons learned: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Selling the house in a matter of a few days was impossibly easy, and sure enough - it all came crashing down. We're still trying to figure out what to do next, but are grateful that it hasn't bankrupted us yet. Second lesson - don't let your work talk you into taking a pay cut without a specified reduction in responsibilities. OK, I could have pushed back harder, but I was in the throes of pregnancy hormones and feeling precariously on edge about even being able to keep my job. I'm still glad that I have a job with health insurance, and I do make more working part-time than many people do working full time. I'm still trying to balance it all out, but know it's a work in progress. With a little bit of jockeying and help from the FMLA, I'll still have the same job and pay when I return from my abominably short maternity leave.

Thoughts for the New Year: Be more supportive of my family; take time to be grateful for what I have; be confident that all will be well, no matter how bleak things seem; make time to do something nice for myself every day; even a 15 minute walk can change your perspective; remember that I am a smart, talented, attractive woman with many marketable skills and a willingness to go the distance.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mennonites in the Mall

It always makes me look twice when I spot a Mennonite at the mall. It just seems so incongruous - their traditional dress and covered hair, and the blatant commercialism of the mall. How do they reconcile these things? How can they make their own traditional clothes and live in fairly sheltered communities, yet use cell phones and drive Suburbans? My favorite sighting was back in Oregon - when the 22 yo Mennonite girl pulled up to Goodwill in her white BMW sedan and dropped off a donation. Weirdness.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I finally finished all the main Christmas baking this weekend- then packaged everything, wrote out cards, included school pictures, boxed it all up and hauled it to the UPS store. I almost dropped dead when they told me how much it would be to ship it all - but whatever. Still cheaper than buying a gift for every family.

Now I can relax a tiny bit (other than thinking about the rest of the wrapping I have to do and the blanket I am nowhere near being done with). But one thing I am not happy about is the horrible icing on my cookies. Seriously - it seems that everyone from Food Network to Martha recommends Royal Icing to frost cookies with (and who else is there, really?), but that stuff is a toothbreaker. I can see how it would be awesome to decorate a gingerbread house with, but I want yummy Christmas cookies, not little nuggets of tooth destruction. I'm glad I didn't have enough room in the Christmas boxes to include them, especially as I am not sure everyone in my family has dental insurance.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I hate it when I'm wrong

See previous post. See look of pleasant surprise on my face when I saw the kitchen this morning. Create semi-contrite apology to husband.

I stand by what I said last night. But after 5 years of marriage, I continue to create much of my own distress by not remembering that everything does not need to be done on MY schedule. As long it gets done, I am grateful. What I find maddening is that he never says "give me a few minutes" or "I'll take care of it before bed".

Does it really matter? No. I just need to LIGHTEN UP.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Clean or Dirty?

I love my husband, but there is one big thing about him that drives me nuts. He hates to clean up. I'm not just talking about dishes, or the toilet, or that one thing we all have that we dread cleaning. I mean ANYTHING. When I ask him to help me, he looks at me as though I just asked him to go Indian leg wrestle an Alaskan Brown Bear. And I think he'd prefer to do that than load the dishwasher.

I am not a neat freak, and am not trying to pretend I am one. But I like to keep the dust to less than half an inch, and not have to wash every dish prior to using it. I also prefer to keep the toilet mold free. None of that stuff seems to bother him. Now, this can be a good thing, especially when I am exhausted from work or travel, and my tolerance for dirty is at a maximum. But when the sheets haven't been changed in 3 weeks and I start to think the bathtub resembles the Louisiana swamps we knew and hated, I reach a breaking point.

It doesn't bother me as much as it used to. Now that I am working from home, I generally try to knock out a few chores during the day. It gives me the illusion of keeping up on things. But every once in a while, I ask him for help and he gives me that look - especially when he's been playing that STUPID video game for hours.... I want to slam that laptop down on his fingers and tell him to quit being an ass and scrub a dang pot once in a while.

Unfortunately he's a master at passive/aggressiveness, and I don't have the temperament to play games in order to manipulate him into doing what I want. I always thought that asking nicely would work, but it makes me want to cry in frustration when he just ignores me and keeps playing his game.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Happy December!

It is December 1 - let the Holidays begin! I actually got a jump on things last night by wrapping presents. It felt a little odd to do that, when it wasn't quite December, but I think I'll have plenty to occupy my time in the next 24 days, so I got over it.

I am hooked on Project Runway & can't get enough of it. Wednesday is definitely my new go-to night for TV, especially with the writer's strike still going strong. This week was awesome. They had to design menswear, and it was very telling in the end. Plus, it was for Tiki Barber, and I LOVE ME SOME TIKI. Hubby, I love you dearly, but we all have our little crushes (although I'm not sure who yours are anymore - I know you like the dark haired girls, but you always threw me for a loop once in a while by adding in someone like Brittany Murphy). Hopefully the writer's strike won't affect Runway, as they all should have been taped several months ago.

We're off to see Santa today. Let's see how it goes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Holidays

I was one of the fools to go out on Black Friday - and not just in the afternoon, but bright and early at the crack o' 4:30am. I woke up and started thinking about shopping, so I figured I'd get up and get it over with. It was sort of cool to be at the mall that early- and a little disturbing that there were so many people there. I got in, got my stuff and got out. Old Navy was my next stop, and although I thought they opened at 5, the store was trashed in a way that suggested it had been open for several hours prior. Either that or Santa's helpers were off duty for Thanksgiving. Again -success. Target was stop #3, and I was astonished to pull into the parking lot behind a caravan of cars, only to witness the doors fly open at 10 to 6, and a crowd of hundreds surge through the doors on both ends of the store. These wolverines attacked the POS of DVD's first, grabbing bad movies by the handful. Then they moved into electronics and stacked digital photo frames by the tens and multiple TV/DVD combos ($199 each) into the carts they wielded like battering rams. Seriously - I read something that estimated the average family spends $587 on 23 gifts for the Holidays. Well, that's not what I witnessed at Target. I probably checked out with the lowest ticket of the day ($20, thank you very much), but those around me were spending hundreds. As my sweet husband pointed out, the West Des Moines Target shopper probably does not represent the average holiday budget, but still, with the bags of stuff these people were lugging around, they probably spent my Christmas budget 3 or 4 times over - easy. After that I still had the strength to hit Toys r Us, which was a total bust. People were wrapped around the inside of the store waiting to check out, with carts of stuff. I found nothing there - the prices were high and the selection average. Not a bad experience, and I was still home by 8:30am.

Good News - no gestational diabetes!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A rant

I've been too tired to blog lately - working too much, baby issues on my mind, all kinds of stuff. I'm still looking for a winter coat, and even searched some viable prospects in NYC last week. And found nothing. I went to the so-called Old Navy flagship on 34th and 7th & it SUCKED. The maternity section was tiny, hidden, and poorly stocked, with not a coat in sight. I was so ticked I even emailed customer service. I finally broke down and bought a coat at Old Navy online, and of course it's enormous. I'm taking it back tomorrow and am hoping to find something on ebay. I better figure it out soon, as we had our first snow storm yesterday. I can still barely fit into my North Face jacket, but that's only going to be the case for another few weeks.

It appears I have gestational diabetes once again. I was hoping that the modified diet would help push me through the glucose test, but no such luck. I did the 3 hour test yesterday with 4 tubes of blood drawn. I can pretty much guess at the results. Breakfast and dinner never seem to be as difficult as lunch is. I always want a sandwich or some pasta. Otherwise I'm just being careful about what and how much I eat. The exercise part is the tough stuff for me. I never make the time, and now that Winter is here, I won't be as inclined to take an afternoon walk with the family. I guess I need to figure out how to get into the tiny gym here at the complex. I'm really irritated at the diet part - especially as this is a strong indicator that I'll develop diabetes in the future. I do know that this has helped me to be more thoughtful about what I eat. I suppose that if I can keep that mindset, I'll be better off in the long run.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ho Ho NO

Went to the mall yesterday and was shocked to see that it was fully decked out for Christmas. Tree, lights, burgundy ribbon, Santa set, the whole 9 yards. Now, I knew it was coming - last weekend at Wal-Mart they were playing Christmas music - but isn't it a little early? Let us at least get to the weekend before Thanksgiving before we have to bust out the twinkly white lights. Peaches and I went for a walk tonight & even saw a home that had a fully decorated tree smack in the middle of the living room. I love Christmas, but we have to wait until Thanksgiving is over before I start unpacking the decorations. It's going to be a little different this year - we have to get a fake tree instead of cutting a real one like we usually do. No real tree smell, but no pine needles to vacuum every day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cupcake Obsession


Ok, so remember in my last post I said that I wasn't craving anything specific for my trip to New York? I was wrong.

I've been obsessing about cupcakes for the last 3 days, and I think I may break down and go on a cupcake hunt soon. I don't know what it is, but I can't stop thinking about those moist little bites of love, topped with smooth, creamy, fluffy icing. I could eat a chocolate one, a red velvet one, and a yellow cake with chocolate icing RIGHT NOW. I'm sure the fuel in my obsession is the lack of sugar and carbs in my diet - but I'm starting to worry about myself. You know how some people like to look at porn for hours? I've been looking at cupcakes online. I've chosen the bakery I want to go to in NYC, and have planned the trip out in my head. Walk 3 blocks to the Radio City subway station, hop the F train to Herald Square. Shop at H & M for about an hour and a half (this is the one with Maternity and Baby clothes, but not the best in the city - the best H & M is on 5th & 51st, but they don't have Baby or Maternity), then hop back on the F train to Delancy St. Walk a block to Rivington and enter the Sugar Sweet Sunshine bakery. I will purchase one "Sexy Red Velvet", one "Lemon Yummy", one "Coconut", and one "Black & White... Just Right". I will eat two and pack the other two for the plane trip back home.
Here's the downside: I tend to build elaborate ideas in my head, which reality rarely lives up to. Can ya tell?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Chocolate

I'm doing fairly well on the diet, but want to lick the TV when I see the commercials for that chocolate cake you warm in the microwave. Despite the Halloween candy in the house my willpower has been admirable, especially for me. My saving grace thus far has been low-carb Rocky Road ice cream with Splenda. I highly recommend it. It's nowhere near the deliciousness of regular ice cream, but it's the closest thing to chocolate and ice cream that I'll get for a few weeks. I'm going to have to decide whether or not I will go off the diet when in New York. There's nothing specific I want to have while I'm there, but the limitless options have me fantasizing about the possibilities.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Catching up

I've been remiss in my blogging and need to try and catch up a bit. News from the home front:

1. It's a boy. What did we do before the magic of ultrasounds? I guess if there's no chance of finding out what you're having, there's no need to worry about it. I give props to my friends who patiently wait it out (their thinking is "How many great mysteries are there in life?" - my response is that they need to get out more).

2. While at the doctor's office, the nurse sufficiently put the fear of early death/ loss of limbs into me, so I've begun my version of the diabetic diet. This generally consists of no bread, pasta or sugars. It's only been about 36 hours, and I am taking it hour by hour. Although it's awesome that I love meat, peanut butter, and cheese, I really just want to dive into the bowl of Halloween candy and roll around in it. I also keep daydreaming about crusty french bread. I'm hoping that I'll feel better after getting through the weekend, but until then eggs and chicken patties are leaving me wanting more. More bread, pasta, ice cream, peanut butter cups..... I suppose a little bread withdrawal is a small price to pay for getting to keep my toes. I sort of have Fred Flintstone feet, but I do love to have my toes painted.

3. We fired our realtor. She wasn't giving us good service, and wasn't communicating at all. First she agreed to the termination, then said she would only sign it once we paid her for the ads she ran on our house. Funny - she didn't respond to my request for copies of the receipts for the ads, hard copies of all ads, and a copy of a signed agreement stating we would pay for any marketing expenses. Chalk it up to yet another learning experience - but seriously, how hard is it to send a few emails and not act like I'm inconveniencing you when I call to see what's new? We've signed on with a new firm, and I think I've heard from them more in the last 2 weeks than we did in 2.5 months with Tania. A heads up to those in Salem, OR looking for a realtor - Tania Turnell of Re/Max will do the least amount possible and make you feel bad about it. If you like to be made to feel like you're bothering your realtor by asking for updates, she's the one for you!

4. I hear that Oprah has thyroid problems. I can appreciate that she didn't know what the heck was going on with her body (first hyperthyroidism, then hypothyroidism), but I sort of resent that she related it back to being pre-menopausal. As a relatively healthy young woman, I am walking proof that anyone can have thyroid issues. I feel really fortunate that I caught it now, and not years later, and I also feel lucky that I am able to take medication that makes me feel so much better. I'm not exhausted anymore (well, I'm tired, but that's more baby-related than health-related), I'm not cold all the time, and I think once I'm back on a diet and exercise schedule, the weight will start to melt off.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Why do I bother?

What's the point of having airline miles if you can NEVER use them? I am trying to book a trip, and there were flights available 3 days ago, but apparently I waited too long to book, and now they have vanished into thin air. Seriously, I am looking a week in either direction of my ideal flying dates, and there's NOTHING?? Why have I bothered to accumulate hundreds of thousands of miles if I'll never be able to use them? I realize you have to book in advance, but it's not like I'm trying to fly next week.

I can't even use these miles for other stuff. So, will I just end of sitting on them until they expire? Is there a secret that someone can clue me in on?

What the French? Toast?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

One of these things is not like the other....

It's no secret that I love me some Louis Vuitton. I know it's overpriced and rather elitist. But I don't care - the sight of that nubby brown canvas and interlocking LV gives me a little shiver every time I see it. I love that it's neutral, and goes with everything. Or so I thought.

I didn't post for a few days, as I was on a trip. This trip took me through the Atlanta airport, and it was there that I received my tiny revelation. Can you guess what LV does NOT go with? Birkenstocks and Sweats. A lethal combination to begin with, but throw in a LV bag, and you've got a tragedy in the making. Seriously, she had a real bag, and had the gall to mix it with an outfit I wouldn't wear to weed my garden. It literally brought tears to my eyes. I hearby issue one Fashion Police ticket to the heathen in the Atlanta airport. Penance: One month of shopping at RAVE.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A rant or two

1. Ever since I dropped to part-time at work and my insurance costs changed, we've been searching for independent health insurance for Hubby. I am fortunate enough to still have insurance through work, but it was more cost effective to drop him from the plan & secure outside insurance - in fact, it should save us about $400/ month. We applied through ehealthinsurance.com, and chose a plan through United Healthcare aka Golden Rule. The plan seemed reasonable, and given his super-healthy status, seemed like he'd be a shoo-in. Not so much. Today we received letter which stated he was declined coverage because he's an EXPECTANT PARENT. Wha? Last time I checked, I am the one who is lugging around 18 weeks of baby (and 13 extra pounds). I am appalled. He's in very good health, and works out 4 days a week. I'm not really clear on why my pregnancy makes him a high-risk for health insurance, but apparently it's way too risky for them to want our $100 a month. Seriously, it's not like he has a history of cancer, broken bones, random hospital stays, congestive heart failure or rickets. What has become of this country, when a healthy young man is rejected for health insurance because he's expanding his family. Golden Rule my behind.

2. It drives me insane when the cable goes floopy during the only 2 shows I REALLY want to watch each week. How do they know that I am glued to the tube on Thursday nights from 7-9? How do they know that I look forward to Earl and the Office ALL WEEK? Is there a tiny webcam in the cable box, with someone taking notes every time I curse MediaCom? All I can say is that we never had this problem with Comcast. Same goes with my favorite websites. Are you telling me that 4 pm on a Friday is peak bandwidth for E! Online? How can you tease me with just page one of The Awful Truth? Where's Page 2? WHERE IS PAGE 2???? E Online, I wish I could quit you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's all in the details, folks

I was driving back home after dropping Peaches off at daycare. It's a quick trip, but I usually see something of note there or back. Today, I pulled alongside a truck towing a sizable work trailer. The trailer was advertising a handyman business - light remodeling, finish work, etc. The truck was shiny and new, and so was the trailer. Both were obviously quite expensive, and the lettering advertising the business had been applied with care. Here's the kicker, though - at second glance, I realized there were spelling errors in the advertising. That's right,with all the money and care that had gone into creating a image of respectability and solidity, they didn't even bother to spell check their work.

Here it is: "No job to small" and "Custom Amities".

I know how easy it can be to overlook spelling errors. I consider myself to be conscious of spelling and grammar, but I type a ton of emails every day, and I am grateful that I have spellcheck do a once-over before sending. I cringe every time I receive correspondence riddled with spelling and grammar errors - sent by high-ranking, experienced colleagues.

An occasional spelling error slips in there for everyone. But if you're going to the time, trouble, and expense to create an image for your business, but overlook spelling errors in your rolling advertising - forget it. Just for that, I would never consider calling upon this business to handle any of my remodeling needs. If they overlook the correct spelling of "to", I have no faith that they have the attention to detail necessary to do a good job of home repairs. Seriously, would you paint a wall but overlook priming it first? Would you install moulding but not putty over the nail holes?

The details are what count. Consistently poor spelling and grammar indicate that you are uneducated, or have so little attention to your work that you really don't care about what you're saying or who sees it. It's rude, and an embarrassment to self. It's like eating at a fine restaurant and not using a napkin. Do you really think everyone wants to see mashed potatoes dribbling down your chin & watch you wipe your mouth with your sleeve? NO. So next time someone asks "what's the big deal" over spelling, grammar, thank you notes, manners, courtesy, or even a basic 'please' and 'thank you' - take a stand and tell them it DOES matter.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The quest for the holy grail (of jobs)

Why do I bother to peck around for jobs right now? I think it's just a form of self-torture. Knowing there is a job out there for me - one that pays more, has better hours, doesn't require travel, a 15 minute commute, an on site gym..... ah, dreamer that I am. I don't think there's anything wrong with being aware of your options, but who would hire a pregnant lady? That's what it comes down to, that's why it's a tiny bit of self-flagellation. Because I know that for the next 8 months, I am better off where I'm at. I have flexible hours, a decent salary (for the time I work), insurance, and don't have to travel too often. Why rock the boat? Why torture myself? I guess it's the desire to see what's out there, and see what the possibilities are. Could I find a decent paying job here? One where I wouldn't feel like a fraud on a daily basis? One where my opinion would be considered and respected? Is that possible? Does it even exist?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Milla looks awesome


I was cruising my usual gossip blogs today, when I came across some comments about Milla Jovovich's pregnancy weight gain. She states that she's gained 70 lbs. in the last 4 months, and her doctor is worried, so she's gone from eating 3 bagels for breakfast and Krispy Kreme's for lunch to chicken, fish and veggies. I have mixed feeling about all this. First of all, Milla's going to give birth in a month or so, and she looks fantastic. See pic. Second, girlfriend is 5' 9", and should normally weigh around 140 lbs. Given that she was probably drastically underweight before she got pregnant, I don't think 70 lbs is too terrible. That being said, it's a lot of pounds to drop post-baby, so Milla - I feel for ya. I'll be in the same boat (I don't plan to gain 70, but I'm already way bigger than I'd like to be), except I was fat before I got knocked up, so it's going to be even harder for me to get down to a healthy weight (plus I don't have the advantage of a nanny, assistant, personal trainer, or meal delivery). Third, who is criticizing this woman? She is gorgeous! A woman is supposed to gain weight when pregnant - she's growing an 8-10 lb. human being for pete's sake! This is probably the first time in her life she's been able to eat whatever she wanted & didn't feel like she had to puke it up immediately after. Milla, I'm all for healthy eating, but don't forget that if baby wants a Krispy Kreme, go and get it. All things in moderation. I love a nice salad, but it's even better when followed by a few bites of Cherry Garcia.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Random Monday


1. Doesn't this make you want to have kids? Yes, I'm talking to you, Jen Lancaster.

2. My roots are showing. I know it's been 2 months since I had my hair done, but shouldn't a dye job last a little longer? And now that I live in a new city, I have to go through the painful process of finding a new stylist. It takes a year to find someone decent, and if you do, it will usually cost a mint. But good hair is really worth it, isn't it? My question is: what do you do when the grey starts to become the predominant color of your coiffure? Dye every 2 months? Weave in lowlights and hope for the best? Any advice is appreciated.
3. Brit-Brit lost custody of her kids. Brit, my offer still stands - come stay with me for a few months and we'll talk about family values. This does not include giving your kids Mountain Dew in their bottles or putting whitening strips on their teeth. It does include time management, What Not to Wear, Therapy for Beginners, panty shopping 101, the 5 food groups, and appropriate play techniques. Seriously, I feel bad for her. I think she has decent intentions, but she's just been derailed by a case of the crazies. I hope this makes her snap out of whatever funk or junk she's into. The court isn't messing around - if she doesn't clean up her act, she'll never see them kiddos again. Brit, I wish you the best. Take this as a chance to shake it off, realize that your decisions are your own, and start making some better choices.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I'm feeling crafty

I moseyed into Michael's today, looking for a project to turn into my next hobby (as I continue to avoid finishing the quilt a half-heartedly started for Peaches). Almost immediately, I was captivated by the Martha Stewart Craft section. There are labels, ribbons, albums, papers, notecards, glues, nearly everything you need to snazz up your next craft project. All of it is done with Martha's signature subtle style and blue accents. I was dutifully impressed, but left feeling like I always feel after an encounter with all things Martha - opened to possibilities, but shamed for knowing that I'll never live up to Martha's standards.

Don't get me wrong - I secretly dig MS. I think she has good taste and interesting ideas, but I always leave feeling inadequate. How could anyone live up to the multiple houses, the farms, the gardens, the pet collection, the iron ware, the gourmet cooking, the ironing of the bed sheets? Seriously, who has the time? I get tired just watching her work and feel a tiny bit hysterical when I read a feature story in her magazines. She sets a standard of homekeeping perfection that no woman can live up to, and I part of me hates her for making me feel more inadequate than I already do. I was a little glad when she was convicted of lying and obstructing justice (come on M, you're a brilliant woman & former stockbroker, you know what you did was wrong). I have to say she did Man Up and serve her sentence, and I think her public image improved because of it. As much as we Americans like to tear people down, we also love a comeback, and she's really busted her behind to reinvigorate MS Omnimedia. Not only that, but I do adore her new mag, Blueprint, which is much more my flea-markety-DIY-from- the-hardware-store style.

Net/net - get yourselves on down to your local Michael's store & check out her new craft line. You can also find even more on her website here: http://www.marthastewartcrafts.com/

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sleepytime


I am so tired. The neighbors woke me up at 4 am with their nighttime romance....which then deteriorated into yelling, screaming, and possible hole-in-the-wall-punching. It was loud enough to wake up the Husband, and we almost called the police, but decided that's not the best way to keep the peace while apartment living.

As I am a light sleeper to begin with, I decided to channel surf and ended up watching Muriel's Wedding. I love this movie. I'd never buy it, but I've probably watched it 6 times, which is a lot for me. I love that Toni Collette is fat in it - seriously, she's gotta be pushing 200 lbs, but she rocks that white satin Abba outfit (not to mention the black pleather w/ zippers). I love that it's about transforming yourself. I don't really dig how she steals her father's money (although he is a denigrating, pompous ass who sort of deserved it), but I do like that she changes her life and becomes someone that SHE loves, not just someone looking for love. I always walk feeling better about myself. I highly recommend it.

Of course, that didn't help my insomnia, nor did my 3 additional attempts to nap. Thankfully it's a quiet night in the DSM, so I can get away with excessive fatigue. The one thing keeping me going right now are the premieres of My Name is Earl and The Office. I'm literally counting down the hours until it's time. Stay tuned for a review of the episodes and my thoughts on the potential for the new season.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I am a walking cliche

Everyone wants to be unique, right? That's why we strive so hard to keep up with the Jones' by buying the latest electronic toy, the more expensive car, the most exotic vacation. And also why we cover ourselves in tattoos and piercings, hair in all colors of the rainbow, and seek out the latest, hottest, most unknown designers. But sometimes you just gotta go with the flow and bow down to the cliche that you know is inside you.

I actually walked out of the house wearing striped purple wool socks with my Crocs. And I'm prego, so the belly was front and center in this stunning ensemble, occasionally peeking out from my apparently too small t shirt. I've always mocked the socks with sandals combo, feeling that only European tourists can be excused for this faux pas (they're usually British - 'nuff said). It gets better. I also had to give in to my pickle craving, and although I went to the store to get pickles, I walked out with pickles, 2 pints of Ben & Jerry's, Cheetos, sour cream, cheese bagels, mushrooms, cream cheese and Kleenex. I then came home and ate a pickle, a lemon bar, a few handfuls of popcorn, and some Cheetos. YUM.

Although I'll never look as sweet as a prego Nicole Richie in a bikini, I still love being pregnant and the changes in my body. When else could I eat pickles, Cheetos and lemon bars in the same sitting and not feel guilty?? Then again, ask me how I feel about my body around May 1.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I heart Kohls

I'd never been in a Kohl's until Saturday. I've seen them, but they're not really big in the Northwest. It's hard not to notice them, as they are spreading like wildfire, and with Vera Wang on board, how bad could it be? It was better than I could have hoped. The Vera Wang is pretty awesome (not that I'll be fitting in anything but the shoes in the next 9 months), and they have a nice little Food Network section in Housewares - perfect for my current cooking obsession.

I loved the kid's section too, mostly because everything I bought was 60% off. Exactly what I need when shopping for a 3 year old who has outgrown 90% of her clothes. Seriously - princess pajamas for less than $10? Score!

I am a cliche...... I had a craving for pickles last night. I hate pickles. The only time I can eat them is if they're a dill spear on the side of a nice juicy roast beef sandwich. Of course, if the pickle infects the sandwich with its vile juices, I'd have to toss the whole thing. But man, did I want me a pickle last night. Maybe it was just a Freudian transferrance from watching Brad Pitt's naked ass in Troy last night. That was one long movie, but worth every second for a glimpse of that Golden God Brad. Yummie. Hormones, anyone?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I want.....

Long time, no blog. I had a trip for a few days, came home exhausted (the red eye sucks, and being prego makes it worse), worked way too much, then the in-laws came to visit for a few days. A bit overwhelming. Now I'm here to blog on a few random topics.

1. I love Gene Simmons Family Jewels. I understand he's a celebrity, and has an enormous ego. But I find him and his family endearing. He and Shannon seem like good parents, their kids seem to be pretty stable for growing up with Gene Simmons as a Dad, and he's over the top enough to be entertaining.

2. I have a serious case of the I-wants. I have some birthday money to spend, and there's a bunch of stuff I want. Should I be smart and hold on to it and use it for more practical, useful stuff like a jogging stroller or a Kitchen Aid mixer (not really practical, but something I've wanted for a long time), or do I hoard it and blow it all on something unnecessary and completely selfish like a Louis Vuitton wallet? Last year I used my birthday money to get a gym membership. I classify that as a practical use. Of benefit only to me, but still practical and not really "fun". I REALLY want the LV wallet, but it's just enough money where I think I'll carry tremendous guilt about buying it. I could buy the stroller AND the mixer for the same amount of money. What to do, what to do?

3. We were on our way to an event yesterday morning, and parking in a parking garage. We all got out of the car, and were gathering our stuff to walk out. I was holding Peaches' hand and waiting for everyone to wrap it up. A car pulls up next to us and a lady proceeds to tell us that we should keep an eye on our child, as she was "kicking her legs out in front of the cars". It took me a minute to process what she said, and in response, I was speechless. First, my child is only 3 and her legs are all of 18 inches long. She may have been kicking her legs out, but unless this woman was going 80 up the ramp or hugging the right and trying to take out a bystander, no one was in danger of being hurt. I was also speechless at the audacity of her stopping to chastise me/ us on controlling my child. She's not a rabid dog. She wasn't darting in and out of the parked cars. She didn't lay down in the middle of the Up ramp. So, What the Heck? Did I tell her she was ugly and had a bad hair cut? No. Some things you just keep to yourself - so the next time you see a kid being a kid, think twice about opening up your big yapper and keep your lips closed unless you want the wrath of Mama laid on your Iowa self.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sneeze Alert

I don't know what is going on, but I have sneezed more in the last two weeks than I have in the last few years. Apparently I am allergic to Iowa. It could be the farmland, the humidity, spores, molds & fungus, or perhaps I am allergic to the always-running AC. Whatever it is, I am getting sick of having my nose alternate between running, itching with crusties, or explosively sneezing. Seriously - no one likes to sneeze, and I have always prided myself on having a normal level sneeze. Those days are gone, baby. Now I sneeze so loud that I think the neighbors can hear it (sorry about that). I actually sneezed so hard yesterday that I wet my pants a little bit (I didn't actually pee - being pregnant tends to produce an abundance of moisture. I'll let you get over the ick & just leave it at that).

It's actually getting a bit better. I don't sneeze all day long, it just sneaks up on me & as soon as I sneeze, my nose runs continuously. Attractive. Because I am pregnant, I can't (or specifically, don't) take any medications. I guess if this is the worst that I have to live with, I'm OK with that.

PS - two new obsessions: Katie + Peter (trainwreck - she's pretty, but not THAT pretty. I think I am mesmerized by her giant fake boobs. Those two are just such dippy goofballs, I can't help myself). I'm also loving Ace of Cakes. I wish I had mad decorating skills like that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rant

I am hating my job right now. I don't really want to blog about work, so I'm going to keep it generic. I thought that working from home would give me some distance and perspective. Instead, it's put my natural paranoia into overdrive. I haven't heard from the boss in days, I feel disconnected, I STILL don't know what they're going to do about my health insurance when I shift to part-time, and I'm afraid of being canned. Although being canned would mean I wouldn't have to worry about child care in September, it would also mean that I'd lose my insurance, and that's not part of the plan right now. I've always been worried about not having health insurance, but now that I'm knocked up again, I feel like it's mandatory. Sure women have had babies without it, but I really don't want to be $10,000 in debt for having a child.

Should I look for another job? Who would hire a visibly pregnant woman? Even if I found another job right away, I wouldn't be there long enough to qualify for FMLA, so I'd lose that job too. Should I just wait it out until something happens? Work doesn't know I'm preggers yet - should I tell them sooner rather than later & hope it helps me keep my job?

What do I do?

And PS - Jake Gyllenhall is GAY? Dang it, I never saw that one coming. I would have thought Peter Parker would come out of the closet before Jakey boy (then again, I still haven't seen Brokeback Mountain). What is the world coming to?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Baby It's Hot Outside

Although it's only 70 outside, the humidity is at 96%. Ick. I tried turning off the AC and opening the windows for a bit, but that only lasted an hour or so. I hope the weather gets cooler ASAP.

We went to the State Fair on Sunday, and it was an eye-opener. I actually had fun, although it was also about 85 and 90% humidity. My hair didn't appreciate the weather, but my tummy enjoyed the Fair food. I restrained myself to just a gyro, and enjoyed every bite of it. It's a wonder I didn't get salmonella, but all was well. Peaches wanted to ride every ride she saw, but enjoyed the ferris wheel most. She also enjoyed her popcorn and cotton candy lunch. (yes, I'll be accepting my parent of the year award later this month).

Some of my observations from the fair:
1. Des Moines isn't as white as I thought. I saw a few African American families walking around, and was pleasantly surprised. I don't think I saw any Asians, but I've seen some at the mall. Don't take any of that the wrong way - I'm glad to see a little diversity here.
2. The fair definitely brings out the lowest common denominator of humanity. I feel grateful that I know how to match my clothes and that I have the decency to force my child and husband to wear a shirt in public.
3. The ugly shoe reigns supreme here. Seriously, they may be comfortable, but I have seen some of the ugliest footwear EVER since I've been here. Ladies of Iowa, here's a tip for you - Nordstrom has a great online shoe department. Try it out, you won't be sorry.
4. The pork chop on a stick was the most popular fair food (not that I tried one, but everyone else did). It's been a while since I've been to a fair of any sort, but this was a bit unexpected. These chops were huge, grilled, and speared on a massive piece of wood. Nothing like meat on a stick to bring out the caveman in you.

Otherwise, we haven't left the house for more than a few hours all week. I did go grocery shopping and was both massively disappointed and frustrated. Seriously, who puts the bread crumbs with the bread? And do they not make Panko in the mid-West?? I may have to turn to Super Target for my food shopping needs. At least I can find what I want there.

Part of the joy of not leaving the house is acclimating to the new apartment. I'm getting to know our neighbor quite well - or at least what she likes to do at 4:30 in the morning. It's not every night, but seriously, YOU'RE WAKING ME UP WITH ALL THE SCREAMING. I always thought rule #1 of apartment living was to 'keep the noise level down'... but how do you tell someone you've never formally met that she needs to buy a muzzle?

I was also dumbstruck to discover that we can't have a live Christmas tree here. Wha? I've never lived in an apartment that didn't allow a real tree. Why don't they tell me I can't have houseplants either? I will have to decide if I will be subversive and risk getting us kicked out or if I'll will rustle up a fake tree from somewhere. Not really - I'm too much of a chicken to the fight the Man. Maybe I can find a really good Pine Potpourri.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

In the DSM

So I'm back - after several weeks gone, several thousand miles travelled, and multiple temper tantrums (only one of which was mine). We're in the DSM, wallowing in a pig-mess of an apartment, and cranking the AC to epic proportions. Sweet Husband has been here for two weeks and didn't unpack a single box, so I get to spend the next week trying to organize this place while working from home and wrangling a 3 yo. Good Times.

It's not too bad thus far. The apartment is small, but the kitchen is huge. At least we can spread out there even if we don't have space anywhere else. Des Moines is... humid. That's the best I can say thus far. I haven't seen much & probably won't for another week or so. I have to conserve my energy for cleaning this mess, organizing and restocking the house. It is astonishing how much food you have to buy when you move cross-country. I may as well walk into the grocery and tell them to add one of everything to my cart.

Other than that, things are OK. The house fell through, so that's not great. We're fortunate that we can afford to pay the mortgage for a few months and not feel the pinch too badly - but that's not going to last forever. It's certainly been a learning experience. Hopefully the Salem market will remain strong, and we can move the house in the next few months. Wish us luck.

I'll post more DSM observations as I can. I'll be working from home now, so I'll be able to update more frequently.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A little therapy, please

I didn't intend to post twice in one day, but after seeing some new pics of Brit-Brit on my favorite gossip site, I can't resist any longer.

Britney, it's time to grow up. I don't give two hoots if you didn't have a childhood, or if you were manipulated by Mommy Dearest or manager, or whatever the excuse of the week is. Knock it off, and Mom-up.

You're always welcome at my house for a while. Bring the kiddos, and we'll have ourselves some good ol- fashioned group therapy. I'm not Mom of the year, but I'll show you the importance of the car seat, why Starbucks is not part of the food pyramid, and how to maintain a little dignity while dressing yourself. Oh yeah, and the cigs - come on Brit, you're not doing yourself any favors. Louisiana girls do not age well, and those smokes (and your penchant for the tanning bed) are going to make your skin weep wrinkles by the time you hit 30. Know why Cindy, Elle and Michelle Pfeiffer look half their age? FROM NOT DOING ANY OF THINGS YOU FEEL ENTITLED TO DO ON A DAILY BASIS.

You were only marginally talented to begin with, and now that you've pissed away your first 2 marriages and many millions of dollars, I'm here to tell you it ain't going to last forever. Could you make a comeback? You betcha. America loves to tear people down, but we also L-O-V-E to see a success story. So take a page from Christina's book, and get serious about your singing. Re-hire your manager, get yourself a staff Psychiatrist and build a 5 year plan for yourself (one that doesn't include booze, smokes, Frappachinos, sex with backup dancers, or homes without fences around the pool - seriously Brit, a pack of wild dogs would do a better job raising your sons than you have). Hit the treadmill, take some singing lessons, and turn your manic-depressive episodes into some new material.

And one last thing Brit - dump those moochers who call themselves your friends, and call your Mom. She's the only one you've got. If you don't have your family, you don't have anything. Spend a little time with your kids, and tell me I'm wrong.

Des Moines Ho

Much has happened in the last few weeks. I went to the DSM to look for a place to live, and was successful. I'm back in the office for a few weeks, and trying to prep for my 10 day trip in August. I've been to the doctors a few more times - and finally feel a tiny bit vindicated by the fact that they found my thyroid is going a little nuts. (I kept trying to tell them I wasn't "depressed"). I'm on thyroid meds and am actually feeling better already - more energy, sleeping more soundly.

The house closes on August 3rd, so we are frantically trying to clean up, throw out and pack away. The truck gets picked up next Saturday, so we have 7 days to get it all done. Do-able, right? M will take off a week from Monday, and I leave on Aug. 1 for my trip. Back on the 10th, then off to the DSM for good.

I'm excited about the move, but a little freaked about money. I'll work full-time through the end of August, then downshift to PT. We're trying to finalize health insurance, as that's critical right now. Cutting my salary in half also scares me. I think it's do-able, but I'm not one to have a lot of restraint when it comes to things I want (from food to shopping), and living within a strict budget is not something I am going to acquiesce to without a little kicking and screaming.

Some observations on Des Moines:
1. What's with the shared-wall (aka zero lot line) houses? I saw some nice, new developments that had shared walls, and I don't get it. Why wouldn't you want a stand alone house? Is the insulation better? Utility bills lower? I can't see myself paying $300K+ for a house that potentially allows me to hear ever word & footfall from my neighbors. Pass.

2. Fashion is about a year behind. Although Oregon isn't a fashion mecca, there's a lot of hipness to be found here. There - not so much. It was a bit like going back to Louisiana - lots of Abercrombie, American Eagle, blonde hair, and Skechers. I did see 2 trying-too-hard Urban Cougars. One could have been a grandma, but was rockin' a belly shirt and pierced navel. The other was wearing a full surf get up - boardshorts & Roxy t - in IOWA. Someone, please save them from themselves.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's feeling Hot Hot Hot

It's supposed to be 100 today, which is HOT for the Willamette Valley. We don't have A/C, so I'm sort of looking forward to the air conditioned comfort of work. And I'm also dreading driving home to my toasty little house, where it will be hot like sauna when I get home. A brick house is nice, but it no one tells you how it holds the heat in like an electric blanket.

Wish me luck in keeping cool.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I am Selfish

When you become a parent, everyone tells you how much you have to sacrifice. How hard it is. How you'll never sleep again. Well, folks, it's all true. These are sacrifices you'll be happy to make - for a while. I don't really mind losing my freedom. I don't really mind the whining, the poking, the kicking, the silly songs, inane word repetitions, Princess fixation, temper tantrums, food obsessions, or the unnatural fixation on inanimate objects required to be in hand before Nappytime.

What do I really miss the most besides my boobs, my waistline, and the ability to carry on a coherent conversation not related to my child's bodily functions? Sleep.

You think that once the kiddos are no longer infants, that you'll get your sleep back, but it's a lie. Your doctor tells you that at 6 weeks, your sweet babe should start sleeping through the night (translation: they'll go down for 6 hours at night, but still get you up between 3-4 am). Believe me, the night Peaches slept for 6 hours I woke up feeling like a new woman. But that was 3 years ago, and I've since lost that refreshed feeling.

Now she sleeps pretty well, but at least 3 times a week she gets up in the middle of the night for something. Maybe she has to go potty, but insists on flinging herself through the door onto the bed to announce that fact. Sometimes she gets scared, and wants to crawl into bed (although we did the Family Bed thing for a while, we now discourage this, as she has the foot action of an all-star soccer player). And sometimes she can't sleep and insists that she will only go back to bed if we locate her doggie/ baby/ blankie/ water/ sticker/ book.

I love my child, but I miss my sleep. My sweet husband can sleep nearly anywhere, anytime. I think that's how he's gotten through the last 3 1/2 years (that and the fact that my side of the bed is closest to the bedroom door). Let this be a warning to all you parents to be: learn to nap.

Friday, July 6, 2007

House

Sold it last night. I am grateful that it only took us a few days to find an interested buyer, but feel a little foolish for investing in the For Sale By Owner program. The buyer found us on Craigslist (I love you, craigslist!), so I didn't even have to do the MLS paperwork or put out signs or anything. I figure that what I spent on the program was worth it for the peace of mind of getting a buyer ASAP. Money well spent. And thank you to the Fates or Lady Luck or whomever it was that pulled it all together. As my husband said -if we hadn't spent the money on the FSBO thing, we never would have found a buyer so quickly.

Now if I can just keep my job for another few months, we should be in good shape. I feel like I have short-timer's syndrome, except it's imperative that I keep that job for at least another 3 months or so. Just when I think things are settling a bit at work, they ask me to cut $750K from my budget. After hearing that, I feel a little justified in getting frustrated and wishing a rogue tsunami would wash away the tiny island where our Global HQ is located. I don't wish ill towards everyone there - just a few in particular. So, if you could arrange a disaster for just a select number of people (names to be provided at a later date), I'd be grateful. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Update, part deux

I have been remiss in blogging, but it's been a busy week. It took us days to recover from the jet lag of vacation (stupid red eye flight) and now I'm back at work. Not that work is overwhelmingly busy, but it's a grind right now.

To continue the update....

Kauai: Awesome. Very relaxing, but not restful. You see, no one told us about the chickens. Huh? Did you say chickens? YES - CHICKENS. Thousands of feral chickens roam freely all over the island. And being the creatures that they are, they do as chickens do - CROW AT 5AM TO GREET THE DAY. So, while we had a lovely time sightseeing and exploring new beaches and being lazy slugs, we were also up with the sun every day. 2 FYI's - there are 3 great family beaches, all on the South side where we were staying. I recommend Salt Pond Beach, Poipu and Lydgate. Salt Pond was my favorite, as it was quiet and not very crowded. Also, it's expensive. We were fortunate to have a full kitchen in our condo... but a gallon of milk was still $9.00 and we spent almost as much on food as we did on our rental car for the week. Crazy.

Hooray for $54K of debt! It's actually a matter for celebration, as it means that we've committed to DMU, and to a career. It's a big step for us - a big, debt-filled, equivalent to a second mortgage step. Oh well, it's only money right? Now if I can just keep from getting fired in the next 6 months.....

Sunday, July 1, 2007

It's been an eventful 10 days

In summary:



- Family visit

- Graduation

- A new TV (yeah, it's HUGE)

- A week in Kauai

- Added $54K of debt



Where do I begin? I'm gonna have to break each one of these down. I'll start here, but stay tuned for more.

1. Family visit. Dad and wife came for graduation. They stayed 2 1/2 days & it was the perfect amount. We visited, toured a local vineyard, did a little shopping, ate seafood, and visited more. It was great for Peaches to see them & spend time with them. We now owe them a visit to Nevada.

2. Graduation. Done and done. The day was a scorcher & the stadium didn't have a full overhang, so we roasted for 5 hours. Yes, 5 HOURS. As bad as it was for us, I can't imagine how sweaty it was on the field, under those black robes. I didn't think I'd be as stoked as I was, but it felt like just as much of an accomplishment for me as it was for him. It was also pretty cool that all 3 boys graduated at the same time. It was a Moment.

3. New TV. We spent the graduation money on a new TV. Not our most practical move, but it is pretty awesome. 37 inches of LCD glory. I can't wait to move & talk myself into getting full cable again (I cut our cable out when the bill grew to over $100 a month - I'm such a fool). I HEART TV. Seriously, I know it's evil, and a time sucker, and a brain musher, but I seriously love TV. History Channel, Food Network, HGTV, NBC, E!, I love it all. This whole 12-channels-only thing is crampin' my style.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Random Thursday

OK, it was supposed to be Random Wednesday but I ended up working late & then cleaned the house until 11pm, so I just didn’t have the energy to blog. Here’s a few thoughts:
1. New favorite beverage:GRANDE SUGAR-FREE CARAMEL LATTE. So awesome it deserves all caps. I have always been a fan of the grande latte (4 Splendas, thanks), but the addition of SF Caramel brings it close to coffee nirvana. The day they come out with SF Peppermint is the day I buy stock in Starbucks.

2. I read an article online which stated that in a recent survey of kids aged 13-18, “…teenage boys expected to make an average $174,000 annually. Teenage girls expected to earn $114,200.” Really? And where will this salary be coming from? Shall I start calling you Doctor now, or should I wait until you’ve finished 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 5 years of residency, and have begun to pay back the minimum $280,000 in debt you’ll have incurred over those 13 years? Yeah – it’ll be like an EXTRA MORTGAGE PAYMENT every month for the next 15 years (and for those of you teens with no concept of how much that is, figure around $2,600 a month, payable to Sallie Mae) You’ll also be at least 31 by then, and likely unmarried and sans-significant other (after all, you’ll have spent EVERY WEEKEND studying just to try and keep up with the pace of 4-years of biology information crammed into 7 months of med school – and that’s just one class). And that’s if you didn’t flunk out of your sophomore year of college from too much trash can punch and too little parental supervision, or if you didn’t take a year off after college because “going to school for 5 years in a row was a lot, dude” – which then turned into 5 years of working retail and living with 3 roommates. Let me know how things turn out for ya, Doctor.

Don’t get me wrong - $175K sounds great. I could spend all that on kate spade bags and high heels, and not feel the tiniest bit guilty. But here’s a few more stats to digest:
* Median earnings of men who worked full time, year round in 2005, the latest year for which Census Bureau statistics are available, was $41,386.
* Women working full time made a median $31,858.
* Fewer than 5% of the U.S. population makes more than $100,000, according to the bureau.
* Only one household out of six report a six-figure income, according to the Federal Reserve's 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances.

I’ve seen these numbers before, but in the context of teen salary expectations, I find it to be illuminating. This tells me that no one is talking about money – particularly parents to their children (and that teens are watching WAY too much My Super Sweet 16 – but we’ll save that for another day). The only time we talked about money in my house was when my Mom and Dad were fighting about Mom’s shopping addiction. Going into college, and even at graduation, I had no concept of what different jobs paid, what a ‘good’ salary was, or what I needed to do to pay the bills. My first job out of college paid $17,000 a year. That was in 1995, before most of those kids surveyed had even been born. I lived on my own and paid the bills, but just barely.
12 years later and I’ve added a master’s degree (plus more student debt). I work in a field for which I have no qualifications on paper – but I kick butt at my job. I am far exceeding the medians above – both of them. Awesome, yes, but here’s the kicker: I’ve made my choices, and I am the sole breadwinner right now. Despite making what I consider to be a good living, we still struggle with money EVERY month. I pay around 24% in taxes. I also participate in a 401K and have health insurance for the family ($450/ month – the reason I can’t get a new car). All of these things take away from what goes into your bank account every 2 weeks. What DOES go into the bank account pays the mortgage, food, utilities, one tiny car payment, student loans, gas for our cars, car insurance, tithing, occasionally a new pair jeans from Old Navy, and an allowance for both of us. Yes, I am 33 and am once again getting an allowance. Notice what’s not in the above: Trips to Mexico, a new car, shopping at Nordstrom, that new Coach bag, or nights out on the town with friends. Yeah, that’s right – my husband and I both drive 10 year old cars, we get $20 a week to spend, and in 7 days we’re going on our first real vacation in 4 years.

I really want to know how people are paying the bills and getting by. According to the US Census Bureau, the Median income of all households is $46,326. Where do these people live? Seriously, is most of the country living like the majority of the population in Louisiana – in trailers on Momma and Daddy’s property?

Maybe I still have a skewed perspective on money and life. Maybe this is how it is. I’m not really complaining – things are OK. All in all, I feel fortunate that we can pay all our bills and still go get pizza and a movie once in a while. Would more money be better? Maybe. Some say that the more you make, the more your lifestyle ‘matches’ your income. Even when Hubby is done with school (YES, he’s going to be DOCTOR – and not the bs PhD kind), and we’ve paid off all the student debt, we’ll never be a Rolex-owning, Mercedes-driving, Maldives-vacation-taking, country club-membership family. And I’m totally OK with that. As long as I get a new Coach bag once in a while.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A fruitful weekend

We got a TON done this weekend. We got all the new cove molding put up in the living room, cleaned a bit, worked in the yard before the rains began on Saturday, did a ton of laundry, moved the furniture around, watched a few movies. All in all, not bad. It was also my last Sunday in Primary, so I'm a bit pumped about that.

Don't get me wrong - my kids were great. I was opposed to the fact that I was OBLIGATED to be there every weekend. It was a big responsibility, and I took it as such, but there were some Sundays that I really just wanted to sleep in and eat pancakes until 11 am. So I finally just laid it on the line and "resigned". As I was never set apart, I figure that I've done my duty for 18 months, and it's time for a break. We're skipping the next 3 weeks anyway, so it's not like I would have been there until July. Ahhh.... freedom.

7 days until M's graduation. I don't know how pumped he is, but I sure as heck am. Not only that, but it's 11 days until we are in Kauai. Still not excited to be seen in public in a bathing suit, but hey, my excitement over a tropical vacation is outweighing my sensitivity to my thigh girth.

I am trying to eat better. This weekend was a bit of a disaster, but I did pretty well all week. I figure I just have to do what I can each day, and I'll move towards consistency. Now if I could just get back to some regular exercise.... One thing at a time.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Obsessions


1. Amy Winehouse. I can't get her songs out of my head. Rehab is genius. And she looks like such a freak, I can't help but love her. If I met her we'd be BFF. We'd get along great - I'd feed her sandwiches and keep her from knocking out more teeth when she gets wasted on a Tuesday night. She'd sing to me and teach me how to tease my hair into that big ol' beehive that looks like a pack of weasels could live in it and she'd never know. Bliss.

2. Puggles. I heard about this on the radio - a cross between a pug and beagle. The Cutest Dog EVER! See above. And if you don't agree I don't care - they are AWESOME, and one will be mine. Hubby had the gall to ask how much they are - as if we have to sully the discussion of the perfect pooch with talk of cash-ola. I think not.
3. The Office. Ah, the perfect TV show. Dave made my day when he handed me 3 Shrute bucks yesterday. Perfect gift: Dwight Shrute Bobblehead.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

More doctor, please

Went to the endocrinologist today. NOT IMPRESSED. I'm starting to think doctors are all a bunch of clowns. Probably not a good attitude to have when the hubby is starting med school in 2 months.


Bottom line - the endocrinologist says my numbers are all "borderline", and then cut out when I started asking why my thyroid antibody numbers were so high and yet I'm just "borderline". THEN his PA proceeds to sit down and go over my lab numbers with me - showing me that my female hormones are all wacky, too. Meaning that it's likely there won't be a clear diagnosis, but an extended period of testing and blood letting and painful exams.


Now, I'm not pumped that no one can give me a straight answer. And less excited that I have to wait another 10 days for more tests. And MORE pissed that the GYN office told me my labs were all normal except for my thyroid - which turned out to not be the case at all.


Net/ net - I know nothing more & have extra stuff to worry about now. Apparently I may have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis or I may have Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. And I get to have multiple ultrasounds with a full bladder. And I have to wait 2 more weeks. So I may have a chronic disease that will force me to take a pill every day for the rest of my life. Or I may have an ovarian condition that will likely render me infertile. Or it could be nothing. Sweet.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Back

I was travelling for work last week, hence the lapse in blogs. I prefer not to use my work computer to blog or do anything too personal. Probably a good policy for more people to have. I'm always amazed when I hear about folks who look at porn while at work, or job hunt while at work. Or who put stuff on their resume like "prefer to work in the nude". Seriously, who decides that that is information that should be shared with HR managers and the EA's who are pre-screening these resumes?



Anyhoo. I was in Boston, then drove to Burlington to take a look around, then back to Boston. A quick trip, and A LOT of driving. My butt is still aching from sitting in the not-so-plush driver's seat of the Toyota Avalon I rented (averaged 25 MPG - I don't recommend it). Thoughts from my trip....



1. I hate Boston. It's probably a cool city, but I got lost. A lot. Like every time I left my hotel room. And not just driving, oh no, I got lost WALKING. Now, It's not like I'm a human compass, but I do have a decent sense of direction. Seriously though, I've never seen streets that bend and curve and disappear like they do in Boston. And the toll roads - don't get me started. I had to stop twice to get more cash because I spent all my money on the freakin' tolls.

2. It was not a 3 hour drive between Boston and Burlington, it was 4+. And decent radio was hard to find in that 4 hours. And so was a bathroom or food. I don't understand why the cities are set so far off the highway. Probably better for the community but crappy for the traveller at large. I couldn't see anything, so had no idea if anything was worth stopping for.

3. The exception to the above was the Yankee Candle Store. Yeah, they're all over the place, but this was the Mothership of Candle Stores. Seriously, it was bigger than some department stores I've been in. And BOY was it smelly. I mean that in a good way, but really, I'd have a never-ending headache if I had to smell those candles all day every day. I wasn't going to buy anything,but finally gave in and stocked up on the 18 votives for $19.99. A smokin' deal for YC's. I WAS amazed at the number of candles people were buying. Seriously - there were a few people toting around 6-8 of the big honkers - the ones selling @ 3 for $50. Again, a good deal, but I personally would have a hard time blowing $250 on candles.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sick Sick Sick

Matt is sick today, so it's affecting all of us. He must be feeling better, because he was getting a little chatty. But now dinner may not be staying down, so he's back to laying on the couch and moaning ever so slightly every few minutes.

I've gotten nothing done today. Church is such a time sucker. I know I have a bad attitude about it, but I can't help it. By the time we get home again, it's 2 pm, and I have zero motivation to get anything done. I never felt welcomed here, and the one person who was cool to me moved out of the Ward. We've never had consistent Home Teachers or Visiting Teachers..... and I LOVE that people still ask me if I'm new. NO - I'M NOT NEW - apparently I am just invisible. Thanks for asking, and thanks for making me feel like an idiot for showing up and even trying to fit in a little bit.

Maybe I need to accept that I'll always be an outsider. As a convert I still miss some of the little "givens" that every seems to know. I'm sure that will get better with time, but for now, I just feel a little embittered. Here more than anywhere else (any other Ward we've been in), it seems that I am one of the only women who work. I don't have the opportunity to stay home with my kids right now, so I can't do any of the junk that's scheduled during the week. Add my hour-long commute to that, and it's tough for me to even be on time for the stuff scheduled after working hours. Being in Primary doesn't help either. I HATE that I have to find a sub for the times when I won't be there. It's horrible trying to call around and explain who I am and why I need a sub. Everyone either has a calling, or they have young kids & can't/ won't. I don't blame them - I wouldn't want to sub either. But cut me a break. I think I may just resign quietly. I'm about done with the whole rigmarole of church. If Peaches didn't like Nursery so much, I'd take a nice long break from it entirely.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A dreary Saturday

Weather was dreary and so is my mood. I suppose we got a lot done - Shrek III, Daddy made pancakes for breakfast, sanded & stained the boards for the beam in the living room (a project that's been pending for 2 years), cooked dinner, rented movies.... but I'm tired. Is it normal to be tired all the time? I feel like I am. It's not much better when I sleep well and exercise - I'm still always tired. I'm so glad Monday is a holiday, too. I need an extra day, especially with an early flight on Wednesday morning.

Blah.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I am falling apart

Health update - apparently my doctor's office neglected to actually LOOK at my labs after removing 5 vials of blood a few weeks ago. The nurse has the gall to call me 7 days after the fact (after I had to call and bug her about the fact that I was bleeding with no signs of stopping.... but I digress) and tell me that my thyroid antibodies are a bit off - by about 270. Normal is 35, mine was 317. Yeah.
I still don't know what it all means, as I have to wait 2 weeks to see the specialist. Then more blood, and more waiting, I'm sure. In the meantime, the symptoms of hypothyroidism are a frighteningly near match to much of what I've been feeling lately - slowed metabolism, cold all the time, fatigue, depression - and my favorite - MENTAL SLUGGISHNESS. Yeah, seriously. I thought I was becoming slightly retarded, but it turns out that my body is just fighting itself, and taking all the good stuff with it.
Special little twist. This is some of the same stuff Shelly went through last September, until she had surgery to remove some of her thyroid. And now I've fired her, and I feel like this is Fate's funny little joke on me. Especially as I didn't actually do the deed, but everyone thinks I was behind it. Ha ha.

My car blew up today

OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. But it did crap out on me on the way to a meeting this morning. Thank goodness Aaron was with me and could use his AAA coverage even as a passenger. We had it towed, and $500 later it should be good for another 50,000 miles! Yay? In a way it validated my suspicion that this was only a matter of time coming. She's got 219,000 miles on her. And Matt hasn't been interested in doing any maintenance work on her. Serves me right.

I was getting a little excited about buying a newer car - until I thought about the payments. Then I just felt sick. She'll last us until we can get settled somewhere this summer, and we get things figured out with work and money. I am grateful for that. Now I can go back to focusing my anxiety on whether or not I'll have a job after August.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

House for Sale

Ok, we're not there quite yet, but it's close to do or die time. I think I have been procrastinating because I love this house & I don't want to have to go through the hassle of having to sell it. Can we just pick it up and take it with us?

House for Sale in South Salem
2 Br/ 1 Ba/ 1 car garage
Corner lot
Near Elementary & SSHS
Fireplace, basement
Hardwoods, tile, carpet in bedrooms
Remodeled Bath
Ralph Lauren paint in most rooms
New light fixtures
Fully insulated
Nicely landscaped
Fridge stays
$182,000

I am also getting freaked out about work, moving, my health, and wearing a bathing suit on vacation next month. It's been a long day.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Day 31

As much fun as blogging is, sometimes it's hard to find the time. This was both the world's longest week & a quick one. TGIF for sure. I didn't sleep enough all week, so I've been grumpy, and had an awesome eye twitch. No, I'm not totally demented - the eye twitch is actually caused by a lack of sleep. Matt wanted to talk each night, and as much as I like to listen to him babble in bed, when he's awake he keeps me up. Then Peaches had to come in each night and tell me when she had to go potty. Good information, but not well received at 3am.

Needless to say, my Starbucks addiction was in full swing, and I don't know if I could have made it until noon each day without a Latte. What did we do before Starbucks sprang up on every corner? I have a feeling this is prevalent in the Northwest and big cities only. Louisiana had hardly any, and I teared up a little each time I spotted one. It was like seeing an old friend after years of not talking. If we end up in Vermont, I guess I'll have to get used to Dunkin' Donuts. Des Moines has a few Starbucks, but not the every-2-miles-spread that I am used to.

Interesting news today - not news really, not yet, but one more thing to be worried about. My thyroid antibody is through the roof. I guess I'll see a specialist next week (appointment TBD), but in the meantime, it explains a lot - the lack of menstruation, fatigue, feeling of cold, depression, volatility, weight gain, lack of libido, mental sluggishness. No wonder I've been feeling like such a b **ch this week. Of course, if that's not what it is, I'm back to feeling like I am losing my mind ever so slightly each day.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Horrible Day & A New Beginning

Yesterday was just not my day. I woke up feeling negative, and made poor choices all day. I was unmotivated at work, and slogged through my day - with twice as many surfing breaks as I usually take. Not sure what was wrong. My pants were tight - that never makes for a fantastic day. I feel like I've gained 5 pounds this week, and really haven't been eating much differently than I usually do. I blame the birth control pills. I haven't taken them in years, and now that I'm back on to force my period, I feel topsy-turvy.

I was super-emotional, too. Like I wanted to burst into tears all day. It wasn't much better by the time I got home, either. I've been looking for a new car (since my current one has oil in the sparkplugs - not a good sign of aging), and I was disappointed when the person told me they were "holding" it for someone in Seattle. I guess they didn't want to sell it all that badly. It really bummed me out. I want a Subaru Forester, but now's really not the ideal time. Until we sell the house & figure out if I'll be able to keep my job, I shouldn't be making any large purchases. I'm nervous about the Civic, though. Every weird smell or sound makes me think that an engine fire is just a few short miles away. I don't think I can handle that much anxiety when I drive 80 miles each day. I probably like the idea of a new car more than actually getting one. I've had the Civic for 9 years & am attached to her. She's been awesome - still gets 35+ MPG!

I did drag my butt to the gym at 9pm. Amazing how 45 minutes of sweat can make it all seem a little better. And when I got home, I applied for a job at UVM. We may not know if we're going there yet, but I may as well hedge my bets on moving there, and on keeping my job. Wish me luck.

Today I'm focused on finishing the bathroom. I've dragged my butt for 6 weeks, so it's about time. I'm stripping the last bits of wallpaper, then going to prime & paint the tub alcove, and caulk the tile edges. After that, I'll probably paint the ceiling tomorrow! I'm stoked to get it done. I've gotta ride the wave of motivation while I'm still feeling it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Day 39

Today I was informed that the 'big boss' has lost her laptop, meaning that all her info is gone - including my yearly review. I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter all that much - I already received my raise. Plus, she worked with with me for a grand total of about 3 days over the course of 8 months. Not really much she could base an honest review on. At least I wasn't the only one affected by this - but it's still random, and quite par for the course with this company. I'm surprised that I still keep perspective after nearly 3 years. Some days I just feel numbed by everything. "It is what it is" has become the unofficial company motto - a perfect example of both the resignation felt by so many and the sad truth. Change comes painfully slow around here, and as one of my four previous bosses liked to say "It's like turning the Titanic".

40 days and counting

So here's the lowdown - I'm 33, married, with a 3 yo daughter (aka the Girl or Peaches). My husband Matt is a full-time student, and I work. I'm not sure why I feel compelled to start a blog, but it's a crazy time right now, and maybe this will help me to work through some stuff... so here we go.

We're at 40 days and counting. 40 days until graduation - and the start of phase II of the 12 year plan. Why the 12 year plan? Because that's how long it will take for Matt to complete his undergrad degree, finish Medical School, complete a Residency, and start his practice. 12 years isn't terribly long - but I also never expected to be 33 and still in the early part of the plan. So much for living an idealized version of life. Sure, the American Dream would have been sweet, but I wouldn't trade a second of that for less time with my daughter, or for how much I value Matt and our life together. It's a struggle, but we're in it together, and that's what counts in the end. We've had a ton of issues, but through it all, it's our unified vision of the future that keeps us together and moving forward. I am so grateful for that.

So here's the plan (such as it is). Med school starts in 2.5 months, and we still don't know where we're going. DMU has a spot waiting for us (secured with $1K - no one said it would be free), but he's on the wait list for UVM. At first, I was sort of against UVM, but this was mostly due to my comfort level with DMU. We had a Plan, I had made my peace with it, and was all set mentally. Now that UVM is a realistic possibility, I've had to re-think the Plan, and wrap my head around the options. I think UVM would be awesome for us - certainly for Matt's career - but am unsettled that it may be months until we get a final word from them. It's not that my heart is set on going there - it's the NOT knowing that is driving me nuts.

I'm not helping the situation either. We're supposed to be getting the house ready to sell, but have been dragging on that. Maybe it's a passive-aggresive thing, maybe it's self-sabotaging, but I can't seem to get motivated to finish all the little stuff that needs to be done to put the house on the market. If I take a hard look at it, it's not that much stuff. But by the time I get to the weekend, I'm tired, I want to relax with the Girl, and I don't want to scrub the house down so strangers can tromp through it and nit pick all the quirks that come with living in a 90 year old house.

Here's a special little Life bonus too - we've just started trying for another Bambino, and I've stopped ovulating. I wait for 3 + years and I stop ovulating NOW? WHAT is going on? I wanted to cry when the doctor matter-of-factly told me that's what's up. So now I'm on BC pills to kick start the old bod, and next step is go on on Clomid when Aunt Flo comes to visit again. I got knocked up twice in a row with no problems, and this is what I get after being practical and waiting until we were really 'ready' for another? What the !#^#^%&*&^???? I'm not sure what the universe is trying to tell me, but I hope it reveals itself soon.