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.