Friday, November 13, 2009

Just Be Grateful I Didn't Post My Attempt At A Heartwarming Retelling of The Little Match Girl

Pin It I'm still very serious about this coat project.

(Two whole days later and I'm still committed. Impressive. Let us pause while I pat myself on the back.)

As of 11:31 PM, we're up to 62 confirmed coats. WOOT!

(Hmmm.... I think you might have to be attempting 'ironically dorky' in order to make WOOT work. I am not exactly the ironic type, more of the actual type.)

(But still. Woot!)

If you're still on the fence about dropping the cash, just think - for around twenty bucks you can walk past the bell ringers this Christmas feeling fairly virtuous. It's a bargain my friends.

Think about what you waste twenty bucks on every week of your life:
  • Random crap at Target that you never intended to buy (it is impossible to leave Target without spending $100 - I think this may be a law of nature)
  • Food you will never actually eat from Costco, because it was on sale (twenty years later you will open your pantry and wonder why you thought you needed a case of trail mix) (answer: you probably didn't)
  • Cafe Rio. Again.
  • Doughnuts (just me?)
I'll put the rest of the coat drive info (including the shipping address) at the end of this post, so those who are sick of hearing about it (because they have no SOUL) can skip it.

But I'll leave you with this - one of my friends has been involved in refugee service projects before. One of the families they worked with only had ONE coat. And the four kids TOOK TURNS wearing it.




Last week Fernando and I took a little trip to Primary Children's hospital so they could strap him to a table, insert an IV and catheter and scan his kidney function for 45 minutes. They had to try three different catheters before finding one that would work. So - insert catheter, withdraw catheter, insert, withdraw, insert, withdraw.

Fernando was not medicated during this procedure.

Fernando was NOT pleased.

The picture above was taken with my crappy flip cell phone camera and therefore does not allow you to see the tears rolling down his cheeks, or the "WHY, WHY, WHY would you betray me like this mother" look he kept shooting me. It was awful.

Possibly I fell apart and leaked tears all over his chubby, little baby hands for the entire 45 minute procedure. Possibly.

Later in the day, after a related test and one rather jaw dropping diaper explosion, we met with his specialist, who said that he's completely fine. His kidneys are swollen but it should clear up on its own - no surgery or medication needed. It was fantastic news.

Fernando would like to acknowledge all of the people who sent us well wishes and prayers and love (he refers to them as his vampire groupies, vain little thing) by sharing one of the gigantic smiles he just started handing out this week, but you know how those vampires are - afraid of bright lights. (Or is it mirrors that vampires are afraid of? Vampires confuse me.)

He went from moderately agreeable to completely freaked out in the space of four flashes.

Ah, well... Maybe he'll be ready for the paparazzi another day.

(Fernando promises NOTHING.)

He's been on Prevacid for a couple of weeks now, and the change in him is amazing. He still has reflux, but he's no longer in constant pain. He smiles and he coos and is generally pretty delightful. He sleeps like a two month old (as he should), but we are enjoying him so much. He is the sweetest, dearest little baby.


Oh, hey! Look, we're talking about coats again!

(You've been biting your fingernails in anticipation, right?)

(Look at this cool graphic TJ made! Thanks TJ!)

If you'd like to get involved, just start spreading the word. Talk about it on your blog, or on Facebook, or Twitter, or whatever works for you. If you end up blogging about it, let me know. Eventually I may compile a list of the links and post it here so that people can check out what other folks are doing.

The shipping/drop-off address for donations is:

Gayane Manukyan
Att: 100 Coats for Kids Project
Refugee Center at AAU
1588 South Major Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84115

If you end up sending a coat, please let me know when/how many so we can keep track of our progress and so I can keep our contacts at the Refugee Services Office and AAU updated.

If you're local, and you want to donate coats but don't want to ship them, you can drop them off at the center, or you can email me, and I'll come pick them up. (Door to door service, people. Door to door. Just think - you can see me in all of my multi-chinned, non-Photoshopped glory. LUCKY, LUCKY YOU.)

This whole thing keeps making me think of A Little Princess, of the two hungry, freezing children in the attic, and of the Indian gentleman who secretly brings them warm clothing and food.

Not that we're doing anything huge. It's a small thing - an easy thing. We probably feel more virtuous for doing this kind of stuff than we really should.

In the book, Sara says, "Somehow, something always happens just before things get to the very worst. It is as if Magic did it."

And I guess that's the lucky thing for us - now and then, we get to be part of the magic.

Now go forth and get your coat mojo on.

PS: Tracy - you won! I'll email the gift card to you this morning.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm Small I Know, But Wherever I Go....*

Pin It I owe you a post about Fernando's recent trip to the hospital (he's completely fine) and about the the utter pointlessness of showering at this point in my life, and I will get around to that ANY SECOND NOW, but before I do, I have to post this...

I'm working on a winter service project with a few of my book club friends.

(I know some of your eyes just glazed over right there, but I have no choice but to post about it, since I keep blathering on to my friends about how I'm going to "get the blogging community involved.")

(As an aside - there is nothing that makes me feel like more of a dork than mentioning my blog to non-bloggers. Sure, they all nod and smile supportively, but I'm pretty sure they're secretly wondering when I'm going to publish my English-to-Klingon translation of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail soundtrack.)

(It probably doesn't help that I say things like "blogging community.")

Anyway, BLOGGING COMMUNITY, we're collecting new (or very gently used), warm coats and clothing for refugee children who live here in Salt Lake City. The kids in question came to SLC from war torn areas in Africa and Asia. Most of them have never experienced snow and have nothing appropriate to wear. The refugee specialist we've been working with says they are still desperately in need of warm children's clothing for this season. It's already November, so we're going to have to do this thing QUICKLY.

I'm collecting clothing locally (the old fashioned way - walking around handing out flyers and pestering friends and neighbors) - but I also wanted to start a virtual clothing drive.

The idea is pretty basic: You purchase new infant/toddler/child/teen size coats and/or warm clothing online and ship your items directly to the refugee center. Once you've purchased your items, come back here (to this post or any other) and let me know what you donated so we can keep track of how close we're getting to the goal. (You can email me if you're feeling shy.)

My goal is to wrangle 100 new coats and/or warm winter outfits. (Gloves and boots are always good too.)

The shipping address is:

Gayane Manukyan
Att: 100 Coats for Kids Project
Refugee Center at AAU
1588 South Major Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84115

In order to help spread the word about the clothing drive, I'm giving away a $25 gift card to To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment.

I'm also going to do one of those obnoxious things where you get additional entries if you blog or tweet or facebook about it. (Those tweet/blog/facebook type giveaways always sort of make me want to punch myself in the face, but I figure this is for the good of humanity.)

(Or at least the rag-tag little portion of humanity currently shivering on the playground over at Rose Park Elementary.)

So please, please - submit this post to the social media gods at facebook or twitter or Digg or kirtsy or wherever you happen to currently do your social media worshipping.

(For those of you concerned that this is self-promotional and I will benefit in some way from the traffic - 1) I don't have ads, and 2) I'm sure that if by some miracle my blog ever became anything close to popular, I would promptly take an eight month blogging break and lose all of my readers.) (It's what I do.)

If anyone else would like to get involved - locally or virtually - please email me or leave your info in the comments. The more people we can get involved, the better.

The giveaway ends Thursday night at midnight MT. Thanks for spreading the word.


I've gotten a few tips for buying cheap coats online, if you're looking to contribute but are low on funds (aren't we all!):

A few good deals:

If you have any tips to add, please let me know!

* The title is a reference to a children's primary (sunday school) song - "Give Said the Little Stream" - which contains the line, "I'm small I know, but wherever I go, the fields grows greener still." (Thanks for the correction on the lyrics, guys.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Pin It I haven't been slacking and holding out on you, I've just been gestating for a very, very long time.

In fact, I'm getting ready to live-blog the birth any second now!


Alright, FINE.

I am not still pregnant.

I am actually de-pregnant. I have been de-pregnatized.


(I have also been heavily Photoshopped. In real life I do not actually glow, and I have an additional chin.)

(Or two.)

The baby made his appearance on 09-09-09 - NOT on the 14th as I'd been promised.

Since I was not quite finished with my maternity leave preparations I was quite put out.

(I highly intend to write a strongly worded letter.)

At about 2:00 in the morning on the 9th I woke up out of a dead sleep. Usually when I wake up from a dead sleep it's either due to a) imaginary spider bites, or b) imaginary noises in the house, but on this occasion it was imaginary contractions. At least I was fairly sure they were probably imaginary. I mean - on the one hand there was freakishly painful pain every seven minutes or so. On the other hand - blood clot.

My husband was groggily convinced that I was just being dramatic. This is probably why he went along with me, when after about an hour-and-a-half, still feeling certain this would all be a false alarm, I decided to drive myself to the hospital. I told him that I would call him if it turned out to be real labor, which I doubted it was, because a) it's me we're talking about here, and b) I was giving birth on the 14th, and it wasn't the 14th yet, dammit.

At 4:00 AM I arrived at the hospital. At 4:30AM the nurses established that I was having actual, non-imaginary contractions. At 4:45 they finally believed my "story" (about labor = danger/exploding uterus) and called my doctor, who flipped out and scheduled a 6AM c-section.

I called my husband, feeling slightly hysterical. “Come down here now! They’re operating in an hour. AN HOUR! Call Karen, she’ll watch the kids until my mom can get there!”

He told me not to worry – he would be there in twenty minutes – twenty-five tops. I wept, feeling sure my husband was going to miss the birth of his fourth child. THE TRAGEDY.

Of course, then I pictured my immaculate neighbor seeing the condition of our kitchen floor and called my husband back. “Wait! Don’t call Karen! Do the dishes first, then call Karen. And sweep the floor under the table. And wipe off the table. Do that and THEN call Karen.” I figured if he missed the first part of the operation, no big deal. After all, you’ve seen one c-section, you’ve seen ‘em all. Small price to pay.

I texted him seven times with various instructions – all related to making sure he cleaned the house before calling Karen. I was texting him about wiping down the outside of the fridge when he walked in the door. He swears he “picked up a little” before Karen got there. (I am sure he is lying.)

Our baby boy was born at 6:07 AM on 9-9-09.

Internet, I give you...


Fernando likes to NURSE. He likes to nurse, and nurse, and nurse. Also? He likes to nurse. His sole mission in life is to chew off my left nipple. I feel like my brain juices have all melted and been sucked right out of my milk ducts. (That spot on the front of my t-shirt? That's not breastmilk, it's what was left of my frontal lobe.)

(Man, I hate breastfeeding. The La Leche League folks can suck on it.)

("It" meaning - something that is not my nipple. That's already being utilized.)

(I wonder how many times I can say nipple in this post? Nipple, nipple, NIPPLE.)

(Am I making you uncomfortable?)

(Let's talk about something else, shall we?)

In honor of having the baby, I am having a GIVEAWAY! I am giving away:

A Fussy Six Week Old Who Is
Suffering from Reflux and a Double Ear Infection!

(To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment letting me know how soon you could get here.) (I'm really tired.)




O.k., FINE.

I am not giving him away. I would never in a million BILLION years give him away.


I'd SELL him.


OK, FINE, I won't sell him either. The children would revolt. They sort of like him. He has them under his vampire mind control, obviously. See that satisfied little smile? That's the smile of a baby vampire who is plotting to destroy his evil human overlords.

I am trying very hard to recapture normal - to get back into some semblance of a routine. But this baby does not recognize routine, he spits upon our routine, he POOPS upon our routine. Routines are for mortals, not breastmilk vampires, he says.

He is a very sweet, dear baby when he is not feeling horrible. He's had a really rough start here on planet earth. He celebrated his two week old anniversary by coming down with a cold, double ear infection, and a nasty case of reflux. He's been in so much pain - for weeks, if he was awake, he was crying. His little baby voice is hoarse from stomach acid washing up and down his throat. (Ever heard a newborn with laryngitis? It's the most pathetic sound in the world.)

When he isn't in pain, he is an above average baby in every way - sweet and round and adorable and wonderful and ours. And of course, he is our last baby, so everything he does has special significance - sure, we are up walking the floor with him, but we are doing it for the Last Time, with our Last Baby Ever. Somehow that makes it all a little easier. It's amazing how much love you can feel for someone you've known so briefly.

He has the same medical issues his sister just had surgery for (the condition runs in sibling groups) and has a test scheduled for next week at Primary Children's Hospital. We're hoping to hear his condition is less severe than his sister's, and that he'll grow out of it with no surgery necessary. We'd appreciate your thoughts and if you are so inclined, your prayers. My little one could use a very large break.

I was hoping for a more clever ending for this post, but alas, the baby is crying so I must sign off.

(Somehow that seems fitting.)

Off I go.

PS: Please ignore that creaking noise you may hear as you read this post. My blogging chops are a bit rusty.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Mysterious Case of the Continually Evolving Due Date


Some people were confused about how I could be twelve weeks along in February, and yet STILL BE PREGNANT IN SEPTEMBER. Well. That is certainly VERY easy to explain.

This is possible because I am a moron.

January 2009

I call my old OB's office.

Me: "I took a pregnancy test and it says I'm pregnant."
Nurse: "When was your last menstrual period?"
Me: "December 2nd?"
Nurse: "Are you guessing?"
Me: "Kind of."

We settle on a due date of September 10th. I tell her what the OB said after my last c-section - that my uterus was shot and that I should take steps to make sure I NEVER GET PREGNANT AGAIN. She leaves a message for the doctor, who reads his old notes on the chart and calls me back. We have a ten minute conversation all about DANGER and RISK and TAKING PRECAUTIONS. I am officially scared to death.

February 12, 2009

We discover our insurance no longer covers the old OB, and I reluctantly find a new one.

NEW, COMPLETELY CAVALIER NOT-TAKING-ME-SERIOUSLY OB: "Sometimes when we're performing c-sections we see a paper thin uterine scar and get a little freaked out. But we really don't know very much medically about how much stress the uterus can actually take. The uterus is an amazing thing. You'll probably be fine."

Me: "Uhhhh....."

OB: "Listen, we'll keep an eye on things. If we start seeing signs of tearing or rupture, we'll take the baby a little early - in August or possibly July."

February 24, 2009

Me: "I'm twelve weeks now."
Husband: "Nine weeks."
Me: "No - I think I got pregnant on December 13th. That makes me..."
Husband: "That would make you ten weeks."
Me: "Ten-and-a-half. That's practically twelve."
Husband: "Is this because you want to tell people, and you think you aren't allowed to tell people until the first trimester is over?"
Me: Yes. "NO."

April, 2009

At a party, talking pregnancy with a friend who is due in September:

Friend: "When is this baby coming?"
Me: "I'm not sure. Maybe August. Or July. It sort of depends." I ramble on for a few minutes about possible complications and early babies.
Friend: "But what's your official due date?"
Me: Huh. When IS my due date? Surely this knowledge was in my brain at some point in time. "August 20th?"

Later on that night, I realize this is NOT actually my due date but the date of the Project Runway premiere.


April 2009, again

Ultrasound tech: "So according to what we can see on the ultrasound, your corrected due date is actually September 28th."
Me, grumbling: "Yeah, like THAT's accurate."

June 2009

My friends throw me a baby shower. Because as they all know, I'm due ANY DAY NOW. The baby could come at ANY SECOND. In JULY. Or maybe in AUGUST. Or maybe on September 10th. Or the 28th. Or maybe NEXT YEAR. NOBODY KNOWS.

July 2009

The OB tells me everything looks fine so far, and barring any problems we'll plan on a September 14th c-section.

Me: "Like what kind of problems? Because last night I bent over and I felt tearing and I was looking at wikipedia and I wondered - "
OB: "You didn't rupture."
Me: "Right, but - "
OB: "Severe pain. Severe uterine pain and bleeding. Call us if there is SEVERE UTERINE PAIN AND BLEEDING."

August 2009:

I have somehow gotten September 10th stuck in my head. Approximately twenty people ask me when I am due. I tell all of them September 10th.

August 2009, Again:

I get in an argument with my husband about my c-section date.

He insists it is September 14th.

I insist it is the 10th, after all, "I should know, I mean, it's MY body getting cut open. Geez."

He gets out the calendar and I slink away in defeat.

August 2009, Some More:

I am having contractions. In all of my previous conversations with the OB, she has emphasized that I should NOT worry about uterine rupture because we really only need to worry if I start having contractions.

I call her office in a dither, all "RUPTURE - RUPTURE WILL ROBINSON." She tells me to lie down and drink a glass of water and the contractions will probably stop.

They do.

(It is very anti-climactic.)

September 2009:

I realize that for all of my complaining ("I HAVE BEEN PREGNANT FOR FORTY-SEVEN WEEKS" and "PLEASE JUST GET IT OUT OF ME" and "MY STOMACH IS BREAKING OFF") I am now too busy with work and the kids' activities to have this baby.

I ask my OB if we can move it back to September 28th again because I have three user manuals to finish before I can possibly afford to take a few days off to have the baby. The 14th is just not going to work for me.

Shockingly, she does not go along with this.


So there you have it. September 14th. D-Day.

I am actually looking into outsourcing the birthing process to my husband. He gets paid time off from work, so it would make way more sense for him to just go ahead and have the baby.

(I'll keep you posted on how that works out for me.)


PS: I didn't forget about the Thanksgiving Point giveaway - I just never bothered to announce who won. I did pick a winner and deliver the tickets last month though - they went to Debbie, who commented at 10:11 PM.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What's the Deal: Thanksgiving Point, Utah: It Was Hot, And Then It Was Hot Some More

Pin It Remember when I said I wasn't going to do any giveaways on my blog?


(Now that we've gotten that out of the way...)

Thanksgiving Point mistakenly invited me and my kids to come enjoy their various attractions for FREE (and then gave me some stuff to give away to you guys) and I immediately caved.

I say mistakenly because as it turned out, the TP people only invited me because they thought I was the woman behind this blog (which I founded, but turned over to other bloggers a few months back and can no longer take credit for), but once they realized their mistake they couldn't exactly uninvite me, so I was IN, BABY. WHEEE!!!!

We were really looking forward to it, mostly because I sort of forgot that the marketing directors, despite being very lovely people, did not actually have the power to turn off the sun or make it Not-July.

We started the tour off in the main gardens, where the kids ran down a big hill over and over again while we bloggers stood around eyeing each other suspiciously. I didn't know a single one of them, so I did that thing where you sort of join the nearest circle and nod your head and laugh in the appropriate places until someone acknowledges you.

Blogger A, talking about the recent BlogHer conference and why she didn't attend: "If I could get a sponsor to pay a thousand bucks to send me, well sure, THEN I'd go."

Me: "If I could get a sponsor to pay a thousand bucks to send me I'd PRETEND to go and keep all of the money for snack cheese."

Thanksgiving Point Marketing Directors: {scratching my name off the future potential sponsorship list}

I will be honest. (Are we supposed to be honest? I'm not sure. I forgot to ask.) Going to the gardens in the middle of the summer is not really the smartest thing in the world to do when you are seven and one-half months pregnant. (WHICH I AM.) We love to go to the gardens in the spring during the tulip festival, but during the summer? With the hot hot hot hot hot sun blazing down upon us? OY.


I will say that the kids were having a blast, mostly because they ARE NOT PREGNANT.


(See? See the joy? She's fine by the way - the surgery went great and she's all better.)

A little while later we had a nice catered lunch in a shady spot where I met my friend Kalli (who I invited to come along with me before I realized that we weren't TECHNICALLY supposed to invite other bloggers to come with us, but it was TOO LATE, TOO LATE I ALREADY DID IT, NO TAKE-BACKS, and so the PR people had to let her come too).

After lunch they invited us to walk up a winding concrete path toward a water play area for the children, and so we did, sweating buckets all the way but looking forward to the cool, crisp water that would surely be waiting for us at the end of our journey. When we got there the water was TURNED OFF, IT WAS OFF, OH SWEET HEAVEN OUR BRAINS ARE MELTING and so we sat in the shade and poured water from the drinking fountain on our heads and waited for the trolley. Kalli and I talked while the kids scavenged around the dry water feature looking for signs of moisture.

I saw Jane from Seagull Fountain there lying on the grass with her children, and for a moment I was concerned, thinking maybe they had all succumbed to the heat, but they were just resting. PHEW. IMAGINE THE HEADLINES.



Next up was the farm. They have a working farm there and it's something my kids and I have visited ever since we moved here back in 2004. They have all sorts of animals to pet and feed, ponies to ride, wagon rides, fun exhibits to play on, classes you can take - this is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving Point. They kids all got a free pony ride, to wit:







Poor Kalli. By this point in the tour I was mostly not making sense, rambling incoherently about "LIQUEFYING BRAIN PARTS" and "OH MY BLISTERING ANKLES" and she nicely patted me and said, "Let's go find you a popsicle." And so we did.

After that we hit up the dino museum and the junior paleontology lab, another attraction my kids and I visit a couple times a year. It was a big hit with the kids AND the moms, and not just because of the air conditioning.





After the dino museum Kalli left, possibly because if she had to hear me say something about how hot I was even ONE MORE TIME she was going to grab a fossil and shove it in my left eyeball.

This freed me up to make more uncomfortable conversation with other bloggers who were strangely preoccupied with talking about blogging. Incessantly. Blog, blog, blog, blog, sponsor, sponsor, blog, blog, twitter, blog. I realize it was all we really had in common but still.

Blogger A: "I haven't met you yet. I'm ________ from ___________. What's your blog?

Me: Navel Gazing.

Blogger B: WHAT?

Me: (mumbling) Navel Gazing? At its finest?

Blogger A: But your nametag says Borrowed Light.

Me: Yes, well - that's my blog address.

Blogger B (look of horror) Your blog name doesn't match your URL?

And then they would back away quickly, as though I had tuberculosis or the plague or a really low technorati score.

Next we went to a very fun (air conditioned) cooking class, where the kids frosted cupcakes and made chocolate decorations. They gave each of the kids a bag of goodies with aprons and personalized magnets and candy and gift certificates.

We were invited to a nice dinner at the restaurant there, but the kids and I were all exhausted and decided to call it a day. They handed me a gift basket full of fudge and taffy and gift certificates and (WHAT ELSE) BLOG GIVEAWAY ITEMS, which, to be perfectly honest, I was tempted to keep, or at least make up a name for myself and enter my own giveaway and award myself the prize (LUCKY LUCKY WINNER) but I figure the blog police will come and get me if I do that, so instead I will do the right thing and give them away.


I'm giving away the following stuff, courtesy of Thanksgiving Point(see, it's a real giveaway, you can tell by the way I centered it and made it purple):

Four tickets to the Seriously (I'm Not Kidding About This) Fun and Awesome Dinosaur Museum


Four tickets to the Totally Wholesome and Entertaining Farm Country


Four tickets to the Children's Discovery Garden Where The Fountains Will Be Working By Monday And If Not Then Yes, Probably You Will Die Of Heat Stroke On Your Way Back Out Of The Park But That Cannot Be Helped Because One Must Suffer For Nature


Four tickets to the Thanksgiving Point Gardens on the Surface of the Sun


I debated giving them away to sixteen different people but decided to give all sixteen tickets to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win ALL SIXTEEN TICKETS.
And I'll throw in ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS, just for the heck of it.
(That is a lie. I will not throw in one hundred dollars. But you can PRETEND like I'm going to give you one hundred dollars. That's practically the same thing.)
I'm sure by now the marketing people are reading this post and muttering things about my black, black, ungrateful heart, and plotting to send my name and url to all of the other PR people in the valley with a note that says DO NOT INVITE HER, so I will close with a picture of this:

See that? That's JOY right there. You can't purchase joy like that.

WAIT. WAIT! ACTUALLY YOU CAN! YOU CAN PURCHASE IT FOR $3.50 per ticket (or whatever it is they charge). WHAT A BARGAIN.

Seriously, they loved every bit of the day, and I was really happy that we got the chance to go enjoy all of that free fun. The marketing people were awesome and friendly and tried their best to make sure we were all having a great time.

Thanks for mistakenly inviting me, Thanksgiving Point people. (I am highly in favor of mistakes that benefit me personally.) (Attention all PR people: I am also the blogger behind CJane, TAMN, NieNie and Dooce. So if you have any opportunities for those folks, by all means, SEND THEM MY WAY.)


On another note, I'm actually planning to start blogging again on a (somewhat) regular basis. I even have posts all thought up, with titles like:

"Why Won't My Husband Eat My Chicken?" (not a euphemism)


"Ways In Which My OB and I Continue To Aggravate Each Other"


"What My Husband Thinks of the Book The Five Love Languages Which I Bought In An Effort To Change Our Love Language To Something Other Than Cracking Jokes At Each Other's Expense And Calling Each Other Dork A Lot, So That Hopefully He Will Not Run Off To Tahiti With Some Non-Seven Months Pregnant Woman Who Fills His Love Tank" (also not a euphemism)

(Actual suggestion from book: "Go to the city park and rent bicycles. Ride until you are tired, then sit and watch the ducks. When you are tired of the quacking, roll on to the rose garden. Learn each other's favorite color of rose and why. If the bikes are too much, take turns pulling each other in a little red wagon." I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. Despite this suggestion, which caused my husband to snort so loudly he almost had a brain aneurysm, the book had some valid points. Note to husband: SERIOUSLY, IT DID. ALSO, YOU LOOK QUITE SHARP TODAY*)

*This makes sense if you have read the book.

So long, farewell, I am off to crouch in front of the air conditioning vent.

Related Posts:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In Which I Attempt To Thank People For Throwing Me A Baby Shower, But Mostly End Up Rambling a Lot

Pin It My seven year old, who I call Sarah on the blog (but who is not really named Sarah, so it seems silly to keep calling her Sarah, because what am I - Pioneer Woman, that I should be important enough to have stalkers? Please. And yet the completely paranoid part of my brain is convinced that if I were to utter her Actual Name dangerous predators would descend from the blogging sky, search the town for children with a similar name and spirit her away to the Land of Stolen Blog Children - so I guess I shouldn't tempt fate and should just continue to call her Sarah), has to have surgery next week.

I would tell you all about it except that Sarah is a little embarrassed about the whole thing, and would rather that I not go around spouting her diagnosis all over my blog. (I'm feeling a little guilty now for my semi-hysterical and very specific Facebook updates, except that I know she will thank me when people drop by afterwards with things made out of chocolate (which I'm assuming they will, because seriously, what is the point of even HAVING surgery if it doesn't result in chocolate)). (For the mother.) So I won't get into the details of the surgery, but I'll tell you that she'll be in the hospital for a few days, a problem will be fixed, and her surgeons are excellent. The surgery is invasive but relatively safe, so I've decided to pretend she's getting her tonsils out or maybe having some hair implants, something fairly benign like that.

(In other words, I forbid anyone from expressing the words "I'm sorry," "I'll pray for you," or anything else that sounds even vaguely compassionate in the comments, because a) people who are going to be FINE, JUST FINE, TOTALLY FINE, don't need compassion and b) concerned comments would imply that there is cause for concern, and there isn't, no there ISN'T - LA LA LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU.)

(However, comments like "SUE - your pet monkey is ADORABLE" would be very much appreciated, per usual.)

(This is Sarah taking a pre-surgery class at Primary Children's hospital - a class designed to help the kids work through their fears about what will happen on surgery day.)

Sarah is imaginative and smart, and the combo means that she is an expert worst-medical-case-scenario brewer-upper (she probably gets this from her father). She packed a bag for the hospital the other day, and when she solemnly showed me the carefully packed suitcase with her favorite chapter books and favorite stuffed animal and a note she wanted me to give her little sister on surgery day my heart went crackety-crack. My poor sweet, sensitive little girl. Oh how much I love her.

The baby is still in my stomach, cooking away. I know this because he kicks the living hell out of me all night long. Last night I don't know what was going on in there - soccer drills or something - but I stopped being amused after about fifty-seven straight minutes of it.

On Saturday morning some neighborhood friends threw me a mostly-surprise baby shower. I say mostly-surprise because one of the women in my neighborhood dropped off a gift for me about a week ago, with a note that said, "sorry I couldn't make the shower," which was my cue to badger the living daylights out of my husband - who was throwing it? when was it? where was it? would he warn me in advance so I could get my roots done ? who was throwing it again? - but he wouldn't crack.

I was so touched by the shower. Not just that someone threw one for me, or because I was grateful for the stuff - but the who/what/when/where/why of it all. Throwing a shower for someone is like publicly declaring your friendship for someone, like publicly saying, "OK, yes, I admit to being her friend." That's sort of awesome, especially if you really adore the people who threw you the shower. (And now the women who threw the shower are thinking, oh, CRAP, I didn't realize THAT was what it meant. I just wanted her to get some stuff. HA-HA-HA - sorry girls, IT IS TOO LATE, THERE IS NO RETURNING FROM THIS.)

This neighborhood is FULL of women I really like - including many who I really want to get to know better, but never quite get around to getting to know - partly because we are all busy, and partly because I am a dork.

Sometimes we'll have a girls night out or I'll be at book club and I'll end up sitting by someone who I know casually but not very well, and I end up thinking I LOVE HER, and I HAVE TO GET TO KNOW HER BETTER but then I do absolutely nothing about it, mostly because I have no idea what to do. I'm horrible on the phone, the most awkward dork in the universe, and the idea of making a phone call without having a SPECIFIC PURPOSE for making the phone call absolutely horrifies me.

(I can't imagine what people say when they call people for no reason - just to chat. How do you do that? What do you say? Do you make up a reason? I suppose if I answered the phone once in a while I would have a better idea of how that works.)

/End Tangent

Oh. Wait.

I have to say something about book club. I've been in a book club for the last four years and I love the other women in the group. We talk about books, we talk about life, we eat, we talk about books and life some more. The women in the group are wonderful, and every single time I leave book club thinking, OH MY GOSH, I LOVE HER (but I end up thinking it about twelve women at once, which is fairly overwhelming).

I have to remind myself before it starts not to talk too much, because I tend to get all overly excited and blurty and almost anxious. Sometimes I write little reminder notes on my hands, things like "don't talk so much," and "it is rude to interrupt people even if you are excited about what they are saying." (That one is long - I have to write that one on my arm or stomach.) (Although frankly, writing it on my stomach makes it more of a problem as far as reminders go, what with it not being visible).

Anyway, between book club and girls night out and the outlawed-by-our-bishop bunko group (long, strange story), there is a circle of women who I interact with more frequently, who I admire and respect and enjoy, but I STILL don't call them on a regular basis, other than to arrange for my kids to play with their kids. Sometimes if we're already on the phone I'll get really brave and ask a question about something non-kid related and we'll end up talking.

I'll get off the phone on this post-phone-talking high because I ACTUALLY TALKED ON THE PHONE, and then I eventually realize the other woman was trying ever-so-graciously to get off the phone for at least the last ten minutes, and I did not notice because I do not speak ever-so-gracious and because I kept having to tell her one more thing, and one more thing, and oh, wait, ONE MORE THING, and then I feel like a moron and swear off the phone FOREVER. Again.

/End Tangent
On Saturday night I went out and bought thank you cards and a little thank you gift for the women who organized the shower and carefully filled out the cards, but I still haven't delivered them. I don't want them thinking I'm some kind of overly eager dork who was counting the minutes until she could express her (possibly inappropriate amount of) gratitude, but rather a cool, cool cucumber of a normal-type friend who was just the right amount of socially acceptable grateful without being a total freak about it.

(Except one of them reads my blog, so the jig is probably up anyway.)

(So maybe I should just go deliver those cards.)

(Yeah, I'm leaving now.)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

I'm Not Quitting My Blog, I'm Just Sparing You Posts Like This One

Pin It Despite the long periods of blog silence, things are actually quite normal over here at hypochondria central. Would you like to hear about it?

And would you like to hear about it in run-on-sentence form with no discernible punctuation?


First of all, you should know that every other week or so I wake up at night feeling a sharp stabbing pain in the front of my calf, kind of like a really ticked off hornet is messing with me. I always reach down to brush it away, then realize there's nothing there, then start to say "SON OF A -," then I realize the pain is gone, and then I go back to sleep.

I keep meaning to talk it over with the doctor, but whenever I go to see her I completely forget to mention it, so distracted am I by our regular monthly discussion/game of "so when exactly do you think my uterus might rupture?"

Her standard response is some variation on "there's really no way of knowing if it will, or when it will, but let me know if you have sudden sharp uterine pain," and then I ask her to quantify what she means by pain, exactly. The sharp pain I sometimes get when I sneeze, is that a rupture? Or when the baby kicks an internal organ really hard and I have pain, is that a rupture? Or when I feel this sharp stabbing pain in my leg, is THAT a rupture? And could she possibly give me her cell phone number so that I can call her late at night when I feel a pain that might be a rupture?

By the time we finish having this discussion, she is usually giving me this look (this look like, who referred you to my practice again?) and I've completely forgotten about the leg thing because I'm busy rocking back and forth on the exam table imagining my own death.

Most likely the pain in my leg is from a (non-imaginary) blood clot, and probably I will die. (Farewell, internet.) The good news is that I'm so forgetful lately that most days I don't remember my impending death and life proceeds quite normally.

The first real day of summer vacation for the kids was Monday. I've been busy reading things like Last Child in the Woods and Free Range Kids (which I LOVED and made my book club pick this month), and I'm determined to make sure my kids spend their summer out exploring NATURE, dagnabbit. We have a perfectly good gully across the street with a stream in it, and a park down the road with a stream in it, and mountains five minutes from our doorstep, so in theory we are all set. Now all I need is a non-pregnant friend to con into taking them on all of these nature adventures while I lie on the couch.

Yesterday I took the kids swimming at a completely fantastic pool down the road (complete with water slides, a lazy river, play structures, and water shallow enough to keep my non-swimmers from drowning). They loved it, and I loved it too - as long as I stayed in the water. Since I am not one of those adorable little pocket-sized pregnant women with a cute baby bump, I don't look pregnant - I just look incredibly fat.

I'm fighting the urge to iron a patch onto my swimsuit, something about baby on board, something that will make it obvious to everyone that YES, I'm fat, but at least some of it is virtuous baby-related fat (as opposed to my regular slothful, doughnut-related fat). It turns out that all this time I thought it was obvious I was pregnant, what with my shirts stretched against my baby belly, but a few of my real life friends had no idea because apparently that's JUST WHAT I USUALLY LOOK LIKE. Egads.

By the way, thanks so much to everyone who so sweetly and generously offered to send me baby and maternity stuff after my last post. Hormonal as I am, I sniffled my way through most of those comments. Whoever says blogging friends aren't real friends - well, the maternity shirt on my back is here to tell you otherwise.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I See London, I See France...

Pin It There is a robin that sits outside of our window every morning and sings its sweet little heart out. It's very Mary Poppins. Eeeeevery single morning at 5:30 AM.

I freaking hate that bird.

The other morning the bird started singing at precisely 5:17 AM and I was so mad that I got up and went outside intending to do something about it, something involving rocks and a few pointedly stinging remarks. Unfortunately, as soon as I got outside it flew up onto the roof of the neighbors house, right above their master bedroom window where it just knew I'd be scared to throw something, and then it resumed singing. MOCKING ME.

Me, whisper-yelling: "SHUT UP BIRD."
Bird: "Tweedle tweedle twee."
Me, full of impotent rage, jumping up and down: "Go away! Go away! You suck! I hate you!"
Bird: "Tweety tweet tweet."

It was very frustrating.

(One of my neighbors has very mischievous six and ten year old boys, and I cannot for the life of me understand why she has failed to furnish them with BB guns. This seems a tragic oversight.)

(Do you think that would be an unfortunate present for someone to leave at their doorstep?)

The bird's early morning singing leaves me plenty of time for rage-fueled tossing around in bed before it is time to get up. I do this with quite a bit of irritation and loud sighing, since in my sleep deprived haze I feel quite certain that my husband ought to be Doing Something About It, although I'm not sure what that would entail. Just something. I think I would like to hear him out there screaming at that bird, really giving it the what-for. Maybe throwing something heavy, like a patio chair or the swing set.

Despite my bird fueled rage, my attitude about all things baby is finally starting to improve. It helps to have ultra-sound proof that it's a boy and not actually a demon from the netherworld as I was beginning to suspect. Unfortunately the only thing I've really done to prepare for the baby's arrival is whine a lot.

When I found out I was pregnant I walked around the house moaning about how stupid we were to give away all of our baby stuff, stupid, stupid, HOW COULD WE BE SO STUPID - thoughts I cagily kept to myself when my sister-in-law generously offered to give me some of her old baby stuff. She sweetly said she didn't need any of it anymore, because they were Done, and I did my best to nod gratefully instead of mumbling "famous last words SUCKAH," under my breath.

(Actual conversation with doctor this morning after ultrasound: Doctor: In a few weeks we can start talking about whether or not you'd like to have a tubal ligation after your c-section. Me: TIE THEM! TIE THEM NOW! I WANT THEM TIED. WITH DOUBLE-KNOTS! DO YOU DO DOUBLE KNOTS? Doctor: Uh....)

Anyway, thanks to my sister-in-law the baby will sleep in an actual crib instead of a laundry basket, and will have a stroller instead of the conveyance I was mocking up - a trained Labrador with a saddle.

We don't have a stitch of baby clothing in the house, and I'm dreading the inevitable trip to Target, where we will lay down all of our pennies as a sacrifice to the baby apparel gods. Most weeks lately I feel like Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday - payments from my tech writing clients come in the mail and at first I dance my wild dance of crazy glee, and then I realize the dishwasher is broken, and we owe fifty-seven million dollars to the IRS, and Carter grew two sizes over the winter and needs new pants, and the mortgage is due in three days.

I can't bring myself to spend money on maternity clothes. It seems such a waste to buy new clothes that I will use for four months. I have decided to forge ahead with wearing pajama pants and stretching out my existing shirts for the next few months, and if my underwear happens to show, well then it JUST HAPPENS TO SHOW.

All in all, I expect that I will be quite grumpy this summer, what with the pregnancy and the extreme wardrobe, and if anyone says a word about my non-conventional maternity wear, they will RUE THE DAY, because I swear if it is the last thing I do I will find a way to sic that freaking bird on them.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ginormica LIVES

Pin It
  • I've been avoiding blogging, because if I blog, it's proof I'm alive, and if I'm alive then I have to actually read my email and feel guilty for not answering it in a more timely-like fashion, and if I feel guilty then I have to eat more chocolate, and if I eat more chocolate than I have already eaten I will most likely end up in a diabetic coma.
  • I'm finally off the cursed hormones, and I feel much more like my version of normal. The hormones not only made me crazy, they also made me narcoleptic. I was falling asleep anywhere and everywhere. While sitting at a stoplight. Standing in the grocery store looking at fruit. Typing a sentence. In the middle of saying something to my husband. I could stay awake and reasonably alert around the kids for most of the day, but by dinner time I was pretty much done. It wasn't all that uncommon for my husband to come home after work and find me dead asleep, sprawled on the hardwood floor in the kitchen, the kids running around scavenging for food and generally recreating scenes from Lord of the Flies.
  • I'm at that stage where nothing fits very well, but I'm still resisting maternity pants in favor of sweats and really baggy jeans. The baby is only about the size of a cantaloupe right now, but I do not let this define the size of my stomach. I like to stay ahead of the pregnancy fashion curve (why look five months pregnant when you can look seven? Tres fashion forward).

    With all of my other pregnancies I've been pretty careful about gaining weight. I didn't need to be any heavier than I was already, thankyouverymuch - but this time around instead of feeling responsible and excited and careful, I've tended more towards feeling completely freaked out and a little depressed, and I ditched my usual cautionary weight gain attitude in favor of SCREW IT, pass the ice cream.

    I am GINORMOUS. (We took the kids to see Monsters vs. Aliens on Saturday afternoon. The female monster's name was Susan and her monster name was Ginormica, and I decided it was probably a sign from God, telling me it was inevitable and to just go with it for a couple of months.)
  • I was blathering to my husband about camping this summer - maybe we could take the kids to the Grand Canyon, or maybe to Yellowstone, or - and my husband had to remind me about the baby, and the possible-but-not-certain early delivery issue. I just keep forgetting about the dang baby. I never forget the PREGNANCY, but I space the resulting baby. The reality of the baby still seems like some kind of elaborate April Fools prank.
  • The doctor says I should be able to carry the baby all the way through to September, or maybe August, or possibly July. She would narrow it down a little, but it all just kind of depends on "how much your uterus rips and how likely spontaneous uterine rupture looks after each visit." But she says not to worry because they'll "keep an eye out." PHEW.
  • The kids all mistakenly stayed home from school today. I pulled up the April school lunch menu online and it said "No School - Professional Development Day." I naively assumed this meant no school. But later, when we were driving by the school on our way to the plant nursery, and I realized that all of the other children in the universe were at school. WELL. Then I realized that it must've meant something else. Something more mysterious.
  • Hooky or no hooky it was a gorgeous day, and once I was done with work we spent most of the afternoon outside. We planted a few flowers and I pulled up weeds while the kids jumped on the tramp. My husband came home a little bit later and threw baseballs to the kids while I sat on the steps watching in my lazy I-don't-have-to-play-because-I'm-pregnant way. Everyone was happy, and it was one of those moments I wished I had on tape - not just because it was a happy moment, but so that in a few months I could play it back for the kids and say - SEE?!! BEFORE THIS BABY CAME, I WAS A GOOD MOTHER. IT'S ALL THE BABY'S FAULT.

    (So if you were wondering if I had a plan for parenting four children, you can put those fears to rest. Clearly, I am ALL SET.)

The End.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

So... The News

Pin It This is karmic payback for all of the times my teenage self scoffed at my mom over my youngest brother and sister’s “accidental” entry into the world.
“How can you have an accidental baby, Mom? Sheesh. Just use birth control. It’s not that hard."

I'm very accidentally pregnant - just past the first trimester.

We are still adjusting to the reality of it all. We're a little shell-shocked, because we were done. DONE. We gave away every last baby thing a long time ago.

And of course, there's stuff making me nervous.

For one thing, I’m old. Thirty-SEVEN. (How is that possible?!)

For another, my uterus is shot. Two different OBs warned me numerous times not to get pregnant and strongly encouraged me to do something to ensure that I didn’t.

(You know, I kept meaning to take care of that…)

The current plan is to take the baby about six weeks early to avoid uterine rupture. (Yeah, if you thought I was a hypochondriac BEFORE...) Apparently this isn't all that uncommon and they know how to handle it, so (insert melodramatic tone here) WE WILL SURVIVE.

We’re trying to work our way into being excited about it, but right now, even though we’ve known for a while, it still seems like something we made up, like a little joke we are telling each other. SURE we’re having another baby. Right. Good one.

I'm a little worried about the kids. I have three good kids and I usually feel somewhat equal to the task of being their mother. But four? I don’t know. I don't know if I can do it and still be the kind of mom I want to be.

Some women have the patience for a large family - the natural knack, the talent for handling crowds. My next door neighbor has seven, and she's a fantastic mother. But if I had seven I'd end up on the news. "Local mother barricades herself inside shed with shotgun, refuses to come out until the children are all asleep."

I know four kids isn't necessarily a large family. (I have eight brothers and sisters. THAT's a large family.) But four kids feels like a lot for me. I'm nervous.  Wish me luck people of the internet.

Monday, February 16, 2009

In Which the Universe Sends a Little Karmic Justice My Way


No, it isn’t my birthday.

OK, actually it is. It's my birthday. (Am I allowed to say that? Is that like some kind of big faux pas? Here's my whole thing about birthdays. You SHOULD get extra recognition on your birthday. You kind of need it to get through the day, because it's not like its a naturally fantastic moment in time. Sure, you might snag a few presents, but really it just means you're one year closer to death.)

(I would never end up having a Sixteen Candles forgotten birthday deal, because after about five minutes I’d be all, HELLO LOSERS, WHERE ARE MY PRESENTS?!)

(My husband likes to claim I forgot his birthday last year, but this is a wretched lie. He was getting ready to leave for work and I stumbled out to the kitchen. I was barely conscious, and he gave me a whole thirty seconds of head clearing time before he said, “I can’t believe you forgot my birthday.” I was like, “I didn’t forget your birthday - I’m not even AWAKE yet.” It’s not like I was going to forget it all day long. Probably.)

We celebrated my birthday on Monday, because Tuesday is one of our horrifically busy days, and today we were all home. Sarah used her actual piggy bank money to buy me a present. My husband tried to pay for it, but she insisted, and actually CRIED when he didn't use her dollar bills to pay the cashier. If that isn't so sweet it makes your teeth hurt, then you are DEAD INSIDE.

I answered some of the questions from the last post in the comments to the last post. Tonguu Mama was right - I’m kind of sick of talking about myself. (I KNOW! Who'd have thought?!) There are a few I didn't answer that I'll probably post about later. I know you can hardly stand waiting for my thrilling answers. Try to contain your excitement.

Aprel, Mandajuice and Melanie all wanted to know how things were going on the book front and I've been meaning to talk about that, because the whole thing is ridiculous. (Me + ridiculous = SURPRISING.)

So how things are going, how things are going, how things are going....

Wait. Before I tell you, first I'd better make sure we're all on the same page, that we're speaking the same LANGUAGE, that you know all about the whole publishing BAG.

Here is how traditional publishing works:
  1. In order to get published, you need an agent. They’re the gatekeepers for the publishing world.
  2. In order to get an agent, you have to write a query letter. Most agents get hundreds, if not thousands of query letters every month – so your letter has to be at least goodish.
  3. If the agent likes your query letter, she might ask you to send a partial manuscript – usually the first 30 to 50 pages or so.
  4. If the agent likes your partial, she might ask you to send her the full manuscript.
  5. If she likes your full manuscript enough, she might just go crazy and decide to represent you.
  6. If she represents you, she’ll shop your book around to publishers and you MIGHT get a book deal. And CHANCES ARE, if you get a book deal, she's gonna ask you for another cookie.
(Wait. Not that last sentence. Scratch that last sentence.)

So if you've read for a while, you know that one night a few months back, I completely lost my mind and sent out query emails to a few agents in the middle of the night. Even though, uh, I hadn’t exactly written a manuscript. And by that I mean I’d written four pages.) But they were GOOD pages.)

I did not expect to get an answer, especially from a national agent who pretty much specialized in the kind of stuff I imagined I wrote. (I mean, I had no actual proof, but I was guessing - if I wrote something, it would be RIGHT UP HER ALLEY.)

But a few days later I did get a response, and she wanted to see a partial. So I got all blithery dithery and pounded out a partial, sent it to my critique partners (who told me exactly what I needed to fix), then sent it off to her after making my changes.

Now this agent said it would take her a couple of months to read the partial, and not to expect to hear from her before that time. So I planned to use the two months to finish the manuscript.

And I started. I did. I started to finish it. But when I didn’t hear from her for a few weeks, I started to have doubts. Because really, would it HONESTLY take her two months? Just because she'd said it would? Of course not. That was probably just her way of letting the bad writers down easily.

Obviously, the only reason she hadn't responded within the first two weeks was that she'd read it and decided it was the most horrible dreck that ever drecked. I re-read the partial approximately eighty times, and by the eighty-first read I was ready to stomp on it, burn it, curse it for the horror it was. There was no way she would like it, why bother finishing it, why bother even LIVING, blah blah dramatic blah.

So I stopped working on it.

And of course, a week or so ago she sent me an email. She really liked my partial and wants to read the full.


So now I'm working on the full, hoping that she'll still want to read it when I'm done. I figure – hey – what’s a little two month lapse, right? Right? RIGHT?

And so I sit here late at night after the kids are in bed and I’m done with my work, trying to write something funny and fluffy and my mind is a total blank. All I can think about is popsicles.

I’ve always wanted to be a real live published writer, and now that I have something close to an opportunity I’m completely frozen. It’s like those dreams you have where you’re back in high school and there’s this really important test you need to study for, and then suddenly you’re in the classroom and the test is right in front of you but you didn’t study, and also you’re naked.

My writer friends are all hating me right now, thinking "CHEATERS NEVER PROSPER," and "THIS IS KARMA" and such. And yes. Yes. THIS, THIS is why you don’t try to cheat the system, my friends.


See, this is what being impulsive gets you. (Besides married. And owning a boat.) LET THIS BE A LESSON TO YOU.

PS: No – that isn’t my news. The news – I’m still percolating on that, but it’s nothing very exciting. I'll probably tell you about it later. I was just feeling a tad dramatic that day. (I like to be melodramatic, have you ever noticed? You probably haven't noticed. I'm subtle.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Highway Freaking Robbery

Pin It (Post Disclaimer: I've been in a funky mood for the last couple of weeks, a mood caused by news that's completely thrown me. Like picked-me-up-and-slammed-me-against-the-far-wall kind of thrown me. I'm not ready to talk about it, but just know that I'm a little off. A little discombobulated. A little brittle. But I should be back to my regular self any day now. Probably.)

I hate Valentines Day. (CHEERFUL!)

Not because the romance is gone, but because it's this one day where it feels like you have to "PROVE IT! PROVE IT NOW! MEASURE YOUR LOVE! IN CHOCOLATE!" And then after Valentines Day, everyone posts about the darling things they did for their kids, or the darling table they set, or the darling gift their significant other got them, and then I end up chasing my eyeballs around the kitchen floor after I roll them so hard they freaking spin right out of their sockets.

Today we performed our annual St. Valentines Day Why-Don't-We-Just-Go-Ahead-And-Set-the-Money-On-Fire-a-thon, buying Valentines for all three children to give to their classmates, along with candy and Valentine plates and cups and drinks and napkins for the class parties. Of course, attempting to find anything red or pink ("Dear Sarah's Mom: The plates and cups must be red. Or pink. Sincerely: Sarah's Sadistic Teacher") at this late date was an exercise in complete futility which required visiting three separate stores, and after all of that I STILL forgot the parmesan cheese.

(For dinner, not for the class party.)

(Tell me about how fun class Valentines Day parties are and I will come over there and rip out your gizzard.)

Class party fury aside, I do try to make Valentines Day fun for the kids. Last year, in a fit of guilt over our impending move, I did all kinds of Type A Valentines Day Motherish things - even attempting pink heart-shaped pancakes (FAIL). This year I will probably... I don't know.... Do... something. (That is my big plan as of 11:00 tonight.)

My husband and I usually go to dinner, and that's what we're doing again this year, but on Friday instead of Saturday because 1) who cares? (romantic) and 2) finding a babysitter in our neighborhood on Valentines Day is impossible.

There are at least fifty-seven families with young children within a three block radius of our house. Babysitters are booked up for seven months in advance and when you do manage to win the babysitting lottery and secure one you have to pay them in Cool Ranch Doritos and freaking GOLD. Bidding wars break out for the good ones until only the babysitting dregs are left and you end up making incredibly desperate choices. "Well yes, I know Margene almost electrocuted Carter last time, but really, what are the odds it would happen twice? Pretty small, right?"

Here's the thing that annoys me about babysitters. My kids are good kids. I'm not just saying that. We won the good kid lottery. They're easy, they get along, they play well together, they do what they're told - and they're even easier with babysitters than with their mom. We usually have them in bed by 7:00, and the sitter typically comes at 7:30. So basically we pay some teenager $7 an hour to sit on our couch and watch TV and eat our food and make sure the house doesn't burn down. It really chaps my hide. A LOT. MAN. SEVEN BUCKS.

When I was a babysitter I did the dishes and cleaned the counters and mopped the floor and organized their 8-track collection, all for $1 an hour. BUT THESE KIDS TODAY. THESE LAZY KIDS TODAY.

MAN. !!!

(Actually, I'm not sure if I'm legitimately upset by this or if this is just a continuation of my MYSTERIOUS ITEM induced bad mood. Maybe I'm doomed to be irrationally irritated for a little while.)

(I apologize in advance if I end up posting tomorrow about how it really ticks me off when the sun is out, and also it ticks me off when the sun is behind the clouds, and also how inconvenient is it that it gets so freaking DARK at night?!)

(Any of these things might set me off. AT ANY MOMENT.)

Happy freaking Valentines Day.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Pin It If you've pictured me lying around on the couch this week, sick and feverish and pale, you would be wrong.

I'm actually lying on the floor, sick and feverish and pale. Come on. Nobody's gonna believe you're sick if you're sitting up on the couch like a pansy. Get with the overly dramatic program.

I think I'm starting to be mostly over whatever this is/was. I can tell because instead of moaning and covering my face when my husband turns the TV on, I actually feel the urge to watch it now. Granted, it's through the cracks between my fingers on the hand that is lying across my eyes, so that he will understand I'm not really better yet, not by a long-shot, and as a matter of fact, watching television is taxing enough that it is actually a trial and a sacrifice, but I do it for him, because I'm a giver.

Actually, this is just what I wish happened. In reality, we have jobs and children. Sucking it up is kind of required. Lying around like a drama queen is not exactly on the itinerary.

Except at night when my husband is home and I can harumph about how I can barely move because I had to take the kids to school and to piano and get my work done and make dinner (pouring cereal is exhausting), all whilst practically dying of Dengue fever. So it's sort of on the itinerary. It's actually blocked out right there from 7:30 to 8:15 actually. It's my husband's favorite part of the day.

I did trick the kids into waiting on me the other day, telling them we were going to play "a game" called "the rich sick lady and the orphan servants" and they were to bring me pillows and drinks and snacks and generally see to my every need. I'd ring the bell and they'd come running over to the couch to do my bidding, then creep around quietly afterward, lest the "mean rich lady" punish them for making too much noise. I would periodically yell at them "NOT ENOUGH ICE IN THIS DRINK" and send them to the dungeon (basement), and they would run screaming and giggling for the stairs.

They LOVED this game.

Yeah. We plan to play it again. Obviously.

Lighthearted indentured servitude = good family times.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Noble Cow Sentinel, Bravely Watching Over Us All

Pin It The big news around here apparently has nothing to do with the NieNie book. It's the cow header. I've gotten at least fifteen emails about it, all, "SUE. WE MUST TALK ABOUT THE COW."

Poor cow. She's just doing her job, guarding the top of the blog for a couple of days while I fix up the old blogstead. (I'm working with a blog designer now, you know. I'm FANCY.)

But I do not want to talk about the cow. I want to talk about myself. (SURPRISING)

Tonight I was watching my DVRd Top Chef. I really shouldn't be allowed to watch that show, because it makes me think I can cook. I get all inspired to step away from the pasta - to shake things up a little and try something new.

Yeah. This is never a good idea.

(I occasionally get out my Betty Crocker red plaid cookbook and try to find an interesting new recipe, but half of them use words I don't understand like "seed" and "cumin" and "poach." Which all sound vaguely pornographic, if you ask me. Bow- chika-bow-wow.)

Anyway, I pulled out the cookbook and found something it said would take only 35 minutes to bake. Unfortunately, I interpreted this as - it would only take 35 minutes to MAKE. Basically it was a casserole with chicken and noodles and sauce and bread crumbs and assorted things. (Yes, it WAS as gross as it sounds, thank you for asking.)

It took more than 35 minutes. Much more. It probably would've taken less time if I would've just stopped and read the recipe and thought about it for three consecutive seconds.

Instead I ran around like a frightened monkey, "Boil a chicken! Boil a chicken!" I had no idea how long I should boil a chicken for, so I fried it instead. Then I made the sauce. Then I realized I was supposed to cook the noodles first so I put the sauce away and made the noodles. Then I took the sauce back out and finished making it. Then I realized I had the wrong kind of bread crumbs. Then, then, then, then.

By the time it was finished, my children were committing acts of violence against the refrigerator. (They don't really like it when I cook.)

I have a blogging friend who says it frustrates her when people say they can't cook, because really, how hard is it to just FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS?!

I'm here to say it's VERY VERY HARD.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Something Cleverish

Pin It When I heard about Stephanie Nielson's plane crash, I wanted to help raise funds, but couldn't quite figure out how to go about it. (Just reading CJane's blog and repeatedly freaking out over the horror of the accident turned out to be a surprisingly ineffective fundraising strategy.)

Lots of other bloggers were auctioning off things they'd cooked/sewn/drawn in order to help raise money, but I'm what you might call domestically challenged, so that was out. I thought about selling off one of my kids to aid the cause, but the Husband put a stop to it. (What, we couldn't part with ONE of them? Selfish.)

But laughing at funny stuff other bloggers wrote? THAT was something I could do, and thus the idea of putting together a book of amusing blog posts was born. We held a little contest asking bloggers to submit their funniest posts, and the response was overwhelming. (Seriously. I'd look at that contest email every day and then have to go lie down for a while, visions of editing for nine thousand years running through my brain. There are a LOT of funny people out there.)

The Something Cleverish book features posts from forty-three funny bloggers - all for one great cause. We even managed to rope in a few celebrity submissions from Finslippy, Eric D. Snider, Rocks in My Dryer, Big Mama, Sweetney, Daring Young Mom, TAMN and more. (You can find a list of all of the bloggers included in the book here.)

All proceeds go directly to the NieNie Recovery fund. I know some people may be starting to get a little weary of hearing about this, but the medical bills they have and will continue to have are absolutely overwhelming. This is still a family very much in need. If you've been wondering what to buy people for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or Groundhog Day, or Valentines Day - WONDER NO MORE. You can purchase a paperback or buy a downloadable copy here.

Please buy a copy (or two) (or three) (or heck - seven) and please spread the word, by posting about it or putting the Something Cleverish Blog Book button on your blog. (Cover art and book button created and generously donated by Melissa Bastow of MissyB Designs. Thanks Melissa!)


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

They Should Make a Fisher Price Version

Pin It My husband got me an iPhone for Christmas.

It was all a little Gift of the Magi, because I was actually trying to figure out how I could get him an iPhone for Christmas, but I didn't see how it would be possible, since we had this little thing I like to call a "budget" for our presents, due to a stupid thing I like to call a "mortgage." (I also call our house a "house" and our car a "car"- in case you were wondering.) (Ahem.)

So I cut off my hair and sold it and used the money to buy him an iPhone.

O.k., FINE, I didn't do that. I got him a gift certificate to Target instead. (That just doesn't quite have the same ring to it, somehow.)

The iPhone cost significantly more than what we'd agreed we could spend, but he secretly got me one anyway. We'd both gone without Christmas and birthday presents for a few years in a row, and he wanted me to be really surprised.

Now let me tell you something. When I opened the package, I was so excited. It was shiny. It was cool. I mean, I could check my email at the grocery store. At the bank. At CHURCH.

Best toy ever.




I've somehow managed to divest myself of SIX cell phones in the last two years - all within the first three months I had them. I ran over one with the car, washed one in the laundry, dropped one in the bathtub and misplaced three. I've never been able to keep a cell phone for longer than three months. I could totally see the iPhone in about a month, cracked under the wheels of the car, or beeping forlornly from inside a Big Gulp cup where I'd set it down whilst thinking about cupcakes (YUM).

So I gave it back to him.

He refused it. I insisted. He refused it some more. I insisted some more.

I finally said, "You know what's going to happen to it if I keep it."

He looked at me, he looked at the shiny new iPhone and he said, "I've actually been having nightmares about it."

I said, "It's for the best."

And I turned it over to him, weeping.

OK, not weeping. More like snickering and punching him a few times, all, "Way to buy yourself a Christmas present honey," and then we had to go the rounds of "You keep it," "No, YOU keep it," a few more times before he would really believe that I wanted him to take it.

Alright, so maybe it's not exactly like the Gift of the Magi. But there were presents. And it was Christmas. So, almost exactly the same. And it was very touching in an "aw, look, he went against the laws of logic and his better judgment and bought me something expensive he already knows I will destroy" kind of way. At least at Target I can buy stuff that I will lose over time. Kind of spread out the gift destruction and collateral damage.

Goodbye little iPhone. It was a nice idea, but we all know I would've murdered/scratched/lost/broken/disapparated you within the first three weeks.