Monthly Archives: July 2009

7 Quick Takes – All over the place edition

1. Our power bill last month was $192. (I keep the thermostat at 80/81 degrees, but I think our house must have a hole in it some place. That might explain where all these children keep coming from, with their demands to be fed and read to.) I take pretty much everything as a challenge, so I’ve vowed to hang all of our clothes to dry to see what a difference it makes. This has the added bonus of forcing me to do laundry a bit at a time instead of the all day laundrypaloozas that result in 18 baskets filled with clean clothes that never never get put away and cover every horizontal surface in the house including, but not limited to, the couch, kitchen counter, washer and dryer, and toilet.

2. My latest FAVORITE GAME EVER for my iPod Touch is Triazzle. As you might be able to guess from the name if you’re super sleuthy, it’s a jigsaw puZZLE cut into TRIAngles. They fit together tons of ways, but there is only one way to match all the edges that complete the full puzzle. If you’re looking for a cheap way to scale way back on productivity, this is your answer.

3. I am SO grateful my husband normally gets home from work shortly after 4 o’clock. This week he has been off learning how to tinker with computers in some way he didn’t know how to tinker with computers before, and he’s been getting home an hour or two later. At least when he gets home at 6, I can totally say, “No, we’re not STILL wearing our pajamas. It’s just so close to bed time, I figured we should put them back on.”

4. I’ve settled on calling the girls Vio and Roo. They aren’t super double secret witness protection names, but they are both things they get called on a daily basis, which makes it a lot easier for me to use them here. (Vio is the big one, and Roo is the little one.)

5. After years of moping that I can’t carry a tune or dance or untie a knot with my eyes closed, I’ve finally discovered my hidden talent. I’m really good at piecing together a decent dinner from the various bits and pieces of leftovers at the end of the week. Soups! Pastas! Really weird wraps! (I think I’d rather the untying knots with my eyes closed, thing. I don’t foresee the cooking skills will help me escape too many kidnappings.)

6. As I mentioned in my winding down post, I’ve started visiting the library more regularly. While I love to browse and pick up random books off the shelves, I also really appreciate hearing what other people are reading. If you’ve read something amazing (or AWFUL) recently, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

7. This goes without saying, but guys? Seriously? I am so grateful for the internet. All of my best friends are scattered about the country, but instant messenger and Twitter and blogging keep us all connected. The SAHM gig must have been a lot lonelier 20 years ago. And thank you to my friends for being SO understanding when I can’t reply more than once or twice in an hour. It helps me immensely to have any sort of grown-up conversation happening in my head as I build a spiral staircase out of Duplos for the 80th time in a morning. (Hey, neat! Now I have an acceptance speech all set for when I win one of those prestigious parenting awards.)

(Guys?)

As always, you can find more Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary. Happy Friday, guys!

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Girl Talk Thursday – How do you unwind?

Thursday again? ALREADY? Let’s do this thing.

This week Maria has posed the question, “How do you unwind?”

Well, Maria. As I said to a friend last night when I found out this week’s topic, I’m fairly certain I’ve been “wound” the last eight months or so. Any of you with children know the first year of a baby’s life is … well. You know. So I don’t really have to go into it. Because of that, I don’t find I have a lot of time to wind down. When I do get a chance, here are a few of the things I do to help me relax.

  • Zone out online. Reading blogs, playing on Twitter, and chatting with friends helps keep me sane. If I’m talking to other people or reading their stories, I’m not as worried about my own.
  • Reading. We’ve finally started visiting the library regularly again, and this has kept me stocked with a huge stack of books on my bedside table. One of the millions of things I love about the library is that it allows me to bring home a ton of stuff without having to give it super careful consideration (as I am wont to do with anything I purchase. That’s another post entirely.) Nothing can calm me to sleep (that I’m willing to talk about on this blog, anyway) like lying in bed with a book.
  • Foot massages. We’ve started alternating nights, each giving the other a foot rub. I think we both let our stress go to our feet, so this is AMAZING. I highly recommend it. There’s really nothing better when I’ve been nursing a dozing baby for 2 hours who will not deign to rest her head anywhere except my bosom.
  • Inane television/movies. For me? This means it has to be something I’ve watched before. Preferably a LOT of times. If I have to think too much, I’d just rather not. I’m as bad at wanting to get to know new characters as I am about getting to know new actual people. (Not you, though. YOU are amazing.) This means we watch a lot of Friends and Clue.
  • Solving my Rubik’s Cube. Yes. Nerd alert. I learned last year, and I’ve recently picked it back up. It takes me about 5 minutes to solve, but I will do it over and over and over again when I’m stressed out. It’s a great anxiety-killer when waiting in the doctor’s office as well.
  • Cooking/baking. Unlike with TV, for it to really help me unwind, it needs to be a new recipe. The more complicated, the better. A kitchen filled with new smells and textures can definitely transport me out of momdom, at least for a few minutes.
  • Turning up the music. Yesterday was a long day. Matt’s been getting home about 90 minutes later than usual. Since I usually barely scrape through until he gets home at his regular time, mostly I just wanted to curl up in a ball on the floor the second he walked in the door. That not being possible, after dinner, when he took the girls outside to play, I cranked up my Missy Higgins* Pandora station and plowed through the dishes. Seriously, you know you’re a stay at home mom when doing the dishes ALONE is somehow a TREAT.

So. That list is a bit sad, no? Someday I’ll get to unwind for real. Hopefully sooner than 18 years from now.

Your turn, folks. How do you unwind? What should I be doing that I’m not?

* If I’m being honest, Missy Higgins deserves her own bullet point. Both of her albums are beautiful. The first one, in particular, is one of those albums that pulled me out of a really dark time. I can’t recommend her enough. Go listen to some of her songs. I’ll get annoying about this, if I have to.

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Just 4 quick takes, because the baby is eating my flip flop aga– BRB

1. Baby girl is in full-on crawl mode. Her happiness at achieving this skill lasted approximately 6 minutes, as she then realized all these couches and coffee tables have TOPS covered with TOYS and CHOKING HAZARDS. She can’t pull up yet, but I don’t think she’ll be tolerating that for long.

2. I don’t recommend running out of yogurt, string cheese, bananas, turkey cold cuts, and grapes on the same day. Particularly if those are the foods that get your incessantly-hungry-in-the-morning toddler through to naptime. (SEND FUD PLZ.)

3. I don’t want to use the girls’ names here, not because I’m worried about creepy internet stalker people, but because in combination, they’d make this blog instantly findable by my entire family. My family isn’t exactly super-supportive of my internet lovin’, so I can’t imagine they’d take too kindly to this venture. (That being said, I don’t plan on this being a place where I routinely complain about them or badmouth them in any way. I just need my own corner of the world where my mother doesn’t email me all day asking, “What did you mean when you said … ?” [I’m looking at you, FACEBOOK.]) Before the parentheses took over there, the point I was getting at is that I’m trying to decide what to call them. If anyone has suggestions, I’m open to ideas. (I do use their names on Twitter. Probably once I figure out good things to call them on here, I’ll stop doing that.)

4.¬† I’m guest-posting for Maria at Mommy Melee today, while she’s off in Chicago being gorgeous, getting tattooed, and meeting/reuniting with a ton of awesome mamas. I’m entirely unqualified for the task, so click on over and give me some love!

(You can find more quick takes here.)

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Girl Talk Thursday – Quirks

It’s Thursday again already, and that means it’s time for another edition of Mommy Melee’s Girl Talk Thursday!

This week we’re discussing our “Weird Quirks”. When I first heard the topic, I was afraid it was going to be a tough one for me. I’ve never thought of myself as a quirky person. I walk the straight and narrow, never a toe out of line. I follow rules as though there are invisible authority figures* watching my every move. I … should have several bullet points dotting this paragraph.

Presented in no particular order, because even a frustrated wannabe librarian like me can’t devise a way to organize one’s personality quirks.

  • I can’t let other people do my laundry. Letting Matt wash my clothes is about as far as I’m willing to go.
  • When I’m browsing books in the library, I absentmindedly straighten the shelves.
  • In the grocery store checkout line, I group items in such a way as to facilitate the most efficient bagging.
  • I did my whole math degree with one mechanical pencil, just kept replacing the lead and erasers. I discovered I didn’t have it with me on my way to my last final exam and risked being late by turning around and going home to retrieve it.
  • If I ever feel a pain in my ear, I immediately look at a clock. I’m convinced it can’t be an ear infection if I know the exact time the pain started. (I realize this makes no sense.)
  • I’m afraid of flat paint. Seriously. Touching it creeps me out. Even looking at paint of a specific texture has the ability to make my skin crawl.
  • You will never hear the words “bored” or “boring” come out of my mouth. I drive people crazy with this, but the last time I mused that things could be a tad more exciting, a tornado came past my house.
  • As you can see, I’m a pretty superstitious person. Except, instead of going with the REGULAR ones NORMAL superstitious people have, I have made up a bunch of my own.
  • If you ask me a question from a book I have read, I will remember the exact part of the page where the information was located. I won’t always remember the answer, however.
  • Statues, dolls, and figurines with human bodies + animal heads TERRIFY me. Like, worse than clowns.
  • I have to sleep on the side of the bed that is furthest from the door.
  • I sit cross-legged whenever I can get away with it, even at the dinner table. I fail at wearing skirts.
  • I agonize over how to end my blog posts. (Does that work?)

(How about this?)

* To illustrate this point, I offer you this anecdote from my first day as a library page: I was opening each book to check the first page where the branch information was written, as outlined in the shelving manual. Someone had tucked a $20 bill in the pocket where the old due date card would have been stored. I briefly considered keeping it, until I had the thought, “What if this is a TEST? What if they put it there to see if I would turn it in? IT COULD BE A TESSSSST.”

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Where do you feel it?

I feel it in my arm. My left forearm, underneath. It tickles, like an itch under the skin.

It started years ago. I would lie awake in bed, wishing for something that could never come to be. Not a mere improbability, but a guaranteed impossibility. My blood pressure would rise and each deep breath would wash over me. I hardly noticed it, at first. I would get that tickle in my arm, but I wouldn’t make the connection until much later.

Now when I feel it, I know. It isn’t there for the little things. It isn’t even necessarily there for the big things. But when it’s there, it snaps me to attention. It’s as though whatever it is I’m longing for has lassoed itself to the nerve-endings on that stretch of flesh. It pulls me, keeps me awake in the night. It makes me keep going when I’d rather call it quits.

I’ve Googled. I’ve asked people. No one, nothing, seems to know what I’m talking about. I assumed it was a blood pressure thing, but it doesn’t happen if I’m scared or nervous or hysterically crying. It only happens in the dark of the night when I’m lost in my head and there’s something far off in the distance calling out to me.

Sometimes? I don’t even know what the thing calling out to me is.

I use the word “longing” very pointedly. It’s not an urge or a desire or a want. It’s not a wish or a hope or a dream. It’s persistent and deep. It’s a wound yearning to be healed.

It’s the thing I want most, trapped right there beneath the surface of my skin, in a place I can’t ever reach.

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Girl Talk Thursday – What turns you on?

This week’s Girl Talk Thursday is a bit of a head-scratcher for me. It’s hard to think about what turns me on when my day-to-day life is chock full of diaper-changing and nose-picking-wiping. Toss in a co-sleeping scenario that involves a 7-month-old who currently won’t sleep unless she is nestled into my bosom (and a helping of breastfeeding vagina) and, yeah. I don’t get many opportunities to be turned on these days, is what I’m saying here.

(Also not helping: Writing this while nursing down said 7-month-old while on a DISNEY FAMILY VACATION.)

Where I’m really having a hard time with this is finding the middle ground between my more vanilla turn-ons (Freshly Showered Boys) that just aren’t all that interesting to read about, and super personal¬† turn-ons (SHARK ATTACK SHOWS) that I can’t bear to share with the whole wide world. But that’s really hard to do, so I’m going to list some things on a scale from Meh to Whoa. In order, of course, because I’m a librarian, and that’s just how we do things.

  • Cologne. Simple and not at all surprising, but oh my good golly.
  • Watching men fix things. Rawr.
  • Watching men think. Am I alone in this one? It’s my love of all things Nerd, I think. Watching a guy solve a complex math problem is super hot.
  • A good-fitting pair of jeans. And it probably doesn’t matter if they’re on him or me. If I feel like I’m looking good, I’m more apt to be turned on.
  • Compliments. This ties in to the last one. If he tells me I look hot, I’ll feel hot. This definitely helps when I feel decidedly UN-hot. (Uh, pretty much all the time lately, to be honest.)
  • John Krasinski. Dude.
  • Having to hide it. One thing that has always turned me on (and, I suspect, will continue to do so until the day I die) is knowing I have to be sneaky. Convenient, as Sneaky Sex is really the only kind a mom of two very small children ever gets to have. Some of my best memories involve wanting to do such things when (and where) I wasn’t supposed to be doing them. (This is where I politely ask my college friends to refrain from leaving details in the comments. Ahem.)
  • Anticipation. This one is pretty loaded. It can be anywhere from the anticipation of simply getting to be together sans accompaniment, to the anticipation of being touched. The more I have to wait for it, the better it gets.
  • Shark Attack Shows. Because duh.

So now that I’ve overshared, I’m dying to know what turns you guys on. I’ve surely left out a lot, and I’m always looking for new inspiration.

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7 Quick Takes

So. It would appear as though I have a blog? And perhaps I should be writing things from time to time? In the interest of me having no cohesive, thought-provoking topic to share with you today, I will now throw 7 completely unrelated pieces of my week at you.

1. I turned 28! Uh-w00-hoo. So because of the fact that I’m off dairy while breastfeeding the 7-month-old, I made my own cake. I KNOW. (Read: control freak.) It was easily the ugliest cake I have ever made. Since I only had to impress myself, I just slapped the icing on. It ended up looking like a mixed-up circus tent carousel fun house clown hat. Seriously.

2. I’m going to see RENT tonight! Despite years upon years of incessant fan-girling, this will be my first time seeing it. Am dork.

3. Ian sent me a link to The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. Then I laughed and laughed and laughed. It is pretty much Cake Wrecks for grammar geeks. Any other apostrophe-comma-colon abuse blogs out there I should be following?

4. Have you guys seen Yes Man? Am I alone in thinking that was a horrible horrible nonsense movie? Even Zooey Deschanel (read: GIRL CRUSH) couldn’t save it. The whole part with the neighbor and the bookshelves and the false teeth? You might have to ask my husband, but I’m fairly certain I YELLED OUT LOUD at the TV. Try as I might, I just could not force any reasonable suspension of the rampant disbelief.

5. We leave for our Orlando trip in less than a week. Should I have started packing by now? I feel like I should have started packing. Or maybe doing laundry? Or making a packing list? (Or just CALMING DOWN in general. Possibly.)

6. Taking a B-Complex vitamin every day is seriously saving my life. I have been on edge and fighting anxiety for the last couple of months. I started back on the B-vitamins this week, and I can’t even tell you what a difference it has made. If you’re really prone to stress (or get bad PMS) I can’t recommend it enough. I’m not Disney princess prancing around or anything, but I’m also not biting people anymore.

7. For each of my pregnancies, I got a comemorative freckle on my left hand. V loves to point at them and say, “This one is mine! And that one is baby sister’s!” Did any of you mamas get new freckles or moles when you were pregnant?

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