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Showing posts from December, 2013

Put down the iPad and walk towards the light

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Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon un-decorating and packing up Christmas stuff. I also had to rearrange our living room furniture because I bought a couch on Craigslist. Of course, I had tons of help from my family. Ha ha! Oooh, I kill myself. Seriously, though, there's plenty of enthusiasm for putting up the tree. Taking it down? Not so much.

I hadn't planned to buy a couch. I had been lurking on Craigslist for a few weeks in search of a recliner. We had two in our living room but one of them had some personal problems - one arm was mostly disconnected and was threatening to fly off at any moment. Anyway, I happened to find an ad placed by a woman who was moving to Hawaii. Yesterday I stopped at her house after yoga class and bought the couch she had advertised. I thought it was a good deal for $65 - it has dual recliners and a center console that flips down when needed. Her sister even offered to load it onto a trailer and bring it to my house. Say what you want about …

The Best Day

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Well, the new iPad seems to be a hit. Our diabolical plan is working - buy the thing, make her love it, and then extract good behavior by threatening to take it away.  [insert evil laughter here]

She received an iTunes gift card from one of her aunts, so now she is blaring Taylor Swift songs in her bedroom.  She is currently listening to "The Best Day," which is the song her cousin sang at the wedding last month. "Roar" by Katy Perry will be on in a second, so hold tight. You may be able to hear it from wherever you are. We also got her a Bluetooth speaker for the iPad. We weren't thinking, I guess.

Surprisingly, the kid didn't roll out of bed until after 8:00 this morning.  Then she tore into her presents like some kind of animal. We weren't up terribly late last night.  We went to church and then put her to bed shortly thereafter. Earlier in the day, she and I watched "Polar Express" and talked about Santa. "Mom," she said. "S…

All Set

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The out-of-state gifts have been shipped. Cookies have been baked (and foisted off on friends and relatives). Shopping for the kid is done. Shopping for the husband is done. All gifts have been wrapped. Woot!

I love these last few days before Christmas, when it's just a matter of waiting. I particularly love the evenings, that hour or so after I've yelled at the kid to go to bed and then I can sit quietly in the living room, enjoying the tree, the candles, the solitude.

We knew a snowstorm was coming, so I took the kid shopping yesterday so that she could pick out a few things for her dad (originally we had planned to go today). Apparently everyone else saw the same forecast, because the mall was insane. Fortunately, I spent two hours doing restorative yoga yesterday afternoon so I was relaxed enough not to utter a single cuss word as I circled the parking lot, looking for a space. We did our shopping and then headed home.

Speaking of Christmas shopping, I have to share a funn…

She can't pay attention, ya'll

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The kid brought home her report card last week. She is graded on a scale of 1-4.

1 = Does not meet expectations
2 = Partially meets expectations
3 = Meets expectations
4 = Exceeds expectations

She got lots of 3s and a few 4s in areas like math, science, reading, history, and social studies.  She is reading above grade level.  Academically, I'd say that my little smartie does fine.

She did receive some 2s, though.  Most of them are clustered under an area called "Life Long Learning Skills." The 2s were in:
Follows school/classroom rules and directions.Demonstrates self-control.Works independently. Some of the comments from her teacher included statements like:

"She does struggle with not talking while others are talking and respecting the speaker."

"A does have some self-control issues. She is often times distracted during instruction and work time by objects in her desk or talking to others."

"I do sometimes ask her to slide her desk away from oth…

My baby can narrate like nobody's business!

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Our church held its annual inter-generational Christmas service yesterday.  This service is fully carried out by the children of our fellowship. It includes a Christmas-themed skit, which is always adorable. You can usually count on at least one wardrobe malfunction or something that does not go as planned.  This year's story was "The Christmas Cobwebs," the tale of a poor cobbler and his family, and how they learn the meaning of Christmas.

It seems like just yesterday that my daughter was one of the toddlers in the annual production, wandering aimlessly around the stage, knocking over props.  The wee ones are usually given bit parts as angels or something along those lines.  Now that my daughter is a very mature eight-year-old, she was given a big part this year: narrator.  It was her job to stand at the podium and read all the narrative parts of the play.

When she was practicing her lines at home, I reminded her of the importance of speaking clearly into the microphone…

I didn't have enough chaos in my life, so I . . .

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. . . took in other foster dog. Two-year-old CeCe was surrendered to a shelter because someone in his family was apparently allergic to him. He's kind of a wild man, so he was deemed a no-go for the adoption floor. Our home is far too small for a fourth dog, but I don't like the thought of doggies spending Christmas on a cement floor in a shelter. And the shelter where he landed is a nice one, as shelters go, but still. Maybe I am just a little bit sappy after all. Don't tell anyone.

CeCe is freshly neutered.  He has attempted to hump Gideon, Gretchen, and Kaiser in turn. I can't say that any of them were open to the idea. In fact, CeCe has been told to go fuck himself about eighty different times in the last hour. So far, he has not been effectively dissuaded from violating his new friends.

He smells like a shelter but I'm hesitant to give him a bath since it's five degrees outside. I sprayed some groomer's cologne on him, so now he smells like a shelter …

Ah, tradition

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We attended our daughter's winter concert yesterday (fifth year in a row!). This year, the school split things up a bit differently. Apparently they had access to two music teachers, so they held two concerts - one with the younger kids performing and one with the third, fourth, and fifth graders performing. I guess my daughter is an upperclassman now.

P and I arrived at the concert at about the same time (both drove straight from work) and found seats in the cafe-gym-e-teria. The third graders were up first.  They filed in and arranged themselves on the risers. As usual, our kid was in the front because she is short. See, there are benefits to being petite! She was wearing her new Christmas dress and a Santa hat. First they sang a song called "Earthlings Unite." It was a little odd, if I'm being honest.  The kids were doing some sort of hand gestures, but our kid wasn't doing them. I even tried to catch her eye and do the hand gestures myself.  (Sort of like sig…

The annual blog post that nobody reads

And yet, I can not be stopped from posting it every year.  Yes, that's right, it's my annual "favorite music of the year" post. Now, I think you know that I am way too lazy to look these up individually and confirm that they were released in 2013 and not at the tail end of 2012 or something.  But, I think I'm at least in the ballpark.

Anywho . . . here are my favorite songs from 2013:

Jake Bugg - this is a toss-up between "Slumville Sunrise" and "Me and You."  I also still have several songs from last year's debut album in heavy rotation. I have a feeling that if I met this kid in person, he would be an arrogant ass. I do think he is extremely talented, though.

Big Boi - "Apple of My Eye" and "Mama Told Me." Okay, I did look this one up and the album was released in December of 2012. But, I listened to it this year.  Big Boi is basically a guilty pleasure for me. Don't tell anyone.

Disclosure - "When a Fire Start…

How cold was it?

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When I drove to yoga class at 7:45 this morning, the temperature outside was 1 degree.  And that's without any sort of wind chill factor.  On my way home (about an hour and a half later), I noticed that the temperature had risen to a balmy 2 degrees.  So, it goes without saying that today was the perfect day to drive to a tree farm in search of a Christmas tree. P and I joked that we were going to take the first tree we saw, even if it was already strapped to someone else's car.

We bundled up and drove to the tree place. The temperature was up to 8 degrees by this point. We grabbed a saw and headed into the field. Now, I don't know one type of evergreen from the next, but normally I am a little bit picky about the tree we choose. I like trees that have firm branches but also have needles that aren't overly prickly. After about five minutes of wandering around and having "how about this one?" discussions as we hopped up and down to keep blood flowing, I chose …

American Winter

(This is my 900th post. Yay me!)

At the risk of spoiling all of the holiday revelry for just a moment . . . 

I am fortunate. I have a family, a job, a home, a car, and a college education. I have a 401k account. I suppose I am firmly middle class and yet, I think all it would take is one medical crisis or a more-than-very-brief period of unemployment and our little family would be in big trouble.

I was pondering this weighty thought last night as I watched the HBO documentary "American Winter."  It was a sobering experience. If you have an opportunity to see the film, I highly recommend it (it is currently on HBO on Demand and was just released on DVD as well).  American Winter profiles a handful of American families struggling with poverty.  Their stories are heartbreaking. These are people who desperately want jobs and often cannot find them. Or, the jobs available to them offer such low pay that they must still visit a food pantry just to get by.  They must explain to t…