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Showing posts from 2014

These shoes are made for . . . loping along

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I've never been much of a runner. Remember the physical fitness testing in school?  Do they still do that?  I remember having to do the flexed arm hang, shuttle run, 50-yard dash, and 600-yard dash. I can't remember what else. Sit-ups, maybe?  I remember doing okay on the 50-yard dash, and even the flexed arm hang. The 600-yard dash, though? There was no dashing involved. I would jog along for a bit and then walk around the track, usually with a couple other girls, while a gym teacher yelled, "C'mon, ladies!" I have just never been much of a distance runner.

So, naturally I'm planning to run a 5K in May. I even got new sneakers for Christmas. I've gone to the gym a couple of times since then. Normally, I go right for the elliptical and then do 40-45 minutes on that, shying away from running entirely. I think it all comes down to high impact vs. low impact. I spend a lot of time doing yoga and cardio and don't have any issues because it's all low…

Christmas

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I somehow failed to take many photos of our Christmas festivities this year.  Maybe we just aren't as cute as we used to be - I dunno.  On Christmas Eve, I had to work a half day. My husband and daughter were at home playing video games. On the way home, I stopped at the mall to buy my husband a new cell phone. My plan was to wrap it and wait until Christmas morning to give it to him. He uses his phone so seldom that I was pretty sure he wouldn't even notice that his old one was now dead.  I ended up giving him the new phone later that day, though. I mean to tell you, you have never seen anyone less enthusiastic about getting in iPhone. "Okay, thanks," he said, and set it on an end table. It's the iPhone 5C (and not the newest model) so it was cheap (the case I bought cost more than the phone).

The kid immediately piped up: "I'll take it if he doesn't want it!"

Later that evening, we went to church. I coordinated the service so I figured I'…

Here you go, Rachel

Every year, I post a blog entry about my favorite songs from that year. Nobody reads it except Rachel, my music-loving friend of 33 years.

I didn't download a ton of new music this year. Plus, it's harder for me to tell what I purchased this year because I had to restore my entire music collection from back-up a few months ago. In October, I bought a new car and now have Sirius XM radio. So, instead of listening to new music, I now listen to inappropriate comedy (when my kid isn't in the car). When my daughter is in the car, I have to listen to Top 40. I have fantasies about very bad things happening to Ariana Grande.

Anywho, some of my favorite songs from 2014:

Happy with Me - HOLYCHILD (Good tune for the gym)
Hurry Up Sundown - Springsteen
Water Fountain - Tune-Yards
Diamonds - Johnnyswim
L8 CMMR - Lily Allen (guilty pleasure sort of thing)
The Orwells - Let it Burn
Madman - Sean Rowe
My Silver Lining - First Aid Kit (Stay Gold is a close second)
Too Cool to Dance - Ja…

Labor of love and all that jazz

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I sent my husband and daughter to a movie this evening so that I could finish painting, wrapping, and assembling. I've been hiding out (and painting) in Geeky McNerdikins comic book room, so ignore the junk in the background. Here is a photo of the sewing table (formerly red and white) and the dress form my daughter requested:


The table has a leaf on each side so it's been a challenge to paint the table without letting the hinge get stuck in one position (with each leaf up or down). I think it came out okay. It has a little drawer on one side.  If I had more time (and some, you know, skills), I'd add a design or something to the top.

As if to seal the Christmas deal, the kid handed me a card before dinner today. It has a hand-drawn snowman on the front and says this on the inside:

"Dear, Mom. I love you so much! You make me smile. I am giving this card to you because I love you. Remember the time when I said I love you most but then you overtook me with I love you most…

Merry, Merry

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Well, it's all over but the shouting, I guess. Our gifts are shipped (to Oklahoma, Virginia, Maryland, and Minnesota), and I'm all shopped out. I took a half-day off work last Friday and knocked out a lot of the shopping then. I just need to wrap the gifts I bought for my kid and my husband. Of course, I need to kick them out of the house first, which is no small feat. A asked for a table she can use for sewing. My friend Sarah is moving and had an extra table. A win-win! I just need to paint that bad boy and I'll be all set. I would do it after the kid goes to sleep but half the time she stays up later than I do.  I did get her the dress form she wanted, too. Dress forms can get pretty pricey and the one I bought is fairly basic. I just hope it's not too rickety. The only way the table and dress form will fit in her bedroom is if we pull out the huge dollhouse and put it in storage. I might just shed a tear when that happens.

I didn't send Christmas cards or do an…

Six months ago today . . .

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. . . I went vegan. I haven't lost an ounce (which would have been a nice little side effect) but my conscience is immeasurably lighter.

Originally, I was just going to try it for a week but once I did that, it just seemed to make sense to keep going. I should probably say "plant-based diet" instead of vegan because I know I'm not great at this vegan stuff. I'm sure I've accidentally eaten things that were not 100% vegan. Every Wednesday, I go to a local grocery store (that has a kick-ass salad bar) and get a salad for lunch. They have this balsamic vinaigrette dressing that I love, but it does have trace amounts of honey in it (and I had eaten it several times before I noticed that). I probably shouldn't eat it, but I tell myself that I get bonus points for the salad itself.  At work there is a candy bowl full of Lifesavers. One day I Googled Lifesavers and it turns out that not only are they not vegan, they really aren't even vegetarian. They contai…

The Kid's Christmas List (Subtitle: Surely You Jest)

My daughter handed me her Christmas list a few weeks ago. I offered to give her my Christmas list and she just gave me a "does not compute" look in reply.

The other day she handed me an addendum. "That's not how this works," I told her. "You only get one list."

Then, a day later she asked to have it back so that she could edit it. Seriously, kid, give it a rest.

A few of the items on her list are pretty straightforward and yes, she's getting them. She wants a dress form for sewing and a table for laying out patterns and whatnot. Some of her gift "suggestions" are dumb but I'm buying them anyway, such as this bird in a cage.

What's on the addendum, you ask? A Netflix subscription, Darn Yarn (I thought it said Damn Yarn but I'll take her word for it), and a bunch of sports stuff: a new helmet, a soccer ball, a basketball, and a volleyball. What's weird about these items is that my kid has almost zero interest in sports. We …

This is serious, mes amis

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My daughter has an admirer, a beau, a suitor. What do kids call it these days? A boo? And she's his shorty?  Is that how this works?

Being a good NPR-listening, Democratic-voting, liberal Unitarian Universalist, I've been very careful to tell my daughter things like, "When you grow up, you might marry a boy or a girl. Or maybe you won't want to get married at all." Well, I needn't have bothered. My kid is firmly interested in the opposite sex and I think I can already picture some seriously dramatic teen interactions coming up in a few years. I'm just imagining some lovelorn fool from her algebra class standing on our front lawn and begging her for just one more chance.

For now, though, we are just in the beginning stages of the gooey stuff. A boy in her class has it bad for my kid. When I went in for parent-teacher conferences a few weeks ago, I took the opportunity to look through my daughter's desk. It was like Hiroshima in desk form. Very bad, ver…

"Are you happy, Aunt Claudia?"

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I spent the evening with my three-year-old nephew yesterday. It was my brother-in-law's birthday and he and my sister had dinner reservations. So, I decided to take my nephew out while they were dining.

At first, he wasn't too keen on leaving the house with me. I knew he'd be fine once we got on the road, though.

"Are you doing okay back there?" I asked him once we were a mile from home.

"It's not," he replied and gave me a little scowl.

"How about some Christmas music?"

"Yeah, Christmas music!"

And from then on he was fine. Yesterday morning, I told him, "Say 'happy birthday' to your daddy."

Instead of wishing his father a happy birthday, he said, "I want my Christmas."  So sentimental, that kid! Anyway, I know he's really getting into Christmas so that's why I figured some festive holiday music would be met with some enthusiasm.  We drove to Tysons Corner.  I wanted to stop at Lush for some …

Vacaaaaaaation

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I'm having a fabulous time in Virginia. I'm staying with my middle sister and her family.  I'm staying in my niece's bedroom since she's in Australia with her dad. Her bed is super comfortable and I like all the girlie colors in her room. Basically, what I'm saying, is that I'm staying. You cannot overestimate the importance of a good night's sleep. My sister was teasing me yesterday because I was still wearing my pajamas as of 11:30 a.m. In my defense, I was online doing some shopping. Normally, I like to get up at the crack of dawn after Thanksgiving and fling myself into the Black Friday zaniness. However, thanks to the over-packing skills I learned from my mother, I can barely fit my toothbrush into my suitcase. Shopping is pretty much out of the question. I did get some good deals online, though.

My flight out here was not as uneventful as I might have liked. I got to the airport on time, only to find that my flight was delayed. I was disappointed …

Three cheers for headgear!

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The day has finally arrived. Headgear day! I feel a bit sorry for my daughter's orthodontist. I have a feeling that most kids hate him until they see the end result of all the re-arranging and appliances  - in theory, straight teeth. We pass Dr. M's office building pretty regularly and my daughter shakes her fist at it every time. She was basically a pill during today's visit. He had to make an adjustment to her palate expander and she was not what you'd call a good sport about it. I don't think Dr. M loses a lot of sleep over the fact that my daughter dislikes him, though.

Anywho . . . the kid was fitted with her new headgear and we were sent home with instructions and about a hundred million tiny rubber bands. The instructions are that she needs to wear it at least 10 hours a day, if not more like 12. We can't even get Her Highness to flush a toilet - making her wear headgear feels like a Herculean task right out of the gate. But, we shall see.

Be glad you d…

How do you say, "Keep your affections to yourself" in Spanish?

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We got a new foster dog yesterday. His name is Botas and he came from a Spanish-speaking family. He has four white feet so I'm assuming that's how they came up with his name. Apparently Botas = Boots. I took umpteen years of French so I'm not much help in this situation. My wee baby sister suggested that I watch some Dora in order to get up to speed, but I'm pretty sure that telling my foster dog how to evade Swiper or how to make the best use of my magical backpack wouldn't be all that helpful. (I had the backpack song stuck in my head for about 18 solid months when A was a toddler . . . loaded up with things and knickknacks, too!)

Botas is around one year of age and as far as I know, he has never seen a vet. The surrender form was pretty sparsely filled out. The former owners originally contacted us and said that he has behavioral issues. The only "bad" behavior I've seen so far is marking in the house. I am going to have him neutered in a New York…

Everyone will live . . . right?

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Two weeks from today, I'm headed to Virginia to spend Thanksgiving with my middle sister and her family. I can't wait! My sister's older kids are headed to Australia with their father, so I won't really get to see them (I think they get back late Sunday night and I fly back out on Monday). I'm bummed about that, but I still get to spends lots of time with this guy:

He hasn't seen me in a year so I picked up a couple of Hot Wheels cars to tuck into my suitcase. I figured that might help to win his favor.  As you can see, he's suffering from a severe shortage of wheeled vehicles:

It's tempting to squeeze all kinds of stuff into the five full days that I'll have at my disposal, but mostly I'm planning to relax and just spend lots of time with people who mean a lot to me. I am hoping to sneak in a visit to Tyson's Corner so that I can go to Lush (shhhhh), but I don't really have any other firm plans. My sister and I haven't figured out T…

Well, that was a good use of your time

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While I was at yoga tonight, my kid and her dog snagged my camera and took selfies. Or would it be ussies? I guess I'm just glad it's no longer necessary to pay for film and photo development.

I should add that she was supposed to do her homework and her nightly reading while I was gone.











You kids, with your bad songs and your fine print

I went to the gym last night. We try to go together as a family on Monday nights, but my husband decided to stay home and eat fun size candy bars from his daughter's Halloween stash instead. Don't tell him that I told you that.

As usual, I got to the gym and then climbed onto an elliptical machine (I say "as usual" because I only know how to use three machines and the elliptical is one of them). I recently added a couple of new songs to my workout playlist so I was eager to get started.  Here's the confession part. I recently bought new earbuds. I know for a fact that one little bud has an L on it and the other has an R on it. The microscopic L and R are black, the same color as the ear buds. I have no idea which is which. I just shove those bad boys in my ear holes and hope for the best. I'm pretty sure my left ear is hearing music meant for my right and vice versa. This getting old stuff is for the birds!

I typically bring my lunch to work. I often eat vega…

Orthodontia Update

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First off, my kid does her daily reading in this position:


I'm not sure what it all means. Second, her front teeth currently look like this:

I guess the palate expander is doing its job, because her front teeth are getting farther apart by the day. It's like they're on separate coasts, one in Los Angeles and the other in NYC. In fact, they've started warring rap groups. It's a little alarming, but I know it's all part of the grand plan. We have to turn the key for a couple more weeks. Then the expander stays in place for several months so that the bone can fill in where her hard palate has been forced apart. I feel like I could drive a Smartcar through those front teeth, but the kid doesn't seem alarmed. 
In other news, she and I spent the weekend together so that we could volunteer at a pet expo out of town. We ate dinner at a fabulous vegetarian/vegan place and then went back to our hotel to go swimming. Lots of mother-daughter quality time. I even got h…

Lookie what I got!

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The first payment is due on December 14th so if you were expecting a Christmas gift from me this year . . . um, I hope you like it?

It's a 2012 Chevy Equinox LS. No crumbs embedded in the back seat, no dog hair (yet) . . . ah, it's glorious.

Still wasting time . . . just finding other ways to do it

As you may recall, last week I decided to unplug for a bit. This endeavor mostly consisted of me trying my level best to stay off Facebook. I also fought the compulsion to answer every email that hit my in-box. And let me tell you, it was hard. This is going to sound weird but sometimes I think I've made the mistake of being too competent. If someone has a question and you jump to answer it, you'll be the go-to resource henceforth. By trying to be that person for so many people, I'm bringing more stress into my life than is necessary. My friend Jane says that she has to remind herself that she is a human being, not a human doing. Do you ever try to ponder your own mortality? When I think of what it will be like to . . . not be here anymore, the first thing I always think is, "Well, at least the worrying will stop." I really need to find better ways to manage the goings-on in my own brain.

Staying offline (for the most part, anyway) gave me some extra time, which…

#1000

Here it is. My 1000th blog entry. Woot! :::pumping fist in the air as if I am the only person on the planet with a blog:::

I have definitely considered abandoning the blog more than once. "Why bother?" I think to myself. But, I keep writing and I'm pretty sure I do it mostly for myself. Writing is often therapeutic for me. I remember when my friend Kevin died. I couldn't sleep so I got up in the middle of the night and wrote about him. It turned out to be the turning point in the grief process. I also remember another sleepless night when I rolled out of bed and wrote about a friend who had hurt my feelings. To this day, I still wonder if it was her or me or if the friendship had simply run its course.  I still miss her. Catharsis doesn't always mean closure, I suspect, but writing really does help.

I wish I had started the blog before my daughter was born.  There was a lot of anxiety before and after her birth and writing about it might have helped. However, I …

Unplugging

This is my 999th blog post. I'll have to think of something fantabulous to write for the next one. For now, I think I'm going to do my best to unplug for a few days. I'm in a funk and I don't really know why. I'm irritable towards people who don't deserve my irritability. I'm frustrated by a personal situation that I can't talk about. I'm battling a medical issue and my doctor is operating under a theory that, it seems to me, is incorrect. The sameness of my days . . . ah, it seems endless. Go to work, come home, make dinner, do the laundry, yell about homework, go to the gym or to yoga, then go to bed. Thanksgiving can't come soon enough. No work, no homework yelling.  I know I'm being whiny but maybe I just need a wee bit of a break. I'm going to see if I can stay away from Facebook/email/texts for a few days. It seems silly that this prospect is so challenging to me.

Is this how Calvin Klein's mother felt?

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I admit it: I am pretty tightly wound. Although I think I've mellowed a tiny bit as I've aged, my disdain for clutter has not. Now, I need to add a little disclaimer here. Because I'm not a fan of clutter, people think I might get all judge-y when I go to their house. Not in the least. I truly do not care what anyone else does with their home (and the stuff inside it), and I always feel terrible when I go to someone's house and they say things like, "Don't look in the spare bedroom. It's a wreck."  When I go to a friend's house, I actually feel like I'm off the hook. It's not my stuff so I don't have to worry about it.

It's kind of funny how some things bother me and some things do not. For example, I am totally fine with having clean dishes in the dish drainer rack. For items we use frequently, they just stay there indefinitely. I know that sort of thing drives some people around the bend. Occasionally, I put some of the stuff a…

Two new things I learned to do this week

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1. Bake using coconut oil. When I went vegan four months ago, I assumed my days of eating chocolate chip cookies were over. Granted, it's a good thing that so many things are off the table (literally and figuratively) for me now. Although my diet is mostly a reflection of my beliefs about the dairy/factory farming industries (I'm not doing it specifically for health reasons, in other words), I do try to eat stuff that's actually good for me.

Anywho, I found this recipe and thought I'd give it a try. I was interested in it because it contains
ingredients I've heard of.  A lot of vegan recipes require ingredients that are obscure/exotic at best. Or maybe everyone keeps agave nectar sitting around?  I have no idea. An ingredient that seems to be somewhat more commonly available is coconut oil. I was a-skeered because I hate coconut. There aren't words to describe adequately how much I dislike coconut. However, I was hoping it didn't actually bring that sort o…

The poodle skirt to end all poodle skirts

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Originally, my daughter wanted to be an Irish dancer for Halloween. However, it turns out that the only way to get your hands on a pattern for one of those dresses is to fork over your kidney and your life savings. So, the kid and I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics and she flipped through the pattern books. She decided she wanted to be a "50s Girl." She called her personal designer (AKA Meemaw) and placed an order for a poodle skirt.  She was very specific about the color of the skirt, too.  It had to be a teal green/blue.

Today, we received the skirt. My mom also made a crinoline for A to wear under the skirt. I bought a basic white shirt and some saddle shoes. Now we just need a scarf and she'll be all set. As always, she plans to attend several Halloween events, so the skirt will get lots of wear.  The poodle itself is a sight to behold - it has a gold leash, a collar, and even a tiny little ID tag.  Fancy-schmancy!

Thanks, Meemaw!




Hardware installation (Subtitle: "Just yogurt for me, thanks")

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Our daughter had her big trip to the orthodontist this afternoon.  P picked her up from school and then I met them at the orthodontist's office. I got there first. I could tell as soon as the kid walked in that she was really nervous. So, I held her in the waiting room until it was time for her to go in. When her name was called, her dad and I went back with her.

At first, A was determined not to talk to the person who was fitting her with the palate expander. I must apologize because I'm not sure what that person's job title is, but she was very nice. She was a pro at getting a scared fourth grader to chat with her, too. My daughter went from "I don't want to be here" to an in-depth discussion of her favorite types of cupcakes, where she goes to school, and what her dog's name is.

Getting the expander fitted was quite the process. The technician lady worked on it and then the orthodontist came over and finished the installation. A started to cry. I don…

This one's NOT for you, Dad

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I had my first mammogram yesterday. It was only mildly traumatic. I was supposed to have my first one several years ago and I'm a bit embarrassed that I didn't bite the bullet and just make that appointment before now. I'm fortunate that I don't have a family history of breast cancer but still, I should have gone sooner.

My appointment was for 8:00 a.m. I arrived at the hospital and a volunteer (a nice retired gentleman) walked me downstairs to the booby squishing department. "You look familiar to me," he said. Then he recognized me. We go to the same gym. "I've seen you working out," he told me.

"I'm sorry you've had to see that," I responded. How come no one ever recognizes you from some moment in your life when you looked awesome? Like, "Hey, I saw you collecting daisies in a field on a perfect summer day. You were in soft focus and you looked spectacular!"

I checked in, got my wrist band, and then took my seat in…

This one's for you, Dad

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For reasons known only to him, my father finds the concept of picking apples to be very comical. Every fall, my husband and daughter and I head to a local orchard to pick apples. I am pretty sure we are not the only ones to do this. It seems to me like a common autumn-type excursion. Last year, my daughter took a photo of me and her dad next to an apple tree, and I posted it on Facebook. My dad has been calling us "the apple pickers" since then.  Over the summer, he shared our orchard photo on Facebook right before we drove out to Maryland to visit him. "The apple pickers are on their way," he wrote.

I knew we were going to pick apples last Saturday so I gave him a heads-up ahead of time. "Those apples won't pick themselves," he told me.  And then added: "be sure to wear your official apple picking outfits."  There were so many people at the orchard that they had a team of six people who had the sole function of parking cars. Apple pickers …

This one's pretty exciting, you guys

I haven't been writing much, because there hasn't been much going on. The rescue had its big fundraiser on September 20th and I needed about a week just to recover from that. As far as what I've been doing  with my free time . . . I know I'm late to this party but I've been plowing through all five seasons of "Six Feet Under."  I truly think it's one of the best shows I've ever seen. I'm not one to sit around and watch TV for large stretches of time, but having HBO GO on my Kindle means I can watch the show when I'm getting ready and whatnot. I watched "Big Love" over the summer. P and I also just finished "Breaking Bad" (we accomplished that one via DVDs from Netflix).  We were late to that party, too.

The only other bit of recent news is that I bought myself a plane ticket to visit my middle sister and her family in Northern Virginia for Thanksgiving. I can't wait!  I saw my sister for about five minutes in a park…

Orthodontia Countdown

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My daughter is getting her palate expander on October 8th. I attended a consultation with her orthodontist a couple weeks ago. Interestingly, the kid herself didn't even need to be at this appointment. The only thing I needed to bring, apparently, was my checkbook. I had to make a down payment and then the rest will be billed monthly over the next year. Insurance is paying for some of the cost. However, I noted that the amount they are paying is a lifetime limit. I know the kid is likely to need a second set of braces once she has her adult teeth, but apparently she will need to wait for her next lifetime now.

I have to say that the visit was at once harrowing and informative. The orthodontist showed me a plaster cast of my daughter's mouth.  I wish I had taken a photo of it. All I could think of was that old joke about "summer teeth."  Summer here, summer there. Dr. M told me that although he previously thought braces were a possibility, he could confirm that they a…