Showing posts from 2010

Au revoir, 2010

2010 was a year of change for me.  I started a new job in January.  I'd been at my previous job for 13 1/2 years.  I didn't leave because I wanted to - I left because my division was sold to another company.  Fortunately, the new company offered me a position and I was technically only unemployed for a weekend (and believe me, the knowledge that 10% of the country is currently unemployed is never far from my thoughts).  I liked my old job for lots of reasons, including the fact that I had no commute (I could actually see the office building from my house and vice versa) and the fact that I was earning almost six weeks of vacation every year. So, at first I was more than a little reluctant to round that corner into something new.  I'm not the most adaptable cat out there. However, in time I came to see that the new job, though very stressful initially, was probably just what I needed.  I lost my vacation time and some other benefits, but I was happy to be employed.  Where

Great, now I'm one of "those"

A less fat version of me (pictured here with my adorable niece) I've never been one to make a new year's resolution. To me it has always seemed like a sure path to failure, so I never make them. However, I am truly in need of a change. I'm not making a resolution, per se, but rather, getting my act together.  The timing just happens to coincide with the new year. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Weight Watchers has a new program and I need to get on it. I have not attended a meeting since November 6th, but I will be at the next meeting with bells on so that I can get the scoop on the new program and get started. I have set a personal goal and a date by which to achieve it - June 1st. I have a particular reward in mind and am feeling pretty darned motivated.  For the past few months, I've struggled mightily with motivation (or lack thereof).  I lost a lot of weight in 2005/2006.  I then gained some of it back and lost it again in 2008. I did well for

Fahoo Forays, Dahoo Dorays

Christmas Eve had an inauspicious start, when I realized that my debit card had been compromised.  Chase blocked the attempts to use my card, so I was glad for that. What surprised me was that the blocked transactions were for small amounts, all for "internet services."  Honestly, thieves . . . go big or go home.  Anyway, the only option was to shut down my debit card and send me a new one.  So, that was the first snag of the holiday. I worked until noon on Christmas Eve.  Kindercare was closed, so P took the day off to stay home with the kid. I ran a few errands after work and then headed home.  We didn't have a lot of plans for Christmas Eve, other than attending church at 7 p.m. and then driving around to look at festive holiday lights (one house, in particular, goes all out). After dinner, the kid insisted on helping me with the dishes (for the first time in her life).  I mean, she was not taking "no" for an answer.  This sudden burst of extreme helpfulnes

She's Closin' in

Yesterday I took the afternoon off from work.  I met a friend for lunch at Noodles (Penne Rosa with tofu, oh how I love thee) and then headed home to wrap gifts.  You see, Santa finds it challenging to wrap gifts for a certain recipient, when said recipient is a) home all the time and b) stays up later than Santa does. Hence, the need for an afternoon off while Short Stuff is in school. It's pretty rare that I've got a weekday off, so part of my plan also included the viewing of trashy talk shows, court shows, and the like. I gathered all of my wrapping supplies in the living room.  Then I noticed that the couch was looking a little . . . crumb-y.  I dug out the vacuum, dismantled the couch by pulling off all of the cushions, and then vacuumed out its contents.  I sucked up enough crumbs to feed a small unincorporated town, which is strange to me because I don't actually allow eating on the couch. Hmmm.  Then I got back to business.  I settled on the floor, tape and sci

Target, Oh My Target

I ended up at Target twice this weekend.  Yes, a week before Christmas.  Now, if that's not enough proof of mental illness, get this: I also went to Best Buy. I'm done with most of my holiday-related tasks.  I just have a few odds and ends left over, each of which requires me to hit a different store in a different part of town.  I suppose I shouldn't say I'm "done" with everything.  There were some tasks that I simply didn't do this year.  I always send holiday greeting cards and this year I did not.  I dug up a box of cards from the bowels of my desk and sent a few to immediate family members, but that's about it (and I really only did that so that I had some way to get A's Santa photos to them).  I felt really guilty about not getting it done (and there are lots of reasons for my failure to send cards to the masses) but then it occurred to me . . . five years from now, is anyone really gonna say, "Hey, remember that year Claudia totally di

Winter Concert

My kid is in the front row, sixth one from the left Yesterday I attended the “winter concert” at my daughter’s school.  I wasn't sure why they didn't just call it a holiday concert, since there was a lot of Christmas-ing going on.  There wasn't even a token Hanukkah or Kwanzaa song this year.  This is only my second year having a child in school, but I learned last year that the seating at these concerts can be pretty cut-throat.  You've got grandmas saving three rows of chairs for people who may or may not show up. You've got dads knocking you over to get a photo of their kid. Anyway, I've learned to get their early.  There were two performances: one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  I made plans to attend the a.m. show, with P attending the p.m. show (and taking the kid home from there).  I got there 1/2-hour early and still had to sit halfway back in the gymnasium. However, my kid is short and I knew she'd be in the front row (making it easier

Snow Much Family Togetherness

Lately I've been feeling like Christmas is hurtling towards me like one of those high-speed trains they've got in Japan.  Well, if that train were a demanding one with a lot of expectations and shipping requirements, then I guess the analogy would work.  I honestly do try not to let the holidays drive me insane.  I enjoy the decorations in our home, I love watching "Muppets Christmas Carol," and I do love a nice cup of mulled Christmas wine. I get a kick out of my daughter's holiday-induced giddiness.  As I type this, there are two post-it notes stuck to my monitor.  One says "Nic list" (nice list) and below that is a drawing of the illustrious classmate Tyler and some random dog (not one of ours apparently). The other note says, "Santa Clos. I love you Santa." She has been laying it on pretty thick with the man in red lately. She colored him a picture yesterday and instructed me to send it to the North Pole. Lest you think I am one of those

Aaaaaand bake by the light of the bulb

Just as young girls have done for the past several decades, my daughter has asked for an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas. P and I talked it over. We decided that if I could get one on sale on Black Friday, we'd go for it. I mean, Santa would go for it. I never owned an Easy Bake Oven as far as I can recall and so, before purchasing the oven, I posted the following on Facebook: Two-pronged question for my friends who are parents. My daughter (5 1/2) wants an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas. 1. Is she too young? 2. Will I be able to stand eating that shit? Well, let me tell you - people have some very strong feelings about the Easy Bake Oven. I got a ton of responses. Most said that the kid is definitely not too young. So, that question was answered easily. However, I received lots of editorial comments about the oven and the “baked” goods that come out of it. A random sampling: Who doesn’t like cake? I think you’ll live Oh, yeah!!! Cooking over a light bulb....pretty gourmet if

Santa: not as effective as he used to be

I've been making liberal use of the "Santa card" almost since my daughter was born.  In general, it's been relatively effective. "Oooooh, you know how Santa feels about dirty teeth/kids who don't eat their dinner/liars/children who throw clothes on the floor," I say with a sad shake of my head. I mean, really, you know how he gets about these things. A frowns in return, momentarily persuaded that Santa is indeed furious about her failure to throw her dirty tights down the laundry chute (which, incidentally, is located six inches from her bedroom door). Lately, we are battling some behavioral issues that are challenging our parenting abilities and patience. The lying drives me batty.  We've tried punishing for bad behavior, rewarding for good behavior, and everything in between. I think on some level she realizes that no matter what she does, it's not like anything THAT bad is going to happen.  It's not as though we're going to cut off

The Week That Was

It's so tragic that it takes me a week to catch up from a week's vacation. But so true. I will try to come up with a more meaningful post soon. Highlights of the week: My daughter brought home her first trimester report card on Thursday.  At her grade level (Kindergarten) the school grades on a numbering system: 1 through 4.  She received mostly 3s and 4s, along with some nice comments from her teacher. P and I read the report card together and started laughing simultaneously when we got to the two 2s we spotted: "Listens when others are talking" and "uses time productively."  Mrs. L has her number, alright. On Tuesday, I went to my third yoga class.  This session seemed more challenging than the last two, or it could just be that I am falling apart.  My hips quickly put the kibosh on a couple of moves I was asked to do. Mostly I just muddle through until we get to Shivasna, which is where you make like a corpse, flat on your back, and think about nothin

What I thought about for 2,000 miles

I had a lot of time to think during my Thanksgiving road trip (over 1,000 miles each way).  The kid mostly watched movies and drew pictures (while taking special care to make sure that no magic marker in her collection will ever see its respective cap again). On the way to Oklahoma, I listened to music on my iPod, as well as parts of an audio book I'd purchased (the new one from David Sedaris). On the way back, I mostly listened to the radio.  I heard "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield at least half a dozen times on Saturday. I'd complain that there ought to be a law, except that my oldest and dearest friend is a die-hard Rick Springfield fan and I can't bring myself to besmirch his (Rick's) fine reputation. As the miles ticked by, I thought about a lot of trivial things, such as "why do people tailgate me in the left lane and then, when I move to the right, move over and tailgate me there, too?"  However, I also found myself pondering a weigh

Have a magical day!

Today is our last full day of vacation.  Tomorrow we hit the road. Rather than splitting the drive in half, I'm going to drive the lion's share tomorrow and then enjoy (and I use the term loosely) a shorter drive on Sunday.  P leaves for work at 4:30 on Sunday so I'm trying to get home by then - the kid misses her papa. We spent Thanksgiving at my sister's house.  With the exception of my brother-in-law (who was out on call), the rest of us are vegetarian.  So, there was no turkey on the table, but we managed to stuff ourselves nonetheless.  I brought two desserts I'd made - brownies and apple cake.  And here you thought pumpkin pie was mandatory! My sister did a great job and dinner was delicious. My youngest nephew wore some of his mashed potatoes on his forehead to show his appreciation.  Then Dan (the family's Bluetick Coonhound) did a drive-by whipped cream licking at the kids' table, which caused my other nephew to start shrieking and turning red.  I

The day I broke up with popcorn

The kid and her cousins The vacation has been fabulous so far.  Well, until Monday night. The kid and I spent Monday afternoon with my sister and her kids. My sister lives on a farm and owns chickens, goats, etc. I had two traumatic incidents that day. First traumatic incident: I witnessed chicken sex.  I was following my sister around as she fed her goats.  Suddenly, one of her chickens came running through at full speed and dove under a nearby bush.  A rooster was right on her heels, flying (well, sprinting really fast) after her like his tail feathers were on fire. He dove under the same bush, threw himself on top of the lady, and then pinned her down.  My sister said, "Oh, now you've seen chicken sex."  It was already over, though (apparently it doesn't take long for sweet love to be made when it comes to our feathered friends). I found it all a bit troubling, though.  It was like the original wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am.  I mean, he didn't buy her a gla

We're he-ere

Heinz, one of my mother's millions of cats. She's just five cats away from appearing on an episode of Hoarders. Well, we made it. I jokingly told a co-worker that I predicted the kid would ask, "Are we almost in Oklahoma?" before we got out of our own neighborhood.  I was wrong.  She waited until we were fifteen minutes away.  Fifteen minutes out of seventeen hours. We drove for just over eight hours and then stopped at a hotel.  We got there at about midnight.  As it turns out, this hotel (which was actually more of a motel - some sort of family budget inn) was a hub for hunters.  The parking lot was full of pickup trucks and trailers.  One of the trailers had a dead deer lashed to the back. I was grateful that the kid had conked out by then, because I was way too tired to have to explain this sort of thing. I checked in, woke the kid up just long enough to throw a nightgown over her head, and then we climbed into bed and fell asleep almost immediately.  Norm

The Drive

The kid and I are leaving for Oklahoma on Friday afternoon.  When people find out we're driving (17 hours), they look at me like I'm barking mad ("barking mad" is my favorite British phrase of all time - please try to use it as often as you can). There is no convincing them of my sanity after that. I started to tell a co-worker, "Well, the benefit of driving to Oklahoma is -" but he raised his hand and interrupted me.  "There is no benefit to driving to Oklahoma." Okay, fair enough.  I made the kid sort through the contents of her room a few days ago and choose items to give to her little cousins (boys ages two and three).  She selected some toddler toys that she has outgrown*, some chunky board books, and a few stuffed animals (although did inform me that every single one was her absolute "favorite" even if she had not laid eyes on it since she was in diapers). Every time she would toss an item into the bag she would remark, "Y

Date Night, Poop, the Plague

I haven't published a blog post in a few days because, well, I caught the plague.  I guess I can't complain in as much as it was only the second cold I've endured all year.  When A was a baby we were sick at least once a month. However, it's true what they say about daycare because now she has an immune system of steel and we're seldom ill.  I lost my voice completely on Sunday and Monday.  By Tuesday, I felt guilty not answering the phone at work so I finally gave in and took a call from a client.  I knew how to fix his technical issue (with his website) and explained the solution to him as succinctly as possible.  I heard a moment of silence from the other end and then finally, "Ma'am? I'm really sorry but I just can't understand anything you're saying."  I tried to convince myself that my voice sounded sexy but I'm sure I sounded more like some raspy prank caller. In addition to nursing a cold, I've been busy picking up puppy p

What are your intentions, young man?

I picked out my future son-in-law a couple years ago.  He's an adorable blond-haired, brown-eyed boy from our church. So, not only is he the same religion (and very bright), he's also a vegetarian - perfect!  And he and A get along great.  When I announced the match, the adorable boy's dad started talking about how he wants a dowry (including livestock), but I figured we'd work it out later.  Much to my chagrin, though, the family is now being relocated to Canada.  After the recent election results, I'm tempted to move to Canada myself. But in any case, it's clear to me that the distance is too great and that I'll have to start from scratch when it comes to choosing my son-in-law. In recent weeks my daughter has begun waxing poetic about a boy named Tyler.  Tyler is in her Kindergarten class at school.  She drew a picture of the two of them together.  Holding hands.  There is a flower between them, which she assures me is a "flower of friendship."

Would you call this irony? Or just sucky?

1. I am fostering a puppy.  Yes, you are correct - I said I would never do that again. Further proof of dementia setting in a few decades early? 2. I have lost my voice to laryngitis and cannot yell at said puppy, even when he poops on the floor and steps in it. And then runs around the house.  And then jumps up on me.


I'm in a bit of a mood.  My rescue work is getting me down lately, making me irritable. I try to keep it in check, but occasionally I turn into Yosemite Sam, shooting myself up off the ground with my pistols (with apologies to my stad for stealing his metaphor).  A couple weeks ago, a lady contacted us (the rescue) to surrender a puppy.  I re-arranged my schedule, missed my step aerobics class, and was all set for her to show up at my house with the puppy.  She called twenty minutes beforehand (after all of the re-arranging was done, mind you) to cancel.  She said she'd found another home for the dog but would let me know if that opportunity fell through.  I was vaguely miffed, but not to the level of my skull bursting or anything. The woman then emailed me the following morning to say that she hadn't found a home after all and would be bringing the dog that evening.  Again, lots of re-arranging on my end. I asked P to take the kid to swim class and made alternate arrange

:::sniffle sniffle:::

I am not sure who authorized this "growing up" business, but I don't think I like it. Not one bit. Somehow, when I wasn't looking, I became Mom instead of Mama.  Oh sure, occasionally I am still Mama when she really needs something or has injured herself (and by "injured herself" I mean "came up with an excuse to have a band-aid").  But more and more, I am now known by the monosyllabic moniker Mom.  I imagine that some kid at school made fun of her or something (she often writes "Mama" on her drawings, after all) and then suddenly I lost the name I had waited so long to hear. I had assumed she would at least make a pit stop at Mommy before heading straight to Mom.  I remember calling my mother Mommy until at least the third grade before graduating to calling her Mom.  Then came the teenage years where I called her other things under my breath, and then back to Mom again.  To say that "kids grow up so fast" is such a hackney

Belle - she gets around

As I promised my mother, I took her granddaughter to every possible Halloween-related event I could find.  If Meemaw was willing to slave away over yellow fabric for weeks on end, the least I could was to make sure the kid was seen in the glorious Belle gown.  We attended three different events this weekend.  And of course the actual trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.  My daughter has had a sugar buzz for about three days straight.  I'd been holding the trick-or-treating gig over her head for the past week or so.  I told her that for each infraction, I'd take five houses off the list.  I may or may not have implied that those five houses are known to give out full-size candy bars. Listen, I work with what I've got.  Thank goodness I can roll out the ever-useful S-A-N-T-A threat shortly. Earlier today, we had a minor battle over lunch.  I'd made steamed cauliflower, couscous with pine nuts, and drop biscuits.  Okay, not the most interesting meal but we are running

Yoga, Yo

I tried a yoga class for the first time last night.  I must admit I have been curious about yoga for most of my adult life.  I've often been tempted to purchase a yoga mat and try it at home but then I remember: "The dogs will step on my head."  At our service auction at church last week, I (apparently caught up in the festive spirit of the 60s-themed event) signed up for a "yoga party" to be held in January. A few days later, I decided to check out the yoga studio's website to see what I'd gotten myself into.  The first introductory class is free - well, that's an offer I can't refuse.  The site did a good job of making me feel like beginners would be not be shunned, so I decided to give it a try. I have a few reasons why I've wanted to try yoga.  For starters, the mind-body connection continues to elude me.  I seem to suffer from what the Buddhists call "monkey mind."  My brain is full of distracting worries and I do not know ho

It's a draw

Although there are moments when I think it would be nice to have another kid around, I'm generally very content with just one.  A keeps asking for a sibling, of course.  She says, "I want a sister who's five just like me!"  I keep telling her, "That's usually called a twin and it's, um, not happening."  Anyhow, as parents of onlies can attest, keeping a single child entertained can be a challenge at times.  Therefore, I was pleased as punch when my daughter embarked on a coloring/drawing kick recently.  She sits for a solid hour or two at a time, churning out artwork at a steady pace. The drawings are generally of me, her dad, her, her teacher, and her teacher's cat (Cookie).  She is also learning to write, so many of the pictures have words on them.  A few days ago she handed me a drawing on which she had written: "I like fire."  I really do not know what to say about that.  She learned to write the word after a recent fire safety we