Thursday, November 30, 2006
I thought about doing Holidailies, but I think I could use a break. Zuzu needs her bedtime routine back, and when you’re trying to keep a 17 month old occupied while updating your blog at 9 p.m. at night for fear that you’ll fall asleep while getting her to sleep and not wake up until after midnight, things don’t always go so well. I have several half-written entries that I gave up on in favor of something dashed off quickly just so I could get Zuzu to bed.
In other news, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
Okay, so we haven’t decorated at all yet. We usually do that the weekend after Thanksgiving weekend. I’m actually surprised at how many people in our neighborhood and town have already decorated. We went out for dinner last Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving), and we drove past a house that already had two Christmas trees up and decorated.
But, the packages have started arriving! Most of my shopping was done before Thanksgiving, but I had a few odds and ends to order once the credit card statement changed, which happened last week. UPS alone has dropped off boxes three days in a row this week. We also had parcels from DHL, FedEx, and the mailman. They’re not all holiday items (some are computer things and my work for next week), but it’s so much fun to hear a thud! followed by the sound of the doorbell and then rush to the door to see what has arrived.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I was born in Iowa, grew up in Minnesota, spent my adolescence in Florida (hated it...both adolescence & Florida), and moved to NYC (by myself) when I was 19 (what was I thinking?!).
My mom died when I was a freshman in high school. She had acute myelogenous leukemia. She was 39.
My maternal grandmother is from Liverpool, England. Her name is Elizabeth, and when I was younger, I thought it meant that we were related to the Queen.
I went through a Beatles phase in high school. I later found out that my mom met Paul McCartney before he was famous (he was a friend of her uncle).
Pete and I were married at the Algonquin Hotel (of Roundtable fame). It's been more than six years, and people are still talking about our wedding cake. I finally threw the top away last year...that was a sad day (chocolate and hazelnut goodness all gone to waste).
I do not like cut flowers...they remind me of death. Because of this, I procrastinated and did not hire a florist until two weeks (to the day) before my wedding.
I love hydrangeas.
On my first day of kindergarten, I took the wrong bus home and wound up at another elementary school on the other side of town. Now that I have children of my own, I can only imagine the terror my mother must have felt when I didn't come home.
I wanted to drop out of school in second grade because I didn’t think I was learning anything.
Growing up, I never attended any given school for more than 2 consecutive years until I got to high school. My parents promised me that I would complete all 4 years at one high school...I transferred high schools in November of my SENIOR year (thanks for keeping that promise, Dad!).
My best friend in high school saved my life.
My favorite high school activity was math competition.
My favorite college classes were History of American Urban Planning and History of Architecture.
My favorite punctuation mark is the ellipsis.
My favorite building is the Flatiron.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
When we had our house built, we went for the "super bath" option with the separate tub and shower. Surely, I could get into the whole relaxing bath thing if no one had to stand in the tub on a regular basis. When we moved in, I was 39 weeks pregnant, and I couldn’t take a bath for a month and a half after giving birth. Then there was a repair that had to be done. Then the edges needed to be recaulked. So the tub got dirty. I tried to clean it, but that was nearly impossible. I had nearly given up on the idea of my relaxing bath. We hired cleaners to clean our bathrooms, so I was assured of a clean tub on a regular basis.
In May, Pete went to New York on business, so I sent a Lush shopping list with him. The bag has been in the closet ever since. Every time I thought I would take a bath, I decided I was just too tired and I’d rather sleep. Two weeks ago, I was finally ready for my bath. I told Pete several times that I was planning to take a bath that Saturday night. Then I fell asleep nursing Zuzu. I woke up 2 hours later, and I was so groggy, I barely made it out of the chair and into my own bed. I was so disappointed.
This Saturday, everyone was in bed by 10, and I finally managed my long-awaited soak in the tub. It almost didn’t happen, though. The stopper was unscrewed and wasn’t sealing, so the water just went down the drain. Eventually, I got it all squared away, filled the tub, threw in my bath bomb, turned on the jets, and settled in. It was heaven. I can’t wait until next Saturday.
*Apparently, Calgon is still around. I had no idea. I remember my mom saying "Calgon, take me away!" when she’d had a particularly stressful day when I was a kid, and I have vague recollections of the television commercials. I don’t think I really knew what it was except that it looked like it came in a box like dishwasher detergent. I guess it was bubble bath or bath salts or something of that sort. Now they have a whole line of bubble baths, body sprays, and lotions, etc.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Oh, to be young again! I’m still dizzy, and I was just watching her.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Last Monday, Gogo needed to bring a picture to school of something that starts with the letter A. I’m sure the teachers were expecting something cut out of a magazine, but I had a picture of an apple from our trip to the orchard in October and we were going to Costco anyway, so I had a picture printed.
This week she needs a picture of something that starts with B, so I took a picture of some of her bears. I don’t wish to make weekly trips to Costco throughout December, so I was planning ahead and taking pictures to get us through to January. We got stuck on the letter E. All Gogo could think of was elephant, but we don’t have any toy elephants. All I could think of were elevator, escalator, and employee. Finally, it hit me…E is for egg.
Friday, November 24, 2006
In fact, one thing I’m thankful for that didn’t get on yesterday’s list is the fact that I am about 95% finished with my holiday shopping. And about 95% of what is left can be done from home.
I decided earlier this year that I didn’t want a stressful December. I love the holidays, and I wanted to be able to enjoy them. So I set a goal to have my shopping done by Thanksgiving. This way I can sit back, relax, listen to Christmas carols, and watch my favorite Christmas movies. If I go to the mall, I can take my time and enjoy the music and be thankful I’m not rushing around for last-minute gifts.
The most stressful thing on my December to-do list? Deciding which mall to hit for Santa photos.
*Pete decided to try to get the cheap computers at Best Buy this year. He got there at 8 p.m. last night and was too far back in the line to get them.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
My husband, who finally got the hint and installed iTunes.
My children, who let me sleep until 8:30 a.m.
TiVo, which allowed me to see the Macy’s parade in its entirety even though I started an hour late.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
"I'm also thankful to the wonderful folks at Butterball who saw fit to sell a fully cooked smoked turkey so that I do not have to reach into a cavity tomorrow morning to pull out a turkey's innards. May you all be so lucky as well."
So that got me thinking…why do they have to include the giblets and neck anyway? Why can't they sell the giblets and neck separately? Do they somehow help preserve the turkey as a whole?
Chicken giblets are sold separately, aren't they? I’ve never purchased a whole chicken. Do those require cavity exploration as well?
If the giblets and neck were sold separately, then people who find the cavity digging unappetizing would not have to endure the torture of it, and those who wish to feast upon the visceral organs can buy as many as they’d like. Seriously. It's a win-win situation.
Butterball? Jennie-O? Are you listening?
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
We must have used cheap stuff because we didn’t have a lot of money. I remember a particular soap episode from 8th grade. My mom was in the hospital for chemo (she had leukemia), and my grandparents were staying with us. Grandma used Dove soap, and it was on sale, so she stocked up. Our grocery budget was $20/week (for a family of four!), and the soap used up a good portion of the budget. My parents were quite upset.
When I was first on my own as an adult, I discovered the after Christmas sales at The Body Shop. I would buy lots of little fancy soaps…sweet smelling, pretty glycerin soaps, exfoliating soaps, and itty bitty guest soaps. But I never used them. I always thought they were too nice, “expensive,” or fancy to use, so I stuck with Dove. Eventually, I threw the nice soaps away.
In the last few years, my hands have gotten incredibly dry. The skin cracks and bleeds, and my fingers throb in pain. Using the ubiquitous antibacterial liquid hand soap appears to be one of the causes. This year, instead of trying to repair the damage (using lotions and creams), I want to address the cause of the problem by switching soaps.
I’ve been looking into natural soaps, i.e., those containing olive oil, goat’s milk, shea butter, and the like. I ordered a bunch of sample soaps from MoonDance Soaps & More, and I am in love! I haven’t actually used them for hand washing yet, though. I’ve been using them in shower…I figure I’ll use them up faster that way, so I can decide which ones I like the best and order again sooner. They have some wonderful holiday soaps, and I’m planning on giving some as gifts this year.
Now I just have to figure out what to do with all the Dove in the linen closet.
Monday, November 20, 2006
During my shower yesterday morning, the incident came to mind again. I thought about the various things on the bathroom counter,* and the cotton ball holder came to mind. The container and its lid would definitely be more likely to make a loud clanging crash than the toothbrush holder. In fact, if the toothbrush holder made that kind of noise, it would most likely be broken.
But there were still cotton balls in the container. Certainly, if they had fallen on the floor, they would have been thrown away. My first urge was to throw them out just in case, but I feared it might be a princessy move. I could hear Pete’s eyes rolling just thinking about it.
When I got out of the shower, I just had to check. I took the lid off the cotton balls, and I saw them…mixed with specks of dirt, lint, and hair. Ewwww.
*When we first started having the cleaners come in to clean the bathrooms, I took everything off the counters. I’ve since relaxed a bit, although I do remove most stuff, especially toothbrushes (and my razor from the shower). I think I’ll start moving it all again.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Gogo does not tolerate the radio unless it plays Christmas music. My car doesn’t have a CD player, so we do not usually have music playing. I have a tape of
Now, I absolutely love the holiday season, and I would start the Christmas music on November 1st if I could, but Christmas music from December to April is a bit much even for me. When my car went in for a repair, I took out the tape for safekeeping and never put it back.
When I told Gogo we were going to listen to Christmas music on the radio, she wanted to know if we could get the tape back... they don’t play “Smurfing bells” on the radio.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Today is our 12th dating anniversary. We’ve been married for 6 years, but we celebrated the 18th for so long, it has become a habit. Not that we did anything particularly celebratory…we chose dental and vision insurance providers, went out for lunch, and ran errands. How exciting!
Friday, November 17, 2006
Two months ago, I was searching for the lyrics to “Malti,” Gogo’s favorite Dan Zanes song, and I noticed that there was a tour. There were two shows close to us, but once I saw that there was a show at Carnegie Hall, my mind was made up. How cool would it be to be able to say that your first concert was at Carnegie Hall? I e-mailed Shamie, who lives in the city, wondering if she’d even heard of Dan Zanes, and she immediately responded that she and Jacob, her son, were up for it.
We made plans to meet half an hour before the show, but wonder of wonders, we were half an hour early!* So we went to the Starbucks down the street and let the big kids have a snack and run around a bit (Zuzu was asleep on my back in my Albert Storch).
The show was fantastic. I might have gotten a little more out of it had I been familiar with the latest CD, but I learned a few new songs. One of the guests was a group called the Rubí Theater Company, and one of the women was wearing her baby in a ring sling, which was very cool to see onstage. And Father Goose was awesome! He's like Shaggy for kids. Oh, and I can’t forget Natalie Merchant…it was great to get to see her. I’ve had “Loch Lomond” in my head since Sunday.
When Dan announced that Barbara had had her baby and that both she and the baby were there, I was kind of hoping she’d be wearing her baby, too, but she came out alone. (I guess it would be difficult to wear the baby and play guitar at the same time. She did bring the baby out at the end.) Of course, they sang “Malti.” If they hadn’t, I don’t think I would have ever heard the end of it. Gogo was so excited about it, she couldn’t do anything but smile. She didn’t even sing along.
The kids seemed to enjoy themselves. They mostly milled about (Shamie and I sat on the ends and left the middle seats up, so the kids would have room to dance), but I think there was some dancing and hand clapping. I, of course, got very into the music and probably made a fool of myself: dancing in my seat, clapping, tapping my feet, and singing along as well as I could. I had an absolute blast!
After the concert we went out for pizza and I finally looked at the concert program. It turns out that Dan was autographing the new CD afterwards, and we missed it! I was heartbroken. We don’t have any of his CDs because we couldn’t decide which one to get; the videos played on Playhouse Disney are all from different CDs. We’re now definitely getting the latest CD, Catch that Train!, and we’ll have to get Family Dance to get “Malti” (or Muffy Muffy, as Gogo calls it). The only question is do we put them into the rotation now or let Santa bring them?
*We are notorious for being late when meeting up with Shamie. Usually Pete is with us. He wasn’t with us for the concert. Hmm…I think we know who causes the lateness. ;)
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I’ve been afraid of this happening since I started taking evening classes. I don’t always get enough sleep on Wednesday nights, so I’m usually quite tired on Thursdays. Last week I skipped the Thursday class because I was too tired. I thought I’d be okay tonight because last night I fell asleep while putting Zuzu to bed and got a bonus 3 hours of sleep.
I must have been exhausted because I don’t remember anything the instructor said after asking if anyone needed anything. She woke me up while the other students were putting their mats away. I was mortified.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
You take the high road and I’ll take the low road
I’ll be in Scotland before you
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond
(Full lyrics here.)
That’s all I remember of the lyrics, so that's what I've been singing over and over. I’ve been singing this since Sunday’s concert. It really was fantastic. I think I enjoyed it more than the girls did. I’m working on a full recap. Hopefully, I'll have it ready for tomorrow.
In other news, today is November 15, which means that I’ve made it halfway through the month. Yay! It has been challenging at times, but then there are times, like last night, where I’m trying to write a post and ideas for four others come pouring out. I like those times.
*Because “This would be playing on my iPod right now if my husband would just install the freaking iTunes already” was too long for a title.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Last year, I asked for an iPod mini for my birthday. He hemmed and hawed and suggested Dell mp3 players. But I didn’t want some big black clunky thing. I liked the cute little mini, although I couldn’t decide on the pink or the green.
He convinced me it was too expensive, and then surprised me with a gift card, although he stipulated that he had to install iTunes, not me, because he didn’t want Apple software getting too close to his precious PC software. He started talking about partitioning the hard drive. I tuned him out.
A month later, we finally made it to the Apple store, and I went with the green because you can always get the right shade of pink to go with your green, but finding the perfect green isn’t always so easy. Two weeks later, the mini was discontinued, and the nano was introduced. I was thankful I had gotten the mini when I did because the nano didn’t come in pretty colors.
Fourteen months later, iTunes still has not been installed (and nanos are available in pretty colors). Now the reasoning is that I’m getting a new laptop next week…might as well wait and put it on the new machine. All I know is that if I don’t have a working iPod (and a working laptop, including a DVD driver!*), somebody’s getting a lump of coal from Santa.
*Pete refuses to use a computer straight out of the box. He insists on wiping it clean and starting from scratch, so he can make it just how he wants it. The last time he did major maintenance on my computer (rewriting everything), he forgot to reinstall the DVD driver, which I only found out about when I tried to play a DVD for the girls in New York.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
I have lists of things to pack, lists of things to grab at the last minute, shopping lists, laundry lists, lists of lists to be made. It’s maddening.
I’m taking my computer with me (better go put that on the list!), so I can keep up with the blog in the name of NaBloPoMo. I just hope I can survive the dial-up situation.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some to-do lists that need my attention.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
My least favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey prep. It makes me want to become a vegetarian every time. Last year we tried
Jennie-O’s Oven Ready turkey. No thawing, no rinsing, no digging in the cavity. That’s my kind of turkey.
This year, my regular grocery store doesn’t have them. They have plenty of Jennie-O products, just not the Oven Ready turkeys. I’m still holding out hope that they’ll get them, but with only 2 weeks left, that hope is starting to fade.
They do have Shady Brook Farms Simply Done turkeys. The concept is similar, but this one needs to be thawed. I’m afraid I’d forget to take it out of the freezer.
And I’d really like to stick with Jennie-O. You see, my hometown is also home to Jennie-O, so I grew up with it…turkey hot dogs, turkey bologna, turkey ham, etc. We ate ground turkey before it became a well-known alternative to ground beef. It was local, and it was cheap. As a kid, I hated it. What I wouldn’t have given for real hamburger or a beef hot dog!
But now it’s a nostalgia thing, I guess. Willmar was such a nowhere place back then, and all I ever wanted to do was to get out. Now that I’m thousands of miles away, I get a little thrill seeing “Willmar, Minn.” on the package and knowing where it is…knowing that the turkey came from the same place I did.
Of course, I fared better than the turkey…I made it out alive.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Twenty-four years ago, my little world turned upside down. After 6 years as an only child, I had a little brother. My parents left for the hospital early that morning while I was still asleep. He was born via C-section shortly before 9 a.m., weighing 9 lbs, 11.5 oz.
My dad came to school during lunch to tell me that I had a little brother. Then he kissed me, told me he loved me, and left. My classmates teased me, so I got mad at him for embarrassing me.
I left school early to go to the hospital and meet my little brother. I remember the nurse instructing me to wash my hands and put on a hospital gown. She said it was a Superman gown.
They stayed in the hospital for a week and came home during a blizzard. I remember marveling at the sterile glass bottles of sugar water they brought home.
My mom brought him to school a few weeks later, so I could take him for show-and-tell. I also took a copy of his birth announcement. It was a blue sheet of paper folded in fourths, and it had a picture of a toolbox on it that my dad had drawn. (He had also done a pink one, with a pearl and oyster on it, in case the baby had been a girl.)
He’s all grown up now, with a family of his own. Because of the difference in our ages, he was still a little kid when I left home, and there were a few years when we couldn’t keep in touch. Sometimes it’s like he’s a stranger about whom I know nothing, yet I can tell him things about himself that he does not even know. I may feel like I hardly know him, but he’s still my little brother, and I love him fiercely.
Happy birthday, Buzzy!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The instructions were very clear. Place the ballot on the Styrofoam. Use the puncher to punch a hole through the ballot. Remove the ballot from the Styrofoam. Check the back of the ballot to ensure that the punched piece completely separated from the ballot.
I voted at breakfast. I don’t know why. I guess I must have thought it would be easier to mail it on my way to class, although there must have been a mail drop in the dorm. I remember trying not to spill syrup or milk or juice on the ballot. I remember the other students giggling over the whole setup. I remember wishing it was a presidential election, so it would feel more meaningful (I have since learned that elections don’t have to be presidential to be meaningful).
It seems like a lifetime ago. Since that simple punch card, I have voted on paper, on old "kerchunk" machines, and on fancy touch screen computers. I’ve walked right up to a voting booth, and I’ve waited hours in line. No matter what the circumstances, my heart pounds every time.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Two weeks ago, I put in a hold request for a book at our local public library. I did this for two reasons. (i) The book was checked out and overdue, so it was easier to have it set aside for me when it came back than to keep coming in looking for it. (ii) I wanted to see how the little old ladies at the library would handle the title when the book was ready for me.
Today, I got the call. The caller was not a little old lady, but she was just as unsure of the situation.
“I’m calling to tell you that an item you requested is available. It’s, uh, it’s a book, the, uh…”
“Oh, yes, the knitting book?”
“Yes, yes, it’s the knitting book” she said with relief audible in her voice.
The title? Stitch ‘n Bitch
Sunday, November 05, 2006
MDTE: Go girl! Be healthy!
Me: Umm, okay.
MDTE: Here’s your Coke. You know, the dark soda rots your teeth.
MDTE: Really! It does! You have pretty teeth. You don’t smoke cigarettes, do you?
Me: No, I don’t.
MDTE: That’s right! Stay healthy!
Sounds like there’s a reason he’s handing out the food in the drive-thru instead of taking orders.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
A friend had asked me if I planned to dress up for Halloween. I had no plans to dress up this year, but if I had seen this in August or early September (enough time to knit it), I totally would have worked something out.
Secondly, why the dearth of peanut M&M’s? We went to 30 houses Tuesday night, and Gogo did not get a single package of peanut M&M’s. What gives?
Friday, November 03, 2006
So we’re three days into November, and I’m sure everyone’s tired of hearing about Halloween, but I’m just getting around to it.
I’m not a big Halloween person. I’m sure this stems from being excluded from Halloween as a child. I have pictures of myself in Halloween costumes when I was a preschooler. I remember carving pumpkins and roasting the seeds. I even remember trick-or-treating with my cousins in the town where our grandparents lived. I remember not being able to touch the candy until my parents went through it looking for needle marks and glass.
I also remember the time our neighbors got me a special treat for Halloween…one of those big, round, flat lollipops the size of one’s hand, or face, if you’re a small child. This memory sticks out for me because I was given this special treat in lieu of the candy they had for other children, and I wanted the regular candy, whether I wanted it in addition to or instead of the lollipop, I’m not sure. Either way, you can rest assured that I was thoroughly reprimanded for my greediness, ungratefulness, and poor manners. I was 4 years old.
By the time I was in 3rd grade, however, we no longer participated in Halloween. My mom said that it was because witches, etc., really do exist, and it wasn’t something to joke around about or take lightly. In 2nd grade, our music teacher had dressed up as a witch for Halloween. I thought it was so cool, and I told my mom about it. She promptly called the school to complain. I think this was the catalyst.
We would buy a bag of candy (to stand in for what we were missing) and sit in our darkened house watching a rented movie. The first couple of years were the worst. I was still in public school, and the other students couldn’t fathom the possibility of not trick-or-treating. Then I transferred to a Christian school, and Halloween wasn’t mentioned by the teachers or the school. Everyone else’s parents were more on the same wavelength as my parents there.
Now I have children, and I do not wish to be the “Halloween Scrooge Mommy.” We did not dress Gogo up for her first two Halloweens, as I did not see the point. When she was 2, we dressed her up and took her to a few houses, but she wasn’t all that thrilled. Last year, she started preschool, and it was as if they talked about nothing else for the entire month of October. She was hooked. In August, she declared her intent to be Tinkerbell this year.
So Gogo was Tinkerbell, and Zuzu was Minnie Mouse. We did not collect candy for Zuzu, as that is one of my pet peeves, but somewhere along the way, someone gave her a small box of Nerds. I thought it was cute and figured she’d just shake the box and have fun with the noise. Of course not…she chewed on it and managed to eat some. She spent the rest of the night trying to get into the candy stash. I believe Halloween has a new fan.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
I wasn’t even a great fan of the show. I just sort of fell into watching it. Were it not for TiVo, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. It filled a void left by the departure of Friends,* and I did not expect to miss it.
Are there any NYC-based sitcoms left? I don’t even know what’s on NBC on Thursday nights anymore besides ER.
*Speaking of Friends, I watched Joey** religiously for those two seasons, hoping against hope for some kind of reunion show. What? Your friend moves to L.A. and you don’t go visit? What’s wrong with these people?
**And also, I was just checking IMDb to verify how many seasons there were of Joey, and they list eight episodes that I never saw. They list air dates and everything. What’s up with that?
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I’ve been struggling here to make time for the blog. I am constantly thinking about ideas or working on posts in my head. I just don’t take the time to type and post. I’m hoping that a month of daily posting will make it a habit.