Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Good Night and Good Luck

Our favorite babysitter is leaving the gym.  We are going to miss Malorie like you would not believe.  Today Claire cruised into daycare and when she saw that it was someone other than Malorie she pointed at the babysitter and screamed.  (You can imagine how endeared she is to that babysitter.)  She was in such a tizzy that we only got in 30 minutes of working out.

Malorie got a new job that's full time with full benefits so we can't begrudge her leaving but, oh, we will miss her.  She is the kind of girl who cries Claire's name and hugs and kisses her when she arrives.

My friend Alice just started this brilliant new blog. Before Alice became a mom she was a buyer for an online retailer.  Her blog is all about how to pick gifts and she has incredible ideas.  I emailed Alice to ask her advice (It's kind of a tricky situation because I don't even know Malorie's last name but she has provided wonderful care for Claire) and boy did she deliver.  All of her suggestions can be found here.

Claire and I went with candy in a candy jar.  We filled it with Hershey's hugs and kisses.  Claire finger-painted a card and envelope and I wrote that we wished her lots of hugs and kisses and all the chocolate she needed for her new job.

Goodbye Malorie, you will be missed.

**and speaking of professional gifts did you see this darling ring on Cup of Jo? And when I say "you" I mean the hubbs.  Wouldn't that make a great gift for me?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Taking a hint

Last week I had to go to the doctor's office and run a couple of errands.  I dropped Claire off at babysitting co-op and was going about my business.  Before I went to the bank (where there is no bathroom) I stopped off at the gym (which is right next to the bank and does have a  bathroom).

I am the kind of a girl who goes to the gym to go to the gym.  I almost always go first thing in the morning and I hardly even brush my hair back into a ratty pony-tail before I'm out the door.  When I popped in to use the restroom I was actually dressed--jeans, a white button-down shirt, some cute ballet flats and I'd done my hair and make up.

You would have thought that I had grown a third eye.

Three or four people walked out from behind the desk to greet me, all cooing and telling me how great I looked.  The manager said, "Honestly, I would not have even recognized you!"  The response I got was beyond flattering and well into the realm of humiliating.  I wasn't even that dressed up and I didn't look that cute.  I had just been to a doctor's appointment for goodness sake.

So I guess that the ratty Hanes 3-to-a-pack men's t-shirts and ill-fitting shorts from Smiths' Marketplace aren't really cutting it.  Might be time to invest in some appropriate workout gear.


*** And seriously--this image has to be altered right?....YIKES.  Cute clothes but she looks like a skeleton

Friday, August 26, 2011

If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there

Claire has these CDs called the Scripture Scouts.  We play them around the house and we sing along in the car. Every time I hear them I cringe a little inside. Our favorite CD talks about family and how important it is.  It talks about getting along, about being kind at home and about how God loves us and wants our families to be happy.  There are also songs that talk about moms and dads and how families are made up of moms and dads and kids.  There is one song in particular that every time I hear it I'm tempted to whisper to Claire, "I want you to get married and have kids but if you choose something different I will still love you and you will still find happiness."

Every time I play the CDs I think about indoctrination.  I imagine that in North Korea* moms are playing CDs that are just like the ones I play at home but instead of talking about how families are so great they talk about how great Kim Jung-il is.

I have very strong religious beliefs but one of my strongest beliefs is that we have to come to those on our own.  I believe that God loves us and will speak to each of us and guide our lives if we seek his help.  That makes it hard to tell my baby that if she is good and does what she should she will be happy and if she isn't good and doesn't do what she should she will be punished--because I don't really believe that.

Last night while talking to some friends whose kids are older I expressed this concern and asked if they had ever felt the same thing. We laughed about how pictures of Jesus and Temples on the walls really aren't that different than pictures of the fearless leader. One of my friends is studying to be a family therapist and she had really great insights.  She talked about how children aren't capable of the "shades of grey" thinking that my version of morality requires.  They see the world in black and white--lying is bad, telling the truth is good and there is nothing in between.

As she was telling us that, I realized that Claire has to take her version of right and wrong from somewhere.  She has to have a jumping off point to start her negotiating of morality and if I don't give her one, someone else will--and it will be the Disney Princesses, or the Barbie Fairy Princesses or any other of the myriad of entities that tell girls that they can be as selfish as they want to be, that they have to love pink, that they aren't smart enough, thin enough, strong enough or good at math and science.

If I have to pick between the Disney Princesses and The Scripture Scouts, I'm gonna pick The Scripture Scouts every time.  So please know that the songs about how Jesus wants us to chose the right, obey our parents, get married, have kids and study hard in school are going to continue but they will be accompanied by my heart's whispering that morality isn't always black and white and no matter what she chooses to do with her life she will be loved, loved, loved.

*if you haven't listened to this podcast about how North Korea makes money you should.  It's AWESOME.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And my head I'd be scratchin' while my thoughts were busy hatchin'

The other day while sitting at the window at McDonalds and digging in the change bin of the hubbs car (my change bin is, of course, totally wiped out) trying to scrounge up 85 cents for an extra large diet coke (I know I shouldn't but at 85 cents I find myself at McDonalds at least 3 times a week) I had a memory of the 4th grade.

I spent every recess from 4-6 grade where there was enough sunshine playing jump rope with the girls in my grade.  I am still sort of a freakishly good jump roper.  Last year I walked into a church activity and there were several teenage girls trying to teach the little girls how to jump rope.  They were trying to figure out how to double dutch.  It was like I had been called by a higher power to be there.

In the 4th grade the people from Jump Rope For Life came to my school.  Their arrival was preceded by a flier that went home with us telling us that plastic neon jump ropes would be on sale for $3.50 the next day.  My heart soared.  I went home that night and spent hours counting the coins from my piggy bank (there was plenty in there. I've always been a penny pincher), making piles of twenty-five-cents; 1 quarter or 2 nickels and a dime (those of you math majors will realize that my calculations were a little off) and then counting the 14 little piles over and over and over again. I've also always been very cautious so I packed an extra dollar just in case (which was a lucky thing as my knowledge of how many nickles and dimes are in a quarter was amiss). The next day I went home with a neon purple jump rope just as pleased as punch.

And, in the McDonalds' parking lot that memory came so clear to me...22 years later and I still remember counting and counting change and just loving that jump rope.

Yet, last night as the hubbs and I were walking into the grocery store we said, "let's not forget to get windshield wiper fluid."  And we still left the store without it.

How is it that I have room in my memory for every jump rope song I've ever heard but windshield wiper fluid just doesn't fit?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In Laws

            My in-laws were here this weekend.  We crammed 5 adults and 3 kids into our little apartment.  Quarters were pretty tight but we had a great time.  Claire is absolutely in love with her 5-year old cousin J.  He loves her too (but not as much as he loves legos).  He spent lots of time jumping on the bed with her and carrying her around in that awkward child-carrying-a-child pose.  She got rough-housed, chased, poked in the face, kissed until she cried and she loved every single second of it.  We spent lots of time in swim suits and I still have at least two loads of towels to wash.  All in all, a totally successful weekend.

One of the best lines of the trip came from our Uncle K.  We were out to dinner after a ferry ride from Coronado and a walk down the embarcadoro.  Claire had fallen down 2 cement stairs (uninjured but mad) just moments before and J bit his cheek while he was eating so hard that he started to cry.  K (who is not married and doesn't have kids) said, "Is this the normal rate of injury with children?  Because really, I go weeks and weeks without any kind of injury or tears."  We assured him that considering the parent to child ratio and the fact that one of the children is a toddler and still regularly trips over her own feet we were actually doing pretty well.

Hurry back dear ones.  Claire is ready for the beach again whenever you are. (this is how she woke up this morning--actually that's not true.  She woke up crying because one of her sand sifters had fallen on the floor.  This is her after I handed it back.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I just found your new favorite workout song

Yesterday at a new weightlifting class my short, totally ripped, gay instructor who was wearing patterned converse played this song.  Twice.

I can't get it to embed here but here is a link to go and listen.

Dear Beyonce, Thank you for being so awesome.

I have been playing it ever since.

I played it this morning while I was doing the dishes and Claire was eating her breakfast (Cheese and cheerios.  We eat cheese at every meal these days) and right when it came on she started bopping her little head around and laughing. 

It reminded me of an important point in my relationships with the hubbs.  We had been dating for a while and were talking about getting married but neither one of us was sure.  The hubbs and I are really different and I think we worried that neither one of us was what the other had anticipated.

We had gone to visit his family in Oregon. I had been praying about us getting married and trying to make a good decision.  One night we were doing the dishes after dinner (the hubbs didn't grow up with a dishwasher so when I say we were doing the dishes we were really doing the dishes).  The hubbs started singing and dancing around as he was drying the dishes and the thought came to me, "This could be a happy life."

I am so glad that I listed to that voice and let it grow in me. 

It has indeed been a very happy life.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Here's to the mundane

This morning I read an article about Brian Crane who writes the comic strip Pickles in the hubbs' alumni magazine (don't judge--my OK Weekly hasn't arrived yet).  Crane didn't start writing comics until he was 40 and has now had 21 years of success and is one of the most wildly syndicated cartoonists of the day.

From the article, "Brian is an unassuming genial family man, married for nearly 40 years, but beneath that unassuming exterior is the quintessential cartoonist.  His mind records and stores seemingly inconsequential, but covertly funny, details of life for future use."

I have been thinking of that ever since.  I think that trait not only makes a successful cartoonist but a good blogger.  It's something that I need to work on.  I'm not just looking for the funny details of life, but the meaningful, the thought-provoking and the charming.

I'm working on it.  I haven't felt like I have that memory these days.  My memory seems full of other things but I am dedicated to making space.

So here's to a mundane and amusing future.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's the Little Victories

Where is that reset button?  I'd like to use it today.

I've been dealing with this little medical problem which is probably no big deal but which does involve trips to the doctor, ultrasounds, biopsies and blood tests and it has me a little stressed out (more details to come when I know more).  

Today I went to the doctor for a fine-needle aspiration biopsy on my neck (ouch and just as gross as you are thinking it is).  On my way to get my blood drawn after the biopsy the oil light came on in my car.  I pulled over and ran in the grocery store to pick up some oil.  I popped the hood, threw my purse on the front seat, closed the door and added the oil.  As the oil was chug, chug, chugging into the car I heard an unmistakable little click--the door locks engaging.  I had forgotten that if you unlock the doors of my car and then don't put the key in the ignition the doors all relock. I was miles from home, my phone, purse and wallet were in the locked car and my neck was sore and covered in bandaids. 

And the victory is that I kept my cool.  I cursed once (loud) but I didn't cry and didn't get mad.  Mostly I just remembered to be thankful that I have a hubbs who would bring me the spare key, that the baby wasn't with me and that missed blood tests can be rescheduled. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

How soon is too soon?

How soon is too soon to worry about Pica (an eating disorder defined by the eating of things that are not food)?

Cream Eye Liner

And Sand

 (these are all from this week)

There has to be a reason Dr Oz calls it the most bizarre eating disorder

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book Club: Sept 2

I've taken a couple of months off of book club and in that time I've made a horrible discovery. 

Are you ready?

I love fantasy books.  It's humiliating and brings to mind all kinds of even more embarrassing things like dungeons and dragons and teens with braces. Yikes.  Before you judge too harshly just think of Harry Potter.  Lord of the Rings.  Twilight.  Ender's Game. Those are respectable fantasy books right?  You've read them.  Me too.  And I guess that my love of fantasy started there but it's progressed.  You show me any book where people can do magic or trees talk and I'm going to love it. 

The bad news is that my mom loves those same kinds of books so my summer vacation in Utah was an indulgence (and I mean about books. Though come to think of it, it was sort of an indugence in every other way too. My mom has a whole shelf of her storage room dedicated to Swiss Chocolate.) but I'm ready to get back to intellectual reading (and not eating a candy bar every day). 

For September we're going to read The Shipping News.  I've heard that it's charming and we're going to love it.

And I know that this is not a design blog and any designer who came to my house would be terrified (Even though it's breaking the first of Jonathan Adler's 10 commandments I am a minimalist) I love this.  I think I'm going to try to recreate it (but maybe in my living room).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

When You've Got it, You've Got it

While I was home I spent some time working in my dad's office. For his birthday this year I changed some of his old LPs to MP3s.  While I was digging through his things (a girl has to do something while waiting for those files to convert). I found this picture of my older sister, my dad and me.

I love everything about it. I love the smiles, the attitude, the clothes (look at those socks with the hearts on them), the hair....but mostly I just love the people (and the pizazzy Tyra pose I'm striking).   

Sometimes I long for a time when I was that self confident and assured while picture taking.  These days I tend to spend my time taking pictures worrying that my tummy looks big or my hair looks frizzy.  I'd like to take a lesson from my 4-year-old self--just throw out your hips and stare down the camera and everything else will work out fine. 

*Also, if any of you are still getting a malware warning please let me know.  I think I took care of the problem but my computer skills are so basic that I can never be sure.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Claire's Book Club: Huh?

Claire and I checked out this book from the library. 

It's darling.  I love the Lazoo line.  I like their bright colors and their artzy little drawings.   And, now that Claire has mastered knowing her facial features, hair, fingers, toes and belly button I figured it was time to start talking about colors.

She likes the book (she actually took it with her to her nap just minutes ago) but yesterday while I was reading and describing the pictures to her I ran into a little trouble with purple page.

Onions are purple, grapes are purple, plums are purple and ......any ideas as to what that is on the upper right? 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Home again Home again

What I learned on my summer vacation.

Women of the world who are raising families in small apartments,
I love our apartment.  It's clean, airy, we don't have to pay for any repairs and I have my own bathroom--what's not to love? But while I was on vacation I learned that there is something that our small apartment with wall to wall white carpet will never allow us.