November 30, 2006

It's already over?

Well. Alrighty then.

I wish I could pontificate upon the various merits of participating in NaBloPoMo, but I'm not feeling particularly wordy today. It's been a Three Burrito/Two Ginger Ale kinda day. Bleh. I will say that I am very glad I participated and hope I can do so again next year. I felt SO challenged as a blogger - in fact, I was so nervous about hitting a Blogging Block, that before deciding to join up, I put together a list of potential topics. Except for the trip to San Francisco where I composed 5 posts in advance, I didn't have to use the list I had compiled. And I didn't get out the "No one cares what you had for lunch" book once. I am still a little shocked that I was able to come up with so many posts on the fly. I most certainly will not be posting on a daily basis from here on out, though. I miss having the weekends to take a break from the Blogosphere and realize now how much I depended on that time to catch up on emails. Besides, when you do something EVERY SINGLE DAY, you don't appreciate it as much. So, while all in all, NaBloPoMo was so totally awesome, blogging feels a bit like work right now.

Surprisingly, for a brief while I was in the running for a Grand Prize - crib bedding from Javis Davis. She was offering the prize to the 1st blogger to announce a pregnancy. While I didn't actually win, Javis Davis generously has offered consolation prizes. I won't be taking her up on the offer until I am past the 28 week mark (I don't like buying things for babies until after then), but wanted to pass the Linky Love around beforehand. I thought that was very cool of her to offer consolation prizes like that.

Quick Kid Stuff: Is it normal for toddlers to just stuff their cheeks like there is no tomorrow? Arun stuffs his face like he's playing his own personal version of Chubby Bunny, without the benefit of Peer Pressure. Then, he chews on the food for what seems like HOURS. Like a cow and his cud. Good Grief. Also, is it normal for toddlers to eat their Cheerios with milk like an adult? I thought most toddlers liked to pick dry Cheerios off a plate, but Arun prefers the traditional M.O. with milk and a spoon. Anyway. Maybe it's yet another case where I think my precious progeny is the most unique boy EVER when as usual, he's just a normal kid. Except with more hair. And eyes that give those creepy Precious Moments kids a run for the money.

But you know what I mean, right?


Pretty Boy, Sitting Pretty


Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Friendship


Until the Treat Can is Shaken


Trail Guide

No Child Left Behind


Daddy's Boy


Until the Shit Hits the Diaper

November 29, 2006

Where's the Christmas Spirit?

Right HERE. For whatever reason, I've had no problems getting into the Yuletide Groove this year. Let me count the ways.....

The Tree
One of the very first compromises made in our newly minted Marital Bliss was that X convinced me to purchase a fake tree. I come from a Real Tree family, but X comes from a NO Tree family. For Catholics in India, Christmas is actually about Christ (Gasp!) and all they do there is eat food and go to Mass. Therefore, X still does not appreciate all the Holiday Hoopla and probably never will (although, I suspect Arun will lighten things up as that furry little kid has a mainline straight into X's cold, frosty heart). Anyway, I gave in and did a fake tree. I have to admit I haven't looked back - I leave the tree up in the basement with lights still strung and OMIGOD, it is a veritable pleasure lugging the thing upstairs and merely plugging it in. No sawing. No sap. No pokey needles. No fresh tree smells. Sob. Okay, it's not ALL grand, but still, life is easier with the Spurious Spruce.

The Ornaments
I love, LOVE Christmas trees - last night, I went to Festival of Trees in Lawrence at the Liberty Hall and just about swooned at all the gorgeous trees there. In my own house, I have a regular-sized tree, plus two miniatures (one used to go on my desk at work). One of the miniatures is only about 5 inches high and holds my teeny, tiny Harry Potter ornament collection. The other is just a standard miniature tree. The regular-sized tree is what can only be referred to as a Sentimental Tree. It holds ornaments collected over the years - for example, while traveling instead of buying random tchotchkes, I pick up ornaments. When out on special holiday shopping excursions with girlfriends (say, up to Weston or Parkville), I'll pick up an ornament to remember our day by. The tree also holds standard glass ornaments that I decorated myself with glitter glue many years back when I was very poor and distressed that decorated glass ornaments cost so much. I painstakingly decorated a set of plain bulbs myself - most of them are just okay-looking, a few are pretty atrocious and even fewer came out simply beautiful. However, those bulbs represent a time for me that I never want to forget because otherwise it would mean I have become ungrateful for what I have now (and yes, I can see Arun already rolling his eyes as I faithfully recite the Legend of the Cheap Glass Christmas Bulbs for him year after year). Anyway, if we ever live in a house that has a formal living room, I would LOVE to also have a Perfect Tree but I will never give up the Sentimental Tree. Never.

The Decor
First, as part of the Great Conifered Compromise of 2003, I treat myself to Yankee Candle's "Balsam and Pine" candles every year. I also have "a thing" about snowglobes, but I'll admit I am a big snob about it. A snowglobe that just spits out snow - or worse, SPARKLES? Hell NO. There better be a blizzard going on under the glass or it doesn't grace my mantle. I also have a thing for any cheesy candled concoction that requires a tealight. Tealights are my FRIEND and I buy 'em by 100 pack. One tip on decorations, though - I read long, long ago that it is wise to remove many of your REGULAR decorations so that things don't get cluttered. Words to live by. I wish we decorated the outside of our house, but I am just waiting for Arun to tug on his daddy's sleeve for that one.

The Cards
I actually send out Christmas cards and they feature our cat Pearson. It started out as a joke when my grandma made a comment about wanting pictures of "our baby" in her next year's card - a not-so-subtle reference that we needed to get working on co-mingling our DNA. We did successfully get our DNA in order, but I still feature Pearson on our card. It makes me sad that more people don't send out holiday cards.

The Cinema
Ah, where to begin? I try to get through them all and always start with the Thanksgiving movie, Home for the Holidays. My favorite holiday of all is Robbie the Reindeer (hint: do yourself a favor and go for the BBC version), but WAIT - there's Charlie Brown, White Christmas, Frosty, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Christmas Story, the Grinch and of course, all the 1960s Claymation Calamaties that are a must-watch now (remember the anxiety when you were a kid trying to figure out the TV schedule because OMIGOD when was Rudolph going to air ALREADY. The waiting. The anticipation). I think it's pretty cool that NEW classics are still being made, like Elf. Oh, alright......Okay, I'll admit that I loved Bad Santa and am so, so tempted to buy the DVD this year.

The Melodies
Of course, I love all the old classics. Again, where to begin? However, I really don't care for remakes and renditions, though. For example, I really prefer to hear The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole and Santa Baby? Only Eartha Kitt, please. My favorite classical is The Nutcracker Suite (the version with Andre Previn conducting the Royal Philharmonic version is simply breathtaking and one of the best I've ever come across). I'd put the Charlie Brown Christmas in "classical" category, too. If you like choirs, The American Boychoir is gorgeous, also. Again, I think it's cool that "new" classics are still being made by the likes of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Sarajevo-Christmas Eve and A Mad Russian's Christmas both give me chills).

The Commerce
I have pared my shopping list WAY down - I am buying for about 16 people now. I am debating whether to dice it down again - my cousin and I buy for each other's kids, but we only see each other maybe once a year and rarely around Christmas. We used to be really close when we were growing up, but as adults, we don't have much in common. I am tempted to suggest to him that we not exchange at all. Am I being Scroogy? Do YOU buy for your cousin's kids? Also, this year, I am attempting to do NO gift cards. Last year, I did almost exclusively gift cards, although I focused on locally-owned stores and tried to not include any chains. This year, I actually want to do a little hunting to see what I can find. My goal is one nice present and one small present for each person. X, per usual, is vehemently insisting he doesn't want anything. How Grinchy is THAT to not even want something for YOURSELF?

The Kid
Yes, having a kid helps with the Yuletide Groove. The way his eyes lit up when he first saw the tree in the living room? The way he pulls at the lights and pulls on the tree skirt? At least he's not chewing on the branches. Decorating hint for those with toddlers - put the tree up sans ornaments for a few days and let the little bugger get used to it first. Thank GOD, the novelty seems to be wearing off, so I will start decorating it tonight.

So, what gets you in the Mood?

November 28, 2006

Are we there yet?

2 more days of NaBloPoMo. Wow.

Regarding the San Francisco trip, I wish I could claim to be so cool and avant- garde as the post appeared to be. What really happened is this: X has been very frank that San Francisco is his dream city to live in. If he could drag my lily white ass there, he would. In a heartbeat. Therefore, when I go to SF, I am there with an Eagle Eye and hitting all the touristy spots is simply not going to cut it. This definitely spurred me to traipse through so many different parts of the city. So, what do I think of SF? I really like the area, but it doesn't feel like "home". Although, I've never been a California girl, so take that with a grain of salt. I will admit that if I were forced to live there, then it would have to be SF. I am so IN LOVE with the climate. Chilly? Damp? YUM. However, I'm still pushing for Boston, if X is going to force me to move - I've always felt at home in the New England states.

So, I had my 8 week pre-natal appointment today but I don't really feel like posting about it today. Maybe later. Yes, everything is okay. I had mentioned earlier this month that I was excited to discover several Real Life friends who are also pregnant. I just found out today that my friend M lost her baby over Thanksgiving. So, while I still feel puke-ish, tired, hormonal and stupidly weepy over holiday commercials and silly TV shows such as Brothers and Sisters, I am acutely aware of how fortunate I am to be feeling all of those things.

Don't take the good things in life for granted, folks.

November 27, 2006

Would you mind if I get specifically random?

All hail the Unordered List, the Roman god of Blogging.*

  • I meant to post about this after the Boston trip, when I discovered a nifty set of travel guides that I now swear by. Earlier this year, I had bought a Frommers for San Francisco, but then unloaded if after the trip. For the recent trip to SF, I decided to get something simpler and decided to get a guide from DK's Top 10 series since I had such good luck with the Boston version. This guide is awesome, folks and I highly recommend it. In particular, it is handy for those places that you are familiar with, but just need a little something extra. It is compact, easily stuffed into a bag and contains just about every map you would need, including municipal transportation. I've used the San Francisco and the Boston versions with great satisfaction. I will still buy Frommers for "new" spots, but this "quick n' dirty" travel guide is SO convenient, it's being added as a "must have" for future travels as well.
  • The first trip to SF, I found the Haight area by accident while driving around, but couldn't actually stop and look around. I knew that I MUST go there if I ever made it back to town. I took the bus to Masonic and Haight, then walked the length of Haight all the way to the Golden State Park. I loved Haight and I think what struck me the most was how much it reminded me of Lawrence, Kansas. In fact, as I wandered through a head shop (they always have the best incense, for obvious reasons), I saw the guy at the counter kind of eying me - he must have wondered why a tourist with a baby would enter a head shop. But in Lawrence, I go in head shops all the time looking for cool stuff, so I didn't even think twice of it. Anyway, walking through Haight was one of my favorite parts of the SF trip.
  • Another favorite part of my trip was walking from the marina district to the Union street shopping district - the shops there were really cool. I wasn't in the mood for buying, though and I regret that because it would have made for some nice Christmas gifts. Then, walking towards a busline on Van Ness, I happened upon the Haas-Lilienthal house (at Franklin and Washington). Only one other person was on the tour with me and since he knew the tour guide personally, the tour guide let us see parts of the house usually inaccessible to the general public. I love touring old houses anyway, but this tour really gave an insight into how life was in San Francisco a hundred yeas ago.
  • If you ever go to San Francisco and decide to do Chinatown, take it from me - yes, walk down Grant St first - it's pretty with beautiful decorations and such, but do NOT neglect to walk BACK down Stockton St (the street just west of Grant). That's the REAL Chinatown in my book. X and I were total minorities as we fought our way through a sea of Asians all buying their produce and meat that Saturday afternoon. In a word? Chaotic. Yeah, the smells did a number on my pregnant stomach but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.
  • Overall, this past trip was one of the simplest yet packing wise - I took the Eddie Bauer diaper backpack, a carry-on sized suitcuse, and the travel stroller (I threw a very SMALL bag in the suitcase for carrying diapers while actually out and about in SF because the backpack is too big for everyday carrying). Yep, that's IT. We didn't take a carseat this time because we rented one from the rental car agency. I was pretty nervous about doing this, but it ended up being great and made getting through the airport easy smeasy. I can't stress ENOUGH my packing mantra of "Less is More". I try to pack as little as possible - I didn't even take any sippy cups- we used straws where ever we went. Years of traveling and watching harried parent after harried parent schlep tons of crap with crying, cranky kids in tow SCARRED ME FOR LIFE. Since my hands are relatively free, they are available for doing things with Arun and keeping him entertained.
  • You know your eating habits have hit the crapper when you are stuffing the evidence from your last Meal of Shame in the wastebasket and covering it up so your beloved doesn't see the carnage. Even worse, if he knew that I had been handfeeding McDonald's cheeseburger to his precious prince.....shudder.......
  • Amazing Race: I am SO tired of the Bama Mamas. They greedily plan to yield the Blondies, but then cry foul when the Blondies yield THEM instead? Whatever.
  • Arun finally, FINALLY got his first cold. All these past posts of my crying wolf finally panned out. Ha! I think at one point I had convinced myself I was such a terrible mother because surely he had had a cold already and I just had not noticed. How stupid am I? Very, because there is no way you can NOT notice your kid has a cold when Masks of Mucus worthy of Jason are taking over his face.
  • Open Letter to all my Real Life friends: I hope you can find it in my heart that for the month of November I chose to entertain the masses rather than reply to all of your kind, thoughtful emails. Will bribery work? I've got a line out for the best ever peppermint bark.
  • Arun is definitely on his way to his first word. He repeats "Daddy" and "Bye-Bye" but doesn't really say them in context on his own, so I wouldn't count them yet. However, he knows what they mean. Particularly, "Bye-Bye" because wherever we are, he will head to the door to leave when I say those words - be it at home, my mom's house or even the hotel room. I can report that "Kitty" and "Elmo" are also in contention for First Word. Sadly, "Mama" is not.
  • Overall, this whole "receptive language" thing is fuh-reaky - meaning, the little stinker knows what we are saying. So, I can't even say the word "nurse" around him or he starts grabbing at my chest and I can't say the word "park" because he gets crazy excited. However, "Brush your teeth" is mighty convenient because he will immediately head up the stairs and to the bathroom when I say that. I wonder how long it will last before he realizes that brushing his teeth is supposed to be a CHORE.



*Known in Greek mythology as "Bullets".

November 26, 2006

Can this soul be saved?

Part 4 of a 4 part series where I examine the current status of my Eternal Soul. (Part 1 can be found here. Part 2 here and Part 3 here)

For sure, this Church Experiment has shown how quickly something can become a habit. I didn't go last week while in San Francisco, then Thanksgiving threw me off - Friday and Saturday left me thinking that I needed to go to church. I really need to start a Gym Experiment next!

I would be lying if I didn't admit that 1) Yes, it has been nice to go to church. I get a fuzzy feeling after I go and 2) Yes, I still find church rather boring. I still have one more month to figure out where church belongs in my life. Why bother, you might ask? Or rather, that would be ME doing the asking. Do I think Church has the bases covered on Moral and Ethics? Do I think I will find eternal salvation by going? No. Really, no. I've always questioned the validity of much that has been preached - it's the details that bother me. The Bible seems to be fully of pretty, pretty stories, but logically, it never made much sense to me. I've also always questioned the logic of "Jesus dying for my sins". I've never understood THAT and still don't. But still.....Jesus seems like he was a pretty good dude. Fairly friendly, pretty giving with all those miracles.

So, I wouldn't be surprised if I continue to go. And I only just realized that today. As usual, I put off going to church until 5:00 pm Mass and I didn't take Arun with me because it is a pain taking him. And honestly, I wasn't looking forward to going. But, shockingly,when I got there and sat down, I realized that I was glad to be there AND I wished I had brought Arun with me. It was weird to NOT be there with him. The majority of my religious and church experiences have been without my parents. I have spent a lifetime fumbling around on my own and I really don't want that for my kid. Sure, he may turn his back on it. And good grief, I hope he questions what he learns in Church. As a general rule, I never, EVER want my children to take ANYTHING on blind faith. I hope I raise them to always question and ponder.

I'll never forget when I heard someone speak of their conversion from Religion A to Religion B. This person was speaking of it and said "Religion A was not my belief, it was pushed on me by my parents. It was THEIR belief". This person has two children, who she is raising in Religion B, of course. It occurred to me that her own children could very well grow up someday and say those very things about HER. Of course, I don't think what she is doing is wrong, I just appreciated the irony of her actions compared to her statement. Because, of course, that's what EVERY parent does - show your children the way that makes most sense to you, right? And in the end, that's how it should be - give your child some sort of foundation and then hope for the best. That's really all you can do.

So, yeah. I might start going to Church regularly. It's not all bad.

In other news, the flossing is going GREAT. I've been flossing nearly every day and can't imagine NOT doing so now. Also, I missed that while in San Francisco.

November 25, 2006

?

I felt so much better today! Unfortunately, that meant I consumed THREE Red Hot Patio Burritos and TWO Double Decker Taco Bell tacos today in order to achieve some semblance of well-being. Meals of Utter Shame, yo. Furthermore, I "wasted" my day of well-being doing laundry and taking Arun to the park. Okay, it wasn't a waste, but it still doesn't lend itself to anything very interesting for post fodder. Bleh.

The only interesting thing that happened today is that for once, I took a stand towards Leavenworth Grandma. LONG story short, she left me a voicemail Friday night, breezily stating that her, my mom and Reclusive Aunt were going to come to my place on Dec. 9th. Hope that's okay, blah, blah, BLAH. Um, it was NOT okay. I haven't seen Reclusive Aunt in years despite the fact that for the past NINE years we have lived a mere 15 minutes apart. And now I am dealing with this morning sickness thing. I am not going to scamper around furiously cleaning my house for someone who hasn't bothered to see in years anyway. Normally, I would have just lied and made an excuse to Leavenworth Grandma by saying I already had plans that I couldn't get out of blah, blah.... However, instead I told the truth and said that I was simply not feeling up to having guests. That's it. End of story. And she actually took it pretty well

It was very refreshing to just tell the TRUTH instead of making up some convoluted white lie. I should try that more often, eh?

November 24, 2006

Why do we Thank God it's Friday? Shouldn't we thank him for Sunday?

Wow. I am totally scratching my head for post fodder.
Hmmm, I watched two episodes of Ugly Betty and they were damned good.
Even Studio 60 was good this week.
Veronica Mars is kicking ass this season.
The Wire. Why aren't you watching? Why doesn't anyone believe me when I say this is one of the best shows on television?
Um, today, we went to the park AND the grocery store.
Oh, and my dad's.
As in, I left the house and hung out amongst other humans. It was quite refreshing.
Arun got a haircut, thank god, because the Mushroom Cloud of Hair was going nuclear.
I ate a pizza AND a Red Hot Patio burrito today. And I drank TWO sodas. Why oh why do my babies always crave fast food? I'm trying not to stress over the damage being done to my arteries, but it is difficult.

Damn, ya'll. I don't have much to say because right now, my entire existence revolves around the delicate nature my stomach. And I use the term "delicate" very loosely since it ironically demands spicy salsa and Night of the Living Dead barbecue sauce from Oklahoma Joe's. Fortunately, my sister confirmed this evening that yes, it was just as bad with Arun which oddly, made me feel better. For some reason, I was starting to think that this is SO much worse than it was with Arun and it is comforting to know that yes, it IS in my head. Knowing that it is in my head and that maybe I can adjust my attitude is nice.

Okay, I give up. Here are pictures. Which demonstrate to full effect the serious nature of the Mushroom Cloud of Hair.

One Little Indian



November 23, 2006

Where's the turkey lovin'?

10 Things I Loved About This Thanksgiving

  1. That holy trifecta of turkey, stuffing, and gravy. I pity those families that try to go "different" do brisket or hams. Hello? There is no Thanksgiving Cow or Thanksgiving Pig. It's Tom for a good reason.
  2. My aunt J's weird cranberry, pecan, grape confection made with REAL whipped cream (like, with whipping cream and a hand mixer REAL whipped cream). This morning, I realized at the last minute that she wasn't coming today and almost cried because I could have made it myself.
  3. Average Jane's cranberry sauce recipe. OMIGOD, this thing is heaven and SO easy (literally, all you do is dump the ingredients in a pan and watch them simmer). I have to keep myself from eating half of it before the meal.
  4. The fact that my family rents a hall. When I was a kid, my grandma always hosted the holidays - she has 6 siblings so it was pretty crazy. Now that our family has grown exponentially, we can no longer all fit in one house. The solution is to rent a hall for Thanksgiving so that at least for one holiday, we are still all together.
  5. The fact that my family does some sort of "entertainment" activity. Last year, it was a talent show. This year was a White Elephant Bingo. Fun was had by all.
  6. Unlike Christmas, Thanksgiving is GIFTLESS. I love that we just get together, eat some good food and then head our separate ways. A holiday only about FOOD? I'm all over that.
  7. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Every year, I swear I am going to watch it all and every year I only catch a glimpse or two. But I still love it.
  8. The football games. I did not grow up in a Sports House. My dad LOATHES televised sports, so for me, I totally associate football games with holidays due to years of memories of watching all my great-uncles hightail it down to my grandma's family room to catch the games.
  9. The pies. I generally lean towards the fruit pies, but have gained an appreciation for pumpkin pie in my adulthood.
  10. Watching my kid have the TIME of his life. After a 30 minute warm-up period, he was going, going, G...O...N...E. He came to me once for a quick hug and a few bites, but then was quickly off again. I hardly saw him the entire time we were at the dinner.


November 22, 2006

So, what will it be?

Okay, your choice:

  1. More Tales from the Couch with scintillating details of unending nausea coupled with a todder desperately seeking attention.
  2. More Photos from the Trip


Photos? Good choice.

Fair and Balanced

Part of my Walking M.O. while Arun snoozed was to take breaks and sit on benches to read magazines. So, although I was walking long, LONG distances, it could only truthfully be called "meandering".

On Powell St., Crossing California St.



Wide-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed



Got Milk?

Yet another photo NO ONE has ever thunk up before because I? Am SO original.

Playdate, Doggy-Style

Leash is optional.

November 21, 2006

Where have I have been?

So, for a few weeks I complain about being tired, being queasy and general malais of that sort. The solution? Apparently, packing up my pregnant ass and the Dawdler to head out to San Francisco. Yes, after much whining about being so tired from lying around, I managed to find the energy to go to San Francisco and hike around "them thar hills". In truth, I can't recommend that someone pack a toddler up while pregnant in one's 1st trimester, then proceed to board an aircraft. Yes, I am glad I went on the trip - it was great to walk around and get lots of fresh air, but I was sick for most of the trip. And poor Arun did NOT sleep well in the hotel room. The downside of him being such a great traveler is that he gets SO excited, that he can't calm down enough to sleep. Other than the sleep issues at night, he did great. He was very excited to be out and about seeing things and even took great naps while in the stroller.

It felt sorta lame to post random posts while out of town - I wrote them ahead of time, then posted as the days went by. However, a friend of mine who is in the security biz highly recommend that I not announce out of town trips anymore like I used to, so I decided to follow her good advice. Still, it felt weird.

So, yet again, I toured much of San Francisco via foot, although I did add the element of "Bus" to my travels - There were some spots that were too far to walk to in my delicate condition, so I figured out the Muni system there. For example, I would take the bus to a destination, then walk back as a compromise. The clerks in the hotel were flabbergasted the day that I walked back from the Golden Gate Promenade all the way to Van Ness & Washingon. Furthermore, X and I walked from our hotel to Chinatown not once, but TWICE (we were staying at the Hotel Carlton on Sutter & Larkin). Um, for to those of you not familiar with San Francisco, those are some fucking LONG paths, not even considering the hills.

Anyway, we arrived Thursday night and by Sunday, I was helping other folks figure out their bus lines. Sunday afternoon, I was feeling mighty proud of myself after having helped someone yet again on their way. Then, Puffed with Pride, I boarded the bus that I myself was waiting for and promptly knocked an elderly Asian lady with the stroller whereupon she pronounced me to be Stupid!. Loudly. As in, the ENTIRE bus was now privy to the knowledge that I am, indeed, Stupid. I can't say I blamed her, either.

I will continue this post tomorrow, but for now I am going to throw out some pictures and call it a day. This morning, I called X and told him that I was too sick to blog. Yo! TOO SICK TO BLOG. X knew that I was serious and even brought lunch for me. Unfortunately, Feeding the Fetus requires double decker tacos with fire sauce from Taco Bell and X, showing his devout adoration for me, obliged. I can't believe that I am back to eating Taco Bell again. AND sharing it with my toddler.

A Gap store at the corner of Haight & Ashbury? Dude, that's just WRONG.

Haight & Cole. Another one for the Stroller Series.

Again, with the Stroller Series. View of Alcatraz from Pier 39 on Fisherman's Wharf.

Lunch on Columbus St.

Muir Beach, sunset. Because no one EVER takes a sunset picture. I'm SO original like that.

Golden Gate Promenade

Golden Gate Promenade

November 20, 2006

How high do you Haiku?

The haiku is one of my favorite written artforms. I can't say I am necessarily that good at it, but I do enjoy it. So screw it, that's what really counts, right?

This post is dedicated to Diana, who writes some of the best.


Sidewalk

Carefully I step
and gingerly I leap - Oops!
Broke my mother's back.

Fever
Swishing white trousers,
smooth moves on the dancing lights
it's Saturday Night.

Potato
Open the fridge door
to find a forgotten friend
with sharp, accusing eyes.

Favorite Book (as appeared in the online edition of USA Today)
Francie thirsts for truth
as the tree grows in Brooklyn
against all the odds.

Work
At work we toil
losing our souls gradually
to this place called Block.

Valentine
Glittering pink heart
dangles so tantalizing
from my cat's collar.

Wedding (written for my wedding invitations)
A chance encounter
sparks a special connection
to last a lifetime.

Pink
A sly low whistle
catches your attention as
your lover beckons.

March Madness 2003
Again, Hopes arrive
and yet again, they find me
crying in my beer.

Adoption (written for a friend who adopted from Russia)
A miracle waits
numerous oceans away
dreams are now fulfilled.

Grocery Store
Roaming the aisles
the Hunt for Healthy begins
goodbye, Keebler elf.

November 19, 2006

What would Jesus do?

Part 3 of a 4 part series where I examine the current status of my Eternal Soul. (Part 1 can be found here. Part 2 can be found here and Part 4 here.)

Psst! I have a confession. The main reason I don't go to Church very often is that I think it is boring.

One conclusion I have come to so far in this Soul Searching is that I have been incredibly lucky. Overall, my experiences with various religions and churches have been positive ones - I've never had truly horrific experiences, just occasional irritating experiences with individuals, but hell's bells that can easily happen outside of church, too. However, unfortunately, my experiences with church haven't been particularly fascinating, exciting, interesting, or thrilling. I also found Bible studies to be boring. I never understood the picking apart of text that had been transliterated AND translated several times over. I'd rather read a children's bible, quite frankly. At least they have pictures. Sadly, I even find the music these days to be uninspiring despite the best efforts of many churches to try appealing to the masses (Masses? GET IT? I'm too funny. Ha.) by offering up "contemporary" music. I'd rather have a good old-fashioned organ with hymns, thankyouverymuch. One Easter service a few years back they even served up what amounted to a New Orleans style jazz band which really turned me off. Bah.

So, there you have it. I primarily don't go to Church simply because it is boring. What a revelation, eh?

November 18, 2006

What's Love got to do with it?

6 years ago, X and I went on our first date. That is, after I confirmed with my buddy CG that X had indeed asked me out on a date. I quickly impressed X with my knowledge of a decent South Indian place (that has since gone even further south, and not in a good way) and we met for a nice dinner. We've been together ever since.

The years have had their ups and downs. His mother died at an early age from diabetes early on in our relationship. His company faced some major milestones, in-fighting, and settled a multi-million ludicrous lawsuit. As evidenced by yesterday's post, I job-hopped left and right. We each bought a house separately while single. Then we got married and bought a house together. And sold the other homes. We had a baby. And then, earlier this year X was diagnosed with diabetes. It's weird to even say that he has diabetes now because he is totally controlling his blood sugar with diet and exercise.

Frankly, I've never been prouder of him. Only once, only once, did he ask "Why me?". For someone who was so conscientious of his diet, save for the occasional dessert, it was a blow that he was diagnosed. However, like usual, X faced a bad situation straight on with quiet dignity. He faithfully goes to the gym and is in the best shape of his life. I tease him that it is ironic that he actually got hotter since we got married.

I don't know what the future holds for us. We live what could be perceived by many to be a risky life, but X has always wanted to be an entrepreneur and I would never discourage him from doing what he loves to do most.

So, while I don't know what the future holds, I do know this: Life really sucks sometimes, but it's sure as hell easier knowing you can completely and wholeheartedly trust the hand that's holding yours.

November 17, 2006

Would you like fries with that?

First, a public service announcement......Happy Birthday mom!

Lately, I've been getting calls and emails from headhunters to which I cackle with glee that no response is required. As such, I've been pondering Jobs Past and I thought it would be fun to list them all out.....

Cagey's Careers Past

The High School Years
  • McDonald's (over 1 year) - By and far, I am so grateful this was my first job. The owners of the McD's that I worked at were a McDonald's Family who lived and breathed the Yellow Arches. They kept a close eye on all their stores (they owned 3 when I worked for them, now they own at least 7). They had high standards and only hired managers that met those standards. In short, I worked my ASS off, learned how to treat customers and learned at an early age how to act somewhat professional. I couldn't have asked for a better First Job. It was fun working there, I made friends there, I even met my first serious boyfriend there.
  • Entertel (over 1 year) - A now defunct telemarketing firm. This job was great money for a high schooler and taught me how to work in a high-pressured environment. I also learned at an early age that I am not a salesperson. An important lesson that I would need to refer to later.
  • Packer Plastics (2 weeks) -This was a factory job. I stacked still-hot plastic cool whip bowls as they came straight off the assembly line. Another shift or two, I stuck UPC symbols on plastic cups as they came down an assembly line all while a Korean lady yelled at me to go faster!faster!faster! The Korean lady HAD to yell because it was so damned loud in there. I didn't last long at this job because I was scared to go to my car in the parking lot since there were men hanging out there catcalling EVERY TIME my shift ended. Still, I learned an important lesson - a university education was not to be taken for granted.
  • Checker's Grocery Store (1 month) - I was a checker at Checker's! This was a short-term job and I knew that going in because I was hoping for bigger and better things with the next job waiting in the wings. This was the most boring job I ever had. It also made me appreciate any and all people standing behind the counter. To this day, I always try to acknowledge people helping me in retail.

The Undergraduate Years

  • Sallie Mae (2 years) - I worked primarily in Collections, but did Customer Service work and loan Cures work as well. This was also a tough job. It was nervewracking to call people and there was a lot of problem solving skills needed for this job because often, people weren't supposed to be delinquent for various reasons (they were still in school, payments were misapplied, etc.) I had to learn how to think on my feet, explain complicated interest computations, all while keeping the customer calm. I also learned that it pays to BE NICE TO CUSTOMER SERVICE. Seriously, folks. I have all sorts of lovely stories of reps going out of their way over the years to help me. Why? Because I WAS NICE TO THEM. Also, only ask for a manager as a LAST RESORT. The manager is most probably going to take his employee's side. Speaking of customer service, this was my #1 complaint about Dish - if they would have been nicer to us, they wouldn't have lost us.
  • Random Department at KU (2 months) - I can't even remember specifically WHICH department I worked for! Yikes - old much? It was a small subset department of something bigger within the Psychology/Human Development department. Anyway, I had left Sallie Mae because I was working nearly 30 hours a week and it was stressful. I was going to college, but had no life outside of my classes and studying. I decided to get a job on campus. I got a student position in departmental office and OMIGOD, I worked for the administrative assistant FROM HELL. I think she was resentful because she knew my future prospects were far brighter than hers. She was so mean to me that I cried. Often.
  • Office of Student Financial Aid (2 years) - This was an awesome college job that was easily compatible with school - I had an awesome boss to boot. I also had the inside track on a lot of stuff because so much goes through that office. That definitely appealed to the Nancy Drew in me.

The Graduate School Years
  • Huxtable Construction (1 years) - When I finished undergrad and began grad school, I knew I needed to get a job that was more applicable to my major. I got a job in accounts payable with a subcontracting firm. Working in a primarily male operation was a GREAT training ground for public accounting and information systems positions I would later. I cringe now when I look back at all the inappropriate comments that were directed towards me. The other important lesson for was the realization that I really didn't enjoy accounting all that much.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, Financial Accounting at KU (1 semester) - I wasn't really a great teacher, but this was a fun gig - I loved interacting with the students. My favorite story was the one where I was talking to a student and commented how it was interesting that he got his name on a Dallas Cowboys hat. The guy looked at me coolly and said that it was really referring to his COUSIN who played for the Cowboys. I was like "um, yeah. whatever because I had NO CLUE about football". Years later, when I saw Troy Aikman on TV, I realized what the big deal was. In fact, the student and Troy were clearly related because they resembled each other. Yikes.
The So-Called Professional Years
  • DST (1 year) - The best part of this job is that I met Goofy Girl. Furthermore, this was the first job where I worked with the dude also known as Previous Owner, yep, the same guy I bought my current house from. Previous Owner also figures large in later jobs. Keep reading........
  • Coopers and Lybrand (9 months) - I moved to St. Louis for this job only to find out that the Kansas City C&L office had openings that the St. Louis asshole manager failed to tell me about. I was so homesick that I couldn't hack a year there. C&L wasn't bad, but the manager was.
  • Ernst and Young (2 years) - Previous Owner convinced me to come work for him which wasn't too difficult since I was SO homesick. Overall, my experience with public accounting was a typical one - I worked my ass off with no regrets. Hands down, public accounting is like bootcamp for your career and I am very glad I got the experience. I was thrown to the lions. Often. I had to travel to clients by myself and act like I knew what I was doing even when I was scared shitless. Good life skills, frankly.
  • IDmarket cum Empriva (1.5 year) - I realized I had nolong-term career potential in public accounting and decided to join an Internet startup as employee #7. Hands down, this was my favorite job EVER. I worked my ass off like never before and saw directly the effect that I could make. Furthermore, because of this job, I made some great friends such as CG and Me, who introduced me to Average Jane and Dorothy. Unfortunately, Empriva became another Dot.bomb when it all blew up. But I still have the friends to show for it. Oh, and a stock certificate worth less money than the paper it was printed on.
  • HR Block (2 years) - Deperate time equal desperate measures and you will find yourself selling your soul to make ends meet. Actually, this job wasn't that bad. I really liked the team I worked with and the first 2 busy season were pretty interesting. However, the busy season really got to me - I'm still suffering from a legacy from my first busy season. I injured my neck/shoulder while doing hours upon hours of frantic software testing and to this day, it still flairs up. Like, just the other night.
  • Federal Reserve Bank (nearly 2 years) - Lured by promises of 40 Hour Weeks by the Previous Owner, I went to work for him. Yes, again.What a joke. This place had travel, crazy hours and backstabbing group members. You literally could trust NO ONE. If yer gramma worked with ya, you couldn't trust HER. Seriously, it was so disheartening. I didn't realize how much it had dragged me down emotionally until I left. The one skill I really honed at this place was how to cry in a bathroom stall without ruining my eye makeup.

Obviously, my current gig is pretty damned good. The pay is low, but the bennies are awesome. I wouldn't have it any other way. I am not sure what I want to do next and am pondering that careful mix of Interests vs. Economic Viability. In the meantime, I'll enjoy my time answering the demands the Mini-Man.

November 16, 2006

Where's the Love?

For the month of November, I am designating every Thursday as "13 Things I Love Thursday". I stole the "13 Things" idea from Miss Zoot and then scammed the "Love Thursday" idea from Chookooloonks. Original is so YESTERDAY.

I love..........
  1. my step-mom! It's her birthday today, so I've been thinking about her. My step-mother is a total sweetheart. Even though it sucks that my parents divorced, if they hadn't, I wouldn't have my step-mom in my life. And that would have been a damned shame because she is truly one of the nicest, most honest persons I know.
  2. shopping mall play areas. They are totally FREE for me because I don't really like shopping and can easily resist the siren call of Commerce. Thank the Lord Above that Target doesn't have play areas because THAT would be a different story.
  3. the library. Again, with the FREE because it doesn't cost me a dime (other than property taxes, I guess) and Arun is easily entertained there.
  4. PetCo. For the price of a bag of catfood and kitty litter, we can easily get 45 minutes worth of Entertainment Mileage as Arun checks out the ferrets, birds, bunnies and fish. In fact, Arun has loved fish since he was pretty small and judging from the way he got so excited when I showed him the bettas, I suspect I will be killing yet another one in the near future.
  5. Hen House bakery. Our grocery store's bakery has this nifty concept called "samples". Ever since I started breastfeeding last year, I've developed a sweet tooth. Seriously, I have so much more sympathy for people that suffer from a sweet tooth-it's miserable. Anyway, I have found that if I peruse the bakery section, they give away samples. That is usually enough for me to resist the neverending temptation to purchase unneeded sweets. Thank GOD, because their cinnamon knots are to die for. No kidding, eat enough of 'em and you would probably be in some of imminent danger.
  6. magazines. Since I haven't been feeling well, I've had trouble concentrating on books (this happened last time when I was pregnant). I haven't really read a book in over a week now. However, I still have that insatiable need to read, and thankfully, magazines will suffice. I've been plowing through Royalty, National Geographic, Knit.1, Wondertime, Babytalk, US Weekly, People, and even a Redbook my grandma passed along. Well-rounded or just plain pathetic? Your pick.
  7. our new garage door opener. Filed under "You don't know what you've got til it's gone", our garage door opener went on the fritz several weeks back. Since they were original to the house and were always unreliable, we decided to put in new ones. Then, we had to wait for the installer to show up. Sure, having them isn't a necessity, but OH MY, having them is a luxury I'd rather not live without. Color me Spoiled, I don't care.
  8. Magnadoodles. Apparently, now is the time that Arun can start to practice scribbling. However, who in their right mind wants to let loose a Dawdler with pen and paper? I mean, I know I have my Crazy Moments, but I'm not that insane. Instead, I bought a small $10 travel Doodle and called it a day.
  9. Olathe city services. Not only do they provide recycling for the crazy price of like 2 bucks a month AND lawn refuse pick-up service EVERY Monday, last year they instituted a "smart cart" system and provided super cool wheeled trash carts for everyone. It's totally worth having that thing hog precious garage space just to be able to wheel one cart down to the curb.
  10. Mexican food. The beauty of being pregnant is that the fetus is calling all the shots. And the fetus is demanding tacos, yo.
  11. Border's. For the price of a magazine, we can play in the children's area for a good 45 minutes. Are you detecting a theme here?
  12. Ziploc sandwich bags. When I first had Arun, I lovingly and carefully placed all the baby accoutrements in the diaper bag in special pouches. The wipes had its own special container. Now? I throw everything in ziploc and haven't looked back.
  13. anything with wheels. Because anything with wheels makes my kid's DAY and good god, with the cold weather looming, I am desperate for entertainment ideas. Yesterday, as I dragged the garbage cart he bounced up and down while giggling with glee. I am afraid.

November 15, 2006

Who's crying now?

Me, that's who. After the night before last of zero sleep, I am still lagging. Couple that with days o' queasy and I'm feeling pretty punchy. But Don't Cry For Me Argentina because I am sorta glad I am sick since to me that signifies a healthy pregnancy or in truth an actual pregnancy. Yeah, it's all psychological, but if I wasn't queasy, I would be peeing on Arun's inheritance's worth of pregnancy sticks every day. Besides, either way my head's totally messing with me. So being sick? Definitely cheaper.

Anyway, it appears that Arun was really suffering from a Cold that Was Not - another false alarm. It appears what is really afflicting my boy is a Father Who Will Not Let Him Cry. Here's what happens - often between the witching hours of 10:30 and 11:30pm, Arun wakes up and cries. I usually let him cry for at least 15 minutes, then he goes back to sleep. X, kind hearted soul that he is, can't stand to hear his boy wail and promptly goes to pick him up when he is in town. Hilarity ensues. Except no one is laughing. What happens is that X is actually waking Arun up, but I can't convince X of this. So, night before last, in our sleep deprived fervor, we convinced ourselves that Arun must be sick. But yesterday, Arun was happy as a clam. Unfortunately, I canceled 2 playdates because of the Cold That Was Not, so now I am not only sleep deprived, but also adult deprived. Last night, X was out of town and Arun woke up at the usual appointed time, boo-hooed for 12 minutes then proceeded to sleep like a baby ALL NIGHT LONG . I wonder if Arun has figured out that when his daddy is home, he will get picked up and that when his daddy is NOT home, Mean Ole Mama will not pick him up, so it is not worth the wailing? I wonder.

So....I wanted to post about something last week, but I was upset about it and wanted to Mull a bit, first. So, now that I've Mulled, I'm ready to discuss. First, some background. It's concerning my sister and Younger Nephew. I should mention that my sister is a hyper-responsible parent. She had been scarred long ago by a friend who frequently shows up to social gatherings, then lets her kids run wild while she has a good time. It is up to the rest of the folks gathered to rein in her friend's kids. So, in light of that, my sister is the type to not ask for help in watching her kids when she is out and about. She's probably a little overboard, in that she should ask for help. So, last week, I had organized a playdate at a local park. Apparently, other playgroups had the same bright idea so the place with packed - at least 3 other groups where there. The play area is near several soccer fields that adjoin a running trail that meanders along a creek. At one point, my sister had to change Only Niece's diaper. In those moments my sister was preoccupied, Younger Nephew disappears. Our group was gathered on the side of the playarea that did not have a view of the soccer fields. We went to that side, but couldn't see anything. By a small miracle, my friend A noticed a speck of orange that was Younger Nephew running towards the running trail and creek. My sister ran off towards him, which of course made him run faster. This is important to my Rant: It took her a minute or so to reach him. Let me repeat that: It took her a minute or so to reach him. It was that far away, folks. What upsets me is this - I find it hard to believe that not one single mother on that side of the play area noticed a little boy running across not one, but TWO soccer fields. Of COURSE, it is my sister's responsibility to look after her children, so I am not blaming the other mothers but what happened to all this "it takes a village" crapola? If I saw a little boy running across two soccer fields, for DAMNED SURE, I'd start canvassing the play area to let people know. The whole event left me shaken in so many ways - those moments when we couldn't find my nephew AND the realization that an entire group of mothers didn't give a flying fuck that a little boy was running away.

Again, I wonder.

November 14, 2006

Am I bugging you?

It appears Arun may have his first cold. Ever.

Over the past year, I've mentioned here and there that Arun has never really been sick, no colds or anything of that sort. While it may appear that I am bragging, what is actually happening is that I am expressing my sheer fascination with the whole "breastfeeding/immunity" thing. Indeed, whether my child gets a cold or not has absolutely nothing to do with my prowess as a mother - a fact of which I am fully cognizant. Instead, this extreme interest in my kid's immunity stems from my lifelong love of science. In grade school, we would always have those special assemblies where scientists would come in and do cool slide shows on their travels to places like Africa and South America where they studied some tropical beetle. I was the geeky one with stringy hair and Coke-bottled eyeglasses on the edge of her seat with excitement. In high school, we were only required to get 3 credits of science - I got all 5 available and was a member of the Science Club (don't mock me on that alone - I was a cheerleader, athlete, bandmember, and Knowledge Bowl contestant. Now, you can point and laugh at will.) Anyway, I went into college thinking I would do some sort of engineering, but frankly, chemistry KICKED MY ASS. I loved my biology class and lab, though. As in, "actually looked forward to class" LOVED it. When the semester ended, I realized with a sick heart that it would my LAST biology class ever. I remember looking at that easily earned "A" and thinking. Hard. I suspect the problem at the time was that I had no clue what a biology major would do career-wise. Now that I am older, I would have canvassed some professors or GTAs, but I was just a kid wandering a large state university on my own. So, I told myself that biology could always be a hobby, then proceeded to enroll in business classes for the next semester. I don't really have regrets, but I do wonder what would have happened if I had pursued a career in something I truly loved. In the meantime, I try to watch the Discovery channel when possible, subscribe to National Geographic and enjoy an occasional cheesy Hollywood flick (think Outbreak - corny as all get out, but I LOVED that movie.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah. The Kid...... So, it appears he may actually have a cold and good God, he's actually COUGHING. I think he may have gotten the cold from his Uncle A. Our friend A was in town from Boston over the weekend and there is a mutual adoration between Arun and his Uncle A. I've mentioned before that A is an awesome Indian Uncle and I'll even admit that it's pretty handy when he is in town because it's like there is a 3rd set of hands to help out X and I. So, after a weekend of hanging out with A, it appears Arun has a cold. And finally, this probably makes sense.

The cool thing about breastfeeding is that when I am exposed to a pathogen, my body immediately starts producing anti-bodies. Arun, of course, gets those anti-bodies. This is why, despite the fact that we have been all over the country on various airplanes, despite the fact that X himself is on a plane nearly every week, despite the fact that we attend playgroups, despite the fact I absolutely refused to buy the shopping cart condom, and despite the fact that X and I have had several colds ourselves, Arun has yet to catch one. In most cases, the germs that Arun is exposed to are also germs that I am exposed to so he gets immunity from me before it wallops his system. This is precisely why when a mother breastfeeds and sends her kid to daycare, colds still slip through the breastfeeding cracks - her child is exposed to stuff that she herself was not exposed to. Folks, I am not judging or making some grandiose Worldwide Breastfeeding Organization type of statement - just 'splaining (i.e. I was a Formula-fed kid myself and I came out just fine. At least I think so.) Anyway, I've seen lots of mothers express dismay that they are breastfeeding, but then they still see their kids gets colds - and that is usually why. BOTH parties have to be exposed. Still, a nursing mother sending her kid to daycare shoudn't throw out her breastpump, because she's still decreasing the amount of sickness her kid will get.

So, as much as I adore our friend A, it's only in a "brotherly" sort of fashion..ahem... and that's why it appears Arun finally caught a cold. Now, of course, I am waiting to get the cold from him.

And so it begins.

November 13, 2006

Where do I find the time?

T..........i............r............e...........d

It's a common early pregnancy symptom to be tired. So I feel like a total wuss even complaining about it. But that's not going to stop me. Hell no.

It's not the exhaustion that is dragging me down, it's the fact that my ass is parked on the couch or bed as soon as Arun goes down for a nap or the night. Since my ass is Permanently Parked, it means it's not getting anything done. A solid week of not getting anything done is starting to affect my mental health. Logically speaking, I have nothing to gripe about, so I hate being what I would perceive to be ungrateful. But damn. I have been feeling totally flat the past few days and it is really digging at me emotionally. Who knew that a toddler and an embryo could join forces just so? Between the two of them, I feel as if I am barely skating by these days.

So, this morning, I was frantically thinking of what I could possibly post about because quite frankly, not much exciting happened on the couch. Then, I read Mother in Chief 's excellent post on "choices" and it struck home with me. I like that she took ownership of the fact that "not getting things done" is often a choice rather than a Victim of Circumstance. While I am the first to admit the perks of staying home have afforded me far more free time than if I worked in an office, it also came down to conscious choices on my part regarding which interests would retain priority. I did give up some interests in lieu of others - raku (pottery) was one of them. Unfortunately, keeping up with some of my friends was another choice I had to ponder. I am so behind on emails, that I'm not sure where to begin with them. I'm still not sure how I feel about the fact that time with my friends invariably gets pushed low on the social totem pole.

Until recently, I was riding high, getting things done, keeping up with my interests that held the most importance for me. I've had more than one person ask me how I manage to do it - just last week, I had another blogger ask me how I was managing to keep up with NaBloPoMo. I wasn't sure how to answer, so I made a crack about tethering Arun to the coffeetable. The truth is, I thought hard about NaBloPoMo and decided it would be worth it to devote some extra time to it. I haven't made much progress on my knitting projects and have only finished one book so far this month. And yeah, so far this month, Arun probably has had more "unstructured" play time than usual, but I don't think that is harmful and he certainly doesn't seem unhappy right now as he is gleefully walking around with a cat toy in hand while I hammer this out. Although, I can't speak for the cat.

AnyWAY, an entire week of lounging on the couch during my Free Time has brought me down. Yes, I'll admit it. But, after reading Mother in Chief's post, I've decided to look at it differently. From now on, I'll try to see lying on couch as a "choice" and perhaps that'll help raise my spirits. Maybe.

November 12, 2006

What if God was one of us?

Part 2 of a 4 part series where I examine the current status of my Eternal Soul. (Part 1 can be found here Part 3 here and Part 4 here.)

Over the years, I've seen various people in my life turn to religion, then relinquish control over their own lives saying that "God will provide". Indeed, contrary to most new zealots claiming that "God made them stronger" what I saw made them weaker and in some cases, they lost the desire to fight because "God was in charge". It's these sorts of actions that have made me cringe and resist organized religion - meaning, I believe in God, just maybe not some of the details that organized religion tries to impart on the masses. I've always maintained that what God really wants is for us to just get off our lazy asses and help ourselves. I've never believed that God is Upstairs taking notes on who wants to pass which test. Never. I've always used my prayer time to thank Him for things or maybe ask for strength when facing difficult situations, but I don't ask for specific things like good grades, jobs, new cars or hell, even ANSWERS. I'm a huge believer in that little concept known as "free will".

While I am not 100% sold on going to back Church come 2007, I will admit that it has been nice to take time out on Sundays to just be thankful. However, I haven't asked him for anything specific because he already gave me the tools in which to obtain what I want. It's up to me to get off my lazy ass and get to work. Although, I'll admit that might be considered a miracle in and of itself because my ass these days? Is DRAGGING.

November 11, 2006

Great Balls of Fire, what is WRONG with me?

I have prematurely aged myself.

In the car last night, X and I were discussing something and I mentioned that I was 36 and half years old. He was all "No, you're not!" and I was all "Yes, I am!" until he pointed out that I was born in 1971, which would indeed mean I am not 36.

Instead, it appears I am 35.

What the HELL is wrong with me, Internet? Why would I do that to myself? I have been telling people I am 36. Even my doctor. I expressed concern to my doctor that I would be 37 when New Kid is born. GOOD GOD. Just the other day, a friend expressed surprise when I said I was 36 because she said I seemed younger. Perhaps, because I am younger?

On the one hand, it's not a picnic growing older, but I steadfastly maintain that I want to grow older. A Dirt Nap Alternative isn't nearly as appealing as getting wrinkles and saggy boobs. I draw the line at my ass, though. No droopy butt, please.

While I am getting all geezerly-like on you, I have to say that I am having a greater appreciation for what the Stars go through in Hollywood since having gotten HDTV. It's crazy what Hollywood has been hiding from us all these years via softfocus and perfected stage makeup. HDTV must be making some stars rend their Juicy Couture because it's amazing how many YOUNG stars have wrinkles and lines when viewed via HDTV (Ali Larter from Heroes comes to mind). Most interestingly, many, many young GUYS are already getting crinkled and HDTV is NOT their Best Bud even now. Perhaps, because women tend to be more conscious of sun exposure? Anyway, it doesn't really bother me and actually, it is one of the reasons why I enjoy the show Brothers and Sisters so much. It freely shows Sally Field, Ron Rifkin, and Patricia Wettig in all their Craggedly Glory. It lends a more realistic touch. The show is borderline cheese week after week after week, but Field, Rifkin and Wettig manage to keep it real. I would argue that seeing Vanessa Williams' endless web of lines on the show Ugly Betty helps her Wilhelmina character from becoming too comical. While Wilhelmina is eVIL, you can't help but have a teeny bit of sympathy because you know and most importanly, SHE knows those lines bother her to no end.

I wonder if HDTV is going to heighten the fervor for plastic surgery even further? I'd like to hope that HDTV will allow the viewing public AND Hollywood to become more accepting of REAL facial features, but I am not optimistic.

November 10, 2006

Who's the boss?

I have to admit, my days sorta blend together now and Fridays have lost all of their former punch on my psyche. But that's okay.

Arun is doing well, thank goodness and is back to his former cheeky self. I am still getting queasy around lunchtime, but that's okay. I have this weird thing where I'm almost relieved that I am getting sick because I started getting sick the exact same DAY as when I was pregnant with Arun and since THAT went so well, I want this to go the EXACT same way because of COURSE both pregnancies have to be the SAME just as BOTH babies have to be the SAME which means, I have everything all figured OUT and all the ANSWERS.

Right?

I think that is going to be the hardest with New Kid. With Arun, I was fully aware that I didn't know jackshit, but with New Kid, it's hard to resist the False Bravado that prior knowledge confers upon oneself. Like the co-sleeping. I've already got it planned that New Kid will sleep with me, which means I'll probably end up with a kid who WANTS to sleep in a crib. Which will suck, because Arun is already in there. New Kid might have to learn how to wait his turn. But, say you? Don't you have plenty of bedrooms? Well...... We do. Sorta. X's office is also the "cat box" room. My office is the spare bedroom. We NEED a spare bedroom and no way in hell am I moving the cat boxes around. The cats have been absolute ANGELS. I almost got teary-eyed yesterday when Arun was rubbing his head on Vanessa while she made those adorable Happy Cat noises....Brrrupp....Brrruppp.... I foresee a nice friendship there because Arun is already clued into the fact that if he is gentle, Vanessa doesn't run away. And Harry is SO patient when Arun tries to maul him - even when Harry is eating. And I have to constantly boot Pearson out of Arun's crib so Arun can go to sleep. Why mess with a good thing? Besides, Arun's room is almost as large as OUR room, so I am thinking New Kid and Arun can just share.

And pacificers - I'm not even going to try those this time because Arun didn't like 'em, so NewKid won't either, right? And I am going to carry New Kid everywhere like I did Arun because New Kid will love the Bjorn just as much as Arun, right? And I might as well put the bottles away forever because New Kid won't like those since Arun didn't either, right?

In short, New Kid better not even think about switchin' up the game on me because I've got plans.

Right?


BFFs



Big Drip

November 9, 2006

Where's the Love?

For the month of November, I am designating every Thursday as "13 Things I Love Thursday". I stole the "13 Things" idea from Miss Zoot and then scammed the "Love Thursday" idea from Chookooloonks.

You'll notice a lot of food products in this edition. I've been hungry lately and well......

I Love.......

  1. the 4th season of The Wire, on HBO. Wow. This season has been blowing me away. It's hit all the right notes, hinted at all the right nuances. Wow. If you've never seen the Wire, it's best viewed on DVD anyway. Critics aren't calling it "landmark" television for nothing.

  2. ibuprofen. Diana was right. Arun took an AMAZING nap yesterday and woke up chirpy and ready to take on the cats again. We ended up having a really nice evening, walking around the neighborhood and hanging out in the backyard.

  3. Archer Farm Monterey Pepper Jack cheese. OMIGOD. This is the best pepper jack cheese EVER. I never cared much for Kraft's version anyway and recently discovered the Archer Farm version. I think the difference is that they use red peppers in addition to jalapenos, which lends itself to a hint of sweetness.

  4. Mott's line of "No Sugar Added" applesauces. I bought these for Arun trying to tempt his palate, but found myself finishing off the cup by myself, then having to open another one for him. The flavors are pretty good, too - apple, berry, peach medley. (Rancid Tangent: I am increasingly getting furious at the food producers marketing "kid-friendly" foods that have High Fructose Corn Syrup in them. To feed your child healthy foods these days requires a careful reading of ALL food product labels. And OF COURSE, Arun LOVES to sit in the cart and watch me scour food labels. Not.)

  5. Sandra Boynton, children's author extraordinnaire. I have loaded up Arun's nighttime reading list with her stuff, such as Dinosaur's Binkit, Pajama Time and The Going to Bed Book. While I was tired of Goodnight Moon before I had even made it through the checkout line while purchasing it, I am still not weary of the Boynton books. The woman is a genius.

  6. nuts. Git yer head outta the gutter. I'm talkin' food. My favorite nut if you don't count sunflower seeds because they aren't technically nuts is the hazelnut (Side Note: I only just found out a few years ago that the hazelnut and filbert are the SAME nut. I felt really stupid when I discovered that. So for years, I would say the filbert was my favorite nut, but the hazelnut was my favorite nut flavoring. Because I'm an idiot. ). Every Christmas Season, my dad purchases a big bag of mixed nuts, whole in the shell. It's something I've continued to do myself. It's doubtful Arun will get many fresh-baked pans of holiday cookies, but he will get NUTS. Furthermore, it is awesome that Arun is old enough now where he can partake with us. Thus far, he's really digging the pistachios. (Note to Mommy Patrol: rest assured, we give him teeny pieces, not whole ones). The last few months have been stressful because I had no idea how many nuts X and I consume until we had a Dawdler hanging on to our every bite, wistfully gazing at the treat in which he couldn't partake.

  7. Izze sparkling juice. I LOVE carbonated beverages - water, pop, juices. Izze is awesome because it's just juice and sparkling water, no added sugar or anything other crapola. I first discovered Izze at Target and it was pretty expensive, so I would very carefully save them as "special treats". Then Costco started carrying them and I was in Heaven because they were reasonably priced there. Now, Costco isn't carrying them any longer. sob.

  8. Wondertime magazine. This magazine is a great read for parents - it's not about your typical parenting topics, like discipline, childcare, and nutrition. It's more about exploring the world with your child andf un ways for learning - new ideas for interesting activities, new approaches for the "same old/same old". Last summer, I purchased just about every magazine out there - Child, Parent, Parenting, etc. and frankly, they all made my heartrate go up except this one, Mothering magazine and Babytalk.

  9. watching Arun figure stuff out. His little caterpillar brows furrowing in concentration. His eyes growing wide with the "Aha!" moment when he figures it out. The slow smile that spreads across his face.

  10. my Badger Sleep Balm. I put some on my lips most nights and then curl up in bed to nice dreams. Bliss.

  11. cheesy crime procedurals on television. Until recently, I only watched CSI: Original Recipe, but this season I picked up Shark. Hee-larious! Every crime procedural cracks me up because whatever the group that is the focus, does MOST the detective work. In Shark, it's the DA's office of attornies. In CSI, it's the CSI dudes. You might see a bit of the actual PO-lice doing the work, but it kills me seeing a LAWYER out in the field, solving crimes. Shark is particularly yummy because it's almost as if James Woods realizes how ridiculous the premise of the show must appear, but he is still having fun with it. And so am I.

  12. Duraflame logs. Although, I've had a one bad experience with them, in their defense, it was my fault (note all comments were swiped when I deleted Haloscan). I haven't gotten to light one up yet this season, I can't wait.

  13. our old crappy, cheap PC laptop with the faulty spacebar and jiggly-like screen. Participating in NaBloPoMo would have been pretty stressful had I not started using this laptop. I used to complain about it because it is hard to type and seriously, the screen is all wiggly-like and LOOSE. But, because it is a laptop withWiFi, I can use it throughout the house and am not tied to my office. And that goes a long way when you are trying to entertain a Dawdler AND do daily posts at the same time. I can tether him to the coffeetable for only so long before he starts to mount a rising protest.


November 8, 2006

Why do I curse myself like this?

Today is your lucky day, Innernets. Special Bonus NaBloPoMo Bulletin, heading your way.

Arun had a fever this morning of 102 - I believe it to be his first ever fever, either that or I am the stupidest mother alive who just happened to notice what "burning up" feels like on their 12 month old Dawdler's forehead for the VERY first time EVER. It's possible. Anyway, thank the Lord on High (or the Nefarious Phamaceutical Companies. Your pick) for ibuprofen because the fever went down very quickly. He is still crabby as hell, though. Poor kid.

Speaking of crabby, I am feeling queasy. Cool, eh?

Today is shaping out to be the longest day EVER and there is no relief coming, either since X is in Virginia. I can't believe it isn't even quite NOON yet. Although, the thought of lunch wasn't that appealing anyway because it was going to be leftover turkey chili.

Apparently, I will need to rethink that.

Has the world gone mad?

Wow. More Blogger Bashing. Gee whiz. It's one thing to disagree with what a blogger has said - I did so myself last week. However, some of the flamewars going on have gotten personal and even downright dirty. Can't we all just get along for ONE month? Where's the NaBloPoMo Spirit, people?

Okay. The past few days have been rough. Apparently, Arun is teething, as evidenced by the fact that at the end of our last two playdates, he has ended up in my arms with his head on my shoulders. You know your Dawdler isn't feeling well when he doesn't even want to PLAY. Considering how I didn't even know his last 4 teeth were coming in until I could see and/or feel them, I guess I have been pretty lucky. Yeah, he was a little cranky with those other teeth, but these teeth? Are totally kicking his diapered bootie. I feel so sorry for him. At least, I am feeling okay so far, because that would be really tough if I had morning sickness already. However, I am constantly starving. It's like I can't eat enough, which seems to be an odd early pregnancy symptom, if you ask me. I have gained 2 pounds since I came up pregnant. WTF?

So. Anyone surprised that Britany and KFed are Splitsville? The whole thing is just sad. Yes, they made a great punchline, but damn, their youngest kid isn't even 2 months old. It is grimly UNsatisfying to see something crash and burn so spectacularly when 2 years ago you could predict this very scenario. It's not nearly as much fun when you see it coming. Same goes for Reese and Ryan - that's been coming down the pike for a few years now, too.

Awww. Quick Cute Kid Story: Yesterday at the park, one of my friends alerted me to what appeared to be a Mauling. Instead, it was Older Nephew giving Arun a big ole bear hug. At the park, surrounded by other kids. Even though Older Nephew is 5 years old, an age where boys start to become aware of PDAs. Come on, isn't that sweet?

Ahem. In the last 24 hours, I have found out about not one, but TWO real life friends who are gestating with due dates within a few weeks of me. ROCK ON. Very exciting stuff. So far, I have the best shot of the 7/7/7 birthdate, though. Because it's a contest, of course.

Bababababa. I voted yesterday. It was a no brainer - the polling place was a reasonable walking distance and fortunately, voting counts as Dawdler Entertainment. The place echoed, too which provided for perfect acoustics as Arun practiced various consonants with a few vowels thrown in for affect. We were SO popular, I tell ya. I do wonder, what's the big dealio about computerized voting? Are people really that disturbed by it? We've had the computers here for a long time and I prefer them. Also, am I the only who doesn't know what the fuck to do about all the judicial voting? I don't know anything about them, so I always vote "No" in the lame attempt they will see some "No" votes and wonder why someone dissed them. Maybe they will ponder some bad choices they made because OMIGOD, there are some really crappy judges out there, folks.

Groan. Under no circumstances, NO CIRCUMSTANCES, is it social acceptable to use the word "Hopefully" when pondering the potential gender of pregnant woman's progeny. How about "Hopefully, you'll have a healthy baby!" I am more than slightly horrified at the number of people who already are rooting for a girl. It's RUDE, people. I always thought it was trite when pregnant gals would say "I just hope it's healthy!", then found out that yes, it is true. I'd equally love to have a boy as I would a girl. No shit. Also, I'll admit in my case it helps to have Only Niece, thus ensuring my Teenage Girl Detectives Empire (Dana Girls, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Kay Tracey) will stay in the family.

Yikes. I've been using a PC this month (our old laptop with a malfunctioning space bar). With the Mac, I have to handcode all the HTML around here because Blogger doesn't support Safari very well. But I don't mind which is clear by the fact that I just realized TODAY that I could be "highlighting/pressing a button" to do simple things like bolding. I've been handcoding this whole time. I have to admit, I sorta like handcoding it.

Sigh. I have to admit something. NaBloPoMo is starting to bury me alive. It's not the posting, it's the READING. My Bloglines account is smoking hot ALL THE TIME and that's not even counting all the new folks I am adding from new comments here, visiting the NaBloPoMo page AND the Randomizer. I am behind on everything - my house projects goal, my reading, my emails, my tv viewing, my knitting. And Arun is tired of being tethered to coffeetable. He'd like his mama back. Okay, maybe an exaggeration, but damn. So, could you guys stop being interesting for a few days while I catch up on my Life? Tell me what you had for lunch. Thanks. Appreciate it.


I love this one because he was nonchalantly lounging by the step in his pajamas, then he started looking up at X. I also love how the morning light is streaming in. Arun LOVES this step, BTW. It has provided so much entertainment and there is still more to come when he learns how to take flying leaps off of it. I suspect Older Nephew, who has perfected the Art of the Flying Leap, will be MORE than willing to show him how.


I love this picture because of his eyes. Enough said.

November 7, 2006

Who can it be now?

Um, yeah. The Conception of Arun was such a different story. TCoA involved careful calculation of moon phases, detailed charting of mentrual cycles, careful peeing on ovulation sticks, a dance honoring kokopelli was performed and I think I remember seeing a shaman doing a rain dance whilst sprinkling pixie dust in the midst when we actually Did the Deed.

Um, yeah. Baby v2.0? This time, we had a tricky little Indian arriving from lands afar bearing a Bounty of Gold, a little demi-desi conked out on sugar in his crib after celebrating his 1st birthday with a big piece of basbousa and most importantly, a White girl who forgets to update her Costco shopping list with Appropriate and Very Necessary Precautionary Measures. Ahem.

Um, yeah. So, we weren't Trying, but we weren't exactly Not Trying. I can't even claim an unintentional foul in the name of Alcohol (although, I can point an accusatory finger in the direction of Faulty Arithmetic.) Regardless, we ARE very happy and excited - we always wanted 2 children, so our family will be complete. My due date is July 10 and of course, I am hoping fervently for a 7/7/07 birth because how COOL would that be?

Um, yeah. So I'm pregnant! Squee! Now I can start a pregnancy journal here, right? NO. You can rest assured that I will still be doing other things besides bakin' a baby. Like knitting. And course, you'll want to know the precise status of the current hat I'm working on.

Um, yeah. This time around is so different in many ways. Like, last time I worried about the cats and how they would take a new baby. Now, I worry about Arun. However, I still worry about someone peeing in the crib, so at least that didn't change.

Um, yeah. I am worried about being pregnant and running after a toddler who is picking up his pace quickly - his Dawdler days are numbered. At least this time around, the Not So Supervisor isn't at the helm of my daytime existence. Damned straight, the Regime of Arun is by far, a kinder, gentler one than that of the Not So Supervisor.

Um, yeah. I am worried about having a newborn AND having a toddler. Wait. I don't want to think about that one just yet, so I'm going to have to pull a Scarlett O'Hara on you.

Um, yeah. I debated whether I should wait til the 12 week mark before announcing it - I guess because I am afraid of alerting the Gods of Fortune who might realize they made a collassal mistake "Whoa. WRONG couple. Do over. Sorry 'bout that." Basically, if I learned nothing from my last pregnancy is that unfortunately, the holy 12 week mark doesn't mean much because you basically worry the WHOLE WAY THROUGH. And even then, the Worrying doesn't really let up much- you just worry about different shit. In the end, I realized that if we get Crummy News, I may want to write about it because like duh, I'll be down in the dumps and it is cathartic to write. Then, it occurred to me that if I was willing to share Crummy News, then I should be more than willing to share Really Awesome News, right?

Right.

November 6, 2006

Need I say anything more?

Beware of tricky little Indians arriving from lands unknown bearing a Bounty of Gold.

November 5, 2006

Are you there God? It's me, Cagey.

Part 1 of a 4 part series where I examine the current status of my Eternal Soul. (Part 2 can be found here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here.)

Awhile back I decided to go to church every Sunday through New Year's Day, a Mass I've always loved because it's a nice way to start the year. It's more of a social experiment with myself, than anything else. I've been having a maj0r crisis of faith - not in God, but more in organized religion. I believe in God, I am just not sure about the nitty gritty details. By making a commitment to go to church for the next few months, I am hoping to see if it makes a difference. Maybe I will end up enjoying it? Maybe not? Maybe I won't see ANY differences. I also made a commitment to floss my teeth everyday. Not related, but in the same vein.

My relationship with God and religion has taken a path akin to a spider web. An OLD, abandoned spider web, the sort you find in the autumn where it's apparent the spider has crawled off to die. The paths tend to go a in a circle, tracing the same paths, ending up nowhere in some cases. Over the years, I have attended a variety of religious services for a myriad of reasons with friends and family - Methodist, Presbyterian, Jehovah's Witness, Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopal, Baptist, Southern Baptist, Assembly of God and so many evangelical, "free-for-all" churches than I can't even count. And then in my undergrad years, there was what I call my Islam Epoch.

I am now Catholic. I "signed up" in my late 20s before I had even met X. Then, when I met X, a nice born n' bred Catholic boy from India, everything fell into place. Decidedly, we are Catholic and I doubt we would ever join another type of church.

My own family is a mix - we have no particular religion. My father's dad was Jehovah's Witness (recent generations) and my father's mom was Baptist (recent generations). I am not sure what my mom's family was. So, for me, religion has always been a blank slate.

I learned about God from a babysitter at the age of 5. My mom is not religious and my dad was going through a major crisis himself with God after having gotten back from the Vietnam war. In 1st grade, I desperately wanted to go to church with my friends. My mom had to talk my dad into it, but she did. My friends would pick me up and take me with them - I don't remember the demonination of the church, oddly enough. In 2nd and 3rd grade, we lived in town and then I would walk to church by myself .

In 4th grade, my dad started to go through some major soul-searching and began attending the Episcopal church. He started taking my sister and I to church with him on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes, my mom would come with us, but she wasn't really enamoured of the whole thing. By 6th grade, my parents were divorcing and my dad continued going to church. We would attend with him on "his weekends". He continued going to the Episcopal church, but also started attending an evangelical church. A grass-roots church that began in Lawrence as a group of students getting together as a bible study. Like many born-again Christians, my dad became very zealous about religion. He has mellowed out now, but there was a period where he "lived and breathed" All Things Christ. I also went through a period in high school where I really "got into" church.

Then, I went to college. Where things got radical. In my freshman year, I started dating a Pakistani. A Pakistani who had had a pretty western upbringing, had not grown up in Pakistan and was not religious. I, however, became very interested in his religion and absorbed everything I could that was Islam for the next 4 years. I can see now, that from a cultural perspective, it was fun meeting people from all the world and as a bonus, I loved learning the classical Arabic for prayers. However, now it is hard for me to write about this period of my life. Most kids explore a bit when they go to college, just not like this. It's not something I regret and if anything, it kept me out of trouble. Most muslims are just honest, God-fearing people trying to take care of their families. Furthermore, considering the climate we live in today, I am grateful for my in-depth, hands-on knowledge that I have of muslims and of Islam. For sure, I have a unique perspective when attempting to sift through all the ignorant crap out there that the media tries to shove in our faces. However, for many reasons that I am not going to get into here, I chose to turn away from Islam in my mid 20s. And then, I went exploring again.

I had always felt comfortable in the Episcopal and Catholic churches. In my late 20s, after careful deliberation between the two and conversations with my dad, I decided to convert to Catholicism and went through the Adult Rites of Initiation. One thing I find most interesting is that when I became a Catholic, Olathe Grandma started passing along family heirlooms that were Catholic. It turns out, long, long ago, some of our family was originally Catholic, but was sorta kept a secret for reasons I can only fathom.

So, that's where I am today. I have more about this, but will use the rest of the Sundays in November to ponder.