December 27, 2006

Good Grief, am I over myself yet??

Hey!!!! Look at that!!!!! Exclamation marks!!! Which!Can!Only!Mean!One!Thing!

Look out, Innernets, happy thoughts, comin' your way.............

This morning, as I was chugging my coffee and scrumptious, authentic, "rolled on the baker's kitchen floor" povitica this morning, I realized - hey, I didn't automatically reach for a Patio Burrito right after rolling out of bed. Could it be the nausea is moving on? Could it be that all I need to conquer now is this nasty cold? COULD IT BE?

This morning, we heard NewKid's heartbeat for the first time - 156 BPM, which is AWESOME. A good, strong heartbeat is so reassuring to hear this early. To boot, I had actually LOST a few pounds since my last appointment, but my pants are still getting so tight, I'm going to need to unearth my maternity pants fairly soon (since I thought Arun was my only pregnancy, the pants were earmarked for charity, but I think I still have them. I hope. Gulp). Anyway, it's great that I am gaining weight where it NEEDS to be gained, at least. Um, I did mention I am pregnant, right?

This morning, as I read blog after blog featuring pictures of kid's toys in horrific proportions, I'd like to reiterate again how grateful I am that Arun's Christmas was understated in the toy department. I did this on purpose, though. Next summer, he will be in a new "age group" and will be ready for some more advanced things, like a tricycle, AND it will be summer, so we may want to get him some outside toys. I purposely held back on Christmas and only got him 3 toys with the plan to get him a few things next May-ish when the weather is warmer and we will be outside. It sorta sucks when your kid's birthday is so close to Christmas - I wonder what other parents do in this case?

This morning, I contemplated how grateful I was for my husband. X totally took care of Arun this past weekend while I dealt with everything else. Furthermore, Christmas Eve night for X was spent primarily walking the floor from Midnight until 6:00 am because Arun would NOT sleep.

This morning, I also contemplated how grateful I am that I am 35, fairly secure in myself and in my parenting skillz. Yeah, the comments were irritating, but I stuck up for X and I by pointing out how the comments they made didn't even make SENSE. In my family, you CAN'T WIN. If you pick your baby up at the first wail, you are spoiling him. If you let your baby cry past two wails, then you are neglecting him. I was sick, tired and worried about Arun as it was and I simply wasn't going to hear that shit. I should also mention that my sister got criticized because she doesn't "let her kids have sweets". Mean Mommies!

This morning, I was thinking again how my sister got royally screwed in the gift department by Leavenworth Grandma. This year, my sister received a spoon and fork from our crazy LG. Folks, a SPOON AND FORK. Um, the "best" part is that it was made out of animal horn. ANIMAL HORN.

This morning, I reveled in the satisfaction that I have completed a minimum of my CPE requirements - I will keep plugging away, but I have completed 30 hours so far and now I am in the clear for 2006. This means I can start knitting again - YIPPEE. I had cut myself off from knitting until I met my educational requirements. Because I am disciplined like that. Which is exactly why I waited until the last TWO weeks of the year, of course.

Snappily Snapped Snappage

My sister, being the sentimental fool that she is, thought it would be "sweet" to try and get all four rugrats in ONE picture.

As you can see, that went over well.


Far and away, the most popular of his presents, The Shin Denter. As a result of this toy, Arun will probably learn his first bits of profanity. Aw, fudge it.

What's just lovely about this photo is that the Yellow Environment Killer you see is an old Christmas Castoff left at my house by Older Nephew before Arun was even a CONCEPT - back in the days when X and I thought we'd have kids "someday". Anyway, that is Arun's favorite toy. In fact, he's busily playing with THAT instead of all the sparkly, shiny new toys he received that day.

December 26, 2006

Did you have yourself a Merry Little Christmas?

I did not.

This week will be odd. You know how it is, the week after Christmas. The inevitable conversation starter is "How was your Christmas?" This year, I am not sure what to do - paralyzed, I am. Do I lie and answer "It was good...." or do I just tell the truth?

In short, what happened is that this Nasty Head Cold took a vicious turn into my lungs on Saturday. To boot, Arun was still pretty sick himself. And I was hosting Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day. By 3:30pm Christmas Day, I was a ragdoll, sitting on the couch, totally Boo-Hooing my eyes out to the movie Rudy while using up precious, precious Puffs With Lotion tissues........ Rudy!....Rudy!......Rudy!.....

The long story is more complicated........It involves familial comments regarding X's and my parenting skillz, an underdone turkey (Hey, turkey is the new pink!), a lazy ass aunt who had me running at her beck and call even though I was clearly sick and maybe not-so-clearly pregnant (Whu? I'm pregnant??) and, and, and a mountain of food that people brought, then left for me to deal with even though I said "Oh, we won't eat that - feel free to take it home with you.", because seriously, we WON'T EAT THAT. All this was topped by an overtired, sick toddler who refused to sleep after an insane, adrenaline-infused Christmas Eve spent chasing his much adored cousins. Thus, Arun spent much of his Christmas Day snoring on X's chest - the ONLY place he would deign to sleep. Despite our best efforts to gently place him in his crib, timeaftertimeaftertime, which led to the aforementioned comments on our parenting skillz because clearly, your child's inability to sleep is a clear indication that one must totally SUCK at being a parent.

So, um, yeah.

In my family's defense, I'm guessing I wasn't very much fun this year. Big picture? I am grateful to have family, to have a cozy home, to have a cool husband, to have an adorable son.

And I'll be even MORE grateful to have dry, clear sinuses.

This morning, as I carefully navigated a minefield of sharp-cornered boxes of miniature fake food, Megablocks and tragic corpses of Little People strewn throughout our kitchen, I realized I am grateful for one other thing - nobody went overboard getting toys for Arun. The Shin Denting Shopping Cart and the Heel Splintering Mega Blocks were MY doing, but overall, Arun wasn't inandated with toys.

Rare Snaps of the Elusive Happy Toddler on Christmas Day

December 21, 2006

What's perfectly perfect?

I am really, really stressed out right now. But not because of the holidays. Oh NO, quite the contrary. Due to my superior skills in the Art of Procrastination, I am scrambling to finish up some educational requirements for maintaining my CPA license. Requirements which must be finished by Dec. 31st. gulp. So yeah, I may be an idiot, but damned straight - I'm a licensed one.

I will give my family credit - they are pretty non-stressful during the holidays. I am hosting both Christmas Eve and Christmas this year, but really - it's no big deal other than I have to make sure the house is clean. Everybody brings food to such gigs, so the most I am doing is throwing out a meat n' cheese tray on Christmas Eve and then for Christmas day, doing a turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry relish, and my Great Aunt J's Weird Whipped Cream Salad with Grapes, Cranberries, and Pecans.

Actually, as a kid, I don't remember my parents rushing around attempting to create a "perfect" holiday for us. Perfect holidays just happened - just as sweetest childhood memories most often do. As long as the turkey isn't dried out, the reception is clear for the football game and everyone gets a gift or two (it's the thought that counts, right?), then all is good. Sure, as a kid, I got a massive amount of toys and that was fun, but what I remember most is watching my grandma with my great-aunts and uncles laughing, telling off-color jokes and reminiscing about their childhood memories. Just as they'll do this Monday. So, my goal for my own children is that they not grow up watching their mother freak out during the month of December. We'll have some sort of traditions, I'm sure, but I have no idea what they will be because I'll just let them happen. As it should be.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, too.


December 18, 2006

How about some more rambling for you?

Hmmm, the newest thing going on around here is that I am recovering from a nasty head cold that has rendered my sense of smell completely useless. I can't even detect when Arun has a dirty diaper. While in some social circles that might be considered a convenience conversely, in the Mommy Circles, it's a pain in the ass. The Nose Knows and when your proboscis is in the dark, in order to determine the need for an All Important Diaper Change, you have to go lurking where you'd rather just NOT.

Anyway, since Disagreeable Comments are not allowed on blogs these days, I am going to just skulk back here and make Passive Aggressive ones instead. Color me Bitchy. Not all of these are PA comments. Mix n' match at your discretion. I'm pretty punchy today.

  1. A new debate going around is whether the Chinese dance in the Nutcracker Suite is "racist". It had never occurred to me that it would be and still, I can't fathom how it could be considered as such. It's a ballet that includes several interpretive dances from around the world. Shaking head in confusion.....
  2. What's the dealio with "only wooden toys"? Or, only toys that did not come from a Big Box Store? Sure, Arun has a variety of those toys that I've written about before - the cheap ones, the garage sale finds, the Nephew hand-me-downs, the ones I made from old containers, old boxes, the specialty wooden European fancy toys (Hubba Hubba Haba) and yes, even the TMX Elmo (which he LOVES and I am unapologetic). However, Arun doesn't know where they came from, doesn't care how much they cost, doesn't care if other kids have them or not and in short, likes to play with them all. For sure, they all encourage his imagination in different ways and that's what I'm really gunning for, right? I mean, I guess that is fine if someone can afford to provide their progeny with only the expensive toys, but frankly, I think it's awesome that quality toys are available to everyone at a reasonable price, regardless of your socio-economic background. So, yeah, that means plastic is in - what's wrong with that? There was a time when toys were available only to the rich and it could be argued that the invention of plastic has been a great equalizer. Besides, if you're attempting to provide your child with a variety of tactile experiences you might need to consider other materials in addition to wood.
  3. I attended my final breastfeeding support group at my hospital last week - I've been attending since Arun was 3 weeks old. It is hard to quit - I enjoy going and lending support to the other new moms coming down the pike. And yes, I am still breastfeeding Arun even while pregnant, so technically, I could still attend. Although I had decided it was time to do something else in that slot in the calendar, I was a little teary-eyed last week. I really like the lactation consultant - she is very supportive, positive and encouraging to all the mothers, regardless of their situations. I will miss her and hopefully, I will see her again next July.
  4. Speaking of breastfeeding, I am hoping to wean Arun by 18 months. If I wasn't pregnant, I would rather nurse him until the age of 2, per recommendations from both WHO and Unicef. I don't believe it is any mere coincidence that a high-fat diet is recommended for children until the age of 2 (the fat is crucial for brain development) and !Gasp! breastmilk is high in fat. However, I don't relish the idea of nursing TWO children at the same time. Sure, I'll admit that I'm totally a Wannabe Granola Nut, but I have my limits. Furthermore, I don't want to wean Arun too close to when NewKid will be born for fear that Arun will remember what good stuff he is missing.
  5. My husband does not find me hot or attractive in the least when I am 9 months pregnant. I do not fault him for this. Oh no, to the contrary, I would be disturbed if he did find me attractive in that state.
  6. Thus far, I've had few issues with the Beta Blogger. I'll go out on a limb and say I even like it (Tags! Better view of Comments Received! Closing Comments while still showing the Existing!) However, I seem to be one of those rare bloggers who actually likes Blogger. I totally heart Blogger because they've made this one of my cheapest hobbies. Fuckin' A - my local yarn store wasn't handing out free skeins of yarn the last time I popped in there. However, I should point out that once you move to Beta, you can wave Bye-Bye to your Blogger account and password. Seriously, BloggerSan- you ARE DONE with that Combo - MOVE ALONG. See that light? That would Google's email application - Gmail. After you move to Beta, you are using your Full Gmail Address/Password only. It's disconcerting at first because it feels like you are logging into Gmail, but no - it works in Blogger, too.
  7. If you've come here via the search string "How to knit continental" or some variation on that theme, you've learned quickly that while I happen to be a knitter who blogs, I don't write that often about my actual knitting. I apologize for the disappointment, but !hey! Look at those sweet little sheep in the masthead! While I can't praise the continental method enough, I'm not a Teacher, only a Linker. I highly recommend the site Knitting Help for awesome instructional videos. I learned how to continental knit from this site by watching their little videos over and over (and over again!) until I got it right. It was worth the effort because I never felt comfortable with the English style of knitting. Good luck and don't hate me if your sweater comes out two sizes too small.
  8. Finally........I do not think toddlers need to know the correct anatomical names for sexual organs. I do not understand the need for a toddler being able to accurately label a vagina, labia, penis or scrotum. How about just plain old "girl parts" and "boy parts"?

Randomly Specific Snappage

Rednecked Reindeer

I call this his "Shit-Eating Grin". I can do that cuz I'm from Kansas. Git er done.

Paws for the Holidays

He's holding yet another Christmas ornament in his greedy little paws. Hot damn.

A Rose By Any Other Name

I came across this Smirk Worthy sight while gassing up my car. Boy, someone was a little pissed off - you say? Ouch.

Fruit n' Fiber

At least I bought some healthy stuff to go with all those burritos. Burp.

December 13, 2006

Where did the other Eleven Days of Christmas go?

I want them back.

  • I've noticed that insomnia at 6:00 am is infinitely more convenient than insomnia at 2:00 am.

  • Monkey keeps telling me to take it easy this holiday season and really, that hasn't been a problem this year. We couldn't do our Christmas party because of scheduling, Average Jane nixed her cookie exchange this year , I went easy on the holiday decorating this year and, AND I managed to cull 4 people from my Christmas list (aunt, uncle, cousin's two kids). In fact, I am done Christmas shopping since I kept it simple this year by buying one nice gift instead of a myriad of smaller gifts for each person. There isn't much left for me to do but lie around on the couch and feel sorry for myself.

  • From habit of spending my days with a toddler, I just tried to play Peek-a-Boo with the cat. He wasn't amused.

  • Yesterday, I got an email from Blogger saying that my blog had been detected as a spam blog. Huh? Obviously, they fixed it, but I wonder what prompted that in the first place.

  • I am very sad that Karen at the Naked Ovary is shutting down her blog - I've been reading her for so long that when I began, she was just going through her last IVF (she has since adopted her daughter from China). However, I completely understand why she is doing so. If what happened to her, happened to me, I would close shop in a heartbeart, too. Why is the blog world getting so mean? Are we really just an extended version of high school around here?

  • In my own little experience with negativity, I had a commenter get mean with me on a blog. In short, it was an advice blog and the topic was breastfeeding. The blogger made a statement that ran directly counter to what I have heard lactation consultants state consistently over the past year. So, I commented very politely what I had heard the lactation consultants say and even started my comment with a "Hey, not to be disagreeable". However, another commenter (not the blogger) took it upon herself to inform me that people were just "sharing their experiences" and frankly, she didn't do it a nice way, either. I guess I didn't "experience" much by sitting in a breastfeeding support group for over a year so who the fuck did I think I was?. I read blogs all the time where I vehemently disagree with what is said, but I rarely comment. It seems most bloggers only want Kissy Face Comments and I respect that, so I keep my mouth shut. For sure, a Troll is a Troll is a Troll. But to make a comment that disagrees with what could be bad advice or flat-out misinformation is NOT Trollish behaviour. Particularly, on an advice blog that dispenses advice and is written by a blogger who regularly encourages her readers to comment with their opinions. Anyway, that whole exchange disheartened me to the extent that I haven't felt like commenting much on people's blogs lately.

December 12, 2006

What's the dealio?

This post has been a long time coming, but for various reasons, I never got to it. I should probably just start at the beginning......

In my early 20s, I was diagnosed with a Not Serious Condition and at the time, my doctor told me I might have trouble getting pregnant (my current doctor, to her credit, never expressed doubt). Later, in my 20s, I watched a friend's marriage crash and burn over infertility (she wanted to adopt, her husband did not). So, these things weighed on my mind a bit when my relationship with X started to get serious and we began to discuss Our Future. It turned out that X, after having grown up in a 3rd world country and seeing children with no parents, wanted to adopt from the get-go. However, as a woman, I want to experience pregnancy and birth, if possible. Just once. So, we decided at that time to try and have a baby - if it didn't happen naturally within about a year, we would move right to adopting from India. We aren't against fertility treatments and such, but knew that route just wasn't for us. Regardless of how Baby #1 came to be, we planned to adopt Baby #2.

Well, I got pregnant with Arun after 2 months of trying. I am still a little stunned that it happened so easily and that here I am in 2006, a mother to a toddler. I had braced myself for so much more. SO, what happened to Baby #2, you ask? The plan for that was to start the paperwork process in the fall of 2007 - since we had a boy, we wanted to adopt a girl (we verified this was an okay idea with one of my adopted cousins). Obviously, in my current state of pregnancy, that won't be happening now.

But this is what compelled me to go ahead and write this post, even though the topic of international adoption for us is most probably moot now -- it has shocked and saddened me how many of my friends and family have hinted that adoption was a 2nd choice and a few even asked if we chose to go the pregnancy route because it was "better". Even worse, last week a friend said "Well, you can do your civic duty in other ways". I was too shocked to come back with a retort to such a ridiculous statement. Good God, X and I aren't running a charity around here! We just want a family. For us, pregnancy AND adoption are equally valid and special ways to build one - obviously, with different paths and challenges. For me, sharing chromosomes doesn't equal love. Sure, genealogy creates an interesting papertrail of familial history, but real family is built on experiences, memories, and often, good old-fashioned guilt.

So, what happened is this - X and I took risks and fooled around - because of our situation, I am fully aware that we had the luxury to do so. But, I will never, ever use the word"accident" because that indicates that an "Oops!" was involved. But, we absolutely did not "choose" pregnancy because it was a better route or that we would love a biological child more than an adopted one. Perhaps, I am just sensitive because my family has been cobbled together by so many adoptions, marriages, divorces that I learned at an early age the definition of "family" is a loose one, at best. For example, my favorite great-aunt P, is not related to me by blood as she is my great-uncle B's wife, but it doesn't make our connection any less special. Furthermore, one of my best friends from college cut me out of her life last year after she miscarried her baby right after Arun's birth. While I understand why she cut me off, honestly, I still cry over it. She was like a sister to me and our relationship had been through a lot of ups and downs. I am sure most of us can think of a friend or two who have become like family over the years.

As I just wrote about how much X and I wanted to adopt, I will admit this - I am very excited to be pregnant again. Pregnancy and birth are such a fascinating, exhilarating time (okay, except for the Hellish 1st Trimester and the Miserable Last Week). The first few days after Arun was born? I was so pumped up on adrenaline, I felt high and had trouble sleeping - I remember lying in my hospital bed wide awake in the middle of night thinking Wow....WOW....... If this pregnancy goes half as well as it did with Arun, I will be one grateful gal. Regardless of the fact that I am excited about being pregnant again, I never doubted that I would love my adopted child as much as my biological child. That was never part of the equation for me.

Anyway - I just wanted to be very clear that adoption was not a "lesser" or "2nd"choice. Yes, it was a different choice, but from what I have seen and experienced, regardless if you adopt or give birth - your hopes, fears and dreams are very much the same.

December 8, 2006

What are you craving?

Yesterday, was one of the worst days ever. The night before, Insomnia reached a fever pitch and I was up from 2am to nearly 6am. Then, during the day, I ran out of Patio Burritos, then I downed the very last can of that Life Giving Elixir known as Schweppes Ginger Ale. And X is out of town. Fortunately, Arun has been peachy keen lately - happily playing, stomping his feet with glee and going to sleep at all the regular times. Reminding me again, the woes of pregnancy are certainly for a worthy cause.

Moving on to happier topics - as tired as I am of my Bad Attitude, I can only imagine how you all are.............

The Rancid Raves Holiday Food Edition

Last week, I had posted about the things that get me in the Christmas Spirit. I thought it was interesting how many commenters noted food items. I hadn't even thought of that! While I like sweets as much as the next person, until I started breastfeeding, I had never really had cravings for sweets. My family just isn't that much into food, perhaps? I just don't have a lot of emotional tie-ins with food, other than coffee (X and I are really into coffee and trying out new shops) and Mexican food (it's the one consistent food from my childhood - from my dad making refried beans from scratch, to special meals at our favorite, now-defunct Mexican joint in Lawrence.)

AnyWAY, regarding Holiday Food, I can only think of 3 things that remind me of Christmas - Olathe Grandma's Cheese Ball, Olathe Grandma's Melt-in-Your-Mouth Peanut Brittle, and my Great Aunt J's Weird Whipped Cream Pecan, Cranberry and Grape Salad. However, I have discovered a few things in my adulthood that I look forward to each Christmas Season.

Eggnog: I love a little glass of eggnog. YUM. But, it was hard to find a good pre-made one - until just the other day at Hen House when I happened across a sample of GoodNatured Farms Egg Nog. Oh. My. It's just the perfect hint of spice, slightly sweet (but not cloyingly so) and not so thick. Heaven. All it's missing is a bit o' alcohol. sob

Peppermint Bark: I discovered this just last year, thanks to Average Jane - she brought some of her step-mother's concoction and seriously, I swooned. I bought some Ghiradelli peppermint bark this year, but it doesn't compare so I shall be forced to try and make it after all.

Fruitcake: The best I have found so far is here in Kansas City at Andre's. Hen House also sells a damned good one at a much more reasonable price - I believe the brand is called Mollie's.

Kifli: My friend J's mom is 2nd generation Romanian-American and I was introduced to the wonder of the kifli from her in my college years. Oh My God. HEAVEN. They still send gift boxes of these cookies when they get a chance during Christmas and we inhale them. I did make them myself for the first time last year and I didn't do a half-bad job, actually. They are a lot of work, but worth it.  I'll let him decide.

Almond Roca: I associate these with Las Vegas - when I was a kid, we often would go to visit my Grandpa and step-grandma C during that break right after the Big Day. They usually had a can of these lying around. I usually don't let myself buy these - I only want a few, but the can is so damned big I can't ever make it through them all. This year, I splurged and hopefully, I can give some away before they go bad. Heads up, Tuesday Playgroup! I'm gunning for you.

December 7, 2006

Where's your Christmas Miracle?

Wow. A pregnant blogger can't help but feel guilty as she starts receiving the "Whoa. Is everything okay?" emails when she fails to post for a few days. Gulp. What happened is this - I forbade myself from posting until I had accomplished a few things hanging over my head. Tonight's post is a little reward for me.

The past few days have been okay. Sunday was pretty horrific - I puked so badly that I had to change my entire wardrobe - including my socks. Still not as bad as when I was pregnant with Arun and threw up all over myself while driving in my car at 70 MPH on a major interstate known as I-35. That was still so much worse. I will say, morning sickness this time around is still bearable because of Arun - he is so damned adorable these days, it serves as a constant reminder of all the goodness this sickness will hopefully lead to. In fact, on Sunday when I went upstairs to change out of my urp-spattered clothes, I turned around while undressing to find that Arun had followed me. He chose that very moment to demonstrate his newfound skill at stomping his feet with unadulterated glee - Happy Feet, if you will. The look of pride on his face was priceless and made me feel better with Renewed Perspective.

Anyway, Innernets, I have an announcement. A Christmas Miracle! A sweater! Knitted, BY ME.

Dear God Almighty, I never thought I would finish this. I had knitted the pieces WAY back in early 2005, then started suffering the ill effects from morning sickness with Arun. Then, I sewed the collar together. Then, I sewed one arm on - badly, crookedly and just wrong, wrong, WRONG. I cried hot tears as I pulled all the seaming out. Then, I didn't touch the sweater for a good 6 months - I was paralyzed with fear. Gradually, this year, I picked it up again and again - slowly figuring it out. Anyway - I finally finished it tonight. It still needs to be washed and re-blocked. And please, if you ever encounter me on the street wearing this thing, do yourself a favor and avoid eye contact with my left armpit. Holey! Moley!

Okay, it's that time of year when people ponder their charitable donations - Dec 31st is just around the corner. We've already given our bit to Doctors Without Borders (they are near and dear to me because my eye doctor goes to Guatemala every year to give exams to kids there as a part of the program). However, we've decided to extend our charitable donation this year to something I just came across on QIR's blog.

QIR writes:
One of my friends went to the Congo and discovered that last year 2/3 of the kids treated in the hospital where she worked had been diagnosed with malaria. Because their families don''t have mosquito nets, these poor little kidlets get re-infected. Her solution? Give the kid a mosquito net upon discharge from the hospital.

First, QIR is a Real Live Person and the charity she links to Bed Nets for Kids was started by her friend, another Real Live Person. What, you say? REAL LIVE people in the blogosphere? Say it isn't so! Seriously though, I just point out that I know QIR is a REAL person because if one is going to start throwing money around, it's nice to know that someone with actual blood flowing through their veins is involved. Anyway, the upshot is this, if you go to Bed Nets for Kids and donate $5 through PayPal, that will provide 5 mosquito nets. X and I are going to donate 50 nets and I thought I would like to share this link in case anyone else is interested. I like giving my money directly to a source, and this seems like a good one. Malaria is pretty simple to prevent, yet 3000 people a day die from it. I know this site struck a chord with X because he remembered as a kid sleeping under a net himself.

Bonus Simian Snap

Just because.

December 3, 2006

Oh Dear, what can the matter be?

Dear Random Asshole Driver on I-69,
When you choose to drive like a complete asshole, it might be better for your local business if you would choose NOT to advertise said business on your van. I can't imagine that your asshole-ish behavior with cutting people off and tailgating does much in the way of garnering you more business. Did I mention that you are an asshole?


Dear Arun,
While I love you dearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I must confess that my love for you peaks between the hours of 8:00 pm and 8:00 am AND the hours of 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm while you are sleeping. Please adjust your schedule accordingly. Shall I mention that Elmo also loves you more during the hours noted?


Dear Random Condom, Recently Found Skulking In a Drawer,
Too little, too late.


Dear Pregnancy Hormones-Induced Insomnia,
I am tired of you. Go away. Pun intended.


Dear Santa,
Baby, I believe. I've defended your honor in the past during my blissful days of Armchair Parening and solemnly vowed even then to teach my kid that you are real. Who cares if I am technically lying to my kid and furthermore, probably "threatening his relationship with God" in order to perpetuate a quaint myth surrounding a Christian saint? You're FUN and add an element of magic and mystery to the season. Damn straight, I'll be sharing that with my kids. So, Christmas Eve, don't worry your wily, whiskered hide - I've got your back.


Dear Britney,
Regarding BeaverFest 2006, don't get your panties in a twist. How about just wearing them instead?

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.


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.


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

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

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.

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

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.

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 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.