Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A day of recharging

Today was a monumental day. I took Kate to daycare and indulged in a day completely to myself. I don’t feel an iota guilty about it either. I figure I make up for it the other 364 days out of the year that don’t belong to me.

First, I went to the Alltel store. I managed to spend an obscene amount of money on a new Blackberry and accompanying accessories. I went into the store because I needed a battery for my decrepit two-year old phone and walked out with a sharp new phone instead. That is what happens when I am allowed out unchaperoned for a day. I already have a sneaking suspicion that this phone is ammunition for the internet addiction that I already battle enjoy. There is a lovely red light that flashes every time I get a new email, which includes every time someone leaves a new comment on my blog. I believe that Craig accidentally throwing this thing out of the window is imminent. In fact, it is quite remarkable that it survived Day One.

Second, I bought a pair of new jeans. My current non-work wardrobe screams “I’ve given up on trying”, “I can’t care enough to do better than this”, “I was robbed and this is all they left” and “At least they aren’t sweatpants.” Even though I engage in very few outside of work activities, I am desperate for some decent clothes. You know, it’s important to look good when you are sitting around the house doing nothing, right? So, I bought a pair of $80 Silver Jeans. Apparently my shopping-self didn’t get the memo that I am not 23 any longer. It almost doesn’t matter though, because they are some kick-ass jeans and I can’t afford the pair of Seven’s that I really want anyway. We will consider them a consolation purchase.

Third, I went to the theater to watch a movie. I felt like I was 15 and skipping school again for the first time. I expected Mr. G (inside joke, sorry), to jump out of the closet and send me back to detention. It was so surreal I had to stop and make sure I hadn’t forgotten Kate in the bathroom and it was all just a Candid Camera moment. I watched Marley and Me, which was wonderful and heartbreaking. It hit a little too close to home in a few areas. In five years, when I take another day to myself, I will not pick a tearjerker to enjoy on my “me” day. That and I’ll do a better job of finding one with fewer hooligans kicking at the back of my seat. I was so content enjoying my day that I didn't even glare at their parents.

Lastly, I enjoyed an hour long massage. I don’t think I need to expand upon how wonderful that was. They nearly needed to evict me when it was over. I would have been content to just move in. I told them I didn't require much maintenance, but they weren't buying it.

All in all it was a glorious, albeit expensive day. It’s probably a good thing that it happens on very rare occasion. Now we return to our regularly scheduled life; laundry is calling.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The gift that keeps on giving

For Christmas, Kate’s Grandpa got her the Polly Pocket Pool Party. I could tell by her gleeful exclamations that she was slightly too giddy about this particular gift. Accordingly, she demanded that it be opened and assembled NOW.RIGHT.NOW.NOW.NOW. Craig obliged, lest we suffer the embarrassing consequences of making her hold on for a millisecond.

Once that pool was together and ready for the par-tay, Kate looked up at me with her innocent little eyes and said, “Where’s the water mommy?” Um, the what? So, I look at the box and see Polly frolicking and splashing around in the water in the pool. Now, keep in mind, we were not at our own house when this transpired. I carefully laid a giant towel out on the floor and poured about a cup of water in the bottom of the pool. I read Kate the riot act with all sorts of rules and the consequences that would be forthcoming if she disobeyed them.

She played heartily for a moment, then looked up and told me that the pool needed more water. Of course, I had only added about one cup of water when you could easily get away with three to four cups. Since I’m in contention for the Anti-Fun Mommy Natzi Award of the Year, I told Kate that was all the water that we could put in the pool. Nonchalantly, she reached over and studied the back of the box. Then she turned to me and said, “The INSTRUCTIONS say to add one more scoop of water.”

You guys think I’m kidding when I tell you I have my work cut out for me. I’m so not.

After many rule infractions, Kate lost all privileges when she dumped the entire contraption over in an effort to get the Pollys’ out of the pool. You’d have thought someone peed in the pool based on the sudden need to evacuate everyone with such vigor. The Polly Pocket Pool Party has now been relegated to the bathroom, for use in the tub only until further reconsideration.

I was pretty on top of my game with this whole ordeal. I set rules, issued consequences, and followed through on the consequences (which is the area I seem to be the most deficient in).

Last night we were getting ready for diner and Kate comes up to me as she is attempting to undress. “Mom, I’m a little stinky. I need to get in the bathtub right now.” The whole stinky part caught me off guard, so I was slightly delayed in catching on to her newest scheme. It has now become all about taking a bath, which leads to being able to play with the Pool Party. Sigh. Just when I thought I had won. Instead, I have a kid who keeps running around telling the world she’s stinky and needs a bath.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where I beg relentlessly for help

I’ve had some unexplained obsession with hosting a baby shower. Don’t ask me why, I am not quite sure. Repeatedly I’ve volunteered to host baby showers. In almost every instance I’ve been rejected they’ve had someone else who has already been designated.

However, my sister is having a baby. She’s family, she has no choice, she can’t bypass my obsession generous and kind offer. I’ve been excited to plan this shower for ages. Just last week the date got bumped up (to Jan 17th) and I’m panicking. How I can throw the shower of all showers in just three short weeks? I’m jabbing my fingers into my eyes right now, can you see me?

I’ve found very few shower-related accessories that fit my taste. Apparently I’m picky, difficult, or just have bad taste. I’m opting for particular with outstanding taste, but I might be a little biased. One thing I can’t stomach is really traditional baby d├ęcor. Case in point, Kate might be the only kid with snowman pj’s that say “Chillin’ with my Homies.”

When it came to shower invitations, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I looked everywhere. So, I decide TO.MAKE.THE.INVITATIONS. Insert the raucous laughter here, I know. Crafts are not my friend. Now, I did steal the idea, I’ll admit that. Despite the fact that I didn’t come up with my own design, I’m pretty darn proud of them if I might say so myself.

To accomplish this task, I even ventured into a craft store. I am now the proud parent of a corner-rounder, which I need to find another purpose for now that my invitation-making days are over.

Behold the final product; these are the diapers that the actual invitations slide in to.



Here is one with the invitation in it. Oh, how I adore paisley.



And a peek at the cute little invitation inside.



If I start blogging about my new scrapbooking addiction, or my quilt squares, please send someone to my house to beat me senseless. On second thought, please find out which delusional person has taken my mind hostage. Please and thanks.

Anyway, I’ve successfully mailed the invitations. That leaves the remainder of the shower to plan. You’d think a person who has relentlessly wanted to plan a shower would have a better game plan, huh?

Decorations? Shit. Help
Food? Double shit. I am not a cook. Help.
Games? Or, fake effortless non-games that can pass as games. Help.

Who signed me up for this gig anyway?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Remember when I talked about getting my Christmas cards completed and showed you cards of years past? Well, I did manage this years, but only with Nikki's help. Without her, they'd likely still be one my to-do list to edit and order. I don't have to admit that I just mailed them Tuesday, do I? With that said, Merry Christmas!



Mother Nature totally screwed up our Christmas plans, so we didn't get on the road until today. If you didn't get the memo that Santa isn't coming until tonight, please do NOT tell my child that he came to your house last night. Based on the population expansion, I am under the assumption that he had to increase his route by one night and we were one of the unlucky families that got bumped to night #2.

Current status: two hours in the car down, five more to go, four cars already observed in the ditch, and Lilo & Stitch blaring in my ear from the backseat. All of this to spend Christmas with my sister and her JEWISH husband. Driving across the state, in a snowstorm, to spend Christmas with the Jewish side of the family. At least they bought a tree on our behalf. There is a B-rated movie plot line somewhere in this this story, I am sure.

Although, today starts a ten-day paid holiday break from work, so I am having a hard time being cranky about anything.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

She CAN Take a Joke

On Monday, Kate was lucky enough to spend the day with Sherry and Jana. They risked their lives and sanity by taking Kate on a city wide shopping excursion that morning. Apparently she was wonderful and well behaved which should please me, but instead is affirmation that it is just me that awakens her inner devil in public.

The only mentionable part of the morning occurred as they were headed into the grocery store.

KATE: Jana, don’t yell at me in the store.
JANA: What?!?!
KATE: Don’t yell at me in the store.
JANA: Kate, I won’t yell at you in the store.
KATE: I was just JOKING.

Let’s assess the execution of a joke from an almost-three-year-old. First, she picked an unsuspecting person who has not seen her in months – brilliant. Second, she picked a location populated with the general public – classic. Third, she chose a quite embarrassing and unlikely reprimand – score.

I am thinking that I need to quickly make friends with the elementary school teachers in our district. We are going to have some relationships to cultivate before this one gets to school. In other words, bribe them and pay them off before she gets there and it is too late.

Certainly some people think that I am bragging and insinuating that my child is a genius. I am not. She is not a genius, she is clever. I could handle genius, but I am not sure I’m cut out for clever.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Because I Can't Even Screw-Up Correctly

Do you ever push your luck a little too much? If you haven’t realized by now, I get over-involved, overcommitted, and over-scheduled on a regular basis. I think my DNA must have been under serious pressure when I was constructed, because I am not sure I could function any other way. This means I am constantly juggling priorities and deadlines. I work best under pressure and I am a procrastinator by nature. Please note that I would recommend either being a procrastinator or an overly busy person. The two just don’t mesh well together. Believe me.

I just don’t ever learn my lesson. So, perhaps we could add stubborn on that list as well.

Inevitably there are times when panic sets in and I think … there is NO WAY I can meet such-and-such deadline or get such-and-such done on time. Occasionally I have those moments where I realize I’m moments away from falling flat on my face, becoming a public spectacle, or dropping one of the many balls I’ve been juggling too long. In that moment of panic, I think I learned my lesson. I pushed it too far this time.

A couple of weeks ago I was having that moment with my graduate classes. I had reached the breaking point. School hadn’t been able to be a priority and I pushed a semesters worth of projects into 4 days, four workdays nonetheless. My standards quickly fell as I uttered words like, “I don’t care, as long as I pass the class” and “I honestly did it this time, I cannot pull this off.”

I learned my lesson. Finally I learned my lesson.

Today I received an email letting me know that our grades were posted. With a watermelon lodged in my throat, I opened them:



While I am ecstatic, this totally negates the lesson I needed to learn now, doesn’t it?

Next on the list, get ready for Christmas ...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kate: Month Thirty-Five

Dear Kate,

Today you turned thirty-five months old. For the record, I’d like a notation made that post is on time. Let’s pretend it’s because I have my act together this month and it has nothing to do with the fact that I am in the passenger seat of the car, trying to avoid my life flashing before my eyes while your dad is driving in a snowstorm. Anyway, what a month is has been. For the entire year, I’ve operated in fear of the terrible-two’s setting in. Sure, you’ve had your moments, but they’ve been moments, not stages. Apparently you saved it all in an attempt to lay them on heavy during the last month of your twos. I am hoping that means that while we have been weathering the storm this month, it will vanish next month on your third birthday. Work on that, will you?



One thing I’ve never been as a parent is overtly frustrated or angry (with you that is – I’ll plead the 5th with all beings outside of you). I’ve noticed those other parents in public, totally losing their shit with their kid and I’ve just been thankful that I didn’t let you get the best of me like that. I liked to believe it was just because I had my crap together, but I've learned this month it doesn't really have a thing to do with me, or how well I TRY to do anything. In other words, I've been put in my place. Just ask the people in Ruby Tuesday's this Sunday, they will vouch for me. I’m not a fan of public humiliation, embarrassment, or attention. An appropriate question to ask at this point would be, “well, why did you have children then?” At times I think your sole purpose is to push me into those things I never thought I’d be, or to do those things I never thought I’d do. Over the past few weeks, I keep reminding myself that you are exerting your independence, testing your boundaries, and trying to determine where you fit in this world. But, Damn Gina, no one said that it would be this hard. I keep telling myself that this independence, determination, and passion will serve you well as an adult. We just need to make it there in one piece.



You’ve always had great manners and you need very little (if any) prompting to use them. However, you’ve devised an interesting new approach to interrupting when you feel the need to be heard. At the top of your lungs, you screech STOP.TALKING.MOM. If I don’t stop talking, the frequency and volume of STOP.TALKING.MOM rapidly increases. It’s a darling accompaniment to any public outing. I am sure your dad would be happy to tell you that this tactic will not work, as he is still trying to figure out how to get me to stop talking.

One night a couple of weeks ago, you were in the middle of a not-going-to-bed-crisis (which is eerily similar to the not-eating-crisis, not-getting-dressed-crisis, not-being-carried-crisis, looking-at-me-wrong-crisis, my-parents-are-evil-crisis, etc.) and I was at my wits end. Special mention should be made that you’ve transitioned to a big-girl bed this past month. No surprise that you love it, you love anything associated with being big. Also, no surprise that it hasn’t stopped your ability to play 10,000 games in order to NOT go to bed. As I was standing in your room, I quietly leaned over to you and said, “KATE MARIN, do you know who is watching you right now?” Then I proceeded to tell you that Santa was watching you and if you didn’t get your act together and listen to your parents, he wasn’t bringing you any presents this year. You looked at me all wide eyed and scared, laid your head on your pillow, and immediately went to sleep.



In an effort to reassure myself that I hadn’t just guaranteed many future trips to a child psychiatrist, I kept justifying my actions with the fact that the majority of American kids grow up with the threat of Santa. However, as a parent, the whole thing was a bit unsettling. Here I am, telling you that a big, scary, man is watching you while you sleep. You can’t see him, ah, but he can see you. At some point in the near future, he’s going to sneak into our house WHILE WE ARE SLEEPING. Not only will we not pull out a gun and threaten to shoot him, we will eagerly welcome him into our house to eat our cookies, drink our milk, and even use the bathroom. I don’t care how mainstream it is, this is therapy material in the making. Now, I would have felt even more guilt about it if it hadn’t of worked.



It has been a busy time of the year with the holiday season in full swing. You are truly in your element surrounded by others, carefree and happy. I am so excited for this Christmas with you, enjoying your eager anticipation. Often I’ve said that parenting is so much harder than I ever imagined, but also infinitely more rewarding than I ever could have fathomed as well.

I love you Kate-r-bug!

Mama

Friday, December 19, 2008

Come, Please Follow Me

In honor of surpassing 100 followers this week (thanks L to the AURA – here is your prize!), I’m going to talk about … followers. That seems fitting, doesn’t it?

This whole aspect of blog-followers is a bit peculiar to me. See, I am perfectly content talking to an audience of one. In fact, on a really good (bad?) day, I don’t even need an audience of one. I’m quite content entertaining myself. However, through this blog, I’ve found that I actually enjoy writing for an audience. So, thank you to those of you that visit this blog and take time to leave comments. I officially blame you for my new blog-obsession. Without you, I’d likely be tired of myself by now and would have given up on this endeavor already.

Ah, where were we? Yes, back to followers.

I like the functionality of “following”, making all of my favorites easily accessible in my Blogger account. I just wish they could … call it something different.

A follower. Hmmmm. I have followers. Not only do I have followers, but I also follow others. How many followers do you have? Will you follow me? Odd, just odd.

You know, blog followers are some strange cyber measure of popularity I guess. It’s sort of like being the cool kid in high school. You know, without the drama, hormones, and tight-rolled jeans.

One of two images is conjured up when I think of followers. The first is relatively cult-ish in nature. THESE are the followers of my blog ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the compound. They believe everything I say (insert evil laugh here). The second totally has stalker written all over it. Help! Help! They are following me.

Just for the record, I know you aren’t stalkers or cult-members. I just find the concept funny. That and it has been a long week, so I am likely to find most anything funny right now.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where is Yoko?

I have a confession to make. I typically don’t watch videos that are posted on blogs. I sort of skip right over them and move on with my day. I’m not saying some aren't worthy, but it requires adjusting my speakers, shutting my office door, or interrupting Craig's television show of the moment. Those are all euphemisms for my laziness. Often, after all of that work, I am disappointed anyway.

I can assure you that I won’t ever put just any video here, okay?

This video is impressive and slightly disconcerting at the same time. Are we guessing boy or girl? And how old would you judge this tyke to be?



I preferred to relish in our enjoyment of Kate as a child prodigy for singing (albeit off key and only with all of the words some of the time) the majority of the classic lullabies in existence. I think this kid was doing that in-utero.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Class, listen up, procrastination will NOT be tolerated!

I’m currently in the middle of a major mindset change. In just four short weeks, I get to transition from student to part-time professor. Hard to believe, right? Actually, I should rephrase that. I am going from student to professor AND student, depending on just how ambitious I feel like I can be when January rolls around. You know, because this last semester didn’t quite push me over the edge, driving all Thelma and Louise style into the abyss.

This will be my second semester of teaching hotel management to a group of junior and senior students at our local University. One might wonder how a Human Resources Director teaches hotel management, am I right? I’m hoping you are asking yourself that instead of just thinking, lovely, they let anyone teach these days, don’t they?

See, in my former life (read: the job I held for seven years prior to the one I have now), I was in hotel management. On the premise that a secret informant has told me that my prior boss (Hi Glen!) reads this blog, I all of a sudden don’t have too much to say about my prior job. Although Glen has a fantabulous sense of humor, I am not sure just how tolerant that humor would be when it comes to my prior employment. Since I like the guy and really need to keep him on my reference list, I will refrain from going there. Dang it.

On that note, I thoroughly enjoy teaching the industry to others. In fact, I like it, I like it A LOT (said in my best Lloyd – Dumb and Dumber voice).

Since I know that quite a few college students read this blog, I thought they might get a kick out anticipating some of the stories to come. From the professors side of view that is.

So, instead of basking in this lovely break from school, I get to prepare for a different aspect of school. However, being on THIS side of the classroom gives me a paycheck. Oh and since I am the professor, I get to make the rules. Plus, my students like me, what can I say? I guess I am young enough that I can still fool them into thinking I am cool, but old enough to actually teach them something.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Don't listen to a word the kid says

I read another blog awhile back where the wife claimed to be a work-week widow. I’d give credit where credit is due, but in all honesty I can’t remember who on earth it was that said it. I’m lucky I remembered to get dressed this morning, which accurately describes just how fried my brain currently is. I think I need a vacation. Anyway, I laughed at that line, as it so succinctly describes my life the majority of the time.

Awhile ago, I went to pick Kate up from her Aunt Sherry, who salvages what’s left of my sanity when Craig is gone by taking Kate on occasion. During this particular time, Craig had been on the road for what felt like eternity. After I got there, Sherry asked me if I wanted to know what Kate had told her. I’ve learned that the answer to this question should ALWAYS BE NO. If the answer is entertaining enough that it needs a qualifier, you do not want to know what it is. Instead, I nodded and said, “Yes, what?”

Apparently Kate decided to give her version of our screwed-up family dynamics. She said, “My mommy has a bed. It’s in her room. My daddy comes home and sleeps in it with her sometimes.”

I guess on the plus side, she kept it pretty PG-13, although I could see that conversation going south in a hurry. You can’t blame the kid for airing our dirty laundry this way, it is honestly the most literal interpretation possible, isn’t it?

One can only wonder what on earth she is going to be telling people when she gets to school. Frankly I’m getting hives thinking about it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Maybe I'm in the Minority Here

Recently we had a nurse come to our house to complete physicals for our life-insurance policies. For the record, there is something surreal and discomforting about getting your blood drawn at your dining room table. No one prepared me for just how much fun being “grown-up” and “responsible” would be. I almost can’t contain the excitement. It rates right up there with spending $3500 on a water softener. Adulthood is so overrated.

In typical Kate fashion, she had to be the center of entertainment the entire time. Of course she did. It was only second best to when our financial advisor was there and she went upstairs and came back down in her bathing suit – to dance. Yeah, I know. You are embarrassed for me, right?

So, as the visit was concluding, the nurse looked down at Kate and said, “Do you know who you remind me of?” Kate was a little confused, but said, “Who?”

Wait for it.

Waiting for it.

Any guesses?

Still waiting for it.

JonBenet Ramsey!” she said gleefully without a moment of hesitation.

Well, you know, sans the pageant dress, up-do’s, make-up, and CREEPY HOMOCIDE. Kate doesn’t look like JonBenet Ramsey, but that is sort of the least of my worries. Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but even if I saw JonBenet’s clone walking down the street, I’d refrain from uttering any mention of the comparison to her parents.

At times I find myself in the minority with my personal opinion, so maybe others find this in good taste. Last week in the Doctor’s office, I apparently was the only one who didn’t think that engaging in conversation about my colon was appropriate either. But, that’s a story for a different time.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What would Freud say?

Kate went from drawing random scribbles to drawing people, literally overnight. That is how this kid operates. Potty trained in one day. Transitioned to a big kid bed in one day. Gave up her pacifier in one day. There is an example of self-determination at its finest. Last month she sat down and started drawing people, lots and lots of people. Like a good mom, I took one of her photos to work, so I could proudly display it in my office. That’s what moms do, right? I couldn’t find it in the parental instruction manual, but it felt like the thing to do. That might have been prompted by Kate screaming in my ear, “Take this to work mom and hang it on your office door!”

My boss came into my office last week and kept looking at Kate’s picture. He then proceeded to assess the meaning of the photo by reading the facial expressions she had drawn. I saw figures vaguely resembling people. He saw all sorts of things that someone with multiple psychology degrees would see. He has sort of ruined me forever, because now I tend to psychoanalyze children’s artwork. I think I was better off NOT in the know.

It was a timely lesson, I guess. This was what Kate drew a couple of nights ago:



I’ve consulted my inner psychologist for this interpretation. Let’s just ignore the fact that they lack bodies and their appendages are sprouting from their heads. My five-second training course didn’t quite get that deep. What we have here is a family who thought they had all been taking Prozac for quite some time. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize that they were in the placebo group. Despite being angry at the world, they are mysteriously close to one another, showing strong emotional connections. Or, it may have been a case of, You Are Going To Stand Next To Each Other For This Picture and PRETEND Like You Like Each Other whether you mean it or not dammit. Someone needs to give these people some Christmas cheer and remove the stick that appears to have been lodged firmly in each of their butts. It makes me want to reach into the picture and give them all a little hug. They need to hear that life really isn't all that bad.

Oh, do you think the photo was a fluke? I’ll introduce you to her second drawing of the night. By the way, could someone please call Kramer and tell him my family has stolen his 'do?



I’m hoping her future teachers don’t pay too much attention to her artwork. Thank goodness she is seriously the world's happiest and most well-adjusted kid, or I’d be concerned, really, really concerned.

Friday, December 12, 2008

All worried over nothing!

Let's see ... T minus 46 minutes and I am D-O-N-E. I would totally find something funny and celebratory to post if I had any energy. In fact, I would have proof read all of the crap I just sent in if I could have been motivated enough to shiv a get. It wasn't my best work, but it's over and nothing feels better than over does right now.

So, off to party like it's 1999.

Translation: I'll be sleeping before you read this.

Tomorrow is going to be pure bliss. I'm going to enjoy Kate's daycare Christmas party like it is my get-out-of-jail-free card. In fact, spending the evening with a bunch of curtin climbers and ankle biters (aka: Other People's Children) sounds like a spa day compared to this week.

And I WILL be back tomorrow to show you Kate's work of art from tonight. A little demented Picasso we've got on our hands here.

This is the face of ...

someone, who moments earlier, completed her final with an 88%. In retrospect, I think I should look happier, considering I’ve never been so elated to be a B+ student in my life. I’ll blame Craig for sneaking up on me and taking this last night when I was comatose and void of all emotion. No, not like NORMAL.



Where does that leave me? Well, I’ve finished everything except for the research paper and PowerPoint. It’s great that I’ve made it through that much, not so great that there is still that much left to do. When Cate and Betsy offered to, ahem, assist with my paper, my first reaction was I can’t let the INTERNET do my homework. Now I am wishing I didn’t have morals, because I can’t think of anything I’d enjoy more than having the INTERNET completing my research paper right now.

If you are interested in seeing if I survive, check back tonight. I promise to post a celebratory message.

On a different note, I am sorry for all of the school-related talk. Often I get bloggers-block and can’t think of anything to write about. For some odd reason, lately I’ve been overflowing with blog fodder. I can’t wait to put a big check mark next to SCHOOL, so I can get back to my regularly scheduled writing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I wouldn't recommend just anyone

Do you ever wonder who you would be if you were to suddenly wake up as a 22 year old member of the opposite sex?

Oh good, me either.

However, I think I inadvertently found a potential answer. Now pay attention, this one is complicated. I’ve been reading my good friend Beth’s blog (Hi Beth!) for quite some time. Through Beth's blog, I found Sandra. Last week Sandra wrote about a great new blog, Life, written by Schafner. This is akin to following a conversation about your mom’s brother’s new wife who used to be married to your second cousin, just not nearly as creepy.

So, I followed Sandra’s advice and wandered over to Schafner’s blog. I had nothing better to do, since I was just sitting at home in my pajamas eating bon-bon’s and watching Ricki Lake *snort*. I started reading and immediately sensed recognition. My first thought was an immediate panic that I had written something and Blogger screwed it all up and published it on this random dude's blog. I mean, I know I said that I’d be relying heavily on the Pinot Noir to get me through this time, but I was exaggerating. Instead of sleep walking, had I engaged in sleep blogging? It was uncanny to see my sense of humor through the writing of another person.

His post today literally made me laugh out loud. That doesn’t come easily people. In honor of that accomplishment, I asked Schafner if he’d mind being featured here today.

Don’t get me wrong, he is a better writer than I am. He is one of those fancy-schmancy editors. He even uses appropriate punctuation and “stuff”. You know, one of those show-offs who actually paid attention in school.

Side bar: I hated my high school English teacher. If I can't write good, or make misstakes in my spellling, blame her.

I’m more apt to get my point across by DOING.THINGS.LIKE.THIS. Regardless, our writing styles are incredibly similar and I really enjoy reading his blog. Maybe if I "apply myself", I can aspire to such writing greatness. He is new to blogging, so I know he’d appreciate any of you who stopped by to say hi.

I’m thoroughly enjoying the comments and feedback on the blogging post (below). If you haven’t responded yet, you’ll do so if you know what’s good for you.

(insert evil laugh here)

Off to see if those elves have finished my homework yet.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blogging makes the world go round

We take a break from our regularly scheduled studying to bring you this random message:

A funny thing happened this week as I was trying to figure out how on earth I was going to survive my to-do list, volumes I, II, and III. In assessing my priorities, I realized that my blog was on that list. How did that happen? It actually stumped me because I am not so sure why it is. I really don’t feel an obligation to blog. I just, um, well, I think I enjoy it.

When I started blogging, it was a way to share some pictures of Kate with misplaced family and friends. It was also a place to put all of the random thoughts taking up valuable real estate in my brain. I hadn’t engaged in writing, outside of the corporate setting (and how riveting is a memo analyzing healthcare plan design?), in about 12 years. I didn’t realize I liked it so much. Coming from a person who rarely, If ever, does something for herself, that is pretty big news. So, in part, my blog has been something I maintain to feed my creative side.

I certainly never envisioned my blog being read by other people. Heck, I don’t even think I am that interesting. I’m being serious here people. To have hundreds of people reading my blog daily is an incredible, certainly welcome, surprise. I still don’t fully understand this new passion, but I am starting to realize it’s an integral part of my day. It’s become a priority. That only means one thing … something else has to go. I really should be lying on a strategically positioned sofa, staring up at the ceiling, debating this with a professional. On second thought, I think that is what the internet is for.

So, I am curious. Why do you blog? Why do you read blogs? Why do you read this blog? Give me something to help in my absolute unprofessional assessment of the human psyche.

In impolite blogger fashion, I apologize for not being on top of responding to comments right now. In all honesty, I shouldn’t even be here right now. We will assess that character flaw at a later date.

Off to cry into my textbook.

We now return to our regularly scheduled studying.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Does anyone have a Delorean handy?

I am in the midst of a major conundrum. This week is the last week of class for the two Master’s classes I am currently taking. Briefly yesterday I thought to check the official academic calendar. Imagine my surprise when I realized that this week technically ends Friday, not Sunday. People, Saturday and Sunday are the only days I have time for school.

School is important to me, but it ranks behind quite a few other monkeys on my back. Namely the one (sometimes two) other lives in my house that are overly dependent upon me. Then, there is this thing called work, complete with a boss who expects to see me at least 40 hours per week. Since that job pays my bills, it does not come with a lot of reprioritization.

(Insert panic attack here)

By midnight on Friday, I have to write a 15 page research paper, complete study questions for 9 chapters, take a final exam, complete a PowerPoint presentation, and some other random odds and ends lingering from these two classes.

(I’ve never had a panic attack before, but for some reason it feels like the situation warrants it. Let’s insert another one here.)

There are very few solutions that I can come up with to salvage the 4.0 GPA that I currently hold. On second thought, I know that globalization and outsourcing are the current rage. Do you think that there is some geek in Dubai that I could outsource my homework to?

Don’t look at me like that; I don’t see you coming up with any more reasonable solutions.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Do you want to supersize that?

First, I am not sure to what I owe to honor of being featured as a Saucy Blog this week. If you are visiting from SITS, welcome. Pull up a chair, get comfortable, and stay awhile.

Our household has been fairly health conscious in our eating habits. By our household, I mean unwillingly and under duress. Craig would survive on Doritos, Nutty Bars, and Mountain Dew if I let him, but I don’t. As a result of my desire to rule the earth, errr, my house, we have subsequently raised a toddler who is a good eater. It isn’t unusual to see her eating salmon, asparagus, or feta cheese. To appease all of the haters, I am not saying that we don’t allow her indulgences; they have just been exactly that – occasional indulgences.

However, life has sort of thrown us for a loop over the past six weeks. Are you sick of hearing about how miserable life has been in our household? Poor me, call the wah-mbulance, right? Since I am sick of hearing myself whine, odds are that you are one step ahead of me. As a result of all that nonsense, our decent eating habits pretty much went MIA. When the decision on the line is your sanity or fast food, fast food doesn’t seem like that bad of an option. Although my blog might be more entertaining had I opted for the other route and ended up with a case of The Crazy.

During this time of No Boundaries, an amazing phenomenon happened; Kate acquired a taste for garbage. I mean seriously, it is a pandemic. Give a kid McDonald’s once and they are jonesing for their next fix. Bribe a kid with a cookie and they expect a subscription to cookies-on-demand.

I didn’t realize it had gotten so bad until this weekend. Two things happened this weekend. First, upon discussing lunch on Saturday, Kate said, “let’s go get something to eat.” I said, “sure, we will pick up lunch on our way home.” With a look of disgust on her face, she replied, “NO, I want to eat lunch at a RESTAURANT.”

Gulp.

I didn’t realize I’d let it get that bad. What’s next, no make-up and sweatpants?

Second, she awoke on Sunday morning, convinced she was having ice-cream for breakfast. While I may have been slightly less Hitler than usual about breakfast choices, I can assure you that I had not allowed ice-cream for breakfast to happen. After some intense debate, Kate quickly learned that ice-cream was not an appropriate breakfast food. Without missing a beat, she looked up at me and said, “I think just a bit of ice-cream would help my little cough. Actually, it would be perfect.”

My brain should not get this much exercise from a not-yet-three-year-old.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Why yes, we did cut down our own tree this year

This weekend we went to a Christmas tree farm to pick out our tree. I find the idea of farms like this totally amusing. You get the liberty of saying you went into the woods and cut down your own Christmas tree. That sentence carries implication of sweat, hard work, and dedication. However, what you don’t need to disclose is the fact that the farm is designed in rows, where you literally drive up and down each, in search of the ideal tree. Upon identification of said tree, you place the vehicle in park, step out of the car, and quickly cut the tree down. It’s no pain and all gain. That is how we roll around here. Take heart that we will gladly proclaim that we spent Saturday cutting down our own Christmas tree IN THE WOODS. Yes, and in TWENTY DEGREE weather. I’m exhausted just writing about it.



It did take slightly longer than anticipated, but doesn’t everything with a toddler? It was right about this time that I started to get cold. We will say that despite my husbands' best advice, my approach to dressing leaned more towards fashion sense and not common sense. Instead of enjoying the tree cutting experience, I stood there freezing my ass off, fighting off thoughts in my head that included the words “Craig was right” and “I should have dressed warmer” in the same sentence.



Tommy Boy has ruined me forever, so when I look at this photo, all I can think about is Fat Tree On a Little Truck…



We made it home with the tree still intact, deeming the whole experience a whopping success. Our expectations aren't too high around here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'd like to introduce exhibits A&B

I’m semi-nervous that I’ve set you all up for disappointment. Remember, I did not claim to be crafty, but this is as good as it gets.

This whole taking a picture of a picture thing was totally ghetto fabulous. Despite having the proper equipment to do stellar photo editing (CS3 anyone?), I am taking a picture of a freaking picture. Next time I will learn to do a back-up of my photo files prior to a virus wreaking havoc on my life. I still have CS3, just don't have the original photos to upload. To up the ghetto ante, the editing of our personal information consisted of cutting out a piece of paper and placing it over the photo. I’m sure Brittany Spears has more class than that. Then the second photo … totally had to cover up the flash to minimize the glare.

We have moved up one rung on the socioeconomic ladder tonight folks.

May I present to you exhibit one – Christmas 2006: Staring Miss Kate 10.5 months old.



May I present to you exhibit two – Christmas 2007: Staring Miss Kate 22 months old.


(Sorry it is so dark ... click to enlarge)

Ladies and gentlemen, please hold your applause until after the show. Barring any disasters, exhibit three may be posted this weekend.

The art of manipulation

Alright, alright, I am working on the Christmas card ordeal. Who knew you would have such an interest? Now, I just need to figure out how to pass this off as a "work project" to delegate the scanning to our IT person. I'm totally annoyed that I don't have the electronic copy saved on my laptop. We will talk about how Myspace gave my computer a virus and erased everything I owned another day.

Anyway, we have been in a position where regularly we are telling Kate that something is for grown-ups, or she's not quite old enough for "xyz" yet. She was watching TV with Craig a couple of Sundays' ago. After the third Max & Ruby, Craig decided cartoon time was O-V-E-R. He nonchalantly switched the TIVO to football.

Kate: Can I watch another Max & Ruby Daddy?
Craig: No Kate, we are done with Max & Ruby?
Kate: Please daddy. I want another Max & Ruby. Just one.more.time.
Craig: I'm sorry Kate, we are done watching cartoons.

Pause.

She's been beat.

He is not budging.

Her pitiful, eyelash batting, pouts always get answered.

Crap.

Kate: Daddy, um, football is a little old for little kids.

how about the obvious: Max & Ruby probably isn't appropriate for anyone. Max needs to learn how to talk and Ruby needs to stop being so damn bossy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Overachieving is Overrated

The pressure is on and to be honest, I don’t have time for the pressure. Two years ago, I had the brilliant idea to do a photo Christmas card. Now, we all know that I am not creative, or crafty. Remember, I covered all of those things that I am not here. The dust bunny stealthily hiding under my desk could come up with something more creative than I ever could.

However, that first Christmas card was an overwhelming success. I heard about it for months. So, when last Christmas rolled around, I used every last iota of creativity I could muster and coerced myself into creative mode one last time. That poses a problem for this year people. Last years card was another whopping success according to all who received one. Note that I am not bragging about my Christmas card ability, I am strictly relaying the information I have received. I actually must question the lameness of the other cards they received that made ours so spectacular. Apparently the competition is pretty weak amongst our social circle.

Regardless, the pressure is on. For weeks I’ve had people asking about our card this year. I finally came up with one great idea … however, it involves a Christmas tree. If you have learned anything about me, you would know that the thought of us actually having the tree up right now is about as likely as Dubya receiving any type of presidential award. But, I digress.

So, I’ve moved to plan B, which has included a lot of additional preparation; preparation that I just don’t have time for. Yesterday I bought dishes and pajamas, now I just need the cooperative kid and we will be all set. I need to get this done this week and I am doubting the cooperating kid bit. Would it be wrong to hire a fill-in? With a head swap possibly?

So, stay tuned for our Christmas card extravaganza. If you take away anything from this story, let it be to always underperform. If you do, no one will expect anything more, which makes life a lot simpler.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm so not a professional blogger

I am by no means a professional blogger. I sort of stumbled into blogging by accident. In all honesty, I’m quite impressed that I have made it five months with this blog. I’m quite famous for having a million new hobbies and grandiose ideas that either never come to fruition, or fizzle after weeks of holding my interest. I think I am on to something with this whole blog-hobby.

In case you don’t know, there are blogging rules of etiquette. I don’t do well with normal etiquette rules, so the odds are not in my favor. In fact, I pretty much know I’d screw it up and earn a LARGE SCARLET LETTER S on my forehead if I attempted to engage in professional blog activities.

However, one thing I am a sucker for is comments. It makes my day when people leave comments on my blog. It makes it a little less lonely here at I Used to be Witty and makes me feel slightly less like I am just entertaining the voices in my head. Okay, I don’t have voices in my head, but you get the point. So, with all of that being cleared up, I am going to play on SITS. Readers, go check them out for some great blog links. Bloggers, go check them out to get linked up!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kate: Month Thirty-Four

Dear Kate,

Sometime last month you turned thirty-four months old. Between work, midterms, one trip to the ER, holiday preparation, and life, these last eleven days slipped away from me. For the record, this is my really pathetic way of justifying the fact that I am late, once again, with your monthly update. I figure at this point, you don’t really expect anything less. I wouldn’t want to disappoint you right when you are starting to figure me out.



You have been obsessive about Christmas and all of the corresponding preparation. In your mind, the series of events go: snow, sled, reindeer, santa, tree, presents. Accordingly, in the logic of an almost-three-year-old, the minute that tree appears, presents will automatically start multiplying underneath it. Daily you ask if today is the day we get a tree. Daily I tell you not quite yet. However, it is currently ALL.ABOUT.THE.TREE. When the mood strikes, you will nonchalantly point outside and say, “That tree looks perfect mom. Let’s take that one home; it would be a perfect Christmas tree.” You also think that you are going to get THREE presents for Christmas. Finally, I’ve found an area where my performance will far exceed your expectations. Score: Mom 1, Kate 1,290,876.



Lately it’s been all about the drama and all about your ability to demonstrate the control that you really have over this household. We have coined these little performances kate-tastrophes. They are sort of catastrophes in your mind, not so much in ours, but if we fail to play along, all hell breaks loose. The kate-tastrophes rear their ugly head most often at bedtime. A drink! The potty! A band-aid! No band-aid! Light on! Light off! Sock is crooked! Or, like moments ago, your baby had her pajama leg pulled up, requiring massive mommy intervention. I know some people believe in the whole cry-it out thing. You don’t play that game. The longer I let you holler and scream, the worse it gets. In a game of cry-it out, I would certainly be the one crying until I clawed my eyes out and collapsed, while you would just be getting your second wind.



Your vocabulary continues to grow at an exponential rate. You say words and phrases that I am pretty certain are atypical for a toddler. Your favorite right now is ‘that’s amazing’, followed closely by ‘thanks but no thanks’. Sigh. As your aunt stated the other day, you talk in paragraphs, not sentences. I am hoping this is some sign of inner brilliance and not just indicative of a future career in voice-overs or politics.



This past month has been a fairly tumultuous one in our household. Thankfully your daddy-o and I have had you as a bright spot in our days. Sometimes those hiccups in life allow you to put yourself in check and really stop and embrace the thing that matters most. Sweet Kate, that thing would be you. Looking forward to a fun and wonderful holiday season!

Love,
Momma

Monday, December 1, 2008

At least her glass is half full

Winter has arrived! We got pounded with snow over the past 24 hours and I am now officially ready for winter to be over.

As we were headed out to the car, Kate said "Someone needs to turn the heat on outside. It's cold out here."

I am hoping she keeps her cheerful, optimistic, disposition. I am much more apt to curse and yell for the majority of the winter season.