Monthly Archives: November 2008

NaBloPoMo Final Thoughts

Hey, a bonus post here on the final day of NaBloPoMo!

I did it! A post everyday in the month of November. I did resort to memes a few times, but otherwise I had surprisingly little trouble coming up with something to post about, which I had been worried about in the absence of a theme.

I’ll probably take a few days off from posting, but I find I like the routine of posting everyday, or nearly so.

It’s That Time Again

With Thanksgiving behind us we are free to concentrate on Christmas, and the stress of shopping.

Like many families, we will be scaling back on gifts this year. I survived the most recent layoff at my company, but more are coming early next year. Until the economy has a sustained turnaround, I don’t think too many of us can count on our jobs as given. At least I can’t.

And so others are asking me for gift ideas for Krystal and Belle. I suppose I should be glad – with more people to buy for them, they get more stuff than I could give them alone. But my issues are these: it is often challenging for me to think of things to get them myself, without coming up with “extra” items to pass along to others, and they just don’t need more stuff! Both of them have more than enough clothes to last them at least another year, and with very few exceptions, they don’t play with toys. I did get an American Girl doll for Krystal and Belle will be getting a scooter (that she won’t be able to really use until spring), and of course various and sundry other things.

For next year I’ve already floated the idea of taking a trip instead of gifts, and it was surprisingly well received. We’ll see.

Do I Really Want to Date After All?

Back to the relationship stuff.

Gary called the night before he left for LA, and after chatting a bit about nothingness, the conversation went something like this:

Gary: OK, so I’m going to say something here and you can stop me at any time. (I immediately know where he is going with this but am ever so curious to hear how it comes out.)

Gary: The other night when we were in the car in your driveway I wanted to kiss you, but I wasn’t getting the “go signal”.

Me: <Laughs>

Gary: I just want you to know that I really like you and I’m willing to take whatever you’re willing to give, even friendship. I recognize you have a lot at stake here with those girls and my situation is a risk too. (He means the fact that he wants to move back to the west coast to live near his kids full time, which was the original reason I marked him a “No” after the speed dating thing.)

Me: <Not sure what to say, so out comes a lot of nothing> Thank you for that. That is really generous of you to say. I’m still trying to figure that all out.

The conversation wrapped up soon after that, but the main thing I’m wrestling with right now is my apparent utter lack of physical attraction, and the fact that when he calls he wants to talk for an hour or more each time. I just don’t have that kind of time! And I think I am beginning to resent him for it. Always a recipe for romance, eh?

So I’m feeling very ambivalent about Date #3, currently set up for Saturday, December 6th. I did suggest a more casual outing than the play, but haven’t quite yet determined what would best fit the bill. Some ideas floating around right now are: bowling, a casual wine place where you sit on couches like a living room and drink wine, eat appetizers (or dinner). Any suggestions are welcome!

Turkey Day Fallout

We spent Thanksgiving at my step-sister Stella’s new apartment. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, about an hour and a half drive for us. The view from her living room was nearly breathtaking, but it’s far too remote for full time living for my tastes.

Also present was Stella’s 18 year old daughter, Britt, Britt’s boyfriend Brendan (not sure how old he is), and their 6 week old son. Stella also has a son Steven, who is only 9 days younger than Krystal. Two kids, nearly 10 years apart. Her mother, my step-mother, was also there, along with her father and his wife. A bit of an odd mix, but we’ve done this at Christmas the last few years, and my mother has also been around for that (think about all the dynamics going on for a second), along with others including Stella’s sister Deidre, her husband and their three (adult) kids and grandson.

When we got there my step-mother, Pat, told me that Deidre’s husband’s mother had been admitted to the hospital that morning with a possible stroke, and a few hours later his father had fallen down the steps and was also being hospitalized. A bit later Stella got a call from Jessica, Deidre’s middle daughter, who said that “Uncle Lars might have died this morning.” And so we realized that when we were first told Lars had fallen, it was actually Lars, Jr. and not Lars, Sr. It took about an hour for the “might have” to disappear from that sentence. I had met Lars in the past, but didn’t know him well – in fact Deidre’s husband is from a large family with 9 children, so I wasn’t even sure which brother it was at first. Needless to say this put a damper on the day, even for those of us who didn’t know him. (I’m very sorry if all these family relationships are tough to keep up with – the bottom line is that we had a real motley crew by most people’s definition, but family is family.)

Given the fact that Britt and Brendan are high school dropouts with no jobs (and who planned this baby – don’t get me started) and they have no money, I had pledged Krystal’s crib and high chair which I still had. They already have the crib, but I brought the high chair with us yesterday. And never got a thank you for it. I wanted to take it back with me when we left.

Belle kept asking me when we were going to go home, and it wasn’t until Rick, Deidre’s almost-21-year-old son, got there that she started having fun. We took Tessie with us for the day too. While she is house trained at home, I wasn’t sure how she would be at someone else’s house (without the bells!) so I made many, many forays outside with her. I’m happy to report she had no accidents and was quite charming.

Today she had her first appointment at the groomers – I think she looks quite spiffy!

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Going to the Dogs

First off, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all!

Since adding Tessie, our little Cockapoo, to our family in September, I have not been able to get the idea of getting another dog out of my head.

My “first child” was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix (not sure what he was mixed with, but I can tell you that his personality fit the breed standard to a T). It’s the breed I think of every time I think about a dog. I have scoured the web for rescue organizations specializing in Cavaliers, and even emailed the Northeast coordinator of what seems to be the main rescue group and volunteered to be a foster family. She wrote back to say we would not be considered a fit since for “liability reasons” they require no children under 5 in the foster home. I wrote back to ask for clarification on that since Belle will be 5 in February, but it is now a month later and no response. I guess they aren’t hurting for foster homes.

I downloaded the adoption application form from another rescue group but haven’t sent it in yet.

And I look at least 2-3 times a week at the rescues and updates on them at another rescue group’s web site.

I’m now thinking I should wait till at least spring to get serious. Tessie will be a year old in July, and both my kids will be 5 or over (but not over 5!). And spring/summer will be an easier transition to bring a dog into the family. And then of course the whole reason we didn’t get a Cavalier in the first place, which is that both my kids have allergies of sorts (eczema in one, asthma in the other) and I wanted a low/non shed dog (like Obama!) which Cavaliers are not. So I don’t know.

At any rate, I’m thankful for my healthy and beautiful children, our sweet dog, my job, and all my friends and family. And you dear readers!

Wednesday Media Mix

It’s a busy day, so I’m doing a meme – seems like a fun one.

Listen. Watch. Read.

Three questions, one each related to each form of media.

Listen: What was the first format you listened to music on—records, 8-tracks, tapes, CDs? A phonograph? P

Watch: What was the very first TV show you considered a favorite?

Read: Can you think of a book you find to be completely overrated?

My Answers:

Listen. A little tiny record player playing 45’s. Till I was allowed to play LP’s on the family stereo, which was a piece of furniture. But I’ve listened to music on all the formats that have been in existence since I was born, I think.

Watch. I remember loving “The Friendly Giant” as a kindergartner. However, reading that Wiki article brings back exactly zero memories. I seem to have only retained the name of the show and the fact that I liked it. I also loved Mr. Rogers. There certainly weren’t the plethora of children’s shows on in the 60’s that there are today.

Read. The Vampire Chronicles series by Anne Rice. As an avid reader (at least I used to be, pre-kids), I was looking forward to immersing myself in a popular series but I couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters in the first book. Sorry.

A Butcher, A Baker, a Candlestick Maker

Or maybe just a baker.

I’ve been doing a lot of baking lately. I suppose it’s the upcoming holidays that have started me down that path. A few weeks ago we made Apple Crisp from a recipe I found online using the ingredients I happened to have on hand. On Sunday we hosted some friends and I made muffin/cupcakes using a mix – Spice Cake mix with a can of pumpkin mixed in. So not truly from scratch, but with my own lower fat/higher fiber (and dare I say higher taste) spin on them.

And tonight I decided to make banana bread using the four browning bananas we had on the counter.

For this recipe I turned to my old cookbook. This was put out by the League of Women Voters in the town I grew up in – published in 1979. The recipes are mostly simple and often artery clogging to read now, but one of the banana bread recipes in it is the best recipe I’ve ever tried.

1 egg

1 cup sugar

3 mashed bananas (I used 4 since that’s what we had)

1/3 cup oil

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt (I didn’t use)

1/2 tsp vanilla (I rounded up since I love vanilla)

Beat egg, and add sugar. Add oil and bananas, then add dry ingredients and vanilla. Pour into a loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Krystal peeled the bananas and did the bulk of the stirring, while Belle poured in the vanilla. When I asked them if they wanted to lick the bowl, they took me at my word and stuck their tongues in the bowl. I can see I need to be more clear in the future.

Ours is baking right now and I cannot tell you how yummy it smells in here.

Banana bread is on the breakfast menu tomorrow!