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!

Second Date Post Mortem

Regular readers, rejoice! I am about to dissect my second date with Gary, which took place on Saturday night.

As a reminder, this was a charity benefit dinner for a food bank, sponsored by a Boston radio station, with three different musical acts.

I had agonized in the week leading up to Saturday about how we would meet up. I thought about driving someplace to meet and then going in his car, or having him come to my house but not coming in, etc. Finally I told him all this (as he kept saying I needed to send him my address so he’d know where to go), and he totally got that I didn’t want he and my girls to be introduced just yet since, as he put it, “we don’t know what we are yet.” So major points for understanding on that one. Dating is so much more complicated when you have children! We ended up agreeing that he would call when he got to my house, and I would just head out and meet him – no kid/Gary contact.

So he called and I went out to meet him, and…….there was no car in the driveway. Okkkaaay. I called his cell phone and it turns out he was waiting across the street, a few houses up. I watched him turn around and head to me. I should say he is an electrical engineer and relies heavily on his GPS, but GPS can only get you so far – you still have to look at the numbers on the houses – sheesh!  I got in and there was a flower on the seat for me. A calla lily that he hoped was a match for my arrangement from earlier in the week. It was much larger and a bit lighter in color, but the thought was there (and totally unnecessary). And then he said something odd – “I went to them in person for this one – they are sort of “my florist” – very good.” To which I said, “Oh? You send a lot of flowers, do you?” And since I can’t remember what he said, I guess it wasn’t satisfying in either direction.

It was about 6:30 by the time we got to the hotel (it started at 6), and cocktail hour and the silent auction were in full swing. Drinks were uber expensive, and while I offered to pay, he waved me off saying I had babysitter expenses (but he paid $150 for the tickets!). Parking was free though! He kept touching my shoulder when talking to me. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I mean, it wasn’t like I wanted to bat him away, but I wasn’t sure I was excited about it either.

They opened the doors to the room around 7 and it was like a wedding – round tables for 10 all over the place. We found a seat and sat down with a bunch of 20-somethings while we waited for things to get started. At one point he said “Give me your hand”, and so I did and he entwined his fingers in mine to “relax” me. I felt like my hand and arm were not attached to my body. Was not really feeling it. Then we decided to get up and go check out the silent auction stuff since it was too crowded before. We did that, and when we went back in we got in line for the food (which was horrendous, by the way, not that I cared very much) and the woman we got behind was indignant that we were jumping the line and demanded to know which table we were sitting at (way in the back, and we hadn’t been called yet), and we got to bantering back and forth with her and ended up sitting with her and her friend at their table and had a fabulous time just having fun with them. I told them we were on our second date and had met at a speed dating event. They were surprised – they thought we were married!

There was an older (55-60-ish) couple sitting next to us that needed to get a room. Once the meal was over they took turns kissing at each other’s ears and nibbling wherever. At one point during a break between acts he got up and straddled her, spilling her drink with his hips as he swung over her (they didn’t notice till later). It was really pretty bad, but it gave us something to be uncomfortable about together – we decided they must be having an affair with each other.

At another point during a song he took my hand again, and this time I sort of liked it. My heart was pounding like crazy and I got all tingly. When the song was over we clapped, and I decided I didn’t feel comfortable enough to put my hand back on his leg. He certainly could have reached for it again, but he didn’t, which was fine too.

Then we left and had a nice conversation in the car on the way back. I expected him to try to kiss me, but he didn’t. If he had, I would have kissed him but I was just as glad he didn’t. I was surprised (but not disappointed) that he didn’t offer to walk me to the door, but he did wait till I was inside before he drove off. And he has emailed me 5 times and called once since then (he knew we had plans all day yesterday, otherwise it may have been more). However, I didn’t pick up the phone when he called last nigh because he wants to talk for so long every time! And I was sooooooo tired – Saturday night I didn’t get to bed till way later than usual, didn’t sleep well, and between kids and the dog was up way too early.

We have tentative plans to get together the weekend after Thanksgiving (he will be in California with his kids over this coming weekend), but I’m not sure…..he wants to go to a play, which I was at first on board with, but am now thinking I may need something lower key. This thing on Saturday was an “EVENT” that was very expensive and with dressing up and everything. Just a lot of expectations. Maybe just mine, but I’m the one that needs to be persuaded anyway. I’m trying to think of an alternative, casual type thing to do. If the weather were nicer I’d suggest going for ice cream and a walk. So I’m afraid that I’m being all negative and I’m going to poison it unnecessarily. I told my mother yesterday I wasn’t sure the sparks were there and she said, “Isn’t friendship more important than sparks?” and I’ve been thinking a lot about that. And I guess my answer to that is – you definitely need a foundation of friendship, but if you don’t have some sort of spark/chemistry at the beginning, it’s a long road. I want to want to touch him (or whoever) all the time (at least right now anyway!). I want to want him (or whoever) to kiss me. Am I asking for too much? Am I too old to want some sort of physical passion?

Oh, and I stressed out way too much over my outfit. While I definitely looked nice (which he told me several times, in a much nicer way), I could have gotten by with a much more casual outfit too.

And I have a new favorite musical artist – Ingrid Michaelson was the first act. I had never heard of her but she was funny, adorable and mega-talented.

Paula Cole was next and while she was good, she didn’t have the same presence or energy that Ingrid had. Something to put on my wish list!

So in the end, I had a good time, but I can feel myself withdrawing because of my apparent lack of physical attraction for this guy. My friend whose daughter baby sat my kids had this to say about that: The lack of compelling attraction could be for all kind of reasons – first dates in a long while – overly cautious due to past wounds – anxiety – stress – thinking about the kids and how it would complicate your lives.  You know what I mean?  There could be a million things going through your mind almost subconsciously that could get in the way of a natural attraction to anyone right out of the gate.  No?

So, Internets – what say you about that?

November 20 is not Christmas

But tell that to the Christmas Tree vendors who have already set up in our area!

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This sign first appeard on November 20th, but it wasn’t till the 22nd that I was able to remember to bring my camera and snap a photo as I drove past. Yes, I took this while I was driving. And my children were in the car. But I swear I was safe as can be!

I know a lot of folks have a tradition to put up their tree the day after Thanksgiving. I am not one of them (two weeks before seems about right to me), but even if you are, isn’t a full week before Thanksgiving a bit much??

Aye yay yay…..

Making Whoopee

  • Summer mornings
  • Days home sick
  • After School

What do these three things have in common? They represent huge chunks of time I spent watching game shows as a child. We’re talking The Price is Right, $100,000 Pyramid, Match Game, Wheel of Fortune, The Newlywed Game, Jeopardy and even a brief foray into prime time with Who Wants to be a Millionaire only a few short years ago.

I swear I grew up on game shows between doses of I Love Lucy, Mary Tyler Moore and The Flintstones.

I could price out cans of soup and cleansers with every housewife and military man on leave wearing those big ole price tag name tags. Every car prize price always started with a 3 (with 3 digits after). They might still start with a 3, but there are going to be 4 digits after! My how times have changed.

The innuendos in so many of the shows were not lost on me – I knew just what Bob Eubanks was referring to when he would ask some sweet young bride the most unusual place she made whoopee. And Paul Lynde on The Match Game (Hollywood Squares) – the very mention of his name makes me think double entendre.

Got Game Show memories? Share ‘em here and take a walk down memory lane. Since I don’t watch a whole lot of game shows anymore.

This post inspired by Parent Bloggers Network and Oliebollen.com, which is sponsoring an Armchair Sweep of their site. Pretty cool!