Monthly Archives: January 2009

Where is Everybody?

Where is everybody? Including me, I should add.

I have about 25 blogs in my reader – some of them are on the blogroll, but some are newer that I just haven’t added yet (sorry – I will, I promise!). But it seems most of the blogs I read have been mysteriously quiet these last few weeks. I feel like I’ve gone quiet lately too – after posting everyday in November for NaBloPoMo, and being so inspired that I posted much more than I exected in December, January is feeling a little barren for me, and apparently for everyone else.

Some things to come back to:

  • My girls’ birthday party is today. Actually, I’m having some stress about whether it will actually happen, due to the fact I booked it online in October and that’s the last contact I’ve had with them. Since we have 22 kids coming I’m starting to really stress about it. I’ll find out, one way or the other, in a few hours!
  • I had a post in draft form about  my ex, and he is here this weekend (at Krystal’s request) for the party. The four of us had dinner last night, at his suggestion. And he’s going to do some work on my house today. The post will have to be reworked, or possibly abandoned, after this weekend. (Don’t worry, he’s still an ex – that’s not the direction I’m going here!)
  • Belle – so  much to say about her. I don’t post much about it here because I don’t know how to do it and still feel good about it. But I really should – maybe writing about it will help, and possibly one or more of you have ideas.
  • Rumor has it: This Tuesday (Feb 3) my company will be issuing another round of layoffs (rumors in the past have been astonishingly accurate, so I’m reporting this as fact, pretty much). While I obviously am not wishing to be one of them, a tiny piece of me sees it as a possible push to make a positive change for us. Too bad about the money thing!
  • Speaking of money, I just enrolled Krystal and Belle in the local YMCA camp that Krystal has attended the last two summers. Last summer I was less thrilled than I had been the year before, but I’m giving them another year for two big reasons: 1) they offered free pre and post child care (the camp itself runs from 9-4, and my work hours are longer than that) if you pay in full by Feb 1, and 2) it will be such a relief to finally have both kids in one location for drop-off/pick-up….oh, and 3) I’m saving almost $100 a week over the day care that Belle has been at – she’s finally old enough to attend the YMCA camp. So it cost me a lot up front, but in the end I’m saving about $500 with the free pre/post care (for both kids) and of course the $800+ that I’m not spending on Belle’s summer. But she’ll be back to the usual school for private Kindergarten in the fall, since my town only offers half day Kindergarten. Unless I lose my job, then who knows what we’ll do?

So much for quiet, eh?


Your Word is “Fearless”

You see life as your one chance to experience everything, and you just go for it!

You believe the biggest risk is being afraid and missing out on something amazing.

Sometimes your fearlessness means you’re daring. You enjoy risky activities.

And sometimes your fearlessness means you’re courageous. You’re brave enough to do the right thing, even when it’s scary.

Fun quiz, take the results with a grain of salt, size of which will depend on your relative agreement with resulting word.

Laying Off the Crap

I constantly struggle with weight issues. Much of this struggle is not visible to others: my BMI is in the healthy range (barely) and I am in decent shape (not as good as I was 6 months ago though!).  But struggle I do. For starters, I have a mammoth sweet tooth and an unnatural relationship with ice cream. So unnatural that I have had to stop buying it. Too many times I have gone through a whole container which supposedly has 14 servings (does anyone ever eat just a half cup of ice cream at a time!?!?) in less than 36 hours.

While I was married I put on quite a lot of weight. I was literally using food as a substitute for love, though I didn’t really realize this till later. After my divorce I joined Weight Watchers and lost it, and looked and felt great.I honestly don’t think I’d have had the mental or emotional “room” to lose that weight inside that marriage. Had we stayed married I feel sure I would have continued to pack on the pounds.

Now I find the weight creeping up again, and I am aware of two things. One, I am again using food as a source of love. And two, I’m feeding that need for love with too much crap.

And so, I need to lay off the crap. I need to stop reaching for another piece of chocolate just because the first (or second, or third, or…) is gone, or because I’m bored, or lonely, or frustrated, or…..When I feel the urge to eat “just because” I need to find another activity to feed that need. Not all needs can be fed with food.


In Which I Go On Way Too Long About Glasses

I’m over 40. Actually, I’m 45, with a birthday looming in less than 3 months, which puts me quite firmly into my “mid-40’s”, much to my amazement.

And, as so often happens to those of us of a certain age, I’ve been wearing glasses, just when working on the computer or for reading, for the last few years.

I had sticker shock when I got my first pair – I forget exactly how much they were, but I want to say they were around $150, maybe more. I found out later that you can buy reading glasses for a couple of dollars at any drug store, and I did pick up a few pair that I keep at various places (work office, home office, bedside table, etc). But I have to say that I was never as happy with the cheapo ones, and I’m still wearing that original pair.

Then I found out about Zenni Optical, and when it was mid- December and I still had a bunch of money to burn through for my flexible spending health care account, I decided it was time for some new glasses. (Seriously, if you wear glasses and have not heard of this company, you really need to check them out.)

I placed the order, using the prescription from my last eye exam (from a year ago, that I never filled), on December 23rd. I ordered three pair: two pair of progressive lenses in different frame styles, and a pair of reading glasses. Total for the three was $99.85 (including shipping). I understand progressive lenses at a typical optometrist can cost upwards of $500 for one pair. Anyway, I got an email from them the following day asking some questions about my order — it seems I had entered some of the information incorrectly. But I was impressed to be asked and the care they took in educating me also.

The glasses arrived last Saturday (about 3 weeks, which included 2 major holidays). They each arrived in their own case, with a nice cleaning cloth for each pair. I excitedly tried them on. I love the reading glasses – I’m wearing them right now as I type this!

But I’m hoping anyone who wears progressive lenses can help me figure out what I’m doing wrong. I can tell that they are indeed “progressive”, with different viewing experiences as I move my eyes up and down. But maybe I don’t look down enough when working on the computer? I thought I’d like them so as to avoid taking my glasses off or peering over the tops of them when someone came into my cube at work or one of the kids calls to me at home. But the reality is…..they’re kind of a pain and not that easy to see with. Am I doing something wrong? Am I not a good candidate for progressives? Please, someone diagnose me without ever having met me or examining my eyes or viewing tendencies!

Causes for Celebration

Today, January 20th, is a historic day for our nation:


(Yes, I am a total geek to have taken a photograph of a television image, clearly.)

I cannot ever remember watching a presidential inauguration before, but I specifically worked from home today so I could watch this one. Which is also a big deal, since while I work from home a lot, I do not have the TV on while I’m working. I am excited about what electing Obama means to our country, but I’m more excited to see what the next four years bring. I know there aren’t going to be any magical changes – that would be unreasonable. I think more than anything, I’m excited because we’ve taken the first real step in fulfilling that cliche: anyone can be president. When my kids are voting in their first election, I hope we don’t even talk about the color of a candidate’s skin, gender or religion. That would be a real cause for celebration. Because we’d finally be looking at the content of a person’s character. Period.

But today is also a day of celebration in our home:


Today is Krystal’s 8th birthday, and she’s wearing her “Birthday Girl” button here in the car outside her school. I dropped her off today so I could help  bring in the box of snowman pretzels to share with her class. We did most of our celebrating yesterday, but she opened gifts from me at breakfast and there are more gifts here from my mother and step-mother for her to open tonight. I wasn’t there on the day of her birth – I didn’t even see her picture until her first birthday had already passsed. But a birthday gives us a chance to celebrate a person we love, to relish in their being here another year. I also think about Krystal’s birth mother, and wonder if she’s thinking of her missing daughter today.

So even if you don’t feel like celebrating anything presidential today, I invite you to celebrate Krystal’s birthday with us, wherever you may be!

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Just a quick update on the dog sleeping arrangements. Since Tessie’s spay operation a week ago, I have been letting her sleep on my bed, so as to keep a closer tab on her stitch-licking proclivities. I was surprised after the first night when she slept the full night through, instead of clamoring to go out in the middle of the night. Was it a fluke?

Well, it’s been 7 nights now, and while she has gotten up twice (once after falling out of bed and waking us both up), the other 5 nights she has slept till it was actualy time to get up. Hallelujah!

While I’d prefer she sleep on a pillow or dog bed next to my bed, I’m thrilled to be getting (more or less) a full night’s sleep. Whatever works, right?

Oh, Snow!

This is what we’ve been up to today – eight (or so) new inches.

The deck:


The front yard:


And of course, the dog:

100_1947 100_1951

The snow stopped falling around 2 pm, and I headed outside to start shoveling the driveway. I had barely gotten the shovel wet when my snowblower-yielding neighbor strolled on over and took care of business, for the third time this season. One day he did it and I didn’t know until I looked outside! I call him my snowblower fairy. Anyway, he cleared the driveway in about 10 minutes, when it would have taken me probably an hour or more. I love having neighbors!

Krystal says she is feeling much better, and the fever seems to have dissipated. Which is good, since she and I have a full day planned tomorrow; she and I are both off from work/school and she’s been keeping a list of things she wants to do. I did tell her we probably wouldn’t be able to do everything, but if we had a list to look at, we could be sure to do some things she really wants to do. One must do is to make a platoon of snowman pretzels for her birthday at school, but some other activities on her list are: shopping (she has received several gift cards for Christmas/birthday that are burning a hole in her pocket), ice skating, a manicure (yeah, right!), and three different movie titles (maybe we’ll pick one). I’m looking forward to some one-on-one time with her.

Random Weekend Thoughts

I’m not feeling up to a coherent post, but have a bunch of thoughts running through my head:

  • We watched Akeelah and the Bee today – what a great movie! I clapped in glee several times, and was reduced to tears several more. I had to stop it a few times to explain some of the subtler points to Krystal, but we all enjoyed it very much. If you have not seen it yet I highly recommend it!
  • Krystal has been complaining vaguely of a sore throat for several weeks. Because she has not otherwise seemed ill, I’ve mostly brushed it off. On Thursday she complained more vociferously than usual about not feeling well (this is a frequent morning tactic, but she always forgets/feels better once she’s started to do something). I told her to go to school, but if she still felt bad she could go to the nurse who would call me. Well, about 11:00 the nurse called. She didn’t have a fever, but was not feeling well. I took her home, where she got a burst of energy, and even admitted she wished she were still at school. Until bedtime rolled around and she had a slight fever. And then the next morning when it was a high fever. Mama called the doctor and the doctor said (no, there was no jumping on beds) — her throat looked quite “injected” even though the rapid strep test came back negative. But based on the visual evidence and the weeks long complaint, Krystal is now on Amoxocillin twice a day for 10 days, which is a whole post in and of itself. Maybe tomorrow.
  • As I’ve mentioned before, I used to own a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (mutt) and have never gotten over my lust for another. After we got Tessie I applied to a Cavalier Rescue group, and I check their site frequently for dogs that we might want to adopt. Many of the dogs that appear on the site specifically say they should go to an adult only home, or one with kids over age 8 or 10, or 12. But on Thursday I spotted one with none of those specifications, who sounds delightful in nearly every way. I’m trying to decide whether to call and ask about him, or if I’m a glutton for punishment with adding a second dog to my already-out-of-control life.
  • I went out, without my kids, on Friday night! Wahoo! And left my child, who had been home sick that day, in the care of our teenage sitter. And Krystal called me from bed, unbeknown to the sitter, to ask me to come home. Major guilt.
  • It was -13 when I got up yesterday morning. Brrrr is hardly the word for it.
  • We are supposed to get 5-10 inches of new snow tomorrow. I am so depressed about that I can hardly stand it.
  • My girls’ birthday party is next Saturday. I have no idea how I’m going to get everything done I need to get done before then.
  • I’m starting to really worry, in ways I haven’t yet before, about the future of my job.

OK, that is all for now – off to enjoy a glass of wine and catch up on some TV.

I just realized the girls’ party isn’t for two weeks, so I both have longer to get everything done, and longer to worry about it. Hey, I’ll take it!

These are the kinds of snowmen I can deal with

I hate winter. I hate cold, I hate snow, I hate all the bundling up you have to do because of the aforementioned. I hate how dark it gets so early in the evening (which admittedly is less winter’s fault, and more TPTB re: daylight savings).

But when Belle’s special snack day rolled around this week, I went hunting for a fun, winter snack to bring. And I found this in Family Fun magazine:0707_crunchysnowmen

Pretty cute, huh?

I procrastinated making them, and didn’t get started til after the girls went to bed on Monday night (snack day was Tuesday). I made 24 of them, and it took two hours, but here they are:


They don’t quiiiiite match the photo from the magazine, do they? But I must admit I thought they came out pretty well, all things considered. I didn’t have anything to use to make the noses out of, so I told Belle the snowmen are so cold that their scarves are covering their noses. She thought that was just fine! And yeah, I know part of the idea of a child bringing in a special snack is to help make it, but that was just not happening.

Krystal’s birthday is next week and she wants to bring them to share with her class. Guess what she and I will be doing on Monday (during the day!)?

Belle’s birthday is the day after Valentine’s Day. Can you say store-bought cupcakes?

Both Mothers

When I adopted Krystal she was just over a year old, and any speaking she did was toddler Chinese, which I couldn’t understand, and of course my English was just as foreign to her. She received speech therapy for a few months due to her receptive language skills (which was totally understandable), but that quickly improved and her therapist (and I) became more concerned with her expressive language.

We moved out of state when Krystal was 20 months old, and she had to be re-evaluated in our new state. They said she was right on track, but I’ve always had concerns. Each year and each new teacher I’ve brought it up, and each time they say, “Give her time.” And I’ve done that. We moved back when she was four, and I called the school to have a speech evaluation done again. The packet they sent me to fill out had guidelines for speech milestones. After reading it through, I never even sent it in, since the issues I was concerned about were considered still normal for her age, even though I didn’t notice it in any of her classmates.

Last year, in first grade, I requested an evaluation by the school’s speech therapist, who agreed she had some articulation issues, but they weren’t bad enough for her to get in-school services. She gave us some exercises to do at home, and by the end of the year she was saying her “sh” sounds properly.

This year, in second grade, her “r” sounds are the problem. They are so bad I sometimes don’t know what she is trying to say. Some people have tried to pass it off as an accent, but I can assure you it is not. She says “girl” as “gull”, for instance, and even the most entrenched Bostonian doesn’t go that far. We met again with the speech therapist at school, and we got the same message – yes, she has some issues, and here are some exercises you can do at home. I must confess we haven’t been as diligent with the exercises, and I will take most of the blame.

Last week she did a drawing at school of what her birth mother might look like, and a companion drawing of herself. I love that they look alike, except for ponytails in her own hair (even though she is not wearing her hair this way right now) and told her so.

20090109_kbirthmotherdrawing1 20090109_kselfwbirthmotherdraw1

Notice her spelling of “birth”? Still think it’s an accent problem?