Saturday, December 27, 2008

short, sweet, to-the-point, and no pictures

Chip arrived here on Christmas Eve. There was more than one of us that cried, we were all so happy to see him!

There are pictures to come, as well as a report on Alice's newest doings (namely, Pulling Up and Real True Hands and Knees Crawling and Clapping). But right now we're doing our best to enjoy these precious few days together as a family before the three of us jump in the car to do the long trek home.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

the laws of cream: my thoughts

So there you have it, my dear internets. The Laws of Cream, in all their glory: Intro, Law 1, Law 2, Law 3, Law 3A, and Law 4.

I'm an odd one, I know, but can I tell you how HAPPY I am that the Laws of Cream are out there in the ether, for all to see? Bring on the CREAMIES, I tell you! I should also thank The Wife, luminous and always wonderful, who FOUND the Laws of Cream in some deep dark archive and resurrected them for me to publish here. Thank you, my friend, you're the bestest.

The cool thing about the whole concept of CREAM, is that it's such a great meefee (MFE: metaphor for everything, another little vocabulary tidbit I'm dropping in here for you). And there are different levels of cream-- for instance, in case you wondered, my husband is CHOCOLATE MILK. And I know quite a few whipped creamies. And different kinds of ice creamies. You get the idea.

Cream is out there, for you to discover, for you to know. And I love the fact that I've met so many other creamy folk through this blog. So happy Christmas to all of you lovely lovely folks.

Enjoy the day. Remember why we're celebrating it. Spread love and joy and cheer and know that we're all here to help each other.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

an interruption; all i want for christmas is...


Why is this all I want for Christmas? Because Alice and I are currently enveloped in the love, warmth, and SNOW that is Utah and my parents' house. Because Chip is NOT here with us. He is Elsewhere, making his way HERE. Because he just might not make it HERE due to snow and ice and other nasty weather conditions that make travel nigh near impossible. Or impassable, as the case may be here.

Chip is driving, accompanied by my very-much-missed laptop-- traveling through the wildlands of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and eventually - eventually UTAH. We don't know if he's going to make it in time, but I can hope and hope and hope....

So I've been husbandless and laptopless, which is why you really haven't heard much from me except for these here Laws of Cream, which I dutifully wrote and scheduled before we left Seattle last week. Tricksy, I know! Am sitting on dad's computer right now as he holds The Creamiest Little Girl in the World on his lap. She is thoroughly enjoying all the attention.

Now let's get a little interaction going, my friends, because I MISS you. So tell me what type of cream you deem yourself to be. And if I hear any of you saying that you're cottage cheese, there will be TROUBLE. And perhaps, if you play your cards right, an INTERVENTION.

the laws of cream: #4 The Cottage Cheese Principle

Whatever. Read the intro, Law #1, Law #2, Law #3, Law #3A before you go on.

4. The Cottage Cheese Principle

Cottage cheese is cream gone MAD. A cottage cheese person is someone who has simply forgotten their creaminess and all that it entails. They find themselves inexplicably dating orange juice or other juice products - and even going so far as to hang out in their aisle at the grocery store. It goes further when they fail to recognize other creamy people. While this usually is merely a stage before they lose all creaminess entirely - in rare instances they can be saved. Through an intensive process involving a lot of creamy activity, the whey can be drained away to reveal a nice creamy lump of cheese.

Monday, December 22, 2008

the laws of cream: #3A The Orange Julius Clause

Are you really tuning in NOW, after missing the introduction, the first law, the second law, AND the third law? I'm not sure there is any hope for you. If, however, you're all up to speed on The Laws of Cream, read on...

3A. The Orange Julius Clause

The Supreme and Creamy Whimsy has been made aware that there is a very rare, very strange, very inexplicable and (let's put even more emphasis on this:) RARE occurrence when cream and orange juice somehow meld to create something interesting-- let's call it the Orange Julius Effect and know that it's out there. But it's so freakishly rare (there's that word again) that we can't be sure it has ever even happened. Just know that we are ever so slightly open to the fact that yes, on some very spare occasions, cream and OJ can be friends. It's just really weird. Remember: creamsicles aren't for everyone.

Tune in tomorrow for the final law (at this point, at least): Law #4: The Cottage Cheese Principle

Saturday, December 20, 2008

the laws of cream: #3 Unmixy Things

If you're just tuning in now, read the introduction, the first law, and the second law. Much more understandable that way.

3. Unmixy Things

Orange juice and cream do not mix. DO NOT MIX. DO. NOT. MIX. Do I need to say this any other way? We can all coexist in the supermarket refrigerator aisle, happy to be kept cool and frosty, but we really don't taste good together. We can even hang out on the same table, and enjoy breakfast-- each offering our own contributions. But remember: you are not orange juice; they are not cream.

Tune in Monday for Law #3A: The Orange Julius Clause

Friday, December 19, 2008

the laws of cream: #2 Something About Orange Juice

If you're just tuning in now, read the introduction and the first law - it'll make a lot more sense.

2. Something About Orange Juice

Orange Juice is lovely, but it is NOT CREAMY. There are a lot of perfectly wonderful people in the world who are not creamy. They don't have an ounce of dairy in them. They are orange juice. They might even appear to be creamy, but in actuality they are CALCIUM-ENRICHED ORANGE JUICE. Maybe even with some extra pulp. But do I need to say this again? THEY ARE NOT CREAMY. Most of these orange juicers don't know about cream. They don't care about cream. They don't even want to BE cream (hard to believe, I know). Remember, some people in this world are cursed to be lactose intolerant. And while we may not understand their aversion to us, we must soldier on. Minions, let them live their cream-less lives. Do not fret over it. But if, say, some unnamed boy finds himself ATTRACTED TO ORANGE JUICE, see Law #1: Cream Knows Cream, and don't worry about it. Move on.

Tune in tomorrow for Law #3: Unmixy Things

Thursday, December 18, 2008

the laws of cream: #1 Cream Knows Cream

If you're just tuning in now, read the introduction first. It'll make a lot more sense.

1. Cream Knows Cream

We recognize each other, even from a distance. There are some people who may not know the actual term for what they are (creamy), but inevitably they know there's something a little different about them in comparison to most of the non-creamy world. Don't forget this one, as it will bring you much solace when you're feeling like you're invisible. CREAM KNOWS CREAM. If there's someone in the same room that's creamy, they will inevitably recognize your butter fat. And if they don't? IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO CONVINCE THEM THAT YOU'RE CREAMY. And if you start feeling like you DO need to try to explain this to someone, or to give them reasons why you're so great, GET THEE HENCE, AND SEEK OUT SOME MINIONS, WHO WILL PROMPTLY PUMMEL YOU ABOUT THE HEAD UNTIL YOU ACQUIESCE.

Tune in tomorrow for Law #2: Something About Orange Juice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the laws of cream: an introduction

Once upon a time, I had me some Minions. Oh dude, if you've never had Minions, you definitely need to try it, because a nice posse of Minions is FANTASTIC. We were one glorious group of weird folks and we had a lot of fun together: group birthday party (how is it POSSIBLE that we were all born in JANUARY?), loud restaurant get-togethers, odd and strangely hilarious late-night outings to Target, numerous movie adventures (with ACTION FIGURES, OH MY WORD)... anyway we're all spread across the country now. In most cases, I'm happy to say that they're still my Minions, even if they're so far away.

My Minions... they are astounding women. Women of character. Women of strength. Women of tremendous humor. Women who kick some serious trash. And yet... isn't it funny how the world tends to beat these fabulous people down? The world doesn't recognize their greatness. Or if it does, it responds to their super powers with fear. These women, these Minions, they're CREAMY. Rich in depth and tenacity and truth and art.

I wrote these laws for my Minions. Because everyone needs a reminder to never compromise true beauty.

Tune in tomorrow for Law #1: Cream Knows Cream.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

v is for vocabulary

Everyone has it: a personal vocabulary that makes the conversations you have so precisely yours. Words you've made up, words you've changed, words that have different meanings--- so much so that a person on the outside just wouldn't get it.

I want to hear about some of your personal vocabulary, and I'll tell you a little bit about mine. Over the next few days, I'll be posting something momentous: The Laws of Cream. It's momentous because they are the whole reason this blog is called The Creamery. They quite literally define how I relate to the world.

But for starters, let's hear from you. Tell me about some of your personal vocab: words or phrases that you use, and what they mean.

Monday, December 15, 2008

notes from under water

Friday, 4pm
Out the door, on the way to church to decorate for the Christmas breakfast
Wearing cute mary jane Crocs. A little bit slippery in the garage. Perhaps they aren't the right footwear for winter, but there isn't a lot of time to change.

Friday, 4:20pm
In the kitchen at the church, unloading the car to decorate for the Christmas breakfast
Have taken a royal spill on the slippery kitchen floor: hit head on refridgerator and banged up foot on a rolling kitchen cart. The Crocs were a bad idea.

Friday, 8:00pm
Coming in from the garage, after decorating the church for the Christmas breakfast
Another tumble on the garage floor, nearly doing the splits: have banged up and bloodied knee. Conclusion: clearly not winter shoes.

Friday, 8:30pm
Putting Bean to bed
She appears to be sniffling a lot - maybe she's gotten the cold I've been wrestling.

Friday, 9:00pm
Settling Bean back to bed
Hmmm she's not breathing very well. I'm thinking she has the cold I've been wrestling.

Friday, 10:00pm
Settling Bean back to bed. Again.
There is snot. A lot of snot. She definitely has the cold I've been wrestling.

Friday, 11:30pm
Picking a crying Bean up out of her crib and waking Chip to get the humidifier
No question: it's the cold.

Friday, 11:50pm
Putting a restless Bean back into her crib as Chip lugs the humidifier into Bean's room
Whimsy (whispers): Did you fill it up with the right amount of water?
Chip (whispers back): Yes. (Puts humidifier on floor and plugs it into the nearby power strip)
Whimsy (whispers): Did you plug it in?
Chip (louder whisper): Yes.
Whimsy (louder whisper): I don't see a light! There's supposed to be some kind of light! Did you read the directions?
Chip (louder whisper): OF COURSE I READ THE DIRECTIONS.
Whimsy (even louder whisper): THEN WHERE'S THE LIGHT?
Chip (shrugs, leaves room)
Whimsy (scratches head, stares at humidifier, fusses with it because she notices that it is not emitting any steam)

Friday, 12:00am
Whimsy continues to fuss with the humidifier (quietly) and then walks into master bedroom to find Chip
Whimsy (not whispering): It would help if the power strip was ON.
Chip: Oh.

Friday, 12:05am
Loud cry from Bean, Whimsy and Chip go into her room to find her still struggling to breathe, the humidifier is (STILL) not working
Whimsy (no whisper in sight): Why don't you hold Alice and I'll figure this stupid thing out.
Chip (grabs Alice): Sounds good.
Alice: (wimper)
Humidifier: (obstinant silence) At least my light is on, dudes.

Friday, 12:35am
Whimsy reads the instructions and figures out the problem
Whimsy (to Chip): Um, it needed more water. And salt.
Chip: Salt? Really?
Whimsy: Yes, salt. And that eucalyptus stuff we add to the water.
Humidifier: (gurgles happily)

Friday, 1:00am
Alice is still crying. Now in the master bedroom where we are trying to have her sleep with us.
Whimsy: Maybe we need to use the bogey sucker.
Chip: Good idea. I'll hold baby, you do the sucking.
Whimsy: Ha ha. (grabs bogey sucker)
Bogey sucker: Suck suck suck

Friday, 1:15am
Still crying.
Chip: She has quite a set of pipes on her, this one.
Whimsy: You're telling me.

Friday, 1:30am
Master bedroom, Chip has left the room to get a glass of water
Whimsy, to Alice: Maybe you just need to be in my arms. Every time we put you down, you cry. Let's just lay here on the bed on my pillow with you in my arms. How's that?
Alice: Wahh! Huh? Hmmm. Okay, maybe this is alright.
Whimsy's neck: What are you doing to me, woman?

Friday, 1:35am
Master bedroom, Chip walks back into room to find Alice asleep in Whimsy's arms
Chip: (smiles)
Alice: (snores)
Whimsy: (WIDE AWAKE)

Friday, 1:50am, 2:20am, 2:40am, 3:00am, 3:15am, 4:00am, 4:10am, 4:15am, 5:00am
Master bedroom
Chip: (snore)
Alice: (wimper, move, turn, snort, wimper, struggle)
Whimsy: (WIDE AWAKE)

Friday, 5:05am
Master bedroom
Chip: (snore)
Alice: (snore)
Whimsy: (snore)

Friday, 5:30am
Master bedroom
Whimsy's phone which is moonlighting as an alarm clock: VIBRATE VIBRATE VIBRATE
Whimsy: Oh dude. We have to get up for the Christmas breakfast.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

on making things: a note to myself

Dear Self,

Don't make it. Just don't. The exact color scheme you're dreaming of in a fabric? It doesn't exist. And even if it does, it will require you to buy 4,323 other bits of fabric, oddments, accessories, and pom-poms to get the look you're going for. And once you get home with the largish bag of items to make the 4-inch-square doodad you're imagining? You will realize that you just spent $77 for something that was going to cost you $30 (plus shipping).

Let's not even start on the amount of work you need to do to transform the pile of scraps that is sitting on your worktable into something serviceable. Remember, there are fourteen other projects hiding under the worktable that also need your attention. Projects that were only going to take "a minute". A minute = 2 months, give or take a week. Projects take time. And energy. Things that you have in short supply right now.

Self, I'm not kidding. Don't make the thing. Be happy with the approximation you found at the store. Know that you'll be able to use it immediately upon opening! That you won't be waiting to wear it in the spring (when it was supposed to be for the winter) or that Alice will be able to enjoy it thoroughly while she still can. At the rate you're going, she's going to be driving a car by the time you're finished.

I know you have mad skills, self. You do! And most times your little creations come out looking fantastic. But seriously, you need to make room for the 1 in 3 times when the end result is a little... less than savory. Because it really does happen: the thing you've been thinking about in that noggin of yours materializes as... something else. Something that you'll never be happy with. Something that looks goofy. Something that doesn't work all that well. I know you think you can fix it. I know you think that just one more trip to the fabric store is the answer. But you know as well as I do that once is never enough. That the second trip leads to the third which leads to the fourth and before you know it you're working on the World's Most Expensive Flimflam. And it's six months later and the one you could have bought in the first place is on sale. For half off. With free shipping.

Just go buy it instead and we'll all be happier.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

there's one every year

I'm taking nominations for Most Annoying Holiday TV Commercial. My vote goes to the Hallmark singing cards one with the lady that follows her toddler around the house trying to get him to say Merry Christmas. Mostly he just babbles and walks away. At the end of the commercial, the card has been sent to some grand parents and they open it to hear a little song and then this voice (and this is the part that kills me) saying some version of "Merry Christmas". This voice? Does not belong to the kid. You can tell it doesn't belong to the kid. IT DOESN'T BELONG TO ANY KID. IT'S, LIKE, SOME STUPID CARTOON VERSION OF SOME FORTY-YEAR-OLD WOMAN TRYING TO SOUND LIKE A KID. A KID WHO CAN'T SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS. I hate this commercial so much. And yet I watch it every time it comes on: waiting to hear the crappy fake voice. It's the Holiday Train Wreck Commercial of 2008.

So that's my nomination. What's yours?

Friday, December 5, 2008

a day in the life

Chip has been out of town on business all week long. And Alice is a little bit weary of me. I woke her yesterday morning with the promise of a photo documentary of our day! Doesn't that sound exciting!

Morning wakefullness - hanging out in crib while Momma runs around for a couple of minutes (laundry, pee, brush teeth, get dressed...that would be Momma running around; Alice is too cute to do laundry, pees in a diaper, doesn't have teeth to brush, but does have a personal manservant to dress her each day.)

Pose for requested modeling of hats. (During breakfast - oh the humanity!) And yes, this is a different one than was posted on Wednesday.

Miss Alice deigns us worthy of a smile.

Morning nap time: cats included.

AWAKE from morning nap and doing our best to make ourselves known to the cats. Do you think Fergus is aware of Alice? Yes, I do too.

The illusive Profile Shot.

More posing for pictures. There is hunger growing.

But not enough to preclude a smile.

There was another nap in between this part... I make a bad photo documentarian. But I do make for a wonderful Baby Toy Fashion Editor. Look at all those hat-wearing cuties!

Fine. So Alice could have cared less, but I thought they looked smashing. Check out Piggy sporting the egg separator, and Teddy with the 1/4 cup measuring cup. Tres chic!

Our favorite part of the evening: the pre-bedtime snack (Cheerios!).

Pre-bathtime wrestling match.

Tired girl.

Oscar, the bath-loving octopus.

Pink ice cream cone, freshly washed.

Last bottle. Good night...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

yes this post contains yet another question

Well aren't you all just the sweetest, helping me out in my Great Toy Search. Sounds like a sorting thingy, stacking thingy, and a ball are the clear winners. Now I'm faced with which ONE. (Let's insert an aside here to explain to you that I am, um, a wee bit particular about a toy's, um, aesthetics. Let's just say that I'm not a fan of Ugly Things. So it makes the toy shopping very interesting. And also tricksy.) On another note: the idea from Kristen was also brilliant, with the box and the random household stuff... exactly up Bean's aisle.

Inadvertently, this week has turned into Questions Week at The Creamery. Every post I've had questions for y'all. (Well, every post except for my Mad Rant on Tuesday evening because THE PIANO-PLAYING, IT WOULD NOT STOP. Though I really do need to write a post about that guy. I have some seriously funny stories.) Ahem.

Anyway. Today I want to know about blogs. What makes you visit a particular blog? And what makes you go back? And even further - what then inspires you to start commenting on the blog? I'm just so darn curious about it.

I don't have a blog roll over there on the right for a few reasons. One, I think I read a healthy number of blogs (healthy meaning A LOT OF THEM), and I'm a little embarrassed over the sheer number of them. Two, I wouldn't know how to sort them if I did list them: alphabetically? chronologically? by association? And three, even if I did actually list them all and then figure out how to sort them on the page, I just know I'd forget one or two or five and I'd feel bad. Like they didn't get a Christmas card (NOW DON'T GO FEELING BAD - I DON'T SEND CHRISTMAS CARDS BECAUSE I AM LAZY). Anyway: I don't have a 'roll.

Lately I've taken to visiting blogs in the order I have them in my Favorites list, but even that method is flawed because I miss some dearly loved blogs depending on which computer I'm on (laptop or desktop - don't have the same Favs list and I'm just too L-A-Z-Y to make them the same).

But we weren't really talking about my weird blog visiting habits, were we? We were talking about WHY we visit certain blogs, and WHY we return to some again and again, and then WHY we actually start commenting. I guess for me, the answer is about feeling inspired, or entertained, or connected. It's got to be one of those three (and if I'm lucky, more than one of three). I'll sort of skim a blog for a while, see if it catches my attention - and when I find that I've gone there a few times, or find that I just can't leave, I know it's destined to become (yet another) Favorite.

As for why I am compelled to comment - I'm not a frequent commenter. I should say that now so you aren't thinking I DON'T HEAR FROM YOU THAT OFTEN, MS. WHIMSY. Rest assured that I visit. I do. I just... well, I do comment whenever I can. I used to comment all the time, because I know how much I love the comments, and figure that other people feel the same way. These days, however, I'm literally standing at the kitchen table reading for 2 minutes before Alice comes over and rams my toes repeatedly with Speedracer (read: walker) to let me know that I am summoned to Play. So there's that. The other reason is that I can't be witty on command. And I so want to be Witty Whimsy. But I'm not. When I come up with a real winner (at least in my book), you can bet that I'm frantically typing a comment. Other times, I want to just let the blogger know that I understand, or I have a similar thought, or Hey, That's Funny. Every once in a while I'll get a comment or an email back because of a comment, and it always makes me feel good. (And just so you know, I am not tech savvy or blogger savvy or whatever enough to understand the whole emailing-back thing based on a comment, so again: I LOVE your comments, but you probably won't ever get a bloggy thank you note from me). Wow, I'm coming off as a real Winner here, aren't I?

Anyway, I try to keep things fairly rooted (read: mired in, drowning in, souped up to the gills in) reality around here. Those are the blogs that I love the most: the ones that tell me about someone's life and thoughts and dreams without putting on a foggy/fuzzy filter.

What about you?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

i got tired of looking at the fabric

For the last looooong while I have returned to knitting (it's the colder weather, I tell you). I haven't done a lot of sewing - though I have plans for that, too, if only I could sprout a few more pairs of arms.

Speaking of which - there's an air freshener commercial that has a cartoon octopus housewife talking about how important it is to have a clean and good-smelling house, and dude every time I see it, I envy that creature her eight arms. I could just get so much done
if I had an extra set!


Barring any sort of extra-arm-having, I've been knitting. More hats (hence the photos). I am also working on a sweater for Bean. She might be in college by the time I finish it, but gosh darn it, I want to make her a sweater!

I'm now going to end this and go back to knitting. (And if I had an extra set of arms you just know that I'd stay here with you a while longer. Sigh.)

using the internet for good

That would be for MY OWN good, thank you. Alice is (nearly) nine-months-old. She'll be (nearly) ten-months-old at Christmas time (you: gee, Whimsy, you're good at math!). Alice is not going to remember this Christmas. It is a Photo Opportunity, pretty much. And will be a good time for my parents and us, naturally, because, duh: Alice's First Christmas.

I want to have a few presents for her, and they will mostly be practical things that she needs already: sleepers, a heavier coat, some onesies. Beyond these basic things, though, I'd like to get her one or two toys. Things that she'll enjoy and use for a while... So here's my conundrum: I don't know what to get her. She's at a tricky age that makes a trek down the baby gadget aisle a lot less fruitful. I can't get her a rattle or a chew toy (dude it sounds like I'm picking out rawhide doggie treats for my kid) or a set of plastic keys. Heaven help us, I'm contemplating actually perusing the TOY AISLES and the mere idea of it is giving me hives. I need IDEAS, people.

My criteria:
- I don't want to spend a lot of money, I'm aiming for middle range. Think affordable.
- We don't have a ton of room for bulky items: so unless an ACTIVITY TABLE is, like, accompanied by a choir of angels and heavenly music, I don't see us investing in one. Think respectably portable.
- My hope (is this insanity?) is that we can get her a couple of toys that she'll be interested in for longer than 5 minutes or even 2 months. Think longevity.

So there you have it, my crazy desire to buy my daughter a couple of toys that she'll like for a while, that will not break the bank, that will not crowd us out of house and home, and will not drive me batty.

I have considered some kind of stacking toy (those colorful ring things) or some kind of shape sorter or those ball things with little things inside them (read: the things with the things that do the thingy thing...).

Help me, internets. Any ideas? Stuff that your kids or nieces or nephews have loved? Something you think would just rock Alice's world (more than the measuring cups she's currently in love with)?


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

this just in

I might KILL our next door neighbor. Because we live in a townhouse, we share a wall with the dude. The hairy, recumbent bike-riding, shorts-wearing, very untamed beard-having, PIANO-PLAYING dude. Note the emphasis on PIANO PLAYING. The wall we share? Is our living room wall. Is the wall he so helpfully has his GRAND PIANO next to. Is the very-effective sound-carrying wall directly below Alice's room. AND ALICE IS SLEEPING RIGHT NOW. But I'm afraid it's not going to last long (the sleeping; there is no end in sight to the piano playing).

Normally he plays from about 5pm to 8pm. This is fine. It is after the 8 o'clock hour that I have ISSUES with. Because Alice? The ears of a bat, people! She hears EVERYTHING.

Pray for me.

more confessions

I killed my goldfish when I was eight by putting Yardley of London Soft Soap (lavender scent) into his fishbowl...while he was still in it. I thought he wanted to take a bubble bath.

Totally dead to any sort of new toys with Christmas on the horizon, in the past little while I've given Alice the following "toys": measuring cups (1/4 cup and 1/2 cup, if you must know), an egg separator, a Goofy mint tin that's been taped shut (with some of the Goofy cinnamints still helpfully trapped inside - they make a very satisfying clank clank as they are slowly being shaken into powdery oblivion by my daughter), a hot pad that previously belonged to the cats (What? It has a chicken on it! Fergus is in love with the chicken! He chases it all around the house!), and two golf balls (most recent additions). I know, am mother of the YEAR.

I don't know a single thing about operating systems, nor do I care to know anything about operating systems. And yet, yesterday I had a dream in the wee hours of the morning about Windows Vista. At the time, it was a hilarious madcap dream (full of the hijinks and craziness you can expect from Microsoft, no doubt) about people trying to slip Vista into computers without their owners being aware....... if possible, it actually makes even less sense now as I write this.

I ordered something from Target online yesterday and the estimated delivery date is... (wait for it)... JANUARY 5. Hello? That's not until next year.

Okay, that last one isn't a confession, but can you believe that madness? Next YEAR. Now it's your turn. Give me some confessions, internets.

Monday, December 1, 2008

business items

I wondered how long I could keep up that last post and still get some mileage - seems that six days is about the limit, like you mean to say YOU GUYS ACTUALLY WANT TO READ SOME NEW STUFF FROM ME? Go figure.

Let's start with the polite questions:
How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Did we all kill ourselves off with the cooking and the baking and the hand wringing and the shopping and the (yet more) cooking and baking and shopping? All for a meal that lasts, hmm, about 90 minutes? And then you're faced with the CLEAN UP? Yes? Oh, and wasn't it glorious!

I did the entire meal, start to finish, by myself, and I have to say that I'm proud of the job I did, along with the job we did on the leftovers for the next three days. Thankfully, our refrigerator is seeing the ends of the meal, and I'm a little relieved not to be faced with the sheer HORROR of choosing between stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, OR vegetables. Next week I'll return to my wistful longings for the stuff, but today? I'm happy to eat a sandwich instead.

And in other news, can I tell you how much I HATE Verizon? HATE. Searing HATE. H. A. T. E. HATE. Hate them. They inexplicably send late notices every month, even though I am paid up! Paid up, I tell you! I get the horrible Nervous Tummy (hi Tessie!) every time I get one of their notices, and then I call and they're all - NO, you're all paid up, thanks! I don't understand, only to think that it's a conspiracy.

Another Irritant is a just-about-nine-month-old cutie who has again gone on a Nap Strike. It's possible that I threw my husband and child out of the house on Saturday afternoon, begging them to just Go Do Something while I checked email and did some work for an hour.

Tell me: what's irritating you right now?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Blink and it's passed you by. Faster than you can imagine. 1,825 days in seconds. Time compacted to memory and One Perfect Day.

And at the same time, it's hard to remember life Before - what things were like in those years when you didn't know him, when he wasn't there to hold your hand or kiss your face, when his wasn't the voice you listened for on the telephone or the warmth you looked forward to at the end of the day. Life with him has been blissful and rewarding - exactly how it should be when you're married to your best friend.

Happy fifth, love.

Monday, November 24, 2008

the one where i compare The Creamery to Val Kilmer


I clicked on this link on MSN's hotmail page, and read about the Was Hot, Is Now Not celebrities. It's just so sad. And then I started thinking about my recent descent into Less Than Stellar Blog Posts (so says I) and realized that a big ole picture of The Creamery could accompany the smarmy pics of Tom Cruise and the horrific mug shot of Nick Nolte (OH THE HUMANITY).

How does one rescue a Blog Gone Wrong? Is there some kind of Blog Life Coach I can hire? A new diet of tomatoes and lemonade? How about yoga? Is pilates a little too passe? Should The Creamery be training for a marathon? Or should I be considering more drastic measures like Blog Plastic Surgery?

Help me, internets. I'd hate to have to consider a career in boxing.

(And in other news - I am doing Pre-Thanksgiving Stressing, with the turkey! and the stuffing! and the yams! and the salad! and the pie! and the gravy! and the entertaining! and the table setting! and the house cleaning! Tell me: how do you handle stress? I tend to get very very very irritable --it's really fun for Chip-- and then I force him to stay up late into the night with me as we clean like mad. Being married to me is FUN.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

who knew?

Apparently, if you stop worrying about a cat's dreadlocks, they will eventually all migrate from her wooly body to various parts of the house. I found one on the kitchen floor yesterday that was the size of Boston. Later I checked to see if Phoebe even had any hair left on her thigh and as I ran my hands down her fuzzy body I realized that the colony of dreadlocks had just up and gone. At that time she still had three or so, but after a recent petting session (just a few minutes ago), she's down to ONE. Who knew?

Apparently, it's not a good idea to attempt a ill-timed Dye Job on your friend Kate's hair while both children (one hers, one mine) are still conscious. Doing the dye job during this ill-conceived threat zone called "should be nap time, but isn't" will result in two children crying their eyes out and literally PAWING AT THEIR MOTHER'S PANT LEGS while the mothers (both quite occupied, thankyouverymuch) go from Concerned and Reassuring Cooing to Concern with a Hint of Rising Stress to Absolute Bedlam to Hysterical Laughter at the Sheer Absurdity. The laughter was cathartic but no less helpful to the crying infants. At one point Kate was standing in her living room, hair smooshed and covered in hair dye, holding both babies (one under each arm) as the kids cried, Kate's mouth a perfect O. I was in the kitchen at the time, maniacally trying to get those stupid gloves off my hands so I could rush to help. Proper hair maintenance and motherhood are mutually exclusive. Who knew?

Apparently, an 8-month-old baby defies the laws of physics and gravity, especially when said infant is having her diaper changed. Who knew?

Apparently, a cat who is told to stay off the bed because the husband is having some wicked kind of freak allergy attack is incapable of staying OFF the bed. I kicked her off no less than twenty-five times in a half hour. (Yes, that means she tried to jump back up as soon as I pushed her off. The memory of a gnat, that one.) Who knew?

Apparently, a wonderfully freakishly fabulously Good Day requires an equally horrific one for balance. Who knew?

Apparently, measuring cups are the most coveted toy in the house (second only to the cell phone). Who knew?

Apparently, a freakish rush to make baby food that results in a freezer crammed with tiny towers of ziploc storage containers will not encourage your husband to agree when you say that you're going to be buying more of those ziploc containers. Who knew?

Apparently, it's Friday. Who knew?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

thursday thrift: holi-daze

There's something about these Thursday Thrift posts that is very clinical. I know they aren't very entertaining... they feel like my own personal Public Service Messages, and to be honest I don't know how to make them anything other than that: something you sit through that's sandwiched between the Kleenex and the toilet cleaner commercials, before Eli Stone comes back on. YES, I just likened my weekly blog entries to those The More You Know things. The More You Know: less literacy and mentoring tips and more discussions of holders/goers and questions about high school. Huh.

THIS Thursday I'm talking about dialing down the holiday insanity, and to that end, I'm going to make these thrift posts a more slightly more occasional Thursday thing. (I'm playing with my own stubborn streak, if you want to know: as soon as I tell myself that I don't have to do it, I'll be a hundred times more excited about doing it. Annnnnd that's how a person uses reverse psychology on HERSELF.) So there you go: my first tip for reducing holiday stress: give yourself permission to say no, to do something else, to walk away.

It sounds like a lot of people are trying to reduce their buying this Christmas, and I'm all for that. When I look around at the sheer volume of STUFF we have--- it's embarrassing. Chip and I have agreed that we're not giving each other any gifts that aren't handmade. This year we're focusing on Alice, and the best part about that is that she has no frame of reference (or for that matter, real memory) for what Christmas is supposed to be. I have a sneaking suspicion that she's going to be awfully excited about the boxes and paper strewn around the living room come Christmas morning, and all too willing to ignore any actual GIFTS.

For quite some time now, we've alternated who we give to and who we receive from among the siblings in both of our families. There's a little chart that shows each year - who gives to whom, and boy it helps to simplify the gift giving.

When it comes to stockings, I've long believed that they should contain a lot of everyday items that you need anyway: each Christmas Chip has been greeted with a stocking full of toothpaste, deodorant, gum, maybe the occasional matchbox car or something else fun and inexpensive. We usually get an orange in the toe. This comes from my childhood Christmases.

It sounds like a lot of you are trying to reduce the holiday expense and consumption using these types of ideas. I talked to someone on Sunday who is going to a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving with her family: when we have so much, doesn't it make sense to help some folks who are making do with far less?

What I want to call for is a return to enjoying this time of year for it's magic, it's wonder, it's warmth, it's ability to bring people together for no other reason than we're family. I don't remember what I got for Christmas last year, but I can tell you who I was with, and I can tell you that it was wonderful for just that reason.

In the end, dialing down Holiday Crazy is probably one of the easiest things to do, even if it isn't easy to write about. It's a whole bunch of stuff that everyone already knows: give thanks for your loved ones, enjoy the bits that you have and don't worry about what you don't, be grateful that you are here, show someone else that you care, take time to give back, feel the magic of the season and know it's a reminder that we can have peace on earth, good will to men (and women)-- if we let it, if we live it, and we can have it all year 'round.

Enjoy the holidays this year, my friends.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

holders, goers, this is the way the world turns...

As I'm writing this I'm fighting the great and terrible desire to PEE. I have a theory that the world can be divided into two groups of people: Holders and Goers. I, my friends, am a devout HOLDER, which was severely tested when I was pregnant with Bean. For nine months I wondered how all those Goers do it all the time - all those trips to the bathroom, all that time spent trouncing up and back when they could just as easily (so say the Holders) group four trips into one. As any good mother will tell you, however (and listen up to this one, my never-been-pregnant-readers), it's not like the Holding Muscle returns immediately after you give birth. Nope. I wondered for a while if I was going to have to start listening more closely to those Depends commercials. But like so many things, the Holding Muscle returned in due time (cue rising Angelic Choir) and I'm firmly back in the Holding Camp.

Yes, still holding.

Today was a Good Day. A Good Day that should be capitalized because it was so Good. I love those, by the way: the Good Days, when things seem to be exactly as they should be (or at least close enough). Alice and I didn't do a ton of errands, which was nice, and we stayed home and baked cupcakes for the delightful Angela (birthday). We were supposed to go out and deliver the cupcakes after Miss Alice's afternoon nap, but guess who slept a marathon TWO HOURS??? (And to show proper gratitude for this blessed event, I won't be expecting it again for about 53 days.) I've trained myself to get absolutely everything that I can get done in thirty minutes because that's the Magic Window for Alice's naps: if we pass by the Magic Window and sleeping is still occurring, we quietly approach the Hour Magic Window. If we somehow (miracle, miracle) pass by the Hour Magic Window, I know we're in for a very long and restful nap. So. After I put Bean's sleeping self in her crib, I usually RUN: to the bathroom (holder!), to the kitchen (eat!), to the living room (clean up!), to the dishwasher (load!/unload!), to the computer (check! email!/check! blogs!), to some task (laundry! cleaning! cooking! working!).... and then... I don't know what to do with myself. Well, that's not exactly accurate. I am NEVER bored. I always have something to do: I can just spend a half-hour figuring out WHAT I want to do. Like I think: knitting? sewing? reading? brushing the cats? writing a blog entry? contemplate world peace?... and then it's been 30 minutes and I haven't done any of those things. Today, however, was magic because I not only got all my stuff done in the 30-minute-window, but I also knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do with any time left over, which was to do some serious knitting. Yes, I'm making another hat. It's an addiction, I tell you.

There is usually a time during an Exceptionally Long Nap when I start to wonder if Bean is actually still breathing - and then I'll contemplate for a few moments, thinking OH MY GOODNESS WHAT IF SOMETHING HAS HAPPENED AND I LOOK BACK AND THINK HOW I WAS JUST SITTING ON THE COUCH KNITTING WHEN MY BABY WAS HANGING BY HER ANKLES OUT THE SECOND STORY WINDOW? and then I go check on the baby. I went through this cycle twice today, and both times her little body was crammed up against the side of the crib with her face buried into the crib bumper. My, that little girl likes to have her face buried, let me tell you. We usually end up bringing her into bed with us in the wee hours of the morning and nine times out of ten she rolls over to Chip and buries her face in his pillow. Or his armpit. Whatever's handy. I've also caught her sleeping ON HER FACE, which, meh-- I'm not so new of a parent anymore to worry about it. She is usually chugging away at her paci during those faceplant times, and that gives me some comfort, like--if she needs to breathe she'll roll herself back to a more breath-friendly position.

When Chip came home tonight we were STILL having a Good Day, which turned into a Good Night and all is right with the world, let me tell you! Laughs were had, baths were given, bottles were consumed, and now Chip and I are doing our nightly ritual of computer laptop stuff until we both turn them off and have Us Time. And can I tell you how much I love Us Time?

Good night, dearies-- please tell me: Are you a Holder or a Goer?

(Yes, still holding - but not for much longer!)

Monday, November 17, 2008


First, an introduction: This is the result of daytime cold medicine when I really only needed sinus headache medicine. I'd had a WRETCHED sinus headache all day Sunday, well into the evening, with the POUNDING and the ACHING and I could barely see out of my left eye it hurt so much. So then I go to take something and we have ONE PACKET of Tylenol Sinus Nighttime and it expired in May 2008. (I didn't know medicine really had an expiration date, but there you go.) So I look at Chip and go, "See you later, dude." And I take the pills. Three hours later, I am woken from a dreamless stupor by Alice's crying. I stumble out of bed, to Alice's room, and sort of cram her paci back into her mouth and walk away. I am back in her room (much less sleepy) just 20 minutes later when she is crying again. I spend the next 30 minutes rocking her back to sleep. Why didn't I just bring her back to bed with us? Because I LOSE ALL NORMAL SENSE AT NIGHT. I have absolutely no decision-making, no problem-solving, and no logic at night. I don't know what happens, but things that are so easily figured out in the daytime are like LOGIC PUZZLES FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE at night. I just have this ginormous mental glitch once the moon is out and I should not be held responsible for the crazy things I do! Anyway. So I rocked Alice for an insane amount of time, got her back to sleep, then stumbled (much much MUCH less asleep) back to bed. Where I then enjoyed my sinus headache rearing it's ugly and VERY painful head. In my head. Oh my head. My poor aching head!

By morning I was all, I NEED SOME TYLENOL SINUS, LIKE, RIGHT NOW. So Chip valiantly scoots himself over to Walgreens this morning to buy me some (requested) Tylenol Sinus Nighttime, and Tylenol Sinus Daytime. Guess what? THEY DIDN'T HAVE EITHER ONE OF THOSE. So he had to get me some cold remedy instead--- WITH help for sinus headaches. I got all kinds of crabby with Chip for that one. BUT I WANTED TYLENOL SINUS! I took the other stuff anyway, because I have to actually function and care for a child today. And now? The result? ABSOLUTE CRAZINESS. I can't focus on much, am feeling terribly woozy, and stumbled across a list I made last night with (what I thought were) TERRIBLY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS:

Why does a very tender eyebrow pluck make a person sneeze? I've gotten my bathroom mirror very, um, sneezey, from this practice.

If the PedEgg (EWWWW), Space Bag, ShamWow, or other FANTASTIC PRODUCT THAT YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT work so well, how come everyone doesn't have one? (And quite seriously, that ShamWow has me very nearly salivating with DESIRE when I see it on TV. THEY DON'T HAVE TO USE PAPER TOWELS ANYMORE! THEY CAN DRY THE DOG WITH ONE TOWEL! YOU GET LIKE FORTY OF THEM FOR $20! We spent $17 on paper towels on Saturday and I kept thinking

Have you recently (or ever) had a dream where someone did something that made you SO MAD, you were even mad at them in the morning? Did you do anything to get over it, or are you still mad at the completely fictional thing that a real person did IN YOUR DREAM? (So far, I'm still a little mad.)

What do you tell the woman behind the counter when she puts her finger on your egg roll? (Chip's suggestion: Um, I'd like a different egg roll, please.)

For that matter, what do you tell the egg roll touching woman behind the counter when she asks if she can help you? (No, I want to be helped by someone else, thanks?)

the murry's

If you could meet and have the opportunity to befriend one fictional person (or persons), who would it be, and why?

This is what Chip asked me about two months ago. I didn't come up with an answer until last week. It took me this long because the more I considered it, even my most favorite characters in fiction are just too important, too weird, too messed up, too bizarre, or way too smart for me to actually hang out with them. Every time I stopped to consider someone, I immediately felt this rush of stupidity over what I'd say or how I'd react. (In case you didn't know, we take our hypothetical questions very seriously at The Last Homely House.)

Last week I finally answered the question when I reread Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. (Have you read this book? If you haven't, you must stop what you are doing right now and go check it out at the library. You will find it in the children's section, possibly young adult. It's a Newberry Award Winner. And it was one of my absolute favorite books when I was a little girl.) Where do I start about A Wrinkle in Time? It's about the Murry family, a family of geniuses - and more particularly, it's about Meg Murry, a girl who doesn't feel like she fits anywhere. Oh how this book spoke to my 10-year-old self! How many times did I reread it as a balm to my savaged and misunderstood soul. I journeyed countless times with Meg and Calvin and Charles Wallace as they crossed the universe to rescue Mr. Murry from IT. I have imagined the Murry's house in the country, their big country kitchen, Mrs. Murry's stone lab, the pot of stew bubbling on a bunsen burner. And I longed to journey up to the attic to Meg's bedroom, to sit with her on her bed and talk.

My original copy of the book has long disappeared. Its pages were yellowed and dogeared, its cover creased with age. I bought a new one last week and devoured it in two days. I had planned to read it aloud to Alice, but couldn't stop after the first few pages. I love this book and I love the characters that inhabit its pages. If I could meet and possibly befriend (oh please, oh please I just know we'd be great friends) a fictional person or persons, I'd choose the Murry's.

How about you?

Friday, November 14, 2008

seven 7 seven 7 seven 7 seven

I am bowing to peer pressure. Pressure, I tell you!

I was tagged by Amanda at Four Molnars for this thing. It's the seven random things meme, and in case you aren't ALREADY tired of my bits of random, you're getting this, NEW AND IMPROVED RANDOM.

1. I collect salt and pepper shakers. I have an already extensive collection that I inherited from my dear Jackie (almost a grandma, except for that tricksy blood relative thing). Most of the pieces were collected in Jackie's lifetime: specifically the 20's through the 40's. I've added a few pairs, but they have to be pretty darn special to join the others. My favorites are the so-called go-togethers (a turkey and a roasting pan, a frying pan and an egg, the sewing machine and the thread). I also love the miniature ones.

2. I have the salt and pepper shakers on my mind because I've been getting them out of their many boxes to actually, you know, PUT THEM INSIDE THEIR CABINET. We've lived here for three YEARS and the poor S&P's have been living in boxes under the stairs for that entire time. Chip has asked me to NOT put them in their cabinet because as soon as I do, we'll move. Why does he believe this? Because we went through this rigamaroll at our last place: the S&P's sitting forlorn and sad in their boxes, we finally get a cabinet to put them in and I unpack them and enjoy their presence for exactly 41 seconds before we moved. (Okay, so that was a Chip quirk, but it's still quirky.)

3. The cabinet we bought lo those years ago at our last place? Is still unpainted. It has sat empty in our dining room for three years because I kept meaning to paint the thing. And I was all, "I don't want to unpack the S&P's and then have to pack them again to paint the cabinet! I'll wait until I'm done painting!" Annnnnd three years LATER... still unpainted.

4. I decided to bite the bullet and just UNPACK THE SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS WITHOUT PAINTING THE CABINET, hoping that Murphy's Law would come and kick my painting skills in the fanny. GET PAINTING, WHIMSY.

5. The cabinet has other issues, besides being unpainted. It has glass shelves. And for some mind-blockage reason that is beyond me, Chip and I have also taken FOREVER to get additional shelves cut for the thing. This says a lot about our weird spotty ability to totally GET SOMETHING DONE IN NO TIME FLAT and our other, darker, not so fun HORRENDOUS PROCRASTINATING. There was a lonely glass shelf just living in the back seat of my car for MONTHS, just WAITING for me to stop by some glass place to get more shelves cut. It never happened.

6. Instead, Chip surprised me and went to the glass cutting place and had shelves cut for me. But because yours truly had the sad glass shelf model sitting in the back of her car? Chip brought home a wonderful package of newly cut glass shelves... that were the wrong size. We now have to go BACK and get more shelves cut. (Do you want to know how long it took me to find out they were totally the wrong size? Here's a hint: they were wrapped in a newspaper from 2006.) I was sitting on the living room floor just a while ago, just DREADING putting that stupid lonely shelf BACK INTO MY CAR in order to MOTIVATE me to go to the glass cutting place.

7. I should be clear on this painting thing because I have REASONS for not painting the cabinet in three years and it's this: I couldn't decide. I've gone through many many different ideas. First it was to paint it green, then it was to stain it a natural color, then it was to stain it a dark brown, then it was to stain it black. I've come full circle and now I'm thinking I'm going to paint it red. (Chip: Red? Really? Are you sure? Whimsy: Yes, I'm sure. It'll look fantastic! Chip: mumble mumble mumble Whimsy: What was that? Chip: I said Please don't paint it. I don't want to move.)

At this rate, I'm going to be "unpacking" and "painting" and "setting up the cabinet" in FORTY YEARS.

And for yet more of this madness, I'm tagging:
1. The Wife at Burnstopia
2. Wendy at Fireflies, Frogs, and Mosquitoes, Oh My
3. Emily at Celebrating the Mayhem
4. Heidi at My Crazy World
5. Kimmie at The Importance of Being Allen
6. Samia at Sibley Saga
7. Angelalois at go2la

And now, for the seven of you, here is your mission:
1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
3. Tag seven people and list their links in your post.
4. Tell those seven people by commenting on their blog.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

thursday thrift: holidays, interrupted

Written (badly) last night...

Well, I was going to talk about dialing down the Holiday Crazy this week, but the week itself sort of got in the way - which means that I'm typing this late Wednesday night. Which means that I don't have the energy to write what I'd like to write about Holiday Crazy. Which means that I'm sitting here, staring at the screen, and wondering WHAT HAVE I DONE THAT IS THRIFTY? IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN TALK ABOUT THAT'S THRIFTY THIS WEEK?

Here's what I've come up with: Whenever I set myself on a new track - be it a new way of eating, a new way of exercising, a new way of washing dishes, whatever, I always reach this point - it's about 5 or 6 weeks in - when I find myself stalled. More often than not, the stalled motion eventually (and quickly) becomes NO motion until I'm sort of rolling around in the intersection and eventually I get distracted by the pretty colors in a completely different direction and I wander off all La La La, forgetting my New World View entirely.

I think we're staring at this here Thrift intersection right now and I'm NOT going to get distracted by the pretty boxes down the road. NOT.

Don't get me wrong - I am continuing in my Increased Zeal to clip coupons, to painstakingly research and cost compare at the handful of grocery stores available to us (it's a pain in the REAR but I'm doing it). I am still doing some of the other little things I began a few weeks ago. It's just... even the best intentions can get sidetracked by brightly colored paper. Two weeks ago, Chip and I saved 40% off our grocery bill. Not kidding: we should have paid over $100 but the bill was $60. Now THAT'S a nice savings. But this week... we went in with a hasty list, shopped hungry (SUCH a no-no), and bought things without coupons that I'd left at home. Our savings? A measly 25%. Shameful!

So here's a call to reset, re-resolve, rededicate, and refocus on thrift.

Now for the cool thing this week: this link from the state of Washington. It's a month-by-month guide to emergency preparedness. How cool is this? By performing one task a month, you will be all up and prepared in a year's time. Beauty! (And I know - what does THIS have to do with thrift? As far as I'm concerned, if we all perish in some heinous volcano eruption, all the thrift in the world won't matter.)

Now. Your turn. Tell me something that you're rededicating yourself to do this week, this month, today, whatever.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

on being small

I am not a tall person. By most measuring tapes, I barely reach five feet. I am a small person living in a large world. I've often thought that my personality makes up the difference. I can be very loud. Chip says that I have the power to cause earthquakes (when combined with the right force, namely, THE WIFE). Regardless of these large things about me, I feel small. And many times, I worry that the thoughts I express here, in this small space, are also very small. I don't have grand ideas or expansive plans. I don't talk politics. I don't expand horizons or renew anyone's faith in anything. My blog description could read: Small thoughts from a small person.

This small stuff worries me. I worry about what I should be telling you. What I should be sharing. I worry that my small posts will slip in and out of minds like the airy little bits that they are, and will never affect change in any way. That's sort of the problem with small, I guess.

I was meditating on small thoughts tonight, and visited a blog I've been reading since August: this one, which... I don't know where to start. There is beauty there - intense, ragged. It comes from real pain, real sacrifice, and true grace. This woman - this family - is one that I admire beyond telling. But I simply can't hope to live life on this big of a scale because: oh dear - have you seen what this woman writes, HOW this woman writes? She is beyond inspirational. As is often the case, when I've finished reading one of her entries, I feel even smaller than before. As is also usually the case, I vow to change. I vow to live more intentionally, be more outspoken, beautify and magnify my life, allow myself to grow beyond these small walls.

Tonight, though, I am sitting here at my computer and reconsidering this concept of small. I think I've been unfair to small. I overlooked small's ability to affect change. I forgot about the smallest grains of sand, and their journey to becoming pearls. I forgot about the smallest speck of life that Alice was on those first few days of her existence, and the beautiful girl she has become - the woman of grace I hope for her to be. Small is how we all start. It's the building block of every living thing. Small is a beginning. Hope grows from a small seed. As does faith. Small is the first few rays of the rising sun, the night light in my little girl's room, the wish we make when we tell each other good night. We have small hopes, small dreams, small desires to see the new day, to grow old with our family, to see each other through even the darkest times. I'm giving new credit to small.

When you witness something big, it can be too much-- too easy to overlook and say that it was a miracle and therefore not intended for you. A Big Life is like this, I guess. We are drawn to Big Lives because they are so wonderfully vibrant, so incredible, so much beyond what we see for ourselves. There's a reason people use the phrase larger than life, because that's how Large feels: something that I'll never be, something I'll never achieve, a person I'll never become because it's just too... BIG. But small... small is achievable. Small is one step. Small is doing something different today than you did yesterday. Small things-- they are here in our everyday lives waiting for us to notice them and witness that this is how God tells us every day I love you - open your eyes - I love you this much.
Tonight, I'm grateful to be small in a big world. I am giving thanks to my Heavenly Father for this small gift.

Monday, November 10, 2008

saturday night which I share a recipe, give you tales from 30-minute napdom, set the record straight about my mad knitting skills, explain why it takes me a few days to respond to your gmail emails, get all preachy about eating meat loaf my particular way, and talk about how BLOGGER HATES ME.

You guys are sweet. So sweet, in fact, that you gave my mad knitting skills far more credit than they deserve: I didn't knit the adorable brown cherry hat. That was a gift from (ready for this relative craziness?) Alice's second cousin, A. Okay, it really was a gift from Alice's first cousins once removed (that would be A's parents, K and T), but doesn't it sound all cute that Alice's second cousin gave her a gift? Yes, I thought so too. A is also the giver of the most adorable green mary jane shoes that Alice is sporting in the brown hat pictures. I put them on her as much as possible because I LOVE ME SOME MARY JANES, and these are just too cute for words. I'm saying that you'll see them again.

I really need to check gmail more often. I usually get in there every couple of days, but when things reach a certain level of RED ZONE, my visits drop off. The last few days have been rife with more of that irritating (and boring) NAP MADNESS. I've been futzing with Alice's nappage to see if I could orchestrate at least one long nap into our days. Around here, 30 is the new 45 for a girl who used to limit her shut eye to 45-minute increments. 30 minute naps are the Chinese water torture of naps. Just long enough for someone to walk downstairs, fold a small stack of laundry, make a sandwich, sit down to eat the sandwich when HELLO AWAKE AWAKE AWAKE annnnnnnd sandwich sits uneaten on the counter for another good long while. After doing this twice a day for the last couple of weeks I am good and fried. So far, I have tried keeping her awake longer, tried rocking her longer, tried letting her sleep with an article of my clothing, tried swaddling her, tried unswaddling her, tried napping with her, tried limiting her to one nap (oh that was fun), tried tried tried just about anything. In case you were wondering, so far nothing has made a major difference, but it seems like some of the small things are combining to move the dial at least a bit-- like extending the afternoon nap by 20 minutes or more, which is a miracle in and of itself.

So. Compounded with the nap-induced anxiety, I had a bad day on Wednesday. I was all, NO COMMENTS? NONE? and then I felt a little, um, dumb, as a person is wont to do when they post an entry about their lovely husband's birthday and no one says anything, not even DUDE I DON'T EAT MEATLOAF. I was even ready with a meatloaf disclaimer, which I will share with you now. Ready?

Meat loaf. I know. It doesn't even sound good. Anything with "loaf" attached to it just sounds icky. But mom's meat loaf? Is AMBROSIA. It's the kind of good that gets even better when you combine it with other things on your plate: green salad with blue cheese, sour cream mashed potatoes, steamed carrots. This is the meat loaf that will convert the most ardent meat loaf hater. This is the meat loaf that will have said meat loaf hater actually request the meat loaf for his birthday dinner. Yes, it's that good.

The meat loaf was amazing, and is amazing, and I will share the recipe here - and I will also tell you that it's not for the calorie faint-of-heart, but as far as I'm concerned, when you're going for a birthday dinner, you're not exactly trying for low cal, you know? I have made this recipe with ground turkey and didn't see any problems, so there's that. Also, I had a friend who substituted some of the ground meat with chopped mushrooms - but I don't personally know how that affected the cooking time. Can I make a suggestion? If you do decide to chance my fantabulous meat loaf, please don't go crazy and put any sauce on it. Chip will occasionally try to urge me in the direction of having sauce available, and I'm all ARE YOU CRAZY? THIS MEAT LOAF IS TOO GOOD FOR SAUCE! And of course I think I'm right. So try it without doing any ketchup or red sauce or gravy or any of that nonsense. Either that, or just don't tell me about the sauce because I think it's insulting to the poor meat loaf. This meat loaf is man enough to stand on its OWN, my friends. (Though the earlier plate content mixing I mentioned is different than a SAUCE. Like you can take a nice forkful of meat loaf and then brush it into the mashed potatoes and then take the whole thing and sort of run it by the salad with the blue cheese dressing and oh MY I'm making myself salivate just thinking about it.)

Without further delay:

Mom's Meat Loaf

1 lb ground burger
3/4 cup sharp cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup oats

Mix ingredients well. Place in baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour in 375-400 degree oven.

Try it. You won't be disappointed. In case you were all, WOW WHIMSY YOU MADE THAT ROCKING MEAT LOAF AND THAT CAKE? YOU'RE A DOMESTIC GODDESS. You should know that I AM a domestic goddess (HA), but the cake was totally a box cake: vanilla cake with milk chocolate frosting. However, I do think I should get some extra credit for the fact that it was a THREE LAYER CAKE made in the most adorable 6-inch cake pan but because I only had one pan I was baking for over an hour and a half which is quite extensive when you're also watching a baby that will not sleep for longer than HALF of The Price is Right. Oh, but where was I? I was talking about Wednesday and how it was a no-good day. So here I am, having a terrible nap day, and I haven't eaten a decent lunch and I go to check on Blogger and it's all, NO COMMENTS. And I'm all, Really? And Blogger's all, NO COMMENTS. And I check back later and Blogger's all, YOU REALLY DON'T HAVE ANY COMMENTS. And I'm all, Okay, sniff... So I check back again that night, and Blogger's all, LISTEN LOSER YOU DON'T HAVE ANY COMMENTS SO STOP ASKING ME ABOUT IT. And then I told Blogger that it was a big stupid bully.

Imagine my intense pleasure Saturday night when I read an email from Shelly (see I'm actually getting back to my ORIGINAL POINT ABOUT GMAIL AND MY SAD EMAIL CHECKING SKILLS) - and I see that Shelly* has kindly let me know that she tried to comment on Wednesday and wasn't able to because Blogger HATES ME. Okay, maybe she didn't say it exactly that way, but don't you think? Blogger hates me and wants me to go eat worms.

Instead, I'm thinking another meat loaf is in order.

* And here's my second disclaimer of the day: I'm going to just ASSUME, for the sake of my SANITY and WELL BEING and also SELF ESTEEM that Shelly represents, like, FORTY OF YOU who tried to comment and couldn't - and that she wasn't (as is most likely the case) just the ONLY PERSON that tried to comment about the husband's rocking birthday bash (can I say it was a rocking birthday bash when there were only three of us? Yes, yes I can.).

Friday, November 7, 2008

time flies

This is how it happens. You decide that it's the right time to have a baby. You get pregnant. You are elated, miserable, joyous, hungry, not hungry, bloated, emotional, crazy, so so so happy. You are handed a beautiful baby girl. She is wonderous. She makes you crazy. Every little part of you hurts. You never knew life could be so full. You feel like you are split into tiny pieces. You are sleep deprived, an emotional wreck. You are a new parent. You feel like you'll never get it all down. It will always take you two hours to get ready to head out the door. Life stops. The baby smiles. She spits up. She knows your face. Your heart expands so much it is stretching the limits of your ribcage. You settle in. You sleep six hours - IN A ROW. You rush to the baby's side to see if she's still breathing. You learn the new normal. You begin to venture out without a battle plan. You feel good. Naps seem to be normalizing. You are normalizing. Life is normalizing.

And before you know it, it's been eight months.

She is beautiful.
She is crazy, very much like her parents (AND GRANDPARENTS).

She is sweet.
She likes to eat: potatoes, yams, applesauce, apricots, peaches, bananas, peas, green beans, cereal, mango, raspberries, blueberries, carrots.

She loves to feed herself rice crackers and very very very soft bits of potato.
She still has terrible nap habits (30-minute nap, anyone?).
She is smart.
She continues to do the army belly crawl.

She loves to play with her toys (Monty the Bear, Lulu the Monster, her phone, her keys, her chewy dragonfly, and her foam blocks are the current favorites).
She can usually be found either in momma's arms, daddy's lap, in her speedracer (walker to the rest of the world), or on the floor - attempting to reach those wily cats.
Though there have been several distinct signs, teeth still remain illusive.

She is a delight.

Here's to the next eight months.