Friday, January 30, 2009

One more thing about stuff....

So, my beloved hubby, who is an infrequent visitor to my blog, popped in this morning and saw my previous post about stuff. He was surprised I hadn't linked to the George Carlin routine about stuff, and I told him I'd utterly forgotten the routine (sorry, George), so he pulled it up on Youtube and we watched it. After laughing at it all over again, I decided I'd take his suggestion and post it here for y'all to enjoy, too (language warning as this exceeds my usual G/PG rating):





Friday Foto Fun: Follicular Follies

Hello, hello world! It feels like forever since I've been here! I've been buried under a mountain of boxes and used Puffs Pluses for the past few days, as I tried to continue with Operation Declutter around the home-from-school Kiddo, who has one heckuva bad cold. I know, I know, it seems like she is always sick, but actually she's staying healthy for much longer stretches than she used to when she was younger. I don't know if it is because of the circumstances of her premature, complicated birth or what, but she does manage to pick up a lot of germs. One of these days, I'll finally get a patent for my stylish yet functional Biohazard Bubble suit and then I'll be able to retire with my wads of cash to my private, tropical isle without fear of anyone ever catching another germ again. Until that day, though, I gamely troop on, Vicksing soles and humidifying rooms, steaming congested heads in the shower and squirting saline spray up Niagara Fallsian nostrils, losing game after game of Mario Kart Wii (yes, even when under the weather, Kiddo still kicks my sorry behind at All Things Wii) and fixing bowl after bowl of chicken noodle soup.

The good news is that Kiddo was able to return to school today, and thus life returned to normal, or whatever it is that approximates normal in my life these days... So anyhow, sorry I've been a bad blogoshpere citizen and haven't been leaving loads of comments or posting merrily away, I'm still here, just a wee bit crazed of late.

Before I return once more to my Mountain of Boxes, I will give you a little piece of Friday Foto Fun. You may recall, I have had hair issues pretty much my whole life. You may further recall my ongoing struggle to grow out the Mom 'Do. (Yes, I know, my hair is pretty much always a Hair Don't no matter what I try...) Well, it seems that I've finally, finally passed the stages of Wolverine Fawcett-Von Beethoven *and* Carol Brady. (And there was much rejoicing: yay.) Here's what it looks like as of this morning:



(Yes, I slapped on a little eyeliner and tinted lip gloss prior to photographing myself. I was feeling kind of icky following this morning's torture session - I mean Zumba class - and wanted to look spiffy for y'all. That's not blusher on my cheeks, either, by the way - just a combination of leftover redfacedness from working out and then walking all the way across the Y parking lot in the stinging, windblown snow. Brrr. Oh no, wait, I mean that's just my natural, youthful, rosy glow... *snort*) (Oh, and see that blank wall right behind me? A week ago, there was a jammed-full-of-stuff bookcase in that spot. Go, Operation Declutter!)

Okay, so I no longer can lay claim to being the illegitimate love child of Wolverine, Farrah and Ludwig. (I'm not a geneticist; you figure out how 2XY+1XX = 1 ilc......) Now I seem to have mid-90s, midsize market News Anchor hair going on instead. Woot. I'm in dire need of a trim again (as evidenced by my vision-impairing bangs) and have been feeling sorely tempted to just cut it all off again. (Chorus of screams: NOOOOOOOO! Don't!!!) (Or should I? Hmmmm.) I'm hoping that it is long enough now that when I do finally get around to going to the hair stylist, she can give me something more closely resembling an actual style, because as you can see above, I still have the dreaded Mom 'Do. Oh well, at least it isn't winging out all over anymore! If anyone has any thoughts on the topic, feel free to share.....

So that's what's going on in my neck of the woods. I have like half a dozen posts in draft form about all sorts of scintillating topics like Lost, American Idol, the aforementioned Zumba class and my ongoing adventures in the ladies' locker room at the Y, but right now, I must be getting back to my boxes - I want to get another load ready to haul off to the storage unit before Kiddo gets home from school. I am going to leave with you with the following video clip, because I've got Latin music on the mind after Zumba this morning and because it's almost Valentine's Day..... Enjoy The One Semester of Spanish Spanish Love Song:



Au revoir!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Stuff


I have too much stuff. Physically (hello, cellulite!), mentally (hello, thoughts that won't stop running through my head at night) and especially around me. Confession time: I'm a pack rat. Well, not in the negative sense of the word - I don't hoard old newspapers and magazines and things that out to long since have been thrown away for decades so that one day I'm discovered like this person was... I do, however, have a highly sensitive sense of nostalgia, which leads me to hold on to certain stuff.

Stuff has been on my mind lately, so much so that I'm not even sleeping soundly. You see, my days are now consumed by stuff, because we're in the midst of step one of selling our house and moving: decluttering. (Funny how Blogger doesn't recognize "declutter" as a word, because my own brain has issues with it as well!)

Over the weekend, we rented a storage unit up the road and began the process of decluttering our house. We've lived in this house for nine years now, and let me tell you, that is plenty of time for a sentimental sort like myself to amass a lot of stuff. Heaps of it. Stuff crammed onto bookshelves (and let's not forget all the books themselves, either, as Hubby and I both are Bookworms Extraordinaire and Kiddo is quite a bookworm as well), stuff squeezed into drawers, stuff jammed into cabinets, under beds and on top of other stuff. Now, with the decluttering? It is so not pretty.

Hubby and I used to be quite good at moving. Back in the early days of Hubby-n-me, we moved a lot - between 1994 and 2000, we moved six times, winding up here in our first owned home in January of 2000. During that period, there wasn't much chance to accumulate stuff, and our belongings were regularly purged as well, the better to fit our stuff into the back of first our Festiva, then our Tercel, along with the smallest U-Haul we could get away with for maximum affordability. We'd donate books to the local Friends of the Library, drop boxes of clothes and linens off at Goodwill, etc. We were lean and mean and had room to spare in our bookcases, hutches, cabinets and drawers.

Well, now we've had nine years in one place (with a lovely, large basement) in which to collect stuff. Also, five years ago we added Kiddo to the mix, and Sweet Godmother of Wilma Flintstone (
Anna Lefler), did the stuff just exponentially explode! Let's face it, when one has a child in one's home, the stuff starts flowing in pretty much at birth (bottles, onesies, burp cloths, diapers, diaper accoutrements, rattles, teething toys, binkies, et cetera et cetera et cetera....)


Oh sorry, got carried away on a wave of musical nostalgia there. I'm back now. Shall we dance? No, no, back to the topic at hand.... Stuff. So, there's baby stuff that takes over your entire world. Then, as the baby grows into a child, not only do the number of toys and books and clothing and shoes and mittens and hats and DVDs and stuffed animals grow as well, but so does the art work. Dear me, the art work. The precious scribblings that eventually mature into actual pictures that resemble actual things and people (well, assuming said people have gigantic heads from which their arms protrude and no bodies beyond legs that may or may not include feet)... then they start school and the art projects become multi-dimensional and take up even more space... and then there are the photographs. Oh, the photographs. Now, Kiddo is an only child. Lucky for us, in this regard, as I have, and I am only ever-so-slightly exaggerating here, ninety thousand framed photographs of her hanging on our walls and displayed on shelves and end tables and the piano and, heck, on any mostly-flat surface in my house. (I also have several nieces and nephews, so there are actually additional kiddos who occupy frame space too.) I mean, I had lots of photos in frames before I became a mom; pictures of Hubby and me, our family and friends, even beloved pets... but since Kiddo was born? Egads.

And now, all the stuff? It must go. Tucked into boxes, hauled off to the storage unit, never to see the light of day again until the summer (or late spring, if we're really lucky). Oh, the agony. The good news is that Hubby is not nearly as much of a stuff aficionado as I am, so we aren't hopelessly mired in things. He also is much more likely to get rid of something, to just throw it straight out into the garbage without a second thought, than I. (I must steel myself against looking into the bag after bag after bag he carries out to the garbage bin in the garage. I will confess, in previous moves, I've been known to Dumpster Dive in my own home to rescue some picture or memento or another from the trash.) It is true, most of the stuff Hubby tosses out is stuff I never miss, stuff I haven't thought of in years, but that doesn't mean he's right, right? And you never know when you might need one of those things........

Beyond the hassle of actually boxing stuff up (and the aches of actually loading and unloading it thereafter) is the time-suck involved. Again, this is an area where Hubby does a better, speedier and more efficient job than I. I spent a good hour yesterday thumbing through a pile of random, old things that I'd managed to save for decades now (and which had been living on the topmost shelf of the bookcase that stood in our bedroom for the past nine years, but now is off in the storage unit, leaving a weirdly blank wall in its place). Case in point, this photo, which is a Polaroid (I don't think they're even making Polaroid film any more...) of me surrounded by my sisters, brothers and one of my best friends, taken sometime during the winter of my senior year of high school (oh, and while I'm on the subject of stuff, the dresser you can partially see on the right hand side of the picture? Hubby and I just moved that out of our basement and off to the storage unit yesterday...):
or this newspaper clipping also from my senior year of high school (note: it was January. I was wearing white pants. WHITE PANTS. Granted, they had a black pinstripe, but seriously? White? In January? I don't know that I can even use "it was the 80s!" as an excuse there... I mean, yes, we hadn't been told our picture was going to be taken for the paper that day, but still, I chose to wear white pants in January of my own free will and thought I looked good that way. WTH was I thinking?) (I wish that I could say those white pants were the worst of my youthful fashion transgressions - other than the hair, of course - but alas, I am having horrific flashbacks right now to a different pair of pants. A pair of cream colored, corduroy, jodhpur-style pants. That I wore with knee-high, high heeled, black leather "riding" boots. Thinking I looked good, hip and fashionable. Oh Sweet Godmother of Wilma Flintstone. Why am I even considering going to my upcoming 20th reunion?!) (also note: I blacked out the names of the other kids in the photo here because they may not be so keen on having ancient pictures of themselves bandied about the interwebz):

or this picture, which my youngest brother (then 6 years old) drew for me to hang up in my dorm room my freshman year of college (he and I share a common love of Garfield, which Kiddo now has developed herself):

Yep, I've saved them all for decades. How could I throw them out now? I couldn't, so into a box and off to storage they went yesterday, along with two mismatched socks that Kiddo wore when she was first born, that are so insanely tiny that I can't believe a human being could ever really be small enough to wear them. Kiddo didn't believe it either, when I showed them to her before tucking them into the box. And to think that even though they were "preemie" sized, they still were so large on her that the heel part went halfway up her leg... *sigh* Whoops, sorry, carried away by nostalgia again, my bad.

Other stuff, I am trying really hard to get rid of, though. (Beyond the cellulite - though I must tell you about the Zumba class I did for the first time last Friday morning. That's another post though.) Stuff like old Christmas cards. I never throw away Christmas cards, or at least, not easily. The record for oldest card I came across during this weekend's decluttering? 1991. In my defense, it was a photo card... I also have wedding cards (hello, 1995), congratulatory cards from Kiddo's birth and subsequent baby showers (by being born 5.5 weeks early as she was, she managed to be a guest at all of her baby showers), her baptism, Mother's Day cards (okay, at least those only go back to 2003), anniversary cards, etc. I found in one stash a few cards and notes that Hubby gave me back when we were first dating. Awwwwwwww. I showed a few of them to Hubby when he came upstairs to check on my progress - or more accurately, as he suspected, lack thereof, and he just rolled his eyes. Romance and nostalgia really are the stuff-keeping enemies of Operation Declutter.

So, in closing, 2009 is turning out to be the Year of the Great Decluttering here in Heather's world. Just promise you won't laugh if you spot me rooting through the trash bags to reclaim some of my stuff, or sneaking off to the storage unit to visit my stuff in the months to come, mmmkay? As you can see from what I've already shared above, if I've known you (IRL) for any length of time, the odds are quite good that I still have photos you might not want me to make public...!

What about you guys? Is anyone else a victim of nostalgia and sentimentality like I am? Any other pack rats (no pejorative connotation intended) besides me? What do you do with old cards and letters? Should I try to sell some of the more valuable stuff on Craiglist or Ebay, or just go ahead and freecycle it all like Hubby wants to get rid of it faster? Anyone want to buy a ladies' Movado Museum watch, never worn, new in box? (I would've worn it but the dang strap is too delicate and short for my ginormous man-hand wrist.) What was your worst teenage fashion mistake, and would you care to share a photo of it with the blogosphere? *grin*

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In lieu of...

Okay, I'm in a foul mood today, as evidenced by my previous post. I'm on my way to the gym right now to pound out some frustration on the elliptical machine instead of curling up on the couch with the brand-new bag of Cheez Doodles that is calling to me from atop the fridge. But, that doesn't help you out any, does it? I'm probably driving away the few readers I have left with the neverending railing against the injustices of the school district, special ed office and world in general. In case that's the situation (and really, I don't want to read my own whining at this point myself, so why the heck would anyone else? *le sigh*), I wanted to point you towards a few of my favorite bloggers, all of whom are wittier, funnier and generally better writers than me:

Andy of the creative junkie
Anna Lefler of Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder
NikkiCrumpet of Blah, Blah, Blah, blog
Margaret of Nanny Goats in Panties

HappyHourSue of Happy Meals and Happy Hour

On any given day, even those days on which I think my own blog post isn't half bad, theirs are invariably better. At the risk of driving my loyal few readers away forever, go check them out. But please do come back, I promise my current funk won't last long. Okay? I'm just a bit stressed over the neverending battle to get Kiddo the support she needs so she can continue to succeed at school. And also over the neverending battle to keep the cat from gacking up hairballs all over the carpet. And also over the neverending battle to get my hair into some semblance of a style, dang that perpetual growing-out stage! (I'm pondering a perm again, that's how bad it has gotten. Seriously, I daydream about either perming it or just giving up and cutting it all off again. Noooooooooooo!)

Okay, so, in lieu of any remote entertainment or brilliance over here right now, please go check out the women I wish I were more like (well, maybe not Anna's mustache. I have enough problems keeping my own bleached and mostly invisible) and then pop back here again for my next post. I promise it will be more cheerful and witty, 'kay?

*sigh* not with a bang, but a whimper

I'm too tired and drained this morning to yell and scream. Too upset to run to my proverbial brick wall and start banging my head anew. Instead, a small whimper: "No. Why?! Dammit."

Kiddo's sensory diet aide? The one she loves, her teachers love, most importantly of all, the one Kiddo loves? Is leaving.

No. Why?! Dammit.

You may recall I mentioned that she is a grad student working on her master's degree in psychology. Well, apparently her school schedule has changed and starting in February, she needs to be on campus three afternoons a week, which would mean leaving Kiddo's school by noon three days a week, which doesn't work.

No. Why?! Dammit.

The principal informed me of this (including the fact that the aide was supposedly hysterically crying when she spoke with the principal about it because she's upset to be leaving and she "loves" Kiddo) after the PTA meeting last night. (The PTA meeting, by the by, that went way, way long. Like "cut into Lost viewing" long. Grrr.) She said that she'll start the ball rolling for interviewing new candidates and will be in touch.

No. Why?! Dammit.

Now, the principal also announced she is retiring at the end of this school year. (Which isn't really a surprise.) So, I'm fearing that she will have a bit of Lame Duck "senioritis" and not really be hustling on this. I mean, it took major drama to get her to hustle before, and that was when she was still supposed to care. (Yes, I know, she is still supposed to care. You know what I mean.)

No. Why?! Dammit.

We haven't told Kiddo yet. The aide will be here for "another few weeks" according to the principal. Kiddo is going to be VERY upset - she'd been upset with her aide just being out for the past few days due to bronchitis. This just sucks.

No. Why?! Dammit.

Who the heck is going to want a job from February to June? How many qualified, high-caliber people are really yearning for a position of that length?

No. Why?! Dammit.

*sigh*

So, no ranting and raving out of me today. Just sadness and grumpiness and whimpering. I've got tidying up to get done again as the first of the real estate agents we are interviewing is coming over this evening. (He was supposed to come last week but was sick, so we had to reschedule. Hence, this tidying up is the SECOND tidying up I've done in a week. Whee. Again - it isn't that the house isn't tidied up on a regular basis, but this was that *extra* tidying. You know what I mean.)

*whimper*

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Less than 12 hours to go...

...until we're back on the island! Where is it? WHEN is it? All the confusing wonders of


will be back!!!
I can't wait!!!!

Laughter really is the best medicine...

Last night, Kiddo was having a major meltdown in the middle of her bath. A combination of her schedule being off with the long weekend, her not eating more than half her lunch, and the excitement of the inauguration (her class ate in their classroom instead of the cafeteria and watched the inauguration on TV during their lunch period) all melded into a sensory kid meltdown extraordinaire.

At one point, she was just shouting. Yelling. Screaming. Carrying on at the top of her tiny-but-powerful lungs. I left the room (I mean, I would've noticed if she'd submerged herself, as noise would've STOPPED at that point) to get away from the headache-inducing wails. After a few - okay, more like ten - minutes, I walked back into the bathroom. Kiddo had progressed from the pure screaming to the abject sobbing portion of events, wanting to know why I had abandoned her in the midst of all her drama. "Because you were screaming your head off" was my response.

She sat there, soaked and scowling, and fixed me with a most evil "is she a teenager yet 'cause damn, that's 'I hate my idiot parents' perfection in a look already" glare. "I WAS NOOOOT!" she snapped. "Yes, you were." Huge eye roll from the tub.

"Moooo-oooooom! I was NOT screaming my head off." *gigantic, exasperated sigh* "My head is still ON, obviously."

Well, true enough. I busted out laughing and that made it significantly harder for Kiddo to maintain her baaaad attitude. Laughter is infectious, after all. The look of her attempting to keep the scowl in place when she was trying not to laugh made me laugh harder, which is about the only thing that saved my sanity long enough to finish her bath and get her into her jammies.

So far today, so good - Kiddo got up easily, ate a full breakfast and was dressed and ready to go in enough time to watch a little TV before we have to head out the door. Which we do, right now, actually. Let's hope the day continues on a calmer, more even keel!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Good luck and Godspeed, President Obama

I watched, of course. I felt proud to be an American. I cried. I taped the inauguration so that Kiddo can watch it this afternoon, if they didn't watch it at school.

Here, for further reflection, is President Obama's inaugural speech, courtesy of CNN:

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land -- a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -- who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort -- even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West: Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.


Here also for reflection are the lyrics to Lift Every Voice and Sing, part of which were the opening lines of Rev. Lowery's inaugural benediction (I can't find a transcript of his actual words anywhere online yet):
Lift every voice and sing,
'Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on 'til victory is won.
Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chast'ning rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
'Til now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.
This certainly will not be an easy path ahead. I hope we as a nation remember and make true the promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. Good luck and Godspeed, President Obama.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Random ramblings on a wintery weekend

I've been pondering my dry, dry, drrrrrryyyyyyy skin this morning. I'm not sure if my skin is closer to this:
this:

or perhaps this: Now, while I've never touched an alligator, they are the animals that one usually sees in the commercials for dry skin remedies. I have actually touched both a rhino and an elephant, and I think overall, my skin (especially in winter, when I'm not as likely to shave my legs quite as often as I do in the summer) is more similar to that of an elephant, as elephants have hairier skin than I recall rhinos having. I remember the rhinos' skin as being surprisingly smooth, whereas the elephants were a bit prickly.

At any rate, my skin definitely doesn't feel terribly human this time of year. Between the weather, the wind, and the more-frequent handwashing/sanitizing due to it being cold and flu season, my skin is suffering. It always does in the winters.

When I mentioned in my last post that my skin is dry and that I have tried many, many products with which to moisturize it, I wasn't kidding.
This is just a random sampling of the products I had close at hand when I decided to take a picture of them today. There are others lurking on shelves and counters, in cabinets and drawers. Some of the smaller tubes came out of my purse, because as well as carrying a small bottle of hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes with me, I also carry lotion to try and counteract the damage I'm doing by sanitizing. As to the rest of them... clearly, I am a woman who is swayed by marketing, willing to believe any promise of smooth, soft skin that resembles none of the wildlife pictures above. Clearly, I am also a woman who does not frequently throw things away. Like, for example, those two bottles of "makes you look tanner" moisturizer/lotion. I'd heard good - even great! - things about those, so I cut out a coupon for them one Sunday and trotted off to the store. I bought the kind designated for "fair" skin, because at my absolute darkest, I'm still pretty dang fair. I did not at all like the color they turned either my legs (the body lotion stuff) or my face (the facial moisturizer stuff). It did darken my skin, but only in a "my goodness, but she looks like she could stand to have a liver transplant" jaundiced sort of way. Haven't opened either of those in years. They're still mostly full. I haven't thrown them out, though, because you never know when I might want to look orangey-yellow again, I mean, maybe the next time I try them, they'll work better.... ha. (Actually, those tanny-tinty ones kind of *do* make my skin look like that Rhino in the picture above!)

Anyhow, thanks for all the suggestions on moisturizers and lotions. Maybe this winter, I will find something that works well and yet doesn't make me break the heck out, too!

***
So, two weeks down, with five workouts a week. I no longer am quite like this, and
with any luck, I'll be all buff like Homer (ha ha ha) in two months, too, though I'm eating oatmeal and drinking green tea for breakfast instead of eating Powersauce bars....


Hee! At the very least, I can pronounce the name of the place I've been dragging myself to each morning after Kiddo gets on the bus..... it's the "why?!?!?!"



***

Hubby and I are planning on going to the movies on Monday, sans Kiddo. (Woo-hoo!) We really want to see Slumdog Millionaire, but we also really want to use our Fandango gift card that my brother and sister-in-law gave us for Christmas, and it isn't playing at any of the local theaters that use Fandango. Grrrr. So, our options are either going to be to (a) see something else and use our Fandango gift card - and goodness knows, we haven't seen *anything* that's playing now other than Bolt, so we ought to have plenty of options, or (b) pay for the tickets ourselves to see Slumdog Millionaire. We haven't quite decided yet which option we will go with, but either way, a movie.....in a theater.....that isn't animated.....possibly with popcorn, even....... *swooooooon*

***

Speaking of *swooooooning* - Ellen has finally landed George Clooney as a guest. I love Ellen, but don't watch daytime TV really, other than the news first thing in the morning (so, before 6:30am) and then the Today Show or Regis and Kelly while I'm at the gym. I sort of vaguely knew that Ellen's had some recurring thing about getting George Clooney to be on her show, and I just read that he will be on this coming Monday. Totally setting the DVR for that one, woot woot!

***
In other TV-related news, only FIVE MORE DAYS until Lost finally premieres!!!! Lost is one of my most favorite shows EVER in the history of television, so needless to say, I'm a wee bit excited. Then, adding to the "oh my goodness!" levels of excitement, I came across this story on E! Online this morning.... The season of Sawyer?!?! Be still, my beating heart!!!

***
It is currently five degrees outside. (That'd be Fahrenheit, for all you international folks out there who wonder why I'm pointing this out. Then again, I suppose 5 degrees Celsius is also not terribly warm.) This cold spell we're in is supposed to end by tomorrow though, with temperatures soaring all the way back up into the 20s. (That'd be a wee bit of sarcasm...) At the rate this weather is going, it will be May before Hubby braves the outdoors long enough to take down the outside Christmas lights. I unplugged them the weekend after New Year's, but they're still up there. At least all the other Christmas stuff (aka the indoor stuff) has been put away for weeks now.

***
We have started giving Kiddo a weekly allowance. She has three piggy banks (thanks to her aunt and uncle who gave them to her for Christmas, knowing this was our allowance plan), designated as SPEND, SAVE and CHARITY respectively. Each week, she gets $.75 that gets divided evenly between the three banks. (Hey, I said we were giving her an allowance, I didn't say it was a BIG allowance...) Her current plan is to save up enough money in her SPEND piggy bank to buy some new clothes for her Barbie dolls (she has three; Birthday Barbie, Surfing Ken and Cinderella Barbie). Right now, the SAVE piggy bank is earmarked for our trip to Disney World next summer, but it may not last quite that long. She wants to use the CHARITY earnings for helping kids who don't have food or toys, so we'll figure out an appropriate charity to donate that money to once there is enough collected.

I never had an allowance when I was growing up. (I did have a savings account at the bank - one of the old-school, passbook kind of accounts - into which I put the money I earned through my 4-H market lamb and other endeavors each year.) Hubby and I think there are valuable lessons to be learned with an allowance, and Kiddo is now old enough to understand the concept of money to some decent degree, so we decided we'd go for it. One of the biggest perks to it for me that I've found so far is that now, if we're out at a store and Kiddo starts asking me to buy her something, I can defer her to her allowance and it makes her stop asking (or whining) and also makes her think more seriously about whether the item that has momentarily caught her fancy is really worth spending money to acquire.

***
So, those of you with kids, do you give them an allowance? If so, how much at what age and how do you do it? Is everyone else sticking with their New Year's Resolutions (if you made any)? If your resolution was like mine - to get in shape - how are you doing? (Thus far, I've lost a measly two pounds, but I haven't been killing it at the gym, though I intend to step it up a bit starting next week. There's a Latin dance exercise class I walked past on my way out yesterday that looked intriguing, and I'm going to see if I can join it for the rest of this session. If not, it will definitely be a next-session goal!) Any good movie suggestions in case we opt for the non-Slumdog Millionaire route? Any hints on how to do better at Wii Mario Kart, like which character to race as and which vehicle to drive? What daytime TV shows do you watch? Anyone else psyched for the start of Lost on Wednesday? (Boy, the PTA meeting better get out on time so I don't miss a second of it!!) Anyone have exciting weekend plans? We're going to Disney on Ice tomorrow, and I can't wait!

In closing, I will leave you with the link to the Human video from The Killers. I caught about 15 seconds of it while flipping channels early the other morning, and the song has been firmly lodged in my head ever since. I am going to download it to my iPod, I think... the lyrics may be silly, but it is downright catchy nonetheless, and I am a fan of the band. So, one last question: Are we human, or are we dancer?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My life on the D list

Hello, everyone. I know, I know, I haven't been around the blogosphere much this week. There's even been speculation that I whacked my head on something at the gym and passed out or fell into a snowbank or skidded off into a ditch somewhere...

Well, I'm not
Dead (yet). Though that does fit with the overall theme of this week: the letter D. Because of all my D stuff, I haven't been feeling much like posting. For example,

I've been stuck in the Doldrums. (Is it just me, former Child Bookworm turned Adult Bookworm, who cannot read/see/hear the word "doldrums" without instantly thinking of The Phantom Tollbooth? That was one of my favorite books as a kid...) I've just been feeling generally blah. It's a combination of not sleeping well, Aunt Flo, and our weather of late, which has been rather

Dreary. More like Downright cold, actually. Ridiculous windchills and Arctic weather fronts which all combine to make every last centimeter of my skin most horrifically

Dry and really, really itchy. There aren't enough lotions or moisturizers in the world to combat this adequately. Especially my face - I have the worst time finding a moisturizer that works but doesn't leave my skin feeling slimy or make me break out. (If anyone has any suggestions for a cheap - read: available at Target or Walmart, not Sephora or a department store brand type thing - and effective moisturizer, I'd love to hear them...)

Also, I've been
Dealing with a good bit of Drama of the five-and-a-half year old variety. As in sass, attitude and Disrespect. Always very Draining to have to deal with that Day in and Day out. Fortunately, Kiddo seems to have pulled her shizzle together as of today (we had a Long and Serious talk while waiting for the bus this morning about improving the attitude) and today went well both at school and afterwards. Well enough that I consented to host a birthday party for her beloved pet tiger, Roary. Complete with birthday cake (actually, a Doughnut that Kiddo picked out after school), candle, singing and party games. A certain group of Kiddo's stuffed animal menagerie attended; I'm not sure if the rest weren't invited or simply declined to come all the way downstairs from the warmth of her flannel sheets where they've been huddling.

I also have been a bit
Depressed. General worry about Life and All That Entails, including concern about the Future and various family members and the State of the Country and World, etc. In more self-centered concerns, I've also been bummed (pun intended) about the wide, wide expanse of my Derriere. Yes, I've been faithfully going to the gym per my New Year's Resolution, and I know it is too soon to expect to see major results, but would it be wrong to just hope for a little miracle? Couldn't I hop on the locker room scale and have to slide the big weight Down to the 150 notch? How about one muscle showing some Definition? Humph.

So, anyhow, there you have it. Blah Heather in the
Doldrums. Certainly nothing that anyone wants to read about, eh? I have other stuff I've thought about posting about, like some recent Discussions that have taken place with Kiddo and a positively Disgusting exchange I overheard at the grocery store yesterday, but I am getting grumpy all over again from my whining thus far. I can't stand myself when I'm Down and Dismal, so I must shake off the funk and quit my kvetching.

Instead, I shall give a belated but heartfelt shout-out to the always
Delightful Eudea-Mamia, who bestowed upon me this lovely blog bling:

I don't know that I
Deserve it, but it is very, very much appreciated. Thank you!

Thus concludes my big, fat,
D list. At least the week should be ending better than it began, albeit with more of D same.... We are going out to Dine (a Delayed anniversary celebration), also to see Disney on Ice *and* we have a Day off on Monday. That makes for a much better weekenD than the week so far! Stay tuned for further Developments once I'm no longer Down in the Dumps! Now it is time to start thinking about Dinner, after which I plan to watch Grissom's Departure from CSI *sniff sniff* while eating some Dessert. (Yes, I know that ice cream is counterproductive when I'm trying to shrink and tone and turn my Jabba the Huttness into Heather the Hotness, but sometimes, a girl's just gotta have her bowl of ice cream, y'know?)

And now, I will leave you with a
Doldrums-Defying Ditty, courtesy of my good pal Ernie (with an able assist from the fantabulous Cookie Monster):



Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why I will be sore and grumpy tomorrow morning...

Let me just say that if it weren't for my new anthropological/sociological project that is taking place at the gym (and which I promise to blog about soon - I know you're all on tenterhooks waiting for it), and if it weren't for my still-quite-shiny-and-recent New Year's Resolution made just 11 short days ago, the odds of me dragging myself to the gym tomorrow would be about as good as the odds of George Clooney turning up on my doorstep with a bunch of roses.

See, we had some snow overnight. Not a ton, like some other parts of the northeast got, but enough to count - maybe 6 or 8 inches on top of what we already had down, which had dwindled in the freezing rain and sleet of last week. Now, Kiddo has been DYING to going out and play in the snow. She's a kid, you see, and therefore, suiting up a la Ralphie and his little brother in A Christmas Story and then clomping about in the icy cold air and precipitation counts as big fun. For Mommy? Not so much. Speaking of cold, we're supposed to be getting some serious, Arctic chill type temperatures in the coming week. The weatherpeople are downright giddy about informing us how we're all gonna be so dang cold. One of those "the snot in your nose forms icicles before it reaches your upper lip" and "your eyeballs freeze into cubes between blinks" kind of cold spells. And let's not forget the ever popular wind chill, which will make things feel even more vilely cold than they actually are... and those dang weatherpeople won't let us forget that now, will they? So, the next several days are going to involve trying to stay OUT of the OUTSIDE as much as possible, so things don't get frostbitten and then fall off. Which they could, you know, if you're not careful...

Anyhow, I'd been feeling a bit guilty about the amount of time I'd allowed Kiddo to romp about in the winter weather thus far this season. (Total amount of time prior to today: Zero Minutes.) When Hubby was out snowblowing the driveway earlier this afternoon, Kiddo was glued to the window, pea green with envy that he was Out in the Snow. Adding insult to injury was the fact that just beyond Hubby manfully pushing the snowblower to and fro, the neighbors' kids were out playing in their front yard. Kiddo was so very, very much wanting to go out and play in the snow, and I was feeling so very, very guilty about keeping her in, that when Hubby came inside and reported it wasn't too cold except for when the wind kicked up, I told Kiddo to bundle up. Of course, I'm not about to let Kiddo go out and play in the front yard by herself, ever, and even in the safety of our fenced-in back yard, how much fun is playing in the snow by oneself? Not much, take this former kid's word for it. So, I bundled myself up too, squeezing into my snowpants (which I pretend are slimming as they're black and all, never mind that they're padded) and boots and designated "play in the snow" coat which has conveniently large, patch-style pockets for holding kleenexes and spare gloves and the like.

So off we went, out into the white, cold afternoon. Kiddo had a blast.


She made her first snow angels of the season...


She wanted to make a snowman, but the snow we got overnight really wasn't of good, packing quality, so I dissuaded her from attempting such a project. Of course, as I pointed out to her, we will have many more weeks (*sigh* months, actually) of snowy weather, so there will be ample opportunities for snowman creation in our future. Our yard is much too flat for sledding (and I wasn't about to drive over to the sledding hill, as it was getting late and cold quickly), so that left pretty much just one activity left. One of Kiddo's favorites, so she didn't mind one bit.


Snowball fight!

Now, we have rules here in the Smith family regarding snowball fights. No hitting above the neck, that's the big one. Unfortunately, Kiddo got so caught up in the glee of the moment that she utterly forgot the rules. I wound up with an ear packed tightly with snow, as well as snow coating my hair with melting snow shrapnel running down my neck and back. Now, I would've been a bit more upset, but I accidentally nailed Kiddo in the face myself once (okay, twice) so you know, fair is fair. Though my above-the-neck hits were totally unintentional - I have lousy aim and she was a moving target - and Kiddo fully meant to pelt me wherever she could.

By the time Kiddo went to bed, I found myself aching in places that said "Hey, Heather, you're not 5 and a half anymore, *and* you went to the gym FIVE days in a row last week, *and* you were playing Wii Tennis and Bowling yesterday like a freaking madwoman! Did I mention you're not 5 and a half anymore?" I downed a handful of Advil and curled up on the couch to watch the Golden Globes. By the time the show ended (and yes, that is why I'm still up at this ungodly hour), I could barely stand up, I was so stiff and sore. (Seriously - was that the cat meowing or just my joints creaking?)

All this is to say that tomorrow morning, I predict a Very Grumpy and Sore Heather. A Heather Who Also is PMSing. A Heather Who Will Much Rather Crawl Back Into Bed with One of Her Latest Batch of Books from the Library, Perhaps With the Rest of That Sleeve of Thin Mints Discovered Languishing in the Freezer Midway Through the Golden Globes.

But fear not, dear readers, for even though I need to be up and at 'em in a horrific 6ish hours, and even though I'm going to be as sore as I am tired (did I mention that my right knee does a phenomenal flamenco-dancer-with-castanets impression whenever I walk up stairs? CLICK-clickclick-CLICK! CLICK-clickclick-CLICK!), I will go to the gym. I will. Then I might come home and collapse in bed, but I will go and work out.

But if I do the recumbent bike on level one instead of the elliptical machine on level three, don't judge me too harshly, mmmkay?

Oh and in other news, Hubby seems to have a rather serious case of food poisoning (although not so serious as to wind up in the hospital, as happened to him once before about 10 years ago). We're not sure what to blame it upon, though the leading culprits are (a) the Beer of Mysterious Origins that he unearthed from the fridge and drank with dinner Friday night, (b) the yogurt he ate at lunch on Friday or (c) the peanut butter he had with his toast at a breakfast meeting on Thursday. (C) is mostly an option because of the current salmonella outbreak that's been linked to contaminated PB that is only available in restaurants. At any rate, with him really not able to stomach (pun intended - hey, it's late and I'm up way past my bedtime) anything other than dry toast, chicken soup and saltines, we postponed our anniversary celebration dinner to next weekend, when he hopefully will be feeling more like consuming and enjoying a big, Italian meal. Next weekend is also when we're going to see Disney on Ice, which was one of my birthday presents, so it will be a whole Celebratory Weekend, never a bad thing!

Anyhow, I'm off to bed as it is now officially Monday. I'll see you all, stiff and bleary-eyed, in a few hours, with my report on my own personal Gorillas in the Mist. Intrigued now, aren't you? Stay tuned.............

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Passports to....?

On New Year's Eve day, we took a little family field trip to apply for passports. For Kiddo, it was her first one ever, and Hubby's and mine had both expired earlier in the year, so we needed to renew ours. I must commend the local post office branch we visited - it is one of the smaller ones, out of the way and staffed by just 2 clerks - on their assistance and efficiency with the entire process. We were expecting the whole thing to be much more of a hassle, frankly, and it turned out to be a delight. The post office clerk took our pictures and got everything sorted in no time once we arrived, and was equally helpful on the phone when I called earlier in the week to ask ninety million questions about the process. So, off the applications went, to two separate locations (different if you're getting your first than if you are renewing) in three separate envelopes. I was surprised when the clerk told us they ought to arrive within 3 weeks, after hearing all the news stories about the terribly long back-ups at the passport agency over the past year. We were just doing the "regular" passport applications, not expediting, as we have no urgent need for them.

Kiddo's arrived yesterday, and Hubby's and mine arrived today. That is less than two weeks after we submitted our applications, and that is with a national holiday thrown in to the mix. Well done, US Passport Agency people!! Serious kudos for the speed at which everything was done and mailed back!!

So, now I've got these three, brand-spankin'-new passports sitting here next to me, and I find myself wondering.... in the next ten years, where will they take us? My last passport had stamps from several countries, from the UK to the Caribbean. Will this one take me back to Europe? To Australia? Africa? I know we'll be bringing it with us on our next trip to (or more precisely, through) Canada in the spring, as we now need them to get across the border for Canada and Mexico. (With our relative proximity to Canada and the fact that they have the better side of Niagara Falls, this made getting a passport for Kiddo more of a priority. I was 15 when I got my first passport, not 5!)

One of the things I've always used as a consolation measure when I start feeling sad about Kiddo being an only child is the fact that this means it will be that much easier to travel with her. I'll envision trips abroad, the three of us climbing the towers at Warwick Castle and gazing up at Stonehenge in England, or hopping in a gondola in Venice, or being awestruck by the Sydney Opera House, or going on a safari and seeing Kiddo's beloved African animals in their natural habitat in person. In my imaginings, Kiddo is always a bit older than five, so perhaps this isn't the passport that will see those stamps. I mean, children's passports are only good for five years, instead of the decade for which our adult passports are valid. I really do hope that schedules and finances permit us to fill at least some of the pages with stamps before these expire, though. Maybe not Africa, but at least Canada and Mexico, perhaps Europe.

I think there is a lot of value in visiting other places, seeing history firsthand, experiencing other cultures in person. I've always appreciated the opportunities I had growing up to travel abroad, and I want to instill that appreciation in Kiddo, too. So here I sit, gazing at our crisp, new, untouched passports, and I'm overcome with wanderlust....


So tell me, dear bloggy friends, what is your number one Passport-Required dream destination? How old were you when you got your first passport? What was the best place you've been so far? Do you enjoy traveling (especially great distances) with your child(ren) or do you think I'm nuts to be excited that Kiddo now has the necessary paperwork to go abroad?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mmmmmmeme!

There's this alphabet meme that's been making the rounds of the blogosphere, and the always delightful Georgie gave me a letter so I could play, too! Thanks, Georgie!! She gave me the letter M, and now I have to come up with ten things I like that start with M... As many other meme-attempters have said, this is harder than it looks, as it turns out! Here goes:

1. Motherhood.


Best thing ever. 'Nuff said.

2. Movies.


Love 'em, and don't get to see enough of 'em these days, either in the theater (especially in the theater!) or even on DVD. I can't wait until Kiddo is old enough that Hubby and I can resume our moviegoing habits without having to worry about being able to make that month's mortgage payment so we can hire a sitter AND see a movie.

3. Music.


Just about any kind, except heavy/death metal, opera and most rap or hip-hop. Otherwise, I'm your girl! From showtunes to classical to 80s pop to country to gospel to rock to folk, oh yeah, it's all good. (My love of music and relative talent in the area does not, however, mean I can dance. I can't. I'm hopeless on a dance floor.)

4. Macaroni and cheese.

Preferably with bacon. Hey, these chins didn't grow themselves, you know. It took help. Help and laziness in the kitchen come dinnertime.

5. Uh-oh, I'm not even halfway through yet and I'm drawing a blank. I'm strongly tempted to say Meorge Mlooney, but I'll save that for if I get really desperate round about number 9 or 10. How about, instead, I'll go with Musicals.


Different than music, I think, as a "musical" is a type of theatrical production. I love musicals. LOVE them. I'm a Broadway Baby. What's that? You want to know my top ten, all time favorite musicals? Well, since you asked and in alphabetical, not favorites order....
  • A Chorus Line
  • Anything Goes
  • Cabaret
  • Cats
  • Chicago
  • Guys and Dolls
  • Hello, Dolly!
  • La Cage Aux Folles
  • Les Miserables
  • The Lion King

6. Magicians.
Well, not *all* magicians - that Criss Angel dude freaks me out and David Blaine annoys the heck out of me. (I'm thinking they probably consider themselves "illusionists" or something instead of straight-out magicians, anyhow.) Penn and Teller, though? They rock! I used to make a point out of going to see their show at least once whenever Hubby and I went to Vegas, often on my own as Hubby preferred playing poker to seeing a show he'd seen before. Another great magician who works in Vegas is Mac King. When we saw him, I laughed hard enough to give myself a severe side cramp. Funny and amazing at the close-up magic, who could ask for anything more? Heck, I even am a Siegfried and Roy fan - we saw their show, too. (I even saw their 3-D IMAX movie - in the theater - back in the day.) It's not just Vegas magicians, though - any magician who is halfway decent, better if they're funny as well.

7. Merriment and Mirth (wow, a twofer!). I love to be happy, I love to laugh. (Who doesn't?) My default mode is to always look for the sunny side of life. Unless I've got PMS, in which case all I want to look for is a bag of Cheez Doodles, a bar or six of chocolate, and a comfy spot to curl up upon and moan. But other than those few days, I'm all about sunshine and happiness and humor and smiles and joy, and those things that bring them, like

7.5. Muppets!



8. Mignon, filet.


(Yeah, I'm cheating a bit - still it's better than busting out Meorge Mlooney!) Medium rare, preferably with Bearnaise sauce and/or wrapped in bacon. I have it at most once a year if I'm lucky, but I love it.

9. Milk.
Well, actually, any and all milk products, aka dairy. Again, these chins (and thigh rolls, hip rolls, belly rolls and back rolls) didn't grow themselves, and you can't put that much pressure on a poor, little box of macaroni and cheese. See, cheese. Mmmm, cheese. Sour cream. Ice cream. Whipped cream. Butter. Yogurt. Cottage cheese. If it is made from something that came out of a cow's udder, I am a fan. I even like milk, straight up (or, of course, with chocolate sauce or Ovaltine. Mmmmmm, Ovaltine....)

10. Okay, for my tenth and final Favorite Thing that Starts with the Letter M, I've got a good one, especially given my recent wedding anniversary (and thanks for all the good wishes, y'all! You're all so sweet!): Matrimony. Marriage. There's nothing like it, and hopefully the day isn't too far off when everyone can get married, regardless of with whom it is they fall in love...



All right, there are my 10, and I didn't even have to use Meorge (or Malan Mickman or Meddie Mizzard, either) to get there. Whew. Anyone else want to play? Let me know and I'll happily give you a letter!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fourteen years ago today...

... I married my best friend.

Yes, I chose a burgundy velvet dress for my four bridesmaids. I still swear to this day that the dress could be worn again. You could *totally* wear it to a holiday party. My own dress was "candlelight ivory" as true white made me appear quite corpselike - not exactly the look one strives for on one's wedding day...


We opted to have birdseed thrown instead of rice as we left the church, because of the birds and their exploding stomachs and all. My family helpfully made up approximately one zillion little bags of birdseed, which were then most enthusiastically thrown at us - many people had multiple bags for ammo - as you can see in the above picture. I wound up using my bouquet as a shield as we made a dash for the limo. If you look carefully, you'll notice my father hurling birdseed from the church's doorway to ensure that we were bombarded from all directions. When I changed out of my dress, there was birdseed in my underthings and embedded in my skin as well, and still more came out in the shower the next morning from where it had become one with my bridal coif. (I felt a wee bit Sally Field-in-Steel Magnolias-ish with the amount of products the hair stylist used to create my bridal 'do - my hair was hard enough that one could knock upon it. I think that was more stuff in my hair on that one day than the entire rest of my life combined, which is saying something when you consider I'm from Jersey and I grew up in the 80s...) My siblings learned from our experience, and opted to have much safer "celebration" type things done for their respective wedding church-exits, like having tiny bells rung or bubbles blown. Thus, Hubby and I never had our revenge upon them for the pelting we endured.

Our first dance, to "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" as sung by Harry Connick, Jr. Great song but not really that danceable, as it turns out. It is "our" song though, one that Hubby used to play for me when he deejayed at the jazz station back when we were in college, despite it not being on the approved playlist.

Cutting the cake! We went with a chocolate cake with raspberry filling, quite delicious but rather a pain to frost with white icing. We also had plain, yellow cake with raspberry filling available for those attendees who didn't like chocolate. We didn't smash it either - we made a pact that we wouldn't, and we fed each other that momentous first bite simultaneously and with decorum to the strains of the Beatles' "When I'm 64" (you know: "will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?").

Seeing as how we got married waaaay back in the early days of the interwebz and before digital photography and/or personal scanners were common, I didn't have any of our wedding photographs on my computer. I dug out our wedding album, which was redone for us by a friend who scrapbooks a few years back, and scanned the above pictures in from that. This is why some have borders or rounded edges or what-have-you, and also why they're not the greatest quality - I didn't want to try removing either the pictures from the album or the protective cover off the page, so I just slapped the album onto the scanner bed as best I could to scan them in. At least now I have some form of them on the computer!

We plan to celebrate not tonight, as Hubby is working late and it is the middle of the week and all, but rather this weekend, when we're going out to eat at Macaroni Grill, with Kiddo, who is fascinated by our wedding album now that she is old enough to sort of understand what a wedding is and also able to remember being a flower girl in her uncle's wedding back in 2007. She is a little upset that we didn't have her as our flower girl, so she's not quite getting the whole concept of "back before you were born" too well right now. At least she gets to go out to celebrate with us this weekend - she loved eating there for my birthday last month!

Anyhow... to get all mushy and sentimental for a moment (hey, it is my blog!), here is one of my favorite poems of all time. I wanted to have the first line - or at the very least, the first phrase - inscribed on the inside of our wedding bands, but both Hubby and the jeweler laughed their heads off at me. We settled for our initials and the date instead. As there are no such space limitations on my blog, I will share the poem in its entirety with you now:
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
~ e.e. cummings

Happy anniversary, honey! Thank you for putting up with me and my craziness for these past 14 years!