Saturday, November 17, 2007

Just for you

I've been a little behind with my photos lately. Not to point fingers (Steve) but someone (Steve) has been a bit of a laptop hog recently (Steve). He - I mean SOMEONE - seems to think that I should be able to use my work laptop and leave him to play Spider Solitaire and view sports-related content in peace. The only problem with that is that all of my pictures and music are on our family laptop. The laptop which we purchased specifically for ME. Oh, sure, that was when I needed it for school, but whatever. It's all about me. Remember that.


I finally got new pictures downloaded and organized this evening and I came across a few photos that I thought you might enjoy. Because I'm here for you. You know, except when someone (Steve) is hogging the laptop.

A flower girl who stole all of the attention from the bride (1977)

I knew how to pose
Top: Butterball - good thing I got a little taller
Botton: First grade picture

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Now, where did I leave my high heels and pearls?

Yesterday was a good day. The kids had dentist appointments in the morning and, since they decided to squeeze Steve in to work on his cavitites (Two! He's such a bad boy!), I had to go, too. Andrew only had a half-day of school, so we decided to make a family play-hookey-day of it. Steve and I both took the day off work and after we finished with the dentist, we went to eat and saw The Bee Movie. It was Abby's very first movie, and she did pretty well. I think she liked it, even if she didn't recognize Kramer's voice half-way through it or get some of the jokes.

After the movie, Andrew actually convinced Steve to stop at a store I had pointed out on our way to the theater. It was a cute little antique store with a bunch of fun stuff set up outside. I'm pretty sure if it had been just me asking, we wouldn't have gone, but Andrew wheedled (that's a cross between whining and needling, with a dash of begging for good measure) our way there. Gotta love that boy. The store was very fun. Lots of things that I would love to have at my house. Or at least at the house I have in my head - the one where kids don't color on tables, spill drinks on couches, or break things with their energy force fields. Steve's reply anytime I suggest purchasing new furniture is, "What's the point of buying anything nice now?" Good point. But I had fun looking around and the kids also had a good time. The store was in the midst of reorganizing, so walking through it to look at things was a little like exploring your grandma's attic (WAY fun!). And as a bonus, not only was there a small Abby-sized playmate (the owners' daughter, Erica) and two adorable kittens who liked - or at least tolerated well - being carried around by three-year-olds, they had a play room upstairs, where Erica was more than happy to host some company. I think Steve was the only one who wanted to leave. And even HE liked many of the items we saw. I know this will be hard to believe, but he actually said he was surprised at how reasonably priced things were and was longingly eyeing a beautiful cabinet with an attached leaded-glass display case. I know! I had to check and make sure he hadn't been replaced by a pod person!

So we left the store without most of the things I wanted to pack up and tuck in my pocket, like the old rescued barn feed bin, which would have made a fantastic addition to our mud room, except for the fact that our house doesn't have a mud room, or even a spare wall long enough and empty enough beside which to place it. Sigh. But! I did not leave empty handed. I found two lovely soup bowl and saucers that came home with me. I question the actual antiqueness of them, but I love them even if they aren't that old, and I didn't pay more for them than I would have at Target. Also, I bought an apron. You heard me. Actually, I bought two. Because if I have an apron, you know that Abby needs an apron. Both of our aprons are quite lovely and have already been put to good use, except that Andrew was the first one to wear Abby's apron. I promised him I wouldn't take his picture, so I don't have proof, but I do have photos of our lovely aprons.


Abby's (& Andrew's) :

Just wearing it makes me feel more domestic already!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Told You So

See? I didn't do it. That blogging every day thing. I mean, seriously. Every. Day. Does it count that I THINK about blogging every day? I do, I swear! There is at least one moment every day when I think to myself, "Oh, right. Blog that." And then I actually write a few lines in my head. Because I'm just that much of a nerd. The problem comes in where I try to get that stuff from my head to my fingers at such a time and place when I a) have a computer in front of me with time to type and b) remember what was so great that I wanted to tell the Internet about it. Let me tell you, a and b? They don't cross paths too often.

But I did have a little flash of insight recently that I thought I'd share. Because I clearly have not yet publicly flogged myself and my neuroses enough...

Recently, I went out to eat with several of my co-workers when the conversation turned to discussion about a particular person, who I did not know. There was some venting going on. And then someone made a comment about this person taking Prozac. And there were some comments like, "That explains things." or "Well, I guess I'd better be nicer to her so she doesn't lose it on me." And I said nothing. I don't know this person. I have no idea how annoying she might be to deal with. And I obviously know nothing about her health issues. However, it finally occurred to me (in a big light bulb DUH moment) that the reason I was not and am still not entirely comfortable with my current prescription is that I make judgements about people who need to take medicine for depression. And clearly I'm not alone. I would feel pretty terrible if some of the people I work with thought about me the things they think about this other person, simply because they were to find out that I take Zoloft. A better version of myself would have said something to them. I would have defended this unknown person, at least from the perspective of her mental health, and explained that it is not her fault. It's a chemical issue. It is medically necessary and does not mean she is weak. But I didn't.

Because I don't believe that, either. I need to get off of this drug or come out of the depression closet and start getting over the stigma I've attached to myself. And I need to quit being a hypocritical jerk, even if I'm only doing that in my head.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


There's this thing. I am not joining it. I want to. But I'm not going to. Because I am a sucky blogger and I don't think I can do it. Yes, this makes me the kind of person who is avoiding participation because I think I will fail. I know. Please, don't point it out to me, or otherwise I'll have to tell Steven Tyler about it. And you know, he doesn't think there's anything wrong with me, so that would really mess with him. He would have to write a song about it and sing it while he wears very tight striped spandex pants and plays with scarves. And no one wants that.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ratted out

When I started writing here, in this very public, yet still somehow anonymous forum, I knew that it could be found. Honestly, I could have done far more to make this unfindable by my family, friends, whoever, but I didn't. I have also been conscious not to write things here that I would be embarrassed for my family to read. You know, just in case. I haven't lied, but I have pushed myself to see the positive side a little more often before I start typing. ;-)

Even so, I've been pretty open. I write things here that I don't talk about in conversation. Talking is hard for me. Writing is SO much easier. So. What the Hell am I talking about?

Well, my grandma called tonight. Actually, she called this morning while I was at church (wrong number!), but then she called back tonight. I missed it the first time - we couldn't get to the phone in time, and I didn't call back. Probably because I'm a really horrible granddaughter, but I am fighting a cold and was coming down off of my cold medicine grogginess and I didn't think it was probably a big deal. But then she called back.

First, she wanted to apologize for the wrong number this morning. But then, she wanted to check on me. Because my uncle John told her that I'm depressed. And cleaning closets or something. I of course assured Grandma that I'm fine and I'm getting help. It's just life. And, as Grandma said, it's hard to try doing and having it all.

Before I go any further, I want to say for the record, I love my uncle. He has always been my "cool" uncle - young, and fun, and just awesome. Oh, the stories I could tell about him!! Things are a little different now, because we're all older and crankier and stuff. The last time we were all together, my kids were...uh...a little loud. Like usual. We were outside, but they were pretty loud. And I tend to forget that their particular volume of loud is even louder for people (like John) who don't deal with it every. blessed. day. He does like kids. He just wants them to behave. Hey, me, too!

Anyway, so now my family knows about 1) the blog and 2) the depression. I say family because if John told Grandma, I would be willing to bet good money that my Grandma has also told my Aunt Jill, it's possible that my Uncle John has told my Uncle Sam...and basically, my mom is going to be calling and/or e-mailing me tomorrow. (Luckily, she already knows about all of this!) I am not concerned that John or even my Grandma knows about what I write here. What really is a little disturbing is that I got tattled on! By Cool Uncle John! Seriously!

Ah, well, that's life. It's good to be loved. Hi, Edwards Family! Welcome to the show!

Friday, October 19, 2007

God forgive me, I think I've become one of THOSE people

I go to church. Lutheran, in case you're interested. I believe in God and Jesus and salvation and all that other stuff. I feel pretty strongly about it all, but I know other people don't. And normally, that's okay with me. Even if I don't agree with someone else's beliefs or opinions, well, it's just not my place to judge or tell them they are wrong.


In the last two days, a couple things have struck me, and I have been surprised at how strong my reaction has been. First, was this quote in my daily quote calendar (I love quotes):

"Can't nothin' make your life work if you ain't the architect." --Terry McMillan

My immediate thought when I read that quote: Bullshit. I had to take a second to figure out why I reacted that way. Then I realized - it's because I don't think I'm the architect of my own life, nor should I try to be. I have always believed in "meant to be" things. After all, I met my husband because God sent a flood. Seriously. I'm not saying I don't have any choice or responsibility for my life, but I really believe that there is a Greater Plan, and that all of the circumstances, obstacles, and choices I am presented with are leading me along that path.

I feel strongly. But I very rarely talk about this, even with my "church friends." I have read articles about attempts to remove God from congressional proceedings and bills, and of course I know about the church-state battle. I have opinions about those things, too, and sometimes my husband and I discuss them. And I shake my head sometimes and wonder what this world is coming to and how/why people have come to the conclusions they have. But I think what I read earlier might have officially sent me over the edge. Radio Disney is now objecting to including the words "chosen by God." In a movie about

For those of you who are not familiar, those are the ten big rules given to Moses. By GOD. Basically, God is one of the main characters of the story. But Radio Disney doesn't think He should be part of the commercials they air. Seriously.

I'm officially angry. Outraged, even, at the stupidity of this. How far do we really need to go to avoid offending someone? Does it honestly offend someone who does not believe in my God to even hear His name? And if that's the case, does anyone really not see that there might be bigger problem there? And by the way, why is it okay to offend ME by neutralizing my God in order to avoid offending someone else? How does that make sense?

I want to share my anger with everyone. I would love to send it to some women bloggers who are way more popular than me, maybe someone who writes about political issues, current events, etc. to spread the word even more. The only problem with that is that most of the ones I've found are overwhelmingly liberal/Democrat-leaning/anti-Bush. And somehow, I'm not sure that they will share in my outrage. I may have to start my own. I could call it A Liberal Republican Christian Mommy Speaks Out. Watch out, next I'm getting one of those fish emblems and am going to put a bumper sticker on my van that says "I'm Christian. And I VOTE!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Taking it too far

So I may have a case of making my own bed and being forced to lie in it. Yes, the name of this blog is I, Spider. Yes, there is a very cute little spider crawling around at the top. And, yes, I have been known to display spider cling-stickers year-round. I take pride in my spiderness. And this

New friend

is indeed the little friend who keeps me company on my work laptop.


I do not like the kind of spiders that crawl across my living room floor at midnight when I am very innocently sitting on my couch trying to watch Jay Leno and Steve is already fast asleep. I do not enjoy begging my husband to get up and kill the monster only to be turned down with a grunt and a muffled "Just use a shoe!" from under the pillow while a giant arachnid is attacking Flash.

NOT new friend

Please note that the monster's legs were actually twice the length they appear. This photo was taken after I drowned it in Ant/Roach spray (the only thing I had that didn't require me to touch anything that was touching the spider) and it shriveled up it's creepy crawly legs and DIED already! Woo hoo! And yes, those are indeed puddles you see on the floor around it. I told you, it drowned. I didn't want to take any chances.

We had one spider of similar size and monstrosity in the kids' rooms (it ran from one to the other and they had to chase it) earlier in the night. We've also had another one make an appearance in the living room since then. Luckily, Steve was awake to deal with that one. I'm out of Ant/Roach spray.

I just want to make it clear - The only spiders I like are fake and cute! These ginormous cat-eating jumping wolf spider beasts do NOT qualify in either category. So. If I have somehow developed a following out in the spider community, I want to tell them all right now: Don't come to my house. You are not invited. Perhaps I have gotten carried away with the spider thing. My bad. But don't come here. I will kill you. If not by cat attack (because they get a little scared when the spiders jump back at them - no lie!), then by drowning, or I'll call in The Husband. You know, .38, .39, whatever it takes.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Mom's Overture

This is one of the funniest things I have seen in a while. And so, so true. Also, I heard today how healthy laughter really is, so consider this your workout for the day!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Today was my first session with a counselor. I have to say, I kind of hated it. Yes, I am the one who called and made the appointment. I felt like it was time for me to go. But yesterday, I decided I was crazy for making the appointment. And thinking you are crazy is usually what leads people to go to see a counselor. So that was a bit of a dilemma. Can we all scream together now?

So I went. And it was fine. Just. Fine. Except I really hate telling other people about my weird issues. You know, other than you, Internet. With you, I can comfortably hide behind my laptop screen. Ha ha, you can’t see me now!

Anyway, have I mentioned the best/worst part? My counselor’s name (and by the way, what exactly do I call this person? therapist? counselor? Dr. Feelgood? What’s the proper term?) is Steve Tyler. Seriously. Thankfully, he does not look like this:

Which is a good thing, because I’m already freaked out enough. Thankfully, he also did not sing “Dream On” or “Sweet Emotion” when I started to tell him my issues. Basically, I think I confused The Demon of Screamin’ about why I was even there. Clearly, I was not making my craziness apparent enough. I’ve been working at faking normal for a while now, so I might be getting pretty good at it. Or maybe I was subconsciously trying to deny or hide my craziness. He kept asking if there was something else. What had happened to cause me to come in now? Have there been any problems? Do I love my husband? (Yes, by the way). By the time we were finished, he had come just short of calling me a hypochondriac. He said I’m neurotic. But you know, I’m sure he meant it in the nicest possible way. And he does want me to come back. Woo hoo! I’m crazy enough for a 2nd date! With Steve Tyler! My lips feel so inadequate.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I've been turning, tuning, and drop drop dropping...*

So I've been feeling mentally AWOL lately. This has been going on for a while now. I'm back to doing some serious introspection. Oh, there's some fun stuff going on in the deep dark recesses of my little brain. And what do you know, there are some corners in there that I have neglected. Neglected for far too long. God, I hate looking in there.

You know, sometimes I cook something for dinner and it's just okay. Or maybe even a little less than okay. But for some reason, I store the leftovers in the refrigerator anyway. You know, just because. I made them, I should keep them, right? And they get pushed to the back of the refrigerator. And neglected. Have you ever seen what happens to neglected leftovers in the back of a refrigerator? It is not pretty, my friends. Not. Pretty.

So, this is my brain. And this is my brain with moldy leftovers. What to do? How do I get rid of the moldy leftovers? I thought I had dumped them in the trash, but somehow, the stench has remained. Or maybe there are still more leftovers that I missed before. I dunno. I've been looking by myself and I can't figure it out.

Okay, I'm not making much sense. I know, I'm rambling...give me a break - it's 1:00 am and I've been keeping this stuff bottled up for a while. Have I mentioned how utterly sick I am of worrying that I'm sick? The problem with being sick in the head is that you have to wonder if the thoughts you are having about being sick in the head are being altered because you might be sick in the head. Know what I mean? Ha ha! Hee hee! Ho ho!

Here's the deal. I have issues. To paraphrase a friend, I've got an entire subscription (she actually was not talking about me, but it fits). I like to think I'm pretty independent and smart and capable. And I don't like to ask for help. That's just a sign of weakness or stupidity or naivete. You know, for me. Other people can ask for help, that's cool. They can even ask me for help. They aren't stupid. Just me. If I ask for help. No, it doesn't make sense. Remember? Issues. However, I'm asking for help now. It took me having a minor breakdown after reading a book to bring up some of those issues. It took several weeks of trying to work through these issues in my head to bring me to the conclusion that they just aren't going to go away on their own and it's time to ask for help. It took two more weeks to bring myself to tell my husband that I want to ask for help. It took one more week after that to make the first call to get some help. It took three more days before I tried again (you would think that when you call to ask for help that the people whose job it is to help you would be a little more understanding about how hard it is to call and ask for help one time and would respond appropriately without making you call and ask a SECOND TIME). That was a week ago. I have two more weeks until I actually get to meet with someone in person and start purging the moldy leftovers. I hope they have some really strong cleaner.

Friday, September 7, 2007

And pay and pay...and pay

Well, if I needed some clear indication that life as a consultant who travels most of the time is not for me, I've got it now. I have been in Chicago for the last couple of days at a conference. The conference was great. Hotel room awesome (Seriously - a television built into the mirror in the bathroom. My amazement at that made me feel like a total hick.), comfy bed, wonderful pillows...and today I came home.

Let's think back to when I went to San Diego back in April...remember? Yep, they all got sick and I had the guilt and then I had to take care of them and baby them and not complain about it because I had been enjoying myself in sunny Cali-forn-i-a while they were feverish and achy and sweating and feeling crappy - and Steve also had to take care of the sickly kids. So guess what happened while I was in Chicago...

Yup. Again.

Apparently, this time the guilt and the nursemaiding is going to be payment for the cool iPod and $600 gift certificate I won at the conference. I suppose that's fair. If Abby has to have tonsillitis (according to in order for me to have have an iPod, I guess that's a sacrifice I'll just have to make.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Seriously, is it really so wrong?

They say that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. And I would. Really. But I don't have one.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this picture.

Yes, they are Post-It Notes. Sorted. Lined up in tidy little columns. And yes, those are more Post-Its, color-coordinated, at the top of each column to label the Post-It columns. What? This isn't how everyone does it?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

So this is love

Eleven years. As of Friday, that's how long Steve and I have been married. Somehow, eleven finds me in a more reflective mood than ten did. Maybe because last year I was too busy planning and anticipating a trip to Niagara Falls to think much about why. But eleven. Wow. I told Steve I thought for sure he'd have left me by now. I'm not sure if he thought I was kidding or not. I wasn't. I find it a daily miracle that this man continues to put up with my crap. And sometimes he actually acts like he likes it! Yes, he comes with his own unique blend of crap - things like making up bizarre and inappropriate lyrics to songs he can't sing the tune to. But for every "Awesome Pseudical" (that would be "Pour Some Sugar On Me") of his, there seems to be a "Five Hundred Children" (umm...."five hungry children" - that's from that one Kenny Rogers song) of mine. Maybe we fit together pretty well, after all.

And as further proof of that, it seems we've started a tradition for our anniversary. For the last few years, we have each given the other two cards. One a tender, romantic, sappy, wordy one. And then the real one. This year, I think we've finally reached the pinnacle. We gave each other the mushy cards on Friday - the actual anniversary. We didn't plan it that way, but there were two cards and we each picked that one to give. Saturday we had our official night out (a babysitter, dinner AND a movie - we were living on the edge!). Before bed that night (because we forgot to take them with us when we sprinted from the house screaming "FREEDOM!!!"), we exchanged the other cards. I'm actually a little scared. Because the next step is that we're going to start looking like each other, and I don't think he's going to look good with my boobs.

Mine to him:

From me to Steve - outside
From Steve to me - inside

And his to me:

From Steve to me - outside
From me to Steve - inside

The best part? We each bought the card that we should have received. Seriously. Have you SEEN his butt? Okay, but back off. He's mine.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

From a Yellow Brick Road to a Red Light

Well, today was Day 3 back to school. I can start to feel the presence of a more normal routine and pace around my house. We actually picked up around the house a little tonight. That alone is a big step forward from the last five or six weeks. Seriously, this summer has been almost overwhelming. I'm glad we did it all, but man, am I wiped out!

And really, we aren't quite done. We're going to Chicago this weekend for a Cubs game - where we will be sitting in a suite with my mom's family. This is the second time we've made this trip, and I think it will be pretty fun. As long as I keep the little ones away from my uncle John, who has turned into the the old guy who comes out on his front porch yelling, "Hey, you kids, get outta my yard!" But he's holding a glass of wine when he does it.

Then the following weekend, we'll be going home to Illinois for my Grandpa Noller's 80th birthday and some family fun with my Dad's family. Hmm...I wonder if my dad will be there. Funny that it only just now occured to me that he might. Oh well, that's a story for another time!

Finally, at the end of the month, we're going to Kings Island. The VP of Org Development takes the entire department and their families every year. The whole family, a chartered bus, entry to the park, and a meal. Free. I have never imagined working in a place that actually liked having me as an employee. It's kind of intoxicating. And you KNOW I like being intoxicated!

Anyway, as fun as all of that will be and all of everything else has been, there will be a couple of top highlights that I will remember about this summer. For one, I got to go to Beef & Boards for the first time way back at the beginning of June to see the Wizard of Oz. Do you know me? Do you know my love for this movie? If not, you should probably count your blessings. The people around me who do know about my thing with the Wizard probably wish that they didn't. I loved the whole thing. It was my birthday present from Steve, and I have to say, one of the best ones ever. I bought myself a couple of souveniers to commemorate the occasion: a wind-up music box that plays 'Over the Rainbow' and a witchy door hanger. The music box has already been claimed by Abby. I sing that song to her as a lullaby and when I had to be in Waco for almost two weeks, I told her that whenever she missed me, she could use my "special music box" to hear our song. So now that's Abby's "special music box." Oh well, it worked and helped my guilt while I was gone. As for the door hanger, that has become one of my favorite decorations on my cube wall at work. One side is pink and says Good Witch. The other side, the side that is showing most often, is green (!) and says Bad Witch. Hee hee. I just love it.

And then there's the other highlight of my summer. Oh, who am I kidding, probably one of the highlights of my life. You know, umm, after marrying Steve and having my kids. Right, that's what I meant. A couple of weeks ago, I took a road trip with some friends to Detroit. Woo hoo! That's it, man! Detroit! Awesome! Oh, and while we were there, we just popped in to the Palace and saw

Police Marquee

Yes, with Sting and his little Tantric self. I know I should care a little more about the other two guys, Andy and Stuart, and they were great and all, but they're no Sting. Plus, they are really OLD! My fellow travelers were some of my friends from church. There were two men and two women, we're all married, but none of us to each other.

Here's our one group photo, taken by a guy who really wanted our wine, but didn't have his own glass - seriously, how unprepared is that?!

Group Photo

Weird? You might think so, but it was terrific. And I learned a very important lesson: Much like calling Shotgun early, you must also state clearly before the trip commences that "What Happens on the Road Trip, Stays on the Road Trip." Otherwise you might come home being called Pot Head, and not for the reasons you might think. There were lots of interesting conversations on the way to and from Detroit, but I don't think I can share them all here. Not because the What Happens rule was invoked, but because I would laugh too hard to be able to continue to type. Sting should feel good that the intricacies of Tantra were discussed in such detail, though. And we seriously think he could get a killer endorsement deal with K-Y if he'd push that seven-hour angle.

I leave you with a little Sting:

Sting Closeup

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Busted, literally - signs from God

I'm back. I know I haven't been around much. We have been soooo busy, it's unreal. It seems to me that we tried to squeeze an entire summer's worth of activity into the last five weeks, starting with the last week of June and ending today. Wow, I'm exhausted. Since I've been away for a while, I hope you're settled in for a long post...

First, a quick recap. When last I left you, I had managed to make it through vacation bible school week relatively unscathed. In fact, it was one of the best years of VBS that I can remember. And I think the kids had fun, too. There were horses and pig kissing and WAY cool decorations. And yes, I am already annoying people by starting to talk about next year. Anyone who complains is going to go on God's shit list for sure, so watch it! The month of July has been filled with, among other miscellaneous things, the carnival in town, trips to Kokomo Beach (not a real beach, but an awesome - small, un-crowded, clean, cheap - water park, Steve's week off, a Police concert (more on that tomorrow), Camp Anderson, the new Harry Potter book, the county fair, Abby's last dance class until September (I am proud to report that we were on time!), an Indianapolis Indians game with people from church (which I coordinated, thank you very much), the Brickyard (for Steve and Andrew) and Abby's first trip to Club Libby Lu for a Libby Du both on this past Sunday (I don't want to hear any comments about makeup on my three-year-old - it was a special Girls' Day Out), and finally, today, Andrew's first day back to school. This is honestly the first year I can say that I feel relief at having that boy go back to school. Probably because this is the first summer where I have consciously worked to make Andrew feel like there is a difference between the school year and his summer vacation. I have been late to work (9 or 9:30 am late) almost every day the month of July so that he and Abby could sleep in a little more (okay, and so I could sleep in a little, too!); we've let them stay up late (hah, as if implying we actually have any kind of control when it comes to bedtime); we have not turned down any opportunity for parties or swimming or trips to the park or anything else. Like I said, I'm exhausted.

With everything else going on, I've slipped off of my diet plan over the last couple of weeks. I was holding on pretty well for a while, but then...well, let me say that I've learned some things about myself: 1. I am most certainly a stress-eater. I always thought this about myself, but getting myself to a pretty good place with food choices and then having stress rear its ugly head has cemented it. Work has picked up a LOT this month. Some of the stress that I eliminated when I left the Evil Empire and that I didn't have here in Eden while working in Finance has returned now that I am back in HRIS and working with Payroll again. And when I start to feel anxious and stressed, the first thing I want to do is grab a snack. You know, like when Payroll sends me tax balance reconciliation files Thursday afternoon and then follows up with a near-belligerent e-mail on Friday afternoon telling me that anything less than a perfect file by noon on Monday is completely unacceptable because they have to file by Tuesday and they have other things to do to the reports and never mind that they waited until THREE business days before that to look at the balances on a system they JUST WENT LIVE ON. Ahem. Let's move on, before I feel the need to look for some cookies. 2. I also learned concretely that when things with work and family get hectic and something has to give, what gives is me. I'm not saying that because I'm some kind of martyr or want sympathy points (though I wouldn't turn down a medal, you know, if you've got one you've been wanting to give me). It's just the truth. My stuff (tracking my food, exercising, sleeping, etc.) is the easiest to modify, reduce, or give up altogether. For the last few weeks, that's what has happened. And I have missed the little all-about-me life I had started to build: my blogging here and on the kids' site; tracking and (only slightly anally) monitoring my food, exercise, and weight on SparkPeople; walking alone or with Leslie, for no one but me. Sadly, though I didn't know it at the time, the day that marked the beginning of my tumble from the healthy lifestyle wagon was the day that I went for my best walk ever. We visited friends who live in the Illinois countryside, in what we now fondly refer to as Camp Anderson, and I walked about 2 3/4 mile in the middle of nowhere with just me and my thoughts. It was awesome. I did not want to come home. They have peaceful surroundings, five acres of land that is theirs, an inground -heated- pool, and three big dogs, one of which is a yellow lab who wanted to come home with me.

That was a week and a half ago. I had been faltering a bit before that, but since we got back, I'm not sure I've logged anything at all, and I'm pretty sure I haven't done any purposeful walking. I say purposeful because you know there has been plenty of walking, but no Walking, where I strap on my shoes and walk with the intent of walking a certain distance in a certain time frame at a certain speed. In other words, my walking has been running around after my kids, stepping over clutter and laundry and toys and crap in my house, or walking through the Wal-Mart or the grocery trying to remember exactly what it was I was supposed to be buying. The normal stuff.

But then, God looked down upon me and must have thought I needed some help pretty badly - and that I am pretty dense (He's smart like that) - because He started sending me some very clear signs pointing me in big flashing neon to get myself back to where I was before July happened. First, on Sunday, I tried to talk my daughter out of going to church. Yes, it's true. I know! God is going to be doing some serious smiting on my ass. Well, all that time my daughter spends in daycare - away from my horrible heathen influence - must be doing some kind of good because she wouldn't let me out of it. Steve and Andrew had already left for the race and we were running about 15 minutes late and I tried to say we just couldn't go and be that late because the service had already started and she cried. Tears. Because she wanted to go to church. Or maybe because she was sad because she had just realized that her Mommy is going to go to Hell, I'm not sure. So I took the oh-so-subtle hint from the Big Man that I should be getting myself some salvation and we went. And we stayed in the nursery the entire service, except for Children's Sermon and Communion, because she wouldn't sit in the pew and wouldn't let me leave her side. At least I got communion, so my soul should be safe for most of the week...

Then, Steve started running again. He's decided that he needs to lose 15 pounds between now and the Tuesday after Labor Day. That's 15 pounds in 35 days. So he hopped on the treadmill yesterday and again this morning. And he's now decided that the food he's been pushing on me for the last two or three months while I steadfastly (most of the time) resisted is now - now that I've given in to the chocolate chip ice cream calling my name from the freezer - evil. He reads labels. He reviews calorie and fat content. Not that he really needs to. He's a man, after all. He thinks about losing weight, and Poof!, it's gone. I asked if he'd think about me losing some weight, too, so we'll see if that works.

Finally, today, the light went on in my head. I wore my favorite blue pants to work. They've been snug for quite some time, and frankly, snug is being kind. It hurts to button them. But, I haven't worn them for a while, and I have lost some weight. Not much, true, but even over these last few weeks when I haven't been walking and haven't been logging, I haven't gone completely over the deep end. I haven't made especially terrific food choices, but I've still been having a SlimFast shake for breakfast (I actually like them), been behaving relatively well when it comes to portion sizes, and have still managed to lose about 1/2 pound each week. Not great, but at least the number is still going in the right direction. I didn't get my work laundry washed this weekend, so my selection was limited and I thought I could get away with wearing the blue pants. The pants were still rather tight in the waistband (they fit everywhere else, I swear!), but I managed. I brought my lunch today - being goodish with homemade lasagna and cottage cheese with pineapple - but it was our technical consultant's last day, so some of the guys here were taking him out and invited me. Now, I don't get many chances to hang with "the boys" here at work, so I accepted. We went to Bellacino's where I gave in to my longing for their baked ziti. Oh, it is quite delicious. And I forgot to ask them to bring one dry breadstick instead of the two pieces of delicious garlic bread, so I just went ahead and ate them anyway. But their portion of ziti isn't enormous - at least not by my standards - and I thought I would be fine. When we got back, I headed to the restroom (two Diet Cokes with lunch) and that's when it happened. My third - and trust me on this, FINAL - sign from God pointing me back to my path. My zipper busted. Broke. Unzippable. And I was headed back in to training class. Lovely. So I managed to find two safety pins and a rubber band and I put my pants back together so I could make it through the day. Luckily, I wore a relatively long shirt today, so no one noticed. Or at least, no one pointed and laughed when I walked by. Well, okay, maybe they did point and laugh, but that's kind of a normal occurrence when I walk by anyway. Point is, I get it. I'm there. I understand. I do not need to be hit on the head. Or popped in the eye with a(nother) flying zipper to get the hint. Tonight, I'm going home to a salad and a walk around the neighborhood.

Oh, and I know this was all God's doing. Because if it had just been life screwing with me, the zipper would have broken at lunch. In front of all the boys. God is holding off on that level of smiting until I do something really terrible, like have sex in the living room.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Doughnuts and noodles, back pain, Leslie, and me

I have this friend. Um, I really do have more than one friend, but right now, we're just talking about this one. She is pretty awesome. In the last several months, she has been working hard to change her habits and attitudes toward eating, exercising, and herself. And OMG, am I impressed! She, who was once snotty and hard to work with, is now one of the most positive people I know. Recently, she had some trouble at the airport. Not all that long ago, this would have been a MAJOR disruption to her happiness. Now, it's barely a blip - she mentions it, acknowledges the frustration, and then says, "Oh, well..." Wow. And her attitude toward diet and exercise should really qualify her for Super Woman status. I am completely in awe and incredibly proud of the work she's doing for her health. Now she'll live a nice long, healthy life so I can whine to her whenever I need to! If you didn't know that it's all about me by now, people, you should seriously have been paying better attention.

Anyway, because I like to just copy what other people do (increasing the all-about-me-ness), I'm trying to be just like her. I am struggling a bit here in the beginning. But I have signed up for SparkPeople - which I LOVE. I am tracking my food, exercising more than I was, and have started walking with an actual commitment to it. I feel better, not so much in the physical sense yet (I haven't actually lost much weight yet since I just started), but just because I have taken steps in the right direction. However...

...even with all of this good vibe energy, I have this problem. It's called Food. More specifically, my all-or-nothing-I-may-never-eat-again approach to it. I'm better. Really. Yesterday, for example, I refused a refill (a FREE refill) on my Diet Coke at lunch. Because I didn't need it. I can't even tell you how amazing it is to read that sentence and believe it. Right now, I have a Diet Coke sitting RIGHT NEXT TO ME on my desk. And it's unopened; I'm drinking flavored water. Seriously. But I still have issues. Issues with names like Mel-O-Cream Chocolate Long John. If you don't know Mel-O-Cream, that's because you've probably never lived in Springfield, Illinois. It's Springfield's version of Dunkin Donuts, but more homemadey. I visited my mom this weekend, who, after watching me struggle with food decisions all weekend, decided it would be a great idea to go pick up a dozen doughnuts for us all on Sunday morning. She left while the kids and I were still sleeping, so I didn't have a chance to beg her not to bring them back. She mentioned they were there and I thought "I can have one doughnut. It's not the best breakfast, but I'll eat well for lunch. It will be okay." And so I ate four of them. Yes. Four. As in three more than one. When I went to put them in my daily log, it made my stomach hurt to type it. I looked up the calories - over 1100 calories for my breakfast. My goal range for the day is 1200-1550. So that's bad. And combined with what I did on Saturday, that's REALLY bad.

We went to my grandma's for dinner on Saturday. Where she made all my favorites: barbecued chicken (I ate 1 leg without the skin, not bad), fresh green beans - with bacon (two big spoonfuls, no bacon), German potato salad (1 small scoop), and the "cherry" on top, chicken and noodles. Oh, when I die, I hope it's death by noodles. If I could wrap myself up in them, I would, except then I'd eat them, and be naked, and that would be bad. But you get my point. I love love LOVE them. Probably more than the Mel-O-Cream Chocolate Long John, if that's possible. And I'm not the only one. We fight over who gets the last of them. We gobble our servings so we can be first back for seconds (and thirds...). Yes, I ate THREE helpings. I knew it was wrong. I knew I should resist. I thought about it and tried, really TRIED not to, but the siren song of the Kluski egg noodle was too strong. I succumb. And apparently, relinquished any sense of will power I had been managing up to that point. Hence the three pieces of Angel Food Cake later that evening and the doughnut incident the next morning.

Even with that um, not-so-strong weekend, I'm not doing too badly. I'm making (most of the time) better decisions, and am least more conscious about what I eat. And there's the exercising! I'm walking, and liking it. I sent a daily 11am walking invite to a group of women I work with, and am excited about it. The heat right now is a bit of a bummer, but I think if I can find a conference room, we could just use my Leslie Sansone 1 mile DVD. Yesterday was Day 1 with Leslie, and she is so cute. Happy and perky, but not in that syrupy Denise Austin kind of way. Don't get me wrong, Denise is great. I'm just not as happy to be doing what she's doing as she is. Leslie is cool though. Very laid back in a, 'Hey, I'm walking, why don't you walk with me' kind of way that makes you feel like it's no big deal, it's just walking. And my favorite line from the DVD: "Woo! It's okay to say 'Woo' sometimes!" That just makes me happy for reasons I don't understand. My only issue is that I have developed severe lower back pain. I'm sitting here now with a WellPatch strapped to my back and Alleve coursing through my veins. The great thing about it (yes, great. about back pain. stick with me.) is that it doesn't matter. More than wallowing and whining about the pain (although there is still plenty of wallowing and whining, trust me), I'm kind of pissed off. I want to walk. Did you catch that? I WANT to walk. In the 90 degree, 90 percent humidity weather. I brought my shoes and t-shirt to work today, even though I didn't get here until 11am because I was having a hard time maneuvering this morning. If I can, I'm still going to walk later. Maybe just once around the building instead of twice. Maybe a lot slower than I'd like. But I am going to go out there and try. Or at least find an empty conference room and have my pal Leslie walk with me.

You'll probably be hearing a lot more about this journey. I'd like to tell you that my goal is to post here every day, diet related or not. But let's not lie. My real goal - and this is pretty sad - is to get more than six hours of sleep each night this week. Um, right. I realize that six hours is less than the recommended amount. I'm starting small. With a goal that I actually have a small chance of accomplishing. If that works, we'll up it to six and a half for next week. But for this week, I'm aiming for six. And as sad as that is, posting every day might interfere with that. Either that or posting will interfere with working (like right now). So odds are good that I won't make it here every day this week. But I will be around. Don't you worry. I haven't told you about Vacation Bible School yet!!

Friday, July 6, 2007


I got some bad news on Tuesday. A friend has been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I consider this friend a surrogate mother of sorts. She and my mom have so much in common, and are still so different. My friend has moved far away, so I don't get to see her much, but that doesn't make her less close in my heart. I haven't called her yet - I was told this news by another friend. I want to, and I will. But right now, I'm sad and worried. And I'm not sure what to say, or how to say it. She means so much to me and I want to say the right thing.

And I also got some good news to balance the bad on Tuesday. Another friend - who also lives far away - had her baby. A beautiful baby girl. She is so precious and cute and has soft squishy cheeks like all new babies should have. I wish I could be there to hold her and smell that sweet baby smell. Of course, that might create discussions at home that Steve is not ready to have...

Happy and sad. Good news and bad. It's the way of the world, isn't it? That whole God-works-in-mysterious-ways thing. Either way, if you say prayers, please include both of my friends. Both for thanksgiving for life and for hope for the future. The needs are the same, no matter the situation.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sorry, I'm not here right now, I'm at the Ranch...leave a message at the beep...

If you don't know me, you might not know that I have a tendency to get just a teeny bit obsessed about things. You know, just a little.

If you DO know me, I do not want any editorial comments about the above statement.

So this week is VBS week. VBS is vacation bible school. For the second year, I'm the director. To say that I'm completely VBS-focused would be putting it ever so mildly. The people at work know about VBS. Cashiers at every store I've been in over the last several weeks (and there have been plenty) know about VBS. I'm pretty sure if there were a VBS version of the Arby's hat, it would be perpetually hovering over my head. In fact, I'm already thinking about next year's VBS. Like I said, the obsession thing is just a small problem.

And that, my friends, is why I haven't been here. I've been there. At Avalanche Ranch. Oh, yes, there will be pictures. I'm creating a whole new Flickr account just for this. But that probably won't be ready for another week or so. My schedule this week is INSANE. Andrew is in Cub Scout day camp. They leave at 7:15am each morning. That means we all have to actually be ready to leave the house by then. Holy crap! I'm working until 3pm each day this week, then leaving to pick up Abby from day care and Andrew when he gets back from camp at 4pm (although they haven't actually made it back before 4:20 yet this week), then dash home, pick up our VBS stuff, and it's off to church. Monday night, Andrew also had a baseball game (at some point, I'll have a post up on Just The Mommy with more dirt on THAT...). Tomorrow night Abby has dance class at 5pm (VBS starts at 6pm). OH, and did I mention that Steve was in Kentucky yesterday and left at 6:30 this morning for an overnight in CANADA? Yes, during VBS week!! That's a good story too, and I really will try to get it posted soon, but if you notice, I am posting this after midnight. Abby didn't fall asleep until about 11:30, and that was laying here on the couch next to me. We're all pretty worn out, and we still have two nights of fun left to go!

I've got to get to bed. Besides, there's a chance I'll be kissing a pig on Friday (yes, more VBS stuff I'll have to explain to you later). I need to get some beauty rest so that people can tell the diffence between the two of us!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lost and Found. And lost again?

I have so many things that I want to write about...I've been in Texas for another week, there are more parenting fiascos to discuss, I've been reminded how much I really love my husband (there is apparently some truth to that asbence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder thing)...but right now, I have to talk about something else that's been troubling me.

Once upon a time...not in a galaxy far, far Austin, Texas, I had a friend. And then I moved away, went to college, and well, I lost my friend. It happens sometimes. Things are said and done, people change, and then they just drift apart. For whatever reason. My freshman year of college was pretty hard, and I'm not talking about schoolwork. That's a story for a whole different time - or never - but the point is, I lost my friend, and I thought it was a forever loss.

But then! My friend found me!! And, miracle of miracles, my friend still wanted to be my friend! It was awesome! I was so thrilled to be back in touch with this person who had meant so much to me when I really needed good friends - my time in Texas was also tumultuous. I guess we could just say my teenage years in general kind of sucked in a lot of different ways, but then again, don't everyone's? Anyway...for a while, my friend and I were back in touch. Hooray! Jubilee! My friend is funny and reminds me of the happy times I had in Texas. Happy, happy. Joy, joy. Life was good.

But then. Now. I think my friend may be lost again. I don't know where my friend has gone. Or why. And because I'm me and am apparently not happy unless it's all about me, I am beginning to obsess about this. Was it something I said? Was it the subject of my last email? Did I bring up memories better left alone? Was it that I asked my friend about meeting me while I was in Waco? I don't know. It could be that my friend's Internet connection has been down for a few weeks. It could be that my friend has more important things going on in real non-Internet life than replying to my email or posting a hello. It could be a million things. But I obsess that it's about me. Because I don't like losing things. Especially friends. And I've lost my share - and it's usually been my fault in at least some way. But this friend that I lost, had been found. And now that my friend may be lost again, I'm starting to feel like an insecure high school girl all over again.

That's the problem with the Internet. It can be an awesome place where you can find anyone or anything - if those people and things want to be found. But in other ways, it's like this giant black hole. You can throw things out there that may never come back to you. Maybe you are writing a blog and there are dozens or hundreds or thousands of people reading it (or maybe just the two or three important ones!). Or maybe no one is reading. Who knows? Maybe the silence that comes back is just a factor of real-world issues that have nothing to do with Internet life, or maybe the Internet hates you. It's hard to read non-verbal cues from the Internet. The Internet has a very good poker face.

Don't hate me, Internet. Because I really like you. Help me find my friend again.

Friend, are you out there? Are you reading? Don't lose me.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Don't mess with Texas - they will put you on a bus to nowhere

Howdy y'all! Guess where I am!! By the way, that's Hi! in Texan.

I've been in Waco, Texas, for a few days and it has been pretty great. I have missed Texas. I used to live here, you know. My family lived in Austin from the summer before my freshman year of high school until November of my junior year of high school. I won't go into all the gory details here about how that all came to be. Let's just say that trouble can follow a marriage, even if the marriage relocates. More on that another day.

But Texas - oh, it's so beautiful. And the people are friendly. No, I am not being sarcastic! And I LOVE to listen to southerners talk. In fact, in just my few days here, I've already picked up a slight twang to my voice. I'll be back next week for five whole days - I can't wait to see how southern I'll go then!

But I do have one small complaint about Dallas. Specifically, about the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. I realize that Texas does not do small. Ever. But seriously. Can we talk for a minute about the size of this airport? It goes on and on. And on. And then around a bend and on some more. And then? Try to rent a car. I dare you. No, TEXAS dares you. DFW double dog dares you. First, find your way to the little sign that says Rental Cars This Way (not really, there's an arrow). Does the arrow direct you to the rental car office? Don't be ridiculous. There's this bus stop. It's not exactly clear when you're standing there what you're really waiting for, but eventually a big bus pulls up and you and the rest of your herd will stumble on with your baggage. Then you ride. Get comfortable, you'll be there a while. A really long while. The trip out to the rental car building will take you down an access road (some of you may call these frontage roads - that is WRONG in Texas), past rolling fields of green, onto a highway, more fields, and then back off. When you reach the point where you wonder to yourself or someone sitting next to you whether the bus driver might actually be a car-jacker of some kind who is kidnapping everyone on the bus and their luggage in the hopes that someone is carrying some seriously cool contraband, well that's the point when you have about five more minutes until you reach your destination.

When you're there, make sure you ask for directions on how to get back to civilization. Seriously. Even if you are of the male persuasion. Please, for the love of all that is good, trust me on this. If you are not from Texas, I will give you a couple of pieces of advice that my traveling buddy and I learned the hard way:

1) Just because a particular road is named X where you are right now does not mean that it will continue to be named X for any further distance. In fact, it may be named both X and Y right where you are. Any map you view or person you ask will likely use both X and Y interchangeably. It's a test. That's how they know y'all ain't from 'round here.

2) Everyone - except for the rental car agents, and even that's not guaranteed - who you might ask for directions will be lovely and kind and know exactly how to get to where you want to go. They just won't be able to tell you. They will want to. And they will try their best - women will try to give you landmarks to go by. Unfortunately, telling you to turn at the Whataburger is about the same as trying to identify your blind date by looking for the one with the cell phone. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that no one could decide on one name for a road, I don't know. If you are lucky, like we were, you might find someone who is actually on their way toward your destination and they will let you follow them there. Yes, that is exactly what we did. Thanks, Ellie!

But all in all, I have really loved my few days here and I can't wait to come back next week. I haven't had my Whataburger yet, after all. But next time, I'm flying straight to Waco and skipping the DFW rental "oasis." Take that, bus-jacking luggage thieves!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Yep, I'm faking it

Confession time. I'm not putting this here to freak anyone out - I just need to tell it. I need it to leave me. And I don't think I can actually bring myself to say it out loud to anyone. Especially not in person where they can see me and I can see their reaction. Here goes.

Today, as I exited the interstate, just for a second, I considered not steering. I considered what would happen if I didn't. If I just crashed. On purpose. Into cement barricades that were left on the shoulder of the ramp for some construction going on. I considered really, how bad would it be? I considered that I wouldn't have to worry about the guilt of leaving my family - I wouldn't be around to know. But then, happily in this case, I also considered what that would really mean for my children. How they wouldn't understand. How they would grow up thinking that Mommy didn't love them enough to stick around. Funny, I never considered any pain that might be involved, and to be honest, I didn't much consider how Steve would be affected. I think on some level, I kind of believe there would be a little relief for him. I'm sure I'm not exactly the most fun person to be around these days. Our tiff this morning and the small bickering flare-ups over the last few weeks would be some evidence of that.

So in a way, I think my brief consideration of options and outcomes this morning was a good thing. It scared me. And you know, I know those are not the kind of thoughts I should be having on my way to work in the morning. Okay, maybe on a Monday, but, hey, there are better ways to get out of working - calling in sick may not be permanent, but it does get you out of work for a day or two. My doctor's office opens at 9:00. I called at 9:01. Amazingly (or not, God and I did have quite the one-sided conversation this morning after that), they have an appointment tomorrow. I will be discussing my level of prescripted help at 10:00 tomorrow morning. I will be asking if perhaps we can consider the possibility that a stronger dose might be of some assistance to me. In other words, I will do all I can to resist begging him to give me more drugs in the desperate hope that I can go back to feeling "normal." And by normal, I mean fighting with my husband, yelling at my kids, getting cranky when I am hungry, but managing to drive to work while keeping the van and myself in one piece.

So now, today, I sit here at work in my new cube in my new department in my new job (all of which I love, love, LOVE), and I am faking it. Every time someone stops by or calls or I have to go to a meeting, I am all smiles and happiness and laughing with the world. And then as soon as I am by myself again, I struggle not to just put my head down on my desk and let it all out. Back when I was normal, sometimes, a good cry would make me feel better. Yes, it's weird, but I think it's a girl thing. I realized today that a good cry would leave me feeling exactly the way I feel right now. So really, why bother?

Seriously, I think men need to give women a little more credit about this whole faking it thing. It is done to preserve their ego, after all, and it is not as easy as it seems! It's hard and it's exhausting to make other people think everything is just hunky dory. Politicians must be tired all the time!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Overheard in the cube farm

"Oh, my God, I was in the gas station last night and Wilt Chamberlain was in there! He was signing autographs and stuff for all these people. I called all my friends last night to tell them and then I called Millie and she did a Google and Wilt Chamberlain DIED in 1999! All these people were getting autographs from this man and I called all my friends to tell them that I held the door for someone famous and he's dead!"

"Hey, Shauna, Elvis is dead, too."

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'd have time if I quit my new job, just not the money to pay for the Internet

I just hate not having time to spend here in my little blog world. The 'real' world intrudes. New job. Little league. VBS. Oh, VBS. Vacation Bible School. I am SO obsessed. People around me roll their eyes when they catch me drooling over a demolished building, thinking of all the pieces I could scavenge. You see a dumpster, I see the broken pallet leaning against it that I could turn into a fence. It's a serious affliction. And it will be with me until the end of June. Let me just apologize now. There will be posting about it. And probably pictures. Don't hate me.

But back to the blogging. I also have this problem. I am a shy blogger. And Steve is a watcher. I don't know why, but as soon as I pick up the laptop and start typing, he gets nosy. Perhaps he thinks he needs to keep an eye on me, after certain other posts. I can't imagine why...So I'm left waiting until he goes to bed and you know, that's when I want to go to bed, too! But I miss writing out here. I miss finding things to share with my little audience.

And I do have things I need to get off my chest. I've hit a little bit of a rough patch. I'm not sure yet if it's just a bump in the road or if it's the beginning of another dark tunnel, but I'm trying to keep an eye on myself - again with the constant self-absorption. Coming to terms with my sub-par parenting is not helping. I've found that when you tell people you're a bad mother, they feel the need to assure you you're not. That you're doing just fine, that it's tough, blah blah. But they don't know. They just. don't. know.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Finally, things are right with the world


They fixed it! I still have not idea what its purpose is or who might have thought that hideous thing adds any aesthetic value, but whatever. This new tidy design is good for me and my ~issues~ and also for the other drivers on the road. I don't think they were too happy with my efforts to avoid looking at the monstrosity on my daily commute. It's hard to stay in your lane when your eyes are closed. Who knew?

In other aligning-my-world news, I am finally where I belong and where I know that I know stuff. Yes, the local Dairy Queen has opened for the season, but that's not what I was talking about! I started in my new job today. HRIS instead of Finance. It is so nice to be in a work environment where I actually understand the words being used in meetings. AND! Not only do I understand them, I HAVE SOMETHING TO CONTRIBUTE!!! Can you hear those angels singing, or is that just in my head? I'm sure the euphoria will wear off soon - unless I keep taking the drugs - but for now, I'm going to bask in my little honeymoon period. Soon enough I will face the reality that I have taken on a job where my boss already has given me a list of her top five projects for me to work on (FIVE. PROJECTS - not tasks or assignments - PROJECTS), none of which I know how to do yet, I also still have a project and training commitment to my former department and boss, oh, and I'm in charge of my church's Vacation Bible School again this year and Andrew is playing baseball and Abby starts dance class next month...hmm...perhaps this will the summer of my meltdown. Yay! I am giddy with anticipation!!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

It must have been husband snatchers

If you know my husband, I don't need to explain his feelings on spending money. If you don't know my husband, I will summarize: Spending Money Bad. B double A D. Have I mentioned he's an accountant? of THOSE. You know, not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just a lifestyle I don't understand or choose to follow...

So, imagine my surprise when he came home the other day with this:

Yes, he PAID MONEY for it. What is it, you ask? Well, my friends, this is the Cross Cruncher. A set of 12 crunches on this is like doing ONE HUNDRED regular crunches!!! AND!! No more BACK PAIN from old-fashioned crunches!!!!! Why crunch on the floor when you can CROSS CRUNCH sitting upright in comfort!!!!!!! How much would YOU pay for this item?!

Umm...this is the kind of thing I would point out to my husband and he would roll his eyes and tell me what a waste of money it is. And he bought it. When I asked him about this unusual purchase, he replied (seriously, you won't believe this)

"It was on sale!"

Seriously. What happened to my husband? And can I swing a new digital SLR camera out of this deal before we switch him back, please?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Seriously, I don't even need the little gold statue

I'm in training this week, and feeling a little in the shadow again. I have been living in someone's shadow for many years now. The creator of the shadow changes, but my place within it does not.

Most of the time I'm mostly okay with it. But sometimes I have to fight the feelings harder. When I'm feeling unliked, especially in comparison to another, it gets harder. Okay so maybe Steve is not wrong when he calls me competitive. Anyway, this is one of those times. Training. Stacy is just so good. And it's not that I think I'm not good. Okay, sometimes I do think that. But I try not to. But there is someone here who I think does think I'm not good. Especially in comparison to Stacy. Well, maybe that's natural. But it has become a situation in which I am nervous around this person, and worried I will say or do something to further confirm her beliefs about my abilities. LACK of abilities. And of course, being nervous and on edge and uncomfortable about saying or doing something stupid in front of someone is a sure-fire way to guarantee that I'll do exactly that. I have a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease when it comes to this person. I tend to have this disease quite often, actually. It is just much, MUCH, more severe around certain people.

I do not like that she does not like me. Maybe it's not even that she doesn't like me, but I think I annoy her. And I have come a long, long way in my paranoia about wanting people to like me. But mostly, my recovery works best with people who I don't like back. And I like Carol - oh, I mean, "this person."

I just want her to like me back and to think I'm smart, like Stacy. She doesn't have to think I'm AS smart as Stacy, just kind of smart. About anything. Or at least not as dumb and annoying as I think she thinks I am.

In truth, part of what causes my nervousness around her is that she reminds me of my mother-in-law. I'm not going to get in to details about my relationship with Dot here. She and I have come a long way. I enjoy spending time with her and I think she tolerates me most of the time. But I am often still worried that I am going to say or do something that will draw comment on my stupidity.

You know, truthfully, I think I do stupid stuff around most people. I do and say a lot of dumb things (so maybe I AM as dumb and annoying as Carol makes me think she thinks I am!!). The difference is that most people are kind enough or self-conscious enough themselves or maybe just too oblivious to comment on my stupidity. But some people - such as this person in training with me this week and my mother-in-law - have a way of always pointing out and commenting on the things I have just said and/or done that I know are stupid, but it's too late, they're already done. By commenting, I just feel more dumb than I already did, and am suddenly embarrassed and more likely to continue the stupidity by trying to talk myself out of the stupidity. Boy, is THAT a dumb idea!

I just want to feel like Sally Field when she won her Oscar - affirmed that everyone in the entire world loves her and thinks she is brilliant. Every. One. Is that really so much to ask?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I warned her there would be blogging about this

Okay, I'm back. And I've promised you a story. Of course, I've told a couple of you the story already now...but I'll tell the rest of you anyway. I don't want to be labeled a tease forever, after all.

So where were we...oh right, last Friday. I got a phone call a little after 5pm from one of my best friends, Jody. She asked if I had plans. That usually means she has plans in mind for me, so I answered vaguely. And then she said "Do you want to go to the Hank Williams, Jr. concert with me?!!" Yes, she said it with two exclamation points. And my answer...Uhhh...sure. I mean, Sure! Has anyone ever asked you to go with them to do something when you know they really really want to and probably won't if you don't say yes...well, that's what this was like. I said she's one of my best friends. I wouldn't do this for just anyone. It is Hank. Williams. Junior. Oh. My. Goodness. Really? Seriously? Okay, so we went. And wow. WOW. It was so awesome! The people-watching. Not the concert. I mean, Jody had a GREAT time - she loved the show.

The tickets were free (thanks to connections from her boss' wife) and we were in the 9th row to the side of the stage - VERY close. This is how close:

Yes, I could almost smell Hank. Of course, that could be more of a reflection on Hank than on our tickets. Now, you may know, I used to live in Texas. And there was a lot of country music there. But Hank is the countriest of all the country music and I have never been a big fan. So I wasn't there for the music. But I was so excited by the crowd. I never imagined it to be such a diverse group. You know, not as in diversity of COLOR, but in just about every thing else. There was the party girl, who I tried to take a covert picture of:

The true cowboy:

And this couple:

They had tickets on the floor, but never stood. The gentleman watched the large television screen more than he watched the stage. He could have been at home in his living room. You know, except for the thousands of screaming people. And the smell of Hank Jr.

There was also a guy who was wearing a very unique cowboy hat made from a Milwaukee's Best case. I tried to get a picture for you, but it just didn't come out very well. I am so sorry.
There were "suits" and people who had probably never been in a suit, maybe not even for their wedding. And there were manners. There are a lot of rude people in the world, but not many of them were in attendance at the Hank concert. Except for maybe the woman in line at the t-shirt stand. Or maybe she was just drunk. Drunk and Hank Jr. seem to kind of go together, don't you think?

38 Special also played before we got there to see Hank Jr. and the headliner was Lynrd Skynrd. But my friend Jody was not interested in Lynrd. We watched our Hank, bought a t-shirt, and left. It was a great time. And I even have proof:

Oh, and the hint - That's How They Do It In Oikie. That's the name of the tour. Except it's not really Oikie. It's Dixie. I think I need my eyes checked:

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Y'all come back now, ya hear?

I haven't posted here in EIGHT DAYS! I am suffering withdrawls. I have stuff to tell you, I promise. I just...can't right now. I have to go to work (after I dry my hair and take the kids to day care) and then I have to go to Chicago...but I PROMISE I will post soon. How could I not? I have to tell you what happened to me last Friday night! Oh, I'm such a tease, aren't I? That's spider to you.

Okay, I'll give you one hint...

That's how they do it in Oikie.

Really, that's a hint. If you live in my head, it's a hint. Oh, all right. ONE more hint.

Yup. It's THAT good.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Yes, this is what Steve puts up with every day

I am not a neat freak. I am not fastidiously clean. Never have been, probably never will be. I am perfectly content to allow dirty dishes to accumulate in the sink until my spouse gives in and washes them. I hate doing dishes more than I hate looking at them in the sink. It works out well for me that Steve hates doing the dishes far less than I do. And that I'm spider. Heh heh.

However. I do have a few quirks about keeping things...tidy. I like symmetry and balance. I like things to be even. Honestly, one of the reasons I think I'm (almost) ready to accept that we are done having children is that right now, I have one boy and one girl. Tidy. Unless I were to have boy-girl twins the next time, there will be unevenness. Three means there is no tidy division. There will be a two-one split. I don't like it.

Okay, so maybe some would accuse me of being a little anal retentive. I prefer "detail-orientated."

But seriously. Sometimes it's just wrong. WRONG. When people leave things in an untidy and uneven state. Like this:Do you see the wrongness of this?! No, it's not a trick of the angle of the shot. This weird, pointless structure actually looks like this. Seriously. And I have to drive by it twice a day, on my way to and from work. I think INDOT (that's the Indiana Department of Transportation) might be trying to kill me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Like dropping acid, but without the fun

So for the last two days, I've been having flashbacks. Flash-way-backs to eight years ago when I was home with my newborn baby - my first baby. I was exhausted, hopped up on haywire hormones, having trouble breastfeeding, alone; and then it got worse. In Colorado, two teenagers walked into their high school in Columbine, and started shooting their classmates.

The news coverage went on and on. It was on every channel, all day long. I tried to turn it off, but I was drawn to it. I was horrified and mesmerized. I cried. I sobbed. I wondered what kind of a world I had brought my new son into. I held him close to me and we cried together. His crying was more related to wet diapers and hungry tummies, and mine was overwhelming grief. I grieved for those kids, but even more, I grieved for our world and what it had come to.

And now here we are. Eight years later, I have an eight year old boy and a three year old girl. And a student walked into his classrooms at Virginia Tech yesterday and started shooting his classmates. It is deja vu, an acid flashback, a recurring nightmare. Luckily, work kept me from watching the coverage all day yesterday, but the news feeds kept me well-informed. I have no more tears. I am astounded at the capacity for evil in this world. I just. don't. understand. Why? God, why? It is heart-wrenching to watch the students and families. I want to hug them and cry with them and somehow tell them it will be okay. But it's not. It's not okay that this young man had no other way to show his frustration, distaste, anger, whatever except by shooting people. And himself.

Events like this remind me of the dangers in this world. Dangers which I am normally able to pretend to ignore. If I couldn't, I'm not sure I would have the courage to live my life, or the strength to allow my children to leave the house. I hate that my children will never be safe anywhere they go. I hate that the world has become a place in which this kind of horror exists. We live in a nice neighborhood in a nice, normal, small Mid-Western town. But it's not enough. Something could happen. And it doesn't have to be at the hands of terrorists who fly planes into buildings. Or even at the hands of a troubled young loner at a college campus.

When I was in high school, my younger brothers played with the boys who lived across the street. We also lived in a nice small Mid-Western town. One summer day, while I was their babysitter, they planned to go over and play video games with Kenny and Jonathan. But our uncle surprised us and stopped by to take us for ice cream instead. When we got home, police sirens and fire trucks followed us. We had just pulled into the driveway when they pulled up across the street at Kenny and Jonathan's house. Other boys had been over playing video games and apparently there had been an argument. Kenny had gone to get his dad's shotgun to scare one of the boys, not knowing it was loaded. He accidentally shot the boy in the face. He died. He was sitting in an easy chair when it happened and the family put the chair out for the trash the next day. It sat there for two days until the trash picked it up. I looked at that blood-stained chair and cried. It could have been one of my brothers.

Something could happen to my kids. Anywhere. I live in terror that something awful will happen to them and I will not be able to save them or go on without them. I want to go back to pretending it will be okay. But I don't think I'll be able to for a while. There are new images burned into my memory. They sit along side others: what happened across the street in 1988, Jonesboro, Columbine, Oklahoma City, 9/11; and countless others, images gathered from stories about horrific crimes committed against children.

My flashbacks go on. Eventually, they will ease. Until then, I pretend I'm not afraid every time my children leave my sight. I pretend. And I lie. I do have more tears.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

In honor of Easter last Sunday, a bunny story

I know I shouldn't, but this story made me laugh.

What? You mean rabbits get EATEN in the wild? By coyotes and hawks and owls? Especially these cute little bite-sized ones? NO! Gosh, I wonder why they are ENDANGERED??? And I love the end where the state pygmy rabbit coordinator (that's a great job title, btw) basically said they are going to keep putting more owl food out there because, you know, it's "valuable learning."

Can you imagine what the little bunnies are thinking?
Oh, thank you, large human people, for rescuing us from the wild where we have no hope of survival.

Wait. What? You mean you're putting us back? What, we aren't cute enough? No! We'll be good little bunnies, we promise!
Poor little bunnies. They can come live in my neighborhood. Based on how many bunnies we see in our backyard, it's a bunny safe haven around here! Maybe I'd better give that pygmy rabbit coordinator a call...for the bunnies' sake!
Updated to add:

And in other news...T. Rex: tastes like chicken!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Maybe we could share clothes, too!

You know, I love my husband. You hear people talk about their spouse being their best friend and all, and I've always thought that was weird. I don't know why, but I don't think I'd call Steve my BFF. That's a title I give to my girlfriends who I get together and chat with and who I have fun with. I've never put Steve in that role, but really, he kind of is my BFF. He is the person who I tell everything to. Every. Thing. Yes, that includes things I don't tell the girls I consider my BFF's (and no, I'm not going to discuss the contradiction that I have multiple BESTs...let's move on). It isn't much, but yes, sometimes, there's stuff I don't tell the girls. But poor Stevie, he knows everything about me (and he's STILL married to me, can you believe it?!). I know some married people and some people who USED to be married who say that you should have separate checking accounts. Take separate vacations. Have multiple televisions so you can each watch your own shows in different rooms (yes, Internet, we only have ONE television in our house - we are THAT old school. Plus, our house is smallish.). But we don't do any of that stuff. And OH MY GAWD we sometimes get on each others' last nerves. But I really like it this way. We talk. We are really good at talking. No, not just me! Steve talks, too, I swear! If something ever happens and we actually divorce, it won't be because we never talked about our problems. No, it will definitely be because of his porn star side job. I just get so jealous when he doesn't include me!

But having said all that mushy gushy I-love-my-porn-star-Sweetie stuff, sometimes I need him to be a girl for a minute. I went shopping last night. Yes, again, it was to the crappy Wal-Mart. Don't judge me - it's all I have. While I was there, I found some clothes on big time sale for Abby. For all the clothes-shopping I feel like I do for that girl, she STILL doesn't have enough clothes for the Spring/Summer. And honestly, why would I spend crazy money to buy the really cute clothes I want from Gymboree and Baby Gap and Lands End when she is just going to get paint/marker/food/snot on them and then grow out of them before I even have time to wash them? So anyway, I ended up with ten items for $30. TEN. For THIRTY. Can you even believe that math?!? I was so excited! And? They are all color coordinated in reds and blues and khakis. NO PINK. OR PURPLE. Not that I have anything against pink or purple, but she really has the market cornered on those colors and it would be nice to have some variety. So I had found these amazing deals and I had no one to tell. It's like hitting a hole in one with no witnesses. Or catching that huge fish and then lose it to a broken line. Or...some other sports analogy that I don't have any actual experience with...with NO WITNESSES. It was a moment when I really missed my mom. She would totally get me on this. But Illinois to Indiana is a heck of a drive just to go to the Wal-Mart (and, by the way, you have to pronounce that Wawl-Maurt and with "the" in front, it's a small town rule, I think).

When I got home and we were getting ready to go to bed, I asked Steve if I could show him the clothes (I had already told him about my awesome buying super-power, but he was unimpressed). He agreed, but was clearly not committed. I showed him anyway. And made him PRETEND to be excited. Sigh. It was really just too much work that way. I needed my husband to be a girl. Seriously. And don't get all excited, I mean that in a very boring, non-sexual kind of way. Although I'm pretty sure if I mentioned this idea to Steve, his thoughts would lead him down a different - and not non-sexual - path...I said I love him, I didn't say he was perfect.

Monday, April 2, 2007

There's a reason why people hate Mondays

After realizing that I was becoming a catty junior high Heather/Mean Girl, I made a Lenten commitment to make less fun of others and more of myself. Weeelllll...have I got a story for you! I should warn you, those of you without children, who are less exposed to various disgusting bodily functions and fluids as a part of your everyday routine - you may want to stop reading right now. Seriously. I've got some new pics over at Flickr. You could go look at those instead.

Today started out fine. It's a gorgeous day in central Indiana - 74 degrees and sunny. I got up on time. Did my push-ups and crunches. Yes! No, darn! The scale gave me the bad news that I now weigh more than I did at the beginning of the year...sigh. But okay. Game is on and I am re-focused! Rah! We got to day care at the right time so I would make it to my meeting on time. Woo hoo! Uh-oh! I forgot today was Spring Picture Day. And of course, my children are not only not dressed like the little cutie pies they are, they certainly are not color-coordinated with each other for their nice sibling shot...sigh. But...okay. We'll make due. And we'll plan on making an appointment with our nearest Sears/JCPenney's for some REAL portraits. You know, since I don't have my rock star paparazzi camera yet.

Morning meeting was fine (I was almost on time). Work was fine. Lunch was fine. I had a salad and some leftover Sausage Skillet Sensation (with broccoli this time - yum!). Healthy! We even walked! Hoo rah!! Life is good. Game on! I am having a generally good day! And it's Monday! And I'm already considering what healthy dish I can prepare for dinner. Maybe we'll grill! Outside! And walk! Yes! Oh, what's this? A little twingle in my belly? Why, I think I'll walk myself to the restroom and...uh, wait.

Ummm....what just happened? I didn't just do what I think I might have just done, did I?! Oh. My. GAWD. I had an accident. Of the number two variety. In my pants. At work. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?! I don't feel sick. Well, okay, I kinda feel sick NOW, but that's probably more a result of being absolutely disgusted with my own body. Okay, this can't be salvaged. I have to leave. Immediately. Crap. LITERALLY. Going commando for the rest of the day is not an option. For one, eww. For two, I also have other issues which prevent me from leaving an unprotected barrier between me and my pants. For three, EWW! And OMG, what if it happens AGAIN?! Because now my stomach is not feeling quite right at all.

Okay. Stay calm. Breathe. Clean things up as best you can (and, yes, now we are going to talk to ourselves in third plural person - it distances us from what is going on. Because EWW!). Wait for the other people to leave the bathroom. Let's stay anonymous. Okay. Remember, calm. Don't raise suspicion. Back to our desk. Must tell Stacy. She's on a conference call. Good - because we don't really want to explain this in person. Will send e-mail. Very vague e-mail. Maybe we can come back after we change. We're not sick. Right? Just what? Not potty trained? Don't think about it now. Type e-mail standing up. Because. EWW! Out the door. Okay. Calm. Don't freak. Oh, driving. Requires sitting. Okay. Brace yourself wth your thighs. Limited contact between seat and pants. You can do this. Drive very quickly. Seriously, if we get pulled over, there's no way we're getting a ticket. Drive 90. Because. EWW! Home. Van in garage. Driveway close enough. Run. Not THE runs...we've apparently already done that (EWW!).

Whew. Clean. Still disgusted. Stomach gurggly. We'll wait ten minutes and see if we're going to be okay. Oh! Not okay. NOT OKAY. Staying home. Thank God for wireless and a laptop.