Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011--I did stuff.

  • January: J had a birthday. I also wrote this letter to 2011. I have to say that for the most part, things went pretty well. We had weddings and babies (many announced, one arrived yesterday!). We also had funerals, fever blisters, and more cancer. So... mixed bag I guess. I did get a new fence, but no more animals.
  • February: Faire got started... well, the workshop process at least. I taught people how to talk to strangers in an engaging and memorable way. I wore a lot of layers for the various levels of weather that Texas likes to throw at us at the tail-end of winter.
  • March: My pants went missing. Not really. My careful husband had just PUT THEM AWAY, so of course I couldn't find them. It was like foreshadowing for all the pants-griping I would be doing this year. An omen of things to come--no pants to be had!!*
  • April: I was attacked by MORE SPIDERS. This still haunts me. I sang with QAL and wore blinding amounts of pink. I talked to strangers in an engaging and (hopefully) memorable way.
  • May: I did all the same things as the month before, only with less arachnid involvement. Honestly, I think I prefer it this way, thank you very much. Spiders, please kindly take note that we both are better off far, far away from each other.
  • June: I reunited with my couch. Somewhere that spring, during recovery from some version of crud, I got hooked on Doctor Who, so I spent quite a bit of time working on my ass-groove and catching up on that.
  • July: The great babysplosion of 2012! Well, things got started before July, but July was the month when I found out that 3 close friends were pregnant. And then, me too! I also hosted a clothing swap party and so did a lot of closet-purging and talking about clothes.
  • August: My blog turned 1! I was very proud of myself for keeping this up that far. A small achievement to be sure, but still one I was excited about.
  • September: J & I celebrated being married for 5 years. We made it this far, which is impressive to me, because it seems very long, and also completely unimpressive next to the marriages that surround us--my grandparents: 70 yrs on one side, 65 on the other. Both of our parents? 42 years.
  • October: I went to San Francisco to see my family & have a mini-vacation with my husband. I turned 31. My brother became a sommolier. I went Austin and met a bunch of ladies whose lives I read about on the Internet! I got dressed up like a witch and sang songs at a haunted-house theme park with my friends! It was a fabulous month. Maybe the best of the year.
  • November: I posted every day for 30 days. You found out way more about me than you ever needed to know.
  • December: I made crafts. I went to parties. I sang carols in Victorian costuming. I published my 200th post with no fan-fare because I just couldn't be bothered. I figure 500 is the next milestone that I might make a fuss over. Don't quote me on this, because I might change my mind AT ANY TIME

*I actually found a pair of maternity pants, on the internet, that--according to the size chart provided--should fit around my expanding hips and also touch my feet and cost less than $70. This is a minor miracle. I have been searching for this very thing since... well, I think since the day I found out that I would NEED maternity pants. I have looked at every possible place for pants, but the intersection of tall and wide and pregnant didn't seem to exist. Then it did, but at prices that made my budget run away screaming. Then... a Christmas miracle. JC Penny! Bless them! They added the magical ingredient! Not all-the-way plus-sized-tall pants, but just my size. Falling in the overlap between what's considered "regular" sizes and "plus" sizes isn't a fun place to be. You get funny looks no matter where you shop. Still, I'd found some places that had pants I could wear. Enter the fetus and I was S. O. L. Tall maternity pants? Sure! No problem! The two maternity stores nearest me both have tall sizes. So long as you're just extra large. And I was. Am. Extra Large. I live in the land of the XL. But somehow a maternity XL is a size smaller than my normal Target XL. 16/18 at Target is NOT THE SAME as 16/18 at Destination Maternity, or JC Penny. Which, I'm not surprised, because sizes aren't exactly standardized across the whole retail world. So I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was disappointed to find that maternity clothes run smaller than my regular clothes. Yeah, where's the logic in that?! Let's make the ladies putting on weight for TOTALLY REASONABLE REASONS feel even fatter by making the clothes they need to wear smaller. WTF and STFU to you stores! Anyway, because of that little gem of marketing, the pants that fit my rear end were 1X. Well. You can get plus sized maternity pants too! So long as your inseam is only 32". *sigh* The 1X 34" inseam pants... they were not to be had at reasonable prices. And then... like MAGIC... they were! This is the longest footnote ever, and really could be a separate post, because you all know how much I love to bitch about pants. PANTS!!! So, the whole point here is that after the Christmas miracle of JC Penny suddenly deciding to carry pants for me, ON SALE no less, I bought a pair in every color. They didn't have any in stores to try on, so this could still be a bust, but I'm trying to be hopeful here. Hope--it springs eternal for pants.


THEY FIT!! I have pants!! And there was much rejoicing! *yay*

Friday, December 30, 2011


I'm having an argument with my bookshelves.
Or with my books. I'm honestly not sure which.

We have some books, and pretty much no organizational system whatsoever.

A while back, I decided to move all of our series of books to one bookshelf. This thing is 6' tall and 3' wide (much like myself) and it is FULL of books that have more than one part. One and a half shelves are all Wheel of Time, and there's Tolkien, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo stuff, and on and on. In fact, it is so full that the Harry Potter series is ON TOP of the bookshelf, with our cute little Harry & Hermione bookends and everything by Piers Anthony is on another bookshelf all together, even though there are 2 different series by him over there. He's over on another bookshelf of the same size that I've decided is for "books by the same author, though not necessarily in any kind of serial format."  By that logic, I should move the 2 Dean Koontz series off the series bookshelf and move them over there, but Dean already has 2 whole shelves because I'm a sucker for his work and I can't see making it 3 shelves.

But there you have sort of the extent of my organization. Books in series are segregated (mostly) and if we have more than one book by a particular author, those go on a separate bookshelf as well. I sort of have some... thematic shelves. The "all things Ireland/Norse mythology" shelf and the "bibles and stuff about God & Jesus, including Christian fiction" shelves. There's sort of a "fantasy/sci-fi" shelf, but all J's Star Trek books are on another shelf, next to the books we kept from classes, because what I really need just now is a handbook on screenwriting and broadcast voice techniques.

Which leaves many shelves full of just... books. In no order. Not grouped by subject or genre because I can't figure out where to put a book about a woman who goes to the Amazon to find a fellow researcher and winds up sleeping with her presumed-dead co-worker, even though she spent the first half of the book telling us that she would never, ever do that because she wasn't that kind of woman. Next to the one about a woman who does nature-research-type stuff and I think there was a romance involved, and does she get pregnant? I can't remember. Those books are just sort of... out there.

I suppose I could do like stores and libraries do (not with the Dewey Decimal system or anything, unless Tara wants to come do it as a project for her grad school), but put things in alphabetical order by author.

That smacks of effort.

If you want to borrow a book that's not by an author that we have lots of books by, or part of a series, you're just going to have to look at a lot of shelves.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Skills I don't have

So, I'm not a choreographer. I'm not a dancer either. I can do some dance moves, though none with anything close to skill or proficiency. I know some of the lingo, but mostly I describe things with made-up adjectives when talking to my dancer friends. "You know the part where your back goes all archy and she does that kick with her leg all bendy and then you both sort of squiggle around until you're in matching hoopdydoodles?"

Anyway, despite these deficiencies, I still hear songs that I want people to dance to. Not just usta-usta on the dance floor, but real choreographed "pieces." I get visions of a particular shakey shoulder movement or an arching back, a kick, a roll, you know, something that my brains say "this sound should make a dancer's body do this." But one movement does not a full piece make. And I don't know enough moves to put together a whole piece. So I just sit in my car, listening to the songs that make me smile envisioning my dancer friends doing little bits here and there. Any real choreographers out there: I've got the first 15 seconds of Muse's Supermassive Black Hole down pat. Sort of. And some vague concepts for the chorus. In case you're interested.

I like to cook. No, not really. I like to eat. I like to make stuff. If I had a permanent sous chef, I think I'd like cooking a lot more. Oh, and a dishwasher. I mean, we have a dishwasher (the machine), but I'd like a person to do the loading & unloading of said machine. Right, so, I make stuff. I follow recipes pretty well. I do have my mother's tendency to substitute what I've got laying around for what the recipe calls for sometimes. I cooked my first turkey this year, and it went pretty well, if not perfectly. I learned some stuff--like not to let a turkey sit in 3" of it's own delicious juices, because it will fall apart, spraying the kitchen in stuffing in a very unappetizing looking mess when you try to transfer it to a platter. The cooking thing is one that I feel really behind the ball on. So many of my friends are amazing cooks--inventive and skilled cooks. They can tell if meat is done without thermometers or cutting it open. I do not have this skill. I barely understand the difference between baking soda and powder.

My lack of kitchen proficiency certainly hasn't stopped me from trying new and exciting recipes. In fact, I have a recipe that's been sitting on my fridge (with a magnet) for... oh, I don't know... a year or so? It's a recipe that an old boyfriend made for me on Valentine's Day and it is, to date, the best thing I remember about him--he cooked this fabulous meal. The rest of the night was a disaster, but this dinner was AWESOME. So, I thought I would make it. My family is coming over for belated Christmas-time celebrations tomorrow. My office is closed. Seems like the perfect time to cook a completely untested recipe for the best cook I know, right? I mean, what's the worst that could happen? I fail, the dish sucks, I'm embarrassed, my family all laughs (with me, not at me--they're cool like that), and we get take-out. This is an outcome I'm mostly comfortable with. Of course, I'd love for things to go really well and not NEED take-out, but I have a safety net in place. Lite Wok totally delivers, and they have sushi, so 33% of my guests will be super excited about that. The rest of us can have other delicious food that is cooked--in a wok, presumably.

Oh, this recipe! I don't know what it's called. It's beef with mushrooms in a burgandy wine sauce. So I Googled it, to see what I was getting myself into (since my refridgerator is far from me, and I'm impatient). Google now has me TERRIFIED because it keeps throwing french recipes at me that involve stuff I've never heard of, like beef demi glace, which led me down a wikipedia rabbit hole of doom...

Tomorrow could be very exciting. If we wind up with take-out, I'll let you know. Otherwise there will be lots of bragging and pictures of food taken with my cell phone as proof that I didn't screw it all up!

Oh, but on to skills I DO have!

When it comes to crafting, I can do crafts that involve cutting and glue. Like a kindergartner. No sewing, no knitting, crochet, measuring, or feng shui. Just good old fashioned cut and paste. Decoupage? Right up my alley! Glitter? My favorite! This has allowed me to make years & years of Christmas ornaments with little to no skill.

Which I proclaim to be a skill!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Unreality, goals, and possibly some denial

So, some days ago (I cannot be bothered to find out actual facts and figures here people), I spent a lovely afternoon folding tiny things. Mostly tiny clothes, though at the end I had aquired quite a sizable pile of tiny shoes. Not pairs of shoes--just one shoe per pair. It's like Beylit got involved somehow... I don't know.

As I sat there folding, I was amazed at just how tiny infant clothes are. It makes sense, as infants are tiny, even the big ones. I remember holding my niece when she was still HOURS old and thinking--how can she be so tiny and yet seem so big at the same time? There's a sort of unreality about babies that way. They seem so small and fragile and delicate and yet... that came out of another HUMAN. The ergonomics of how babies fit inside people is pretty much a mystery. I keep going back to Temerity Jane's organ purse post* to see where the heck this Freckle has gotten to, and being amazed. Seriously amazed. She's crossed the Great Navel Trench. That is sort of weird to me. I look at that diagram and think is it even possible? She's made it this far already, why not further? Because I'm still using that space for me!!

Also, while I know that the goal of this whole project is to have a baby at the end of it--an external, not taking up the space my innards are used to occupying baby--I still can't quite wrap my brain around it. Most of the time, I can wrap my brain around being pregnant. I am carrying a baby--on the inside. Right. Check. That explains the crazy "why are my intestines playing Twister with my liver?" sensations. And yet... there are still times when I... forget? Get surprised? I'll be minding my own business, wearing my own pants, feeling generally just like myself and then I'll see something crazy in my house--like a car seat or some tiny dress and my first thought is usually, "who am I giving that to?" because I can't really fathom that this is happening. I know I'm pregnant, and that means that eventually I'll have a baby. While I know that, I find the fact strangely easy to forget, despite the fact that I'm pretty much thinking about it a lot of times per day and worry that it's the only thing I'm talking about when I see my friends, because while there is other stuff going on in my life right now (work is slowly getting less slow, I'm hosting a belated Christmas celebration at my house where I have to COOK for my MOTHER and BROTHER, which is making me a little nutty), there are also like A MILLION pregnant ladies in my life right now, so it's... all around me.

Maybe because I've had such an easy time? Things have gone remarkably well for me, and I'm very aware of how awesome that is. Between friends who actually live within driving distance of me, MBFJC, book club ladies, and some of my Internet Ladies, the current total of Babies I know getting themselves born in 2012 is... a lot. 19? 20? Something like that. Someone is having twins, so that always throws my count off. Well, one less than that since one of those babies got born on Dec 26th, but it's close enough to 2012 that I'm just going to go ahead and count him in the menagerie. I'm sure he won't mind. His age can still be calculated in understandable amounts of hours, so, you know, he's pretty easy-going about things that aren't his current state of comfort. I assume. I haven't actually met him yet. I think this baby-boom has added to the surreal quality of it all.

There's also the strange fact of... how do you connect the internal baby to the external baby? I know there will be witnesses to assure me that the baby they hand me is the same one I've been poking and talking to, but... how does your brain even compute that? Not that pregnant women aren't AWARE that the baby comes out. We get it. But... I mean... it's weird. I saw all the picture of my friend going from stunningly slender to very, very pregnant and it still wasn't really real until I saw her in person. Even then, it was sort of strange. Hard to connect the fact that this belly sticking out of her was actually HER and there was a PERSON inside. A very tiny person. Well, not too tiny. 8lbs 5 oz on the day of the reveal, so, a baby-sized baby. Still. A person! Inside! And there's one inside me? I have a hard time with that concept, despite the fact that this is EXACTLY what I wanted and what I tried very hard to achieve.

I'm also in denial about my pants at the moment. I know if there is anything about which I have become a sad, bitter, broken record it is pants. I just can't bring myself to pay $70 (plus tax and shipping) for a pair of pants to wear for 3 months that I'd still have to have hemmed once they arrived. I know--me having to have pants hemmed is quite a novelty, but not one I'm interested in experiencing. At 6 months I'm finally starting to feel uncomfortable in my last 4 pairs of wearable pants. I've got Bella Bands. I've got hair-ties. I'm doing my best to extend the life of these pants for as long as possible, because... it's coldish here, and I don't want to wear skirts all the time just yet. Soon enough that will be my only option, and I will suck it up and soldier on. For now, I'm hanging on to my pants with every shred of willpwoer I posses.

I spend a lot of time with my friends who have kids just watching, trying to absorb it all. Seeing what things happen and how they deal with it. I look at the baby pictures my Internet Ladies post and think--someday I'll be posting picture of a baby, not 14,000 pictures of my cats. (Probably only 1000 pictures of my cats.) It just all still seems so far away and unreal. I have a drawer full of cloth diapers. That should make things a little realer, right? Nope. A drawer full of tiny 0-3 month clothes, another of 3-6? 2 baby baths, a car seat, a pack-n-play, a co-sleeper, changing pads, pop-up crib, bag full of toys? Nope. Just stuff. Baby stuff, but... anyone can have stuff. Connecting that stuff with the reality of a tiny person to put in that stuff, that's a little bit harder.

Still, the goal is baby. Full steam ahead! Furniture rearranging has already happened and shall continue until the disaster that is the Sunshine room begins to look like something vaguly nursery like. That's a goal too.

*Yes, I'm using TJ as my go-to for information. I haven't seen that diagram anywhere else, and it's less disturbing than the full-color animated-looking pictures from some of the baby sites.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Getting sucked into the archives

Sometimes I stumble upon a blog by clicking links in my friend's sidebars and then I just keep reading...

Today, I'm stuck in the achives of "Inferior Monologue."

For paragraphs like these:
"So I went toward Century 21 assuring myself (without believing) that if I were to avoid the clothes racks and stay in the basement with the home goods, I could make it back to work without spending. Which is completely inane because my favorite thing to decorate, after my feet, is my apartment. So I got downstairs and it was like WHIZ BANG cranberry curtains, like how in the world did I make it this long without cranberry curtains in my bedroom, like with these things hanging I would not even have a bedroom anymore but a boudoir, gentlemen, like my whole life would change and my heart would be full and the shininess of my hair would improve by 86%. Cranberry curtains. Hot damn." --Kaitlyn, Inferior Monologue.

When these things hit, if they stick, and I'm in a position to do so (slow work, a stuck-at-home illness), I just keep reading, backwards, until I've reached the end... which is the beginning.* It's sort of a compulsion. It's like a novel, only not at all. I still want to feel like I've read it all, as though there were some sort of badge for blog-reading. If there were, I would totally apply.

*That is much more Zen and important sounding that I meant it to be

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Very Pinterest Christmas

So, I got sucked into browsing Pinterest aimlessly looking for crafting ideas. Here's what I found and what I came up with.

Their picture:
Reindeer Rootbeer
My picture: 

Kinda look like Beaker, eh?
So then I took this idea:
Glittery Ornaments

And this idea:
Santa Ornament

And made these:
Glitter ornaments, with... ribbon belts...and jiggaflern

Then I took this idea:

Braided Ribbon Headband
And turned it into this gift for my niece:

Modeled by me
I didn't have enough ribbon do to a whole headband, so I slipped the headband through a loop on the braid

Then I put a little bow on the end
Then I made a mess in my kitchen with these:
Hot Chocolate Truffles
I did make them with the extra sugar as suggested, and on my second batch added a dash of cayenne pepper and nutmeg... because why the heck not, right? They are definitely... softer than I anticipated. Tasty as all get-out when put in milk, but I was thinking more traditional truffle consistency not... smooshy. They are quite smooshy. No pictures of this one sadly as I've given them all away.

So there you have it. Christmas crafts via Pinterest.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The slow hippification of me

Hippification actually has nothing to do with becoming more hippo-like. That would be Hippofication. No, I'm talking about this thing that seems to be happening in my head. This thing where I gradually start looking at things differently. Where I start to consider things that never would have even crossed my pea brain because I didn't know they were possible until I met people on the internet.

Things like cloth diapering, which I've already decided to try. I have 18 tiny diapers of multiple brands, kinds and styles all ready to go. I'm prepared to try.

Things like washing my face with oil. Which, as an oily-type person I never thought I would do, but it turns out my skin isn't as oily as I thought, and there's some chemistry involved that makes oil ok even for oily skin and I'm doing it, and liking it. I just tweaked my recipe to include more olive oil, so we'll see how that works out. So far, I'm really pleased. I can put powder on without seeing little flakes of dead/dry skin on my nose and forehead. I don't have any tea tree oil in my mix, but I have noticed fewer breakouts since I started--which could be due to a change in hormones or something, but I'm going to go ahead and take credit for switching my face care and call it good.

Things like not using shampoo.

I know, it sounds crazy. It really does. Especially since my scalp is a very oily place. I tried one of those Argon/Moroccan/Fancy Oil (not V05) treatment things a while ago. I got a sample from Sephora, so it seemed pretty harmless to try out. Oh, it was bad. My hair was oily for DAYS. The stuff just wouldn't wash out. Icky.

So, please know that when I say that I'm considering not using shampoo, I don't mean that I will become an unwashed person.

Why would I even consider something like this? People who know me (and really, that should be you by now) know that I am a girl who likes her creature comforts. I like fuzzy socks, being an appropriate temperature and only venture into the out-of-doors when I have to. I don't commune with nature. I send nature post cards and plead for her to leave me alone with the bugs and the biting. So, I don't really feel like a good candidate for becoming a hippy. 

So, even though I don't like to be outside IN the environment, that doesn't mean that I don't care about it. And I like saving money. I probably like convenience and saving money a little more than the environment, which is why I can't every really see myself as "green" or "crunchy." I like trying new stuff, so when I see stuff that is new and could potentially save me money, I'm interested. If it helps the environment as a bonus, then hooray. These things combined have led me to this thought:

When my current bottle of conditioner runs out, I will switch to rinsing my hair with apple cider vinegar. Diluted, of course. If I stink like the wrong side of an orchard, you will be my friend and tell me to get myself back to the grocery store for some conditioner in a hurry, right? Thanks.

Then, when my shampoo runs out* I will start using baking soda to clean my head.

I know what some of you sciency-type people are thinking. Baking soda and vinegar?! I promise I won't be making a volcano on my head--both products are diluted in water and used separately. Although, volcano on my head would be a pretty cool trick, and possibly even an incentive to give up my nice smelling shampoo and conditioner.

Still, both are significantly cheaper than even the cheap shampoo, and with a tiny person on the way, I'm all about saving money.

I'm not so set on this that if it doesn't work after 2 weeks I won't march my happy non-hippy butt right back to the store and come back to the shampoo & conditioner fold just like the rest of the world, but it seemed worth a try, right?

Then I can try making my own laundry detergent! I'm already cleaning my face with EVOO, so you know... in for a penny, in for a pound, right?

*And as we all know, this will be quite some time after my conditioner does, because I don't know a single soul in the history of EVER who uses the same amount of shampoo & conditioner. It's totally not just me!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A good day

It's no surprise to anyone who knows me that I've been a bit... nervous about this whole pregnancy thing. Even though I got a clean bill of health at my last physical, things didn't go exactly according to my ultimate and perfect plan. You can go ahead and laugh at that. It is funny. But I had a plan. Or at least... strong wishes.

Gaining 30lbs when I stopped taking birth control certainly wasn't on my list. That fact pushed me into a whole new category as far as the evil BMI is concerned, and if there is any time in the history of ever that you want to be at your absolute best physical condition, I'm pretty sure it's when you're trying to grow another human inside you. Or run a marathon, or lift things twice your weight for fun. Those seem like good times to have all your fecal matter aggregated.

I considered waiting until I could more perfectly get my poop in said scoop before trying. As you can tell, I decided against that plan. I went with the "do what you can while you try" plan. There were lots of vitamins and an increase in my WiiDR time and more fresh veggies and less french fries. You know, those kinds of good things. Then, there was Freckle, and oh did I find 100 new things to worry about. I worried that my body wouldn't do what I wanted it to (grow a healthy baby) or there would be complications. Now, I realize that I am by no means out of the woods yet, so I don't mean to toot my own horn as though everything from now on is smooth sailing and fine and all my worries will be gone. No. Not true.

However, there is something so incredibly satisfying about hearing your doctor say, "You've been taking really good care of yourself! I'm so proud of you." Yeah, she said that. I may have gotten a little misty-eyes because you guys? Being "healthy" isn't really something that I excel at. I excel at indulgence, not self-control. So, I was worried about taking the glucose tolerance test today.

I was worried that the drink was going to be so gross I would get sick (it wasn't, I didn't). I worried that I would fail miserably (I didn't). In fact, the drink was... bearable and I passed. Not just passed, but my numbers were "awesome." My doctor called me a superstar. No anemia either, so hooray for that. Freckle continues to grow right on schedule--she's 1lb 12oz now.

Which totally blows my mind because I have friends whose little girl was born at 25 weeks, 1lb 4 oz, 11.3" long--and is HOME NOW. 4 months old, barely a month past her original due date, and growing, thriving and generally kicking butt with pink bows upon her head. I can truly say that I just can't imagine. I mean, when it happened, I knew it was early. Really early. Scary early. Now... now I have just the littlest glimpse at just how early that really is, how blessed that family is, how wonderful a gift little Sarah is.

I'm going to stop talking about THAT now, because I've had enough of the weepy. Really, the past few days have been full of a lot of... whining! No other word for it. I got a cold, I was tired, etc., etc., etc. But today... today is a good day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The elusive perfect

There are certain things that I'm still searching for "the perfect" of. Red lipstick was one of those, until I found it at MAC, but of course, it's a limited edition color so some day I will be wailing and moaning the loss of my perfect red, but let's hope that day is many, many years in the future--because I don't follow those guidelines that say you have to throw away all your makeup after a year and buy new stuff. I'll buy new stuff and keep the old, thank you very much. Like that Girl Scout song... Buy new makeup, but keep the old! One is silver and the other gold! Except mascara. That stuff gets cakey and ugly way too soon. But I digress. I don't have a signature scent or that one recipe that I'm famous for yet. I haven't found a little black dress that makes me feel pretty and elegant and can be dressed up and down for multiple occasions. I haven't found the perfect face cleaner, though I am pretty happy with my "clean your face with oil" routine so far. I've got a smidge too much Castor oil in it at the moment, so I need to tweak that recipe. Maybe then it will be perfect. I'll keep you posted.

I'm still searching for the perfect daily moisturizer. Here are my criteria that will make it perfect:
  • Has sunscreen in it (SPF 15-30 is plenty), but doesn't smell like sunscreen
  • Doesn't make my face break out into a million pieces of red, splotchy, pimply agony

That's it! I'm not really all that picky. Just those two things. I've found plenty of lotions that meet 1.5 of those criteria, but the perfect lotion has yet to be found. I keep trying. I have hope. Someday I will settle down with my perfect lotion and I will live happily ever after in sun-protected, acne-free, non-stinky bliss.

My lament for pants is both long and well documented, but recently I figured out how to sum it up. You know the old saying that you've got 3 options:
  • fast
  • good
  • cheap
You can pick any 2 of those you want? Well, that's how pants-shopping is for me. My options are pants that fit my:
  • waist
  • hips
  • legs (length).
I can have any 2 of those I want. Obviously, I usually choose legs & hips since pants that don't button/zip aren't as practical. Also, in case you were wondering, you can be any 2 of the following:
  • fat 
  • tall
  • pregnant
 Don't try to do all 3.

I have found a few perfect things in my life though.

  • My perfect cardigan is from the Cabi 2010 Spring Line, so I'll never be able to buy another one. It's thin enough to be able to put it on & still get a jacket on over it, but warm enough that it's not just decoration. The sleeves are truly 3/4 length, even on my long arms. It ties in front, so does great things for showing off my best feature, and hits at just the right spot on my ribs to not draw attention to my hudge & not make me look pregnant when I'm not. If I could travel back in time and buy 10 of them I would, to last me the rest of my life. And also to stock up on my MAC lipstick.

  • My perfect heels sadly bit the dust back in July, 2008. They were black mary-janeish in style, but with a wide, comfy rubberish heel that made it possible to wear them for 8 hours and not want to kill anyone. I wore them for 10 years and loved them until the final bitter end--at MBFJC's wedding rehearsal where they finally bit the dust. Wide heels aren't really in style anymore, so I have yet to find another pair of shoes that had the versatility (black mary janes! Where them with everything!) and comfort of those shoes. But I keep trying. That might explain why I have 4 pairs of black mary jane style shoes at the moment...

  • My perfect eyeliner is Makeup Forever's Aqua Eyes, in black. It's creamy and glides on smoothly, even when my eyes are being all crepe-paper-y. You can smudge it if you're quick, then it sets pretty well, and it's not rub-proof, but it is water-proof. Like, in the pool swimming about water-proof. Of course, then I wipe my hands all down my face and maybe smear it a bit, but that's my own fault for wearing eyeliner in the pool, right? Right.
My perfect things are all black. I'm not sure what that says other than I like the versatility of the color. So, now you tell me about your perfects. Perfect go-to party recipe? Perfect bakery where they understand how to make real sourdough bread? Perfect mascara that makes your lashes look real, but even awesomer than nature actually gave you? Perfect rainy-day pick me up treat? You know... those things. Share! Share!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Better run, better run, Faster than my mullet!

Ok, so there's this song, by Foster the People, and the actual lyric is "faster than my bullet" (and this is going to be a bulleted post, so there's the connection, ok?) but someone on Twitter said "mullet" and now I only sing those words. Mullets are better than bullets anyway.

  • Have you ever had a brilliant idea for a mix-tape*, only to realize that what you really had was a couple of great songs that go well together, but not a real... theme or motif or reason to built a playlist? Yeah, I have one of those right now. 2 songs that are just killer together, and then a bunch of vauge ideas. The whole thing is full of songs that I like by bands that I think I should like and might like if I investigated any of their other music, but haven't gotten that far yet. As a theme for a mix-tape, that isn't the best I've ever come up with, though probably not the worst either. "Chelsea Danger" by The Fratellis followed by "Flourescent Adolescent" by Arctic Monkeys. Then maybe "The Polite Song" by The Bird and The Bee... I don't know, I kind of get lost after that. Do I want to put some Temper Trap on there to transition to The XX? Santagold? Metric? Do I want to try to figure out what goes well with that one Vampire Weekend song I like? I don't know. It's percolating. Oh, I should put that Jerk It Out song on there too. That song makes me happy.
  • I have identified my main pregnancy symptom as "increased whininess." I'm not sure there is a cure, but I'm trying a healthy dose of STFU. We'll see if that leads to implosion and unnecessary blow-ups.
  • There was a water-main break under our street this weekend, and they shut our water off on Sunday to fix it. They shut it off after I'd taken a very long bubble bath, and for a few, very-scary minutes I was convinced I'd somehow drained all the water out of the world. Or it was all frozen in the pipes, except it wasn't anywhere near cold enough for that to happen. Thankfully we had a pitcher of filtered water in the fridge, so we could still have Mac & Cheese for lunch.
  • I bought a bag of roasted & salted (un-shelled) pistachios on a whim at the grocery store... a lot of days ago. They got stuck on a shelf in the pantry and I forgot about them--which is why I need someone to come organize my pantry for me, because it's just a mess. The point here however is that these nuts are the best things ever. Pistachios, I love them!
  • My living room in still in mid-craftsplosion, but my last holiday function before actual family Christmas is Thursday, so I'm hoping to reclaim my living room for living sometime soon. 

*I will continue to call them mix-tapes because it's the only thing that sounds right in my head.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And another thing!

Yesterday, J said to me, "Well now you have something to blog about." Only problem is I have NO IDEA what he said before that. I've completely forgotten.

Last night, I dreamed I was babysitting Penny. Freckle was there too, only on the outside, sitting in a Bumbo, smiling. Penny was smiling too, but she kept wandering off. I'd look away and she'd crawl somewhere and I was getting frantic about trying to find her. I had to change her diaper, but I only had a cover, no insert and it was getting messy. No analysis needed--I'm a little freaked out about this whole "having to be entirely repsonsible for the well being of a tiny human" thing. Why was it an Internet baby, not MY baby? No idea. Maybe because Penny is just so damn cute, and I can more easily identify with her than the kid in my womb? I dunno.

Baby stuff keeps randomly appearing in my house. It's totally awesome to have a sister-in-law with 3 kids, and a baby girl just outgrowing all her tiny stuff. I was getting in my car yesterday when I noticed that a car seat had magically appeared. It has little giraffes on it. How perfect. It also came with 2 boxes full of stuff--tiny baby clothes, including the dress I got my niece Alyssa to wear to our wedding. Talk about memories! There's all kinds of goodies in there as well as clothes--burb cloths and wet bags and really? It's just such a relief to know that we have not only the tangible THINGS that go on a baby, but so many good friends near by who've done this so we can call and say "halp!!" Also, it allows me to go back to my registries and cross stuff off the list. Seriously, we've got all the big stuff covered. We need, you know, the first-aid, health type stuff. And some baby bedding.

Oh, and speaking of giraffe things... I now have this:

It's the softest, squishiest, most awesome giraffe chair-thingy ever. It's from Freckle's Diva Godmother. I mean, Fairy Godmothers are cool and all, but how many kids have a DIVA godmother? Not many I imagine...

Also, tonight I looked like this:

That headband is from the fabulous Raven, who also drives a PT Cruiser, only hers has FLAMES on it. I'm jealous. Anyway, go visit her shop, she makes lots of neat stuff. Feel free to buy me anything you see there. 

I got all dressed up because I was 1) totally pissed off at a computer malfunction that stopped a 9 hr. report at 99% complete and lost all the data I'd spent all day waiting on, and 2) going to see my friend Bill at his book signing. Sounds glamorous, so I decided to wear... plaid. Yes, it was warm, so there. Here is a picture of the anthology that Bill's short story is a part of:

The book in its natural habitat--covered in cat!
We ate good food and Bill read his story and it was really nice. Then I came home and saw this: 

Yep, nothing says "Season's Greetings" to me like my trees all lit up with a kitty in the window.

Ta-da! Now I'm going to bed. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Things I did and what I will be doing soon

5 whole days of December. What have I done? Stuff. Like this:

We saw the new Muppet Movie on Friday and it was awesome. There was much laughter, especially when [insert bunch of spoilers here] and then I got all weepy when [more things you might not want to know before seeing the movie]. Amy Adams still makes me very happy.

Then, on Saturday, I went to a baby shower, where 10 of the 25 people in the house were pregnant ladies. We lined up by due date for a picture. It was... special. The guest of honor was at the front of the line and I was at the back. We played the "how big is the expectant mother's belly" game and it turns out that my butt is still bigger than her belly at nearly 37 weeks pregnant. So, that felt awesome. My own fault for using my widest point as a reference. We won't be playing THAT game at any showers for me.

The ornaments that I made on Friday, with the help of my friend Paula, whose main duty was to let candles burn an appropriate amount... wait, that sentence got away from me. Let me start over. I made some ornaments on Friday. The idea was from J, and it made me really happy once I finally found all the right ingredients to make it happen. Paula came over & was in charge of candle burning. I did the candle placing & filling of small colored ball things. The ornaments looked lovely on Friday evening. On Sunday morning, they were a disaster. (Don't worry Shannon, I didn't put LIT candles into the ornaments.) Of course, the party at which I was to GIVE said ornaments was that night, so there was much last-minute scrambling and I pretty much hate feeling rushed and running late, even though punctuality isn't really something this group is known for, and it's a PARTY after all.

The untested recipes I used as gifts did NOT go according to plan. I gave them anyway. Without instructions, because our printer broke and I didn't know it. So there was a lot of explaining about what was edible and what was for soaking in the tub, though techincally also edible.

I spent the tail-end of Saturday making more Christmas cards and decorating gift bags with some of my favorite people, and the best thing about that whole day was hearing my friend Jacob say my name. Or, you know, something vaguely like my name. He's 19 months old, so I cut him some slack.

After the crafting explosion of this weekend, I'm still trying to reclaim my living room and kitchen. I know that there will be glitter in places I can't reach until the end of time, but I'm surprised at how much powdered sugar I'm finding in places I'm sure I never went with sugar of any variety.

I have 2 holiday parties and one caroling gig this weekend. I'm both very excited and full of dread. I might have to start napping now to have enough energy to make it through. Really, any excuse to nap will be taken with glee at this point.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why? Because it was there

One of the things I miss about Live Journal was all the silly memes.
I ran across this one today, and couldn't resist.

Your job is now your Time Lord name. The last digit of your phone number is the current regeneration you are in. The nearest clothing item to your right is now the most notable item in your current wardrobe. The last person you texted is your current companion. Your favorite word is now your catchphrase.

I am The Lease Analyst... Ana for short, in my 7th regeneration, never to be seen without knee-length pink stripped socks. My companion, The Yellow One, never gets tired of hearing all the different ways I can use the word, "dude." 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fear of sharing

So, I spent some time adding some stuff to some baby registries the other day.

Thankfully, due to friends and family with babies already, we've got a lot of stuff covered. Hand-me-downs and some "let me buy this from you for super cheap" have really put a huge dent in the "stuff we need" column. This pleases the penny-pinching* part of me and the crossing-stuff-off-of-lists part of me as well. Also, watching for sales on stuff has allowed us to stock up on more than a full day's worth of cloth diapers so far! Go us! I feel accomplished.

So I set out to fill the gaps in our "have" list by putting stuff onto registries, and while I was doing it I felt great. I'm making decisions! I'm asking for stuff! Then, when I was done, the thought occurred to me that I would have to share these lists with people. People who have babies. People who might think certain things about me based on my choices for MY baby. People who have babies and think that the stuff I'm asking for isn't right for babies. I was caught up in one of those incredibly self-centered, self-conscious bouts of over-thinking where I'm convinced that people merely tolerate me, or just put up with me to be polite, because I'm still a 13 year old GIRL sometimes.

Don't worry, I found my big-girl panties and will be putting them on and coping with those stupid thoughts and eventually sharing those lists with the people who need them. Besides, I had lots of good input for those lists. People with babies told me stuff they liked, and at least two of those people actually agreed on some stuff, so that was helpful. I've tried to heed internet advice when it seemed to make sense. I mean, I'll be honest. I used to babysit and I've got 4 niecephews & a friend's kid whom I've known since birth, but that's pretty much the extent of my knowledge of babies. I watched, and I remember some stuff, but not all the details of what you need at the house to cope with a tiny person living there and relying on you 100% for 100% of their lives... I know what an aspirator IS and why you need one, but I don't know how to use one. Someone will show me how to do that, right? Is there a class for that? I know I'm supposed to steal the aspirator they give me at the hospital. That much I remember. Anything else I should swipe while I'm there? Any of y'all had a baby at MCD? Tips? Tricks? Helpful reminders?

I'm ready to be unprepared for stuff no matter how many things we buy. I mean, as ready as you can ever be for unexpected stuff. I expect there to be unexpected stuff.

And speaking of unexpected stuff--If you ever want to be freaked out about giving birth, just go to lunch with my boss & co-workers. Man, do those ladies have some scary stories. Dropping the baby out at 3AM in the hospital laundry room?!? They're better than the internet sometimes...

*Now I have visions of pinching this Penny, which I wouldn't do in a malicious way, or probably at all, but you know... there it is.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Consider these halls decked

If I were awesome, I would have started a load of laundry today since the hamper is quite full.

I'm not awesome. What I did do is work from home, tweet pictures of my cats*, go to 3 different craft stores looking for the supplies to make Christmas ornaments and finally get up the tiny tree & porch trees in the dining room, which no longer has a table, so it's really just the music room since it is full of musical instruments. Since we don't have a big tree, my tree-topper looks pretty silly, but I've never let looking silly stop my decorating. The only thing that's missing is my pretty peacock tree skirt. For some reason, it wasn't packed with the rest of the Christmas decorations. So, this is what we've got so far:

Then, while feeding the cats, I managed to roll my foot on the vacuum cord that was left draped across the kitchen. I slid, flailed my arms like a cartoon character in that classic windmill motion that actually helps sometimes, but did both diddly and squat in this situation. I fell on my butt and... it hurt. I know that's not really a newsflash, but the tile was pretty cold and hard. I think I might have a bruise.

*I look forward to the days when I will be tweeting pictures of my baby, but for now, it's my cats. Yes I call them fur babies. No I don't think they're human. Yes they are part of the family.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The rockstar side of the family

Long ago, in a land far, far away lived my grandparents. This land was called South Dakota, and in the town of Rapid City they had a house that I visited during the summers of 1984 & 1985. For those of you keeping track at home, I was 3 & 4 during those visits. It was probably the '85 visit that I remember. Those memories are pretty limited but include the following gems*:

1) My first memories of being on an airplane were completely consumed by the Care Bears. I was a big fan of those bears, and I don't know if you remember this, but they were supposed to live on top of the clouds. So of course, once we reached our cruising altitude, I spent the entire trip looking out the window to try to get a glimpse of the Care Bears. Actually, I probably only spent 15 minutes or so doing that, which in kid years is forever. My mother would probably have a more accurate description of how I spent my time. Just like all I really remember from my first skiing trip was that I had purple Daffy Duck long johns, but my mom insists that I spent the entire time crying. I don't remember that--just the long johns.

2) My rockstar family. So, my dad's folks & sisters all lived about 90 minutes away from us when I was a kid and I saw them all pretty frequently. My mom's family was scattered all across the world: South Dakota & Virginia Beach & Germany. Because I rarely saw them, they were like celebrities. My only older cousins are my mom's middle sister's kids. They are close to my brother's age, which is 7 years older than me, so at the ripe age of 4, they were pretty much the coolest things ever. I adored my cousin Aaron and wanted to grow up to be just like Vicki, or maybe my Aunt Dorothy who was tall and willowy and had red hair, so of course, since I also had red hair, I was DESTINED to be just like that when I grew up. My Aunt Cher was an artist and a dancer, which made her 14 kinds of cool, and she had a little bit of a southern accent, and if she & my mom talked on the phone for any length of time, my mom wound up sounding like the cast of Steel Magnolias. Uncle Mike lived in Germany, which might have been next to the moon, because when he came to visit it was like the circus and Christmas and your favorite movie all came to town at the same time. Anyway, in '85 my mother says we were visiting for Aunt Dorothy's wedding, in which I was the flower girl. I was very excited. I got a fancy purple dress and I think my first pair of heels. If I recall, come the actual day of the wedding I pretty much scowled down the aisle, refusing to smile, and since my basket had flowers, not actual petals, I didn't have anything to toss. Either that or I tried to schmooze with everyone in the pews on the way down. I'm pretty sure it was the former though. I was still shy back then.

Well, not too shy, because of course, there was this picture:

The Bean: age 4, long before she'd ever heard the words "body image" or "self esteem", in the days when her cousins called her Cyndi Lauper and she thought that was the coolest thing EVER

*I call them gems because that makes them seem fancy or special or something

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Today I went caroling in Historic Downtown McKinney. The weather was actually quite nice, and we sang all of our songs--some of them twice. Some people came and watched. Some sang along. Sometimes they clapped. Really, as audio-visual wallpaper, that's the best you can hope for, and it was nice.

Now, I do this every year, but this was an odd performance for a couple of reasons.

1) My costume. I've worn the same thing for 4 years: long black skirt, white blouse with high lace collar, vest, jacket, and usually a doily on my head. It was very... 1900 school marm. Now, technically I should have been aiming more for 1865 British socialite, but you know, it's what I had in my closet and it worked. Then last year, my friend Ted made me this BEAUTIFUL rose & chocolate brown day suit, with dark brown velvet trim and the prettiest brocade and a corset that matched and he laced me in & I made a fabulous hat with lots of stuff on it, like this:

This year... well, I really wanted to wear my hat, but I don't know if you noticed a key word up there: corset. There is no corseting me at the moment. I'm full of baby. So, it was a bit of a concern as to what I was going to wear. I thought I could maybe just wear my old black & white school marm duds--the skirt still fastened and the vest sat high enough that it could be latched over my expanding middle. But then there was the hat... I didn't want to wear a doily. It was only going to be 47 in McKinney. That's not doily weather. That's hat weather. But my pink & brown costume was made to go over a corseted version of me which is about 4" smaller than the normal me, and I'm about 4" larger than that, so you see the problem.

Enter: The Bella Band. That's right! I totally used a spandex/cotton cummerbund as part of a Victorian caroling costume. And it worked! So I got to wear my fancy hat after all! The day was saved!

2) I almost forgot I was doing a list here. The other thing that was weird was the ratio of singers per part. Most of our songs are in 4 parts, SATB. We usually have a pretty even distribution on the parts, though the ladies tend to outnumber the men a bit. Well, this year, due to some life and stuff, illness and whatnot we wound up with 2 on bass, 2 on tenor, 5 altos and 1 soprano. Yeah... no balance there. So, we altos got to sing really soft and quiet and thankfully our 1 soprano was bolstered because the director sang soprano too, and they are both Ethridges. You don't know the Ethridges? Well, one time, many years ago, when Queen Anne's Lace was recording an album, and all the ladies had to share one microphone, the sound engineer was having a hard time getting a good balance. After several polite requests he came up with the following solution: If your name is Ethridge, face the wall. That way, with their voices only bouncing off the wall to get to the mic, they were in balance with the rest of the ladies who were singing INTO the mic. Yeah, they have some AMAZING lungs & voices. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Christmas Tree that wasn't

So, I was all jazzed to put up my Christmas tree today.
I got all the Christmas stuff out of the closet in the front bathroom (which of course is the most sensible & logical place to put Christmas stuff). There are boxes of ornaments and many lights and some garlands all in pretty peacock-like colors, and some other colors and some handmade ones, including last year's little sheep ornaments, which make me happy every time I see them.

So, giant pile of Christmas trimmings in the front room, and then a sleepy husband goes to fetch he tree. He comes back in with  box about the right shape, only it turns out to be the porch trees. Which would be fine if another box of the appropriate size existed anywhere in the universe (or our house). But it doesn't. There is no tree. Somehow, when we moved from there to here (a year & a half ago) we misplaced the tree. That happens, right? Things go missing when you move? Inexplicably? No rhyme or reason? Like perhaps all of your left shoes... or maybe right shoes... I don't remember which, but if you ever run into Beylit you can ask her for the real story. It's the main reason why she has to tell me anytime she wears cute shoes now--because after that move she only had one pair of purple flip-flops and some beat up old sneakers. FOR YEARS!

So, it seems that we lost our tree to the whims of moving. Who knows how it happens. In the mean time, I'm going to find a way to trim the living room in lights and hang ornaments and bells from the mantle. And then I shall steal one of the many trees generously offered to us by our friends and family. I will cover it with purple and blue and green stuff like this:

last year's tiny tree: covered in peacock-like birds! 
the wreath I assembled out of stuff I liked

Friday, November 25, 2011

And so it begins

So, I started working on my Christmas cards the other night. I make cards to send/give out. It's really quite simple, as I have a pretty reliable formula for success:
Blank card
Fun ribbon
Stickers I like


There are other ways to do this of course, and I'm sure at some point in my card making I'll get all wacky and try something like... three blocks of colored paper with stickers in a row, or maybe an asyemetrical jiggaflern of something seasonally appropriate. Also, I suspect that soon there will be a craft days where many of my other fellow scrapbooking-type card making ladies will get together and as we pool our resources, things get more exciting. More stamps, more ink, more ribbon and glitter and stickers. Some of those ladies even have fancy machines that cut out super-awesome things from special paper on demand. It could get very interesting.

Now that it is official Christmas season, I must decide what kind of ornament to make this year and get with the making. My holiday celebrations are all* happening before the 15th of December, so I don't have a lot of time to dilly-dally.** Pinterest has been very helpful in my search for this year's unique homemade ornament, but really I just like any excuse to play with more glitter, so that might have something to do with it.

Want a card? You can have one. I don't mind. Just send me your address...

*Well, family Christmas will happen on the day of, but that's different in my head somehow
**I've never actually typed that phrase before. It's a bit awkward.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks a lot!

Well, my first turkey is just hours away from being done. Technically I suppose it was hours away from being done when I first put it in, but that was at 8 this morning. It's quarter past 1 now, so things have come along quite well. The bird is browned and covered in seasony bits and I'm basting the beast every 20 minutes. For the record, basting the beast probably IS a euphemism somewhere, but that's not what I mean.

I don't have pictures of the naked bird, or the part where the giblet bag exploded inside and we had to fish out the giblets. Yeah... you heard me. It wasn't pleasant. We cut off the tail, gave it a bath and then I made stuffing. The bird got stuffed up both ends, rubbed with butter and some spices, shoved in a pan and now rests in the oven, getting all...em-brownened.

It's... it's really brown. Is it too brown? Have I totally screwed this up? Mom won't let me screw this up. I love my mother's method of cooking. I knew I was in good hands when I had a bowl full of bread cubes and she plopped some bottles of seasoning down in front of me: rubbed sage, celery salt, lemon pepper. I asked the question I was pretty sure I already knew the answer to: How much of each do I put in here? She just sort of looked at me and said, "Some." See, that's my kind of kitchen witching.

I'm going to share with you my super-unsecret recipe for twice baked sweet potatoes:
Sweet Potatoes (1 potato per 2 people)
Brown Sugar

Notice there are no amounts on there? Because I don't know. I microwave the potatoes until they're cooked, cut them in half, scoop the innards into a bowl and then mix them with brown sugar and bourbon until they're smooth, creamy and taste right. Then I sprinkle just a little nutmeg, put the innards mix back into the halved shells, top with the marshmallows and then put them in oven, and broil on low until the 'mallows are browned. It's not science. I don't want to say it's necessarily art. It's just... witching. Turkey has a lot more variables, and I'm a bit more worried. My brother is here now, so he's added his meat-cooking-expertise to the mix. I'm trying not to let too much heat out when I baste... I wasn't before, but he told me, and now I am.

Right now there is peeling going on... eggs for deviling and potatoes for mashing. And basting! Always the basting! There is a lot of liquid in that pan... that might be... problematic later. (Spoiler: It was. The turkey tasted great, but fell the hell apart when trying to transfer from pan to platter. Many points for flavor. No points for presentation. Here's a picture of it in-pan before disaster struck!)

I'm glad I have Mom here to guide me. We were talking (my mom & I) while driving into town (they kind of live in the middle of nowhere) to fetch my grandparents, which isn't surprising, since I get my chatty nature from her... and my dad... but we were talking about the things we take for granted. I take for granted that I have the same 4 grandparents and 2 parents that I was born with. It's just... normal for me.

So I'm giving thanks for being surrounded by family that I not only love, but LIKE. And for having a 21.77lb turkey to cook with the guiding hands of my mom. And for you. For reading this and making this space so much fun.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I know, I read it on your blog

Alright, so I know that people read my blog. I have subscribers and followers and comments and a little thing on the side that tells me how many times the page is viewed (which does nothing to help me know who is reading it by feed, because those folks don't show up on statistics, and some days I look to those statistics for validation, you know?).

Ah-hem. Anyway.
Yes, I know that people are reading. Hello people! People like my mom.

That being said, there are some people that I didn't know were reading, or read before I thought they might have had a chance to (posting early on a Saturday morning... I don't expect anyone to have read that before a 2pm wedding...). So, imagine my surprise when sitting and chatting with friends after the lovely wedding we attended Saturday, and I heard a couple of times, from different people, "Oh yeah I know. I read that on your blog!"

I was... I don't know what I was. Pleasantly surprised is a start, with a side of mildly embarrassed for having been caught telling the same story twice, and also feeling both like a jerk for not knowing that they read it and also like a jerk if I had assumed that they did. Is there a word for that? Someone make a word for that as I'm SURE I'm not the only one who feels that way. I mean, I've been called out before for thinking that people who DO read my blog didn't--I inadvertently made someone feel like I thought they were a jerk for not reading... I had no idea that happened. Then I felt bad for making her feel bad and it was bad. For 30 seconds. Until we all got over it. I only mention it because it seemed thematically relevant. Right?

Is there blog etiquette for this that I'm missing? I'm new to all this, so you know, if I'm in the dark, someone please enlighten me! I'm not so self-deprecating that I think that NO ONE reads this. I get comments, which are rad, and I know that not everyone who reads will comment, because I know I certainly don't comment on everything that I read, but... pretty much unless I know your IP address by heart (spoiler: I don't), unless you commented, I'm going to guess that you didn't read it. Not out of spite or because you hate me, but because... well, I don't think I'm that important that you would INSIST upon reading everything that I write. The only person who is required to read everything is J, and he comments in "meat-space," which, I gotta say, as a term just ooks me right out. I get it, cyberspace-meatspace but... eeeewwwwww

So yes, thanks for reading and telling me about it, or reading silently. I like this thing. I never thought I'd stick with it, because I'm really bad at stuff like that, but somehow it's worked pretty well so far. And now some of my friends who live near to me and I do stuff with off-line have blogs too, and I've met people from the internet who are awesome. Really--they've given me advice and encouragement and opened my eyes to all sorts of crazy stuff: like cloth diapers, washing your face with oil, making your own laundry soap, giving up shampoo... Other non-hippy stuff too, but those are the ones that totally blew my mind. Real people, who don't seem crazy or extreme doing things that I never would have thought of because I thought I was too conformist or "normal" to do it...

That paragraph kind of got away from me. The point I think I'm trying to make is this: I'm really happy with this little space, and very grateful that I get to share it with all of you. Thanks y'all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday Hi-5

This little number might not change your life, but it certainly made my day, so here you go!

This weekend (or starting RIGHT NOW), if someone goes to give you a hi-5, do this instead:

That's right, it's a thumbs-up next to a hi-5. Do you see why? It makes a turkey! A TURKEY!! You don't see it? Here, let me (and MS Paint) help you out a bit!

This holiday tip brought to you by my friend Paula!

Speaking of turkey, I'll be cooking my first this year. Just like Elsha, I've been married for 5 years, but never cooked or hosted my own Thanksgiving or Christmas. Both of our families are so close that we've always gone visiting. Plus, most of the awesomness-in-the-kitchen genes went to my brother, so I'm more than happy to sit back & reap the rewards of other people's skill.

This year, even though we're going to my parents' house for Thanksgiving, our lovely hosts will be just getting back from a trip to Houston and leaving for a Carribean cruise right after the holiday. Combine that with a coupon for a free turkey and I offered to bring over the bird. I've never cooked one and wouldn't know what to do with one, but it seemed a shame to let that coupon go to waste. So, Mom said she'd show me the ropes. I'm a little nervous, but I know that there are enough years of experience in that kitchen that they won't let me ruin everything by screwing up the centerpiece of our holiday meal.

I mean, I cook. Usually for this holiday, I'm responsible for making the sweet potatoes (which I do as a twice-baked thingy... with bourbon & brown sugar, marshmallows on top) and usually I do the mashing of the regular potatoes. Brother is in charge of gravy, as he seems to be MAGIC in that department. One time, he made purple gravy. Well, it was red-wine gravy to go with some pheasant that he shot himself, served with wild rice. It was really good, but it was also purple, which makes it, in my book, twice as awesome.  Sometimes he'll brine the turkey, sometimes we stick it in a bag. All I know is that I had to get an enormous 21.73 lb turkey. There shall be leftovers for certain!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A day of laundry

So, due to a combination of factors, I've been spending more time at home than usual.

One, the amount of actual work to be done at my job has decreased quite a bit. There is light at the end of the tunnel, since more work is supposed to be coming in December, but at the moment, it's been hard to fill 8 hours. Now, know that complaining about not having enough work to do is pretty much asking for people to point and laugh at you, because most people are overworked and underpaid. I said it anyway, because I would like to be working more hours, as it means a nice paycheck, and that could really come in handy right about now.

Of course, to do more work, it would be helpful to be healthy. It seems that my normally sub-standard immune system has given me the finger this season, as I keep catching... something. Different varieties of somethings, but none of them pleasant or worth the words to describe. I'm sparing you the ugly details.

So, what did I do today? Laundry.

Lots and lots of laundry.

Now, seeing as how my clothes take up roughly 80% of the available closet space in the closet I share with my husband, it would seem logical that when doing laundry, I would wash significantly more of my clothes than his. Obviously, this is not the case, or I wouldn't mention it. The case is actually more like this: I filled 1.5 loads with clothes of mine, 4.5 loads with clothes of his, and 2 loads of sheets & towels. How is that even possible? Well, it's because I'm a chronic re-wearer. It has to do with layers. I didn't used to dress in layers, but you spend enough time with my friend Kathleen, and layers just become something you do. I've been a top+ cardigan gal for sometime, but now I find myself adding scarves, and maybe an undershirt in a fun contrasting color. Then, only the stuff that was next to my skin or got food on it has to go in the wash. It helps that nearly 1/3 of my closet is dedicated to cardigans, wraps, sweaters to go on top of other things, jackets, hoodies, and shrugs. So, while J dresses in layers, all of his go in the hamper every night, thus contributing to the constant problem of "We just did 2 loads of laundry. All your clothes are clean, and I can only find 1 sock and a pair of underpants."

That was my day folks. I used up all my fun & exciting this weekend. NaBloPoMo strikes again!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pooh Cake

So, my sister-in-law has a tradition for her kids' fist birthday: Her mom makes a Winnie the Pooh shaped cake, well 2 actually. One for the baby to destroy and one for the rest of the family.  Although Samantha won't officially turn one until the 30th, we celebrated tonight, as this was the day we could wrangle the majority of the people together in one place. And now, many cute pictures of my niece...

Before... also, the first time her hair has been long enough for a tiny pony-tail-thingy

It took a while for her to realize what was going on... I think 8 cameras pointed at her may have given her pause, but...

Once she got the hang of it, she was going for gold!

Or frosting. Really, I think it was just the frosting! 

Cake for the rest of us. Isn't my mother-in-law amazing? She just... makes stuff like this! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Little Bride and the happy Groom

Today is a wedding day.

Not *my* wedding day of course. My doppleganger is getting married. It's funny that I think about it that way, because I only met my doppleganger because she decided that she liked my friend Pat enough to date him. And my friend Pat is one of the first people I met when I moved to Texas a million (or 8) years ago.

Pat was sort of my boss, just like Dan was sort of my boss, at this haunted house in Allen, TX where I learned that I just can't be inside a haunted house without screaming--even if I'm the one supposed to be doing the scaring. So I worked in a part of, except it was outside, so it was more like a park with several haunted attractions. Anyway, I worked in a part where we loaded people up into big open trailer things on the back of pick-up trucks & drove them around the woods for a bit while they shot paintballs at monsters. It was actually pretty fun, except for the time I got shot by accident.

Anyway, Pat & Dan were good buddies and they eventually stopped thinking of me as my brother's little sister and I got to be my own person, and they introduced me to their friends, and ta-da! I made friends in Texas. Pat & Dan are my staples, my go-to guys. They can get anything done... or blown up.

Many years later, Pat met Lisha. Well, actually, I don't know when they first met, as they have a mutual friend, but many years later, Pat brought Lisha to a Christmas party that I attended and I met Lisha. Ok, another 6' redhead with a weird L name? Awesome! And she is. Just like when Dan got married all those years ago, somehow his wife became just as good and close a friend to me as he is. Same with Pat & Lisha. I met Pat, and got a Lisha. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Pat is... he's not one to gush and squee and run around like a chicken sans head. He's a planner, even if the plan is just, "Show up, do stuff, go eat." His wedding is like that too. It's organized, but there's plenty of room for things to go sideways and everyone will still be just fine. He's got the important part nailed down--at the end of all of this, he'll be married.

So today, Lisha is a little bride. A 6' tall redhead with hair down to her hiney, in a beautiful & classy gown--who embroidered her own handfasting cloth. There will be a reading about dinosaurs, and one where multiple references to prostitution had to be edited out for the sake of one 87 yr. old grandmother. Her 19 month old godson will be led by his parents down the aisle as a ringbearer, and the flower girl is 5, blonde, and too cute for words.

That's the wedding part.

The real good stuff comes after. The marriage part. I love the way Pat & Lisha love one another--there's lots of laughter and fun and waffles. I can't wait to see where married life takes them, but hopefully no farther than Plano. I like having them nearby!

Melissa Muhlenkamp of Squawk Box Design took this fabulous picture--it suits them perfectly!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sugar and spice and everything nice...

Well, drinking ice cold orange juice on the way to my doctor's appt this morning did the trick, and we got to see most of the baby's parts, but, the part that everyone is asking about:

In case you missed it, when we first told our friends & family by e-mail, Jeremy came up with a very clever adaptation of some stuff he'd read on the internet, and so the announcement went like this:

A note from Jeremy:
As some of you may or may not know, we have been working on a project for some time, with many struggles and successes along the way. It therefore pleases me to no end to announce that Linnea is currently compiling a human from source code. While she has been the principal developer on the project for the past 13 weeks, I did contribute significant blocks of code to get the project started, and should receive a developer credit on the final product. 
I know you're all excited about Freckle 1.0 (the internal codename for the project), and I can tell you that we're planning several thrilling features, which we plan to announce throughout the development cycle. At this time, the project is not able to accommodate requests for additional features, as the rapid pace of development has the project team tied up for the foreseeable future. 
The expected launch date of Freckle 1.0 is 3 April 2012. Stay tuned for updates! 
For those of you who don't speak geek, we're having a baby! We are very excited and nervous and excited and did I mention excited? This truly is an answer to prayer and we are so grateful that God has give us this opportunity and huge responsibility. Thank you all for being a part of our lives and sharing with us the kind of love that made us want to bring a baby into this world.

So, of course today's e-mail went like this:

I'm pleased to announce an update on the development of our much-anticipated project (Freckle 1.0). We've just gotten a peek at the alpha hardware revision, and have some new details to share.
The current hardware weighs in at a sprightly 11 ounces, but as new components are added to flesh out the functionality of Freckle 1.0, we expect that to rise toward industry standards, so stay tuned for updates!
One major question that came up during development meetings was what kind of antenna support to expect, and today we got to see for ourselves. The lead developer on the project (Mr. Yah Weh) felt it was best that we focus on growing a broad, so the antenna has been installed internally. Now that we have that information, we can start work on protective cases, color choices, and other accessory planning that should keep us busy for some time to come (including discussion around the final name for the product, which we'll announce at launch time).
Development is still occurring at a rapid pace, with this hardware revision still in a protective environment, so we still haven't had the chance for any hands-on testing - we don't anticipate availability of a complete model until just a few days prior to public release - but we're still tickled pink AND purple about the future.
Again, thank you all for your interest and support as we branch out into this new realm. We are truly blessed to have you all behind us, and couldn't ask for more love, advice, kindness, or generosity than we've received from each of you.

So there you have it. All signs point to girl. Of course, these things can be wrong, but thankfully I've got both girl & boy babies being born within weeks of this one, so I know we'll be able to sort things out no matter what! 
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