Friday, September 28, 2007

Countown commencing

NaBloPoMo is almost upon us. Committing to that means I will write a blog post every day in the month of November. Even if I have nothing interesting to say.

And I'm about to start training for a 5K.

If I commit those two things to writing, I have to follow through.

However, I think it would be way too easy to just turn my blog into a training journal, telling the internets exactly what I did for my workout. And that would be really boring, even to my trainer.

So I need your help, faithful readers. Please, in the comments or via email, please send in topics you'd like me to write about in November. I'll tell you upfront that I will not write about my sex life, past or present. Because the only person who needs to know already knows. And doesn't read my blog anyway. But pretty much anything else is open. So...get to it readers! Bring on the ideas!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Looking forward

I love the fall. The weather change, the changes in the garden, the changes in our schedule. All of that. Before I met Craig, I watched college football on Saturdays, sometimes missing dinner in our college's cafeteria if a game went into overtime. (Craig doesn't hate football but never has made a habit of watching it, and it wasn't a deeply ingrained habit for me, so it fell by the wayside.) And I love getting out the fall clothes and the warmer blankets. And the food? Fall gets me back into the kitchen with soups, casseroles, breads, and desserts like baked apples and poached pears. (I might even write another entry on Another Working Mom Cooks!) Once the temperatures drop into the 70's (or even 60's) my family loves to head a few miles north to hike some fairly easy trails, and we've enjoyed getting lost in corn mazes for the last few years.

The problem is, here in Memphis, the calendar says fall LONG before the weather agrees. A glance at the ten day forecast tells me that sweaters will not be necessary any time soon. And memory tells me that Halloween is more often a day to wear a tank top and shorts than a day to wear a coat. (However, I can still hold onto the memories of 1993 and 2002, when it was c-o-l-d on Halloween.) (It even snowed in 1993.) (Record low temperature.) (We still handed out all our candy.) (And had to buy more.) (Seven bags.) (Of good candy.)

I'm looking forward to THIS October for several reasons. My parents are coming the first weekend, with new furniture for my living room and bedroom. Even if they weren't bringing awesome presents, I'd be excited about their visit. We have a good time together (and football might even be watched).

The neighborhood book club is starting in October, too, along with the event of the season, the second annual Chili Smackdown. Our church's fundraising auction, too, is in October. Add Halloween to the mix, as well as this blog's first birthday (anniversary?) (blogiversary?) (Isn't paper the traditional gift for the first anniversary?) (Does that mean I should print out my blog?) (Don't answer that.)

So yeah, I guess the point of this post is to tell you that I really like October and am going to have a lot of fun this month. But this forecast? Can it please scale down about ten degrees? Then I'd be very happy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The kitteh is verah verah cute

I don't have mad photoshop skillz, so not much chance of any lolcats, but here is a smattering of cute kitty and kiddy photos. Because all of the above are, indeed, quite cute.

Introducing Roxi.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New addition

We got a kitteh we got a kitteh we got a kitteh!

Susie was spending all her time here and was becoming a zombie, so I figured procuring a live kitten might be a better idea. And my friend Julie had some sitting around her house (well, running more than sitting, but sometimes sitting). So we brought one of them home. The dogs sniffed and sniffed and she hissed and hissed and then totally got over it and rubbed all over the dogs. Then she hid. And I haven't seen her since 10:00 last night. Which is why I don't have a picture. She is apparently very shy.

Welcome to the family, Roxy. I hope you come out and play with us soon.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I Rock!

Or at least that's what my IRL friend says. Which is why I am the lucky recipient of this award.

The rules suggest that I am meant to pass on the love to other bloggers. Easy enough, right?

So I'm going to share some love with some local bloggers today.

At Home She Feels Like A Tourist is a great blog, written by a new resident of Memphis. Her viewpoint is so different from most people I know, because she's new here. Good stuff.

In a similar vein, A Field Guide to Urban Memphis provides good, thinky stuff for the locals.

Stacey writes two blogs...wonder if I can count that for two awards? She rocks in real life too, as she's a genuine Roller Derby girl.

Liz rocks. We met in person in Chicago but have been online drinking buddies for a while.

And my friend Melissa rocks, but she's a little worried right now. If you've got any wisdom for her upcoming situation, please send it her way.

See? Memphis rocks! And that's just the girls. And not even all of them.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday YouTube

I love those wacky Asian game shows. Enjoy!

Friday, September 21, 2007


I'm posting this a day early because I think the post I did earlier is painfully boring but I don't feel good about deleting it. So this should push it down the page.

It's my 300th entry, everyone! Which is really a little hard to imagine. Because if I put all my blog posts together now, they would be a book.

I already did the "100 Things About Me" post when I hit 100 posts. Can I possibly do a "300 Things" post? Would I just add 200 more things to the 100 things post? Would anyone read it? Can I even think of 300 things to put on a list? Maybe I could list 300 people I like. And maybe some of my readers would see themselves listed. Ew. That sounds horrible. 300 songs I like? I could do MP3 player is right next to me. No. I don't know.

Hey, I've got it. Since I'm currently keeping a food diary, which means I'm obsessively calorie counting, how about a list of 300 calorie things I'd like to eat. This list isn't likely to reach 300 items. Because that would really be gross. Keep in mind that for me, it takes 30 minutes on the elliptical to burn 300 calories. And I have been known to ask myself before eating something whether it's worth 30 minutes. And I often say no.

1. 60 grams of Cheez-Its.
2. A regular size candy bar
3. One Egg McMuffin (seriously!)
4. One grande size Latte from Starbuck's (whole milk)
5. Five Nutter Butter cookies
6. Two beers (heck, with the right beer, it might just be one)
7. 1 slice pepperoni pizza
8. HALF a SMALL chocolate malt from Dairy Queen (OH MY GOODNESS THAT'S SCARY)
9. Three ounces of brie
10. Three slices of French bread

That's quite enough, right? Feeling guilty, depressed? Because, seriously, I could easily consume all that in a day. And still be very, very hungry afterward. But I would have just consumed 3000 calories, about twice as many as I should for my weight and build.

Which is why I'm doing this food diary in the first place. I talked to another trainer from the gym yesterday (a woman), bemoaning the fact that I've been working out for two months and haven't lost a single pound. She immediatly suspected food was the problem. I consider myself to be a pretty reasonable eater...I don't gorge on sweets or junk food and hardly ever eat fast food. I do splurge here and there, especially at certain times of the month, but I usually "pay it back" at the gym.

But that list just made me think. Those "big ticket" items, like the ones I just listed, do squeak in. 60 grams of Cheez-Its is more than a serving, but how many people just eat one serving? Come on. Admit it. Most of us eat them out of the box and definitely aren't counting to 27 crackers then putting them away. I think I might be eating a few more (meaning 500 or so) calories per day than I've been thinking. And 500 calories a day is 3500 calories per week, which is a pound. Interesting.

I'm starting to see the lure of the new 100-calorie packs of snack foods.

Selling out

In an uncharacteristic move, instead of dragging my old furniture to the curb or calling Goodwill to pick it up, I listed a few pieces of furniture on the Corporation's employee bulletin board. I've used this bulletin board plenty myself, scoring a couch, a car, a dog crate, some video games, and a few other random items. (Should I mention that I've since sold the dog crate via the same bulletin board, and that the couch was one of the pieces of furniture I recently listed?)

But in the interest of the house projects, I have now sold our computer desk, the couch (it was an extra and crowded the guest room, but I'll miss is extremely comfortable), and a dresser.

The funny part is how stunned Craig is by the amount of cash I generated by these sales. He remembers our yard sales, which essentially were our version of the dollar store. We'd sell a dinette set for $10. An entertainment center for $5. But in the Corporation's employee bulletin board, prices are a bit more realistic. My three items, along with the random Arbonne products I was selling, raised about $250, and there's still another furniture item to be sold. Maybe more.

We also tried something else recently. We have loads of books in our house. Many we'll keep forever, but a few we really didn't need. We were already planning to go to the used bookstore that day, and I suggested we bring a few (seriously, a few, like ten) books with us to see if they would buy them.

The store credit we garnered from this transaction (they didn't take all the books, more like three-quarters of them) was sufficient to cover all the items we wanted to buy (a new book for Susie...To Kill a Mockingbird...pretty impressive, right?...three used books for Alex...Lemony Snicket...and a cookbook for me) and even get about $3 back.

True enough, this time of year, from late August to late September, is a financially tight time for our family (one of us is a contract employee with odd pay periods, with a few six-week breaks with no paychecks), but these kinds of things are reasonable. Not humiliating. Not difficult. Not even more effort than taking unwanted items to Goodwill. And they save us money. Which I can definitely find ways to spend.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Susie and Alex and the kids at their school are wearing black today.

Susie chose to watch the news this morning instead of the usual choice of Full House.

And I wish I didn't have such a busy day of appointments and meetings ahead of me. Last night I almost had myself talked into driving down there. And this morning I find myself wishing I'd planned that out in advance.

My heart is in Jena, Louisiana. And it appears that I'm in good company.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

If my life took a wrong turn...

I could easily end up here.

Thank goodness my husband found this clip to forewarn me.

On the verge

When pressed to explain why I love Memphis and refuse to entertain the notion of moving away, I have trouble putting it in words. Those of you who are demographically similar to me may remember what we heard about Seattle in the early 1990' it was this perfect place of coolness and innovation and we should all move there except that would probably ruin it, etc. Memphis has always felt to me like it could be that. It just hasn't gotten there yet. It feels "up and coming". And it's felt that way as long as I've been here (19 years, if anyone's counting) (shut up, I'm not old) (yeah, well you are too).

Maybe one day Memphis will realize her dreams. And I'll be vindicated. But honestly? I like that feeling, the feeling of "look what we can do with this!", the feeling of "this place has potential." Like a fixer-upper house...under the tacky wallpaper and bad carpet, there's beautiful plaster and gleaming hardwood floors. You just have to dig the crap off.

Our neighborhood, too, is on the brink. Not too long ago, it was a pretty scary place. Bleak. Poor. Crime- and rat-infested. Visionary development brought first the wrecking ball, then the construction crews, building new houses where old projects had slumped. And new neighbors, mostly middle-class, young, and white, filled those new houses. And while the houses are shiny and new and lovely, the neighborhood is still flawed. Poverty is still present. Crime is still present. (But I haven't seen any rats...) There's a tension between new homeowners those who live in the existing homes. One of my neighbors has gone into the community, attempting to forge relationships and create genuine change. After learning of a recent crime, a brick thrown through a window, his reaction came from a different place. I'd like to quote him, but his post on our neighborhood message board already got pushed to the archives because of the heavy traffic. But he likened the new settlement of our neighborhood to the early settlers, moving from the east to the west. Some, seeing the Rocky Mountains ahead, chose to stay behind in Nebraska. It was nice there, good soil. But others forged ahead, with visions of California's Elysian fields propelling them. You can guess my neighbor's choice.

He's building bridges the way he knows how. And stepping on a few toes along the way. His motives are good, and I agree with him.

Which is why I decided to start a book club. Yes, it's an Uptown Memphis book club, but you're welcome to read along with us. We're starting out with a book about community, Bowling Alone : The Collapse and Revival of American Community. We're discussing it the last week of October, just a few days before the SECOND annual Uptown Chili Smackdown.

I have a good feeling. Uptown is a fixer-upper, for sure, but those hardwood floors under the carpet? They're gorgeous.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My tribe

I've had parts of a post floating in my head for a few days. Generally I like to write in the morning as I drink my coffee. My mind seems more focused at that time. Sunday morning, I was in the car, driving to church, when I was drinking my coffee, and I've not yet mastered multitasking that well, so the words ran through my mind, sometimes like those LED signs that flash messages. I tried to hold onto the words, but many of them wouldn't stay.

But I was thinking about my tribe. No, I'm not Native American or anything like that. I'm thinking more about a phrase that went around a few years ago, a phrase I'm starting to hear again in a slightly different context.

Background for this is probably not needed. We all know that most people no longer live with or near their families of origin. Craig's family is a bit different in that respect, as his sisters and mother (as well as his step-father and his three daughters) all live within fifty (or so) miles of each other. He's the odd man out, not just by being the only male spawned by these people, but also by being the only one who moved away and stayed away, about 300 miles away.

And I, like my parents, moved to not just another city or state, but to an entirely different region of the U.S. They had done the same, with our homes varying in distance from their parents' homes. The shortest distance (120 miles) was also the shortest duration (12 months), and most of the time we lived about two days' drive away from my grandmother. I live 750 miles away from my parents, and my brother is between us.

So finding a new substitute family, a tribe, is not an unknown task for me or my family. I've floated a bit in different tribes at different times: La Leche League was my tribe for years, when the children were small and breastfeeding. My church community has created much of my current tribe. And my fledgling neighborhood is trying, in fits and starts, to become a tribe.

There is intentionality required in creating a tribe from scratch. In churches, we use the words "covenant group" or "chalice circle" or "small group ministry" instead of tribe. And the meaning is different. A covenant group, a group of 6-12 people that agree (covenants) to meet together for a specific amount of time (twice a month for a year is pretty typical), allows participants the opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper level than can be reached in casual church contact. Conversations at meetings may be directed by a leader or by the group, or may just be conversation. But connections are made and deepened. And sometimes, with the right chemistry and time, a tribe is formed.

My church tribe consists mostly of people within ten years of my age. That was intentional at the beginning. We started meeting together in 2004 (I was before we sold our other house). Years later, our group has seen its founder head to Chicago to attend seminary. Two babies have joined us, one by adoption and one by birth, and both were celebrated with baby showers hosted by our group but attended by much of the church community. Couples have broken up and new couples have come together. Wedding bells can be heard. Graduate degrees have been begun and (almost!) completed. Friendships have been honored and newcomers have been welcomed.

Interestingly enough, in addition to our seminary student, our group has nurtured leadership so well that two of us have been elected to the board (one as vice-president), two were asked to join the Futures committee (and one of them was asked to chair that committee), another member was tapped to join the Human Resources committee, and a former president joined our group the last time it was opened to new members.

Every fall, the small groups shake up a little. They open up to new members and participants who need a break can fall away. In speaking with the current leader of our group (by the way...if you're reading this and need a break, I can help you), it's clear that our group will change a lot this year. The new parents are busy and less available in the evenings. The people taking night classes are hard to schedule around. Things happen. And as we've added and subtracted members, we've seen shifts in interests. What worked for one combination of people may not work for another.

But it's fun to watch the group gel. It's fun to be part of that process and to learn and grow from what used to be a fairly random group of people, brought together solely by age group. Our group has become a vital part of our church community, a simmering pot of new leaders. We may spend less time discussing deep issues this year, but we'll still be doing important work. We'll be building our tribe.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

More YouTube

And Mom? Don't bother watching. It won't make sense to you.

What every girl should know

I spent part of Saturday morning imparting some wisdom to my daughter. I was in the mood for one of those "big talks", and she's at the right age for such talks, but she quickly informed me that the sexuality education she's taken at church has left her with no questions or concerns. Yay church, but boo! Because I kind of feel like I missed out on a good one.

So instead we did the monthly internet safety refresher. She already knows the rules and can recite them to me, but I still insist on talking about it every month.

But I realized that it wasn't enough to have that talk. I want to have these deep discussions with my daughter, to teach her the secrets of womanhood, at least as I understand it. Which means I need to figure out what those secrets are. So bear with me as I attempt to clarify my thoughts.

1. Every girl should have at least one gay guy friend. And more than one is even better. And if one of them manages a Victoria's Secret store, even better. (Free bras, ladies. Free bras.) (Yes, this is a shout-out. You know who you are.) And cultivating gay-dar is equally important, because there is genuine heartbreak to be experienced by girls who fall for gay guys (not my own experience, but I've seen some friends go through hell on that one). Plus, when she's at a convention in Vegas and 99.99% of the attendees are women but there's one gay guy who would make a great date for the rest of the conference, she'll find him easily. And she'll have more fun than anyone else. (That one is from experience.) (But I think I'll share all that advice a little later, like junior high or even maybe senior high. Fifth grade is a little young to start accumulating gays. Probably. Maybe I should ask around to see if that's too young.) Maybe I should just buy all the seasons of "Will and Grace" on DVD and watch them with her. That would drive the point home, right?

2. Every girl should have a great friend who "gets" her. (I think Susie has one already. She's lucky. And email and nationwide minutes make the distance from Memphis to Nashville not very long.)

3. Condition the ends, shampoo the roots. Unless your hair is curly like mine. Then condition all of it. And only shampoo when it's literally dirty.

4. Wear clothes that make you feel good. If you feel good, you probably look good. Or at least you look comfortable, which is almost the same thing. That being said, however, it's usually wise to overdress instead of underdress, especially if you aren't sure what to wear.

5. Be nice. There's little to be gained by catty behavior, even though girls seem to enjoy participating in it.

I'll add to this list periodically. And I'm taking suggestions for more items.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Am I Liberated?

A few weekends ago, while the children were playing and having a great time, I was cleaning out drawers in my bedroom. I was cleaning out closets. While the children were upstairs watching a movie, I was surfing the intarwebs, looking for ideas for new curtains. My husband called me out on it, telling me how single-minded I can be when I'm working on a project. And that the single-mindedness, especially when it relates to window treatments, makes me lousy company. (Oh, and yes, because you asked, I did find the solution to my window covering issues. I can't wait.)

Giving myself over to this domain, the traditionally-female sphere of house and home, is something that I do in cycles, complete with manias of embroidery, quilting, and knitting. I haven't identified the pattern or frequency (it's not seasonal), nor the stimulus, but something pushes me to obsess about the house every year or two. And obsess I do. It's a little comforting to know I'm not alone in this obsession (maybe it's explained by astrology? nope...just checked and my horoscope today pretty much tells me to get a life: You need to get outside and reconnect with nature in some way. Hiking or gardening would be perfect, but it can be anything that feels right and doesn't require hours of abstract analysis to complete.).

But why do I feel a little guilty about this? Why do I think that I should be doing something more "important"? Is it because I see something lesser, something trivial in "female" domesticity? Now we're back to my women's studies days, the days when I could write a ten-page research paper, complete with footnotes, in three hours, using words I honestly don't know anymore (yes, I found some of my old term papers in all that cleaning and, in reading them, honestly didn't understand them! Because I am apparently killing my brain cells at an amazing pace! Woot!). I can discuss essentialism. I can argue either side. And I can tell you that I always had an intellectual tension with de Beauvoir because her argument against essentialism seemed to me dismissive of the feminine. (See? I can still say smart stuff.) De Beauvoir's insistence that male "transcendence" is superior to female "immanence", in statements like, "The woman who is shut up in immanence endeavors to hold man in that prison also; thus that prison will be confused with the world, and woman will no longer suffer from being confined there: mother, wife, sweetheart are the jailers," just pissed me off in college, and I don't like it any better today. What if I, a "liberated" woman, choose to revel in my immanence? What if transcendence is of no interest to me? Am I imprisoned? I don't feel imprisoned.

What's wrong with the feminine, the immanent? I'll admit upfront that I've not kept up with feminist theory since college, so my reading list only includes titles pre-1992. I remember really, really disliking Camille Paglia when she first hit the scene, telling us that if women had been in charge, we would never have progressed, as a species, to the lofty heights of the Renaissance or Modernism or any of those other things I loved so much in my college days. I disagreed, my twenty-year-old self, secure in the thought that women's softness, our sweetness, our gentleness, was simply enculturation. Camille was saying that if women were in charge we'd still be in mud huts; I countered that if women were in charge, they'd be the same as men, just with different anatomy, and that the roles would simply have reversed, based on who's in power and who's not. (Which meant that I was also guilty of dismissing the feminine, in my certainty that it was no more than a "bad habit" that girls learned as they grew up.)

But I guess that having children and living a few more years in our world has had an effect on my feminism.

These days, I see clearly that girls and boys are not the same. They're sometimes as different as cats and gerbils. But sometimes they're more alike than different. And mothers and fathers are different in how they relate to their children. Women and men are different in the workplace.

I also see that the world of women, the domestic sphere, isn't so bad. We live there, after all. Providing my family with a comfortable, attractive home is a way I demonstrate my love for them. Sometimes it's even a way I express whatever artistic intentions I still have. (And, when people come over and ooh and aah about how pretty, cozy, or whatever other positive adjective they use to describe my house, it feeds my ego a little. And I'm okay with that.) Cooking, cleaning, raising children, changing diapers: it's all hard, honest work. I would never say it's only work to be done by women (fortunately, Craig and I agree on that one), but it's traditionally been in the sphere of women.

Is it unliberated for me to want to make our house a lovely home? Is it unliberated to want window treatments that do what I want them to do (open from the top AND the bottom)? I don't think so. I think it's part of being human, whether female or male. And if knitting and quilting and making dinner and moving furniture makes me happy, then who cares? And seriously, these window treatments are so cool! Let's liberate the windows!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I realized last week that maybe I haven't been entirely honest with you.

This was pointed out to me in this blog entry after meeting a fellow local blogger at a local coffee shop. My new friend said this:

(Sidebar here about Kaleigh:I expected her to be tall and imposing; I don't know why. She's actually petite and very sweet. "Sweet" is something that people from the South say a lot - "Oh, I love her! She's so SWEET!" I really don't say it often but I say it to describe Kaleigh because she truly is very sweet. She has this soft, sweet, almost child-like voice. It was really fun meeting her. Also? She's very smart and so grounded and we have very similar political persuasions.)

It's that last little bit, about the political persuasions, that I realize I've undershared. (But seriously, the voice part, ignore that. I have dreams of sounding like a cross between Demi Moore and Kathleen Turner, and apparently it's not happening. So yeah, it's probably more like Drew Barrymore than anything else. And any perception that I'm tall? Woot!)

People who know me, and have known me for a long time, know that I'm undeniably liberal. Because of some of the places I've worked, however, I've learned to tone that part down and not share too much of my political thinking. Plus, with the current administration being what it is, it's hard to talk much about politics without cursing or sounding smug.

Here's the deal. I'm in favor of gay marriage. I'm in favor of legal abortion. I'm in favor of good sex education and access to birth control, which should make those legal abortions quite uncommon. I'm in favor of a national healthcare plan. I oppose the war. (And, unlike some other awesome liberal people, some of whom I love and admire, I opposed it from September 12, 2001.) I favor legalizing marijuana, not just for medicinal purposes. (And no, Mom, that doesn't mean I smoke it. I don't. Because if I did, someone might take my kids away, and I like them. But I resent that, even though I probably wouldn't smoke it even if it were legal because it's much more expensive than the boxed wine.)

And the crazy liberalism even seeps into my family life. I don't spank my kids. I breastfed them for a lot longer than the national average. We used cloth diapers and one of my kids is a vegetarian. Plus, they both have fun hair. And they both actively dislike George Bush and oppose the war (which, no, I haven't forced those opinions on them; in fact, you'd be amazed at some of the things my children have said about global politics when they were quite small).

But I don't really write much about these things. Why? Am I afraid of alienating some readers? Come on! All two dozen of them? Given that most of the bloggers I've met in person are as liberal as or more liberal than I, that's not a concern.

No, the real reason I don't write much about politics or world events is that I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I'm pretty darn ignorant of such things these days. Since my commute is ten minutes on foot, I don't hear the hour of NPR news I used to hear every day. I rarely watch the evening news because I'm either not home or not in a room with a TV, and I don't listen to much radio at home because I'm usually busy with the kids. I don't read the paper. I'm sometimes awake to watch the Daily Show, my generation's preferred current events medium, but I'm just as often watching something else. (This is in stark contrast to myself years ago, by the way, when I was very much informed about current events and watched the entirety of the Iran-Contra hearings on television.)

So, there it is. I'm short, have a "sweet" voice, and I'm liberal. But it's really okay if you continue to imagine me taller and speaking more like Demi Moore. Because that's sort of how I imagine myself sometimes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Does this make me a bad mom?

In "mommyblogging" circles, it's common to read accounts of bad mothering, recounted in a witty, self-deprecating style. Some bloggers have even given themselves titles that reflect that self-deprecation.

I see this in real life, too. One of my friends and I share a joke about how neither of us adequately supervises our children. Like all good inside jokes, this one comes at the expense of a third party, a woman who has maybe a little more than her share of the crazy, who actually refused to allow her child to play at my friend's house because she thought that my friend didn't supervise her child enough. Which means my friend and I? Are horrible parents because we send our kids to each others' houses all the time, lack of supervision be damned.

And yesterday, when I sent her an email bemoaning the fact that I wouldn't be home after work because of a PTO meeting at school, she replied, "I've never been to a PTO meeting in my life. Does that make me a bad mother?" My witty retort: "Not by itself. But the whole inadequate supervision, well, you know what I mean."

She hasn't responded. Do you think I hurt her feelings?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Topical, a little

The last few days, Craig and I have been watching a documentary called "Shut Up and Sing," which is about the Dixie Chicks and the aftermath of lead singer Natalie Maines's 2003 comment about being embarrassed to be from the same state as George Bush.

I'm not a fan of country music, generally speaking. I first heard the Dixie Chicks a few years before this controversy came up, maybe in 2001 or 2002. And they didn't hurt my ears. In fact, their close harmonies and use of traditional instruments pleased my ears, as did their feminist sensibility and generally cool vibe (yes, that's a technical term only used by those of us with extensive musical training...don't even try to understand if you've taken less than ten years of music lessons).

But not hating, even kind of liking, their music did not make me a fan, either. I never bought a CD or made any effort to hear their music. I simply didn't complain when I heard it at other people's houses or on their car radios.

My reaction to the 2003 controversy was a hearty, "'Atta girl!" and little more. I continued to think the Dixie Chicks were just fine, didn't bother me any, and maybe they were a little cooler than I thought if they were going the opposite direction than many country artists (think of Toby Keith's jingoism that bangs you over the head). And sure, I imagined that they'd lose a few fans for a while.

Like I said, we've been watching this documentary in bits and pieces, and we've still got another chunk to watch, maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow. I'm riveted, at this point, and thinking that I may need to make a trip to the music store (and trust me, this would represent a huge change in my typical behavior) and purchase their entire catalog. Because these chicks are awesome.

And, just for the record, I, too, would be embarrassed to share a home state with George Bush, but the Dixie Chicks have given me a reason to think that maybe Texas isn't so bad after all.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What now?

I'm just coming off a busy few weeks, with a busy week coming up, but I see some blank spaces in my calendar in the not-too-distant future. Bringing that together with my to-do list makes for a perfect meld. That white space in the calendar shall not be spent on bon-bons on the chaise lounge. Especially because I don't have a chaise lounge.

No, I've got projects to do. Projects involving sewing machines and paintbrushes. We've lived in our house two years now, which is long enough for it to look "lived in." And, since we worked with a decorator to select our flooring and paint and all that other stuff, we're not quite ready to scrap the colors, so it's time to touch-up whatever the magic eraser can't fix.

But please understand that this is entirely at odds with every fiber of my being.

Because my name is Kaleigh and I'm addicted to redecorating.

The only thing (besides the potential for guilt at undoing the decorator's great work, and my love of her work, and my love of the compliments we hear all the time about our, that's a lot of things, really) standing in the way of me scrapping things and redecorating with all new colors is that amazingly tall (and unreachable) piece of wall over the stairs. When I look at the stairway walls and grumble about the handprints and how we should have chosen a different color or semi-gloss paint or something, I look up and say, "There's no way in hell I'll ever paint that."

So no redecorating because I'm easily daunted and don't handle guilt well. Oh, and because I really like things the way they are.

But, and not just to prove there is a reason for this post, because so far all I've said is that I'm going to touch up the paint and maybe do a little sewing and who the hell writes four paragraphs about that when a couple of bullet points would have done nicely, I do think there is something to this whole, "It's been two years and it's time to do something to change up the space." When I was a kid I rearranged my bedroom furniture every few months. In our old house I changed things around a lot, too, not just rearranging furniture but repainting, often doing new curtains as well, every two or three years. And I did fall deeply in love with a particular color combination right after we had committed to a different (and very beautiful) color scheme. And that color combination sometimes jumps in my head and gets stuck for a few days.

So yeah, it's time to look around the house and see how I can spruce it up without undoing what makes it work.

And maybe once I hit those spots with a paintbrush I'll get all this out of my system and vote for bon-bons instead. Even if I don't have that chaise lounge.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Learned something else

Given a choice between sitting in the air conditioning and drinking water or watching a live performance of High School Musical, complete with guest appearance by Corbin Bleu, my daughter chooses the a/c. And my son chooses the performance.

Go figure, right?

But! We were inside when Corbin walked through the room on his way onstage. And we totally saw him (or at least his hair). Yes, we were like 20 feet away from Corbin Bleu on Saturday.

But my kids both, without hesitation, still listed the demolition derby as their favorite part of the fair.

I'm guessing it has more to do with our latitude than anything else.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Learned something

During tonight's "Family Night" I learned something about myself and my children.

We're dorks.

Dorky dorks who find a great deal of amusement and joy in looking at calendars. Especially calendars with pictures of dogs.

I also learned that my DNA has been expressed in my children in ways far beyond their beautiful blue eyes, evidenced by the fact that they were so happy to be in the calendar section that they didn't need to go to the kids' section at all.

I'm a proud, proud mama tonight.


Without anything deserving of a paragraph, here's a collection of bullet points. Because you know you like them.

  • My daughter now needs daily showers.
  • My dog needs to act her age (she's five and acts like a puppy).
  • I'm not excited about all the touch-up painting that needs to be done at the house.
  • I met a local blogger yesterday which was cool. There might be more on that later, as the story unfolds. At this point, it was just coffee and conversation. A little like a blind date, except less pressure and you already know a lot about each other (unless our blogs are both big fat lies, which could be interesting, too....).
  • I hate the pedometer. With a passion. Because I can't get to that 10,000 step per day mark, even when I work out for an hour on the treadmill. And walk to work. And walk a lot at work. No wonder our nation is obese, if I can't get the recommended amount of exercise when I go out of my way to try. I'm never using that stupid pedometer again.
  • There's something really cute about a kid getting out of bed because they just realized that they forgot to do some homework. It's even cuter when they keep thanking the parent who helps them. And cuter still when the child demonstrates her mad index and glossary-using skillz.
  • Have I mentioned my kids' afterschool activities? Alex is taking guitar (second year for him) and hip hop dance. Susie is taking piano (third year) and cello (first year).

I love my life so much, even when I bitch about it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The weekend

A few images from our weekend. Enjoy the tale.


We were a little worried when the best feedback we could find about our motel was that it was clean and the owners were friendly. The view from our room was equally unnerving.

And the other direction? A view with sound effects at 3 a.m. Sweet!

But the room itself? Fine. Clean. A little like a sweet aunt's guest bedroom.

But the best part about the place was the wraparound porch. Our group occupied five of the inn's eight rooms, and we used the porch from the kids' bedtime until the wee hours. And since the rooms had screen doors, we could leave the kids in the rooms, sleeping, and feel not a bit like we were abandoning them.

But we didn't go to Branson to sit on a motel's porch. We went to have fun! And the kids sure did!

And in a stunning moment of irony

The hot librarian just gave me a prize.

Wait for it. It's awesome.

And because I'm so very surprised to have received this award, I'm going to have to wait a minute and maybe breathe into a paper bag before I can award it to anyone else. (Plus, hello! I read snark! Not nice!)

Okay, I'm feeling better, not quite so lightheaded. And maybe I'm ready to give some prizes.

First, I'd like to give this award to Sarah and Izzy because they were both so welcoming and nice to me at BlogHer. Nobody forced them to hang out with me but they did anyway, and that made me feel so happy and accepted.

I met Katherine at BlogHer for about 30 seconds, but I've been blogstalking her ever since, and I think it would be great fun to live in her house. Except I'd weigh about 30,000 pounds in a month because her cooking looks very delicious.

So there it spreading the love. Or whatever. Please don't start singing or holding hands. Please.


With little to say.

There are many pictures on my camera, but my camera and my computer haven't had a chance to talk to each other yet. And honestly, the pictures tell the story of our weekend far better than I do.

But hey! I did something nice for someone yesterday, and maybe it'll build up some good karma for me. Because that's the real reason I do anything nice, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I am hard and mean and not at all sweet, no matter what my mom says. Seriously, I've been talking so much smack about so many people that I figured I had to do something kind and life-affirming or I'd be going straight to hell. And I probably bought myself a little bargaining room yesterday. So thanks, Melissa, for the chance to do a good deed! Sorry about your tires, though (honest, I didn't do it!).

Oh, internet, you're lucky you don't have to live with me all the time. Because lately all I do is bitch about everything. I can't blame PMS, nor can I blame pregnancy or menopause or anything else. I'm just grumpy and most things fall somewhere on the spectrum between "annoying" and "must kill". Very little is on the "great" side. To the point where I'm intentionally not drinking this week just as a test. And because I can't afford the extra calories since I've been eating extra chocolate. I'd love to know what my problem is. Other than the obvious stuff. Because it's getting tiresome, being such a bitch. I used to be nice and I only slightly remember what that was like.

Sorry to whine and run, but that's all I've got.