Friday, March 28, 2008

Day off

Since I worked this weekend, I was off today.

My dad left at lunchtime today to return home; he'd been here since Saturday afternoon, having driven here with the kids to return them to us, as well as to assemble the headboard he'd built for us.

After enjoying breakfast and a trip to the river (yes, it's high, but no, I don't think my neighborhood, or any other neighborhood nearby, will be flooded), my dad left in his car.

I spent much of the next few hours cleaning up my bedroom. The new headboard includes bookshelves, so I shelved books (books, I might add, that have been sitting in my room in boxes for many months) and straightened up and changed sheets and dusted and vacuumed. And then, yes, I basked in the cleanness of the room.

This headboard is pretty awesome. I designed it months ago for my dad to build (he's cool like that), and the finished product is actually more impressive than I expected. And the assembly is great in that it easily comes apart into the two bookshelf units (which are a foot deep and a foot wide and six feet tall, quite easily transported via Prius), the fabric-covered board and the top board, which are (obviously) flat. So it can move without being a monster to move.

Oh, and yes, it has built-in lights. Because that's how I roll.

And yes, I know it would be totally mean to tell you how awesome it is and not to post pictures, so here you go. Please to enjoy.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Stress code blue

My blog is actually a good barometer of my life. The frequency of posts is conversely related to the level of activity in my life.

Take this week, for example. I worked the weekend (which means a 4:00 a.m. wake up), my dad arrived (with my kids) at the house on Saturday afternoon, I've got the church pledge drive kick-off party on Saturday, and I'm interviewing new staff for my new store. There are some other, non-bloggable, bits of work upheaval that are generating a lot of stress.

And then last night, a little more drama entered my life in the form of a very unexpected phone call from a friend who let me know that he has entered a residential treatment program for mental health issues. That's his story, not mine, but it definitely impacted my night.

Later that evening, Craig and I were watching "Top Chef" which made me hungry, so I grabbed a box of crack Cheez-its and was happily munching away when I felt, and heard, the unmistakable sound of stress incarnate.

My jaw.

The TMJ, it has returned.

I did what I could to minimize it, and I'm hoping it works. I took a muscle relaxer and wore my delightful appliance to bed.

When I awoke, it didn't hurt, not exactly, but it definitely felt wrong. The last time this happened, I couldn't eat for two weeks. And while the thought of the easy weight loss that would bring is tempting, it's really the last thing I need right now. Must keep my energy up to get through the next few weeks.

More Ovaltine please?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

So I'm told

April's National Blog Posting Month prompt is "Letters". A quick paste of the email notification I received...

Just a quick note to tell you that the daily blogging
theme for April is going to be LETTERS.

For writers, this can mean letters to the editor, love letters,
fan letters, ransom notes -- I'm not encouraging illegal activity,
but the list is endless.

For typography lovers, it's a month full of fonts!

For photographers, it's license to go out and shoot things
both manmade and natural that resemble
a member of our beloved alphabet.

And as always, if you'd like to be on the
April blogroll of participants, go to,
click on the Blogrolls tab, and follow the instructions.

It's not April yet, but I'm thinking of the letters I can write. Thank-you notes, apologies, hmmmm.

So, if you were going to write a letter every day, which one would you write first? Would you thank your parents? Would you tell off that mean kid who made you miserable in the fifth grade? Would you write a love letter to your child?

Share in the comments...I'm interested, and I also need ideas!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Facing facts

Turns out that I have unreasonably low expectations for my son, at least when it comes to his packing skills. He packed a perfectly sane assortment of clothing for the trip, and all I did was merge the contents of two half-empty suitcases into one suitcase. I didn't add or subtract or substitute any of the contents. Yay, son!

Turns out my daughter is probably ready to move out and have kids of her own. Well, not quite, but close. See, on our long road trip to Michigan, we hit a bit of turbulence in the form of my son and a stomach virus. As I later told my mother, if the kids had been five years younger and this had happened, I would've been toast! Instead, after vomit #2 (but #1 in the car), I pulled across three lanes of traffic in Nashville's suburbs, pulled into a Walgreen's parking lot, fished out some cash from my wallet, and sent my daughter inside to buy paper towels and baby wipes. And she did it! No argument, no nervousness about going alone inside a store in a strange city. Just grace and aplomb. Even better, she returned, gave me the change, and informed me that she'd made the executive decision to buy the small package of wipes because she figured I didn't want a case of 500. She was, perhaps, a bit less willing to assist me in cleaning up the mess, but she did score points for being very sweet and solicitous of her miserable brother.

Turns out my son is nearly 5' tall and my daughter is already 5'1 1/2". That makes her only two inches shorter than me. She's TEN!

Turns out that when Craig and I have the house to ourselves, we pretty much behave the same way we do when the kids are around.

Turns out getting up at 4 a.m. to work on a Saturday (and it'll happen again on Sunday) is just as hard as one would expect.

Turns out that I'm really, really glad my kids (and my dad) are getting home today. Even though it's only been since Wednesday morning since I saw them, I miss them.

Turns out I like my new haircut (and will post a picture soon).

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

Instead of the typical "drink enough green beer to think you are actually IN Ireland" approach to St. Pat's, my family did something truly unique today.

We participated in (or at least witnessed) the creation of a new world record.

And even updated a Wikipedia entry.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hold on loosely

So I had the kids go upstairs early last night, mainly because I really needed to get some things done, but also because I wanted them to get started on packing for our trip. I didn't tell them to pack, just to get their things ready to pack.

And Alex got ambitious, apparently. Because he called down the stairs that he already had one suitcase entirely packed and was working on his second. And he finished the second, too.

Alex is a well-intentioned boy, but he is just eight.

Any bets as to the contents of these suitcases? Keep in mind they'll be gone a week, need swimwear, and will be in Michigan.

My money is on the following:
Eight shirts
Two pair pants, both sweats
Ten pair underwear
No socks
One swimsuit
Pajama pants
No toothbrush
No toothpaste
Mini-size shampoo

I can't wait to see how close I am.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Things I need to do this week:

  • Catch up on sleep because the time change is still making me insane.
  • Write a letter to everyone in my church's congregation that will inspire them to make generous, timely pledges.
  • Plan the kickoff party for our annual pledge drive.
  • Pack for the trip to Michigan I'm taking with the kids on Saturday.
  • Pick up the rental car for that trip.
  • Design printed material for the pledge drive.
  • Evaluate my employees' progress on their improvement plans.
  • Create and submit my inventory order for next week (since I'll be on vacation when it's due).
  • Generate weekly sales reports (see above).

Things I've done this week:
  • Not gotten enough sleep.
  • Disciplined an employee.
  • Completed espresso training (wow! much caffeine makes me really jumpy!)
  • Attended church board meeting.
  • Finished watching the first season of C.S.I.
  • Monthly financial reports at work.
  • Watched snow melt.
  • Looked at the progress of my new store's construction and had a panic attack.
  • Helped my son create a costume for his class's chess party (he chose to be a pawn).
  • Coded and balanced my department's monthly invoice (which is so much more work than that sentence can express).
  • Gave a big box of fabric to someone who will actually use it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Secret

The characters: Craig and I

The setting: Saturday night, in the rare situation of the children being at a sleepover. We've run some errands, eaten dinner, and are heading to the video store.

Him: We should go to the other video store, because I'm in the mood to watch weird videos, not really a movie.

Me: But I really don't like that video store, and we're already in the parking lot of the other one.

Him: Whatever. You sure you even want to rent videos?

Me: (thinks of renting all seasons of CSI so I can watch them in order) Yeah.

Him: Let's see what we can find.

We enter the video store and start with new releases...and keep going, and going, not finding anything, until...

Him: Hey, it's the DVD of The Secret! Woot!

Me: Isn't that the book about magic? That Oprah likes?

Him: (sarcastically) Duh! Yeah! This'll be hilarious!

Me: ... ?

Him: You can get season one of CSI over there.

We check out, amused by our bizarre combination of rentals which Craig determines makes us "Yuppies."

Scene 2: A little later, with wine and The Secret playing

Him: Where's the wacky sketches? I want something silly to happen.

Me: The opening menu reminds me of Harry Potter a little.

Him: Isn't that guy the brother of a sportscaster?

Me: Probably. And what kind of job is "metaphysician" anyway?

Him: That's the guy who wrote that book about men being from Mars. Hey, didn't we watch that show with him on PBS? When he pretty much castrated all of mankind?

Me: That's the one. Oh, that guy is a "philosopher". Isn't that a nice way of saying "unemployed"?

Him: Huh. This isn't as funny as I thought.

We watch the video in silence for a few minutes, learning all about the Law of Attraction.

In a few minutes, on my second glass of wine...

Me: Okay. I get it. If I sit here and think about how I want a ba-billion dollars, I'll get it.

Him: Seems right to me.

Me: Hey Universe! I want a ba-billion dollars!!


Him: One problem. There's no such number as a ba-billion. You're just confusing the Universe.

Me: Okay, Universe. You probably can't handle that request. I guess I'll settle for a trillion. By next week, okay?

Him: Better.

We pause to reflect on that

Him: Hey, what would we even do with a trillion dollars?

Me: I'm sure we'd sort it out.

Him: You'd get mad at my answer.

Me: What? Strip clubs? Hookers?

Him: No! Ew! No, I think I'd walk around in bad neighborhoods and give people some serious money. Not like $20 or even $100.

Me: Like $20,000?

Him: Yeah. That would be cool.

Me: Yeah, it would. But also money would go to church. They could name a building after us. The ba-billion building.

Him: I wouldn't want to move to a really big house.

Me: Just say no to Mc-Mansions.

Him: And I don't really care about cars.

Me: I'd buy new cars. But nothing fancy, I promise. We'll be the humblest ba-billionaires ever.

Him: Trillionaires.

Me: Whatever. Let's watch CSI.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

More lists

I've examined, a little, what I accomplished by age 30. I'm more than halfway through my 30s now, so it's reasonable to look at what's happened and what I'd like to see happen before the big 4-0.

My 29th birthday went down in my memory as the worst birthday ever. My head was in a bad place. I had two toddlers, was working part-time as a bank teller, was trying (and failing) to run a small business at home, and money was scarce. I'd had a list in mind of things I'd do and a standard of living I'd attain by my 30th birthday, and it was looking like I'd fall way short of my goal. I recall many tears that day.

By my next birthday, however, I'd reached a better place. I had a better job, finances were getting back to where they needed to be, and I had a wonderful little group of friends who helped me celebrate the end of my 20's in full Logan's Run regalia.

I don't remember making any lists at that point of things I wanted to do before I turned 40, but there is always a bit of a mental list.

At 30, I hoped by 40, life would look like this:

Full-time job with a salary higher than I'd earned at my best-paying job
Renovate our house
Buy a new car
Kids doing well in school
Maintain close friendships
Become more active at church

And, halfway there, I'm pleased to report that I've accomplished all but one of those goals (well, we didn't exactly renovate the old house; we bought a new one, but I think that's close enough). We still haven't bought a new car. We've purchased (and sold) several used cars. I know our beloved minivan is nearing the end of its usefulness (151,000 miles and climbing), but I'm still reluctant to take on a car payment. But I have a feeling that we'll accomplish that goal before I turn 40. Even if I don't want to. I drive very little - just on weekends, really - but Craig spends a lot of time driving. And the aging minivan may not be able to keep up much more.

There are a few more things to add to the list. See, those close friendships? While they are still very healthy and happy relationships, there is a geographic issue that didn't exist in 2001. I'd love to be able to say, by age 40, that I have close friends who are local. I have several "good" local friends, but those relationships haven't deepened to the BFF point like the New York and Montana contingent. Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. Many people never meet their soul sisters. And I have. I just wish I could have one more that lived nearby. And if she had kids that were compatible with my kids, even better.

A more recent goal that's come up is church-related. When I wanted to get more involved, I didn't necessarily mean that I wanted to take on a leadership role. At 30, I was still a bit gun-shy about high-profile church positions. After all, I'd worked at another church and was still licking my wounds from how things had turned out. But now, nine years after that part of my life, I feel a new passion about my own lay ministry. And I've taken on several roles of increasing responsibility at our church, from chairing the Religious Education committee to chairing the Search committee for our new Director of Religious Education, to serving on the Board. Most recently (and currently) I'm chairing our congregation's annual pledge drive, and a few weeks ago I was asked to step into the Vice Presidency, as the current vice president has opted to bow out since she's about to have a baby.

While the Vice President isn't necessarily a shoe-in to become President, that's the typical pattern. Since I'll be serving the remainder of the current Vice President's term, that means I likely will become our congregation's President next summer. This will be historic for our congregation: I'd be the youngest person to serve in that position in our history.

Oh, and just because I am shallow, I'd like to end my 30's at the same weight I started. That means I have a little work to do, but not too much. I think it's attainable.

And if it's not, I'm guessing that I'll have a good sense of humor about it by then. What with the perspective of age, right?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Keeping the dust bunnies at bay

Okay. I wrote another post and saved it because it wasn't done, but I just re-read it and fell asleep just from the second paragraph. I've decided to spare you the unplanned nap.

And because I am completely lacking in creativity, especially when it comes to blog entry topics, I've decided to borrow from a few different people and make some lists.

Back in December, when it was time to make resolutions (or whatever), I made a list of 8 things for 2008. Which I'm pretty much failing. Dismally. I still have 10 more months to get my act together, and maybe I will. But, hey, maybe it's the process of making the list that is more important. Or interesting?

Anyway, yeah. I'm going to make lists for a while. If nothing else, they might give me some good ideas for future posts. Or maybe you readers can help a sistah out and leave some topic suggestions in the comments? Perhaps?

So here we go: a series of lists comparing my 20-year-old self and my 30-year-old self.

Things that, at age 20, I thought I wanted to do before I turned 30, but weren't a big deal by the time I turned 30.

  1. Be a painter that sells paintings. (Truth be told, I actually accomplished this in college...I sold a series of three paintings for about $30.)
  2. Get a Master's degree. (I got close and never finished. And recently decided that I'm totally okay with that.)
  3. Own a new car.
  4. Have a glamorous career (related, but not the same, to the painter thing).
  5. Join the Junior League (again, full disclosure, I had a chance but I was in my early 20's at the time, and I didn't want to join quite that early, and by the time I was 30, I was running in a totally different social circle).
  6. Live in a warehouse/loft downtown.

And, the corollary list: things I accomplished by 30 that I would never have guessed (at age 20) would have mattered to me (or happened at all).

  1. Owned a house in midtown Memphis.
  2. Bought a used Ford Escort station wagon (the first car I bought on my own).
  3. Had two kids (I mostly wanted kids, eventually, when I was 20, but I didn't think I'd have them as young as I did).
  4. Taught school in Mississippi.
  5. Became a vegetarian and then un-became a vegetarian.
  6. Got a dog.
  7. Worked at a church.
  8. Started a business.

And then the list of things I set out, at age 20, to accomplish by 30, and accomplished:

  1. Got married.
  2. Adopted cats.
  3. Worked at an art museum (two, actually).
  4. Took some fun trips with my husband.
  5. Worked toward a Master's degree.
  6. Volunteered at the Humane Society.