Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Consumerist addiction

If I'm going to quit the whole consumer hamster wheel, it makes sense to examine the insane ways my money disappears from my wallet.

Let's examine.

Not too bad. Two filled compacts, one of Mary Kay products, one of Arbonne products. Total at this point: 9 eye shadows, 3 blushes.

Skin care. All Mary Kay. Daytime, nighttime, and exfoliant. I'm not horrified or embarassed yet.

Oops. Here's where we see something a little scary. 14 eyeshadows, 4 blushes, 3 eyeliners, 7 lipsticks/glosses, one foundation, one eyebrow wax. Yikes.

One bronzer, one powder, another foundation, a couple of concealers/highlighters, and another ten or so lipsticks. And a homemade lip balm in a tea container. Hey, at least I'm recycling!

Under the bathroom sink. Lots of products. Hair, body, face, etc.

And more products. 90% of them are lotions. Two hair conditioners, and some fantastic ducks!

Here it is. My shame. 14, yes FOURTEEN hair products. 7 of them are curl enhancers. Are they truly different from each other? Not really.
If I added up the cost of these products, even if I only added up what they're worth now (that they're half gone, 25% gone, etc.), I think I could feed my family for a month or more.

Do these products make me look or feel better? Do I use them

Honestly? No, no, and mostly, no. My hair responds best to a weekly shampoo, every-other-day conditioning, and a little massage oil. My skin prefers the soap I make out of chamomile flowers, sage, rosemary, lavender, and unscented Dove soap. I wear makeup MAYBE once a week (but I wore it daily when I worked outside the home).

Which means I obviously have a bit of a problem when it comes to acquisition of products. Part of my year of non-acquisition will be dedicated to not only not purchasing, but also using what I already have. It's clear that I have no business buying any kind of hair or skincare product for myself for quite a long time

I know I'm not alone here. What's your poison? Where do you spend money that doesn't make any kind of sense? What would make you change that pattern?

Friday, December 25, 2009

New adventures await

Merry Christmas!

We're celebrating the holiday with my husband's family, and all has gone very well. No drama, no strife. And everyone seems to like their gifts, which makes things even better.

My mother-in-law found a fantastic book for me, and I'm looking forward to embarking on a creative journey. The book's exercises are intended to last a month or a year, and I'm opting for the year option.

I will use this space to share my progress, and I'd love to have some of you join me. It's certainly a good time for me to embrace such a project. Definitely a good time.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Unemployed holidays

If you'd asked me a year ago, long-term unemployment was definitely not on my list of concerns for 2009. I felt very secure in my job and even was making plans to make myself qualified for further promotions.

And then life happened.

My kids have gotten fairly well adjusted about our family's decreased income, with fewer and fewer requests for new games, dinners out, anything that costs more than a little.

Which brings us to the holidays. Over the past few years, we've tried to reduce, to minimize the whole present thing. Part of it is economic, part of it is philosophical, part of it is just a desire to reduce in general. And part of it is the simple fact that tween kids don't need new toys. Their "play" consists of computer games, football, faceb00k, and video games. And with video games being so easy to rent, we hear fewer and fewer requests to purchase them.

So I have the strangest dilemma on my hands. My kids haven't asked for anything for Christmas, and I don't know what to get them!

Does that mean I don't get them anything?

And yes, I'll freely admit that this post was very much inspired by the book I read yesterday: No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process. It shook me up. A lot. No, I don't expect my family will go off the grid anytime soon, but even if we did a quarter of what his family did, we would be making some major changes.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NaBloPoMo is quickly approaching

November is the original National Blog Posting Month, and I definitely need to get back to writing. I'd already decided to revisit my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project from 2007, and I think maybe that daily blogging won't hurt.

So here's the thing. I'm all-in on this garden project right now (see this post if you don't know what I'm talking about). Is this way too boring? Or would it be cool for me to blog the garden?

I'll take requests, too. What do you want to know about me? I can't promise that I'll answer *any* question, but if the question is answerable and appropriate, I'll give it a go. You've got all month to ask, so hit the comments!


I'm getting pretty serious about gardening, so I've decided to chronicle my adventures in a new spot. Check it out if you're interested, and please pardon the dust. I haven't spent any time on the blog design just yet, but it'll get pretty in a few days.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This post is not about football

Yesterday, I attended a different church. It was a planned visit, not one I would have ever considered, but it was about football. See, my son plays on a team that is sponsored by a church (it's a religious rec league) in our neighborhood. And this past Sunday, the team was supposed to come to their service, in jerseys, to be recognized. We are not a family that eschews full participation, so the boy and I headed to a different church.

This church has almost nothing in common with our church. It's a non-denominational Christian church, nearly entirely African-American in membership, and, well, warm. I'm not saying we at Neshoba are cold, but we could definitely take a lesson in warmth from this church. No sooner had we entered the front door than we were greeted, and hugged, by three people (all strangers, by the way). We were early (as instructed by the coaches) so we had a few minutes to get our bearings. In those few minutes, we were given stickers (it was breast cancer awareness Sunday) and I was given a bracelet. And an order of service. And a monthly newsletter. And a newcomer's gift bag, including a reusable water bottle, peppermints, and some literature about the church.

The service? Was definitely not anything I'd ever experienced, but I must say, I truly enjoyed every moment. The congregation is small (I'd say maybe 60 people were there), but the energy level was infectious. The first half hour of the service was praise music, and the five singers (with microphones and backing track) were excellent, and their performances were quite emotionally moving. Although we were sitting in the second row, I turned around a few times and noticed more than a few people (not just women) wiping their eyes and sometimes outright sobbing. (My eyes did tear up more than once....but that happens at good Hallmark commercials, too, so I'm not a good barometer of emotion.)

The service moved on to a congregational reading from Psalms (this was projected from a Powerpoint presentation for those who didn't bring Bibles) and announcements. More music, and offering (which was collected differently from what I'm accustomed to...instead of the ushers passing the plate, congregants came forward with their envelopes). The pastor (whom I've known as one of my son's coaches) then delivered his message, which was fantastic. His primary scripture was the parable of the good Samaritan, which our Director of Religious Education covered beautifully in our story for all ages a few weeks ago, and he brought it to life, verse by verse. Another member of the congregation read the story from the Bible, and he interrupted (this must have been planned) to interpret to more current characterizations. The effect was strong, and the congregation definitely got where he was going. And yes, he might have gotten an "Amen" from me. Or two. Or three.

The prayer was quite moving. There was a full-on alter call, in which he invited those not yet devoted to Christ to dedicate their lives on the spot. But again, he surprised me, by going on to offer the opportunity for those who had found themselves fallen away to come back. I saw two of my son's teammates raise their hands at that point. Then he asked if anyone was in need of prayer. More hands came up. And those who had raised their hands at any point were then invited up front for prayer.

It was particularly touching to see my son's teammates standing together, hands clasped, with one of their coaches (in his uniform, too) with a hand on each shoulder, praying for them. But I was equally moved watching the pastor's face as he listened to each congregant's need for prayer. His compassion was obvious. His prayers were sincere. He prayed for healing, for peace, for wisdom. I saw relief on the faces of the people for whom he prayed.

Do I think he healed them? No, not literally. Do I think that HE thinks he healed them? No, not literally. This didn't seem to be that kind of church. His prayer (which I totally loved) for the sick was that their journey of healing begin at that moment. He didn't pray for healing. He prayed for a journey.

I just realized that I got ahead of the story. Before the sermon, we did something that I normally find very uncomfortable in church services. The hugging. The pastor explained that this church was a family, and we were going to have an "explosion of love" (and yes, that's how it was listed in the order of service). I got hugged about 20 times, mostly by women, but also by teenagers and men and kids. My son got a lot of compliments about his hair (he's rocking the mohawk these days) and lots of those hand-clasp/hugs that boys do these days from his teammates. But instead of feeling awkward or uncomfortable, I felt loved. I really did. I experienced genuine affection and caring from complete strangers.

There were other moments in the service that were great - the boys on the team being recognized, applauded (a standing ovation, actually), and prayed for - the first-time visitors being welcomed - more music. In all, the service lasted about two hours, but the time went quickly (and would have gone more quickly if I hadn't had chili on the stove for the annual chili cook-off in our neighborhood). And after the service, during the traditional refreshments and social time, we were welcomed even more, engaged in conversation, and made to feel like the congregation hoped we would return.

And there it is. I want to return. But I have my own church, a church I love, a church my kids love. It's the only church home they know.

But I also know that I am frustrated going to a suburban church. I live in the inner city. My concerns are much more in the inner city than in the suburbs. But most of the folks in our church are suburban. They don't face inner city problems or issues. And sometimes I have trouble reconciling these two realities.

My thinking right now is that I'll be an occasional visitor to this other church. Maybe on fifth Sundays. Maybe more often...once a month? Is that too much for an officer of the Board in another church? And I still have this issue of theology. I'm NOT a Christian (at least not with a capital C), and this church is very much Christian (maybe even in all-caps). I'm also not black, but I don't think this posed a problem at the church (and in a follow-up conversation with a neighbor who's been a member there for two years, it's quite the opposite...they would love to be more diverse). But the drive is sure a lot shorter. And I did like all the hugs.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Proust Meme

This meme comes courtesy of Slice of Pink.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Knowing that the way I live and the way I want to live are the same.

2. What is your greatest fear?
My children dying before me.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Lack of honesty.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Hmmmm. Lack of honesty.

5. Which living person do you most admire?
My mom.

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

7. What is your current state of mind?
Pretty positive.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Loyalty. It's rarely deserved.

9. On what occasion do you lie?
When it makes for a better story.

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
This changes daily. Sometimes it's a wardrobe issue, sometimes it's the acne scars. Sometimes it's all about lipstick.

11. Which living person do you most despise?
Woah, that's harsh. I'm not answering that.

12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
Strength of character.

13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Strength of character.

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I love my family. I can't pick favorites.

16. When and where were you happiest?
Pregnancy was a great time both times.

17. Which talent would you most like to have?
Perfect pitch.

18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My employment situation.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My kids. They're amazing. Such cool people. I sometimes envy them, because they're much better equipped for this world than I am, even now.

20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A monkey. It looks like fun.

21. Where would you most like to live?
Here. I like it here.

22. What is your most treasured possession?
I don't have one. Really. I love living things (kids, pets, etc.) but don't care too much about non-organics.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

24. What is your favorite occupation?
Anything that involves making people's lives better.

25. What is your most marked characteristic?

26. What do you most value in your friends?
The ability to be friends with me. I'm not so sure it's all that easy, despite what my husband says.

27. Who are your favorite writers?
Milan Kundera, Charlaine Harris, Nikos Kazanzakis.

28. Who is your hero of fiction?
Jesus Christ in "The Last Temptation of Christ"

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Wow. This is the hardest question in this meme. Joan of Arc is a good choice, although I never would touch her courage. I'll go with Lee Krasner. Look it up if you don't know who she is.

30. Who are your heroes in real life?
My parents, my husband, and Mr. Rogers.

31. What are your favorite names?
Emma, Roland, Darby, Marley, Grace, Eliza, Eudora, Sophie

32. What is it that you most dislike?

33. What is your greatest regret?
Having only two children. The two we have are fabulous. Who's to say we wouldn't have had an amazing tribe of four if we'd kept on?

34. How would you like to die?
Quickly. Hit by a bus sounds good.

35. What is your motto?
I don't have one, but the verse from Micah leads me a lot: seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your god. That's excellent advice, and if everyone heeded it, our world would be an amazingly just and good place.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I started having nightmares after I lost my job in April. I dreamed about returning to work and having ugly confrontations with various people. I dreamed about being at work but not wearing pants. I dreamed about running into former colleagues and screaming at them. It's safe to say I was a little angry about the situation.

One of my character flaws is that I hold grudges. For a long, long time. The boy in high school who broke my heart? I still think ugly thoughts about him. (Keep in mind that I've been with my husband for 21 years now...married almost 17 years.) The girl who made me miserable in fifth grade? Let's just say that when I heard that she had been checked into a mental institution in college, my first reaction was of delight.

I know it's not nice, and probably not very healthy, but that's part of who I am.

So, the nightmares. I was waking up, sweating, heart pounding, in the middle of almost every night. Sometimes I fell back asleep, but usually not. I spent many anxious pre-dawn hours in the living room, watching "Big Brother After Dark" or reading mysteries or playing spider solitaire.

And then, one Sunday, my friend Laura was the worship associate in church, which meant she led all the liturgy when we had a guest speaker for the sermon. I don't remember exactly what she said in her prayer, but something changed. Immediately, and, so far, permanently.

Like I said, I don't remember her words, but an image came into my mind as she spoke. An image of a stone in the water, being smoothed by the current. I imagined the jagged edges gradually wearing away, leaving a shiny surface. There is a bowl of river rocks in my bathroom, and I thought of those stones, so different from the various rocks I've dug from my garden soil this summer.

And I though of myself as one of those rough rocks, and how I could let the current smooth out my rough edges if I just let it.

A feeling of peace washed over me. Immediately. Deeply. Something had changed. I felt something unfamiliar: forgiveness. I was refreshed, calmed, different.

The nightmares stopped, mostly. I can't say that I've completely forgiven the wrongs I've experienced in my life, but I definitely am not dwelling on them like before. I'm sleeping better. And I look at those two collections of rocks - those rough rocks in the back yard, and the smooth river rocks in my bathroom - and know that that beautiful, shiny, smooth surface came from years of currents wearing away the jagged edges.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

So, you think you want to be a football mom

I know, I know. This is all I write about anymore. Fair enough. But trust me, this is such a paradigm shift in my household, it's worth further discussion.

So, if you're wondering what it means to be a football mom, here's a bit of information that might help you decide if you can take it.

1. Lots of laundry. Memphis has been through a bit of a rainy spell over the past few weeks (we've gotten about 8 inches of rain this month, so far, compared to a normal monthly total of under 4 inches), and rain means mud. Lots of mud. The team's practice pants are white. And practices/games take place four days a week. And the pants have laundry instructions: no bleach.

2. Even if you're as lucky as we are and your son's team practices in the park that you consider your front yard, you will still have to drive across town for games. And by across town, I might mean into the deep depths of the suburbs.

3. There is a lot of down time between the time your son needs to arrive for a game and the actual start time of that game. Bring a book. There's only so much casual conversation you'll be able to make.

4. If your child is the only white child on his team, you'll be sitting with a few people who might be labeled as "ghetto". Embrace it. Or find another team, which will mean much more driving to practices and games.

5. If your child plays in a faith-based league, get ready for lots of praying at practices and games. If you're the faith represented in the league, this shouldn't be difficult. If you're not, definitely have a conversation with your athlete about respecting other people's religious beliefs. And maybe try to teach said athlete the entire prayer from "Talladega Nights" in case he's ever chosen to lead the prayer.

6. Did I mention the laundry?

7. If your kid happens to be one of the biggest kids on the team, one night, he'll come home and tell you how he got to be the "tackling dummy" during practice. You'll need to remember your Lamaze breathing techniques at this point. Fortunately, he'll be in the shower by the time you realize the entire implications of what he just said.

8. Glasses? Not a problem. The helmet has completely protected his glasses. And his face. I only wish he'd had one of these when he was about 18-36 months old, and was the state champion for head wounds.

9. Watching your child make a game-changing tackle? Is just as great as you could imagine. Even if the team loses the game.

10. Hearing the sincerity in the coaches' and players' voices when they tell your child, "Good game"? Is maybe the best thing a parent could hear.

Yeah, I'll admit it. This theater geek? Loves being a football mom.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Posting like a pirate

The pirate translation of a post a few weeks ago...

Me son started fifth grade at a new sword fightin' academy 'tis month. He knew a couple 'o lads at th' sword fightin' academy, so th' transition was easier than it could have be. He be, however, me sensitive child. While I won't call him shy, I do acknowledge that he takes longer than his extra outgoin' sister to jump into social situations. Which be why I was stunned when, while watchin' th' elementary boys practicin' knife throwin' in th' park across from our ship, he told me he'd like to join that knife throwin' team. But I shouldn't really be surprised. 'tis be th' same jim laddie who decided to take hip-hop dance as his afterschool activity in third grade. So what if he was th' only jim laddie in th' tavern? So what if he was th' only white laddie in th' tavern? He wanted to dance, 'n he did! Perhaps th' knife throwin' be a way to fit in. Perhaps he's simply lookin' fer somethin' physical to do.

Thanks to Post Like A Pirate for the fun.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I think this makes me a real football mom.

Thank you, OxiClean, for getting his practice uniform clean. No, I wasn't paid to say it.

I suspect I'll get more opportunities to practice my mad laundry skillz, since this is the weather forecast for the week:

Monday, September 14, 2009


puts Baby in a corner.

Rest in peace, Patrick Swayze. Not only did I lose money on you, but I really, really liked you.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Baby's first rap show

Yesterday was day one of the Memphis Heritage and Music Festival, and we ventured over there twice. Early afternoon, the festival was just getting started, and we watched some Chinese martial artistry, a cooking demonstration, and genuinely enjoyed a DJ mixing some fantastic techno music. But the sun was high, and we were getting warmer than we wanted to be. Since swine flu daughter was still not 100%, we left, but the we planned to return for the headliners playing in the evening.

As the appointed hour approached, the girl was clearly going nowhere. She was tired and not very interested in live music. The boy, however, was still game, so he and I headed out, finding a decent parking space (not as good as our space earlier, but still not bad). We ran into an old friend of mine from college, who also had been one of the boy's preschool teachers, and she was planning to head over to the same stage we were, to see Al Kapone. He and I both like rap music, and the show was fantastic. Great energy, great band.

I will admit, though, that seeing this show with my son was strange. See, when I'm in the audience, I tend to move up to the front of the crowd, and I get a workout, because I like to dance. My boy, however, does not like to get in the front of anything, so we stayed off to the side, still close to the stage, but not as close as I would have liked.

He and I also have different opinions about volume. At a show like this, I am in the "turn it up to eleven" school of thought. But my sweet boy turns the volume down whenever he can.

All this added up to an early departure, before the set was done. The boy claimed tiredness, but I think he was a bit overwhelmed by the noise and the crowd. Turns out he made a very good decision, though, because we saw lightning as we drove home, and a big thunderstorm began a few minutes later. Since we didn't have an umbrella, our parking space would have been horrible if we'd left later.

As it was, we had a great time, and I think Al Kapone has a new lifelong fan. We might have to go back today....

*****I am well aware that I have completely failed at my September NaBloPoMo effort. I'm not being graded, at least not as far as I know, so I'm okay with it. It's hard to blog when swine flu girl totally hogs the computer to play Sims. Just saying.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

NaBlo less of a fail

Seriously, there is almost certainly H1N1 going on at my house. My daughter's teachers kids have it. My son's BFF from preschool's family has it. And I'm pretty darn sure my daughter has it. And my husband. And maybe me.

But September's NaBloPoMo topic is "Beautiful" and there's nothing beautiful about swine flu. So instead, I'll tell you a story.

Tuesday, I was at the post office. I go to the post office a lot, because I'm selling lots of eBay stuff. But there was this guy in line. He was probably about 20 (if you're keeping score, that's about half my age) and completely beautiful. One of the prettiest boys I've seen in a long time.

And then he answered his cell phone. That mini-crush I had going on? Was completely gone.

See, here's the thing. I value manners. Which is why I live in the South. And this beautiful boy? Needed a visit with Emily Post, stat. He discussed his finances, his academic issues, his finances, his rent money, his career dreams, and more, all in line at the post office, surrounded by people. As his conversation progressed, I caught more and more people commenting to each other on the ridiculousness of the conversation. Seriously, once he was gone, people started talking to each other about how annoying he was.

So, as my grandfather would say, "Pretty is as pretty does." Please, please, please, if you must speak on your cell phone in public, keep it short and vague. The rest of us really don't want to know about your rent money or career aspirations. If we did, we would ask.


I blame swine flu.

More postiness coming.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

September day 1

With the option of participating in National Blog Posting Month any month, I've chosen September. The theme is "Beautiful," which should help me keep a positive attitude. It's a little hard to be cheerful when I just spent the better part of an hour writing an article for, only to click a button and delete the whole thing, thereby forcing myself to rewrite the whole darn thing. Hopefully the unintended rewrite was a good thing.

So, what's beautiful? Last night, it was football practice. My son, who has no prior football experience, is one of the bigger boys on the team, and was assigned to be a defense tackle. Despite that nagging maternal fear, what I saw yesterday evening was truly beautiful. My son was double-teamed, and he kept the other guys back. He didn't cede even a yard. Seeing this slender, gentle, quiet boy being physically tough was stunning to me. His goofy grin as he loped across the street from the park to the house was mirrored by my own. He enthused, "That was the best practice ever!" as we hustled him off to the shower and encouraged him to eat his dinner before bedtime.

Watching him grow into this new person is breathtaking.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"We've become normal!"

It's funny how we all perceive things differently. This afternoon, we attended a picnic for the kick-off of the scouting year. Yes, the boy is joining Cub Scouts. This was not an easy decision, since we're Unitarian Universalists, and the UUs and the BSA have not been on exactly good terms for over a decade. Despite our ideological differences with the organization, however, we have found that a local pack has very sane and open minded leaders, so we're willing to give them a try.

On the way home, the girl was exclaiming about how normal our family has become. With a boy in football and Boy Scouts, a girl in Girl Scouts and piano lessons, a mom who's a writer and a singer, and a dad who teaches college, we certainly seem pretty conventional, at least on paper. I like to think, however, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and I would almost never characterize our family as normal, despite how conventional we may seem.

As diehard urban pioneers, we have certainly chosen an "abnormal" neighborhood for our family. This has created some frustration lately, as many of the girl's friends live in the (in my opinion) far more "conventional" suburbs, and her interests have increasingly become more suburban (the mall being the coveted destination).

Our choice to be a one-car family is further evidence of our deviation from the typical American family. Sometimes having just one motorized vehicle creates stress, or just inconvenience, but most of the time it doesn't really make much difference. At worst, it forces us to be creative. For instance, on Saturday morning, three of us had to be in three different places at almost the same time. The husband had the greatest distance to travel, and he was going to work, so he got the car. The boy had football and had to be at the designated site at 9 a.m. We chose this team because it's so close to the house, so he and I walked there. I had to be at a singing rehearsal at 9:30, and it wasn't terribly far from the house (about 2 miles), so I rode my bike. Everyone got where they had to be at the right time, and we all got home about the same time, too.

I'm definitely willing to say that, at least on the outside, our family is much more conventional than we were when the kids were little and we were cloth-diapering, co-sleeping, extended-breastfeeding attachment parents. We didn't choose homeschooling, which took us out of the more radical fringe of parents of school-aged parents. Our kids are, at least this month, interested in fairly gender- and age-appropriate activities, which definitely exposes us more to the mainstream families.

But we're still pretty far from the mainstream. I've got a pink stripe in my hair that says so.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


My son started fifth grade at a new school this month. He knew a couple of kids at the school, so the transition was easier than it could have been. He is, however, my sensitive child. While I won't call him shy, I do acknowledge that he takes longer than his very outgoing sister to jump into social situations.

Which is why I was stunned when, while watching the elementary boys practicing football in the park across from our house, he told me he'd like to join that football team.

But I shouldn't really be surprised. This is the same boy who decided to take hip-hop dance as his afterschool activity in third grade. So what if he was the only boy in the class? So what if he was the only white kid in the class? He wanted to dance, and he did!

Perhaps the football is a way to fit in. Perhaps he's simply looking for something physical to do.


I colored my hair a lot this summer. I used temporary pink for streaks. I did highlights. I bleached the whole thing as pale as it would go, then switched to medium brown. (Yes, I know I'm lucky that I still have any hair at this point.) I bought "new to me" clothes at Goodwill, since staying home does not require the same wardrobe choices as did working at the hospital.

I also started choosing books at the library based on nothing but titles that seemed interesting. As a result, I've read everything written by a few novelists (I tend to get obsessive once I find an author I like, especially mystery writers) and learned a lot about herb gardening. I learned that butter and coffee were much more expensive in Memphis during the Civil War than they are now (and that's not even changing the value of dollars throughout the years).

I've settled into a routine of sorts, since the kids started school. I get up early to get them to school, then bring my coffee to the computer and apply for jobs, read my feed reader, then write. With my new job writing at, I try to find out if anything new is going on downtown, or if I need to revise and publish one of my drafts. Once I'm done with that, I do housework, maybe start dinner, depending on what we're having, then read or run errands. We're selling some stuff on eBay, so the post office is a frequent stop, as is the library, and, of course, the grocery store. Then pick up the kids, homework, dinner, and whatever activities are planned for the evening (football, music, etc.)

Maybe one of the things that was missing from my former job was a routine. Every day was an exercise in crisis management - who had called out sick? who was in the weeds? where was the drama? what food would not be at the correct temperature when it was time to serve it? - and I function much better with a routine. Having learned that about myself, I can make better decisions about which jobs to take, or even which promotions to decline.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wow. Just wow.

I have no words. It's not a joke.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


I want one of these MADSEN Cargo Bikes a lot.

We're looking at replacing our well-loved and well-worn minivan soon, and the replacement vehicle will be smaller and more efficient. I was thinking about the new car yesterday, when Craig and I were running errands in the minivan. A Smartcar drove by, and I was a little envious, because it would have been just right for what we were doing (returning library books, picking up a bag of sand and a few plants). A few minutes later, a person on a Vespa also caught my eye, because other than the sand, all our items would have fit in a scooter's cargo area, too.

But the cargo bike? Genius. Especially for those of us who love to bike to the farmers' market but then buy too much and have smushed produce from overpacking the backpack.

So click that there link up top and let's all try to win me a bike, okay?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Doggone weeds!

That adorable dog you see above this post came to us with a hidden talent. I don't know if he was trained to do this or not, but he's an uncanny gardener's assistant. I awoke early today and discovered that it was cooler than usual, so I decided to spend some quality time outside, first watering and weeding in our Uptown Community Garden (and only was divebombed twice by the aggressive birds), then weeding my fallow garden.

Despite every dog training authority's advice, I let our dachshund, Klaus, join me in the garden. He's an energetic guy, and he loves to be in the sunshine. I'd also seen his gardening streak once or twice before, so I thought he might be helpful.

Understatement of the year. We had an old cabbage plant that was well past its prime, so I was breaking it down and deciding whether to remove the roots or let it regrow. Klaus found the thick stem I was working on and set about destroying it, systematically, then chewing up the six-inch stem and spitting it out. Compost, anyone?

He's most effective, however, in clearing sections of the garden. If I start pulling out grass or clover, he essentially pushes me out of the way and gets to work. He digs and digs, and, as he finds roots or vines, pulls those with his teeth. It's really remarkable to watch, because he's very focused on the task and does not generalize it to digging the entire yard.

Poor guy, though, he got plenty of dust in his nose, and now he's sitting next to me, sneezing. And falling asleep. Gardening is hard work, after all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

From under my rock

Absentee blogger here. I feel like a deadbeat dad, except I do take care of my kids and I'm female.

Despite my long absence from the world of blogging, I'll skip the update part, because there isn't much to tell. I went to work, I came home, I hung out with the family, I slept, lather, rinse, repeat. Nothing greatly amazing or exciting or even amusing has happened since I last regaled the internet with meme after meme after meme.

Small things that did happen:

My mom joined Facebook.
So did my kids.
My daughter got a cool haircut.
We changed the dog's name to just Klaus.
I gave one of my employees a nickname.
None of my favorite patients died.
One of them grew hair and I didn't recognize her at first, which was funny.
I got to give a kid a bike and have pictures taken.
Our neighborhood started a community garden.
Rock Band: World Tour is the most fun game I've ever played.
My Wii Fit age is several years younger than my actual age.
I cut the grass with a lawnmower for the first time.
I coordinated the remodeling of my parents' new house.
I lost a few pounds.

And that's what's happened here.

There were a few other things, but they don't really bear discussion, or I'm not ready to discuss them, or whatever. We'll leave it at this: I had a rough patch and it's better now. The first quarter of 2009 kicked my ass. But I'm planning to kick the rest of 2009's ass even harder. Because that's how I roll.

So, I'm back. At least for tonight.