Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christmas Quiz

If you read this, tag! You're next.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Not big on the egg nog; a drink with raw eggs? Ick. Hot chocolate it is, with peppermint schnapps.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?
Both, but big ones are never wrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I like white on the tree in the living room, red on the other tree (it's ancient but we put it up anyway), and colored on the little tree in the playroom. We're still debating on the exterior color; I'm voting for red or white.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No, but I'm not against it. My college roommate and I made sure to have it handy.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
First or second weekend in December. Maybe this Saturday.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Cranberry chutney, and we always have fondue.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
For years and years we drove back to Nebraska to visit my grandparents. I remember looking out their living room windows and seeing the decorations hung on the utility poles. I also loved unpacking the ornaments every year, remembering where each came from, who made the one with the backwards felt N, the unbreakable red and white beach ball ornaments purchased when we were very young to hang at the bottom of the tree.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
My older brother told me (meanie). I ran crying to my dad, asking if it was true. He asked, Do you believe in Santa? Of course I said yes.Then a year or two later I found my bicycle hidden in the shed. That pretty much wrapped up any lingering doubts.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Never have.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
With all three of the girls here with us. Last year the husband was traveling, so we did it and took pictures. The girls act just like I did, reminiscing about each and every ornament, like the little wooden snowman with two tiny blobs of glitter on it, made by 2-year-old Maddie.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
It's pretty on Christmas, but other than that, I hate it. In some ways, Texas may turn out to be OK.

12. Can you ice skate?
Better than you might think; people are usually surprised. Including me.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Not necessarily my favorite, but one year my brother bought me an album, Spandau Ballet, and I know he really hated them, but he bought it for me. Another year, pre-eBay, my husband searched and searched for two out of print Mike Royko books. He ended up checking them out of the library and wrapping them up.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Creating memories for my girls. Enjoying the goodwill of the season.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Christmas cookies and fudge, made here at home.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Singing Christmas carols. Watching Charlie Brown.

17. What tops your tree?
A star on one, a choirboy on another.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
I love giving, but I truly love receiving gifts that the girls have made for us at school or purchased with money they have saved. They are so proud; the looks on their faces are priceless.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Sleigh Ride by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. Favorite CDs? Christmas with the Rat Pack, Harry Connick Jr.'s album, Johnny Mathis Winter Wonderland, Brian Setzer, and on and on ...

20. Candy Canes?
The ones from McCord's candy store in Lafayette, IN. Mmmm.

21. Favorite Christmas Movie
It's a Wonderful Life. Love it. Also love White Christmas and Holiday Inn; low on plot, but full of Irving Berlin. TV specials: The Grinch, Rudolph, and Charlie Brown.

December is around the corner ...

There is sooo much to dooo ... the cards are half addressed, but lacking stamps and photos; need to haul out the holly and deck them halls (and mistletoe and presents for pretty girls ... ), start the gift buying, and wrapping, and mailing. Need to run to the post office to mail long-overdue letters/magazines to friends. Bills in the mail. Hair appointment. Proper foundation garment for perfect party dress (found hanging in my closet, no less!).

Oh — and I have work to do. Real work. The kind I get paid for. I like my job. I like the title, the perks, the recognition, the money. And I don't mind some of the work. Being an editor sounds much more glamorous than it is; I like writing some stories, don't mind assigning some, editing them as they come in. But I don't like dealing with the corrections, compiling the calendar and the briefs. Ick. More importantly, I like the idea of work getting done. But the actual doing of the work? Not so much fun. I want to be able to snap my fingers and bask in the glory.

Not in this life. Must run — time waits for no one. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's too early

I realize Thanksgiving is past, the holiday season has officially begun. But my neighborhood looks like a bad scene from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. And it's not even December.

Gary offered this weekend to pull out the Christmas boxes, go through the decorations. Frankly, I didn't have the heart. The fact that it is in the mid-70s isn't helping. This, of course, is my problem; I have to readjust for the weather here. One of the many concessions I have to make in order to live in Texas.

Keeping up with the neighbors isn't even an option. This is what happens when you move to a yuppie suburb, and I'm not sure I care for the direction we're headed. It's not enough to hang lights; people call in professional Christmas light installers (though the term "professional" here is used in the loosest sense of the word). I'm fairly certain these houses would show up on a satellite image. Behind us glows like Las Vegas.

It doesn't stop at lights; imagine, if you will, large inflatables on the lawn, surrounded by lighted deer and spiral trees. Mailboxes are topped with bows and greenery; yards and driveways and edged in lights. Luminaria lead the way up the front walk.

I shudder to think what's next.

I'm only competitive in board games and bowling; I can let the Christmas glory be had by others. We will put up our tree, and I plan to use the greenery and bows that formerly festooned our front porch on our indoor stair railing. We'll hang our wreath, address the cards (into which I shall enclose a much-abbreviated Christmas letter) and call it a holiday. We shall bake and decorate cookies and listen to carols on our ever-growing collection of Christmas CDs (though Gary disagrees and thinks that it is, in fact, possible to have too much Christmas music).

I like Christmas as much as the next gal; I'm no Scrooge. But I don't need 200 feet of flashing lights to tell the world that I believe in Peace on Earth.

All the same, I'm looking for the number of the light hangers. Just in case; December arrives on Friday.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

So much to be thankful for; suffice it to say, I am, indeed, grateful for the little things. More tomorrow ... or Saturday? When the company is gone.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Down two kids ...

... with only one daughter left at home. It's a different feeling. But I don't feel as lost as when all three of the girls are gone. The last time they all went to stay with their grandparents I felt completely ill at ease. Yesterday I drove to Austin and we spent the day with my parents, visiting the LBJ Library and eating runzas (thanks, mom!). I left Maddie and Sylvia to spend a couple of days, then I came home. The drive home wasn't so bad; I don't particularly relish nighttime driving on the Interstate (or 290), but at least I could listen to the music I wanted, as loud as I wanted, with no back-seat heckling. So that part was OK.

Today I made some cranberry chutney, then Gary came home early. We went to lunch at a little sushi place, where the menu included the Cypress Roll, whose ingredients included — I kid you not — spiders and cream cheese, wrapped in avocado. Sounds tasty ... we passed.

Then we did a little shopping; big event on the horizon, as Gary's office is celebrating $1 billion in sales with a swanky soirée next month, at a chic eatery near the Galleria; the dress code is specified as "cocktail/formal." Big dilemma: New dress? Wear a dress I already have? Be radical and wear pants? I welcome suggestions ... keeping in mind that a) no one here has seen any of the dresses hanging in my closet; b) all the dresses currently hanging in shops are black and too long for me (I need at or above the knee, being of slight stature), and black is so ... ordinary; c) I am not a teenager, or even a 20-something, and don't want to look as if I'm trying to emulate one; d) I do not want to go nuts buying accessories, and I already own perfectly acceptable black shoes, bag, and pashmina; e) black pants with a cocktail-like top would be lovely and dressy, and might stand out more than a dress; and f) I want to look fantastic, but I want the look to belie all the effort I've put in.

See what heppens when one has too much time on one's hands? As previously stated, comments and/or suggestions are welcome.

Tomorrow it's just me and Alison. We plan to cook much of the day, getting ready for Thanksgiving. We love the preparations, getting all our favorite foods together. The menu includes: turkey (of course); dressing w/apricots and prunes; sweet potato casserole; Gullivered corn; mashed potato casserole; green beans; cranberry chutney; rolls (Alison's specialty); pumpkin ribbon bread; pumpkin pie; poppyseed cake. Mmmm ...

Just the three of us tonight; that is different. Should be nice.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Weekend Update

Saturdays are usually slow days. This morning, however, was an exception, as I attended a mini-class at the UU. Had to miss Sylvia's soccer tournament, but I think she understands. The class was good — learned the history, both local and national (which I already knew; I'm not really a newcomer). And I got to — snore — hear the spiritual journey of every class attendee and facilitator. Yep, all 15 of us. Makes it not so special, as well as lengthy; it took up more than half the class period.

But it was still good. It's the UU, after all. We had a nice lunch afterwards. And I now know who to call for what. I'm still considering my options, what groups to join.

(How fun to attend a UU with a budget: cloth napkins! water goblets! fancy snacks! a real sanctuary! My Lafayette friends are green with envy, I'm sure ...)

Sylvia won her first game, lost the second. It's not an actual tournament, per se; more a chance for the girls (or boys) to play more than one game in one day. It's a rec league; we don't have real winners or losers. The girls got medals and were thrilled. Tomorrow they get a pizza party and little trophies. Sounds like adequate positive reinforcement to me.

Need to do my Thanksgiving shopping. In order to do most of it ahead of time, I need to start Monday. Sadly (well, not really), Monday I will be in Austin. So I need to do something tomorrow. But I haven't been to the store yet. And we're having this party tomorrow. But I should be able to make one easy dish tomorrow — maybe two if I'm lucky. I can get a bunch done on Tuesday, then there's still Wednesday. I need to clean at some point, but I'm leaving two of the girls with the grandparents on Monday, so I'll have some time to get it all together. Plus, my guests are just family, so I don't have to get too strung out. I'm not trying to emulate Martha Stewart, just have a nice dinner. I truly do have a lot to be thankful for. Yes, there's a lot on my no-so-thankful list, but I'll be putting those gripes away for the day, focusing on what's more important.

And Mah Jongg. My mom will be here, so we'll get to play a bunch (ha! JoAnn; I'm getting so-o-o-o good, much better than you!). Not to mention football; Nebraska plays Colorado on Friday, and we all know what a game that will be. None the less, my family will be glued to the set.

As for tonight: the hot tub is heating, the movie is waiting. Here's to a quiet Saturday night in, complete with all the girls (as soon as the absent daughter gets home; I expect her shortly).

There are so many things I could blog about, including, but not limited to, our goofy neighborhood Yahoo discussion group. I'll have to remember to fill you in.

For now, it's back to my book. Cheers!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Little bits of nothing

I've been a little bit busy, a little bit sick (both Alison and I), had a little bit of car trouble. (We have to buy a new tire ... annoying.)

As I sat yesterday, waiting 30 minutes for the emergency road service folks to show up, change my tire, even then I knew that this was a minor inconvenience. I wasn't stranded in the middle of nowhere; I was in a CVS parking lot, a major intersection. Sylvia was with me, the older two were home. I had my mobile phone, and CVS has a restroom. It was all OK, really. In light of the news from Lafayette this week — the shocking, tragic death of the husband of one of my girls' beloved teachers — this was small stuff.

It's all about perspective. I didn't drive the car much today (other than to pick up Alison at school), and it will get fixed tomorrow.

All the same, I'm glad it's the weekend and that my prodigal husband comes home tonight.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Day at home

Weather today: High of 85. Lafayette, IN: 47; Peoria, IL: 44; Springfield, MO: 57; Lincoln, NE: 53; Kiel, Germany: 12 C/54 F

After being gone all day yesterday, today I was home. Good thing, because I'll be gone all day tomorrow, and at some point, stuff needs to get done.

Yesterday I rearranged and juggled in order to get Sylvia to the book fair to shop and to see Junie B. Jones. And get to gymnastics. And pick up Alison. And take the neighbor girl. And feed the girls at a reasonable time. Sorted it all out — by ditching gymnastics — got the girls to the book fair ... and the phone rang. Alison was ready, 45 minutes earlier than the schedule said. So, lucky that we had run into a friend on the way in, I left the girls with her, and she took them to see Junie B. It was an illicit performance; we were not to go until 6.30, as we are M's. Got Alison, took her home, and caught the last half of Junie B. When I sat down, my friend, the other mom, rolled her eyes at me, as if to say, "This performance is so lame." At the same time, Sylvia's friend looked at me and said, "This is so good." I stifled laughter.

Then the little girls next to me whispered to me; I couldn't understand what she was saying, so I nodded and smiled. Note: Do not nod and smile, silently acquiescing, when you have no idea what the other party has just said. The next thing I know she was standing up, grabbing my hand, and she looked at her mother and said, "It's OK, she'll take me." Her mother looked bemused and slightly embarrassed, saying, no, no, if you need to go, I'll take you. The other mother and I — whom I do not know — smiled and laughed. A lot. I have no idea where she wanted to go; merely to escape the wretched Junie B.? The June B. who said y'all? The little girl was cute as can be. And not shy.

Got home, even cooked dinner. Helped Sylvia review her math, read her a chapter from Laura & Mary. Then Maddie asked, Did we forget my flute lesson today? Arrgh! Flute! And I thought I was so on top of things. Guess not.

Today I spent much of my day on hold with customer service people. But took care of those details. Talked to my parents, planned our one-day mini-trip to Austin.

A very nice e-mail about the magazine — the first of many, perhaps? And flowers, too — I'm basking in the success. And starting the next issue ... no rest for the wicked.

Monday, November 13, 2006


The launch of the brand-new Cy-Fair Magazine was a huge success ... well, at least for members of the Chamber of Commerce. Today we officially kicked off the magazine, complete with a ribbon cutting and luncheon. Christine the PR Queen was thrilled with 55 RSVPs; easily twice that many people showed up (and to their credit, the folks at Lauren Lakes responded to the overflow crowd by quickly and quietly setting up additional tables, and no one went hungry). Readers seemed to like the magazine and advertisers are happy (not that I have anything to do with that side of the publication; let's keep it that way).

I hate being told what to wear (or not), but I donned my leaf-green sweater without complaint; it was unseasonably warm, but it was my best option. The boots, circa 1989 (an early purchase when I went to work at the Observer in Peoria) were hurting my feet; clearly I would have to purchase a half-size bigger these days (these are probably a size 6 — eeek!). Yet I got compliments on them — no one had to know how dated they are.

So I spent my day networking (hate it), smiling for photos (not big on that either), schmoozing and shaking hands. But I got some very nice feedback on the magazine, and my colleague said some very nice things that, out of modesty and discretion, I'll not repeat. Suffice it to say I am feeling pretty good. There are some things I would change, that's for sure, and a couple of things I am not very happy about at all, but no one has to know about those niggling details; I'll never tell what they are!

Time to go to the school book fair and see Junie B. Jones. Just what I want to do ... the sacrifices I make for my children. Later!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Random Saturday

• Here in Texas, fall is sudden and fleeting, Cool temps are here then just as quickly gone. It was 87 yesterday; I wore shorts. It was hotter than ... well, you get the idea. I don't mind it in August and September, but November? I didn't turn on the AC only because I knew it wouldn't hit 70 today. As I uncomfortably made my way through the afternoon, I tried to keep it all in perspective. We were hit with a thunderstorm around 8 p.m. yesterday, and that took care of the heat. Relief.

• I don't miss the cold per se, but I do miss the cool. And I'm not enjoying mosquito bites in November.

• KIrstie Alley weighs 145 pounds? I missed her debut on Oprah Monday, but I did catch the recap. Sorry, but at 5'8", she is not 145 lbs. Rosie (O'Donnell, The View) pulled a 5'8" audience member on stage the other day and asked her weight. Brave woman. She was neither fat nor thin, really, just right, and she weighed 168. Sorry Kirstie, I cannot believe you. I respect her weight loss and more power to her (though I still find her incredibly annoying), but she needs to be a little more upfront about what she weighs. She misleads women and gives them more body issues. If she weighs 145, then put me down at an anorexic 95.

• Congrats to Sylvia, who scored not one, but two goals in her soccer match today. They still lost their game, but the team scored four goals and had at least four other excellent shots on goal. Way to go, Sylvia! It was nice to cheer for once.

• Can't quite get a read on my neighbors; since none of them reads this, I can say pretty much what I want, but I prefer to exercise caution. Suffice it to say, I was getting really weird vibes from a woman I sort of know, and then suddenly she paid me an amazing compliment, totally out of the blue. Not quite sure what to make of it, especially since I sat and stewed over it, our "friendship" as it were, for a long time, more time than the situation warranted, that's for sure. I am humbled, to say the least, and now I am back to wondering. Maybe I'm not such a suburban misfit; maybe I have a chance here after all. Or maybe I just analyze things way, way too much. Perhaps the unexamined life is worth living; some people probably ease right through life without getting all worked up over a sideways glance, a double entendre.

Someone should save me from myself.

• I find myself longing for life in Europe these days. Memory conveniently clouds all the unpleasant aspects of my life abroad, but I am suddenly nostalgic, anxious to return. If we did, all those annoyances and inconveniences would hit me like a ton of bricks. I still think we'll do it again. But not in Russia, where one of Gary's colleagues is moving. Life on a foreigners compound? No thanks.

• After two and half glorious days with an in-house husband, tomorrow sees the launch of another week of single parenting. I am so, so lucky to have easy children; how would I manage if the girls were ill-behaved or hard to manage? Still, I miss having their father/my husband around. I didn't really sign up for the single parenting gig; his travel crept up kind of slowly and before we knew it, he was gone all the time. Or, to be more accurate, half the time. On the hright side, it does mean more Ritter Sport dark chocolate coming my way.

• Went to a holiday gift mart in the neighborhood, where I purchased a third (!) Pampered Chef baking stone. Maybe this one won't get busted. Sigh ... the first one was my own fault; one should make sure one turns on the correct burner, even when the baking stone is not sitting on top of the stove. But the second one — I told Gary not to leave it sitting there as we unpacked, that it would get broken. You can guess what happened next, much like the day I told him not to leave his coffee cup on the end table while simultaneously twirling Sylvia around in the chair.

At least the coffee didn't hit the rug.

• Just finished Tom Perrotta's Little Children. Another book about infidelity — what a disturbling trend. Very well written, but I'm not sure I need to explore the darker side of suburbia again for some time. A week, at least.

• I'm getting my own iPod. I figured I could just use Gary's, but lately he is never home. And yesterday, even when he was home, he left the iPod in his briefcase, so I walked without a soundtrack. That's it — tomorrow I plan to hit the Apple store.

Out tonight, dinner and a movie. Gary and I will see one movie, the girls another. Wow. Life has changed in good ways as the girls have gotten older. I loved them as infants, have really loved every stage of their lives. Sometimes I miss the toddler and preschool years, but as the girls get older, they are so interesting;they are beoming fascinating, thinking people. I love to watch movies with them; Maddie and I thoroughly enjoyed our screening of Mildred Pierce a couple weeks ago. But I think tonight's choice is a bit much for the girls, so they will see Flushed Away while Gary and I choose more adult fare.

Not a bad weekend, all in all, and it's only half over. I am suddenly filled with optimism. More random thoughts on the horizon ... stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Oh what a night!

What a night, indeed! Control of the House! First woman Speaker the House! The majority of governorships! Possible control of the Senate, but even without it, a severe blow dealt to the status quo. In other words, a message was sent by the American people that the war in Iraq has been mishandled and that it's time for some new leadership.

It looked early on as if Claire McCaskill in Missouri was not going to beat Jim Tallent, but she pulled it off. (I continue to follow races in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana fairly closely — everyhwere that I've been registered to vote.) I was shocked to see Chris Chocola and Jon Hostettler in Indiana lose. Chocola didn't lose by much — 54 to 46 percent or so — but Hostettler was soundly beaten, 61 to 39 percent. Wonder what he did that so angered voters?

On a side note, I ended up watching CNN most of the night; it had the best coverage. And I was not impressed with the Comedy Central show for the most part, although I did like that Jon Stewart had Dan Rather on as a pundit, making all sorts of whacko comments. I like people who can laugh at themelves, who have a sense of humor.

But I digress.

Let's just hope that the Democrats don't screw things up. When they say things like they are above corruption, or that this Congress will be the "most ethical" Congress ever, I fear that they are setting themselves up for disaster. The GOP has no exclusive hold on scandal, that is for sure.

And the kickiest race of all? John Hall, Democrat from New York, upset the Republican incumbent and was elected to Congress. His claim to fame? Founder of the '70s pop group Orleans. "Dance with Me." "Still the One." What a hoot. Apparently he's a committed environmental activist. Now Congress can have musical entertainment other than Singing Senators, which weren't faring so well with the departure of John Ashcroft, anyway.

Exciting stuff in store. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Who would've thunk it ...

We never saw this coming. Or maybe we all did, just not today.

I mean really, did she have to fight with the midterm elections for headlines?

Tonight I'll be watching CBS, ABC, and NBC for early returns. But at 10 p.m, I'll be all over the Comedy Center Midterm Midtacular. Who can sum up the changing Congress better than Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert? Mid"tacular" indeeed.

Stayed Up Too Late

And today I am tired, moving slowly. I stayed up because Gary is out of town and after the girls go to sleep, the house is mine. And there is something magical about having the house to yourself. So, I read a bit, and finished watching Woody Allen's Match Point, which I had to interrupt with the Colbert Report. Pre-election coverage, you know.

***SPOILER ALERT*** The movie was great — though I should point out that he is one of my favorite directors, thus I generally love his movies — and at the same time, I was profoundly disturbed. It's the same theme as Crimes and Misdemeanors, where the guy gets away with killing his mistress. You're not sure he will; it looks for a while as if he will get caught. But in the end, he gets away scot-free. And she (in this case, along with an innocent bystander) is dead. Even worse, in this film, I genuinely liked the guy to begin with. He was a good sort. And he has to go and foul up his life by having an illicit affair (I was really rooting for him not to do it — please don't sleep with her! You're only making it worse for yourself!) and then events spiraled out of control.

Need to write some e-mails. Need to tidy the kitchen. Need to vacuum downstairs. Need to make my bed. And there's more. Always more to do. Need to buy a birthday gift for a friend.

Though I did exercise today, time on the elliptical. The scale says good things these days; makes me happy. Let's hope writing about it doesn't jinx it.

Two of my daily blog reads are out of commission. One is in Europe celebrating her birthday; the other is MIA for reasons unknown. Too bad, as I enjoy catching up with them.

It's Election Day; I am totally jazzed about spending my evening in front of the television watching the returns. All signs point to the Democrats taking control of Congress, maybe even the Senate. But it's too early to say; best not to be too optimistic. I need to remain cautious, keep my guard up. I am really rooting for Nancy Pelosi to be the next Speaker of the House, Harry Reid to be the new Senate Majority Leader. I know Rick Perry will be re-elected governor here, but I've known that all along, so I won't feel the letdown. I'm saving my energy for the big picture.

Yet it could all play out very differently. I'll check in tomorrow, either rejoicing or mourning the outcome. Til then ... but make sure you vote. Even if you're not voting the way I did, you have to do it. It's your responsibility.

Happy Election Day, all!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday, Monday

... and a boring one at that. Changed my mobile number over to a Texas number; is this a sign that I am assimilating? I shudder to think ...

Gary left town today, headed for Peoria. He's there til Thursday, when he'll come home, spend a few days, and fly to Germany on Sunday. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but I'm not. It does mean I don't have to cook much, which is fine with me.

After buying all sorts of fab fall clothes, it is supposed to be in the 70s, maybe even 80s, this week. I can't believe Thanksgiving is only two weeks away. We still have mosquitoes!

I need to find an outlet for my pent up energy. Maybe volunteer work. I even briefly — briefly, I repeat — considered signing up to teach a section of rhetoric & comp at the local community college. But I think I've gotten over that impulse. The thought of grading all those essays just about does me in. Plus I had a sick child home one day last week, which always brings me back down to earth on committing my time too much outside the house. I am trying to exercise more, with some success. But I am home an awful lot, by myself, and I think I need to get out more.

There. I've said it: Alone. It is how I spend my days. In some ways, it isn't all bad; I quite enjoy having my days to myself with no real pulls on my time. And sometimes I enjoy the quiet. But in my heart of hearts, I think I'm just not a solitary being. John Donne and all. And I think I'd feel better if I felt as if I were contributing more. Yes, editing a quarterly magazine makes some sort of impression on society, but not in the same way that doing some tutoring or even shelving library books at the schools would.

But I'll leave those answers for another day. Tonight my book awaits, and with Gary gone, I have two whole hours to read, uninterrupted. Somehow the evening is different than the daytime hours. How I can't quite say; it's a nebulous quality that only applies to the evenings, when somehow the laundry and dishes don't beckon. Evenings are meant for reading, or relaxing. I'm happy to do both.

Friday, November 03, 2006

What (not) to wear

Spent my afternoon out shopping; it is down in the 60s here, so fall has arrived and my wardrobe is lacking. I am having a hard time finding anything to wear to church. I don't exactly go to the dressiest church in the world, keep in mind, but for me, it's a chance to dress and get out of the house. Thus I needed something other than black pants to wear.

(These complaints from someone who used to go to work four days a week? Where are all those clothes? Let's not go there.)

Suffice it to say styles change. And I caught part of What Not to Wear yesterday and felt inspired.

I am conflicted over that show. Stacy and Clinton bug me on occasion. Or often. They are a bit holier-than-thou, and if I have to hear the words "seaming" or "structure" one more time I may gag. They dress everyone the same. That said, the people they get are in need of serious help. They have awful hair and tend to dress without a clue. They always, always come out looking 200 percent better and about 10 years younger.

But it struck me yesterday, watching them dress a young mother: I wouldn't meet all their criteria. In the summer, I wear jean shorts and Tshirts. I wear overall shorts. I also wear skirts with black tights and loafers. I do not wear skirts with blazers and low heels to get groceries; khaki capris and sandals are my uniform of choice.

They would crucify me. Me! Imagine — I fancy myself quite well dressed. I can't quite find it in me to spend $70 on a pair of pants or over $200 for a suit, but I find clothes that work. I search for bargains, scour the sale racks, browse TJ Maxx on occasion. I frequent Ann Taylor, Macy’s, Dillard’s, Talbots, DSW, the Gap. Somehow it all comes together.

And I think I look pretty good. Most of the time. Yet I am quite sure the WNTW people would take issue with my wardrobe. Ouch; painful reality.

But they wouldn’t complain about what I got yesterday, as I went for new fall colors, a whole new look. Bought brown pants, sweaters in camel, burgundy, and orange. Found a really cute jacket in an orange plaid and a tobacco skirt. A couple of tops in shades of brown and tan (one with a shimmery look). A brown leather jacket to top it all off.

Now I need shoes.

I know that WNTW is a television show. They have advertisers and sponsors to satisfy. I also know they do not live like the rest of us. “Casual” means something entirely different for a television host than it does for me, a freelance writer/editor who works from her home and drives the kids to soccer practice.

Heap on the criticism, Stacy and Clinton. I can handle it. You may know what looks good on television, but I live in the real world. And trust me, I know how to dress the part.

End of the week recap

It's Friday. I am exhausted. I'm not sure what I do that makes me feel so busy, but I know emotionally what is going on.

And it exhausts me. Rearing children makes me weary. They are good kids — don't get me wrong — but still, it requires a tremendous amount of mental energy to keep them on the ball. How people with more children, or spouses who do not help, manage is beyond me. I am blessed to have well-behaved daughters (for the most part — they are normal kids, after all) and a husband who, even when he is physically absent (which, sad to say, is fairly often) is there for me in spirit. He's always just a phone call away ... or a voice mail, or a page, or ... you get the idea. He is supporting us in the manner to which I have become accustomed, so I really can't complain.

Yesterday he went to work late so that we could see Sylvia in the Storybook Character Parade. She was Eloise, complete with book, short black skirt, clicky black shoes, and beribboned hair. I acquiesced and packed her an alternate outfit for the remainder of the day and it made all the difference in her mood. The parade was cute, but I shoud issue a caveat: Scooby Doo, Disney Princesses, and Star Wars are not books. Yes, you can buy a book that features them as characters, but they're not books. I know, this occurred the same week as Halloween, and it is a lot to expect parents and kids to come up with not one but two costumes in one week. And I know what it's like when your child tells you they will dress as a Stormtrooper and nothing else will do. But I think the spirit of the parade was to encourage reading, and somehow SpongeBob Squarepants violates that intent.

(Wish I had a dollar for Junie B. Jones I saw; I'm surprised my daughter wasn't dressed as her as well! Eloise was her choice.)

Did some shopping, came home, promptly got sick. Just as I needed to go and pick up two of the girls; it was a painful drive to Sampson and Cy Woods, with a stop at CVS in between to run to the restroom. Came home, hit the couch, called it a day.

But all is better today. There's a (slight) chill in the air. Met Gary for lunch and we exercised the right to early voting. There was a huge line — who knew? I was nervous because I had never heard where I am supposed to vote; panic was setting in as I feared that I would not know on Tuesday and wouldn't be able to cast my ballot. Gary will be gone, so we figured we should go get it taken care of today. So it's done. No vote for Kinky — I realized weeks ago that he is really not up to the task of governing. And my vote is not a novelty.

Made a 20-minute stop at neighborhood Happy Hour before I had to go get Alison; next week she may have to ride the late bus home. I need a social life.

Still on tap tonight: tickets to the theatre to see Proof. Soccer tomorrow, neighborhood garage sale; we didn't officially sign up, but we may stealthily sell a few items. Ssshhh ...

Happy weekends, all!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Though I swore I wasn't going to watch it anymore, I have The View on right now — I couldn't resist watching Barry Manilow. (I don't own any of his albums, but I would go see him in Vegas should the opportunity arise. Plus he was really funny on Stephen Colbert the other day.)

Anyway, Barbara Walters is wearing black hose and tan shoes, with a skirt. Ick. Remote, please.

The morning after

Trick-or-treating .... such fun. Though we didn't have nearly as many trick-or-treaters as I had anticipated. Thus we have much leftover candy — not so good for me. I'll have to send it to the office with Gary.

The blog site is not cooperating; photos to come ...