Friday, January 26, 2007


Yes, there's stress. No, it's not that bad - ie, no one is dying, or even ill. Just some stuff going down. When it's all over, I'll fill you in. But for now, I am engaging in a lot of deep breathing, biding my time until the situation is resolved. Til then ... I'm hanging in there.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Not much, you?

There is so little of interest in my life at the moment. I could babble endlessly about Campaign '08, about what movies I've seen, what the kids are up to. But I don't have the energy. Even though Houston isn't really cold, the dark days of winter are upon us. When the skies brighten, I'll have something to say.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The ice storm cometh

No school today. The big storm, slated for yesterday, hit today. The girls were all geared up to be home yesterday, and I kept warning them, you may have school. I slept badly Monday night, waiting to hear the rain and ice. Nothing. Got up around 4 a.m, looked outside, and the pavement was dry.

So they delayed the ice til this morning. It was tough to get the girls in bed (Gary's birthday was last night, so we ate out, had cake, opened gifts) so I was worried they would all be pooped today. But their dreams came true, and school was canceled.

Consequently it is 11 a.m. and I am still in my pajamas.

On second thought, I'm wondering how this is any different than a normal day ...

We're just hanging out, not doing much. If I can get my act together, then I'll work on painting Sylvia's cabinet. Or I can do laundry. Or read my book.

I kind of like a surprise day off in the middle of the week. Though it does crack me up, this Texas reaction to what amounts to a very small bit of ice. In the midwest, where I'm from, all systems would be go. Here, we are in major panic mode. The TV news shows six reporters stationed all over the greater Houston area, ready to pounce on each bit of reportable "news." The grocery shelves are empty as if Armageddon were on its way. Makes me snicker.

Monday, January 15, 2007

New look, new room

Spent much of the weekend giving Sylvia her new room. She's not a baby anymore, and it is high time to let her graduate to a big girl room. So we cleaned Saturday, getting rid of toys, games, books, clothes - all stuff she has outgrown. We did this when we moved last year; we did it when we listed the house, when we packed, when we unpacked. And still, there was scads of crap to bag up and haul out.

It was also time to, sadly, let go of things she has just outgrown. Her room still held many remnants of the nursery it once was. So, gone are the baby quilt that hung on her rocking chair, the multi-colored clown from the dresser. When we moved here she wouldn't even put up some of the wall hangings, like the Pooh characters or the balloons; those I packed away for sentimental reasons, along with the crib bumper that I made. We're getting rid of the toy box and the primary-colored storage bins; we may have even sold them, giving me just enough to buy the artwork she wants for her new room.

She wanted purple, so purple it is. She chose a bed set in different shades of lavendar, geometric shapes. The walls are lavendar, and we found the perfect curtains (sadly, they only had one, so we'll have to wait until more come in - they have sequins ...). To replace the toy box and bins we bought an armoire at IKEA, which we are painting white. We'll shop for some accessories here in the next week or two.

I suppose it should make me sad, this very palpable marking of the passage of time. My youngest child is 8; she is growing up. There will be no more babies here. Intellectually, I know this; I made this concious choice. And it had to be. On some level, though, there is a grieving, a sense of loss. But it's fleeting. More of me is able to accept what must be.

But I held onto the Pooh house, the Legos, select baby toys. They'll be packed away.

I suppose my complacency has to with being so profoundly disturbed by the story in the news last week, where the parents surgically altered their brain-damaged daughter so she wouldn't grow anymore. Since I don't live their lives, I shouldn't pass judgment. I have three healthy daughters. But you have to let your children be who they are. Even when they're brain damaged, you can't stop time, arrest your child's growth where it's easier and more convenient for you. Critics say it smacks of eugenics, and I have to agree.

Thus I can deal with Sylvia growing up; it's all part of the natural order of things. Birth, life, taxes, death. Teenagers. Angst. Sigh.

The room will be cute. I love how happy it makes Sylvia. Her exact words? "I love it."

Makes it all worth it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Name that tune

Today in the car, I flipped through the presets. I had my choice of: Harry Nilsson, Everybody's Talkin'; The Clash, Rock the Casbah; or J. Geils Band, Angel is the Centerfold. Three songs I like - amazing. Which would you choose? I'll reveal my choice at the end of the post ...

First, to explain: The Clash is the the Clash, very cool, even if they did get Top 40 play in the mid-80s. J Geils Band? Yea, I know, but they remind me of high school. We had a dance one year with the theme Angel is the Centerfold and each class had to elect their class Angel. I was chosen by my class; though it might have been meant as a joke ... and Harry Nilsson has his moments, even if he is a little early 70s smooth.

If I get tired of classical in the car, and it's too early for All Things Considered, and I don't have the energy to change the CDs, I listen to one of three oldies stations. "Oldies" now translates to "music I heard when I was in high school." I change the dial for the following, no exceptions: Air Supply, REO Speedwagon, Beach Boys, Phil Collins, Supertramp, post-1980 Chicago, Styx, Journey, Foreigner, any heavy metal. And the Rolling Stones. I know, I know - don't yell. Gary loves them, too. I don't hate them, just not usually in the mood. I'm sure there are others, but those spring immediately to mind.

Certain songs always make me smile; they evoke a mood, a memory. None of these springs immediately to mind; I guess I have to hear them, spontaneously, to remember. Though I do remember hearing - inexplicably - Martin Briley's Salt in My Tears in St. Louis one time - that's a song I never get to hear. Didn't get much airplay at the same either, though it should have.

I always crank up Steve Miller Band, Tom Petty, and Boston. Not sure why. The Police, Bruce Springsteen, and U2, but I do know why. Most other stuff I liked doesn't quite make the oldies lists (Elvis Costello, Squeeze, Smiths, Aztec Camera, Game Theory, They Might be Giants, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Beat Rodeo, Billy Bragg, Lone Justice, Violent Femmes ... that college/alternative sound of the mid-80s).

I'm getting old. Damn.

And the answer? I chose the Clash, of course. Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sad for Sylvie

Didn't feel good when I woke up today, so I sent Sylvia out to the bus on her own. There are 10 other kids and at least 5 or 6 other adults out there, it's right outside our door, and I can sit in the living room and watch. So I didn't feel too guilty, even though it meant that I wasn't there to wave at her.

Slept on the couch til I felt better, then, to redeem myself, I hopped on the elliptical. So now I truly feel good. I am eternally optimistic about how much more I am going to exercise, how I am going to eat better. And today, I've taken a step. Yay for me.

It was a very sad day for Sylvia yesterday. She was allowed to take a stuffed animal to school, so she chose one that her sister gave her for Christmas, a little moose that came with a pair of fuzzy socks (she left the socks at home). She didn't put it in her backpack, preferring to carry it and hold it. When she got off the bus in the afternoon, she was in tears; she had left it on the bus that morning, and it is gone. Poor thing cried all afternoon; at one point she was worried that Maddie, who gave it to her, would be upset with her (not the case).

Poor girl. I held her, and talked to her, hugged her some more. In the end, there's nothing I can do. I called the school, called the transportation office. But it's gone. Hard lesson for her, and it's a bad time to say, You know you should have put it in your backpack; somehow, it doesn't help.

So, in a small attempt to make her feel better, we went to look at some bedspreads for the redecorating of her room. She was jazzed and chose one, though we didn't buy it yet; I can't start a new project until I finish a couple of others. But we have a start.

Watching your children struggle with disappointment, or loss, is tough. I don't imagine it will ever get easier.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday, Monday

Not my favorite day of the week, no matter how you look at it. And waking up with a heachache doesn't help.

Bunches of stuff to do today: groceries, post office, finish up some work stuff. Get some cards in the mail, photos for the grandparents, paper to recycling. Pick up from auditions after school, drive to music lesson. Trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond, the hardware store to look at paint colors. Get check to soccer sign-ups.

Start researching spring break trip. Just the usual.

Exciting stuff.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Messy rooms, fighting kids

How I hate when the weekend turns into a struggle over the state of the kids' rooms. But it must be so. I have to resort to withholding of allowances; nothing motivates these girls like cash. And I hate to be all controlling, but it is my house. And I really can't stand the mess. I secretly (well, not that secretly) want the house to look perfect all the time. But do I really have the energy to maintain that look? That, my friends, is the $64 million question (inflation hits everywhere, cich├ęs included).

It's a goal, though a rather unattainable one. Yet I persevere. So now I am off to the hardware store, to peruse paint colors, and to Bed, Bath & Beyond, to look beyond.

Just finished the book Say When by Elizabeth Berg; wouldn't recommend it. Not terrible, just slightly predictable. It takes you on a long meandering journey to nowhere. Give it a pass.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Stupid job

Yesterday was spent rewriting press releases. The schools, they do love their PR. But it has to be rewritten - some of it for timeliness, some of it to take out the gushing wordiness about how "courageously" the "talented" students won the "all-important" this that or the other competition. Just the facts, folks.

So today is spent typing in calendar entries, but it is a very specific format, full of hard returns and soft returns, and I have to refer to the cheat sheet for each and every line. I'm hoping it gets better ...

That's my day. Thank goodness I can work at home, sans shower or hair. Makes it a little easier, anyway.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Merry Christmas

It's already Jan. 4, and I never even said thanks to Santa, via the blog, for the lovely Christmas. I love that moment Christmas morning when the girls see the tree and all the presents. We don't open anything on Christmas Eve; we wait til the morning. Of course we don't have everything, as Santa hasn't come yet ... we tried not to go overboard this year, and I think we succeeded. The girls were happy, Gary and I were, and I think Grandma and Grandpa, who visited us, were happy, too. The girls are so enthusiastic with their gifts - it is very sweet. They got me some candles ordered from UNICEF, and Sylvia wrote us a story about a snowman, and she made the snowman to got with out (out of fabric, not snow).

Most importantly, we had the day with the girls. We played games, ate a wonderful meal, and just enjoyed the day together.

And I learned that a dart board on the game room wall means many, many holes in the drywall. But it's fun anyway.

In 2006, did you:

In 2006, did you...
fall in love with someone that was just a friend? No
fall in love at all? No, just stayed there
lose any friends? No
make any new friends? Yes
make any new enemies? Not sure, but I can think of a possibility
develop any new hobbies? Yes: knitting, blogging
get older? (sigh) Yes
do anything you regret? Nothing comes to mind; I guess that's good
go to any parties? Yes - JoAnn turned ... older
accomplish anything? Yes, new job, and my reading list is impressive
make much money? No, same job
attend a wedding? No
attend a funeral? No, but sadly, I could have
get any new family members? No
move away? Big yes: Hello, Houston
gain any new perspectives? Yes again
get into a verbal fight? No
get into a physical fight? No
attend any sporting events? Baseball, football, and soccer - saw Sylvia score.
get arrested? No, thank goodness
wreck your car? No
get a new car? No, but maybe this year
make any big purchases? House, swimming pool, furniture, computer; need I go on?
get kicked out of a store, restaurant or any other kind of business? No, but it might be fun sometime
get fired from a job? No
get offered a job? Yes, same job as above
get a raise at a job? Not yet
learn anything? Tons
dump your bf/gf? I'll let him stay a while longer
get dumped by your bf/gf? He wouldn't dare
develop any new health problems? No, but I got the bifocal warning.
change as a person? Definitely
attend a concert? No, but I saw Al Gore and Molly Ivins, which is just as good. Oh - do school band concerts count?
travel out of state? Indiana 2x, Missouri, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee
read any books? Many, many
travel out of the country? No, unless Texas counts. But this year I will.
spend much money? New house, new pool, new furniture, new computer ... yes, yes, yes
download any music? Yes
try out any new looks? Yes
eat a food that you had never eaten before? Not sure, but I would guess yes
go bowling? Yes - I love to bowl
start to resent something or someone that you used to like? In fact, yes

In 2006, what was?
your favorite day of the year? My birthday
your favorite CD? Soundtrack from Wicked
your least favorite day of the year? The day we left Lafayette
your favorite movie? Tough call, but I just saw Dreamgirls, so I'll say that
your favorite song of the year? Suddenly I See
the biggest event you attended? Gary's office Christmas party, but for sheer numbers, an Astros game. Or Al Gore - sold out. Cool.
something that didn't change at all this year? Are you kidding? Everything changed.
your favorite holiday? Christmas

Misc. questions about 2006 A.D.
were you in a hospital this year? No - spent enough time there last year w/Maddie
were you in an ambulance this year? No
did you make any big confessions in 06? No
embarrassed about anything you did this year? No
what's the best thing to happen to you this year? New job, new challenges (how's that for spin?)
did you vote this year? Yes - contributed to the Democratic change in Congress
was 2006 a great year, an average year or a bad year? It was OK
what goals did you set for 2007? I have myriad aspirations, but I like to keep those private. Less embarrassing if they don't materialize.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Things that are officially stupid:

• Girl Scout cookie training. I've done this before, and I'm not an idiot. Even though it was in another state; cookie sales in the Midwest cannot be all that different than Texas. Don't treat me like a third-grader; don't ask me to raise my hand, to note whether or note I've tasted all the cookies or if I've seen the Website, share why I'm here. Don't make me sit through other people's stupid questions (yes, despite what they told you in school, there is such thing as a stupid question). And don't ever, EVER, use the word "gee-gaw" to refer to the "product incentives" for the girls. I think the more appropriate terms is "crap."
• Making me rewrite perfectly good copy because you (who shall remain nameless) can't muddle your way through it. Your problem, not mine.
• Having two windows open at the Billionplex cinema on a day when school is not in session. I mean, really.
• Ditto the teen clothing stores at the mall. One register ain't gonna do it.
• The illegible note left on my trash can by the trash service. This is why there are boxes you can check with your "complaint," so I can decipher it. Your illegible handwriting has left me clueless as to your intent.
• Bringing a Christmas card with the wrong address not once, not twice, but THREE times. Yes, the house number is the same, but the street is not. How does "Whispering Pines Lane" look even remotely like "Ashland Landing Drive"? I'm not seeing it. Twice now I've stuck back in the mailbox, and a few days later, it reappears, like a boomerang. This time I used glowing highlighter on the address in the hopes that someone will read it.

If only this list were comprehensive. To be continued.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year: Day Two

It's only Jan. 2, but I'm already behind. This is because I secretly have other stuff to do. Especially with the girls home all day, every day, I have little free time for the computer. Because while I'm occupied here, they are occupied goodness knows where. And even while their father was home (he went back to work today), I just couldn't quite find the time.

I have big ambitions for the new year. These include finishing many, many projects around the house, doing some painting (walls only, no artwork), finishing the girls' rooms, doing some writing (beyond the magazine stuff; we're talking REAL writing). But I won't talk about the writing in any more detail; I don't like to jinx it. A friend from college has proposed a really big project, one that I am terribly excited about. And it, too, shall remain under wraps. But I have given it lots of thought, and I will be ready to begin soon, in earnest.

It's good to have goals, even though they may seem lofty. But I think if I get serious, get motivated, they can become reality. Just to add a little pressure, I've also decided to torture myself by throwing in the "eat better, get healthy" goal for 2007. Now that I've entered another decade, why not?

We have some travel plans: Germany, Chicago, Washington DC, plus Gary will probably drag us back to Missouri. I think he has a high school reunion this summer; after the last one I swore I'd never attend another, but I may relent. And then likely regret it. But I won't have to decide until summer; they like to celebrate in June.

I've set enough goals now, given myself enough aspirations that I should have time for little else in 2007, other than attaining the aforementioned goals. But what's life without a challenge?

Onward, 2007!