Monday, March 30, 2009

Hump the Bump

Saturday morning: Chili Peppers 'n' pancake prep.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My kind of spring cleaning

I am not talking about the real kind of spring cleaning (heaven forfend). I am lucky if I remember to change the sheets regularly, and our windows haven't been washed in at least two years.

But even though it's still freezing cold, with snow predicted for the next two days, I am on an out-with-the-old roll lately. I am mercilessly cutting Bloglines subscriptions; I just can't follow over 100 blogs anymore (but I'm sure yours is still on there). We are meeting with the accountant today to finally wrap up our 2008 taxes. I am changing my habits by shredding every day and being more thoughtful about what I eat. I am actually keeping alive the two new plants that recently came to live in our house. I am itching to put away my sweaters and corduroys in favor of skirts and t-shirts.

I can't decide what to do with all of the baby and maternity clothes, though. I know I am placing a lot of pressure on myself to make a decision, but it's driving me crazy to have all this stuff around. If we're done, I'd like to try to move on, to celebrate the new time and space it might create in our lives while also mourning the babies, real and imagined, we'll never have. If we're not done, well, time's a-wasting, you know? Limbo is just not a place I like to be.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thunder rerun

This is from almost exactly two years ago. The weather today is the same as it was when I wrote it, so I am reposting it today.

Two years ago this week, I bumped into a neighbor who's married to an ob-gyn. Making small talk about my impending delivery, I said I hoped the coming full moon would do the trick. "Or maybe we'll get a thunderstorm," she replied.

I'd never heard that before, but she swore that she, her husband, and his colleagues over the years had noticed a significant uptick in births during and just after storms. Thunderstorms are a summer phenomenon, I thought; the snow is just barely receding. There's no way we'll get one now.

Sure enough, a few days later thunder clapped through the sky, lightning flashed, slashing rain fell, my dog curled into a tiny ball, trembling and panting. And my baby ... stayed firmly put. He didn't emerge until more than a week later.

Tonight we ushered in spring with a rousing storm. This time, no restless baby kicking at my insides, keeping me guessing on when he'd come and who he'd be. Now a toddler demanding "more boom!" Now a tiny boy following his big sister's lead, hovering over a terrified dog, patting and soothing. "Okay, Fah-ee. Okay." Now a blond head nodding to sleep on my shoulder as the lightning bursts through the window blinds. Now my own Opie.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Driving along in my automobile. Well, someone's.

Last month Nancy reminisced about cars in her past, and I commented that, even at my advanced age, I've never had my own car, not counting the ones I now share with my husband. In high school I had to walk, borrow from my parents, and even (horrors!) had a babysitter whose main job function was to drive me and my younger siblings around after school.

I went to college in West Philadelphia where a car was unnecessary and expensive, not to mention a certain target for theft and destruction. Then I moved to Manhattan--same situation, multiplied a few dozen times.

Apparently I moved in with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, just to get my hands on his car keys.

Still, when I was a magazine editor I went on two trips to test-drive cars. The first one was for Buick Regal and GM put us up at a very swanky hotel (no wonder they are out of money now). I spent a couple of days driving the car around a parking lot with all kinds of simulated hazards. During an evening cocktail party with the GM PR people I let slip that I lived in New York and hadn't actually been behind the wheel of a car in four or five years. PR man almost choked on his hors d'oeuvre.

That one trip made me an expert in test driving, apparently, so my editor also sent me to Alaska to preview a Volvo station wagon. And just to emphasize the ruggedness of the car which is now, in fact, my own mommymobile, I also learned how to shoot a rifle and go salmon fishing (with hip waders and everything). Besides seeing Alaska for the first and so far only time, I also got to meet a lot of blond Swedish dudes.

These days, the blonds I share my car with are the ones I gave birth to; and I will be happy to trade my four wheels for two as soon as it's warm enough to get out my bike again. But if anyone wants to send me to Sweden (or Santa Fe, or Seattle, or frankly, Stroudsburg) to check out the latest offerings, my bags can be packed in a matter of minutes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Mad Family

Mad drawing skillz, that is!

The assignment was to draw a self-portrait, so Opie drew himself "with a mad face" (top left; apparently also with some kind of bunny ear/mohawk thing going on. And also he's holding a sword, one that "shoots needles"). Then he required everyone else to draw a Mad self-portrait. Jo is on the upper right with the unibrow. Jeff is at the bottom left, being shot by a needle and shouting at the sword-bearer. Also he's on fire. I am on the far right with angry eyebrows and bared teeth. And in the bottom center, Jo's "surprise" look.

Here's what I found irksome the other day: Our grocery store changed its policy on reusable bags. They no longer offer a 5-cent rebate for each bag you supply--only their branded bags count. I don't use the reusables for the cash, but come on! What a stupid policy.

And you?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shamrock shred*

Two weeks down, two to go! I weighed myself on the Wii Fit the other day and I am down about two pounds. I don't think that is particularly meaningful because I have no idea what I was wearing the first time I weighed myself, or what time of day it was, or whether I ate a big plate of corned beef and cabbage that day (um, no). But it's always nice to see that graph sloping downward, and to hear a little bit of positive feedback from the chirpy little board.

I've been shredding faithfully, except for the day my kid was sick and my neck was sore, and also today because I worked myself into a lather hosting book club last night (and I did do a challenging yoga class today).

As I commented at Hot By Blogher, I think this will be the biggest lesson learned from drill sgt. Jillian (aside from "If 400-lb people can do jumping jacks, so can you"): Yes, I do have at least 25 minutes a day to devote to exercise. I may not (oh, who am I kidding with the may) continue the daily shred past these 30 days, but I can mix it in with everything else and use it on days when I am crunched (ha, or planked) for time or when I need a boot-camp tune-up.

*I am prefixing everything with "shamrock" today, BTW. Whatever random leftovers we have for dinner (much like the randomness of this post) will be dubbed "Shamrock salad," "Shamrock stew," and so on. It's gonna be huge.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Almost as cute as that sneezing baby panda

We went to an "open barn" at a lamb farm yesterday to check out the itty bitty lambies, ranging from 12 hours to a few weeks old. Here are some with their own little mini-Snuggies:

The kids got to hold one that was about two weeks old:

And here's a similar scene, with sound effect:

The teenage kids who help raise these animals are the fifth generation to live at this farm and raise sheep.

Of course, we only found out after we'd fallen in love with the cute wittle babies that this breed is raised for meat, not wool. And after we toured the barn, we were invited inside the house for some samples of ... lamb stew.

Faaaaaaarm livin' is the life for me! Um, maybe not.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

There oughtta be a law...

...against kids being home sick from school more than two days in one week.

...against bagged salad containing any of those yucky rib pieces.

...against the temperature being below 10 degrees F in March.

...subsidizing home delivery of groceries to mothers stuck at home with kids horking up their body weight in snot on an hourly basis.

Can you tell what my week has been like? I have such bad cabin fever that I am actually looking forward to a PTA meeting tonight.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WW: The show must go on

Jo, far right, as an Oompa Loompa. Moments before she exited, stage left, to puke in a trash can backstage.

I am so dense when it comes to realizing that my children are sick.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How did I end up in Mayberry, anyway?

Get the answer in my guest post at Midwest Parents!

Thanks, Heather, for the invitation and the warm welcome.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Spells R-E-L-I-E-F

  • "Take savasana."

  • "That concludes our winter pledge drive here on public radio."

  • "One minute of abs and we are out of workout 1."*

  • "The 3-hour meeting was cancelled."

  • "OK, you can empty your bladder now."

  • "You'll be getting a tax refund this year."

  • [Child:] "Zzzzzzz."

*Forgive me, mother(hood uncensored), for I have skipped a day of shredding. I tweaked my neck somehow--not from the Shred--so I gave myself yesterday off. Today, though, it's back on. Even though I have company at home (a kid waiting out her "24 hours fever-free" quarantine).

Friday, March 06, 2009

What happens when your 1st grader is in a classroom with 3rd graders

Better yet, I taught her the version of the song that I remember, the one about the naked ladies dancing and the hole in the wall. Oops.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Sturgeon stein, frankenfish

I can't believe I almost missed writing about sturgeon season. It has been a source of endless fascination for me since we moved here. The arcane rules, the family tradition, the regionality--it hooks me right in (HA).

This year I hadn't had anything new to say. Plus I was so disappointed: Our next-door neighbor speared a 68-pound fish this season, and he even came over to see if we were home so he could show it to the kids (he didn't know I would have been so much more into it than them). Alas, we weren't around and by the time we found out about his big catch, the beast was already filleted and filling up the freezer.

As a consolation prize, Jeff got me this beer glass. Now is that true love or what?


Over at The Full Mommy today, I have a Parent Bloggers Network review of the most adorable (unlike sturgeon--they will win no marine beauty contests) Sylvania PalPODzzz rocket-ship nightlight/flashlight. A flashlight equipped with LED bulbs and NO batteries? Very space-age.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My jet set friend

Recently one of my oldest friends came to town on a cheering-up mission (oldest as in, I'm not going to do the math because the answer will scare me). It was a perfect girls' weekend--dinner out, a night at a hotel, a yoga class, a little window-shopping, a theater outing. She happened to be here the night of the Oscar broadcast so we watched that together.

Oh, and we got pampered at a spa too, thanks to a Christmas gift from my husband that proved far more valuable than he ever imagined it would. I wrote about the spa in a guest post at my friend Anne's blog, The Jet Set Girls--where you can get all kinds of insider beauty and travel tips.

R. and I live almost exactly 1,000 miles apart, but we make it work. We don't talk every day anymore like we did in high school (you know, debriefing the day that we spent almost entirely in each other's company) or email many times a week like we did before kids (she has three and the hottest topic of our nonstop chatter was whether either of us is brave enough to go for one more). But she came to visit me here in Mayberry when Opie was only a few months old. My kids and I went to see her when she was juggling a brand-new baby and two older boys by herself thanks to a horribly ill-timed National Guard deployment for her husband. We've managed to meet up on business trips to New York (mine) and Chicago (her husband's).

Jobs, houses, and hometowns may come and go, but your best girlfriends? You can always count on.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Cheddar shredder

In the interest of research into the latest fitness trends, and also in the interest of losing this post-pregnancy gut, I am trying the 30-day Shred.

I'm not brave enough to post "before" pictures of myself (also, I stink at taking pictures into a mirror anyway) like Kristen, but here are my start-up stats:

Code Name: Flabbyberry

Tag Line: Wholesome is as wholesome shreds.

Current weight: 135 (so says Wii Fit).

Goal: Wear pants, buttoned, without unsightly muffin-top or angry red welts (seriously. ouch).

Diet Plan: Nothing in particular--just be sensible. Be cognizant of portion sizes and sugar intake (my particular Achilles heels).

Rules: No eating after 8 p.m. Only one latte/week (I can't stand the sugar-free kind).

Shred Plan: Starting with Level One daily, 3-lb. hand weights. Plus: power vinyasa yoga, 75 minutes, twice a week.

Off to do my first workout!

... pant ... pant ... gasp ... jiggle ...

OK, I'm back (wasn't that SO EASY!). Actually, it was very hard, but I got through it, more or less. It's short. Even though each individual segment feels crazy long (case in point: push-ups) you really don't do anything for more than a minute or two. (But you know those two minutes are tough when hitting the floor for crunches feels like a nice break.)

Comfortably zipped non-mom jeans: HERE I COME.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Time for an ideas meeting

As an editor, I had to attend my share of stultifying meetings. Anything with the word "analysis" or "budget" or "strategic" in the title would usually fall into that category. But we had fun meetings too. The whole editorial staff would gather, ostensibly to generate ideas for articles and columns for the magazine/website. Really, we would spend a couple of hours complaining about our kids/husbands/friends/hair/thighs. The ideas were simply a byproduct of the bitch session.

Wouldn't it be great if we could all get together and have a blog ideas meeting? At my fitness site, I have a list of ideas a mile long, because I have a particular topic to target. Here, the wide-open space overwhelms me.

Back when I had to come up with a batch of ideas to present at a meeting, I'd start by thinking I had nothing. But then I'd force myself to sit down and brainstorm and sooner or later I'd have something written down, enough to get me in the door of the meeting.

I don't like to think of this blog as a job. It's not (and in fact I am so tired of reading about marketing yourself, the business of blogging, blahdeblahblah--even though I know that I really need to do all that on my fitness site if I am ever to earn a living wage from it). But I still think I might have to summon myself to an offsite ideas meeting to liven up this place a bit. I might even treat myself to doughnuts to make sure I arrive on time.

P.S. The other good meetings were coverline meetings. You know, where we came up with new, creative ways to promise to solve problems with 5 steps or 11 tips or 49 steals and deals. Numbers sell, baby!

P.P.S. Most of the blog-as-brand posts have been very good. They just always give me a case of the (self-imposed) "shoulds."