November 30, 2009

November 29, 2009

Buying a couch shouldn't be like this

So we need a new couch, because ours are ridiculous. We got ours from friends who moved away years ago. Are you picking up what I'm putting down? We are using used, castaway couches that were our friends' basement room couches when they gave them to us. And we've been using them for years. And they're terrible. So take that into account, and add in the fact that I want a new TV. A big sucker. Plasma. One I can hang on the wall. And you've got a recipe for couch + TV shopping. We went to just two stores, and I'm exhausted. I hate shopping. And I really hate furniture shopping. Those swarmy places that have the guy following you around. "My name is Mike. If you need me I'll be right over here." Wait 45 seconds. "Hi, my name is Mike. Let me know if you need anything." After 2 whole stores of that, I'm ready to buy any of them just to be done with it. But how can there be so many couches all costing so much money, and they're all just mediocre? Why can't I find a couch that's beautiful AND comfortable? Why? Why? Why? I ask! So I think I'm going back to store #1 tomorrow to get the mediocre charcoal microfiber sectional couch that comes with a 50" plasma. Because I just don't have the stomach for this. The good news? Beerman has mentioned getting a Playstation to go with it twice now. I've declared Beetlejuice rules on this - if he mentions it a third time, I'm all in. Because talking big screen and Playstation to me is like waving bourbon in front of someone only up to the second step. Hell, you'd think I was the dude in this house...

November 28, 2009

Dilemmas

My Christmas shopping has begun. And I've come to the painful realization that my kid has everything a 4 year old could need. And then some. I'm not into getting him a Wii as many have suggested. Because both he and I would get addicted. And that would be bad. When he goes through the catalogs, everything he wants is superhero-related. Because the kid's latest obsessions is superheroes, and he lives, eats and breathes superheroes now. I'm not into the superhero thing. Because A) He goes through obsessions like water. (Star Wars, Dinosaurs, Handy Manny...) and B) There's no way in hell the kid is getting something weapon-related. He's gotten a few gifts from others in the past that have been weapon-related, and it has gotten him in so much trouble, it's not worth even trying. He likes art stuff. But a whole Christmas of Bendaroos? There's no snow, so my bright idea of snowshoes and snow related stuff is out. Yes, I know we'll get snow eventually, but at this point, kind of hard to predict when. He loves Legos, but wants the cool sets of them, and they are only the tiny ones that are just too tiny for his chubby fingers yet. Maybe I just need to break down with the Leapster or something similar that will help him learn something. He's 4 and likes everything. It shouldn't be this stinking difficult. Sigh...

November 27, 2009

Ass-ups

We went to the farm yesterday to make merriment and eat turkey and watch football and stuff. And while everyone else was doing the football thing, Harry and I made our way out into the cold to have some fun. His version being the chasing barn cats kind. Mine was the see how many photos I could shoot before my fingers went numb kind. The farm never disappoints for great photos. But my surprise came with the shots of a few of the three-bazillion (no exaggeration at all) birdhouses Grandma has around the farm to feed and house the Cardinals and Chickadees and Ass-Ups. That's because not only do I really like how they turned out with the light and the angles, but last night over dinner we all had a great giggle remembering that Grandpa used to call the Nuthatches Ass-ups. That's because when they eat, they're, well, ass-up. And the man was nothing if not literal. So these shots come with a little more meaning than some of the others I took.

So here's to feeding and housing the Ass-Ups for the winter.

November 26, 2009

Happy Tofurkey Day Post*

In no particular order, this year I'm thankful for... My marriage,

My awesome, smart, funny, incredibly messy son, who in more ways than I can count is an exact carbon copy of his dad... A newfound love for Switzerland and all things Swiss, Having taken the time and energy to lose all that weight (even if I have gained back 5 lbs), Harry the Dirty Dog, Silliness, A top-notch slick-ass camera,

And, of course, you. (There, now I don't have to endure the "what about me?" phone calls after this post because I didn't.forget.you!)

*PETA is asking we say Tofurkey Day instead of Turkey Day. So I'm saying it, not in reverence, but because I mock. It's what I do, people. Judge if you want.

November 25, 2009

Parent-Teacher Conferences

So we had parent-teacher conferences last night. We were going to let C-man play with the neighbor kid for an hour, but the neighbor kid got sick. So we were dropping him off at the babysitter's house, but the babysitter wasn't home. (She got caught at her mom's doctor's appointment) So I went alone while Beerman took C-man to the bookstore. Fiasco averted, I walked in and sat in one of the little chairs. (Seriously, can't they set up a real table/chair for parent night?) Anyhow, he's doing really well. He has friends. Math and Reading readiness are high. He's enthusiastic and "has A LOT of personality". But apparently my kid is the class Pigpen. She said they always laugh at his cubbie at the end of the day with all the papers exploding out of it. "He plays messy, he eats messy, he puts stuff away messy" Sigh... Yes, she was indeed talking about my child. The one who looks like an explosion went off wherever he's been. I'd point the finger at his father, but he'll point the finger back at me. So we'll have to all work on that a bit more. But it was nice to hear he's doing really well on everything else. The very best part of the night, though, was seeing the grateful tree that he'd made. On it were some nice things: my Mom and Dad, when my Mom takes me shopping, my friends, Brewers, my helmet... But the best one? The one on the right... "When my Dad muchaluchas me". Seriously. What these teachers must think of us.

For a good smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgbNymZ7vqY

November 24, 2009

Happy surprises

I was going through some old photos. I have so many that I forget about some of them. So when I come across one like this, I can't help but smile. I know it's not all that well taken. It's poorly framed. The lighting stinks. But everyone is clearly so very happy that it makes me happy too. I love happy surprises like these.Now if someone can explain why my kid was orange?

November 23, 2009

One step at a time

When most people see a staircase, they go up it one step at a time. Not me. I try to take it at least two at a time. Even if it hurts. (Yes, I'm talking both literally and figuratively here.) And that's just dumb.
So lately I've been making a conscious effort to take it all one at a time. One day at a time. One step at a time. I decided I should figure out how to really enjoy what I've got while I've got it. Especially during this time of year when it can get so crazy, it's all gone without ever stopping to notice anything but the burden of it all.
So that's my new mantra. One step at a time. If you hear me mumbling it over in the corner, at least now you'll understand why.

November 22, 2009

Caught Dreaming

He was suspiciously quiet. So we went down the hall and found him paging through one of the many toy catalogs that have arrived in the mail recently. Deciding what he's going to ask for has been quite a project for him. Christmas is going to be really fun this year.

November 21, 2009

Making a list and checking it twice.

Friday night out with the family having pizza and going to a movie. Check. Saturday morning spent being lazy, going to the dog park, cleaning up the house at a leisurely pace, playing backyard baseball, getting a couple inches chopped off my hair, getting a few Christmas presents, shopping for a frame for the new family photo, taking the dog in for a bath because he rolled in his own brand of "perfume", drinking a latte, grilling out in the fabulous weather, watching a movie with the family in the house. Check. Best I can tell, all that's left for Sunday is a breakfast at Cafe Hollander and some geocaching. Okay, maybe doing a couple loads of laundry, but nothing major. I mean, nobody is packing to go anywhere Monday morning. No need to rush around for anything. Awesome.

November 19, 2009

Doing what you're good at

So there's this whole "culture shift" going on at work toward a strengths-based culture. Yeah, I know I put it in quotations. You surmise what you want from that. Anyhow, it is all about figuring out what you're good at and what energizes you and focusing on that and avoiding the energy-draining activities. So, my first step is to not clean my own toilets anymore. Because if anything is more draining... Well, maybe the endless laundry that almost makes me cry to carry up the stairs. Which makes me think I should start dropping it off at a laundromat. Hmmm... there are possibilities there. But I digress. So I'm trying to figure out what it is I'm good at and really, really like to do. Because I can name lots of things I really like to do but am not all that good at - like photography or knitting or playing piano. So those are hobbies. But things I both enjoy and am good at? So far, I've got baking, eating, writing and traveling. Since I don't know of an open position for a bakery food critic, I am going to have to spend some time on this one. Unless that bakery food critic position opens up someplace. Anyone?

November 18, 2009

Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts.

It's cold and raining. So I could complain. And trust me, in my head, I am. But instead, I'm going to give you my 5 happy thoughts of the day.
  1. I got to use the "if you don't have a smile I'll give you mine" line to my husband this morning. Such a stupid saying from my Dad, but it makes me laugh every.single.time.
  2. Today's house cleaning day. And not by me. Whoot! I lo-ove every-other-Wednesday.
  3. I just had a piece of chocolate. A really good piece of chocolate. Mmmmm...
  4. I turned in my expense report and had all of the receipts. Wait, that's not happy, that's a miracle!
  5. When I got to work, there were breakfast burritos waiting for us. I'm not that big of a fan of the breakfast burrito, but free and warm = happy me.

November 17, 2009

Getting rid of it

I've been making a concerted effort lately to purge all the crap I don't need or want. Books, glasses, clothes, old toys... it's all getting donated or thrown out or put in a proper place. So I've had a goal to get rid of a 100 things a week. I wish I could say that was hard. Seriously, I have hundreds of things I need to get rid of. I swear I'm not a hoarder. I swear it.

November 16, 2009

Kansas City BBQ

I'm in misery, uh, Missouri. You know, that place quite a bit south of where I'm living. Yeah, where it's SNOWING. Seriously. Snowing. The only redeeming quality as far as I can tell is that I'm going to get some killer bbq tonight for dinner and a Waffle House in the morning. Yes, an honest to goodness Waffle House with the black letters on little yellow squares smothered and covered Waffle House. Yee-haw! Grub me a biskit and I'm in heaven'.

November 15, 2009

Happy 11th A.Wall!

Sausage. It's what's for breakfast

Anyone with rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis doesn't think of breakfast when the term "sausage" comes up. No, ladies and gentlemen, they only think of this... I barely have knuckle wrinkles. Who knew I liked my knuckle wrinkles?

November 13, 2009

It's the little things

Sometimes it's all the little things that all roll up to make it a good day. Like Beerman finally showing up last night, exhausted, but home. And C-man being sooooo excited to see him again. And listening to them read chapters in books together. (3 books in rotation at once - Beerman claims "you're just ilke you're mother") And Harry being extra cuddly because his pack is back together. And me with a massage appointment tomorrow. And wine club tonight. (whoot!) And let's not forget, it's Friday. Can I hear a hell yeah? Oh. He-ell. Yeah.

November 12, 2009

Theme Songs

I go through each day with a song in my head. And it's rarely random. I just can't help it. It's like I have a daily theme song. So today's song? Praying for Daylight by Rascal Flatts After two weeks of Beerman being gone, he's on his way home today. C-man's a wreck without him. Think emotional on the level of a teenage boy who doesn't want to eat right or listen to anything or poop (yeah, that last one's awesome) all wrapped up in a 4 year old's body. Not to mention how much I hate having him gone. (Well, not having dirty clothes on the bathroom floor's a plus, but I can deal with that most days) So my lonely nights are over for the weekend. Beerman's coming home.

November 10, 2009

Love

Even on my worst days, I'm blessed with a pretty amazing life. Sometimes it just takes having someone else capture it in its simplest beauty to remind me of that.

November 8, 2009

Jingling the bells

Today was the annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk benefiting the Arthritis Foundation.
The weather was perfect. Two kids "walked" the whole way without complaint.
A pretty great way to spend a Sunday.

November 7, 2009

The Wait for Kate

Sometimes waiting for good things, like your cousin to show up, can feel like forever.

Last chance

It's your last chance to sign up for tomorrow's Jingle Bell Run/Walk benefiting the Arthritis Foundation at the Milwaukee County Zoo. It starts around 8:30, and is totally over by 10. Enough time to have a great morning on a fabulously beautiful day with the animals at the zoo while contributing to an amazing cause and still have the whole day to yourself. And hey, if you can't come, then you're more than welcome to pony up!

November 6, 2009

What's your superpower?

Over the years, I've had a lot of superpowers. I was a good athlete. I was good in school. Eventually, those things translated into me being adaptable and quick on my feet - both mentally and physically. I learned to be really good at my jobs. (Well, except for that one, but that's a different post for a different day.) Then I made a child. And made milk for him for a year. (And if you don't think THAT'S a superpower, you've clearly never done it.)
But lately, I've felt, well, superpower-less. Blame it on the pain. Blame it on feeling like there's too much to do. Blame it on a husband who is stressed out too and can't be home much lately. Blame it on the fact I've resorted to doing too much whining. Blame it on the freaking 5 pounds I.gained.back.from.being.totally.stupid. Whatever it is, I've become totally superpower-less.
And then this morning C-man and I were having this great conversation at Starbucks. (He has the day off, and I'm working from home, so we took a break with some chocolate milk and a coffee cake) He's only 4.5, but the things that come out of his mouth always amaze me.
And so I realized, maybe I haven't lost my superpowers. Maybe I've just loaned them to my son. And that, well, that's pretty much okay with me.

November 5, 2009

Secretly Swiss

I've been thinking about Switzerland a lot lately. Well, since the second I left back in September, actually. And it's borderline obsessive. I think I'm secretly Swiss. I love the food, the people, the mountains, the chocolate... oh, the chocolate, and even the clean dirt. Now let me clarify. I have Swiss blood. Great-grandpa Louis was born there. (Best I can tell, he was born in Naters, but lived in Moutiers. Which is interesting, one being German and the other French.) But I think it's so much more than that. While we were there, Beerman made the comment, "You might have some Swiss lineage, but I think you're ALL Swiss inside." And I'm pretty sure he's right.

Let me 'splain.

During some of my obsessive reading on Switzerland and its people, I've discovered the following are general character traits of the Swiss:

  • Hedgehog mentality. Confronted with danger, a hedgehog will convolve and show its pricks.
  • Perfectionism, precision and punctuality. Or, as I like to think of it, complete competence.
  • Multiculturalism and multilinguism. Check.
See? I am perfectly Swiss. Except for the German or French or Romansh speaking parts. But I could learn those quickly, I swear it. I felt like every breath I breathed in was meant just for me. Somehow fit in my lungs more perfectly than anywhere else on earth. Sigh. Now if I only had enough money...

November 3, 2009

Self-justifying stories

Maybe it's because I teach groups on the topic and am on the lookout for it. But lately, I've been hearing so many self-justifying stories, I could smack someone upside the head. And THAT would be justified. I'm talking about those stories people tell that justify their choices or bad behavior. Sometimes they're little. Sometimes they're big. But they always add up. So I have to ask, do these people really believe the story they're telling me as to WHY that HAS to happen? Why they HAD to be such a jerk? Why THEY were more important than me? Why THEIR time is more important than mine? Why they have to have it this way because it would inconvenience THEM to do it any other way? Go sell your crap somewhere else. Because I'm calling "bullshit" on all of it.

November 2, 2009

Punkin Bars

A couple of weeks ago, C-man wanted to get a pie pumpkin to make something. So I grabbed my Blackberry, googled pumpkin bar recipe, and Paula Dean's recipe came up. They were a total hit. I made them again this weekend, and everyone at work is enjoying them thoroughly. They're more cake than bars, but super moist, which must be why they're considered bars. And this is a Paula Dean recipe, so don't even look at it if you're trying to cut calories... For your eating pleasure: Ingredients: 4 eggs 1 2/3 C sugar 1 C oil 15 ozs pumpkin (I used real pumpkin with a sweet potato pureed in it) 2 C flour 2 t baking powder 2 t cinnamon (I prefer 4 t) 1 t salt 1 t baking soda Icing: 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

November 1, 2009

And THAT is how you fill a day

We got up and went to the dogpark. Since Harry got completely filthy, we made our way to Community Bark for a latte and a wash.
Trick or treating started at 2:30, so my Jedi and clean Darth Dog got ready to go. And candy was every.where.
Then we got home, changed clothes, and made our way north. Of course, there was no exit to take a decent shot during one of the most beautiful sunsets ever. So you get the blurry shot as we are going 75 mph.
But it was to get to Wild Rose to see Pacelli v Wild Rose on time
And see Kyle play too.
It wasn't the prettiest game ever fought, but it's football, and you thankfully don't get points for pretty.
The end of game huddle
With both brothers
Today, we're going to lie low. C-man's got a nasty cough, and I'm feeling a bit gross too.