Friday, January 30, 2009

Babies, Babies, Everywhere - Almost

Wednesday I started reading Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner. I took it with me to my GYN appointment. The nurse noticed my book and said it was really good, or at least based on her reading two other Weiner novels, the book must be good. It is entertaining, as chick lit is meant to be, but everyone in this story is pregnant, except one poor lady, but I haven't gotten to the details yet. So, back to my GYN appointment, my extremely perky doctor, who I usually love, decided to fill in all the blanks on my medical history. Great. She briskly reviewed everything, I nodded and smiled. There are a few things there that I don't think about very often because the experiences were painful, literally and figuratively.

I have had two miscarriages. I lost my very first pregnancy on Easter day at my in-laws house. I lost my fourth pregnancy on Dec 22nd, during a Christmas season when I had just been pushing myself to do too much. The doctor glossed over these miscarriages, and showed me the computer screen , on which I noticed the miscarriages were classified as "spontaneous abortions". How horrible. I was stunned. One minute I am just trying to get through this appointment, the next minute I am reliving the trauma of the D&C. That doctor was either incredibly insensitive, or has never experienced a loss of pregnancy. Miscarriage is not something to be brought up, confirmed, and shuffled away. Not to the woman who experienced it, at least. I was suddenly plunged back into those memories and at a moment I least expected it.

I don't think a woman can ever forget a miscarriage. I wonder about those little lives, those heartbeats that slowly stopped fluttering inside of me. No extensive research was done on my body to find out why. Of course, I have a theory blaming my hormone levels since I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism after the birth of my first baby. With every successive pregnancy, I held my breath, wondering if this one would make it. There were always close calls, always a rush to L&D to reaffirm the little heartbeat was still there. And now, at the end of my child-bearing road, I have three beautiful, healthy children that I love so much it hurts. God is good.

So, reading this book tonight, about these pregnant women, must have triggered some deep feelings from my doctor's visit. I went into the kitchen to refresh my coffee just now, and my husband heard me sigh and asked if I had finished my book. No, I told him, it's full of pregnant women. Then I found myself in the kitchen blinking back tears as I grabbed the milk from the fridge. I do not want to have any more babies. I wonder about the ones that were taken away so quickly. There is a lingering sadness, that dwells on some level of my mind and spirit, connected to these two little babies. I'm not sure I can finish this book.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Things

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you. (Thanks Ang!)

This will be easy, since this is my semi-secret blog! Here are 25 totally random things about me. I will try to make them interesting.

  1. I start my day with a cup of coffee every day, but I rarely get to drink the whole thing.
  2. My favorite shirt color is robin's egg blue.
  3. I think in written sentences.
  4. I am horrible in confrontation because I always start crying.
  5. I never take my mascara off, or at least I put it back on right after I remove it.
  6. I dream of what my single life would be like.
  7. I hate to watch television for hours at a time, but my husband loves it.
  8. I enjoy Bollywood movies when I can invest the time. (kind of contradicts #7!)
  9. I will not let my children see a book-based movie without first reading the book.
  10. I look at license plates while I am driving and make them into words.
  11. I hate competition so sometimes I let people win, especially Scrabble.
  12. I know how to cross-stitch but I don't get to because of my tendinitis.
  13. I was once a top-level manager for a premiere fitness company, before I developed tendinitis.
  14. I am not a good cook without a lot of preparation and effort.
  15. I can play the guitar very ill indeed.
  16. I love to sing when I am alone in the car.
  17. My toenails are always painted, and I do my own pedicures.
  18. I love country music and always beg my husband to put on some tight jeans and a big belt buckle. (he always refuses!)
  19. I read part of my Jane Austen treasury every day at lunch.
  20. I have a Sudoku book but all the easy ones are done, so I cheat a little by filling in the grid from the answers at the back.
  21. Documentaries are one of my most favorite things to watch.
  22. I grew up watching the Three Stooges on late-night TV.
  23. I had a big poster of Sonny Crockett on my wall when I was 12. (seems odd now)
  24. I never wear hats because I get awful hat hair.
  25. I eat chocolate every day. I need it. I am not kidding.

Hope that wasn't too boring! I'm sure later I will think of better things I could have written!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just Some Thoughts

Yesterday was library day. I checked out mainly chick lit and devoured one novel throughout the day, Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella. This is also the author of the Shopaholic novels, which were originally what I was searching for, but there were none on the shelves. I usually avoid chick lit, so I am not expecting a whole lot of plot or really great phrase turning, mostly I just want to be entertained. Remember Me? is an excellent novel to entertain. Two thumbs up, I couldn't put it down all afternoon! I also checked out some Jennifer Weiner novels, and the more literary Anne Tyler.

I love the fact that my children look forward to a library trip. We all spent productive time reading, playing with puzzles, perusing the stacks, and came home with a bag full of goodies that are ours alone for the next 21 days.

Not much else has been going on here. I am still in limbo, waiting for results, on our charter school applications and our Washington trip tickets. I am not used to depending on other people to green light me for something I want, how typical of our generation! I have found myself being quiet and grouchy with my husband, and then I realized last night I was experiencing PMS. sigh. No that's not an excuse, actually it is very rare for me to feel like this, so I think the waiting is influencing me, too. I need to be more vigilant, make more effort to keep my attitude positive.

I am really enjoying this Facebook thing. I have gotten in touch with a couple friends from ages ago who are truly excited to know how we have been all these years. That's a pleasant feeling, to know someone is happy to see you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Epiphany

Many of my friends have a Facebook profile and they were always telling me I should "get one, too!" I have a MySpace profile and I didn't feel a need to get another profile. However, I started realizing that I was missing out on events and conversations that were being referenced, so I caved and created a Facebook profile.

When I was growing up, I was a complete nerd. I was smart but I was very awkward-looking. My hair is naturally curly and we always lived in areas of high humidity. My parents made me keep my hair short, and with all the moisture in the air, I ended up sporting an Afro from Kindergarten through my freshman year of high school. Not a great look at that time, although I see many kids with them now. Anyway, I was never one of the "cool" kids, in fact, if I was horribly teased and learned to laugh at myself, to avoid the public humiliations from being too severe. Well, I no longer have that Afro. I am no longer the awkward-looking girl.

On Facebook, people register with their real name, supposedly, and I was bored one night (don't judge me, you know you've done it too!) and I searched some names from junior high and high school. What do you know, but the coolest guy from Junior high was there! This is the guy that I let cheat off my science quiz so he would pass the the class. He would talk to me in class, but outside class, acted like I was invisible. Fine. He was the ultimate cool guy, with tight jeans, Van Halen t-shirts, and spiky hair, and don't forget the huge high-top sneakers unlaced. And there he was. And there I was. So I emailed him.

I told him, "you probably don't remember me..." and he responded to add him as one of my friends. I doubt he remembers me, there was no personal note, no "oh yeah..." Whatever, at least now I could see his profile. His pictures of himself. Well, let me just say, the spell was broken. Here he is, 30 years later, aged along with the rest of us, beer-belly and receding hairline. I always imagine dhim married to some tall, gorgeous blonde, but he's not. His profile friends are mostly girls I recognize from junior high. Let's just say, this guy peaked at 13.

One reason I emailed him was so that he could see MY pictures. My handsome husband, my lovely redheads, and my long curly locks. Who knows what he thinks, but I know the name "Afro-turf" and "Bird-Nest" will never apply to me again. I felt like I wanted to prove something to him, but in the end, I bet his pictures proved a lot more to me. I don't need to show my picture to all those bullies and horrible "cool" people from my past. I can be happy with who I am now, resting in the fact that all those past experiences made me who I am today. Just as they made him who he is today. Closure, good for the heart, good for the soul.

Monday, January 19, 2009

List of Books Read for Novel Reading Month

That's right, just a list. Here are the books I have finished so far.

  1. The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald
  2. The Penderwicks, Birdsall
  3. The Jane Austen Book Club, Fowler

What I am reading now: two Agatha Christie mysteries, The Pale Horse and After the Funeral

As of January 27th, I have finished four more books.

  1. The Pale Horse, by Agatha Christie (I figured this one out right away)
  2. After the Funeral by Agatha Christie (did not figure this one out)
  3. Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie (my favorite one, very difficult to figure out)
  4. Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella (entertaining chick lit, devoured this in one day)

I wasn't sure I would make the gold ten books read, but I think I might! I have a couple Anne Tylers and Jennifer Weiners to read this week.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The First Friday

Today is Thursday, or what my dh refers to as, the first Friday. This means tonight is a night to stay up late, or run errands, basically start getting ready for the weekend.

Our plans for the weekend were pretty slim. Friday night we have a commitment at our new church. I want to go and take the older kids with me so they can hang out with their friends. We only see these people once a week and I never stay around long after service. This will be a good opportunity for us all to get to know each other.

DH has jazz practice all morning Saturday so I had planned to drive out to my mother's with the kids. She lives about 30 minutes away in a college town that is pleasant to walk around, and also has a huge library at which my card will work. The kids enjoy getting a strawberries and cream and checking out the expensive toy store.

Sunday is church, as usual, that's not even a question unless one of us is sick.

However, my father called this afternoon to say he is driving out tomorrow due to his uncle being admitted to a nursing home after ankle surgery. This uncle is 80 years old and my father wants to take advantage of this time to see him a bit, just in case he doesn't get well. My father always stays with us, no problem. But, he asked me to accompany him to see our uncle. The home is a few hours away, and obviously I cannot take the kids. This throws our weekend into upheaval, a necessary upheaval though.

I called DH to tell him about the proposed plan, and he informed me that he may need to work after his practice. Wow. We could really, really use some overtime pay! I told him to absolutely work, that I will handle getting the kids taken care of, but he MUST work! Maybe we can split the child care between a friend and my MIL, we'll see. The priority is visiting my uncle. I am also looking forward to spending some solo time with my father during the drive.

Thankfully our plans are some that I have no firm hold on. We can still Netflix and stay up late. With my father sleeping on the couch, the romance aspect of the weekend is somewhat dampened, that's for sure! But on the whole, I am taking all the changes in stride. I just need to get my housework and grocery shopping done before my father gets here!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday is Book Review Day

I have decided that around here, Wednesdays will be book review day. Today I will review the novels I finished for the January contest, but hopefully in the future I can offer more productive or practical books. But then again, maybe not.

First, I finished The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall. I read this YA fiction novel to see if it would interest my kids as a read-aloud book for homeschool. The main characters are a family of young girls who have very different yet creative personalities. I enjoyed the writing and most of the time I was anxious to know what would happen next. The family is without a mother, she died of cancer, and the father is vaguely present due to his interest in botany. The family is vacationing on the property of a wealth woman and her young son, in a cottage rented out seasonally. The mother is unpleasant but her son makes friends with the girls. My biggest problem with the girls is that they were always breaking rules or being completely disrespectful. The author portrays these issues as good, but to me the representations were frustrating and not fun to read. Am I too old for this book? Maybe. But I sure won't be reading it to my children. I am going to keep looking and hopefully find some better role models who don't get into so much trouble due to their disobedience or disrespect.

Second, I finished The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler. My husband raised his eyebrows at me when I mentioned I was reading this because he knows (we Netflixed the movie but didn't watch it) that there is a lesbian storyline. Ok, yes, there is. It's a book, not a movie. But I did feel like I should being using my mind filter a little better. Anyway, there was nothing graphic, so there. Overall, the characters are interesting, but the Austen imitations were a bit much for me. I definitely felt as though some of the storylines and personalities were copied from Austen books. I am sure this was the authors intent, however, I didn't enjoy it. I can't put my finger on exactly why this took away from the novel, maybe because it was done in wisps, and I think if that is part of the purpose of the novel it should be done with great big thumbprints. The storyline was good, I really wanted a happy ending for most of the characters.

Is this a good book review? No, I don't think so. But I will research what makes a good book review and do a better one next Wednesday.

As a postscript, I blew the Blogging Month contest because I missed a couple days. Seriously I could not think of anything worth writing about. This blog has so little personality and focus, it can be overwhelming. I'm sticking to it though! I will persevere and make this place more appealing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Don't Know, Sometimes...

Even though I am adult, sometimes things happen and suddenly I feel like an awkward adolescent or the jerky young adult that I was. I have to remind myself that I am NOT that person anymore and I would NEVER do those things again. Sometimes, repercussions of things that happened years and years ago, not even anything that I did, still affect my day. That's how it feels right now. I have to blog something, so I'm just blogging my state of mind. This would be a night that I would just go to bed and toss and turn, but thanks to NaBloPoMo, here I am. Cathartic? Mmm, no. I am just biding my time until the kids are in bed and I can really talk to my husband. Sigh.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Morning Routine

On a perfect morning during the week, I get up at least an hour ahead of the kids. I roll out of bed without waking my nightly sneaker-in, Mr. M, and stuff my feet into my slippers while grabbing my cozy red sweater. I walk through the house, opening curtains, possibly windows if it is warmer outside than in, which here in Southern California, that's normal. My pre-progammed Gevalia coffeepot offers me a hot cup of delicious joe, and I settle into my favorite chair to read the Daily Bread and chapter of Proverbs that corresponds to the date. If I am still the only one awake after this, I refill my mug and settle back into my chair with a book of some kind, or I just spend time praying for the day, my husband, the kids, anything that comes into my mind. As the minutes tick by, my thoughts turn towards breakfast.

Without fail, once I think about breakfast, one by one the kids wake up and come stumbling into the living room to find me. I greet each warm bedhead with a kiss and a cuddle, ask if they had "good mimi", and acknowledge that my quiet time is over.

Once all the redheads are awake, we head into the kitchen for a group preparation of breakfast. On the best days, I have everything to make pancakes, on the worst day we have cold cereal. Our conversation revolves around dreams, plans for the day, and school. We all scurry off to get dressed and meet up again after beds are made to discuss what is next. Usually we start school, or if I am not quite ready for that, we head out to run errands, probably including a stop at the park.

Of course, due to late nights and broken sleep, I rarely get this morning. I am usually jiggled awake by someone crawling across my bed, or poked awake by a constant, "mommy" and a waft of child morning breath. Nonetheless, I still get my hot coffee and devotional on the run. The kiss and cuddle are doled out in a row. Breakfast is still a group effort, with more whine than not. Yet, I still enjoy the walk-through. I enjoy waking the house by opening the curtains, ushering in the fresh air breezes, and greeting the day while in my slippers.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another Reading Challenge!

I am becoming addicted to another blog, Reading Adventures, just for finding new reading challenges. I found one today to read 100 books this year, 2009. I have never kept track of any books I read on any kind of list, so this should be fun. I don't know how many books I usually read in a year!

To start, here is the list for this month:

  1. Tender is the Night, Fitzgerald

  2. After the Funeral, Christie

  3. The Pale Horse, Christie

  4. Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lewis

More to come.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Seasons Change - Finally!

I am so happy to say that tomorrow is our first day back on our regular schedule. My dh is off to work after a ten day vacation, the kids are back to home school, and I can put my homemaker hat more firmly on my head. I thrive on a routine. I need a routine. Tomorrow is a great, great day and I am so excited!

On my agenda for tomorrow is ridding the house of all holiday decorations. Dh wants to wait until Tuesday, but I honestly feel like one more day of that pathetic Christmas tree will make me scream! I want all the tablecloths with snowmen melted away, and no one better dare to turn on those window lights tonight, or I will FREAK OUT! Yes, the holidays are over and not one day too soon for me.

My menu planning efforts now have to be in full swing if I am to stay ahead of the game. Did I roast my chickens? Yes, I did! Unfortunately, I was out of freezer bags, so one chicken is wrapped tightly in foil waiting to be picked clean. I roasted the other one for dinner tonight, a much-needed change from nachos - ugh.

Since I homeschool, every meal requires kitchen time. Breakfast this week is cold cereal, unless someone prefers instant oatmeal. My dh and I are doing the Special K for breakfast diet plan, except we are eating the store brand cereal. My lunch this week will be Slim-Fast, the Target store brand, which I love. I know my weight is teetering on the brink and I need to get it snapped back under 150. Lunch for the kids will be Top Ramen. They love those noodles and my cupboard is stocked full of them! Dinner will be bit more difficult. I'm planning lots of rice and vegetables, some red meat, maybe a pork roast from the freezer. I think we're all tired of the Mexican food gluttony that has gone on this past month!

My only other thoughts are on homeschool issues. First day back and all the fun plans I have to make, everything is full of hope right now. Fresh new year, inhale deep, exhale, looking good!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Novel #1 is Finished!

Today I finished The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. My favorite line was about wet moonlight soaking the tangled clothes on the floor. Wow. I want to read some good critical essays about this book to completely understand why it is considered one of the best pieces of American literature ever written. I enjoyed the themes and the plot, good food for thought woven throughout, but I want to really get it. You know? I would love to sit down with an English professor and just let them explain everything about this book that makes it so highly regarded. Anyway, here is my first winner badge for the Just Read More Novels monthly contest, which is here: (still trying to figure out this hyperlink thing!)

Yay! I think I will cozy up to one of my Agatha Christie mysteries next.

Friday, January 2, 2009

National Read a Novel Month

January is National Read a Novel Month, according to some. I have discovered every month has some type of reading or writing challenge associated with it. Is this new? I can always use inspiration to read and write more. I'm determined to read ten novels this month so I can post the big badge on my blog! Check out livebythefoma.blogspot for more details. (sorry I don't know how to hyperlink, yet!) My dh just started reading Fellowship of the Ring and I told him if he finishes it, I will post a badge for him on my blog, too.
I checked out some novels from the library today to get started. I wanted to pick a few that I wouldn't normally read, so there is a fantasy novel,

and also work on my literary goal for the year, so there is my F. Scott Fitzgerald, but also read some I just want to read, so there is Agatha Christie.

See my starting list below. Last year's winner read 13? Bring it, honey!

  1. Prophecy:The Blending by Sharon Green

  2. Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie

  3. The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie

  4. After the Funeral by Agatha Christie

  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  6. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  7. The Sempster's Tale by Margaret Frazer

  8. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

These are just to start. I am a very fast reader, and yes, I do comprehend and remember what I read. Last weekend I devoured a Grisham in one afternoon. Of course I had to burrow deep into my blanket and let the family fend for themselves for a while, but, hey, it was my vacation, too.

On my nightstand is a Slate diary entries book that I am thoroughly enjoying. The chapters are blog entries from various people in various lines of work and I love to unwind to their daily lives after my own. I am also still working through Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen. I love the language and the imagery.

We are starting back on our home school schedule next week, so I checked out some new chapter books for the kids' read-aloud time. First we are heading onto the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis. I know the movie is coming out soon and I prefer to have read the book before seeing it. Considering how poorly Hollywood interpreted Prince Caspian, I have low hopes for the next installment. Sigh. I love to read. I love books. I love words.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

And so it begins...

Day One of 2009 has been spent mostly on the couch watching football. DH made the comment that it is so funny to start a new year full of hope and energy, with a day off work. I asked him what his thoughts or goals were for this new year, usually he has none, and his response was, "Lose weight". Ah, yes. The classic, the stand-by, the one uttered by many, many people on this day. Maybe he will. I told him he could get a jump rope like me.

So, one of my goals is to get my freezer stocked via Freezer Gourmet, and start some progress on the meal-planning aspirations I have. Right now, I have two roasting chickens, that I bought on sale, thawing out in my fridge. My plans is to cook one for a meal tomorrow, and cook the other at the same time, but just to get the meat in the freezer. A bag of cooked chicken has so much potential. I think that is a great start.

Another issue I have with meal planning is making menus. This is difficult right now with our regular schedule being thrown off with the holiday. DH will be home until Monday, so I'll be leaning heavily on getting all the leftovers eaten. There is a crock pot full of nacho cheese in my fridge right now, and a huge bag of tortilla chips on my table. By Monday, these should be gone. And we will all hate the sight of cheese. I have a carnitas roast we will be making sopes with tomorrow. See that? I have planned a roast chicken for tomorrow, too. Hm. Maybe I will have two bags of cooked chicken in my freezer, since I do need to get those chickens cooked. This is why I need help. I need a notebook to keep my plans straight.

Good thing I have so many notebooks laying around. Isn't that a mark of a writer? Talk about potential! I love notebooks, note pads, list pads, any stack of paper bound together by glue or spiral, speaks hope and invites words. But, I digress. See? I need to focus. So, I'm off to read the Freezer Gourmet daily digest from Yahoo Groups. Maybe later I will post a menu for next week.