Monday, January 30, 2012

Pictures of Me That Other People Like

I took this while I was waiting in the car for dh. We were on our way to my cousin's house to watch football, nothing fancy. I was really just messing around and I posted it on FB. My dad saw it and swears it is the best picture of me that he has ever seen. Too funny! I was happy with the way my eyeshadow came out, though So, in accordance with my resolution to get over myself, this is no. 2 in the series.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Week in Review

I know Sunday is the beginning of a new week, but so often I find myself slowing down and thinking over last week and what did or didn't get done. That's how I plan for the new week.

Monday - I can't remember.

Tuesday - This day was a whirlwind! We had our charter school meeting to turn in work and talk about projects we did. Thankfully my overseer pushed our meeting time back an hour so I could avoid traffic. We were on the freeway for a good 40 minutes nonetheless. The meeting went great. I was so pleased that the kids each remembered something different and interesting about Dr. MLK, Jr. Mr. M actually was a fount of facts about segregation and the bus boycott, and he's the youngest! They also recalled some great things we learned about frogs. Success! These meetings either leave me feeling validated as a homeschooler or depressed that my kids don't remember anything. Good meeting.

Such a good meeting, in fact, that we were done in plenty of time to zip over to surprise DH at work with a frappucino. He loved it and he was truly surprised! We got a tour of his workplace, which I have never visited before and got to meet the co-workers we always hear about. The kids had fun. This was also a good intro for Princess O so people would remember her when Girl Scout cookies sales started a couple days later. We need those orders!

After the workplace pop-in, we zoomed to park day with our new homeschooling group. The president introduced us to the whole group this time and several of the moms chatted with me afterwards. I think I can spot the group weirdo. Trust me, there's always at least one in groups like this. At least she wears a bra. There was another mom that I really connected with, meaning, she laughed a lot at my jokes and comments. That's the first indication, isn't it? I can't be friends with anyone who doesn't laugh at my jokes! Come on! (the second indication is whether or not they are Seinfeld fans, but I digress). The kids made some new friends, too. Success!

Wednesday - I woke up to the sound of Princess O barfing, not my favorite alarm clock. The day was sort of put on hold, but she was really okay by lunch. Why do kids stand three feet above the toilet to barf? I don't know. I didn't want to get mad at her while she was barfing, but, seriously, I had some cleaning to do after, splatter control.

Thursday - This was another great day. We finished school and then had to take Princess O to her Girl Scouts meeting. She got to go on a very exciting field trip to the bank, while we picked up our homies and went to Disneyland!

I don't want you to think I was mean-hearted enough to leave my pretty princess out of the fun, though! DH picked her up and met us there a few hours later. We spent the whole afternoon and evening in California Adventure and had a blast! My homie has three kids of her own so everyone had a partner. You know what big, scary ride is at California Adventure? The Tower of Terror! It's a free-fall elevator ride, like my biggest fears and nightmares all rolled into one. Remember how I said this was my year for getting over myself? Well, I did it! My homie and I rode the Tower of Terror! Woo-hoo! I hated it, truly, truly hated it. My palms get sweaty right now thinking about it. But, I did it! I faced my fear and I did it. I'll have to post the picture of the picture that my homie took. I am basically screaming so hard I thought I would burst a blood vessel in my brain. You can tell.

Friday - Normally this would be the day to recuperate after hours at Disneyland, but I think these kids have had it too easy. We did mucho schoolwork. Then DH came home from work and took them out to buy shoes while I did dishes and made dinner. Sounds soooo exciting right? I actually enjoy doing housework when I'm home alone, uninterrupted. I put on an 80's station and grooved out the dishes and some delicious lemon chicken. It was a great start to the weekend!

And thus ends The Week in Review, a successful, fun-filled week!

A quickie with a Pic

Just when my blog started getting a lot of hits, I backed off. Ah, well. Here I am again.

This is me, today, reading a so-so Single on my Kindle and enjoying a mug of fresh java while cozily nestled under a quilt my grandmother just made for me. She is a passionate quilter although she hasn't made quilts for a while. She has been focusing on her writing. I love this quilt! It's perfect for being cozy and pursuing my favorite activities, reading and coffee drinking.

Things at home were getting settled a bit, but we are now in full preparation mode as my big sister and her family are coming to visit soon! We have new carpet in the family room and just had a new door installed. I could explain it all, but I think I will save that for another blog entry. Suffice it to say, there are at least five doors that lead into this house that I can think of, six if you count sliders. Wow! This last door was needful, though, we all agreed.

Life in Claremont is good.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Goals for the Week

Just a quick list of what I would love to do this week.

1. Run at least three times. I'm so sick of myself right now. I should include eating healthy here, but that will make an easy #2.

2. Eat healthy. I have some weight loss shakes I need to drink. Just do it. And salad for lunch. Just do it.

3. Finish reading Unbroken. Louie has met Billy Graham. Wow! I didn't see that coming.

4. Work on the Beth Moore study I started last summer but didn't finish. I wonder if I had kept going with it, maybe the summer would have ended differently. Nah. Not good to think about the what if's, right? I really liked the watching the studies with my homies, but from here I have to go it alone.

5. Complete the scarves for donating. I'm so close, this is when I usually stall out. I have three more to knit to meet my goal this month. I think I can! I think I can!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

So This Was My Day

This was me waiting for dh to grab drinks to take to watch the game at our friend's house. Does everyone do that on the way? I wish I were a better planner because stopping on the way to somewhere is one of my pet peeves.

Our friends watched the kids so we could have a date and we went to The Americana where there is this Bellagio-esque fountain. We had a good time walking around, but didn't do much shopping. The stores are all expensive ones, like Coach and Tiffany's and CVS Pharmacy. I noticed that the people all smelled a lot better than the ones at our usual mall. We were walking in clouds of perfume and cologne we typically only smell in magazines.

The restrooms had attendants and real towels. While I paid $1 for the lady to hand me a towel, at least dh got a spritz of cologne, too, for his. I think I could get used to that.

The football games today were a big letdown. I'm hoping tomorrow's will be more exciting.

Friday, January 13, 2012

So This Was My Day

Morning: coffee, homeschool

Afternoon: kids to art, shower

Evening: errands, incredibly expensive and delicious dinner, watched The Matrix, thought of a new DJ name for myself - MC Strawberri Triknity (yay yay!)

A good day.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Unbroken - A Sort of Book Review

I've been reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand for the past couple days. There has been a lot of talk about the book, how good it is, how everyone should read it, but I really didn't know what to expect. I don't read books about war just for the simple fact that I like my reading experience to leave me feeling satisfied and peaceful. Unbroken has not been that book.

Day one, the story immediately drew me in. I was interested and invested in Louie from the first chapter. He seemed like a good guy and I would love to see him run. As the story progressed, Louie goes into World War II. I was nervous. I don't know his story. Is he still alive? Does he survive the war? I was anxious and I had to keep reading. I am being good and not spoiling it by watching videos or interviews on YouTube. (I'm really proud of myself for that!)

Day two, Louie is way into the war. I cannot put my Kindle down and get irritated when my life interrupts my reading. Louie is flying missions and then, disaster! He ends up...well, I don't want to spoil it for you. He ends up becoming a POW in Japan. I won't say how. I stayed up past midnight reading this part of the book. I couldn't leave Louie in that awful place, being beaten and starved and in a place of horror. I finally had to let go and let myself sleep. My comforting thought was that he must have survived, right? Someone had to tell this story! But I dreamt of rats in my bed last night and even jumped out of bed, throwing my covers off, convinced I had felt something moving by my leg while I was sleeping. (that's normal, right? whatever I read or watch before I sleep ends up in my dreams. i know better than to read about a POW camp before bed!)

Day three of reading was today. I woke up and dug right in. Louie was still imprisoned and though I desperately wanted him to be released before I finished breakfast, he wasn't. In fact, his life was getting a lot worse. I had to leave him in that camp until the kids went to PE! It was hours! I was totally distracted and kept thinking, trying to figure out if he escapes or is rescued or is killed. I had to go back in! Professor X asked me if I was going for a run during PE. I thought for a millisecond and said, "No. I need to read". I need to run, but was choosing to read is what I should have said. I think Louie would have told me to run, but, oh well.

I sat in the van and read for an hour. Not only was he still in that hellish place when I had to stop, but he was wasting away. Some good soldiers had been killed. I kept thinking, dang, how long was this war? My dh reminded me of the atomic bombs and so I kept waiting for them to appear. Sigh. It wasn't until I was reading while I made dinner that the B29 planes were finally flying. At last! But then what? Rescue? Escape? I almost burned the pork chops! I kept going, flip a chop, read a page, flip a chop, read a page.

I am happy to report that I am now at a point where I can leave Louie and actually get something done. I can go about the rest of my day. I am thinking about even knitting before I go back in and read some more. I know that I can't read before bed again. I don't want to start my day with Gaga's demise. That was tough. I may even skip a day of reading.

This book is intense. It's a great story and I can't believe how much I have learned about World War II and airplanes. This was wholly unexpected! I think I can finish it this weekend. I am still hoping for that happy ending. I want Louie to get home.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Summer At Starbucks

When you go into Starbucks, you can be anyone you want to be. I am Summer, not my given name. My Aunt introduced me to this idea when we were in Starbucks together and the barista called out, "Tall cafe mocha for Heather," and my aunt, not named Heather, went and grabbed the coffee. I looked at her with raised eyebrows and her response was, "I always wanted my name to be Heather." Really. Interesting. I had to try this myself.

At first, I would choose a different name each time I ordered a coffee. I've been Jane, Liz, Kate, and even, when I was feeling particularly adventurous, Chaka. That's right. I told the barista my name was Chaka and she wrote it on the cup. When my coffee was ready, I watched as the other barista read the name and paused for a second before calling out the coffee order, not the name. I didn't grab the coffee right away. I wanted to hear Chaka! After a few minutes, she sighed and then called out, "I've got a tall caramel macchiato for Chaka!" Gleefully and giggling, I went to the counter and got the drink. There was an African-American man standing at the counter waiting for his coffee and he looked at me, surprised I'm sure to see a white girl picking up a cup marked for Chaka. He asked me, "Is that really your name? Chaka?" My response was a laughing, "Of course it is!" and I walked out. Totally hilarious!

I go to Starbucks a lot, so I quickly ran out of names to use and decided to settle on one name, one persona that would embody my Starbucks identity. A Starbucks name is not a quick decision. Sure, you can be spontaneous once or twice, but a true kindred spirit will know and understand that a name is a sacred thing. A name marks out your identity and the freedom to choose an alias for one of your favorite haunts is very personal. After much thought, I finally settle on the name Summer. I love that name. I love that season. My daughter was born in July and I wanted to name her Summer Skye, but my dh said it was too "hippy" for him. Oh, well. A Summer is fun and flirty and laughing and light. A Summer is refreshing and open and friendly. I may not be Summer all the time, but in Starbucks, I am Summer.

My friends quickly caught on since we stop for coffee during our nights out. At first, they all begged me to give them names, too. I tried to explain that a Starbucks name comes from within. You must choose your own Starbucks name. Besides that, when I actually did give them all a name, one of my friends rolled her eyes and said they all sounded like stripper names. (Honey, Skye, and Stacy - are those really stripper names? Hmm. Maybe they are.) Eventually my closest friends did select their own Starbucks names, and those that didn't think it's funny and laugh when I do it, but deep down, I think they are afraid they don't know who they are in Starbucks. Too bad for them.

My dh steadily refuses to have a Starbucks name. Refuses! I offered to pick one for him to help him out, but he said no thanks. I think he thinks it's silly. A Starbucks name is freeing! It's a chance to be that name you always wanted to be. I don't have a regular drink I order. I tend to order based on my mood. But the name on the cup is always the same. Summer. (Of course, sometimes I get a raised eyebrow when the name I give doesn't match the name on my Visa card, but so far it hasn't been a problem.) I think the barista gets it. Starbucks knows me, understands they've created an environment, a third place, where I can relax and not carry my own persona for a time. Summer knits. Summer reads. Summer people-watches. Summer does not cry and worry and fret about her life. Summer does not think about bills and finances. Summer just wants to enjoy her beverage of choice, breathe deeply the coffee aroma, and be, simply exist.

Who are you in Starbucks? Who do you want to be?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks

At the very end of last summer, the blackest, darkest time of my life, I spent a few days in a mental ward. I guess most people would consider it rehab if they wanted it to sound normal or not so bad, but in reality, it was a mental hospital. I did something that definitely qualified me to be there, so I took it in stride.

Here is a snapshot from that experience.

In a mental ward, there are very few things to do. You go to group meetings, see a psychiatrist, eat in the cafeteria, and go to some kind of recreation, like the gym or bingo. You only get to do these things if you meet all your marks. For instance, day one, you aren't allowed off the floor. No cafeteria, no gym, no bingo, nothing. You have 24 hours to prove that you understand and can obey the rules. I did that. Longest 24 hours of my life, or close to it anyway.

I'm the type of person who releases a lot of stress and emotion through physical activity. I play hard and I love it. I went outside on the ward smoke breaks every 2 hours, even though I don't smoke, just to see the sun. There was no fresh air since everyone was smoking, but whatever. I could sit there in the sun and close my eyes and just be, no thoughts, no feelings,  no nothing. Just the warmth of the sun on my skin.

Day two I was able to leave the floor on the supervised activities. The first night we headed to the gym. It was right next to the eating disorder wing, which I didn't understand, since those girls had no energy anyway, right? because they weren't eating, right? Shouldn't it be near to the people who really need that physical release of tension? Aahh, anyway, there were basketball hoops and yoga mats to choose from. I played basketball. The first thing I realized was that there was music playing; a local alternative rock station was blaring. No music is allowed in the ward, so this was an added bonus of being off the ward.

The group in the gym was co-ed and the females immediately gravitated to the yoga mats. Bo-ring. The males grabbed basketballs and started shooting around. I grabbed a basketball, too, without even thinking about it. I knew the exertion would be good for me. I started shooting and laughing (wow, that was big) with the guys. It was great. I felt so much better running around, chasing the ball. I don't know why the hospital doesn't schedule physical activity every day, but they don't. So after 30 minutes, back to the ward. Back to my room to shower and lay on my bed staring out the window.

The next day we headed to the gym again, less people went this time. There was one guy, Joey, who was friendly and funny and we started playing one-on-one. I had connected with him in group where he was sharing things about how he's so funny and makes people laugh, but that it's all fake. On the inside he's drowning. I could totally relate. Anyway, we had this 1-on-1 basketball game going just for fun, and the radio was on. Foster the People, Pumped Up Kicks came on, although I didn't know that was the name of the song at the time. Being the goofball that he is, Joey started dancing when he had the ball right before he made the shot. Not good dancing, just messing around. It was hilarious! I almost forgot where I was and why, lost in the moment, lost in the game. The song, the goofy dancing, and knowing that this person is just as scarrednas I am, burned an image into my brain, a negative that I take out and look at every time I hear that song.

Joey was there because he put a gun to his head. An unbelievable intention if you met him anywhere. He comes off as a funny, charming guy. I may not have had a gun, but the action with the little blue pills was the same. The connection that was made between us, two people who laugh to keep from crying, is a sacred thing. For the rest of my stay, Joey was around. We sat in the hallway late at night and talked. It wasn't a romantic connection, but one of suffering, of mental battles, of understanding, hearing your own thoughts and feelings come out of someone else's mouth.

I don't know what happened to him. We didn't exchange information when I left. That wasn't the kind of place you want to make lasting relationships, I think. He was there indefinitely and wanted to be there until he knew he could make it when he left. We didn't get to play basketball again. Just that once, but it was unforgettable. (did I mention that I beat him? Yeah. I did.) I hope he's still out there. I hope he never falls into that dark pit again. I think of him every time I hear that song, Pumped Up Kicks. I heard it tonight while I was doing dishes. Suddenly I had this picture in my mind of Joey dancing around with the basketball. Funny how music can remind you of things that lay quietly for a time.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Flurry of Feathers

I'm feeling so stifled right now I can't think of anything interesting to write about. I have so much on my mind. I keep telling myself to stop thinking so much, stop analyzing things. I feel that downward drop coming. But, here I am, as this habit of blogging every day is starting to take hold. As I review my day, one scene comes to mind.

Almost every morning, my grandmother will knock on my door and we will chat about our plans for the day, for the week, and anything else that needs to be discussed. I call this the morning report. I should explain that we always chat outside while sitting on a picnic bench. We live in a sort of divided house, like a duplex, and the bench is near both our front doors.

This morning was a little different because when she knocked, I was still in bed. I think she heard Princess O taking the dog out and assumed I was awake. After all, it was 8am. Since we've moved here, I am an earlier riser, so this isn't an outlandish expectation. (Please notice I said "earlier riser", not to be confused with an early riser which I am not, nor will ever be, I hope). Well, if you read my post yesterday you may remember we spent the day at Disneyland. Fun, but exhausting. Absolutely exhausting! I gave myself permission to stay in bed late this morning.

Princess O answered the door and told grandma, at my request, to please give me 20 minutes as I was still in bed. No problem. I got up, reluctantly, and stumbled to the coffeepot. As it began gurgling and brewing, the best sound in the world, I washed my face and pulled my hair back, slung on my jeans and a v-neck. I was envisioning a morning chat, me fresh-faced with a mug of steaming, delicious coffee in my hand, enjoying the morning air. I headed out with my coffee, and was greeted with a face full of feathers.

The air was thick with small, white feathers! There was a small snowstorm of feathers surrounding my grandmother as she sat on the bench taking feathers from one pillow and stuffing them into another. Quite a scene! Add to it that the feathers were tiny and covering her head to toe, all over her black clothes, in her hair, gathering in the tops of her shoes, and it was surreal. I laughed and she laughed and then she grabbed another handful and threw it into the air! Good times!

The only problem with this, of course, was that my mug had no lid and the surface of my perfect cup of coffee was slowly collecting bits of feathers. I tried to keep drinking it, I really wanted that perfect morning moment! I tried to close the top of the mug off with my hand, but it's large, and the feathers were slipping in through my fingers. Oh, well. I gave up after a couple fluffy sips. I had no desire to see what the effects would be of drinking 50-year-old feather bits.

My grandma and I were very entertained by the swirling feathers as we chatted and arranged our week. I may not have had the perfect coffee moment, but the memory of my grandma sewing up the pillow with feathers in her hair will not be forgotten!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Happiest Place on Earth

We finally all have our passes and spent the day enjoying them. I am exhausted!

Best ride - Indiana Jones, we all rode together for the kids' first time and they loved it!
Worst ride - Indiana Jones, my phone slipped out of my pocket and we spent a harrowing 15 minutes waiting for someone to find it. Found!

Bless the person who turned it in. Granted it must have been a moral struggle to turn it in and not keep it, but, hey, we've all been there.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Restaurant Review: Bleh

Since we moved, we have been trying out different restaurants in our new area. We've gone to Red Robin (thumbs up), a Vegas-style buffet (thumbs up), and an Asian fast food place that is always crowded and the portions are huge (thumbs up). Last night was dh's turn to pick where to eat, and he chose an Asian buffet. Ahem.

I really like buffets. I really like Asian food. But this place, not so much.

To begin with, the food choices were very limited. And, to be fair, maybe we didn't hit it at the best time. We went in around 4:30pm so maybe they were in between lunch and dinner. I don't know. A lot of the food trays were empty or picked over. The food that was still out looked old. I was totally grossed out. But I ate a little, and it was not good.

I think it was the appearance of the food that was the first turn-off. The spoon in the tartar sauce had obviously been sitting there all day. There was a crust of sauce about two inches up the handle that had yellowed and hardened. The color difference between the tartar sauce in the pot and the sauce on the spoon was glaring, yellow vs. white. I still took some (I know! I know! Why?!) and ate it with the fried fish that looked good, but was rubbery and soft. Strike one.

I had been craving a big salad all day, so going to this buffet, I  had high hopes to satisfy that craving. Uh, no. The salad bar was spare. Spare. Like, there was lettuce and tomatoes and cheese and cucumbers, and that's about it. I think there were raisins and mushrooms, too, but, really? No sunflower seeds? No three-bean salad? No boiled eggs chopped up? Nope. None of it. I took some lettuce, cucumbers, and croutons. I was trying to make the best of it. I headed to the dressing. Had I not learned my lesson from tartar sauce? Apparently not. The best-looking dressing, meaning the least separated, yellowed, glop was blue cheese. The ranch was absolutely yellow and I was not going to take a chance. I don't like blue cheese too much, but, sigh, I needed something on my salad! Strike two.

I took my meager salad back to the table and sat down. The kids were munching away on french fries and Jell-o. DH was raving about the spicy chicken, which was chicken, vegetables, and tons of jalapenos. I wanted to enjoy my food. I really did. I wanted to eat my salad with a smile. I picked up my fork and flipped some the lettuce around on my plate to mix the dressing. Thank God I did that. On the back of one of the lettuce leaves there was a glop of brown goo. It looked like brown pudding. I told myself it was probably chocolate pudding.

I glanced over at the salad bar. The chocolate pudding was on the other side of the glass divider, totally separated at the other end of the bar from where the lettuce was sitting. I wanted to believe it was pudding, but in reality, I knew it wasn't. It was most likely poop.

I put my fork down. That was it for me! I was totally grossed out! Was that poop on my lettuce?! How did it get there?! Was it from some worm or bug living in the salad? Don't know, don't care. I pushed my plate to the side and thankfully the waiter picked it up. I didn't tell the kids or dh because I didn't want everyone to freak out. (is that right or wrong?) Everyone else seemed to be enjoying their food. This always happens to me!

Anyway, I wanted to top off my experience with something sweet, something safe. I spotted a tray of cream puffs that looked like they might have been from Costco. Safe, right? Wrong. After a disappointing realization that there was no coffee bar, I collected two cream puffs and sat down. I bit one and it tasted like the smell inside a refrigerator that's held Chinese food leftovers too long. Blech.

Long story short, there is no way I will ever eat there again. Thumbs down, way down. I was so shocked when we were paying the bill and my dh told the cashier, probably the manager, that the food was "really good". What the? I ate a bowl of cereal at home. Boo.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Quickie

I saw this board game today at a quirky toy store. There were no descriptive details on the back. The name is just "India". The game of India. My curiosity is piqued! I think I'll invite Aziz Ansari over for a game night.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I am so proud of myself today! I went for a run while the kids were in PE class. Yay me! Yes, I wore my running tank top and short-shorts. I'm sure the conservative moms who saw me were mortified. (or should I be mortified and they are outraged? Whatever.) I pulled my hair back, slipped on my sunglasses, waved to the kids and went running for a mile and a half. Who dat?!

It was a short run so I made it back to the park before class was over and got to sit and stretch and enjoy the chaos of the basketball class. I also enjoyed the scenery. This park is full of trees and the mountains crown the background. Beautiful. What are men compared to rocks and trees? (Pride and Prejudice)

I noticed a lot less cheering from the moms at this class compared to the last session of kickball. Maybe it's because all the kids are terrible and it's obvious. Painfully obvious. Mine included, and they played organized basketball three years in a row! But Princess O hasn't gotten comfortable in the class yet, so she kept her skills to herself. Mr. M kept his hands in his pockets most of the time, unless the ball came close and then he whipped them out in time for a fruitless grab. Professor X was all over the court, entertaining but not scoring. X being X, I expect nothing less.

We had a lovely evening out as a family. We had a delicious dinner and then browsed the bookstore. I picked up a discount knitting book and a couple knitting magazines. (I had 4 magazines, but put 2 back when my dh raised his eyebrows at me) Then we topped it off with a couple macchiatos and headed home.

I spent the next couple hours on the couch knitting my coffee blanket, which is really coming along nicely. I love it. So does PB. As soon as she saw me sit down with the blanket she snuggled into my lap under it. Very few experiences can top a cute animal sleeping in your lap while you do something you love. Very few. It's definitely in my top ten and if you haven't experienced it, put it on your bucket list. I've heard cats are especially adept at this. My chihuahua thinks she is a cat and sometimes I wonder if she isn't.

My dh fell asleep during our Thursday night TV date, but I didn't mind since all the shows were reruns. As soon as Whitney started, the TV went off. I think that show is so incredibly stupid. So, so, so, so incredibly stupid. I can't wait for next week when NBC kicks off the best Thursday night TV block since Seinfeld. Can't. Wait. Anyway, I let dh snore away while I put the kids to bed and busted some suds. My house is a mess. Seriously. I wanted to go out tonight just to get away from it all. I had to do some dishes so I didn't wake up to it. There are still dishes waiting for me. I think they're frowning at me. But, I digress.

I do all the necessary things I need to do before I can sit down and blog and email. DH sleeps through it all. When does he wake up? Yes. Right when I sit down to blog. And what does that mean? I have to get up. I have to move from my spot. Sigh. It never ends, does it? Of course, one day I'll probably be too old and decrepit to get up and move when I want to so I guess I should count my blessings.

I had a good day today. I hope you did, too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

So This Was My Day

I am so tired tonight, but I am hoping to get at least a week into NaBloPoMo before I miss a day. Here I am, not much to report, but here is a rundown of the day.

No, I did not get up and run. I was too tired and I gave myself permission to miss a day. I told myself I needed to recover and rest from the previous day's run. Remember that one? The half mile in 20 minutes? Yeah. It was tough. Will I run tomorrow? Everything in me right now says NO. But maybe, just maybe, I will. The kids have PE tomorrow so I may take that opportunity to check out the running trail at the park. Of course, that cuts into my free time, aka knitting time. So, we'll see.

Life is tough here in SoCal in the "winter." Here is my baby, getting some sun in our unbelievably warm January. I read somewhere that our area has an "unseason." I think that is a great way to describe the weather. My kids have no clue about seasons and how to tell if things in nature are changing. I've taught them to look at how people are decorating the palm trees and what decorations Target has on display. Of course, our Target has bathing suits out next to the Christmas clearance items, so sometimes that doesn't help.

The day was so lovely we headed outside in the morning for some schooltime before it got too hot. (that's right, too HOT) The kids loved it and got their work done quickly so they could go play. I loved sipping my coffee in the sunshine. We all won.

I spent the evening in the kitchen cooking batches of chicken wings, lemon pepper, garlic parmesan, and bbq. I also made 2 pizzas and had dh run to the store for Pepsi. It was like Pizza Hut, except I had to do all the work. The wings came out delicious and with a little tweaking I think we have a new family favorite. The kids really ate them up and finding a dish to please them all is not easy. DH gave his usual "they're good," which is about what I expect. Although, I was kind of hoping for a very enthusiastic response given how long I was in the kitchen and how much effort went into it all, but hey, at least he didn't put hot sauce on them before he tasted them. That's definitely an improvement.

I spent the rest of the evening finishing a comfort scarf to donate to Handmade Especially For You, a charity that sends scarves to abused women's shelters. I have set a goal for myself of sending off three scarves a month, and I have one finished already. The one I worked on tonight is a chunky rib with a garter stitch pocket on each end. I love it. I hope the recipient will love it, too.

I was knitting while we watched the final Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Meh. My favorite is the second movie in the series, and the last one fell far short of that.

To sum it up, beautiful weather, great school session, delicious dinner, and time to knit. Absolutely a good day!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Made Myself Do It

Yes, I did. I got up this morning and went for a run. Yay me! The mental battle was raging while I lazed in bed, but ultimately I was victorious and went for a short (very short) run. I felt great, but still a little irritated with myself for not getting up as early as I wanted to. But, hey, baby steps, right?

There were a couple other highlights to this day.

Number one, as I type this, our new tadpole, Polly/Pauly, is watching me from the Frog Planet habitat. We launched a new unit study about frogs today and I still cannot believe we bought a real tadpole. I hope to God this thing grows and metamorphosizes like it's supposed to or I will have three very crushed kids. They are so excited! I guess I forgot that bringing a living thing into our house to take care of is a new experience for them. (of course, as soon as Paulie was settled they promptly began arguing about what to watch on tv. go figure) I think this will be a good experience and definitely a fun unit.

The second highlight of the day was going shopping at Chico's with my grandma. Chico's, you ask? Are you laughing? Are you raising your eyebrows at me? I know, I know! Chico's is not my usual style, but my grandma loves, loves, loves that store and wanted to buy me something to wear on my birthday. No one can say no to that! A shopping trip for your birthday with Grandma? Heck yeah! Maybe I'll finally have all those traditional family experiences I always heard about now that I live with her. Anyway, we had a wonderful time browsing and shopping and, yes, I did find something I liked that will blend properly with my thrift-store-eclectic, v-neck and Converse style. A long sweater, something knitted, of course. And oh-em-gee there were so many chunky, beautiful knitted items in Chico's. Who knew? I just loved seeing how knitting is still so relevant today. It was inspiring. I came home full of the desire to wrap my fingers in yarn and knit the knight away. (didn't happen, I plunged them in dish water instead) I also learned a lot about my grandma, like her favorite colors together and styles she prefers. My grandma appreciates fine clothes. Sigh. I knew I got my good taste from somewhere! Shopping at Chico's was unforgettable with her. I loved it. And then she whisked my birthday sweater away and is saving it until my birthday, two months from now. I said, oh wow, I do that, too! I buy something for a special occasion and stash it away until the day. My grandma is a kindred spirit. I knew it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The longer I sit here alone and blog, the more I remember what I wanted to post. Here is my first finished knit project of 2012, potholders in double knit stitch with an I-cord loop. They are ready for work, hanging on my fridge. I love the colors, chocolate something, and it will match the coffee theme I want to use in the kitchen.

I also forgot to mention how excited I was to download Blogger to my iPhone and have the ability to post so easily now. That was the best present to myself, and it was free! I have high hopes for my blog this year and mobile blogging goes a long way in helping me reach my goals. Yay!

Pictures of Me that Other People Like - 1

This photo was taken this summer and it's one of my dh's favorites of me. I can't stand any pictures of myself. I really, truly believe I do not photograph well. Anyway, I have declared 2012 to be The Year I Get Over Myself and just deal with it. So I am beginning with Pictures of Me that Other People Like. This is the first in the series. I will now begin to get over myself. Ugh.  

New Year's Blahs

I am so sick of myself right now. I knew I shouldn't have eaten that corn dog and chili fries for dinner, and popcorn and Jujy Fruits and Junior Mints in the movie. I told myself, "Don't order anything. Eat some cereal at home later." Did I listen to myself? Nooooo. And now here I am, feeling like a fat, bloated loser. Boo.

The good side is that this is the motivation I need to get out and run tomorrow morning. I bought some running pants so I can't use cold weather as an excuse anymore. I am hoping, fearing, no, ready to die if I can't roll my fat behind out of bed early and get my run on. (That's partially a movie quote from Emma, btw) So, the trick is to lay my clothes out right next to my bed and program the coffee to be finished right when I get back. I think I can. I think I can. Well, I KNOW I can, but the question is will I? Tune in tomorrow.

This day is the last of winter break. Homeschool starts back tomorrow and I am planning to work these kids so much they will feel like they need a vacation by the end of the week. I am so happy to get our routine going again. No more video game gluttony, no more Jon and Kate Plus Ei8ht marathons on Netflix (actually, to be honest, I'll miss those). The kids will get up and have breakfast and dive into schoolwork, not to surface again for hours and hours. I think I have some good stuff planned though. Tadpoles, skits, and math, lots of math. Note to self: find out where to buy tadpoles.

I don't have any good books to read right now. I hit a dry spell and then couldn't buy anything for my Kindle. Nothing interested me the past couple days so I reverted to my standbys, Grisham novels. The Rainmaker and The Runaway Jury are my very favorites and remain close to my kitchen table for lunch time reading. I have Firestarter and The Life of Pi to finish, but nothing is drawing me in. I have yet to find another book that makes me want to spend the whole day wrapped in it. I need another Sue Grafton novel or Tony Hillerman. Thankfully a library trip is planned for tomorrow's agenda.

We saw an interesting movie today, "Tintin." The graphics were amazing, totally, completely amazing. The characters and scenery looked real even though it was some kind of digital animation. The storyline was complex and I was pleased, but concerned my youngest son would get bored. (This irritates me b/c movie tickets are so expensive and he sleeps through most of them) However, he stayed awake and paid attention through the whole film. I thought it was sort of a Young Indiana Jones-ish movie. There was a lack of female characters, and this didn't really bother me much, not like it usually does. My daughter didn't mention it either. I think there was enough action and interesting dialogue to keep us all intrigued. Two thumbs up.

Winter break is now at an end. Did I accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish? No. But I did relax a lot and I did pay attention to myself more than usual, choosing not to care about things I can't change. That's one of the secrets I've learned, choosing. I am choosing joy. I am choosing my family. I am choosing myself. I am choosing to not care about other people's drama and the maelstrom they try to create in my life. I choose to be happy.

Already this year is off to a good start. Now, if I can just get out of bed and run tomorrow!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First Tooth Out!

What bodes this for the new year? Maybe leaving the baby behind and embracing the boy.