Thursday, April 28, 2011

Today’s thankful: I took time to cuddle

I would like to think that I am not alone in the fact that sometimes I get too busy to really be present and indulge in a good cuddle with Youngest. She is almost six and super busy, so the opportunity to hug her is rare. Even so, sometimes she climbs up on me when I am in the middle of working and I don’t truly enjoy the interruption. This morning, as I was checking e-mail and organizing my day, Youngest climbed up on my lap for some cuddles. She wasn’t feeling super well when I put her to bed, so I wanted to check her out. I put my laptop down and engaged in some cuddle time. Then the most wonderful thing happened. My baby girl stayed on my lap, her tiny arms wrapped around my neck, and I got five full minutes of stroking her back, smelling her hair and feeling her heartbeat next to mine. She lasted a lot longer than usual, and I am so glad that I set my work aside to indulge in the moment.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Today’s thankful: That “X” thingy in the upper right-hand corner that closes a window

I have been trying for the past year and some months to eat more locally and have less impact on the environment. The eating locally is going pretty well, and I have made some progress with baby steps toward being more environmentally friendly. Here is the weird part. The more right things I do, the more I learn about things that I am doing wrong or could be doing better. For example, I don’t eat out much anymore, mostly because there aren’t many places which serve honest to God meat raised naturally on a farm with grass and bugs and I just don’t care for the other kind anymore. But when I do go out, it never occurs to me to have the server keep the straw. I learned that tiny tip on greenpieceindy today.
While I was poking around on the web reading blogs from people who are trying to make positive changes, I came across a blogger at thenonconsumeradvocate who is trying to live by the motto, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” Wow, talk about having less impact on the environment. I am so not there yet. And I’m not honestly sure I want to go that far. For the past year I have tried to be more conscious of what I buy and only buy what is necessary, but I have still been known to put things in my virtual shopping cart and hit the checkout button. One item of note, I have found that it is somewhat satisfying to put things in the cart that I want, and then when it is time to checkout, close my eyes and hit the “X” in the upper right-hand corner. This exercise gives me the happy pursuit of consuming without having to pay for it or justify myself to that nasty, judgmental witch in the mirror each night.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Today’s thankful: Umbrellas

It is spring. It is raining. A lot. I hate to get wet, and I hate rain on my glasses. I have a friend who would argue that I really don’t hate to get wet, but despite his experience to the contrary, he would be wrong. I truly do hate to get rained on. So today as I headed out the door in the rain, it occurred to me how very thankful I am to have an umbrella.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Today’s thankful: Conference calls without webcam

Working from home is mostly great, but some times are more great than others. This afternoon, for example, I was on a conference call. Eldest was home with me, so I left the television on for my call, but turned the volume way down. It happened that “The Talk” came on while I was on the call. Eldest started excitedly carrying on about how much she loves Julie Chen. I’m pretty sure everyone on the conference call could hear the chattering emanating from my end of the call. Thankfully, I wasn’t on webcam, so while they could hear the craziness, they have to keep guessing as to what was making all that noise.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Today’s thankful: Youngest only takes off her pants at home

When Youngest got off the bus today, we jumped in the car and drove to see Eldest at her dorm and have dinner. Then we went to pick up Middlest and get her some dinner. By the time we got home, it was 8 p.m. I was taking off my boots, and Middlest and I heard Youngest having what sounded like an orgasm. Turns out she was just taking off her shoes and pants. She is right. It DOES feel good to get home and take of your pants.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I can learn new tricks

I took Eldest to a concert in Chicago last weekend. As happened when I took her to see the same band four years ago, I learned a few new things. First, I am completely too old to be in a mosh pit, however tame it is. Second, while it is no longer possible to get a contact high from a concert, it is completely possible to get one in the line outside waiting to get through security. Third, the security pat down I received was a lot friendlier than I ever cared to be with another woman.
I also learned that my darling daughter can handle herself in a crowd. She wound up dragging me around like a pull toy. My only complaint is that while she can squeeze through a six-inch space, I cannot, thus causing me to get stuck like Pooh in a honey tree before being sprung free.
Finally, I learned that there may be a version of the mile high club I have not previously learned about. While standing, literally, pressed against sweaty strangers, I glanced to my right, where Eldest was standing. She motioned me with her eyes to look next to her. There was a couple of kids who may have been 15 or so, and they were having sex. At first I was sure it couldn’t be, but much like a train wreck, I couldn’t look away. I swear on all that is holy, I saw his “O” face. At that point, Eldest looked at me and mouthed, “I feel dirty.” Yah, I did too, but relieved at the same time that it wasn’t my daughter.

Today's thankful: It wasn't chicken pox

This morning Youngest came into the bathroom while I was in the tubby. As she pulled up her shirt to use the pot, she noticed some pink splotches on her belly and sides. She said, “Oh no! I hope I don’t have chicken pox!”
I dragged her closer to inspect the splotches, because they were not a normal skin tone pink, were irregularly shaped and rather large. After a few seconds, because I am an experienced mom, I told her to go look in her bed and see if there was an open marker or stamper. She returned a few minutes later with one of those glow bracelets which she informed me had cracked open. I don’t even know how it got in her bed. I swear I drag all of the toys out at least every other day. I am pretty sure she gets up after I put her to bed and gathers things.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Today’s thankful: It could have been worse

My mom is in the hospital where I happen to work. Right now I am on a project team which includes the Chief of Staff. So this morning I was in mom’s room visiting and it was super hot in there. We were sitting on the bed next to each other and I hiked my skirt up around my hips and tucked the front between my legs, kind of like shorts. Mom’s gown was up also, because we were comparing the size of our thighs. I know that is sick, but she was telling me that hers were bigger than mine, and I HAD to prove her wrong. She really didn’t have a prayer of winning. She is 77 years old and scrawny.

So, anyway, we were sitting and chatting, and in walked Dr. Chief of Staff. He got a huge smile on his face and said, “Well, hello.” I returned the greeting. He then asked me if I was related to the patient. I told him it was my mom, then she said, “I thought you two knew each other.” Yah. To make matters worse, I had to sit in a meeting with him this afternoon. And, yes, I kept my skirt down. The thankful part comes in because I still had on my boots, fully zipped, and hadn’t tucked my shirt into my bra. It could have been so much worse.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Today’s thankful: My ability to cook

Everyone who knows me well knows that I love to cook. I also have a guilty pleasure: watching cooking shows. One of my favorite is Chopped on The Food Network. The premise is four chefs start with a mystery basket of ingredients and limited time in which to create an appetizer for three judges. One cheftestant is then chopped. Three go to the entrée round, then two for the dessert round. This matters; trust me.

Anyway, I have always enjoyed being in the kitchen and my mom let me help her whenever I wanted, which was often. Now that I have had that same kind of help from my girls, I am so thankful that she allowed me anywhere near the kitchen. Lord only knows how she ever got dinner for six on the table, cooking everything from scratch, with a small helper underfoot.

Okay. So jet forward 40 some years, and I found myself in the kitchen of a rented condo (no pantry), ready to make fried chicken and mashed potatoes for the family, and realized that Spouse hadn’t purchased the bread crumbs which I had requested. This omission wouldn’t have been a problem, but he didn’t mention it. So there I was with five hungry people, raw chicken and very little else. I felt like a chopped contestant. In a burst of inspiration, I crushed up Cheez-It crackers and use them as a coating. It worked, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anything but an emergency situation. The flavor was good, but the crackers soaked up a little too much oil while frying. I bet it would be good oven baked, though. So today’s thankful, I am thankful for my ability to cook.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Today’s thankful: Vacation

We just got back from a week in Florida. It was a glorious break from the nasty winter weather. During our trip, Middlest painted my fingernails hot vacation pink. Youngest looked at them and said, “I like that color, but it doesn’t look good on old lady hands.” I don’t even care. Honestly, it is awfully hard to take criticism to heart when it is from a girl who just days before had tried to stuff her bikini top with sand. When I asked her what she was doing, she said, “Trying to give myself boobs.” She was disappointed that it didn’t work.

We also took a family bike ride. I don’t know how far we went, but it was about an hour each way with a rest in the middle. It was a good time, but because Youngest is so small, I opted for a drag along bike called a wee hoo. It is basically a recumbent bike for small people which hooks to the back of a grown up bike. The child can actually help by pedaling, but I’m not sure how much my tiny person actually did. Let me just say that dragging an extra 50 pounds along the back of a bike makes for a much more difficult ride.

Also on the agenda was beach, of course, swimming in the pools, and eating. Lots of eating. One stop was to a place called Buster’s because it had been recommended to me by a coworker for the fried pickles. Since SS4 is a fan of seafood and I am a huge fan of pickles, we decided to give Buster’s a try. Youngest was carrying on about hating seafood. I’m not sure what she thinks seafood is, because she loves shrimp and fish. At any rate, I told her that we would find something on the menu that wasn’t seafood. When I happily suggested mini corndogs, she informed me that they would be disgusting. I asked why, and she said, “What if they have seafood in them?” So I asked the server if the mini corndogs had seafood in them. Fortunately, our server was a grandmotherly type and was amused by the question. She assured Youngest that neither the corndogs nor french fries contained seafood. When the meal was finished, our server inquired of Youngest if she had enjoyed her meal. Youngest raised her shirt, started rubbing her belly and said, “Yep! Look at that food baby.”

Of course, no trip recap would be complete without a travel recap. We drove a lot. About halfway through Tennessee, the National Weather Service broadcasted a tornado warning in the stretch of road we were on. They said to take cover. Spouse’s response to the warning was to keep driving. When we reached the other side of the storm safely, I asked him why we hadn’t pulled over. His response was, “The car will fly whether it is moving or sitting still.” Oh, I felt a lot better having heard that answer. We got a little bit lost in the middle of Nowhere, Alabama, in the dark. Spouse was not happy, but we finally arrived safely at our destination not much later than anticipated. On the way back, we managed better time by not having to get lost, sit in a traffic jam or drive through a raging thunderstorm.