12.19.2008

Guilt

Other than my rather unhealthy addiciton to American Idol, I try to stay away from reality television as a general rule. I watched the first season of Survivor (remember Richard Hatch?) and season two of America's Next Top Model. Other than that, though, I've stayed away.

Until tonight.

Dave's out enjoying a "Guys' Night Out." Sparky is sleeping soundly in his crib. I'm eating leftover tuna casserole, scrolling through the channel guide since nothing is on the DVR because all the shows are in reruns for the holidays. And, I come across this:

Momma's Boys on NBC *

I watched the entire thing. And, I set it to record the entire series.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that I just finished a class on Family Systems Theory and the dynamics of watching three young men try to find a romantic partner while their helicopter mothers monitor their every move is intriguing to me. (Enmeshment much? Thanks, Minuchin.)

Maybe it has to do with the one mother who overtly came out and said that she does not approve of any Black, Jewish, Muslim, or Asian girl for her son. Only a White, Catholic girl from an undivorced family will do. (And people like to say that racism no longer exists in our country!)

Or maybe it's the guilty pleasure of wanting to watch the cat fights as 32 young women fight over 3 men.

Don't tell anyone, okay?

*You'll never guess who is the exec producer, though...

12.18.2008

Embracing my inner dork...

As a new Facebook junkie (thanks a lot, Paula), I've recently come into contact with a lot of people from my past. The experience has definitely caused some introspection.

When I think back on high school or the potential high school reunion, I tend to cringe. There were a lot of people there that didn't "get me." And, for that matter, I didn't "get them," either. Society had taught me that I should be able discern what to wear, what music to like, what to say, and how to act in order to fit in with this particular crowd. But, I was always really too consumed with my own world to figure out what those things were and always seemed to be baffled by the fact that I couldn't quite put all the pieces together.

At this point in my life, I'm secure enough to admit some things that, in my earlier years, I would have been mortified to share. Quirky things that some people may not expect, but I am no longer ashamed to put out there, because, well, they're just "me."

For example - The magazines I subscribe to are: Psychology Today, Gifted Child Today, Cooking Light, The Journal of Counseling and Development, and Scrapbooks, Etc. (No gossip magazines or current events... Although, I used to get Entertainment Weekly and Time.) I get excited when I see them in my mailbox and love to relax in the bathtub, reading an article about current trends in counseling or scrapbooking techniques.

One of my favorite genres of music is Broadway. Along those sides, I love musical theatre. There is something about the integration of music and plot that somehow transcends a simple play or movie. Plus, the thrill of a live performance sends chills down my spine.

I love going to school. I like writing papers. I enjoy the challenge of studying for a test. I thrive on the stress of waiting for grades to be posted. After I finish my master's degree that I am working on now (my second, for the record), I hope to earn my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology.

Interesting how once I write these things down, they really seem like no big deal. But, I'll be honest - these are things that I sometimes worry about sharing with people. Like, I'm not really as "cool" as I try to act. You'd think that ten years out of high school, I would no longer worry about what other people think of me... But, like everyone else (I hope), I do. I'm proud of the fact that I'm willing to put those things out there for all those people from my past, dorky or not.

11.30.2008

Not even lying...

As I went to post an ad on Craigslist this morning, here is a picture of my word verification:

It's a bird... It's a plane... No - It's the Caped Polygamist! Curious about special powers? Just use your imagination.... Haha... Does anyone else find this funny but me?

**********

We watched the Mizzou vs. Kansas game yesterday. What a heartbreaker. I always feel so bad for those kids - basically, because that's what they are: kids. They go out there and there is so much pressure on them. For the Mizzou team, within the first weeks of the season, the expectation was set for them to go undefeated. I just imagine what it must feel like for these young guys the day after a game they were "supposed" to win. Must be really hard on them.

**********

Christmas is showing around our house. We got both trees up over the weekend and hopefully will be able to keep Sparky out of them. So far, it hasn't been too bad.

And - as an new precedent, Dave & I got up on "Black Friday" and went shopping. We figured since we are up before seven o'clock on a normal day anyway, it couldn't hurt to see if we could catch a few deals. We were successful in getting a few things bought and were home before ten a.m. Can't beat that!

11.07.2008

Your Political Compass

What's this? Two posts in a single day? Yeah, that's right...

In case anybody hadn't noticed, I have some pretty well-developed ideas about politics and society. The Comeback Kid posted this on his blog and I thought it was pretty cool. It is called The Political Compass. It rates you based on your economic views and also your view of the role of government in society.

Violet's political compass:
Economic Left/Right: -6.12
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.54

It then compares you to other historical political figures like George W. Bush, Pope Benedict XVI, and Hitler.

Mine placed me in the same vicinity of this guy.

Check it out if you get the chance.

Wanna come over for dinner?

Our chapter of Chi Sigma Iota up at school is doing a holiday food drive, so yesterday I began rummaging through the pantry for things to donate. I won't go through all of the fun things I discovered during my search, but here's something I thought was worth sharing:

One innocent box of Tuna Noodle Helper*...

Not just expired....


But, so old that even the Box Tops for Education are too old to salvage.

Damn.

To reframe this in a more positive light, I guess this just means that I am such a wonderful cook, I don't need to use tuna casserole from a box. Right???

BTW - I did not donate the expired Tuna Noodle Helper to the food drive. That just wouldn't be right, would it?

And, for those of you who only visit the site for news of Sparky, here's a little clip to keep you happy.

video

*"I don't know why they call it Hamburger Helper... It does just fine by itself."
**What is my obsession with expired food? I guess I just find it funny... As evidenced here, and here. Although, there may be more posts that I couldn't find right away. I can't quite be sure.

10.25.2008

True.

Watch this one first, to refresh your memory:



How things have changed!

10.19.2008

Taking another look...

Thank you, General Powell, for putting it all back into perspective. My favorite quote from the actual interview on the show was when he addressed the question people are asking about Obama and whether or not he is Muslim:

"I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America."

This is a clip from a short interview he gave after finishing on "Meet the Press." It is only about two minutes long. Take a look:




Click here for the entire transript of the "Meet the Press" interview.

10.11.2008

Who am I kidding?

We're up in Mystic, Connecticut right now... My cousin, Amy, is getting married tomorrow. While it rained both days that we were driving up here, the weather has been absolutely gorgeous while we have been in town. I actually should have brought some clothes better suited for warm weather; I thought it would be much cooler while we were here!

My family is loving their first chance to meet Sparky. He's been slightly fussy lately, which is kind of unusual for him. Then, this morning, what should appear but a tiny little tooth poking through his bottom gum! I would be cranky, too! One day after his sixth-month birthday, Sparky sprouted his first little tooth...

I had efficiently procrastinated doing some schoolwork before leaving town for a few reasons. Reason #1 was that I was so freaking busy getting everything ready for our trip that I simply didn't have time. Reason #2 was that I rationalized that I would have some down time on the road and here in the hotel between events to get some stuff done. Haha! Riiiiiiight....

In addition to the test that I have to make up on Thursday and the client notes that I have to finish before my supervision on Thursday morning, I got a nice email from one of my professors reminding us of a paper that is due in class on Wednesday night. Son of a... While the paper won't take that much time to throw together and the notes aren't a huge time burden, I'm really stressing about finding time to study sufficiently for the test, especially considering how far behind on the reading I am in that class.

Anyway, I guess I could be using this time to study or work on the paper or on my notes, but it is 12:15 a.m. Eastern time and I think it will just have to wait until we begin the drive home on Monday...

10.03.2008

Don't Vote



The deadline for registration for the upcoming election is October 8 in the state of Missouri. I know that I have made my views pretty clear on this blog in recent months, but I strongly encourage everyone to vote, whether you agree with me or not. Preferably, if you agree with me, but you know... :o)

BTW - The video has some funny parts, if you have a couple minutes. Sarah Silverman is pretty good.

9.30.2008

Now, if I could just get this thing out of reverse...

Not-so-little Sparky is growing faster than I'd ever imagined possible. At 5 1/2 months, he is almost out of his 6-9 month size clothes. Here is a picture of the five bags of baby clothes I packed up to hand-down to his cousin, Ethan, who will be born in a few weeks. While five grocery bags of clothes might not look like a lot of clothing, you have to remember that baby clothes are little. This is probably the equivalent of 5 or 6 huge trash bags stuffed full of adult clothes.


We did choose a few things to keep: The first little onesies that Mike & Paula gave us when we found out we were pregnant, the sleeper he wore in the hospital, the Daddy's team baseball outfit he wore in his three-month photos and one or two others. It breaks my heart to give any of his clothes away... When I asked Dave if there was anything specific he wanted to keep, he said, "All of it." He's just growing up so fast!

Part of growing up is becoming mobile. The Sparkster is now pushing up on his hands and knees and rocking back and forth. While this is not the best video of his skills, you get the picture. I asked a few moms that I know about how long their babies took to get from rocking to crawling. They said only a few weeks! It is possible that Sparky will be crawling by Halloween! Yikes! Slow down, baby!


video

On the topic of growing up too fast, I found the sweetest book today titled Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury. Written in rhyme, it talks about how we sometimes focus on a child's "firsts" and miss the "lasts" - the last bottle we give a baby, the last time he falls asleep in your arms, the last hit in a Little League game. I teared up in the store while I was reading it and am tearing up again now. I love my little boy and want him to grow into an independent, intelligent, loyal young man... but, it is bittersweet, because I don't quite want my baby to grow up.

9.25.2008

Vapid much?*

Anybody else notice the similarities?

Watch this video, whether you are Republican, Democrat, or whatever and tell me that this is the person that you want to be the next V.P. of the U.S.





Ummm... Sarah? Honey? Have you ever met with one of the leaders of those countries? What about the states that border Mexico? And when Putin enters your "airspace," just what do you propose to do about it?

Listen, I'm all about feminism and electing a woman to the highest office in the land. But to elect a woman simply because she has a va-jay-jay? Don't think so!

And, by the way, McCain? Grow some balls and freakin' show up to the debate.

A coke, with a side of Midol, please!

Notice the label for this post: TMI!

But, for those moms out there, you'll understand... I haven't had cramps like this since June of '07! (Well, not counting labor pains, but you know what I mean.)

I've got the major lower back pain and the caffeine cravings and even had a slight bit of the typical irritability within the past couple of days. (Can you tell I was feeling a little fiesty with my most recent blog post?)

With all the pregnancy and breastmilk production, I've officially gone fifteen months without Aunt Flo visiting. I'll admit - It has been kinda nice.

I guess I've got a couple of potential solutions:

  • Get pregnant again.
  • Enter menopause.
  • Stock up on Midol.
  • Blog about it.

I guess I'm going with the last two options for now.

Oh, and just for Dave's sake: "Mucous plug!"

9.24.2008

"Drill, Drill, Drill"

A letter from Eve Ensler, the American playwright, performer, feminist and activist best known for "The Vagina Monologues." I checked the validity of this on Snopes.com before posting it.

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country choose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, "It was a task from God."

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

Amen, sister!

9.19.2008

Happy Pirate Day!

Avast! Check out the cutie scrog! It be his first "Talk Like a Pirate Day!"

9.18.2008

A more detailed post....

So, it is 6:30 a.m. I've been up for the past hour and a half. "Why?" you ask. Well, it isn't because the baby has been awake. Sparky has typically been sleeping to about 8 or 8:30 in the mornings, which is a beautiful thing. (As a matter of fact, we've cut out the "dreamfeed" and sometimes we'll hear him wake up, talk to himself a bit, then go back to sleep on his own!)

However, this morning, I woke up at 5 a.m. and my mind has been racing ever since. Since I have to wake up in about an hour, I decided to just give up...

I can't believe how stressful things have been around here lately. The classes that I'm taking are completely and totally kicking my @$$. I guess I underestimated how much work I would really have to do and how much time taking care of the baby would take. I thought that if I wasn't working, taking a full load of classes would be no biggie. Wrong!

One of the biggest stressors is the practicum class that I am taking. I have to actually see several clients and video-record the sessions. Then, I have to watch the sessions back and make my notes about the session. Finally, I have to meet with my supervisor weekly to go over the videos and notes. It is time-intensive, to say the least. What caused me to wake up this morning is the fact that I have to meet with my supervisor at 9 a.m. and last night when I got home from class (at 9 p.m.) and tried to watch the video from my session earlier that afternoon, only the first 4 minutes and 9 seconds were on the flash drive. There have been some technical difficulties at the center, to say the least, but I'm freaking out about having to go to supervision unprepared. I did my best to do the notes accurately without having the video, but... *Sigh*

I have a paper due tonight... but, it is already done! Having Sparky around has increased my time management skills exponentially. I'm so worried that he is going to be fussy or something that I won't have time to get something done at the last minute. The paper was a major stressor this week; I have another paper due next Wednesday that I'll be starting within the next day or so.

I'm hosting a Pirate Playdate at the park on Friday, which I committed to way before I knew what this week was really going to be like. (Friday is "International Talk Like a Pirate Day;" one of my favorite secular holidays of the year!) I have a few more things to get ready today, like folding the pirate hats that the kids are going to decorate and making the frozen chocolate-covered banana pirate ships.

On top of everything else, my sister's baby shower is on Sunday. I'm in charge of games and decorations. I've gotten most everything done for this, too: the prizes for the games, ordered the balloons, created the game pages, etc. I still have to run to Kinko's and get copies of the games made, which I think I'll be able to do tomorrow.

The house is a freakin' mess. I can't keep on top of it. If the laundry is finally done, there are dishes piled up. If I've gotten the clean dishes put away, there is mail and junk all over the kitchen table and counter. If the counter is cleared off, the living room is a disaster.

Dave has been a total trooper, making arrangements with his work schedule to be able to take care of Sparky every time I have to be at school earlier or for something new. I worry that he is going to get frustrated, but so far it has been working out okay.

So, there you have it and there you are. I knew going into it that this semester was going to be killer, but hopefully, it will only last for about another 8 weeks before things settle down. And, for those of you who only really come to this blog to check out the pics of my adorable son (and don't think that I don't know who you are), here you go:




video

9.09.2008

Hey, everyone. I haven't had much time to sit at the computer lately, which means even less time to think of a topic and create a blog post. We are just beginning our fourth week of classes for the semester at UMSL and already I am about two weeks behind in the reading I'm to have completed. As a matter of fact, I should be doing that right now, but, well, here I am.

Sparky is going to be 5 months old tomorrow. He is such a sweetie. (Well, except for when he is fussing in his swing, like now.) He has completely mastered the whole rolling over thing and has begun to roll from one side of the room to the other if you aren't looking. He can also push himself up on his arms and get his legs underneath him with his tummy completely off the floor. He's also getting better at passing things from one hand to the other - that is, when he isn't busy sucking on his toes. To show that I am not completely biased, though, I will say that we haven't really moved past making vowel sounds. I'm sure the "dadada" and "mamama" will come soon enough.

Well, I'm going to go ahead and log off now with that boring update. The only topics I have left to discuss are weather and weight loss, and I know nobody is really interested in hearing about either of those. I'll post again when I have more to say. Time to hit the books, for now!

P.S. - 10 days and counting until "International Talk Like a Pirate Day!"

8.22.2008

Dave tasted what?!?

We've started Sparky on some rice cereal this week. He's already practically a pro, although sometimes he prefers to play with his bib instead of eating.

Last night, Daddy was feeding the Sparkster while I was at class. He told me this morning that he tasted the rice cereal that he was feeding the baby and that it didn't taste too bad.

I asked: "Did you make the cereal with breastmilk?"

Then, I watched as Dave had a moment of clarity. His eyes got wide as he realized that he had, indeed, ingested breastmilk mixed with the cereal.

Dave tasted breastmilk! Dave tasted breastmilk!

I haven't given him too much trouble about it. But, I'll be sure to hang onto this one, in case I need ammunition in the future.

On another note, watch the video below to watch Sparky hanging out in his Exersaucer. He is just getting so good at exploring everything. It is amazing to see him make visible progress every single day. Plus, he is just damn cute!

video

8.20.2008

Boycott!

Have you seen these gas prices?


$3.39 a gallon? Are they serious? What kind of quality are we getting if we are paying less than $4.00 a gallon for gas?

I'm calling on everyone to go and fill up your tanks tomorrow! If everyone in the whole country does this, then the gas companies will know that we need gas, we need the good stuff, and we refuse to pay any less than top dollar for it!

Take that, Exxon Mobil!

8.16.2008

Olympic Junkie

Hi, my name is Violet, and I'm addicted to the Olympics.

It all started in 1996, I was 16 years old and watched in amazement as Kerri Strug completed that momentous vault and helped her team with the Women's Gymnastics gold medal. Then, four years ago, I was captivated by Michael Phelps and the Swimming events. I used to be a swimmer, so I don't mind watching even the distance events; it is all exciting to me.

Yesterday, I watched the men's Archery finals. I hit my bottom when I realized I was sitting on the couch this afternoon watching the qualifying rounds of the Olympic Trampoline event. I didn't even know that Trampoline jumping (and flipping, apparently) was an Olympic sport.

It doesn't matter what country wins - when I see the flag being raised and the anthem being played and the athlete stands on the podium looking so proud, tears well up in my eyes.

Even the commercials set off the waterworks. Have you seen this one?



I guess the only good things about my addiction is that I'm only afflicted every other year for about two weeks. Dave can't stand it. But, it could be worse. I could be addicted to WWE Wrestling or soap operas. Those never end!

8.14.2008

The price is wrong, Bob!


Three classes.

Six total textbooks.

Four hundred sixty-seven dollars and fifty-five cents.




Oh, wait... And one free student planner!

8.10.2008

Defining a Dive Bar

Let me just begin by saying this: I love dive bars. I would much rather go to a dive bar than some packed club or trendy (a.k.a. expensive) bar. I like the kind of place where I can wear jeans, Batman t-shirt, and a ponytail and still be one of the best-dressed people there.

Sometimes, when first visiting a bar, it can be hard to tell if you are for sure in a "dive bar" or not. Of course, there are your dive bars that are recognizable from a couple of blocks down the street. But there are also some that are borderline dive bars. If you visit these bars during off-peak hours, it may be hard to distinguish if it is indeed a dive bar.

I have found that the best way to clearly tag a dive bar is by examining the restroom. I have an advantage because women's restrooms either "ARE" or "ARE NOT" dive bar bathrooms. There is no in-between.

So... Here are some photos to help you indicate whether or not you are in a dive bar by only checking out the women's restroom.

Number One: No soap dispenser; just a bar of soap resting on a papertowel on the side of the cigarette-stained sink. (Although the fact that there is soap at all means that you are in a higher-class dive bar.)


Number Two: Toilet seat that is not attached to the toilet itself. (Lucky that in a dive bar, women usually "hover" anyway.)


Number Three: Religious message scrawled on the wall, complete with witty retort quipped beneath.


I hope this helps you to identify the next dive bar you visit. Be sure to have a PBR (preferably in a can) for me!

8.06.2008

Bastards.*

So, I went looking through my archives to find a picture that I knew I had posted a couple of years ago. Apparently, when I switched my blog over from the original Blogger to the "new and improved" Blogger, I lost the paragraphs of my previous posts. So, now, if you want to read any old posts of my blog, it ends up just looking like one huge blob of a story with no breaks.

I am a big fan of paragraphs. It pisses me right off that all my hard work in creating eloquent and well-crafted paragraphs are now just a big jumble of words.

I'm also a big fan of using "...". I think this is because I write the way that I speak... And usually, I try not to pause long enough to let another person get a word in edgewise, because otherwise I won't be able to finish everything that I want to say... So, I just trail each sentence off, as though I still have something to say, take a breath and keep going.

Serious writers hate ellipsis. (That's what the dot-dot-dot punctuation is called. Did you know that? Grammar lesson of the day.)

I also like using semi-colons. I think they make my writing look like I am smarter than I actually am. However, semi-colons are another piece of punctuation that not all people appreciate. Kurt Vonnegut wrote about hating semi-colons. He called the "hermaphrodite transvestites." Figure that one out, if you can.

And to end this entry: I said to myself, "I'll to try to use every piece of punctuation in only a few sentences; perhaps I'll succeed." Eh... ?&*#$ it!

*Apparently, this post means nothing, because I just discovered it was a setting I accidently changed earlier today that caused the paragraphs to disappear. Sorry, Blogger... I take it back. Duh...

"Thanks, Old Dude"

My opinion of Paris Hilton has just increased ten-fold in a matter of a 1-minute and 50-second "Funny or Die" clip. I wonder what Britney will come up with.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die


BTW - Did you know that Paris' parents are contributors to the McCain campaign? How's that for pissing in your Wheaties?

8.03.2008

Cutting Costs

As Dave and I work to plan our small wedding, we are amazed at how the estimated cost of our event keeps growing exponentially from what we first anticipated.

Therefore, we will be instituting the following cost cutting measures:
  1. All invitations will be issued by Evite.
  2. RSVP's must be received within one week of the Evite being sent. If you have not responded, you will be removed from the guest list. No exceptions.
  3. We'll be asking my friend, Mike B., to perform the ceremony. He was ordained through the Internets.
  4. We will be using Chris's karaoke machine and CD's for entertainment at the reception.
  5. Which will be held in the parking lot at the new White Castles in Troy, MO. (Mmmmm... Crave Case...)
  6. BYOB.
  7. And, if you want to be able to sit down, a lawn chair.
  8. Please include a gift receipt with all gifts. And pay cash when you buy them. Then, we can return the gifts and get the money to pay the bill at the White Castles.
  9. We'll be using a check from a closed account at the Aldi to pay for floral arrangements.
  10. Honeymoon? One word: Branson!

Be sure to check your e-mail for the Evite... It is going to be a beatiful ceremony!

8.01.2008

My Last Chance

August 8, 2008.

Kansas City, Missouri.

American Idol Auditions!

Auditions are open to: Men and women 16-28 years old as of July 15, 2008.

It is my last chance. It is now or never... *Sigh*

I do have a bonus this year, though: If you have a baby, and you can get that baby into the audition room with Randy, Paula, and Simon, you are almost guaranteed a spot to Hollywood.

What would I sing, though? One of my karaoke signature songs?

Hmmmm.... Worth some consideration...

Or maybe not.

Oh, well.

The Race Card?

Apparently, John McCain is accusing Barack Obama of "pulling the race card" in his campaign. (He is referring to comments that Obama has made regarding the fact that he doesn't "look like the presidents on the $1 bill or $5 bill.")

John McCain is the epitomy of White Privilege. It is a fantasy to think that racism does not exist in American society. We are not all the same ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, or religion. To pretend otherwise is simply to hinder the growth of a society striving to accept people for their differences.

For Obama not to acknowledge the fact that he is African-American would be silly. He needs to directly address it, which he has done. For McCain to insinuate that Obama is using this for political gain is simply a microaggression brought about by being raised in a racist society. Whether or not America is ready for a non-White president is a topic being discussed by every voter in America.

I am sure that McCain is not an overtly racist man; however, expecting Obama to go through this campaign pretending to be White is a subtle form of racism. Saying that Obama is trying to make political gains by somehow "cashing in" on his race is ridiculous. Is McCain really afraid that White America is going to support Obama because he somehow will use his race to his advantage? There is a reason that they don't call it "Black Privilege."

7.24.2008

Ronda is harassing me for a new post, so I'll humor her and put one up...

I found this other other day when I was cleaning out a gift bag of stuff I got around Christmas time:

CHOCOLATE!!! Score!!!

Chocolate should still be good seven months later, right? I went ahead and took off the snowman's head and pulled out a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. After removing the wrapper and checking out the enclosed candy, I decided it looked edible. I popped it into my mouth.

Unfortunately, the person who gave this to me included mint-flavored Hershey's Kisses in the mix. I am not a big fan of mint-flavored anything and the mint Kisses had infected all of the surrounding chocolates. Something about the combination of chocolate + peanut butter + mint that didn't quite seem right to me.

It is hard to admit my level of disappointment.

I tossed the candy but kept the snowman... It is something else that Dave and I can eventually put into our storage unit.

7.18.2008

Update

For those of you who are interested, I've finally gotten around to updating Sparky's website. You can visit it here.

I'll have a real post within the next day or two. Promise.

7.10.2008

A Day at the Zoo...

Time has been flying this summer. I'm only taking one class, but that is plenty to keep me busy in the time that I am not running errands, washing bottles, or changing Sparky's diaper.

Today, however, we found time to take a trip to the zoo with my friends, Carrie and Susan, and their twin babies, Harper and Jackson. It was the first trip to the zoo for all three of the babies.

We saw the chimpanzees:


And the bears:


And, finally, we took a ride on the train. (That is friend Nurse Chris in the picture with us. Yes, the Sparkster is trying to sleep.)


While on a lunch break, we compared baby foot sizes. Harper was born on Valentine's Day of this year, so she is two months older than Sparky. However, he weighs more than either of the twins and as this pic shows, he also has much larger feet.


There's something to be proud of!

6.26.2008

One year ago...

Last year at this time, I was sitting on a beach, sipping a Dirty Monkey, and enjoying the last full day of a week-long vacation in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Two years ago, I was working at the pool, getting ready to start a new job in a new school district in the fall.

Three years ago, I was working on my application to meet the July 2 deadline for a job as an Aquatics Coordinator in Breckenridge, CO.

Five years ago, I was finishing my practicum for a master's degree in gifted education.

Ten years ago, I had just graduated from high school and was planning on leaving for the Air Force in September to be a crytologic linguist.

Today, I am sitting on the couch, watching Sparky snoozing in his swing. The closest thing to a vacation in the near future is a road trip in the new mini-van to my cousin's wedding in Connecticut this September. I am currently unemployed and working on yet another master's degree.

This is not a lament. Just an observation of the way that life meanders. I wonder where I'll end up in another ten years.

6.14.2008

Surprise!

So, for the second time in two weeks, I've been to a surprise party. One for my friend Sarah's 30th birthday bash; today to Karen's 60th.

Both times, I've missed the "SURPRISE" part of the party.

Last time, I was "rolling the dice," when Sarah arrived at her party and was so shocked and happy that she started crying. ("Rolling the dice" is our euphemism for using one of these, if you care to know.) Today, I was inside dealing with a fussy Sparky, who seemed to be unhappy about being outside in the hot weather, when Karen realized the party was not for her granddaughter but actually for her.

Oh, well... All in the name of motherhood, right?

6.13.2008

An Unexpected Snack

As I unloaded the groceries the other day, I came upon an item that was individually wrapped in a small plastic grocery bag. I racked my brain, trying to determine what it is that I had bought that would warrant its own individual bag...

"Nothing breakable," I thought. "Nothing leaky, sticky, or poisonous."

I opened the bag to find a small cardboard tray from the meat section of the store carrying some type of fried food. This was definitely something that got put into my cart by mistake. Carefully, I turned over the item to see the UPC code sticker on the bottom:

FRIED CHICKEN GIZZARDS

Bonus! The checker must've forgotten to put these tasty morsels in the cart of the person who checked out before me (who bore an uncanny resemblance to Methuselah) and then put it into my bags instead. They were even still warm from the heat lamp they'd most likely been sitting under for approximately 5 to 7 days! Luckeeee...

I wasn't going to drive back to the store for $1.50-worth of chicken innards, so I asked Dave if he wanted one. He looked at them, considering, and tentatively tried to take a bite of one of the fried rubber pucks. He gave up and put it back in the tray.

I went ahead and promptly brought them out into the garage and threw them in the trash.

6.12.2008

Numb what?!?

From the 2008 National Scripps Spelling Bee... Go ahead and watch it! You'll be happy that you did.

6.08.2008

Life is good...

Hard to believe that it has been over a month since I last blogged. I can't believe that the entire month of May has gone by and I haven't posted a single thing. Well, life has been busy, to say the least. Sorry for the inconsistency.

That's for those of you who are keeping score. I know you're out there.

How life has changed since that last post. The biggest change since then is that Dave and I have decided that I will not go back to teaching next year. Instead, I will stay home with Sparky during the days and attend classes at UMSL towards my master's in Counseling and Family Therapy during the evenings. When it came down to the few days I had to go back to work this school year, I just knew that I didn't want to go. So, we sat down and looked at our budget:

If you take the cost of daycare
+ Gas for me to drive to & from work
+ The money we'd save by selling my car
+ A few other ways to save here and there
= Breaking even.

It ended up being way more worth it for me to stay home and take care of our son instead of working full time.

However, it ended up being a rather bittersweet decision. As thrilled as I am at the prospect of being able to stay home with Sparky and accelerate my degree program, I was very sad to leave my job. The teaching position that I've held for the last two years has been the most fulfilling job that I've ever had. In addition to truly loving what I teach, I've had more fun with my co-workers than any other teaching position that I've ever held. They are truly dedicated to their jobs and I look up to each and every one of them as people who go the extra mile for their students. Our daily lunch conversations are freakin' hilarious and I will miss them. Luckily, I will have the opportunity to substitute teach and I know that I will make the effort to stay in touch with all of them. I sincerely hope that we don't lose touch.

It is weird to be on "summer vacation" while knowing that I don't have to go back to work this fall. Last summer was the first summer that I haven't worked full time at the pools as a lifeguard or manager since I was 16. This summer I'm not even helping to fill in.

If you would've told me two years ago that I would be taking time off working to stay home with a baby, I would've looked at you like you were crazy. And while I have loved every minute of my life up until this point, I wouldn't change a single thing.

As the title of this post says... Life is good. :o)

Edit: I just noticed that I ended my last post with the same three words. I guess it must be true.

4.28.2008

Life as we know it...

Things certainly have changed around here in the past two and a half weeks. Although it seems like Sparky has been here much longer than only eighteen days. I guess when your day is split into three hour (or less) segments, each day seems much longer!

I've never been somebody who felt that I needed to be a mother in order to have my life fulfilled. When Dave and I began seeing each other, we were both of the mindset that we did not want to have children. But, when I hold my little baby and rock him and he curls up and falls asleep on my chest, I think that I can't imagine having gone through life without experiencing this.


Life is good.

4.09.2008

Happy Birthday to... Us

Tomorrow is my birthday, and although I normally wouldn't post a birthday greeting to myself, it will also be Sparky's real birth day!

Since I am post-due, the doctor went ahead and scheduled us for an induction tomorrow morning. Dave and I will arrive at the hospital at 6 a.m. and they will start me on Pitosin to get labor going. If all goes well, Sparky should be here sometime tomorrow afternoon or evening.

My birthday is 04.10.80.

Sparky's will be 4.10.08.

Wish us luck!

4.07.2008

Barefoot, Still Pregnant, and In the Kitchen...

....wearing nothing but an apron.

Okay, well, that part may not be true. But, you know, it isn't a bad idea! It is about a million freakin' degrees in here! (Then again, I feel like it is a million degrees most anywhere in any level of clothing these days...)

Sparky's due date has come and gone and we still do not have our little guy with us. He's totally content just hanging around in utero with no rush to come out here into this big, bright, scary world.

I am no longer working. I was sure that I would have a baby by now, so I arranged to have last Friday to be my last day of work. Since I have no work and no baby, I had to find something to keep myself busy. Call it nesting. I went to the store this morning and have spent all afternoon preparing some dishes that I can freeze and we can cook up once the baby gets here. I finished four of the six dishes. I had to take a break for a while and will finish the last couple either tonight or tomorrow morning.

What's on the menu?
  1. Chicken Caesar Tetrazzini
  2. Tuna Noodle Casserole
  3. Zucchini and Chicken Pasta Bake
  4. Meatloaf
  5. Baked Cavatelli
  6. Chicken Normandy Style

Paula and I went to the local "Let's Dish" place a couple weeks ago, so I am merely supplementing what we've already got stocked up in the freezer. Let's Dish, in case you haven't heard of it, is one of those places that you go and prepare a bunch of meals that you can freeze and then easily defrost and cook at home. It was a great experience! For me and Dave, the cost was reasonable and the best part was that everything is there ready for you to assemble and there is no clean-up! Can't beat that!

Dave mentioned that I must really mistrust his cooking to go to these lengths...

No comment.

4.05.2008

T minus 1 Day

So, Sparky's official due date is tomorrow. So much for everybody who thought he'd arrive early, huh? (I was among them! How foolish of me!)

Last night, I was having major back pain and some pretty severe Braxton Hicks contractions; they were the strongest that I've experienced so far. I was sure that since the doctor "stripped my membranes" at our Thursday appointment that things were finally really moving and labor was imminent. (Sorry for the extraneous details there; you know that you wanted to know!)

But, Sparky just stayed put.

Dave and I woke up this morning and went to the park to take a walk to kind of jostle things around a little bit. Then we walked around Kohl's. Then we walked around Linens 'n' Things. Then we walked around Schnucks. All this walking indeed helped to get my back good and sore. But, I don't seem to be any closer to giving birth than I did this morning.

It is a beautiful day. Dave and I have been able to get outside and enjoy it. Hopefully, we'll be outside even more during this afternoon and evening. No matter what, this will be our last weekend without Sparky. We have another doctor appointment set up for Wednesday in case we haven't had Sparky at that time; in that case, they will set us up to induce on either Thursday or Friday. Hopefully, he'll join us sooner than that.

We'll keep you posted with any new developments.

Peace, love, and babies!

3.20.2008

Catchin' Up...

Wow... It has actually been a full month since I've blogged. I'm such a slacker. BUT, to my own credit, at least I recognize the fact that I am a blogging slacker and I have accepted it.

Let's see... What's been happening around here? Why don't I give you short photo tour.

At the end of February, we had a "Leap Year" party.

Dr. Mike brought "Leaf Beer."

Mikey brought a "Leek." (He brought some "Peeps," too, but I didn't get a photo of those. Also, is Megan's face not priceless in this pic??)

And who said that men don't listen?

We've gotten the nursery all finished. It looks awesome. If you want to see more photos, you can go to the baby's website.

For our St. Patty's Day feast on Sunday, I made an Irish Creme Bundt Cake. It actually had Bailey's Irish Creme both in the cake itself and in the glaze on top.

It was pretty tasty. Dave even enjoyed the batter!

Ella was visiting the other day and Paula had the bright idea to put her in a box. It was pretty freakin' funny. At least I thought so at the time. As you can tell by my narrative from behind the camera. (Hey, in my defense, I've got a baby pushing down on my bladder, so most things make me feel like I'm going to pee my pants!)

video

My spring break is almost over and I am not looking forward to going back to work on Tuesday. My mindset is completely focused on the arrival of Sparky (17 days and counting!) and after this week off, I'm not sure that I'm going to be able to easily get back in the swing of things. However, I've been feeling pretty good and have no real excuse for "bed rest," so I guess I'll have to suck it up and work until the little munchkin decides that it is time to arrive. Probably better than sitting around, I guess.

I mean, what would I do with all my time if I didn't go back to work? Blog???

2.21.2008

Surprise Snow Day!

My alarm had already gone off and I was in bed, thinking about how I really didn't feel like getting up when the phone rang. The phone only rings that early in the morning at our house for one reason: Snow Day!!

Based on the weather reports last night, the freezing rain/sleet/snow wasn't supposed to hit 'til this afternoon. I was dreading the drive home today and halfway hoping that they'd call school off for tomorrow. Today, though, was a snow day that occurred without me actually NOT having to do the traditional "Snow Day Dance."

Unfortunately, the motions of "Snow Day Dance" are a secret, carefully guarded by a few teachers across the world, so I can't really divulge what that would look like. You'd be amazed at how similar it is to the "Rain Dance" that lifeguards often perform on cloudy days.

Anyway, after watching the news to verify that my district was indeed among the closed, I rolled over and went back to sleep. I am currently in the process of baking chocolate chip cookies, except I'm using M&M's because Walgreens doesn't carry chocolate chips. Bastards.

I did get to use my fancy-schmancy Kitchenaid Bowl Mixer for the first time to mix the dough; I got it for Christmas and haven't had the time/energy/motivation to bake anything that I would need it for until today. Let me just tell you: That mixer freakin' rocks.

Plans for the rest of the day include doing some scrapbooking, playing some Guitar Hero, taking a nap, getting take-out from Chevy's for dinner, and watching American Idol.

Life is good.

2.08.2008

A Little of This, A Little of That

While at work today, the conversation turned, as it often does, to the subject of cake. And the virtues of Butter Cream vs. Whipped Cream frosting.

Don't ask. I work with a bunch of women. Two of us are pregnant and I'm sure that at least one of us is PMS-ing at any given time.

The specific cake that was being discussed today was the type of cake that would be ordered for the shower that they are throwing for me. I think that they are getting me a marble cake. With butter cream frosting, of course.

I remember discovering marble cake when I was a kid. We cut into the cake, and, lo and behold, it was not just a single flavor! I thought that this was probably the best culinary invention since sliced bread! Can't decide if you want chocolate or white cake? Have both! What a wonderful world it is that we live in!

I am also a big fan of Neapolitan ice cream, for much of the same reason. Strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream, all in one fell swoop. Does life get any better than that? Plus, when it gets a little melty, you can totally stir up all the flavors and get a totally new choco-nill-berry flavor that you won't find anywhere else.

And, of course, when getting soft-serve ice cream, I always go for the swirl. I mean, let's be honest. Does anyone really know how they get the ice cream to swirl together like that? How freakin' amazing!

When eating my Skittles or Sweetarts, I always mix the flavors. My favorite combos? One green and one purple Skittle or One blue and one purple Sweetart. Try it sometime. You won't be disappointed.

I have an admission to make, though. I don't really care for frosting at all. I usually just scrape it off and eat only the cake. But, if butter cream frosting is what makes people happy, that's what we'll have!

2.03.2008

Groundhog Day Party

Life around here has been pretty uneventful lately. Well, that is, if you discount all of the chaos surrounding the upcoming arrival of the baby... But, other than that, it has been pretty uneventful.

As was exhibited by our thrilling Saturday night, a la Groundhog Day Style.

I actually felt up to cooking, since I hadn't done much of anything all day long. Mike, Paula, and Ella came over to join us for some Mexican Lasagna.


It was pretty good. Won't be a staple in our diets, but for a change, it was nice. It is basically lasagna with chicken, but you use tortillas instead of lasagna noodles and chili powder and cumin instead of the traditional Italian seasonings in lasagna.

Then, we had a bit of "Independent Study Time," as Paula put it.

Dr. Mike worked on creating his apparel for the Super Bowl Hot Wing contest. Gotta love a guy who isn't afraid to wear a puffy painted sweatshirt, right? Especially one featuring a chicken with his wings on fire.


Dave finally set up the Wii that "Santa" brought him for Christmas. You know, for someone who bitched and moaned about not being "allowed" to get a Wii, it sure did take a long time to get the game system set up.


And Paula and I ate ice cream. (Hey, we're pregnant. Otherwise, we'd have been doing tequila shots.)


Once everyone reconvened, we messed around with the Wii a little bit. I think Kramer got more enjoyment out of the whole experience than everyone else. I don't think I've ever seen him so excited.

video

And everyone was home and in bed well before midnight, because, as everyone knows, if you aren't, the Groundhog Fairy will turn you into a pumpkin.

Or something like that.

1.25.2008

Everyone Needs a Mini-Me...

Throughout the baby-item-registering ordeal, Dave and I found the perfect little outfit that we knew Sparky would just have to have. Dave's typical spring/summer uniform is some type of variation of the following:


I think Dave is thrilled at the prospect of having a little clone. Like father, like son. Soon, we are going to have a little miniature Dave running around here. Only, hopefully, he will drink less scotch.

**********

We've also had the joy of attending childbirth classes over the last couple of weeks. Between watching videos of births from the late-80's and early-90's (who knew giving birth could be such a hairy and squishy ordeal?) and practicing breathing throughout imaginary contractions (hee-hee-hoo), Dave tried on The Empathy Belly.


Doesn't he look maternal?

**********

On another note, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this is the second time that I've posted within two weeks - an infrequent feat for me these days. (No applause needed... No seriously... Oh, you're too much!)

I happened to look back through some of my old blog posts today and found myself laughing. I really enjoy blogging and hope to try to set aside some more time in the near future to do it. I miss reading everyone's humorous or thought-provoking or petulant postings.

While I can't promise that a lot of them won't revolve around the upcoming birth of our son, I do intend to at least post more often. If nothing else, it is nice to be able to look back and remember what I was thinking/feeling/doing at a previous time in my life.

1.16.2008

"Life Was Happening Here"*

How time flies...

With Sparky getting bigger and bigger each day, Dave and I are reminded that in only a few short months, our lives are going to change dramatically. We watch him kick and jab from the inside of my tummy and think about what the future holds.

Mentally, I am excited and ready for him to arrive. Physically, we still have so much to do. We spent last weekend "registering" at our local Baby Store... I about had a meltdown within the first fifteen minutes. There are just so many decisions to make. I have no idea what type of bottle to buy or what "travel system" I want. Five hours later, we called it a day. We spent several more hours on Sunday looking at furniture and have also spent considerable time the past two days revising and changing the registry online.

Work has been spent getting ready for my extended absence once Sparky arrives. Preparing copies and lesson plans for an eight week block is somewhat time consuming and has drastically affected my ability to waste a few minutes here or there surfing the net.

I'm glad that the holidays are over; they were more stressful this year than anything else. We were able to visit family on the East Coast, many of whom I haven't seen in several years. It was nice to visit with everyone, but also nice to get home and relax before going back to work on the 7th.

I think that Dave and I have made the decision that next year, I will stay home with Sparky and continue working on my master's in Counseling and Family Therapy, instead of working full time. I am not taking any classes this semester (what, do you think I'm completely crazy?) but will enroll again for the summer semester. It is very strange for me to think about not working... Although with being enrolled in classes full time and taking care of the Sparkmeister, I know it isn't like I'll be bored. I'll probably also try to pick up some students to tutor to make a little extra cash here and there.

Anyway, I know that is a pretty boring blog update, but c'est la vie. You're invited to check out Sparky's website, if you'd like. The most recent pictures of his ultrasound are really pretty freakin' cool.

*A quote from the play "Up The Down Staircase," adapted from the novel by Bel Kaufman.