Monday, May 26, 2008

In which I turn green...

As an enlightened 21st century mom it is important to me that I model responsible stewardship of our planetary resources. I recycle everything I can, I use non-toxic cleaning products, I changed all of my light bulbs to freaking annoying energy saving florescent, I turn the water off when I brush my teeth... but I drive a Suburban. Oops.

When we first bought the Suburban it made a lot of sense. I had four kids, three of them in carseats, and two dogs. We frequently took long trips by car. And gas was $.98 a gallon. Yes it was.. I know it sounds unbelievable but it really was. As the kids got older I had room for extra friends, sports equipment, band instruments, and groceries. When we were homeschooling the kids had enrichment classes all over the place and the Suburban was our mobile classroom, lunch room, and napping area. It really was the perfect car for my family.

But lately the Suburban has become a bit of an embarrassment. Like an ancient dog who slobbers on guests and farts uncontrollably... I still love it but I really don't want to take it out in public anymore. I am tired of answering the question "How much does it cost you to fill that thing up?!" I'm also ashamed to frequently be the only person in a vehicle that seats nine.

So, this weekend I was dragged, kicking and screaming decided to look at new cars. I told Bob that we were only going on a fact finding trip. We are not buying anything today! And I meant it. Until we walked into the Toyota dealership. There it was... a rare and difficult to find Camry Hybrid. Having never actually seen one I was overcome with curiosity. I had to drive it.

I was in love by the first stoplight.

When I returned to the dealership there were two couples waiting to drive the car and I really didn't want to share. So I bought it.

I did, however, let them look at it while we did the paperwork. Which made it rather hard to negotiate with the salesman when one couple decided to wait around, just in case we didn't qualify. In actuality there was no negotiation. He told us how much we would pay and we paid it. Ouch. However, the money I have been spending on gas for the Suburban will offset 80% of the payment on the Camry.

So, in less than two weeks I have quit my job, changed my hair, and bought a new car. I told Bob I think I'm having a midlife crisis. He said it's ok as long as I'm not planning on trying out any new guys.

Sorry Mr. Clooney. I love your electric Car but you can't be my secret boyfriend.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cleaning up old files

I've been going through old computer files, finding ideas for stories I haven't written, research I don't remember doing, and articles that were actually published long, long ago. Today I found this in a file marked "journal". It was the only entry but it was enough. Ian was seven, Zane was three, and Taylor wasn't quite a year old. I was 31.

Sunday night. We try to squeeze the best out of the last few hours of the weekend. Bob and I trade shots of Jim Beam while I spike the BBQ sauce and marinate the spare ribs. Who could resist an open bottle of 7yr old Kentucky Bourbon? Jimmy Buffet is on the stereo and we are dancing in the living room while my eighty year old neighbor across the street stands in her front window shaking her head.

The baby is ready for bed. She isn’t yet old enough to join in on the Sunday celebration. I wish I could spend time cuddling with her but she squirms away and reaches for her crib. Already she is so self-determined, stubborn, and individual. She knows who she is and what she wants. I miss the dependant little bundle she once was and rejoice in the person she is now.

Dinner is messy and noisy. Giggles and ribs, good wine, and kool-aid. “Shhhh. You’re sister’s sleeping” means nothing. Ice cream drips on the table cloth and streaks down little arms leaving trails in the dirt there. Ah, well, warm water and soap work wonders and then it’s pajama time.

This is time to savor the little things. The fresh earth that is waiting for seed in the back yard. The big, little boy who wants to tell me all about the book he is writing. It has 7 chapters, all named and each marked for six pages in his spiral bound notebook. I wonder if he will still be writing in twenty-five years?

The little, big boy wants to sit on my lap and demands a story.. not from a book but from Mom’s “story box." No excuse will dismiss this demand. His hair smells like fresh cut pine. I have no idea why. He cuddles under my chin and patiently explains what the story must be about. In the end, I’m not sure which of us is telling it.

Finally all little bodies are asleep, dishes done and the bbq sauce cleaned from the floor. I’m sitting here trying to capture it all and feeling disappointed with the effort. How can I freeze these last few hours? How do I remember these kids just like they are this minute? I can’t. No picture or word can distill the essence of Sunday night. Tomorrow they will be different people, one day older and every day changes them. All I can hope for is to keep a little of this in the corner of my mind to pull out on the bad days, the days that I’m not so happy with my lot in life. Tonight I can’t think of anything I’d rather be than who I am.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A pathetic plea for help

In the wonderful film "Educating Rita" there is a scene that has haunted me for the last twenty five years.

Not the bravery of a working class girl fighting to better herself despite the ridicule she faces as a non-traditional university student. Not the hope and eventual love she inspires in her professor or even the bittersweet ending.

No, the scene that has haunted me for twenty five years is in the salon where she cuts hair for a living. A fat, dumpy, middle-aged woman presents Rita with a photo of Princess Diana and says "Make me look like that." Ever since I saw the movie I have lived in fear of being that woman.

I need a haircut badly but I need some advice first. Please save me from being a deluded middle aged woman with a picture of a haircut she can never possibly wear!

This is me... no not on a bad hair day, this is a pretty typical hair day. The unfortunate look on my face is because Delaney had my camera and was taking dozens of close-up pictures of the dinner I was trying to cook.

I have a round face and a pointy nose. I think my eyes are my best feature but my bangs tend to hide them. My hair has suddenly become more gray than I am comfortable with so that's going to have to change too. Oh.. and I wasn't wearing any makeup in this photo either. Why did I choose to use it? Because, sadly enough, it's the best current photo I have.

This is how my hair is currently cut... sort of. My neck is a lot shorter than hers so the back fringe is always sticking into my collar and my bangs stubbornly refuse to do that graceful swoop.

And these are some of the cuts I'm considering.
I think I probably don't have long enough hair or enough neck for this one but I like the way it frames her face.

These two are pretty much the same cut. I think it would work better with the short neck but I'm worried my face will just look rounder.

I think the shorter length of this one would be easier to manage but I'm not sure I want to lose that much length.

Then again... perhaps I'll just cut it all off and go back to super short hair. It's certainly easier to deal with although I worry that I don't look very feminine with very short hair. However, with the mood I'm in right now I really need to decide something soon or I might just shave it all off!

What do you all think? I honestly think that you all are far more stylish than I am and I trust your opinions. Help me.. I'm desperate!


Here's an additional picture of me when my hair was short... it was taken two years ago.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Losing 70lbs...

As I mentioned the other day, my sister is getting married in June and I need to lose some weight before the wedding. I am not in the wedding but I will see family members that I haven't seen in quite a while. Plus the wedding is on the beach in San Diego and I don't want to look like a beached whale.

So, I decided to lose 70lbs but after spending some time researching my options I have found that, short of lopping off body parts, there are only a few ways that I could possibly lose 70 lbs in five weeks.

A bushel of corn weighs an average of 70 lbs.

If I left this bushel out in a field of goats it would be gone in no time at all.

A 70 lb heavy bag could get lost if I left it laying around outside... ok, maybe not but I bet somebody would come haul it away for me if I put an ad on Craigslist.

Gracie and George are about 70 lbs combined and both have a tendency to take off running if they get out the front door. It would be quick and easy to lose them. But it would make me sad.

Maybe I could get a bigger dog

and lose him?

UPS could lose 70 lbs for me if I packed it incorrectly and neglected to put their overweight label on the box...

American Airlines might lose it for me but not if I wanted it to leave the country. 70 lbs is too large for international travel.

Faced with the facts I have decided to refine my goals. I will lose a nice reasonable twelve pounds. I will go to the wedding and be the o l d e r sister. I will look old enough to be the mother of the bride because I am. I will celebrate my beautiful, talented, accomplished sister and I won't care that she got all the pretty genes.

Then I'm going to Disneyland.

and I'm going to eat whatever I want

Friday, May 16, 2008

Today is the first day of the rest of my first days...

Or something like that.

I'm going to use this post to quickly touch on a bunch of events that have happened in the last four weeks. Details will be sparse in order to keep the post short, not because I'm being evasive, any and all questions are welcome and might be answered.

First a brief discussion of weird weather in the Pacific Northwest. A month ago it was snowing and I was complaining about it.

Gracie didn't seem to mind it at all. She's good at just shaking things off.

Today, less than a month later I'm complaining about the weather again. We are supposed to see record high temperatures today. One prediction says it will be over 90 degrees. Since people in Seattle start melting when the temp edges above 70, I expect there will be a lot of grumpy, drippy people around. I spent thirty minutes this morning looking for warm weather clothes that actually fit my cold weather body.

In other news... as previously reported, we have had a furry house guest. After a few days we started calling him George. We made quite an effort to find his owners because I was convinced that no one would just let a dog like this go.

After ten days someone finally recognized him and put us in contact with his owners. Who were happy that we had been taking such good care of their "George". Yep, we somehow knew his name.. there's just something about him that screams "I'm George!" However, after taking him home for an evening, his owner called and asked if we would like to have him back. She said that he had run away repeatedly and she would have to put up a fence to keep him but she lives on the golf course and a fence just isn't an option. She had "spent too much money" on him the last time he ran away and was hit by a car, and she didn't want that to happen again. She did seem sad to let him go but she wasn't willing to change anything to keep him. So now we have two dogs.

And they are very happy together.

Zane is happy too. He spent ten days trying to convince me that we really did need another dog. He turned 15 last week and the day after his birthday we decided that George could stay. Happy Birthday Zane.

His favorite gift was a Magic Bullet blender/food processor.
He makes awesome smoothies!

His favorite thing about being 15 seems to be that he can now practice driving. I am pleased to say that he's taking learning to drive very seriously. He's calm and focused and takes direction well. I think he's going to be an excellent driver.

As you can see it's been a busy month and we haven't even talked about the changes caused by Bob's new job. The most dramatic change (besides a calmer, happier husband) has been to our den... previously the video game room... it is now Bob's office. And what an office it is!

We haven't yet figured out what to do with the video games... or the furniture that used to be in there.. but we will. Now that I have finished working I am relearning how to spend all day in the same house with my husband. Actually, this is a lot easier than you imagine. The biggest problem is figuring out who is supposed to answer the telephone.

Taylor has been home with us too. The poor girl has been sick for almost two weeks and her doctor isn't quite sure what is ailing her. After many tests they have decided to call it a mono-like virus combined with an allergic reaction, probably to the virus itself, that caused hives. She's starting to feel better now but is still tired, a little too pale, and she's lost a lot of weight. Today she's feeling well enough to work on missed schoolwork so, while I'm trying to write this, she has been asking questions about negative integers. Oh how I hate math. I can't do math and write at the same time. It's just asking too much of my poor aged brain. A positive minus a negative is actually a positive plus a positive? How can that be right?

What is really frightening is the fact that when I was homeschooling this stuff made sense to me and now it's just a big number fog again. Why can't I retain it? Is that math part of my brain engaged in some other activity?

Well, I think I've covered most of the major events of the last month and can now resume my more or less regular schedule of blogging. As for today, I'm off to conquer Mt. Laundry and plan the rest of my life.

Tomorrow's subject matter - New friends, old friends, virtual friends, imaginary friends, and the Internet. Or, How to lose 70lbs in time for your sister's June wedding.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Today was my last day of work and I have to admit I was rather sad when it was over. I was sad because after giving them eight months of my life I can honestly say that nothing has changed. I trained people to take over my job functions but one of them was fired last week and the other has decided she can't do the job.

Oh well.

It was hard for me to walk out of there this afternoon knowing that tomorrow is not taken care of but I did it anyway.

cool comic courtesy of nataliedee