Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Another Crunch

After much sweat and many tears and only a little blood, the December issue of Cruchable is up. Go check it out. Has some great gift ideas, too.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Thursday (Oh Joy!) Thirteen

Thirteen Things to Celebrate Today

1. Test results are in. It's not cancer. Apparently, he's just getting old.

2. Christmas vacation is still on. Super-Hubby's boss ok'd the time off.

3. We do not have to try to get our non-refundable plane tickets refunded.

4. The Christmas Cards, for the first time ever, are all mailed before Christmas. Well, all except one, but I don't have that address yet. (Did I mention that last year, we were still sending Christmas cards at Easter? No joke.)

5. I have a wonderful husband who loves me and is cleaning the house as I type this. I am, by the way, at work. With the baby. So really, he only has to vacuum around the dog.

6. Speaking of the dog, Coltrane has been really good this year. All the ornaments are still on the tree. He has (miraculously) left all of Tom's toys alone. Amazing.

7. The snow still on the ground is pretty and very Courier and Ives.

8. Apparently, my blood has gotten thicker over the last year. The 10 degree mornings no longer bother me. Maybe I'm just a hot momma.

9. Did I mention my husband loves me?

10. I only have two, count 'em two (2), Christmas presents left to buy.

11. Last night I curled up in the tub with Nora Roberts for about 20 minutes. All by myself. No Tommy. They were 20 of the finest minutes I've had in a long while.

12. When I got out of the tub, Tom was asleep. Even better.

13. We're getting more snow tonight. (Not sure if I'm thankful for that or not. Let you know tomorrow.)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

By My Fingernails

I know that the crap stuff happening in my life is minor compared to the sufferings of others. I mean, really. I'm healthy. My child is healthy. My beloved husband is relatively healthy.

But right now, I feel like I can't even begin to dig out from under this mountain of responsibilities. Combining that with a big ol' pile of worry and chance, and you have an instant ulcer. Or something.

Ok,so my dad's health is still up in the air. Tomorrow, mom goes to the doctor to have a lump on her thyroid checked out. There's a possibility that the lump could be cancer, too.

Mom and dad are both very ill with some sort of respiratory bug. Although we are currently something like 2,000 miles apart, it seems like the same bug that both Tommy and I have.

The house hasn't been cleaned in what seems like forever. All my friends' houses smell delicious and cinnoman-y and full of holiday cheer. Mine smells like a dog that's just been put through a car wash. Dog hair, dust, and a just a whiff of detergent. Yuck.

Super-Hubby is adjusting to his new job, but that means he's working much longer hours in an effort to impress his new boss. Plus, the relaunch of his Web-based literary magazine is taking a lot of his time and effort. While I cannot call him unhelpful around the house (he does a lot of wondeful things) I have been frustrated by his lack of ability to see what needs to be done and do it. The only way he chips in is if I ask, specifically, for him to do something. Which normally isn't a problem, but it's been getting on my nerves lately.

As usual, I'm in charge of ALL the holiday cards, gifting, etc. I am exhausted. I don't want to go Christmas shopping today. But I get to anyway.

Oh, and although we've had plane tickets since May to go to see my sister for the holidays, Super-Hubby's promised vacation time may be revoked.

Seems when his idiotic company moved all their people around to different offices, they neglected to take into account that people had already scheduled their Christmas vacations. Apparently, everyone in Super-Hubby's new office has been promised the same week of vacation. Since they can't all be gone at once, SH's new boss has to figure out a solution. At last check, no solution has been reached. We are slated to leave in 8 days.

There's other stuff too, but maybe that's too personal for this blog. I am so frustrated right now, I don't even know what would make me feel better.

How's everyone else doing this hump day?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Wow, I'm Blue. Who knew?

What Color is Your Brain?


At work or in school: I like to be with people, sharing with them, inspiring them, and helping them. I work and learn best when I can take into consideration people and the human element. I flourish in an atmosphere of cooperation.
With friends: I always look for perfect love. I am very romantic, and I enjoy doing thoughtful things for others. I am affectionate, supportive and a good listener.
With family: I like to be happy and loving. I am very sensitive to rejection from my family and to family conflicts. I really like to be well thought of and need frequent reassurance. I love intimate talks and warm feelings.
Take this quiz!


This just in: The test results aren't back yet. So, no appointment. We wait.

The Dreaded "C" Word

Today my daddy is going to the doctor. It's a follow up visit to find out the results of a bone biopsy he had last week. We have all be dancing around the subject for months, when some routine bloodwork showed that his white-cell count was dropping.

Two weeks ago, another blood test showed that his white-cell count is still dropping. My incredibly healthy, strong, amazing daddy has something wrong with him, and the doctors don't know what it is.

What makes it even harder is that he feels fine. He's still volunteering his retirement away, leading talks at national parks and doing trail maintenance. Heck, he's probably still riding his bicycle in those century rides, where crazy guys pedal 100 miles in a day.

When my mom called to tell me about the scheduled biopsy, I said "What does this mean??" I couldn't wrap my head around what she was saying. She said "well, the doctors think it could be something really bad, or it could just be that his body isn't making enough white blood cells. They have shots to fix that." Never once has either one of them talked about what it could really be. Some form of leukemia. Of cancer.

My mother is a breast cancer survivor. I would think she could say the "C" word, but no. She and my father talk around it like if they don't say "cancer," it won't really be a possibility. It drives me crazy. For weeks I was floating around thinking ... oh, it's not that bad. Really, it could be that bad. Cancer. Cancer. Cancer.

It's hard for me to imagine my father having leukemia. In my mind, leukemia is a disease of childhood, characterized by poor bald-headed children on the television, playing with tricycles and trying to look lively while celebrities ask us to be generous to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

It is not a disease contracted by 67-year-old men who can fix anything.

Monday, December 12, 2005

It's *That* Kind of Monday

Ok, this pretty much sums up my day so far. Just picked Tom up off the floor from tummy time and found that he had mysteriously gotten spitup ON his eyelid. Yuck. And now he's just gotten it all over my desk.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Snow Day

When the pastor called me at work yesterday and told me not to come in today because of the impending snow storm, I was escatic. I had visions of snuggling on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and watching fat flakes drift down and make fluffy piles on my sidewalk. Of taking Tom for a walk in his first major snowfall. Of actually getting some chores done around this mess I call a home.

What I did not envision was being puked on (right on the kisser, no less), then spending the rest of the day shoveling snow in a shirt that smelled like sour breastmilk, mostly because I was too lazy to go upstairs and change.

Somehow, my wonderful snow day where I was going to accomplish so much turned into "make the house look worse than before day." Dunno how that happened.

I also did not plan on being stranded at home, sick, with a sick infant and an insanely rambunctious dog. When the clock blinked 7 p.m. I thought, "Surely Super-Hubby will be home soon! I will get help!" Then the clock turned to 8 p.m. I gave the sick baby a bath. We cuddled. He nursed. We both coughed a lot.

Super-Hubby made it home somewhere around 10 p.m., after spending more than 12 hours putting together his first major A-1 story for the paper. I am very proud of him, and there's no helping the fact that he had to be at work. He's promised to watch Tom all weekend, but we'll see.

I am starting to dread snow days.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about my Christmas Memories

1. I used to absolutely love Christmas when I was a child. I would look forward to it all year, the decorating, the food, the family gatherings. Now, I still love Christmas, but the decorating, the food, the gatherings all seem like an awful lot of work.

2. I just realized this year how incredibly awful our collection of Christmas music is. I will have to purchase some new CDs to replace "Christmas with the Stars, 1997", which I believe my mother bought at a grocery store for $5.

3. I really miss my mom's cooking at Christmas. We always had a huge Christmas brunch that included scrambled eggs, brunch cake, cinnamon rolls, fruit and cheese trays, even oysters (yuck) for my Paw-Paw. For dinner we would have roast beef with Yorkshire pudding (my absolute favorite). But now we usually celebrate with other family and they make boring old turkeys.

4. Christmas was also the only time of year my sister and I could have pre-sweetened cereal. For years and years, stockings and Cookie Crisp went hand in hand.

5. I don't remember when I stopped believing in Santa.

6. My sister and I knew that we were never, ever permitted to go downstairs and look at the presents on Christmas morning until Mom and Dad were awake. We spent a lot of time huddled on the top step of the staircase at 5 a.m., just outside of the master bedroom door. We thought we were being quiet, but I imagine it was an effective wake up call for my parents.

7. Our family almost always gets sick on Christmas. One year, we all had a terrible stomach bug, and we had 7 people all fighting over the use of two toilets. Gross, but true.

8. My husband and I never, ever spent Christmas together before we were married, even though we dated for 5 years.

9. Someday I would actually like to celebrate Christmas at my house. I think. Maybe.

10. This year we are flying across the country for the holidays, and I am terrified that Tom's ears will bother him and the flight will be hell for everyone with a screaming 4 month old aboard.

11. At 2 a.m. I sometimes awaken terrified that I will not make the right kind of holiday traditions and memories for my son.

12. Last year our dog ate a bunch of burnt out Christmas bulbs and I didn't even call the vet. Our dog eats everything. He also got a few of our decorations last year, like the candy Christmas trees my mother insisted on making. I caught him climbing atop the table to lick the candy like a lollipop. This year, however, he is doing much better. No destroyed decorations, yet, but he did eat one of Tom's bibs. The whole thing. Except for the velcro.

13. My family is big on stockings. In fact, we're so big on stockings, we don't stuff them ... we stuff shopping bags. The big paper ones with handles. I always end up with a lot of little stuff I don't want and can't use, but it's a big deal to my other family members so I can't really do anything about it. And it is fun. But really. Shopping bags?!?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Anger management

I tripped across a blog today and for the first time ever wanted to send a nasty reply to a post. I did not, but only by an act of extreme self control.

She was criticizing other bloggers - specifically "mommy bloggers" - for posting about the minutiae of their lives, when there are so many more "big issues" people should be blogging about. She upbraided the masses for being so afraid of "being alone." Of failing to delve into grief.

The kicker, of course, is that the title of her blog (which I hesitate to name) is basically "celebrating the minutiae of life." Ha. This is irony, crashing down with a big-ass stick.

Apparently, at least a dozen readers found wisdom and encouragement in her words. I'm guessing that I'm the only one out there who thought she came off as a pretentious, self-righteous brat.

What I don't understand is why posts about joy and happiness and the little good things that happen in the day of a mother should bother her so much. True, everything said about happiness has been said before. Children, like puppies, are cute and snuggly. (Except when they are oozing snot and puking in pastel colors, or coloring on the freshly painted walls of the master bedroom, or playing in dog poop. But nevermind.) Motherhood fills us all with warm fuzzies. (Even when there is more laundry, pound for pound, than people in your house and the washing machine just broke, the baby has been screaming for six hours and your husband comes home complaining that he is just "so tired" so he can't help.)

But everything about despair and grief has been said before too. Many, many authors have made their life work out of writing about these "real" issues. Want despair? Try reading Koskinski's The Painted Bird. There's a portrayal of grief and abuse that will knock you off your chair.

I know, we're supposed to be talking about the blogosphere, not good, old-fashioned books. But there's the problem - we're not talking about literature. We're talking about people's personal, daily journals. Some mommy bloggers are looking for a spot to stretch their literary wings. And brava to those ladies.

But many more of us are just hoping for a little corner of cyber-space to use as a mirror of sorts. A place to hold up a few moments in our daily lives and say "would you look at that!" or "does yours do this?" We are seeking out a place where we can say "This is where I am right now. Anybody with me?"

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


The new issue of Crunchable is up, and all you literary types should give it a click. This is my Super-Hubby's creative non-fiction webzine, of which he is very proud. His college roommate started it several years ago, and has recently turned the reins over to my hubby. It's fun, it's free, and you might be surprised at the cool stuff you can read there.

My absolute, all-time-favorite piece of creative non-fiction is on there. Take a second and read it. It's worth it.

So Crunchable is looking for new content. If any of you lurkers have an essay that you'd be willing to dust off, please let me know. You won't get paid, but you will get published!

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I just tripped over a wonderful blog this morning, as I was making my blog-rounds. Seems my favorite blog of all time, Lifenut, was nominated for Sallie's 2005 Blogs of Beauty Awards. Go Mopsy!

So I clicked on over to Sallie's blog to check out these awards and see if I should vote, and ... well ... wow. I've only browsed a very small portion of her site, but Sallie has a lot of interesting things to say.

The premise of her site (paraphrasing here, so I hope I get this right) is that people need to recognize and use the gifts God gives them, not the gifts they would like to have. In the parable of the talents, the master gives one servant 2 talents, and another servant 5 talents. Both are rewarded for being good stewards of their talents - even though the profit they brought to the master was unequal. The point is, they both gave their all to taking care of what they had been given. But our culture tells us we need to be more, to do more, and as a result, we often neglect the talents we've been given in pursuit of other talents that weren't meant for us in the first place.

This is something I've struggled with for a long time - the realization that God did not create me to be a the lead in the play of life, but rather a supporting cast member or even a member of the audience. All of these groups are important for a successful play - after all, most people don't want to go see The Music Man or Twelfth Night performed by just one man. Neither do actors want to perform for an empty house.

A supporting cast is necessary. But it has been hard for me to realize that I am that supporting cast.

I have done a lot of lead-actor type stuff in my life. I have been the lead in several plays, I have headed up volunteer organizations, and I have lead Bible study groups. But for the most part, those efforts did not turn out as well as I had expected them to.

I did ok in the plays, but I was also a child at the time, so somehow that doesn't really count.

I was extremely gratified that my horrible management did not drive the volunteer organization I presided over for a year into the ground. I have no idea how they survived me. I was like the Hurricane Katrina and FEMA of presidents, laying waste to a perfectly good organization and then having no idea how to fix the damage. It was that bad. I learned, though, that leadership is NOT one of the talents that God has given me.

The Bible study went well for a year or two, until InterVarsity decided to take my Women's Bible Study and make it co-ed. Then, for some reason, everything fell apart. I guess I have a harder time leading and inspiring men, or something. That still stings.

I have been less than a success in my career, up to this point - not to mention very unhappy. But I was expected to have a career, seeing as I had a college degree and all.

Now I work out of the home part time and am a full-time mother. And I am the happiest I have ever been. I am not stressed. I do not get migranes and stomach aches at the thought of going to work. But every now and again, I have guilt. I worry I am not using the gifts God gave me. After all, I am blessed to have an education, and a reasonably good brain. Shouldn't I be out changing the world?

So, thanks Sallie, for giving me another perspective, and for helping me to remember to grow the gifts I've been given and not worry so much about the rest.