Thursday, December 31, 2009

happy new year

How is it possibly the end of a decade? Seriously, when various magazines I read started to do decade-roundups I thought they were doing the math wrong. It seems like it couldn't possibly be more than a year ago that we were waiting for Y2K to BLOW UP THE WORLD. I actually bought bottled water and everything. Because that would have saved me.

If there are any of you out there still reading this blog, I just wanted to say that I hope your 2010 is fantastic - I think a lot of us endured difficulty in 2009, and it's time for things to get better. And not only better, but great. And thanks for reading.

See ya on the flip side.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

a decade in very short review.

Here is my decade in review, in very, VERY short form:

2000: Started new relationship. Dad died. Mom had skin cancer. Theater friend died. Year sucked, overall.
2001: Depressed. Uncle died. Bro got in major car crash, six brain contusions, broken ribs, smashed leg. Nightmare - but recovered! 9/11. Moved. Ended relationship. Was weirdly single for two months. Met Greg on blind date - finally, some good news!
2002: Growing pains w/Greg relationship. Started doing more theater. Moved again.
2003: The decade starts turning. More theater. Got Junior. Got engaged.
2004: Year of the weddings. Went to seven; planned our own. Much family and friend drama. Got married. Went to Hawaii!
2005: Went to San Diego. Began love affair with San Diego. Saw U2 three times. Created Summer Stage program w/friends.
2006: Started this here blog. Knocked up!
2007: Down syndrome test weirdness. Gestational diabetes. More theater. Healthy Jane! Became a mom.
2008: Work/life balance struggle. How do people do this?
2009: Ridiculous year. Didn't feel great. Went to Chicago. Saw U2 twice. Junior's surgery. New decade, stat!

Fin.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

time for some pics.







My camera is slowly dying. Here are some not-so-high-quality pics from the past couple of weeks (the third one is about the happiest pic we got of Jane on Christmas Eve - little did we know she'd be puking a few hours later!).




Saturday, December 26, 2009

christmas: a recap

So, you know how hard you work towards Christmas? The shopping, planning, working extra hard so you can take some time off, the wrapping, the cooking (not me), the baking, etc etc? It's AMAZING how all the anticipation that is worked up from all of those preparations can fizzle into misery when you are approximately .2 seconds from your mother's house, so you can pick her up and head off to church on Christmas Eve, and your toddler projectile vomits all over your car, her carseat, and, most importantly, the very specific and clean and specially-bought Christmas outfit you wrestled her into just 20 minutes before.

We thought we rallied and saved the day when we just had my mother go to church herself and did a load of pukey laundry and re-dressed Jane, but then my mother ended up getting into a fender-bender in the parking lot at church, and because she was then outside talking to the cops my brother was inside the church waiting for her alone, then Greg gets a call that his 97-year-old grandmother is in the hospital....and while we did manage to get through dinner and present-opening and one really vicious political argument between my brother and myself, Jane then woke up from her pack and play at around 10:30 (she DID go to sleep in it after all!) and puked again. SO, it looked like we couldn't blame the first puking on her just drinking milk too fast and coughing it all back up ..... it seemed she had a full-fledged bug, only confirmed when she puked AGAIN on the way home.

I really have to pat myself on the back a little bit here. While I did indulge in a pity party (YOU'VE GOT TO BE EFFING KIDDING ME ALL OF OUR CHRISTMAS PLANS ARE CANCELED WE HAVE A SICK KID ON CHRISTMAS OMG I HATE PUKE OMG I AM GOING TO CATCH IT AND BE SICK ON MY VACATION THAT I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FORWARD TO SOO MUCH) I didn't actually cry or anything. I'll save that for when I'm puking during my time off.

Jane was fairly OK yesterday morning and loved opening all of her presents, and so we decided to brave it and head off to my in-laws, after my mother-in-law said it was OK (I didn't want to bring a potentially-contageous child over without letting them know). And she did really great. Although she had only had Pedialyte in the morning, she ate crackers and chips and onion dip and a roll and chocolate cake (I know, I know, WTF am I doing as a parent, but it was either let her do it or listen to her cry) and she kept playing this game with me where I flip her over my shoulder on the couch (again, I know, I know, but AGAIN, it was either I do it or listen to her cry) - so filling my kid up with junk and then treating her like a giant martini shaker isn't the BEST way to deal with a child recovering from a stomach bug, but hey, she was laughing, and it was good.

But now. It's after 7 a.m. and she's still asleep. While some parents would love this fact, it is SCARING me because she only sleeps late when she's sick. And I REALLY want her to be better. I hate it when she's sick and it makes me nervous and I just want to have another puke-free day. Is that too much for a girl to ask for?

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, if that's your thing.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

merry merry.

We kicked off our Christmas Eve not in the relaxing way I expected, but with an unscheduled trip down to the boat so we could get Jane's pack and play (baby jail) that Greg thought he left down there. We need it for tonight when we're at my mom's - see, I live in fairy fantasyland where Jane will go to sleep so I can play board games and have fun until the wee hours (10 p.m.-or maybe even later!). Anyway, Greg couldn't find it at the house so off we all went. Of course it wasn't there. So we stopped for breakfast and now we're back home, where he still couldn't find it. We were just about to call my friend to borrow hers, and then I finally decided to look around and spotted it in the garage. I am obviously awesome like Nancy Drew, solving mysteries and shit, but perhaps I would be even awesomer if I looked before we took our early-morning field trip.

With all that said, I hope you have a very merry and safe Christmas Eve and Christmas. I am both excited for the holidays and the fact that my overdue friend Jackie is currently in labor, all Mary of Nazareth style, on Christmas Eve. New baby!

xo

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

oasis

I'm not one for races, but the past two months have pretty much felt like a race against time at work. And when I return on January 4, the race will start up again, full-force. But right now, I am beginning a little oasis of days off - 11 of them to be exact - and I need it so. so. badly. I have loose plans here and there, and of course the next couple of days will be busy with that whole Christmas thing we've got looming, but I am really going to try to recharge during the break. I am not very good at this most of the time; usually I just create a ridiculously busy vacation schedule for myself so that my work schedule starts to look, if not relaxing, more manageable. But over the next week and a half, I only have a few official "plans" - and we'll see what happens the rest of the days. But I know this much: I expect to watch a tremendous amount of Dora, so much so that I expect to be fully bilingual by 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

visit.

I went to visit my dad today.

For those of you who know me, you either think a) I've lost my mind or b) I went to the cemetery. The answer is no to both (although perhaps just a little for choice a). I went down to the beach.

Despite the merriment/joy/holly-jolliness of this season, there is always a tiny undercurrent of sadness that my dad is not here. So I took today off to do some last-minute stuff and took a very last-minute trip down to the beach. I've probably said this before, but I'm too lazy to look back into my archives, so I will say it again - the beach reminds me so much of my dad, and some of my very happiest memories with him took place at the beach. He worked very hard and was often in a lot of pain from arthritis, but he just loved the beach (sound familiar?).

Of course, we didn't spend a lot of time at the beach in late December - the water would have been too cold even for him. But I feel like his spirit is there, and I feel close to him there, so there I went. So much preferable to visiting the cemetery - I hate going there, I hate feeling like everyone is looking at me, I hate the fact that someone I know might be driving by and see me - but being at the beach, even if I'm with hundreds of other people, feels eternally more private.

(I also took a detour here - God, I love this bookstore!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

weekend. update.

Just a quick weekend update before I run out the door - it's a busy one!

Friday: We had a holiday potluck extravaganza today at work, and I feel like I'm going to explode. Why, oh why, do I give myself the free eating pass whenever I'm at these things? But it was so good. Then I had my parent-teacher conference for Jane, which went excellently (I hope to post more details later). Tonight I am stage crewing a show called The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - and I have not been to one rehearsal or seen the show in my life, so this ought to be...interesting. How many bruises will I have from running into set pieces? Only time will tell!

Saturday: Crewing two performances of Best Christmas Pageant so that will pretty much take up the whole day.

Sunday: Supposed to crew the last performance, except now it looks like we might get a bazillion inches of snow - or no snow at all. Um, OK weather people....figure it out with your super dopplar machines!

That's about it! It's old-skool Amanda, with a weekend of shows!

PS Of course I have a fresh new cold as well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

nice

Because I tend to do a lot of vague and not-so-vague complaining on this here blog, I thought I'd report that today I had a lovely day. Surprising, considering it started at 4:30 a.m. when Jane woke up and if you mix in the fact that this afternoon it starting raining that cold, nasty rain that only December can serve, it really wasn't a recipe for a great day.

But it was nice. We brought Jane to Au Bon Pain and managed to have a relatively nice breakfast as a family. We went grocery shopping, so it's pleasant to know we have some food in the house for the week (Greg and I have never grown up in this regard; we tend to eat weird meals comprised of pretzels and soup and other such nonsense-I promise I do feed Jane normal meals). Then when we came home, Greg dragged Jane around the backyard in her brand new sled - it was her first real experience sledding and she LOVED it. It's nice to have a reason to like the snow again.

Jane took a super long nap this afternoon and I proceeded to eat a kajillion Hershey's Kisses, watch TV and read. Tonight we went to my niece's birthday party where I gave her what I know must be her favorite gift (tickets to see In the Heights. With me. What's better than that?). And now I'm watching Tom Cruise run away from aliens. Although listening to Dakota Fanning scream is kind of putting me on edge.

So, overall, a nice day. And I thought you deserved a nice entry for once. (Upon review, I have used the word "nice" too many times in this entry but I am not going to change any of it. Because apparently that's how I feel about my Sunday.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

quiet.

I know it's been quiet around these parts. I know. There is so much I would talk about here, if I felt like I was truly talking to a great void of strangers - faceless people that I don't know, and never will know. But that's not the case. And I'm just not one of those people that can vent out everything that is happening to me to the whole world, despite how "TMI" I may seem if you know me in person.

Suffice to say - life has been truly chaotic and dizzying, and not in an altogether pleasant way. But you don't need to hear about my problems (unless you are already one of the people who endlessly have to hear about my problems, and to you I say - I'm sorry!). But I'm OK and I don't want to make this sound more dramatic than it actually is - it's just the craziest parts of my life right now tend to fall into categories I don't blog about.

BUT. We are getting ready for the holidays, and plan to go get a tree this weekend - YAY! I love how the whole house changes once you have that tree smell and lights going on. Now that I think about it, "tree smell" doesn't sound like a good thing, but oh, it is. And we will be going to my niece's 14th (!!!) birthday party this weekend, and for the life of me, I cannot believe 14 years has gone by since she was born. Mostly I can't believe that because I was in college then. And college feels like yesterday.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

kibble!




Check out my new button on the right - if you go to http://www.freekibble.com/ daily and answer trivia question, you automatically donate 10 pieces of kibble to a dog in need! Plus you learn all sorts of cool dog trivia to use at all of the holiday parties you're going to this year. While there, you can also click to donate kibble to cats too! Do it (and enjoy these Christmas card reject photos!)!

Friday, December 04, 2009

weekend. update.

WELL, friends, be glad I didn't blog this week. Because you may have learned some new bad language.

Yes, once again, not the best of weeks. Have I mentioned I still have the cold from hell? With a fresh new cold on top of the old one! But it's the weekend, and for that I am thankful. Here we go:

Friday: I had today off, thank God. I went Christmas shopping with two of my friends, and it was very cathartic. I don't get to spend nearly as much time hanging with my friends as I would like, so it was really a treat. I actually got a decent amount of shopping done and had a fun lunch too. After we were finished, I went to Barnes and Noble and read my gossip mags (hey, did you hear? Tiger Woods cheated on his wife!). Now I'm on the couch with my homegirl Jane, watching Dora. Continuing to be irritated by Diego's field journal, for no good reason.

Saturday: My sister is having her big annual bonfire/neighborhood party tomorrow, which coincides with our first mini-snowstorm. So we'll see how that goes. I love the bonfire party. It it so much fun - lots of food and drink and people I know.

Sunday: No official plans, but I have been bugging Greg to get out the Christmas decorations, so maybe we'll get all festive up in here. Or maybe not. Depends if I'm looking for a fight - because as you know, nothing brings on the arguments faster than getting ready for the holidays, with the mother of all triggers being decorating the tree.

Have a good weekend!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My weekend in review

I was sick. Worst head cold I've had in years. Floored me. I was literally shaking with chills on Thursday night and Friday (oh yeah, Thursday. Otherwise known as Thanksgiving.).

I don't know why I put so much stock into these long holiday weekends. Anytime I seem to really look forward to a solid block of time off is exactly when the fates laugh hysterically and I/Jane/Greg get super-sick. I was the worst one by far this time. So far Greg has managed to escape it. We didn't do much in the way of fun. Did a LOT of feeling sorry for myself.

So now I head into a ridiculously busy work week, still feeling awful and completely unprepared.

I certainly hope your holiday was much better.

PS I know I sound like an idiotic whiner.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

thankful

I would love to write a deep and meaningful post about the things I am grateful for. There are many, and like so many people, I try to bring gratitude to the forefront of my mind, especially when things aren't going so well. I'm not saying I am good at it, but I do try.

However, I am completely exhausted so I will just bulletpoint a few very superficial things I am grateful for at the moment:

1) That I have the next four days off of work. I think I squeezed five days worth of work into three days this week, and I am excited about the break! I just came down with a cold today (I caught the nasty one Jane has) so at least I don't have to work on top of feeling crappy.

2) All that deelicious food I will cram down my throat tomorrow. I love that free food pass that Thanksgiving offers (you know, how you get to eat everything in sight without feeling bad about it.) (Because, hello, that's the point of the holiday!) (Well, that and being thankful.).

3) The fact that, as I type this, Greg is handling the steam with Jane right now. Because she has such a bad cold, we have to spend at LEAST 20 minutes a night in a super-steamy bathroom with her before bed. It sucks so hard. It's hot and sweaty and awful. She doesn't really seem to mind it; in fact, she looks forward to it, but I HATE it. The bad thing though, is that her cough is so bad right now that I will probably have to do more steam with her later tonight. I know I should bring her to the doctor, but I think it's just a cold, albeit a bad one. Maybe Friday though. What better way to spend a day off than in a pediatrician's office?

4) My DVR has some good stuff on it. Tonight's features will include "The Biggest Loser" from last night and "FlashForward" from last week. Remember how the night before Thanksgiving used to be the night you would drink yourself into a stupor with your hometown friends? I suspect I will be in bed by 9:30 tonight.

I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

weekend.update.

Wow, this week has chewed me up and spit me out. Super busy at work and in life, with a bunch of family drama thrown in, and I am now a shadow of my former self. Well, that may be a bit dramatic, but geez. How is it that everything is stuffed in the span of one week? Anyway, it's the weekend!

Friday: I am off today. It's Amanda Day. Which basically means I am going to try NOT to do chores today. I always end up using my days off for chores, which is stupid, because I should be using the day to recharge and fuel up for the upcoming insanity of the next several weeks. Am thinking of getting a pedicure, will probably hit the bookstore, am currently catching up on some DVR'ed shows. Big day!

Saturday: I have to work for a chunk of the morning and afternoon. Not looking forward to this AT ALL because it will involve thousands of children who will be no doubt coated in swine flu and MRSA. UGH. Saturday night I may be going out to celebrate my friend's newly-single status. My guess is I'll go, but just for a little while. Too many late nights lately, and Jane gets up at 6 (or before) no matter how late I stay out. No respect!

Sunday: I have a production meeting for a Christmas show I'm working on, and then I'm sure we'll end up at my mom's.

So that's about it! Sidenote: I saw two shows this week - Next to Normal and August: Osage County. Both really good shows - both shows that are still haunting me. I think, for now, I need to see shows about puppies and kittens. : )

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'll sleep when I'm dead

I am so tired.

How often do I say this? At least 10 times a day. Sometimes I say it without even realizing I'm saying it. But the fact is, I am really half-zombie most days.

I used to be a champion sleeper. I used to sleep until 11 a.m. no problem. Not that this is an option now, but when I was younger, the concept of getting 8-10 hours of sleep a night, straight through, was no big whoop. It happened all the time.

Now? Not even. I would say my sleeping issues cropped up when my father died - I believe that created an underlying thread of anxiety that remains with me today. That's about when I started waking up several times throughout the night. And woah, after having a baby that needed to be fed every couple of hours, a baby that seriously would sometimes only allow me ONE HOUR of sleep a night, well, that's when I learned the true meaning of sleep deprivation.

Now, I'm a mess. I can fall asleep no problem, but I still wake up several times a night, and now I just start thinking about something I'm worried I've forgotten at work, or I'm worried that Jane will start coughing (yes, this is truly sucky - not actually being woken up by a coughing/crying child, but waking up because you're AFRAID you're going to be woken up by a coughing/crying child. This blows incredibly hard, but it is my reality quite often.).

I don't want to take sleeping pills, because I know I'll be super-zonked for the following day as well. I don't respond well to that kind of drug. But what do I do? Any suggestions? And I don't want to drink warm milk because that just means I'll have to get up to pee. : )

How do you get to sleep? And, more importantly, stay asleep?

Friday, November 13, 2009

weekend. update.

Oh lordy, I just came home from two days in Charlotte, NC. I was there for work and it was all very whirlwindy and busy and featured two flights in hurricane-like weather. Fun! Plus I'm sick with like three different things and ugh, I am so wrecked.

BUT! It's the weekend. So here we go:

Saturday: Jane has a haircut in the a.m., and thank God for it, because she's a scraggly looking monkey right now. After that I have to go shop for snacks for my book club meeting tomorrow night. Since I picked the book (The Know-It-All by AJ Jacobs) I decided to choose snacks that supposedly boost your brain power. So we'll have dark chocolate, almonds, berries, veggies, WINE, Smartfood popcorn (because that's funny) and other, more typical snacks (DIP). Anywho, I'm hosting the meeting tomorrow night. And I'm going to need to kick everyone out at a reasonable hour because....

Sunday: I am going to see the musical Next to Normal on Broadway with TODD (shout out!) and maybe Alan, who won't go see the show because he hates musicals but maybe he'll come for the ride and the eating and the New York-visiting parts. Anyway, I'm really excited to see this show because three separate people have told me I NEED to see it (I assume because it's about a mentally-unstable mother).

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

happy birthday to Maddie

I have posted about the one and only Maddie Spohr before - she is the little girl who was born prematurely and so sadly passed away at 17 months earlier this year. I have been following her mom's blog - The Spohrs Are Multiplying - on a daily basis. Heather Spohr writes almost every day about processing the grief of her daughter Maddie's passing and celebrating the ridiculous amounts of joy the sparkling Maddie brought during her all-too-brief life. Heather's writing makes me want to be a better parent - and to certainly really APPRECIATE every single moment we get on this earth with our families and children. Heather and her husband Mike are expecting another child early next year, but of course, nothing ever could, or ever would, replace the great Maddie Spohr.

So today, in honor of Maddie's second birthday, I sponsored a NICU support pack for $25 (link is to the right) - these support packs help the families whose children spend a long-term amount of time in the NICU after they are born. The Spohrs established Friends of Maddie to educate and help families with critically ill babies, all in honor of their special girl.

So please think of the Spohrs today, and send some happy birthday wishes to Maddie. And donate if you can.

Monday, November 09, 2009

the glam factor

In case you were wondering what the glamour factor is here at the homestead lately, this will give you an idea:

Each night, Greg and I trade off two chores that we have to do each and every night these days.

1) Sit with Jane in the steamy bathroom, super-hot shower water running, for 15 minutes with the hope that this will help prevent her from coughing throughout the night. It really does help, which makes the hellfire heat and icky sweaty steaminess a little easier to bear. Although it's frustratating to read her books when I can't see a blasted thing through my steamed up glasses. Coolness!

2) Clean out Jimmy's disgusting yeasty ears and give him medicine.

So yeah! Jealous? I thought so.

Friday, November 06, 2009

weekend. update.

Hey! I have a blog! I think I remember something about that now....

I decided to give you a break from my boring rambling for a few days, but now I'm back with another thrilling weekend update. I woke up this morning feeling like general crap, and then some other crappy things happened today that I won't get into here, so yay? Friday? It's the weekend. I mean - Yay! Friday! It's the weekend!

Saturday: We are going to a friend's kid's birthday party. This is assuming I feel OK enough to go. Apparently a bunch of the guests have canceled due to the flu. How festive!

Sunday: They say it's going to be in the 60s, which is obviously awesome and probably one of our last nice weekend days before the true cold sets in. Hopefully everyone will be healthy enough to get outside.

So, yeah! That's the plan. As you can see, it's jam-packed with fun. But honestly, I've got an insanely busy week next week, including a short work-related trip to North Carolina and then to New York next weekend, so basically I just want to feel better and ready to to face the upcoming craziness.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween!






So, this entry concludes 31 days in a row of blogging for 31 for 21. I hope everyone didn't doze off too much whilst reading my fascinating entries.

So - Halloween! Today it was 73 degrees and humid where I live, perfect weather for a very heavy chicken costume. I managed to get a couple of good pics of Jane in her costume, before she ripped it off and proceeded to eat everything in sight at my friend's house. This evening we went to my mother's, my friend Heather's (for pre-trick or treating dinner) and then to my sister's house. It was a lot of fun, but what I'm really looking forward to is when Jane can trick-or-treat in earnest. None of this going to three houses stuff. Halloween ain't nothin' until you've put in hard miles around the neighborhood.

Hope everyone had a fun day!

Friday, October 30, 2009

halloween eve.


So today is Halloween Eve, and what a day it was. First, I dropped my car off so I could get a new tire. That was a lot of fun. Then at work we had our annual trick or treat extravaganza, which is obviously awesome, because I "organized" it. (I put "organized" in quotes because all it takes is two company-wide emails but for some reason people think it takes more work than that.) (Yes, Dwayne and Shane, I realize you are not among the people who give me credit/think it takes work to organize this festive activity.) Anyway, it resulted in a giant bag of candy, which totally rules.

I left work early to go pick up my car with its spankin' new tire and headed off to Jane's Halloween party at daycare. They somehow managed to wrestle her into her chicken costume, but she ripped off the top pretty quickly, and frankly, I don't blame her. It was a zillion degrees in there already, nevermind with a very warm chicken suit on top of it. We had to go on this costume parade thing throughout the building, and Jane helpfully threw down a massive fit in the middle of it. I accidentally put my keys down so I could try to make her feel better, and oh, did I have a blast later when I had to have my own one-man scavenger hunt to try to find them. Anyway, after the parade there were delicious snacks to be had. Jane was a big fan of that part, and, in fact, she was the last girl standing at the party. Like I said, it was stankin' hot in there, and I really had to escape by the end. But it's nice that they organize this so the parents can come.

More Halloween fun to continue tomorrow - that is, if this hacking cough thing Jane has doesn't turn into something worse. I give it 70/30 in favor of us having to call the doctor tomorrow.




Happy Halloween Eve!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

star of the week!

OK, this was a few weeks ago, but I just had to deal with a flat tire so I'm cheating and posting a pic today as my entry. Jane was the Star of the Week at daycare in September! YEAH! Check out her awesome artwork!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

oink.

So I got the dreaded notice at Jane's daycare when I picked her up today -there was a confirmed case of "the flu" in her area, and then they listed off all of the symptoms we're supposed to look for in our kids. No one would tell me whether it was the H1N1 strain or not, but my guess is that it is - although I guess we'll find out soon, if more and more kids stop showing up this week. Apparently the vaccine doesn't really take hold for 8-10 days - and Jane had it in her system for three days by the time she got back to daycare on Monday. SO. We'll see. It will piss me off to no end if she ends up getting this stupid thing after all of my hemming and hawing over the vaccine.

For some reason, I had hopes that this wouldn't hit daycare for a while. Don't ask me why, considering schools are closing all over this state because half the kids are sick.

UGH.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Junior update - cupcake, anyone?




By popular request, here is the latest Junior update.

Junior, at this exact moment, is acting like a complete assclown, galloping around the living room, jumping, attacking Jimmy, and generally acting like he did not have major stomach surgery a month ago. Really, he seems to have a whole new lease on life. Sure, it was a lease that cost $5K, but whatever.

As you can see from the picture above, the one where he is staring down Jane's dinner, his appetite is back. Basically it was back in just a few days, but I've been very careful with the amounts I'm feeding him. I feed him much less, but several times throughout the day, instead of just one big feed.

Three weeks after his surgery, we ran into a bit of an issue. We had gone to a birthday party for a neighbor's kid, and I had to leave early. Greg brought home two cupcakes for me (because I heart cupcakes), and left them on the counter, which is a reasonable place to put food. Not when you have a Great Dane, though. Junior swiped those cupcakes off the counter so that by the time I got home, the only evidence was a stray Elmo plate that Jimmy was carrying around.
Now, we would not normally worry about Junior eating two full cupcakes. Sure, the average dog owner might, but we stopped worrying about such things years ago. HOWEVER, stuck in the cupcakes were these plastic bees with sharp pointy parts so they would stay stuck in the cupcakes. Sure enough, there was no sign of the bees anywhere.
We realized that Junior had ingested the sharp plastic bees about two hours after it happened, and really, it was a horrifying realization. Not so much the fact that he had consumed plastic - again, this had happened many times before - but the fact that since it was so soon after his surgery, we would have to call the emergency vet AGAIN (because OF COURSE it was after hours) and explain what happened. A little more than slightly embarrassing, for sure.
Greg did the deed, and the vet immediately knew who Junior was. I mean, why not? We're funding their winter holidays. He said that Junior was most likely fine, and to watch him. Which we did. And thankfully, he was fine.
So there's your Junior update. Back to being the ass he always was, and boy, are we happy for it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

a horse is a horse




First of all, I just wanted to say thank you to those who responded to my pathetic needy need for comments. It made me feel popular. It shouldn't have, of course, but it did.

Anyway, yesterday the whole fan-damily, including the dogs, drove up to Greg's alma mater, UConn, so he could re-live the glory days and so we could go visit the cows and horses and shit (literal and otherwise). It was fun and I was going to take a bunch of great pics, maybe even some Christmas card-worthy pics, except the camera died after about two minutes. So here they are, and they are not even that good. But boy, do I love horses.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

man, that was hard.

This is quite a week of anniversaries of milestones in my life - two years ago today, Jane started at daycare. I know to some people, this would be no big whoop, but that was truly one of the most traumatic days of my life. I looked back at what I was writing two years ago on this blog, and here are some excerpts:

Everyone tries to make me feel better about these things - obviously babies don't have real schedules anyway, and of course other babies spit up a lot and have reflux and weird sleeping habits - I just don't want her going in being the strange baby that no one wants to take care of because she has issues.


Daycare starts this week. I am heading there after her nap this morning to drop off all of her stuff and to go over their procedures. I have bought new clothes for myself that actually fit right. I have filled out a million forms. We are as ready as we can be, at least with all of the stuff. But inside, I feel like my heart is breaking.


I have all sorts of questions. Will she know that I'm her mom when I pick her up at the end of the day? Will she take her first steps and say her first words at daycare? What will I miss? Will she change during the day, so when I pick her up eight hours later, she's not the same? Is this OK? Will she be OK? Will I be OK?


I gotta tell ya, this kills me to read, because it brings me right back. God, it was so hard for me to go back to work. And I am a person who had not a single doubt that I would go back to work. But, wow, once you have that kid, it beats the hell out of anything you ever expected parenthood to be. And bringing her to daycare just ripped me to shreds.


I wish I could talk to this person who was so scared, and tell her that, yes, everything - daycare, Jane, me - would be OK. That Jane would not only be OK, but would thrive at daycare, and her teachers would love her so much they would cry when she left their rooms. I wish this person would know how much she would become attached to Jane's teachers as well, women who have Jane's surrogate mothers during the work day.


This new mom should also know that I ended up deciding that her firsts ONLY happened at home. It didn't count if it happened at daycare. It only counted if I was there, preferably with a camera in hand.

This new mom should know her baby NEVER forgets who her mom is, and will plow down a row of kids just to get to her at the end of the school day.


Daycare is NOT all roses and loveliness. Jane gets sick. A LOT. This is not a shock to anyone who has read this blog even super-casually. She has also gotten bit at daycare, a couple of times. I have had other issues as well, not the least of which is the enormous check I write out each month. She had a terrible time transitioning into her new room earlier this fall, and it was so heartbreaking to hear her screaming for me as I left the building each morning. There were about three weeks this fall that, whenever I dropped her off, I sat crying in the parking lot, wondering what the hell I was doing with my life and to my family, and had to compose myself before I drove off.


BUT. I know she's getting so much out of it now. I see her language and social skills developing in a way I know I can attribute to all this time she spends with these other children. As an only child, I think it's super-important for her to have this time with a diverse group of kids and caretakers.


So yes, two years later, I can say everything is OK.







Saturday, October 24, 2009

weekend. update.

Only one week left of my great 31 for 21 blogathon! Phew, because I think I'm the only one reading it. : ) Anywho, it's weekend time, so here we go:

Saturday: Oh rain. I loathe thee. In ye olden tymes, I used to take days like this and read all day. Now I have to be the song and dance girl for a demanding toddler. For example she just pulled me into the bathroom with her so I could watch her not go potty. Oh, we go through the whole routine - the pants removal, the throwing out of the pull-up or diaper, the sitting - and then two seconds later she's done. No peeing. And we do it all over again and for every five millionth time, she pees, for a total of only two times so far. I'm not really invested in the potty training yet, because I'm lazy. But I know I have to get it done, although I think I'm the only parent in creation who just doesn't want their child to be out of diapers (a $40 savings per box!) because I don't want to contend with bringing her into public restrooms (NASTY). Anyway, I'll do it, I'll do it. So, I'll be entertaining Jane today with a trip to Target, probably the bookstore, and God knows what other fantastic adventures. The grocery store? Who knows. She lives the life of Suri Cruise, this girl.

But tonight! Greg and I are going out. Out! With the people! I think we're going to see Paranormal Activity. I'm afraid I might crap my pants in fear. But I REALLY want to see it, because I loved Blair Witch. Also, I have only been to two movies in the past 27 months, and I am really jonsing for the popcorn.

Sunday: Um, repeat of Saturday, except no rain, so we will hopefully be outside. Also, no going out at night. We will go to my mother's. Jane is obsessed with my brother (who also goes to my mother's on Sunday evenings) and my mother's cat. She talks about them all week, as well as the pizza we have there. It's hilarious, especially because my brother is so not a kid person. But she loves him. She's already drawn to boys who aren't giving her attention....sigh.

I took Jane to get the H1N1 vaccine on Friday morning. I was absolutely NOT getting her the vaccination up until recently, but I started doing a bunch of research and talking to doctors and fellow parents and while there are tons of people NOT getting the vaccine for their kids, I went ahead with it. I'm still nervous about side effects (which I'm watching for this weekend as well) and have some fear about the long-term effects, but "they" say this is made in the same way every flu vaccine is made, and I do get her the regular flu vaccine - so, there you have it. I still feel unsettled, but since she is in daycare and the probability of them getting slammed with it is a million percent, and since healthy kids are dying of this stupid virus, I went with the vaccine. I really hope I made the right decision.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 23, 2009

five years ago today


Yup, today is our five year anniversary. Despite the big cash I spent for a photographer (who did take great pics, I will say) one of my favorites is this one that Alan took. Now that couple looks ready to party! And party we did. It was a great day.

PS I cannot believe no one commented on my Jimmy haikus. Come on, that was funny! So sad.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

ode to jimmy, on the eve of his birthday

Tomorrow is Jimmy's fourth birthday. We cannot believe we've only had him for just under four years. I can so clearly remember the Christmas morn he showed up, and how the following nights were just about equal to having a newborn: the crying, the needing to be held, the sleeping on the couch with a baby lying on my chest, the explosive poop everytime we left him in the crate, the time I fell down the stairs after I slipped on snow in the middle of the night when I had to take him out -and that was just the first 48 hours. Oh, the adventures we've had since then.

To celebrate the birthday boy, Greg and I came up with some haikus about Jimmy. Now, I'm really tired and kinda sick-feeling, so I think these could be better, but they make me laugh, and that's really what counts.

I see you are asleep
But I thought I heard a noise
So now I must bark

Ew, what is that smell
It is Jimmy's yeasty ears
Time to clean with foam

What is he doing?
Why, dragging his butt downhill!
Scrape, scrape, itchy butt.

You are four years old
It feels like we have had you
For a hundred years

A designer dog
You're a pug and a beagle
What freak thought of that?

Remember the time
Your inside parts were outside
Man, that was gross

Happy Birthday, James
You make us laugh constantly
You're one of a kind


ETA: I have no idea why this font is so tiny. I can't seem to change it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

alright, stop. collaborate and listen.

(you are welcome for that Vanilla Ice song that is now in your head.)

Over the past six months, I've had a series of health issues that are telling me, in no uncertain terms, that I have to slow down. That I have to manage my stress better. That, to put it bluntly, I often need to chill the fuck out.

I have never really been a chill person. But at this stage in my life, I find that I am multi-tasking from morning until night. At 6 a.m. I may be giving Jane breakfast while feeding the dogs while shooting off a couple of work emails. At 6 p.m. I may be cleaning up, giving Jane dinner, doing laundry and making lists. At 9 p.m. I have usually collapsed on the couch, with the TV on, a magazine nearby, and the laptop where God intended it to be (on my lap).

This is utter insanity. I need to focus on simplifying. I've said this before, and I've known it's important to not have ten things pulling at you at any given moment, but now I'm hurting physically and I need to make my life better. I have all the ingredients for a great life, but when you're running around apeshit crazy all the time, it's hard to pull back and "feel" that great life, if I'm making any sense here.

This is going to be really hard for me, because I've been a multi-tasking lunatic forever. But I've never landed in doctors' offices because of it. So wish me luck!

Monday, October 19, 2009

project small joys: candy corn


Confessions of a Candy Corn-aholic
Fact: I am completely in love with candy corn.
Fact: It is probably my favorite candy in the whole world, its only real competition being those conversation hearts at Valentine's Day.
Fact: I ate a huge, huge bag of those delicious nuggets this weekend. Well, mostly Sunday. Well, mostly Sunday during Jane's nap. It wasn't a tremendously long nap, either.
Fact: I felt absolutely disgusting when I was done. I seriously couldn't move or I thought I would puke.
Fact: Even if I had puked, I will never be immune to the deliciousness of candy corn.
And, in conclusion: If you want me to love you, bring me candy corn.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

pensive


I was driving to my mother's house this afternoon, as I do every Sunday afternoon, and I, all of the sudden, started really missing my dad. I have said this before - I can slide right through holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc with no problem (sometimes) but then out of the blue, I will get really melancholy. Today was one of those days. This Friday will be my five year wedding anniversary, and I just got to thinking about how my dad wasn't there, and how much fun I think he would have had, and how pretty he would have thought I was (I know that may sound strange, but that's just what I was thinking). I was thinking about how, when my father walked my two sisters down the aisle, he said something to both of them right before they began walking that made them cry. And I have always wondered what he would have said to me.

When I was planning my wedding I put my friend Heather in charge of making sure no one said anything depressing to me right before the ceremony. Like, "oh, I wish Dad were here" or something like that. It's not that it wasn't in my head; of course it was. I just didn't want it to be in the forefront of my mind. My mother walked me down the aisle, and I told her she wasn't allowed to say anything sad. So instead, she said something perfect. (I'm not going to tell you what it was. I get to have my secrets too.)

My dad was a partier. And I know he would have partied that day away, super proud of me. And I am so sad that I missed that experience.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

not really feelin' it

I'm in a pretty bad mood today for multiple reasons, but luckily, Linda at All & Sundry has written eloquently about one of the reasons I'm not very happy. Posts like this one makes me both feel better and know that there are just some things in parenting that are universal.

Friday, October 16, 2009

weekend. update.

Well, my weekend started unexpectedly early when I had to take the day off and bring Jane to the doctor - diagnosis: double ear infection. I really wasn't surprised, because she's been hacking away all week, but still, ugh. So I kept her home and hung out with her today. Not surprisingly, this afternoon I started to feel like crap - not sure what exactly is going on, I just feel like I've been run over by a truck. Maybe it's because I've been home with a two-year-old all day? I really don't know how stay-at-home moms do it, I really don't! Anyway, without further ado, my pathetic weekend:

Tonight: Catching up on some DVR - watching last week's "Survivor" right now and might watch "Ugly Betty" season premiere tonight if I can stay awake. I kinda think I won't be able to.

Saturday: Well, it's going to rain/snow (effing stupid weather) so, as long as I'm not bed-ridden with some nasty thing, we will keep Jane on the go, possibly going down to see my in-laws at the beach.

Sunday: Continued bad weather, continued keeping Jane on the go - perhaps a pet store visit, maybe a trip to the boat so Greg can do some work, no doubt some intense Dora-watching. Also weekly visit to my mom's.

All weekend: Insane jealousy about Lisa's trip to a beautiful land far away.

This very well may be the lamest of all lame weekends. I literally do not have one official plan. But considering how I feel right now, that is probably a good thing. Please share your much more exciting plans in comments.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

not for all the money in the world would I go back to this time in my life

I came across this post on Jezebel.com yesterday and it's been haunting me ever since. Apparently the author of the book Queen Bees & Wannabes - the book that inspired the movie Mean Girls - has published an updated version that goes into all of the new, exciting kinds of bullying going on in this day and age with teenage girls. As it turns out, if you're the one who has unfortunately been deemed a "wannabe," it seems you can't escape the bullying. Going home isn't a respite anymore; horrible groups can be formed about you on Facebook, you can be bullied by text and IM, and who the hell knows what else. Reading this post and all of the comments left me with my heart pounding, mouth hanging open and tears in my eyes.

I was truly lucky in middle school and high school. There was every reason I should have been picked on - I was a classic nerd, with the giant 80's glasses and the funked-up teeth that later had braces and retainers, the horribly-permed hair, the sad attempt at looking like my idols Madonna and Cyndi Lauper - I was a hot mess (this was mostly in middle school - I just turned into a grungy metal chick in high school). For some reason, I was lucky enough not to be bullied. I think part of it was that for seventh and eighth grades, I went to a very small private Catholic school. I truly believe if I continued on to public middle school at that point, I would have gotten my ass kicked handily. By the time I went back to public school for ninth grade and beyond, I was looking a little less geeky and a little more...scary, so I assimilated pretty nicely. And my high school (in my town, at the time, high school was only tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades) was sooo huge that you really had to stand out to get picked on.

Now, people could have been ripping me to shreds behind my back, and they probably were. But I feel so fortunate that I'm not left with the scars of a really horrific middle/high school experience. I mean, it wasn't perfect - not by any stretch - but I can look back at those years semi-fondly.

But now I have a daughter. A sweet, funny, adorable, wonderful, perfect daughter. I know she's not all of those things all of the time, but I would do ANYTHING for her, throw myself in front of a bus for her, protect her from things that will harm her. Until I can't anymore. And it's then - when she comes home crying because someone said something mean about her in school (and I fully understand that this happens in elementary school too, and hell, probably preschool), that I really don't know what I'm going to do. Because I don't think it's nice, or really even legal, to punch other kids.

But I think I'm gonna want to. Scratch that - I know I'm gonna want to.

Another blog I read, Mike Adamick's Cry It Out, hit on this same subject, but with far younger children. He does it with humor, but I was crying by the end. Check it out.

Ah, parenting. Such fun!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

a note

OK, I started my picture post about Chicago yesterday, but then Greg got all flippin' mad about our Friendly's experience, so I just saved it as a draft so Greg could vent to the interwebs about his dissatisfaction. So when I just published my Chicago pictorial now, it posted under Greg's entry from yesterday, I assume because I wrote it yesterday. But I am counting it as TODAY'S post.

So there.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

and now, a guest post from Greg

Ahem..... Dear Blog,

OK so it should be clear to those of you who know me I have no patience. It might be a virtue, but I haven't been able to wait long enough to find out, so suffice to say the monstrous and time consuming process of writing down my thoughts (or typing them) is not going to happen. Unless I get really, really pissed.

I am damn mad at Friendly's and considered conducting my first tweet, which is too time consuming, so Amanda said I could rant here.

I have become enchanted lately with sliders. I love those little burgers. Sliders are a great excuse to have 6 burgers at Burger King or Wood N Tap or wherever. They're cheap and delicious. I like the Wendy's double stacker too. All of these items are healthier than a strawberry milkshake, so it's ok to eat them.

Friendly's has joined the party offering their own interpretation of the cheeseburger slider. Before I go on, you should know my first job was at Friendly's. I am well aware of the time vortex involved when ordering and am fully cognizant of the FDA's "just above dog food" classification, "suitable for human consumption." I am no fool, I knew these things were going to disappoint, it was just a question of how bad they could be.

Do you have two quarters? Stack them on each other. The height of the "meat" in the burger was less than that. The meat was actually thinner than the "cheese." Remember the old Wendy's commercial with that cranky old lady saying "Where's the beef?" The meat in that commercial was way, way thicker than the slice o' burger in my sliders.

C'mon Friendly's, we know the economy's in the crapper and you can't raise your prices. We know the cost cutting fools at corporate have got to try to keep your company from keeling over like Bennegans and Roy Rogers (CT locations RIP). Do you remember the riots that broke out when you guys doubled your profit margins on cherries? Didn't you learn that splitting a cherry in half and putting the sliced part down in the whip cream was going to piss people off?   
Were you thinking, "Well if they don't actually try to pull the cherry off the top, they won't notice." We noticed. No stem, half a lame cherry. Congratulations you screwed me out of a third of a cent. Ninety people later you're 30 cents richer. F-U Friendly's.

Avoid Friendly's, and if you can't, at least avoid the sliders.


  

oh yeah, remember I went to Chicago?

Me and a street performer who pulled me into the act

American Gothic and me

tick tock, show's about to start

Ready for U2!

Navy Pier, from a distance

Greg talking to Bob Newhart

Me hanging with Bob

A festive anti-heathcare reform rally at Millennium Park (we were there because I wanted to see where Obama gave his acceptance speech)

The Cloud Dome at Millennium Park













Monday, October 12, 2009

let me entertain you

OK, I am starting to draw a blank on what to write about. So help me! Is there anything really exciting you'd like me to blog about? Anything of interest? I mean, not that there could be anything more interesting than that bug I posted a pic of yesterday...but still....I need ideas to carry me through the rest of this month!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

bugged.


Check this ginormous bug that was on the boat today! I swear, this thing was staring at me. Plotting, even.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

weekend update. again.


Because I am such an interesting blogger, I'm going to tell you how my weekend has switched up. My mother has blown me off for the craft fair (not really - she's busy - but how can I feel sorry for myself unless I say she blew me off? it's much more dramatic that way). Anyway, instead we are headed to the boat for quite possibly the last time this year tomorrow. I took this picture last weekend, when I THOUGHT it was our last time down at the beach. For some reason, I love it.

Friday, October 09, 2009

weekend. update.

Well here we go again! I am ever so thankful it is Friday.This was a hectic week. I actually went out last night with some friends, and today was a little rough-going for me. Do you remember, in college, when Thursday night was so HUGE? I can't handle it at 36, that's for sure! Especially when that alarm goes off four hours after I go to bed. Anyway, weekend plans are as such:

Friday night: I am sitting here trying to keep my eyes open, watching "The Biggest Loser." Greg is about to go out and perform at an open mic with his band. It's weird not to go watch them play - before Jane, I always went.

Saturday: I am once again going off in search for fritters at that local festival I never made it to last weekend (although I did stop by there during the week, I must admit. Or did I already admit that on here already? Who can keep track). Tomorrow afternoon we are off to a chili cook-off at a friend's house. This is an annual event that has gotten pretty huge.

Sunday: Going to arts and crafts fair with my mom. Oh Lordy, I know how to live it up! Please tell me what your no-doubt much more exciting plans are!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

coolness.

Well you all know how much I love the musical In the Heights, and I'm super-psyched it's hitting the road - especially because part of the road it's hitting is where I work. This is a freakin' COOL video they made to promote the tour. Have I said I can't wait? Well, then I'll say it again. CAN. NOT. WAIT.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

project small joys: fall

Top 10 Reasons I Love Fall (in no particular order):

1) The annual festival in my hometown that features the best apple fritters EVAH. People wait in line for extremely long amounts of time for these little nuggets of supreme joy. They must be eaten warm for maximum pleasure. In fact, I love all festival food, and luckily, there are lots of fall festivals in my area.

2) The fact that I live in New England. This is the only season where my area of the country rules.

3) The crunchy, colorful leaves. Is there anything more satisfying than marching over a crispy pile of leaves?

4) Not having to apply sunscreen to Jane every day. For those who have to do this with a toddler, you know what a reprieve the colder months are.

5) The impending holidays. Commercialism or not, I love the October-December holiday season.

6) Halloween. Specifically, the candy. We have a whole trick-or-treating extravaganza at my workplace every year where full-grown professional-ish adults dress in costumes and run from office to office to fill up big bags of candy. I work in a very candy-centric office, which is obviously awesome. So we totally bring it for Halloween.

7) Candy corn. (This does deserve its own entry.) My favorite favorite favorite candy. If anyone wants to purchase me a bag, I will be your best friend for the day.

8) That first-day-of-school feeling that September brings, even if you're not in school. I always feel the urge to stock up on notebooks and a new Trapper Keeper (remember those?). It feels like a new year, even more so than the actual New Year does.

9) Hello - my BIRTHDAY. I will never be ashamed at how much I love my birthday, and how much I love everyone's birthday. Particularly if it means I get some cake.

10) Getting to break out the jeans and sweaters (the fall sweaters, not the big bulky winter sweaters) and scarves and having an excuse to go replenish my wardrobe a little bit. Even I, who adore wearing flip-flops and shorts so very much, gets sick of wearing them by the end of September. I'm clearly no fashionista, but I like one or two new things every now and then. Having to buy Jane an entire new wardrobe every season is a little bit daunting and expensive, but as it turns out, these kids - they grow. A lot, in fact!

And my very LEAST favorite thing about fall:

The fact that it means winter is coming.

What's YOUR favorite thing about fall?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

ps this is awesome

busy bee

I am in the midst of an INCREDIBLY LONG work day, so this is going to have to suffice as my blog posting for today, because who knows when I will get home.

And how are you doing?

Monday, October 05, 2009

a thought

Yesterday, Jane was feeling under the weather a tiny bit, so we spent a couple of hours on the couch dozing to “Dora the Explorer.” (Actually, I was dozing, she was enthralled.) (Also, the songs in that show WILL NOT LEAVE MY BRAIN. AT ALL. I cannot tell you how many times today I found myself with that catchy hit “I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map” in my head. It is taking up way too much important real estate in my head. Where I could be remembering all of the lyrics to the Madonna songs on her new greatest hits CD that I just got, Celebration. LOVE IT.)

Anyway, she was being very cute and leaning on me while we watching, which she doesn’t typically do when she feels great, because that girl is on the GO like nobody’s business. So to have her snuggled up with me was pretty awesome. And it got me to thinking about when I would do the same with my mother, how I would sit close while she read books to me and my brother. And I can remember it all so vividly.

And then I realized that I – ME –am that person to Jane. And I know you’re probably thinking – DUH, Amanda, you are in fact her mother, and we’ve had to listen to you rambling about that for over two years now, plus nine months of pregnancy – but it still comes as a shock to me that I’m someone’s MOTHER. That when she grows up and talks about her mom, she will be talking about ME. For better or for worse.

And no, I’m not drunk right now. It just makes me feel very grown-up, I guess. (And if you are polite, this is not where you remind me that I’m 36, and I passed the grown-up threshold long ago.)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

project small joys: my book clubs

Continuing my exciting series of things I love in life, I present: my book clubs. I belong to two. One is made up of former/current co-workers; it's a very small but persistant book club that meets on an irregular basis but is always reading something (or supposed to be reading something). This book club has been around for probably five years or so. The rules are lax in this club. If you don't like the whole idea of the chosen book, you don't have to read it, but you can still give your opinion about it (or maybe that's just a rule I came up with myself, because lordy, I don't like reading super depressing books but I sure love giving my opinion about them). We also talk VERY LITTLE about the book when we meet (which is usually for lunch during the work week). Instead we spend 80%-90% of the time gossiping and talking about what a douchebag Jon Gosselin is (really!).

My other book club is newer - our second meeting is tonight. This is made up of my core group of friends I've been tight with since I was 8, along with some of their associated girlfriends, boyfriends, what-have-you. So far, the books this club reads tends to be a little more serious, Pulitzer Prize-winning and what not, and so far, the two choices have been great. The last one, which is about a traveling circus in the 1930s, is definitely not something I would have read on my own, since it talks about the abuse of the animals in the circus, but I really liked it. And I guess that's the whole point of book club -reading stuff you normally wouldn't. This second book club takes itself very seriously, with prepared discussion questions and themed snacks. It's kind of hilarious.

Tonight, it's my turn to reveal what book I've picked for our next meeting (we had to pick numbers to determine the order of the picking). I'll let you know what I picked tomorrow! (Because I know you are desperate to find out.)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

two sincere questions

1) How did the Kardashians get so famous? Seriously - what do they do? Do any of them act? Sing? Why do we care? And you know I love pop culture and gossip, but whenever I'm cracking open a new issue of US Weekly or People, I simply cannot understand why I have to learn about so-and-so Kardashian's wedding, or the other one's pregnancy, or the other one's cellulite - these are seriously the stories they are reporting on these people - I mean, you might as well be writing about my wedding, pregnancy or cellulite in these magazines - WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE AND WHY DO WE CARE? Seriously - I want to know.

2) How is it possible that Jon Gosselin is such a douchebag? A year ago I was really getting bored with "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" because it was so annoyingly NORMAL and BENIGN-the kids are cute and all, but Jon and Kate were so bland/annoying I couldn't really take it much longer - and now their gross divorce is the top news story everywhere, and he fancies himself the Playboy of the Western World, and worse, the laydeez seem to be responding to him as if he is some sort of hottt ticket instead of an unemployed, not really attractive, lazy, idiotic douchebag. And now he's decided that the show is bad for the kids? The very moment he's been kicked off? When all this time he's been insisting that it's OK to have their flock in the spotlight from the moment they were born? OH MY GOD THE BAD PARENTING OF THESE TWO.

And there is my very early morning rant on some of the most annoying people in the entertainment headlines.

Friday, October 02, 2009

weekend. update.

Since I'll be blogging EVERY SINGLE DAY in October as part of 31 for 21, I will be going back to some regularly scheduled segments on this blog, including the ever-exciting weekend updates. These used to be a lot more interesting back in my single/childfree days, but here we go anyway:

Friday: This used to include me going out to bars and stuff. Instead, tonight Greg and I will attempt to go out to dinner with Jane, which will no doubt end up in a mess/tears. But we keep trying! Because we're suckers like that. After she goes to bed, I will be catching up on some TV, including trying out the show "The Good Wife." Then I'll read more of this and fall asleep before 10, no doubt.


Saturday: Chores, possibly some alone time at my favorite Borders, and, if it doesn't rain, heading to the Apple Harvest Festival for apple fritters. I mean, to celebrate the harvest. The harvest of fritters I will stuff in my mouth. However, it does look like it's going to rain, so I'll probably entertain Jane by letting her run rampant throughout the mall. Because I've become one of those parents. And by "those" I mean "annoying."


Sunday: Greg has a fishing trip, so Jane and I will be solo that day. We'll probably visit my mom, and then we have a birthday party to go to in the afternoon. In the evening, I have a book club meeting, where I will have many, many things to say about this.

What are you doing?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

31 for 21 - aw yeah, it's on!

Remember last year, when I did the 31 for 21 blog challenge - which challenges bloggers to blog for 31 days, throughout the month of October, in an effort to raise awareness for Down syndrome - and you all didn't think I could do it? And then I did? Well, here we go again.

As a refresher, here is why I participate - when I was preggo with Jane, the results of my quad screen blood test indicated I had a 1/77 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome. And while the level 2 ultrasound didn't indicate any markers for Ds, I still felt I had to prepare myself - to answer all of the "what ifs" that were clogging my head. In doing my research I became addicted to several blogs written by parents of children with Down syndrome, and still read them today. While it turned out that Jane did not have Down syndrome, I hope in some way, although my own child does not have Ds, I have been and will continue to be an advocate for those with Ds.

So let's rock and roll! Can I do this? YES WE CAN. (oh wait, that was last fall's mantra...)

(in the meantime, please check these ladies out. Pretty inspirational moms, don't ya think?)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

what kind of tree am I?

So, we went to a fancy-dancy wedding this past Saturday, and in the program, there was a list of dates corresponding to a list of trees, and by finding your birthday you found what kind of tree you are, and therefore, what kind of person you are. Most trees corresponded with a week's worth of dates, but of course, because I'm very special, September 23 has its own tree. Here's what it said:

Olive Tree, The Wisdom
Loves sun, warmth and kind feelings, reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression and violence, tolerant, cheerful, calm, well-developed sense of justice, sensitive, empathic, free of jealousy, loves to read and the company of sophisticated people.

So, let's break it down:

Loves sun, warmth and kind feelings: EMPHATICALLY yes. So much. I'm so sad summer is over. Also, who doesn't love kind feelings?

Reasonable/balanced: I try to be. This is not always true, however.

Avoids aggression and violence: This is true. My ass kicking days are over. (This is the part where I pretend I once had ass kicking days.)

Tolerant: Mostly, except for ignorant douchebags.

Cheerful: I would say snarky rather than cheerful.

Calm: I can't even pretend this is true.

Well-developed sense of justice: Sure, I like when the bad guy gets what's coming to him. Or her.

Sensitive: Only when I haven't had enough sleep. Which is most of the time.

Empathic: I try to be. I think so.

Free of jealousy: I wish. But no.

Loves to read: Ha! This couldn't be more true. All of my birthday presents featured books. I'm a huge nerd!

Loves the company of sophisticated people: If those people make fart jokes, yes, I do love sophisticated people.

Go here to find out what kind of tree you are!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

36.

I am giving myself a free pass for my shitty blogging this week because it's my birthday! Whoo whoo! I turned 36 today, and had a pretty good day. I had some lovely cupcakes at work, a fancy lunch out, and to top it all off, a dinner out with Greg! Due to all of my current stomach issues, I think I ate more today than in the past three days combined! It was all very fabulous. Most of the gifts I've received are books or gift certificates for books, which I think is hilarious - I guess once an English major nerd, always an English major nerd.

I know I have updating to do regarding our Chicago and Boston trips to see U2, and I promise I will post about those trips soon, or at the very least, post some pics. But now I'm overloaded with food and have to go to bed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the triumphant return of Junior


Wow, I'm really earning the name of this blog these days, right?

Junior made his triumphant return home yesterday, with a bag full of drugs, not to mention two narcotics patches on his belly. Yesterday he was all kinds of weak and pathetic - whining if I walked away from him, so much so that I worked from home in the afternoon sitting on the floor behind the couch, because that's where he set up camp - but today he's definitely showing sparks of his old self. Like when he tried to eat Jane's bagel. And her eggs. And my salad. Not so fast, stomach-stapled dog. Not so fast.

Despite his attempt at food thievery, he's still not really eating a lot, and he's sleeping a ton, and he won't have freedom in the yard for several weeks. It will take a total of 4-6 weeks for full recovery. It's back to leash walking for Junior - something he hasn't really experienced since he was about a year old. He also can't roughhouse with Jimmy (much to Jimmy's chagrin) and we now have to mix his dry food with water to make it nice and mushy. Speaking of his food, I found out something very interesting from the vet yesterday. Apparently we should not elevate his food when we feed him, because there is some research that indicates that elevating his food promotes bloat. Um, well, Junior's food has been elevated from day one because we were told that that would help PREVENT bloat. Nope, said the doc. Over the past five years or so, they have been finding differently. Um, nice for someone to tell me. So take note, people with big dogs - don't elevate the food. Not that that's necessarily what caused it, but I would do ANYTHING to prevent it.

He's on a complicated regimen of four prescriptions plus the aforementioned narcotics patches -which we have to take off with GLOVES and flush down the toilet immediately, because it's a human dose and while being high as a kite sort of sounds tempting, I more suspect that Jimmy and/or Jane will get their mitts on the patch if we don't get rid of it immediately (NO, I am not really contemplating bogarting my dogs drugs.) (Of course, it depends on how the rest of this week goes.)

Hey! Speaking of this week, I have yet another cold, and PINK EYE. WTF is up with that? So, to review: I've got my stomach issues, a cold, and pink eye. And very little sleep. And extra stress about my dog. Did I mention today was picture day at daycare? Lots going on. LOTS.

But a very bright highlight in my week is sitting right next to me right now, staring at my pretzels. Not so fast, Junior.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Junior update





OK guys, I promise no more post titles that scare you! I just wanted to give a quick update on Junior. We had a chance to see him today (we saw him yesterday as well, but he was still pretty drugged and not really responsive). He was walking around but very shaking and antsy and panting a lot - and his whole underbelly is stitched and awful-looking and swollen - but that said, at this point (knock on wood, etc) he is doing well, considering all he has been through. Catching it as early as we did helped a lot. He still isn't eating anything much, but they said that it could very well be a result of the narcotics he's on. As I said on Facebook, between his hot mess looks and his jumpiness from the painkillers, he's very Lindsay Lohan-esque right now.

The current plan is for him to come home tomorrow, unless the doctor changes his mind. OF COURSE Greg is going to a Red Sox game tomorrow so I may have to bring him home myself -and I'm a bit nervous about this considering he weighs almost as much as I do, and when he's not able to move around well, it's truly like helping another human move around - another human who is very stitched up and ouchy and drunk. Plus, Jane gets very jealous when I pet Junior (they are like siblings, I swear) so she's going to be unhappy that he's going to be getting all o the attention, and Jimmy....well, Jimmy has had it rough because he misses his buddy and is totally freaking out if we leave him alone, so he had to go to work with Greg today. So I will also have to prevent Jimmy from jumping on Junior...oh, the good times will roll when Junior makes his triumphant return to the household.

Despite what is sure to be a chaotic and nerve-wracking experience, I'm just so incredibly grateful that he will return (CONTINUING TO KNOCK ON WOOD) and, the more I think about it, the more I feel so lucky that we still have him. I try not to think about how close we came to not.

Thank you to everyone who has been so nice and supportive and understanding - but hey, look at the title of my blog. You knew when you started reading that I was a bit of a dog person. Just a little. But seriously, thank you so much.

Monday, September 14, 2009

me, my dog, my life




When Greg and I decided to get Junior, we weren't even engaged yet. We had just come off a year of trying very much to make us work - and things were looking good. But when he started talk of getting a dog, I wanted to make sure we were solid. There was no turning back. Because I knew once a puppy was in the picture, I was in it, for keeps. Junior was really our first born. The Number One Pup of All Time. That's what we've called him from the start.

***
After we got Junior, as an 18-pound 8-week-old puppy, we took him everywhere we went. He was the star of our Christmas cards, my Snapfish albums, my blogs. I used to carry him around when he was a puppy, and people always commented on how big his paws were, and how huge he was going to get. "Yes, he is," I said proudly. As if I had something to do with it. Anytime we go anywhere at all, Junior is the star of the show. People come up to him like he's a celebrity. Junior was, and still is, our first born. That just the place he naturally takes in our family.

***
One early November morning, Greg and I were getting ready to go to New York for the weekend. Junior was about 4 months old. Greg called me into the room and said that Junior had grabbed something of mine. I was so annoyed- with Junior, for once again chewing up something I loved, and Greg, for not saving whatever it was from Junior. So I pried Junior's ever-growing mouth open and retrieved a little black box. I didn't recognize it. Inside was my engagement ring. Junior played a very important role that day - and I wouldn't have wanted to get engaged any other way. I clearly remember weeping the morning we left for our two-week honeymoon to Hawaii. I missed him so much when we were gone.

***
During the summer of 2007, when Jane was born, I was up 24/7 - and my dogs stayed right by my side. Up all night, pacing back and forth with a crying, colicky baby, the dogs would hang out with me, wanting so badly to fall asleep, but keeping their eyes half open - not sure why it STILL wasn't time to go to bed yet. During many a crying jag by Jane, my weary eyes would meet Junior's across the room - an unspoken "Is she SERIOUSLY still crying?" passing between us.

***
Greg and I came home from Chicago yesterday, and picked up Junior and Jimmy from their three-day stay at doggy day care. Greg noticed that Junior hadn't eaten that much. Throughout the night (we realized in retrospect), he gorged on food and water. I let him out around 9 and when I went to get him back in, I noticed he was strangely gagging and hacking up a lot of foam. He was acting very strange. I mentioned it to Greg. Greg remembered that this is a sign of bloat, and called our vet tech friend. She told us to bring him in asap to the 24-hour emergency vet, so Greg took him and I stayed home with Jane.

I have to admit I didn't really think anything was wrong. We have brought Junior to the same emergency vet several times with digestive issues -and it was never a big deal. So I was shocked when Greg called to tell me that Junior had bloat, and needed to have surgery right away. And when he said he needed to talk to the vet to find out what Junior's chances of survival were, I was shocked out of my stupor and knew I had to be there. For my pup.

Bloat is a very serious thing that sometimes happens to big dogs, and if it's not treated quickly, they can die. From the moment we got Junior, we were told to watch out for bloat, and were told many a horror story about it. Basically their stomach flips around and gets twisted. The surgery un-twists it and then staples it - somehow - so it doesn't happen again. If you want to know more, Google it. I'm not going to - because I don't want to know more right now.

Our vet tech friend's husband was so great, and came over right away so I could go to the emergency vet. The surgeon showed up at the same time, and they started surgery. We were told that if everything was OK (no stomach damage, other organ damage, etc) that the success rate was about 80%. If there was stomach damage, it went to 50/50. And downhill from there. An hour and a half crawled by. No one was else was there but us - it was well after midnight at this point. I made a million promises to God and everyone else. I heard someone being paged to surgery, and my heart stopped. I heard weird beeping. My heart stopped again. Finally the doctor came out.

Junior was OK.

No permanent stomach damage or organ damage. They were working on waking him up. Now they needed to monitor him to see if any heart arrythmia (sp?) developed, which happens in 2/3 of dogs who have this surgery. But typically it works itself out. Plus he had all of the other recovering to do. He will be at the vet for 2-3 days, longer if the arrythmias (sp? too tired to look it up) crop up. But he should be OK. They are telling us that he should be OK.

People will read this and think I'm stupid for caring so much about a dog. Those people can eff off. He's my best friend. He has been there for the past 6 years of my life, very very important years. Junior, Greg and I were a little family for so long - and I'm just not ready for that part of my family to be gone. Not that I ever will.

But definitely not now.