September 29, 2004
$miling and Doing Lap$

It’s another day of check writing now that the girls are students.

First, it’s picture day at J’s elementary school. Of course I signed up for one of the bigger photo packages. I mean, she’ll only be five years old once and we’ll need lots of pictures documenting her cuteness to share with everybody. I told her to be sure to smile nicely—no pressure!

What will be really fun is seeing the class photo of the twenty kindergarteners and their teacher. The other day I mesmerized the girls with my own elementary school class photos (was it how unbelievably young their mommy once was or just the 1970’s clothing that was so funny?). What surprised me was my recollection of the names of the kids in the photos, people who haven’t been part of my existence for almost thirty years.

In the middle of the top row in the photos from both 1st and 3rd grades, I see Steve Noecker— my first crush. There’s Terry-something in the 2nd and 3rd grade photos, the pretty, blond-haired, brown-eyed girl who was actually popular and sweet. There’s also Kim Brice, the poor little girl about whom we sang (to the tune of the old rice-a-roni commercials), “Brice-a-roni, a San Francisco spoiled treat.” Nice.

Moving along to the next item on the “deplete mommy and daddy’s checking account” campaign, we have the Trike-a-thon at S’s preschool. It’s the school’s biggest fund raising event, where the little ones peddle (oops, I mean pedal) for dollars. They’re supposed to collect pledges tied to the number of laps they ride around the parking lot or they can get flat rate pledges. Call me obstinate, practical, lazy or kind (your pick), but I refuse to solicit friends and family for money. I’ll just donate a decent-sized lump sum and call it done.

I’ll also volunteer to help the bikers on Thursday morning. In preschool yesterday, S. made a license plate for her bike—a project involving glue and colorful glitter—so I know it will be quite an extravaganza. Does anyone else need any money for anything?

September 27, 2004
The Shortest Entry So Far

Do you ever start writing something but decide that you don’t like it? Then you begin again but that’s not really what you want to talk about either? Finally the time for the endeavor runs out and you just call it a day...

I will tell you that I had bacon three out of the last four days, each time cooked to crispy perfection (in a BLT salad, a club sandwich and with sunny side up eggs). Life is good.

September 21, 2004
How Did You Get Here?

It’s interesting to check on the blog’s site statistics from time to time, especially the search engine results (Google, Yahoo, AOL) that lead people here.

Looking over the data, there are searches for normal or funny things that just directed people to the wrong place; searches that reveal people who need more help than the internet can reasonably provide; and searches that expose the slimy path of online perverts.

For example, here are recent search engine keywords used to find this site:
mixed wrestling scissors – Is this an actual wrestling hold or something?

sweet and exciting messages - WTH?

bastard on the couch – Yes, that was from one of my very first posts but it’s a book title, not a reference to my husband.

listen to answering messages by celebrities – “This is Britney Spears-Federline and I am spiraling downward.”

Costco rotisserie chickens - They’re very good and I have raved about them here. I don’t have any for you though.

Marcia and Simon Lebon - There are pictures of us?

car-sick winding me – So, are you telling me this or asking for help?

Marcia jan brady bikini - Marcia or Jan--not picky, eh? What about Cindy?

nude mommies - yuck, yuck, yuck. No, there is no nude mommy here and I feel slimed that this person might even have clicked on my site.

he gives me mixed messages - Ok, and what do you want the internet to do about it?

If you're sane, you're welcome to leave a comment if you wish.

September 16, 2004
Morning Routines

I haven’t done one of these questionnaires in awhile. It’s from the current Friday Forum, which I received today via e-mail. Yes, I’m posting them a day early…

1. Starting with your head down to your toes, what health/beauty
products have you used/applied to your body so far today? [For
example, shampoo, toothpaste, makeup, cologne/perfume, nail
polish, etc.]

Brushed teeth with Crest Whitening + Scope, only because I’m trying to use it up so I can get back to Crest Vivid White (which is surprisingly effective). Wash face with glycolic cleanser, then apply Sage SPF 25 and let it sink in for about 5-10 minutes while I get dressed.

Oh boy, on paper this part is going to sound worse than it is. The makeup today is a mixture of Almay and Clinique foundation, Trish McEvoy concealer, Bare Minerals over both, then NARS blush in orgasm (how’s that for a great color?), Smashbox eye shadow (light neutrals), Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in sepia ink, Maybelline Great Lash mascara, and LORAC lipstick in a “my lips but better” color.

I’m wearing a perfume called Casual. My nails already have a peeling coat of Nail Envy (a nail strengthener) and my toenails have a dark rose shade from a pedicure of almost 2 weeks ago that's holding up very nicely.

2. Do you have a ritual when you take a shower, such as
washing your hair first or maybe even brushing your teeth in the
shower? If so, what? Do you prefer baths or showers, usually?

Showers only; I can barely recall when I last took a bath. The routine is: wash hair, condition hair. While said conditioning is happening, wash face and body, and shave. Rinse hair and get out.

Pretty straight forward. The challenge is detangling my very full head of hair afterwards.

3. How do you get yourself up and going in the mornings?
Coffee? A hot shower? Breakfast? Would you consider yourself a
morning person at all? When do you usually get up?

If there’s time (and always on weekends), we cuddle with the kids in bed. Then I just get up. No fancy tricks.

Breakfast with the newspaper is key. I sometimes have coffee afterward but not everyday. I wouldn’t call myself a morning person, but then I’m not a night person either. Well, I guess I probably am a morning person but more like a 9:00am or 10:00am person. That’s when I’m feeling most alive and productive.

4. Do you normally eat breakfast? What do you usually have? Do
you usually make it at home or go out for breakfast, or do you
prefer not to eat breakfast?

Everyday. It’s usually a heavily toasted, buttered English muffin or cereal with milk, and Cran-Grape 100% juice. Today it was a combination of regular Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios. On at least one of the weekend days we have eggs and toast for breakfast. But most days are very carb and sugar-heavy, I know. Suggestions are welcome.

5. What does your alarm clock sound like? A buzzer, music, or
something else? Do you ever set your clock fast so that you push
yourself to get ready sooner? Are you usually on time, late, or
somewhere in-between?

Would you want to slap me if I said that I haven’t heard my clock alarm in over nine months? When I worked outside the home, I used to set it for 6:15am. Now I wake up naturally between 7:00-7:15am (sometimes sooner). Then I rush to get myself ready so I can help the girls get dressed (particularly Miss Kindergartener who is NOT a happy camper first thing and needs regular prodding to get her outfit on for school).

Regarding the clock setting—I used to have a clock (cheap piece of crap) that gained time and could be 15-20 minutes ahead even after resetting it to the proper time only days earlier. Now I have an atomic clock that synchronizes itself daily with the U.S. Atomic Clock in Fort Collins, CO so my clock is always accurate.

Lastly, I’m an on-time kind of gal. There is no other way.

September 14, 2004
So, where are you from?

According to Area 51, here are the new USA state mottos:

Alabama: Hell Yes, We Have Electricity

Alaska: 11,623 Eskimos Can't Be Wrong!

Arizona: But It's A Dry Heat

Arkansas: Literacy Ain't Everything

California: By 30, Our Women Have More Plastic Than Your Honda

Colorado: If You Don't Ski, Don't Bother

Connecticut: Like Massachusetts, Only The Kennedy's Don't Own It-Yet

Delaware: We Really Do Like The Chemicals In Our Water

Florida: Ask Us About Our Grandkids

Georgia: We Put The "Fun" In Fundamentalist Extremism

Hawaii: Haka Tiki Mou Sha'ami Leeki Toru (Death To Mainland Scum, But Leave Your Money)

Idaho: More Than Just Potatoes ... Well Okay We're Not, But The Potatoes Sure Are Real Good

Illinois: Please Don't Pronounce the "S"

Indiana: 2 Billion Years Tidal Wave Free

Iowa: We Do Amazing Things With Corn

Kansas: First Of The Rectangle States

Kentucky: Five Million People; Fifteen Last Names

Louisiana: We're Not ALL Drunk Cajun Wackos, But That's Our Tourism Campaign

Maine: We're Really Cold, But We Have Cheap Lobster

Maryland: If You Can Dream It, We Can Tax It

Massachusetts: Our taxes are less Than Sweden's (For Most Tax Brackets)

Michigan: First Line Of Defense From The Canadians

Minnesota: 10,000 Lakes... And 10,000,000,000,000 Mosquitoes

Mississippi: Come And Feel Better About Your Own State

Missouri: Your Federal Flood Relief Tax Dollars At Work

Montana: Land Of The Big Sky, The Unabomber, Right-wing Crazies, And Very Little Else

Nebraska: Ask About Our State Motto Contest

Nevada: Hookers and Poker!

New Hampshire: Go Away And Leave Us Alone

New Jersey: You Want A ##$%##! Motto? I Got Yer ##$%##! Motto Right Here!

New Mexico: UFO Spotting For 50 years

New York: You Have The Right To Remain Silent, You Have The Right To An Attorney ...

North Carolina: Tobacco Is A Vegetable

North Dakota: We Really Are One Of The 50 States!

Ohio: At Least We're Not Michigan

Oklahoma: Like The Play, Only No Singing

Oregon: Spotted Owl... It's What's For Dinner

Pennsylvania: Cook With Coal

Rhode Island: We're Not REALLY An Island

South Carolina: Remember The Civil War? We Didn't Actually Surrender

South Dakota: Closer Than North Dakota

Tennessee: The Educashun State

Texas: Si' Hablo Ing'les (Yes, I Speak English)

Utah: Our Jesus Is Better Than Your Jesus

Vermont: Yep

Virginia: Who Says Government Stiffs And Slackjaw Yokels Don't Mix?

Washington: Help! We're Overrun By Nerds And Slackers!

Washington, D.C.: Wanna Be Mayor?

West Virginia: One Big Happy Family... Really!

Wisconsin: Come Cut The Cheese

Wyoming: Where Men Are Men ... and the sheep are scared

(If anyone can explain theVermont slogan to me, I’d be obliged.)

September 07, 2004
Queen of the Jungle

Have you been experiencing some changes lately? Have you noticed yourself going through a shift? Maybe you’ve even developed some new personality traits?

Don’t worry. It’s just a celestial reorganization. You now have a new sun sign!

According to The 13th Sign: The Zodiac Has Changed, So Have You: Find Out How and Why by Mary Francis Abbamonte, the planet Pluto has activated a 13th astrological sign, Ophiuchus, which has dislodged almost all of our sun signs and rearranged the Zodiac. This means that if you’re a Gemini, you’re now a “GemTauran” and if you’re a Libra, you’re now a “LibVirian.” Abbamonte says that “we still remain who we are, but by some metaphysical mysteries of the universe, we will be given all the strengths and challenges of another sun sign in addition to the ones given to us at birth.”

I guess that makes me a VirgLeo. If the daily horoscopes in my newspaper have any accuracy (you know I’m joking, right?), I think this will be a good thing for me. For example, here’s an actual current entry:

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Refrain from spending too much or taking on tasks you really can’t finish. You may be thinking big, but that won’t do you any good if you can’t follow through.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): No one is likely to let you down or turn you down today. Ask for favors. You will have everyone eating out of your hand.

So typical. Modest, industrious and efficient Virgos are toiling away, while Leos have all the fun and power.

But now, with the activation of Ophiuchus, I’ve got one foot in the Leo camp. No longer just a picky and critical Virgo, I’ve got the personal magnetism of a Leo to go along with it. Hear me roar: I’m feeling powerful, dramatic and ready to take center stage!

Well, at least that’s what supposed to be happening. I haven’t actually read The 13th Sign, so I’m not sure how it works exactly. Tell me, are you feeling the impact of your new sun sign?

September 02, 2004
The Reluctant Housewife

Housework is for people who don’t have a blog.

I’m supposed to be paying the bills right now, so that they’ll be done in time for me to pick up J. from kindergarten. Then we’ll have lunch, go to Costco, come home and unload all the purchases, I’ll exercise for 36 minutes on our Ellipse machine (I used to do 30 minutes but I’ve been increasing the time by one minute each week; that’s called baby steps), take a shower and then prepare dinner. It’s really hard to blog if you also have to worry about vacuuming.

I do like a neat house though. I can only truly relax amongst tidiness. It’s just that I don’t care enough about heavy duty cleaning. My bigger priorities have to be spending time with the girls (that’s why I left my job, after all) and personal development (including writing) if I am to be who I want to be. Thus, there may be some lint on the carpet from time to time.

One thing that has helped me immensely is using a timer. As FlyLady preaches, you can do anything for 15 minutes, and I’ve made progress on some overwhelming projects doing a bit at a time. Also, if I have a bunch of annoying phone calls or other little tasks to do, I can set a timer for 30 or 60 minutes and then just bang it out, knowing that I will stop when the bell rings no matter what. This really forces me to bear down and get things done.

I use a timer in a different way too, which has helped me change my way of thinking about certain chores: I’m measure how long tasks actually take. For example, it was news to me that I can unload the dishwasher in only six minutes. Now I really don’t mind doing it as much. I mean, six minutes is not that bad.

One other concept I’ve finally gotten a grasp on is that there are more steps to doing laundry than washing, drying and folding the clothes. That seems like plenty, but if I don’t also put the clothes away that day, then laundry baskets full of folded items just sit around the house, walked over and ignored until somebody needs something (and then the neat piles inside get wrecked and it’s all for naught). Now I don’t allow myself to cross “laundry” off the to-do list unless the stuff is put away.

Back to FlyLady for a minute—I just bought her black ostrich feather duster and let me tell you, all the hype is true. I might actually start dusting more often. Who gets excited about a feather duster, right? But they—I got a small one and a large one—are awesome! Even my husband likes them because they’re effective and yet gentle enough to use on his beloved stereo speakers.

Sadly, I’m not sure if I’ll ever dig out of the hole I’ve created with our photos that have piled up for [whispers] three and a half years. I haven’t put photos into an album since before little S. was born! What a bad, bad mommy. I have dreams about going to mommy prison with all the other ladies who don’t scrapbook. Oh well, at least I’m writing! The other stuff can wait another day.