Sunday, December 15, 2013

New Project!

So, I need a new project about like I need a hole in my head.  I have G's blanket, a shrug I started for a friend of mine who was in the hospital (it's taken so long that she's now out of the hospital - nice), and a crocheted, woven basket.  This list doesn't include the Christmas pillowcases for the kids (which will be ready in February), nor does it include the sweater I told my friend that I would fix last January (there's still time!).

Never one for moderation, though, I found this little dandy on Pinterest.  Super cute, super easy.  Made mine in two hours with pretty heather gray yarn.  Felt super sassy in it on my date last night - Chinese buffet, don't get too excited.  Felt super sassy when I went to work my shift at the church youth group this morning.  Felt super sassy until I started to sweat through my t-shirt and jacket because this is, after all, Texas, and the temperature went from 42 to 62 in 20 minutes.

I got lots of compliments on my pretty cowl.  It always feels good when people recognize your hard work and tell you that they like something you made with your own hands.  It's just lovely.  It's sort of like a performance.  You create something and bring it out into the world.  Sort of like birthing a baby.  Turns out, I'm not the only one who thinks so.  Click at your own risk.

Holy shitballs.  I don't even know where to go with this, but here are a few thoughts.  Number one, hygiene - HEELLLOOO!  Number two, seems like you'd pick something other than wool.  Maybe a nice bamboo or an acrylic blend.  Maybe a nice cotton.  And who do you give it to?  It's like the most frightening White Elephant gift EVER.

I am officially taking up gardening.

Oh, wait.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Project Update

Three weeks ago, I spent an entire day in a chair with my foot elevated and on ice.  I watched almost two full seasons of Call the Midwife and alternately crocheted and cried over the toe injury that was keeping me out of the half-marathon I had trained so hard for.  Self-pitying?  Yes.  Indulgent?  Yes.  Productive?  Yes!

Blanket Update:

Months on Project: 3.5
Months to Go:  5.5
Days on Project: 108
Days to Graduation: 174
Colors: 7
Rows: 45
Length: 3'1"
Goal: 7'6" (??)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

And The Hits Just Keep on Coming.

I am wondering how long the lasts will last.  It's a strange feeling that there are so many of them that you almost forget how important they are.  Saturday night, we hosted what is probably our last Camp Flaming Arrow Christmas Party.  Camp Flaming Arrow is the single best thing my husband and his boyfriend best friend and their boyfriends other best friends have ever done.  Way back when the kids were little, and I mean little -- maybe 7 and 5 or 8 and 6, they headed up a quarterly dads-and-kids-only camping group.  The dads thought it was great because they had built-in awesome time with their kids followed by built-in awesome time with their other friends: beer, vodka, and bourbon.  The kids thought it was great because there was fire, very little supervision, and as soon as the daddies started hanging out by the fire, they could eat squeeze cheese and Oreos until they barfed.  The moms thought it was great because they were gone for an entire weekend.  Win-win-win.

There is a magic to this merry little band.  What is so unique about this group of kids is that they have all grown up together in an atmosphere of complete acceptance, which is what a complete lack of any parental supervision looks like in a state park with a bunch of dads.  They've seen each other through skinned knees, giant fourth-grade horse teeth, new schools, mean friends, and all of the other rites of passage without judgment and with a remarkable capacity for compassion.  They can do that because most don't go to the same schools; in fact, they probably wouldn't even necessarily be friends if they all did.  They can because they have no secrets from each other.  They can because when you give kids the freedom to work things out in the context of complete parental inattention, usually things work out just fine.  Not one of these kids can probably imagine a life without this group.  I suspect that even the newly adult boys, who try so hard to act like this isn't a big deal, will remember those times and treasure them after they've gone on to college and the ties aren't quite so tightly tethered.

The only time the moms get to be involved is the annual Christmas party.  It's a doozy. There are some of us who see each other fairly often, others only once a year, but it is always a festive and joyful, if liquid, occasion.  There are awards for all the kids, often involving farting, pooping, or getting lost.  The entire party is planned and put on by the dads.  All I had to do was clean the house.  It's the best deal you can get in entertainment.  The payoff is a great night with old friends, and frequently, a shocking amount of recycling.

But there will be no more hosting of the CFA Christmas party.  Hosting duties rotate, and by the time it's our turn again, both kids will be in college and graduated from the group.  There will be other parties, of course.  Our closest family friends we see often, but there some whom we only see once a year.  And will G (and S later on) still want to go to a Christmas party with this group of kids from different schools?  Will she still remember how much those other dads and kids meant to her life?  Will she want to carve time away from her old friends when she's only home for a limited time?

It's so hard to think about anything changing, but of course, it does.  It should.  Imagine the alternative, your 40-year-old kid living at home, eating all your food, even potentially having a family of her own while still playing video games in your living room.  Hello, dude across the street who still lives with his mom.  And so, I'll shoulder on with all the lasts.  And when the lasts are done, there will be the firsts.

Help me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Mom is Stalking Me on Facebook

My mom is stalking me on Facebook.  Well, the entire Internet, really. She didn't want Facebook.  She was perfectly happy getting all of her information from my blog.  But when I took a break from writing, it caused a hitch in our giddy-up.  My mom likes news, but neither of us like to talk on the phone.  Or honestly, to talk to anyone, ever.  It's my sister-in-law's fault.  She sends pictures of my niece and nephew to my parents every time they have a trip or a school function.  I haven't sent a print picture since 2007, even the school pictures.  I mean to.  I really do.  I cut them out and clip them together with a post-it that says "Grandparents", and then they sit there until the kids have aged out of them, and I have to shred them.

So, in the meantime, I decided to hook mom up on Facebook.  That way, she could see pictures all the time.  Most of them are of cats and my chihuahua, but still.

Just getting her on Facebook in and of itself was a challenge.  She had very specific parameters.

Mom:  I don't want to be friends with anyone (truer words)
Me:  You have to have some friends, Mom.  That's how you see people's stuff.
Mom: Okay, I only want to be friends with you and J (my brother).
Me:  Well, J doesn't post.  What about M (J's wife)? What about the girls?  Your grandchildren?
Mom: Okay.  Only them.

She is also the least visual person in the world, next to me.  So, trying to verbally guide her through this process over the phone (she's three hours away) made me appreciate my husband even more than I already did.

Mom: ____ sent me a friend request.  I told you I didn't want any friends (truer words).
Me:  Mom, people can see that you're on Facebook, they are going to try to friend you.
Mom:  But I don't want any friends (truer words).  I just want family.
Me:  There's not a family button.  Just ignore the friend request.
Mom:  I can't do that.
Me:  Why?
Mom: Because that's rude.  She'll know.
Me: Okay, so you can accept her and then hide her.
Mom: You can do that?
Me: Yes, Mom.
Mom: Okay, how do I do that?

From there ensued the longest and most frustrating teaching experience I have ever had.  And I taught 7th grade.  For a long time.  The concepts of hover and drop-down do not translate between two people who cannot visualize anything.  Neither of us could visualize our way out of a paper bag, and I'm in the Target parking lot trying to picture the Facebook interface well enough to tell her how to hide someone.  It didn't go well.  I started yelling at her and hung up.  Of course, once I got home, I found out that you now had to hide someone from their page rather than hover over their name in your news feed.  So, I was wrong AND ugly about it.  And I was very sorry.

But not as sorry as I am now.  Turns out my mom is a menace on the Facebook.  She doesn't check it all that often, and when she does, she's usually several days behind me.  She also loves to look at what I've liked or commented on, which, after a couple of days/hours/minutes, I've completely forgotten about.  This combination results in a sort of stream-of-consciousness, completely contextless series of questions and responses that borders on the surreal.

This was after I posted a link to the National Zoo Panda cam.  Fairly straightforward, right?  Only she doesn't comment on the link.  She just texts me.

This one was a fairly timely comment on a profile picture of a cat.  And her travel plans.

She saw a random picture I posted (I kid you not, like 18 months before) and sent this.  I caught on fairly quickly this time.  I would not be so lucky later on.

It's hard to tell from here, but this is where I made my crucial mistake.  See that long text there on the right?  Where I said she could leave the settings like they were?  BIG MISTAKE.  So, now, when I like something just to be nice, I leave myself open to inquiry at any time.  You would think it would end here, right?  You would be wrong.

Now, the back story to all of this is that both of my grandparents died long, terrible deaths from dementia -- one from stroke, the other from Alzheimers.  You can imagine that we are all very attuned to any potential symptoms, and the texts were getting progressively more bizarre.  At one point, I thought she was trying to gaslight me.   That or the time had come to find a nursing home with the right mix of compassionate care and security doors.

I thought it would be so easy.  I set up the account.  I create the password.  She can see vacation photos.  Check, please.  What could possibly go wrong?  What could go wrong is that I have created a monster.  I've created a monster AND forgotten her password, so changing those settings without her knowing cannot happen.

I'd like a private room, please, and has anyone seen my dentures?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wait! Wait! I Wasn't Ready.

We sent off the college applications, after much cursing at the computer, at 11:49 on November 11th.  We breathed a sigh of relief.  G, because it was over and she didn't have to rewrite that essay again.  Me, because we had weeks and weeks before we would hear anything.

Yesterday, we got the first letter.  G was accepted.  With a scholarship.  It feels like all the breath has left me.  And we still have four more to hear from.

Wait. I wasn't ready.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


We had the dads and kids camping group party last night.  
Here it is by the numbers:

Guests: 33
Adults: 15
Kids: 18
Fajita Family Packs: 9
Cookies: 24
Lemon Bars: 18
Brownies: 18
Boxes of Graham Crackers: 2
Bags of Marshmallows: 2
Hershey Bars: 15
Bottles of Wine: 3
Bottles of Vodka: 3
Bottles of Beer: God only knows
Cheap Straw Sombreros: 18
High temperature: 30

Left over this morning:

Massive amounts of fajita fixings
Eight sombreros
Three Hershey bars (the ones with the almonds)
One sleeve of graham crackers

That's it.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Godspeed and May the Angels Rush Out to Greet You

Warning:  I'm talking about politics and religion in the same piece in violation of all that I hold dear.   "There are three things I never talk about with people - religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin."  -- Linus.  

I am having a strangely emotional response to the death of Nelson Mandela.  I teared up in the car when I heard, and I've continued to tear up periodically since then.  That's not to say that the death of such a brave leader is not sad, it's more than that.  I am from a little bit of a lost generation.  A young child during the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, the Kennedy assassination, and Watergate, it seems like all of the pivotal world events of my childhood happened before I was old enough to pay attention.  Sure, the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, but by then, the duck-and-cover immediacy of my parent's childhoods was gone.  Eastern Europe had discovered money, the cool people had all defected, and it seemed, rightly or wrongly, to be just a formality.

In all honesty, before 9/11 and even after, what I felt most connected to and most invested in was the anti-apartheid movement.  Not that I, a college and law student during the riots and the transition through the deKlerk era, could do much about it, but I watched and I read. I didn't buy Shell gas, which made my dad furious for reasons I can't now understand.  I couldn't and still can't understand the idea of institutionalized, systemic racism of an entire indigenous population. Leaving manifest destiny, the American slave trade, and all of English history aside, this injustice was being perpetrated right then!  In 1990!  How could this possibly be?  It shows my condescending naiveté at the time, a white child of privilege, when you consider that there were and still are entire populations of people in the world without running water. 

But I'm proud to have been a witness to this kind of history.  I'm proud (sort of) that G's response to my telling her that Mandela died was, "That's the guy like Gandhi, right?" Uh, no. "No! I know! He's the President of South Africa, was in prison.  That guy?"  Thank you, Jesus.  I was a little worried about her going to college.  I'm proud that when my kids look at people they don't see the color of their skin.  I'm proud that they got to be with me the afternoon that the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.  I'm proud that my daughter can speak the name of Nelson Mandela in the same breath as Gandhi. 

So, why the tears?  The tears are because even with this kind of role model in the world, we are still dealing with people who don't want to talk about racism because it feels uncomfortable. And we are still figuring out how to deal with people who don't want to change.  Happily, there are small voices out there who are willing to speak up.  Here and here.  But I worry.  I see racism all the time here in Texas - in line at the grocery store complaining about the African-American woman in front of them just loudly enough to make sure that she heard.  In a church my husband visited when he was told he doesn't look like a Mexican.  The n-word written in the dust on the back of my daughter's car.  And she's white.  It was terrifying and painful.  And she's white.  Imagine if that were how you lived EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE.  

We are still dealing with people who don't want to talk about homosexuality.  My girls are really proud that at their school, a bunch of girls have come out of the closet as lesbians, and my girls count many of them as their friends.  They are not proud, though, that their gay friends cannot come out of the closet as easily for fear of getting the shit kicked out of them by the cowboys in the parking lot.  And I live in a state in which we cannot acknowledge that a woman doing the same job does not legally have the right to be paid the same as a man in that job.  We still have so far to go.  How do I send my girls out into this kind of world?  How do I make them hopeful in a way that Nelson Mandela made a whole country hopeful?

I hope my kids have touchstones like Nelson Mandela that remind them that our God stands for love.  Period. I have taught them to stand up for themselves and for others in the face of bullying and put downs and bigotry of any kind.  I also send them out into the world hoping that they realize that Jesus ministered to the least of us -- the sick, the broken, the damaged, the marginalized, the exiled.  So, basically, all of us. No matter what color or age or social strata or political party.  No matter what. My God stands for love.  It's our job to go out there and prove that by our words and actions.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Good News!

I managed to choke back the humbug and only over-engineer a few things in our journey to Christmas decoration nirvana!  I think the kids had fun in between schlepping emptied boxes of ornaments back to the shed.  I could be wrong.

But in the course of cleaning off the dining room table for its holiday cheer I made a thrilling discovery!  Cat vomit does NOT bleed through felt onto your grandmother's dining table.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Elf This.

Let's be honest.  Christmas is kind of a pain in the ass.  Oh, it's magical all right.  It's family and tradition and feelings and gingerbread and all that.  It's also a lot of work.  Not the Advent, quiet, reflective Jesus bit.  No, that would be easy.  But where are you going to find all that when you're hosting the yearly camping group Christmas party on Saturday when you didn't get your free weekend this year because Thanksgiving was so late and you got back from Houston late, bloated and frankly still hungover from three days of non-stop eating and drinking?  You're not. 

This year's Christmas seems really, really important.  I don't want to ignore any part of G's last Christmas as a permanent resident of this place.  I don't want to take the joy from her with my eye-rolling and can-we-just-put-out-a-couple-of-things-this-year humbug.  Especially when really, I'm the one who started all these traditions in the first place.  It didn't seem as big a deal when there were a couple of old, broken nativity scenes and some folk art Santas from the Hobby Lobby.  And the kids were so little!  They loved it so much!  It seemed so important!  But now there are THOUSANDS of them.  And they go in every nook and cranny of our home.  And we have TWO trees.  Yes, we are those people.  And I was the one who wanted it all.  Emphasis on -ed.

Remember when your kids were little and you were advised never to threaten a punishment that you weren't willing to follow through on?  Here's what they don't tell you:  Don't start a tradition that you're not willing to follow through on either.  I don't want to take one single thing from her last real Christmas.  But I also don't want to lug all that stuff in from the shed.  

I wonder if it's not getting worse with the pressure of Pinterest.  Don't get me wrong.  I am a fan.  But the level of perfection now required is so much worse than before.  There are at least 500 burlap Christmas wreath links over there right now.  Really?  And let's not start with the Elf on the Shelf.  I can only thank God, Jesus, Moses, Muhammed, Zeus, Isis, Osiris, Hera, Apollo, Venus, Buddha, Krishna, and the dude who kept getting his eyes plucked out on the side of that mountain that my kids were too old for the Elf on the Shelf when it showed up.  I would have had to have been institutionalized.  Now, some of my favorite people are big fans, and I don't love them ANY less for their elves.  I do, however, mock them.  I'll leave the very best commentary on this to the expert.

But nothing, NOTHING, I tell you, tops what I found in this month's Southern Living magazine.  Which I must admit I bought for no other reason than it had a picture of a giant piece of red velvet cake on the cover.  Mmmmm.  Red velvet.  Anyway, on the way to the recipe, I found this:

I'm going to give you a minute to take it all in.  Yes, folks, this may well be the end of civilization as we know it.  I don't even know where to start processing this single sheet of fabulous.  First of all, for the love of all that is holy, why would you ever WANT to dress like dishware?  Is there some need that this fills for someone out there?  And even in the most bizarre of universes in which one might think it was okay to dress like dishware, why would one want to look like Blanche Devereaux from The Golden Girls?  This is a train wreck.  Notice that the page is titled "Fashion Plate."  Get it?  Notice also that the green lace blouse says, "Step aside, tacky sweater." Oh, the irony.

Getting all the shit out of the shed suddenly seems a much more reasonable solution.

Ho ho ho.

Monday, November 25, 2013

It's the Strays that Cause Complexity

My best friend send me this link today.  Apparently, Gwyneth Paltrow, my ethical touchstone and lifestyle idol, has chosen to strike a blow for peri-menopausal women everywhere.  She's gone native in her nether regions.  I'll let you read the details from the study on your own, but I will ask you to think about the following:

1.   Who in God's name is conducting these studies?
2.   Who in God's name is responding to these studies?
3.   Define native.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Shhhhh. Don't Ruin It.

My children have not always gotten along.  As in I didn't think they would ever grow up to have the relationship that I wished for them.  As in the large crack on our inner window that stayed there for 8 years after a hairbrush was thrown at someone.  As in the time that someone's temple connected with the handset of the cordless phone.  They're Eeyore and Tigger.  Shrek and Donkey.  Starsky and Hutch (the Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson ones).  Watching them interact is like watching someone try to comb out dreadlocks.  Painful and ultimately usually not worth it.

There was a time a couple of years ago, when G was a sophomore, that T and I used to talk about how mean she was.  And how we were afraid of what would happen if we died.  You know those Lifetime shows where the parents die and the sisters go to any lengths to stay together when social services come to separate them?  Those are not my kids.  We even went so far as to say to G, "Daddy and I could die tomorrow.  And then all you would have in this world is your sister, and if you treat her like this, she won't like you either, and you'll be all alone in this world."  I am not proud of this, and I do concede that it completely disregards logic, the Texas estate laws, and any loving feeling toward my child at all, but there it was.

Lately, however, in the tiniest of ways, the light dawns.  Sometimes, the light is reflected such as when I had a tremendous fight with S, and G, a hale and hearty veteran of such battles, came into my room and said, "It'll be okay.  It's the same fight we used to have only over something different."  Oh, God.  Is it really?  Have I learned NOTHING from parenting the first one?  Have I not GROWN from this process?  AM I DOOMED TO HAVE TO DO THIS ALL OVER AGAIN?  And then, sweet G loaded the dishwasher and went merrily and sweetly on her way.  Until the next morning, when S made them late for leaving.  I think I heard swear words as they were backing out of the driveway.  At full speed. And all was back to normal.

But last night, I saw the light as the shepherds might have (it might be a bit of a stretch to compare these little sibling episodes to the birth of Jesus, it might not).  Last night, we endured the single, most miserable football game experience ever.  It was 36 degrees and raining.  Wrapped in every piece of clothing we owned, which promptly became soaked, we braved the elements to attend what would be G's last high school football game.  We were also there to see S perform in the drumline.  S admitted, after halftime (90 minutes into the evening), that the ankle socks and canvas converse low-tops were not the best idea.  Through blue lips, chattering teeth, and streaming eyes, she said, "My f-f-f-feet are so c-c-c-old."  Twelve months ago, had S had a rare disease that required a fingernail clipping to save her, G would never have given it up.  But last night, G took off her fuzzy, dry socks and her fleece-lined boots, stood on a towel, and gave up her boots for her sister.  Yes, we were leaving.  Yes, she only had to walk 15 yards to the car in wet sneakers.  But she did it. And I began to hope.

I never had a sister.  I don't have the foggiest idea what it must be like.  I was always jealous of friends who had sisters they were close to - my closest friends from church growing up, my law school roommate.  As close as I am to my brother, there is something special to that relationship that's not like any other.  And I want that so badly for my children.  I hope it's possible.  I became a much nicer person when I went away to college, or maybe I just grew up.  So maybe, they can have that, too -- a sister you can always turn to, who knows what you're going through, who understands without you having to say anything, and who you can rely on when your parents grow old and senile, which given our medical history is totally going to happen.

Good luck, girls.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Truth Will Out

I have about forty journals.  Some of them are composition books with groovy, industrial designs, some are covered in rich fabric, some are recycled paper, but they all have one thing in common.  Only four pages filled out, full of goals for writing consistently, keeping track of my children's milestones, etc.  And then nothing.  

I've never been able to sustain the habit of writing regularly.  Unless it's a blog, and let's be honest, I've let 11 months go by.  But anyhoo, sometimes even in those four entries, there's a golden nugget.  And I found one last week from 2008, I think.  Just a snippet of conversation, but a telling one.

S:  Can I have a cotton swab?

Me:  Sure.

S:  Why is one of them purple?

Me:  I don't know.

S:  Maybe it likes to party.

This is perfect in a lot of ways -- a 10-year-old's take on how the world works, her sense of wonder, the idea of Q-tips partying in their little box under the bathroom sink, but it is mostly perfect because of the unmistakable and absolutely intentional invocation of Cal and Ricky Bobby.  You CANNOT go wrong with an allusion to Talladega Nights.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Having a Senior in High School is Awesome.

Because they text all the time.  Even in class.  And sometimes they text you something like this.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The New Project

They don't tell you about this part -- the one at the end.  There are a lot of books that tell you about your baby's first hours, days, months, years.  There are websites that show you what your baby looks at any given moment even before it is born.  (Not sure why this creeps me out, but it does).  They'll tell you every detail about their care and feeding, their needs, their development, their little hearts.  Some even tell you about how smelly and sweaty and sad and scary having children really is.  Those were the ones I read on about day five without a shower and day 30-something without being able to poop alone.

But there aren't many books that tell you about the other end.  The part where if you do your job right, you lose it.  That you are fixing to watch that little teeny, tiny person walk out the door and go to college.  And you just want to curl up into a fetal position and weep.  Which I am (somewhat unexpectedly) doing right now as I type.  And they don't tell you about the mood swings between could-you-just-unload-the-fucking-dishwasher-and-oh-my-God-she's-leaving-me, which occur with startling regularity and frequently have only milliseconds between them.  Most of the time, I swerve like a drunken sailor between being super, super excited for her (I loved college a whole lot) to the deepest grief over what I am losing, slowly, over the next nine months.  It's the ultimate of ironies, like pregnancy in reverse.

And what would you title those books anyway?  What to Expect Senior Year? How Not to Murder Your Almost-Adult Daughter? Grief, Loss, and a New Craft Room? There isn't just one reaction or one response or one feeling that goes along with this process.  It's hard to know what to do or what to think or what to feel.  The manual hasn't been written yet.  So, in the meantime, I'll do what any self-respecting senior parent would do, I'll just bury those feelings way down deep and let them bubble up as anger and resentment.  Just kidding.  Sort of.

So, as part of my grieving/separation/celebration process, I started a new crochet project on the first day of her last year of school, August 26th.  My plan was, and miraculously still is, to work on it through the fall and winter and have it completed by graduation day the first week of June.  I'm going to try to weave all the way through this blanket prayers for her safety and wellbeing, wishes for her success and happiness, and positive thoughts for when times are tough.  And on the days when I can't do that, I'm going to try to not weave curses in it.  Baby steps.  We picked out her yarn in May:

And I worked on it through the fall tennis season.  And band season.  And college visits.  And college application season.  And I've still got a loooooong way to go.  Nine months, as it happens.

I'll keep you posted.

In an effort to keep it honest, much like we did on the previous project, I'll be posting daily (or what passes for daily) in the QC and plan to include at least one daily step in the process of letting go.  Maybe little helpful tips or tricks we've learned along the way, such as:  Don't say,"You'll never survive college if you write like a fifth grader.  What the hell?" as a part of your college essay feedback process.  That might or might not have actually happened.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


You know how when you're grieving, it seems like any additional loss just makes you relive the tragedy all over again?  Well, it's happening to me now.


First, we lost Borders, the best bookstore in the world.  The one that always read my mind right before I came in and then had a table ready with all the books it knew I would like laid out in one place.  Usually buy two get one free.

I thought losing Borders was the end all.  The worst possible thing that could happen.  I was wrong.

Because, like other gang-related crime, Borders's death has led to another death.  That of the most wonderful calendar company ever.  Time Mine had calendars that made sense.  With lots of nice places for notes, friendly little sayings, a weekly goal to set for yourself, and gasp! perforated edges so you could always turn to the right week.  And today, I found out that they are going out of business.

And if you're as compulsive as I am, and you have kids, and you refuse to use the calendar on your phone because when the app closes, the appointment no longer exists, and you like pretty colors, this is a tragedy. These two amazing moms put together a sweet little company that made a calendar that made sense for families, but they couldn't keep up with rising printing costs and giant office supply companies squeezing them out.  And because Target can sell a much cheaper product at a much cheaper price.  It's just so, so, so sad.  Are there floods and earthquakes and wars going on?  Yes.  And yes, this is a first world problem.  But it's my problem.

So, go out and support your local, independent business person, whoever they are -- Book People, Galaxy Cafe, Anderson's Coffee for you local folks. Sigh.  I'm just going to be sad for a little while.  At least until my new calendar from gets here.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pinterest is the Devil

I'm sick.  I've been sick for several days, and I am never sick.  Unless I get ahold of a bad oyster, or more likely, bad gin.  But I am well and truly sick this time, and I don't like it.  I don't like doctors either, which presents its own quandaries.  Any hoo, I decided it was the better part of valor to stay home - to skip that meeting,  to NOT finish cleaning out the garage, and to put off starting those tomato seeds.  Again.  Instead, I thought I'd try to work on something simple, like crocheting a dishcloth.  Nothing overly involved, mind you, just your garden-variety dishcloth.

And after searching on Ravelry (love) and other yarn-manufacturer sites, I couldn't find what I wanted. (It's a dishcloth, you might say.  Shut up, I might say).  My friend, Mary, was on Pinterest the other day looking for some pattern or another, and I thought, hmmm.  Maybe I'll just hop other there real quick and see if there's something dishcloth-y over there.

Now, I've heard of Pinterest.  I see people's pins on Facebook.  Not interested.  I'm far too busy doing things like cooking and gardening and crocheting and canning and knitting to spend anytime sitting around looking at stuff on the internet.  I am waaaaay too important, too capable to need the internet to drive my creativity. I am WOMAN! But nevertheless a woman who needed a catchy dishcloth pattern.  Plus, the septic guy was here to pump the system out, so I was in a hurry. (Did you know methane gas actually EATS the concrete of your septic tank from the INSIDE?  Turns out it does.  This is not good news).

Hence, a brief search for a crochet dishcloth pattern on Pinterest.  Which I logged onto for the first time at 3:38.  It is 7:52, and I have only left my chair to get a glass of wine (2 times), make soup (1 time), and blow my nose (76 times).  I have ended up in the weirdest places and the greatest places.  I now have so many potential projects that the 21-day GYST Challenge may have to be changed to the 21-year GYST challenge. I will be 66 years old and riddled with Alzheimers, but my yard will be PERFECT.

The downside, however, is that it is, after all, the Internet.  Anyone with software can post something somewhere that will at some point end up a search result on Pinterest.  If it's kitchen cabinets and handy gardening tips, Pinterest is your place.  It's amazing.  If it's "homemade cold remedies", however, let me just tell you that a disturbing number of people have pinned a horrifying photo of a glass quart Mason jar that appears to be filled with garlic cloves, horseradish, apple cider vinegar (Hey, Manny), and the toes of baby snow leopards.  You.  Can. Not.  Tell.  Me.  that people are actually making this shit.  Not to mention drinking it.  Really?  Bonjour, indeed.

Gotta go.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Really Good Siblings

See that coffee cup there?  The one with the really cute red elephants on it?  My brother got that for me.  But, as my sister-in-law said, he paid his pound of flesh for it.  Again, this is not my story but his (he gets ALL the good ones).

First of all, I blame my new best friend Lucy.  Lucy does wonderful things with crochet and flowers and crafts and all that.  But what Lucy also does is drink tea.  Lovely, warm, brown English tea.  And since Lucy does it, so should I.  So, for most of this winter, I have been enjoying a nice tea break every afternoon before the kids get home.  And I've been drinking the last of the best. tea. ever.  It came from our last trip to England in 2010, and I have HOARDED it to make it stretch.  My recent bout of afternoon tea, however, has depleted my stores completely.  I tried and tried to find a suitable replacement, but no.  Even the fancy blenders at Austin's Tea Embassy (awesome, awesome tea shop - you should go there) couldn't match it. Devastation had set in.

And then!  After the kids' dentist appointment!  At my brother's house!  On the calendar!  "J. to London."  Could it be?  Is it possible?  YES!  So, I immediately texted him demanding that he go to Harrod's (the biggest department store in England) two weeks before Christmas and find me that tea.  I'm not even sure I said "please."

So, he did.  Why?  I'll never know.  I was absolutely frightful to him for most of my (and his) adolescence.  According to my little nephew, I still "boss [his] daddy around an awful lot." I am really, really sorry that I was so awful.  I'm even more sorry because that sweet boy went to Harrod's for me on the busiest shopping day ever and got my tea for me.  And there was a buy two tins of tea, get a free mug deal (who knew?), so I got this precious, pretty mug.  AND not just because of that.

Also because the tea I like comes in a nice little tin container.  One that happens to look an awful lot like a bomb.  Especially when there are two.  And you're a tall, bearded man with no checked luggage on a short-stay flight from England.  So, there he is in line at the TSA on his connecting flight to Chicago with some very nervous security guys eyeballing him.  They call him over and ask him a harrowing number of questions, including:

TSA:  What's this?  What are these?
J:  It's tea.
TSA:  Is that so?  (looking inside)
J: Yes
TSA: (pause) Oh.  And what's THIS?
J:  Cheese
TSA: Cheese?
J: Yes

You see, the best part of this story is that the only other thing J brought back from England with him was a really, really stinky wedge of cheese that his friends always send back for my sister-in-law.  The TSAs had no idea what to do with that situation.

So, they did the only natural thing.  They swabbed the cheese for explosives.

I shit you not.

Happy Birthday, Bub.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

GYST Report, Day 10

Get Your Shit Together Report
(a/k/a Damn You, Australian Open)

Day 10

There's something uniquely mortifying about setting a goal for yourself and failing at it.  Publicly.  But there it is.  For those of you following along, I had two pieces of bread and butter, two slices of bacon and some pound cake for dinner last night.  My trainer at my gym keeps telling me that food is 80% of weight loss.  No kidding.  I have been pretty vigilant about my exercise, so that's a mercy.

As far as projects go, it seriously seems like I am doomed.  I have terrible sinus from allergies (waahh). The Australian Open is on (hooray).  These two things combine to equal staying up way too late and waking up with a raging headache.  Those to things necessitate getting the kids off, taking seventeen Advil, and going back to sleep until I can hold my head upright.  Those three things conspire to prevent me from getting a full day's work in.  I can get the day-to-day done, but anything extra is cast to the winds.  And I'm serious.  In 10 days, I've finished a scarf.  That's it.  And it was 7/8ths done to start with.

Part of the problem, too, is that I'd rather do fun stuff.  Like bake.  A dear friend's dad died this past weekend, so I wanted to take a little something by.  So I baked bread, made two different kinds of muffins, and canned some strawberry jam.  Like some kind of crazy, manic pioneer, I sweated and stewed over all this business.  And it was great.

But great don't refinish the dining room chairs.  You don't have dining room chairs, you ask? Of course I do.  I have the crazy modern chairs that went with my old dining room set before I got my grandmother's George Jetson cherry table.  Last summer, yes, that would be the summer of 2011,( I prefer to call it last summer because it makes me feel better),  I bought some fabulous chairs.  They are the perfect shape, if a little beat up, and the price was right.  I was going to immediately go home, give them some TLC, change the chair pads, and voila, they'd be perfect!  They're still in the garage.  Nineteen months later, they've moved from the shed to the garage.  And they only moved there because we tore down the old shed and built a new one.  All in the time since I bought the chairs.  Damn it.

And that's not the worst part.  This weekend, I went to see my darling, dear friend from high school, who in addition to a great farm and beautiful taste has an antique business on the side.  When we went by to see the place, there were the most perfect chairs for my dining room.  Almost as perfect as the chairs I already bought.  And I almost bought them.  It's like some kind of sickness.

I think it's time to get moving.  I've only got 11 more days.

Better hustle.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cosmic Riddle

Why is it that no one is able to put the new roll of toilet paper on the handy spring loaded roller? That is sitting right next to you. Why?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ode to a Kitchen Table

A friend of mine who is a priest in Los Angeles posed a question on Facebook the other day.  He asked what object represented intimacy, not sexual intimacy, but the intimacy that comes from being in relationship with someone for a long time.  He was working on a sermon about something that I didn't pay attention to, but the question struck me.

And I immediately knew what my answer was.  The object that represents relational intimacy to me most is a kitchen table.  Certainly some specific kitchen tables, including my own, but also the kitchen table of history and of life.

First night of semester exams
We never hung out at the kitchen table much when I was growing up -- the breakfast room was back in a corner of the house, there wasn't much going on in the kitchen in the first place, and the dining room table was reserved only for holiday dinners, when my grandparents came to town, and the mail.  But in my house, the kitchen table is the center of all things.  It may be because I don't allow food upstairs.  It may be because I don't allow television during the week or the computer is down here or there's a comfy couch nearby for reading.  It may be because our kitchen table is where everybody is together most of the time.  It may be because my children can't go ten feet inside a door without dropping their shit everywhere and that's the closest place.  Who's to say?

But for whatever the reason, everything gets done at the kitchen table.  Eating, talking, crafts, projects, and homework, lots and lots of homework over the years.  And it makes me happy.  G has a desk in her room and does her fair share of cocooning, but usually only on the weekends.  S has never had a desk and when asked if she wanted a cool piece of furniture to use as a pull-down desk, she said she'd never use it because she always does her homework downstairs.

The table is where our family is a family.  And although T is gone most of the week, what I find deeply moving is that his place is always laid with a napkin (when there are any) and his place is always cleared.  The kids usually don't dump their books and papers there.  They'll dump their stuff on my place, but I'm around to clean it up.  Daddy's place is sacred.  I love that.  It's like the empty chair for Elijah at a Jewish Seder.  Keeping his place means he's always with us, even when he's away.

And I deeply love this table, too.  I especially love it when no one is here.  It's cleaned off and the napkins (when there are any) are folded.  And there are several more hours that it will stay that way because no one is here.  It is a place of infinite possibility:  newspaper reading, emailing, writing, reading, coffee drinking making to-do lists and including things you've already done so you can cross them off.  Wait.  What?

Kids' first day back to school a/k/a hooray!

And I love other people's kitchen tables, too.  My stuffy Florida grandmother's kitchen table had a butter dish that you were forbidden to get crumbs into - hello, butter knife!  But I can still smell the heavy scent of my grandfather's dark rye bread on all those summer mornings.  My mother-in-law's kitchen table has seen any number of looooong family gatherings - we are outgrowing her small apartment now that our kids have become adult-sized, but that table carries so many wonderful memories.  And it will continue to.

My best friend's kitchen table is a huge round, but we always sat right next to each other and drank coffee on those endless mornings when our kids were little and sucking the souls out of us.  We drank coffee and talked about what we would do and where we would go when we didn't have toddlers.  New York!  Paris!  New Orleans!  Who cares?!  And now, we don't have toddlers anymore.  And our oldest ones are starting to figure out their college choices.  But the table that was once a life raft may well be again, for a different reason.

And that's okay.

I think.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

GYST Day Three

Get Your Shit Together Report

Day Three

I had some wonderful friends over for a first annual "crafty hour" at which no one crafted a single thing.  We just ate and talked and had a delicious new cocktail from DAC, which, if I understand the story correctly, was supposed to be a Moscow Mule, but went wrong somewhere in Outer Mongolia.  Whatever it was, it was yummy.

So, nothing crossed off the list unless you count keeping dear friends nearby as something you put on a list.  

Maybe I should!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

GYST Day Two

Day Two (Tuesday):  Seriously, this was one of those days.  Not a bad one, just one with lots to do outside the house.  Still, I did cross one thing off the list today:  "Meals for A."  My sister-in-law, whom I adore, may or may not have thyroid cancer.  She was having half of her thyroid out Tuesday, so I've been making yummy things for us for a week and doubling up for her.  That way, she can take it easy.

I went out early on the worst, coldest, drizzliest day to have a delightful birthday lunch with my super bff, L, and then off to deliver meals in Round Rock.  Threw the dinners in her freezer and sat down for a visit.  A is a trooper, and the good news is that everything looked good after the surgery.  And the even better news is that we had a lovely visit with A, my mother-in-law, and A's mother.  It was nice to slow down, have a coffee, and chat on a cold day like that.

Now, a visit wasn't on my list, and I stayed much longer than I'd intended, but those are the times that make a life.  I'm not going to sweat it; in fact, I'm going to embrace it.

Family matters.

GYST Day One

Day One (Monday):  The best laid plans. . . . Day One was supposed to begin with our usual Monday run, but it was drizzling.  And 34 degrees, which is below our relatively generous but entirely sane temperature threshold of 35 degrees, so I read the paper.  I read the paper, had some coffee, and then I got to work.  Cleaned the house - not on the list.  Did the laundry - not on the list.  Watched my taped version of the Golden Globes - not on the list.  

Things were not going well, but in the spirit of Lewis and Clark, Vasco de Gama, and Ru Paul, I stepped out where no (wo)man had gone before, and I knitted.  Okay, so that's not a stretch.  And yes, I knit all the time.  BUT I have one project that I started ages ago.  It's a scarf.  And I HATE it.  It's a beautiful pattern.  It's a beautiful, soft, dove gray yarn, but it is so fucking hard that I keep wanting to rip out every stitch, and then kill somebody.  Even the doyenne of my knitting group, who can do anything, started up the pattern after I did (she also finished before I did, no comment), and she almost gave it up, too.  But I am in the last, agonizing death throes of binding off the damn thing.  So I worked on it. 

Did I finish it?  Hell, no, but I'm moving forward.  

Other items off the list:
1.  Budget reconciliation for 1/15 pay period (woo hoo, not).
2.  Email girls re Colorado trip (intriguing, I know, I'm super excited)
3.  T - fix scanner.  There are somethings I can't do, and a smart woman knows when to ask for help.
4.  Last day of double for freezing.  Made lasagne and sausage with lentils and rice for us and for my sister-in-law, who was having surgery the following day.

Not an impressive start, but Rome wasn't built in a day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Back to Earth

A dear friend told me that it's easy to get way wrapped up in the stats/analytics of blogging.  You can obsess over every new visitor and your average time on site and all that.  Considering that I've mostly limited my readership to close friends and friends of close friends, my numbers aren't exactly high.  They could be with some self-advertisement, but I'm just not there yet.  Maybe I will be one day.  Maybe not.

Anyway, regardless of my relatively small readership, I still took great pride, and great pleasure, in my regular handful of folks checking in on me, even when I hadn't posted in a while.  In fact, I felt pretty darn special.  Until the following exchange:

From: Mom
Subject: sniff
Date: January 14, 2013 10:18:26 AM CST
To: Me

Hi there, I am sad that your blog journey is over.  Guess I'll have to change my home page now :-)  You are great!
From: Mom
Subject: hooray
Date: January 14, 2013 10:23:09 AM CST
To: Me

Oh!  I am so excited!  Just got online and there was your new posting, with more to come!  Hot doggies.  PS, you make me laugh.

There is so much to be concerned with here, not least of which is
someone with multiple doctoral degrees using the phrase hot 
doggies, but if you were paying attention, you will have noticed
that my mom has this blog as her home page.  Which means that
everytime she goes on line to check the weather, which I can
assure you is several times a day, she hits my blog.  Which
therefore means that my mother is something like 98.2% of my
readership.  Perhaps a little bit of self-advertising is in order.


Monday, January 14, 2013

21 Days of Get Your Shit Together

They're starting another 21-day challenge at my gym today.  You sign up, you commit to workout and to eat well, and you track your progress.  As the single most competitive person alive, I fall victim to these challenges all the time.  I either out-compete everyone and get super shapely for those 21 days and then reward myself for the next 30.  Or, more often, I set totally unrealistic goals for myself and then fail epically to meet them.  Sound familiar?  Who, me?

But it's January, and I ate so much bread and drank so much wine in France and Germany that when we got back, I swore I wouldn't even want them anymore.  Tell that to the cereal and toast I had for breakfast this morning.  So, I'm challenging.  I'm challenging at the gym, and I'm challenging myself, too.  Most of the people I live with will also tell you that I'm challenging. 

Here's the plan:

Much of what was going on in this picture was a to-do list of all the projects, piddly and not, that I have lined up.  Many of them are small, some of them are easy, all of them are achievable. See that composition book there?  That's THE LIST as it looks today.  THE LIST changes and evolves, as you might imagine, as things are completed (a/k/a I write in pencil so I can erase things that I don't want to do).  THE LIST includes things as small as e-mail the landscape guy about the weevils in the agaves and things as large as 
stain and recover the new (old) chairs for the dining room.  That I bought in 2010.  Whatevs.

So, in addition to the godforsaken challenge at the gym, I am setting myself a 21-Day Get Your Shit Together challenge.  I will purposefully engage in one of the projects on this list every day, reminding myself that not all projects will be completed every day.  So, instead of The Project, I will have the projects.  

AND I am resolving to blog about it. Everyday.  For 21 days.  I've been hot and cold on these pages lately.  Excusable?  Yes.  Understandable?  Yes.  It's all okay, but I do love this blog, and I believe in what I'm trying to do here, so I need to back up my belief with some commitment.  They say it takes 21 days to make a habit.  

We'll see.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The. End.

If you're new here, for some context, you could read this or this.  You should definitely read this

Well, we went out with a whimper, not a bang.  And maybe that's a good thing.  It's a good thing because this project shouldn't have ever been a big deal in the first place.  For thousands of years, people got their food (sometimes more easily than others), cooked it at home, ate it together, lather, rinse, repeat.  Even Julia Child, in all her brilliance, didn't take off from the start.  In the '50s and '60s, housewifery and homemaking had become such drudgery that many home cooks had turned to packaged, boxed convenience food.  She had to convince home cooks that they could do better even in their own homes.  But whatever its incarnation, most food was still being cooked at home.

Not anymore.  There's so much quick, easy food available that your mind almost automatically defaults to running by the Sonic or picking up the phone to order pizza.  Intentional or healthy eating only means choosing Jason's Deli or Subway rather than the alternative.  And we were regular, if not habitual offenders.  I was always turning over new leaves -- ordering/buying fresh food/ making meal plans -- always with the best of intentions.  Mondays usually worked out, Tuesdays were iffy, and by Wednesday, we were off the rails.  Week after week.  And it wasn't until I stopped working that I could see the pattern.  Good intentions on Monday, rotten chard by Friday.

Let me say up front that the project we undertook and the lifestyle it has grown into would have been exponentially more difficult if I were working full time.  I volunteer quite a bit, am active in my community, and am physically active almost every day, but I still do have the time to grow food, shop for food, prep food, and cook food, all in the same day (except for the growing, of course).  There's no way I could have so rigidly kept to the project while working a full-time and stressful job like teaching.

But I wasn't working, so the project began with the intent to decrease our retail food footprint and increase our home food footprint.  And we did.  It was really hard at first.  Harder for some than for others, but definitely something we had to work at, to think about, to find our way around.  But somewhere along the way, and I couldn't tell you where or when, it just got easier.  Maybe not even easier, going out just wasn't what we did.  At some point, I didn't really have to think so much about it, to fight the urge to pull into every Sonic I saw, to dream about orange-peel beef, to obsess over the perfection of every cooked item.

It just became not a thing. Some nights I had wine and microwave nachos. Actually, many nights I had wine and microwave nachos.  But I had control over the quality of the cheese, the amount of salt in the chips, and with my own homemade salsa and an apple, it made a pretty satisfying meal for one.  Somewhere along the way, I became okay with the idea that this project didn't have to be about presenting three-course, five-star meals every night.  Clearly, I didn't.  Sandwiches, pick-ups and leftovers featured heavily in the QC rotation.  What eventually began to matter more (to me, at least) was an intentionality to our eating.  We knew where it came from and what was in it.  Period.  If that's where you start, it's pretty easy.

The Project By the Numbers:
Days on the Project: 329
Dishwasher total: 353
QC entries: 280
Percent of time we ate pickups or leftovers: approximately 25-30
Money saved:  My estimate is that we saved about 1/3 of our total food bill over the previous year.  My dear friend DD suggested a money saved total along with the Daily Dish, but T and I couldn't ever find a way to calculate it given the multiple variables, such as we were spending much less on restaurant food but much more on groceries, the quality of the groceries was probably better because I was cooking everything from scratch which added value to each meal but cost more, etc.  And honestly, I really hate math.

The girls have adjusted about like you'd expect.  G still eats out more than the rest of us - she goes out to see friends, have study groups, and generally likes fast food more than we do.  With her drivers license in the summer came the privilege to make her own decisions.  Does she always make the ones I'd choose for her?  No.  But she is armed with knowledge and control over what she does choose.  S has always loved the project because no one loves her mama's cooking like that one.  She has always had a better palate, and I think, a tenderer tummy.  She doesn't feel well when she eats crap, so her poor choices often come with more physical consequences that her sister's.  Transition is not her issue.  And T has been a trooper.  It squeezed my heart a little today when, at the arrival of some little gratin dishes for baked eggs, he asked how to make them so he could try them when he's away.  Sniff!  My thinking is that the project may appeal to him more from the financial aspect, but he appreciates good food as well, so that's a win-win.

We've just returned from our long-awaited Christmas trip to Germany and France (the one we were saving for when we started this thing), and I was absolutely blown away by the cost of a dinner out in Europe.  These were not super-fancy places but weren't fast food by any stretch, but each one cost anywhere from 80-100 euros for a family of four (with wine, duh), which is about $104-130US.  A regular, good quality meal (and let me tell you, they were delicious) was still about twice what we'd expect to pay here.  From what I can glean, there are two reasons for this:  one, the French expect high quality dining everywhere, so they are willing to pay a higher premium for quality meat, fresh and local produce, etc., and secondly, the French don't eat out much.  Some of this is because they have access to the most wonderful bread, cheese, meat, and produce on almost every street corner (bakeries) and certainly in every neighborhood (markets, butchers, etc.).  They're starting with ingredients that make it much easier to prepare quality food at home.

They also eat out like I think we all should be.  They eat out for truly special occasions.  Not twice a week, or even weekly.  So, their per-meal costs over the course of a week or a month can handle the higher price of eating out because they do it so much less than we do.  This, I think, is changing considering that on the Avenue des Talles, I saw a gorgeous, model-thin woman wearing an impossibly chic outfit and carrying a GIGANTIC Louis Vuitton bag with another in a LV shopping bag, holding a cake box.  Perched on top of the cake box, carried by this iteration of La Belle France, was a big, ole brown sack from Mickey D's.  Quel horreur!  And so it goes.

Back here at home, we've settled back into our routine.  I'll tell you that I did run into the Sonic last week (riddled with jet lag) and ordered a grilled cheese, a tiny tator tots, and a soda.  It was fine.  It was even pretty good, but it just doesn't hold the fascination that it once did.  I'd been out for five hours on a measly breakfast, and it was all that was close.  Could I have made a better choice?  Maybe, but I knew what my choices were, and I chose Sonic.  Intentional, and reasoned.  And it was fine.  But I haven't been back.  We may start to eat out more than we have - I don't know.  T and I didn't use our date exemption as much as we'd have liked, and there is something to the French way of making a dinner out something special rather than Plan B on a bad day. To be honest, I'm not really sure what eating out looks like post-project.   We'll just have to see.  I'm going to continue to QC, if only to keep myself honest.

When the kids started school this week, we shifted without discussion or discomfort right back into our pattern - meal plan, shopping, dinner at home.  We've made it an entire week without wanting to fall back into our old ways.  Maybe the true test wasn't if we could be successful while we were on the project.  Maybe the test is if we can be successful when we're off it.  I think I survived the first test well.  Tuesday's planned meal was roast chicken, which I had pulled out of the freezer Sunday thinking it would thaw.  That sucker was FROZEN SOLID Tuesday afternoon.  In the past, that would have been the most satisfying excuse to grab some take-out or head to Jason's Deli.  It wasn't until Wednesday morning that I realized that I hadn't even thought to go out.  I just grabbed some of my own chili (approaching its way-too-long-in-the-freezer date), thawed it, boiled the hotdogs I'd bought for S's sleepover the previous weekend, and roasted the cauliflower like I had planned.  It was a little weird - chili dogs and roasted cauliflower - but I knew where it came from and what was in it.

I'll call that progress.

Friday, January 11, 2013

What the Hell Happened to December?

So, you'll notice that this post is dated from somewhere in mid-January.  It appears that the last time I stopped to take a breath or look around or, God forbid, wrote anything was six weeks ago!  This has happened before (a/k/a June).  The funny thing is that when I look at it, it looks like nothing got done when actually that's the problem.  I was so busy doing it (what ever "it" is) that I was too busy to chronicle it.

And it is what it is.  I can't bring back time, and since I can barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, it seems unlikely that I can reconstruct the entire month.   So, with the help of my handy calendar and even more handy iPhone photos, this is what I figured out I was doing while I wasn't doing anything.
Tower of Fleece

Board Meeting
Friend for Tea
Dispense with TOWER OF FLEECE
Can 4 quarts of salsa

Order duffel bags for trip
Make quiche for French class
Send kids' school pictures to grandparents (only two months late!)
Gym (x12)
Run (x12)
Make 5 fleece blankets
Make dog sweater (oh, Jesus, I have become one of them.)
Game Day Sweater.  For a dog.

"Homework" with the cousins
Tennis (x6)
Knitting Club (x3)
Retirement Party
Christmas Party
Band concert
Church event set-up
Pick up Texas foods for Europe hosts
Presents for Texas hosts
Housesitter meeting
Kids to dentist
Return duffel bags for trip - too small
Dinner with the cousins!
Birthday party
Found this little gem
returning the bags.
Order different duffel bags
Prepare spreadsheet for meeting
Board meeting
Christmas party
Brunch with friends
Get girls warm clothes
Get more clothes
Eagle scout ceremony
Meet landscaper about sad agaves
Dogs to vet
Clean house to be gone
Pack clothes
Pack yarn
Pack presents