Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Technical difficulties

Please bear with us. My son is experiencing technical difficulties.

Our son's nickname has been "little buddy" since he was born. It has been a pretty good fit. He is usually a very laid back, easy going kid. Until this week. I realize that children occasionally regress as they're acquiring a new skill, adjusting to a new situation in their life or maybe even a growth spurt. The only event I can see in the near future is his birthday (in 3 weeks) but there have been no other major changes in his life that I know of. However, now that my "little" boy is about to turn 5, he throws a screaming tantrum when I ask him to do things for himself. Now, in the interests of fairness, perhaps I am expecting too much. I have asked him to do such things as: put your PJs in the laundry basket, put your own underwear on and go to the bathroom.

This morning he screamed "I CAN'T DO IT" when I asked him to put his own pants on. I have learned that screaming back will not get the pants on his body. (I am a slow learner but I'm capable of grasping these things eventually). I explained that if he said he could not, he was right. If he tried however, he might be surprised.

Blank look and then more screaming. "I TOLD YOU I CAN'T DO IT!"

I gave up. I picked up the underwear, jeans and half-naked child and put them all in his room.
"You can't run around naked and screaming either," I explained. "I'm shutting the door but you may come out when you are wearing pants."

(He made it out in 30 seconds, dressed.)

Is it the fear of this fifth birthday? He wants me to dress him, undress him, take his coat off, get him a glass a water, wash his hands...

He used to be so proud that he could do all of these himself but I guess the fascination is over. It's hell growing up.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Beetle juice

When I tell people that I am a vegetarian, someone will ask me if I still eat eggs, another will ask about dairy and another will ask me if I eat chicken or fish.
(The answers are yes, yes, no and occasionally).
Simple enough. Animals or animal protein on your plate is usually fairly obvious.

Except for the occasional calamari appetizer, people rarely ask me about ingesting creatures who had more than four legs. After reading Misfit Hausfrau's entry today however, I might need to start looking in my cup of yogurt or glass of juice, just in case anyone asks!

Friday, January 27, 2006

God Bless Her

She is sleeping peacefully now. My daughter was in quite a mood today after school and after her incessant whining and complaining, my mood was not much better. I finally took a deep breath and reminded myself that this is one nervous kid.

She makes her First Reconciliation tomorrow morning. As I've mentioned, she attends Catholic school so she has been preparing for this with her class for quite a while. However, her class received the sacrament while we were in Florida so while she will be doing this with other second graders at our church, she does not know these children.

(She still goes into the confessional alone but she can't turn to her friends for moral support first!) ; )

While I can't imagine she's done too much that I don't know about, she's ready to go as long as my son and I "can't hear through the door." She was in a bit of a panic at bedtime about whether or not to kneel or stand when she goes in and makes the sign of the cross. Seeing the relief on her face when I simply told her "I'm certain either way will be just fine" she ought to feel GREAT when she unburdens anything else!

Poor thing. She was trying to explain to her piano teacher what she'd be doing on Saturday. Her piano teacher is married to a minister but they aren't Catholic and no matter how many times my daughter said "reconciliation," her teacher had no concept of what she was talking about. I reminded her that N goes to Catholic school and that this was her first confession and if she still didn't get it, she didn't let on this time.

Of course, my daughter thought everyone had to do this. On the car ride home, I tried to use the opportunity to explain some of the differences between Catholicism and Protestant religions. I explained that while she'd be confessing her sins to the priest and receiving absolution (assurance that God has forgiven her) some people of other faiths confess their sins directly to God without any intermediaries. She thinks she'd now like to be either Baptist or Lutheran.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?

15 years ago, I did not own a car. I walked, rode the streetcar or got a ride from my boyfriend. During the week, I’d get off the streetcar to get a few things at the K&B drugstore by my apartment, and walk home carrying my purchases. I was careful not to hold the purple bag too close to my body as the purple ink would rub off on my clothes.
On the weekends, I’d walk to the Superstore. The prices were much better than the drugstore but the streetcar did not run there. I was careful to only buy what would fit in those little baskets with the handles as I knew if I bought any more, I could not carry it all the way home. (I did not always have cash for a cab but I had my checkbook! I knew I could walk to the grocery store near payday as it’d take a day or two for the check to clear.)

14 years ago, I was driving a brand-new car. It was safe and reliable. My baby was not the dark black car I’d wanted but she was charcoal gray and that was close. The only complaint my boyfriend could find with it (other than how I got “taken” on the financing) was that there was no mirror on the passenger side of the car.
Having my own car gave me so much independence! However, there is a price for freedom. (Namely, car payments and car insurance payments.) I went from wondering if I'd have to work late each night to hoping that I would! (I needed the overtime).

Monday, I backed out of our garage quickly (it was another race to get to my daughter to school on time) and smacked the driver’s side mirror on the side of the garage. The mirror did not break but the mounting was cracked and I could no longer move the mirror.

Yesterday, I drove two hours to the nearest Volvo dealership so that they could professionally install a new mirror on our leased vehicle. It cost $*!%^&*##!* (or roughly the equivalent of one month's car payment and insurance payment for my first car) plus a tank of gas for the trip there and back.

Today I realize that I have been very blessed and am lucky to be living this life. Rather than shaking my head over going to get a new side-view mirror I need to be thankful that I was able to. Now I need to remember to slow down and walk more.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Another Tale from the [Mother]Hood

Since I have become a parent, I hear words coming out of my mouth that I simply never thought would go together.

Today's example:

Son, please do not put your penis on the Yahtzee game.

*sigh*

Monday, January 23, 2006

Quote for Today

A writer doesn’t solve problems.
[S]he allows them to emerge.
~ Friedrich D├╝rrenmatt

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Can You Hear Me?

I tell my son to go to the bathroom. He does not move.
Son, can you hear me?
Yes, but I don’t have to go.
That isn’t what I asked you. Before you get dressed, go to the bathroom.
After we repeat this two more times, he goes to the restroom.

I tell my daughter to get dressed for church. She continues the computer game she is playing.
Sweet Pea, can you hear me?
Yes but I can’t save this unless I win the level.
I did not ask you if you could win or save the game. Go get dressed.
We repeat this one more time before she closes the game and goes upstairs to stare at her closet.
After I ask yet one more time, she starts to pick out a skirt. It’s progress.

Later the same day, I say, I am going upstairs to write one amazing chapter.
Instead, I go upstairs and visit a few blogs. I add myself to Mary P’s map of readers but as I view where other people are from, my computer freezes.
I reboot and go to get a drink from the kitchen.
I thought you were writing, my husband says.
I did not do what I said I would and the computer froze on me. NOW I really am going to write. It will be amazing.

I come back upstairs. I remember my uncle told me about “Google Earth.” It seems like it’d be like Mary P’s map and I want to check it out. It zooms me in to North America and again, my computer locks up. I can’t click on a thing. I turn it off and go to put a load of laundry in the washer while the computer boots up again.
I thought you were writing, my husband repeats.
I don’t listen to me any better than our kids, I reply. I said I’d stay off the internet, I went back anyway and the computer is not having it. It locked up on me again. I’m going back and THIS TIME I’m just going to open Word.

I come back and the computer is ready. I see the pretty new Google Earth icon. I click on it. I type in “Kansas”. It zooms in to Kansas and freezes. Stops. Dead. I can’t click on a thing.
I don’t go back downstairs again. I know the question that awaits me there. I grab my book to read a page while the computer reboots again. I hear a question in my mind:
Can you hear me?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

W at KSU!

Yes, the president will be here on Monday! I doubt I'll catch a glimpse of the man though as we did not learn he was coming until two days after students had been camping out to get tickets!

As you may know, I am not a fan of the man. My daughter and hubbie are though and it would be something to say they'd seen the president.

My daughter was mildly impressed when I told her I'd seen the first President Bush (or the president formerly known as President Bush but now referred to as "Bush 41"). He was serving as the vice-president when I saw him. Our highschool band was selected to play in the airplane hangar when he arrived in Florida many moons ago. It was not exactly a personal introduction but it's good enough for my seven-year-old!

We did not make it when Gorbachev was here last year either. (I was more interested in that one but did not find out until the day of the event. I have got to start paying more attention!)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What's the Frequency, Kenneth?

First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.
~ Robert Cecil Day-Lewis

I’ve gotten excited about this WIP. I even completed an outline a few months ago, which is something I’ve never accomplished before. Previously, I would write a chapter or two and move on to another idea.
I am not sticking to the outline but it’s a good guide when I’m stuck. One character that I had intended to exist for a few paragraphs, possibly a page or two has taken over the thing. Another irritating yet compelling character has appeared out of nowhere. I never meant to put her in there and I don’t know what to do with her yet but every time I do open the file, she’s up to something.
I have not worked on the file in over a week. Of course, we traveled out-of-town for a few days so I was busy packing/stressing beforehand and I’m still unpacking and washing laundry afterwards but I’m sure I could have found time to write a page or two. I’ve found time to complete three crosswords so I’m sure I could have managed it.
Which brings me to the quote at the top of this post. I came across it today, glaring at me from the bottom of page 9 of the latest Writer’s Digest. It occurred to me that perhaps I’m not stalling because I don’t know what to write next but rather that I’m a little afraid to see just what this one character will do. She is not nice. I suppose her presence balances things out a little. The other main female character is far too nice.
Continuing to write will help me understand the characters, of course, but perhaps I’m also nervous about what those characters will have to say about me.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

He ain't heavy...



...he's my brother! Ain't he cute? I took the photo myself. (I got out my Kodak camera, snapped the flash cube on top and starting taking pictures! So it is not necessarily digital quality but that wasn't an option when I was twelve!)

This cute little guy is getting married on Saturday! (He looks a little different now).

We are off to Florida for the wedding. Maybe I will post a higher-quality photo when we return! Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 09, 2006

The time has come...to de-lurk!


The holidays are over, you're getting back into your routine...your bloghopping routine, that is. This week, when you stop by, please say hi!

(As I stopped by Angela's site this morning, I learned that it's de-lurking week! So I said hello and followed her link to another great blog to add to my growing list of sites to see!)

Share your favorite book, song or movie. Tell us a little about yourself...or don't! At least post who you are and if you have a blog, leave the link...I will visit!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I am SO glad she goes to Catholic school!

I was lecturing my son on his behaviour in Mass this morning so of course, my daughter was momentarily left out of the conversation. Determined to both be included and show her brother how much better she'd behaved, she wanted me to know she'd been listening this morning.

N: I know something that Father said in church today.
Me: I'm glad you were listening. What did Father talk about?
N: He talked about the three wise men.
Me: Yes, he did. Good. What did he say about them?
(hmmm....she pauses...)
N: They came to bring gifts to baby Jesus!
(she's proud)
Me: What gifts did they bring?
N: Gold! And frankincense!
(she's very proud)
Me: That's good. You mentioned two gifts but each wise man brought something. What was the third gift?
N: Ummm....gold, frankincense and...murder!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Epiphany

I love it when things come together.

I’ve been reading bits of Walking the Bible, sharing the journey with the author. As he finds more “proof” for the characters and events that are depicted in the Bible, it feels thrilling. I feel like I’m on the verge of a discovery myself.

Yesterday, in when I made a comment about The Epiphany to my daughter’s piano teacher, she summarized a presentation she’d been to recently by a renowned astronomer who illustrated, through computers and large screens how the planets aligned a little over 2,000 years ago on what had to be December 25. She repeated his explanation that these planets can only align this way once in so many thousands of years and they’ve determined that the last time they would have done so would have been at that time.
Using the large tv/computer screens, he showed what the night sky would have looked like when these planets all aligned -- like an incredibly bright star.

So I Googled that today and learned a little before going bloghopping. A post on Simply Put led me to Q’s blog, Ragged Glory. There, I learned a lot more about how the date, December 25, was assigned to the birth of Christ. I also learned that some observe January 6 as the birthday of the baby Jesus. My family has always called this date “Little Christmas.” My mother’s family observed a Christmas celebration on this day when she was growing up. Her mother had been brought up in the Ukrainian Orthodox Catholic church and observed January 6 as Christmas but I thought it was due to the arrival of the Magi on this date. (Having no cars, it took them 12 days to get to the spot that the star had illuminated for them…)

I went to Mass this morning where we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany, recognizing that this is the day those wise men arrived. While that may be true, that isn’t where the Orthodox Church got the date. Q explains beautifully where these dates originated. I’m still marveling at this post. The explanation is logical, symbolic and almost seems obvious now…and yet I’ve never heard this information before.

Every once in a while, I will hear a song more than once in the same day and, because I’m just that weird, it occurs to me that perhaps Someone is trying to get my attention for one reason or another.
At three different times today, I heard the same song playing on the car radio. As I do tend to change stations often in the car, this is not all that remarkable. If it were the latest pop hit or yet another carol on this day, I would understand. It was not. It was Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven. This song holds no personal attachment for me – it was a hit when my grandmother passed away and my younger brother suggested having it played at the funeral – but that’s as far as attached memories go. However, because the song is what it is, it does lead my mind in that direction and I wonder…

Webster’s has three definitions for the word “Epiphany.” I love that I can use all three definitions in discussing some part of my day today.

Everything keeps falling into place today. It has been a bright albeit cold day. I only had a few things I had to get done and they’re done. I wanted to write more on the WIP but I wrote some and had a new revelation for one of the main characters so that helps a lot. (I felt like I was learning some really cool things today that I can also justify as research for this character! I love it when that happens!)

So after sending one child off to a friend’s house after school and watching the other nod off for a nap, I started to wonder at all the connections. Is it just a really good day?
Then I had my epiphany: it is The Epiphany. It is a special day.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Meme

Just as I was wondering how one is actually tagged in this game…I find I’m one of five people who are now “it!” So as I join the game, I get to tag a few more people…

Remove the top blog from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom.

Becky
Childsplayx2
The Weirdgirl
It's Not All Mary Poppins
Lory’s blog

Select five people to play (entirely voluntary, of course)
Angela
Aaron
Kacey
Rene
Sarah

What were you doing ten years ago?
I had been living in Washington state for six months. I had a job (that I hated) in Seattle (which I loved). By this time, I had a few friends that I worked with but no real good friends in my new home just yet. My hubbie and I were renting a townhouse in Tacoma and shared it with our dog, who we had allowed to become the real head of the household!
The hubbie and I were doing OK at this point. I had moved to Washington state with him the previous summer, despite telling him and myself that I would not.
Later in the year, the hubbie would go to Korea for a year and things would improve even more! (I know that sounds terribly sarcastic but we actually communicated better with the entire Pacific Ocean between us!)
So for the second half of the year…I was still married but living alone for a year. I quit the job that I hated and worked for a temp agency. (That gave me the freedom to visit hubbie in Korea twice). I finally made some really good friends in Washington state and began to call it home.
While I still answered “Catholic” when asked my religion, I was not attending church very regularly.

What were you doing one year ago?
I’d been living in Kansas for six months and while we’d lost our dog long ago, we were now a family of four.
I still had not completed the novel but I had two great kids keeping me busy and at this point, I was watching another little boy in our home every Monday. At this time in January, I was also preparing to visit my husband for the “spouses weekend” at Notre Dame University. Having completed all of his medical training he was now embarking on a new course…the MBA. He’d been up there for almost a week but the weekend entailed some “classes” for the spouses to prepare us for the next 15 months of our lives. (Having not only worked through the issues from the last entry, but also being with him through college, medical school, residency and the moves that go with Army life…I was pretty sure I knew how to handle him being back in school…again. However, it was still a break from the kids while I met some new, friendly people and learned how to “spot signs of stress in my spouse or myself.” ) The campus is quite beautiful.
I was attending mass twice a week and involved in an all-faith bible study twice a month.

Five snacks you enjoy.

1. Popcorn (yes, with real butter)

2. Cheetos

3. Chips and dip (just about any type of chip or dip!)

4. Anything that has cheese in it, has cheese on top of it or something I can dip into cheese

5. Nuts

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics.(All the correct lyrics? Do I have to be able to sing them without the music?!?)

1. I'm Henry the VIII I Am (Herman’s Hermits)

2. Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? (Louis Armstrong, Harry Connick, Jr)

3. Blue Skies (Irving Berlin’s) (at least I know the words the way Ella sings ‘em!)

4. Most songs sung by the Beatles

5. Hark the Herald Angels Sing (and maybe another Christmas carol or two…)

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire.

1. Buy my parents a new house

2. Buy my parents a new car

3. Give each of my siblings a little bit

4. Sponsor children and support more charities

5. If there was anything left, buy a house on the beach.

Five bad habits.

1. Yell at my kids.

2. Blame my husband when I can’t find something, then go back and apologize when I find it (right where I left it). If I could just keep my mouth shut, it’d save us both a lot of aggravation !

3. Remind my husband when he comes up with a “great idea” that I suggested months ago. (He forgets and then thinks it’s new). Again, if I could keep my mouth shut, I could probably get anything I want! ; )

4. Drink too often. (Not necessarily too much but too often. I’m already working on this one in 2006)

5. I’m disorganized.

Five things you like doing.

1. Reading

2. Writing

3. Playing the piano

4. Reading to/playing with my kids

5. Hanging out with the hubbie (without the kids)!

Five things you would never wear or buy again.

1. White shoes. I see no reason

2. A bikini (used to love them but now there is no point in wearing something purely to frighten people)

3. short shorts (see above)

Otherwise, never say never!!

Five favourite toys.

1. The computer

2. Hubbie’s Ipod

3. Piano

4. My kids (OK—they aren’t actually toys but they’re usually much more amusing!)

5. Five? I don't have enough toys! (Though there are more than enough in this house to go around!!)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Black eyed peas

These "peas"... Posted by Picasa

...not these! Posted by Picasa

Enjoying black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is a Southern tradition. The idea is that if you eat them on January 1st, you will be prosperous during the year.
No one else in my family was interested in eating them last year so I found a new recipe. They were kind enough to appear interested this time but never got around to actually trying them. If it brings me luck or a buck, of course I will share!

In truth, I guess none of us are southerners anyway!
I was born in south Florida and grew up in north Florida but no one else considers any part of that state "the South." (The fact that it is south of much of the rest of the country makes no difference!) Most of the state is comprised of transplants from somewhere else! My mom is originally from Michigan and my Dad is from Maryland.
My husband was born in Texas though both of his parents were born and grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. He moved all over the world as a kid while his Dad was in the Army.
Both of my children were born in Washington state so that's not even close!

Still, when it comes to customs: you don't have to be a native of the area where the tradition originated to still practice it, right?
Do you follow any particular rituals at the beginning of a new year?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Party time, continued...


Do you have the day off today? Are you still celebrating? My hubbie and kids will be.
We'll spend some family time doing something fun today...until the game, that is. All else will stop at 4pm CST and at least half of the family will revolve around the Fiesta Bowl.

(My son may lose patience with it and I'm hoping to get a little writing done then, despite the cheering from downstairs. My hubbie has always been a Notre Dame fan, long before he was a student but our daughter has become quite dedicated herself!)

I hope you are enjoying the first days of 2006! Posted by Picasa