Orange Flowers, Orange Shutters, Orange Rooftops - 'O' for ABC Wednesday

I thought the color orange would be appropriate for Halloween. Happy Halloween everyone!

I can't believe this, but I can't remember exactly where I took this photo. It's been a few years...I think it was Bad Nauheim, Germany. Yikes!

It's for a great cause, and I'm saving all my real posts for NaBloPoMo

Pink Dyson Vaccuum Giveaway by the Domestic Diva

Dyson is giving away one of those adorable pink vacuums to help spread the word about breast cancer awareness. Plus, they are donating $40 of each pink vacuum sold to breast cancer research. Want a chance to win it? Head over to Domestic Diva and enter. Good luck!

PS: kidding about saving posts for NaBloPoMo, my first posts of November will also probably suck as I'm still MOVING. Official moving day is Saturday.


It's all good

Look what Fussypants did to my Neighborhood Watch. She has a contest going on over there to win some of her loverly jewelry. She's a sweetie, check her out.


Floating cat head

I cannot remember whose blog had this, and I NEED to see it again and show it to my husband...the video of a floating cat head that shoots lasers out of it's eyes and "starts" a fire. Flipping hysterical.

Thank you in advance,
The Management

UPDATE: It was at Mrs. Kennedy's. Thanks Alli!!! You've gotta click on it...pure genius.

Hello mirror, it's me, Christine

I was looking in the mirror the other day and realized that it was the first time I'd done so in a long time. Oh, sure I give myself a precursory glance several times a day...but it's been a while since I really looked at myself.

I used to be known for being a bit, well...vain. I paid attention to my my hair, my clothes, my face, my body. Not that I was "fancy," mind you; I just spent time on myself and wanted to look good. Looking good made me feel good. I never left the house without showering and throwing on some makeup (the bare minimum was eyebrow pencil, mascara, lipstick, blush). My clothes were casual but hip, and my shoes. Sigh...the shoes. And my mom and husband could attest to the fact that my concern over hair color and style bordered on the obsessive (when you've got fine, straight hair like mine it NEEDS attention).

When did that stop? Sadly, I don't know...was it a gradual thing? Or did I slowly stop paying attention to one thing, then another, then another, till I turned into the me I am today? I can't believe I don't know the answer to that question. I do know most days now I simply throw my hair into a pony, squeeze my body into a velour track suit or something (sorry Fussy), brush my teeth and wash my face, and run out the door. Where am I? This isn't me.

It's been ages since I had a beauty regime. I am lucky if I wash my face twice a day. Where are all the little bottles that used to line my bathroom shelves? I miss them. The cleansers and toners and exfoliators and wrinkle creams and hydrators and skin rejuvinators and moisturizers moisturizers MOISTURIZERS.

I'm done with the frump. I'm taking back my high maintenance self. This month is chock full of changes (moving) and vows to find my soul again (NaBloPoMo and NanoWriMo most notably) and getting in shape again (Mrs. Flinger's Weight Loss Wars). I'm going to start staring at my face in the mirror, examining pores, wondering it that is a new wrinkle, plucking errant hairs and experimenting with new products.

P.S.: Thanks Slackermommy for the motivation.


Onward, Ho!

(What did I just call me?)

So, we've done it. We've signed a lease and have started moving stuff. Boxes and boxes and boxes and the occasional furniture bit. The big stuff will be moving over the next couple of weekends when we rent a truck. Eventually we'll hire someone to haul the stuff we can't, unless we get lucky and we don't need to. We shall see.

It's funny, people keep coming up to us and expressing sympathy at the 'loss' of this house. Hey! We're exuberant and thrilled and incredulous that we sold a home in this market, to be out from under this mortgage, to be living within our means. Congratulate us, don't pity us.

In other news, today was our first parent-teacher conference of our son's school year. His teacher is amazing, she adores him, he's doing fabulously, he adores her, she's all you could ever want in an elementary school educator and more. Far, far more.

That's the shit that matters. Not the crown molding and stainless steel appliances and tile hand assembled in Italy.

We are so lucky.


ABC Wednesday...N is for Neighborhood Watch

These three keep our neighborhood safe. And they made it hard to find a place to rent, along with Cutest Puppy Ever. But they are oh, so worth it!!!


Before Iggy, there was Socks...or, Politicians Suck

Many of my friends, Democratic and Republican alike, are planning on voting for Hillary simply because she is a woman. A lot of them don't even like her...she's too far left, she's too far right, whatever. Personally, I'm not a fan of Hillary, for a variety of reasons, but most notably I just don't trust her.

Way back in the day, I voted for Bill Clinton. I was in my mid-twenties, I didn't have health insurance, and I was wooed by their Universal Health Care plan. As the details came out, however, I realized how deceptive she'd been in her presentation of the plan. In a nutshell, that plan made health insurance mandatory, just like car insurance is. NOT having health insurance would be a crime...the government would provide health insurance/care for you. BUT IT WASN'T free...it was, if I recall, $1,500 per person per year (at that time I had looked into purchasing insurance and it was about $1,000, so it's not like the gov's insurance was any type of a deal). If you were found to not have insurance the fed gov would assign one to you, fine you by charging you double the regular cost, and garnish your wages to pay for it. If that meant you lose you home, so be it (and yes, that was written specifically in the document that health insurance took precedence over mortgage payments).

When I was in medical school, my preceptor was a rural physician who often accepted as payment for his family practice services things such as quilts, haircuts, babysitting services, even chickens (this is in the mid 1990's, I'm not that old!). If Hillary's health care plan had passed, this physician and his patients would be felons. Why? Tax evasion. Punishment? Up to 5 years in jail and a $5,000 fine...for both doc and patient. Doesn't sound too kind to me. My opinion of the Clintons changed after researching that plan. I just don't trust them. Of course, the fact is that I just don't trust most politicians, either side of the aisle. Politicians suck.

And who can get rid of a kitty because the photo ops are over? The Clintons can. Poor Socks. Maybe this is bugging me because we're trying to find a home and our pets are quite the barrier.

(P.S: I'm waiting for them to release the details of Hillary's new plan to come out, but so far it sounds suspiciously similar.)


In an attempt to fight off my own temper tantrums...

...I decided to watch a couple of my fave temper tantrums. Here they are for your viewing enjoyment as well.

P.S.: Just got turned down for the house we really wanted. The pets. Again. Two more possibilities...one isn't looking good. So we're really in all likelihood down to one. If that doesn't work out, I don't know what I'm going to do.

*UPDATE*: We're down to one. The one that wasn't looking good was in fact NOT good. They are going to sell, not rent. Please internets, put out good vibes that this one comes through. We're down to the wire here.

**UPDATE 2**: I've heard that when some try to click on the videos, they are told that the vids aren't available any more. Weird, because they are for others, and they are still on YouTube. Should I explode now? Please let me know.

How to Prevent Temper Tantrums

I just need to laugh today.

Why Waste A Temper Tantrum?

This always makes me laugh...it's better without the audience laughing and in full color and when you can hear the parents giggling/talking in the background, but I can't find that one.


Does this blog make my butt look big?

I usually hate sitting. You can generally find me standing, putzing around my kitchen, hauling laundry, getting kids in and out of the car...you know, the stuff we do. I don't even watch TV sitting down. I stand at a counter and listen to music or the radio and multitask.

When I'm not sitting, I'm probably lying down, or at least reclining. I read while horizontal. Play with the kids sprawled along the couch or on the floor (but more likely walking around doing something). Maybe it's a function of poor posture, but sitting just isn't comfortable enough for me to pick it over standing or laying around.

BUT then this blogging thing happened to me...I started delving into this wondrous blogosphere and needless to say, I was hooked. The thing is, my laptop isn't wireless here at home. So I sit here reading. SIT here reading. Then I started my own blog, and I sit here writing. SIT here writing.

See where this is going? I've been sitting on this ass of mine, and you know what? I now understand what that gross term Secretary Spread means. I've gained weight because I've been sitting on my ASS. Which has gotten wider and puffier as a result of my newly adopted stationary status (no, I'm sure it isn't the inconsistent exercising and lack of willpower about all things savory and Cabernet Sauvignonish).

So...I've joined the lovely Mrs. Flinger's challenge...weight loss war. I am gonna win the cashola, beotches really looking forward to this opportunity to encourage each other on our weight loss goals. Honestly, I am. Because I might give up red wine (as if) but I'm not giving up blogging.


Our house, in the middle of the street

I'm feeling...unsettled. Literally, without a settle. Our home is sold, all contingencies lifted, and we close escrow on November 14th...four weeks from yesterday. For one dollar less than a cool million. Thank all that is good for that.

What's causing me to stress eat (dang but I wish I wasn't one of those people who eat when stressing) is that WE DON'T HAVE A PLACE TO RENT YET. The place we had planned on renting, the home of a friend, is now on the market...so, no renting there.

Our credit sucks. We might as well have declared bankruptcy, it's that bad. Don't ever get behind on your mortgage payment, especially not more than once (that's my first advice to you).

We have pets; three cats and the Cutest Puppy Ever. All indoor, all litter and house trained...we don't like living with pee all around any more than the next person. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut...most renters don't like the idea of some scummy person with crap (well, someday we aspire to crap) credit and a zoo renting their pristine home.

We've been turned down multiple times...once for the credit, the rest for the animals. We have one place we are seriously considering, but frankly they want 5K for a security deposit and an exorbitant rent and while we're ready to do it, we'd like to find something more reasonable.

There were, literally, a few hours over the weekend when I started to formulate back up plans in case we didn't find a place to live. Here is a sampling:

1.) Move in with my Mom; she has a two bedroom condo so that would be plenty of room (my mom is sweating just reading that).

2.) Rent a storage unit, put all of our belongings in it, and live in the minivan. My husband's car would be like a second home! We could vacation there!

3.) Shave the animals and pretend that they are quadruplets.

4.) Arrange some sort of a bloggy challenge/giveaway/contest and the winner gets the eight of us as PERMANENT HOUSEGUESTS (my second advice to you is do not enter that challenge/giveaway/contest)!

5.) Just keep on keepin' on, and trust that it will all work out.

I'm going with number five. Pollyanna, that shall be my nickname.


ABC Wednesday...M is for Motherhood

YIKES! Blogger won't let me upload a photo! So until they fix that bug, I'll direct you to a photo over at my photoblog (which I played around with one day and have pretty much ignored since. Poor photoblog, I will pay attention to you someday).

The photo is called My Boys, and I took it when my son was six weeks old. It's his hand in my husband's; I had about a billion copies made and used it for his birth announcement.


A Meme 4 you

InTheFastLane tagged me with this fun meme and since I am so bogged down with this move and chairing my daughter's preschool auction and have thus I have sucked at getting any of those posts I am working on done, this is a welcome diversion indeed can you tell how overwhelmed I am please send help.

4 Jobs I have had:
Pharmacist's Assistant in high school
Mail Room Assistant in an insurance company for the summer I lived in SoCal (summer between freshman and sophomore years in college)
Bartender while working on my second bachelors degree
Kelly temp (for two weeks...and the office in which I was placed is where I met my husband)

4 Movies I love to watch over and over:
Valley Girl (who doesn't love Nic Cage in this movie?)
Daddy Day Care (with my kids...they love it and I always laugh, "I'm your daddy. I'm not your daddy! I'm your baby's daddy! I'm not your baby's daddy! I'm gonna be. I mean, I'm ahhh...")
I can't think
of any others

4 Places I have lived:
All around the Metro Detroit area
Westchester County, NY
St. Thomas, USVI (well, only for one glorious month the year I spent traveling prior to medical school)(see below)
SoCal (see above) and now NorCal

4 TV shows I enjoy watching:
30 Rock (because Tina Fey is my idol)
The Office (what can I say? I'm cool)
How I Met Your Mother (great hook...who's their Momma?)
Rules of Engagement (flipping hys.ter.i.cal.)

4 Places I have been:
Backpacking in Europe for several months when I was 27
US and British Virgin Islands (many times, I don't know the exact number...how fancy am I? I had a good friend who lived there so I visited often in my foot-loose twenties)
Ireland (twice, for a total of five weeks...the second time was for a wedding a few years ago. They are now divorced.)
Mountain biking in Corvallis, Montana

4 Websites I visit daily:
My Google calendar (eeer...well, I should)

4 Favorite Foods:
Burritos (wrap anything in a tortilla, throw in some jalapeƱos, and I'm happy)
Spinach, mushroom and feta quiche
Any stew with lentils, spinach, tomatoes, and potatoes (*drool*)
French onion chip dip and chips (chips optional, I'm fine with just a spoon)

4 Places I would rather be:
Corfu, Greece
A private Tuscan villa
Avignon, France (Sur le Pont!)

4 People I am tagging:


YAY Boobs!

Since we're in the midst of packing for our move, I couldn't get my hands on a photo of me nursing.

Because I know what it feels like to feel embarrassment to nurse your baby, not to mention shame nursing your toddler. When I had my son nearly ten years ago, I had people start asking me when he was six weeks old if I was thinking about weaning. Ummmm...no, just getting the hang of this breastfeeding thing. Those same people (and others) were horrified that I made it to a year, and stopped asking me when I was going to wean once he hit two. I was thankful; I didn't want to have that discussion anymore than they did.

So when I had my daughter, the whole issue of breastfeeding was no longer secretive to me; imagine that! I wasn't ashamed of using these breasts for their biological purpose! Woohoo! After years of unselfconsciously prancing about in bikinis and tight braless tees, not to mention the occasional topless beach or private lagoon skinny-dip, I was finally not afraid to lift my shirt and pop on my babe.

This video is from the League of Maternal Justice, prepare to be moved; bring out the hankies or breast pads to wipe dry your eyes.

Love from Hugnation

"The world would rather hug you than hurt you."


Click photo to follow linky...this is what I did with my kids yesterday. Big hug!


Blogging and friendships and networking, oh my!

Blogging to me started out as a way for me to organize my thoughts and put my writing out there...I've always had journals, I've always written, but I'd never shared them before. This blog came about once I was ready to share...scared to put myself out there, but ready for the challenge. Sometimes my posts are like this one, just blathering about stuff. Other times I'm feeling a bit more introspective, and my posts reflect that. No matter what, each and every time I hit that 'publish post' button I feel vulnerable. I'm putting ME out THERE.

It's been amazing. I had no idea how many friends I'd make with the push of that button, real friends. It's not about my Technorati score, it's not about how many comments per day I get (although I do love them, of course, and the more the merrier!!!), or emails from readers, Google rank, or what my stats are per my counter. It's about connecting. Sure scores and rankings and comments and whatnot are an indication of that connecting...but they don't reflect the depth of friendships made, and that's what I'm finding I love about this blogging world. REAL connections, not stats.

You've perhaps heard the buzz about cre8Buzz (Novembrance termed it "Facebook for grownups"...couldn't have said it better myself). I've mentioned them once before (because they allow images of moms breastfeeding!). Over the past few months this social networking site has also become a place where I 'get together' with some of the friends I've made here, and a place where I've made new friends. It's also been a place where I've connected with photographers around the world, which has been indescribably inspiring. I've even started a monthly photo assignment, where over the course of a week members of the photo community (and moms community, and women's community, and others!) take photographs on a specific theme and then we share our images. Cre8Buzz is going live tomorrow...participation is still by invite only (I have invites, so let me know if you're interested) but will be viewable by anyone. I'm thrilled and honored to have been a beta user (thank you Suburban Oblivion for the invite), and excited to see what the future holds. Stop by tomorrow, surf around the profiles and communities. You can start with mine!

P.S.: Thought I'd cozy up the joint for autumn.


From the peanut gallery

My son's kindergarten year was just over a month along; I was at pick-up, waiting for him to come out of his classroom, walk under the rose covered trellis in the center of the kindergarten courtyard, and run up to me for a big hug and flash me one of his broad grins.

I was chatting with the other moms, still getting to know this new world of School as Parent Not A Student. Another mom came up and thanked me for some graphic design work I'd done for a charity dear to her heart, a physical and behavioral therapy center for children handicapped either physically or mentally. We went on to discuss my pregnancy (I was seven months pregnant with my daughter) and her other children.

Her youngest had just started preschool. She loved the place, but was considering switching schools, "We got a notice in the mail just before school started; the preschool campus is peanut free because some kid has an allergy. That's ridiculous! My daughter loves peanut butter and jelly. Why should I be inconvenienced because of someone else's kid's problem? I don't care. I'm still sending in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches."

The words are burned into my memory because I was so incredulous. This is a woman who's middle child, most unfortunately, was born with a constellation of issues which left her developmentally disabled in a variety of ways. This is also a woman who is extremely wealthy, and whose other children attend a very expensive, elite, private school. This is a woman who put her disadvantaged child into the public school system and lobbied heavily (to the point of a lawsuit) for said school system to provide this child with every possible intervention. This is a woman who put this child into kindergarten before this child was remotely ready, with the full intention of having her repeat kindergarten. This is a woman who understood that her child was disruptive in the classroom and whose private aids were a huge financial drain, but felt it was important for her child to be mainstreamed because the other children learn compassion.

This is a woman who told me all of the above. I didn't disagree with her decisions...every parent needs to be an advocate for their children, and needs to follow their conscience to that end.

But in response to her peanut allergy outburst, I said, "You do understand that while it might be a matter of inconvenience to you, it might literally be a matter of life and death for this child, right? A peanut allergy isn't something to mess around with."

"Whatever. It's not my responsibility."

Yup. Hypocrisy incarnate.

During this conversation my hand went protectively to my belly, hugely swollen with pregnancy. This reflexive gesture is one innumerable women throughout the ages have lovingly performed as they carry babies in their wombs, silently and ever so fervently wishing for them to be healthy and happy forever.

My daughter is healthy and infectiously happy.

She does, however, have a peanut allergy (we have no family history, so it was quite the surprise). It sucks so bad.

I'm not one to ask others to sacrifice for my sake. I chose a preschool for her because it is a cooperative and I am allowed to be there with her every day; as I signed her up I knew I could monitor what the other kids ate. I would be there with an Epi Pen if she suffered an anaphylactic reaction and couldn't breath. I could watch her, take care of her, be responsible for her.

As I walked through the gate on the first day of preschool I was thrilled -and nervous- to see a sign loudly proclaiming, "THIS IS A PEANUT FREE SITE."

I had checked a box on one of the bazillion of forms that yes, she has an allergy. I'd noted in the blank, peanuts. That's it, that's all I'd done. Had I raised a red flag that had altered this preschool campus? I didn't want that.

As it turns out there are two other kids at that site with peanut allergies, kids whose parents had advocated for them and requested that peanuts be restricted from snacks served. The school went further than that and asked that on the rare occasion food is sent in with a child that it be peanut free. I cannot tell you the piece of mind that this has brought me. I still am there at snack time, every day (I am almost always there, all day every day)...just in case.

Peanut allergies just aren't seen as serious, for some reason (links are from a blog new to me, these posts of hers prompted me to write about my daughter's peanut allergy). I have my theories as to why that is, but I'm sure it is a conglomeration of issues. That being said, I simply want my daughter to be safe in school.

I hate feeling defensive about my daughter's condition. As if it weren't real. As if I was just being hysterical. It's just Skippy, right?



Things I am dreading:

1.) Moving. I love this home...not a day has gone by when I haven't appreciated it is. From the corbels to the risers, the gables to the grout, the courtyard to the pedestal sinks...I had a vision of what I wanted this home to be and the builder, architect and I made it happen.

2.) Moving. What a pain in the ass. Organizing what to keep and what to sell/give away/donate to charity, packing the boxes, hauling the boxes over to the new place...serious stressor.

3.) Moving. We are going from homeowners to renters...good-bye idea of building equity. I never thought that I'd make that transition, not at age forty-one. I thought I was done renting forever.

Things to which I am looking forward:

1.) Moving! I love my home, but it is far bigger than we need; in fact, there have been numerous times I've been embarrassed by it's 3,600+ square foot excessiveness. It's time to let it be loved by others.

2.) Moving! I spent most of 1993 backpacking through Europe and the Caribbean. In the months leading up to my travels I LOVED the process of paring down from an apartment to a backpack, unloading all but the necessities. Today I am embracing the process of drastically reducing the square footage of our home and thus the crap it can contain. Downsizing is the new bling, baby.

3.) Moving! We haven't been able to afford this home for over a year. We are on borrowed time here as it is. I can't WAIT to not live paycheck to paycheck. WOOHOO!