Thursday, July 30, 2009

When my blog grows up...

... She wants to be taken seriously.

I knew I should have figured out how to do this before BlogHer, but that whole damn life thing just got in the way. I knew going in to BlogHer that my intention was to be more serious about what this blog is. Not that I want to write about serious stuff. In fact, since my lifelong dream of being a stand-up comedian is never going to happen, why not pretend I'm funny occasionally on the Internet. That is however beside the point.

I've been mulling over what I want from my blog, and it comes down to a few things.

1. I want Integrity. I took the pledge even. I think it will help me focus on being a better writer.

2. I want my own domain. I've gone through registering I had thought about rebranding, but I heard over and over again this weekend what a cool blog name it is. Especially when you know why it is.

3. I want a new design. I think I want to break up the photo stuff from the writing. I also want a section without advertising. I'm not saying that I want to do reviews, I just want a place that isn't governed by contracts. I will, no matter what, disclose what goes there. See point number one.

3a. About the ads. A domain, hosting, etc, do not come free. Just in case you were wondering, ads don't pay any bills. I'm keeping them because they may some day make a dent in things.

4. I need a better bio. I would much rather be a blogger who has a kid than a mommy blogger. If you've noticed things around here recently, I don't blog nearly so much about my kid as I do my fat (shrinking) ass and my garden. My bio should reflect that. However, I'm still not sure who I am.

5. I want to do things outside of the blog. I've been dreaming of doing those little pieces on NPR for just about as long as I can remember. I've also been dreaming about Oscar acceptance speeches. One of those is attainable. If I am going to call myself a semi-professional writer, I need to actually put some effort in to the semi-pro thing. It could all suck horribly, but then again, maybe not.

So, what do you think? Nuts? Weird? Something worth doing? I'm guessing with the hour or so every other day I have to think about it, this is going to take some time. I've got to find someone who can help me some design stuff and hope to god that the tweeps will be there to answer any questions I have along the way.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The People and the Potato

I have far more social anxiety than I had realized. I swear, this is something that has happened over time. When I was three, I used to walk up to people and introduce myself and ask them to be my friend. This weekend I followed my roomie around like a lost puppy, afraid to be involved in the conversations she was in, and afraid to start my own. I was trying my best to make sure that if I said something, it was something that was worth the air I was expelling. I believe I may have finally hit my groove Saturday night, or perhaps Sunday morning on a cab ride to the airport.

No, I do not think that more alcohol would have helped.

I went up to my room at regular intervals to just relax and breathe. I know more than once I excused myself when I wanted to stay and talk and enjoy. I hope to hell that I didn't offend anyone, and I've kept replaying situations in my mind, wishing that I had done things differently. But I didn't, I did what I did, and I can only hope that next year I do better.

That does not mean that the weekend wasn't without some little moments that still make me giddy.

I met Mrs. Potato Head.

I don't care what you say, she may not have been a Muppet, but that girl makes me look skinny.

I got to hold both of these babies. Including the part where I accidentally hid Amy's iPhone under my purse. I'm still sorry about that.

I sat and talked to The New Girl, more than once, and I'm completely floored by how funny and sweet she is. She made me feel very comfortable. I hear therapists are good at doing that.

I met a famous chef, told him how wonderful his fine restaurant's take on a kid's menu is, and then blamed him for my marriage.

I ate breakfast with a Rookie Mom.

I went and took some pictures to help me relax.

I ate Cheeseburgerherz, talked to a local writer, and made plans to go eat Chinese with her, soon, I promise.

There were so many more people. I still haven't gone through my business cards, I fear for my feed reader, but I am so happy. Things will be changing here, just a little at first, but I have a clear idea of what kind of blogger I want to be, what kind of writer I want to be. And next year, because there will be a next year, I will be at BlogHer, talking to everyone. Just try and keep me quiet.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Part 2 - I Matter

I have tried to write this a million times, OK, maybe just three or four, but I just can't get it right. Here it goes again, maybe this one will stick.

I went to BlogHer to find my community. I went to find people who loved to write and weren't afraid to lay at least part of themselves out online. I went to meet the women (and a guy or two) who I loved reading. The women who made parenting and life seem so much less isolating. I also went with the odd hope that if I passed out a few business cards that maybe I would get a few more people to read what I write. I won't lie, people reading and commenting on what I write helps. I may do this for me at the heart of it, but if I didn't care what other people thought, this would all be in a word document on my computer somewhere, not laid out naked on the Internet. I went to challenge myself to be more out there, to let the real me out of the box so to speak. I went terrified. I left feeling empowered.

I have tried to write out a list of all the amazing people that I met, all of the things that I heard, but it all blurs together in to a happy feeling in the pit of my stomach. There were times when the swag and my own insecurities had me wanting to leave, to shut down my blog, take my ball and go home.

I didn't go to nearly enough sessions, mostly because the ones I wanted to see were mostly at the same time. The first was good. It was about the ever elusive balance. I went to not feel alone, and I left feeling like I wasn't the only one struggling with a full time job, a family, and a blog. I was starting to feel like I could hit my groove. Especially when I got to spend a little time Friday afternoon just chilling with The New Girl (who is just as funny in person) and Kristen in a suite. Followed by a lovely party thrown by the folks from Method. Their stuff is ALL over my house (purchased by me thank you very much) and I enjoyed their copious amounts of veggies. Then Friday night the big party that I had all of my put all of my hopes (and a great dress) on, left me off of the list despite my RSVP. (I'm still trying to not feel bitter about that)

After a call to the husband on Friday night that included a pep talk, I sucked it up and was determined to have a better day Saturday.

I went to another breakout session, the Women of Color and Marketing Room of Their Own. I wasn't sure why I was there, I just knew that I wanted to see women that I found inspiring. Kelly was one of the first people to comment on this blog and I look forward to her posts like a drug, Stefania is the reason I can call myself a semi professional writer, and HeatherB makes me laugh and think and laugh some more. (and yes, I now read Karen's blog too)

I was not disappointed. Not only did I hear from these wonderful women, but also members of the audience. I listened and I learned about the power of community, the power of humor, and how we all have a responsibility to our community both online and offline. I was able to be a part of a discussion that I don't think could happen without blogging, without something like BlogHer to bring it all together. I realized that because of that session, things will change. It may take time, it may be small steps, but there are things that are going to change. It made me realize that despite all of the BS, despite all of the drama de jour, that it is worth it. I left that session determined to be a good writer, to be a good citizen, and to be more willing to introduce myself and talk to people. I have something to say and it matters, we all matter.

PS. Thank you to the beautiful and gracious women who have linked back to me. It is the greatest flattery of all.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

BlogHer '09 - Part 1

Sorry I didn't post during, for those of you living through me. It was just so much. It was crushing, overwhelming, intimidating, relaxing, joyful, terrifying, beautiful and crazy, with a side of maybe some PMS thrown in for fun. I want and need to write about it. I'm sorry if you don't want to read about it, but one of the things I learned this weekend was that you really need to blog for no one but yourself. So, this is for me. I'm dividing things up, since there is so very much to process.

The Swag

There has been a lot of comments, a lot of tweets, and I am sure a lot of posts to come about the swag. I'll admit it, the thought of people wanting to give me things for free is a little exciting. I like being an early adopter, I like learning about new products, and well, I'm a bit of a consumer. I fight it, but unless you've been living in a hole, we are all consumers. There is the "cool stuff you can't get anywhere else" factor coming in to play as well. That being said, what I saw this year made me sick. What may have been an "ooo, cool swag bag" at a party another year turned in to violence this year. Hand shaped bruises on Mommy Need's Coffee's arm, stories of babies that were elbowed in the head, swag stolen off of luggage carts before it could reach a party (and individual blog owners who were to get bags in return for sponsorship being left out) and suites that trapped unsuspecting people, almost left me with a change of heart about blogging and BlogHer. For all of my appreciating the swag, I have never once felt I was entitled to it. That clearly wasn't how everyone felt.

I heard the new bloggers being blamed for all of the ills of the swag and other things. The problem I have with that is that if you want to get technical, I'm a new blogger. However, while I want my opinion to be valued and requested, I don't want to be a corporate shill. While I'm not above entering a contest here and there, I don' think I will ever want you to give me free stuff because "I'm a mommy-blogger".

There has to be a way for it to work. I think bloggers add value to the whole product process. I think we have power to support and encourage small businesses. The kinds that can't afford a PR firm but that support us in return. I think we can bring about change (I hear something good came out of Camp Baby). I think BlogHer, being a huge gathering of bloggers, is a great way to reach us. Something has to give however.

There has to be something that allows the sponsorships of the conferences, the support of bloggers, and the dialogue, without selling both us and the companies themselves short. I saw some little things that worked. I saw things given without pitches or obligations. Things I was excited to see and try out. I was allowed to give opinions and feedback to brands I love and ones I have issues with. I saw parties turned to no swag zones (I still hope you take my idea on the women's shelter donation) and swag given out late in a party to encourage you know, actual partying.

Sometimes I think that things have to go horribly wrong before we figure out how to find balance. I hope that this was the extreme. I'm sure people sponsoring and giving out swag don't want to be judged by the actions of few either. We need to talk about this so things can change.

ETA: Part two.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Not my best moment.

I am sitting at the SouthWest gate in Minneapolis. My flight is late, so I figured, hey, I'll blog. This trip could not have come at a better time. M got sick, and knowing that I would be gone soon, we decided I would stay home the two days I was going to be working, as well as the one I took off to spend with her before I left. Usually we alternate, but this made more sense. Alternating is good, it keeps one parent sane at work while the other deals with at home. When you get home from work, the parent at home throws you the child and runs.

For the last three days, I haven't had that. I've also had interrupted sleep as well as a little pre-trip panic.

It has not been the high point of my parenting career thus far.

Yesterday I had to leave her in her room while I lost my shit for a little while. All of the potential romantic notions of staying home and curling up on the couch with my now verbal little invalid are just not coming true. Instead I have a pissed off in pain little midget with poor language skills. The whining is non stop, and she's hitting, spitting, not doing anything that would actually help her feel better and calling me names. I know, in the good part of my brain that she hurts, but she doesn't have the words to talk about it. The bad, sleep deprived, stressed out part of my brain lost it's cool and had to call my own mommy. Almost two and a half years, and I finally found that point, the one where you understand how people can snap and hit their kids or worse. I can't even imagine if I were a single parent, or someone who didn't have a good support system. (Mine involved last minute shopping with Kristen last night. She's a saint.)

It doesn't help that lately it has been all Papa all the time. She's a completely different person around him. He's a saint, and the cure for pain apparently. It may also be that I left her, for the first time she knows I am not coming back after a quick trip to the store. She cried doubly hard when I confirmed, yes, I was going on a trip today, we were going to the airport. But then when I left, I do believe I nearly saw her kick my ass as I turned around.

Either way, this is a much needed break. Now to pull out the book, or crochet, while I wait for my phone to charge before charging the laptop. It is going to be a long night.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

An Intro to Me, and some free stuff

So, seeing as I am about to leave on a grand adventure, I'd thought I'd do a little over sharing.

I have a really unique first name. No really, my parents were hippies, it was the 70's, I'm relative sure that there were drugs involved. I don't share it here because of it's uniqueness, but I will happily give it to you in person. It is on my business card. I do have some frightening ex's, so please keep it to yourself.

I am an introvert at home (I need my me time) but an extrovert at work (I deal partially with customers, and I'm chatty), but I also share stuff with strangers. I can't make up my mind if I'm an I or an E apparently.

I work in IT with PC's (a job I love) but I have a Mac at home because I refuse to let it be known that I'm really a super geek.

I have tried nearly every craft at least once. The only ones I've managed to keep up are knitting, crocheting and sewing. Sewing is hit or miss, I knit and crochet pretty consistently.

I learned to crochet from my Grandma Marie when I was little. I taught myself to knit when I was living in NYC was horribly lonely. The fall after I learned I knit 24 hats taking the N from Brooklyn to Chelsea.

I'm too loud, to honest and too direct to be a Minnesotan, despite having been raised here. I feel most comfortable with my loud mouth in NY. My love and my life are here, but I feel like an east coaster at heart.

I hate passive aggressive, since I am horrible at telling what people "really" mean.

I have crocheted at least 20 (still counting) potholders to take with to BlogHer. Am I a dork who could be taking them all home. Maybe. If you see me, ask me for one. Am I a dork who is going to give some away here? Sure.

So, if you're feeling like you could use a new potholder, made out of brightly colored cotton, then leave a comment. I'm giving away at least three, but depending on how many people comment, you could all get one.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The best laid plans

I may have mentioned before that I'm sort of a geek about lists and planning. I had my whole week before BlogHer planned out. Doing laundry, shopping for stuff for the house while I'm gone (making sure that they are stocked up so that there is no need for solo Target runs). I even had my packing laid out, based on what I am taking that I may need to wear to work, making sure it all fits.

Apparently the universe thought that was terribly funny. They decided to throw in a little child illness to really make things fun. You know, something nice and contagious that I am now making ever effort not to get myself. It could be strep*, it is going around daycare, or it could be random virus. (so far, no concerns of "the flu", wrong symptoms)

Sure, I don't have to worry about work clothes, it is 6 PM and I am still in PJ's, but that nifty geeky packing list? yeah, that would be at work, where I will not be before I leave. I'm catching up tonight by packing, seeing as I can spend tomorrow in my PJ's too.

The worst part is, I feel like I'm no longer mentally prepared for the whole damn thing. I'm stuck worrying about what M is sick with instead of how I am going to fit the extra two pairs of shoes I'm bringing for Christina. Maybe it is good, maybe it will keep me from dwelling on the fact that I'm leaving my baby for three days! Or maybe I'll just be a big mess come Thursday night when I get in.

*The first test was negative but she had just gotten sick. I have a 6th sense for these things. I am rarely wrong, but I often bring her in too early. I guess it is conditioning from having her in daycare and knowing the sooner she starts the antibiotics, the sooner she will be back in school. We go back tomorrow if she is still sick.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Owning my girly

My weight loss at the moment is hovering somewhere between 25 & 30 pounds. Nothing to sneeze at. This is going back to my last summer/fall weight, when I finished breastfeeding. I figure that is as good of a 'start' point as any.

I feel more comfortable, I can fit in more clothes, but I don't feel, most days, like I've changed at all. Here I am weighing less than I did when I got married, but I don't feel it.

Maybe it is the skin hanging around my stomach, maybe it is that 30 pounds is a drop in the bucket when you have 100 to lose, but I'm having a hard time right now feeling like I've done anything. Sure, I fit in to smaller clothes (down to some of my size 16's) and I am not required to shop in the "old lady" section, but I guess I just expected to feel more. Like somehow the old more skinny confident in who I am feeling would just reappear.

I guess that is why for BlogHer I'm trying to turn over a new leaf. The weight loss is just a start. I've gotten married, had a baby, been successful at my career, and somewhere along the way I lost what little girly I had left. That feeling of being proud of my female body, and sexy in my own skin.

Some may see BlogHer as something to be jealous of, or just a big marketing bruhaha, but for me, I'm taking it as a chance to be reborn. I'm raising a girl, a girl who loves pink, and tutus, and dinosaurs, and I'd like to show her that you can own your girly. You can be feminine and still be a strong woman. It is something modern feminists struggle with, so I know I am not alone. I know it may not stick forever, but for now I'm putting on the cute shoes, wearing the skirt (except when I have to move equipment at work) and owning it.

Also, does anyone know where I can get pink Dino PJ's? Or anything? Seriously, she loves dinos.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Because nothing says panic like a handbag.

I was just waiting for it to happen. I knew that eventually, some time before I left for BlogHer, I would completely lose my shit. I guess I just didn't think it would be about a purse. Those of you who know me can stop laughing now. Except Kristen, she totally gets me.

Sometimes, a purse is not just a purse, it is:

  • The first time that you have carried something that you had no intention of carrying diapers in, because dude your kid is two and potty trained.
  • A purse, like a real honest to goodness adult bag. You're 32, why are you not carrying an adult bag. Still with the messenger bag?
  • You're 32, why don't you feel old enough to be 32, holy crap shouldn't you have done more by 32.
  • Two? She's two, it has been over two years and you've never left her. Include gestation and we're at almost three. Shouldn't you feel more guilty for leaving?
  • Why can't I find a damn purse that looks like a grown up purse, but doesn't look like a granny purse, but doesn't look like you're 25, because dude, your 32!!!
  • Does this purse make me look like a grandma? Is it edgy enough, is it too big, is it too small?
  • What am I doing, I shouldn't go, I shouldn't do it, I don't have the right handbag. People are going to think I'm a loser. Would I be a bigger loser if I carried my Timbuk2 messenger bag?
  • I wish I had an iPhone, or at least an iPod Touch with wifi.
Thank god for understanding coworkers who get panic attacks. I'm beginning to wish I had insisted on medicating prior to BlogHer. So, if you see me hyperventilating in the corner, tell me my purse looks great. If you see shopping at Macy's, stop me before I blow the house payment trying to find the perfect damn purse.

*Fine, I'm not 32 yet, but it is like three weeks away (you're welcome to buy me a birthday drink). I'm already feeling 32, in case you couldn't tell.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pre BlogHer Freak Out #1

Last year around BlogHer time it seemed that everyone from Savvy Source was going and I was totally bummed about not going. Every post about preparations just made it sting. I remember that feeling. So if you can't go this year, but you wanted to, I'm sorry about this post. You can just ignore it unless you want to laugh at how much of a geek I am.

I am a major spreadsheet geek. I would make a spreadsheet for just about anything. It is this huge challenge to see how much I can automate. Because I am a spreadsheet geek, I made a spreadsheet for my packing this year. A list of everything I need to bring, with the clothing organized in to outfits with what day they are planned for. I even use reference cells so I only had to type some stuff out once. There are even these nice little boxes so I can check it off as I pack it up. It hasn't stopped me from freaking out, but I'm trying.

If you're curious what all is on it, I offer you some highlights.

Remember the awesome black dress? I'm wearing it with these shoes. (in red) Well, I will be if the size 12 ones fit better than the size 11 ones do. Thank god for Endless, or my big feet would never get cute shoes.

I also got this dress from Lands End in a super bright orange. It looks just awesome on me, and I am absurdly happy that I fit in to their regular stuff. Beginning to fit in "regular" sizes opens up so many more choices in clothes and I am drunk with power.

Also from Lands End, this skirt. Can I get an Amen! for the a-line skirt. Well, the a-line anything really. I got it in brown. I convinced my mom, who hasn't found a skirt that flatters her well in years, to get the last black one. Pairing it with a turquoise t-shirt and flip flops.

Last but not least, a nice pair of jeans. Gap jeans. Now that I'm Gap jeans eligible they are discontinuing the style I fell in love with. The Essential jean. They were on super sale at the outlet, so I bought a pair in the size I'm wearing now, and a pair a size smaller. I may actually be in the smaller size by then. Relatively certain that they will be paired with a tank top, cardigan and the oh god I love him even more Michael Kors sandals. Why do I love him, it is not just because he is a "top American designer", no, it is because the man makes size 12 shoes. Take that Crocs!

For non clothes highlights:
Extra bag for any swag I get (which I promise to share)
Neosporin and band aids because I am a notorious clutz and there are two new pairs of shoes involved in this adventure
Potholders!!! If you're going, and you see me, ask me for one. They are my "swag" if by "swag" you mean something I've been doing for a couple of weeks to keep me from going nuts about leaving my kid for the first time like ever.
My Moo mini cards made from some of my headers and some of my other favorite photos.

Say, if you're going, say Hi to me. I promise to say Hi back. Swears.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I read a lot of posts by a lot of people that I really like about how awesome natural child birth is. How great their experience was, and how that is the right way to do it.

And I feel cheated.

I was born at home with a midwife, my brother was born at home with a midwife, while I watched and lived in horror of the "it burns, get it out!". However, I still wanted natural. Except, I was OK if it didn't go that way.

I picked an OB for convenience to my office so that the multiple appointments were doable and I picked one because they delivered at Abbott, which was affiliated with Children's. I had worked for them and I knew that if there were complications or early arrivals, they were the best to deal with it.

When things started to go south and my blood pressure, my normally so low I can't donate blood blood pressure started to go up, I was great full for a Dr. who still wanted me to have a vaginal delivery. She wanted as few interventions as possible, knowing that the female body usually has a clue. However, she took my health and M's health seriously.

As it happened, things got serious, but my body had a clue and was already in labor. It got a little help speeding things up, but at least it wasn't forced into anything. It was going easy, and I wanted to still have as much of that birth experience as I could. Sure I didn't get to labor at home at all, but damn it I was going to walk the halls. Until they told me I couldn't. Until my blood pressure got so high that they were wondering why I wasn't have seizzures or blacking out. Until the best thing for me was to get an epidural. It worked, we were all safe. The other complications were things that could have been dealt with by an experienced midwife, but given all I had been through, I was glad I was where I was.

So there I am, torn between appreciating and valuing the non-medicated old fashioned way to do things and loving that I'm alive to see my daughter figure out pooping in the potty. So many people write about how awesome the natural way is, but not many people write about how glad they are that interventions happened, that they got to walk out with a live baby on a live mom. So while I do feel a little cheated, I also feel like I need to share. Things don't always go how you planned, and sometimes that's a good thing.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Car Is a Port-A-John

Being a former stubborn and willful child, now a stubborn and willful adult, there are times that I forget what it was like to be a stubborn and willful child. Especially when it comes to potty training.

M is still, for all intents and purpose, potty trained. We have the rare #1 accident. (one that I can remember in the last week) Most #2's are done in pull-ups at nap or bedtime (or when she wakes up and lets us sleep in so she can do her business). #2's caught early enough can be redirected to the potty with minimal cleanup. All is good. Except...

Except that after an unfortunate #2 at a restaurant right as our dinner arrived Friday, we are still having issues with public potties. It may actually have been made worse. By me.

Today we had a really awesome play date with Kay & May from Cribsheet over at Java Train (way cool kid friendly, you have to go) in St. Paul. The plan was to hit the zoo when we were done so that M could see giraffes in person. However, I failed to realize in promising of giraffes that we would need to potty given the time in public. We tried, we really tried, but my poor daughter was paralyzed by fear. We even tried the threat. If you don't potty, you can see the giraffes. It had no effect. She would rather go home.

Realizing that it would solve nothing to go home, I came up with an idea. A spur of the moment idea. I had seen the Potette before. However, as a stubborn and willful adult, I foolishly thought that we would never need it. My brilliant daughter could pee on a big potty and would never go back. Hah!

So with a trip to Target Store #1, I quickly assembled my own port-a-john in my trunk. One froggy potty, one package of size 1 store brand diapers, one package of dog poop bags (cheaper than the diaper ones), one container of disinfecting wipes. We has success on a parking lot median. Cleanup was easy. We saw giraffes! We saw zebras!

We still have an issue with the setup requiring the car. Because of that we won't be doing the Dragon Boat Festival tomorrow, since there are only shuttles to the site. Restaurants may also be a challenge since I doubt anyone wants to see my hauling a potty to dinner. We've talked about it and realized that the best thing for us to do for now is just accommodate her. Getting her to this level at her age is wonderful. Pushing her won't actually make any progress, it has to be, as it always has been, on her terms. After all, she is a stubborn and willful child, just like her mom.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Garden Update

My mom, grandma Tere, will be here tomorrow (blogging may be light through the weekend). She sent these with my brother earlier this week (she is at his house first). I know they get a bad rap, but I love them for taking the dog out/gardening. Also, when my feet were huge when I was pregnant, they were all that fit. I finally have a girly colored pair. It isn't like I wear them to the store. Just to drive my car to the Starbucks drive through.

Every other day, sometimes daily, I pick between two and four tender young summer squash off of my two plants. Monday night I picked tiny ones, swearing there was no way I would have any until Thursday. Tonight I picked four, including one larger one. Good thing they are great grilled and I like them in salads.

I've been eating some of the flowers, but mostly the nasturtium is good for being pretty. It is getting a big leggy, and I cut some of it back to make room for the peppers, but the flowers are unreal. So bright and cheerful.

We've had about eight peas off of the one larger plant I had, and as soon as the rest of them start flowering, I know I will have tons. Tonight M and I ate about 10 green beans right out of the garden. I am incredibly proud that I am teaching her where food comes from. I'm also more than a little tickled that she is like me and will just eat stuff right there, in the yard.

When my tomatoes ripen, I will be drowning in them the way I drown in summer squash right now. I can't wait. Neither can A. He has already requested that he get a tomato, salt, and pepper in his lunches every day when they become available. To go with the tomatoes I will have a peck of jalapenos. Two plants, tons of peppers. The first one was eaten last night. Fresh is always better.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Things that go bump in the night.

I don't remember having nightmares when I was a little kid. I don't know when they started. Maybe when I remembered being molested by my cousin, maybe after my first broken heart. They have haunted most of my adult life. I always feared sleeping over with a guy because I would never know if I was going to wake up crying or screaming in the middle of the night.

The more settled I've become in my adult life, the less they happen. A has always been, from the very beginning, very good and helping me deal with them. Lately, they rarely happen. Usually only when I am especially stressed or sick.

I've known as I watch M's imagination expand and grow that nightmares would be coming. They are this undeniable right of passage for young minds. She doesn't have the words to explain that she is scared, but she won't fall back asleep on her own. So far, I've been unwilling to see how long it would take if we left her. When I go to check on her she is trying to sit up, not fully awake, but crying for me. For now, all she needs are some hugs, then it is right back to sleep. Not so easy for me. I'm finding that after I go to comfort her, I have a hard time falling back asleep. I lay awake, listening to make sure that she doesn't wake back up despite having seen her whole body relax as she fell back asleep.

I know it is my own history, my own bad dreams that are keeping me awake. I doubt that she has context to have the bad dreams that I have. For her drama consists of not being allowed to eat your weight in strawberries, or toilets that keep flushing while you try to pee.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Get me my cane!

It is somewhere between 10:30 and 11 PM and I am sitting in my home office. M will likely be up early again, due to adjustment to big girl bed, and I would much rather be asleep.

Instead I am sitting here on edge because half of my neighborhood apparently had enough time to drive somewhere you can get illegal fireworks. No time to mow their lawn, but this they have time for.

Living in the city sometimes really sucks. Out in the country, no one cares what you set off. In fact, some of them really get a kick out of seeing what the neighbors got in North Dakota. Here, where my neighbors are 8 feet away from me on either side, I care a lot.

Three years ago, a wayward firecracker thrown from a passing car lit my neighbors car on fire, and my tree as well. If it weren't for my nuts dog barking at a glowing window, my car would have been toast as well. I get that it sucks to drive somewhere in the middle of the afternoon, just to see the fireworks at night. But that is no reason to risk life, limb, or your neighbors property, just for some oo's and ah's. I hear fireworks in HD aren't all that bad.

It will be another hour before I can relax enough to sleep. Good for my potholder making, but not so bad. If you were the one who drove to Wisconsin for illegal gains, keep this in mind. In 2006 illegal fireworks killed 11 people and injured nearly 11,000 more. Not to mention property damage (friend J's neighborhood lost a house, yet they still set them off).

Why yes, I am 80 and stuck in a 31 year old body. Why do you ask?

Friday, July 3, 2009

When crafters breed.

If say perhaps you are an occasional crafter, as in, one with a full time job who crafts in bits and spurts, I offer you this advice for if you plan on having children:

  • Get all of the crafting you plan to do for the first two years of your child's life done before they are born.
  • Any crafting you plan on doing on maternity leave (say some cute cashmere sweaters) will not get done.
  • Once you finish things, make sure that you lay them out somewhere obvious BEFORE the baby is born. Or you may find them two years later when their noggin has quadrupled in size. Despite the fact that they were in the child's closet.
  • If you start a project before the baby is born, just give up and unravel it. You will have absolutely no idea what in the hell you were trying to make.
  • By the time the child is old enough to self entertain, they will be so large that making them anything will take too much time. They will outgrow it in the year it takes you to finish.
  • Be prepared to get rid of your stash to make room for obnoxious toys that make horrendous sounds and their ever expanding wardrobe.

I did some cleaning this weekend, in prep for the move to the big girl bed. In the process, I found a pretty sizable collection of things I meant to be for M. Since she will be an only child, I now need to find homes for some of it. Fortunately, I have friends who are still breeding. (including some struggling, that I'm saving stuff for) I also went through my yarn stash again to make room in her closet for you know, her stuff. That will be donated to a local teacher who does knitting with her students. The other big thing I found were some knitted and felted bags and Christmas ornaments I made awhile back.

I think, if anyone is interested, I may have Christmas in July this next week. I don't have room for them (you only need so many knit mittens on your tree), but that doesn't mean that someone else won't enjoy them.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I know why the caged tomato sings

My apologies to Maya Angelou for that one. Hopefully she would find humor in my predicament.

In the five years we have lived in our house, I have tried to grow tomatoes for four years. The only year I didn't, we had just moved in and it was too late to plant.

I tried growing them under the maple tree, in pots and where the basswood tree had been in the back yard. All were miserable failures. We got, at best, a couple tomatoes. The plants were wimpy, and thank god for the farmer's market.

This year has been the exact opposite. However, I have failed to remember that healthy tomatoes need to be caged, and staked. I was marveling so much in their large bushy appearance that I quite failed to notice that they were falling over and could no longer support themselves. I staked a little, but it was a halfhearted effort. What I really needed to do was cage them. Oh sure, I had caged the ones we planted later, but it was mostly to get the cages from last year out of my way.

According to the lovely women of the Green Girls Blog, there is hope for me. I only need cage and prune. I'm not sure if I shouldn't have provided pictures so they knew the extent of my tardiness, but I went ahead with it. The poor dears. I have lost some major branches (I have more to spare), lots of foliage, but not a single baby tomato. That's right, hiding under all of that mass were some baby tomatoes on my Early Girls.

Ladies and Gentleman, we have tomatoes! Now where did those ninety degree temps go, I'm getting hungry.