Friday, January 29, 2010

"Portafull"

(In which I talk a lot about knitting so you can just skip right over this blog post if knitting isn't your thing.) (Although, really, even you will have to admit that it's been a long time since I talked about it.)

(I also use a lot of parenthetical phrases.)

So, I believe I have written before about how I am a creature of extremes.  I'm sort of an all-or-nothing kind of girl.  Moderation doesn't work very well for me and I find that I don't even respond all that well to it. Like, my hair is turning gray and I would really like for it to be done with it already.  Enough of this wishy-washy, in-between state.  I've thought about dyeing it gray just to get it over with.  (But then I though about having brown roots and that seemed...well...stupid.)

Last May, our friends Mike and Sherry introduced me to a game called Scramble. I took to it like the obsessive compulsive person you all have come to know and love.  (I know you love me.  Deny it if you want to but why else would you still be here?) Seriously, I played it All. The. Time.  While waiting, while in the bathtub, when I could have been doing other things --even things I LIKE to do.  Like knitting.

So, it occurred to me the other day that Scramble was really sort of...um...EVIL. As you know (or maybe you don't,) I am about to turn 45.  For some reason, 45 seems like the birthday where I should really have my act together.  I should be (mostly) grown up.  So I've been taking stock of the way I'm living my life and I have to admit, I'm not that happy with me.  Therefore, I stopped drinking and started a new diet and exercise effort. (I've been perfect on my diet  for nine days (except for one night) and I've lost...are you ready...TWO STINKING POUNDS.  And even THAT will not deter me because failure is not an option.  I'm just going to keep doing it.  Every day for the rest of my stupid life.) (Which suddenly seems a lot shorter now that I'm about to turn 45.)

I also started looking at how I spend my time. I was kind of struck by the fact that I was playing this dumb game on my PHONE when I could have been WRITING or KNITTING, which are things I really enjoy and have, you know, an end product. We obsessive compulsives like to be productive. (Productive Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.)

Naturally, this made me send an  e-mail my friend Tiffany, to whom I expose all of my startling revelations, and she, despite the fact that she has a job and everything, usually weighs in with something wise and/or pithy.  She said, "I actually read an article about this within the past couple of weeks.  Apparently, people in general are just as likely to procrastinate things they want to do as they are to procrastinate tasks."

(See, now people are writing articles about me.  I told you people love me!) (Productive Obsessive Compulsive Narcissistic Disorder.)

Anyway, because I don't do well at cutting down on things, I deleted Scramble from my phone. Just cold turkey.  Like THAT.  (If I'm not happy with the way I'm living my life, I will delete a video game from my phone!  Dudes, my strength knows no bounds.)

Sure enough, suddenly, I was knitting and knitting and knitting.  It was so fun!  I remembered why I love it --I love doing something with my hands and ending up with something gorgeous at the end.  Unfortunately, thus began the worst string of Knitting Karma I have ever had.  I'm knitting socks for Tiffany.  I ordered the yarn for them back in October but never really did much with it.  (Productive Obsessive Compulsive Narcissistic Procrastination Disorder.)

(Tiff is not sure if she's going to LIKE hand-knitted socks. No, stop laughing, she's serious.  She thinks they will be too bulky in her shoes.  I am totally going to change her mind. Doesn't she know that some of us actually BUY SHOES to accommodate our hand-knitted socks?) (Productive Obsessive Compulsive Narcissistic Procrastination Shopaholic Disorder.)

So, FIRST I had to rip back the first socks I was knitting three separate times.  I put that yarn into a time out (after a mental process where I  sincerely considered cutting it into very small pieces and then setting it afire) and began a second pair. Only, it took me four different tries just to wind it into balls. Then I started knitting and I turned the heel (Oh, the cleverness of me!) only to bow to that nagging voice in my head that said the sock was way too big.  (Okay, I bowed to my own inner voice after my friend Sherry said (and I'm paraphrasing here,) "Hey, that sock is freaking enormous.")

So, at this point, I had been knitting about a million hours and I still have no pairs of socks to show.  Except, well, through dogged...um...doggedness, I have reknitted Tiffany's first sock and it now looks like this:

Claudia Hand-painted yarn (FINGERING weight because oh, how I love my Tiffany) in Country Kitchen.  Thuja sock pattern.

And then I took the sock with me on Wednesday when my older daughter Ana and I went for our guitar lessons.  I prepared for my lesson by shutting my hand in the car door in the parking lot, which, (sorry, Ana) led me to say something NOT BLOG WORTHY and jump up and down.  Because, dang, it HURT.  And then I was sitting there, knitting away on Tiff's sock, when this woman came and sat down and eyed me.  "So, what are you making?  Is it a sweater?"

I was grateful to see a smiling, friendly face.

"No, actually, it's a sock," I replied.

This woman threw her head back and laughed and laughed. 

It was irritating as hell.

"Really?  A sock?" She seemed amazed that I was serious.

And then she looked down at my feet.  "And did you knit THOSE socks, too." (I was wearing a pair of my hand-knitted socks in my CLOGS that I bought to wear just to show my socks off.) (Productive Obsessive Compulsive Narcissistic Procrastination Shopaholic Exhibitionist  Disorder.)

"Yes, I did!"

The woman now looked somewhat alarmed.

"So, you knit socks.  Huh," she said.

Just then the door opened and my guitar teacher came out to tell me it was time for my lesson.  I was sort of desperate to convince this scoffing woman that socks were a worthy endeavor and I opened my mouth and said, "Well, you see, socks are so portafull."

Yes, I really did say that.

The woman made kind of a mad dash for the door.

"I mean PORTABLE.  Portable!  Socks are portable," I said to her back.

I don't know.  Maybe I should go back to playing Scramble, at least in public. (Productive Obsessive Compulsive Narcissistic Procrastination Shopaholic Exhibitionist  COWARDICE Disorder.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Weather PEOPLE, I Mean

Here is a little video I took this morning about the snow that is currently falling outside.



Please note that I refer to meteorologists as Weather MEN in this video.  This is less sexism on my part than it is a reflection of the fact that the weather people I watch are all men.  Still, I apologize for any kind of meteorological omission of the females of the profession. 

Really, it was a slur on the profession itself.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Not Feeling the Cute

(I hope this blog post is semi-coherent--it has been a looong week.  It turns out that my younger daughter Jane's elbow isn't broken-- it's sprained--but learning this necessitated many, many hours in medical facilities waiting and waiting and waiting.  Which would have been okay if I hadn't had to rip out almost all the knitting I accomplished during that time. Then, you know, I discovered that Edward Kitty had used Jane's closet as a urinal during his last illness--which meant we had to throw a lot of stuff out and boil what could be washed.  Truly disgusting.  Coop was out of town.  I'm dieting and have spent too much of my household budget, thus I am having to resort to actually COOKING (the horror!) --and I can't stop thinking about the Haitian people--especially the parents who are looking for their lost kids. But if I think too much about that, I can't actually parent my OWN children so I just walk around with part of my brain and heart engaged elsewhere.)

(Yes, I can even BEGIN a blog post with a digression. I am gifted in that way.)


So, can we talk about our puppy for a minute?

He'll be one year old on Valentine's Day.

He is the size of a small pony.

He is destroying my house.

As he barreled into me this morning and spilled my coffee in his haste to get to me before I petted Scout (our older dog) good morning,  I realized that he just isn't as cute as he was.

It's the Kitten Theory of Childrearing, only ...well...bigger.


He's ridiculously orally fixated, he's insanely jealous of any attention paid to any other pet, he sleeps on the couches when I'm not looking, he's destroyed two area rugs, the coverings on all of our basement window wells, one external hard drive, countless towels, some flip--flops and a lot of our hardwood floors.  He's relentlessly underfoot in the kitchen, he teases the cats, he eats EVERYTHING, he will NOT let a person put her shoes on in peace and, worst of all, he runs early timewise.  No, seriously, the dog can tell time and about ten minutes before it's time to go pick up one of the girls, he will sit by the back door and whine until I get my dang keys and get in the car.  (Last week, I found myself leaving to pick Jane up from school a full ten minutes early.  I had to drive the dog around the neighborhood to pass the time.)  (He LOVES to ride in the car. It's adorable --or it would be if I were susceptible to such cuteness.  Which I'm Not.) 

He is the Master of the Fly-By.  Not only can he sneak in and grab a bit of Scout's food faster than Scout can raise an alarm but he does this other... thing.  I will be cooking and will have just washed my hands and be on my way to the pantry and he will raise his head and lick my hand as I pass.  I will turn around, wash my hands again and he'll freaking do it AGAIN.  Over and over.  His nose is just the wrong height--the skin on my hands is starting to peel.

He has boundless energy and if I don't make sure he's gotten some exercise he will torment me until I retreat upstairs to escape him.  Or worse, put my shoes on and get out the leashes and take the dang dogs for a walk.  Often I have exercised when I had no intention of doing so.  (Luckily for me, Coop takes the dogs most days when he's in town.  UNluckily for me, he takes them much farther than I ever would which builds up their endurance, which makes me have to exercise for even longer than I had planned.  The world conspires to get me fit, I swear.)

I have great fear for our backyard once it thaws out there.  For one thing, it looks like some sort of horror movie gone wrong, what with all the old marrow bones littering everywhere. (When I take him with me to the butcher, the guys leave their counters to come visit the puppy in my car.  Then they give me marrow bones for him which I take home and boil.  (I tell you what, though, it's good for at least an hour of silence while the puppy works that bone over.) (I am less excited about the game that goes on between 4:00 and 5:00 IN THE MORNING when the entire house is awakened by the sound of marrow bones falling on the hardwood floor downstairs.  Left to his own devices, the puppy will throw the bone up into the air and try to catch it.  He's not a very good catch.)) (Oh, a digression within a digression--am I good or what?)

The backyard is also dotted with pieces of the tarp we used to have over our firewood and smaller pieces of the grill cover.  Also, those window well covers are apparently made of very flimsy plastic. Plus dog toys and giant doggy foot prints-- it's just darn attractive out back.

So, even as I write, the puppy is sitting under my desk with his head on my knee.  His ears are impossibly soft and if I stop petting him, he nibbles my elbow.  This is interfering in the worst way with my production.


Darn dog.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cat Attack

It's not my fault that I didn't get to exercise before the kids came home from school yesterday.

No, seriously.

I was on the couch playing Scramble doing all kinds of really important work on my cell phone when this happened:


Yes, the Evil Orange Forces descended upon me, bringing the full measure of their narcoleptic powers to bear and...um...well...I woke up an hour later with drool on my face.  (The drool was a nice touch, huh?  Evil, evil Orange Forces!)

(Stop me if you've heard this (yawn) but I'm dieting and trying to exercise. (Again. Still. Endlessly.) I'm not very excited about it but I'm doing it.  I'm not going to clog up my nice, clean-mouthed little blog with my rantings about the unfairness of being Metabolically Challenged so I am blogging about it on the Getting Healthy Blog.  I'll probably be blogging about it in excruciating detail over there, what with it being all I can think about at the moment.  Feel free to join me over there if you, too, have a terrible attitude and want to send hate mail to the diet industry.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Don't Mind Me

Really.  I'm just bursting into tears at the drop of a hat but seriously, I'm okay.

It's Jane, my little Janie (9), who appears to have a fractured elbow.

She was rough-housing with her sister and fell off of the couch onto her arm.  So, naturally, now the official story will be that her sister broke her arm--and it's not such an undeserved accusation.  Ana is two-and-a-half years older and weighs a good 40 pounds more than Jane and she's been warned about getting too physical. Maybe this event will get the message through.  If not, I am worried in advance for the day that Jane is NOT so little and decides she has had enough--because Jane is super strong and coordinated and, as we all know, payback is a beast.

(As an aside (I know, I know, but y'all are just going to have to indulge me on this one because I spent 3.5 hours at the emergency room with Jane listening to a little boy scream that he was DYING and by gosh, if I want to digress, I WILL.) I was talking to my friend Tiffany about this and expressing my concern about the physical fighting between my girls.  Tiff and I are both separated by a wide age gap from our nearest siblings and so this sort of fighting is foreign to us.  But we've both had experiences with the exact same thing--the bullying of a younger sibling by an older one--and we were wondering if it's sort of a normal developmental thing.  Don't get me wrong, I am not excusing Ana's roughness with Jane as "normal" (and, obviously, if you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that Ana is a gentle soul and (mostly) a very good big sister) but we were just kind of wondering if all siblings close in age go through a phase like this.  What do y'all think?)

Anyway, as I alluded to earlier, I ended up taking Jane to the Emergency Room because we received some blatantly false information from the radiology office that our pediatrician uses on holidays.  Namely, we were told we needed a referral to come in for an x-ray and we assumed that the pediatrician's office was faxing that over.  Unfortunately, after several follow-up calls on my part, it turns out that the pediatrician's office had never been required to fax over a referral before and that the woman I talked to initially just kind of made that rule up.  By the time I had everyone talking to each other and the whole thing straightened out, there was not enough time to get the x-ray and then get it read by the pediatrician's office before the office closed early for the holiday so they sent us to the ER.

I was so angry that I could seriously feel my pulse IN MY HAIR.  It's not that this was such an emergency --it happened on Saturday night and we only decided to go to the doctor when it was still bothering Jane on Monday --but I was just furious at the general incompetence of the radiology staff and the complete freaking attitude delivered by the ...(CENSORED) woman who told me completely false information that she MADE UP JUST TO MESS WITH ME.

So, then we went to the ER and settled in for a looong visit.  We were actually treated in the hallway across from a row of those curtained off beds.  For the entire three-and-a-half hours that we were there, we listened to a very sick little boy who was just certain he was dying.  He did have some sort of really bad stomach complaint--beyond just a virus-- and the doctor's didn't seem to know what was wrong but they kept trying to do various diagnostic tests on him and he kept screaming and screaming and screaming.  And vomiting.

His parents were Spanish-speaking only and their fear for their child was almost palpable. The hospital had an interpretor who came down periodically to try to let them know what was going on but as I sat there, my anger at that snippy little b-word who handed out misinformation with such an attitude dissipated and I began to feel a sense of enormous gratitude.

Not just grateful because I got to walk out of there with my baby while those poor parents were still trying to get some kind of diagnosis for their son.  But also because, while it was irritating as all get-out trying to straighten out the deal with the doctor and the radiologist's office, the fact is that I COULD.  And then when we were dealing with the several sets of x-rays and the ER doctor and then the orthopedic resident (Jane's fracture is on a growth plate that hasn't entirely calcified yet so it didn't show up completely on the x-rays so there was a lot of conversation about the whole thing), I could understand what the doctors were saying and ask questions directly when there was something I didn't understand.  I don't know, sometimes I am so privileged in ways I never think about.

I kept thinking about those parents, sitting there listening to their son scream (and scream and scream) and to the bevy of medical personnel making decisions about his treatment -- and not being able to understand  a single word. How immeasurably frightening it must have been.

And, since we were sitting there for so long, I started to feel very grateful that at least those parents could come to a place and have their son treated.  I keep thinking about those poor Haitian people--who already had so little and now have nothing.

Hug your babies if you've got them.  And maybe your doctors, too.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Still Not a Post of Substance

(But I DO use the word stupid 14 times in less than 450 words, which is something of an accomplishment.)

Okay, so I have this terrible, energy-sucking, stupid cold and it's snowing and my husband is out of town and my Christmas decorations are still 80% up, including the stupid tree and we're drowning in dust and laundry...

...seems like a good time to do a Stupid Product Review.

I'm not going to let the fact that I never review products get in the way of warning you all about this stupid, stupid product.  (Yes, that I bought.  I'm putting it down to temporary stupidity caused by cold medicine.  You wanna make something of that?) (DO YOU?)


Still Life With Fruit

See that?  That product is the most ridiculous product I have ever wasted $3.49 on --and people, that is saying something. I was looking for a little shot of vitamin C, given that I could hear my head SLOSHING as I walked (stupid cold) and there this product was--just when I had about lost the will to live right there in the dairy aisle of a large grocery store. (It comes packaged in two-bottle packages but I'd already consumed one before I took this picture. I would ordinarily not have bought the stupid product because of the excess packaging, (even though the bottles can be recycled) but dudes, I needed a little juice. More about the stupid packaging in a minute.)

It beckoned to me with its bright colors.

I took it home and opened the first bottle. I started drinking and immediately choked on a large-ish chunk of fruit.

Now.

I'd been warned that there were bits of fruit in the juice (it says so right on the stupid bottle) but it never occurred to me that these bits would be so large that you'd have to chew them. I think I was envisioning pulp like you get in good orange juice but these were more like, "HOLY COW! There's a bit of pineapple stuck in my esophagus!"

(And as an aside (of course) why was there even pineapple IN the bottle marked "strawberry orange?"  I mean, I LIKE pineapple but not everyone does, you know.)

So, okay, I could maybe deal with the chunks of fruit. I resumed drinking chewing the juice but the rim around the stupid bottle is so sharp that it cut my lips when I slowed down in order not to accidentally inhale some piece of pineapple that may or may not have belonged in the bottle.

And you know what happens to tiny cuts when juice gets inside?

Stupid freaking non-juice. I'm never chewing that stupid juice again.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Bass da Tisch-ewes

I seem to be having  my usual "Ring the New Year in With a Whimper" horrid cold.  I've even been running a fever, which makes things just THAT MUCH MORE SURREAL in my life.  Like, um, just now, I found myself saying, "Starve a Cold, Feed a Beagle."

Woohee.  Maybe I should take less cold medicine.

On the plus side, I've lost three pounds.  Another two-and-a-half pounds and I'll be back to the weight I was at when I started my diet last March.  (Not that I'm bitter.  Much.)