Friday, April 29, 2005

No Deal

How do you help ease heavy disappointment felt by someone you love? Mr. Chick didn't get the job. He felt good after the 2nd interview - really good - but in the end they hired someone with 9 years of experience. How does he compete with someone who has 9 years already under their belt when he's an almost-grad? It was flattering to even be considered, but disappointing nonetheless when it didn't come through. Damn It! It would have be SOOO nice to have a job all wrapped up going into graduation. I feel bad for him. I know he wanted this. So the search continues, as best it can, in this tight market. I KNOW something will pop for him - something great - just not this something.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Fuck Me Pumps

As you well know by now, my youngest sister Carrie is getting married. In a month. Exactly. I'm a bridesmaid in the wedding. The dresses we're wearing are cute - super cute - and not bridesmaid-y at all. They're more like little black cocktail dresses. And I'll totally wear it again. Really! So all the major decisions have been made: dress, hose/no-hose (we're going no-hose), hair (however you want), make-up (I'm at the Laura Mercier counter), and overall shoe look. We're going with open-toe strappy black sandals. For awhile we thought we'd, of course, all wear the same shoe. But it's hard to coordinate shopping among us since we're all in different places and on totally different schedules and budgets. Budget is a big part of my life right now. So now it's come down to "wear whatever open-toe strappy black sandal you want, but make sure it has a heel strap and doesn't have an ankle strap" Um, ok. Do you have any idea how effing HARD it is to find a cute black strappy sandal that meets those basic requirements on a budget??! Damn near impossible. And it doesn't help that I'm stuck in a town that has no real shopping options. A small-ish mall with 3 department stores (Meier & Frank, Macy's, and JC Penny). The only specialty shoe stores in this crappy mall are Cathy Jean, Naturalizer, and Foot Locker. I know - you wish you lived here, too. Then I have the array of "budget" stores: Target, Wal-Mart, Payless Shoe Source, TJ Maxx, & Ross Dress-For-Less. And oh yeah, Sears. "Come see the softer side" my ass. There is one (ONE!) boutique shoe store in this town, Miss Meers, and they have totally cute and funky stuff, but it's too expensive for my lean wallet.

Over the past few weeks I've been keeping my eyes open for what I need, to no avail. Target disappointed me. I hate Wal-Mart. I found something at Payless Shoe Source but it was essentially made of plastic, and plastic/vinyl makes my feet sweat, and who needs stinky, sweaty feet?? I mean, I'm all for a bargain but with shoes, you get what you pay for. So I drug Lauren through the mall this morning while Nicholas was at preschool, figuring I'll check out the department stores AGAIN to see what they may have on sale. I found one possibility at Cathy Jean, but they cost $59. $59 is too rich for me for sandals. Hell, the dress only ran me $60 because we found them at Ann Taylor on major discount. So in dispair I went across the street to Ross. Truly my last option as I'd been everywhere else with no luck. And I found some sandals that are cute and cheap! Nine West for $29.99! Totally cute. And totally tall - OMG! These are some serious fuck me pumps! I've never had heels this high! And they're stilettos! I've been with Mr. Chick since I was 22, and we're exactly the same height. So when I put on heels I'm taller than he is. Therefore, I don't wear heels often and when I do, they're not overly high. Moderate. Conservative. But these? Yowza! I LOVE THEM! And I absolutely cannot walk normally in them. I need lots of practice. Mr. Chick was laughing at me when I modeled them for him. He said I wobbled so bad he fears for my safety. But I'll be damned if I don't master these heels of death before the wedding! I'll walk so gracefully in them it'll appear I'm gliding down the aisle! I'll be able to dance my ass off and NOT have to take the heels off first! I'll be as good as the streetwalkers! Does anyone know where I can take a class in walking in stilettos without falling, wobbling, or looking like a stick is up your butt?? Clearly, I'm in trouble.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

American Idol

I have been a fan of American Idol since near the end of the first season. Mr. Chick could care less about the show, but Nicholas enjoys watching it with me (awww - what a Rockwell moment: mother and son watching reality tv together. I embarrass myself). I saw the finale between Kelly Clarkson and Justin whatshisname and thought he was such a geek that I hoped Kelly would win. Thank God she did. Justin has mercifully faded into obscurity. I firmly believe that Kelly is the best Idol to date. I really liked Kimberly Locke from the 2nd season and felt she got jacked when she only took 3rd. She should have won, IMHO. Ruben just never did it for me. And you know you're in trouble when you start doing guest appearances on crap sitcoms. Clay was ok, but I got tired of his act. And it WAS an act - don't let the Opie Taylor personality fool you. Fantasia rocked in season 3, but I still prefer Kelly of all the past winners. Which brings me the current season.

My prediction: Vonzell will win. Make a note. She's kicking ass week after week. Her vocals are amazing - she can hold her own with the likes of Celine and Whitney. And she's beautiful. Plus you can tell that she really has fun and enjoys herself when she's singing.

I really like Carrie Underwood as well, but I think she's going to get stuck in the country corner and that will end up biting her in the butt. She's gorgeous and reminds me of Faith Hill, and damn! the girl can sing! But I don't think that will take her all the way to the top spot. She should be in the top 3, but it'll be close between Carrie and Anthony for the 3rd spot.

Bo Bice is also a contender. Some weeks I really like him, and others I want his ass to go home. I hate his hair. Some stylist needs to give him some lessons. I know he's a rocker and all, but please - ! Tame the mane, millions are watching. What I like about Bo is that he sort of gives off a "I could give a fuck if you like me or not" vibe. He's himself from start to finish. I think he'll be 2nd.

Constantine is losing his appeal. All the weirdly intense, forced gazing into the camera - ew. It was cool the first couple of times because it seemed natural and just what he did. But then it was commented on and now it's his "thing", and needs to go. He gives me the impression that he would have B.O.

Anthony Fedorov is surprising me for two reasons: 1) he's lasted this long, because I thought he should have gone weeks ago, and 2) that I'm starting to like him more and more. He doesn't stand out like Vonzell or Bo, but he sounds pretty good and he's hanging in there. I'm betting, against my better judgement, that he will be 3rd overall. Vonzell will win, Bo will take 2nd, and then Anthony (or Carrie. I'm hoping Carrie lasts longer than Anthony but sadly predict he'll outlast her).

Scotty "The Body" Savol (who gave that ridiculous moniker?? The Body? - puhleese!) He should NOT have lasted this long. Period. He will be the next to go. He's soooo not someone I would listen to, and Lord knows I don't like looking at him, either! Sorry Scotty, you ain't no hottie. Plus, I can't get behind someone with a rap sheet like his.

Is anyone else getting real damn tired of Paula other than me? I'm sick of her shtick. Really, I think she's on meds of some kind. Or needs to be. More and more she's just parroting what Randy says and then completely disagrees with Simon - no matter what - and constantly talks over him. Like SHE could get HIM to shut up or something. Yeah, nice try. She acts all indignant that he might have something critical or opinionated to say about a performance. Or dare to offer an insight beyond "song selection". Yeah, Paula needs to get laid or something.

So anyway, that's my take. We'll see how close I come in the next few weeks. Want to know what's funny about me being all into AI? I don't vote - never have, never will, and yet seem to care about who stays and who goes. Plus, to me, it's like the people who DO vote (all the untold millions - they should do presidential elections this way, I swear), are like my 3 yr. old who literally talks back to the television shows when they ask him to (Dora: "saaaayyyy map!" "MAP!" he gleefully shouts). Kids are such suckers. So it's like I watch, I admit I watch, I'm concerned about the outcome, but if someone were to tell me they voted for so-and-so, say, while we're at the park with the kids or something, I would probably secretly think they needed to get a life. There are degrees of AI fandom. Different levels of participation. I am strictly an observer and wouldn't dare venture into the realm of "voter". I question "those people". They have to be primarily in the under 30 crowd (or related to or neighbors of a contestant) and really into text messaging, don't you think? Or do you think that bored SAHM's who watch too much tv at night are the ones voting their asses off and just not owning up to it? I don't know one person who has ever admitted to voting. Maybe they DO but, like me, could never bring themselves to admit to it.

Well, whoever is doing the voting, please vote for Vonzell and please DON'T vote for Scott. He needs to GO.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Weight Check

Since I first reported my weight to you and my desire to shed a few (well, more than a few - more like 15-20 lbs...), I have lost a total of:


Nada, zip, zilch, goose egg, big fat nothing, 0. Zero, people. Aren't you impressed? Clearly, I suck. I guess this proves that you really DO have to stop eating that bit of ice cream after dinner every night, and forego the yummy glass (or 2) of wine with your spouse while cooking said dinner. Or, better yet, just simply give up the cheese, delicious cheese, that brings such satisfaction to meals or snacks. I guess the only silver lining is that I haven't gained anything. Why am I feeling that that fact isn't a consolation?

Dieting blows.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Don't you hate it when - ?

You finally find the missing sippy cup, weeks after it first disappeared, and you physically retch when you go to wash it?

You just finish vacuuming or mopping the floor and the dog comes in from outside with dirty paws?

You dump a load of clean laundry on a chair in the living room, where it stays for nearly two days, and your spouse pretends he doesn’t see it?

Your spouse announces he’s going out tonight, after you’ve already been to the video store to get a movie for the two of you to watch together?

The guy comes to measure your windows and has to go into your bedroom (gasp!) and only then do you notice the lube and condom wrapper sitting on your night table – and so does he?

You’re changing your daughters fourth shitty diaper of the day and realize you only have one wipe left?

You think you’ve put your current crochet project out of child reach only to discover too late that you didn’t and half of your work is unraveled and the yarn is horribly tangled all over your living room?

You finally get both kids down for a nap and actually take a few minutes to put your feet up, start to doze (heaven!) only to have the phone ring?

You ask your spouse for weeks which account should be tapped to pay your visa bill, only to be put off and never answered, until said bill becomes past due and suddenly it’s your fault?

You take the time to make a delicious, well-balanced meal for your family and all your kids will eat are damn chicken nuggets?

You consciously eat better and are diligent about exercising regularly, and you still don’t lose any weight?

You dress in something you feel makes you look good, only to see a picture of yourself later and realize the outfit really does make your butt look fat.

Your kids get into your room and pull your book off your night table and you lose your place?

Your daughter gets into your box of maxi pads, decides they’re fun to play with, and scatters them throughout your house and a friend finds one behind a cushion?

Your 3 year old figures out how to fix himself a bowl of ice cream, complete with chocolate syrup, but leaves the ice cream sitting out on the counter too long?

You spend countless hours making a special baby gift, and don’t get a thank you note? (at least, none has come so far and it’s been 3 weeks…)

You dye your hair to cover the grays only to notice more grays that didn’t get dyed, and you realize you must have a shitload of gray hair?

You take your potty-trained child to play at a park only to discover the bathrooms are locked and he announces he has to poop? So he takes a dump in the grass like a dog and you have to clean up after him, like a dog?

You realize the orgasm ratio between you and your spouse is about 1:10.

Yeah, me too.

Playing Catch-Up

Sorry for my recent absence. I have no excuse. Well, that's a lie. I have a TON of excuses but they are just that - excuses. So I'll just plead insanity and hope you'll forgive me. I don't have any single subject to write about, so this is my big, catch-all make-up post. It's a little scattered.... but so am I.

First, a picture review! I received a few photos from the recent bachelorette trip. Nothing *too* incriminating so I'm posting them here to share. This first one is of the 4 sisters in my family (L-R: Maureen, Carrie (the bachelorette wearing an utterly tacky and humiliating penis hat), Me, Katie). Do you think we look like our birth order? (MP, Katie, Maureen, Carrie) Wait - don't answer that. See? My top had a fairly low neckline, but nothing ridiculously hootchie. And you can even see the fake tattoos on the arms of Mo and KT. Nice. And if I hadn't cropped the picture you would have had a nice view of some naked gay dude on the wall. They were EVERYWHERE. Blech! Looks like I need to really work on getting my arms toned up for the wedding. I'm running out of time!

Carrie getting her groove on dancing on the table. Go Girl! God, I wish I had her figure! Those were the (pre-kid, pre-30's) days....

While I was away, this is what my family was doing: kiddie trout fishing in a wading pool! Here's a picture of Nicholas trying his best to catch a fish. No luck.

But Daddy just reached in and caught one with his bare hands! They caught 3 in total and told me they were quite tasty grilled up for dinner that night.

And this is the reception I got from Lauren when I got back. She's a French kissing bandit! I don't think there could have been a better homecoming than this. Awww!

In other news, we're celebrating! Mr. Chick finished up his last law school lecture ever! He's done! Well, he still has finals looming plus the Bar Exam, but law school proper is behind us. Hip Hip Hooray! And the icing on the cake is that he's being seriously considered for a job. A JOB, people! It's a tight market for attorneys, so this is really big. He had one interview last week, and they've asked him back for a 2nd interview on Monday. They are a mid-size firm specializing in business law - just what he's looking for. He has a few reservations about them, but all in all they sound like a good firm and a good fit. And best of all? They're considering him for a job higher than entry-level, fresh out of law school. It's his business background (CPA, CFO) and the fact that he's been a law clerk for a bank for the past 2 years that sets him apart. They do a LOT of work with banks, apparently, so this is a big plus. Hopefully we'll hear something next week. Oh I hope it works out and he gets an offer!! That would make everything so much easier. We could start to make plans, like when to move, when to put our house on the market, what kind of house we can afford, etc. Then we can start to drill down into specific areas of town we'd like to move to for schools and all that jazz. My views on schools is a whole 'nother post!

To celebrate Mr. Chick's graduation I'm planning a huge party. Big. My fil is financing this bash, and really, it's more for him than us. He comes from a large family (11 kids) and pretty much most of them are coming. Mr. Chick has a ton of aunts, uncles and cousins. He's an only child, so this extended family is important. Plus my family, which is small by comparison, and some close friends. I'm planning on 50-60 people. I've reserved a banquet room in this posh restaurant and we're doing a big buffet dinner, open bar, and fil hired a DJ for dancing, and karaoke. Yes, karaoke. It makes me shudder to think of it - it's soooo not my thing. But fil loves it, as do his brothers, apparently, so it'll be part of the party. "He who pays for it can call the shots." I did put my foot down on hiring a photographer - this is not a wedding for pete's sake! It should be fun, if not a little embarrassing, with the whole karaoke thing.

Something I'm NOT celebrating is the apparent nap strike that Lauren is on. More days than not she's refusing to take a nap. She'll fall asleep in the car for 10 - 15 min when we're on our way somewhere and then call that good for the day. If she falls asleep on the way home I can usually transfer her to her crib and she'll nap for an hour or so, but mostly she's surviving on less than 20 min in the car. No matter how tired she is and how often she's rubbing her eyes, she won't go down for a nap. I'm dying. She's wonderful at bedtime - goes down like a charm around 8pm and sleeps straight through until 7am, but naps are becoming a problem. On the days she doesn't nap she's a real crankpot. There is no pleasing her. She fusses to be picked up, and then she squirms to be put down. She points to something she wants but then can't identify the object. Like she forgets or something. It's making life really hard in the afternoons. I can't get squat done. I STILL haven't completely unpacked from San Francisco and that was a week ago! I can feel my patience oozing out of me as the day wears on, and I tend to get really short with the kids. Nicholas, on the other hand, gets more sleep than she does. He still naps for a solid 2+ hrs a day, and gets at least 10 hrs at night. It's wonderful. I just have to tell him it's rest time and he goes and lays down in his bed and goes to sleep. Just like that! SuperNanny would be so proud. Now if I could only get his sister to follow suit.... ahhh!!

And lastly, I'm in the middle (ok, really the start) of planning a fun vacation for our family. Some law school friends are getting married in early September in New Jersey, and we want to go. With Mr. Chick (hopefully) starting a new job we probably won't get much vacation right off the bat, so we need to go while the gettin's good. We have several friends who live in Virginia, so we're trying to combine a visit to them with the wedding trip. Mr. Chick wants to go for 2 weeks! Wow! I've NEVER been on a 2 week vacation. 7-10 days, yes, but never the whole 2 weeks. So we're planning to rent a beach house at the Outer Banks, NC for a week and have our VA friends join us there for a bit. Take some time to just play on the beach and have some R&R post-Bar, pre-job, pre-move. Then we'll take our time making our way up to NJ. Maybe spend a day or two in the DC area, and then spend a few days knocking around NYC. Then the wedding, and then home. The kids would be coming with us, which adds some wrinkles here and there from a travelling point of view, but that's the way it goes. I'm excited! It's no tropical paradise with just Mr. Chick and I, but it will be a lot of fun! I just hope we don't get spanked by hurricanes. We're cutting it close to hurricane season, maybe even booking for the first week or two of hurricane season. And the Outer Banks, well, they vulnerable. I'd appreciate any tips or insights!

I promise a more cohesive post next time!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Yesterday I received both of the following e-mails. One from my mother and one from my father-in-law (can you guess who sent which email?). I found them both to be thoughtful and helpful, especially from a parenting point of view, since both can be applied to children. Hopefully you'll think so, too.


GRANDMA'S CURES (keep this on the fridge)
Did You Know That...?

THOUGHTFUL E-MAIL: (makes you say hhmmmm...might be something to this)

"The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, ''Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?''

I replied: "I had a drug problem when I was young:

Those drugs are still in my veins; and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, and think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today's children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place."

~author unknown~

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Chicks in the City

I'm home. I made it back from my weekend in San Francisco. This is a recap of our wild adventure to join the baby of the family celebrate her bachelorette. Let's just say I'm sick and have no voice whatsoever, but I had fun anyway!


My sister Katie was due to arrive at my house by 6pm at the latest. She calls me at 4:20 to tell me she's JUST getting on the road. It's a 2 hour trip and she's off to a late start. Great. So I finish cleaning my house (see previous post) and load up all my stuff into the now clean car. And I wait. And wait. And wait some more. Finally she calls again right around 6pm to say she's now halfway to me. HALFWAY??! That's it?! What's going on? Bad-ass traffic and an accident long since cleared but still forcing rubber-neckers to slow down and clog up the freeway. She finally arrives at my house just before 7:30pm. A full 90 minutes past our designated departure time. We have 8 hours of driving ahead of us - what's an extra 1.5 hrs? We throw her stuff into the car and make tracks out of town. Yippee! We're off! I take the first shift driving. The good thing about driving with Katie is that she and I can talk about everything, anything, and nothing and kill lots of time doing it. It's effortless. We're at the California border in the blink of an eye. Somewhere along the twists and turns near Lake Shasta Katie and I get the giggles - the way we always do at some point when we're together - and I nearly drive us off the road because I can't see for all the tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. Something about imagining the cell phone conversation that must have happened when a lady recently drove off a bridge in Portland while talking on said cell phone and had to be rescued by trained disaster divers. You had to be there to fully grasp the hilarity. We gassed up in the middle of nowhere (near the Olive Pit, if anyone is familiar with the pit stops along I-5), have our one and only potty break, and change drivers. Shortly afterwards - around 2am - I start noticing that my voice is sounding funny. I'm getting hoarse. And congested. I'm feeling ok, but sounding like shit. We're thinking it might be because we were in Sonoma County, which is known for really bad allergies. I'm hoping that's all it is. Before we know it we're coming up on the Bay Bridge and scrambling for $3 for the stupid toll. We mostly have $20's - party and cocktail money straight out of the ATM - and are hard-pressed to come up with singles. We must have looked silly digging through purses, wallets, and change drawers in the car to come up with the toll. The mapquest directions to my sister's apartment were spot-on correct and we pull up at 3:30am. We made excellent time. We circled the block once looking for a parking space with no luck, so we just double-parked and called our other sister Maureen to let her know we were out front. She answers and Katie says, "This is your wake up call" and hangs up. A few minutes later Maureen is at the door, followed closely by Carrie, who had no idea we were coming. She was bewildered, to say the least. She was stunned we were there. Like we were mirages or something. Maureen had told her to put some shoes on and come downstairs, and Carrie was thinking that either she's getting kidnapped for her bachelorette or that strippers were there. Strippers! Yeah, right. Nope, just us, fully clothed. When her brain finally started working she was thrilled and very touched that we drove all night to be with her for the weekend. That's what sisters are for, right? We unloaded our crap and Carrie helped me find a place to park. We visited for about an hour in her living room, unrolled our sleeping bags, and hit the hay (aka couch and hardwood floor) at about 4:30am.

Saturday - 8am

We're up. Katie and I are both moms and find it really hard to sleep past 8am regardless of what time we went to bed. How much does THAT suck?! So yeah, we're up. Tired, but awake. We slowly start moving and go in search of food in the kitchen. I make due with a granola bar and apple. We shower and get dressed. This becomes a scramble with 4 of us trying to use one small bathroom. The shower has glass doors, which means that no one can be getting ready while someone else is showering. Because that's just weird. We're sisters and all, but I don't need to witness them showering. So mayhem ensues in a tangle of blow-dryers, curling irons, make-up bags, and clothes. Somewhere in there one of Carrie's friends arrives and joins the fray. We need to jam in order to make it to the nail salon by 11am. We NEED to stop at Starbucks first for a caffeine hit or I'm never going to make it. I meet a good samaritan leaving Starbucks as we're going in who got a free cup of coffee he didn't want and I gladly took it off his hands. Bonus! Free fits my budget. Off to the nail salon. It's a cute place and there are a ton of pretty girls in there all waiting for Carrie. Seriously, there had to be at least 14-15 women who were part of the bachelorette. They had gorgeous strawberries and croissants to nibble on, and mimosas to drink while we got our fingers and toes pampered. I opted to skip the manicure (my nails are pitiful and unworthy of a manicure) and instead got my brows tinted. I got the pedicure but was disappointed. I was expecting more pampering and callous removal than they provided. But whatever - it was fun to socialize and get to know some of Carrie's friends. Then it was off to lunch (2pm). Lots of "hurry up and wait" time built into this schedule. Lunch was yummy. Pitcher after pitcher of margaritas were served up, but I (surprisingly) abstained, holding off more boozing until the evening. I didn't want to peak too soon, because that would just be bad. Then Katie and I HAD to have a nap. We were literally at our limit and needed to recharge the batteries. So we crashed for all of an hour before we had to get ready for the evening. The nap saved me. We got all dressed in fine hoochie-mamma style (very low cut shirt that displayed full cleavage) and set out.

Saturday Evening

We had dinner and cocktails at one of Carrie's friends house. Upon walking in the door it became crystal-clear that her friends were going to go the tacky route for the evening. There were magazine pictures of naked men - GAY men - all over the walls. You couldn't look anywhere and not be confronted with some view of dick. (not) nice. They also had a veil for Carrie with plastic penises glued to it, and temporary tattoos for everyone else. I'm too old for that shit, but whatever - I went with it rather than be a spoil-sport. I sucked down many cocktails but couldn't catch a buzz. Neither could Katie. Maybe we were just too tired. That didn't stop us from trying, but it was disappointing. It was soon time to grab cabs to take us to the first nightclub (Ruby Skye) where we would catch the party bus. Ruby Skye is the kind of nightclub that is located in an old theater. It's a cool physical environment, but it was too early in the evening for it to be a happening place yet. And the floors (rug) was sticky, which grossed us out. Everyone there were girls waiting for the bus. Lots and lots of girls. And wouldn't you know it? One of MY friends was there! Completely random and unexpected. She was there for a bachelorette party for one of her childhood friends and was on the same bus as us. What are the odds??! We get on the bus and head to the 2nd club - Holy Cow. We walk in to the thumping sounds of Britney Spears' "Toxic" and immediately head to the bar. We only have an hour at each place so you have to move quickly. Carrie ends up dancing on top of a table at Holy Cow, so you know we're off to a good start. And then it was time to load up the bus and go to the next place, Glas Kat. Glas Kat was an eye-opener. A happening dance club with the music so loud you could physically feel it thumping your chest. Keep in mind I still have no voice, so I couldn't really talk and no one could hear me if/when I tried because you had to scream so loud to the person just inches from you to be heard. Not my favorite type of joint. And just before it was time to load up the bus again these two dudes walk on the stage and start stripping! Just like that. No warning. They just walked out there, took off their shirts, and started unzipping their pants to reveal their g-string thongs (eeewww!). They let their pants sort of stay around their hips, like this is sexy or something. Ladies went wild! Money was being waved around and the two dudes would pull a few up on stage and simulate all kinds of sex acts. So much for "hands-off" like in the world of female strippers. These dudes were practically forcing the ladies to touch and grope them. I didn't care for the "show" at all. Neither did Katie. She was next to me when I hear her say, as much to herself as to me, "oh God - Carrie, back away from the stage. She's at the stage with money. She's drunk and doesn't know what she's doing. BACK AWAY FROM THE STAGE!" and she's looking completely horrified. And she had no sooner uttered those words when bam! Carrie was being hauled up on stage and manhandled. The dude had her on his shoulders FACING HIM, like he was giving her oral, and Carrie didn't know how to get out of it. She was sort of nervously laughing, totally drunk, and eyeing her friends for help. Thankfully it didn't last long and she was off him and off the stage. I wanted to dunk her in an acid bath to de-louse her, seriously. We caught the bus for the last place, thankful that it was almost over. I still didn't have a buzz despite having a drink at every stop. Katie and I were having fun watching everyone, but it wasnt' our scene, y'know? We couldn't really get into it, and instead found ourselves as observers doing the people-watching thing. The last place was really strange. It was in the Tenderloin district and had a big line outside, but there was no obvious sign with the name of the place. It looked as if we were going into an Asian BBQ. For real. But it ends up being this over-crowded nightclub, much like the others, only with a basement that left us shaking our heads in wonder. It was a cavernous room that had spaced-out girls in white wigs and hot pants dancing on little platforms throughout the room. Random. And so many people jammed into the area that it was almost impossible to move. It conjured up uncomfortable images of the nightclub that caught on first somewhere back east. It took Maureen over 20 min to get a drink. We were only there half an hour when the curtain came down for Carrie. Just like flipping a switch she'd had enough and wanted to go home. Now. Don't pass GO and don't collect $200. It was only 12:30am. An early night by most standards, but for us it had been a long day when you keep in mind we started at 11am with mimosas and didn't let up all day long. So we went back to Carrie's and crashed.

Sunday morning

Our time in San Francisco was brief. Katie and I needed to hit the road early in order to make it home in time for other obligations. We took off by 10:15am. Again, the nearly 600 mile drive went by quickly and we only had to stop once for gas and potty. We made it home by 6pm and it was good to see the family again. I was dog tired, but happy to have enjoyed my weekend with my sisters. And I STILL have no voice nearly 4 days after losing it. Small price to pay for a girls bachelorette weekend! My camera batteries died and I didn't get one single picture of the weekend. No evidence. But others did take pictures and promised to send them to me. When I get them, if they're not incriminating, I'll post them.

Next Stop: The Wedding! May 28th at 6pm.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Housework Hell

I always do this to myself. Everytime I plan to be away from home for any length of time I do this. I bust my ass cleaning up the house from top to bottom. And why? Because my mother did, I guess. Why do we do half the stupid shit we do? I can understand my compulsion to clean house when the entire family is going to be gone because "it's nice to come to a clean house" (OMG, I AM turning into my mother!). But this time it's just me leaving. The kids and Mr. Chick are staying home. And yet here I am, frantically cleaning every room prior to my departure. I'm vacuuming, dusting, making beds, doing laundry, scrubbing shit, even washing the rugs that go in front of the doors, for pete's sake! - and I'm not even going to be here to enjoy the housecleaning afterglow (not that it lasts too long anyway with two kids in the house). What I suspect, deep down, is that I feel if I clean the house I sort of "earn" my weekend away. Is that just total bullshit or what??! But yet I still do it.

I have a small house. It's our student house. Our "downsized" house for the law school years. It's about 1340 square feet, but really, it's 1200. Mr. Chick has an office that was an addition to the house off the back and it's not part of rest of the house. In other words, I don't have to clean it. So MY part of the house is 1200. 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. A kitchen, living room, and dining area. A standard ranch layout. Essentially a big rectangular box. But it's cozy and comfortable and really nice for student living (we own the house, it's not a student rental). And oh yeah, let's not forget the 4th bonus room off the back. It's sort of a hobby room or studio. Or if you're a law student, an office. It holds all of Mr. Chicks' crap that I don't want in the rest of the house. I've come to appreciate living in a smaller space. Less to clean. I mean, when you can vacuum your whole house without having to change where you plug in your vacuum cleaner, you live in a small house. I can do that - one central plug and I can do the whole place. And with two kids, a dog, a cat, and a husband, I do a LOT of vacuuming. So yeah, there are benefits to living in a smaller place. But there are drawbacks, too. Like it takes 5.3 seconds to mess it all up again. Small space = clutter, and I HATE clutter. It's my daily mission to rid my space of clutter. I might win a battle here and there, but overall I fear I'm losing the war.

I have a routine I follow when I do housework. I'm sure we all do. I'm curious to know how other people do housework. I often wonder if I do it the hard way or create more work for myself. If there isn't a better flow. This is how it goes for me: I always start in the kitchen. It's the heart of the house and it seems our lives revolve around the kitchen. So I MUST have a clean kitchen. (sidenote: Mr. Chick and I have an ongoing debate about what it means to do the dishes. For him, it means taking the dirty dishes from the table to the sink, rinse, and put them into the dishwasher. Clean pots & pans, or put them to soak. That's it. WTF?! Yes, that's a good start, but then you have to wipe down the table, wipe down the counters, put away any condiments or leftoevers, and then actually wash & DRY the pots & pans and PUT THEM AWAY! To him, what I just described is "cleaning the kitchen", not "doing the dishes". I say they're the same, at least in my book. I think this debate will rage between us for years to come.). After I clean the kitchen and get the table all squared away, I tackle the mountain of shit that has accumulated in the living room. All the crap the kids drag out and leave everywhere. Throw pillows on the floor, toys, Tupperware, shoes - always shoes, and misc. clothes. You name it and you could probably find it in my living room at some point during the day. The kids have a playroom yet seem to prefer scattering stuff all over vs. keeping it contained in the playroom. So I clean all that crap. Then I vacuum. I even vacuum the kitchen floor. I don't like to sweep, so I vacuum. It works quite well, I've found. Our house came with champagne-colored carpets, so everything shows. I do a LOT of spot-cleaning. This is the best cleaner I've found. Then I tidy up the playroom. You wouldn't think the kids were ever in there based on the amount of shit that ends up in the living room, but they usually start in the playroom. Lauren has a thing for pulling any and all books off the shelves, so it's a given that there will be a mountain of childrens books to be dealt with. I make the kids help me tidy the playroom - it's their stuff and they made the mess, after all, but their "help" is time consuming. Necessary, but slow. I make a sweep through the bathroom, removing any clothes that might still be on the floor from baths the night before, mop up any water puddles that have formed from Nicholas washing his hands (he likes to sometimes play in the sink and fill it with bubbles, etc. so it can get pretty swampy). By then it's time to feed the kids and start all over with the dishes. I swear, I must spend several hours a DAY standing in front of the sink!!

My bedroom is always the messiest room in the house. It gets downright gross in there. Mr. Chick and I are mutually slobby in the bedroom. We're so wiped out at the end of the day that our clothes just land where they will. Usually on the floor. Closet doors stay wide open, the bed is rarely made. It's embarrassing. I would be mortified if someone came over unannounced and saw what a sty my bedroom is on any given day. I keep the "public" parts of the house mostly tidy, but my bedroom is "private" and therefore I don't feel bad shutting the door. So it's the last room I clean up. *Maybe* once a week. And like I said, I rarely make the bed in the morning. But I ALWAYS make it at night as I get into it. What's up with that??! I MUST sleep under straight, balanced covers, but couldn't care less how it looks in the morning. I usually only make the bed during the day if it's a day I've done the laundry and re-made the bed with clean sheets. Except today. The bed is neatly made because I'm leaving. I'm sick, I tell you. N-U-T-S! I don't bother making Nicholas's bed because he still naps and that would mean making it twice a day. No thanks. When he's older I'm sure I'll insist on him making his bed before school each morning, just as I was made to do (maybe I'm still rebelling against that stupid rule?), but for now, it stays unmade and rumpled. Just like mine.

What do YOU do when it comes to housework? What is your routine? Do you have any shortcuts that you could share? Favorite cleaning products? Do you ever get worn down with the never-ending cycle of cleaning? I mean, I take my eye off the ball for even a few hours and it feels like the whole house has gone to shit. Seriously. That's how I feel today, because I'm cleaning like a mad-woman, and it just seems so pointless.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Baby Chick the Soccer Star

Today was the first day of my son's organized athletic career. Tot Soccer for 3 year olds started today. Mr. Chick is a big soccer nut - he's played the game his whole life, has coached kids for years, grew up on a soccer field, essentially. He was a big stud varsity star in high school - the glory days, if you will, so he's been waiting for the day when his son would take his first steps into the world of soccer. And today was that day. I was nervous about it, I admit. Nicholas tends to be dramatic and I was fearful that he wouldn't do something "right" and meltdown. Or walk away and pout, as he's prone to do. Some other kid would get to the ball first and it would be all over. But my worries were for naught - none of that happened (thank God!) and his first experience on a soccer team was a positive one. I was so proud of him! He listened well, participated eagerly, tried hard, and performed well. I can honestly say that he seemed to have the best skills of the small group he was part of. I guess all those hours his dad has worked with him paid off: he could kick the ball relatively straight. He could dribble it across the field, and he ran very fast (relatively speaking). I think it helps that he's an "old" 3 (meaning, he's pushing 4 whereas some of these kids are recent 3's), and I think the structure of preschool has helped, too. Anyway, like a proud parent, I had my camera in hand to capture this event:

Nicholas hustling after the ball

Where are his knees? Notice how his socks meet the hem of his shorts. Not a speck of flesh on his legs to be seen. All the kids looked like this.

Nicholas listening well to his freaky teenaged coach. They were nice, but sort of scary looking. One dude had a lot of metal on his clothes and strangely dyed hair. And was so skinny I could have snapped him in half with my bare hands. The other dude was round (you can see his back in this photo). He had long, strange hair, too. Together they were like Jack Sprat and his wife.

Nicholas, the stud of Tot Soccer! He was hoping for a green shirt but happily settled for the purple. I'm so proud of my boy! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

On the mend

Thanks to everyone for their well-wishes on a speedy recovery for Lauren. Thankfully, the barfing has stopped (knock on wood) and she seems to be fine. She was able to hold some some rice for dinner last night and has kept down a GoGurt and some string cheese today. She's still not eating much, compared to her normal self, but at least she's eating something and keeping it down. Even my cranky husband is feeling better today after getting to sleep in until after 9am this morning (lucky!) following a late night of studying and even later sex (luckier!). Oh how sex improves a man's outlook and mood, I swear - !

After more than 24 hrs of being within the 4 small walls of my house I need to bust out. So, I loaded up the kids and we went to Tiny Tots to play. I love Tiny Tots - it's been such a lifesaver for me for the past 3 years. I'm on the board of directors. We met up with a friend who came with us to the mall. I'm leaving for San Francisco in about 36 hrs and have a gift certificate to The Gap just burning a hole in my wallet. I thought it would be fun to pick up something new to wear in SF. I found this on sale ($14.99!) and bought it. Sometimes even the simplest, silliest thing can really lift your spirits. I figure it will look cute with my white or denim capri's for the daytime festivities in the City. We all know how chilly SF can get with all that fog.... Is anyone else completely disillusioned with The Gap? I like Sarah Jessica Parker and all, but for the past several years their stuff just hasn't seemed up to snuff. Lower quality, higher prices. Why would you EVER buy anything at full price when you know it will be put on clearance in a week or two? At least at Old Navy, the younger sister to The Gap, you pay less for the same lower quality stuff. But I digress...

So the kids ran around all morning, we grabbed lunch at Subway (trying to stay true to my better eating plan, just like Jared), and struck out finding soccer socks for the boys. Nicholas and his buddy start Tot Soccer tomorrow and we need the appropriate socks to go over the required shin guards. Youth soccer socks are apparently in short supply this time of year.... a mad rush to outfit all the future soccer stars, hoping their little one's will Bend It Like Beckham or something.
Now the kids are up and I'm getting ready to make a chicken pot pie for dinner. It's easy and everyone likes it. What are YOU having for dinner?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


I'm off to a great start this morning (NOT!). Lauren was up several times last night fussing for whatever reason. So I overslept a bit (7:35am). I had to wake Nicholas up in a rush to get him ready for preschool (starts at 7:30am). Lauren was underfoot. Mr. Chick was still trying to sleep (fool!) having had a shitty night of sleep himself. It's crunch time for him and he's under a lot of pressure. Lots to do, still, before graduation. So I realize in about 10 seconds time that I'm not going to have enough time to swim this morning. You see, the pool closes for lap swimming at 8:30am. So if I'm not in the water by 8am at the latest I don't have enough time to get a decent swim in and make it worth my while. And with it being past 7:30 already that's not going to happen. So I downshift and put on running clothes instead. I rush Nick into his clothes, making enough noise to wake Mr. Chick, who then stumbles into the living room and puts in a Baby Einstein video for Lauren and lays down on the couch. I get Nick to school and go for a quick run (I don't know - just under 3 miles?) and drive home all sweaty. Ick. Usually I shower and get ready at the pool after my swim, but I figured it would be better to save time and do that at home this morning in order to relieve Mr. Chick and let him get rolling with his day. I should have known better.

So I get home and am hit with the hideous aroma of barf the second I walk in the door. You know that smell. The stench - ! Mr. Chick is changing Lauren in the kids bedroom because she randomly puked at breakfast, I'm told. No warning, just sat there and hurled. I finished getting her dressed and then jumped in the shower myself. She seems fine - no fever, not overly cranky. I get laundry started and Mr. Chick and I scarf down some breakfast ourselves. He leaves for school. I won't see him until really late tonight because Tuesday is his late night - late class, late studying. I'm on my own for the rest of the waking hours of the day & evening. Well, my coffee kicks in and I'm in the bathroom. Lauren joins me in there (so much for privacy!) when she suddenly unleashes torrents of barf. Again. Only a LOT. And it REEKS. Gross. I'm sitting there just watching this happen. She's not crying - just puking. And OF COURSE she's wearing the brand new shin guards we bought for Nicholas last night for his Tot Soccer, which starts on Thursday. And OF COURSE the vomit gets on them. Nice. So I strip her down and clean her up and put her in her 2nd outfit of the day (all before 9:30am). Then I have to go and clean up the LAKE of puke in the bathroom. The only bright spot is that I had recently removed the bathmat because Nicholas's aim wasn't so good and he peed on it. Gotta love all the bodily functions you deal with once you're a mom.

So now I'm totally housebound today. So much for taking Lauren to toddler storytime at the library. I don't know what kind of bug she might have but I don't want to be the one to spread it around. Like I said, no fever, no other symptoms beyond a slightly runny nose. So this is my life today, people. Barfing Baby duty and lots and lots of laundry. You wish you were me, don't you?! Admit it.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Kick-Ass Chocolate Chip Cookies

Despite my best efforts to tighten up my diet and eating habits, every so often a girl needs a cookie. But not just any cookie - only the worlds best chocolate chip cookie will do when the urge strikes. And when it strikes, it strikes HARD. So yesterday afternoon I decided to make a batch of these delicious treats and got my kids involved in helping. Nicholas loved it. It was his job to pour the various ingredients into the mixer, and he took his responsibility very seriously. And of course, each child got to lick a beater when we were finished. That was the extent of Lauren's contribution - licking a beater - but she sat poised on the stool next to her brother the entire time just waiting for that. As usual, these cookies turned out perfectly, satisfying my craving like a charm. So I thought it only fair to share the recipe with everyone. I wish I could claim it as my own, but I got it from my friend, Maraya, whose thing is baking. She's got a knack for it and these cookies are proof. So enjoy!

pre-heat oven to 350

1 1/2 sticks of butter - softened (don't use margarine - butter is far superior)
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 - 3/4 cup peanut butter - creamy style (not chunky).

Mix the above ingredients until smooth, then add:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 - 3/4 cup oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
chocolate chips - quantity is up to you! (I find a whole bag to be too much - maybe 1/2 - 3/4 bag of chips is perfect.)

The dough will be thick - almost too thick for my mixer. Granted, it's an old mixer, but still, the dough is thick. This is the way it's supposed to be. I don't need to use spoons to drop the dough onto the baking sheet - I use my hands and roll it into a ball (that way the cookies turn out perfectly round). Bake each batch for 8-10 min. They are soft, chewy and utterly delicious! I KNOW you and your family will LOVE these cookies - that's a promise. And using ingredients like whole wheat flour and wheat germ really cuts down on the guilt factor when you eat waaayyyy more than you should because they just taste so damn good!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Introducing.... Mr. Chick!

My lovely husband has been busting his ass lately with the rush to graduation and all that entails. Plus, did I mention, he also works two (2!) part-time jobs in addition to all of his law school stuff?? Yet he never fails to impress and amaze me with how he continues to make me feel special and valued in the midst of everything. He's a helluva dad and adores the kids, and they, in turn, love him to pieces. We recently had a date night, which HE initiated AND arranged for the sitters. So I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy when I think of him today and thought you he should be properly introduced. These pictures span about 3 yrs., but to me, he's ageless. (and tell me if you don't think he resembles Joey from Friends just a little bit!) Don't let the name fool you - he's ALL (my) man!

Mr. Chick & MP (my hair length keeps changing....)
I'm 16 wks pregnant with Lauren in the first pic. He and I are actually the exact same height. These pics are misleading..... a lot depends on which shoes I'm wearing.

Mr. Chick the HOTTIE

Mr. Chick & the kids - he's a wonderful dad! Nicholas is about 2 yrs old in the first one and he looks a LOT like his dad. He's only 6 mos old in the next one. Mr. Chick is holding baby Lauren in the last one when she was only 8 mos old (last summer)
Posted by Hello

Chick Sisters Road Trip!

It's all finally planned and confirmed: my sister Katie and I are road-tripping down to San Francisco next weekend to attend the bachelorette party of our youngest sister, Carrie! (Did I ever mention I'm the oldest of 4 girls?) Carrie is getting married over Memorial Day weekend in Santa Clara, CA (and yes, we're driving to that affair as well only WITH the kids ) But next weekend is the bachelorette and we decided at sort of the last minute to go and kick our heels up. The best part? It's totally a surprise! Carrie has no idea that Katie and I are coming. We're relying on sister #3, Maureen, to help keep the secret and let us into her apartment in the wee morning hours when we arrive. We three sister are the bridesmaids in the wedding. Well, Katie and I are bridesmaids, Maureen is the Maid of Honor.

Sidenote: Quick family tree: I'm the oldest and have two kids but my sister Katie, who is 19 mos. younger than me, got married first by 2 yrs. She has 3 kids. Her younger two are the exact same gender and age as my two, within a few months. Maureen is 4 yrs younger than me and living the single life. Carrie is 9.5 yrs younger than me, which one would think would make her an infant far too young to be getting married, but really she'll be married just 2 days before her 26th birthday, so I guess she's old enough. But just barely.

Maureen is a co-organizer of this event and sent out really cute invitations that spelled out the agenda for the day/evening. Which is what made me think about going whereas before I just assumed it wouldn't be possible. But it just sounded like so much fun and it's ONLY a 9 hr drive (each way!), so I called Katie to rope her into coming with me. It's more fun to road-trip WITH someone, wouldn't you agree? Surprisingly, she was up for coming. I totally thought she'd blow it off but she's good to go. I think we are both thinking that it will be nice to ride in a car and NOT have to listen to the same annoying kid songs over and over and over and over again, and not have to make repeated stops for emergency potty breaks, or stop for food, or pick up something that dropped on the floor out of reach, or any number of things that happen when you drive with kids in the car. So we're going and we leave in one week.

The Plan: drive like crazy Friday evening, stopping only when we arrive in SF, which should be around 2am. Circle endlessly looking for a place to park my Volvo (parking is a big problem in SF...). Lug our stuff, including sleeping bags, pillows and inflatable mattresses, to Carrie's apartment and hope the loud buzzer will wake up Maureen so she can let us in. Oh yeah, we'll be hauling the wedding dress with us as well. Can't forget that. Surprise the shit out of Carrie and then crash on the floor of her very small apartment. The next day we all have appointments for manicures and pedicures at this local nail salon. Then we're having lunch at this restaurant, which features southwestern fare. We get the afternoon to SHOP in the City (hooray! just wish I had the cash to blow on shopping but whatever. Window shopping will have to do). Then we're having drinks and food at one of her friends' house before catching the bus that will take us to all the hot spots and nightclubs for the evening. From the pics on the website, the bus looks to be a party in it's own right. They're asking the guests to wear mostly black for the evening. I have just the cute skirt and sandals to fit the bill. But I'm hoping - reeeallllyyy hoping - that they aren't planning to do much (or anything) too tacky to Carrie. I KNOW it's her bachelorette, but nothing makes me cringe more than seeing some poor bride being dragged out looking like a tramp and being made to do ridiculous things thoughout the evening. Like get so many kisses on the cheek, or obtain x number of boxer shorts, or stupid stuff like that. I'm too old to participate in that type of embarrassing crap. I just want to hang out, have some cocktails, and get to know Carrie's friends so I'll be acquainted with them at the wedding. Fun, but not obnoxious. We'll see what unfolds. Whatever it ends up being, Katie and I have to drive all the way back home (and she has to go 2 more hours than me to get back to Portland) on Sunday. It's a quick trip, but hopefully worth it. We'll be in the car about as long as we'll be in San Francisco. And then we get to turn around and repeat that drive in just 6 more weeks. WITH kids. Thankfully, Katie and I have no trouble chatting the hours away and I'm sure the time in the car will pass quickly. Let the Chick Sisters Road Trip begin!!

Thursday, April 07, 2005


I have things in my life that are chock full of contradictions. I'm sure we all do. One of mine is my religion - Catholic. I consider myself a Catholic yet find I disagree with various elements of Church doctrine. So am I really a Catholic if that's the case? This morning highlighted another contradiction: perks for low-income families vs. my personal views/values. Let me explain: We are a student family living on savings, loans and part-time income. Yet we have assets we accumlulated in our pre-student days (i.e. we own our home, own our cars, have investment property, retirement accounts, etc.) So if you look ONLY at our income, we are poor and could qualify for a host of programs/benefits. But if you look at the big picture, those perks don't apply to us. A lot depends on how you define "income". We could qualify for WIC (Women-Infant-Children) for groceries, but feel it would be wrong of us to do so because we don't need it and don't want to be taking resources from those who truly do. Yet (and here's where I totally contradict myself) we ARE taking advantage of a couple of programs offered by our local utility for low-income families.

We recently go all new thermastats installed thoughout our house. We have a crazy heating system called ceiling radiant heat and therefore each room is separately controlled by it's own thermastat - zonal heat. From the ceiling. Because heat rises and some jackass thougth it would be really fun to put the source of the heat in the ceiling. A large portion of the homes built in this town in the 60's and 70's have this ass-backwards heating system. Whatever. I digress. The utility company came in and installed new digital thermastats in every room in our house. For free. It would have run us almost $500 had we done this ourselves. And we qualify for free new windows as well. We've been on the waiting list for about 18 mos and finally it's happening. The guy was just out here this morning to measure for the windows. We'll have brand new, thermal, energy-efficient, custom windows within 3 months. Did I mention they're FREE to us?? It's going to add thousands of dollars in equity in our home, and since we're going to be selling it and moving at the end of summer/early fall, this is quite the windfall and will make our home even more attractive to potential buyers. But I can't help but wonder why I'm OK taking advantage of this low-income program and not another. It doesn't make sense to me. Is it because I attach some sort of judgement or stigma to families who receive food stamps? Is it because the weatherization program adds value and will benefit not only us but those who live here after us? I'm not sure what the difference is, but somehow there is a difference. It's contradictory, I admit.

Sidenote rant: There aren't many families in law school. But I know of one family in particular who DOES accept WIC and it makes me crazy. I view law school as totally optional and voluntary. To attend you already have a college degree - it's not like vocational school. You have the ability to earn a decent living prior to law school. So to choose to go to law school and then need food stamps to feed your kids pisses me off. Either don't go to school if you can't afford it, or don't have kids until you are finished and can afford to feed them without public assistance. I don't see WIC as a program designed for the people who have voluntarily choosen to put themselves and their families in near-poverty. Law school and student life is a choice, not a circumstance. On the same note, I know another family (not students) who have two young kids. She's a full-time SAHM, he works, they own their home. Their life is what it is - they're not in the midst of a transition or anything. They get WIC because he doesn't earn much money and they technically qualify. Ok, I'm fine with that. She used to work but decided to stay home when they had their 2nd child. But now they're actively trying to have another baby. This makes me crazy! If you already require public assistance to feed your family, be done having kids until you're able to fully support your family yourselves! Is it just me who gets driven crazy by people like this??! Or my neighbors, who lovingly adopted their youngest daughter from foster care, and will receive WIC for her for years to come. Even though they don't qualify otherwise, the state provides WIC for this girl - just the girl - despite the fact that she was legally adopted and is no longer part of the foster care system. And this family accepts the WIC!! Of course, this same family declared bankruptcy last fall even though he's a tax CPA (yeah, makes you confident of his financial planning ability, doesn't it?), but got to keep their big house, their cars, everything. He'd lost his job and they'd been saddled with a huge, accumulated debt of medical bills (100's each month in prescriptions), and past credit card debt from living large. But yet in the aftermath of the bankruptcy they now drive two new cars (worked a deal where they turned in 2 paid-for vehicles and one still with payments for 2 new cars that have the same amount of pymt for both they'd been paying for the one.) You filed BANKRUPTCY, people! Now you're taking on more debt?? They installed new Pergo-like floors, got new furniture, painted the whole interior of the house, got a new screen door and two new garage doors, etc. All in the aftermath of the bankruptcy. The only difference is that their kids no longer attend private school and go to the local public school instead. She doesn't work and he WOULDN'T LET HER, despite being in such dire financial straits that they were filing for bankruptcy. Where is the logic??! Now people like me end up paying for the actions of people like that - who walk away from their financial obligations without any sort of sting to the lifestyle that got them to that place originally. Who get WIC from the state but drive new cars and live in a huge house with a pool. I just don't get it. Talk about contradictions!!

Whew! Guess I woke up on the cranky side of the bed this morning, huh? Maybe another cup of coffee will calm me down and un-frazzle me. Perhaps I'm having a hard time with all these contradictions and personal opinions because, at the end of the day, we are just as guilty as these other people who make me so crazy are, and I find that unnerving.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Ever-Present Diet Thing

Like most women (I assume), I'm constantly thinking about my weight and figure. For the most part, I'm content with how I look. But there is a little voice in the back of my head that will tell me I need to lose some weight. Or that I should or shouldn't eat something. Or that I need to get more exercise. Or whatever. It's annoying, yet helpful in a bizarre way. I really wish body image wasn't a big a deal as it is in our society, but by myself I'm not powerful enough to change that. So I deal with it and hope to set a healthy example for my kids (especially my daughter since girls seem more obsessed with this than boys. Lucky boys). I mean, what kind of bullshit are we buying when a size 12 model is considered "plus sized"? That's crap. America is getting bigger by the day, but the average is a size 12. Of course, a 12 is bigger than it was a decade or two ago, but whatever, I can roll with it.

I'm what I describe as "solid". Nothing about me has ever been petite. Ever. I'm on the tall side (5'8", approximately), and have broad shoulders, big feet (size 10's), and my figure is curvy. I wear a 34-36 "D" bra. I have a butt (watch out, J.Lo!). Before kids, I came close to the stereotypical 36-24-36, meaning I had (past tense) a small waist relative to the rest of me. So yeah, curvy. My weight was stable for years with small fluxuations here and there. I'm not embarrassed to share details like what my weight is (currently: 168, but I think I wear it well. Ask VirgoJen - she's met me). More important to me than the number on the scale is the size of my clothes. In high school and college I was an 8, sometimes a 10, depending. Then slowly it became the norm for me to be a 10, sometimes 12. And then after kids it was a 12, mostly 14. I work out regularly, but my eating was atrocious. All my favorite, comfort foods are high-carb stuff: pasta, rice, bagels, mashed potatoes, etc. And cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. Yummmm! After Nicholas I did Weight Watchers and lost 20 lbs. I got down to 158lbs, which for me was really close to what I weighed when I got married. I looked really good and my size 10 "skinny jeans" had some extra room. Then we moved here and I got pregnant. 'Nuff said. I was back to 14's after Lauren's arrival. And my tummy just isn't the same. My waist isn't as tiny - it's much thicker than before babies. I always had a pooch under my belly button, but now it's poochy all over my mid-section. Totally gross. I cleaned up my eating and lost about 10 lbs to where I am today. I've maintained that for months. It's about 15lbs too heavy for my liking. So like before, it's time to tighten up my diet and shed those pounds once and for all. I'm really good at maintaining weight - it's the losing it that's hard (duh!). I'm not aiming to look like this. But I don't want to look like this, either. There has to be a happy middle-ground, right?

The most helpful (and annoying) part of Weight Watchers was keeping the food journal. Since WW is out of our student budget, I've found this site to keep my food journal online: FitDay. My plan is to eat between 1500 - 1800 calories a day. That and stepping up my exercise regimen to include one more workout a week (currently I swim 2x/wk and run 1x, about 3 miles. Need to work in another run). You see, my youngest sister is getting married over Memorial Day weekend. I'm a bridesmaid. The bridesmaid dresses are super-cute and right now I'm between the 10 and the 12. The 12 is probably better but I really want to wear the 10. It's probably too aggressive to think I can lose enough without drastic measures in time, but something is better than nothing, right? So I'll be noting my progress here over the next 6 weeks. I'm hoping that being accountable publicly will keep my feet to the fire. But you know what? Even if I don't my husband will still think I'm sexy, and isn't that the most important thing?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

(non)Geeky Chick

Ok, it's becoming quite clear that I'm am technically challenged in the ways of blogging. Big time. I mean, I KNOW I'm blogging on a basic site (I mean, it's FREE, people, how advanced can it be??) and I'm slowly figuring things out like how to post pictures, etc. I've just learned how to post more than one picture to an entry - bonus. And I've managed to add a (free) site counter. So clearly I can learn this stuff - it just takes me awhile to get the hang of it. But I can't quite seem to unravel the mystery of all those cute blog graphics (blog stickers? Is that what they're called?) that I see on a lot of blogs I visit. Where do those come from? How do you get them to appear on your blog? I also don't seem to be able to categorize my posts by topic - just by month (or whatever timeframe I specify). It seems as though I can't create a place where all my posts bitching about whatever - husband shortcomings, for example - is possible. That sucks. If nothing else, I like to be organized. So if anyone has some insights into these technical dilemmas and could shed some light for me, I would be one appreciative chick!

I feel embarrassed having to admit my (non) geeky status. I mean, I used to work for a high-tech company who created large-scale intranets and extranets for companies. It doesn't get more geeky, computer-based than that. But my job in this dot-com start-up was in the marketing department, not coding. I mean - HTML? I don't this so. I can generate very qualified leads for this stuff and make the company look good at tradeshows and in advertising, but to actually understand all that goes behind it? No, not me. Those people speak a totally different language. But now it's dawning on me that maybe I need to embrace the realm of the geek and learn myself some techno-speak. Coding, I mean. Or whatever I need to know to make my blog look cute, fun, and inviting. The way a blog from a creative marketing type of person should.

I should probably just get my 3.5 yr old son Nicholas to do this for me. He could probably bang it out in no time. He's already pretty proficient on the computer - it blows us away. He uses the mouse one-handed (and has since 2), knows the difference between right-click and left-click, and can launch an internet browser in order to click on "favorites" and scroll down to his websites to play games (he likes
this one, this one, and this one the best. Sometimes this one, too.). If we let him, he'd play on the computer for HOURS. We don't let him play that long. He gets sort of buggy if he's online too much. Sort of like certain adults I know.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Where I Brag A Bit...

As I mentioned in my profile (for those of you who read it), I crochet. I was initially taught some basics by my great-grandmother "back in the day" (ok, it was the late 70's...). And that was that. Until about 6 or 7 months ago when my idle hands needed something to do other than stuff food into mouth after the kids were in bed and my law student spouse was studying. Isn't there an old saying about "idle hands are the devils workshop" or something - ? Anyway, I needed something to do while I watched reality TV and got the brilliant idea to renew my rusty crochet skills and maybe make something for the kids and/or Christmas gifts. So off I went to the trusty craft store to pick up some supplies. I found a handy book kit containing a few cute patterns for baby stuff and the necessary hooks, conveniently titled "I Taught Myself To Crochet" and promptly bought it. Surprisingly, I took to crochet like a duck to water. My living room became a sweatshop with me turning out various projects: a poncho for my daughter (how trendy!), a cable-knit hat for me (yes, you can fake a cable-knit in crochet), vests for my son and husband, a cute sundress for a friends daughter (1st birthday present), and a couple of little purses as gifts for preschool girls. And oh yeah, mittens for my kids that they whole-heartedly believe were made for them by Santa's elves. Shhhh - ! So with Christmas behind me I was in the market for a new project. I decided to make a baby sweater for my girlfriend Elizabeth who is expecting her 2nd child, a girl, in May. I just finished it a few days ago and am so happy with how it turned out! Check it out:

I have another friend, Jen, who is also expecting Baby #2 but does not yet know the gender. I'm itching to start working on something for her but need to wait until that bit of info is known. I couldn't wait to get the ball rolling so I bought this cool crochet book today. Excellent! My next project is definitely coming from here. Now I just need to find a way to better afford all the fun yarn these projects require.... student budgets suck.
Posted by Hello

Baby Chicks

These are my precious offspring. Lauren is 16 mos and Nicholas is 3.5 yrs old. How cute are they?! Posted by Hello

Chick Debut

Image is slightly fuzzy to protect the identity of the innocent.... Posted by Hello

Yeah, this is me. Now you have a visual to go along with the personality. Try not to let it get in your way, whatever your opinion of my appearance. Yes, my hair is naturally curly/wavy. Yes, I dye it (close to my natural color, believe it or not) to hide the ever-increasing amount of gray hair cropping up. I'm 5'8" tall, have very fair skin (read: pale/ivory/pasty/translucent) with a smattering of freckles. My eyes are blue. What can I say - I'm Irish/German. At least my husband is 25% Indonesian and one of our kids seems to have inherited his ability to suntan. In case you're wondering about him, let's just say he gets a lot of "Did you know you look a lot like Joey Tribiani from Friends?" Now you have a visual of him. I think he's HOT! (and this after 13 years together. Impressive, isn't it?!)

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