Friday, October 31, 2008

Getting Back on the Horse

Today, I mailed in my non-degree seeking application to Parkland Community College. I'm going to go ahead and take 12 hours worth of classes next spring. Hopefully, I'll get into Program Planning for Young Children and Care of Infants/Toddlers. I'm also planning on taking the First Aid/CPR class (which is basically 1 month of Thursday evenings, so I'll find a sitter for those) so I can be certified and Psychology 101 -- because I never took it in school and it's a prerequisite to to take their Child Psychology class... which I think I'd like to do down the line.

Classes, besides CPR, are all in the morning. 9-10:50 MW, 11-12:15 T/Th. I'll have to do a couple hours of labs during the week too, but since there aren't times, I'm guessing this is at my own discretion. The psych class is online. 

The plan being that after I get my credit, I can then apply to be a substitute teacher at pre-schools around town while I continue to take classes that I'm interested in and also continue to allow me to have flexibility due to my out of whack family schedule, while still being friendly with my child care situation when I'm a single parent. 

I'm very excited about the idea, although not so excited about having to relearn APA style (seriously I hated it). 

So there ya go. Teacher jobs are expected to grow in Early Childhood Education over the next 10 years, but mostly, I'm excited because I've wanted to do this for a long time. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Annoying and Cute Post: It's a little salty and a little sweet

The road in front of my subdivision has been closed going west since Monday. The construction was supposed to be over at the close of business yesterday, but this morning when I went to take X-man to school the construction guys were still working. This annoyed me. A lot. 

I ask X-man every morning and before bed every night if he wants to use the potty. A few weeks ago he was interested. Now he doesn't give a damn. But I feel like I should ask, even though the answer is always no. Incentives and praise and positive reinforcement aren't enough... so we'll give that some time.

On the way to school X-man wanted to count. So we started counting. He always stops at 24. I'm not sure why... you'd think if he got 21-24, he'd just keep going with 25, 26, 27... but he doesn't.

I got him  up to 30 and then this is what happened.

"X-man, what number comes after 30?"

"MONDAY!"

"What day comes after Monday?"

"MY BIRTHDAY! Happy Birth-a-d-day to Xander..."

See where this went?


MacTroll is the Man

For the second year in a row, MacTroll won a mega award from work. He's the MVP of the entire Enterprise division. Top dog. Team Hustler. All that good stuff.

So he wins his 5-day trip to Mexico. He gets another free computer (which we're keeping for the first time this year. Prior free computers were given away to people who needed them more than we did) and he gets another shiny glass statue.

If anyone of you wonder why he spends so much time away, it's because he loves his job and he rocks at it, and his efforts are appreciated and honored. I'm very proud of him. 

(Now maybe he'll take Halloween off and spend it doing nothing but going from Halloween party to Halloween party...)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ode to My Ass

Two months ago, I asked for a commitment from my body to slowly start working on regaining the habit of exercising most days of the week—something I hadn't been mentally ready for since 2005. I promised my body that I wouldn't let my head talk me out of going, and at the end of six weeks, I would make exercise a habit.

Well, I've done well. I've gone to the gym 5 days of the week most weeks, a couple times I only snuck in 4 works outs and only when I was down with a respiratory infection did I only manage 3 workouts. 

But I have to honor one body part above all the others for staying with me through the hard work and dedication. I am thrilled by the results she has achieved and that she has the endurance and willingness to put up with an hour on a recumbent bike one day, 40 minutes on an elliptical machine another day, zumba class, strength training class... and where my shin splints screamed out in pain from using the treadmill yesterday, this part of my body powered through and reminded the capillaries in my torso area how to do their jobs.

To my ass, I thank you. I have no idea if your overall size is shrinking as you and I both hoped, but I know your muscle tone is improving. I also know that you look plenty fine in my boot cut jeans from the Gap. I know this, because every day after I work out, I can't help but check you out in the mirror on the way into the locker room. Really, I don't do it to just make sure you're still there. I'm sorry if it's offensive, but I enjoy objectifying your assets.

So, I raise my Nivea Q10 lotion in your honor. Here's to our continued commitment to overall health -- and here's to hoping that your success and dedication spreads to other places like your neighbors Ms. Hips and Mr. Thighs. 

I love ya, babe.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

For the lovely Andrina

My friend Dri and I were chatting the other day. We were thinking maybe the two of us needed a Dri and Loosey do the U.K. trip next summer. I've never been, and well, she was born there and went to University there, so... I'd have an instant guide. 

She was reading my blog during our chat and in the middle she stumbled across some items I've been cooking. One of them was Chicken & Corn Chowder from Williams & Sonoma's "Weeknight" cookbook (pretty much a bunch of recipes you can make in 30 minutes or less). 

She asked if it was low fat and I laughed. But then I finally made the sucker tonight, and learned that she can poke me in the nose the next time she sees me, because just by being me, I managed to make it "lower fat" than the original recipe. It was good enough for me to post, even if X-man only ate the pre-requisite five spoonfuls in order to get more fruit snacks. 

So here it is... I'll put the original ingredients in brackets next to the ones I used, in case there are any purists out there.

Ingredients
Turkey bacon (4 slices, chopped) [4 slices regular bacon]
Red bell pepper, 1 large, seeded and chopped
Frozen or fresh corn kernels (4 cups/1.5 pounds)
Yukon Gold Potatoes (3/4 pound, cut into 1/2-inch chunks)
Vegetable broth (3 cups) [3 cups Chicken broth]
Dry white wine (1/2 cup or 4 oz)
Skinless, boneless, chicken thighs (3/4 lb, cut into 1/2 inch chunks)
Green onions (6, white and pale green parts thinly sliced)
Fresh thyme (3 tablespoons, minced)
Fat Free Half-and-half (2.5 cups or 20 oz) [Real Half-in-half, 20 oz]
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. In a deep saucepan over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp (5 min). Transfer onto paper towels when done and pour out any drippings.

2. Add the pepper, corn and potatoes to the same saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the peppers are just softened and the corn and potatoes are lightly tinged with gold, 4-5 minutes.
Add the broth and the wine, bring to a boil and cover. Cook until potatoes are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, covered until it is opaque throughout, 5-7 minutes.

3. Stir in the green onions, thyme and half and half. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered until heated through (around 3 minutes). Season with salt and pepper, then ladle the chowder into the bowls and sprinkle the bacon on top.

Serves 4. Supposedly takes 30 minutes, but with a toddler underfoot it took 50 minutes.

The Headache: Day 3

I woke up with a migraine on Sunday morning. It took me several hours to get it to move from behind my left eye to the top of my head (a sign it was going away). And then yesterday, I'm guessing due to lack of sleep, a tension headache (no aura or eye pain) popped up just before my nap and lasted until around 6:30 p.m. last night.

I woke up this morning with the same headache. I ate breakfast and took some ibuprofen, hoping it would chase it away like it did  last night. But still no luck. I did make it to the gym today, but I walked on the treadmill for 2 miles (a little over 30 minutes). 

It was a day at the gym when I really missed my peeps. Blonde perfect girl ran in front of me and young able guy ran next to me. And he ran. If you caught last week's Private Practice where Pete and Addison went running and pumped up their treadmills to the 13-level range you know what I'm talking about. 

Me, I walk as fast as I can without falling off (yes, I've done that before) which is in the 4-level range averaging a 15.10-minute mile.

Definitely not as fabulous as my Lightning McQueen fast sister-in-law Jean, who ran the San Francisco marathon last week and apparently came in first in her age group and seventh out of 20,000 women, according to the Troll family calling tree. 

Young able guy, even decided to rub it in by doing a bit BACKWARDS. 

Then as I'm drinking my water and stretching two  more beautiful people run into each other in the hall (where is the 65+ crowd that I usually feel so comfortable with?) and one of them was six weeks post partum and looked amazing. Apparently, she went right into pilates, while three years afterwards, I'm still excited about a 2-mile walk where I feel the blood actually zinging through the capillaries in my butt and thighs reminding me that I've done something. 

I guess everyone has different issues. But I definitely think the biology has messed up the effort put forth to results obtained scenario. 

Oh, and the 65+ crowd -- today's only member was ice blue short woman with matching tank top going to pilates. She was toned and inspiring, and didn't at all scream "grandma!"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow!

The first night MacTroll leaves is always hell. Last night, X-man went to bed perfectly. No fights and an hour early (that's right, he was asleep by 8 p.m.) because he didn't nap and spent almost 2 hours at the Urbana Aquatic Center with the Lemonade Family and some of our other CARE friends. 

But I couldn't fall asleep. I tossed and turned. The dog pawed at me to go outside several times. He's pissed off because, unlike a much nicer MacTroll, I've got him in his big e-collar 24/7. He's been licking his paws due to allergies and licked them to the point of getting yeast infections. So I've been putting the stuff on them from our vet and incasing him in plastic. So he bashes into all the walls as he sulks, gets his head stuck on the baby gate, etc.

X-man wandered into my room around 2 a.m. last night. He was demanding breakfast and trying to pull me out of bed. I had to explain that we had almost 6 hours until breakfast and he needed to go back to sleep. I got him a drink of water, which he sucked back. He finally did fall asleep around 3 a.m., but only if he laid on his back while on top of me. 

Giant king-sized bed. And I was the kid's mattress. Once he fell asleep, I rolled him off. But he was like a big log, so I ended up getting up and moving to MacTroll's side of the bed.

I woke up at 6 a.m., took a shower and just lay next to X-man staring at him thinking of all the bad shit that happens to little kids and what a crappy world it is that angers me so much when I think about it for too long. 

Then the usual morning stuff happened... with a fight after breakfast because X-man didn't want to wear a coat or shoes. He didn't care how cold it was. So I buckled him into his car seat and put them on in the parking lot at school. Then I skipped the gym to come home and wait for big delivery number 1: my new MacBook.

I got a call from UPS saying it would be here today sometime between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Usually they deliver at our house between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. But it's 1:46 p.m. right now and I'm so tired from all the interrupted sleep, but I'm afraid if I go upstairs and try to nap, I'll nap through the doorbell. 

So, I cleaned the downstairs bathroom. And I picked up the toys and put away the clean dishes and put the dirty ones in the dishwasher. I cleaned up my stuff for the swap that's on the dining room table. I worked on holiday/birthday gift buying. I cleaned up X's art table... you know how it goes. The repetitive stuff that I do pretty much all the time, but doesn't seem to make a difference in the actual cleanliness of my house. Maybe I'll feel more productive tomorrow, if I get some decent sleep tonight.

Oooh, doorbell. I bet that's my new computer! Glory be, I get to go take a nap!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thinking Out Loud

MacTroll is awesome at his job. Every year that he's been with the major huge techie company he's won some kind of award or trip or free computer for performance excellence. He's dedicated, his work days know no hours and they compensate him very well for something he doesn't have a formal degree in (of course none of his co-workers really have an MIS degree either). 

Anyway, last year he won a 5-day vacation to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas for himself and his significant other (I was shocked and surprised when he chose me :-).) Everything at the resort that wasn't included was ferociously expensive, so we were confined to the resort and our meal passes. It wasn't all that warm out most of the days (not that far enough south), plus there were rip tides every day, so no ocean swimming. But still, I'm the mother of a toddler. I got to read books and sleep in every day for five days, I should have been grateful, right?

Well, I wasn't. Because I was there with 100 of MacTroll's co-workers, who unlike my techno nerd were all sales people. The kind with fake bake tans and trophy wives bragging about their $20,000 home theaters and the payments on their Jaguars. And I hate dinner with them and usually breakfast every day. Plus, there was the added weirdness that our friend was there sans spouse due to an unfortunate domestic turn of events (i.e. he pissed her off enough to make her NOT want to go on vacation with him), so our friend was with us at every meal. After lunch, I'd send the boys on their way after lunch, while I went upstairs to the hotel to nap. 

We did find a handful of people that were enjoyable, and we all pretty much stuck together like glue at events like the company beach picnic or the luau. 

The other problem is care. Both of my parents still work, so there aren't grandparents to leave them with. I feel weird asking friends to take my child for five days, when most of them already have their hands full with their own kids. So we flew X-man out to Awesome sister-in-law K's house for the five days, where he got to play with his three cousins. He got to hang with K's mom Rita, go on bounce houses, play with their toys and train tables and he was a happy, happy camper. But K lives in Baltimore. So it's a flight out there, and then a flight to Bahamas and back to Baltimore and then back home for a vacation that wasn't at all relaxing or even really enjoyable.

When we got back, despite the sleep, I determined that I wasn't going again. It wasn't worth 5 days without my kid and for liability reasons you're not able to bring a child, even if you pay for them. 

Well, it looks like MacTroll is going to win a trip this year too. This time the company has reserved an entire resort in Mexico (meaning I couldn't even escape the corporate weirdness if I wanted too). But MacTroll really wants to go, so I told him to go. They don't allow people who aren't spouses/significant others to go with him, and like our friend, he's afraid he'll be the third wheel all of the time. But on the other hand, he would get to nap and sleep in and get some time away from us that wasn't working. Just like I have my mom-only vacations, I support MacTroll having his Dad-only vacations.

But he keeps telling me he wishes that I'd change my mind. But I'd rather stay home alone than go. And that to me speaks volumes about what a crappy time I had. But I still feel guilty. 

"Oooh, poor me, I don't want to go on the free vacation to Mexico with my husband," -- maybe if it was just the two of us I'd be willing -- but then, of course, it wouldn't be free. 

Anyway, this is me just thinking out loud. My instincts say no, but my guilt says - Sigh. 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This Little Light of X-man's

Last night as we drove home, X-man fell asleep at 8 p.m. in the car. As such, MacTroll and I let the dog out, fed the cats dinner, dimmed all the lights and then I got an overnight diaper ready while MacTroll carried X-man to his room. 

He slept all the way upstairs. He slept through the diaper change. He slept through me putting some PJ bottoms on him. We kissed him goodnight and then we went to our room.

It was 8:15 p.m. We watched some TV and then we went to bed. Around 3 a.m., X-man's witching hour, he woke up. He ran into our room, and MacTroll moved over and let him climb into bed. And then at 4 a.m., our cat knocked over MacTroll's water glass on his night stand. Computers and phones were far away, so it was no big deal. But it woke me up with a start, which woke X-man up, which woke MacTroll up, so he could clean up the mess.

Then I realized that X-man's diaper was leaking a bit. So I went to go get him a new one. The hall light was on. When I opened his bedroom door, it was like walking into daytime. Every light in his room was on. Before he came to our room he ran around turning on all the lights.

And he does this all the time, even in the day time. He does it at other people's houses too. More lights, more lights... 

He must have some kind of investment in the electric company.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mixed Emotions

As anyone who has had a conversation with me in the last year knows, I'm interested in taking some classwork in early education and becoming a pre-school teacher at some point down the road. I love kids. I have always loved kids. And most kids respond positively to me. I wear Elmo shirts. I'm spontaneous. I plan fun outings, but I'm structured and I don't take lip.

Today, I took the CARE group to a local candy shop for a tour I had planned three weeks ago. When I made the reservation I was really clear that the kids were young (ages 2-5 for the most part). I followed their rules for limiting the group to 15, and we all arrived pretty much on time. 

The woman giving the tour let us know that she used to be a teacher. She seemed very interested/surprised that all of us with toddlers were mostly in our thirties. I think she was trying to make some kind of comment about how mothers with kids our age were usually younger... Anway, MacTroll swears she probably did older grades, but she didn't seem to get that toddlers don't care about history. She was openly frustrated with them. 

What they want to hear is that she's the modern day candy woman. They want to see the big jars of cherries and the cool dipping of the chocolate. They'd want to see her drizzle chocolate over pretzels and then pass them out to the kids. They'd be thrilled with the giant bowls and the huge mixers... lots of things they could see without having to deal with any cooking or dangerous kitchen implements.

But there didn't seem to be any prep for that. And I could tell, in comparison to our other awesome trips to the bakery or the grocery store or the pizza kitchen that parents were disappointed. I know it wasn't my fault. But I felt responsible... like I'd dragged everyone with their small children to a town 20 miles away for something less than stellar. Even though my family enjoys going down there for lunch and gummi bears and almond bark on occasion. I was disappointed.

I guess, there are people who are good with little kids and there are others that don't understand them at all. But I knew in the first 30 seconds that the woman started talking that I probably could have done a more age-appropriate job even though I didn't work there. 

This has happened before: Our trip to the Champaign Police Department was similarly not a great fit... when it would have been really easy to adjust for smaller kids. I mean, hello, police cars, police motorcycles, McGruff!

The guilt for the trip faded away though over two martinis with MacTroll and some Tapas at Radio Maria for MacTroll's 33rd Birthday dinner (his birthday is the 27th when he's away at a conference), while X-man got to eat dinner and play with the Quigs fam and the Freak family. Adult-only dinner was really awesome. And we appreciated it greatly. Especially when X-man pretty  much fell asleep on the 8-block drive from Quigs house to ours.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's Not Personal

So tonight I made dinner. I made two new items.

One was a pasta, that would probably play better in the summer, but I had fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden, so I decided to use them.

The pasta "sauce" was made up of chopped tomatoes, basil and garlic while mixed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then I added toasted pine nuts and cubed mozzarella. When the farfalle noodles were done, I added them to the pasta with some of Mactroll's favorite (proscuitto ham) and tossed them (recipe from Williams & Sonoma). 

Then as a side, I took MacTroll's lead on how to get him to each green vegetables. I roasted brussel sprouts covered in oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and bacon. Seriously. Then I sprinkled on grated parmesan (Recipe from the Stonewall Kitchen).

We sat down to dinner. MacTroll devoured the pasta happily, but swallowed one leaf of brussel sprout and dumped the rest on my plate.

Next time I can make all of this stuff sans meat and be a bit healthier. 

X-man wouldn't even sit with us. He had nothing but 2 cups of chocolate milk. 

I know I'm a much better baker than cook. But I'm not bad. I 'm really not. In fact, I'm slightly above average. I have no passion for it. But it bewilders me when I make an effort at something new and the boys freak out about trying new things. I mean, X-man I understand, he's 2. But I've seen MacTroll (in photos) eat tiny crabs whole and I've heard him talk about eating fish that were still so raw that they were still flipping in his mouth after some Japanese Chef cut off its head and sliced off the scales. 

So, I don't know what made him so freaked out about vegetables. He claims he never enjoyed them when his mother cooked them. But to have traveled around the world and eat stuff he couldn't even identify and still freak out over vegetables is just weird. 

Tomorrow, we're eating out at Flesor's for lunch with the playgroup, and then we're going out for tapas for Joel's birthday at Radio Maria's. Saturday though, I'm making chicken corn chowder for dinner.


In My Experience: Hope Feels Way Better Than Resentment

MacTroll and I finally made it over to the County Clerk's office to vote today. That felt good. So good that I swear as I stood in the hall waiting for MacTroll to finish I got teary-eyed at the people lining up to also take part in early voting. 

There were seniors, college students, couples and more diversity in that line than I think anyone in the entire nation thinks is possible for a "flyover state." 

It was awesome. 

Afterward, I dropped off a donation to A Woman's Fund. Nothing special just some laundry detergent, toys for the kids, some old desk lamps we aren't using at the house any more. It wasn't anything big. But it felt good.

Now I'm getting ready to beat the rain and go grocery shopping. 

However, this morning, life was really annoying me. MacTroll is in a tizzy over the economy and when he gets worked up, he gets me worked up. As the non-money-earner I start to feel guilty and useless. Then I think about all the stuff I do do for my family, and I feel under-appreciated and resentful. Every thing I do starts to feel repetitive and useless. And then I get grumpy. I hate when I spend all of one day in bliss and the other day pissy.

However, voting cleared all of that up. It made me hopeful and purposeful. 

I did a light 30-minute elliptical run at the gym this a.m. I do hope on making it in to the strength training class on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., but it will depend on if it's raining or not. If it is, I'll be there. If it's a nice day, I'm on X-man duty while MacTroll works on the privacy fence.

Tomorrow is our annual pumpkin painting/carving at our house. This was last year's experience... clearly it is an event not for those with OCD. :-)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy and Perky Post


Maybe it's because I have hair that's a bit Catherine Banning meets Mary Tyler Moore, but the truth is that I'm pretty perky today.

MacTroll is home for the week. X-man is being awesome. He seems to be pretty mellow. I hit the gym again this morning and did 35 minutes on the elliptical while watching The West Wing (and really, does it get better than Bradley Whitford as Josh?) and then I went to stretch class from 9-9:25 p.m. 

I set the program on the thermostat for winter temperatures. It's very likely the heat will turn on tonight. I love that X-man is in love with Sesame Street. He's wearing a 4T set of Thomas overalls this morning that MacTroll told me he'd never fit into when I bought them at the resale shop last week. But they fit perfectly. He's such a "big boy."

Apple stock has been up and down with the rest of the market. But they reported really good earnings... so they've been slightly bouncing back even while the rest of the market is bombing, but I have no control over that so I'm focusing on what I do have control over. Hanging out with the people I love. And tonight I had dinner with a group of friends who are just high quality people. There's a shortage of them in the world (kind of like perfect breasts, if you're a fan on of the Princess Bride). So, I am very thankful to have so many.

Overall, I'm a pretty happy camper. I'm toning the perky down a bit since I know it makes some people nervous and annoys others. But right now, life is good. I'm watching X-man wear his new Teddy Bear slippers from the Gap. He's trying to figure out how to put them on himself, but it's somewhat frustrating. Mommy's mule slippers are so much easier! 

Before and After

By demand of Quigs...

Before














After














If you're looking for a stylist, I'd recommend Jenn Buck at Limited Edition Hair Salon in Savoy. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Things I Feel Good About

1) Making year-end donations to local non-profits from our company. This year's non-profits include A Woman's Fund, the Orpheum Children's Science Museum and Champaign Public Schools (through donorschoose.org -- which if you haven't visited yet is AWESOME).

2) I go in for a cut and color tomorrow. Expect to see something very different than the normal, thin, fake-blonde ponytail.

3) I got my flu shot.

4) I'm shopping for myself today for sweaters/sweatshirts as I apparently don't have any and the weather is turning colder.

5) I ran for 40 minutes on the elliptical today at Level 7 on Easy Intervals. 

6) I don't have to paint my fence for another 7-8 years.

7) I did a lot of at home filing this morning and paid all of my bills. 

8) Thanks to Quigs, I get a date night with MacTroll on Friday for his birthday before he leaves down for a sales conference in Tahoe on Sunday.

9) My son looks really cute in the Old Navy fall fleece I got him from Village Wardrobe (a kids-only resale shop) in Homer.

10) I'm going to make chicken and rice for dinner tonight. I love making warm, comfort food meals when the weather turns.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hell is Freezing Over

It looks like MacTroll and I are 1 month away from having a TV. Like something between 42-46" that hangs on the wall. It's our early Christmas present to ourselves -- and our contribution to the crappy economy. We still won't have cable or dish or whatever, but we'll probably have an antennae of some sort to get local channels. It will be our first television not soley dependent on a DVD player since May 2004.

We also may finally get to use our unopened Apple TV!

In other hell freezing over news. I finished the fence in the backyard. The only thing left is the privacy fence around the hot tub... and that's completely MacTroll's area.






Sunday, October 19, 2008

Holy Moly!

Obama raised over $150 million dollars in September and has more than 3.1 million people who have made contributions to his campaign. 

Over 632,000 new contributors. 

Um, thank you Sarah Palin?

The Wishful Rant of a Mother of a Boy

So tonight Special K, mother of the wonder twins (and so much more), and I went to see W. at the Beverly. Looking back, we probably should have gone to see Space Chimps. It would have depressed us less. 

Not that the movie was sad; it wasn't. It was actually very sympathetic to the emotional and intellectual limitations of George W. Bush. But it did very directly put a lot of blame of his political elevation not just on his own ambitions and "divine sight" (apparently God spoke to W. directly), but on his cronies, like Karl Rove, who treated W. like his "Precious" in the film. Rice repeated a lot of what W. said to help prop up his ego and support his decisions without actually providing her own imput. If you've ever seen Galaxy Quest, it's very similar to Sigourney Weaver's character repeating the computer. And the animosity between Colin Powell and Dick Cheney was really ugly. But I do love Richard Dreyfuss as a nasty Republican. He played one in American President, too.

But the beauty in this film wasn't so much the script... it was a good story. The beauty was the little things that Oliver Stone planned out. Like every time a character had on a suit there was that little American flag lapel pin. Or when W. eats lunch next to Dick Cheney, Dick's got some heart healthy grown up food and W. eats like bologna with iceberg lettuce, Kraft singles and Cheetohs, like he's 8. And, of course, the father/son issues are everywhere.  

However, the thing that bothered me the most about this movie was the "boys will be boys" mentality, particularly in Texas. And that women portrayed in the film who might be wonderful, thoughtful women got involved with these ego centric, power hungry weirdos. Most disturbing was of course the fraternity hazing of the 1960's where they had the guys in large ice tubs and were forcing them to consume (almost drowning them) in liquor to be part of the group.

I have a son. And in my heart I kept thinking, this is what I have to prevent. This is what I don't want for him. I don't want him to be one of those. I had the same feeling when I looked at Bush's cabinet. When I see Rumsfeld, even in my agnostic heart, I give a little shout out to whatever powers that be that MacTroll and I will somehow be able to prevent him from being such an evil asshole.

I want X-man to be good and kind to people. I want him to stand up for himself and those around him who can't stand on their own. And I know that the only way to learn anything in life is to make mistakes, pick yourself up and learn from them. But it worries me like you wouldn't believe to think that my kid could turn into a Rove or a Cheney.

I see men treat so much in this world badly. I see women stand by and try to guide as they support. I see others completely separate from their husband's professional lives so they can be able to live with them at home. But I'm angry at a lot of things lately. I'm resentful of the patriarchal privilege that has gotten us where we are. I hate that when two parents have kids and one gets sick, it's more likely the Mom who takes off work time. Or in my family situation, my life stops so that MacTroll's and X-man's can continue. 

When I made the choice to be a Mom, I intended on sharing my life with my boys. Now I'm feeling a lot like I somehow gave my life away, so they could live theirs. This movie showed other women who have done exactly the same -- Laura Bush, I'm talking to you. And as much as I love what Betty Friedan did for my feminist sisters way back when, I fail to see how getting into the workforce and escaping my domestic cage for a capitalistic one will improve the situation. 

I was reading an article today that estimates that the average child-rearing/home work that an out-of-the-house working mother does is 39 hours a week -- on top of a 40-50 hour work week. I don't think Friedan intended for women to have two full-time jobs. And although I know the fathers I know take a much more active role in child rearing than most of their fathers did, it's no where near good enough. 

I blame myself for knowing that parenting was impossibly hard when I got into it... but still thinking that maybe I'd be strong enough that could make it different for myself and my family.

As it turns out, I am not a miracle worker. In many ways I feel like I'm barely surviving. I don't want a pep talk. Don't give me the "reality check" either. I'm not stupid. Don't patronize me, and don't ever fucking tell me to chill out.

Peace out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tut Tut Wonder Midget!

My friend Bill posted this to his facebook account. And I found it hilariously tacky and yet strangely relevant.

MT go get that penguin!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's His Prerogative

So 2 months ago, X-man and I started talking about Halloween. I showed him photos from his first two when he was a rhino and a white tiger. And I asked him what he'd like to be.

He said, "Builder. Bob the Builder."

So, I got a Bob the Builder tool belt and a hard hat and showed them to him. He wore the belt and the hat (which needs to be adjusted) for about a week. Now he just likes to play with the tools.

Last night in bath, he was talking to me about my bee costume. Then he said MacTroll should be a gorilla. I brought up him being a builder and he said, "No! I'm a cow. Moo!"

Sigh.

Then this morning as he sat in his secondary baby seat (which happens to have a cow print cover) he mooed again and talked about Halloween. Before he said, "No Moo Cow! Wanna be a doggie. Woof!"

Crap. 

My fear is that we'll get to the actual Halloween and he won't want to wear his Bob the Builder costume. Sigh. We wait so long for them to express an opinion and speak up for themselves... and, of course, we don't always agree. So it undermines all of my good planning. :-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Change

I'm thinking of changing my life a little -- cutting off my hair. What do you think? Feel free to vote in the poll on the right.


Damn dinosaurs

So, here's the deal. My kid is afraid of dinosaurs. He has dreams about them chasing him and eating him. He'll play with his toy dinosaurs just fine because they're smaller than he his. But he won't watch anything that has a dinosaur in it or read a book with dinosaurs. And now, I guess the toy of the season at Target -- the answer to that real-life pony (for "boys") -- is a giant animatronic dinosaur. It scared the bejeezus out of him the last time we walked past the toy section.

His pronunciation isn't quite perfect. So this morning's discussion over an episode of Harold and the Purple Crayon who visits the dinosaurs came out.

"No dino-whores, Mommy! Scary. No biting! Different Harold, please!"

In the episode, Harold saves a baby dinosaur. So they're not scary. But I guess I don't blame him. I wouldn't want to watch dino-whores either.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sleepy Eater

Last night I made spaghetti for dinner. X-man couldn't wait for the sauce to warm up from being frozen, so I gave him some plain noodles and then put the finished product in the bowl next to him. 

He didn't nap yesterday, so when he started swaying in his chair at supper, MacTroll propped another chair up next to him to make sure he didn't fall out. 


video

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oh Death Cab for Cutie, How I Enjoyed Thee

MacTroll and I had date night tonight. We went to the Assembly Hall and saw Death Cab for Cutie. For an emo band they were particularly lively. I mean seriously, the guy next to me was hopping around on his feet and I was rocking out... but as this is a band that has mastered the depressing love-gone-awry ballad (even when it's interjected with awesome guitar riffs). Most of their fans just sat -- staring. 

So you look at the floor in front of the stage expecting the 200 people there to be the life of the party. Nothing. They stood silent with their cameras up staring through the view finders. It was weird, particularly because this is a band from Seattle who grew up when I did -- during the times of Nirvana and Pearl Jam and the birth of the mosh pit. 

Maybe it was the fact that the concert started at 7:30 p.m. They were probably all still digesting their Gumby's pizza. Or maybe it was because the all-white crowd just didn't feel moved to shuffle their feet without a good half dozen shots of tequila first. But when Ben is about to play the Sound of Settling and has to tell the crowd that even though it's Sunday -- you've gotta dance to this song, you realize that even he understands the weirdness of it. 

Overall, it was a lively set. New and old songs combined. But my heart stomped up and down when they played Bixby Canyon Bridge as their last song (pre-encore). When they hit the guitar riffs, I went insanely happy. It couldn't have been loud enough. 

And I now realize who the Gap was making the skinny jeans for -- Chris Walla. You so can wear them. 

This was a show that was definitely worth the $34 a ticket and the $35 babysitter. We had a great time and clearly the guys from Death Cab are definitely earning their cash. The banter with the audience and each other was low as they went from song to song to song in the 2 hours they played. 

But when they did talk to the audience they were very grateful and subdued. Not ego freaks. Hard to get that from Ben wearing a plaid shirt and brown pants and Chris playing the whole set in dress pants, a dress shirt and a tie. Seriously! Nick, for some reason, really reminds me of Flea (which isn't a bad thing) when he plays.

I'll definitely go again, particularly if I can get the same kind of seats. Past the pit, we were fifth row center. We had an awesome view of the stage.

Observations

1. The reason women are always running late to leave the house for "date night" on silly television shows has nothing to do with how long it takes for the female to get ready. It has to do with the fact that she cooked dinner for her kid, scooped the cat boxes so the basement didn't smell when the sitter came over, vacuumed the house, ran the laundry, cleaned up dinner, took out the garbage and cleaned up the toys in the living room for 1.5 hours before the sitter arrived... and then spent 5 minutes trying to get the sweat off of her body and try to look "date night" like. 

2. There's something strange about having a concert with a pit of people -- who just stand their randomly still with their cellphones/cameras up in the air taking pictures or videos of the concert. No dancing. No singing... I mean, why pay the $34? You can just see what you saw through your 3" view finder as a 4" picture on You Tube. 

3. It's wrong when  rock concert starts 30 minutes later than the Backyardigans Live! started.

Something new

Last night after I got over my headache, I asked MacTroll to take us out to dinner for Pho. 

Saigon restaurant next to the Little Gym and Friar Tuck serves a bowl of Pho that can serve 2-3 people for $7.95. Yeah, it was hot outside. But Pho always makes me feel better.

So we went, got a bowl and then ordered a bowl of noodles and vegetables with chicken for X-man. He decided he'd rather share his chicken with us and have some Pho to. 

He loved it. He sat there slurping it off his spoon. He liked trying to fill his bowl when it was empty. And something in my heart grew warm that we all shared something in common. 

In a couple hours I'm escaping my house to go over to Lavender Lemonade's. I've been told to bring an incinerator and my favorite DVD season of La Femme Nikita

Lavender, this is for you:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fleeing the scene

MacTroll got home today at 2:30. I was in the middle of a crappy headache, and done with single parenting. X-man had been asking every time Riley barked at something if it meant that Daddy was home. 

So when he finally was, I was happy to hand him X-man and go upstairs to try and get some rest. 

But part of me wanted to get in the car and just drive away for a few days. Be unreachable, untouchable and unknown. I wanted to do wild and crazy unexpected things that I didn't ever have to share with anyone.

I longed for it. The anonymity. The independence. The Freedom.

Mostly, I understood that I need a break that's longer than the 36 hours I'm going to get this weekend.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Troll Feet

Last Wednesday, we go to pick up X-man at school and Ms. Holly, his teacher, announces that X-man sat on the potty at EVERY diaper change that day (they ask him if he wants to and up until now he's always said no).

During one of the potty trips, he managed to sit on the potty and forget to aim his penis down. X-man is a super sonic pee-r. Really, it's one of his super powers, so he managed to take out his pants and get a bunch of it all over the floor. (I promise I'll give both of his teachers good gifts at the holidays!) 

We took in extra pants again on Thursday morning. Only to return to get him before the CARE Illini Marching Band meet up to find our boy in all of his spare clothes and a pretty new pair of white shoes with butterflies on them from the "extra shoe bin." That day, he'd managed to take out all of his clothes and his shoes during one of the potty stops on Thursday. 

We had been planning on having a kids clothing swap at our house on Saturday -- until Friday when we took X-man to the doctor due to a cough and a running nose and found out that he (and later I) would have an upper respiratory infection.

Then on Sunday, I was supposed to stop by a friend's and hang out and pick up her son's hand-me down shoes (which will still be helpful as their 1/2 size bigger than what X wears right now). But I got sick... and I don't spread germs on purpose. So I stayed home.

Today, two pairs of shoes came from Amazon.com, where I get free shipping. Carbon hounds back off, because here's the deal -- My kid has MacTroll's feet. 

MacTroll is a 7.5 EEEE. Yes, it's possible. His feet are almost as wide as they are long. He has to wear a shoe two sizes too long to fit him across the width. It's apparently a Troll family trait. And although X-man missed out on the other Troll traits like the big frontal lobe, the mono brow and attached ear lobes -- he did get the feet, the short legs with long torso, the blonde hair and the randomly large, round head.

So, I can't just run to Target and plop down $7 on cheap tennis shoes because there's no way to cram a 9 1/2 XW toddler foot into a M shoe. For example, for his winter boots I had to buy a size 11 to fit his foot with socks on, because most kids winter boots don't come in XW sizes. 

Who knew that getting my kid shoes was always going to require me to go out of town or to the internet to get them. And the selection at Andy's (is it closed yet?) and the Stride Rite in Tuscola on XW are both pretty dismal. 


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

When Cars Talk -- Mommy gets sad.

Yesterday, I picked X-man up from school. I was still feeling like crap, but he was all full of energy. We got outside of his classroom, and he turned to me and said something, "Muuusumms."

"What?"

"Mumsum."

"Try it again, baby. I'm sorry. Mommy's ears are a little plugged up."

"Mumssum. Musmuse, MUSMSUMS!"

Oh crap, I still don't understand and obviously this is important to him.

"MU-SZ-EEEEEE-UUUMMMM!"

"Oohhh!" I say smiling. "You want to go to the museum."

"Yes, museum, Mommy!"

"I'm sorry, sweetie they closed at 4 p.m. We have to go home."

"NO HOME! NO HOME! MUSEUM!"

Sigh. 

He cried all the way out of the building and to the car repeating the word he'd fought so hard to make me understand. When we got home and pulled into the garage, he again shouted, "NO HOME! NO HOME! MUSEUM!"

I sighed again, got out of the car and opened his door to unbuckle his carseat. He turned to the empty part of the garage. "Daddy?"

Crap. Did MacTroll tell him goodbye last night when he put him to bed?

"Daddy's at work, remember?"

"Daddy home! Want Daddy home!"

"I know, baby. Let's go inside and Mommy will build Mac and Doc houses out of Mega Blocks."

He drags his feet along the floor of the garage as we walk inside. He gets out his cars and lies down on his belly. I give him some watered down juice and start building. 

Two minutes goes by when Mr. The King (in X-man's left hand) says to Sheriff (in X-man's right hand), "Go Museum?" and Sheriff snaps back. "NO! Museum closed. Stay home!"

A Review of the New Meijer -- Kind of

Meijer, after owning the land at Philo and Windsor for like a decade, finally built a store in Urbana. When they announced their intentions to build I hooted because before the Schnuck's came to Savoy MacTroll and I did all of our grocery shopping at the Meijer on North Prospect. The deli ladies there slipped all the toddlers free lunch meat and cheese. Plus, the place had been around since MacTroll was in college, so it felt -- familiar.

But then they built the Savoy Schnuck's, and we took to that instantly. It's a smaller store than the other stores in Urbana and Champaign, but I love that I can run in and out on my way to the gym or X-man's school. It's highly convenient. I can ride my bike and put the items in my kid trailer and pedal home. We love their produce and baked goods and the deli and meat counters are decent. Sure, the meat is no match for Olde Time Meat and Deli Shoppe, but that's okay. It's right down the street and easy to add into the errand run. We also loved that the Schnuck's Organic Milk by Full Circle was way cheaper than the national brands, and we didn't have to buy the Oberweis (which belongs to the crazy right-wing, Chicago-area politician. Sure, he treats his cows nice, but boy I'm pretty sure he'd hate me.).

In 2005, MacTroll and I decided to avoid Wal-mart. Their giant economic plan to take over the world—environment, employees and communities-be-damned attitude freaks me out. Then, this summer, the price of food started going through the roof at the same time as gas and after 3 years of avoiding doing any regular shopping there we went back for anything that came pre-wrapped in a box (like Cheerios or soda, etc.). In essence, I sold out. Go ahead and bitch at me.

So it was with great excitement when they put a Meijer in south Urbana. I went last Thursday when I left my mental faculties at home and my purse in a shopping cart in the cart return. Today I went back to amend some things I purchased that didn't work out. 

The customer service staff was very helpful and thankful that I was an easy customer. That is, I brought things back unused, unopened AND with a receipt. I was in a hurry when I was there on Thursday so I paid attention to very little besides the overfriendliness of the staff. This time I focused on something important -- the prices of things I always buy.

At Schnuck's the cheapest apple juice is Old Orchard at $1.49. It's even cheaper than the Schnuck's generic. At Wal-mart, since I'm avoiding thing with the Wal-mart name on it after biting into a piece of wood in a package of Wal-mart branded ground beef 3 years ago, the cheapest brand is Indian Summer for $1.79. Both juices are well over $2 at the new Meijer. 

And this wasn't my only finding. Morningstar Veggie Sausage 20 cents more at the new Meijer than at Schnuck's, 30 cents more at Meijer than at Wal-mart. Sigh. 

My cats like Scoop Away, a cheap litter. I have no brand loyalty when it comes to litter. But my five cats do. I've tried a series of brands cheap through mega expensive and more eco-friendly. And damn it, I'd really rather they use their boxes. So Scoop Away it is. It tracks like hell, but it clumps pretty decent. Meijer used to carry it, but then they released their own Meijer brand of cheap cat litter and stopped carrying it. So there's a problem.

Yogurt was the same price at Meijer as it is at Wal-mart as it is at Schnuck's. Fruit and vegetables were the same at Schnuck's and Meijer and well, I hate how unfresh the produce is at our Wal-mart, even in the summer when it's surrounded by farms, so I never by it there. 

Meijer does carry Canadian Great Lake Perch. It's a childhood favorite. One that X-man liked when he was 18 months, that for some reason didn't carry into last Friday, but since he was sick and I made it (strangely for lunch) I'll have to try it again. 

I checked out and the woman I had was not actually filling the stupid plastic bags. She kept putting one can of soup in a bag and then turning the wheel to a new one. So I'd grab the individual items and toss them in with other items. She was also checking out my canned cat food and smiled at me and said, "Isn't it crazy how we spoil our pets?" I furrowed my eyebrows and said, "I don't think feeding them is spoiling them." I didn't mean to sound bitchy, but it was a weird thing to say.

I like that at Schnuck's I can get paper or plastic or use my nylon bags. Why do I get all three? Because I need them. I put my cat litter and scoop my dog poop into the plastic ones. I use the paper ones to put my recycling and my garbage in in the kitchen. And I don't always need more, so I use my nylon bags when we're in good shape. 

In all fairness, the new Meijer is a clean store. It's a new store. It's a friendly store. It's a south of town alternative to the big bad boy that is Wal-mart. I'm glad it's there. But when you read all the cart signs in the parking lot that guarantee that their prices are lower so it improves your life... that's not ultimately true for my family. But it might be for yours, so check it out.

However, the Savoy Schnuck's is still going to be my favorite and most used grocery store. It's my neighborhood store, so I have big loyalty there. 

And I'm a Target fan, so I'm more than happy to go to North Prospect to shop there for my non-grocery items. 

Monday, October 6, 2008

To Hell in a Handbasket

I'm done. Put a fork in me.

Seriously.

I'm sick. Like the kind of sick where you have so much shit in the back of your throat from your nose and glands draining all night that you can't talk when you first wake up. Instead you have to sit there all silent and annoyed for 20 minutes as the stuff runs down your sore throat. You can do things like gargle, suck on Ricolas and brush your teeth. But really, it's just such a shitty way to wake up.

Then there's the whole part where I'm contagious. MacTroll took X-man to school. He's got energy and is feeling better but still has a small cough first thing when he wakes up. But I didn't even get to see him this a.m. And we kept him away from me last night.

Then there's the fact that I don't feel like reading a book. And my head pounds when I stand up. So I'm on the internet, which is filled with nothing but ugly political news or disgusting economic woes. The kind of thing that reminds me that I've lost an obscene amount of money this month in retirement and college savings plans for X-man. I worry about those. MacTroll watches stock prices. But the whole thing makes me feel like adding vomiting to my list of symptoms. 

So I'm done. Someone give me some good news. I know by Wednesday, I'll feel better. But right now I'm tired of hearing Obama call John McCain erratic and McCain (through Palin) calling Obama a friend of terrorists. Can we just gag them until the election? Oh wait, as of next Monday I can vote... and then it won't matter. They can say whatever they want. I'll be done and wash my hands of the whole thing until we have a winner.

And then I'll just keep trucking... 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

I'm down and out. I was feeling great this morning while I worked with the kids at soccer. I came home and played with X-man for several hours. We had Mac and Cheese for lunch and then suddenly I became really lethargic. 

X-man just wanted to watch Curious George, and since he's got a respiratory infection and TV, cars and the train table are really the only way to slow him down I ended up lying on the couch. Then at 3 p.m. I felt too bad to lie on the couch. I got X-man to come upstairs with me, where he watched the same episode of the Backyardigans almost 4 times. 

He laid next to me with his head on my chest, and I listened to his Darth Vader on Pop Rocks breathing. And I kept feeling colder and colder and colder. MacTroll finished his part of the fence and came inside to find me with red cheeks, chills and a sore throat.

Thirty minutes later the low-grade fever started at 100.5.

Tomorrow, it looks like my first 8 a.m. may be a visit to Convenient Care. Maybe I'll run into all of you there. I just can't get the energy up to go right now. 

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cough, sniffle "Mommy HUG!"

I was up last night until 1:30 a.m. cleaning the house and preparing for a meetup at my house. Every six months I host a swap for all the kid stuff our group might be storing in their houses. It gives folks a chance to clean out their closets and pass some good stuff on to other families in our group. It's always free and people tend to carry in stuff to use as much as they carry out for the most part. It's one big giant potluck, too.

Unfortunately, MacTroll and I noticed the X-man got a bit of a cough yesterday. Then last night while he was sleeping it was worse because he was lying down. So this morning I hauled him off to the pediatrician's office. Where X-man had issues getting weighed, but once he was in the exam room helping the nurse take his temperature, he was fine. 

I read "Dragon in a Wagon" twice for him. Then he said, "People! Where are you?" I explained that we had to wait our turn to see the doctor. He said, "People! We're waiting!" It was very cute. 

He let Dr. See look in his ears and his "boogey" nose. Then he opened his mouth really wide for her and was really great while she listened to his lungs and heart. Unfortunately, he has a respiratory infection. So I had to cancel the swap and we're going to just chill out at home this weekend. I'm still coaching the CARE soccer group tomorrow a.m. But X-man will stay home with Daddy until I get back. It also means I miss out on beer with "A La Sass."

Other than that, I'm going to restore all of the stuff I sorted out last night and put it back in the garage. I'm really tired and was hoping to grab a nap (X-man won't give it up). 


Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Bitter Blogger

Okay, so I woke up in a mood today. A bitchy, pushy mood. It doesn't happen often, but MacTroll has had enough of me so he said I could either go paint the fence or go take a nap and either way, I needed to be less bitter.

So, before I put my head down and try to wake up as normal, perky, happy Loosey... I'm going to carry on about a few things. 

1.) I am not a purse person. Wanna know how I know. Because I visited the new Meijer in Urbana today to do my grocery shopping. It's a clean, friendly store. Customer Service was at that annoying stage where you're not supposed to do anything for yourself, but it's nice that so many people bothered to ask, because that never happens in department stores any more. Anyway, when we were selling our house,  I had too many items (wallet, phone, keys, etc.) that I was trying to carry in my pockets. It was all great if the baby was with me because I'd stuff everything in the diaper bag. But when I went out with MacTroll or X-man I was always forgetting stuff, throwing away my phone with lunch garbage, dropping things. Finally, MacTroll said, "Just buy a freaking purse." So I went to Target and got one.

Now that I'm not selling my house, I don't carry a phone. That means I just have a wallet and a set of keys. No purse needed. I must know this because the only thing I put in it today at the store was the map they gave me when I walked through the door. Seriously, I had my wallet in my back pocket and a set of keys in my front pocket. I was wearing my earphones (because the new store still plays music older than I am) and had my iPod in the other pocket. But for some reason I had the purse with me. 

I put all my items in the trunk. Pushed my cart to the cart return and drove away, leaving the virtually empty purse (it had an armband for the iPod, a pen and 15 Culver Points coupons in it).  I fetched it later, but I've given up on it. Anyone want a free purse?

2.) Massages
There are many things I guilt myself over regarding money. Haircuts, underwear, clothes, shoes, anything for myself I feel bad spending money on. If it's for the kid, no problem. But I got a certificate for a 1/2 price off 1 hour massage from somewhere locally and decided to take a chance. Good massages are worth the money

My usual massage therapist, who I love but haven't made time for in about six months is Loree Hardy at Hair Design at Knollwood. Loree is amazing. You walk in and Loree casually asks how you're feeling. You tell her a little something about your life and then you can communicate anything you'd like her to work on. Since I've seen her on and off since 2004, she knows where I hold my tension and where my issues are. But even if I didn't tell her, she's like one of those metal detectors at the beach. She narrows in on the problem and suddenly muscles you didn't know you had are getting worked on until they melt down like butter. A lot of time my problems spots radiate from other areas like my calves or hamstrings into my gluts and lower back. My favorite part is that Loree starts with the hard stuff. 

She listens to where your issues are and she spends a LOT of time on them, but still manages to do a full body massage -- and sometimes, if you're a really lucky client and she's got some time afterward and can sense your body needs more work -- she goes over a bit. One time I was in such bad shape that by the time I was standing and trying to get my pants on it was 20 minutes after the hour. 

Loree is certified in all kinds of massage, stone therapy, reflexology, etc. She is even certified in prenatal (which I did every 8-10 weeks of my pregnancy thankfully). 

The new person I tried today was solid. She had a little map where I circled my "problem areas." Her pressure was good and she touched all the areas that I had circled. But she didn't get down and dirty into them. I left relaxed in the sense that her awesome head massage for a good part of the beginning was really quite wonderful. But when it comes to releasing tension from stress and dealing with the almost 20-year injury I've had in my lower back from playing soccer as a kid, she didn't quite hit it. It was worth the 50 percent discounted price of $30, but I think I'll stick with Loree. I'll have to work it into the budget sooner than later. She's $62 an hour.

3.) Okay, I'm going to nap. We'll see if I wake up someone else besides the Bitter Bitch of Puerto Rico.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

(Beeping) Homecoming

I remember being a freshman in high school and sitting in the bleachers of my first high school football game with KAP and Alex Tower. We were watching the game but mostly we were chatting. Alex kept smacking the ballcap off my head and pulling KAP's ponytail eliciting whines of "Stop it, Aaaaa-lllleeexx." 

Anyway, I remember seeing students that went to high school with my sister (who had graduated the year before I started) coming back to high school for the Homecoming game. I sat there thinking, "Why?" I hated high school. Seriously. HATED it. 

My sister was in steering committee, the french club, she swam on the swim team, she did the newspaper, she was prom chairman... you name it, she did it. And I tried to do a lot of those things thinking they'd get me out of the house (which might have been why she did them too). But my love for most things lasted six weeks. So if you look in my freshman yearbook, you'll see I showed up for a couple of shots that I didn't follow through with. My apologies to those who did and are now in charge of reunions for the rest of their lives. (I love you, Ann. And only for you would I even consider offering to help.)

I stuck with Volleyball and Yearbook. And it took me an extra year to warm up to the idea of high school soccer. 

I felt differently about college. I loved college. I loved my classes. I loved my friends. I loved my majors (yes, I had two). I loved that I set my schedule pretty much. And I loved, loved, loved working for the newspaper. 

But outside of the things I chose for myself, I was never content with the way Millikin was run as an academic institution. I did a column once on the lack of handicap accessibility, by getting into a wheelchair and pushing myself around campus. I could go practically nowhere at the time. We had issues dealing with administrators when it came to issues like rape on campus. Safety on campus. Food service issues on campus. Health Center issues. Dorm issues. Greek issues. Alcohol issues. 

The day I left, I decided if I gave money to Millikin it would all be in the name of the Decaturian or the writing and communication programs. And so far that's true, minus one $50 per plate dinner at the Occidental in D.C. 

In 2003 I moved next door to Rogers. Rogers also went to Millikin. She and I weren't friends there, although we did take one class together. She knew some of my people. I knew some of her people. But we never really were introduced. She wanted to go to Homecoming. She had been on Homecoming Court in college. And I love Rogers. So I went. And at the bar where they held our 5-year-reunion, they were supposed to take a group photo. I didn't want to be in it. Lori begged and pleaded and finally I succumbed. Only to have some intern for the alumni office show up to take it with a disposable camera. I found this hilarious. You might have been able to see that amused grin, if -- the photo had turned out. Who knew that taking a photo with a crappy disposable in the darkness of an alley turned into a beer garden in Decatur wouldn't work out? Ooooh, yeah. I did.

Anyway, in 2005, my BFF KTDID got married. KTDID is also a Millikin graduate. At her reception in Peoria, the MU folks got together and took a group photo (because Millikin prints "what Millikin graduates were at your wedding" photos in their alumni quarterly.)

KTDID's friend Colin just put our photo up on Facebook. I wonder why it didn't get printed... 
:-) See, it's that smile after all. This fall is my 10th MU graduation anniversary... and no, I'm not going. 

Height on the Horizon

We live in new development. That means there's not a lot of anything out here. Last fall, MacTroll and I had to pick between planting trees and putting up a fence. 

Riley's wanderings out into the muddy field definitely put the fence ahead of the trees. But today, we got two tall trees delivered. One I was semi-excited about because it's a street tree so we have a taller tree in the front yard (besides the tiny dogwood and magnolia I planted last fall). 

But my favorite is the tree we put in the backyard. It's a somerset maple. It's beautiful. And X-man has a perfect view of it from his bedroom window (yeah, ignore my obvious stopping point in the painting in the backyard).

And for size reference the fence is 5 1/2 feet tall at the high points 5 feet at the low.