Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not Quite Grimace, maybe a little Grape Ape

Quigs asked for photos of the purple bathroom. The first photo is pretty much what the bathroom looked like "before" the painting (when they were building the house, so yes, the floor was a mess). I didn't take a more recent "before" photo because I guess -- it's a pretty forgettable bathroom. :-)

I found the shimmery shower curtain at Kohl's today. It's striped light purple, dark purple, white, and silvery gray with shimmer, so it fits with the trim pretty well. X-man was very excited about the new towels, but he agrees that we need something ("Maybe another bar, Mom") over the toilet. We have one of those small cupboards above the toilet in on the first floor bathroom. I may wander back to Target and look for another version. 

I also have a silver mirror that we had in our last house to put up in the basement. It's more decorative than the plain one. I'm not sure why we didn't have the builder put it up 3 years ago. It's just been sitting in our garage. But it's no secret that MacTroll and I suck at hanging things. (Rogers, got an afternoon you want to head over with your laser accuracy?)

The flooring guys are coming back on Friday to insert the correct laminate. Then Picasso and Sons painting will return on Monday to do another coat of yellow in the Loosey Room and touch up all the trim around the floor area again after the baseboards are put back up. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Room of One's Own update

One step forward, two steps backwards. It's hard to imagine that a 12'x12' room creation in my basement could be such a pain in the ass, but it has been.

For example, whenever a process seems too easy, it probably is. We went into Flooring America by Meijer and picked out the laminate I wanted in 2 minutes. The sales woman was pleased that we were so low maintenance. She came to our house 48 hours later to do the measuring and talk to us about baseboards and installation. Then she sent me the quote for the materials and labor. It was under my projected budget, so I was happy. Then the guys came and started installation on Nov. 22. I was running around doing errands that day and MacTroll was working from home. It wasn't until 3:30 p.m. when I got downstairs to take a peek. 

It was a Coastal Living Flooring -- but it wasn't the gray I ordered. It was a brown. I told the guys to stop and called the sales person. She was out to lunch. I got the guy who does the ordering and told him the problem. Of course, the order form that I approved (because I saw Coastal Living and the price and not the color) had the brown floor. But it wasn't the sample I picked out or the one I took home... so they took up the flooring and placed an order for right one. 

I never heard back from the sales person to apologize. 

Several years ago, I wanted the house on Buttercup painted white in the living room. It was beige and I'm not a fan of brown (clearly). But if you know me, you know I lack the coordination to walk up stairs without tripping... Therefore, ladders and I do not get along. I hired Blair Cohen at Picasso and Sons to do the painting. I love them. They left my house every day cleaner than I ever had it. They were timely, polite and they did a bang up job. They are not cheap, but they are worth every penny. 

So, I hired them back to do the basement work and the trim around all the new floors. The basement bathroom is now purple. My Loosey-only room is optimistic yellow... They have to come back after the flooring is installed to make sure their paint job doesn't get messed up by the flooring installers (and for that I'm grateful). 

At some point, I'll get up to Ikea to pick out some furniture. I did find some interesting couches that turn into a double bed online that I'm keeping in mind. We'll see. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Crap - literally

My son had a bit of diarrhea on Friday night. He appeared to be fine after noon yesterday, but we still kept him on the BRAT diet. Unfortunately, he woke up at 6 a.m. this morning with a pair of PJs full of loose stools.

Then he had a follow up 20 minutes later. He tried to make it to the potty, but didn't quite make it. He's taken four showers in the last 24 hours. It can't be easy to either smell like soap OR smell like shit.

Normally, I'd be jumping up an down and thankful that his happened on a weekend when MacTroll is home. But we were supposed to leave for Chicago today to have dinner with my sister and go to a couple museums and Ikea. We lost the points for the overnight at the W on Lakeshore (so if you want to spend Friday night downtown tonight, let me know and we'll hook you up.) We cancelled the pet sittters, and my child had his 20-minute breakdown over the fact that "Everywhere has bathrooms, I'll be fine!" Apparently the logic that he couldn't make it to the potty 15 feet from his bedroom doesn't count. He thinks he'll be able to make it in the car for 2 1/2 hours and then at the museums.

The pre-paid Lego Discovery ticket for $15 I bought to supplement the free passes we have is also gone, but we did get back the points for the Schaumburg hotel since there's a 24-hour cancellation requirement on hotel rooms.

The only other logistic situation is figuring out how to get MacTroll to Chicago on Tuesday for his 1:30 flight. Apparently the Lex and train leave at 5 or 6 a.m. He's not looking forward to that. But I might need some help retrieving his car from the lot that day. In case anyone's got a free 30 minutes to drive me downtown, so I can come back with his car.

X-man is watching movies about Spiderman on the iPad right now and seems to have worked through his disappointment. So, he's calmed down a bit... And MacTroll and I, we're just doing a lot of poopy laundry and hoping we don't get what the kid has.

(We can dream can't we?)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

Clearly, I'm still at home in my pajamas. My oatmeal just came out of the microwave. I don't drink coffee. But each year I venture out on this holy shopping day to a few stores.

The usual suspects are:
- B.Lime
- Ten Thousand Villages
- Champaign Surplus
- Karen's Kloset
-Body N Sole

When Wind, Water and Light was downtown they were included. Since they've moved to Urbana, I hit them last week when I was at Art Mart and the Art Coop. :-)

I haven't been to B.Lime since they went uber baby focused, so I'm not sure what I'll find. But I used to like to go and get smaller items like water bottles, jewelry, lip gloss, socks, etc. Stuff for stockings for the parents in my life. We'll see how it goes today.

I know there are a mess of people who went out to Toys R Us last night or hit Target this a.m. for the 4 a.m. opening. I usually stay away because I hate large groups of people. That and really everything except stocking stuffers was purchased by Nov. 15th around here...

But I do have to pick up some scotch tape today to wrap some of those bad boys already purchased. I'm thinking finding tape at Schnuck's is probably my safest bet, unless Rogard's is open on for black Friday, but somehow, I doubt the office supply sales has a black Friday hoopla.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Excitement of Thanksgiving: Variety

Last year, I hosted a group of folks at my house for Thanksgiving. It was nice because I was recently "out of the box" with Weight Management, so I could figure out the calories and the contents of everything going into my mouth.

My plate looked like this:

This year, it's just the three of us. And I realized the problem with holidays isn't so much the content of the food as it is. The problem is that I want to try everything on the Buffet. I don't eat at Buffets a lot, but I gander that this is always the problem. You put a mess of appetizing food in front of people's faces and even if you just use a 1/4 cup scoop of everything, you've got a mess of calories on your plate.

Since it's just the three of us, I limited the menu, but added dessert, which has become a rarity in this house due to our inability to have just one scoop or one slice of something.

So, on the menu is Pork Tenderoin Agrodolce, Citrus Green Beans with Pine Nuts, Spinach Salad, reduced fat crescent rolls and a Chocolate Walnut Tart.

The total caloric value should be high, twice what a normal meal for us would be, at a bit over 700 calories due to the dessert. But I feel like we're eating well without stuffing ourselves full because our brains tell us to try the 20 different items at the buffet. We're also meeting the 2 vegetables/fruit at each meal requirement that I'm trying to pass at home. We're at the 75% mark. Sometimes, I just get lazy...

Here's a photo of tonight's dinner:

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. We're heading out to see Tangled at 5:20 p.m. at the Savoy 16 today. X-man is totally looking forward to it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bearing Weight

I've been going to the Body Bar weight lifting class twice a week at the Savoy Recreation Center since I joined at the end of September. I was sad because my favorite class at the Fitness Center went away due to the instructor's new job. I tried out her classes at the Refinery -- and I still loved the instructor, but the gym was out of my way.

Emily is the Body Bar instructor. She is very fun and provides a challenging work out. The class is mostly made up of women (in that 9 a.m. hour) and on occasional husband. I've been feeling self conscious because the bars in the room stop at 27 lbs. I squat and lunge with the 27 and then I use the 22 lb bar for all other lifting. When I started, I was squatting the 22 and using the 18 lb bar.

But I noticed that when I moved up, several other people in the class also moved up. The two women that were using 15 lb bars moved up to 18 lb bars. But today was awesome... today, the woman who always stands behind me and lifts a 9 lb bar while her husband does a 12 lb bar, went and got a SECOND bar of 6 lbs and started doing shoulder work with it. I totally noticed and I thought it was awesome. I think her husband thought it was pretty awesome, too.

A room full of strong ladies. Before you know it, the SRC is going to have to purchase bars with adjustable weights at the ends... because we'll all be fighting for higher weights. :-)

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I'm sitting at my desk drinking a beer. I have spent all day at home, except for an excursion to Target where I bought a bunch of paper products, but forgot to hand over my coupons at checkout because my son was helping... and I was afraid he was going to fall off the cart while putting things on the checkout counter. Go figure. Other than that, there's been a lot of laundry -- and I read -- one half of an adult book. Something I've only been able to do successfully on vacations the last few years.

It was a lovely Sunday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Look for me in Cooking Light

I received a request last week from Cooking Light to use one of my Facebook comments about how to get in your recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day in their magazine. Then they asked for a headshot to go along with it. Thankfully, my friend Joanna took some of us earlier in the summer, so I was able to purchase the digital rights from her and send one along. :-) I'm guessing that it'll be the next issue to come out in January. I have a subscription, so I'll let you know when I know. Not that it's that illuminating of a conversation. Just that it'll be weird to see me in a national publication.

In other news, I did the Run for the Library 5k last weekend in Mahomet. I am excited that I ran it only 10 seconds slower than last year. This is good for someone whose only been running again since September. I looked back in my records and I was running 5 days a week then -- up to 25 miles a week. Now with my back, I'm not up to that kind of mileage. Instead, I've been running 3 times a week and doing other kinds of workouts via Tae Kwon Do, Body Bar classes, Boot camp classes, bike riding and swimming. I haven't had any back pain (knock on wood) in several weeks. And when I run, I do short runs in my bare feet or Vibrams and long runs in my shoes to give my back some relief.

Last weekend, I went up to Rockford to see my friend KAP. She was my best friend in high school and she resides in Arizona now. I hadn't seen her since LL's smallest was born. This weekend, KTDID and I are headed over to Peoria to visit a college friend who is visiting there from Des Moines. We're only going for the afternoon, but it'll be nice to have some girl time.

Tomorrow, MacTroll and I are trying to find time to go see Morning Glory at the Savoy 16. We've been hitting the movies a lot as a family this month. I took X-man to see Ramona and Beezus and then MacTroll took him to see Despicable Me. We also all went to see Megamind last Friday. Can you tell the weather is changing? Next week, we're going to see if we can get out on Tuesday afternoon to catch the new Harry Potter. And I'm going to the theater the Friday after Thanksgiving to see Love and Other Drugs.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Health Scans: To do or not to do?

MacTroll has been talking about getting a heart scan lately. They apparently offer them from time to time at various open house clinics for $100. His family has a history of high cholesterol, blood pressure and heart disease. He spent his 20s and the first part of his 30s eating out of fast food bags and restaurants on the road either as a photographer or as a computer guy.

I think he wants the scan to know how much or if there's been any damage that he's already done to his heart.

In addition, today communities all over the US offered free screenings to see if folks were beginning to show deterioration in their brains due to Alzheimer's disease. My maternal grandmother had Alzheimer's. My mother often says things off the cuff about how she can't remember anything and how she'll probably get it like her mother.

In both conditions, there is a higher likelihood of having the disease if it runs in your family, but environment and lifestyle also play major parts in both health issues.

I'm not sure I'd have a screening, unless I had symptoms. Mostly because at both of them, they tell you that although your screen may say something, no one there is going to diagnose you. Instead, you're supposed to take your abnormal screening to your doctor.

What I worry about, is that if someone got screened and was given an all clear, it might make them make poorer choices in the future about their health because they think they're able to dodge the bullet, since they have for the last 30 years.

I know I have that response sometimes when I step on the scale. The "Ooohh, good, now I can eat" response to a good weigh in.

I know that sometime down the road the people I love in my life will start to have these kinds of issues. I remember when it happened to my parents in their late 30's and early 40's. One day you wake up and your 40-something neighbor who runs every day falls over dead of a heart attack. Or your parents die and you realize you're the oldest of the next generation.

I don't want to be left wondering where the time went. I don't want to be safe and not take risks and miss out on what my life could be. But at the same time, sometimes I feel blind in the dark and wonder if that's better than too much information. Where is the inbetween?

Monday, November 15, 2010

How It Works in My House

I made Three-Pepper Cilantro Fajitas tonight. Here's how it went:

A) I forgot to put in the cilantro.
B) My child insisted that the bell peppers were spicy, spit it out, and announced he was making his own dinner and went to the cupboard for bread and peanut butter.
C) My husband ate the meatless concoction. Then he went back for seconds, microwaving leftover pork in a styrofoam container to add to his dinner.
D) When I informed him that he shouldn't do that because it releases all of the cancer-causing chemicals in the styrofoam into his dinner and isn't at all microwaveable safe. He looks flabbergasted. He looks at the bottom of the styrofoam in disbelief and then starts to add the pork to his dinner regardless of my warnings. So I have to go look it up on the Internet to prove I'm not the moron.
E) Meanwhile, while this debate is going on, my son is STILL complaining, as he eats his PB sandwich that he doesn't like peppers. No kids like peppers. In fact, next time I should just not buy peppers at the store at all, he doesn't care if Daddy and Mommy like peppers... on and on and on.
F) My husband noticing me getting irate, sighs, and takes the pork off the plate and announces that his leftover meat will be going into the garbage.
G) My son eats 4 bites of the sandwich and nothing else, except the 12 Tostitoes I put on his plate. Still grumbling.

So, if you, too want to enjoy this memorable dining experience with your nearly carnivore spouse and super star complaining child... here's the recipe.

Three Pepper Cilantro Fajitas
1/3 cup each sliced red, yellow and orange bell peppers
1 small onion sliced
Pam cooking spray (or 1 tbsp olive oil)
1/2 cup canned low-fat refried beans
2 whole wheat tortillas
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Make it: Sauté peppers and onion in cooking spray (oil) for 8 minutes, or until tender. Warm refried beans in microwave per instructions; spread on tortillas. Top with vegetables and cilantro.

It takes 10 minutes to make. MacTroll said it was "fine." I gave him some habanero from the garden to add to it, but he refrained.

Life: Love it or leave it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I'd like to say that I'm growing as a person, but lately I've been feeling more like I'm shrinking. I'm feeling a need to start over on many, many levels. And when I can't control something, I change what I can. When I was young, this usually meant rearranging a mass amount of furniture in my room. Alas, I don't have that much furniture to move in my house. So, I've been eyeing buying new furniture.

The flooring folks, this time from Flooring America near Meijer (they had the gray laminate I was hoping for) come to install on November 22. The week after, I'll (hopefully) be dropping X-man off at the Ikea kids room on a Tuesday and running around picking up items for my new room. Maybe a fuzzy rug, a small desk, etc. All the little stuff that I can fit in the car with him in his car seat. Tomorrow, I get to call the painters and get on their schedule.

But I've also been looking at new kitchen tables. I want a 60"x60" light wood table that will seat two small benches and 4 chairs in my kitchen. I'd also love a new light wood table in my dining room. I keep changing the house, because I feel helpless to change other parts of my life. And yet, I know, that sooner or later, the change is going to come, whether I like it or not.

People have a way of evolving that way...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I'm back to let you know ...

I wasn't a fan of San José.

It wasn't a surprise, but outside of their children's museum (reviews to come later) it was a so/so place to visit, so I can't imagine living there. I also got my first highway driving time in on the trek back to the SFO airport with X-man on a week day morning during rush hours. Yeah, there's not just one, like most big cities there are many hours -- and really, there is no rush -- only standing still. X-man was overjoyed that we were HOV-a-licious for most of it, however.

The highlight of the trip, besides my four days with X-man by my side in a "different" place, time-change, he's-got-the-gimmes vortex that was either all rainbows and light or the darkish hell of the Nothing,was running into MacTroll's colleagues, who I hadn't seen since I was pregnant. I only had a few minutes one evening to catch up when we took X-man to meet MacTroll's boss. X-man got a kick out of the fact that someone exists in this world that tells his Dad what to do in some kind of capacity.

The trip home alone, while MacTroll went off to LA for the rest of the conference (Don't ask why they flew them to Central California only to fly all 600 of them down to LA after a day. The thought process boggles the mind.) was uneventful. X-man was bummed that we didn't have enough time between flights to play at the ORD play place. But he did get mega compliments by the folks who sat in front of us on the way back. They patted him on the head and told him how awesome he was. Then they made eye contact with me and smiled.

This was a lovely thing to encounter after taking him to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where he was a bit manic due to being over tired and having a time change freak out both from going to California and having Daylight Savings. Some lovely gentleman walked up to us in the cafeteria and asked if my child was special needs, cause he and his wife worked with kids like him by improving behavior through nutrition. Yes, this actually happened.  Yes, he had kids with him. When I explained to X-man what the man said, after he and his family had left, he was quite upset. "He's a bad man. I don't like him. If I see him I'm going to hit him!"


Thursday, I have to admit, I dropped X-man off at school and then I called it a mental rehabilitation day. I was wiped out. I might have had some time change issues, too. Friday, I had a lot more energy. I did laundry, made it to body bar class (I'm now squatting with the heaviest bar they have and doing bicep and shoulder work with the second heaviest -- woot), ran 5 miles, scheduled the flooring installation on my basement Loosey-only room for Nov. 22, and scheduled a 2-day trip to Chicago to take the family to the Museum of Science and Industry and to the Lego Discovery Center in Schaumburg with a stop at Ikea.

Then after we picked up X-man we took him to go see Megamind. It wasn't terrible. It reminded me a lot of Despicable Me.

This morning, I'm heading to Mahomet to run in the 5k that benefits their library. Then I'm going straight to Rockford, by myself, to visit with my parents and my best friend from high school (KAP). We haven't hung out since February 2009, just before I started weight management.

So, that's the quick update for now. We're going places, doing things, getting along okay. But it does feel like a million years since I've seen anyone around town in a social capacity. We have some child-related birthdays coming up, so hopefully I'll get to see more folks then!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vacation Take 2

We showed up at the airport this morning ready to take off for California. Except the plane broke and the one they replaced it with had less seats than the original and because X-man and I were flying on free award tickets, we got bumped. But MacTroll, of course, was already checked in and ready to go. Since Delta pulled out of CMI, we've had a lot of problems at the little airport. They need more flights. Every flight in and out is oversold. It's been making problems for MacTroll and work, since he usually books his flight around 7-9 days in advance of when he goes, and often times, there aren't any seats.

It's better than it could be. At least Bloomington is relatively close by. But this morning their flight to Chicago was oversold. Sooooo -- American is having a Green Taxi pick us up at our place to drive us to Peoria to fly to Chicago. Then we get a later flight to San Francisco. So, we'll get in at 7:15 p.m. instead of 1:15 p.m. and will probably not be able to go see MacTroll's brother and his family.

X-man doesn't take well to sudden change. He felt upset that we were the only ones not getting on the airplane as they asked for volunteers to give up their seats for vouchers. A few people did, but not enough to get us at #4 and #5 spaces on the plane. Then the American Airlines agent made him an origami swan. X-man was so smitten he hugged her. Then he got picked up and carried behind the desk and she made him a jumping frog while the other agent worked on our issue. The crew at American at CMI is awesome. I know that with MacTroll's frequent travels he appreciates them a lot. And they like that when crazy stuff like this happens, we don't flip our lids.

So here we are at home for an extra hour and a half before the taxi comes... We'll see how this turns out for a short trip to California. On the plus side, we were given $1,200 worth of American vouchers, and now MacTroll and I are planning a trip to Paris... maybe for my 35th birthday.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Grown Ups

I'm almost to the point where I'm closer to 40 than 30. It's just a few months away. And I really don't mind. But I've started to take a step back and observe how I live my life. The things that I'd like to accomplish. One of the things that has often bothered me is there are many things around the house that are in a perpetual stand still. In an emotional sense, my house is our home. But if you looked around here, you would know we lived here, but I haven't exactly set it up like it's a permanent residence. Part of me thinks it's because I think of home as where my family is, rather than the dwelling we happen to reside in. But I go into other people's homes, and I like when they're lived in. I like when I see pieces of who they are up on the walls. I'll also admit I like it when I get that what's there (a piece of furniture, a knick knack, etc.) tells a story that everyone in the house will understand, but I won't... unless I ask. I love that aspect of families. The history. The affection. The fondness.

Although I realize in 3-4 years, we could be residing somewhere else. I've also faced the fact that it's put any further education plans I have on hold. Instead of spending money on my college tuition, we'll be saving, saving and saving for the possibility that we might be moving to central California. In which case, housing costs will be 4 times what they are here. This gives us time to plan.

It also means that this morning we took advantage of the low interest rates and refinanced our house. We put more money into it. We dropped our interest rate two points, and we lessened it from a 20-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage. It was all very grown up.

Following the signing of our mortgage (our fifth in 10 years -- since we've refinanced this house twice now in the three years we've owned it), we took my car into the shop for a 20k mile inspection. I've owned the car one year and one week. MacTroll has owned his car for six years, and he's at 26k miles.

Tonight after dinner at Kofusion, I took MacTroll to the mall. We were trying to remember the last time we went shopping together just for us, without one of us having X-man and the other running around trying to get things done as fast as possible... We couldn't remember. There was a glimpse of doing some kind of Christmas return at Bergner's once upon a time, but we both agreed, it wasn't shopping. It was a quick trade and go over the lunch hour. There was also a quick drive by shopping trip to Oakbrook when I was pregnant, so MacTroll could hit the Apple store and I could hit the Motherhood Maternity (before we had one in Champaign). But we weren't really in the same store together.

In fact, the last time we went shopping together was when we lived in D.C. somewhere between 1999 and 2003. Tonight, MacTroll got a new pair of jeans -- not from the Gap Outlet, which is a first. He also got a new grown up dress coat.

I struck out at trying to find wide calf boots. But my husband actually voiced an opinion, which I agree with, which was: "Go all out, or go home." So, here I am searching the internet to see if we can have wide calf and at least 3" non-wedge, non-chunky heel.

But it was still nice to have someone to go with, and I'm liking the fact that he and I are doing much better at scheduling time together and talking to each other about things that matter rather than just about our day. You start to feel like you've got someone on your team, which is very nice.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Part of my iron deficiency issue is that on days during my cycle I have a lot of energy issues. I took a 2 hour nap today to try and see if I could pep up for Tae Kwon Do, but the truth is that I was feeling fatigued and dizzy during Body Bar class. I couldn't lift a bar well that I kicked butt on during class on Monday. The difference: Day 1 of my period.

I'm not anemic -- yet. But I'm borderline. 

When I got my blood results back a few weeks ago that I had the deficiency I started taking supplements. I also have a protein deficit. And, as you can probably imagine, my husband found this pretty entertaining. He's a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He, of course, consumes too many carbs and proteins. Where as most of my diet is pretty fruit and vegetable based. This is a good thing. But your body absorbs iron better from red meat than it does from spinach. So I've been trying to increase my beef intake within recommended serving sizes. It is a little amusing that the medical advice for the health nut,  includes eating 3-4 oz of steak every once in a while. 

And in essence, I need more iron-rich food fueling my body and making hemoglobin. But normal things like a period, make it kind of hard. In addition, I sweat a lot, which doesn't help. 

So, today, X-man gets a haircut instead of going to Tae Kwon Do. And we'll try to go tomorrow after school, if I'm feeling better. If I'm not, then he'll go on his own and I'll sit my butt in a chair in the waiting room. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Unexpected extra time

I had a pretty full day scheduled for today. But when I reported to work at MMO, it turns out that I wasn't needed to sub today. It occurred to me that I suddenly had 4 hours of uninterrupted Loosey time. I could do whatever I wanted.

So I went Christmas and furniture shopping, but fueled up the car first. Then I stopped at Prairie Gardens first for their Christmas sale. I was surprised to find a kitchen table that I liked for a decent price, but I wanted two side benches, and they only carried the 60" table with 4 chairs. It's too big of  a table for only 4 -- and two benches would be perfect. Therefore, the kitchen table search continues. Then I headed up to Slumberland Furniture to look at their inventory. Brown, brown, brown for as far as the eye can see. I'm not a brown person. Then I did a swing through Macy's furniture just to check. No surprise, there was a large white couch and a purple couch, but that doesn't work either.

I picked up laser paper from Office Depot and then headed over to Wind, Water and Light in Urbana. I'm ashamed to say, I hadn't been in their new Lincoln Square location. I think I was partial to the old one because it was so much more crowded, but Larry and Mary the owners were just as friendly as usual. I didn't find anything for anyone left on my list, but I'll keep looking. I also swung through Art Mart (both toys and housewares while I was there) and then I drove over to Bella and did a swoop through their store, leaving with a pair of Calvin Klein peep toe pumps that were 65 percent off -- for me.

I got home at 12:10 and ate lunch and made a critical decision -- about hair. I was using one of the coupons I picked up from the Chambanamom's Night Out to get my hair cut and colored by Deanna at Spa Envy.

In the end, I decided to go with what would require less upkeep (because we all know I'm hair lazy). The sun had done a doozy turning my hair golden blond this summer. So I got a partial high lift (somehow different from a high light) to blend the top which was becoming mousy brown with bits of gray. So now my hair is more blended. Then she gave it some body with some layers, and boom, I don't quite feel like putting it up in a ponytail all the time now.

Afterwards, I packed up my Mom's birthday present and dropped it off at the post office before returning library books and picking up X-man from school. He proclaimed today the worst day ever. I won't repeat what the issues were, but he's doing things that other kids know to be unsanitary -- and he's doing it enough that they notice and his teachers are worried that X-man will be shunned socially for it. So, we're all trying to work on stopping the bad habit before he starts to feel like an outcast. It's a seasonal problem, he had it last year, too.

It's hard being 4.