Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Check it out. My daughter made this for me today. It says: "Awarded to Mom for all your Flower Power"
Does that kid know me, or what??? It's probably the best award I've ever received. (The one for her dad says: "Awarded to Dad for being my star" - too sweet!!!)
Well - I took her out to Half Price Books in the cold, cold weather tonight so that she could get some new books for herself with her Christmas gift card and I could get a new book to read (after all - it's really all about me, you know). I decided to get Interview with the Vampire because I figured it was time to give Anne Rice a try. I've heard about it forever and always figured it came out when I was in Jr. High but it's a heck of a lot older than that - copyright 1976!!! Dang - I was 5 years old! It's practically "classic" literature. :)
I'll be interested to read it - especially since it's apparently held up so well through the years (decades). Hopefully it doesn't freak me out TOO much. But if it does...oh, well. It can just join the collection of books/TV shows/movies/politicians that freak me out. It will be in good company.
I do expect an email from you guys if I suddenly appear unusually angsty or bloodthirsty over the next few weeks. After all - friends don't let friends get seduced by vampires.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Ok - I'll be honest. I'm actually just using this blog to test myself so that I can start using the hyperlink button the proper way for a blog instead of inserting a god-awfully lengthy http address like I did yesterday. (I know, I know - majorly uncool of me to post a super-long link...)
But aren't you impressed with this new skill of mine? Flippin' sweet...
Sunday, January 25, 2009
BUT....I can't help but yearn for what Barack and Michelle seem to have ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/20/barack-and-michelle-obama_n_159504.html ). I know, I know, I know....it's all media. I'm buying into the hype. But still....I guess I just see something in their eyes and think - "Yes! That's what marriage is supposed to be!"
Ok - feel free to flame me now for my naivete - I'm sure I deserve it.
I did take my daughter out into the seriously cold weather up in Waco this weekend when we visited my parents so that we could do the traditional door to door selling up there. It was 37 degrees on Saturday. I honestly have no idea what I was thinking. I did, however, bundle us up in multiple layers and that was the only exercise I got all weekend - so I suppose it all worked out for the best.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Even when I was in Jr. High, I already had friends who rolled their eyes at the holiday and were well on their way to 30-something cynicism when it came to St. Valentine's Day. It amuses me to no end that the older I get, the more I seem to love it. Each year I get all hopeful about Valentine's Day - I get very caught up in it. I'm honestly not sure at all what I'm expecting from it - I just think it's the best thing since sliced bread. It reminds me a lot of the way I tend to watch movies when I already know the ending. I still think that maybe THIS TIME it will end differently. ("I know I've seen Gone With the Wind twenty times but I bet this time Rhett will stay with Scarlett. Oh no!!! He's walking away again! Rhett - go back to her! She loves you!!")
So - the way some people believe in Santa Claus (ok, I guess that's me too...but that's a subject for a different post....), I believe in Valentine's Day. The day I stop believing in it will be the day I'm no longer Jenn.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
That pretty much sums up how I'm looking at career stuff right now. I see advice (and inspiration) everywhere. Now - if this is not a classic Jenn outlook on life I don't know what is: the economy is tanking, all the wise folks advise against taking financial risks but no, no, no....Jenn is seeing career advice in everything. And...all the advice seems to be saying: "Go for it, girl!!!!" (Now...what that "it" is remains to be seen.....so don't ask me just yet...)
I thought I'd share some of my latest career inspirations, because I'm nothing if not a sharing kind of girl:
- Joann's Book (a.k.a. Fourteen Buttons): You can read about it at the bottom of my blog later, but I have to say I really enjoyed reading her book! This was actually a two-fold career inspiration. For one thing, I'm an unfulfilled and undisciplined writer. Because of that, I'll probably never be published. I was so impressed that I knew someone who had the discipline to complete a novel and get it published. It made me think: "Maybe some day..." The main character in Joann's book, Annie, was also a real inspiration to me. She started out as a pretty meek woman who just wanted to be a housewife and mom, but ended up raising her kids on her own and creating a successful business. Really cool - especially since it happened right after WWII.
- The Brazen Careerist: I just discovered this blog. I am hooked. The woman who writes it is so irreverent and I feel like such a spy when I read about her life but it's GREAT. I mean - you read about everything from sex to interviews in there. (Not necessarily in the same posting...one would hope...) Obviously she wants to share her life with the world, or she wouldn't have this really popular blog. (Now, maybe her ex-husband didn't feel the same way about having his life shared all over her blog....considering the fact that he's an EX-husband now. Ouch.)
- My dad. Really - I think Dad was my original career inspiration (probably the case for a lot of kids, don't you think?) and the older I get, the better I understand him. We're cut from the same cloth in a lot of ways. He made some really good, but really difficult career decisions during the 1970's and 80's based on what his family needed. I don't think that was a driving factor for as many men then as it might be now. He also started his own business when I was in high school (or maybe Jr. High - I lose track of time...) and it's only in the last year and a half that I've truly understood the allure of being your own boss. I'm really glad that I have Dad as a model so that if I ever take a big leap like that some day, I'll know without a doubt that it's do-able.
So there you go. These are the thoughts that are making me tick lately. Well - those thoughts plus the fact that none of my pants fit the way they did two months ago and I'm COMPLETELY annoyed by that fact...ugh. It seriously is SO discouraging. At least I'm encouraged professionally, right? We'll just go with that for a while...
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
1. an Air Card which lets me stream video without being a drain on the work network,
2. a husband who reminded me of this fact, and
3. a good connection with very few blips or breaks in the action (what a relief THAT was).
It's funny what I keep thinking about - that we now have our first Gen-X President and that it can be really tricky to be there for your kids and help them settle into a new situation when you're starting a new job (and both of the Obamas are beginning jobs that are MUCH more stressful than I could ever imagine). Most of all, however, I've found myself thinking more and more about what I want to accomplish with the rest of my life. It's almost a process of distilling my dreams down to their essence. I'm not sure whether it's inspired by the inauguration (at least in part) or if it's simply a by-product of middle age, but I feel as if I'm almost ready to understand my ultimate goals. The understanding is right there - I can just about taste it.
The question at that point (of course) is: what will I do with my goals once I know what they are? Scott Adams (the creater of Dilbert) is a big believer in writing your goal 15 times a day as an affirmation. He doesn't believe in anything supernatural (or even in God, for that matter) but he's seen it make a difference repeatedly in his own life. Probably because it opens your mind to see opportunities where you might not have seen them before.
I think I'm going to give it a shot. If nothing else - it wouldn't hurt me to write something positive 15 times a day, in which I'm visualizing myself succeeding at my dreams.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
To all of you who are full-time mothers of four (especially if you do it on your own - for any number of kids) - you have my highest respect.
The girls are LOVING this "warm" Texas weather and spending all their time playing in the backyard. They are from Maine so they see legitimate winters. [i.e. - "Walk outside without a coat and get frostbite" winters] You can really tell what a weenie I am, though, because as they play outside in light clothes, I'm inside all bundled up and freezing. I keep trying to sneak the heater up to 71 degrees - much to the consternation of the rest of the humans in the house.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
The issue is that his legs are SO LONG that almost all of his pants look like clam diggers on him. And this is a recurring problem. I've probably hit Target 3 times in the last few months, searching the sales and clearance racks for new pants for the child because every time I look up, I see his skinny little ankles sticking out of the bottom of his pants. Just this morning, I had to refrain from saying: "Hey, where's the flood?" Of course, he's in kindergarten and wouldn't really have understood that I was being witty.
As a matter of fact, the pants that were the culprits this morning are reasonably new pants - so at lunch I went to Super Target and picked up two more pair. What do you want to bet that within a month, they'll be shorts on him?
The funny thing is that my mom had the opposite problem with me. I have stunningly short legs. It's not obvious at first because, although I'm short, I'm not bizarrely short. But my arms and legs are proportionately much shorter than they should be compared to the rest of my body. It was practically impossible for her to find pants that were the right length for me as I grew up - so she had to cut them off (sometimes almost as much as a foot - I kid you not, I remember one particular pair of jeans from Jr. High...) and hem them for me.
Luckily for me, my mom was a legitimate seamstress. I mean - she made practically every single dress I wore to dances plus many of my other clothes as well. If I had to do any sort of hemming for my children...well, let's just say we'd be going through a lot of duct tape because that's about the best I can do in that department.
So odds are that this kid will be quite tall. He even has enormous feet, and I hold to the notion that little boys are like puppies - the bigger their feet are, the bigger they'll be when they're all grown up. His sister probably won't be a shorty either. Her pants aren't causing as much trouble as his but I hardly ever have to hem anything for her (thank the Lord) and when I saw her in black tights last Sunday I had to catch my breath. She had these long legs and looked like a young lady.
So I'm just biding my time until I'm the shortest human in the house. Thank goodness for the hamsters or I'd really feel insignificant.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I guess it's a security blanket, of sorts. If I get blue, or worn out or just have an awful mountain of clothes to tackle - I put Drew Barrymore on the screen and wait for her to ride off into the sunset with her prince. Aaaahhhh.......good stuff.
In case you're wondering - it's Ever After. That's my old standby.
Although...now that I think about it...I'm sort of in the mood for Enchanted tonight. Now I'm even smiling, thinking about it! I'm actually looking forward to the folding chores! Dang...that's truly amazing.
I guess I'm just easily pacified. Give me a fairy tale (rated PG, of course) and I can handle anything life throws at me.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Here's the background:
1. As you may have noticed from recent postings, I recently read an amazingly wonderful book entitled "The Blood of Flowers." It's set in Iran (Persia) in the 17th century and (as you might imagine) the women need to be very aware of how they dress - women from the higher classes are especially conscious of not going out without being fully covered. There was a particular ancient story that was part of the novel, which really stood out to me. A beautiful woman was pursued by various men and she finally cut off her hair and lived as a wise man for many years so that she could find peace and live the life of a holy intellectual. That fable has really stuck with me.
2. We are complete History Channel and science show geeks. Last night, we watched a show we'd recorded - it's one from a series about the Seven Deadly Sins. The show we watched last night was about Pride ...and let me tell you - I have never been so convicted. It's almost as if I could hear the Universe clearing it's throat as if to ask me if I was paying close attention because the show was created especially for me and my faults. The priests and religious scholars discussed the fact that Pride is sort of the lynchpin of all other sins - it was considered the most dangerous (i.e. - the most deadly??) by Pope Gregory. This is basically because Pride is used by humans to justify all other sins. ("It's fine for me to do this - after all, I'm different and special.")
So...these things have come together in my mind and I'm struggling with how to deal with this new conviction. I don't think a full chador is the appropriate calling for me but I do think that I'm supposed to do something. (If my photographer friend is reading this....yes, I'm fully aware of my tendency to constantly look for something to give up in my life. Asceticism....I know....just bear with me, ok?)
I suspect that I am supposed to bring a new level of modesty into my life and stop focusing on what others think of me (this will be the most difficult part for me). Really - that's what the sin of Pride comes down to for me...allowing the judgments (or perceived judgements) of other humans to overrule what I know to be the right choice for me.
Unfortunately ... that's easier said than implemented.
Monday, January 12, 2009
For some inane, bizarre, and unspeakably CRUEL reason - I CANNOT beat my husband at a game. ANY game.
Ok - that's not entirely true. I hold up pretty well at Scrabble. But I should (all things being equal) completely demolish him at Scrabble. Oh, yeah - and I have knocked him out a few times in boxing on the Wii. And yet, I only beat him by a bit when I manage to win those games.
I AM SO FRUSTRATED!!!!
What brought on this tirade, you might ask? Oh - he and the kids got Boom Blox for the Wii and they showed me tonight. After the kids went to bed, I told him I'd like to play and I was feeling all competitive and ready to go. (woo-hoo!) Well. And, I say again...WELL...the man wiped the floor with me. It was so pitiful it's almost indescribable.
And do you know what the worst part is?
He kept trying to COACH me!!!!!
Because, of course - that will help me feel so much better.
I suppose I should be glad that I've overcome my latent fear of success when it comes to my career. But given the choice - I think I'd rather work at Sonic at 2 a.m. and royally whollop my husband's behind at the Wii games than be a successful lawyer and listen to him try not to snicker as I invent new ways to lose spectacularly.
Not that I'm bitter, or anything...
Sunday, January 11, 2009
She is never named, in honor of the countless anonymous artisans of Persian carpets throughout the centuries. It takes place in Iran during the 1620's (During the reign of the great Shah Abbas) and follows the story of a young woman from the country who creates her own career as a carpet designer, but makes many mistakes (especially in regards to love) along the way as she struggles to find her own self-respect.
A number of ancient Persian tales are interspersed throughout the novel and each one begins with the phrase which is the title to this post. The author says that it's a rough English translation of an Iranian phrase which is basically used as "Once upon a time..."
Isn't it amazing that the truth of what we feel and believe and how we hope to find our ultimate callings can be told in a story that is set hundreds of years ago, in a land far away, where an entirely different religion is followed? I think I might write a letter to the author to tell her how much her book meant to me.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
Yesterday, as I was at lunch with one of my buddies, the obvious occurred to me - perhaps my eyesight has shifted and I need reading glasses. During my drive in to work today, I tried to pay attention to road signs and - sure enough - I noticed that they were blurry for longer than they used to be for me. Bummer.
A little history before we delve further into this post: I first went "four-eyed" when I was about 8 years old. Although I went through phases where I wore contacts (most notably the stressful teenage years), they never worked very well for me so around 5 years ago I got LASIK surgery. Worth every penny. Seriously - it was awesome.
The doctors told me, however, that once I was in my 40's, my eyes would change again and I'd need reading glasses. Well....I'm only 37 1/2 but I've always been precocious - so I sort of suspect my eyes have decided that they're 40, even if the rest of my body hasn't caught up with them yet.
As I write this, I'm sitting at La Madeliene's, sipping a Diet Coke (which is doing nothing for my vicious headache) and waiting to drive over to the Arboretum for my eye appointment. I'll try to post again later tonight to give you an update about whether I'm officially old. Truthfully - right now I could care less if I need reading glasses - I just want the headache to go away.
And I suppose I'm a bit less caught up with my looks than I used to be. Sort of. Well...maybe not. Strike that previous comment from the record, your honor.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Check out the new blog I found - I haven't had much of a chance to explore it much but I still added it to the bottom of my page - it's called Veggie Bytes and it's by a lady here in town who is a personal vegetarian chef. (!!) It's my ultimate dream to shell out a few hundred bucks to have her come to my house and make me homemade Ayurvedic vegetarian food. (Look it up....or maybe I'll blog about it someday.)
Monday, January 5, 2009
My extremely artistic and talented photographer buddy accurately diagnosed me with this when we worked together a few years ago.
So....I'm a member of a Disney forum and just LOVE reading all the postings, although I rarely post. I've been enjoying other people's trip reports and I decided to start one of my own - but just for me, and as a consequence, just for this blog.
I know it sounds weird that I've started writing a "trip report" 67 days before we leave, but I'm a wee bit weird about this stuff. Plus, I suppose I like to write.
So here's the latest from the Jenn Trip Planning Diaries (it's written in the "style" of the forum I read - with people talking about DHs, DDs, and DSs...):
January 5, 2009
It is 2 months and 8 days until we leave for WDW (!!!!!!) and I figured that it would be amusing to record my current obsessive-compulsive tendencies about this trip so that I can later look back and either say: “I can’t believe I worried about that!” OR “Thank goodness I worried about that!”
On the way into work this morning (I had to go in later than normal, since my kids still haven’t started school and my husband couldn’t be off the whole day), I stopped at the teacher supply store so that I could laminate all the itinerary cards I’d made for each day of our trip.
I also spent a few of my morning hours obsessing about whether or not I should cancel our Tusker House reservation and replace it with a Fantasmic Dinner package or just stick with the current plan of dinner at Animal Kingdom and then we could take a taxi over to Disney Hollywood Studios after dinner if we felt up to it and try to make the Fantasmic showing with the rest of the thousands of people wanting to see it. (I kept the Tusker House reservation, in case you’re curious.)
Our cast of characters:
Me, age 37. Think Belle with a law degree. Seriously – I totally get that girl. I even have brown hair and can be pretty snippy at times -- as Belle was with the Beast and Gaston (ok, very snippy if you want to believe the rest of my family).
Dear Husband, age 39. Hmmm….if I had to pick a Disney character for him – it might actually be Mickey! No kidding. He hardly ever gets upset or mad, everyone likes him tons and he’s really smart. (Ever notice how Mickey gets out of the jams and is the one who figures out all the solutions?)
Dear Daughter, age 9. I’m not sure exactly why, but Ariel keeps popping into my mind when I think of her. It might be the red hair, but maybe I’m also just projecting parental angst onto her (you know, worried that she might some day decide to run away from home to marry a prince or something like that – yikes!!!!). No – now that I really think about it – she is Mulan. No doubt about it – exercise isn’t really her thing (nor is it my thing and it wasn’t for Mulan at first either!) but she’ll work hard at anything if she has a good reason and she’s all about protecting people – especially her family.
Dear Son, age 5 (he’ll be 6 by the time we hit WDW). On some of his rougher days, his temper can be a little bit like Donald Duck but that’s happening less and less often lately. He’s very detail-oriented and good with creating drawings and Lego constructions. He’s definitely a little mini-me of his dad (so I guess he’s a little Mickey) but his dad’s already got the Mickey I.D. in this post. Maybe he’s Simba. He definitely wants to be like his dad and it will be interesting to discover the path he ends up taking as he gets there.
I have planned, and planned, and planned this trip. The biggest challenge is actually trying to make sure that I don’t pack our schedule too full. I think I’ve done pretty well, but tonight I want to take DH through our schedule in detail (unless he’s still working on his real work tonight – you know, the kind that pays the bills) so that I can make sure he’s on board with the plan. (Not sure what I’ll do if he isn’t…but let’s hope for the best, shall we?)
Here are some of the goofy little Mom things that I’ve already done:
- bought little $5 souvenirs in advance for the kids so that Tinker Bell can leave gifts for them each morning (and hopefully we’ll cut down a bit on the “I want this!” refrain…I know, it’s a pipe dream…)
- bought character stickers and cardstock paper from Hobby Lobby and am in the process of creating “autograph cards” for the kids so that they’ll have pre-decorated autograph cards to take when they see the characters (I’ll also buy each of them a small clipboard and I’ve already bought each of them a retractable Sharpie to use since the characters need big pens to use)
- bought matching Mickey t-shirts for all of us to wear one day, probably on the flight there
- picked out PDF designs for us to use for matching t-shirts on our other days in the park (I know….I will probably be the only one of the four of us excited about the matching shirts…but so be it)
Have you noticed a “spending money” theme here? I also plan to buy a more compact backpack (one of those sling ones that doesn’t take up so much room). My excuse for that is that I know I might be carrying it around some since my DH will be carrying his big camera bag. But, honestly, I just enjoy buying stuff for trips – I even enjoy buying the moleskin so we’ll be prepared for the blisters we’re bound to get on our toes!
There's something therapeutic about writing for me....even if it's just writing about our itinerary for the trip. I guess writing makes it real.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
I'm reclining in bed in my super cozy pink socks (which Santa left for me in my stocking) and my warm pink PJs, feeling a bit free and easy because I've given up my Lost obsession. Back in October, when we visited family in Maine, we heard how awesome Lost was and that we had to give it a shot. Well, we Netflixed it and sure enough - it was SUCH a good show. The acting was great and the story line just drew us in...but therein lay the problem.
You see, not only would we stay up late every night watching Lost, but that storyline played with my psyche in a VERY unpleasant manner. I've never slept well, and regularly have bad dreams. But this show just completely screwed with my head. I finally 'fessed up and told my husband that after we finished Season 2, I couldn't take any more late night psychological torture and proposed we just find a good spoiler site to see what the heck was going on in that show. Luckily for me, he agreed - he liked the show but was tired of our evening hours being consumed by Hurley, Kate, Sawyer, Sun, and Jack.
We finished Season 2 last night then I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (for just the third time...it's finally starting to make sense to me now although I seemed to notice some sloppy grammar this time around that I didn't notice before). So....here I sit...no TV show with which to become obsessive-compulsive, no book to read...just my pink socks and my blog. And I believe that is exactly what I need at this point in time.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
I'll try not to spoil the movie for any of you, but during the drive home from the theater, our conversation centered around loss and pain, and why we face that in our lives. I told her: "I think the whole point of life is to have our hearts broken." (Hold on....I know what your reaction is - it's probably what her reaction was: "WHAT???") I like to believe that I became more eloquent somewhere between the Capitol of Texas Highway and Braker Lane, however...
I explained that you could go through life never loving anyone (or any animal) and then you'd never feel loss. But you'd also never feel life. I told her that she would face pain - that one day she'd have a boyfriend and they'd break up. And when that happened she'd feel like the whole world was ending - and in fact, in that moment, it kind of would be ending. But she'd realize that all those people (and animals) who came in and out of her life gave her joy -and made her life what it was....
So - anyway - if your heart never breaks, you've never lived.
Then we both went home and held our dog and I cried like a baby for about 20 minutes. (She patted me on the back and told me everything was going to be ok.) Oh...and my son wisely told my husband that he better not see that movie because "it's a mind twister."
Thursday, January 1, 2009
The way I look at it, however, this holiday served to teach me how lucky I am to have such a great family. If I was counting the minutes to get back to work, that would be pretty sad. As it is - I will be counting the minutes until 5:00 on Friday evening so I can get back home to them.
Today my youngest seems to be suffering from pink eye (or something of that nature) so he didn't feel really great - but the silver lining about that is that he was perfectly happy to let me rock him and then he fell asleep in my lap. That doesn't happen very often anymore.
Tomorrow his dad might have to take him to the doctor if it doesn't go away...and hopefully I won't wake up with my own eyes swollen shut! But if I do, it's just proof that I'm a Mom - right? And that's why I work - really, it is. I work at a job that is busy but not as busy as I would be if I worked at a law firm (because no amount of money is worth not being home for dinner). I like the fact that my kids know I work and make money for the family - but I also like the fact that they know I have to sleep with a teddy bear and like to go out to dinner with their dad.
It's so easy to lose track of what's important and I sure have had my share of losing track of what matters over the last few years...but now I get it.