Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Sun, Moon and the Stars

At the start of my sophomore year of college, my mother gave me a gift of a celestial-themed blanket.  It was my go-to for the rest of college, over my legs while studying if chilly, snuggled up with when I felt homesick, and overall a pretty decoration for my dorm room.

Later on, the blanket accompanied me to New Hampshire when I first moved in with Hubby and two roommates that were on the same submarine.  (In fact, I was the only female and civilian, as the house next door was packed with "Nukes" as well.)    The blanket dressed up  the back of our communal couch, which was harvest gold and brown and ugly as sin.   Later on that year it even did double duty as our Christmas tree skirt.

That blanket joined us after the wedding in our first apartment (having made the promise that the only other roommates would be ones that I gave birth to, it was just us.)  And at this house, it's my go-to for chilly nights when Brian likes the window open and I like it closed, it's just the right thickness to toss over the comforter on the bed.  Sometimes I like it swathed in my lap as I work some rounds on my latest knitting project.

Lately however, I've had some competition over my favorite blanket.  Will's taken to bringing it to bed with him as his "light" blanket in case the fleece "Cars" one that my mother made him is too warm.  I found it draped over Sean the other night when I sneaked into their room close to midnight to peek in on them and even give them a quick peck on the cheek.

Something about seeing those boys nestled in that gives me a rush of emotion that I'm not sure where it comes from.  It's just an ordinary blanket, nothing special.  It came out of a catalog or perhaps even a big-box store.  I've thought about it for a few days and here's the best way to describe it:  That blanket has been something of a comfort item to me over the years.  It's accompanied me to a lot of places and seen me through a lot of years.  I've spent time under it daydreaming, planning, laughing and crying.  So to see one of those boys turning it into a fort or snoozing comfortably, it gives them the same things that it's given me.  And while it's also given me a little comfort, it's in its own way, shown me my Sun, Moon, and Stars.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Monday-Friday (Dis)Connection

Reading a post recently about how the house looks from at the start of a week of solo-parenting to the end gave me an idea.

Rather, it gave me heartburn.  Why?  Because this is EVERY week in our house.  

The poster had I believe three boys, and a husband who travels for work.  At the start of the week-long business trip, she's got things running smoothly, kids happy, finding time to squeeze in a workout between toddler naps, etc.  Things trickle downhill and by the end of the week, the kids are eating cereal with their hands straight out of the box for breakfast, there's no clean laundry, etc etc.  

Here is the picture of the typical week at our house:  Mondays usually start with an empty sink, folded laundry and clothes put out the night before. The bed has a good chance of being made on a Monday. Backpacks contain the correct things like school papers and lunchboxes.  There's no mad dash for the bus stop and no tripping over debris in the living room on the way back.

By Wednesday, the dining room table is almost unrecognizable.  As the main drop zone, it's covered with jackets, yarn, half-filled laundry baskets and whatever toy the kids are tired of playing with at the time.  the lunchbox has been at school since Monday, and there's a very good chance that by the time it does make an appearance, it has a squished banana in it.  Make that a stinky squished banana.  Hair products and makeup are strewn across the dresser.  

Thursday nights is where it turns from "this is a problem" to utter chaos.  Dishes pile up, we run out of paper plates.  The family room has so many toys on the floor it's a game to get to the back door to let out the dog.  Hubby usually needs to start a load of laundry just so that he can have jeans for "Casual Friday."  We stay up late to watch our recorded shows because "Aw screw it....tomorrow's Friday."  

Then comes the reality of Friday morning.  Yeah, it's Friday, and that's exciting!  But oh's a good thing there usually aren't any visitors on Fridays.  Friday nights are the start of the recovery mission.  Dishes and laundry have reached critical mass, with laundry in various stages of done-ness all over the house.  There's no cereal, no fruit and usually no milk until groceries on Saturday.   Will gets to buy lunch on Fridays.    It's likely that you may trip and break your neck anywhere throughout the house.  And Mama here just looks around, bewildered.  How does this happen every week???  

Ah, the joys of two parents that work full-time.  :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Suddenly Superwoman

Superwoman, I'm not. 

But in the past few weeks....I wasn't so sure for a little bit.  For instance, I finished three knitting projects on deadline in a few days time.  That NEVER happens.  One of them was even something that was languishing on the needles since June.  (that's a little embarassing...I'll be honest.  Esp since it's a sweet baby sweater for a baby that was born in.....August.)  I now have unrealistic expectations of what I think I can knit up before the holidays come screeching around the corner. 

I'm excellent at playing an Ostrich.  Deadlines approaching?  Things need to be sent back to school?  Deny, deny, deny.  I'm the Queen of Avoidance, of thinking I have more time to accomplish tasks than I really do.  But even I couldn't ignore just how full of stuff my basement is getting.  So I started keeping a tally of how many bags of stuff we can bring up, be it trash or donatables.  (It's a word because I said so.)  So far seven bags of clothes, toys and baby stuff out of the house and countless amounts of trash.  This house is going to feel much lighter and it's going to be easier to put it on the market come 2014. 

And work today!  Pumped to get going today, plunging through files, sending letters, shredding the huge shred Monday I've had in a long time. 

I don't know whether it's the fact that the sciatica is gone, or the job is calming down, or WHAT.  I feel great, better than I have in a long time.  But just in case I haven't morphed into Superwoman over the past week, I promise to *try* not to see if I can fly my Invisible Plane, or stop evildoers with my incredibly cool bracelets. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Big Six-Year Old

Happy Birthday to you, Will!  I cannot believe that today you are six.  Sometimes I look at you and still see this:

But I know that you're not a baby anymore.  In fact, you are growing up to be such a smart, funny, imaginative kid and it just blows me away!

Your Dad, Sean and I love you so much, kiddo.  Happiest of Birthdays, and to many, many more.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Au Naturel

33.  Try a new hairstyle

For me, my hair has been chameleon-like.  I've had it long all the way down my back, cut short to the nape of my neck.  Bangs.  No bangs.  Many, many colors!  In college I fell in love with a color called "Cinnaberry" which was this purple-y red.  I thought it was pretty hot at the time, but now the pictures make me shudder with horror.  No one with pale skin like me should have their hair that color!  When Brian and I first met I had short, black hair, the result of a self dye-job gone amuck.    Yes...I've pretty much covered the spectrum except for the actual colors of the rainbow.  (I do regret no purple highlights, and now I feel too old.  Too old for a pierced nose too, and all of this makes me sad)  

So what is my new hairstyle?  Nothing.  In August I made the decision to go back to my natural haircolor, which I probably hadn't seen since high school.  It was more of a money and upkeep much as I like getting my hair done the upkeep was a pain.  Plus it's so much cheaper just to go in and get a haircut.  And right now I've got no gray hair.  (And if you've seen some on me I don't want to hear it!)  So why not?  

I'm not saying that I'm NEVER going to color my hair again, in fact, if I start to see gray I'm going to run screaming to the hair salon.  But for now this works, and I'm pretty happy.  And there's nothing wrong with being happy with what you already have.  

 High school senior photo., 1995 

Strawberry blonde up in New Hampshire, circa 1999

Whoa, that's blonde!  2002

Very short cut, pregnant with Will.  Posing with two HS classmates that were also pregnant at our HS reunion

Short and reddish-blonde, around Will's first birthday

Blonde highlights @ Tracy's bridal shower, 2011.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tale of the Cookie Thief

Since there aren't enough nice stories out there in the world, I bring you one from work.  You're welcome.

It doesn't start out very nice.  A few weeks ago I opened the freezer door at work to put away my lunch and discovered that someone has been pilfering cookies from the Entemann's boxes I had put there after coffee hour the week before.  One frozen cookie at a time.  I may have thought something mean along the lines of "Hope you broke a tooth, Cookie Thief!"  After a resident meeting a few weeks later, I put two leftover mini cupcake trays in there, with the intention of defrosting and serving them for the next meeting.  Next day, the cupcakes had vanished.  Not only that, all the cookies were gone.  Not just gone....the Cookie Thief had left the empty boxes in the freezer, along with some frozen crumbs.

I was incensed.  It's not like I haven't seen this problem at other sites before, I know of one place that had to buy a bicycle lock for their fridge in order to keep people out.  That looks unsightly though, so I settled on a sign.  I knew it wouldn't be very effective but it if I caught whomever was pilfering frozen goodies, I could say that there was a SIGN so you had clear INTENT to eat treats without care.  The sign was on gold-colored paper with huge block capital letters;  "PLEASE DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE MANAGEMENT OFFICE."   Say it like you mean it, 'cept I will never be able to be a badass, because even when I'm telling you off I'm polite about it.  Some tact is required though, after all this is work. Had it been elsewhere it might've read differently.

Imagine my surprise....I came to work last week and opened the freezer to put away my Healthy Choice frozen dinner (blah) and there were two bags of walmart-brand chocolate chip cookies.  That's strange.  The next day:  two trays of mini cupcakes from the local grocery, one chocolate and one vanilla, decorated in fall frosting colors like the ones that had disappeared.

I often say that nothing surprises me in this business, that in twelve years I've pretty much seen it all.  But I was surprised, and I'd never seen anything like it.  So thank you, Cookie Thief, for either having a conscience or being terrified by my totally righteous sign.  I take back what I said about breaking your teeth on frozen cookies.