Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Salon

The Sunday

I'm reading two books--Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata, 2005 Newbery; and Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis, 1926 Pulitzer for the Novel.

Arrowsmith is the eighth Pulitzer winner. I've read the previous seven and it's been fun reading them in order. Some have been more fun than others, but all have been interesting in their own ways, but there is something about this one that's making it a little tedious. It's not boring; I have an interest in the characters and their fates and decisions; I've been immersed in the midwestern setting for six of the other books so I'm developing a strong interest in that part of the country; I just don't know what it is. It's not the kind of book I can just read at night before I go to sleep and get it finished. This is the kind that I'm going to have to start chipping away at during the day whenever I have a tiny snippet of time, otherwise it'll just keep dragging on. I'm not getting anywhere.

It's about a doctor named Martin Arrowsmith who is a passionate, high-strung person. It takes place in the early 20th-century in a fictional state near Illinois and in North Dakota. In medical school, Arrowsmith was a difficult classmate in that he disdained the regular general practitioner in favor of hard science and laboratory work. After graduation, through a series of events, he becomes a country doctor and switches perspectives a little. Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt had a cameo near the beginning. I'm actually a little surprised that this book is still in print. Some of the earlier Pulitzers seemed more appealing to the masses, yet are not in print anymore. This one is available in mass market at the big box bookstores. I guess it's Sinclair Lewis's name that keeps it going. I'm still only in the first third, heading to halfway through. Hopefully by next Sunday Salon, I'll be finished and have more to say about it. As of now, it's completely in keeping with the first seven Pulitzer winners for the Novel in the sense that it's all about the changing of the country at the turn-of-the-century, horses giving way to cars--livery stables turned garages, towns growing into cities, rural areas becoming outlying areas of towns, etc. Yet there's also a strong theme of doctors using traditional remedies versus modern scientific discoveries; corporations and big business versus the common man; doctors using somewhat dishonest practices to make money versus idealistic doctors who truly want to cure disease and make the world a better place. I guess it's the big ideas that keep it from tripping along quickly.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Fill-In

1. Coffee, books, and finding kindred bloggers make(s) me happy.
2. I would like a short break, please.
3. White chocolate tastes SO good!
4. Saturday is my favorite day of the week because M. is usually here and we can all be together.
5. ___?__ my best feature. Does this mean what is my best physical or personality attribute?
6. We could learn so much from refusing to acknowledge stereotypes.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to maybe watching a movie with M., either Strictly Ballroom or 28 Up!, tomorrow my plans include possibly visiting in-laws and cousins and Sunday, I want to clean the desk-not a major weekend coming up.!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”

I love a book called The Day I Became an Autodidact by Kendall Hailey. I found it at a used bookstore a few years ago. I was just aimlessly browsing, something about the spine attracted me, I pulled it out, bought it, and loved it.

Kendall Hailey wrote the book as a teenager when her parents allowed her to take a year off, not go to college, and become one who teaches herself--an autodidact. I fancy myself somewhat of an autodidact, or someone with the heart of an autodidact, hence Dabbling Dilettante, so here I found a soulmate. Also, is it safe to say that 99% of book bloggers love books about reading? Autodidact has books, lists, reading, learning, coming-of-agedness--everything I love. Now I want to reread it!

Kendall is now 41, I think, and her husband has this blog.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Runaway Boy

Once there was a little boy who wanted to wreak havoc on his household.
So he said to his mother, "I am going to drive you insane."
"If you drive me insane," said his mother, "I will have to chug wine from the bottle like a pirate at 12:30 pm. For you are my little boy."

"In order to drive you slowly and completely crazy," said the little boy, "I will dump a whole bottle of Mrs. Dash on the newish living room rug and massage it carefully into the fibers."

"If you dump the Mrs. Dash," said his mother, "I will go get the big black vacuum and vacuum the cheap spices off the floor."

"If you vacuum the rug," said the little boy, "I will get into your cake decorating box and dump those contents all over the floor. I will even stuff some under the baker's rack in the kitchen, and if some of the cake stuff is in baggies within the main box, I'll dump those, too," said the boy. "Then I will dump all those little metal tips and the icing colors on top of the other mess so the tips will get all out of order. And finally, I will open some of the icing colors and leave blue streaks on the floor. I will do this all in a matter of five minutes."

"If you dump all the cake decorating stuff," said his mother, "I will make you clean it all up while I'm on my hands and knees putting the tips back in order."

"If you make me clean it all up," said the little boy, "I'll go in the playroom and pull all the wipes out of the brand-new travel wipes pack for no reason. You will not be able to put these wipes back in and they will all dry out."

"If you pull out all the wipes," said the mother, "I will ineffectively put them in a basket not having the wherewithal to put them at least in a freezer bag in which they would have dried out anyway."

"If you are that much of a dumbass," said the little boy, "I will dump out the whole bottle of Adobo on the playroom table and floor, prompting Dad to say 'Oh. My. God.' upon peering into my lair."

"If you dump out the Adobo," said his mother, "we will have no more cheap spices left to cook with. Also, I will get the vacuum once again."

"If you vacuum again," said the little boy, "I will go to Grandma's house and pull all of the toilet paper off the roll and onto the floor when everyone thinks I'm washing my hands. Then I will come home and dump all the hand soap in the bathroom, the one that you just refilled, down the sink. There will be lots of bubbles."

"If you dump all the soap and toilet paper," said the mother, "then I will begin to stress eat M&Ms, fat-free sugar-free butterscotch pudding, Cheerios, buttered toast, and Weight Watchers cakes."

"Shucks," said the boy, "This is all so much fun, I might just as well stay where I am and be your little boy, time-outs be damned."

And so he did.

"Have a Teddy Graham," said the mother.

With all due respect to Margaret Wise Brown.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This Is A Snowbug...

You know he is small and meager because these are a three-year-old's boots.

We do what we can with what we have.

Let There Be Poop!

And there was poop.
And it was good.

And then there were jellybeans. And they were good, too.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Five Things

I was tagged by Kirsten at Nose in a Book!

5 things I was doing 10 years ago
So that would be early 1998--I was 22
1. living in New Jersey in my parents' house having just finished student teaching kindergarten in my hometown
2. working full-time at Barnes & Noble cafe
3. listening to Alice by the Cocteau Twins every night on the way home from work
4. started temping in a law firm that spring
5. moved to Richmond August 1998--wow, I'll have been here 10 years this August?

5 things on my to-do list today
1. I would like to buy myself new socks
2. return Little Guy's jeans to Old Navy--5T's are still too big
3. clean and organize this desk area and the kitchen cabinet
4. buy more items from the wishlist of a women's shelter to bring to them Thursday
5. make Zen Baby's twelve-month check-up appointment

5 things I would do if I were a millionaire
1. buy a new house
2. help my parents get a house or property in California
3. travel
4. maybe buy a small house at the Outer Banks to use and rent out
5. help my sister buy the bed and breakfast she wants in Hawaii

5 things I'll never wear again
1. floofy scrunchies
2. hi-top sneakers
3. jams
4. jelly bracelets
5. Skidz
I had the very same ones as the guy on the right except my squares were magenta. My friend Kristin had them, too, in blue. And were soooo comfortable. I loved wearing them to high school. I also will never wear black Z. Cavaricci pants with the vertical white label at the zipper.

5 favorite toys
1. Barbie's--A-#1 favorite toy
2. sticker book
3. bike
4. something called a Learning Machine, I think
5. Speak & Spell and Speak & Math

No tagging...if you do it, I will read it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Good Saturday, Saw Snow

It snowed all day! Accumulation? Zero. My poor niece (9) who lives two hours south of us in southern Virginia apparently stood out in it for a little while and then longingly watched Weather Channel images of New England and other states where snowbanks abound. I think one of these years I'd like to spend a winter in Minnesota or northern Vermont or somewhere with a hardcore winter. New Jersey was always good for deep snow and cold in winter, but I haven't had enough. Maybe I'd like to be in this chilly state for fall, too. Virginia, though, has a lovely spring. It pops flowers and buds like nobody's business starting in March.

Well, I'd hoped for some alone moments today but didn't really get any. I would have--M. was going to take Nick with him to dispose of a trailer load of raked leaves--but M.'s uncle came to visit instead. He was there right through Kari's nap. That's OK, I'm having my time now. Nick went to bed so nicely tonight that I had a rather lengthy evening to catch up on blogs. M. didn't think he had a movie in him tonight, and me either, actually. We have Strictly Ballroom to watch and we just mailed back Ratatouille. I fell asleep in the middle of Ratatouille. I have to be really, really tired to do that. And also, I found it a little boring. So M. told me the ending and that was enough for me.

I had a bag of dried navy beans that I had to use up so I made soup tonight. (I know I've had these beans for almost a year because we bought them when Kari was first born last March and we thought we would freeze them and use them to alleviate any breast engorgement I might have had. Well, that never happened, so why not make soup?!) So I quick-soaked the beans and put them in a pot with chicken broth and water, bay leaves, onion and garlic. I simmered that for awhile. Then added diced potato, sliced carrots, tiny cubed cooked ham, kale, S&P, I think was it. We ate it with crusty bread and a glass of red wine. Awesome winter dinner. And the soup was Core, too.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Household Meme

Stolen from kookiejar at A Fraternity of Dreamers

Now, you might think this would be a really boring meme. A quick glance over the questions and you think, oh god, spare me. But I read kookiejar's version and was endlessly fascinated. And I thought to myself, Why? Here's why: It's because this is my world. The home. It's my office, my restaurant, my bar, my dance club, my hangout, my hotel, my movie theater. I'm in charge here, pretty much. So I'm interested. And maybe you are, too!

What kind of soap is in your shower right now?
either Dial or Lever 2000. I usually buy Lever 2000 because I got scared away from using too many antibacterial products because of the whole getting immune to bacteria thing.

Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator?
No, it's winter and I don't like watermelon anyway and usually I don't buy what I don't like even though other members of the household may like it. For instance, it took me years to realize about buying peanut butter...I hate it so it just never registered on my radar that other people might like to eat it. I know, so selfish.

What would you change about your living room?
it needs to be a different shape (it's long and rectangular) and have room for other words, I need a whole new living room in a new house

Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty?

What is in your fridge?
Do you know in junior high, I used to actually have conversations like this on the phone? Like, my friend Anne and I would stand on the phone with our refrigerator doors open and be like, "We have Hellman's. Oh you do, too? What kind of ketchup do you have?" This would drive my father CRAZY.

So...we have Silk soy milk, a gallon of skim, a cauliflower with some purple stuff on it but it came that's not even old), ketchup, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, Hershey's syrup, shredded coconut, brown rice, Smart Balance Light, Dannon plain yogurt, eggs, Guinness that I used to make bread but no one wants to drink, white grape juice, Brita water pitcher, fat-free sour cream, ZenSoy pudding, Diet Coke and Diet Cherry Coke in cans, coffee, bread flour, salsa, Tofutti cream cheese, champagne, Bisquick and that's all off the top of my head, but there's more!

I'm justifying that by saying it was a brain exercise. Like those games where you have to stare at a tray of items and then it's taken away and you have to list everything you can remember.

White or wheat bread?
whole wheat

What is on top of your refrigerator?
my JVC radio/CD/tape player that I got for my 17th parents got their money's worth out of that, cereal boxes, a basket of takeout menus, a coffee cup of pens and pencils, the kitchen scale, paper plates

What color or design is on your shower curtain?
It's cream with lavender sprigs of something and some green in there

How many plants are in your home?
wow, none...I'm bad with plants but at least one would be nice

Is your bed made right now?

Comet or Soft Scrub?
whatever, but come to think of it, I like Comet and here's why. It reminds me of the smell of the YMCA pool area and bathroom from when I was manager (read: scorekeeper) of the high school swim team

Is your closet organized?
Why yes, it is!

Can you describe your flashlight?
we have so many flashlights I can't even begin...M. loves flashlights and so does Nick...they're obsessed. It's ridiculous

Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home?
glass and ceramic

Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now?
no. M. does it in the summer, though, but I don't drink it.

If you have a garage, is it cluttered?
No garage, but M. just built a big shed. And yes, it's a little cluttered but it's because it's unfinished.

Curtains or blinds?

How many pillows do you sleep with?
one now; 400 when pregnant

Do you sleep with any lights on at night?
yes-not in our room, but downstairs

How often do you vacuum?
mmm, maybe once a week, sometimes twice?

Standard toothbrush or electric?

What color is your toothbrush?

Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch?
not really a welcome mat, more of a "wipe your feet" mat, very utilitarian

What is in your oven right now?
cold oven racks

Is there anything under your bed?
Our box spring is right on the floor so just microbes and molecules and stuff

Chore you hate doing the most?
cleaning the bathroom

What retro items are in your home?
M.'s great-grandmother's's the tall kind with the cabinet in the bottom part for storing records...her original records are in there, too...Thomas Edison Studios and all that; the desk at which I sit is old, too, but I don't know how old

Do you have a separate room that you use as an office?
no, maybe one day

How many mirrors are in your home?
one in each bathroom, plus two in my room makes four

What color are your walls?
living room--I think it was Cinnamon Cake

dining room now playroom-Restoration Hardware Butter or Buttercream but I'm not sure to look at the website now

N.'s room--Lemon Drop

K.'s room--pinkish mauve

our room--the mint green we bought the house with

upstairs bathroom--Pepto Bismol we bought the house with

downstairs bathroom--pretty pretty blue

laundry room--primer

Wow, I even bored myself with that one.

What does your home smell like right now?
Us, I guess...hopefully not baby poop

Favorite candle scent?
not a big fan of scented candles...but generally good vanilla or cake batter or something fall-y

What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now?
Vlasic Kosher Dill Stackers

What color is your favorite Bible?
I don't have a favorite Bible.

Ever been on your roof?
No, but M. goes there to clean the gutters.

Do you own a stereo?
I guess the aforementioned JVC.

How many TVs do you have?
One in the kitchen, one in living room, one in our bedroom makes three

How many house phones?
kitchen (2), living room (2), playroom, bedroom...why do we have six phones??

Do you have a housekeeper?
that would be me

What style do you decorate in?
that's under development...right now it's whatever we had in our single person apartments combined with a few utilitarian Target pieces...except our living room couches and chairs...those are from Macy's and we love them

Do you like solid colors or prints in furniture?

Is there a smoke detector in your home?
When your husband is the safety patrol, you will have no less than four.

In case of fire, what are the items in your house which you’d grab if you only could make one quick trip?
my journals dating back to 1985, the book we have all the computer passwords in

Because if I Want Blog Friends, I have to post, right?

I'm so ambivalent about blogging! Do I want a Mommy blog? Do I want a book blog? Can I have both? Should they be separate or the same blog? Do I want to blog at all? These are the questions that keep me up at night. Not really, because Arrowsmith usually knocks me out in five minutes.

So what do any of you think? I know I need to post more and I LOVE reading blogs. I love all my blog-friends. And I want to keep you and be a part of it all.

But see, now it's 11:22 am and I have to go get Kari out of her crib and get her dressed and make her a bottle. Then I have to find some kind of treat for Nick (that just sounds weird...I don't know if these names will last) because I always bring him a treat of some kind when I pick him up from preschool (teddy grahams, a bank lollipop, a Christmas candy cane). It's a bad habit from those first few weeks of school that were hell. Then I have to get his epipen and Zyrtec together and put them in the diaper bag because we're meeting M. for lunch at P.F. Chang's. Oh yeah, I have to put some baby food and a spoon in there, too. And a bib. And Purell. And wipes. Better go get started.

But I just spent the better part of the preschool/nap respite reading Finslippy archives. And I don't feel too bad about that because, as every blogging mom knows, she makes you feel normal and ok, with laughing. My mom (kids 32, 29, 24--she is the queen of revisionist history) and sister (no kids, not married) have this idea that Little Guy should have gotten completely potty-trained on the day he turned 2 1/2, that he should never say a word while I'm on the phone, that he should sleep peacefully in his bed from 7 pm-7 am and be happy and grateful to get into said bed at night, etc. So now I feel better. 11:29! Must get ready!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

For Tomorrow

36° F | 32° F
2° C | 0° C

90% chance of snow

They changed it from 90% chance of ice pellets.
I'll take it.

Is It Wednesday?

I'm afraid I might be losing steam. Yesterday I only cleaned out the kitchen junk drawer. And did loads and loads of laundry, which is better than my usual one load per day. Today the plan is to tackle two kitchen cabinets that are not stellar examples of good uses of space. Tomorrow might be a good day to do the computer/technology/USB-wires-and-download-cords-mess area because we're supposed to get a wintry mix, so we'll most likely be in for the day.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pulitzer Update

I posted on the first winner, His Family, back in June. Then I posted on the fifth in September which was One of Ours. Now I'm on the eighth, Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis. So, I've been a little bit sporadic.

Here's what I can tell you so far: Out of the first eight books, six of them take place in the midwest. Two in New York. Interesting, I think. And it looks like the ninth, Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield might, too. And almost all deal with the characters coming to grips with the social, geographic, economic, civic changes of the late 19th century. This is understandable. They went from horses to cars in a matter of a few years, city and town layouts changed, the way people lived and worked and where they lived changed, etc. But why such a focus on the midwest?

First of all, most of the authors are from that part of the country:

1918 His Family by Ernest Poole: from Chicago but this book takes place and is all about a changing turn-of-the-century New York

1919 The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington: from Indianapolis; Indiana is important in much of his work--This book takes place in Indianapolis though not named

1920 (No Award)

1921 The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton: New Yorker, born and bred

1922 Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington: takes place in midwest: see above

1923 One of Ours by Willa Cather: born in Virginia but moved with her family to Nebraska as a child; well-known for Nebraska works such as My Antonia--This book takes place in Nebraska

1924 The Able McLaughlins by Margaret Wilson born in Iowa--book takes place in Iowa

1925 So Big by Edna Ferber born in Michigan, lived in Wisconsin--book takes place in and around Chicago

1926 Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis born in Minnesota--book takes place in a fictional place called Zenith, Winnemac, near Illinois.

1927 Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield from Ohio, defined as a Midwestern-American writer--not sure where book takes place as I haven't gotten there yet, but I'm thinking midwest.

Just an observation so far. Reading chronologically gets you looking for patterns, I guess.

Book Awards Reading Challenge

I'm not making any promises, but it looks like I might be on track to finish the Book Awards Challenge. I've read four out of twelve books so far which is not phenomenal but I have until June 30. Age of Innocence and Alice Adams will be addressed if I ever post about my personal Pulitzer project.

I read The Higher Power of Lucky and Criss Cross as part of the Book Awards Challenge and partly because I've been reading Newberys between Pulitzers as a break. Whereas I've started the Pulitzers from the beginning and am going backwards, I've started the Newberys from most recent and am going back to the beginning. I have Kira-Kira on the bedside table.

I guess what I might want to say about the two Newbery winners mentioned above is that the voices in both novels are what stand out the most. And the characters are fabulous, of course. Voice is such a large part of what makes a children's or YA novel great, I think. Voice is important in any novel, but, man, Susan Patron and Lynne Rae Perkins have this aspect of writing DOWN. They also both have in common this amazing "realness" and sense of being a kid. Both have little illustrations throughout the book and I remember loving books as a pre-teen/early teen that looked like the characters actually had a hand in creating the book.

I am now in love with both of these writers and would like to read anything at all by them, especially Lynne Rae Perkins. I super super loved Criss Cross. If my niece were a little older (she's 9 and the kids in the book are 14) I would have this book in her hands. She's not much of a reader but I don't see any early teenager who couldn't find something to identify with in this book.

Not much of a review I know. Book reviewing is not my forte and I'm short on time.

New Names

I'm tired of my little nicknames for the kids. I'm still not comfortable using real names. I know a lot of people do it and it's perfectly fine, but I'm just not there yet. So I'm picking names that are similar to their real names.

Hence, Zen Baby shall hereby be referred to as Kari. (Although I still did like her nickname.)

and Little Guy shall be called Nick.

I remain Camille and husband is just M.

He's like my 007 boss.

Cleanest House in the East

It's just lovely. I should have taken before and after pictures. The whole upstairs is done except for the bathroom.

The bathroom is just gross. I'll definitely take before and after pics of that when we start remodeling it. The vanity had crackle paint on it which we hated for years. One day, M. got the idea that we could chip it off with a putty knife. So he chipped and chipped. Some came off, some didn't. And there it is. Left like that for months and months. The whole bathroom needs doing.

But as for the rest:

My room and closet DONE
Kari's room and closet DONE
Nick's room and closet DONE
Living Room DONE
Playroom DONE DONE DONE I vacuumed in there! I can see the floor! There's carpeting in that room. It's blue! Who knew?

Now on to the kitchen: junk drawer and cabinets--under attack
and the laundry room has a pile of mess in front of the dryer that includes paint cans and track lighting. It's not pretty.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I just spent almost the whole time Little Guy is in nursery school going back and labeling all of my 165 posts. I still have more to do. The whole time I felt like I was wasting my time but I just couldn't stop. It was kind of fun.

Friday's Feast


What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called?
No, I like them just fine except my married last name. I don't think it'll ever feel like mine

If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most?
I don't know--this question is not for me. I have to envision Stacey and Clinton with me in the rare occasions that I go shopping.

What is your least favorite chore, and why?
cleaning the bathroom

Main Course
What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life?
being a sad, lonely and bored empty-nester--that won't be me but it's kind of what my mom created for herself and it's not pretty

Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment.
Our computer is in the living room (small house).
the big canvas Little Guy painted with M. while I was away for the weekend at a baby shower in Pennsylvania in October, my empty venti Starbucks cup, size 3 brown Mary Janes

Friday Fiver

You'll forget the sun

1. Where do you like to walk?
I grew up being able to walk everywhere-food store, schools, library, convenience store, the center of town, parks-and I loved that. Where I live now I can only walk to the elementary school, the middle school, and a nice park. There's a trail through this little patch of woods that leads to the middle school and the park and Little Guy and I love to walk there.

2. What does your hair look like?
brown, shoulder-length (and growing), frizz/wavy, sometimes straightened with this amazing appliance

3. What are you jealous of?
I hate being jealous and rarely am. And I hate when other people are jealous, but it does happen. So I guess it would be successful stay-home mom writers if I had to give an answer.

4. What kind of promises do you make?
ones I can keep

5. What makes you stare?
super attractive people

Mommy Milestone

I have my first class party to do as a mom (not a teacher)! I'm doing Little Guy's nursery school Valentine's Day party with two other moms next month. We need a treat, a craft or game, and a treat bag to take home. My second year teaching, I had a classmother who made these amazing, big, heart-shaped sugar cookies with the kids' names on them. She individually wrapped them and they were awesome. Any ideas on what I can do with three-year-olds?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Keep On Keepin' On

Today I:

straightened and organized the kids' closets

cleaned and vacuumed the living room

packed up the last little bit of Christmas stuff

emptied out my whole closet (and now there's a huge pile of crap on my bedroom floor)

made apple crisp with Little Guy

made a really good chicken potpie

cleaned out my Favorites (websites)

Have to go watch the only TV shows I have the slightest interest in, Celebrity Apprentice and Who Wants to the Be the Next Supermodel or whatever it's called on Bravo.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

January Clean-Out

Along with everyone else this month, we are doing our best to go through all the clutter and junk and mess in the house and clean it out. We got so much done this weekend.

1. Finally put out the garbage and recycling (we missed a pick-up and had so much waiting to go.)

2. Cleaned up the leaves in the front and side yards.

3. Solved the leak problem in my sister's boyfriend's stinky Passat that somehow we got saddled with.

4. Cleaned up and stored the rest of the Christmas stuff.

5. Stored bins of outgrown kid clothes and maternity clothes that had been sitting in our respective bedrooms.

6. All this week I have been shredding and filing bills, etc.

7. Vacuumed, mopped, etc.

Still to do:

Continue shredding/filing process

Continue cleaning out my whole room and closet

Finish uploading pictures of the kids and make a slideshow to send to my aunts and cousins that I promised in October.

Clean off the computer desk.

Organize cords and wires and USB things and such.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Baby's First Profanity

What do you do about a three-year-old who has gotten into the habit of saying, "I Don't Caaaayeeer!" in the worst little sing-song voice. I'm pretty sure he doesn't even know what it means, but the first time he said it, I told him that it wasn't nice to say and that was the kiss of death. I think he heard it once from M. when he was reprimanding him for something and Little Guy talked back and M. said, "I don't care if blah, blah, blah, you'll do it anyway..." something to that effect. So now he goes around the house and says it for no reason. He doesn't really use it correctly in response to anything so I guess that's good. I've taken to ignoring it because responding was kicking it into a new stratosphere of constant usage. Ignoring it has helped significantly. Maybe he'll get bored of it soon and move onto something else.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Good Morning, Bloggers


Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis (8th Pulitzer winner for Fiction-1926) and Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (the 2005 winner of the Newbery)

I just read the first two chapters of Kira-Kira last night in bed and couldn't sleep for the longest time because Kadohata has such a strong voice going on--it's the narrator as a child--that she kept talking in my head. (And I'm not even crazy!)

Two Questions for You Guys

1. Does anyone have any input or experience on potty training a boy who refuses to poop in the toilet? He's been trained otherwise (peeing) since the end of September. But he always begs for a pull-up to poop. And I know I'm probably enabling him by giving it to him, but, man, you should see those fits when he has to go and we withhold the pull-up. He writhes around on the floor, screams, cries, and won't go for two days. It just seems tortuous to do to him. So for now, I've just been giving in to him until he's ready?

2. This one is crazy--we are going to visit my brother in California sometime this year as a family. He lives in Martinez, in the Bay Area. So flying there was what we've been discussing in our preliminary plans. But...what if we drove? It would probably be terrible and take way too long, I'm sure, but it's a fun thought. I went cross-country the southern route from L.A. to Tucson to Albuquerque to Amarillo etc. to Graceland and then to Harrisonburg, VA and I'd love to do it again. And M. is dying to drive cross-country. BUT with a three-year-old and one-year-old? in a Honda Pilot?

But there's sister is in Hawaii right now. They took off from LaGuardia and had to land in Salt Lake City because their plane had a fuel leak. They were kept on the plane for a few hours and then allowed into the airport for a few more hours until the plane was fixed. (Happily they made it across the Pacific and are safely in Maui.) I just kept thinking...thank god it wasn't me with the two little kids!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

We had a really wonderful Christmas and New Year this year. M. took off from work for the whole week of Christmas and we had some great family time. He had been working late and on weekends so much throughout the fall so we needed that time together. It's been such a great Christmas I already can't wait for Christmas next year and I've never been like that. Usually as soon as New Year's Day passes, I'm like, "Get this stale Christmas stuff out of here." But so far, I'm still enjoying all the decorations. Of course, I will be taking it all down this week anyway.

I don't like New Year's Resolutions because who sticks to them? But there is something exciting and hopeful about planning changes you'll make in the new year and ways your life can be different and better, right? So I decided just to focus on budget and organization this year. I can't make diet a resolution because that puts too much focus on it. It puts too much importance on it and makes any change feel like an obligation for some reason. So I'm just keeping in mind that I had started Weight Watchers Flex plan last May and then the Core Plan in October. I totally went off in December but now I'm starting again. I hope I didn't do too much damage this month.

Reflections on 2007:

1. Last year at this time I was pregnant. So hard to believe! Now I'm starting to think about a first birthday cake. Zen will be 10 months this week.

2. Little Guy got rid of pacifiers, moved to a big boy bed, got halfway potty-trained, and started preschool (besides getting a new little sister).

3. My brother got married (although we were not invited and didn't even know about it until three weeks later...story later.)

4. My sister graduated from culinary school and moved to Queens. She's in Hawaii right now.

5. Little Guy turned three and had his first train ride.

Not much went on with me except for the childbirth part, I guess. Oh, and I did start my bookkeeping job a year ago which is still going great and I love it. This year maybe I'll be able to focus a little more on on Spanish, more submitting of essays, more working on writing.

More blogging?