Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Worn out

This has not been the Best Day Ever.

Not that it's been terrible - but Olivia decided this morning that she wanted to test me. On everything. And I'm 8 months pregnant and tired, and had a lot of stuff that I wanted to accomplish this morning, but that required her cooperation, which has been decidedly absent. Sigh.

On the plus side, my kind neighbor across the street came over and shoveled up the half mouse carcass that has been in our driveway all weekend. A generous prowling cat probably dropped it there, and I kept hoping that either he or some other animal would come around and finish it up, but no such luck. I am not a squeamish girl by any means, but I had no desire to touch it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving dinner

Today I felt like a real woman.

I woke up early and prepared homemade stuffing using leftover homemade breads and all our leftover chip crumbs. I stuffed and prepared the 14-pound turkey I'd remembered to thaw in the fridge, then put it in the roaster. I followed the order of operations I'd put together the night before to make sure everything would be hot and ready on time. I'd figured out pan distribution and fridge and freezer space to make sure everything would fit. I cleaned the kitchen so cooking would be pleasant. I made pumpkin pie. When my sister-in-law came over, we cooked up the sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and finished preparing everything. I seasoned and boiled the neck and giblets. The turkey was roasted and ready just when the remnant stuffing and sweet potatoes were finished cooking, and I strained the fat from the drippings and made gravy that turned out beautifully (and there was PLENTY). Everything was fully cooked and tasted great, and we were all too full to enjoy the pies.

After Dan and Hyde left and I'd shed a little of my turkey coma, I pried all the rest of the meat off the turkey bones and fit all the leftover food into the fridge in a way that is organized and not precariously balanced.

All without having to call my mom.

I know this is a boring blog entry, because nobody really likes to read about things that turn out uneventfully well. Oh, well. It was a good day. I'm thankful.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I've found one!*

In discussing our relationship with Steven, I always assert that he's the only man in the world for me, in part because he is the only person who doesn't irritate me.** To which he replies that surely, there must be something he does that bothers me, as many others have no trouble finding his annoying characteristics.

Well, last night as I was sitting up brooding over life's injustices, I finally thought of one: something I don't like about Steven, something he does that annoys me. It wasn't too big of a deal, but I was almost proud of myself for discovering something.

Then this morning, I forgot what it was. Oh, well.

*This is a silly line from one of Olivia's favorite books, Spot's First Christmas. It's silly because of it's unnecessary formality: "I [have] found one!"? Pass the crumpets, Mother!

**This does not mean that everyone I meet bothers me - it means that he's the only person I can be around all the time without getting fed up at some point. Really, all of you reading this, you don't bug me, I promise - but if we lived together, we might annoy each other.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I like my mom.

I just got off the phone with my mom. Actually, we got cut off because her phone is on the fritz, so we didn't get to finish talking.

It was nice, because I had just been thinking that I wanted to call my mom today to talk to her about her substitute teaching experiences (I'm sorry), my upcoming viola solo at church (rusty at best), our bout with the flu (sympathy, please), and the impulse purchases I just made today (they're worthwhile and not too extravagant, right?) I wanted to call her, but assumed she'd be in class. However, I'd forgotten that she's in the one spot in the U.S. that actually celebrates Veterans Day. (Another btw: I asked Steven if he got Veterans Day off, and he laughed at me. "Who gets off for Veterans Day?" Well, everyone in Porterville!)

As it ended up, my mom called to remind me that it was Band-a-rama, a nice little blast from the past. And because we got cut off, I didn't really end up getting to talk to her about any of those things. But it was nice to talk to her, even if it was just for a little bit. It was a nice reminder of what an extraordinary lady my mom is.

My mom doesn't have to sub. My dad's job provides very well for them, and even if it didn't, she has a law degree and easily passed the bar in California (the day after she had her fourth child, I might add). She does it because she wanted something else to do during the day and she saw a need for qualified educators in the area. Substituting gives her the flexibility to visit grandkids and do other pursuits, but she never lacks for work - teachers of every grade and subject, in two school districts, ask for her specifically.

As smart and capable as my mom is, though, I think what I most admire about her is that she has a very well-rounded intelligence. I don't mean that in the sense of being a renaissance woman, although it certainly fits - what I mean is that, besides being smart and good, my mom is nice. She is unfailingly polite. She is unassuming. She is unselfish. She's a little goofy about some things - if anything, it makes her more likable.

It's been nice for me to reach an age where I'm no longer dependent on my parents, either for my well-being or even for their examples in making life choices - certainly, it's wonderful to still have the option of turning to them for advice, but I'm no longer lost without them. But maybe one of the best parts of this independence is that it has enabled me more to see and appreciate them as people. I realized the other day that Olivia will probably never be able to see me as a person, separate from my being her mother - growing up, Mom was just Mom, and I guess she always will be. But it's nice for me to be able to start seeing Glena, and realize that I really like her, and not just because she's also Mom.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Goods and Bads

Whenever I get screwed as a consumer, I always want to get back at the company by spreading the word about what scumbags they are. When I first published this, I put a list of some of those companies here - but, I didn't like the tone that gave this post or the way it made me feel.

Anyway, though, on the plus side, it's good to recognize companies that really do things right. That's why today I'd like to honor Wells Fargo as a good company.


You see, last month someone somehow ripped off my credit card number and was able to make a couple of fraudulent purchases with it before they were detected by Wells Fargo's fraud department. Even before I noticed the charges on my account, good ol' WF had put a hold on it. They were really great about helping me sort it all out, and I received notice today that all fraudulent charges and associated fees had been cleared. Aaaah. Nice to have a company relieve headaches instead of causing them.

Oddly enough, this all took place shortly after Toby's experience. I guess it's just a case of life immitating art. And what higher art could there be than Mary Worth!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Here are the costumes I made this year. My favorite part is the little stinger on Olivia's backside :)

Obviously, Olivia is a bee, I am a flower, and Baby Girl is a ladybug. Steven dressed up as the guy who takes pictures and stays home passing out candy - very authentic.

Olivia was somewhat indifferent about trick or treating, but she LOVES candy. Every time we give her some she does a happy little dance and asks for more "canny."

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I'm well aware that everyone is convinced that the baby of their heart is The Cutest One Ever, but the other day Olivia raised the bar.

It didn't help that she was dressed in this:

Her outfit was of her own choosing, and she looked like a little tap dancer.

So, while she was tapping around pretending to talk on the phone, I folded laundry. When I finished, I picked up the pile of Steven's and my clothes and said, "Hey, do you want to come help me put clothes away?"

I started walking toward our closet, and Olivia walked over and picked up the little remaining pile of her clothing and started following me. But instead of turning and following me into the closet, she kept going straight and put all the clothes "away":

She was very thorough, too - after going back unprompted and picking up the clothes she'd dropped along the way, she went back for her little pile of socks and put them "away," too. I realized later that since she already knows how to "throw away," it made perfect sense to "put away" things in the same place. What a sweet little helper.

Finally, for those of you who still haven't barfed from the extreme cuteness of this incident, here's a picture of her enjoying a cupcake:

Happy 18 months tomorrow, Olivia!

Monday, October 27, 2008


Not surprisingly, I've been thinking a lot about parenting. Last night I had kind of a breakthrough.

I think that most parents are probably concerned with trying to raise their kids "right" and not screw them up. And, I think most everyone has some kind of emotional (if not physical) scarring from their childhood from when their parents DID mess up, and they are vehement about not repeating those mistakes with their own children. Which, chances are, they won't: they'll just make different ones that they weren't prepared for (but hopefully won't be as damaging; I'm a firm believer that generational improvement IS possible, as I've seen it happen).

The thing is, though, that scars aren't always ultimately bad: in fact, they're often stronger than the original flesh, and they don't have to be ugly. I have a couple of notable physical scars on my face: one right between my eyes from when my brother hit me with a gardening hoe, and one right above my left eye from when a coke bottle fell on it on a bus on my first day in Beijing. When I see these scars, I don't remember the pain of the incidents at all; instead, I associate them with happy memories of my youth: playing with my siblings in our back yard and having adventures as a young adult in China. I don't resent having the scars. They don't make me a less attractive person; rather, they add character to my face. There's no question whether or not I like them - they are a part of me.

Similarly, there are a lot of things that happened in my youth that caused me emotional pain. My parents were great parents, but they were not perfect, and there are some things they did that I have never understood or approved of and am determined to not repeat. The thing is, though, that in spite of some emotional scars, I am not a damaged person. In fact, I'd say my slightly scarred soul is at least as healthy and attractive as my slightly scarred body - I really don't have a problem with who I am today. That's pretty comforting to me as a new parent, as I try to give my daughters everything and ensure that they'll be happier and better than I am: even if I mess up in a way that permanently affects their psyches, it doesn't mean that I'll have ruined them or made them less than they could be. Bodies and souls heal remarkably - life is a beautiful plan.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Some highlights of my California trip

Seeing Court

It’s great to have him back, and we’re excited to fly him out to Houston so he can see Steven. Interestingly, in all the pictures I have of him, his mouth is open. Hmmm…

Getting bitten by a dog

In this instance, “highlight” means “notable,” not “enjoyable.” I decided to take Olivia on a walk to go see some cows, and on the way there we passed a house that had a bunch of dogs in the front. They looked to be fenced in, but as we walked by one of them got through the fence somehow, ran behind me and bit me on the leg.

Here’s how it looked right afterward:

Here’s how it looked the next day:

Here’s how it looked a week later:

Notice the smiley face?

So, I didn’t know what to do, but on my sister’s advice I called animal control. I’m just glad it didn’t get Olivia. Grrrr.

Playing with cousins

This was fun for both me and Olivia. It was great to see Meggan again and to play with Dallan and Patience’s little boys, as well as my siblings and their kids.

All in all, it was a very fun trip. There were other things I enjoyed as well, but a lot of those you can't really show in pictures. I love my family.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's a...

Here is her little spine:

And here is her cute little skeletal face:

She has a nice little pumping heart with four nicely formed chambers, and two skinny little legs and two skinny little arms and one nice round belly with lots of nicely formed guts in it. She also has a 3-vesseled umbilical cord that is attached in the right place, as is the placenta. Her head is even down right now, although she is certainly moving around and has plenty of time to do so. She's the right size and we've been steadily gaining 3 lbs. every 4 weeks, so everything looks perfect.

My initial reaction was not what I'd expected. I hadn't really been hoping for one gender over another, but as soon as I learned she was a girl I suddenly had this very protective feeling for Olivia. I was so anxious about her having a little sister who would be competing with her at everything and make her feel insecure or overlooked. I come from a very competitive family, and I don't want that for Olivia: family should be a place where you feel accepted and encouraged, not bullied or threatened or constantly pitted against someone.

My fretful emotions soon gave way for another uncomfortable one: guilt for my ingratitude at having a healthy child and for feeling defensive against a sweet little baby who hasn't even been born, because of something she's never done. Yes, Olivia's my little girl, but so is she. And she needs to be loved and protected too. There's enough love in me for both my little girls, and I can teach them to build each other up. I am both a big and a little sister, and I've loved being both, in spite of sibling rivalry. I have years of happy memories of jumping on the trampoline and doing puzzles, playing with My Little Ponies and doing water ballets in the pool, spending car trips braiding hair and counting warts on feet. There is no substitute for siblings.

So, after a nice shower and a nice lunch, I sat down again to look at the pictures of my tiny little skeleton. I felt the little pit-a-pats that are becoming more and more frequent in my belly. And I noticed how sweet those little eye sockets look.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I'm sorry, Mark Johnson...whoever you are.

If it's any consolation, I dragged your 70-pound, over-sized suitcase all the way home before realizing that it was the wrong one. All the while juggling a backpack, a duffel bag full of old books, and a wiggly toddler after a 3-hour car ride that was followed by a 3-hour plane ride. The suffering you surely wished upon me came to pass.

Nevertheless, it's great to be home.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stuff and things

Hurricane Ike
Yes, we went through it; no, we weren't hurt. It was actually pretty cool, if a little scary. Our trees were all okay and we mostly just got a bunch of debris. Olivia slept through the whole thing, Steven stayed outside and watched the whole thing from our porch, and I did a combination of the two. You can see pics on his blog. Our power came back on a mere 18 hours after it went out, making us more popular than we'd ever previously been. We contributed our privileged assets to the creation of two birthday cakes, the preservation of several pounds of cheese and chicken, the running of a generator, and the feeding, cooling, and entertainment of many people. We were more than happy to share, and very grateful to have been so safe and comfortable.

On Monday Olivia and I flew out here to help take care of my little sister while my parents are out picking up my younger brother from a religious mission in Indonesia. I've been struck by how interesting it is being back in my parents house after having a house of my own. It's a different situation to be here while they are not, as I am more proprietor than guest, and yet at the same time not.

I love my parents and have a lot of respect for them. Still, I honestly have nightmares about living with them again, not because they are in any way distasteful people, but simply because parts of their lifestyle drive me absolutely crazy. My born family is loud; I am not and greatly dislike being around loud and excessive talking. My parents keep clutter everywhere; I can't stand having a bunch of "stuff." They like to argue and hem and haw about trifles; I prefer to be straightforward and decisive, and hate arguments (however, I am not afraid of confrontation when it is needed). Since my parents are not here, many of these things are not issues, but there are little things all over that remind me of that, and also just little details that drive me batty - impractical cleaning supplies, an overabundance of VHS tapes, unintuitive organization (onions in the broom closet?), too much of some things and not enough of others.

What I need to keep reminding myself is that, regardless of my current responsibility, this is still my parents' house - and regardless of my relationship to them, I really have no ownership or responsibility to it. There's nothing wrong with my parents or the way they live. Like I said before, they're very good people and they're happy. They're also very intelligent and capable of taking care of themselves and their home, and all I can and should really do is note the differences, respect our respective independences, and go about my way. As an adult, I can choose the way I run my house, the way I decorate and organize my cupboards and populate my fridge. I can choose my own family, choose a husband who matches my temperament and values the same things I do, and raise our kids to value those things too.

And when my kids grow up, they can come back to visit us and shudder about how quiet we are and how Mom keeps her onions in the PANTRY. Sheesh.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Alphabetical Me

A. Attached or single? Attached

B. Best friend? Steven...and Olivia. I'm not saying that to be smarmy. She really is fun to hang out with, and she's the person I spend the most time with.

C. Cake or pie? PIE. No contest at all.

D. Day of choice? Friday, I guess

E. Essential item? Chapstick

F. Favorite color? Olive green

G. Gummy bears or worms? Bears, although just about any amount of candy gives me a headache

H. Hometown? Porterville

I. Indulgence? Reading and napping, often sequentially

J. January or July? January

K. Kids? About one and a half

L. Life isn’t complete without: People who depend on you

M. Marriage date? August 12

N. Number of brothers & sisters? Three each, in laws not included (but there are plenty of those)

O. Oranges or apples? Oranges, no question

P. Phobias? Being alone for too long - anyone who knew me growing up might find this humorous

Q. Quotes? "

S. Season of choice? Fall

T. Tag seven peeps! Um, no. I saw this on a friend's blog and wasn't tagged myself, but wanted to do it anyway. You may do the same.

U. Unknown fact about me? I have very dexterous toes, which I often use subconsciously to do tasks. I'm basically a monkey.

V. Vegetable? Artichokes, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts

W. Worst habits? Picking ingrown hairs out of my legs (and my husband's face)

X. X-ray or ultrasound? Ultrasound

Y. Your favorite food? I've said before that I love green olives. I also love fresh pineapple, but not on pizza.

Z. Zodiac sign? Aquarius

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


This morning I decided to take Olivia to go explore Old Town Humble - that is, Main Street in Humble. I'd heard that there were some shops and it was supposed to be the town's historic district. (Puh-snort.) It turned out to be one of those sad, sun-baked streets lined with crippled store fronts that become occupied intermittently either by unrealistically hopeful boutiqueurs or disappointingly pragmatic bail bondsmen. Most of the shops wore blank expressions and boasted the single accessory of a faded "For Lease" sign.

We ended up strolling down past the railroad tracks (we did get to see a train crossing, the highlight of the morning) and looking around a Latino grocery store before we turned around to walk back on the other side of the street. Being in areas like that always makes me ponder and theorize on ways that one might possibly invigorate the area. What would it take; what kind of store or business or initiative could one possibly bring in to resurrect it? Part of the problem is that people need to have money in order to spend it, and then they need to feel an impetus to spend it, and to spend it in a specified location. And a big problem with me taking on the role of savior for this area is that I don't believe in forcing people to spend money on things they don't need, and I'm no Music-Man-type salesman who wants to create those needs. I look at old shops and houses and feel sad and wistful that they aren't occupied, but the only worthy solutions I can think of are schools and charities and stores that sell useful things, not knickknacks.

We ended our journey at a used book store. It was actually open, so I decided to go in and look around. My mental journey during our walk had almost convinced me that I had to at least try to spend some money in this area, and books, at least, are worthwhile.

Alas, upon walking in I was reminded that only SOME books are worthwhile. Basically, the store's inventory consisted of rows and rows of shelves and stacks of tattered paperback smut. I steered Olivia through hundreds of thousands of bodice-ripping covers to the back of the store, where I sifted through maybe 100 thinner volumes to find a few worthwhile paperbacks: The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Henry Huggins, Shabanu, The Cay, and a few others. All of them were very well worn; several had "DISCARD" stamped on the front covers.

I took them up to the front of the store, where I was informed that the store sold all its books for half of their original publisher's price. All of them. Meaning that I could get my 20-year-old, badly used, DISCARDed copy of Henry Huggins for a mere $2.

I thought about informing the lady that I was absolutely certain that I was the first person who had been in her store all day and could very likely be the only customer she would see all week, and she would be lucky to GIVE me the books just so she could record a transaction. I thought about telling her that her profit margin on these books would exceed just about anyone's if she gave me the whole bunch for a dollar. I thought about telling her that she could bribe a local hoodlum (or a community-minded Boy Scout) to set a match to the whole place, and she could gain almost as much from the insurance company as society would gain from the disappearance of her inventory.

Instead, I told her kindly that thank you very much, but I wasn't interested in paying that much for used books. She replied that if I brought in some of my own books, I could have them for 15%.

I smiled and left. No thanks.

Monday, August 25, 2008


So, if you haven't done something that really, really hurts in a while and you feel like you're missing out, try pouring bleach on an open blister.



This morning at the grocery store Olivia was an absolute terror. She screamed and screamed and kept trying to stand up in the cart, throw my grocery list on the floor, grab things off the shelves, etc. I felt angry and embarrassed, but mostly betrayed because she's almost always so sweet tempered. I always feel a little bit proud when we go out because MY child is so friendly and well behaved. Well, HA.

The problem is that there's not much you can do about misbehavior while you're there in the grocery store. I try to distract her, calm her down, show disapproval, stuff her full of tortilla and banana, but if she's bent on testing me, as she was today, all I can do is weather it until we get home - where of course, upon arrival, she is a perfect angel. I don't believe in spanking or yelling, so all I can do is basically reiterate my disapproval with her behavior in the store and put her in time out for a while. In my mind, the whole concept of "time out" is for the child to regain composure, so in this case it's really less effective. Plus, I don't know if it even computes, no matter how I try, that her isolation is a consequence of her behavior in the store, and not associated with her current, pleasant state.

At any rate, I guess putting Olivia away for a while gives ME some time to cool off. I'd say it's a pity that she has to go to her room so that Mommy can have a time out...but then, let's remember what started this whole thing in the first place.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Little women make me cry...and gag

So, I just finished bawling my way through watching Little Women. And I even skipped over Beth's death.

I bawled during the opera scene. I bawled when Laurie came back. I bawled really hard at the end when Friedrich comes back.

Even when I'm not all pregnant, Little Women really is a good and touching movie. Except, of course, for the Worst Kiss Ever. It's so bizarre that Winona Ryder and Christian Bale could be the perpetrators of such a thing, but indeed, they are. I guess the filmmakers had to do that so that we'd be turned off by the trail of saliva and okay with them not getting together. But still. Ick.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Amber as a Disney Princess

You Are Pocahantas!
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Free-spirited and wise. You have a strong passionate spirit that touches and changes all who know you. The wisdom and common sense that you have is really what guides you through life. Even so, you also have a very playful side that loves adventure and excitement.

Which Disney Princess Are You?

Marriage is Work?

Tomorrow Steven and I celebrate the second anniversary of our marriage. That's right: 2 years, 2 kids. It's been great. I have been happier than I ever thought possible.

Which gets me to thinking about something people always say: Marriage is hard work. Frankly, it hasn't been. For me, DATING was hard. Marriage is the fun part, and everything in my life right now would be much harder and much less enjoyable if I were not married.

I'm not sure what's supposed to be hard about it. Getting along? We got married because we got along and never got sick of each other. Learning to live with someone? We've both lived with people all our lives and had to contribute to households. I guess we had a hard time at first sleeping comfortably in the same bed, but that was quickly resolved. Working together on things? We met when we were working together; that's never been a problem. We also think similarly and have common goals. Raising children? Well, so far that's been fun, and much easier as a couple than it would be alone. Learning to share? We both wanted to get married because we were sick of living just for ourselves. We LIKE to share!

I guess we do both work hard, but it just doesn't seem to me like marriage itself has been a cause of work. Instead, it's probably the best part of my life (it entails a lot of good things). Does having an easy marriage mean we're doing something wrong? Or do we just need to wait a few more years to become embittered with each other and jaded with life? Am I the only one who feels this way?

At any rate, if I could do it all over again, I'd marry Steven the moment I met him. Which would be really awkward, since it was when he was interviewing me for a job.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pickled Greens

Last night I counted 10 jars of pickled green foods in our fridge. And yes, all of them are desirable and in the process of being eaten.

Can anyone beat that?

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I just don't know what else to call this entry. I had to make a new label too, which I guess is fine, because it will probably come in handy.

Last night I was making my visual aids for Primary Singing Time (I'm the chorister - my dream calling), and down the hall I heard a door open and shut. My brother-in-law's family has been staying with us for the last month while they close on a house (this Tuesday!), so I figured it was just one of my nietos getting up to go to the bathroom. A couple of minutes later, though, I heard three-year-old Tristan crying.

I went in to the bathroom and he was sitting there sobbing on the toilet. The tell-tale trail of diarrhea and soiled clothing told the rest of the story.

Now, Dan and Hyde had gone to the movies after putting their kids to bed. During the last month, this arrangement has worked well for us - we've traded off staying home while the other couple stays uneventfully with the sleeping kids. I guess my luck just finally ran out.

Now, having a 1-year-old daughter and a sister who is 13 years younger than me, I have plenty of experience taking care of poopy kids. The thing is, though, that I'm not used to boys - specifically, boy parts. And, um, I guess I'm still a little weird about them. That may seem odd, considering that I'm married and pregnant, but...well, boys and girls are different. And it's weird enough to have to clean poop off someone else's kid without that extra bit of awkwardness.

I told Tristan to wait there while I went down and got Steven. "Steven," I said, "Tristan pooped his pants...and he's a boy. And I'm not. I need help." "Oh," said my husband, "I just took out my contacts..." Meaning that at this point, he was pretty much blind. Sigh.

I went back upstairs, took a breath (outside the bathroom), and went to work. I got him cleaned up, rinsed out his clothes (gross), gave him a bath to make sure all crevices were poop-free, and got him in a towel. Then we went into his parents' room to look for clean clothes. Which were nowhere to be found. Every pair of superhero undies I presented were pronounced "Victor's." Finally, I went down to the laundry room where, luckily, I found a smaller pair of Spiderman underwear in the dryer, along with some pajama pants. Poop-free, tear-free, and clothed, Tristan went back to bed, and I went back to finish cleaning up the bathroom.

This story has no moral. Except that when life gives you a diarrheic three-year-old, clean up his poop.

Friday, July 18, 2008



I just bought a bunch of books online. Olivia somehow stuck several of the pages of My First Animal Book - one of her favorites - together, and after trying to steam them apart, I realized that 1) it was taking a long time, 2) I would not be satisfied with the end result, and 3) my hourly rate for freelance work is several times the price of a new book, especially if I can find it online. Which I did, along with several other goodies that I've been wanting for a while: Crictor, Space Witch, and My First Body Book. Actually, that last one isn't something I've craved, but it looks good. The other two are some I remember from my childhood, and I'm excited to have them again. Yesterday at Goodwill I also found a Syd Hoff collection for $2 that included Stanley, Sammy the Seal, and Grizzwold. I don't remember the first two, but I have fond memories of Grizzwold. Now I'm on the lookout for Danny and the Dinosaur, or in fact a complete Syd Hoff collection. I'm not one of those people who can buy (or do much of anything) without guilt, but I feel good about today's purchases.


Yesterday we had our friend Kimberly and her daughter Rachel over for dinner. Kimberly's husband is out of town for a couple of weeks. We keep meaning to invite them over, but having extended visitors has put a little bit of a damper on many of our social plans. Since Dan and Hyde took the kids to San Antonio for a couple of days, and since I know how hard it is to motivate yourself to cook for one, or one and a half, it was a good time to have them over. Every time I talk to Kimberly I think afterwards how much I like her. It's nice to mutually want to be friends with someone, not out of obligation, but just because you like talking with them.


A few days ago Steven was showing me some of his foreign money that he collected as a kid. It was interesting to look at. One thing that struck me was a Brazilian bill - the picture on the back depicted the conquest of native peoples by the Europeans. I thought it was interesting because often today, the offspring of a conquered people feel a kind of resentment toward those ancient conquerers who raped and enslaved their ancestors. The fact is, though, that, like it or not, the conquerers are as much their ancestors and the conquered. You may not approve of what one side of your ancestry did to the other, but they are both equally a part of you. To me, it seemed that this Brazilian currency demonstrated their understanding and acceptance of this.


I am! My due date is February 15th - which also happens to be my birthday. I haven't been sick, which is nice; just tired. And emotional. It's hard to imagine sharing maternal love and care with someone besides Olivia, but I'm also excited. Having a baby grow inside of you is absolutely miraculous, and seeing in Olivia what that baby will grow into - a little person who thinks and reasons and has ideas all their own - is mind-boggling.

Garlic-Stuffed Green Olives

I love them. Love them. Oooooh, man.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


So, as you can tell by the URL, this page was intended to keep people updated as to my activities and whereabouts. So...I'll bring us up to date. In January, my brilliant hubby took a job as a programmer at ExxonMobil, and we moved to Houston. Or rather, a suburb of Houston.

Now, while I never, never, never, never, never, never, ever wanted to live in Texas, I will confess that I really, really like it here. I like the people. I like the accents. I like the food. I like the attractions. I like the housing market. I like the WEATHER - yes, I said that. It's hot and humid, but I haven't found it unbearable - Olivia and I even take walks during the day. And I really, really like the summer rainstorms. Hurricane season isn't pleasant for everyone, I know, but it's certainly been nice for me. I love the sensory experiences provided by a good thunderstorm. I also love the free lawn watering.

Is there anything I don't like about living here?

Yes. These.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Pot of My Pie

Banquet pot pies are now microwaveable! Hooray, hooray!

I love their golden, crispy crusts - which are surprisingly golden and crispy even when cooked in the microwave. I love their savory innards, made with naturally artificial ingredients. I love their turkey, chicken, and beef. But most of all, I love their price: less than fiddy cent. Could anything be more delicious than cheap food?

And yes, I do know about the recall. That's all been resolved.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, Olivia!

It's hard to believe it's been a year, but it must have been in order for this:

to become this:

I know that none of you doubts that I love my little birthday girl, but on this day I would like to say again that I do. Just before this time last year, I was tired and excited and anticipating the arrival of a little girl who was growing inside of me, but whose face I'd never seen and whose voice I'd never heard. The first time I saw her, at around 8:50 on Wednesday morning, I felt I was looking at a stranger. Her eyes were open, and she was looking at me and at all the world around. She didn't look sleepy or shriveled or confused - she was excited and curious, ready to take on whatever might come next. That's the way she's always been, really. At the same time, though, she looks at me, clings to me, touches my arm in a way that says she depends on me and trusts that I'm there for her. It's hard for me to describe how wonderful that makes me feel - it is wonderful to be the mother of such a remarkable person.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Snow White

Those who have not given up hope of my ever updating my blog will be rewarded today with pictures of my newest project: a Snow White outfit for Olivia to wear to a friend's princess-and-superheroes-themed birthday party this weekend. I figured out the pattern myself based on pictures of Snow White, and I'm very happy with how it turned out, especially the sleeves. I tried to buy as little new stuff as possible to make it (figuring she'd only wear it once) while still making it a quality product - that meant that Snow White's collar is actually made of leftover satin from Summer's wedding dress. I was also really excited to have an excuse to use my new snap pliers that Steven got me for Christmas! The skirt is just short enough so that she can still crawl around easily, and she seems to be pretty comfortable in it.

The big question now is, what will I do with it after the party? Steven thinks I should sell it, but part of me wants to save it in case we have another baby girl who's around Olivia's size in a couple of Halloweens. Any suggestions?