Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ghost Writer

Another Disney blogger friend of mine was kind enough to allow me to write a guest post for him about my recent trip to Disney as part of the fan convention known as MouseFest. It's not as relevant to my non-Disneyphile friends as my guest post on Imaginerding back in May, but it's fun anyway. Check it out on Ryan's blog: The Main Street Gazette! (There are pictures!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


We lovingly refer to Marcus as "Young MC" or "MC MC." This is not because we have aspirations of him becoming the worlds next great white rapper -- though if he wants to make millions and support us for the rest of his life, I'm totally down with it. But honestly, it's just cute, because his initials are MC. However... it seems that at least part of the rapper lifestyle has become his hallmark. He has an entourage.

Young MC is fond of his zebra. For several months, he carried Zebra everywhere. So I bought him a second, with the idea that while one is in the wash, he'd still have one. Unfortunately, about two weeks into having two Zebras in the house, he discovered the second, and he then began insisting on having TWO Zebras with him at all times. As time marched on, he added random stuffed toys to this group... most notably, Mickey Mouse, Tigger, and various and sundry bears.

But it couldn't stop there. As his hockey fixation grew, so did his fixation with "hockey blanket"--a quilt-type blanket one of my mom's friends made for him when he was born. And of course, where there is a blanket, so must a pillow go.

Every morning, when Marcus wakes up, he totters into our room with full entourage. Sometimes it takes two trips, mind you, but before he will climb into bed with us, he assaults me with pillow and blanket, then adds Zebra one and Zebra two... then whatever other hangers on he has deemed worthy to start the day with him. Only then will he climb in and settle down, pressing his ice cold toes against my warm back.

The entourage also must watch television with him, and occasionally even makes it downstairs for breakfast. Explaining that his entire entourage cannot join him at school today is just another hurdle we have to jump in our daily routine.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out as he gets older. Will he have a gang of friends that he is ALWAYS seen with? Along with a few stragglers who sometimes make the cut and sometimes don't, depending on Young MC's mood? We'll be watching.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Inner Child Runs the Place

I have another opportunity to go to Disney--this time to see the marathon. I say "opportunity" because seriously, I wasn't planning to go, and two friends invited me to bunk in with them. It's an event I've always wanted to see, and now I'll know someone who is running. (Technically, she's running the half-marathon, but it's still a long freaking run). They invited me partially to save some money on their hotel stay presumably, but also because I'm just gosh darn fun to be around. Especially at Disney.

I'm kicking the idea around, and until tonight, was almost certain I would go. But I'm having second thoughts now. After all, I was just there this week. Monday, to be exact, and three weeks from today, I'd be smack in the middle of this upcoming trip. It's another trip without my kids or my husband. And really, at this point, I am not in need of another vacation. I am quite recharged and back on my feet.

But still, the lure is there. Disney World is my happy place. Most people don't get that. Several friends are launching an intervention, as they feel I have a serious problem. And honestly, I suppose I do. These friends that invited me... they get it. And hanging at Disney with people who "get it" is truly appealing.

So now I struggle. Do I act like a responsible adult, save the money (a small amount compared to any normal Disney trip), and stay home with my family? Or do I continue to let my inner child run free? Sure, it's important to be a responsible adult, but I have tons of responsibility day to day, and it's really nice to let go of it every once in a while. I don't ever want to become an uptight fussbag just because I lose touch with what it's like to ... well... lose touch.

My vices are few. I indulge in an alcoholic beverage from time to time. I stuff myself with fine food when I can. I'm tragically addicted to diet sodas. And I have Disney as my only drug of choice. Not bad, all things considered. And way cheaper than cocaine in the long run.

At least I can say that this decision is difficult to make. I'm not leaping carelessly nor am I saying "no" simply because it's the responsible thing to do. Chris has given me until tomorrow night to decide, because if I don't go, he is going out to buy my Christmas present Sunday morning. If I go, that's my Christmas present.

There are people out there trying to decide if they can afford to eat, and here I am mulling over whether or not to go to Disney. Again.

I suck.

Friday, December 12, 2008

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jen's happy place

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Ryan with two of the Main Street Girls

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I Stand Corrected

As we crossed the parking lot at daycare this morning, Athena turned around and started walking backwards. (No cars were coming, don't worry). She beamed at me and the following conversation ensued:

Athena: Mommy, look at what I can do!
Me: Yes, Athena, that is awesome.
Athena: *beam*
Me: Watch out for the step up!
Athena: *turning around so she doesn't fall and bust her bum* Was that good, Mommy?
Me: Yes, Athena. You have some serious backward-walking skills!
Athena: I have one HUNDRED of skills!
Me: You have MAD skillz!
Athena: *after a thoughtful pause* No, Mommy! Not MAD skills! HAPPY skills!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

We Need a Little Christmas... Wait, No We Don't

I have totally screwed myself this year as far as the holidays go. Really. Starting with the Disney trip in October, it has been a 90mph luge event since then.

I have managed to purchase about six gifts... the ones for my kids' teachers. Other than that... nada. Chris and I bought something for Marcus at the hockey game earlier this week, but then found that grandma had made an identical purchase. Ours will now become the backup for when he loses parts of the first one.

Anyhoo... here is what our calendar has looked like since Disney... (each bullet is a different weekend)

  • Elizabeth works (which means Chris gets laundry done and barely hangs on to his sanity. Nothing much else can get done, as the kids stomp all over him).
  • Chris and Elizabeth go to High Point for their "anniversary trip" at a gaming convention, where they spend precisely four waking hours together within about 48 hours. Kids stay with grandma, though. That's a bonus.
  • "Free" weekend to pack and prepare for the upcoming onslaught.
  • Thanksgiving weekend, in which we go to Richmond, VA; Warrenton, VA; and back home, then I work Saturday and Sunday.
  • Elizabeth works (again)
  • Elizabeth is at Disney World (where she will obviously have to do some Christmas shopping)
  • Elizabeth works (again)
  • Christmas


Friends told me recently that Chris and I run around so much... we're so busy... they don't know how we do it. I'll tell you how we do it...

Our house is a cluttered disaster. There are dishes in our sink at least 50% of the time. There is always laundry on the floor. Beds are only made once a week when I change the sheets. Our house is total chaos.

Chris and I agreed last night that this simply HAS to change. We cannot live like this. So I have five days off for Christmas. At least two of those should be kid-free as I will use the daycare for every last penny we pay them. I am going to roll up my sleeves, organize the house, and be sure systems are in place so it doesn't happen again.

Either that, or I'm going to be running to the stores to buy presents and wrap them.

And putting up the tree.

And taking down the Halloween decorations.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vote on the Next Caran Vacation

Before kids, Chris and I started a project. We decided we wanted to see our hockey team play in every NHL arena. There are only 30, and we figured it was as good a way as any to see parts of the US and Canada we might never see. Unfortunately, it does mean going to cold places in the winter, but I think we can suck it up and deal.

We had a couple of really good years where we knocked out five "foreign" arenas on two coasts (Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, New Jersey, and Nassau C. on Long Island). Then the kids started gestating and being born, and we had to put things on hold. Still, that's one fifth of the arenas done. There are still some close by, and some not so close.

I now have a $50 credit on Southwest, and in the bad economy, we thought we might be able to get some good deals on travel. So we're thinking that we'll restart our project in 2009 with a long weekend somewhere. So... here are the possibilities. Which should we do?

Sat., Feb. 7 at Phoenix Coyotes - we could perhaps visit Jessey, but we'd want to take the kids, and that's a long flight. Still, we've never been to Phoenix.

Sun., Feb 15 at Buffalo - I've never seen the falls. And this is a big rivalry.

Sat., Feb 28 at Atlanta - This is close enough we could drive in a year where we didn't have plane fare. Also, Chris and I were just there in September. So I'm obviously not as interested in this.

Sat., Mar 7 at Tampa - Um, yeah... I'd totally make us go to Disney World if we did this. I'm just sayin'... it's only 90 miles or so.

Sat., Mar 14 at Washington, DC - Again, we can drive here, although if it's between Atlanta and Washington, I'd pick Washington. Lots for the kids to do there and we have lots of family and friends around there.

So which should we do? What do you think?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

End of the Year Rush

Brace yourselves. I'm going to Disney again. In about 11 days. Leaving on the 10th. And this time, no kids. Going with four girlfriends. For five days. So the pictures for this trip should be quite different than the last trip. And let me just say for the record, if my nose seems a little red, or my cheeks a little flushed in these pictures coming up, it's just that Florida sunshine. It has nothing to do with Jack Daniels. Nothing.

This is the end of our Fall/Winter 2008 rush. It started with the trip to Dragon*Con over Labor Day. Then the trip to Disney with the kids and the Gundlachs, then a smaller convention in High Point, then Northern Virginia for Thanksgiving. Now it's Disney again, and Christmas. If you don't think it seems all that hectic, keep in mind that I work every third weekend. So basically, if we are in town, I'm working. We even had to make the Northern VA tour short so I could work THIS weekend.

And sometime in this chaos, I have to go shopping for Christmas. Fortunately, it wasn't yesterday. People are crazy. Seriously.

So if my posts continue to be few and far between, it's because I don't really have much time to sit and write. The kids continue to be hilarious and frustrating at the same time, we continue to live and work and play, but we don't write so much.

Oh, and we play Rock Band. And let me just say, I am a pretty damn good drummer, if I do say so myself.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We've Got You Surrounded, Ma'am

Yesterday was the UNC/NC State football game. If you aren't aware, this is a big rivalry. Any game between UNC, NC State, or Duke is always huge because they are all within 20 miles of each other... making for excellent war games. It also means many people manage to marry "across the borders," so to speak, and Chris and I are one of those couples. I've written about it before, but I'm currently too lazy to look up my previous post.

Anyway, back to yesterday. UNC (aka "the Heels," "Carolina," or "The Good Guys" -- I will use those terms interchangably) was completely murdered on the field by NC State (aka "State," "Pack," "Wolfpack," or "bloody hicks." You can tell where my loyalties lie). Murdered. Sliced open and eaten for dinner. It was bad. Seriously.

As it happens, we were expecting company last night for dinner, so as we watched the game, I baked a cake. Then, our friends called us to cancel. They had pulled "an Elizabeth," which means they totally planned two things for the same night without ever really putting together that both things could not actually happen at the same time unless they cloned themselves and their kids.

Since our kids had been Jonesing for some time with other creatures their own age, we scrapped dinner and headed out to Monkey Joes... a bounce house place where the kids can run around, scream, and generally cause a ruckus without destroying our home.

It was very crowded. Lots of people in red State and light blue Carolina shirts milling about. Obviously, this was a promise made to many small children forced to sit in a freezing cold stadium for three hours... "If you sit quietly through this, we'll go to Monkey Joes!"

Anyway, after an hour of battling the bajillion small people, we left and went to Gypsy's Shiny Diner, a Cary landmark that is, as you would expect, a shiny diner. We were seated promptly and fed a little less promptly. As we were digging into our burgers and corn dogs, a table of folks all in red were seated close to us. And now begins my own personal version of "The Birds."

I could tell from the conversation these guys had with the waitress that they were regulars, and that they were expecting more. Sure enough, fifteen minutes later, four more red shirts showed up and sat at the table beside us. Five minutes later... four more appeared at the booth adjacent to us, right behind Chris and Marcus. Soon, another four diagonally behind us, and sure enough, another four directly behind me. It was at this point that I could read some of the red shirts, and I learned that this was, in fact, the NCSU Marching Band and not, unfortunately, a particularly gruesome Star Trek episode.

The enemy was here. And they had won. Soundly. And they had me completely surrounded.

I looked up at Chris, and could tell he was reading my mind. I saw immediately that in his own Borgian way, he had already mind-melded with my antagonists and was enjoying the process. All I could say was, "Um... I'm actually starting to feel a little unconfortable." He laughed.

I excused myself to take Athena to the restroom. While I was gone, he completed his assimilation and informed the red shirts of my loyalties. They didn't say anything immediately when I returned, but when Chris got up to pay the bill... it started.

"Shhhhhhh... It's the Heels fan..."
"Don't look directly at her..."
"No, look at her... it will freak her out..."

All in good fun... I hope.

Regardless, I hightailed it out of there before they could peck my eyes out.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Like This Is a Surprise

Elizabeth's Dewey Decimal Section:

649 Child rearing & home care of persons

Elizabeth = 529612508 = 529+612+508 = 1649

600 Technology

Health, agriculture, management, public relations, buildings.

What it says about you:
You are creative and inspired to make the world a better place. You can work hard on something when it catches your interest. Your friends have unique interests in common with you.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yeah... Boring

I've been doing a lot of introspection, thinking, mulling, and generally non-bloggable stuff. I could tell you all about it, but it would only leave you praying for all that time I wasn't posting to repeat.

We're gearing up for the holidays... Since the Disney trip in October, it's just pretty much "on" until the end of the year. Chris and I attended a friend's gaming convention in High Point two weeks after we got back from Disney. Just before that, Marcus had pneumonia (he's better, but not tip top yet -- and I'm almost positive he has asthma). Just before THAT, I had strep. Cut back to now, and Athena has what might have been a sinus infection. So yeah... sickness for everyone. And it's not just us. Basically, everyone in Raleigh seems to be battling something or other on the germ front.

The economic crisis is finally hitting my corner of the world. Because this is such a popular place to live right now, we haven't seen a lot of the problems the rest of the country has been facing, but last month, the county announced a hiring freeze and this month, some drastic cuts to the budget. No jobs have been sacrificed yet, but I'm not going to do anything so naive as post something like "my job is safe." Crap, I just did. Well, you know... I didn't mean it.

Chris and I have been married nine whole years now. Our anniversary was last week. We celebrated it by being a good 300 or so miles apart. But I don't mind. Next year is the 10-year mark, and we have big plans.

Anyway, life is moving quickly here. I'll try to keep you up to speed, but really, it might just make you tired.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Special Day

Today is the birthday of the sexiest man I know. Fortunately, it is also Chris' birthday, so I can say that with immunity. You still have some time to wish him a happy one, if you haven't already!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

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Friday, October 24, 2008


We enjoyed the Streetmosphere before the Block Party Bash... which was terribly disappointing, by the way.

Off To Endor

Our Scores On Midway Mania

NOT saying who.

A Rainy Day at Hollywood Studios

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Welcome Home

The Valet at Boardwalk

He lost the key for the door to the booth. Kind of scary that he also had the key to my car.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Adventurer's Club Is No More

All that remains is the building and a lone musician to entertain passers by.

Devine Spotted

This is actually the first time I've ever seen this performer. I've heard tons about her, and she is truly something to see. Chris' reaction? "She's pretty hot."

On Safari

Tusker House Has a Rodent Problem

Athena and Marcus reacted much better to the characters on this trip.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Crib

We are so loving this minivan.


Athena insisted this was the proper way to use her travel pillow. We document it here for the upcoming instruction manual.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

And We Shall Blog It, And It Shall Be Good. We Hope.

We leave to visit my main man, The Mouse, on Friday. We're taking Aiden's family with us as well. And a babysitter! YAY! I will post pics of our trip to The World as we live it to the best of my ability. I have many friends who live-blog, and their pictures always look so great. I think my camera on my phone is just kind of sub-par. But hopefully one or two will come out decent.

I am also hoping to make movies each day like I did last June, but the problem with that is that Vista and Windows MM have not been playing well together on my new laptop. We'll see if I can beat that issue, but for now, live blogging might be the best you can get from me.

I am battling a cold at the moment. Although I would rather have the cold now than on vacation, I am finding it hampers my ability to accomplish the bajillion things needing accomplishing before we go. Tomorrow night, we face laundry, packing, and cleaning out my car. Friday morning, the car will get a bath and I will get a mani/pedi (a vacation tradition). We're hitting the road about 1pm. The photos should start appearing around then. I'm sure 10 hours in the car (split over two days) will provide enough interesting fodder to keep you checking back.


Probably not. But at least I'll have pics uploaded when I get back!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Before Ballet Class

Athena has taken to "modeling" whenever we take her picture. She does coy, over-the-shoulder looks and she poses her arms funny. She thinks she is being pretty. Sometimes, the photo comes out quite well. But more often, she just looks a bit silly... like here.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Some Library Humor

One of my colleagues directed me to this about a month ago, and I'm just now getting around to posting it. Welcome to my world...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Family Values

Today, Athena went shopping with me at the local warehouse store. As we were leaving, she noticed a young man with dreds pulled back in a ponytail. She commented to me, "Mommy, he has a ponytail!"

"Yes, he does, honey!"

"But boys can't have ponytails! That's silly!"

At this point, I explained to her that boys can have long hair OR short hair... whatever they prefer. Just like girls can have long or short hair.

She thought about this, and started noticing people around us... how they all had different lengths of hair. Somehow, this led into some musings on how to tell boys and girls apart. This transitioned into a conversation that I've been waiting for... but not the conversation you THINK it turned into.

She said something about how people always have a mommy AND a daddy. I told her that actually, sometimes people have two mommies or two daddies. And some people only have a mommy or a daddy. All of those different families are still families... but they all love each other just as much.

She said, "Yes. I have a mommy and a daddy though."

"Yes, you do."

"And you love me."

"I love you so much."

"All mommies and daddies love their kids."

"Yes. All kinds of families all love each other."

"I love you, Mommy."

"I love you too, sweetie."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Some Tidbits From My Day

(Overheard at a meeting to determine the nominees for the Wake Reads Together Program this year)
Librarian 1: So what is the theme that ties these two books (Year of Wonders and Fever 1793) together?
Librarian 2: Death
Librarian 3: Death after long and horrible suffering
Librarian 1: So, is that really programmable?
Librarian 4: We could have a mortician show the kids how to make a body look good after being ravaged by disease!
Librarian 1: Right. Moving on...

(Overheard in the car on the way home)
Athena: MOooooooooooooooooom! I dropped my CRACKER!
ME: We'll get it when we get home.
Athena: I can't reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeach it!
ME: When we get home!
Athena: Can we stop so I can unbuckle and get it?
ME: No.
Athena: *sigh* I wish I had a flying cracker.

(Overheard at Dinner)
Marcus: *Pointing at his mashed potatoes* Dangerous!

UPGRADE: Athena's bed time music selection includes These Boots Are Made for Walkin'!
DOWNGRADE: It's the Antonio Banderas version from Shrek. So much for Grrrl Power.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Now I KNOW the Economy Is Bad

I treat myself every so often to a lunch of fried shrimp and hushpuppies at a local restaurant here in Apex. They have won recognition in particular for their fish sandwich. It has been honored in several local publications as a "Best Value" because it's huge and cheap. Their shrimp is also a decent value... $7.99 for about 14 medium shrimp with a pile o' fries and three hushpuppies, plus a soda.

They have a self-serve soda fountain, but they have always had an annoying sign on it that said "Refills are only for dining in the restaurant," which made me wonder if they really had a problem with people coming in off the street (this is near a highway intersection... not a pedestrian area) and filling up their mugs with Pepsi products. But whatever. I would drink my drink in the restaurant, then refill, put a lid on the cup, and take the soda back to work with me to hold me through the afternoon. My conscious is clear. I don't see this as soda abuse.

So I went back yesterday for the first time in several weeks. I placed my order, and they handed me a cup that was HALF the size of the ones they used to have. Probably a 12 oz. cup. I looked at it and said, "I think this is the wrong size cup." He said, "It's the only size we have. It's right." And I could tell from his voice that he had answered this question a million times... and I knew what had happened. Apparently, the owner has decided to cut costs, and he thinks the soda is what is doing him in. Well... that and the hushpuppies, which were half the size THEY used to be. And the cocktail sauce, which was in the same size little ramekin, but it was only half full. And they used to give you TWO ramekins, but I was only offered one.

I was pleased that I didn't seem to be getting less shrimp or fries. But I have to wonder. Does he really think those items are affecting his bottom line that much?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Past, Present, and Future

Forgive me... this may ramble a bit.

Facebook has put me in touch with some people from my past who, in many cases, I had never expected to hear from again. It has made me reflect a great deal on my past lately--who I really am, and how I became that person. I've often wondered if I made good decisions in my life, and if those decisions really led me down the right path. Honestly, more often I've wondered how I got so freaking lucky that I DID make the right decisions, and I didn't end up married to evil emotionally destructive boyfriend from my mid-twenties or Navy guy from my college days. And I really love looking back at events in my life and seeing how they shape decisions I make today.

It takes many women a long time to come to terms with who they are and actually love themselves. I've been fortunate, in that I've been surrounded my whole life by friends who are supportive and real. I have managed to avoid a large amount of backstabbing, catfighting, and mudwrestling. (Sorry... but I wanted to be sure my male readers were still with me).

Anyway, as I reconnect with people who I have known for a TERRIBLY long time... who knew me before I learned to love myself and before I had really formed my own identity... I am amazed at how well they actually do know me. My inner core really hasn't changed that much. And as I am prodded to remember a moment from first grade (which I still remember SO clearly it's frightening)... just one moment when I first met someone... I marvel at how I can recall my little six-year-old mind processing what was happening, and my ability to realize that this person I was meeting... this was a good person. And this person would mean something to me later in my life. Even though I had no concept of what my life would be.

I see it in my kids too. I see their inner core. I watch them process new information and explore the world to figure out where they fit in. It's magical. And the perspective it gives on my own life... it's hard to explain. I am so excited to see what they choose. I'm fearful, yes, but I see their hearts right now... their true selves. And I love what I see. With hearts like theirs, I know it is all going to be just fine.

Monday, September 15, 2008

And Then One Day It Happened

Athena was put under a fair amount of pressure to move up to her big girl bed. We did everything we could to make it enticing. Painted the walls purple... got a new bedroom set... the list goes on. But it was several months after the room was completed (about five) before she finally said she wanted to go there. Now, she was between 18 months and 2 years old at the time. But we needed her to make the change to free up the crib for Young MC. He was born in March, and she moved into her bed around May. Fortunately, it was just before we really felt we had to put Mr. Man in his own room. So everything went swimmingly, and both kids loved their new digs.

Marcus is now approaching 2 1/2, and until last night, he showed no interest in the toddler bed we assembled opposite his crib in his room about six months ago. He is a burrower... loves to be snuggled down in many blankets and with every stuffed animal he possesses (which is a truckload, I assure you). He has not really attempted to climb out of the crib except once or twice when he was feeling particularly brave, bold, and not-so-bright.

Then, last night, out of nowhere, he told Daddy he wanted to sleep in his big boy bed. And that was that. I suspect that Seneca, our babysitter, had been talking to him about it earlier that day because I noticed a lot of his stuff was already moved over there. But sure enough, he hunkered down and slept... almost all night.

He got up at 4am and wandered toward our room. Unfortunately for him, he left his toy broom in the floor and tripped on it, causing himself great pain. I only wish that the cause/effect lesson would sink in, but I'm sure he will leave it lying out tonight too. The funny thing is, since I never think that Marcus might be walking the halls at night, I assumed it was Athena. I went in to offer to get some cough medicine for the awake one, and almost barged into Athena's room thinking that's where Daddy was doing all the comforting. Fortunately, Chris appeared just before I made that error and we avoided having TWO sleepy but awake and grumpy children.

So now we start talking about converting the crib into a bed, and buying a mattress and boxspring. Right after I had the A/C repaired today. And we still have to deal with the roof and subsequent interior repairs.

Perhaps I should have taken that other job. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Twinkle Toes

Athena had her first ballet class today. I was hoping to post millions of pictures of little 4 and 5 year-olds in pretty pink ballet dresses and tights and shoes, but alas. I carefully chose a "serious" ballet school where Athena could learn really good technique and form, and they frown on parents ooohing and aaahing over the wee ones. The windows all had sheer drapes on them so we really couldn't see in very well. Many times, I wasn't even sure which kid was mine.

She will not normally take class on Wednesdays. Today was a make-up day for last Saturday. This "serious" ballet school apparently got scared of the rain that fell because of Hanna, so they cancelled morning classes. It's kind of too bad too, because Athena really liked this teacher. If it turns out that she doesn't like the Saturday instructor, I will probably move her to the Tuesday morning class... same instructor as Wednesday.

I didn't get to see everything they did, but she learned to plie... they went through all the foot positions, and she walked with a beanbag balanced on her head. Well, it was balanced MOST of the time.

I was overjoyed to see her enjoy the class. When I asked her what her favorite part was, without hesitating, she responded, "All of it!"

Now I just have to get myself back into it. Still need to shed some more weight before considering it though. I like my knees just the way they are, thank you very much. No need to go and tear them up.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Roof, The Roof...

Our roof is leaking. It's 4:43 am. It was 4am when I heard the water coming in.

It's a small leak thus far... two places where water is coming into the upstairs area. Water damage to the plaster. Can't see where it's coming in though. We went into the attic... see no point of entry.

Called insurance company. Called roofer. Can't sleep. Drip... drip... drip...

Ah, Hurricane Hanna. You shall be remembered.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fangs for the Memories!

My new choppers! Had them made this morning. Scared?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Off to Dragon*Con

I'm leaving for Dragon*Con in the morning with a coworker. I'm hoping she will blog with me here as we need to do a staff training when we get back covering what we learn at the conference. Some of what we learn will of course be literature geek stuff. But some will be more interesting to the world at large... like what movie stars were there!

I'll try to post regularly throughout the con, but didn't want to take up space here since many of you who read this won't care. But head over to the other blog over the next five days to see what we see if you are one of the few who are.

Experiment with Mobile Blogging

Well, I sent this picture from my phone then came back in and edited it. The first post was rough because Verizon tacks on an add, but it looks like this might be successful!

Life... In a Nutshell

The past few months have been rather tumultuous for me. I've made some rather large, life-altering decisions and I've been building some new friendships at the same time. This is, of course, exhausting work for introverted little old me, but it does feel good to be taking some risks and putting myself out there. I wasn't blogging so much when I first became a mom, although Chris does have some of my writing from that time archived somewhere. Still, the point is, it wasn't an easy transition for me. I am way more comfortable in my own skin with no responsibility for taking care of the skin (or any other parts) of others. So there were many days in those first few months of Athena's life where I wept in mourning for my old life.

I think all the mid-life crisising and changing going on in my life now is a result of the shift I'm seeing in my children. We are moving into the part of their life where they don't need me to do every little thing for them. Athena finally seems to be getting the whole potty thing (although we aren't done there yet) and even Marcus is showing very promising signs of being trained soon. Athena sometimes helps Young MC put on his shoes and he is trying to dress himself, sometimes quite successfully. Athena even mastered buckling her own seatbelt the other day, which I KNOW she has been able to do, but she has been stubbornly refusing to do it. Suddently, that is all better. And I am seeking to reclaim some of what I was before... the actress, the dancer, the traveler.

I know I should be a little sad that the baby years are over, and I suppose if you insist, I will tell you that I do miss them a little. I look back at the pictures and remember the feeling of that warm, snuggly baby sleeping in my arms. But then I also remember that said baby kept ME from sleeping and I sort of, you know... get over it.

Because of my job and my personality, Chris is the de facto parent in charge. I am capable of parenting, but he gets the bulk of that work because he is more patient than I and because, let's face it, he's here more than I am. My share of the work tends to fall on keeping the household running and making sure there is food on the table. I've been shirking my duties of late because the turmoil in my life (mid-life psychoses, writing performance evaluations, making friends, and dealing with infecting body piercings all factor in here) has been so distracting and exhausting. I spent a good deal of Monday afternoon (which I had off work) just stumbling around the messy, chore-filled house trying to figure out where to start.

So today, I am working another half day. Tomorrow, I am heading to Atlanta for Dragon*Con. I am really hoping that this afternoon I can get a little accomplished at home so I don't feel like such a slug. The infection is treated and only a little irritation is left. My abdomen still has to recover a bit from the antibiotics, but that's not bad. I should have enough stability now to move forward.

I hope...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hazards of Mid-Life Crises

Well, wouldn't you know it? About two days before I hit the 30 day mark on my piercing, I get the beginning of what would soon become a nasty little infection. Very few piercings result in infection. Unfortunately, belly piercings are more likely than most (although obviously there are piercings in more ... um... hard to clean areas that get infected a lot too). And double-unfortunately, mine has become one of them.

Over the weekend, I started getting some twinges of pain that told me something was wrong, but the piercing has been a little angry ever since I got it, so I figured it was just that. A little redness... no biggie.

By Tuesday, the ooze had begun. This is totally just as gross as it sounds. When I first got pierced, I was told that there would be some oozing initially and to just keep cleaning it. I was pleased to find that I had no oozing at all. I took this as a good sign! Apparently, I was wrong.

So anyway, on Tuesday, I called the piercing place and told them my plight. I described the situation, and they asked me to come in. Needed to see it first hand before making any sort of judgement.

I went in, and they agreed that it was not (yet) an infection, but had potential. Oh yeah, my overachieving white blood cells... gotta love 'em! Anyway, they changed out my nice sparkly jewelry for a plain, longer barbell to accomodate the swelling, gave me instructions for a salt soak (three times a day for ten minutes a pop) and sent me on my way.

I began my soaks, and found the easiest way to do them was in a nice tub of warm water. Wednesday night, when I finished my soak and pulled the drain on the tub, I stood up only to hear a distinct *ting* on the tub floor. I looked down, and there was the barbell, with no closure. The other ball on the bar had apparently immediately gone down the drain. Dammit.

This early into the piercing (up to three months), they suggest that you come in to have them change out the jewelry, so even if I had wanted to do it myself, I really needed to have them do it. Just looking down at the oozy hole was enough to convince me there was no WAY I was going to do it, and so I got dressed, jumped in the car, and headed into town.

When I got there, someone was getting her nipple ring changed out. It was not someone I really wanted to see get a nipple ring changed, but it was interesting nonetheless. Then it was my turn. He cleaned the wound, replaced the barbell with a new ball and sent me on my way. And oh, there was pain and discomfort, my friends.

They told me to come back today so they could look at it and be sure it wasn't becoming an infection. I headed in thinking that I was feeling much better actually, and the salt soaks really seem to be working. This demonstrates how unrealistic I am. He looked at it, took the barbell out, did some squeezing, and declared my piercing officially infected. JOY!

Because he is holistic, he recommended continuing the salt soaks for another 24 hours before resorting to evil antibiotics. I did actually consider this. But that would mean that if the salt soaks did NOT work, I would be going to Urgent Care on a Sunday morning before I had to be at work. Not cool. So I sort of flipped a coin.

I left a message for my doctor's nurse with details of my situation and requested that she call in a prescription for me. If she needed me to come in first, well... I couldn't do that as I was in meetings the rest of the day. I'd opt for Urgent Care on Sunday and go forth with my hippie salt soaks. She called me back quickly and said, "No worries... I'll call it in."

So now I have a Z-Pac. And I'm looking forward to being infection-free within 72 hours. Sure, I feel bad that I cheated a bit. I know antibiotics aren't great for me in the long run. But seriously. Did I mention the ooze? This totally needs to go away. Now.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bear With Me

Sorry, guys! I'm still here. I've been writing performance evals at work and that has pretty much used up all my writing energy. I'll try to catch you up on the goings on over the next few days.

Not tonight though. My piercing has gotten very angry... almost to the point of infection... and it has me feeling a bit out of sorts. But soon! Once the long salt rinses have had more time to work. :-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Everybody Cha-Cha!

My friend Jen is considering joining my gym, so Monday night, I brought her along to a class of her choosing. This is the first time I've taken a class in about a year. I love their Hip-Hop class on Thursday nights and intend to restart, but I haven't taken any other classes. Jen also would have chosen Hip-Hop, but she is currently working Thursday nights. So instead, we picked Latin Fusion. Class is Mondays at 7, which is actually a very good time for me to take a class.

We got there super early in anticipation of her being assaulted by a "Member Consultant" to pressure her to join. However, as luck would have it, none were available. So instead, we sat outside the studio for thirty minutes gossiping, which is of course what going to the gym with a friend is all about.

We were both fairly certain the class would kick our butts. Both of us have a dance background, but for me at least, that background is pretty far back. Ten years now. However, as class started, I realized that I did, indeed, have enough basic coordination to do the moves pretty well. We were also fortunate that the class wasn't very crowded. Many of the classes are almost unpleasantly cramped, since the gym is so large, but not this one. So we had some freedom to spread out and, if necessary, accidentally go left when the instructor says to go right.

So about fifteen minutes into the class, she and I were both thinking... this is awesome! Fun! We should find some salsa dancing when we are at DisneyWorld in December! Then about fifteen minutes later, we were like... uh... when did our heart rates get to be about 200? Salsa dancing? What was I thinking? Salsa is for chips!

But at the end of the class, we both agreed it was a great one. I couldn't do a lot of the ab work at the end due to my still-healing piercing (no crunches until mid-October), and I felt a bit fortunate for that as I watched Jen get through the set. Still, I'm sure it will pay off.

My plan now is to continue going every other day, and just incorporate the classes in as the day comes up... so this week Latin Fusion on Monday, next week, Hip-Hop on Thursday. The rest of the time, continue the treadmill and the weights. Again, the weight isn't dropping off as much as I would like, but I see huge improvements, both in my measurements and in my energy level. And really, as long as I look and feel healthy, I really don't care too much about how much I weigh.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Overheard at My House

Chris had hockey the other night... his last game of the season. He was up for Highest Points in the League. And he was playing the team with the other guys who were closest to catching up. But he had a good lead, and all they had to do was keep the top guys from getting lots of points as individuals.

They did manage to do that... but just barely. And they lost terribly. So Chris was feeling a bit dejected, but okay. He finished telling me about the game, then went to take a shower. Upon exiting the shower, we had the following conversation:

Me: Feeling better

Chris: Somewhat. I'm cleaner at least.

Me: True. And you know what they say. Cleanliness is next to...

*dramatic pause*

In Unison (because I have lived with this man long enough to know...): Me.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Here Comes the Hotness

I've been going to the gym every other day for just over a month now. Even though I haven't shed a lot of pounds, my shape has definitely changed for the better. Tonight, I decided to put it to the test.

I went to my closet and pulled "it" out. For some women, it's that pair of perfect jeans that they can only really wear when they are at their favorite weight. For some, it's a slinky black dress. For me... it's the red sparkly shirt.

I bought this shirt in San Francisco in May of 2005. It was on sale at BCBG for $100. I had to have it. I kept walking away from it and coming back to it. I mean... it's red. (gimme) It's sparkly. (gimme) It's a halter shirt. (whoa, nelly! The "ladies" cannot really "do" halters.) So I tried it on. This was about a year after I had Athena and I was still pretty skinny from nursing. I'd put a little back on, but not all of it. I looked awesome. Seriously. So I bought it.

Then I got knocked up. Fortunately, everyone loves a pregnant belly nowadays, and the shirt is stretchy, so I wore it for the Annual Caran Holiday Party. No. I didn't wear it. I rocked it. I totally LOVE this shirt.

Then Young MC came along and the pudge could not do "the shirt" justice. I had to put it away. Tonight, I pulled it out. I told Chris I just wanted to try it... to see how far I had to go. I want to wear it at the next Annual Holiday party (not until January), and maybe on a vacation or two before that if I can pull it off.

I put it on. Chris' eyes bugged out. In a good way. Like, in the "Look at that hot chick from Battlestar Galactica wearing nothing but a thong" kind of way.

It's going to Dragon*Con with me in a few weeks. It's going to Disney with me in October. It's going everywhere with me if there is even the slightest possibility I can dress up. I would wear this shirt every day if I could. I am so freaking happy right now that I have my red shirt back. WOOT!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Books and Meme

Jumping on the Jessey Bandwagon!

I resisted the STRONG temptation to make comments… especially when technically some works are named twice. (Last time I checked, Hamlet was included in the Complete Works of William Shakespeare.)

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you love.
4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or were forced to read at school and hated.
5) Reprint this list in your own blog.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma- Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I Rest My Case

It's not that I don't like housework. I'm just doing what's best for my kids.

Overly Clean Homes May Up Risk of Bowel Disease

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Quest For the Hotness: Mile Marker Three

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter! And here we are at Mile Marker Three.

So, at first glance, it would seem that the quest is a total failure. Today, I weighed in at 206. My goal for this day was 190. But I'm not discouraged. Here's why...

I haven't been watching my food intake. At all. I've been eating and drinking what I please. I am trying not to eat when I'm not hungry, and I've been doing a little portion control... but only a little. For the most part, I've been eating like a normal person. With a little stress eating thrown in... particularly during that whole "decision week."

The reason I've lost weight at all (on the 7th I was 208) is my slavish devotion to the gym. Ever since July 5, I have been to the gym every other day, with only two exceptions. Both times I made exceptions, it was because I simply couldn't get there on that day... no matter how I rearranged my schedule. Once we were completely out of town.

So each visit to the gym means 30 minutes on the treadmill and almost always at least a little time on the machines. Unfortunately, my piercing (yes... it's mine) means I had to eliminate crunches from my workout until mid-October when it is considered completely healed. I had gotten up to 100. So, my piercing still rests on a slightly flabby belly. But if I can keep this up, and maybe even do better with food, that won't be an issue for too long.

Historically, I've always lost my belly fat first, but I think after two children it won't be so easy. Another reason I'm not discouraged is that several people have said that it looks like I've lost weight. And that's really what matters, right?

So damn the torpedos, man! Full speed ahead!

Monday, July 28, 2008

For Those Who Thought Libraries Were Boring...

Okay, okay... laugh all you want at the Wizard Rock concept. But take a minute to look at this. For anyone who worries that kids don't think reading and libraries are cool, this will prove you wrong. For anyone that thinks that there is nothing more awesome than seeing a bunch of people jumping around having a good time without any controlled or illegal substances... you will love this. Personally, I just think it's neato.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Of Bats and Big Decisions

Today was a big day.

First, I got a haircut. It's cute. Too bad it will never look this good again, since my hairdresser won't come do my hair every morning. I sure wish I had a hairdresser at my beck and call. That'd be sweet.

Anyway, then I went home and sent an email to decline the job offer. Yep, I turned down lots of money to continue on as a public servant. And I feel good about that.

Ten minutes after I sent the email, I got a call from work. A bat had flown into the library. Yes, a bat. (My theory is movie promotion, but what do I know?) Animal Control and the police were there, but they really wanted to talk to a manager. There wasn't one to be found. Could I come in early?

Abso-freaking-lutely I can. You don't get bat extermination in the corporate world. They can't deal with the elevators.

Is this a sign?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

After years of staying in contact with my former employer (from my pre-blogging days), something I never REALLY thought would happen has happened. In quite a whirlwind move, I have been offered a job. Technically, it's my old job... or a piece of it, plus a new job... well... new to me. These have been mushed together to match my skill set really nicely.

Some history: My old job was in corporate America, but working in the field of Library Science... namely large computer databases. We're talking REALLY large. More than 14 terabytes of information, and a lot of it really expensive stuff. Patents, trademarks, drug pipelines, market research, blah, blah, blah.

I was really good at my first job there, so in a year, they promoted me. But they couldn't replace the old me... so I was essentially doing two jobs. Then, I was doing that so well, they promoted me again. But guess what! They couldn't replace me... so I was doing three jobs. After a year of this, I cried uncle and up and left. I was eight months pregnant at the time, and I just couldn't keep doing that. That's when I came to the public library.

I've been here for four years now. It has it's ups and downs, but I do like it. So now, I have to decide.

My old company offered me a lot of money. Around 20K more a year -- more if the bonuses come through. Serious money. Think of all the debt we could clear...

It's also a 9-5 job. No weekends. No nights. With the exception of when there are tight deadlines. And it's possible that would happen frequently, knowing some of their clients.

I'd also be giving up the cushy government benefits. Health care at both jobs lines up for the most part... but the biggie is retirement. The state is going to give me a pension PLUS pay my health care when I retire, assuming I stick it out another 26 years. Corporate America won't do that. In fact, government won't even do that anymore. If I leave and come back... those health care benefits go away.

So... money now? Or money later? Risk corporate ups and downs in a bad economy? Or stay with a government job? Work a regular schedule or continue to work some nights and weekends? Both jobs offer intellectual stimulation, but the library work offers more physical activity... which I might not alway like, but I certainly need.

I have until tomorrow to decide.

Chris and I spent more than an hour last night debating the right thing to do and came to no solid conclusion.

Tonight, I believe Mr. Jack Daniels and I will have to work this out.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Mysterious Belly

Oh, my! Look at what someone did today! Who could this belly belong to?

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yucky Cavities

Athena had to have three cavities filled today. Yeah, yeah... bad parents... blah blah blah. For the record, the dentist said that it was clear the cavities were caused in part by weak enamel, which is not bad parenting, but bad genetics. Related, but not the same.

We had to be there at 7am, which in and of itself, sucked. But she was excited to be headed out on an adventure, mainly because she had no idea what was in store. (Muahahahahahaaaaaaa)

They gave her a cocktail that helped her relax (made her drunk as a skunk) and then they kicked us out of the operating area. We heard the screams from the novacaine shots (mommy isn't cool with those either, so I was on her side), and then she was fairly quiet for the rest.

She was pretty doped up and was seeing double on our way home. It was, I am a little ashamed to admit, quite amusing. She also had a couple of freakouts... mainly caused by the drugs. My favorite was as she was leaving the office, when she became hysterical because the "goody bag" they gave her was not COMPLETELY full of toys and crap. That was awesome. Warmed the cockles of my heart with her selflessness, that did.

Within a couple of hours, she was back to her normal self. Chris spent the whole day with her, and she apparently ate constantly. Mostly crap too, which should be great for further cavity development. Fortunately, the ordeal is over for now. Let's hope she's willing to go back for her normal cleaning in September. They say she won't remember much of the morning. Here's hoping!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I Have a Place Where Dreams Are Born...

I have a place where dreams are born
Where time is never planned
It's not on any chart
You must find it with your heart
Never, Never Land

When I was 7, my father basically forced me to watch My Fair Lady on television with him. I say forced, because he basically said, "Just try it for a bit, honey. See if you like it." Within two minutes, I was glued to the screen. I then proceeded to listen to the soundtrack over and over for a year.

Did I get sick of it? No. But what happened a year later that made me stop listening? I saw Sandy Duncan play Peter Pan on Broadway. My first Broadway show. She flew right over my head. And at that point, the Peter Pan soundtrack never left my turntable. It became my standard homework background music for most of elementary school. Even in fifth grade, when one of my babysitters introduced me to pop music (mom and dad weren't hip like that), I still had those show tunes in rotation. It began a whole lifestyle for me... one that I pretty much put aside when I got married.

Today, I took Athena (and Chris) to see this show that started it all for me. Athena has been to the theater once before, when we were fortunate enough to be given tickets for the touring company of The Lion King. She did really well, which was an extra shock because it was an 8pm show. However, the pageantry of that show alone is enough to engage her, and when you add the African beat and harmony, you really can't fall asleep or complain.

Before we left for the theater, I prepped her with all the theater etiquette I could. She wanted to bring her "Jingle Bear" toy, which I refused to allow since he ... well... jingles. She wore a new dress (not as dressy as I would have liked, but it's my fault for timing the distribution of the new stuff so badly). Grandma came at 11:30 to look after Marcus and we piled in the car to head downtown.

We picked up Aiden and Kathryn on the way and had lunch downtown. We ended up getting to the theater way too early, but it was fine. Both kids were enthralled, although Athena, the skeptic herself, noted right away that 1) Peter Pan was a girl and 2) she was "flying on a string." *sigh* I guess she didn't get her mother's ability to suspend disbelief.

Anyway, the kids were well behaved AND Athena didn't even have an accident. All day. I am about 80 times more excited about that than her sitting through the show. Which was very well done and enjoyable. It was good to get back to the theater. Chris even enjoyed it.

Although I'm guessing that had as much to do with Tiger Lily's smokin' hot body than with the rest of the show...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quest For the Hotness: Mile Marker Two

I forgot to weigh in on Monday, Amy's birthday, so I did it on Tuesday. Didn't really matter, since the holiday weekend was filled with Bratwurst, tortilla chips, and stress-eating. My goal for this day was 200. I weighed in at 208, which is three pounds heavier than my LAST goal weight. So... time to rededicate.

Starting Saturday, I've been to the gym faithfully every other day. I should have no trouble going again Friday, but Sunday will be a bit of a challenge, as we have a pretty full day planned. Still, if I miss Sunday and have to put it off until Monday, that won't be so bad. Once every third day is still better than never. But, I'm really trying to force myself into the every-other-day habit... no slacking. Otherwise, I'll just slack completely.

My next mile marker is July 31, Harry Potter's birthday. My goal for that day is 190. I sincerely doubt I'll be able to knock off 18 pounds by the end of the month... I'm not sure that would be super healthy, but if I can get down below 200 I'd sure be happy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Rain Can't Stop the Wrock

First, for all of you out-of-touch people out there who have not heard, there is a music craze sweeping the nation. Fans mostly consist of 11-15 year-old girls, but as the New Kids on the Block can tell you, that is an excellent fan base to have.

It's called "Wizard Rock" or "Wrock" for short, and it basically started with a couple of brothers writing Harry Potter-inspired music and playing it for their friends. They are now known as Harry and the Potters, and they are quite popular indeed, recently playing a show at the famous Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill as part of their national tour.

Down the road from Harry and the Potters, two other brothers (okay, half-brothers technically) started up a kind of parody band as the arch-nemesis to their buddies' band, calling themselves, naturally, Draco and the Malfoys. And thus began the huge explosion of Wrock bands all over the country.

My library was fortunate enough to host four of the top Wrock bands in the country this weekend as a stop on their summer tour, including the aforementioned Draco and the Malfoys. Lindsey Dunn, a mighty fine Young Adult Librarian I am fortunate enough to have on my staff, contacted the band more than two years ago and asked them to make a stop here on their next tour. They emailed back and said they would love to play here, and they would be in touch.

Long story short, they emailed about four months ago and said, "Hey! We can be there on July 6th between a show in Virginia and a show in Atlanta." Despite the fact that the date was on a holiday weekend and smack in the middle of Lindsey's vacation, she said, in essence, "Bring it." And bring it they did.

Their tour includes themselves, plus Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills, The Whomping Willows, and The Remus Lupins. So Lindsey kicked into high gear to ensure this was the best program in our library's history. She got a sponsor to pay for them to be here. She got on the phone to find out how if we could get special permits to allow more people in our building for a special event. We couldn't. So she found out how we could get a stage set up outside and somehow convinced the musicians that early July in North Carolina "really isn't so bad."

After lots more coordination with other county departments, the plan was set and the big day arrived. Due to her careful planning and the assistance of several other staff members, every detail was thought out and accounted for. And that was a really good thing when, at 6:15 pm, about an hour and a quarter into the show, one of North Carolina's world famous lightning storms descended upon us.

For safety reasons, the band could not simply play through the storm. Electrocuting people in our parking lot is generally frowned upon by upper management, and no one wanted to clean it up, besides. So we started letting people into the building while the band tried to figure out what they would do. Getting their equipment inside was out of the question. We had given out rain tickets for the first people who arrived... up to the number we are allowed in the main part of the building. As I expected, many people simply chose to pack up and go. At our highest count outside, we had about 250 people watching the bands. We only had room for 130 inside, once you also factored in our staff and sponsor's staff. But we do have a few side rooms that gave us a little more space, so we put people in those two rooms, explaining that they were there as shelter, and they may not be able to see the rest of the show from there.

As it turned out, once everyone was out of the parking lot, only a little more than half of the people with tickets were in the main room, which gave us enough leeway to empty out our side rooms. Our sponsors seemed to be less than happy that we had to constantly be counting bodies and were possibly going to turn people away, but laws is laws, folks, and the two sheriffs deputies there were not about to cut me any slack on this one.

In what I feel was remarkable time, we were back up and running again by 7pm. The sponsor has his own little Wrock band, and they entertained the crowd while our headliners moved in what they called a "Violent Femmes" array of equipment... a bass and amp, two acoustics, and a snare drum. No mics. The Whomping Willows finished out their set, which Mother Nature had so rudely (and dramatically) interrupted, and we proceeded with a very "unplugged" session. In fact, Draco and the Malfoys really got into it by tossing out their playlist and taking requests only.

One of my biggest concerns was that the crowd would simply trash the library, having been granted practically free reign to do so. But instead, as the picture below attests, they actually sat down in a more orderly fashion than any storytime group we've ever had in the library.

They sang along, danced when prompted, but only in a very polite, orderly fashion, and when the concert was over (and MAN it was surprisingly good!), they hung out for only 15 or 20 minutes to buy merch and have the band sign stuff. In fact, the hardest folks to push out the door were the musicians. They are a totally awesome, friendly group of guys, and they were acting like they were going to hang out all night. Fortunately, this gave us a chance to get this picture:

Eventually, they did head out to the pavillion to break down their stuff. As they were doing so, they told us, with what I feel was sincere honesty, that this was the most fun concert they had yet to play. The chaos, the unpredictability, and the REALLY fantastic audience made it work for them. And me. Don't tell, but I've been listening to some of their stuff now. shhhhhhhhhh

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Wall-E Meets My Kids

So I went to see Wall-E on my birthday with about eight of North Carolina's biggest Disney Geeks. I loved the movie and enjoyed the conversation afterward that verged on geeky, but was really more along the lines of pure appreciation. My only disappointment was the realization that my kids would most likely NOT like Wall-E, so I wouldn't be getting to enjoy it with them.

The themes in Wall-E are a bit too grown-up for a four- and two-year-old to really get. And although the lack of dialogue makes the movie more accessible and VERY beautiful, I was sure it simply would not capture the attention of my frenetic offspring.

As this past week went by, my friends began sharing their experiences with taking their children to see it... some my kids' ages, some a bit older. All advised me against taking the terrible twosome. I mean, they barely sat through Kung-Fu Panda, and that was full of action and silliness. Wall-E is far more subdued and ... I'll say it again ... beautiful, and the soundtrack is mostly that of Hello, Dolly! This is a great thing for ME... bringing together my Disney Geek and my Musical Theater Geek... but not necessarily a great thing for the kiddos.

So today, while I was in the shower, Chris asked Athena if she'd like to see Wall-E. Why yes, she declared. She would love that. So I shrugged. I mean... best case... I'd get to see the movie again. Worst case, I could run the kids around the lobby while Chris enjoyed the movie. So, I looked up movie times and off we went.

We armed ourselves with a large popcorn and cups for sharing. Both kids got lemonade. We figured that would hold them until at least half-way through the movie. But guess what!

They. Loved. It.

Both kids were engaged with the movie almost all the way through. Marcus wasn't as engaged, but he sat relatively still through about 90% of it... maybe 95%. Athena asked questions as the story progressed and was clearly VERY concerned for Wall-E's health and well-being.

This is terribly exciting to me. Perhaps it won't be true for every movie, but they have progressively gotten better and better about sitting still and watching the flick in question. The more we take them, the better it is. And with all the movies that are made for kids now, we are never really short on choices.

Well, except the trailer they showed the most interest in was that freaking Chihuahua movie. *sigh*

Ai, Chihuahua indeed.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Quiet Evening

Chris has decided to take Athena camping tonight. By camping, I mean he took the tent and a sleeping bag and headed to the park with a couple of buddies and their kids. He says he took an air mattress, but I see the air mattress is still here, so I think what he actually took is a thin mat that does accept a little air, intended for campers who rough it far more regularly that we do and who actually carry their gear on their back.

He also refused my offer to take the van instead of the ION, so I sure hope it doesn't rain. But Athena is stoked for S'Mores, and right now the forecast looks agreeable.

This means Young MC and I are home. He tottered off to bed at 8pm, so I've had a very peaceful, easy-going evening. I have a good book to read for my book club and I'm thinking of lighting a few candles and meditating in the tub for a bit. Chris has only been home from Origins for a few days, and already he's out all night again. It's a little odd after years of him never going anywhere... he's had two business trips, one long solo vacation, and now this camping trip away. I thought it would be hard to get used to, but actually, it's kind of nice. Since I have taken so many trips without him, which my Introverted self needs so badly, it's nice that he gets to enjoy a bit of that as well.

Tomorrow, we clean up the house to where our friends won't balk too badly, and then have a little cookout. I have to plan a menu. Probably Brats and burgers. Maybe some baked beans. Some sort of dessert... maybe cheesecake if I can get up early enough to get it done. Good times. Happy Birthday, America.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Quest for Hotness: Mile Marker One

Well, here we are at Mile Marker One... my birthday. My goal here was 205. Yesterday, I was at 206. Last night, I had two Margaritas and Fish and Chips to celebrate my birthday. Today, I weigh in at 207.


I am not discouraged. Honestly, I've made only a half-hearted effort this past month or so. Little to no exercise, and more desserts than I really should have indulged in. So... I have lost nine pounds, and that makes me happy.

Today won't be a good day for the diet, since I'm eating out for lunch AND dinner AND having buttered popcorn at the theater when I see Wall-E. I have never bought into the "plain popcorn is better" mentality. I do understand it may be true, but that fake buttery substance movie theaters use? The stuff that must be made of plastic and wax? Yeah... that stuff is awesome. I'm not giving that up no way, no how.

Then tomorrow, I need to kick it up a notch. Especially if I want to meet my next goal... Amy's birthday, which is only about a week away. ACK!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Single and Lovin' It

Chris is at Origins. This is the fourth year he's gone, and once again, he is not here on my birthday. Scum.

The first challenge will be keeping the kids entertained, and that's all set. Tonight, we had pizza and watched Dora, Diego, and Backyardigans. They are in bed now, and with any luck, will be snoozing soon. Tomorrow night, we're hitting Monkey Joe's with the Gundlachs (Today is John/Geoff's birthday! WOOT!) Then Friday is a Parents' Night Out at the daycare, which Athena has requested I take her to. I may call some friends to see if they want to go out. (Jen and Brandy... if you're reading this... I'll call ya!)

Saturday is my birthday. My wonderful mother-in-law has agreed to watch the kids overnight! So, I'm headed first to Greensboro to see my mom for lunch, then to High Point to visit friends and watch Wall-E with a bunch of Disney Geeks, including my friend George. (What does one WEAR to a Disney Geekfest, I wonder?) Another friend Jack (a former bartender) has sent me a birthday drink recommendation, which I shall try either Friday, Saturday, or both... depending on the circumstances.

I'll be back here Sunday, and may try to take the kids to the pool. We'll see. Then Monday is back at work and Chris comes home Monday night.

The second challenge is to keep the kids healthy. For two years (see here and here), one or more of the kids was sick or cheating death whenever he went to this conference. So far, everyone seems to be very healthy. Keeping my fingers crossed!

And there is some reward to getting it all done alone. Chris does it all the time. Now I get to prove I can do it too! Yay me!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A House Divided

The Universities in North Carolina have a really long history, and along with that, an incredibly strong fan base. This is particularly true with our ACC schools here in the Triangle Area. UNC, Duke and NC State are all within thirty miles of each other, and this leads to strong rivalries, and, oddly enough, marriages.

Chris and I have such a marriage. He went to NC State (boooooooooo) and I went to UNC (yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay). We are a House Divided.

Just to give you some idea of how big a deal this can be... I'll tell you a story of when Chris and I first started dating. He had made it quite clear that he was very interested in me. We were on our first date after we had been chatting at game nights and online for a few weeks. He was at my house, sitting on the couch, and we were watching Return of the Jedi. We were chatting... and our schools came up.

I am a little bit older than he is. I already knew he was at NC State in grad school, and I had just finished grad school in Greensboro. So I had already adjusted to the idea that he was the enemy, academically speaking. He, however, did not know where I had done my undergrad. When I told him, his eyes widened and his expression was easier to read than a large print copy of Good Night Moon. He was making a decision... can I actually date a UNC grad? Can we have a future together? Can she be half as awesome as I think she is if she bleeds Carolina Blue?

Obviously he came to his senses and our relationship moved forward. But, there are still issues. One of the major ones is the kids.

We had to make a pact when I learned I was pregnant with Athena. Neither of us were allowed to buy any of our own school's merchadise for the kids. Others could buy for us, but we could not. Soon, the NC State stuff started coming in from Brant, but Jason followed up with a healthy dose of UNC. We both have good friends, apparently.

Which brings us to today. Recently Marcus picked up one of Chris' NC State ball caps. He wore it around, which was terribly cute as it's way too big for him. But he loves it, so Chris adjusted it to as small a size as he can, and Marcus wears it all the time.

Naturally, this has been bothering me. So Mom and I were in dear old Chapel Hill on Friday, and she learned that Marcus was in need of a Carolina ball cap. She purchased a very cute one that is actually in his size.

I gave it to him yesterday.

He wore it for ten minutes.

He tossed it aside and last night, he slept with the NC State hat.

I have failed.

But there is still hope for Athena.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Screwing: The Final Frontier

So my loyal readers (all six of them) will remember back in January, we discovered some major negligence on the part of our builders and arranged to have it fixed. Well, for those of you who are wondering "What ever happened with that whole deal?" here is your answer.

They fixed it. Yesterday. Finally.

For the past six months, we've been going back and forth with the warranty guy. He's been very nice and very helpful, but he kept having to bring someone else to look at it. An engineer, a contractor, another engineer, an HVAC guy... the list was endless. Finally, when I was at Disney in May, he called and said he only had ONE MORE GUY to come see it. I felt like my crawl space was being featured in "Homebuilding Freaks" magazine.

So Chris stayed home yesterday morning to be here when they came to fix it. This was because they thought they'd need to come into the house to fiddle with the HVAC return or some such nonsense. As it turns out, they did not. In fact, they didn't even tell Chris when they left. The warranty guy came by later and left a sticky that the work was done. Now all that is left is that he needs to come repair the garage floor, and we're done with this. Only cost to us: $150 to have the walls professionally dried and treated for mold.

Rock on.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hermione Strikes Again

Thank all that is good and holy that Chris does the laundry (up until the folding part). Look what he found in the dirty clothes this morning. Good thing he found it too... as it was tiny. It would not have survived the spin cycle, methinks.

Clearly, Athena thinks it's the coolest thing ever. I believe she used the word "cute."

Meanwhile, the poor cat is looking all around the floor of our room trying to figure out where the thing got to. Athena threw it into the bushes, so Hermione will probably be confused the rest of the day.
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