Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Life's Little Circles

I've noticed a very strange phenomenon in my life. I tend to get "led" to places that will eventually be important to me. For example, there was an apartment complex in Greensboro that always sort of stood out to me when we drove past it. However, we didn't get to that area of town often, so we didn't go past it a lot. For a while in my elementary and middle school years, we went to a hair stylist who worked very close to them, so that was really the only time we'd get over there. But I always gazed at those apartments thinking that they were... I dunno... IMPORTANT.

Sure enough, after hunting all over town for my first apartment after college, guess where I ended up.

Okay, so that example isn't so strange because I actually get to PICK the apartment I live in, so I could have sort of led myself there (even though I didn't, and there were two other people in on the decision.)

So, Example the Second. There was a building I passed daily after I got my first job. I noticed it many years before that as well, but almost as soon as I got that first job down the street from it, it became a compulsion. The sign intrigued me. The shape of the windows... The location (right next door to a Krispy Kreme)... All of it called to me.

One day, my dad took me to lunch and said, "Elizabeth, you have a loser, dead-end job that you are way too smart for and it is making both of us miserable. Get another job."

"But, Dad," says I. "I have no idea what I want to DO with my life. I'm 23, have a BA in English Education, and all I know is I don't want to teach."

"Just put some resumes out there."

"But WHERE?!" (Yeah, I was probably whining. I was bad about that. Still am, honestly).

"Doesn't matter."

"The only place that even looks remotely interesting is that place over there." I pointed with my steak and cheese sandwich, because we were lunching in the fabulous Greek restaurant that also happened to be right by "the building."

"Then take a resume there."

"Blind? That never works, Dad. This is the 1990's."

"Humor me."

So I did. I just typed up a resume (it was quite short in those days) and popped it in a manilla envelope. On my lunch break the next day, I went right up to "the building" and I handed my envelope to the receptionist, who seemed about as interested in it as I would have expected her to be. "No job in particular?" she asked. "Nope," says I. "Anything you have that I would qualify for would be interesting to me. I really like this company."

I actually said that. And you know what I knew about the company? It's name. That's it. Name only. And, of course, where their building was... between Krispy Kreme and that Greek place. So I ask you, what's not to like?

Needless to say, you can certainly imagine my surprise when I got a phone call THE NEXT DAY for the PERFECT JOB for me. She actually had just finished interviewing, hadn't really liked her choices, and got my resume. She already knew she wanted to hire me (which she didn't tell me, of course, until she actually DID hire me). It was meant to be.

So, all of that is to share one of life's latest little circles. I did my student teaching at Chapel Hill High School. At the time, it was considered the second best high school in the state and it really was a fabulous teaching experience. While I was there, I asked the drama teacher if I could help with the fall musical, because theater is what I really wanted to do. She was delighted to have the help, and I became a character coach for Hello, Dolly! Seriously fun, and the theater there was quite impressive by high school theater standards.

I left the school and I put all thoughts of teaching behind me. I graduated, moved out of town, and started life as a (real) adult. So when I enrolled my little girl in ballet classes at the Conservatory here, imagine my surprise when I learned that her year-end recital was to be at Chapel Hill High School. A full 20 miles from the Conservatory.

Going back, now a solid 18 years later, was completely strange and other-worldly. I remembered parts of the building like it had only been yesterday. And when my daughter took that same stage that I had worked through all those scenes on... well... Wow. Who knew that the building would hold such treasures for me? Especially a building in a town we do not even live in.

So strange where life takes you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Save the Library

So the County passed a budget that actually saved two of our branches from closing. Apparently, they did this by cutting money to education and human services. Although I am overjoyed that our libraries need not be closed, I'm a bit worried about these cuts. I do have a kid entering Kindergarten, and although we have some of the best public schools in the country, they can't maintain that without money. I'm also pretty much in favor of controlling/preventing AIDS and other diseases... so when money comes out of Human Services... well... you see what I'm getting at.

Still, it's good to know that libraries are so valued where I live. There are many, many other places around the country that are seeing libraries closed and hours drastically reduced. The Seattle area is seeing all schools lose their professional librarians, leaving the school libraries to be run by assistants and other teachers. So so so so sad.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

And So It Begins...

Athena and I had an altercation tonight. We've already had plenty. And I'm sure we have plenty more in store. But for some reason, this one seemed really IMPORTANT.

I don't know why. It is just a gut feeling. Like tonight will actually set a tone for us.

Athena is not a very good listener. She, like her mother, is very selfish about 80% of the time. The other 20%, she would literally offer a stranger one of her kidneys. It's black and white with us... no gray. Give or take... no compromise.

It took me a very long time to learn to think more of others, and I still suck at it compared to many people I know. But I do know it about myself now and can monitor my behavior accordingly. Athena, on the other had, has no idea.

So naturally, I feel very strongly about teaching Athena how important it is to listen, be respectful, and freaking share a toy once in a while. We are also in a bit of a money pickle at the moment, so when she destroys something or wastes something, it sends me over the edge.

Tonight, I gave her one of the expensive little character Band-Aid tattoos because Marcus needed one and she wanted one too. She has been VERY good about not asking for Band-Aids for every little scrape, so I coddled her and gave her one. While I was putting Marcus to bed, however, she went in and took another one and applied it herself.

I noticed the open, out-of-place box and asked her if she'd taken another. She admitted it. This is where it gets hard for me. Do I punish her for directly disobeying me and taking the Band-Aid? Or do I reward her for telling me the truth and not trying to cover it up. I chose the former, with a little of the latter thrown in.

There was much fussing and crying. Only her... I assure you. But I did finally sit down with her and have yet another talk about listening and respecting. The conversation seemed to actually click with her for once, though I'm not placing any bets on that. I do like that she's getting old enough that we CAN have a conversation. Hopefully I don't completely damage the relationship before she enters Kindergarten.

Body Language

For the last few weeks, I've been having some pretty alarming symptoms. Alarming to me, anyway. And what's more alarming, they seem to just be worse versions of symptoms I've had two other times in the last six months. Nausea, bloating, cramping, and extreme fatigue.

Sound familiar? Women in the house who have never had children will say... sounds like your monthly friend. Women who HAVE had children will say... sounds like you are pregnant.

It's neither.

So I went to the doctor. They drew blood to see if it's anemia or a thyroid problem. They do also think the lady bits are just showing some signs of age, but the thyroid is a very likely culprit. I had blood drawn today. Should know something in a week or so.

Meanwhile, my body is really, really off. My training for the 5K has taken a sudden nosedive. I'm still running, but I can't run the workout I had been running successfully two weeks ago. My intestines are in knots and tonight, I can't sleep. It's either pass out tired or no sleep at all. No middle ground.

And all I can do is wait now to find out what the deal is. Ugh.

Monday, April 27, 2009

How I Snagged Your Mother

On April 2, we passed the ten year anniversary for our engagement. I would have blogged about it then, but I wanted to scan some pictures from that time to include with my writing. However, our scanner doesn't like Vista at all, and has rejected Chris' laptop as well, so I have nothing. It's a shame too, because we look so freakin' young!

Anyhoo... I thought I'd share the story with you. I won't get into the fact that an ex-boyfriend caught wind that the engagement might be happening and proposed to me the night before we left. It was an act of desperation, for which I should be flattered, but really just made me feel like dog poop. However, I packed my bags and headed to the mountains that beautiful Good Friday... fairly sure this was the weekend, but not really knowing.

Chris found a small cabin for us for the weekend (Friday and Saturday night) at Grandfather Mountain, which is near Boone, NC. We arrived around 5pm and got settled in. Chris then suggested we head to a Hibachi restaurant he knew of nearby. I had not eaten at a Hibachi restaurant since I was a young child and had been frightened of the fire, so I said "Sure!" and off we went.

For some reason, I was absolutely positive that if a proposal was coming, I would get it over dinner. Imagine my dismay when I found we were to sit with ten other people (strangers). I put on my best, "No, I'm totally comfortable meeting strangers" face and ended up enjoying the meal very much. But... no proposal. So, I figured that it wouldn't happen until the next day on our planned hike, and I put it to the back of my mind.

We made a stop at the grocery store for tomorrow night's dinner (my plan was to cook in the cabin) and also the ABC store for me (Chris doesn't drink).

We got back, put groceries away, and Chris started a fire in the little fireplace. It wasn't cold, but it was cool enough for us to enjoy the fire. I sipped at my cocktail (a screwdriver) and Chris started rummaging through his bag. He handed me a bottle of cologne and asked, "Do you think your mom will like this?" I was taken aback by the question (Why would he care if my mom liked his cologne?), plus I was baffled he even HAD cologne (he's not really the sort), but I humored him and took a sniff. "It's fine," I reported.

I don't really remember what he said next. Probably something like "Will your mom like THIS?" All I know was I suddenly had a ring under my nose and he was waiting for an answer. He totally distracted me with the cologne so he could get the ring out of his bag. Sneaky.

I had been expecting it, but the logical part of my brain took over and I reviewed my decision one last time before accepting.

We did hike the next day in the Linville gorge, and then we left Sunday to go back to my mom's for Easter Dinner, where we shared the news with my mom and sister. From there, we went back to my house and started making phone calls. I think we even set the date while we were still in the mountains, but I may be wrong about that.

In preparation for writing this, I asked Chris what his memories were. He barely even remembers buying the ring, which seems very odd to me. But this is Chris we're talking about.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Dreaded Question; or Mommyfail

Athena asked the dreaded question Thursday morning as we were getting ready. The conversation started simply enough. Athena informed me that it would be very helpful if she had an older sister to help her get ready in the morning so I wouldn't have to. (Mind you, she really doesn't need help in the morning... she was just being clingy that particular morning).

I tried to explain how it would be impossible to provide her with an older sister, as she is the oldest and that cannot be changed. Before you knew it... there is was...

"Well do you GET a baby in your tummy, Mommy?"

I am so ashamed to say that no matter how many times I had thought about this moment, I still stumbled, stammered, and even started with the dreaded... "Well, honey... when a man and a woman love each other..."

Fortunately, I stopped there and restarted. But with all my good intentions and even my desire to be as honest as possible, it's pretty apparent that an almost-five year old girl is not prepared to hear these things. When I got to the part about how a boy and girl fit together, she had clearly heard a little too much. So I backed up and simplified.

"Together, a man and a woman can make a baby. They each have part of what is needed."


We're looking into getting a book for her.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just Thought You Should Know...

The set of facts below was printed in one of our branch newsletters, compiled by one of our Regional Supervisors. I didn't ask her permission to reprint, but since she sent it out to our library patrons at large, I'm assuming it's okay. It's all public information anyway, but the nuances are hers.

I wanted to post it here, because with all the talk of budget cuts in Wake County, I have been surprised and hurt to see comments from citizens indicating that we were wasting tons of their money anyway. I don't think people realize exactly what they are talking about, so here you go...

Wake County residents borrowed 10,390,295 books from the public library in 2008-that's 11.88 books per person! No other North Carolina county had residents reading so many books.

Wake County Public Library is a bargain. Not only do you save money by borrowing books, you pay less per use in Wake County than in any other North Carolina county. The statewide average cost is $3.99 per circulation, while Wake County's cost is only $1.62 each.

The statewide average circulation per staff member is 16,500, but Wake County circulates over 47,000 books per staff member. Whew!

While we circulate more books than the largest system in the state, our operating budget is just 53% of that system's budget.

Other interesting facts:
-Wake County has the largest public library book collection in the state--over 1.7 million books.
-Our 19 branches are open 65,000 hours a year.
-47% of Wake County residents actively use their library cards.
-Our libraries were visited 3 million times during the year or about 4 visits per Wake County resident.
-Over 250,000 people attended over 4,000 programs.
-Our 600 public computers were used over 1 million times.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Dinner

The finished feast. Note the bread shaped like a bunny at the center of the table. Grandma brought that from Great Harvest Bread Company. Everything else was made at home. Mac and Cheese is front and center.


Strawberry cheesecake torte.

Dying Eggs

Easter Breakfast

Chocolate-Chip Pancakes!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

An Auspicious Beginning

In what is sure to become a series this year, I am about to regale you with the story of our first date. (When I say "our" first date, I am referring to Chris and myself. Not "me and you," as I did not date most of those of you reading this. At least... I hope not. A couple of nights along the way are kind of hazy but... well, yes... I'm sure).

Why am I doing this? A good question! Because yesterday was (drum roll please)... the 10th anniversary of our second first date! TA DAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Yeah, you read that right. Ready? Here we go.

I've already shared with you how Chris and I met one January night ten years ago. If you don't remember the story, either blogger ate it, or I will send a prize to the person who can dig it out of my archives. I couldn't find it anywhere. I may have to rewrite that, but meanwhile...

We met in January. In early February, we became aware that we were interested in each other. I was in the middle of breaking up with someone I had been dating for several months who just couldn't seem to commit to much of anything in regards to "us." I was at the "shit or get off the pot" point, and Chris entered on cue, Stage Right.

Although instinct told me that I should really let the break-up sit for a while, I also was kind of intrigued by this self-(over-?)confident young fellow and thought that a little online chatting wouldn't hurt anything. He became more and more interesting to me over the next couple of weeks, and finally, on February 25, he asked me out. To a hockey game. One month away.

"The Canes are playing the Leafs there in Greensboro," he said over the phone line. I had never been to an NHL game. Still... a month to wait for our first date? "Um... sure!" said I. And then I hoped that maybe he'd ask me to do something before then.

The next day, he called me at work and asked what I was doing that night. Truth be told, I was planning on having a couple of beers, a pizza, and watching a movie. But I said what any girl who wants to go out with a guy says to that question, "Oh, nothing much." (Yeah, really hard to get. I'm so good with the head games, aren't I?)

He asked if he could drive to Greensboro (where I lived at the time) and take me out somewhere. "Sure!" says I, again with the playing-hard-to-get. He arrived on time and almost immediately earned himself a black mark on the "potential life-mate" scorecard when he asked, "So... what do you want to do?"

For years... YEARS... I dated guys who never put a moment's thought into planning an actual date. There were a few exceptions... and one who never planned anything, but would wing it without shrugging his shoulders and saying, "I dunno... what do YOU want to do." Is it too much to ask that when a guy asks you out, he has some idea of what he wants to do?! Argh.

He did, however, have something of an excuse... he wasn't from 'round these parts, you see... so he didn't know what there was TO do. I would argue that Greensboro has all the date mainstays of any other medium-sized city... movie theaters, restaurants, go-karts... whatever. But, I cut him some slack... because I'm just that nice. And... he's pretty cute.

As we debated restaurants or movies or whathaveyou, he asked... "Well, what would you have done if I hadn't asked you out tonight?" I told him that I had been planning to watch Return of the Jedi, which my friend had let me borrow, since I hadn't seen it and Episode I was due out in a few months.

He fainted.

Well, no... he didn't faint. But he almost burst a blood vessel when he realized that he was actually talking to a person who had not, in fact, seen every Star Wars movie made to date, and in fact, had only seen Star Wars itself maybe four times. I'm surprised he didn't flee the premises. So now we're tied... one to one... for black marks against our characters.

He then insisted that we watch Jedi IMMEDIATELY and he even resisted the urge to recite the whole movie as it transpired. I was impressed. He kissed me. I let him. I even kissed him back. And then, if I remember correctly, he slept on the couch. I wouldn't let him drive back to Raleigh that late, but I wasn't ready to provide any other comforts, if you know what I mean.

So that is how we had two first dates... one month apart from each other... back in 1999. We did, in fact, go to the hockey game and I learned that NHL hockey really is that much better than minor league games.

Next up in the series... Chris pops the question. Look for it in about two weeks... the 10th anniversary of when he actually asked me.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Back Away From the Scissors

Athena has a serious addiction.


She cannot get enough of their shiny, squeezy, sharp goodness. She's not really skilled with them... especially when it comes to doing her "homework." Each week, she is required to find pictures in magazines of things that start with the letter ________ and take them to school to show off to her friends and stick on the wall. (This week was "X." Seriously? X. Yeah... we forgot our homework this week.)

Anyway, the scissors thing has been a problem since her early 3's. She returned home from school one day missing a big chunk of hair off the side of her head. She and her friend Zachary "cut each other's hair." Apparently, although this doesn't appear to have been a contest, Zach won, as there was nothing noticeable missing from his head.

Months go by and it grows enough for us to cut it to hide the damage reasonably well.

She did it again several months ago right after we got her hair cut. She also cut Marcus' hair, which is especially impressive when you know he'd just had it buzzed. Looked like someone had tried to carve a design into his hair. This time at home. So we hid the scissors.

Marcus seems to have recovered completely (the boy drinks some serious milk) and Athena also seemed to have evened out. Apparently done with hair, Athena attacked Young MC's hockey net two weeks ago. Cut a huge hole in it. She says she is sorry, but I'm not buying it.

Leading us to yesterday. When I picked up the kids from daycare, they were playing outside. So before I collected them, I went into Athena's room to collect her belongings. Much to my dismay, in her folder of stuff to go home was a ziploc back with a large chunk of hair inside it. Just to clarify for me, they had clearly labeled it "Athena's Hair." Drat. Then, on her "report card" sheet, there was a note (copied as it... incl. punctuation errors, etc.):

"Mr. and Mrs. Caran,
I'm sorry to inform you that during nap time Athena
decided to cut her Hair. Ms. Monica and I spoke to Athena and she felt
very bad. If any questions please speak with me.

Thank you"

So since it was unsigned, I went to get Athena, assess the damage, and ask her teacher the first question that popped into my head, "Where in the blue hell did she get SCISSORS during NAP TIME?!"

Side note: I love how they don't sign their notes to me so I never know which of the rotating series of teachers in there throughout the day wrote the note.

I found Athena and asked her where she cut here hair. She held out her greatly decreased length of bangs. Actually, she didn't HAVE bangs... she does now. Here is the scariest part... it's not half bad. You can certainly see that they are uneven when you look hard, but upon a cursory glance, she doesn't look bad at all. I'm thinking from now on, we let her cut her own hair. She's happy. We save money. It's a win-win. But I digress...

I asked her teacher my innocent little question and was surprised to learn that Athena... with her history of NOT napping AND cutting her hair and the hair of those around her... was placed in the ART CENTER to nap. ooooooooookay.

So I went to Ms. Monica... the Center Director... with a little suggestion. "Um..." says I, quite eloquently. "Could we maybe consider NOT putting Athena in the art center at nap time?" Ms. Monica, whom I really do like and respect, came back at me with, "Yeah... that was the first thing I said when I learned of the incident." I'm pretty sure that had we been hanging out at the bar over a couple of cold beers, she would have added a "WTF were they thinking?!" But ever the consumate professional, she did not.

The icing on the cake? Today was picture day. This is the haircut that will live in INFAMY!!! Muahahahahaha....

And no, I haven't taken pictures. Yeah, I'm a slacker.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This Is Why I Don't Break the Law


I got pulled for speeding. It's been at least ten years since the last time it happened. But it always happens in a trap of some sort. Wide, new road... ridiculously low speed limit. This time, it was a school zone.

The good news is... even though I was speeding in a school zone, he gave me a warning! That never happens! The only other time I got a warning was when a cop tried to stop me late at night and I was alone and I wasn't speeding (although I might have been speeding before he actually clocked me... I slowed down before I was in range of him... but that's just between you and me, okay?) In that case, he actually stopped me because he checked my tags and they weren't in his system yet (it was a new car... well... new to me).

Anyway, that's the good news. Hooray! The bad news? He gave me a ticket for my expired tags instead! Dude! I had no idea my tags were expired. I have not seen anything from the DMV telling me to renew. I know this because I've been on a "clean up the paperwork" kick lately, and I've pretty much touched every piece of paper lying around the house in the last ten days... either to file it or throw it away. Or pay it, of course... if it's a bill.

I do, however, have two small children... the eldest of whom has been very excited to get the mail lately. So I'm guessing that something didn't quite make it from the mailbox to the mail sorter back in December or so.

Yeah... the tags were REALLY expired.

Now, I do really tend to follow the law. It was not my intent to have expired tags, and I take full responsibility. The cop said I could just renew online, but frankly, I don't want to drive around for a minute more with expired tags. So I went to the DMV, stood in line for a whole 30 seconds, and got outta there. Guess with all the online business, the DMV isn't such a bad place anymore. At least not for tags.

So now I have my fresh new 2010 sticker on my tag and a pretty piece of paper telling me to show up in court with proof I fixed it. I could just pay the ticket and be done with it, but I've been told that sometimes if you show how responsible you are, they'll waive the whole thing. And I can honestly use that $146 for something else.

The interesting, wacky thing? I got stopped for speeding in a school zone today... March 17th... my son's 3rd birthday. My court date was set for April 30... Athena's 5th birthday. Okay, okay, Karma! I get it! No speeding in a school zone! My children will thank me! Got it!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I thought I had a couple of good topics to free me from an seemingly unending combination of writer's block and stuff I cannot write about related to kids and work and my own personal emotional issues. I found my high school diary, which is just as painful to read as it is fascinating, and I also am commiting to a 5K event in September, which should lead to some interesting preparation and planning.

However, last night, just before I sat down to start writing, I was browsing Facebook and once again, I suddenly lost all desire to write. I'm hoping that just by writing that I don't want to write anymore, I'll suddenly want to. Using a little reverse psychology on myself.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Where Is Neverland When You Need It?

Athena turns five at the end of April. On July 7, she will start kindergarten.


Today, I registered her and expressed my preferences for tracks. Wake County Public School System has a large year-round contingent and we are excited to have the opportunity for our kids to go to school year round. If you are interested in how this works and you are a visual learner, here is the schedule.

But basically, the gist is... they still attend school the same number of days as anyone on a traditional calendar, but instead of one long break over the summer, they take four three-week breaks throughout the year. We are requesting Track 2, which is the least popular track, mainly because it only has seven days in common with the traditional school calendar. Many people prefer to have some days in common so they can travel with friends and family who are on traditional calendars. We have chosen not to take this into consideration, and rather look for the most consistent schedule (no really long breaks lasting more than three weeks... even around holidays). This is, IMHO, the best possible schedule for learning... preventing too many retention problems between school sessions.

When the kids are off, that is known as being "tracked out." I already have vacations planned during two of the Track 2 track-outs... so if we don't get it, we're kind of screwed. We won't find out until April sometime, so fingers crossed 'til then. Currently, our kids will be able to stay on a year-round schedule through middle school if we wish. Right now, all high schools follow a traditional calendar, and it's likely to remain so. I hear that's mainly because of high school athletics, but that doesn't make much sense to me. I think it's more about jobs and college than anything else.

Anyway, I'm trying to deal with the fact that Athena is starting school. I'm terribly excited and terribly sad at the same time. It definitely marks the end of an era... although at least I still have a couple more years to be in denial while Marcus grows up. Too fast.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Superbowl fan

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Writing is on the wall, and we are considering some big changes 'round these parts. We're not moving or anything, but a career change is quite likely for me. Nothing is settled yet, but the possibility is both real and likely.

That said, I came home from work today after collecting the kids and managed to put together a square meal. (Yay, Dream Dinners!) As I cooked, the kids and Chris played and talked and watched Blue's Clues. Chris set the table and the kids eagerly sat and waited for their plates when they knew it was all just about ready.

They wolfed down their food, all the while nattering on about their days and about how they loved their dinner (except some bits of it, of course), and it was then that I really thought... hmmmmmmm... maybe this whole staying at home thing isn't the worst thing that could happen to me.

I really don't think we can afford it, but as the economy continues to put pressure on the world at large, I'm thinking that if the writing on the wall turns out to be the writing on a pink slip... well... if I can't find something else, maybe I could make it work.

In anticipation of this, we are talking about seriously cutting back. We have talked about this almost every January since we met, but this time, we are really going to have to do it. We aren't destitute. We'll still vacation and take the kids to movies and all that, but we are going to place values on those things. Vacation with the kids... very valuable. Eating every breakfast at Bojangles, negative value. Date night for mommy and daddy while kids have a sitter, quite valuable on occasion. Finding a sitter so Daddy can play D&D while mommy is at work... well, okay... just this once.

But seriously, we have a few months to see what we can do, even with the tremendous debt we have hanging over our heads. If these six months go well, maybe July won't be as bad if the shoe does indeed fall.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Fresh Start

This is not an apology for not posting very often lately. Hopefully, it's more of an explanation.

2008 was an interesting year. It wasn't so much "bad" as it was "private." Lots of issues in my own head to work out. Work was full of interesting things, but nothing I can post publicly. The kids have been funny and interesting, but again... I start to worry about their privacy. Lots of potty training headaches and behavioral blahs. I think I hit most of the high points in my posts from the past year, but I know it hasn't been a good year over all for The Mommy Librarian.

I plan to plug on with this, in the hopes that people who have stuck with me will continue to do so. Hopefully I will have more interesting things to say this year. The Quest for Hotness saw a setback over the holidays, but I'm rededicating myself before it gets any worse. The string of Disney trips is behind me. My sister has some news that, if it goes through, should make for some interesting blog fodder. Athena starts school in July (we are on a year-round schedule here) so that should be blogworthy. And at the end of the year, Chris and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. The tenth anniversary of our first date is at the end of February, so perhaps over the year, I can reminisce about our years together. Won't that be fun?!

So don't give up on me. I believe all my psychological fretting is behind me and I'm running top speed from it. I'm also hoping to launch a blog devoted to Disney travel planning that will be separate from this one. Mainly to spare those of you who think my obsession is unhealthy, but also to put all those recent trips to some use for others. That blog will see regular (semi-weekly) posts and I've begun to stack them so that I won't be under huge deadlines there. We'll see how long that lasts. :-)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Aileen did it! oh... and Ryan too.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Well, This Explains It...

My lack of blogging lately isn't necessarily because of Facebook or lack of material. It's simply been a wacky schedule with lots of vacation and time off interspersed with working on wacky work things. Since October, I have barely worked a single normal five day week and I've been working every other weekend since Thanksgiving. Breaking it down, starting with the week of October 5 and taking me through the end of January:

4.5 days on, 3.5 off
3 days on, 11 days off (Disney: Family Edition)
6 days on (two of them half-days), .5 off
3 days on, 3 off (MACE convention)
1 day on, 1 day off (Veteran's Day)
3 days on, 2 off (weekend)
5 days on, 2 off (a normal week and weekend!)
2 days on, 3 off (Thanksgiving)
6 days on (two of them half-days), 1 off
5 days on (two of them half-days), 5 off (Disney: Girlfriends Edition)
1 day on, 1 off (comp time for yet another weekend)
3 days on, 1 off
2 days on, 5 off (Christmas)
3 days on, 2 off (New Years)
5 days on (two of them half-days), 4 off (Disney: Marathon Edition)
4.5 days on, 3.5 off (MLK weekend)
4 days on, 2 off
5 on, 2 off (another normal week, and the turning point where life will seem to get back to normal)

That last week mentioned is the week of Jan. 25. No wonder I feel so disoriented!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

There's a Monkey on That Dog! and Other Hockey Weirdness

We never know what sort of "extra" entertainment we'll get at any given hockey game. Sometimes, it's nothing more than Chris getting an exceptional view of one of his favorite cheerleaders. Sometimes there are celebrity sightings like Clay Aiken singing the National Anthem or Squirrel Nut Zippers performing on the ice. Sometimes it's human bowling or hamster ball races. Really, the entertainment runs the gamut.

But every now and then, something really unusual happens. For instance, back in first or second season of the ESA, (now the RBC Center), the classic film "MVP: Most Valuable Primate" opened in theaters. As a special treat, the ice skating chimp who starred in that film made his rounds to all the NHL arenas. If I am not mistaken, the first arena he visited was ours.

Our seats are very close to where the national anthem is sung, which is also where most of the entertainers come out onto the ice, so we always get an up-close view of whatever they are dishing out that night. Now, monkeys of all sorts give me the heebies. They are right up there with clowns and other things that look "almost human." I don't like 'em. Euw.

So super-chimp hits the ice and does his skating schtick. I leaned as far away from him as possible as he entered then exited the ice. When it was over, I breathed a sigh of relief. But then, Chimpy McSkater's handlers approached us. They wanted to take a promo shot of the chimp in the seats like he was watching the game. More specifically... MY seat.

So we moved down to the front row and allowed the chimp to sit and have his picture taken. If Chris weren't so superstitious about sitting in his actual seat at all times, I would have asked him to switch chairs with me for the rest of the game. Instead, I faced my fear and sat in monkey germs for the final period, thinking the whole time about that hairy monkey butt on the very sit I was currently perched in.

Fortunately, there hasn't been another monkey at a game. Until Friday night, that is. The rodeo was in town on Saturday, so they were promoting it at Friday's game. One of the featured acts is a little tiny organ-grinder monkey that rides a dog. A border collie. With a saddle and everything.

When they rolled out the carpet onto the ice, I knew it must me some rodeo performer. I peeked over my neighbors and saw the dog. "OOOOOO! A dog!" I said, excitedly, hitting Chris repeatedly on the arm.

"Yes, it is a dog," says Chris, affirming my astute observation.

"Oh my God, there's a monkey on that dog," says I.

"So there is," says my husband, non-chalantly. Then we watched in fascinated horror as the monkey rode the doggie out onto the ice and back again. Weirdest. Thing. Ever.

In other hockey news, last week we attended a game and sat in Chris' boss' seats at center ice with Athena and Marcus. My sister and her husband had our seats. Since our seats are behind a goal, there is a big net to prevent stray pucks from shooting out into the crowd and ultimately through some innocent person's head. But the sides of the rink are net-free. It's rare that a puck will head off into the crowd that way, just because of the way the players shoot the puck, but it does happen. In fact, by some crazy, random happenstance, it happened last Saturday while we were sitting center ice.

I was looking down tending to Athena in some way or another. I looked up just in time to see the puck heading right for us. Chris was first in line for the trajectory of the puck's flight, so he turned his shoulder to block it from hitting either of our children (or me, I'd like to think). As luck would have it, the gentleman next to Chris took the brunt of the hit instead... right on his thumb. It bounced off Chris's shoulder, then my hand, right into the empty seats in front of us. Some jerk-face jumped into those seats from across the aisle to snatch the puck, and didn't even consider offering it to the guy whose thumb was now as black as night and as big as a zucchini. Honestly, I've never seen a bruise form so quickly in my life. It must have hurt like a mother.

So two oddities in one week of hockey. Not a normal week at all. But I'll always prefer a guy taking a hit with a puck to a dog-riding monkey. Always. Euw.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

May I Feed Your Addiction?

A coworker got me hooked on a blog called Cake Wrecks. I've been hooked for about a month now, and I simply can't keep this fabulous site to myself any longer. Go there. But I warn you... don't take a big sip of soda right before, because you will laugh so hard it will come out your nose.

Or in some cases, your jaw will drop in disbelief. I don't think there is a single reader of mine (out of all ten of you) who would not LOVE this blog.