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March 2008
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she makes me laugh

walking in the house today after taking henry to school, i hear miss harper declare:

"i don't like this house."

why, i asked.

"well, it's pretty too cold. but that's okay. i still like it."

then she wandered off to do something else and i hear, "oh dear ..."

who knows what that was all about.

yesterday, while wandering the aisles at target, we happened upon the craft section. harper has been totally into stringing things lately ... her collection of wearable art installations grows daily ... so i thought maybe i should encourage this interest. so glittery pipe cleaners and a collection of plastic beads and a foam princess kit later, we were off. and for the next hour or more, harper sat quietly at her table and made pipe cleaner bracelets, and added stickers and jewels and glitter glue to all four crafty princess items. total happiness.





and now we're off to preschool ballet. i'll let you know how that goes. regardless of how excited she is to be in stockings and a tutu, now i'm hearing, "i don't like ballet." she gets totally freaked before doing anything unfamiliar with new people. class could be a bust.

update: she spent the first 10 minutes of ballet class burying her head in my armpit, crying, whining, "i don't want no ballet class!" then marc called from somewhere in illinois, and i decided to throw in the towel. we left, and immediately harper asked when she would get her ballet slippers (um ... never, maybe?), and we decided she needed a haircut instead. then lunch, where my little girl proceeded to blow me away with this self portraitt:


1. i can only assume these are the lines she sees on my forehead and assumes are on her own, as well.
2. eyebrows. real, honest to goodness eyebrows.
3. eyes. real ones. with whites and irises. and a nose in the middle. crazy.
4. rapunzel hair. naturally.

and there you have it. ballet = not so much. maybe art class would have been money better spent.

a good weekend

thanks for all the morale-boosting the other day when i was feeling anything but boosted. turns out, that very day marc had tried to send me flowers while he was in chicago, but they didn't arrive until friday ... when he was home. and we had a great weekend. together. as a family. and as a couple. good days, good nights, and good in between. just good. and we needed it.

oddly, it snowed off and on both days. henry roller skated in the snow today. there was something very beautiful and peaceful and surreal about it.

henry pulled out a star wars jigsaw puzzle yesterday ... and proceeded to ignore it. every time marc and i walk by it, we stop and stay for several minutes and pieces. it's almost done now.

tomorrow starts a new week. harper starts ballet (what a HOOT!! can. not. wait.), henry has after school chess, and i'll finish up the pix for rob and sarah. and marc is off to chicago again. but it's okay. because he is mine and i am his. and that's the way it is and always will be, regardless of how far and often he's away.

and because i'm in a mood, and have been obsessing over this song for weeks - ever since hearing it on the jesh de rox photography site - i'm passing along this bit of gorgeousness to you.

have a lovely week.

"darling, your insecurity is showing."

i don't know if it's the rain today or the fact that i'm sitting here without a shower, in a t-shirt with random spots and a foam sticker from harper on it, feeling totally lonely and dejected, wishing i could talk to my husband for more than five minutes a day, but for the first time in all the years that marc has traveled for work i feel ... well ... insecure.

honestly, it's never bothered me before. but lately, with all the days and weeks and miles racking up, and perhaps especially because he goes to the same city over and over and familiarity is starting to set in, i find myself feeling very, very vulnerable.

the fact that as marc gets older he gets better looking, smarter, more successful, more desirable in the eyes of a woman, and at the same time i get older, fatter, uglier, less interesting, more stressed, and more exhausted by life probably isn't helping anything. and then there's the "what if" factor.

the "what if" factor. also known as "grass is greener" syndrome.

when marc was in high school and college, he was THE GUY. you know the type: nice to everyone, good looking, athletic, polite, quiet and mysterious, subtly ambitious. when we were in college and working toward dating, girls took notice that marc and i were spending time together and started to ask me, since marc and i were "friends," if i knew if he was interested in anyone and if maybe they should ask him out. because i was so obviously not THAT GIRL. there was no way marc would be hanging out with me because he liked me. heavens no. i didn't get worried, i just felt very lucky indeed that suddenly little ol' forgettable me had caught the attention of the THAT GUY.

and when marc and i were actually dating and getting to know each other, he admitted that girls had always liked him, and yeah, he had probably liked one or two of them back, but he was so obsessed with basketball and computers that he never took notice or pursued anything. at 19, i was his first girlfriend, his first real kiss, his first real romantic relationship.

and that, my friends, is the "what if" factor. i fear that at some point he'll wonder, "what if i'd played the field a little more? what if i didn't settle down with the first girl that talked me into going on a date? what if i'd stayed single a little longer and gotten more experience with a variety of girls?" i fear he'll come home and see me wearing the same clothes i had on the day before because it was easier than trying to find something new, with my hair shoved back because i couldn't be bothered to do anything with it, up to my elbows in dishes or homework or laundry or errands or taking out the garbage or any number of things i have to do because i'm by myself all week long, and he'll think, "boy, that lady at the bar the other night was sure pretty. and she looked nice ... like she took care of herself. and i bet she smelled good. and i bet she wouldn't snap at me the minute i walked in the door. and i bet she wouldn't cling to me out of desperation for company on the three days a week i'm home and partially available."

that's what's been bothering me.

yeah, i've read the articles. the "take care of yourself so that your husband won't cheat" articles. but seriously ... i'm exhausted. worn out. apathetic. i haven't been able to lose weight and keep it off since i had henry, went into perimenopause and went on hormones, then spun into post-partum depression and spent two years on antidepressants. my body rebelled, and then quickly rolled into a ball, stuck its fingers in its ears, and started to chant "i can't hear you!" to all my efforts to have a waistline again. not to mention, it's either the kids or the house or me. it can't possibly be all three when doing it all by myself 75% of the time.

i don't know. maybe it's pity party time again for some reason. or it's just the lonely blahs talking. but today that comforting, soothing lullaby of "he would never cheat on me or leave me" is being overwritten with the annoying buzz of "what if."

and i hate annoying buzzes.

what did YOU do today?

i got to take photos of this amazingly beautiful couple and their amazingly beautiful baby belly!


this is marc's sales partner and his wife. she's due in six weeks, and to say she's glowing and gorgeous is an understatement! heck ... i think even rob is glowing about baby p's imminent arrival! these two are so stinking cute. i had a blast with them this morning, and have put in first dibs of shooting the little sweetie pie when he/she makes his/her appearance.

i'll have more pix up soon. you're gonna have to just consider yourselves teased.

dear marc:

i hate not talking to you. it's my least favorite part of your travel. even if i have nothing to say, just connecting with you a little here and a little there throughout the day is, i'm sad to say, necessary. (one would think you could set your alarm five minutes earlier so as to make time to say hi to your family, but whatever.)

we had a good play date today. harper is now in love with a little girl named angelica. once they snuck away to play with dress-up stuff and dolls in angelica's room, it was all over. i couldn't get harper to leave.

and i think i found you a new buddy. the hubby of another mom there is a web developer. who uses linux. that could be a useful connection, yes?

the text of my book arrived today for my review. it looks great so far ... but it's totally odd to think this is really happening!

craig's party next weekend is for grown-ups only, so we're gonna have to find a sitter. hopefully we can ... a night out with big people sounds like heaven, and it's been much too long since we've seen craig and wendy.

i hope you have a good flight from dallas to chicago tonight. chances are likely you'll read my blog out of boredom in an airport before you'll actually call me, so here you go. this is for you. hope the meetings went well, i hope a candidate tickled your fancy and chicago will be soon be taken off your plate, and i hope you have enough life in the ipod to get through some more podcasts.

call me when you reach chicago. i'll stay up until i hear from you. because i need my five minutes of conversation with you today.

that's all.

love you,

the $2000 oil change was just the beginning.

i took my beloved 4runner in for an oil change the night before last, and the guy says, "do you know you are ready for your 90,000 mile check-up?" so i say, "okay. let’s do it." he then runs down the list of what all gets checked … everything from the 30,000 mile PLUS everything from the 60,000 mile PLUS more in-depth stuff like belts and bands and this and that. which all came to $1100. ouch, but okay. do it.

we go home, and an hour later there’s a phone call. it’s the little guy. "yeah, um your water pump is seeping blah blah blah … it’ll be another $300." ugh. okay. needs to be done. another hour later: "yeah, your whositwhatsit is going this and that … it’ll be another $400." sheeeeeiiiit. fine. another hour later: "um, your brakes blah-dee-blah-blah. that’ll be another $700." uh, no. we’ll do that at the next oil change. we’ll need 3,000 miles to come up with the next thousand, thankyouverymuch.

good freaking grief. i can’t really complain … i’ve had zero trouble and maintenance other than oil changes in the past eight years with this car, and we DO have the money, but geez. that was so not in the financial cards right now. i'm trying to do my bathroom, dadgummit!

marc drops me off to pick it up yesterday, we go in to pay, and thankfully it all worked out less than we were led to believe - only about $1500 altogether. and thankfully marc remembered we had some coupons from the dealership, so that knocked off another $300. so i was feeling much better about the whole thing.

then last night we got home from a much-needed night out with friends, and noticed that mario had again peed behind the fireplace. he's been doing this for the past three days, and honestly we thought it was because of the squirrels; he was marking his territory because he could smell them or something.

but as i wiped up the newest puddle, i noticed a smaller puddle with what looked like blood in it. not good. i immediately went online, and right away found web sites saying that cats peeing in places other than their litter box and blood in the urine can be indicative of some serious stuff. so, at 11:30 p.m. i was on the phone with the emergency pet vet and hearing words like "exam is $95 ... xrays are $125 ... lab work is around $175 ..."

um, are you kidding me?? did you not hear that i just put $1200 in my car that very morning??

off mario and i went, in the rain, to the pet vet. he got checked out and, again, thankfully, the vet thinks it's just a urinary tract infection and started him on antibiotics. i got out of there only $132 poorer.

so many things ended up in our favor, but still. every time we finally have a financial cushion, something pops up and takes it away. i guess on the bright side, at least we were prepared, but it still hurt.

sometimes being an adult bites.

now that's just wrong.

it's no secret that i'm not exactly a republican. nor am i a big fan of prez bush and the way he's handled things. however, as i drive around the 'burbs and watch shows like the one i watched the other night, i'm getting increasingly incensed over how the real estate, mortgage lending, and building businesses have contributed to the declining economy ... i find them just as responsible as those backing war and shady business deals.

i see all these condo and townhouse communities being built ... but who's going to live there? there is a condo development going up in the heart of my suburb, a three phase project, and phase one, which has been finished for more than a year, is less than a quarter sold and yet they continue to build phases two and three.


and the other night i was watching "real estate confidential" on the fine living channel (i'm addicted to real estate shows), and there was this family looking into moving from their cramped apartment and into a house. but it couldn't be any house ... it had to be their dream house.

again, why?

what's wrong with moving up from house to house, building equity, living within your means, and taking your time? why do 30 year olds need their dream house from day one?

but anyway, they were working with a real estate agent and looking into new construction. and the agent took them through the model home. she pointed out all the things that were upgrades. at the conclusion, the wife and husband put down money and said "deal!"

as they picked out all the upgrades, they were told only once or twice how much something was ... but the agent followed it up with, "oh, but that would only add a few dollars to your mortgage each month." so they just kept picking.

at the end of the day, they were $10,000 over budget. working the numbers, the husband finally said they couldn't do it unless they changed some options. the wife, though, was in accordance with the agent. she said, "if i can't have it the way i want it, i don't want it." the agent had been telling them it's more cost effective to select the upgrades upfront rather than waiting and changing something down the line after the house is built.

now, that may be true, but what about saving up for a bathroom revamp? or to upgrade kitchen counters?

when it was all said and done, the husband caved and they bought the house with all the options. and the agent's last words? "i'm so glad they went ahead and chose to go just outside their budget. they'll be so much happier with the final house."

but are they taking into consideration new furniture? landscaping? utilities? taxes and insurance?

it's the attitude of "i want what i want or i want nothing at all" and "just go ahead and spend the money you don't have to get what you want" that's pushing this country into a recession. people are not thinking smart about their money! what's wrong with looking at your finances, being realistic about what you can logically spend each month, and then figuring out what THAT number translates into in a loan amount? what the bank says a couple could spend isn't necessarily what they SHOULD spend. i wouldn't be surprised at all to find out later that the family on that show is now a foreclosure statistic.

it's just so aggravating. the people who live within their means and are practical about their finances are the ones being hurt by the carelessness of lenders and brokers and buyers who just couldn't wait for their Dream House. and yet more houses are going up every day. what's the point? to live in a city with no green space, a high percentage of vacancies, and a huge interest rate? no thanks. there's got to be a better idea out there somewhere.

it *almost* worked.

marc was out last night (surprise, surprise), henry has late-start day today, so i figured taking the kids to play at edinborough park after dinner last night might be a good idea. maybe they'd run like crazy. maybe they'd wear themselves out. maybe they'd sleep past 6:30 a.m.

here it is 8:30, and henry's zonked.
but harper was up at 7.

my idea almost worked.

little crushes

it's been like old-home week around here. and, i hate to admit this, it's all precipitated from facebook.

(i know ... GAH! i'm 12 again!!)

i was asked to join facebook last year as a way to keep up with teachers for the canada crop for kids. but i was clueless about the whole thing. i joined like a good girl, but then took no time to figure it out. i never did actually get into the teachers' group ... a fact i realized way after the crop was over.


but, because of that, all these friends from various parts of my life started to appear and send me messages. how cool is that?! i've loved catching up with people! it's like a reunion without the stress of losing 20 pounds in four days.

this week, though, has been a lot of fun. it's brought back all those sweet memories of being young and unattached and developing little crushes. it's like that line from a liz phair song: "isn't this the best part of breaking up/finding someone else you can't get enough of?" love that because it's so true. i always loved meeting people who moved little parts of my heart around and appealed to some new sense ... i was just always bad at the follow-through.

so anyway, this week two of my pre-marc crushes appeared in my life via facebook. first, there was john.

when i was a senior in high school, i had a job slinging grub a the local college's dining hall. not a glamorous job by any means, but for a high school girl, the sheer proximity to college guys was a perk that did not go unnoticed. i made a lot of friends (strangely, all male) that actually carried through the following year when i ended up attending that college, and i had several random dates because of the job. but no one i met during my time at the dining commons left as big an impression on me as john. (and, interestingly, marc is in this group. he and i worked together briefly ... but neither of us registered with the other. ironic.)

john was/is this tall, lanky cross country runner. he was always quirky, goofy, random, and i was so, so attracted to that. i used to watch for the runners to come in from practice just so i could see john and maybe - if i was lucky - talk to him. oh yes ... i crushed hard.

then my freshman year of college i got to know john better, and we actually became really good friends. we could talk forever, he could make me laugh and think, and he was an art major ... his work was always inspiring. after awhile, we got together a little bit ... perhaps by sheer force of my crush. we never really "dated," per se, but we did make out. and talk a lot. and that was pretty much it. one day it just sort of stopped. but i still always liked john.

this past fall, while cleaning out the garage, i found a letter he'd written me after graduation. he was attending the savannah college of art and design in geogia and let me know that i'd promised to attend his first show. it was the sweetest letter, and i immediately wondered if i ever responded to it ... i couldn't remember.

last week i got a notice on facebook from john. he is now a photographer, and his intern made a video interview with him and posted it on youtube. i watched it with big smile because he is still so JOHN. loved it. and wished so hard that we could get together and talk photography and giggle like we used to. and now i'll share it with you:

Untitled3 and then there's eric. a few days ago i got a notice that he joined facebook and added me as a friend. and i was instantly in a state of bliss.

eric was my sophomore year of high school crush. (don't even get me started on how skinny i was at 16 ...) he was friends with one of my best friends, kevin. we met at kevin's birthday party, and i became smitten with this dark-haired, soft-spoken boy. through kevin and some other mutual friends, eric and i soon became acquainted. friendship was not far behind.

eric was one of the most intelligent, artistically gifted, kind, principled people i'd ever met. i respected him so much. we dated for awhile, he wrote me amazing notes that went on for pages and were never just "filler,"  and we genuinely liked each other.

the relationship didn't last very long, but the friendship did. even in college. there was the night that eric was at my apartment, hanging out with my roommate and me into the wee hours of the morning. at one point he decided it would be fun to run and slide down our long, hardwood hallway. it was only a good idea until he got a 2" splinter in the bottom of his foot. next thing we knew, the three of us were at the ER at 4 a.m.

sigh ... eric. my friend. so seeing his name pop up on facebook made me so, so very happy. the last i'd heard from him, he enlisted in the military and was being taught arabic. that scared the crap out of me and i wondered where he would be sent with such knowledge. well, turns out, monterrey, california, and georgia. not nearly as scary as i'd feared. so wonderful to talk to eric again.

i think i love facebook. and i still love silly little crushes, even though i'm married to the love of my life. just getting the  heart racing a little bit ... that's healthy, right? to be honest, now my crushes are completely unrealistic ... where would i meet an actual man? ... so marc just lets me have my fun.

and to close, i'll let you gaze upon my current fancy. brandon flowers ... sings for the killers ... how beautiful is he?! (yes ... i've posted this song before. but brandon's cute and the song is amazing. just enjoy it for what it is.)