October 30, 2008

If You're Frazzled and You Know it Clap Your Hands (Clap, Clap)

So yesterday I was all "If you're frazzled and you know it clap your hands (clap clap)," because I had SO MUCH TO DO. One of the many problems of having a houseguest for TWO WEEKS is that things get behind. Especially if the houseguest is a mentally-draining one who leaves the hostess feeling as if making it through the day with everyone still alive is all anyone can ask of her.

After she left I was all "I need to RECUPERATE" and so I continued to not do stuff. And yesterday it all seemed to wallop me at once. I mean, you should have SEEN the laundry. Astonishing. And bills needed paying, which always stresses me out, and there were dishes in the sink but also a full clean dry drying rack of dishes, and the trash was overflowing, and WHEEEEEEE.

What I thought was that coffee would help. I was feeling tired because of staying up too late the night before, and I was feeling discouraged because of all the yucky tasks ahead of me, and sometimes caffeine can be just the thing for tired and discouraged. Unfortunately there was a little backfire and all I did was add jangled and queasy to the list.

Well, I got the important bills paid, and I took out the trash, and I put a new package of diapers in the thingie, and I did three or four loads of laundry (and please ignore the load of clean laundry sitting in the hallway), and I also managed to check one million times to see if any of my postcards had arrived yet. No. They hadn't. Where ARE they? I have one traveling in the U.S. that has been traveling EIGHT DAYS. It's making me antsy. That one's not too bad because it would only cost me 27 cents to re-send it, except that I had a special postcard that was PERFECT for my assigned person, and so that would be (1) irreplaceable, and (2) a bummer. Worse is the one that's been on its way to Germany for 28 days. That one is almost certainly lost, and PIFFLE CRAW that's upsetting. It happens, of course it happens. What's amazing, really, is that so many of these get THROUGH. I mean, I'm sending a 4x6 flat piece of paper to, like, TAIWAN, and it just ARRIVES there over sea over dell as if by magic. So I suppose that a postcard slipping away here and there is unsurprising.

Edit: Okay, FREAKY: AS I WAS TELLING YOU about the 28-day postcard to Germany, it arrived in Germany.

October 28, 2008


My brother and my sister-in-law are here for a short visit, and I got to see my sister-in-law's tum. My NIECE is in there! I was in the same room as my niece! Oh, and I suppose it's "their daughter," too, whatevs.

It was so exciting. I was sort of struck with awe about it. There is a BABY in there, and it is a new member of our family! My sister-in-law said, "She's been kicking," and I was, like, SHE! She she she! Because she is a PERSON! A person who is a SHE! She'll be a REAL PERSON, and I'll probably know her my WHOLE LIFE! And yet right now we don't even know her NAME or what she'll LOOK like!

Babies are so neat.

P.S. Work It, Mom!, the site where Linda and I do our column Milk and Cookies, has a new section called Problem Solved: various writers answering common reader questions. I have one posted today about cheap skincare, but there are also posts up about homeschooling, low-carb lunches, reducing morning chaos, weight loss tips, etc. It's not a niece, but it's a pretty neat new baby anyway.

October 26, 2008

Eight Weeks is Enough Time, Right?

Today at Target I bought a "Christmas Tree Grow Kit" in the dollar section. It is the wee-est, cutest thing ever: a teensy little green pot about 2 inches tall, and a chunk of soil, and six little spruce tree seeds. For one dollar!

It is almost worth the whole dollar just to see the soil expand. It's a lightweight chunk about the size of a stack of four quarters, and you look at it and think, "Uhhhhh....this is a wee little pot, but it's not THAT wee." Then you add a little water (1/6th cup, which took me awhile to figure out but is 2 and 2/3rds tablespoons), and the soil just GROWS. It's a little gross to watch, even.

And then there IS enough soil to fill the wee little pot, and you scoop it in there and press in the six seeds, and you put the pot on a sunny windowsill and you wait. Good thing I bought it with lots of time before Christmas!

October 25, 2008

Removing a Tick

So! Here we all are again! What will we talk about? I want to CHAT but I have nothing in particular to talk about except the last couple of weeks of mother-in-law visit, and let's not talk about that.

Oh! I know! Do you want to hear about the tick I removed from my cat? Okay! Well, Elizabeth said there was something on the cat, and I went to look and it was this weird shiny grey smooth dangling POD-LIKE thing, about the size of a popcorn kernel. I couldn't imagine what it could be. It was too big to be a skin tag, and so I thought maybe tick---but it was totally smooth. No LEGS. I'd thought there'd be visible bug parts if it were a tick.

Well, so I went online, because that is what I do. And it did seem like it was probably a tick. I looked on several sites, and the instructions seemed pretty consistent. I took a little of this and a little of that to come up with My Plan:
  1. Don't try to burn the tick off or smother it with vaseline. Those are apparently really bad ideas.
  2. Get a disposable cup and put half an inch of rubbing alcohol in it. Put a Q-tip and a tweezers in the cup. (You're sterilizing the tweezers and getting the Q-tip's tip wet for use later in the process.)
  3. Locate the cat. Open a can of tuna if necessary.
  4. Kneel around the cat so the cat is as immobilized as possible, with the tick centered in your cat-view.
  5. Take a breath to stabilize yourself, because this is going to be icky but you can't let yourself get icked: working quickly and decisively is in everyone's best interests here. You need to get that tick before either the tick or the cat realizes what's going on.
  6. Take the tweezers, grip the tick as close to the cat's skin as you can get, and YANK. Pull straight out, don't twist. Just POP that thing off, and then drop it into the cup of rubbing alcohol.
  7. Take the Q-tip out of the rubbing alcohol and rub it around on the cat's skin where the tick was.
  8. Release the poor cat. Maybe bring out that tuna.
  9. WASH YOUR HANDS. Ticks are diseased and gross.
  10. Wait ten or fifteen minutes, then flush the tick down the toilet and throw out the cup, and wash your hands again.
  11. The next time you see the cat, check the owie. It'll look kind of icky. It's normal for it to be red, bleeding, or welty. Apparently it's okay if (WARNING, WARNING, IMMINANT GROSSNESS ALERT!) the tick's head remained under the cat's skin; that will work itself out. (BARF.)
  12. You can put a little dab of ointment on the owie if you want to. I mixed some antibiotic ointment with some hydrocortisone ointment.
  13. Keep checking the owie regularly for several weeks. Call the vet if the owie gets worse or if it fails to get better, or if the cat seems sick.
There! Now you know!

October 24, 2008

The Easier Way

Today's theme is "The Easier Way." Anything where I have to decide which way to go, I'm going with the easier way. Elizabeth could stand to have a bath this morning, but it's not at a crisis point yet so I'm going with the easier way and not bathing her. When I packed the boys' lunches, I went with whatever items were easiest to grab and toss into the lunch boxes---and if today's hot lunch option hadn't been something I knew they wouldn't eat ("Warm Egg-and-Cheese Bagel"), I would have had them get hot lunch. The kids are going to watch a LOT of television today, and I'm not doing any laundry or any cleaning. I don't think I'm even going to unload the dishes from the drying rack.

Let's see. I know I had some Positive Spin things to say. Now what were they? Oh yes!

One: My Mother-In-Law Good Dishes are one of the best purchase decisions of my entire life. I feel happy to get them out, happy to use them, happy to set the table with them, happy to WASH them even. When my mother-in-law announces a visit, I have the happy thought that I will get to get out the Good Dishes. They're dressy without seeming unreasonably dressy. I like to look at them. They're to my tastes. I don't mind if, later, the children fight over who gets to inherit them. And yet, I don't mind putting them away between visits. Here they are, so we can all admire them for a moment:

Except my set has mugs, not cups-and-saucers. I'm not sure why, except that I bought mine open-stock-style at TJ Maxx.

I had more positive-spin stuff, I'm sure I did. Oh! My mother-in-law visited some other relatives first, and she brought me two nearly-new, good-quality coats another relative was getting rid of. And, unbelievably, I really like both of them. One is a light, clear, vintagey aqua color, and a vintagey cut, too. It's old-ladyish, but in what I THINK is a cute, sassy way. The other has a red suadey outside and an orange fleecey inside, and it's cute and warm and cozy. So even though my mother-in-law announced with a merry laugh that she'd told her cousin, "Swistle is bigger than me---I'lll see if she can use them," I'm happy to have both coats. I wore them on outings and felt like a cuter person than when I wear my usual coat (one of Paul's). And for the record, I am NOT bigger than her. Taller, yes, and I could totally take her in a fight.

Now I'm going to brew a pot of coffee and get caught up with everything you've been writing while I've been gone!

Today is Friday

OMG HI!!! I kiss you on both cheeks! I feel like I have been away from the clubhouse for YEARS, perhaps because of a long prison sentence!

And oh my dear, I am so behind. I have over 500 new posts in Google Reader, so I will be doing a lot of Skimming. My email inbox, which shows me the most recent 50 unanswered emails, has overflowed. I haven't looked at Twitter for a week and a half. I have nearly 100 Facebook requests to accept or ignore. MY COMPUTER CALLS TO ME.

And unfortunately, so do my children. Even now I hear the first peeps. And by "peeps," I mean I hear a 3-year-old yelling "ONE TWO THREE FOUR!!"

October 20, 2008


I feel too paranoid to post a lot of stuff about the mother-in-law visit here, but you can imagine me doing Lamaze breathing and thinking that, as with childbirth, at least there is a definite end to this. And then please picture how I felt last night, when I realized her departure date was FRIDAY, and not Thursday as I'd thought.


Anyway, today I am stealing a minute before the children wake up, and already I hear Henry crying. And so I am back into the fray, and we'll talk more later.

October 15, 2008

Lipstick Quota

I just read a "go green"-type article that said it was very important to choose good, safe lipsticks, because the average woman eats 4-5 POUNDS of lipstick PER YEAR by licking her lipsticked lips or eating with lipstick on.

I looked, and my lipstick is .13 ounces. That means there are 123 lipsticks per pound. You'd have to be eating more than an entire tube EVERY DAY to get to 4-5 pounds a year. SO GET CRACKING. You are WAY behind on this year's quota if you're going to be average.

October 14, 2008

Chicken Plus What Equals Delicious?

I have been browsing the recipe sites recommended in the comment section of the post where I asked for low-sodium recipes, and my conclusion so far is that "I am not a very good cook" was probably an insufficient description of my skillz.

I've been mulling it over, and I think what I need is to learn how to cook boneless skinless chicken breasts in a very plain way. Right now all I know how to do is the kind of recipe where I pour a can of cream-of-something soup over them and top them with crumbs. But even the low-sodium canned soups are pretty salty.

I tried just sort of...baking the chicken on a baking sheet, and it was like Shrinkydinks: the chicken was half the size it started as, and as chewy and dry as plastic. (Are you beginning to believe the "I am not a very good cook" thing?)

I am guessing that what I need to do here is start with a casserole dish, put in the chicken breasts, and then....find something low/no-sodium to pour over them. BUT WHAT? I am relying on you, as always---- Love, Swistle

October 13, 2008

Low-Salt Cooking: HELP ME

Hey, do you eat a low-salt diet? And if so, do you have some good recipes to give me? My mother-in-law eats low-salt, and I'm always thinking, "Hey, no prob, I'll just leave the salt out!"---but of course it's more complicated than that. Things have more salt than I think of them as having (my chili recipe has salt in the tomato soup, the crushed tomatoes, the chili powder, and the kidney beans, in addition to in the salt itself), and/or reducing the salt makes the recipe all blicky because there's nothing to make up for the loss of flavor. Plus, I love salt, so most of my favorite recipes are salty ones.

I am...not a very good cook. Taking away salt makes me a worse cook. I am hoping you have some recipes that will help me fake it.

Hiding Places, Good and Bad

Bad Hiding Places
  • Sock/underwear drawer
  • Under the bed
  • Bedside table drawer
  • Medicine cabinet

Good Hiding Places
  • Shoebox in a stack of shoe-filled shoeboxes
  • Box in the basement marked "Christmas"

October 12, 2008

My Personal Medical Information

Oh, hey! Would you like to look at my personal medical information? HIPAA be damned! (I know, HIPAA is about whether other people can give out someone's personal medical information. But it doesn't WORK to use the term ACCURATELY.)

I had a cholesterol test done, and the Icky Doctor (this is the guy who, when I asked to try a different brand of birth control pills because the current ones were making me emotional, wouldn't switch me and suggested that instead I should see a psychiatrist and have my tubes tied) wanted me to pay another $25 copay to come in and have him explain the results to me, and I declined, saying I didn't see the point of that unless the results were BAD. Which they weren't.

The problem is that, um, I want the results explained. I got a copy of them, and the nurse said the numbers were "fine," so I don't NEED to know what they mean, but I'm interested. And my guess is that we have among us people who know exactly what these numbers mean and won't even charge me the $25. So! Here are my numbers:

Triglyceride: 131
Cholesterol: 159
HDL: 45
Direct LDL: 85.0
CHDL: 3.5

And here is what I want to know:
  1. Is 159 "my cholesterol," the way people go around talking about what their cholesterol is? How "fine" is it?
  2. Is HDL "bad cholesterol," and is my number bad? How bad?
  3. Is LDL "good cholesterol," and is my number good? How good?
  4. What are triglycerides, and are they good or bad, and what does that number mean?
  5. What is CHDL, and what does that number mean?
There! Dr. Comment Section, your patient is ready!

Pay-it-Forward Updates:

Pickles, Cheese, and Fluff is starting a new contest.

IndieHomeEc is starting a new contest.

October 10, 2008

Cleaning Project: My Desk

Here is a Before picture of my computer desk. This is where I am sitting RIGHT NOW, which seems weird: I'm looking at a photo of my desk---AND, behind the photo, the desk itself.

Top shelf needed dusting, especially those pretty, shiny, unnested nesting boxes. There was also a cardboard box of photos from Henry's birth; perhaps time to at least put those somewhere less prominent, if we're not going to get around to gluing them into a journal until he's in school?

Second shelf down had a huge stack of Postcrossing postcards, plus a bunch of desky tools (the only ones in the house that don't get lost, because no one uses them except me), plus my Hello Kitty Flowerpot of Disarray (freebie one-page calenders I glue into the front covers of journals; the fake stamps charities send out; an empty package of chocolate-covered dried cherries in case I need to remember who makes them; receipts).

And then the desktop itself, which was several big teetering piles of papers and notepads.

I cleared every single item to the floor, then wiped down all the shelves, then rooted through the pile putting things away/back. And here's After:

It still needs some fiddling (the decorative items are just "cleaned and put back anywhere," not Arranged yet), but it's a huge improvement. The Flowerpot of Disarray remains, but I went through it and threw out some stuff (receipts from last Christmas, newspaper clippings it is too late to write a letter to the Editor about, snail mail I have already answered). I found an empty chocolate box to hold the desk supplies. And now on the desktop there is room to put things, without piles tipping and spilling. There is VISIBLE DESKTOP AREA.

October 9, 2008

That is SO United States

I've mentioned a million times once or twice that I am very fond of Postcrossing, which has people all over the world sending postcards to each other. You can choose whether you want to exchange only with people in other countries, or whether you also want to send to your own country, and I have it as also my own country because many of my readers are U.S. readers and I think it would be such a kick if one of us sent a postcard to another of us, without even knowing!

Anyway. I have a big stack of postcards from my own area of the country, since that's what a lot of people like to receive (you can specify what kinds of postcards you're especially interested in). But Steph gave me the good idea that I could also be sending cards of major U.S. landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty. After all, when I get a postcard from another country, I'm not enough up on geography to know/care which AREA of the country it comes from: I basically want Well-Known Landmarks of That Country, even if the sender is like, "Um, yes, but you realize many parts of Egypt do NOT have pyramids, right?"

Here is what I am wondering, then: What are the Well-Known Landmarks of the United States to people in other countries? The Liberty Bell? The Empire State Building? Texas? What cartoon characters would be considered U.S.-ish? Would Disney be U.S.-ish enough, or is Disney too international for that? How about Pixar? The Simpsons? Bloom County? Garfield? What artists would be U.S.-ish? Andy Warhol? Um....others? ( <---not very up on art, and in fact not sure Andy Warhol is U.S.-ish at all.) What about postcards of American Indians, or of cowboys? There are postcards available for practically anything, and I'd love to send cards that "looked like the United States."

October 8, 2008

Cleaning Project: The Furniture

I'm cleaning in preparation for my mother-in-law's visit next week; she's arriving Monday. I've been cleaning a little bit each day for a few weeks now. I keep attacking low-priority projects (box of diaries!) instead of high-priority ones, but it's okay. Sure, Elizabeth's closet is not as important as the living room, but as the visit gets closer, it'll be easier to face the living room and not as easy to face Elizabeth's closet. Besides, every task contributes to the overall cleanliness of the house and to the level of my despair about it. Besides-besides, the living room will just get messy again before she arrives, but Elizabeth's closet will stay tidy.

The last few days, I've been working on our computer room / office. It's a tiny room, and we've got it so crammed with stuff it's amazing any human being can squeeze in there. There are two computer desks, one craft desk, and a big piece of furniture we call The Furniture because we don't know what it is: it's over 6 feet tall and it has two shelves, a secretary's desk (folds out), and three drawers. All four of these pieces of furniture collect paper and clutter like you would not BELIEVE. It's the most cluttered room in our house, I think.

I started with The Furniture, and I am KICKING myself because I had a whole shelf cleared off before I remembered to take a photo. And it was the worst shelf, too! It had a 2-foot teetering stack of child art, and a "desk organizer" bursting with desk supplies. I'd also cleaned part of a second shelf, removing several 3-ring binders, several folders, and five---FIVE---boxes of special envelopes purchased on a post-holiday clearance. Also: a handful of cardboard pieces for putting in envelopes with photos, three hardcover notebooks, three boxes of stationery, a stack of videotape labels, and a stack of mail-in film processing envelopes (we've been completely digital since 2005).

I almost didn't bother to take a photo at all, I was so discouraged. But I took one anyway, and you're just going to have to imagine that all the cleaned-out gaps are stuffed with the same type of crap as is stuffing the rest of it. This is The Furniture from the top (where we keep two fleece nests for the cats to escape to when the children are being persistent) down to the secretary's desk, which is folded out because there is too much stuff on it to close it (I didn't photograph the drawers because they're closed and uninteresting):

And after:

It really would have been more impressive if that top shelf hadn't been empty in the Before shot. Oh, I am so CHEESED about that! I mean, if anything the After shot looks WORSE! Well, we must work with what we have.

The biggest improvement was getting rid of the huge teetering pile of child art, which I had already done here; it HAD been taking up nearly that whole top shelf. I transferred it to an empty diaper box (those boxes are so handy), which I'm storing down in the basement. The now-empty 2-inch-deep box the pile used to be teetering out of is back in place to receive more art, and we'll see if I can make myself empty it into the downstairs box when it's full.

Or maybe the biggest improvement was clearing out the secretary's desk enough to be able to CLOSE it. All the stuff that was on the folded-out part is now on the shelf, which is why that shelf is not particularly pretty right now---but at least it's tidied up.

I don't know what I'll do with that top shelf now. It seems like it would be perfect for large decorative items, but I don't think I have any homeless large decorative items.

October 7, 2008

Cartoons and Cinnamon Toast

So, did you know they clean school buses by raising up the front and then power-washing the inside so all the water and dirt runs out the back? Something new every day!

I learned this because yesterday William threw up twice on the bus on the way home, and the dispatcher called me to give me the heads-up, and so I went running out with towels to help clean up the bus, but the driver told me not to worry about it.

Of course, I AM worried about it. I am very, very worried that William will get on the bus next time and no one will want to sit next to him because he threw up. I'm worried someone will make him feel bad about it. Also, I'm worried about middle school and high school and car accidents and people breaking his heart. But right now I am focusing on the barfing problem in particular.

I took him to the doctor, not because he barfed but because he's had an increasingly bad cough and he said he barfed because he coughed so much, and also because he could barely walk from the bus to the house, and also because he then lay on the couch pale and motionless for the rest of the day, and also because AFTER taking Motrin his fever was still 103.4.

It turns out he has a huge ear infection, so that the doctor flinched back and said, "Ouch!" and then said, "Buddy, you've got to COMPLAIN more." But William said the ear hadn't hurt him at all until the doctor poked it. We stopped on the way home and got him his antibiotics, and now he's home watching cartoons in the living room and eating cinnamon toast. I picture the antibiotics going through his system now, popping the little bad guys: Pop! Pop! Pop!

October 6, 2008

Pay it Forwards

I'm breaking my usual "pay it forwards on weekends" thing because Motherhood is Painless is doing a special one: the first three people to comment on this post automatically win a handmade gift. And I thought if I waited until the weekend, you'd miss out.

And while we're here: Alice in Wonderland is starting a new contest.

Also: William threw up on the bus on the way home. Twice. ZOMG. Guess which bus driver is getting a really nice holiday gift this year?

October 5, 2008

Compare Down

This idea can sound preachy, so I saved it for a Sunday!

I remember learning back in school that people in civilizations we'd consider primitive were perfectly happy with their lives as long as they remained isolated from other cultures. The second they found out that other people were not still digging holes in the dirt to pee in, but were instead choosing which of three household bathrooms to use, they felt unhappy. This concept had a name, which I have forgotten along with all the Latin I took.

I think this same comparative unhappiness thing happens within a culture, and in fact I'd bet cash money that the whole "they were perfectly happy" thing wasn't exactly true, either: someone surely resented someone else's larger supply of pretty rocks, or larger mud hut, or whatevs. It certainly happens in our culture, where those of us with one bathroom might look enviously at households with three bathrooms, and where those of us scrubbing those bathrooms might look enviously at people who hire others to do the scrubbing, and where those of us who hire others might look enviously at people who can write the check for it without flinching.

Notice the direction of the unhappiness: comparing UP makes people unhappy. And so here is my tip for today, a Sunday and a perfect day for preaching techniques human beings may or may not be capable of following: compare DOWN. I know, you can't always do that; neither can I. Most of us can't avoid wanting more than what we have. I'm sure even Bill Gates wishes he had more of something. It's perfectly natural to prefer having MORE rather than having LESS.

But when I catch myself doing that, I've been attempting to look the other direction. Like, I think of my great-great-great grandparents, and how THEY would have seen my house. Imagine the Ingalls family checking out your running water, central heat, and windows---even if your pipes creak, your furnace is expensive to run, and your windows are drafty. Imagine mud-hut dwellers checking out your floors---even if your floors are a little unfashionable, a little beat-up, maybe a few decades years past replacement date. Imagine anyone from the outhouse era looking at your one single indoor bathroom, even if your bathroom DOES have 1960s aqua fixtures. Even your grandparents (or great-grandparents, if your grandparents were too young for The Great Depression) sure would envy your grocery store and the way you can just throw away the aluminum foil after you use it.

I know! It sounds impossibly preachy. It also sounds a little icky, like I'm saying you should make yourself feel better by looking at people who are worse off than you. Which, er, IS what I'm saying. But it's not so much "Make yourself feel better by looking at other's misfortune," it's more, "Don't make yourself feel worse by looking at people who have more, when you are ALSO a person who has more."

There! /sermon! Let's have doughnuts and coffee!

Edit: ZOMG, I would DEFINITELY not want this confused with the "It could be worse" school of thought, the one used to make people feel like they can't complain about anything. For one thing, I LOVE complaining and love reading complaints. For another thing, I think complaining is legitimate even if you are not the person with the #1 Worst Circumstance: that is, I think it is perfectly legitimate to complain about morning sickness, without people telling you the ways in which It Could Be Worse. And for a third thing, I just totally disagree with the whole "It could be worse" philosophy, and consider it completely different from the "Imagine how good this looks to someone else" philosophy, which I use not for truly sucky situations but only when I think I am feeling a little overly sorry for myself for having an unfashionable couch.

Second Edit: I also wouldn't want this confused with the "it would be better to have less" school of thought, which is worthy but not something I personally live in my own life. That is, I would rather have MORE. I would rather have MORE money, a bigger house, a more recent car, nicer furniture, and better clothes. I use the "Other people would envy ME" philosophy for when I CAN'T have more. It's to keep me from focusing on being envious of people who DO have more.

October 4, 2008

Impending Haircut

I'm getting my hair cut today. I don't know why I always get hand-wringy about it and spend so much time mentally rehearsing what I'll ask for: not only does my stylist ALWAYS give me a cut I like, but I ALWAYS get pretty much the same thing. There is no need to post a photo of my haircut, because it is just "the same as the last time I posted a photo of myself with a new haircut." I get it cut as short as it can be without going above the hairline, and I tuck it behind my ears, and I like for it to have potentially flippy ends. She always asks me questions as we go along, and I always say, "Uhhhhhhh...." and then she says, "Why don't we....?" and I leap on her suggestion with relief.

The only thing I would change about my stylist is that I wish she were more CHATTY. I like the kind of stylist where I can sit back and say, "Oh!" and "Really!" and "My goodness!" and "Tsk!" as a river of chat (ideally gossipy chat) washes over me. I find it soothing. Otherwise I sit there in the silence feeling like I should make conversation, my mind frantically searching for something---anything!---to talk about. Last time I even resorted to discussing the haircuts of Katie Holmes and Victoria Beckham. But I'm not switching: I've had chatty stylists who should have been focusing more of their attention on TEH HAIR, so I'll keep the awk silence and the consistently good cuts.

I have been thinking of going back to bangs. I can't believe I'm even considering it, after the ordeal that was growing them out, and after revisiting those old photos of me where the bangs are parted like the Red Sea because of my cowlicks. I guess I'm not REALLY considering it.

Pay-it-Forward Updates:

MO Mommy is showing the giftie she got (from me!)

Midwest Mom is showing a giftie she got and starting a new contest.

Scenic Overlook is showing the giftie she got.

October 3, 2008

Badly in Need of a Time-Traveler Bearing the Term "WHATEVS!"

That whole drama with Christopher so far all happened before mid-November of 7th grade.

Swistle, age 12
(note poor bangs---double cowlick)
(we ALL had rainbow shirts, right?)
(and we all tucked them in?)

Not even ten days after I drew a large broken heart with "Me" on one half and "Chris" on the other, I write: "I only like Chris as a friend now, and Lori is welcome to him." So that's good news, and I'm totally sure I was 100% sincere. *eye roll* Obviously I was a BIG LIAR. But I think I would have been over him if he hadn't then continued toying with me. A month later:
I'm really confused. I wish Chris would make up his mind. Does he like Lori or me? He still hangs around Lori, but yesterday he and I were talking about winter, and I was mid-sentence when he interrupted. I was saying things like, "I hate cold" and "I hate snow," and he said, "I love you." I was shocked. Also today, I wore a very flattering blouse, and Chris told me five times that I looked pretty today, and that it was a beautiful color on me. He's been hanging around me alot, and I must have blushed about 20 times!!! And that's just today. I wish he'd write me a note and explain.
Yes, well, we ALL wish for a little note sometimes. And if the "explanation" were accurate, the note would read "He's a jackass! Kick him to the CURB, honey! P.S. 'A lot' is two words."

Look how he continues to mess with me:
Tonight my youth group went caroling and Chris came along. All of us had to squeeze into the back of a van, and the whole time Chris had his head on my shoulder, and he kept snuggling up to me, and once he looked me in the eye and said, "You're cute," very softly. All this time my heart was going bananas because here I was, snuggled up to my favorite boy, and he's telling me I'm cute. Even thinking about it makes my heart skip beats. But then he had to spoil it by asking me if he should buy Lori a stuffed moose. How can he possibly hurt me like this? I should be mad at him but, darn it all! I've fallen in love with him again. I'm filled with a hatred for Lori, my rival.
Well, well, well. And look who's got things just the way he wants them. And please tell me what is with girls that we then fight between ourselves over the jerk? I mean, clearly he is being really awful here, and I turn my dislike on the OTHER GIRL. Whuh? It's like the whole "Team Aniston" and "Team Jolie" thing, as if we all thought the two women should duke it out to decide who "wins" Brad Pitt, aka The Real Homewrecker Here.

Nearly two months go by with no comment. In early February, I write: "Today Chris and Lori broke up. I have decided that if he starts liking me, I won't like him back." And on the blank facing page, I wrote in big letters: "I LOVE CHRIS," then a big line underneath it, and then "NOT ANYMORE, I DON'T."

Then NOTHING! How could I do this to my future self? What happened in the two months between "hatred for my rival" and "broke up"? Did I pursue him? Continue to have a crush on him? And then what's with this entry in early March:
My mother keeps praying for me and my dad asked me if anything depressing had happened in Florida [where my brother and I had gone by ourselves to visit our grandparents]. This morning I caught a catch of a conversation that sounded like they were talking about me. I think something's up.
But WAS something? WHO KNOWS? Because my silly 12-year-old self just left it right there! (My theory: I had a raging case of The Twelves, and my parents were wondering WTF.)

In mid-April, I throw myself a crumb:
I haven't written in a long time so here's what's been happening. Chris and I have been friends ever since February 5th. We have been fighting about once a day, and each fight lasts from 5 minutes to a few hours. He's hugged me 5 times but I think they're just friendly hugs. Chris is madly jealous of Jenny because she's my best friend and he's not. He tells me that I'm HIS best friend even if he's not mine. *SIGH* P.S. I think I really like Jimmy, a boy who goes to our church. He's ultra-fantastically cute!!!
I didn't remember that we fought so much, although I definitely remember fighting. Chris and I were both the type to get red-faced and teary-eyed and "I hate you!!!" when angry, so things never went well. But what did we fight ABOUT? I don't remember AT ALL. And every DAY?

And what's with the possessive stuff? Was he kind of a...loon? He didn't want to date me, but he wanted to be the center of my world. Sure wish we'd had the term "whatevs" back then. I could have said it to him. I could have held up W-fingers for emphasis.
I like Jimmy as much as I liked Christopher. Poor Jenny has to be friends with someone who is constantly falling in and out of love! P.S. Chris and I haven't had a fight for over a week!!!
Then Lori dumps Chris (evidently the first break-up didn't take), and I'm afraid I try my hand at haiku:
Lori, although you
Were dazzled by Chris at first
You did the right thing.
See, if she does what I want her to do, that's The Right Thing. Isn't that an easy way to look at the world? Ah, 12!

October 2, 2008

Adding Photos

My dad scanned in some photos of me from the ages of my embarrassing diaries, so now I have illustrations. I added the two photos below to the I LOVE DAVID!!!! post and to the I LOVE CHRISTOPHER!!!! post, but since we're done with those posts I'm also posting the photos here:

Swistle, age 11
(turtleneck and vest)
(growing out bangs)
(undereye circles EVEN THEN)

Swistle, age 12

(just got braces off that day)
(the orthodontist hadn't told me he was going to)
(gave up on growing out bangs)
(unfortunately, double cowlick immediately reminded me why I'd been growing them out)

October 1, 2008

Light Fixtures

My nice boss at Milk and Cookies gave us two $25 Amazon.com gift certificates to give away, so go on over there if you want a chance to win one.

I just chose lighting fixtures for the dining room. I'd thought that would be FUN, and I'd planned to buy something pretty/interesting. But I needed flush-mount fixtures because the ceiling is slanted and not high enough for danglies, and when I looked at a whole display room full of flush-mount fixtures, these were my choices (I yoinked these images from LightingUniverse.com):

Pardon me for inquiring, but is the buyer for the lighting store a MAN by any chance? Because every single one of these fixtures looks like a BREAST. It's even more apparent when you're standing under a ceiling full of them, looking up.

Furthermore, I needed...two.

I ended up with these, except with white thingies instead of metal:

At least they're SMOOTH.