April 28, 2010

Enough Whining (For Now)

All right, enough whining! It really does help to vent it into a blog post: writing it down lets me stop thinking about it so much. And notice both whiny posts were in the late afternoon / evening: I go through the whole day just feeling kind of bleh, and then it's evening and I'm tired and there's no dessert and the coughing is starting and it's ACK DESPAIR TIME ACK!!

Next time I see the doctor I'm going to ask about the coughing asthma thing. It definitely gets worse when I lie down; I've been sleeping upright in the recliner the last few nights because if I lie down I wake myself up with the coughing. I once tried my mom's rescue inhaler (er, I mean, JUST KIDDING, I WOULD NEVER BREAK A FEDERAL LAW BY USING MEDICATION PRESCRIBED FOR SOMEONE ELSE) and it didn't help (IN MY IMAGINATION, WHICH IS THE ONLY PLACE I WOULD USE SOMEONE ELSE'S MEDICATION), but perhaps a different medication would help. And in the meantime I'm going to try the Zyrtec.

The stranger cat is probably out of the basement. We put the cat door on in/out mode so the cat could leave if it wanted to. My plan of posting Found Cat signs was not going to work: we couldn't get a hold of the cat even if the owners called us. We will just have to hope that it is an owned-but-collarless cat and that it will find its way home, and that if it IS a stray it will find a family that doesn't scare it half to death. We ARE kind of LOUD.

I agree with everyone who said the Pill is probably contributing to the moody despairingness. Problem: if I stop taking it, Paul will get Teh Snippage. Soon I will be ready for that, but not yet. I am hanging on to a tiny lingering hope that he will say, "Actually, now that the four oldest are in school, I guess we COULD handle another!" So. Stuck with the hormonal craziness element for now.

Okay, now I am going to go get another cup of coffee, and put on one of my pretty rings, and finish up today's Milk and Cookies post which is going to be about earrings for 14-year-old girls so that means I get to look at more pretty jewelry and that should be cheering.

April 27, 2010


I am feeling all stressed by this post by Temerity Jane: You Don't Know My Hypothetical Future Child. Should I Have It?"---because on one hand YES YES OH GOD YES, and on the other hand, last week there was a perfectly legitimate reason to give my 5th grader permission to cross a busy street with a friend without any grown-ups helping them, and I was so stressed out about it I started crying, and even though everything was fine and he got across the street and back again without being squashed, ever since then I've been continually stressed by the idea that THE CHILDREN'S LIVES ARE IN THEIR HANDS and, simultaneously, OUR HAPPINESS IS DEPENDENT ON THOSE LIVES, and, from that, WHY THE HELL DID WE HAVE CHILDREN WHEN ALL IT IS IS SUFFERING AND EXPENSE AND POTENTIAL DEATH-WISH-INSPIRING LOSS?? If one of my children died, I would EMBRACE DEATH and I am not exaggerating even slightly. So what to advise someone considering children? It is the most wonderful thing that can ever happen, and it will make you consider scenarios in which you would embrace death? That doesn't really fit on a "Congratulations on your pregnancy!" card.

Or maybe I am stressed because a cat that doesn't belong to us is in our basement. We have the cat door set to "in only," so that Benchley can always come into the house but can't go out unless we let him out, or unless he darts sneakily past us as we open the front door. So anyway, an unknown cat came into the cat door and can't get out, and it's not wearing a collar so I feel responsible for its well-being, but it's so scared of us it's hiding in the basement and I can't find it, and what if its owners are worried about it RIGHT NOW? Or what if it is a stray and it's our next cat and all of this is part of The Story of How We Got Our Next Cat? And meanwhile Paul is saying, "Set the cat door to in/out, why don't you," and how can he find the situation so simple?

Or maybe the problem is that my headcold morphed into my annual Horrible Coughing Thing, where I cough and cough and cough and cough and cough and cough and cough and cough and cough and cough at 2:00 in the morning, and so I can't get back to sleep even though I switch from the bed to the recliner to be more upright, and when I wake up at 5:30 I feel as if coffee might help but then it doesn't really. And then I wonder if it could be asthma, but it doesn't really fit the symptoms of asthma, and whenever I go to a doctor he's all, "OH, well, a virus has to run its course, careless little dismissive laugh as if you're being a hypochondriac about nothing!"

Well! A person might turn to Oreos in circumstances such as these! But a person is continuing to eat RAW SPINACH despite a lack of precipitous weight loss as a result of such righteousness, and so a person might feel VERY SORRY FOR HERSELF.

April 26, 2010

Beautiful Spring Sunshine and the Incompatibility Thereof

I have been so cranky! So terribly cranky! I am moping around feeling incompatible with the beautiful spring sunshine.

I am working on soothing it through the acquisition of material possessions. Look at my pretty rings!

What's prettier, the rings or the clearance stickers? Two of them are "cocktail rings," and six of them are for everyday glamor. (I think it should be spelled "glamour." Why is spellchecker arguing with me? Does it WANT to pick a fight?) I am wearing a deep plum flower ring right now. I am waiting to feel better. I do feel a LITTLE better.

I am also a little tipsy, because when material possessions didn't work I turned to liquor. I mean, obv: first step shopping, second step booze, that is the sequence of events. Still cranky, though. Still feeling as if the world is populated by difficult and unreasonable people who honk when you're stopped at a crosswalk because they assume you're an idiot who would stop in the middle of the road for no reason.

How can I be feeling TOTALLY OVERWHELMED by children and really VERY GLAD to see the caboose heading through the milestones---and also still longing for JUST ONE MORE? I had a dream that I was pregnant with another boy, and that he was due on my birthday but we'd waited until just 2 months before the birth to tell everyone. I woke up thinking of baby names. Oliver Frederick. Simon Pearce. Oliver Pearce. Simon Perry. Sigh. Sadness. No one to use the names on. Paul says we can use the names on cats, but that doesn't satisfy at all.

Soon we'll get a kitten. That will help briefly.

I've wanted to increase my exercise with this diet I'm on, but instead I've decreased. I'm down to two times a week. And when I do exercise I feel tired and angry, before and after. I wait for the satisfaction of having done it, and instead I feel worn out and unpleasantly sweaty and like a pawn of stupid social pressure.

I took a pregnancy test today, even, because I've been so tired and cranky and queasy. Negative. Okay, I just went to the trash and dug it out to make sure it was still negative. (Still negative.)

What else could explain the tiredness, the queasiness, the salt cravings, the UNIVERSAL MALAISE? Oh no, is it Teh Pre-Menopause?? Surely not yet. And yet the fact of it looming on the horizon, the hot flashes and the boob squashing, the knowledge that babies through biological means are no longer an option---well. I don't want to think of it. I want to flush the Pill and add to my exhaustion and stress. No I don't. Yes I do. No I don't. Yes I do.

Giving things away: not working. Exercise: not working. Eating better: not working. Taking time away from he computer: not working. Shopping: not working. Cuddling the children: not working. Counting blessings: not working. Being mad at everyone in the world: not working. If you suggest religion or yoga I swear I will scream right in your ear until the ringing is permanent.

I have new shoes! I have warm cats! I have a solo trip to see my niece coming up in a month! I have eight pounds of chocolate-covered dried cherries! I have nothing to be sad about except what looms theoretically in my future! Yes, well, I told that to my psyche and it threw a vase at my head.

April 25, 2010

Earth Day Winners!

It is time to hand out Earth Day presents, and perhaps if we do this again next year I should start the giveaway several days BEFORE Earth Day, to make the presents feel more festive? Because it feels like Earth Day is over, which it is, and that it is too late for Earth Day presents. Well! Next time!

Anyway! Winners!

jen(melty) - cloth napkins

Jen of Daily Dose of Devan - cloth napkins

Laura (April 22, 8:17 a.m. comment) - cloth napkins

marilyn c. cole - reusable pads

Annika - reusable pads

Sam - reusable pads

Mama Bub - reusable bags

Jenni of Oscarelli - reusable bags

So! Now we begin the snowstorm of emails with addresses, and then little packages winging their ways to the one corner of the earth! Email me at swistle at gmaildotcom with your shipping info and we'll get this show on the road!

And thank you for all your good ideas on that post! I really enjoyed reading about some of the things you're doing, and I found myself this week reaching into the paper recycling bin when I needed to jot a note or print a draft or figure out who won what in an Earth Day giveaway.

April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day! With Presents!

Exactly one month ago today, I spent several minutes searching online to find out when Earth Day was, because I miss it EVERY YEAR. Then, as I was writing it on my calendar, I noticed it was pre-printed on my calendar. Genius.

There are a lot of things I do wr---....well, let's not use a harsh word like "wrong." Let's say instead that there are many situations in which I make choices that would not be at the TIPPY TIPPY TOP of the Environmental Awesomeness List. I occasionally use bleach. I don't make any particular effort to eat local foods. We have central air conditioning. I drive to Target whenever I feel like it, even though our Targets are 15-35 minutes away. I eat meat, including fast food meat. I buy more stuff than I need.

I have three small areas in which I have made what I think of as Good Environmental Changes: handkerchiefs instead of paper tissues, cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, and reusable pads instead of disposable pads. There are ALWAYS alternatives that are EVEN BETTER (making my own pads out of worn-out clothes, for example, or using clumps of leaves I then compost for the garden), but these are pretty good choices.

In none of these areas am I a zealot: after all, I use paper towels to clean the bathroom because the idea of using a washcloth squicks me out, so I'd be a fine one to start sniffing critically at someone's box of Puffs Plus. (Plus, we ALSO have a box of Puffs at our house.) Besides, once I started using these three cloth things, I found I PREFERRED them to the disposable versions, so this makes it difficult to claim Praiseworthy Sacrifice.

NEVERTHELESS. While I am not a zealot, I would call myself an evangelist: I've been so happy with these three changes, and so pleasantly surprised by my resulting preference, that I feel like SPREADING THE WORD. I'm willing to put my own money behind it, even.

And so my small contribution to Earth Day is this: eight little packets of earth-lovin' goodness.

Three packets will contain cloth napkins, nine assorted napkins in each packet.

Two packets will contain four reusable shopping bags each, standing in for cloth handkerchiefs because I searched in several stores and all I could find was patterned bandannas, and then I happened to see a clearance rack of nice reusable cloth shopping bags at Old Navy so I decided to do that instead. Three of the bags in each set are 100% cotton, 15x14x4ish. One of the bags in each set is polypropylene, 12x9x4ish.

Three packets will contain reusable pads: one regular pad, one long pantiliner, and one pantiliner in each set, from my favorite reusable pad source Sugar Monkies (who, by the way, gave me 50% off my order when she heard it was for Earth Day).

I had fun choosing the pads. Here are the three fabrics I chose:

Sharks, POW!, and owls

I'm going to mix the patterns in each set of pads, so each set will contain one pad of each fabric.

To enter, leave a comment on this post. You can enter to win just one or just two of the types of packets if you want (like, if you already use cloth napkins you can enter just for the bags and the pads)---just specify in your comment which you'd like to try to win. If you don't specify, I'll assume you want to be entered for all three types. U.S./APO/FPO and Canada mailing addresses only. I'll choose the winners on Sunday, April 25th.

Happy Earth Day!

Edited to add: Also check out Cayt's reusable pad giveaway!

April 20, 2010

Bad Brain Day

I am having a Bad Brain Day: I am pretty sure it's not the case that the entire world and everything in it is crappy, but kind of FEELS like maybe it IS the case. We went to Target this morning for an emergency therapy session, and I'm sure you'll understand the severity of the issue when I tell you that EVEN THAT didn't work.

We also went to The Children's Place and I found a bunch of good stuff on good markdowns, but solve THIS riddle: the Big Girl, Little Girl, and Little Boy section all had a $5.99 jeans sale, but the Big Boy section did not. I even asked about it, and they acted like it wasn't even slightly strange that a store-wide jeans sale would include three of their four departments but not the fourth. They suggested I look on the skimpy rack of pre-ripped big-boy jeans marked down to $19.99, as if that were similar. Since THREE of my boys wear jeans in the Big Boy sizes, this was a little IRRITATING and contributed to the "everything in the world is crappy" feeling.

Have I mentioned we just found out our cat Mouse has hyperthyroid? and also kidney disease? and that we won't know how bad the kidney disease is until we treat the hyperthyroid, because hyperthyroid makes kidney disease look less severe than it is? and when we treat the kidney disease, we may find it worsens her possible congestive heart issue? Yes. Well. And so we are entering this territory of "How much should be done for a 16-year-old cat?" We're starting with daily medication and special food and possibly a CAT DRINKING FOUNTAIN, plus of course the repeated follow-up tests to see what is working, and it is so very very hard to know when to say, "Let's use these resources to feed and clothe several families in another country instead."

Last night I put Elizabeth's hair in braids for the first time.

She really likes the braids, which was unexpected because she fights me when I put her hair in ponytails. She calls the braids "locks" because of a Rapunzel story where the guy tells Rapunzel to "throw down her locks" and Rapunzel throws down long braids. Last night she wanted to sleep in her locks, and this morning we put in fresh ones.

We have a vinyl cover made by my mom for our coffee table, and it is so great because we do all kinds of crafts and snackings on that table. However, after seven-ish years, the vinyl has many rips and cuts on it, plus some permanent metallic gold paint smudges. It also has one big rip because a certain two-year-old grabbed a small rip and pulled. Paul fixed the rips yesterday with duct tape, and while that's a very SENSIBLE solution, it is not exactly PRETTY. So I got myself a roll of THIS:

Because duct tape in TEAL---why, that's a completely different story! I plan to cover the entire vinyl table-cover with it.

April 18, 2010

Poem for a Spider

O small spider!
I am sorry:
Intellectually I know
You pose no threat
To me or to any of
The vulnerable small ones in my care.
You should be adored
For your pest-controlling properties,
As we adore the admittedly-cuter ladybug.


When you dangle down
On a long string,
Right in front of my face
As I am making breakfast,
Frankly you are lucky to get out of this situation
Really, tossed outside intact,
In a hastily-grabbed napkin,
Is an exceedingly lucky fate,
You eight-legged horror.

April 17, 2010


You know what is SUPER AWESOME for a new diet? Food poisoning! Yes! I highly recommend it! Because you will feel full/queasy all Thursday afternoon/evening, and then you will start barfing Thursday night, which, not to be gross but it will take care of any Doritos Indiscretion you may have recently succumbed to. And then you will eat nothing at all on Friday, and on Saturday you will be like a tiny weak kitten, barely managing a banana for breakfast! Not that kittens eat bananas, but you understand this analogy stretches only so far. Like, half a sentence to be precise.

But here is the problem: Your significant other, after doing a memorably fantastic and praiseworthy job coming home early from work on Friday unasked, and handling EVERYTHING while you doze queasily in a recliner, will feel entitled to his/her OWN day of rest, and will spend the day "sick" with an imperceptible Man Cold in the recliner, watching movies while YOU, barely recovered and still somewhat weak, run yourself ragged handling everything, while he/she (but let's face it, I think we are mostly talking about HE) keeps calling out instructions right before you do things on your own, in a manner uncannily reminiscent of your late mother-in-law! Until you finally have to say to him, "Being sick and leaving me to handle everything? Fine. Bossing me from your recliner? NOT FINE." And then he acts HURT, FTLOG. And meanwhile you are fading fast because you are still not completely up to par.

But do you know what? You probably lost a pound! or maybe two, if you count water weight! And as we all know from fashion magazines, there is NO MISERY that outweighs a reduction in your GD WEIGHT!! Because excess body weight is EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY!!!!

Also! As a general note! If a person is too sick to do the regular work of child/household maintenance during the day, he/she is too sick to suddenly start messing around on the computer at night! THIS SHOULD BE AN OBVIOUS FACT. Seven o'clock is not The Magical Hour of Recovery!

And also! If you are thinking of telling me how lucky I should feel that my husband is sick and bossing me from a recliner rather than DEAD or CHEATING, I suggest you RETHINK IT. Because I am pretty sure I can still muster up the energy to BARF DOWN YOUR SHIRT!

April 15, 2010

I'm So Sorry But It's Another Cat Post

I took Mouse to the vet today for her annual check-up, and I talked with the vet about how unhappy Mouse has been with Benchley's persistent attentions: Benchley wants to PLAY! and CUDDLE! and Mouse wants to be LEFT ALONE! and I feel like we ruined her entire old age by getting this dim cat who won't take a hint, and meanwhile she's started using the laundry pile as a litter box and that is not going to work for us.

Anyway, get this: the vet told me about Feliway (cat Prozac in air-freshener-diffuser form, which some of you had mentioned too), and said we could put a collar-keyed cat door in an interior door so only Mouse could go to a certain room, and she also said we could put a litter box in those rooms for Mouse----or, she said, we could GET ANOTHER CAT. AHA HA HA HA HA!! Apparently, although this can backfire (leaving poor Mouse fighting off the affection of TWO cats), it's QUITE LIKELY to succeed in cases where one cat wants a friend and the other one doesn't (as opposed to situations where the cats hate each other).

I can't WAIT to tell Paul!

I did buy the Feliway, too, because Mouse has one favorite spot (on a computer CPU) and there's an outlet right next to it so the plug-in Cat Happiness might be perfect. And I'm glad I didn't buy the diffuser at the vet's office where it was $45, when it is $19 on Amazon. I do truly love Amazon.

Leave me. the frick. ALONE.

April 13, 2010

Benchley: TO THE VETMOBILE! (Updated!)

In the middle of the night there arose such a cat-fight clatter, I sprang to the basement to see what was the matter. By the time I got there the fight was over, and I could only find Benchley. Another animal---I assumed at the time it was our other cat Mouse---ran out from under Elizabeth's bed as I tried to lure Benchley out. When Benchley DID come out, he was limping, and he hid under the downstairs loveseat. He's never hidden like that in the whole month we've had him. And the loudness and wildness of the cat fight was surprising, since in the month he's been here the most he and Mouse have exchanged was some hissing and a paw-to-head whap. And when I went upstairs five or ten minutes later, Mouse was in her usual spot under the computer, with the alert look cats get when they hear other cats fighting.

In short, WTH happened here? One possibility is that a neighborhood cat came in through our cat door, fought with Benchley, and then took off. Another possibility is that Mouse finally did fight with him, and that he was injured either by her (she was a fierce fighter in her street-cat youth, though it's been a good 14 years since then and she's more into the wrist-slapping at this point) or by something that happened as they were fighting---like if he fell or whacked into something, or if something fell on him. Another possibility is that he was injured outside, then came in and had a fight with Mouse, or....?

Well, it's too bad he can't talk, is what I'm saying, because now he's at the vet's office and he was too feisty to allow his leg to be checked while I was there so he had to stay and they have to sedate him, and so here we are at over $100 before the exam has even started ($60 illness/injury visit, $25 staying-there fee, $20 sedative). But the good news is that it looks like he's probably just fine, and in fact the likely situation is that he's being a total MAN about his injury and he just has a little boo-boo but didn't want to walk on it. But after my experience with my cat Oliver (I thought he was being a big baby about a small boo-boo and it turned out his leg was completely crushed), I'm hesitant to try to figure things out myself.

The vet thinks it's most likely an animal bite, in which case Benchley gets a rabies booster, a shot of antibiotics, and a prescription for painkillers. But once he's sedated she might find that he needs an x-ray, and there could be a fracture, and then let's not think about how much that will cost. Let's instead reflect on what a sweet cat Benchley is (at least when no one is trying to inspect his owies), and how many years he has left to work this off in white-nose-spot kisses.

(Close-up courtesy of whichever child was playing with my camera.)

Update! Even after two kinds of sedative, the cat was still feisty---too feisty for them to shave his little leggy so they could have a look at the owie. They gave him a rabies shot and a shot of antibiotic, and they gave us a supply of painkillers to give him for a few days, and if he's not much better in 24 hours we're to bring him back. But the vet thinks he's probably fine: just being all MAN about his little owie. Cost for Mr. Baby to get some fuss made over him: $200.

April 12, 2010

Diet Update: One Week In

We are one week in to the Grim Diet, and there are good things and bad things to report.

The biggest good thing is that despite various ups and downs, I still feel like I am On A Diet, and holding on to that feeling is very important to my success. If I feel like I have to Start Over, I might not do so for a long, long time.

Another good thing is that I am getting used to drinking unsweetened coffee. I'm using Shawna's idea of adding a little skim milk to it, and I like that.

Another good thing is that we went to McDonald's and I drank coffee while the kids had their delicious, delicious nuggets. A bad thing is that this caused suffering, and I'm trying to reduce that.

In fact, this is where I ran into a situation that would require a lifestyle change rather than a diet: when we are out on errands and we hit lunchtime, we stop at McDonald's or Wendy's or Taco Bell or Burger King. And I LIKE to do that, and so do the children, and it's an inexpensive and yummy way to eat. If we are going to stop doing that, I'm not sure what to substitute. I don't want to pack a lunch, because the thought of packing and toting a lunch for four people makes me feel like leaping into traffic. I don't want to go to a place that serves healthier food, because of the cost. I think right now my solution is to reduce the number of times that we're out on errands when it's lunch time, and I think that's a pretty good solution for our situation.

Eating a protein breakfast within an hour of waking up only works on mornings when I'm hungry. Otherwise I feel dumb eating when I'm not even hungry. BUT, this has led to keeping hard-boiled eggs on hand, and I've found those GREAT for other times in the day when I'm hungry, especially if I'm craving salt.

I've had a total lack of success this week with exercise goals. My intention was to increase from my usual three times a week to an "every day" schedule (where "every day" would probably end up meaning five times a week). After one week, how many times have I exercised? Three. Exactly as usual. I did somewhat increase the intensity and length of those three workouts, so that's good. But this turned out to be another area where a lifestyle change would be required in order for me to do what I planned: I exercise in the evenings and right now that's the only time of day that works for me, and there are some weekly evening plans that are incompatible with exercise. I don't want to change those plans: one is a date night, one is a night that Paul lets the older boys stay up and watch a movie with him, etc. But I could still exercise on the night the older boys stay up, if I choose an exercise that doesn't require me to use the television, and that would buy me one extra night.

And this brings me to YET ANOTHER item that would mean a lifestyle change: I don't exercise on the nights I drink alcohol. I might INTEND to exercise, but I notice I NEVER DO. Never. Paul and I have drinks Saturday evening before we have our weekly treat dinner: a gorgeous pizza he makes, with olives and pepperoni and Monterey Jack cheese and turkey bacon and green peppers and mmmmmmmm. At this point I'm not willing to sacrifice ANYTHING ABOUT THIS on the alter of thinness. Perhaps later, but not now. So there's one night that will not include exercise no matter what. HOWEVER: it's pretty common for us to have some alcohol one or two OTHER evenings a week, and I AM willing to cut THOSE out. Not only does drinking mean I don't exercise, it also makes me hungrier and reduces my willpower. Plus, of course alcohol has calories. So this week I will try eliminating it except on Saturday nights.

I knew Easter candy was going to be a challenge, and I prepared for it. When I saw Easter candy at 50% off, I successfully reminded myself that the PRICE has NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. It is fun to buy things on clearance, but it isn't as if my body will say, "Oh, this was 50% off? Well then, we won't store it as fat!" So I bought none. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to talk myself down from 75% off, bringing me to the worst crisis the diet experienced this week. A sensible person would chuck it all in the trash; I have trouble being sensible in the face of candy + clearance. I HAVE been managing to give some of it out to the children as desserts. And I've been managing not to scarf it all down. And I've maintained the feeling of being on a diet, despite the candy, and haven't chucked the whole DIET in the trash, either, so that's a certain level of sensible right there.

So! That's how it's going. Well enough that I'm still on it and still have high hopes; poorly enough that I'm not looking forward to weighing myself this evening.

April 8, 2010

I Think it Should Be "Be Excellent to ONE ANOTHER"

1. Paul is watching Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure with the older boys this evening. I will not get sucked in. I will not get sucked in. I will not get sucked in. WYLD STALLYNS!!!!

2. I had a Bill & Ted centerfold (non-naked variety) when I was in high school. One side was Bill. The other side was Ted. Sometimes I thought one was cuter, and sometimes I CHANGED MY MIND. Now I think Rufus is cutest.

3. Not that I'm watching it. No.

4. May I recommend donating blood? It makes you feel like an awesome person. Plus, there is a bit of a natural high, via lightheadedness and the cookies/juice they make you eat afterward. Whooof!

5. Caesar is "a salad dressing dude." Joan of Arc is "Noah's wife." NOT THAT I'M WATCHING IT.

6. We have named the cat. His name is Benchley. The children are unhappy with this choice, and we are disregarding them. PBBBBBBBTTTTTTHHHHHHTTTT, children!

7. Remember when I was searching for a non-ticking clock? I chose one:

Infinity Instruments Orange Retro Wall Clock. It was a bit of a risk, because it doesn't SAY it's non-ticking. But it didn't have a second hand, and I liked it well enough to use it elsewhere in the house if it ticked, so I ordered it---and it doesn't tick! Yay! I might have chosen it in aqua, but I thought orange would look better in the boys' bedroom. Maybe later I'll get the aqua one for the kitchen.

8. Every spring I keep a close eye on the Traverse Bay chocolate-covered DRIED cherries I love more than any other candy. Because every spring, Amazon.com clears them out before summer makes it too hot to store and ship them. And lo, they have gone on clearance: $18 for a 4-pound box. I bought eight pounds. WHAT?

9. Be excellent to each other. Party on, dudes.

April 7, 2010

The Promised Dieting Post

As promised, a dieting post.

I have two weights I go back and forth between---not so much yo-yo-ing as TIDING. At the lower one I feel pretty much fine being a plus-sized person; at the upper one I feel like I'm wearing clothes made of fat. Also at the upper one I'm uncomfortable and my knees start aching and I overheat more easily. Obviously the upper one is not where I would like to be, and yet that's where I am now.

So I've spent the last few weeks gearing up for a diet, and this past Monday I leaped into the abyss. (I didn't choose Monday on purpose. I'm not usually a "starting Monday" dieter. It just happened that that was the day I woke up and felt ready to tackle it. I don't know why I'm explaining this.)

I do my best to make dieting fun (I wrote about it today over here if you want more on that topic). I buy little dieting treats---spending more on a fruit I like that's not on sale, or buying fancy coffee/tea, or buying a smaller amount of a more expensive sweet. I choose a gimmick or two: protein first, or vegetables first, or intermittent fasting, or plenty of coffee, or no calories in drinks, or whatever---it's best if it's something I haven't tried before. I buy non-food treats of approximately the same cost as the food treats I was buying when I wasn't dieting. I blog about it.

But there is only so much I can do. It is more fun to NOT be on a diet than to be on a diet, and that is just how it is. So things feel a bit BLEAK right now.

This time around I'm mix-and-matching the ideas that were successful from previous diets:

1. Eat breakfast within an hour of getting up, and make it proteiny. (The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program)

2. Eat protein with dinner, and then have a potato before bed. (The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program)

3. Drink coffee for energy, antioxidants, appetite suppression. (various sources)

4. But drink the coffee black, because bitter flavors can reduce cravings for sweets. (Eating Well for Optimum Health)

5. Eat when HUNGRY, not when it's "time to eat." (Tess)

6. When hungry, start with Good Stuff (vegetables, grainy stuff, a hard-boiled egg) and see if that handles it. (various sources)

7. Try try TRY to remember that "slip" plus "more slip" is > "slip" (i.e., don't turn a slip into an ALL-OUT CHOW-DOWN as if it's either ALL DIET or ALL NON-DIET).

8. Fibrous grains! Vegetables! (various sources)

9. Eat Magical Awesome Foods With Magical Awesome Properties (spinach, blueberries, yogurt, flax seed meal, vegetable juice) to achieve maximum Magical Awesomeness! (Eat This, Not That!)

10. See if I'm thirsty, not hungry. (Tess)

11. Exercise every day ("every day" ends up being more like "5 days-ish/week" in practical application, because of evening plans---but I still think of it as "every day" instead of thinking "It's Monday today so I exercise" or whatevs), so that it becomes part of the routine and doesn't start to seem like "day off" when I don't "have to" exercise. (experience is a hard teacher)

12. See if a smaller/lesser/healthier treat will satisfy. (various sources)

So. Anyway. Diet. Sigh.

April 6, 2010

Please Send Tranquilizers Kthanx

I am feeling frazzled and agitated and wish-I'd-said this morning. You may remember awhile back my phone victory where I finally, finally, finally made Rob the two appointments he needed: an orthodontic evaluation and, right before it, a thorough dental cleaning for his embarrassingly plaquey teeth. AND I made both appointments for early morning so he would only miss half a day of school, and then I arranged for my mom to watch the three littles so I wouldn't have to sit for 2-3 hours in waiting rooms telling three small children not to lick the furniture.

Those two appointments were for this morning, and yesterday afternoon the dentist's office called and said they had to reschedule because the hygienist had called in sick. What I SHOULD have said is, "I'm sorry, that's impossible: I've arranged childcare for three small children, AND I specifically scheduled this appointment to be BEFORE his orthodontist appointment."

But---how would that have affected reality? The hygienist would still be sick (or FAKING). Still, I wish I'd said it, because OMG MY LIFE IS NOW TOTALLY RUINED. My mom can't babysit at this new time, and so I have to bring all three kids. The dentist appointment is now AFTER the orthodontist appointment, which makes no sense. And the timing/spacing of the appointments means he'll have to miss the whole day of school. And all this after I had it SO CAREFULLY PLANNED.

I suppose I could have said no to the dentist, then called to cancel the orthodontist, then called the school to let them know Rob WOULD be there in the morning after all. But I couldn't face having to make the appointments all over again when it was so hard the first time (for phone phobia reasons but mostly because it's tricky to find two consecutive appointments with two unconnected offices), and also it wasn't fair to the orthodontist, and also it would be EMBARRASSING since I had assured the orthodontist's office not two hours earlier than we would be there, and anyway the odds of the two appointments being at a time when my mom could babysit were nearly nil, so if I'm bringing the kids with me I might as well get it over with.

Worse yet, I was planning that we could at least go to Wendy's for lunch while we were out, but I'm reading Andrew Weil's Eating Well for Optimum Health, and I just finished the section on fats, and basically he says that if you eat fast food you might as well give yourself an IV of wet radioactive cement. So that kind of puts a damper on things.

April 3, 2010

April 1, 2010


This is my annual attempt to safeguard myself against April Fool's Day pranks. One year I believed that my pop station was changing to an all-polka format. Another year I believed Google was offering a dating service. (I still think a Google dating service is a GREAT IDEA.)


So, hey, I'm now in charge of cleaning up the waste matter of three different species. Not only is there a MOUSE in my CAR, but a cat is peeing on anything soft we leave on the floor. At first we assumed New Cat was the peeing one, but then we remembered that Mouse (our 15-year-old female cat, and I hope this will not be confusing with the rodent-in-the-car I just mentioned) had a peeing problem a number of years ago when the two boy cats we had at the time were heckling her. Also, I looked it up online and found a ton of info (much of it totally useless, like that you should have had the cat neutered earlier, which, um, shoot, I left my time machine in my other pants), but it SOUNDS like Mouse is the one more LIKELY to be peeing from stress and upset and perhaps also as a territory thing, because New Cat seems totally unstressed about coming to live with us and eager to play/cuddle with Mouse, but Mouse seems pretty miffed.

Well. So we got a second litter box and we're scooping daily and trying to give both cats lots of attention. Also, getting cat pee aroma out of cloth? Anyone? I tried soaking/washing in baking soda and it didn't work, and if baking soda doesn't work I am ALL OUT OF IDEAS. (I also tried vinegar.) (Next I think I will try FIRE.)

About the mouse in the car---I think I've only mentioned it on Twitter so here's the summary: I found a bunch of food and a gnawed-through seat and a bunch of mouse droppings IN MY CAR. And to clarify: it was stuff like cornflakes, which even on the rare occasion we DO let the kids eat in the car, we don't give them CORNFLAKES. Anyway, my dad looked it up online and found that this is a not-uncommon problem (!), and that it was important to UN-problem it before the mouse gnawed through $1500 worth of wires or something.

I got an electronic mouse trap that (1) can be around kids and non-mouse-sized pets, and (2) won't ever leave a mouse caught and squirming in pain OMG. It has a green light that flashes when a mouse has been caught, so I keep checking it nervously/hopefully. So far nothing, but it's only been 18 hours.

Let's change the subject.

Look at this nice big pile of books I got for $4:

I like to get books from the library book sale to use for traveling (so I don't have to worry about losing them, and so I can leave them behind when I'm done with them and not have to lug them home) and for keeping in my purse (so if they get all scrunched and destroyed it doesn't matter). I like paperbacks best for this, but I did get one hardcover. The cool thing was that I went to the book sale hoping to find the wellness book by Andrew Weil (The New Girl mentioned it and it sounded good), and they ACTUALLY HAD IT. That's so weird! Also weird: they didn't have ONE SINGLE Stephen King book. They always have multiple copies of every paperback, but not ONE. What could have happened to them all? *eerie music*