Monday, July 30, 2007

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

I discovered some more pictures on my computer that I forgot about. That always feels a little bit like Christmas. Does anyone know which Pittsburgh Pirate this is because I don't have a clue?

Justin is coming up with some really crazy Harry Potter theories. He is finally to the part where they return to Hogwarts. I just smile and try not to laugh (too obviously?) when he tries to discuss his very strange ideas.

I'm going to make a confession here. Gracie is kicking my butt. She is stretching all of my parental abilities and in our many scuffles, I am rarely the victor. I just don't know what to do with her. No punishment seems to phase her. Put her in a time-out in a chair or facing the wall? She will sit there for HOURS and will not apologize, agree to stop the behavior, etc. One day, I took away literally every precious possession she had from her beloved MooMoo down to her dress-up clothes and she acted like I was tickling her.

Today was just a hard day. I can't seem to find anything that gets through to her or matters enough to her to make a lasting impact. Tonight she was sent to bed at 6:45. She cried for awhile, sobbed actually, begging for one more chance (one more chance, one more chance) but honestly, after the first 5 minutes, she was in there giggling, singing to herself, having a good old time. Just her all alone in the middle of her bed. She just has such a vivid, wild imagination that she really doesn't need anything other than herself to have a grand old time. And it's not like I can punish her from thinking up stories in her head. This is so hard and embarassing; Charlie, with all his little quirks, is such an easy kid; look at him cross-eyed and he's apologizing and racing to rectify whatever he could have possibly done wrong. Grace on the other hand seems to revel in it. My mother-in-law says she's just like her.

And Marci, if you're reading this, darn it, you're making me want to start running. I have never run in my entire life. The days we had to run the mile in gym class stand out as some of the worst in my memory. And yet, I think I want to try. Couch to 5k sounds like something I could do. Do you think?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Scrappin' away

All day long. This one, just for fun, to get in the groove again.
Had a totally lazy day. Skipped the morning shows because I just couldn't stomach it today. Skipped playing outside because it's too dang hot. Skipped cleaning the basement because, well, who really wants to clean the basement?
And that about sums it up. It was like taking a mental health day from my life. Very nice.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Since I'm still sitting at my computer

I thought I might as well blog. I accomplished nothing on my to-do list today. This is because I stumbled across another long-neglected chore that I decided to AFDI. One of the things I let go last fall was photo organization - I generally keep photo albums of all our pictures and then order doubles for the ones I want to scrapbook. Sometime last fall, I let that whole system get away from me and I just grabbed pictures willy nilly as they came in and vowed to order the replacements later. Then, I piled all those packs into drawers and forgot about them.

Not the best system. So today I finally dug in and separated and organized all the pictures I've taken since last September. This is thousands and thousands of pictures. Then I had to figure out which pictures were missing (because I scrapbooked them) and upload only those ones to be re-developed. I've made it through Charlie's birthday this year and I've re-ordered 300. It is S L O O O O O W going. But it's one of those organizational chores that acts like a balm to my anxious soul. Next, I will tackle my closet. (I'd like to insert a terrified looking smiley right here.)

I really need to take some pictures

I just realized I didn't take any this week. Add that to the to-do list.

Gracie bought Peter Pan with her birthday money. She has watched it approximately 542 times so far. She is watching it now in lieu of morning cartoons. Does that make me a bad momma?

Nothing much is going on and nothing much on the agenda for the day. We are getting together with Charlie's old playgroup. He was in the same playgroup from when he was 6 months old until they all turned five. When the second round of kiddo's came, we just added them into the group. Some of them are on their third round now. Should be fun!

I am reading "A Woman in Charge" - Carl Bernstein's book about Hillary Clinton. I don't know if she is the kind of person I could be friends with but she certainly has led an interesting life. Our local political wags are calling her "inevitable"; I'm just trying to get to a place where I will be comfortable giving her my vote. I'm getting there.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Because summer is like that

I was in a horrible, foul mood earlier today because of more work stuff. It doesn't take much (related to my job) these days to send me over the edge. Our departure for Punta Cana can not get here soon enough.

So anyway, horrible, foul mood made a little bit worse because I felt like I needed to take the kids to the pool and truth be told, I don't really like going to the pool all that much. It's hot and wet and nothing gets crossed off my endless to-do list while we are swimming. But I sucked it up and we went and had a great time! The kids are old to swim around in the big pool now so no more sitting for hours at the side of the baby pool wondering how much longer. And when it was finally time to go, the horrible, foul mood was a distant memory.

Charlie told me this was the best day of his life - better than Disney even. And Gracie told me she is going to live with me forever. Dude. This is what makes all the bad days worth it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sometimes I need Stacey Julian to kick my butt

and remind me what is important. She has a great video on the Simple Scrapbooks website and it's just been in head ever since I saw it last week. Kind of like her book Big Picture Scrapbooking. It completely changed my outlook on scrapbooking and every once in awhile, I need to revisit those ideas.

Today did not go exactly as expected. There was lots of screaming, some tears and a lot of bickering. This is the only layout I got done. But it says some stuff I wanted to say and for that, I can thank Stacey Julian for kicking my butt.

Pictures from the weekend

And now we scrap :)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

We are the champions

of the weekend. Cause we survived it. And the party must have gone pretty well because no one wanted to go home. And they ate all the food.

I'm still processing the Deathly Hallows. In fact Mimi, I will read it again as soon as my husband is done with it. I like to go back and read these books more slowly and try to appreciate all the hidden references that I miss the first time around. I find I am dissatisfied with some of the things that were left out of the story; I really enjoyed what she wrote. I just wish she had written a bit more.

I'm having some friends over to scrap tomorrow. It feels strange to anticipate a day with no deadlines, no lists, no responsibilities beyond playing with some pretty paper and watching the kids all play together. I'm too tired to string together anymore coherent sentences. Here's to summer!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

So McGonagall is NOT a deatheater (no spoilers)

Well. So much for that theory.

Great great book.

Our garage sale went pretty well. I am beyond exhausted having cobbled together 7 hours of sleep in the last 72 hours. Totally worth it.

Seriously. Loved this book.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

This is what chaos looks like

otherwise known as getting ready for a garage sale. Just keeping it real. Justin does not think I am going to sell a single thing. This stuff can NOT go back in my basement.

Just to run-down the weekend's events; tomorrow morning have to go to get my Harry Potter release party wristband. Is that crazy or what? Then mow the grass and finish pricing everything. Then go to the midnight release party and presumably stay up reading all night (although I have to confess to already having read the epilogue.) Garage sale. Karate class. Church nursery. Grace's birthday party. And somewhere in there feed the kids all the required meals and make sure the house is clean enough for guests. What was I smoking when I planned this weekend out?

So I'll be gone for a few days. See you next week!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

McGonagall is a death eater

Someone on Two Peas raised this theory a couple days ago and I've done a fair bit of reading on it since, including re-reading Half Blood Prince (yet again!) with this in mind.

And I'm convinced. There's lots of circumstantial evidence out there, you can google it and get one or two essays on the subject. But the clincher, in my opinion, is this scene in HPB, immediately after Katie Bell has been cursed by a necklace and Harry has wrapped it up in his scarf:

Sure enough, Professor McGonagall was hurrying down the stone steps through swirling sleet to meet them.

"Hagrid says you four saw what happened to Katie Bell - upstairs to my office at once, please! What's that you're holding Potter?"

"It's the thing she touched, " said Harry.

"Good lord," said Professor McGonagall, looking alarmed as she toold the necklace from Harry. "No, no Filch, they're with me!" she added hastily as Filch came shuffling eagerly across the entrance hall holding his Secrecy Sensor aloft. "Take this necklace to Professor Snape at once, but be sure not to touch it, keep it wrapped in the scarf."

So where in that exchange did anyone tell McGonagall that the item wrapped in the scarf, that the "thing" Katie Bell touched was a necklace? And consider two pages later when Harry accuses of Malfoy of trying to sneak the necklace into the school, McGonagall gives him cover. "and what is more," said Professor McGonagall, with an air of awful finality, "Mr. Malfoy was not in Hogsmeade today... Because he was doing detention with me...."

JK Rowling does not write carelessly and she chooses her words very deliberately. She is telling us that McGonagall knows what Draco is up to and is protecting him. There are lots of other subtle hints along the way; consider that Harry often finds himself reluctant to confide in McGonagall but almost always ends up doing so when she presses him. Until the very end of Half Blood Prince when he refuses to divulge what Dumbledore was doing.

I really like this juxtaposition: Snape - who has all the appearance of being evil but is truly on the good side. And McGonagall - who has all the appearance of being good but is Voldemort's most loyal servant.

Wait and see. This is the big surprise. This is the part that many people will loathe. 3 1/2 more days!

Monday, July 16, 2007

If I had known she would be here, this would be a date!

So said my little boy when we got in line at the ice cream shop and discovered his favorite girl friend from school in line ahead of us. He's never shown a heck of a lot of interest in any girls except this one and the mere mention of her name causes him to blush. After a brief bout of shyness, he ordered the same thing she did, invited himself right over to their table and they happily ate their cones together and got all caught up on the summer doings. Grace was beside herself that he didn't want to sit with her.

Pretty good weekend around here. We spent lots of time in the yard, weeding and planting and tidying. Decided we are going to paint the exterior towards the end of the summer or fall. It's white, boring, and doesn't really need painting but on the other hand, when does a fresh coat of paint hurt anything? I'm thinking dolphin gray. Justin is not convinced.

We went to see Harry Potter on Saturday. I enjoyed it quite a bit during the watching but my enthusiasm has dimmed in the aftermath. It seemed so rushed - as though we were just getting an overview of the events as they unfolded rather than a true representation of the story. Don't know why the director was so stuck on a two hour film instead of letting the story be told. I still liked it though. Really looking forward to seeing the director's cut.
And not that I'm counting or anything, but it's only 4 days until Book 7 comes out.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Busy busy day

but it felt so good to be productive. Our new motto around here is AFDI - actually friggin' do it! And so, when Justin had the idea to paint Charlie's old tricycle pink for Miss Grace, instead of stewing on it for months and then forgetting about it, he actually did it. Lots of that going on these days. The purging continues apace and the collection for the garage sale is reaching frightening proportions. No idea what I will do with all this stuff if noone wants to buy it. Lots of ideas what I will do with the cash if someone does ;)

So, just in case anyone is wondering how Justin's jihad is going... on Wednesday he told his department that they are required to watch an Inconvenient Truth with their families. Today, he decided he is going to send an e-mail to the entire company requesting that they watch it (his little dvd is going to get quite worn out, no?) and if they don't like it and can articulate why, he will pay them $20. I am trying very hard to dissuade him from this plan because I fear financial ruin. He has also decided (again) that he is going to run for President. His solution for the fundraising issue is to join the World Tour of Poker. Although I pointed out that he has never played poker for money, he is not discouraged. I need a vacation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Gracie!

Some outtakes from the day:

Following the polar bear tracks

Noname, our favorite dragon ever

Fish feeding frenzy

Jellyfish swarm

Hello to the new polar bears!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Still can't do the title. What's up with that? And what's up with this layout? Totally not my style.

We have a new little scrapbook store right in my area. My favorite little store is an hour away so I'll admit I was intrigued about a truly local store. And it turns out that it's a nice enough store but not really my style. And that's okay. I don't mind the drive when I have time. But last week, with all the craziness, I didn't have time so I stopped into the new store after court on Friday and decided I would enter the monthly contest. This is the result. Not my favorite layout ever. So, I will be heading back to my favorite little store next week and probably burying this layout deep in the holiday scrapbook. It's all good.

Justin has gone off the deep end. Last night I pulled out Goblet of Fire so we could watch it before Order of the Phoenix this weekend. He said he wanted to watch Fahrenheit 911 because he was mad now (thanks to LiveEarth) and he wanted to be even more mad. Today he went out and bought Inconvenient Truth (let's not talk about the carbon miles, okay?) and asked me to go to the borough office to get more recycling containers. I think he's declared a jihad.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Hmmm... blogger won't let me put a title up there. Odd. But if I could, it would say Slowly getting back to normal

or as normal as it ever is in this household. Ha!

My baby girl turns 4 this week. I would say that she is at my favorite age for her right now. When she was a baby, she never liked to snuggle, she was always cranky and stubborn from the second I went into labor. Most of that hasn't changed but now at least she is very snuggly and she has the most wicked sense of humor. Even her stubborn antics usually make us laugh.

So her impending birthday and the fact that my neighbor and I are having a garage sale in a couple weeks convinced me it was finally time to start cleaning the baby stuff out of the basement. 11 containers of baby clothes to start with today. I thought I was prepared, didn't think it would be a big deal, but promptly burst into tears as I opened the first box and took out a little set of 3 mo. shorts that Charlie probably wore twice. Justin at first was taken aback; he couldn't figure out what the big deal was. And then suddenly the lightbulb flashed and he said "it's hard for you to accept that those clothes will ever be worn by anyone other than Charlie." And yes. Because he will never be a baby again. Do most moms struggle with their kids getting older as much as I do?

But surprisingly, the moment passed quickly and I got through those boxes in record time. Had everything folded and sorted. And then Charlie woke up from his nap, saw the piles, figured it out, and HE burst into tears. Totally didn't see that one coming. He started grabbing clothes left and right and hiding them in his room. We sat down and had a long talk about getting bigger and how cool it is to be six years old. I'm not sure he's convinced. He stretched a 6-9 mo. yellow vest and wore it for hours. In the end, I got most of it back and re-sorted and it's ready for the sale. He is really not going to like it when I start on the toys.

And while I was in the dispassionate discarding mode, I started throwing stuff away. Just boxes of stuff sitting on the sunporch, in the basement. Where does this stuff come from? Why don't we throw it away as we go? Why do I have 2 broken printers sitting out there - did I really think they could be repaired? It felt good to purge and to think about emptying out all the old stuff. Because that is our plan. We are moving ahead with the remodeling idea. Lots of times we suffer from inertia - in the past we might have let that dryer go for months before admitting defeat. Now, not so much. I think we're tired of living like people just out of college. It only took 12 years! We're going to reclaim this house, reclaim the un-useable space and get rid of all the stuff we've been holding onto just for sentimental reasons.

And finally... Live Earth. Did you watch it? We were a captive audience here. Listened to it on XM non-stop and watched lots of Bravo when we really liked an act. I caught the entire UK show and a fair amount of the New York one too. I thought the commercials were fantastic - except for the polar bear one. I don't know why but no matter how many times I see it, the footage of the drowning polar bears causes an instantaneous meltdown. The funny part has been watching Justin fret all day about his choices. He is in total paralysis about what to do with the water bottles. He is addicted to bottled water and he's a tiny bit OCD about germs and food contamination. So he's trying to figure out whether he REALLY needs to re-use his water bottles more than a couple times or whether recycling is good enough. Charlie (of course) wants to call a family meeting to see what more we can do. Go Al Gore! (And declare already, would ya?)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Days like today

are why I went to law school. Weeks like this one are why I know this profession is not the right one for me.

We ended up with a really good outcome today; the system worked the way the system is supposed to work and the long hours and endless preparation paid off. My clients got the relief we were asking for and more importantly, a child is safe.

But the bottom line is that no matter how well I argue or debate or frame a case, I have a fundamental dislike of conflict. And it seems to me that presents a problem in a great deal of the cases that come my way. I handle them all, I do what needs to be done but it makes me miserable inside. I invest too much emotionally in the cases, especially ones like I had this week. I lose sleep, I stop eating and I neglect all the important stuff in my life. My kids get the worst side of me - the cranky, distracted, over-worked side. My husband handles it all so well - his job is stressful every single day but he has learned to balance it and to balance me when my work makes me crazy.

It makes me sad to admit that I don't want to do this anymore; that I invested so much time and energy into a career that will never make me happy. I'm "successful" as far as society defines that, I'm good at what I do but truthfully, that's just not enough. I feel like I need some sort of Oprah quote here. I don't have any idea what I would do instead.

In the meantime, I'm going to go pick my kids up from daycare, where they basically lived the last two weeks, and where they begged me this morning not to take them again. And then, I'm going to go home and turn on the sprinkler and we're going to play together and eat popsicles together and start to enjoy the summer vacation they've been missing out on so far.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Light at the end of the tunnel

Because tomorrow is Friday after all. Ugh. I have a pile of work a mile high on my desk at work that I haven't even had one second to think about until court is over tomorrow. Still have a queasy feeling about that.

But the weekend will bring new tidings and my friend Kat in from New York City. We will go visit with another friend Jen who is recovering from two (yes 2!) broken ankles. They took her little "help me!" bell away from her at work because apparently, she was abusing their kindness. You may occasionally see Kat on Animal Precinct where she uses her fab skills as a behavior specialist for the New York ASPCA. But her hair isn't usually very many colors and she doesn't have too many piercings so they usually tape the other girl.

So my parents are on vacation in New Mexico right now and when they drove in last night, they hit a freak snow storm. I must be really off on my geography because I thought New Mexico was next to Arizona where they are having the heat wave. At any rate, there is some weird weather phenomena going on around the country right now.

And how bad is it that I am reduced to blogging about the weather?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Okay, this is a life moment to remember

My faithful blog readers will recall my issues with our dryer (and thank you for the suggestion of Dormont Appliance!) I've procrastinated doing anything, mainly because I hadn't done any laundry in over a week until yesterday. But it emits a loud high pitched squeak heard far and wide. And there is a little bird who lives in our front yard that we believe has fallen in love with our dryer. When it squeaks, the little bird squeaks back. And sometimes, if it stops squeaking, the little bird makes forlorn little squeaking sounds that distinctly sound like "hey, where did you go? Come back!" The kids have taken to pulling a chair to window to listen for the bird whenever I turn the dryer on. Endless hours of free entertainment! Alas, the little bird will soon be permanently forlorn as Justin is getting our new dryer today. The little bird may love the squeak but mommy, not so much.

Happy 4th of July!

I got some time just to relax yesterday and it made an enormous difference in my outlook. (It was either that or finally having some time to make a dent in the laundry.) I will have to work later today but it won't be in that panic-stricken, not enough hours in the day kind of way. Fascinating, no?

I reflect again that the day to day minutae that make up our lives (and specifically, I mean OUR lives as in my little family - I don't know, maybe the rest of your lead fascinating lives!) just isn't always that blog worthy. Charlie gathering all the coat hangers and empty Diet Mt. Dew cans (way more than I'm willing to confess to) to make a robot. Grace in a mad kissing phase - she might win the world record for the number of kisses she can dole out in a day. The bickering at the dinner table - "I'm not going to eat that" "Eat your pork chop or go get ready for bed" "This one takes a long time to chew", etc. etc. All little moments that I savor and gather into my heart but that don't translate well into this forum.

I think the real confession (and problem) is that I'm not scrapbooking. Not any of these moments. And I haven't been for some time. Somewhere back around the beginning of the year I hit a wall and I've not found my way around it yet. I play a little bit; some days I manage to actually throw a few things together but I'm not doing it in the way I always have to preserve the story, preserve those moments. It's become an enormously frustrating endeavor for me - I sit and stare at the pictures and then put them away and just move paper around. But do you ever have one of those moments when something clicks? Like literally you're walking and you feel like the idea hits you in the head? That happened to me yesterday as I walking downstairs to do the umpteenth load of laundry. I keep trying to invent the wheel. And after 3 years of doing this hobby, no wonder I feel like I'm out of ideas. But why do I feel like that? Why can't I just find ONE style that I like and stick to that? Who cares if the paper and title are in the same place; in fact, wouldn't the whole thing make more sense if my pages have a coherent style?

Okay, so that is really a "duh" moment. I know it. All my favorite scrappers have a defined "style" but I never really thought about what creates that and I finally realized it is consistency of design. Not trying to re-invent the wheel everytime they sit down to create. So the point to this very, very long-winded soliloquy is that today, for the first time in a very long time, I'm actually eager to get out my stuff, gather up those pictures and tell a story. Not out of a sense of guilt that I've spent so much money collecting all these supplies. Not out of a sense of obligation to keep the family records in order. But because I'm truly feeling the urge to create. To look at the stuff I've done before and identify the ones that make me happy and then go with that.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The best laid plans...

and all of that. I'm going to be a full-timer again this week. I can't really complain given how flexible my job is and how much time I'm able to take off when the kids are sick during the school year but I will admit to feeling just the tiniest, teeniest bit sad about it. Ah well, the judge on the case volunteered to give up his actual vacation to see this resolved and the clients have made enormous personal and financial sacrifices so I will see it through without further complaint. And I think I'd feel a whole lot better about it if I thought it was going to resolve well but instead I feel a sense of impending doom.

So, how about that Scooter Libby commutation? I can't type the word I thought when I heard the news. I've never said that word out loud. But at least we can be certain that this is a President who clearly has given up any thoughts about his legacy. I really have no stomach for the spin from the right anymore. If they believe 1/10 of the stuff they spew, I am afraid the divide is beyond repair. I eagerly await their reaction the next time a Democratic President pardons one of his cronies. And have no doubt, it will happen. If the current state of our government has accomplished anything, it's to make me an equal opportunity cynic. So Scooter's defense fund will pay his fine and he will go to work for the Carlyle Group or some other large defense contractor or maybe the World Bank or maybe he'll just become a lobbyist for some anti-regulation, highly polluting industrial interest but either way, this whole sorry episode will soon be a blip on Scooter's memory as he lives out the rest of his life being compensated for keeping Cheney out of the hot seat.

Eh. Well, Nancy Pelosi and Trent Lott will continue to coordinate their seersucker summer outfits and the party leadership will write letters about how disgraceful it all is and the American people will go back to wondering what's in Paris' garbage today. Hey, I think I read that Prince William and his girlfriend got back together! See, all is not lost.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Brrr.... it was cold!

Seriously thought we might get hypothermia on Friday night. We forgot that when it is 50 at home, that means it's colder in the mountains and I did not pack accordingly.

I did my best packing but ended up having to work all day Friday which gave me approximately 30 minutes to throw everything I thought we might need into a big pile in the yard. The worst thing I forgot was the deodorant. Thankfully, the camp store had some.

The kids did great camping for two nights; the camp had a playground right next to our site and they were out there by 6 am on Saturday morning. My favorite part was today when we took them to Laurel Caverns and explored the caves. How about that view?

Work has turned into a full-time affair lately; I have to work again tomorrow and then I'm hoping to cobble together a few days off in a row. My dad is leaving for a 2 week vacation so I'm not sure how that's going to work out.

I really would like the time with Charlie; he's just been a little bit difficult lately and I think he could benefit from some extra attention. He's usually so easy-going but he's had his share of negative influences lately - daycare for the first time in a year and (unavoidably) being with some other kids that maybe don't bring out the best in him. Maybe it's just normal 6 year old behavior - mouthy, defiant, distracted. It's just not normal for him so maybe I need to adjust my expectations. His tic has gotten noticeably worse since we got home from vacation though; he is scheduled for another check-up with the neurologist to make sure that it's nothing of concern. I can't help thinking the two things are somehow related.

Got to go figure out what I can wear to court tomorrow. I'm shamelessly asking for clean laundry vibes!