The day before the day

Silly me, I keep thinking that Thanksgiving is still in two days when – in actuality – it’s tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow. As in, my turkey breast better be thawed and I have to make the chocolate chip cookie pie tonight or else tomorrow will be ruined. No, I’m not panicking at all! Ok, I’m really quite calm. It’s just the three of us so I think things will turn out fine, just fine.

::nervously picks at cuticles, wrings hands, coughs::

One thing I am thankful for is that even if we were spending this holiday with family, we wouldn’t have any of the problems that people seem to be complaining about: family meals, political arguments, “that” discussion about Tryptophan, etc. My family get-togethers these days are relatively issue free. Now, back in the day, we had interesting things go on but not of this variety.

I specifically remember the year that my uncles decided to fix my grandparents’ speaker system. Somehow, my Uncle Bob – who is a good bit over 300 pounds – got up in the crawl space and his thick meaty calf came right down through the sheet rock, above where my Mema was stirring cream corn. Then they argued about placing blame, etc for a while and nothing really got solved. Whenever we had family holidays in Alabama, there was always plenty of drama. But it was still ridiculously fun and the food? To die for. My Mema made the best chicken and dumplins I have ever eaten. Cracker Barrel does not compare, though I get that meal every time we go there. Nothing will ever stack up to Mema’s cream corn, her stuffing, and everything she made except for cornbread. The one yankee thing in me (aside from ketchup on my scrambled eggs) is that I prefer sweet cornbread over traditional salty, hard as a rock cornbread from the South. Ew.

So, I’m not going to ask what you’re thankful for in this post. There are enough blogs out there doing it and you may be sick of it. So, I’l just ask: what is your favorite thing to do during this holiday? Mine is the post meal nap, followed closely by watching football. But really, I think I like the sounds of football combined with the smell of the meal. Reminds me of being a kid.

Money talks, turkey walks – well, not for long

Tonight, I’m going to sojourn to the (probably ridiculously crowded) grocery store to buy some Thanksgiving fixin’s. On NPR this morning they interviewed a chef, an author, and a nutritionist about how to budget for the holidays in this economy where food prices are soaring ever higher. (It might cost me less in gas to get to the store but I’m spending at least twice as much as I used to.) They didn’t really say anything useful for the holidays, per se, but they had some other advice… which I already do! I shop the ads, I buy the deals, I buy generic when I can. I want to know what people like me – who already cuts back on things – can do to save even more. Somehow, I don’t think there is much left TO do.

But I am only buying a turkey breast (and the smallest one I can find) and we do fresh green beans, one potato (mashed), mac and cheese, and cornbread. All of this is cheap save the turkey so I think I can get out of the store in under twenty.

We’re not broke; in fact, we’re doing pretty well, considering the way it is out there. I mean, just yesterday my father lost his job AGAIN. He’s been unemployed so many times I’ve lost track. He is a project manager in the environmental/infrastructure field. It’s tough to say what he actually does but let’s suffice it to say that when he gets hired, his salary usually has 6 numbers in it. Luckily, Ash and I have relative job security. We don’t go overboard with spending and our bills are not outrageous. It’s pretty scary thinking that this might change and maybe that is why I AM so tight with my money, when I can be. I’ve been planning this week’s budget and it’s close, especially since the dogs need their annual shots.

To alleviate my stress about all this money crap, I usually try to take a moment at night and think about something completely immaterial and remind myself how little money actually matters. Usually, I can stop stressing that instant. So what about you? Does money stress you out and how do you overcome it, if at all?

Feeling: cold, Need: cozy

The sun just broke through the clouds but it has been gray all day because there’s a front coming in with some rain. It has gotten cooler throughout the day and I am officially settling in to the winter temps. But this also makes me long for my fuzzy pants and slippers at points throughout the day. Like right now, for example. I can think of no better thing to be doing than lying on the couch wrapped up in a big blanket (a Slanket perhaps?), cup of tea and some nice Christmas jazz going.

Yes, I completely admit to getting into the Christmas spirit a little early. I don’t necessarily blame the advertising/retail people because they can’t MAKE me feel like shopping. Maybe it’s a combination of knowing Little E will appreciate a few more aspects of the holiday this year or that because we’re going to my parents’ a few days before Christmas, I want to get my tree put up with plenty of time for us to enjoy it. Maybe because it’s colder much eearlier this year or the fact that I have actually have some money to shop right now. All I know is, I am ready to buy some gifts and cozy up near a fire, much like this:

cozyfire

(click to see the glorious gif action. Won’t work here for some reason.)

Dumbass

Whenever my family would talk about some injuries we’ve had over the years, my maternal grandfather would always tell us that anything that had happened to him was his fault and strictly “dumbass”. I typically reserve that word for describing particularly stupid people, but not since undergrad I think. But in this case, what I did last Tuesday morning was strictly dumbass.

I suppose – and I don’t truly remember – I burned my tongue on some tea. It wasn’t so bad that I even remember doing it. Days passed and it was not healing. Everything I read about tongue burns reminded me that they heal quickly due to the large amount of bloodflow in that area. On Saturday, my tongue had gotten so bad that Iw as salivating and could not eat without extreme pain. At the urging of Ash and my mother, I made an appointment at Urgent Care. The doctor I finaly saw (after wasting away maniacally in that tiny for for 1.5 hours) said if I had not come in, it may have healed in about 2 more weeks. UGH. I finally got this paste to put on it and let me tell you the difference it makes. Eating is still not enjoyable but it’s tolerable. So so stupid to burn it like I did. I felt a little lame going to the doctor for a tongue burn, of all things!

So yes my parents were here on Friday night and we had a fairly good weekend. Because my doctor’s visit lasted so long, we ended up getting Outback take-out Saturday night, which was really nice, actually. My mom and I did some shopping, ate some Panera, took a lot of pictures of Elliot. Despite the fact that Ash still has a cough and I’ve picked up a sore throat, we had a good weekend. And you? How was yours?

Gettin’ busy

Somehow, my social calendar has blown up in the last couple days. Yes, I know that sounds like some serious bragging but I’m just saying that I’m not used to so much activity. Here’s a brief list of my upcoming events:

  • Thanksgiving feast at Elliot’s day care tomorrow, bringing cornbread
  • Dinner with Dave Friday after work
  • Neighbourhood block party on Saturday (for which I rented the bounce house)
  • Thanksgiving feast at Ash’s office on Monday, bringing candied yams
  • Lunch with Catherine on Wednesday
  • Girls’ Night Out the following Saturday
  • Our friend’s 30th birthday on December 5th.

That’s not to mention my parents being in town this weekend. Surely, my mother will want to hit up some of those stores reported closing (I am sure that email has been forwarded to you; Ive gotten it three times now) and use up her gift cards. Certainly I wouldn’ be opposed to using her gift cards for myself at say, Talbots. God, that really makes me sound old, doesn’t it? (Feel free to agree.)

I’m trying to make all of these things work. Tonight, I’ll be making cornbread. Monday, I plan on going home and making the yams and then going to Ash’s office. I need to call a babysitter for the 5th. Ash will stay home with E for girls’ night. Somehow, this actually all does work out and I also get some time to get out and not worry about cleaning, though that’s what I did on my lunch break today. I’m very¬† accomplished when motivated.

As a closer to this – because it is a complete non-sequitor – I burned my tongue two days ago and it still hurts like a mother. Worse than I have ever done it. Damn.

Skurrred

Rude Cactus reminded me with his entry today about something I’d been meaning to write about. Last week, there were two instances in which I was scared shitless and even still, I find myself thinking about them and sort of hyperventilating.

For one, Ash and Elliot were playing this new game the Boy likes: he walks down the hall and you hide in a room. He knows you’re in there but cautiously walks in until you jump out at him. He’s not scared though – he rolls on the floor and laughs like a little hyena. I’m talking hysterical laughter. Then we spring up and go into another room, him follwing behind at a prety good clip (this kid is so close to running it’s not even funny), and we jump out again and get him. In some ways, I feel like we’re probably scarring him but so long as he keeps laughing, I suppose it’s ok. And oh yeah, this was going somewhere. I had been cleaning and putting clothes away etc while Ash and E were playing this game and it got very quiet. I figured they’d stopped and were on the computer or something. I walk into the work out room, which is dark, and out they jump from behind and I nearly had a heart attack. I didn’t see that coming AT ALL.

The second time I jumped out of my skin was when the dogs began chasing some THING into this old brick barbecue we have in the yard. Our gas grill is in front of it but there’s a small space between. I gathered the dogs back inside and then got the flashlight. In the corner, I could see two tiny legs scurrying underneath something and it looked like either a rat or a very small kitten, which would be understandable because our slovenly neighbours feed all the feral cats and these things are everywhere! They’re taking over the ‘hood, to be honest with you. Anyway, so I started looking into this old structure – specifically into the corner there – and all of a sudden, this big ol’ cat pops up and I am face to face with it. I screamed twice – two quick shrieks – and ran towards the door. Now, I am not a screamer by nature but this freaked me out beyond belief. The cat scurried away into the next yard but I was shaken.

I think sometimes having become a parent has made a little jumpy; I am always on the look out for potential dangers and yet, I get easily freaked by small things. It’s weid to think that I wouldn’t be more brave in the face of this stuff. But I have always hated jump out moments in movies and the same goes for real life.

What totally freaks you out?

Why the 80s were the best

You know how most little kids’ toys have some kind of catchy song attached to them? For example, Elliot’s Yo Gabba Gabba Muno doll sings, “Find a friend, find a friend, I’m gonna find a friend and play. Be my friend.” And it has this funky kind of 80s beat behind it. Half the time in our house, you’ll hear Ash or I saying the things Muno says when his hand is depressed: “Wanna be my friend?”; “I like bugs!”; “Thanks for playing with me!”. And then there’s the song. Recently, I brought out one of E’s birthday gifts (I withheld some because he got a literal ton and what kid needs that much STUFF?) and it was a Winnie the Pooh phone that has 5 buttons and a little cylinder which rolls for 3 classifications of what the buttons do: shapes, color, and numbers. If you press the telephone shaped button Pooh sings, “Shall we talk to our friends today? It would be so nice to talk in such a friendly way, until the day is done.” And I can’t get it out of my head.

But these little jingles remind me of the 80s and how everything had this catchy little ring to it. There are a few I remember better than others. I definitely remember Red Lobster, for the seafood lover in you! And this one from Ford is buried in my subconscious as well. Or how about for Doublemint gum? That’s a good one too.

As well, sitcoms had some of the best theme songs. Do shows even have intro songs anymore? I don’t watch a lot of comedies on TV but as far as I know (and maybe you can tell me, oh, TV watchers) they don’t have great intro songs anymore. Do you want to know some of my favorites? Try out Golden Girls, one of the best all-time TV intros. Written by Andrew Gold, (but performed much better than his rendition), this song is so catchy and endearing… I just can’t get enough. But by far, the Perfect Strangers theme beats all. The reason is because these songs are uplifting. All the jingles and songs of the 80s made you feel so darned good. How can you not feel happy when you hear these songs? And that’s what I think is wrong with a lot of society today: we don’t have enough reasons to feel happy. The economy is in the shitter, times look bleak, even in the face of dropping gas prices. But where are the “I’m having fun in the face of disaster” songs? I, personally, just can’t find them.

Anyone know where there’s some happier TV on these days?

Good thing I didn’t do NaBloPoMo

Because seriously? I have had no time for the computer. Would it seem completely WEIRD to you to know that I didn’t check email ONCE during this weekend?¬† You see, Elliot is teething and now he’s picked up a cold. Having a sick child is so completely draining, even when he’s feeling ok. Elliot can be distratced from his hacking cough and continually runny nose but it takes effort, man. I feel like all I did all weekend was say, “Elliot, come look at this. Oh no Elliot, don’t wipe your nose then pet the dog. Look at this toy! See the moon? Let’s not pull out ALL The tupperware with your germy hands.”

Sigh.

The other downfall of not being connected during the weekend is that I have NOT worked on my NaNoWriMo novel. Oh sure, I’ve thought about it. I have many many things I could write. So, I just make deals with myself at work: grade two papers, write one page. Answer some email, fix the copier. Grade two papers, write one page. It works for me this way, surprisingly. Though, I do all sort of bargaining and coaxing throughout the day as well.

On Saturday, we got all ready in the morning and drove Elliot out to his godparents’ house where he played while Ash and I went and saw the 11:30 AM Quantum of Solace and then had lunch at Macaroni Grill. The movie was good; I won’t spoil it for you but in my opinion, it wasn’t quite as good as Casino Royale but it had its moments. I was enrapt the entire time so it was definitely a gripping story. I have to say, it was really nice to get out and actually go to the movies, as well as eat a meal wherein I didn’t have to put more goldfish on a plate with suction cups, or retrieve a sippy from the floor, or wipe turkey stick goo from in between tiny digits. I need to be a bit more thankful and appreciative of the time I had with just Ash, I know.

So this week should be fairly busy for me and before I know it, it will be Thanksgiving and then December and then this weeding we have on the 20th, then Christmas at my parents’ and a trip down to see my grandparents, etc etc etc…It all seems to snowball around this time of year and before you know it, the next year is in full swing and there’s that post-holiday depression and it’s all just too much. I need a drink. And it’s only 10 AM!

How was your weekend?