Ringing in the new year with a can of Red Bull

OK, the title is sort of misleading since I don’t drink Red Bull; it makes me all shaky. But I may need some kind of stimulant to stay awake until midnight, because that’s how sad I have become. Last night, right after Elliot went to bed, we watched Wanted ( Thomas Kretschmann is one tasty man; rawrr) and when it was over, at something like 9, I was amazed at how much time I had to do whatever I wanted. And somehow I still fell asleep around 11, reading in bed. Which, I might add, was perfectly awesome. I so rarely do that because I’m normally so exhausted that I get about 4 or 5 lines read before I’m comatose on top of the book, spilling a pool of slobber into the crease of the pages.

With that said, we have no real plans for New Years Eve and of course, it will be a miracle if I make it to midnight, though I will certainly try. A friend of mine is having a party, which I would love to attend but there’s no good way of dealing with Elliot. But this is what it means to have children. And on that topic, I am officially birth control free and if it happens, well, then we’re onto child # 2. I am scared and nervous and yet somehow, immensely more confident. I am sure this pregnancy will be different in a lot of ways or at least some ways. And that’s sort of exciting. I hope I don’t have carpal tunnel as badly as the first time but everything else will be fine; it will pass quickly enough. And then, of course, I am nervous about labor again and the pain, etc. But then, this is all very far off and not yet a reality as I am not pregnant. Yet. But I tend to over think and get ahead of myself.

But in a way, that’s what I am using to label 2009: the year of kidlet 2, more breastfeeding, juggling newborn and toddler. My plans for 2010 include finding a new job. Hopefully, all of this can happen in some way, shape or form. We cannot predict the future but I do hope we can mold it to our liking. Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful New Year’s Eve (drive safely!) and much luck and prosperity in 2009!

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Get back

Strangely, I’m not feeling all that sad nor nostalgic about the end of the year. In fact, I feel nothing towards 2009. I’m not really excited… I suppose I just haven’t given “the end of the year” much thought. It could be that on Thursday night, half-way through Valkyrie, I began having awful chills and by then end of the movie, I was feeling like garbage. I took a bath, wherein I read the first two stories of The Tales of Beedle the Bard and then went  to bed in a fog. I stayed in said fog until early this morning when I was magically feeling like myself again. Though in the time I was ill, we drove home and carried on our normal weekend – but I was incapacitated on the couch for most of it.

However, I managed to do a lot when I was in Orlando. Aside from the wedding of my good friend, Chris, Ash and I saw the Orlando Magic blow out the Golden State Warriors (thought it was still really fun), I got to eat Hovan and Pollo Tropical, and it was nice to just sit sometimes and not worry about Elliot, because someone else in the house had an eye on him. The week was a frenzy of activity and by the end, I couldn’t believe a week had passed and yet, as we got onto to the Turnpike heading North, I suddenly felt like I had been away from home for a very long time.

I was also not necessarily looking forward to this week, since I am off but am in a limbo type place. My house is a mess (though I put away the tree and all other Christmas decorations yesterday), Elliot is totally off his schedule, and I am still feeling tired from my illness. But, I have intensely enjoyed each and every naptime and last night, after bedtime, I took a long luxurious bath, read the January Martha Stewart issue, and then I fell asleep in bed reading In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson. This week? Is awesome.

And as I normally do – and in no way meaning to sound materialistic – I’ll list some of my Christmas gifts, for fun: various useful gift cards (Borders, Starbucks, Publix), some Victoria’s Secret PJs, Flexpod gripper tripod, thumb drive, accessories for my Snow Village, some various lotions and little stocking stuffers, and Ash got me a Coach purse. Every woman should have at least one nice handbag and I basically got to pick mine out. I was surprised, though, that he actually got it. I think he really wanted to buy me a nice camera or a laptop but is saving up to get it for my birthday. He keeps saying how I did better than him this year on preesents (a tough feat to achieve normally) and he may be right. I got him: Left 4 Dead, a device charging station, Mario PJ pants, a Transformers chess set, a calendar, and a scanner. All of these things he loves and has used already. He’s already scanned 300 pics, which was the point since all his family’s photos are in boxes taking up space in Elliot’s closet. I really got the scanner for me ;).

So, what did you get this year that totally rocks? And what was your favorite part of your holiday vacation?

P.S. :winner

I won in Ash’s fantasy football  league and came in second in my other one. I am the champ!

How naptime is spent these days

I know I owe you one big gigantic humongous recap entry since I have been very scant around here lately but you must understand that Elliot is 16 MONTHS now and an entirely different being altogether. And I have been ill. So instead, I give you the New Year’s Quiz, taken from All and Sundry

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

I went to Chicago. That city is amazing! Oh, and I won in Fantasy Football. I am the champ!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t necessarily make any. I wanted to be the best mom I could; I think I succeeded.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, but this year they will.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just this one. When you have a kid, you don’t get very far.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

I would definitely like to gain more close mom-type friends.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

August 29th was pretty big: Elliot turned one.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I guess my biggest achievement was reaching the one year breastfeeding mark.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I wish I could have lost more of the baby weight.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing serious but I was sick a lot in November/December

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I haven’t bought anything for myself in a long long time.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Elliot! He is an amazing kid.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

As usual, the government kind of sucks.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Mostly to the basic bills, daycare, and our Chicago trip.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I was very excited about Chicago.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

You know, that’s tough to say since I don’t really like the new stuff these days, as old as that may make me sound.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter
c) richer or poorer? Richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I had exercised more and spent more time on myself

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

I wish I had worried less about unimportant things.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

With my parents and extended family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

All over again, with my family.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I got really into Heroes for a while then when Season 3 started, I bailed.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No, I really try not to hate.

24. What was the best book you read?

Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I rediscovered my love for Def Leppard

26. What did you want and get?

I wanted a Coach Purse and somehow, I got one.

27. What did you want and not get?

I really want a digital SLR but I think that’s being saved for my birthday.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Hmm, I really liked Valkyrie.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 29 and Ash got me a half day at the Spa and then he and I went to Bonefish.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If 30 Day Shred had actually worked instead of losing me only 2 pounds and put on some muscle.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

I’m the poster child for Old Navy.

32. What kept you sane?

Coke Zero, baths, and the fact that my boy goes to bed at 7 PM consistently.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I had a brief fascination with HRG from Heroes but other than that, I can think of no one.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I rallied for the gay marriage rights because I have a lot of friends in those situations. I am sorry to say we still need to keep fighting.

35. Who did you miss?

Sometimes I miss the old me, the pre-parent me, but not that much.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Hmm, I can’t think of anyone.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

I learned to be as patient as possible and let things roll off your back or else you’ll lose it.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“It was good living with you oh ho” – Better than Ezra. I couldn’t think of anything else but my entire year was all about appreciating my family, at home.

Holiday wishes

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Merry Christmas everyone who celebrates it. And for everyone else, thanks for still checking on my blog, even in my extended absence. We’ve been busy out here. Enjoy your holidays!

Friday fill-in the lyrics

Let’s see if I can’t screw these up, shall we!

1. Said the night wind to the little lamb, do you hear what I hear?.
2. The first Noel, the angel did say, what to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay.
3. um, don’t know this one, Over the hills and everywhere.
4. It came upon the midnight clear, that something something song of old.
5. Have yourself a merry little Christmas, Let your heart be light.
6. And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing right within your heart.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to getting to Orlando, tomorrow my plans include a wedding and Sunday, I want to relax!

About a week ago, I was watching the weather channel while all snug in my bed under our heaviest comforter, the sheet and a small knitted blanket for my legs. It was cold outside, maybe 30 or so. On TV, all over the country places were geting abnormal weather. It snowed in Texas and even New Orleans, which – I believe – is father south than Tallahassee. That morning, I had seen a pink blip on the radar about 30 miles north indicating “icy mix”, which is getting closer to snow. As I drifted off to sleep, I imagined our yard dusted in a light layer of the white stuff and little Elliot cautiously approaching it then diving in, making a snow angel. It could happen; it has before.

Today, news reports that Northern Arizona is having a snowstorm and Southern Calif0rnia too, where it never gets as cold as it does here in January. Now, I don’t want to live anywhere that it snows in great amounts. I’m not interested in shoveling driveways or waiting for the plow to come around before I can leave my street. I’m not interested in high heating bills (though ours was a whopping 180 this month [!!!] ), snow suits, being trapped during snow days. But I do think I’d like for there to be some flurries and enough to coat our little city in a bit of white. The last time we had flurries was in 2001. My friend, Steve, was the only one here over Christmas because he had to work, and he called us all to report. I am sad that I missed it. In 1970, the Westcott fountain froze; my parents witnessed it. I’m sort of hoping with all the weirdness around the country, this will be our year. And maybe when we get back from vacation, it’ll be here.

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Dump Truck

I have not been eating very healthy lately. And it’s not even been sweets. I haven’t been loading up on cookies or holiday candies. Not that much. Really, it’s been all about the fact that I have little money in my bank account so I have been relegated to the cupboard. Sure, I could have been more creative; there’s a frozen chicken breast in there that I could have mixed with rice and a can of peas or something. Instead, I just ate the entire package of Knorr mushroom rice. Mmm, sodium overload.

Breakfast? Not even a thought on my mind. With Elliot being sick, he’s been slow to come around in the mornings so I have had to deal with a kid who is obviously hungry but picks at his bananas/toast/waffle, etc. That is, until his body finally catches up with his brain and he wolfs it down. Though this leaves little time for me to get anything going for myself. This morning, I remembered to stuff a granola bar in my bag and then on my way into work, I figured I could probably afford a cup of coffee. Except I left my wallet at home. If it’s not one thing, it’s certainly another.

The redeeming factor in all my stress this week is that by tomorrow night, we’ll be officially on vacation.  There are certain things I really look forward to: shopping with my mom (which may include a trip to Ikea), seeing the Orlando Magic on Monday night, the Christmas decorations at my parents’ house, making date nut balls, knowing my mother will do almost everything for Elliot and I can actually take a break!

So, with that said, I am about to eat Campbell’s Select Harvest Light, Savory Chicken with vegetables soup. It’s not so bad, for a lower calorie meal. But it’s really not what I want. And guess what’s for dinner! Left over mushroom rice. Ah, the good life.

Gloom and doom

I have a friend who makes this noise – this uuuugggghhh kind of sound – when he is disguted or exasperated by something. I wish you could hear it because I find myself doing it a lot this morning. Now, without being the complaining type, I have a lot to get off my chest and if you don’t feel like being brought down, then you should move along your merry way. Go over to Moo’s site and give her some encouragement – she could use it today.

So, the budget crisis. It’s looking bad. For me, I have two jobs, technically. I work this one: First Year Composition Program Assistant. In essence, I build the schedule for each semester of the freshmen writing courses (1101, 1102, 1142, and 1145). I help freshmen get into said classes, deal with all kinds of issues regarding these classes (grade changes, TA issues, etc.) I am also the assistant to the director of this program. Together, she and I do all kinds of jobs associated with training the grad students who will teach these course. I help get those grad students into the school in terms of paperwork and their training. I am the copy machine maven. I am a catch-all for TA/freshmen English issues. In essense, I do a lot for a very small salary. If you’re thinking I make the money of say, a publis school teacher, you’d be wrong. On top of this, my kindly boss, who decides who will teach, lets me teach one online course and I am classified as an adjunct. With the budget cuts that must be made for the 2009/2010 year, all adjunct positions will be cut. This means, I make about what your average Best Buy employee makes. And that’s not going to cut it when it comes to bills.

If/when this happens, I am going to need a second job. Sure, I think we could “make it” with Ash’s salary but at this point, we have a standard of living. We would like to uphold that. Now, I know you’re probably thinking that we have a lot of credit card debt and that’s one of our big money suckers. But no, we don’t. I have friends who have at least 3-4 CC payments a month and cannot dig themselves out of that hole with heavy machinery. We have one. It’s our Home Equity Loan on which we have put a new roof and my student loan, which was small to begin with. We’re doing FINE. But if I drop to that lower level of pay, what it comes down to is not one single cent extra for any kind of emergency or personal item. I could not, say, afford to get a latte now and then. Or a hair cut. Or new contacts. It’s just not there.

Ok, I’m DONE blabbing about this. I probably already said too much that has no business being on a public blog. The fact of the matter is that time are rough right now, for most everyone. And we have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and keep going. Hard work always pays off – I know it.

And now, I have some hard work to do. I hope you are all having a better day than I.


Rituals, whirlwind cooking, wee chairs

On Sunday morning, around 9 AM, Elliot and I were en route to Target, where they had Left 4 Dead on sale for 40 bucks and Ash wants it bad. So I was cresting the bridge over the railroad tracks on Blair Stone when I began to think about church. A lot of people make Sunday service their ritual. Every Sunday, no matter what, they are in their holy house of choice, rejoicing. And sometimes during the week I will think about how I should have gone to church and why didn’t I go to church? Oh yes, I think I was at Target at that time. Target has become our ritual. It used to be when Elliot was waking earlier and mornings dragged on forever that I would go out as early as I possibly could because taking him out is sometimes easier than dealing with him at home. Now, we go so that I can get some coffee (MY Target has a Starbucks) and I can also get my small shopping done. I worship at the house of the Bulls eye. The Bull Terrier is our savior.

(Was that blasphemous? Did I offend you? Surely you know that I jest.)

Anyway, in about an hour and a half, I have to run home and make baked mac and cheese and mashed potatoes for Ash’s Christmas party at work. I didn’t mind his Thanksgiving one; it was only the 30-40 people from Structures. Today’s gathering is all of Design: maybe 130 people. Which is, I guess, why he signed up for two dishes. Yes, this was against my will. To get even, I made him set up the Christmas yard stake lights I bought. Though the ten to fifteen minutes it took him to do that in no way compares to the near hour of prep and cooking I’ll be doing. For people I don’t even work with. In an agency that doesn’t even pay me. Ok ok, I shouldn’t complain. This is part of being a domestic housewife.

lounging

In Christmas news, Elliot’s chair arrived. He took right to it and now he loves it. It’s like he knows that it’s just for him; he understands. Though, this child is understanding more and more each day and totally blowing me away.  What I love the most is that although he goes into my kitchen cabinets and pulls out ALL the Tupperware, he also puts it back. It may not be in the order or form I would like, but it all gets back in there AND he shuts the door. This kid is definitely going to be my little helper. ::wink wink::

So, I have a ton of things to do before Friday. What did you do this weekend and what does this week have in store for you?

Brain detritus comin’ at ya

Do you know what I did last night that I probably haven’t done since my days as an undergrad? I slept for 9 hours straight. And oh boy, I felt like a million bucks when that alarm went off. This is what I have been missing? Why didn’t anyone tell me?? Regardless, today is a wonderful day with a full night’s sleep on my side.

In other news, I finished my Christmas cards. On my lunch break, I have to buy stamps and then these suckers are going out. I guessed the right amount to buy as well. I only have one left over. I’m sure SOMEone will come to mind who I have forgotten but I think I covered everyone. One task down, many more to go.

We got “Dark Knight” from NetFlix yesterday but since I bailed early in the evening, guess we’ll have to watch it tonight. I honestly thought it was the best movie I’ve seen all year.

On a completely unrelated note: if the government is so achingly low on money, how about we lower the salary of baseball players? Those guys have more than enough to go around. Think of it this way: the local shelter makes food for about 200 people on 20 dollars. That’s a mere twenty dollar bill people. And think of this:  in 2008, Derek Jeter – not even one of the “biggest” players anymore – made $21,600,000. Don’t you think they could part with a couple twenties here and there to help some people out? I know I sure as hell would.

I wish we were having a Christmas party this year because I have always wanted to make a traditional wassail I think the history behind this drink and the activities around it are really cool. It makes me feel all cozy.

My grandma is back in the hospital because on of her incisions was bleeding and now she has an abcess that needed to be drained. We go down to see them in about 2 weeks so please keep her in your prayers/on your minds, in hopes she can hang in there long enough to see her great-grandson again.

Speaking of Elliot, I think he turned a corner in his cold because last evening he actually felt like playing and being his normal self instead if whining and/or sleeping on one of us. This makes me ridiculously happy because sick kids are no fun at all and I just worry constantly. let’s hope he’s better enough to get Santa pics soon.

Anyway, happy Friday to all. I bid you all a wonderful weekend.