Sunday, February 28, 2010


I am an avid crossword puzzler. One of my favorite things from my old job was doing the New York Times crossword every day at lunch. Monday through Wednesday we did them individually and raced to be the first one done. Thursday and Friday, we worked in teams.

I was a Jeopardy addict for many, many years. I even had a Playstation version that I won't tell how many hours I spent playing.

After Sophie was born, I spent a great number of hours doing sudoku puzzles. There were books littered all over the house, half-filled or all but a few done, those that I couldn't quite finish, but wouldn't give up on.

These are all part of a greater love for pushing my brain. I don't do the crossword or sudoku much anymore and I haven't watched Jeopardy regularly in quite a while, but I do still love brain teasers.

These days, I typically find my intellectual diversions on the computer screen. Thank goodness for the internet. And I have just found one heck of a diversion. Sporcle. From Pixar movies to US States to TV nicknames. There are hundreds of quizzes.

I dare you not to spend an hour on there.

**Before you do, though, head on over to BlogTrotting, we're on a great tour today! **

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I go to the gym five days a week. Most weeks. Some weeks I drop a day and I only make it in four times. Compared to my exercising history, which consisted of a three year membership about ten years ago where I went maybe four times a year, I've been really committed. Every single time I go in, I work out on at least two digitized cardio machines. And every single time I get on one of those machines, I have to punch in my age so it can calculate what my heart rate should be for maximum effect.

I've been typing in 35 for 365 days now. That works out to at least 400 times in the last year that I have been reminded of my age.

Today, I begin typing in a new number. Today, I am 36. Thirty-six. THREE SIX. Honestly, I know that in the grand scheme of things, 36 is not old. I'm not worried about aging. It is what it is. But it is an age that I always saw as grown up. And while I am the married mother of one, I feel anything but grown up. In fact, most of the time, I feel only marginally more prepared to deal with the poop that life's monkeys throw at me than I did when I was 15.

Tonight, I will celebrate my birthday with margaritas and some of the best guacamole Baltimore has to offer. I will laugh and gossip and whine with my girlfriends just like I did when I was 15.

Because, really, who wants to grow up anyway?

Happy Birthday to me 

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Sunday, February 21, 2010


My parents split up when I was five. The truth of the matter is that I really don't remember much from that age, so I guess it was better than if I had been, say, 15. Whatever hostilities were present have been swept into the cobwebby corners of my brain that house unwanted memories. There are some that lurk around. Some positive: my parents in their Star Wars Halloween costumes, sliding down the stairs on the Naugahyde sofa cushions; and some not quite so happy: getting violently ill from tomato soup (I wasn't able to eat it again until I was 20), hitting my head on a concrete step badly enough to require stitches, the giant, scary tortoise walking down the street. That last one might have been a dream. Anyhoo, I do have one memory from that time that has stuck with me all these years. It has absolutely nothing to do with the divorce, but that sets up the story.

My mom, younger sister and I had just moved to a new town. We had rented one side of a newish duplex in a development of block after block of the exact same buildings. I had begun kindergarten back in our old town, but due to the split, I was starting again in a new school. If I had been more prescient, I would have seen the foreshadowing and realized that this was to be the first of many school changes. They totaled twelve by the time I graduated from high school. But I was just five, so the subtleties were lost on me.

My first day at the new school, my mom walked me to the bus stop and waited with me, waving goodbye as the bus pulled off. At five, best friends are made over milk and cookies, so I had secured a pal who lived in my same neighborhood by the end of the day. When it came time to take the bus home, I assured the teacher that I knew where I was going and that I had my new buddy to help me. Imagine that sort of thing nowadays. The bus ride home was fun, I laughed with my new friend and we bonded over a discussion of the relative merits of wonder woman vs spider woman underoos. As we came to our development, I began to notice that the streets all looked the same and I got a little scared that I wouldn't know which stop was mine since I didn't even know what our street name was yet, but my new friend assured me that we were okay.

When we came to her stop, I got off with her, because I didn't know what else to do. We said our goodbyes and I looked around at the rows of duplexes that all looked exactly like ours and I had no idea where to go or what to do. The only thing I could think was that my best bet was to stay put and hopefully someone would find me. Meanwhile, my mom was waiting at my bus stop and when I wasn't on the bus, she panicked. She asked the bus driver about me, who, of course, had no recollection of one kid among the many she saw each day and couldn't tell her if I had been on the bus, let alone what stop I had gotten off at. My mom ran back to our house and hopped in her car and started driving around the neighborhood. I honestly don't know how long it took for her to find me, but I know that it felt like an eternity.

When she finally found me, she was fit to be tied. As she jumped out of the car to come over and hug me, she yelled at me for getting off at the wrong stop. That memory has haunted me ever since then. I never understood how my mom could yell at me for such an easy mistake. I think I have always harbored a little resentment about that. I was just a kid. I felt ashamed and hurt. And probably angry.

Now I am a parent in my own right. There have been plenty of times where my daredevil daughter has teetered precariously on the edge of a staircase or toddled faster than seems possible much closer to the street than I am comfortable with. And I have yelled. I yelled not because I was angry, but because I was scared. So scared that I couldn't even think. In those moments, I had a completely visceral response to my child's danger. And I finally understood.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Void

I'm having one of those days, those weeks, where I feel beat down. Trodden upon and left as roadkill. I haven't had a good night's sleep in forever. I yawn at 8pm, but when it comes time to lay head to pillow, I am wide awake. And wide awake I stay for hours. I have even resorted to taking sleep aids, to little avail. I just can't stop my brain from whirring. The little cogs and wheels kachinka-kachinka-kachinka while I work through the day's thoughts, chewing on the what-ifs and shouldas.

I'll blame this on female problems. On hormones gone wild. And there's validity to that. My system is none too reliable. But I hate to do that. I hate to point the finger at lady bidness. I don't want any future crankiness to instantly be labeled as "girl problems." Although, let's face it, they probably will be.

I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow. Probably not a good thing in this state of mind. It makes me want to do something drastic. Change. Not because it is necessary, but just for the sake of something different. I'm going through one of those spells where I feel stagnant. Nothing especially satisfies me. My weight loss has stalled out in the last week and it feels like the effort that I put into monitoring every goddamn calorie that goes into my mouth and the hours I spend at the gym are wasted. And it makes me want to go to town on a Whopper meal and follow it up with a triple decker hot fudge sundae from Friendly's.

Then I think about Oprah, and how she says that we're not eating for the food, we're eating to fill some other void and I wonder what my void is. Because it isn't work. I ate just the same then. And it isn't love, because I have the best and most loving husband and daughter. So what then? What is my void? Why does it have to be a void? Why can't it just be that I like cheeseburgers and sundaes and I want to gobble them up? Why does it always have to be about some deeper issue? Can't it sometimes just be what it is?

I want a Dr. Pepper. There's nothing deep about that.

Update: Had a playdate and bitchfest with a girlfriend this afternoon. I'm much better now*. Never mind.

*Every time I read/say this, I hear Harry's dad from Night Court. Who, incidentally, was played by John Astin, the original Gomez Addams (our cat is named Gomez after this character) and who now lives in Baltimore and teaches at Hopkins.

Have you stopped in over at BlogTrotting today?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

All Thumbs

I'm borrowing a theme from my friend Mep while she is away on vacation. Here are a few things that have me smiling. And a few that have left me shaking my head.

Thumbs up:
- We bought Mary Poppins this weekend. I was afraid that it would be too low-tech and old-fashionedy for our high tech daughter but she loves it as much as I do. I'm delighted to introduce a new generation to its supercalifragilisticexpialidocious goodness.

- I can't say enough just how much I love my iPhone. So much in fact, that it worries me a little.

- Chocolate Chex Mix. Have you tried this? It is absolutely divine. When I bought the bag I immediately divvied it up into the listed number of servings and put them in little snack baggies. Otherwise I would have eaten the whole bag all in one sitting and my diet would have been shot. How's that for self control?! (she says as she breaks her arm patting herself on the back)

- SITS Bloggy Boot Camp in a couple of weeks! Right here in Baltimore! Can't wait to see some of my favorite bloggers!

- Getting rid of a pair of jeans because they're just too big!

- That feeling when the the countdown timer on the treadmill/arc trainer/elliptical hits one minute and I get that last little surge of energy to push through those last 60 seconds.

- My birthday next week. Another year older. But it happens to be my monthly Hon Night dinner that very day, so I can pretend it's actually a birthday party all for me!

Thumbs down:
- The replaying of the Georgian luger's awful accident by NBC over and over and over again. I'm appalled by it. That poor man's family. It's just the worst kind of sensationalistic television and it makes me sick.

- I have to go to the lady doctor today. 'Nuff said.

- Not having Mary Poppins ability to snap and the house cleans itself. Sigh.

- The number of calories in Qdoba's Mexican Gumbo. This is one of my favorite dishes and I confess to thinking that while it was probably not a low-cal option, I didn't think it would be WORSE than a Big Mac meal. Wrong.

- I put a screen protector on my iPhone. It is a thin piece of adhesive plastic that is exactly the size of the touchscreen and must be VERY carefully placed. I managed to get it on there just right, but I got a little speck of something on the adhesive side and now there is a small bubble. There is no peeling it back and removing the speck, it will only make things worse. We learned that the hard way. It. drives. me. crazy.

What gets your thumbs up or thumbs down these days?

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Monday, February 15, 2010


You take a bunch of this on top of this:

And you add in this with a little bit of this:

 And you get this:

 And this:

Just another casualty of the Blizzard(s) of 2010.

I love you, honey! And can I say how glad I am that I wasn't the one that tried to get in the car when it was still frozen?

**Don't forget to poke your head into BlogTrotting today! We're visiting somewhere where they know a thing or two about snow.

Let me stress that my husband was not drunk nor had he been drinking when he broke the car handle. It was all his fault, let none of the blame fall on poor innocent beer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SNoMore 2010

PS - Just to clear up any confusion, Sophie did NOT say hi.That was me.

PPS - Hey Lula, Brandy, Heather - Did that stomping sound like Paranormal Activity or what? Imagine hearing that when you're in the basement and you don't realize Sophie isn't in the room with you.

PPPS - I was watching this for maybe the fifth time, when Neil asked me what I was doing. I was like, "THAT is what my voice sounds like? And you have to listen to that every day?" He says "Other than that you sound like you're doing a hostage video, your voice is fine." Fine. The ubiquitous FINE. As in How's Dinner? How do I look? What do you think of this rug? How about a trip to Jamaica? Okay, he didn't "fine" that last one. I wish.

Update: The snow FINALLY stopped this evening. We're still completely buried, but at least it's not coming down any more. Halle-frakking-lujah.

Update 2: The official total for this last storm was 19.5 inches. And we're calling it the "little" one.

Don't forget to stop in at Blogtrotting today! We're visiting a great blog and the giveaway for a beautiful wall decal is still open!

Monday, February 8, 2010

SnOMG 2010

(This was taken Friday night at about 10pm looking out at the street from our front door. At that point, we probably only had 5 or 6 inches, a teensy fraction of what was to come.)

By now you've no doubt heard all about the snowstorm that hammered the Mid-Atlantic region over the weekend. It is not an understatement to say that even though they told us it was coming, we were still awed by the sheer quantity of snow that descended on us. I am not sure about the official totals, but at our house we got about 25 inches. 25 INCHES!

Now comes the slow and difficult task of digging ourselves out. We have a fairly long driveway with only one snow shovel and no snow blower. After all, Maryland averages only 18.5 inches of snow a year. This year we have exceeded the greatest snowfall in a year EVER. (That's 63 inches!) We spent both Saturday evening and Sunday working on digging our way out. We're halfway there. Needless to say, Neil will be home from work tomorrow to continue this process.

(Neil enjoying a bottle of "Daddy's Little Helper" in the garage during a break from shoveling.)

Meanwhile, Sophie LOVES it. She runs around the house, clasping her hands together, saying "GO OUTSIIIIDE?!" She almost vibrates, she's so excited to get out in the snow. She even happily gets into her snow gear, if you can believe it. Once outside, she clambers through snow that is nearly as high as she is tall. She even "helped" us shovel with a tiki torch leftover from a backyard barbecue a few years back. (Note to anyone considering shoveling snow with a tiki torch: they are only exceeded in their ineffectiveness by their tackiness.) Every time we take her out, we have to drag her back in. She would stay out all day if we let her. 

Overall, we were lucky. We never lost power, as hundreds of thousands of poor souls in our region did, and the tv didn't even flicker during the worst of the storm. So for us, this has been a lovely couple of days spent enjoying each others' company and the amazing beauty of the white stuff.

Now they're predicting MORE snow for Tuesday. The last forecast I saw said 5 inches or more.

What a winter!

Have you stopped in at BlogTrotting? Not only are we on an amazing tour, we're having a giveaway!

Friday, February 5, 2010


We've been seeing a lot of this lately:

I don't mind telling you. It's starting to wear on me. The clingy, whiney, cry-y kid is not nearly as much fun as the laughing, running, jumping, cavorting one. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of that, too, my kid has more energy than BGE, but the balance has definitely tipped. I know the terrible twos didn't come by that name because they're so darn enjoyable, but I confess that I've been caught off guard by just how HARD this stage is.

What's scarier still is how many of my friends have told me that 3 is the new 2. And is perhaps worse.


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Wonderings

- I hung this on my door just before the blizzard of 2009 and since it's been up, we've had crazy snow. We got another six inches last night! I'm not going to say I have control over meteorological conditions, but you do the math. (Click on it for a larger image. It says Let It Snow.) ALERT: I just saw that we're supposed to get up to two feet later this week. YOWZA!

- I crossed down into a new 10s in my weight. I'm at my lowest since mid-2006 or so. I even squeezed my skinny ass into one of my pre-PRE-pregnancy jean skirts the other day. I'm like a supermodel or something.

- I just finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Loved. It. Go get it. Now. You're welcome.

- Speaking of help, Sophie's new thing is yelling out "HELP!" when we take her away from something she wants to be doing. Which is kinda funny at home but not so much when I'm trying to wrangle her on my way out of a store. While my fellow customers contemplate calling social services.

- I made "Greek" spaghetti and meatballs last night, which by the time I got done modifying it was not very Greek (I used spaghetti instead of orzo and beef instead of lamb), but who's counting. Anyhoo. Neil was raving about it until I told him the secret ingredient in the meatballs: cinnamon. Then he was like, "I don't know, it tastes so CINNAMON-Y. Can't we just have regular spaghetti and meatballs." Note to self: Next time, SHUT UP. Do not mention the something unusual about the food.

- Did y'all watch Lost last night? Are you as confused as I am? 15 episodes left. I am sad for it to be over, it's good TV, but I am READY to understand what the hell has been going on for the last six years.

Have you checked in over at Blogtrotting yet?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Funny Word Verification 3

Crainkey - What I am in the morning.

Balsac - Is explanation really necessary here?

Spenses - I'd like to go shopping, but we got spenses and they's no money left.

Intheed - That boy ain't right, intheed

Nartze - My favorite new curse word.

Repoo - The result when the dog goes snacking in the litter box.

Pingly - I'm all pingly in anticipation of the season premier of LOST tonight!

Blogtrotting - A portmanteau of web log and globe trotting. It's a virtual travel experience you don't want to miss!*

What word verification did you get?

*How was that for a subtle plug?