Monday, July 31, 2006

My Laptop: Not Just an Expensive, Useless Accessory

It turns out I can get hooked up to the 'net in a remote location, and when said location is a convention for women bloggers and the wireless network is incapable of handling the traffic from all those women, blogging, the ethernet cable works great. I got to post with pictures and everything.

I like to see what people wear when they travel, so in the airport I do a lot of people watching and take notice of the various ensembles. I have learned something from doing this, and I am here to impart that knowledge to you. To be truly comfortable while traveling, one needs to dress in a skirt or a dress with sandals. The whys and wherefores are as follows:

1. It minimizes, no, it eliminates the issue of bare legs sticking to vinyl seats. It doesn't matter if there is air conditioning, your legs will ALWAYS stick to vinyl. It's the lesser-known law of physics.

2. You will not be the victim of too-large looking legs when you sit down and your leg fat spreads. (Yes, you; we all have this problem, even if there is no fat; when you sit, whatever is there, spreads.)

3. You will never again feel the effects of sleep deprivation nor experience crow's feet. Allright, so it won't solve all your problems, but it will solve other things. Like the other three, listed right here.

4. Sandals make flying these days more bearable, on that you can rely. Think about this: if you have a laptop as your carry-on, you must remove it from its bag and send it through the conveyor belt x-ray machine separately, and then repackage it on the other side. You also have to deal with having at the ready your id and your boarding pass, and if you wore athletic shoes, untying, removing and then retying your shoes while keeping an eye on your purse, laptop, and various and sundry children for whom you are responsible.

I say, who needs it? (The hassle, not the children.)

Make life easier and reduce the amount of visible leg fat? It's practically my new motto.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Post From BlogHer

Being at BlogHer has been wonderful, if a little overwhelming. Repeatedly I look at faces, hoping to recognize my favorite bloggers, whom I read on a daily basis. Each time I try to search out their blog's name, I realize how futile an endeavor that really is. Of those that do post their photos, I can't connect their name to their blog's name. That's just too much for me to take in and retain in the part of my brain reserved for memory with is tiny and fly-sized. I find myself staring, in a way that I like to think of as covertly but turns out to be not so much so, at the nametags hanging at about bellybutton level to try and interpret their identity and their blog.

Today, I met Jessica of Very Mom, when I told her how much a post she had written many months ago and with such honesty meant a lot for me. It was about how she had a hard time revealing herself because of being afraid of confrontations or of offending someone, and about finding courage to talk about what may be controversial subjects. She wrote about this at a time when I was experiencing a shift in my life related to how I interact with people. I wanted to move away from being afraid to the point of not saying anything sometimes, for fear of causing offense, to being more honest and true to myself and then letting the chips fall where they may. Adopting this attitude and then successfully implementing it into one's life also means accepting the consequences from doing such, if any, which further scared me. I mean, what if someone got MAD at me, which was the worst thing in the world, then my head blew up and killed three people??? This was a real fear I had.

Jessica possesses, in addition to an honest nature, long arms which come in handy when blogger-fan wants to take a picture but can't quite manage a good one with her own puny arms. Thank you!

I met a drunken Amalah, who is hilarious, just like I thought she would be. I spent a lot of time talking to her and also her babysitter, who also has a blog and who I mistook for another blogger. She's a sweet girl who definitely has the goods on Amy.

I talked with Mindy for quite a while, which I was so excited to do because she and I have some rather startling similarities to do with life experiences that were coincidental down to the same date, same year. Which, freaky. She's sweet and funny, and very open. I also talked with Phil for a bit about hotel room service and also the spirit of the blogosphere and how there's room for everybody but some people don't seem to think so when they leave nasty comments. He was very friendly, and went with the flow of rapidly changing topics spanning mere minutes of conversation.

(Picture with Mindy is not here because the camera flash rendered her black dress to be less than opaque, so I'm not going to publish it until I can do some work in Photoshop to it.)

There are some amazing women here who can write like all get out, with passion and heartfelt, articulate expression. I wanted to meet them and add their blogs to my bookmarks, and see who I might have a connection with.

I don't know what will end up coming from all of this, but I am glad for what I have right now: the experience of meeting many wonderful writers, a long list of new blogs to read, and cocktail hour which is upon me.

Ta ta.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I Have Arrived...

...and I managed to get online despite never having done so at a remote location before.

I'm hooked up to a high speed connection, ya'll.

(I don't know why I said "ya'll", I'm from Oregon.)

High speed, it is The Shit. I just can't wiggle the cable AT ALL, because it's really loose and will lose the connection. I know because I've done this already. I spent over half an hour trying to get it to connect and read the foreign, digital language and then finally hook me up with some satisfying processing sounds.

Finally, I can't believe it. I am here. Holy cow.

I am in a hotel with some really cool bloggers I know of, and many that I don't but can't wait to meet. I need to find some food and a drink, check in at the conference so I can go to the cocktail party, then get a shower and decide upon an outfit for said party.

Oh, and the toenail polish dilemma? Was decided late last night: RED.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

In Preparation

So. I don't leave for BlogHer until tomorrow since I don't have a ticket for the first day (which is tomorrow). Boo hoo, but also, yay, I get an extra day to pack!

I am currently having a crisis: what color to paint my toenails? I want to go with red but can't quite commit since I might want to wear pink shorts. The main colors of the clothes that I might take are in the range of brown capris, orange Indian tunic, aqua top, and a black skirt, among others. I'm still thinking of going with red, but I don't know what I'm wearing during the day Saturday.

Crisis, I tell you!!!

Also, am finishing cleaning the house. Let me tell you, this is not going so badly since I've started doing a "little bit here, a little bit there" every day, and also do not get on the internet in the morning until I've accomplished a couple of things. And then also limit my internet time, like some kind of responsible adult/parent. I've just got a few things left to do, like pick up the dining room table, aka The Receptacle Of Everything That Enters The House. OH will not freak out with a dirty house to inhabit in my absentia.

I'm not going to be up until midnight finishing laundry, either, which will be weird and so not like me, but I may be up late deciding upon a nail polish color. Still, with the nail polish. Have you ceased caring? Did you care in the first place? Right.

I've decided that if I'm going to be an obscure blogger and show up at a blogging convention where fellow bloggers, albeit the non-obscure types whose page views exceed the one thousand mark - per day - I'd better damn well have the right color of toenail polish. Because I know EVERYONE will be looking out for that.

I really don't know what to expect. I feel like I'm inviting myself to the cool kids' party and I just know there's going to be a bucket of pig's blood at the end of the evening except for the fact that the bloggers I know of who are going seem so nice and not at all the dump-a-bucket-of-blood-on-your-head type. Not at all. I'm back to not knowing what to expect. I'm kind of freaking. Can you tell?

Must go pack now. Bye.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

C'est Moi

It's amazing the coincidental experiences one can have with others in the virtual space of the internet. For example, Her Bad Mother wrote about an experience she just had that I also experienced. Last week. Even though I don't know this woman, I feel like the shared experience makes us the equivalent of BFF sisters because, dude. It's quite a rollercoaster of emotion, that.

I thought that I wasn't ready for another baby. I thought mostly about the lack of sleep, the crying, the physical havoc from hormones, and the mental havoc from all the crying....not to mention the fact that I just got married last year and I'm still trying to figure out this whole stay-at-home mom thing. When I think about it so logically and distantly, why would I ever choose that? It doesn't sound appealing in the least to any person.

Then again, my child is five YEARS old, not five MONTHS old. How much time do I need? If we don't have another child pretty soon they might be an entire generation apart in age. I don't want to wait too long. And then I started to think about babies and how chubby and sweet-smelling they are, how the screaming and crying doesn't last because they grow up so quickly, and how wonderful the smiles and hugs and slobbery kisses are....well, that's an appealing idea. Besides, I love my husband and I want to have a baby with him. I wonder what our child will be like. I know that the experience with him will be very different than when I had OC. It's very clear to me: I want that.

I'm glad I experienced the rollercoaster because for too long I'd been thinking logically and worked up a healthy (or unhealthy) fear about the prospect. Now, I know that I do want it to happen. Instead of worrying about the hard things, I look forward to the rewarding, wonderful things, and delight in wondering things like will it be a boy or a girl? What will life be like with a new baby in the family? What will it be like to have a boy? Or another girl? Will they have curly hair or straight? Will they be short or tall?

And I feel really good about where I am; looking forward to the changes. Even the things that will be hard. That is a much better place to be.

In other news, I'm going to Blogher. Since I don't have tickets for the first day's session I actually fly down on Friday in time to attend the event I could find tickets for, the cocktail party. I also attend the Day Two session. And, because of my recent experience, will be enjoying cocktails freely.

Of course, the readership (namely, lack thereof) of this little blog leads me to wonder if anyone will know me. I don't want to be the unknown weird girl standing off by herself, further engendering distance from the well-known blogging world by being so damn self-conscious. I don't want to be a blog groupie/freak, excited about seeing my favorite bloggers without them having a clue about me.

I suspect I am not alone in my fears, although it sure feels that way. I'm going to go into it looking to make connections with other bloggers and to learn something along the way. What else can I do?

For your reference, this is me:

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Finally! Some pictures!!!

We went to visit my mom in Idaho last month and stayed at their house in McCall, which is right on the lake:

It was hot enough to go swimming:

We hadn't planned on doing so, but we were walking through town to check out the shops and we ended up going into one and painted our own ceramics. I had never done that before. OC chose a My Little Pony figurine:

My mom chose a sun:

On the way home our plane flew right by Mt. Hood, and I took this picture:

The whole stay at home mommy thing is going better. I have been able to blog, email, and read blogs, plus water and weed the garden and get some work done inside the house. Who knew the secret was to not spend all day on the internet? Amazing. Whatever.

I have been having trouble with getting OC to listen to me, but after an incident last week things have been going better. We were at a furniture store and I told her not to touch anything. Two seconds later, she touched something. TWO SECONDS LATER. We left immediately and walked to the restroom where we had some privacy, I got down to eye level with her and told her exactly what she did wrong, told her I was disappointed in her misbehavior, and gave her one swat on the tushie. She has listened well ever since.

I don't plan to spank her every time she misbehaves. In fact, that's maybe the second one she's ever gotten in her life. My goal is to be consistent with enforcing what I say, and to follow through with consequences (timeouts, taking away priveleges, and extra chores) every time. The furniture store touching was so willful I felt the need to make an impression. I told her I loved her and that I was only disappointed in her behavior, especially since I had just told her not to touch anything. She knew what she had done. We had a good afternoon after that.

She's still a happy, harmonica-playing princess:

Friday, July 21, 2006


My daughter is in her room playing with her Leap Pad. I can hear her repeating what the particular book has to say, but I wonder if she is paying attention to what is really going on.

For example, when Leap Pad says: "Let's play a game!"

OC says: "Let's play a game!"

And when Leap Pad says: "Find an empty pail."


Leap Pad says: "Nice work! You found an empty pail. Empty is the opposite of Full."

And then Leap Pad says: "It's time to change your batteries! You'll need two AA batteries!"

OC repeats the same.



It's been 11 days since my last post.

I could go on (and on) about how I've been struggling with the transition, and unable to find time to blog or be on the internet. It's true that in my first few weeks at home from work I had a bit of a problem tearing myself away from the internet and neglected the work that had to be done. My husband had a bit of a meltdown last week and got mad at me about it. He was right (although I wish he could talk to me about distressing things without yelling...he's working on that one) and I've gotten a lot done since then. However, the pendulum has swung too far the other way now, because I haven't been online since.

I don't want to talk too much about it, lest I bore however many readers I may have managed to retain during that unplanned hiatus. Let's just say that my mom called, worried about me. Hiatus is over.

Here's the thing: I love writing. I love working out an idea and telling a story. This is important to me and it's something that I need to make a regular part of my day, even though I also need to get all my crap unpacked and keep the house clean.

Allright then, that's what I'm going to do. Also? Will put up pictures on a regular basis. All this blahblahblah is getting to be BORING. I know I still need to finish talking about our trip to Ireland from way back in April and May of this year.

Another item I want to cover is how this week OC attended vacation bible school, where she had a great time. My sister now calls me the Church Lady, but I can assure you I am so NOT.

It is 103 degrees here today. ONE HUNDRED AND THREE. Did I mention I live in temperate Portland, Oregon, where it is not supposed to get this hot? I would like to know what gives.

And now, I give you OC in her gymnastics cover up outfit holding her original drawing of the Scooby Doo monster, the Yowee Yahoo:

Have you ever seen Scooby Doo and the Legend of the Vampire? You really should check it out.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hometown Blues

My small hometown hosted a lavender festival this weekend. This was news to me. I only knew about it after I noticed a flyer posted at the coffee shop in my current town of residence (which is about 15 miles away). Apparently this is the 6th year for the festival, but as far as I knew the only event there'd ever been was Derby Days.

I haven't been to my hometown in a year or more, because it makes me sad since my family doesn't live there anymore. I know I should think of the happy memories, but typically the sadness is overwhelming when I have been there. My solution? Geographic avoidance. I'm sure that's totally healthy.

As we reached the city limits (town limits - it's really small), I breathed deeply while thinking happy thoughts. I was still doing this when after a few blocks I spotted two women and two kids walking together. It took me milliseconds to realize who it was: my friend J, her two kids and her mom, and they were one block away from J's mom's house. J must be visiting this month from Alaska! I turned the car around and pulled into their driveway, where the look on their faces clearly showed what they were thinking: who in the hell is the crazy woman who waved at us, turned her car around, and is now parked in our driveway?

(Ha! The joke is on them because I also exclaimed with joy at seeing them, but my car windows were up and they didn't hear it!)

OC is the same age as J's daughter, while her son is one year younger so they almost immediately played fairly happily together while we chatted.

After our visit, OC & I headed to the lavender festival, which consisted of one block of tents and a little Victorian house which has been converted to a cute store. It was here that I searched each person's face looking for someone I recognized but there was no one.

We had lavender lemonade, looked at all kinds of lavender-related products as well as jewelry, and then we got hot so we left.

It was good to go to my hometown, but I am really glad to have seen J, a longtime friend whom I wouldn't have seen had I stayed away for fear of experiencing bad memories. Instead, I had a good day and the nice surprise of the company of an old friend.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

What's Been on My Mind Lately

I will just go ahead say it: I have been having a little trouble lately. It's this whole transitioning from full-time working mommy to full-time at home mommy that has me feeling rootless and more than a little perplexed and what I am supposed to be doing. Which begs two questions, "Supposed to be doing?" and "Says who?"

Sez me, I guess. I don't know what I expect from myself out of this time. Maybe that's my problem.

When I worked (as a graphic designer - *sniff* - I really do miss my last job) I knew what I needed to do each day. It was nice to hear things like "thank you" and "this is great" at the end of one project or another. The accomplishment of the work felt good. And now, well, it's so much more relative. The goals for each day are so much more...elusive.

There's the time I know I need to devote to OC, but she demands a lot of time all throughout the day. When can I say "Go play" and not fear doing detriment to my child?

It's not so clear what needs doing when you are at home. It ALL needs doing. What first? When? How much? And what about that sense of accomplishment? I know I get a lot done in a day, and there is also a lot that doesn't get done. How much is enough?

How excited can one really be about how I folded that last load of laundry? No one is going to talk about it and say, "That last load you dried, wow, that was great! I love clean shirts!" Nor do I expect them to. I don't really know WHAT to expect. All I know is, at the end of the day, I wonder if I've done enough with all that there is still to do. At an office, you leave it and go home. When home is your work, there it is, all the time, for anyone to see and comment upon or criticize.

There is still something inside of me that craves approval from others. (You don't get much of that with laundry, let me tell you.) It's not quite enough for me (yet) to make a list, do those things, and be content. I am left wondering, "Is this enough? Will OH be happy?" because I don't have a gauge to measure What I Should Be Doing.

The whole house needs to be cleaned, but it isn't going to happen in a day. Meanwhile, the parts that got cleaned last week will just get dirty again. How do I strike a balance between getting done the things that need to be done, playing with my child, and oh yeah, doing things to replenish myself so I don't go batshit crazy?

I think the whole internet is trying to answer those questions. Anybody come to any conclusions yet?

I don't have a new baby, I am home with a 5-year old, and this is new to both of us. That is the one big difference I have noticed with most of the at-home moms whose blogs I have been reading.

Don't hate me because I'm not dealing with poopy diapers. Believe me, I get how hard that is to have a new baby, with all the hormones, constant demands of a newborn, not to mention body issues going on.

Even so, this is hard, too. I need to connect with people who are in this same situation. By doing so, hopefully soon, I will figure it out and relax into a new flow in life, and find that this feels normal. That what I set out for myself to do each day is enough.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dad and Country

Sixty five years ago a little boy was born. Through a series of events which included a stint at an orphanage at age 3, adoption at age 4, fighting fires in the summer with the Forest Service, a music scholarship to college, marriage, the Marine Corps and two tours of duty in Vietnam, four kids (one adopted), divorce, remarriage, one step-child, and a long career with the Sheriff's Office, you get my dad in a nutshell. This doesn't begin to describe him or his generosity or sweetness or integrity or humor, of course. He was my step-dad. A man who wasn't biologically required to love me, but loved me because he wanted to.

He's not here to celebrate with us anymore. I wanted to say happy birthday, and even though I don't know how to celebrate without you here, I'm trying to be happy anyway.

I love you, dad. I really miss you.