Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sometimes Chores are Hard

Once, Aaron and I got locked out of our apartment in the middle of the night, when we lived in the ghetto-with-a-capitol-G of Redding. We were stepping out just for a moment to run some last-minute laundry down to the laundry room in preparation for going out of town the next day, and Aaron, out of reflex, locked the door behind him. Funny thing was, since it was laundry time, we were both half-naked; neither of us had any pockets, which meant no keys. We climbed back up to the stairs to our front door to try and solve the puzzle before us. First we tried messing with the door and window but couldn't break ourselves back in, a partially reassuring discovery, considering the reason he was so accustomed to constantly locking the door in the first place. We waked around the back of the building and discovered the bedroom window to our apartment was still open, so all we needed was a ladder! We called our apartment's emergency services line, and left a message, knowing they would likely get it on Monday. Not knowing where else to turn, we called the fire department. They offered no help, telling us, "If we did it for you, we'd have to do it for everyone." Aaron was so irritated! He ranted for awhile about how unsafe it was to have his cute wife was trapped outside her ghetto apartment, braless and in tiny shorts--all we needed was a ladder, not a parade, and what else did the fire dept. of a tiny city have to do in the middle of the night? We ended up hiking over to a nearby waterpark where thankfully, there was a maintenance crew working on some equipment (a lawn mower, I think?). They laughed as they passed a rather tall ladder over the fence and the two of us trotted back through the weeds to the back wall of our little place, awkwardly swaying as the ladder jostled between us. Aaron scrambled up the rungs, hopped through the window and let us back in, then I put some more clothes on and we returned the ladder, along with some baked goods we happened to have made.

To this day, I have a great deal of faith in lawn mower maintenance and repair men.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Drafting an Important Letter

I'm trying to decide which of these messages will be most effective. Feel free to weigh-in in the comments.

Dear Baby,
Your mother is tired of being huge. Please make your way to the exit.
Krisann's body

Dear Daughter,
We are impatient to see your face and snuggle you all day long. Also, it's pretty nice out here. Join us, won't you?

Attn: Tiny Person
This is your eviction notice. You no longer fit within the confines of the womb, and must now evacuate. A larger home has been provided for you, and is now ready to be inhabited.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Creativity Breeds Creativity

I put on some music and started a painting project I've been hoping to get to for weeks now, and while I was working, the words to a poem boiled up inside me so powerfully, I had to stop painting and run to my desk to write them all down. The poem has been rolling around in there for a couple of weeks too, but they are completely unrelated... I'm amazed at how the simple act of steadily adding brushstrokes unlocked and rush-delivered the words to the front of my thoughts.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Tale of the Reservoir

She hadn't slept much the night before. A few scant hours between 2 and 6:30am, not nearly enough for a woman who could go into labor any day, but nevertheless she was wide awake. She decided on a lengthy shower, reminding herself how rare such a thing would be in the coming days. The quiet time in the stillness of the morning was invigorating.

Aaron rose at 9:00, begrudgingly. They had both stayed up late, far too late each night for the past two weeks, working against that delivery clock, trying to finish deep cleaning every pocket of the apartment, making ready for the new baby. He left for his meeting and she prepared breakfast, anticipating their toddler would wander in at any moment, sporting her usual slightly sleepy, but happy, morning face.

Miah popped out of her room a few minutes later. "Good morning, Mama. I'm hungry!" Her sweet greeting came through rubbed eyes and disheveled hair. Miah happily sat down to her traditional breakfast, but adorably requested the peanut butter jar, asking, "Can I lick it wis my fingers?"

The woman was quickly growing weary, and knew her body would beg of her a reprieve, and soon. The lady and her daughter shared their breakfast, and then, both still in their pajamas, headed back to her bed. She planned to settle in to a by-now very familiar snuggle routine. She would recover some of the rest she missed the night before while her daughter snuggled up to her, watching a cartoon about spelling. Forty-six minutes of catch-up sleep were about to be hers.

They had just settled in under the covers, her eyes already dropping into sweet slumber, when her phone rang. She started awake and checked the caller ID: a local number, but one she didn't recognize.

"Hi babe, it's me."
"Oh, hi."
"Sooooo, the motorcycle doesn't have a gas gauge. Can you bring me the gas can?"
"Ooooookay... where are you?"
"The parking lot of The Movement church."
"Okay, it'll just be a few minutes."

She looked down at her sweet daughter, all snuggled up against her, engrossed in her show. She looked at her fluffy blanket. She ignored her sinking heart as she sat up in her bed. A strategy was necessary to pry them both away from their comforts. She knew of one tactic that was sure to make the transition from peaceful rest to quick action successful, but it was one she hesitated to employ. This was the unmentionable, unplayable card. Was it worth it, to bring the forbidden tool into play?

The clock was ticking. It was already ten to 11:00. She needed to get up and out the door, and quickly. There was no choice. She'd have to use it.

"Miah, did you hear, the phone was ringing? That was Daddy. ...He's in trouble! The motorcycle is stuck." She took a deep breath, and sang, "This is sewious! We have to help him!"

Miah's eyes lit up. She jumped up from her spot and immediately responded, finishing the song with a robust, "Let's save the Daddy! Let's save the Daddy!"

They both dressed quickly, rehashing the song and circumstances again and again. Miah revelled in repeating the song over as they prepared to leave.
"We are the Wonder Pets, mama?"
"Yes, sweetheart. Right now, you and me are the Wonder Pets."

They arrived at the parking lot, having sung through their rescue plan at least sixteen times. She rolled down the window to instruct Aaron to jump in; the gas station wasn't far, and they could be back before noon.

"DADDY! We're here for the rescue!"
"Sooooo... the motorcycle has a reserve tank. I tried to call you."
"... Uh huh."
"Since you're here, do you want to follow me to the gas station, just in case?"
"Daddy! We saved the Daddy!"

The rest of the trip was finished with the corresponding success song on repeat. "Wonder Pets! Wonder Pets! We found a way, to help the Daddy and save the day! We're not too big and we're not too tough, but when we work together, we've got the right stuff! Goooooo Wonder Pets! Hooray!"

Another sixteen times.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Adopt-a-Closet Program: A How-To Guide

Congratulations on choosing to make a healthy, well-balanced closet a part of your home! When a person chooses a closet, they may not realize the huge commitment to care, maintenance, and love they are signing up for, and before you know it, things can fall into terrible disarray.

I'm here to tell you all about how you can help your closet. How do I know so much about closet care? I myself once adopted a sweet little closet, and unfortunately, my assumptions about closets' needs brought my new friend, over time, to a very ill state. Thankfully, I got the training and help I needed before it was too late, and I'm now the proud owner of two beautiful, vivacious closets: Ike and Gilly. After all I've learned, I'd like to help you save your closets from the suffering mine felt.

Closets are a beautiful breed of creatures, and I'm passionate about their care. This is my first closet, and today we share a bond built on weeks of hard work and rehabilitation, after I rescued it from very nearly becoming a Closet Monster.

1. Dietary Needs
The first step to caring for a closet is loving it well, and that means a good diet. Take it from me, you simply can not just feed it every scrap you have lying around. This will lead to bloating and terrible indigestion, not to mention some perplexing smells. A closet is a lot like you; if you stuff yourself with junk, you too will emit noxious gasses, be sluggish and irritable, and suffer long-term health problems. Thoughtfully consider what you put in your closet's diet. Does it need to be in there, or is it just convenient? Set up a diet plan that works for your family, and stick to it!

Also consider: most breeds of closet will need additional dietary supplements to support their bone structure. Even closets with very high pedigree will need a little extra support to truly be at their best.
For Ike, our elder closet, we use a Bone Support formula very similar to this one, ClosetMaid 899800 8-Cube Stackable Laminate Organizer, Espresso which helps meet it's special needs. Many varieties exist on the market today, one of the most popular being the Dresser Boosters System, which we use on our pup closet, Gilly. She functions really well on this system, and we feel assured, every time we look at her, that she's got what she needs to stay strong and fit for the duration of her life.

Whatever brand you choose, know that this is truly what gives your little closet friend the start it needs to enjoy a long, healthy, happy life. I recommend adding such a formula to your closet as early as possible in it's life with you, to help avoid health complications later.

2. Routine Workouts
Now that you understand the basics of a closet's diet, you can start working on rehabilitating yours. You will need to start with an intense cleansing period. It may seem harsh, but it is your closet's only hope for recovery. Begin by deciding what your closet truly needs to thrive. Find a different home for the rest, or throw it out if it's garbage.

Regularly re-vist this process as your closet grows. It's needs will change as it ages, and it will reward you with it's companionship if you loving make adjustments as time goes on. Leave a little room for improvement, always.

Monthly work-outs will ensure your closet stays fit and healthy. Revisit diet plans if need-be, and ensure that your closet has plenty of access to fresh air, daily.

3. Be a Team
Make sure everyone in your family is on board with the closet care plan you create. It won't help if someone is still regularly sneaking junk in, will it? Work together to truly love your closet, and you will feel loved in return, every time you open the door.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Local Woman Sets Example, Eats Dinner, Dessert.

A San Diego County woman is hoping to set a good example for her three-year-old daughter by eating all of dinner before dessert.

Krisann Gentry explained in an interview Tuesday evening, "I'm nine months pregnant, and all I really wanted was this delicious frozen yogurt thing I make. I take an all-fruit popsicle and mix it with some yogurt, and it's just so good. Creamy, but lighter on the stomach than ice cream, because there's less sugar, and stuff. I thought about it all day and didn't really want anything else. But I have to think about my little girl--she watches me, you know."

Gentry, against every instinct, made and then shared a full dinner of bow tie pasta with a peppery marinara sauce and a small side salad, before indulging in her craving.

Health experts agree that establishing good routines at mealtime could be key to battling childhood obesity and other eating problems in the child's future.

But Gentry, who said she considers herself a fairly health-conscious person, still had to battle the overwhelming urges to succumb to her hormonal demands for sweets.

"Thank God there wasn't any chocolate in the house, or I for sure would have been sneaking bits of it while I was making dinner, just praying my daughter wouldn't find me," she added, noting afterward that even though she ate the full meal and dessert, she was hungry again and ate a bowl of tuna salad, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, just two hours later.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Closet Purge

The things I've learned while nesting...

1. Throw stuff away right away, or else.
2. Giving gifts of small forgotten odds and ends to children can and will instantly brighten your day. (I gave Miah a shell from who-knows-when, and she gasped in delight, put her hand on her cheek and said, "I can't believe this. A present, for me? A shell from the beach? I can't believe this.")
3. Pregnancy hormones make you emotional, which in turn makes it tough to toss sentimental junk. These urges are at battle with the same pregnancy hormones that make you want to clean and organize everything until your fingers bleed. There is no winner of this battle.
4. Three-year-old Starbursts do not hold up as well as three-year-old Tootsie Rolls.
5. Organization is worth the work. Guaranteed.

Two Boxes in Two Days

I am convinced that all cereals are loaded with addictive substances.

It's natural to assume that someone like me, with zero interest in cooking, would reach often for ease, convenience, and deliciousness in a bowl. When I tumble out of bed in the morning with leaded eyelids, dragging myself into the kitchen to make breakfast for my bright-eyed and bracingly chipper toddler, cereal is my godsend. My repertoire for late night snacks may include a plethora of fattening and delicious brownie, cookie, or ice creamy options (and other chocolatey, pastry temptations), so if I'm trying to reign in the sweet tooth a bit, why wouldn't I go more often for a small bowl of cereal? I can see how readily and happily I lean on it, like a meal time crutch made of sweet, pressed flakes of various grains, but considering my options, surely I'm excused from the cereal over-consumption equation.

Nope. We have absolutely no excuse. My husband is a chef. He loves to cook, and regularly makes incredible dishes. Dishes which result in leftovers. Leftovers are just as easy as a bowl of cereal, sometimes easier. And yet...

Cereal casts a spell of beckoning on the human brain. A thousand options might stand before you, but one mention of cereal and suddenly nothing else sounds delicious. When you need to eat, but just can't seem to decide what you're hungry for, throw the cereal option into the ring, and watch how fast all hands reach for their spoons. Little-known fact: the Sirens in The Odyssey were actually not such great singers; their alluring power came from waving boxes and bowls of cereal at passing ships. Those little devils.

Have you ever read the ingredients on the average box of cereal? We tend to buy the more health-oriented ones, all grainy and branny and wholesomer than Lepro-charms and such. Even so, what is Thiamin Mononitrate, or Niacinamide? These could very well be crack, people.

(This illustration is my little tribute to a favorite blog: Hyperbole and a Half, which you should definitely be reading.)

I've decided to begin a quest to respect the power of cereal. I imagine I might go through some pretty intense withdrawal symptoms if I cut it out entirely, so I'm just going to wean and see what happens. I may check myself into a celebrity rehab/spa, too, just to be safe.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

You had to know it was only a matter of time...

Pregnancy rant:

I practically suffocate at the sight of pregnancy-related reading materials. All the reproduction related books, guides, and websites seem to cling to one of two philosophies: incredibly clinical or overly-warm and endearing. I really must take a minute each day to revel in my own snarky brand of embracing the incredible conundrum that is my body, building a little human, lest I go insane.

Case in point: I cannot say how many times I've read or heard someone spouting about how beautiful, thick, and luscious their hair was during pregnancy. This is partially true, but the reality is not that your hair itself gets thicker. Rather, the surge of hormones communicates to the body that the normal amount of "shedding" should cease and the body should hang onto as much of that hair as possible, likely for strategic heating purposes, intended to protect mothers who gave birth while living in the dark ages, or Alaska. So, a fuller mane is something to be appreciated, yes?

Ugh. No.

First and foremost, these hormones don't last forever, so you can expect a mass exodus of your prized locks (if that's even how it worked out for you; it tends for most to be more awkward than anything) sometime after delivery. Picture yourself sneaking away from all the new mothering world entails for a quick, refreshing shower. As you shampoo your hair, gobs and gobs of it begin to rinse out into your hands. This can happen several times before you're finished with your hormone purge. Sounds delightful, doesn't it?

Additionally, hair does not only grow on heads, ladies, and this hormone hair-retention mandate affects you from head to toe. I pluck my eyebrows four times more often when pregnant than when not pregnant. Shaving is an utter nightmare; equilibrium goes out the window, and successfully bending and stretching around the belly to try and commence with a deforestation operation on the legs is notoriously challenging. The activity is currently under consideration by the International Olympic Committee to be added as a new event in the Summer games. I'm a modest and compassionate person, so I'll save you from the description of what it's like to try and groom those "hard to reach" places with a bowling ball sized obstruction keeping quarters in your midsection.

Nevertheless, I do my best to make building a baby, and all the stuff and nonsense that entails, look good.

37.5 weeks down, roughly 17 days to go. I wonder how many more pregnancy rants will find their way to this blog before she's delivered?

Time to make something to be placed directly into the filing cabinet, never to be seen again.

Remarkability. That's what I've been waiting for.

I've started and maintained several bogs in the past, with a range of themes and purposes, and with a degree of success. It is important to note here that success is defined as not-forgetting-about-that-blog-I-have-and-should-really-post-on-regularly. Each has inevitably fallen into disuse and some time passes before I find myself with an itch to communicate in this format once again.

About what?

Good question, self.

Months have been lost in the quiet wait for something remarkable or inspiring enough to happen; a sudden occurrence to spur me into a dazzling display of creative genius can be waited upon no longer. Genius has not offered itself to me, so I will have to capture it. Process pending. I'll keep you posted.