Archive | December, 2009

The Resolutions for 2010

This will also remain posted on a separate page so I can constantly look at them.

1. Eat Less, Move More. Bryan and I did this in 2009, and saw HUGE impacts from it.  This year, we will eat meals on salad plates instead of dinner plates to keep portions under control; we will walk the dog at LEAST once a day; and we will make smarter choices when it comes to food that we bring into the house.

2. Stop Feeding the Diet Machine. In my house, we often dissuade guilt by buying “Low Fat”, “Reduced Sugar”, or “Natural” food products.  Truth is, it doesn’t make a difference.  I read an article where a dietitian recommended eating full fat.  Whole milk, full-fat cheese, nothing called “diet”.  Because?  You’ll feel full faster, and you’ll enjoy food more.  I think we’re going to try that for a year.

3. Money.  MONEY. Bryan and I are doing SO MUCH BETTER about money, but 2009 was INCREDIBLY hard.  The economy was in the toilet, and when one income depends solely on commissions from sales?  Well, the whole house feels that pinch.  My goal is to live frugally enough to pay off ALL of our debt (excluding our house) by the end of 2010.  In fact, I’m going to do whatever necessary to have all credit cards paid and closed, the car loan paid off, and anything else taken care of.  I refuse to be a slave to money any longer.

4. Be a better pet owner.  We have a fabulous new puppy who needs to training and discipline.  We fell short with Charlie (God rest his soul) and I refuse to let that happen again.  We will be working on socialization and training this year with Beau so that he can enjoy being a dog and we can enjoy owning him.

5. Make any endeavor worth doing.  I haven’t really talked about it on here because I wasn’t sure of a timeline, but Ronda and I are starting an online venture called Southern Fried Snark.  We are SO psyched about it and we hope it becomes a regular thing because, dude, WE GET A FORUM TO SNARK!, and I’m really wanting it to be something REAL.  It’s a love of labor right now, but I just want to pour myself into it to make it successful, whatever success might be.

6. Go back to school.  I’ve been talking about doing this for years, but now?  Now I need to.  I’ve reached a place where I can’t move forward any more until I’ve got some schooling under my belt.  I haven’t figured out when or what school, but it’s gotta start this year.

7. Give $25 a month to a charity organization.  Bryan surprised me with my FAVORITE Christmas present: a donation to Operation Smile, which is a charity that I feel VERY strongly about.  I was surprised at the feelings that it brought out in me, and I think it made Bryan realize how important giving is to me.  We’re going to find $25 a month to give to various charities, and I also plan to have the boys make some blankets for Project Linus.

8. Cut myself some slack.  If I want two cookies?  I’m gonna eat ’em.  If I’m too tired to clean after work, dinner, and putting the kids down?  I’m gonna watch tv.  If I want to sleep in instead of doing a long run on a Saturday morning?  I’m going to sleep in.  I owe no one any answers, and I owe myself a LOT more slack.  I juggle a helluva lot, and I need to remember that I’m only human.

What do you have on your resolution list?

Comments { 8 }

2009 Wrap-Up

I did this last year, and I thought, Why the hell not?

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before? I ran a 5K.  Actually, I ran about ten.  Which, still, just blows my mind.  I went all balls-out and started training (having NEVER run before) and just did it.  I felt so amazing.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I actually DID make AND keep resolutions!  I started with a realistic goal, and I made it a page on my blog.  Looking at it, I feel very good about all I’ve accomplished this year, even though it was a pretty tough year.  I plan to do the same this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Actually, I don’t think so!  Even all of my bloggie friends have either stopped procreating or are in the process of the next round.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Our entire community lost a dymanic pillar with the loss of Ms. Carol Morris.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her.

5. What countries did you visit? Mostly New Orleans.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? More courage.  I don’t think we lived in fear in 2009, but we did avoid doing a lot of things because we were so unsure of the future.  2009 was all-around sucky for a bunch of folks, and I’m hoping we can all live 2010 a bit more freely.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? I remember watching the inauguration on huge screens at work, with a room full of red-blooded Republicans.  I remember watching my vehicle launch at KSC while down at Michoud Assembly Facility in NOLA.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Running the 5K was a HUGE thing for me.  And though I’ve run several since, the training and the work I put into that first one really proved to myself that I could do something physical if I really put my mind to it.  I’m still trying to find the “something physical” to be motivated about in 2010, but when I find it, I’m excited to get going with it.

9. What was your biggest failure? “Money.  Always money.  But of course, I believe that if money is your biggest problem in life, it isn’t really that big of a problem.” – 2008.  I would say it was the same for 2009, but I think we managed awfully well considering.  2009 was a horrible year, financially, but?  We lived to tell the tale and we’re smarter for it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nope.  Lucky us, we only had the usual (ear infections/strep/sinusitis/stomach bugs) this year.  Lucky us.

11. What was the best thing you bought? We didn’t buy it; we were lucky enough to have it handed down to us.. but our Keurig coffee-maker has been a single-source for happiness in our house.  Bryan and I have always WANTED to be coffee drinkers, but I like flavored coffees and he’s repulsed by them, so we could never agree on a whole pot to brew.  This one machine has allowed us to enjoy spontaneous coffee or tea and we use it several times a day.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? This year I have watched so many of my blog heroes go through so much hardship and come through it all.  Between the Spohrs and Anissa and the countless others, the mere fact that they’re still upbeat and honest about it all makes me so honored to read their stories.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Since I can’t say for sure, I’ll say my own.  I’m not great about handling things all of the time, so there’s no doubt that I should’ve handled various things in a more mature fashion.

14. Where did most of your money go? Mortgage and daycare.  Daycare is such a rapist.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My first vacation in YEARS, when Bryan and Tony and I went with my mom and dad to Destin for a full week.  I had not been to the beach since 2001, and hadn’t had a vacation since our honeymoon.  It was AWESOME.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? “Deep Down in my Heart” by Hot Peas ‘n Butter

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

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Reading. I so love reading and when I try to read, I go through books like water, but I just can’t make myself START a damn book. The one week of vacation, I kicked back THREE books.  And haven’t picked up another since.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Second-guessing myself. With Tony now at such a malleable age, I question EVERYTHING I do with him.  Am I giving him enough attention?  Too much attention?  Should I buy flashcards?  Am I not talking clearly enough to him?  I’m not giving him enough vegetables, am I?  I know this won’t subside any time soon, but it’s nice to look back (a year later) and think, Heh, haven’t killed him yet.  Must be doing something right.

20. How did you spend Christmas? This was the first year since Bryan and I have been together that we didn’t spend driving all over creation.  It was actually very nice.  I wish Jack felt better (poor boy was running a 104 temperature), but it was a laid back and comfy Christmas.  Tony and I never got out of our PJs.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009? Several times.

22. What was your favorite TV program? Well, I have eight hundred faves, but my favorite NEW show is Modern Family.  Hysterical, honest writing and some of the funniest characters in a long time.  Which, of course, means it won’t last another season.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope, don’t really hate anyone.  I’m too lazy.

24. What was the best book you read? Toss up: I loved ALL of Jen Lancaster’s stuff (I read them ALL and was like, Holy shit, someone who talks like me got paid to write books!) and I’m a pretty big Dave Ramsey convert.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? It’s not really music, but I learned about podcasts this year.  I am now ADDICTED to NPR podcasts (Wait, Wait.. Don’t Tell Me and This American Life are my faves) as well as financial planning podcasts.

26. What did you want and get? New dishes, new curtains, a new tv..

27. What did you want and not get? Reebok EasyTone shoes.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Well, I just saw Avatar and loved it.  I also loved this little known film called A Haunting in Rhode Island that was REALLY REALLY good.  Also, Drag Me to Hell was all sorts of awesome.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? On my actual birthday, I did nothing because Jack had a basketball practice that night so I sat at home.  But my girls and my family took care of me and we all ended up celebrating my birthday for, like, a full week.  AWESOME.  I was 29.  This year is the big 3-0.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? “A 25th hour in the day.” – 2008.  “Ditto.” – 2009

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? LOFT-y. (BWAHAHA.)

32. What kept you sane? My friends, my husband, my blog, but mostly my child.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Neil Patrick Harris.  Dude, aside from the fact that he’s DOOGIE FREAKIN’ HOWSER, MD, he’s made quite a presence for himself and has done so without negotiating any of who he is.  Sure, I think he’s pretty freakin’ cute and talented, but I really admire him for being himself.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Proposition 8 in its many forms and names.  I’m still just gobsmacked that we are even HAVING this conversation.

35. Who did you miss? Kevin.

36. Who was the best new person you met? Y’all, I can’t remember what I wore two days ago.  I seriously cannot remember who I met within the last 12 months.  But chances are that if I met you or have communicated with you virtually, I really really like you.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009. “The most sophisticated people I know? Inside, they’re all children.”- Jim Henson

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. “And I remember, in someone else’s garden long ago / we had all we could eat / but it seems the fruit our own hands grow / somehow tastes twice as sweet” –Close to Home, Children of Eden


Comments { 7 }

I Hope This Avatar Joke Works.

So, last night: our first night sans kids since AUGUST.  August, y’all.

And?  My first movie in a theatre since the last Bond film.  Which was so long ago that I don’t freakin’ remember when I saw it. (So at least two weeks.)

Bryan and I dropped off Tony with his Nona and Poppa for the evening and headed to see Avatar.  Bryan was more excited than I was, and decided to dress up for the show.

I told him he had the wrong Avatar, but he was pretty set on it.  And they gave us free martinis at diner, which was awesome because Bryan doesn’t drink so SCORE! for drunk me.

Also, he’s kind of posessive of my Snuggie even thought it was MY Christmas present.  AND IT’S PINK, BRYAN.

Anyway, so, as I was saying.. long time, no see.. movies.  I just don’t get the opportunity often.  It’s part of the guilt of being a working mom.. feeling like time not at work should be spent solely with the children who spend 9-10 hours a day with daycare workers who may or may not be meth-heads. (I kid.)(Our daycare workers don’t make enough to buy meth.)

So when we go, we tend to “save up” any guilt-free points.  I figure two movies a year should be guilt-free, and this was one of them.  We chose a late movie (for us.. 9:30) and even decided to go balls-out and see it in 3D.

AND FUCKERS BROUGHT THEIR KIDS.

I’m not even talking about nine and ten year-olds, cause, honestly? We’re considering taking Jack.  It’s just SUCH A FUCKING AWESOME MOVIE, and I think he’s old enough to handle it and did I mention THE AWESOMENESS?

No, I mean people brought their TODDLERS.  Their two and three year olds.  Who, SURPRISE!, were up WAAAAAY too late and crying and talking and fuuuuuuuck, if you can’t get a babysitter, stay the hell home and let the rest of us cherish the precious hours away from our spawn without having to listen to yours throw a temper tantrum.

In community theatre, we will often turn away young children at the box office if we know a show is geared toward adults.  Why is this not carried over to movie theatres?  If you have a couple buying tickets to see Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the 9:45 showing and they’re carring an infant?  MAYBE TELL THEM TO GO THE HELL HOME.  (Seriously, we had a four year old sitting in that one behind us, wailing through all of it because, you know, BLOOD and all.)  Sure, you may piss off those patrons, but Lord, you’d keep the majority of them/us happier that way.

Y’all, put me in check if I need to be there, but is there ANY reason in the WORLD you can think of to justify bringing babies to a late-night movie?  Any?  AT ALL?!

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Christmas Carols that Suck Ass

I?  Am a Christmas Carol aficionado.  Seriously.  I know most carols in two or three harmonies, and I know a few of them in various languages.  I don’t get tired of them.  We have a radio station here locally that begins the day after Thanksgiving with the 24 hour frivolity and I keep it on my tuner until December 26th.  My family usually hates me for this.  Especially Tony, who gets tired of me belting out that damn hippo song.

But, I’ll be the first to admit that there are some songs that are just.. well.. BAD.  Here is my list.

And this list is not exclusive.  I’m sure you’re going to know some that I forgot here.

1. That Damn Christmas Shoes Song.  I have hated it FOR AGES. I dare say that this was how I realized that Ronda and I were sisters torn at birth, because we both found this song trite, condescending (why must a poor child be dirty?), and STUPID.

2. “My Favorite Things” from Sound of Music. WHY IS THIS A CHRISTMAS SONG?!  Because it mentions packages?  With strings?  THAT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.  “Genie in a Bottle” is the same sort of song talking about a present, and yet you don’t see children singing THAT at church choir Christmas concerts.

3. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”.  Y’all, this song SEVERELY irks me.  NO, THEY DON’T KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS; THEY’RE NOT CHRISTIANS.  Should we pity them and their plight?  Because “there won’t be snow in Africa”?  I’m not sure how much effort y’all put into researching this one before getting Bono on-board, but THERE IS RARELY SNOW IN AFRICA.  I live in Alabama, and we never get snow on Christmas, and I see no collaboration raising money for my ass.  Also: THEY DON’T CARE IF IT’S CHRISTMAS.  THEY CARE ABOUT EATING FOOD TWICE IN ONE DAY.

4. Any cover of a classic that is made “new” by an artist putting as many vocal runs into the song as humanly possible, to the point that you can’t even really figure out what they’re trying to cover.  Hey, music ‘artists’: try revamping the style (see any BareNaked Ladies Christmas cover), or maybe some clever interpretation of the lyrics, or even just a song that FITS your niche (Madonna singing “Santa Baby”?).  But trying to play Whitney with “Little Drummer Boy” just sounds stupid.

5. Using a children’s chorus to back you up.  That’s horrible in a two-fold kind of way: 1) I know you’re trying to tug on my heartstrings, you bastard, and that shit is not going to fly and 2) KIDS CAN’T ALWAYS SING.  SERIOUSLY.  THERE IS A REASON PARENTS HATE GOING TO THEIR KIDS’ CHOIR CONCERTS.

Runners Up:

  • Dominick the (Italian) Christmas Donkey
  • ANYTHING BY BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
  • “Deck the Halls”. NOT A SONG. Only one hall, btw.
  • The horrible cover of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” featuring Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart. What drunk record label thought THAT was a good idea?

Alright, what did I forget?

Comments { 11 }

The Unemployment Boogeyman

(Formally referred to as #2 on this post.)

First, the preface: if you’re new here, I am a stepmother.  We are INCREDIBLY fortunate to have a very good relationship with Jack’s BioMom, and we adore his stepfather.  I understand what a walking-on-eggshells thing stepparenting can be for many families, but we are beyond lucky to have an open communication line where the differences between households is nothing that is insurmountable.  Really, I can’t say enough about how much this working-together relationship benefits everyone, most of all Jack.

Now.

One difference between the two families is the level of honesty used with the kids.  And that is really nothing that I can judge, because one man’s trash is another man’s stepparenting and whatnot, so there ya go.  But.. I just..

Jack’s stepfather recently became unemployed.  In today’s economic environment, this is nothing unusual or unique, sadly.  But.. we’re not telling Jack.  We’re keeping him from this bit of “stress”, because we don’t want him to get “stressed out”.

.. well, we totally differ here.

Here’s why: unemployment, especially the kind beyond the employee’s control, is part of life.  It’s a necessary evil, and it’s something we all must realize is a reality.  And?  Jack’s stepfather is not sitting at home and collecting severance; he’s out doing temporary work, busting his ass so his family can enjoy the holiday.  That kind of tenacity and sacrifice?  Deserves acknowledgement, even from the children.

And I think Jack needs to be part of the tightening of the belt.  We already warned him that Santa’s offerings at our house are going to be much slimmer this year, due to our new spending budget.  We’ve told him that eating out may not happen much, if at all.  We’ve warned him that we’re going to be spending more time doing free things, and that he’s welcome to offer up suggestions to help us.  He has.  He’s the first to say, “Let’s go to the park!” or “How about we visit the YMCA this afternoon?”.  I feel that we’re enabling him this way; sure, the family is making an effort that may squeeze a bit, but he can HELP.  This way, it’s not torture.. it’s a family endeavor, one that he’s a part of.

And?  I feel like I’m lying to him by not talking about what’s going on at his house.  There have been many times when Jack and I are by ourselves and talking as friends and he can tell me things openly that he may hesitates to tell his parents.  I want to tell him how proud I am of his stepfather for manning up to take care of his family; I want to tell him that this happens to people sometimes, regardless of how well they’ve performed.  And I want to take this opportunity to explain how a good savings fund comes in useful at times like these.

Again, I know that we’re all different in how we rear our children.  Have you faced a similar circumstance in your family?  How have you broached the topic with your kids, or have you at all?  I really am open to all sorts of discussion here; I think it may be one of those things that I can’t possibly fathom until it takes place under my own roof.

And … GO.

Comments { 6 }