Anyway: Thanksgiving is officially over and the Christmas rush begins. We got a tree but lost all our decorations, which totally figures and is totally typical for us. Need lights, need ornament hangers, need a tree topper that doesn't blink in Technicolor, need time to get everything together. And I already know THAT isn't going to happen.
Fell asleep in the recliner at my grandparents' today. Apparently this amused my father. Don't know why, but glad I can spread a little joy from time to time. Cupcake passed out asleep as soon as we got her in the car, because she refused to take a nap. Good luck tomorrow, Miss Jeni! Going to finish a Warcraft daily, and then I am taking a Benadryl and calling it a life.
Seriously, though, I am thankful. I am able to do this -- not just this blog, but this whole life -- because of certain things, certain choices, certain opportunities, certain people that I have had that many others didn't.
I have a wonderful family -- even the batshit crazy ones -- who have supported me in everything -- even the batshit crazy stuff. We may drive each other crazy often and even hate each other sometimes, but it's really because we love each other so very much.
We have our jobs, our cars, our house, our stuff. We have all of what we need and most of what we want, enough even that we can share with others who have less. Maybe we can't give everybody everything, but we can at least make sure they always have tomato soup.
So, whatever else, I am grateful.
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
wich is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
There is a light on it, so hopefully future movies will not be so dark. The lighting in our house is kind of sparse -- we don't use a lot of lights, and almost everything is "room lighting" as opposed to table or floor lamps. We're working on our technique; the camera allegedly has image stabilization, but I haven't figure it out yet. Also, the zoom is not very smooth. And I need to shut up so that I am not the loudest thing in the movie.
my God just look at that kid.
We tried to intervene, appropriating her smack bag and only allowing her to select a few choice pieces, but it was too late. She happily traded most of the contents of the bag for a new toy, but we discovered the next day, and over subsequent days, that she had performed some sleight of hand and purloined a sizable quantity of candy from the bag before it was removed, a stash that she then divided and tucked into Ziploc bags and squirreled away in hiding places (the oven of her toy kitchen, her sock drawer, a toy suitcase, her backpack) around the house. We would stumble across remnants of her stash while tidying, or discover her under the blankets at bedtime, furiously working the wrapper of a lollipop.
That -- that right there! -- is exactly why we don't give her fudge and cheese curls for lunch, and why we treat applesauce and five Teddy Grahams as a suitable dessert. I gave her a Candy Cane Creme Oreo the other night, a whole one, and it took us almost an hour afterwards to get her to bed. I'm handful already, just by myself; you think G needs this extra crap from her too?
One of these is the day that she realizes that Mommy isn't kidding when she says that she has been researching convents -- especially because I caught her being all Mickey-Make-Out with one of the boys at school this morning. (OK, technically I told her to hug him, but I did not expect there to be KISSING.)
The other day? Is the day that she find out that Mommy is big chickenshit who hates heights and roller coasters and who is going to sit on this bench over here and take pictures while you and Daddy go on the Super Turbo Upside Down Mobile ride, OK? Because she's going to laugh at me, and I don't look forward to that.
This is the picture I was originally going to post yesterday until Cupcake developed her weird obsession with that damned wristband (which she is still wearing -- I have no idea). I took this picture at my grandparents' house on Saturday while Cupcake was running around being a big ol' sillypants. It's so much fun to watch -- she just does laps around the living and dining rooms, randomly stopping to hug and kiss whoever is there, and using her special toddler calculus to decide who's going to get a (conveniently pre-bitten) pretzel out of the giant Utz tub.
Have I mentioned that my kid is awesome?
Honest to God, if I didn't know this was just Cupcake being Cupcake, I would have sworn she was getting one of those wackadoodle Nomar Garciaparra superstitious batter's box tics or something. It was truly bizarre.
Any suggestions as to what, exactly, was going on here?
Two quick things before I go to bed (yes, really):
1. Nothing in the world -- nothing -- is cuter than a happy little girl in a bright green hoodie running around, laughing and loving everyone around her. Even if her hair looks like a wrecked-up ghetto mess because her mother is hairdo deficient.
2. Stolen naps, taken on the couch while your husband and toddler are in the back bedroom wearing each other out, are absolutely the best things ever. They're even better if you can manage to conk out to the sounds of college football, and if you wake up to the smell of hamburger stew wafting in from the kitchen. Grandmothers for the win!
15 ounce can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
5 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or more, to taste)
16 ounces Cool Whip, thawed
In a large mixing bowl, beat pumpkin, pudding mix, and spices on low speed (or by hand) until thoroughly blended. Add Cool Whip, gradually increasing mixer speed. Beat on medium-high for about 1 minute or until evenly mixed and fluffy. Fold into serving bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
This recipe makes about 6 cups of dip. If you want, you can divide this and freeze half for up to a month: put into a lidded freezable container, cover with plastic wrap (make sure the plastic touches the top of the dip to make a good seal when you cover), and then cover with the lid. Otherwise, this keeps for about 5 days (unless you eat it right ... oh never mind).
(No pictures, because we have access to plenty of spoons at work.)
It sounds very emo, that last statement, but it is in fact the truth. I can't remember when it started, this desperate need to have a child "of my own," but yet here it is. My biological clock has been ticking since I found out I had one, I guess, and it has affected me in ways I have never really been prepared to deal with.
And since we got married almost ten years ago, I have been to A LOT of baby showers. I must have gone to two or three dozen showers since we started trying to have a baby, and that was only about 5 years ago now. Everybody and their sisters have been having babies -- even couples who hadn't yet met when I took my first dose of Clomid have a rugrat or two already.
We both sort of suspected that it was going to be difficult for us if we didn't get pregnant right away, although we never really talked about it. Fact is, I think I knew it even before then -- my cycles were never regular, never normal, never predictable. It's the reason why I started on the Pill in the first place, so I could expect and control what was so natural for everyone else.
Fast-forward what feels like a million years, and we got The Call about The Placement of The Cupcake. Our lives have been so ordinary since then, and yet so extraordinary in so many ways. We have been given the most awesome gift ever: OUR BABY. Not in the way either of us expected, perhaps, but nonetheless, she is ours now, for as long as she will have us.
But in the meantime, real life has happened to other people. I never said this before, and I never talked about it before, but I almost died a thousand deaths when I found out, right around Christmas last year, that my sister had been pregnant before her car accident. I don't know that I ever adequately expressed my condolences to her, because I was dealing with grief of my own.
How could she do this to me? How? Why couldn't she just wait? Just a little longer? What was her hurry? She's only married two years, she's only 30, what's the rush? Why? How? Didn't she know what a great betrayal this was to me? Why did she always have to be first in everything? When was I going to get a chance to be Number One for a change?
It was all about me, of course, which is stupid and selfish and plain wrong. So, so wrong. And I know she is reading this, and -- I am so much more than sorry. But I was angry, and if I learned anything in my 20-odd years of on-again-off-again therapy, it is that anger comes from pain. I was feeling such pain then. We had just been denied a foster placement, and I felt we were running out of time and hope and opportunities.
Of course we now know how this story ends, or at least where it goes from there. We have the Cupcake, and she has Joey, who is the second most awesome and delicious baby in the whole wide world. There hasn't been much time in the last nine months for us to worry about what isn't -- we are far too busy enjoying what is, what is ours, right there, right now.
I shouldn't be surprised that I have been changed by this whole Great Parenting Experiment. Lots of people have told me that being a mother makes you a better version of yourself. Maybe that isn't what astonishes me so much. Maybe it is something else, something I never really thought about before, because I was too busy being a cynical, self-absorbed wretch:
You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find that you get what you need.
I mean, everything is the same and nothing is different. My job still bores me to tears many days even though I love it. World of Warcraft still holds more of my attention than it ought. The holiday shopping is still not done, although I am getting little things here and there, in fits and spurts, but I'm surprisingly Zen about it this year. Like, whatever, it will get done when it gets done. We had snow flurries earlier today, and they are calling for a chance of snow showers for tomorrow.
If I didn't know better I would say that I am right about to hit the Holiday Funk, and that it would be time to bust open the recreational pharmaceuticals (by which I mean Claritin, Tylenol PM, and some old Prozac that I never finished and which is probably expired anyway), but this?
This makes me so, so happy to be alive.
And life is good.
So when she is around my parents and there is a special occasion, sometimes they let her overindulge a little bit. Or at least get up to no good.
So a couple of random observations:
- Didn't the Italian Chicken Sandwich at Burger King go away for a while, and then come back? I remember getting it in the 80's, possibly up until the early 90's, and then it like disappeared or something. Now it's back. Had one for dinner. It was good, but of course Chicken Parm from a divey sort of local pizza joint is always better. (Hello, Frank's!)
- And didn't there used to be a French Chicken Sandwich, that was kind of like Cordon Bleu, with Swiss cheese and ham? Or am I just making shit up again?
- According to my sister-slash-babysitter, she has seen my house more times this week alone than she has in the almost 5 years I have lived here. I have no reason to doubt her; it's just one of those things.
- Anything will pass for a blog post when it's 10:30 and you're tired and you're trying to get in under the deadline.
Today was "Crazy Hair Day" at school and since there are only three little girls in the Toddler Room (Cupcake's class), the teachers redid all their hair. Here is what Cupcake ended up with. This is waaaaaaaaay better than what I sent her to school with -- four sad little piggies, crooked and uneven and pathetic -- and I think it's adorable.
Of course ... tonight is bath night, and those ponytail holders? Are going to be a ROYAL BITCH to undo.
I thought it would be a good idea -- and I still totally do, only it's not a good idea for me. For other people, definitely. In the beginning I thought there was some hope. The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days, which comes out to about a 175-page novel. Not necessarily supposed to be good, just complete.
For the first three days I was very diligent, and I got to 5,208 words, or roughly 10% of the way through. About what you'd expect. And ... then the election happened, and then something else, and then I dinged 70 on my Mage, and then I got caught up in that one episode of that show with the thing, and then I realized I was bored, and then I got to this point, which is where I give the hell up, call myself a loser, and never think of this again.
On the plus side: now nobody is ever going to have to read my novel where a character based more or less loosely on myself drives a car into the "Weston-Peterborough" bonfire and almost burns down the high school. Because believe me: it was going to be stupid. No sex, no good drugs, and very little rock and roll.
So, here: enjoy instead this picture of the world's cutest socks, on the world's cutest piggies. But do not try to nom them, for they are mine, all mine:
Cupcake loves Dora the Explorer, and it's one of the shows we keep a constant stash of on the TiVo. "Doree!" gets played in pretty heavy rotation, along with Pinky Dinky Doo, Blue's Clues, and when I am in charge of the remote, Yo Gabba Gabba!
(Before you say a word: Yes, I know we watch a lot of TV in our house. But at least we are watch mostly age-appropriate, educational television. It's not like we watch CSI: or Dirty Sexy Money or Two and a Half Men with her. Not often, anyway. And anyway, Pinky kicks ass. Don't you judge me.)
I'm not 100% sure, but I think Dora is Cupcake's favorite show. There's always singing and music and exciting adventures and monkeys who wear boots but not pants -- which, actually, is a large part of the problem.
Dora is always off solving things by herself. I mean, I understand that toddlers can be fiercely independent, but ... helping baby fish trapped in tide pools? Searching for toy fire trucks on the tops of mountains? Delivering presents to Santa at the North Pole? The hell? Who lets toddlers do that by themselves?
"But she isn't by herself," you're saying. You're right, of course: she is getting help from an obnoxious singing map, some kind of creepy magical backpack that can hold entire frickin' space suits, and the pervert monkey. Plus whoever Dora meets along the way, like crabs, bears, lions, dinosaurs, most species in the weasel family, and a Big Red Chicken.
Know what's missing in all of Dora's adventures? COMPETENT ADULT SUPERVISION. I hate to be so literal about a children's show -- especially when Yo Gabba Gabba! doesn't bother me at all, and it totally should -- but WHERE IN THE HELL ARE DORA'S PARENTS? Why is this poor cute little girl wearing a mismatched outfit and an ill-fitting shirt, and tramping all over land, sea, and space without any adults to keep an eye on her?
And why the hell doesn't she have a GPS in her backpack? She's got every damn thing else.
I was going to write today about my stupid nerd-tastic life and how I'm going through all this Guild drama in World of Warcraft and it's really upsetting me and giving me heartburn and heartache and woe is me ... and then I got a migraine and wanted to come home and die in my own bed. So I did.
And then when I rose from the dead, I was S-T-A-R-V-I-N-G. Like, I could eat a WHOLE ENTIRE MONKEY and maybe a 2-liter of Mountain Dew levels of starving. And then my husband said the most beautiful words in the history of the Universe, to wit: "How about Chinese for dinner?" And I fell in love with him all over again.
I can't remember the last time we had Chinese food for supper. Been a while, maybe a month or so. Last time Cupcake was not quite feeding herself all the way, so we gave her some finger foods to eat, slipped a couple of lo mein noodles on her plate, and called it a night.
Today G got his usual and Cupcake and I shared an order of chicken and broccoli. She LOVED it, which was very reassuring. She ate the broccoli crowns right up, tried to shove a whole wad of chicken into her mouth, nommed the rice -- she even tried some of my fried dumplings and egg roll.
Good God in heaven, a toddler who eats Chinese food with reckless abandon? I LOVE THIS KID. (Although, after eating cabbage, broccoli, and hoisin sauce? G is going to be on diaper duty tonight.)
Example: Whenever a certain somebody who shall at this time remain nameless but I might get around to identifying them later has to do something they don't feel like doing, like say their job, they've taken to plastering on a fake grin and saying "Yes I Can!" by which they mean "Yes I Can Just Tell You To Fuck Right Off Now!"
No real sense of civic responsibility, that one.
So anyway, there has been a lot of talk around here for the past few days over "communist this" and "collective that" and "the people have spoken" and I really want to get in some people's faces and be all "YES WE HAVE, MOTHERFUCKER!" but I don't feel like being fired right now. So I just stay here in my hole and look at the HOPE poster and feel proud for a damn change.
I just don't understand what people are so bitter about. I was torqued as all hell when W stole the 2000 election -- and, yes, I believe he cheated, and I will never be convinced otherwise, so please don't bother -- and I was doubly pissed when he was re-elected in 2004. But I was never angry at the people who voted for him. Confused, yes, disappointed, perhaps, but never angry.
Tonight, I think, or maybe this weekend when I have a minute, I am going to watch The American President for the 800,000th time, and I am going to re-memorize the Big Speech, and on Monday morning I am going to stand in the courtyard outside my building and shout it to everyone passing:
America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. ... You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free." ...We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, [the Republican Party] is not the least bit interested in solving it. [They are] interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it.This kind of defensiveness is directly contrary to what President Obama, my President, our President, right now the whole world's President, has asked me to do. Senator McCain, too. I should be rolling up my sleeves, getting my hands dirty, digging in. But why do I feel so often like I am one of the few? Why are so many people, already, trying to hide the shovel?
Look, I don't expect anything to be easy for the next four years, and possibly more. I didn't vote for Obama because I had any kind of expectation that he would snap his fingers and solve my problems and suddenly make me anything I am not already. Everything I am, I was before this election, and I will continue to be, even after we have elected someone else.
I guess what I don't get is, why do so many people who oppose him do it simply because they do not understand him? And why are they proud of that? Where is the failure in trying to be different? We have the technology, we can make it better. YES WE CAN.
To Shellybeans! 22:04 - I want to kiss the entire state of Iowa. Even the pigs. With or without lipstick.
From Shellybeans! 22:05 - You are not right ... what is wrong with you?
To Shellybeans! 22:07 - I am not sure. I blame the [family] genes. Them bitches is keerayzee.
From Shellybeans! 22:08 - Joe wants to know if you ate lead based paint chips
To Shellybeans! 22:12 - Not recently. Are they tastier than pizza bites?
From Shellybeans! 22:15 - Joe said yes and good if microwave them
To Shellybeans! 22:16 - Good to know!
From Shellybeans! 22:39 - Grrr
From Shellybeans! 22:40 - McCain just got 3 more votes
To Shellybeans! 22:49 - It's Nebraska. They husk corn there. They're dumb [badword]s.
From Shellybeans! 22:49 - The suspense is killing me
From Shellybeans! 22:50 - Not all corn huskers husk corn
To Shellybeans! 22:52 - Well then those guys are really dumb [badword]s. Or communists. Wait, I'm a communist. They're just dumb.
From Shellybeans! 22:53 - Joe said they are communists
From Shellybeans! 23:07 - Are you dead
To Shellybeans! 23:08 - PINKO COMMIE LIBERALS FTW!
From Shellybeans! 23:09 - Oye vey
(And later I will post some of the batshit crazy text messages I shared with my sister while we were waiting for the results. But not now, because I am crying. I am going to go grab my daughter and hold her and tell her that she can be anything she wants to be, and it will be the God's honest truth. Yes we can, baby girl. Yes we can.)
Unlike other people who went to vote very early this morning, when the polls first opened, we did not have any line at ~4:00 pm. I heard stories of people arriving at 6:45 am and being #25 and higher in line. No such problem for us: there were only three voters at the church where we cast our ballots. There were literally three times as many campaign workers as voters there, including that evil bitch of a Judge of Elections whom I have had to report AGAIN to the County.
Note to E.B.o.a.J.o.E.: You were elected to this position, which means you ran for it. If you hate dealing with people, and especially with voters, as you obviously do, then why do you keep running? You suck at this job, anyway. I let the County know about your McCain/Palin pin, even though the place was wallpapered with anti-electioneering notices. You ignorant slut. And I don't mean that in an affectionate way, either. Also -- laughing at people who are clearly uniformed about the electoral process? Isn't going to make them want to vote again. Although since you're clearly a partisan, and not on my side, that's probably what you're aiming for, anyway. Stupid whore.
Anyway ... now we wait until 7:00, when the news starts covering the results and the Earth potentially crashes into the sun. It's been nice knowing you all, just in case. And I feel very good knowing that, if the Rapture comes tonight, I will be sent off to my own particular hereafter after I let my toddler push the "CAST VOTE" button on my voting machine.
IT WAS AWESOME.
We did not go trick-or-treating in the traditional sense on Halloween night, or even at all, if you want to be honest. (I believe we have already acknowledged that I am a Very Bad Parent.) But we did dress up and go visit people, as evidenced here.
I wasn't sure about doing the whole door-to-door thing. I mean, I had a lot of fun trick-or-treating when I was a kid, but at this age? It seems kind of pointless. She can't even say "trick-or-treat" yet. And then there is that whole thing about us not giving her candy. (See "I am a Very Bad Parent," above.)
We went to visit all my grandparents, and we did come home with a very small goodie bag with some snacks in it. Keystone Party Mix, which Cupcake is allowed to eat, and an assload of Nerds, which she most definitely is NOT. So I ate them.
It's been a while since she saw my father's mother, so I couldn't get Cupcake to sit down for a picture, but I assure you that there was hugging and kissing at the end of the night, right before she (and I) dropped off from exhaustion in the car. At 9:30.
Ladies and gentlemen and ... I don't know, internet gamers? LOLcats? Whoever else you are, allow me please to introduce to you my nephew, Joey. Isn't he beautiful? (Correct answer: YES, or else I will come find you.)
Being an aunt is pretty cool, except for that he's all the way out in Chicago and I am here in Pennsylvania. But it's probably for the best at the moment, because I understand the really new babies are quite delicious and nommable, and I don't know if I'd be able to help myself.
7 lbs., 13 oz. -- 21" long
What better way to start off NaBloPoMo than with a BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT? Babies, yaaaaaaaay!
* The reference is from an old Reader's Digest bit, where someone (no doubt a blonde in this telling) complained to her pregnant sister that because they weren't finding out the gender of the baby, then the blonde didn't know whether she was going to be an aunt or an uncle.
EXCLUSIVE! I am also proud to be able to present the very first unofficial paparazzi shot of the newest member of the family: