Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Year in Review

It is hard to believe that 2011 is nearly over. And an eventful year it has been. I can't even remember what happened the first quarter of the year. I do remember when the adventure started: April Fool's Day. That was the day we found out Harper was on her way. Pregnancy definitely was a memorable experience, but we won't rehash that now.

The other major event of 2011 was the purchase of a house. I believe I chronicled that saga as it was occurring- a process I do not wish to repeat any time soon (or ever). We settled into the new place in September, doing our best to make the place "ours." And began our never-ending list of projects to do to the house. And we waited for Harper's arrival.

And arrive she did! I got up one Sunday morning to feed the cats and settled in on the couch to relax until the huz got up. I decided I should probably get some breakfast and headed to the kitchen when I felt something weird happen. Soon I was feeling some contractions. And then they were stronger and closer together. I decided the thing to do was to go back up to bed, to relax up there with the huz and see if they stopped. They didn't. So after an hour and a half, I decided it was time to tell the huz, cause it would seem I was truly in labor- two weeks early. Soon we were on our way to the hospital. About eight hours later, Harper Adelle Morris showed up on the scene. A couple days later, we were taking home our baby girl and adjusting to our new, larger family.

Christmas was extra special this year, although Harper slept through most of the festivities. And all too soon it was time to go back to work. Tomorrow night we'll ring in the new year- I don't anticipate to be quite like 2011, but it will be an adventure of a different kind as we watch Harper learn and grow. But tonight is a night to look back, remember, and count our many blessings.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Christmas List

Now I don't like to jump ahead and not give Thanksgiving its due time and attention, but I happened to be thinking about Christmas and how different it will be this year. I began thinking about my Christmas wish list for this year- thought I might share with my loyal followers:

The ability to sleep in any position (okay, let's face it, I'd just like to sleep, period)
To be able to put on socks and shoes without struggle (and to paint my own toenails!)
To break out the heels again
To wear clothes without the funky elastic-y waistband that either doesn't stay up or makes the belly ridiculously itchy
To breathe deeply and with ease
The ability to walk without waddling (and maybe, if I'm really ambitious, actually start running again...)
Have more than 3-4 outfits that fit comfortably and don't look like I'm wearing a tent
To wear my wedding rings again

While I am very serious about the above list, my true Christmas wish is for Mini Muffin Morris to arrive safe and sound, happy and healthy (preferable on time). 

As far as I can remember, I've always liked Christmas though I think my enjoyment of the holiday has changed over the years. It's not so much about the gifts as it is about the spirit of the season and the time with family and friends. I think it helps that so many members of the family and so many of our friends are Christmas enthusiasts too. Baking cookies, decorating the tree, Christmas movies. There was the year the huz took me to see the Nutcracker. That was our first Christmas together and the first year I wouldn't be able to see my cousin dance in the Nutcracker back home-ish. And there have been several Winter Wonderland Girls Trips to prepare for the Christmas season that always give the holiday spirit a jump start. The Christmas-y smelling candles and the holiday music. Although the newest family member will be a little too young to care, I have no doubt she'll learn to love Christmas just like the rest of us. And we'll build new family traditions with her. But only after she learns to appreciate Thanksgiving too!




Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Showers of Butterflies

I admit it. I was overwhelmed. In a good way. I mean, I always knew my family and friends were pretty darn cool, but this weekend really proved it to me.

Harper's anticipated arrival date is a mere 7 weeks away and I confess I am both completely ready and absolutely, positively nowhere near ready (if it's possible to be both at the same time). Her room was pretty spare. A dresser with some clothes, a crib without a mattress or bedding, a stuffed lamb, and a rocking chair. Now, I know if we just picked up a car seat to get her home we really didn't NEED anything else- well, maybe the mattress- but being first time parents and having the personalities we have, her dad and I wanted her room to

be... well-stocked. Dollar signs floated before our eyes. It wasn't exactly our plan to (finally) buy a house a 3 months before the baby appears on the scene. It just happened that way. And added to the stress of trying to make sure everything was just so- in the house and for Harper.
Anyway, this weekend, my amazing friends and family came together to shower us with gifts for the baby. I was blown away by how many people showed up. And their generosity. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones, but I'm still a little emotional thinking about it. I don't think words can express how grateful we are. Of course there are still things we want to get- I mean really, can she ever have enough? (We'll spoil her now, before she's old enough to know she's being spoiled!) Seriously though, I worked up a sweat opening gifts. Who does that?! I only hope we do her justice and are able to instill in her the same gratitude we feel towards our family and friends.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Seriously Neglected

I have seriously neglected my blogging followers (all three of them). My apologies.

The last month has been a whirlwind. Not to mention stressful. I admit, up to this point in my life, I think this whole buying a house thing has been the most stress-inducing thing I've ever done. I didn't have nightmares like I did in the weeks leading up to taking my licensure exam, but I'm fairly certain my blood pressure was elevated a bit. Nonetheless, we did manage to close on the house and immediately set to work cleaning, painting, etc. In fact, I think this week was the first time the huz and I managed to sit down since we bought the place. Thanks to our wonderful family and friends, we did get everything cleaned, painted, and moved. Now we're working on unpacking and organizing everything. And we've definitely done our part to stimulate the economy with our multiple trips to Lowe's every week. The kitties seem to be, slowly, settling in as well. Fritz isn't cowering under the bed ALL day anymore. Just last night, the doorbell rang and he didn't do more than sit up and look alarmed! Jynx, of course, is exploring every nook and cranny to see where he can cause the most trouble.

Baby Girl Morris is growing, growing, growing. Today's report was that she's right on schedule (and not measuring big, like I was told two weeks ago). But the doctor didn't really give me any answers about why I've been feeling yucky the last several days. No, I don't have a fever, I just feel icky. Her solution was to "drink more water." I'm not sure it's physically possible to consume more water... And of course, there is the inexplicable wrist pain and swelling I'm experiencing. Falling apart and I haven't even hit 30 yet!

Ever the exciting post going on here...

Yep, I got nothing. Next time I'll try to be more entertaining.


Monday, August 22, 2011

One of those days...

Ever have one of those days when, before you've even left the house in the morning, you think you would be better off going back to bed and trying again tomorrow? It's 9 am on Monday morning, and it's one of those days.

The day started out as most do. I drag my tired body out of bed and out of the bedroom where I attempt NOT to fall over the hungry beasts as the three of us make our way down stairs to the kitchen. I dodge little teeth nipping at my calves and toes- oh how it drives me crazy when one of the monsters bites my toes! I stand there waiting for the ravenous beast to finish so that I can pluck him up and away and let the not so ravenous beast finish without having to defend his food. Only this morning- Ravenous (who shall henceforth be known as Thing 2) decided he didn't want to eat and wandered off. Okay, whatever, no problem. I pick up his food and put it back in the fridge. I watch Thing 2 wander around a bit and decide he really doesn't want to eat and Thing 1 should be fine.

Now, I recently (as in yesterday) banned the kitties from the basement. Up until the last month, we had kitties who were very good about the litter box. Then about a month or so ago, the litter boxes went a little longer than normal without a cleaning and one of the Things let us know he wasn't happy about that. Litter boxes cleaned, problem solved, right? Apparently not. Somebody continued to "forget" where the box was. I don't know if said Thing has suddenly developed a taste for an extra clean potty or if the evidence of moving is throwing the Thing off. Either way, the huz and I thought perhaps the basement was a little too quiet and unmonitored. So I banned them from the basement. Mistake. I smelled something upstairs this morning. And discovered a message in the spare room. Still unsure as to if it was Thing 1 or Thing 2 (I was betting on Thing 1 since he's typically the troublemaker) I was irritated that one of them was still acting up. And then it happened. I caught Thing 2. Now, I can't prove it was him all along, but that time, at least, it was him. What Thing 2 doesn't realize, is that if he doesn't get his act together, his days are numbered. We'll get him through the move and get him settled at the new place, but if it continues to be a problem once the boxes are unpacked and he's settled, we'll be looking for a new home for the boys.

Oh, but the fun doesn't end there. Monday is trash day. And if you've read my recent posts, you know about the tight squeeze in the storage unit, I mean garage. Ok. Time to leave for work. I put my bags in the passenger seat, like always. No problems there. Open the garage door so I can fit behind the car to get to the driver's side. Usually, I pull the trash can out before getting in car, I mean, it's hard to do AFTER I get in the car, right? But this time the car was parked a little too close on that side and the trash can wouldn't fit. So I attempt to squeeze between the trash can and the car to get in and pull the car out of the garage. Well, wouldn't you know. I'm as big as a trash can and didn't fit either. Well, I did, but in the process I managed to bump my belly on the car. And of course the car hasn't been washed recently. And of course I was wearing a white shirt...

Trash can put out for trash day. Headed off to work. Out of the complex, through the housing development. Yay, the tracks are open today I can take my normal route to work. Oh, for crying out loud, would my nose stop running! There must be some tissues in here somewhere. What's that? Not tissues, but the huz's keys. Sigh. Back to the Morris residence I go...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 175

It's Day 175, or the first day of week 25. An estimated 105 days remaining. Which makes it sound like I have SO much more time to prepare than when I say 15 weeks... 105 days it is!

This week the books and apps say the baby weighs in at about a pound and a half and is somewhere between 9 and 13.5 inches. The size of a rutabaga- because I can picture EXACTLY how big that is without visiting my local farmers' market! All I know is she's big enough to feel like she's got a death grip on one of my ribs and be using my bladder as a trampoline at the same time.

And while it isn't Day 175 of the house saga (it just seems like it-the actual count is probably more like Day 150)- the boxes continue to pile up slowly. I try to pack one or two every day. But there are only so many non-essentials that can spend weeks all packed up. And the newly packed box typically sits in a really conveniently located place for loading and a really inconvenient place for maneuvering around the condo, seeing as how it stays where it is once full until the huz has time to move it to the garage. Oh and the garage. That's a fun place. I was thrilled when it was MY turn to start parking in the garage and the huz had to deal with the elements before work in the mornings. Well, now that it's become more and more of a storage unit so that our residence doesn't look like a warehouse, it's like an obstacle course. Pull in slowly, not too far in or you'll whack the mirror on the fridge. Open the door slightly to see if you're too close to the boxes. Wiggle out of the car and hope there's enough room so squeeze the rutabaga between the car and the trash can. Check to see if you pulled far enough forward to close the garage door. Shimmy down the other side of the car- oops, watch your head, don't want to hit it on the snow shovel hanging down there. Made it to the door where then you must try not to trip over the two cats who have some strange fascination with slinking into the garage. EVERY DAY. The same cats I just watched pull a highlighter out from under the sofa. Wonder how many more they have stored under there...better save a small box to pack their treasures in after the movers (and by movers I mean friends who are getting paid in pizza and beer) load the couch in the van...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Boxes, bags, and endless paperwork

Time for another of my sporadic, cathartic blog posts.

The saga continues.

I'm not entirely sure why I thought it would be easy. Nothing ever is, it seems. After a year and a half of searching, we found the place. After waiting two months, the bid was accepted. After completing a mountain of paperwork- and faxing it 3 times- we still have no idea what's going on. The latest exchange:
Carla: Just wanted to clarify that we are closing on the 30th.
Banker: Let me check. I'll get back to you later. Or sooner.

A day passes.

Carla: We're trying to make arrangements, just checking in about the closing.
Banker: We need the declaration page from your insurance. You can use the close date as your effective date. I think you told me the 30th.

Wait, you are asking me? I thought I was asking you...

Carla emailing insurance: We need the declaration page, yadda yadda yadda.
Insurance: no response.
Carla calling insurance: This is Carla...
Insurance: Oh, yes, I saw the email from you, but our computers are down and we can't access anything right now. Where can I call you?
Carla: gives number
Insurance:

That's right. Still waiting for that phone call.

So who is the person who actually knows what's going on and how do I reach said person? Meanwhile, half my belongings are packed up in boxes. And the bags of hand-me-down baby clothes are piling up. I think it'd be nice to get the stack of paperwork for the house filed away before the stack of paperwork for the hospital/baby/birth begins to accumulate...But that's probably wishful thinking.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pregnant Ramblings

Today's rambling is a list of things I may never want again (or at least won't want for a very long time) post-pregnancy:
~Crackers (of any brand, flavor, variety, etc.)
~Pretzels (not even the cute goldfishy pretzels)
~Sprite (or Sprite-like beverages)
~Toast
~Rice
~Red Gatorade
~Flintstones vitamins

Things I hope to someday want again:
~Food (in general)
~Beverages not listed above
~Chocolate (yes, it gets it's own special listing)
~To get off the couch and actually do something besides lay around

I'm sure the lists (particularly the former) will grow as rapidly as my belly.

I am attempting to keep my sense of humor throughout this experiment, I mean, experience. Though, I must admit, it is proving a little harder to do than I anticipated. Sure, I heard the horror stories, but it wasn't going to be like that for me. And I am thankful that all I've had to deal with is my appetite fleeing to some undisclosed location; morning sickness stopping by for a few days at a time, leaving, and returning again uninvited and unannounced; and a little dehydration problem. I know it could be much worse. MUCH worse. But that knowledge doesn't make mornings any easier. I am trying to be part of the optimistic (or deluded) camp that believes it will "get better any day now," but it goes against my nature to be so positive. I am, after all, the "happiest pessimist" you'll ever meet, right Katy? I wonder if I should take Mini Morris' early tendency to induce havoc as an omen....

Monday, June 13, 2011

Multi-Book Review #2

Apparently I am better at reading than blogging. Here's another two book recommendations for you:

1) Blood Test by Jonathan Kellerman. This is one of the Alex Delaware series. I've enjoyed a good mystery for as long as I can remember. Throw in a psychologist as the main character and you pretty much have a genre that can't miss with me. I believe this is book two in the series- I have decided it's time to read them in order...up next- When the Bough Breaks, book number 1.


2) Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie. This was a mystery/romance that took place right here in Columbus. The mystery part was pretty good. The romance- well it's not really my thing- and was a little predictable. Nevertheless, it gets a 6 out of 8 on the completely random rating scale.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Multi-book Review

So I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately. I've found it takes my mind off how I've been feeling.

First I finished "The Seeking Heart" by Fenelon. I've previously mentioned working my way through this book. I found some good tidbits of inspiration within the covers.

Then I began working my way through "The House of Night" series. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about these, I mean, I less than loved "Twilight" much to the dismay of the entire female population of the United States. But I was intrigued as I made my way through "Marked," "Betrayed," "Chosen," "Untamed," and "Hunted." Currently about halfway through book 6 "Tempted" and my interest is waning a bit. However, never before have a read an entire series straight through without other novels sprinkled throughout. Maybe I just need a break from Aphrodite's snarky comments, Zoey's boy troubles, and Stevie Rae's inability to share a deep dark secret with her BFF. Too much time immersed in teenage drama is bound to get to anyone...right?

Storms, Cats, Dreams, and Naps

It seems there have been a rash of storms lately. While I don't underestimate the destructive power of these storms, I still find something inherently majestic about them. Oh, I've seen the heartbreaking pictures of the devastation left behind. And I do mean heartbreaking. I think it's similar to how I feel about the ocean. There's nothing I love more than sitting on the beach in the sun, smelling the salty air and watching and hearing the waves crash against the sand. But put me IN the ocean and I get a little nervous if the water's anything but calm. Anyway, another storm was rolling through last night as I was crawling into bed. I listened to the rumbling for a bit and then let the sound of the rain lull me into the best sleep I've had in two weeks. Honestly, I didn't wake up until 4am. I completely skipped my 1am bathroom break.

Unfortunately the storms calming effect only worked on me and not the other creatures in the house. I got the 5:30 "Hey, just wanted to remind you that you need to get up in 1/2 an hour to feed us" wake up call from one of the cats. Like I've ever forgotten to feed them. And after I did feed them, they were tearing around the place like mad men, er mad cats. There's the usual running around and pouncing on one another, but this was extreme! At one point, I heard strange claws-on-drywall noises and yelled at them to quit fighting only to realize Jynx was standing in the hall nowhere near where the noises originated. I stood to go peer into the room, but before I could discover what Fritz was up to, he took off out of the room and down the stairs faster than if he'd been shot out of a canon. And let's not forget the trip down to the laundry room (here's a tip, if you ever do laundry at my place, be sure to turn on the basement light- that way you can see which direction the black ball of fur will be coming from when he launches himself at your legs as you leave the laundry room). Cats running up and down the stairs- crawling through the stairs overhead (remember, and open staircase is the best cat toy ever!).

Maybe their antics contributed to the weirdness of my dream...Now, I admit, I've always had entertaining dreams. It's like a little movie playing in my head while I sleep, complete with color, sound, and occasionally smell. But this one seemed unusual even for me. I got drafted by a high school friend and a college friend (who to my knowledge have never met) to be part of this musical production that was- surprise!- performing that very night! So here I was playing the silent lead female role in this odd show. There was no plot! There were no consistent characters! The songs didn't make sense! The costumes were literally impossible to wear! There was something about a train that looked like it should be in the game Candyland. We opened the production with the National Anthem, of course. And other than the fact that I had to miss a class to be in the performance I couldn't tell you much more about it. But if this is what pregnancy does to my dreams- I'll be able to write a book about my nocturnal visions!

After the manic episodes experienced by my cats and the puzzling over the oddity of my early morning dream, I was ready for a nap.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mini Muffin

The cat's out of the bag.

There's no way to write this keeping the dramatic moment for the end (not that anyone will be surprised at this point), so I'll just come out and say it- I'm pregnant. (Even though I've had time to get used to the idea it's still weird to say, er, type that!) It's been a long, bumpy road to get here. It started in January of 2009. Well, I guess really it started before then. When we got married, I didn't want to talk about it (I know, I know I always said I'd never get married and I wasn't having kids. Things change. We all knew I was lying anyway). So we made a deal. I'd finish grad school and then we'd discuss it. Well, in January of 2009- my graduation was looming mere months away. It seemed like a good time to casually start trying. Six months later, when my internship was dragging on and the job market not looking promising, we called it quits. Temporarily. I admit, I cried for two days...Meanwhile, it seemed the whole world was having babies.

Fast forward more than a year
. Things are looking up for us. The timing is good. Oh- job change, that's a nice monkey wrench. Well, let's go for it anyway. Months go by and nothing happens. I'm keeping track of everything (and I do mean everything, I think I even recorded every time I sneezed!) on my handy dandy little chart, it's really not as much fun as it sounds like.

I make the call, but I can't bring myself to use the "i" word. Dr. R (not her real name) says "Well, this is no problem, but I don't like what you told me about that. You should come in and have bloodwork done." At least I got the heads up- I really don't do well when they spring the needles on me. Results: "Your progesterone was low and your thyroid was abnormal. Let's repeat the test." Sigh. "Your progesterone was normal this time, no problem there. But your thyroid level was still abnormal. And it could be contributing to infertility." There it was. The "i" word. Next step: schedule an appointment with my primary care physician to discuss said abnormality of the thyroid. Dr. U (not his real name) is, of course, on vacation...

5 weeks: I'm not entirely sure why I felt I needed to take a test that day, but something inside me said, "Why not? Just get the no and move on." Only it wasn't a no. Wait, how did this happen? I wasn't prepared for this! In hushed voices (we had family crashing at our place- but that's another story entirely) the huz and I discussed it briefly before work. Our conversation went something like this:

"Is it for real?"
"I guess so"
"Can there be false positives?"
"Well, yeah..."
"Do you have any more tests?"
"No, I guess I'll stop on my way home and pick one up."
"Or a couple...Maybe it's an April Fool's joke. You know, it just gets wet and comes back positive."
"Do they make those?"
"I don't know."

Oh, did I forget to mention, it was April Fool's Day? Jynx congratulated us right away- by barfing on the carpet (Fritz was too busy cowering under the bed, hiding from the house guests to even be concerned with what else was happening.)

Good news! Looks like the offer on the house was accepted and we're moving forward. No, this isn't an April Fool's joke!

Wait, what? It's been a month and today of all days is the day we finally hear something?!

Test 2 comes back positive that night. And yet we still don't quite believe it. Five days pass. Ok, test 3. Positive. It must be for real. Guess I should call the doctor...

The huz asks:
"When can we tell people?"
"I'd like to wait, it's really early and I don't know what this whole thyroid thing means."
Two days later:

"So, I might have told my brother..."
"I might have told my supervisor- she wanted to move furniture..."

6 weeks: Dr. U tells me that the results from Dr. R's office indicate borderline hypothyroidism. He'd like to retest before making any decisions about medication. The next day Dr. U calls- "I've got your results back and I'm going to go ahead and get you started on medication. I'll fax the prescription to the pharmacy. I want to see you for a follow up appointment in 6 weeks." That's not what I wanted to hear. The doctor had assured me it was perfectly safe for the baby- I just hate the idea of taking medication. Any medication. Period.

Just ask the huz:
"I have a headache."
"Did you take anything for it?"
"No."
*Huz rolls eyes*

Pop the first pill. Guess I'm a druggie now...Off to Dr. R's office for my first appointment. "Everything looks good. Here is some information for you about what to expect for your upcoming appointments. I'll send the nurse in to draw your blood. And we'll see you back in about four weeks for your first ultrasound." Geez! I really am starting to feel like a pincushion...

"I feel funny."
"Funny how?"
"I don't know. Just funny. I'm sure it's normal."

"So when can we tell people?"
"After the ultrasound?"
"Sigh."

7 weeks: Wow. There it is. I wondered when you'd show up. Morning sickness. Yep. I feel awful. Let's hope this doesn't actually happen every day and this is just a fluke...

Nope. Not a fluke. How many more weeks until I feel better?

9 weeks: Feeling ever so slightly better. Actually managed to eat a whole meal at one sitting.

10 weeks: Mother's Day. The huz surprised me with flowers and a card. Stupid hormones making me cry. I didn't consider this to be my first mother's day, but he thought it counted. Started telling the family today- and news travels fast...

First ultrasound. A little nervous- not sure what to expect/think/feel. The huz keeps me giggling. Doc arrives in the freezing little room. Those papery sheets don't provide much warmth. There it is! Look! It's all wiggly!

Doc says "I only see one." (Sorry huz, maybe next time you'll get your twins.) "Heartbeat is nice and strong. Everything looks good."

*Sigh of relief*

Geez! Word really does travel fast! Is there anyone who doesn't know?

Let the nicknames begin. Peanut. Bean. Blob. Tadpole. Prune. Tory Walker. Tater Tot. Mini Muffin.

This kid is doomed!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Magic Hour


Hmm, I didn't intend for this blog to be primarily a book review...maybe I'm just on a reading roll...

Just finished "Magic Hour" by Kristin Hannah. I've read a book or two of hers before and really enjoyed them. So when I found this one, I picked it up. It started strong, I was intrigued. It was right up my alley with the whole nonverbal child- child therapist thing. But I started to lose interest toward the end. Maybe it was a little too predictable, I'm not sure. It was a nice story, but it lacked pizazz or--something. Maybe it was just me...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Separate Vacations- Gasp!

In two weeks my husband (aka: the huz) will leave for a trip to California. Without me. Yeah, I know it's a guys only fishing trip and I'm not a guy. And I haven't really fished in years- something about becoming vegetarian made fishing seem wrong. But I could visit with the family that's out there...

I'm not sure when it happened, maybe during the process of attempting to go to school out there, but at some point I decided I really like California. It's one of the two places I'd willingly uproot myself to move (Hawaii is still my number one choice. Sorry Ohio, I wouldn't eve
n think twice if I had the opportunity to go). Something about the huz going while I'm stuck here (probably taking a canoe to work instead of my car) just doesn't seem fair. I know, I know, not all of California is sunny with palm trees. In fact, there is a good possibility that there will be snow on the ground when the guys get to the final fishing destination.

But I suppose the huz will have similar feelings of wanting to go a few weeks after his return when I escape with the girls to sunny Myrtle Beach for a few days.

Separate vacations! Gasp!
We consider ourselves lucky to be able to vacation at all this year- together or separately. And we're already tossing around ideas for next year's vacation together...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Oops


Forgot to post on the most recent book I finished. "Sunset Beach" by Trish Perry. Not one I'd normally pick off the shelf, for some reason I don't run to the Christian Lit section of a bookstore. And I rarely approach the romance section. But a coworker plopped this book down on my desk and said I needed to read it. Typically I have enjoyed her suggestions. This time was no exception. Again, a little outside my normal genres, and a little predictable, but an enjoyable story nonetheless. A quick easy read that made me wish I was sitting on the beach while I was reading it...
My completely meaningless rating scale gives it a thumbs up.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Handmaid's Tale

I finished it. "The Handmaid's Tale." It was....weird. I hated it. But, at the same time, I really liked it and could not put it down.

What's it about? I'm not entirely sure...some futuristic throwback to Biblical times? A Holocaustic commentary on religion?

Mayday mayday!

Check it out. Or don't.

Mrs. Stewart- Tell Mr. Stewart he gets once and then he must address me properly, so he better choose wisely.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Completed: One Book

Just finished Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons." My thoughts? I found the beginning a little slow, but the action picked up in the middle and the book had a nice solid ending. I approve. On my random rating scale that means absolutely nothing I give this book a 7.78.
I'm down to oohhh, 35 books left on my bookshelf in the "to be read" stacks. Yes, stacks, plural. I think for every one I finish I add two more! But at least I've always got a selection. Next I will be taking advantage of my fabulous Nook's "LendMe" feature and will be delving into the electronic pages of "The Handmaid's Tale." We shall see if my goal of completing the book in the 14 days allotted by Nook will be met with success...Looks like I've gotta get my read on now!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Inner Calm

So I've been reading this book ("The Seeking Heart" by Fenelon) at the recommendation of a colleague as a daily devotional. I've found it good, but nothing really jumped out at me. Until today...

Inner Calm
I hear you are having problems sleeping. You must wait for sleep in peace. If you let your imagination run away with you when you are trying to sleep, you may never get to sleep. I will not think that you are growing spiritually until I see that you have become calm enough to sleep peacefully without restlessness.
Ask God for calmness and inner rest. I know what you are thinking- that controlling your imagination does not depend on yourself. Excuse me, please, but it depends very much on yourself! When you cut off all the restless and unprofitable thoughts that you can control, you will greatly reduce all those thoughts which are involuntary. God will guard your imagination if you do your part in not encouraging your wayward thoughts.
Live in peace. Your imagination is too active; it will eat you up! Your inward life will die of starvation. All that buzzing in your mind is like bees in a beehive. If you excite your thoughts, they will grow angry and sting you! How can you expect God to speak in His gentle and inward voice when you make so much noise? Be quiet and you will hear God speak. Live in the peace of Jesus.

Hmm. Someone was paying attention to my restless nights...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Play with your food

I know, I know. I've been neglecting my duties as a blogger. Maybe I'm not cut out for this line of work....

I'm always on the lookout for amusing articles, funny pictures, and examples of creative ways to deal with the stressors of everyday life. This one made me smile: Play with your food . And thanks to one of my sisters-in-law, I can create some of my own stress relief food with my Ms. Food Face plate!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top 'o the morning to you


May those that love us, love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles
So we will know them by their limping.


http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/life/the-scoop-on-st-patrick-2465481/

Monday, March 14, 2011

The semi-lucid morning of a recovering insomniac

My eyes felt like sandpaper when I rolled over to look at the clock this morning. 2 minutes till. I don't think my groan was actually audible, but I can't be sure.

No sense waiting for the alarm. I'm guessing the cats are waiting outside the bedroom door for me, but I can't see them in the darkness. Guess I missed changing the time on the light timer. Fumble for the light switch- I'd rather not trip over a cat on the stairs in the dark. Ouch! My toes are not food. Why do you insist on nibbling on them every morning? Give me 30 more seconds and you'll have your food. Ugh. There's the "I didn't get enough sleep last night" feeling- I bet it rivals an expectant mother's morning sickness (though having never been an expectant mother, I cannot say this with absolute certainty). Thankfully I know it's short-lived and will have disappeared within half an hour. No, you cannot be in the bathroom with me while I shower. Why? Because the last time I let you in, you meowed the entire time; you sounded like the water was some flesh-eating acid and you were watching me melt down the drain.

I need socks. Sigh, they're downstairs since the clean laundry hasn't made it all the way back upstairs where it belongs. Well, I'll clean out the litterbox and take down the trash and I can grab my socks then. Oh, I should clean out the basement litterbox too. Geez! This trash is heavy. No! You don't need to go in the garage, I'm just putting the trash out there so it can go out.

Ok, so I don't have time to dry my hair now- I really should clean out the litterboxes the night before trash day...Ouch! Quit pouncing on my feet! Darn it! I forgot my socks.

Hmm, what to pack for lunch? Ok- a little of this and a little of that, done. Ready to go. Wait! Didn't check the weather.....now ready to go. Oh, my water. Now ready to go. Really. *Yawn*

I'll be the first to admit that my sleepless nights are less frequent than in the past. But atypical events still throw my system out of whack- things like the time change, or staying up waaaay too late, or caffeine (mmm, caffeine...). And for several days I'll be "off" with my thoughts jumping around like I have ADHD and my body working in slow motion as if I was stuck in molasses. Some people are under the impression that since I don't sleep well, I don't need sleep. I'd like to correct that- that's someone who's having a manic episode- which I hear can be fun. No, I'm more of an insomniac, meaning I really would like to be able to sleep. A bad night is when I've been laying in bed for 2 hours and sleep just won't come, but I'm so tired I can't see straight. That leads to the incoherent ramblings of the sleep deprived. The bright spot is, unlike a true insomniac, that if last night was bad, tonight I'll sleep.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When I Grow Up

With only a year to go until I turn 30, I sometimes contemplate that it may be time to let go of my Peter Pan attitude and start acting like a grown up. But then I think about how dull my Facebook pictures would be and I push those silly thoughts aside. Let's face it, if I managed to get a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, a professional counseling license, and get married and none of those things deterred me from wearing my hair in pigtails and trying on every crazy hat I see, I don't think anything will!

It's not that I have an aversion to adulthood, I just don't feel all grown up yet (and I think part of my hopes I never do!). It's good clean fun playing with Bacon B'acon and digging out my coloring books. Yeah, yeah, I'm trying to get all settled in this intense grown up job I have- all the more reason to unleash my inner child when I go home. Sloshing your way through people's mental muck is exhausting, draining, heartbreaking at times (and rewarding, fulfilling, incredible, and did I mention exhausting?). Is it any wonder I sometimes take mental vacations (and wish they were real vacations) or dream about things I like to do in my free time (if I ever have any) like:

1. Turn my amateur bakery into a professional one- oh, but first take a cake decorating class or two
2. Be an author- I do have a book of poetry and a book of autism anecdotes already written. And a novella started...
3. Do research- I used to say frequently "I should do a study on that."
4. Be a photographer- travelling far and wide to take pictures of beaches and mountains and such.
5. Be a beach bum- this is my favorite one to imagine. The smell of salty water, the breeze in my nappy dried ocean-water hair, sun on my skin (which in my fantasy is always golden tan and never the pasty white or sunburn red of reality), ice cold lemonade next to my stack of novels, the sounds of a steel drum band drifting over the waves...


Friday, February 25, 2011

My new home

I'm sure this is true for others, but nothing is ever easy in my life. I typically count on having to do things at least twice before it's right. Like when my husband and I went to buy a new tv- we actually bought four (yes, FOUR) before we got one that worked properly. New dining room table- two. Even our first apartment needed replaced (but two years of drama at Brooksedge is another blog). The pattern holds for our house hunting saga. But I found this little gem while keeping my eyes on real estate in the area. I think we've definitely found a winner here!


Not really. And that's not the worst of the pictures I've seen. Our active house-hunting should resume (pending any other strokes of misfortune) in the future (not necessarily the near future, but the foreseeable future. Perhaps round 2, when it begins, will be more promising.

And hopefully, the Morris luck does not apply to other members of the family (yes, Sister, I did see your news. Congrats and good luck!)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

myfitnesspal

Tug. Tug. Suck. Grumble. Squeeze. Zip. Sigh.

Sound familiar? It's the morning battle- struggling to fit into my clothes. I know I'm not the only one. I keep bargaining with myself- "I'll start fresh tomorrow...on Monday...when it gets nice outside." "I'll trade my calories for 2 snacks for this one cupcake." "I slept in today, so I can have a large brunch since I didn't have breakfast."

Enough is enough. Either I just give in and go buy the next size up or I get off my duff and do something about it. Hmm, sounds familiar- like something my husband might have said after a rant. (Not the get off your duff part, he was much too nice for that.) Since I refuse to give up the wardrobe of clothes I actually like (for once) I guess I better get myself in gear. And I did just read this book on running that was pretty motivational... And a couple of family members are having some great success. Procrastinating is fine when it comes to doing my homework, but not when it comes to how I feel about my body (yes, I am sometimes in the 80% of women who are dissatisfied with their bodies). It's time to stop blaming my job (all I do is sit there for 8-10 hours a day). It's time to put down the chocolate (*gasp* maybe not!). It's time to NOT bake cupcakes unless I have someone to give them ALL to so the leftovers aren't hanging around waiting to be eaten so they don't go to waste.

Yes, I have more reasons than just fitting into my clothes. I KNOW I feel better a few pounds lighter. I KNOW my cholesterol is lower when I'm not carrying around extra weight. I'm SURE it'll be better for my bum knee if it's not working harder than it needs to to support the rest of me. I HEAR you actually have more energy when you workout, but I can't remember. I HOPE maybe I'll sleep better too.

For those of you who care about such things:
  • No, I'm not on a diet.
  • Yes, I am watching what I eat- and more importantly, how much of it I eat.
  • Yes, I might possibly be a little bit crazy dragging myself out of bed an hour before I HAVE to be up so that I can get my workout done and out of the way.
  • Yes, I am having a hard time with it, but I'm only 3 days into my new resolved plan with better a better support system in place than on my last attempt and I hope it gets easier.
  • No, I'm not really giving up chocolate, but please don't tempt me with it. I already know Easter candy is hitting the stores and Easter does have the best candy. Mmmm....peeps....
  • Yes, I am on a mission to find a Shamrock Shake from McDonald's this year and I will do an extra workout (or 3) that week to make up for it.
  • Yes, I am interested in finding a workout buddy (but good luck coordinating schedules with me, sigh!)
  • Yes, I am testing out this cool food/exercise/weight tracking device at myfitnesspal.com. Ask me in a couple weeks how I like it.
  • No, I'm not going to start eating meat (ok, that has nothing to do with this blog, but it is a question I get from time to time.
  • Yes, checking in with my mama in the mornings when we've completed our workouts does seem to be helpful. Anyone else want in on the accountability program?
  • Yes, I do have a specific goal in mind.
  • No, I am not telling you. It's none of your business.
  • No, I don't want you to tell me that I don't need to lose weight or that I'm fine the way I am or that you'd love to be the size I am. So. Not. Helpful. I'm not trying to be a size 00 or even a size 0. Just more comfortable in the size of clothes I already own. So if you can't say something supportive don't say anything at all.
  • No, I don't feel the need to justify what I'm doing, but if I put it out there maybe it'll motivate me to actually do what I've told- well- the world (or the 2 people who read my blog) what I'm doing.
  • Yes, I know it will actually take a few months to reach my goal. Maybe by then the healthier eating habits will have become just that- habits.
  • Yes, I know myfitnesspal weight loss tracker shows I've lost 0 pounds. But it's got a cute little frog that'll hop along as I make progress!
  • Yes, this list is longer than I intended. *Shuffles off to find some carrots*


Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book 2

"The reason some people use their genetic gift for running and others don't is because the brain is a bargain shopper."

Just finished "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. I admit, I was skeptical when my brother-in-law handed the book to me to read. But merely pages in, I was hooked. Maybe it's because I like to think I'm still a runner (despite the reality of not having run consistently since I don't know when and not having laced up my running shoes in months period). Or maybe it's because it inspired me to find time to lace up my running shoes (or attempt this new barefoot thing). Or maybe it's just a good story- for runners and non-runners alike.

This book gets a CJAM rating of 18.2 (rating scale still in development).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ken Carson- Part II

How many people, after learning Ken's last name, wondered what Barbie's last name is? I know at least one person who did.
Here's the scoop: Barbra Millicent Roberts was born March 9, 1959. She has six siblings and an extensive network of family, friends, and neighbors. Barbie and Ken have been dating since 1961 (although they broke up between 2004 and 2006 when the Barbie-Blaine scandal occurred).

For more information on Barbie's family visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Barbie's_friends_and_family

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ken Carson

So who knows who Ken Carson is? I bet you do.

"Barbie's main squeeze, Ken, turns the big 5-0 on March 11. Ken Carson hails from the (fictional) town of Willows, Wisconsin, and originally cost $3.50."

Need another random factoid?

Twelve- It's the number literature Nobel Prize winners who happen to be women. Most recent American female winner: Toni Morrison, back in 1993.

Hey guess what- March is Women's History Month, so dig out your Barbies and read something written by a female ( maybe something by a Nobel Prize winner- nobelprize.org)

Random facts found in the March 2011 issue of Real Simple.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Books

I like books. Reading books. Writing books (someday). Books books books.

While in graduate school, I collected books "to read later" when I had "free time" because during school I didn't have enough time to accomplish all of my required reading let alone anything else. Graduation came and went. And I had no desire to touch a book for about 8 months. Then slowly, but surely my desire to read came back. I devoured novels and the educational stuff sat on my shelf. Then I got my NOOK. Endless collections of e-books at my fingertips. And the stack of books on my shelf remained. Then I made a deal with myself. For every novel I read (real or NOOKbook) I have to also read an educational book. It's not like I don't like reading them, novels are just more fun.

Here's the latest book I've completed. Hopefully the first of many book blogs to come.

http://www.amazon.com/Dialectical-Behavior-Therapy-Clinicians-Guidebook/dp/0979021847/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1297107612&sr=1-1

Monsters

I was going to post this nice blog about friendship and adventures, yadda yadda yadda. And then I woke up this morning and found something much different to blog about.

Let me introduce to you the monsters, er, cats. In 2008, a friend rescued a teeny little kitten from the streets. Well, the tiny black furball ended up at our place, where he quickly got attached to me, following me from room to room. Being clever we named the all black kitty, Jynx, not realizing at the time how fitting the name was. Our long, slender devil continues to follow me around and has some separation anxiety issues, crying and clawing at the carpet when I dare to want to close the bathroom door with him on the outside and me on the inside. Jynx was a playful little guy who quickly learned he had claws, and promptly forgot how to NOT use them. He sometimes got confused, thinking he was a dog, and would play fetch for hours. Well after a year of bleeding nearly everyday from the loving cat attacks, we considered a second kitty. Maybe, just maybe if Jynx had a little playmate, he'd stop clawing my hands and feet to shreds.

2009: a coworker's barn cat had kittens. Perfect opportunity for a playmate for our four-legged maniac. We picked out a cute little gray and white tiger boy. And thinking that he'd be born in a barn and had to dodge horse hooves, he'd be a tough little guy and keep Jynx in line. Well, it turns out that Fritz is our chubby little scaredy cat (perhaps Jynx pounced on him one too many times). He's usually Mr. Independent, but watch out when he wants some attention! You better be ready to spend some time rubbing his ears, chin, and belly. And he's a drooler when he's happy. Never sit down on the couch without checking under the blanket to make sure Fritz hasn't burrowed in for a snooze. If you can't find him, check under the bed. Or just wait until about half an hour before feeding time, like clockwork, he'll remind you it's almost time to eat.

Fast forward to February 2011. I thought it was be nice to have a fishy friend on my desk at work. So I found a couple Betas and got them all set up in a tank at home over the weekend. Freud and Siggy seemed to be adjusting fairly well to their new environment. Jynx found them, of course, and sniffed and sniffed at them. The cats were never left unattended around the fish. All was going well.

I should have known better. I should have. I really should have known. After all, we had to buy a bread box for our bread. We had tupperware gnawed on because there was a biscuit inside. I found teeth marks in a rubber spatula left in the sink of dirty dishes. Jynx once pushed an entire pie off the counter trying to break it free from the pie container. I should have known.

The fish were safely closed in the bedroom for the night, away from the monsters. I mean cats. In the morning they would make the trek to work with me. All their paraphernalia was packed away in a bag. I hadn't slept well, so I decided to give myself an extra 15 minutes of sleep. Fritz had other ideas. It was, after all, time to eat. I trudge down the stairs to feed him and see the mess. Someone (my guess is Jynx, but I cannot prove it- yet...) had gotten into the bag of fish supplies. He got out the box that was in the bag of fish supplies. He chewed open the box that had been in the bag of fish supplies. He got out the canister of fish food that had been in the box that was in the bag of fish supplies. He got the lid off the canister of fish food (say it with me) that had been in the box that was in the bag of fish supplies. He sprinkled fish food flakes all over the floor, thought he'd eat some, and then when they didn't agree with him, barfed on the carpet.

Even though I was already (intentionally) 15 minutes behind schedule, I couldn't very well leave the disaster that had occurred in the time span of three hours between when the husband tried to sneak into bed without waking me and when I got up. Three hours. Plenty of time for mischief. And red vomit on gray carpet. Throw food in the cat bowls. Trudge back upstairs for carpet cleaner, the handheld vacuum, and an old towel. Back downstairs. Vacuum (sorry sleeping husband). Spray. Scrub. Repeat. Currently 45 minutes behind schedule. Typical leisurely morning preparation for work is out the window- now I am at risk for actually being late to work. Throw the towel over the wet section of carpet (sorry landpersons, I'll try to remove the stains later). Scrawl quick note to husband so he's on alert for more puke. Begin morning routine in high speed. Don't forget to take Siggy and Freud to work (sorry guys, I'll get you more food tonight, you'll be okay for one day, right?).

Phew. Barely made it on time (thank you traffic for actually cooperating today!). I wonder if I'll still have two cats at home after work today...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Noteworthy news

This seemed noteworthy, er, blog-worthy.

Maybe it's the field in which I work. Or maybe it's because I was once a teenage girl. Either way, I want to cheer when I see things like this. Sadly, I think we need to target kids long before eighth grade, but at least we're starting somewhere!

http://www.10tv.com/live/content/femalefocus/stories/2011/01/14/story-westerville-girls-self-esteem-program.html

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Welcome to CJam's Random Ramblings

I finally did it. I started a blog. I have been contemplating blogging for some time now and just couldn't quite get my act together. What would I blog about? How often would I blog? What if my blog sucks!? The answers: whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like, and who cares. For an aspiring writer, writing something is better than writing nothing, right?

So here you are, my blog, in all its glory. Feel free to suggest topics, leave comments or questions, or ignore it completely.

I know, I'm off to a great start with this super-exciting introductory blog. Hmm, let's see if we can spice this up a bit...what to write...what to write...Nope. I got nothing. The pressure of writing a blog is getting to me and it's only day one!

I could go with the obvious, but I really am not in the mood to complain about the weather. Besides, I've mentally been at the beach since December. Ooh, the beach. Can you feel that nice, warm sunshine and feel the sand between your toes? The waves are the only soundtrack I need! Mmmm, that's good lemonade I'm sipping. I think I'll see what trashy novels I have on my NOOK to entertain me while I'm marinating...