Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Changes for the New Year

LWAOT is moving over to Wordpress for a bit while I test out some features.

You can find it at http://tjwriter.wordpress.com

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Five Weird Things

How do you narrow down the five weirdest things about me?

1) When it gets dark, I put the house on lockdown. All the blinds and curtains are closed, and I can't stand for anyone outside to be able to see inside. It stems from childhood trauma, where I was playing in my room, heard a noise and looked up to see a man staring back at me through the window. I screamed bloody murder, and my dad and a guest went outside to investigate where they found fresh footprints in the mud under my window and my screen removed. Been that way about windows ever since.

2) I used to count how many bites of something I'd take, making sure the number came out even. Er, it's odd I know, but these are weird things about me. Thankfully, having a child cured me of this habit as I no longer have the time to worry about such little things.

3) I have the hardest time taking the last of something because I always worry that someone else wanted it. Applies to just about anything, but mostly food. You know, because we can't go to the store and buy more... I actually believe this has something to do with my dad. He has a hard time dealing with disappointed other people, and I think I am the same way.

4) My favorite breakfast food in the world is something we started making while camping when I was smaller. Butter a bagel and toast it in a skillet, fry an egg overhard, and top with bacon. Add cheese if you desire. Best. Breakfast. Sandwich. Ever. I fixed them this morning because it's been ages since I've had one. Delicious, but not so healthy. Eat sparingly.

5) I potentially have Ankylosing Spondylitis, which my father has. I've been experiencing some serious joint pain lately, and need to exercise more and visit my doctor to discuss. I'm at the typical age of onset. The above link is to Wikipedia, so take with appropriate amount of salt. Skimming it, I already found some information that conflicts with other sources, but the general idea is right.

Hope you enjoyed that! I don't know that I know anyone else to tag, so the buck stops here.

What Our Christmas Was Like

Our Christmas holiday stretched for several days, making it an interesting and hectic experience. (BTW, if anyone wants a tired and whiny toddler, I have one to share this morning.)

It started on Sunday, the 23rd. We traveled down to Kentucky to my aunt's house. There we shared appetizers and finger foods, watching my daughter be a screaming heathen. My cousin has a little girl who is just a bit older than Piper, and both girls brought bags of toys to play with while visiting. Piper decided that my cousin's girl's toys were hers and that her toys were hers. When my mother and I were making Piper share, my aunt, my cousin, and his wife were all trying to tell us that it was okay for Piper to hog all the toys! Not so much in my book, so we had screaming battle of wills. Lessen learned: Piper needs more play dates with other kids.

On Christmas Eve, we loaded up and arrived at my parents' house for brunch. It was a good experience. My mom's parents live with my parents, so there were several of us. We filled ourselves with all sorts of wonderful breakfast foods, then opened presents. Since Mom keeps Piper during the week, she redid Piper's bedroom with all sorts of big girl stuff for her Christmas. There was a toddler bed, a kitchen, a table and chairs, and she got some bath toys. It was good for her.

I got a new MP3 player that I'd wanted. It has a radio, records voice, and records radio directly to the player. It also features a pedometer, stopwatch and some other nifty things. The ear buds on it are different than others, and quite comfortable, too. They also got me Barnes & Noble and Starbucks gift cards. My husband got a Visa gift card, as he is the hardest person in the world to shop for.

In the evening, we went to his mother's house for pizza and presents. Piper got a tent, sleeping bag, etc. combo thing, some clothes and his sister got her a Cabbage Patch doll named Piper. I got some fu-fu smelly stuff and some cash. My husband got some cash and I don't know what else. Not a bad evening.

Christmas Day, we learned that Santa had brought Piper a Dora kitchen and a Dora ATV. Even though Piper doesn't watch TV, I think it's Dora's friendly face that has attracted her to the character. She also got a some accessories to take care of her babies and some extra food items to use in her kitchen. Mommy and Daddy got her the Little People Sarah Lynn Camping Adventure.

The husband went out and bought his gift from me for himself. That's not that different or new. We do things oddly and backwards for the most part. It works for us, no matter what others may say. Seriously, I said something about wanting a new vacuum, and when he told the guys at work, they insisted that if that's all he got me, then I would be pissy about. Really? Last time I checked, I'm not really in to jewelry and other seriously girly stuff. Never have been, and it drives me crazy when others assume that I can't be different. One year, he got me a stove and a dishwasher for Christmas and anniversary (I don't remember which gift was which, as they run so close together.). I was happy as could be to have good, working appliances to make my life easier.

But back to the gifts. I haven't decided what I want my gift from him to be yet, so I don't have anything, and I'm not too worried about it right this second. Around noon, we went to his aunt's house to do his family's thing. Piper got some new clothes and a pink poodle purse for her name draw gift. His grandmother got her a stick pony, pink cowboy boots, and a Little People farm (which she's had for awhile at Mom's, but I was saying a thing). Christopher got some kind of cologne, and some other stuff I never got to see. I got some Victoria Secret smelly stuff that I like, a cute little picture frame, and a Barnes & Noble gift card.

In grand total, I have $75 in B&N gift cards, which makes me a very happy woman. The holidays have been grand. Tomorrow, we have to go and do stuff with my mom's family, which is just food, conversation, and white elephant gifts. It's usually a good time.

Now that I've written my huge narrative, and I know the answer for some, but did everyone have a good holiday?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Big Mommy...And Other Things

The little one and I have both been sick with some kind of nasty crud. A sick toddler is a major handful, let me just say. It involves lots of crying and whining, and many other things I'd rather not mention. Thankfully, I can report that we both are feeling better.

Which brings me to this very funny story from last week. My mother, who watches Piper while I work, made a trip to the store one morning. In the car on the way home, she and Piper had the following conversation:

Piper: See Mommy.

Mom: We can't see Mommy right now. She's at work.

Piper: See Mommy.

Mom: Mommy's at work. We'll see her this evening.

Piper: *Claps her hands together.* SEE BIG MOMMY NOW!

Frankly, I have no idea if that turned out as funny as it was, but it was hilarious, and I am now known as Big Mommy in some circles.


Most of you who come here know that I was going to try to hire someone to come in on the weekends to help with things around here. In a bit of luck, my husband's cousin recently moved in next door with her husband. They are expecting a baby. Having just relocated from Illinois, they have yet to find jobs, and could use some extra cash. My husband mentioned something in passing about giving her $20 to watch Little Bit for a few while I did some things (to be discussed further down). It was a huge blessing, and a blazing success. Piper loves her, and so they bounced back and forth between both houses, while I got some serious work done.

Then, in one of those lovely twists of fate, we started discussing other cleaning. So, his cousin is going to come and do a set list of tasks during the week while we are gone, and I'll increase the pay accordingly. I can't tell you how nice it was coming home this evening to find Piper's room picked up and neat, one of the bathrooms all clean, the dishes done, and Piper's clean laundry folded and put away. It's great so far, and there's less stress for me. The hardest part for me is deciding how much to compensate her for the efforts.


This weekend, during the previously mentioned time that the husband's cousin was helping with Piper, I cleaned out eight large trash bags of clothes that I've accumulated for the last several years. There for the longest time, I kept everything. However, since I've become a mother, and had a million tasks added to my to do list, I just don't have the time to clean up or around all that stuff. So, I've been slightly ruthless in getting rid of stuff, and I made a ton of space in my house by clearing out this stuff.

I've also come to the conclusion that it is selfish as to hang on to all these perfectly good things when there are people out there that need them. So, I'm hauling loads of usable things to the Goodwill, where people who need things can use them. It's helping a bunch.


I'm finally feeling good again. There for a bit I was rather depressed and a real Downer Debbie. It felt like the relationship with the husband was strained. We've finally started to have some time together. Things are feeling a little bit better all around. I've gotten the kind of help I need.


I've not written anything recently. Not that I'm not thinking about my novel. It's on my mind a lot, and I have some things I need to work through, so I'm not upset because it's not dead in the water.


Friday is our fifth wedding anniversary. It is also the same day that marks 11 years of being together. It's amazing. We have a nice evening planned. We're going out for dinner, and doing a little Christmas shopping to finish up some of the things we need. It's hard to imagine the holidays are so close, but I'm feeling better than I have in a while. Now I just need to get a sleepy toddler ready for bed.

Friday, December 07, 2007


On the way home from work today, I saw something that I am sure is common today, but made me think back about my experiences several years ago. As this car passed me on the highway, you could see the dad in the front seat, chatting on the phone. In the back, you could see the daughter chatting away on her phone.

Now back in the Stone Ages (or ten years ago), when you rode in the car, you either brought material to entertain yourself with or actually speak with the people in the car. It made me wonder how many families don't use the time as a good time for discussions and insights to one another. It makes me think back to all the family road trips we took when I was younger.

We almost always left at night. My brother and my mother would fall asleep in the back, and I'd ride shotgun next to my dad since I was always wide awake. Sleeping in the car was not a skill I acquired until I met my husband. I would read the map and keep track of when our next exit would be, and Dad and I could talk about all sorts of things. It was a real bonding experience, and one activity of many we've enjoyed over the years. (Other than my teenage years, but that's another story for another time.)

What I expect happens most often now, is that each person is involved in their own activities, that they miss out on easy time with each other to build relationships. I worry what that does to families. Most often, on our rides to and from my parent's, Piper and I talk, sing, and sometimes enjoy the silence. If I have to make a call, it's most often to my husband, for less than a minute, to give him an ETA. Those rides are an easy time for bonding and I don't want to miss them. I mean, we're stuck in a car together for cryin' out loud!

Cell phones are handy, but I think people have gotten so caught up in being connected all the time, that they don't take the opportunity to be disconnected. Not to mention the risks in using your cell phone on the road. The other morning some college-aged kid was so busy texting that he forgot to drive, nearly sideswiping my car. That kind of stuff scares the crap out of me.

But the point I am trying to make is that if you are connected all the time, take some time to disconnect and see what it feels like to have that freedom again. Use that time that comes so easily to build relationships with those around you. After all, relationships are what life is about.