Sorry, Susan, but we may be using that gift receipt.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Sorry, Susan, but we may be using that gift receipt.
I'd like to thank Jason, who gave the kid a bath every night so I could fart around on the computer, my loyal readers (most of whom spent the month in Italy in an apartment without an Internet connection ... boy, is MLF going to have some catching up to do this weekend ;) ), and all the new folks who stopped by and decided to stick around for a while to see where this was going.
Here's a small token of appreciation for my readers: If you buy something from my etsy shop between today and the end of the year, just include the word "NaBloPoMo" in the notes to seller in your order, and I'll give you free shipping! And I might even upgrade it to Priority Mail, especially if I'm feeling too lazy to calculate what the regular postage would be!
If you're going to take advantage of this, please wait for me to send you a corrected invoice via PayPal, so I can remove the shipping charge for you. Now, get shopping! (please note that most of my shop will be inactive from about 11pm Friday through about 11pm Saturday, since the stuff will be going with me to the craft show and I don't want to accidentally sell the same thing twice)
And now, back to our regularly-scheduled posting plan, which means you won't get new stuff every day, but it might suck less.
So earlier this week I added a small zucchini (shredded) to the ground beef when I fixed tacos for dinner, and it wasn't noticeably different from zuke-less versions. When I used the leftover taco stuff to make a salad the next day, I threw a handful of baby spinach leaves on the plate before adding the regular lettuce. When some friends came over for a playdate, I made frozen pizza for lunch, but we also had veggies and dip and grapes. I made chicken enchiladas last night, and not only did I sneak another zucchini in there with the filling, but there were also so many diced tomatoes and avocados sprinkled on top that you could barely see the actual enchiladas, and the salad we had as a first course was about the size of Liza's head.
Tonight I'm going to wimp out and do a "Chinese" meal made out of canned stuff in my pantry, but it's going to have a side helping of Asian green beans to go with it, and I may bust out the last of the brown rice to use as a base.
And then we'll be out of fresh veggies, and it will be time to start eating for shit again. But at least I've gotten a FEW vitamins in there.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I've been up to my armpits in price tags and merchandise for my craft show this weekend. If you're a Clevey and want to come, it's in North Ridgeville at the First Congregational UCC from 9-4 on Saturday. Mention Mind Flush, get candy. Buy things. Get holiday cheer. Be there!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I told her we were going to go on an adventure, and before we left we needed to make a map. We got out the crayons and a piece of paper and made the world's simplest map - our house, Home Depot with a big orange sign, PetSmart with a goldfish on the sign, and Chik-Fil-A with a sandwich on the sign. We made a dotted line to go from one place to the next, starting and ending at our house. Then we packed up our backpack with the essentials (map, snack, handkerchief, rubber duck) and she was happy as a clam to go exploring with me.
She held the map in the car, and after every stop I asked her to tell me where we needed to go next, and darned if she didn't get it right each time.
It was a great way to involve her in planning the trip, and having the map helped keep me from trying to cram in a few extra errands that would have pushed her over the edge (No shoe store, mama! Not on map! PetSmart next!). I'm definitely going to have to try this again when I'm tempted to cram too much into the pre-holiday weeks.
After the success with the errand map, I tried a variation of the idea on a recent trip to the art museum. Liza is old enough to actually look at the art, and we've read books that involved art museums and we've talked about what they're for, but I didn't expect to get more than about 30 minutes of art appreciation out of her before meltdown. In order to give her something to do while we were there (other than run amok and/or whine), we made up a "map" of things she needed to find in the museum.
I didn't do a ton of research about what would be in the exhibit, although I did check to make sure there was something by Mondrian (because I wanted to get a shape on the list and be sure she could find it). In case you can't read the photo, we had "flower, squares, woman, sculpture, fancy frame," and a late addition - "oval" - which she insisted we add after she identified one in a painting. I wrote out the words, and made a little pictogram to help her remember what it was, and a box we could check off when we located each thing.
Liza clutched that map all the way to the art museum, and she wanted me to pull over and mark off "sculpture" when we saw one in a park on the way there. She didn't want to put the map down to take off her coat - darn it, she was determined to find those items FAST.
I won't say the map made the trip through the museum any more leisurely, especially since Liza has the attention span of a gnat when she's hungry, but it did give us something to talk about and look for while we were there.
She was very enthusiastic about the Degas ballet paintings (go figure - Liza? liking dancers?), and she seemed to understand the whole concept that "it looks like dots and lines up close, but from the other side of the room it looks like a restaurant with a waiter and tables and everything." Some of the other patrons seemed to enjoy the fact that Liza announced "That's a spul-cher!" every time she saw any 3-D art, although I think some of them would have appreciated a lower volume.
Before we went to the museum, we talked about how art doesn't have to be pretty or look like anything you recognize, it just has to make you feel something, so a couple times during our museum expedition I asked Liza what that painting made her feel. My favorite answer: "hungry." Time to hit the cafe and get a Dega ballet kids' book at the gift store on the way out. Mission Accomplished!
Monday, November 26, 2007
$500 fine if you don't take this photo when walking through a field with a camera
Pick a color, any color
What did you dream about?
Football! And ballerinas!
See what happens when I put my husband in charge of bedtime for a few days? Next thing you know, she's going to be asking for cleats and toe shoes for Christmas. Sheesh.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Those of us who eat Lean Pockets for breakfast can totally sympathize. Or we would, if all of the oral burns had healed enough to pronounce the word "sympathize."
Saturday, November 24, 2007
G: "Well, you know, those telenovelas have all kinds of half-dressed pretty women on them. You might enjoy watching that."
P: "Shoot, you know Susie won't let me watch that. I'll tell you, though, I keep finding that stuff by accident. They have the biggest mess of junk on television. That other night, when I couldn't get to bed until 3 am, there was the dumbest thing on. They had these crazy girls on the television. They spread glue all over their vaginas - it was just the stupidest thing - then they put themselves in all sorts of positions on a car bumper. Then that car took off and took all that hair with it! Just ripped it right off! I'll tell you what, that must have smarted."
Friday, November 23, 2007
Luckily, Jason's family is used to these big gatherings, and his Aunt Pat's house is well-designed for entertaining large groups of people who may not all want to be in the same room. Plus, it was 73 degrees outside, so most of the kids and dogs were out running amok in the leaves, throwing rocks in the water off the dock, seeing who could get the best explosion by throwing rotten osage orange fruits against a tree, etc.
Liza sees this group of people about twice a year, and while I think she remembers them, she still requires at least an hour of warm-up time before she lets go and removes her face from where she's embedded it in my neck. But yesterday she was doing pretty good, eating a huge lunch ("Liza LOVES dumpins!" gotta work on the pronunciation on the noodles, dear) and running around with the kids for hours. When asked what her favorite part of the day was, she told us "Aunt Susan!" which translates as, I really loved it when Aunt Susan stood in one place and I ran around her in circles for 15 minutes straight until I collapsed from vertigo. Good times, good times.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
She made it, and while she's not exactly been harping on the fact that we promised her a fish, on principle I don't like to disappoint her if I can help it. But fish don't travel well, so I was about to the point where I was going to have to tell her she'd have to wait until we got home. Then we went shopping at Tuesday Morning, and I found the perfect answer.
It's a small aquarium that has five tiny magnetic fish, and a moving magnet built into the base. When we turn it on, the fish dart around in a relatively realistic way, especially considering that the sucker only cost me $8. It even comes with a small magnetic wand we can use to lure the fish over to the side to "play" with us.
Liza loves this thing almost as much as I do. She loves turning the light on and off, loves playing with the wand, loves attempting to scoop the fish out with her hands (which is a good reason we didn't get her a real fish). And when she gets too rowdy with it, we can tell her it's time for the fish to take a nap and shut it off. Brilliant!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Well, they were a little nicer and more informative than that, but that's the gist of it. The lump on Zach's head was a mast cell tumor. Apparently we hit the jackpot - a type of tumor that is rare but (sort of) treatable in cats. We always knew you were special, buddy.
The treatment for this sort of tumor is surgical removal, and the biopsy results show that they "think" the edges of the biopsy are clear, meaning it's likely that the surgeon got all of it on the first go-round. But the standard for removal on these tumors is to cut out an area about 1cm larger than where they think the tumor is, just to make sure there aren't any mutant cells left behind to regrow and/or metastasize (oh, how I hate typing words like "tumor," "metastasize," and "biopsy" in relation to a member of our family, even if he is a cat that regularly pukes in places where I subsequently step first thing in the morning). And the biopsy doesn't have 1 cm of clean edge around the tumor, so the surgeon says to be safe he'd like to cut another chunk out of my cat's forehead.
But there's a good chance he DID already remove the whole tumor, so it's hard to say whether he really needs a second surgery or not. He seems to have responded to the first one well, with no lingering after-effects that we know of. But a larger incision - almost an inch across - means more stitches, more drugs, more chance of infection, and an even bigger facelift for our aging kitty. Not that he couldn't use the wrinkle removal, but we're going to have to start dying his beard if we want the maximum anti-aging effect.
From the stuff I can find online, it looks like even if we do remove this tumor entirely, it's likely to come back someplace else, and survival rates range from 2 months to 18 months. So maybe we'll wait a while to buy any new carpet.
Looks like Jason and I will have plenty to talk about on the way back to Ohio this weekend.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
The one bright spot - the Oakmont rest area, with its lovely family bathroom. A rest area bathroom that's well-lit, doesn't smell like a men's room, is well-stocked and functioning? Hallelujah!
Still, all in all, I'd rather be stuck on the Turnpike than drive through West Virginia for 6 hours straight. That trip from KY to MD was grueling, and so unimaginably dreary this time of year that by the time we got to MD, I was ready to kiss the (non-grey) ground we were driving past. Yes, I know it's pretty during the summer, and there are some beautiful vistas and views, but 98% of the drive is remote-coal-town ugly.
So yes, we made it, with little incident other than the five restroom breaks we took between 9 am and 2:30 pm. Only one minor accident, which was more a "there's no place to pull over where we won't get blown over the siderail by passing trucks" than Liza's fault. One of the highlights - when Liza chose to visit Taco Potty instead of the one at the McDonald's next door. I just love the phrase "Taco Potty." Don't you?
And the dial-up is just as slow as I remembered.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
L- "What are those?"
J- "Those are your ... nipples."
L- "These are my nipples! On ... on ... on ... on Liza's chest!"
J- "That's right."
L- "These are my knuckles!"
J- "Nipples, Liza, nipples."
J- "Daddy has a lot of hair on his chest. Does Liza have any hair on her chest?"
L- (scornfully) "Noooooo!"
J- "That's right. That's because boys are different from girls."
For some reason, now I've got a song stuck in my head ...
You take the good,
you take the bad,
you take them both
and there you have
The facts of life, the facts of life.
There’s a time you
got to go and show
You’re growin’ now
you know about
the facts of life,The facts of life.
While a drive this long is never exactly fun, this year's trip should be especially, um, memorable. Liza and I are driving out tomorrow, but Jason won't be joining us until Wednesday night ... so I get to do the whole 10-hour-drive to the Shore by myself. With a 2-year-old. Who is potty training. And cutting her last two molars.
Remind me again why this was a good idea? Oh, yeah - the amount we saved on airfare will pay for a really nice kitchen sink.
I've spent a good portion of the last two days getting ready for the trip, washing and sorting and packing and repacking because Liza got into the bag and "helped," getting the car's oil changed and taking the car back because it was leaking spots on my driveway, purchasing Christmas gifts to bring with us so we don't have to ship them later on, etc. The whole process has been made even more hectic by the fact that I am exhibiting at a craft show less than a week after I get back from the trip (so I'm trying to get some of the stuff prepped for that), and I'm going to try to visit some quilt stores on the Shore to sell my Lazy Mama stuff, so I have to prep and pack all of my samples and patterns and brochures and business cards .... ugh, makes my head hurt just thinking about it.
But I'm about done now, with only the big suitcase and miscellaneous snacks left to load, and our bathroom stuff to pack. And it's not even 8pm! It's a miracle! More likely, I've forgotten something of crushing importance, which I will remember about the time I get to Breezewood. Oh, well - at least I'll have had time to watch a movie and work on my "for fun" knitting project before it dawns on me that I've left all of my underwear and antidepressants in Ohio.
Oh, and we'll be staying in The Land That Cable Modems Forgot, so my posts are going to be short and sweet, and probably picture-free. I'm sure you'll be able to handle the disappointment :)
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
A month when I'm not supposed to be stocking my shop for Christmas and the craft show I have to do in slightly more than two weeks?
A month when I'm not supposed to be doing all my Christmas shopping?
A little help, here, NaBloPoMo folks. That's all I'm asking.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to figure out how to post to the blog from my cell phone. Gonna be some short posts next week, folks, if I have to pay $0.50 every time I send one in.
(K-A, I went back and put the link in just for you, because I knew you'd be disappointed if I missed out on such a great opportunity for blatant self-promotion)
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Get there fast, because my treasury will only be on the front page for 24 hours or so. Let the good times (and sales!) roll!
Edited at 1pm to add: I'm already rotated out of the front page slot. You can see what it looked like by visiting LazyTCrochet's flickr picture of it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lazytcrochet/2019932422/in/set-72157600744424148/
And the treasury is still up in the Storque section - see previous post for link.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Those are MY mittens! Hurray for free publicity! Even if it is on a page that only etsy sellers bother to read ... still, they have to buy mittens, too, right? Right?
- Jason's grandmother's husband's health is worsening, with an episode last week that involved things like fainting in a restaurant, not having a pulse, being resuscitated, staying in the hospital for three days, hallucinating, losing control of some functions, etc. He's not a blood relation, but he's a really nice guy - the kind who is always the first to give little kids high-fives at Thanksgiving - and it's awful to hear he's hurting. We're thinking of you, Bill.
- The kitchen renovation estimate we received on Monday was only a couple thousand more than our target, and it was just barely within the realm of reasonable justification ("yes, we could get it down to the target, but then we'd have to live with no tiled backsplash and no Corian ... and I think the kitchen is going to look kinda cheap without those."). As we're about to sign the contract, Jason notices that the estimate doesn't include the cost of the cabinets, which we'll be purchasing ourselves through Ikea. Add the roughly $3500 for the cabinets, and we're getting into "seriously over-budget" territory. I got to spend my free time last night totalling up all of our liquid assets to see how much money we actually have to throw at this thing, and totalling our income and expenses for each of the last four months to see how quickly we're burning through our savings right now. Good news - breaking even (ish) each month, and even with the higher pricetag, we'll still have a reasonable amoung leftover for emergency funds. Now we just have to decide whether we really want to dump this much money into the house, given that we've already got one of the higher-priced houses in the neighborhood. Keep your fingers crossed that we don't need a new furnace, roof, and car all in the next year :\ Oh, and they can't start work until January. Gah!
- Zach and I both had medical appointments today, and both of us had to fast for them. So not only was I ravenous, I got to clean up about 10 spots of Bella's "oh-my-god-there's-no-food-what-are-we-going-to-do" stress-provoked cat puke out of the carpet. And the kid had two accidents. I spent a good portion of today up to my armpits in paper towels soaked in other animals' bodily fluids. Yay.
- The napalm-conquering recurring crotch rot? Now thought to be contact dermatitis. Throwing out dryer sheets, changing toilet paper, changing soap, applying hydrocortisone, taking antihistamine. Fun. And they never did do the "you might have diabetes" test, so I starved all morning long for nothing. I'm all, wait, don't I need to pee in a cup, and they're all, not unless you really want a souvenir.
- Zach needed to go to the vet to get his shots and to get a peanut-sized lump on his noggin checked out. It's been there for about two weeks, and given the placement and the occasional crustiness of it, I assumed he had gotten hooked by Bella and just had a mild infection or something. Vet thought the same thing based on phone conversation, and he asked me to bring him in fasted so they could possibly sedate him and drain the thing. Only when I brought him in, they started using words like "biopsy" and "possible melanoma" and "$500." I brought him home tonight so he could be in comfortable surroundings, but he has to fast again overnight (eat fast, buddy, I'm storing the food away as soon as I hit "publish") and go in first thing tomorrow to remove the lump. I think it's funny that the vet sits down with you with an estimate of what it's going to cost to do the procedure to discuss whether you want to do it ... you never see that in a regular doctor's office. "So, Mr. Brown, your son may have skin cancer. It's going to cost $500 to remove it and find out - should we go ahead with that or just let him die a slow painful death of unknown causes? Hmmm?" Zach can be an annoying little puker whose bad habits way outweigh his good traits, but I got all choked up thinking about him possibly having cancer. He may be annoying, but we've got a long, annoying history together, and I'm not in a hurry to end that (or have to explain it to the kid).
- I posted the most hilarious description for my ugliest item in my etsy store yesterday. Over the course of less than 24 hours and with only minor plugging by me, it got 450 views, eight "favorites" and three pages of comments in the forums about how funny the description was, how cheap the price was, and how it was going to sell so fast. Sucker's still sitting there gathering dust in my shop. Come on, doesn't anyone want to be seriously unattractive buy really warm?
- Jason ordered three things for me from various etsy shops for my birthday. Thanks to the wonders of business trips where Jason can't access etsy from his company computer, postal holidays, and the vagueries of shipping, I've received one of them. And my birthday was last Thursday. On the positive side of things, it's a really nice present, which will look really nice in my hideously over-improved kitchen. People who feel sorry for me can feel free to buy me any other items from this store that include that turquoise color in them somewhere ... it may not make me feel better, but at least I'll be well accessorized while miserable.
- Oh, and apparently today is "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" day, at least on the Toddler calendar. We do not have nearly enough chocolate in the house for me to deal with this.
Monday, November 12, 2007
These patterns will be available for purchase over at Wee Wonderfuls sometime soon. Trust me - if I can pull these off at midnight with the wrong fabric while not following the directions too closely, you can manage to make them, too! Go, buy pattern!
***Edited to add: link to buy the gnome pattern http://weewonderfuls.typepad.com/wee_wonderfuls/store/
Sunday, November 11, 2007
1. Is that knit or cro - whatever that other one is?
Quick tip - two sticks=knit, one hook=crochet.
2. How do you do that? I could never do that.
Practice. Lots and lots of practice. And bourbon helps, too.
3. How do you know whether to make something in knit or crochet?
Crochet makes a fabric with more holes, and it's easier to form 3-D curves like spheres out of it. Knit makes a more opaque fabric that is more drapey, and it's great for making stretchy tubes. So, a lot of clothing tends to be knit (because arms, legs, and torsoes are all best clothed in stretchy tubes) while lots of afghans and scarves are crocheted (because it doesn't stretch out of shape as quickly). Oh, and crochet uses a lot more yarn to make the same item, so if you're using really expensive stuff, chances are, you're knitting.
4. My grandmother taught me how to crochet once, but I don't think I'd be any good at trying to figure it out now.
Go online - there are about 400,000 video knitting and crochet tutorials for pretty much every stitch you can imagine. Or, find a local stitch and bitch chapter and throw yourself on their mercy - if you buy the coffee/beer/chocolate, they may teach you enough to get started.
5. How do you find time to do that?
By always having a project nearby. In the past couple of days, I've knitted for two hours while watching a movie, an hour during therapy, and several 15-minute chunks while waiting for my daughter's preschool to let out or waiting in the doctor's office. On particularly productive days I manage to squeeze in another half an hour or so while watching Sesame Street with my daughter, and some more time while waiting for pages to load on the computer. If it's important to you, you find time.
For more information on learning to knit or crochet, I highly recommend the Stitch 'n Bitch series by Debbie Stoller. Her illustrations are great, the directions are clear, and she's REALLY funny. One caveat - make sure you check your gauge before you start her projects, because I've found mine is quite different from hers, particularly on the crochet projects. It's not a big deal - you can adjust for it - but it's disappointing to finish your first sweater and realize it's going to fit your 6-year-old neice, not your husband.
And if you have even a passing acquaintance with knitting, you really need to read the book by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Yarn Harlot. I borrowed it from the library, and now I need to buy a copy, it was THAT funny. Now, go buy it, then read her blog.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Hi, guys! Boy, have I missed you!
Let's see ... since we last talked, I've moved back to Cleveland (hi, Biscuit! hi, Carole!), started selling my craft patterns, started selling baby gifts and quilts online (hi, Chiqui!), and haven't killed the kid yet.
My kitchen here SUCKS. Search for "kitchen" or check out the "kitchen renovation" tags to see the whole renovation planning process ... I'm going in for the official estimate on Monday evening, and after I revive Jason, I'm hoping we can start soon and get this sucker finished by Christmas or early next year. Getting the "here in 2 weeks" cabinets from Ikea should help that :)
I haven't been cooking much, although I was thinking of you guys a few weeks ago when I made somebody's cornmeal pumpkin griddlecake recipe I printed out like six years ago. Hopefully I'll find more time to cook once my kitchen doesn't suck so bad. Did I mention the suckitude? It's large.
Anyway, stick around, especially during NaBloPoMo, when I'll be posting at least once a day in hopes of winning fabulous prizes. Feel free to comment and let me know who's visiting - I can't wait to "see" some of you again!
Nihon no cook, aka LazyMama, aka avonhokie, aka Gretchen
If you haven't seen it, go rent it. It doesn't have much super-high-profile talent (unless you count Frasier's dad; and Harry Connick Jr, who's hot but not that high profile right now, car commercial aside; and I didn't even realize Jennifer Anniston was the mom until I just looked at the imdb site for the movie), and it doesn't have much in the way of fancy animation, but it's a great movie.
Simple plot, wonderfully executed, with a great ending. Go rent it. Now.
Friday, November 09, 2007
But it's hard for me to write about myself. For one thing, I have very few topic ideas. For another, even if I come up with an idea, my in-depth coverage of the topic can usually be covered in about two sentences, which doesn't make for riveting blog entries. I'm not good at self-analysis, I guess.
- "Your thoughts on having a second child": fuck, no.
- List of places I want to see before I die: too depressing to write down, since we either don't have the money to go there, or we can't take a 2-year-old with us and do the things we want to do. But if anyone wants to send us 20 grand and babysit for two weeks, I'd love to go to Antarctica.
- Why are there bags on the oxygen masks on airplanes? I always assumed it was to give you room to breathe out while the oxygen still provided positive pressure to your nose. Or, maybe the plastic bag people have a good thing going and they don't really do anything.
- "We are a lesbian couple seeking a known sperm donor. Would you mind if we asked Jason?" No, but only if we retain rights to the video I plan to make of the whole encounter.
- "Your thoughts on composting" - The compost pile we started in Avon is still there in its expensive official compost bin, despite additions of expensive compost promoter and some fairly decent tending by me, and it's still the same size as when we left there in 2003. We probably spent over $200 on the bin, the compost promoter, the turning fork, etc., and we got not one ounce of useable material out of it. The only good to come out of that experience was that we had a snake I named Speedy who lived in the compost, which made for some interesting trips out to make deposits.
- "When will they give a Pulitzer prize for blogging? Will that be before or after they award the Nobel Prize in Literature for a blog?And what are you planning to say in your acceptance speech?" - My speech: Pass the yogurt, this gown is giving me a wicked case of crotch rot.
whew! coming in under the wire on this entry ...
Thursday, November 08, 2007
"I'm so excited Liza managed to make it for one whole day without an accident while you were gone."
"Wait, you aren't counting today? She was fine until five minutes before bed. That's heartless."
"Dude, she took a huge crap in her underwear and let it fall out on the floor in front of the potty chair. I call that an accident. Besides, you don't want the fish, anyway."
Results after one week:
We only had to do the "stickers for every successful potty trip" thing for a few days, and then she sort of lost interest in the stickers. Good thing, too, because by Sunday the chart was filling up fast - she actually used the potty seven times the first day, in addition to two accidents and an extremely wet naptime. Now she's even getting blase about pooping in the potty, and she forgets to get her nails painted or get a temporary tattoo. Good thing, too, because we were running out of visible skin space ... I had to apply today's tattoo to her belly, her arms are getting that crowded.
We have successfully gone out to lunch and dinner without accidents, and we have negotiated trips to Jo-Ann's and the grocery store without problems. I am not yet brave enough to take her to locations with fountains, or to the library - both places she's had problems with during past training attempts. I think tomorrow we may try PetSmart, so she can browse through the fish to see if she can pick out a kind she wants for when she gets that seventh accident-free day.
I am developing the Potty Training Mother's Sixth Sense for Bathroom Location, which allows me to spot a likely restroom location from all the way across the store (or mall) and plot the best-fit line of how to get there in a hurry. I can say with authority that the best public place to have to deal with a potty training kid is the family restroom at Great Northern Mall, where they have not only a child-sized potty and sink, but also comfy chairs and a television showing the same crusty old cartoon over and over again, for those times when you know the kid needs to go but won't sit on the potty long enough to let it out. Plus, it's near Starbucks and the playground. Score!
I have determined that if you are holding a squirming 2-year-old and you mouth the words "potty training," you will be allowed to cut in front of pretty much any woman in line at the restroom. We'll see how well that works at the rest areas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when we drive home for Thanksgiving.
I think I'm confident enough in Liza's progress to switch to rewards for staying clean and dry up until nap, during nap, and between nap and bedtime. I'm thinking poker chips, which can be redeemed for 5 minutes of games on the Sesame Street website. Or maybe a chart with spots for each of the rewards, and she gets a sticker AND a poker chip. We'll have to see whether she understands the whole "trade poker chip for games" concept ... if not, I guess there's always M&Ms!
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
She also seems to be back in her Jennifer Beales phase again ... lots of "dancing" that involves frenetic running in place, and she's a maniac, maniac on the floor :)
Even as we speak, she's sleeping in the tutu, which is actually three dress-up skirts worn all at the same time. Poor kid is going to have a permanent mark from the combined elastic around the waist, but there was no prying it off of her. At least I 86'd the tiara :)
Only six more accident-free days until she gets her reward ... a goldfish.
Then we'll have to start phasing out the pull-ups during naps and at night, but I'm super-thrilled that she's come this far so fast. I'm sure she'll regress and things will go badly again for a while, but at least I know she CAN do it.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
"It just occurred to me - not only am I walking through my kitchen with a pot full of poop, I'm happy about it."
Dude, I just have to post every day. It doesn't have to be a novel. And at least I didn't post photos :)
Monday, November 05, 2007
"But you have to wear a diaper, or you make a mess in the house."
"No diaper! Underwear! Liza is a big girl now!"
Um, okaaaaaay. We've tried potty training before, with pretty much no success. Sure, she peed in the potty occasionally, but she peed on the floor a lot more, there didn't seem to be any sort of improvement over time and I was getting frustrated with it, so we tabled the idea for a while. I had intended to wait until after Christmas to start again, but we were on our last half-dozen diapers anyway, and when she started talking about being a big girl, a lightbulb flashed above my head, angels sang, and I kept my head long enough to follow the recommended "don't make a big deal out of it, but make them look forward to trying" method:
"Well, I don't think you're a big girl quite yet. I think you'll be a big girl the day after Halloween. Should we make up a big girl chart, and you can put a sticker on it every time you use the potty like a big girl?"
"Liza is a big girl! Liza has a big girl chart! Liza pees in the potty!"
"Okay, let's make the chart. And you can wear some underwear now, just for practice, okay? And the day after Halloween you'll be a big girl for real."
So she "practiced" wearing her underwear, which meant that I offered her a choice of underwear or a diaper every time she needed to be cleaned up. With great ceremony (and a Sharpie and some scrap paper from my printer) we made up a big girl chart, with boxes for each day where she could put stickers when she was successful. We put the chart up on the refrigerator, where she could see it every day and show it off to anyone who came near the house. And on Thursday morning, she was all ready to go.
We've had more luck with this go-round than we have with any of the other previous attempts, I think partly because she's more motivated, and partly because I'm pretty confident that if she's able to tell me she wants to be a big girl, she's probably able to learn how to do it.
I say we're having luck, but that doesn't mean the carpet is safe - we're still averaging two or three accidents a day, even though she's using the potty six or seven times a day as well. Apparently the kid has a bladder that is simultaneously the size of a peanut (because she has to go every 15 minutes) and a large bucket (because she can leave a softball-sized puddle on the floor and STILL give us 1/2 cup or more in the potty ... the kid manufactures more urine than the combined population of some third-world countries). I've got quite a routine going with the carpet cleaner ... it may not be the most efficient way to deal with the aftermath, but at least I can be secure in the knowledge that a good portion of the carpet is being replaced when we do the kitchen renovation, and I really don't like most of the rest of it, anyway.
And we ARE having some luck. Sunday she stayed dry all morning, up until about 11:30, when our houseguests were getting ready to leave and she was distracted by all of the bustle associated with them packing and loading and herding kids toward the door. And there have been several times when she's stopped what she's doing, looked up and said, "I just got the feeling I have to go to the bathroom," and headed for the potty while trying to pull down her pants. Thank you, Elmo's Potty Time game on the Sesame Street web site, for teaching her that one! And we went out to run errands Saturday morning, and she stayed dry through lunch, and a trip through JoAnn's, and a trip to the grocery store ... so there's hope this time.
Jason is embarassed to talk about anything related to bodily functions, especially in public (he's been loving the blog lately :) ), and I get the feeling that he'd rather skip this whole process and have me do the whole thing while he's in China or something. Apparently his idea is that potty training involves teaching the kid instantaneously and the kid never has an accident again. By that definition, things are going badly with our attempt, and we should just give up for a while.
But every time I read through the potty training posts on CafeMom, people are describing how the "potty train in one day" method worked so well for them, and their kid only had two accidents the following day, and three the day after that, and one the day after, and has been clean and dry ever since. So I guess I'm inclined to believe that it's my lot in life to clean up puddles for a while during this process.
It also seems to be my lot in life to be constantly on the lookout for signs of an impending need for a potty break. I'm the first to admit that I'm usually a pretty laid-back parent, the kind who might get the kid started playing with Legos and then nip downstairs to start a load of laundry. It's not like I leave her sitting there alone for 20 minutes at a stretch, but I'm not within view of her 24/7, either. Sure, sometimes I have to clean chalk off the walls and pick up toys from strange locations, but she's generally able to safely entertain herself for a few minutes at a time, as long as I'm not gone long.
But if I do have to be there with her every second, I start getting more and more impatient and frustrated ... if I can grab a few minutes alone, things seem a lot better. That's part of the reason why the nap-free days are so hard on me - it's not just that I'm not getting any sewing done, it's that I don't have even a second to myself.
I used to feel bad about my need to be alone for a few minutes each day, but then I read about the different temperaments people have, how introverts recharge by being alone and extroverts recharge by being around other people. My default personality tends to be more introverted than extroverted, so it makes sense that I start to get frazzled and short-tempered if I am constantly chaperoned.
But it seems like every time I take my eyes off of underwear-clad-Liza for more than half a second, she leaves a puddle somewhere, and not on purpose, either - she comes and tells me right away that she had an "accident." I know that this will pass in a few days or weeks, but right now, this need for eternal vigilance is just sucking me dry.
I've called in reinforcements, in the form of my mother, who is stopping by on her way to a vacation in Las Vegas with her siblings. Hopefully I can put her in charge of the vigilance, and I can recharge my supply of alone time ... or at least get a few extra things finished for the shop.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Two weeks ago I stopped off at your donation center with a trunk full of stuff - costume jewelry that didn't sell at the yard sale, some baby clothes that my daughter had outgrown, and an artificial Christmas tree we no longer need.
I hate going to this location because the people checking in the donations have been unfailingly snotty and rude each time I've come by. I've never seen people more surly about other people's charity in my life. It's not like I expect people to grovel and bow - but I don't expect outright hostility, either.
The checkers at every other Goodwill location I've used are polite and seem at least somewhat greatful for the donations. I could understand the bad attitude if we were dropping off junk like broken toys and stained furniture, but the stuff we bring is good quality and is only being donated because it doesn't fit in our new house.
But we were in a hurry that day and your location was on the way, so we went back one more time. Things were initially going fairly well, with the checker's behavior more "brusque" than "downright rude," until we got to the Christmas tree.
"What's in the box?"
"A Christmas tree. All the pieces are there - we just wanted a newer one with lights on it."
"We don't take Christmas items until November. Look around - we have no room to store that stuff. That whole trailer is stuff that won't even fit in the store. You'll have to bring it back."
Now, the checker waited to say that last line until I had already horsed the 40-pound box - which was clearly marked in several obvious locations with the words "Christmas tree" - out of the back of the van, where it didn't even fit but had to ride hanging out the back with the gate bungeed shut. I can understand that locations have to set a limit on accepting holiday items, but I was slightly annoyed that I was going to have to drag the thing back in the car, drive back home, unload it, wait for a week, load it up again, and drive back over there again, all for the privilege of giving it away. Not wanting to have to make the trip for a third time, I sought clarification -
"So when do you start taking Christmas stuff? November 1st?"
"That's in November, isn't it?"
Sarcasm dripping from every word, mind you, as if I had just asked the dumbest question in the history of charity donations. Apparently the checker believed she is doing me such a favor to take these things off of my hands, despite me having an IQ of about 15, that she can't be bothered to answer a question civilly.
If you employ a checker who's rude to me once, I can say they're having a bad day. Twice, and maybe they're just grumpy or have forgotten their customer service training. Three times, and you've got a harpy working at the back dock.
You're going to be short one Christmas tree donation this year, as well as every other donation for as long as we live here. We'll be taking them to the Salvation Army, or the AmVets, or posting them on craigslist as free treelawn pickups - but I will not deal with your rude employees again.
Calendar-challenged in NE Ohio
Saturday, November 03, 2007
All throughout college I wanted to go see the circus, but the big ones never came anywhere near Blacksburg, and I didn't feel like wasting time on some little podunk circus that was small enough to come to town. It wasn't until I graduated that I was able to get to see the circus again.
We went in 1995 or 1996, sometime during the first year we lived in Cleveland. Jason was only lukewarm on the whole idea, but he humored me, and I have a half-dozen blurry pictures to prove it. The only act that year that really stuck in my head involved (dancer? acrobats? whatever ...) on rigs that were worn like belts, with bungee cords attached near each hip. The performers bounced around on these things, pretty much like Angelina Jolie did (in her pajamas!) in the Tomb Raider movie. The act was well-choreographed and brand-spankin' new at the time, and I remember it being beautiful in spite of the tacky blacklight glow costumes they had to wear.
We haven't been back to the circus since then ... until Sunday, that is. We were lucky enough to get free tickets to see the Ringling Brothers circus, courtesy of Jason's employer. We got there extra early so that Liza could see the pre-show stuff, where the audience is allowed to come down into the ring to see the performers up close. Perfect! We thought she'd have a chance to check things out when it wasn't so crowded, see the people up close before the show, so it wouldn't matter whether we had good seats or not.
We found the company's loge pretty quickly, but it hadn't been opened yet, so we wandered down the aisle to check out the action from up high. Give the child time to get used to the idea, see how big the place is, that sort of thing. Liza loved it because she could see everything and there was absolutely no one around us.
Notice how many people are down on the floor of the arena? Think there's any chance we got the kid down there? Nope. "Liza, do you want to go down and see the elephant up close?" "I don't think so." "How about the costumes - look, you can try on the pretty costumes!" "I don't think so." etc.
Instead, we spent the whole preshow up at the edge of the balcony, where we admittedly had a better view than 90% of the people on the floor. We watched the rope walkers warm up, saw the elephant paint, watched the dogs doing flips, saw the lady twirling from a rope up in the air, etc. etc. Liza was interested, but every time the guy selling light up twirly things came by, she was way more interested in him than in the clowns. We managed to make it back to the loge without buying a light-up flashing magic wand, which I consider a triumph of sorts.
I think Liza thought the whole circus was the preshow, because she was a little upset when it ended and all the people started going back up into their seats. We got her some food from the loge, met all of the other company people, and tried to keep her from going ballistic before the start of the show. "Look! Popcorn!"
The lights went down, the ringmaster came out in his Pimpmaster 3000 cape (this is the toned down tux coat he had on underneat the Pimpmaster 3000), and the parade started ... and Liza started actually levitating, she was so excited. Jumping up and down, whacking random people, babbling excitedly in a decidedly "outside" voice - she was working it all. I looked over at Jason and said (well, 'mouthed,' really, given the noise level), "This is why it would have been worth it, even if we had to pay $20 a person for the nosebleed seats."
She was on her best behavior during the whole first half of the circus, watching attentively, not upsetting any sticky liquids on herself, and not disturbing the other people in the loge (too much). At intermission I sent Jason out to get a program, a DVD, and a blinky magic wand - "Dude, it's cheaper than the tickets were going to be, so suck it up." Plus, I always wanted one when I was a kid, and I never got one, so my kid was going to get one, darn it.
Liza, meanwhile, was on the ragged edge ... it was past her normal naptime, she'd been bouncing around the loge like a maniac for two hours, etc. Add to that the entrance of a 2-foot-long blinky magic wand, and the potential for disaster was great. After just a few acts in the second half, Liza announced that she was ready to go home.
In what I consider to be a monumental feat of parenting prowess, we didn't even try to convince her to stay for the last 20 minutes of the show, just grabbed our stuff and hit the door running. I was only barely bitter about having to miss the human cannonball act at the end of the show. After all, we have the DVD. And the program. And the light up blinky magic wand. And I appear to have a legitimate reason to get MY circus fix every year for the forseeable future.
Friday, November 02, 2007
And where is Liza? As far away from the other kids as she can be while still being able to watch what they're doing. She hates that bicycle thing, too, so I'm guessing it was just an accident that she was hanging out over there.
Jack had a little too much candy on the 30th.
At first she was not real sure about this whole process, despite having repeated the phrase "I want to go trick-or-treating NOW!" continuously for two hours prior to the moment this shot was taken. Actually, it took me a good 5 minutes to get her out of the backyard and onto the sidewalk, and another five to convince her to walk up to the door of our next-door neighbor (whom we know) while holding my hand and being velcroed to my leg.
But she got braver once she realized that these people - they give you chocolate! And lollipops!
That lasted for three or four houses - we even got a "trick or treat!" out of her at one house without prompting - until we hit the house with the scary music, fog machine, and guy answering the door wearing a skull mask. Ever seen a kid so scared they literally couldn't move? Hee! It's fun! So is carrying 30 pounds of screaming Beautiful Fairy Princess home while trying not to drop the camera or the candy. Not.
We only hit about 10 houses, so our haul wasn't that great, but Liza claims to have had fun, and she spent all of Thursday bing-banging for candy, so I guess she got the point.
That is, until Thursday afternoon, when I got a headache for the first time in a month. Oh, god, I've just postponed it. But it didn't feel quite the same, so I took two Motrin, put the kid down for a nap, and sat down for a relaxing bout of sewing feverishly to finish stuff for my craft show.
And for the first time in six months, the headache went away. Gone! Poof! Just like they're supposed to when you throw massive amounts of pharmaceuticals at them! It was like a miracle, only more productive! It made me so happy, I feel the need to use exclamation points at least three times in every paragraph from now on!
So basically, screw the Pill, I'm going all natural for the first time since 1991 (excluding the months for conception and pregnancy and breastfeeding). Hurrah for fewer symptoms! Hurrah for saving money on prescriptions! Hurrah for exclamation points!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
If you've read this blog more than once, you've noticed that I mention etsy. A lot. If you run into me on the street, wait on me in a restaurant, serve me at the bank, or even look in my general direction, I am liable to insert the "e" word into the conversation somewhere. That's because a) etsy isn't that well known among the non-DIY set, and b) I really need sales if I'm going to feel like this is a legitimate use of my time.
So when we had the contest a few weeks ago, I managed to convince my local bank branch to hang up an advertisement for it in their front window, even though they're only supposed to put up non-profit and charity announcements . I talk about etsy to any quilt/yarn/craft store personnel I meet. I try to limit the number of sellSellSELL e-mails I send to my friends, but that's only because I'd like them to STAY my friends, but a girl's gotta try, right? Heck, I even went and put my shop name on my license plate, for goodness sake. And now I snicker every time Jason has to borrow my car :)
So when Liza's preschool teacher asked parents to bring in treats for the Halloween party goody bags, I made six Halloween tote bags and made sure my business cards were attached so firmly to each one that it will take a nuclear explosion to get them off. At first I wasn't sure it would be appropriate, but then I justified it to myself - if I had BOUGHT the bags on etsy, and they came with a business card attached, I would have left it on when I gave them to the kids ... so why not do the same advertising for my own shop?
This sort of rampant self-promotion is hard for me. I'm not really comfortable selling myself or promoting my stuff. Even when I promote my shop, it's more of a "have you heard of etsy, and oh yeah, I have a shop there too" than it is "look how awesome my stuff is - don't you want to buy tons of it right now?" That second approach always seems pushy and false to me when I see it, and I'm no good at it, anyway.
I have all sorts of ideas of ways to get my products some extra publicity ... but all of them require a lot of hyping my own stuff, not just etsy, and so far I haven't found my sincerity comfort level when it comes to talking about myself. Because, honestly, I'm sure there are nicer baby blankets out there, and mittens that look more professional. But none of them help to support my craft habit, so screw 'em.
If you don't mind, take a look at my shop (http://lazymamadesigns.etsy.com - you didn't think I could finish a post without linking to it at least once, did you?) and leave some suggestions about where YOU think I should advertise. I'm planning on actually buying some ads early next year, either online or in print media, and I'm interested to see if you folks have any suggestions I haven't thought of yet.
Oh, and by the way - I make the coolest baby blankets on the planet, and my tri-mitts are pretty nifty, too. Buy something, darn it!