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November 2009

Do Or Die

I feel like I have twelve million things going on and I haven't told you about any of it. I spent most of the day downtown with my husband in a race to see who could deplete our bank account first, and when I got home I was overwhelmed by the posts I haven't read and the emails I haven't answered. I kind of feel like I'm on autopilot lately, internet-wise at least, and feeling just the slightest bit guilty and an enormous bit bummed out. I miss my internet! I think this NaNoWriMo endeavor is the first thing that's really cut into my Internet Time (which should tell you how much time I spend on the computer) and while I am really proud of my effort and feel like I've put myself on a new path writing-wise, I don't like feeling left out in Internet Land. Poor me, huh? I was writing up a Style Lush post earlier today (or was it last night? Probably last night. I am so out of it.) about decorating for the teeny little party we're having here Saturday night and I spent Actual Thinking Time trying to figure out how I could throw a People Who Read My Website Dinner Party and (of course) how I would decorate. SIGH.

All that to say: this is the last night of NaNoWriMo, hence there's nothing to see here, move along. But I can direct you elsewhere, right?

The best holiday gift guide on the internet NO LIE is up right now at Style Lush. Okay, maybe I haven't had time to actually go through it yet, but I KNOW it is the best one, TRUST ME. I am a big fat Holiday Gift Guide Skeptic, seeing as how the things I might actually be able to AFFORD on said gift guides are normally things I would NEVER buy for ANYONE. But long long ago I stumbled onto this website called Princess Nebraska and lo, Princess Nebraska helped me figure out what to buy for my impossible-to-buy-for sister-in-law and it was Happily Ever After from there. SRSLY. Go check it out


Reconnecting

As a result of his revolting work ethic, Phillip had weeks and weeks of vacation time he had to use or lose by the end of the year. It was no problem taking time off for Vegas and Disneyland, and now we're in the middle of a week off at Thanksgiving and looking forward to another week around Christmas. And he still has a few days left over. I KNOW. There is no way I would EVER find myself in such a situation.

It's been nice reconnecting with him (if I may use such a gross shmoopy word) after this first graduate school sprint. Of course, "reconnecting" isn't all hand holding in movie theaters. Our worlds are stretched even farther apart now, and we spend a lot of time trying to extract some understanding, maybe even a little empathy, from the other person. It doesn't always work.

I'm not surprised that the things I was most worried about are the things that haven't seemed to matter. Like how much time Phillip is away from us. I suppose it's not very nice to say it's not that big a deal, but all quarter I managed to find easy ways to fill our time on Friday nights, and we spent every Saturday with family. Phillip stays up late doing schoolwork, but I'm used to him staying up late to do work work, and coming up with my own project really helped in that regard. So time hasn't been a big deal.

I spent a few moments panicking about Phillip getting to do all this neat school stuff and learn to Make A Difference while I rolled up my sleeves to start the Great Potty War, but then I'd go right back to scheduling our date nights and days with family. Of course this has been the roughest part for me. I sometimes think I would really enjoy Phillip's program, and the fact that he is constantly talking about what he wants to do and be when he grows up is harder than I imagined. Sometimes it's super fun, because hey, we're talking about my life too, and I understand at least half of this technical lingo and corporatespeak. Sometimes all it does is cement the fact that I am simply Support Staff around here, at least for another year and a half. My job is to say yes, even when I don't want to, and make it work.

We had an argument about food the other day. It was really very stupid. I mean, it sounded stupid, I'm sure, to anyone who might have been listening in, but it was a big deal to me. Well, it was a big deal once I realized I was really upset about this Big Overarching Thing instead of the Dumb Little Thing. Feeding my family is a huge struggle for me. Even besides all the silly stuff I whine about here, the picky eating and the inability to cook and getting dinner on the table every tnight, just THINKING about it, the PLANNING of what and when and where to feeld two small people can be exhausting. Our argument, which started out (as they do) about one single stupid thing, became a reflection of my (our?) biggest Stay At Home Mom conundrum, which is: I Don't  Ever Get To Put Myself First, So How Dare You Use The Bathroom By Yourself When I Need You To Hold The Baby?

Or, ah, some variation thereof.

I guess I thought I was over it, or mostly over it, or had found a plethora of ways to deal with it, or (when I'm thinking rather highly of myself) secure enough in myself not to freak out about it. But then grad school started and my husband ramped up the Career Ambition and the Conversation About Things Other Than Children and needing time (and the car) to do Important Things. And apparently I am not over it. It's hard. It's hard reconciling the fact that what I want to do - what I LOVE doing and am incredibly grateful I GET to do - makes my daily life so separate from my husband's. That it feels like less than his.

Tomorrow his mom and dad are driving up to spend the day with the kids while we go Christmas shopping downtown. I expect there will also be some sushi eating and cappuccino drinking (not at the same time, ugh) and perhaps some movie watching. I'm looking forward to it, and have already had a good talk with myself about keeping the Petty Self-Centered Issues in check.

When we aren't "reconnecting" we're talking about HOUSES. But that's another (soon-to-be-posted) post.  


Tired and clueless

Saturday night. I've overdosed on my story, I'm done for tonight. I'm not feeling all that positive about The Novel right now, but that's okay, that's what January is for. (December is for The Wedding.) I'm so tired you guys, so tired. I'm not sure why, because I've done a whole lot of nothing this holiday weekend, and I'm looking at several more days of nothing, lucky me. 

My mom and dad brought Jack and Molly up this afternoon - J and M stayed overnight last night - and the plan was to actually cook dinner for my parents and have a nice little family evening, since we do that, oh, NEVER at my house. (Why this is, plus additional House Thoughts forthcoming. You = on tenterhooks.)

But Jack and Molly were so... bad. I don't know if this is true for you guys, but my parents are always going on about how sweet and cheerful and well behaved the kids were at their house, and how they ate HUGE breakfasts and played together SO WELL and took fifteen hour naps and blah blah why don't the kids just live THERE then, if everything's so perfect. Perhaps I am exaggerating, but NOT MUCH. Anyway, I know kids treat their parents a little differently than they treat everyone else, but WOW were they in top form tonight. They weren't in the house five minutes before Jack was antagonizing Molly and Molly was diving headfirst into one of her patented Shrieky Temperfests. DEAR GOD. And my mom was all, "But he was so good at our house!" and my dad was all, "I've never heard those sounds come out of my precious granddaughter's mouth!" and I'm all, "Come on people, this is nothing." Which, of course, was Molly's cue to ratchet it up into The Shriekiest Shrieky Temperfest I Have Ever Had The Displeasure To Witness, No Lie. 

Now, Molly was obviously tired. It was only six o'clock, but still, the girl's eyeballs were practically rolling back. And maybe Jack was a teensy bit excited about being home and all that. Plus I was cooking and I do mean I was COOKING (I had to throw out my first two attempts at bechamel sauce, I am SERIOUS about the cooking) and not paying them one ounce of attention. Maybe this will sound strange to you, but most days I am convinced that I could be dressed in cookies and dripping M&Ms from my fingertips and Jack wouldn't give me a second look if Grandma was around. Molly has always been super attached to me, but she's been great with grandparents lately and I just don't think they want ME. I am not fun. Also I was hellbent to put dinner on the table - dinner I never ever cook for my own parents - and SCRAM, CHILDREN. 

Anyway, what felt like a gadzillion hours later, we put Molly to bed and Jack was happy playing with the bowl of pennies we keep on the bookshelf and my dad said, "They missed you."

Why is this such a revelation to me? Why am I surprised, every single stupid time, when my kids are wrecks after a marathon of holiday dinners and visiting and sleeping in strange beds? We spend so much time in these other houses though, I've stopped thinking of them as strange beds. And it doesn't matter which set of grandparents we're visiting, our kids don't even turn around when we say we're leaving. If you saw them at their grandparents' houses you would never think they'd ever want to come back home, not with those grouchy ogres they have for parents. I'm serious. 

But I think they do. They must. And they have to readjust and get back to normal and maybe when their mom is leaking brains all over the stove they feel neglected. I don't know. It doesn't occur to me, and now I feel terrible. 

And tired. Did I mention that? We sit down to eat dinner and people ask me questions and I can't even form a coherent answer because one child is screeching and the other wants to get down after eating half a crust of garlic bread for dinner and I don't know which wine glass is mine and did I even really HEAR the question? 

I love my kids. Phillip and I keep looking at each other these last few weeks and sort of marveling over them. They are SO sweet right now, SO adorable. In the mornings Jack stands up in his crib, looks at my crusty half-dead self and chirps, "That's my MOMMY!" And Molly, Molly says "BUH-BLE!" on command and gives kisses and snuggles her face into your neck and you think it cannot possibly get better than this. We want to bottle our kids up and label them The Best Years Of Our Lives and we gripe at each other for not being better picture-takers because we know they're not always going to love us like this. 

All that, and still, when my dad says, "they missed you," I'm disbelieving, eye rolling, shrugging it off. 


Poetry Saturday

Appropriate, I believe, for the last weekend of NaNoWriMo.

The Author to Her Book - Anne Bradstreet

Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, exposed to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
The visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes end, if so I could.
I washed thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot still made a flw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run'st more hobbling than is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save homespun cloth i' th' house I find.
In this array 'mongst vulgars may'st thou roma.
In critic's hands beware thou dost not come,
And take thy way where yet thou art not known;
If for thy father asked, say thou hadst none;
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.

The Thanksgiving Post

But if I'm GOING to get all overdone and sappy and trite, if I must give one single shout out, one declaration of undying and eternal thanks, it's for my mom, my dad, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law. I am pretty sure -- no, I am one hundred percent positive -- that if I hadn't had them at my immediate disposal this year, and if I wasn't going to have them at my beck and call THIS year, I would be a quivering pile of nerves, a crazy hot mess.

Read more at Parenting.com

And in the meantime, sing this Thanksgiving song to your shorties, to the tune of Frere Jacques:

Turkey dinner
Turkey dinner
Gather round
Gather round
Someone wants a drumstick
Yummy yummy drumstick
All sit down
All sit down

Cornbread muffin
Chestnut stuffing
Pudding pie
One foot high
All of us were thinner
Before we came to dinner
Me oh my
Me oh my

Happy Thanksgiving!


The best kind of worry is the premature and needless kind

I know I should be writing something cheery and barfingly sappy in honor of Thanksgiving, but I already did that for Parenting and HEY, so what if I want to WHINE and be ANGSTY right before the national holiday where we give thanks for our blessings? IT'S MY BLOG AND I'LL COMPLAIN IF I WANT TO. 

This actually started out as an email to A'Dell and then it got ESPECIALLY angsty and I thought: what better place for angst that the ole website! So here we are. 

What I want to know, especially from those of you with EXPERIENCE, is this: what matters more? Location? Or space? 

A'Dell is selling her house and I am reading with bated breath. It's no secret that I am dying to sell our house and move into, well, The Big Enough House In The Neighborhood I Want To Live In That I Can Somehow Miraculously Afford. There are many terrifying things to obsess about, namely: how in HELL do you show your house to potential buyers when you are currently living in it with a two-year-old and a one-year-old and a husband who appears not to know how to open the hamper, but clearly knows how to put his things on TOP of the hamper? No really. HOW IS THIS ACCOMPLISHED? I'm aware it can be done, but I'm worried about the price of the medication required. 

It's pointless worrying about all that (not that I will not worry about it, as you KNOW) since we are moving no matter what. Some day. Hopefully in the nearish future. Like, uh, springtime? Maybe? Summer? 

The wacky plan I dreamed up - selling the house in 2010 and renting until Phillip is finished with school - may or may not be too wacky. I don't know. I plan to hunt down a real estate agent after the holidays and ask him or her a number of paranoid questions including, but in no way limited to: Is this insane? 

So yeah. There is a "plan" and "action points" and we are mostly on the same page about when and how to do this. What we are NOT on the same page about is what house we want next. Granted, buying the next house is a decision a ways out from here, but you KNOW I'm going to dwell on it PLENTY before it comes up, right? 

Because a week or two ago Phillip sent me a link to The Perfect House. And it was, it was very nice. It was a newish biggish house just north of Seattle with a great backyard and no need for updating or remodeling or anything of the sort Phillip and I can't do by ourselves anyway because we are RATHER untalented in that department. It was a ways out of our price range, but I didn't look at it as a potential house. I looked at it as The Kind Of House Phillip Wants. And this is where it gets sticky. 

The kind of house I want is about eighty blocks south of that house. It's older, cuter, full of what people call Character. By virtue of being older and full of character, it's smaller and in dire need of updating and remodeling. It's big enough for a family of four that may or may not expand, it has a yard, but mainly it's close to everything I want to be close to. It's in the city, where I have always ALWAYS wanted to live. 

Phillip also wants to live in the city. If money was no object I'm pretty sure we'd both agree on one of those giant fake Craftsmans that are springing up where old original Craftsmans used to be. Not a million dollar view house, but a huge and brand new one on a regular street in one of our favorite neighborhoods. Unfortunately, we don't have the half million, let alone the full million. I try to avert my eyes whenever I pass one because WANT! WANT! WANT!

Which leaves us with: location? Or space? (And newness, I suppose I should add. Sigh.)

This whole time I've been firmly camped in Location. Maybe we couldn't fix it up right away, but one day we could, right? As long as it had potential? As long as it was big enough for the next handful of years? As long as it was on a street in a neighborhood that we absolutely loved, within walking distance of one of the good schools. 

But my husband is all about the house. Big enough, new enough, and the more I think about it, the more I think he's right. That's the logical thing to want. And I'm one of those people who walks into a house and immediately pictures my Christmas party. I could have a HUGE and AWESOME Christmas party in that house Phillip emailed to me. I seem to remember people making fun of the people who do this on House Hunters, but seriously, the Potential for Entertaining is super important to me, almost as much as A Place To Hide The Plastic Toys That Are Threatening to Bury Me Alive.

So I'm thinking he's right. Houses in the city are still crazy expensive. Space has been such a struggle for me this year - what makes me think I wouldn't mind just because I live down the street from a coffee shop and the library and two different parks? 

Have any of you had to make this choice? I suppose I should say, on the eve of Thanksgiving, that I realize I'm lucky I even get to MAKE the choice. I just want to know if I'm being sort of annoying and idealistic to want this "city life" that I'm not even really sure exists. Maybe I'd be just as happy in a subdivision full of young families. I DON'T KNOW. I've been feeling like no, this is where Phillip and I are supposed to be, we need to MAKE THIS HAPPEN. But maybe not. 

Anyway, I must now go yell at one of the children and see if this finally impresses upon him the idea that he should be going to sleep. (DOUBTFUL.) Tomorrow I will be cooking, Thursday I will be eating, Friday I will be childlessly gallivanting about town with my husband. I will be writing during every free moment because who cares if I have 53,000 words on paper, THEY MAKE NO SENSE. And Phillip doesn't have to go back to work until NEXT Wednesday so there is no possible way this is not going to be the best week ever. 

Which I am thankful for. I hope you have something equally as awesome to share before you dive into the turkey. And I think this might be the year that no one rolls their eyes when I say I'm thankful for the people who read my dorky website. Fingers crossed! 


In which I TRY to put us to sleep instead of NOT trying and it happening ANYWAY

I can't sleep. The details are very boring, as they involve A Thing I Read About Today, and very ugly, as this thing is unimaginably evil and I read about it, coincidentally, in my murder mystery AND a magazine article that happened to be NONFICTION meaning it ACTUALLY HAPPENS . So we won't talk about it. Let's go live in denial for a bit, shall we?  I am now thinking of that country song where she wants a rainbow outside her window, and then actually sings "la la la la". At first I thought that song was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard. Then I thought it was kinda catchy. Then I thought it was the most UNironic use of la la la I'd ever heard and THEN I started singing along.

I really like country music. Did you know that? Three out of the six presets on my car radio are country music stations. The first thing Phillip does when he sits in the driver's seat is flip to his presets. 

10:44

In other Perhaps-This-Makes-Me-Rather-Uncool news, I really like that new show The Good Wife. I've been watching it on On Demand, because our TiFaux is all jacked up and weird and half my shows aren't recording anymore and sometimes I can't get it to work and I'm reduced to (shudder) ON DEMAND. Which I am not a fan of, do you hear me Comcast? Oh, except for the glut of children's shows, which, THANKS COMCAST, and I'm totally serious. But anyway, The Good Wife. I like it. Not least because of 1) Josh Charles and 2) Rory Gilmore's sleazy college boyfriend doing exactly the kind of thing I imagine Rory Gilmore's sleazy college boyfriend doing post-college. I am not the hugest fan of Nurse Carol, but I admire a woman who allows herself to be filmed that close in the age of HD television.

10:56

I have a big shopping date with my sisters on Saturday. I am not a Black Friday kind of girl. Well, I think I went last year to score a big ticket item for the from-all-the-kids-to-the-parents Christmas gift. But not a stand-in-line-and-get-trampled kind of item. I don't enjoy Competitive Shopping, as it is. Every time I see one of those clips of women fighting over wedding gowns in Filene's Basement or wherever it is, I go take one of my expired horse tranquilizers. But things should have quieted down by Saturday, don't you think? We're looking for bridesmaid dress shoes and possibly white furry things to wear over the bridesmaid dresses. We have a white furry thing already, but it makes both my sister and me look like linebackers, so it'd be nice to find an alternative. I'd also like to find a sweater or two since I found a HOLE this afternoon in my one good sweater. As in, the one I don't mind wearing out of the house. WOE.

11:04

I really want to go see New Moon and everyone I've timidly mentioned it to looks at me with a big ole Cher-from-Clueless AS IF face. My sisters, who are always lamenting the two hours they lost in front of Kristen Stewart's lip biting that they will never get back, think I am In. Sane. But I liked the way Jennie put it via Twitter: one must embrace the cheese. I am awesome at embracing the cheese, people. I LOVE CHEESE. Someone go see this movie with me! I MEAN IT!

11:10

This is turning into a quick takes sort of post, but I'm not feeling un-jumpy enough to put the computer down and go to sleep. Gah. This might call for an hour or two of Etsy browsing. What is it with Etsy? Do you have any idea how many times I've looked at baby hairbows on Etsy and filled my cart, only to be filled with indecision and boredom and a sudden case of wallet consciousness and clicked over to, I don't know, somewhere that wouldn't charge me money? SO MANY TIMES. I have Etsy ADD, I think. That or a commitment issue, I'm not sure which.

11:15

Okay, that's enough, I'm sorry I keep subjecting you people to this tripe. But who am I kidding? YOU ARE READING IT, AREN'T YOU. So there. I apologize for nothing. I have to go now. I have to see what's on Bravo - hopefully some psychotic housewives will put me in a frivolous sleep-friendly sort of mood.


Blah blah self revelation time

It seems like everyone I know is training to run a half-marathon. It's entirely possible that most of these people are online and maybe Rebecca from The Biggest Loser talked about it during the obligatory drop-the-giant-pants-in-front-of-my-new-body at-home interview and maybe people are wanting to incorporate a race into the next Blathering which, YES, I am already thinking about, HAVE YOU MET ME, but there are also all these real life runners I know who are doing all this real life running and then even my DAD was telling me about something he read where there aren't enough organized 5k races etc. to fill the demand to run them AND WELL. It's enough to make a somewhat competitive amateur runner the teensiest bit INSECURE.

I have been "running" for a little over a year now. That is a little over a year longer than I thought I would ever keep this up. I don't get out as often as I should, or even as often I would like, and my treadmill is still broken. I still allow Jillian Michaels to bust my ass at least once a week. No one is more shocked by this than me, trust me.

As you might know if you are a somewhat regular reader of this website, and as you most definitely know if you kept up with Hot By Thirty, running has literally changed my life. No accomplishment feels as wild as the day I ran one mile without stopping, to say nothing of the day I ran two miles without stopping, and then three. I wrote more than my share of blog entries about wondering how far I could go. If I can run a full cross country course without stopping - something I could not do when I was ON THE CROSS COUNTRY TEAM - what else can I do? No really! WHAT ELSE?!

This tapered off, though. For a while I felt guilty about that, and when I had that deluge of people telling me a while back that weight loss should no longer be The Goal, I really didn't know what to do with myself. I had spent almost an entire year utterly and totally focused on The Goal. I made it a priority, just like all the Fitness Professionals tell you to do, and I found the time because I made the time. But if I'm being honest, after losing the baby weight plus another thirteen pounds, it was starting to feel like an empty pointless sort of goal.

I like running (well, I should say, the benefits of running), but I don't think of myself as a runner. I honestly have no interest in running a half marathon. I've often thought I would run a 5k if I could find one that raises money for ovarian cancer, a disease that has been particularly brutal to my family, but it doesn't seem to be a popular cause and I'm happy running my mind-clearing two-and-a-half-mile route around my neighborhood. That's pretty much exactly the amount of time I want to spend running and/or thinking about running. I've decided to be okay with this, that my lack of Running Ambition is perfectly fine.

And then I started this NaNoWriMo thing. (You knew it was coming around to this, didn't you? SORRY.) My success in the diet and exercise departments has dropped big time since committing to write 50,000 words in one month (WHICH I'VE DONE, BTW, SHALL NOW WAIT FOR THE APPLAUSE.) And sometimes, when I'm sitting here assuring myself that I have written the worst 50,000 words in the history of words, I think about what I've given up. I had to make time for this, exactly the same way I did for exercise. Many days I trade exercise for writing. Many days I trade reading or internet surfing or chatting or shopping or friends (or, let's face it, child rearing and household tasks) for writing. Nearly every night I trade at least an hour of time with Phillip to sit in front of my computer and bemoan the day I ever dreamed up this stupid idea for a novel.

AND YET I LOVE IT.

It brings me back to springtime, when I conquered my biggest running fear and ran around the stupid lake with all the other Seattle Fitness Freaks in their fancy running clothes and time warp speeds. ONLY BETTER. I never wanted to be able to run around the lake, but I've always wanted to write a novel.

I hit 50,000 words Friday night, which makes me a NaNoWriMo "winner". Yes I will be buying the t-shirt. But I figure I have at least 15 to 20,000 more words till I get to the end of my story. My goal is to keep speed-noveling until I get there, as it's the only tactic I've ever tried that's moved me past the first ten or twenty pages. God knows how ugly the next months will be, when I move in and decide I have to CUT 50,000 words. But quite honestly, I'll be shocked that I get to do that in the first place. Again with the shocking!

I'm not sure I would be doing this if I hadn't started running. One of the most basic things I learned over this last year is that I COULD sacrifice time. I could sacrifice TELEVISION! When I was thinking about what it would take to commit to NaNoWriMo I would tell myself, "Self? If you could take a half hour of naptime to run on your stupid treadmill every day, you can CERTAINLY take another half hour to WRITE." And Phillip was nervous. Phillip said, "Are you sure? Because when you commit to something you... well... you..." and I knew he was trying to think of a nice way to reference my OCD re: commitments. In other words, it could get scary.

But it's not. It's been... if I may get all Protestant youth-grouper on you for a minute, it's been life-giving. It's the thrill of accomplishment you get from a challenging run, plus the weird-yet-amazing back-of-your-mind feeling you get when you're doing what you kind of sort of think you were made to be doing. Even the days when I sit here stone-faced, hating my characters, hating their interactions, hating the fact I got myself into this mess, hating THE WORLD, I still have this lingering feeling that I'm a participant in some age-old writer paranoia which is its own kind of elation. That I am only experiencing the full brunt of what this is, which is good, because it shows I mean it. It shows I am DOING IT.

Does anyone want to barf yet? Did anyone even make it this far? I feel like such a tool for saying most of this, because what proof do I have? What do I have to show for "what I was made to do"? Nothing. And I'm almost positive that if and when I do finish this NaNoWriMo project I will most likely have to junk it and start over on something else. But even that doesn't discourage me, because I will have done it before. I ran one mile, I could probably run two.


Poetry Saturday

I thought this would be a good one for the upcoming holiday. 

Pied Beauty - Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things -
    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
        For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
    Landscape plotted and pieced - fold, fallow, and plough;
        And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
    Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
        With swift, slow; sweet sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                                    Praise Him.


Seven Quick Hot! Date! Takes

1. Yesterday, at 8:30 AM I piled my children and their necessary overnight items into the car and proceeded to risk all three of our lives on Interstate 5. It was pouring - POURING - rain and everyone knows that Seattleites do not know how to drive in the rain. (INCLUDING MYSELF, OMG, HYDROPLANING, ACK!) I kept going, however, because I had a Hot! Date! and if only I made it alive to my parents' house (and back) I could sleep in on Friday morning. THIS IS WHAT I WILL DO TO SLEEP IN.

2. It is now Friday morning. Obvs did not die. Also: slept in till 8:15. When is the last time THAT happened? I will tell you: PRE-MY-FREAKISHLY-EARLY-RISING-CHILDREN, that's when. It feels delicious. The only way it could feel more delicious is if I weren't slightly, ah, dehydrated. Can't have everything!

3. We went here, which is kind of like going out to dinner with a couple hundred strangers and the circus. We've been once before, but this time was better. It was funnier and louder and the friends we dragged along, all newbies to cabaret, LOVED it. We felt very proud of ourselves, and relieved that the food was excellent and the acts were jaw dropping and the drag queen didn't feel compelled to come over and talk to our one friend who might have died of horror. (He DID come talk to ME and I told him he was FABULOUS because he WAS. OMG. THE SHOES! THE WIGS! THE PASTIES!)

4. There was one act I can't stop thinking about. It was one of those Cirque Du Soleilish things where two people are hoisting themselves up filmy little scarves, twisting and spinning and you think their entire bodies must be made of pure muscle. They were two tiny and adorable blond people and not two minutes into their show you got the very profound feeling that these two were IN LOVE. And you know, a lot of times that's for the benefit of the act, right? Like ice skaters and Dancing With The Stars contestants. But this was intense. For one thing the act was GORGEOUS. I mean, it was amazing and possibly the most jaw dropping of them all (this man could balance that girl's entire weight on his NECK) but it was also incredibly and weirdly beautiful and, I don't know, EMITTING LOVE. So of course, as soon as it was over, my friend and I pounced on the programs in the middle of our table to look them up and YES! They are MARRIED! And they had a baby in JULY! HOLY CATS! And then my friend and I were practically in tears because SOB, how ROMANTIC! And during the salad course they wheeled the baby around and showed him off. And we cried ALL OVER AGAIN. (We are Big Fat Dorks.)

5. Sometimes I think I like Teatro Zinzanni so much because you are allowed to get as dressed up as you wanna be. Which means YES I wore a feather boa AND brought two more for my friends. And we were HARDLY the only ones wearing boas. I was wearing the outfit I wore to my birthday party (it was that or the bridesmaid dress, which I was afraid of spilling on) and I ended up totally coveting this other chick's little sequinned minidress. It was just like a long tank top, and not tight at all, but SPANGLY ALL OVER. Next time, I told Phillip, next time I will wear THAT.

6. In preparation for our Hot! Date! I stepped into a Forever 21 for the first time in my LIFE. I have always passed this store without a second glance because 1) OMG what IS that stuff in there and 2) I am not fifteen. But these StyleLush writers keep finding things in Forever 21 and I thought to myself, "Hey Self. Perhaps you are not the Granny you make yourself out to be." So I went in and proceeded, I swear, to spend an hour combing through their little accessories table. HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE ACCESSORIES TABLE? I ended up talking myself out of buying anything, but at one point I had a giant fake diamond ring, a feather headband and a glittery clutch in my hands. Sigh. 

7. The one sad thing is that I am pretty sure I have gained seven hundred pounds in the last several weeks (between Hot! Dates! and NaNoWriMo my butt is getting rather sedentary, and also Coping With Chocolate) so because 1) it is not raining and 2) I have no children not eating their breakfast I think I should probably get out. Bother.

more quick takes here