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September 2009

It starts with a dishwasher and goes nowhere

Our first apartment didn't have a dishwasher. I didn't use the dishwashers in the apartments before that, since I never dirtied enough dishes at one time. And I grew up in Europe, where no one (at least then) had dishwashers in their weird little out-of-an-Ikea-box kitchens. In other words, I know how to wash a dish, and it's hardly my least favorite chore. No dishwasher, no problem.

Of course, this is my first dishwasher-less experience as the mother of two small children and HOLY HECK, Internet, not having a dishwasher is THE WORST.

It broke Friday morning. "La la la!" I sang to myself. "I am going to the Blathering! Phillip's problem! Phillip's problem!" But as far as I can tell, Phillip went above and beyond what was necessary to avoid washing a dish (hello refrigerator full of ancient leftovers!) and only got around to calling a repairman TODAY. And the repairman is not coming until NEXT WEEK.

Next week is suddenly feeling like next YEAR. I thought constant bottle washing was bad, but now I have sippy cups/toddler utensils/frillion little snack bowls/breakfast, lunch and dinner prep, and that's before I even get to MY dishes. I felt like I was constantly loading and unloading the dishwasher, but I can now confirm that task requires less than half the time needed to hand wash every little spoon. My hands are destroyed, my back hurts and all this dishwashing is seriously cutting into my internet time.


Oh, but I have MORE. I found the absolute most perfect office furniture (filing cabinet, wall shelf, small set of drawers) on Craigslist. The exact same color and style as Phillip's desk, almost new and about 90% off the original price. But I was too late. The furniture is gone. I'm now back to deciding between our old ugly stuff or shelling out the cash for exactly what I could have bought on Craigslist if I'd only been a day or two earlier. WAH.

IN ADDITION. I am having company for lunch and it just occurred to me that they might still be here when the cleaning service lady comes to check out my house and give me an estimate. Gak. There are about twenty-five embarrassing things going on in that one sentence, and that's before I tell you that I'm pretty sure I ruined what I'm serving for lunch. DOUBLE GAK.

AAAAND. I am in a ROTTEN mood due to the fact that Phillip has been messing around with TiFaux and suddenly we only have ONE tuner which means I can only record ONE show at a TIME. I hope I don't have to tell you that that is UNACCEPTABLE. Phillip keeps talking about acquiring another little box and dual tuners and I am all, "Didn't we HAVE dual tuners LAST WEEK?" and he is all, "Why don't you ever pay attention to me, woman? We are in the process of an UPGRADE" and I am all, "All 'upgrade' means to me is NOTHING WORKS" and... you're probably done with this little dialogue, aren't you. Sorry. All that to say: I haven't seen Grey's Anatomy OR The Office. WEEP.

I can't believe I'm about to publish this sorry excuse for a post, but I'm TIRED and it's getting LATE and my kids are STILL making noise and I have to watch the end of The Biggest Loser so I can find out if everyone hauls out their shotguns and puts Tracey back in the hospital where everyone liked her best.

Project Office Space

Inspired by 1) Elizabeth's house and 2) an Argument of Epic Proportions in which one voting member of the Cheung household declared he was going to install his computer on the dining room table because he can't! use! the office!, I am going to (GULP) get my HGTV on and do a little room makeovering.

The first step in Project Office Space was to get Molly outta there. She's been napping in the pack 'n play in the office for, uh, months now? I forget. It's practically her bedroom, seeing as how she naps there, she gets moved there whenever Jack has a fit of drama queeniness and has to cry it out, and whenever SHE has to cry it out, usually at 3am. But the office is small and the office contents are large and numerous and the pack 'n play wasn't helping things. So out it went. We moved it into the living room last night in preparation for the inevitable 3am wake up. In an event that stymied the entire neighborhood, a certain someone SKIPPED her 3am wake up and all four members of the Cheung household slept through the night. I cannot remember the last time that happened, folks, and it certainly puts a fresh face on things. By which I mean: be grateful I deleted the post I wrote before the Blathering recap post. TRUST ME.

SO ANYWAY. The office. It is ugly. It is tiny and has potential, as evidenced by my neighbors' office which is slick and professional and properly colored. But I'm not going for Martha Stewart so much as No Longer Like Phillip's Bachelor Days Bedroom. The bar is set low, is what I'm saying.

The office contains a bookshelf, a filing cabinet, a ginormous treadmill, a medium-sized desk and 4000 miles of cords and cables. There are two shelves on the wall that aren't doing much besides holding a stapler and some blank CDs. There are also storage boxes, guitars, winter coats, board games, more cables and cords and an extra chair stored in the space under the stairs. It's more space than you realize, but awkwardly shaped, so it's hard to use it well. This afternoon I cleared out all the things that don't belong in the office, as it really is the House Dumping Ground. So there's Step Two. Check.

Step Three is gently leading Phillip through an Initial Throw Out. Phillip, while always up for filling Goodwill bags, is the sort of person who needs to do it painstakingly. Kind of like how it takes him nine hours to clean a bathroom. He'll do it, but he's going to do it RIGHT and it's going to take a LONG TIME.

(This is guaranteed to drive me around the bend.)

Step Four is moving as much furniture out of the room as possible in preparation for Step Five which is (HOLD ME) painting. I KNOW. Cue the shuddering, the hyperventilating, the panic attacking! But you know, I've painted four rooms in my house already and only ONE of those rooms sent me to the mental institution. And Elizabeth's house was so CUTE and she is always talking about PAINT and, well, maybe, wouldn't it be NICE?

My idea is to create a NEW ROOM. This is no longer going to be the dumping ground. Sure, we'll probably have to hide things down there when we have parties and it's still going to be where the talking Yoda lives, but I want Phillip not only to have his OWN space but PLEASANT space. I really think a fresh coat of [gray] paint will make it feel new and different and officey.

Step Six gets a little murky, because I'd really like to throw out the bookshelf and the metal filing cabinet for something quiet and modern at Ikea, maybe something with doors to hide the talking Yoda the heaps of computer manuals. But that might not be in the Project Office Space budget. So Step Six might be to just put everything back and figure out a way to better use those wall shelves.

Step Seven is Decorate. I have no idea how to decorate PHILLIP'S OFFICE, as it's HIS space and he's not much for things I enjoy, like bright colored cartoony prints and matching office supplies and fabric covered bulletin boards and vases of flowers and baskets instead of drawers. (Fact: Phillip hates baskets. He hates that our clothes hamper is a basket. He hates when I put food in baskets. He hates Easter baskets. He hates the basket holding books on my side of the bed and the basket holding rogue bags in the living room and the wastebasket that is an actual basket. This is a character flaw I am continually trying to overlook.)

But I'm not sure we're even going to GET to Step Seven. Apparently I am going to have to "fill holes" and "SPACKLE" (so, uh, when we were moving into the house Phillip may or may not have put his elbow - or something, I can't really remember - into the wall, which we promptly covered up with a filing cabinet) and I have only the vaguest idea of what spackling even MEANS. And apparently I have to do that FIRST.

But I promise to take a before picture. Even though I have zero confidence in my Room Makeover capabilities and I don't know if I'll get to do all the things I'd like to do with the office and I was even too nervous to take a picture of my rearranged bedroom back when I was talking about THAT and- OK, OK, I WILL TAKE A PICTURE. FINE.

The obligatory recap post, even though everyone else's is WAY more interesting

Way back when The Blathering was just a harebrained Escape To Sacramento pie-in-the-sky idea, someone sent an email that shrieked, "I JUST WANT TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT!" And it took off from there. The Blathering would be a weekend of rest and relaxation (and wine) for the hardworking women of the internet. And I remember thinking, "Unless it turns into a SLUMBER PARTY" and also "With inevitable INEBRIATION" but I mostly kept these contrary and doubtful thoughts to myself. So I think it's rather UNFORTUNATE that I am apparently the only Blatheringer who feels like she was slammed by a truck, then run over by a high school football team, smooshed into the floor by a horde of frantic elephants, then scraped off the hardwoods with a nail file and dumped into the compost bin. In a GOOD way, of course, but still. Compost.

This has mostly to do with the fact that I woke up with a cold on Friday morning. "OH WELL," I told myself. "My hotel-mates will just have to SUCK IT UP." But then Friday night happened and, in case you were wondering, Sudafed plus an empty stomach plus half a case of Astrale e Terra syrah is not a particularly wise combination for wanting to feel well on Saturday.

I woke up ninety-seven times that night, and it wasn't until the ninety-first time that it didn't take me a full ten minutes to remember I was in a hotel room with my Blathering hotel-mates. Possibly because one particular hotel-mate was SNUGGLING WITH ME.

AND THEN. When you kind of yank yourself up to standing in order to participate in the fun of Saturday night, you feel very much like you've been whacked with a hammer on Sunday morning. Which is why it's smart to plan to get someone else to make you breakfast, preferably orange French toast and fancy bacon. (I KNOW. How smart of me!)

So here I am on Monday, feeling flattened by a cold, by a days-old hangover, by sleep deprivation in my hotel room AND at home. And everyone is posting these swoony weekend recap posts and maybe I'm getting a little sniffly reading them all but then I ask for someone to please pass the Advil AND the Robitussin AND the leftover pink wine in the fridge and I go back to being an invalid on my in-laws' couch.

But the blawg, it must be updated, and UPDATED IT SHALL BE. Just not as nicely as everyone else's blawg. (Notably Elizabeth's. SOB. She pretty much said it all.)

So herewith, The Best Bits of The Blathering, As Determined By Maggie "How Come No One Else Is Hungover? Oh Wait, Thank God Moose Is Here To Suffer With Me" Cheung. 

  • The informational packets and the drink flags and all the other Blathering Ephemera that was discussed in such minute detail via Google Chat with Elizabeth these last few weeks. It was WAY exciting to see them in PERSON.
  • As it was to taste the FOOD (also discussed in minute detail) and PEOPLE. Get thee to Elizabeth's house before the tomatoes are gone. (I have three on my counter.) (No, you may not have them.)
  • When the hotel clerk called after me: "Oh! Could you come back and sign this No Parties In The Hotel Room Policy?" mere SECONDS after Manda and Emily's arrival. It's like he KNEW.
  • Friday night. All of it.
  • Whitney's story. The second one. I'd tell you, but the amount of blushing would send me to the ER.
  • The fact that every time we had to all pay one bill, nearly everyone used cash and we always had enough. You have no idea how much I was stressing over how sixteen women were going to split one dinner bill.
  • Ditching a morning of shopping to drink Coke (GAK. But it helped the hangover!) on the couch with Elizabeth.
  • When Jennie poured me another glass of wine, but only two drops came out. Okay, that was sad. But also, perhaps because I'd lost track of what glass of wine it happened to be: HILARIOUS.
  • DANCING. Dude. It has been a loooooong time. BUT I STILL GOT IT, YO!
  • Getting dressed up with my hotel mates. Well, pretty much everything with my hotel mates, who, even though they were a bazillion times more extroverted than me, therefore providing plenty of opportunities for me to feel Dorky and Unfun and LAME, were nothing but THE AWESOME.
  • Listening to Manda dictate everyone's Twitter posts at the end of the night.
  • The precious few minutes I got to talk with Annie and Shelby before we headed to lunch.
  • Natalie, who provided the most fun and least snobby wine tasting I'VE ever participated in.
  • All the local Sacramento ladies who Knew Where To Go.
  • Oh, and I can't forget: champagne in a can. Strangely cute, inexplicably tasty.


Seven Quick Takes: The God Reads My Blog Edition

And He totally wanted to throw me a bone.

1. I should have a potty training post up at Parenting today. I wrote it several days ago, when life seemed cruel and Sisyphean. And then today Jackson - MY BOY - went poo AND pee in the potty. Without any kicking or screaming or typical two-year-old drama and lo, there was much rejoicing in the land. My begging and pleading still stands, however, since Jack waited until the weekend I'm out of town to start using the potty, and I don't believe he's really on the potty track anyway. I have no good reason to think this, other than my usual If I Lower My Expectations I Won't Be Disappointed life strategy. PLZ ADVISE. Preferably at Parenting. Makes me look good.

2. Last week-ish I ordered two pairs of boots. I'd been looking online for what was probably years, and couldn't find anything I liked that was stocked in my size, didn't cost as much as a dental crown and might also zip up around my calves. (And my calves aren't even that big. Come on, Shoe Designers!) I eventually found some on Amazon, with a $20 off promotion and free shipping. My first pair arrived two days early and fit me perfectly. I CAN ZIP THEM UP! And I've been wearing them all afternoon because, well, I can only BARELY zip them up. Must stretch these suckers out! If you must know, I am wearing brown leather boots, a hot pink terrycloth drawstring skirt and a black empire waist camisole that I dug out of the back of my closet because all my other hot weather clothes are either in the wash or in a suitcase. I look HOT.

3. Jack slept till five. Thank you, God! So what if Molly only slept an hour? Jack slept till FIVE. And he is currently out running errands with his father, which is more time I don't have to spend putting him in a corner. Did I tell you he went poo AND pee on the potty today?

4. If I put Molly in the bathtub, she consents to be 1) somewhere other than my arms and 2) happy. I KNOW. I really really really had to start packing and she wasn't happy sitting in the middle of my bed, even when I gave her the remote AND the magazines AND the digital clock. I picked her up, bounced her around, hoped she wouldn't wake up Jack with all the complaining, and then she pointed at the bathtub. And I was all, "IIIINTERESTING!" So I turned on the water, plopped her in and she played for a good 15 to 20 minutes while I tried on everything in my closet. SUCCESS! My mom always says, "Magic water."

5. Because Jack slept so long I did ten tons of laundry, watched the latest episode of The Biggest Loser and caught up on my correspondence. (Although if you are expecting a thank you card from Molly, I'M SORRY, I'll get to it, PROMISE.) Even though Molly was up, we shared a frozen fudge bar and cuddled on the couch and had a very nice afternoon. Very nice afternoons do wonders for my When Phillip Gets Home From Work Disposition.

6. I have not had time to dwell on the Meeting! Lots! Of Strangers! aspect of The Blathering as I've spent most of my evening cutting out the pieces of my sister's wedding invitations and thinking up creative ways to curse my paper cutter.

7. A successful potty day prompted me to run out and buy Potty Bribes, aka M&Ms. Which means there is chocolate in my house. Just the thing to munch on while I finish packing. Bribes for him, celebratory nibbles for me.

I hope YOU have a lovely weekend (and if part of your weekend involves hanging out with me, I'm SURE YOU WILL.)

more quick takes at conversion diary

State of the Cheungs

I'm going to insert a pause in the near-irrational Blathering excitement (although, please note, I FINALLY decided what I am going to pack, which has been a dilemma of Mammoth and Life-Impacting Proportions) and tell you that we are having a rough-ish time in the Cheung household. These kids, they are not making it easy.

I can think of a million and a half reasons why either the kids are being difficult or seem like they're being more difficult because Phillip and I are stressing about other stuff. Like impending upheavals to the world as we know it, aka Grad School. Truthfully I think it's a combination of both. Phillip and I have a lot of nervous-making stuff going on, but our typically-good sleeper kids have been nightmares for the last two weeks. The boy won't GO to sleep and the girl won't STAY asleep. I don't know how many times in the last two weeks we've had to stash Molly in another room so Jack can cry it out at bedtime, or run into their room at 3am to play musical bedrooms with Molly so SHE can cry it out. We've been staying up late and getting up early, my lower back is killing me because Molly isn't happy unless she's being carried or practicing walking, I am so very much in denial about the amount of time Phillip is going to be around starting next week and why don't I have any fun shoes to wear this weekend?

Most of this boils over into a conversation we've been having near-daily: when we're going to move out of this house. You should have seen my normally calm cool cucumber of a husband yank off his socks and throw them on the floor instead of lazily sliding them off with the opposite feet. "We! Are! MOVING!" he announced, and began munching his Lays potato chips with a little more vigor than usual.

I don't know if YOU do this, but in the CHEUNG household it's a common theme to assume there is One Magic Solution to all of our problems. For the last couple of days that solution has been More Than Two Bedrooms. Well, since we technically have more than two bedrooms right now, I should amend that to Three Bedrooms We Can Actually USE As Bedrooms. We do the cry it out thing and we have yet to be successful at having one kid sleeping peacefully while the other screams bloody murder in the same room. It's just not happening, no matter how many times my mom says, "Oh, they'll get used to each other."

(And maybe they are TOO used to each other, since Molly now naps in the office because she and Jack would play peekaboo in their cribs FOR HOURS at nap time. NOT OKAY.)

The third bedroom is two floors away from mine, and therefore is unacceptable for nighttime baby containing. No matter what my husband says, this is the case and I will not budge.

Last night I carefully tried to tell Phillip that moving to a three bedroom house doesn't mean our kids will fall asleep at 8 and sleep till 7 every single blessed night. And I honestly don't see what it will do for the girl who must be hefted around like the oldest daughter of the emperor. Or for the boy who won't eat anything that isn't tubular and orange.

But we take turns at Most Frustrated and Most Desperate. Normally it's me, so I ought to give Phillip his once-in-a-blue-moon pouty meltdowns. And I'm the one who came up with Get New House Quick Scheme. We're thinking about putting the house on the market in the spring, hopefully have it sell by the end of the summer and renting for a year. We can't really buy another house yet, for reasons mostly having to do with still having another year of grad school, but this way we can get more space without having to wait until Phillip is done with school. We THINK. Sometime after the holidays I intend to do some intense internet research and find myself a realtor who Knows Things. I need to know if this will even WORK, for starters.

I love our house. It's new and beautiful and I didn't even mess it up too much with my horrid paint jobs and constant mind-changing about where things should be on the walls. It's the PERFECT HOUSE - for people who don't have kids. Or people who have one tiny kid. Or even just ONE kid. But it's hard with two, and I'm trying to stop feeling guilty about saying that. I mean, you guys saw the pictures of my kitchen! How can I complain about a house that has that kitchen! But while there is enough TOTAL space, it's space that's laid out in a really frustrating way when you are wrangling two people who need constant supervision. There are two flights of stairs. The main floor is one big room, with no corner or alcove where I might stash a sleeping baby. The hallway upstairs has no extra space, no area where the kids can really play or (again) where I might stash a sleeping baby. Space is tight in both the bedrooms upstairs, and whatever extra space we had in the office is now used up by the pack 'n play. And the yard, which I originally loved because it wasn't fenced off into a little pen like every other townhouse on our street, is impossible for Jack to really use BECAUSE it isn't fenced in. Not that I would let him play out there by himself anyway, even if it were fenced, because I spend my time two floors away from that yard. IT'S JUST NOT WORKING ANYMORE.

How did this turn into a rant about my house? I'm sure I have MUCH more complaining to do about the nightly 3am Musical Bedrooms game.

Anyway. That's what's going on with us. We are tired. Don't cross us. And I promise not to talk about it this weekend. MUCH, anyway.

I suppose I need to jump on this bandwagon... herewith, the Sacramento 13

1. I hug. I forget that some people are not huggers. This usually doesn't cross my mind until after I've done the hugging. Sorry.

2. I am not chatty. Wine helps, but I suspect I will still be hiding behind my fabulously outgoing and friendly and always-knows-the-right-questions-to-ask friend Liz, waiting for her to break all the ice I can't even melt. I'm sorry about this too.

3. When the Blathering was first proposed, I thought, "Oh wouldn't that be fun? But I could never do that." Emily had to send me a very thoughtful well-reasoned email about why it wouldn't be the scariest and/or most self-indulgent thing in the world before I even seriously considered it. My kids spend the night away from me pretty frequently (thanks grandparents!) and I don't require my husband's presence to have a good time, but something about getting on an airplane and spending money only on myself, for a girls' weekend, with people I don't even know... Except I do know them, and have even met several of them and I am ALMOST as excited this trip as I was about going to Disneyland.

4. One of the things I'm most anxious about is leaving on Sunday and feeling heartbroken and fearful that I might not see any of you again. I can be a little lot sentimental.

5. I spent many of my formative years in Italy, but no, I do not speak Italian. This is a touchy subject - you've been warned.

6. I went to a blogger meetup at a spa a few months ago and was deeply disappointed every time I was pulled away from a conversation for a spa treatment. Stupid spa treatments! Seriously, if I do nothing except sit in coffee shops and talk to blog-minded women about Meaningful Stuff I will be perfectly happy, thrilled even. I don't even know that I will require wine, although, of course, it makes everything lovelier.

7. I am very attached to my television. If you're wondering how to start a conversation with me, try: "What IS it about Logan Echolls? Because he's kind of an ass, don't you think?" or maybe the same question substituting "Don Draper" for "Logan Echolls". You could also try, "What do you think Rory is doing right now?" or "Where did Nina Garcia and Michael Kors go?" or "Is Juliet still alive?" or "Heroes started to suck when..." or "Let me tell you why you should watch that vampire show" or "How much do you love Blair Waldorf?" or, well, you get the point.

8. I love to read, but I am not very good at talking about books. I'm either emotionally attached, so all I can do is squeal, "I LOOOOVE IT!" or I didn't care, in which case I really have nothing to say except, "Meh." I'm always afraid that my inability to critically discuss books (and movies and music and, sadly, television) makes people think I have exactly four brain cells to rub together.

9. I am the oldest of five kids. I can't help being bossy. But I will try very very hard not to tell you where to go and when you should be there, even though it says so on the Blathering Itinerary and God created itineraries to be FOLLOWED.

10. Despite the music, atmosphere and presence of potential boyfriends, I routinely used to fall asleep in Italian clubs in high school. If I fall asleep on the way to karaoke, or during the HGTV drinking game, or in the middle of a conversation at the hotel, it's not because I'm a 30-year-old mother of two who needs a few extra hours of sleep, it's because I AM THAT UN-FUN.

11. I am a tiny bit distraught over my shoes. I hear you all are Shoe People and I'm the kind of person who has exactly one pair of black high heels. Maybe you can take me shoe shopping? Guide me in your ways?

12. I really really really wish I had an iPhone, specifically for this weekend. Instead I have a Lame Phone and an iPod touch. My husband offered to loan me his iPhone, but he would probably divorce me if I, you know, stepped on it or lost it or dropped it in the toilet. So I will not be Updating The Internet as much as I would like. This is probably a good thing, not just for The Internet At Large, but myself. I often feel thisclose to needing a 12-step program re: my website.

13. My other big fear about this weekend is knowing I won't have time to get to know everyone. It's just going to be impossible. And I so want to - even if I am hiding behind Liz or wishing Elizabeth would give me a job so I could do something other than stand around bemoaning my inability to Be! Awesome! - I really do.

I know I shut down that other blog, but that doesn't mean I don't think about it

If I lose one more pound I can say that I've lost 40 pounds since I got married.

That's a good thing, right?

Today someone who hadn't seen me in a while gave me a Critical Look. She wanted to know where I fall in the BMI range for my height. The higher end, I told her, which she didn't seem to believe. And I just used an online BMI calculator - I'm actually .2 above the highest "normal" number for my height.

(You can save your rants against the BMI. I don't pay any attention to it, and the fact that I'm still not in the normal range doesn't bother me. I just wanted to know for sure.) 

She is pretty much the frillionth person in a row who's told me I don't need to lose any more weight. If the universe is trying to send me a message: I'VE HEARD IT, THANKS.

I know that I don't NEED to lose more weight. But I can't say I wouldn't LIKE to lose more weight. If only because maybe I CAN. If losing almost 40 pounds has rewired any part of my brain, it's the part that says I am stuck where I am. The part that says I can't run a mile without stopping, can't play sports again, can't wear a single digit dress size, can't show my upper arms in public. I've come this far and it hasn't killed me. It hasn't even been that horrible a ride, so why stop now?

I wanted to stop because I didn't like thinking about my weight all the time. I don't know how YOU lose weight, but I have to employ every OCD fiber in my being. (Which is a lot.) I tell people I didn't have body image issues before I lost weight, and now I do. This is true. I am very very afraid of waking up one day and finding those almost 40 pounds reattached to my body. I wanted to be happy with my almost 40 pounds and start eating cereal again. Get on with my life. Restock my wardrobe without wondering if I should challenge myself to fit into a smaller size in a few more months.

But I didn't stop. I meant to, I really did. I don't think I know how. It felt wrong. It felt weird. It's not like I was unhappy with exercising and eating well. I don't want to stop either of those things, and if that means I keep losing weight, yay for me. Right? So what if "eating well" means "writing down every single thing I put into my mouth", it's not like that's all so bad. Right? And how much farther can I push this new body

Maybe that makes it sound like I'm out running five miles every morning and living on Lean Protein and Vegetables and swearing off chocolate. Um, no. Not at all. Since my thirtieth birthday, when I really meant to stop this weight loss campaign, I've definitely fallen off the food wagon. I have great days and good days and then some spectacularly bad days. Dim sum anyone? Two chocolate bars in the Disneyland hotel room during nap time, solely because I'm BORED? Don't mind if I do! I'm still exercising, although about half as much as before. And like I wrote before, I am actively attempting to divorce exercise from weight. I need to exercise for my mental health, I do I do I do. I MUST get that treadmill fixed before all Pacific Northwesterners are forced to hibernate until June.

But I'm still on a downward slope. I have theories. One is that I've never kept up an exercise routine. I've never consistently paid attention to what I'm eating. OF COURSE I'm still losing weight, even though I'm not going full force. But I also think I haven't fully let myself off the hook. I pull up that Weight Watchers points tracker a few times a week. I tell myself I don't want to be the pleasantly plump bridesmaid in my sister's wedding, or my college roommate's wedding in June. I feel like this is okay, it's okay to be concerned about these things, and I lose a pound, a half pound. I could lose one more pound and then I could say, with pride and a small amount of mortification, that I've lost 40 pounds.

I was talking about this with a friend, a friend of the Adorably Small variety. (She also runs half marathons. EYE ROLL.) We were talking about what it takes to lose weight, how obsessed you have to be. She said she'd lost weight right before she met me, and I'd met her at her "normal" weight.

I thought about this the whole drive home - we'd met for coffee and child-wearing-out - and realized that DUDE. I don't HAVE a normal. I have been overweight my entire life. The last time I was the size I am now I was in eighth grade. What IS my normal? My friends who all talk about being skinnier before kids, or lamenting over the size four jeans in boxes in the closet - I cannot relate. I have no idea what that's like. I have no idea where I'm supposed to BE weight-wise. This appears to be a good spot (according to the aforementioned frillion people) but what if I can go farther

I didn't care today. I willfully ignored that points tracker and put extra parmesan cheese on my heaping pile of pasta. And I'm still hungry. Maybe it takes enough days of not caring to know that you can do this, you can ignore the pressure to lose and choose to maintain. 

I tried on a pair of pants in my smallest size today. They were too big. (Let's ignore the fact that the OTHER pair of pants I was trying on, in the same size, were too small. Ahem.) This tiny moment filled me with such elation, I can't even tell you. And in the next minute I was furious with myself because holy crap, when did I start equating my pants size with moral triumph? With my value as a person? I don't approve of that. I do NOT want to be that girl.

This morning's Critical Friend put it this way: actively choose to stay where I am. And if, in a few months, I want to lose 5 more pounds, go for it. My body will have adjusted to my size, it won't want to cram all the weight back on, and I don't want to lose too fast, right? (This made me laugh. Too fast! Ha!) That's what I'd like to do. We shall see. 

It seems like most people are in the "how do I start losing weight" camp and I feel very strange in the "it's okay to stop" camp. Is anyone else out there? How did you reboot your brain?

Move over, Ming Tsai

Take a gander at my husband, the next Food Network star:


The sushi party, it was... okay, I'll admit it, it was kind of awesome.


Except for that crooked picture in the back there. That is not awesome.

I had my doubts about a sushi party, but I should never underestimate the sheer fabulousness of our friends and their willingness to handle raw fish.


And eat my ugly tempura. (BUT IT TASTED GOOD. HONEST.)

Phillip was in his element.


As was Jack.


(That would be ice cream and peach cobbler, not anything remotely resembling dinner. Of course.)

It was super fun instead of super lame to have the kids there.


And Liz and The Bubba win for Best Gift Ever.


Can you see whose face is superimposed on the box? That was the best part.

This post would have more words except for the fact that it is nine o'clock and one child is howling like the boogie man is sitting IN his crib and one child is restless in the pack and play in the office and WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE CHILDREN? 


Yay sushi!

Seven Tired Takes

1. Of course, on his second day back in the office, Phillip has his late night server update whatever-it-is. Thank goodness this was the best day Jack's had since we came home, because Molly is (I think) teething and refuses to be put down or left to her own devices for any period of time. She wants me to carry her or walk her around all day long, which means I have acquired killer biceps and a strained back.

2. I just got an email from the library saying Envy, the third Luxe novel, is waiting for me. FINALLY. I am out of books, which is very boring. Of course, TV is picking up again. Everyone is twittering about the Office right now, but I can't watch because Phillip isn't home. There are few shows he really wants to see and The Office is one of them. Glee? Project Runway? Not so much.

3. Okay, this is really bugging me. We saw Julie & Julia this weekend (LOVED THIS MOVIE) (HATED THE BOOK) (even Phillip liked it! It's husband friendly!) and Julie/Amy Adams wore her wedding ring on top of her engagement ring. I know that's a dorky thing to notice, but there are all these typing scenes and it's just THERE. You NOTICE. And it BUGS because I wear my engagement ring over my wedding ring, as does pretty much everyone else I know. I should note that my mother does not have an engagement ring and I never paid any attention whatsoever to engagement rings until AFTER I was engaged, so it's entirely possible that I live in a bubble and I have no idea about anything. Also, it makes more SENSE to wear your wedding ring on top. ALSO also, I fully understand that the proper way to wear your wedding/engagement rings is: ANY WAY YOU WANT. But still, I must know: is the majority at least on my side? Seriously, it's been a week now and I'm STILL BUGGED.

4. I tried to get a lot of cleaning done today because we're having a party on Saturday and I'll be gone all day tomorrow. I know I'll have time to clean on Saturday, but I wanted to get the annoying stuff out of the way, like dusting. I also cleaned the kitchen, picked up/organized toys and Swiffered about half the floor. I know those are all things I'll have to do again on Saturday (and, to be honest, I already did them again TODAY) but I thought I'd get a head start. But I just walked into the kitchen after putting the kids down and I can't tell that I cleaned the kitchen floor AT ALL. Honest. There are spots (from the soap spray?) and lines from where I pull the Swiffer back (which was my beef with the Swiffer to begin with) and, well, I know if I got down on my hands and knees with a wet paper towel, I'd wipe off a bunch of grime all over again. So now I need to stop swiffering and go back to my sponge/bucket method, which was better except for the fact that I NEVER DID IT. I hate this, Internet. It gets me so incredibly horribly down. At least with dusting you have a few days before it starts to look awful again. But the floors - I CANNOT KEEP UP. It doesn't even look nice ten minutes after I finish! I've been doing so well keeping my counters clear and clean, but the floors, the toys, the general crazy clutter in my living room, all of that isn't going so well. I started thinking about my housekeeper idea again, but that feels 1) self-indulgent and 2) CRAZY as HELLO we are now paying TUITION BILLS. But on the days when the floors make me cry... I don't know. I want to be self-indulgent and crazy.

5. Thanks for all the sushi links. Phillip made a practice California roll the other night and if I were into eating fake crab I'd say it looked yummy. Phillip seemed to think it was all right. Have you been to one of those conveyor belt sushi places? I like everything that does not contain fish. Even cooked fish. I don't know. My four-year-old palate is no SURPRISE to you people. But I love pretty much everything else on the conveyor belt. Anything with tofu or eggs or just veggies or (my favorite favorite favorite) TEMPURA VEGGIES. So I have a little box of tempura batter on my counter and we shall see how that turns out. I'll also be making chicken katsu, which I've never made myself, but used to watch my Hawaiian roommate make on a near-daily basis. (Along with spam musabi, which, again, I am not going to eat, but will not judge if YOU do.)

6. And thanks for the wedding links. One of you in particular, I owe a big email all about how my mother cannot stop talking about how you decorated and all of your ideas and maybe WE should do what that BLOG reader did because her wedding was BEAUTIFUL! I think you know who you are! Anyway, I think we have been planning this wedding for all of two weeks? And most of it is done. I KNOW. I mean, there's still a lot of WORK, but all the big decisions? Pretty much scheduled, reserved, DONE. My sister will now give a short polite nod while everyone slow claps in amazement.

7. I should make Phillip a birthday cake, but he doesn't want a chocolate cake and I don't have a good not-chocolate-cake recipe and I cannot bear the thought of beating twelve egg whites into an angel food cake, which doesn't even TASTE like cake and is the WORST vehicle for frosting so what is even the POINT of angel food cake... I digress. I have a bunch of nectarines in the fridge and this appears to be a very easy fruit cobbler recipe. I don't mind experimenting on our guests, and Phillip is one of those annoying people who prefer fruit and vanilla and light and airy over my typical death-by-chocolate preferences. So I think it will work. I'll let you know.

More quick takes here.