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February 2014

A very moody Reads & Recommends

It's been a weird week. Well, not really. Everything is the same as always. I'm wondering if Bakery Setbacks deal me harsher blows than I think they do (or they should). And I'm wondering why I feel lonely after seeing friends this morning, making a possible new friend at ballet tonight, hanging out lots with Phillip this week, talking online. Anyway, I'm just in a morose sort of headspace and no one is interested in that so HEY, time for Reads & Recommends! 

I finally finished The Lost Peace: Leadership in a Time of Horror and Hope, 1945-1953. I will say that I learned a lot. There is a lot of basic Factual Information of which I was completely unaware and because this book sort of assumed the reader knew all that stuff, it didn't go too in depth. Which was good! Just enough to cover the basics. I found it super engaging, easy to read (unlike a certain WWI book where I had to read each page 5 times), and full of authorial insight which I like my history books to have. THAT SAID, I'm not sure what I thought about the authorial insight. I took his point about America maybe getting caught up in emotion and fear and not creating the best foreign policy, but the other half of his thesis rested on Gee, If Only Stalin Hadn't Been So Suspicious And Paranoid! Which... oh, and Mao being a nicer guy. While I'm sure there are things the US could have done better in the interest of world peace, I don't see Stalin and Mao having made poor decisions so much as acted like the crazy evil wackjobs they were. And rethinking their actions, wondering what THEY could have done better, seems... I don't know. Pointless. ANYWAY.

Not like you're going to read that. How about this? The Dark Power of Fraternities, by Caitlin Flanagan in the Atlantic. A fascinating read, even if Wazzu didn't have such a starring role. OH WAZZU. I actually remember one of these incidents (the one at UW she mentions later on.) I don't really know what I think about fraternities. I have absolutely no experience with them and hardly any with people who belong to them. My biggest question coming off this article was: when are you officially not your parents' problem anymore? Is a college supposed to monitor a student's behavior (in place of his parents?) (Aaaand, I just wrote a whole bunch on this subject and deleted it because I sounded like a twerp. Shut up, Me.)

MOVING ON. I loved this. Loooooved this. Jennifer Fulwiler on following your dreams. I'm not sure the bakery is my "blue flame" (what IS my blue flame?!) but it made me feel a lot better about my horrible backyard and the fact that I don't care what we eat for dinner. 

I also loved this. Go Ahead, Let Your Kids Fail. This speaks to me, as a recovering Three. ("Stop talking about the enneagram!" the internet shrieks. "NEVER!" I shout back.)

This is not of interest to you, I'm sure, but my heart grew ten sizes when Phillip forwarded me this local NPR piece on the Catholic Seafarer's Union. I used to be very involved with local maritime stuff in my working days and went to many a fund raiser at this center - it's where I won my big TV! This priest is a kooky guy - he sells a CD of himself singing hymns and sea shanties - but he's also an amazing servant to an underserved and largely ignored community. I was glad to see his ministry got some attention. 

This is an interview with Dawn Eden, former music journalist and Catholic convert, about abuse. Don't open it if that's triggering for you. She's kind of amazing, though. She brings hope to a very hopeless place. 

And speaking of hope in hopeless places, here's a video of the Pope - like, an IPHONE video with the POPE - talking about Christian unity and asking evangelicals to pray for him. Holy heck. 

I'm off to a churchy retreat for college students this weekend. Ostensibly I am there to volunteer and serve, but we all know that this is going to be good and serving for ME. Things have been a little too much Small Business Frustration and not enough Jesus lately. xo


And the point is... ?

Thanks to a delightfully nerdy exterminator (and gross - he squished an ant, smelled it, and then held it under MY nose AS IF) there was a massive ant genocide in my house last week. We VANQUISHED the ants, Internet. And then Phillip saw one crawling around today. 

Perhaps this is where my depressed hopelessness is coming from. 

I've been emailing back and forth with an owner of a commercial kitchen. He is, or appears to be via email, friendly, easygoing, helpful, and completely without condescension towards the pair of silly girls who have no idea how to run a business. Even better, we can afford his rates. Then his latest email to me reminded me to make sure I am permitted in the county (his kitchen is across the county line from me) and heads up, it looks to be $651 per year. I have a call into the appropriate government office to confirm, but perhaps this is adding to the general mood as well. 

I worked in my yard today, because it was nice out and my yard desperately needs working on AND (shocker) I enjoy working on my yard. But there is so much to do and I have every confidence it will look just as bad in September as it does now. 

And my house. As soon as I pick up one room, another room is disaster-fied. The kitchen is a perpetual sty. No one makes their beds, picks up their towlels, puts their socks in the hamper, puts their toys away, throws away their fruit snack wrappers, picks up crayons, washes their toothpaste down the drain. My slaved-over painted cabinet is a dumping ground for absolutely everything that can potentially ruin a slaved-over paint job. And I am guilty of this too. I put stuff in the most convenient putting-stuff place. I'm the one that doesn't make MY bed. But I am so sick of them and me and I see no end to it. Ever. I'm not a clean freak, I have a high tolerance for clutter, but I'm the only one annoyed when it gets to be too much, the only one who does anything about it, and they are all WORKING AGAINST ME. I just walk from room to room not having any idea where to start.

Let's add "despair" to "depressed hopelessness". 

I've run/walked on my treadmill every afternoon this week. (All of three times, I know.) I am so proud of me! And then I think about how far I have to go.


I think it's the ant. It has to be the ant, right? I BLAME THE ANT.


Bunch of quick thoughts

* I'm using Freshbooks for bakery accounting and dare I say it's kind of fun? I mean, I have the simplest little company in the world, so even I can figure out most of what to do. It's super exciting to see the insta-reports and track expenses and all that. What I can't figure out so far is how I show that I refunded someone (DAMN YOU, USPS) and also how I show PayPal and Square fees. First I have to figure out how to see all my fees in PayPal, then I need to add that as an expense somehow so the accounting program matches my bank account... uh, right? I know I'm supposed to get someone else to do this for me at some point, but right now, while we are still waiting for approval and before we get insurance and a kitchen rental and all that, I think I'm okay. 

* I went to a Safe Environment training on Saturday - it's the "be aware of child abuse" training all church employees and volunteers have to do. I was absolutely dreading it, but I ended up handling it okay. It was actually helpful in that I have a clearer idea of what to do and what's being done. The "group discussion" part was like being in a high school history class where everyone is half asleep, but I thought the videos were very well done (if uncomfortable) and I came away re-motivated to talk with my kids. It just sucks that you have to, right? 

* I want to start running again. I think I've said this about eighty times over the past year, but it's okay to start over for an 81st time. I know that for me to stick to it I need it to be part of the routine. Since I haven't really HAD a routine in over a year it's been difficult, but right before we went on vacation I'd figured out how to do Emma lunch, Emma nap, my exercise, my lunch AND my quiet time and I think I can get into that again. Hopefully. Now I just need to start pushing myself because I'm way back at the bottom where I don't think I can run two minutes let alone two miles. So... I wish this wasn't so hard. I wish I was more into working out, like signing up for races or going to classes or whatever, but I'm not. I want to do the bare minimum for Feeling Good. In the past that was a half hour on the treadmill every day. I really want to get back there. 

* House of Cards. MAN. How do I get hooked on these shows where every character is EVIL?! The evil is just written so well!

*The kids were with my parents this weekend so we took major advantage, going out for a fancy dinner the first night and a movie the next. We saw Monuments Men, which looked like Ocean's 11 set in WWII and dude, that's potentially the best movie in the world. It wasn't. I still liked it, because I can't NOT like schmaltzy feel-good historical movies, but Phillip and I walked out of it saying, "Did we just see a CUTE World War II movie? I think we just saw a CUTE World War II movie." Which was weird. It was a cute motley crew adventure interspersed with moments of Death and Despair and Hey, Where Did These Oddly Shaped Gold Bits Come From? Bill Murray was in this movie for no apparent reason. Cate Blanchett was there to be beautiful and more interesting than all the actors put together - until her character was forced into a crush on Matt Damon which was RIDICULOUS and UNNECESSARY. (Although, I might develop a crush on Matt Damon in an army uniform too.) Most irritating were the handful of Self Righteous George Clooney Speeches in which he tells off Nazis and, almost as bad as Nazis, People Who Don't Respect Art. SIGH. But I still liked it. I WAS DETERMINED TO LIKE IT.

* I am going to the Edel Gathering. In Austin. In July. Even though I'm pretty sure I made some vow at some point in my life that I would never ever go to Texas again in the summer. I wasn't planning on going and then Maureen emailed me and then I was all FINE MAUREEN, TWIST MY ARM. It's super hard to convince me to leave my family for a weekend away with friends, but I have committed to making the sacrifice.

* We decided to spend some of our tax return on a new bed and I am so excited. No really, I am SO EXCITED. I have picked one out on, we'll order the mattress from Costco, and I am just waiting for the actual tax return money to show up so I can click BUY. It's going to be a KING SIZE bed and I can HARDLY STAND IT. My bed is pretty much my very favorite place. It's where I read and watch TV and eat snacks and I'm just going to be SO HAPPY. In fact I'm going to go get in it RIGHT NOW.



Disneyland, how I love it so (and whoa, this got long and introspective SORRY)

This was our third trip to Disney since having kids. Third. I have shame about this, Internet, and I need to hash it out. 

See, TRULY cultured people do not like Disneyland. And even the people who DO like Disneyland wouldn't prefer it over, say, a national park, or a great American landmark, or a ski trip or a road trip. Not THREE TIMES. 

And I think of my parents, who found jobs in Europe for the prime purpose of their kids getting to see Europe. And how they always ask if we're driving on our trip and then I say we're flying and then they say, "But you see so MUCH when you drive!" and I think "But... that's less time I have in Disneyland."

Many of my growing up memories are traveling memories, but it serves me well to remember that we didn't do our first big trip until I was nine and my youngest sister was five. (Five kids in five years, y'all. I was not quite five when my youngest sister was born. Shall we have a moment of silent respect for my parents?) I know we did smaller trips (they took my brother and me to Disneyland when we were 1 and 2!) but nothing big until I was nine and we road tripped to Dallas to visit my grandparents. I am positive my affinity for cities and utter dread of driving to Spokane was born on that trip, when on hour seventeen zillion of driving through a Southwestern desert I thought for sure we would run out of gas, die of thirst, and become bleached white bones for some archaeologist to find in the future. 

Then the summer I turned 10 we moved to Sicily and every weekend after that I was sitting in the back of a van getting car sick on Italian streets, on our way to yet another ruin, another cathedral, another historical town. When we moved to the Air Force base on the remote Portuguese island in the middle of the Atlantic we got an extra free plane trip per year - the island was THAT small and mental illness-producing for adults - and we went to Spain for Christmas, London in the summer. I had an aunt and uncle in Germany and when we moved to northern Italy they took us skiing in Austria over Christmas break. I went to different countries on sports trips. We flew back to the states every summer to visit family, and we almost always made a point of spending a few days somewhere interesting on the East Coast. All of this to say that traveling was the NORM in my life for a long time and now the best place I can think of to share with my kids is a THEME PARK? 

If I could take my family anywhere I wanted, for sure hands down no contest we would be on an airplane to Italy right this second. We would spend half our time eating and half our time wandering around beautiful cities. But plane tickets are nearly double what they were when I was in college. And there are five of us. And Phillip doesn't get three consecutive months of vacation. It seems... difficult. 

Next up would be New York. Or Chicago. DC. Big cities with lots to see and do. 

Then Hawaii. We loved Hawaii. We went there with kids! It was for a wedding, otherwise we probably would have deemed it too expensive. I never thought I was a laying-on-the-beach-all-day person until I went to Hawaii, but now I have seen the light. And it is beautiful and makes the water sparkle. 

I hate camping. I don't especially like being outdoors, although I appreciate the outdoors as a backdrop to something else going on, like a concert or theater in the park, or something like that. All the mountain sports that my part of the world so enjoys are not really my thing. (Those Austrian ski lessons were totally wasted on me.) I APPRECIATE the Grand Canyon without being excited to go there. So my kids are sort of up against their mother's unfortunate distaste for scenery as the purpose. 

And then there's Disneyland. After the second time Phillip was all, "Let's go to southern California and... DO SOMETHING ELSE." Which... yes. I am a fan of sunshine. I like the beach. A vacation rental in San Diego sounds great. But I felt SAD that he didn't want to go back to Disneyland. And that he thought Sea World or Legoland would be just as cool, because NO, THEY WOULD NOT. This time I floated Disney as something for Emma, because we loved seeing Disney through our other babies' eyes, and Emma is 2 and a half and therefore still free, and hey, maybe we could bring the in-laws along as a sort of MIL retirement celebration?!

Which is how we went again and I secretly got my wish: more Disney. Because I LOVE THAT PLACE. It is not cool. (Unless you are there. When you are THERE it is the HEIGHT of cool to be wearing one of those lanyards with the million pins and the special pass identifying you as a Frequent Disney Visitor. Oh, I was jealous.) But yeah, not really that cool. People want to spend all that money on something more meaningful or cultured or whatever, but I just want to walk down Main Street and hear the music and see the colors and the castle and the perfectly pruned trees and feel happy because it IS the happiest place on Earth, dammit. 

But I realized something else this time. Phillip had a way better time, namely because the big kids were big enough (and willing) to go on the big rides. I refused to let them try the giant roller coaster in DCA, but everything else was pretty much on the thrill ride table. Several times I let them go on ahead while I stayed back for a repeat parade viewing with Emma, or even just walking around pointing out the Mickeys with Emma. I realized that I could go to Disneyland and not ride a single ride, but still feel like I got my money's worth. I love the parades. I love the constant live singing and dancing. I love the crazy water shows. We caught the last half of Fantasmic this time and HOLY COW THAT WAS AMAZING. I love how clean it is and how everyone at the park is trying to make sure you have a good time. I only encountered a few less-than-cheery employees, and that seemed to be a matter of catching them at the end of a long shift than anything else. I love how easy it is to take care of your kids' needs. I love that it's big, but not too big. I love the feel and mood of each "land". I love the fakeyness! I even love the crowds. Honestly. (I am someone who was sort of sad she didn't go to the Seahawks victory parade, not because I wanted to see the players but because I thought it would be so awesome to be in the middle of that ecstatic crowd.) 

Anyway. I know it's as lame to be ashamed of my penchant for Disneyland as it is to HAVE a penchant for Disneyland. Own your uncoolness, etc! If it helps I am now planning (over a year in advance) a trip to Italy - we're planning (hoping) to tag along with my folks when they go back for a high school graduation next June. And Phillip and I are trying harder to get out more with the kids (despite the disaster that was Victoria). There's a way that Disney feels easy and known and a sure thing, in a way that even a trip to Hawaii doesn't. I don't think I feel AFRAID of going new places with the kids necessarily... I know that Phillip is often apprehensive about managing our family and I am apprehensive about his apprehensiveness. I think, actually, I just really like Disneyland. 

I have specific thoughts about this trip. I thought I would write them here (tips and new things and such) but I ended up writing THIS instead (sorry) so if you are going soon and interested, email me. I'd be happy to bore you via email instead. 


ETA: I feel compelled to add a quick acknowledgement of the fact that I am blessed beyond measure and not everyone gets to go to Disneyland and for God's sake shut up about not liking your Austrian ski lessons, POOR YOU. I will shut up. Apparently this post is mostly about how it sucks that *I* am not a teacher for American schools on military bases overseas and therefore cannot See The World for cheap, even though 1) I don't want to be a teacher, nor would I be any GOOD at teaching and 2) I don't even think we should HAVE those military bases anymore and 3) THANK YOU, MY PARENTS. Okay, NOW I am shutting up.

Blog as therapy, Volume Twelve Million

I just picked up the kids from school and this is not my normal time to sit down and hammer out some drivel on my website, but I think if I don't stop for a few minutes and hammer SOMETHING out I will explode. 

There are ants in my house. Ants. I haven't told you this because of the whole starting a FOOD BUSINESS in my HOME and OH GOD, but I can't take it anymore, I have to write about it. We have an Ant Professional (the same company who dealt with our bat - do you remember our bat?) coming tomorrow morning, but it's been days of trying to figure out what to do about the ants and they are driving me to actual tears. And when we got home from school I saw them crawling around the entry way and that's what pushed me over the edge. I think that's why I'm writing here, typing whatever comes into my brain, as fast as I can, because if I don't I'm going to freaking LOSE IT. 

Molly starts ballet tonight. Which is great! But is something new! That I must do alone, with the three kids. And the anticipation of doing something new with all three kids is never a fun anticipation for me. 

We go on vacation Sunday! I'm very excited! But I have had NO TIME to plan, to prep, to organize, to list, to THINK about this vacation. It will be fine whether or not I plan, but *I* will not be fine without planning. Do you know what I mean? When am I going to have time? When do I sit down and list out the things that we need before we go? If you say "right now, instead of writing a panicky blog post" you are fired. Especially because as soon as I publish this, which is probably inadvisable, I have to go bleach the everloving you know what out of my entry way. 

Did I tell you that Phillip didn't want me to to start an ant genocide? Because he wanted the exterminators to be able to see where the ants are? I fairly screamed, "I WILL POINT."

Also today I received news from a friend that is EXCELLENT for her, an answer to prayer if you will, but is very sad for ME and I've been THISCLOSE to outright sobbing all day long. I am VERY SAD and I have ANTS.

And Phillip is working late tonight and tomorrow I have to duct tape together some sort of Valentine thing for us tomorrow after the kids go to bed because Phillip deserves a little attention from his wackjob of a wife and I have to do a NEW THING tonight and tomorrow I have to bring food for a funeral at my old church, the one I don't go to anymore, because I didn't know how to say, "Actually, I don't go to this parish anymore" when the old lady who organizes funeral receptions called me and asked for help. Besides, it's the funeral for the mother of a lady I really liked at my old church and WHAT AM I GOING TO MAKE? 

I am just so overwhelmed right now. And THWARTED. And SAD. I am very very sad and I don't want to do anything except sit and be sad and MAYBE THIS IS PMS I DON'T KNOW I just need prayer for millions of tiny ant deaths and a burst of productive energy and maybe also a nap. 

A former overachiever stops projecting onto her own kids. (For now.)

To hear my mom tell it I was reading Nancy Drew mysteries by age two. (No.) But "reader" has been part of my identity as far back as I can remember. And for someone who thrives on Nice Things People Say About Her, In Particular Her Teachers And Parents, it's been super important to me to be a GOOD reader. Of course, being a "good" reader loses nearly all of its meaning as you realize there are no special points for learning to read before you go to kindergarten, and then instead it's about how many books you read, what kinds, whether you can nod superiorishly when someone excitedly tells you about a new author they've just discovered. 

(By the way, I think I've completely dropped the ball on Being A Good Adult Reader. I don't read super fast, the only new books I keep track of are British and Italian murder mysteries, I've only read a handful of the books everyone raves about on Twitter, and more than two thirds of the books on my Kindle (and ALL the books on my nightstand) are 20th century history books. I am no one's idea of Well Read. Sigh.)

ANYWAY. All that to say it was important to me, to the point where I just naturally ASSUMED, that my kids would also be Good Readers. 

(Let us pause while I roll my eyes at my own self.)

Oh yes, I ASSUMED, in fact I EXPECTED, Jackson Cheung to be reading chapter books by kindergarten. And I'll just say right now that I did absolutely nothing to PREPARE him for such a feat. Along with the assuming and expecting was, I think, the presumption that reading Nancy Drews in preschool was something that just came naturally. It wasn't something I THOUGHT about. It wasn't something that I was consciously waiting for, even. I just thought one day it would happen!  Like out of thin air, one day my kid would just start reading. 

Other things I assumed:

  • He would opt to read over, say, play Subway Surfer on the iPad.
  • He would beg me to go to the library. 
  • Once at the library he would provide me with a two-foot high stack to check out. 
  • He would never EVER groan or make an Unpleasant Noise when asked if he would like his mother to read to him. 
  • He would have Favorite Books.
  • We would BOND. Oh the BONDING! Over BOOKS! Tra la la!

So yeah. None of this happened. We always read books before bedtime, but otherwise Jack never showed much interest in reading on his own or wanting to be read to. Molly seemed to like listening to stories a little more than her brother, but again, I pretty much stopped going to the library with them because they were such pains. They were barely interested in the books and when they discovered that you couldn't just sit down and play a game on the computers they were all, "Can we go to the playground now?"

Of course I determined that I'd done something hugely wrong in their first years. I encouraged and offered and hunted for books they'd enjoy, but no one ever wanted to read them and after a while it was like, "Why am I doing this to myself?" 

Then last year, in kindergarten, Jack began learning to read. And it was... kind of crazy. 

I am surrounded with friends who have precocious little girls reading Jane Austen at age five. I'd just accepted the fact that I was going to have one of those kids who didn't like books and we would have a Hard Row To Hoe (is that the right expression?! NOT WELL READ.) and we would struggle and whatever. Fine. And because Jack wasn't terribly interested, Molly didn't seem to be interested either and FINE. We would deal. I felt certain it would all turn around once they were old enough to read The Westing Game, but for now, FINE. FIIIIIINE.

But Jack started learning to read. Slowly. Hesitantly. Uncertainly. And it was like a miracle. This thing that I'd been trying to do with him for SO LONG was SUDDENLY HAPPENING. At this magical place called school! Where he seemed to be MUCH more motivated! And I wasn't in charge!

He still didn't want to read much at home, but whatever, I was pleased. It was fantastic. 

But then THIS year. THIS YEAR IS NUTS. 

My kid can REEEEEAD. I am so freaking amazed at how far he's come just from the beginning of the year. And Molly? Based on what I attempted to do with Molly in preschool I didn't have any expectations, but that kid can read levels and levels better than her brother did in kindergarten. She is always surprising me with what words she already knows. Right now they're in their beds reading to themselves before I turn out the lights - my absolute favorite thing in the world to do, they are doing it, and they didn't make a single groan or whine about it. They said, "Well can you get me a few more books?"

It's just so exciting. There are ten million things I want to share with them, ten million things that I'm all HURRY UP SO WE CAN READ THIS! This part of being a mom is so good, you guys! I get SO SNIFFLY about my kids getting bigger and how they're all elbows and knees and no more pudgy cheeks, but now they can READ. And I think they're beginning to LIKE it. And it doesn't matter at all that they didn't want to sit and listen to books when they were little or had no interest in sounding at words at age four or that neither of them are in the highest reading group like I was (BECAUSE THERE ARE NO READING GROUPS, GAWD MAGGIE), it's happening and it's SO COOL. 

We planned this trip to Disneyland a few months ago. We wanted to take Emma while she was still little and my mother-in-law is retiring this year and we thought it'd be a fun celebration trip and, well, whatever I do not need any reason to go to Disneyland. But we didn't tell the kids until well after Christmas and then we told them we could only go if they each read 20 books. That's probably a silly number to a lot of you (I'm looking at you, friends with Precocious Girl Readers!) but it was a HUGE one for us. They could only put a point on their chart if they found a book at the right level and read the entire thing out loud to us. 

We are ALMOST at 20 books. And there has been NO complaining. Only "what book should I read you tonight, Mommy?!" I think this calls for a Squee.

Because this was too long for Twitter

Seems like every couple days I get to have a starting-up-a-special-order-bakery-business breakdown. It's a special combination of panic attack, tantrum, nervous system meltdown, and the kind of irrational sobfest you become when you're extremely overtired. Like the time when Emma was waking up every hour to nurse and my in-laws were over and Phillip asked me a question I don't even remember and I just burst into tears in front of everyone because GOD STOP ASKING ME TO MAKE DECISIONS!!!

I am angry and frustrated and confused as to why this is so difficult. And I am embarrassed and ashamed and irritated with myself for taking so long to figure it out. I am furious with the rules and furious with myself for being furious with the rules. 

After deciding we needed to go the commercial kitchen route I gave myself a few days off because dudes. That was a tough night for me. I needed a weekend, shall we say. But here I am, back in Investigation Mode, and I have discovered yet ANOTHER official piece of paper I will need and do not currently have. I think this time, at least, I only need it if I begin renting commercial kitchen space. It's not like I needed this in addition to my cottage food permit. So I am giving myself a bit of a break on Not Knowing Beforehand, but still. Aggravating. And unfortunately it doesn't appear to be the sort of paper I can pay $45 for via internet and receive in the mail in 7-10 days. I think this one is going to require some sort of personal interaction with Government Officials and I can hardly bear the thought. Also it looks like some sort of liability insurance will need to be purchased and while that appears to be a much smaller expense than the commercial kitchen rent, it's still Yet Another Expense. (That I tried to avoid with a cottage food permit, SIGH.)

Several months into this process I have learned that you can achieve legality the Very Hard, Very Long, and Very Restrictive Way or you can do it the Very Very Expensive Way.  OR, there is a third option, that one being Very Hard, Long, Restrictive, AND Expensive! And I'm having a hard time choosing, committing, and then correctly following any of these routes. I have never done this before, but I am not a stupid person. I am not without resources. But there are times, like today, when I wonder HOW IN THE FREAKING WORLD anyone ever opened a business ANYWHERE. 

I know it will come as a huge shocker that I'm on the fairly conservative side of things, hanging out in the back with the eye rolly Almost Libertarians. But I SWEAR this experience is aiming to turn me into an out and out REPUBLICAN. I am not anti-regulations, people. I am actually extremely PRO Food Safety, but DEAR GOD could you make it ANY HARDER for me to legally and safely sell cookies? I'M JUST TRYING TO CREATE A COUPLA JOBS HERE, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS! It just BURNS ME UP that here I am trying my absolute hardest to do things the right way and feeling thwarted at every turn. 

I am not entitled to ignore the rules because I am a nice person who follows all the OTHER rules, you know? I get it. I understand that letting people make food in their home kitchens is a risk and you can't really regulate it so it needs to be a process. I get that people in established food businesses don't really want us home kitchen startups to be allowed to compete. I get why you're really finicky about two compartment sinks. I get that you need to comb through every recipe for hazardous ingredients. I get that food that needs to be refrigerated can be categorized as Hazardous if made in a home kitchen, I GET THAT, I GET THAT YOU DON'T WANT US TO SELL BUTTERCREAM. 

But renting the space to legally sell buttercream? Is very very very expensive. Is almost cost prohibitive. Is fraught with nearly as many official pieces of paper. Is something that feels like it can squash us before we really get going. So right now I just need to hammer out all the frustration, pound it into the laptop keyboard, and then I can go back and try to take a closer look and start making decisions again. 




Pink potties, rabid fans, days off

Miss EJ spent the majority of her day wearing various pairs of hand me down Dora underpants and getting them dirty. I honestly don't know what possessed me today, thinking we would try potty training. I think I've overheard various people talk about their potty trained two-year-olds over the past few weeks and maybe it just caught up with me. IS THERE SOMETHING I AM NOT WINNING?!?! 

So EJ and I and EJ's cousin, who I was babysitting, and who was thoroughly unimpressed with the entire thing, went to Target and bought a pink and white potty with a crown on the lid that plays a triumphant tune when it detects, ah, contents. And then I dug out the underpants because hey! EJ loves Dora! And you guys I have NO MEMORIES of how I potty trained the older two. I know it didn't really happen until they were three. Ish. I also know that whatever I tried didn't work and I basically just had to wait until it happened. But for whatever reason this hasn't deterred me from attempting to control the situation with Baby #3. Apparently SOME children take to this whole training thing. Some of them are not much older than EJ! 

Anyway, in case you are concerned, I am not COMMITTED or anything. We are basically going to not care about wet pants for a few days and see what happens. I am totally fine with sticking the potty in the closet for a few months and trying again later. But I have also notified the trainee that she gets ice cream if she goes in the potty SO. We shall see. 

Why I decided I was up for this after the impromptu Super Bowl shindig is beyond me because DUDES. That was EXHAUSTING. I find caring about sports teams sort of exhausting in the first place. I get, you know, EMOTIONALLY INVESTED. Even when I actively try NOT to be emotionally invested. My sympathies for the losing team made me a less than valuable high school sports player. (My team always won. It did. Not because of me. HA HA HA. My school mysteriously had the best girl AND boy athletes in the league. Every year. For every sport. I should count myself lucky that they let me warm the bench let alone get any playing time.) 

But the whole CITY has gone MAD, people. I've been volunteering in Jack's Sunday School class and even the kids (the ones who showed up on Sunday, anyway) were rabid Bronco-hating football know-it-alls. (Even Jack, who was obviously making it all up. Poor kid.) I do love me a good theme party, so I was pretty excited to have a house full of crazy 12th men, but whoa. I think what got me was all the preparation for the kids. I knew no one wanted their game interrupted with "can you get me a drink?" so I did my best to make spaces for the kids and provide them with their own snacks and juice boxes and all that. ANYWAY. There were lots of people and lots of kids and lots of yelling (and then lots of "THIS IS BORING") and I could barely pick myself up off the couch to go to bed last night. AND THIS IS SOMEONE WHO CARES NOT MUCH ABOUT THE BIG GAME, SEAHAWKS OR NOT.

It is fun, though, to see the people you love get all excited and happy. Isn't it? 

The rest of this week involves bakery orders. Which is great! Each order is a new challenge for me, packaging-wise. I should probably just invest in a good supply of boxes from Nashville Wraps, but in the meantime I've been hunting in various less-than-stellar stores and since everything is special order I'm never quite sure what's going to fit in what. And this week I am shipping CROISSANTS and OH GOD we are very nervous about that. The croissant buyer has assured us she is well aware of the risks, but we still had to CONFERENCE today about HOW TO SHIP THE CROISSANTS. (My ideas were flatly rejected. Apparently I know nothing about the special needs of baked goods.) Anyway, each order is always a teeny bit nervewracking until I figure it out. I have several of those this week. 

Oh! We have a Facebook page. You should go Like it. (This is where I bat my eyelashes at you and smile prettily.) 

OH WAIT! I didn't tell you about my day off! Dudes, it pays to publish your whiny screeds to the internet, because sometimes your husband reads them and takes action. Friday night Phillip drove the kids to his parents' house and didn't come home until SATURDAY NIGHT. Like, straight-to-bedtime Saturday night. I hardly knew what to do with myself! It was crazy! I had already made plans to meet friends Friday night, so I did that, and then I lulled myself to sleep with a good history book. Early Saturday morning I had plans to meet another friend for coffee and after THAT I got my hair cut. Sort of. It was more of a Maintenance Trim. Right now I am shooting for this. I don't really want to grow it OUT grow it out, but this is long enough to mess with while short enough to be short and maybe if I keep coloring my hair it'll feel kicky and not too mommish. 

I spent the rest of my day doing some bakery errand running, packaging up some orders, baking for the Super Bowl party, and lying on the couch with my book. Man, I LOVE lying on the couch with my book. Other women fear turning into their mothers, but I am turning into my dad. The type of book and all. HRRRMMM.

Anyway. It was a lovely lovely day and I was so HAPPY to see my husband at the end of it. A saint among men that Phillip Cheung.