Aug 28, 2006

On Blogs and Blogging and Being Oneself

I was just reading a friend's blog and she put a disclaimer before her most recent post saying, basically, it's my blog not yours and I'll post what I like.

I've read this a lot throughout the blogging world and what amazes me is that people feel forced to say it. Well, no, that isn't really accurate... what amazes is NOT that people feel forced to say it but at the number of people who launch tirades about what people have written in their blogs. You'd think some of these blog entries were Helen of Troy's face for the number of fiery missives they engender.

Once upon a time (no, not even as far back as ancient Greece and Rome), my mother's inviolable rule reigned: If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Personally, I would extend this to "If you can't say something, or constructive, don't say anything at all."

Now, I will admit that, in some situations, keeping my trap closed can be difficult. I am really quite a warlike person when my own or the downtrodden are involved. Not in the blog world though. If I think the person is an idiot, I turn my attention elsewhere. Why waste time responding to bilge?

Some say, and they are partially correct, that blogging is a public forum, akin to standing on a soapbox at the corner of Park and Main shouting one's opinions to the world. Yes, blogging is semi-public (take that soapbox and multiply thousandfold - public but not); yes, people are putting their thoughts out to the world. It's not a soapbox, at least most aren't. Most blogs are simply an attempt to keep in touch with the world. To reach out to someone, somewhere; to connect. To divine the greater meaning in one's words and actions by allowing them to flow onto the virtual page.

The reactive vitriol being spewed is the virtual equivalent of throwing someone's drink in their face at a cocktail party.

It ruins the good time had by all and is a waste of good vodka.

Put that energy into bettering the world, people.

Aug 22, 2006

Tempus Fugit... et Fugit, et Fugit, et Fugit

And suddenly nearly a week's gone by since I last posted and people start worrying! Sorry for worrying you, JT, but thank you for being concerned!

My life has been singularly unblogworthy recently. I have been tied up on the devil's own project for work which has involved many extra hours, hours which come very late indeed. The project (a policies and procedures manual) is now up and running and I am doing the happy ThankGodThat'sDone dance whenever I'm not looking at what's accumulated in my inbox over the last week. The manual is a source of some pride, however, in that my co-worker and I won a fight with the powers that be for once. This new manual is, finally, not to be distributed in a paper version but is an HTML document with all the exhibits fully linked. Each chapter is searchable and we will shortly have the entire manual searchable from one location. In my view, this can't help but make a ponderous piece of text a lot more usable (the paper versions never had indexes) and much more easily revised as needed.

As I mentioned at one point, I'm now working primarily from 8 to midnight. Fortunately, I'm a night person. I am much more effective at 10 pm than 10 am. This is a better schedule, I think, in that it allows me to be more fully present with the baby during the day. Unfortunately, it goes against my basic nature. It's hard to play first and work later when one is very solidly in the work first, play later camp. Still, I believe my stress level has gone down. If I can manage to get an hour of work in during the afternoon nap and allow myself an hour's worth of time to play over my work period, I can get through this, I believe.

I have also been busily helping my parents get settled in their new home. In all the time since graduate school, I have never lived less than 350 miles from my parents so it is quite the novelty to have them less than 5 miles away. So far so good, but it's early days yet. Katie is loving the attention and it's nice to have some adult conversation during the day even if it is a debate about removing window treatments and furniture placement. Or a godawful trip to Ikea where I spent the entire day (from 9 am to 5:45 pm plus an hour either side for travel) parenting my mother... "Put that back, we're not buying that. You're supposed to be looking at cupboards." It was a very long and very trying day but we survived. What I may not survive are the constant boxes of stuff that she keeps sneaking into my house because she doesn't have room for them, doesn't need them, doesn't want them, but doesn't want to throw out either.

So, that's my unblogworthy recent life in the cliched nutshell: too much work, too much stuff, not enough time or space. Aren't you thrilled? I know I am. Yeah. That's the ticket. ;)

Aug 17, 2006

Quick Book Tag

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

I saw this on Graymama's blog and #5 made me laugh so I'm posting it here too.

None of the books closest to me have a page 123.

The closest book to me is the score of Vivaldi's Gloria which goes up to page 64. The text on page 64 reads: "Cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen."

What? A score doesn't count as a book? Ok, I'm reaching down beside my chair... I feel a book, I know there's one there... just can't quite get my fingers on it... Aha! Let's see... Oooh, it's Spot Goes to the Farm by Eric Hill. With a grand total of 22 pages. The text on the last page is... "Did Dad show you the piglets, Spot? Yes, and then I found some kittens to show dad!"

Still not cutting it, huh? I think I left a "real" book on the kitchen island... hold on... Oh, I don't have to go that far. On the other side of the room is "Because I said so!" 366 Insightful and Thought-Provoking Reflections on Parenting and Family Life by John Rosemond. I'm pretty sure this has a page 123... Ok... fifth, sixth, and seventh sentences: "The second way of going before is to run interference. The consequence of this is that one's children have no reason to follow. Rather, they have every reason to sit on their duffs and wait for the parent to solve their problems."

Well, that was kind of dull, wasn't it? I'm going after that book on the island after all... It's a mystery and mostly likely a lot more fun.

"Can't wait. Hubba-hubba! Who's the moppet in the tight blouse?" From Something Rotten (a Thursday Next novel) by Jasper Fforde.

Ironically, I really am surrounded by books... just not very lengthy ones where I'm sitting!

Aug 13, 2006

Toward a Better Calmer Day

I have managed, today, to get the first birthday party invites filled out, stuffed, addressed, stamped, and put into the mail. I also got the paper read and some toys picked up and put away.

I'm out of naptime and into lunchtime now so I may get nothing else done but I figure this is an improvement over yesterday.


I also got most of the grocery shopping done and the padded part of the highchair run through the washer and dryer.

Aug 12, 2006

The Thing I Hate The Most About My Post-Baby Life

is that I can never fucking get anything done.

A list of errands? Forget it - we'll get one (and a half) done in a list of 3 or 4, if that. And the older she gets, the worse it's getting.

Work? Nope. Chances of finishing a project when intended are minimal at best (my apologies to any of my clients who happen across this).

Cleaning? You've got to be kidding me. John (thank God) has taken over much of the cleaning duties because I'm now so ineffectual.

My entire life has been about accomplishment on an everyday scale (we're not talking a Nobel prize here just cramming a great deal into every day and Getting It Done). I'm a work/chores first kind of person. Work hard, play hard. Now life is just plain hard.

I'm having to do my work-work at night because baby is too interruptive during the day, so any downtime I have should be during the day but, funny thing, we're back to interruptive baby again. I look like shit. My brain is rotting. My initiative dissolved months ago. My life has been reduced to an inutterably long series of half-finished tasks and teething rings.

Damn it, I want to Get Something Done!!!

Aug 10, 2006

Of Felinity and Things

a/k/a Cat update

We've decided to try a combination of spray on and constant pheremones - Feliway - for a while (probably about 2-3 months). If that doesn't work, I think it will be Time.

Thank you all for your wonderful support and help. I will keep you posted.

Aug 6, 2006


Thank the Lord. The iPod Nano that I pre-loaded with his CDs was a hit. Enough of a hit that he asked me to show him how to use it this morning (normally, his presents sit for weeks before he puts them into use) and then went running with it.

It's always dicey with John - I'm never sure whether I'm getting him the right thing for his birthday/Christmas/whatever. The only other time I remember him being this excited about something is the time I got him an American flag (the kind that stands in an auditorium, complete with pole, gold braid, and brass stand). Mostly, he asks for clothes or says,"oh, nothing," when asked what he wants.

I am beyond relieved; I'm thrilled.

John and I, you see, have antithetical views on birthdays.
His view
: You should celebrate everyone everyday and not have a special day for anyone.
My view
: There aren't enough celebrations in life and, frankly, I haven't noticed anyone going out of their way to celebrate me in the general way of things. Besides, it's a great excuse to eat cake.
So you can see what a quandary we have.

I honored his wishes this year - mostly - as difficult as it is. No cake. Presents, yes. Dinner out but just pizza like we normally might on a Saturday night. No party. No balloons. No streamers. Hopefully he will remember this come next April and honor my birthday beliefs.

Part of the reason it is so difficult for me to honor his birthday views is that it makes me feel rotten. It makes me feel (a) guilty that I'm not doing for him what I'd want done for me and (b) greedy that I want a fuss made over me.

Part of me can't help thinking that he must think I'm awfully self-centered to want a fuss and maybe that's why he seems to be so reluctant to indulge my birthday desires. It always seems like such an imposition for him.

Still, let the record reflect that despite my guilt and greed feelings, I did what he wanted.

The defense closes.

Questionable Morality

The cat has again peed in the living room. This makes 6 or 7 times since he started his antibiotics 4 days ago - our last ditch effort to cure the pee problem.

Norm is 17. He has thryoid issues held in check by medication twice daily (crushed and mixed with his food); he also take metamucil (natural flavor) twice daily with his food. He survived having his pelvis crushed by a car and being missing for 6 days 5 years ago. He survived an animal bite and enormous abscess and consequent surgery this April. He is almost stone deaf and I'm pretty sure he's arthritic as he doesn't jump up very well anymore and is stiff about jumping down. He sleeps most of the time and has gone gray on one side of his face. He is curmudgeonly but he always was and, in general, he seems reasonably happy.

Except for the pee problem. He pees where he is not supposed to. We've been dealing with the odor but he's started peeing and leaving puddles where the baby can get into them. (We're pretty good about finding them quickly up here - usually by stepping in them.) We've tested for FUS, we've tested for many things. The tests have all come back negatively. We've put in an additional litterbox; both are kept filled with the only litter he uses and is scooped daily. He goes out on demand so he has additional opportunity to pee if he has to. So the unwelcome conclusion is that the problem is not medical but mental.

We've had this problem off and on over the years and it was almost always traced to some sort of disruption in the house (we've done a lot of renovations and have had workman in and out at times over the last 7 years). We're not having any renovations now (can't afford 'em) but the baby has started crawling. And, soon, she will be walking. Another small being is pacing Norm's floors and the threat isn't likely to disappear anytime soon.

I really don't know what to do. This is easily the hardest decision I have ever had to face. The mother in me shouts that I can't risk having my baby splash her (soon-to-be-chewed) hands in cat pee. The cat mother in me shouts that I can't murder my cat. Particularly since I have such a personal fear of someone unplugging me out of convenience should I ever be on life support.

Is it right to condemn him to die because of a pee issue? Is it right to keep him alive if he is so unhappy about his living situation that he feels he must pee to get his point across? If he is having dementia issues, as the vet suspects given his age, is it fair to euthanize him for that or is it fair to let him live through losing his mind. Am I more afraid of losing him or watching his continued decline and dealing with the pee.

I don't want to be the grownup here. I'm not sure I can make this decision.

I'm really not sure if I can live with either outcome.

Aug 4, 2006

Interrupting is Rude; Changing the Topic at the Same Time is Ruder Yet

To any man who happens to be reading this: A word of advice...
When you are with a woman and she is talking, do not just talk right over her, changing the subject. It's rude. And not just a little rude, very, very rude. Ruder than just simply interrupting.

Let me explain why...
1) The first layer of rude is interrupting as it implies her words are not worth listening to.
2) The second layer of rude is the subject change as it implies not only were you not listening to her but were busy thinking of a new topic of conversation instead.

So, men, if you don't want to imply to the woman you are conversing with that she is an insignificant nothing who should just shut up because nobody wants to hear what she has to say anyway (or even if you simply don't want to get hit), don't do it.

This public service announcement has been brought to you by Strings and Sealing Wax and Other Fancy Stuff and the Committee to Civilize Men Who Are Jerks

Aug 1, 2006

Because I Got Tagged...

The 5 More Things Meme

Five snacks I enjoy:
crackers and port wine cheese spread
dried apricots
raw almonds
South Beach Meal Replacement Bars
chips and dip (but I only eat those at parties)

Five songs to which I know all the lyrics:
We Didn't Start the Fire, Billy Joel
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, Rockapella
Mr. Moran, The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones
Last Movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony (in German)
I've Never Been in Love Before, Guys & Dolls

Five things I would do if I were a millionaire:
Pay off my mortgage
Build a garage for my husband
Make large donations to Habitat for Humanity, Unicef, and Americares
Build up Katie's college fund and our retirement fund

Five bad habits:
Lack of self-control in eating
Waiting until all the bottles are dirty before I wash them
Waiting until I run out of underwear before I do laundry
Blogging when I should be working
Buying books

Five things I like doing:
Buying & reading books
Getting new shoes

Five things I don't like doing:
Doing the money (writing bills, balancing the checkbook)
Dealing with dead things
Fixing The Blue Screen of Death

Five things I would never wear again:
My wedding dress (I'd wear the veil again though)
Low-rise undies (they rub my c-section scar)
Horizontal stripes
The shoes from my sister's first wedding (OMG, I've never met a more uncomfortable pair!!
Toe socks

Five favorite toys:
My daughter's Mozart Cube
Piano (does that count?)

There ya go, LauraJ!