Thursday, May 5, 2011

In Which a Questionable Haircut turns me into an Utter Narcissist

So I tried again this morning:

I think it is better. It may actually look less like the inspiration pictures, but it looks more like me. Good ole stripey shirt never hurt either. I still think it needs work, maybe shorten the shorter side and thin out the longer side. And that thing is happening whenever I give myself bangs, what I like to think of as the Conan O'Brian swoop. But I think that might have something to do with my glasses, and so I can't really change that. All in all, I'm feeling better about it today.

What I'm not feeling better about today is my cold. It feels like a small, furry, stinky animal - a wet ferret maybe?- has cuddled up with my lungs. I get to have cold-medicine dreams all night, like last night when I dreamed that Jennifer and I were chasing our high school crush/obsession around and around Canyon High. I'm pretty sure that dream went on all night.

But hey, even in my drugged state, I managed to sign the girls (even Elsa!) up for swim lessons! I found some through parks and rec that are four days a week for two weeks, and they will happen before we move, so maybe my bleak prophecy that my children are destined to be non-swimmers will not come to fruition. And I finally told the owner of our gym that we are moving at the end of June, so I don't have to stress over what will become of my Zumba class. I was worried about telling her because I thought she would be really irritated that I started up a class knowing that I was going to be moving (we didn't know for sure, but when do we ever?) Anyway I took the chicken way out and wrote her an email, but she didn't seem mad. So that's good. Still don't know how I am going to handle the various trips I need to make to California this summer, but that's a ways off so I'm not too worried. I'm feeling a bit more optimistic today, so here are some pictures of cutie Elsa on her birthday last week:

She wouldn't eat the cupcake so I had to.

May we all get such joy from poking around in the dirt with a stick

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do I look like a newscaster to you?

No seriously, do I? I can't figure out my new hair cut.

Actually, I don't look anything like a newscaster in these pictures. But you should have seen it yesterday when I got home. It was very mushroom shaped.  I keep looking back at the photos that I brought in as inspiration to the hairdresser.

While it's true that mine is not as wispy as these are, it's pretty much the same hair cut. Then how come I still look 36? How come I don't look 18? I don't get it.

Also, I don't look so great because I am sick. And seriously, am I the only person in the world that thinks that half a vicodin is really the best cough and cold medicine you can take?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

(un)settling down

I know, I know. It's been a very very long time since I've updated my blog. I haven't had any things happening to me that can be related by a "theme" so to speak, so it never occurs to me to write about them.

Of course there is the looming threat of the summer. A time of year that most people look forward to, which I do look forward to because it means we are getting out of here (two and a half more months!). But of course getting out of here is one thing, getting to somewhere else is quite another thing. You all probably know that we have no idea where the hell we will end up; the only thing we know is that our lease is up at the end of June. Hopefully something will have come along by then.

It's funny, because recently someone asked me how I can do what I do, moving pretty much every year. I say it's funny because I struggle with it mightily, but what else can I do? Tell my husband, "Okay, you got a job in Oklahoma? Me and the kids'll just move in with my parents. See you in a year! Love ya, bubye!" Yeah, no. So we do this instead. I feel like I've gotten slightly better at it. I've joked that you'd think that moving so much would cause me to re-evaluate my possessions, strip down to zen minimalism, but really it just causes me to hoard cardboard boxes.

Here's how it goes: the first three months, I am getting used to the place, finding the library and the good gymnastics place, figuring out where the best place to get produce is. At this point, things that are different are funny to me, like the multiple signs as you enter Stillwater imploring you to "Attend the Church of your Choice this Sunday!" Hahaha, hilarious, right? The next couple of months, I've got my routine down, I've learned how to function in this new place, and usually there is a chance of us actually staying in the place, so I'm becoming more upbeat about the place we live, looking for where in the town would be the best place to live permanently. These few months are also the time when René is applying to jobs all over the country, and I'm toying with the idea of living in crazy random places like Moorshead, Minnesota, or Amherst, Massachusetts and I think he even applied to a job in Honolulu this year. In addition to that, there are always the fantasy jobs in LA or anywhere in California, that I don't even let myself think about too much. 

Then there's the last few months, which is the stage we are at now. Last year at this time I was plotting how I was going to get a job at Trader Joe's and we were going to move in with my Dad. It's the point of the year where we know we don't have a job where we are, we know we aren't staying, but we don't know where we are going. It is also the point, at least here and when we lived in upstate New York, when we admit to ourselves that we actually really don't want to live here permanently. To admit to ourselves that grocery shopping here makes us want to cry and that we don't like the fact that in the eight months we've lived here we've received no fewer than five unsolicited religious texts. I don't know what to do about my Zumba class, I don't know whether I can squeeze in some swimming classes for the kids before we need to move, and I basically feel like we already don't live here anymore.

We don't know where we are going so we can't plan our summer, which includes wonderful events such as the weddings of René's brother as well as my bestest friend (marrying other people, not each other). But I am beginning to see the routine in our lack of routine, and I am starting to settle into my unsettledness. But I don't know if my kids are ever going to learn to swim.

Doomed to be non-swimmers?
These goofballs don't seem to be bothered about it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Greetings from Snow-klahoma!

Hi everyone! We are going on day two of snow days! Can you tell we are a little manic?!

Which means I haven't combed their hair in two days! Just kidding, I combed it yesterday!

Actually, it hasn't been too bad. We stocked up on groceries, wine, and library books, so we've been just hanging out. The whole town was basically shut down, including OSU, so René has been home too, catching up on work and the endless job applications. We were fine until last night, when I blew a fuse upstairs by using a space heater and a blow dryer in the same outlet. Then I opened the front door to go check the breaker box, and realized that we don't have as simple a thing as a snow shovel. Actually, we don't have as simple a thing as a regular shovel! And, because I am me, I managed to go outside and throw every breaker without fixing the problem. Fortunately, the only room without power was our room upstairs (and the porch light) so we made do with the baby monitor plugged into an extension cord. And a flashlight. And I still managed to get my pajamas on backwards.

Today, when René went out to deal with the wilderness outside, he took with him a broom, a dustpan, and a hammer in lieu of a snow shovel. (and no, I don't know what he did with the hammer.) I was going to go ask our neighbors if we could borrow one, but I thought I'd let McGuyver have his fun. Then he threw the same switches that I threw last night, except he must have done it with flair because it fixed the problem! Yay, I don't have to brush my teeth by candle light tonight!

Yesterday we literally didn't step foot outside the house, since it was technically a blizzard and the snow was falling from the sky, then from the side, then from the ground. It was entertaining to watch, from the coziness of our pajama-ed house. But today the girls and I decided to brave the elements, since the sun was shining, and we opened the front door! It was cold. I took my gloves off to take these pictures, and my fingers promptly fell off.

We didn't have long to capture the moment.

Elsa wasn't pleased. Whenever I let go of her, she fell down.

Charlotte lasted the longest. Doesn't she look proud?

 And the resulting pile of wet clothes, gloves and boots was quite large for a five minute outing into the snow.

In other news, I am so glad that we got the Wii for Christmas, and especially that I got Wii Zumba (of course.) I might not have been so patient with the being-trapped-in-the-house deal if I had no opportunity for exercise. But I've been doing the Wii Zumba every day, and working on choreography for my first couple of songs, and so I have been well occupied.

One of the unexpected benefits of the Zumba training I did is that I am actually excited and engaged in something that is happening in the here-and-now. I've been struggling these past years with mindfulness; you would think that moving as often as we do, I would start to value the present since the future is such an unknown for us. But for me, I just tend to obsess over it, researching the real estate options and school systems of cities where there is an infinitesimal chance we might end up living. But being a Zumba instructor is something that I can start here and now, and take with me, and do wherever we go. And, in case you were wondering, we still have no idea where that will be, except for that it won't be here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mueve La Booty

If you've talked to me in person within the last year and a half, then you already know that I am a total Zumba convert. But I've taken it a step further, and I'm going to become licensed to teach Zumba!

The instructor training is this weekend, and I am excited and nervous. On the one hand, I can barely work up the nerve to talk to other people in the classes I take, and on the other hand, I fantasize about starting an Adult Dance Fitness Studio, where we would have Zumba classes and classes on belly dancing, folk dancing, whatever!

But here's the thing: I'm terrified. I am a shy person, when it comes down to it. And, for the last six and a half years, since I passed the exams for my Master's Degree, since I got pregnant with the twins, I haven't put myself out there. I haven't done a single thing where I was evaluated, where someone said, "you are successful," or "You've got the job" or "Great paper! A+." Being a parent is wonderfully rewarding, and I'm not saying that no one ever appreciates me or gives positive feedback. But the thing about parenting is that you can be doing a pretty bad job and you don't get fired or fail.

I can fail at being a Zumba instructor. And I don't like failing.

So I'm doing something for myself, something that doesn't involve the children at all. I will wear eighties-reminiscent teal dance-wear with splatter paint. I will dance to silly Latin-esque music. I'm thinking about getting some legwarmers. Let's dance. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peanut Butter Ball Time!

So it's Christmas time and I am far away from my family.  We had a good run there, three holiday seasons in a row in California, but this year we are here and you are there.  And that means that you don't have peanut butter balls.  So in lieu of the actual product, I present to you the recipe for said peanut butter balls, as written out by my Grandma Gloria, who passed away the year before my oldest girls were born.  I'm sad that she couldn't be around to watch yet another generation make a mess with this recipe. My grandma wrote out a whole box of recipes for me for Christmas one year, and I treasure it because I can hear her in my head each time I make the recipes. So the commentary is hers, unless it's written in red.  Then the commentary is mine!

Peanut Butter Balls- a mess to make but so good!
1# powdered sugar (C&H confectioner's) (It actually took me a long time to figure out that # means pound.)
2 1/2 # jar of Skippy (no substitute!) Chunky p-nut butter (And when she says "no substitutes" she means it!  I used Jiff this year because there wasn't Skippy in the right size jar, and it wasn't wet enough.)
1 stick Imperial Margarine (no substitute)
4 c. Rice Krispies

I can hear this snowman thinking, "NO SUBSTITUTIONS!"

-Mix well -- best way is with your hands with disposible plastic gloves on, it is icky/sticky. (I have to add that the best way is with your sister, auntie, and/or step-mama, some gossip and some wine.  It's not a coincidence that this particular recipe card has wine stains on it.)
-Make small balls- put them on cookie sheets on waxed paper-chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours.

Second best way is with a couple of six-year olds
and with six-year olds, you get various sized balls!

although with the six year olds, you're likely to end up finishing it yourself.

Put 2 big Hershey bars (or 1 super-size) and 1 bag Nestle's chocolate chips (semi-sweet) (I have to admit I don't know what she's talking about with the sizes here.  I never have enough chocolate to cover the balls, so I make twice this amount.) and 1/2 stick paraffin, grated (this is in the grocery store with the canning supplies.) (Aaaand this is the part of the recipe where I lose some people.  Yes, paraffin is wax.  And though we've always made it with wax, and have suffered no ill effects, I must mention that no where on the box does it say that you can or should actually consume this stuff.  Last year my sister and I toyed with the idea of tempering the chocolate so the wax wasn't necessary, but in the end we couldn't be bothered.  Besides, NO SUBSTITUTIONS!)
-put into a small bowl - heat in microwave and GO SLOW stir and check it every minute or so-Don't let it get hot or chocolate will separate and you'll have a greasy mess.
This is what grated paraffin looks like, BTW.
-Keep warm (put bowl into large bowl filled part way with hot water-put back in microwave for 30 seconds if it starts to get thick and unmanageable. (Let me just say here that I HATE THIS METHOD. I always end up getting water in the chocolate bowl and that's bad.  Last year we had very good luck with a hot plate set on warm.  This year, I experimented with a fondue pot, which eventually worked pretty well.)

Dip chilled p-nut balls into chocolate-let excess drip off - put balls onto cookie sheets lined with wax paper - let sit in a cool place til chocolate is hard.-This makes a LOT of p-nut butter balls, about 150 or so- SO good!

This makes so many balls, you may want to consider cleaning out your fridge before you start!

        So it's Chistmas eve, and I'm missing family, and missing my Grandma.  Christmas makes me think of Gloria more than any other time of year.  Part of it is the recipes.  I usually make 4 or 5 different candy recipes of hers, and it's almost like hanging out with her.  And so many of my Christmas decorations used to be hers.  These wise men for example: 

I think it's funny that I have the Three Wise Men, but no Baby Jesus.  But come on, these dudes are so sixties-licious!  One of their heads fell off but I super-glued it back on!  And my grandma, she had the best Christmas parties!  She would have fellow lawyers, judges, neighbors, family and friends all together, and it always seemed lovely and effortless.  Of course, her family knew how she worked for weeks before the party to make cookies, candies, lasagnas, Swedish meatballs and always, always, towers of peanut butter balls.  I miss you, G!

Monday, November 15, 2010

What HAVE I been doing?

I haven't posted here in a while because there hasn't really been anything to report.  I have been busy, but not with anything exciting.  I've been working out a bit of a weekly schedule of things to do with Elsa, and I'm happy to report that I found a kid's gymnastics center that has "open gym" on Friday mornings.  So I can take Elsa there and let her run around and jump on trampolines, play on teeter-totters, climb and hang on bars, and play with other kids.  It does cost $7 for an hour and a half: cheap by California standards, expensive by Oklahoma standards.  It was pouring rain when I went last week, and so there were quite a lot of kids and parents in there.  Maybe I will be able to meet some parents there, but mostly they all seemed to have known each other for a long time. 

I've also been busy trying to go to the gym, then hurting myself and being sad that I can't go to the gym.  In the past two months, I've been stung by a wasp, fallen down a step and twisted by ankle, burned my hand quite badly, hurt my back mysteriously during a kick-boxing class, and of course I've had the lingering not-quite-a-cold cold that we all seem to have.  Each thing took about a week to fix itself, and of course they happened consecutively, not all at once.  And of course I wanted to start going to the gym in the early morning again, but it's soooo cold at 5:30!  When I can't get to the gym, I try to walk and/or run on the path around Boomer Lake:
It's three miles all the way around, but I only run about 1/2 mile of it!

It's pretty when the weather's nice

I do this...     

...while Elsa does this...

...and we try to avoid the notice of aggressive geese.

Turban-shaped Challah with dried cherries
Less boringly, I've been baking loaves and loaves of bread!  Claire and my Dad got me this book for my birthday, and it is fantastic.  I have made two loaves of plain bakery bread, one of herb bread, one of olive bread, one plain challah, and one challah with dried cherries, and one loaf of peasant bread, with the dough for three more loaves of peasant bread resting in the refrigerator and getting beautifully sour.  Watch out, if you have even the slightest kitchen inclinations, you are probably going to get this book from me for Christmas.  I am crazy for it. 

The twins are good, they have also had the not-quite-a-cold cold, too, though.  They actually missed some school last week, but after the second day, I had send them back.  They were driving me crazy.  They are the sickest at night, then morning comes and they are tired from not sleeping well.  After an hour or two, though, they are feeling fine and asking me "what can we do that's fun, mama?"  Arg.  We have a humidifier in their room now, but they complain about the noise.

Wow.  This is boring.  Let me talk about swearing a little bit:

This past Sunday, I was listening to Jane's Addiction's opus Ritual De Lo Habitual (how sacrilegious of me!!)  and thinking about swearing, rebellion, and motherhood.  When I was 22 or so, listening to this album constantly, punk-rock pink-haired grunge girl, older people would often tell me how I was going to grow out of my rebelliousness just like everyone else, that you have to grow up at some point and be an adult.  But actually I held onto it for a very long time.  And really, I could totally have been an adult and still have been that punk-rock pink-haired (okay, I still do have pink hair occasionally) grunge girl.  There are jobs out there, real grown-up jobs, where they pay you to be weird.  The thing that forces us into conformity is not adulthood, but motherhood.  Do I care that the girls were around when I was listening to Jane's Addiction?  Nope.  They've heard music with swearing in it since they were babies.  My policy is, as long as the word isn't being sung over and over, they aren't even going to notice.  Did I change the CD when the neighbor kid came over?  Of course.  What is my point here? I don't know.  I guess that it's hard to reconcile the person you used to be, the person you like to think you are, and the person that you actually live as in everyday life.