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December 2006
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February 2007

Six More Things (You Probably Didn’t Want to Know)

I was tagged with a meme by No Place Like It, which is perfect because I was dithering about what to post (thanks Jennifer!). Thank goodness for brain-free days!

OK, this is the six things you don’t know about me meme. I’ve done a couple variations of this one before so… shoot, I guess I’ll have to use a bit of my brain today after all. Or at least some memory cells. Without further ado…

1. I was on a runaway horse when I was five. The horse, apparently, got tired of trotting me around (to my heart’s delight) and decided to gallop through an orchard back to his barn so he could get dinner. I held on the whole time, crying. By the way, galloping through low-hanging branches hurts. After the horse was recaptured by the farmer one of my parents (I think it was my mom – sorry mom) asked me why I didn’t “jump off”? Even at five I considered this a dangerous and rather dumb suggestion. Surprisingly, the incident did not change my feelings toward horses. 

2. I really, really hate spinach and anything in the spinach family. Brussel sprouts, chard… it all makes me gag. And gag in that way that is totally uncontrollable (not the drama queen kind). I don’t care how it’s prepared and please don’t offer me any recipes. If I can taste the spinach I have gag issues. I can’t help it, my system doesn’t like spinach. (Lasagna is fine because I can’t taste it.)  

3. My first concert was Midnight Oil at a Great America theme park.  

4. I know it’s hard to fathom what with my lipstick and heels lifestyle, but I used to really love camping and I backpacked every summer as a teen. You know, where you take everything with you in one pack, your food, cooking utensils, soap, clothes and that’s it. That’s how you live. (I actually think backpacking is a great experience for kids. Self-sufficiency and self-esteem and all that.) I still love being in nature but my bones don’t enjoy sleeping on the ground so much anymore.

5. I don’t get hangovers. (Don’t hate me.) I WILL drink to the point of throwing up, do stupid stuff and make a fool of myself, but I don’t get the headaches the next morning or the blissful memory loss of said foolish acts. It’s probably the universe’s way of keeping me in line. 

6. Because I wear heeled shoes almost all the time, I occasionally have a brain fart and take Chance to the playground in my heels. Then I run around in the sand with him. (What? It’s the park!) And yes, the other moms, in their sensible shoes, look at me funny.


 

Oops, I forgot to tag anyone.  I think it’s supposed to be six, but you know, free will and all, play only if you want to. Um... how about Lisa, Tuesday, Airwick, Katie, MIM (because honey, we miss you) and Tony (even though I know you’ve gotten tagged before) just for shits and giggles.  - wg


Turning A Corner?

Chance is now 22 ½ months old. Up until very recently Chance has been one of the non-talkers. (da da da DUH!) (That was dramatic music, if you didn’t get that.) That’s not to say he isn’t verbal. He’s actually been extremely verbal for a very looong time. In fact, he’s been so verbal that for MONTHS we’ve been saying, “I think he’s about to talk… OK, wait, now he’s about to talk… No, really, NOW I think he’s gonna talk soon... …OK, he’s never, ever going to talk.” It’s just everything he says has been or is in his own babble language. Even to the point where I’ve started figuring out what his words mean. (And trust me, some of them don’t even sound close to their English equivalents, so it’s been a challenge.)

In general, I’ve been OK with Chance not talking. All kids develop at their own pace and I didn’t want to push anything or hang over him all day inciting him to talk so that he ended up in therapy years later bitterly discussing breastfeeding and ABC blocks. (Plus, I really don’t have the time to be that neurotic.) I’ve done the gentle, occasional encouraging of words they say to do, I read to him a lot, sing songs with him (and the TV), tried making talking fun and I’ve left it at that. 

But it IS… and I know that every other parent who has gone through this understands… frustrating

It’s frustrating not knowing what he wants. It’s frustrating listening to him speak very intently and sincerely and wanting to understand his story! And for me, when he completely loses patience and devolves into whining, it’s frustrating that I can’t scratch my ears off. (I really don’t handle whining well. (You know, except my own.))

But now (no, really… now) he’s finally saying some real… English… words. Among his impressive (hardy har) vocabulary are the words “car”, “clap”, “down”, “uh-oh”, and (of course) “no”. Oh, and “mom”, “dad”, “Ja-ja” (Jake the cat), and “Ssss” (Missy, the other cat) have been in play quite some time. Just the other day I even managed to get him to say “more” when he wanted more juice instead of grunting at me, but in general he won’t say any of the more typical and useful baby words, such as “hi/bye”, “milk”, “help”, “change my diaper, I crapped!”, or other practical phrases.

Though I will admit, I suspect that he could say a lot more if he so chose. I suspect that instead of throwing tantrums or saying “no” to everything, Chance’s negativism is coming out in a refusal to talk. As evidence there have been a number of times Keen and I both have heard him talk when he doesn’t think we’re listening… then Chance stops when he sees us. And… he also gets this look, see. This stubborn – as I’m trying to coax him into saying “more” or “juice” or anything else helpful – set-in-his-ways look that says, “You can make me do a lot of things, lady, but you can’t make me speak!” 

But now maybe…just maybe… have we turned a corner to a kinder, more verbal household? 

I’m kind of hoping. – the weirdgirl

 


What I Love

We’re back from Yosemite.  Even though I love civilization, it’s good to get out of the city every once in a while. There is something about the land here. Golden hills (though only Californians ever call them gold), oak trees, rocks… lots of rocks. Pushing up out of the earth like an explosion with the cows grazing on the grass that grows all around. It’s hard to really describe the rocks here to their true worth, but it’s all rejuvenating. This is the real California.  And of course, watching the changes as you travel, subtle but real… rounded hills easing into the flat central valley, then reappearing and growing into mountains. Manzanita appears and then pines. And more rocks, all shapes and sizes until you finally get to the massive ones like Half Dome.

Anyway. I love being out of doors wherever I am and so does Chance. It was cold! But he seemed to have a good time. He liked the snow but I think he really liked being in the woods, in Yosemite Valley where there wasn’t much snow on the ground. Fallen logs, rocks, dirt, and pine needles… what more could a kid ask for if he wants to explore?

It is nice to get away but it is tiring, too. Now I know why for so many years my parent friends would sigh when they talked about their “vacations”.

I’m thinking our next last minute trip will be to the coast. Another part of California and this one with seashells, seaweed, sand, more rocks… sounds like another great adventure, eh?       

               - the weirdgirl

 

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It's hard to tell but Keen is actually the really small person in this picture.

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That white foamy-looking stuff in the water is really ice.

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Chance was so absorbed in his surroundings I couldn't get him to look at the camera, but I finally got one where he wasn't running off to explore.

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Last Minute Trip

Tomorrow we’re taking a little, last minute trip (booked Thursday!) to Yosemite to introduce Chance to snow. I’m really looking forward to it… not only is it going to be a blast to play in the snow (we got sleds!) and see how Chance reacts but Yosemite is beautiful in the winter and it’s been far too long since Keen and I were last there. I also got slammed with work this week and a break would be nice. Being out in nature always relaxes me. (Though, honestly, I’m not too crazy about cold weather... now and then is fine, but after too much time I always feel like I can never warm up. Yes, I am a baby.) In preparation me and Keen have spent the last couple of days frantically hunting down toddler-sized snow apparel. That crap is mad expensive, yo!  (Hell-ooo, rentals!)

I also (even though I’m not really a “resolution” girl) made a decision to finally work on the novel this year that’s been percolating in my head for the last two years. I’m part of a writing group, started by the lovely GGC, and I’m past due to join the other brave souls and submit something for critique.  (And wouldn’t you know it, the week I’m slammed with work I also can’t stop thinking about the novel!)  I’ll be carrying my trusty notebook (paper, not computer) to Yosemite to crunch through some prose. I was going to take my laptop but… I don’t know, snow + new-ish computer… that just sounds like a biting-me-in-the-ass recipe.  (Mommy Brain extends to all potential disasters, child-related or otherwise.)

So folks, I’m out of here for a couple of days. Have fun and know you all (and WiFi) will be sorely missed!

       - the weirdgirl


The Humbling

Once upon a time I had some lofty dreams…

I planned to travel the world,
have a huge house,
be a published (and moderately famous) author,
shop couture in France every so often,

always eat fabulously,
not to mention stay in such great physical shape I could be a secret ninja spy (if I so chose),
all with a great family.
You know, the usual.

Now…

I’d really love some quality bathroom time alone.

(I know the menfolk know what I mean by “quality time”. *sigh* Such a precious thing. Has anyone seen my copy of Maxim?)

- wg

 


A Taste of the Worst

So during delurker week Bill asked how my house hunting was going. Well folks, I gotta tell ya… I am pretty burnt out on the house hunting. Nothing has been quite right, there’s a lot of crap out there, and the few gems are either out of our price range or just priced too high for what you’re getting. And Keen and I refuse to be pressured into paying too much for a house that isn’t quite right. We’re not suckers, you know, you greedy, non-termite-disclosing jerks! (But I’m not bitter.) At this point, I really need a break. (Which basically means anal me will only look at the house listings once a week instead of multiple times.  Let go, wg. Let go.)

On THAT cheerful note* I’ve decided to share some of the more awful houses with you a little early instead of saving my top ten until the end… because who knows how long this house-hunt is going to go, at this point? (Please say Spring.)

So here you go, Five of the Worst Houses in no particular ranking order. (I’ve been very tempted to take pictures and post them but I’m pretty sure I’d get sued.)

The House of Tile – This house (and the next) Keen and I looked at when we were looking for the house we’re in now, but it was SO memorable I had to share! When I say house of tile I literally mean the entire house was tiled. EVERY room had some sort of tile. Because, oh yes, they not only tiled the entire house but they used different types of tiling in different rooms. Non-matching tiles. For example, the front entrance had slate, which abruptly ended where the living room began for some type of adobe, then another stonework started in the dining room. And this was an fairly open layout house. The kitchen had linoleum tiles (not continuous linoleum, but like where you could see it was meant to look like tiling). And I swear to god, there was a back room with good old-fashioned brick pavers. IN the house!

The House of Shag – The ENTIRE house was carpeted, most of it that mile-high stringy-looking shag from the… OK, I don’t even know what era. Even in the kitchen and… THE BATHROOM!  SHAG carpeting in the bathroom. (Do you feel dirty? Because I sure did.) At least in the kitchen they had the sense to put in some flat, berber-like carpeting, but still.  And that carpet had been there a while.  So disgusting it still makes me shudder.

The House of Pee – You know, when the real estate agent showing the house is sitting outside on the porch the entire time that there’s a problem. The house, frankly, smelled like cat urine.  And it wasn’t like there was carpeting so you could just pull it up and solve the problem. No. It had all wood floors. So ye-eah, that smell is soaked in.  Otherwise, the house was fricking adorable. English Cottage style, beautifully maintained. There was even a large, airy bonus room in the back, completely separate from the house. Hmmm. I wonder why?

The Miami Vice House of Termites – Man, oh man, this one is so much worse than even the title implies. My agent and I got all excited because it was the right price, great street, perfect size… and then we saw it. Picture, if you will, another lovely little cottage style home, this includes vaulted ceilings, exposed beams along the roof, and window seats. Then imagine someone in the mid-to-late eighties decided to just PIMP OUT THE CRIB ala Rico Tubbs. Obviously, this person did not consider that the two styles – English Country and eighties disco – really don’t go together. Jutting out over the living room was this god-awful rounded monstrosity of a balcony with a pipe railing. (For those of you unfamiliar with pipe railing, it’s pipe used as a railing. And yes, painted it’s just as ugly as you imagine.) This person basically took what had once been the upper floor, knocked out all the walls, and made it into one giant pimp daddy loft overlooking the living room and the kitchen. (So I guess he could, what? Watch his ho’s cook?) They were marketing that as the fourth bedroom.  Somewhere along the way someone also added on a separate suite onto the back of the house to be used as a rental. There were two kitchens essentially kitty corner to each other. The layout, in general, was odd. Then I think the last owner decided to try to bring the house back to it’s previous glory… but I’m not sure he or she knew what they were doing. There were random holes cut into the walls. Instead of buying curved baseboard to fit around a wall this person had cut little pieces of wood to make it fit (like tile). Chair railing had been added along the sunken living room, which was more period but looked really odd next to the pipe railing that was still in the staircase.  Oh yeah, and there was obvious ongoing termite damage to boot (as in fresh droppings in the middle of the floor). 

The House I Didn’t See But Was All Excited About the Square Footage At A Great Price AND Right In the Neighborhood We Wanted – When my real estate agent, on location, called me on the phone and said, “WG, you know I’ve been in this business a long time… (long pause) …someone needs to take a match to this place,” I decided not to bother. 

I am ready for Spring, people. – the weirdgirl

*Boy, do I sound cranky every time I talk about houses!


The Idyllic Sound of a Child Playing

The scene: Me in the kitchen where I can hear Chance playing in the front room with various toys.

“Buh… B! Buh… B!”

“Mmm… M!”

“A B C D E F…”

“Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!”

Me, walking into the room: “What the…?” I peer at a toy. “Chance, can you push the button again?”

“Qua… Q!”

Of all the buttons he could push at double time that seems to be his favorite.

 - the weirdgirl


Delurker Week!

I hear it's National Delurker Week!  (Though I don't know how they get the "national" part.  The Internet is world-wide and all.  Maybe they wanted to sound official?  Patriotic?  Blogtriotic?  Blogational?  Hey, just because a comma error on a crappy tee bugs me doesn't mean I'm above making up my own words.  Someone can fine me later.)  If there are any of you out there whom I've never officially met, stop by the comments and say hello!  I'd love to hear from you.

And just so you know it goes both ways, here's a few new bloggers I've been visiting, too: Me, Molly and the Moon, Flailing My Arms, Refuse to Blog, Woman on the Verge, Charlie Blockhead, plus a whole slew of folks in the newest list on the right, The Ones Who Are Caught.   (The rest of my lists are woefully behind in updates.  I'll get to those... really!)

So again, say hello, ask questions, insult my taste in fashion... it's your day!
             - the weirdgirl   


Just Because I Feel Like It

Here’s a few lovely fashion pics I stumbled across.

For quite some time I’ve been debating waxing barfoetic on the whole issue of bubble skirts. I think about posting, then change my mind, then I see yet another reiteration of the bubble skirt out there, the disgust rises and starts the cycle again. But the real nuts and bolts of it is… it’s Just. Too. Easy. Because who looks good in a bubble skirt?

No one.

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No one.

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No one. 

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That’s who. 

This? I don’t even know what this is. Though I’ve noticed they always show a lot of belly with questionable fashions. Sometimes even a lack of underwear. Hmmm, I wonder why?

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And this poor girl… that’s a long time to be in potty training pull-ups.

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So this one is only peripherally fashion-oriented but I had to share. There is an error here that irks me to no end. (Yes, I am that geeky.) Five points (yes, I’m giving out points now! maybe even a prize!) to each commenter who finds the irksome error… or any other errors that just irk you.   Personally, I find this whole shirt as one giant irk.

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Sort of like the Pussycat Dolls. - wg

 


House Hunting – the Pain Goes On

Just recently Keen and I found, and lost, a very cute house in the dance of bid-counter bid. I’ve been looking, at first casually and then more seriously, for the last several months. Several LONG months. I haven’t written much about the house-hunting previously because I knew if I did Keen would claim that I was “jinxing” us. (He has made claims of the blog post-jinxing relationship before but I, as a scientist, have rejected the theory regardless of his many 20-20 hindsight “proofs”. BTW, he was also quite upset at the landslide victory of Rudy over Rocky and claims I didn’t present his argument correctly. So to set the record straight… for Keen love story trumps family story. If any of you would like to change your preference based on this criteria please feel free.) In any case, to avoid jinxing or claims thereof I haven’t bored you with a play-by-play of my house-hunting saga. However, now I feel I must say a few words before I explode.

There is a plethora of houses on the market and most of them are crap. To spare any future house-hunters the pain I have been experiencing I need to point out a few things to the home sellers on which the fault of this pain clearly lies.

First, it is no longer a seller’s market! Get over your dreams of retiring in the Caribbean.

Secondly, slap some paint on the walls. I don’t want to see the outlines of all the furniture and pictures you used to have in the place. Or the chocolate-ly fingerprints from your kids in the kitchen. It is not “homey”. Your dirty walls are not a prime selling feature.

Third, maybe try to get that stain out of the carpet, too. Or that cat urine smell? Yeah, you know the one. DO something about it! That old “oh, but the new owners will want to completely remodel so why bother?” really is just an excuse. NO ONE has that much cash to remodel anymore… ‘cause have you SEEN the price of houses?!

Fourth, if your house has been on the market for six months or more, especially if it needs structural repairs or updating, GET A CLUE you’re pricing it too high. (Ahem, see the first point.) And by the way, pulling the house for a week and then putting it back on as a “hot new listing” doesn’t fool anyone. Repeat after me… buyer’s market! 

Actually, I think we would have gotten this last house except someone swooped in and outbid us at the last minute. After no one bid on the house at all for two months, someone just happened to see it three days before our final offer and decided to bid. It wasn’t like our offer was unreasonably low or anything either. It was a really cute place, too (I would have had an office, with a DOOR!). Whatev. If you want to pay that much you go ahead and do it.

I’m holding out for spring.          - the weirdgirl

(I've been considering posting the Top Ten Worst after this is all over.  You know, the House of Shag, the House of Tile, the Miami Vice House of Termites, etc. etc.  The insanity of what people think is acceptable to view for sale (much less as a small glimpse of what their decorating sensibilities must have been) is mind-boggling.)