Friday, December 16, 2011

No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, whatever you celebrate I hope you have a safe and wonderful end-of-December type thing with lots of over-indulging, minimal squabbling, season-appropriate weather, and above all, some damn sleep.

I know, right?!
She's so effing awesome.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sir Jelly

Just stopping by long enough to remind you all that I TOLD YOU this new job was going to destroy everything. Lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, laundry, blogging - there's no time for any of that nonsense now. It's been over a MONTH since I've been here! That's disgraceful. So many exciting things to report, and no time to tell mah stories. And don't expect that to change any time soon - we're in the snowball-to-New Year's as far as our weekends go, where there are festivals and birthday parties and parades and Polar Express train rides and Trans Siberian Orchestra tickets... well, if you've read my blog for longer than a post or two, you know how I like to plan things out. And planned they are!

But check out the bravest knight in the house...

She was so effing cute. The photographer thought she was a boy and kept calling her 'buddy', it was hilarious.

And now I must run off to another client call, and more project timelines and budget updates. Apologies for being so neglectful, please forgive me. And Happy Halloween!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Bravest Mama

I have skied black diamond runs in the mountains of Colorado. I have dived the depths of St. Maarten, surrounded by sharks. I’ve flown in a private jet, and I’ve danced on the stage in a strip club. I’ve ridden a horse, a camel, an elephant, and an Ohio River steamboat. I’ve been stuck in a cave twice, once underwater off a small Columbian island, and once trapped by ice. I’ve sipped tequila in Mexico, eaten lobster in Nova Scotia, and bought strappy heels in New York city. I’ve been spit on by Shamu, lost money in Vegas, and ridden the trolley in San Francisco. I got kicked out of Graceland.

Last Saturday I ate a cricket.

Oh, the things you’ll do to show your child it’s good to be brave, and try new things.

The cricket was awful, all legs and antennae and the stuff nightmares are made of.

Jenny loved the worms. To be fair, they were crunchy and Thai-flavored, so it wasn’t exactly a hardship.

We both had a blast, and despite the pathetic drizzly weather enjoyed BugFest immensely.

My precious bug.

We are crossing our fingers hoping the rain stays away this Saturday so that we can go to Pride 2011. We do love a parade, and since a kindly gay man gave me my Jellybean, I want us to get out and show our support. Especially with all the insanity going around with laws being revised and rights revoked and all those things.

Can you believe it's Fall already? Yes, it's still warm here, but I am ignoring it. I am still going to make chili for dinner, even if it's 83 degrees. We have already got one farm visit under our belts, in preparation for the month-long Halloween season. Yes, as a matter of fact, I have already carved a little pumpkin and roasted pumpkin seeds. Look, if the stores can have Christmas stuff out already, you can't judge me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Plan C

Alrighty, so the whole post-migraine treatment plan wasn’t working for me, and the preventative Topamax was a little disappointing, so here we are at Plan C. I figured since most of the baddies are hormonal, I’d see what happens if I can level out that hormone shift that happens twice a month. I finally got in to see my gyno, which was just as pleasurable as I expected, and not only got a scrip for the have-a-period-once-every-three-months Seasonale, I got a bonus estrogen patch. Crazy! The biggest side effect of the patch is, well, cancer, but I’m only going to wear it a couple days/month, since it’s not like I’m going through the change and wearing seven at a time every day. Or licking them (seriously, one of the warnings is not to ingest them. WTF is WRONG with people?!).

So I’ve got the patch on, and I’ll let you know how that goes, and will be starting the pill in the next few weeks. Statistics give me a 33% chance of success – 1 in 3 people get worse, 1 in 3 people don’t experience a significant change, and 1 in 3 feel more like rock stars. And, you know, they note a decrease in migraine occurrence. We’ll see how this works out.

If you’d like a work update, well, it’s a shitload of work. The team is so shorthanded that I’m thrown a new project pretty much hourly, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for the whole ‘product training’ thing. You know that annoying phrase, ‘fake it til ya make it’? Yeah – that. But interestingly, there are some things about project management that I really did miss, so it might not be as terribly horribly nightmarish as I anticipated.

This weekend is the Labor Day holiday, so that’s pretty cool. And then the weather will start to be a little cooler, and Jelly and I have a few little camping trips already planned, and her Halloween costume is already in her closet (hello, I’m a planner, remember). We’ve had a few pleasant mornings that are 68 degrees, it’s quite the teaser. I’ve prepared by joining a Crock Pot group on Facebook, I think I’m ready.

Someone else is, too.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Ok, let's put this summer thing to bed, shall we? I know, I know, going to the beach and the lake is fun and all that, but I'm over this heat. This morning it was 67 degrees and I almost wept I was so damn happy. All I want to do is wear jeans and start making soup and using my oven again; I'm tired of shaving my legs every five seconds and of blow-drying my hair in 115% humidity (ok, that last one is a lie, I NEVER blow-dry my hair anymore).

I love summer, don't get me wrong - it's when my birthday is, and I love to swim and be blonde and tan, and have pina coladas by the pool, and all that. It's just that I'm ready for the next thing. This time of year always makes me anxious - maybe it's part of growing up in a household with teachers, and then being one; I'm anticipating change that I don't get any more as a Project Manager. Although I did just start a new job, so that ought to count. And yes, I DO habitually change jobs at summer's end more than any other time of the year.

How about you nice people? I know my mum almost slapped me when I said it was only four months til Christmas, but that's because she lives in the land of 7 months of winter, and it's not the wear-a-heavy-sweater-outside kind of winter like it is here, it's the wear-a-parka-and-still-freeze-your-effing-ass-off kind. Do you guys want to hang onto summer, or are you ready for pumpkin patches and corn mazes, a ridiculous slew of Halloween parties and thick hearty stews, snuggling in bed on a crisp morning?

We do have one last warm-weather beach trip coming up, don't freak out. The Ta did some more traveling, and got some more points, so it looks like we'll be returning to Wilmington for our annual Labor Day event. This is totally awesome, don't get me wrong, I am sure it will change my mind and make me want summer to hang around a little while longer.

But man, could I ever go for some molasses cookies and a cup of cider.

Oh, Canada! My favorite pics from our trip, in absolutely no kind of order:

My mum and my Jelly. My parents live in a little itsy bitsy town that is so damn cute, they have free weekly concerts in the park in the center of town. It's one block from my parents' place. We walked over one lovely evening and enjoyed some music. Things like this make me really miss living in town. And, you know, Canada, where you can sit outside in August and not pray for death because of suffocating heat.

Jellybean and her cousins. They are all nut bars, and this pic captures them quite nicely. My mum got them matching shirts and threw them on this bench, desperate for a cute picture of the three of them. I was upstairs working so missed the fun, but I know Jelly was having a great time. She misses them lots - she refers to them as 'my friends' when she talks about them.

Jenny has a special relationship with her uncle, my brother Jim. When she was a baby he would do crazy dance moves to make her laugh, so he was nicknamed Uncle Dancey, and that's what she calls him. He plays with her, and is patient with her, but also doesn't let her push him around. I love that she's got him for a male role model. His illness is a little confusing to her, since his schizophrenia meds mean he can't usually get out of bed til noon and I have to correct her that he is not 'having a lazy day'. He has good days and bad, but is always awesome with her.

My sisters. I am the eldest of four; my sister N, on the left, is three years younger, and my sister M, on the right, is 13 years younger. My brother is the youngest, a year younger than M. We are about as different as three sisters can be, and have gone through a lot in working through how we relate to each other. But I have never once doubted they'd have my back. Or, you know, 'support' me. Ha ha (this was funnier at the time).

Only in Cottage Country, the tourist region known as the Muskokas in Northern Ontario, would you find a kid in an elf hat and a life jacket. This look says, 'I love Christmas, and boating'. There's a little theme park a couple hours from my hometown called Santa's Village - there are only about a dozen mostly lame rides, a few food vendors, and some prize stands. But there's also Santa, and his 'summer sleigh', this crazy boat that does 360s in the water, and you know what, that amount of rides is perfect for this age group. And they have reindeer! She freaking loved it.

My girl, the cowboy. We put her up on a nice brown pony, and he took 15 years off my life by spooking and bolting, throwing my kid off. She handled it like a champ, no tears, and got right back up on this much calmer pony, Fancy. I play a LOT of games with Jelly now where one of her toys is Fancy, or she is, or god forbid, I am. The horseback riding fund may replace the beach trip fund next year.

I like this picture because it sums us up nicely - there's my sister's bra hanging right there, and my mum is outside in plain view of several neighbors in her bathrobe, and we're missing half the people because they're running around doing other stuff. But there's a great breakfast on the table, and eventually we'll all be seated eating together, and the kids are now at their own table on the deck below hollering at us. And it's a beautiful day! Look, my sister is even wearing a sweater! Seriously, sooooo ready for cooler weather...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Three Little Things

Every night before Jellybean goes to sleep, I tell her three things. Well, four, if you count the obligatory ‘I love you’, more if you count the stuff she demands I repeat back after she’s said it, like ‘sweet dreams’ or ‘see you in the morning’. And god forbid I forget to use her name, she loses it. She’ll sit bolt upright in bed and sternly command, “Say, ‘sweet dreams, JENNY’, mama!” Like I’m saying it to someone else?! Sheesh, that kid is so damn bossy, I have no idea where she gets it. Anyhow. Three things. I tell her she’s smart, I tell her she’s pretty, and I tell her she’s a nice person. I always say those three things, in that order, and here’s why.

I tell her she’s smart first, because I want her to value that above being pretty. Since she’s smart, she knows she’s smart, so I don’t need to go much beyond that, because I don’t want her to get a big fat ego and be that kind of smart where she thinks she’s smarter than everyone, because that can get you into trouble. If she’s struggled that day with a new skill or been frustrated by something, I will remind her of her successes – a new word she used, a problem she solved, a joke she told.

I tell her she’s pretty second, because I want her to be confident, and because society values appearances and I want her to be comfortable with not just who she is, but how she looks. And it’s not just ‘you’re cute’, either, I tell her she’s strong, and healthy, and does a good job brushing her teeth. I also sometimes tell her she’s got a fat head or a big butt and we laugh about it, so that she doesn’t take her flaws too seriously. But then I also let her know her hair smells nice, or that she has pretty eyes. We talk about how everyone is different, and how cool that is.

Lastly I let her know how proud I am that she’s a nice person. I always try to point out specific examples – good helping or listening, sharing with or being sympathetic to a friend (person or animal), a small kindness, or even just recognition of good manners. I value this above being pretty, but I know that she’s three and the last thing she hears is likely to be the thing that sticks with her. The big cruel world is filled with jerks and is going to knock her around plenty, but maybe if she can learn to acknowledge that and still see the good, it won’t seem so unfair. Plus, basic good citizenship seems to be underrated lately, and that makes me crazy.

Jellybean is lots of other things – she’s hilariously funny, crazy dramatic, an enthusiastic singer, a budding chef. She’s stubborn, and sunny, and much more patient than me. I do my best to let her know throughout the day that those are all the things that make her ‘her’, and that I love her for them. But at nighttime, while the house settles and we’re chin-to-chin under the covers, I like to take a few minutes to impress upon her what really sets her apart and makes her special, because I want her to grow up believing it just as much as I do. I think it’s one of the greatest gifts we give our kids, other than simply letting them know they’re loved every single chance you get. It’s similar to how you shouldn’t want someone to depend on you for their happiness – you want them to be happy just because. While I want Jelly to know that I think she’s awesome and the shining star at the center of my universe, I want her to likewise wholeheartedly think Hey – I AM awesome. Not just think it, but know it. And I hope this helps.

Monday, July 25, 2011

We're Here, It's Hot, Get Used To It

We made it! Jelly added another 2-day roadtrip to her list of accomplishments, and I am going to take some time to rave about that kid. She was a freaking rockstar, no surprise - good as gold in the car, played and entertained herself even when she wasn't watching a DVD (and by noon on the second day, she was definitely TV'd-out). The only time she asked to potty that wasn't a scheduled stop ended up being right before we hit Toronto traffic, so her timing was great; I realized it's almost been a full year that she's been potty-trained! I can't believe how much she's changed, and that it's been that long.

I got up at 5a on Friday and we were on the road by about 5:40, so we had a nice early start and avoided all morning rush hour traffic. The weather was gorgeous, hot and sunny, so the mountains were a breeze (literally). The only problem was, we made such good time that we hit our favorite lunch stop at New River Gorge at 10 am! So we had to keep going. We stopped for the day at the hotel around 3:30, and although I would have liked to have driven a little further, it ended up working out great because we got a swim in before the thunderstorm hit, in Cranberry Township PA. We had a terrific dinner at Max & Erma's, a favorite Northern chain, and were in bed early to get up at 5a and do it again. We were at the Buffalo border at 9 am and cruised on through, stopped for some quick poutine (french fries with cheese curds and gravy), and were at my parents' by around 1:30.

No rest for the weary once we arrived - after unpacking the car into the scalding hot house (no A/C, and they're having a heat wave like everyone else) we quickly re-packed the car with towels and bathing suits and sand toys, and headed to the lake. My parents have a little trailer in a park on the water - it's their cottage. It's the perfect getaway. And yesterday we got up in the morning and went straight back. So I unwound post-trip in my favorite inflatable chair with a Creamsicle Vodka Cooler (sorry, they only sell them here), and Jelly played with her cousins.

Played with her cousins. Man, you should see how happy this little girl is. When they meet in the family room in the morning she says, 'Hi, friends!'. She is full of hugs and smoocheroos for her grandparents, and is pleasant and agreeable and sweet. I need to remember this, when I get closer to moving and am feeling melancholy about losing my friends and having to sell the @#$%! house. I need to remember the way her eyes light up when she sees her favorite uncle, and how good it feels to go to lunch with my sister, and how she hopped up and made her way to the couch to have snuggles with her Boppa. Yes, my parents are bickering and I am sure we are all getting on each other's nerves in 100 ways already, but being in the little town I grew up in is oddly soothing to me. Despite living in NC for all this time, I'm still a Canadian, and it looks and feels and smells like home to me.

This week I am working remotely, and then next week is my summer vacation - I can't freaking wait. After all the work stress I am excited to get a break before I start the new role. Yes, I know we've had like a zillion beach trip weekends so I can't complain, but it's different when other eyes will watch the kid, take her on walks and play playdough with her. And, um, cook me dinner.

Prepare yourself for the onslaught of pictures that will follow soon. There is major cuteness happening continuously.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

With Glowing Hearts

We leave tomorrow, wish us luck! First day Raleigh to Cranberry Township, PA. Second day, across the border in Buffalo and home to Lindsay, Ontario. A town that still looks pretty much like the above picture. Happy sigh!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Carolina Beach - Again!

Who's a pretty girl and loves the beach?

I think you know.

Next stop - Canada on Saturday!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lazy Eyes and Suntans

Thank you, loyal fans, for your kind birthday wishes. Wasn't I an effing adorable baby? Yes, my kid resembles me slightly, it's true. Lucky little thing.

We picked up Ol' Left Eye's glasses earlier this week, and she's done remarkably well for a three-year old. Heck, she's done great for an adult. She hasn't lost them or broken them yet, and there have only been a few mild complaints. My reaction to them has been interesting in a step-outside-of-myself kind of way; it hurts me that she has to wear them, yet I can't describe why, and I worry that people will look at her differently. Like, that she's less cute or they'll think something's wrong with her or something stupid. It's utterly irrational and lame because I have friends who have much, much bigger issues to deal with (like, hello, Jelly is not in a wheelchair or something actually serious). Just weird how that mother instinct wants your kid to be perfect and have an easy life, neither of which can be true for any child.

How is this anything less than perfection?
So for my birthday celebration we spent a totally freaking awesome 5 sun-soaked days in the air-conditioned oceanfront comfort of the Carolina Beach Courtyard Marriott, courtesy of The Ta's hard-earned points. The Ta cracks me up, because not once did her pedicured toesies touch sand - she is definitely a pool girl. Jelly and I braved it a few times, where she insisted on body surfing (because she thinks she's a teenager) but decided the pool was definitely the place to be. There were frozen drinks there! And they did some sort of ice cream or cookie thing every afternoon.

The 4th of July fireworks were spectacular from our 7th-floor hotel balcony, although Jellybean was not a fan of the booms and sizzles. She spent most of the time hiding in her precious little rollaway bed and asking for more snacks. Hey, she was in the pool for 10 hours, she needed the energy.

The best part of the trip was that we get to go back again next weekend; it's The Ta's birthday (she's a year older than me!), so fingers crossed that we have the same weather luck. 90 degrees and sunny every day is the way to go when you're in the water the whole time.

In work news, I interviewed for and got a job as a Project Manager within my company. That's good, because it means I don't have to register Jenny as a panhandler and send her out to stand at the stoplight with a cardboard sign. That's bad because it sounds like a whole lot more work, longer hours, and back to traveling. Not good things for a single mama. So we'll see how that goes. At least the Canada trip is still on, since I made sure to mention that. So three weeks til a big drive!

JR practices her surfing moves in the local Wings. I reluctantly buy the stupid board.
New friends at the Fort Fisher Aquarium. Tick tock.
My sister saw this pic and said we made a nice gay couple. The Ta is so not my type.
She's one in a million girls, she's a beauty! (sing it with me, now, '80's style)

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Yes, my childhood nickname was 'Cupcake', have a good laugh and get it out of your system. June 30th, a beautiful sunny day (of course) because it's my birthday! And check me out - things may be a little tumultuous right now, but if I compare it to 30, I'm still way happier where I am. I've got great friends, loving family, at least 3-4 blog fans who aren't one of those first two things, and a Jellybean. What more could a gal-who-still-feels-28 want?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Backyard Campout #Win

The backyard camp-out was a success! For once the temperature dropped when the sun set, so I actually got to snuggle in my sleeping bag, and the sky was clear and filled with stars (or planets or planes, don't get all scientific on me) so I could take the fly off. I did still have to sleep with an ear plug in because the homies in my neighborhood were rollin' at 4:30 am and we don't have the same taste in nighty-night music, and I had some drinkies so had to keep getting up to pee (but did not yammy, unlike an unnamed member of my party, ah-hem).

The best part was that I made two new camp recipes, a hobo dinner thing where you simply throw ground beef, baby carrots, onions, and red potatoes in heavy-duty foil; and this -
which is the most adorable and delicious little Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (a cake donut, some butter and brown sugar, and a pineapple ring - gave up looking for my bar fruit, so sadly no cherry). Since I decided it was better for my resale value and the wildfire situation not to build an open fire in my backyard, I just threw 'em on my grill. SO GOOD. And they'd be wicked easy to make up in advance and throw in a cooler for when I'm, you know, not in my backyard camping. I've already got my next Hobo Dinner planned - I'm going to adapt my favorite Naked Chef recipe, Tray-Baked Porkchops with Herbey Potatoes, Parsnips and Pears (in lemon/rosemary); how awesome will THAT be?! And yes, it's mid-afternoon and I haven't eaten lunch yet, can you tell?

The pool was once again a big hit with the visiting friends, two little blond boys who weren't keen on the Hobo dinners but were big fans of the BBQ S'Mores.
And now there's a crazy thunderstorm probably flooding those cute little toys all over my yard. That's ok, get it out of your system, Mother Nature, as The Ta so wisely said. Because in just four days - 40th BIRTHDAY/4th of July BEACH TRIP!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Camping with a Kid

The Great Backyard Camping something-or-other is coming up, an event I only found out about because I happened to finally catch up on some blogs, and since it’s an excuse to finally put the tent up in the backyard and thus clinch the deal on my neighbors forever thinking I’m a nutjob, I think it’s a great idea. I wasn't even going to bother registering but then my curiosity got the better of me and I did, but then the website confused and irritated me (how do I set my Team Name? where's the template for inviting people to camp with me instead of asking for money?) so I'm going to ignore if for a little while. And, uh, the weather forecast is calling for rain anyhow.

Jordan Lake Park, NC - Jellybean eats bacon. Friend looks at bug in bottle. Life is good.

People assume that growing up in the wilds of Northern Ontario meant I camped practically every weekend, nay, lived in a tent more likely. And I’m sure that there are families who are like that in Canada, just as there are families like that all over the US and Europe and everywhere else in the world. However, the area I’m from is fondly referred to as ‘cottage country’, which means the more sensible people on vacation go to their cottages. This is because, while the wilds of Northern Ontario are beautiful, they are vicious. Yes, there are bears and poisonous growy things and whatnot, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about blackflies. Nasty, nibbly blackflies. And the mosquitoes are bigger there, too, I think. And it gets COLD at night.

Armed with her backpack o' gear, Jelly sets off in search of adventure. It does NOT get cold at night here.

My parents were not the sort of folk who could afford a cottage, and despite being dirty hippies, they weren’t into battling blackflies with a pack of obnoxious children. Keep in mind that was the 70’s, when tents were made of canvas and weighed approximately 846 lbs, and took about four days and eleven people to assemble. There weren’t luxuries like collapsible marshmallow toasting forks and Kelty camp sinks (just got mine, can’t wait to use it, it’s freaking adorable!). My mother and sister shake their head in disbelief when I talk about camping – I’m not exactly the outdoorsy type, and they have no idea where my love of this activity came from. I admit I will never be the person strapping on a backpack and hiking into a site, and Jelly and I definitely like our air beds and a flush toilet within walking distance. But it’s relaxing, and cheap, and I dunno, I can’t explain it, I hate washing dishes at home but man, I love to wash dishes in a tub on a picnic table.

Pitching in like a good camper (get it? 'pitching' in?)

We’ve officially camped twice now, both times in the pouring rain, so even though it’s only twice I think those two experiences should count as much more. My $40 BJ’s tent (there was a $10 rebate when I got it!) performed amazingly and was the perfect size for us, and the camp stove from my mum is like an Easy Bake oven, only way better, because, you know, it can cook bacon for reals. Jellybean had a blast – she was ridiculously patient waiting for me to do all the boring stuff that I never understood what took parents so long to do, and was a good helper, and had fun running around with her friend who was camping with us. She slept great, and napped great, and the sky cleared up and we swam and went for walks and looked at interesting bugs and made pancakes and sang camp songs and lit sparklers at twilight. This upcoming weekend the same friends will come over and we’ll put up the tents and get out the hot dogs and marshmallows, and there won’t be any television or bath time or internet; there will be fireflies, and contraband drinks in plastic cups after the kids are abed, and an open sky overhead.

Overcast, but not rainy!

I just really, really recommend ear plugs. You never know what the campground is going to be like. Our first trip, the location was quiet, but there were some crazy-loud snorers in our Single Parents group. This trip, well, it was a long weekend, I don't know what I was thinking. Par-tay! I don't worry about sleeping with ear plugs in with a kid in a tent, the kid is right there and is going to smack me in the face if I don't respond to her. And yeah - bathroom. Unless you're hardcore, and especially if you're potty training, make sure to get a site near the facilities.

But I say, do it!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

In Like a Lion?

So the day came, as I knew it would. Yesterday morning, on our 10am status call, my boss gave a little laugh and said, 'We need to talk', and I knew the day was here. It went pretty much like I expected, although it was a little more open-ended than I had hoped; although I was definitely pointed in the direction of the door, I wasn't pushed through it. They are willing to work with me to find something that is a better fit within the company, if that is what I want. It was nice that it wasn't a disciplinary action, because that means there's no mark on my permanent record, and my boss made sure to explain that I shouldn't take the whole thing personally; that, in fact, she rather liked me an awful lot, and there were lots of things that I did well. I finally told her about the Topamax issues, which I probably should have told her about months ago, and embarrassed us both by bursting into tears, and then I had to pull myself together because I still had to finish a day of work like nothing had happened.

I spent most of the rest of the day crying while on Mute on conference calls; despite the fact that it wasn't a big surprise, it was still a shock. And it was still scary, because there were a lot of questions left unanswered. What happens if I can't find something else? There's only one open job posted on our internal site that's a 'maybe' for me, and I wasn't given a timeframe or deadline in which to find something else. I know it behooves my manager as much as me to have a little wiggle room; to get another person in, and up to speed. But they've got to be able to post for my job and start interviewing - there's a clock running, somewhere.

The lousy thing about the timing is that it's going to mess up the Canada plan. The go-to-Canada-this-summer plan, probably, but the move-t0-Canada plan, definitely. Even if I do get the other job within my company it's not something I'll be able to do permanently; it's project management, which will be a pay cut AND make me go out of my mind. So I still need to be hustling to find something else. I put the word out to my awesome mommies group, who were incredibly supportive and helpful as always, and submitted a few things yesterday afternoon/evening. I got a call from a recruiter today that sounded like a solid lead, so that cheered me up a little. And I know that I'm lucky because even if my parents aren't local, they'd still help in any way possible. The Ta is looking for stuff for me, and Cousin J sent me some links, and even the terrific MsD offered to give my resume to her techie hubby.

I've been through this before, and I know it's hard. I know it's scary. I know that things work out, because, well, they have to. But from the first moment I considered becoming a mom on my own, this was one of my greatest fears. This thing right here. The What If things don't work out. What if I don't get something right away; what if I have to sell the house for $140K instead of the $170K I owe on it because I can't pay my mortgage any more? What if I lose my health benefits, and something happens to Jenny? The college fund will dry up; the 401K will disappear. Say good-bye to that deposit I put down already for the Thanksgiving beach trip.

The last time things were bad I had to get two jobs to make ends meet. I would drive to a support job in the morning, 8:30a-5p, at NC State University, then hop in the car and race to my next job across town at a market research company where I would walk the floor as a call center supervisor from 5:30p-11:30p. It was awful. I did it because I had to. I couldn't do that with Jelly.

I know that this needed to happen, and there's a teensy part of me that is almost relieved that it did, because once this round of stress is over hopefully I can find something that is a little easier and things will get better and healthier and all those good things. And my mum pointed out that Jelly is too young to know anything is going on, and will bounce back from whatever change happens, which are good points.

And it's two weeks before my birthday. Can you imagine if she'd done it ON my birthday, without knowing?! That would have been awesome. You know, in a horrible way. Maybe I'll get a new job for my birthday. Oh, 40, you are going to be an interesting one!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Time's Up

Just so y'all are up-to-date, here's the deal.

1. I'm quitting the Topamax. I gave it a full six months, which I think is more than fair. In that time I only had a small number of headaches, which was nice, and a smaller number of migraines, which was really super terrific. However. I am close to being fired because of work incompetence. I can't remember anything. I can't retain any new knowledge. I'm fuzzy all the time. There's some serious depression issues.


Plan B.

I've made an appointment to get on some sort of pill where I'll only have a few periods a year (the earliest physical appointment was August, HA! Awesome). I'll take a migraine pill preventatively when I know I will be prone to getting an attack (cost-wise, it will only be slightly more expensive than the Mr. T). I'll drink more water, be very serious about avoiding migraine triggers during That Time, and since it's summer, do everything I can to avoid heat exhaustion.
And we'll see where that gets me.

That's Plan B, part 1.

The reason this whole bad cycle of increased migraines kicked off in the first place was the work stress. And the work stress is, in fact, worse now that my boss is so totally pissed at me for being the mental equivalent of a cod for the past 6 months. Imagine how awful each week's status call is when I can hear in her voice how angry and frustrated she is. Now imagine it as even worse. Feel your stomach knot up with the thought of talking to her. Lay in bed and worry about it. Can you taste the bile in the back of your throat? Yeah, it's not something I think I can recover from, and even if so, even if the stress gets better - I am not sure if that will be soon enough. So I think I need to look for something else. Even telling myself that makes me feel a little better. I know I don't have a lot of hope of finding something, at least not something that is in my salary range where I can work from home and have 10% travel. But we'll see.

In the meantime, I need to kick off some sort of exercise routine, because I know that's proven to help. Eat properly, keep sugar levels appropriate. Get good sleep (ahahahahahaha).
Could be better.
Could be worse!
I just know I'm never living through a Spring like that ever, ever again.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wanted: Time to Stop

I moved to Raleigh 16, wait, almost 17 years ago now. Yep, 17 years at the end of this summer. The first year I worked in daycare, that was 1994. 1995 I was back in Canada, for Teacher’s College. 1996 I came back to Raleigh, and was substitute teaching, and working part-time at JC Penney’s in their jewelry department. There was a Mother’s Day sale, and because of my employee discount, combined with that great deal I decided to buy a ring.

All of you who have been reading my blog for a while now know that I am a planner, but you may not know just how much of a planner I really am. It’s true that I am already looking forward to a future event when the next one has not yet arrived, and that I get little shivers of delight when I open up a Word document to create a brand-spankin’ new checklist for a trip or a task. I like things to happen the way they are suppose to happen – a schedule to flow like clockwork, nothing to be forgotten, everything to be in its place. We all know that real life intervenes and things rarely turn out that way, but I do everything I can to ensure that the rules are followed in strict accordance, arbitrary rules that I make up based on my own childhood experiences or just the way I think things should be in my cute little crazy head.

I tell you this long and boring background story so that you have some idea of just how tense something like a happy child’s birthday party makes me. Yes, it’s a fun thing, but even though I know it’s not going to be perfect and things are going to go wrong and there will be things I can’t control that will make me insane, I still carry around this vision of the ideal day, and the pressure of trying to deliver to it makes me sick to my stomach. Yep, I totally bring it on myself, I know that. Doesn’t help.

As you know I’d been planning Jelly’s Third Birthday Extravaganza for some time. Despite the fact I swore after last year’s exhausting event to NEVER DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT AGAIN, and that this year would BE DIFFERENT, I again found myself up at 6 am the morning of the anniversary of the day of her birth, sighing heavily at the gorgeous little girl (WHO SLEPT IN TIL AMOST EIGHT!!!! EIGHT!!) and lugging various ridiculous party accoutrements into my backyard. An inflatable pool. A bounce house with a water slide. A 3-person slip 'n slide. Another inflatable pool. Coolers. Tables. Stop to sweat and curse my stupid ideals.

The weather, oh the weather! Totally cooperated. Sunny and beautiful, hot but with a nice breeze. With a few minor hilarious hijinks, the bounce house and crazily fun pool went up. Everyone came. The pizza arrived precisely on time. The cake was delicious. I wanted to die every single second, but Jenny had a complete and utter blast, and her friends cried when they had to leave because they had so much fun, and that’s a good party.

Somebody may have poisoned the water hole, but there are no snakes in this cake! I was traumatized because it was not enough, but I thought the kids would go for the cupcakes. Silly me. Oh well. That's what happens when you put a pack of chocolate fudge pudding and an entire bag of chocolate chips in a cake.

Yee-HAW! Whatever you do, don't call her a cowgirl. She's a cowBOY. Hilarious. Check out that three-year-old-Bean, can you believe it?!
There were lots of good lookin' cowboys at the party. The Ta totally rocked it.

Aunt Jen, the official party photographer, giving us some guns.

My Jellybean. A very, very happy little girl, who spent 548 hours in this fantastic Intex pool purchased on Craigslist for $40.

The ring I bought? I bought for my future daughter. My mother doesn’t have a lot of jewelry, and certainly no family heirlooms to speak of. I sure as heck didn’t have anything, I had just come out of college. So I decided to buy one. A stunning set of opals (because, you know, it’s bad luck to buy them for yourself). Yes, so what I’m saying is that 15 years ago, 12 years before Jenny was even born, I bought a ring that I could give to her on her 16th birthday that would already have a story. It could have turned out badly, and I could have ended up with a sad little ring buried in a drawer in a box forever bringing me bad luck. Sometimes being a crazy compulsive planner works out, and sometimes it backfires. I got lucky with her birthday this year, again. But, yeah. That's how messed up I am. Just so you know the kind of therapy I SHOULD be getting.

The camping trip? Oooh, wait til you hear about THAT. I'll give you a hint. There was lots of rain, but rain didn't fit into my plans, so I chose to ignore it.

Happy Birthday, my 38-inch, 43.5lb 3-year old girl!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Literacy - It's What's For Bedtime

Since I prefer stealing borrowing other people’s good ideas rather than going to all the effort of coming up with creative ideas of my own, I figured I’d take DannieA’s totally cute idea and share what we’re reading right now. This is a book house, through and through. When I was young, until I was in about the third grade, I lived in the small town my parents currently reside in again (they actually live in a house one block away from the house I fondly remember on Wellington Street). When I was a little girl the train still ran through town, and the public library was walking distance from our house, a small circular brick building, now engulfed by a much larger addition.

When I was in college working on my English degree I worked in that same library and then my college library, which meant I got first dibs at the annual book sales to paw through the dusty donations of inappropriate joke books and endless incomplete encyclopedia collections. During Teacher’s College in Ottawa, I took every opportunity to buy books, figuring I was building what would one day be my classroom collection. And when I was working in daycare, well, who could pass up those Scholastic deals? Then preparing for single motherhood – you can imagine I might have gone a little overboard in purchasing the ‘you may not have a dad but you’re still most likely going to be normal’ type stuff. So needless to say, Jelly has quite the varied collection.

Right now on the nightstand;

So Many Bunnies. We just rescued this one a few weeks ago from a local used bookstore, Pauper's Books. Tata wins for telling us about it, the place is awesome. So Many Bunnies is cute because it's both a counting book AND an alphabet book, and Jellybean likes that one of the bunnies sleeps in a trellis.

Bats at the Library (she’s getting Bats at the Beach for her birthday, and I can’t wait to read it. ALSO she's getting a little stuffed bat! Squee! So cute!). Beautifully illustrated, this is one of those books where the rhythm of it is so perfect it's a joy to read aloud, and I love a story that sucks you in ABOUT stories sucking you in. Maybe it's the librarian in me that finds a secret pleasure in teaching children to love and respect books, I'm not sure. But if you are one of those people who knows the statistics about reading to your kids and how they're going to be smarter, better, faster, solve all the world's problems, take care of you in your old age - you'll love this book.

J is for Jellybean (this)

The Z Was Zapped, a wonderful alphabet book where horrible things happen to all the letters of the alphabet. I collect children's picture books in general, but especially alphabet books. This is one of my very favorites.

And, finally, Sam Sheep Can't Sleep. I like this one because it's phonics-friendly, she likes it because it's repetitive and she thinks she can read it because she's got it memorized. There are also some fold-out flap pages, which is neat. You gotta love Usborne books.

She’d have me read 20 more a night if I’d let her. Every few weeks I make her rotate them out. If it was up to her we’d read a Clifford or Berenstain Bears book every night, but they make me insane after a while. I love Robert Munsch books, but I’ve found she’s still too young for them, so they’ll have to wait a little while yet.

She's also getting a couple more pop-up Bug books for her birthday;

And this - look, so cute;
I'm a sucker for books for kids with their names in the titles. I try to find books like that for my niece and nephew.
I'll let you know what she thinks.