Archive for December, 2007

2007 abridged

I hadn’t really realized until I sat down to write this that 2007 was the year of radical change. I quit smoking, got pregnant, started the Riot, baked a pie, cooked a meal, started copy-editing. I sent my daughter off to school. I gave birth again (note to self, write birth story already.) It was mostly good.

For next year, I want to keep on the reduction path. I need to get out and start trying to meet people, and I need to find an outlet for my energy that doesn’t involve having the Perfect House. I need to get into a class of some sort, whether it’s yoga or writing. I need to start walking again.

I need to be nicer to myself when things are frustrating.


My 2007 Riot abridged is as follows:

joined a CSA, began hanging laundry to dry, tried my hand at growing edible plants, started using TC, mamapads, cloth diapers.  Realized that I really want to succeed at this, not because I think I should or because I think it will make me happier, but because I truly believe that I need to be mindful of my actions and teach my children to only take what is fair.

In 2008, I hope to achieve an overall reduction of at least 75%.


I’m feeling very positive about 2008.  I think that it can be a very good year.

My resolution is to be more gentle.  To myself, my kids, my husband and everyone else I ave contact with.

May you all kiss 2007 goodbye and ring in ’08 with health and warmth!


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I should be getting ready for the impending arrival of my FIL for a late birthday/xmas visit but instead I’m hunched over the keyboard with a tepid cup of coffee trying to pretend that Chico isn’t awake in his swing.  There is a little green something–seahorse maybe?–that he alternates between flirting with and looking really concerned by.  Right now it’s out of his view so he’s looking a little irritated and trying to make do with the orange fish instead.  After spending the greater part of the night trying to get him to nurse on the left side so that I didn’t wake up in agony, I think he can sit for a bit and ruminate.  For the record, I had to change my shirt when I got up because the entire left side was soaked from letdown.  This one-sided nonsense is a new trick, and I hope he forgets it by tonight.  He seems to only like nursing on the right side when lying down, which only works when he isn’t up every 2 hours.

But anyway, I’m stealing some me-time.  After frantically trying to get the place looking like grown-ups live here for the past 2 days, I deserve it.  Honestly, we got a ton done but my perfectionist brain is still agonizing over the few things left on counters and the fact that a good hosing-down would be the best remedy but for the furniture and rugs that would not survive.  I keep trying to tell myself that getting the last little bit done will be much easier, but my brain certainly doesn’t want to hear that.  After all, if the apartment is clean, what will it berate me about?

That is neither here nor there, or at least not in the traditional sense, as what I really wanted to write about was organizing books.  When we first moved in here, I agonized over how the books would be arranged.  With far more volumes than could fit in visible shelving, I had to employ a combination of size arrangement and subject arrangement.  For the most part this worked out splendidly–our baseball books have their own shelf in the bookcase, complete with the zen garden baseball diamond, autographed Yankee hat, and the baseball card collection I started for Lucy.  Poetry books are all together on another shelf, trade paperbacks in a tidy row on yet another.  All of my Joyce Carol Oates and Margaret Atwoods are together alongside the John Irvings.  All except the bottom two shelves, which became a sort of ‘these don’t fit anywhere else’ catch-all.

After C started college and I started my writing class, it became painfully obvious that we were going to need more book storage.  My mom brought up a small one which went into the bedroom and was immediately filled, so we isolated a proper spot in the living room and began the search.  It took quite some time for me to decide on the perfect bookcase, but eventually I found it.  I think I even blogged about finding it, it was so exciting.  And when it got here, we sort of threw the excess books up there and it became the non-fiction/pop-up book bookcase.  As C’s classes progressed, the amount of texts increased.  By last month, it became painfully obvious that we were ready for another bookcase.   And so we got another for the foyer, which sat mostly-empty until the day before yesterday.

Since Lucy is part of a very, very long line of folks who read obsessively, her room has slowly been overrun by books as well.  Board books, lift-flap books, Big Girl books, chapter books.  These were initially arranged by subject as well, but a small child doesn’t care so much about library-like order when there are books to read.  And so she and I spent a good amount of Thursday sorting and moving her books around.  The baby board books are now in the living room in a basket for Chico.  The books she has received since Chico was born are on one shelf in her room.  The pop-up books and activity books are in the foyer.  And I am one happy Mommy.

But better yet–three of the five shelves in the living room bookcase are now arranged by subject–Mesoamerica is on one shelf, Egypt and ethnographies on another.  My writing books are in a neat stack on one side and our law books on the other.  It is truly glorious and gives me more of a sense of accomplishment than any of the rest of the neatening up that we got done.  I cannot WAIT to finish the bookcases!


We are now a heatless apartment.  C turned off Lucy’s heater last night.  I’m in a 3/4-length sleeve shirt with capri sweats and the chill of morning was easily taken off by a cup of coffee.  If it gets cold again we’ll turn on the one living room heater for a day, but otherwise I think we’re going without and will just keep a fleece apiece in the main area.  All of us are breathing better with the heaters off.

Also, I’ve started working on figuring out our December numbers for the Riot and will hopefully post those (along with an explanation of my methods of estimation) on Monday.  I still have a lot of recalculation of my other numbers since I was counting each car ride like I counted transit (meaning if 3 of us took a car somewhere, the mileage was counted 3x instead of once.)  Thus I am hoping to be able to give an accurate overall reduction number for the first seven months by next week.  Remind me to move all of my papers to my command post (bed).

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Pretty damn well.  Folks who got handmade gifts:

2 aunts, 1 SIL, my FIL’s SO1 niece, 1 daughter, and Lucy’s teachers (made them bookmarks.)  And me!

Folks who got charitable gifts:

both kids, C, the cats, 2 nephews and 2 of Lucy’s cousin

And my gifts were either handmade, from a museum, or from Gaiam.  Yup, I did get a bamboo skirt and an assload of bathroom CFLs.  Awesome stuff!  Because the only thing separating me from full-on hippy is a closetful of tie dye and better taste in music.  Mine, I mean.

Incredibly proud moment:  Lucy asked for octopus cloth TP for Christmas and I managed to find some!  She’ll likely be horrified by TC in a year but for now I am so proud that she wants to use it.  We’re also using mostly hankies instead of tissues.  Next up paper towels.

I did not buy handmade for C because I got him a turntable that converts vinyl to mp3!!! Awesomeness.

The best part was that neither kid got any superfluous gift.  Little for Chico since we still have all of Lucy’s toys (ok, I got him  Johnny Cash onesie and kid’s cd) and mostly books and clothes for Lucy, plus board games and puzzles from us.  And!  The only present of the lot that required a battery is the alarm clock for which we can use rechargeable ones.

And since I’m feeling especially guilty about the amount of waste from the last few days…we are currently running one heater, in Lucy’s room.  We turned one of the main room heaters back on a few weeks ago and turned off the one in our room but tonight we were sweating balls, so we’re going to test this arrangement.  Even with the heater off in the bedroom I’ve had to use footless sleepers under the swaddling to keep Chico from overheating.  It’s craziness.


7 years ago, my grandfather died.  He was a nice person in addition to having led an impressive life, and I rather liked him.  I did not get to know him as well as I would have liked but I was lucky to get the time with him that I did.  I’ve never much been one for heaven, but he was and so for him I hope there are miles of books for him to read, the finest gardens to plant, and the people who went before him.

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We survived the holidays. As far as I know, everyone enjoyed their presents. Frankly I’m too tired to care that much. As I wrote in an email to my Mom:

Slept in between baby and husband because eldest came shooting out of room
with nightmare (audible footsteps and panting) and climbed in with us.
And then complained about having no room.
I am feeling every one of my 75 years this morning.

Please to send houseboy to clean up detritus and fan me with palm frond.
Grapes optional.

Ironically enough, $3 zillion of presents and Lucy is playing with a 2006 scroll calendar from the Chinese restaurant. Yes, I did just take down my 2006 calendar. She’s also singing in French. Which is great, because if there’s one thing I need, it’s for my daughter to be able to talk in a language I don’t speak. Damn education.

C’s birthday was rather nice. We had dinner at the MIL’s with his step-brother’s family and so I got some ‘talking to other parents’ time. It was doubly nice considering that I got confirmation that Lucy’s sudden fascination with death and dying is occurring at the same time as their 4 year old’s. Because nothing says ‘comfortable’ like your daughter telling you how sad she will be when the cats die. Or when you die. Or when she dies.

Christmas proper was a flurry of ripped paper and climbing over mountains of stuff. The FIL ended up having to work so we got a reprieve on the cleaning up/entertaining. Until the weekend. I was a good mommy and did Christmas Laundry, Christmas Dishes, and Christmas Nursing because apparently Chico has decided that he really needs to be just a leetle bit bigger. You know, because a 5 pound weight gain in 2 months isn’t good enough. Today is the first day I have dressed him in a non-sleeper outfit for around the house, and he looks like such a little man. In fact, Lucy has taken to calling him Babyman. Which means I keep getting this stuck in my head:

Somebody tell me why I even know that song? I can’t figure out where I ever saw it but at least three times a day I have to do the superman arms.

Crank dat.


It’s all killing time til Arsenal-Pompey.

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Back before I spiraled into the pit of ennui, I received my order from Creative Wanderings and I am beyond thrilled with it!  Everything is lovely, I am completely addicted to the lip balm, and I can’t wait for Lucy to open her soap goodies tomorrow.  I may even give her the soapsicle today as a special treat!

Jennifer, thank you so much!  I’ve recommended your goodies to anyone and everyone who would listen 🙂

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Happy Xmas, y’all

The presents are finally wrapped (those what got here), C is done with finals, and we’re working up to the grand ‘pull the house back together’ cleaning extravaganza before we head to the MIL’s for C’s birthday dinner.

It’s been quite a week.  Less crying than last weekend, fleeting bouts of anxiety, lots and lots of baby-hugging and Lucy-wrangling.  I spent so much time in the laundry room it feels like an extension of the apartment.  I took Chico shopping and bought a jacket that fits me so I won’t freeze to death, and it actually felt good to walk around.  This walking will become part of my everyday routine, I think.

I don’t know how it will all pan out, but right now I’m feeling ok about things.  It’s still a lot of up and down, but I’m trying to take it as it comes.  I’ve done some writing down in the laundry, and I’m starting to run into people I’ve met so I get a little conversation here and there.  And I even initiated a conversation with another mother whose daughter Lucy adores, and we’re going to try to get them together once the weather is better.

I think maybe I’ll survive having two children.  I even think maybe I can stop feeling so helpless.  Then again, I still haven’t found the present I bought for Chico so I may be back off the deep end by sunset.

But for now, there’s a pile of crap with my name on it and I have to make sure my eldest stays on track cleaning up her room.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and I’ll hopefully be able to spend some more time here once the insanity clears up.

And to Kind of Crunchy Mama who nailed my biggest shortcoming when it comes to meeting new people–I think of your comment as I leave the  house now so that I can always be prepared to actually talk to strangers and it really helps.  Thank you.  Thank all of you for your advice and commiseration.  I don’t know if it’s the sleep deprivation or the holidaze or what, but I’m feeling a little swelling of emotion stuff today.  If y’all were closer, I’d take you out for drinks (but not this early in the morning.)

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A wee break

Ok, so things haven’t been sunshine and roses for the past little bit, and while I am feeling much more stable and less weepy, I need to take some time to sort through this whole new baby/holiday/not losing myself deal.  I just don’t feel like I’m doing justice to the writing thing, or much of anything else for that matter.

And so…I’m taking a few weeks off.  Or so I think now, anyway.  That means Riot numbers are going to be estimated (aside from mileage and $$ and electric which doesn’t require tracking.)  I will probably not be blogging either.  And I’m going to try my damnedest to stop freaking out about things around the house too, but that’s neither here nor there.

God, I hate these ‘farewell cruel internets’ deals, but I didn’t want to drop off without saying anything.  I’ll be back after the holidays.

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