Saturday, January 31, 2009

An Ode To My Jetta

Dear Jetta,
When I came and picked you out back in April 2004, I was newly pregnant and searching for a safe, reliable, Mom-ish vehicle. You fit the bill with your airbags galore and space for a giant stroller (you were a station wagon, after all). You were two years old, and a little careworn, but that was okay with me. I love Volkswagens and was happy to own my first one. I had good memories of Volkswagens. My Dad had a Thing for a while when I was young, and my Mom drove a Vanagon for many years. It was the vehicle of my childhood. And I was buying you for my child.

A few short months after buying you, I entrusted you with the task of bringing home my daughter from the hospital. You did a great job. You traveled from California to North Carolina. You had diapers changed in the back of you, you were barfed on, and you were cried in. The Army Man subjected you to the torture that is a Missouri winter last year, and you did wonderfully. You folded down your seats and let us stuff so much stuff in you that we almost couldn’t close your doors. You never once broke down or left me stranded, and the only flat tire you ever got was while the Army Man was driving you. I really appreciate that. You had so much food spilled in you it’s ridiculous. Somewhere along the line I drove through something sticky and never could get it off the side. But you never complained. You just kept chugging along, giving me great gas mileage and a dependable car.

Last month, when the Army Man got his truck, we gambled on you and kept you while we traded in our much newer Saturn. It turns out that was the wrong thing to do. There was no way for us to know that you would last just a little over a month, and would soon require so many repairs (airbag and struts, to name a few) that the bill would total more than you were worth. But I don’t blame you, and I’m not mad. I felt more loyal to you than the Saturn anyway. I may have complained the entire time I drove you from December until yesterday (you really did smell, sorry to say) but it was nice to be driving you again. It was like a riding a bike, so easy and effortless slipping back into the driver’s seat and knowing all your quirks. Like how you would slam back into gear after a sudden brake. That was always fun. Or how you would magically lock yourself at odd times, such as when I had an armful of stuff or had left the keys in the ignition. And I can't forget the temperature gauge coming on every single time it was cold, with you begging for more antifreeze.

So yesterday we sold you. I’m sorry. I’m even sorrier because I think you are too broken down to be resold locally. I think you are going to auction. You need lots of repairs and you have almost 94,000 miles on you. I’m sad that Laura won’t remember you and I’m sad that I complained about you when you were such a good car. I’m also really, really, really sad to have two car payments now. But in your honor, I picked out another Volkswagen. It’s even the same color as you!

Some people may laugh that I am choked up at your departure, but I don’t care. We’re nostalgic about cars in my family. They are more than just a mode of transportation to us. They reflect our personality, and take on personalities of their own (but we never name them; that would be weird!) When the past is recalled, we always remember which car we were driving at that stage of our life. So I’ll always remember you as the car I bought when I became a Mommy, the car that moved across country with me, the car that kept my most precious cargo safe. Thank you.


PS. Readers, we bought a VW Tiguan. It is barely used with a whopping 3,700 miles on it. It is a smallish SUV, my first ever non-car car (except my Dad’s Suzuki Samurai that I drove in high school, but that was in a class all of it’s own). I have to admit I feel oddly grown up now. The Army Man (whose idea it was to get rid of the Jetta, but not to buy this car [so I am never allowed to complain or blame him in any way]) tells me I will be driving it for a while. I hope it will be as reliable as the Jetta was. PPS. If there is anyone in California who feels so moved, I need a new Jack Ball. The current one isn't looking so good. Please also send a Spicy Chicken Sandwich with no tomatoes.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Quilting For The Impatient

Remember all of this beautiful fabric I got for my birthday? I’m way ahead of my normal quilting schedule (3.5 years for the last one) and have already sewn together a few sections of this newest one. The pattern I am using is unlike anything I’ve ever done before (which isn’t saying much seeing as this is only my second official quilt). About 15 individual sections are completed and then sewn together to form the quilt top.

So it’s great for people like me who want instant gratification-I can fool myself into thinking I’ve accomplished something even though I’ve only completed 3 sections thus far. I’m on such a roll that I should be able to open my quilting business in about 47 years.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Claire To Moxie Translations

Now, I've only had a dog for about a month, but I have quickly figured out that what I say and what Moxie hears is totally different. Things are getting lost in translation, causing plenty of confusion. Moxie is a sweet dog, but this is getting ridiculous.

Read on for the translations I've recorded thus far. Are there any pet owners out there who can offer some more?

Claire says: Leave it!
Moxie hears: Leave it, but if you really, really want it, feel free to take it.

(Moxie riding in the back of the car)
Claire says: Thank you for being such a good girl back there!
Moxie hears: Please come sit up here next to me!

Claire says: Come out from under that deck this instant!
Moxie hears: Come out from under that deck, and be sure to roll in the dirt on your way out!

Claire says: Watch me!
Moxie hears: Watch me and sit perfectly still, making me think I have the best dog ever. Then, just as I am about to praise you for being so good, start squirming like a maniac in your attempts to say hello to the dog that is walking by, giving the owner a heart attack.

Claire says: Sit!
Moxie hears: Please wait to sit until I actually force your behind down. Then stand right back up!

(Trying to get Moxie in the crate)
Claire says: In!
Moxie hears: Run around the room a few times, getting progressively closer to the crate each time, convincing Claire you are about to enter, only to go halfway in to retrieve the treat Claire dropped and then sneak back out quickly. Repeat as needed.

Claire says: Hold still so I can brush you.
Moxie hears: Please perform some sort of odd doggie dance that allows you to be brushed but causes your poor owner wrist pain while she contorts herself holding you still.

Claire says: Come!
Moxie hears: Only come if there is a treat or a walk involved. Otherwise, this command is merely a suggestion that need not be heeded.

Claire says: I love you, you crazy dog.
Moxie hears: I love you! You are the best dog over and my dearest wish in that you lick my face.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Remains Of The Snow Day

(Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Conversation With A 4 Year Old

Laura didn't go to school yesterday because halfway there she informed me she couldn't breathe and needed to do her "machine" (aka nebulizer). Since I understand all too well that awful feeling, we turned around and headed home. Once we got home she used her machine, was revitalized, and a few grey hairs spontaneously appeared on my head.

So today she was very excited to go to preschool, and she kept the chatter going a mile a minute in the car on the way there. As you can imagine, Laura is usually pretty talkative and comes up with some good material. But today was one of her best days. I'll try to relate some of it here, although I simply can't do her justice. Her inflection, thoughtful pauses, and exclamations are some of the best parts.

It started out with Laura rehashing her dislike of Daddy's new truck (it is a stick and goes too fast). Then we moved on to the tiny acorn she had found at school last week, which she was holding in her hand and examining.

Laura: Mommy, what's inside an acorn?

Mommy: Well, I guess-

Laura: Mommy, you know what I'm going to do with my acorn? I'm going to plant it and an acorn tree with grow and then a fox and fox friends, maybe a chipmunk, can come to the tree. They will love it and eat all the acorns.

Mommy: That's very sweet of you Laura. But I'm not sure-

Laura: Oh no, I dropped my acorn! Poor acorn, where are you? Mommy, I can't find my acorn (starts crying). What happened to it? What if Moxie eats it? Pull over and help me find my acorn. I don't want it to be lost forever. Oh wait, I see it. It's on the ground by the door. Can you pick it up for me? Just reach back here and get it!

Mommy: I'll have to get it when we-

Laura: I'm going to be a mermaid when I grow up. You and Daddy can be mermaids too. I love mermaids and I can't wait to be one. We will swim around and be beautiful. I love mermaids so much. Where do mermaids live Mommy? Can my friends be mermaids too?

Mommy: Giving up and murmuring politely

Laura: Did I tell you that I'm going to turn into a butterfly? I will be very shiny and pretty. It will be hard to change into a butterfly because it is very tricky. All of my friends will be butterflies too and we will fly around. No boys though. I will be the queen and my friends will be the princess butterflies. We will have so much fun and play games. I can't tell you what game though because it's a secret.

Mommy: Wait, what? A secret?? You can tell me because I'm your Mommy. You can tell me anything.

Laura: (Very solemnly) No Mommy, sorry. It's a secret.

And cue the grey hairs.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Worst Song In The World, Volume 2

When I was driving a few days ago, I heard a song that I haven’t heard in a while, a song that turns my stomach every time I hear it, a song so vile that I nearly crashed my car. And being the good blogger that I am, I said to myself-this is good content for my blog! See, I’m always thinking of you, my dear readers. So without further ado, the song that almost caused me to crash the poor Jetta:

“Baby I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton

Gag. Seriously Peter? This is the best you could come up with?

And while I’m insulting songs, I might as well go ahead and insult the song that I know is going to make a lot of people mad. Heck, I may even be disowned by the Army Man’s mom (since I’m pretty sure she really likes this song). But I have to get it off my chest. I don’t think anyone but the Army Man knows this secret.

I hate “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison.

Sorry. Please don’t be too harsh with all of the insults against my obviously poor taste in music.

PS. If you missed my other valuable opinions on music, you can read about them here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Flower Power

I took this picture of Laura yesterday as we enjoyed the first semi-warm weather in a while. She was unintenionally matching a bit more than she usually does, so I had to share her in all her floral glory. Also, I couldn't resist posting this picture so everyone could see her new sunglasses. My daughter loves flamoyant sunglasses. She had a pair last year (they seem to be lost now) that would have made Elton John proud. I think she's continuing the tradition with these.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Claire's Tiny Corner Of Bliss

I really had no idea what I wanted to write about today, but I didn't want to disappoint by not posting something! I was so desperate I actually started roaming around my house looking for ideas or inspiration. Other than moaning about how much I want new flooring downstairs, I really didn't come up with anything. So I went and stood by the back door, next to my favorite piece of furniture. I don't usually have a lot of time to just stand around, but when I do, I like to stand here.I wish all of my furniture looked like this. If you've never been to my house, you might be inclined to think that my entire home looks this nice. Please don't be deceived. I have one piece of white furniture in my entire house. This is it. I have one piece of furniture on which I put my treasured books that belonged to my grandparents. This is it. I have one place that is safe enough to put breakable pitchers. Yep, that's right here. So you see what I'm saying. I have one tiny little corner in my entire home that usually looks immaculate and is the exact style I wish the rest of my house was. And usually the Army Man has put some of his junk right on top of that cute little penny rug I made, so even this little sanctuary isn't safe.

What's that you say? You want to SEE the cute little penny rug I made? I'd be delighted to show you! It's one of my favorite crafts, which is why I put it here, on my favorite piece of furniture.
So that concludes today's tour of the only section of my house I will likely ever post about. I think you all would probably stop reading if I shared pictures of the rest of my home. Not that it's messy (I would never want you to think that!) but because there is NOTHING to show. I've been married over 5 years, yet I have nothing more than minimal furniture, nor do I own anything that could be construed as a decoration. A lack of clutter is great, but I'm starting to think there is such a thing as "too little stuff". Last time my Mom visited I had to bring in a lamp from another room so that she could read her book while sitting on the couch. I don't even have a sufficient number of lamps. What is wrong with me?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Just Another Night At Our House

A few nights ago I went upstairs for a few minutes leaving the Army Man and Laura downstairs. After just a moment, I heard a sound that is heard in our home at many times daily: crying. This time was different though. On the Crying Threat Level scale I would rate it as “High” but that was only because I was an entire floor away from the crying and couldn’t tell if there was any thrashing involved. I’m sure there was. So this crying-I’m talking full on screaming and shouting and crying. I couldn’t figure out what the heck could be going on. I was there not a minute ago and all was well. They were sitting on the couch together. What could have transpired?

What happened was this: a tiny little hangnail caught Laura’s attention. She showed it to the Army Man. He looked at it and felt his fatherly duties involved somehow removing the offending nail. So he decided to just rip it off. Rip it off of my extremely dramatic and sensitive daughter’s finger. The crying began before the ripping even started, that’s how dramatic Laura is. The moment she broke free from the Army Man she came barreling upstairs screaming and crying, waving the evidence in front of me with nary an intelligible word to be heard. She was so distraught that she actually ran from bedroom to bedroom screaming and crying. For added effect perhaps? Searching for a safe place to hide from further finger injury? Maybe looking for some weapon of torture to use on the Army Man? I didn’t even get the full story until the Army Man came upstairs to sheepishly explain that he hadn’t thought it would hurt her so much.

I know he meant well. And I know I’m lucky to have the Army Man as my husband when most Dads would just tell their daughter to go see Mommy for an issue like that. I just hope he learns his lesson and next time gets out the clippers sitting in my bathroom for just such an occasion.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I'm copying something that I have seen on many, many blogs. It may be viewed as lazy, but maybe I am just feeling lazy today. I am going to take part in Wordless Wednesday. What that means is that on Wednesdays I post a picture without any caption or description. Since I don't really take the most exciting pictures, I'm sure you all will find it pretty easy to fill in the blanks on what is going on in the picture. If however, I ever really manage to stump you with a picture, just ask and I'll fill you in the next day. Or if you're feeling really daring, you can venture to create the caption yourself.

Obviously today has a lot of words for a Wordless Wednesday, but I didn't want to dive right in without an explanation. And I'm sure you can imagine how hard it is for someone like me to actually post something without writing 7 paragraphs about it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's A Special Day

This morning Laura woke up and decreed that this is a special day. And she's right. Today is a special day for several reasons. I feel like I have to mention the inauguration, which I would have loved to attend, but I didn’t want to die an early death at the hands of a cold and cranky 4 year old and only so many port-a-potties. So we’ll be watching from afar, here in North Carolina, where it is snowing. That’s right. Snowing.

Usually when we get snow, it doesn’t even fully cover the ground. Grass can still be seen and the roads are fine to drive on. Not today! I woke up at about 4:45am and saw the snow coming down. It’s 8:45 and still coming down! Schools are cancelled, the Army Man is off of work, and we're ready to head outside. I'll be back to actually post this when I have some pictures to share.

We're back from outside and we had a lot of fun! I was surprised by how windy it was, and how much it was still snowing. Those from the North, please do not mock our pathetic attempts at snow-appropriate clothing.

Our house seen from across the street
Laura looking cute
Laura and the Army Man attempting to recreate a pose from 4 years agoToken picture of me with Laura
The Army Man "sledding"
Moxie after she decided she likes snow after all
I also have to take a moment to be serious. Today is a special day for another reason, although not a happy reason. My paternal Grandfather passed away this morning in Pennsylvania. He was 96 years old and a wonderful Grandpap. I didn't know him as well as I would have liked since we lived so far apart, but he was always so nice to talk to. If you could get him really talking, he had some great stories too. He traveled with our family frequently and I remember playing tennis with him several times as a child.

Grandpap with my Dad and brother, probably about 1985Grandpap with me and my younger sister in 1982
I once interviewed him for a paper I had to write for history class. One of the questions was what did he think had changed the most since he was born in 1912. I thought for sure he would say something about TV or computers or something along those lines. He said it was people who had changed the most. I've always remembered that.

He will be missed, no doubt about it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Laura and Moxie, Friends Forever. Maybe.

You would think that since I have an only child, I wouldn’t have to deal with all the drama that comes from having multiple children. And until a few weeks ago, that was totally true. I’ve never had to put a stop to an argument, never had to be diplomatic about loving my children equally, never had to split my attention. All that changed when we got a dog.

From what I can tell, Laura and Moxie really love each other. They get along wonderfully and love to play together. When they are apart, they really miss each other. Laura races downstairs in the morning to let Moxie out of her crate. Moxie even tried to follow Laura into preschool one morning and whines when I come back from school without Laura. So they’ve gotten close. Most of the time, Laura talks about how much she loves Moxie.

The rest of the times, Moxie is merely a source of annoyance, a furry creature here to look menacingly at Laura and her toys. Moxie has never chewed anything that doesn’t belong to her, but she has on occasion made off with something soft and fuzzy that is not hers. Naturally these contraband items have always been Laura’s toys, a fact which does not escape Laura’s notice. Through shrieks of outrage at her toys being carried away in a dog’s mouth, Laura has more than once proclaimed that Moxie is mean to her.

Sometimes Moxie doesn’t even look at Laura’s toys, but at Laura herself. This prompts the accusatory shout of, “Moxie is looking at me!!” How am I supposed to put a stop to a dog looking at a child? Even better is, “Moxie is breathing on me!!” Now, I don’t particularly love being breathed on either, but again, what am I supposed to do? Usually the only solution I can offer is to tell Laura to move or go somewhere else. So naturally Laura’s mind led her to the only possible conclusion. Since I am always telling Laura to bend to Moxie’s will (move somewhere else if she breathes on you, don’t look at her and you won’t see her looking at you, etc), then I must love Moxie more than Laura.

Yep, in the middle of the vet’s waiting room not long ago, Laura turned to me and said in a quiet little voice, “You love Moxie more than you love me”. Uh oh. Thoughts raced through my mind, trying to figure out how to be diplomatic until it hit me. Moxie is a dog. This is so easy. I told her right there, in front of Moxie, that there was no question in my mind that I loved her so much more than Moxie. Laura smiled the sweetest smile, I sighed in relief, and Moxie breathed on my knee. We were all happy. Until we got home and Moxie looked at Laura again. Cue the shrieking.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Who Knew Science Was So Fun?

As promised, I'm posting today about our trip to the Natural Science Museum yesterday. We had so much fun! The museum is 4 stories of awesomeness, full of dinosaur skeletons, swimming fish, and real live cockroaches. But more on that in a minute.

Our mistake when we arrived was going straight into the room with whale skeletons hanging from the ceiling. Not the way to break in a 4 year old who is scared of just about anything. Laura's initial reaction to the museum was this:
It was loud. And scary. And there were giant whales hanging from the ceiling. She did NOT want to go in. I was even a little taken aback. I mean how can you casually walk into a room with these above you? But Laura eventually started to like the museum. In fact, pretty soon, she loved it. LOVED IT. She wanted to see everything, discuss everything, get her picture taken with everything. There were several displays with live fish, which is always a plus to her. She hurried us along so that she could check out everything. I could tell she was feeling brave because she even went into the fake tree that had fake bats hanging in it. A huge step for our scaredy cat! The museum even had a very small butterfly conservatory which we went into. Butterflies were flying all around, which was a dream come true for Laura!

Here's a few more pictures from our time there.

Laura with some fishy friends.

Laura and MORE fish. She really seems to like fish.
Laura took a picture of me and the Army Man in front of a T. Rex skull. I think we may have a future photographer on our hands.
This picture was taken before we almost lost our lunch. The floor above the dinosaurs was all about bugs, and one display in particular caught our attention. Several small enclosures had different bugs in them, with a small window to look in on the action. Now most of the displays in this museum features either animals that were once alive, but no longer, or very good replicas. The bugs were so still that I was convinced they were fake.

I was looking in the window at the hissing cockroaches, marveling at how many there were, how accurate they looked, and how gross it would be if they were actually real. Of course, right on cue, one moved rather violently and scared me to death. So they were real. Mystery solved. For once in her life Laura was not running away screaming from bugs so we decided to stay as long as she wanted. I remarked that it must be so awful to be the worker to open up the top of the cage and drop the food in to the cockroaches. And again, right on cue, the top opened up and a hand appeared, scaring me to death, AGAIN. The hand saw Laura, and waved. How sweet, I thought. And then the hand decided to put on a show for us.

First, the hand turned on the light so all the cockroaches started moving around like crazy. Laura was still watching, intrigued. The Army Man and I held our ground, being brave. The hand dropped some food in. Laura kept watching. I inched away. Then the hand PICKED UP A COCKROACH. And then another, and another. The hand PLAYED with them. Laura was still watching in awe. I was on the other side of the room, hyperventilating, trying not to squeal like the little girl I am. Even the Army Man was effected. It was disgusting. And I am proud to say that Laura, she who is scared of everything, stayed right there the entire time, watching the hand play with the roaches.

After that we were pretty much done. All that was left to do was get a memento of our trip. Laura picked a butterfly net, and is desperate to capture a butterfly. It's about 30 degrees right now so I think she'll have to wait a while. I did get a picture of her attempts as we left the museum. The Army Man tried it out too, but I won't embarrass him with that picture. I'll save it for another time.

Friday, January 16, 2009

In Which Moxie Begs Me To Blog

Moxie is so sorry that she couldn't convince me to post anything today. I told her we were taking advantage of the Army Man being off of work and going to a far away museum, plus sending her off to get a bath, but she wouldn't hear any of it. Post before you go, she said. Your legions of followers will miss reading about your life. She pleaded with me. There may have been tears involved. But I was unmovable. I will not blog before I leave, I said. I didn't want to worry about it this morning. Plus the Army Man was rushing me. So I told her I would do a great post this weekend with pictures from our outing. She was not placated. She pouted. Then she became embarrassed for me, since she is a dog and cannot talk. She says I sound silly for pretending to talk to her. But I'm tired and feeling silly, I tell her. This could go on forever she said. Just stop. Even my dog thinks I'm weird.

(photo credit: The Army Man who is the only one who ever gets good pictures of Moxie)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Big Lie

I didn’t get too many people bold enough to make an official guess on the big lie, but no matter!! I think I did a pretty good job of disguising it, so I knew it would be hard to figure out. Before I tell you which one it was though, I have to say it was really tough trying to come up with the nine truths. Contrary to what some very nice people may say, my life really hasn’t been all that interesting. I haven’t had many adventures, and I never really did that many exciting things in my younger days. Other than the “F” in college (true), none of the things on that list were really even that big of a mistake. Of course that is a blessing, but also a bit of a curse. It oddly makes me a bit sad that I don’t have more embarrassing stories or mistakes to share.

I’m not much of a risk-taker, so it’s no surprise to me that my life has been so calm. And this is certainly not to say that I don’t think I have a wonderful life! I love the direction it has taken and I feel so happy with everything about my life (although I could do with less whining from Laura). The point is that I regret not living it up more in my “younger” days. I guess the only thing to do now is to start making up for lost time.

On to the list!

1. Yep, pink paint all over Angela’s carpeting. This was just a few months ago. You wouldn’t believe how exceedingly nice she was about it. I was near tears; she laughed it off and even helped me clean it up. That’s a true friend, and also a really calm person. Bonus points for her that day!

2. Sorry to disappoint everyone, but this one is completely true. It was only one of two times in my life when I’ve been very, very tipsy. We were the only two people at the restaurant since it was so early in the morning. The Army Man egged me on in all matters, including to drink more AND to take the shot glass. He convinced me that the restaurant gave out the plastic ones because they often went missing. Of course me being me, I went to the gift shop later to actually buy a shot glass to relieve my guilt. And I honestly have no idea where they are now.

3. I would love to shave my head. A fresh start. Low maintenance. Cute hats. Too bad I just do NOT have the face for it.

4. Oh yeah, we played in the sewer system. In our defense, they weren’t active yet, so they were completely dry and very, very cool on those hot California days. I wonder whose idea it was to go down there in the first place.

5. TV is a little too important to me. The Marshall and Lily I referred to are from “How I Met Your Mother”, one of my favorite shows. I wish I knew Marshall and Lily.

6. Yes, I was horrible and quit a job after just one day. And no, I didn’t count that job in my list of 12 in my profile.

7. My favorite one on the list since it sounds so dramatic. The Army Man was in Georgia on training and I was still living in California. My doctor agreed to induce my on my due date since it was Columbus Day weekend and the Army Man had 4 days off of school. I drove myself to the hospital and waited in the waiting room for my Mom to arrive so she could sit with me to check in. The Army Man flew in from Georgia and arrived several hours later. It was the most surreal moment of my life just sitting there, and if I could do it all over again I never would have been induced. I’m so glad the Army Man was there, but the amount of physical problems it caused me makes me wonder if it was worth it.

9. As I mentioned above, the “F” is true. Sadly. Sorry Mom and Dad. It was in an accounting class, and that was what made me realize that being a business major just wasn’t for me. I do wonder though how I managed to pass both of my economics classes that semester, but not accounting? I switched to history and totally rocked it. Left with a decent GPA (3.23) and have always wondered how much higher it could have been if I didn’t have all those bad grades from that semester weighing me down.

10. My Dad taught me to drive a stick. I was horrible at it and it took me forever to learn. I distinctly remember him getting out of the car at one point because he couldn’t take it anymore. Obviously I finally caught on and drove a manual for 6 years. I taught the Army Man in 10 minutes. Quick tutorial, he got in the driver’s seat, stalled once, and then off he went. Figures.

So I guess by now it’s obvious that #8 was the lie. I am so bad at thinking up lies that I had to steal an experience from my friend Kim. It was she who saw Matthew Perry. She always sees famous people and I bask in the reflected glory of her stories! And I didn’t mean to imply that she was too scared to talk to him. I just imagined it as it would have been had I seen him. Kim is very nonchalant around celebrities since she is such a pro by now.

Thanks for playing! Now it's your turn!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Last Chance To Guess!

Anyone else want to hazard a guess on the big lie? Come back tomorrow morning to find out which one is a total fib! You'll be shocked and amazed!! Or at least mildly entertained. Or not.

Getting To Know Me

I was over at one of my favorite blogs, I Used To Be Witty, a few days ago, and saw that she was playing a fun little game. This is one of those “get to know you” type of games, but with a twist. I’ve compiled a list of random trivia about me. The catch is that one of these items is a total lie. It’s up to you to guess which one. Come back later to find out which one is the lie!

1. I once spilled a can of pink paint all over beige carpeting while painting a bedroom. At my friend’s house.

2. On my honeymoon, I got drunk at 11am at Senor Frogs and stole a shot glass. I defend myself by pointing out it was only a cheapo plastic one and that the Army Man gave me the go ahead to take it. I have no idea where it is now.

3. It is one of my life-long dreams to shave my head.

4. As children, my siblings and I, along with the other neighborhood kids, would go into the neighborhood that was being built behind our house and sneak into the storm drains to play. That’s right; we played in the sewer system.

5. I am obsessed with TV and often refer to certain characters as if they were my friends. To include such pathetic lines as, “Remember when something just like this happened to Marshall and Lily?”

6. When Laura was about a year old I got a job at a local bookstore and quit after one day when I realized that I wouldn’t make enough money to cover the costs of her daycare.

7. I had to drive by myself to the hospital so I could be induced to have Laura.

8. Back when I lived in California and was working near Hollywood, I saw Matthew Perry (Chandler from Friends) at a diner. I was too scared to talk to him and instead just stared lovingly.

9. I got an “F” in one of my college classes because I simply gave up. It lowered my GPA so much that semester that I was put on academic probation. I then went on to finish college with straight “A”s. Just think how high my overall GPA could have been!

10. I know how to drive a manual transmission and have a 100% success rate when teaching other people. That’s probably because my only student thus far was the Army Man, and he learned in about 2 minutes. But still.

Think you know me well enough to figure it out? Give it your best shot!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm Saucy!!

Today started out as just a regular Tuesday for me: Laura crying in a heap on the ground because I won't let her wear her newly purchased garden clogs to school, and a dog who barfed up her entire breakfast. To catch a quick moment of sanity, I sat down at the computer to check my email and read a few blogs. I went over to one of my new favorites, The Secret is in The Sauce. This awesome blog is all about supporting your fellow blogger through site recognition and leaving comments. And let's be honest: what blogger out there isn't a wee bit obsessed with receiving comments? I know I am! It is always so exciting to know that someone is reading about my mundane life and actually likes what I write enough to say so.

So imagine my absolute shock when I saw that I am featured today on as one of the Saucy Blogs. This means lots of wonderful women will be coming here to read my blog. The pressure is on. Suddenly I don't know what to do. Should I try to be funny? Serious? Should I go do my hair? What do I do???

To save myself from doing my hair and putting on makeup, something which will only benefit people who have to look at me, I'll just say a big thank you to any first time visitors. I hope you'll stay awhile. Knowing my family, there will be a lot more dog barf and Laura crying to write about. And if you want to read more, here are a few choices to help you really get to know me.

A 4 year old's fashion choices
How crying is done in our house
My excellent taste in music

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Crisis Of Conscience

Poor Laura is starting to grapple with something she's never had to worry about before: her conscience. In her younger days, she felt very loose and free to do whatever she pleased, and had no concern whether it was good or not. Then as she got a little older, the only thing she really seemed to take into consideration was how much trouble she would get in if she did something wrong. Apparently my punishments were never enough to convince her to behave in the future, because she usually just kept causing trouble. But now something is messing up her plans for world domination (aka destroying Mommy's sanity). Her struggle is so severe that sometimes I can practically see the little angel and the little devil sitting on her shoulders.

Case in point: Laura has a little angel statue in her bedroom that I gave her for her first birthday. It is super cute, and wasn't expensive at all. The only problem is these statues aren't made anymore, so once this one is broken, that's it. The poor little angel has already had her two little wire ponytails broken off (no repair possible) and has been decapitated once (repair possible, although now her neck is longer). On Friday as I showered, Laura played in her room and eventually focused her attention on her little angel.

This time it was the little wings, attached to the body with a tiny spring, that got her attention. How long she agonized over whether or not to play with the wings is anyone's guess, but right as I got out of the shower, she flew into my room crying and clutching the angel. I saw right away that the wings, while still attached, were bent and now faced to the side. The angel will now only be able to fly a crooked path, if at all. Laura sobbed and sobbed (have I mentioned before that's she very dramatic?), and informed me that she "didn't want to did it but I did!!!"

Finally I got her to calm down, fixed the wings a little bit, and asked her what she meant. She told me that she really didn't want to play with the wings because she knew they were "breakaful" but that she did play with them. She was so heartbroken; over the wings, over the confession, over the not listening to herself that I could see no admonishment was necessary on my part. Later when we told the whole story to the Army Man, he tried to explain to her what a conscience is. I think she understood somewhat, because she vowed to listen to herself from now on. Of course it won't be easy. She's four. There is still plenty of trouble to get into. But I'm glad to know that sometimes that little angel on her shoulder speaks up.

And as silly as it sounds, I almost like her angel statue better now, with no ponytails, bent wings, and a cracked neck. It just seems more representative of Laura. Nowhere near perfect, but still as sweet and lovely as can be.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Run Claire Run!

Yesterday on my run I was approaching the final stretch before my house when a weird saying popped into my head. I can’t for the life of me figure out if this is from a movie or TV show or what. I’m curious if anyone will know what I’m talking about-maybe the Army Man will? Anyway, the phrase was, “You’re writing checks your body can’t cash!” It occurred to me yesterday just how accurate this phrase is when applied to my running.

Running is such an odd activity to me. It’s deeply personal, yet very competitive (at least to me). It drives me crazy that all of the runners in my life can outrun me. Yet at the same time, when I have a great run, I have only myself to congratulate. It wasn’t a team effort, it was all me. In addition, this is the first time a sport has taken over my life the way that running has. I played a fair number of sports as a child, and even played soccer for two years in high school. I was never very good at any of those sports, and sometimes even found myself dreading them. Not so with running. I make every effort to work a run into my day. I discuss and analyze my runs. I read about running. And I’m the first to admit that I’ve lain awake in bed more than once imagining my next run.

I think this fantasizing about running is where I run (ha ha) into trouble. In my mind, I’m flying down the street, covering ground quickly and comfortably. The weather is crisp and clear. I run for a good amount of time and always feel great when I’m done. In these imagined runs, there’s no flab jiggling as I run, and to quote my Mom, I look good while doing it. Then I get up in the morning, go out to run, and reality smacks me in the face. In effect, I’m writing checks at night that my body can’t cash when I run. I gasp and plod, barely manage to finish, never run as far or as long as I wanted to, and don’t really look all that good while running. But for all my moaning and complaining about what a terrible runner I am, I keep doing it. If you're a runner, I know you understand. And if you're not a runner, you should join me in this horrible way of torturing yourself. It's really quite fun.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Storm Is Brewing

This picture doesn't do the real thing justice. Something is going on in North Carolina. It's cold, it's dark, it's been raining off and on, but most of all, it's windy. My back door blew open a little while ago and the trees behind my house are threatening to make a fence-repair man very rich.Laura was sedated today for some dental work, so I've been trapped inside with a groggy and grouchy child all day. If we're not careful, the storm will be inside our house, not outside.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Two Of My Favorite Things

Two of my favorite things: Moxie and beautiful quilting fabric! Sadly that fabric is now all cut up and ready to be sewn, so no more lovely headdresses for Moxie.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Crying Threat Level

Laura sustained a small injury on her pinky finger today. Yes, there was blood involved. I'm sure that it hurt and that it startled her. However, I was not prepared for the excessive screaming and crying, crying that did not stop for over 30 minutes. Crying that continued through all calming attempts, crying that would not stop after Mommy's excellent Band-Aid application, crying that continued even as she ate her lunch!!! Finally, with a Jolly Rancher sucker in hand, Backyardigans on the TV, and a blanket wrapped around her, Laura was able to contain herself. You can see in this picture the aforementioned injury due her careful hand placement. There must be no chance of bumping the injured area.
According to this handy chart that I composed, today the Crying Threat Level in our home was "SEVERE". If you need to read the chart more closely to assess the Crying Threat Level in your own home, please click on it. And remember, be vigilant! Excessive and unstoppable crying can occur anytime and can effect anyone.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Photos

As promised, here are a few Christmas pictures. Most are self-explanatory, but please notice in picture number 2, Laura is attempting to give herself bunny ears, but to me they look more like devil horns, which may be more accurate. The very last picture is her reading a catalog to all of her new dolls, discussing all of the accessories they can get for the new doll house.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009, Here I Come!

As most of you know, I am such a planner and thus tend to always be looking towards the future rather than enjoying the present. This is something I am trying very hard to stop doing. It’s even harder at this time of year when everyone starts talking about goals and resolutions and list making; I want to sit at my computer for hours composing lists and making plans for 2009.

After all, I know it will be a big year for us. For starters, the Army Man will finally complete his last leg of training, and after almost 2 years of being in various schools, he’ll be back to actually doing Army things. He is likely to deploy at some point, so that’s always on my mind. Laura will start some sort of pre-K program and will turn 5 in October. That’s a full-fledged kid. I won’t have a baby anymore. That’s a lot to think about too. I’ll turn 30 (albeit not until the very end of the year, but still) which I’ve always held extremely high expectations for. The closer I get to that age, the more I worry that I’ve set myself up for disappointment. As a geeky teenager I was much like Jennifer Garner’s character in “13 Going On 30”-I was convinced by 30 I would be successful, glamorous, and confident. I find myself on the cusp and yet I feel none of those qualities apply to me. But before you start breaking out the tiny violins, please know that I am not looking for pity or compliments (although both are always welcome)!

The point is that even though 2009 has long been on my radar as a “must-be-great” year, I finally feel mature enough to know that it won’t be anything like what I had imagined, and yet it will be infinitely better than I could have ever hoped. It is so exciting to think about the future, imagine how things will be different or better. Yet how often do things actually come true exactly as we imagine? Not very often, at least in my case. But I still have wonderful memories of my life thus far, and each year has gotten progressively better. I often laugh, because as a kid I certainly thought that by age 30 I would have 3 or 4 kids and live in California near my parents, with a much older husband who was some sort of office professional. I never imagined that I would live in North Carolina, be married to the military, and have one darling daughter who seems like more work that five kids put together. It just goes to show that all the planning in the world doesn't make much of a difference when life actually starts happening.

2009 is shaping up to be a good year for me, despite what will probably be quite a few ups and downs. I look forward to what this year holds for me and my family. I’m excited to see how we handle everything and the memories we make. But most of all, I look forward to enjoying 2009 as it occurs, not how I hope it will or how I plan for it to occur.