Tuesday, March 31, 2009

To Organize . . .

To Organize seems to always be on the top of my To Do list. Well, I suppose it's number two on the list after Declutter.

I was just having a conversation with my favourite Jessica about this. I shared with her my most recent organizing tool, and I hope that by sharing it with you, my three readers, that you will share a tip of your own with me.

I bought a narrow, yet long over-the-door canvas shoe organizer. It is narrow enough to fit on the tiny door of my minuscule coat closet. In it I have placed all my many scarves/gloves/hats, as well as Brent's scarves/gloves/hats, and his flags. No more do I have them all tumbling down upon me from the shelf. No more are they getting snagged and stretched out by hanging around the shoulders of a coat, smashed up against another coat. No more do I have to go through all of them to find the one I want.

I've also thought that next winter it will be helpful with Jenny. It is long enough that Jenny will be able to reach into the bottom row of pouches. I'm thinking that when she has wet mittens I'll use a clothes pin to hang them on the outside of her pocket until they dry, rather than having them shoved back in wet or laying around the house.

That's one bit of mess tamed.

Any suggestions for my bathroom drawer that has oodles of little tiny items?
How about for my many charging cords (cellphone, laptop, etc. etc.)?

Any tips for how to train a husband who is put-it-away-handicapped?

What is your "Duh! What didn't I think of that before?" organization tool or household hint?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Need . . .

Tagged by Claire's blog.

Go to your favourite search engine and type "(your first name) needs", and post the first five things that come up.

Brent needs to examine his self-proclaimed godly status.
Brent needs direction.
Brent needs oiling. (what?)
Brent needs to examine his fixation with male homosexuality and ask himself why he finds it so threatening.
Brent needs to jam to some Neil Diamond.

Maren needs individuals or small business owners who are ready to discover who they really are and what makes them unique.
Maren needs to do more work laying out the Bush administration part of her argument.
Maren needs social interaction, but too much stimulation could cause her to withdraw.
Maren needs to see her work in full splendor.
Maren needs different partners for different reasons.

Jenny needs to find herself a baller.
Jenny needs a Wee by Mr. Jingles.
Jenny needs a road bike.
Jenny needs space!
Jenny needs your help.

James needs a hat petition.
James needs a celebrity profile.
James needs to work a miracle.
James needs an agent.
James needs special effects.

Loki needs to review his customer base.
Loki needs a home!
Loki needs a server.
Loki needs a new agent.
Loki needs cold temperatures to maintain his existence.

Okay, this probably entertained me much more than it did you, but try it yourself and you'll laugh at some of the stuff that comes up.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Daughter Cannot Be Trusted

When Jenny wakes up from her nap, the first thing she does is poop in her diaper. Then she proceeds to play. She throws all her stuffed animals (she MUST sleep with pooh bear, funny bear, dollie, and elmo) out of the crib. Then follow her blankets. Then she likes to bang the crib on the wall for a bit or reach her skinny little arm out of the slats and see if she can grab a new toy to bring into the crib.

When all of these activities are over, she needs to be a little more creative in entertaining herself in the 60 seconds before I come in and get her. So she proceeds to undress herself. Remember the poopie diaper at the beginning of all of this? Yeah. That is why she cannot be trusted.

Yesterday the first signal I got that she was awake was her plaintive little voice saying "Not working! Not working!" I went in to find her with no socks and no pants. She had managed to unsnap the back of her turtleneck/onesie and shoved her arms out of the neck. She had that shirt down around her waist, but had not yet succeeded in unsnapping the crotch. I'm just glad I got there in time, this time.

Oh Poor Me

I just need to complain for a minute. Brent got a new job (yea!) after four months of being home all day. I'm not complaining about the employment. I'm complaining about the toddler now that her daddy is missing all day long. She is more than twice as whiney as usual, and there is no one but me to deal with it.

I have a stabbing pain in my sacrum that makes me limp when I walk and cry out in pain whenever I switch positions too quickly.

I woke up seven times last night. I hardly slept at all. Consequently, I'm tired and will have another hard day dealing with toddler whines.

Brent had a large package delivered recently that was full of styrofoam. Jenny has had much fun playing in it. Consequently, I have styrofoam all over my house now, the distribution of which has been greatly aided by Lucifer (a.k.a. Loki) as he likes to bat the peanuts down the stairs. My back hurts too much to get on the floor and pick the mess up.

I've hit that stage in pregnancy when you start to feel like a whale. I don't think I'm all that huge yet; I'm barely 26 weeks. But everything is getting harder to do, such as: put on my shoes, get on the floor, get off the floor, get in and out of the car, pick up my daughter, clean my house, stand long enough to cook dinner, etc.

However, despite my "poor me" attitude, I recognize that I am extraordinarily blessed. I know of a woman who is 38 weeks pregnant with her second child, and her husband has barely recognized the pregnancy. He has depression and anxiety and is an alcoholic. He is giving her no support whatsoever. Can you imagine?

I know another woman who is in late pregnancy whose husband works 48 hour shifts in a town 2 hours away. She's a little concerned about him being able to make it to the birth.

Then there's one more girl I know who is also pregnant, and the father of her child left her two months ago. Then a couple of weeks ago he met a girl on a cruise and they're getting married next month.

AAACK! I'm so glad I married the right person at the right time. I am saved all that stress and unhappiness. I have a man that is ecstatic to be a father again, that loves playing with his little girl, and that is totally supportive of my pregnancy and birthing plans. His new office is about 10 minutes away from home, and he can get here whenever I need him.

I am surrounded by loving and supportive family.

My little girl is as gorgeous, talented, and intelligent as children can come.

I have a nice home in a nice neighborhood.

My husband has a good job that enables me to be home with my children.

Suddenly my little set of trials is feeling very insignificant and I'm feeling guilty for even mentioning them. I guess I whine as much as Jenny does.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Memory

I was recently reminded of an event in my youth that I wanted to write down before I forget it forever.

When I was a big kid/young teenager (not sure exactly) I was sitting in church between my dad and my brother, Matt. We were sitting on the front row of the chapel overflow, so most of the congregation was in front of us, but there were three or so rows of people sitting behind.

Matt was being a typical brother, poking me and whatnot. I had my legs crossed and was swinging the top leg, letting my slip-on shoe dangle from my toe. Matt grabbed my side to tickle me, my leg reflexively shot out, and my shoe went straight up in the air, rising at least ten feet. My father didn't miss a beat; he stood up, caught the shoe, sat back down, and handed it to me. It couldn't have been choreographed more perfectly.

Immediately the woman sitting directly behind us started cracking up, but no one else had seen it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Little Family

A couple of weeks ago Brent walked Jenny home from church. I had brought my car that day, even though I only live down the street a bit, because I had a bunch of things to carry for my lesson. After our meetings, Jenny did not want to get in the car. So she and Brent went off down the street together, hand in hand.

As I passed them in my car I saw the cutest sight. I ran into my house to grab my camera, and doubled back behind them. Here's the shot. It doesn't do the moment justice, as I am no photographer and my camera is a piece of junk, but you'll get the idea.

My Favourite Poem and My Favourite Flower

I wandered, lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line,
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand, saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed-- and gazed-- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye,
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
and dances with the daffodils.

--William Wordsworth, 1804

I stumbled across the above poem when I was an elementary school girl. It was quoted in some juvenile fiction book I was reading. As I read the poem, it gripped me with such a strong visual image that I instantly fell in love, both with the poem, and with the flower. Daffodils instantly became my favourite flower as I envisioned myself standing in a vast field of them, nothing else in sight except a tall tree, a beautiful lake, and a blue, cloud strewn sky. I was transported to the English Lake District through Wordsworth's beautiful iambic tetrameter, though I knew neither what the Lake District or iambic tetrameter was.

Being only 10 years of age or so, I didn't realize that it was an incredibly famous poem. Nor did I know to note who the poet was. I returned the book to the library. I forgot the book. But I did not forget the poem or the image it had given me.

Years passed, and I searched for the poem. I of course wasn't bright enough to just ask my mother, who would likely have known, where to find a poem about daffodils. Google search was not available to me then, either. So I would spend time in the library's poetry section, or among the poetry shelves of a local bookshop, and scan poetry book after poetry book, searching for my poem.

When I finally found it, I committed it to memory on the spot, so I'd never lose it again. I also learned the name of the poet, in case I ever forgot the beautiful lines.

To this day, I love this poem. I love the memory I have of the first time I read it. I love daffodils. And I know that if I ever actually visited the Lake District, that I would love it to. In honor of Mr. Wordsworth and the love of daffodils he inspired in me, I planted a strip of daffodils along my front walk last fall. Two days ago, the first of them opened. I'm so glad that Spring is here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is it Okay to Hate My Cat?

I consider myself an animal lover. I grew up with dogs and loved it. I like many other animals, but have never lived with any animal other than a dog, until I married into a cat. I wasn't thrilled at the prospect, but was willing to be open about it. Because I am an animal lover, after all. Right?

I've been perpetually congested for almost four years, ever since I moved into a cat house. Usually it's not too bad, but sometimes I can't breathe at night, and therefore can't sleep.

Sometimes my eyes itch really bad and that also affects my sleep.

My basement smells, because that's where the litter box is. There is litter on my stairs all the time. As soon as I vacuum it up it is redeposited. What's the point?

He jumps on my table and counters when I'm prepping food. He licks the butter. He is a messy eater and there's crusty cat food all over my floor. Keeping it cleaned up is like cleaning up the litter.

Nearly every night at approximately 2:00 a.m. he comes meowing at my door and wakes me up. Sleep is elusive enough for me that any additional and unnecessary interruptions makes me want to shriek out all the cuss words in my lexicon (which aren't very many).

He likes to sleep on my bed and gets his allergens all over my duvet and pillows. More sleep trouble.

He likes to go outside and come back inside many, many times a day, and I have to let him out, let him in, let him out, let him in.

He likes to drink running water directly out of the faucet. He will sit on the bathroom counter and wait for me to pass by. When I do he has the most loud and annoying meow that hits a pitch that is exceedingly grating.

When he doesn't get me to turn on the faucet for him, he will drink out of the toilet. As a result, muddy and wet paw prints cover the toilet seat. Of course I don't notice until AFTER I sit down.

Did I mention my basement smells? I thought it was just the litter box. Well, I recently discovered that he has been using my music closet as a litter box. He's been a little sick lately, and as a result I found dried/crusty and also fresh/wet kitty poop (well formed, and also runny diarrhea) all over my kindermusik scarves, some bells, a grass skirt, various other props, the wall, ground into the carpet, and stuck in the track for the sliding doors. It took me two hours to clean up. It was gross. It was the final straw that made me think maybe I do hate him after all.

But he is really pretty. And he does occasionally sit on my lap and purr. He is also a (relatively) harmless animal that needs a home and caretakers to feed him and shelter him and give him love the 2 minutes a day he wants it. I feel responsible for him. I feel like I shouldn't have such negative feelings towards an animal that is just following his instincts. He can't help that he's annoying and evil. It's who he is.

I, however, am a human with higher functioning brain power and reasoning abilities. I have the ability to control my instincts and NOT kick him across the room. Focus on that. Focus on that. I love animals. Even Loki. Right?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

This Week's Frustrations

1. The delivery of my new bedroom set has been delayed by another week. I can't wait to get into that king sized bed! I need more space for my growing belly and my 17 pillows.

2. My back feels like a knife is stabbing me just above my right hip.

3. I once again have failed at my domestic duties and haven't cooked dinner for my family once this week. Somehow we still have food to eat, it's just not very exciting.

4. I lack creativity and inspiration. I have no ideas about how to teach this Sunday. Correction: I have lots of ideas but all of them are LAME.

5. My kitchen faucet now leaks out the back AND the side, and it is worse when I move it to the right side of the sink.

6. My freezer stinks. I'm too lazy to clean it.

7. I seem to be accosted by pushy sales people where'er I go. I'm too polite to say "Yo! Shove off. I'm not interested."

This Week's Joys

1. I started a water aerobics class. I feel a little out of place, being the youngest and thinnest (even though I'm 5 months pregnant) person there, but it's a good workout for my changing and heavy body. And for me, any workout is a good workout since I exercise so rarely.

2. Jenny continues to be a delight. She whines a lot and throws tantrums, but that is to be expected. She also toddles around after me all day repeating whatever I say, trying to fit big words into her tiny mouth. She is such a smart cookie, sometimes.

3. I found a necklace Brent gave me a couple years ago. It's been missing for months. Yea!

4. I got to spend time with my sister Shelley this week. She's a super busy lady, and so we don't get to see each other very often. I always love getting together with her. She, and my other sisters, are one of the greatest blessings in my life.

5. Brent had a very successful interview this week. Hurray for potential employment!

6. I signed up for a Hypnobabies childbirth class. I'm so excited!

7. I received my girl scout cookies from my niece Shannen. I love thin mints.