Let’s see. In 2011…
- I turned 41.
- Sammi puked on my birthday.
- We got a lot of snow.
- Sammi determined the necessary amount of monkey.
- I moved to Flickr.
- Sammi had a goal.
- Alice finished middle school and went to prom.
- Sammi turned 9.
- It got hot in June.
- Alice lost her glasses on a roller coaster.
- My glasses broke in half shortly thereafter.
- Alice turned 14.
- Irene passed through.
- Alice and I went to a concert.
- We had an adventure with our new couch.
- Both girls dressed up for Halloween.
- We had a big snow at the end of October.
- I skipped NaBloPoMo.
- We said goodbye to Santa.
- I pondered the meaning of this blog.
Archive for December, 2011
Let’s see. In 2011…
Well, I did it, and it wasn’t the worst thing ever, but it wasn’t a lot of fun. It didn’t make me feel any better, and nothing really came out except water. I guess I’m supposed to keep doing it a few times a day for the next few days. I am completely over feeling like this. It’s been like 6+ weeks of this crap and I’m just done.
The good news: I got the results of my biopsy back from the dermatologist, and the thing they took off of me is benign.
The less-good news: I’ve finished 9/10 of my antibiotic prescription and feel pretty much the same as I did before I started the antibiotics. I still need pain relief every day for the headaches. I am pretty much fuh-REEKING out about this, in a non-rational hypochondriacal worst-case-scenario sort of way. Anyway, I called the doctor this morning, expecting that we’d be talking CT scans next, but instead he recommended a Neti Pot, so I guess that’s my weekend planned. This is not my idea of a good time. Wish me luck.
Sammi is half-listening to something phone-related that Anth is explaining to me…
Sammi: Does SMS stand for Sixteen Million Spiders? I don’t like spiders.
Sammi and Alice saw a “Treasure Island”-themed holiday panto with their school before break. Recently, Sammi was telling me about it, and this happened:
Sammi: The guy playing Long John Silver was kind of hot.
Me: The bad guys always are. Did he have long hair? And boots?
Sammi: Yeah. And a beard. *sigh* He was such a badass.
Me: I hear ya, sister. *high five*
Very Large Box™ came in the mail before Christmas (full of pet supplies, nothing too festive), and rapidly became Hot Place To Be™ in our living room.
Alice: *Hides under box and waits outside the bathroom*
Sammi: *Comes out of bathroom and looks down at box* Wha…?
Sammi: *lifts up box, revealing Alice* What…? Sissy! You’re ridiculous!
Sammi: It’s not that funny…
Okay, so, I have received unsolicited feedback from two people close to me that this blog, as well as my outlook on life in general, is too negative. I’m struggling with how to respond (via my actions) to this feedback, but it ties in directly to my recent thoughts on the blog and its future.
The few people who are actually reading this have undoubtedly noticed that posting frequency on this blog has decreased greatly over the past few years. Many factors have brought me to this point. Facebook is the most obvious culprit — if I just have a tiny pithy bon mot to share, it seems to make more sense for me to post that as a quick status update rather than trying to spin it into a blog post. Similarly, the ability to instantly post cool links to my Facebook wall via the omnipresent embedded “Like” buttons means that I no longer have any motivation to create “cool links” posts here. Finally, the instant feedback of Facebook friends liking, sharing, and commenting on posts I make to my wall reinforces continued Facebook action; the more I post on Facebook, the more I want to post on Facebook, and that means I post less often here, which means fewer people bother to check in and comment, which discourages me further from posting here.
Facebook is not the only problem here, though. Life has gotten more hectic as I’ve gone from one kid at home, to two kids in school, and that’s decreased both my time and my mental energy for reaching out in a bloggy way. Also, as the kids have grown, I’ve become increasingly hemmed in my concerns for their privacy, which controls what I can share about our lives. And I kind of suspect that I’m also a bit of a victim of the general zeitgeist: Blogging is just, you know, kind of last decade. My blog is just not in the front of my thoughts as much as it used to be…
The solution is not simply “post more”. I’ve been trying to post here every day in December, and you can see what fun that’s been — my holiday to-do list posts are one step up on the boring scale from posts entitled “what I ate for lunch today”, and even the posts where I asked a question, or shared a poem I enjoyed, or made a joke, or announced the end of a longstanding and beloved tradition got one comment each, at most. As much as I’d love to fully embrace the concept of blogging without obligation, that way lies the death of the blog — few posts equals few visitors equals even fewer posts, because why bother if nobody’s reading? It’s a death spiral that I’ve already entered, and I can’t figure out if it’s possible to pull up, or if I should even try.
I started this blog when we were about to start “trying” for baby #2, and it was originally envisioned as a place to post updates on my pregnancy, the baby, and cute little preschooler Alice. We’ve drifted pretty far from that vision, and now I’m kind of out to sea, as it were…
Soooooo…. Predictably, I’m not really sure what else to write, or how to tie this up. I’m looking at the Press This bookmarklet right now — it might make it as easy to post links and stuff to my blog as it is to post them to Facebook. I dunno. I’d write something like “bleaugh” here because that’s generally what I do when I don’t know how to end a blog post — I just make a little frustrated noise and then hit “Publish” — but apparently that was one of the key pieces of evidence presented to me in the “you’re too negative” talk, so I’m going to try to stop doing that. Um, how about this instead: Whoopee!!!
I have a blog post that is still in rumination phase, plus the girls and I had movie night tonight while Daddy swore at the computer for a few hours, so I didn’t really get around to writing anything down here. Maybe tomorrow, if I can get my thoughts in order…
All my presents are wrapped. And you thought I couldn’t do it.
Mailing cards: done
Wrapping: LOOK, I REALLY DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT, OKAY?!?
No snow in the forecast for us, only rain and gray 40s. I guess that’s alright… Despite it being the perfect time of year for snow, it’s not actually a very good time of year for snow, what with everyone needing to be on the road for gatherings, last-minute shopping, etc. Still, I can’t help but be thinking about it, and Sammi keeps demanding to know, “if it’s winter now, where’s the snow?!?”
So in that spirit, I found this poem (which came to me inside a card from a friend) quite lovely and wanted to share…
Not only the Eskimos — Lisel Mueller
We have only one noun
but as many different kinds:
the grainy snow of the Puritans
and snow of soft, fat flakes,
guerrilla snow, which comes in the night
and changes the world by morning,
rabbinical snow, a permanent skullcap
on the highest mountains,
snow that blows in like the Lone Ranger,
riding hard from out of the West,
surreal snow in the Dakotas,
when you can’t find your house, your street,
though you are not in a dream
or a science-fiction movie,
snow that tastes good to the sun
when it licks black tree limbs,
leaving us only one white stripe,
a replica of a skunk,
the blizzard that strikes on the tenth of April,
the false snow before Indian summer,
the Big Snow on Mozart’s birthday,
when Chicago became the Elysian Fields
and strangers spoke to each other,
paper snow, cut and taped,
to the inside of grade-school windows,
in an old tale, the snow
that covers a nest of strawberries,
small hearts, ripe and sweet,
the special snow that goes with Christmas,
whether it falls or not,
the Russian snow we remember
along with the warmth and smell of furs,
though we have never traveled
to Russia or worn furs,
Villon’s snows of yesteryear,
lost with ladies gone out like matches,
the snow in Joyce’s “The Dead,”
the silent, secret snow
in a story by Conrad Aiken,
which is the snow of first love,
the snowfall between the child
and the spacewoman on TV,
snow as idea of whiteness,
as in snowdrop, snow goose, snowball bush,
the snow that puts stars in your hair,
and your hair, which has turned to snow,
the snow Elinor Wylie walked in
in velvet shoes,
the snow before her footprints
and the snow after,
the snow in the back of our heads,
whiter than white, which has to do
with childhood again each year.
The antibiotics are upsetting my tummy a little, and I’m generally feeling mildly punky today. I’m putting some effort into figuring out where I can pare down my to-do list a little more, in hopes of getting everything done that needs to get done without wearing myself out. So we’ve cut one of our cookie recipes (I was gonna try these), and I’m deciding I’m pretty much done with cards (except for two people whose current addresses I am still trying to acquire). We got groceries today, so we’ve got food laid in and meals planned right through New Year’s Day. We’re making one batch of cookies tonight, and the other tomorrow morning before we go see Anth’s parents. I haven’t started wrapping presents yet. *sigh*
Mostly I just want my long winter’s nap, but, you know, that won’t come for a few more days…
I finally saw the doctor today, and got a prescription for antibiotics for my presumed sinus infection. Fingers crossed that the drugs will clear up the pressure in my head, and stop these miserable daily headaches I’ve been having for over a month. Apparently, if a week on antibiotics doesn’t clear this up, the next step is a CT scan. I’m not sure why he felt he had to tell me that, because now I’m wondering if he thinks that the antibiotics won’t do the job. *sigh*
Hey-o, I’m feelin’ pretty groovy today. That is, I’m in the groove and actually feeling more or less on track to be ready for the holiday. I’m probably missing something crucial, but let’s just go with the good feeling for now, okay?
So, yeah, I’ve mailed out 95 cards so far, with only a few “do I bother?” and/or “have they moved?” names still on my list to consider. I also got the long-distance gifts wrapped, packed, and mailed out today, which is a load off my mind. We’ve planned our baking, and picked recipes for Christmas breakfast and dinner. Gift shopping is done. Gift wrapping, however, has not yet begun. (Bleh.) The next big task is to make up the master grocery list and then go buy it all. Oh, and I guess I’d better get started with the baking soon, huh?
I’ve been thinking since yesterday’s post about a new photo tradition that we can start, to take the place of the Santa pictures. It needs to be something we can do every year, where the surroundings will be basically unchanged while the kids grow through the years… I’m thinking maybe the girls in front of the tree? On Christmas Eve, maybe? I dunno…
Soooo…. We went to the mall again today, and the Santa that was there still wasn’t the same (real) Santa that we’ve been going to see since 1999. Plus it was really really crowded, and the kids were super not pleased about taking the picture, and I just didn’t have it in me to force the issue when it wasn’t even going to be the same (real) Santa anyway. So the Santa picture is not happening this year, or ever again, apparently. I’m drawing a line under that whole tradition. *sigh* One more time, for old time’s sake, here are all of the pictures together…
Well, I survived the mall. It was not actually as bad as I was expecting; I wonder if that’s a sign of a bad economy, or my good luck.
We actually have to go back to that mall tomorrow. We haven’t visited Santa yet for the yearly picture, because Alice is finally 5-day at school and so I had to wait until break started so we could go on a less-crowded weekday. I’m a little apprehensive, though — I snuck a peek at Santa yesterday and it didn’t look like the same guy; maybe he’s “weekend Santa”, though. The question was posed, and not by me: If we go tomorrow, and it’s still not the same Santa who is in every one of our Santa pictures since 1999, do we still have to take the picture? The kids voted a resounding NO because they are OVER the whole thing. I am not sure how I feel about giving it up. Several people have suggested disapprovingly that my kids are just too darn old to be sitting on an old man’s lap to please their mother. I do love that progression of pictures, though. *sigh*
This afternoon I am taking Alice to the largest shopping mall in the United States of America in terms of leasable retail space. This is not what I would choose to do with my day if left to my own devices, but she really wants to get together with some of her conventionally-schooled friends and do a little holiday shopping, and since they don’t get off for break until midday on the 22nd, it’s this weekend or nothing. So, yeah, if you’re doing the sensible thing this weekend and relaxing at home, please think of me in Retail Nightmare Land. Bleh.
The doctor took off the thing on my leg, and I’ll have results on it in 1-2 weeks (the holidays slow everything down). The numbing injection was very painful, and there’s a 2″ spot on my leg below the incision that’s discolored and still numb almost 8 hours later, but the procedure itself was painless. Now I have a small, raw-looking boo-boo that I have to keep cleaned and dressed for a few days.
That’s the biggest news of my day. I spent the afternoon at the school for the holiday events (singing, eating, more eating, etc.), which was fun but exhausting. Now I’m in kind of a daze and my boo-boo stings a bit, and I’m just marking time until I can go to sleep. No more school (or work for Anth) until January 2, yay!!
I’ve been slacking on a lot of health stuff lately. I don’t just mean the way I’ve been eating whatever the hell I want and exercising rarely; I’ve also been putting off various appointments and checks that I should’ve scheduled months ago. I did finally kick myself into gear last week, though, as evidenced by my eye exam on Tuesday.
Tomorrow I go to the dermatologist for my first-ever skin check (mostly just a baseline, but there’s also this weird little thing on my leg that I’ve been alternately ignoring and freaking out about since the summer). That was something I resolved to do the year I turned 40 so, um, yeah, right on schedule. I’ll be glad to have that done.
Next week I have to make the call to get Sammi in to an orthodontist sometime in January. You bet your heinie I’ve been procrastinating on that phone call, but the guy I’m calling is supposed to be very low-intervention. So there actually is a good chance that, when he gets a look at Sammi’s mouth, he might just say we don’t need to do anything yet, or maybe ever. Cross your fingers on that one, people.
Oh, and my car got inspected, and got new tires, this week. And I got the oil changed in Anth’s car while he was taking my car in for inspection. But now my car is almost due for an oil change, and Anth’s car is due for inspection by February. That crap is never done. *sigh*
Now if I could just make the appointment with the lawyer to get our wills done… Bleh.
Got 50 cards in the mail today. Oh yeah, oh yeah.
Aaaaaand that’s all I’ve got to say. This is why holidailies is bad, m’kay?
Today I went from home to the school to the eye doctor (yearly exam, fine) to the dry cleaner to the gas station to the library to the DMV (only took an hour to get my new license, yay) to a burger joint to TJ Maxx to Trader Joe’s to the school to home to the school to home. Very very tiring, but I crossed off a bunch of “noisy” items on my list. (”Noisy” = things that aren’t urgent but they niggle at me and irritate me until I can get around to getting them done.)
Tomorrow I am not going anywhere except to and from school a couple of times, and to and from ballet a couple of times. Oh, and to the post office because apparently they have a package of mine and tracking says they left a notice but they didn’t leave me any such notice! But the post office is on the way to and from school and to and from ballet, so that’s no trouble at all. Besides all of that, I am staying home, dammit, and I am going to be productive, dammit, and I am going to start the cards, dammit!!!
The address labels came today. Now I’m out of excuses for stalling on the cards.
I got a lot done today, and feel much more on top of the holiday preparations now. Our final big Amazon order is in, which crosses about 6 people off the to-do list. We’ve got the holiday baking planned. Alice finished her craft for the school (although I still have to put the boring finishing touches on for her). Now if I could just get over whatever block is keeping me from starting on the cards*, I’d be really rolling.
* I tell myself the problem is that the special pretty return address labels haven’t come yet, but I think the reality is that there are 119 names on the list and I need to figure out how to cut a few, and I can’t figure out how. *sigh*
Hey, it’s a bonus post to make up for yesterday!!
We went and got our cute little tree and set it up in the only place it could go. It’s between me at the computer here and the couch, so now I can’t see what’s going on in that half of the room, but I suppose them’s the breaks.
As soon as there’s a tree in my house, I start playing the holiday music. I’ve got close to 500 songs saved on my hard drive for this time of year, ranging from straight-ahead Mormon Tabernacle Choir chorals to 8-bit classic videogame style instrumentals. I loaded them all up and hit “shuffle” and I’m really loving the stuff that’s coming up. Hence the blog post — some of my favorites.
This is one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs, mostly because it reminds me of (a) my youth and (b) my mom (who was a massive Paul Young fan:
This one makes me cry every single damn time they hit the bridge where they sing about “the kids who have nothing”:
One of my most favoritest Christmas albums is this one — that’s what I usually put on when it’s time to wrap the presents.
I would be remiss if I didn’t share these videos, as well: Evil Christmas Carols (vol 1) and Evil Christmas Carols (vol 2) — traditional carols transposed to a minor key, and therefore achieving a tenfold increase in awesomeness.
I suspect that, as this massive playlist continues, I’ll hear other songs that I just adore. But this is probably enough for one post. What are your favorite seasonal songs?
Rats, I didn’t blog yesterday. In my defense, I sat down after dinner to watch some Buffy, and somehow I never got back to my computer.
Today we need to go get a tree, and it has to be a very small tree, because I could only figure out how to clear a very small space in the living room this year; two new pieces of furniture and some other key rearrangements have left us with minimal options for tree placement. Also this weekend, I need to finish up the shopping with the annual Big Amazon Order, I need to freaking start the cards already (I was waiting for the return labels to get here but they are taking forever and I need to stop stalling), we need to decorate the cinnamon ornaments that Alice made last weekend for her school’s little craft fair next week, we have two possible local bazaars to hit, I wanna go to the movies (for either this or this), and, um, oh, I want to make chocolate pudding. And I want to eat popovers, but making them is Alice’s job. Yum.
I spend Thursdays working in the office at my kids’ school, as a work trade to reduce their (sizable) tuition. The last two weeks I was in there, I was working on getting out 1400+ letters for their annual appeal. Today I was processing some of the bounced letters (looking for updated addresses, re-preparing letters to resend) and the responses. All of this to say that I am now tired and that’s why I didn’t blog today.
OR DID I?!?
Wow, I just figured out why I can’t seem to get motivated to get anything done. It’s not my sleep schedule, and it’s not holiday stress, and it’s not my messy house. It’s my depression. Duh. It took me a while to see the hole I’m in. Now, how to climb out… *sigh*
My exercise routine has gone all to heck in the last month or so, which means that my sleep schedule is a shambles now, too. Last night I slept for about 5½ hours, which is not really enough for me to survive on. I had a busy morning, which caused a sufficient adrenaline burst that I was pretty wide awake (if shaky) until lunchtime, but now it’s chilly and grey outside and I’m sitting in a quiet house with no motivation or energy to do anything at all (not even the things that I am already late in doing, and guilty about to boot). So here’s a big *yawn* blog post from me, because that’s apparently all I’m good for today. Bleh.
(Things I’m not doing: Editing some webpages for my volunteer job. Looking over some files for my tiny paid job. Vetting the holiday card list. Planning holiday food and finding recipes to fit the plan. Finishing the book that was due back today that’s going to end up netting me a tidy little library fine. Cleaning anything in the house. Thinking of a better meal for tonight than hot dogs and, um, I dunno. Moving furniture, or at least thinking about moving furniture, in order to make room for the tree we’ll be getting this weekend. Etc. Etc. Etc.)
Two batches of pictures up, one big and one small.
The big: our trip to the zoo last October
The small: last year’s school pictures
*sigh* I need to catch up with pictures. This is ridiculous — I’m once again posting pix from over a year ago. The thing is, we’ve taken far fewer pictures in 2011 than we have in past years (for whatever reason, maybe just because we’re getting more boring). If I could just catch up with all of the past pictures, I might actually stand a chance of staying caught up.
That’s what I tell myself, anyway. Who knows…
Happy Half Day to Sammi, who is 9½ today! Since both of my kids have summer birthdays, we sometimes bring in half-days half-cookies to share, but this year that’s not an option. Maybe I’ll give her half a dollar or something. Half a candy bar. Half her dinner. Heh.
The girls and I went to see Arthur Christmas today and we really liked it!! I’m a big fan of Aardman, so I was eager to go. And it wasn’t claymation, so Sammi was willing to watch it. (She hates claymation and refuses to watch anything made that way. Case in point: we saw the trailer for The Pirates! Band of Misfits before the show today, and it looked really funny, but she said she absolutely will not go see it with us. She will not explain the origins of this prejudice. *shrug*) We eschewed the upcharge to 3D and opted for seeing it flat (with the headaches I’ve been having, I did not want to deal with a 3D show anyway) and it was just lovely — hilariously funny and sweet and mostly well-paced. Highly recommended!!
I’ve got the cards, the pictures, and the stamps, and the address labels finally shipped today, so it’s time for me to start thinking about my holiday card list. I pulled up last year’s file and it’s just overwhelming, looking at all of those names. *sigh* Maybe I’m not in the right frame of mind to be doing this, seeing as my head still feels all throbby and sore. (The OTC decongestant may be helping, I don’t know. If I’m not feeling significantly better by the end of the weekend, I’ll probably try again to see my doctor…)
Anyway, I guess this is my yearly shout-out: If I sent you a card last year, but you’ve moved since then, please let me know your new address (assuming you want a card from me this year)! And if I’ve sent you a card in past years, but you didn’t get one last year, send me your address because your card might have bounced back to me (several did last year). And if you’ve never gotten a card from me but you want one, tell me and I’ll see how many extras I have after the main list is done.
Here they are, all double-checked and listified. I even found some new ones this year, thanks to Chaos Theory!!
- Episcopal Diocese of Washington
- Beliefnet’s Advent Calendar
- Bengal Cat Advent Calendar
- Christmas Advent Calendar
- Dionaea’s Advent Calendar (PG-13!)
- Greg’s Advent Calendar
- Holidays On the Net
- Festivals & Celebrations
- Q Creative Calendar
- St. Margaret Mary Parish Advent Calendar
- Suburban Sprawl Music for Xmas
- Tate’s Advent Calendar
- X-Entertainment’s Advent Calendar (PG!)
- Yule in Iceland Advent Calendar
- Henry And Nancy’s Advent Calendar
- Rooney Design
- Boowa and Kwala
- Homeschooling activities
- 2008 Advent Calendar
- Le Calendrier de l’Avent en Chansons
- Calm Advent Calendar Online
- Advent calendar on sustainable development
- Advent Calendar Blog» Cartoons by Dave Walker
- Liverpool museums
- New York Carver
- BBC – Somerset
- Taste of Home 2011 Cookie Countdown
- Perl Advent Calendar 2011 (geeks only!)
- Presentation Magazine
- Online Bingo Advent Calendar
- Kent ICT
- Appvent Calendar 2011
- Santa’s Advent Calendar
- Busted Halo’s 2011 Advent Surprise Calendar
- 25 days of bad music
- Weebl Advent Calendar
- The Framley Examiner
Oh, and I made a 2:00 doctor’s appointment, but then they called me back half an hour later and cancelled it because my doctor’s too sick to come in today. I talked to the nurse about my symptoms, though, and she said that they’ve been seeing a lot of sinus stuff, so it may just be an ugly virus or something. She recommended some drugs & remedies…
Okay, it’s all going too fast now. 24 days until Christmas? 20 days until winter? 15 days until school breaks for two weeks? My head is swimming!!
It looks like Holidailies is dead, which is sad. I already blew NaBloPoMo, as mentioned on November 1st. Those two events would usually got me back onto the track of regular blogging at the end of every year. *sigh* Okay, I’m going to try to Holidaily myself anyway. Let’s see if I can fool myself into believing that I’m committed to doing this.
It was a draining November…
Alice sprained her ankle the Monday before Thanksgiving, so she was on crutches for most of that week and it’s still sore now. The limits on her movement and the anxiety and embarrassment of getting injured have left her with a lot of pent-up energy, though, which is coming out all widdershins and contrariwise.
Anth had a massive work project in the middle of the month — in one 7-day period (Monday through Sunday) at the peak of it, he clocked ninety hours of work.
Sammi is having an up-and-down time at school. The student body is so tiny that there just isn’t always someone around for her to hang with, and then she feels lonely and abandoned and texts me on her iPod begging me to pick her up early.
I’ve been having daily headaches and general ickiness for a couple of weeks now. It’s taken me a while to get a good hypothesis on what’s going on with me — first I thought it was just stress and tension (well, first I thought it was an inoperable brain tumor, but anyway…), but as time’s gone by and the headaches have gotten worse, I’ve started to think that I have my very first sinus infection. I finally decided that I couldn’t take the pain any more and I needed to go to the doctor yesterday, only to find out that my doctor’s office is closed on Wednesdays. Ugh. So now I’m just biding my time until they open at 9:00 and I can beg them to let me come in today for antibiotics and/or a cyanide pill.
I want to try to get advent calendar links up today, but that won’t be until the afternoon or evening.