Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Test Your Citizenship Knowledge

Here is a link to an MSNBC quiz to test your knowledge of the questions on the citizenship exam:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13442226/

Due to some expert guessing, I got a 90.

The Emperor's New Dry Cleaner

So, I always wondered about the dry cleaners - whether they really tried to clean the clothes or not, because it seemed like they weren't actually washing my clothes. Granted, I'm a sweater, so my clothes need to be washed more than the average girl, but . . . I thought I was just going to the "wrong" cleaners because they would come back stinky.

Recently, my current cleaner (which I really like) gave me a beautifully pressed shirt that had dried baby food on the cuffs. If they WASHED it before they pressed it, wouldn't the baby food come off? I think so. I've often noticed the lack of washing with the dry-cleaned items, but I thought that the shirts (cotton, button down) and slacks were at least laundered. NOPE. What is the point of the cleaners if you have to wash your shirts before sending them so you can spend $4 ($0.98 for men) for them to iron them. Stupid.

I'm going to have to make time to iron, now. Ugh.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Reciprocity

Doug is a firm believer in reciprocity (said with the same tone as Big Daddy says "mendacity!" in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof). Reciprocity, karma, what comes around goes around, etc. . .

Anyway, when I worked at the law firm, we had to keep track of our hours so that our clients would be billed for the time spent on their cases. This was very difficult for me because of the many times I would interrupt work on one matter to answer the phone, answer email, talk to someone, work on another matter or look up something. I would forget to write down one of the starting or ending times and then have a hard time piecing together my day. Then, when I worked for the company, there was no billing (pshew!). Now, however, my contract says I must bill for my time every two weeks.

Reciprocity, baby.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

More Fun

There is a hilarious post on Cookie Madness today. You just have to read it. So cute. : )

Since I am solo parenting this evening and Doug's sister still has Annika's book of DVD movies, I decided to take a page from Doug's book and head to Blockbuster to get some children's movies for tonight and the weekend. NOTHING was in stock so Dagny and I left disappointed. We will try another store during the after-lunch happy time. Those of you with babies understand that we can only do errands during the happy time. Anything else results in screaming. Happy time is precious.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Noodling and Running

In the last two days, I've read an article about urging me to be my "best" at everything I do and also discovered that a friend from college is a member of a secular religious order and leads pilgrimages to Italy in his spare time.

The article hacked me off because I am defensive about doing too many things and nothing terribly well, and then I just felt inadequate when I read about the religious order. Am I doing enough to be a good mother to my girls? Am I doing enough work on my non-office days? Am I supporting Doug enough in his work? Am I keeping our business and house affairs in order? Am I doing enough to be a good catholic? (probably not, since the priest remarked to the deacon after we said hello at church on Sunday, "who is that woman? I've never seen her. Does she come to church?")

I don't have the answers. It's easy for me to think that I'm doing plenty of things and doing them well enough. Then again, it's a sure bet that I could be doing more, but better . . . maybe not so much. It's easy to exhort others to do their best, but really I think it boils down to choices. There are only so many hours in the day - maybe I can make better choices on what to do with my hours.

In the non-noodling section, I made a new post-Dagny world record for around the block - 23:42 (8.46 minutes per mile). This was due to some good tunes and the fact that I had to catch up to and pass "the running lady" who was in front of me on my first big hill.

Friday, June 16, 2006

No Sugar?

So, I've been keeping up with the very cool lunches on The Vegan Lunchbox (currently out for summer break) and have learned some neat recipes and food ideas. The lady that writes the lunchbox is currently writing about her battle to kick sugar on her personal blog using the Eat to Live plan. I think my link to the personal blog might be to the comments, which is fine because I've been thinking a lot of things along the lines of what vibrantredhead said.

I've got nothing against anyone who wants to eat healthier or more nutrient-rich food; a diet is a personal thing. However, at what point does a diet cease to be about the food or the body and become a "lifestyle"? Less and less people are going to church these days and more folks are embracing alternative food strategies. Coincidence? Is it really so different to omit all sugar, salt and gluten from your diet on the advice of one doctor than to hear a sermon from a priest, minister or rabbi and then sacrifice meat/tithe/fast/etc?

I'm not saying that I eat the healthiest diet or that I even know what that would be, but it seems to me that so many people (especially those with books and/or memberships to sell) are willing to tell us that they have THE ANSWER and it has to do with complete rejection of various food types. And people buy in because we are just looking for someone to show us the way.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What Kind of Fool?

Annika has camp this week so on my non-office days, Dagny and I are on our own. Today we trekked to Sams Club for the essentials. $300 later, we will never run out of dishwasher soap, liquid dish soap, trash bags, formula, black ink for the printer or chicken breasts. Unfortunately, we were already stocked on all of the listed items except the formula and the chicken. We needed colored ink instead, but I can pick that up when I return to Sams Club for diapers and wipes next week.

Anyway, as if the ridiculously "not what we needed" shopping weren't silly enough, I discovered (after I removed the poopy diaper) that my diaper bag contained NO DIAPERS. So, Dagny rode home commando.

One day I'm going to get it together.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Good Week

This morning Dagny's first tooth came through. You can't see it unless you peer into her mouth, which she detests, but it is there. It's hard to believe that she is old enough for teeth!

I ran three times last week - 8.4 miles not counting warm-up/cool-down walking. This week, I will abandon efforts to go faster and start to add distance so that I can finish the Big Race in three weeks. After that, a different training method may be in order.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Teach the Children Well

A friend of my youngest sister is in professional school at my alma mater. This past year someone in her class posted on her blog a diatribe about her professor - using vulgarity and generally being ugly. As Emily related her friend's description of the prof, I realized it was someone I knew and respected.

I've been thinking a lot about this incident (long past, now) but how do you teach your kids to have respect for others and behave like good citizens? Yes, lead by example, but my parents tried to do that and I was still self-absorbed, shallow, and immature. How much "life-wisdom" can you tell your kids and expect it to sink in?

Education has been a hot topic amongst the moms lately on our forum and on Dogwood Girl's blog. Seems like we have all had the crappy teacher or professor here or there, but no one ever says, "hey - I learned a lot from Dr. X or Mr. Y or Prof. Q". So, I may not have learned much of the subject at hand, but following are the names of some folks who gave of themselves and taught me something whether I wanted to learn it or not:

Bob Brussack
Paul Kurtz
Kathleen B. Adams
Heather Biola
Michael Wells
Neil Nichols
Ray Phillips
Brown Russell
Ken Simpson
Dorothy Lewis

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Glamorous Life

Some glamorous tidbits so you can share in the excitement:

1. A shopping trip might be required (SIGH - I hate shopping) when you have to touch-up your shoes with magic marker before going to work.

2. If your laptop keeps overheating and freezing up, pencils under each corner will help it stay cool. Pencils are better than pens because they have sides and don't roll around when you type.

3. Smoothies are not so hard to make and are a good way to use up the berries going bad in the fridge. Annika is not convinced.

4. When eyes are too tired for contacts and glasses are required, the sunglasses can be applied directly OVER the regular glasses.

5. Magic marker mentioned in #1 comes off if you have to chase the dog across the dew-soaked yard.

6. My parents are thinking about moving into our neighborhood. It will be good, I know it will.

Not so glamorous, but very fun news is that Dagny appears to have learned to sit up by herself. I did not see it happen, but when I went to get her out of the crib, there she was - smiling at me.

Annika has roseola so she feels crappy and we can't go anywhere where little kids might be. I know I've said it before, but I really don't mind staying home except that it is hard to get errands done. All of the rush-around pressure is gone.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Another Cool Blog

This afternoon, Doug and I watched the Pillsbury Bake-Off on the Food Network while the girls napped. The lady who won has a cookie blog where she posts recipes (and photos) of all of the goodies that she makes. How cool is that?

On the running front, only two days of running this week. That's a grand total of 5.6 miles, not counting warm-up/cool-down walking. Very disheartening. I'm getting concerned that I won't be in-shape enough for the BIG RACE that is coming up in July and the longer race that I wanted to attempt for Thanksgiving, forgetaboutit! While I wasn't running, I found a lot of cool running blogs - you can find them here. Since I'm really turning into Vera and the bake-off made me cry, I felt free to post lots of encouraging comments to the other bloggers.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Tacky

Today was my first outing alone with Annika since Dagny was born. Since the party was during Dagny's nap, I called our favorite high school sitter and off we went to a birthday party at Monkey Joes. It was great fun; we slid down every slide, went through every maze, and jumped to our hearts' content. I am whipped and will be sore tomorrow, but I think Annika had a good time and enjoyed the one on one attention.

After the party, we went by the bank for cash and then to the Loft to buy Grammie a birthday present. Our errands completed, we breezed into Learning Express to browse the toys before heading home. As Annika perused the wind-up toys by the register, I noticed large plastic bins full of toys on shelves above the counter; they were labeled with kids' names, ages and the words "wish list". No way, I thought. Since my transformation into my mother is nearly complete, I turned and asked the total strangers next to me, "are those registries for kids' birthdays?" "Yes," they replied. Unable to contain myself, I blurted, "oooohhhhh, that is TACKY."

Now, I'm not Emily Post or any kind of arbiter of style or manners, but how disgusting that people create a birthday registry for 4-6 year olds. Frankly, I'd rather not have kids obligated to bring our kids gifts to their parties at all, but a registry? Gross. It's ugly enough that we do stuff like that for weddings, but I can understand the whole "creating a new household" theory. There is no excuse for a kids birthday registry.

All the more reason to stick with our neighborhood toy store, which has all of the same toys anyway (plus the cool Melissa & Doug toys) and gives me personalized present advice instead of the "two-year-old toys" signs. And, they have snappers, which, I learned while searching for a link to describe them, are legal in Georgia. : )