We spent the first half of January recovering from our travels and the second half recovering from the ‘rona. It hadn’t hit us since March of 2020 (we were trendsetters) so it was bound to get us again at some point. I’m almost relieved we have it out of our systems for a little while. Annabelle only felt sick for two days but it took me out for over a week. It seems like all we’ve done this year is get sick, recover, cancel appointments/playdates, make never-ending meal plans and school.
check and check
Listening to: the Encanto soundtrack seventeen times a week. AB listens to it over and over and over. I got Finley Donovan is Killing It and True to You on Audible but neither are keeping my attention. I’ve had a hard time concentrating on anything lately so they may be good books and we can chalk it up to user error. Whenever I need something mindless to listen to, I go back to my old faithful podcast Cartalk. I know nothing about cars or the bolts that attach the piston to the internal combustible engine but for some reason, I find listening to an hour of Cartalk relaxing.
Not enjoying: when the cats escape from the house. When we got home from church on Sunday, the living room doors were open and both cats were gone. We got Lucy easily but it took a good 30 minutes to get Linus George Krasinski back inside. He found himself a hole under the deck and refused to come out. We finally got him and not two hours later he escaped again and the whole process repeated itself. I almost put up a ‘free cats’ sign. They escape several times a week and it’s the only time the neighbors hear me yell.
“ANNABEEEEELLLLLE. YOU LET LINUS OUT AGAIN!”
“I’M SORRY MOM! I DIDN’T MEAN TO!”
“Don’t just stand there with the door open! Now Lulu is out too! There goes Linus under the shed. Grab Lucy! She’s about to go right by—never mind. You missed her.”
quality family time under the deck while we waited for Linus to come out of the hole
Crushing: my New Years’ resolution. I have no word of the year. I have no resolutions. My plan is to keep the bar of expectations as low as it can possibly go. My one and only goal for this year was to buy new soap dispensers for the downstairs bathrooms. I crossed that off on January 1st. It might have even been the night of December 31st. We might be headed towards year 16 of this shandemic but we’ll do it with pretty glass bottles.
Showing off: Oliver. I don’t have anything new to say about him but he’s deliciously cute and the world needs to see more of him. When we were in MA, Sesame and I babysat him while Daniel and Erika took Ivy to Boston for the night. Oliver was not as excited about the sleepover as we were. He was very upset his parents would leave him with people who did nothing but dote on him and cater to his every need. He cried most of the time and said “mama mama” in such a pathetic little voice. I knew I had to do something big to turn the ship around and make him like me. I had to redeem the sleepover! We took him to the free zoo (pet store) for the first time in his life and he was as thrilled as an eight-month-old can be. At one point I told AB to watch Oliver in the living room while I used the bathroom. I specifically said to make sure he didn’t eat any of the Christmas tree needles on the floor. She came to the bathroom door to tell me that he was trying to eat the tree but she had given him a piece of tissue paper and told him, “I’m trusting you not to eat this paper while I go tell my mom you’re still eating the tree.” I appreciate her trust in him, however misplaced trusting in a teething baby to not eat a piece of tissue paper may be.
Watching: any shows I can find about cults (or “religious groups that are exclusive and full of rules but not a cult”) and Sweet Magnolias. The topics could not be more different but they both fill a hole in my heart. Several of my friends here are personally offended that the characters on Sweet Magnolias don’t sound authentically southern or use the right southern phrases. Most of the characters don’t sound southern to me and the ones that do sound southern sound like the friends who are offended.
We’re still watching Marvel movies. I’ve told Christopher numerous times that we’ve seen all these movies at least three times each but he insists we have not. We have. I know for a fact that we have. We’ve been watching them for the last 11 years. Why do we keep watching them? Because someone who will remain nameless but whose name rhymes with Farah gets very confused about what has happened in past movies. Christopher doesn’t appreciate many questions being asked in the movie theater so we’re trying to get ahead of the game by rewatching them all now before the next big movie comes out. Questions include but are not limited to:
Why does Loki’s hair always look greasy?
Why is Black Widow considered a superhero? She is extremely annoying and I have no use for her. No one can fight like that while wearing heels and not even having her hair in a ponytail.
Why did they kill off Jarvis?
Why does no one pay attention to Hawkeye like they should? He doesn’t have greasy hair.
Why did they kill off Tony Stark?
Why is Doctor Strange showing up again? He’s rude, has a terrible attitude, and is a selfish stick in the mud anytime he’s on the screen. Why does he survive when Matthew Crawley did not? (Downton is a totally different universe but I never miss a chance to bring up Matthew’s death.)
Who’s that character? What do you mean we learned that character’s backstory in the first iteration of the series directed by so and so in 2009? Do you think I can keep up with other universes when I can barely keep up with what’s happening on this universe?
The same person who continually rolls her eyes and sighs has so many opinions about said movies that you might be led to believe that she is more invested than she cares to admit. You would be correct. I was very upset when my beloved Captain America handed over his shield to a new man. WHY DID HE DO THAT. I will never love another Captain America as I loved him. Don’t come near me with your talk of a “new generation” and “the story must go on” and “plotline development.” Plotline Shmotline. Chris Evans is where it’s at. Yet another new Marvel series has hit Disney+. I’ve been told it’s the same universe as the other movies but on a different timeline or some such nonsense. Or maybe it’s the same timeline but a different universe. I zoned out when I was being told. I have drawn the line in the sand and declared I will not be watching it. Does it have Captain America? No. Thor? No. Iron Man? No. Is Chris Pratt singing and dancing while he hunts for aliens? No again. Then adios, Marvel. I won’t be spending any more time with you. I can’t watch movies where the characters shoot beams/lasers/fire out of their hands and/or eyes. I have a one-character limit for that and the new series has several hand-shooting characters so I will not be participating in that viewing.
See? It’s stupid.
Loving: my new purse. I’m not one for name brands, but I am one for sparkle and shine so when I saw a sparkle Kate Spade bag on sale for 70% off I fell in love. I never make large purchases but I thought I would make it my splurge of the decade. Immediately after I showed it to Christopher online it went out of stock. I took it as a sign to stick to my TJMaxx purses. Imagine how delighted I was when Christopher got it for me for Christmas. He’s the reason it went out of stock. You could say sparkle is my signature color.
Organizing: everything that stays still long enough to be organized. I picked up some new organizing bins and baskets and went to town. I organized my makeup drawer at 9:30pm. I’ve watched videos about under kitchen sink organization and efficiency. I’ve bookmarked several different styles of clear containers. Perhaps I should spend a little extra time organizing my hair. Annabelle drew this portrait of me and I can’t say it’s my best look ever.
Reading: Caroline by Sarah Miller. To be honest I didn’t finish this one before it had to go back to the library. It started out with such potential and I did enjoy some of it, but the descriptions were never-ending. The pages telling the harrowing crossing of the river was seven paragraphs too long. The description of Caroline tying down the canvas to protect their possesions from the rain seemed endless. What I really liked was the book was from Ma’s perspective. The original Little House series focuses on how exciting it was for Laura and Pa but doesn’t bring up how Ma felt beyond her saintly attitude. Ma put up with A LOT. Much more than I would have. For as often as I joke about wanting to live back then, I wouldn’t have done well with some (most) of what they went through. I would have told Charles to go on his merry way. My little China doll and I are staying right here in this cabin with real floors, thank you very much.
I’m in the middle of A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum. I needed to get away from my normal genres and this fit the bill. So far it’s very interesting.
From Goodreads: ”This debut novel by an Arab-American voice,takes us inside the lives of conservative Arab women living in America. In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her community.”
Watching: A Million Little Things and Making It. We’ve watched every season of Making It and it remains one of my favorite shows. It’s The Great British Baking Show of the crafting world. Everyone is so kind to each other, the hosts are so entertaining and the scenery is lovely.
Searching for: the perfect shower curtain. It’s sad how much this excites me. The one we were given for our wedding is about to bite the dust and not that I’ve been waiting for it’s demise, but I’m ready for it to go. It’s hung in 6 of our 8 houses and it should have retired long ago. The list of shower curtains I’ve bookmarked is growing by the day. This is going to turn into a “if you give a mouse a cookie” situation. First it’s “only” a new shower curtain then next thing you know I’m wallpapering and redoing cabinets for a complete bathroom makeover. It’s a slippery slope.
Not appreciating: shows that include the shamandemic in the storyline. I’m living it. I don’t need to see people wearing masks and talking about quarantine when I watch my shows.
Trying: pilates. I finally got up the courage to try classes at the new gym. Pilates starts 30 minutes after I drop Annabelle off at school so I’m already out of the house and really have no excuse not to go. I was worried the class would be too easy since everyone is easily three decades older than me, but it is a workout. Those older ladies have flat stomachs and a lot of endurance. Their legs keep going around in circles while mine barely make it to the end of 20 seconds. When I tried to stand up at the end of the first class, my legs buckled beneath me and I crumpled back onto the mat. All the ladies got up as gracefully as gazelles. But I will press on because I need to lose between .5-20lbs before Aaron’s wedding in December and I hear pilates is good for body shape.
”This is my exploratory expedition outfit.”
Eating: Red Lobster cheddar biscuits. The new gym is in a strip mall near an Italian restaurant. I left pilates determined to be the picture of health that week, but I smelled the restaurant baking bread sticks and bread was all I could think about. Not an hour later I saw a box mix of cheddar biscuits at the store and it seemed like fate. I won’t say how many I ate but it was more than 3. I doubt I will be losing .5-20lb with that kind of diet.
Annoyed: that I spent three days trying to write this and half of it disappeared so I have to start over.
Feeling: old. What else is new. A boy from the first family I babysat for got married a few months ago and his wife is pregnant. A few of the other children I watched during my time as mayor of Babysitterville are in college. The first group of preschoolers I volunteered with years ago are seniors high school. None of them would remember me but I remember them all and still have a few pictures they drew me. I very clearly recall the first family I babysat for because it was not a good experience. I was convinced they would be kidnapped or die on my watch so I was very uptight. I was unsure of what their mom allowed so I’m sure I seemed like a stick in the mud. Fast forward a couple years and I was a laid back party on wheels. They had a pug named Abby who I DID NOT LIKE ONE BIT. She smelled awful and constantly had accidents in the kitchen. She forever ruined pugs for me. Their mom was supposed to pay me $6 an hour, which seemed like a fortune at the time. She kept lowering the rate as the weeks went by and gave me whatever dollar bills she found crumpled in her purse. Once she gave me $5 for 5 hours. I had to talk to her about it which took at least three years off my life.
Buying: a pillbox and reading glasses. This purchase did nothing to help me feel better about my age. Actual footage of me right now.
Frustrated: with this town. The entire place operates in the same sloppy way. Christopher and I had lab work done at one doctor’s office that was supposed to send the blood to a lab then send the results to a second doctor’s office. There was mass confusion about which office the results were being sent to and neither office got any. No one knew what happened to our collective 24 vials of blood. I called both offices several times a week and we finally tracked it down at the lab. The lab knew my doctor’s name but had the fax number wrong so instead of calling them for clarification, they did nothing with the results. They then told us that they couldn’t do a specific test on Christopher’s blood but again, instead of letting us know, they let it sit on a shelf and “get too old” to reuse on a different test. All of this has taken several more years off my life.
I’ve been wandering in a hairdresser desert for a year and a half now. I needed to break up with my hairdresser, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it since she was also a friend. Instead of addressing this as Christopher would have (“Just tell her you found a new place. It will be fine.”) I chose the path of least resistance and stayed at her salon. My friend moved and I recently went to a new place someone recommended. The hairdresser was surprised to see me even though she had confirmed the appointment. My cut started 27 minutes late because she had to “run next store real quick and buy jeans before they close.” She came back with jeans, a few shirts and a pair of new earrings. Silly me was expecting it to be a professional operation but nope. She did a great job so now I have to decide if I want to budget an extra 40 minutes when I make an appointment in case Mary wants to go on another shopping spree.
Hearing: my friends say they’re getting off social media because it’s a time sucker.
Discovering: new filters when I should be weeding the garden. See also: time sucker. I sent Aaron these pictures to prove that I am capable of filling any and all roles as his future wedding planner.
Bouncer to stop wedding crashers
Ready, willing and able to perform religious ceremonies
He has not taken me up on any offers yet but I will not give up. There are more filters and ignoring of housework where those came from.
Blaming: everything on the ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal. Every time I need something at the store that isn’t in stock I blame the ship. CVS is out of the one very specific dosage of Tylenol I need? Blame it on the ship. The dollar store has bare shelves and looks like a Russian grocery store from 1990? Blame it on the boat. I didn’t get all the laundry done? Blame it on the boat.
Listening: D-Day Darlings and Dadville. The former is a group that sings WW2 songs and the latter is, as the name hints, a podcast for dads. It’s such an entertaining podcast that I don’t even care that I’m not the target audience. I happen know several dads and this makes me feel like I might be able to understand them a little more. Their ads reel me in hook, line and sinker. I’ve come this close to purchasing a custom-made grass food formulated specifically for my zip code.
Not comprehending: how men, specifically Christopher, do not notice things. He generally notices when I get a haircut (mostly because I make a production of reminding him I’m getting a haircut) but beyond that, he is not the most observant man in the world. Not even the 5,598th most observant man, if we’re being honest. I replaced a shelf, styled it with new decor and he didn’t notice. There was a piece of paper on the floor in front of his sink for literally weeks and he didn’t move it. Let’s not forget the time he had fake eyelashes attached to his headlights for a week without noticing them. We were watching Captain America recently and he made a comment about what the artist in the movie was painting. I asked how he knew what was being painted since we didn’t see the actual painting and he said, “We saw that the paint on the artist’s pallet was the same color as the bad guy which tells us what he was painting a portrait of the bad guy.”
Appreciating: Annabelle’s optimism. At night after her first tball game, she prayed, “Thank you that the game was tied.” They lost 25-7.
Jealous: of everyone else in the US getting snow but us. I’m glad I have heat and running water, but I’d love to look out the window and see snow instead of the 10th day of rain in a row.
Sad: that Annabelle has forgotten to take her precious Memere blanket to bed several nights this year. She’s had Memere blankie since she was minutes old. It has gone everywhere with us. Now she might not notice if she doesn’t have it at bedtime and it gives me actual tears. Christopher said, “Well, she is getting older. She’s almost 7” WHICH IS THE WRONG THING TO SAY TO SOMEONE ON THE EMOTIONAL BRINK. The last time she forgot the blanket downstairs, I brought it up to her and woke her up so she’d know it was there.
She had Memere blankie on her very first walk around the block.
Buying: Bar Keepers Friend cleaner and new sponges. I also downloaded a podcast episode called Cleaning and Laundry Get Easier when You Understand This. I was more excited about it than one should be about cleaning products, but such is middle-age life.
Mourning: the passing of my 20s (which I’ve been doing for a few years now). AB interrupted me at supper last night to say that she “can see that you do have a lot of gray hair but they’re more silver than white so it’s ok.” I think she meant it as a compliment but I didn’t need someone pointing out my gray hair and Memere blankie being forgotten within the same 24 hours. I got an updated AARP membership card last month. I ripped it up and was about to throw it away when I saw that I qualified for a free, no purchase necessary, S&H included car trunk organizer. I love some good car organization which seems like yet another check in the “are you middle age?” quiz.
Reading: Who Thought this was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco, 500 Miles from You by Jenny Colgan and Sacred Tears by Lindsey Wheeler. I’m listening to Lovely War by Julie Berry. Michelle recommended it and I read anything she tells me to. I have Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella, Redeployment by Phil Klay and A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell to read next in the library basket. They’ve already been renewed twice so I’m not sure if I’ll get to them all before they’re due again.
Updating: Annabelle’s bedroom. I painted the nature mural on one wall but the other walls are in desperate need of some TLC. She will have the mural until she is in college then her children will enjoy it. It took too long to paint for me to throw some new paint over it. I was going to do white but AB asked if we could do a color. More specifically, she wanted orange to which I said “letmethinkaboutit NO.”
We settled on purple. I started taping this week but haven’t started the actual painting yet. I don’t mind painting, but I always forget how long it takes to move furniture and tape everything and collect the paintbrushes and is it time for a nap yet.
Thinking: about the appointment I had with the fertility doctor last month. He was very nice and I feel very comfortable with him. He instantly said he knew I wasn’t from Georgia because of my accent. I said I was from Massachusetts which started a conversation about politics and he made an incorrect assumption about my political views based on my birthplace. He started talking about red states and blue states and said something like “I’m sure you and I agree on issues because we’re from the same color state.” I got confused about which color my party is so I agreed that he and I are of the same political persuasion. We were deep into the conversation before I realized I had accidentally agreed that I am a democrat. I don’t care whether he’s right, left, middle, or Kayne West’s Birthday Party as long as he can do his job well. I never clarified which way I vote so now I feel like I have to keep up this political charade forever. The future of my uterus and the size of my family is in his hands and I don’t want to give him any ideas that I shouldn’t raise another child because I can’t keep two simple colors straight.
Mourning: the failure of the neck firming, anti-wrinkle, saggy neck tightener and double chin reducer anti-aging moisturizer I bought. I had such high hopes that it would tighten all my extra chins up but it did nothing. I was supposed to get a free second bottle, which I signed up for twice, but I never received it. I continue to use it because I paid for it and it is moisturizing, but it did not deliver the botox in a bottle I was hoping for. I cannot tell Christopher this because I can’t deal with my chins AND him saying ”I told you so.” I recently found a V-line face slimming lifting double chin removal massager that sounds promising. When God closes one chin repair window He opens another.
Welcome to my yearly airing of grievances where I beg the world to cease and desist all behaviors I find annoying. It goes without saying that any and all viruses which shall not be named are no longer welcome in the new year.
+ Several years ago in my grievances I mentioned how I loath abbreviated words such as sammie, brekkie, and addy (instead of address). It makes me gag just writing those words. Sadly the world has not listened to me and I’m still hearing those words. I come to you this year with a new word we need to abolish from our vocabulary: K instead of ok. Do you not have time to type ONE more letter and make it a complete word? I’m not asking that people go above and beyond by spelling o-k-a-y. All I’m asking is for a complete word.
+ Political pamphlets. It was a veeery long political season and in Georgia, it still hasn’t wrapped up. We’ve been getting 2-5 pieces of mail from both political parties almost every day since October. We’ve known who we’re voting for in the runoff election for months so we learn nothing new from the pamphlets and they go straight into the trash. At this point, I think I should have kept count of which party sent the least mail and vote for them!
+ Groups of friends who get together for visit then spend the entire time on their phones and not interacting with one another. One time at church I was VERY ANNOYED WITH THE WORLD and I directed this annoyance at a group of teenage boys sitting in a row, each on their phones. I wanted to roll up a bulletin and throw it at them but Christopher said isn’t how we are to behave in church and it doesn’t need to bother me so much and who suddenly made him the reasonable one in this relationship?
+ One-way aisles in stores. This issue was brought up by the pandemic shandemic and much like the pandemic shandemic, it needs to be kicked to the curb. If the one-way arrows on the floor are meant to limit interpersonal contact, then tell me how it makes sense for me to see the box of crackers I need in empty aisle 13, but the arrow is saying I need to walk up crowded aisle 12 to get to the other end of 13 so that I’m not going the “wrong” way. I understand their reasoning, but it’s not well executed. I’ve said before how I’m a very conscientious rule follower, but this makes absolutely no sense. I tell my conscience it’s more of a suggestion/preference than law as I go into the empty aisle the wrong way. Our grocery store recently took down the arrow stickers because no one was following them. TJMaxx still has them but whoever put them on the floor didn’t pay attention to what they were doing because in one section the arrows make a square around the food and you could go ’round and ’round for hours. In another spot, the arrows meet in the middle of the aisles and are pointing in opposite directions. –> <–
+ Constant notifications for phone and computer updates. I will push ‘ask me later’ and ‘postpone’ 99 times so I don’t have to deal with the changes the updates will bring. I can only push postpone on my phone so many times before it does its own thing and updates itself but I will delay as long as possible.
+ Boomerangs. I don’t mind boomerangs that are someone diving off a cliff then going in reverse up to the top of the cliff. There are some very entertaining and well done boomerangs. The boomerangs I’m specifically speaking on are pointless. A girl did a boomerang of her hand taking a book on and off a shelf. Someone else posted a boomerang of stirring her coffee. You could literally do the same action without the boomerang part and it would look the same.
The first word I saw was mud. I was hoping for something along the lines of plenty of sleep or an unexpected windfall of cash is in your future. I hope this not a sign of things to come!
The family we bought our house from left their little swing set and it’s given AB hours of entertainment. She was the right size for it when we moved in but she’s growing like a weed and her energetic swinging would rock the entire structure off the ground. Not to mention that I can barely squeeze my hips between the chains onto the tiny seats and it’s not good for my self esteem or public image when I have to unwedge myself from the blue plastic jail.
Last week Christopher built a new swing set. I knew it would be bigger than the old one but I didn’t know how big until we set it up. I like to think I’m strong because I’m the youngest person in zumba which somehow translates to strength in my mind, but my strength was not enough to help Christopher get it off the ground. We had to go next door and ask our neighbor to help us. He’s a firefighter and his arm muscles are literally bigger than their little dog. I’m confident he could have pushed the structure up with one hand but he let us think we were doing some of the hard work.
It’s the swing set made for giants. It cracks me up when I look at the difference between the two swing sets. The average length chains that came with the swings are two feet off the ground. They’re so high that we had to bring out the stepstool so AB could get on them. We could throw a tarp over the top and host a wedding underneath.
Annabelle could not be more thrilled.
“Hi, Mama. What are you doing? Can I help you know what to write? You can say that Christopher and Annabelle built a new swing set for Annabelle. Um. I’m thinking. Annabelle uses this climbing rope as a swing. The Sky People are people who live in the sky that Annabelle made up. *the narrator abruptly leaves the couch and goes to the floor to wrap herself in a blanket* I’m in a shell, Mama! Can you put that on your blog?”