Sunday, December 23, 2007

Disconnect to Reconnect

I'm going to unplug the laptop and put it away for a week or so. Blogs and emails can wait, and even if I submit scholarship applications, there will be no one around to review them until after January 1. Rhett has taken vacation time while the kids are out of school, and I crave connecting with the real, live people with whom I share a home and attempt to build a life. We plan on spending some quality time with hot cocoa, popcorn, and good old-fashioned board games. (I may even sneak in some knitting while we watch a holiday movie or two.)

I hope everyone is having (or had, depending on what you celebrate) a joyous holiday season, and I'll see you next year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Finding My Way

I've been a little slow about getting into the Christmas spirit this year. We finally got the tree decorated Monday night, and I got the last of the shopping finished up Wednesday, but decorating and shopping aren't the keys to Christmas for me. Actually, I find that I have to try to feel Christmas in spite of the decorating and the shopping.

Remembering the Savior isn't something we should cram all our energy into between Thanksgiving and the New Year; it's kind of like being saintly on Sunday and Wednesday, but ignoring our spirits the rest of the week. (I think that's part of the reason I struggle with church attendance, like it's my way of proving I can be spirtual on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.) Still, I fall into the trap every year. While decorating and shopping give me more things to lag behind on, I feel guilty for playing into the superficiality of the holiday if I actually keep up. I usually have a melt down at some point because I hate the inauthenticity I feel within myself, and this year was no different.

Then, I reconnected with my favorite Christmas music, and my tattered spirit was soothed. I'm not talking about "Silent Night" or "Joy to the World." I'm talking about Forgotten Carols, the powerful story of John, a mysteriously old man who claims to have been around for over 1900 years, sharing songs from obscure characters in the Christmas story. There's the song by the innkeeper, begging us all to "Let Him In" or the shepherd who heard about the Christ child from his friends that trekked to Bethlehem and still believes even though he didn't actually witness the event himself. One of my favorites (because really, they're all my favorite) is "Handel's Dream," which depicts the composer in his pre-Earth life as a tiny angel auditioning to sing in the heavenly choir announcing the birth of Jesus.

The story and songs by Michael McLean were turned into a musical that has been touring out West every Christmas for fifteen years now. When they released a DVD this year, I knew I had to have it. If I could afford it, I would buy thousands of copies of the CD, book, and DVD and give them away like candy. Instead, here is a little slide show I found on YouTube set to the song "I Cannot Find My Way/Three Kings." Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


One of my cats has been acting suspicious lately. This morning, I walked into the bathroom to blow dry my hair, and Matilda was slurping out of the toilet. As soon as she realized I had seen her, she quickly sat up straight and snapped, "Who? Me? Oh no, I was just checking to see if the bathroom meets inspection. Carry on!" (She is a big Project Runway fan, so she tries to fit "Carry on!" and "Make it work!" into a conversation whenever she can.) She jumped down onto the tile and glared at me while I dried my hair, and as I left the bathroom, I caught a glimpse of her hopping back up onto the toilet seat and sneaking another sip.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't secretly drinking alone a big red flag? I honestly think she has an addiction. I tried to talk to her brother, Murphy, about it, but he just said, "So, she drinks out of the toilet every now and again. She says it relaxes her. As a matter of fact, you're looking a little tense; maybe you should try it." Obviously Murphy is just a big, fluffy enabler and isn't going to be any help. Ever since that ribbon eating incident, I've known that he's a bad influence. (Trust me; a cat that poops rainbows isn't as cool as it sounds.)

I guess we could keep all of the toilet lids down, but then she'll just start stealing bacon from the breakfast table again, and substituting one addiction for another won't do anyone any good. We could send her to kitty counseling, but she always clams up around strangers. Is there a twelve step program for feline toilet drinking? Even if there were, I don't know if it would matter. Have you ever known cats that were willing to admit that they were powerless over anything? I think I'll just lay down the law and tell her there will be no more toilet drinking in my house. She'll probably cry and tell me that I'm being unreasonable, or she may even try to convince me that a little swig of toilet water on the weekends won't hurt. If she does, I'll just put it in language she can understand. I'll say, "Matilda... make it work!"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Haiku Hullabaloo

Youngest has been studying poetry in his fourth grade class, and he has been trying out all of the same forms I remember working with waaaaay back when I was in elementary school - you know, when I only got to ride the school bus after the wheel was finally invented. Yesterday he wrote an adorable haiku:
I love you so much
I'm talking to Mom and Dad
That's my love Haiku
The cutest part, however, is that he used a heart for "love" in the first line and for the "o" in Mom and the "a" in Dad. Isn't that sweet? Of course, this is the same little monkey that was having a farting contest with his brothers not too long ago. Oh well. I'll take what I can get. Youngest's little poem reminded me of my most favorite haiku ever:

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don't make sense
I originally saw that little gem by Rolf Nelson on a t-shirt. I wanted to order one, but it is sold out. Still, go ahead and check out threadless; they've got some cool stuff. Which reminds me, I need to go finish my Christmas shopping. Ooh... Can I make that into a haiku?

I'm getting stressed out
Christmas is coming too soon
Can I just skip it?
Okay, I probably don't want to do away with Christmas altogether; I just want to refocus on what is really important. Heck, I feel that way all year. I think I feel another poem coming on:

Peace, hope, joy, and love
My wish for you this season
Happy Holidays

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

An Open Marriage

It's not that easy to keep secrets in our house. The place is frightfully small, and my husband works from home, so we're together a lot. Anyone would find it hard to hide much of anything under the circumstances. So, I'm not exactly sure why I didn't realize sooner that he was cheating on me.

Sure, he seemed kind of squirrely sometimes, but I chalked it up to him just having an off day. Then, he was avoiding eye contact when we were together, but still I thought I was simply being paranoid. Sometimes, he tried strange new things, but wouldn't tell me how he on earth he came up with such clever techniques. I couldn't ignore his behavior any longer when he started scurrying off to his office at odd hours. I knew he was on the computer, but doing what? I finally demanded an explanation.

Needless to say, I was shocked. I always thought that we had the same hopes and dreams, the same goals in life. Then, if you can believe it, he tried to blame me for his indiscretions. He said that I was too hard on him, and that he didn't know how else to cope. He didn't even attempt to stop all the nonsense. He just kept right on doing it, right in front of me, like it was perfectly normal.

I tried to understand why things had turned out this way for us, but the longer it went on, the angrier I became. I eventually decided that two could play that game, and I cheated, too. At first, it was all about spite, but, over time, I began to see things in a different light. Couldn't it spice things up between us? Wouldn't our time together be a little more interesting? After fifteen years of the same old same old, it would certainly be educational. In the end, couldn't we both be winners?

I'm sure there are many out there who would say this is just plain wrong, and I'm not proposing everyone try things our way. However, there is something magical about being open to new ideas. I know that for me and Rhett, anyway, the best decision we've made in a long, long time is, without a doubt, agreeing that we could both use a word builder to play Scrabulous.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Olives for Olive and Snowflakes for You

Knock knock.

Who's there?


Olive who?

Olive you!

Here's the cute little baby hat I've been working on. The best part about this hat is that I made it for a little sweetie named Olive! As soon as I saw this hat, I knew Olive needed it. The pattern is from Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson, and this book has some adorable designs. As a matter of fact, I think it may have helped me solve a problem I've been having.

My sister-in-law in Miami is expecting a little girl in March. This is not just any little girl. This is The Girl Destined to be Most Spoiled in All the Land. You see, my husband is one of four brothers. So far, there are eight grandchildren... all boys. You have no idea how much pink frilly goodness has been saved up for this unsuspecting soul that will grace us in the spring. I have been knitting sweaters for the last couple of new babies in the family, but it seems cruel to knit a Miami baby a sweater. It's like saying, "We're so glad you're here - now go have a heat stroke." But I feel like I absolutely must knit something for her. Well, Itty Bitty Hats to the rescue! Every baby needs a cute hat, right?

Well, the semester is finally over, and I've been taking some time to destress a little bit. I've been catching up on some knitting, reading, napping, and generally goofing off. This morning, Youngest reminded me of one of my favorite forms of procrastination. In honor of CyProWriMo, I would like to share it with you...


Make-a-Flake is so much fun, and there are no little scraps of paper floating all over the house. I love it because I can make intricate little designs that I just can't seem to manage when I try it on paper. Trust me, I've attempted it, but it ends up looking like a drunk monkey got a hold of the scissors. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and give it a try! (I mean, try Make-a-Flake, not handing sharp objects over to inebriated primates.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

A baby pinecone is hatching in the backyard.

The real reason the boys like to go to Grandma's house.

Monday, December 3, 2007

All the Boring Things I Won't Post Today

I've been sitting here for a few minutes racking my brain to come up with some semblance of a blog post. I've started a draft on a few different things, but they are all just excruciatingly boring. Just so you'll know I tried, here's what they are:

  1. My eighth grader's assistant principal announced on the intercom that students are not allowed to congregate in groups of three or more. I'm honestly not sure how they're going to enforce that one. I'm not even sure why. Maybe it's because the school is a global studies magnet, and this is a way of studying what it would be like to live in a communist country.
  2. Rhett evidently swallowed a gerbil. He keeps clearing his throat every minute and a half or so. He's only sitting three feet away from me. Can you tell I get easily annoyed by extraneous noises? I wonder... if I hit him on the back of the head, will it make him feel better? Will it make me feel better?
  3. School is almost over for the semester. I have these delusions that over the month long break I am going to get more organized and accomplish a lot of things that I've been putting off because of school. I know, I know. I said they're delusions, okay?
  4. I've been having panic attacks every night when I go to bed because that's when I remember all the stuff I've been putting off because of school. One of those things is Christmas shopping. I'm getting a little anxious just writing about that one. *think happy thoughts - think happy thoughts - think happy thoughts*
  5. I've been feverishly knitting a darling little hat for a friend's daughter, but I forgot to take pictures of it in progress. Now it's almost done, and I can't stand to take a picture of it so close to the finish line. It'll have to wait until after Thursday because I have a couple of last minute things to tidy up for school. Trust me, though. It's cute.

See? I wasn't kidding. It's a total yawn fest around here. Oh well. At least I didn't try to blog any of that drab drivel. Maybe something intriguing will happen tomorrow.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I Don't Hafta if I Don't Wanna!

Guess what... It's December 1st. That means NaBloPoMo is officially over. I don't have to post today! No matter what anyone says, no matter what anyone does, I absolutely positively refuse to post. I will make my presence known in the world by my lack of posting. I am the ruler of my life, and I will not post today under any circumstance.

What? This? Oh yeah, I guess it is, huh? Darn it!

*whispers* Just pretend I wasn't here, okay?