Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Basement

Tara suggested I take a picture of the basement to prove it's hideousness and to ask your advice. I will gladly post a picture, but I suck at taking advice. Seriously, ask Eric. I always ask for advice and then do whatever stupid thing I had already decided to do anyway.

I don't think we'll do much right away besides paint. I'm thinking something in the dove gray family. Then we'll save our money up and buy one of those big Ikea corner couches and an entertainment center. And then someday when the kids aren't home, we'll throw all their crap away.

lots of unused, broken, plastic crap

the asshole Wii that called me fat
the boys' homage to war. maybe this is what's damaging my calm?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Resolution Numbers Two and Three and Four

Santa brought us a Wii for Christmas, and it has created a whole mess of problems that are going to require resolutions.

First, it is making me spend time in the basement. It's a finished basement, mostly. With laminate floors and drywall and stuff. But I haven't done anything with it in the three years that I've had the house. The walls are a poorly painted ugly shade of beige, the furniture is just all the mismatched crap that didn't fit anywhere else in the house, and it's full of big plastic storage bins full of large, plastic, mostly unused toys. It's unsightly. And I have a hang up that will not let me get comfortable in any room that I consider, by my unique sensibilities, unsightly.

Second, the Wii Fit has had the unmitigated gall to tell me I have the body of a 50-year-old fat ass. Now, I knew that my jeans size had been creeping up since the great breast feeding while starting my life over and forgetting to eat weight loss plan of 2007, but not having a functioning scale around the house has allowed me years of blissful denial of the cold hard facts. And if a Wii is anything it is cold and hard.

So here's where we come to the resolutions. In addition to the one I made last week about not being a douche to people in snowstorms (one), it seems that I will be spending some time in the basement trying to make the Wii eat its words (two), and in order to do that I will need to fix up the basement (three), but I'm broke and can't afford to decorate shit, so I need a new job (four).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I'm only sort of a single mom.

It's true in the sense that I am no longer married to my children's father. Nor am I married to anyone else. I'm not alone; Eric and I have been together for two years now, but since we each have two kids of our own, and every single one of them could be considered a handful, we don't do a lot of co-parenting.

The point I'm trying to make here is that when I have my kids, I have my kids. I've never hired a babysitter. Ever. I don't run to the grocery store without them, or go jogging, or go to work without loading them into the car and taking them to daycare-preschool-kindergarten.

But I did this morning. They are both starting new schools next week and are done with their old school, and Eric had a little free time and offered to hang out with them today.

So this morning I kissed my children goodbye as they sat on the couch in their pajamas watching cartoons and left the house for work. I guess I've done that once or twice before, but it still feels so weird.

Like I forgot something important at home. Like my wallet. Or my pants.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Still not over the writing funk (not the good kind of funk).

Nothing to see here.

Move along.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

No, thank you

I would rather not go back to real life tomorrow.

Eric and the boys on Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

In theory, I rock at wrapping presents. I plan out an elaborate theme at the beginning of shopping every year. All the papers complement each other. Tags, bows, all of it. Santa has different wrapping paper all together, of course. And then, since Lucas's birthday is Christmas Day, I have to have separate birthday paper for those gifts too.

So when I first start, each box is precisely wrapped, creased, tagged, and beribboned.  And then, as I get bored with the project, they start to deteriorate. A week goes by, and the gifts I wrapped tonight, with that last roll of paper - the roll that's huge and cheap, for wrapping those big boxes, the ones that could fit a full grown man, should I want to give one to my children - that shit's like trying to wrap a gift in toilet paper. And after a couple glasses of wine it looks like my three year old wrapped her own gifts.

She won't care of course.

And yet, on Christmas morning, as I sit in front of the fire, sipping my coffee and watching my kids tear into gift after gift,  I will cringe when I see these shoddily wrapped ones, and then sigh in relief as I ball up the toilet-papery paper and throw it on the fire.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


To get them to smile while we were snapping pictures, we encouraged them to do all the silly shit they wanted between the serious poses.

The caption for the one below would have Lucas saying, "Hey, I really got one."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Resolution Number One

Some people are nice and will give your car the nudge it needs to make it up the snowy hill you're stuck on. Some people will just drive around you.

I want to be the person who will give you a nudge on the bumper if you need it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Before and After

I had planned to get a really drastic haircut today. I was going to get it all cut to the length of the shortest layers, which would have left me with a bob, basically. So I took a before picture, so I could post the after and everyone would be all, Wow! What a difference.


But I chickened out and just ended up getting a couple inches off the ends. So the before and afters really just make it look like someone washed and brushed my hair.

And yes, I picked the blurry ones. So you can't see the third eye zit I've got brewing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Tonight as I was clearing the table after dinner, Lucas came to me, demanding a chore. I had him help me with the dishes, clearing the table, unloading and reloading the dishwasher. He demanded another chore. We cleaned the entire bathroom (singing Frosty the Snowman.) And before he went to bed, he picked up Merry's markers.

I could get used to this, but I guess I'd like my real son returned to me anyway.

No questions asked.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Right now I think it's adorable the way my kids are going around the house singing the Christmas carols that they learned in school. And I am shoving this warm feeling into my heart, because I know that in a few days I'm going to want to shove socks in their mouths.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Eric shoveled for something like four hours today. I tried to help him for a while but he kept throwing snow at me, and I took that as a sign that he wanted to do it all himself.

I went inside and ate quacamole instead.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Aftermath

It snowed all day. I doesn't look like that much here, because the wind blew it all around, but that front step is three feet off the ground, and to take this picture I was standing in a drift up to my thighs.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tomorrow, Starring Me

I live in Minnesota and have for most of my life, though usually not by choice. I can't leave now unless I either abduct or abandon my children, and I think we can agree that neither of those is really an option.

I complain about it all the time, the passive aggressive mentality: an entire state full of people smiling at each other through clenched teeth. The suburban sprawl: sub-developments as far as the eye can see. But mostly the weather: the muggy summers thick with mosquitoes and deer flies and the long, cold, dark winters. Except for this one thing: I love blizzards.

The forecasters are predicting up to 20" of snow for tomorrow, with wind and bitter cold.

And I. can't. wait.

I look forward to blizzards with the giddy anticipation of a kid at Christmas. If I am snowed in, with nowhere I need to be, I can sit and drink coffee by the fire and watch the snow drift over my windows for hours. Gleefully.

The more dramatic the better. If I can't see my neighbor's house across the street, I do not live in a bungalow in post-war suburb. I live in a log cabin on the unsettled prairie. If can't jump in my car and go buy milk at Super Target, I have to fight my way to the barn and milk a cow. I might even have to help it give birth to a calf that's turned in the womb. No scratch that - I don't want to put my hand in a cow's vagina. Anyway, in a blizzard I am Caroline Ingalls. I am Sacagawea. I am mother fucking Julie Christie in Dr. Zhivago. 

This. This is Minnesota's saving grace in my eyes. Sure, most of the time it is a state made completely of margarine and white bread. But when the winter storms hit, there is drama. There is danger. There is purpose. And I am the heroine of the movie in my mind.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

These are things that happened yesterday

Eric got up early and went to Starbucks for me.

Eric gave me a lovely antique brooch and a book.

I went to work and my boss was out of town.

I sneezed and threw my back out.

I cried. It hurt.

I came home to find that the dogs had jumped up on counter, pulled down and eaten the pineapple upside down cake that Eric had made for me for my birthday, while also managing to turn on one of the burners of the gas stove.

The house did not burn down.

It was a good birthday.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today is my birthday.

And in case you are visiting here today for the first time, you know, because the birthday fairies sent you to me, I thought I should have something for you to read. There have been a lot of photo posts lately, as December is busy and I'm in a writing funk. So here is a re-post of my first ever blog entry for you to enjoy.


To the best of my knowledge, I've never killed an animal. Not even with my car.

Well, I did go fishing with my dad when I was little, so that's probably not true, but you know what I mean. It's not just my bleeding-heart animal rights side either, although that's a big part of it. I think all things furry are adorable and deserve to live out their furry little lives without my interference. But I'm also totally creeped out by death. And suffering.

So when I bought my house last year and discovered that it was full of mice, I just resolved myself to peaceful coexistence. The mice mostly stayed in the basement, where I rarely go, and really only seemed to want to come inside during the colder months. I didn't see any sign of them at all last summer.

But this winter there seems to have been a population explosion. I blame myself. I left a big bag of bird seed in the laundry room for a few months and didn't realize that the mice were feasting on it. They must have told their friends. And then their friends invited their extended families and their extended families posted it on craig's list... Now I see signs of them everywhere. And I think you know what I mean by "signs".

I've decided that something needs to be done. I'm a pretty tolerant person, as far as grossness goes. I have two little kids so there's poop and snot aplenty at my house. I have two big dogs: again with the poop. But when there's mouse poop on my bedside table, I draw the line.

I consulted the experts (David), and was told there was no realistic way to do this in a humane (not killing them) fashion. Although I did entertain the idea of just using live traps and bringing them to work with me and letting them go there. (And honestly, I still haven't ruled that out.) So I tried to prepare myself to cause a death. Lots of them, actually. I lay awake at night trying to picture myself loading mouse traps. Worse yet, emptying mouse traps.

Then a few days ago, I woke up in the morning for work. I made coffee and went into the bathroom and turned on the shower, curtain closed, to heat up the water. I brushed the sleep tangles out of my hair and pulled back the shower curtain to see a little gray mouse standing on her hind legs, face into my steamy shower, gently swaying back and forth, in a way that I couldn't help but think looked every bit like she was totally enjoying herself.

I turned the shower off, went into the kitchen, grabbed a plastic bowl and scooped a very wet mouse out of the bathtub and just popped it out on the back steps. If I had had clothes on I probably would have walked out and put it in the shed. I went back to the bathroom and took my shower. The whole time worrying about the poor mouse that I had put outside in 10 degree weather, soaking wet. I fretted. I wished I had given her a chance to dry off, or at least put her outside wrapped in a towel.

I told myself that I was going to need to toughen up if I was going to rid my kitchen counter of mice and make it safe to keep the tomatoes out in a bowl again.

As soon as I got out of the shower I went and checked to see if by chance she was still out there. And if she had been, I very much think I would have brought her back inside.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

You are not connected to the Network

Our internet is down so I can't regale you with the story of the kids' school Christmas program today. But they were awesome, trust me

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Old Friends

We look all scary and undead because Eric's iphone flash blindingly illuminated the entire darkened room. (Galadriel should have given Frodo an iphone instead of the light of Earendil, cause then he could have tweeted his entire quest.)

We've been friends since we were toddlers and our birthdays are a week apart. This is the first time we've celebrated together since I was 14. I'm gonna have to go dig that old picture out.

I'm live blogging this

Hanging with my oldest, erm... earliest. first. friend Maya, celebrating our birthdays and reminiscing.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Trying to pry myself out of this December funk, I returned, tail between my legs, to my you tube yoga routine tonight.

It's an easy tell. If my life is out of balance emotionally, I am physically out of balance as well  - I try to stand in warrior pose, and I tip over like a toppled redwood. I climb back up cursing at poor Sandie the Yogi and fall right down on my face again.

On my good days, I can power through this routine, breathing rhythmically, muscles shaky but strong. Today, I tumbled over repeatedly, hands slipping on the floor, head spinning, static crackling in my hair.

The only mercy - my internet connection is wonky tonight and I had to pause and re-load it several times, giving me breaks to find my bearings and breathe.

If only I could hit refresh in real life too.