Tuesday, May 29

Moving On Up

Yes, I am still alive. I have not been able to post on my own blog or read anyone else's for three weeks now. Because we moved! Yay!!! Moving Day was May 16, but we have been very busy ever since painting and unpacking and organizing and all of that crap that is part of the deal when you move. Plus I didn't have internet for a week...GAH!

Anyways, our new house is SO GREAT! It is in the old part of town--my favorite--in an old brick duplex that is historically protected by the City of Reno. And for an old house, it is BIG! 1100 sq ft and a basement! The inside has some aesthetic challenges, like a previous resident who liked wallpaper A LOT and a kitchen that was remodeled in the '70s, but what can you do? I am willing to overlook all of this for one simple pleasure...I am centrally located and can WALK downtown! No more nasty suburbs for me! I cannot tell you how much this has done to improve my mood. The last year has taught me that I am NOT a suburbs person, even with the perks of new houses with all of their new house smell and their new house wiring and their new house insulation. I like being in the middle of things, and, most of all, I like walking. "Commute" is a word that I would like to eradicate from my vocabulary altogether. From where we now live I can walk to the movies, walk to five different coffee houses, walk to the river, walk, walk, walk. And when I do have to drive, no more than a couple of miles will get me pretty much anywhere I want to go. I LOVE IT!

View of our new house, left side. Note that even though it is a duplex, the houses are only joined by the garages.

View of our new house, right side...Did I mention it was a corner lot?

Our neighbor across one street--God.

And across the other street--God.

"Cheap, Cheap!"

How do you know when you're really, really cheap? Not just frugal but C-H-E-A-P? It's when you get as excited as I do about the holiday weekends because it means 50% off day at the thrift stores. Because it's not cheap enough to shop at thrift stores, you have to wait for a thrift store SALE!

So on Memorial Day I hit Savers and went crazy buying myself a whole new summer wardrobe! I literally filled an entire shopping cart up with clothes. And I spent $63. Beat that.

The reason that this is important is because it is the second step in my making-myself-feel-better-about-myself regimen. The first step was moving into a new house (see next post). The second step is giving up the battle and buying myself real, non-maternity clothes that actually fit instead of holding out in my maternity jeans for that magic day when I will be able to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans. It's been 8 and a half months, and I'm done. I'm not giving up completely--I have packed my old clothes in a box for that time when my body finally decides to start working properly again--but boy does it feel good to have a waistband again. And even if I shudder every time I think about the size I am wearing, it doesn't make me shudder nearly as much as wearing pregnant lady clothes. There's just something so sad about that. And I'm tired of being sad. I'd rather be fat and happy.

Not-So-Happy Birthday

Thirty. Four.

I really wasn't in the mood to celebrate this year. The months leading up to my birthday have been among the worst of my life...my self-esteem has not been so low since I was a teenager. Celebrating 34 just didn't appeal to me because celebrating 34 meant acknowledging that I was turning 34 as an unemployed woman with very little purpose in life whose goals have been shattered after sending out over 20 job applications and not receiving one single call for an interview. Add onto that the 15 years I have spent becoming educated to do the job I am trained to do and the oppressive mountain of student loans I have accumulated to get that education and you can see where I might become a bit depressed. Not to mention the fact that even if I did get an interview I'd have nothing to wear because my wardrobe consists of three pairs of maternity pants and a handful crappy oversized shirts I keep wearing over and over again because I can't manage to lose a single stinking pound!

Yeah, so.

But, strangely enough, my birthday came anyways. Funny how that happens. And I ended up celebrating after all because in the end, it is MY SPECIAL DAY, and I just had to bask in it, failure or not.

May 18

  • My dad is in town, so we go out for an early birthday dinner with him at ZoZo's Italian restaurant.

Husband seems to be just as excited as I am about my birthday!

M. chooses an entree.

May 21 (actual birthday)
  • I go shopping at Target and use some of my birthday money to buy a dress to wear so that I don't feel like such a scuz wearing maternity pants to dinner on my birthday.
  • Crystal comes over and we walk downtown for coffee and antique shopping.

"I have feet!"
  • I don my new dress and gather my posse for dinner.
No, Ian is not feeling me up. The one day of the year I wear a dress, and Reno whips up a giant windstorm to blow my dress up over my head. Ian is only trying to keep me from flashing my goods to the camera.

"Mama's HOW OLD?!"
May 27
  • Micaela takes me out for my final birthday present--tickets to see Cake. Great show. The pictures are all on Micaela's camera, so you'll just have to imagine me rocking out.
Last year at this time, I was very optimistic about being 33. I thought it would be one of my best years. I was wrong. I hate to say that, given that this year brought the birth of my daughter, but it is true. Last year I said that things would get better once Ian and I were out of the "heinous transitional period" that we were going through. And we are still going through it. I just don't understand how it is possible for a highly educated, hard-working couple not to be able to find decent employment. I don't understand why achieving one goal (having a baby) means that we have to sacrifice every other goal we have. I imagine that there is some old gypsy woman somewhere poking pins into dolls that look an awful lot like us.

But it is a new birthday, a new age, another year for things to improve...so here's to trying to be optimistic. Things will look up this year. They will. Really.

My Pukey Mother's Day Weekend

My first Mother's Day came very close to being a miserable one. The Friday before, I came down with the nastiest bug I have ever come across...let's call it the Puke Once and Come Very Close to Death in Two Days Bug. First it ravaged the household of our friends, then it made its way into the House of Sangstellero.

Friday, Ian and I dropped M. off with friends and went out for a bite to eat before going to see 28 Weeks Later. (For those of you who understand our affinity for zombie flicks, you will know that this was a BIG DEAL.) As soon as we sat down to eat, I realized I wasn't feeling very well. I figured it was just because I hadn't eaten much all day, and filling up my belly would make me feel better. (Wrong.) By the time we got to the movie theater, I was feeling really bad, but I toughed it out and played some Ms. Pacman with Ian because even when death is knocking on my door, I cannot pass up the opportunity to prove to my husband that I am the queen of Ms. Pacman and he should bow before me. We eventually took our seats, and I suffered through the previews. At the very moment the last preview was playing, I realized without a doubt that my dinner was not going to stay down. I leaped out of my seat and ran to the restroom, but I knew, just knew, as soon as I opened the door, that I wasn't going to make it. And I didn't. As soon as I opened the door to the stall, I erupted. I know that The Exorcist analogy is a common one, but I am going to fall back on it because nothing else can properly describe how badly I violated that bathroom stall. Over and over. Thank God nobody else was in the restroom. Did I mention that I had enchilada soup for dinner? Bright red enchilada soup. When I was done, it looked like someone had hosed the stall down in blood. So there I stood, absolutely mortified, inspecting the carnage I had just wreaked and wondering what in the hell to do about it:

  1. Ignore the mess and run away. Quickly.
  2. Go find an employee to report the horrible mess that SOME OTHER very rude person had left in the bathroom.
  3. Take responsibility for my own puke, and find someone to help me.
What would Jesus do?

What would you do?

Needless to say, we did not see the movie. I went home and crawled into bed where I stayed for the next 36 hours, miserably sick.

Saturday, in the middle of my twelfth popsicle, we got a call telling us that the house we had applied for on Thursday, the house we really, really liked, was ours to rent immediately. I was SO happy, though in my weakened state, I couldn't imagine how I was possibly going to drag my ass out of bed and start packing.

The nice thing, though, about the Puke Once and Come Very Close to Death in Two Days bug is that it burns itself out fairly quickly. By Sunday morning I felt a lot better, although fragile. Ian said he would make me anything I wanted for my Mother's Day breakfast. I wanted doughnuts, but I thought better of eating loads of sugar and fat for breakfast in my fragile state. Ditto for eggs benedict, biscuits and gravy, and all of my other favorite breakfast fare. Finally I gave up, ate a bowl of cereal, and told Ian to take me out for Mother's Day lunch.

Italian food sounded safe, so we headed to some new crappy Italian chain restaurant in town whose name I cannot even remember.

"I want everything on the menu, Mama!"

"Uh, Daddy? I think you got this upside down."

"That's better"

After lunch, we headed to Lowe's to pick up a giant drum of eggshell paint because the living room of our new house was mauve, and I don't do mauve.

How we spent the majority of Mother's Day.

So my first Mother's Day was spent feeling semi-pukey and doing new-house chores. And I loved it.

Wednesday, May 9

I Prefer "Progressive," but Whatever

I try not to poach links from other bloggers...it somehow smacks of plagiarism. But this video is just TOO FREAKIN' GREAT not to post (especially considering yesterday's topic). So thanks Bitch, Ph.D. for starting my morning with a good laugh. I'm passing it on.

Tuesday, May 8

Billy Collins Makes Me Happy

I went to find something on YouTube today and noticed that one of the featured videos was my favorite living poet reading one of my favorite poems. I thought I'd share.

Monday, May 7

Bumper Thumper

A few months back, I kept meaning to write a post about the invasion of those annoying stick families that were popping up on SUVs and minivans across the nation. I mean, really, WHY is this necessary? "Oh look, honey, the couple in the Ford Explorer in front of us have two daughters, a son, and a baby. AND two cats and a dog! I guess that explains why they are driving that gas-guzzling monster van! I'm glad they made that clear to me. I feel so much closer to them now."


Anyways, this is NOT the post about how much I hate stick families. That post is no longer necessary because it appears that was the shortest-lived trend ever, and sometime last month everyone got out their scrapers en masse and removed the offending stickers. I haven't seen one for weeks.

What I have seen, though, is this

all over town. And I don't get it.

I will admit...I really, really want to love Clinton and see a woman get nominated by one of the major parties to be president. I would love even more to see a woman in the oval office. I feel compelled to vote for any female candidate simply on the basis of her gender, which is fallacious and biased, but I can't help it...I want a woman to be president THAT BAD.

But Clinton? I'm not a fan.

I don't hate her or anything; I'm just not prepared to vote for her. I have not been impressed by her speeches, by her performance in the Democratic Candidates Debate, or by her interviews. I don't like how she changes her persona from one appearance to the next--all sternness and ice at one; at another, gushing over shoes and giggling about shopping. It seems like she is juggling her masculine and feminine sides to appease her particular audience. It's not working. And it bothers me. But I certainly don't hate her. I wouldn't feel compelled to stick hateful stickers on my car or pay money to erect a BILLBOARD! (I'd include a picture here, but I thought that pulling over on the freeway to snap a photo of a billboard was a risk I wasn't prepared to take for my blog.) I mean, she's not even nominated yet! Why all this animosity? Why do so many people hate Clinton SO MUCH?

Is it because she's a woman?

I hope not, but here are some things I've noticed:

1) Why is it okay to call Clinton "Hillary" when male candidates get referred to by their last names?

2) This sticker is wrong on so many levels. Aggressive woman = bitch, but non-aggressive woman = bad president. A total catch 22.

3) Why do so many conservative pundits claim that Clinton is hanging onto the coat tails of her husband but also believe that it is perfectly acceptable for W. to hang onto the coat tails of his father?

4) Why is Clinton held to a higher moral standard than the men she is running against?

It all just bothers me so much. Just like when people hated Clinton when she was first lady because she, you know, had thoughts of her own and tried to do more than just stand by her man's side looking pretty (gasp!). Remember this?

Because Lord knows that any man married to a smart, competent woman must be CONTROLLED by her.

I guess my point is this. Just because we live in a country where we are allowed and encouraged to speak out against our government (unless, of course, the Bush Administration is involved...then we should just all keep our damn mouths SHUT) does not mean that it is alright to treat a woman in a blatantly sexist manner because she is a politician. I know that there are plenty of other reasons people may not like Clinton, but whenever I ask someone to tell, specifically, what they don't like about her, most cannot answer the question. There's "just something about her." Something like two X chromosomes.

I feel the need to speak out against this now, so that maybe voters will be a bit more enlightened when Matilda runs for president.

Now there's a candidate I can get behind!

Saturday, May 5

whatwhat WHAT?!

Just after I finished that last post, I thought I'd check my site meter and found out that WOW! I have a lot more hits than average this week! How could this be? After some tinkering, I then discovered that on Site Meter I can view how people are getting to my site (that is, who linked to me) and I discovered the culprit. (I know, my technological genius boggles the mind!) DUDE! I've been linked to! Thanks, Surrender Dorothy!

Some further examination of my Site Meter exposed another link...apparently, I have been hit by The Nominatrix for Hottest Mommy Blogger in the Blogger's Choice Awards. Thank you, Oh the Joys, for giving me my first blog bling...It looks so purty over there.

It's the little things that can really improve one's mood on a gloomy Saturday morning.

Pub Grub

Okay, so I haven't been writing much this week, but I feel the need to post something, anything, so that my mad, sad, very bad post isn't still the first thing people see when they come visit. So here.In an effort to convince M. that deep-fried clam strips are not appropriate food for little babies with no teeth, we gave her her own plate to hold her puffs so that she could eat with Daddy. As you can see, she's still eyeballing the clam strips.

You may wonder why M. is in her pajamas...that would be because we already packed away all of her winter attire that she had mostly outgrown in favor of spring/summer wear because it's, you know, MAY?! and then it started snowing this week. Soft, fluffy jammies are the warmest thing M. has to wear. If it snows on my birthday, I'm leaving.