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Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Busy Week Planned

So Abby came home from Nana's last night. She had a lot of fun in the eight days she was there (and she may have earned two Brownie patches), but as she reported, "sometimes they made me watch grownup shows". I was amused by this, as generally that indicated that when Poppo came home from work (Nana is retired), he got the remote. But I was pretty sure she wasn't watching anything inappropriate; I assumed "grownup shows" meant - say - Wheel of Fortune, baseball games, or maybe old sitcoms. Until she told me they "watched this show where there was this guy looking for dead people in a graveyard". Um... please tell me they're not watching The Ghost Whisperer or something like that. I mean, I knew they wouldn't do that without clearing it, but her descripttion worried me. So I called Nana and assured her I knew they wouldn't let Abby watch anything inappropriate, but could she tell me what this synopsis meant?

Nana totally cracked up.

Apparently they were watching The History Channel - some show about ancestry - and what Abby described was simply people looking at gravestones to see if the records in their family Bible matched the dates on the stones. Trust a perky goth wannabe 8yo to interpret it the way Abby did!

So she came home and right now she's out playing after our busy morning of fairly heavy cleaning (her Treasure Chest pick was a jump rope and she had missed her girlfriends). By Wednesday at two I need to complete the following chores:
  1. Finish cleaning our bedroom and our on-porch storage, so I can move the appropriate things (holiday decorations, etc) from storage into the house next week, and...
  2. Help Mom clean out her storage, so I can move certain things into her storage next week, and...
  3. Finish with the housecleaning itself so my in-laws will not be shocked and horrified.
Oh, and this is in addition to paying rent, doing my usual job hunting, doing my workshop (heh - it's a Time and Stress Management Workshop) starting Wednesday, etc. You know, life. Abby will be at camp and Lizzy at my mom's, which will make this all easier - less "assistance".

Then next week I need to move out the rest of the stuff in storage, either to Mom's, our apartment, or to donate-or-ditch as appropriate. Ex-husband is taking a toy bench that he upholstered for Abby himself when she was a baby, but he says his TVs are too big for the armoire I have in there. It looks similar to this one, although it has two sets of doors rather than drawers on the bottom. Any of my local readers interested? I can cut you a deal...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

One Woman's Trash...

I'm cleaning out our bedroom, in preparation for two things: my in-laws' visit and clearing out our storage unit so we can drop it off our lease and save over a hundred bucks a month.

The master bedroom is where we dump stuff. It's where we can close the doors so visitors don't see what we didn't get around to cleaning up. It's where unfolded laundry lives, and unmatched socks ditto. It generally looks like a game of I SPY - random objects strewn everywhere. Cleaning it up - between visits to the potty with Lizzy, who is actually interested in that today - has so far generated a) one kitchen garbage bag (of random stuff like nylons with runs and scraps of wrapping paper and tags off clothes I bought online), b) three loads of laundry (because really, I'm not sure how long that pile of socks has been there), and c) a few bags of Things to Keep Out (like in-laws' birthday presents and Abby's school supplies). I also rearranged the smaller furniture ( like the rocker and my cello in its stand, not bookshelves or the dresser or the bed; they're too heavy to do on my own and I like where they are in any case) and put clean linens away and so forth.

And I haven't even touched the closet.

This last is because the kids - especially Abby - are so in love with their things like outgrown clothes that I don't want to do that part of it while any of them are here. That can wait until Monday when Abby is at camp and Leanna is with her mom and Lizzy's at Grandma's House. Then I'll dig into the closet so things from storage can be stored there and thereby free up a lot of the storage unit as well. In-laws arrive Wednesday afternoon. It'll be a busy week.

Now excuse me, while I take Lizzy to the bathroom. Again.

ETA: She's sound asleep on her bedroom floor, with her head in a chair. I'm sure she's sopping wet but I believe in letting sleeping preschoolers lie.

ETA: She was wet, but as she was asleep at the time we don't hold this against her. She had a good day on that front. She claimed she was "just westing" though, until I pointed out that sleep was an acceptable excuse. And my attention was soon taken off of this, when she announced that "Ewnie is the one with the stwiped shuht and the duckie fetish". When asked what 'fetish' meant, she said, "Ewnie is a big fan of his duckie".


Friday, July 29, 2011

Spoons Everywhere

Lizzy, Me, and Tiger
Lizzy is overtired. I know this for several reasons: her eyes have big circles under them, she's Dropping her Spoon at regular intervals, and - most tellingly - she had an episode last night.

She's had these since she was tiny, but they've become fewer and further between as she's learned to sleep through the night. They're categorized as sleep terrors, which was explained to me when she was a baby as "sleep-walking for the pre-walker". As she learned to walk, sometimes she would actually wake up in the morning and she was just kind of out of it. I took her to the doctor after one of these, and it turned out that they were - again - essentially sleepwalking.
Tired Daddy and Baby

These night terrors consist of either a) shrieking inconsolably and not being able to be calmed (as is common for night terrors) or b) being totally out of it and having the shakes. When this second one happens, she looks as though she's coming out of anesthesia, and we were concerned it was seizure activity. This is why we took her to the pediatrician, who sent us to the neurologist, who confirmed that yes, it was in fact a variation on sleep terror. What I wrote to a group of friends was this: Doc says he feels that when Lizzy is awakened in the middle of REM sleep, she can't wake up properly and is therefore shaking and non-responsive and sleepy until she gets a nap, and then she's fine. Basically sleepwalking, and since she IS the one who has had night terrors which is related, this is not surprising, However, he did refer me to a pediatric neurologist at Children's just to rule out any kind of seizure disorder.

So here's hoping she sleeps well tonight, as I do not want a repeat of last night's inconsolable screams. And I'm sure my new downstairs neighbor is not currently a fan of Lizzy, who is trying to keep herself awake by jumping up and down and shrieking like a maniac. Friday Game Night is seriously exciting for her.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Realization

The Belgariad Set, Books 1-5: Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician's Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, & Enchanter's End GameI'm not going to be able to read my favorite childhood books - what I consider the comfort food of literature - to my 8yo daughter Abby anytime soon.

As noted here, Abby is an innocent in many ways. She understands childbirth but not conception, marriage but not sex, gay rights but not what makes gay people any different where their rights are concerned. She knows that if an egg does not "turn into a baby" it has to leave to make room for the next one, but not how it turns into a baby. She has (thankfully) had no reason to know these things. Now, if she asks me, I'll tell her. "How does that egg become a baby, mom?" is something with which I can cope. But she hasn't asked and I'm not going to give her more information than I think she's ready for, unless my hand is forced. And as much as I love those books, they're not hand-forcing material.

They're PG-rated books, in my opinion. But they have words that she lacks the context to understand, without me explaining all of That Up There in the above paragraph. Words like adultery and courtesan. I mean, I could define those respectively as sleeping with someone you aren't married to and sleeping with someone for money, but again, since she lacks context, she'd think so... what's the big deal? I'd like her to stay a child while she is a child. If she has not expressed any curiosity about the topic before then, our school district teaches sex ed (in the mechanics sense only, and segregated by gender) in fifth grade (or they did in 2007; I do not see it on the curriculum for the 2011-2012 school year, unless it's bundled into "Acquires the knowledge and skills to maintain a healthy life"). She's going into third. I imagine we'll have discussed it long before then. But in the meantime, we'll stick to the straightforward over-the-top drama of Harry Potter, which lacks descriptions like overripe self-indulgence...

Passive Aggressive Behavior

I used to indulge in this quite a lot, although I did not recognize it as such until my ex and I were in marriage counseling. Since we both did it on a fairly regular basis in our youth, there were a lot of mis-communications and misunderstandings; we each thought the other should just know what was wanted. Using magic, I guess, or telepathy. I still do it with the kids some - The Look sometimes works better than words for disciplinary purposes - but I very rarely do it with Laston. Partly this is because I've learned my lesson - but mostly, it's that Laston is completely oblivious to such behavior. If I want results from him, it's better to just grab him by the lapels and put my face between him and his keyboard. Or better yet, send him a note online, with blank spaces for his response. He's never passive-aggressive. As I said, he does not get it.

So this last Sunday, when he was? I didn't recognize it.

I assumed he was just in a bad mood. I mean, that happens to everyone; he hadn't had much sleep the night before, I'm jobless and that scares us both, etc. He was grouchy and although I stated here that he did not guilt-trip me (I was - as usual - doing a fine job of that on my own), it was clear that he was unhappy about something. Until yesterday afternoon (so three days later), when he called his parents to tell them his work schedule had changed (they're coming to town and he wanted to make sure the dates were still okay). The reason he was so gloomy and off-putting Sunday? He thought I wasn't taking his parents' visit seriously enough; the house is still a mess etc. Why did this bother him on Sunday?

He didn't realize until three days later than their visit is scheduled for next week.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I had an interview - a group one - yesterday, at a very big organization. It would be very nice to get a job there - and I know my spouse would love it - although the position I interviewed for is more sales-oriented than I'd like. I'm more of a customer care kinda gal, although I can do either fairly effectively, because it's inbound - cold calling is not my forte. Low hourly rate plus commission, incentives, etc (after a nine-week training period at the base-only rate). They will call me back by end of day Friday to let me know if I made it to the one-on-one interview. This job is about 20 miles away from my home, but the commute would not be too bad because it's north of me, rather than south or east (where Seattle and Bellevue are). It's a union job.

Today I had a phone interview with a smaller - but still fairly large - organization. I have a couple friends who work there, and it's a strictly customer care position, with a dash of Knowledge Base writing. Much higher base salary than the other, but less opportunity for commission and the like. I have an in-person interview scheduled for week after next. This job is about four miles from my home, in the same Seattle suburb. It's not a union job.

They have approximately equal benefits packages. I hope to have the task of choosing between them!

Tomorrow's organization will be me and Lizzy, in the kids' room and the living room and the back porch and the storage unit. Laston can do the dishes and stuff; Liz and I will be Cleaning House, in the organizational sense. Funny story, I told Lizzy we were going to organize her toys and she wailed, "Noooooooo.... I don't want toooooooooo! Wait. What does 'organize' mean again?"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Feet Hurt

No, they have not been defenestrated. They've just been crammed into shoes I bought on the Internet all day (no, not in that bright pink color; I wore black).

Normally this is not really a problem; when I wear these shoes I usually go to a job interview (or to work when I was working) and go home, and take them off. No worries, even with a full day - There's only so much walking to do in a place like that.

Except when interviewing at a major corporation, that is. After doing all the other stuff I do all day. Today I took Lizzy to The Nest, helped my mom clean out her storage unit, ran some errands and went to my interview (see, no Oxford Comma; I can do it if I try. But you can pry my beloved semicolon from my cold dead hand). Due to the huge number of people interviewing I parked fairly far away, and this was an open house, so no specific scheduling. I hung around at the desk of the family member who sent me the job information until he had to leave for the day, and then went over to the screening area. At the other end of a fairly large building.

After they screened us, we took a typing test (down three floors and a hallway and around a corner to a "holding area", and then back around the corner, up the hallway, down one more floor and over to the other side of the building for the test). I am pleased to report that my effective typing speed has almost doubled since I started this blog. Those of us who passed went into group interviews (up five floors) for almost two hours. This was interesting; I think I did well, but I may not be quite as sales-oriented as they'd like. Hard to tell though. Then home via the grocery store for dinner.  Busy day.

Tomorrow's job-hunting and house-cleaning and preparing-for-an-interview (at a different company, this one nearer home) will be restful by comparison!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Random Lizziness

The "Random" spell
from the game
Talisman 2nd ed
by Games Workshop
Saturday Lizzy exclaimed, "Oh! Now I undahstand why the sun moves! It's so it can hit all the flowahs and help them gwow!"

You keep right on thinking that, kiddo.

I'm going to take Lizzy to the doctor to rule out any physical causes for her potty-training problems. I strongly suspect it's a control issue - it being the only topic over which she feels she has any - but Child Psychology 105 was twenty-four years ago, and I'd like to make sure we don't have something organic going on. It's not like we haven't both done this before with the older girls, after all; we are not newbies at this. If her incidents were accidents, I'd be more concerned that she was ill, but  they're not for the most part. It's worth a $15 co-pay for peace of mind.

She also always looks tired, even though she's finally sleeping on her own all night most nights. And my mom thinks she always looks "a little yellow". I think she just has more olive-toned skin than the other two, but it can't hurt to have her looked at.

Kipper - Kipper Helps OutTonight we're watching Mommy's choice of "baby shows", simply because I used her inappropriate-pottying and dumping-food-on-the-floor disgraces as excuses to exert control over the remote. I am so tired of the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake that I could scream (although I get a total kick out of Lizzy standing up and intoning in her adorable no-letter-R lisp, "The Peculiah Puhple Pieman of Pohcupine Peak, Yah-duh-duh-dah-duh-DAH," every time the character does, complete with his little dance at the end. Hilarious). So tonight we're watching Kipper the Dog for our post-dinner wind-down. Nice, quiet, gentle, inoffensive. Works for me.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Snap Out of It!

I'm feeling lethargic today. (3:00 mark to your right)

It started with sleeping in until almost ten. Lizzy, bless her heart (and not in the Southern Way), utilized her apparently-innate Netflix Instant Play Ability and watched an episode of Dinosaur Train and two of Blue's Clues after she awoke at 8:30, came in and cuddled with me for about three minutes, and wandered off. I rolled my still-tired self out of bed at ten, made us some brunch, and made a whole pot of tea (apparently I needed the caffeine). Then I sat around, submitted my unemployment claim for the week, made us lunch, did a load of dishes, started a load of laundry, and sat around some more.

Lizzy's not feeling great - she's probably coming down with a cold - so she was a willing accomplice in my lethargy. It's Sunday - does this count as a day of rest? Or the Deadly Sin of Sloth? Laston got home around 2:30 and I felt a little bad for not doing more around the house, especially when he started sweeping the kitchen, but I couldn't even get up the energy for a solid guilt trip (he wasn't trying to guilt trip me; any of you who have known me for longer than a week know that I'm capable of that all on my own). And then I took a bath and picked up my favorite literature-as-comfort-food books. Uh-oh.

Could be new meds, the twin stresses of No Job and Rent Coming Up, or worry about Abby-at-Nana's (although all of these things are being worked on or are just fine and I'm worrying to no purpose. Me? Worry needlessly? Never happens). I suspect I just needed a Day Off, because I'm already feeling less blah than I was when I started this post. And after this I'm going to start my first editing task for this project. And tomorrow I'm going to force myself to clean up this place (it will of course be easier once Lizzy is at my mom's for the day). And that's how I will Snap Out of It.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

And Once Again, the World is Safe...

...and the ending is bittersweet for the Hero. No details for those of you who don't know your Marvel Comicverse, but let's just say the guy has issues. And TV Tropes has Ruined my Life, as I noticed the Actor Allusions, the aforementioned Bittersweet Ending, and about half the other tropes on the page for the movie.

And hoo boy, the Estrogen Brigade Bait! Not as pronounced (for me, YMMV) in this movie as in, say, Thor, but there will be tons of it once the Avengers movie comes out in May of 2012. Thor, Cap, and Iron Man; played (respectively) by Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, and Robert Downey Junior? All in the same movie? I know what movie hubby is taking me to next Mothers' Day!

And I don't care when it comes out - I'm taking my dad to see this movie in 2012. The books on which it's based are the first "grown-up science fiction" I can remember reading, at about nine or ten (although aside from the setting, it's really more fantasy-adventure by genre). Dad could not wait for me to read those, and I still get a chill every time I read (or hear, in the case of the audio books) the phrase, "my father's name is Tars Tarkas". Dad, are we on for the movies?


This is not as patriotic a post as the title sounds.

Just a day in the life in suburban U.S. of America... Abby's nana (her father's mom) came to pick her up. They're spending the day out doing lunch and a movie, then picking Poppo up and going to Nana & Poppo's house up north. For over a week. Abby's never been away from home that long, but she will be able to call me or her dad as needed, and her paternal grandparents have all the permissions and notes about her allergy and so forth that they need. She'll be fine and I'm sure she'll have fun, and it will make life here a little simpler for a week just Miz Liz, being down to. Still kinda freaks me out as the mom though... my baby!

Lizzy and I went to a fun event today - a barbecue at a local park to celebrate the 25th (ack) anniversary of me graduating high school. A couple little girls - children of my peers - around Leanna's age took Lizzy off to play on the playground, which was visible from the picnic tables where we were chatting (and more importantly, I was between Lizzy and the street; I don't expect a couple of ten-year-olds to keep Lizzy out of traffic). They had fun, although the younger of the two did come running back at one point to tell me they needed me. Heart-in-throat time of course, but it turns out that the problem was simply that neither older girl was tall enough to lift Lizzy out of the "baby swing". Oh. Whew! I also got a very nice impromptu chair - well... park bench - massage from one of my favorite ladies. On the other hand, I had to wear a name tag with my maiden name and my junior yearbook photo - big hair, glasses bigger than my head and all - on it.

And tonight Laston and I are taking advantage of a local daycare's Parents' Night Out program to catch a movie - in keeping with the theme of this post we're going to see Captain America: The First Avenger - sans children - then come home and have a late-ish supper.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Always to Call it Please, "Research"

Lehrer performing in 1960
The above is taken from a song by my favorite comedian-satirist-singer, Tom Lehrer (b. 1928). The fact that he was in his heyday before I was a gleam in my father's eye is beside the point; I just love his stuff. Some favorites include:

There are many more, of course, including a couple he did for The Electric Company (Silent E and L-Y), the adult versions of which are not appropriate for general audiences (Silent E "turns a simple rap into a..."), as well as others. But this came into my mind today as I was discussing copyright with my husband Laston, as he was concerned about images I found using Google Image Search and whether they were in the public domain. 

Oh yeah.

Since I am attending an online workshop on how to avoid plagiarism, and had this discussion with my spouse, and just added my tagline (see above) into my Google+ account, it was on my mind. 

And that's how blog post topics enter my head.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wicked Stepmother

I feel bad for Leanna. She's only here for a couple days every other week, but she always seems to be here when Jenn Loses It. And she's very sensitive to yelling (of the scolding variety - her own lack of Inside Voice and that of other kids does not seem to be a problem) - by anyone and to anyone - whether it's directed at her or not, so there's usually a mini-meltdown on my part (and sometimes hers) right about now... just before bedtime of the second night she's here. Now that I have figured this out by typing it, I may have to just plan my Alone Time for right about now - lock the door and spend an hour with a bubble bath and a glass of wine.

Today Jenn Lost It because close to bedtime, Abby spilled a full glass of raspberry Crystal Light on the living room carpet. Sixteen ounces of dark red liquid goes a loooong way on cheap apartment carpet. Laston kept his head and got out the SpotBot. I freaked out.

I could use any number of excuses - headache, long day, stress, whatever - but I'll own it. I was yelling at Abby for spilling the stuff (and I should not have let her drink it in the living room without a lid on the cup in any case) . Abby burst into tears and hid under a blanket while I shouted that she should get a towel, whereupon she - in an effort to be helpful - got a single paper towel from the kitchen. Yeah, not gonna help, that. Nice try though. Just as I'm calming down from that, Lizzy jumps into the puddle and out again, to "make pattahns".

Seriously? You want to make patterns?

So I escalated again (volume-wise), sent Lizzy to time out, took Abby in the bedroom to apologize for yelling, and to explain that no, she's not getting another cup this time with a lid. And there's poor Leanna, witness to Jenn Losing It again.

And now, just for a little more noise, we have the SpotBot going for the foreseeable future.

A Interesting Project

Click on the link above and read about the Kindle project that dreamed up. This will all be done by August 20. We are accepting submissions of short stories from amateur or professional bloggers so if you are interested either email Jody Swaney or  All the money will go to a charity and will help put Google + even higher on the social media map!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Corner Drugstore

The pharmacy where I get my prescriptions is a local (Puget Sound) chain that's been around for about a hundred and twenty years. It's also got a full-fledged drugstore, with great deals on things like cosmetics and candy and canned goods and Pillow Pets and over-the-counter drugs and the usual pharmacy-and-drugstore items. Like Bazooka Bubble Gum, which I cannot find in grocery stores or convenience stores, but which is available at my trusty Bartell Drugs. We went to the Grand Opening celebration for their Mill Creek store and ever since Lizzy wants to know why we don't get "example cake" when we go to our usual store in Canyon Park. I've been a customer (patient? client?) there for twenty years or so.

I went in today to pick up refills on my regular prescriptions (I have borderline-high blood pressure and have since I was pregnant with Lizzy, four years ago), as well as some things for Abby's trip to stay with her Nana and Poppo (her dad's parents), such as travel-size shampoo and so forth. I went to the pharmacy, told them I needed a refill, and went out into the store to get the other goodies. They called me back to the pharmacy when the refill was ready, and offered to ring up the rest of my stuff too. Great, I thought, I can get it all done at once.

Then I started coughing.

I've been coughing on and off since about Christmas, and a couple times I was actually treated for bronchitis and walking pneumonia and the rest of the time it was assumed by everyone - me, my family, my doctor, etc. - that it was just allergies. It's been a bad spring and summer around Seattleish for those after all, and as an allergy-triggered asthmatic, the Cottonwood of Doom and the sticky yellow alder pollen have been causing a lot of allergic coughs around here.

But I started that dry hacking cough and the pharmacist asked me if I was sick again. I said, "No, I think it's just allergies," and she looked at the bottle she was holding in her hand and said, "You know, two percent of patients on this blood pressure drug have a dry cough as a side effect. I didn't put it together before, because you were sick when I saw you, but that could be the case. I suggest you contact your doctor about it."

Oh, wow, I thought. I've been coughing on and off since December... it just shows how easy it is to discount something like a cough as no big deal. So I have a call in to my doctor, and we'll see what she suggests. Even if she says I need to stay on this medication, just knowing that the cough is a side effect of a prescription will make it a zillion times easier to deal with.

And that's why I love my corner drugstore.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Out of the Mouth of Lizzy, Almost Four

"Duh, Mom, I'm a kid."

This is her new favorite thing to say - usually when I'm exasperatedly asking her why on earth she just did that whatever-the-hell-it-was - and it makes me want to shake her. (I don't, of course, but the desire is there). She has been full of bizarre little things tonight - possibly because Abby is having an overnight at Grandma's, so it's just Liz and me and Daddy. Like these:
The Strawberry Shortcake Movie: Sky's the Limit
"Mo-om! In this movie Stwabewwy Shoatcake has haih that's kinda wed and kinda pink - it's not weally wed like in the other ones. I don't know what this colah is called - is it pink-wed? Oh wed-pink?"

That would be coral, dear.

"Did you know that Legos is foh evewybody? Even gwown-ups and big kids? But not babies - babies ah too much baby to play with Legos. Like babies."

And as she whacks her body parts against yet another hard (like the Lego table) or sharp-edged like the freaking walls) thing because she's not paying attention to what she's doing, I say, "Lizzy! If you would slow down you wouldn't hurt yourself so often! Why do you do that?"

"Duh, Mom, I'm a kid."