year in review

well, here we are. the end of december. there's a few more days left for crazy and/or wacky things to happen, but I won't be near a computer to document it.

let's see. 2005 began with me going back to work full time. dropping bella off at daycare wasn't too bad on her, as she was just over 2 months old. it was hellish for me, though, and I cried alot.

I revived the blog at the end of february and nicole started blogging (sort of on the sly at first) just before that. we made alot of nextblog friends as the year went on, and rather than list them out, they are in the links. those are some excellent friendships we forged. I'm extremely grateful.

I also started emailing a core but motley group of people on a regular basis starting in 2004 and continuing into 2005. tom, tracey, jen, mark, nicole and I still email each other as much as possible, and it's their emails (and the blogging) that carries me through each day.

let's see. I went to vegas alone in june for a conference after agonizing over it. bella turned 1. she began to walk and talk. I got to watch noah do the same. we got new carpet in the house. I started going to the gym and then stopped when I got tendonitis and haven't gone back again yet. we redid our kitchen but didn't finish. I deeply hurt my mother in law by not asking her what she wants for christmas and instead getting her the incredibly hideous gift of a pretty wool hat and scarf, and then had the nerve to tell her that her returning it hurt my feelings, and I learned to let go. juuuust kidding.

jen coined the term "hyper neat" which I plan to use alot more in 2006. I almost won a football suicide pool that is still going on. I had a few arguments with my best friend but we got over them. I had a few arguments with my husband but we got over them. I had a few arguments with myself that I'm not completely over. I had a few arguments with colleagues but I've halfheartedly moved on.

I'm not one of those people who sees the new year as an opportunity to change my outlook on life, as I have to do that often to keep my sanity. maybe it's because I'm a gemini or because I'm fickle or lazy or whatever, but I have to reset myself every few months or I start to lose it. so I have several "new years" each year. but I love being surrounded by friends and family as the years move on, and this year, I have the supreme honor of hanging out at the eggertses with master noah for the new year. I'm excited.

I have no idea what 2006 will bring. I hope it brings cookies. and nice bathing suits. and extra spending money. and happiness. and health. and milestones. and a sibling for noah.

happy new year, everyone...see you in aught 6.


picture pages

I told you there'd be multiple post days this week. it is totally dead around here. since I am so fixated on this stupid mother in law thing, I thought I'd post pictures. pretty, pretty pictures.

first, sean's birthday. sean's opening presents and trent's doing shenaningans.
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noah eats his fist in his disco clothes. (yes, these are THAT old.)
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sorry, ladies, he's taken.
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bella's monster feet and a real monster dog.
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bella feeds her baby doll. mmmmm, milk in the eye.
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our annual picture at my dad's christmas party. sean and I are in the left corner. my dad is in the chair, kkkathy is at his feet, the woman with the lion looking mane is kkkathy's daughter lllori. next to my dad, seated, is my sister josie, and holding her down by the shoulders is her new boyfriend and soon to be husband, who we all just met for the first time, named....joe? john? I think john. next to him is my sister in law carol and next to her is my brother and her husband, roy. beneath carol and next to josie is my brother tony, who is finally separated from his wife. sitting in the other chair is kkkathy's son eeeric and his wife sssally. missing from this picture is my brother pat. and of course, my sister and brother from my mom's side of the family.
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here's my neices and nephews. missing from this picture are my oldest neice from my father's side, kristin, and my neices and nephews (3 girls, 3 boys) from my brother and sister from my mom's side. sidenote, an interesting fact about my family - because of non-related siblings marrying into the same family multiple times, my sisters and brothers both from my mom's first marriage and my dad's first marriage are also my cousins.
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and here's the only picture I have downloaded so far of bella at christmas with her pretty dress. she wore that santa hat for a grand total of 12 seconds.
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it's the thought that counts. for nothin.

well, I had intended to write this post as a wonderful holiday recap. and you know what? I will, right after I get this off my chest.

my mother in law emailed me and sean to ask us where she could return her gifts, which were a lovely wool nine west hat and scarf. however, instead of just asking if she could return them, she gave us reasons, so that we'd know exactly why our gift sucked so badly. she already has too many scarves so she knows she won't use it, and she doesn't like hats because they mess up her hair. so I wrote her back a concillatory but terse email. and now I feel like I'm not sure if I did the right thing. sometimes, I hate gift giving.

and sometimes I love it. let's talk about bella and trent instead. bella was up on and off all night, so she was asleep still when trent opened his gifts. which was kind of nice, so that trent had the spotlight all to himself. he loved his gifts, or so he says (now I have total gift insecurity) and I rigged up his new mp3 player so that it had his new cd on it. we also got him a nerf gun which was a bad idea, as it hurts if you get hit with the balls (hello, nerf? wasn't the selling point to nerf stuff that it doesn't hurt??) and it freaks the shit out of the dog. of course, he wanted to play with it all night and I felt bad that I had to threaten him with no more gifts unless he put it down until after our company at least had left.

bella woke up later and was pleased to see everyone sitting around watching her. she likes the kitchen but I didn't realize that she isn't quite tall enough to see the sink/burner portion of it. oops. but she loves the play food. my mom and robert e lee got her a table and chairs to match, and she loves sitting at them with her play food and fork and spoon. she didn't quite get the hang of ripping open the presents until she was opening presents on monday at sean's mom's house. ah well. next year, maybe she'll do it more herself. she got a ton of toys and a few outfits. we didn't get her much, knowing that she didn't need much and that she'd get things from other people. her favorite toys are her baby dolls, though, and she's taken both of them (one new, one existing) to daycare both days this week. she carries them around the house. she hugs and kisses them and makes them dance. it's adorable.

okay. so I thought I could get through this post if I just got the jo-anne thing off my chest, but it's not working. was I wrong to be upset? maybe I should have just said "fine" and given her a gift card?

why does gift giving have to be so complicated? the hat and scarf were really nice, high quality. I really thought that at the very least, she'd be happy with having them even if she didn't use them every day. I mean, it's a hat and scarf. innocuous, right? maybe I didn't put enough thought into it?


my heart is full of unwashed socks, my soul is full of gunk

my side table in the kitchen is filled with beautiful cards from all over the place. (even as far as utah.) I am so grateful for everyone who takes the time to send us a card.

I, however, am a cold, heartless bitch who...I don't like to admit it...NEVER sends christmas cards. I think I might have sent them out once, perhaps. but not recently, and not this year.

it's not that I'm lazy, even though I'm totally lazy, but that's not why I don't send them. I don't know what it is, really. we were never really card-givers growing up. it was pretty much only birthdays that warranted cards. sean's family, however, gives cards for all sorts of occasions, including christmas and, oddly, easter. or maybe that's not odd. I think it's odd.

so anyways, if you haven't received a card from me, it's not because I don't like you and definitely not because I am not grateful for whatever you may have sent to me. because I totally am grateful. it's because I'm grinchy when it comes to cards.

so anyways, this will probably be my last post until next wednesday, when I return to the ghost town that will be my place of employment. those two days next week that I'm working (weds, thurs) should be total CAKE. I'm talking possible double, triple, QUADRUPLE post days. I'll tell you all about how bella liked christmas, how the plumber fucked us over with our hot water coil thingie, and stuff I don't even know about yet, like how I'm going to win thousands of dollars on those scratch off lottery tickets.

until then, have a merry christmas if you're into that kind of thing, and if not, have a happy whatever you and yours celebrate, even if that's only the fact that all the christian weirdos are not out on sunday clogging up the stores and restaurants. uh oh, brain overload, friends and husbands of mine who are not christian and who celebrate christmas...cannot reconcile in my mind my last sentence...are you inherently christian if you celebrate christmas?? oh well. I leave you to ponder that. I'm outta here.


I blame congress

I just sat here for almost 6 minutes with my hands poised over the keyboard, staring into space, open-eyed sleeping.

last night, I put bella into bed and...

before I go on, I have to mention that I have a serious fear that talking about things makes them happen. like thinking about spilling stuff or worrying about accidentally saying "fuck" in a meeting with the boss's boss's boss, or saying "bella hasn't had a diaper blowout in a while". so I say what I'm about to say with a word to the goddesses of karma or whatev to please, don't make what I say come true. I've seen movies and read books. I'm too tired to deal with something of that nature.

so I put bella into bed and I swear to whomever that I thought she was possessed. I literally was waiting for her to levitate off the crib mattress. what the fuck.

I hope you don't think I'm saying this for comic effect, that I thought she was possessed. I really mean it. in my sleep-deprived mind, I was scared that she had a writhing demon inside of her at the time. I even mentioned it to sean when I got back into bed - an HOUR later. it was freakish and I hope it never happens again. that said, I am positive we'll have a repeat tonight.

sweet dreams.


it's beginning to look a lot like a disorganized mess replete with massive credit card debt

I am, habitually, a christmas-eve shopper. this is for several reasons. one is that I am a procrastinator, which I'm sure you find shocking. two is that I get so excited to give people presents that I can hardly contain myself and so making the wait from purchase to giving as short as possible makes me way more calm. three is that it is tradition, and it is comforting, and I even have learned to enjoy shopping with all the last-minuters.

and now, I have added a fourth reason: elimination of second-guessing. I counted 23 presents under the tree yesterday before I had even wrapped everything - BEFORE wrapping sean, trent, and bella's gifts. so that's just friends and family. I am estimating about 26 people in all that we buy for. we've had to cut back on how much we spend, because....at $30 a pop average, that's $780, then there's the parental gifts that cost more. and as you can see by my masterful travel planning, we can't be throwing money around like that because we may need it. so I went out early this year, hunting bargains. and I did well. and I did well fairly quickly. I have everything purchased and wrapped and it's only the 20th. but then, I'd think of what I got people and start worrying that it wasn't enough. a nice frilly scarf and beaded wool hat and a cute indian-mosaic mirror for jo-anne seems like a good gift, right? but is it BIG ENOUGH? a warm sweater with an irish shamrock and some other irishness on it, which was more expensive than most of the other gifts already, for sean's dad seems like a great gift, but shouldn't there be more to open??

now I'm finding myself buying more stuff to supplement the gifts I got already, because I'm all worried about how they'll be perceived. how stupid is that?? at least when I do my last minute stuff, there's no time to worry about how it'll be perceived. I probably would have spent less. plus, because I already wrapped stuff and ran out of the wrapping paper I used to wrap the original presents, the supplemental presents are wrapped in different paper. and it's wildly different, as I used blueish paper to wrap the first batch of gifts and I only had red and green ho ho ho and xmas tree paper to wrap the rest. so now I'm freaking out that they'll KNOW it was a supplemental gift. god. I am SURE this isn't what baby jesus wanted.

in other news, jarrett and his wife jenal gave birth to a (compared to their firstborn, tiny) little baby girl today shortly after 8am. they named her lucy. so cute. babies, babies everywhere! but not a cheek to eat.


HAPPY (one day late) BIRTHDAY, LONNA!!

ode to lonna, in haiku:

lonna, beautiful
friend and blogger buddy too
hap, happy birthday.

ode to lonna, in bad country song:

well, she found a lone soul from pennsylvaniaaah
and she married him up riiiight
they sit up eatin tofu
every single niiiight
they got two cats and a youngin
they fill their house with luuuuuuv
they just need to meet some vegan punks
it's what they're dreamin uuuuuv.

ode to lonna, in cheer:

lonna, lonna, she's our girl
if she can't do it, I will hurl!


updates and clown cars

not that I'm nicole's personal mouthpiece or anything, but I see that the list of comments over at her site are growing. she seems to be doing okay. I think the primary issue for her is seeing her mother so distraught. I can only guess that there may be some feelings about larry himself that she needs to sort out, but as she has mentioned, they were not very close. the mood up there is sad and harried, with lots of people calling and stuff happening, all with an inquisitive boy in an unbabyproofed house with no baby gates. I think they will be travelling home on monday evening, so I'm hoping she'll be able to post herself on tuesday. I'm trying to simultaneously be there for her and not bug her.

so last night, we decided to knock out bella's christmas shopping. as in stuff for bella. now, I don't know what's going on lately, but our usually mellow, laid back baby has rocketed herself into terrible twodom already. we used to pride ourselves on being able to take bella to restaurants and other establishments without much fuss. now that she can walk and has discovered the power of the tantrum, though, it's not quite so easy. in fact, it's not easy at all. we went to the new macaroni grill in montgomeryville because it's right next to toys r us, and because we were celebrating sean getting crazy excellent remarks (and a raise) from his performance review. the plan was to meet there after I ran some errands (consisting of buying super-hold-you-in underwear and taking the dress I purchased at macy's back to macy's to take off the stupid sensor) and after bella woke up from her spiritually cleansing nap, refreshed and ready to have a meal at a restaurant.

well, we met, we were served promptly, the tables are covered in white paper and crayons are provided so there's endless areas on which to scribble, and there are people on all sides ooing and ahhing over her, so you'd think we'd be in the clear. nope. after she exorcisted her torso around almost 360 degrees in an attempt to get out of the high chair, she threw one of several mini tantrums. boots went flying. crayons catapulted. chicken bits landed hither and thither. finally, I told sean to just pack her up and take her to toys r us and I'd take care of the check and all that.

the plan for toys r us was that bella had no idea that we were buying her stuff anyways, and both of us wanted to be there for the toy purchasing. first off, toys r us is a big place, but oddly, has very little selection apparently. second, bella was racing around with a toy banana she found somewhere that looked very dirty, and by the time I went to the checkout, I had to call sean on his cell phone to find out where in the store he was, so there went the shopping together idea. our big gift for her is a play kitchen, and while TRU had a few on display (including that hideous dora the explora one which will never find its way into our home, goddamn football headed freak) many were not in stock. however, the one I wanted had just come in, as a kindly employee seeing me checking out the display models said. so I did get the one I wanted, and it was on sale. nice.

we got a few other things, including a kid sized foam chair with a picture of elmo on it in a bright yellow covering that seems to be big bird skin, and then we got into the line at checkout. cue the next tantrum when we try to pry the dirty plastic banana out of bella's hands and put her coat on. seriously. isn't she too young for this???? so I send sean on his way again since all I'm doing is paying and we drove separately. I had a 20% coupon good on one item only, so I used it. a woman behind me, who for some reason didn't want to use her coupon, gave me hers, so I got another 20% off another product. nice. twists and turns, these days.

I get all the stuff but the kitchen out to the car and pack it up. thank god bella's not in the car. I drive around to the front of the store to load up the kitchen and holy fucking shit. the box is huge. I'm having an ikea moment. you know, when you buy too much shit at ikea and then realize that there's no way you can fit it all in your car. the guy who brought the kitchen box outside said, "you ain't gonna fit this in there." thanks. so I call sean - come back quickly! you need to put some of this in your car! as I'm making the call, the guy is rearranging everything in my car and somehow, some way, makes it fit. I can hardly put the car in gear because there's shit on the console and the car seat is now upside down in the front seat, and I can only use my side mirrors to see out of the car, but I'm self contained. so I called sean again - nevermind! go back home!

of course, I had one more stop to make, as sean's department was having a potluck something or other, and I was (or "sean" was) supposed to make pumpkin dip. and we don't have pumpkin laying around, nor cream cheese. (sidenote: I believe that cream cheese is disgusting, vile, and of the devil.) so I got that stuff, threw it on top of my now-crumpled and wrinkled dress that is on top of the car seat in the front seat, and made it home. and saintly sean, he unloaded the whole car and put everything in its right place.

now how the hell am I going to wrap that huge kitchen??



thank god, project runway is back on. this is easily my favorite reality TV show. no stupid watering down, no manufactured drama (yet), no overdramatic host. not that I don't love my other reality shows, I do...just not as much. project runway, I love you more than CAREBEAR STICKERS.


down with the sickness

so this weekend, I got sick again. this time, sinuses. know what blows the most about extended nursing? or breastfeeding in general? (ps, hi steve! I'm talking about breastfeeding! sorry...) you can't take any drugs. no sudafed, no heroin, no nothin. well, advil, which I am taking by the fistful, and tylenol, which I'm allergic to, and benadryl, which renders me incapable of speech or eyelid lifting.

so I've been using these zicam swabs that you stick up your nose; they are homeopathic. and gooey. and I'm using breathe-right strips. and a vicks vaporizer. and an eyebag. and a sleep mask to hold the eyebag on. sean finds me dead sexy in all these acoutrements.

I was off from work yesterday, and sinuses throbbing, I put up our tree while sean dealt with a very cranky, very fussy bella. (and I dealt with a very cranky, very fussy trent.) so our tree is up, our house is "decorated" which means there's more bric-a-brac up that is holiday themed, and there are 2 giant tubs of decorations by the front door that are supposed to be outside. it's just so cold, and I'm so tired. and lazy.

maybe I'll get to it tonight. (probably...not.)

ps, as I'm sure you already know, our family's thoughts are with the wengers and kin, who are going through a difficult time now. a loss at a time of celebration of a famous birth must be even more difficult to bear. I've met larry a handful of times, and he's always been very pleasant to me. carol is a wonderful woman and I hate to think about the suffering she's going through now. she's a strong person, and I know eventually she'll be okay, but it's the getting there that makes me tearful for her.



first, a word about our weather. we got about 7 inches of snow last night. actually, more like this morning. when sean left around 5:20ish, he cleaned off my car and shovelled the front walk. by the time I got up at 7, you couldn't tell that he'd done anything at all. trent had off from school, but of course my work was open. thank god bella's daycare was, too. she's at daycare, I'm at work, and trent's at home. and there's 7 new inches of snow on the ground. did I mention that we rarely get snow here before january? I just hope this doesn't mean that the entire winter is going to be full of snow. I can't take that much.

okay. back to business at hand. you know how back in june, I went to las vegas for work? well that same conference I went to then is happening again, this time in january. so this time, I decided to take sean, trent, and bella with me.

because it's already december, I wanted to get the airfare out of the way asap. we only just got permission to attend this thing, so I immediately went to our travel lady here (who sits across the aisle from me) to make the arrangements. sean already had a credit from when he was planning to go with me in june. this is important for later.

so I decided that since I was taking trent, I wanted to have him miss the least amount of school possible, and since the conference was on monday and tuesday, I figured we'd go out late friday and have the weekend before for vacation. so I told the travel lady that we'd like to check on flights leaving late friday and returning wednesday.

I had her hold off on looking at hotels because my boss was being wishy washy about which one he wanted to stay at. he's been to vegas many times, and refuses to stay somewhere he's already been. this is important for later.

so she sends me times and and I choose the flights for going out and coming home. then I get hit with the first of many snafus. sean's original ticket was about $400, back in june. we didn't use the ticket, so that money is a credit, minus a $100 fee for transferring the dates of the ticket. normally, how this would work is that you take the $100 off the top, giving you $300 in credit. you subtract the amount of the new ticket (in this case, less than $200 but I want to use round numbers) from the credit, and you get to use whatever is left over on any additional tickets. so, we'd lose only $100 on the whole deal because we were getting a new ticket that was less than the old one, and could use the remaining money for other tickets. however, since us air, who issued the original ticket, was taken over by america west (which, when did that happen?) they will not allow the additional credit. this means that the ticket was $400, we had $300 in credit after the penalty, and the new ticket was only $200, and we have to forfeit the additional $100 due to the new rules. okay, we can live with that. sucks, though.

then the second snafu. america west won't take the $100 off the top of the ticket. we have to pay that outright, outside of the credit. so now the ticket was $400, the new ticket is $200. we get an even trade on that and lose the additional $200. and on top of that, we have to pay the $100 penalty outright. so sean's ticket is now $500. okay. not much you can do about that.

later that day, I hear laughing from my coworkers. we find out that there are a few other conventions going on at the same time, one of which is the AVN awards. remember this for later.

so ONE DAY goes by, and I finally find out that we are all supposed to stay at caesar's. it's reportedly about $139/night. literally as I am looking at hotel options, the travel lady sets my tickets down on my desk. they are booked, period. she walks away just as the website for caesar's comes up. I put in my arrival and departure dates. and as predicted, the price per night is $139. EXCEPT saturday night, which is $539 for the night. and friday night. which is SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS.

of course, I'm immediately freaked out. like, oh my god, what am I going to do freaked out. I send an email to the travel lady, who helpfully says "well, I could have told you that they'd be expensive that weekend." hey thanks. I go to look at other hotels for friday and saturday and they are ALL exorbitantly priced. like rooms that are usually $60/night are $300. my idea is that trent will have to miss more school, and we'll fly out on sunday and stay till friday instead. so the travel lady says that we can transfer the tickets for me and trent, but sean's ticket will have to be forfeited outright because america west doesn't transfer transfer tickets. I am in such a panic, I can't make any decisions, so I call sean and hash it out with him. we were trying to figure out whether it would be more expensive to stay somewhere for friday and saturday, or to just buy sean a new ticket.

then another snafu occurs. are you keeping count? this is number 3. the travel lady, who sits across the aisle from me, comes over while I'm on the phone and mouths "it's cheaper to stay the weekend." I can't figure out how this is, so I end my call and go to her desk, where she proceeds to tell me that by "transferring" my ticket and trent's ticket, we incur the same $100 penalty that we discussed before. so we'd have to buy a new ticket plus pay $200 in penalties. not only that, but in the ONE DAY since we booked our flight, the prices have gone up to over $300. so we'd have $200 in penalties, plus the difference in ticket prices for me and trent, plus a whole new ticket for sean, plus the $500 we paid already for sean's ticket.

at this point, I'm sort of hyperventilating. so we decide that we will stay in vegas those nights. just obviously not at the caesar. I start looking for cheaper rooms. here comes snafu #4. there are NO ROOMS in vegas on that friday or saturday night, the aforementioned AVN awards. which, if you didn't click on the link, is the PORN OSCARS. holy fuck. literally.

so we find 3 rooms available - one is at a super 8 motel that is technically on the strip, only about 30 blocks north of even crappy casinos like the riviera. I've seen that area. I do not want our family to be starring in CSI. so that's out. one is the tropicana, and it's only $105. whew. does it surprise you that it isn't available? so our last hope was the travelodge on the strip, which wasn't so bad at $125. (as I try not to think about the fact that the room is normally $41.) it's between the belagio and new york new york, so not a bad area. only the room, and all the rooms around it, is smoking. so we went with that, and we're packing a fan. asthma and baby-suffocation be damned.

so the short story is that we are going to vegas in january, for 5 fun-filled days that fucking better be filled with winning a shitload of money on the slot machines to pay for everything.


2-9 Day # 2

Sean here. I'm finally so caught up on my work/training that I now have a chance to post something. I've been extremely busy here at work handling the financial side of our operations for the past two months, and that requires a lot of intensive training from a bitchy guru who's always on my ass to see if I'm walking a straight line (picture Pai Mei to The Bride in Kill Bill Vol. 2). Well, straight is how I strut, and now it's time for a breather so that I can say "hi" to all of you nice people.
The birthday week is going great. I definitely feel special the way a birthday person should. Can't wait to hit that box of Godiva white chocolate assortment when I get home. My iPod speakers work great, so now I can do dishes to the wonderful sounds of Blessing The Hogs, Gorerotted, and Leng Tch'e (Belgian for "Death By 1000 Cuts")...well, only when nobody is in the other room trying to watch TV. Dinner was nice last night. It was a little hectic at times in the typical Milligan/Mickles/Brennan way (loud, overbearing, opinionated family members in a loud restaurant). My mom was about to raise hell because the reservation was for 6:30pm, but we didn't get seated until 7:15pm. Everyone was a little ticked, but we all behaved for the most part. We were about to complain to the waiter once we were seated, but as we were taking our seats, out came the manager with three large complimentary plates. On those plates were mussels in lemon butter sauce, calamari with a side of marinara, and mozzarella sticks with a side of marinara for the kids and Patrice (who got none...sorry honey...if only you liked squid and meat from sea shells). He apologized and complimented our good nature and patience. See, it pays not to be an asshole.
Well, I'll try to post more in the future. There wasn't much to this. I just needed to get a post out there to break the streak of post-less days. Sometimes you need a cupcake opponent to get you back to winning ways. Kind of like how the 49ers were to the Eagles in week 2 after that week 1 loss to Atlanta. Although, they didn't get very far after all. I'll try to do better than that. Now it's time to buy myself a birthday present online!!!!


the day that will live in infamy

it is sean's birthday today.

it was sean who introduced me to the theory of the birthday week, and as such, he's been getting the rrrroyal treatment since monday, when he got his choice of dessert. doesn't sound like much, but he takes his dessert seriously. (he chose warm apple crumb cake with fresh merrymead cinnamon caramel swirl ice cream.) yesterday, he got his ipod speakers. today, his family are meeting us at a nearby restaurant to celebrate his birthday and his grandmother's birthday, which is tomorrow.

there's alot of sean stories I could tell you, having to do with funny experiences with outdoor defecation (there are, seriously, quite a few of those) and drunken debauchery. I could even tell you sweet stories like what he was like at bella's birth or how he proposed. (and I think I did tell you about our first dates at the mexican restaurant and with the cheese sandwiches, right?) but I'm going to tell you (with prior permission from sean) about one of the best sean stories I ever witnessed, which some of you already know - the cat door.

we live in a smallish row home that was built in 1920. as such, we have radiator hot water heat and no air conditioning. in the winter, it's no big deal because the radiators work quite well and the house stays toasty. however, in the summer, we have to put in room air conditioners and partition off all the bedrooms because it's just unbearable up there and the air conditioners only really cool off small areas. so we put an air conditioner in our bedroom and closed the door at night. maggie, our dog, would always follow us wherever we go, so she'd already be in our bedroom when we went to bed, but kitchen, our cat, loves to roam at night.

because our bedroom door didn't really close or lock correctly, the cat would come in in the middle of the night by pushing the door open. if we barricaded the door shut, she'd scratch endlessly at the door to get in or out. so we decided that we should get a cat door for our bedroom door so kitchen could come in and out as she pleased, and the cold air would stay in our room.

I bought the cat door and was intending to install it myself. I had read the directions and it seemed pretty easy. but sean wanted to do it himself, and so at 8am on a weekday while I was at work, he began what he (and I) thought was a simple, couple-of-hours task.

I called him at around noon to see how things went. he answered the phone completely flustered and angry. I asked him what was wrong, and he proceeded to tell me what had happened.

you have to use a template and cut a hole in the door to install the cat door. he took the door off the hinges to work on it, naturally. he didn't want to get sawdust on the floor so he took the door down to the basement. he used the jigsaw to cut the hole, but the blade broke, so he took trent (who was home from school for the summer) to home depot to get another one, which didn't fit. he finally got the saw to work and cut the hole out, installed the door, and heaved the door back upstairs.

as he put the door up to the jamb to put it back on the hinges, completely pleased with himself for not making a mess AND for being a total handyman, he noticed something was very wrong. he said to me "so I got the door back up and now I am so angry..." and before he even had a chance to tell me what happened, I knew. he had cut the hole AT THE TOP OF THE DOOR. so unless our cat was 7 feet tall, she wasn't getting in the cat door. he was so angry, but my god. it was the funniest thing I had ever heard. people two rows down from me at work were wondering if I was okay, because the laughing I was doing sounded more like choking than anything gleeful. in fact, for a few minutes there, no sound was coming out of my mouth at all. I demanded that trent take a picture before sean fixed it.

oh, and fix it he did. I told him to just flip the door upside down and put it on the hinges that way, so the hole was at the bottom. but the hinges weren't equal distances and the door was now 3 inches too tall for the door frame. so sean, having just used the jig saw, and now drunk with power and rage, proceeded to cut this wildy jagged piece off the top without measuring. needless to say, it was way more than the 3 inches we needed. and he also had to reinstall the cat door itself because now it opened upside down.

we never did fix that door. it still has the lock on the outside (great for pranks!) and it still has a jagged 4" gap at the top, making it seem more like a saloon door than anything else. but the cat has her cat door and she does use it. all's well that ends well.

sean, thank you for always making me laugh. happy birthday, handyman.


stuff babies do

my mom called me yesterday (we talk maybe once a month, if we're lucky) and since I hadn't seen her since bella's birthday party, I realized I had alot to tell her about bella. and then I realized there was a lot of stuff going on with bella, stuff I haven't really properly acknowledged in a while.

things started changing so fast once she turned one. she started talking alot more, and her personality really started showing. and then of course she started walking. and talking more. and being empathetic.

this morning, bella said "thank you" for the first time. (well, the first time I heard her, anyways.) the other night, she picked up her baby doll and hugged it and pet its head and gave it a toy bottle. she's begun pointing to our eyes and nose and mouth and teeth. she loves her feet and likes to put on shoes. in short, she is no longer a baby. as sean and I say to each other often while we watch her sleep, she's a bona-fide KID.

as you know, this is bitter-sweet for me. this is the last time that I'll be going through this and it's sad to look at what will never happen again. no more first words or steps or hearing "mama" for the first time. I guess we still have a ton of firsts to go, but it's still kind of sad.

so, bella's vocabulary is, to date: mama, daddy, hiya, bye bye, night-night, thank you, doggie, maggie, trent, brett, uh oh, hot, banana, cup (she says "cuppa"), and my new favorite, nononononono. apparently, I don't just say no once, I say no no no no, so she says nonononononono when she doesn't want to do something. she's walking really well, can turn around and get up without holding onto things, she can crouch down (which, by the way, is adorable), and loves to throw the tennis ball for the dog. she loves to dance and shake her butt, she plays hide and seek with trent where she crouches out of sight and then says "RAAAAAWR!" (which, by the way, is adorable.) she also says "whooooaaaaaaa" whenever she does something new or falls or climbs on something, which, by the way, is adorable.

I love this kid.


it was horrible and I got fired.

just kidding.

the presentation went well on friday. of course. I get worked up over nothing. had I not been so nervous, though, I'm sure I wouldn't have been as prepared.

the weekend went by quickly. I did a bunch of xmas shopping on saturday, knocking out alot of people on my list. the rest of our carpet was installed on saturday, too, in the hallway. no more splinters! except in trent's room. sunday, I went bridesmaid-dress shopping with my sister and my niece, who is getting married in late august. sean and bella went to baby disco with nicole and mark and noah and jess. boy, do I wish I went with them.

not that dress shopping isn't fun. however, dress shopping with tiny petite people who are tan does take some of the luster away. I started trying on dresses alongside my cousin, who is 20 something and a size 0. I'm not exaggerating, that's her size. I almost fit into the dresses on the racks. they were one size too small. so I wasn't able to zip them up all the way. but you certainly got the picture. now, on the other hand, jackie was at least 5 sizes smaller than the dresses on the racks. however, my sister's horror at seeing me in those dresses made me scurry back into the dressing room and leave the trying-on to jackie. even though someone had to stand behind her and hold the dress tight so we could see what they looked like. in retrospect, I'm kind of offended, I guess. I did say to denise (my sister - denise/patrice, they rhyme. get it? my mom says it was unintentional) that I would be wearing whatever dress they pick, so it might behoove them to see me in it in all my giant glory to get a more accurate depiction of what it will look like at, you know, the actual wedding. ah well, whatever. we did spend all day at bridal shops only to find the dress she wanted at david's bridal, which for you other-places folk is a giant chain of bridal shops on the east coast. maybe it's national, I don't know. in any case, it's bright coral and empire waisted, so some things work for me and some against me. I clearly will have to diet and tan this summer. at least it gives me a goal.

it snowed over the weekend and that really convinced me to take my fall stuff down and put up my xmas decorations. it hardly ever snows before january here. we always hope for a white christmas and we hardly ever get it. it's supposed to snow again today already. I hope this doesn't keep up all winter. I don't mind driving in the snow, but I hate other drivers who do mind because they fuck it all up for the rest of us.

and...I don't have a good way to end this not cohesive post. how about this? what's your favorite holiday song and why? I don't have a clue what mine is yet. I'll let you know.


today is the day

before any big presentation, one should always strive to get a good night's sleep.

here is a short play by play of my night.

10pm, bella falls asleep on my lap on the rocker downstairs. she hasn't done that in a while, so I feel like I'm sitting pretty, able to get last minute stuff done before I go to bed while she is safely ensconced in her crib.

10:30pm, I get everything together and climb into bed. my shoulder has been killing me for days now, after having slept on it funny a few nights ago. so I put one of those self-heating cramp pads on my shoulder to sleep on it hoping it will loosen up the muscle. sean has put maggie on the bed and of course this means she's sleeping on my side, but my feet are cold so it's bearable. I swat sean a few times to get him to stop snoring.

midnight, bella wakes up for the first of many, many times. I put her in bed with us. we all sweat. I swat sean a few times to get him to stop snoring.

2am, bella wakes up again. I switch sides with her so I can both nurse her on the other side and so I can switch shoulders that I'm laying on. the dog decides to move up further and I now am forced to lay on one side with my legs bent in opposite directions with no covers. I swat sean a few times to get him to stop snoring.

3am, I wake up completely stiff. I move the dog to her bed on the floor and bella to her crib.

3:01am, bella wakes up as soon as she hits her crib mattress. I pat her to sleep for about 10 minutes.

3:57am, I wake up to a strange noise. it sounds like the cat clawing the mattress (as she is wont to do) but only with one claw. in rhythm. it's rather loud. then I realize that it happens every time sean exhales. then I realize IT'S SEAN.

4am, I finally shake sean awake to stop the...noise. he is incredulous that it happened. then he buries his face in the pillow and laughs. so I laugh. we laugh for 10 minutes.

4:10am, his alarm clock goes off. now, here's where it goes from funny to annoying. sean's clearly awake. he's been laughing for 10 minutes. it's a nice start to his day. he could get to work early or just have time to have a nice breakfast. but no. sean is used to hitting snooze a few times in the morning, as most of us are. however, most of us aren't getting up at 4am. so sean decides to get more sleep in and hit snooze. I am also fully awake at this point but I don't get up until 7am, so I am trying to get more sleep.

4:19am, sean's alarm clock goes off. he hits snooze.

4:28am, sean's alarm clock goes off. he hits snooze.

4:37am, sean's alarm clock goes off. FOR THE FOURTH TIME NOW. he hits snooze.

4:39am, after stewing about how annoyed I am that I keep getting awakened by this goddamn alarm, I hit sean, telling him to wake the fuck up already. sean says "don't you dare." whatever that is supposed to mean. he turns off his alarm clock. then he lays back down.

4:40am, I hit sean again, asking if he's planning to wake up at all today, because often if he lays down after turning off his alarm, he'll fall asleep without waking up in time for work. plus, he has to leave shortly and he definitely needs to shower. he says "I'm GETTING UP."

4:45am, bella wakes up again.

I sleep fitfully until my alarm goes off at 6:30am, I half-heartedly hit my snooze button, then get up at 6:45. REALLY tired.

so. excellent way to start the day. hoo rah.



don't you hate it when you create an entire presentation and realize you should have done it differently? and that it kind of blows?

anyways. I am feeling better. not 100% but at least not in the bathroom anymore. I just have a whopper headache and my muscles hurt. and the tiredness.


I am now allowing myself to get excited over christmas. mostly the shopping, anyways. we aren't going overboard on anyone (even the kids) so this year, it has to be quality and not quantity. which is sometimes difficult. maybe excited isn't the right word. perhaps it's apprehensive.

compounding that is the fact that sean's birthday is dec 7. the day that will live in infamy. (which I guess is kind of outdated now that sept 11 happened and is this generation's pearl harbor day.) what the HELL am I going to get him? don't tell me in comments, because I've heard a rumor that he actually does READ this thing from time to time even though he doesn't post. (blah blah blah work blah blah. I've got a presentation I have to embarrass myself with tomorrow, work is no excuse.)

anyway, you kinda know sean by now. he likes metal, movies, beer, metal and metal. and fluffy puppies. any ideas? email me at patrice108 at gmail dot com. please.