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Archive for June, 2009

Last week I picked Autumn up from school and was treated to a note on her daily report that said, “Autumn enjoyed teaching her friends the song ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot.’”  I smiled at the thought of a group of preschoolers singing Pat Benatar, though I can’t imagine how much fun that was for the teachers since Autumn only knows one part of the chorus and sings it over and over.  For days all I’ve heard of the song has been “Hit me with your best shot…fire away!”

The result of this repetitive serenade is that I’ve not been able to get that damn song out of my head.  I’ve tried and tried, but the more she sings it the more it bounces around in my noggin and even I don’t know all the lyrics.  I know some of them, but once I get to a certain point my mental Muzak kicks in until I get to the chorus again.  Really, I’m not much better than my kid in that respect.

I’m not exactly sure where Autumn learned the song. I imagine it could have been a Sunday morning I plugged the iPod into some speakers and listened to WBMX out of Boston.  I suspect, though, that she learned it at school because “Mama Mia” recently popped into her repertoire and I know I’ve never heard WBMX play ABBA.

That I’m not entirely sure where Autumn picked up these songs is yet another reminder that my kid is becoming her own person.  I used to know everything about her.  I was the Autumn expert and knew where she picked up what words and how she came to learn a particular tune.  When she started singing Katy Perry songs and using phrases like “my bad” I knew our daycare provider’s daughter had to be the culprit.  Now, along with her favorites from the ‘80s, Autumn is coming home with an arsenal of songs about ducks, monkeys and alligators and asking me to sing along.  But just as she doesn’t know all the words to “Paradise City,” I can only stumble along as she leads me through whatever songs she’s learning at school.

And while both Autumn and I absolutely love the school, I can’t help but feel a little sad about taking this first step towards letting her go.  From now on she’ll be surrounded by adults and children who will have a profound influence on her development.  She’s spending her day with all sorts of new and exciting people while Mom and Dad get the spare moments before the day begins and after it ends.

*Sigh*

I carried her for nine months.  I slept on my sides and kicked my husband out of the bed during my last trimester so that his snoring wouldn’t keep us up.  I tolerated her tardy entrance into this world and dutifully nursed her until she started biting.  Is it too much to ask that I get to keep her close a little while longer?

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Here’s what I came up with for my Moo mini card design for BlogHer. I’m pretty happy overall, though I’m not 100% sure about the black text underneath the white.  Keep in mind this is going to be printed on 28mm by 70mm cardstock that’s roughly half the size of a regular business card.  So let me know what you think.  I’d love some feedback!Moo mini card design for BlogHerOh, and if any of you Moo folks are visiting again, could you perhaps tell me why the site is saying my image is too small? The preview looks fine after uploading, but I really don’t want to order a couple hundred of these things if they’re going to turn out pixelated.

UPDATE:

I tweaked the design a little bit. I was afraid the black and white font on the picture would be too small to be readable.  I enlarged the font and decided to push the blog name to the back of the card.  Let me know what you think. Should I keep the leaves graphic on the bottom if the blog name is on the back?  Does it make sense to keep the leaves there as a tie-in to the design of the blog?

Moo design with larger font

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Way back in February I made my reservations for BlogHer. I was so excited and thought, “Man, how am I going to contain all this blogging enthusiasm for five whole months?” Then the blog was hacked. I lost lots of traffic and subscribers, not to mention momentum, and a few personal issues put writing way down on my list of priorities for awhile.

Now I’m back at it and still looking forward to the conference, but my excitement has ramped up to mild hysteria as I realize how much I have to do yet to prepare.

First of all there’s the wardrobe. I have no pants. Well, no weather-appropriate pants. I don’t have any Chicago-in-the-summer type pants that are both flattering and comfortable. I have plenty of sit-on-your-lazy-ass-at-home knit shorts that go well with my late-night-grocery-run tank tops, but those ensembles don’t exactly promote the image of articulate, competent writer I’d like to cultivate. Or maybe fabricate is a better word here. Meh. Tomato, tomahto.

Then there are the business cards and I actually have those covered. Almost. I found these great templates online for creating Moo mini cards and started fiddling around with some designs in Photoshop last night. But I’m freaking out about this because I want the card to be a good representation of the blog. I’m not a designer. I can color inside the lines if you hand me a crayon, but complex graphics software makes me feel as though I’ve just been handed the manual to the space shuttle and asked to fly to the moon (and yes, I know the space shuttle has never landed on the moon).

So far there have been freak outs about packing lists, accessories to go with my shirts (because I have no pants yet) and shoes that will not cripple me or show off too much of my hideous feet. I don’t know how well my crappy (albeit free) laptop will hold up during two days of continuous use, am wondering the same thing about my knees and if my husband’s car will betray me and break down in the city as it did during my last road trip to Chicago.

But most of all I’m wondering how Nathan is going to handle four days alone with Autumn. I would dread it myself if I were him. Each day I’ve spent alone with her lately has left me physically and emotionally spent, so I can only imagine the enthusiasm he’s feeling as the conference approaches. I really have no idea what I’m going to come back to afterwards. Right now I’m envisioning some Poletergeist-like vortex of negative energy that sucks the house into oblivion, leaving nothing but the foundation and the fence that lines the perimeter of our property.

And I’m sure any parent of a three-year old would tell you that’s entirely possible. So don’t judge.

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I finished Twilight on Monday.  I probably could have completed it Sunday had that day not been Father’s Day and my parent’s anniversary, but I have to admit I was hooked.  I was reading in the car every chance I could and I never read in the car because I always end up feeling like I want to yak afterwards.  And I kept on reading even though I already saw the movie because what I was reading was the literary equivalent of crack. Damn you, Stephenie Meyer.

Now I’m not saying the book was without it’s flaws, but when you’re on crack you don’t really care if it’s bad crack or good crack, just that you’ve got some crack and it’s several hundred pages long.  I did, however, have enough presence of mind to not head directly to Barnes and Noble to pick up the sequel when I was done.  The university has a copy of each Twilight installment on hand and I’m second in line for New Moon.  So that means I’ll have enough time to detox before getting hooked again and it won’t cost me a dime.

After I finished the book I felt satisfied that I finally had the whole story.  For some reason I really loved Alice, her back story and the bond she eventually formed with Bella (Can nothing be done with Rosalie? Is she going to be an eternally angry bitch?) and thought the book better explained why the Cullens so easily accepted Bella in spite of her human imperfections and luscious blood.

But one thing nagged at me, and I suppose it’s only something a mother of a daughter would find bothersome.

Bella is so young.  So young.  By the end of the book she’s so completely in love with Edward that she’s willing to give up her mortal life to spend eternity with him.  As a mother it scared the crap out of me because, wow, that could be my kid some day.  I highly doubt vampires will figure into the mix, but it happens, this all-consuming I’ll die if I can’t be with you type of obsessive love.

It didn’t happen to me.  Not at sixteen, and maybe I’m too far removed from sixteen to remember what it feels like to fall in love for the very first time and realize he’s just as crazy in love with you.

So last night I went back to my journals.  I went back nineteen years to just after I graduated from high school and read on through the next three years of my life.  I found out a couple of things; that I was a very tiresome and emotionally erratic young woman who must have driven her mother crazy and that I never found real love until I met my husband.

Oh, I thought I had found love.  I thought I found it with a guy who wound up completely disappointing me, but before the disappointment came the euphoria and this is what I wrote about it:

I think I’m in love.  I know I have said this before, but the other times I was just talking about a crush.  I think I’m falling in love with —–.  When I see him at work I want to hug him and kiss him and when I’m not with him all I can do is think about him.  When I’m close to him I’m in heaven.

When I read this I really do want to yak because I know how things ended with this guy.  He didn’t love me.  Not one bit and for the entirety of our brief relationship I never quite knew where I stood with him.

And I guess that’s the part of Twilight so many of us find appealing; that the love one gives is returned without question.  No partner is more invested than the other, each one declaring they would die before parting.  It’s a very dramatic Shakespearean kind of love.  I still don’t think that kind of love is possible for a teen, but I do get how being appreciated and desired in spite of our imperfections can be so intoxicating. When we are desired, we have a hard time seeing past our own perceived flaws and wonder how it is this other person can find us so fascinating.  The real test, however, is when the other person starts to see the flaws we didn’t know existed and sticks around in spite of them.

That, my friends, is how you know it’s love.  It may not be dramatic or fraught with angst and longing, but it is real and definitely not something you’d want to lose.

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It's not me, it's you

Dear Bloglines,

We’ve had a great run, but I think it’s time we parted ways.  You’ve been my primary feed reader for a couple of years now, but I’m starting to realize I’m more invested in this relationship than you.  Some of my bestest bloggy friend have days of posts you’ve yet to capture and I’m starting to wonder if you’re purposely keeping things from me or simply just unreliable.  Whatever the case, a successful relationship is based on trust and I’m afraid that is a vital element missing from ours.

That being said, I’m going to be honest here and admit I’ve been visiting Google Reader on and off for some time.  I actually transferred all my feeds over months ago but just wasn’t sure if I was ready to make the switch until now.  Maybe it will work out with Google Reader and maybe it won’t, but I can’t stay with you knowing we’re not on the same page.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I still think you’re great and I have no doubt you’ll find someone else, but I want more and I just don’t think you can give it to me.

All the best,

Heather

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Haircut and cleavage

haircut

Here I am showing off yet another haircut while trying to block the messy basement behind me.  Today was my bi-annual highlight appointment, and I have no idea how the highlights wound up so, um…light.  I know my hairdresser and I have fiddled around with the color over the years and I used to get highlights that were more red than light brown, but I don’t remember ever coming out of the salon looking like Ponyboy after a bottle of peroxide.  The webcam does not really show how much lighter my hair actually is, but I can tell you I ran into my best friend walking into Target this morning and she was only able to recognize me because I had Autumn with me.

While I don’t really care for the color, I do like the cut and I’m hoping the color will tone down some before BlogHer.  Speaking of which, how do you like the shirt?  I purchased it especially for BlogHer and hope to not spill out of it whilst introducing myself to complete strangers. “Hi, I’m Heather and these are MAH B00BS!”

I’m wearing the shirt to a graduation party this afternoon, where I’m sure to get lots of practice dropping bits of food down my bra and fishing it out while no one is looking.

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Late Monday afternoon Autumn and I paid C- a visit.  It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, one I made as I was driving home for the day.  I hadn’t talked to her in a couple of weeks and wanted to see how things were going.  I figured if it looked like no one was home I’d drive right on by her house and on to mine.

C-’s daughter was out front cleaning out her car, and as soon as I pulled in both she and C- rushed over to the car to give Autumn a hug.  C- immediately started crying and mouthed the words “thank you” to me as she held Autumn close.  Her daughter took Autumn away to play for a bit and then C- filled me in on what has been going on these past two weeks.  None of it is good news.

She was arrested last week and is facing felony abuse charges.  Just typing that out blows my mind because this is the woman who watched my daughter every weekday for over three years.  She loved Autumn as if she was her own and I never had any reason to believe she was hurting my child or anyone else’s.  I still have no reason to believe it.

Of course it’s also hard to believe the alternative; that someone is wrongly accusing an innocent woman of abuse.  Who does that?  Who purposely and willingly ruins someone’s life, her future and the future of her family and how am I supposed to choose to believe one scenario over another?  Both of them are horrible.

I’ve been going back and forth about whether I should post about this because this story no longer pertains to the care of my child.  We’re heading into some scary territory here and our involvement in this whole mess may just be getting started.  The other day I decided it would probably be best to alter all blog references in which I used C-’s real name.  In a way it felt like I was removing her from our lives somehow, that she was just this non-person who took care of our kid while we were at work.

Going back through all those entries made me realize how much she was a part of our lives and how lucky Autumn was to have found her.  I’d be lying if I said this development hasn’t planted a seed of doubt in my mind.  Someone hurt that little girl, but until it’s proven otherwise I’m going to have to trust C-’s word that she didn’t do it.  Like I said, I have no reason not to trust her, and right now the woman needs every friend she’s got.

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Giddyup!

Autumn horse

Autumn’s teacher sent me this photo. I spotted it on a collage hanging on the wall this morning and told one of the assistants I’d love a copy.  It was already waiting in my in-box when I booted up the computer.

Poor kid. It doesn’t look like she’s having any fun at all.

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Bitten

I finally exposed myself to the Twilight saga this past weekend.  Nathan and I rented the movie and all I can say is…I’m intrigued.

Now I love me a good vampire flick, but perhaps the years of watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” led me to expect, perhaps wrongly, that I’d see some fangs in Twilight.   But there were no fangs.  At least I didn’t see any fangs.  I was crocheting while I watched the movie so I may have missed the fangs.  There was lots of hissing and posturing and also that cool scene where Alice climbs on top of James and rips his head off, but no fangs.  I was a little sad.

But I know that whole vampire thing is secondary to the epic love story between Edward an Bella.  And how cute is Bella with her beat up truck and awkward social skills?  How does a girl like that attract multiple suitors and ingratiate herself into a clan of vampires without becoming lunch?  And?  AND? Bella seems to say all the right things without even trying and makes friends very quickly.   Have teenagers actually become both smarter and nicer or is this truly a work of fiction?

Now I’m sure there are some Twilight purists out there who have read all the books and will insist one MUST read the book because the movie does not do the book justice.  Nathan actually read Twilight last year but I never followed suit until now.  I know reading the first book will inevitably lead to the sequels and I just don’t have that kind of time.  Last night, however, I finally gave up and read the first few pages of book one before my Advil PM kicked in.

All snark aside though, I think I’m going to like the series if only for what happens in Breaking Dawn.

Yeah, I peeked.  Damn Wikipedia.

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Rest for the weary

Every night I check on Autumn before I go to bed.  I lean over, brush the hair from her forehead and give her a kiss.  Most nights I also remove the books, ones she has pulled from her shelf to page through in the semi-darkness after I shut the door to her room.  Sometimes there are so many books that there’s barely any room for her.  I shake my head and put them back as the pride I feel at my daughter’s love for the books conflicts with the knowledge that she’s doing herself and her eyesight a disservice by staying up well past her bedtime, straining to see whatever volume she has in her lap.

While Autumn still does get the opportunity to nap at the new school, she doesn’t always take advantage of it and some days I’m presented with a log of her day that indicates she did not nap at all.  No naps coupled with the book habit at night has resulted in one cranky-ass kid and we had a very hellish day this past week.  Autumn was so exhausted she was not able to cope with even the most minor crisis and her emotional instability just drained the will to live right from us.

Thursday night was the night I took the books away.  I hated doing it and the act resulted in screams of objection, but she had gone for days on less than 10 hours of sleep which, as you may or may not know, is NOT enough sleep for a three year-old.  I felt like some Orwellian villain as I pulled book after book from her shelf, placed them in a basket and hauled them into my bedroom.  Even though I assured Autumn this wasn’t a punishment, she was devastated and buried her head in the pillow.  But shortly thereafter she did fall asleep.

Yesterday she did not nap and was instead treated to a Disney movie during rest time.  She fell asleep on the drive back home and did not wake up until 7:00 this morning.  I was able to pull her from the car and transfer her to Nathan, who then put her right into bed.  She slept through dinner and through Nathan screaming at the TV and the Red Wings’ pathetic performance last night.  She woke up very hungry, but man, last night was one of the most peaceful nights we’ve had in a long, long time.

And today, after spending nearly the entire day wrangling, chastising, cajoling and soothing my child all by myself, I am more than ready to be the one to sleep fourteen hours straight.

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