Friday, September 30, 2011

The Family That Reads - And Other Big Events!

     So I haven't posted much lately because I've been TRYING to finish the dang post about my HS reunion - you know, before the 20 year rolls around!  But work has been super busy (and I've been a freaking rock star, let me tell you), and well, you know how it goes.

      Still, I'm not neglecting this here little blog.  Big things are afoot!  Did you see my three fancy new tabs up at the top there?  Recipes (which also includes nutritional information), Ethical Eating, and The Family That Reads?

     Hell Yes.

      These are the newest additions to Cheap Wine and Cookies, and I'm very excited about them.  I now have places to focus some of my scatteredness and an easier way for people who are looking for certain information from me to find it.

     I haven't gotten all the functionality figured out just yet, but I'm rolling the pages out now anyway because I just can't help myself.

     AND because today's Cheap Wine and Cookies post is actually located under the The Family That Reads tab.

      One day, I'll figure out a way to streamline all the posts into one feed AND keep them seperated in the tabs (or I won't, whatever), but for now I'm just going to post links here on the home page whenever I put a post under one of the tabs.  You can get to the posts that way, or you can follow each tab individually - so you have more control over which content you get!

     The Recipes and Ethical Eating tabs currently only have posts that were already posted to Cheap Wine and Cookies in the past,  but please don't hesitate to check them out and give me some input!

      Let me know what you think of the changes!

     And be sure to

Check out today's post:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


     Well, the migraine is on a downswing now, but it got a whole lot worse before it got better.  I did end up in a ball on my office floor and hanging over the porcelin throne.  But I'm [marginally] better now, and ramping up to trying to crank out a whole day's work in less than half a day.

     But first, here's a post I started a while ago and have finally become inspired to really post.  I would love input please!

      Cheap Wine and Cookies has always been kindof a mess.  It's like my desk, it's a little cluttered, and while I do have some form of organization I never waste the time making it perfectly pretty.  This probably makes me an amature blogger.  That's fine.  I am an amature blogger and I probably always will be.  I'm not here to make money or sell things, I'm not here for any kind of self promotion.  I started blogging about 8 years ago as an alternative method of journalling, and I stayed blogging because of all the great friendships I formed.

     For a couple months now - hell, probably longer than that - I've been thinking about changing things.  The recent hacker nonesense has spurred me to try to move forward with those changes.  I have some pages up there at the top that I like, but I haven't established the functionality in them that I really want.

     I need to make some adjustments to the code of my page so it shows up properly formated and in a visually pleasing manner every time.

      I want to display my wonderful friends' buttons.

      There are a million super fun ideas I have for this here little amature blog, but I have neither the time nor the skill to put them into play.  You would never know that when I was a freshman in college I was a website designer would you?  I was pretty good, too.  But it was a different kind of web page - one for facilitating peer-reviewed achademic feminist research.  AND it was straight up HTML, top to bottom.

      I SOOO don't have the energy or time for that anymore, and it's not really the way things are done these days anyway.  I don't know a thing about CSS.

     So I need an overall structure make over here.  I need increased functionality and the knowledge to impliment that further when I choose.

      And that won't be the only change.  Another reason I need to make the changes I'm contemplating is that I just can't continue blogging at the pace I have been.  As I get more and more sought after at work, I get more and more busy.  My home life is never going to "calm down."  Whose ever does?  I have less and less time for this blog and I need to restructure it to get the most out of the little time I can spend here.

      As much as I hate to say it, I see Cheap Wine and Cookies dropping to only a post or two a week.  But, as such, I want to make those posts really worth the effort.  And we'll see if my blogging addiction ever really lets up enough to allow me to blog that rarely.  And, ultimately I really like these ideas and I want to see them played out here on the interwebs.

     But here, HERE is the big problem with all of it:  I don't blog for profit.  I don't blog for any real "gainful" reason other than for it's own sake.  As such, I'm not willing to pay someone to overhaul my blog, as much as I'd love to.  Maybe if I didn't have 6 bazillion dollars in student loan debt.  I could teach myself.  But that takes time I don't have.

     So here's my plea:  If anyone out there knows anyone who knows about this stuff - in particular about increasing functionality on the other pages attached to the blog, who wants to help me out of the kindness of their heart or in exchange for a blog review or a batch of spinach brownies or some personalized ethical eating/nutritional advisement, send them my way. 

     I MAY have to move my blog to a different server, but I really don't want to.  I annoys the crap out of me when people move their blogs around over and over.  Even if it's necessary.  It still annoys me.

     Anyone out there have any ideas on who might be able to help me?

      Anyone out there know anything about moonfruit?  Opinions?


      My head feels like it's going to explode.  I am in so much pain right now, I can't even look at my computer screen.  I can't work, but I have to do somethingor I'm just going to curl up in a ball under my desk and groan - which isn't exactly professional.  The lights are off, the blinds are closed.  My head hurts so bad it might make me throw up.

     You guessed it.  I have a migraine.

      Showed up at 06 this morning for PT, and got to watch the most beautiful lightning jumping from cloud to cloud all the way in.  It was really majestic.  We took off on our run, dubbed a "traffic circle run" referring to the point at which we would turn around.

     All together, we ran about 4.6 miles, about 2 miles of that was sprints.  In between sprints, we did sets of 30 crunches, 30 lunges, 30 squats, 30 V-sits, 20 push ups, one minute front planks, and one minute side planks.  We did everything but the side planks twice (for a total of 60 in most cases).  All with sprints in between.  Then we ran back - 2.3 miles. 

      Right around the time we started running back, I felt it.  A heaviness in my body different from the kind usually brought on by excersize.  A prickling in my head.  I'm pushing myself too hard, I thought.  It's not uncommon for me.  Years of programming from the Marine Corps has trained me to push past the pain, too squeeze out every bit of energy and then give a little more.  It all sounds very moto, and it's really great for training and in combat, but if you do that crap for 10 years on a regular basis, it starts to wear on you.

      For me, it's migraines.  I still remember the first one I got.  I thought I was having a stroke.  I had just gotten out of OCS (Officer Candidate School - think boot camp for officers), and I was very, very sick but I didn't know it because 3 months at OCS had made me accustomed to being in pain all the time.  I went running in the East Village, where I had only lived for a couple days.  I pushed myself hard.  I felt like I was dragging, going slow, so I pushed harder. 

      Then I went to walk back to my apartment.  And I could't read any of the street signs.  Peaople's faces looked all distorted.  I thought I was having a stroke.  If you've ever had a retinal migraine or a blind spot, you'll know what I'm talking about.

      A blind spot isn't what you would think if you've never had one.  It's not a gaping hole in your feild of vision.  Your brain closes up the space you can't see and maches everything together.  So the street sign that said Fifth, to me said Fth, but looked totally normal.

      Since then, I've learned to recognize blind spots basically by the fact that I suddenly can't read and if I look at my hand, it's all jacked up.  I also get flashing lights with them a lot of the time.  The blind spots aren't too debilitating.  It's what they herald that's the problem.  I'll have a blind spot for 30 minutes - 3 hours, then it will go away and 5 minutes - 2 hours later I will be right where I am now.  In a black pit of intense pain, wanting to curl up in a ball and moan.

      I can't even take my migraine meds because I'm breastfeeding.  Really, I don't take drugs often at all since I got pregnant.  None during the pregnancy, and I've taken acetominophen maybe 3 times since Flintstone was born.  Make that 4, because I definitely just popped one.

      I don't get these headaches often - THANK HEAVENS - otherwise I would never get anything done.  But when I do, they're aweful.  And I have SOOO much to do today.  Grrr . . .

      MacGyver tells me all the time I have to stop pushing myself too hard.  You'd think I'd start listening to him.

      I promise a less whiny post when this passes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


It's that time of year again:
Source: via Laurel on Pinterest

Source: via Alli on Pinterest

      On Friday, we went to a wonderful Mabon ritual hosted by some good friends of ours from church.  It was simple but beautiful and fun.  With rythm from drums and rainsticks, we tied our wishes for our community and the greater world to a symbolic branch goddess and released them out into the world.  I was complimented on my ability to meaningfully participate in just about anything even with a squirmy one year old attached to my breast.
      After the ritual, we spent some time out in the woods at a rough wood henge the same friend constructed about a year ago.  It was peaceful and lovely, a wonderful way to celebrate the Equinox.

      I love this time of year.  Fall is easily, easily my favorite time of year.  It is change.  It is potential.  It is at once a calming down and a speeding up as we bid farewell to the summer and prepare to be bundled in for the winter.  The colors, the brisk air, the smells. 

      The recipes, the colors, the clothes.  HALLOWEEN (Samhain)!!!  Pumpkins and scarves, apples and cool, clear nights.

      I love every moment of it.  Fall IS my time of year.  It is when I am happiest.  When I am most productive.  When I am most at home in the world.  Just thinking about Fall makes me happy and at peace.

      There is one small problem with all of this, though,


      It's a damn good thing no one told me that before we got here, or I might have just ex patriated myself back to Canada. 

     There is a whole hell of a lot I love about the South.  A large part of my soul is that of a Florida Jimmy Buffett-esqe Beach Child.  The South has a real magic all it's own.

      But from the start of the school year until Yule, I couldn't give a good bob damn less.  I MISS FALL.  I got a bit of a taste on our recent trip to Michigan, but it wasn't enough.

      We only have about another year here in the South, and while for the most part I'm in no rush to move again, right now every molecule in my body is pulling me North.

      In the meantime, I will make the best of it.  I will take advantage of the extended growing season.  MacGyver just put in a whole new round of seeds a couple weeks ago.  I will go about meal planning and cooking fall type faire using the fresh local veggies that are still available here.

      I will have an awesome Halloween party.  We HAD been planning a great big adult Halloween bash, then just last week Punky told me she wanted her birthday party to be a Halloween party (her birthday is the 20th of Oct.).  Normally, I'd be thrilled with this proposition because, hello?  What could be cooler?  It sure as hell beats the spongebob theme from 3 years ago.

     But now I'm in a bit of a dilemma:  I don't know that I have the energy for two parties.  Heck, I don't even know if it would be possible to schedule two parties this late in the game.  MacGyver proposed that we do both at once, but that just sounds like an utter nightmare to me.  Our original plan for the adult party had been to have a huge to-do in the backyard - taking full advantage of the good southern weather and our huge moss covered oak trees for ambiance, and hire a couple of sitters to watch any kids who came inside.  We would set the kids up with a nice movie (Nightmare Before Christmas, anyone?), and some fall-themed treats then tell them to leave us the heck alone.  ;-)

      No, I really don't see that happening now.  If Punky wants a Halloween themed birthday, I, being who I am, have to make sure it gets done right.  We need bobbing for apples.  We need gourmet slime cake.  We need party favors from the steaming cauldron served by the creepy witch in the back yard.

      Ah, yes, there is so much potential for this.  I must get it just right.  Perhaps I can invite some grown up friends to help out and we can have a little after party once all the goblins are gone?  Hmmm . . .

      In other news, we've also come up with our costumes for this year.  So long as nothing changes and we can get all the peices together, we're all going as Batman villains.  I will be Poison Ivy.  Flintstone is going as the Riddler.  MacGyver will be either the Joker or Two-Face.  Punky is waffling between Catwoman (NOT a sexy catwoman *cringe*) and BatGirl.  At first, she wanted to opt out of the family costume and be something from Monster High.  I was totally cool with this until she actually showed me what Monster High was.  Have you seen this crap?   I love all things spooky and creepy, but these are just freaking slut dolls marketed to little girls.  They were freaking obsene.  One of them was wearing a skirt so short you could see her little doll bits showing.  ICK.  Sooooo . . .  None of that.  I'm really kind of sad, too.  Because I was so excited when Punky first told me about Monster High.  It sounded so cool.

      So, to review:


      The lack of Fall in the South MegaSucks.
     We will be having one or two or one and a half Halloween Parties and I'm super excited.

      And a Special note to those of you who like to try to jump right over Fall and start with all the Yule/Christmas/Hannakah/Festivus malarky before we're barely out of September:

       Knock it the Fck off.

     That is all.

      Happy Fall!

Monday, September 26, 2011

State of the Flintstone


      My little man is a year old, and he continues to grow and change at warp speed.  There is absolutely no more denying that he is his own complete individual person now.  He's terrifyingly, destructively impressively mobile.  He's interested in absolutely everything except his toys, and he is on a mission to explore - particularly any place or thing that is particularly likely to be covered in ebola virus

      His communication skills are exploding.  He has understood signs for a long time now, but has only just started doing them back.  His very favorite sign is "bath."  When we got home from our trip to Michigan, after 20 some hours in the car, the first thing he did was run to the bathroom door exclaiming "Buh!  Buh!" and wildly signing bath.  We were so excited that MacGvyer stopped right in the middle of unloading the truck just to give him a bath.

     He also signs "O's" for spinach puff O's and hungry.  There are a couple more, but I can't think of them off the top of my head.  He sort of does the sign for "more," but I think to him it just means "give me what you're eating."  He doesn't do the sign for nursing yet, but he doesn't need to.  He uses the same sign he's always used - banging his face against my chest or pulling open my shirt.  Yep, such a little gentleman.

     He claps, high fives (though he's been doing that for months), and waves hi AND bye.

     Verbally, he makes all sorts of sounds and I'm starting to peice together which sounds are meant to be words.  He says MaMa all the time and it just liquifies me even though I'm pretty sure it means "milk" not "mommy."  ;-)  But he says it a lot, and with all sorts of different tones.  I challenge anyone not to give in when he says MuhMuh in his sad, longing voice.  I swear if I could tear off my arm and give it to him when he says it, I would.  Not that it would be a wise decision, but it's becoming quite clear that my hyper-rationality does not extend to the Flintstone.  (Have I done a post yet on the shrink telling me I'm hyper-rational like that's a problem?)

Could you say no to this face?
School Days

      We finally got off the waitlist at our second choice child development program as of his first birthday, so two days ago he started the Pre-Tot program less than a block from my office!

      He did really, really well his first day.  He and I visited the room a couple times together earlier in the day, then I dropped him off in the afternoon right at snack time.  It was so super sweet seeing him sit at his little chair at the table with the other babies (kids?!?).  He was so happy with his snack, that he barely even noticed I was leaving.  He waved goodbye and went right back to snacking and watching the other kids.

      Day two drop off he cried just a little.  I handed him to one of the teachers and he cried while I made a beeline for the door.  By the time I was out the door peeking back in the window, he had stopped and was looking at something else.  The problem came when I walked in to pick him up.  He was cuddling with one of the teachers, looking a little drowsy and clinging to a toy when I walked in.  He didn't even notice me at the door until I said hi.

     He looked at me.  It didn't even take a second.  He wailed.  Just opened right up and cried.  "You left me!"  I imagined him saying.  "Where the hell have you been all day?!?"  "I didn't missed you!"

      It was heartbreaking.  I would have prefered it if he had stabbed me.  Or pinched the back of my arm really hard like he likes to do while he's nursing.

     Drop off today went as smoothly as yesterday.  We'll see how pickup goes.

     So far, I love the Pre-tot program, but of course, there are a couple issues, mainly about food.  Big effing shocker there.

      The center was pretty good about my asking that he not be given meat, eggs, or cow's milk.  They put him on the allergy list (even though it's not technically an allergy) and he wears a little orange bracelet every day.  I felt a little guilty about it at first because everyone seemed a little put out and weird about it, but I kept reminding myself that our Ethical Eating standards are more important that a little annoyance from others.  And once that paperwork was taken care of, everything was totally cool. 

     And thinking about it, I don't know why I should feel guilty about it.  This place bends over backwards for the kids with allergies.  They take it very, very seriously (as they should), and take very extreme measures for these kids - which I appreciate.  I don't want anyone thinking I'm saying there shouldn't be concessions for children with allergies.  For more info on the trials and triumphs of children with allergies, visit the always wonderful Gina.  She's great and provides wonderful insight into the topic.

     Anyway, my point was just that, while our religious preferences are not life threatening the way allergies are, I don't believe I should feel guilty asking that Flintstone not be fed certain animal products in the same way that parents of allergy sufferers also shouldn't.  Of course, I still do.  And I think parents of kids with allergies often do to.  But we shouldn't

      So he's not getting meat, eggs, or cow's milk.  I'm letting them give him cheese or other products like bread that might contain milk or eggs just because we haven't even been successful at home yet at cutting all that out.  I WISH we were, but it's an up hill battle - especially in the south.

      Now that that's all taken care of, I'm struggling with addressing the next issue.  I hate to be "that parent" who always has issues and needs all sorts of accomodations, but this stuff is important to me.

      We are still nursing.  The World Health Organization recommends that a child get half their calories from breast milk up until 18 months and doesn't recommend any attempts at weaning until at least 2 years.  This is a problem at the care center because there aren't fridges in the pre-tot rooms like there are in the infant rooms, so there's no where to store the milk.  And sadly (though not surprisingly - which is even more sad) they've aparently never had anyone try to have their pre-tot get breast milk during the day.

      All Flintstone drinks is breast milk and water.  Or, at least, that was all he was drinking.  They sometimes give him juice at the care center.  I don't like it at all.  I see it as a lot of pointless sugar.  He can get fruit nutrients from fruit.  We are not big juice drinkers at home and until he stared here I don't think he'd had juice at all (unless Uncle Boo snuck him a sip here or there).

      I'm going to schedule an appointment with the director of the care center soon to disucss the breast milk thing.  She is very supportive of breast milk, but I know this is going to be an issue.  The caregivers there already have their hands full and every extra special need and requirement is more stress and strain on them.  And I know they are super paranoid about another kid possibly coming in contact with MY breast milk (The Horror!  Eff.).

      One of Flintstone's teachers has suggested I provide them with a sealed container of soy or almond milk to give him.  I'm playing with the idea, but I have a lot of research to do on that.  Really, I want him to have breast milk.  I know he misses it.  He nurses like a FEIND as soon as we get home.  All night every night since he started (I'm writing this part a few days after I wrote the first part) he has been basically hanging off my breast constantly.  It's like having a very large, heavy, and super adorable, tumor.

      I'll try to remember to update you all after I meet with the director.  It's so frustrating that our culture makes it THIS HARD to do what's best for my baby.


      We did not do anything super huge for Flintsone's first birthday.  I'm not the kind of parent who goes all out with fancy cakes and big ordeals for something the kid won't remember.  In my opinion, first birthdays are more for the parents anyway, and I didn't feel that I needed one.

      I was thrilled to have just a small gathering with some family and watch Flinstone experience cake for the very first time and tear into a few new toys.  I made him a carrot cake cupcakes because, yes, even first birthday cake has to have vegetables with me because I am that insane with cream cheese frosting.  He LOVED it - though I think it was the slimy, squishy fun more than the actual cake.

      I could reminisce at length about the party, but I think my unedited, amture snapshots capture it quite well.  Enjoy:

Mama says I have to eat my vegetables before I can have cake.
Good thing I love vegetables.
MMmmmmmmm . . .

What in the world is this?  It's squishy.

OH!  I like this.  How much do you think I can cram in my mouth?
Seriously, you gotta try this.
Nan, you should have some, too.

Nom Nom Nom
Sticky Fishy Lips!

All cleaned up and on to presents.  Not so sure about this one . . . .

Thursday, September 22, 2011

High School

     So I started writing a post about my 10 year high school reunion, but we haven't uploaded the pictures yet, and for some reason I just can't get into the post.  I had done this meme that I was going to post before the reunion and then forgot about, so guess what?  Instead of writing a real post you get this cop out crap that no one ever reads.  Meme Fun!!!

1. Did you date someone from your school senior year?
Yep.  Evil Ex.  Now that I think of it, I think he was the only guy I dated in high school who actually went to our school . . .

2. Did you marry someone from your high school(s)?
Thank freaking bob No.

3. Did you car pool to school?
Yes, I drove my little brother, Boo, and two other boys to school in my yellow 1973 VW bug with the red peace sign and blue flower on the door.  We rocked out to cassette tapes of Meatloaf or a mixed tape that included Limp Bizkit and Marilyn Manson.

4. What kind of car did you drive?
See above.

5. What kind of car do you have now?
A 2005 Mazda Speed3 Hatchback.  Yeah, not quite as cool.  But I also have my 1976 Mustang II Cobra 302 and am seriously playing with the idea of getting rid of the Mazda and getting a “new” old bug.

6. It's Friday night... where were you (in high school)?
Either on the phone with NotDonna, hanging out with some assortment of my 6 closest girlfriends, working, or drinking someone under the table.  Yes, I was a lush my Jr. and Sr. years.  I got it out of my system early.

7. It is Friday night... where are you (now)?
Engaging in some sort of family fun, hanging out with girlfriends, or on a date with MacGvyer.

8. What kind of job did you have in high school?
I hosted then waited tables at Perkins, I waited tables at Big Boy, I worked maintenance at a golf course, and I made pizzas at the local pizza place.  These were not all at the same time, but they did tend to overlap.  I almost always had 2 jobs.

9. What kind of job do you do now?
Marine. Lawyer. Mommy. Wife.  Right?  Ha.

10. Were you a party animal?
That depends on your definition.  By and large, I was a very “good” kid.  I was a great student.  I didn’t cause problems at school – from what I remember.  I didn’t go NEAR drugs of any kind (well, except perfectly legal ephedrine once in a while before the fed nixed that one).  I didn’t go “all the way.”  Overall, I was a goody two shoes.  With a massive drinking problem.  Well, I’m not sure I would have considered it a problem.  I only drank on weekends; I never drove when I was drinking; and it never effected my schooling.  But MAN did I DRINK.  Just the thought of what and how much I drank back then makes my stomach turn a little.  I threw some of the BEST parties.  And I may have been called a “bad influence” once or twice.  So sure, a little bit of a party animal.  Sort of a werewolf type party animal.

11. Were you considered a flirt?
I don’t know if flirt would be the word for it.  I was a total make-out wh*re in High School.  I became very adept at juggling boys – except that one time when I accidentally ended up with three dates at the same party – or maybe my two dates to Jr prom . . .

12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
I was a total band geek.  Trumpet – 7 years.
13. Were you a nerd?
Probably.  I did really well in school, blew away every standardized test and was really socially awkward in my school (I’m still not sure why I was so much more awkward in school than out).

14. Did you get suspended or expelled?
Nope.  I got detention once in 6th grade for not doing my math homework.

15. Can you sing the fight song?
I can sing a lot of it.  I can still play the whole thing on the trumpet.  Actually, I had a dream last night that had the fight song in it . . .  Huh.  That’s really weird . . .

16. Who was/were your favorite teacher(s)?
Mr. Fisher – Algebra and Pre-Calc (may he rest in peace); Mr. Yurick – Soc/Psych; Mr. Dummer – British Lit.  I’d say they were my very favorite, but I generally got along with my teachers and really enjoyed most of my classes.  Except French.  I DID NOT get along with THAT teacher.  Or the assistant principle.  By the time I graduated, he was under orders from the Principle (who I loved) not to talk to me.  Ever.

17. Where did you sit during lunch?
Second or third table from the far back wall all the way to the right.  Next to NotDonna and across from Dingee.  Sr. year we all sat at the Sr. table.
18. What was your school's full name?
None of your business.  But it’s a very generic one.

19. When did you graduate?
2001 (10 years ago!!!)

20. What was your school mascot?

21. If you could go back and do it again, would you?
I loved High School, so I’d enjoy doing it again, but I wouldn’t change a thing and I like my life now even more.

22. Did you have fun at Prom?
I went to prom Sophomore, jr, and sr years and had a blast every time.  Jr year is my favorite story because I had 2 dates.

23. Do you still talk to your prom date?
I’m FB friends with my date from sophomore year, but I haven’t spoken to him in years.  I don’t speak to any of the other ones.

24. Who was your best friend?
There was a group of 6 of us who were inseparable, but I was ALWAYS closest to NotDonna.  I was also really good friends with a couple of the guys I worked at the pizza place with.

25. What did you want to be when you grew up?
NOT a lawyer.  Go figure.  Most of the time I think I wanted to be a neurobiologist.

26. Any regrets?
Nope.  None that I can think of.

27. Biggest fashion mistake?
Oh goodness.  Hmmm . . .  I didn’t really wear anything too outrageous that I can remember.  Maybe the red sunglasses I wore all the time – even to prom.

28. Favorite fashion trend?
Peasant tops and bell bottoms.

29. Are you going to your next reunion?
Hell yes.

30. Who did you have a secret crush on?
I had a less than secret crush on a guy named Danny.  I also had crushes on Evil Ex and a guy named Jim.

31. Did you date your crush?
Only Evil Ex.  Though I did come kinda close with Jim, too.
32. Did you lose your virginity in high school?
What a nosy question.  I did, not long before graduation.
33. Were you voted “most likely to” anything?
I don’t think so.

34. Who do you still talk to from high school?
NotDonna mainly, but I still keep in touch with a number of people on FB.
35. Did you fall in love in high school?
Hell no.  Thank heavens.   ;-)
As always, I'm refraining from tagging anyone with this meme, but please, please join in!  I freaking love Q&A memes and I love to hear everyone else's answers.  Plus, I love stories from High School.  So join in!  And drop me a comment to let me know if you do!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

525,600 Minutes

      At 12:23 am one year ago, the world changed forever.  I could never have guessed the joy you would bring me.  I could never have fathomed the new meaning you brought to life.

      I wanted you to wait just long enough for your Auntie, ScathingLawyer, to make it to us to watch your sister, but you were one step ahead of me.  As soon as you decided you were ready to come, you came fast.  From that point forward, you were always on a mission to get to the next thing.  You've been one step ahead of me every step of the way.

      You could hold your head up and support all your weight on your legs WAY before the books and articles said you'd be able to - darn near from day one!

      You wanted your first meal as soon as you hit the scene.  The umbilical cord was very short, and you were not thrilled about having to wait for the placenta to be delivered to eat.  I was afraid you were going to give me a hickey on my hip!  But it was only a few minutes, and you latched right on and haven't stopped eating since!  I don't think you ever dropped below your birth weight, and you gained a pound a week for quite a while.

      During our first few weeks together, I was a ball of concern.  I worried about everything - your feeding, my diet, your routine, mental and emotional stimulation.  But you were happy and content and eventually you (and Daddy) convinced me to chill out (mostly . . .).

      Before I knew it you had a mouth full of tiny teeth and were off crawling after the dogs every chance you got.  The owls on the mobile above your crib were your best friends, and you would babble to them happily every time I laid you down to change you.

      A year has passed in the blink of an eye, and I just can't believe it.  The tiny, quiet, slightly Asian looking little baby who would spit up on my chest 10 times a day is gone.  Now you're my little man.  My walking running, climbing, dancing little monster.

      You laugh all the time, especially at bellies - for whatever reason, and tongues.  You still love giving kisses - especially to Mama and you're getting pretty darn good at blowing them, too!  You are constantly on the move and HATE to be restrained.  You are into everything all. the. time.  That can be tiring, so you also like to just randomly lay on the floor for a few minutes here and there.

      You haven't eaten any meat and have had almost no dairy - just a little bit of cheese when you catch Mommy or Daddy eating it and possibly a couple bites of ice cream once or twice ;-).  You eat TONS of veggies (big shocker, I know).  You LOVE peas, lima beans, kale, and celery, but you eat just about any veggie we put in front of you.  Heck, you eat just about anything we put in front of you period.  Unless, of course, one of us happens to be eating something you think you'd rather have.

      I have done everything in my power to ensure you eat mostly organic, local foods.  You've had almost no processed foods at all.  We use only botanically based, environmentally safe cleaning products, and no one is allowed anywhere NEAR you if they've been smoking.  So imagine how much it thrills me that your two very favorite things in the world to eat are paper (the more bright colored ink and bleach the better!) and dog food.

      It has been quite a year.  It has been the best year of my life just having you in it.  Your smile is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life, and no matter what happens, just seeing you makes me feel better.  When I get home from work, and the dogs start barking, you immediately run to the windows and pound on them until I come in the house.  Its the best greeting ever.

      Yes, it has been a very big year for all of us.  Its a year you will have no memory of even though you're doomed to be regaled with stories of the time you peed in Daddy's eye for many, many years.  For me, it is a year I will never forget.  One that has changed my life and world forever.  One that has changed me all the way down to my very being.

      Happy Birthday, Little Flintstone!  Little MonChiChi.  Bubba.  StinkButt.  CuddleBump.  My little Mankins.

      You've turned me into a complete, raving sap.  And I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Like Living in an Action Flick

      Standing duty sucks for all the obvious reasons.  It's a super long shift and I have to spend the night away from my family.  That's softened a little by the fact that I have the most considerate husband in the world who does things like bringing me my favorite Veggie Massaman Curry for dinner and bringing the kidders to visit me so I can say goodnight - even IF Flintstone was more interested in running around chasing june beetles than cuddling mommy :-P.  But still, one year ago tonight, I was giving birth to my amazing little man and now I'm sitting alone in the security center facing a possibility of 3 hours of sleep if I'm lucky.  Duty sucks. 

      But there are still a couple things I like about standing duty.  It gives me a chance to catch up on things that I just can't prioritize otherwise.  Blogging.  Facebook.  Calling and emailing friends.  Tonight, I called a very good friend of mine who I haven't had the chance to have a good conversation with in at least a couple months.

      And holy cow, am I glad I called her!  She had one of the most exciting stories I've heard in a long time.  Scary, too, but since everyone is fine, mostly just exciting.  Remember the house up in the Catskills that we love to spend time at?  Well aparently Hurricane Irene slammed RIGHT. INTO. IT. 

      In a very serious way.

     Remember the crick we played in?

This shallow little babbling brook?

It swelled to an absolute torrent that took out countless bridges, knocked houses off their foundations, and carved a path of outright destruction miles long.

Remeber these beautiful, picturesque rocks we climbed and reclined on?
Gone.  They were straight up swept away.  Seriously.

And all the trees lining the yard and the river (on the right below)? 
Also gone.  Just gone, along with all the ground they were growing in.

 Just to give you a feel for how far below their driveway/bridge the crick normally is:
 And the bridge is now gone.  Swept away.

      It was a crazy story to hear her tell.  My friend, VespaLaw and her husband SoHoJujitsu had gone up to the Catskills house with a very pregnant woman and her husband.  The City was supposed to get slammed by Irene, the Catskills were just supposed to get rain.

      In the morning, SoHoJujitsu decided to drive a few miles down the road to check on the bridge that connected them to the rest of the world because, while their driveway bridge was well above the waterlevel, the main bridge to town was much lower and sometimes got covered in water.

      When he left their house, there were still at least 5 feet between the crick and their driveway bridge.  He drove just a couple miles down to the main bridge to find that it was already covered in a couple inches of water.  He turned around to go back and saw a group of young girls running scared up the road. 

      The house they had been staying at had been torn from its foundation and fallen into the crick.  They were terrified.  SoHoJujitsu helped them to a neighbor's house then went to back up and head home.  But the car wouldn't back up.  In just the few minutes it had taken to safely deliver the girls to the neighbors' house, the water had risen almost to the doors of the car.

      Not wanting to get swept away, SoHoJujitsu made a snap decision.  He jumped from the car and took off running, up the mountain, toward their house.  It was a terrifying situation.  He was barely ahead of the flood.  The ground was liquifiing and giving out beneath his feet.

       Back at the house, VespaLaw was scared.  Her husband should only have been gone for a few minutes, but the time was dragging on.  There is no cell phone reception at the Catskills house, so it was a tense waiting game with a hysterical pregnant woman and her less than useful husband.

      SoHoJujitsu scrambled, ran, and climbed as fast as he could.  Eventually, he made it back to their house, but the driveway bridge was already gone.  He was stranded on the other side.  In the torrential rain and wind, with huge trees falling left and right and massive chunks of land falling into the crick - now a raging river - and being swept away, he waited and paced.  Once VespaLaw saw him out there, he could hear her screaming to him - trying to communicate with him over the fury.

      It was more than 7 hours after he had left before things calmed down enough for him to make his way to a neighbors' much bigger bridge which he was able to cross using construction poles like ski poles.

      They were stranded there for 4 days before the National Guard could get in and evac them.

      Does that not sound exactly like something out of an action movie?  And a really good one, too.  I am so very, very thrilled that my friends are ok.  I am so happy that SoHoJujitsu is as fit as he is (he just won two gold medals in Jujitsu), or he may have been swept away.  I'm happy that no one was hurt and everyone came out fine.  I'm excited to hear that my friends, who have been married for more than 10 years, are even closer than they have ever been before.

      I'm sad for the destruction to the property.  A lot of us have wonderful memories in that place.  But nothing compares to the beauty of everyone coming out unscathed.  I suppose we'll just have to go up and make more memories.  Like building a new bridge!  MacGyver is certainly qualified to design one!

      Standing duty sucks.  But I am super glad I was able to catch up with VespaLaw.   Holy cow!

Back Up Off my Happily Ever After

      This will be the last you hear of this, hopefully forever, at least for now.  If you don't have any idea what I'm talking about, be thankful and please move on to the next post, which is much more entertaining.

      I've got a bit of a storybook thing going on in my life - family, career, the whole 9.  I have an amazing husband who is the best friend, partner, and lover I could ask for.  I have a smart, charming, extremely well mannered little girl and the MOST adorable and happy baby boy you will ever, ever see.  We have 2 dogs, a cat, and some fish.  We have 5 chickens for eggs and an organic garden.  We compost most of our kitchen waste.  We recycle.  I am at the very beginning of what promises to be an exciting and extremely fulfilling career that enables me to provide a good living for my family while helping make a difference.

      Even though I work a lot of hours, I still manage to cook very nutritious dinners for my family most every night.  My husband and I still have an excellent love life.  I have amazing friends all over the world and get along well with my extended family.

      It is, for all appearances, perfect.

      Of course, that's just appearances.  Nothing is perfect.  I am constantly plagued with guilt over trying to juggle work and family duties.  I put off clearing away all the clutter on the countertops much longer than I should and I can't even remember when I last washed the windows.

      I've always been very open about the fact that MacGvyer and I are not one of those couples who "never fight."  We're both very bullheaded passionate people, and, like most of the population, we both have our own issues that we've been working through.  We don't scream in each other's faces, and I have never thrown anything at my husband, but we do disagree from time to time.  We even argue once in a while - and I'm glad we do.

      Because we come out of every disagreement understanding each other better and moving forward in our relationship.  We recognize that we are both flawed individuals and we are working together to make ourselves better - something I look forward to working on for the rest of my life.  I will never stop and just coast along - and I really doubt MacGyver ever would, either.

      Then there are the always recurring issues with BioB*&^%.

      And trying to decide what to do next in my career as well as MacGvyer's.

      Minor, everyday struggles and larger more lifechanging ones are constants in our lives.

      No, my life is not perfect.  My life is just that:  Life.  I live my life as well as I can, and so does MacGyver.  I work hard to be a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, lawyer, Marine, PERSON.  And a lot of the time, I feel like I succeed in those things.  Sometimes I fail, too.

      But do I run to my blog to kvetch, vent, and whine about every failure, every gripe, every disagreement?  Obviously not.  Because it's annoying.  Who the hell wants to read a blog full of nothing but complaints?  You know what?  I'm tired all the time.  At least once or twice a month I feel like I'm under so much pressure from so many directions that I am just going to crumble into a pile of debris and dust. 

      But I prefer to focus on the positive.  Sure I vent on my blog once in a while, but by and large I am of the opinion that I could have things so much worse and I need to remember that.  So I blog about the good things.  I blog about the happy things and the moments of my life that cause me to overflow with joy.  I like to blog about causes that move me, my kids' triumphs, and the neverending parade of little suprises and gestures of love MacGyver is always plying me with.

      Apparently, some people don't like that.  Apparently, some people just CAN'T STAND the fact that MacGyver and I are as happy as we are.  That our issues aren't debilitating or devistating - at least not for us.  Apparently, some people are so damned unhappy with their own lives and their own miserable failures that they want nothing more in the WORLD than to see MacGyver and I fail.

      Apparently some people feel the need to Google MacGyver and I obsessively.  To insert themselves into our lives uninvited and unnecessarily.  There are people out there who actually care THAT MUCH about our lives.  Not family members.  Not even friends.  These are people who have no real or good reason to concern themselves with us at all, let alone maliciously.

     At first, I was annoyed.  Then I was pissed.  But when I really think about it, it's just sad.  How pathetic must one's life be to obsess that much about someone else's?  How insecure must a person be that they feel a compulsive need to try to create drama and spread lies about me?  How unsatisfying and sad must someone's life be if they are devoting their time to this crap?

      I know who you are.  Just because you lie about your marriage (and trust me, I know you lie), doesn't mean I'm lying about mine.

      It's pathetic, and it's sad.  But, alas, there isn't much I can do about it.

      I considered letting go of the blog.  I considered moving it.  I don't want to do either of those things.  I recognize that by having the blog, I'm putting myself and a portion of our life out there.  For now, I'm not ready to give up the friendships I have built just to avoid the sad little antics of tiny, insecure, shallow people who are trying to take their failures out on me.

      So I'm just going to sit back and watch.  Because what you put out into the world WILL come back to you.

     In the meantime, my life is better than ever.  Happy, adorable kids.  Happy home.  And a marriage that becomes stronger, closer, and happier every day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chill Weekend

      We had a great weekend.  Nothing too particularly exciting, but still pretty enjoyable.  I had a girls' night out with some girlfriends Friday night that was SO much fun even though we didn't stay out very late.  At home, we watched a few movies, and I spent most of the day Saturday just getting tons of stuff done.  It was normal stuff, tidying up, cleaning the floors, laundry, errands, that sort of thing, but it was nice to have time to just get it all out of the way.

      Having Boo around has been a really big help and the house is very, very clean, which I love.  Too bad that won't last after we leave him back in MI :-(.

      Sunday was all sleeping in and board games and relaxing.  Not an exciting weekend, but a relaxing one.  Of course, MacGyver and I had to go and run a freaking azload of sprints at 0600 this morning so I'm exhausted now.  So much for having relaxed ;-). 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Someone Else's Loss

      My friend over at Tales of a Kitchen Witch seems to be starting up some conrtoversy lately.  I'm not going to try to paraphrase everything that was said, or even what she said.  I will say it involves breast cancer "games" and the pain of infertility or loss of pregnancy.  And I will say I agree with her.  I strongly suggest that you check out this post and this post if you'd like to better understand my comments below.  Or if you want to join in the discussion!

      Her post today was about the pain of miscarriage and the sometimes awkward converstions that can take place between women who've experienced loss and those who haven't.  I've been thinking about similar topics a lot the last year or so, and wanted to do a post about it, but as you see from my last post, I don't even REALLY have the time to be writing this one.

I did want to put my thoughts on the matter out there, though. So, in response to this post, which I find beautiful, touching, and honest, I want to say:

      A few times in the last couple years I've found myself facing friends who are dealing with incredible losses, losses that I can't even begin to comprehend, and I want nothing more than to make them feel better.  To have the words or the support that will make their pain go away, even just a little or for a while.  But sometimes, most of the time, those words just aren't there.

      But what I've learned from these experiences, what I think you've captured so well in this post, is that sometimes just accepting that the other person in grieving, accepting that you can't fix it, and not letting that make you uncomfortable or unavailable is enough.

      I think we all need a whole lot more practice in taking people as they come.  I rarely, if ever, joke about not wanting my kids because I have obsessive fears of losing them (and I mean serious, diagnosed, OCD obssession; I'm terrified of that one in a million car accident or cancer that could take away my babies).  So I rarely make "take my kids" jokes.  But on the off chance that I did, I'd like to think that a friend of mine pointing out that I'm lucky to have them would do just that: Remind me of how lucky I am.  And I would be ashamed of myself if I reacted poorly.

      A lot of my friends suffered miscarriages around the time of my pregnancy, and for a long time I tiptoed around those women (and their families).  I avoided talking about my pregnancy/baby.  Two of my closest friends in the whole world lost their mother's much too early.  And for a long time I tried hard never to mention my own mother around either of them.

      I've also learned that that is not a sustainable state.  We all need to just accept each other's situations.  I will try to excersize sensitivity around friends who have lost children (or parents, etc), but I will not pretend I don't have children (etc.).  It's fake, awkward, and it puts unneccassary and arbitrary strain on relationships.  And if my friend expresses grief for their loss, I will take that as an opportunity to support them, not as a reason for me to think of myself and how uncomfortable their pain makes me.


      Still super busy and things are moving and changing.  I'm taking some classes in preparation for being the OIC of the Tax Center when Tax season roles around.  I'll be out of town on Friday for a completely different class in preparation for taking over as Legal Assistance OIC sometime soon (Legal Assistance = mainly family law).

      Oh, but I'm still OIC of Civ Law and Review and the Special Assistant US Attorney.  So busy as a little bee up in here.

     AND my 10 year HS reunion is in less than two weeks!  Madness!  I'm really looking forward to it.  It should be a blast.  So long as nothing goes down with Evil Ex.  Erg.  But I'm really super looking forward to it.  And I only have 6 billion things to do before then.

      Flintstone is adorable and amazing as ever.  He has been particularly funny lately.  It's so cute to see him run.  I never really paid any attention to the special waddle of a toddler before, but now I think it is just about the cutest thing ever in the world - inluding puppies!  And when he "runs?"  Puddles of cute.  He's super into climbing up and crawling under.  Last night he crawled under the coffee table (thank heavens I had just cleaned the floor under there the day before!), and got stuck.  Then he got mad when I was taking pictures instead of helping him . . .  Eventually Unlce Boo rescued him. 

Boo is still in town.  I'm trying to fit a girl's night in.  Oh, and maybe a date with my husband.

      Life . . .

And there's one more thing.

One more super-big thing.

That I am totally avoiding thinking about.

Guess who turns ONE YEAR OLD one week from today?!?!?! 

I can't even process it.

My sweet, squirmy little helpless infant.  ONE?!?  No effing way.  It's too soon.  I'm not ready.  I'm just going to put him in a box and keep him just like he is now.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Not That I Have Time

O  K  .  .  .

Thanks for bearing with me through all the craziness this weekend.  I think we have things worked back out.  Or, at least, the kinks are getting ironed.  Functionality has been restored.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Drama?  Eff.

Moving forward, I still have 6 million things I want to post, but I am rolling right along at work right now and don't have a whole lot of time for that.  Additionally, I'm busy trying to resurrect the last 3 years of this here sad little blog ONE. POST. AT. A. TIME.  Erg.

Aside from the drama, it the long weekend was shockingly low key.  Really.  We went to a tiki bar and the beach with Boo and his friend, slept unusual hours, and watched a few movies - some surprisingly good (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry - highly recommend) and some not so much (Your Highness - do NOT watch this movie).

Can't wait to catch up with everyone - though it may take me a few days to get totally settled back in.

And, ohbytheway, in case you were wondering; in case I haven't mentioned it lately; did you know that I have the Best Husband Ever?  Yeah, I thought you already knew that.  But it never hurts to remind you.  ;-)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Don't Worry

Things are back up and running here at Cheap Wine and Cookies.  Those who would try to spread their own unhappiness around have failed.  If you're completely confused about what's going on, read no further.  All you need to know is I'm still here and everything is fine.

Fixing . . .

Erg, this thing is all messed up now.  Bear with me . . .


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