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Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Last week I made an appointment to get permanent eyeliner on my lower lids. I've been nervous about this. I figure if it goes well, it's the best thing that could happen to my morning makeup routine. No more messing with liquid eyeliner. It will likely shave 5 minutes or more off my a.m. routine, not to mention the frustration it will save.

But, face it, it's a tattoo, on my lower eyelid. That scares the crap out of me. I've seen tattoos (mine included) that have "blurred" as they age. I wonder if that means that after a few years my eyeliner will look permanently smudged. And what if it's thicker than I want? And, and, and.

So, I showed up for my appointment today, as nervous as you would expect a woman who's about to have a tattoo gun millimeters from her eyes. As I went to sign in, they said, "Oh, we have you down for the 2nd at this time." I've been telling everyone that I'm getting it done today. Had I written it down and just remembered it wrong? (I'm a pathological "doodler," I write down every detail of a conversation as I'm on the phone.) I raced home, feeling rather like an idiot, or worrying that I am totally losing my mind. And here's my note: "4:30 31st" with some details on the cost and the coupon I have.

So, since I was already nervous enough, I'm wondering: Should I take this as a sign and NOT get this done?

posted by Laura at 4:30 PM | 1 comments

Friday, May 27, 2005

Foot fetish

I was just looking over the stats on my Flickr photos. When we were in the park last weekend I took a picture of my feet with some fancy nail polish on my toes. For some odd reason, I decided to upload this picture. And I gave it the tag "feet."

Well, guess what photo of mine has the most views? That's right, the funky toe photo. Could it really be that people with foot fetishes search Flickr for photos tagged "feet"? The world is a strange, strange place.

posted by Laura at 4:46 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Observations from a domestic day

Fever philosophy: Before having kids I never gave fevers much thought. Well, I'm sure I did, but the extent of it was: I feel like crap. And, Gee, Pink Floyd is right, my hands did swell up just like two balloons.

Now that I have kiddos, I don't just think about fever, I have a whole philosophy about fevers. It goes a little like this. Fevers, while terrible, are kind of good. The way that I try to tell the girls that spiders are "good" because they eat other bugs we don't want around. I see fevers as our bodies way of protecting us from predatory "bugs." I figure a fever means the body is hard at work fighting off some kind of ick. That said, I'm not so quick to medicate a fever. I figure a good, low-grade fever needs to burn for a while at least. Madison, after having the low-grade thing go all day (with medication) is now napping and burning at 101.8. I SHOULD medicate her, but I'd hate to wake her up. A fever and a nap are the ultimate to kick whatever it is that's making her miserable. But I also hate to miss that valuable breaking-the-fever-while-she-sleeps-and-wakes-up-a-sweaty-mess stage, too. It's a real dilemma.

She climbed onto my bed to join me in a nap. (I needed a little pick me up this afternoon.) I was glad to have her with me, but I also hesitated. I thought, if this kid yaks on my clean sheets, pillows, blankets I'll be really ticked. I guess I'm not a really bad mother because despite the efforts of cleaning today, I still let her rest her hot little head on my bed.

The smell of clean: So, being forced to just take it easy around the house today, I decided I had no more excuses for not cleaning the bathroom. I'm talking a break-out-the-Comet-with-bleach, scrub-the-tub, scrub-the-shower, peel-the-dried-toothpaste-from-the-sinks clean. It looks so good in there, I'm planning on taking a nice long bath later (nothing beats taking a bath in a super clean bathroom -- except maybe taking a bath in a bathroom that someone else cleaned!).

When Maxine came home from school and came into my room, she said, "It smells like a hotel in here." I'm not sure if that reflects more on my lack of domestic prowess (I should really scrub the bathrooms more often) or the quality of the places we stay (they cover up the filth and grime with large doses of bleach).

posted by Laura at 4:45 PM | 0 comments

Some days are better than others

Yesterday didn't exactly qualify as one of the better days.

It got off to a wonderful start, but that came to an end by about 9:30 a.m. Maxine's school had a reading at 9:30. The literacy teacher put out very cute anthologies of the kids work (poems, writing, art) and decided to stage a reading. Parents of the children who were scheduled to read were squeezed into a medium-sized classroom. It was crowded enough that I started to think, "Fire hazard!" With no amplification of the children's voices, my experience for the first 40 minutes went like this, "mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble" ... applause, next.

I really don't have anything against other people's kids, but I was there to see Maxine read. The real kicker of it was that her class contributed two works to the book, so it wasn't even her own individual work. And her teacher had try-outs for the kids to determine who would read. Somehow my shy, barely audible daughter made the cut. So there I was with about 60 other parents and their children, shoved into a room that would fit 35-40 children comfortably, not able to understand most of what the other kids were saying. In all honesty, this was the first "what the heck am I doing here?" experience in two years of school. And, of course, Maxine did a lovely job reading her portion of the class' poem. She said she wasn't nervous, but when she was done, her little cheeks were flushed pink. It could have been worse.

Speaking of worse. Madison was a little grumpy and out of sorts yesterday afternoon. By the time I went back to Nanny's house to pick her up, she had a fever. She wanted to stay at Nanny's over night, but with a fever we wouldn't have it. And let me tell you just how lucky Nanny was for that decision. The fever kept on burning, despite regular doses of Tylenol-like products and ibuprofen. It was about 2 a.m. before she broke it. She went potty and then told us that she felt like she had to throw up. (Call this foreshadowing, and call me stupid for being too tired to see the bright neon signs of what was to come.) She came back to our bed and fell back asleep.

Until 4:15 a.m. when suddenly I was startled out of a deep sleep by my poor baby puking all over the bed, and me, and her daddy. Seriously, she managed to hit the sheets, all 27 pillows I need to sleep, the blanket, my shirt, Brent's shirt, the carpet on the fastest route to the bathroom. Nothing like a predawn bed stripping to get you going. If someone had told me before I had kids that there would come a day when I could jump out of bed in 2 seconds, get control of the puking child situation, strip a bed clean, get a "vomit pot" and be back to sleep in about 20 minutes, I would have told them they were crazy.

Here's the silver lining. It looks like today should be a much better day. Madison is feeling so much better she's trying to convince me we should go to Toys R Us. And she thinks she's pretty funny for having thrown up all over her mommy and her daddy.

posted by Laura at 8:23 AM | 1 comments

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Taking advantage of everything

Tonight we made the most of a lot of things. I decided instead of cooking dinner, we could take sandwiches and hike for a picnic. My plan was foiled by the bread I bought. It wasn't really sandwich bread. So I cut it up. I cut up some brie, rolled some Boar's Head roast beef, packed some apples and grapes and we hit the road.

Instead of hiking, we decided to hit a canyon that a creek runs through. We pulled off and parked, put down the seats in the back of the Pathfinder and had a picnic creekside.

This was making the most of the area where we live, our new car, the new camera (we took some great pix of the girls playing around) and the beautiful day. I also took advantage of the end of the semester, since the time of our excursion was just about the same time my Wednesday evening class met!

There was no place on earth that seemed more appealing than the back of the car, spreading some herbed brie onto rustic bread as the girls giggled and the water rushed by.

posted by Laura at 9:54 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tick tock tick tock

New friends are so great. You know once you make it past that awkward, will this friendship stick phase and into the there's still so much to get to know about each other phase. (With a security and ease I don't ever remember when dating!)

Last night I was restless. When I get nervous, I wake up in the middle of the night (tonight seems to be a residual excess nervousness from my 2-hour stint last night). See, today (or yesterday?) I had an on-site freelance gig that had me a little nervous. Not the actual nature of the work, but the detaily things. Where do I go when I get there? What's the code for getting into the building after hours? Where do I go when I get there? (Yes, again. About 18 months ago I was trained for the work I was doing today, and that night I got so turned around in this large beautiful building I was completely lost! Something about this place makes me lose my sense of direction, and without my sense of direction, well, I'm lost!) Where will I sit during dinner? Will I be able to keep the participants on schedule after dinner? See how silly I am?

So this morning I decided to work through my pre-gig nerves by talking about them. (I hope you aren't disappointed that this story doesn't lead to a middle-of-the-night phone call to my new friend.) On the phone this morning I told her, "I'm nervous." She said, "About what?!?!" (I hope she wasn't disappointed that this wasn't a "my period's late" kind of nervousness!) So I told her. And she laughed. A nice laugh. A surprised laugh. She said, "That's so funny because you seem so invincible when it comes to these things." (This is evidence of two things: 1. She doesn't know me THAT well yet, but she did get to know me just a little better today. 2. I put up a pretty good front.)

But thanks to her genuine response, I went around today remembering that I just might be invincible.

And, I have finally figured out where to go in this building (basically denying all sense-of-direction instincts), there was a place set for me at dinner, the other employees and freelancers were incredibly warm and helpful to the rookie, and by 8:30 p.m. I was in my car having survived the entire experience.

Now, if only I could figure out why I can't sleep tonight.

posted by Laura at 12:32 AM | 0 comments

Friday, May 13, 2005

Cool mom

I am a cool mom. Someday my girls might not appreciate my coolness, but for now they can. Here's evidence of my cool factor.

1. On opening day I took them to see "Kicking and Screaming." I'd have to agree with Ebert's B rating of this flick. It wasn't as funny as I expected, and I was a little disturbed by the use of "hell." OK, I wasn't so disturbed, but I thought it could have gone without the use of the H-word for my daughters' sake. We also brought along some friends who are a bit more conservative than we are ... so I just wanted to crawl under my seat by the 5th time Will Ferrell told Mike Ditka to go to hell and get him a juice box while he's there. (Somehow putting in into a humorous context just made it worse.)

2. I saw that Hilary Duff will be coming in concert this summer. I thought to myself, how much would it be worth to take the girls (who own both her CDs) to that concert? I figured, maybe $15 a ticket, so for our family of 4, we'd be looking at about $60. Turns out, they start at $25 apiece. When you add in all the extra charges, gas prices to drive to the concert, parking, and all the hassle that comes with going to a concert, I don't think the low, low starting price of $100 is worth it. (Please, some day when my daughters are teenagers and they hate me, will you tell them I at least gave serious consideration and actually looked at the prices of tickets for a concert they would have enjoyed? Thanks, I'm sure they'll listen to you.)

Off topic, but related: concerts. I used to love going to see live music. I saw the Grateful Dead 20+ times (suddenly I can't remember the exact number). I saw small names at small venues, I saw Dave Matthews Band open up for Big Head Todd and the Monsters. I saw two Hordes and two Lollapaloozas. I loved concerts.

Now? Not so much. When I said above it's a hassle, I meant it. But some artists are worth the hassle. Last concert I saw was Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. That was so very fun. But that was 18 months ago.

I've been giving thought to what bands/performers I actually want to see in concert. Who's worth the money? Here's what I've come up with: Coldplay, Lyle Lovett and Bruce Springsteen (again). I know there are plenty (well not plenty, but at least a few!) more, but I can't charge up my end-of-semester brain. (Oh yeah, Billy Joel is another one!)

But I pose this question to readers of this blog (all three or four of you!): What was your favorite concert? Who would you like to see live?

posted by Laura at 4:32 PM | 2 comments

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Yesterday I did not walk. But today I did. And I walked alone. My neighbor didn't show up by 6:10 a.m., so I went out for my 30-minute stroll by myself. I think that demonstrates my new dedication to this pursuit.

posted by Laura at 8:07 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Nature rocks

Thanks to a great neighbor and a slight change in Brent's work schedule, I am officially a walker again. I've been heading out at 6 a.m. for a 30-minute walk with my neighbor. She likes to talk -- alot. So while I do the heavy breathing, she chats away. As long as she doesn't ask too many questions, I'm golden.

The world is amazing at 6 a.m. I am sorry for all those years I didn't wake up before 10 a.m. (Hello, freshman year of college with M, W, F classes at 2 p.m.!) I didn't realize the world is most beautiful as it's just waking up.

And what is really amazing, is the improvement I'm seeing in me already from the walks. Where I was winded the first few days, I still could breathe easily today. I needed this.

Last night at about 7 p.m. Brent said, "Let's go for a walk." So we all piled in the car (good walk, eh?) and headed to an open-space trail that's only about 7 minutes from the house. Here, we heard the most amazing thing: turkeys gobbling.

Thanks to a friendly trail walker whose dog we stopped to pet (dogs can increase the time of a family hike tenfold! though we have taught the girls you never pet a dog without asking its owner first). She said, "Around this turn you can hear the turkeys gobbling." Sure 'nuf that's what we heard. I'm so glad she pointed it out. We might have missed it, or not identified that sound without her heads-up.

When we heard the first gobble, Maxine was almost shaking with excitement. And Madison was almost shaking with fear. For a girl who can sing and perform in front of a crowd of 10s, she has some funny fears. And wild turkeys that we cannot see are apparently one of them. She obsessed for the rest of the walk about the turkeys. "Can they hurt people?" she asked. Mom's not-so-helpful answer: "Only if you eat too much, then you might have a hurt tummy."

Really what Madi should have been worrying about were creepy hikers who seemed to be heading out on the long trail after 8 p.m. (the trail is open from dawn to dusk the sign says). 'Round here, the folks on trails are friendly. Everyone says "Hello!" After Brent said hi, this guy kinda mumbled. Sixty seconds later when he passed the other half of our family (that's me and I can't remember which girl), he mustered up a little louder mumble. But something about him gave me the creeps. I was happy to hit the trailhead and the safety of Princess Crusher.

But back to walking, thanks to an adjusted finals schedule tomorrow (yes, FINALS!), I won't be walking in the a.m. And I'm afraid these knees need a break for a day -- they don't hurt much, except going up and down stairs.

But you'd better believe I'll be out there again on Thursday ... and Friday.

posted by Laura at 9:34 PM | 0 comments

Monday, May 09, 2005

Something in the water

I am probably paying way too much attention to all this stuff, but the celebrities are running wild and crazy lately, aren't they? Are they trying to out-crazy each other?
First, there's Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Enough said.
Then, Jennifer Garner is going to have Ben Affleck's baby. Is he just trying to beat the old Jen to the pregnancy punch?
Now, Renee Zellweger married Kenny Chesney. The tabloids seem to have forgotten to tell me they were even dating. (Oh, I'm sorry, they met on Jan. 15 at a tsunami benefit concert. And four whole months later they're hitched.)
Yup, I was right. I am paying way too much attention to this stuff.

posted by Laura at 9:12 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Old fogey

I'm officially old. Listening to U2's "until the end of the world," I heard myself say to Brent, "This is when U2 was good."

posted by Laura at 8:21 PM | 0 comments

How to scare the crap out of me

Madi talks in her sleep a lot. She will talk in full, clear sentences. She will have conversations with the people in her dreams. So last night, while she was snuggled between me and Brent, it wasn't surprising to hear her say, "Mommy, there's bugs under the pillow."

I woke up enough to look around and realize she must be dreaming. As I was almost back in deep sleep, she says, "MOMMY! THERE'S SOMETHING ON YOUR SHIRT!"

Which startled me awake. I jumped up brushing off my shirt, because she sure had me convinced there was something on my shirt. And given the earlier comment about bugs, I was sure it was a bug!

Once the fog cleared a little and my heart stopped racing, I was looking around to see where the bug went (did I mention that I have a silly fear of creepy crawlies? did I also mention that it's so easy to give me the heebie jeebies? yeah, just mention bugs and other such critters and I get all oogggly). Madi was wide awake and was still sure that there were bugs in the bed. We had to look under all six pillows on the bed to prove otherwise. She then dragged her daddy around to every sleeping surface in the house (the couch, her sister's bed and then back to my bed) because everywhere she went she was sure there were bugs.

(In the midst of all this, I wondered had Madi dropped acid? Was she having a really bad trip? Maybe just a nasty flashback?)

Finally, everyone was asleep again. And this morning both Madi and Daddy were laughing at Mommy and how scared she got last night.


posted by Laura at 5:44 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Happy birthday Madison!

Today my baby turns 5 years old!

posted by Laura at 4:41 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, May 01, 2005


I didn't make it to Saturday's soccer game, but there are pictures that document the first-ever goal made by Madison. She made her team's first goal on Saturday (they lost 6-3, but remember, we're not keeping track!).

posted by Laura at 9:44 PM | 1 comments

I kicked April's butt

April put up a good fight. What with:

- two academic conferences at which I was a chair for panels
- four fundraising events for a class I teach
- another fundraising breakfast for a group I started volunteering with, which brought:
- a committee meeting one morning at 8 a.m.
- oh, and then there was the fundraising luncheon that I attended for a woman/scholar I mentor
- two birthday parties for the sub-10 set
- two Brownie meetings
- countless student meetings (3 classes times 20+ students each)
- four soccer games that I made it to (plus a few that I missed)
- many soccer practices, plus soccer pictures
- a kindergarten registration
- one advisory board meeting
- one faculty meeting
- one research deadline
- one dentist appointment (yeah! no cavities, plus some teeth were sealed)
- one elementary school volunteer appreciation tea (plus the hours in the classroom that got me the invite in the first place)
- a few play dates
- one night of scrapbooking (I managed to find a little time for creativity)

But ultimately, I won. April is over and I can see the light at the end of spring semester.

Had I made this list in early April, I might have curled up in the corner waving my white flag. But looking at it now, maybe it's not such a big deal after all. But May looks friendlier already (Madison's 5th birthday is TUESDAY!) and after about the second week, my days are gloriously unbolded (for now).

posted by Laura at 9:32 PM | 0 comments
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