Friday, September 26, 2008

Curly Girly

It was very damp outside today...and Claire caught a case of the curlies!!!!!

Things that Make You Look Like an Annoying Dork

Rose inspired this post...NOT because she looks like a dork, which is 100% physically impossible for Rose, I might add. No, because Rose's story at lunch that centered around a fanny pack caused me to start thinking of objects that truly "dorken up" their owners. I'm sorry if I offend anyone with this list. If I do, well, don't read my blog anymore.

1. Fanny Packs---Convenient? Yes. Stylish? Hell no. And yes, I do expect you to sacrifice utility for fashion in this case. There are acceptable cross-shoulder bags that can accomplish the same things.

2. Crocs---Yes, I know I'll get shot down for this, but I DON'T CARE. Unless you're in the garden, these look STUPID. I see them on men, women, babies...and my opinion never changes, sorry. YOU LOOK LIKE A DORK!

3. "Honor Student" bumper stickers---Hi, I know you're happy your kid made the honor roll. News flash...I DON'T CARE. Get your own life. Stop living vicariously through your dorky kids.

4. Jean shorts---My friend Mark pointed out the obvious dorkiness of jean shorts, which we are now simply calling "jorts." They're outdated. Get some khakis. Next.

5. "Initial" bumper stickers---This was very cool when Outer Banks started it "OBX." However, since that time, every tourist attraction, organization, and everything else under the sun has copied it and now it's just DORKY.

5. Ugg Boots---so yesterday, enough said.

6. "Fake" designer bags---I'm not talking about fake Coach or something. I'm talking Louis Vuitton, etc. If you're getting out of a Dodge Neon and going to your job as a hostess at Bob Evans, I'm pretty sure that "Louis Vuitton" bag you're carrying is a fake. I'm just sayin'...

7. Stuffed animals in the back window of your vehicle---ok, if your toddler threw it up there and you don't know about it, fine. But if you have lined up stuffed animals or highlighted the corners of the back window with them, I hate to break this to're a dork.

I could go on and on, but all of this has depressed me. You get the gist.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Best Places to Work for Moms

Here is a list of the best companies for working moms...a real eye-opener. Praise be to the two companies on the list that offer 18 weeks of PAID maternity leave!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And this is news??

So the big exclusive story coming out (no pun intended) on tomorrow is Clay Aiken disclosing that he's gay. Wow. I'm. So. Shocked. I guess the commentary I'd like to offer on this bit of news is...


Monday, September 22, 2008


My parents drove from their home in Johnstown, PA to my brother's home in Carlisle, PA on Saturday. Claire and I drove up to meet them and spend the day together. It was lovely to see family, and they were all so excited to see Claire.

As the afternoon wore on, we decided to take Claire for a walk because the weather was beautiful. After I dutifully buttered her up in sunscreen, off we went down the brother, my father, Claire, and me.

We hadn't gotten very far when we saw a small yard sale (more of a driveway sale) going on just a few houses down from my brother's house. My dad, who has a penchant for a bargain and odds and ends (Mom would call it junk), made a beeline for the yard sale. My brother and I followed, knowing we'd probably be there for a while.

It turns out the occupants of the house are moving. They're disgustingly young, probably around 25 (sorry Laura), and they apparently really don't know what to do with themselves or their money. They had their house up for sale and were going to move to.."oh, I don't know..maybe Florida, maybe Maryland..we haven't really decided." Um, OK then.

To make a long story short, it was the end of the day and the occupants wanted rid of their "junk." So they were giving it away free. We're not talking sixth grade art class ashtrays and broken microwave carts. Let's just say my dad walked away with a photo printer AND a printer/fax/copier, both all but brand new; two signs for his bar, and my brother walked away with a Magellan GPS!!!

I didn't score the high tech stuff, but my daughter now has some gorgeous new shoes...

Check out the silver ballet flats!!!!

Three cheers for flaky young people with rich parents!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

September Showers Bring Baby Meltdowns

I really don't know how many mornings like this I can survive.

It began innocently enough. My daughter woke me up with her usual very serious conversation with herself: "Ba, ba, ba...eehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...da, da, da, va, va, ehhhhhhhhhhh." It was 6:15 and my head was splitting from my usual morning headache. I have begun a new routine where I dress Claire right after I feed her instead of right before we leave. I try to do it first thing when I have the most strength. As always, it was a fight to get her into her shirt and pants, and I was already spent after finally jamming those arms into a very cute purple peasant top.

I then had a decision to make. I was so exhausted last evening that I missed my usual nighttime shower. Should I just skip it and be skanky, or do I try to grab one this morning? I had enough time. My thoughts went back to about a month and a half ago, which was the last time I took a shower when Claire was awake. It was not a good situation. I figure she has developed since then and maybe things have changed.


From the minute I started the water until I finally got out (in about 3.5 minutes, because I was on turbo speed), my daughter screamed bloody murder. Not cried, not fussed. Screamed. Blood-curdling, Jamie-Lee-Curtis-in-Halloween screamed. I kept the curtain open and she hung over the edge of the tub while I assured her Mama was right here, everything was OK as I simultaneously tried to shampoo my head and shave my legs. By the time this fun-fest was finally over, my child was soaked. So now I had to DRESS HER AGAIN. And inevitably, two minutes before we were ready to go, I hear the grunting. So now there's a poop issue. So the pants come off again, and Miss Thang is crawling around her room while I am trying to wipe up a poopy butt.

Mommy needs a Valium.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I wish I wasn't so fabulous

One of my regular blog haunts is shopalicious, and they usually highlight a fairly affordable piece each day to add to the wardrobe. I was so excited when I saw this cape. How good would this look w/dark jeans or some tan cords? I was sold. Until I saw the price tag. I guess my idea of a bargain and shopalicous' idea of a bargain is slightly different. Oh well. I could have rocked this though.

UPDATE: This also would have worked well w/a denim skirt and some ribbed wool tights and boots. Dang.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm Not Available

Please don't call tonight between 8 pm and 9 pm...or any Tuesday night until June for that matter. I will not answer the phone. I will not answer the door. I will shove you down a hill. Claire will go to the kitchen for her own bottle.

I have a hot date, and you're not invited.


I want this.

How good would this look with my purple suede shoes (that I happen to be wearing today)??? Coupled with my brown tweed pants and a dash of teal and/or gold in there somewhere, I am looking decidely sharp!

OK, so can anyone tell me how I might get this for less than the $645 price tag that's currently on it??? Hmmm.

My Autumn of Love

Dear Starbucks pumpkin scones,

As the leaves start to turn and the air turns crisp, I once again anticipate the day we will meet again to share in our passion.

You have always been there for me...those lonely Saturday mornings when all the world was laughing but me...those chaotic workdays when I didn't think I'd make it through. You have never disappointed me.

One spring morning I walked in, eager to greet you. The birds were singing and the air was fragrant with lilac. The barista looked at me, and with great feeling said, "The pumpkin scones are gone for the season."

My heart filled with pain and my eyes with tears. Your loss was felt throughout the summer. But now my dreams are to come to fruition, and my heart is whole again.

I will see you, my dearest, when I pluck you from behind your glass case and profess my love once again.

All my heart,


Hi All...

Thank you for your prayers. I was able to get an extension on the copyediting project and now have until Wednesday to turn in the rest of the chapters. I will then have until September 29 to return Chapters 10 through 20. This is still quite a bit of work to do, but I am just so relieved I wasn't dropped from the project.

And since my mom actually reads, I'm not homeless and I have food to eat. My "stuff" I was going through was/is just all the drama of my single momhood life. But luckily my family and friends care enough about me not to let me go it alone.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mission Not Accomplished

Through both factors I could control and those that were entirely out of my hands, I am sitting here at 12:45 am exhausted and defeated. I was given a rare and lucrative copyediting project from a client that will send something my way maybe four times a year, usually proofreading. Copyediting pays more. This is a 900-page manuscript. This could go a long way in helping me pay bills.

The first 10 (of 20) chapters are due tomorrow. I have exactly 4.5 chapters done. I had almost three done before today, and I was supposed to dedicate this entire day to completing the rest. Now that I'm fully realizing the length of the chapters, I probably would have struggled even if I had the whole day. I wasn't able to start until 7:30 because I had Claire all day, which was not supposed to have been the plan.

So I've spent five hours pounding through and have only made it to the middle of Chapter 5. I can't go on. I sat and prayed on it, and the only thing I can do is finish Chapter 5 tomorrow and e-mail those to the production editor and tell her I can have the other 5 by Wednesday.

I am blogging in the hopes that anyone who reads this could maybe just pray for me. I'm going through some stuff right now, and if I lose this job, it will make things worse. Thanks for listening.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cruel Irony

It's horrible that the best thing that has ever happened to me and the worst thing that has ever happened to me are related. Blood related.

God grant me the strength to let go of the hatred.

Toy Story

Did any of you think I wouldn't have an opinion on toys? Didn't think so. My mom recently asked me to give her ideas for Claire for Christmas. She wants to get an early start. My few loose rules..1) do NOT overgift my daughter. I do not want this girl getting some inflated sense of entitlement and/or turn her into a spoiled, overindulged brat; 2) nothing electronic yet. By that, I don't mean the things that blink and/or make noise. I'm referring to things that resemble video games, even the books that read themselves, etc. 3) we want to go old school at my house. I want toys that are engaging and challenge her imagination. So I compiled a visual list and send this off to mom...

Activity center



Pop-up Farm

Pound and Roll

See and Say

Tool Bench




Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reader's Poll

OK, everyone, who all can't WAIT for Nick and Rose to have a baby?!?!?!? Can you imagine that baby? So beautiful and artsy and cool...holding a tiny bottle of hot sauce and doing yoga...wearing tiny little Frye boots and a Secret Machines onesie.

No pressure, Rose, but I hope you get pregnant on your wedding night.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Do As I Say, Not As I DO

I take great pains to make my baby the healthiest food possible.

For dinner I had the other half of a lunch calzone (that I didn't put in the fridge, Rose) and a cup of International Foods Coffee Sugar Free Suisse Mocha. And a provolone sandwich. of these days my daughter is going to wise up and say why do I have to eat this stuff when all you eat is junk? On Saturday, Rose and Laura were ganging up...I mean gently suggesting that I change my eating habits.

I don't really want to even go into that topic (and I will delete any comments you two evil women post); I actually just wanted to share what I threw together for Claire's lunch tomorrow: steamed spinach mixed with baked sweet potato and shredded organic mild cheddar. I always taste my concoctions to make sure they're edible, and oh my, this was so good! So that's really what my point is. I'll make the effort for my daughter but won't for myself, and I end up really liking what I make for her. Just imagine if I would just make a big batch and she and I could split it. Well d*mn, that would make too much sense.

Nie Nie Video

Rose introduced me to Stephanie Nielson's (Nie Nie) blog (thank you, Rose!!!) She is a testament of what a beautiful family is. Rose and I have an icon on our blogs that will take you to her blog, and Rose has the c jane link on her blog as well---that is Nie Nie's sister. As you would quickly find out, Stephanie and her husband, Christian were involved in a plane crash about three weeks ago. This has become national news, because so many people, including myself now, feel connected to Nie Nie and her family through her blog. This video clip is from the Today show.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Five Unspectacular Quirks

So this was on Jessica's blog a while back, and I had actually written five about myself. I posted them on my MySpace blog, but I'm doing away w/that one altogether. So through the wonderful art of copy and paste, I'm transposing them here for your reading pleasure:

Five Unspectacular Quirks About Kara

1. I can't sleep with total silence. There must be white noise at all times. I have already turned down the thermostat so the A/C would kick on (my favorite white noise), but now I've resorted to just turning the stove fan on all night. Nice electric bill, yes, I know. But if there's total silence, i have panic attacks.

2. I read and at work and,, (for ann landers), and (shut up) at home. I can never, ever switch where I read the above. For instance, I can never read at home and I can never read at work and so forth. And the sites I read at home must be read in that order. Hold on, my therapist is on the line...

3. I use my keyboard so much that the "n" has totally rubbed off.

4. There exists a list of well over 100 words that I hate and cannot hear in my presence without having a physical reaction.

5. I occasionally listen to the 80s soft pop station on my LaunchCast while working and get a silent thrill when a good Mike and the Mechanics song comes on.

And so it is.

The Tiny Tyke Stands!

Claire's first Tiny Tykes class at MyGym was this past Saturday morning. Although the weather was ferocious, we enthusiastically ventured to our first class together with her dad. There were a lot of babies there! The class began with all of us sitting in a big circle on the ground. We did "warm up" exercises---lots of toe touching, waving arms in the air, etc. Claire was a little overwhelmed at the fast pace, but she liked looking at the other kids.

There was a lot of fun equipment to try. Claire definitely was not happy to be placed in the ball pit. That scared her. I'm going to keep trying each week to see if she overcomes that fear. We guided her down the slide and put her on the little trampoline. She started crawling up a ramp, and I supported her bum as she made her way to the top. Her daddy, the former rock climber and avid hiker, was beaming with pride, as his little climber powered her way to the top. Claire really enjoyed the small octogon-shaped play area bordered by a soft "wall"...she used it to balance herself while walking around, and all of the sudden, she raised herself up and stood up on her own! Brant and I were there to see it and were very excited :-) I was so proud I wanted to call CNN and have them immediately release it as breaking news.

Before our time was over, Claire got to use the baby swing and enjoyed it. Then all the babies gathered around a toy pit at the end and played with a plethera of toys. Claire quickly spotted a baby who had the same binky as her. This baby had the binky in her mouth. I watched my power crawler make a beeline for the baby and try to rip the binky out of her mouth. Yes, a mother's proud moment..running over to her child assaulting another baby trying to pilfer her binky.

Since Saturday, Claire has stood up a few more times. It's so amazing to watch. That is one amazing little girl!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

More on the TV thing...

So I'm sitting with Laura and Rose yesterday at Panera (waterlogged, might I add, but that's another story), and I'm not sure how we got to talking about the TV watching subject; probably something I said. I talk a lot. Yeah.

Anyway, I think it was Laura who said, "You are going to eventually let her watch TV, aren't you?"

Yep, I am. To an outsider, my views might appear "extreme." Sometimes I feel the same way about myself. So I've really sat down and thought about my strategies. I'm only giving Claire cereal, fruits, vegetables, chicken, and soon turkey for the time being. I will eventually allow her "dessert" and some sweets. I won't lie. That will be hard for me to do. I will be terrified of allowing her into my world of food addiction. I fear the minute the first piece of cake crosses her lips, she will turn into me. And that's where my problems are. This isn't me. This is Claire. Claire is not me.

TV somewhat ties into these beliefs as well. I fear the minute I let her watch Sesame Street or whatever, she will be planted like a zombie in front of that set, not wanting to do anything else. She will morph into a dazed blob. Again, I need to let go of the rigidity. If I don't, the forbidden will become the desired. People tend to want what they can't have.

These are the recommendations I've been putting my faith into (AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS: Children, Adolescents, and Television Committee on Public Education PEDIATRICS Vol. 107 No. 2 February 2001, pp. 423-426):

Pediatricians should recommend the following guidelines for parents:

1. Limit children's total media time (with entertainment media) to no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming per day.

2. Remove television sets from children's bedrooms.

3. Discourage television viewing for children younger than 2 years, and encourage more interactive activities that will promote proper brain development, such as talking, playing, singing, and reading together.

4. Monitor the shows children and adolescents are viewing. Most programs should be informational, educational, and nonviolent.

5. View television programs along with children, and discuss the content. Two recent surveys involving a total of nearly 1500 parents found that less than half of parents reported always watching television with their children.

6. Use controversial programming as a stepping-off point to initiate discussions about family values, violence, sex and sexuality, and drugs.

7. Use the videocassette recorder wisely to show or record high-quality, educational programming for children.

8. Support efforts to establish comprehensive media-education programs in schools.

9. Encourage alternative entertainment for children, including reading, athletics, hobbies, and creative play.

So it still is my goal for no TV before age 2. But after that, I'm thinking maybe 1/2 hour in the morning (so mommy might be able to get ready for work!) and 1/2 hour in the evening, though not right before bed nor right after school. I'm thinking right after dinner. My mom doesn't even question me, because she's pretty used to how set in my ways I am. But I do realize Claire is not a robot, and though I have the best intentions, I'm going to have to be flexible, or the very things I'm trying to accomplish will be in jeopardy.

OK, this topic has been covered, and I think that little stinker bit me in the finger. It hurts and I see teeth marks. Hmm.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The strength of Stephanie

I just connected with an old high school friend on Facebook, and she has been through what very few people in the world have been through. That she is still alive is a miracle, and above that, she is vibrant, beautiful, and back to work in her job as an occupational therapist. Her story defies the odds. I hope you'll take the time to read it and be inspired. Happy Friday.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Love is...

Ingenious invention! (or maybe I'm just too easily impressed)

So as always, my sinuses are a wreck, and I proceeded to sneeze for the 96th time today. I reached for a tissue to catch my sneeze. I'm pleased to report the transaction was successful. Then I looked over at the box. My previously snowy white tissues were now TAN! I thought, I must have gotten a defective box. That is just odd. I went to report this fascinating phemonenon to my boss, who was equally stumped, although not quite as fascinated as me. It was my omnipotent editor who solved the great mystery. Angel Soft makes the tissues tan when you start nearing the end of the box to give you a head's up! That is SO considerate! So for the last ten minutes, I've been sitting her smiling like a ninny at my congenial, polite little box of Angel Soft tissues. Angel soft tissues, you are the wind beneath my wings.

Sweet Relief

Kidada (my coworker) just sent me this article regarding a BGE rebate. I'm ready to go to Sam's Club or BJ's and invest in a bulk supply of candles to light my place, and maybe I should install a fire ring in the middle of the living room for my heating and cooking needs. Just another atrocity in the state of the world today.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I mean come on

Is there anyone out there who honestly wants to hear Scarlett Johansson murder..I mean sing Tom Waits songs?

A day in the life of Claire

The following is an excerpt taken from "Family Communication: Daily Information for Families of Infants" courtesy of KinderCare of Owings Mills:

"She did a good job with the broccoli and apples. Once again, she did not want to take a nap. She was having more fun standing up and talking. I tried the new sippy cup. She didn't want to be bothered with it."

At the end of this busy day, Claire promptly fell asleep in her crib at 6:30. Mommy is off to Google "How to Encourage Baby to Use Sippy Cup" to quell the fear that Claire will end up pulling a Suri Cruise Scientolobaby and will still be dragging her bottle around at the age of 2.

Whatever gets you through the day

Under the safety of my headphones, I didn't realize until someone pointed it out that I was happily singing "Foolish Beat" by Debbie Gibson, thus giving away the fact that I'm listening to Power Pop Ballads.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Daycare dilemma

I am far too smart to be this poor. It's so frustrating. I am 35 and still struggle and live paycheck to paycheck. I don't have a house and really don't see one in my future. I have a history of being bad with money. But my current dilemma is the most frustrating: daycare.

A lot of people know how hard I researched prior to Claire's birth. If my daughter is spending 9 hours a day somewhere, it has to be top notch. I'm not saying that like I'm some big snob. I don't mean it has to have some high tech fancy stuff; I just wanted to make sure she was in a facility that was obscenely clean with staff that would care for her almost as well as mommy. I interviewed the directors and quickly fell in love with the KinderCare down the street from work. The center is very close to work and a shopping plaza; however, it's tucked back in an almost remote area that you don't have a reason to drive past unless you're expressly going there. The director was very outgoing, warm, friendly, and very important to me, the infant staff has a very low turnover. I immediately felt comfortable from the moment I walked in the door.

I began taking Claire there in January of this year. She has absolutely thrived, and I believe her development has stayed on track because she copies what the other kids do. She socializes well and is comfortable meeting new people. And the great staff in her room have helped me immensely. I make no secret of not having a clue what I'm doing a lot of the time, and they've helped me with feeding and sleeping advice, etc. There are always happy pictures of Claire being sent home and my other projects! And of course the best..NO TV!!!!

So that's the great part of the story. Then comes the downside: the tuition. It's just so expensive. Other centers in my area are all within a few dollars of the price, so KinderCare isn't being outrageous. And no offense to anyone who uses home daycare, but I won't put Claire in home daycare. I want her somewhere very structured with other kids her age where the regulations are followed to a "T" (and I've seen that firsthand).

I'm up against people telling me I need to put her somewhere cheaper. People who say "we want the best for her, too, but..." There IS no but, people. This is my CHILD. Nothing on earth is more important than that little girl. This is not about finding her some fancy place to have a birthday party or about buying her the "best" doll they make. This is about putting her in someone's care 45 hours a week. There can be no compromise there. These are the years when she develops into her own person, and I need her to be in the best environment for that.

So what can I far I've been trying to find freelance proofreading work, because Maryland Composition only sends me work about four times a year, and that's not enough. I've also been trying to find transcription work, because I used to transcribe years ago. Anything..anything. I'm going to be contacting my leasing office to ask if I could move into a one bedroom apartment until my lease is up in May. At that time, I'm trying to find a place in a more rural area...maybe Westminster or somewhere else in Carroll County..part of a house for rent with a yard. Until then, I could save one or two hundred dollars a month by renting a one bedroom. So that's what I'm doing.

When I see Katie Holmes and Nicole Kidman and all these other celebrity mommies showing up for fancy dinners every night of the week, I sigh in frustration, because if they only knew the struggle some of us go through. And really, I have it good. There are others far worse off. I'm just trying to hold on and do the best I can for my baby.