Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday morning

Wardrobe courtesy of Aunt Beth, Uncle Don, Megan, and Holly. I have an image to protect, you know!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday morning

For my triumphant return to school today, I sported my new outfit from Grandma Jan and Pop Pop Jay. Yeah, I'm sort of a big deal.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

We Made It :-)

OK, so it's 3:05 am on December 26 and I'm wide awake. It has been a few rather traumatic days for me, but I'll bypass that boring story.

Bottom line, we did not make it to PA on Christmas Eve like I'd planned. I went to the gas station that morning to fill the tank, and all I saw on Reisterstown Road were cars backed up for as far as the eye could see. I immediately had a very bad panic attack. Seriously. Couldn't catch my breath for the life of me and was shaking like a leaf.

Fast forward through lots of drama that day to the next morning, Christmas Day. My baby was with her daddy, and all I wanted was to be with her and my family for Christmas. Her dad and I went back and begging to come get her, he saying he was concerned about the weather conditions...freezing rain in Johnstown. After much debate and compromise, we decided I'd wait until 11 am to pick her up, when the sleet was supposed to have turned over to all rain.

So my girl and I were off on our journey from Bethesda to PA at about 11:45 am. She slept from Frederick until I got off the PA turnpike :-) (i.e., a half hour from my home). For the brief time she was awake, I handed her individual bags of her snacks and that seemed to satisfy her. One item I believe I am going to invest in (and it's $5, so it's reasonable)...

Her cup always falls, and she frantically calls, "Juice! Juice!" Of course, I'm on the interstate and can't do a thing about it until I can find the next exit to pull off and retrieve it. So I figure this is something worth having! Clip it on and no worries!

It didn't take Claire long to warm up to her relatives (she hasn't seen my sister's family since June). I will have to upload some pics from Dad's camera later. She got an Elmo phone, Sesame Street clean-up set, lots and lots of books, the Elmo Potty DVD, some Cabbage Patch Kid babies, a V-Tech "camera," some cool duds, and lots of gift cards! She still doesn't really get it, and all she wanted to play with was a little kitchen set my mom has had for a bazillion years :-) But she can now say "Santa Claus," and it's adorable :-)

Mommy, among other nice things, got the only two things she put on a list...a back scratcher and Snuffleupagus!!! hehehehehe!

Claire is now fast asleep in her crib (as a bonus, it's the same crib she has at home, so it's familiar), and my parents are sleeping, most likely recharging their batteries to prepare for a full day with their Energizer Bunny granddaughter!!!

I hope to actually get on the ball and take some pics to share in the next few days. Until then...

Keep Christmas with you
All through the year
When Christmas is over
Save some Christmas cheer

Think of this Christmas Day
When Christmas is far away

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mom Poll!!!!

OK, Moms, I need your help.

I'm 89% sure I'm venturing to PA for the holidays. There is still some discussion over weather issues with Claire's dad (he thinks it's too dangerous; I think if I plan my trip when the forecast is good, it should be no problem).

Anyhoo, this would entail a 3-hour trip to Johnstown. Claire and I last made this trip in June. We all know how much a toddler changes in only one month let alone six. Plus, I believe she slept most of the way.

I would love to plan this around her naptime so she would sleep most of the way, but I also have to be realistic and plan for the alternative.

This is where you all come in.

I don't have a portable DVD player, so I must rely on good old-fashioned entertainment for Claire. Any suggestions? Books probably...and I think I found her mini Magna Doodle when I was cleaning out the car a few weeks ago...but anything else? I really wish I had one of those collapsible car seat trays so she could maybe color or have something to lay a book on. Crap.

Please send your suggestions!!!!


Stunning! I think this is total model pose. I happen to think she could be on the Vogue cover right this very minute, thank you very much.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Oh, but for the generosity of my wonderful coworkers! Thank you Gracious for digging me out! My lovely coworker, Grace, after lecturing me on swallowing my pride and asking for help, drove her trusty Volvo wagon up from the city to Owings Mills to dig my sorry self out of four feet of snow drifts. Hot yoga has obviously paid off for this woman, because she shoveled her holly and ivy off and soon I was backing up out of my personal hell and on my way to work.

Oh how I love to be at work! My mood instantly lifted...productivity does that. I just got back from the Rite Aid on E. Baltimore Street, where I purchased myself a big 'ol shovel! Woo hoo!!!

I'm still a little bummed about how things transpired over the weekend, especially since I was having a great time at my holiday party at Ruth's Chris...all red lips and pearls...and had to leave because yet again, my child's father couldn't come through.

So that said, 2010 will be a year of learned self-reliance. That might not mean me shoveling my car out myself. That might mean me getting on craigslist and paying someone a small fee to do it for me. But that's still not relying on others to do what I should be doing for myself. So 2010 means better money managing, better scheduling, and better self-care.

I'm trying to curb my bitterness for Christmas this year (after all, I need some left for Valentine's Day!) and just make the best of what I've been handed and what I've handed myself.

I'm not at the happy elf phase, but I believe I've hopped out of the Ebenezer Scrooge reenactment I was doing earlier today.

Thank goodness for my blog, my place to vent, to work out my thoughts, to be me, for better or worse.


The last time it snowed like this was Valentines Day Weekend 2003. I remember this because I went to Johnstown for my friend, Jodi's wedding shower and got stranded there for days until I could get back to Maryland. Maryland at that time was under a state of emergency and I barely made it back. I drove straight to work only to find that I was the only one who had showed up from my department.

So six years later, circumstances are different. I was supposed to stop at the grocery store for much-needed groceries on Friday after work, but Claire's dad flaked out once again and didn't show up to pick her up, so I had to rush up from downtown to get her before the daycare closed. She is very difficult to shop with, and I was still assured her dad would be there later, so I took her home for the night. Well, of course, he never showed and we spent the weekend with the barest of necessities. Until last evening at 6, I hadn't eaten since the morning the day before. She was eating applesauce cups and cheese slices, and I was stranded inside of an apartment with no shovel and no help in sight.

Fast forward to today. Claire is safely with her dad in Bethesda. I had asked if he could pick up a shovel for me at the store so I could shovel myself out, and he showed up, no big surprise, with no shovel. I attempted to dig my car out last evening with the lid of a Rubbermaid container, but I quickly grew numb and the snow is piled at least three to four feet all around my car, especially where the snow plow plowed me in behind me.

So today I'm sitting at home, unable to get to work unless I spend the money I don't have for a taxi, still with no shovel and unable to find one.

I do try to remain positive. My friend at work insists that I should be open to the universe, convinced good things will happen and they will. I guess my 36 years as a cynic have made me guffaw at that. The new storm is predicted for...of course...Christmas Eve, so the reality is my child will not be with me for Christmas, she'll be with her dad, and I will be in this apartment with no cable (cable boxes have never been replaced...who has time to go to White Marsh when I work full time?), and no family, no gifts to give my sweet child, and probably still snowed in.

Through the years, I have always treasured Christmas as my very favorite time of year. Slowly but surely, I join the ranks of the other "Bah, Humbugs" out there and just can't wait until it's over.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Different Kind of Christmas

This year is going to be a different kind of Christmas for Claire and I. It has been a difficult year with losing my job, and I'm still getting back on my feet.

So this year there is no tree and no gifts, at least not in time for Christmas Day. Keeping up with bills has taken most of what I have, but I honestly feel very blessed because my bills ARE paid, I have no credit card debt, and my daughter can continue attending a daycare I am honestly thrilled with.

I was watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition this past Sunday, and they featured (as a side story) some children living in a rough section of Erie, PA, whose bedrooms were in shambles. Many didn't have a bed to sleep on. Ty and his team blessed them each with a beautiful new bedroom, and these children were in many cases reduced to tears.

Talk about putting things into perspective! I tuck my child in at night into a beautiful crib under warm blankets, her humidifier running thanks to electricity, her body warmed by clean, well-fitting pajamas, a sippy cup of clean water with her if she wakes up thirsty. I call and speak to my family on a working phone, eat hot food for dinner, and take hot showers with clean water.

So even though funds are limited, I felt it was God's will that I should adopt an "Angel" from the Salvation Army. I have normally always adopted a child. This year I decided to adopt a senior. I thought about how cold and lonely the holidays must be for someone older, often with no family at all and no income. I chose an 81-year-old man living in Indiana, PA. He just wanted a sweatshirt and a new cover for his bed. I think there was a hand at work behind the scenes, because I found these items extremely marked down, and the items are on their way to the Salvation Army. I hope this brings some peace and joy to this man for Christmas.

No, we aren't celebrating the usual customs of Christmas that I've always known, but I hope to pass on the spirit of giving to others to Claire, and there is no gift that can match that.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

City Love

I left work yesterday a bit later than usual. Claire's dad had picked her up from daycare already, and I wasn't in my usual daily sprint for the 5:27 pm train. So I left the office around 6 pm. The city was a little quieter, a little darker at this time.

For a brief moment, the cars must have all been at red lights and the usual hoards of bustling, purposeful people not yet to where I was walking. All at once it was completely still. In the cold, crisp air I could see my breath in foggy puffs, and I looked up. The whole city glittered. I studied the beautiful old architecture of the buildings, some still bearing their original names from days long past. I observed the different heights and colors of the surroundings and the sparkle of the street lights. My mind flashed back to a time as a little girl when this is what I imagined. Kara, a grown up, in the city. Kara presenting the 2010 marketing plan to her investment management firm (which is exactly what I did that day), and Kara running to the cafe for a drink (and I only had to look backward to see the Au Bon Pain just a short few steps from my building).

And then in the next moments, the traffic lights turned green, the people rounded the corner onto my street, and the surreal moment was in the past. But I kept smiling, because in a year where a life was dashed, where hope was pulled from my secured footing, I realize I'm exactly where my 12-year-old mind dreamed I'd be. In the office. In the city. In the dream.

And sometimes dreams take us to places we weren't expecting, and you realize that your plan would have been completely meaningless but for those things that happened just as they should...

I hope, my little love, that you too have dreams one day that come true beyond your greatest expectations.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In My Absence...

I'm guilty of Uninspired Syndrome. I haven't blogged in forever because I've been tired and unmotivated. I'm hoping the spark will return soon.

In the interim, I found these plates/bowls on etsy and am IN LOVE!