Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Top Ten: Why I Hate Going To The Lady Doctor

I had my annual exam today. I should start this by saying that I actually love my Ob/Gyn. I've been going to him for 8 years. He's been super supportive through some rough patches and a great encouragement in the good years, including the birth of my daughter. He has been nothing less than an excellent physician. He tells me I'm pretty and pinches my cheek, and not in a pervy way. Despite this, going for my annual visit is just not fun. No matter how nice the doctor, how gentle his touch, it feels like an invasion and it doesn't really get any easier the older I get. But beyond that, there are a few things that drive me a little nutso.

1. Waiting - First in the waiting room and then in the exam room. I know it is impossible for them to keep exactly, to the minute, on schedule, and maybe if I were waiting for, say, a massage, or cake, I would be less on edge, but the minutes just drag by.

2. The Paper Gown - First off, I always rip it when I am putting it on, so it's more like I'm wearing two shoulder covers, and secondly, could the thing be more scratchety? I'm betting these wonders are not super cheap, so why can't they be made out of the same material as fancy paper napkins? That, I would be happy to wear.

3. The Vaginas and Uteri - They're everywhere. Pictures on the walls, plastic models on the tables and counters. I suppose they're used for explanatory purposes, but I could do with seeing a little less of my insides.

4. Peeing in the Cup - No matter how much I've drunk in preparation, I always get stagefright. My bladder, that lets go when I even think about sneezing, gives me the big thumbs down and I wind up hovering and worrying that I won't be able to produce the needed 1 to 2 ounces. Then when it finally does get going, my aim leaves a LOT to be desired. I understand a woman's anatomy (thanks to all of the diagrams) and I still don't know where the pee actually comes out.

5. The Magazines - I don't go to the doctor to read O and Harper's Bazaar. I want the guilty pleasure stuff I won't buy for myself: People, Us Weekly, heck, I'll even take a Reader's Digest. I mean who doesn't love Humor in Uniform?

6. Getting Weighed - Why, oh why, do we have to go through this torturous ritual. I swear the nurse puts her foot on the scale behind me. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

7. Stinky Feet - I always worry that my feet will smell. That my doctor will be doing his business, just inches from my piggies, and he will be overcome by the stench. He will then put a black mark in my file and I will be blacklisted from Gynos everywhere, a la Elaine on Seinfeld.

8. The Surly Phlebotomist - I'm not sure if it's just the ladies I have encountered or if the somewhat gruesome nature of the job gets to people after a while, but the bloodletters always seem so cranky.

9. Pharmaceutical Company Free Gifts: The card holder sponsored by Vagimel (wasn't he a character on the Smurfs) or the calendar by Hysterigard. Seriously, who comes up with these names?

10. The Aftergoo. How can I put this delicately? Doctor requires lubrication. Lubricating material doesn't disappear after its purpose is completed. Is that non-graphic enough for you guys? All I can say is, yuck.

What's your least favorite thing about going to the doctor? (Lula, you don't count because you have the perfect doctor!)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


When Sophie was born, we agreed to be part of a two year study through Johns Hopkins that tracked her growth. Up until now it has been fairly low effort on our part. All we have to do is come in a little early for her regular pediatric appointments and the researchers weigh and measure her. Then I answer a few questions about her dining habits and we're on our way with a $10 gift card to Target in hand. Which, as I was telling a friend, is like that free hit of crack. I get that gift card in my pocket and I start thinking that I should go and spend it. The next thing you know I'm walking out of Target with $100 worth of stuff I didn't need for the bargain price of $90.

This past Friday, Sophie had her 15 month well baby appointment. The good news: she now weighs 18 lbs and 11 oz and is back on the percentile chart, albeit the bottom end, but still. Even though Neil and I were sure that she had gained weight, I had steeled myself against the possibility that her weight gain was still too little. But for naught.

Usually, we have our study appointments before the doctor's visit, but for some reason they switched it up this time. Which meant that by the time we got in to see them, Sophie had just sat, naked, in a sterile room for an hour, followed by two shots. It is an understatement to say that we neither of us were in peak form. Which is why the usually easy measurements went very badly, in fact the research person was not able to get the one that involves attaching little electrodes to her feet and hands and I think measures body fat. I should probably know that for sure. Bad mommy. And then after much crying, wriggling, screaming and general unhappiness, the researcher tells me that Sophie has to wear this little monitor on her ankle for the next four days and that I have to track her activity, on an hourly basis, for that entire time.

I'm about four seconds from telling her what I think of her monitor, when she pulls out the gift card and all is forgiven. Damn you, Target, why can't I resist you?

So we left with my daughter tagged like a housebound felon. The researcher said that most kids forget about it as soon as you get them dressed and this was mostly true. Although she often played with it while I struggled to change her diaper, for the most part she ignored it. And as it turns out, filling out the forms to track her activity wasn't as much of a pain as I thought it would be either.

I took the monitor off today and sent it back to the research group. It wasn't so bad, but glad to be done with it. My girl has been paroled.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pure Snow!

We enjoyed watching the snow fall yesterday. Other than our trip last week, Sophie hasn't really seen much of the white stuff. It's pretty unusual for Baltimore, really, that we see so little. I shouldn't complain, but as a confirmed winter lover, (probably because I was born in February, did I mention my birthday is just around the corner?) I love snow. I love the way it makes everything look so clean and beautiful. With the exception of those years when we have gotten a lot, like the blizzard of '96 when I got snowed into my apartment for three days. By myself. I ran out of cigarettes and Coke on day two. It got ugly after that. These days, though, I am far more prepared. No more smoking (I know quitting was the best thing I ever did, but I do miss it. Sigh.) and my motherly instincts (such as they are) would never let our supplies or other necessities get so low that a couple of days will cripple us. So when a front comes through, we can just enjoy it.

And we did.

Because no snow post would be complete without it, this is for Lula, who has been feeling poorly the last few days:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I have a confession. I hope you can all stay with me through this.

I am something of a music snob. I pride myself on liking music that is a little bit out of the mainstream. It doesn't have to be "popular" indie music, it just has to be not Top 40. Although I have always liked somewhat unusual music, I wasn't always this way. For many years, I could sing every word for all of the top songs. Somewhere along the way, though, I veered off and now I rarely listen to the radio, preferring instead my CDs or talk radio. These days, I discover most of my music through Rhapsody, where I can pick and choose my playlist based on suggestions they make from artists I have listened to previously.

Like the rest of the celebrity-obsessed world, I have followed the Britney Spears soap opera with amused (and slightly disgusted) curiosity. I thought her breakout hit was catchy, but her music since then has been unfocused. She has struggled to find her adult voice as the drama in her personal life has taken center stage.

So it was with more than a little skepticism that I listened to the title single off her newest album, Circus. The fact is that I haven't voluntarily listened to a song of hers since Oops. And even then, it was more of a I-didn't-change-the-radio-when-it-came-on kind of thing than that I loved it and had the CD, playing it over and over. But one night, as I was putting together a playlist for a trip around the blogosphere, I saw Circus and I clicked on it.

As I listened to it, I found myself tapping my toe and nodding my head to the beat. Against my will, I was (gasp!) actually liking it. Since then, it has worked its way into my regular rotation and I have listened to it many, MANY times.

So there it is. I'm revealing my dirty little secret. I'm almost 35 years old and I listen to Britney Spears. Can you still love me?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Breakfast Blues

Friday morning, while Neil was at work, Sophie, my parents and I went to the local diner for some breakfast. Sophie was in great spirits, smiling, laughing and being extremely playful. Patrons at other tables, as well as all passing servers, smiled and waved at her while she hammed it up. Loving the attention she was getting almost as much as she was, I smiled and chatted up my parents while we enjoyed our breakfast.

In the last few weeks, Sophie has begun to be more adventurous when it comes to table food. She will try most foods, although she still has some texture issues. However, she doesn't seem to quite understand the need to thoroughly chew her food and often gags. Further complicating this, she grabs food and puts it as far back in her mouth as possible. I suspect with her less than perfect hand-eye coordination, she is just trying to ensure delivery, but it makes me nervous when she attempts to swallow her food whole, like an anaconda.

So as we sat at breakfast, it seemed an opportune time to introduce her to some new food. My meal included bacon and I thought we would give it a go. Neil considers it the perfect food and would be happiest if all meals included it. So how could we go wrong? She seemed to enjoy it, gobbling up several pieces as fast as I could tear them up. Heady in our success, I followed it up with a couple of small bites of waffle and eggs.

As I was telling my parents what a great kid she was, generally cheerful, good sleeper, etc, she began to gag. And not the is-she-or-isn't-she kind of gag, but the lookout-it's-coming kind. I registered someone at a neighboring table say "Uh Oh!" and then out it came. And came. And came. Despite my attempts to catch it, it went all down her front, the high chair, the floor, my arm. I was absolutely mortified.

I swear karma has it out for me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

We're Out

You've reached the Land of Bean. Sophie and I are not available today. We're out playing with Namo and Grandpa*. Please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks and have a great weekend!


*My parents, visiting from ah ah Kansas.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


When Sophie was born, she had very little hair. What was there, though, was dark and short. She also had a fair amount on her body and head, including quite furry ears. I called her my little werebaby. I worried during full moons that she would start howling and run off in search of prey. Luckily, that never happened and the hair on her body slowly disappeared.

Over the months, her hair has gotten lighter. Now it is a dark blond. Not quite the towhead that I was as a child, but still much lighter than it was at birth. I have cute little clips to put in her hair, but so far they won't stay in place. I see other babies of approximately the same age, some of whom have a significant amount of hair and I dream of the day when I can braid my darling daughter's hair.

That day is not here yet, though. For now, the front of her hair seems to be growing at a snail's pace while the back continues to get longer. I want to cut it off, but I feel bad taking what little there is. So despite my increasing urge to go for the scissors, I think I'll let it go for just a little while longer. She's just so cute with her sweet baby mullet.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bump in the Night

At night, after the house is asleep, I lay in bed. Legs and arms tucked close to my body. One toe touching my husband, an anchor. I dare not sleep with even one appendage hanging over the edge of the bed. The monsters take refuge under the bed. They also lurk in the closet, behind the dresser and in shadowy spots. I watch the lights play on the ceiling and try not to notice the dark corners. Some nights, I can turn my head and doze off, happy thoughts keeping the creatures at bay. Others, sleep eludes me and I watch. And I listen.

When I think I can take it no more, I will lean over and switch on the video monitor for a peek at Sophie. Her sleeping form is a calming force. The unlikely positions she favors a source of entertainment. I marvel that she can sleep with her arms or legs dangling between the slats of her crib. She is singularly unconcerned with what might be lurking outside.

Her absolute certainty of her security leaves no room for these nighttime visitors. She doesn't have any monsters yet.

I hope she never does.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow Bunnies

We've returned from the frozen reaches of western Maryland. We had some laughs. There were also some tears - it was a VERY disappointing loss by the Ravens. We got Sophie out in the snow. She didn't love it. We did some skiing and a lot more laying around in front of the fire. There was LOTS of eating. And some drinking. I proved my dominance on the pool table. :)

This was our first trip with Sophie that didn't involve visiting family. We discovered that traveling with a baby is more complicated than previously expected. Here are just a few of the discoveries we made on this trip:

- Toddlers don't understand that vacation means they can sleep in. In fact, they also don't understand that it means other people might want to sleep in, too. Sophie got up earlier and earlier each morning. By our last morning, she was up at 5:30. Which leads me to my next revelation...

- Toddlers have no volume control, which is especially noticeable at 5:30 am when you're trying not to wake an entire house full of people who are sleeping off football depression and ski soreness.

- Murphy's Law dictates that despite the fact that my daughter has never had a diaper rash (I know, right?), she would get a really, really nasty one while we are away. With no diaper creme. Meanwhile, due to a bit of overzealous ordering, we have 14 tubes at home.

- Men's coats are NOT flattering to the female figure. Since one of us had to stay back with the bean, Neil and I shared a lift ticket. My coat wouldn't fit him, so we put the lift ticket on his and alternated wearing it. I can't count the number of times people called me sir. Definitely good on the ego. Not.

- A 3.5 hour road trip that would probably not be a problem becomes a problem when a cranky baby only sleeps one hour and a 35 car pile up (horrible, horrible thing) causes our trip to take an hour longer.

- Oh yeah, and we used approximately 1/10 of the stuff I packed.

Ultimately, it was a good time. The house was amazing, we could literally ski in/ski out. The mountain, while small by most standards, had good snow and the weather was tolerable. Maybe next year we can get the bean on some skis!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Top Ten: Why Cats are like Toddlers

The other day, Sophie climbed up onto the table next to the recliner. Instinctively, I turned to the squirt bottle that I use to "discipline" the cats. A term I use loosely because after 8 years in the case of Potter and 3 for Gomez both are still doing all of the behaviors that will get them squirted. I had my hand on the trigger before I realized what I was doing. It was then that it dawned on me just how similar life with our two cats is to living with a toddler. But the similarities continue:
  1. I have to clean up both of their poo*.
  2. The both hear me say "NO!" and keep right on what they're doing.
  3. They are both incredibly finicky about their food and have been known to dump the entire contents of their dishes out in protest.
  4. Toddlers like to drag things/cats like to chase things.
  5. Both the cats and the toddler feel the need to put themselves in between me and whatever I'm working on, looking at or reading.
  6. They both have an uncomfortable (for me) interest in the toilet, and not for its intended use.
  7. They both pretend not to hear me about 95% of the time.
  8. Both knock things down for no reason other than to see it fall.
  9. They both manage to take up 75% of the bed despite the fact that neither has a body mass that exceeds 15% of either my husband or myself.
  10. They both love boxes.

Have a great weekend!

*Or shadoobie, my new favorite word, as the wonderful Lula would say.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I'm in the quiet before the storm right now. As of about midday, I will go into high gear. The preparations required for two people and one toddler to go away for four days are far more elaborate than anything I've had to deal with before and that includes a two week trip to Europe for which I included every pair of shoes I own, four coats, six hats and 42 changes of clothes because they're so chic over there and I just didn't know how to dress.

Despite having traveled with her when she was a wee babe, this is uncharted territory. I can predict, roughly, how many changes of clothes to bring, likewise with diapers and such, although I am quite certain I will err on the side of WAY too much. Plus, we're not going to a remote wilderness, so if I forget something it's not the end of the world. But I feel the need to bring every kind of food she might possibly want to eat, because she is so picky and there's no telling from one day to the next what will please her delicate palate. She ate a whole string cheese today. I tore it into bite-sized pieces, but she picked it up, CHEWED and swallowed it all by her big girl self! So I will be bringing a cart of string cheese, which she will, of course, not eat. Because that's how it goes.

What do I bring for toys? At home, she has a plethora* of entertainment options, ranging from her riding horse to various noisemakers to books and so on. But she is nearly as unpredictable in what she will want to play with as she is in what she will want to eat. Do I just bring as much as I can fit in and hope for the best? I'm working on the theory that there will be 5 other adults and 2 other children (although one only 3 months old) to keep her occupied. Not to mention a whole house full of things to discover, so she won't need the toys as much as she might otherwise. Plus there will be snow to play in!

I am making a preliminary trip to the grocery store this afternoon. I will be going back tomorrow for all of the things I forgot. Which will probably be a lot. Plus, I have peanut butter balls to make, laundry to do and a house to tidy up so it's not a complete disaster when we leave. What am I doing sitting around, I need to get moving.

*"Would you say I have a plethora of presents?"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

From The Chair

"So I was telling my mom, I like being read to well enough, but it's the fuzzy chicky that really gets me."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blowing into the Windy City

I think I have mentioned before that I am hoping to go to Blogher* '09 in Chicago. I wanted to go last year, but there was just no way I could have gone to San Francisco. I hadn't been blogging long, I had an 8 month old that couldn't be left and couldn't be taken, and we were still adjusting to life with one income. All this added up to conference envy. This year is different. I'm something of a veteran at the old blogging business, with a year under my belt. I've come to know so many great people through their blogs, and I just can't miss this opportunity to meet them for real. It's not a sure thing yet and is dependent on a couple of factors, finances being chief among them, but I'm working to make it happen. So, if you're looking for a birthday gift for me (February 24, I'll be 30+5), Blogher tickets would be just the thing. And if you're thinking, "hey, someone probably already got her those tickets." Well, then, airline tickets are also perfect! Just kidding.**

I got onto Blogher and looked into registration, which was not on there yet the last time I looked. I was mostly just curious to see how much tickets for the event would be. I was not surprised to see that a full ticket for all events was $199. You can also buy one day tickets ($99) and tickets for only the cocktail parties ($50). What I wanted to spread the news about was how much you can save by buying tickets before February 28th. It's a pretty significant amount. After 2/28, the price goes up to $298 for a full ticket and $149 for the single day passes. I hope to get tickets before that date because who couldn't stand to save some moolah?

So my question is: who else is planning/hoping/dreaming about going? And for my gals that have been before, is the full pass worth it or is it better to buy a one day pass and the cocktail party pass?

* Blogher is an organization whose goal is to "create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment."

** Not kidding.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Comfort Food

I am always looking for ways to make my life easier. One of them is in the preparation of meals for my beloved and myself. Not much is easier than the crockpot. I can put the food in at some point during the day, while Sophie is napping or otherwise occupied, and then not have to worry about it again. At dinnertime, I just scoop it out and dinner is served. One of my favorite dishes is Chili. Back home, my stepdad used to make Chili on football Sundays, so it's a comfort food for me. When I was pregnant, I craved it something fierce. I ate a bowl of turkey chili at least once a week. Each and every time, it was followed up by atomic indigestion, but it was soo worth it. With all the cold weather, it's a perfect time to enjoy this tasty dish. Here's my recipe for a satisfying bowl of Chili. It's a might spicy, but won't send anyone careening for a glass of milk. (That's what you're supposed to drink to salve a spiced up tongue.)

Cara's Chili Con Carne
  • 2 lbs Ground Beef or Turkey (I also like to do one pound of each, you get the flavor of the beef without all the fat.) Brown thoroughly and drain excess grease.
  • 1 Can Rotel Tomatoes and Green Chiles (undrained)
  • 1 Can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes (undrained)
  • 2 Cans Red Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced (I use the storebought jar of pre-minced garlic, big time saver.)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/8 Cup Chili Powder or 1 Packet Chili Seasoning*
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (I generally add about a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper.)
  • Red Peppers, Green Peppers or Onions (Optional, I like my chili without any of these, but lots of people love them, so add as you see fit.)
Put everything in a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir occasionally.

I generally serve a salad as a starter, so we get some greens, but that's it and you've got yourself a meal. I like to throw on a little grated cheese and some dill pickle slices. The pickles add just a bit of zing. I love them, but they're not for everyone. If you like pickles, give it a try. Finally, tons of crackers, some cornbread and the Doctor.

That, my friends, is happiness. What is comfort food for you?

*Purists will say that no self respecting chili chef would use a packet of seasoning. I have made it both ways and don't really have a preference. If I remember to buy a packet when I'm at the store, I'll use that. Otherwise, I'll just use chili powder.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I Said I Don't Want Peas!

Clearly she gets her attitude from her father's side, who are a surly and irascible bunch prone to fits of pique and angry outbursts.*

*Actually, I hit the in-law jackpot, they are without a doubt some of the nicest, most easygoing folks I know. I'm pretty sure I know where she gets her attitude. And it's not them.

Obviously, it's the cats.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Top Ten - Thoughts of a Ski Bum

After a couple week hiatus, I bring you the triumphant return of the Friday Top Ten! Growing up, we went skiing pretty much every year. Our usual destination was Colorado, since we lived in Kansas and it's just next door. Although it is still a 10 hour drive, which is really long when you're stuffed in the back seat of an extended cab pickup with your younger sister. Which we took because it was four wheel drive and my mom's corvette wouldn't fit all of us. Obviously. Listen to me complain about taking nice vacations. Also, our house was too big and I had too many friends. Boo hoo.

Anyhoo, we often met my mom's brother and his daughter who is four years younger than me. We three girls would generally head out on our own while the adults did their own thing. On one occasion, my cousin managed to get her jacket caught on the lift as she got off and was lifted into the air as it circled the top of the lift. She made it about 15 feet, mostly upright but screaming the whole way, before they stopped the lift, reversed and got her down. My sister and I stood there watching, mouths most likely hanging to our knees, until they got her back on terra firma and then we laughed, hysterically. To this day, it is one of the funniest things I have ever witnessed and I kick myself for not having had a camera with me. Unfortunately for the subject of today's Top Ten, plenty of people did have cameras.

My parents told me about this story shortly after they returned last week from their own luxury ski vacation at Vail, Colorado (not bitter and jealous, at all) and then my friend Dennis was kind enough to send me a link to the story. (You absolutely, positively have to click on the link.) It's a fellow who ran into a mighty unfortunate snag while loading an express ski lift at Vail. Here are just a few of the thoughts that probably ran through his mind as he dangled (in many senses) for FIFTEEN minutes waiting to be rescued.
  1. I think this is what you call BAD NAKED.
  2. I paid $100 a day for this lift ticket and it takes them 15 minutes to hit the reverse button?
  3. Don't judge, it's cold!
  4. You know when you say that felt like the longest 15 minutes of your life, well that was the longest 15 minutes of my life.
  5. Wish I hadn't just trimmed, I could use a little coverage right about now.
  6. My kid sat looking at the underside of my junk for 15 minutes. Yeah, that's not gonna affect him.
  7. Maybe I should have skipped that last Irish Coffee.
  8. Mark off one more place I'm never visiting again.
  9. This brings new meaning to "exposure."
  10. Man, my cheeks are RED.

This is especially apropos as we'll be off skiing in the wilds of western Maryland next weekend. Keep your fingers crossed that no one in our party runs into this sort of trouble!

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm a Winner!

It took me right up until my deadline, but I got my 101 list done. So that's one thing I can cross off. But I did another one while I was working on it. We're going skiing next weekend and my darling didn't have any shoes that were appropriate for snow play. Somehow I think the mary janes she wears most days wouldn't be appropriate. I have looked around and boots in her tiny size are few and far between. Or ridiculously expensive and I just can't justify spending $50 or $75 on a pair of shoes she will wear twice. So this seemed like an opportune time to give the old Ebay a try. My friend Heather buys stuff from there all the time and swears by it.

I quickly realized why I've been avoiding this whole Ebay thing: it's addictive. When I was bidding on several pairs of boots, I could feel the adrenaline as we counted down to the end. I lost the first pair and I'm not going to say I was devastated, but they were REALLY cute. Sigh. On to the second pair. The auction ended at 11pm PST, which is 2am for this east coaster, so I wasn't going to see the ending. I put in my high bid, a whopping $7, and went to bed with my fingers crossed.

When I woke up, I raced downstairs and flipped on the computer, fully expecting to have been outbid. Imagine my excitement then, when I saw the email telling me that I had won. Weee! This was Monday. I didn't do overnight shipping, so I was a little nervous that I wouldn't get them in time for our trip, but the mailman delivered them today! When I opened up the box and saw them, I was dee-lighted. They were just what I wanted and they will be perfect for her. They're a bit big, but that's room to grow.

Now, I just need to stay off of Ebay unless I NEED something, because I can see myself getting a little too in to this.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


One of the first things I bought for Sophie was a little lovey blanket at Target. It was shortly after we found out we were having a girl and as I browsed through the baby section, I saw this off-white furry/silky little blanket with a teddy bear head. It was so soft and cuddly that I just couldn't resist. It was during that early time in pregnancy when you're not huge yet, so you don't feel terrible, but the reality of having a baby is beginning to settle in. I suppose that would be the beginning of the nesting instinct.

What I didn't realize is that the baby would not be interested in it for a long, long time. I'm pretty sure I thought that she would come out ready to clutch a blankie. Some of our friend's kids started with loveys as early as 5 or 6 months, but Sophie didn't really get into the act until a couple of weeks ago. She has a couple and she seems happy to interchange them, but regardless which one, she can generally be found dangling or wearing one of them.

I don't know if I had a lovey when I was a kid, but if I did, it went the way of most of my other baby stuff. I hope to save at least one of these for her, give her the kind of connection to her youngest years that you just can't manufacture.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Less in the City

I saw Sex and the City The Movie in the theater when it first came out. Like about a million other women, we had a girl's night out to go see it. We went to a new theater downtown that serves alcohol, so it was festive (read: there was much talking to the screen, many trips to the bathroom and more than a few convivial guffaws.) I loved the series. I was so sad when it ended four years ago and have watched the episodes over and over since then. It is an understatement to say that I was excited about the movie. Revisiting my old friends: Carrie, Big, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha. Not surprisingly, my expectations were high.

I am sorry to say that I was disappointed. If this had been an episode on HBO, I probably would have been satisfied. I had built it up so much, though, that it would have had to be pretty amazing to meet my expectations. Big standing Carrie up was so wrong. And not just because it's a crappy thing, but because I felt that Big was way too confident to have a crisis of faith like that. On top of that, the movie definitely could have been cut down a half hour or so. The closet scene trying on all the old outfits: out. The wedding dress photo shoot: much shorter. I mean, I love fashion, but come on. The Mexico sequence: WAY too long. Charlotte pooping her pants. Puh-lease.

Despite my misgivings, I decided to watch it again. Give it another chance. So I moved it to the top of the Netflix queue and excitedly awaited its arrival. Last night, I sat down to watch it while the babe slept and the husband World of Warcrafted in the other room, safely avoiding any chance of having his "man card" revoked for setting eyes on the well dressed quartet. I still didn't love it. The things I felt wonky about in the theater weren't minimized on the small screen. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they made a movie and I hope they make another one, because I would like to know where the characters go from here, but I think I'll wait for video next time.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Time In A Bottle

I laid on my bed today, watching my daughter as she danced around my bedroom. I could hear the wind as it buffeted our house. There was a strip of light shining in through the window onto the floor. She babbled as she moved, picking up a belt and draping it over her shoulders.

I will remember this moment. I will remember the way my daughter climbed up the end of our bed, clinging to the wrought iron to get face to face with me. Her huge smile when she pulled herself up.

She won't remember this at all. This will be just a tiny building block in the foundation of her personality. Hopefully, these times spent laughing and talking and playing with her will help her become the confident, intelligent, capable person I dream that she will be.

I have so many dreams for where she will go. What she will do. After just 15 months, I already feel like time is slipping through my fingers. I am beginning to forget the little things about her babyhood. I wish I could capture the way I feel when I look down at her serene face as she nurses, her hand gently kneading my breast. Or the weight of her tiny body when I lower her into her crib.

At the same time I push her to her next milestone, I wish I could freeze her for a while. Stop the sands from falling and enjoy this little being, just as she is.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Year in Books - 2009

The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown: (genre: Fiction/Mystery) Another enjoyable but completely formulaic Robert Langdon novel. Change ocations and the names of the supporting cast and you have essentially the same story told in Angels and Demons and The Davinci Code. The identity of the villain was so obvious, I was a little disappointed. In fact, that character was poorly developed. Despite this, Brown keeps things moving at a nice pace and inserts enough trivia to keep things interesting. Grade: B-

The Stepsister Scheme - Jim C. Hines: (genre: Fiction/Fantasy) What happens after "happily ever after?" Well, Prince Charming gets kidnapped by the evil stepsisters and Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty have to team their bad-ass selves up to save him. Fun twist on the old fairy tales. Grade: B+

Crashed - Robin Wasserman: (genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Science Fiction) The follow-up novel to Skinned. This book follows Lia as she becomes more adjusted to her new "life" and the challenges she faces as opponents of the technology that brought her back from the dead fight to take away the rights of the "skinners". Grade: B+

Fire - Kristin Cashore: (genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Fantasy) Corresponding to her Graceling novel, this book takes place in a parallel land where people and animals are endowed with special traits, but in this world they are called monsters. I actually enjoyed this book more than Graceling. Grade: A-

The Maze Runner - James Dashner: (genre: Fiction, Young Adult) When he awakens at the bottom of a black hole with faces looking down at him from the only opening at the top, Thomas has no idea what has happened or what to expect. What he finds is that he has been placed among a group of boys living in a compound at the center of a maze and all he wants is out. Grade: A

Good Omens - Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett: (genre: Fiction/Supernatural) The forces of good and evil eagerly await armageddon. But it all rides on the will of the 11 year old son of darkness. Funny and insightful, this is not my favorite Neil Gaiman, but a good read nonetheless. Grade: B

Rollback - Robert Sawyer: (genre: Fiction/Sci-Fi) 38 years ago, Sarah Halifax translated the first message from beings from another planet. But when a response comes in the twilight of her life, a rich sponsor offers to give her a "roll back," a process that turns the body's age back. She insists that she will only do it if her husband, Don, can do it, too. Unfortunately, the process fails on Sarah but is successful on her husband. Suddenly, 80-year-old Sarah is married to a 25 year old. Now it is a race against time to solve the riddle of the new message. Grade: B+

How I Became a Famous Novelist - Steve Hely: (genre: Fiction) After being fired from his shady job writing college entrance essays, Pete decides he'll find fame and fortune by writing a novel. A charming faux-memoire that kept me thoroughly entertained and questioning my own thoughts on popular fiction. Grade: A

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon: (genre: Fiction, Supernatural, Mystery) Daniel finds a book written by an unknown author when he is 10. As he grows older, a search for the author leads him on the chase of a decades old love story. Grade: A

Stardust - Neil Gaiman: (genre: Fiction, Supernatural) Tale of a young man who finds his destiny beyond the "wall" in the land of fairy. I just love Gaiman's writing. Grade: A

This Is Where I Leave You - Jonathon Tropper: (genre: Fiction) Shortly after separating from his wife, Judd Foxman's father dies. As a last wish, his father requested that his wife and four children sit shiva, a Jewish tradition where the family stays in the family home to mourn the dead for seven days. Not an easy task given just how dysfunctional the Foxman family is. At times painfully graphic, this novel is intelligent and heartbreaking and real. Grade: A+

I'm Down - Mishna Wolf: (genre: Non-fiction/Memoire) The story of young white girl and her struggles to find a place within her mixed family living in a predominantly black neighborhood. I couldn't love this book. I found myself frustrated and angry, my opinions tainted by my own experiences. There is humor, but not enough. Grade: B-

Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris: (genre: Fiction, Supernatural) Sookie Stackhouse is just your regular beautiful, warm young woman working as a waitress in a bar in her small northern Louisiana hometown, except for one thing: she can read minds. Her world is turned upside down when she meets a vampire, Bill, and strange and horrific things begin to happen around her. I've been watching the TV show, True Blood, and quite enjoying it, so I thought I would give the books a try. I struggled to finish this book. One as short as this would normally only take me a couple of days, but I just couldn't get into it. The rest of the series is sitting on my bedside table, so at some point I will plod through the rest, but I'm not as enthusiastic as I would have liked. Grade: B-

The Giver - Lois Lowry: (genre: Young Adult/Fiction, Science Fiction) Set in a not too distant future where all aspects of life are controlled, each child is assigned his occupation at the age of 12. When Jonas is given the role of Receiver, the person who holds all the memories, good and bad, he learns that the idyllic world they live in is not all it seems. I made a mistake and looked at the back of the book before I finished it, where I read the "Questions for Discussion" and saw an analysis of the ending that completely shaded how I interpreted it. My advice: Don't do this! Grade: A

City of Glass - Cassandra Clare: (genre: Young Adult/Fiction, Supernatural) The third, and final, in the trilogy begun with City of Bones. Clary learns the whole truth about her family and heritage as the shadowhunters gear up for war with a demon army led by her father. Excellent conclusion to an engrossing series. Grade: A

Spin - Robert Rave: (genre: Fiction) I wanted to like this. Recommended by one of my favorite authors, Jen Lancaster, I had high hopes. I'm sorry to say I struggled to get through it. I contemplated quitting after about 100 pages, but decided to trudge through. It is The Devil Wears Prada without all of the realistic and interesting characters and situations. Grade: D

Blue Moon - Alyson Noel: (genre: Young Adult/Fiction, Supernatural) The second in The Immortals series begun with Evermore. As Ever grows her gifts as an immortal, Damen loses his. A race to find out why, including what the new guy, Roman, has to do with it, and fix the problem, ensues. Grade: B

City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare: (genre: Young Adult/Fiction, Supernatural) The second in the trilogy begun with City of Bones. In this one, Clary continues her quest to save the world from her father, who has plans of usurping the current Shadowhunter leadership and taking the reins himself. Can't wait to read the last book! Grade: A

City of Bones - Cassandra Clare: (genre: Young Adult/Fiction, Supernatural) The first in a trilogy about a young girl, Clary, who finds herself thrust into a world of demons, vampires, werewolves and and the Shadowhunters who police them all. Nice twists. Grade: A

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins: (genre: Young Adult/Fiction) The sequel to The Hunger Games. I loved that book and this one did not let me down. It kept me riveted from the get go, wondering what was going to happen and surprised at plot twists. Now, the torture of waiting for the third (and I hope final) book to come out. Check out my full review at Blissfully Domestic. Grade: A+

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict - Laurie Viera Rigler: (genre: Fiction) The other side of the body switch related in Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. This time it's an 19th century woman in the 21st century and all of the confusions and misunderstandings that ensue. I enjoyed this book just a teensy bit more than Confessions, but was left with a few questions at the end. Grade: B+

The Motion of the Ocean - Janna Cawrse Esarey: (genre: Non-fiction/Memoire) A couple makes a trans-pacific journey on their sailboat discovering more than just how to navigate an ocean. An engrossing and beautifully written book. Check out my full review at Blissfully Domestic. Grade: A+

Evermore - Alyson Noel: (genre: YA/fiction, Supernatural) Relocated to sunny California to live with her aunt following a car accident that kills her entire family and leaves her with psychic powers, Ever struggles to overcome her guilt while trying to fit in her new school. Then she meets Damen. Handsome and clever, Damen is full of one surprise after another. Grade: B+

Skinned - Robin Wasserman: (genre: YA/fiction) Set in the future, this is the gripping story of a young woman who's body is destroyed in a car accident so her brain is virtually recreated and placed in a new mechanical body. She and those around her struggle to adjust to her new condition, one that is violently opposed by "faithers" and ostracized by just about everyone else. I ate this book up, but the ending was a little dry. Not enough resolution for me. Still, a great read. Grade: A-

It's Not Me, It's You - Stefanie Wilder-Taylor: (genre: Non-fiction/Memoire) A comedic but often dark look at one woman's neuroses-filled life. I have one weird gripe about this book: she often made internet references when talking about her early life. Knowing that her early life was in the 70s and 80s, obviously there was no internet. Hell, not many people even had computers then. In no way ruined it for me, but these anachronisms popped up here and there and it was like the grain of sand in your shoe that drives you crazy. Grade: B

The Outlaws of Sherwood - Robin McKinley: (genre: Fiction) Yet another retelling, this time it's the Robin Hood legend. In this version, he's a reluctant leader who isn't actually all that good at archery but it has the usual cast of characters and takes the reader on a fun ride. Grade: B+

Amanda Bright@Home - Danielle Crittendon: (genre: Fiction) Amanda Bright struggles with her role as a stay at home mom and wife of a high profile (but low salaried) Department of Justice lawyer. Readable, but the characters were flat stereotypes and the story was predictable. Grade: C

Rose Daughter - Robin McKinley: (genre: Fiction) Another retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fable. By the same author. This one was a little darker and veered a little further from the original story. Overall, I liked it, but I don't recommend reading them both so close together. Grade: B

Rattled - Debra Galant: (genre: Fiction) Heather Peters is a woman who gets what she wants. And when that something is a big, beautiful house in rural-ish New Jersey, she goes after it. Unfortunately, it is also the home for a Timber Rattlesnake and chaos ensues when she has a run-in with the slithery current occupant. Quick, fun read. Grade: B

At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream - Wade Rouse: (genre: Memoire, comedy) Fabulous gay man drags his equally fabulous boyfriend to a remote Michigan cabin to find his inner Thoreau. Funny, touching. I can't help it, I just love gay men. Is that weird? Grade: A

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict - Laurie Viera Rigler: (genre: Fiction, historical, romance) Cute book about a modern woman who is magically transported to Jane Austen's England. She quickly discovers that they glossed over a lot in the miniseries of Pride and Prejudice. Like how much everyone smells. Overall an enjoyable read, but the ending was a bit of a letdown. Grade: B+

The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin: (genre: Mystery) A fun murder whodunit that will keep you guessing right up until the end. Written in the late sixties, it's a tad dated, but still a solid read. Grade: B+

Beauty - Robin McKinley: (genre: Fiction) An inventive retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. Fun read! Grade: A-

Zoe's Tale - John Scalzi: (genre: Sci-fi, YA) Clever tale about a girl who is part of founding a colony on a new world. There is new love, war, political intrigue and a few aliens. Grade: B+

The Guernsay Literary and Potato Peel Society - Mary Ann Shafer: (genre: Historical Fiction) A truly wonderful book. Told through letters, this book is engaging and emotional. I was reading it on the treadmill when I got to a certain part (when you read it, you'll know where I'm talking about) and I started crying. At the gym. It's that good. Grade: A+

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley: (genre: Young Adult/Mystery) 11 year old Flavia has a passion for science and solving murders. A well told tale that is a quick, interesting read. Grade: B+

The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton: (genre: Fiction, historical, mystery) Following her grandmother's death, Cassandra visits the cottage she inherited from her. Once there, she finds more questions than answers. Well written, meaty storyline with a nice twist at the end. Just a teensy bit predictable, though. Grade: B+

The Rest of 2009, in alphabetical order by author:
Galilee - Clive Barker: (genre: Supernatural) This is the story of two powerful families with a long history and more than their share of animosity. I've read other Clive Barker books including one of my favorites, The Thief of Always, and I continue to marvel at his ability to paint pictures with words. He can depict great beauty and horrible ugliness. Grade: A-

The Brief History of the Dead - Kevin Brockmeier: (genre: Supernatural) Turns out, when you die, you go to a city, where you stay until everyone that ever knew you on Earth is dead, too. Then you move on. Following a virus that kills everyone on the planet except for Antarctic explorer Laura Byrd, the city is populated only by people from her life. Great premise, well written, certainly thought provoking, but the book wandered off onto unnecessary tangents and the ending left me wanting more. And not in a good way. Grade: B-

Big Boned - Meg Cabot: (genre: Chic Lit) Typical chic lit. While it was mildy entertaining and certainly a fast read, it was chock full of stereotypical chic lit chic behavior. Nothing really to recommend here. Grade: C-

Graceling - Kristin Cashore: (genre: Young Adult) Story of a young woman with a special talent, a grace. In her world, graces are something to fear. Luckily, she finds a friend and companion who is also graced with a special talent. Together they search out the person who kidnapped his grandfather. Very enjoyable. Grade: B

Kiss -Ted Dekker: (genre: Mystery) Following a tragic accident that left her brother crippled, Shauna McAllister awakes from a six week coma without any memory of the past six months of her life. Participating in an experimental drug trial to help recover her memories, Shawna discoveres she has some unusual side affects. As she recovers her memories, she finds all is not what it seems. Grade: B+

The Good Thief's Guide To Paris - Chris Ewan: (genry: Murder/Mystery) Fun book. I love Paris, so anything that relates to it is going to interest me. The story was well thought out and I didn't see the ending coming. Grade: B+

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman: (genre: Supernatural) After he saves a young woman, Richard Mayhew finds himself thrust into a fantastic world under London. In a mad chase to find the murderers of the young woman's family, he finds himself as well. I loved this book! LOVED. IT. Grade: A+

The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman: (genre: Young Adult) The tale of a young boy who after being orphaned as a toddler is raised by the ghostly inhabitants of a local graveyard. A beautiful and well written tale. Grade: A

Coraline - Neil Gaiman: (genre: Young Adult) Coraline, bored with her inattentive parents, discovers a door in her new home to an alternate universe inhabited by her "other " mother and father. She quickly realizes, though, that all is not what it seems. Not my favorite Neil Gaiman, but a quick, fun read. Grade: B+

Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen: (genre: Fiction) Great book. When I checked it out, the librarian said I would cry. Well, I didn't, but I can see why he (I know, right?!) would say that. It was touching and vivid, a real taste of life in the circus in the 30s. Not to mention the sadness and frustration of an old man living in a retirement home. Grade: A+

The Accidental Time Machine - Joe Haldeman: (genre: Sci-Fi) An interesting story about a man who stumbles upon a time machine and his adventures as he moves through time. This is the third book I've read by Haldeman and they have all been very readable but kind of predictable. Grade: B+

Camouflage - Joe Haldeman: (genre: Sci-Fi) Two aliens have been living among us for thousands of years, both moving inexorably towards an artifact that was recently discovered on the bottom of the ocean. Grade: B

Book of a Thousand Days - Shannon Hale: (genre: Young Adult) A spin on the Rapunzel fairy tale, this is the story of Dashti, a maid hired to serve her mistress during a 7 year exile in a tower. I really enjoyed this book. It was readable and relatable, even though it was set in what must have been medieval Mongolia. Grade: A

The Gone Away World - Nick Harkaway: (genre: fiction) I stalled out at 75 pages. Just can't get into it. I'm returning it to the library. When I finish the current round of books I'll revisit it.

Tomorrow's World - Davie Henderson: (genre: Sci-fi) In a post-environmental apocalypse future, people live in "communities," their entire world maintained by the Ecosystem. The story was reasonably interesting, a suicide that might be a murder as investigated by two cops, one a "name" or naturally born person and the other a "number" or genetically enhanced, test tube baby, but the author spent so much time selling his global warming morality lesson that frankly, I had a hard time finishing it. Grade: C-

Princess Ben - Catherine Murdock: (genre: Young Adult) Lovely book about a young women who finds her better self through tragedy. Grade: B+

Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer: (genre: Young Adult) The diary of a young girl's experience after the moon is struck by a meteor causing massive environmental backlash on Earth. I loved this book! Grade: A

The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan: (genry: Young Adult) Captivating story of a young woman living in a world that has been taken over by a virus that revives the dead to become human flesh hungry zombies. The zombies are really the backdrop, though. The story is of a young woman finding love, hope and faith. Great book! Grade: A

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield: (genre: Suspense/Mystery) A young woman is tasked with assisting in the biography of one of the world's most popular authors, a woman who's personal mystery is far greater than any she has written. Great twist at the end! Grade: A-

I Capture The Castle - Dodie Smith: (genre: Fiction) A wonderful coming of age tale of a young woman living in pre-WWII England as she deals with first love, family and heartbreak. Grade: A

2012, The War For Souls - Whitley Strieber: (genre: Sci-Fi) A race of reptilian beings from another dimension are bent on taking over Earth, not just for habitation, but for the high quality souls it possesses. While I was intrigued by the concept, I was frustrated by this novel. It veers too far into moral and religious themes for my taste. There were too many areas where my capacity to suspend disbelief in the name of fiction was stretched too far. Grade: C-

Rainbow's End - Vernor Vinge: (genre: Sci-Fi) Set in the mid 21st century, this book follows a man who has been brought back from Alzheimers through the magic of future medical technology. One big complaint of mine about novels set in the future is they so often spend a lot of time referring back to the 20th century. How often do people do that now of the 19th or even the 20th for that matter? Story was alright, although the conclusion was hohum. Grade: C

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - David Wroblewski: (genre: Fiction) A modern day Hamlet set in a rural Wisconsin dog kennel. Beautifully written, this tragic story is absolutely engrossing. Grade: A

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak: Told from the perspective of Death, this is the wonderful, sad story of a young girl in WWII Germany. I loved this book. I cried, happy and sad tears. Grade: A+

101 Goals in 1001 Days

Time Left:

So here's my great big list of things that I want to accomplish in the next 1001 days. Those in bold have been completed.

Personal Growth:
  1. Take a class in photography.
  2. Learn how to use my sewing machine.
  3. Sew an outfit for Sophie.
  4. Learn how to hem jeans.
  5. Create a list of 25 things I like about myself.
  6. Get a massage once a year. (1/3)
  7. Create a will.
  8. Create a living will.
  9. Learn CPR.
  10. Get a better understanding of HTML.
  11. Sew a quilt with the extra fabric from old projects.
  12. Learn how to crochet.

  1. Exercise at least three times a week, for at least 20 minutes a session. (52/143)
  2. Lose 10 pounds.
  3. Lose 20 pounds.
  4. Lose 30 pounds.
  5. Lose 40 pounds.
  6. Do 50 sit-ups and 25 push-ups for 30 days. (0/30)
  7. Do a run/jog/walk for charity.
  8. Drink at least 7 liters of water a week. (52/143)
  9. No soda for 7 days at least once every six months. (0/6)
  10. Take a yoga class.
  11. Use exercise ball at least once a week. (0/143) - not doing so great on this one

  1. Visit Europe with my husband.
  2. Visit the Statue of Liberty.
  3. Swim in the ocean.
  4. Visit the Holocaust Museum.
  5. Go to Blogher ’09 in Chicago.
  6. Take a 20th anniversary trip with Aparna.
  7. Go away for a weekend, just Neil and I.
  8. Go skiing at least twice. (To justify the recent purchase of skis.) (1/2)

Home Improvement:
  1. Tile the laundry room.
  2. Organize the shelves in the HVAC room.
  3. Pare clothing down to one closet.
  4. Start a compost pile.
  5. Paint entryway.
  6. Paint and fix up basement bathroom.
  7. Remove remaining debris and detritus from pool.
  8. Fill in backyard trench.
  9. Prettify the flowerbed next to garage.
  10. Plant (or pot) row of bushes around patio.
  11. Stain and finish tall shelves for sweaters.
  12. Put shelf-paper in kitchen cabinets.
  13. New curtains for guest bedroom.
  14. Replace dead shrub in front of house.
  15. Rip out carpet on second floor. Pray the hardwood underneath is as good as I hope. (It was gorgeous!!)
  16. Paint, replace, or get rid of the faux brick behind the gas fireplace.
  17. Pack away Sophie’s too small clothes.
  18. Get/make new curtains for the basement door.
  19. Replace the TV stand in bedroom with more functional shelving.

  1. Read 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  2. Host a dinner party.
  3. Go to at least one theatrical performance a year. (1/3)
  4. Knit a scarf.
  5. Go to the Baltimore Museum of Art.
  6. See a show on Broadway.
  7. Join or start a book club.
  8. Read a Jane Austen book.
  9. Paint a picture.
  10. Have a picnic.
  11. Go to the Air and Space Museum in DC.
  12. Learn how to create Origami.
  13. Write a short story.
  14. Test drive a Porsche.
  15. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
  16. Go to Philadelphia for a day trip.
  17. Go on a boat.

  1. Use my crockpot once a week. (45/143)
  2. Try one new recipe a week. (2/143)
  3. Go one month without fast food.
  4. Learn how to decorate a cake.
  5. Make a Sour Cherry Pie.
  6. Learn how to make sushi.
  7. Try a food I have never had before at least once ever six months. (0/6)
  8. Cook with brussell sprouts.
  9. Buy an olive oil spritzer.
  10. Substitute ground turkey for ground beef at least twice a month. (26/66)
  1. Call either my grandma or granddaddy at least once a month (0/33) - failing miserably on this one, time to get crackin'
  2. Get professional pictures of our family.
  3. Create a photo album documenting Sophie's life.
  4. Take Sophie to the park or another play area at least once a week. (52/143)
  5. Have a "date night" with Neil at least once every other month. (6/17)
  6. Send one "Hi!" card a month to friends or family. (0/33)
  7. Do something extra for Neil at least once a week. (52/143)

  1. Complete my list of goals by 1/8/09.
  2. Save/earn $500 to go to Blogher '09.
  3. Donate blood.
  4. Meet a blog friend in real life.
  5. Get a fireproof safe.
  6. Buy 5 "Just Because" gifts. (0/5)
  7. Roll up all of the loose change and take it to the bank.
  8. Clean out my Gmail inbox.
  9. Buy something off Ebay or Craigs List.
  10. Sell something on Ebay.
  11. Re-evaluate this list at the end of each year. Eliminate those that have become obsolete or undoable and replace with new goals. (0/2)
  12. Scan all old pictures in, so we have them digitally.
  13. Create a photo block set.

To Be Decided (I am allowing five slots for those things that may come up in the following days, weeks or months that really need to be on the list. Not a cop-out on the last five, I swear)