Contents include: Eyeglasses case, wallet, Vinylux nail polish top coat, Tootsie Roll pop wrapper, two nail clippers, two pair tweezers, two Cover Girl concealers, two lipsticks, one Burt’s Bees lip gloss in Rose, hand sanitizer, fake flower, plastic flower ring, perfume sample, hand lotion sample, moisturizing oil sample, “Z” cut-out from library story time craft, one pair socks, two checkbooks (one from account that had been closed), advertisement for a kids’ play on dinosaurs, half-eaten bagel, Wall Street Journal, Kindle, and a Target receipt.
Remember that “what’s in your purse” thing that was going popular with a lot of blogs a year or two ago? A few days ago it occurred to me that I won at that game because I–no joke–had a bottle of champagne in my purse for most of the day. Just toting it around like a boss, along with 1233267809 items of crap.
3. I got an email from one of our babysitters last week and it made my dayweekmonth year:
Hi Mrs. ————-,
I feel badly that there are times that I am not doing anything, when you are paying me, since the girls are so well-behaved. Is there something else that I could be doing for you, such as laundry, making dinners, etc.? I really want to be helpful. See you tomorrow
4. Speaking of Pat, he’s been working his tail off–every moment he’s not working his actual job–on the house. Funny how little things–things that are !just cosmetic! we assured ourselves at the outset–end up taking days and days and days. Like painting the whole. dang. house.
5. We’ve made a lot of progress though. For one thing: we unfinished the finished basement! Woohoo!
Kind of ironic right?
The thing is, along with the paneling and the nasty carpet, a lot of surface mold was removed by professional mold-remover people. So, truly, it is progress.
Honestly, as a mom, I wanted to rush in and scoop them up and protect them. I wanted to express anger and frustration and say things like, “That was so rude and mean… You can never play with those girls ever again!!”
I hurt for them. But I knew deep down in my heart that trying coddle and bubble wrap my kids is doing them a disservice. I cannot shield them from hard things forever.
. . . .
Because there’s a world out there that will crush you in two if you don’t develop backbone, stand strong, know the truth that you’re enough, and lovingly forgive and believe the best about people.
So part of growing up is learning to love others even when they do unloving things to you. It’s forgiving when you are slighted or skipped over — whether intentional or accidental. It’s not harboring bitterness and anger toward people who don’t treat us fairly.
. . . .
I also told the girls that the best remedy for times when you feel lonely and left out is to do something for someone else. Reach out to someone else. Be interested in other people’s lives. Look for ways to serve. Find opportunities to show love.
3. I learned a lot from this article from this Wall Street Journal about the Confederate battle flag brouhaha in South Carolina. I’ve been seeing a lot more of those flags flying in our town. I didn’t have a strong opinion on the flag earlier. My feeling before was, “Just take it down already.” I have a soft spot for federalism though (or states rights, but that phrase has a negative connotation), and there seemed to be some connection. I honestly had no idea that the flag was resurrected in the mid-1900s in reaction to the civil rights movement. And now . . . yeah, seriously, take it down already.
4. On a lighter note, here’s a good resource showing proportionally how much electricity various household items use, and how much energy-saving strategies actually save. It’s something I’ve been thinking about because it looks like we actually will be moving to a bigger house soon, and I’m not looking forward to those utility bills.
Please be careful with me/ I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that wa-ay.
Anyway, that makes me roll my eyes and think, “Just get over yourself already.” But, as Modern Mrs. Darcy explains well, there really is something to “highly sensitive persons” and parenting one is quite a challenge. It’s not so much an issue of having your feelings hurt easily, a la Jewel, but of having overactive physical senses.
6. Speaking of parenting, this funny article by Rob LaZabnik, a writer for the Simpsons, made me laugh: “They’re Back! How to Cope with Returned College Graduates.”
So the time has come for you to cut the cord. And by that I mean: Take your kid off your Netflix account. He will be confused and upset at first, not understanding why this is happening to him, but it’s a great opportunity for him to sign up for something all by himself.
Which brings us to money. It’s finally time to channel your Angela Merkel and get tough with your young Alexis Tsipras.
It also make me think, “No God, please no.” Also, who is Alexis Tsipras? I don’t even know, but I still laughed.
It also made me think that our American obsession with diet and exercise is so ridiculous. Drinking shakes and counting calories and doing workouts are not really hallmarks of a healthy lifestyle. They’re substitutions that might help–maybe–when we can’t live an actually healthy lifestyle. (Says me, for whom shakes and the gym would be a huge improvement from the status quo.)
If there’s a single comfortable anything in either picture, I can’t find it. Maybe her watch.
Also, the lady in the article is fond of the “shoetie,” a cross between a bootie and a shoe, like the shoe on the bottom right in the second picture. “She likes that most styles have a zipper in the back of the heel, making the shoe fairly easy to slip on and off. ‘You’ve got some coverage but there’s an open-toe aspect so there is breathability.'”
I can’t think of anything worse than a shootie.
3. The Magnificat recently had this passage written by Saint Philip Neri:
To preserve our cheerfulness amid sickness and troubles is a sign of a right and good spirit. A man should not ask tribulations of God . . . he who bears what God send him daily does not do a small thing.
I’m thinking about this today, since the girls have been puking all day, and Pat and I are feeling puny too.
I’m just going to have to leave off with three quick takes for this week. Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more. Have a happy weekend!
I’m coming across news articles and little tidbits I want to discuss with you, but I never remember them. . . . Until now. I really hope these links work. Let me know if they don’t work.
1. This article is about a young woman who was diagnosed with autism at age 21. **The Wall Street Journal link isn’t working–here’s another article about the same person** Because she was “high functioning,” it took until college for someone to figure out what was going on. She describes feeling relieved at the diagnosis, because she no longer feels a need to strain to be normal. . . . It’s a tricky thing because of course a parent does want his kid to have autism, but you want your kid to have all the resources she can. . . . AT the same time, with 1 in 68 people having autism, is it really a disorder? Or, at higher-functioning levels is it more a personality type? And does that distinction matter?
2.. Ann Taylor is being bought out by the company that owns DressBarn. Weird. I like reading the Wall Street Journal business section from time to time because it’s fun to learn what’s going on behind the scenes at stores where I shop. (The full text of the WSJ article isn’t available online, so I’m linking to a different article.)
3. The percentage of African-Americans in law enforcement has remained flat since 2007. With this and all the related news about the Baltimore riots, etc. etc. . . . it’s so frustrating . . . It’s like no one cares about black men until they get shot by the police. So many black young people–males especially–are on a life course that’s fundamentally at odds with the law. And it happens in childhood and many barely have a choice. And all the hiring quotas and body cameras and police training and whatnot in the world isn’t going to change that. There’s going to be a tension between young black men and the law so long as so many of them have no real lawful options in life. Could someone out there talk about this please?
4. On a lighter note, I’m thinking a lot about moving soon and what I’ll do differently. When I arrange and set up and decorate whatever our next house is, I’m focusing on furniture and window coverings, then rugs and wall hangings, and only after that all the knickknacks. With the current house, I’ve constantly moved mantle decorations and pictures around, never getting the result I wanted because my curtains and furniture sucked. . .. Anyway, I was thinking about all this and then later that day I read a post from The Nester on the exact same point. . . .This stuff doesn’t come naturally to me but I’m learning! . . . Still, the Nester decorates with a lot more knickknacks than I prefer. Her pictures make me feel a little crowded.
Let’s see if I can finish this before the three-year-old wakes from her nap:
1. The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge: I keep hearing about Elizabeth Goudge. She has a devoted following. Her books mostly went out of print but are now back in print. Sadly, I’m not a fan. She develops some lovely themes of redemptive suffering and the working of grace, but she has a wordy, sentimental style I’m not fond of.
2. Growing Up With Sensory Issues: Insider Tips from a Woman with Autism: I really appreciated this first-hand account of growing up with sensory processing disorder and autism/Aspergers. I’ve read a lot of books on similar topics, so I just skimmed it but I might go back. I especially liked her accounts of what worked for her (her parents’ tough love mixed with lots of understanding) and what didn’t (a lot in the conventional classroom).
3: Quirky Kids: Understanding and Helping Your Child Who Doesn’t Fit In- When to Worry and When Not to Worry: The title is misleading. It sounds like it’s about kids who are quirky but without a diagnosable condition. Actually, it focuses mainly on kids who are on the autism spectrum, although it doesn’t completely ignore those who don’t have a diagnosis. Again, I skimmed because a lot of books on this topic cover the same material. But the one page on picky eating made the book for me: basically, don’t make a big to-do over your quirky child’s eating preferences, they’ll probably do just fine no matter how self-limited their diet; you have bigger issues to deal with.
4. It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig: I keep hearing about Whole 30, and this is the book that started it. I find the authors’ writing style condescending (“We’ll keep the science-y stuff to a minimum,” . . . because I’m too dumb to understand it??? . . . I hate having my intelligence insulted.) And yet . . . I found it compelling. I haven’t done a Whole 30 yet for reasons I won’t go into now, but I’m inclined to try in the near future. I ate almost-paleo for a few weeks and was surprised at how much I liked it. Also . . . white potatoes now are allowed! This makes a world of difference to me.
5. The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne: This was fun, easy reading. Total chick lit. I got bored with the sequel though. The premise of the first is just original enough to keep me interested but the second felt formulaic from the get-go.
6. Death Comes to the Archbishop, by Willa Cather: So beautiful. It’s not really about anyone’s death, it’s about a missionary priest–eventual archbishop’s–life, told in a series of short stories about incidents in his life throughout the years. I wish I could think of a way to make the topic more interesting–as it is, I never would have picked it up if it hadn’t been chosen for book club–but it’s really beautiful and exciting too. For those who have read it–I almost think the real protagonist is Fr. Joseph, and not the archbishop. It’s kind of like Fr Joseph’s story is told through the archbishop’s story. At least, I found Father Joseph a lot more personally likable and colorful than the archbishop. What do you think?
What they’re talking about is this end of civilization, or the end of a certain kind of civilization. He’s saying it’s all falling apart. These people are losing whatever heritage they’ve ever had. But there’s a subtext where he’s saying: And didn’t they have it coming? These are frivolous, morally groundless people, who are careless about their privilege, careless about each other and careless about society. And they need some moral underpinning that they don’t now have.
The character’s are ridiculous enough to make you laugh, but their faults are realistic enough to make you cringe. The ending is just wonderfully over the top. It’s great satire.
It’s 4:45 on a Friday morning, and I can’t sleep and I’m thinking about . . .
1. This phrase:
The tricky thing is when “everyone” includes your husband and his hard battle is living with you.
2. Um, and you with him.
The oatmeal: “why working at home is both awesome and horrible” (rated R)
3. Co-parenting is hard, yo?* Pat and I recently ‘fessed up to the fact that we each do okay with the kids on our own, and we do okay with each other without the kids, but trying to deal with the kids together drives us up the wall.
4. And in my moods where I tie life the universe and everything together metaphysically while preparing the girls’ fifth snack of the morning, I think . . . marriage and co-parenting are so hard that, no wonder people don’t do it as much, in a society where marriage isn’t required for (a) men to get sex and (b) women to have financial security and children. At the same time, I mean, I like living at a time when I could support myself and where single mothers aren’t ostracized and marginalized.
I don’t know how accurate it is, but I like his point that
We modern parents. . . rarely pause to celebrate the way our parents did because we’re too busy parenting. We never stop parenting. We are all over our kids’ lives—making sure they get whatever they want, removing obstacles from their path, solving their problems and—above all—worrying about what else will go wrong, so we can fix it for them. . . .
Yes, we’ve gotten really, really good at parenting. This is fortunate, because for some inexplicable reason a lot of our kids seem to have trouble getting a foothold in adult life, which is why so many of them are still living with us at age 37.
They’re lucky they have us around.
7. I dread errands where I have to get the kids bundled up, into the car, then out of the car into a public place with lots of havoc to be wrought, then back in the car again. Just with two kids, it’s a pain (especially when the process throws my back out), and I love M.T.’s witty post about doing it with four: Dear Navy Federal, Get a Drive-Through.
1. The girls and I listened to Kids Songs Jubilee in the van today. I grew up listening to the Kids Songs tapes by Nancy Cassidy. Now Girl 1 sits on the couch, reading the songs to herself and singing them. I love hearing her sing. And both girls listen to the tape together, singing and dancing around the living room. Love it.
A few spoonfuls of diced fruit (in my case, watermelon and Granny Smith apple)
2-3T Simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, cooked together until the sugar is dissolved; I keep some on hand, made in advance)
Soak the wine, fruit, and syrup together and chill in the fridge for as long as you can stand to wait. Add ice and gulp.
4. Breaking news: forget Kindle Unlimited, Oyster, etc. and just get . . . a library card. Public libraries have a better selection of electronic books, and they’re free! It’s in the newspaper so it must be true. Also, I tried out Kindle Unlimited for the free trial period and was underwhelmed.
5. On a more serious note, I thought this was a good, short article about how Americans (not all of us but some of us) have caused the current influx of undocumented minors emigrating from Central America to the U.S.
6. And back to less serious notes: I made money from this blog for the first time yesterday!! I signed up for Amazon’s Affiliate program and made a full ten cents! That’s right, someone clicked through from my blog and spent $2.50! Try not to be too jealous. I want to frame it as the first dime I made, like some businesses frame the first dollar they make. Trouble is, Amazon won’t cut a check until I make $10. At my current rate of 4% per click-through purchase, it’ll take . . .
0.04x = $10
x = 10/.04
x = $250
. . . $247.50 more in purchases from readers. Keep it up folks! 😉 . . . Actually, after a few more purchases my rate goes up to a whopping 6% or something like that. Nevertheless, I’m keeping my day job.
7. So, inside joke for any University of Dallas people (which also applies to many small Catholic colleges): my little brother just set off for a jaunt to Ireland before his study abroad semester in Rome. He posted some pictures of his group.
I couldn’t help but notice that, while the guys in his group are fair to middling in the looks department, the girls are H-A-W-T, hot, hot.
“Steve-O, dude, how did you manage this?” I asked. His reply:
This past week, for the first time, I got offers to do “sponsored posts,” where a merchant sends me a product for free in exchange for my writing a post about it. Up until now, all I’ve gotten are requests for free publicity (which, by the way, I ignore).
I’m $0.99 in the hole for this blog, having bought an iPhone picture editing app. If you count the hours and hours I spend, calculated at my rate as an attorney, I am definitely thousands and thousands in the hole. That’s probably not an accurate calculation because even if I didn’t blog I probably wouldn’t do more legal work than I am now. Still, it would be nice to make some $ for my time. Also, I’d eventually like to upgrade my blogging platform and get rights to “thisfelicitouslife.com” without the pesky “wordpress” in there. But that has a price.
So yeah, it would be nice to make a little moolah, or at least free stuff. I kind of agree with Grace that “if you can make some mascara money off of your blog . . . that’s great.” Of course if she makes mascara money, I’m looking at . . . bubble gum ball money. But that’s okay, I like bubble gum.
We have (what seems to me) an infestation in our basement. A dead black widow showed up in front of my washing machine last year. Scared the crap out of me. I called the exterminator, who looked around and said, basically, “You don’t have a real problem. Don’t waste your money hiring me to spray.” I appreciated the honesty. Gotta love a small town, family-run business.
Also, I called the pediatrician before the exterminator, to ask about the toxicity of having the basement sprayed. The dr. said not to bother, because we probably have “tens of thousands” of black widows in our yard.
So fortunately this year all I’ve seen are HUGE ugly wolf spiders and various other non-black widows. But still, they don’t belong in my basement.
— 4 —
Girl 1 had a little friend over a few weeks ago. They were playing in our basement/toy room area and saw a spider. I was busy (blogging) and didn’t feel like getting off my tush, traipsing downstairs, and killing a spider for them. Theys saw it; they weren’t about to touch it. Even if it were poisonous, it’s not like it was going to attack them.
Anyway, Girl 1’s friend said, “At my house, my daddy always kills spiders.”
Me: “Does your daddy get up from what he’s doing and go downstairs and kill them every time you see one?”
Little friend: *Pause* “Umm, we don’t really have spiders at my house.”
Good for you.
— 5 —
On Tuesday I made the girls Play-Doh (again!), using a different recipe by following this video (which Girl 1 enjoyed watching over and over). They girls played with it and ate it. I wasn’t worried because it’s non-toxic. I fondly remember the super-salty taste of the play dough my mom made years ago for me. But then . . . .
— 6 —
Girl 2’s eczema flared up again, a little. Oh yeah, homemade playdough is made with flour which has, duh, gluten . . . .
Her eczema still comes and goes since then. Is it remnants of the playdough in her system? Is it tomatoes (those definitely affect her somewhat)? Pineapple? Apples? Dairy? Eggs? Is her skin just sensitive to everything?
I kind of wish I were not so overeducated or of a different generation, so I could just feed her Kraft Mac N’ Cheese and red KoolAid with a clear conscience. But I’m not. So I can’t. So I don’t.
I’m trying to keep her on a limited diet for the next few days, sticking with foods I’m sure are safe, to try and pinpoint the irritants. But it’s hard to do with Ms. Picky around as the big sister.
Anyway, enough kvetching. Good news: my ugly sandals are chic! Christina Binkley of the Wall Street Journal says so! Apparently, my sandals say “I am woman. Hear me shout: My feet are happy.” Boo-yeah. Or at least, they almost are chic. Turns out, my sandals should be comfortable without being “actual comfort shoes.” Whatev, Ms. Binkley. What. Ev.
Have a good weekend! Thank you, Jen at Conversion Diary, for hosting today’s yesterday’s link up!
I enjoyed this piece in the Wall Street Journal, a sort of “but the emperor has no clothes!” observation on men’s fashion. I especially like that it calls out the dress-shoes-with-no-socks thing. I so very much do not get that. Speaking of which . . .
Actually, even that’s not the worst. The worst was in the J. Crew July 2013 catalog: guy wearing tight denim jacket over floral blouse with rolled up pants, no socks, and white dress shoes. I just spent half an hour looking for it but can’t find it. Half and hour wasted in search of ugliness.
— 3 —
Moving on . . . .
Girl 2 has had eczema on her wrists for, roughly, the last ten months. On a hunch, I stopped feeding her gluten and–voila–eczema gone.
Girl 1 had eczema, too, when she was the same age. We eliminated gluten from her diet for a while but it didn’t seem to help. Girl 1’s eczema went away on its own. So I kind of presumed Girl 2 wasn’t sensitive to gluten, either. Poor kid has always been kind of fussy and a bad sleeper, and she’s been on antibiotics several times in her young life, and I wonder if it’s all related and . . .
— 5 —
Yeah, trying to avoid mother guilt.
— 6 —
I’m used to cooking gluten-free for all of our main meal, but it’s hard to get away from sandwiches when I need something quick and filling for the girls. I’ve tried GF breads from the supermarket, but they were distasteful and expensive. So, hooray for this:
Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free bread mix
which I made in the bread machine just yesterday. Really really yummy. (When it’s warm anyway. Heat it up once it gets cold.) Not compliant with Pat’s and my diet, but at least it won’t irritate Girl 2.
— 7 —
Girl 1 had her first occupational therapy appointment today. It went well. The therapist doesn’t think she has a big problem–maybe not Sensory Integration Dysfunction per se–but she acknowledged the issues I pointed out and said she thinks a few sessions plus some “homework” can help. This is pretty much what I hoped for: nothing insurmountable but also not all in my head.
Thank you, Jen at Conversion Diary, for hosting today’s link up and giving me an excuse for stringing so many random topics in one post!