CJDaily's Blog

July 31, 2009

Sweat and tears…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 11:19 pm

My mother is the exact opposite of me.  I am more of a “get all my ducks in a row” type person before I do well, ANYTHING, and she is a “Hey an idea just popped into my head I’ll be right back” kind of gal.  Take today for example.  She mentioned something about needing to mow the backyard, but didn’t say when.  Belle was acting antsy and since it was humid as hell outside we’d been staying in the the air conditioning.

My phone rang and I started having a conversation with my sister, but Belle was causing a ruckus in the background, so my Mom took her out of the room.  Next thing I know, Mom has Belle in a bathing suit and is zooming out the back door with her.  I assume she’s taking her out to let her play with the hose or in the sprinkler.

A few minutes later I look out the back window and see what the actual scenario is.  Belle is squeezed into last years bathing suit, since it was the only one Mom could find without interrupting me.  Her chunky little thighs are exploding out of the bottom and the neckline of the suit is level with her armpits.  She is standing on a deflated pool that my mom bought for her last week but hasn’t inflated yet.  There is a puddle of hose water in the bottom of the deflated plastic and Belle is shrieking with joy and doing what looks like a rain dance, falling down every five seconds because it’s slippery. 

“Mom!” I stick my head out of the sliding door.  “The pool’s not inflated!”

“Oh, she’s having a great time,” Mom flaps a dismissive hand at my indignant face.

“Mom!” I hiss.  “She is standing on a deflated pool in a puddle of water in a bathing suit that shows her nipples!  Could we be any more white trash?”

My mother takes this way too lightly and just laughs, while I hustle outside to see if I can cast some dignity on this situation.  It is so hot and humid I feel like I am practically drinking the air.  The grass has still not be mown and is practically a mosquito breeding ground.  Within five seconds I am doing a dance of my own, flinching and wincing and flailing in the air.  Belle is totally unperturbed, still shimmying in her puddle, but I am shrieking and little welts are appearing all over my body. 

“It’s awful out here!” I wail to my mom, who has pulled out the lawn mower and looks prepared to use it, regardless of the baby pool smack in the middle of the yard.  She says something insensitive about me being a total wuss, and hands me a little hand pump that I take in order to try and inflate the plastic dance-floor in our yard. 

The pool my mom bought is a substantial sized babypool.  It is shaped like a figure 8, although obviously not connected in the middle, and takes roughly 135 gallons to fill.  That’s right.  For a one year old.  I would have bought her the plastic turtle kind that you can only sit cross-legged in.  But instead I have this behemoth plastic UFO taking up a quarter of my yard, and it has TWO levels that need to be inflated–the bottom layer of the walls, and then the top layer.  I feel like taking the hand pump my Mom just gave me and hurling it at her but instead I grimly set it down and go inside first.

A quick trip to the laundry room gives me two bottles of bug spray.  I already have bites all over my feet, legs, arms, even on my elbows.  Maybe some people don’t mind mosquitoes, but when I get bitten I get huge red welts like there’s a plague sweeping the land.  They itch like a bitch and last for a week or two.  Call me a wimp, but I can’t stand it.  So before I go back outside I hose myself down with the less toxic looking spray bottle, and bring both bottles back outside just in case. 

The little hand pump is a joke.  I am pumping and sweating and I don’t even see the plastic pool walls moving.  Belle is very amused, both with me toiling over the hand pump, and Mom who has begun mowing the lawn–around the pool.  I decide to drag the pool over to the porch to at least get it out of Mom’s way, and to escape the ankle high grass I’m squatting in while the mosquitoes fly up my dress.  Oh yes–did I mention I’m wearing a short sundress? 

I call my dad, asking if he has something better to inflate the pool.  When I describe to him what I am using he laughs so hard he can’t speak for a full minute, during which I sit sweating, covered in grass, water, and bug spray that smells like toxic waste, not really feeling the joke.  Apparently there is a much better air pump in the garage, and I retrieve it, shaking it at my mother from across the yard.  She is still pushing the mower, oblivious to my rage.  At least this pumps works better.  Belle is still splashing around in her puddle, which is now filled with grass clippings.  Grass is plastered to her legs because she can’t resist running over to follow Mom for a minute, then running back full speed to jump back in her pathetic plastic puddle.  Her bathing suit is straining at the seams and she is soaking wet.  She looks homeless.  She is having the time of her life.

I, however, am spraying myself down with the more deadly looking bug-spray, as the first layer apparently isn’t strong enough to dissuade the hungriest mosquitos.  I am vividly reminded of the scene in The African Queen where Katharine Hepburn  is swarmed by mosquitos in the jungle.  I can see them hovering a few inches away, repelled for a moment before they decide to go for it anyway.  I am pushing the air pump up and down desperately,  watching the walls inflate at the speed of a Baywatch babe running down the beach.  SO SLOWWWWLY. 

It is when my butt starts itching that I realize the enemy has breached my defenses and it is time to retreat.  The multiple layers of sticky, sewer-scented, ozone damaging bug spray have failed me.  I am itching like mad and my dress is clinging to me in a combination of sweat and puddle water.  I am decorated in grass clippings that my daughter has thoughtfully smeared on me.  I smell. 

I quit. 

Plucking Belle from her barely inflated embarrassment of a pool, I take her inside, heading straight for the bathroom.  If she wants water, I know of a good bathtub that’s deeper than half an inch and doesn’t need to be inflated.  And when I am clean and covered in cortisone cream I am going to have a good long talk with my mother about doing things in the proper order, like mowing before pool time, or inflating before filling.  Or maybe just staying inside when the backyard is 100 degrees and full of bloodsucking insects.  Just a thought.

July 23, 2009

Did I mention Cat Deeley’s legs?

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 11:19 pm

This post is for all the enlightened who watch So You Think You Can Dance, one of the most awesome shows ever created. 

Does anybody else want to die and come back as Cat Deely in their next life?  Her legs, her tan, her awesome hair, her down-under accent, her long long legs.  And also, her legs. 

Does anybody else want to see Jeanine and Jason fall in love and have babies after seeing them dance Travis Wall’s “If It Kills Me” contemporary piece?  When he grabbed the necklace from her with his teeth… YOWZA!  And did they kiss at the end of the dance?  His arm was in the way, and if they were locking lips I demand that Fox re-release the alternate camera angle because they had chemistry that makes Bella and Edward look like Heidi and Spencer. 

At this time in the competition I don’t want to see anybody go.  They’re all good, heck they’re even all attractive!  How does that happen?  Kayla is flawless, Melissa is perfect, Janette is saucy, Jeanine is all passionate and vulnerable… and the boys.  Oh Lord.  Evan is the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.  I’d marry him off to my daughter.  Jason is all leggy and hot, Ade is all huge and powerful, and Brandon has the worlds nicest arms.    If I had that much talent I’d never walk.  I’d pas de bourre my way down the aisles of the grocery store.  I’d ronds de jambs to get the mail.  I’d insist Jesse greet me with a passionate pas de deux. 

I think the most moving piece I’ve ever seen was last night’s ode to breast cancer, by Tyce Diorio.  Melissa and Ade were the perfect couple to pull it off, and if it’s not Emmy nominated this time next year I will be one shocked mama.  I don’t know of anyone who, if they haven’t had breast cancer, can say they don’t know anyone who hasn’t.  My cousin battled it.  A family friend fought it twice.  And a long-legged friend who is a beautiful dancer herself lost her beloved mother just a few years ago.  It’s a pernicious disease, and this dance said more about it in two minutes of choreography than any speech could do.  I’m including the link to the dance because I hope everyone I know gets to see it; its beauty and its sadness. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKxoCxalyWw

On a lighter note, Annabelle is now obsessed with watching dance on my laptop.  When she woke up from her nap today I’d been watching pieces from SYTYCD on Youtube, and I sat her down on my lap in front of the laptop, fully expecting her to get up and cause mayhem or start demanding Elmo.  Instead she sat transfixed for half an hour, clapping for the pieces, or swaying from side to side with the music.  I was the one who finally had to pull her away.  After dinner we went upstairs again and she ran to my laptop and stood in front of it expectantly.  When I sat down and checked my email, she started swaying back and forth and gesturing at the screen, indicating that she wanted to watch more dance!  I’ve never been prouder.  Although it’s my everlasting regret that I have not a shred of dance talent, maybe she has some hidden away from a talented ancestor. 

But I’ll tell you one thing.  SHE’S NUTS.  So obviously, she’d be a perfect dancer.

July 22, 2009

And my daughter had mac’n’cheese…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 10:40 pm

With my mom being out of town until next week, I felt responsible for my father getting a nice hot meal tonight for dinner.  We all know I don’t cook, as one of my earliest blog entries attests.  But tonight I felt duty bound to “make something” of what was in the fridge, which was a whole lotta leftovers.  So I opened my cookbook (don’t die of shock, but I DO own a cookbook) and tried to find something that A. was simple, and B. I could make out of things we already had in the kitchen.  So I picked a relatively easy recipe for Indonesian Peanut Chicken.

It involved whole chicken breasts, which I didn’t have, but there was a whole lot of leftover chicken pieces, and I figured it wasn’t that different.  By pieces of chicken, I don’t mean a thigh or a drumstick, I mean actual pieces of chicken.  Cooked, plain chicken, no seasoning.  Just chicken.  In a big plastic baggie.  That’s right.

So I took all these chicken pieces and followed the recipe as well as I could, mixing peanut butter and chili sauce and several other things, and even chopping up peanuts.  I felt just like Julia Child, although I doubt she flinched every time the knife came down on the peanuts, or ever had them bounce up and deflect off her face.  No matter.  I made some rice to go along with it (ok, I microwaved the rice, but that’s legal, right?) and was quite pleased with the whole bubbly, simmering thing I had going on.  I was just thinking how pleased my dad was going to be when the phone rang, and lo and behold, it was my dad.  Saying he’d be a little late.  Like, the food was ready NOW, but he’d be home in an HOUR.  This is what happens when you don’t warn people that you are about to break out into a domestic frenzy.  They make other plans.

But I managed to keep things hot, although my chicken and peanut sauce got a little gloopy.  It was more like a delicious chicken-peanut-paste, but it worked over the rice.  My dad really liked it, and felt bad about not making it home earlier.  I was all proud of myself for making a tasty meal out of nothing but leftovers, and my dad lauded my efforts.

“We needed to do something with this turkey.”

“Um, this is a chicken dish Dad.  Indonesian Peanut Chicken.”

He chews thoughtfully.  “There was no chicken in the fridge.”

“There was a whole big thing of it on the second shelf!”

“Big plastic bag?”

“Yes.”

“Turkey.”

“… Oh.”

 Look, if it’s all in little bits, it looks the same to me.  It needs to run at me full gobbles ahead for me to know the difference.   But the Indonesian Peanut TURKEY was just delicious, thanks for asking.

Being a mom…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 7:48 pm

Means pouring yourself a nice refreshing glass of water and immediately forgetting about it… and then an hour later you walk back into the kitchen and say, “Oh, wow, is this my water?”…

And two seconds later walk back out, forgetting to drink it once more.

If I wind up in the hospital for dehydration, I’m suing my toddler for pain and suffering…

July 18, 2009

Bye-bye binkie…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 1:42 pm

Ok.  Some of you already know that I’m trying to go binkie-free.  Rather, I’m cutting Belle off.  Bye-bye binkie.  She’s had it for far too long.  Kids with binkies sleep lighter because of the sucking, which is good for infants because it may prevent SIDS, but bad for toddlers whose mommies want to sleep through the night.  Kids with binkies also may get more frequent ear infections, something to do with the pressure of the sucking forcing liquid back into somewhere, you get what I’m saying.  And thirdly, it’s a big giant pain in the butt.  If we’re in the car at night and I’ve given it to her, sometimes she’ll play around with it and then it falls on the floor.  While I’m driving down the Turnpike.  If you see a red Honda swerving violently, that’s just me, trying to reach the binkie without pulling over. 

So that’s it, we’re done.  No more.  And for a little while there I thought it might be ok.  The first night, as I was putting her to bed, she gathered her favorite animals and then looked around for it.

“No bink,” I said gently.  She threw herself facedown on the bed, crying, and I backed guiltily out of the room.  Within 20 minutes she was asleep.  I did a little dance, and God noticed my pride and smile thoughtfully to himself.

The next day at naptime, we did the same thing.  She got her bears, and looked up at me expectantly.  “No bink,” I reminded her, and she gave me a chilling look that froze my blood in my veins.  A look that said, “Lady, you’re gonna rue the day you made that call!”  Then she proceeded to stay awake for the next 2 hours.  AND I KNOW SHE WAS TIRED!  But she refused to take her nap, and I finally, reluctantly, after trying everything I could think of (rocking her, her favorite soothing music, warm milk, tylenol) admitted that she had won that round and got her out of her crib. 

That night (Night 2), she had her bears in hand and actually stood up to peer over the crib bar, as though perhaps I’d simply mislaid the bink and wasn’t smart enough to realise it.  “No bink,” I said, and she huffed out a  sigh, and lay down without another word of protest.  HAHA! I thought.  Victory is MINE!  I have been firm yet kind, and she has yielded to me!  Bwahahahaha!!

And God looked down and noticed my pride.  And laughed his ass off.

She did take a nap yesterday (Day 3) but that may only be because her Grammie took her to Jellybean Jungle, and she was properly exhausted.  So, come nighttime I wasn’t sure what to expect.  And what do you think happened?  You’ll never guess.  Let’s recap it all for you.

I put her down at 7:45 pm since she was yawning up a storm.  She realised she was going to bed, and regardless of her fatigue, she latched onto me like a spider monkey.  So I stood and rocked her, swaying from side to side.  She was perfectly quiet, head nestled into my shoulder, until I went to put her down.  Then came the screaming.  And the tears.  I couldn’t even get her to lay down so I could tuck her in as usual.  I had to leave the room with her standing and gripping the crib bars, yelling at my receding back. 

Twenty minutes later she was still going full steam,  so I went back in and tried to lay her down peacefully.  Instead she latched onto my neck and scaled the side of the crib until she was in my arms.  I rocked her some more, but was met with the same results when I tried to put her down a second  time.  Screaming, wailing, full on Medea-style breakdown complete with Greek chorus swaying and moaning in the corner.  So I gave up.  She had to get tired of crying eventually, right?

Well, no.  At least, not for the half hour that followed.  Thirty minutes of shrieking agony came from behind her door.  Did I mention I already had a raging headache?  It was already 9pm, and she’d done nothing but cry for the last hour and a quarter.  I had to go back in there, if only to make sure her wails weren’t due to her head being stuck in between the crib slats.  And wouldn’t you know, as soon as I picked her up it stopped.

She resumed the death grip around my neck, and I said, “Fine.  You wanna do this the old fashioned way, huh?”  So I sat down with her in the glider, determined to rock her to sleep.  With her curled up against my chest, I was strongly reminded of her as an infant. How were we back to the time when the only place she wants to sleep is right on top of ME?  So I rocked.  And rocked.  And rocked.  15 minutes into the rocking, I felt her start to relax.  I gave it another 5, just to be sure, then stood up with her and walked to the crib.  Just as I was lowering her onto the mattress, she went rigid, snapped awake, and climbed my arm like a vine, trying to hook her leg over the side of the crib to escape. 

“You were just ASLEEP!” I wanted to roar.  I was getting desperate.  The thumping headache in my temple was pounding out an S.O.S.  She was whimpering and clinging and something in me snapped. 

“Ok!  Ok!”  I exclaimed.  Desperate times, desperate measures.  I said a little prayer and yes (did you see where this was going?) flung my leg over the side of the crib.  Holding my breath, like perhaps that would make me lighter, I GOT. IN. THE. CRIB. 

Belle didn’t seem to realize I had joined her, as she continued to cling to my shoulder, resisting my attempts to lay her down.  “No, look, Belle, Mommy’s right here, I’m not going anywhere.”

She caught on to the situation, and after giving me a strange look, like she wasn’t sure what had just happened, but was pretty sure she’d won, she willingly lay down and let me cover her with the blanket.  I leaned over her, rubbing her back, and thought, “Ok, this is good, I can wait until she’s sleeping and just sneak back out.”  And as if she’d read my mind, one little arm snaked up to hook itself around my neck and yank me down flat. 

So there I was.  In the crib.  Under the physical restraint of a very determined little dictator toddler.  My face was half covered by her little shoulder and her mouth was smushed into my forehead, but she seemed content and I tried to relax and decipher exactly where I had lost the upper hand in this situation.  At one point I shifted my legs, and her arm tightened around my neck like a bear trap.  After ten minutes her breathing slowed and I thought it seemed safe to try and slip out from under The Arm of Power. 

Slowly, I slipped out from her grasp, and delicately extricated myself from the crib.  I held my breath as I navigated back over the railing, certain something was about to creak or snap, and I’d be confined to a whole night behind bars.  But luck was finally with me, and I slipped out of the room, sweating like a spy who has just planted a bomb and has seven seconds to exit the building. 

I realise that, although I finally got her to sleep, she might have actually won that particular battle, if only by holding my dignity for ransom.  I may have under-estimated my opponant.  It’s time to step up my game.  Tonight, I am breaking out a nice warm bottle of benedryl.

July 17, 2009

Silence is not golden.

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 12:21 am

Today I wandered into the kitchen to get a glass of water and wound up involved in a phone conversation with my mom that caused me to linger there for a few minutes, probably because I can’t walk around and carry on a conversation at the same time.

“Where’s the baby?” my mom asked.

“Oh, we’re playing in the living room,” I smiled.  I could hear her happy babble just around the corner as I stood there by the sink.  After 30 seconds more conversation, I hung up and realised I no longer heard Belle talking. 

ALL WAS SILENCE.

I raced around the corner to find her seated in an armchair that had been stripped of its cushion, holding my Kindle with both hands and grinning like a maniac. 

“Ess MOMMY’S!” she gleefully pronounced, waving the Kindle at me like a punch-drunk matador. 

“Too right it is, you little stinker!” I told her, relieving her of my precious possession.  She KNOWS she’s not allowed to touch the Kindle–the ONE THING in the whole house I’ve never wavered in letting her play with. 

Lesson learned = When child is being quiet she is trying to parachute out the open window with sheets tied around her wrists, or is about to introduce your Kindle to her sippy cup.

SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN!  It’s a big foghorn alerting you to potential disaster!

July 15, 2009

La la la la, this is the song, Annabelle’s song…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 6:19 pm

Today I got a cd that I’d ordered for Annabelle from Amazon.  It’s a cd of her hero, Elmo, singing songs and addressing her personally… BY NAME.  Yes, Elmo says “Annabelle” at least 60 times during his perky little songs and monologues.  When I put it on and Belle heard his voice, her eyes got all big and happy, but she wasn’t overly blown away.  We already have the Sesame Street alphabet cd in the car and she frequently requests him from her chair of power in the backseat by hollering, “Elmo!” as we are backing out of the driveway. 

“Elmo!” she said happily and started rocking back and forth to the music.  And then he said her name for the first time, AND SHE FROZE.  For a minute I was afraid she’d had an aneurysm.  Head cocked to the side, hands frozen in mid-clap, she stood frozen to the spot like I’d just zapped her with a quick Petrificus Totalus. 

“Elmo?” she whispered.  His monologue hadn’t stopped and he was still chatting away, cheerfully refusing to use pronouns, and said her name again, inviting her to dance a tarantella or something.

“Elmo?  ELMOOOOOOOOOOO!” she shrieked, and snapped out of her stupor.  Arms flailing wildly, she threw herself at the glass sliding door, eyes wildly darting back and forth, like he might be hidden in the hydrangeas.  When a survey of the backyard didn’t reveal any hidden puppets, she flung herself around and launched in another direction. 

“ELMO!  ELMO!  ELMO!”  She was doing a perfect imitation of a wildly obsessed teen girl who has just walked smack into the Jonas Brothers and must now die of excitement.  She kind of realised he wasn’t in the vicinity but was still turning on the spot, head whipping from side to side, like maybe she was being Punk’d and he was going to bop into the room and whisk her off to Elmo’s World. 

“Yeah Belle, Elmo music!,” I encouraged her, and started shaking my groove thang to an Elmo-ized version of Splish Splash.  Bobby Darin might be rolling in his grave, but I was kinda psyched to have some new music that she was so obviously happy with.  We marched, we tap danced, we wiggled all over the room.  At one point I was afraid my neighbors might glance through the window and think I was experiencing a grand mal seizure.  But I proudly flung my hands into the air and kept dancing with my daughter, feeling foolish, but secretly pretty thrilled that we were having such a great time together.  I knew in ten minutes she’d be climbing the piano bench, or asking for some water, or eating the potted pants, but for now, we were dancing together, and even though she’ll never remember it, I didn’t want to miss a minute of it.

July 14, 2009

High on the hill was a lonely goatherd….

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 12:14 am

A recent article in Cosmopolitan advised couples looking to spice up their love lives to watch an adult video together and act out a favorite scene. When I mentioned this to Jesse laughingly, he paused, then said,

“Ok. I’ve got the Sound of Music in the other room. We could put on dresses and spin around?”

Gosh, I love him.

July 11, 2009

Is it bad…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 9:11 pm

that I had to pee REALLY REALLY BADLY and I held it for twenty minutes because I wanted to find out who won the VH1 showdown between Jen Aniston and Angelina Jolie?

(Team Jolie!)

July 9, 2009

My preoccupation with occupation…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 3:46 pm

Ok, I apologize to the people who’ve been checking this thing for the past week or so.  I’ve been a little busy trying to A. find a new job, and B. maintain my sanity.  Neither is as easy as it sounds. 

I might be a moron for turning down a job in this present economy, but that’s just what I did yesterday.  I’d been interviewing at this marketing company since before the 4th of July, and as I got to see what it was all about, it was clear to me that it was not my thing.  Could I have done it, and maybe even been successful at it?  Sure.  But the three main factors of the job all turned me off: daily travel (for which only half of my gas and none of my car maintenance would be compensated); visiting companies in the middle of the day and bothering people who may or may not want my services; and the fact that the entire first year I’d be making only what money I earned in commission. 

The numbers they showed me were impressive–if everything went according to their little chart, I could be making close to $90 thousand in two years.  But you know what they say about things that look too good to be true.  And call me crazy, but if I’m going to keep my daughter in weekly daycare (which adds up to about $1000 a month) I need to have a paycheck I can depend on.  If I wanted to work my butt off every day and not be sure how much I’d be making every week, I’d be a stripper! 

So thanks to everyone who gave me advice while I was hyperventilating over my options.  I woke up at 6am the morning of the decision and waffled back and forth for hours before finally deciding not to go for it.  There has to be something out there for me.  Jesse asked me what I actually wanted to be when I grow up (ha ha, honey) and my answer was, “Nothing that’s easy to get a job in.”  Which is so true.  If I could work as anything I wanted, here’s some of my top choices:

Telepath, preferably working for the CIA, reading criminals minds and bringing down the badguys.

Writing a wildly popular fiction series while living in my castle in Scotland.  (That’s right J. K. Rowling, I’ve got my eye on YOU!)

Having my own television show in which I am immaculately coiffed and dressed, where people ask my advice about their lives and problems and I tell them why they are idiots while displaying my rapier wit and impeccable fashion sense. 

I mean, none of those things are posted on CareerBuilder.  Everything that says “entry-level” means you’ll be hawking knives door-to-door or telemarketing.  Everything else requires a degree in astrophysics or biochemistry.  Almost all the Fortune 500 companies (the ones with the best guaranteed benefits) involve banking or medicine.  Nobody is sitting around saying, “Gee, you know what we need?  A theatre major with an above average vocabulary and an anal obsession with spellchecking!  Go find me one!” 

Nobody is going to pay me to sit around and speed-read, which is a darn shame because would I be raking in the dough or what!?  And last I checked, stay-at-home-mom isn’t a government subsidised occupation.  (And it should be!)  And there are no superhero training schools around here, that I know of.  If there were, I’d be investing in some red spandex and it would be WordGirl to the rescue!  Ok, maybe not spandex.  Maybe like a white button-up and pencil skirt, kind of a superhero/librarian look.    With a special belt to hold my thesarus. 

See?  Nobody’s hiring WordGirl.  The world is happy with its literary mediocrity.  Deep down I knew I could never take the job at the marketing company.  I found 4 grammatical/punctuation errors on their website.

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