Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Jerk is Still Me

I meant to comment on that post to thank all of you who were so understanding of my silly obsession. I still think I'm a jerk. I am at a point where I know there are more important things in life, but I am still wanting all that other. We've talked about this before. And of course, it isn't bad to want/have nice things. I think I just mean the fixation on it. But I thought it was great that Matt and Whitney scoured ebay trying to come to my rescue- "Oh, I'm picking out a fall sign for you, not an ordinary fall sign for you, but the extra best fall sign you can buy with pumpkins and 'y'all' and a distressed finish." (Link to original song so you know what the heck I'm talking about if you didn't already). Oh, and I found this (bizarre? hilarious?) link where someone put the thermos song to real music with instruments and everything. It's weird.

So about the signs, one that Whitney found was cute and would've been about what it costs to buy a mum so not much of a gamble. But the lady spelled y'all, ya'll. Spellcheck just underlined "ya'll (and "spellcheck.") Because it isn't spelled ya'll! It's a contraction for "you all." When you drop the o and u in you, you put an apostrophe in its place. I emailed the lady who sells these, as she custom makes them as well. I tried to be really polite and told her I would like one if she could just make one for me that is spelled correctly. And I explained why it is spelled that way (like I just did to y'all) and that a lot of people spell it wrong. Oh, and I looked it up in the dictionary to make sure and there is no ya'll. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I never heard back from her! I didn't mean to be a know it all. I was trying to be helpful. She's not going to sell many if she spells it wrong!

And by the way, any of you who are doubting me, thinking "Y'all, ya'll- potato, potato- we know how she spells momma all weird," I'll just have you know that momma is in the dictionary and in lots of children's books and even greeting cards. So there. I know, I am such a nerd when it comes to grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. I love all that stuff!

So the search for a fall y'all sign continues. Hey, if anyone does see one, let me know! Keep your eyes peeled! George says that a lot- "eyes peeled." I wonder how that expression got started? That's another kind of thing that is interesting to me, but I have no idea how to find things out like that.

Anyway, here's a would be obsession. "Would be" if I really didn't know where to draw the line. I saw this at the monogram store in Ladue. I am always on the lookout for fall stuff with blue in it as my dishes and kitchen chairs are blue. Plus, love that orange and blue together (Waaaar Eagle! Hey!) ! Then, I saw it on that blog. You know, the one with the whole pretty life silliness. And it shook whatever delusional necessity I had conjured up in my brain right out of me. Almost. The kicker was when I saw the $160 price tag the next time I was in the shop! I was stunned, but I totally should've guessed. Why do I even go in stores like that?! Anyway, it is "only" $99 on this website. You can peek to see all the other things you can stick on all around the year. A cute idea really. I like the pumpkin best. The rabbit is hideous. But the Christmas tree is cute. And the snowman. And the turkey. And something else that is much cheaper, I'm sure. Like the $4 pumpkin on my front porch.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Jerk is Me

I have a problem. It is a ridiculous problem, and yet I am obsessing over it. Wanna hear? Sure you do!

Okay, so two years ago for George's fall break we had George's mom take a day or two off work to keep the kids. We had never left them before and I was quite anxious about it. We were going to leave and drive down to Birmingham to stay with our good friends and go to the Auburn game that weekend. It was going to be awesome. But I had major anxiety about leaving the kids while we drove four states away. I was overcoming it, but I mean, we were doing things like getting our will in order in case anything happened to us. Anyway, at the last minute, I balanced the checkbook. And that was a bad idea. Or a good one, depending on how you look at it. It seemed pretty foolish to drive hours away and spend money eating out, going to a football game, going to my favorite fabric stores and George's favorite tobacco store, having a little vacation (even though anyone would've argued that we probably needed it). All of those things are part of Alabama to us, especially when you throw Auburn in the mix, and it didn't seem like we could go and just not spend money especially when you're talking about 20 hours worth of gas. And can you really go to Auburn and not eat at Breezeway? I think not. Can you go without having a sandwich from Traditions? The answer to that is an emphatic no (even though it isn't there anymore and now you have to drive over to Airport Road to go to Block and Barrel Deli- at least you can still get smoked turkey on white, cold with no cheese, with lettuce, pickles, and honey mustard, two double chocolate cookies- one to share and one to eat-, and a coke). And football tickets, shopping expenses, etc. etc. I mean, it was just overwhelming. So we decided not to go. We both cried. It totally sucked. Our friends were a little perplexed but also very understanding. They were even generous enough to send us some extra money so we could at least enjoy our weekend in St. Louis without the kids. I think I must've told this story before, at least in part. Because I think I have expressed the heartbreak of not getting to go home and having to stay in St. Louis, which at that point was a place I could hardly stand (not saying how I feel about it at this point...).

Anyway, we did decide to sort of make the best of it, take advantage of no kids and go places in St. Louis we had wanted to go before. For me this was a place called "The Chocolate Cafe." Because seriously, any place called "The Chocolate Cafe" has to have something to offer even if it's not Traditions. Well, I don't remember the food being so so great, but they have outstanding shakes. George had one called a Brown Cow that was a sort of root beer float and chocolate shake combo. I don't even like root beer, but it was fabulous. It is no more at the location we visited that day, a charming little area in a place called Cottleville that had little antique stores, gift shops, and junk stores all in a few blocks of each other, kinda like ol' Opelika (hope you like it, Opelika), Auburn's next door neighbor. It is at a different location now in O'Fallon where my cousin lives. When my aunt was here for her cancer treatment before she died, we went to the Chocolate Cafe a few times out there. It is sort of in a strip mall right by the interstate now, so it has lost some atmosphere, but the food is really good now and they still have those unbeatable shakes and an enormous bakery case full of all other chocolate goodness. Alas, it is about forty minutes from where I live. Or again, I suppose that is a good thing depending on how you look at it, and if I look at my pants size and my bank balance, they seem to argue that it is indeed a good thing to live far from that place. But back to the Cottleville location that is no more but was two years ago. We walked around that day and came across a store with a darling wrought iron sign outside the door. Here lies the obsession. The sign said "It's Fall, Y'all!" The price tag said $45. George said "no."

George is usually the one to tell me not to worry so much about money. He is usually the one that says it's okay to buy a little something we don't need every now and then. I was really hoping he would be in that frame of mind that day, especially due to my broken spirit. But he was not. And I knew he was right. Sort of. Because if you can hang it ever year, really $45 is a pretty good price, right? And it was just really me. I know you can't picture it, but it was distressed and cottage-y looking like everything else in my house. And well, it said fall and y'all which is just me. And a hundreds of other people, I know, but still. So I thought maybe he'd just come back and get it for my birthday (which was a month away) or something. Or maybe I'll come back when we had more money. Which would be when?- not sure what I was thinking on that one. Anyway, I'm sure we both would've come back and bought six apiece if we would have known how often I would remember that sign. A sign, I know. Such a dumb thing. But I can't get over it.

I finally called today, two years later, and asked the lady if she knew any way she could find that sign for me. She was super nice. She couldn't believe I was still wanting it. I told her I have tried. I have looked for fall wreaths all over the internet and all the ones I like are $100. Most of the ones I see are either plastic or ultra cheesey or just not cute. Actually most of them are all of those things. Or else they're $80. If I'm lucky. I've seen some for nearly $200. And all of this could have been averted, if we had just bought the wrought iron thingy when I wanted it. But we didn't go to Auburn either. And if we had gone, we never would have seen the sign in the first place. But there's no comfort in that. That just makes it a double whammy.

"It's a sad story, one you've probably heard before. But I never thought it would happen to me."

This is the part in the movie when Navin's family drives up in the station wagon and rescues him. And in this post, it's the part where you all comment about how you have an "It's Fall Y'all" wrought iron sign just laying around in your garage and you were hoping someone could use it. Or maybe you know where there are cute and inexpensive fall wreaths? I already checked at Target. But I'm open to other suggestions. I know, this post makes it official, I am a jerk! A wrought iron fall sign, that's all I need, not one thing more.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just Call Him Annyong

I am convinced that Elspeth used to know that George was "Da Da." I used to say "there's Daddy," and she would look at him and smile and coo and he would wave to her. She would say "Da Da" excitedly when he came into the room. It was all very sweet. And every time George would wave to her. But sometime over the past few weeks of visitor after visitor coming and going and waving "bye bye," Elspeth has gotten "Da Da" confused with "bye bye." They sound so similar and they both always come with a wave. Waving also means hello in the baby world too, and "hi" sounds a lot like "bye."So to her, da da and bye bye (or hi- any greeting, really)- potato, potato (use the different pronunciations there to get what I mean). So now "da da" is just something Elspeth says. A lot. It totally reminds me of the Annyong thing from Arrested Development.

Evidently, Annyong means "hello" in Korean. Somehow the Bluth family misunderstands the greeting from their newly adopted Korean son to be his name. The viewer gets helpful subtitles, but the Bluth family is left in the dark. From there on, it is a running joke that "Annyong" says hello to everyone all the time and people think he is announcing himself. When anyone else refers to him in conversation, he thinks he is being greeted and responds with his own greeting. I have a clip here from You Tube, only it is not just a clip from one episode, it is sort of a bunch of clips run together. It is only like 40 seconds long and it is still hilarious even out of context. I still can't believe that show was canceled. Gob (pronounced Job) is genius. But weren't they all?

I really will get cupcake recipes and pictures up soon. I just don't have the energy right now. So until then, as Elspeth would say - Da da.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Elspeth is One

Today is Elspeth's first birthday! Hurray for Elspeth, the sweetest one year old ever! This also means that very soon, I will give the rundown of the three big birthday parties and recipes for yummy cupcakes. It isn't nearly as exciting when I have been putting it off and putting it off- you're sure to be disappointed! Anyway, it seems more and more people are having trouble posting comments on here. I say that sort of comforting myself and hoping it is more people than have said so and it isn't really that no one reads anymore. And why do I care so much if people read anyway? I don't know. Well, I think it has something to do with the lifelong trait of mine that when hashed out in the personality descriptions from the aforementioned sites states that I am constantly taking in everyone else's feelings and opinions to form my own. This is a dreadful trait as it shows I really have no way of thinking for myself. I have countless life examples that prove it is true. So all that to say, I'm needing a little affirmation as I am not sure I am very interesting anymore. Ha ha- sort of. Well, the same little synopsis said I am the type sometimes known to "go fishing" for compliments. Sort of comes with the territory, I suppose. Anyway, just to see if it really is Blogger and not Abby, I am disabling the word identification so that anyone can post. We'll see if y'all can comment easier that way. And then we'll try to figure out what to do from there. So I'm not really fishing for me, I want you to wish my baby a happy birthday (and let me know if you are also having trouble "logging in" lately) so we can see if this works better. Who can say no to that?!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Joy and Pain

I really am not sure why I thought that on Tuesday I would just jump online and report about the birthday party. I must be crazy. Tuesday came and it was like "Oh! There's a day after August's birthday." And the days keep coming. Lucky for me, I love being busy. I mean, I love being busy. I get really down with nothing much to do. After being in a wedding with all the showers and dinners and especially the wedding weekend, I would get so down that it was all over. I would think about the bride and groom getting on a plane and about how they had so much to do and places to go still ahead. And I was just home looking for something to watch on cable. Bummer. This also explains why I have always had the "summer blues." How long and boring is summer? This year it was pretty busy, I guess, but nothing to what the school year is already. So where does that leave me with blogging? I've become even more sporadic than before. I have so much on my mind, but no time to sit and type it out. Then when I do type it out, it becomes this vague, boring post like the personality test one. So I'm waiting on the birthday party post. Might as well anyway, Elspeth will be one on Wednesday so I am having another birthday party next week. Can you believe it?! I mean, the part about Elspeth being one. Well, I can't anyway. So in the next week, just seven short days, we have George's dad and step mom coming down from Michigan and the day after they leave, my mom coming up from Nashville, Elspeth turning one, Elspeth's one year check up, not to mention the regular school lunch volunteering on Tuesdays and Thursdays and ballet lessons on Thursday afternoons. I say all this because I am just so excited. I so love being busy. Did I mention that already?

On a more serious note, Amelia went home from the hospital today. Or she was supposed to. I am not sure if she did based on a recent post, though a close friend of theirs said they were leaving around the same time. This whole experience has showed me that I truly am an optimist. I always think of myself as being pessimistic, but I think I am just easily discouraged. I know I am. People are always telling me my expectations are too high. That reeks of optimism! Reeks because I am so unrealistic, so naive in my hopes. I get it from my mom. My mom says "I refuse to receive that," literally, those words, in the face of grim probability. It drives me crazy. Because you can't just refuse to receive what God has for you. She says God doesn't have bad things for you, that those are all from "The Enemy" (and I cringe, just wishing she would say "Satan." "The Enemy" is like nails on a chalkboard to me). I tell her that God had slavery for Joseph, and that he says "Satan meant it for harm, but God meant it for good." And that God has crucifixion in His plan for His only Son. Then it gets all blurry and we just start talking past each other. But my point is that, regardless of what I believe to be true, in the face of grim probability, I have a sort of naive "faith" that God will make things right. I put the word faith in quotes because I feel like it is a faith that He can, but I think it is misplaced faith to just assume that He will. His ways are not our ways. And though I think we have a longing for situations to be righted that is from Him, we also have to accept that things that do happen to His people are in His plan and are meant for good. I have no idea how. And I do not think I could, nor do I think it would be helpful or appropriate to say that to Steve or Jen right now. I think this whole thing is about the worst thing I could imagine and I can't think what God is doing. I think it could be easy to see it if she comes out of this, but it is not so easy to see it when you think of the grim probability she is faced with. As I mentioned, I talked with a close friend of the Allens today who had pictures of beautiful Amelia to show me. She is right on track with height and weight and an absolutely darling little girl. But she is severely brain damaged. She may never walk. She may never talk. She may never be able to feed herself. And I think the "may nevers" are closer to "probably won'ts."I don't think I have gotten a real feeling for that when I have talked to the Allens and read the blog.

But I wonder if it is because I have not let them say so- "refused to receive" bad news or possibilities. How much easier is it to rejoice with those who rejoice than to mourn with those who mourn? When she is sucking on a passy or moving out of the PICU, it is so easy to cheer and weep for joy. But what happens when they mention something about bad test results or the upcoming intense therapy? What do you say? You don't want to upset them if they are not already upset. You don't want to pick at a scab. Though I am sure they are nearly always raw. And I find myself wanting to constantly avoid the fact that I have a healthy baby at home the same age as their dear suffering one.

Anyway, Amelia is going home very soon, but she is in no way well. We should continue to be grateful for the little progress we see, but I think sobriety about the gravity of the situation is helpful too. At least it was to me. I've been tra la la about all her progress, full of stories about people who had miraculous recoveries, remembering that we don't really use that much of our brains anyway, reminding us all that she is just a baby and babies are all learning everything anyway (so surely she can't be that far behind?), and putting a lot of hope in her therapy, which are all comforting at times maybe, or at the very least well meant. But to be someone who can handle and talk about the grim probability (I keep using that phrase because it is more or less one Steve was using last week), is needed too. Maybe even especially. I am not sure when I will see them again as they will not have a home base here much longer, and I know most of you will not see them ever; but please pray with all this in mind, with the idea of what this little girl's life is supposed to be as God created her and of what it is "supposed to" be when the doctors look at the brain scan now. Please pray for her full recovery as often and as soberly as you can.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Travels With Abby

This is where I think I would really drive all the planners and the organizers crazy- planning a birthday party. I do have some organizational skills. But I am such a flake too. And I am also high strung. It is a weird combination. A combination that usually makes for trouble. Here is what I mean. Here is what my day was like.

Up at eight- yea! we got to sleep in! Nurse the baby, get breakfast for the big kids, grab an english muffin for me, feed the baby some baby food. Start to get everyone dressed. Wander around myself, half dressed/half in PJ's (meh, I'll get a shower late!) trying to get makeup on, get packages ready for post office, put laundry away, pay bills, do dishes, make a grocery list, etc. -all at the same time. Somehow it is now eleven o'clock and I am just leaving the house, but at least it is clean. Take Amabel and Elspeth with me to bank and then post office where we need the stroller because of all the packages I have to carry. I wait in line for a while while Amabel pushes Elspeth around the post office- we're up to 95 and I am 00 (it starts over after 99 I guess)- and then I decide to try the machine, which works, but takes way longer than just waiting would have. Off we go to Target when I remember that the interstate is shut down at the exit in front of Target. So hey, I'll take Forest Park Parkway because surely there is a Hanley exit and I can get off at Hanley and take it until I hit Eager (the road Target is on). This is a dumb idea. Anyone from St. Louis knows how dumb an idea this is. I get off at Big Bend. Why? I realized what a dumb idea it was and also I don't think there was a Hanley exit. And then I have to take Big Bend to Clayton to Hanley. I know, ridiculous. So by the time I get to Eager I have decided it is time for lunch and pass Eager altogether, headed for Qdoba. Hanley is all backed up going to Eager the other way. So I will have to find a different route to Target again after lunch. Amabel and I split a burrito for lunch. Qdoba does not give free chips. No other Mexican restaurant in the world doesn't give out free chips. How annoying.

So after we eat our burrito and $2 chips, we cut through Litzinger to Brentwood. We go into Target the back way off Brentwood. I pull into a parking spot and the car next to me shakes violently. Crap! I totally just hit that parked car! I am a total bonehead. Amabel is trying to tell me a story about her first grade friends. I am not very polite as I interrupt. Amabel insists that the people will probably not even notice I hit them when they come back to their car. How tempted was I to just pull out and go park somewhere else? I call George and am frantic about what to do. He calmly suggests I go inside and get customer service to call the police. I do not want to take two small children in and out. I have no idea how much information costs from my cell phone. I don't pay for my cell phone and am completely clueless about my plan. But I call information from the Target parking lot to get the phone number for inside. I will just pay Katie back (my sister in law, who pays for my cell phone). The Target people send out one of those security guys. Seriously? I asked one of those guys to help me get a baby food jar open in the cafe last week. He was totally put out by that, and he's going to help me file a police report?! There's no way he's even qualified for that! He gives me the phone number for Brentwood police- which is what I asked the person who answered the phone for in the first place! The Brentwood police sends a patrol car immediately. And just then, the lady who owns the car comes out of Target. Both of them were so nice- the lady and the police officer. Both of them said exactly what Amabel seemed to want to do, that most people would have just left. They kept telling me how nice I was. So if you're going to have a parking lot wreck, this is the way to do it, I guess. In the end we all seemed to think it was just paint scuffing and would probably buff out. I mean, how fast can you possibly be going when pulling into a parking spot?! I am such a dummy.

Thirty minutes later I still haven't even gone into Target. By the time I get out of Target, it is nearly three o'clock and I haven't nursed Elspeth since eight. Also, she hasn't had a nap. When I pull out of Target I notice that oh, the exit is open onto 170 now. It wasn't on Thursday, but it is today. And if I had known that, everything would've gone completely different. Oh well. Home again, home again jiggity jig. Feed Elspeth and leave both girls to complete the rest of my errands. First stop, party store. And somehow I forgot confetti and streamers. Off to Barnes and Noble for a gift. Mmmm coffee. How nice that I can purchase books and coffee in the cafe. First time I've ever ordered a venti. Poor Owen Wilson. What happened? He is all over the newsstand I pass on my way out. And hey, did you know that Dr. Cameron and Dr. Chase are getting married in real life? I like that. Across the parking lot to Spicers. I do so love Spicers. And everywhere I go people want to know where I got my purse. It's from Spicers. Spicers has Thomas stuff and streamers and confetti and birthday cards. And yet, I forgot the streamers again! Off to Shnucks, still in the same parking lot. Two phone calls home, two times in and out (I kept remembering stuff in line) of the checkout line, an argument with the cashier over Coke coupons (I was right in the end), and some horrendously high total later, I'm out loading my canvas bags into the van and driving home. All of this, the entire day, with the gas light on! And it's still on empty because the lines were so long at the QT.

Let me just say that that venti iced mocha did the trick though. That and George. No way could I get even half of what I get done done if I didn't have the most flexible and helpful husband ever. So I am a mess, as you can see. And I still have to get those dang streamers! Oh, and ice cream. Ice cream at Shnucks was too expensive. I'm thinking they're running a special at Dierberg's. And Dierberg's has the best balloons anyway. On Tuesday I will let y'all know how the party was. I need to give the details and recipes from Amabel's last month too. In the meantime, I will keep y'all posted on any fender benders and highway closings that significantly impact my life.

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