Thursday, April 05, 2012

It's Spring!

I've finally committed to a Spring theme on the blog. Keith took a new picture for me over a week ago, but I was afraid that if I switched too early, it would jinx everything and snow would start falling the very next day.

Does this mean it won't snow tomorrow? Of course not! The first year we moved up to Cleveland, we had to dig out to drive to my parents' house for Easter. But I think I've waited long enough that you can't blame the snow on my blog header.

Photo Extravaganza!

I've been trying for a month now to sort through all of our photos and print them. It takes forever!

My goal is always to print photos about 4 times a year. We use Snapfish, and there's usually some kind of deal going on. Penny prints (only one cent per print, up to 300) just ended, and now there's free shipping on orders over $30. We're happy with Snapfish's prices and service, so the final ordering part is easy.

What's hard is deciding which photos to print. I often think that I couldn't imagine having kids before digital cameras, where you actually had to pay for film and getting pictures developed. It's astonishing how many pictures we take and never even use. For every one picture that we print, there's probably another 4 or 5 that we took at the same time, so we could make sure to get a good, usable shot.

In contrast, I often find myself drawn to the not very good pictures. We splurged for a nice camera with a few good lenses, which means that we have some gorgeous pictures of our kids that we'll treasure forever. But I also kind of like the blurry and off-center shots. Like the one above: I really like that one because I feel like it better conveys what our lives are like right now. The living room looks like an exploded toy bin, everyone is moving in different directions, and Gomez serenely watches over all. We also have some really grainy, awful low-light shots that Eleanor took on my iPod. They are of Keith and Declan, in Declan's room, in the early days after his birth. I like those shots because have that sense of late-night desperation and sleep deprevation that are the true hallmarks of having a newborn. All those beautiful close-ups of a peacefully sleeping baby? They are beautiful, but far removed from real life.

Of course, I'm not going to enlarge and frame those blurry bad photos. I don't show them to anyone. (Except, of course, on my blog!) But I like to print them and quietly put them away in albums, tucked in-between the beautiful shots, to remind myself not of how living with a baby looks, but how it feels.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Cathartic Haiku: Smart Ass Student

In class, you sneer, sigh.
In email, you ask for help.
Just admit you care.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

They Really Like Me! (Or at least one does)

FINALLY! I have a review on Rate My Professors. I've checked many times before, hoping for and craving positive feedback from legions of anonymous students who were all inspired by my exciting yet informative and challenging class. For the longest time, there was complete silence.

Apparently, I forgot all about it when I wasn't teaching last semester. I mentioned to Keith earlier this week that I didn't have any ratings and he said I was wrong. I did have a rating, and I even got a chili pepper for hotness! What exciting news!

Unfortunately, when I checked out my rating, I was a tad bit disappointed. With a mere two sentences, my former student managed to make two different grammatical errors. Plus, the rating was posted last summer ... at which time I was only teaching an online class. I suppose I can hope that the reviewer was a former on-campus student, and the chili pepper is actually based on the student seeing me, not on one fuzzy picture in my Blackboard profile. And the grammar mistakes were .... meant ironically? Let's go with that.

Anyway, thanks for the positive review, anonymous!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

We're Famous!

Image credit: Chuck Crowe / The Plain Dealer

Yesterday, after picking Eleanor up from preschool, we went to Daffodil Hill in Lake View Cemetery and brought a picnic lunch. While we wandered around to look at the daffodils, this older guy with a fancy camera seemed to be taking pictures of us. It was rather creepy, until he introduced himself as a photographer for The Plain Dealer, took down our names, and gave us a business card. He said the picture would in today's or tomorrow's paper; I was excited when I got a call from my uncle this morning saying that there was a large picture of us on the front page of the Metro section. It's also on the front page of The Plain Dealer's site (scroll down, on the left), and has its own post.

It's funny how things work out. We had actually tried to go to Daffodil Hill over the weekend, but between the two kids' naps, it didn't work out on Saturday or Sunday. I mentioned to Keith on the phone yesterday that I had finally managed to find Daffodil Hill in the cemetery, and he suggested taking Eleanor after school.

What you can't see in this photo (thank goodness!) is that, at school that day, she had a beach party to celebrate the end of their unit on the ocean. Under her winter coat, she's wearing:
  • a bathing suit
  • a halter top beach dress
  • leggings
  • cupcake socks that don't match her dress at all
  • a black sweater that, like the socks, don't really match, but it was the only one I could convince her to wear

On her face were the remnants of their snack: dyed blue cream cheese on an English muffin, with a few Goldfish "swimming" on top. Her mouth and parts of her cheeks were blue.

I'm just glad that I managed to get a shower that morning, while Declan slept for 20 minutes before we went to pick Eleanor up. Most days, my hair is a frizzy mess, pulled back in a sloppy bun. What luck!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cathartic Haiku: Just Trying to Drive

"Excuse YOU!" he yells
While jaywalking my green light.
And I'm the asshole.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's a Pity Compliment, But I'll Take It!

I've finally started running again, for the first time since last May when I was about 4 months pregnant.

It's always hard to get started again, after taking time off. It can be disheartening to think about the fact that I've run 2 half-marathons and countless 5ks and 10ks, but now I can barely get through 2 slow miles without walking. And of course, I have a significant amount of pregnancy and post-natal stress eating weight to lose; that doesn't help.

But the challenge is what I love and hate about running. Whether I'm trying to get faster or go further or get back into the routine, it's difficult. Sometimes I get frustrated, and wish it wasn't so hard. But most of the time, I like knowing that running won't let me down. I can always count on running to kick my butt.

This time around, I've been doing a lot of my running with Eleanor in the running stroller. Before the first time I took her out, we had a big talk about how Mommy isn't as fast as Daddy and sometimes Mommy needs to walk. So Eleanor needed to understand that I wasn't in very good shape, and not give me a hard time about it.

So far, she's been wonderful! She even cheers me on at the end. "Come on, Mommy! You can do it!" She's actually pretty good company, even though it's hard for me to carry on a conversation sometimes.

A week or so ago, Eleanor and I went for a 2-mile run after Keith got home from work. It was pretty hot and humid, especially for early March. By the end of the run, my hair was a frizzy mess, I was soaked in sweat, and my running clothes were emitting a powerful stench. My belly, which still looks about 4-months pregnant (only with Coke and peanut butter M&Ms this time), gently stretched the front of my hot pink running shirt. We went to the end of a driveway to cross to our side of the street. We waited for a man on a bike to go past us.

As we waited, I made eye contact and smiled in a friendly, neighborly way. He smiled back and nodded. Once he was nearly past us, he called out, "Hi, Gorgeous!"

I was so surprised, it took me a moment to even process what he said. Normally I'd assume that he was complimenting my wonderful child, but this time he was clearly looking at me. Me?!? Seriously? I wouldn't call it false modesty. When in shape, freshly showered and made up, I'm reasonably attractive. But at this moment, I was none of those things.

By the time we got home, I had figured out what was going on. This guy saw me, a pudgy and worn out mom, and immediately realized I needed a boost of self-confidence. So he saw fit to provide one. His smile didn't feel lascivious, but kindly. It was a pity compliment, but I'll take it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


In the past couple weeks, we've spent as much time outside as possible. All of Eleanor's outdoor toys have been dusted off and put to good use. The sidewalk chalk, tricycle, hula hoop, bubbles, sunglasses. I've gone for a run 4 times in the past week and a half. FOUR TIMES!!!

Two weeks ago, I would have said that I haven't run since last May, when I was 4-5 months pregnant with Declan. But the crazy warm weather has changed all that.

I promised myself that, every once in a while, I will actually step out of my comfort zone on the blog and say something that could possibly be construed as controversial. So: I believe that global warming is a reality. I believe that it is caused by human activity. I believe that it's not solely the fault of our generation, and it's definitely not the fault of our kids' generation, but we will have to find a way to fix it, or else we're all in big trouble.

Frankly, I really can't understand why that is considered controversial, and the fact that it is makes me a little sad. Why does empirical evidence need to be controversial?

But anyway: I have no idea if our current warm weather is related to global warming. If it is, that's shocking and wrong. ..... But for now, I am enjoying the sun and the warm breeze and having all of my windows open and wearing sandals. It doesn't mean I'm going to stop working on minimizing my carbon footprint, but I do think I need a new sundress.