Jan 24, 2012

Something is Falling Apart--And It's Probably Me.

I couldn't fall asleep last night.
It happened the night before too.
It was late, I climbed in bed, kissed Doug three times, closed my eyes and....

Actually, not nothing.  A lot of annoying somethings.  My hair was bothering my neck.  The sheets were pestering my arms and legs.  My body pillow was trying to melt my skin with its heat, but the room was too cold to take the comforter off.
I couldn't stop scratching.  I couldn't get comfortable.  Couldn't stop THINKING.
What was the problem?  I was wearing my cozy socks.  (check)  No jammies... (check--they just get tangled up.)  It was earlier than normal, but not like it was 9pm. (10:30)

Yet my bones seemed to be trying to dig through my mattress.
Doug started falling asleep but my wriggling woke him up.
Him:  "Are you going to stop scratching soon?"
(Not very sympathetic to my plight.)
Me:  "WHY is our bed so uncomfortable?!?!?"

This has been my complaint of late.  I used to love our bed.
I used to love climbing into our bed at the end of a long day.
(I used to love rolling over and staying in my bed at the beginning of a long day.)
Now my bed is failing me!  Can beds just suddenly one day in Janurary decide to STOP WORKING?

I suppose it's done all it could.  It's at least 9 years old and been moved from San Francisco to Rhode Island to Japan to San Diego.  Plus it was nothing special to begin with.  A regular Queen size mattress from Costco.  But we also added a layer of padding with a queen size memory foam topper.  THAT made all the difference.  Made it so the bed cradled you and rocked you to sleep every night.

But now...

It may as well be Japanese Hotel room bed:  Rock hard with a 90 pound pillow lined with pinto beans.
(The only possible way to sleep in a Japanese hotel room--if you're a soft American--is to find the less beany side of the pillow and sleep flat on your back without moving.  Consider it part of your Ninja training--then it's not so bad.)

So I lay in bed unhappily pondering:  Is it the bed or is it me?  Am I falling apart or is the bed?
Sleeping used to be championship talent!  I've won Olympic medals for my ability to climb into bed and fall immediately asleep and sleep through anything.  (Things I've slept through:  Labor.  5 point earthquakes.  Numerous episodes of screaming children drama.  Alarms of all kinds. And breakfast.  (Okay, and lunch).)

But then again I'M almost 34 years old!  I've moved from Utah to California to Utah to California to Utah to California to Rhode Island to Japan to California!  And I was nothing special to begin with...  Just a regular skinny Mormon girl averse to exercise.  Now after a very stressful year, I've added a layer of padding--but it hasn't increased my comfort or value.
(Please quit asking if I'm pregnant.  I'M JUST GAINING WEIGHT!!!)

(Please stand-by for existential crisis:)

Wait, if I'm not skinny and I can't sleep anymore...plus, my blog hasn't even been funny lately......!!!

(please stand-by for self-preserving narcissism:)

Neh, it can't be my fault.  The weight will magically fall off and we just need a new bed!  Plus, YOU'RE not funny anymore.

I feel so much better now.

See you tomorrow!

Jan 18, 2012

How (and Why) to Use Pinterest

So I have a new hobby lately...

Of course I'd heard about pinning from a few people before I bothered to look into it and see what it was about.  When I finally did, it was love at first pin.

Here's the scoop for those of you who are clueless!  (No offense...)
Pinterest is an on-line bulletin board for everything you see around the web, that you want to keep track of.

See a recipe you want to try?  Pin it to your "Recipes that will surely make me fat" pin board.
See a book you want to read?  Pin it to you "Books I'll never get around to reading" pin board.
Holiday ideas?

Pretty much anything with a photo or movie can be "pinned".
When you open your own account, it starts you out with a few popular "Boards", but they are easily changed/added to/deleted.

One of my personal favorite ways to use Pinterest is for pottery.

For the last few years, whenever I saw a cool pot on-line (I read a lot of pottery blogs) I would copy and paste or download the picture onto my desktop.  After awhile, the desktop would get cluttered, so I'd drag them all into a "pottery ideas" file.  Sometimes I'd organize the photos, sometimes not.
Occasionally, I'd go into that folder, print out the pictures, and put them in a spiral note book I keep in my pottery back pack.

Now, if I see something I like, I pin it to "Pottery Love" and call it good.  I can reference it from the Internet any old time.  And Doug LOVES the lack of urns on his desktop.

This also works well for holiday ideas, craft projects, or party plans.
I've seen many a young (or not so young) girl use Pinterest to plan her wedding (either real or imagined).

While I became a fan of Pinterest sheerly to control my pottery pictures, as you might imagine, that is NOT the most popular use.

A few other trends I've noticed:
Crafts Project how-to's or step-by-illustrated-step instructions.
Nails.  For example, mani/pedi ideas and/or "how-to's" --  Also hairstyle and "smokey eye" tutorials.
Different Font collections and/or Subway Art
Tattoos  (Filed under "If I ever have the guts!" or "Ink")
Travel Destinations
Home Decor
(I used it to pin ideas for our new office decor)

Another great thing about Pinterest is that you can search other peoples boards, collaborate on boards, "follow" others, and be followed.  So if one person pins something absolutely amazingly adorable like a picture of their  brand new bull dog puppy, you can re-pin it to your "Like, SO cute I'm gonna DIE" board and all your followers will see it and repin it to their boards.

My cousin recently told me Instagram was sorta like Facebook only not lame.
Pinterest is sorta like Instagram only for everyone--even non-photographers.

So now ya know!

And for those who already knew...
What are you pinning these days?
Have you found any good recipes that you've actually tried?
What's the most common "pin" you've seen lately?
Let's discuss!

P.S.  My pinterest name is Emily Dub and my user name is "emlovesart"--in case you're interested in finding new pottery ideas!!!

Jan 16, 2012

Two Little Boy-related Things

Item 1:
Doug:  "Sam went and jumped on Max and squirted him with a juice box in bed this morning.  Gotta go.  Love you!"

Um, WHAT?!?

It is seven a.m..  I can barely get my eyes to open!  Seven o'clock in the freakin' morning and my sons have already been making JUICE messes!?!

Yes, it turns out that when Sam asked me last night to set his alarm for midnight, it wasn't just so he could wake up at midnight.  He had nefarious plans in mind.
(I should never let these things go without adequate grilling!)
Since I WOULDN'T set his alarm, he woke himself up around 6 a.m., got a juice box, drank most of it, and then went in to prank Max by squirting him with the remaining juice.  The thing is, Max wasn't that mad.  He was planning the same thing.
WHY would my children do this?
It came out of a book, of course!
Roscoe Riley Rules #1
Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs
Page 13-14

"Roscoe, is your brother up yet?"  "Yep," I said.  "But I had to use my Roscoe Riley Sneak Attack to wake him.  Would you like to try it sometime?"
"I'm listening," Dad said.
"Well, first you knock real polite...
"Then you jump on his bed like it's a trampoline.  And you scream, 'RISE AND SHINE, YOU BUM!' And if he still doesn't wake up, you squirt him with your juice box on his nose and toes."
"I see," said Dad.  "Crude, but effective."
It is always nice when your dad is proud of you.

Hmm..."proud" wasn't exactly my reaction.

Sure, you might blame me for buying the book.  But really...how was I to know?  When I read about Ramona the Pest squirting a whole tube of toothpaste into the sink, I didn't go and do THAT!  And I certainly never pulled any "boing boing curls" on any cute little blonde girls.  (Okay, so there was a really cute little blonde girl, Ashley, in Misawa with golden locks and I pulled them just a little bit.  But still...)

Item 2:
California just changed its carseat laws.  It is now a requirement that kids be in a booster seat up until the age of EIGHT!!!
This means Sam has to go back in a booster.  He hasn't been in a booster for YEARS!!!
The new law is based on recommendations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Which would actually prefer kids stay in boosters until age TWELVE!

If you're caught without the required booster, it's a $479 ticket.
Watching the various news stories on ABC, I found this video:
"Do Kids Really Need Car Seats".  The Freakonomics guys did their own testing and say seat belts are equally effective.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Another news story I watched featured "The Car-Seat Lady".  She says that upwards of 90% of car seats are improperly used/installed.  Another story said 85% are installed incorrectly.
So WHY are we forcing parents to continue to use/buy them, instead of changing car and seatbelt design like the Freakonomics guys suggest?!?!?

Do any of the "experts" out there drive a carpool or have more than one kid?  Do they realize it's not easy--sometimes not even possible--to fit multiple car or boosters seats into your vehicle?  Is there even any POINT (except to avoid tickets) if it isn't installed correctly despite our best efforts?

Yes, I know I sound like an uncaring heartless harpy who hates my children*, but I think our country likes to over regulate many things.  And this is definitely one of them.  If you show me empirical evidence that American kids, in their incorrectly installed car seats, are safer than kids in other countries, I'll shut up about this.  (---but you can't!)
(Sometimes I really really miss Japan and their lack of litigiousness and lack of over-regulation!)

Okay, that's all for me.  I'd write more, but I have numerous loads of laundry to wash today.  Including all of Max's previously clean bedding!

Happy Monday everyone!
Don't forget to buckle up!!!

*Just for the record and before you send me hate-mail, I'd like to state that I DO believe in the efficacy of seat belts and I DO buckle my children up.  Even when we were in Japan, driving off-base, and I didn't have to.

Jan 9, 2012

A Few Little January Things

The great thing about January is...
Nothing.  Nothing is great about January.  (Kidding, kidding...)

No, it's that it HAS NOTHING going on.  Which means there is plenty of time to blog all the fun things you did in December.  Which ALWAYS has stuff going on but is too busy to be bothered with.

So I have like 50 posts to write, but they'll all be pre-dated to fall in December in chronological order.  So if you're subscribed to this blog, you'll see 'em all.  If not, you'll have to go back and search.  There are probably a few you haven't read yet.

But here are a few totally unrelated things I have to say about things RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE.

*  It's been EXTREMELY nice weather here.  This is my pay-back for living through three HORRENDOUS Misawa winters.  I am now experiencing pure, weather bliss!  (70 sunny degrees, blue skies, cool breeze.)  We had a swim party yesterday.  For realzies.
It's supposed to get colder tomorrow.  (60's!!!)  But I think I can handle it.  I never knew January could feel so...happy!

Cut from our yard the other day.
 *  We're doing our first major marketing campaign starting today.  We have a postcard (with coupons) going out to something like 5,000 homes.  Hopefully, it brings in some new customers!  At the very least, we're hoping it brings in enough new work to pay for itself.

*  It should be noted (for historical purposes only) that my youngest son, my angelic Baby Gray, has pre-maturely entered the terrible twos.  Yes, yes...he's still extremely angelic and adorable.
But now he shrieks at us.
A lot.
All day long.  If he wants a bottle, he shrieks.  If he wants attention, he shrieks.  If he's just out of bed and he's cranky and you look at him and smile, he SHRIEKS!  We all love it very, VERY much.
Play date at the park with neighbor friends!

*  None of my kids has ever played with scissors and messed up their hair.  (Little Madeleine cut her hair at my house, on my watch, at least three times.  But Gabey didn't!)  Anyway, that is until now.  The other day Max (yes, the TEN year old) had some hair that wasn't cooperating and staying combed.  So he cut it off.  And he trimmed up his sideburns while he was at it.  It was awesome.  He spent all of Christmas vacation with chopped up hair and we just left it alone.

*  Speaking of Max, how's home school going?  Glad you asked!
I'll tell you later.
(We're switching to a new charter school, but haven't gotten our new books yet.  I'll let you know how it goes.)

*  Speaking of having four boys, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm going to let you in on a little secret:
It's loud here.
It's loud in this house pretty much every minute of every day that we're in it.
It's just obnoxiously loud.
Now you know.  (Wanna come visit????)
Sunrise as seen from my bed.
On a rare occasion when I opened my eyes for 30 seconds to see it.
D snapped picture, I went back to sleep.

Last but not least, I have something I'd like to discuss:

* A question about Christmas Cards.  I'm still getting a few trickling in.  But there are some friends I haven't heard from yet.  Some friends skip a year here or there, some went electronic years ago.  Some...have just stopped sending cards.  And it's been a few years.  My question is, when should I stop sending cards to them?  When does sending continual cards become harassment?  How do I know when my cards are just annoying?  How do YOU decide someone gets x-d from your list?  ('Cause I would still send cards to every person I've ever met ever ever ever if I could afford it...so I'm a little clueless about this.)  Please discuss!

And that's all I've got.  It is only January after all!