Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tuesday 5: Facebook Detox and Funny Shows

1. I’d wager to guess I’m friends with about 90% of you Fellow Adventurers on Facebook. That being the case, I’ll cut to the chase- my week long Facebook fast. I’m halfway through that week and I definitely have some take-aways. I decided to take a break from Facebook because I was so tired of negativity. I know it sounds trite and everyone says it all the time, but I really was getting bogged down in a sea of negative emotions. From political commentary to negative statements about the Pope to people just whining about things, I was starting to really take all those emotions in and take them on as well. I know I need to pare down my friends list, hide some people, unfriend others, and sort people so not everyone can see everything I post. I decided the best way to get perspective on how to do that was to detox for a week. The first day or two was hard. I realized I use Facebook as a time filler, and it’s become more of a time killer. I actually had to hide the app in a folder so I wouldn’t automatically click on it when I picked up my phone. It’s been four full days now, and I can say I don’t really miss Facebook all that much. I miss seeing some friends’ posts, but I’ve kept messenger and still had meaningful conversations this week with people I really care about. I did log on for a minute to wish The International Man of Intrigue a happy birthday, and I also logged in today just to install it on my new phone. I think I’ve had a proper detox already, but I’m committed to finishing the full seven days. I will log in this evening to post a link to this blog, however, but won’t read or check my notifications.

2. Speaking of the new phone I was installing things on, I was late to the all things iThing trend, but I love my iPhone. I do have a minor complaint, though. Could someone tell the ghost of Steve Jobs something for me? (The International Man of Intrigue is convinced Steve Jobs lives on as Siri, but that’s another topic.) The thing is this. In all of the approximately one billion times my iPhone and iPad have corrected me, I have never once, not one solitary time, meant “ducking.”

3. Some days around the Intrigue house are tough. They're especially tough when The International Man of Intrigue is traveling. Last week, there was a day that Laura Ingalls Wilder had no nap. The other Little Explorers were crazy, too. Arthur Dent woke up, and woke everyone in the house by five thirty in the morning. By afternoon, everyone was grouchy. Of course, Gertrude Bell decided she needed to ask questions about cleavage. Heaven help me. I managed to make it to bedtime, and I felt like I deserved a major award. When I get that award, I’ll make sure to thank the television and the invention of Netflix and on-demand childrens’ programming for supporting my win.

4. Speaking of television, why did no one tell me that The Mindy Project is ducking HILARIOUS?! ("Ducking?" Thanks, Steve Jobs.) I have only watched two episodes, but if laughing out loud while sitting alone in the living room and then worrying it was so loud it would wake the Little Explorers is any indication, I’d say it meets muster for my idea of funny.

5. Fluff question of the week: Are there any musical artists who you really enjoy but you just don’t care for the choices in the music they record? For me, two really stand out. The first is Carrie Underwood. I loved her music several years ago, but her last several albums have left me cold. I am equally cold when it comes to Keith Urban’s music, in large part. He has some songs I really like, some that have grown on me, but a lot of times his choices don’t work for me. which is unfortunate, because I really like his vocals and from what I know of him, I think he sounds like someone I’d love to have a cup of coffee with.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tuesday 5: Grocery Lists and Google

1. Laura Ingalls Wilder is just two months short of turning two. Mrs. British Neighbor asked me today what her birthday theme was going to be. I suggested, “Mommy loves you even when you scream like a banshee.” So, if you were wondering, yes, Laura Ingalls Wilder is still doing the brain scrambling, ear shattering scream. It’s just as endearing as you'd imagine, Fellow Adventurers.

2. All my Catholic friends are excitedly posting updates about Pope Francis landing in the U.S. I’m over here like, “Well, technically, I was geographically closer to him when he was visiting Castro.” I’d like to reassure those of you who support my political campaign that if you actually get me on the ballot, I promise to stand up during a debate and say, “I can see Cuba from my house.” in my best Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin impression. 

3. Today on our neighborhood garage sale page, someone posted a “beautiful black pant suit with sequence collar.” I swear, Fellow Adventurers. Really? I am not perfect at grammar. I make mistakes. I misspell things, too. Frequently. Here’s a hint, though. If you’re on your phone or computer to post something to the internet, anyway, you can type the word into Google to see if it’s spelled correctly. You can also ask Google those dumb questions that you’re about to type on social media to keep you from looking like a moron. For example, if someone says tomorrow is Yom Kippur (yes, I just Googled how to spell that) and you don’t know what Yom Kippur is, you can put it into Google instead of commenting, “What’s that.” You’ll also get handy links to articles with information about the holiday. It just makes me a little crazy that, in this day of instant information, we don’t use it to expand our basic knowledge. Ok, my soapbox is a little high. Pardon me while I step down.

4. People have asked me my process in writing the Random 5. It’s really not very refined. I make notes on my phone throughout the week with little passing thoughts that might turn into ideas. I write the whole thing Tuesday night and post it almost immediately, with little or no editing, which is probably pretty apparent. Tonight, I opened the notes section on my phone and couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to be writing about “Diet Coke, Soap, Toilet Paper.” Yes, I was looking at my grocery list. I bet you guys would be thrilled to read that. 

5. I have a free evening this evening. I’ve been working on cleaning out my closet and drawers. I’m at a good point to take a night off. I think I’m going to turn off the TV and go sew for a few minutes, then go to bed and read. What do you like to do when you have a free evening?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tuesday 5: Dinner Menus, Dreams, and Dolls

1. Fall has come to Florida. While the rest of you are enjoying cooler mornings and a crispness in the air, we’re enjoying fall, too. It’s still miserably hot and humid. I was outside for 15 entire minutes today, while I picked up Arthur Dent and then we hung around for a few minutes to say hi to Gertrude Bell while she was at recess. When I crawled back in the car, my hair was dripping and my clothes were wet with sweat. I still knew fall was here, though—there were love bugs on and in the car. If you don’t know what they are, consider yourself, and the bumper of your car, fortunate.

2. In the interest of trying to get some things done now that the kids are back in school, I’ve been trying to take on some projects that I’ve been putting off. Today, I reduced the number of tops in my closet by one third. I’ve also gone through handbags and jackets in the past week, and started on shoes. I need to get a handle on scarves and jewelry next. I feel so much better when I have less “stuff,” so I’m lightening my load. 

3. I’ve been having some unusual dreams lately. Last week, it was a dream about trying to buy feta cheese in a blizzard with David Duchovny.  Monday morning, I sat straight up in bed after dreaming that I was being attacked by a giant frog. I was saved in the nick of time when Agent Doggett shot the toad as it jumped at me. Coincidently, that precisely corresponds with Season 8, Episode 19 of the X-Files, which we watched tonight. Totally normal, right?

4. We had a major crisis on our trip to Georgia last week. We were five minutes from Reagan’s Godparents’ house when Gertrude Bell let out a scream of pain that almost ran me off the road. Once I regained my composure and made sure Gertrude Bell wasn’t injured, I found out that her doll, Mary, had a hole in her body. For those of you not familiar with Mary, Gertrude Bell got her for Christmas the year she turned three. Mary has been around the world with Gertrude Bell, literally. She is Gertrude Bell’s most prized possession. Gertrude Bell sleeps with her every single night, and takes her almost everywhere she goes. It’s not a shock that Mary has a hole, it’s more of a shock that it’s taken so long. Today, Gertrude Bell broke down in heaving sobs as we packed Mary in a box (with lots of insurance!) to mail to Grandma for repair. This will be the first time she’s spent the night without Mary, ever. Every hotel room we’ve stayed in, from Bangladesh to Kansas, Mary has been beside Gertrude Bell. She’s been to almost every show-and-tell day at school, and now she’s been entrusted to the U.S. Postal Service for a two day trip to Grandma’s, and another trip back. Fingers crossed, send some good vibes, Fellow Adventurers. In the overall scheme of things, no big deal, but in the Intrigue Family, the hugest deal. 

5. What’s on your dinner menu this week? We had crock pot chicken tacos last night. Tonight, pad thai. I stabbed myself in the palm with a dry rice noodle. It was no joke, Fellow Adventurers. I need a band-aid. The rest of the week is shrimp with dill and farro, veggie lasagne, and frozen pizza. The Intrigues always have pizza on Friday. Now that I’ve found a cheese free version that I like, I feel even less guilty. Seriously, though, Fellow Adventurers, I’d love to hear your meal plans, especially if they include anything that can be completely pre prepped or cooked in the crock pot. Now that school is back in session and activities are in full swing, that’s a necessity. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tuesday 5: Of Firsts and Lasts

1. As promised, a report on Arthur Dent’s first day of school. He had a rough morning. I think it was mostly nerves, but partly the fact that he actually had to wear pants and shoes. He really hates wearing pants. The struggle is real, y’all. 

2. What did I do with my newly found part time mother of one status? Not pick up my preschooler on time, that’s what. Yes, I was that parent on the first day of school. I thought they were released at 12:30, but it was really 12:15. Arthur Dent was standing there all alone with his teacher, waiting for me. I guess I won’t have to make room for this year’s Mother of the Year trophy.

3. Since it was a holiday weekend, I decided to take advantage of The International Man of Intrigue being around and of an extra long weekend, so I loaded Amelia Earhart and Gertrude Bell into the car and headed to visit Amelia Earhart’s Godmother. It was worth every minute of the five hour drive to hang out in her Godparents’ house. They are from Rhode Island and I love the accent and the loud and the just being with people we’ve known since before The International Man of Intrigue and I were married. Amelia Earhart’s Godfather (who was out of town doing training with the Army) was even in our wedding party. It’s just nice and comfortable to be with friends who are like family, even if that means hanging out in the attic and using the shop vac on the water leaking from the air conditioning unit.

4. There was one thing that was tough about the trip. I haven’t been back to that part of Georgia since we were stationed there almost six and a half years ago. When I crossed the county line, I had a visceral reaction. My heart started racing and tears welled up in my eyes. The five years we spent there were full of such intense emotions. There were the highest highs- Amelia Earhart and Gertrude Bell were born there- and the lowest lows. The International Man of Intrigue went through back to back 12 and 15 month deployments with barely a year in between the two while we lived there. Some of my Fellow Adventurers know the tightness that sits on your chest when you think too hard about those long, hard years. Sure, there were bright spots, friendships that are still treasured, babies born, First Communions and first days of school, but they’re still tinged with the pain of family members away at war, some who didn’t come back, or came back irrevocably changed.  Gertrude Bell and Amelia Earhart asked to drive by the hospital where they were born, the churches where they were baptized, and our old house. I indulged them with a smile and told them stories as we drove by the old places that they don’t really remember and that I won’t forget.

5. Are any one else's kids absolutely nuts on school nights? I know my kids just aren’t fully adjusted to being back to the grind, but I’m starting to understand the appeal of boarding school. Also, Laura Ingalls Wilder has learned how to ask, “Why?” That should all be sufficient to explain why I’m going to wrap up my five so I can watch X-Files and drink the rest of a mint slush with cucumber vodka that I found in the back of the freezer while I was trying to cobble something together for dinner. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tuesday 5: Diet and Exercise

1. So, I’m on day 24 of my newly turned leaf of eating right and working out. It’s going pretty well. I’m not losing a ton of weight, but my body shape is really changing. My daily workout is free online—it’s a site called Bikini Body Mommy. The pros are that it’s free and it really works. You can also pay an extra $1.99/mo (Canadian) and access extra workouts. I’ve done that and added the ab workout to my daily routine. The cons were none until this week. She lets her preschool age kid interrupt the workout and it’s really annoying. He starts out screaming in the background, then he wanders in and is in the way. I have four Little Explorers of my own who are constantly interrupting my workouts, despite the fact that I do them at 6:15 in the morning. I don’t need to listen to her annoying kid screaming and her jacking around with him. Today, I did better at tuning it out and got in a decent workout, but in the future, I may skip those weeks and repeat a different week instead. 

2. I’ve also been eating well. I have had some major milestones this week. Yesterday I went to Costco hungry. I filled the cart, but it was with things like red bell peppers and watermelon instead of chips. This weekend, The Intrigue Family attended the Kansas City Royals game, and due to unexpected events, we were a bit late getting home. Since we knew it would be cutting it close to bedtime on a school night, we opted to do drive thru McDonalds for dinner. The Little Explorers got Happy Meals, The International Man of Intrigue got his favorite Big Mac meal, and I got…wait for it…a Diet Coke. I waited to eat until we got home, even though I was starving. I did ask The International Man of Intrigue if licking Laura Laura Ingalls Wilder’s fries before I gave them to her counted as calories. I don’t know why he laughed. I was at least mostly serious.

3. Amelia Earhart and Gertrude Bell are on their second week of school. It seems like we’ve been able to ease into the school year since The International Man of Intrigue was off work again this week- the last of his use or lose leave- and Arthur Dent doesn’t start VPK (Voluntary Pre Kindergarten in the State of Florida) until next week. (Check this spot in the next Tuesday Five for consternation and hysterics as I send my baby boy off to school.) Next week, we’ll have school and activities in full force, so I have to step up and focus on menu planning and meal prep so afternoons and evenings are tolerable and The Intrigues who get hangry can avoid meltdown. 

4. I’m having trouble with what seems like a big decision I need to make in the next week or so. The previous two years, I was a member of a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at a local church. I had to quit in January of last year when it became clear that there were some denominational prejudices the host church had against my particular choice of denomination. That’s another story, but several friends have asked me to join a MOPS group at a different local church. Part of me longs for the spiritual boost and the opportunity to make new friends. Part of me is exhausted after twelve years of making friends and moving, or watching them move. Friendships don’t fit in a moving truck. It’s amazing and wonderful to have friends all over the world. I find it astounding that I, Dorothy Gale, from small town Kansas, have not only lived all over the world, but that I could sign off from writing this blog and message my friends in Zimbabwe, or California, or Poland, or India. I also find it hard, the making of new friends every few years. I know part of my hesitation is also because of an inherent anti-Catholic bias I’ve experienced both times we’ve lived in the south, and that caused me to leave my last group. I have no reason to believe that bias is present in the new MOPS group, but it makes me anxious all the same. I don’t know the answer to my hesitation to put myself out there again.

5. I just finished reading Judy Blume’s new book, “In the Unlikely Event.” It had a good plot and the character development was spot on. I love that one of the favorite authors of my childhood now writes books I savor as an adult. Now I’m reading, “For The Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards” by Jen Hatmaker. Let me tell you, this woman gets me. She really gets me. I’ve laughed and cried, and I’m only halfway finished.