Monday, December 31, 2007


*get out more, with Bill and alone.

*use my free time more creatively. Actually creating. Once upon a time, I made things. I wrote things. I will do this more.

*continue to devote some of pay check (very little) to my wardrobe. some is very little, but it can add up.

*read more, tv less. (thank you, writers strike!)

*organize something every week. Like a closet (For argument's sake, let's pretend I HAVE one), not a symphony performance. But what the heck, I guess I could do other types of organizing as well, as I do get paid to do so.

*oh. and lose twenty pounds. or maybe get pregnant again and gain twenty. still undecided.

About to pour a glass of prosecco and heat up dinner before layering up for first night in Saranac Lake. We'll be in early. The princess has a cough.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Made marinara sauce to freeze, chicken saltimboca, and lemon spaghetti. All thanks to the recipes of Little Big Head. Everyone in the family loves her, "Everyday Italian" is the only show that all three of us will sit and watch.
My skin doesn't fit, my clothes feel funny, and I'm tired of wiping snot. Winter blahs, I guess. I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday, because it has been so long since I went out and had fun with friends. We are pretty social, but that socialness is limited to our house, for the most part. We have people over fairly often, I guess. But it's just not the same as dressing nice and going out. And it's not that I don't have people I could do this with, it's just that everyone lives so faaaarrrrrrr. I hate going out for dinner and drinks and then driving home. For an hour. Plus it requires such planning.

Oh well.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

'Rampy came to visit Miss Lulu!

If you look in the background you will see that we are ready for outdoor activities, no matter what the weather, with a life ring and a sled within easy reach. It just started snowing, so the sled seems to be a better choice for today.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A quiet Christmas Day here at Chez Lulu. The princess is napping and Daddy is at work. I've mopped the floor, washed the bath mats, baked a pecan pie and am figuring out when the ham needs to go in the oven. We got up at 6 so we could unwrap gifts before Bill left for work at 7:30, and will eat dinner when he gets home in a couple of hours. I'm listening to Christmas music and trying to figure out which Christmas it was when we went where and did what.

My mom and I were talking about this very confusion this morning. And Bill mentioned the Christmas we were snowed in in White Plains. Which was actually a President's Day Weekend. The year the furnace died on Christmas Eve eve... was that the year we were married? And did Bill go off shore that winter? Or was that the New Years' I spent sick on my mother-in-law's couch? And it wasn't last year I was pregnant, was it? No, that was the year before. (Two years ago? Seriously?)

Never mind, it's all Christmas and this is a quiet and sweet one. My Dad comes tomorrow.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Eva loves to party. We had a great time at my mom's celebrating Christmas early.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I've been experiencing pretty intense levels of stress lately, between this and that, work and money and legal details and all kinds of things I'd rather not blog about until they are all over or, like, never. This causes havoc in my belly, and the fiber supplement is not really helping and I don't expect it to be much better when I have a follow-up appointment after the new year since the stress shows no signs of decreasing. So I am wondering if I should just ask the doc for something for anxiety and be done with it. Or, I can just drink my glass of wine and look at this picture.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Do you remember when we lived in England and we sprayed the windows of our house with the fake snow in a can, writing S-N-O-W in big letters down the window in the door to the garden? How one of the girls brought a tree at Tesco (where people said Radiohead shopped - this before the days of music online and before I even knew how to use email even) or Marks and Spencer or the other store...Stansbury's, or something like that? It was a live tree, in a pot, and we decorated with supermodels and paper chains and named it Eloise. We planted in the backyard in the Spring, next to some heather that died, and maybe its still there.

Remember how we went to the church on Christmas Eve with the parents who came? We tried to sing the familiar hymns but the melodies were off, and I had a sad and lonely in my stomach that was so hard it felt soft. And having someone else's family near made it worse, even though they bought Christmas crackers.

And remember how you came to visit, and we went to your Aunt's house and went out with the wild women and the chef had to make me something special that was vegetarian. And none of the British women would order whole pints? James Bond movies were playing on telly and 007 always reminds me of that Christmas.

It snowed, and on New Year's we all danced in the kitchen and drank and ate too many kids of beans?

And when you came back to our house after the holidays you opened a bag smelling of sunshine and LA, and life got back to a normal that was never normal, but felt just right at the time.

Do you remember any of this? If you do, I want to tell you that I love you, and I am glad to have felt happy and sad holiday feelings with you and when anyone asks I say you are my best friends.

Monday, December 17, 2007

No, she's not shy.

And you should have seen the joy created by a flashlight, a brown over mitt, and a piece of red cellophane. Insta-Rudolph.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More than a foot of snow so far.
Three dozen each of two types of cookies.
Holiday letter printing.
Three loads of laundry done.
One nerve left.

Thank god bedtime came fifteen minutes ago?

I suppose we should have worked on the shoveling more than once today.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fever in the morning, fever all through the night

Poor Junior Miss has been fevered on and off since late last night. She goes up to 103 or so, but tylenol brings her right down. Could it be the molars that are coming in? Of course! No way! Damn you internet--give me a straight answer!

She also has one eye that is slightly bloodshot. In other words, pink. Very interesting.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

This Year and Last

How's Trix?

Trixie's days are numbered. I will miss her, of course, but it will be nice to not lose sleep over her health on a regular basis.

We've been through a lot together, my car and me. We spent long days driving around the Hill Country with a boy we thought we liked. We took the long way home through the fancy neighborhoods. She took me too work at my first real job. And my second. And my third. We went halfway across the country with a dad and a dog. I made her sleep in a public lot, where she was often plastered with parking tickets. She brought me to Bill every weekend. She carried me and a dog and everything but a vaccuum cleaner to my new home with Bill. She survivived hot summers and cold winters and that guy who backed into my in the library parking lot. She needed new brakes and new brakes and new exhaust and new belts and then her airconditioning started to crap out. She's eight and she has 178,000 miles. And I will driving even more in the next year and the contortions involved in a two year old and a two door car are getting to be too much. And she's due for new belts again. And her catalytic converter is going (just 12 days after she passed inspection, trusty girl that she is!)

And so I begin the process of finding her a new home and finding me a new car. Let's break it to her slow, please.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

O Tanenbaum

Every year we find the best tree ever. And of course we managed to do it again.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Hair Trigger

A week ago today I got my hair trimmed and colored. Trimmed is key, as she only de-bulked and did not remove length. The color is now redder, warmer and spicier, and my highlights are re-lit. (You can't really tell much other than general color in this picture, but Bebe sure is cute!)

So when I came home I was feeling pretty good. Except for the fact that I knew Bill would not like it. He never likes it after I get it cut, especially not since I started going to my current hairdresser. What Bill likes is long natural hair. The way it was around the time we got married. The kind that's always just getting shoved into a ponytail and has no real style. The kind I get bored with.

And I was right. He hates it. Vocally. Too vocally, for my taste. I had to call him out for what he was doing which was making me feel like shit in hopes of my doing what he wanted. Which was impossible since my hair doesn't pop out of my head when you pump my damn arm like one of those weird dolls frm the 70s. But onc he apologized for that we were still left with this: I like my hair and he hates it.

So feminist me says too fucking bad. It's on my head. End of story.

And understanding me feels awful that he has too look at thing he hates. And he has tried and tried to tell me he doesn't like it and feel like I am ignoring him on purpose and disregarding his feelings.

Ai yi yi yi.

We went back and forth and finally he told me that if I hate something about his appearance he would consider that. So i suggested we find a new stylist and he come with me and we will both talk about what we like and compromise. Ain't love grand? And who said love meant never having to bring you sweetheart with you to one of the few times that is all yours.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Part of the Family

I am the first to admit that we have a very good child care situations. Bebe Lulu's day care provider loves her, and all the other kids she cares for, very very much. She is also very clear about the fact that I am the mom, and I have final say over what Bebe does or does not do. She always asks what I think she should do, but she also explains her position on whatever the issue is if it differs from mine. She has more experience in the ins and outs of child development than I do, so when she suggests we (her and me we not Bill and me we) do one thing or another, or try something new, I usually go with it. Of course she's not perfect. I mean her house is way too clean, for one. Well, that's not a flaw. They eat differently than we do, more processed foods. But then again at the first day care we had I sometimes suspected that Eva didn't eat.

Anyway, we really like her. But I am also glad that Eva doesn't cry and pitch a fit when it is time to leave.

So when a friend of mine told me that she thinks that her sitter is overly possessive of my friend's son, I totally understood. Her sitter, let's call her Connie, constantly refers to my friend's little boy as "Connie's boy." And one day said, "Oh he's part of the family." My friend's reaction? Um no. he's part of MY family. She didn't say it out loud though. For me, that kind of thing is on emotional par with the other end of the spectrum statement: "I wouldn't want a stranger raising my kids."

Parental guilt is a powerful thing. One of the reasons I like our day care provider so much is that she knows what that's about. She doesn't push it. And she's been in the business long enough to know that sometimes just needing day care is a hot button issue for parents. Maybe not everyday, but once in a while I know that I hate leaving Bebe there, even though I love working. And then I feel bad for loving work. I'm not unusual, I don't think.

So. At the risk of throwing fire on the mommy wars, I think the reason behind those wars is that we each have within us competing needs - to be mommy, to be a star outside the family, to be the woman you were when you had money and time...I know that I get worked up, bitter, and angry on the days when I feel overwhelmed at work and home and happen to read the blog of a mom who doesn't work outside of the home and has a nanny too. And on the days when I want to stay late working on an exciting project and I have to rush out the door to get Bebe ready for bed, well, I sometimes feel bitter then too, and jealous of the fancy rich people with THREE nannies. And a housekeeper.

You can't win. Except that being a mom is such an awesome thing that I would never trade in. Except for on the nights when I'd like to go out and have fun, and I didn't get a sitter.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pioneer Life

Why does my propane always run out as I prepare to bake something? But you can't keep a Stahl from his baked goods, so Bill suggested we bake the anadama bread in the gas grill, since we were firing it up for dinner anyway. I am sure you already knew this, but it totally worked.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Winter is here. We are expecting 8 to 14 inches of snow before Tuesday and tonight I hear the low will be in the single digits. I like the winter but for two things: the feeling I get just before my car starts, when if just kind of gropes for some energy, and the fear with which I sometimes listen to our furnace. I realize that those two things together translate to not liking cold weather at all...but I do like the winter. I've just lived in cold places enought to know it costs much more than the summer does!

This afternoon we headed over to a picturesque little lakeside village for their Christmas celebration. Unfortunately, we got a late and napless start on the afternoon, so the presence of the ticking time bomb known as Bebe Lulu sort of dampened the festivities. We ended up only going to the afternoon carol sing along at the Masonic Hall. Bebe got right into it, tapping her toe, then humming, then rushing the stage and performing for the crowd. I'm such a stage mother. I feel better when the crowd for which Eva is performing includes a good number of parents, since I hope thay can nderstand that wrestling her back to her seat wuld cause much more ruckus than allowing her to conduct the music. From the stage.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I keep going to meetings and hearing unoriginal, yet totally true, adages. The latest was that if you organize your desk first, and then your day, your whole life will follow. I think this is a great idea that I will try for about 10 minutes. So I organized my desk. In fact, my desk is organized RIGHT NOW. Granted, I had to leave work right after the organizing was done in order not to disorganize it. And I took my disorganization with me to the tire place. I am so disorganized that I had to pay for my snow tire change over not with my debit card but with a post it with my debit card number scrawled on it. Because I left my purse at home today. But I am sure these problems will stop now that my desk is clean.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ready, Aim...

On Sunday morning I shot to kill. This is past of a progression which began with walks in the woods with my dad while he toted a rifle during deer season. When I met Bill I started shooting at clay pigeons with some regularity (and missing). Then I took hunter's safety and got a license. During the past two falls, I sat in a duck blind, holding a loaded shotgun. And on Sunday I aimed and fired. Except I didn't exactly aim. And I missed. I'm not sure I missed because I am a terrible shot, or because I didn't really want to.

Hunting is a loaded topic. I could say any number of things about it. I could try and write about how I used to be a vegetarian. I could expand upon my earlier post on local food, hormones, and organic eating. I could share Bill's duck recipes. But none of that really matters if you are against hunting, and I certainly understand why people feel that way, having once shared the opinion that hunting is wrong.

But no, instead I will just say that I hate getting up early in the morning, I hate being cold, and I don't really care if I bring home dinner. What I love is sitting in silence with my husband in the woods, or on the water, in a blind, in a boat. I love the way the silence ends after dawn has passed and we talk about things we don't talk about anywhere else. I love the way he plans these trips together, bringing me a chair, packing a snack, lending me the warmest socks. I love the way he is so happy to have me with him, that he doesn't go hunting to be alone, or to have MAN TIME, or to get a break from me, or any of the sad reasons so many women I know give for being hunting widows. (I love that it is not football.) I love that he has something he does that brings him joy, and that he loves to share it with me.

And I will go again, maybe not this fall, but next. I may even shoot again, but I doubt I will aim. It's a little bit nerves, a little bit bad eye sight, a little bit disinterest, and a little bit moral ambiguity. But I am glad to be there.

Laugh Riot

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Casualties of the Day

Seven pounds of potatoes -mashed
Three pounds of yams -glazed
Two turkeys - one drown in brine the other lowered into boiling oil (total of 32 lbs)
One sock - eventually found
One lip - bloodied and fat, belonging to Bebe Lulu

Monday, November 19, 2007

Anti-Promiscuity Cookies

Bill returned from Alaska with a plan. He thinks it likely that the chemicals and hormones and shit in today's foods cause the girls to have puberty earlier than in olden days. He's not alone in this theory, but he has managed to take it one level farther. He thinks that those hormones might also make her slutty, so he's added his new plan to the exisiting fatherly goal espoused by Chris Rock: just keep her off the pole.

That's why he came home with a bag of organic foods yesterday, including the wheat, dairy and soy free arrowroot biscuits he calls anti-promiscuity cookies.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Ten Things First

Yesterday I was a meeting of other local fundraisers. We all went around the table and shared news, ideas, plans. One my colleagues suggested the completely unoriginal but incredibly true idea that if you do the 10 most important but avoided things on your list before you do ANYTHING else you will see an incredible impact on your bottom line, which in our business is your fundraising goal for the year. I ventured that if I actually wrote those things down it would have an incredible impact on my need for a vacation.

I can't get into what my ten work things would be, but I can tell you what my ten home things would be (I had to exclude things that require more than $100 to do.)

1. Clean out my closet - keep, mend or clean, throw away, give away
2. Decide which books to sell on and actually like, you know, list them
3. Organize the storage room I never got to on bebe's last surgery day because her nap lasted 30 minutes
4. Come up with six more things that are not organize six other rooms, which is truly what I need to do but is incredibly boring.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Shake Your Birdie

Bill has danced with me once. Ever. It was at our wedding, of course. By the time he had loosened up enough to dance a second time we were back at the bed and breakfast, sleeping. Every once in a while he apologizes for this, but his apologies should not be misconstrued as an offer to make it up to me.

Which is why about six months ago he apologized slightly differently, and in advance. Because he realizes that whenever Bebe Lulu wants to dance with him, he will say yes.

So we do a lot of dancing around here lately. Luckily Bebe is not afraid to go solo once in a while, singing with her opera face and spinning through the kitchen or bobbing across the couch. If you seem too relaxed during the good song that's playing she'll run over and say "UP. UP. DANCE!" And you had better.

Which explains why the other night all three Stahls were in the living room, each hand clenching a crayon (a key prop) and shake shake shaking while Bebe yelled "Shake your birdie!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Return to Sender

The sound you heard at 6:17 this evening was my head exploding.

My back is much worse than it was even 24 hours ago and my appointment with the chiropractor is still more than 24 hours away. The pain began as mid back muscles spasms, but now includes searing neck stabs, tingling legs and general stiffness. At one point today I realized I could be mistaken for the hunchback of Notre Dame in profile. The level of irritation at this, when combined with the arrival of three poorly fitting/poorly made dresses I order more than a week ago and with Bebe Lulu's evening opera performance/hunger strike were enough to send me over the edge. But when we found out we couldn't get take out from Stein's for dinner? The end.

I can get over all the rest, but I am holding a grudge over the clothing. There's truly no place for me to shop here. We don't have a real g*ap, just an outlet where size is meaningless from one pair of jeans to the next. Another popular store seems to hide the cute well-made clothes when I come in. Everyone else seems to get lucky there...I find shit. I am too old, too busty, and too bellied for 3/4 of the stores in the mall and I don't like hippie clothes or mom jeans or appliqued sweaters enough for the other 1/4. So basically I am left with TJ Maxx and no time to properly browse the racks there. So I've been ordering clothes. Any favorite sites to direct me to?

It will probably be another week before I can move enough to try on clothes anyway, so slow shipping is not a problem. If only I could accesrize like Bebe Lulu.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I've been doing a little reclamation over the last week. More than two years ago I converted one of our five upstairs bedrooms into an office/craft room/female guest guest room. And slowly the room has morphed into a hellish pit of clutter and crap. I preparation for Thanksgiving, I decided to turn it around so the mothers can have a nice room again and we can have a place to keep the printer and all our paperwork. Since the room has one of the four closets in our house, the purchase of some plastic bins has realy helped the situation.

Beyond the practical uses of the room, it has a bigger purpose- it is the one room in our house that is all mine. I can decorate it how I want, arrange it how I want and be in it ALONE if I want. Bill and I each have a room like that. Even if I hardly ever use it, the fact that it is there is what matters the most.

The next step in Thanksgiving guest prep is to move all our crap (outgrown baby items, out of season clothes, etc etc) from one upstairs bedroom to another, so we can organize the crap and free up a nicer room for the second mother to arrive (the first gets my room).

Alas, I have been derailed by back spasms.

Monday, November 12, 2007

There's probably no sound as piercing to me as Bebe Lulu's blood curdling screams when she's pissed off. Right now she's in her crib in her room calling me, then Daddy, then me again. I'm ignoring her because I am a cruel and heartless mother. Well, I suppose that's what she thinks. Really, I just know she needs a nap that's not chemically induced-she has one of those earier today.

Bebe Lulu had her third surgery in 3 months this morning: 1. removal of thyroglossal duct cyst 2. removal of paper from nose 3. repair of infected incision from #1. Each visit to the OR has gotten easier, or I've gotten smarter. For instance we've gone from wagon ride to OR from prep room, to wagon pulled behind carry, to ride on stretcher bed with mom. This last was definitely easier. We've graduating from not even letter versed dose with in five yards, to out right refusal of versed, to giving versed to monkey before slurping it down. Again, why didn't we think of that before?

The screaming has stopped. I pray for a nap long enough for me to check emails for work, read various blogs, throw clothes in the drier, clean up dishes, sweep my office/craft room, reorganize storage room. In other words, a miracle.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Resurrecting the blog

I've been thinking for a few weeks about a return to blogging, now that I have the new macbook (swoon) and the high-speed internet at home. But I couldn't get any excitement going over my old blog, Whose Mama Next, because it felt all baby focused and Bebe Lulu is no longer a baby, despite this nickname. It wasn't til this morning that it dawned on me to start a new blog that's less about her and more about me.