Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolution 2011

Where Moms Who Blog Go!

In an effort to drop the 4 pounds acquired during the holiday season, my New Year's resolution this year is to eat healthier, go to the gym more often, and to consider doing a sit-up or two every once in a while. But, since I know it is impractical to think that this is something that I can stick to for a long period of time (how often can one eat baked chicken and quinoa for dinner?), I at least vow to be unoffensive when I show up at the beach on vacation this year.

I have found that dropping a few pounds is so much easier when one is working. What is packed for lunch is what you're eating. Compulsory self-control. Some dry Fiber One cereal and an apple? Well, if it's the only thing available... Three crackers and a box of raisins? Okay, better than nothing.

Being at home, surrounded by temptation, is a dieter's nightmare. How can one restrict the intake of calories when a bag of leftover Christmas cookies calls out from inside the cabinet?

So, maybe the solution is to be out of the house more often. Pack a lunch consisting of six almonds and a bottle of water, get in the car, and go. Anywhere. The key? Don't stop at the drive thru for a chocolate shake.

So, it's been settled. My new New Year's resolution: participate in things that draw me out of the house as often as possible, even if that means applying a modicum of willpower to my daily actions.

Ugh, my stomach is growling already.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hosting For Dummies

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My husband and I began a tradition of hosting Christmas day at our house a few years back, and couldn't be happier- we can eat (a ton), drink (a boat-load), and be merry (woo-hoo!) all within the confines of our own abode.
Everybody is gathered for Christmas day fun!

Avery, as well as any as-yet-unborn children we may have, doesn't have to leave Santa's fare to go off to Aunt Suzy-Q's house, we don't have to worry about driving after four (teen) glasses of eggnog, and both Kyle and I love hosting.

The problem is, we would also like to attend our own party, and not be stuck in the kitchen the whole time. So, the solution: come up with a menu that we can make ahead, find food that is quick to cook, or tell people to bring something. We do all three.
My momma flecked by my aunts in their red ensembles

We usually have a big crowd, so we'll throw a turkey in the oven in the morning, Kyle makes a filet (which is nice and quick), and we have a pasta dish. Then comes the sides.

Like I said, everyone usually brings a little something- creamed spinach, stuffing, cranberry relish, green beans, salad, etc. (I'm currently drooling).

I make an easy, yet delicious mashed potato dish that requires very minimal effort. There is actually no peeling involved! You can find the recipe here.
Santa baby and I- circa 2009

I'm so happy that I have family and friends who love to come and play with us on this fun evening!

Look at all that growing she's done!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's in a Name?

Where Moms Who Blog Go!



The events in our lives change us drastically, as people, from one moment to the other, so it is no surprise that my blog and its contents have been modified since it began in March. I began writing it as an outlet to record the recipes that I was using from week-to-week, hence the name “Dinner With Kir”- me being the “Kir” that is referenced, and “dinner” being the food that I was making each night.

Each time I posted the recipe links, however, I noticed that my real joy came from writing the short, journal-like anecdotes that preceded my dinner plan.

After a short while, I began writing fewer dinner plans and extending the anecdotes to be full posts. So, that's it. My blog is still entitled “Dinner With Kir”- the “Kir” still is me, but “dinner” references the time spent in the kitchen chatting!

I would love to hear the story behind your blog's name... let me know with a comment!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Where Did Thanksgiving Go?

The evenings have grown so much longer as this winter season comes to a pinnacle, and at 4:30 pm I drive through my suburban neighborhood with my headlights gleaming. I look around me to spy the twinkling Christmas lights that have begun springing up at each of the houses I come to pass. But wait, isn't it still November?

In recent years it seems as though the joyous holiday of Thanksgiving has taken a backseat to the impending holiday season. Pumpkins and gourds are thrown away just after Halloween, and are replaced by blow-up Santas and lines of glowing reindeer on the neighboring lawns surrounding our house. On this holiday that celebrates our family, friends, and an abundant feast, however, I think it's important to take a moment (or several moments, perhaps) to consider Thanksgiving for what it is, as opposed to being so worked up about what is to come next month- and, for that matter, the following day.

Believe me, it may sound like it, but I'm no Scrooge. I LOVE the Christmas season: the music, decorations, cookie-making, even the hustle and bustle. To hold out on the celebration, however, is to create even more wonderful anticipation for the event.

To consider such a remarkable holiday as Thanksgiving (or, not consider it at all) to be a part of Christmas is to undervalue its importance as an individual day to recognize the things that we are the most thankful for.

I am thankful for my family: my mom, dad, and sister; in-laws who are wonderful (rare, I know); a phenomenal husband whom I adore, a beautiful and bright daughter, my awesome extended family who, though I may not get to see often enough, always put a smile on my face.

I am thankful for my friends: those with whom I've been close to since we were young; my buddies from high school; those I met at college and beyond.

I am thankful for the things that are represented by the bountiful harvest: the food that we are able to eat every day, our home, our health, and so many of the “things” that I tend to take advantage of having.

So, as I get to my own home, still bedecked by corn stalks and cornucopias, I realize that perhaps I am not “behind the times,” just being thankful in the moment.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Do *Not* Try This at Home



It's about time that I fill you in on some of the recipes that I have tried lately, so you can have an idea what to have (or not have- as evidenced by a rather strange concoction from the other day) for dinner.

Let's go with some of the winners first:

  1. Looking for something light and simple to put together? The other night we had lemony chicken Caesar salad for dinner with some soup on the side. Though Caesar dressing is usually chock-full of fattening ingredients, when you make it yourself, you can control what goes into it. For example, I used a light mayo instead of the full-fat variety, and only used about half the recommended dressing for the finished product. Additionally, I decided to forgo the croutons in lieu of a slice of toasted french bread that could either be crumbled on top of the salad or dipped in the soup!

  2. One of the wonderful things about autumn is the plethora of fall vegetables that line the shelves of the produce department, the flavors of which can comfort and warm you. That is why on Sunday I made pumpkin lasagna, testing out a new recipe from Robert Irvine. The final product came out really delicious (I loved the combination with the spicy sausage!), but the left-overs (of which there were A LOT) were kind of mushy- not very appealing.

  3. Another good one was the turkey-sweet potato shepherd's pie that I made last night. It was different, but good. Although I was hesitant to add the orange zest to the potatoes for fear that they would become too citrusy, the the flavors were actually really good together.

and the big, fat loser:

  1. Okay now for the one you've been waiting for, the one that I will NEVER make again, orange-glazed chicken with pears. I have included the link because you never know if some readers are masochists who actually want to try this atrocity. The white vinegar, the soy sauce, the ridiculous amount of sugar- it was like a joke. Ugh! And it had sounded so good... Oh, well.


So, good luck to you all with your cooking adventures this week- and don't forget to drop me a line if you've tried any of these or are planning on it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saying Goodbye is Sometimes the Hardest Thing to Do (especially when it comes to candy)

Today was a sad day.

Today I threw out the remaining Halloween candy that has been calling to me from the pantry for the last two weeks. I covered it up in the garbage can with old paper towels and yucky trash, lest I get a major hankering and want to go in after it.


You may want to take a moment to mourn this chocolatey loss. I do need to move on, however: there are, as they say, other peanut butter cups in the sea.

The time for eating delectable treats at 8 am is behind me, at least until Christmas rolls around, with its goodies tucked away in my stocking...

Those thoughts should keep me satiated for the time being.



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Treats of the Season

Where Moms Who Blog Go!

It's important, as I mourn the loss of summer's long, hot days (and cute sundresses), to recall the gratifying and wonderful goodies that the cool days of autumn and winter bring...

  • The feel of being snuggled up in a yummy cashmere sweater
  • The soft whisper of the fire as it warms my backside, and the illumination the embers create- dancing on the hearth (better than fireflies)
  • As the world falls into an earlier evening, cocktail time can begin sooner (hey, as long as it's dark out...)
  • The first snowfall that sticks (not the twelfth, but the first.)
  • The smell of fresh pine from the Christmas tree and the wrapped up presents underneath it (and shaking them to guess the contents)
  • As long as I'm all bundled up, I may as well partake in that extra piece of pumpkin pie a la mode. Mmm.

What are some of your favorite treats during these fall and winter months?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In Your *Extra* Time

The brooding, bitter winter lay before us all, with its icy winds and biting temperatures that nip at our faces, no matter the amount of wool that we have wrapped around our heads. We are, however, recompensed with an extra hour, with which to... do what?

What are some of the things that I plan to do during this time of “falling back”?

  1. blog
  2. check my email 47 times
  3. update my facebook status every 10 minutes
  4. complete the crossword puzzle (with help)
  5. attach the completed crossword to the refrigerator door
  6. read the most current issue of “Us Weekly”

Hopefully I will be able to finish all that I've set out to do during my extra hour.


So, I ask, what are your plans during YOUR extra hour? How do you plan on spending this extra time that you've been given?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Beginning

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The drive was long and monotonous, but I was giddy to begin a completely new experience. A completely new life.

Five hours after we had loaded up the Mitsubishi with all my important possessions, we pulled up to the college dormitory that I would be calling “home” for the next two semesters. The day was warm and clear (eventually I would come to the realization that this was a rarity in this snow-belt upstate town) and the gentle wind blew through the leaves, the likes of which danced on the branches in response.

The other freshmen, walking anxiously along the campus sidewalks, had that exact same expression of excited trepidation on their faces. My mom parked the car next to the prodigious building where I needed to sign in and my sister and I each grabbed a suitcase from the over-stuffed the trunk.

After taking care of the necessary paperwork, we walked over to the dorm elevator. Stopping on the sixth floor, I walked with anxiety toward my new abode. Was my roommate there already? What was she like? Would we share clothes and stay up late at night to talk about boys? Peering my head in, I saw two empty beds, a couple of dressers, and a pair of identical desks. I let out the breath that I hadn't realized had been trapped in my lungs since the elevator. No one else had yet arrived.

After setting some things up, making the bed, and hanging up some of my clothes in the tiny closet, it was time for my family to leave... I was to be on my own.

We traveled down the elevator and over to the car, where we said our goodbyes. I hugged my mom and sister and promised to call. They honked the horn as they backed out of the lot and I laughed and waved goodbye. The car got smaller and smaller until they rounded the corner and was gone.

The reality was sinking in: I was finally an independent woman! I turned around and took a few steps toward the college that lay before me. And I cried.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Festivities



So, I just woke Avery up after she had herself a 3 hour nap, probably due to her extreme exhaustion that stemmed from a holiday weekend chock full of candy AND craziness!

I think the scariest thing that befell our family this Sunday happened to occur when we ventured to the nearby village, where they held a holiday “festival” and the kids were encouraged to trick-or-treat at the various stores.

There were upwards of a million people there... and Avery was not happy to be a part of the festivities.

Let us begin with the walk there. We are not going to comment on the wedge-heeled boots I decided to wear (but they were so cute with my outfit!) or the fact that we had to hike 27 miles to get to our destination from the parking spot- no. I think it best to focus on the fact that (from the very beginning) we were nearly run over by 4 seven-year-olds, each with his very own Spider Man costume, ready to either save the day or run over unsuspecting toddlers that dared to stand on the sidewalk.

Within moments the baby started screaming in fear, mostly because of the gentleman dressed up in the Stony Brook University's mascot uniform: the seawolf. The guy was obviously trying to be nice- he waved and laughed- but when he smiled and a hundred sharp fangs glistened in the sunlight, Avery screamed and ran toward the nearest shop.

That was the first of the fearful experiences of the day.

Shortly afterward, Kyle walked with her into Godiva (where I was sure there would be GREAT trick-or-teat candy!). Within moments, he walked out carrying a screaming child in his arms (and no candy).

“She saw Michael Meyers”

“Excuse me?”

“You know- from 'Halloween'? She saw Michael Meyers, and she's not happy.”


After that fiasco, we began walking back. This whole festival was not turning out as I had planned. Kyle let her walk around on her own as we got to the village center, but I trudged onward. I noticed within seconds that they were both right next to me again, Avery in Kyle's arms.

“Uh...” Kyle motioned toward Avery's little feet.

“What? Wait, where's her...”

Gone. One of her little orange crocks that I had bought specifically for this duck costume was... gone.

“It's, uh, down the drain.”

Sure enough, when I looked down the drain, there was her little shoe: staring up at me. Mocking me. Bastard.

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Blog! The Review Revue

In an effort to differentiate between the reviews that I do (hopefully for new products soon in addition to books) and other writing, I have decided to begin a new blog, The Review Revue, which when said a couple times in a row makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Thank you so much if you visit this blog every once in a while, follow me, or are stopping by today to say hello- your support is very much appreciated!

I would LOVE for you to take a look at The Review Revue if you get a chance.  A follow would be extra special (since I have 3 thus far and one of them is myself) and comments are always a wonderful treat!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shutterfly- the place to go for holiday cards!


It's that time of year again! Hard to believe that the summer is so far behind us now, and we're looking toward the holiday season already (especially with the temperatures here in New York soaring at over 70 degrees- sunbathing weather, perhaps?).

As a mom, however, I value the importance of staying on top of things- otherwise I get completely flustered at the mere mention of jingle bells!

So, I'm going to begin my Christmas shopping now and start the process of creating the perfect holiday cards to send out to everyone (I mean, otherwise, how are they going to know that I have the cutest child ever?). Shutterfly has a great selection of holiday cards at a reasonable price. I used them last year and they came out professionally and quickly (plus, it was super-easy to do).  I think I'm going to go with the "Modern Merry Squares" this year- they are very contemporary, and there's space for 2 photos, so my dogs can dress up as Santa's little helpers for one of the pics (as though they would actually stay long enough in a costume for me to snap their picture).  What's your fave?
My pic pick
While browsing around Shutterfly's website, I also saw the selection of Christmas party invitations, which completely made me want to host a get-together this season... so cute! Also a really nice idea? The Christmas gift tags, which make gifts look complete!

I know that there are a lot of options out there, but Shutterfly is a great one!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Clone

Summer, '81
Summer '10
1981- Kirsten at 22 months
2010- Avery at 15 months

For all of you who say she looks nothing like me...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How To Create a Behavior Modification Plan

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This weeks writing prompt is to formulate a “how-to” article, so I will use my expertise as a former teacher, in both the general and special education realms, to help parents to create a behavior modification plan.

Some kids have a difficult time portraying to those around them all that they're capable of, because their behavior is unruly or their demeanor is, well, difficult to deal with at times.

These children may be hard to control for parents, school teachers, and anyone with whom they come in contact.

These step-by-step instructions are aimed to modify the behavior of any challenging child and may be altered to fit a child's particular needs.

  1. Hold a meeting with the child in order to explain the plan to him and get his input. Consider the child's viewpoints to make him see that this is not necessarily a decision that is being made for him.

  1. The points system: Though the child may not yet understand the value of points necessarily, she certainly knows the value of stickers! Reward stickers can be purchased rather inexpensively and the books contain sometimes a thousand of them (try a teaching supply store to obtain them). If a certain amount of time elapses without a behavioral issue (or a certain responsibility is accomplished) by the child, she earns a sticker. These “points” or stickers may be kept in a book by the child.

  1. It is imperative that a child who has not demonstrated model behavior during this time DOES NOT earn a sticker. This is called “positive reinforcement”- the child is rewarded for good behavior, and simply not rewarded for behavior that is not good.

  1. There is no consequence for poor behavior, the child simply does not earn. Life moves forward.

  1. The reward: Once a certain number of stickers has been attained by the child (determine this amount before you begin the plan), a larger reward or certain privileges are earned. For example, it may be a physical object (like the toy truck he's had his eye on), or something that you allow him to do (like going on the computer for an hour, playing a video game, or watching a certain television show).

  1. Children who continuously succeed with this plan may earn a permanent accolade, such as a later bed time.

*It is critical for parents to remain true to the system. DO NOT give the child any of the stickers, points, or rewards unless they've been earned!

*Additionally, the plan should be discussed with any caregiver for your child as well. Teachers, nannies, even grandparents should be aware that this is something you are going to try.

If you do try the plan or are going to, let me know, I'd love your feedback.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Weekend Away



When a person (namely, me) goes away for the weekend, she hopes and prays that all will be okay: the house will not crumble, the baby will be fed, and the husband will have the ability to wash his own dishes and do the laundry (I think the latter may be the most far-fetched). That said, there is a little part of all of us that wants to know that we are needed- that everything won't be completely “normal” while we're gone (I think it's time for us all to be honest here).

Don't get me wrong, I didn't desire catastrophic events to befall Kyle and Avery throughout Saturday and Sunday. Perhaps a little impediment along the way, though, so that I felt... missed.

So I had mixed emotions when I awoke on Sunday morning to the chime of my phone, indicating a new text message.

Winnie, by the way, is our dog (not a child), who begins the night in her own, perfectly comfortable, dog bed, the sneaks under our covers once we've fallen asleep.  Lovely.

A part of me felt terrible for my poor hubby, who had stayed up half the night washing sheets and blankets, yet still had to get up with our daughter, regardless of his exhaustion (you know, like Mom).

Upon my return home, I was hoping for a few comments such as,

“How do you do it?”
               or
“You must be some kind of superhero!”
               or
“Wow- all this and you STILL look good? It's amazing!”

Instead, when I walked through the door, to my shock (and with a tad of disappointment), I saw that the house was pretty tidy, my laundry was folded neatly on a chair in our bedroom, and (I'm not kidding here) the bed was made! It was weird; On one hand, coming home to a clean house was a wonderful surprise, on the other, a voice in my head kept yammering, “Are you REALLY necessary? If everyone in the house can manage fine without you, what exactly is your purpose?”

Ugh. Depressing.

My spirits were lifted, however, when I gazed into Kyle's tired, burnt out eyes. “This weekend. Wow. I feel like...” He repeated something similar just before passing out in bed by nine.

THIS made me smile.

Friday, October 22, 2010

One Chick's Opinion: Being Philosophical Aint Easy



Review of The Sunday Philosophy Club, by Alexander McCall Smith

For a book with this particular title I noticed a lack of, well, philosophy, let alone a club devoted to the subject. I don't even believe that McCall Smith referenced Sundays at all- or even sundaes (yum!). That said, however, this novel was an absolute pleasure to read and kept me entertained the whole time.

Though the setting was modern-day Edinburgh, Scotland, it seemed the story could take place anywhere- it was easy to follow, despite the fact that it is a place I've never been (hint, hint, Kyle).


The main character, a middle-aged single woman named Isabel, is surprisingly relatable (although I'm neither of those things). A very curious woman by nature, she sets out to investigate the falling death of a handsome young man, with whom she felt a “connection” with as he dropped from the highest balcony at the symphony. Since Isabel was the last person he saw in life, she felt a moral obligation to find out the truth about his accident, suicide, or murder.

The real draw of this novel, however, is McCall Smith's ability to develop the relationships between his characters. They're just so... real.

I would definitely give this book an A (wait, is that the scale I'm using? I better go back to some earlier posts. Okay- good enough. A.).

Has anyone else read this or is planning to? I'd love to hear your opinions!

The next book I'll be reading is Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, so if you'd like to join me in reading it please do so. If you've read it in the past and want to discuss it at all, then just know that I'll finish... eventually. Be patient- it takes effort to carve out some time to read amid mommy-ing and committing to the new fall television schedule.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Google Image

Have a minute or three?

In that case, try this fun (okay, maybe not fun, but not tedious) activity: Google Image search yourself. Horrifying, is it not?

Okay- now post the first picture of yourself that you find (bonus if it's not already on your blog) and describe the photo.

You can do this as a new post in your own blog (just be sure to link back to my site for directions, just in case your readers want to participate) and leave your URL in the comment section of this post, or simply describe the picture in the comment section. Have fun and try not to close your eyes when a bunch of yous are staring at back at you from the computer screen.

I'll go first:
Awesomely enough, the first image that appears when I type my full name into the search bar is me, sans makeup. Just what I want everyone to see.



This picture was taken on the beach in Mexico last winter.
FYI, Mexico is probably not the best place to take a baby. Bathing her in the sink with bottles of water was not exactly a treat, nor was the resort's doctor who knew NO ENGLISH whatsoever (don't American doctors have to speak at least a modicum of Spanish to practice?).

So, that's it. Avery and I. No makeup. Don't make fun... I cry easily.

Wordless Wednesday- I love shoes!

So many choices!
The red heels are my favorite...
...or maybe the brown sandals...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Just because...



Where Moms Who Blog Go!



Just because I'm staring out into a sea of nothingness (I daze out a little sometimes, what can I say?) doesn't mean I can't hear you.

Just because I am looking at you doesn't mean I'm listening.

Just because I'm listening doesn't mean I'm going to actually do what you say.

Just because I'm looking in your general direction and nodding (as you go on and on- and on) doesn't mean I agree with you!
Okay, I'll listen to YOU...


What can you come up with? Fill in the blanks... Just because _______________ doesn't mean _____________.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Festivities



My weekend was quite nice, thank you very much.

A Saturday trip to the mall and Costco made me thankful that I had chosen flats, since we had to walk 17 miles (or so it seemed) to return a shirt at J. Crew (which they wouldn't take back! Obnoxious...) and to look at the sales in Lucky across the entire building, then another 75 million miles through the next parking lot just to battle the mobs of sample-crazed cows (including myself) who dared to flock to the warehouse store on a weekend afternoon.

Needless to say, I needed some downtime when we got home. Kyle decided, however, that this was the perfect opportunity to do some much-needed cleaning, so rather then sit on the couch and watch him maneuver the vacuum around my feet, I got up and pretended to do something for a while.

We had some friends over for dinner at night, which was fun. I made balsamic-glazed pork with lentils, another recipe from Real Simple magazine. I cannot say enough, by the way, about this recipe collection- everything I've made so far has been a hit!

Sunday turned out to be a quintessential gorgeous fall day in New York, so we headed out to Nassau County to enjoy the Oysterfest that we had heard some good things about. Forty-five minutes later, we arrived at the train station that was being used as a lot for the festival.

“Where do you think the shuttle comes?”

“Oh- that looks like the line over... oh, crap.”

Kyle and I gazed at the line of 400 people waiting for the shuttle bus to transport them to the site.

“Umm, maybe we should consider an alternative plan for the day.”

“Yeah, that would probably be to our benefit.”

It actually turned out to be a lovely day, though. We walked around and ate lunch at a nearby town, and Kyle was able to listen to the Giants game on the radio while we drove home. Overall, I would give this weekend a B+.

So, how were your “days of rest”? What did you do? Did everything go as planned?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Plan

Quietly, without hesitation
Quickly, silently

How can we come to understand the presence of something that is always with us?

Lurking-
smirking...
Holding us within its grasp,
the realm of which is immeasurable.

A paradox:
evil.
necessary.

A Divine Plan (but whose?)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cravings

Perhaps I'm disclosing too much information here, but the past couple of days I've been thinking a lot about cravings, mostly because of my insatiable urge recently to devour as many Twizzlers as I can get my hands on. Normal girly hormonal fluctuations are the cause for my recent hankerings (at least, I hope they're normal...), but I can recall as a newly pregnant lady, I had been completely dependent on frozen food.

I distinctly remember a time when Kyle went for a meeting and returned to find the freezer filled to the brim with bagel bites, taquitos, and pizza rolls. This, of course, is besides the 3 containers of Ben & Jerry's that lined the freezer door.


As time went on and my belly expanded, I desired Taco Bell. I needed Taco Bell. I would drive anywhere to find it- even in the most undesirable of neighborhoods.







I was completely repulsed by a variety of things- all of which were healthy (or healthier): salad, yogurt, anything labeled as “low-fat” or “fat-free”...

So I'm curious- what are some of the things that you craved, during pregnancy or otherwise, and what foods were you completely turned off by?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Motivators

Where Moms Who Blog Go!

Motivation is a funny thing. 

Sometimes you wake up- the birds are chirping, the sky is blue, and you have the desire to clean the house from top-to-bottom, do seventeen loads of laundry, drive an hour to the zoo to look at the giraffes (silly giraffes), and make a gourmet meal for your husband when he returns home from work- all with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Other times, like today (and yesterday... and the day before that), you sit around, staring at the dishwasher full of clean plates and wonder if it would be so bad to leave them there; to just continue sitting around, staring at the computer screen and eating cold left-over KFC (I blame last night's dose of NyQuil on my current state).

So, the question is, how does one pull him or herself out of a motivational slump; to turn off the “Saved By the Bell” marathon on TBS and actually DO something?

Well, I have no idea what works for everyone, but I know some of the things that help me achieve those things that NEED to be done. Like, today. Now.

  1. I make a list. This way I can cross things out, so it makes me feel accomplished. I put EVERYTHING on my list- from “fold the laundry in the dryer” to “call mom.”
  2. I dress appropriately for the tasks at hand. I remove my 4-inch heels and put on a pair of flip-flops. It pains me, but I can finish everything that needs to be done a lot more easily.
  3. I put on music. I dance. I sing. It isn't pretty.
  4. I give myself little rewards for completing certain tasks. “Once I've dusted the bookshelf and vacuumed the living room , I can sit down and have a handful (I said HANDFUL, Kirsten!) of pretzels while watching E! Until the next commercial break."

So those are my little tips to motivating oneself. What are some of the things you do to get your tush off of the (extremely comfy) couch and into the bedroom to make the bed?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hum


The monotonous hum of the bathroom fan seemed intolerable at first, as I tried to complete the work I’d set out to do; yet, as time wore on, it became less noticeable. Thinking back to that inauspicious day, however, all I can hear is the droning sound of that fan.

Candice was showering. In fact she had been in there so long, I began to imagine how unattractively wrinkled her fingers must be. I considered several disparaging remarks about her “old-lady hands,” said with love, to hit her with when she appeared out her pleasant little spa. In reality, her hands were beautiful: soft, youthful, not an imperfection on them, save for a tiny freckle in between her right forefinger and her thumb. God, how I had once been so infatuated with that diminutive marking.
But I needed to focus.

The finance world was abuzz with talks of mergers among several important companies. This could mean big money, or huge losses; I had to play my cards right.

A crash coming from the other end of the house interrupted my concentration. I leapt up, a feeling of inexplicable foreboding suddenly running rampant at the base of my stomach. “Hun? Candice? Everything okay in there?” I could not hide the urgency or panic in my voice. There was no answer. There would never be an answer.

The most difficult part about losing someone is the knowledge that you will no longer share in the memories to come. When Candice left me, however, she took with her the memories we had once enjoyed in the past as well.

I don’t hate her, I just don’t understand what happened, which is the feeling that the doctors at the hospital say I need to suppress. “There is nothing to understand,” they incessantly, yet patiently, explain.

I recall the exact moment when I knew my life would never be the same. The door to the bathroom was unlocked. Always demure and extremely modest, Candice secured any entry, as though we may be under attack from an army of peeping toms. As I opened the door, the sound hit me right away: the dull hum that would never escape my psyche. I called to her again, my voice echoing in the small, windowless room. Pushing the shower curtain to one side revealed a torrent of lukewarm water being consumed by the ravenous drainpipe. Unsure of my next move, I called out to her again, shutting the water off. Moving through the hallway of the small ranch in a matter of steps, I scanned the bedroom. Empty. The other rooms in the house were unchanged also. How could this be? To this day, I wonder the same thing.

The rest of the experience is somewhat a blur to me. That phrase, “Who is Candice?” repeated by people who I thought were my friends, the skepticism in my parents’ faces as I tried to explain my hurt and confusion, and, finally, my admission into the hospital that I now call home.

Although everyone persists that Candice was never more than a figment of my over-active imagination, I know that she is real, and she’ll come back for me. We will prove them all wrong.

If only that damn humming would stop.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Shall We Share a Spot of Tea?

Sadie (the big dog)
Winnie (the small dog) has not stopped barking and whining in an hour, since Kyle (the husband) took Sadie (the big dog) to the emergency veterinary hospital.
Winnie (the small dog)

Upon seeing my agitation and overall jitteriness, Avery (the small child) brought over her toy teapot and two cups.  I guess she thought perhaps I needed to take a breather.
Avery (the small child)
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