Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Catholic podcasts

Ok, I just had to post about this. I found a free rosary podcast through iTunes, as I mentioned below. But I did a bit more digging, and found that there are tons of free Catholic podcasts out there. There is actually a site called A Catholic iPod, how bloody cute is that?! Thus, never a girl that can leave well enough alone, I have resolved to check all of these things out and report back on quality. I'm sure you're all waiting on baited breath for my report :)

The nerdy Catholic Librarian prepares to travel...

For most normal people, preparing to go on vacation means that they pack sunscreen, their bathing suit, and put their carry-on toiletries into those ridiculous little 3 oz. containers and subseqnent ziploc bag that the airline industry subjects us to. What does the Catholic Librarian do, you ask?

(1) Go to the public library and obtain a small army of romance and religious fiction, and Catholic non-fiction to read.
(2) Charge up my beloved iPod Nano, Max, (Mike claims I love Max more than him) and synch him up with some new French music Shauna'h gave me.
(3) Use super speedy librarian powers to find a free rosary podcast through iTunes, and subscribe happily. I am now loaded up with the Sorrowful Mysteries.
(4) Refresh my Vatican Radio podcast list so that I'll have a few to listen to at the airport; this, of course, is assuming that Hank is unconscious or something. Otherwise, how on earth would I be able to listen to anything?
(5) Make sure that my binoculars and east coast bird reference volume are in the "to be packed" pile. I've spotted many a snowy egret from the car on the way back from the airport.

So, I think I'm ready. I'd rather sleep in the same clothes for three straight days then not have a book with me or anything to listen to. I shudder at the thought.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Post-Christmas sales...

Personally, I'm scouting for a nice wooden Advent calendar at 50% off that I can save for next year. And I'm also in the market for a white gold miraculous medal that I can put on a chain that Mike got for me. Seems they don't exist, at least from preliminary searching. Sterling silver and pewter yes, white gold no. We'll see. Online Catholic stores are no match for my librarian researching powers...

I also have lots of gift cards, and boy do I have a good time after the holidays every year figuring out what I'm going to use them on. I have iTunes, Old Navy, and my all time favorite, Amazon. So, so many ways that I can spend money at Amazon. How I love thee. But at any rate, I needed new reading material for my trip to Florida this week to visit my in-laws, and obviously, an Amazon order would not arrive in time :) So, I just got back from a productive trip to the public library. Has anybody read any of Nicholas Sparks' books? I picked up a few of those. I also picked up the last in Katerine Valentine's series featuring a Catholic parish in a small New England town, called A Wing and a Prayer. They're pretty cutesy, but wholesome, fun reads. Catholic fiction is not easy to find, I tell you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Back from the depths...

So, I spent the weekend pretty much snowed in. That's romantic for about a half a day, and then I go stir crazy. Yesterday was day 3 of my confinement, and by the early evening, I was ready to place Hank in the recycling bin for morning pick-up. It was rough. We baked cookies for his upcoming school holiday party last night, and he was under strict instructions that he could eat 1 cookie, but had to leave the rest alone. Every time I turned around to check on him, hovering over the cooling rack, he was (a) touching, (b) breathing on, (c) stroking, or, his personal favorite,(d) licking, the cookies. Everywhere I went in the house, within seconds I'd hear that little "mooommmyyy" with just enough whine in it to remind me of why my new box of Franzia is already empty. It was just one of those days where I had cabin fever and Hank was tired and difficult, but it had the added complication of appearing as if we lived inside a snow globe. I actually avoided even going *near* the doors, it was so bad.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Weather system approaching...

Sounds sort of ominous, huh? :) We're under a winter storm warning currently, upgraded from a storm watch. This isn't the sort of upgrade one usually looks forward to, like being upgraded to first class on your flight out to the west coast. Mike and I were upgraded to first class on our flight to San Francisco for our honeymoon. A flight attendant named Dexter fed us meals with linen napkins and plied us with Chardonnay and Heineken for four straight hours. That's the kind of upgrade I look forward to. Anyway, I digress. We usually drive Hank up about 20 miles to my parents house on Fridays for them to look after him, but the weather may prohibit us from doing that tomorrow. Thus, Mike and I are scrambling to rearrange our schedules so that one of us can be home with him tomorrow. Thus is the life of a parent of small children :) I suppose I can use the time at home to do some laundry and wrap presents. We'll see...I'm certain a cup of hot chocolate laced with Bailey's will come into play as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My little snowman...

That's my precious angel, third from the left. He did such a wonderful job last night. He took his duties *very* seriously :) Naturally, as soon as the curtain opened, I started bawling. Unsurprising, I know. He was just so, so precious and angelic. He also got to sit on Santa's lap:

Really weighing down Santa's knee, huh? :) He's such a big kid, but I swear, he's ours :) I was just so proud of him. In bonus news, he told us both before and after the program that he had to go pee pee, and then he sat on the potty and went. It's just raining toddler good news today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My baby!

My precious little guy is going to be a snowman at the daycare Christmas show tonight, and I couldn't possibly be more excited. I will try and post a picture tomorrow :) As you well know, I'm a pretty emotional person, and I'm thinking that seeing my dumpling up on stage is going to instigate the water works. My baby!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I am officially...

one of *those* people. You know, those people who get all phobic about other people being near them, and do all of their Christmas shopping online. I just got back from a jaunt to Toys R Us and Barnes & Noble. Holy smokes. The parking lot situations alone are enough to bring on the Ibuprofen. But going into the store and dodging the clueless people browsing aimlessly, totally unaware of anyone else's needs but their own, is enough to really do me in. Shopping carts left in the middle of the aisle while their owner cluelessly gazes elsewhere make me frantic. I was hot and irritated in the matter of five minutes. Plus, everything is more expensive than it is online. Long before I left the first store I wondered to myself why I wasn't safely ensconced in my office, sipping tea and browsing Amazon. What was I thinking?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flush with success of holiday shopping...

For the first time in as long as I can remember, my Christmas shopping is just about done, and it's still two weeks until Christmas. I've been much more organized this year, given that we're living on one income and I have to be much more careful about what I spend, and when. So far, I have to say it's actually turning out quite well. Instead of worrying (incessantly; this is *me* we're talking about) about purchasing numerous gifts for each person in my life, I'm choosing one or two gifts for them, very, very carefully.

My first criteria is no gift cards. Gift cards are wonderful, but I really want to see my recipient actually open an item that I've selected for them. More excitement that way :) The second thing is that I want it to be something that I really feel that they will enjoy and use, but of course it can't break the bank. So, I've had to be creative, and my Christmas spirit is much higher this year than in years past. I'm liking this. Instead of getting a lot of toys for Hank this year, (his grandparents will do that, in abundance :) I've been changing up my buying choices. I got him a very inexpensive Play Doh ice cream factory. Glutton for punishment? Perhaps. But Play Doh does inspire creativity, and is much better for the kids than watching tv. The one thing I did relent on was an inexpensive car toy where he can launch the cars through a spiral thing. I got him some wonderful books at the Scholastic sale, including one with vinyl clings of the characters that he can place in the book himself, and an accompanying small stuffed Wubbzy complete with a bendy tail. I also got him a wood puzzle of the solar system, and his own magnetic calendar.

Of all of the toys that he has (which is a lot, sigh) the one thing he plays with every single day since he got it is a wood puzzle of the United States. This thing is cool. *I* enjoy playing with it. Such a feeling of victory when one places the last piece in :) It cost under $10 and I had nearly forgotten that we'd tucked it away for him. I'm truly excited to give him the things that I picked out for him. Plus, they all take up infinitely less space in our house than the gigantic plastic toys - bonus!

So, this year, I'm honestly feeling better about Christmas because I'm not making myself crazy with an endless list of things that I need to buy. It's a good feeling :) *halo* Well, it's also partly that I'm being cheap, so don't think too highly of me just yet.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Scholastic success...

Being a librarian, I'm sure you are unsurprised to learn that I love books. I like to touch them, smell them, tuck them into my purse, and generally oogle them. I learned of a Scholastic educators warehouse sale from my mom, and I was all over it within the hour. I pre-registered myself (I qualify as an educating librarian :) and my good friend, Chris, and away we went. Over an hour later, we disembarked from the warehouse, me flush with book success. I *love* buying books, even for other people. So I selected a nice smattering of things that I know my book-loving son will enjoy, and I loved every minute of it. It was crowded in there, but super Catholic Librarian made do. I gently elbowed teachers out of the way to access the Wow Wow Wubbzy titles that Hank specifically asked Santa for. I stooped low under lingering-too-long women in the pre-k section to get at the super heroes offerings. Great fun was had by all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

*angels sing*

We had a monumental event the other day - Hank went pee pee on the potty *at school*! Much rejoicing followed. He's also gone at least once a day at home for the past week, including this morning before I took him to school. I'm getting hopeful; really, really hopeful. Of course, this decidedly does NOT mean that he asks to go on the potty willingly. Oh no, that would be far too easy :) There is still much protesting, mixed in with just enough whining to make you long for a box of Franzia. But we're getting there. That reminds me - I need to stop at the liquor store on the way home. Seems like the perfect night for hot cocoa with Bailey's :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I am officially...

obsessive compulsive librarian. I have Purell on my desk and spray the reference desk with Lysol before my shifts. I get sick *way* more than I should. I've had two miserable, long-lasting colds and pink eye in the past two months. I need to do some damage control :) The restroom situation here doesn't help at all. The chances of having a working soap dispenser are about 1 in 3. It's so, so ridiculous.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's always something...

I'm certain all of my loyal fans noticed the absence of a blog post this past Friday :) I was home sick. I had been sick all week, and figured I'd try and break the vicious cycle and get some rest. Well, I was home with Henry, since he's usually with my parents on Fridays, and I figured I would give them a break and keep him with me. As you can imagine, rest was the last thing that I got on Friday. I swear it, it was more work and more stress than being at work. Hank was just cranky and tempramental, and it was a tough day all around. Things didn't get better until I went to my bellydance class in the evening. This is the beginning of a new class session, and we're starting a new routine. Excited :)

At any rate, I try to get some rest Friday night. I've been coughing to infinity for a week, so I *really* need some sleep. We get a light dusting of snow Friday evening. 1:30 am Saturday morning, what do I hear? Our neighbor's slow removal service loudly plowing snow from her driveway. They were so loud, I thought something had actually hit our house and caused it to vibrate. So, clearly, at that point I was up. And then what happened? I started to cough. And cough and cough and cough. I coughed until I had to move to the guest bedroom for fear of waking Mike and Hank, and miserably coughed until morning. It was not a good day.

Saturday night. I'm sure you see where this is going. Light dusting overnight. 3:30 am - plow comes up neighbor's driveway and wakes me out of an absolute SOUND SLEEP. I was completely incredulous. There is NO WAY that they don't realize how much noise they make, and how close the houses are to each other in our neighborhood. It is so completely obnoxious that I am speechless. So I'm awake, and I begin to cough. I move to the guest bedroom. I notice that my eyes are real nasty and gunky. I'm grossed out, get rid of aforementioned gunk, and figure it's just my eeeevviiilll cold draining something particularly offensive. Toss and turn until morning, and stumble into the bathroom. One look at my face reveals an unpleasant reality - I have pink eye. Both of my eyes are swollen. The left is extremely red and the right is getting there. I wanted to cry. Pink eye is extremely contagious, and the last thing I needed was to pass it on to Hank. Plus, it was Sunday. Not exactly easy to get ahold of the doctor. I was scheduled on the reference desk in the afternoon. The Catholic Librarian was *most* unhappy.

So, I call the service of my new doctor. Some random other doctor is covering her service for the weekend. Fine. I call at 8 am and leave the message with the service. Two hours later, I'm still waiting for a call back, and I'm getting seriously pissed. Finally, just after 10, the random doctor calls. I tell him that I have pink eye; let's face it, it's pretty easy to identify. He *refuses* to prescribe drops for me without me being seen. I won't dwell on this, because I'm *still* upset about it. Completely, completely unnecessary. I waited over two hours to be told that I can either wait until the next day and go in to see my regular doctor, or go to urgent care. People, pink eye is NOT urgent. But it's contagious, so I didn't want to leave it. Plus, my eye was feeling itchier and redder by the second. If I didn't get the prescription drops, I wouldn't be able to go to work, and I would risk infecting Mike and Hank. I at first refused urgent care, stubbornly holding to my philosophy (which I maintain) that it is NOT necessary to go to urgent care for pink eye. I eventually gave in, for the reasons I mentioned above.

I arrive at urgent care to be told that my co-pay is *$35*. Once again, I have to not dwell here, because I am still *so* upset about this. $35 could buy Christmas presents for my baby. What did they do at urgent care? Take my blood pressure and temperature and give me one of those lame vision tests where you read the letters off the chart. The doctor walks in, takes one look at me, and proclaims "Oh, you have pink eye." I will NOT repeat what went through my head, because it is so, so vicious, I would have to avail myself of the sacrament of reconciliation. He gives me a prescription for some drops, and away I go. I am UPSET. Between the two co-pays, this little bout with pink eye cost me $50. We do *not* have money like that lying around these days, with Mike back in school. I am very, very upset. What can I say? It sucked.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cute bird anecdote

I'm still miserably sick, but I observed a very entertaining bird spectacle this morning that I thought was worth writing about. I was proceeding out of the house this morning, naturally bundled like Nanook of the North. Did I mention that I was sick? And that I'm miserable? Right. So anyway, Hank is up ahead playing in the drivers seat of my parked car. As I head out, I hear some pretty pissed off sounding crows caw-ing like there is no tomorrow. I'm sure you're all familiar with our friends, the American Crow:

I look up, and there is an angry gaggle of 3 crows in the tree in our neighbors yard. Crows always sound like they have a lot on their minds, but this morning in particular, these guys sounded downright surly. They were all bunched together too, like they were having an emotion-filled meeting about something. Then I noticed *it*. On a branch below them, sat a giant, giant ass hawk. I soon discerned that it was a Red-tailed Hawk:

These are formidable looking birds. BIG. And as you might expect, he was pretty nonchalant about the presence of our friends the crows. While they caw-ed their little black heads off, he was doing the bird equivalent of calmly inspecting his manicure. You could see the crows gather, confer:

"dude, WTF!! He's in *our* tree. We *need* to get rid of him!!"

The crows continued on, undeterred. They were actually aiming their little beaks with the angry caws, right in the hawk's face. At this point, I'm standing in my driveway, just staring up at the birds. It was like getting free Discovery Channel. A few crows in a nearby tree caw-ed in sympathy.

Finally, some action. The crows got together and drew straws. The one that got the short one gathered himself, and flew over to perch next to the hawk, caw-ing courageously the whole way. At long last, the hawk appeared to actually notice their existence. He shifted, and then lifted his considerable wingspan and flew off. The crows banded together and flew after him, escorting him out of the neighborhood in satisfaction of a job well done.

I rushed, pink cheeked, to the car, to tell Hank all about the birdies. Suddenly, I hear the crows again. I hurry back to the driveway, and what do I see? The hawk, perched with a smirk of condescension plastered on his face, right back in the same tree. The crows are gathered nearby, and they're frantic:

"What the hell?! Damn it!"

By this point, they are emboldened and angry. Multple crows fly right in the hawk's face and caw. He gets up, flies away, and comes right back. By this time, Hank is in the driveway with me:

"Birdies! Oh, they no like that big birdie, do they mommy?"

I had to leave, so I bundled Hank into the car. As I pulled away, I spotted the hawk securely perched on the tree, ignoring the crows, while they caw-ed away nearby. I was seriously enamored with the entire interaction.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hacking, coughing...

Can't really blog :( I am seriously *incapacitated* by coughing. It's quite a sight to see.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Advent Wreath

I'm feeling very advent-y lately, so I thought I'm linger on this theme for a bit. I'm also sick - AGAIN. I'm not having a good, healthy winter, I tell you. Hank is sick too. He came into our bedroom last night about 1 am, laid on the floor next to my side of the bed, and I hear *thunk*. *bursting into tears* "MOMMY!!" Poor Hank. He's doing ok though; when he woke up in the morning, he told me that his nose hurt. Of course, it wouldn't if he didn't insist on wedging on our floor every night and consequently banging his face on my dresser. *sighs*

Anyway, the Advent wreath. I did a little research on its meaning. I love this stuff :) So, the candles symbolize the light of Christ, and the round wreath the eternity of God. A traditional Catholic wreath has 3 violet candles, and 1 rose. Priests' vestments will match the color of the candles for each of the 4 weeks in Advent. Each Sunday a new candle is lit. The violet symbolizes expectation, and the rose stands for joy and hope. The Sunday that the rose candle is lit is called Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin for "rejoice." It is the third candle to be lit, and I was always told that it means that Christmas is near, thus excitement :)

I have seen wreaths that incorporate a white candle to be lit on Christmas day. *Jealous* - I want one of those. I have a very simple Advent wreath with long tapers, like this one:

Seems like the Catholic Librarian should have more bells and whistles :) We *do* have a spectacular Christmas tree this year. I'll take a picture and bring it in. It's a Scotch Pine, and the nicest tree we've ever had. Hank is also enjoying a traditional chocolate Advent calendar. You know, it has those other worldly tasking German chocolates inside. YUM. Hank yanked open the first window yesterday, and asked with very wide eyes if he could eat it. Then he wanted another one, but I told him he had to wait until the next day :) I feel very in the Christmas spirit today...

Monday, December 1, 2008


The first Sunday of Advent was yesterday. One of the things I love the most about being Catholic is the liturgical calendar. I like having schedules and routines, and the Church calendar operates right into my hands in this respect :) The Church year begins with Advent, and I love the four week lead up to the feast of Christmas. I've always had an Advent wreath, and this year is no exception.

Mike and I attended the Saturday vigil at our parish, and actually walked to church, which was beautiful. Hank fell asleep in his stroller on the way (*angels sing*) and I got to actually enjoy the Mass without peeling a toddler off the floor and otherwise being distracted.

On one of the Catholic message boards that I frequent, I found a link to this article on Orthodox Advent preparations. Orthodox Christians fast during Advent, and eat mostly a vegetarian diet during this time period. They also avoid dairy and alcohol. I have a lot to say about how Eastern Christian spirituality and practices can inform Western Christians; I'll come back to that at Lent, definitely.

I could comment on Thanksgiving, but I'll refrain. Suffice to say that it involved me running around my house, upset and stressed, me breaking a bowl, and bursting into tears. Truly, Black Friday was better than the actual Thanksgiving holiday in the life of the Catholic Librarian this year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I am thankful...

I won't be posting again until after the holiday (i.e. next Monday, I never work the day after Thanksgiving, I consider that still holiday time :) We have dial-up at home, and I'll just come right out and say that it's a pain in the ass to try to anything within a reasonable amount of time on dial-up. So, that's that :) Mike and I are hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house. I'm nervous, as I always am when hosting an event. I get paranoid about my house getting clean, the food being good and warm, having enough to offer everyone, and generally turning into my mother. The very casual Catholic Librarian suddenly demands that the bread be in a proper basket and condiments in their own special decorative containers. But it will be fun. My sister and brother-in-law are bringing wine, so we're good :) And I'm sincerely thankful for everything that I have. My husband, my son, my home, my faith, a loving family, fabulous friends, a good job that I love, and just life itself.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving craziness...

Busy. No time to post :) How did the girl with batter regularly on her kitchen ceiling get put in charge of Thanksgiving dinner?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Things that make me laugh...

Well, I had a pretty nice weekend. We worked with Hank a lot on the potty, and did have a few successes. Granted, they were successes that took place while we held Hank down onto the potty as he sprayed pee pee everywhere, cried, whined, and went though a series of pelvic gyrations in a desperate attempt to escape. But in the end, we made some progress. By midafternoon yesterday, our living room smelled like a horse's stall. It was below freezing, and we were tempted to crack a window to get a little air circulating. Good heavens. All the Febreze in the world wasn't strong enough to cut that odor.

At any rate, the other day as I was driving home, I heard a Christmas song on the radio that makes me laugh every single year. It's a pretty corny song, but I re-enjoy it annually. I don't even know it's official title, something stupid like "The 12 Pains of Christmas," I think. What it does is mimic "The 12 Days of Christmas" with little holiday disasters instead, and each time the count comes past their number again, things are elaborated a bit. A few really make me laugh, hard.

My favorite is I think number 2, the guy who is putting up his Christmas lights. He has a real porky sounding voice, and for a while just says that his pain is "stringing up the lights." As the song progresses, he starts to get more and more pissed off. It reminds me of Christmases past with my dad putting up the lights, which he always hated :) Eventually, our guys says "What, don't we have any extension cords?!" And "Great, now they're blinking!!" Finally, "Someone get me a flash light, I think I blew a fuse!!"

Other mentionables include the effeminate sounding guy who hates writing Christmas cards. At the last go round, he exclaims "Oh, I don't even *know* half these people!!" I also like the woman who bemoans having to see her in-laws at holiday time. Finally, she flat out says "She's a witch, I *hate* her!!" But the one that I relate to most is the pain of Christmas shopping. On each pass through, a surly toddler demands some complicated and noisy sounding toy. Finally, we hear the toddler exclaim "I have to go potty!!" and then, just sobbing.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I've just received word that there has been potty activity in Hank's day! He's over my parents for today. It's amazing when you have a potty training toddler - suddenly, pee pee, poo, bum, penis, and talk of urges and pushing become a part of your everyday vocabulary. Apparently, there's been some pee pee sighted and promises of poo. We're crossing our fingers. Our weekend has no formal plans, so it's going to be lots of time devoted to potty training for us.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rushed, rushed, rushed...

It's a crazy day, so I don't have time to blog like I'd like to. Oh, the inconvenience of having a job :) But last night I was alone with Hank while Mike was in class, and I was exhausted by the time the evening was over. This is supposed to be my free time? Five minutes before Mike had to leave, as I was rushing to eat so that I could move on the myriad of chores I had to do, we suddenly realize that the house smells like a barnyard. Yes, Hank had pooed right into his Lightening McQueen underpants. And this after having sat on the potty a mere twenty minutes prior and me asking in the interim at least five times if he had to use the potty. Sigh.

After cleaning up the mess (toddler poo is like a whole 'nother entity onto itself), I jumped into the shower while Hank watched a cartoon. I'm furiously scrubbing my hair, hurrying, as Hank opens the shower door.

"Mommy, what you doing in there? Mommy, what's *that*?"

Here's where an R rating comes into play, so read on at your own peril.

"Honey, don't worry about that, it's just part of mommy's body. Why don't you go watch Spider Man until I'm done?"

"But Mommy, is that your penis? How come it has hai..."

"ok honey, please don't worry about it. Remember, mommies have different body parts, they don't have penises." (peni? Anyway, for whatever reason we have no difficulty telling Hank that he has a penis, but the word 'vagina' completely freaks me out).

"But Mommy..."

The evening continued with yet more fun from there. I went to bake my Amish Friendship Bread and realized that I didn't have the required pudding mix. A vicious stream of expletives ensues. With soaking wet hair, in my pink panda bear flannel pajamas, I bundled Hank up and ran to the convenience store. We get back and put the bread in the oven. I embark on laundry. I start the water in the tank and open the lid. A load of clothes is *already* in the washer, and they stink. Another expletive. See a trend here? I have to re-wash those first. When I later move those to the dryer, and put my original load in the washing machine, things really get interesting. It's about a full ten to fifteen minutes later, and I make an important realization: I forgot to put detergent into the washing machine. I run downstairs, Hank clinging to my leg the whole way, and find the clothes in the spin cycle. I won't write what I said, because it was BAD. I mean, BAD. I should go to confession just for this particular statement. I yank open the lid and force the cycle back. I swear it, the machine formed a little bubble over it's lid that said "dude, wtf?!" It was just one of *those* evenings.

This morning at work, I had a meeting at 9 am that can only be characterized as absolutely excruciating. I hurry back for my 10 am reference shift to find a student *waiting* at the reference desk for someone to arrive. As I helped her, *three* more people piled up, one of whom was a student with a paper due in two hours and needed help "finding topics." It was like an episode of the Twilight Zone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Survivor: Potty Island

Well, we're persisting and Hank is still complaining. But I'm hoping (please God) that the consistency will have a stinky end result sometime soon. That's really all the new news with me. Sad, huh?

Oh, well, I suppose it's noteworthy that I've fallen happily back into listening to a nauseating amount of Christmas music like I do every year. Mike is already rolling his eyes. I've created a new holiday playlist for my beloved iPod Nano, Max, and am populating it with much enthusiasm. I've taken a real liking to Enya's new holiday album, And Winter Came. I chose not to download the whole album (cost cutting, sigh) but a few of the tracks are excellent and I bought them, specifically the title track and O Come O Come Emmanual. iTunes has a new Essentials list that I'm really digging (I totally fall trap to their devious marketing plan, don't I?) called Melancholy Winter. It's not depressing, honestly, it's really good stuff. You should check it out :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Outwit, Outplay, Outlast

Yes, this is potty training a toddler. Only the strongest will survive. Hank is now 3 years old. We introduced him to the potty back when he was about two and a half. He wasn't too interested, just thought the flushing thing was pretty cool. About two months ago, we started sitting him on his little potty a bit. Bought him some big boy underpants (Spider Man, that really sweetened the pot), and gave it a go one weekend. I think it was about the time that I was mopping up the sixth river of pee pee on our wood floors that I decided that he just didn't seem ready yet for full scale underwear trial. So, we bought some Pull Ups thinking that he would feel it more when he went, and gave it some time. Well, I'm afraid we got a bit complacent. Because, to be frank, potty training sucks. I work full-time, so I tend to want my off-time at home to not suck. Keeping the suck factor low is a high priority in my world. So potty training got pushed to the side.

Mike and I talked about it the other night, and we agreed that Hank seems to be getting a bit too big for his Spider Man britches. He's started to take advantage of our complacency, and has become even more obstinate than usual. When I tried to get him to sit on the potty the other day, he flat out refused and threw a noisy fit. Thus, the big guns had to come out. Hank is king of the roost no longer... :)

Starting yesterday, Hank has to sit on the potty first thing in the morning, after school, after he eats, and before bed. Or anytime he needs to or otherwise appears to have to go. But he was really used to us not making a big deal about this potty business. So, yesterday morning, the following transpired:

Hank: I want to watch Blues Clues!
Mike: You can, but you have to sit on the potty.
Hank: I NO WANT to sit on the potty.
Mike: You're going to anyway. Otherwise, I'm unplugging the tv.
Hank: *shocked silence*
Mike: What's it going to be, Hank?
Mike: Fine, the tv is unplugged.
Hank: WAAHHHHH! I want MY MOMMY!!!!!

The child is a master manipulator. Well, most toddlers are, I suppose. When I came down and reinforced the potty thing, he looked dazed. Within two minutes, he was unhappily sitting on the potty, sniffling as he watched Blues Clues. Nothing was produced, but we're determined to stick with a routine. Day after day after day. Eventually he will have to submit.

This morning started off similarly. The announcement that he must sit on the potty was met with stunned and righteous indignation. A multitude of hostile protestations followed, concluding with a tearful plea for mommy. Mommy too turned against him, and he was forced to realize that his morning was going to be cartoon-less unless he complied. He did, with much huffiness and bum squirming. No production, but we are far from deterred, much to Hank's chagrin.

This is a battle we're determined to win. He's ready; he knows when he's going now, and he has the control to hold and release. He actually told me - triumphantly, I might add - a few weeks ago: "I pooing in my Lightening McQueen Pull Up!" I'll keep reporting in, beleaguered, from the battlefield, and update on our progress...

Monday, November 17, 2008

OSHA for belly dancers

This was my favorite line from my class Friday night. It is referring, of course, to our ever present nemesis, the veil:

"now remember, ladies. Arms with moving veils are always above your head, or in second position. It's like OSHA for belly dancers. 'Arms above this level for job safety!'"

We learned a few new combinations, and are going to start a new routine after Thanksgiving. Excited :)

In other news, we're upping the ante with potty training Hank. It's really not possible for it to be going any worse. Well, I suppose it could, if Hank were perhaps throwing human waste across the room and dancing in it. But aside from that, it's going as poorly as could be. It takes a lot of convincing to even get his bum to approach the potty, and then after a lengthy session, no production. This has been going on for months, and the convincing is getting more and more difficult. He's now at a point where he's downright obstinate and refuses to sit on the potty. Well, last night, Mike and I made a decision: Hank will become potty trained whether he likes it or not. He's three: we are the adults. We can handle this, right? Well, of course, you know that the answer isn't quite so easy. But that notwithstanding, we've seized some control over the deteriorating situation. Hank was told this morning that there would be no Blues Clues unless he sat on the potty for a few minutes upon waking up. The look of shock on his face was priceless. We mean business now. There was a series of protestations, which we weathered, and in the end, he sat on the potty. He didn't go, but I figure, if we do this every day (no more diapers at home except overnight) eventually he's going to have to produce. The kid can't hold it forever. I'm certain that he's going to test that theory, but we're prepared. Well, as prepared as parents who have never done this before can be :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Feast of St. Cecilia

Her feast day actually isn't until November 22nd, I just realized that I misread my calendar :) But still! Her feast is approaching, so I thought she'd make a nice blog topic. St. Cecilia is my own patron saint, the name I took on at confirmation. She is the patron saint of musicians, and lived in the early, persecuted years of the church. Impressively, she is one of only seven women (excluding Mary, mother of Jesus) mentioned in the canon of the mass during the eucharistic prayer. She was fairly young when she died, though her exact age is unknown. She desired to live a single, religious life, but was coerced into marriage. Her husband belittled her faith, but was eventually won over to Christianity by her example. Her husband's own brother was also baptised, and they developed a ministry giving proper burials to martyred Christians. Eventually, as always seems to be the case in these sad stories, both men were martyred for their activities. Cecilia too was arrested, and when she refused to revoke her faith, she was also martyred. When her tomb was examined centuries later (*yuck*! but that's what they always do with saints) her body was found to be incorrupt. That's a Catholic thing you hear about a lot. Quite intriguing.

Ok so, there's a lot going on here. I think it's a touching story, to be sure. I like her powerful example in difficult times, and the fact that she was just a regular girl. Many female saints were nuns. Also outstanding examples, but since it's a different vocation than what I'm called to, I don't relate as much. That's why I picked her.

Obviously, martyrdom is not funny, but I have to be honest and say that sometimes I find a bit of humor in these saint stories. Especially the ones that are much older, so perhaps some details have been embellished over the centuries. The saint never is simply killed. They are bundled into sharp wire, kicked around, tossed into boiling water, run through the streets while people throw stones at them, and finally, chopped into bits. They had hard, hard lives and deaths, these saints. So, for St. Cecilia, I find this on the Patron Saints Index:

"suffocated for a while, and then when that didn't kill her, she was beheaded."

Wikipedia has it this way:

"At that time, the officials attempted to kill her by locking her in an overheated sweat-house (bathhouse). However, the attempt failed, and she was to be beheaded. The executioner attempted to decapitate her three times unsuccessfully, at which time he fled. Cecilia survived another three days before succumbing. "

Poor thing not only has a hard life, but a sucky death. Relatedly, I have a book on patron saint names for the purpose of naming your child. Mike knows the rules: any child of ours has to have a saint name. Henry has two, Henry and David. This is good. For many entries, a long listing of their patronages is given. Saints are assigned to be patrons of a specific group, entity, or affliction by virtue of having had some exposure or experience to it. Mike and I were literally howling with laughter when we read one entry, which included lots of random things, such as being the patron of lace makers, ship builders and house painters, and also stated that this unfortunate soul was the patron of those " being pursued and attacked by wolves."This guy really drew the short straw in life.

But on a more serious note, I think a lot about the martyrdom of early Christians because our situation is so much different than theirs. Certainly, people are still martyred in the traditional sense, especially in other areas of the world. But in our country? You're much more likely to be ridiculed for simply *having* religious beliefs and going to church. You're looked upon as needing an "emotional crutch" or just not being very intelligent if you hold genuine religious faith. Pope John Paul II addressed this once in a speech near the end of his life, perhaps it was World Youth Day 2002, in Toronto. He called it "white martyrdom." We are all called to be white, rather than red, martyrs for our faith in these times. I think about that all the time. There are many things about me that suggest that I am traditionally religious: the jewelery I wear, the things I put in my office, the rosary beads in my car, etc. And even those small things open us up to public criticism when you least expect it. I still think it's easier for us than it was for St. Cecilia, no doubt about that. But I like to think about modern spins on age-old religious issues, and how they still apply to us, here and now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I feel like I should post about something deep...

but I got nothin' :) Still too stuffy and coughy to be theological and edgy. I'll try again tomorrow, I promise :) Hank had his school pictures yesterday, and we can pick them up today. I'm SO excited. I threatened Mike with an annullment if he forgets to pick them up later. I love having new pictures of my little muffin. Oh! And, I arrived at his cubbie today to receive a note that in the upcoming Christmas concert, Hank will be playing the part of a snowman. I just about died. Can you even imagine how cute this is going to be?!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Trying to stay warm...

If you can believe it, I'm *still* sick. This happens to me every autumn, suddenly. I've been reduced to wearing fleece indoors and sipping herbal tea at all times. My throat is so ridiculously sensitive, it takes next to nothing to set off an embarrassing coughing attack. I'm actually headed to Old Navy at lunch to buy *more fleece.*

Well, at least I've had more lethargic time on my hands to work on my Christmas afghan. I'm more than half finished. It's very festive and cheery. And it keeps my lap warm in the evenings while I work on it. Every night I'm dressed in flannel from neck to foot, with heavy socks on. Mike swears I should be sweltering, but you know how men are. They're *always* warmer than we are. Why is it? But it's true, isn't it? The only time this was different was when I was pregnant with Hank, he himself a male heat generator. I should have known I was having a boy just based on that. It was like incubating a space heater for nine months. I remember lying in bed one evening, clad in a long maternity tank top and no pants. Mike was beside me, tucked under the covers, shivering. It was a powerful feeling of role reversal :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas is coming...

Our house is regularly filled with the strains of "It's begwinning to wook a wot wike CHWISTMAS! Toys in evwy store!!" Hank is practicing for his upcoming Christmas concert at the daycare. It's adorable. He has accompanying hand gestures and everything. Today is show and tell, and he requested to take in the new toy mixer that nana and papa got him for his birthday. The child loves to cook. He also loves to read, and his book collection is ever growing. He's at a point now where he'll flip through a book and try to recite it from memory, based on our reading it to him (again, and again, and again...oh, the joys of toddlerhood :) He now requests specific books to add to his collection, or borrow from the library. He handed me the flyer he got at daycare for the Scholastic book club, and pointed out a few titles that interested him. A true librarian's son; I'm very proud.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend stuff...

Well, I'm still coughing. It worsened over the weekend to include hacking, scratchiness, embarrassing tickling episodes while eating, and middle of the night spontaneity. I'm managing, but it's not pleasant. On the up side, I'm developing what Mike calls my "sultry voice." He loves that, and is sad when I get better and it goes away :)

Friday night I had bellydancing for the first time in two weeks. I missed it. We're learning some new combinations to get geared up for a new routine. I felt very rusty, though. Claire mentioned a move called "the caterpillar," and my first thought was "those red and black ones I keep seeing on the sidewalk? I bet I could go outside and find one of those." But originating in my hips and incorporating in something about a chest lift? No clue what that is. As we were practicing aforementioned caterpillar, the advanced class gathered in the hall. I could see them all unsheathing swords. I can't tell you how much the thought of balancing a weapon on my head strikes terror in the heart of the Catholic Librarian. Perhaps she'll never advance enough to be asked to be a member of the advanced class. The chances of this happening are pretty good, I'm thinking. Odds are on my side. Every few minutes I'd hear a loud thud, followed by a swear word. So, I guess the advanced class is human too :)

Saturday night was my baby's birthday party, and I get so nervous (this is a polite way of saying 'crazed') about entertaining people and having my house look neat enough. I also had my in-laws staying with us for the entire weekend. To aid in this effort, I downed two glasses of wine before anyone arrived. The evening went smoothly after that. Hank secured his own little set of kitchen appliances, and a big garbage truck. He couldn't be more thrilled. He looks so cute as he intently concentrates, loading the little cans onto the dumping arm. He also got a Match Box cars set of fire engine and police car. He races them around the house, shouting "eeeeeehhhhhhhh" in increasing intensity.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sickly :(

I'm at work today a half day, and I'm feeling pretty anemic. I'm hacking a lot, and feel run down within an hour of getting up for the day. I have my in-laws here this weekend. House guests always make for extra anxiety for the type-A Catholic Librarian. Plus, Hank's birthday party is at my house tomorrow, so lots of stressful prep work and people to prepare for. I'll make it.

He's so excited for his party. Poor child only gets new toys at one big clump in November/December. He's desperate for new fodder to play with. I could write more (what I hope to be witty) anecdotes, but I can feel the energy draining out of my body as I type. More on Monday :(

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Today is my baby's birthday!

*sobs* He's getting so big! My precious little angel. He was all excited because it was mild enough today to wear his short-sleeved Spider Man shirt. The child is bitter about being forced to be Thomas the Tank Engine for Halloween again this year. He's dropping super hero hints all over the place.

Anyway, we made cupcakes for his daycare class last night. I felt guilty when I dropped them off this morning, and his teacher enthused about how good the cookies were that I made for their Halloween party. Remember the pre-made Pillsbury cookie story? Right, I didn't fess up :) I just smiled and thanked her. The cupcakes too, were Pillsbury. I'm coming down with something, and was way too exhausted to make anything from scratch. My in-laws arrive in town today, so I'll have house guests until Monday, and we're having a small party for Hank on Saturday. It's going to be busy, and I have very limited energy. I'll do the best I can, I suppose...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Coughing, and other sleep problems...

Hank is (unhappily) medicated for his pink eye, but coughing. I'm now...coughing. And decidedly unhappy about it. It's a problematic cycle of coughing when you have kids. First, they get sick more often than we do, but then pass germs to us, so we're now sick as often as them. And then we're either coughing, or being woken by them coughing. It's terrible. I swear it, when I had Hank, I had no idea I'd never sleep normally again :( If babies came home from the hospital trained to sleep 8 hours through the night, I'd already have another child. Or at the very least, if they were like kittens with litter, and after a 6 week training period, could sleep 8 hours though the night.

There are women who tell me that their 6 week old baby slept through the night with no problems. Whenever someone tells me this, I secretly envision binding and gagging them, and forcing them to sleep in my house for a year. And perhaps putting bats in the room with them. And fire ants. A lot of the time though, women who tell me this have an empty nest and haven't handled 24-hour baby care in twenty years. I call it "grandmother brain." Here's a sampling:

"My daughter slept through the night at 4 weeks old. I gave her cereal in her bottle to accomplish this. If you want your baby to sleep, you must do this too."

"Henry still isn't sleeping well at 6 months old? You might be catering to him too much."

"It's the breastfeeding. That's why I didn't do that."

"He's so active, I can never take my eyes off him. You girls were never like this. You used to play in your playpen for *hours* up until you went to kidnergarten." This egregious example is from my own mother. This is grandmother brain at it's worst. We stayed quietly in playpens for extended periods of time until we were 5 years old? What did she do, sedate us?

Anyway, now Hank and I are both coughing, which means my sleep deprivation factor is now multipled by two. I'm certain that Mike is next. It's like a vicious fungus.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy election day!

Hank has pink eye :( Ugh. Mike is home with him this morning, and I'm taking the afternoon shift. Poor little thing. He also has a cough and is generally sickly. Definitely needs some TLC.

In the mean time, though, I'm at work and enjoying the buzzing going on about the election. I'm not a big politics talker, but I do like being informed and keeping up-to-date. Definitely looking forward to vegging with some wine later and watching some good old CNN coverage.

Last night while Mike watched the Steelers game, I watched some WEtv (unsurprisingly). I saw part of a hilarious episode of My Fair Wedding. Our favorite wedding guru, Nick Tutera, visits with a bride who wants a "Cinderella, princess themed wedding." Pretty much the exact opposite of my wedding tastes, but to each their own :) Anyway, Nick asks her to show him what she's chosen so far for her details. They did this cut-away sequence where you would see Nick and the bride, and then just Nick alone commenting on what she had shown him. The bride whips out the fake rose petals, plastic diamonds, and artificial gold and pinkish centerpieces she purchased to place on the tables.

Nick: "I seriously thought I was going to pass out."

Next came talk of "Ben, the balloonatic" who would be transporting pink and white balloons to the wedding. Something about larger balloons releasing smaller ones, a tower of cascading balloons, etc.

Nick: "Ok, balloons should not be used in a wedding *ever.* EVER. Ben the balloonatic is going to have to talk to me, because seriously. He needs to just go away."

The coup de grace was the dresses. The maid of honor puts on her dress, a pink frothy concoction that looked like something out of My Super Sweet 16.

Bridesmaid: *good naturedly* "I feel like a giant birthday cake!"
Nick: *shudder* "That color looked like Pepto Bismol, and Oh God, I just can't..."

The bride's dress was a gigantic white puff ball, complete with elbow length gloves that came to a point and hooked over her middle finger.

Nick: "ok seriously, she's going to thank me for this. Because I just know that this is one of those dresses that she'll look back on in five years and think 'what on *earth* was I thinking?!"

Oh, it was good. Real good.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tough weekend

Well, Halloween weekend wasn't the funfest I thought it was going to be :) Hank came home from my parent's house super cranky on Friday and was nearly banned from trick or treating due to the 30 minute temper tantrum he threw at approximately 6:15 pm. We did end up taking him, but he was the most miserable Thomas the Tank Engine I've ever seen. "Hank honey, say 'trick or treat.'" "Twik or Tweet" *scowl*. The rest of the weekend consisted of so many temper tantrums I lost count, me crying, and Hank getting into everything we've ever told him not to 100% of the time. On Sunday, that resulted in him spilling an entire container of Pumpkin Pie Spice coffee creamer on our kitchen floor; subsequently, irrespective of the approximate fifty freaking times I obsessively cleaned the floor, the thing still felt like the floor of the awful restrooms here in the library. Every time I walked into the kitchen, I let loose a string of un-Catholic like obscenities at the new sticky feet prints on the floor, just as my own adorable fall leaf socks began to adhere to the laminate. It sucked.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Amish Friendship Bread

Well, my first foray into baking the Amish Friendship Bread was last night, and I think that overall it went pretty well. I've monitored the loaf I left in the reference office very carefully (because I'm like that; it's the Type A personality) and more then half of it is eaten. Score :) Took me longer to bake than I anticipated, though. Events transpired as follows:

- While Hank is quietly looking through his books, I gather necessary baking items and make a huge mess on the counter. Because I am how I am, I try to wipe up every little flour spill as it happens. I end up with a layer of white paste covering the counter at all times.

- I begin to mix ingredients, and realize the sheer volume of sugar this recipe calls for. We have this pathetic little sugar can that Mike insists is better than a real bag of sugar. I quickly eliminate the entire contents of the can, but luckily have just enough.

- As I measure out the other "starter kits" that are spawned off every time you make this recipe, I make a giant, giant mess emptying the batter into gallong ziploc bags. Hank is next to me, spreading water everywhere as he plays in the sink. See "white paste" as described above, supra.

- I put the starter kits on top of the gas stove, and one of them molts onto the back display. Apparently there was heat radiation going on that I wasn't aware of. I have to replace bag, and make yet another giant mess.

- I get my batter assembled, and it's real lumpy. I'm decidedly anti-lump. I stir it for far too long to get all the lumps out. Pretty soon, it's nearly 7:30 pm, and I'm still working on finalizing the batter. It's a sickness.

- Recipe says to mix some sugar and cinnamon and dust the loaf pans with it. I do so. Use up all the cinnamon sugar, and then realize that the recipe said to put some if it on top of the bread. F*ck! Oh well.

- Mix in optional chocolate chips, and suddenly Hank's chocolate meter kicks in and he comes sniffing into the kitchen. He demands to get up on a chair and "help me stir" and manages to nab several of the chips.

- In relief, I pop the loaves into the oven, and the entire house quickly smells divine. A baking success; what a rarity!

So, I'm pleased. Next weekend, I'm going to make a low-cal version with Splenda, and add raisins and walnuts to put out at Hank's birthday party. We'll see how it goes :) Anybody want a starter kit?

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Well, I made my Pillsbury pre-everything cookies last night, and unsurprisingly, they turned out rather well :) All I had to do was pop open the package, place the pre-cut balls on my baking stones, slap in oven for fifteen minutes, and voila! I'm terrible at measuring out cookie dough. I either make them too small and they get all crunchy, or I make them too big and they spread out too much on the sheet and run into the other cookies. I *hate* when that happens. Then the edges look all straight and weird. Anyway, I'll buy those again for when I need to quickly bake cookies on a week night. After work, I'm way too tired to drag out the beaters and attempt to bake something edible. Like I said, baking doesn't come naturally to me. Not only that, but my attempt will inevitably involve profanity, use of force on household appliances, scraping batter off the counter, walls and possibly ceiling, cloud of flour forming in the kitchen, and throwing away of deformed first product. Tonight I'm baking the Amish Friendship Bread. Thank God I talked to Bridget yesterday, or I would have used olive oil, not nearly enough pudding mix and only baking soda. Baking soda, baking powder, what the heck is the difference? Apparently, an important one.

Hank liked the cookies. I had to stop him from eating the raw dough and chewing on the spatula, but other then that, things went great.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I'm real inspired about baking and cooking lately. Some of it stems from my weight loss efforts (down nearly 7 lbs! *halo*) and some of it stems from my new obsession with the wedding cake show. But at any rate, Hank and I are baking cookies tonight for his Halloween party at daycare tomorrow. I'll fess up right now: they're Pillsbury pre-mades. What an invention! But I'm a better cook than I am baker. Cooking, I can say "what? ground coriander seeds? yeah, I'll use something else instead." With baking? Not so much. I once attempted to make this cream cheese ball for a dessert at a Bunko gathering I was to attend. It had chocolate chips in it and all kinds of fab sugar and spices. Generally, you'll dip graham crackers in it. My friend Adrienne gave me the recipe. Well...*heaves sigh* It didn't turn out so well. It tasted fine, but let's just say that it didn't turn out in a ball. The consistency was all wrong. We don't own a stand-up electric mixer, and that was part of the problem. Trying to slowly add confectionary sugar while using those portable beaters = goop on Tiffany's kitchen ceiling. So, with baking, my improvising doesn't work out so well.

My next project is the Amish Friendship Bread starter kit that Bridget gave me. I've been happily mashing the mixture for 9 straight days, just like the instructions tell me. I'm a good rule follower. Tomorrow is the true test. I'm planning to bring some into work on Friday assuming it doesn't turn out disastrously, so be sure to check the reference office on Halloween :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Being an instruction librarian...

Last night, I was a guest speaker at the library school class of my good (read: fabulous) friend and much admired colleague, Chris. He teaches a user education course, and asked me to come speak on librarian teaching anxiety. For the girl voted "Shyest" in her senior class in high school, I have much anxiety to speak of.

I really wanted to keep it informal, so with Chris's permission, I wandered in in jeans and a sweater, sat on the desk in the front of the room, and chatted for about 35 minutes about my introverted personality and how I managed to find, and thrive in, a position that requires me to do something that I had always hated - public speaking.

I tried to mix it up with funny anecdotes. I always try to do that when I teach, anyway. A smattering of personal stories will always capture attention much more than a straight lecture with zero drop of personality. I generally try to let the stories be spontaneous; things that I plan to be funny rarely turn out to be as funny to others :) Last night, the biggest laugh I got was after someone asked me what I did to psych myself up before I taught a class. Warning them that this was perhaps a bit tmi, I said that right before a class I often feel precisely like I did when I was in labor with my son - as in: well, there's no going back now, is there? Yep, pretty much stuck. So, I come to terms with that, make an effort to greet students as they come in and try to develop a positive rapport, and suddenly, I will feel more comfortable right before class begins.

But they did laugh, which is such a refreshing change over the undergraduate faces of stone I usually see when I look out into my classroom. And they seemed interested. Always a big plus. There was no guy in a hooded sweatshirt and headphones sleeping in the back row. Bonus. So, overall, I think it went pretty well. As would be expected, I was very nervous. But that was sort of the whole point of me being there :) Librarians are not natural born teachers, necessarily. It's an acquired skill, and one that can be acquired and a fondness developed for despite a distinct lack of enjoyment at being in front of a group of people. It felt good to address a group of budding librarians and share some librarian kinship. Hopefully, I'll be invited again :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Seriously procrastinating...

I should be writing a book review, but here I am. Daydreaming about the cakes on Amazing Wedding Cakes. It's true - I'm a closet frosting addict. I will eat it right out of the can. Usually, that sort of desperate measure was only employed when I was really down about something or had just broken up with a boyfriend. In other words, I haven't delved down this path of frosting-related destruction for quite some time. But still. Whipped cream doesn't really do it for me, but cream cheese and buttercream with or without fondant make me weak in the knees. I want to eat my tv just watching this show. Why are you still talking about this Tiffany, it's a show about cake. Yes, I know. I have a problem. At least I can admit it. I watched with rapt fascination while they rolled out the fondant sugar dough and crafted it onto the cake for that seamless, perfection look. Felt my mouth water when they prepared those little bakery bags to squirt designs out of. Good Lord.

In other We Go Bridal night news, I thought I'd complile a list of my favorite moments from the bridal reality shows the past few weeks. The winners are:

3. bridesmaid riding in the backseat of Amanda's car (this is the girl who wanted to only pay her venue $80; remember her?) sits in such an unladylike way that WE has to arrange a modesty splotch in a very compromising location. Sometimes I miss my US Weekly subscription.

2. Several brides try to make demands on their bridesmaid's hair. And I don't mean "oh, allow me to set up your updo appointment for you for the morning of the wedding." These brides actually told people to un-dye their hair or otherwise make drastic changes because their new cut or color wasn't what was envisioned for their dream wedding. Some people have an astonishing amount of audacity.

1. The bridesmaid dress from last night. I actually snorted when I saw it, talk about unladylike. It was pink. It was puffy. It had *crenoline*. It had this brown sash thing that flattened the chest of anyone within a mile wide radius. I've seriously never, ever seen a dress that awful before. The matron of honor really, really looked like a giant pink powder puff. It was *bad*.

New shows to discuss...

Mike is going to just die. Last night, when I blissfully had the tv all to *myself*, I watched not only Bridezillas (I would write about it, but it was pretty unmemorable this week. If I come up with anything, I'll post) but My Fair Wedding and Amazing Wedding Cakes. The cakes show just makes me incredibly hungry. Flowers made out of fondant? Sweet Mother of God. It's good though. It chronicles three bakeries and the crazy cake requests they get, and fill.

My Fair Bride is seriously decent. This really fabulous wedding guy named Anthony (incredibly good-looking, amazingly sweet and funny, but gay; doesn't that always figure? :) goes through and completely re-designs a wedding for a given bride. Last night's episode featured a bride who wanted a South Beach theme. She had chosen a sickening green and Halloween purple as the colors, and the poor bridesmaids were subjected to dresses in those colors. You should have seen Anthony's face. He selects three Jim Hjelm dresses instead, which are *fabulous* and tells them that he will pick one and they'll find out which one on the day of the wedding. He does the same with the bride's dress and the reception venue decorations. It comes out smashing, of course. I enjoyed :)

Tired librarian...

This weekend, my husband was out of town, so I was on full-time Hank duty. I can assure you, working full-time is not nearly so exhausting as wrangling a toddler for two straight days. Weekend progressed as follows:

Friday night: Bellydancing class. Catholic Librarian = *happy*. We didn't have class last week, and we don't have it this week due to Halloween, so I was relishing my belly time. We practiced hip pistons, which are just as exhausting as they sound. We also learned a new turn. I get dizzy pretty easily, so turns are always tricky for me, but I did well.

Saturday: Did some shopping for Hank's upcoming birthday and Christmas. I know it's October, but I'm Type A, remember? Wore Hank out sufficiently such that he fell asleep upon 20 minutes after arriving back home. Victory is mine.

Sunday: I walked around the house for the entire day with Hank clung on to my leg like a koala bear. He claims that a witch scared him in Yo Gabba Gabba. As if I need one more reason to *hate* that grating show. I couldn't leave him alone for a second lest the witch "get him." *sighs* Hank spent the rest of the day trying to lay claim to the present I bought for my nephew Finn, a Diego rescue pack. "This is mine; I have this." "No honey, that's for Finn." "I press button." *Diego rescue pack songs plays incessantly for five straight minutes* "ok sweetie, that's enough, you don't want to wear the batteries out." "This is Henry's." "no sweetheart, it's Finn's, remember?" "I play with it. I *open* it." "no honey, you can't open it." It was a bit of a long day.

Monday morning: Hank announces that "my eaors are hurting me!" Catholic Librarian = worried. May have to make yet another appointment with the pediatrician. This would be fourth in the past seven weeks. *sighs again*

Friday, October 24, 2008

Being a working mother

We had a tough night with Hank last night. As has been the case since June, one of us had to stay with him in his bedroom for him to fall asleep ("mommy, I *scaored!") About 12:45 this morning, I thought I was dreaming. In the dream, Hank was annoying me by pulling my hair, and I was trying to get him to stop. Then I realized that I was awake, in bed, and Hank was standing by the side of the bed, actually pulling my hair. When I told him to go back to sleep, he demanded to get in our bed. As I always do, I told him he couldn't, because then there wouldn't be enough room for mommy and she would get no sleep. I speak from experience on this one. We have a double bed. Three people cannot comfortably fit in it. Hank looked at me, and then commenced a giant, ugly temper tantrum. By the time we got him back to sleep, it was nearly 2 am. He woke me again at 5:30 am, asking to get into our bed. Another turn down, another pout session, although not nearly so violent this time. By the time 6:45 rolled around, I was exhausted. And I had to get up, get ready, get Hank's stuff ready to go to my parent's house for the day, and then get to the "relaxing" part of the day, which is working full-time at the library.

I love my job, and I feel fulfilled as a working mother. But it's difficult. I often feel like I'm shortchanging one arena of my life, and that's not an enjoyable feeling. I'm *always* tired. And I'm often insecure about whether or not I'm a "good mother" or a "good Catholic" because I work full-time. It's true that I'm at a stronger sense of peace about things than ever before. I'm a hard working mother, that's for certain. Not because I work outside of the home, but because I do the best I can with the situation God gave me. But I still worry that other mothers look down on me because I work. And because my son goes to daycare four days a week. I really, really worry about this. I will grant, I worry about more things than most people. But it's a struggle for me.

I'll just keep doing the best I can. Unsurprisingly, I'll keep worrying, as well.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Winged Migration

I recently viewed a film called Winged Migration, a chronicling of migratory birds on a full cycle of their spring and fall migrations. It was one of those movies that I'm still thinking about weeks after I saw it, which means that it touched something in me very deeply. So, bear with me while I debrief :)

A handful of bird species were highlighted, including the arctic tern, the African white pelican, some storks and cranes, Canada geese, snow geese, barnacle geese and absolutely gorgeous red-breasted geese. The film includes very little narration, yet keeps the viewer engaged for about an hour and a half, just observing birds flying, interacting, breeding and generally surviving.

The most fixating element of the film is the quality of the footage. The camera appears to be strapped to the back of one of the geese, you feel so close to them. You can actually see their little faces as they fly. This is going to sound strange, but the geese, in particular, have *very* cute faces. And they look so earnest as they fly. They're taking their job very seriously :) They fly and form their giant V patterns with the utmost concentration.

So, throughout the film, there are events that made me smile, and some, of course, that made me cry. The director does a good job leaving the most upsetting things to the imagination and off camera, but still. In particular:

1. Scene in which a caged Canada goose hears fellow compatriots flying overhead and honks to them. He tries to fly away and join them, and when he can't, I swear his face actually falls. He watches them fly away with a look of utter dejection.

2. Baby bird of some kind nested in the grass, about to be run over by a tractor.

3. Red-breasted geese waddling through a toxic plant of some kind. One of them gets stuck in muck and is trapped as his friends get spooked and fly away, leaving him behind, panicked.

4. Baby penguin gets lured away from his parents and attacked by some nasty ass scavenger bird and...well, you know :(

5. White bird (tern?) has a broken wing and is abandoned by his flock on an African beach. Hideous looking crabs chase him down and he is powerless to fly away :(

The two that disturbed me the most were 4 and 5. Baby anythings these days make me think of my own son. Everything changes when you become a parent. Not that I ever would have enjoyed seeing a tiny chickling harmed, mind you. But now, the baby penguin and hook beaked predator in my mind become the cherubic Hank and some vandal trying to rip him from my protective arms. Someone whose very heart I would rip out with my bare hands should they attempt to hurt my baby. The penguin parents also tried to fight back, but Mr. Nasty Ass easily pushed them away. I swear it, on a scale of 1 to 10, this bird's face slappability factor was a 15.

And then that poor white shore bird :( It was pathetic watching him struggle, knowing exactly what those awful crabs wanted to do. It was then that I wondered to myself how the filmmakers restrained themselves in these situations. If I were anywhere in the vicinity, there's a zero percent chance of the following NOT happening: me, with a baseball bat, swinging at the crabs shouting "back off, you little f*ckers!" This of course ignores the fact that these particular crabs were anything but little. These were some gigantic crustaceans. They probably would have turned their attention from the bird to my leg, but never the mind.

I dwelt on these scenarios for days, weeks even. Despite the happy sequences of parent birds cavorting with their little ones, baby loons riding on their mothers backs, even a wild mackaw escaping from being caged and sold through use of his beak and sheer ingenuity, my mind wandered back to the vulnerability of these animals. All they are doing is minding their own business, not bothering their human friends in the least, trying to survive and raise their young. And all of these terrible things can befall them.

Well. Then I saw the "Making of" featurette on the DVD. I'm still mulling over my thoughts on what I learned there. As I mentioned, of course I wondered how they filmed the birds so closely. Turns out they did something called "imprinting." They raised the featured geese and company from the egg, bonding with them and getting them used to the noise of the equipment. In particular, that's how they got those unbelievable flying segments. The birds allowed them to fly right in their formation with an ultralite, a small flying machine with mounted camera. This information really tainted my view that these birds were filmed "in the wild." For instance, for the African footage, they actually flew the relevant birds to Senegal in an *airplane*. This film was just much more staged then I anticipated

In other respects, the "Making of" showed a fascinating side angle of the filmmakers interaction and relationship with the birds. When the pelicans fell ill with a parasite, they nursed them back to health. In one amusing scene, a handler is trying to get a food-boycotting pelican to accept a fish:

Pelican: snaps pouch closed tightly and looks away.

Handler: waves fish in front of mouth.

Pelican: "no, I really don't think so." Moves face in other direction.

The bottom line is, the birds were mostly domesticated, at least in my view. Very sweet the way they were taken care of. And I loved seeing their ability to interact with people. But it wasn't what I realized I was seeing when I viewed the film.

Here's the good news: many of those cry worth scenes mentioned above were totally staged. The baby bird was rescued from the tractor. As was the white tern from the invading crabs. And the red-breasted goose from the muck. In fact, that wasn't even mud. They planted him in some handmade concoction just to film that scene. Unfortunately, I think the baby penguin situation actually happened :(

So, I'm still dwelling on my feelings on all this. I understand that the ability to film animals in the wild is limited in scope and the footage may not be so gripping. So, maybe we need to accept some "staging" to make for a compelling film. I still definitely enjoyed the film. I got a closeup view of some beautiful birds and learned about some of their migration habits. Good stuff. Very, very thought-provoking.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dear St. Anthony, please come around...

Hank and I call upon St. Anthony, patron saint of lost items, frequently. And he has found quite a few things for us, to Hank's delight. Our list so far includes:

1. little garbage can from Hank's Tonka garbage truck.
2. Sir Topham Hatt from the Thomas the Train Lego set.
3. rectangle from shape sorter.
4. piece from our bedroom overhead fan that Hank hid behind our bed.

And now last night, we added to the list:

5. Mr. Potatohead's eyes.

We're still on the lookout for that one, but I'm confident we'll locate it soon :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Really getting into my afghan...

I really, *really* sound like a little old lady before my time :) I crochet and knit, read lots of books, and go to church a lot. But I also bellydance, so that redeems me a bit, I suppose. At any rate, I've refreshed my recollection of basic crochet stitches, and am up and running with a partially complete Christmas afghan. What I'll do with it once I'm done, I have no notion. Drape it on the sofa in November and December, I suppose. But I do find it a soothing evening occupation to sit on the couch and crochet or knit, a glass of wine or tea by my side. My goal is to finish up these as yet incomplete projects, and then move on to new things. Shauna'h is lobbying for an afghan for her new living room :) As her living room is decorated in autumn colors (red, cream and brown) I completely approve. (I read on another blog last week a comment that the writer "didn't like autumn." I was totally scandalized.) I'm sure my readers will be unsurprised to learn that my main pattern book is entitled "A Season of Afghans." I'm a season girl.

With knitting, my goal is to finish the scarf I'm working on, and move on to more ambitious items. The book I'm reading now, Back on Blossom Street, features a knitting shop and classes that are offered there. The current class project is to knit a prayer shawl. I'm fascinated. This seems to combine several important elements of the Catholic Librarian's life :) Maybe I can also attempt mittens and hats, and possibly move on to sweaters. Oh the possibilities!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Re-ignited hobbies...

Yesterday, I ventured into my storage to pull out my old crocheting and knitting projects. I'm a decent crocheter, although things take me absolute ages to finish. I'm a simpleton knitter, meaning my talents are limited to scarves and afghans. Exhibit A being the results of my search: a crate full of yarn, needles, three (yes, 3) half finished afghans, and one quarter finished scarf. I excitedly dove in. In the process I mysteriously located a beautiful wine velvet hip scarf, a kelly green veil, and a black beaded top. I won the belly dancers lottery! My sister (also a budding belly dancer) must have given them to me years ago. That's how long it's been since this beleaguered crate has been dusted off.

So anyway, I happily began work on the half finished Christmas afghan, and felt contented. It also helped that it was 8 pm, Bridezillas was on, and I had a glass of Pinot Grigio by my side. And Hank was comfortably sleeping. Life is good.

Bonus: I get to wear my new hip scarf to class this Friday :) We haven't had class since the Hafla, so I'm doubly excited.

Church with a toddler...

On Sunday, I went to the early 8 am Mass instead of the 10 am family Mass, since we had afternoon plans to go apple picking. What I liked is that the 8 am Mass lacked the contemporary worship music and instruments and just had an organist. Nothing wrong with guitars and flutes, I'm just more of a silence person in Mass. So, that was good. What was bad, you ask? Well, the 8 am Mass attracted, let's just say, a non-child crowd. Hank was the only child there. And he was bad. *Real* bad. Here's a sampling of dialogue:

Hank: "MOMMY. I want my Sponge Bob fruit snack."
CL: "Honey, remember, shhhh. You have to whisper in church."
Hank: "MOMMY. I *ARE* whispering." In a voice loud enough to be heard by half the congregation.
CL: "Honey, no you're not. You have to be quieter."
Hank: "I NO WANT to be quieter."

Later, he threw his jacket into the next pew, and then refused to put it on. I had to force his arms in. And then drag him out of the church. And across the busy road in front, where he deliberately *went limp* in the middle of the road. I had to scrape him up and carry him, arms and legs flailing, across the street while people stared from their stopped cars.

In the car, I threw and *locked* him into his car seat, and in no uncertain terms told him that (a) he embarrassed me, (b) I was *very* disappointed in him, and (c) he was never coming to church with mommy again. This led to Hank bursting into tears and screaming for the whole ride home.

Who can't wait to have kids?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Twenty Wishes...

I'm reading a cute book right now called called Twenty Wishes. The premise is based on a group of widowed women who get together to socialize and commiserate on a regular basis. On Valentines Day, in an effort to perk everyone up, one of them suggests creating lists of things they've always wished to accomplish in life. The goal, of course, being to accomplish at least some of these wishes. So far, I like certain storylines better than others. I'm enjoying reading about Anne Marie, the main heroine, who wishes to perform volunteer work and be more involved in her community. Through a school program for at-risk children, Anne Marie meets a little girl named Ellen, who helps her to overcome her grief and bitterness over losing her husband at a young age, as well as later finding out that he had been unfaithful to her. However, there's one woman who decides to treat herself to movies more often, and meets this jerk of a guy in the theatre, and somehow deduces that he's in need of nurturing and pursues him. That one just isn't doin' it for me.

So anyway, all of this got me to thinking of things in my life that I've always wanted to do. Travel to certain places, definitely. Alaska, Rome, Ireland. I hope to do that someday, but it won't be until I no longer have small children. I have wanted to take belly dancing lessons for a long time, and I'm actually doing that, so pleased with that one. *gold star* I'm honestly not sure what else I would put on my list - but it's an interesting thing to dwell on. When I don't have a toddler hanging off my leg, that is.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Disturbing discoveries of the day...

and it's not even 11 am. This doesn't bode well.

(1) Ladies room paper towel dispenser #2, broken for the previous week - now functional, but some sort of grafetti symbol has been spray painted onto its surface.
(2) Ladies room paper towel dispenser #1 - now broken.
(3)There is a large section of *wet* toilet paper *in one of the the library elevators.*

I'm sure this list will be added to throughout the day. I reserve the right to amend as events dictate. Today *really* sucks.

Long term effects of reality tv

I was sitting here trying to come up the names of the brides from this past Sunday's installment of Bridezillas and I realize that I cannot recall a single one of them. Am I insensitive? Or is reality tv rotting my brain?

Anyway, there was a real winner on this past episode. Whatever the heck her name was. Try to follow this logic:

Reception venue tells her (we'll just call her "Bride) that her next payment is approximately $3,000. She says that the check is in the mail, and based on that, signs a document stating that her remaining balance is $80. Two days before the wedding, Bride goes in to "pay off her bill" and hands the reception people $80 in cash. They tell her that she actually owes them $3,080, because they never received her prior check (which, of course, she never actually sent. She leaves that part out). Bride actually tries to argue that because they both signed the contract stating that her remaining balance was $80, that's all she should have to pay. She just flat out didn't send them the prior $3,000, and then tries to say that it's the *venue's* mistake and thus she shouldn't have to pay it. That takes a lot of nerve. They should have knocked $50 off just given that she could make that argument with a straight face. They ask for a certified check, and Bride refuses, saying that "she doesn't have time for that, I'm planning a wedding." The reception people do her a favor by accepting a personal check, but then they call the bank. *snorts* Yes, this gets good. The bank kindly lets them know that there is no money in the account. Bride gets called into a side room during the rehearsal and informed of the situation. When told that if she doesn't pay NOW, she can't have her wedding there, she acts offended, as if *she* has been wronged. I suppose we have to remember that this *is* a show about women who feel no shame in labeling themselves with a word that ends in "zilla." Classiness isn't exactly their forte.

Later, our bride throws numerous, embarrassing fits of temper. She eats pizza for a straight week and then blames the pizza delivery guy when her dress doesn't fit. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. Something about how the pizza didn't arrive until after 8 pm, and everyone knows that that is the magic hour after which the pizza will go straight to ones thighs. Oh, to live in her universe. On the day of the wedding, despite it raining all morning, the instant it clears (and about an hour and a half prior to the ceremony, HOURS after the inside venue was already set up and past the deadline on which she needed to let the reception people know if she wanted to move the ceremony outside) she insults her mother, says nasty things to the long suffering reception venue coordinator, and demands to move the ceremony outside.

I just remembered that I also don't recall the name of her new husband (poor soul). They rarely feature a large part in these shenanigans. I'll offer up my crappy day for him.

Stay tuned for next week :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Morning stuff and weight update...

I will try to make time later to comment on Bridezillas from this past Sunday. It was a doozy :) Otherwise, I'm just having a busy morning. I just got back from a meeting with a faculty member about an information literacy assessment plan we're conducting with his class. Not exactly light stuff for 9 am :) The farmers market is today, so I'm plotting my pasta purchases. I've lost another couple pounds. *halo* I'm very pleased. I feel a lot better, both mentally and physically. It's a combination of eating more nutritiously, and being more physically active. I've started running again twice a week, and I try to get a walk in once a day. I've actually been enjoying cooking more, a first for me. So if you have recipes, let's share :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ladies room update of the day

Total # of stalls: 5
# of stalls with no toilet paper: 2
Total # of paper towel dispensers: 2
# of paper towel dispensers with no paper towel: 1
Total # of sinks: 5
# of sinks with absolutely disgusting *gobs* of hair littered on their surface: 2 (I'm serious - this person must now be bald).

Morning musings...

I'm currently on amazon.com looking at book's for Hank's upcoming third birthday. The child loves books, no doubt about it. They're tucked into every corner of our house, as well as loaded onto the full bookcase we had to put in his room to organize them. Over the weekend, I heard him awake from his nap. As I was walking up the stairs, I heard a plaintive, "mommy?!" I open the door, and the smell nearly knocked me unconscious. Hank was standing right at the door, book tucked under his arm, eyes wide with alarm. "Hank honey, did you go poo?" "YEAH." And he had a book, all prepared to entertain himself during the ensuing Pull-Up change. His strategy is very familiar to his mother, who wishes every time she is waiting in line somewhere that she had remembered to tuck that thin Harlequin romance into her purse. Even one minute of spare time is too long to go without a book to read. I think I'm going to get him his own copy of Curious George Goes to the Hospital. We had to return it to the library, and he's crushed. He keeps asking for it, poor thing. I've been on amazon for close to an hour now. I don't think I can ever tire of looking at books, even when they're not for me.

My husband, despite also being a reader, is much more of a movie person than I am. Every evening I have my nose stuck in a book while he tries to convince me to watch something on Turner Classic Movies with him. He tells me last night that perhaps this weekend we can have my parents watch Hank, and he and I have some time to ourselves - dinner and a movie. Unless the movie involves an enormous bucket of butter covered popcorn (for which I've starved myself for, saving calories during the rest of the day) I'm not interested :) Or, unless the movie is a sappy romantic comedy with a predictable happy ending, usually involving Jennifer Aniston. Mike's not so much into those. Anyway, he says "there's this movie I really want to see, but you may be too excited about the description. I hear it's excellent though, I promise!" "Ok, what's the description?" "Just remember what I said...Ok, so, it's about the guy who invented the intermittant windshield wiper..." "Right, well, I have to admit honey, this description is not exactly off to a roaring start." "But it gets better! The movie is about him losing the patent rights and then trying to get them back!" "Not exactly sweetening the pot, honey." *sighs*

Monday, October 13, 2008

My bellydancing debut...

So, B-day came and went, and I think it was a success. The Catholic Librarian is relieved that it is over, and that her only task now is to fill everyone in on it :)

We had a dress rehearsal on Friday, and that was my first inkling of the extent to which costume malfunction possibilities are a reality in belly dancing. Claire lent me a costume (a lovely bell sleeved, short blouse with a matching skirt in copper) to go along with my green hip scarf and veil. She had to re-sew elastic into the waistband of the skirt, so she couldn't bring it for me until dress rehearsal. After assessing the less than adequate ladies room situation, we gradually threw caution to the wind and changed right in the hallway (I overheard several murmurings of "I hope the janitor isn't around.") Routines commenced. I *really* liked the advanced class Spanish fusion dance performed to Hakim's Ah Ya Albi. My intermediate level class did our number - Entel Hob from the Bellydance Superstars 2 collection. The advanced class very sweetly and graciously applauded and encouraged us, which I truly appreciated. As we ran through the number, aforementioned costume malfunctions began to present themselves. Veils began to stick to sequins on blouses; sleeves began to get caught on hipscarf coins; and, most maliciously, veils began to catch on skirt hems, threatening to lift said skirt and expose the underwear of the bellydancer in question. Anxiety ensued. Modified manuevers were practiced. Bellydancers with furrowed brows went home, recalcitrant costumes tucked firmly under their arms.

Saturday morning I spent extra morning time with Hank and Mike, since belly dancing was going to consume the majority of my day. I arrived at the venue at noon for the combinations workshop that was being given by a well known local dancer. I perused the tables of fancy hip scarves, silk veils and other shiny costume things but didn't buy anything, for which I deserve a medal. Our workshop began, and four aching hours later, we finished. My hips *still* hurt. I don't think they've seen that much activity before, ever. There's only so much a girl can shimmy.

I went home for a quick bite to eat and for some more Hank time, and then returned, laden with my costume, for the Hafla. I went up to the dressing room, where coins and chiffon abounded. I dressed, practiced, and managed to convince myself that I had lost my veil only to discover that it was actually wrapped *on my body*. I was a little nervous.

Finally, it was time for the level 2/3 class veil number. We solemnly proceeded to our spots. The music began, and I began my hand undulations with rapt attention to detail. I unwrapped my veil, check. I draped my veil, and did my hip lifts perfectly. Gentle spins with veil swoop, check. Veil flip with undulations, better than average. Veil drop with hip sways, no prob. *sigh of relief* Then comes the tricky part. Veil forward, drop. Flip over head. Attempt to smile. Flip veil to front and step over carefully (allegedly saucily), while re-arranging fingers for upcoming envelope. I carefully begin raising my veil when I feel *it*. *It* being the distinct feeling of my veil catching on the back of my skirt, and lifting it for the world to see. I panic. In a graceful move, I reach behind myself and yank my skirt down off the offending veil. Well, maybe it wasn't so graceful. But at least the audience didn't actually see any flesh that they weren't supposed to. And Mike claimed that he didn't even notice, for which he was rewarded appropriate husband bonus points. Anyway, I envelope, hip sway, wrap veil into what Claire calls the "burqa" and proceed into our circle. Dismantle burqa at somewhat near the appropriate time and do pinwheel stuff with veil. Finally, we reach the end, and I have to do my 16 count solo. I walk forward, trying not to run right out of the room, do a veil swirl and a hip circle, and walk out, trying to look graceful again. The advanced class greets us with perky applause and well wishes, which make me feel better. I am assured that audience members did not notice skirt mishap. I feel relieved and go to change.

So, all in all, it went as well as it could have. Really, as one of my fellow belly dancers put it, no one else but you (and your classmates) know what is supposed to be going on, so as long as you smile, show no panic, and shimmy something cutely, the audience will be none the wiser.