Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Aging reference librarian on the loose

The other day I was on the reference desk for a busy afternoon shift. I'm usually on in the mornings, when it is very quiet, so I suppose I'm often shielded from interactions like the following which are, quite frankly, annoying.

I don't like to be annoyed easily. It makes me feel old. I live in fear of becoming crotchedy. Curmudgeonly, even. I don't want to become all decrepit and frown-faced while using words like "newfangled" and "whippersnapper." I like to be seen of as kind and nice, and you know, sweet and helpful. But sometimes, it's tough.

While on the desk on the day in question, a student approaches.

"Hi. I have a paper due tonight..."

...let me interject here that it was approximately 4:30 pm. Ok, we continue...

"...and I just don't understand what my teacher wants. Can you look at my assignment?"

Now, this is becoming a disturbing trend. I mean, what do you all think that librarians do? I think they help others find information. I do not think that they can channel instructors and read their minds to figure out what they want. And for some reason, more and more students *really* think that librarians have these powers.

"I think you should ask your instructor personally. I won't be able to interpret the assignment any better than you could yourself."

*distinctive whine tone inserted into already attitudey voice* "Well, I just don't know what the heck she wants, and I just really feel it's unfair. I've already talked to her and she isn't helpful. I really want you to look at it."

I was already feeling annoyed by this student's attitude, but one of my colleagues was on the desk with me, and I really didn't want *her* to think that I'm crotchedy. So I agreed.

I expected him to pull his syllabus out of his backpack. Oh no, old fogey one. He slaps his laptop down onto the reference desk and opens up an email to show me.

I had to smirk to myself at the fact that the email was from his instructor, and based on what I was reading, she too was annoyed by this student's attitude. The message stated that she expected him to act like a college student, do actual work, and follow directions. That she expected him to review the relevant literature and cite it in his paper. Let's be curmudgeons together, you and I...

I cleared my throat and told him that it looked like he needed to find some sources.

"I HAVE. I have these books here. But I haven't read them, I mean, I DON'T HAVE TIME."

Well, yes. That's because it's now 7 hours before your paper is due. Did you just find out about the assignment now? No, I didn't think so. That's what I was thinking, although that's not what I said. That crotchedy thing again.

"Well, you can skim the table of contents and the index to find the relevant parts, and just read those. We can also look for articles, and those have the benefit of being shorter."

"Ok, but again, I don't understand what she's looking for. I mean, she says we have to do "research." But I don't understand what the heck does she wants. I don't have time for this!"

By this point, I was really wanting to give this guy the boot. His whole demeanor and what he was saying conveyed that he considered this a gigantic inconvenience. I mean, imagine that, his instructor actually expecting him to WRITE A PAPER and READ LITERATURE IN HIS FIELD in order to earn his degree! The INHUMANITY!

It's this sense of entitlement that really turns me off to some of our students here. They seem to think that if they are breathing and show up to class 50% of the time, they're entitled to get a degree when they've done this for 4 years. Not so, my friend. And I too procrastinated when writing papers in college, I'm very familiar with this quandary. But I TOOK RESPONSIBILITY for my poor time management skills, and stayed up until my paper was done. It was NOBODY'S FAULT BUT MY OWN that I CHOSE to wait until the last minute.

I see that I'm using caps a lot in this post. It's because my eyebrows are furrowed so tightly together right now recounting all of this.

I finally sent him away unhappily to a nearby computer to get started skimming his sources and writing. Before him, I had a very nice, but *very needy* guy who came to the reference desk no less than 4 times asking for help with his World Civilizations paper. He kept asking me if I thought his topic was ok. I can't tell him that, he simply HAS to speak with his instructor about the parameters of the assignment. He wanted me to tell him *what he should write in the introduction to his paper* and he didn't know how to navigate the Library of Congress call number system. The latter part I still find somewhat shocking (for native U.S. students, which he clearly was) but I try to be understanding that maybe their high school library failed them. But writing a paper? Yes, college is the place to fine tune that, but the librarian can't help you, sir. GO TO THE WRITING CENTER. He was very sweet, so I helped him readily, but it just saddens me to see the state that our incoming students have deteriorated to. They *really* want someone else to do their work for them, in many cases.

By the time my shift was done, I was dying to go home and have a glass of wine. When I was in elementary school, we all learned how to use the big card catalogs by our scary librarian. AND how to navigate the Dewey Decimal System. Henry actually knows how to use a library better than some of the students I see here. UGH.

But I don't want to be the next scary librarian, so I'll try to put on my smiley face again. And act younger.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm dreaming, and a baby is crying. Oh, oh wait...

Last night was one of those nights. We had barely fallen asleep, and I stumble up, expecting it to be at least 2 am, and the clock tells me that it's 10:30 pm. I do not believe aforementioned clock. But yes, it is true. Anne is awake. Not only that, but after waiting a few minutes to see if she'll go back to sleep (ha!), I go in to find her *sitting up* in her crib, howling. She's so happy to see me that she tries to *stand up* to greet me. Fan-tastic.

And after that, we're woken again, and another nursing session commences. On the third go-round, I gave up and took her downstairs to snuggle on the sofa and watch the season finale of Sisters Wives on demand. I don't approve of Sister Wives, but what can I say? I can't look away. Plus, it was the season finale and a new baby was being born. I cried. Because I always do when babies are born, even when they're not mine.

After Sister Wives, I put a sleeping Anne back in her crib, and then guess what? I couldn't fall asleep, even though she was sleeping. Sometimes life just isn't fair.

Then, naturally, come 6:30 am, I was dead to the world when I felt Mike get out of bed. When I saw the clock, it and I had yet another disagreement. I laid there until 6:45, when I forced myself to drag my body out of bed. It was tough, but I managed to make myself LOOK ALIVE with some creative makeup and hair combing. I did feel better once I got down for breakfast.

And these days, holy smokes. Anne is into E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. Put her on the floor. Does she play with her carefully arranged and safe infant toys that are well within her grasp? Oh no. Her sight is set on any number of other destinations.

The fireplace!

Electrical wires!

DVD case!

Nativity figurines!

So we're now in THAT PLACE. Wherein your butt cannot touch the couch before one of us has to leap up to save her from some approaching calamity of her own devising. And it'll only get worse once she can pull herself up and reach tabletop surfaces.

Oh dear.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Peace be with you...

And with your spirit. :)

So, back from my first Sunday of Advent initiation into the new translation of the Roman Missal, I have positive feedback to add. I was all excited to go to Mass yesterday, and I wasn't

Overall, I really like the new translation. It's definitely off-putting to have to get used to something new, even our priest looked out of sorts. And the congregation responses aren't going to be unified for quiute awhile as everyone adjusts. But I love the new wording in the
Penitential Rite, in the Nicene Creed, and in the Eucharistic prayers. I'm having a doozy of a time with the replacement for "and also with you." I got that wrong yesterday twice despite my conscious telling of myself to look out for it. That one just doesn't roll off the tongue for me.

But otherwise, all is well. Query though: we used Eucharistic prayer #3 yesterday. The new wording says that Jesus died "for you and for many" rather than "for you and for all." Anybody have any insight into the background of this change?

In terms of the Eucharistic prayers, it's a bit confusing in my little St. Joseph Sunday Missal. Many of the prayers now start with the same few words, so the little referral key that the missal provides isn't as helpful as it used to be. And I'm Type A enough that I like to follow
right along. We'll get there.

I asked my mom how she liked it, and I wasn't surprised when she answered that she didn't like it. :) She grew up with the Latin Mass, and this change feels especially awkward to her since she'd prefer that the Church just go back to Latin. Now me, I actually don't love the old Latin Mass. I find it reverent and beautiful, certainly, and I'm so happy that it's offered so much more now for those that treasure it. But I have a hard time following along, and I don't feel as "included," if that makes any sense. To each his own. The new Mass feels more participatory to me, and I enjoy that. And I think the new translation feels more eloquent. I'm happy.

Now I have to remedy my very poor Advent candle situation. My taper holders are failing miserably and I'm trying to come up with an alternate solution, since I love my wreath. But the old holders actually broke my candles, and now I need new ones, and we couldn't light the first candle yesterday. NOT a very happy Catholic Librarian. I'm thinking of just procuring some votive holders and trying to find Advent votives. Feeling porky about the whole thing.

Anyway, how did everyone else like the new translation?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shopping will abound

We're hosting our parents for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, so naturally I'll be doing lots of tornadoing around and obsessively cleaning and drinking wine. You know, the usual. I do love Thanksgiving. It's just such a warm and cozy kind of day. And I always take off the day after Thanksgiving. I usually lose my mind and meet my mom out to do a little shopping. I don't really need anything on Black Friday, but the experience (with a companion) can be kind of fun.

There is one place, however, that I will not go. And that is THE PLAZA. We have a shopping plaza near here that has grown exponentially in the past 5 years. Every time you turn around, a new popular store has been added into the configuration. Yet the parking lot remains the same size, kwim?

2 weeks ago, I left work early since I had some comp. time coming to me, so that I could run errands before heading home. So it was about 3 pm. And I wanted to stop at AC Moore to return something (Holiday Homespun yarn is gorgeous, but I cannot crochet with that stuff if you put a gun to my head; it's difficult to make anything when you literally cannot see the stitches you allegedly just made). As I neared THE PLAZA I noted the long traffic lines, but I figured things would clear by time I finished at AC Moore. Oh, silly, silly me.

I return the yarn, poke around for a bit (naturally) and then head to my car. It was just rainy and miserable and I was anxious to get home to Mike and my babies. I pull out of my parking space and toward the nearest exit. Oh dear. There appear to be about *30 cars* also trying to make left turns out of that exit as well. And I can see that the street onto which they hope to turn is also clogged up and the going is slow for those trying to add themselves into the line. I swivel and try the exit at the back, thinking I'll get to the back of that line of cars snaking toward the traffic light. Oh dear. The line of cars on the street snakes all the way past this exit as well, AND there are 20 additional cars trying to make lefts into it.

I say a bad word, and make my way toward yet a third exit out onto the main thoroughfare, accepting that it will simply take a few extra minutes to get out onto the street. There commences *20 minutes* of waiting in this line, since new cars are appearing at every nook and cranny trying to edge their way into the line, AND the cars out on the main road are all clogged up by non-synched red lights so maybe 2 cars are able to get out onto the road with every green light. I literally couldn't get out of that *insert bad word* parking lot.

I say another bad word. At one point, as I innocently drive straight in my line, a giant pickup truck appears from a side nook and tries to barrel through the line, nearly hitting me. I felt so shaken after that, I determined to go right home, instead of stopping off for my last errand. And I swore that I would NEVER GO TO THAT PLAZA AGAIN until after the holidays. And I mean it. I won't go back until January. I don't care how good a sale Target is having, I'd rather eat nails than go back there. They could give away free money for all I care. It's simply not worth it.

So therefore I'll be avoiding THAT PLAZA on Friday. But I'll probably end up meeting my mom at the crazy mall for lunch and a few stores. Because it's just not Black Friday for her unless we wait in line for 2 hours to eat at the Cheesecake Factory.

BUT. The really good news is that Knit Picks is having a Cyber Monday sale. OH.BABY. It starts at 9 am EST, so I'll have my tea at my work computer and will be obsessively reloading their page until the sale yarn comes up. Because I *need* more yarn, right? If it's on sale, it doesn't count. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

I'll be on a blogging break until aforementioned Cyber Monday, so have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's new with Anne?

Anne is so cute these days it hurts just to look at her. Her new feats include:

(1) Raking. You know how babies do, with their fingers, to feel textures? It's adorable. Unfortunately, she disturbed my drying pile of freshly blocked hand knits the other day doing this, but she looked so proud of herself, how could I begrudge her?

(2) Crawling. Sigh, yes. She really gets around now. And where does she head first? That's right, the electronic equipment. Has this been bred in via evolution? It seems that every human baby, upon gaining mobility, will immediately set upon trying to stick their fingers in the DVD player and press buttons on the stereo. And the DVD cases, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY. These, and books. When set down on the floor, all babies will immediately take off for these destinations and thereupon delight in plucking the items off the low shelves and tossing them about gleefully.

(3) Separation anxiety. If you set her down and leave the room for a moment, an immediate bursting into tears can be heard. "Why did you leave me, you're gone!" The instant you reappear, a big smile comes up, along with a squeal. "You're back, I'm SO HAPPY!" It's precious.

When she woke up in her crib this morning, I couldn't wait to pick her up and kiss her face. That warm morning snuggle is always the absolute best, no? Unfortunately, she had managed to spring lose of one diaper fastener, so she had peed all over herself and her crib sheet, but no matter.

I just adore her so.

Feast of Christ the King

At Mass on Sunday, I realized that that would be the last time I ever heard the liturgy in the only translation I've ever known. I learned all the prayers and responses in the Mass when I made my first communion, back in second grade. I've had it memorized ever since. I have to admit that I am a tad anxious about things changing, about feeling like a "visitor" to the liturgy (sort of like when I once attended Mass in the extraordinary form :) ). Being a lifelong Catholic, that does have a disconcerting feel to it.

Our parish has been slowly incorporating in the new music, and I recently purchased a new missal that has all of the new responses in it. So I'll be well armed on the First Sunday of Advent. I guess I'm a tad excited too, to have something "fresh" in our liturgy, and I've been enjoying reading the articles in the newspaper about the coming changes. (we live in a very Catholic area; this actually is big news here. :) ).

So we'll see how it goes. I've been encouraged by what I've heard on my Catholic podcasts and other Catholic reading about the translation being a closer pairing with the original Latin, and closer to Scripture. Good stuff.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wait, did I just see that?

Anne is going through a "phase" these days, which can be translated into "She's Stuffy and Miserable and Sleeps Like Garbage." Hence, in the wee hours of Saturday morning, she and I were downstairs trying to get comfortable on the couch. When she's stuffy, it seems to aid her when she can sleep inclined but still on her belly, so Mike and I take turns lying on the overstuffed arm of our sofa with her on our chest. I always put the tv on since the light seems to soothe her. And I almost always turn to the schlocky Christmas movies currently airing 24/7 on the Hallmark Channel.

On Saturday, I was trying to doze while Anne seemed determined to elbow me in the chest in her quest to get comfortable, so I wasn't exactly going off to dreamland as quickly as I'd been hoping. Suddenly, what I always hope for in the middle of the night happened:

I saw what has to be the funniest infomercial I've ever seen.

EVER. This is epic, people.

Because, you know. I've already seen infomerials for Pajama Jeans and the Eggie.

As I watch wide-eyed, with much incredulity, I see that there is a new product on the market called "Forever Lazy." It appears to be a giant fleece sleeper, minus the attached footies, for adults.

And as with all of these sorts of infomerials, we're first presented with these ridiculous scenarios in which people struggle mightily with everyday tasks that don't present much difficulty for regular folk. In this case, placing a blanket over your legs.

"Are you tired of wrestling with blankets to try and get warm?!"

Well, if my crocheted throw ever tries to "wrestle" with me, then yes, I will be deeply disturbed.

"If so, then Forever Lazy is just right for you!!"

We're then brought into the lives of our sleeper wearing friends as they study for exams with classmates, relax with their spouse on a cold winters night, even have cocktails with their neighbors out on the back deck, all while each of them wears this oversized fleece jumper with arms.

"you just zip yourself right into warmth, so that you can BE LAZY!"

Do we really want to encourage BEING LAZY as a characteristic so revered that we name clothes after it?

But WAIT. The best is yet to come. Given that our fleecey buddies are consuming so much liquid while wearing their Forever Lazies (by the time I later found this on You Tube to show Mike, we were HOWLING with laughter watching people *tailgate* in these things) the inevitable call of nature surfaces.

"Uh oh, gotta go? Forever Lazy has zippered hatches in both the front..."

Oh God, no. Please don't let them...

"...and the BACK!"


Yes.They.Did. THEY TOTALLY WENT THERE. This thing actually has...*hatches* for your, ah hem, private parts, so that you can use the facilities without having to take off your lazy suit. The guy in the commercial actually unzips his so that we can see the side of his underwear to demonstrate.

I mean, ok. Seriously. A butt hatch. Have we really sunk that low as a society? In which pulling down our pants is just too much work?

My eyes were open as wide as my mouth by the time the infomercial wrapped up.

"All yours for just $19.95! And if you call now, we'll throw in a companion pair of fleece footies!"

At first, when I later awoke, I thought maybe I had dreamt the whole thing. You Tube to the rescue. Nope, it's real.

Now, I'm all for wearing your pj's all day when you're sick or have a newborn, or have recently had surgery. Or maybe you just want to spend a Sunday morning relaxing with your coffee. I totally understand this. But if I ever answer the door because *I'm having a party* wearing a fleece one-piece suit with a drawstring hood, somebody please, for the love of all that is holy, just shoot me.

Because that would mean that I've officially given up on ever hoping to look attractive Ever.Again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My baby is 6 months old today

She's crawling and into everything, including my knitting bag (future knitter?) She's drooling and biting on anything that she can get into her mouth. She's also *extremely* adorable and I'm so glad that we have her.

The other day I took out these "corner guards" that I had bought for our coffee table, given that Anne is now so mobile. Our coffee table is deadly. I mean, *we* hurt ourselves on it on a regular basis, and I didn't want Anne's delicate little head to be added to the list of casualties. What I learned though was that aforementioned corner guards are simply pointy pieces of foam that stick to the table with double sided tape.

"those are the corner guards?" I can tell already that my husband is dubious about the effectiveness of my new safety tool.

"yeah, she can't hit her head this way. I just wish they stuck better." *presses on them* "I mean, as long as she doesn't pull them off and try to put them in her mouth they should be fine."

"how can you possibly think that won't happen?"

*sighs* He's totally right, too.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christmas knitting update

At one point I posted on here about how many Christmas gifts I hoped to knit or crochet this year, and how many I'd actually completed so far. I'm repressing the number, but it was fairly insane ambitious. I think it was about 20 items. I've actually finished a bunch of projects lately, so I thought I'd count up how many I have completed in total.

7. *sigh*

Gosh, it *seemed* like so many more! Being realistic, what I really want to complete are 6 more things. Well, even that seems ridiculous now that I look at it. I have 1 item on the needles and more than half completed at home. I have 2 pairs of socks on needles in my work knitting bag. Those things should certainly get done. Well, at least 1 of those pairs of socks will get done, and the item at home. After that, I really should be able to knit 1-2 additional items prior to Christmas. The other stuff will have to go for birthday gifts next year.


I don't like to not meet my goals, but I only have 2 hands I suppose. Perhaps I can outsource some of this knitting? I have a knitting group member without a current project that I may be able to bribe.

And I have a bunch of things queued up for myself that I'm *dying* to start in on, but I'm depriving myself until after my holiday knitting for others is done.


Oh well, I'll get to it eventually. Christmas is coming up with an almost disturbing rapidity. I really don't feel ready.

At one time, I actually thought I could get whole sweaters done before Christmas. HA! Only if I start in January for *next* Christmas.

And maybe not even then.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What happens when the baby is up multiple, multiple times per night?

(1) At 6:30 am, when we all need to get up, she will inevitably be sleeping.

(2) I will be cranky.

(3) Anne will be in a great mood.

(4) We'll all need to rush around more than usual to get ready.

(5) Inevitably, before I even have to rush out of the house, Anne's disposition will sour, and she will begin to sob.

(6) Anne will be down for a nap even before 8 am.

(7) I, on the other hand, will go to work and have a difficult time keeping my eyes open for any meeting that even borders on being boring. Which, you know, by definition is *most* meetings.

(8) Someone will likely ask me about Anne, and how she is sleeping. They will then tell me about how their baby slept through the night at some unfathomably early age, and I may fantasize about slapping them.

That's just the way some days go, I suppose...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Here comes trouble

The other day, as I sat knitting on the couch, I glanced up at Anne, who was playing in the middle of the living room floor. She can sit up now, and she delights in transitioning from her back, to her belly, to a sitting position. When she's on her belly now, she pushes her feet down and sticks her butt up in the air, like she's trying to stand up. Oh sigh.

Next thing I knew, I felt a gentle tugging on my yarn. When I looked down at my knitting bag near my feet, there was Anne, eating the yarn. She had crawled from halfway across the room in her quest to get at it.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Best belly dancing night EVER

I'm still glowing. :) This was, by far, my favorite dance night ever. As always, I will chronicle...

Friday evening we had our regularly scheduled class, and aside from warm up, we devoted the entire hour and a half to practicing our choreographies. We have 3 group choreographies, and with a few members unable to make the event given family emergencies, we had to do what our instructor (Claire) calls "the kaleidoscope," switch our formations around to accommodate for the missing bodies. We did that for about an hour, and then Claire announced "Who wants to do their solo?!"

Well, here's the funny thing. We all did, because of course we each *volunteered* to perform a solo. But yet, when pressed, we'd rather die. If possible, it's even *worse* performing in front of your peers than in front of a gigantic group. Because you really, *really* care about their opinion. This makes you even more nervous than usual.

So we all took turns, looking like we were being marched off to the firing squad. One of my newer classmates, Amy, very cutely proclaimed that she was sweating, which I really related to. Because, well, I was too. :) As we moved through the solo program, I realized something:

I was having fun.

A LOT of fun, in fact. Each solo was totally unique, just like it's creator. Each had a distinct style and feel. Some used props (I'm still too intimidated to use props during a solo, but I'm hoping to change that soon), others didn't. Some were drum, others were kicky Middle Eastern pop music. Some were classic pieces, mine was a slow instrumental that my class coined "very saucy." By the end, we were all sweaty but in very good spirits. I just very much enjoyed seeing everyone else dance.

On Saturday, I was nervous but I dealt with it better than I have in the past. I'm definitely getting better at that (I think). I practiced in my new costume, which is a little long and making me anxious, so I pinned the front up a tuck where it could be covered by my silver hip sash thing. I was ready, so I tried to stop practicing. There is such a thing as "over practicing" I think, and I'm a master at it. :) You don't want to look too stiff.

I arrived early to practice the group numbers one more time, which is when I got more nervous. We were at a new venue though, and the dressing room situation was infinitely better. The place we usually have our haflas is ridiculous. We're all crammed into this itty bitty room right off the kitchen with no door. So we had to take turns using the little bathroom or a tiny shrouded spot that we concocted. Here, there were actually 2 rooms, so the performance group had our very own. There were windows, so we hung up a few silk veils over them and we were good to go.

The beginning of the hafla is actually cake for me now. I used to worry so much about the group choreographies, but now I really enjoy doing them. Which really makes no sense, because if you forget a piece of the group choreography, it's very noticeable, since you're doing something different from everybody else and you stick out. In a solo, nobody knows what you planned to do anyway, so you can just make something up. Yet the solo is what is most difficult for me. Because, you know, everyone is *looking at you*.

So, we did our group numbers, and they went just fine. Then we had a little intermission for us all to get ready for the solos. I put on my costume and commenced sweating. I was terribly nervous, and I was having that horrible "why did I agree to do this?!" feeling settling over me. But so was everybody else, so I was in good company.

Claire and her daughter (who is *awesome*) went first, and then took a short break to change so that they could video the rest of the performances. Or whole group was doing a solo, so we bunched up anxiously in our coverups out in the hall and waited. The solos were done in this very nice little room, different from where the group numbers were done, with tables and chairs where people could have a snack and a drink. It had a nice intimate feel to it, very much less "recital" like, and more "show" like.

Finally, we were ready to start. My classmate Karen was slated to go first, and I was after her. As she danced out, I took off my coverup and had a pep talk with myself in the hallway. What goes on in my head as I perform is always pretty comical. "Bold, Confident Tiffany" (who really doesn't exist) has a strongly worded dialogue with "Meek, Terrified Tiffany" telling her that although there are many things that she doesn't excel at (art for instance, *shudder*) she is a good dancer, and she shouldn't be nervous about people seeing her do this. As I fluffed my hair and did a last minute costume check ("is everything covered that I want covered? Ok, good") I realized something that really did make me feel better:

These are truly the best years of my life. I have a wonderful family, everyone is healthy, I have a job that I enjoy, and I get to thrive in activities alongside people that bring me joy. Since the solos were in a separate room from the other numbers, everyone who had stayed did so specifically to see the solos. And there were a lot of people there! People actually want to see me dance. I should enjoy and treasure this.

As I felt happy and reached this thought, I heard Karen's music end and she came glowing out into the hallway. My time was up; I had to go on. :)

I pasted on a smile, put on my "Stage Presence Tiffany" vibe and sashayed out as confidently as I could muster. I struck my pose and my music started. And...

It went GREAT. Really, really great. It was the best solo I've ever done.

Granted, there is still a lot of room for improvement, but I know that it's the best that I've ever been. Which made me feel HAPPY.

Mike was there, so I smiled his way quite a few times. Claire was smiling very encouragingly, which also helped. And as I finished up, I just felt very good about the number. And my costume looked smashing.

I breathed a sigh of relief out in the hallway, and then I got to enjoy watching my remaining 5 classmates dance. And I was so, so inspired by each of them. Everyone brought something different to her dance, and it made me actually *excited* to do a solo again. Next time, maybe I can wrestle with my veil or attempt a sword. I may even choose a longer song (I tend to stick to 2 minutes; keep 'em wantin' more!) and travel a bit more. The possibilities are endless!

Some of the soloists used the little staircase and went up into the table area up there, but there was no way I was ready to try that. I have a "graceful" reputation with my dancing (an extremely kind characterization that everyone kept relaying to me Saturday night, I think it comes from my ballet training) and I can't imagine it would be too graceful to trip and fall as I attempt to shimmy down the stairs.

But maybe next time. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

I wish they just came with teeth

Experience has taught me that in baby land, one night has nothing to do with another. You can have a miserable couple of weeks, and then BAM! She sleeps for 9 hours. You just never know.

I will say though that misery tends to slowly creep up on you, sort of like a fungus. One night she sleeps for 8 hours (glory!), the next 6 (very good!), the next 5 (fine), the next 3 (what the heck?), the next 2 (*?!@#)

And so this is what we've been going through. Anne is both teething and stuffy from a cold. This is what is known as a deadly combination. Last night she was up so many times I actually lost count. I knew why, so I didn't despair. But very much not fun all the same.

And I have a marathon dance practice session tonight, and my hafla tomorrow night. I don't like to worry about her getting up when I'm not there, but what can I do?

I've been practicing like crazy, and I'm very nervous, especially given that my new costume is showing signs of "downward migration" when I dance. My mother-in-law is going to sew some sticky stuff into the top of the skirt for me Saturday morning. Still nervous.

*bites nails*

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh sigh

Earlier this week, I went in to fetch Anne out of her crib when I heard her wake up in the morning. Do you want to know what she was doing?

Staring at me. From a sitting up position.

*cries* This increasing mobility means that our life is about to get a lot more difficult very quickly. Just in time for the holidays. Where pointy hooks and glass ornaments abound. Not to mention little wise men and multiple baby Jesuses.

This is going to be fun.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lots of sparkles and baby B.O.

Last night I left a wide awake Anne (naturally, this was the night she chose not to fall asleep at 7) in Mike's capable hands to hurry to the dance studio and pick up my new costume. And it is TO.DIE.FOR. It's totally worth not getting a single other gift for Christmas. :)

I could pick whatever I wanted this time, since this was solely for me to do solos in. Thus, no constraints on color choice (our instructor always lets us pick whatever style we're comfortable with) like in our group costume. I chose one that is turquoise blue. I tried to find a costume in which I liked both the style and the color, since sending in color requests is a bit of an adventure with our Egyptian costume maker. :) Certainly, he does worlds better with English than I could ever do in Arabic, but there's definitely a language thing going on there. Purple often becomes blue, and sometimes purple becomes pink. And hues of specific colors are even more elusive. ("what is this 'lavender'?") I don't like to leave anything to chance (you know this about me by now...) and so I went with the colors on the sample.

It is *magnificent*. It's a gorgeous deep turquoise with a sparkly silver hip wrap and inlaid silver panels that flare out when I dance. The beads and sequins are all deep blue and silver. I absolutely love it.

Naturally, the instant I got it home, I put it on. Luckily, Anne was sleeping by that time. The top needs some work, but the skirt is Fabulous. He never takes any kind of measurements for bust. Why, you ask? This is an excellent question, and all we can discern is "that's just the way he does it." Are all Egyptian womens' breasts the same size? I just don't get it. But all cups are created equal over there. And the shoulder and back straps have clasps on them that I just frown at each time. Because there's no way I could ever possibly use them given that the straps are the length of two of me. Perhaps there are sumo wrestling belly dancers out there that these straps are based on? But at any rate, they're WAY too long. So I have to solicit the assistance of my sewing mother-in-law to sew some snaps in for me.

The skirt seems to be staying put nicely, which is a real concern with these costumes. Beads, as you can imagine, are *heavy*, and let's just say that "slippage" is a costume malfunction that we all fear. I had to ask my mother-in-law to sew sticky stuff into the top of my green group costume skirt because it had developed a nasty habit of migrating downward when I dance. Spandex does stretch too, and I wore that costume twice while pregnant. This one I think will be ok, thankfully it fits a little better, since it's even *heavier* than my green skirt by a mile. I'm going to be doing lots of practicing in it over the course of the next few days.

So anyway, I swirled downstairs in it to show Mike, who approved. I'm going for alterations with my mother-in-law tonight. :) The hafla is Saturday, so my sparkly butt has to get in gear.

So, Anne. There are always cute stories with regard to her. Last night, I dressed her in a fleecy sleeper like always, and noted when she promptly spit up pureed squash onto the shoulder. I cleaned her up, but you know, if we changed her outfit every time she spit up we'd run out of clothes in hours. I also noticed that she was drooling, a common occurrence these days. But I didn't think too much of it.

During the night when I went in to nurse her, I noticed a funny smell. My nose twitched like a bunny. What was that? Her room is right next to the bathroom of the Henry pee-pee incident, could it be that again? Since it was about 2 in the morning, I figured I'd worry about it later.

But come morning, the issue would not be ignored. And pretty quickly I figured out the cause of the smell:

My daughter.

Yes, delicate little Anne. As Mike put it, she smelled like a locker room.

"What is that awful B.O smell? Oh, good Lord, it's Anne."

We went through this entire awakening process with Henry too (you'd think we'd never done this newfangled "parenting" thing before, apparently our brain cells are affected more and more with each kid) when the little blanket lovey that he slept with in his crib nearly caused Mike to pass out from bad smell asphyxiation. It seems that their teething drool just ferments into fabric over time and causes this overpowering odor. I could barely nurse her without wanting to strip her naked. The instant she was done nursing we popped her into the bathtub.

Unfortunately, when I went into her room as Mike bathed her, I caught another whiff. As if it's not bad enough that our house suffers from these 2 little smelly people, but somehow the stink just sinks its tentacles in and finds life in ways that we never anticipate. Not only did the corner with her laundry basket in it smell from the offending sleeper, but her entire crib sheet reeked and had to be immediately stripped. And the mattress Febrezed.

Good heavens.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Public Service Announcement:


Not that any of you care about that as much as I do, but I'm terribly excited. Pretty close to the wire for our hafla on Saturday night, but I'm grateful all the same. I'm going to pick it up at the studio tonight, and of course, I'll give it a trial run the instant I get home.

I've been practicing very diligently for the past couple of weeks. Anne is pretty consistent about going to bed at 7 pm (not that she stays sleeping for the entire night mind you, but she always does want to begin the night at this time) and so I bust out my iPod and dance in the kitchen. Whenever I see some of those house shows on HGTV I have to scratch my head. If I had a house with the square footage of some of those that I see on there, I suppose I'd have room both for a dedicated craft room and a dance studio. But alas. Dancing in the kitchen suits me just fine. The microwave is always my audience.

I'm excited about the event, if a bit nervous. I think back to when I was in elementary school and took ballet and tap lessons. At nearly 37 years old, I still have dance recitals. :) But hey, I enjoy it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Honey, how come 'Mike Sweater' on your knitting list has a line through it?"

So, my holiday knitting is in full out panic mode. I'm knitting feverishly every evening, every work day during lunch, and I'm trying to sneak in a few mitten rounds in the mornings. I'm making good progress on my list but I still have a ways to go. And I'm *dying* to start on a new scarf and hat for myself, but unfortunately, that's not going to happen until after Christmas. *projects martyr vibe*

As well, I've had to come to terms with the fact that some of what is on my Christmas 2011 knitting gift list will have to be transferred to a birthday gifts for 2012 (ok, some probably 2013) gift list.

And even though I have enough yarn to occupy me through a decade-long nuclear holocaust in which I do nothing by furrow my brow and knit, I still manage to procure more whenever there is a sale. Or a new kit at Knit Picks.

This past weekend, I received an email from JoAnn's that they were having a 25% off "friends & family" sale, good on everything in the store, even sale items. There is a new crochet- along on Lion Brand's web site that I really wanted to participate in, and it required 2 balls of a new Martha Stewart yarn that I feel is way overpriced. But it was on sale last week. With the additional 25% off coupon, I was totally on it.

There is no greater feeling than pulling up to the craft store with really good coupons in hand and with no children in tow. I made a beeline for the yarn department and loaded up my little shopping basket (I purposely avoided getting a cart; don't want to get too carried away). At just over $4 a ball, I figured I'd splurge and get a selection of colors in the wool blend yarn I wanted for the purse. They are *pretty*. And so very soft. I know I won't pay full price for the yarn, so I figured I'd take advantage of the double discount. I also used the coupon on one of my very favorite craft store yarns of all time, Lion Brand Cotton Ease. It's just a really nice cotton/acrylic blend that has a springy, fresh feeling to it, and the colors are really rich and gorgeous. Then I had to flag down a JoAnn's lady to point the way to where I could find wooden purse handles (the purse pieces section? That one seemed like a toughie to me) and I headed for the register before I could I could do anymore damage.

And in the end, for 11 balls of yarn plus the purse handles, I spent only $55. I saved over $30. Super thrilled over here! So I'll have a nice supply to feed my 2012 projects.

Because, you know, I'd starve without yarn.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Anne at nearly 6 months

In my inebriated joy at having slept another good night, I thought I'd give Anne her very own post. :)

She and Mike are thriving at home together these days. I always trusted and felt good about our daycare, but I have to admit it is extra nice to know that she's at home with her daddy all day.

She's very vocal these days. She likes to recite a single sound for a long spell and appears quite proud of herself. This is apparently part of early language development. My dad read that early on babies can so easily pick up multiple languages, so I hear him coaching her in Mohawk from time to time. :)

"Sekoh. Oh niiawenhátie?"

And she's *mobile*. She hasn't figured out crawling quite yet, but she can scoot forward with both knees, and she somehow moves backwards quite rapidly.

I've also tried solids again, and this time she seems more into them. She always liked her rice cereal, but then she lost interest, so I did too. The other day I gave her some squash, and after an initial shudder of revulsion, she gobbled it down.

She has a very sweet, mellow personality, and really enjoys her brother. We're enjoying her very much, and I'm super excited about our first Christmas with both kids.

Now, if only I could get all of the gifts knit that I'd like to. I think I overextended myself. I actually have a knitting quota for each day. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

I just found a pattern for a knitted nativity set.


I *need* to make this. But unless there is divine knitting intervention, it's not going to get done this year. *scowl* The pattern book, however, now finds itself on my Amazon wish list.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

A successful Halloween, and preparing for Advent

I should have posted this yesterday, but just had a busy afternoon. Henry has always loved Halloween, and this year I was looking forward to dressing Anne up for the first time. Her ladybug costume is everything I always wanted in a baby ladybug :) and she did great trick or treating. She LOVES being outside, and was quiet as a church mouse through the entire street of trick or treating with Henry. She's really just such a good baby.

And guess who slept for 8 hours last night?


I know that this won't happen every night, but let me tell you, we SO needed it. It's been an exhausting few weeks. I stirred at 3 am when Mike got up to use the bathroom and couldn't believe it when I looked at the clock. I was actually worried! But, oh, sweet, sweet sleep. How I've missed you.

In other news, I've been starting Advent preparation. This is one of my very favorite liturgical times of the year. I always have too many Advent calendars (Mike thinks they multiply annually) and candles everywhere, and this year once again I'm contemplating my Advent devotional. I'm thinking of getting the Magnificat Advent Companion. I wanted to order a new Sunday missal anyway. Does anybody have Advent devotional suggestions?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Feast of All Saints

November is my favorite Catholic month of the year. It's the month that marks my adult "reversion" back to the faith, it contains the feast day for my confirmation saint, St. Cecelia, it marks the beginning of my beloved liturgical year in Advent, and I treasure the focus on our departed loved ones in the celebrations of all saints and all souls.

I went to Mass this morning at my parish's regular 8 am Mass. There is nothing better than starting the day off with Mass. And before the liturgy began, I was sitting in my pew watching everyone. I do that a lot. I think it's because I'm an introvert.

I watched the man acting as altar server pick up the large crucifix used in the opening procession to bring to the back of the church. I watched people come in and dip their fingers into the holy water font to cross themselves. I watched everyone get comfortable in a pew and peruse the bulletin. I listened to the organist practice playing the new Gloria, that we used in our parish for the first time this past Sunday. And it just made me so happy to be a Catholic, and to belong to this body of believers.

Our parish has a "book of remembrance" up for the whole month of November where we can all write in the names of our deceased friends and family, so that we can pray for them. Hank and I can do that this Sunday coming up. And I'm starting to mentally prepare for the time coming up very shortly where the only Mass I've ever known will undergo some changes. Post to come up on that soon. :)