Is that a giant TV or are you just happy to see me?

File under: book | champagne problems | greta

Some things in no particular order:

I did indeed start editing the book. People who said editing is harder than writing weren't joking around. And here I thought they were just kissing up to me. So far it's slow going and I'm thinking the end result is going to be mediocre at best, but I will finish—or die trying.

I also came up with an idea for book number 2. It's still very intangible and far fetched, but I have an idea! That's sort of a big deal for me.

This past Friday we went to the artists' reception for the show Greta's picture is in. It was really fun to see Greta's photo in person as well as the entire series. Each photo was better than the next. And it was so fun to see the kids there and get to see their personalities and see how excited they were. The photographer has posted some of the images here. I love them all. And I sneaked a picture of my favorite little model in front of her photo.

We have butterflies! Greta got a butterfly habitat for her birthday from her friend Sophie, and the next day we sent away for the butterflies in waiting. We got our larvae and we've been enjoying their metamorphosis over the last couple weeks. On Monday the first two butterflies appeared, and today the third and final butterfly made its appearance. It has been really, really cool, but they're really, really freaky to me. I mean, this is a face only a mother could love, no?

I do thoroughly enjoy these little critters, though.

Did I mention they're creepy, though?


Even more exciting than the butterflies, if you like technology and don't fear change, is that we got a new TV. We are notorious for our ridiculously dumb outdated TV. The thing is, I like our old cruddy TV. But Pat has been trying to talk me into buying a new TV for years, and he was so stupidly excited when we got our tax return and found the perfect TV. Anyway, I was reluctant but I couldn't squelch Pat's dreams for a modern TV anymore even though Greta cried when she heard the news (we do fear change). The TV arrived today, and it is so big. It came while Pat was at work and I IM'd him complaining about how big it is. Here is the transcript of our conversation:

Fran: it's like half the length of the living room

Pat it'll be perfect

Pat: i studied the viewing distance charts

Pat: i used scientifically proven methods

Fran: okay okay

We got it all set up, and Pat and I watched for five minutes. Here is the transcript from this conversation:

Fran: it's giving me a headache

Pat: me too

Pat: we'll get used to it

Fran: [groan] champagne problems


Where to begin?

File under: greta | weekend update

This month has been the busiest month I have had...maybe ever. I have been quiet here due to lack of time but also a little bit of the if-you-don't-have-anything-nice-to-say kind of thing. Since it's the last day of the month, I am optimistic that things will calm down a bit and life will stop sucking the life out of me.

Anyway, here are some highlights:

Greta has been continuing her dance and swim lessons on Saturdays and she started ice skating lessons on Sundays. While having at least three planned activities every weekend makes it go by in a flash, it's fun to watch her enjoying herself, and I like hanging out with the posse of parents/friends we see there each week. Greta's first week of ice skating was sort of horrifying, though. She was clearly miserable the entire time; we really didn't prepare her for just how hard it would be to start out, but things have been on the up and up since.

I know Pat doesn't share this opinion, but personally, I think ice skating might be one of the more worthless skills on the planet, but I am happy that she wanted to do it and even though it was a total bust the first lesson, she was excited to go back and try again, and she's getting better and better each week.

In other Greta news, she had a dental check-up today, and she received rave reviews from the dentist and hygienist. This is VERY good news since she has a less-than-stellar dental history, but we've made many changes in her habits the last six months, and it's nice to know that it has made a difference.

Um, what else? This is the most boring blog ever. Oh! One exciting thing is that I threw a baby shower for my friend Rebecca, and it was lovely (if I do say so myself). I think I throw a better adult party than kid party because when I throw an adult party I know there will be mimosas, I can wear something pretty, and I don't have to worry about anyone smearing pizza sauce on the couch. Aaanyway, I got to make all of my favorite brunchy foods; there were mimosas, as I mentioned (N/A for the preggers); and I got to ooh and ahh over cute baby stuff.

Rebecca looks FANTASTIC, and it's not immediately noticeable who is pregnant in this picture (hint: it's not me!). In addition to showing off a glowing pregnant Rebecca, this picture shows off my new shorter, lighter locks (which are also probably not immediately noticeable).

We haven't had much time otherwise, but we have gotten out a wee bit to enjoy the cold weather. When in Rochester, do as the Rochesterians do.

I have my fingers crossed that February will be a little more enjoyable and interesting (in other words, less soul-sucking) than January!


Oh hai

File under: greta

Whew! I will say that it's been sort of tricky regrouping after NaNoWriMo. It was lovely ignoring emails and dirty dishes and Christmas shopping and having a completely valid excuse to do so. My reality isn't nearly as interesting or fun as being in I'M-WRITING-A-BOOK mode, and I guess I've been a little woe is me. I miss making time for something that's important to me, even though I did plenty of complaining at the time. Apparently I just complain a lot. This is probably not a newsflash to most of you. Anyway, the update on that front is that I am taking some time away from the book right now based on some advice I received. I am still jotting down more and more ideas for things I want to include, and I hope to get in a good editing schedule once December is done. (Notice I didn't commit myself to starting in January, although I hope I will start then.) Thanks so much to those of you who have left comments or messaged me with feedback or words of encouragement. In addition to complaining a lot, I also thrive on getting attention. Aren't I a ball of awesome?

In other news, this past weekend Greta had her first dance recital. It was a fundraiser for Golisano Children's Hospital with a variety of dance performances throughout the night. Greta and her class danced to "Tip Toe, the Dancing Elf." If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing this earworm, then you haven't lived. The performance was pure chaos, but it was the cutest, most enjoyable chaos I've ever seen.

WARNING: If you watch the following video two or more times you may have "Tip Toe, the Dancing Elf" stuck in your head for five or more days.

I can't express how happy it made me to see Greta actually go out on the stage and have so much fun. Thinking back to how scared she used to be of everything, I can't believe my little girl has come so far.

Here's Greta with two of her best buddies. I love these girls to bits.

I posted the above picture of Greta from before the show with her makeup on and posted it on Facebook, and a couple people made rude comments. I feel the need to justify heavy makeup on a four year old, which I fully agree would be completely ridiculous in almost every instance, by saying the following:

  1. The teacher sent us instructions telling us exactly what makeup to put on the kids so their faces wouldn't be completely washed out under the lights. I put it on exactly as specified.
  2. Even the neurotic moms (and I realize I am included in that group) put makeup on their kids. Every single one.
  3. I was actually quite impressed by my makeup application skills. Sure, I was an art major and could paint a mean trompe l'oeil, but I have never figured out how to put makeup on my own face.
  4. I think she looks cute with buckets of makeup on. I feel a little guilty about *that* part.
  5. I didn't want a single thing standing between Greta and getting on that stage and having fun. If putting some eyeliner on my kid will make her feel excited enough to go on stage and set up a positive experience for her first dance recital, then I am ALL ABOUT IT.

I love my kid more than anything in the world. Am I going to start putting her in pageants? Hell no. Will I put makeup on her a couple times a year for recitals and other performances? Heck yeah. Anyone who wants to criticize that can go ahead. If you want to keep it in your head, though, that would be preferable.

End rant. Thanks to the Reeds and Greta's Grandma Norma for coming out for the recital. It was such a fun weekend!


Something other than NaNoWhatsItCalled

File under: greta | thanksgiving

On Wednesday night we headed to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. Wednesday night we hung out with Taryn and Todd at their new house until way past my bedtime. Thursday we headed over to my aunt and uncle's land for the annual Turkey Bowl.

My family of blondies.

Only my family...


On Thursday night we ate some of the greatest food ever at my parents' house, and then Greta proceeded to get sicker and sicker (she had a cold and then her asthma kicked in and she was feverish and I am mom of the year so I remembered her asthma medication and her nebulizer but not the actual compressor thing, rendering the medication useless - awesome), so we decided to cut our trip short and head home Thursday night.

After the cold, fresh air on the way home, she was actually doing a lot better, and was even better after some albuterol, and she's feeling much better today. Today we went over to Pat's grandparents' house and had leftovers and spent some time with Pat's family. It was all fine and good until Pat gave Greta a hard candy, and shortly after that she turned around and grabbed my shirt and looked at me with terror in her eyes. I knew from the look that she was choking. A few seconds later she swallowed the piece of candy but was freaked out by that, and she started coughing, which actually lodged the candy back in her throat, causing her to choke again. Thankfully, she coughed it up on her own and it shot out of her mouth and into the sink. The whole thing lasted all of 30 to 45 seconds, but it was  quite possibly the most horrifying seconds of my life. I was not only worthless at helping, but I also overreacted and made a nice scene in front of my in-laws. Pretty sweet. I think I will be taking some sort of safety/CPR class with the Red Cross or something, even though I'm pretty certain that if it ever happens again I'll still be as worthless.

The highlight of today was setting up the Christmas tree. It's so fun to see how excited Greta got about every little decoration. So cute.

Tomorrow Greta and I are going to the Nutcracker, which I am ridiculously excited about. I've been wanting to take her to see it since the day I found out I was pregnant.


Good times, bad times (and lots o' pictures)

This week was full of highs and lows. Lists and lots of pictures seem in order. Still, this is a long one. You might want to grab a snack.

- The father of one of my best friends passed away. Knowing one of your best friends is in pain and knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do about it is a horrible feeling, to put it mildly.

+ We went with friends Michael, Christy, Colin, and Miles to the George Eastman House, making it Greta's first visit (I'm guessing of many). Michael took some wonderful pictures of Colin and Greta playing in the gardens, and he will hopefully not mind me reposting some here.

This one I took with my phone during a moment of quiet. She looked like I felt (see minus above), which is why I let her get comfortable on a big bench in a room that was occupied but just us while we watched an old black and white movie for a bit.

+ My brother wears a suit all week long and then transforms into "Weekend Phil." Here is a great article featuring my brother and his latest obsession, cyclocross.

- I was in such a fog this week I completely forgot to go to my book club meeting. This is very unlike me. It's the thing I look forward to most each month, and I'm sad I missed it.

+ We have a new tradition. Pat has been staying late at work on Wednesdays as a focused effort to catch up on school work, and Greta and I have declared Wednesday night "Funsday Night." We have done something fun each week to really appreciate our one-on-one time together. It usually invoves some type of tasty dinner and some other fun activity, like going for a hike, browsing books at Barnes & Noble, a manicure, listening to live music, baking, etc. It's something I look forward to each week (even though we miss PattyCakes, of course).

-/+ We wrapped up what has been a process of more than three months worth of dental work for Greta. I lead a pretty damned charmed life, I gladly admit, so I will say that at the outset of this process, this felt like the hardest thing I've ever dealt with. We have a great pediatric dentist, though, and Greta was such a huge trooper that, all in all, it was actually fairly painless (in a this is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you kind of way, of course). And now I'm glad we're done - for now at least, and in the grand scheme of things, I feel lucky that everything was fixable and that Greta probably won't require therapy later in life (due to this experience, at least).

-/+ After a bit of a scary night Thursday night and an appointment first thing Friday AM, Greta was (finally) diagnosed with asthma and we (finally) got her some therapy/medication that is helping her. She's on three meds right now and we are the proud renters of a nebulizer/compressor, but my baby can almost breathe like a normal person now, thankfully.

+ We went to an awesome squash dinner. Our friend Ian has had an annual squash dinner for 10 years, and we were excited to invited to the 10th anniversary event. I've always been sort of "meh" about squash, but all of the food was so great that this week I have been having a love affair with squash. I can't stop preparing and eating squashy foods. Yum. Speaking of squash, if you don't mind some naughty lauguage and like to laugh a lot, you should check out this genius piece of writing.

+ We had a great day today. The highlights include walking around at RIT's Brick City festival and just having a nice low-key day. Pat and Greta carved a pumpkin while I cooked dinner (a pasta dish with two types of squash, if you must know).

Here are some pictures of Greta at Global Village (a new area in RIT that when I heard about it I thought sounded hokey as hell but which is actually a really cool place).

And here's the aforementioned jack-o'-lantern. Look how cute!


It's All Right

File under: greta

Greta's finally going to start pulling her own weight around here because we made her get an after-school job.



Flip you. Flip ya for real.

File under: greta | ohio

So, this past weekend we went to Ohio. Because, what's high in the middle and round on both ends? O-high-o! AKA, the place where it takes 9 1/2 hours to get there and then takes 45 minutes to get anywhere else (to my grandma’s, to my aunt and uncle’s, to my great aunt’s, to buy kids’ toothpaste). But seriously, I love Ohio. Because it translates to "summer vacation." And while it sort of sucked when we were kids and we had to sleep in my grandparents' house that was in southern Ohio and had no air conditioning, it now translates to sleeping in air-conditioned hotels and drinking my dad's wine every night and eating like a glutton with my parents. Oh, and my Ohio kinfolk is awesome.

We visited with my grandma, first and foremost, but we also saw my Great Aunt Jean (who is awesome) and my Aunt Kish and Uncle Mike (who are awesome) and we drove A LOT and hung out with my parents a lot and DRANK A LOT OF GOOD WINE.

Greta did a lot of this.

And my mom entertained Greta endlessly.

And to my grandma's delight, Pat used his "magic eye" at my grandma's apartment.

This is the one family portrait you'll get for the year.

Greta was getting slightly punchy the sencond day we visited my grandma. My favorite quote from Usual Suspects is when Benicio Del Toro said, "Flip you. Flip ya for real." That reminds me of this.

And this.

Also, on the way to Ohio, we watched Fanstatic Mr. Fox. It was awesome. First of all, I didn't realize it's not a "kids' movie." Not in the Funky Beat Band kind of way and not in any other kind of way. It's sort of a kids' movie in the way that Lock, Stock and Two Barrels is a kids' movie, but it's great and Wes Anderson directed it (I <3 him) and Greta and I loved it. And it's great. Put it in your Netflix queue now. And if you're too intellectual for Fantastic Mr. Fox, get Frost/Nixon. That was good too.

I also did other things the last couple/few weeks, and I wanted to document the scene. This is just showing a hair clip my hair dresser made that is awesome. Greta wants to wear it everyday.

Andhere's a recent picutre of Greta and Oliver the Great with a purple tongue. Random, but I like it.


Oh! Also, I got Pat and Wii for Father's Day. I'm awesome!



SpongeBob FangFace

File under: greta

Working from home, I typically hear the ice cream truck driving by in the afternoon, after school is out but before Pat and Greta are home. I somehow manage to restrain myself from hopping out of my computer chair and grabbing my wallet to get something icy cold and delicious. For one, I've been ridiculously busy with work and taking a break for ice cream is not foremost in my mind. For another, we always have some sort of iced confection in our freezer this time of year. Finally, I'm a 33-year-old woman; I can show some self-control in the face of ice cream.

Last night, after dinner, we heard the familiar bell of the Scoops truck*. Moments after the bell was first audible, many thoughts went through my mind: Ice cream! Greta would like ice cream. If we got Greta ice cream tonight, would she beg us for ice cream the next hundred times we heard the ice cream truck? Greta basically just ate corn and nothing else for dinner. Can I really condone dessert? Hmm, that ice cream costs money. We have ice cream in the freezer. I'm tired and this chair is mighty comfortable...

But lucky for everyone, Pat got a very excited look in his eye and he popped up, grabbed Greta under her arms, and yelled, "Ice cream truck!"

They quickly put their shoes on and ran outside just in time to get some ice cream. Greta chose Scooby Doo; Pat chose SpongeBob; and Pat knows me well, so he got me one of those sugar cones with vanilla ice cream, chocolate shell, and chopped nuts on top.

After a pretty crappy day - nay, week - this was awesome:

I love my family, my totally valid reason for overpriced ice cream on a Friday night.

Is it me, or does Pat's SpongeBob SquarePants look more like SpongeBob FangFace?

* PnF fun fact: In the summer of 1999, we were living in a cruddy apartment on Rutgers Street. Our friend Vienneau was living in town for the summer, working for Scoops, and he struck a deal to room in our attic apartment, in this mini half-room that was really just a dormer. He would pay for the utilities and bring each of the four roommates (Pat; this kid named Jason, who fell of the face of the earth; Jason's girlfriend at the time, Colleen; and me) our favorite ice cream every night he worked during the summer. He always brought me home my favorite: a sugar cone with vanilla ice cream, chocolate shell, and chopped nuts. :)


Okay go

File under: greta

It's not as cool as this, but it's still pretty fun.


Evil Cheeks

Yes!!! Comments in the double digits for the last post. Thanks, dudes! Keep 'em coming!

We got a tankless water heater today. (Yay for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009!) It was an all-day process, and the guys didn't tell me before they turned the water off for more than three hours. It really caught me off guard when I used the bathroom and then went to wash my hands and no water came out of the facet. I was really distressed. I ended up soaping up my hands and then used my glass of drinking water to rinse my hands. Why am I telling you this? Well, I'd rather be dehydrated than have dirty hands. Now you know. Although the chances of me actually getting dehydrated were pretty low, while the chances of me getting my dirty hands on my laptop were extremely high.

After the recent dreams about the old house and the new owners, I've continued having distressing dreams. I had two dreams that my old company asked me to come in and do some consulting for them. In both dreams, I went in, ready to help them solve some type of problem, and both times I got completely shut down by the people who are still working there, and I left in tears. Hmm, I really don't feel bitter toward them. In fact, in real life, I recently went there and had lunch with my former boss and a couple coworkers. They bought me lunch and gave me a copy of the last book I copy edited for them, which was really super-duper nice. But apparently my subconscious is still a little ticked off. Oh, so there were those two dreams, and then I had a dream I got laid off from my new job. I really don't feel all that stressed out in my waking hours, but these dreams must be a manifestation of something, right?  Me thinks it's time to go back to the acupuncturist.

Saturday night, Pat announced that he was taking Greta to see Shrek in 3D. He asked if I wanted to come and I said no and that I didn't think he should take her to a 3D movie. My reasons? Because it's expensive and because Howard Stern said he thinks that 3D movies mess with kids' vision and brains. Howard Stern and I have no evidence to back this up, but it might be true. (And Howard Stern and I aren't alone!) After I said my reasons I felt silly but had to stand my ground because I'm stubborn and because I had a vision of me with two hours of free time. Both of those reasons seemed like good ones to let those guys go off and have some daddy-daughter time. I'm glad I did because I used the time wisely and put a fresh coat of paint on my childhood vanity. Plus, I got to witness Greta running in the house after the movie with her 3D glasses on, smiling ear to ear, and then listen to her talk a mile a minute about what happened in the movie. It was a pretty awesome evening for all.

Ooh, more about my vanity. It was a Christmas gift from my parents when I was maybe twelve. My dad spent a lot of time painting it and assembling it in the basement before Christmas. I remember being completely disappointed when I saw it, and I'm sure I was not at all good at hiding my disappointment. But as I got older, I spent more and more time sitting in front of it. It was white with bronze hardware and a bench that had a fuzzy, cream seat cushion. It was so very girly. When we moved to this house, I asked my parents if I could have it back. It has seen a lot of wear and tear over the years, and at some point in college I put a bunch of stickers all around the mirror part. It's still a work in progress, but I cleaned it up, painted it black, reupholstered the bench cushion with a black and cream damask pattern (leftover fabric from my dining room chair project), and, in honor of its original girliness, I got pink glass knobs and a pink and white handle to replace the brass hardware. Hopefully I can finish it soon so I can show some before and after pictures here. It goes with nothing else in my house, but I love it.

Sunday we met up with some friends we hadn't seen in years. They have a daughter who is just a couple months older than Greta. We met up with them at Wild Wings (the facility in Mendon Ponds that cares for injured birds of prey, not the gross restaurant). We saw the birds, which was very cool, and then we took a hike. The girls were very good, aside from being a bit competitive and turning the hike into a race. Here they are walking with Pat, or who our little friend Hanley nicknamed, "the kid master."

In conclusion, speaking of cute things kids say, tonight I was reading Greta a book called I Love You, Every Little Bit. On one page, it says, "I love your cheeks, round and sweet..." and Greta cut me off to say, "My cheeks aren't sweet, they're evil!" It was funny at the time. Hopefully it's not foreshadowing.


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