Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

Just the right size… December 21, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — bonniep @ 10:42 pm

 C loves things that are "just the right size" for her. So last week, on an unexpected day together (nanny called in sick) we fulfilled her wish for a little tiny tree. She likes our christmas tree, but still was sad we hadn’t gotten a "very little" one. About $6 later at Michael’s:


We loaded our cart with a tiny fake tree, three packages of ornaments (snowmen, little presents, and tinsel balls) and a star for the top. She was so pleased. Although she did then ask for a tiny tree skirt. We have used her taggie blanket instead. You’ll notice the unique "all the ornaments on one branch" decorating method she chose here.

It stands next to our tree, with some tiny presents (which she brought home from preschool) underneath. If only she were always this easy to please!


The Great Windstorm of 2006 December 19, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — bonniep @ 12:12 am

So. They weren’t kidding when they said the windstorm would be big. I kind of thought they were, which is why C and I were out buying gingerbread house kits on Thursday instead of batteries, ice, and big flashlights. Well, we learned our lesson. Power went out Friday morning at 12:45 am and didn’t come back until evening of Sunday.

Day 1, morning: This isn’t so bad. Food still fresh for breakfast and lunch. Fireplace keeping the place mostly warm. Crafts with a hat on.







Day 1, evening: Hmm. This kind of sucks. All the candles in the house and the place is still barely visible. Bed is cold. Reheated pizza in a saute pan only so-so as a dinner, even by candlelight. Radio and flashlight take C batteries, can only find D batteries in house.





Day 2, morning: Hey! We have gas hot water!! Went for a run, now that most trees have been cleared. Hot shower. No coffee. Getting cranky, not sure I can handle another afternoon/evening of darkness. Decide to make a break for it. Pack your bags, C, we are heading north. C picked 3 books, a small blanket, her monkey, and a sheet of bubble wrap. Hear of long lines and fights at gas stations–thank goodness for a full Prius! Tossed my passport and C’s birth certificate in case we want to hit Canada.

Day 2, afternoon: After an hour of driving, the excitement of adventure is wearing off. Vancouver still 2 hours away. Mount Vernon, WA. Now, that sounds quaint. Although the "cafe" is really a diner. And the children’s museum is sponsored by the freight industry. And the steakhouse in the parking lot of the hotel is called the "Buzz Inn" and you order at the counter. And the people next door knock on the door to tell me they are leaving at 4 am and will try not to wake us up. Hmmm. Chain lock! But C was happy to color in the hotel, and I was happy to read after sundown at 4:30 and we were both happy to have a warm bed. Oh, and a DQ cone makes everything better.





Day 3: Up and off to the hotel lobby for breakfast. Instant oatmeal and a bagel, but the price was right (included with the room). Back on the road and home for a warm shower and prepping to see the matinee of the Nutcracker. We had been prepping for this for 3 weeks–reading the book and listening to the CD. Except for some fidgeting, C very good for the show. Walk around downtown Bellevue and do some Christmas shopping (us and every other house still without power apparently).






Day 3, evening: See people 6 deep waiting for tables at Cheesecake Factory. Cross street to another restaurant–no wait! Real food, with actual vegetables. Walk past Snowflake lane and then drive home…lights along 116th, looking good, looking good…oh no! no lights on Juanita!…wait, I see Christmas lights…yes! Power is back at our house! Return home to a toasty 54 degrees and turn on every light. Put C to bed. Try to figure out exact order of power on/off for the modem and router to get internet back (turns out there is a third box as well). G arrives home to warm house at midnight.

Day 4: Fridge emitting offputting odor. No milk for breakfast. Stores have no milk. But the coffee shop had milk! Woohoo! Much of neighborhood still without power, causing bad commute home. G left to clean out the fridge and freezer. Yuck. Could have been much worse; was and still is for many. C and I survived on our own!


Wow…love me some clever music December 14, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — bonniep @ 10:38 pm

I am probably the last person to finally hear of this guy, and very sad to find out he was just playing in my old stomping ground of Somerville, MA….

Anyway, must check him out (note: not playing well for me with IE had to coughuse firefoxcough): http://www.jonathancoulton.com/lyrics/code-monkey

Code Monkey get up get coffee
Code Monkey go to job
Code Monkey have boring meeting
With boring manager Rob
Rob say Code Monkey very dilligent
But his output stink
His code not “functional” or “elegant”
What do Code Monkey think?
Code Monkey think maybe manager want to write god damned login page himself
Code Monkey not say it out loud
Code Monkey not crazy, just proud..

It is like caveman lawyer crossed with all the comp sci majors at college…brilliant. BRILLIANT.

He is a former programmer…does sci-fi stuff too…total geek love. Hmmm…the more songs I listen to the more they keep reminding me of other songs/bands. But I’m not sure that’s a bad thing? Some suburban everyday malaise stuff (i.e., Skymall)that reminds me of Fountains of Wayne. Sounds a little old skool replacements-ish too. Or check out his Yoshimi-esque Christmas song: http://www.jonathancoulton.com/lyrics/chiron-beta-prime. Or his Tom Cruise song. Or, or, or… All the songs are here: http://www.jonathancoulton.com/songs 

His white-boy folk cover of Baby Got Back is…I can’t find quite the right words.


Yes Virginia…. December 13, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — bonniep @ 11:03 pm

I don’t want to say that C’s preschool is disorganized…but the holiday potluck (which was announced Saturday) had one Santa costume but no scheduled Santa as of 3 pm today. Enter one willing coworker who gamely spent his evening with kids he didn’t know, wearing an incredibly ill-fitting santa costume, with a belt that was twice as big as him and a beard that barely stayed on. The kids were *thrilled* and eagerly grabbed their presents, asked him questions about the reindeer, forced some hand-decorated cookies on him, and posed for pictures on his lap as happy parents snapped away. [Well, there was one kid refused to approach Santa yet loudly chanted "I want one I want one" as the books were handed out….yes, that was my kid.] Thanks Mike! You rock!


Have a very sweary Christmas December 9, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — bonniep @ 11:37 pm

G caved in and said we could get a tree! So off we went to the local youth group lot to buy our tree today. In the rain. Pouring rain. I had told C we would get a small tree, so she was thinking about 2 feet tall. Cried when we got a 5 footer. Discovered that the trunk was too thick to get far enough through the tree stand ring to reach the water. Also, had only one string of lights (and it didn’t light). G sent to Fred Meyer’s to buy lights, garland, tree stand. Returned with lights and garland, and several unrelated items for the house. Turns out two strands of lights won’t cover even a smallish tree. And, …tree stand? After dinner, back to Fred Meyer. New tree stand worse than old tree stand (trunk could reach water but only until tree fell over). Back to old tree stand. With entire tree + stand in plastic bin filled with water. Redid all the lights. Four ornaments hung on bottom branches (thanks to C). I am sure it will improve tomorrow. Right?

The bitching and moaning and criticizing that happens during tree set up…feels like I am back home with my parents setting up a tree as a kid. Now we just need someone throwing tinsel on the tree (instead of correctly placing individual strands) and C can fully relive my childhood. Tradition, it just feels right.


Here in status symbol land… December 4, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — bonniep @ 3:59 pm

Ah the suburbs. I grew up in them and have tried to shun them since, but we are deep in them now. The signs are unmistakable: 1) SUVs in every driveway, 2) seemingly every woman around is a rep for some at home company–Mary Kay, CAbi, Discover Toys, etc. etc, 3) the only walkable destinations are playgrounds and grade schools, and 4) terrible restaurants (Olive Garden?? puhlease).

It is definitely an adjustment to have to drive everywhere–finally had to buy a second car when we moved here. I was used to taking the train to work, walking to the gym, the grocery store, a variety of restaurants, etc. etc. For the first few months after we moved, C would often cry when I tried to put her in the car seat "I want to walk there Mama!" Now however… Last night G, C, and I suited up for a walk around the neighborhood after dark to look at Christmas lights. As soon as we were in the driveway, C said "Do we need our car?" and shortly after "I am too tired to walk. You need to care me!" which is how she asks to be carried. Not quite the experience I was going for.

Most of the houses in our cul de sac have extensive holiday lights up. I discovered that most of them used a professional light hanging company. Cheaters. We have nothing. In fact, since we won’t be at home for Christmas G has suggested that we don’t need a tree. I may overrule that though, after an experience this weekend while contemplating the 40 person line to see Santa at Redmond Town Center. When queried about her potential response to Santa’s question of what she wanted for Christmas, C lit up and said, "A Christmas tree!" The vision of all those pitying/accusing parental eyes once they hear that response at the fancy Santa display is influencing me fairly heavily. I guess the suburbs are rubbing off on me too.

"Creature comfort goals
They only numb my soul and make it hard for me to see
My thoughts all seem to stray, to places far away
I need a change of scenery"

The only upcoming change of scenery for me is suburban Cleveland. Hmph.