10 on Tuesday

1. What a freaking fabulous weekend.  Weekends like that make coming back to work even harder than usual!  But between half a Xanax and a cup of coffee, I'm feeling almost human today.  Now I'm going to cheat and break down my weekend activities so as to make it easier for me to come up with 10 things to tell you about.  Whoever said cheaters never prosper? 

2. On Saturday I went to a friend's bridal shower, which was just lovely!  And as usual, I won a prize, because I am the shower game queen and I almost always win a prize whenever I go to showers.  It was a picture frame, in case you were wondering.  My friend A won a prize too, but she already owned the exact thing she won (a nice little makeup kit) so she gave it to me!  Win-win!!

3. Hubs and I joined some friends for a day of bar-hopping on Sunday Bloody Funday (that's the British use of "bloody," FYI. Don't worry, no one was hurt).  All told, we visited six bars and drank for about 8 hours straight.  We ended the day by dancing our butts off at a local club, which is a testament to how good a time I had because for everyone's sake, I normally do NOT dance in public.

4. We held a semi-impromptu bbq at my house yesterday.  I first worried that too many people would show up, then when no one responded on our FB announcements I worried that no one would show up.  Yes, there's always something for me to fret over!  But of course, it turned out just fine.  I got to spend some time with a few friends I haven't seen in a while, and it was even nice to see my almost 7 months pregnant friend.  The green-eyed monster was nowhere to be found.

5. I have tomatoes!!!  Our Early Girl has two little green tomatoes on it already!  I really hope I get to eat them before the bugs do.  Any tips on organic pest control?  I don't know that we'll have a problem, but I want to be prepared just in case.

6. It's taken me all flipping day to get to #6.

7. We have a "new" TV and it is GIGANTIC.  Well, 56" is gigantic for my 884 square foot house anyway.  It belonged to my younger brother who recently upgraded to the latest and greatest, so we got his hand-me-down for a deep discount.  Hubs set it up today and now I'm itching to go home and enjoy HD for the first time in my own living room!  I have a feeling it's going to be like sitting in a movie theater.

8. I meant to be more clever and witty in this post, but I clearly failed in that endeavor.  My apologies.  It's been a busy day and AF is seriously kicking me right in the uterus today.  Now I'm just trying to finish this up so I can clean up my desk and go home!

9. Hubs and I have started planning our next road trip, which won't be until next summer, but I'm nothing if not a planner!  We'll be driving up the coast to Vancouver, BC, with stops along the way including Sacramento, Napa, Portland, and Seattle.  We visited Vancouver once, but only got to stay for a day.  We both loved it though so we're excited to go back and actually spend some time there.

10. I made it to the end of the workday, and now I'm going home to snuggle up with my hubby and watch my new TV.  TGI-No Longer Tuesday!

More from "The Prophet"

I'm posting this today because if I let myself keep thinking about how miserable I am at work, I will break down in tears at my desk.  It's better to try to stay strong!  ...Or something.

On Work:
Then a ploughman said, "Speak to us of Work."

And he answered, saying:

You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.

For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life's procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.

Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?

Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.

But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,

And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,

And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life's inmost secret.

But if you in your pain call birth an affliction and the support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow, then I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow shall wash away that which is written.

You have been told also life is darkness, and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.

And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,

And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,

And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,

And all work is empty save when there is love;

And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.

And what is it to work with love?

It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.

It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.

It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.

It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,

And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.

Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep, "he who works in marble, and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is a nobler than he who ploughs the soil.

And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth in the likeness of man, is more than he who makes the sandals for our feet."

But I say, not in sleep but in the over-wakefulness of noontide, that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass;

And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.

Work is love made visible.

And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger.

And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.

And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man's ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.



I'm hopping on the latest blog trend and participating in Bring Your Own Crazy since it's a holiday weekend and my workday is dragging like a... a... well I can't think of anything funny that drags right now.  Probably because my brain has been on vacation since yesterday at about 3:00 p.m.  It's a good thing all BYOC requires is for the blogger to answer some questions, so not too much thought required!

Thank you Sweet Pea for spreading the word!

1. When is the last time you gave and got a compliment?  Today!  A coworker complimented me on my top, and I complimented one of my employees on her sparkly purple nail polish.

2. What do you wear to bed?  This is an interesting question because I'm in the process of updating my bedtime wardrobe.  I normally wear PJ pants or shorts and a tank top or t-shirt.  However, all my old PJ bottoms are older than God and uglier than sin (you see what I did there?) and Hubs hates them.  I'll stick with the same basic uniform for the most part, but out with the old and in with the new!  I just started ordering some new stuff this week actually. 

Eh, I guess it wasn't that interesting after all.

3. If you could pick your dream job - with no worries of shifts or money or bosses or commute - what would it be and where?  I would love to be a backup singer, and if I'm dreaming big here, might as well be in Hawaii!

4.  Okay - I'm not trying to start some huge controversy with this question but I have to put it out there.  If you're being honest - do you think staying at home or working outside the home is harder?  Can you honestly recognize they are both equally hard?  Even if you don't have kids - have you heard others talk about the two professions judgmentally?  I'm not going to lie, for me it would be much, much easier to stay at home than to work at the job I'm currently at.  But I don't have kids and my house doesn't take that much work to maintain.  I'm not sure you can generalize an answer to this question because everyone's situation is so unique.  If I were to compare myself four years ago to a stay-at-home mom with several kids, I think I could honestly say that the SAHM's job would be harder.  But that's because I LOVED my old job and got to come home to a quiet, relaxing household every day.  Have I heard others talk about the two professions judgmentally?  Of course!  Who hasn't?  And if I can rock the boat just a tad, it always amuses me how quickly SAHM's jump on the defensive as soon as anyone says anything remotely related to being a stay-at-home, even if there is zero judgment being passed on SAHM's.  I had this happen to me on my FB status once.  I was totally talking about my own personal experience, no judgment on anyone whatsoever, and all these moms started chiming in like I'd told them they were worthless.  Relax, ladies!  If I was going to be bitchy to you I certainly wouldn't do it on FB where you could defend yourselves.  I'd do it behind your backs like any other self-respecting woman!  (Kidding!  Mostly... ;)

5.  Summarize your week in blogland and in real life.  Uhhh... I only posted twice on my blog this week (not counting today), so if you want to know what happened here, please go back and read my carefully selected words from my prior posts!

Sigh... Okay fine, if you're going to be lazy about it ;) - I posted about finally finding some happiness in being childless, and I also posted about my backyard.

In real life I've been ridiculously PMSed and super bitchy.  Has that not come across in this post?  If not I apologize, and I promise to do better next time.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!


A beginner's advice on not killing plants

Who else feels like they've really earned this upcoming three-day weekend?  Hubs keeps asking if I want to have people over for a barbecue, but I'm looking forward to some R&R.  I wouldn't mind having a few friends over, if only I could get away with not having to clean the house first...  Sigh...  Unfortunately, given the current state of our house, the odds are excellent that I'll be cleaning this weekend regardless!

I feel like talking about my backyard today.  Lately I love fantasizing about how it will someday look.  Because our house is so tiny, I'm dying to make my backyard an extension of the house.  Right now we're too broke to be able to afford the pergola and deck and fireplace and outdoor furniture that I desperately want, so we're focusing on keeping our plants alive and well.  Because that is free.  Then when we can afford all these other things, we'll already have a beautiful space to enjoy.  (That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.)

My veggie garden is surviving and a couple of the plants are already flowering, so I'm hoping for at least some zucchini and cherry tomatoes relatively soon!  Can I just say how flipping amazing and exciting I find it that I can stick a seed in the dirt, splash some water on it, and a little while later have a big ol' plant ready to feed me??  (How obvious is it that this is my first time attempting to grow vegetables?)  Well, to me it's exciting.  And to my SIL, L, too.  My brother built a veggie bed at their house this spring, and L and I were practically squealing over the thrill of seeing our first sprouts.  Ah, everyday miracles!

Besides the veggie garden, we've been doing some work in our garden garden too.  I've always joked that I have a black thumb because I usually manage to kill every plant that is left in my care.  People, I've been known to straight up murder a cactus, which takes a special kind of talent.  But I think I'm starting to get the hang of keeping plants alive.  For one, I've learned that WATER is key to a plant's survival.  Right??  Go figure.  My flowering plants are just loving life now that their thirst is being quenched on a regular basis.  And my hydrangea, which I've had for almost three years, is suddenly three times as big as it's ever been and ready to burst into bloom any minute.  Hmm... Guess I thought the 2" of rain we get a year would somehow be enough to sustain life in (what was until recently) my garden-o-twigs.

Two, PRUNING is good!  I'm amazed at how huge my roses got this year after pruning them back in January... for the first time... Now I have twice as many roses as usual!  And one of my bushes was half-dead (literally, the back side of the main stalk is still totally dried out and D-E-A-D), but it's now as big as my biggest rose bush.  I'm so happy because it's my favorite, it blooms with those yellow and orange roses that are so gorgeous.

WEEDING - Okay I'm not seeing any dramatic results in the growth of my plants thanks to weeding, but my planters certainly look a lot nicer. 

And finally, when in doubt, PLANT IT ANYWAY.  I filled some pots with pansies and marigolds a while back and had a couple leftovers that didn't look like they would make it, but I didn't have the heart to throw them away, so I planted them next to my roses.  Then the pansy got trampled by some asshole stray cat and I was sure it was a goner... Now a couple weeks later it's blooming again!  No idea how.  I also dropped one of my fuschias on it's head and broke most of the limbs off.  I planted it anyway and now it has buds almost ready to pop open!  There are quite a few plants in my garden that I never thought would survive, but with a little TLC they are now doing just fine.

Here I thought there was some big mystery about growing stuff that I never caught on to, but it turns out all I needed to do was try.  I guess maybe I don't have a black thumb after all! 


I've been meaning to tell you...

Bad Kitty!  I haven't blogged in a long time.  Never fear though, I'm around and still reading up on your blogs, it's just mine that's been neglected.

There's nothing really new that's going on to add to the current hecticness that is my life, but I've been trying to be more "present" in all areas:  At home, at work, with my women's group, with my friends and family, etc.  And let's face it, that means I've been spending a lot less time on the computer when I'm not at work.  I even missed a critical FB update the other day that one of my BFFs is going to Africa in a couple of weeks!  Jeez!  Clearly not being online every waking moment is causing me to miss out on quite a bit.


So, there's something I've been wanting to tell you, but I've been a little heistant.  (SPOILER: I'm not pregnant.)  It's hard to put into words all the crazy feelings and thoughts that have been going through my head since Hubs and I made the decision to stop TTC.  We've obviously both been doing a lot of thinking and a lot of talking about our life and family-building options the past several months.  We've talked at length about adoption, IVF, and living childfree, and all these thoughts still swirl around in my head.  I mentioned in a previous post that I was reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed; well, there was this one section that I felt really spoke to me.  Before you read the rest of this post, and if you haven't already read the book, please take a minute to read an excerpt from that section here.  It goes on for a bit longer in the book (if I recall correctly), but you get the gist.

About 3/4 of the way through that section I literally burst into tears and had to put the book down.  I had goosebumps.  I was shaking.  I wanted to tell everyone who would listen about the Auntie Brigade.  I wanted to seek out other "members" of the Auntie Brigade and hear about what they were doing with their lives.  I wanted to find tips on how to be a better aunt to my nieces and nephews and what I could do to help my overwhelmed family members with their kids.  I had this brand-new image of what my life could be like if I never had children of my own, and for the first time that image didn't look dreary or depressing.  Quite the opposite - It looked exciting, fulfilling, and full of opportunity!  I almost don't want to admit this, but to be completely honest with you (and myself) I don't remember ever being as excited about the prospect of being a mother as I've lately been about the prospect of being an aunt.

What does this all mean?  I don't quite know.  Maybe I was PMSed when I read that section and was just incredibly touched by Gilbert's words.  I've never heard anyone talk even remotely as highly of childless women as she did.  Ever.  Or maybe deep down somewhere inside of me, some part of me knows that I could be incredibly happy not being a mom.  Maybe even happier than I would be if I were a mom.  Right now, and for the past few weeks, I feel like the latter could be the case.  I'm not ready to make any decisions yet, or maybe ever, actually.  For lots of reasons, I would probably never try to prevent a pregnancy from happening (well, with the exception of months like this one where I was using a medication that could cause serious birth defects).  But I'm also not sure I ever again want to voluntarily put myself through the kind of heartache I felt when I was TTC.

I realize that I say the words "for now" a lot, and I'm using them again here.  For now, this is how I feel:  I'm enjoying the unencumbered freedom of not having children.  I'm enjoying my nice, quiet household and the knowledge that I have a beautiful relationship with children whom I love and who love me back.  I'm excited about the prospect of (one day) being able to travel the world and afford a nicer house.  I like being in a position where Hubs and I could up and move to the other side of the country (or, hell, the other side of the world) if we felt so inclined.  I love spending time with my nieces and nephews, and I love being able to go home to my relatively un-demanding little Atticus after they've worn me out.

It's been almost six months since we decided to stop TTC and that decision continues to be a relief to me.  I'm still a little pissed that IF robbed me of the option of having kids.  I often still get jealous of pregnant bellies and yes, I still avoid pregnant friends.  (Although I'm starting to notice that part of the reason I avoid them is because we don't have very much in common anymore.)  And sometimes I still get sad about certain aspects of motherhood that I'm missing out on and may never have.  These are the reasons I'm not making any serious decisions except to say that Hubs and I aren't making plans for adoption or IVF, and we're certainly not going back to TTC naturally any time soon.  I might decide in five years, or in three months, or even tomorrow that my desire to be a mother is too strong not to become one come hell or high water, but right now... I am happy.


Ten on Tuesday

It's that time again!  Thank you, Marla, for hosting Ten on Tuesday!

1. Today's my Thursday and thank GOD for that.  Yesterday was one of those wretched days that reminded me why I really need to send out more resumes.  You know it's time to find a new job when you go to lunch and hope you get in a car accident or something else horrible happens to prevent you from going back to work.

2. This Thursday (the real Thursday, not my faux Tuesday/Thursday) is Hubs' and my 4 year wedding anniversary! To celebrate we're taking Thursday and Friday off work and getting some stuff done around the house.  Wee!  My goal is to paint the front and back doors and (finally!) put up the trim.  Hubs keeps trying to sneak in more and more projects but I made him promise that we won't be doing work the entire weekend.  I've been anticipating this weekend for WEEKS and I'm going to enjoy relaxing, dammit!

3. We're still planning on going to dinner here for our anniversary, and I think we may also go here at some point this weekend.  One of Hubs's best friends is the executive chef at the second place, so we debated going there instead of the first, but really, why choose one when we can go to both?

4. I actually had a pretty non-emotional Mothers Day.  Okay, that's not entirely accurate.  I was very emotional but it wasn't because of the holiday; it was because I was exhausted from the hectic week and yet I for some reason thought it would be a fabulous idea to host brunch at my house for both of our families on Saturday.  True, it was a fabulous idea and everyone had a good time, but holy cow it's a lot of work to host a meal for 20 people, even a potluck (heck yes it was a potluck, I'm not completely nuts!).  Then I really lucked out on Sunday - it was Hubs's grandma's birthday so dinner at his parents' house was much more of a b-day thing than an m-day thing.  So aside from my tired moodiness it was actually a good weekend for the Von D's.

5. We hit Ta.rg.et this weekend too and ended up getting everything I needed to finish decorating the second bedroom (a.k.a. The Lounge).  So I get to cross that off my list of goals :)  It looks so great in there now, like a real room with a purpose rather than a catchall place to stash our crap.  I got a new slipcover for the loveseat, some shelves, and a little storage ottoman.  I wish I'd taken a "before" photo so I could show you the transformation, but I haven't taken an "after" photo either, so you'll just have to take my word for how cute it looks!

6. I also got some super cute tile decals from Ta.rg.et to use in the kitchen.  The counter and backsplash tiles are bland, boring white so I'm excited to liven them up and create a little more visual interest in there.

7. I've been getting these funky pink patches of skin all over the place for the past several months, so I finally manned up and went to the dermatologist last week aaaand...found out I have psoriasis.  Ugh.  That would be a genetic gift from my father, thanks Dad!  My poor ugly skin :(  And it used to be so nice.  Sigh...  The doc says it looks manageable and gave me a bunch of samples of what is apparently a very, very, very expensive goop that my insurance doesn't cover, so at least there's that.  Hopefully it'll get better when I quit my job or things mellow out and I'm not so stressed all the time.

8. I'm tired.

9. I'm a little hungover.

10. In light of #9 and #10, that's all I've got for today!


Grody stuff

Brace yourselves, it's time to talk about our favorite aunt.  TMI ahead!

Ever since my miscarriage I've been clotting more and more during my period.  Has anyone else experienced this?  It's starting to get a little worrisome.  Today's day 3, which is generally a heavy day for me, but I've been feeling okay, not too crampy or anything.  Then all of a sudden I started hurting way down low, you know how sometimes you can tell when your cervix hurts?  Well I can, and it hurts like a mother.  It kept getting worse and worse and finally I couldn't take sitting down anymore so I got up and hurried to the bathroom.  Passed a clot the size of a silver dollar and felt much better.

So even though I'm not TTC anymore/right now/maybe ever again, I'm worried that this means something.  What if I have a clotting disorder?  What if my endo is back with reinforcements?  What if whatever this is is what caused my m/c?  Ugh.  I hate IF.  Even when I'm not trying to get knocked up my body knocks me down!


Spring Fever Challenge Week 5

I'm starting pretty late on the Spring Fever Challenge through Life's Journey With a Smile, but better late than never, right?  Now that we're about halfway through spring, it's a good time to reflect on the past several weeks and start looking forward to meeting some goals over the next several weeks!  I've never been a huge fan of spring, I've always preferred the hot, sunny days of summer and the crispness of autumn.  But this year I'm excited about the flowers blooming, the veggies sprouting, and the prospect of getting a lot of much-needed projects done around the house!  So here I am :)

What have you done this past week to help you reach your SFC goals? 
To be honest, I didn't do much! 

Goal 1: Create a Chore Chart Well, I did hang a calendar in the hallway so that I could use it to create a chore chart, so I guess that's something.  (And it's a really pretty calendar too.  The theme of it is the Year of the Rabbit, for the Chinese zodiac.  Every page has a beautiful watercolor painting of a rabbit making his way through part of his day, jumping over logs, rivers, etc.)

Goal 2: Cook a Real Dinner (including at least 1 veggie) 3 Times a Week Uh, yeah, this also didn't happen.  But I did make a real dinner at least twice last week!  And at least one time I made a bunch of veggies!

Goal 3: Buy Some Watercolors and Start Painting Nope.  But again, my pretty calendar is sort of inspiring me to get on this!

Goal 4: Read Every Day Kinda!  I'm almost done with "Committed," I read blogs every day, and I read an article about the Royal Wedding yesterday... I think I should change this one to, "Read from a book every day."

Goal 5: Work on My Book Every Day Uh, yeah, flat-out failed on this one.  I think I worked on it once this week.

What did you do this past week to make you feel good about yourself?
To be honest, last week was a bit rough!  I was pretty proud of myself for surprising Hubs with dinner on Friday night even though I was exhausted and we'd already decided it was a YOYO (Your On Your Own) dinner night.  Also, I did call in sick on Thursday and Hubs and I enjoyed a fabulous day at home.  We worked on the yards, ran errands, and hung out together.

It's May! What were your victories and challenges in April?
Since I didn't participate in SFC last month I don't have anything specific to my goals to add here.  But April was a huge challenge at work!  It was so incredibly busy with the conversion of our new acquisition, but I pushed through it and survived.  That right there is a victory!

Do you have any plans for the challenge in May?
I may edit some of my goals so that I can include "improving my attitude" in there.  Now that my calendar is up I have no excuse for turning it into a chore chart, so that should be easy enough!  (The hard part will be sticking to it.)  I bought a book called "Savvy Auntie" on Am.a.zon over the weekend, and as soon as I'm done with "Committed" I'm moving on to "The Happiness Project," so I think it will be pretty easy to stick to goal #4.  And maybe if I put "work on my book" on every day of the calendar I'll get some more written!

And finally, my positive image for the week!  Since I didn't take any good pictures last week, I'm stealing this from the interwebs.  I know, I know, I've failed at everything SFC-related this week!  Oy!  Next week I promise to be better.  Until then, here's my image, I'm hoping it does the trick to help me perk up today: