My Craigslist Soul Mate

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I’m not Julie, but I kinda am. Dog stalking is a hard habit to break.

Movies, Books, and How I Spent My Winter Break

As someone who works from home, when all of the noise and commotion exited the door yesterday morning in a ball of chaos, it was stunningly silent. I was alone for the first time in over two weeks and the only noise was the background hum of appliances. It was surprisingly a little scary, but that only lasted a beat, leaving me ready to dive in.

What I did over the break:

I threw my back out for the first time ever at the start of break. I do not recommend this. In fact, I recommend you NOT do this. The next week was a blur of Advil, muscle relaxers and a heating pad, all of which made me feel like some of my elderly relatives who would fall asleep in front of the TV moments after sitting down. We tested the limits of my screen sleepiness by going to the movies.

urlAnchorman 2 – This was so sad because I wanted it to be funny, but really, the best parts are in the commercials. It pains me to write that (and I mean it pains my soul, not my back, which is recovering nicely).
tbn_d53321c12a0d7137American Hustle – This was fantastic. The story was good, the actors were good, and the hair was awkward. It’s worth getting a babysitter to go see.
tbn_28dd37a4b93b9e21The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – This was good, too. I really liked it, especially on the big screen due to the beautiful scenery. I didn’t enjoy the 12 year old next to me with a severe case of restlessness. He was in a party of about seven family members, who shared popcorn by having the mom get up and pour it into even amounts for each person, all while standing upright. That happened throughout the movie. No one passes anymore.

I read two books, one of which slipped out of my hands and landed on my face while reading in bed. Another thing I advise against trying.

How to Be a Woman. It ebbed and flowed, but I really liked the final chapters about abortion and getting older. Those were separate chapters, in case that wasn’t clear.

The second book I cannot remember. It was a paperback?

Where we’re going:

Literally, we’ll probably go to Colorado, New Jersey, and I hope to Disneyland and maybe on a long out-of-state road trip.

Figuratively, we’re going to know better and do better, a la Maya Angelou. We’ve pinned the stuff and read the books, now it’s time for action. This year I will drink more water and less Diet Coke, clean the garage, work better, read more (once again, I have a year’s worth of New Yorkers stacked up), take more photographs, and let my kids make mistakes, but help them in ways that will serve them long-term.

Last year, I started walking away from things, as in I finally realized I don’t need to be involved in every single thing. Saying no was liberating. I plan on continuing.

I finally remembered the other book! It was The 5 Love Languages. I read it to help me with one of the kids, only to get to the end of the book to find that there is a version specifically written with kids in mind (The 5 Love Languages of Children). Back to the library.

Year-Ending R&R & Rx

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The plan was to have a relaxing week following Christmas, but what I didn’t know is that it was going to be medically ordered. When cleaning on the Sunday before Christmas, I had been dusting the baseboards (the downside of having large, thick, “elegant” – our builder’s word – baseboards is that they collect a lot of dust) and in a rush, went to get the last dusty spot with a twist, bend, reach, and swoop move that made my back pop. Five days later, I could barely move and it was only getting worse, which was when I called the doctor.

The good news is that a heavy heaping of Advil with a muscle spasm chaser kills any anxiety. I usually itch to get moving to accomplish something, but with the meds, I can barely stay awake. Loaf life is where it is at. We saw four movies (three in the theater and one that’s been on our DVR for six months), I read two books, and I watched about 20 episodes of How I Met Your Mother because all I could do was sit. I felt so complacent that I got excited by a marathon of America’s Funniest Home Videos.  At one point, Sesame Street started looking good. I used phrases like, “real good” to describe anything better than okay. For a moment, I thought that like me, the rest of the world concluded Hanson’s Mmm Bop should be brought back and celebrated as a timeless classic. Also, I started to get a little too mushy in love with Google Shopping Express. Thankfully I couldn’t get up to open the door or each of the delivery drivers would have gotten long, awkward hugs from me. This is my brain on drugs.

My back is getting better and I’ve cut back on the meds, which means fewer “real goods,” but it means I’m going into 2014 rested, with a clear mind, and a back that will be stronger than ever, thanks to doctor-ordered physical therapy. It’s all really good from here.

My Ugly Christmas Tree Attraction

It’s more of a cockiness that tells me I can find the diamond in the rough, but typically attracts me to pathetic Christmas trees. (I feel bad writing pathetic, as if the tree will read this post and get offended.) Unlike Charlie Brown, it’s not the small, malnourished tree I bring home. It’s the big deformed tree that I find. Two years ago, we picked a mangy tree, one that had been passed by all. It was beautiful on the front, but the back was totally bare. It was the Christmas tree equivalent of a person wearing a hospital gown. However, the tree was going into a corner, which made the bare back an asset. We could push it right up against the wall, minimizing the space it took. It looked awesome.

With the bravado from past success, we brought home this mutt. It was lanky, probably 11-12 feet, but thinned out on the top and bottom, which we cut off at home. The magical corner did not work this year.

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It’s not a triangle, but a blob.

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I held out hope that the ornaments would solve the gaping right side, but that failed, too.

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If  you stand in the perfect spot and close your right eye, it’s perfect.

American (Girl) Idiot?

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Cruising through Costco today, I hit the brakes and did a double take when I saw the American Girl display. No big dolls, but they did have dogs, which was exciting enough. I had to walk carefully, as there was a toddler rolling around on the ground while his mom looked at books. He then held onto the bottom rack while the mom dragged him (and the cart) to her next stopping point, next to me. She picked up an American Girl set and clucked her disapproval. American Girl prices are high, but the Costco sets were reasonably priced.

“Idiots!” It was under her breath, but loud enough that she wanted me to hear, and said with an Eastern European accent that made it sound especially harsh. “Anyone who would buy this is an IDIOT!”

She whistled at her son to get up and follow as she walked off. I put the $23 American Girl dog into my cart.

A few minutes later, I saw the kid wandering by himself while mom was nowhere in sight. When she eventually walked over and tracked him down, he didn’t come when called or whistled to, he stared her down, then walked off in the other direction without saying a word. The surprise was that she shrugged and walked away as well, but away from the kid. I try not to judge other parenting styles, but I’ll admit that sometimes I feel better about my own parenting by watching others. I bought the toy dog, but I don’t feel like an idiot.