Thursday, May 31, 2012

What I Am Into This Month: May

Lush and green.
On My Nightstand: I'm still working through Introverts in the Church and Here I Stand: A Biography of Martin Luther, both of which the DDH got me for Easter.

Umm, What to Expect When You're Expecting? Yeah, my reading list isn't that interesting lately. Since finishing Changer I haven't read any fiction. I need to do a re-read of A Wrinkle In Time and its sequels though, I think.

Want to Read: Oh I just said that already, oops.

TV Show Worth Watching: All of our shows are over for the season! *cries* I have a few suggestions to look up on Netflix, and we've started back up with Mad Men now that season finale season is over. So far season two is a bit faster paced than the first.

Movies I've Seen (in or out of a theater): I think I've seen other movies this month (this month has been so long that I have no idea what I've done because I simply can't remember that far back).

But. Obviously, the important one: The Avengers. Oh, be still my happy action-adventure-superhero-loving heart. The internet has many interesting and insightful things to say about it; my pleasure is much simpler.

I just like watching hot guys run around blowing stuff up.

What can I say? I'm shallow.

If you like to speculate on the plot and the Marvelverse, try this. Author Carrie Vaughn has an interesting take (scientists as heroes) here. If you're of a feminist-critique bent, try this or this or any of the millions of other bickerings on the internet about Joss Whedon and anything he touches.

In My Ears: I still sort of hate music. Our "Like a G6" Pandora station gets me through housecleaning, and Mumford & Sons rescues me from the misery that is Tulsa radio stations, and that's about it.

What I'm looking forward to next month: A vacation! My parents and brother (and maybe sister) are coming in to town. Then my parents (and sister if she's there) are heading up to Michigan while my brother stays with us. Then the DDH, little bro, and I are trekking up to Michigan to meet up with our parents and my dad's family for a big ol' happy reunion at my uncle's cabin on the Lake Michigan shore.

I haven't seen my immediate family in more than a year, my grandparents and one aunt/uncle/cousin since my wedding, and the rest since way before that. High school, I think. It should be good. And my brother's a riot, so I'm looking forward to the car trip with him (he and the DDH may not be looking forward to a trip with a 20-weeks-pregnant chick, though...).

Also, my step-sister-in-law (the DDH's stepsister, though it feels weird to call his stepfamily that because his mom married C nine months after the DDH and I married, so it's not like he grew up with them or anything) gets married Saturday. Huzzah for weddings! I guess.

A sixtieth birthday party for a friend from church, my brother's 24th birthday (wait. that can't be right. Misha is almost twenty-four????), the DDH's first Father's Day, finding out what pronouns we should use with Critter (!!!!!!!!!!)...June has all sorts of good things in store.

Note that I still haven't told my work I'm pregnant...they'll have to find out soon, but I'm hoping to put it off until after my vacation (I don't want my boss to rescind my permission to go, because I'm going anyway and I'd rather have the next several months' worth of income than be looking for a new job).

Goal Progress: I posted some goals for the new year, and I figured these monthly wrap-up posts would be a good chance to check my progress throughout 2012.

The Budget: Hi, did I mention the part where SEWAGE KEEPS BACKING UP INTO MY SHOWER? Why do I even bother having a budget? We hope to get it fixed before everyone comes to visit at the end of June, but that will wipe out our savings. Again (thanks, State of Oklahoma and your bs taxes). Unless it takes more than that, which means we'll just be adding debt to the pile. Sigh.

On the plus side, I think (depending on this sewage situation) that I'll be able to have Subie the Subaru paid off by October (aka before Critter's arrival and my non-paid maternity leave), which is almost a year early. Yay!

The Garden: We ate all the snap peas and then the heat killed those plants. I have potato bushes that I hope indicate thriving potatoes underground. It's almost time to harvest all the garlic. We'll see how anything else does, though, with it being so hot so early.

Food: I can finally mostly stomach food again! Thankfully the DDH has been stepping up and playing chef a bit more often lately, because I still overheat awfully easy when stationed near the stove, and some food just puts me off. But he grilled the most delicious steak (even well done it somehow still actually tasted good, and people, I like my steaks mooing) for Memorial day and tasty pork chops last night.

The Craft Room: Oh there's a post coming on this, my friends. Just you wait. You will be astounded. Kind of. I mean, it's not actually done yet (*hastily works to lower your expectations*), but progress has been made.

Beginning to yellow in the heat.
How was your May? What are you looking forward to in June?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I am dressed (don't ask much more of me)!

I don't know what it's like in your part of the country, but in Oklahoma, summer is here. It's hit ninety every day for the past week, and was 95 on Sunday.

Add to that a bunch of impending-but-never-quite-here storms and it is muggy and miserable. And it's still only May!

The problem is that it's 63 degrees in my office. Transitioning between 95 and 63 four times a day is quite a shock to the system--and the wardrobe.

So on work days I stick with the year-round standbys of pants and shirts. Usually I wear short sleeves in the summer and keep a fluffy sweater at the office to wear. If you actually saw me at work in any of these outfits, I would mostly resemble a wooly gray bear.

But for the rest of the time, here's what I've been wearing:

Shirt: Loft; belt: Target; pants: no idea.
It's possible I've put this exact same outfit up here before. I wear it a lot. The teal color is pretty and cheerful, and the belt ties it together nicely.

Also, I still haven't informed my work that I'm pregnant, so I've been wearing a looooot of belts in hopes of hiding the growing belly for a few weeks longer.

Cami and sweater: Old Navy; necklace: Stein
Mart; skirt: Walmart.
Meh. I wasn't too happy with this outfit somehow. I did end up trading the long pearl necklace for a shorter one, which helped. And getting my heels on helped as well. But somehow...I don't know.

This skirt used to be one of my go-to favorites. The embroidery is interesting, the cut is comfortable and fairly flattering. It is, however, a holdover from my pre-weightloss days, which is both why I thought to pull it out now and perhaps why I'm not happy with it. It just doesn't fit quite right anymore, and the length is weird. Meh.

I was much happier with this pairing with the skinny jeans I changed into after church. And then since it was so hot the sweater came off. You can't tell, but the tank is a pretty lavender color that I rarely wear. But somehow with the fake pearls the jeans-and-tank combo looked sweet and almost sophisticated.

Shirt: Old Navy? or H&M; belt: Goodwill;
jeans: Target.
I've had this shirt for a long time. It was one of my wardrobe staples in Germany (I can't remember if it was an Old Navy purchase I brought along or something I picked up at H&M while there, and I'm not at home so I can't check the label). The problem is that all the clothing I wore in Germany 1) I tend to have a strong emotional attachment to (especially the pieces I bought while there, even if just from H&M and not an actual German place) and 2) are really really worn out for being part of a very limited wardrobe that was worn to the max all over Europe.

Anyway. So I've hung onto this shirt and rarely wear it. It's a thicker material so has held up fairly well, but is a bit faded and, I don't know. Not quite work appropriate and it just doesn't get pulled out often.

But having paired it with this belt? (I am telling you, the magic of belts!) I think it will see greater use again. I love it with the casual brown belt, and though it's blue flip flops in the picture I actually wore some comfy leather sandals most of the day.

Shirt: Target?; belt: Target; pants: old.
This outfit is another frequent flyer here, but I posted it again for two reasons. One, to prove that sometimes I wear long sleeves even in the summer because it's just so darn cold in the office, and two:

Baby bump.

Riding up.
This belt isn't adjustable; it's elasticy but it hooks where it hooks and that's that. So all day at the office it kept riding up to my natural waist instead of staying put closer to my hips, where I'm trying to define my waist. And if you look at the profile, you can see why. Yes, that baby bump is starting to appear!

Critter is avocado sized now, apparently, so I suppose it's about time to make my belly protrude. ^_^

It's Wednesday, y'all. What are you wearing?

Linked up with What I Wore Wednesday at the Pleated Poppy, which I should have been doing for these posts all along except that I forgot what blog I originally found the idea on and decided to just hope everyone else knew what I was talking about. But now I found it again and I'm happy I did, because Poppy is adorable.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I am good enough.

Weekends. They're not always what you hope they'll be.

I often come off long weekends (so rare and far between, since we work a number of holidays when the stock exchange is closed) feeling disappointed. Like I've wasted it, somehow. They seem so rich and full of possibility at the beginning, and when I look back at the end, I never seem to have done as much as I wanted to.

No matter what I do, I'm nagged by that feeling of I-could've-done-it-better.

This happens in all aspects of life. It's why traffic drives me absolutely bonkers--because I have the sneaking suspiscion that if I were only good enough--smart enough, fast enough, clever enough, skilled enough, paying enough attention--I would be able to negotiate my way to smooth sailing.

If I were good enough, I'd always pick the shortest and fastest line at the grocery store.

If I were good enough, I'd pick the best route through traffic, the best lane for each segment of my drive.

If I were good enough, I would have a fresh meal on the table every night, my dogs would never run away, the DDH and I would never fight, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

But I can't be good enough to be any of those things.

Some things I can make active efforts to improve at--like meal planning and communicating kindly with the DDH--because improvement really does lie within my control. That's why I set goals and keep track of them.

But not meeting my goals doesn't mean I'm less of a good person than if I hit all my goals on schedule every time.

Some things I can try to account for--like filling in the dogs' holes with cement sand, or keeping an eye out for little old ladies writing checks at the grocery store, or checking a traffic report for construction--but are ultimately out of my control. I can't pave the entire backyard or cut off the dogs' digging paws or account for the stealth check-writers or sudden traffic accidents.

Except there is always something I could do. I could pave the backyard (or get rid of the dogs entirely, since they obviously don't want to live here anyway*). I could do all my grocery shopping online and end the tyranny of check-writers and price-checkers forever. I could refuse to leave the house (or at least refuse to drive) and thus never get stuck in traffic.

I'm stuck in frustrating situations because I choose to put myself there. Maybe that's where the feeling of not being good enough comes from, the acknowledgement that ultimately it is my choice (and thus my failure?) for being in the situation in the first place.

But when I look at the alternatives as being, not having chosen the shorter line, but having chosen to forego all grocery stores forever, I realize how ridiculous I'm being. I realize that beating yourself up over choosing the wrong lane of traffic is a silly way to live.

(The fact that if Tulsa's city planners had just done common sense things like include center turn lanes in their stupid roads, so many of my frustrations would evaporate, is another post entirely.)

I am good enough that a few extra minutes in line won't kill me.

I am good enough that I can be patient in traffic (and note to self: being impatient really could kill me).

I am good enough to set wise goals, to work on them, to fail and learn and try again and sometimes, to give up.

More importantly, I am not in any way and never will be good enough to control everything.

I'm not in control. I never was, and never will be, and figuring out the balance between personal agency (doing things) and personal subjecthood (having things happen to me) is, perhaps, the key struggle for this INTJ. They don't call us Masterminds for nothing.

I'm not in control. But I am good enough.

And for Pete's sake, it's time to stop raising my blood pressure over the dratted traffic four times a day.

The fewer cars, the better.

What makes you feel inadequate? And how do you remind yourself that frustrations are not personal failures or character flaws?

*Not really.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The seasons are turning. I am not.

I wish the seasons meant something to me anymore.

You know?

I wish summer still meant long, lazy days. Reading on the couch, collapsing under the swamp cooler, lining up my toy horses on the front porch. Running errands with my mom and siblings. A soundtrack of talk radio. Dinners on the back porch, talking into the night. Sibling sleepovers in the living room, in carefully constructed blanket tents and kitchen-chair beds.

That almost-endless span of nothing-to-do in which Everything could be accomplished.

With a super awesome birthday in there somewhere, my brother's a month earlier like the warm-up act for my own.

Dog days of summer.
Monsoons, that comforting pattern of sun and cloud and lightning and rain, cool/warm rain to quench the earth's thirst, and ours, for something to break the tyranny of the sun in the desert.

And then the thrill of school shopping, poring over schedules. Planning and dreaming and scheming to make everything about this year perfect. Notebooks and pencils and backpacks and pens. The change of pace, the comfort of routine.

Leaves in the fountain.
School begins in early August in New Mexico, so it always came before cooler weather. The crisp scent of fall didn't tickle our senses until midterms. And then, as it got colder, the excitement of Christmas: another break, another abandonment of now-stifling routine. Trees and lights and church. And presents--presents to request, presents to buy, presents to make, presents to wrap, presents to hunt for in the backs of closets.

The quiet, sated week between Christmas and New Years. The final party, welcome, new year! The return to school, docile with celebration hangover.

Lights in downtown Tulsa.
The hard slog of January, February, March to Easter break. Cold (though not wet like Tulsa, blech). Working day in and day out, routine to the extreme. Ordinary time. 

Spring Break, a much-needed respite. Warmer weather. Lilacs in bloom. The year's most pleasant walks to and from school (or are those in the fall?).

Backyard flowers.
The jittery excitement as summer approaches. A whirlwind of end-of-year activities, yearbooks and goodbyes, final concerts and awards presentations. Exams, later, and scores and grades that mean something. The frantic buildup and the sudden release, all of summer stretching before me in its hazy, fertile glory.

Now it seems like life consists of nothing but that January/February/March slog. The endless routine, always the same. Nothing changes. Nothing to anticipate. The same dreary work, the same evening routine of gym-chores-dinner-tv-bed. Weekends longed-for but wasted in more chores and commitments and an unfulfilling laziness that is only a cheap imitation of rest. The same bleary-eyed awakenings, begrudging the alarm.

Sometimes it's hot, sometimes it's cold. I'll wear sweaters and boots or tanks and sandals. But it's the same stuff I'm doing. No breaks. No vacations. No completion.

And maybe that's fine. There's nothing wrong with my routine, with the tasks that fill my days and weeks and months and years.

I just wish the seasons meant something again.

You know?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I am dressed (don't ask much more of me)!

The takeaway from this week's pictures is that I am obviously in love with belts. I don't know why it took me so long to hop on this trend, but I have a little collection now and I wear them all the time.

Top: Goodwill; belt: Target; pants: Target.
I have worn this navy top with gray slacks countless times since I snagged it at Goodwill. I bought the belt a few weeks ago, and huzzah! Instant outfit transformation. It looks like a Real Professional Outfit now.

Shirt: Old Navy; tank: Old Navy; belt: I think
also Old Navy; pants: Target.
You've seen this outfit before, only once again, the addition of a belt (this a different silver/gray one, with little silver studs that you can't see in the picture) took it to the next level. I felt iffy about it before, but loved it with the belt.

Shirt: Old Navy; tank: Old Navy; skirt: Sears;
necklace: Target; wedges: Target.
Sunday church outfit. It's  hard to tell, but there's a navy tank under the shirt, which is actually gray not brown, and the skirt is navy as well. And I went the extra mile and am actually wearing shoes in this picture!

Remember how I told you that last week a lady at the gym told me I was showing already and I was a bit sad about it? People told me quite the opposite when I wore this outfit. SO THERE.

The moral of this story is actually that big, baggy clothing (aka gym pants and an old t-shirt) is less flattering than trim clothes that fit you well.

Shirt: H&M. In Freiburg. *sob*; belt: Goodwill;
pants: Sears.
This outfit represents a major step for me. I wore this to volunteer at a youth group golf tournament fundraiser. That's right. I showed up to volunteer for an outdoor activity in an outfit, not jeans-and-a-t-shirt-with-a-college-logo-on-it.

The fact that that shirt is so worn out the only reason I haven't thrown it away is because I bought it in Freiburg, as well as the fact that those black pants are actually cargo pants, are completely relevant. But I debated adding the belt, and I did it, and I was so proud of myself.

Of course, everyone else was wearing jeans/shorts and old t-shirts, but WHATEVER.

Shirt and jeans: Old Navy.
I wore this top with black slacks to work, then changed into jeans for a meeting that evening. The fact that I can't tell from the picture if I'm wearing my dark-wash skinny jeans or my jeggins is unfortunate. In my defense, it was the first wear after washing; in actuality, I think there's another item in my wardrobe I'm going to have to kiss goodbye soon.

Anyway, I only took a picture of this because of what I did with the sash thing. The shirt has a built-in sash: it's sewn in place on the front, then loose in the back so you can tie it in a bow. Well, I wore it tied in the back all day, and it pressed into my spine every time I sat back in my chair, which was really annoying. So when I got home, I wrapped them around to the front and tied a little knot. There wasn't enough length to tie a full bow, but it worked. Pain-free, and like I'm wrapping my little pregnant belly with ribbon. ^_^

It's Wednesday, y'all. What are you wearing?

Linked up with What I Wore Wednesday at the Pleated Poppy, which I should have been doing for these posts all along except that I forgot what blog I originally found the idea on and decided to just hope everyone else knew what I was talking about. But now I found it again and I'm happy I did, because Poppy is adorable.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I am still here.

The weekend was not as bad as it could have been.

Honestly, it was good.

Except for the part where the dratted dogs ran away YET AGAIN after being outside for all of five minutes while I brought the groceries in. I do not how the Lab digs holes that quickly! I suspect he goes and scratches at it each time he's let out until finally it's big enough to squeeze through. Then again, I'm also never sure how they fit through such a tiny hole. They have magical powers.

But other than that, babysitting-kid and I had fun, the weather was beautiful for the farmer's market, I got compliments on my zumba-ing at Zumba, and I got to actually talk with some church people while we worked the youth golf tournament thing and it was nice.

I even managed to take a shower and be done before it started in with its ominous gurgling.

The hecticness continues this week, but it will be okay.


Friday, May 18, 2012

I am hunting rabbits.

Hunting rabbits. See the tail?
My mind is aswirl with a million thoughts.

Like the dogs in the backyard, chasing a million rabbits that they'll never catch.*

But few of them are happy ones, and sharing would be whining.

What it comes down to is this: I'm doing too much of what I don't want to do and too little of what I do want to do.

But what it comes down to even more is this: I don't actually know what I want to do.

Or perhaps: I don't know how to do what I want to do.

And then there's this: I haven't showered in almost a week (which isn't too terribly unusual for me, actually) because sewage keeps backing up into our one and only shower.

I mean, Timothy showers every day and it's fine. It mostly only happens when it rains a lot or you run the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time or you run the washing machine more than once a day or for any other combination of reasons that involve the water and/or sewer pipes. But I just know that as soon as I'm standing there covered in shampoo, that's when it will choose to back up next.

And I will never, ever, ever get over the feeling of standing in sewage. So it's best to just not tempt fate.

Of course, there's also this: the dogs have dug under the fence and run away twice in the past week. Once they got more than a mile, across a very busy street. They are going to die because that idiot Labrador likes to dig holes and the moron beagle just tags along behind him.

And it's ridiculous how unloved that makes me feel. Like I'm not good enough for them, and they'd rather be anywhere else.

Then there's the fact that my car's making a funny noise. Or that I barfed Salisbury steak all over the back yard at lunch today and drove pale and shaking back to work clutching a bag of stale tortilla chips. That I've had a miserable sinus headache every day for a week. That a lady at the gym yesterday when I walked in said, "Oh my gosh, Katie, you're showing!" but I think it's just that I haven't been eating well or working out as hard and so I'm getting fat. That I'm whining to a bunch of strangers on the internet (and crying at work) because I don't have any real life friends to talk to.

But Critter had a nice strong heartbeat Wednesday (this maddening Critter that I already love so much that I'm miserable at the thought of abandoning it to daycare the way I know I'll have to).

The DDH's work life is going swimmingly and he seems to still mostly love me and bought me candy yesterday just because I said I wanted something sweet to eat.

We don't have enough money to fix the plumbing or the car but we have enough money to live so long as I keep plugging away at this miserable job that I hate. Even with the cost of daycare. Which was the depressing/comforting realization I came to yesterday after an afternoon spent crunching numbers: we can't survive on just the DDH's salary even if we cut out every extraneous expense. But with mine we can afford the nicest daycare (though maybe not also the gym). Assuming my boss doesn't fire me once he finds out I'm pregnant, of course.

The sun is shining and the weather's supposed to be beautiful this weekend.

I have one whole morning to myself tomorrow with nothing to do but the farmer's market and Zumba and I'm going to make the most of this oasis in the middle of an otherwise drainingly busy weekend.

And I guess for now that will have to be enough.

*Actually they did catch one, once. All that was left when we found Jayne slurping on it were three legs, a head, and a spine, all loosely attached by hollow, bloody, fluffy skin. You're welcome for the mental image. Nature red in tooth and claw....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I am dressed (don't ask much more of me)!

I almost forgot it was Wednesday!

I officially entered the second trimester on Monday and go in for a sonogram and checkup today. The DDH wasn't going to come because I told him it was just a checkup and nothing important.

However, I was fretting about something and said something along the lines of, "Well, I'll feel better once I hear Critter's heartbeat on Wednesday" and the DDH flipped. out. "You get to hear the heartbeat? Why didn't you tell me? I thought it was just a checkup! I want to hear the heartbeat too!"

So he rearranged his work schedule, got someone to cover his afternoon docket, and plans to meet me at the doctor's. <3

Anyway! Down to business. I can tell my pants are fitting more tightly, but I still don't look pregnant at all. My skirts and dresses still fit fine, as you can see.

Tank: Old Navy; belt: Goodwill; skirt: JC Penney.
I have rediscovered my love of this skirt. I had stopped wearing it for awhile, but I don't know why. Maybe the white is getting faded? Maybe because I really have to be strict about my "no white/light colors" rule because I'm the clumsiest person alive? No idea.

But it is the most comfortable, pretty thing. I felt like a genius for pairing it with my big patent fake-leather belt I found at Goodwill. A GENIUS, I TELL YOU.

Also, the tank-top is very comfortable (and teal) but weirdly too large for me and I cannot escape sharing my bra with the world when I wear it. Oh well.

Dress: long story; belt: Goodwill.
There's that belt again! It's the same one, just the light from the window makes the buckle look silver when it's not. I was once again inordinately proud of myself for adding the belt to this dress, which I otherwise love and is a story in itself.

This dress. Oh, this dress. It's a cute style, right, simple sundress with a swooshy skirt. But look at that pattern! Not something I would have ever picked out. You may have noticed that I don't tend to wear a lot of patterns. This is because a) I freak out about the colors in the patterns going with the colors of things I wear with them, b) I'm picky and think a lot of patterns look dumb, c) I'm cautious about mixing patterns, and d) I'm a timid and conservative dresser and it's just easier to do solids. And tame colors.

ANYWAY. So why do I have this dress I wouldn't normally pick out for myself? Well. I was living in Germany. One of my housemates, who is from Pennsylvania, had gone with some of our other friends to Spain while I went to Italy with my parents and the at-that-time-DDF. She split off from our friends in Spain to meet up with an old friend in Switzerland, where she went to a giant flea market. I have no idea, really, what flea markets are like in Switzerland or even that they HAD flea markets in Switzerland, but apparently they do.

So Sarah bought this dress because she loved the pattern (the pattern I would have skipped right over). But when she got home to Germany, she discovered it didn't actually fit because she has giant bosoms. She loved the pattern so much, though, that she planned to make it into a bag. For some strange reason, she then asked me to try it on. I could just barely zip it up because a) though I don't have bosoms, I have a big ribcage and shoulders, and b) I subsisted my entire stay in Germany on a diet consisting of Speck (cured pork), potatoes, Haribo gummis, Prinzenkekse (giant delicious sandwich cookies), pretzels, and alcohol. To be fair, I also walked miles each day so I didn't gain that much weight, but I definitely gained some.

Still, it fit, and it looked really nice on me (aka it made me look like I had bosoms, when I don't. Also, it's really amusing me to keep referring to breasts as bosoms), and Sarah told me I should keep it. Then we went swing dancing.

For awhile the dress stopped fitting (because when you come back to college, eat crappy food, and don't walk miles and miles every day, apparently you gain a bunch of weight, who knew). But then I lost thirty pounds and it fit easily and looked amazing and is perfect when it's hot out etc. etc. Alas, pregnancy is giving me bosoms (sort of) and generally rearranging my body, so I think that was the last time I'll squeeze into that dear old dress for awhile. But if all else fails, I'll make a bag out of it and send it to Sarah.

And for the record, it isn't some magical fancy Swiss dress from a boutique or made by a cute little Swiss seamstress. It's from H&M. But a) we don't have one of those here (pout), b) it's H&M Europe so the sizes are in European which makes it automatically cooler than American H&M right?, and c) it still has a cool story behind it. And it looks great on me. So there.

Since I wrote a novel about that dress, I guess I'll stop for now. More next week!

It's Wednesday, y'all. What are you wearing?

Linked up with What I Wore Wednesday at the Pleated Poppy, which I should have been doing for these posts all along except that I forgot what blog I originally found the idea on and decided to just hope everyone else knew what I was talking about. But now I found it again and I'm happy I did, because Poppy is adorable.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I am a dog parent.

I have come to the awkward conclusion that most of my parenting theories are based on dog training.


But I mean. Prevention and consistency are basically the keys to a well-trained dog.

Don't want him to eat the trash? Don't leave the trash out where he can get it. Because he will never, ever, ever understand why he's not allowed to help himself to the smorgasbord of awesome that resides in that can. He will learn not to do it when you're watching. But as soon as you're gone, all bets are off. That's prevention.

And consistency. If you want to train your dog to sit before he's fed, never feed him without making him sit first. Always use the same command word and/or gesture. If you don't want him to jump up on people or sit on the couch, don't ever let him do it. Dogs don't understand "sometimes" or "with this person only" (well, they do get that one a bit, but not as well as my husband thinks they do) or "special occasion." They just know "do" or "do not do."

(And with the couches, if you think they're not sitting up there anyway when you leave, you're kidding yourself. Unless you prevent the behavior by physically removing them from the couch area with a gate or crate.)

Consistency applies to tone of voice, too. Dogs know to tune you out when you're using conversational tones or sweet-talking tones. They know to pay attention when you use your firm, I'm-talking-to-you,-dog tone. It helps if you say their name first and establish eye contact.

So, like, child-rearing is basically that plus talking, right? Because eventually children, unlike dogs, do come to understand "sometimes" and reasons, and they eventually can (and must!) make their own choices.

I mean, toddlers and dogs are pretty much the same thing. Right? They make noise and poop on stuff and eat things they're not supposed to eat.

Prevention, consistency, and cuddles. Sounds good to me.

Who was it that said I know only that I do not know? Yeah...that's me and parenting, obviously.

Disclaimer one: Please don't report me to DHS. I'm joking, I promise. Sort of.

Disclaimer two: The more I thought about this, the more I realized I could go on with the comparisons: the importance of building a trust relationship, motivating out of love and respect rather than fear, the effect of physical state on mental state, understanding individual personalities, working within the parameters of capabilities (i.e. a dog is not and never will be a human; a two-year-old does not have the same capabilities as a three-year-old, etc.).

But obviously dogs are not actually even human and never will be, whereas children are and will eventually become reasoning (and we hope reasonable) adults--even a toddler is capable of greater understanding and reasoning than the smartest dog, if only because a toddler has language of a sort, which a dog does not.

Anyway. I'm very cautious about saying I know anything, since all my experience with parenting is from every role BUT that of a parent, and obviously that role is completely different from the roles of child, educator, temporary caretaker, and student-of-behavioral-psychology-and-development. Still, it's nice to think that maybe my role as dog-parent has taught me a useful lesson or two for life with human Critter.

I am dressed (don't ask much more of me)!

Ok. A few more old outfits to finish up, and then I'll need to actually start trying to dress properly again.

I'm to the point now where everything still fits but is tighter than usual, and some of my smaller pants and skirts need to be retired. I'm trying to wear as many non-maternity/empire-waist outfits as possible while I still can!

Cardi: Gap; tank: Old Navy; pants: not sure.

A good hair day.
I've decided I really like that turquoise tank top. I keep trying to find different ways to wear it. I thought it added a nice pop of color for this work outfit. Plus, since it's hot outside but cold inside, I could take off the cardigan and be comfortable once I left work. I get hot much more easily now.

And I usually cut off my head in the pictures for two reasons: one, my camera-phone-in-a-dirty-mirror shots are blurry enough, and it's not like you can see jewelry detail anyway. Two, my face does not photograph well. I think I usually look weird, and have a strange chin, and am making odd faces. But I was having a good skin day and a good hair day, so I couldn't pass up this head shot. The jewelry was a bridesmaid gift from my friend for us to wear in her wedding.

Tank: Old Navy; belt: Target; pants: Sears.
This tank is really long and weirdly too big for me; it's one of those long-and-loose styles you're supposed to wear with jeggings or super skinny jeans. I think it will be seeing a lot of use over the next few months. For now, I can still define my thicker-than-usual-but-still-there waist with a belt.

Not that you can tell, but the black pants are actually cargo pants and insanely comfy.

Shirt and tank: Old Navy; pants: Target.
This is a terrible picture but I really enjoyed wearing this outfit.

Another headshot.
With my hair up and my fake pearls, it just felt professional and classy somehow.

Headshot party. Everything's from Target.
My hair was having a really good week there. Sigh. It's back to being gross this week. I would suspect the trick to having nice hair is washing it more than twice a week, except it looks just as bad the day I wash it (or the next day) as it does five days since washing it. I just have gross hair.

Dress: Target; cardi: Gap?; belt: Target;
heels: JC Penney.
Sexy date night. This was my outfit for our fancy dinner out at the cooking college. I believe you've seen the purple heels before. Anyway, I loved it. I felt awesome.

Mostly I was proud of myself for mixing the blue cardigan with the purple heels, though of course the heels are dark and I was sitting down the whole evening. WHATEVER. The belt really worked belting in the cardigan, too, which I wasn't sure would be the case.

Okay, that was a lot. I've been really proud of some of the outfits I've come up with lately! I think knowing that my options are about to be severely limited has inspired some creativity, and since we're also frantically trying to save money, I'm working with what I've got rather than buying new things. And I've been pleased with the results. ^_^

What have you been wearing lately? What inspires you to get creative with the wardrobe you have?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I am dressed (don't ask much more of me)!

Ah yes, 'tis Wednesday. Where did I leave off? Holy Week, I think.

Because I'm secretly seven years old, I dress for holidays. I try to do it grown-up style, though. For example:

Shirt: Old Navy; skirt: older than the hills;
belt and jewelry: Target.
Maundy Thursday. The First Communion. Obviously, the thematic color is wine, and I have the perfect skirt. I have worn this skirt on Maundy Thursdays (and other days) since I was in middle school, possibly. I think I finally tossed its matching brown cousin, but I kept the wine-colored version. It's shiny and has lace details and is a wonderful color, though I need to hike it up to keep it from giving me stunted leg syndrome.

Anyway. Also still a solemn day, so black to go with. But I was proud of myself for punching it up with a silver-gray belt (it's shinier in the light) and big jewelry. I wore it to our Seder Meal celebration that evening and was happy with it.

Shirt: Old Navy; belt: Target; skirt: hand-
On Good Friday, obviously, you have to wear all black. It's The Rules. During the day I wore the same shirt with black pants, but I skirted it up for the evening Tenebrae service. I decided the gray belt made it look nice and outfitty without destroying the solemn feel of it.

Oh, the pin I'm wearing here and in the Maundy Thursday outfit is a gold crown of thorns that I usually keep on my coat all through Lent and wear during Holy Week. But it was so warm this spring I wasn't wearing a coat and forgot all about it until Maundy Thursday.

Everything is from Old Navy, I think, except
the necklace, which was a gift.
Looking at my source captions, I think I should get Old Navy to pay me for these posts. I even went thrifting a few months ago and ended up with a cute dress...from Old Navy. Sigh.

Anyway. Holy Saturday. Spring! The middle of a three-day weekend! But you still sort of need black to be dominant. Jesus is dead and buried. So here we go. I love all the pieces of this outfit and I love them together and I should wear it again.

Shirt: when in doubt, guess Old Navy;
belt: Target; pants: thrifted?
After all that, I didn't photodocument what I wore for Easter. I don't even remember what I wore for Easter. It wasn't this. This was a failed attempt at an outfit for work. It was okay, and might get pulled out again as my belly expands, but the fact that it looks horrible in this photo is not a complete lie.

I suppose we'll stop here for now.

It's Wednesday, and that's what I a month ago.

What have you been wearing? Do you "dress up" for holidays too?