Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

This Christmas is the first in a LONG time when I find myself unable to buy gifts for my family. I am pretty saddened by this, but it has been helpful for me to think about the meaning of this season and to focus on the purpose of these annual celebrations. Here is a list of reasons why I love the holidays that has nothing to do with buying or receiving gifts:
  1. Seeing my family, especially the little guys
  2. The warmth of the light off of the Christmas tree late at night
  3. Hanging around in pajamas all morning and not feeling the need to change
  4. Eating something red and green on Christmas Eve
  5. Talking, laughing and spending time with the people who know me best and accept me for all of my strengths and all of my limitations
  6. Christmas music (I haven't heard nearly enough of this yet this year)
  7. Taking time away from all extraneous obligations
  8. Getting ready for a whole new year, full of potential for happiness and peace
  9. Warm living rooms with frosted windows keeping the cold away
  10. Feeling a little bit like a kid again

Friday, November 23, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Waiting

Three years ago I stopped. I finally concluded that I would rather gouge my eyeballs out with a spoon. I would rather be poor and penniless than to continue working as a waitress.

Apparently, the prospect of being poor and penniless is a stronger motivator when you are single and don't have a partner paying the bills. I finally broke down and took a job at The Palace. If you know where I'm speaking of, you can come and see me -- but only if you are a tremendous tipper :) and not very demanding.

You know, for as much as I have avoided this situation, the job really isn't so bad. Sure, you never really know when you'll get off of work and how much money you'll make...but the people are ok and it is something that I can feel good at amidst an inner world of uncertainty. I'm trying to convince myself that I am not regressing into my former early-20-something self. So, if you see me bellied up to a bar after work and intermittently stepping outside for a smoke break--please remind me that I have already done this and that it wasn't that great the first time ;)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

This must be a test of my character or something

After being carless since May, I decided a few weeks back to look for a cheap used car to get me around this winter and to use to visit the family in IL. I found what I thought was a great deal on a 1992 Toyota Camry. The car looked pretty good and seemed to drive fairly well, but there was something wrong with the brakes. The guy who sold it to me was the original owner--well passed down from his dad. It sounded good--regular oil changes, timing belt changed every 60,000 miles, new radiator, new tires, et cetera. He told me that he had taken it to a mechanic who said that the brake lines would probably need to be replaced due to rust and that it would cost $400-500. I bought the car for a VERY low price on a Sunday morning.

On Monday, I called a local shop with a good reputation and scheduled to bring it in for an estimate on that Friday. On Tuesday, I went to the DMV, transferred the title and paid my taxes. I was hoping to drive the car to see my sister and Braycen, as he had just been born the night before. As I came back out to the car, I noticed a large pool of something under the car on the drivers side between the front and back doors. I drove it into a full-service gas station on my way home and the mechanic told me that it was gas. Gas! He said it was VERY unsafe to drive. So, I rented my second car for the week and went to IL without the Camry.

On Friday, I brought the car into the shop and they didn't get an estimate to me until the following Monday. $1125. Yep. Apparently the brake lines and the fuel lines needed major repair and would take them an estimated 11 hours of labor (@ $85/hr, mind you). So, I freaked out a little and cried a lot and then went to my bank with the title and crossed fingers. I was able to get a loan to cover the cost of this expensive repair. So here we are on the following Thursday and these repairs have finally been completed for a total of $1224.13. At least I can say that the car is fixed, right? Wrong.

So, the shop calls me to tell me that the car is ready, but they also have more bad news. Apparently the clutch is going to go out at any moment. The lady on the phone feels compelled to dramatize this news further by telling me that the mechanic said, "I'd be surprised if it makes it home." WTF? So, she is so kind as to be prepared with an estimate of what it will cost to replace the clutch. Get this--$1076. Seriously. I refuse to cry and throw a fit but, should you see or talk to me, just know that I am inside.

Lessons learned:
1. Always have a car inspected before you buy it.
2. If you are hoping to buy a "cheap car", you may just get what you ask for.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Braycen Charles


Hello Little Man...

I am happy to announce that I have another nephew to love and post pictures of here on smallkneecaps. I wasn't there for his birth on October 22nd, but I visited him and my sister in the hospital the following day. He was in the NICU for a few days to monitor his breathing--but then he went home on Saturday the 27th. It sucks that I can't go visit, but I hear that Breichen really likes him and that he's a pretty mellow babe.

Monday, October 1, 2007

What's the hurry little man?



I find it absolutely fantastic and exciting that both my best friend AND my sister are having babies soon! They are due 6 days apart and live only a mile or so from each other--but 100 miles from me. For my best friend, this is Baby #1--due November 21. For my sister, this is Baby #2--scheduled to arrive a wee bit early on November 12th. The first baby was born 3 months early at 28 weeks and weighing a hefty 1lb-14oz. He spent the first 10 weeks of his little life in the neonatal intensive care unit. With this baby, she has been dilligenty monitoring her blood pressure and she has made it to 33 weeks! Unfortunately, it seems that she'll be having this one early too and she is officially on bedrest and maternity leave. :( Let's cross our fingers that this little guy can wait a few more weeks...after all, what's the big hurry little man?
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Welcoming Fall

Reasons that I love fall:
  1. Yellow!, Orange!, Red!
  2. Crunching leaves under my feet
  3. Picking apples and pumpkins
  4. Sweaters and jeans
  5. That lovely fall smell!



Sunday, September 9, 2007

Flaming Lips in Madison


I went with Jen, Patsy and Brian to see The Flaming Lips last night. It was a free show put on by Southern Comfort...so the drinks were syrupy sweet and strongly reminded me of high school :) The show was great--they saved Do You Realize and She Don't Use Jelly for the very end. It was kind of weird though because the crowd seemed lame in a comatose sort of way and then Wayne was all Bush bashing and talking too much. Then he made a big deal about how the military makes bugles that only play Taps because of the overwhelming number of military funerals in comparison to military musicians. So, then he played Taps with one of these bugles--which was slightly awkward and a mood killer. Oh well, it was free and there were giant balloons, alien ladies and santa boys, and lots of streamers. Oh, and the mosquitoes avoided eating my flesh. That was nice.






Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

daily meditation

Sorry for the melancholy. I'll be feeling better soon. My daily meditation says that I need to close the door on yesterday so that I may be ready and willing to move forward. I suppose that this is good advice. Yet focusing on tomorrow, not yesterday, seems to be the problem. I need to be more comfortable in the present before I can even think about next week or next year. I don't know why I can't seem to accept the randomness and chaos of life. I keep trying to put everything in its place--when no such place exists. If I were to talk to myself, I would tell me that I need to be more comfortable with not knowing how it all is going to end--and to just enjoy the ride. I probably wouldn't listen anyway :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

too much time to think

I've been feeling really inadequate lately. It seems that my self-confidence is lowering at a rate inversely proportional to my increase in independence. Such murky, muddy waters I find myself in these days. What am I looking for? How do I navigate this world feeling as alone as I do? Even with the people in my life--I am uncomfortably alone. I need a real human connection. Everything feels so superficial and temporary. I wish that someone could really, deeply know me and let me really, deeply know them. Trying to accept that this is not happening now and that I must move on...but it is paralyzing at times.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Move: Highlights (or lowlights)

Warning: This is a bitch-fest kinda post...but it gets better at the end.

  1. Twisted my ankle Monday loading the truck. This resulted in swelling and bruising for the rest of the week.
  2. $465 deposit for the truck.
  3. $100 worth of vaccinations for the cats.
  4. Cat shitting in carrier in car on way home from vet.
  5. $100 worth of boarding fees to give cats peace during move.
  6. Broken glass from packing the truck improperly.
  7. Arrive at new place to find it a DISASTER!:
    1. Filthy dirty. Seriously, there are no words...
    2. Broken cabinet
    3. Food still in cabinets
    4. Beer bottle collection still on display in living room
    5. Mouse feces in kitchen cabinets
    6. Bats
    7. Missing screens/broken windows
    8. et cetera

But, here are some good things:
  1. The cleaning guy did a good job on the bathrooms
  2. My room is now a sunny shade of yellow
  3. My roommates are fabulous
  4. We have all new carpet (with one exception)
  5. My ankle is no longer swollen
  6. The cats appear to like our room
  7. Jen's dad is going to refinish our living room floor!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

For fun

Here's an old picture of me from August of 2004. Not only did I have hair, but I had BLONDE hair! Strange...



Sunday, July 29, 2007

Music I Want/Need:

  1. Rilo Kiley: Under the Blacklight (and More Adventurous)
  2. The New Pornographers: Challengers (yes, I have embraced the pornos)
  3. The Smashing Pumpkins: Zeitgist
  4. Lori McKenna: Unglamorous
  5. Cursive: The Ugly Organ
  6. Julie Doiron: Woke Myself Up
  7. Okkervil River: The Stage Name and Black Sheep Boy
  8. Interpol: Our Love to Admire (actually, I need ALL Interpol)
  9. The Shins: Wincing the Night Away
  10. Tegan and Sara: So Jealous and The Con
  11. Feist: The Reminder and Let it Die

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Gettin' paid

Getting paid feels pretty nice. I decided that this last month of being perpetually broke should be rewarded today with stuff. While this is probably not the best idea, it sure feels good right now.

I walked down to A Stone's Throw and picked out some shoes that I can wear when I don't feel like wearing sandals. And then some nicer flips to wear instead of the bright blue flips I've been wearing just about every day. My feet are happy.

Then, I went to Trader Joe's and bought enough food to get me through until The Move on the 14th. This should curb any going-out-to-eat urges. I proceeded to walk about a mile home with two heavy grocery bags, my new shoes, and a loaded backpack.

Then, I came home and started some laundry. This process led to the critical examination of my undergarments. Time for more. So, I went to the Vicky's website looking for deals. Normally I'm not a big Vicky's fan, but it has been awhile and I'm willing to try again. So, in less than a week, I will be the proud owner of undergarments that don't look like they belong to a tired woman who has given up on femininity. Thank goodness!

Now, I should definitely not spend any more $. Good thing I'm babysitting tonight!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Getting to know me better

Some of my favorite foods--in no particular order:

  1. Panang Curry with Tofu
  2. Chicken Tikka Masala
  3. Juicy Oranges and Peaches (and Nectarines)
  4. 6 oz. Filet Mignon with sauteed mushrooms
  5. Ahi Tuna seared rare
  6. Crisp, crunchy salads
  7. Pesto anything
  8. Tomatoes
  9. Falafel and Hummus
  10. Apple Crisp

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Reconsidering my hair

After perusing recent photos of myself I realize that I have two options:

1. Always wear ultra-feminine clothes, accessories, and plenty of makeup
or
2. Let my hair grow out so I don't look like a boy


Seriously, there are WAY too many pictures out there of me looking seriously butch. Perhaps it is time to bring the curls back? I think maybe it is--as I doubt my ability to follow through with option #1 above.

You are officially warned. I will look like complete crap for about a year. My head will become an unruly mess of curl full of bobby pins in a desperate attempt to look civilized or 'normal'. I may require headbands and other contraptions. At some point, I am likely to need physical restraint from maneuvering my tresses into baby pigtails.

Your understanding and support will be appreciated ;)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Who am I anyway?

I've been thinking lately about how well I know myself and am loyal to myself. In recent years, I seem to have adopted dreams for my future that are drastically different from what I've always thought. For example, I have always dreamed of getting married, owning a home and having children. With Mister, this was not going to be possible for many reasons--mostly his personal happiness. So, I revised my dreams to include NOT owning a home, traveling lots, and NOT having children. I like the idea of traveling lots; however, I don't think that I really ever felt that having children and a house negated the possibility of travel.

It scares me how readily I would have altered my life dreams just to satisfy Mister's dreams and beliefs. I wonder now if I was just so stubborn about making this marriage work that I didn't see ending it as an option? I've cried and felt heart-broken plenty over that past two months, but now I see that I was crying more about having to start over. I think, deep down, we both realized that we would have to make major sacrifices in our dreams in order to make our marriage work. I, apparently, was willing to try to make these sacrifices. Mister was not. I could be mad at him for giving up...but I think I'd rather thank him for giving me another chance to find that life that I would like to live.

Our divorce papers were officially filed on Monday, July 9. This means that sometime in the beginning of November, I will be a Sprinkle again. I will be free to follow my quintessential American dream--regardless of how quaint it might seem to some. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independence Day



I got stood up by Nathan today, on my (and the country's) Independence Day. What else does a spurned and angry, estranged wife do but go to the coffee shop and think of divorce terms? That's what I do.

I still can't believe that it has been almost two months since he decided that he wanted a divorce, he has been moved out for a month, and we STILL have not done anything to make this thing official. He still has keys to my apartment! I'm sick of waiting. I want this thing over with for good. The more time goes by, the more I see that he is not the right person for me. This doesn't make him a bad person, just bad for me, perhaps.

So terms. I'm thinking, $400/month from August 07 until August 08 to assist with living expenses during my last year of graduate school; $20/month in cat support fees to assist in the purchasing of food and litter and medication (for Cheeto); either a lump sum of money equaling one half of what he spent on the camera, tent, kayak and dry suit OR a replacement tent and camera of my choice. This is what I have so far.

thanks to braino.org and digi-hound.com for the images

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Queen Bee

My new favorite song is "Queen Bee" by Taj Mahal. I know that this is an older song; however, the first time that I heard it was at the wedding that I went to with Jenny in Indiana, PA. I was really dreading going to a wedding--given the circumstances of my life--and then I heard it. It was their first dance as a married couple and they looked in love and happy and like they were having fun. That is what I want. I loved how non-traditional their choice of song was---and how perfect for the moment and the couple. I felt that, although they were strangers to me, I understood them after that 4 minutes and 41 seconds. It stayed with me.

Then, a few weeks later, I dropped into my neighborhood coffee/wine joint (Barriques Wine Cave) and heard it again. This time, I went up to the staff and begged them to tell me the song title and/or performer of this luscious little ditty. They had no idea. I decided to email the bride. Oh yes, I did. She replied in less than 24 hours informing me of the version that they played and other versions that were, in her opinion, inferior. I then bought it on iTunes and requested the album from the library.

It's funny, you would think that the song that was chosen by an in-love husband and wife at their wedding would make me feel sad or lonely. It doesn't. It gives me hope that there is someone out there who will get me like that and enjoy me for who I am. Maybe I just haven't met the person that will think I'm the Queen Bee and love me for it. Someone who I can "rock to their soul"--and who rocks me back.

I sure hope he's out there.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Lake Mendota is Funky

I wish that I had taken pictures.
Here is one from virtualviz.com:



The funk on Lake Mendota today was horrendous--seriously.

They have posted the warning signs about blue-green algae along the shore outside the Memorial Union.

My favorite part in the warning is about the chance of seizures and convulsions in pets if they ingest the water. Nice.

And yet--this exists. It is a strange world we live in.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Puppy Sitting

So, I'm puppy sitting Maddy today (a.k.a. Miss Madison, Pupzilla, Wonder Mutt) 'cause she got her first City of Madison barking violation. Oops. We went to Wingra Park and she worked up the courage to wade around in the green, slimy water (sorry Brian and Patsy). She also found the skeleton of a bird that I had to fish out of her little puppy jaws (thank goodness for travel-sized Purell). We played fetch and chewed sticks and generally enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.

Then, she started to smell of the stench that is Lake Wingra, so we went to Mad Cat and picked out some doggie shampoo and a little puppy chew stick. She came to my house to meet Hunter and Cheeto and to try cat food for the first time :)

I gave her a bath while the cats watched from a safe distance and then she whiled away the afternoon on a towel chewing her new toy. Not too bad.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Watch out PA, here we come!

Jenny and I are leaving tomorrow a.m. for an epic road trip (ok, only a week) to Pennsylvania: home of Hershey's chocolate and Quakers, among other things--like her family. We are taking Tillie Monster and some clothes/provisions across Indiana and Ohio in The Phoenix (her 91 Cavalier).

Did you know that the state drink of Pennsylvania is MILK? I'm not sure, but I think that the state drink of Wisconsin must be beer.


Anyway, Jenny has been called to PA by another of the awesome "high-school-friend-getting-hitched-weddings." She also would like her family to meet her recently-adopted dog, Tillie.

I am in no way prepared to be gone from home for a week. I am embracing this unpreparedness and, as Mister says, just letting it go. Perhaps this will be an opportunity to clear my head? Either that or I will get wasted at the wedding and take up smoking again...and Jenny will leave me in PA out of sheer embarrassment and horror. OK, so that's not really likely to happen.

In any case, I keep thinking that time away is going to help me figure out this whole divorce thing, but I think that part of me still hopes that he might change his mind. It's hard when my brain is thinking of my future single life as my stupid heart is still trying to pretend that this is not happening. I told Mister this and he said something like, "You just have to take deep breaths and concentrate on the present moment." I guess this is why we don't work, 'cause I don't know what the hell that means!

[deep breathing, I think.] Let's just get on the road already!!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

That Damn Paper

Today I got an email from my professor for the course in which I STILL have not finished the 15-20 page final paper. I thought that I was waiting to hear from her about a new due date; however, she was waiting for me to let her know if I was going to try to get it to her in time or take an incomplete. Aye, miscommunication. So, I'm finishing the paper. I know what you are thinking, so you need not say it. I WILL finish this paper before leaving for Indiana, PA.

On another note: It appears that I will be working at the preschool this summer. My boss is highly unorganized with getting me a schedule so I think I'll just come in everyday and work and make her pay me for it :)

I'll leave you with a random picture for the day:


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Wyalusing

I grabbed my backpack, my camera, my binoculars and bird/wildflower guides and headed out for the weekend. Apparently, things were not so great here at the homestead with Mister and his mom. I wish I had been a fly on the wall... Either way, I came home to him packing up boxes of his stuff. So, he really is still leaving. Good thing that I know how to have fun without him! Here are some picture highlights from my weekend. The whole album can be found here.

oh, and no loan for a car for me :( I'll have to figure out what Plan B and C will be... bummer.




Friday, May 18, 2007

Camping for the Soul?

So, even though there is NO WAY that my paper will be done by this afternoon, I am celebrating regardless. I will be going with awesome friends to Wyalusing State Park for a weekend of camping, food cooked over fire, spirits, and laughing....

I hope to use this time to relax and get some fresh air. The fact that I will be camping with couples will be my challenge--though I whole-heartedly accept the challenge. Thank goodness they are not kissy-faced and gross :)

Mister will be spending the weekend with his parents and granddad. I think that his mom was hoping to stage an intervention; however, I have managed to dissuade her from attempting to change his mind. I do not want to be with someone who does not want to be with me. I asked her to please be supportive of his needs and to try to help him figure out what he's searching for in life. Her compassion for me in the face of her son's struggles humbles me. Anyway, I will miss all of this [thank goodness] while I am camping and hiking.

Thanks friends for getting me out of Madison for the weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mister helps me find a car

So, instead of writing the 15-20 page paper for my class on assessing and treating children, I have been doing other things... like looking for a cheap car on the Internet. Here is a chat that I had with Mister yesterday when I should have been writing my case formulation:

[earlier banter about nothing]

10:28 AM me: ok, get back to "work"
Mister: right, where did I put my beer and fried chicken.....
10:29 AM me: check under your desk
by the porn
Mister: ahh, yes
10:30 AM crack pipe and game console on top of the desk, beer, fried chicken, and porn under the desk
me: i'm glad you are so organized at "work"
10:31 AM where's the hooker?
Mister: your mom wasn't available today
10:32 AM me: i KNEW that was coming. i totally set myself up
Mister: yep, thanks for that
go back to working on your "paper"
me: right.
get me a car bitch
me: i'm seriously laughing out loud
10:35 AM i look like a crazy lady
i like the first one
10:36 AM Mister: then again, if money were no object http://madison.craigslist.org/car/331061893.html
me: you are enjoying this WAY too much
10:37 AM you are hilarious. seriously
i'm crying

5 minutes
10:42 AM me: i think we should try to get a loan for the camo one
i would look so tough
Mister: for sure
10:44 AM you'd also look super tough in something like this http://madison.craigslist.org/mcy/323947428.html
what do you think?
10:45 AM me: i think that has your name written all over it
seriously, people keep looking at me. stop making me laugh!
10:47 AM Mister: alright, alright
have you ever seen the 'best of' craigslist though?
10:48 AM me: i get the feeling that this will be very helpful in getting my 15-20 page paper written by 5 today
Mister: totally
good luck!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The first post is the hardest

I just turned 29 fifteen days ago. Since then, my good friend has finally found a suitable man after a 6 year dry spell, my other friends have decided to adopt a puppy, and my husband of 2.5 years has decided that he no longer wants to be in a relationship. Things are a-changin'.

I've been thinking about the things that I can buy/do now that I don't have to run them by the Mister:
1. a rug for the living room (I don't know why he is so opposed to rugs)
2. girly-colored bath towels
3. adopt a dog
4. have a child someday (yeah, this one is kinda big huh?)
5. hang pictures and otherwise decorate
6. watch romantic comedies
7. buy furniture that doesn't look like it needs to be fumigated

Things that I will miss:
1. his cooking--especially the grilling of meat
2. his loud, raucous laughter while watching Comedy Central
3. having someone to talk to who knows me and doesn't judge
4. not having to do the dishes often
5. foot rubs
6. daily hugs
7. computer help :)


In memory of the relationship that I thought I had: