Monthly Archives: December 2011


Sometimes people ask me whether Tyler looks more like me or his father.

Tyler, age 8

This always makes me laugh.

Windy, age 9

It’s the squinty little eyes. They’re a dead giveaway.  

We even had the same bangs.


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A Tale of Two Kitties

This is Kitty.

Kitty was found in a box outside a Tallahassee Emergency Room in October 2007, and we took her in.

On her second or third night at our house, Tyler came over.

Baby Tyler with Baby Kitty, October 2007.

After about an hour, everything got reeeal quiet. We couldn’t hear Tyler OR the cat. Then we saw that the bathroom light was on and the door was shut.


We opened the door to the bathroom to find Tyler giving the cat a “welcome home bath” in the toilet. With hand soap. The cat’s face said, “TAKE ME BACK TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM. I LIKED MY CHANCES BETTER THERE.”

Hear no Kitty, see no Kitty, speak no Kitty. November 2007

To her credit, the cat didn’t scratch, bite, or even hiss at Tyler. And that was kind of her schtick for the next four years. She wasn’t super-friendly, but she was never mean or aggressive. After she was fixed, she became predominantly an outdoor cat, only coming inside for meals and brief visits. She was petite, but quite a fighter, and rarely was seen without some fresh oozing injury. She moved with us in April, and again after the fire, and again in November, always with the same calm detachment. 

Last Wednesday, December 21, Hollyn found her unresponsive on the pool deck in the rain. I met Jason at the vet’s, and could tell that the situation was grave. The vet told us that we could spend $400 – $500 on diagnostic tests to determine precisely what happened to her, and another goodness-knows-how-much in intensive medical interventions, but it wouldn’t change her prognosis, which was b-a-d. He said he believed she had a saddle thrombus (clot) which led to a massive stroke and hypothermia. She was so cold, in fact, that she was no longer registering a temperature. He recommended that we put her to sleep, and quickly, because she was having seizures and suffering.  

It was upsetting, but definitely the right choice. 

A few days later, on Christmas Eve, Jason (a.k.a. the big softy) and I went to the animal shelter, alone, “just to look.” Turns out, they were having a sale of sorts. You know I can’t resist a sale, and a friend pointed out that we’d be saving the life of a kitty at Christmas – and what’s more gratifying than that?

So we surprised the kids with this 2-year-old ginger boy: 

Same chair, different cat.

I wanted to name him Prince Harry, but eventually we settled on Ron Weasley after an immediate veto of “Garfield.”

He’s remarkably different than Kitty. He is playful and sweet and talkative, as opposed to reserved and aloof and vaguely offended. 

He’s settling in well at our house. The first night was a little rough, but after we convinced him to stop screaming meows throughout the house, he did fine and we haven’t had any problems since.

Welcome to our family, Ron!

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What I Wore Wednesday: Betwixt Christmas and New Year’s

I thought I’d totally forgotten to take pictures this week, since I was 1) off work, 2) cah-razy busy, 3) taking care of Tyler while he suffered from a stomach bug, and 4) suffering from said stomach bug myself.

Yeah, it was a big week.

However! I did remember to take a picture of myself on Christmas Eve, before we went to church! Huzzah!

pleated poppy

It was 70 degrees at 7:00 p.m. But someone helpfully pointed out that Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ birth was not exactly a winter wonderland, and that made me feel better.


Shoes: Jellypop, Shoe Station
Dress: J.Crew via Urban Thread
Cardigan: Old Navy
Necklace: The Other Side Vintage, Tallahassee, FL

Hope you had a Merry Christmas (if Christmas is your thing)!

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What I Wore Wednesday: My House Looks Way More Festive Than I Do

Things I love this week:

1. Coming home from work and plugging in the Christmas lights.
2. I Heart Radio (free iPhone app) that lets me listen to an all-Christmas station out of Worcester, MA. I especially like it when they do the weather update.
3. The realization that I did not set foot in the mall a single time this holiday season. Hallelujah.

pleated poppy

Thursday: A new favorite outfit. High marks for warmth without bulk, comfort, and safety (very important).

Shoes: Bare Traps, Shoe Station
Trousers, tank: Ann Taylor Loft
Scarf, Cardigan: Target

Friday I had a little Captain in me. I wore trouser jeans, a white tuxedo-front button-down, and a plum fine-wale corduroy jacket

Boots: Clark’s
Trouser Jeans: Ann Taylor Loft
Button-Down: Old Navy
Jacket: JCPenney, circa 2004

Saturday night was my work Christmas party:

Dress: Wal-Mart. Seriously.
Shoes: The Only Thing I Have in Common with Kate Middleton

Oops! forgot jewelry.  This is better:

Earrings: Old
Necklace: A gift from China, from an old friend.

Monday. Bear in mind this is also known as six days before Christmas, and the edges are starting to fray:

Shoes: Bare Traps
Cardigan, tights: Target
Shirt dress/tunic/thing: Old Navy

Tuesday. Five days to Christmas. Pictured behind my head is a gorgeous live wreath that some kind soul sent to us anonymously.

Shoes: Payless
Trousers: Ann Taylor Loft
Sweater: Target
Necklace: Etsy

Wednesday it was warm and rainy. We re-enacted the Civil War at work, and I was assigned to the Confederates, so I wore gray.

No, that didn’t actually happen. I just wore a gray sweater.

Shoes: Bare Traps, Shoe Station
Trouser Jeans, Sweater: Ann Taylor Loft

Have a lovely week!

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T-Minus Five…..

The panic set in last night.


I’ve spent too much time looking at the gaps – the wreathless front door, the skirtless and topless (topper-less?) tree, the chipped pedicure – that my anxiety is starting to hover like a cloud over the season.

So today I’m taking a deep breath. BREATHE WITH ME, INTERNETS.

Some things are not going to get done. And that’s okay. And there’s still plenty of time to do a few more things.

Being present is more important than wrapping presents. Cheesy, but true.

Also true: Wine covers a multitude of sins. But that’s true all year long, not just at Christmas. Ha.

I have done what I can, with what I have. And that is enough.


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Learn from My Mistakes: Motives Edition

Sometimes, there is no why.

I used to waste time wondering why certain people did petty, immature, and selfish things. There must be a REASON, otherwise why would they BOTHER? Is she just trying to make me angry? Get revenge for some perceived slight? Jason’s ex used to talk about “winning her war” against him/us – was every new irritation a new battle?

Then it dawned on me.

Sometimes, there is no why.

Sometimes, people do petty and immature things because they are petty and immature people. They don’t care one way or the other how their actions affect you.

I realize this should have been obvious, but figuring it out has given me a lot of peace this season.

And that’s your Friday food for thought.


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WIWW: Mirror, Mirror Edition

For the first time in my adult life, I have a full-length mirror. It was an early Christmas present from Jason. Thanks, Jason!

pleated poppy

When we left our heroine, she was fighting ninjas in the kitchen. Now she is mastering the art of self-photography in the mirror. It’s harder than it looks!

Thursday it got very chilly, and I got to put on one of my favorite sweaters, a mitered-corner cardigan I got on sale (duh) at Urban Thread. I paired it with dark gray cords.

Cords: Ann Taylor
Tee: Target
Cardigan: J. Crew via Urban Thread
Necklace: Etsy
Husband: Adorable

Friday I recycled a summer tee-shirt dress that got too short in the wash, putting my trusty micro-fleece leggings under it and a long cardigan over it. And some flats…all up under it?

Shoes and leggings: Shoe Station
Dress/tunic: Old Navy
Cardigan: Target

Sunday it was cold enough to wear my very favorite coat to church. This was a second-try gift from Jason – on the first try, he got me the same coat in bright fuschia. I loved the coat, but wasn’t comfortable with the color (I don’t care for pinks in general, although he thought it was more purple). So we traded it for this kermit-green coat, and I adore it. Every time I put it on, I feel at least 50% classier.


Coat: Tulle
Dress: Ann Taylor factory outlet

Sunday night it stormed, so Monday morning I dressed for inclement weather.


Clogs (of shame): Shoe Station
Tights: Target
Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft
Tee: Old Navy
Cardigan: Eddie Bauer

Tuesday I dressed up as a tree (brown on bottom, green on top):

Boots: Clark’s
Cords: J.Crew via Urban Thread
Tee: Target
Sweater: Jones New York? Old.

We had a Tallahassee Community Chorus party after work, so I switched to a blazer:

And then it was Wednesday, and again I recycled a summer shirtdress:

Leggings: Old Navy
Dress and Tee: Target
Shoes: Target

I love these shoes. They are a perfect metallic and go with everything. And they’re wildly comfortable and lightweight. Here’s a better picture:


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Christmas on a Dime

This year we’re celebrating a minimalist Christmas, as many of our Christmas decorations – including our tree, wreaths, garlands, and lights – were destroyed in the fire.

This used to be a wreath.

Fortunately, nothing motivates me more than “(fill-in-the-blank) on a tight budget.”

I completed two small projects this weekend:

First, I was inspired by this link from Pinterest to use tomato cages and mini lights to make door-flanking “trees” for the front porch. I think the example picture featured more strings of lights, but I was pleased with my result:

Tomato Cages: $3.50 each
Mini Lights (2 sets of 50 per cage): $3.00
Total Cost: $13.00

Second, I was really impressed by the Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds that I made for Thanksgiving, and decided to make a big batch to package up for last-minute gifts. I already had all the ingredients, except for the almonds, on hand.

I bought 12 jelly jars ($10) and 3 bags of almonds ($3.99 each). Then I found a green plaid queen-sized sheet at Goodwill for $4.99. I already had kitchen twine and cardstock at home, so the total cost of the project was $2.25 per jar, AND I have a ton of leftover green plaid fabric:

Next week: I make a Christmas tree out of leftover pipe cleaners. Kidding. Maybe.





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Talk Therapy

“Which would win – samurais or ninjas?”

“What color do you think is most common? In the world?”

“Which do you like better – the Army or the Marines?” 

Tyler is full of questions. And all the questions lead to more questions, which lead to lengthy explanations. He talks at such length that his speech is punctuated with huge heaving inward gasps, because his mouth is just barely keeping up with his brain and he forgets to breathe.

So it did not come as a surprise to me when his teacher notified me that he talks in class. Incessantly. Which is terribly rude, and violates the classroom rules, and is generally mortifying.

I talked to Tyler’s dad about it. He was shocked, stating that he can barely get Tyler to talk when he’s over there. This struck me as odd.

Last night, I talked to Tyler. He said that his dad only wants to talk about certain topics – topics that Tyler doesn’t want to talk about.

“Like what?” I asked.

“My feelings…..” A pause. “He says mean things about you.”

“Does that make you uncomfortable?”


Any divorced parent will tell you that they spend endless hours worrying if their children are scarred, hurting, sensitive, or otherwise damaged by the divorce. We desperately want to know what’s “really” going on with them. Secretly, we want to know if they’re mad at us, or blame us, or like us better than our ex.

I tend to think that the worst way to ascertain your child’s emotional state is to ask them directly. Most children are simply not capable of articulating complex emotions, and they want to give you the “right” answer. Plus, they get anxious that “A Talk” is coming at any moment. And they clam up.

Just like Tyler.

It’s more difficult, but ultimately better, to watch for other signs. Is the child eating normally? Playing? Struggling at school? Does he/she seem overly anxious or preoccupied with something trivial?

I try to let Tyler talk about whatever he wants to. As long as he’s not interrupting or disrupting, I let him tell me about the Epic! Zombie! War! playing out in his imagination, or about the boy who hurt his feelings because he didn’t pick Tyler for kickball. My hope is that if he feels comfortable telling me about zombies and kickball, he’ll feel comfortable talking about his feelings when he’s old enough to articulate them.  

Two weeks ago, Tyler and I walked home from a cub scout den meeting. It’s about a mile from the church to our house, and he talked non-stop.

He held my hand the whole way home.  

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WIWW: 80 in December Edition

Not only is my new-old house beautiful and comfortable and totally awesome, it has MUCH better lighting for WIWW posts.

pleated poppy


I have finally unpacked enough of my clothes to experiment when getting dressed. Thursday morning I started with a summer dress – a sleeveless black knit number from Target. Inspired by other WIWWers, I put a long-sleeve tee and black leggings (actually, super-warm “micro-fleece footless tights”) under it, and then threw on a baby-cable cropped cardigan. Layers are magic!

Dress: Target
Tights: Shoe Station
Tee: Old Navy
Cardigan: J.Crew, via Urban Thread
Shoes: Jessica Simpson, Shoe Station
Necklace: Etsy

Friday: I wanted to pair this butter-yellow sweater with my dark gray cords, but COULD NOT FIND THEM, which resulted in much wailing and gnashing of teeth. And then I got over it and put on different pants – wide leg navy pinstripe flannel.

Pants: Urban Thread
Sweater: J. Crew, Urban Thread
Necklace: Mexico

Then Kenny from South Park Tyler photobombed me.

Saturday was spent running errands, and then we had friends over for ribs.

(Note: Tyler took this picture. It was attempt #7, at least.)

Jeans and White Tee: Ann Taylor Loft
Cardigan: Old Navy
Scarf: My own two hands
Purple Converses: Target

Monday was difficult. It’s hard to fit “December” and “80 degrees” into the same outfit. But I did what I could.

Brown Cord Skirt, white button-down: Old Navy
Wrap: Unknown Origin!!
Visible Tag: sorry about that
Shoes: Payless

Tuesday: Another glorious day – if that day occurs in April or May. I grew up in Florida, and I’m still not used to 75 in December. It’s just weird. I started out with the pants, tee, and cardigan, and then rolled up a square scarf on the diagonal to serve as a belt and added a colorful necklace.  

Trousers: Ann Taylor Loft
Tee: Target
Navy Cardigan: J. Crew via Urban Thread
Belt: Secretly a scarf
Necklace: Honeymoon

Wednesday: They tell me it will cool off tomorrow. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Shoes: Clark’s, Shoe Station
Trousers: Ann Taylor Loft
Sweater: J.Crew via Urban Thread
Ninjas: Everywhere

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