Friday, July 24, 2009

Just a Whirl of Wind

So let's see, where were we? When I last wrote, it was Monday night and I was peeved about my failed attempt at charity work, but proud of my mock Thanksgiving dinner. Since then ...

On Tuesday the boy and I had to go to the Toyota dealership to have two things fixed: (1) the driver's side door handle broke off nearly a year ago, forcing me to open the window and reach through to the outside in order to get out of the car, and (2) I had smashed off the passenger's side mirror last week backing out of the garage. I had called the previous Friday and scheduled an appointment for the repairs. So you would think that the woman on the phone might have mentioned that they would need to order the necessary parts in order for them to be there on time.

You would think. But after an hour of chasing the boy around a car showroom, I was informed that the parts were not in stock, and that we had to come back later.

In an attempt to salvage the day, I used my GPS to locate this awesome pool I had heard about near the car dealership. The Centennial Park Aquatic Center is Orland Park's public community pool, but it's actually a full-on waterpark! I mostly went there for myself, but I think the boy had fun, too.

Wednesday and Thursday were a whirlwind. I had blog parties downtown both nights, and I had to get all gussied up. Okay, I was overdressed for both, considering I was wearing my full-on party dresses and other people were wearing jeans. But my wardrobe only has two speeds, schlubby mom and "going to the prom." I don't pull off those middle-of-the-road looks well.

Thursday night's party featured some drinking. It was so fun to just let loose. I cheated on Weight Watchers, big time, not just with the 15-ish points worth of drinks but also with this 700-calorie box of chocolates I got in a random swag bag from a party at the Sheraton. (Contents of swag bag: chocolates, lip gloss, cleaning products, and some, uh, "marital aids.")

Oh, and all of these parties were for the larger BlogHer conference that was being held at the Sheraton. I did not go. Why? Because I am not a super-blogger and I don't really promote myself. Note how I did not even hyperlink there for the word "BlogHer." I don't know what an RSS feed is, and I canceled my Twitter account. I didn't even install a site meter on this new blog.

But I love my blog friends anyway. I'm sure some of you think this is weird, but I have met quite a few people via blogging, and not in a creepy "we all have to dress up like pirates when we meet" kind of way.

Anyway, back to my real life. Late Thursday night after the party, I took the Metra back to reality, which included our last day of toddler swim lessons Friday, followed by a pre-vacation orientation visit from H-F Pet Sitters. By Friday I was starting to feel like I was leading a double life: regular suburban housewife by day, fun party girl by night.

Well, Friday night wasn't so much a party, but it was super fun. I got tickets forever ago for a concert in the park, back when it was May and I was all in my "we are having non-stop fun this summer if it kills us" frenzy. The performers were a Beatles cover band. (Or is that tribute band?) That concert had it all: fun rocking music for me, a bouncy castle for the boy, and a chair to sit on for my less-than-rhythmic husband. Oh and they sold cotton candy there, which I think is Weight Watchers-friendly because a big old puffy stick of cotton candy is actually made from like half a cup of sugar. (I learned this from watching Unwrapped on the Food Network.)

Then yesterday we went to the Indiana Sand Dunes. Now, I tend to look down on any beach that is built around a lake, but this one was actually very awesome. It was almost ocean-like, save for the non-saltiness of the water. They had waves and everything! Now, my mom told me once that when my brother and I were young, they took us to the beach every opportunity they got, because it was hard for kids to get into trouble there. I totally see where she was coming from. They boy and my friend's kids played happily on the sand and shore, and, as the boy will point out, there was only one time out assigned. And I got my fix of the wave-crashing sound, which is what I used to fall asleep to every night in college.

Following the beach, we all went to a really fun train restaurant I had heard of, Tyler's Tender. I took the attitude of, "Well, we're in Indiana, and it's in Indiana, so we must seize the opportunity to check it out." In actuality, I live about 10 minutes from the Indiana border and could go there anytime, something I find infinitely fascinating because I grew up in a place where it took 4 hours to get to the nearest state. Anyway, I have been to a lot of "served by train restaurants," but Tyler's Tender was my favorite because they have a real ride-on train! (Fun side note, I accidentally typed "severed by train" at first, which I don't think would be a popular theme for a restaurant.)

The non-stop fun continues today as we head to Millennium Park downtown for a real-life meetup of one of my favorite blogs, Ask Moxie. If you're a parent, you should read Ask Moxie.

So, this post was really more of an update than a snarky commentary on life. I'll try to grow a little bit of cynicism in the coming days so I'll have something to blog about.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Toddler in a China Shop

We got home very late last night from a barbecue in the city, and the boy went to bed at 11 p.m. I woke him up at 8:00 this morning because I wanted to be in the gym right at 8:30 when the daycare opened. (I was not.) This lack of sleep resulted in a difficult and crabby morning for the boy.

I had agreed to help with a project for the Cancer Support Center where I volunteer. Normally I bring the boy along with me when I help them with mailings and such. Their building is adjacent to the train tracks, and the passing trains provide legitimate distraction for the boy. Today's project, however, was at the Olympia Fields Country Club, where the center had hosted a fundraiser tea yesterday. My job was going to be to match china teacups with their corresponding saucers, and wrap them in paper.

Well, first off, the country club is a beautiful place, and I kept remarking how I just have no idea why we aren't members of a country club. And it was really fun to be around all those cute china teacups and teapots. They were all different patterns, acquired through donation or yard sales.

BUT. A small room filled with china is no place for a toddler. (It's probably no place for me, either, but I held it together.) I found a small, empty corner to set up the boy with his trains, and he happily played while I got set to work on matching up cups and saucers.

Let me tell you, every single china pattern in the entire world looks the same, but with some subtle difference. Oh, that one has pink roses with three leaves, and that one has pink roses with four leaves. And it was like one big giant game of memory, which is not my favorite game in the world. (Side note: my husband kicks ass at it.)

Five minutes into my work, the boy declared that he found the room to be scary, and ran out the door. I allowed him to run around the empty halls and ballroom area at the country club, and I was keeping an eye on him while simultaneously trying to be of some service. But he was just all kinds of naughty. He stuck his hand in a community pitcher of iced tea. Then he managed to fish out a little bit of tea for himself by sticking a cup in the pitcher, but only after one failed attempt that resulted in him dropping an empty cup in the pitcher. Once he drank the tea, he of course decided he hated it, and began to pour it back in the pitcher before I caught him and told him to stop. Oh and also, he announced that he had found a pink M&M on the floor and had eaten it. I was freaking out that this "M&M" might have been somebody's prescription pill, but his breath smelled chocolatey and the others in the china room verified that yesterday's tea party had, in fact, featured pink M&Ms. Still, this upset me because we have drilled the boy repeatedly on the whole "don't eat stuff you find on the floor" issue, and normally he asks before he eats something. But I guess the asking policy only applies if a parent is looking right at you. Oh well, at least he came clean to me about eating it.

About 45 minutes into an activity that was one part volunteering and five parts reprimanding my child, I decided to call it quits and leave. I think I matched maybe five cups and saucers. Volunteering FAIL.

The park was having a 25-cent hot dog sale in honor of National Hot Dog Day, and I considered going. After all, you can't even eat at home for 50 cents, and besides I hate, hate, hate making lunch. But I had a big dinner planned, and I couldn't be wasting my day's Weight Watchers points on some hot dog. So I went home and made two Ballpark smoked white turkey franks (1 point each) on Healthy Life hot dog buns (1 point each), for a total of 4 points for two hot dogs. The park hot dogs would have been 8 points for one hot dog. Dieting WIN.

Oh, but in between the volunteering and the hot dog-eating, we stopped at the grocery store. That boy was such a massive holy terror in that store, I wondered if people were thinking that his constant screaming indicated a kidnapping attempt. Except no kidnapper would ever want that child, so I'm sure people were instead interpreting his constant screaming as a sign of really poor parenting on my part.

And then at the end he had the nerve to ask for candy at the checkout.

So, by the time 1:00 rolled around, I felt beaten down. Angry and hungry. So I took a nice long nap. Do you know how much I love my bed? That bed is always there for me.

I forgot to mention that this morning I had filled one Crock Pot with a turkey breast (best recipe ever: 6-lb turkey breast, coat with butter and rub with a packet of Lipton onion soup mix, cook for 1 hour on high and 7 hours on low). I filled my other Crock Pot with potatoes to mash, as well as a few yams. After naptime I made a Weight Watchers-friendly Thanksgiving in July, assisted largely by my friend who came over with her daughter to entertain/fight with the boy. I made my mashed potatoes with pureed low-fat cottage cheese, an idea courtesy of Martha Stewart. I just served the yams whole, baked potato-style, not in the yummy marshmallow casserole which I consider to be on the list of foods I would eat all the time if I found out I only had a few months to live. (Also on that list: jello-pretzel salad.) Then there was asparagus and salad, to meet the Weight Watchers "fill half your plate with vegetables" requirement, along with some nice fruit. Oh, and I had the cranberry sauce in the shape of the can it comes in. Plus I made some biscuits from canned dough, because I believe all meals should feature a yummy carb item that is completely devoid of all nutritional value.

The key was not making stuffing, which is not your friend when you're on a diet. Also I served gravy but didn't personally have any, and there was no pumpkin pie for dessert, because where the hell are you supposed to find that in July? (I know, I could make it, but I don't even know where the store keeps canned pumpkin, except in November when it's out on a big display rack.)

Instead for dessert I had my new best friend in the whole world, Edy's Slow-Churned Yogurt Blends Tart Honey flavor! It is so very thick and creamy, and actually pretty filling in spite of the fact that you can only have a measly half a cup for 2 points.

I found out about it from my other new best friend, Hungry Girl! She really has some great ideas to keep yourself happy while still on Weight Watchers.

I will leave you with a picture from my weekend. Saturday morning I was sitting in my kitchen plugging in my recipes into to find out their nutritional information, and generally getting pissed about how I should probably never eat these foods again. Meanwhile, this is what happened in my living room:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Day Older and Deeper in Caloric Debt

One good thing about Weight Watchers is that it motivates you to exercise. I've never been a big fan of the whole "activity points" system, that is, using exercise to earn back points that you can spend on foods. For one thing, the calculation system for the activity points is very unclear. You earn points back based on the duration of your exercise, as well as whether it is light, moderate, or intense. They attempt to define these exertion levels in terms of how quickly you break a sweat, as in moderate=sweating in 10 minutes. But how can you tell that if you're swimming? Another meeting I went to said that light exercise means you can still sing while doing it, moderate exercise means you can talk but not sing, and intense means you can't talk or sing. Again, how the hell are you supposed to figure that out while swimming? And aren't most workouts a mixture of intensity levels?

So, if I'm unable to gauge exactly how many points I really earned back, I'm likely to overshoot it and then eat too much extra food. And then I'll just get fatter. Also, I don't like the whole "I exercised, so I can eat that" mentality. Oh sure, I have that mentality, but there's no use in quantifying it into a numerical formula.

Instead, I use the activity points as a sort of insurance policy. I don't keep exact track of how many points I earn and spend, but I know I have a little cushion there if things go badly. Things can go badly in one of two ways: (1) you could improperly calculate the points value in foods, in terms of foods prepared by others and/or at a restaurant, or (2) you end up in a situation where there's just nothing safe you can possibly eat at some function, and you're forced to cheat a little or starve to death.

Thus, I need a little wiggle room with my points, and thus, I am motivated to exercise. And I love my gym. Where else could I swim, have access to a great daycare with neat toys, and take a class on how to make pizza? I know it's a good gym because, almost a year after joining, I'm still going regularly. "Regularly" being defined as approximately 4 times a week.

But lately I have been bugged by two really stupid signs at the gym.

Sign #1: Sign up for the Senior Olympics! Ages 55 and up! Competition has no age limit!

What do you mean, competition has no age limit? Isn't the age limit of this particular competition 55 or older? Does a limit necessarily have to be an upper boundary? Doesn't a limit just mean a restriction?

Sign #2: Non-swimmers and children under 17 may not use the whirlpool.

Now, I realize this is just a CYA measure on the part of the gym, but why do you need to know how to swim in order to sit in a hot tub? Even if you did know how to swim, how would you put that to use in a pool that is 6 feet in diameter and 100 degrees? If somebody drowned in the hot tub, would the gym be absolved of all liability because that person didn't know how to swim?

Anyway, these are the things that bother you when you're in the first week of a diet, a.k.a. "the crabby phase." Your stomach has not yet shrunk, and you are hungry. Sure, Weight Watchers tells you never to be hungry, and in fact their whole new Momentum program is about eating filling foods that stave off hunger. (Weight Watchers also says they are a lifestyle and not a diet, but that's a gripe for another day.) But really, you could eat brown rice and quinoa until you're pooping all day and you would still be hungry at the beginning of a diet.

My coping skill when experiencing diet-related hunger has been to sleep. And today, after having to act all perky and chipper for toddler swim lessons, followed by 45 minutes of my own swimming at the gym and then a really trying trip to the store to buy diet-friendly foods with the crabby toddler, I needed a nap. But the boy would not sleep. I think maybe I pushed it too long and missed his nap window. Why is it that little kids need a particular window in which to sleep, but I can sleep anytime?

Then for dinner I made a recipe out of the Weight Watchers Week 1 handout booklet. I worked hard to prepare a from-scratch dinner, and I swear it tasted just like a Lean Cuisine. I guess maybe everybody uses the same "flavorful but low in calories" seasonings.

So now I'm sitting here in a hunger-induced haze, trying to come up with some clever ending for this post, but I can't. And really, what is this, my college entrance essay? No. I don't need a cutesy ending.

So, this is the end.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Watch It!

Well, first of all, I know you're on the edge of your seat wondering how the sheets went. And the answer is ... meh. I always love my first night with new sheets, so it was a pleasant experience overall, but I don't think it was some kind of otherwordly experience like the Tribune claimed it would be. Maybe you have to wash the sheets with starch to make them all crispy-like, or air-dry them on a clothesline. Overall, I don't think Illinois is a clothesline state. Obviously you would end up with some kind of weird ice sheets in the wintertime, and even in the summer it is too rainy and humid to successfully use a clothesline.

I will tell you something awesome I learned about striped sheets. The stripes make it way easier to correctly determine the orientation of the bottom fitted sheet. I swear, my first shot at placing a non-striped fitted sheet is always the wrong way. It seems you would get it right 50% of the time, but I think my average is more like 25%. But with the stripes, which you would assume would be vertical (I don't know why, because your bed wants to look thinner?), you know how to put on the fitted sheet.

But enough about that. People's ramblings about the mundane details of their sheets is precisely why blogs have a bad reputation in general.

So, today I went back to Weight Watchers. And if you think walking back in the door of that Weight Watchers meeting is easy, you clearly have never done it. I had to psych myself up for it. It is a very emotional experience. You feel like such a failure, especially when the computer generates a little label for you that indicates exactly how many pounds you have gained since you last darkened the doorstep of Weight Watchers. But thankfully I got a leader who was very friendly, and more understanding than some of the other people at the Homewood, Illinois Weight Watchers location. I stayed for the meeting because that's the right thing to do when you first start out, even though sometimes those meetings make you feel like gouging your eyes out, what with their stupid sayings like, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

Today's meeting topic was how to handle Weight Watchers while on vacation. Bottom line, you have to see your vacation as an opportunity to enjoy scenery, visit new locations, and bond with your family, not as an opportunity to eat a bunch of stuff. "Just because you're on vacation, it doesn't mean you're on vacation from Weight Watchers," the leader said.

Overall I am feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. I have so far to go now, and I have to do it while attempting to cook for two other very picky eaters. But I'm trying to take it one day at a time and focus on all the things in my life that make me happy and aren't food-related.

Like last night. Husband took my car to Racine, and foolishly I had left the stroller in the trunk. So the boy and I embarked on an epic walking journey, or at least a walking journey that was epic by toddler standards. We started out at a park that we had never been to before. Then we moved on to Culver's, where I was very good and only had a Diet Coke. And when the boy announced he was done with his vanilla custard topped with M&Ms, and approximately 85% was left, I didn't take a single bite of it. (Eating a child's leftovers is a major contributor to what I have termed the "post-baby weight.") After that we went to the pool, which was just lovely last night. Not too humid, bright and sunny, with a gentle breeze. This idyllic soak in the pool was only interrupted when another mom reached into the gutter to get her son's toy, and pulled out a dead frog carcass for which rigor mortis had set in. But then we walked home, hand in hand as the sun was setting, and watched the fireflies while we chatted. "I'm having fun, Mommy," he said.

I write this because sometime in the near future it will be a cold winter day, on which at this exact time it will already be pitch-dark, and my driveway will be covered in 6 inches of snow.

Only I will be super-duper thin by then, right?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sadness and Sheets

I am so very saddened by a round of layoffs at my former workplace. Sad for everybody who got laid off, and sad for everybody who works there in general and has to deal with the stress of the unknown.

In lighter news ...
I woke up today with an aimless feeling because I didn't know what our plans were for the day. (I also woke up with a big fat caffeine headache, and that stupid water-with-a-vague-iced-tea-flavor didn't cure it. Lipton Cold Brew teabags do not work, people.) Anyway, I have been very excited this week because we have very little on the calendar, but that also means I feel a little overwhelmed in the morning trying to figure out what to do. Maybe I should be like my parents and start off each day by making out a "time flow chart."

Adding to the uncertainty was the fact that a plumber was coming to install a battery-powered backup sump pump. (For my west coast friends who don't know what a sump pump is, it's a device that sucks out water when it rains so your basement doesn't flood.) Anytime some service person is coming to my house, I feel trapped by their annoying "we'll be there sometime between 10 and 1" window, and then trapped by a feeling that I can't leave this person home alone in my house once he arrives.

So, my husband was getting the battery-powered backup so that we would still have sump pumpery when the power goes out. You know how much I love water? Like, swimming in it, floating in it, doing water aerobics, and taking Nathan to the pool? I consider water essential to my well-being. For my husband, though, water is his arch foe. He is totally paranoid about basement flooding, and anytime it rains he has me out in the backyard at some ungodly hour, trying to help on one end of a homemade water-sucking contraction, while he attempts to bark out orders from the other end, either by yelling or via cell phone.

Anyway, we got the sump pump. And to hold up my end of the water preference continuum, I went swimming at the gym while Bill supervised the sump pump installation. And that damn earbud on the waterproof MP3 player is still broken, in spite of the charge I gave it. But at least this time I had it in my left ear, and I know I'm not deaf in both ears.

Do you know what my current life quest is? To make the absolute most comfortable bed possible. Our Costco king-sized mattress is a start. And then there's my fuzzy pink Target blanket. I bought it on a cold winter day in February when the colorful Valentine's Day display felt like an oasis of color among an otherwise blah day. I had to have it. It is so very wonderful, and in the summer it has somehow morphed into this perfect, not-too-hot bastion of comfort.

So, for my birthday my mom got me these truly awesome sheets that I totally recommend. But my birthday is in January, so they're more of a winter sheet. I wanted something all crisp and summery for the warmer months, so for recommendations I dug up this article I had seen in the Tribune a few years back. I found the cheapest recommendation in that article, which were these sheets from The Company Store. I chose the apparently unpopular lilac color because they were on a really good sale.

Let me tell you what the problem is with ordering from a place called The Company Store. First of all, their shipping was ridiculously slow. Second, every time I got to wondering when my sheets from The Company Store would get here, I got this song stuck in my head.

Anyway, the sheets finally came, and I'm washing them right now, which got interrupted because the installation of the sump pump required turning off the water. I will sleep on the sheets tonight, if I get around to performing my least favorite chore, which is changing my sheets. And I will give you a report on the sheets tomorrow, by which time they will probably already be stained by The Boy's Ovaltine. That's what happens to all my sheets, making them look like they are covered in either poop or blood.

And on that note, I will sign off.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This is how it's gonna be.

One of the reasons I've always had trouble keeping up blogs is that I run out of things to write about. I mean, my life is not that interesting. Nonetheless, I have decided this time around to just write a recap of my day and see where that takes me.

Today The Boy had a playdate with his friend who is almost 4. I'm starting to feel like The Boy doesn't play well with others. Right off the bat, he just shoves his guest, earning him time out #1 of 50 today. Later he dumped sand on his guest's hair, and when I told him not to do that, he immediately turned around and did it again. Then after he got a time out for that, he just went right in the sandbox and dumped sand on his friend's hair again.

Anyway, when my son wasn't torturing his friend, the two boys did have fun. I took them to the splash pad in a local park. I love the splash pad. I wish I could just run through it myself, except that involves a high level of humiliation, only part of which would be caused by wearing my bathing suit in public.

For lunch I made "pizza cupcakes," which sound nasty but are actually delicious. I got the recipe from Cookie magazine, which I generally hate for its tendency to recommend stuff like $100 sweaters for toddlers, but does have some good recipes. So, you just take pizza dough (homemade or store-bought), roll it out to 1/4 inch thick, and cut 6 pieces that roughly approximate a 6" square. Line the cups of a 6-cup greased muffin tin with the pieces of dough, and fill with whatever random pizza filling things you want. Wrap the dough around and pinch it closed at the top. You can do an egg wash to make it all shiny, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan if you have it. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

After Nathan's friend left, we went to the gym. So, I have this really nifty waterproof MP3 player that makes swimming infinitely less boring. Today the right earbud didn't seem to be emitting any sound, so my first assumption was that I must have gone deaf in my right ear. And that about sums me up right there.

Actual cause of the problem: the MP3 player needed to be charged.

After the gym and a really rushed dinner, I went to a wine seminar at the library with my new friend who I met on a blog. My library is so cool. This lady taught us all about wine and how wine grapes actually need really crappy conditions to optimally grow. So that's why you should drink more wine, because you are supporting a plant that has struggled through adversity.

Anyway, this is a link to the blog written by the lady who taught the class. It's a wine blog.

I enjoyed tasting the wines and learning enough about them to sound mildly competent. I appreciated that she had grocery store wines to try, and also that she generally didn't look down on boxed wine.

She told us that the annual Illinois state wine convention would be held in Springfield in September. I entertained myself immensely with the idea that the convention's theme should be "Drinkin' with Lincoln."

But then I found out that the lady was wrong and the convention will actually be in Starved Rock. While I'm sure that's a lovely area, and that the convention will be very nice, it's still no Drinkin' with Lincoln.

And that is a summary of my day.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I am now writing a second post so I can have two when I unveil my new blog to the general public.

I'm going to write about food.

It would be fun to have a food blog. However, there are a couple of reasons why I am not going to attempt to have one:

1) I am not a very good cook.
2) It is really annoying to have to take/upload all those pictures of each individual step when you're cooking.

I like to brag about my cooking successes. Then my kind Facebook or e-mail friends tell me I'm such a great chef, I should have a restaurant/bakery, they wish they could eat at my house every night, etc. Well, here's the thing: many nights my cooking is pretty lame. It's just that I don't write about those nights. It's sort of like how people think I'm extremely neat, but that's only because I clean before guests come over.

I am actually not a good cook because I'm not good at inherently knowing what will taste good together and inventing new recipes. I follow other people's recipes. That's all.

Well, I guess tonight's dinner is an exception to that. Tonight's dinner is something I would not normally write about. It is that "Oh Lord, I should have gone to the grocery store 3 days ago" kind of recipe. It's a frittata, which is a fancy way of saying that I threw together some random stuff I had in the fridge/freezer, topped it with some eggs, and threw it in the over. Oh, and I added Emerill's Essence seasoning. Anytime a recipe calls for some seasoning you can't find, add Emerill's Essence. It sounds dirty, but it tastes good.

The side dish for tonight's dinner is toast.

I'm also making pizza dough. I love to make pizza dough. Except for the part where I get flour on the counter. Anyway, I'm going to put together a couple of uncooked pizzas and give them to my friend. Pizzas are my new go-to recipe for anybody who just had a baby or had a relative get sick or pass away. I like barbecue chicken pizza best. The guy at my gym who teaches the pizza class recommended Sweet Baby Ray's for the barbecue chicken pizza. Wait, is that only available regionally? Well, if you can't get it, you need honey barbecue sauce for pizza, not hickory.

Now for the sad part. I'm going back on Weight Watchers. It's the greatest diet and also the world's biggest pain in the ass. I hate measuring everything, and calculating all the points, and just generally obsessing about food. I hate coming up with recipes that are low in points but also popular with my picky family members.

But I can't fit my wedding ring on and I'm exhausted all the time, so it's time to go back and visit my old friends at Weight Watchers.

Welcome to My New Blog!

A lot of people go on a blogging hiatus and then start right back up again on the same blog. Me, I wanted a new one.

My old blog was going in an ugly direction. I wrote mostly about my struggles with depression. Which is all fine and good, because depression is a very real illness and those were very real feelings. I do not want to suggest that depressed people, myself included, are big fat whiners. We have legitimate problems, people.

But for now I don't want to write about those problems and turn my blog into some depression blog. This is not to say I'm completely "over" my mental health issues, because in my opinion depression is something I will always struggle with.

Lately, however, I feel like I have turned a corner. And I wanted to turn a corner in the blogosphere, too.

So I started Same Old Shannon. The title has several meanings to me. First of all, it is of course derived from a popular saying in which "Shannon" is substituted for another word that starts with the same initial sound. And also the "different day" part refers to my afore-mentioned new direction in blogging.

Additionally, "Same Old Shannon" says something about my constant struggle to find my identity. I write a lot about how to keep a little piece of myself now that I'm a mother and wife, particularly since quitting my job last fall. And I want to remind myself that, no matter what happens in my life, I am still the Same Old Shannon.

Thank you for reading!