Friday, May 28, 2010

So, I Don't Have A Post For Today

But you can go read some stuff I wrote other places.

Like these articles I wrote for All Kinds Of Pretty about how to apply and wear a purple smokey eye, or how my brows were a hot mess after having bangs for so long and what I use to whip them into shape. I also got a cool new old bracelet a few weeks ago - maybe you want to see it?

Or over on Lawrencing Around I wrote about this article I read saying Dancing With The Stars is basically the same as So You Think You Can Dance. I, um, disagreed with that assessment.

So yeah, I know it's lame to pimp your other blogs and offer no content that stands alone, but I just don't have an entry in me tonight. or, to be more specific, I can't remember any of the twelve different topics I thought of during the day when I didn't have time to jot them down. so don't blame me, blame my lazy prefrontal cortex.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You Capture: Sky

Anyone who reads this blog regularly has probably noticed I take a lot of pictures of the sky. Pictures like this one and this this and and this. Oh and these are nice. Which is why I was so excited to see that this week's You Capture was all about sky photos. But how to choose just one? As you can see I have many favorites. So I figured I'd just come up with some new shots, and thankfully, Tuesday's weather cooperated. Here's what I got:










Of course, then I almost forgot to post them all, but whatever.



Photobucket

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Butter Baby

Like many women, I currently find myself carrying a bit of extra weight. And like many women who have had children, I find myself carrying it in quite the same fashion that I carried my pregnancies - front and center as it were. And in general, I try to dress to avoid it - suck in when I'm in public, etc., but lately I've been struck with the thought: "what is honestly so bad about people thinking I'm pregnant?" I mean, obviously I would prefer to have a nice flat toned stomach, but since I'm rocking the chub anyway, wouldn't it be more flattering to have people (strangers in the store not anyone I actually know) mistake that bulge for another baby rather than know I'm just an over eater? Personally I'm kind of thinking that I'd prefer people saying "wow, that lady sure has a lot of kids - and she's pregnant again!" rather than "oh look, another frumpy midwestern mom that let herself go." (And yes, everyone totally talks all about me behind my back when I'm at the store. It's like I'm a celebrity.)

So for now, while I will of course continue trying to dress in ways that minimize or flatter my extra padded figure (and keep working on getting rid of it!), I'm going to stop feeling worried that people may confuse me for pregnant. After all, I'd rather have a baby under my shirt than a spare tire. Instead of feeling ashamed I can just rub it lovingly and talk about how much I love my butter, baby.*

*yes, I admit in my case sugar baby is more appropriate, but butter baby is more fun to say. And it's my fat so I can call it whatever I want.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

UnMasked

I had an interesting realization today. When someone lets the facade slip long enough to show what they really think about you, you end up learning so much more about them. Pointing out what you perceive to be someone else's shortcomings emphasizes your own. That's an ugly light to stand under and it's a hard one to turn off.

And that's all I'm going to say.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Taking One Step Up The Mountain

Clutter makes me twitchy. I deal with it to some degree because with three kids it is just a fact of life. But there are so many organizational jobs that I really need to tackle and have been procrastinating on because all together they just seem overwhelming. But of course, if you can view it as a series of not so little jobs, anything is achievable. And after reading The Happiness Project I am fully motivated to finally and permanently rid our home of unnecessary and unused items, and organize everything else so it is easily found and used.

So yesterday I tackled this:


All the baby clothes (there were also two more boxes not pictured). Everything is now organized by size for Sophie to grow into, summer clothes that still fit the kids are out and ready to be worn, and baby clothes are all folded and separated by boy/girl, all ready just in case. Phew! it took me several hours and not insignificant back pain from sitting on the floor, but it was so worth it. I still haven't sorted through the clothes still in the drawers, but once that is done I will have tackled one job on my list.

Only 348 to go.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Impromptu Concert

Izzy and Jack. left to their own devices in the playroom, began singing and playing the drums. After about 10 minutes of listening I decided to try and capture the moment to share with you:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday Say What

After I whispered to her that I thought she was cute: "Sssh, it's a secret. Let's not tell Jack."

During a psuedo-tantrum brought on by being tired: "I'm NOT crying! My eyes are just watering."

me: "when you are a teenager will you hang out with me because you like me or because you wants something?": "Because I want something."

Friday, May 21, 2010

This Won't Go In The Baby Book

It was bound to happen sooner or later - given the constant stream of chatter emitting from my children's faces, I'm actually surprised we hadn't come to this point already, but somehow I still maintained hope that is would never happen. That I should be so lucky as to avoid the fate that awaits all parents of small children who allow them in public. The sound of a chipper, exceedingly loud 4 year old voice exclaiming:

"Mommy, that lady is fat, fat, FAT!"

Yikes.

Now personally, I'm not sure what it was about this particular woman that prompted such a cheerful proclamation of her girth seeing as we see hefty folk at every turn these days, but I do know it was a shock to actually process what it was Izzy was, um, 'saying' at the top of her lungs (in her defense, that is her regular volume) today as we strolled the aisles of Target. And fortunately, the subject of said comment seemed completely unaware of what was going on (and indeed of our entire presence given the TEN FREAKING MINUTES she blocked the aisle in front of us) so my humiliation was limited to making sure anyone else who might have overheard knew that I was making sure to educate my child that such things were not polite to say. But it was still awkward.

And I wondered, if the woman HAD heard Izzy, what exactly is the correct protocol in such a situation? I sort of feel like it would have been nice to apologize, but that apologizing would also draw attention to what she said, as well as possibly give the impression that maybe I thought the woman was fat too and was sorry about it. Like insult to injury, somehow? My inclination would be to just make it obvious that I was correcting and teaching my child, and assume that the subject of such inadvertent rudeness would understand it was a case of kids being (tactless) kids and stating the obvious rather than my daughter actually trying to insult her. I understand that whether the woman perceived that statement as innocent or insulting, and her response, basically lies with her, and her own insecurities, issues with children, etc, and there is nothing I can do to change that. But what is my responsibility, beyond teaching my child what is and what isn't appropriate to shout in public? Do I owe that woman an apology? Or can I just smile, admonish my child and move on?

Cause you know it's going to happen again.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stormtracker

For as long as I can remember I have had dreams about tornadoes. Never nightmares, and the tornadoes weren't ever really even a major "plot" point. Just dreams where, oh hey look, some tornadoes over there, la dee dah. So it seems my subconscious has a fascination with tornadoes, and while I certainly don't think I have any morbid preoccupation with them, I have always thought that is would be cool to see one in person.

From a distance.

And now I live somewhere that could actually happen, and it's taken over. I would say my interest is still way short of obsessive, but it has definitely heightened in light of repeated tornado warnings and watches on the television, and the high frequency of thunderstorms. On rainy/cloudy days I find my self vigilantly scanning the horizons as I drive, constantly on the lookout for funnel clouds or their beginnings. I am not worried or afraid of seeing one, but I'm not especially hopeful either, given the proximity to my house (and of course everyone' else's house as this is a highly populated area - I want to see a tornado but only out where it isn't destroying neighborhoods). But in general, although I am always on the lookout during the day, my anxiety about the situation is pretty non-existent.

At night, my anxiety is heightened somewhat. Because you can't just look outside and see if a tornado is coming. And I am totally unsure of the protocol for the tornado sirens. Do they happen only when one has been seen? when one has touched down? How big of an area surrounding the tornado will have sirens going off? Because honestly, I am all ready with my plan for hiding in the basement closet in case of a tornado, but I REALLY don't want to have to wake up the kids and drag them down to cower in a closet unless there is a tornado actually coming down my street. Am I supposed to be more aware of the possibility of a tornado when I hear the sirens, or do I run for cover? And also, those sirens are SO not loud enough. I heard the test run, barely, only because I had windows open and no tv on. If it had actually been raining, with windows closed and tv going - or I had been asleep - there is no chance I would hear those suckers.

And that makes me nervous.

Which totally ruins my enjoyment of nighttime thunderstorms, and let me tell you, I LOVE thunderstorms. Also, ruining my enjoyment of thunderstorms is the damn wind around these here parts which make it impossible to leave the window open so you can hear the rain. You don't get a nice wet breeze with the smell of rain here - you get sodden floors and furniture. Kind of sucks.

So let's agree, shall we? Tornadoes can only happen during the day so I can see them (and they need to be FAR from MY house, and also miraculously avoid damaging other houses or hurting anyone), and thunderstorms must not be accompanied by winds that blow the rain in my windows. Thanks

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Squeeze That Mush

I have now gone to the Pilates class at my gym on Wednesday for the past two weeks and I must say I am enjoying it. For the most part. I like that it is a really good workout, but not so hard that I am feeling like a pathetic goober the whole class. That would just make me want to quit. I like that I get an awesome ab workout because frankly after three kids that area needs quite a bit of attention, although I don't love that we are supposed to keep them sucked in the whole class - have you ever tried to do sit-ups while sucking in your stomach? It's hard, but more than that I find it distracting and kind of wrecks my abs workout in general because instead of focusing on using my abs to crunch or lift or whatever I'm trying to suck them towards my spine and I end up pulling with my neck too much. Which of course hurts and frustrates me because I know I'm doing it wrong and not getting the best benefit from my activity. But if I can let go of the sucking in part and focus on the abs, the teacher has us do some really great exercises - I'll be rocking a six pack under all my chub in no time! I also like the butt and lower back exercises because while they seem like a bad idea when doing them (in terms of back pain and the muscles getting tight), they actually seem to help relax my back in the long run. So those are all good things.

What I'm not loving is that it isn't until noon, which means we don't get home until almost 1:30pm, which means no naps until 2pm. That part is all well and good, but then we are faced with the choice of leaving them for the routine 3 hours and not getting up until 5pm, which then makes snacks too close to dinner and then nobody goes to bed until almost 9pm, GAH make them go away!!!, or cutting the nap short and getting them up sooner which is just not acceptable. At the moment moving everything later seems to be the best option because it's not even dark until 9pm anyway so maintaining an 8pm bedtime is getting harder and harder and I'm so sick of running up and down the stairs taking turns with my husband dealing with whoever is crying or whining or being loud or out of their room or crying again or poopy or whatever. GO TO BED!!!!!!

The other thing I'm not loving about the class is that the teacher kind of throws in some pseudo ballet moves, but they all either involve improper alignment (in terms of ballet) or arm motions that are just not right and it is really distracting for me. I have WAY too much training to only kind of do ballet moves and even though it may be kind of fun to "cheat" and not have to actually point my toes or do proper turn out and everything, my body feels like it is cheating which makes for some very uncomfortable need to correct everything. Ballet is hard, and I am WAY out of shape for it, so knowing that I a) can't do it right, and b) am not even supposed to be doing it "right" causes a mixed frustration. I'm doing what I'm supposed to do for the Pilates, but my body wants to do it the ballet way, and so I get this vague guilt and unease because my muscle memory tells me I'm not really trying. There are also times when I just kind of go into autopilot anyway- today I kept coming out of this one move into 5th position even though I tried not to, and that makes me feel really self conscious over my positioning because it is obviously different from everyone else's. I mean, we have a bunch of women standing around a room with their arms just kind of thrown up in the air (including the teacher) and then me with perfect fifth position arms. Makes me feel like I'm trying to show off or something - or like people will think I'm trying to show off. Either way, it gets mentally uncomfortable for me.

Hmmm, reading back through this it seems like this class annoys me more than I should like it - but I am enjoying it. I just wish it were more than once a week. And at 10am.

The First Step?

I have recently made a breakthrough of sorts (the itty bitty tiniest sort of breakthrough) in the way I view food. For the past several weeks I have noticed that whenever I see commercials for fast food or prepared foods from the store, instead of thinking "ooh, that looks good" I think "gross. why would anyone feed that to their kids or put all of those chemical in their body?" All of a sudden all of my knowledge about HFCS and MSG and food coloring etc has manifested in utter disgust when faced with advertisements of processed foods.

Unfortunately, if oyu placed many of those same foods in front of me when I was hungry none of the thoughts of chemicals would pass through my head and I would still totally eat it. But I still feel that I have taken an important first step. I'm viewing food at least a little differently, and now all I have to do is keep pushing that change until it affects how I eat as well as how I think.

Huh - I thought this would be a longer post.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Say What

when I told her to be careful after leaping off the couch in a most unsafe manner: "I was turning my body so I wouldn't hurt myself." not included, the 'duh.'

resting on the couch as though sleepy: "I'm not closing my eyes, but my legs are tired."

Before a playdate: " Will there be food there?"

Randomly, no context: "I'm singing on this CD and it's called Miss Me, Marry Me Forever."

On a different day, singing on the jungle gym: "I don't care who yooooooooou are, but you care who I aaaaaaam. Who I aaaaaaaam."

Well, her vocals may need some work, but she has the celebrity attitude down.



Don't forget Saturday Say What accepts submissions! Send any funny, astute, precocious or precious statement your kids (or anyone's kids) make to practicalpablum@gmail.com and it will appear in the very next Saturday Say What post. Don't forget to include your name, your kids' names and ages, and any relevant context.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

J Is For Jealous

Which is what you are going to be when you hear about how my kids let me sleep in until 9am.

Every morning Izzy comes into my room about 8am, and I can wrangle at least another 20-30 minutes of sleep by just letting her turn on the tv and sit at the end of my bed. Sure she's rotting her brain with the boob tube, but so what? I get more sleep.

Then, when Jack wakes up she can go let him out of his room by herself, so unless he needs immediate diaper attention, I'm still good to stay in bed. They both go downstairs to play, and I can easily sleep for another 30 minutes until I am good and ready to wake up and feed them breakfast. So yeah, I'm totally neglecting them in favor of luxurious mornings in bed, but whatever. It's not like they're going to be scarred for life or anything.

And yeah, they can get into some mischief (including but not limited to taking all of the sheets of the guest beds, taking all of the suitcases from the shelves where they are stored and unscrewing (and losing) the switch on the bedside lamp), but whatever - I can just clean it all up at a later time. Or leave it all for whoever goes in that room next to deal with since I really don't hang out down there. See? no problem.

And ok, fine, sometimes they get really hungry, but they can just stand in front of the fridge with the door wide open and eat grapes right out of the fruit drawer or gnaw on string cheese through the packaging until they get it open. So it's not like they're going to starve. Maybe choke on plastic, but not starve.

And who cares if I totally forgot what day it was and slept until 8:55 on a morning when Izzy had preschool at 9? I still managed to get everyone dressed, stuffed with toaster waffles, in the car and to the school before they locked the door at 9:15. And I count that as a triumph.

So go ahead. Boast about how you love your kids, and spend all kinds of time with them playing and talking and supervising. Go ahead and tell me all about how you get up early every morning with your kids because you feel that is what a responsible mother does rather than let them run amok all alone.

I got to sleep until 9am.

You know you're jealous.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

32* Is The New 80

All of a sudden I got old people. I mean, I don't FEEL especially old, and I don't THINK I'm old, but my body is like "nope - you're old and decrepit so you should just give up."

It's fun.

First I noticed that my skin was getting out of control - breakouts that were more permanent than not. And then what was that? Just the barest hint of facial hair? Surely not. I can't possibly be growing a moustache - it must be fuzzy mirror or trick of the light. And then I read that these symptoms are all indicative of a decrease in estrogen levels. Now, we're nt talking pre menopause or anything, just the general decrease that hits in your thirties and leads down that slippery slope of lessening fertility and eventually drying up into and old husk. I believe I had a third symptom as well but I can't remember it, and what do you know, "bad memory/fuzzy thinking" is also a symptom. (I also totally can't remember where I read the article that clued me in to all of this. So who knows, maybe I'm hallucinating rather than just getting old.)

And then there is my back. A few weeks ago I had a relapse of an old injury and ended up laid out on the couch zonked up on painkillers and muscle relaxants. I figured it was a result of over exercising and under stretching, coupled with a saggy mattress. And indeed, I was able to recover quickly. Except that the slightest bit of exertion (ie, a REAL elliptical workout rather than barley moving) gives me tweaks and twinges. Not good people. I was prepared for the eventuality that my back would give me problems. I knew that having had this injury, when I got older I was going to have to be very careful and in general would most likely just have to deal with the limitations of having a bad back. But come on, thirty two? I thought I could at least make it to 35 if not 40 before becoming a gimp. but now I'm all hobbling around the gym, sitting on the floor in bizarre stretches for long periods of time, trying to project the aura of "it's just an injury" rather than the whiff of decay.

Cause I am NOT old.

*ps: I'm 32 right? Cause I keep having to stop and double check my math, like "I know I'm not 31 anymore, but am I already 33? I may have missed a few years in there somewhere. When was I born again?" Embarassing. And oddly enough I did almost the same thing at 22 - I totally forgot I'd had a birthday and went around saying I was still 21 until like July, at which point I abruptly switched to telling people I was 23 despite still being 6 months away from my birthday. Weird. although I'm seriously considering dropping it all and just telling people I'm 37. then instead of a "eh" I'll get a "Wow, you look great!" At least I hope I will. Maybe I should say I'm 47.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Open Letter To Omaha Drivers

Dearest fellow Omaha residents, your driving sucks. I don't kow what rules of the road are taught here, but clearly many of you need a refresher course. However, as I doubt most of you will actually take the time to complete such a program, allow me to offer a few tips:

1) Speed Up. You may be wondering how this could possibly be a valid tip to make you better drivers, and indeed, in most instances driving slower is better. In fact, on surface streets you all seem to do just fine with the speed limits. The problem arises on the expressways, where everyone seems to find it necessary to drive 5mph BELOW the posted limit. Let me inform you that this is unnecessary. The posted limit is NOT an absolute maximum. If you hit it (or god forbid exceed it by 1 or 2mph) you WILL NOT implode, nor will you reach supernova. You will simply be moving at the suggested rate of speed. Try it. It's fun. And you might get where you are going just a wee bit sooner. However, increased speed does require increase attention to the other drivers around you, which brings me to my next point,

2) Back Off. Pretty much without exception I have noticed that people in this town follow too closely. One car length is WAY too close for surface streets, and yet you are usually closer to my back bumper than that. Not safe guys. If I can't see your bumper in my rear view mirror, you probably can't stop in time if I brake suddenly. And no one wants that, right? Tailgating might be fun in the parking lot of a football game, but on the highway it is just stupid.

3) Be Courteous. You know how I just said you are too close to the person in front of you? Well, it has another side effect besides increasing your chances of rear ending someone: it makes it impossible for anyone else to change lanes. This may be news to you, but sometimes people do actually need to change lanes. This is especially true on the highway, when a driver has had to pull all the way over to the left lane to get around the slow pokes. At some point, that car is going to need to get off the highway, and you coasting off the back bumpers of every car on the road does not allow them to do that. I try to be a proactive driver- I anticipate my exit and try to change lanes several exits in advance so that I'm not cutting anyone off with a sudden lane change. And yet, despite miles of advance notice, I still often find myself pushed out of the lane change because no one will let me in. Where is that Midwestern hospitality everyone is always talking about? If you are not going to back off riding each others' asses, at least pay attention to when people are trying to get off the freeway and let them in. It is literally the least you could do.

And now, my final point:

4) RED MEANS STOP. This is not a suggestion. You are not special, and you are NOT exempt. Red lights apply to EVERYONE and they mean stop. In fact, YELLOW means stop. If you see a yellow light, slow down until you actually cease moving. Do NOT speed up. There is no color you should actually accelerate into besides GREEN. It is absolutely amazing how many of you seem to not be aware of this. My 4 and 2 year olds know that red means stop- you have no excuse. I see at least one red light run every dayn and I spend an average of less than 30 minutes in my car a day. Unacceptable. Twice I have seen a car stop at a light and THE CAR BEHIND THEM go around and run the red light. TWICE. That is so offensive as to be comical. But what isn't funny is how dangerous that is. There are children in my car. There are children in other people's cars. Everyone, in evry car is someone's child, or parent or sibling or friend. Why do you want to risk killing them? Are you really in such a hurry that you can't stop for two minutes at a light? Are you really so discourteous that you can't bear to let someone else go first? That's ridiculous. If you are running late, leave earlier. Causing an accident is only going to make you later, and it could mean you don't get there at all. Hit me with my kids in the car, and you can bet I will cause you no end of time comsuming misery and pain. In fact, you should be aware that whenever possible, I follow offenders to take down their license plates and then report them as erratic drivers to the police. This was easier in my old small town (I have seen at least one person pulled over that I reported), but I will do my best to continue it here. Or I will wait until you park somewhere and then key the shit out of your car. So, think about stopping, okay?

Thanks.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Hoping all of my mommy friends and readers had a wonderful Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This Was Going To Be Wordless Wednesday Until I Realized It Was Thursday

'Tis the time of year to shed our shaggy winter coats for sleek springtime aerodynamics.

Before:









After:



He's faster already!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Place For Everything And Everything In Its Place

My mom has been in town this week, and along with hitting the antique and used furniture shops in town for new, unique pieces, she has also installed some extra cabinets under the bar side of our kitchen counter. Much needed storage all around. But oh, now I need to fill it. Which, assuredly is not going to be an issue, but deciding what would be perfect in each spot and organizing it all and not over filling and sorting through all the storage bins and over stuffed closets, ahhh, the anticipation is killing me with the wonder and dread.

I truly love nothing else than having a place for everything. A nice organized closet is a sight to behold and makes me resonate at a happy frequency rather than the fevered pitch of anxiety the clutter and chaos of not having enough storage usually has me humming. But I get a little crazy trying to organize it. I want everything to be so perfectly squared away - to fit into it's lovely little space neatly and for all of my things to fall into easily identified categories so that I don't end up with any of those 'just chuck it in here because I don't know where else to put it' spots. So I plan and I plan what I can start with, what should go where, how to go about this project, and the whole entire job starts to get overwhelming. I can think of multiple items that should fill each specific place - which one would be best. If I'm going to go through this, I should really sort that first, but oh, this needs organizing too.

I come by this naturally - my mom constantly starts one project, sees another that needs to be done, starts doing that, leaves tools around the house because she can't remember where she set anything down because this one thing just needed fixing first.

Of course she actually gets things done. I never seem to get past the planning phase - I'm so determined not to start anything I can't finish within a given time frame because I HATE leaving stuff all around in the middle of a project, and to be honest if I stop in the middle of something I will probably never get back to it. but of course, planning can only get you so far, and when where it gets you is overwhelmed by the entire project you never get anywhere.

I'm determined not to let that happen this time. I really want to get my stuff pared down to only the essentials (useful items that I never use are USELESS), and then get the remaining items organized and put away nicely. But oh my gosh is there a lot of stuff to go through. I have boxes of books and DVDs that have just never been unpacked from when we moved. I have three dressers of children's clothing that is a) seasonally inappropriate, b) outgrown, c) totally unfolded and in a tangle. I also have six boxes of outgrown/waiting to be grown into/saved for any future babies clothing that need to be sorted by size, gender and desirability. I have mismatched sheets, blankets and pillowcases all over the house that need to be paired up, gotten rid of, and placed either all together or in their corresponding bedrooms. Same can be said for towels, which were once in neat piles but now have been stuffed into any available space on the shelves. Photo albums, board games, art supplies, cameras and corresponding accessories, baking/cooking appliances, and cookbooks all need to be moved to better, more permanent locations. And the toys. Three kids' rooms, five tubs and four shelves of toys need to be sorted, thrown away, reunited with their myriad pieces and put away again in places somewhat other than "chucked into bins."

And I AM going to get it done. As soon as I figure out where to start.

*sigh*

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mute. And Twitching

This weekend I was hit by the typical spring cold and all of its attendant ickiness and phlegm. Emphasis on the phlegm. And yesterday, all of that delightful mucus conspired to bog down my vocal cords so that I had to force even the most conversational tone.

You never realize just how often you speak everyday until you can't. I thought Izzy did all of the talking, but there are a lot of vocal requirements to parenting three children. No, hey, Come here, pick that up, sit down, stop hitting, don't push, please put your shoes away, time for bed, yes, no, stop pushing, don't touch that, watch out, stop it, no, come here, come here, come here.

It's exhausting on a good day, but when every syllable is an effort? Misery.

I tried explaining that they would have to listen very carefully because Mommy can't talk very loudly, but in general I had to resort to snapping or clapping to get their attention, or just suck it up and get as much volume as I could.

Fortunately, today my voice is better rather than worse, but it still straining to talk. Amazing how tiring such an innocuous activity can be when it is no longer effortless, but no less required. I have even found myself thinking less in an effort to be quiet.

Oh, and I have also had a twitch in my left eye for two days now, which is fortunately light enough that it's not invisible, but supremely annoying nonetheless.