Review: Pride and Prejudice

Okay, I failed. I said I was going to read “Ulysses” and I meant to but I heard I really need to read “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” first to get it and I lost my resolve. Two toughies right out the gate? No thanks.

So, I swung the complete opposite direction and tumbled into “Pride & Prejudice” by Jane Austen. I knew a little about the story going in, as I am a woman raised in the last 200 years, but it still delighted me.

P&P is really the story of Elizabeth Bennet. Elizabeth is one of five VERY different sisters, all of marrying age at a time when that was your sole job as a woman. Get that man, nail him down, find happy ever after. But here’s the thing about the 1810’s… manners dictated so much about how things were done that you had to be reserved but interested. You couldn’t ever tell anyone you liked them. The whole affair is very exhausting for this 20th century gal but the writing was light, funny and timeless. I thought I would be bored by the flowery speech of the time but the reader of my audiobook did these fabulous character voices that revealed the true double meaning. I found the last two chapters a little slow but other than that, it didn’t disappoint. Overall, a worthwhile read.

Now I need to rent the Colin Firth version of the movie because I hear it’s the best and the Rosetta Stone for understanding why ladies over 35 sweat him so much.

I will be picking a new book to tackle next week!

Review: Great Gatsby (subtitle: reading the smarty books as a grown woman)

Since I am now a library employee, I thought it might be cool to enrich myself with the books I never read because I was a lazy, lazy high school and college student. You never really know what you miss out on when you don’t take your education into your own hands.

Because I like old school hair and cautionary tales, I decided to start with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”.

That tear is for all the money Gatsby has.

That tear is for all the money Gatsby has.

The novel is short and the audio book was expertly performed. I am a commuting mom now, so audio books are my life line to actually getting stuff read.

Gatsby is the story of Nick, a well-healed young man who moves to West Egg, Long Island to work on Wall Street as a bond trader during the roaring 20s. Nick’s next door neighbor happens to be the insanely wealthy, albeit mysterious, J. Gatsby. Gatsby throws the party of the century each weekend for the glitterati of New York City.

Nick’s cousin, the beautiful and slightly damaged, Daisy, lived across the post in old money East Egg with her brute of a wandering husband. The book follows these four and a couple of other character within their orbit over the course of one very messy and eventful summer.

I really enjoyed the language and how period-specific the novel felt. It wasn’t stuffy, except when it was making a point about it.

After I finished the book, I watched Baz Luhrmann’s 2012 film. It was good but not as nuanced. I know, I know! Library snob…

Up next is “Ulysses” so I guess I will talk to you in a few months.

A crazy working mom

So very much has been written by my generation of women about the problems, joys, frustrations and magic of motherhood that I feel trite even stepping into the fray of it all. But I have a hard time keeping quiet so here goes.

So offensive

I am not a sad, guilt-ridden, workaholic mess of a mother. I am a good mother who happens to work outside the home.

Many other working mothers would tell you sad tales of how guilty they feel that they have to work and they hate they can’t be there all the time. I hate that for them but we don’t all feel that way.

I like to be good at my work. When my daughter’s happy at preschool, I am nailing it at work, the house is clean and the dinner (that I make 6 nights a week) is delicious I feel like a fucking rockstar dressed like Superwoman. That’s me.

As I get older and more in-tune with who I really am at my core it becomes easier to speak out when people ask me questions about my lifestyle.

For instance:

Stranger, co-worker, person in the store, “Are you going to have another kid?”
Me: “Probably not.”
Stranger, co-worker, person in the store, “Why? Whhhhhhhy? Whaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?”
Me: “Because I am happy, she’s happy and he’s happy. Also, I had a crazy eye disease that almost caused me to go blind and my plate feels a little full with the living I like to do. You see, we like to travel, cook, drink beers, get babysitters, exercise and have a clean house. That’s a lot tougher with two.”
Stranger, co-worker, person in the store, *shuffles off uncomfortably*

So why the odd exchange? People aren’t used to that kind of honestly about what really motivates other people.We can fill their bucket with niceties and bullshit but where does that get us? I love my family, my job & my home. I know what I like to do. I know what recharges my batteries and what I need to be happy.

So, there you have it. I like working, I like being a wife, I like being a mother. In short, I want it all…the way that I want it.

Our tiny apartment

Since moving to Cincinnati in 2012, we’ve been renting a tiny 2 bedroom apartment in a second-class neighborhood. When we moved, we were still trying to sell our first home and weren’t sure how we would feel about the nasty Nati. So, we signed a 1 year lease to rent the lower half of a divided home with my BF Janice living above. It’s cheap, like stupid cheap, and we imagined it would be very temporary.

Well, it wasn’t. We saved for 18 months, ready to buy a house when I found my next job but all that was sidetracked when Nick was laid off in October. I was devastated. Living in an apartment, represents being unsettled, unstable. We aren’t, by any stretch of the imagination, but it just feels that way. I missed entertaining and having space. I moped, not about Nick’s job loss, he’s fine and has plenty of freelance work that makes him happy, but because I wouldn’t be able to buy a home. Cincinnati is big and you have to be very strategic about where you live for commutes and school districts. My home buying plan has been put on hold.

So, I am choosing happiness. I am going to open my doors, virtually and in real life, and embrace our small space. It’s not grand but everyone has a room, we have a dishwasher and free laundry. Here it is….

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This is home. I love the memories we are making here…even if it’s not a 2,000 square foot mansion.

Back on the fat wagon

So, for the third time in my life I am on Weight Watchers.

I only vaguely remember the first one, filled with church basement meetings and odd measurements.

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The second time around, about 2 years ago, I was in full swing of a life transformation. I had lost about 80 pounds to fight a crazy eye disease I got while preggers with my daughter and I wanted to do more. I joined with my friend Jill and had some pretty good success.

Then I had the crazy idea to pack up my little family of three and move to the big city of Cincinnati. I got a job in a new newsroom, sold our house in two months, and we moved into a tiny 2 bedroom apartment.

Now 2 years later, my unhappiness with the job I chose has crept it’s way back onto my backside and I knew it was time to start something new. I’ve been working out 2-3 times a week consistently for the past four years but that wasn’t enough to keep my “eating my feelings” weight off.

I joined again two weeks ago and so far I’ve lost 7 pounds. It’s a huge hassle for a cooker/full-time working/mom/organizer/manager like me to measure, calculate and plan every meal me and my family eat. However, it’s once again proved to be a great weight loss method because it’s opened my eyes to some pitfall foods that keep the scale from moving in the right direction.

I don’t think I will ever be thin but I can be strong, sexy and healthy.

As part of another life change, I’ve accepted a new job as a Digital Marketing Manager for a local library system. Yes, newsroom loudmouth to library marketing mind…

I am hoping with the stress, drama and tears gone out of my work life I will have more water in my bucket to nourish my soul with the stuff that really makes me happy like walking, playing ball with my kid, listening to great books, seeing films, trying new things and falling in love with my husband again and again. These past two years have been really tough and I finally feel that good things might be around the corner. I just need to open up.

Wanted

The time has come to move on.

For the last 7 years, I’ve worked in television and it’s time to try something completely new.

I am terrified.

The thing about being good at something is that it is so hard to let it go. I am good at this. I know how to fix it if it’s broken. I know how the people in this business think. I know how to achieve but it doesn’t challenge me anymore.

I want to change something. I want to make something better for someone, anyone really. I want to beam with pride when I tell someone at a cocktail party what I do for a living. I want to fall in love with my job.

When I got this job, I was in love. Like, in LOOOOOVE. It was fun and fast. TV people are fun and chocked full of charisma. It’s a heady, fun and competitive environment. It was beautiful.

Now, 7 years later, I feel as if I’m at the top of my game with nowhere to go. I don’t want to be a News Director, that’s just not me. I am a digital native, a lover of the dissemination of information. I can’t make my new media attitude and skills fit into that old media box, nor do I want to.

I want to create, curate, write, design, battle, begin, dazzle. I want to knock it out of the park in a completely different way each day.

In short, I am Rachel Folz, 31, mother of one, and I am looking for love. At work.

Potty training a girl over 3

For the better part of a year, my husband and I have been trying at varying rates of success to potty train our daughter, Lucy. Lucy is now 38-months-old and still in diapers. We tried Potty Wise, the ‘ignore it and she will do it on her own’ method, our own pitiful attempts but nothing would work. This is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a parent and I was beginning to freak out about it.

I took to Facebook and asked my parent friends how they got it done. I cobbled their tips and suggestions together to get to this.

One wise friend suggested “Potty Training in 3 Days“. That is our base method for this. Another friend suggested putting together a treasure chest of toys that can be rewards. We went to target and got that boy hooked up. Yet another smart friend (how lucky can one gal be) suggested a rewards chart. We’d used that method before but we decided to try again anew.

We set our sights on Labor Day weekend because we both work outside the home and it will be a natural 3 day weekend.

Like to article suggests, we got her pumped up by letting her know she’d be ass naked all weekend when we said goodbye to diapers. She kept screaming “bye diapers” so that seemed to work. We let her pick out the treasure chest toys and we had a few heavy hitters placed on her chart (small Buzz Lightyear and Alien dolls) that came after she pottied 7 and 14 times.

Day 1:

We got up, put the diapers in the closet to “give them to a baby” and set up a fort of toys in the living room where we could watch her constantly. She was never allowed out of our sight. We offered her Kool Aid, which she had never had, and that made her drink a lot. Thus she had to pee a lot.

Every time she sat on the potty, we gave her a M&M. No matter what.

We set the microwave timer to remind us to sit her on the potty no matter what every 30 minutes.

Every time we used the bathroom, she followed.

Right off the bat, she peed in the potty, hooray! We set the chart so she’d get to take a trip to the treasure chest right off the bat to get her pumped.

Our treasure chest.

Our treasure chest.

The two times she used the potty between treasure chest trips, she got one piece of candy that she got to select. We had lifesavers gummies and cut up Twizzlers.

We had two accidents in the morning. One where she peed so much on the hardwood that she slipped in it. It was so sad. But, we stuck to our guns and made her clean herself and the mess up. This really upset her.

After the epic pee, things really got rolling. She started peeing all the time! She was going, telling us she had to go…all of that. Amazing.

At nap time, we put her in a Pull Up. She pooped during her nap in the Pull Up. Even though we had success with peeing today, no pooping in the potty.

By bedtime, Lucy had peed in the potty 23 times!

Our potty chart!

Our potty chart!

Yes, that’s a lot of candy and Kool Aid. She never gets sugar so this was a big thing to overcome, but remember, these are desperate measures.

Humble brag super update

For my few readers, I thought I’d provide an update to the ins and outs of the Folz family situation…

1. We love Cincinnati.

It took about a year, and making some friends, but we have fallen in love with this town and have decided to make it our home for the long haul. Right now we are saving the money it’s going to take to buy a house in a great school district. the housing market is waaay different here than it was in Evansville so that’s going to take until spring but we are super pumped to put down some real roots again.

2. Nick is drawing like a mad man.

This move has really allowed Nick to spread his wings artistically. He’s been freelancing for an amazing illustration place. His done some videos for big clients that made the company sign pieces of paper saying we can’t use their names but trust me, they are huge. He’s also been working FT as a graphic designer. I am so freaking proud of him.

3. Lucy is the coolest

Lucy is turning into an odd little kid and I LOVE it. She loves construction equipment, dinosaurs and Toy Story. She is hilarious and silly and loves to draw like her dad. She does and says things on a daily basis that make me want to laugh and cry. She takes my breath away.

4. If you don’t live here, we probably miss you

As great as it is here for us, we miss our family and friends all of the time. Seeing pictures of your parties, and your children growing up makes my heart sore. Come visit soon.

That’s really it for now. Stay frosty.