Sunday, August 27, 2017
My absolute favorite time of the year. I am pretty sure I say it every year - I used to despise summer the way many people around here complain about snow. I love snow. I want to live around it more. This last snowy year was fabulous in my book. But anyways, summer is my 4th favorite season - but despite that, I don't hate it anymore. I don't like the heat (neither does AB, probably even more so than me). But since moving to the Pacific Northwest 15 years ago I have found a summer I can go with. The days are longer, the super hot days are shorter lived. The summers in the Pacific Northwest are yummier than anywhere else I have lived (except for the RibFest in Reno, and Palisade Peaches and Corn in Colorado).
I can't wait. I love the football season weather, the cool nights, the Indian summer warm days, the food, the Holidays and watching my kids anticipate the upcoming holidays. I'll take it.
So I always take a break from my goals in the summer. I didn't write about them much last spring - just no time. (Even right now I am sitting near a squealing 4yo, after I moved from a room where he was rough housing.) But I did work them and succeed in redecorating our bedroom.
So here it is.
1. Figure out my photos. Create a plan. I miss having photos in hand, but don't have time for sorting, printing, putting in albums, or photo books. I have recently come across some subscription services that print your Instagram feed monthly for a fee. That's where most of my "good" photos. This might meet my need.
2. Plan the "Playroom Transition". We are taking the kids' play space that Skadi no longer uses, filled with toys that no one plays with, and transitioning to a teen space. Skadi and I are doing this together and have been pinning many ideas. She even saw some chairs she liked recently at camp and went to the director and asked where she got the chairs. Then promptly forgot. But I loved that she is thinking about this and excited to make this transition.
1. Start the Playroom Transition. This may be a two month thing... and actually the completely finished date may be Christmas time since some of the upgrades (new TV, game system) will likely be gifts.
Wednesday, August 09, 2017
I thought I should say that there are different levels of community that I am referring to throughout. I hope that it is clear from context which I am speaking about. Part 1 I discussed my community as my City and my neighborhood. The things that make AB and I say "this place, this location where I am residing is not right".
Then another day, I drive up my street and see an older woman photographing my buses. Why? Because it was extending onto the sidewalk by 3 inches? Or am I just paranoid and she liked the bush. Somehow I suspect it the former when I parked and went to the front yard and she turned around and walked away and wouldn't speak with me.
I know, I am a professional and I don't always listen to the general public either. There is just so much depth to the issues that people who read the internet for their source of news just do.not.get. There is never enough money, wheels are already in motion that are hard to stop, etc., etc. I guess I think the difference between them and me is that I can counter the arguments with facts. The city's only response to me is that 75% of the vehicles driving on my street are not going 35 mph or more (10 mph over the speed limit). According to their little machine that they conveniently set at intersections and next to corners.
Saturday, July 15, 2017
- We can escape to nature, to the mountains, easily.
- We have the cabin on the Sound that we spend time at every summer and the kids LOVE that.
- Access to a couple big cities (Seattle and Portland) and a smaller one (Spokane)
- Growing up with great farmer's markets (wonder if my kids see that as a bonus? I certainly do.) I didn't have produce when I was a kid. It was red "delicious" apples (it's no wonder I despised apples growing up), bananas, and navel oranges.
- Schools closing for a few inches of snow. Lots of snow days in 2017!
- Going out in the trailer - playing games in the trailer, campfires, snuggling on the tiny couch to watch movies.
- Skiing at local ski resorts - ok, it's not the champagne powder I grew up on. But I have learned to adjust as a skier.
- Going to Canada and exploring hot springs as a family. Experiencing newness and exploring as a family.
- The ability to travel. (This is a big one, having good jobs enables us to do big vacations.)
- The play house and zipline in the backyard, dad building things in the yard and them helping.
- Schools and teachers really are pretty dang good. I have a few issues with the school district and specific instances with teachers, but they are one offs - we have some truly fabulous educators and a community that is always willing to invest in education. I have lived places where the opposite is true.
- My neighborhood. I hate my neighborhood. Friends in other neighborhoods have neighborly type interactions and forge awesome relationships. I get to deal with complaints to the city on us from our "neighbors" several times a year. One of the reasons we chose this neighborhood was because there was no HOA. We could park our trailer/boats/RVs on our property within city guidance (no we don't have all those). No annoying oversight. Wrong. Because of our "neighbors" the city is spending significant efforts (time and money) issuing me (and I think others) notices of violation that aren't really a big deal or actually within violation. Example, our trailer is parked on our property. When we put our RV pad in we confirmed location and compliance with the city. I have a letter from the city indicating we are in compliance. But that doesn't stop neighbors from calling the city, complaining, the City issuing a violation (sight unseen), me having to call the city, send them photos of the location (because they cannot set foot on our property to measure), remind them this is an ongoing issue with a cranky neighbor, and the city to use time and resources to (once again) clear the complaint. It isn't just the trailer. It's the foliage - if one of my trees dangles a branch on the sidewalk, the city is notified. If my dog is in the front yard off leash, the city is notified. The city, the animal control, others have come to know me and many apologize when I phone or they show up at my door. Moving has become a serious thought from us - but we always said if we move it won't be within this region. It will be to leave here.
- The City Council is a joke - they ask the community to vote on issues, but do whatever they want in the end. Why waste my time requesting input? The city's lack of responsiveness to observed issues and how they deal with issues (see above). But wait... I thought you said they were overbearing, right? Yes, I did above. They don't properly respond, they don't tell the "neighbors" to stop filing dumb ass complaints. But they also don't listen to the real issues. Like speeding through our neighborhoods. Like the ridiculous traffic situations that SHOULD NOT BE for a town this size.
- The region is ugly. I am sorry, I don't find desert beautiful. Actually, that's not true, I actually like New Mexico, but that's real desert, not this cheet grass infected vast nothingness area. And our local "mountain"? HA! (I know, this is dumb, the "community" has nothing to do with this.) Ok, sunsets can be amazing here. That's it.
- Lack of family nearby. (Not a fault of the region, but people don't even really want to come see us.)
- Nature at its best is hours away. Negative aspect - HOURS.
- Chains, chains, and more chains. Chain restaurants. WTF. And we don't even get good chains at that.
- The road system. Seriously, we are a small city and our roads are disasters. (See above again - a city thing).
- Lack of quality physicians (though we do have access to Seattle and Spokane)
- Good jobs and happiness in my job
- Job satisfaction. I am at a place right now where I LOVE my job. Things are going really well and I have the flexibility our family needs.
- Good school system - see above.
- Continuous community investment in schools (though schoools aren't yet fully funded as they are supposed to be)
- Cost of living is reasonable
Sunday, June 04, 2017
We have had some pretty miraculous changes on his part in last two months. One day he realized he was now four, and that means he is a big boy and that he was going to behave like one. This has resulted in a huge change in him at daycare and at home. All changes that have been very welcome. Being kicked out of daycare is no longer an everyday concern. Now that said I am still counting down the weeks until he leaves daycare and gets to attend public school.
I am thrust into the new generation of parents through daycare and thus work - several of the younger people I work with have their first child at the same daycare. And I see myself 12 years ago. And then I see how very differently I view things now. I want to tell them that THIS daycare, this particular beacon of light in your world? Not the be all end all and not in control. You are.
I would rate Silas' daycare at about a 6 out of 10. His lead teacher is tired (one of the few who was there when my older kids were), prefers he not be there more than absolutely necessary, isn't pushing academics (though he is showing great interest at home). The second teacher is wary, a bit cranky given she isn't even a year on the job, not her ideal job, doesn't smile much. But she is nice and has some fun ideas. The third teachers - are the amazing ones. But they are still new with aspirations and dreams of making a difference in a kids eyes. And, they do. Silas adores every single "third" teacher he has had over the last year. (There has been several...)
Silas... he is a very different kid as compared to the other two. He looks like them and the similarities stop there.
1. Silas eats everything. He discovered lettuce in the garden yesterday and devoured much of it. He can't wait for the carrots to pop up. He tried daikon yesterday and didn't like it, but was able to tell us why he didn't like it, "it spiced my tongue too much". Leif is emerging from his picky stage. Skadi is beyond hope - though she DID eat a single strawberry on her own accord last weekend. Silas has moments of picky, but for the most part he eats what we put in front of him particularly if it is a simply prepared fruit or veggie. His down side? Where we start really questioning his being a Carman? He doesn't like fish. I mean WTF? Never in my life would I have thought that I would have a child that didn't like fish.
2. Silas loves books. Thank you, thank you, thank you. He likes to read, he will pick up a book and flip through it and "read" to himself. Working hard to ensure this is a quality that stays with him.
3. Inquisitive. "Mom, how do you spell [insert long word or phrase]." Ok, so all my kids were inquisitive, but I don't recall any of my other two asking me how to spell something until the point they were writing for school. Some kids ask "why" incessantly? Not Silas, he wants everything spelled for him. (Weird... though I do recall quizzing my babysitters on whether they could spell Wyoming...)
4. Third child. My first two never said, "stupid". I just heard Silas say "stupid" twice while typing - regarding my hair dryer. I guess I am like his first teacher at school. My desire to fight his using the word stupid is waning. He watches cartoons and movies I am positive I never let my older two watch at this age... but it is freaking HARD to keep him separate from the other two when they are watching their shows. Silas has a play date today. Probably his first official play date. I invited the other boy to come over and knowing the parents a bit (knew the dad as a student intern ages ago and we have worked in similar spheres since), I suggested they drop him off and go have lunch or have an afternoon together. The boys will just play here! No dice, lol. He and his mom are coming over for the play date. Now my friends and I also did this, but it also usually involved a cocktail. Do I offer her a cocktail? Or a glass of wine? Or does that just further call into question my abilities? Silas is a pretty solo kid, he is king of imaginary play, hangs with his big sister a lot, runs the backyard by himself. I am suddenly freaking out and trying to recall how helicopter-ish I may or may not have been with Leif. Would I have been outside with him hovering over his play at 4? Oh this play date suggestion may have been a horrible idea.
5. Stats... I will have to add this in later this week after his well child... See bullet #4. I will say though that I just bought him a bunch of size 4 clothes and was wishing I would have bought 5's.
6. Activities. Silas is chomping at the bit to do every organized activity. He starts piano lessons tomorrow. I am skeptical... but Leif's teacher wanted to try a new toddler piano program with Silas because he is very musically oriented (this teacher? The first Silas has had who sees his "genius", lol! Maybe for that I will pay him?? He probably tells all parents this...). Leif quit piano this month, and I felt a little guilty and would love to have a pianist in the family. So I bought the program and we will see if it works. Silas has suddenly excelled at swimming and AB said the other day that his teacher talked about skipping the next level with him and putting him in Level 3. We will see. He starts soccer in a few weeks - totally excited for that. And he is begging to start Tae Kwon Do with his dad and brother too. Trying to figure out how we are going to fit everything in.
All in all, Silas is an amazing and wonderful kid. He is smart, funny, expressive, and brings a huge amount of joy to the entire rest of the family. Can't imagine a world without him!
Friday, May 19, 2017
Anyways, I have e-mails written to myself. I have posts written on my iPad. I am going to try and get them all pulled together and posted over the next few weeks. AB is headed to Alaska, then he gets back and I go on travel again back to Albuquerque. I am hoping to have some time where I can sit and get things caught up here because I have been in a real funk lately.
Blogging used to help me see things straight. I miss writing a lot. I have had a lot of tears lately and while AB has been good about helping me through some part of me feels as though if I had this outlet active, I might have less frustrations and hurts? Maybe not. But I'll try.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
I was promoted this cycle!
And I hadn't even taken to whining about my job yet! That never happens. It is a well known fact that you don't get promoted without being just totally pissed off and overdue for a promotion that you don't even want to celebrate when it does happen.
I figured I had little to lose last fall when I told my team lead that I wanted to be considered for a promotion this coming year (nearly a year ago). I reminded him mid-year and then I made it pretty easy for him to make my case for me by arming him with tables and written materials stating my case.
I was actually a bit worried because my group manager (who I adored) left a few months ago to take a temporary assignment (betting she doesn't come back) and the guy who took over for her lacks that something. Oh and not to mention that I had even had one of those "come to Jesus" meetings with him as his program manager just a few months prior.
So when he was announced as our interim TGM I felt a bit sick to my stomach. I knew that recommending me for promotion had been put forward as he called two meetings with me within the last month to "just get things straight".
Last week he shook my hand, told me congratulations on the promotion and let me know that it was actually an easy sell. I was blown away. He read off glowing word for word reviews from people I work with that actually made me tear up. It has been a hard fought year with a lot of travel. But worth it.
I haven't told many people. Truth is, I have few people in my life who really care about my career or my getting a promotion. I don't mean that to sound bad, I know many people care about ME, which is what counts. And I DO have the people who I told. And really, I don't mind it, it is just a fact of life in what I do for a living that not everyone buys into it, sees value, many think I should do something different or have taken another path. And most, frankly, don't even know what I do on a day to day basis. I am in introvert, I am not the person to scream up and down and shout it from the mountains. I find satisfaction internally, not from other people patting me on my back.
I did need to change some cost estimates and I gasped a bit at what my new charge out rate is. I had to tell one colleague why I was presenting her with a new request that was 20% larger for the year than my previous estimate. So it was a bit of a sticker shock, but she was tremendously supportive.
So here it is, putting it out there. I have rocked this year. I helped bring in a new $12-18M/year program and have a lead position on that program, I co-managed an existing program and brought many changes to how things are done, I ran one proposal call, landed a few smaller proposals, continued serving on my graduate universities advisory council, was offered a research associate position at one of the nation's most prestigious nuclear engineering university programs (UT Austin), despite never having taken a nuclear OR engineering class, I mentored other staff, I was the hammer, I resolved staff conflicts, I endorsed others, I was compassionate with what my staff were experiencing, I made connections, I was invited to speak, I became one of the "good old boys" (or so I was told, I tell myself I have infiltrated their network), I have made my colleagues proud, and I have supported my country in our mission space. I am proud of what I have done.
Friday, November 18, 2016
"Be somebody that makes everybody feel like a somebody." Kid President
This embodies Skadi. She is tender hearted and wants everyone to be included and have fun. There is a boy in her class from Korea that speaks little English. Skadi has been nice to him and offers to partner with him a lot - we have learned that the boy has a pretty serious crush on Skadi now. Instead of backing off (since she doesn't like him "that way"), she continues to be nice and warm to him.
I love her so much.
One thing I love is seeing the interactions between her and her brothers. Yesterday we went to pick her up at Tchoukball (afterschool PE activity like handball). She is the tiniest child on the teams and the boys tend to ignore her. Leif was outraged. He knew some of the boys from last school and was SO upset that they weren't getting the ball to her equally. I loved seeing him stand up for her!
That was until I was chatting with a friend at the grocery store and Silas was messing around near my feet - slipped and fell. The ER visit that time wasn't so easy. Hours later he came home with butterfly closure and no stitches and one irritated dad. Multiple doctors, multiple injections, doctors constantly pulled away for other emergencies. It sounded awful. And the final doctor slapped some steri-strips on it and sent them on their way. Amazingly the chin has healed, but not without a decent sized scar.
Finding Dory (refuses to watch Finding Nemo)
The Grinch book
Too Many Toys book
Beethoven (our dog)
Lucky (our cat)
Calling people "buttheads" (hanging head in shame - my fault, I call Odin this. Correction, I used to call Odin this.)
Jingle Bells by the Barenaked Ladies
Cooking - cracking the eggs specifically. Silas calls it "making". When I am cooking dinner he yells, "I want to make with you". He is a hard worker in the kitchen.
He is also my good eater. He eats lettuce! An unknown in my house with the kids. I actually get to send salad in for his lunch.
One other thing that Silas nailed that the other kids still lack is knowing where things are. He remembers. And when he loses something (or Dad loses something that was bought at the Chinese Lantern Festival) he remembers the item months and still holds grudges.
Me: "You're out of time out. Now what are we going to do?" (I was thinking something along the lines of apologizing to Skadi.)
Silas: "You are going to return me back to the Brother Store where they will put me back in my cage and I will have to wait for another mommy and daddy to decide they want me."
And so now I AM the one who feels like crap.
Silas: "Mom, when we get home can I have a feather?"
Me: "We can probably find a feather, what do you want it for?"
Silas: "To call it macaroni."
Tonight while reading to him, I found out that gorilla is umbrella. And his world makes a little more sense.