Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Eight pairs of gloves

EIGHT! Yesterday and my comment about AB adding in 40 lbs of additional winter gear? Uh huh. We are taking with us to Alaska, for one couple and a toddler for one week, eight pairs of gloves. No joke. And apparently every glove has its purpose.

Pair #1 - I will justify this pair, my leather driving gloves that go in my purse. My alternative to my heavy powder gloves. This is the pair of gloves that AB sees absolutely no purpose to. From AB's perspective, if you wouldn't want to be wearing this pair of gloves to dig your hand into the snow and pull out a big hunk of snow, pack it into a ball and launch it at someone, why own them? (I need them, end of story.)

Pair #2 - My powder gloves. This is my heavy ski gloves. They are wonderful, glove inside, mitten on the outside, Goretex, a cuff and they extend about 4" above the cuff. "Now these are gloves!" AB said as he gave them to me for Christmas one year. (AB's favorite gift to give? Gloves.)

Pair #3 - Leif's fleece mittens. The ones I can actually get him to keep on his hands. $2.99 at Target and as far as real protection? That is about what they are worth. Better than nothing at all, but he leaves them on his hands (for the most part).

Pair #4 - Leif's GoreTex mittens. Cannot for the life of me get them to stay on Leif's hands. I do not know what he does with his fingers in there, but they fall off within minutes of putting them on. To which Leif responds "uh oh" and stands there and looks at them and then holds out his hand to have it put on for the 574th time. Maybe I will find connectors in Alaska that will make them worthwhile? Or maybe in Alaskan MIL who raised 3 sons up there will have some secret to getting them to stay on his hands.

Ok... so here is where we get hairy...

Pair #5 as described by AB last night - "These are the coolest gloves, I forgot I had these! You can flip the mitten part off to expose your fingers which is great for fine work, like ice fishing, and I want to go ice fishing by the way. The only bad thing about these gloves is that they are fleece and don't protect your hands from the wind."

Pair #6 as described by AB - "Well you have to have mitten covers, these make any pair of gloves wind and probably waterproof too, I am pretty sure this fabric is waterproof. They will be perfect for snowmachining and see how they tighten around your wrist and extend up your arm. I have to bring these!"

Pair #7 as described by AB - "These are just like the other mitten covers, but they are a really good brand, Outdoor Research you know, they are a really good brand. But they aren't as good as the others. But we have to bring these. If your gloves get wet, you will be really happy to have these to wear when you go outside, I know I hate having wet mittens." (He doesn't know his wife very well... wet mittens = wife inside with hot cocoa and Baileys. Plus, I could have sworn that my GoreTex powder gloves were *the* pair of gloves that *never* gets wet. Le sigh.)

Pair #8 as described by AB - "Well these are my regular good gloves, the go under either of the mitten covers since the fingerless gloves wouldn't fit under the mitten covers. I have to have these."

The kicker that sent NM over the edge in a giggling fit - "Hey honey, when we are up in Alaska I want to see if I can find some new gloves, I need a new, good, all purpose pair and I can never find good gloves down here."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Promised Pictures

Playing on C's rocking horse.

"This is the best Christmas gift ever!! Thanks Santa!!"

"A big box and paper is about the only thing that might be better!"

Check me out in my cute Christmas pj's.

Sickly Monday

I am not *that* sick, but I am at home. I managed to come down with a fever yesterday afternoon. I NEVER get a fever. I just don't. I have no idea the last time I have had a fever, probably as a young child. But even as a kid I remember thinking my mom's old mercury thermometer was faulty because the thing never budged. So imagine my surprise when I was freezing, had the chills, yet AB was hot and the thermostat said 73F (much to AB's dismay that I had turned it up that high) , and my temp was 101.2F.

AB tried to convince me to head to the Urgent Care, but I was *just* there last weekend for conjunctivitis, they were going to think I was one of "those" people. Ugh. Nope, I would be fine. But that danged pulled muscle in my back that hurt when I breathed deep might kill me... umm yeah.

Got in to see the doc this morning when my fever returned when the Advil wore off and that danged pulled muscle had now spread around to the front of my chest... Strep and Pleursy. Fun. AB was so paranoid that it was going to waylay our trip to Alaska. Nope, apparently not. But it may dig into my fun as I am not on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. You guessed it no alcohol. (grumble, grumble, grumble...)


Aside from that we had a nice weekend. AB and I ordered Mexican on Friday night. Saturday we hit a few furniture stores. We have our buffet choices narrowed down to two. One that is a gorgeous piece of furniture, dove tail joints, nice quality construction. Made by Hooker and located here. The other is a nice buffet, taller than most with a marble top, 5 drawers (the center with a silver insert... should we ever accumulate any silver) and three cabinets. The construction is not as polished I guess. I was unimpressed with how some of the drawer fit and no dovetail joints. But it is still a very pretty piece of furniture. (No picture for it.)

I guess the only thing I am hesitating on with the Hooker piece is that it is black. I like dark woods, but black... hmmm... The nice thing about it is that there is a darker wood paneling in the hutch part so it would match a darker wood table. And the room we will be putting it in has a lot of black in it already (black photo frames). I think our decision is made, it is just going to be finding time to get back to the furniture store. I think we will wait until after Christmas and hope that we can score an even better price on it.

Saturday night we went to K&V's house for dinner, gift exchange and playdate. Leif and C played, Leif LOVES C's rocking horse and he rocked and rocked. We had a fantastic Thai chicken pizza. I have never had a Thai pizza and as a Thai purist have been skeptical. It was fantastic! We ate Christmas goodies and opened a few gifts.

Sunday we had our Christmas morning. Leif was thrilled to see that Santa left him the Little Tykes workshop. (Pictures in another post since Netscape doesn't like to participate in photo uploading to Blogger... annoying.) We opened our gifts to each other and tried to convince Leif that there were really fun things within the paper. But he decided that opening was not his forte and after a few gifts went to watch a movie instead. Silly boy!

This morning I thought I would go to work for a little while. Wrong. Hans looked at me like I was nuts to suggest this. So I e-mailed in sick today. I gave thought to going in after my appointment, but by the time I got lunch and stuff it was after 12. Leif has his Christmas party/program at 3:30pm today. I decided to call it a wash with work today. Plus, charge codes are lean right now. I am one of the lucky ones in my group with a few options to charge to. But not a lot of work to be done pending a variety of things (machine shop, items on order...). By taking today as a sick day and working tomorrow, things will probably be a little better.

I have us most of the way packed for Alaska. Leif and I are packed. The ultimate Alaskan boy scout has yet to pack his stuff, check through my "gear" and then load us down with 40lbs more "necessary" gear (all while I keep reminding him that the past two weeks have been colder here than it has there...). Leif has videos and books and munchies for down time. I am betting the toy haul will be immense up there and so I am not packing other toys for him. I am praying that he sleeps the entire trip up tomorrow... please, please, please.

I will likely not be online much in the next week and a half. Everyone have a great holiday season!

Friday, December 16, 2005

"So you're not really fired..."

Wuss. That is what I am. I worked up all my confidence to be strong and have a backbone in my meeting this morning with C and the two guys working on our project. Well they are still working on our project and C told me afterwards I was so nice. Too nice? I asked her. "Probably", was her response. Ugh. And here I felt like I was being such a bitch.

It appears that my direction here is headed towards project management. I have three proposal calls to respond to in early January, one that was sent to me specifically and that I am working with a PLM on, another that was sent to me and two other people by my manager asking each of us to please submit something to the call, and the last call that came in this morning from my main client for FY07 that I am "expected" to put in for. I have GOT to have more spine when it comes to project management. Because if I got even half of the funding (probably unlikely...) I am putting in for next year my job will be quickly transitioned to project management.

Today is Friday, yay! We had our group women's lunch and ornament exchange today. It was fun as usual. Note to self, next year organize the potluck better than "bring a dish to share"...

We are hitting a few furniture stores with Leif and the new umbrella stroller, Goldfish, pacifier and blankey in tow. It has got to go better than last weekend. I need to go to Barnes and Noble. And we need to pack for Alaska. I am still neurosing about the flight with Leif even though I am nearly convinced that he will be getting a dose of Benadryl to calm the hyper boy for the flight. Yes, you can chastize me for this, but I guarantee you don't want to be the person sitting next to us on a 5 hour flight with him.

Meanwhile, visions of hottubs in the snow are dancing in my mind. Games with the family, lots of food, skiing, what could be better?

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

How to make NM's day

E-mail: "Early Release. The lab will close at 3pm today and all non-essential employees will be released."

This is the time when it is good to be deemed "non-essential".

Now if only we were being released due to snow. But alas, no. It is due to freezing drizzle that is making the roads (in my dad's words) slicker than snot.

I am sitting for a little while waiting until I expect Leif to be up from nap before going to get him. Then we are going home, turning on the Christmas lights and making hot cocoa. Which btw, is Leif's new favorite thing to drink and say with a little grin on his face.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hate, hate, hate the dentist

I had a routine dental exam and cleaning today. The dentist has not been my friend since I was a kid. I had my first orthodontist exam in 2nd grade where I started wearing a headgear. Then I transitioned to retainers and then a bionator (evil thing) and finally braces for about 5 years and then retainers.

You wouldn't know this looking at my mouth. Ok, maybe you would, I am no longer quite so buck toothed with an overbite and no gapping canyon between my front teeth. If that would have been my only three problems. Nope, most of my tooth problems were a lot less obvious. I had too many teeth on the bottom and too few on top, literally. My mouth was presented at many an orthodontic conference as a case study. I had no eye teeth, and then unidentifiable teeth on the bottom. My lower jaw was too small... yadda yadda yadda. They talked about breaking my jaw and rearranging everything, but my parents couldn't do it to me. Instead I had 12 or so years of orthdontia. (My child's jaw will be broken and rearranged should he be unlucky enough to inherit my mess.)

So the "no eye teeth" thing is what I am dealing with now. I was born without permanent eye teeth. I had the baby teeth until I was 16 when they finally decided my mouth had matured enough to go onto the next step, pulling them and inserting bridges. Misery.

Fast forward to 18 years later and they are falling out of my mouth, literally. They look awful as well. Today was my dentists last straw, they *have* to be replaced. He had been encouraging me to consider it for awhile, but a large crack on one has made it a more imminent problem.

Now had I planned this appropriately I would have arranged to have one done before '05 ends and the next done just after '06 starts. But no, I can't do that now since it is what, Dec 14th, lol. And well it can't wait until the end of next year. So I will have both sides done sometime in February it appears. Ugh.

$860 per tooth, 6 teeth for the two bridges. My insurance will cover their maximum $1500 and I get to hope I don't have anything else I need done next year since my entire benefit will have been exhausted for the year. I am on AB's dental insurance (anticipating this ordeal) and apparently they have a "missing tooth clause", meaning that if the tooth was missing before the insurance coverage went into play they won't cover. They might be able to work around this since I do have a "tooth" there, albeit a fake one. But if they cover it will also be a maximum of $1500. So we are nearing 50% coverage.

Oh well, I really didn't want that promotion raise for anything neat. Just new teeth.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tuesday Miscellaneous

I have an hour before I get to head out. Today has been an unusually busy day for this time of year. Mostly because my good project manager is out on travel. So I was given more responsibility this week regarding teleconference prep. Basically assembling results that aren’t mine and getting them off to the client. Our year ends with this client tomorrow as they close starting next Monday for two weeks over the holidays. Work will resume in January when we are flush with cash again. Oh happy days!

I had book club last night. I had a great time, although I felt really bad for not having finished the book, The Dark is Rising. When I was a kid I lapped up these types of books. I loved Narnia, The Hobbit, etc., I would have loved Harry Potter. I don’t know what my mental block with them right now is. I feel as though my reading time is so limited right now, that when I do have the chance to read a book, I want it to be something I really want to read. And for me, this didn’t fit that bill unfortunately.

I felt badly though, because I adore the host and I felt bad that the girls felt obligated to tell me how the storylines went. I really need to not fail to complete another reading “assignment”.

We did a holiday exchange for book club and I love the gift I received! It is a book journal. I can’t wait to start filling it up. I have such a poor memory, I remember loving a certain book, but frequently forget a main characters name or what exactly was the plot twist… kind of like my ability to tell a joke I guess. AB always says “stop, before you get any further. Do you remember the punchline?” More frequently then not I have to admit that I don’t. Anyways, my new book journal will be put to good use!

Leif had an evening home with daddy and woke up to a little visitor in our house. We are dogsitting for friends. Leif was thrilled to be able to chase Miss Sophie through the house this morning – which did lead to us being late in getting out the door. However, after cleaning up the second pile of crap this morning though I was remembering why we had started avoiding taking care of Miss Sophie… ugh. But our friends were in a bind, headed out on business travel and a flake of a dog sitter left them scrambling at the last minute. And I am just a pushover, anything to help friends out because I would hope that our friends would do the same for us if able.

I got up at 5:58am to a quiet house. Leif was miraculously still asleep. I was awake though with a sleeping dog next to me. (Mine, not Miss Sophie) It wasn’t too long ago that I would wake at 6am to dog breath in my face ready to head out for our daily walk. I have been so hit or miss with it lately, thanks mostly to Leif’s early wakings lately and the cold. So since I was awake, instead of staying in my warm bed I got up and put my warm clothes on headed out into the 16F (-9C) air with Winny. She ate it up. She loved it. And to prove her worthiness as a snow dog when we returned she stayed outside, refusing to come in until we were ready to leave.

I have a good online friend who is struggling in her marriage right now. I feel for her greatly. It breaks my heart to read how awful her husband is being to her. I want them to be able to work it out, I really do. Divorce just sucks for everyone. And she is 7 months pregnant with their second child. I just am afraid I don’t see things turning around for her with him. I just wish he would shape up. I wish I had some answers for her. When I read her e-mails to me I see that my minor and relatively rare complaints about AB are just silly. Such as my post the other day about “Cue the Violins”… so very minor in comparison.

Monday, December 12, 2005

"You're Fired!"

I wish I were Donald, he doesn't seem to have a problem saying this to someone.

Ok, so I am not firing anyone per se. But my coworker C and I are having a sit down with two guys working on our project. We expect, in the end, to thank them for the time and effort (ha on both accounts) they have put into the project to this point, but we have people who actually WANT the hours we are offering. Especially this time of year while we are all waiting for money to come in and there are people we know looking for work.

Ugh, I just don't like doing this type of thing. I hate personnel issues. The main problem... the task lead that we assigned is not leading his task. It appears he has assigned it to someone else, namely someone we don't want running the task. The both of them *never* show for project meetings (one did e-mail an apology last week, he got caught up programming...), we never have any idea what is going on with their task, and there is no commitment to the project.

C thinks that we need to get a clear and verbal "Yes, I want to continue working on this project" in order for them to continue. I agree with her. But I am a wuss. She is a driver expressive... she will take care of it? Won't she?

So I e-mailed them a note with "read receipt", so I know that it has been opened explaining the purpose of the meeting and then sent a meeting request.

This is hard. I actually like these guys personally. But working with them professionally is like pulling teeth.

Christmas Party Recovery

My ears! My ears! Ok, I am not one for drama, so it doesn't fly well when I try to use it. The Christmas party on Friday was borderline bust. We had a great table of people, our couple friends who have a daughter a few months older than Leif, another couple friends who have 3 kids (one near Leif's age) and are adopting their 4th. Then another couple we are friends with, the wife is in my book club, and two single guys that are really super. Free and good wine (Barnard Griffin Merlot, always nice), decent appetizers, mediocre dinner, really bad band... well you get the idea. The night just kept getting worse and worse.

The band... what can I say... they sucked. They played mostly just bad music and when the played an occasional good song, they just massacred it. No redeeming qualities. And hello, do you really need 3 guitarists? It just looked odd with 3 guitarists and 1 electric bass all lined up there. (I dated a musician for awhile in college, I know something about bands.)

They were so loud, we couldn't even chat at the table. It was well over dominating. We (most of us at our table) finally gave up and went home.

The door prizes? Oh yeah, AB won one! Of course he won it AFTER we left, which means he forfeited it. I am trying to convince myself there is no way that he won one of the $300 mall gift cards... I am positive it had to have been one of the fugly (and humongous) poinsettas.


We got home and the babysitter left. Nice girl. She got Leif down to bed on time and with no comlications. My only surprise was that she didn't pick up her and Leif's dinner dishes and wipe off the high chair. It really isn't that big of a deal, but during the old days when *I* babysat, I would have never left that stuff out. Maybe that is why I was constantly called back to babysit. Of course it isn't a deal breaker by any means, I will gladly have her back, but it doesn't earn her an extra buck an hour. ;-)


We had a nice weekend, albeit far too fast. Saturday we had to bail on a birthday party because I came down with a lovely case of conjunctivitis. I was self medicating with sulfa based drops that work well for me normally, but to no avail this time around. I ended up making a trip to Urgent Care on Saturday where the doc on duty proclaimed me highly contagious and ordered me to stay in for the entire weekend. Umm yeah right. With my list of things to do? I just carried a bottle of hand sanitizer with me and avoided touching things I wasn't buying (and touching my eyes). If Leif and AB hadn't picked it up at that point I think I was doing a pretty good job of keeping the cesspool of goo isolated to my eyes only.

Saturday afternoon we ventured to Macy's Furniture Store in search of a buffet. I thought we would walk in and walk out with no luck. We did walk in and walk out, but not by our choice. It was Leif's doing. About 3 minutes into our shopping trip he was screaming and throwing a temper tantrum from hell. Ok, we went back home. I was so bummed because in our brief visit we found at least 2 buffets we would have purchased and the prices were superb comparatively. Marble topped, contemporary styled buffet for $1200 or mission style buffet for $850. Wow!

For our Sunday morning errands we stopped at Target and bought an umbrella stroller (for $10) and then went on our errands to Best Buy (for the Tivo) and Petsmart. Given how effective our trip to Best Buy with Leif was and our afternoon dog walk on Sunday... if that is all the benefit I get out of the stroller it was $10 well spent. Leif loved how low it sat, he could see around, and it kept him contained.

We are having serious issues with him in public. It used to be that we couldn't go out to dinner, now we are having a hard time simply taking him to stores because he *hates* confinement and feels he should be allowed to run amuck from one end of the stores to the other. Not going to happen. So then he simply melts down and throws a temper tantrum... also not acceptable. The new stroller (knock on wood) seems to have helped with some of this so far. We will see how long before the novelty wears off.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday Christmas Party

And another reason why I cannot possibly be "analytical analytical"... I am actually looking forward to the Christmas party tonight. We were going to go to AB's, but he changed his mind when few of his friends at work were going. So since I already had a babysitter lined up that meant that we were going to my Christmas part.

Aside from holding the Christmas party at the wackiest place ever, a convention type center that is way too big for the group, it tends to be a nice time. There are a large number of very nice door prizes, which we never win. Favors that are usually a nice Christmas decoration. And decent food, dessert and free beer and wine. I guess I should qualify "free" as we pay $10 a head to attend the party.

So tonight we get to get dressed up and head out to mingle! We will probably be home early, we typically leave after dessert and door prizes and BEFORE the karaoke machine gets broken out. Maybe that's why I always remember it as a nice time...


I spent the afternoon going over a paper I am writing with a coworker. CW is a good friend of mine and has been since I started here. He has offered me a lot of really good advice and been there for me to vent to. I was pleased that he was happy with the state of the paper... yes the one I had been procrastinating... and sees the end in sight.

I remember writing a paper in grad school and we would go through countless iterations and redos of the data. It drove me nuts. So to have the CW say "looks good, change this and send it off" just kind of freaks me out. I mean, are you sure you don't want to read it over at least 50 more times?

We had a nice chat afterwards, we always do. He is really excited for my promotion, that it finally happened. I cried in his office last year when I did not get promoted and he knew the issues. He reminded me not to slack off this year and said if I maintain step that next promotion is right around the corner.

After that I came back to my office and my good PM drove out to visit. He *never* does this, so I knew there was more up than just dropping off the box from FedEx. He sat down and inquired as to my funding status for next year, seriously concerned about how my project is being transitioned to the client and thus cutting my time to next to nothing after March. He repeatedly stated how much he wants me to remain on the project and how he wants to put me on another task or, if funded, hand me the IR&D project. That would be so cool... we just have to wait and see!

So now that I have had a stellar afternoon at work with a couple people who I greatly respect pumping me up with compliments I am going to leave before anyone walks into my office and decides to detract from my happiness! Instead, I am going to pick up Leif and we are going to go pick up the house and hang out before the babysitter gets there!

Have a super weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Honor and Ears

Burrr, it is cold! I am turning into such a wuss with the cold, it is sad.

So today’s topic is “honor”. What does it take for you to tell someone you are “honored” to do something for them? Honor is, IMO, a huge and heavy word. I remember first thinking about this in grad school when I was assembling my committee. I had a few of the people I asked respond to me saying that they were honored to sit on my committee. My initial thought was that it was weird, *I* am the one who is honored to have them sit on my committee, not the other way around. Sitting on a committee is a tedious job.

This came to mind yesterday again. I have come up with, what I think, is a great proposal idea. It stemmed out of a brainstorming session I had with my good project members a few months ago. I had hedged onto an idea with one of my CWs and we bounced the thought back and forth a few times in the meeting, then it slid out of lack of interest from the other team members in favor of a different approach. Well I think I found a wonderfully appropriate avenue for this idea and the call for proposals *just* came out. I e-mailed CW and asked if he agreed about pursuing this avenue and if so, would he consider working with me on it. Writing a proposal is a commitment that you are not reimbursed for (until the later stages if your proposal makes it that far). So it is a favor to ask someone to do for you. And for me, being relatively new here (at least compared to my CW who has been here 15 years), writing for a call that is not one of our main clients, this will be a big challenge. I need someone more experienced to help me here.

CW wrote back to me yesterday about what a wonderful idea it is and that he would be “honored” to work with me on this. Why does this sound so weird to me? Once again, it is ME that is honored that he would accept to help me with this. Is it an issue of self confidence? Why do I feel so weird about hearing someone say this?

We took Leif to an ENT doc this morning to talk about tubes for his ears. He does fall into that “tubes recommended” category by number of ear infections. Fortunately he doesn’t have fluid behind his ear routinely, or get really sick with an ear infection. So for those reasons he is on the lower end of being recommended. It isn’t a must, but he will probably benefit from them. If it wasn’t that he is just not responding well to everyday antibiotics, or that I worry about him being speech delayed, I might opt out. But it is probably a good thing to do.

Well it is lunchtime and I am hungry. So I am going to go fetch food. Likely a run to Safeway where I can pick up a few groceries (snack for Leif’s class tomorrow), a latte and something from the Deli for lunch. Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Moving forward

I had a long diatribe on my excessively crummy day yesterday written up, but then couldn’t get logged on to upload it. Now that I read it over it sounds whiny and stupid. So I am moving forward.

Leif fell and konked himself on the head at daycare yesterday. This was after they decided to try a new “control” method with him. Ha! He has, overnight, turned into a climber. This I am blaming solely on C… she spent Saturday afternoon instructing him in her monkey ways while we were busy watching Harry Potter. ;-)

The new “control” method is to basically tell Leif “no” once, and then ignore him. He sees being told “no” as a way to get attention. So it is a fast guarantee that he will repeat the offending behavior. I gave my approval for this “technique” and he promptly proved why one should not be standing on a table by falling off. Later in the day he apparently became very frustrated with this new management technique and so would get on the table and stomp his foot to GET someone’s attention that “hello, I am doing something I am not supposed to, come chase me off the table”. His teacher told me this morning that she caught him trying to walk on the window sill. Ugh.

I had some “sad” news yesterday; my good project is coming to a close, sooner than initially thought. I am so disappointed. It is coming to a close for a good reason; we are transferring the technology to the client starting Jan 1 (pushed up from July 2006). They will do the process optimization and deal with running their own client samples for demos. We had hoped to retain this capability here. As AB pointed out, “well that means that they will be licensing the patent asap, right?” Yes, it does. Which means royalties. Everything you want to see come out of a well run project… concept, research, proof of concept, patent, working process, happy client. It is a model of a well run project.

Still I am sad. This has been the best project I have worked on here. I have loved my time on that project. Seeing it end is like seeing a good friend move away. I am reminding myself that even though I have loved this project, when my own money comes in after the first of the year, it was going to take a hit because my time availability would plummet. It is a good thing.

Tonight I have plans to head out for a little Christmas shopping at the mall. I really, really need to get things purchased, wrapped and shipped. I had such a good ahead start this fall and then let it sit. So now I am scrambling. Couple that with the fact that my trip to Target on Sunday was less than productive. Ugh.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Cue the violins

Leif was up and unhappy at 4:30am. By 5am, I had him back down and sleeping.

5:20am hits and he is back up and cranky. I get him coaxed back down at 5:30am, small miracle.

5:40am and he is wailing again.

AB sits up and groans "well I guess *I* wasn't meant to sleep this morning".

Cue the violins.

Friday, December 02, 2005



I had a weird night. I woke up at 6:41am, amazed that Leif was still asleep (he was up at 3am). I thought about that I hadn't talked to V about when we were shopping this weekend, Saturday or Sunday, then went back to sleep, figuring I would call her about 9am. At about 6:50am, Leif started fussing and so I went to his bedroom. On the way there I got to wondering why my house was still messy... the housecleaner comes on Fridays... Then a major "oh shit!" It isn't Saturday morning, it is Friday morning and I am LATE! I pulled Leif out of the crib and yelled at Hans to get up and help get him ready while I get in the shower. I was so confused.

It snowed yesterday. It even snowed enough that when we got home Leif and I got to build a reasonably sized snowman. He thought the snow was hi-larious. He kept going "oh oh oh" when he would take a step. He tasted the snow, but was relieved when he found out he did not *have* to eat snow for dinner. He played outside, Winny was in heaven with the snow. I shoveled some, AB shoveled some and then we went in for the night. LOVE the snow.

This morning Leif decided to remove the star garland from the tree. We thought this might happen, so something will need to be done with that. Leif is really cracking me up with the tree. This year I bought a couple small trees to distract him from the large tree. Ha. Well they are now *my* decorative trees, afterall, why would Leif opt to play with small trees when the large one is right there?

I am really surprised though (knocking on wood) how gentle Leif is being with the tree. "Gentle" is not a word I would use to describe Leif most often. We do have the non-breakable ornaments on the bottom and breakable ones up top just in case. And I also neurose about Leif pulling the tree over, which AB assures me cannot happen because it is too heavy and huge. (Those words do not give me confidence, they worry me more.)

I am starting to worry a little more about Leif and OCD however. ;-) Leif tried to help me finish decorating the tree on Wednesday. This was his routine:

1. Remove ornament from ornament box.
2. Hang (or get help hanging) the ornament on the tree.
3. Admire ornament for 20 seconds and say "oooh".
4. Remove ornament.
5. Return ornament to ornament box.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 with new ornament.

Leif really seems to like the Sesame Street character ornaments, that for some reason, I have had for a number of years. He spins them and likes to watch them swing back and forth. If they aren't Sesame Street however, they are removed. Now that the ornament box has been moved for the season, he puts the ornaments in a neat little pile.


So Leif has a few new things he is doing and saying. First off is the dishwasher. He knows how to operate the dishwasher better than I do. If the dishwasher is running he will go into the kitchen and turn it off by hitting the "reset" button, despite my screaming "NOOoooo!"

We luckily have a "lock" on the dishwasher. This only slows him down because he has figured out that if the "reset" button doesn't beep, to press the "lock" button... twice... then push "reset". This buys us a few seconds before having to start the noisy thing again... from start.

The good part about him LOVING the dishwasher is that he is really into unloading it right now. (Even if it is dirty... ick.) He starts with the silverware, takes one item, goes to the silverware drawer, opens it, deposits item in drawer and goes to get next item. This is a great way to keep him busy while we quickly unload the rest of the dishes (as long as the steak knives are put in the drawer quickly first). Leif LOVES to help.

Leif's vocabulary has also been increasing. "Cacker" and "shoose" is old news and commonplace now. We now have "sheez" (cheese)... notice the trend with food? He most definitely is our son... We also have "upsy" when he wants to be picked up (from "upsy daisy") and "bubbas" when he wants us to blow bubbles. "Uh oh" is also far more commonly used in an appropriate sense than I prefer.

Leif got his second dose of flu shot this morning and didn't even cry. I am positive it is because his adrenalin was so high from running around the doctor's office like a wild beast. (ugh)

Well I must go work in the lab for a little while. Everyone have a super weekend!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A quiet Thursday

Today is shaping up to be a nice day. Leif had us (ha ha ha, I mean "ME") up at 5:15am. Little turkey. Would not go back to sleep. At 6am I got him out of his crib and plopped him in front of a Baby Einstein movie with a sippy cup of milk. I woke up AB and pointed him sleepily towards the couch while I dressed up warm to go out and walk the dog. I have been a slacker about this the past few days.

Damn it was cold! I actually started running to warm up. It felt good, too bad I didn't actually wear my running shoes, and instead had my warm "snow clogs" on. I don't know why they call them that, they aren't "clogs", they have a heel on them. Anyways, I was able to run some.

We got back and I showered and got ready, walked out to the living room to relieve AB and noticed that it was snowing! Yay! I pointed it out to Leif, but I don't think he got what I was trying to show him. Oh well. We got ready to go and at 8am we had maybe a half inch of snow on the ground! Yay!

That half inch of snow in combination with stupid traffic being rerouted to MY route to work caused a major traffic jam to get on the highway to work. Tonight coming home is going to be hell. Tomorrow I think I will take Leif to get his second flu shot on the way in to work and then leave early in an effort to avoid the traffic. Today, no such luxury.

I have little things to do all day, but nothing major. I have a paper I need to work on writing. AB asked me this morning how long I have been threatening to write this paper... oh about since last February. Got to get it done and out.

Yesterday my good project team was INSTRUMENTAL in helping me get some names down to replace the people who had cancelled on my section of the upcoming ACS meeting that I am chairing. I had the required 6, then my two industry talks bailed. I now have another four people to ask. Conveniently (or not) my section turned into an "invited talks only" section. I signed on to do a "contributed talks section", but this changed, somewhere along the lines.

It also made me happy this morning to see the Dow up 101 points so far today and nearing the 11,000 mark. This, of course, prompted me to go take a look at my 401K... doing nicely. What I am really, really stoked about is a particular stock that I started buying about 6-8 months ago. After hanging out doing not a whole lot for a few months, the last two months have shown significant action. I was buying it at about $27 a share and today it posted an all time high of $39 a share. That's a $12 increase per share in 2 months. I am so kicking myself for not doing as AB suggested and taking $1000 (on top of what I had already been putting in) and investing it. I kept hmmm'ing the notion, fearful of the stock taking a dive and losing the $$... it wouldn't be classified as one of those "safest" investments per se... like oh, Johnson and Johnson, or Microsoft. It is a tech stock, and they have been doing alright the past few months in general as the industry is set for a rebound and possibly an unveiling of next generation technology. I, unfortunately, cannot divulge what particular stock I purchased. Instead I will just chat about it and make everyone wonder. ;-)

Well I need to get something going this morning. Everyone have a great day.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Nine percent!

I like that value. 9% is a good thing.

Nine percent is the value of my first of two raises. So I got a promotion and with that comes raises. In my division, we get two raises. The first one in November is your "promotion raise". The second raise in January is your "review raise".

People I know who had recently been promoted told me that they are usually 10% combined, or about 5% for the first and 5% for the second as long as you scored highly on your review, which you had to if you got promoted. This actually really bummed me out because that gave me a rather paltry overall raise because of where I started. I make good money, but not great, I know this for a fact. In the annual ACS (American Chemical Society) salary survey the past few years since I was hired on permanently I was on the low end of what a Ph.D. recent graduate should make (as long as I was NOT working in academia - those poor saps are abused.) ;-)

Compound this insult further by the fact that when I was hired in, I was hired in as a "nuclear physicist", but this was not my background. Therefore HR would not pay me commiserate with my peers, instead offered me a significantly lower salary despite the fact I had worked in the field as a post-doc. My division director came to me apologizing in advance of what HR's offer was. He claims (and I believe him) that he fought for me to be paid more because it doesn't change anything for them or the project. But they wouldn't do it. I was thrilled just to have a permanent position and accepted the very measly raise from my post-doc salary.

So I have been anticipating and dreading finding out what my raises would be. The 10% overall did not put me in a proper compa ratio range of the midpoint 2005 salaries. I was sure this was just one more way I was going to get screwed over.

Count me wrong! At 9% for my first raise, there is no way my overall raise can be 10%. It appears that my dreams were realized and that this promotion should put me at the proper compa ratio. Of course, counting chickens before all have hatched is a bad thing and so I guess I should just shut up now.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Christmas Decorating Pictures

Reaching up high!

Sadly, pinecones are not cackers.

This is fun!

"Look what I did!"

One year ago decorating.

The Grass is Always Greener...

I am back to work today. Leif was SO excited to leave this morning. He wanted to carry his lunchbox to the car this morning at 7am. (We don’t leave till 8am.) I guess he was ready to get back to the routine, either that or mommy is just boring (or mean).

I go through a lot of guilt regularly that I am not a SAHM or at least that I don’t choose to work only part time. I worry that my son will grow up a bully and detached from family all because I did not stay home with him. I worry I am shortchanging him. I worry about how his life will be when he is in grade school and it is the summer and he doesn’t get to stay home during the day, the way I did.

Then I have weeks like last week that jolts me back to reality. I loved my week at home, I really did. But coming into work today was like a breath of fresh air. On Wednesday Leif and I went to Barnes and Noble. I took a lead from one of V’s comments about making Barnes and Noble an outing. Mom can get a latte and Leif can browse books. “Browse books”, boy am I funny. More like run from one end of the store to the other squealing and giggling while shoppers scowl at me as I chase him trying damn hard not to spill my precious Gingerbread latte.

It is days like the past five that bring me back to reality and make me realize that I am just not SAHM material. (We can debate the working part time one easily…) But life as a SAHM might just send both Leif and I right over the edge of sanity.

So far today, in the 4 hours I have been here I have not told a single person to “sit down on your bottom”. I have an important meeting in an hour… let’s just hope it doesn’t slip out of my lips to my division director.

It takes one hell of a lot of energy to be a SAHM. After the first day, I had exhausted my list of “things to do with Leif”, and I had four more days left. We went on many walks, we fingerpainted, we played in the yard (among the loads of dog crap, ick), we played Little People, we stacked Wedgits, we read books (The Belly Button Book by Boynton was read at least 23 times a day, no joke) we watched WAY too much Baby Einstein (because *I* needed the break). And at the end of each day I was exhausted, sheer exhaustion. Every SAHM has always had my admiration, I offer even more after staying home with my very busy 16 month old.

Being a working mom, for the most part is easy. (At least for me, I realize this is not the case for everyone.) I drop Leif at his Montessori school where he adheres to a strict schedule all the while having fun. He loves it there and I adore his teachers. I come into work, sometimes stopping for a latte on my way in (where my only worries with spilling it come in how big of a klutz I can be while unlocking my office door).

I sit at my desk and return e-mails, make phone calls and decide what I am doing for the day, when any meetings might be are, and schedule meetings as needed. This carries me for an hour or sometimes two. Then I might go work in the lab, or I might have a paper or proposal that needs writing. I might have data analysis at my desk to do. Or maybe I need to prepare my weekly teleconference. I do realize that I am lucky here, and that this flexibility in my job is partly what enables me to really enjoy what I do and that keeps me wanting to come back here.

So now, give me 3 months and I am sure I will be back to doubting myself as a working out of the home mom. But right now, I am fine with it.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Thanksgiving is truly one of my favorite holidays. It is a toss up between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But when it comes down to it, the night before Thanksgiving through our birthdays in January, just the best time of year all together.

I am so thankful for everything I have. A wonderful husband, who even though he really didn't want to, went to work today. A wonderful son, who is so full of energy and happy. A great family, extended family and some really wonderful friends. I have a nice house that is more than just a roof over my head, a job that pays well, and the freedom to spend time with my family.

Part of the reason that I love Thanksgiving is that it is a real food holiday. So for foodies, like myself, it is a great time. We served salmon pate with bread and vegies for dipping for appetizers. For first course I served cream of mushroom soup, which was spectacular, with a sparkling shiraz from Australia (Vixen), likewise very nice. For main course we had turkey that AB smoked on the BBQ, apple sausage dressing (tasted fine, I am not a dressing/stuffing fan), candied yams, brussel sprouts with bacon and white beans and parmesan (yummy), cranberry zinfandel sauce (to die for as usual), V made wonderful rolls (I just finished eating one a few minutes ago), mashed potatoes and gravy and the 1999 Magnificat I bought a week or so ago. Dessert was pumpkin pie with whipped cream - not my best. I tried a new recipe and it was not as sweet as it should have been, but acceptable. The best part of dessert was the ice wine K&V brought over to serve with it. Mmmm, slushy!

We had a great time chatting with K&V. The kids are getting to the age where they are interacting, sometimes competitively (one is playing with a toy and the other invariably wants it), but for the most part they are recognizing that there is another child around that can serve as a source of entertainment. Some of the favorite moments last night...

-Seeing Leif plow through his dressing and white beans.
-Watching the kids sit together on the couch watching Baby Neptune (aka Baby Crack)
-C decided to do "This little piggy..." on Leif's feet. His feet are so ticklish, so he was giggling and pulling them away, but C is persistant! She was so cute gently grabbing his big toes to wiggle back and forth.
-Leif now saying "cracker" or more phonetically... "cacker". Today everything is a cacker, cookies are cackers, chips are cackers, graham crackers are (more appropriately) cackers. So now he knows how to ask for his two favorite things to eat, "cackers and shooce!"
-Watching the kids dance to music.

So evidently while we thoroughly enjoy the conversation and company, the kids invariably become our highlight. It is so good to have friends with a child the same age!

My day has been not overly eventful which is nice. I worked on picking up the kitchen. I put Leif in the Kelty backpack, somehow got it on my back without dumping Leif, I have no idea how. And Win-dog, Leif and I set out on a drizzly walk. I wanted Winny up and moving (she ate a turkey bone we believe yesterday and I am scared to death). We walked about 2/3 of our normal walk before we headed back, meeting up with a few of Winny's friends on the way. She ran and played with them for a little while. I got home and got Leif off my back and collapsed. I keep meaning to go sew a couple more blankies for Leif, but I haven't yet. Maybe this weekend. I need to get it done mostly so that I can get the formal dining room (aka my sewing room and Leif's second playroom) picked up so we can set up the Christmas tree in there. I am really proud of myself for tackling a lot of sewing projects this past week. That is one area I am really bad about being all talk and no action. If I get my backlog cleared (2 more blankies!) maybe, just maybe I could make another quilt...

AB is picking up movies on the way home from work. Leif will be rousting himself anytime now from nap. The kitchen is cleaned, turkey and dumplings is on the stove. It is raining outside and cold. I did a little online shopping. I LOVE this time of year. I hear little sighs coming from Leif's room. Must go now!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Taking time to breathe

Since I put Leif in daycare Monday and Tuesday while I stayed home, I decided that I needed to get as much accomplished as humanly possible to justify not spending my spare time with him. Phew. Move over Martha Stewart.

We decided not to paint the bathroom because well first, we should decide what we are going to do with the floor... I got the moldy area cleaned up, looks good, no real damage. Then I kind of pryed the linoleum back a touch to make sure the mold hadn't seeped underneath. There was no prying... the linoleum, entire corner lifted up. Ugh. There and then I decided I would tile the bathroom floor. Printed up instructions and we headed to Lowes for that stuff and a gazillion other things. Once there I started having second thoughts... the pretty tile was SO expensive. And AB's pleadings, "I really wish you would do this when I have time to help you". Ok sold.

I had plenty to do anyways. So the bathroom stayed as is, for now. The dog has had long, brisk walks each day. I painted Leif's IKEA table, I purchased it when he was in utero and finally got around to painting it. Truth is, I just didn't know what colors to use and wanted to wait until he started showing an interest in using it. Then I went to the fabric store and bought stuff to make Leif a couple more blankies (his comfort object that is falling apart), and a new Christmas tree skirt.

The Christmas tree skirt I finished last night and it is gorgeous if I may say so myself. One small replacement blankey is made and has been deemed an acceptable replacement by the only person who really matters... Leif. The house has been picked up, fridge cleaned out, pantry cleaned out, garage picked up, laundry done, Thanksgiving dinner started (cranberry zinfandel sauce is made, dressing base is made, pumpkin pie is done).

Back a mere 6 hours later... Leif woke up from nap. We played the afternoon away (fingerpainted and played outside - the dog poop MUST be cleaned up...). AB got home and the phone was constantly busy to the Round Table for dinner (who cooks the night before Thanksgiving? Apparently nobody.) So we packed Leif up and headed to Round Table. Huge mistake, HUGE.

I don't know what it is with my son, get him out of his familiar surroundings (home, daycare) and he turns into a complete and utter spaz. We were ready to leave before our pizza even arrived. Finally it arrived and we asked for boxes and immediately packed it up and headed out with one screaming toddler in arm. It just amazes me as I looked around the restaurant, a ton of families and many with kids Leif's age. All were calm and sitting in either the high chair or the booth and eating. Not crawling all over the table, under the table, grabbing the salt shaker, then the pepper shaker, then the red peppers then the parmesan (napkin holder, display flyer holder, forks, plates...). We removed everything from the table, lest it be flung across the dining room - Leif has an arm on him, and pleaded with the wait girl NOT to put it back on the table 5 times. Ugh. We were exhausted and were there for what, 10 minutes? I keep telling myself that the families with kids like the Leifer (those expressive, expressive personalities I am convinced), are just smart, know what their kids can take and stay home. We aren't the only ones? Are we?

So back to bragging about being Martha. I am Martha, the tasks I completed look wonderful. (We won't talk about those tasks that are sitting around half done.) I am working on the cream of mushroom soup, which *I* could make my Thanksgiving dinner each year. Who needs turkey? AB is parked in front of the TV, Leif is, thankfully, asleep. Whew. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And we are on the downswing of my fabulous 1 week off. Wah.


So V and I had a fabulous trip to Seattle on Saturday. We got up early and headed out. Stopped for lattes about 2/3 of the way there and pulled into Seattle at a whopping 10:21am. A full hour earlier than I had anticipated under the best scenario. Traffic was fine, even over the pass where lanes were restricted due to rock slides. This and the "Apple Cup" (WSU vs. UW) had us concerned about traffic.

We concluded that surely the Apple Cup would be played at the Seahawks stadium and therefore would start our shopping venture over at the University Village. We were wrong. Oh well, we got to the University, amazingly found parking and started shopping. Aveda, Kiehl's, Hanna Anderrson, Pottery Barn, Banana Republic, Restoration Hardware - lunch break at the funkiest little sushi shop where the sushi zooms around the restaurant on a conveyor belt. The sushi was good, definitely not fabulous, but for those of us who have been deprived for months on end of sushi, it tasted wonderful. We headed through the Land of Nod where I picked up a cd for Leif (They Might Be Giants ABC's) and one for AB (A Barenaked Christmas - by the BNL's). A quick trip through Crate and Barrel. I normally dawdle here, but it was huge and I wanted to make sure we got on to our next stop - a real bra fitting and bra shopping.

So if you have nursed a child, you will know that things change greatly after nursing. Now that I am about 3 months post-weaning with Leif, things are pretty settled in. And while I am back to about the same size as before, I needed some new pretties. And in that department, we both scored.

A quick trip downtown, that would have been much quicker if the area around the Space Needles was NOT a huge maze. No matter where I turned I was going the wrong direction. Finally we get the car parked near the downtown mall and head in. I could tell we were both tired. We hit Williams Sonoma, JJill, Nordys, L'Occitane, Bose, the wine shop (for a sparkling Shiraz and I forked out the bucks for a Beaujolais Nouveau as well). Nouveau is just something you don't get in Washington. Even in Nevada, the Nouveau release was a celebration. Here, it isn't even mentioned. "What? There is wine outside of Washington?" Just kidding... since moving here we rarely drink anything but local wine and we love it.

We searched for FAO Schwartz briefly, only to find it has closed. Who closes an FAO? Then we got back in the car and headed back over the pass. We stopped for a decent dinner along the way. The entertainment was seeing all the high schoolers, that look like 6th graders, in their homecoming garb. I don't know what your homecomings were like, but wow, these kids were decked out. I wanted to break it to the girls however, that it was not spring. The skimpy prom dresses should be put away until April. In the meantime, put on your parka. I have a picture of my homecoming, I wore a black pencil thin skirt (mid shin and size 4, oh those were the days), a black long sleeved shirt and a paisley vest. Oh and my hair long and permed. Yikes. Have I dated myself or what?

Ok moving on... we got back safely. I emptied my goodie bags and was amazingly shocked at my purchases. 90% was for me (Merry Christmas NM), a couple ornaments for ornament exchanges, and a few stocking stuffers. The rest of my shopping list, untouched. Oh well, I guess that means I have a lot of shopping ahead of me. Back to hitting the catalogs and internet shopping because I cannot bear to make many trips (i.e., more than one) to this measly mall here.

Everyone have a super Thanksgiving. Time to go watch Martha Stewart Apprentice and remind AB that his wife could really give MS a run for her money.

Friday, November 18, 2005

What a Friday

I am so deserving of this trip to Seattle tomorrow. SOOO deserving. The end of this week has just been one fiasco after another.

Daycare calls yesterday afternoon. I am expecting to hear them say he is having the rash thing again. Wrong. This time it is a fever, 101.5F, he needs to go home. Luckily my afternoon was clear and I went to pick him up. When I get there they tell me that he needs to stay home until he has seen a doctor again about the rash and combo fever, and been fever free without Advil or Tylenol for 24 hours. Not horribly surprising I guess. But my mind immediately starts racing.

My schedule for Friday (today) was frighteningly busy. 4 meetings, some back to back, and I had plans to work late to help out on the completion of a major experiment. AB being fairly new in his job has far less flexibility and less time off. Ugh. And fear of my shopping trip to Seattle flittering away again popped to mind.(My selfish side setting in.)

I managed to get myself up and out of bed before 6am and get into work shortly after. I got the experiment prep work done, e-mailed a client and took care of some other work. I cancelled or wormed my way out of all, yes all four meetings. And then requested an approval for 24 hour building access to a building I don't normally work in, but where the big experiment is going to be run this afternoon, so that I can do my part this weekend... sometime.

We managed to get Leif a doctor's appointment for this morning and AB was able to delay going into work until after the doctor's appointment so he could be there. And also to give me a little more time at work this morning. Thank goodness.

What exactly do working couples do when they have TWO children? I am already falling short on hours from flexing as opposed to taking real time off for ONE child! I feel as though I am always bailing on meetings with the excuse of a sick child. I would not have it any other way of course, I don't want him coming home and staying with a neighbor or anyone else. But wow. I can see where some resentment can come from those coworkers with no children. They are right, those of us with kids take a lot more time off.

And what about people who lack the flexibility in their schedule. I have worked hard to get myself to a good point in my career before adding a child to the mix. And so I have loads of flexibility and available time off. But there are a lot of people out there who don't have this. I just can't imagine.

Ok, so back to the doctor's appointment. Our doctor is still quite convinced, and even moreso now, that the redness/rash is associated with a virus. He obviously has a cold right now. And the redness/rash was quite apparent during our visit. Which thrilled me, I really wanted her to SEE what was going on. It *was* however, still directly after Leif ate loads of Cheerios. So that "wheat allergy" or at least a combo reaction is still lingering in my mind.

The fever? Source was double ear infection. Of course. So along with a course of heavy duty antibiotics came a referral to an ENT likely for tubes. The thought of my little boy having to be put out for tube insertion scares me. I am enjoying the thought of him being ear infection free for travelling and over the holidays and such and during peak cold season. But it still isn't going to be the easiest decision I have ever made.

Ok, so moving beyond yesterday and today. I am so, so, so looking forward to my and V's trip to Seattle tomorrow. AB has no problem being the sole available parent tomorrow. I have the best husband ever. I did end up cancelling dinner plans with a few coworkers who were also promoted. They were all supposed to come over tonight. I had been hesitating on this for a few days now, fearful of the craziness in our weekend schedule. Now I had a very valid reason to cancel, I don't want Leif's friend, E, or her pregnant mom being exposed to Leif's cold. I know in their position I would not want to go for the visit either.

I hope everyone has a super weekend! I will return next week with tales of V's and my trip to the cool side of the mountains and also with loads of goodies!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Quick update

4 redness episodes. 3 at daycare, 1 at home. 3 involved eating wheat based products immediately prior, todays at daycare did not. He gets a marked demarcation line with no swelling or other reactions. I sent a disposable camera to daycare and they got a number of pictures evidently. And in all them Leif made sure to smile real big. ;-) (He is such a ham. I would expect nothing less.)


Frey's Syndrome
Viral infection of some sort
Reaction from the chicken pox
Food allergy (falling on the list since today's episode was not food related)


On another note, work is good. On my good project the client is pushing really, really hard. And for good reason. She wants results and she wants GOOD results. We want to give her good results to. She is a very motivating person and I would love to give the project my all. But I can't. Not only do I have other projects to work on, but that project is nearing the end of the budget. $25K to support 1 project manager and 4 scientists and 2 project advisors is not a lot. And we are the bare bones project support. We will run out of money Dec 1. So sad.

At least I will be gone much of December! And this should also serve as motivation time to get other things done.

I had a meeting with my Co-PI on one of our projects. She went to a dinner get together that I bowed out of on Monday. There was just no way I was taking Leif to a brewpub after work while Hans was in class to shmooze, even though it would have been with my division director. And so far I can only be mildly accused of using Leif to my advantage with him. (His kids had the same daycare teacher that Leif has currently.)

Anyways, our division director approached C and asked her to get together with me and put our heads together. He wants to know what we would do with a half a million. What experiments would we do? What capabilities would we establish?

Wowzers. C's first response to him was that if she got a half million she would probably go vomit because her plate is too full already. Luckily he likes to hear things like that. (He told us previously that hearing things like that means he doesn't have to worry about finding us work.) He is submitting a $15 million proposal in conjunction with Berkeley and if they get the funding, and it is looking likely, $500,000 of that is earmarked for my and C's project. So get the ideas down... now.

So all in all, things are good here. I met with my mentor on Monday, he was back from DC for a day and fit me into his schedule. I should be working on a paper, but can do that tomorrow. I am keeping myself very, very busy which means I should never have to go crawling back to that awful PM for work!

Say cheese!

Or not. We went for retakes with the picture witch. Hated her.

We walk in and she looks at Leif after saying hi to me.

"Was he the one who was wearing orange on picture day?" she asks eyeing Leif.

"That's him," I said as I very unimpressively eyed the photos she was displaying on the wall. (Thinking that if my wedding pictures turned out that bad I would have been pursuing a refund.)

"Oh," she says and pauses, "*I* remember him."

This was an "I remember him" all said in the down tone. There was not a hint of inflection to indicate any sense of cuteness. Nope, the tone said in no uncertain terms to me, "this is that bratty kid".

I responded to her, "well let's hope he doesn't remember you".


She did get a couple cute shots, 2 of the 3 had him holding some nasty chewed up football and she asked if those were alright. Umm no. You should have told me to bring a prop. The third shot portrayed Leif's mischevious side quite well and I accepted that picture. We were then on our way. They should be in Friday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Rashes and kisses

I am posting this everywhere as I am searching for ideas on this... sorry for the repeat.

Yesterday Leif's daycare called, he ate the fingerpaint. Not a big deal, the kids usually eat some of the fingerpaint typically and they don't worry about it. But evidently after this "snack" he got very red on one side of his face. The took him to the office, called me, he was fine 10 minutes later. We didn't think anything more of it. (He had oranges and graham crackers for snack, things he eats routinely.)

Today there was no paint involved, but the same thing happened this morning only it was more intensely red. (Snack was animal crackers.) It happened shortly after one of the teachers wiped his face off. His teacher said it looked like blood was at the surface of the skin in his face and it was about to come through. They took him to the office, it went away 10 minutes later and all was fine. They called Hans and I and Hans called the doctor. I believe it did happen a second time as well.

Each time it was only on the right side of the face, neck and right ear and torso. But both hands turned red. The daycare director is convinced it is a wheat allergy. A couple of his teachers think it is a sensitivity to the washcloths or detergent they use. A few others think it is a food allergy of some unknown type. His mood has been great and he thinks it is funny that everyone wants to look at him.

I ran Leif to the doctor and her thoughts are that he either has some type of viral infection that is manifesting itself in this way. Or that it could be a reaction to the chicken pox vaccine. She is leaning away from it being a contact type reaction, although said it could be a food allergy, but wants more info before pursuing testing.

Anyways, she did write out instructions and dosage for Benadryl for them and we will keep that there for him.

In the meantime, does anyone have any ideas on this? Seen anything similar? Any reactions to chicken pox (or any other vaccines)? Any ideas?


When I took Leif back to daycare I hung out with him for a little bit. He just amazes me. He went and got his plate and served himself up red grapes (the real reason I hung out - AB has a raisin allergy and red grape sensitivity). Then he got his little personal water pitcher and POURED himself water. I was shocked. (Ok, truth be told he poured himself and the very thirsty table water.) He sat and ate and took sips of his water.

He looked up at me and saw me watching, smiled and blew me two kisses!! Awww. Totally unprovoked and completely new to me. I guess that was my sign to leave, plus I had tears welling up in my eyes.

Monday, November 14, 2005

And now Monday.

As goes every week, so starts another. It is Monday. I am waffling between “the weekends are never long enough” whine and “now someone else gets to deal with my child that refuses to nap until he is completely worn out and crashes”.

Thursday Leif had his 15 month well baby. 32.5 inches long (90th percentile) and 25 lbs 9.5 oz (just above 50th percentile). During these well baby visits he also gets the dreaded shots, DTaP and Chicken Pox this time. I hadn’t given much thought to his last DTaP at 6 months when he slept and slept. But evidently he falls into that 33% of kids who experience excessive tiredness. He was flat out not going to sleep though. That is until he completely crashed late in the day each day this weekend. This then meant he slept longer and later in the day, thereby throwing his entire sleep schedule off. I am really hoping that daycare prods him back into a good schedule today.

Speaking of daycare, Leif appears to be one of “those kids”. His teacher called today to tell me that he had eaten paint. They buy non-toxic paint and evidently all the kids eat it, but the reason she called was to tell me that after Leif ate it his cheeks and ears turned red. (It was white paint, not red.) He was apparently, in their thoughts, having a mild allergic reaction to it.

I asked her what he had eaten for snack this morning, besides the paint. AB has a weird raisin allergy and sensitivities to red grapes, however, not red wine (thankfully). Unfortunately I think his teacher missed what I was asking, English is her second language and sometimes there is a barrier there. (You should have heard her trying to get the twins to say “horse” the other day… it’s no wonder they wouldn’t say it, they had no idea what she was talking about, I didn’t!) I really adore her and she is a wonderful teacher. But I didn’t get an answer to my inquiry. Either way, the most important thing was that they were watching him for swelling and difficulty breathing, which apparently he had none of the remainder of the day. Silly kid.

The weekend was OK. It was just tough with trying to get Leif to nap when we wanted and be awake when we wanted. We made it to Costco where we spent $348 on who knows what. Apparently not what we needed since AB made a trip back on Sunday for the things we actually needed, but neglected to buy the first time around. Duh.

I bought pants that didn’t fit. I know I don’t wear a 30” inseam, I need a 32”. But I like my new CK pants so much that I had to try the 10x30 when I couldn’t find a 10x32. Ah well, after realizing how ridiculous I look in highwaters, and there is just no way were they going to be long enough, I sent them back with AB on Sunday. Leif got a few pairs of pants, too big for right now, but who can resist the little Levis in the tiny sizes for $11?

Then there was the wine… there is this one particular wine that AB and I fell in love with back in about 1997. We started a quest to amass verticals of this wine. (A vertical is a series of consecutive years, 1996, 1997, 1998 would be our current 3 year vertical.) The problem is that this wine was seemingly only available online for a small fortune; we used to buy it at the vineyard in Napa for significantly less. Well, lo and behold, Costco has started carrying THE Magnificat. This is very bad for our wallet. We did restrain ourselves and purchase one bottle of the 1999 to “taste” and see if we need to continue our pursuit of this nectar of the Meritage Gods. Or if we should, as was our plan the last few years when we decided we could not afford to continue the Magnificat verticals, look for high quality, moderately priced local wines that are age worthy. This is not hard to do in this area by any means. We have loads of favorites. But starting a new "collection" is such a daunting task. The good thing I suppose was that I passed up the Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. Their Zinfandel was one of the most fantastic wines I have had and we enjoyed our last bottle this past Easter. Unfortunately they have quit producing zins.

Ok, wine talk for later… it should go in the wine blog, if I ever started contributing to that on a regular basis. I have given thought to opening up that blog to a couple of contributors… anyone willing to contribute? Let me know. (Some of you should know this comment is aimed at you…)

Anyways. So Costco was a big wallet emptier. The grocery store on Sunday was about the same given that I was bound and determined to rectify the situation our house is in. Meaning, we need snack food. More precisely, we need chocolate. I fixed that problem.

So the Master bath task has been set and we just need a trip to Lowes to get it going. This was put off thanks to one 15.5 month old who refused to nap. We have decided to do the bathroom in grayish lavender with pale blue shimmering glaze and a cream colored ceiling and doorways and trim areas. The cream color will be used to transition as well from the bathroom to the entryway of the Master bedroom. I worry about a choppy feeling to the house and am aiming for flow from room to room by using some similar colors. So that means that the only room that really stands out is the kitchen (no similar colors in there) and Leif’s bedroom. But I can deal with that for now.

My plan is to leave Leif in daycare for Monday and probably Tuesday. I am having a little guilt associated with this. I am home; I should have him at home with me. But I do have a lot of stuff that I feel I really need to accomplish and that I cannot accomplish with his helping hands. I am reminding myself that I will still have him home with me from next Wednesday thru Sunday. Then not to mention the two weeks I am taking off over Christmas… Next week will be good for him to get some more personal time with his teachers!

You know I was thinking about this when reading The Professional Slacker’s blog this morning. She is doubting herself as a SAHM. On the other side of the fence, I am feeling incredibly guilty at having “subconsciously” dropped Leif off 15 minutes early, the guilt associated with relishing a day here at work and not at home “working” at getting Leif down for a nap and hoping that daycare resolves his sleep issues for us today. Guilt, it is hard to deal with no matter what side of the fence you are on.

The "In-Sink-Erator" company rules

Our garbage disposal "died" this weekend. Suddenly I was transported back to life in the late 70's, early 80's to a house with no garbage disposal. I was nearly lost. I am so completely reliant on that thing. What a great invention.

We tried everything. Pushed the little red button. Stuck our arm down and spun the wheels (without it on). Nothing. Ugh, what is a garbage disposal, $300 ish - and then someone to install it, or our time to install it? I was sick. I saw my shopping weekend flittering away before my eyes. I looked up on the internet, 3 sites said it would need to be replaced. Ugh.

I noticed on Sunday there was a 1-800 number on the unit. Hans picks up the phone and dials. I am positive it won't be open, it is afterall, a Sunday.

Wrong. Someone, a real person actually, answers the phone. After a 5 minute conversation and 5 minutes of Hans' time (spent soley in FINDING an allen wrench), it works!!

What a great company! Everyone knows nothing breaks Monday-Friday 8am-5pm EST. This company actually staffs a helpline on a weekend AND they solved our problem. Kudos from our family.

Friday, November 11, 2005



This weekend will be a big inside the house chore weekend for us. AB was so happy to hear this. I am using this weekend as time to prep for my week at home over Thanksgiving. I am bound and determined to have everything I need for the projects I want to accomplish at the house so I am not running out to Lowes 520 times that week.

We have some minor repairs to make in our Master Bath. We have some slight (hoping it stays as “slight”) water damage thanks to our shower massager. We didn’t realize it was dribbling onto the top of the shower, pooling and running down the side until we noticed that the trim at the base was warping. Suddenly the reason why the floor was always wet after a shower was apparent. AB wasn’t just carrying out pools of water with him when he stepped out as I had accused him of so many times. Nope, as he adjusted the shower head for him (being that he is a good 9” taller than me), it loosened up over time and started dribbling. Something to stay on top of in the future.

Anyways, so we need to repair and sand out the affected areas, recaulk a couple spots and then repaint. I mentioned to AB this morning that I would like to do this, this weekend or next and then I can paint on Monday and/or Tuesday. To my surprise he didn’t start talking about how I would need his help. He said, “OK”.

I just about fell over. I am thinking this would be a good point to also start pushing my color preferences…

So I am excited to get to paint a room. Albeit, probably one of the most difficult rooms to paint in our house. Oh well.

I could use ideas. I am leaning towards a grey-ish lavender or periwinkle. Probably two tones. And I am considering dragging one wall, or ragging on a gloss coat to make it shimmer.

My questions start coming with what to do with the ceiling? Are painting techniques “out”… will I be regretting the decision in a year to drag or do a gloss shimmer coat? Then the logistics.

You walk into our Master suite to an entry area. You can turn right and go under an arch to the Master bedroom. Or take a left into a diagonal area that is the vanity area and large garden tub. Go straight ahead and under another arch to the shower/toilet. This last area is what will NEED to be painted. I will need the paint to extend into the vanity/tub area. But where to stop from there. Let me see if I can find a picture…

Anyways, this is my big chore I am looking forward to. We also haven’t been to Lowes in ages and I have a big list of must buys and I am anxious to look at the new Christmas village sets. I am cheap, I love my Christmas village, but it is Lowes brand. While I would like one of the high end ones, I just can’t justify it. I cannot only buy one piece a year, I need a couple pieces. Hence, that limits me to the lower end sets. Oh well, I like it!

Other things to do this weekend… hand molds of Leif and C and maybe a trip to one of the new wineries about a mile from the house. AB can watch football. I want to cook a pot of chili. And that’s about it.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Things I never realized before Leif

1. How really exciting the FBI warning on the DVD really is.

2. That shoe sizes are really only a suggestion. Mommy should be perfectly capable of wearing Leif's shoes and vice versa.

3. That brushing the dog's teeth daily is really necessary (and with your own toothbrush).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Smoke Detectors...

After last night I am so wishing I had heeded the advice I recently heard to change the battery on your smoke detectors when you change the clocks. Stupid, stupid. So now, everyone, go change the batteries on your smoke alarms so you don’t have a night like ours.

“The Night From Hell”

I hosted book club last night and had a fabulous time. I was concerned as I was the first one in the still early months of the book club to not boot husband and child from the house. I had planned on this until the time thing played out in my head. Book club starts at 7pm and ends at 9pm. Leif takes a bath at 7pm and is typically out by 7:20pm. If we miss this window, even by 45 minutes we are in for a hard night. So AB entertained C and Leif at the start of book club. (Leif kissed C three times on command and it was SOO cute, but probably not something we should encourage.) ;-)

C left with her dad when he finished class and AB put Leif in the bath and then to bed where he fell asleep hard. AB then took Winny for a long walk. The night went well.

Book club was great, we discussed The Kite Runner. While a really good book, I wouldn’t put it in my top 10. A few people I know list this as their favorite book ever. Part of my problem was that I never really identified with Amir, the lead character. I liked the book, I like the story of redemption, but for me it just wasn’t “all that”.

I served a yummy white bean dip that was super easy to make. The recipe is going into my pile “to make again”. I also made a pumpkin gingerbread “pie”, which I would call more a “cake”, but whatever. It was super and the recipe came out of Better Homes and Gardens. I love, love, love pumpkin pie and gingerbread both. What could be better than to combine them? Just about nothing. It was a super and very simple recipe that takes advantage of boxed gingerbread. Cheating, I know, but what the hell.

The night ended and everyone moved out visiting on the way. We had one new member, who I think fit in very well. Next month we are discussing The Dark is Rising which is a teen fantasy type book that won the Newberry award and was one of the inspirations for Harry Potter. Ok, I will be honest here, of everything we have read so far, this is the one which I am not looking forward to. I must get over this stumbling block in my own head about fantasy fiction.

So AB and I vege on the couch for a little while and head off to bed. At about 1:40 am AB gets up to a freaking out dog and a crying Leif. He puts Winny out and works to comfort Leif. Very shortly he realizes the problem, there is a very high pitch chirping. He calls me in to watch Leif while he searches out the source. I knew instantly. The fire alarm in Leif’s room had a low battery and was chirping every 60 seconds and man was Leif mad.

I can’t say I blame him. I go to get a replacement battery and no dice. No 9 volt batteries in the house. AB and I racked our brains to come up with something, anything that operates on 9 volt batteries in the house that we could rob from. No such luck. Just taking the battery out won’t work as it is hardwired to the house for primary power. So it wasn’t even dead… just the backup battery was low. How irritating is that? And being that it is hardwired to the house, we couldn’t “just” disconnect it for the night.

So at 2am I got dressed and got in the car and drove to the neighborhood gas station. They have every battery in stock EXCEPT, you guessed it, 9 volts. The scary guy manning the counter looked at me like I was a freak when I nearly started crying that he did not have a 9 volt battery. I headed to the next convenience store down the road, closed. Finally I am at Albertsons. (Ok, so they are all on the same block.)

I head into Albertsons and pick up 2 packages of 9 volt batteries. I wait, and wait. No one is around. The self checkout counters are closed. Finally after walking the length of the store looking for someone I find a guy who can call someone who knows how to use the register. I pay and leave.

I get back and Leif is pissed. He is tired and mad. AB replaces the battery and lets spazzo dog in. Winny can’t calm herself and is breathing heavy into the crib and running around. Finally, after an hour and a half, Leif gets himself back to sleep in his crib.

I go back to bed; it is now 3:15am. I am dead tired.

At exactly 5am… *CHIRP*…. quiet…. *CHIRP*! AB and I both go flying out of bed as mad as can be. The damned fire alarm in OUR bedroom was now chirping.

Now if this were a sitcom I would be saying “umm yeah right, no way”. Yes way. Typing this is making me chuckle only a little. AB just about rips the thing out of the wall and I am thanking heaven that I bought FOUR 9 volt batteries a mere 3 hours ago. Seriously, what are the odds that TWO batteries would start dying causing fire alarms to chirp in one night? Unreal.

We head back to mad and AB is griping about he has a busy day, how is he supposed to function? Well you are in good company dear.

At 6am Leif starts crying. I am dying. AB lays there totally motionless. Oh yeah, he is tired and has to function today. I crawl out of bed and after 28 minutes coax Leif back to sleep. 6:36am, I am 6 minutes late for my shower now.<>

I know, fire alarms are a good thing. Am-241 is good for something. Yes, if you have a smoke detector in your house you ARE in fact housing a radioactive isotope (alpha source), and not only that, a fairly good sized quantity. Don’t worry, you will be fine, just don’t eat it, ok?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

And the reason why my versatility score sucked…

I am just not a huge people person. I love my friends, I love my family, but strangers, especially rude ones, just irk the crap out of me.

If you are one of those people who is interested in personality types I fall under the title of “Analytical Analytical” in the Wilson Learning assessment of social styles. There are four quadrants that everyone is categorized under (Analytical, Driver, Amiable and Expressive – or if you work on one of my projects than you have heard them as Rude People, Assholes, Pushovers and Fake…). Then there are subsets of each. My being Analytical Analytical puts me at the extreme of one of the four personality types. Probably not a good thing. This “not a good thing” is compounded by the fact that my versatility score was abysmal. This means I rarely adapt to make other people comfortable. And being the typical non-versatile rude analytical my response is “why the hell should I?” ;-)

So I call to schedule retakes for Leif’s “school” pictures. I should have taken note by the look on Leif’s face that the photographer was not a nice person. He is shooting daggers at her.

After 30 seconds on the phone with her I decide to just ask for my money back to not waste her, or my time anymore. She reminds me that refunds are issued only after retakes are taken and they are deemed not acceptable by her. Give me a break… <>

Ok, so she starts out, “what exactly is wrong with the pictures”?

My response (in my head I am saying ‘he is looking at you like you are the devil’) but I switch to “well he just appears very unhappy, and he was crying beforehand”.

Ok, she agrees, retakes are warranted. When would I like to come in, reminder, I must be in within 2 weeks from last Friday for no charge retakes.

Well this weekend would work great, I tell her. Sorry she says, my hours are Monday thru Friday 11am to 5pm. I tell her that just isn’t doable. She asks why and I “politely" remind her that I work and that is why my son is in daycare. Well if I want retakes I will make it work evidently and why can’t I just pop him down there at noon?

Well let’s see, you open at 11am, that is lunchtime at daycare (a time when toddlers are notoriously cranky, at least mine). After that they go down for a nap. Up about 2:45pm. Going over lunch, not doable.

I plead with her, can’t you just refund the money, you have seen the shots? No dice.

She suggests I bring him by after daycare and I tell her that no, he is very fussy after daycare, ready for dinner. Well she will consider making an exception and can meet me at 8pm one night. Well great, so you want to come to my house and photograph him sleeping? We start the bedtime process at 7pm and last night he was out at 7:20pm.

Apparently I am just being “difficult” and she tells me that there is no guarantee that if she gave up her weekend (coming in for the 10 minutes she tells me it takes to shoot a picture is akin to “giving up a weekend”) and came in to take his picture that he wouldn’t be fussy then.

I responded that “actually I disagree with you. I know my son and could schedule this for when he is awake and most likely to be good for pictures”. Still a no go for a weekend slot.

She wins. Leif and I will “pop” by after daycare next Tuesday evening. There is some part of me that hopes he is in an extreme crappy mood so I can say “I told you so, why don’t you just not waste your time in developing and printing the reprints and just refund my money”.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Some weekend pictures

Running, the only way to get from point A to point B and back again.

Action shot!

Shaking the tree... (Those of you who know AB... isn't he just his little mini-me??)

Mommy is SO funny! (Glad someone thinks so!!)

Back to the grind...

Here I am working, yet still wishing it was the weekend. The countdown has begun… until November 19th. Come November 18th I am just going to be plain useless anyways. The 19th is that day in the not so distant future that V and I are taking a trip either to Seattle or Portland for a much deserved shopping trip, just the two of us, no kids in tow.

November 19th is also, like I haven’t mentioned it umpteen times already, the first of 9 days off for me. Two weekends and a full work week, heaven. Just the thought makes me relaxed.

Today I stood in line for 1 hour and 15 minutes in order to get a free flu shot at my place of employment. Of course there is no charge code for sitting there chatting in line. Some work in the lab this afternoon with my friend A. He cracks me up. Leif is smack between the age of his two kids, so we have loads to talk about. So much so we often had to remind ourselves to keep working.

We had a good, relatively uneventful weekend. Shockingly I heard the words “I think I am actually bored” uttered from my husband’s lips. Boredom, what is that? He has one weekend where he doesn’t have to work, or study, and he is bored!!

Friday I had my “hot stone” massage without the hot stones. The massage therapist finished up and said, “ok we are done” and I was left wondering what happened to the hot stones part. Well I wasn’t charged for them. I picked up Mexican take out on my way home. AB had Leif in bed when I got home and we sat down and watched Eulogy and gorged ourselves on yummy chips, salsa and food in the comfort of our own home.

Eulogy was good, I would recommend it. We turned on Ladder 49 afterwards, I fell asleep and AB warned me that I was NOT to watch the remainder because it was very, very sad. He didn’t need to warn me a second time. I just cannot take sad things anymore.

Say for example that stupid scene from CSI. I don’t even watch this show, never have. Yet in the ad for the upcoming episode there is a clip of a baby girl in a play pen with the mom dead nearby. Just shoot me why don’t you. Just that scene makes me choke up seriously. And you know what, it also ticks me off. They play it at all times of the evening. Ick.

Saturday the guys and the dog went for a walk while I picked up the house some. We drove out to look at a new “community” where there are available lots. We found a few lots we liked, but we weren’t sold on the “community aspect”. You know, if I want to live out in podunksville, I don’t want my neighbors 10 feet away from my house. If I am sacrificing the easy access to a grocery store, the trade is not for loads of neighborhood traffic as we all run 10 miles to the nearest grocery store.

We just weren’t sold. The lots were actually among our 2nd to 3rd favorites, but we aren’t huge golfers. We both golf on occasion and enjoy it, but living in a golf community just maybe isn’t our cup of tea.

We got Leif home for a very short nap and headed to K&V’s house for dinner. The kids were a crack up. Dinnertime is always entertaining with the two of them as they try to outdo each other at the dinner table screech fest. C was a snuggle monster, while Leif did his best to exert his independence (over us) and mind control (over the cats). He was SO wound up it was frightening.

Sunday was a lazy day where AB made crepes (or swedies) and I gorged myself. We headed out to a nursery and debated on trees, a nice larger mature Scotch Pine or a small funky looking cedar. We waffled and waffled, until AB finally made up his mind… we purchased none of the above, instead we went with a Port Orford cedar. The exact same tree that we loved, moved (thanks to the dipshit landscaper who planted it under the eave of the house) and then died this summer thanks to the move.

We got it home and AB mowed the lawn (in November he likes to exclaim). Leif and I went outside and played and played. I picked tomatoes, likely the last harvest as it is supposed to hard freeze tonight. We have loads of green tomatoes left but I just can’t see picking another 100 tomatoes to ripen in the house when I have no time to do anything with them.

That afternoon I roasted a chicken, made mashed potatoes and sautéed swiss chard with cranberries. We worked on cleaning the house so I don’t have so much to do tonight since I host book club on Tuesday. I finished one of my huge projects, organizing my loose recipes. It was a multi-day event that I hadn’t undertaken since before Leif was born. I weaned and whittled down my extensive collection, convincing myself each time that YES, I can, if I have the need in the future find at least a similar recipe online.

We watched Desperate Housewives and headed off to bed wondering where our weekend went.