Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Just tired.

Today has been rough. Leif did not sleep well, was up about every 45 minutes. He would go back to sleep just fine, but a little later would wake up crying. I finally gave in, being that we both had to be at work and reasonably coherent, and brought him to bed with us. There is going to be so much upheaval with travelling in the next few weeks I just am not going to stress about it. Then when we come back from Colorado, magically (by the daddy fairy) the crib will have been moved to his room. Bittersweet.

This morning started with the typical Wednesday teleconference. I was hoping this would go easy for me because I *can't* do anything with my SEM analyst out. Too bad, not the case. We have our review with the client (big bosses and all) in about 4 weeks and then come to find out one of the big bosses with the client wants to present my research at Semicon. This is really thrilling, the fact that one of the big bosses has his eye on my research and likes it, I knew this and have been warned that the success of my research this year could be the deciding factor for year four funding. This is just a lot of pressure. So the rest of this week I have to do experiments that weren't planned and then tap a TGM to do my SEMs for me. (This still kind of cracks me up. )

I had every intention this week of working on a project for my pissy project manager (PPM) to try and wrap up my tasks on his project by the end of FY05 in September. I told him I would have time this week, knowing that I would be light on work on the above project. Ugh, I lied. I don't have time. Not with these extra experiments in above project. Then couple that to my new task on my division director's pet LDRD project and the fact that the proposal for year 2 of that is due Friday (conveniently). I went over that and made some changes and suggestions. Then the patent claims for my shiny, happy project showed up in my mailbox, about f'ing time. So I had to run through those and comment in an effort to get this patent filed asap. So I do have two hours before going home... I could go over and work on that sucky task now I suppose.

Yeah so anyways... Then there is Clem. Love Clem. He is great. He reminds me of Sean Connery, looks, attitude, everything. He was in teleconference this morning, he knows how crazy it was and all the new experiments. But he e-mails me right after telecon with NEW ideas and maybe teaming up with him to propose some projects. I would LOVE to do that and am thrilled he approached me... but His e-mail about scheduling some time tomorrow to talk about this just about sent me to tears. PMS anyone?

I was making my list of things to take to the coast this weekend. Wine appears in about 10 different places on this list (yes, I am an avid list maker). I need to sit on the patio watch the ocean, sip some wine and read a book or two. No house to clean, garden to tend to, nothing. Let's just hope 5 hours in the car doesn't send Leif completely over the edge. He WILL be completely covered in dog slobber, but he will relish that. Mommy otoh will be a little grossed out...

I remember as a kid driving from Casper to Denver. My parents always told me it would take 6 hours. As a teenager when I would make this trip by myself it would only take about 4, and I could never figure out the discrepency. I get it now.

Oh yeah, anyone reading this out there also have a blog that I don't have listed? I enjoy reading them and scoping out what everyone else is up to. I just recently updated my list, so let me know if I have missed you, or if anyone wants to come out of the blogging closet!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Search referrals

I don't get a lot of search referrals, but every once in awhile there are some interesting ones. Frequently it's for my Kecchi diaper bag. They must be hard to find, I bought mine from Misty Jean's. She was super and shipping was extremely fast. A few months later and I am still thrilled with the bag.

Also Silvertab jeans frequently come up. The most comfortable jeans that I have found and a great fit. And I am not a man.

There are some other things I cannot be of help with. For example, "double chocolate chip cookies recipe". I would like one please, and thanks. But I cannot for the life of me find a recipe that I like for these things. I have finally resorted to Duncan Hines cookie mix. And it is pretty great, and fast too. If anyone has a great recipe for these cookies, I and others would love to have it.

Another thing I cannot be of help with is "life after a nuclear winter". Yikes. I don't ever remember typing this phrase before now, but I was one of the first referrals on the yahoo list. Not something I even want to think about thanks.

How to make a woman really happy...

There is a guy I work with. He is known for saying stupid things, just flat does not think before he speaks. He once asked Hans if he was "my equal". Hans just about decked him. I knew he was asking if Hans had his Ph.D., but it came off so poorly. Another friend of mine was about 8 months pregnant, and didn't carry the weight ideally, but so few women do really. It also didn't help that she was feeling like crap about the way she looked. She was interviewing a potential new hire with him and the topic came up that she was pregnant. He said, "oh, I thought you were just getting really fat". Nice.

Anyways, he was doing a task for me and I went to his office today. I walked in and started talking and he looked at me and said, "wow, you're skinny again!"

I just about kissed him. But that would have been kind of gross.

Monday, June 27, 2005

It's a new dawn, it's a new day

and Six Feet Under is on tonight. yay! Leif MUST go to bed by 9pm tonight.

The week is starting out nicely. I was given a task on an LDRD project that I feel I should have had from day one. But Mary convinced me to wait it out, don't get pissy about it, support Jana in her role (even though she is completely unqualified to run the task) and see what happens. I thought it very odd that today I had a meeting scheduled with the LDRD project manager and Jana since we had just had our project meeting on Friday. Plus the fact that it was just me, Jana and the PM. Well turns out that Jana felt as though she could not run her task and so it was offered to moi! I accepted.

Things are looking up for next year, not so dismal after having dumped my big project. The budget for this task we are hoping will be about $80K next year. And it is overhead free money. So it goes a long way. So best case scenario, I have the LDRD, my shiny happy project and my big money project and am putting lots of other people to work. Worst case scenario I have the LDRD and am scrambling for the other 50% -ish of my time.

Leif was kind of fussy and disagreeable much of the weekend. He has a spot, or a hole, on his lower gum about halfway back. This strikes me as possibly being a molar coming up. If so, this would be WAY early for the 1st set of molars. This couldn't be? Could it?

Swimming lessons on Sunday were fine. Leif was tired, it was his naptime and he was going to persist in napping, even if he was standing in the water. He got the hang of it about 25 minutes into the 30 minute class. He is just getting to that point that missing nap has detrimental effects on our day.

Which also has me VERY concerned about our trip to Colorado. I know his schedule is going to get messed up. And I really am trying to coordinate things to encourage not only flexibility, but having a set nap time. I am not sure why I even try though. I have this strange feeling I will be saying "I told you so". Leif not napping, or getting his schedule out of whack creates misery for everyone around. Everyone just thinks he is so happy. He is. But don't you dare cross him or cheat him out of his nap.

So anyways, zoo and BBQ at my sisters will be on Wednesday. Yeah, Leif is going to deal with that *real* well. Overstimulation at the zoo followed directly by lots of relatives and friends. I do understand that having the zoo and BBQ on one day saves everyone a lot of time. And if it weren't for Leif, I would be pushing for that. However, Leif's versatility score is near zero.

Now I am reconsidering not taking his stroller (for him to sleep in). But how in the world am I going to handle one baby, one diaper bag, one stroller, one convertible carseat, and my purse through a flight with a layover. I cannot do it.

To which Hans is reminding me, "I don't know why you decided to do this without me". Thanks honey, you are so helpful!

Friday, June 24, 2005


Yay, Friday!

Today started out with my bringing Leif to daycare, getting to work and having to turn around and go back to daycare to take Leif home. I am a dode of a mom. Leif had a fever. Dode comes from the fact that this morning when I was dressing Leif I took off his fleece sleeper. (He was in fleece because Hans and I had JUST the night before debated the heat and air conditioner yet again... never marry an Alaskan or you will live in an iceberg.) He felt really warm and I thought to myself, well maybe Hans is right and that Leif is "just fine and not freezing to within an inch of his life".

Did it dawn on me to take his temperature? Absolutely not. Leif has *never* run a fever, even with all his ear infections. And if another nurse asks me if he has a fever when I call and say his ear is infected and then tells me it probably isn't infected if he doesn't have a fever... well let's just say my son does not run fevers. Or so I thought. Hans and I don't run fevers and rarely had them as children according to our parents.

So I picked Leif up, drove him home to hang out with dad for the day. (Thank goodness Hans was off for one more day.) But that didn't help dad finish his carpentry project. I called and Leif was sleeping, I asked if he was working on the project and he was watching "a show on devastating earthquakes" or something like that. (rolling my eyes)

The fever seems to have subsided (thanks Advil), Leif was NOT interested in a nap and at 1:30pm he had drank the THREE bottles I left. And I nursed him at 9am at home.

I am flat out convinced he is in a growth spurt. I keep thinking he is longer, sleepers aren't so loose anymore and those cute rompers I bought earlier this spring will not stay snapped at the crotch. I am wondering if we will ever get through a season without having to buy two sets of clothes? Hoping here that he doesn't grow TOO much in the next two weeks and that buying him new clothes can wait till my trip to see my mom in Colorado. And bonus I just found out there is a Carters Outlet about 5 miles from my mom's house.

Well so anyways. It is Friday. No ideas what to cook for dinner. Anxiously awaiting dinner tomorrow night. I am looking forward to a night in front of a movie after Leif goes to bed and a nice big glass of wine.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Almost time to go home

And I don't want to start anything new. So here I am.

Leif stayed home with Hans today. Hans is in between jobs, literally. He gave notice at his other job, offered two weeks notice, they declined and showed him the door. Which did NOT break his heart. So before Hans goest back to work at a new job on Monday (returning to that point of having no accrued vacation or other leave), he thought he would have a daddy and son day with Leif. This is good for both of them. The phone has only rang a few times today (see below).

Thinking about taking tomorrow afternoon off as vacation and leaving Leif at daycare so we can go see Star Wars. I am not completely sold on the idea yet. Pre-Leif I would have had to see it in the theater. Post-Leif, it just isn't that important anymore. But Hans wants to see it and so maybe I will do this. That does mean I have to leave a meeting a touch early since my meeting ends at 1pm and the movie starts at 1:10pm. I know, you can get there 10-15 minutes late, it's all previews. But I am anal like that and *cannot* arrive late. But I have no problem leaving work early. ;-)

We are having an adult dinner out on Saturday with Kent and Vanessa. We are going to Anthony's for dinner. Yum. I am so looking forward to sitting in a gorgeous restaurant, looking out over the water, drinking some fabulous wine (I am thinking the Eroica Reisling would match ANY fish dish). We are celebrating Hans' new job and Vanessa getting a go ahead on her proposal.

Leif is hanging out with Cate and their daycare teacher is watching them. What is the going rate for a babysitter? Not any babysitter, a really good one, one that the last thing you *ever* want to do is tick off. In inquiring about this with my coworkers this afternoon I have found TWO supposed "excellent" babysitters (15 year olds).

I think that Hans and I should start making a goal of getting out of the house once a month, just the two of us, or with friends. I really do prefer to spend my evenings with Leif and seek things to do with him. But it is probably a good idea to have some adult time. And I wouldn't mind starting to go to a movie on occasion. The last one I saw was Troy when I was about 30 weeks pregnant and I thought I was going to die sitting in that damned chair for almost 3 hours. Seeing Brad Pitts bare chest almost made up for it.

We have this weekend at home. I am looking forward to Farmer's Market on Saturday. I will work all next week and then we are leaving and driving to the coast to see Hans' extended family and stay in the cabin there. I am a touch paranoid about a 5 hour drive with Leif. Hans is excited to show off his little boy. I am looking forward to digging a significant number of clams on the beach in front of the cabin, steaming them and freezing clams and nectar for cooking. I want to BBQ some oysters fresh off the beach (because I cannot stand raw oysters). I will probably also shuck a few (oh funny me, HANS will shuck a few) to freeze for oyster stuffing, which I have never made but want to.

Shortly after getting back on the 5th of July, I will head to my mom's house in Colorado for a week. I need some pampering from mom. And she needs to see Leif. We are going to eat well, shop well and eat well some more. My list of required restaurant stops is growing. Rio Grande for a lunchtime margarita (and not the lunchtime size either), oh and food. Youngs for Vietnamese. I am hoping to convince her to partake in some sushi, or at least convince her that there is other stuff at Japanese restaurants that she might like. I need a trip to a mall of reasonable size too.

Oh yeah, the other exciting news is that my former Ph.D. advisor contacted me about chairing a section at a conference! Stoked! We get to go back to Reno for a week next summer and hang out. Way looking forward to a trip to the lake (Tahoe, we were married in Tahoe City), going out to eat at some of our old favs, I would like a trip to Amador county for some zin tastings. And seeing old friends and former profs.

Ok, I am outta here! Good night.

Men are funny

11:30am, Hans is at home with Leif for the day. He calls me.

Hans: Whew, Leif had a bottle and went right down for a nap! I am going to eat lunch now!

2:00pm, Hans still home with Leif for the day. He calls me again.

Hans: Leif has been down for 2.5 hours, do you think I need to wake him?

April: I wouldn't! Enjoy it, go do somethings you need to do around the house!

Hans: Well I can't do much while he is napping and I am waiting to hear when he wakes up.

April: [Complete and utter breakdown laughter] We do have a monitor you know.

I survived and it wasn't horrid

Big elephant in room is mostly gone.

I had a half hour meeting with my former post-doc advisor and pita project manager. We started out with a brief overview of my task under his project. I made up a 6 page power point presentation with the key points, so I didn't get in front of him and go "uh uh uh". We ran through that and he didn't have a whole lot to offer except advice to watch so and so's spending, because he has a tendency to get on a project and charge time without concern. He can't multitask, and so spends 40 hours solid on a project. So check my cost runs often. I said I had enough $$ for 1 FTE for 4 weeks and he advised to make it last as there won't be anymore $$ after that.

Then we moved onto the potentially painful discussions.

He asked for one week of my time to work on his exploratory project, the one where he came up with the concept, I helped him with the logistics on how to do it, he proposed it without even putting my name on the proposal (what a mentor, huh?). It was funded and now he expects me to do the work. I just have a fundamental problem with this. And maybe I shouldn't, but I feel burned.

Put aside my better judgment, and agreed to give a week to this effort. Next week. Coincident with my SEM analyst being out and therefore also coincident with my not being able to work on shiny, happy project. Good thing about this too is getting it freakin' over with.

He asked how my shiny, happy project is going and I lamented the fact that after this calendar year it could be over, poof, gone. Or it could be dominating of my time. Rudely he gave me a "well welcome to my world". Yeah, I know, everyone goes through this.

This was his segway I suppose into his statements that "I had $3 million for this year on this project and it is mostly spent and so I will be cutting 'researchy' projects soon that don't fall within the deliverable milestones." Hint, hint, the work you are doing for Justin is going to go bye bye soon. I commented that on that project we have good data that I will be analyzing for the paper and his response was more direct in that he didn't really care because it doesn't fall in the scope of the deliverable and I seem to have plenty of other things to take up my time.


Forget the fact that more recently he lamented to me that he budgeted for me to spend 50% time at least on the project and I haven't been doing that. So which is it? Either you do have $$ for me to finish up projects, or you don't.

We had a little small talk in there, how is the family, how are the kids, etc. He mentioned he just hired a new staff member and that her husband is in a similar situation to what Hans and I were, that he is an environmental scientist and so far has had a problem finding a job. TGM has looked for positions for him to no avail. Maybe Hans can help out? Oh yeah, we will get right on that... not. Hans chuckled at the suggestion and commented that it is a rite of passage for husbands who follow their wives here and there is another far more worthy environmental scientist out there who has put in a lot more time in the effort. ;-)

I left after 25 minutes and felt that we talked, I know where I stand. Finish up my task with existing funds, provide help on the exploratory for 1 week, expect to be cut on detector tasks and then hasta la vista.

I am happy, scared, relieved, a little ticked...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Work stuff

So I haven't blogged about work for awhile. So I guess that means it is going well. Really too, it has.

Update on PPM... I have an appointment to talk to him tomorrow for a half hour. I will review my task, tell him where we are headed, what we are doing and counter to everything I want to do, ask for more money to complete it by year end FY05. I have $19K left of my $55K and we have everything set up and ready to go to start experiments. Testing comes next and $19K is about 4 weeks of time for one full time person. This sounds reasonable, kind of. But more than one person will be working on it and I just know I underestimate. Beyond that we will probably talk about my quitting work on his main project. I have my mentors complete support and his words that "it is time to cut the umbilical cord and no one in the world can fault you for that". I *needed* to hear that.

Today was teleconference day. Due to vacations and such, it was just me, a project coworker and the project manager on the phone with the client. My 32 page presentation went well and was received well. I handled CCE with "finesse", lol. After the telecon we stayed to chat about the project. Coworker commented at how well I handle CCE and that he thinks I have earned his respect and that everyone just needs to shut up at the review the end of July and let me handle him lest they all start a brawl.

So yeah, the review is July 26th and so crunch time is on. And so of course wouldn't you know it? My SEM analyst is on vacation until July 12th. Greeeeaaat. Project manager contacted another group manager who knows how to run the SEM and asked for his assistance. LOL. I am cracking up at the thought of me directing a TGM on my task. But it is a huge project ($$-wise) and will be big when the collaboration goes public at the end of the year. It would look SOO bad if at our review we failed to wow them because a technician took two weeks vacation. But that is the reality of it.

So speaking of wow'ing the client. project manager basically put it to me that my project is the golden egg in the nest. It is essentially the reason the client is packing up, bringing the big bosses and treking up here. To meet me and see, in person, what I have done for their company. So these next 4 weeks are crucial to not only my task, but to the future of this project in whole. The results on the other tasks are minimal at best. One guy is working his ass off, but not getting the right results. One woman has a great task, but isn't working her ass off, never has data, never comes to meetings. Ball has dropped and it makes not only her, but us look like shit. Thought is that they are going to cut her and maybe, but not necessarily, her project. Likely both will be cut for this year and $$ funneled to me to complete my project. Then project manager is hoping to give me her project next year to lead if client "doesn't have other plans for [me]".

Ok, so things are going well on the work front. They would be even better if I get my proposal funded. Word on the streets is that it is very likely to be funded because I am:
a. leveraging technology created by other groups under this same heading of funding.
b. Asking for a "small" amount of money ($1.8 million over 4 years doesn't seem small to me, but in comparison to other projects, I see it.)
c. Have a high likelihood for success, with large payoff IF it does work like I am claiming it will.

Here's hoping I am not talking out my ass.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Father's Day Camping

Last Friday we ventured out for Leif's first camping trip with our good friends. I was really anxious to get out of town and have some family time away from the town. We had a great drive up north about 3 hours. Found the world's best campground, big enough for us all, a creek running through, and trees, lots and lots of trees. And bonus for Winny were lots and lots of chipmunks to clear out of the campground. We chose this area because of its proximity to town in case the kids should fall ill.

Winny's favorite campground chore is to keep the perimeter safe. This means that no chipmunks or squirrels should disturb the Arrowroot cookies, Cheerios or other assorted morsels of food that have made their way to the dirt. Because she is positive that we will have a use for those later.

Leif's biggest fascination was the fire. (Those of you who know my pyromaniac husband, this will come as absolutely no surprise to you. OTOH, it strikes fear into my heart.) Cate's biggest fascination was proving herself worthy as a soil scientist by experiencing it first hand... in the mouth. ;-)

Car camping with our family is quite plush. We like good food and according to Hans, cooking it over an open flame in the forest only makes it better. We have our big tent, with air mattress, SUV to get us where we are going (despite the fact that a 2wd car could get us there), a French Press for our morning coffee, and other amenities like the video camera (which I never pulled out). Hans and I have never been backpacking, and I just don't see it happening! Although I CAN pack light when necessary (see bear trip). Hans told me this week he could see that I have learned well from his mother wrt packing for camping!

All would have been perfect had Hans not picked up a stomach bug that has totally knocked him on his butt from late Friday night through this morning (Tuesday). He seems to be recovering as of today. But it hit him hard at the worst time. After much debating Hans insisted that he could do a 3 mile hike. I don't know if I found the wrong trailhead, or if we missed a turnaround point, but our 3 mile hike turned into about 3 hours, which by my calculation puts it anywhere between 6 and 9 miles.It was a gorgeous and easy hike, I loved it.

Hans tolerated this amazingly well, and was even thinking he was starting to feel better. Upon returning to the campground however, he was struck down for having such thoughts. We ended up packing up some stuff and heading into town for a hotel room and possibly a trip to the ER. We arrived at the Best Western (chosen because of their motto of accepting pets, which we found to be hit or miss on our trek to move north).

I went in and was told there was one room left, how many will there be? Two adults, an infant and a dog, I replied. This was where they stopped typing. I was told this was not a pet room, and they couldn't take us. I asked what other hotels in the area accept dogs, none. I pulled out the tears at this point. "Will the next town over have anything, do you know?" Doubtful. "Well I will leave her in the car. We were camping and my husband has gotten very sick and I have a 10 month old in the car." Wait a second and let me call the manager he says... a few minutes later the manager gives them permission to give us the non-pet room on the 2nd floor.

My first thought was "oh geez, Winny going up a flight of stairs or elevator..." I have a strange dog. She despises stairwells or any enclosed spaces. Seriously freaks out. I had a bungee cord to use for a leash because we had left her leash with our things back at camp. I quickly banished the thought, getting Winny up a flight of stairs should be the least of my worries. "I'll take it", I said and they gave me the price, $175 plus taxes and fees. Gulp. We were NOT in New York City, but at this point, my goal was to get a room and get everyone up there and in bed and Hans access to a bathroom.

The night was rough, even though we were in a hotel. Leif didn't want to sleep. Hans was up and down. Leif and I got up at 5:30am and waited until 7am when we could go to the single best continental breakfast I have ever eaten. We got back to the room and it was looking as though Leif and I would head back to camp and pack it up and come back and get Hans. Hans finally reconsidered and got ready and we checked out and headed back to camp to pack up.

Our wonderful friends had packed everything for us that wasn't in the tent. So I packed up the clothes and such. The tent was disassembled and the car loaded and we started our trek back home. I was bummed to have not been able to go shopping in the cute Bavarian town, but I will someday.

Oh yeah, and it was Father's Day too. Hans' first. Not a fun way to spend the day, but we got home about 1pm and Hans layed on the couch most of the rest of the day. Leif and I blew up his swimming pool, coated his whiter than a dead fish skin (that he gets from mommy) with sunblock and he "swam" in the backyard for about 20 minutes, until he saw Winny and decided to get out and chase her. Winny was careful to walk a wide berth of the swimming pool, lest she fall in and get wet or something. (Odd dog also hates water.)

Here's hoping that next Father's Day finds Hans well and able to enjoy the day!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Things I LOVE

Seeing that bare baby tummy when I am holding Leif sleeping in my arms.

Picking and eating fresh berries out of my own garden.

That Hans is the father of my son.

Watching Winny patrol the campground for squirrels and chipmunks like it is her sole duty to protect us from scavengers.

06-16-05, the day

Not today... but that is THE day that Leif took his first steps.

We were scrambling to get ready to leave for camping the following Friday morning. It was getting late, I had just gotten off the phone with my dad where he specifically asked me if Leif was walking. And if I remember correctly, I said, "oh he still has a few weeks I think, he isn't even crusing yet". Well evidently cruising is not a necessary precursor to walking.

I was in the kitchen, carrying Leif. I put him down in the middle of the floor standing as I headed off to do something. For some reason I looked back and that's when I saw him take two steps towards the Rubbermaid tub I put out for camping gear. I felt panicked actually at first. I yelled for Hans who came running.

We tested him out with some success. Walking between us yielded 3 steps once. Then he took 4 steps from the fridge to the towel rack with my beloved cross stitch towels from Tanya (that Leif LOVES to pull down). All night we were in shock.

In one instance, I was thrilled to see him take his first steps. But in the other I am saddened by how fast he is growing up. I really think time has probably always flown this fast. It is just more apparent having a measurable "device" in front of us that changes so quickly. One friend of Hans' parents had an interesting theory about time passage and why it passes so quickly as you age... I like this. Anyways, Mayor Rick told me that time passes quicker when you get older because it is a smaller percentage of your overall lifetime. For example, when you were 5 and it was SOO long to the next Christmas. But that 1 year accounted for 20% of your entire lifetime. At 33, one year accounts for 3% of my lifetime. Now 20% of my entire life is about 7.3 years. So in essence, is 1 year of a 5 year olds life equivelent to 7.3 years of a 33 year olds life? Interesting philosophical thought...

We love every stage. This one is great. Leif gets so proud of himself for doing different things. Today he was dipping his spoon (that he insisted on holding) in oatmeal and putting it in his mouth quite effectively. Thursday at daycare he waved at Miss Kathy, Miss Alysha and then Cate on the way out. He is SOOO coy acting, he cracks me up.

So at age 10.5 months, Leif is taking his first steps. He took a few days off (while camping). But has resumed this new trick at home today and had a few series of 3 steps.

I have a feeling he will be running at his first birthday.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

My little willful charmer

Hans has been off and so he has spent a little time with Leif at daycare lately. Yesterday he went and Leif was sleeping, so he hung out for a little while, waiting for me, and talking to the teachers. I will say it again, I ADORE Leif's daycare teachers, Miss Reca and Miss Alysha. They are superb and more than I could have ever asked for.

Miss Reca is a little tough, an older woman who was unable to have children of her own. She loves the infant room and has been there for almost 7 years now. She runs the place like a well oiled machine and no one crosses her. Miss Alysha is younger, quiet and friendly. The kids adore her. She has a great smile and calm demeanor. She works well with Miss Reca, and I get the impression not many people do as Miss Reca has high expectations and doesn't sugar coat anything.

I dreaded daycare with Leif, but it is a fact of life for our family. Daycare is part of such a heated debate. Should you stay at home, or go to work? Once that is surmounted then the decision, if one works, is in home or daycare facility. The message board debates get heated on all these fronts. Bottom line is that you have to do what is right for you. There are days when I wish I was a SAHM. Then there are days I can't drop Leif off fast enough. One thing I have never second guessed myself on is whether or not he was in the right place while I work. Miss Reca and Miss Alysha have made all the difference to our family. I go to work knowing that he is in their capable hands, allowing me to focus on what I need to do here.

Anyways, Miss Reca and Miss Alysha have obviously come to know Leif quite well. He adores them both as well. For those of you that know Leif, know what a personality he has. He smiles at most everyone and loves to flirt. When we go out to dinner, he is happy as long as everyone around us is paying attention to him. Go to a restaurant where people don't look at him and google at him and we are setting ourselves up for a meltdown.

Leif has a strong, yet happy personality. If I don't want him playing with my blowdryer in the morning and we go to a different room I can expect him to flail his body and cry and scream as though he were being injured. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are playing with him and he is having a great time, you will know it. He giggles, laughs, squeals. As much as it frightens me I think I have to admit that at this age, he is definitely of the expressive personality.

Miss Reca was talking to Hans yesterday and told him that we are going to have our hands full here soon. She called him a "willful charmer". Willful, he is most definitely. And charmer, most definitely. She asked who he got his personality from... alas, I think it has to be my mother in law. She is expressive, willful and can charm the pants off anyone.

Yes, I think we are going to have our hands full with Leif. So far his personality is vastly different from mine and anyone in my family, with the exception of my grandmother who is willful and expressive. The rest of us would just as soon fade into the background typically rather than take center stage. So there's Leif, my willful charmer, drama boy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The first book club meeting

I have always been a little intimidated, yet intrigued, about joining a book club. I think the intimidation factor comes from college. I loved to read, so I enrolled myself with wide-eyed enthusiasm into literature classes. I did this stupidly for 2 semesters and then I got smart. I took Women's Literature to fulfill my "minority studies" requirement. I truly felt sorry for the few men who opted to use this class to fulfill their requirements. It is a wonder they left the class with penises intact. But then I guess I wouldn't know if they actually did or not. It was a borderline violent class, full of angry, young female students with an angry older female instructor who encouraged all out brawls. She called it debate, but I beg to differ.

It was a form of voyeuristic entertainment to me as I sat in the back of the class. I read some wonderful books. One of my favorites ever is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko was good. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston was of new exposure to me. And The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe by Jane Wagner really captivated me. If it were just about the reading, and not the brawls, I mean discussions afterwards, it would have been a spectacular experience. Who knew women could start shreiking and yelling at each other about Frankenstein?

I also took Modern Literature. That was an eye opening experience as well. To me "modern" meant "contemporary". Umm wrong. On the first day I was surprised that I didn't recognize hardly any of the books on our syllabus. This wasn't happening to me, I am a bookworm! How could the only author I was familiar with be one of my dad's favorites? James Joyce? I saw it as a challenge.

Modern Literature was FAR less emotionally charged. Instead of screaming about the persecution of women, it was an intellectual, calm, rational discussion of each book. Many times I sat there listening to my peers talk about "well sure the words say this, but they REALLY mean that in a twisted way and it should be interpreted thusly". Uh what? Did I READ the same book as you? I just thought he was talking to his neighbor? But I suppose that was the point of modern literature. I was introduced to a whole new genre of literature I had never touched on in this class. But I learned quickly it could not be taken in the literal sense. Again, I sat in the back of the class, amused by the going ons around me, bound and determined to JUST enjoy the books.

And I did enjoy many of the books. Metamorphosis by Kafka, The Dead by James Joyce, Heart of Darkness by Conrad, Lolita by Nabokov, The Stranger by Camus and I *loved* The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock by Eliot. There were only a few I Umm, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf pops to mind. Gag.

So given my experience in college lit classes, heated screaming matches that I couldn't get a word in edgewise (yet we were graded on participation, don't get me started on that) and the facade of intellectual prowess through analysis of literature as opposed to simply enjoying it, I was a touch skeptical of a book club. I was sure I wouldn't be able to keep up, not in reading necessarily, but that I would resort to "well this character said this" and having someone frown upon me for taking something literal.

But I put my fears aside knowing that we would mostly be reading contemporary, and reasonably popular literature. I can always quit if I am made to feel like an imbecile right?

No need. I loved it. The book was only mediocre, but the conversation was fabulous. The wine and cake only made it better. Maybe if we had wine and cake in Women's Literature everyone would have mellowed a little and been nice to each other. Maybe if we had wine and cake in Modern Lit the intellectuals would have not seen the purpose of berating others interpretations (or lack thereof). Or maybe it is just the getting a group of adult women, without anything to prove other than a love to read, together to talk about a piece of literature without preconceived notions. (And the wine and the cake...)

I don't know what it was, but I loved it. I made notes in my book, The Pact, and was happy I had. I don't do well at impromptu speaking and it was nice to have issues that I had pegged in the book there to flip to and refer to.

That's it! I am not quitting, I will read the books, and I will look forward to getting together with the women in my club and talking! (And the wine and cake!)

The curse of the green jacket!

It has hit my office. The green jacket. This is HANS' fault!!

Every year for many, many years, as can be shown by the AGE of the green jacket (oh wait, the old tweed jacket, spray painted green), my former group has held a golf tournament. They encourage EVERYONE to play, regardless of whether or not you have held a golf club before. Well I wasn't going to get roped into that again... no way. But then they were one person short of having perfect foursomes. So I offered up Hans to play golf. He has been playing lately and enjoying it.

He got to play with our friend Bob. He and his wife are near our age and have a little one Leif's age. We run our dogs together on occasion. Anyways, Bob needed a partner, I offered up Hans. Who knew this would backfire on me. I mean seriously, out of 15 foursomes, who would have guessed that Hans and Bob would have LOST the tournament?!?! I mean come in dead last. I didn't think this was a remote possibility.

Yes, they were the big weiners and I am bearing 50% of the repurcussions of this. Since Hans isn't employed by my group, I was lucky enough to get to accept the "piss boy" trophy and wear a lovely green jacket with Bob. I mean come on guys, could you not have at least LIED??

So for the entire year, I must display, in my office, the green jacket. Bob took the piss boy bucket trophy and his even greener jacket.

Thanks Hans!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Tuesday of a very busy week!

I am relishing the fact that Hans is golfing today, he went golfing yesterday too, and last Friday he went and hit golf balls at the range. This is because he has the time to do something fun. His job ended last Friday and he has at least a week off before starting the new one. So he is hanging out, golfing, cooking, working on the yard... and NOT STRESSING about work!

Today we have my former group's BBQ to go to at about 4pm. Which means I need to finish up work and get things going. I was elected by my former TGM to head up the food aspect. I delegated, therefore it was left to me to bring BBQ sauce. (Which I delegated to my wonderful husband...) It is quite cool out though. I brought Leif's cute little shorts and green plaid shirt to change him into. But I just called Hans and told him to bring his khaki pants and a fleece sweatshirt for him. He will need it. I won't even be putting my shorts on. It is that cold. Very weird.

This also has me a little worried for our camping trip this weekend with Kent, Vanessa and Cate. I don't like being cold while camping, but if it doesn't warm up, and we will be going to "elevation" (my family and friends in Colorado would laugh at what is termed "elevation" here), we might be camping in a hotel room.

I think we are going to have a great time. We are car camping and to get an idea of what car camping is going to be like for us... I have about 4 bottles of wine set aside, Baileys and hot cocoa is on the list and Vanessa is bringing her whipped cream charger. We will be camping in style.

Tonight I have the first of our book club meetings. We read The Pact by Jodi Picoult. I was not impressed. My overall impression of the book... don't read if you want to read it in the future...

spoiler warning...

last warning...

My impression of the take away message is that it was written with the intent to condone assisted suicide. All assisted suicides, but particularly those that are NOT in the case of a terminally ill patient. I was disturbed and annoyed by the book. Dustrubed because of the take away message. Annoyed at the stupidity of the parents in the story who were encouraging their children into relationships and put such pressure on them. Sad.

Monday, June 13, 2005

My other annoyance

I was on the phone yesterday with my mom when an article and debate came onto Fox News. I very impolitely tuned out my mom and started listening with fervor when a topic near and dear to my heart popped up, breastfeeding.

It appears that Barbara Walters stated on The View, that she was "uncomfortable" and "nervous" sitting next to a woman breastfeeding on a plane. I was shocked to find out that she isn't the only one out there and that as militant as some women are about breastfeeding (I never classified myself as such, but am reconsidering it now), some have equally strong feelings the other way.

One of the debaters on Fox News stated that seeing a child breastfeed in public is akin to seeing that child conceived. Come on now, is seeing a baby eating really compared to seeing intercourse? If that is the case, she has some SERIOUS issues.

The solution they offered is that if a baby needs to eat, this should be done only in private. Barbara Walters said that the woman should have taken the baby to the lavatory to nurse. Have YOU ever been in there? Do YOU eat your dinner while sitting on the toilet? And well, my biggest issue with this is that they suggest a baby eat during take off and landing to get their ears to pop, so they don't scream the entire time. I am not supposed to be up and walking around and definitely NOT in the lavatory with my baby at this time. If it bothers YOU so much, you can move to the lavatory. And exactly how long should I sit in the lavatory? Leif nurses for 15 minutes at a time usually. People will be really thrilled with me blocking the lavatory for that long.

I am not a militant breastfeeder. I don't relish the idea of exposing myself to strangers. I don't seek opportunities to expose myself. But if I do nurse in public, it is because Leif needs it. I do it discreetly and Leif is big enough now that he covers my stomach while nursing. (Shall we talk about exposed tummies?? I see a whole hell of a lot more exposed walking around at the mall on young skanks. But I digress...)

I sat in the doctor's office the other day nursing Leif in the waiting room. He was fussy and hungry and the office was running late. I was nursing him discreetly enough that no one around me even noticed. I know this because an old codger about 80, came in and sat down 2 seats away from me and struck up a conversation. I think he was a little shocked when we were called back and I reached into my shirt to delatch Leif.

Breastfeeding is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics exclusively for 6 months and then supplemented with solids until 1 year. The WHO recommends breastfeeding for 2 years, which btw, I will not be striving for, but that's my decision. It is the most ideal food, and best of all, it is free. In a country that is so health conscious, why jump back to the 50's with such archane beliefs?

I have heard fantastic tales from people close to me about breastfeeding. From it causes divorce, to my husband being told that HE needs to tell me to stop, because he is evidently my keeper. Some others have told me that Leif won't like the taste of milk (I hated it and I was never breastfed), that it keeps them from sleeping through the night (wrong, that has to do with an individual baby), and that the babies ONLY need it for the first few weeks to get the "good stuff"...

Much of this I believe stems from people not being familiar with it, I give them that, when I was 16 I thought it was gross when I saw a woman with very large breasts, fully exposed (seriously) in a restaurant nursing while eating breakfast. Just because I breastfeed, does not mean that I am critical of others who don't or chose not to, especially in previous generations where scientific evidence stated that it was not the best thing for ones baby. I try hard NOT to be critical of others in today's world who choose not to breastfeed. Many more women are unable to for some reason or another.

I am lucky, breastfeeding has gone quite well for us. I am nearing 11 months and at 1 year, Leif will probably be weaning. Just this weekend it was hard to slow him down to nurse, so I have a feeling weaning will not be difficult, aside from emotionally.

So everyone do me a favor... when you see a woman breastfeeding, don't worry about saying anything to her (even in support), if she is like me she doesn't want to be talked to right then. Don't glare if you disapprove, she is doing what is best for her baby and most times keeping the child from screaming for your hearing comfort. And before you say something stupid, like go nurse in the bathroom, think about your own insecurities.

Nobody has a right to not be offended, Barbara Walters included.

How does this city function?

This city has got to be THE worst managed city government ever. Those of you who have been to our house or were around when we first bought our house know of the fiasco with the apartment complex behind us. We were told a 2 story apartment complex 100 feet from our property line and ended up with a 4 story apartment complex 44 feet from our property line. And no city officials ever even came out to see what was neighboring this apartment complex... namely our house and 15 others.

Ok, so swimming classes are not as major as putting an apartment complex next to houses, but it is just further evidence of what a screwed up city government we have here. I realized that unlike all the other classes through Parks and Rec, that with swimming classes the registration is an archaic ritual that requires parent to show up, in person, and stand in line for minimum 30 minutes while everything is recorded by hand. And the printer is so slow for the receipt that they offered to MAIL it to me. And if you plan to participate in all four sessions, you must repeat this archaic form of torture FOUR times. Ever heard of a computer?

So I get registered only to have Vanessa discover for me, since she registered about 10 minutes after I did, that they had enrolled me in the wrong day. She convinces them to move me because my registration form actually DOES say Sunday, not Saturday. Eichien doesn't get there for the registration until the next day at 6pm, after being told they are open and accepting registrations until 6:30pm. Wrong, and they tell her that not only can they not register her but that the Sunday class is full, but there *might* be one spot. Come back tomorrow at 1pm.

She goes back at 1pm only to find that they were wrong, registration is at the City Parks and Rec office. So she heads there, annoyed. Gets there to find out that there is plenty or room, in fact, too much room. Two other people registered aside from her, that would be Vanessa and I. They will cancel the class if there aren't at least four people.

Eichien asks how many are in the Saturday class... one person. (They probably still have me listed there.) She asks if they will call that person and ask them to move to Sunday? Nope, they won't do that. Both classes will be cancelled unless someone else registers.

How efficient! Kill both classes instead of combine them. So now we are scrambling to find someone else who might be interested in doing parent tot swimming lessons.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Big chicken

That would be me. PPM's (pissy project manager's) car was in the lot, he was in despite the fact he was marked out until the 20th. I didn't get to talk to him yesterday. So I ventured over, I walked by his office a few times. He was working on something, but waved, smiled and said hi. So I left. I have all the intentions, and then I chicken out.

Big elephant still in room.


It is Friday and my husband is enjoying the fact that he is in between jobs. In fact, today he went and hit golf balls at the range. Happy, happy, happy!

Last night he kept saying that when he went in to give notice today that he didn't care if his boss told him to leave and not come back. He says that, but I know he cares. He went in to give notice today and he was locked out of his computer and stuff in a pile. Went to the bosses office and talked rationally, while his boss ranted and raved and said to him that he needed a dose of reality. How about a $10K raise dose of reality? He has that now.

His boss wanted to know where he was going, Hans wouldn't tell him, he asked why Hans wouldn't tell him and Hans reminded him of all the times Chris said he was a vindictive SOB and because of this he would have to be nuts to tell him where he was going.

So shortly after arriving, Hans packed up his stuff, went and said goodbye to the office staff and came home. I know he is happy to be home, happy to be out of this job, and extra happy to have something even better waiting for him. But I know he is NOT happy to have left a job on bad terms.

So Hans has at least one week off, maybe two depending on when they want him to start at the new job. It will be a nice few weeks. We know that he has something better out there to start and he has some time to relax and enjoy life and Leif! I am sure Leif will be missing daycare a few days next week.


My manager gave me 4 hours of PDM (project developement money) to prepare my presentation for Monday and for the time to present it. I thought this was quite nice of her. I didn't ask for the PDM for writing the proposal, but found out after the fact that she had actually given a few people some money. So when this review came up I figured it was worth asking for. The presentation is almost ready to go.


Today is Friday, yay! We are going to get up and go to the Farmer's Market tomorrow. Cherries will be purchased. Also peas sound quite yummy to me. I would be super stoked to find some fava beans too. Of course along with the trip to the Farmer's Market will be a wait in the mini donut line and the coffee stand line.

A trip to Lowes to buy Hans' father's Day present for him is on the docket. I had thought I would keep it a secret and even try to wrap his present. (A new BBQ'er.) Then the logistics of this got the better of me and I chickened out. (See I am a big chicken!) I told Hans what he was getting, he is stoked and offered to go buy it with me! ;-) What a guy!!

Costco for Copper River Salmon and Wine is also on the list as is a trip to Target for a carseat for Hans' car. Now that his job places him closer to Leif, he will get to pick up and drop off sometimes too. Hence, the new carseat.

All is good here! Everyone have a super weekend!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Severing the apron strings

Post-doc to full fledged scientist? I was hired here as a post-doc, mentor sucked pretty much the entire time. Many of my colleagues in this position have ongoing interactions and project relationships with their post-doc mentor. Post-doc mentors often get their post-docs hired on permanently. I was hired on by my mentor's boss, probably out of spite. He is a heavy handed guy who doesn't like my former mentor (the feeling is mutual between them), and he hired me on, without consulting my mentor, in record time for the group. I was a post-doc for 15 months. My mentor was skeeved that he was never consulted. It WAS a slap in the face to him. (It took him a full 3 years to the day to be hired on with backing.)

Anyways, this relationship with my former mentor just isn't working and needs to end. I have been missing project meetings because I have this really great, shiny, happy project that I am choosing to focus on. It is going places. And in addition, it is this project that will get me promoted. I have worked on the other project for sometime with no hints of promotion and outright statements by former managers to the effect that it was keeping me back.

Yesterday former post-doc mentor e-mailed out a reminder for the meetings. I had three choices. First, I could start going to the meetings, heading out early from my other teleconference with the client to go to his meetings where I can sit and offer nothing and listen to where to buy FPGA's. I shouldn't have even listed that as an option, because I don't see it as one.
That leaves two viable options. I could ignore the meeting reminder and continue on as such, missing the meetings and never confronting the elephant in the room. Or I could e-mail and basically in a more formal, but yet still kind way, work at extricating myself. (Or expatrioting myself... as this project probably views it.) I sucked it up and chose the later. I probably had the guts to do so based off of the other day. (Aside, this proposal is not funded yet, but it has repeatedly been listed as a "new start" and in talking with other colleagues yesterday in my poster session, I was the only one selected among these particular peers to present the concept to the DOE reviewer. My optimism of having a funded project is growing.)

I wrote a nice e-mail (I thought) explaining the conflict and that my role on the other project was expanding and mentioned how well this project was going. I said that I would like to schedule a meeting to discuss my ongoing role, if any, on this project. I tried to be as tactful as possible without making accusations, (and I have a whole list of them I could have used).

I got an e-mail back last night saying that he wanted to speak with me as soon as possible (tomorrow, which is now today) and that he wanted an update on my task (which I give him almost every time I see him) in addition he "reminded" me that I had "agreed" to help with a ULVA project yet, he hasn't seen me work on it. Well THAT project is not associated with the project I am trying to extricate myself from.

No, THAT project is an exploratory funded project that I helped originate the idea, but then the dickhead never put my name on the proposal. I told him about 6 months ago I would help IF I had time after I found out my name was left off. And well, I haven't had time. Basically there was no tact in his reply to me.

I e-mailed back politely telling him my schedule for today, essentially I had no time available to meet with him, but that my team for my task and I were meeting this afternoon in the lab to work on my task, please stop by and we can talk. He didn't stop by, he is gone. Gone for almost 2 weeks now.

The elephant is still there, yet it is shrinking little by little.

I feel like I have failed at this project. Yet, I *know* it is not me. I have confirmation of this from others. I AM a good scientist. I was simply unwilling to continue on as admin support and lead procurements for the project, or turn fricking bolts on a re-engineered piece of (shit) equipment that has no scientific basis to it. Those tasks do not a scientist make. Still, I am not accustomed to failure and this is what it feels like.

I remember back when my grad school advisor asked me if this project was really something I wanted to do, noting it was SO outside my field. I replied that it sounded interesting and if it didn't work out I could find another project. I was quite flippant about it. He was a little more skeptical and said that could be tough. It wasn't hard logistically speaking, it is hard politically. I don't usually have political difficulties in the work environment. This one will haunt me.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

The day has finally come. The day that Hans has landed a job in this area that he is truly happy with from every aspect. No drive out of town, he will work in the same general area as I do, closer actually to Leif than I am, in an area he is excited about (lab management and customer interface), and bonus... a $10K a year raise. This is awesome considering that he was willing to take a student intern position to get out of his current position. No working nights, no working for an awful boss (at least we hope not).

Hans is the happiest I have heard in a very long time. I am so very proud of him!

My day aside from that is going well too. Today I put on a pair of pants that I haven't worn in almost 3 years and they look stellar! (If I may say so myself!) Ok, they are a touch snug... but I need to feel that they look stellar today.

I had a great telecon. CCE from the client's lab jumped softly. He had questions, but didn't attack. My project manager kept trying to get a word in, but then one of my project coworkers held out his hand and said to the project manager, "April is handling it just fine". :-) Yay! After the telecon was over my former team lead complimented me on how well I handled CCE and the coworker, who is an older, well seasoned lab veteran told our project manager "April handles CCE quite well, you need to just back off and let her deal with him. She is really starting to earn his respect." LOL!

I had a meeting with my former manager. I am planning the BBQ for his group. Go figure. Still not sure why I signed on for this. Typically speaking it is admin that does this, but last year it was handed down the line until I finally took it up. Evidently I did such an outstanding job last time that he wanted me to do it again. And well, I am a sap for organizing stuff like this. Maybe I should have been a party planner...

Life is good here. Hans IS getting the Father's Day gift I want to buy him that is a little on the expensive side. I am buying it this weekend. We are hiring a lawn service. And we are buying another carseat this weekend to install in Hans' car so HE can pick up Leif at daycare on occasion to. That will be wonderful for me because if I need to work a little overtime, like I am today, I can do that without extending Leif's stay at daycare.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Cutting diamonds

"You could cut diamonds with your thoughts, that's how precise they are. Apply this crystal clear logic to weighty matters."

Well I guess it is good I decided to put together my presentation today for my telecon tomorrow, my crystal clear logic should help. (Ha ha, that's why my project manager called me and asked me to explain what I was trying to convey a few minutes ago.) Now if I can figure out how to carry this over to tomorrow for my actual telecon presentation and then my poster presentation in the second half of the day of my sucky resea

I love discussion boards, but sometimes I also hate them. I had a pretty simple carseat question or so I thought. I headed to the Carseat forum to ask which of 4 carseats is most recommended and explained why I was asking. The second half is what got me. You see Leif and I are going to Denver. I bought one ticket since he can sit on my lap until he is 2 years old. Well that apparently makes me a suck mom to not fork out $547 for Leif to have a seat on a plane for 2 hours each way. Ok, I could maybe get a ticket for half price for him.

The concern isn't for a crash, because in case of a crash, that plastic carseat isn't going to do much. But evidently the concern is in turbulence and that adults have been hurt in turbulence. If he isn't buckled in, he could be seriously hurt in case of severe turbulence. I do believe this. I don't doubt that he could be hurt. Ok, here is what it comes down to... I am a numbers person, I find comfort in numbers. In the approximately 50 times I have flown I have never been in turbulence to such a degree that there was even a minor injury, and flying into Denver and Reno is some of the worst turbulence regularly. So trying to convince me that there is a serious risk of Leif dying or being seriously hurt on my lap seems like a lame excuse for a guilt trip to lay on a parent from another parent. For example, "If I can't afford a ticket for my child then I can't afford to go." GMAFB. (Invented this acronym... you figure it out.)

I had to check the numbers. So here they are... according to 3 online sources. Between 1991 and 1997 there were 3 deaths, 83 serious injuries and 860 minor injuries due to turbulence. This is a femtoliter in the bucket. Yes, it would be a horrible thing and I do know that he is safest in his carseat on the airplane, but any idea how small this percentage (946 people in 6 years) is of the general flying population?

Isn't this comparable to the number of people in 10 years who die while sitting on their toilets in or something? It's a wonder I even drive down the street in my car with him in the back. That's really playing with fire.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Good work news!

Just got an e-mail that my Co-PI on my big grant proposal ($1.8 million over 4 years) and I have a meeting next Monday with a DOE representative! I went through the list and it is by all means not exhaustive of all the proposals that were submitted for this call from the lab. In fact, it is quite limited. I would estimate that 75% of the meetings are follow ons to already existing projects and the other 25% of the people meeting with this representative are new starts - where I fall in.

Deep breath, deep breath!!

What I wouldn't give to get this thing funded. Then I could commit 50% of my time right off the bat to my own project, hire a post-doc, and leave up to 50% of my own time for my shiny, happy project (providing it continues past this year).

Of course then what do I do if the proposal was funded and then shiny happy project offered me a job... (counting chickens before hatched... bad, bad, bad)

When's the next long weekend?

Hoping for a long weekend for Father's Day. But I really could have used one this week!

We had a nice weekend. Start with Friday. Hans got a call from a company he applied with and interviewed well for saying that they were trying to check his references to no avail. Ugh. So he went scrambling to get them new references by the end of the day. So good news, they are checking his references and maybe this means he will be offered a position soon. Bad news, his chosen references were apparently unavailable, and second, he hasn't been offered a position yet. Which means he has to go to work tonight. We are praying for this job to come through. Anything needs to come through, life is difficult for both of us with him working nights.

We went out for Mexican for dinner on Friday, as usual, I ordered the best meal. And the Inca margarita just rocks. Made in a shaker with fresh lime juice, mmmm... there are about four refills per order (no wonder they cost $7.50 each). Loved it last time we were there. This time around our waitress fixed our glasses the way she likes them and hoped we liked it. Three green olives in my margarita glass. I was afraid, it just looked wrong. But you know, I liked it!

Saturday we ran errands and then had dinner with three couples I work with. Matt and Yichien and their daughter Emily hosted. Nice house in the middle of town with a wonderful, well established lot. We really like them. Emily is 16 months old and adorable, she likes kissing Leif. Cari and Allen were there. Then Mitch and Cindy and their 11 year old Tyler, who is a great kid, and their living terror Duncan who is 18 months old. I kept Leif a fair distance from Duncan. He doesn't have interactions with other kids and was quite prone to hitting with hard objects whem Emily or Leif came his way. Unfortunatly Mitch and Cindy didn't notice this until midway through the evening... and I was a little reluctant to just say "ummm would you keep your toddler from hitting my baby".

Leif had his first experience with stairs, two of them in and out of the living room. Going up, no problem. Going down? A little more confusing and each time he pretty much just either slid face first or rolled down, neither method even phased him though.

Sunday it was cool and windy. I got the bright idea to grab the kite and take Leif and Winny to the park. Leif likes the kite while it was on the ground a lot more than in the air. Once it was in the air, he could care less. Being that it was windy, and this was a 6 foot kite, there was some force on that string. I was expecting the string to snap. Nope, the kite gave way first. The center pole snapped and down it came.

So while daddy was dealing with the kite remnants, Leif and I went to the playground. He has a new favorite thing, going down the small plastic tube slide. That was A KICK! He thought it was so cool. Giggled and giggled. We took him to the swings, which were much less interesting. Back to the slide.

Leif was tired and slept and slept, dreaming about his slide experience during the afternoon nap. Hans and I got busy playing with our home design software and didn't remember to wake him up until 6pm... oh well! Ha, yeah right... big mistake. He was UP until 10pm last night. I guess the good thing about that was that he slept solid until 5am. He was up and fussed a little at 1:30am, but nothing that wasn't solved by a little back rubbing.

Friday, June 03, 2005

A note about our summer vacation to Denver

So you know from a few posts back that Leif and I are headed to Denver, July 10-16th. Many of my readers here are friends and family from that area. We do enjoy visiting with people and well understand that we don't see you all for long periods at a time, airlines do fly both ways you know... ;-). However, our visits in the recent past have become extremely hectic trying to fit in visits with everyone, especially now that many of Hans' family members have returned to the area.

Leif is generally a happy, adaptable baby (I will not say "little boy" or "toddler" until he is 1 year...), however, he does not usually spend a lot of time with large numbers of people. He also has not to the point spent longer than 1 hour in the car. If you want to visit with us we would be happy to arrange lunch in the Ft. Collins, Windsor, Loveland area, or have you come by my mom's house and hang out. Leif needs to have a place he is somewhat familiar with to nap and to hang out. He is also very mobile and requires a lot of mommy's attention in a place that is not baby proofed.

We have two trips to Denver planned at this point. One to go to the zoo with his cousins and aunt and the other to have a BBQ for a joint early birthday party with cousin Celeste. If anyone wants to come for the joint BBQ, let me or Ang know. No dates have been set for these but it will be during the week sometime.

We will try to fit everyone in as best as possible, but if it doesn't work out, I am sorry. The intention of our vacation is to relax, not to stress about being places and who we haven't met up with yet. We would love to host everyone at our house at any point and then you get unlimited one on one time with Leif!

So proud of myself and Leif too!

I got up at 5:58am, quietly put on my shoes, running pants and a top. Then went and rousted Winny. She looked at me a little confused, realized what was going on and ran full speed to the back door. YIPPEE, life is good again! It was a gorgeous morning, albeit a little windy (surprise surprise). We did the short loop as I was a little concerned about time since Leif was still asleep when I left. I didn't run, but we will get to that soon I hope. Winny met another dog, who growled when she decided to sniff his/her private areas, lol. We walked by the field and she took off at full speed into the field. She hasn't done this in ages, I guess by her walks at the end of the day she is just too tired. She flew around the field and scared up one rabbit which she chased but then "let go" under the bush as she moved onto something else fascinating. She ran back and looked at me as if she was saying "thanks mom, I needed that".

Now if she only understood what "Saturday" meant. I hate to disappoint her tomorrow morning, maybe I should have waited until Monday to start, but no time like the present.

We had a fabulous night with Leif. After a few nights of working hard with him he went down about 8:30-9pm, woke up at 3am and nursed a little, fussed a little when I put him back in his crib, but calmed down after 5 minutes, and then he slept until I WOKE him up at 7:30am. Needless to say *I* (specifically these melons attached to my front side) will have to get used to this schedule, especially if I plan on running in the morning. I haven't been engorged in awhile and one side was ready to feed something, anything all through our walk.

I am hoping this is not just an anomaly and that this wonderful schedule will continue!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Going to Denver!

Yippee! July 10th thru the 16th. Airfare had been holding steady at $517 and I was just about to bite... then I thought I would check priceline and they had a buy it now option for $272 on Delta. Delta doesn't have this price on their website. Well I jumped on it.

I leave at 6:30am on Sunday. Sounds brutal but Leif will be awake and ready to entertain. Layover in Salt Lake for an hour and then onto Denver arriving right before noon. We leave the following Saturday at about noon and get home via the same route about 4:30pm. This way we will spend some time on each weekend with daddy.

Speaking of daddy... he isn't a very happy camper about this. I should be happy that he likes spending so much time with his family. And I am happy about this. But I am looking forward to a week with my mom. I am in need of some serious shopping, good food and I want to take Leif to the zoo with his cousins and Aunt.

Yeah, Hans probably could have come with, but he wasn't overly thrilled about it. Would rather go to Alaska. And hopefully he will have started a new job at that point and unfortunatly will not have vacation time accrued.

So now I get to start thinking about all the travel logistics of travelling with an almost one year old. Ugh.

Tentative plan... borrow a stroller (mom has an umbrella stroller she bought for my neice), buy a carseat and have it shipped to moms, then have it shipped back and waa laa Hans has a car seat for his car, put Leif in the kangaroo pouch and carry his diaper bag and my purse. It is rare that this flight has space for him to have a seat. We are always crammed in tiny planes.

Opinions? Suggestions?

It's Thursday

"Being serious is one thing, but admit it: You're something of a worrywart at the moment. Planning for every single eventuality is time-consuming and, frankly, unnecessary. Leave yourself one escape hatch and get on with it."

This is today's horrorscope. Dead on.


I had an awful dream last night. I dreamt that I was somewhere staying with some family I didn't know. Leif and Winny were there, Hans was somewhere else. It was some circumstance where I needed to get out, but it was difficult. I think this stems from having watched Hotel Rwanda this past weekend. Hans was somewhere else and had sent me my passport and Leif's birth certificate and tickets to England (of all places). But I couldn't take Winny. The family I was with reluctantly agreed to take care of her until I could have her shipped to me. I had noticed that Winny had been limping, but hadn't worried a whole lot. Then suddenly I was getting ready to leave in a hurry and Winny took a turn for the worse. She had a large mass on her hip and couldn't walk. I had a choice, miss my and Leif's flight to get out of the place I needed to escape in order to take Winny to the vet, or leave Winny and get on the plane with Leif. The family I was staying with refused to take Winny to the vet. I chastized them for just letting an animal, a really great and loyal animal just die, I was in tears but knew that Leif was my first priority. The woman finally said that if I paid her a substantial amount she would take Winny to the vet for me. I agreed, knowing that it was likely that she actually wouldn't.

It was a horrible dream and when I woke up I just wanted to snuggle with Winny and tell her what a good dog she was.

My goal come Monday is to get back to getting up in the morning and taking her for a walk/run. I *think* I can do this. If I put Leif in bed with Hans at 6am, he should stay asleep. Hans has this sedative quality about him (more about this later). Then I can get dressed and go for a walk (eventually a run) with Winny like we used to do. On mornings Leif doesn't want to go back to sleep and Hans' sedative presence doesn't work I can put Leif into the stroller and at least walk. This might eventually justify the purchase of a jogging stroller if he regularly gets up.

Winny has been so neglected for the last 10 months and I see it in her eyes. She has quit coming to roust me out of bed at 6am with anticipation of a nice trip on the trail. She has given up and it makes me sad. I not only need to do this for her, but I need to do it for me.


So Hans' sedative presence. I have noticed that on the nights when Hans works, I stay up late. I frequently don't get to bed until 11pm. Not because it takes me this long to get things ready for tomorrow, but because I am not tired. But put Hans in the same house with me and I am out like a light at 9:30pm. Why is this?

Put Leif next to Hans in the bed and Leif falls back asleep. Leif won't sleep at night, put him on Hans' chest and he sleeps. (This doesn't work on my chest.) Hans has trouble sleeping regularly... I fear it is that Leif and I are sucking out his sleep phermones and using them for ourselves.


So I have a biter on my hands right now. We are really trying to nip this in the bud now. Leif bit Cate on the finger on Sunday and I immediatly started fearing the worst. Shortly after at the BBQ he bit me, twice, leaving large bruises. I haven't really known what to do about this since I KNOW it isn't malicious in nature. He gets excited playing, or anxious for something, and chomps down. I talked with Leif's daycare teacher yesterday about 2pm about ways to curb this, because having a biter is not acceptable to me. She gave me some good suggestions and I really trust her to lead me in the correct way.

I went to pick Leif up at daycare yesterday and come to find out (after talking with Vanessa about his biting during the day) that he had bit Cate on the arm at daycare. Ugh. Help?


So Hans has another interview, his third for one of the three jobs he has recently applied for and become quite optimistic about. It is a position with the State Department of Ecology working as a chemist. He applied pretty much last minute about 6 weeks ago after a girl I work with called me and said there was an opening, she knew one of the people in the labs and had recommended Hans. He applied online, having done this at the state website a million times before, not expecting to hear anything about it again really.

A few weeks later he got notice that he was one of the selected applicants whose information was sent to the hiring office. Yay! Soon after the local hiring office sent him a packet to fill out and return including responses to four essays. (You would have thought Hans was having teeth pulled. Painful.) He was quite discouraged to have to write four essays for a job that he was positive wouldn't pan out or even yield an interview. But he wrote the essays, put on his suit and dropped the forms off. Yesterday the call came for an interview and he is beside himself. Next Thursday it is!

Send good interview vibes his way please!