Wednesday, September 28, 2005

See you next week?

I am hoping to pull my head up from the wreckage that is fiscal year end on Monday. And maybe I will have a fresh attitude to go with it... maybe.

In the meantime I am working hard to unbury myself from working only a half day (if you can call 2.5 hours a half day) yesterday thanks to LJ's recurrence of a double ear infection. I fibbed to daycare, 'umm yeah, he has been on antibiotics for 24 hours... and don't forget the Advil at noon for those teeth!' (cough, cough, ears, cough, cough ...)

Tonight, conveniently at 5 on the dot is back to school night. Thank goodness food will be served, dinner. Then here's hoping LJ goes down early so I can pack my bag (can I get everything into my one carryon... that is the challenge). Pack LJ a bag for his evening visit to C's house tomorrow night since AB will be working late on month end work. Then get myself asleep so that I can crawl out of bed hours before the crack of dawn and get myself to the airport.

I have no idea what I will do in a hotel room all by myself for a whole night. Cry or dance, one or the other.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Kids are gross

I should know to go find LJ when it is quiet, I really should.

I went into the Master bath to put clothes away into the closet. Little noises coming from near the toilet. Uh oh...

I walk over there and LJ has the plastic cap to my hairspray and is using it as a cup. At daycare they are learning how to use cups to drink out of and he was practicing. Thankfully the bowl was recently cleaned and the water was clean. But still... NASTY!!

LJ got many practice sessions of washing his face and hands after that experience.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Loving my horoscope...

"Flighty people are distracting you. Wait until they leave the scene to continue."

Ok, I will do that.

In the meantime... I am sitting here wondering how snack time is going over at LJ's school. It was LJ's snack day and we brought cheese and rice crackers today. One of the girls in his class has a severe wheat allergy and dairy allergy. So consequently she is on a pretty restricted diet. I know that rarely does she get to partake in snack with the rest of the kids because it is often crackers and cheese. Well we did the cheese, but I saw gluten free rice crackers and picked them up, hoping that she will be able to have some.

I have my presentation for my trip to DC next week. It isn't mine, but the PM put my name on the front page and went back in time and listed me as a collaborator. That went a fair ways to mend fences with me. Afterall, up until yesterday I was the only one who had worked on the project this fiscal year.

I am always tossed up about this type of presentation... I didn't prepare it, so I don't know it inside and out. Especially the background. So in one sense that sucks because I could be sideswiped with questions, but in another sense, I don't have to prepare a presentation. Good and bad.

This morning I bent over backwards to enable an experiment to happen on my good project. I got many, many thanks from this PM. He is a really great guy.

Weekend plans are becoming clearer. V and I are likely headed to Nordstroms to shop tomorrow morning while the guys either study or AB might have to work some. Nice thing about going together is that one of us can watch the kids while the other tries things on in peace. Then we have a list of 3 wineries we want to hit.

AB and I are big wine fans and have been since about 1997. This is back in the old days before we were married, we went to Napa Valley with AB's friends from high school and some of their other friends. It was a super time. There were probably 10-12 of us and we had a house on a hill to stay in. We rode bikes to Pine Ridge winery to start. We had booked a private tour ahead of time and barrel and bottle tasted ourselves into a stupor. And Pine Ridge is not an inexpensive winery. Our host had a blast with us and opened about 10 bottles of wine and drained every last one.

We got back on our bikes and slowly and crookedly made our way to Clos du Val. I got my 3rd flat tire on the way and was positive that they were just going to leave me behind. They didn't. Ok, AB did and one of his buddies changed my tire for me. ;-) We got to Clos du Val and drank more wine somewhat intelligently from our newly learned knowledge from our wine tour (as opposed to simply drinking for the sake of drinking free booze - we were much younger afterall).

After that we rode off for a little while and made it to Van der Heyden. We needed a rest. So we went back to the tasting room, a shed. Wonderful, wonderful wine. My first wine shot in a truffle experience. Highly recommended. After that we made our way back... me in the car, AB on his bike. He tells stories of being so tired and out of shape since all his buddies rode bikes to their jobs in San Fran that the flies were circling him.

Ok, so enough reminiscing. We still love wine and so do our friends here. So off to taste we will go this weekend! AB and I need to work on adding to our "cellar". (Cellar consists of 6 styrofoam boxes in our guest room.) We just finished off one of our last 1997 bottles, it was fabulous and opened on accident. Man were we kicking ourselves for not reading the labels better. We have other wines in there we have accumulated over the last few years. But we need another case of something ageworthy to throw in there and drink over the next few years... not sure what that will be. Maybe I will actually update the Atomic Wine blog that has gone very neglected.

Post 200

TGIF! I am ready for a Friday. It has been a long week in one sense that a lot has happened. But the time has flown quickly.

AB is enjoying having dropped one of his classes and spent time with LJ last night. LJ has been busy as ever and is cracking us up daily. Yesterday he got to school and saw that snack was about to be served. So he went to the sink to wash his hands. Before turning on the water he grabbed the soap dispenser and worked hard to try and get soap out. But he couldn't, and so the teacher helped him. He scrubbed his hands, rinsed and then miracle of miracles, he turned OFF the water and got down! He hurried over to the snack table and grabbed his banana and promptly took a bite out of it. Oops, peel isn't so good. His teacher peeled the banana and he sat down in his seat and started eating. Such a big boy!

He wore his new shoes to school today, real soles and all. He showed them to his teacher and the S twins who touched them. I told him I was leaving and he actually came to me with his lips puckered up for a kiss. We kissed and I told him I love him and to have a good day and he ran off to play. *Sigh*. He is growing up way too fast. I swear it was just yesterday that he was a tiny little baby.

Last night when I picked him up at school I went to grab his hand so we could walk out (which he insists on doing). He pulled back whining, he didn't want to go, he wanted to play ball drop more. I knew the day would come when he was too busy or having too much fun to leave and go home. But I expected him to much older. Another sigh.

LJ is done with nursing. I can convince him to sit down and nurse if I need him to. But he has no interest otherwise. The last time he nursed was Wednesday morning and I feel it. The past few weeks I have been encouraging him to help me out every other day. But with my pending travel next week I think I need to just buck up and let it go this week. I am hoping that this final step in weaning doesn't take long. I know my milk supply is very, very low right now. But it is still there.
We don't have many plans this weekend. AB has to go into work some now that it is nearing month end. We are going to go to a few wineries with friends at some point I think. I still need to make that run to Michael's for a few things. I want to get LJ's "one year" hand mold done this weekend. Oh and my house is clean already, so that makes things even better!

Work is good, but hectic. I found out a coworker of mine, his mom has a brain tumor and is on her third round of radiation treatment. How sad. He is my age, his mom is 56. It breaks my heart.

Well I have a lot to get to here today and so I should go get busy. Everyone have a super weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2005


To this point I have used first names a lot. Call me paranoid, but from this point forward we will have acronyms and monikers. I didn't used to worry about it, the vast majority of the visitors were close friends and family. But lately there are visitors to the blog which I can't readily identify by server and location and traffic is also increasing almost daily. Those of you who know us will get the monikers and it won't be a difficult transition I don't think. New people, welcome, you won't know a difference.

The key:

Me: Nuclear Mom (NM)
Husband: Alaska Boy (AB)
Son: LJ (initials because my creativity is waning and I can't come up with a good name for him right now.)
Other people in our life will be known by first initial only.
Coworkers will be known as such, (CW1, CW2...) with no correlation from post to post. (CW1 will not necessarily by CW1 in the next post.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Who needs sleep? I do.

I am tired. Why am I saying or complaining about this now when Leif has just started sleeping through the night?

At about 1am, on clicks the monitor and someone dialing. Damn. I reach over and shut the monitor off. I have got to deal with the dork who likes to call people in the middle of the night and is tapped into our frequency. I mean who calls people at midnight? Oh wait nevermind... I won't go down that road.

We had LJ's favorite playmate over for a little while last night and she and LJ played. They are a riot together.

I stressed a lot last night about the personnel issues that are going on on my task. I think this is part of the reason I didn't sleep well. I just don't deal well with HR type personnel issues. The guy was a jerk, plain and simple. He had reason to be frustrated, but he acted inappropriately. Part of me thinks I should have nipped it in the bud when the first sign showed up. But I didn't know it would continue to escalate. I thought it would slide by the wayside.

As of today the guy is left with a black mark on his HR record, had a sit down with our manager who lined out things he needed to do to rectify the situation, which he did. Then he came to me this afternoon, quite contrite, and resigned from my task as of 9-30-05. It was expected. I didn't think he would opt to continue and had planned on putting the option out there for him to resign. He beat me to the punch and resigned on his own accord. I like the guy, I don't have bad things to say about him or his work really. I told him I appreciated his technical ability and felt that it was an unfortunate situation. Then we parted ways.It was for the best.

I had a good meeting this afternoon where I met with my division director and some other people on the project. I seem to have finally cracked through with my division director and proven myself capable. I am tackling one of his pet projects this coming FY and he is thrilled and mentioned so a few times. It was not expected of me but I presented to the group and him how I planned to approach the problem and everyone was quite happy with how I plan to research the issue. So that went quite well.

Last night AB dropped a class. It was very hard for him to do because he likes the class and he wants the credits. But taking 7 credits, working full time and helping care for a toddler (not to mention stressing about a wife going on travel next week for 2 days) pushed him over the edge and he canned the class. Now instead of having class 4 nights a week, it is 2 nights. Doable, IMO.

Today has been busy and a little stressful. Thus my tiredness. I am going to go pick up LJ and go home, figure out what to fix for dinner and have a glass of wine.


Deleted post

I deleted the post I made yesterday. I was frustrated with dealing with personnel issues on a project. (Why can't people just work and be happy and nice to each other?) I spent a lot of time on the phone with managers when I should have been in the lab working on other projects that have hard deadlines - next week. My judgment lapsed, IMO, and I vented about people probably a little more openly and with more pissiness than normal. And well, I shouldn't have.

Sorry for the interruption and back to the regularly scheduled blog!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Eavesdropping continued

Friday night I went to go to bed. I turned on the monitor beside the bed and guess who? Sure enough, our friend is back chatting with Sarah.

We changed the channel, but he still comes through clear as a bell. So I layed there and listened to the latest. They had a date for dinner, he was going to take her out for dinner and wine her and dine her and then "whatever else she wanted". Yeah right, hmmm....

Well evidently the girl is smarter than I thought. She decided not to go and to go out with her parents instead. He was distraught to have been put on the backburner for her parents and kept telling her to ditch her dad and come over to his house.

She finally gave an adament no and said she would talk to him later.

But bonus, after he hung up he dialed his voicemail. I now have the guy's phone number. I called AB in and told him I have a plan...

My plan is first to rescue Sarah... AB calls and says that this is Sarah's dad and I know what you are up to trying to get her to ditch me for dinner and "whatever else" with you. Stay away from my daughter, leave her alone. If you come over to our house, I will treat you like I always have, with respect, but know when I look at you what a scum I think you are. And don't mention this to Sarah ever, or else I will have to pursue this deeper.

AB looks at me and rolls his eyes and says "go to bed"!

Ok, ok, I say... we could just call and ask him to kindly change the channel on his 900 Mhz phone so that our baby monitor doesn't keep picking up his every phone call.


Ok, here is the picture I mentioned of LJ kissing Winny:

Talk about stress last Friday. Ugh. Late Friday afternoon I found out that after avoiding business travel like the plague for the last year, on the anniversary of my return to working after my 10 weeks of paid maternity leave (loved that), I am expected to be in DC. Ugh.

I know it is time and that especially now with AB working closer to LJ than I actually do, that AB can deal with taking care of LJ. And we have a wonderful support network here in place to help him deal (thanks V!). The biggest stresser is that I leave on the 29th and month end is HELL for AB. So to have to deal with work, school and taking care of LJ on his own for those couple days will be a challenge, but I know they will rock.

It is bittersweet for me. I always kind of enjoyed going on travel, especially living here in podunksville. I like getting out of town and to a big city for a few days. I like eating out, catching a show if possible, and going shopping. Some itty bitty part of me is excited to go to DC for a few days. The other part of me is sick over it. I have to leave LJ and AB and I don't want to. It looks like I will fly out Thursday morning get there Thursday night (damn that flying to the east coast time change). Friday I give a presentation and then I can fly out at 4:30pm and be back here about 11:30pm. It will be a tight schedule. And there is some part of me that wouldn't mind staying Friday night so I can shop or go to the Smithsonian Friday afternoon. But I *know* once I get there I will just want to come home asap. So I will ask my admin to get me on the earliest flight out.


This weekend was nice, but short. After having two 3-day weekends in a row, it seemed far too short. Friday AB picked up Mexican food and it was super. LJ was fussy with a tooth coming in so we didn't even want to attempt going out. And the take out Mexican was spectacular, they even packed in a bag of chips and salsa!

We watched The Wedding Date, which was fun, good for what it was, a romantic comedy. AB even liked it and it finished in time for him to watch most of his beloved Battlestar Galactica. ;-) I, otoh, headed off to bed.

Saturday we got up and headed out to the Parade of Homes. We stuck to houses in our general location and amazingly LJ was amiable to visiting 5 houses. There were very few that I loved, ok, none that I loved the whole house. What is it with builders? Do they not cook? we saw, save one, had a kitchen smaller than ours! And they were all minimum $100K more than ours cost (3 years ago). We need a BIG kitchen. Ours is not big enough and it is good sized (12'x12'). And I *need* a walk in pantry - and no, not a step in pantry, I want to walk in and be able to walk around. None of the houses we saw had an appropriately sized pantry.

We went to a $750K house on a fantastic view lot. What a frickin' waste of a view lot. The kitchen was half the size of ours, had no cupboard space, counter space or pantry. ?!?! The Master bedroom was smaller than ours. Oh, but they had an art gallery, what a bonus. (sarcasm)

After that we had lunch and headed to Costco where I pounded away a little more at my Christmas gift list. We got home and made spaghetti, and we watched another movie after LJ went to bed, Flight of the Pheonix. Bad, I fell asleep. And if you fear plane crashes, as I do, don't watch it, especially bad when I just found out I will be going on travel in 2 weeks. Ugh.

Sunday LJ napped early was up around 1pm and he and I went and bought real shoes for him. These are what he got. We tried a few different pairs on. I wanted to get him the Merrells just like daddy's and I loved the price. But LJ has a fat little foot! I don't know where he gets it, AB and I both have very narrow feet, to the point where we both have trouble buying shoes narrow. The saleslady was wonderful and helped him try on a few pairs, until his tolerance level was reached. He has never worn "real" shoes with soles, just Robeez to date, so with new hard sole shoes he acted like he had cement blocks on his feet. He finally got the hang of walking, that he has to really pick his feet up VERY high to take a step. It was too funny and I was wishing I had brought the video camera. He will have to practice in them a few nights before wearing them to school.

We then went to Target where LJ's level of tolerance for shopping was nill. He got a few forks and a couple other little things. But we spent most of the time there buying clothes, books, toys, etc, for the Hurricane victims. LJ's school must have heard my thoughts in my quest to actually get items that were needed to victims of Katrina. They hooked up with a church in Houston that took in 300 families displaced from the hurricane. We chose to buy some stuff for a 6-12 month old baby, because I had some idea what they might need. Then we bought for a 10-12 year old girl because that age group is kind of out of the range of what LJ's school covers.

Well I should go get busy. LJ did have a wonderful night last night. He was "up" briefly at 1:45am when his Advil wore off, but wasn't really up per se. AB got up and dosed him with Advil and gave him his binky back and LJ layed back down and slept until 6:08am. Tooth is through, ears are better and he is back to sleeping through the night! Yay!

Ok, I must go make my travel plans now. Ugh.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Stress setting in

Two weeks left of fiscal year. Two weeks of working my ass off and getting results that would have been best to have had months ago, but now they are actual deliverables. Ick.

And I am tired. I have been spoiled the last week and a half or so with LJ sleeping reasonably well. And he actually did sleep reasonably well last night until 4am when he woke up after his Advil had worn off and the new Advil didn't kick in until 6am - or so he thought... So misery for AB and I as he toyed with us wrt sleeping for an hour and then at 5am it was time for full on melt down. At 6:30 however, he konked our hard and who knows how long he would have slept had I not woken him up at 7:45 and rushed him (ha ha ha... there is no "rushing" a 13 month old) to get ready to be at daycare at 8:30am. We made it there at 9am, just in time for snack.

I hung out for a few as I filled out the medication paperwork so they could give him Advil at noon. He stood in line (amazingly to wash his hands). I was shocked at how patient he was. Theresa was taking her own sweet time in washing her hands and LJ's tolerance was nearing it's end when one of the teachers encouraged Theresa to finish up so that LJ can wash up for snack. He washed his hands (with a help, lest he dawdle all day and put water ALL over the floor). Then his teacher told him to go get a bowl for snack. He walked over, got the bowl and walked to the snack bowls where he grabbed the serving spoon himself and his teacher steadied his hand and helped him scoop. Then he walked his bowl to his preferred spot at the table and dumped the entire contents ONTO the table. His teacher kind of rolled her eyes, but told me, it's ok, he just doesn't like to eat with his hands out of a bowl. If he has a bowl, he wants a spoon. LJ pulled his chair up and sat down at the table and ate his fruit.

He is already such an independent turkey and here they are encouraging it! ;-) Where'd my baby go?

It amazes me how LJ can follow instructions. The latest thing at home is giving Winny a treat and a goodbye kiss before we go. He used to take a treat and immediatly put it in his mouth (yet he would pause and examine every Cheerio before putting them in his mouth). Now he takes the treat from the dining room, walks through the living room, to the Master bedroom to my side of the bed and holds it out to Winny. The other things that amazes me is that he always knows where Winny is. She has about 4 main spots she hangs out in, but if he gets to give her a treat, he goes right to her.

Then he waits for her to finish her treat and leans over to kiss her goodbye. I have a super picture of this from the other morning, but haven't downloaded it off my camera yet. When I do I will post it.

Yay, it's Friday. It doesn't feel like much of a Friday however. I think it is the fiscal year end stress. And the fact that I am just feeling like a grump (PMS).

My tasks this weekend:
1. Hancock Fabrics without LJ.
-Buy Christmas fabric for a new tree skirt.
-Buy Christmas fabric and ribbon for the little tree bags described yesterday.
-Upholstery fabric and I am hoping cushions for the bench in the library.
-Fabric for LJ's closet. (We are paranoid he is going to close his fingers in the accordion doors and so we are removing them and I want a cover because the thought of an exposed closet interior kind of freaks me out.)

2. Michaels
-Magnets for pumpkins
-Scrapbook to put the old 10x13 family pictures in that I rotate out of the library. (I hope I can find an album that will hold a 10x13 picture... )
-There is something else I wanted there that I cannot remember for the life of me...

3. Grocery store

4. Park or something with V and LJ's best bud to encourage AB to STUDY and do his homework. (However I am sure that the Buffs are playing on Saturday and the Seahawks will be playing on Sunday...)

5. Parade of Homes
(We want to look at just a few of the houses, which is good since LJ will not allow extended viewings. Just mostly for ideas and to look at some builder's works.)

6. Relax.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Making Christmas (and other holidays)

I love this time of year. The weather starts cooling down. Evening walks are pleasant, morning walks are brisk and even though I don't live in a region where the colors REALLY change like areas in the Midwest and back East, I still love the colors here. My kitchen colors were even chosen to reflect this. So I can live in a fall Meditteranean kitchen all year long.

Last night I pulled out some of my most recent holiday purchases from Michael's and Current to start organizing my holiday decorations. I bought the stuff weeks ago, but resisted even opening the bags and boxes because my house would be Halloween in August. And that is just too soon.

But today is September 15th, which means that it is really only 6 weeks till Halloween and the decorating can start. Tonight, if I have time, I am going to pull out the boxes of Halloween items from last year and go through them. Many need to be tossed, some of the old plastic stuff like Lavorpse the Corpse. Plus, he is just too scary for my very impressionable son. ;-) (He likely wouldn't even notice nor have any idea what it was.)

I made little wooden pumpkins ornament things with LJ's handprint on them. I just need to get them in the mail to the lucky recipients. I also discovered today that LJ's costume is out the window. He was going to be yoda, the kid was born to be yoda with those big eyes. Welp, they are out of stock and no more production before Halloween. I can search for another supplier, but recently I noted that many places were out of stock.

I am thinking that I need a trip to Hancock Fabrics this weekend anyways. I want to make a cushion for a bench and have some Christmas ideas in the works (more on those later), and so I am wondering if I can find a toddler yoda pattern. It wouldn't be difficult. A little tan robe, brown pants. What WILL be difficult is the cute little hat with the ears. But I can sew. If there is a pattern, I can do it.

Also at Hancock I want some Christmas fabric. I am planning on making some little bags that close with ribbon to hang on the tree. 25 of them, a la Advent Calendar style with numbers on them. The idea is that the child (yes, I do realize my son IS 13 months and does not know his numbers yet...) will find the day in order and there will be a goody inside on the countdown towards Christmas. And maybe someday... we will actually be home for Christmas to open the little doors on the Advent calendar and to find bags number 24 and 25... someday...

Tangent warning... I remember when AB and I were married and our parents said, "when you guys have kids we will travel to you for holidays, it will be easier that way". Doing and saying are two different things. Yes, we have the choice and this year we are choosing to go to Alaska because AB really wants his grandparents to meet LJ. But someday... someone might offer to travel with us instead of us traveling with little one(s) outside of our house, while the little one(s) hope that Santa can find them at someone elses house... No packing/sending back humongo gifts that don't fit in the bags (not that I am complaining, thank you for the gifts...). We won't have to haul Santa's gifts to grandma and grandpa's so that Santa DOES find them when they aren't home. Soon, very soon, my kid(s) will enjoy waking up to Santa's visit in their own house.

(The (s) are in PLANNING for the future... don't read into anything here!)

Ok, enough of a tangent. Suffice it to say I love the holidays, I love decorating for the holidays and I want my children (present and future) to enjoy Christmas in their home and take in all the joys that I had as a child on Christmas morning.


Last night we were sick of the nothingness on TV at about 9pm. So we headed into the bath. We have a humongous bathtub that is really more comfortable, at least for me, with two people. We get in the bath and hear talking on the baby monitor. My first thought is that someone is in the house!! AB said, "I think we are picking up someone's phone conversation."

I got out of the bath and went to go see what was going on. Sure enough, I get to the monitor and I hear a woman crying and a man talking to her. Now this is intriguing! I grab the monitor and take it back to the Master Bath with me and we proceed to sit and listen to this "couple's" conversation.

After a little while we pick up that she is either engaged, married or has a boyfriend (a jealous type) and is seeing, on the sly, this man she is talking to. She is upset and sounds down on herself. I was annoyed that she wouldn't speak more clear, lol. Then the man, he was SOO playing her, telling her how beautiful she is and that every time he sees her at work he gets so horny. He is always so happy to see her. He tells her that whenever she feels stressed to come and "just let loose". Or some other phrase, AB said it was from The Matrix, but I don't remember it exactly now. He repeated it many times.

They go on to talk about if the man had a girlfriend and she was seeing someone else, he would just step aside, no problem. To which, AB is yelling "yeah right buddy!" Finally it was just getting sappier and sappier. But we were into it, mostly we were into laughing at this guys efforts to play her. The lines!! The things he said!! It was so sad and she was BUYING IT!! It was amazing how clear it was really.

They got cut off at one point and we found out then that it was the guy's phone we were tapped into. He calls her back and evidently the girl doesn't even realize that she cut him off. She said she is tired and he told her to have sweet dreams and to only think of happy things before she goes to bed because the last thing you think about is what you dream about. Awww... Oh wait, forget that... He goes on to tell her that she should therefore think about him before she goes to bed.

Finally they hang up and our monitor returns to normal. We get out of the bath and go to bed.

I was up a few times with LJ during the night. Then at 6am we hear a phone dialing. AB and I wake up and look at each other. Huh? LJ is using the phone already? He is pursuing his independence, but this is ridiculous. Then we hear clearly, the man's voice again!

My first comment, "ok, how rude is he to call someone at 6am?"

AB grunts.

The girl from last night picks up the phone and yay for her, actually tells him it is rude to call someone so early. Glad to see she has some gumption and not a complete pushover. The guy gets a little defensive, "well I just wanted to tell you good morning". At that point I reached over and shut it off, got out of bed, grabbed an awake LJ to relieve the boob pressure and headed out for our morning Winny walk.

Tonight the monitor channel gets changed. Listening to this guy's every phone call, not how I want to spend my evenings and mornings.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Time Traveler's Wife

Last night was really nice. It was book club night. So me and 5 other women got together to discuss The Time Traveler's Wife. I LOVED this book. It was extremely well written, thought provoking and surprisingly (and amazingly) simply written for a difficult concept to tackle like the whole space time continuum. This is one of those rare books that I think everyone would love. Unfortunatly, not everyone did love it. I have heard of a number of people who "just couldn't get into it" and one woman in our book club disliked it.

It does have its pros and cons. One con from my POV is that I found some of the language harsh and unnecessarily so. Why use the "c" word? Seriously now, the majority of the audience is likely to be female and frankly, we don't need to read that word. It interrupted the flow of the book and was a little too shocking for my prude ears (says the same woman who loved Sex and the City).

Details in the book were amazingly thought out, like the fact that the time traveler couldn't take anything with him and so even details like his fillings feel out were mentioned. But then again, as V pointed out, at what point does your food become part of you?

AB has mentioned a desire to read the book. Mr. Hard Core Sci-Fi. I am anxious to see what he thinks. Time travel is a motif of the book and a main focus, but first and foremost I would call it a love story. One of the lingering questions we had was will there be a "Time Traveler's Daughter"?

So we aren't ALL about the books. We have to take up at least two hours away from our husbands and kids and so we fill the time by eating and drinking wine. B made a fantastic chocolate cherry trifle cake. (Whenever I see a trifle I think about that Friends episode where Rachel makes a Christmas trifle and puts meat in it. There was no meat in this one.) It was WONDERFUL. We sat out on the porch and the weather was perfect. It was a great night.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah

Last week PPM e-mailed me and asked why I was charging to a particular project, what task would I possibly have to do on this project essentially. Truth is, I was writing a paper I have been putting off for the task manager. I have felt guilty that I was overcommited earlier and put it on the back burner. So I was cranking on it. PPM (who is "above" my task manager) e-mails me back and tells me to back burner it until next year and then tackle it only if I need the time because he isn't going to pay for "research".

And management wonders why my directorate has next to no publications.

Fine, whatever. I sent the e-mail to the task manager out on vacation for two weeks. Today he came back and asked me if it was finished. Umm no, your project manager told me not to work on it. J is disappointed.

Ok. So once J gets over his peeved-ness at PPM for telling me what to work on and what not to work on... he sends me a paper to review. J is in a rush to get the paper out the door and I know why. So here I sit this afternoon, editing the paper, correcting the usage of "affect" and "effect" (pet peeve of mine), eliminating needless words... J writes like he talks... flowery. And a one sentence description turns into an hour long story.

So la te da. There you go. It may seem small, but I will take whatever I can get.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A horrible mom

LJ went home sick on Friday. There starts my horrible mom-ness. I was in a meeting, without my cell phone. My cell phone was sitting in my car. I was in a stupid brainstorming Q12 Gallup meeting trying to figure out with members of my group why we are such an unhappy bunch. 1 hour meeting and 1:45 minutes later... the meeting ends. I get to my car and see that I have 3 messages. LJ's school and AB.

"Hi NM, this is Jamie and I am just calling to tell you that we have L in the office, he has a fever of 101 and is lethargic. Please call us or come get him."

"Hi NM, Jamie again, just in case you didn't get the other messages, LJ has a fever and is lethargic."

"Hi honey, where are you? LJ's daycare called me and said he has a fever and they can't get you, I will go get him since we can't reach you." (guilt, guilt, guilt - albeit unintentional of course.)

Yes, that is why there are TWO contact numbers (and the fact that I am so grateful to NOT be a single mom), I know. But I still can't help but feel horribly guilty for not having my cell in my pocket on vibrate. I *always* do, of course, the one time I don't.

I call AB. He is home with LJ, they are fine. LJ is fussy and has a fever. I instruct Advil and then break the news that I have ANOTHER meeting at 2pm and can't be home till after that. I cringe. AB is fine with that. He will go back to work when I get home sometime after 3pm.

I go to my meeting, it is a good meeting. Project manager is happy. But I am feeling impatient and rushed. Meeting ends and I am out of there. I *know* LJ is teething. He hasn't gotten more teeth in at least 3 months now, it has to be teeth. We push Advil, teething tablets and things to chew on.

Then Saturday arrives, same routine except there are spontaneous meltdowns. Unusual for LJ. Then after his nap we realize the kid has real balance issues, can't take 4 steps without falling down it dawns on us... his EARS! We take him to the Urgent Care. Here is where I feel like a sucky mom for the second time. Doctor looks inside his ears and says "wow, I haven't seen ears infected this bad in a long time". Then he points out all the symptoms I have ignored. The green mucus (the LJ is ALWAYS mucousy, we have accepted it as a fact of life), the slightly pink eye, the congestion and the swollen glands.

Oh and not just one ear, nope, both, badly infected. We get the Augmentin and go home with instructions to get him into his regular doc next Monday to make sure he is on the way to better. Sunday is misery. LJ is spontaneously screaming at the top of his lungs. We can't keep enough Advil in him and he can't nap either. I decide that I will plan on staying home with him Monday. I have to redeem my piss poor mommy status and care for my baby. (Ok, I offer to stay home after I check my work calendar... bad mommy.)

Today LJ was doing better, but not 100%. By this afternoon his balance had returned. And the boy slept 4.5 hours total today. 2.5 hour nap in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. I got SOO much done. It is truly amazing what I can get done with a napping toddler and a husband not hovering over my shoulder!

I made a cake and frosted it, I painted LJ's stool I bought a month ago for him, I finished the pumpkins up (I bought wooden unfinished pumpkin "ornaments" and painted them orange, then put LJ's hand in black paint and did a hand print on each, then wrote "Happy Halloween, Love LJ '05" on each. I just need to buy those sticky magnets for the back... and send them off to the grandparents) I cooked dinner (halibut with Sambal vinegrette and wasabi cream sauce with rice pilaf and Ceasar salad). I finished my book for book club (Time Traveller's Wife - FANTASTIC read) and I read a magazine. I helped LJ fingerpaint with the leftover stool paint, we walked Winny and then played and played when he was awake. Wow!

So here is my resolution. From now on, I resolve to take one day off each quarter to stay at home and hang out with LJ, by myself. And we are going to make it quality time at home doing crafts or just playing, not out running errands. I resolve to have every craft item I need ahead of time so that we don't spend it tracking stuff down.

I had a fantastic day - aside from LJ being sick - and it was productive. I can really use one day every 3 months for this. Right now I am earning 3 weeks vacation a year (one week more than AB) and as he pointed out that means that I can use that extra week for doing this (as opposed to like going to Colorado by myself with LJ or something...). In another year and a half I will have 4 weeks vacation (yes, I am counting down), I need to take advantage of this time and use it for family time. I am loving that as long as I stay with my company I will have 4 weeks vacation a year before LJ turns 3. (I will quit bragging now.)

Ok, off to pack lunches, make coffee and vege on the couch.

The summer bounty

Since I was a child I remember the late summer trend of "putting up food for the year". My mom was a SAHM at the time and she did jams, pickles and I have mentioned previously, she was a fantastic baker. My husband, being the true Alaskan that he is, comes by this tradition honestly. For him though, he grew up catching the family limit of sockeye salmon, sealing it and freezing it for the year. By the end of the year and just in time for the new fishing season they were sufficiently stuffed and sick of salmon... I feel so bad for them.

"Putting food up" is a tradition that we have carried forth. I frequently do jams, this year it was nectarine jam with the bounty off our tree. (Sarah, I WILL get jam in the mail to you... I waited anticipating plum jam as well, but didn't end up with the yield to even justify a batch of jam... plus the fact that Leif has been eating the plums like they are going out of style.)

Additionally this year Hans did a huge batch of spaghetti sauce last weekend. This weekend I tackled the aging zucchini with a double batch of zucchini bread, and some nasty zucchini cornmeal chili muffin things. Umm yeah... that doesn't even deserve discussion there, but the zucchini bread, yumm. Hans this weekend tackled one of my favorites... green chili. He is the green chili master.

So since my garden doesn't yield enough Anaheim's we have to go to the Farmer's Market. Darn. One of our favorite stands this year is a farmer, with the worst teeth ever seen, in fact they are so bad he has a hard time talking. But he talks, and he has this strange voice too. He speaks regularly to Hans and everytime I get images of that flying shop owner from Star Wars... ok this one, Watto. This farmer has got to have been the inspiration for this character.

So Hans gets his Anaheims and roasts them, peels them and tosses in a few poblanos for good measure. A roasted/smoked pork tenderloin, some onions and garlic, chicken broth and a few cayennes and a few jalapenos (some roasted), simmer it all together and you have a mean green chili. Hans is master of "seasoning" it perfectly so that the first few bites make you sweat and your not sure you can eat a bowl. But after a few bites (and tortilla between), your mouth adjusts and you can't get enough. Wow.

So in our freezer and garage we now have... nectarine jam, 11 mini loaves of zucchini bread, 13 containers of spaghetti sauce, and 11 containers of green chili. We better just hope there is *not* a power outage. Hans might keel over then and there. Oh yes, and we can't forget the 4 or 5 jars of Back Russian cherries in the fridge (pitted cherries soaked in Vodka and Kahlua, let sit for at least 2 weeks - thank you Vanessa!).

We will eat well this winter!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday shopping

Thank goodness for online shopping. I just haven't been thrilled with what I have seen locally in stores. I don't know what it is with me. I can find plenty of things for Leif, and even do pretty well shopping for Hans. But clothes shopping for me has been less than adequate.

I walked around the mall on Monday with a friend and her daughter. And granted I didn't venture over to the other side of the Gap (the non-kids side), and maybe it was just my mood when we did hit Eddie Bauer, but in person, I found nothing, which is unusual for me. And well, the stores in our mall, are just not doing it for me. I should venture into Macy's and stroll around, but I haven't.

Now sitting at home in the evenings however and I found loads of stuff flipping through catalogs. So while I am fielding e-mails back and forth between client, project manager, me and my SEM analyst I went shopping. $225 later...

I have a new coat. In olive. I just haven't had a need for a good winter coat here to this point. I have been wearing my ski jacket when needed. But this winter with us going to Alaska for Christmas... I need a new coat, badly. Hans must be feeling ok moneywise (and jobwise), since when I showed it to him and emphasized the fact that I have a 20% off coupon he said to get it if I wanted it. We confer about purchases over $100, and I don't know that he has ever said, "no". Although he will suggest, can you find something like it on Sierra Trading Post? (The answer is usually no.)

Well I also need a cute outfit for the fall. I want something that will look nice for fall family pictures at the pumpkin patch. And Vanessa has me thinking that a skirt would be great... I am being a copycat... I fell in love with this one last night, in olive. And while I am at it, the turtleneck pictured with it... in black. I picked out one other shirt on clearance and managed to, with the assistance of the 20% off coupon I have for shopping online by Sunday, keep it under $100. Now I *need* a pair of boots to go with the skirt. I didn't like the ones on JJill that are pictured with the skirt - and additionally that would have put me over that $100 mark and made me subject to Hans' approval. Anyone have any suggestions on cute leather, knee high boots that aren't over $150 (at most)? I am thinking a trip to our BRAND NEW Burlington Coat warehous might be in order this weekend in search for boots.

The weather is cooler and windy today. (Hate the wind.) So I put Leif in his new OshKosh carpenter jeans. I kind of get the inconsistent clothing sizing between brands, but within brands. Come on guys, get it together. Leif has outgrown his 18 month OshKosh summer outfits. I bought OshKosh pajamas at Costco the other day in 2T and they fit him fine with a little room to grow - he is 13 months and not huge for his age. This morning I put him in the 18 month sized carpenter jeans, fearing that they would be too small. Nope, the opposite, too big, about 3-4" too long. It is cool today, and so I rolled the cuffs, twice, put him in a long sleeved t-shirt (6-12 month sized Gymborree) and we went to school.

He was adorable, if I say so myself. I apparently wasn't the only one that thought so. His teachers all complimented his attire and his ultra-cute jeans and how they make him look like such a little man. *Sigh*.

It is the fiery foods festival this weekend here and we will likely attend Saturday morning. Not much else is going on. I might do something with the leftover plums off our tree. I am anxious to get home and see our cleaned house. We have been less than thrilled with the housecleaner and so I left a note today explicitely pointing out the things we have been less than satisfied with. We were just going to find someone else, but might as well give her the opportunity to change the things we weren't happy with first. (I have been complaining about this for weeks now.) In the area, there just aren't a lot of choices and since I have the need to keep everything above the table and have taxes paid and such (mainly due to my job and requirements I have agreed to adhere to), the choices are limited. And I could probably find fault with anyone I hired and run through the options too quickly.

Oh another breakthrough last night. Hans has agreed to let me try and find a carpenter to pay to finish our "in wall" bookshelf system. We have a coat closet next to the TV and we have partially been renovating it to in wall shelves and cupboard. This started a year and a half ago and it still sits, 25% done. The kicker is that if we are going to pay someone he wants it done right, not our method which would have likely been half-assed. He wants it to look like it always existed that way. This is a relief to me... and HE said it! I was worried of saying it myself lest he be offended that I didn't think our plan was up to par. But no. So in the next week I am going to e-mail a friend and see what her carpenter husband thinks about tackling it. I want it done soon.

Ok, off to a meeting! Have a super weekend!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I survived.

And it wasn't that bad. I worked in the lab most all of yesterday afternoon. It was quiet, no one was around, which was nice I got to work at my own pace and no one bugging me for stuff. Of course, the flip side is that I couldn't bug anyone else for stuff. I needed to have an adaptor built and there weren't any technicians around to beg to do it for me. So I had to do it. Yes, I can build stuff when need be. But it would have taken a tech 30 minutes and it took me more like an hour and a half once I found the hardware and figured out what exactly I needed for the task.

Now the stuff is sitting there, ready to be pumped down and leak tested. *My* system will be leak tight, I know. My background in ultra-high vacuum says it will be. ;-) The system I hooked to I can almost guarantee will not be leak tight because the guys on this project don't understand "outgassing" (epoxy does not hold vacuum), or the concept of wearing gloves to handle vacuum components because of the oils on your fingers. But we will make it work. Now we are waiting for the use of an UHV pump.

Amazing. I actually feel good about what I accomplished yesterday.


Leif had another good night. He woke up twice, I think. But by the time it registered he was fussing and I got up and got to his room, he was back out. So in essence, he wasn't really up I guess since I wasn't required to go calm him. My guess is that he lost his pacifier and found it again those times. Next step once the good sleeping is established will be to kick the pacifier to the curb.


This morning Leif and I went to daycare and his teacher asked how his night was. She was concerned because he slept for almost 3 hours during naptime. I reassured her that I have no problem with him sleeping that long. He is so tired lately after his busy days at school. Yesterday Leif particularly enjoyed putting yarn on contact paper... this I would have *loved* to see!


I am procrastinating work because the MKS website is down. I need some info about an instrument from there and am hoping it pops up again soon. Sure, I could find something better to do... or I could hang out here a few minutes longer.

Oh, so since some scientific minds frequent here on occasion, I will put out the word that I am looking to hire a post-doc. With my project funded (albeit as a task now under another project), I will need help. Ideally, I need someone with a background in physical chemistry, chemical physics or analytical chemistry, but I am open to consider other backgrounds (chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, nuclear physics...). Experience in ion optics, mass spectrometry and high vacuum systems would be ideal. And the kicker, the applicant must be a US citizen.

In addition to a post-doc, I have submitted an ad looking for a fellowship student (can be ongoing bachelors, Masters or Ph.D. candidate). The deal with the fellowship is that they get a stipend, tuition is paid for working summers on the project and in exchange they owe time back to the company. Instant job after graduation, pretty nice. High GPA and good academic standing is a must throughout the fellowship appointment.

Ok, must go work.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Who's watching me?

My horoscope today: "The procrastination must end -- take a deep breath and finish what you started."

Ugh. Someone is spying on me. I can find more ways to avoid doing painful tasks. And it isn't like I am sitting around doing nothing. I just find the preferred things to do.

Hans has been giving me a hard time about that I need to just do it, finish it and walk away and not look back. This one task is stressing me out big time and so I am responding by shoving it on the backburner, which is not like me. I am not a procrastinator. My husband is a great procrastinator, I am not. Until this awful task came along.

I am actually embarrassed by my lack of work ethic on this task. I told the PM (former post-doc mentor that I cannot stand) I would do it. There is part of me that is ticked at not being put on the proposal, even as a "key collaborator", yet the bulkload of the ideas on the "how to" aspect of the proposal is mine. PM asked me if I had any ideas how to do this one idea he had and I told him how I would accomplish the goal. It was funded and I was repaid with a "well now do it". I think that is partly attributing to my "yeah, bite me" attitude regarding this project.

Another aspect is that well, not all the hardware is readily available. And when I scrounge it up once, the next day it has typically disappeared again. Par for the course for working with these guys. Hans suggested I hang a sign up saying "do not disturb instrument". Ha ha ha ha. Like that would do anything. Knowing these guys, that's an invitation to tick April off by messing with her stuff.

Then there is the last part, which dare I say... the ethics of the project. I know, after reviewing a recent proposal, that this idea for the experiment is pirated directly out of someone else's proposal, and somehow, the PM got wind of it and has decided to do it himself so he can go to the funding agent and say "woohoo, look what I did, neato huh?" and then "oh really, so and so proposed the same thing? Well now you don't need to fund them!" I can't call him on it because then I will be admitting to having access to the proposal, which is strictly confidential, as the peer review process must be. Ugh.

A scientist (15 years here) I was talking to the other day told me that she felt my former post-doc mentor was jealous of me for getting the proposal funded. I said, "I doubt that, he has his own projects." She said, "yes he does, but he has *never* landed his own large proposal and everyone knows it, everything he has was handed to him when 'so and so' went to do his DC stint".

Aww, the ethics of science. Science is a brutal field amazingly. From the outside we all just appear to be a bunch of introverted nerds. Inside, not so. From the inside we are idea stealing, credit taking, schmoozers with a very apparent pecking order. Ok, not all of us are, the rest of us fall subject to the first batch and in some twisted way aspire to be like the others like we did with the popular kids in high school. Can I change careers now? SAHM is sounding nice right now.

After 404 days...

we have through the night sleep! Yessiree! Leif went down at about 7:40am. I was reading to him, he actually crawled out of my lap and went to his crib, hands on the rails and fussed. I thought fine, into the crib you go. Layed his head down and 10 minutes later was out.

I woke at 2am, certain I heard him fussing. Got up and got a sippy of milk and went into his room. Nope, sound asleep. At 4am I woke up, preparing myself for the eventuality of hearing a crying baby in the next 20 minutes. Then I woke at 5am and started the countdown... 1 hour and he officially (in my mind) slept through the night. Sure enough, he was up about 6:25, 11 hours later!

I must go knock on wood lest I risk jinxing myself.


Last night after the bath Leif was doing his typical wriggle out of my grasp and run through the house giggling, butt naked. He is too cute. But something weird happened this time. He went running out of his bedroom, took a right into the bathroom. So I jumped up, knowing he would race to the tub and try to get back in. I was about 4 steps behind him when he let out a blood curdling scream and started sobbing.

I still don't know what happened. His feet were fine. I thought maybe he stepped on something, he didn't. The only thing I can guess is that the light was off and the darkness scared him. I am still perplexed.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Busy boy!

Sunday Leif and I were playing in his room. He was being cute, so I ran to get the camera. I hunted around a little, trying to remember where I last left it. No worries because Leif's room is babyproofed, or so I thought... this is what I came back to...

I snapped the picture quick before running and grabbing him and scolding him. What you can't see is that he was pulling on the moon light cord trying to climb into the window sill.

The table and chairs now sits in the MIDDLE of the room.

One growing boy

Unreal. Leif wore his yellow Gymborree Hawaiian shirt and hat for the last time this weekend. Well and the hat wouldn't really fit, so he didn't even wear that. The kid has spanned nearly 3 sizes in one season. He started this summer in a few short sleeved 9 month shirts and shorts because the 12 month sizes were so baggy. He quickly abandoned those 9 month sizes and into 12 months. In July we made a trip to the Carters outlet in Colorado where I couldn't believe I was buying 18 month rompers for him. Just last week we realized the reason the snaps won't stay done below is that they are too small. I refuse to buy more rompers (which are really perfect for daycare) in 2T right now. So he will have to make do with what he has left, there are a few things that fit still. But sheesh! Someone tell me this rate of growth does not continue.

(And I am really hoping all those one piece 18 month long sleeved rompers I bought for a great deal at Costco months ago are going to fit still...)

Leif has a new thing going. Vocabulary. It is starting to increase gradually. Mama and dada are staples, although I sometimes still get called "dada". The other day he said "Win" when I was calling Winny. The two latest are "done" and "go". I always ask him "all done?" when he eats and now he replies "done" with a nod of his head. This morning I asked "ready to go?" and he said "go" repeatedly. (I guess we needed to hurry to school.)

We had a nice weekend, albeit, far too quick for a long weekend. We started Friday with a stop at a local winery for a glass of wine and tapas with friends. It was enjoyable, even with two busy 13 month olds. I got my hair cut shortly after that. Saturday we ran a few errands, went to the grocery store, went to Farmer's Market where Hans bought loads and loads of tomatoes and I bought vegies.

Hans processed the tomatoes (about 35 lbs) through our food mill. Love that thing. He was done in about an hour, as opposed to peeling and seeding 35 lbs of tomatoes. Then he made spaghetti sauce and let it simmer all day and then half of Sunday. It was spectacular. I know it is easier to make from canned tomatoes and a lot faster, but we love the taste of the fresh tomatoes at the height of tomato season. And yes, spaghetti sauce just isn't that expensive, but we find that the canned sauces (which we do use when we run out of frozen) are very sweet. And the ones that aren't, typically cost a fortune. We now have 13 meals of spaghetti sauce frozen individually in the deep freeze.

He had intentions of doing green chili as well, but by Monday, it was time to recuperate. Sunday we went to a BBQ with many of my coworkers after a quick (but expensive) trip to Costco. I bought a second pair of size 10 jeans - and they fit! Much rejoicing and I couldn't resist wearing them to the BBQ. Leif played with the kids, Julia who is 1.5 and we tried to get him to play with Nathaniel, to no avail. This cracks me up. Leif has been in daycare with Nathaniel for nearly one year. Now they are in the same Montessori class, with the same teacher. But they act like they have no idea who each other are. And maybe they don't. They don't see each other out of the daycare room. I guess one of the things that perplexes me about this is that Nathaniel is black, and we know so few black people. (This area is particularly white and Hispanic.) I would have thought that Nathaniel would have stood out in Leif's mind.

We were marvelling about this at the BBQ and Tony (division director) made the comment that at this age, other kids are just objects. Maybe right, but I don't necessarily agree with this, because Leif and Cate really do interact with each other. They smile, laught, hold hands. They typically play next to each other and not really together, but they know the other exists. Anyways, kids this age are really fascinating to me!

Vanessa and I took the kids and shopped Sunday afternoon. I picked up a few books for Leif and one for me. We went to Gap and I bought Leif some new clothes with his "appreciation card". I have successfully stretched the $500 card he won last year in the Gap online contest over a year. I could have spent it all at once, but I wanted a variety of things that I probably wouldn't normally have purchased. There is $50 left, that I am thinking we will buy a cute winter coat. I bought him a pea coat last year from Children's Place on sale for like $12. But it won't be a good daily coat. I am waiting to see what options exist in the next few months at the Gap since he doesn't need it quite yet. We bought lots of long sleeved shirts, a few pairs of pants, etc. At Children's Place he got the cutest flannel lined brown corduroy overalls and matching hat. They will be perfect for our trip to the pumpkin patch!

Today was brutal getting up and out of the house to walk Winny. She was especially happy to go on our walk. Leif had a great night, up once at 4am, drank some milk from a sippy cup and was back down shortly after. Ok, honest truth... this is how it was... he was initially up at 4:04 am. Hans got up with him, but was back to bed at 4:08am. I *knew* this wasn't going to do it and was wishing he would have given it a little more time. Sure thing... at 4:20am I was up with him and got him down again after milk and chatting some. He slept until 7am, 11 hours total. He is doing fabulous!

Today he brought snack to daycare. We brought plums off our tree and yogurt. I hope that was ok. I need to take a better look at the suggestion list for next time. Leif got there, kissed me goodbye and went to wash his hands for snack. His teachers told me how well he is doing. And it is evident. He walks in the room and typically takes only a minute to adjust before he is off and busy.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A momentous day

Last night Leif slept the entire night in his crib, in his room. Note I didn't say that he slept THROUGH the night. Oh no, that would be too much to ask! But we are getting there. And I don't mind the time.

We have finally decided however, after last night, that I do think that The Sleep Lady is wrong in her assessment that toddlers don't need to eat between dinner and breakfast. Last night, Leif would not be comforted, spit out the pacifier. He would fall asleep and wake up wailing 5 minutes later. Finally Hans went against "the shuffle" and heated up a 6 oz bottle. In his crib, Leif ate the entire thing in record time. Then put the bottle down and rolled over and fell asleep and slept until 7am.

Leif is not a good eater. He is getting better, but I am really thinking that he just isn't to that point where he can go without eating from 7pm to 7am. We will get there, but for the time being, if we have to get up and give him a bottle, as long as he isn't using it to fall back asleep, we will do it. I can't stand the idea of making him sleep when he is hungry.

And it isn't like my level of "hungry". Oh gee, I haven't eaten in a few hours, I am craving chips, I must be hungry... eat, eat, eat. Leif doesn't eat when he isn't hungry. He is adament about that. At what age do we lose this seemingly valuable trait?


I don't know that there is much I can say that hasn't already been said. Devastating, heartbreaking, agonizing...

The pictures on TV are tearing at me. It is horrible and it makes me want to turn it off and quit watching. How convenient for me, I can reach up and shut off the suffering and go play with my son on the floor with his toys. I have the luxury of being able to turn it off. Guilt.

The situation there is horrid and getting worse instead of better. To me, the pain of what is going on there is more real than 9-11 for some reason. I mourned and vowed revenge to those who commited the 9-11 atrocities. But there is no one here to vow revenge on, Mother Nature? And the suffering of those directly affected is greater with Katrina. I see it on TV, see people begging for help, yet there is very little I can reasonably do aside from donate money and hope it gets to where it needs to go.

It isn't feasible for me to pack up, drive to New Orleans and start packing people out. I don't have a medical background to assist. Or am I just making up excuses. Excuses that make no difference whatsoever to the people affected down there.

In every child's face on TV, I see Leif. The desperation of the parents kills me. I would be equally desperate. I saw a woman on TV last night screaming and crying that her baby was lethargic and she needed help. That is an image that has forever been burnt on my mind. I will never forget her pleading.

This isn't halfway around the world. We aren't seeing pictures out of Afghanistan or Iraq that are removed from our daily life. These people are our people. They are tourists who were visiting a great fun city and have been trapped. They are moms, dads, grandparents, sisters, brothers...

Hans works for a company that has sites in the area, two labs. There was at least one person employed that lost everything. We hope to donate to this person. I have a great need to help someone directly and not just blindly write a check. Then Hans told me that his company has spent a large sum of money on generators to get their labs back up and running. His coworkers are questioning the motives here... they can outsource their samples to the other sites. Hans' lab could pick up the work for example. They could instead of spending the money, set up a refuge site, put the generator somewhere where power is really needed, instead of the lab. They are frustrated. But maybe, is it at all better to start getting people back to normal? Give them a job to go to? Will that, in the end, help more with recovery in the outlying areas?

I don't have the answers obviously, no one does. But I have lots of prayers to offer.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Random Thursday

So I mentioned yesterday what a crack up telecon started out being yesterday, but never elaborated. I love working with this team, they keep me in stitches. I hadn't laughed this hard in awhile, I had tears streaming down my face. (This might quite possibly be one of those things where "you had to be there".)

First off my project manager tells us that his wife has him up walking the dog at 4:30am with her. She walks with her friends and their dogs at 5am, but their dog is getting too old to keep up. So the plan she hatched was to get up with him at 4:30am and take the dog, then meet up with her friends and he would walk the dog home. Not his idea of fun and games. He was grumpy and quiet yesterday morning and she said, "well you don't have to go if you have better things to do". His response, "umm sleep?" So he dragged himself out, all the while thinking she is a nutcase. She is jabbering away, he is quiet, when all of a sudden she says out of the blue, "oh look, there's a UFO". Then goes on with what she was talking about before. He thought she was testing him, to see if he was really listening. So he stopped her and said, "what? UFO?" She points up to the sky and says "right there" and goes on jabbering about something else. Sure enough... he looks up and there is a low flying red and blue flashing lighted object in the sky.

This story is finishing and we are thinking project manager is a little nutty himself with Tom, my former team lead, walks in. Ok, you have to know Tom. He is single, quiet, and a big man. Poor guy needs a wife to buy him clothes. The other day Mary accused him of being like Britney Spears (exposed belly). Tom is easy to fluster and turns red in a second (like someone else I know... myself).

The guys all start harping on Tom's newly grown moustache. It is a hideous looking thing... and I LIKE facial hair. But it looks as though a big fat hairy black caterpillar crawled onto his lip and took up residence. It looks like he uses Grecian for men because he is grey, completely, but the moustache is black.

Anyways, after feeling thoroughly ribbed to pieces, Tom admits that the reason he is growing a moustache is for a wedding. Ok, that only peaked our interest! He tells us that his student has requested that every man attending her wedding sport a moustache.

Ok now how odd is that. I was dying. I was rolling. I had tears rolling down my cheeks from laughing so hard. Ok, I feel kind of bad now for laughing so hard, but the student wasn't there. So I don't feel totally bad. Tom later brought the invitation by my office for proof. Sure enough, right there in plain English that all men in attendence are asked to wear a moustache. Now seriously...

My only hope is that there are some pictures that manage to surface here at work from this wedding. Because I fully admit that this has got to be the funniest requests I have ever read about... and I was a participant on a wedding board, I heard PLENTY!


So I dropped Leif off at school this morning. His teacher told me that he is the daredevil. He stood on a chair and tried to jump off it yesterday. Success was not his.

His classroom has had to change a recent policy thanks to Leif. They have always allowed the kids the opportunity to wash their hands whenever they want. They have a little stool they get down, climb on the little stool to the kid height sink and scrub a dub away. Evidently I should be watching my son for OCD because he will wash his hands They cannot keep him away from the sink. This has resulted in spoiled fun for everyone. The stool is now up high and the kids have to "ask" to wash their hands. And to top it off, the child washing their hands must be guarded from the Leifster, who beelines to the sink and pushes his way up onto the stool. Images of bodies flying left and right as Leif dives into the sink...

Leif loves water. At home he loves water, at school he loves water. He got this from his swimmer daddy. I am thinking he might have also gotten his streaking behavior from daddy too... Yesterday was water day at school. They put the kids in diapers only for water play most of the time. Sometimes a t-shirt. Leif had just a diaper and he decided that playing in the sprinkler would be so much more fun au natural. Leifster is now Leifstreakster.