Monday, October 31, 2005


This weekend I told Leif he couldn't do something, redirected him, pulled him away, etc. This apparently ticked him off more than he could stand. A normal ticked off Leif will throw himself on the floor and scream and wail until he either gets what he wants (which is never once this behavior sets in) or is successfully redirected.

The ultimate ticked off Leif has a new tactic:

1. Beg for lunchbox from counter. (Mommy complies, a little confused... why would he want his lunchbox?)
2. Walk to the laundry room and work on turning the knob to the garage. (An equally perplexed daddy complies mostly out of curiousity.)
3. Go place the lunchbox by mommy's door and stand patiently at Leif's door to the Four Runner. (Dad goes over to him.)
4. Realize that it isn't mommy coming out, so go over to daddy's car and wait to be put in.

So it appears that when mommy is mean, Leif would rather just head to school than put up with mommy's BS. (Oh bruised ego.)


Why going to the mailbox is now a forbidden activity...

Getting the mail is an ultra-dangerous proposition. Last spring I headed to the mailbox and took a header into the concrete sidewalk. Friday I headed to the mailbox, Winny and Leif in tow. Winny was being her normal spazzo self, "oh I am so excited to go to the mailbox, oh yay, we are at the mailbox, oh yay, let's leave the mailbox". Leif decides to follow Winny and turns around to take an unassisted step OFF the curb. GACK! I swing around to grab him and roll my foot, leg and upper body OVER my ankle and off the curb (and my 2" clogs).

Ouch. I get Winny to come and "SIT" next to me (just off the curb) and I grab Leif's (thankfully zippered) coat. Then I sit there with tears rolling down my face trying not to sob too hard. AB was at work and so I sat there actually hoping and praying one of my neighbors either saw me go down and could tell I needed help, or maybe one would wander by.

10 minutes later, still crying, no dice. I HAVE to get back to the house. I grabbed Leif's coat and we crossed the street, I was wincing with every step. Got to the yard, let Leif go and sat on the grass for another 10 minutes before I could bear getting up and going to the phone to tell AB that he was NOT working late tonight and to get home asap.

I hate being injured. So now I had a head cold, and a bum ankle. I heard something pop when I went down and was pretty convinced I had broken it. AB did come home and got Leif fed and ready for bed. I resolved to re-evaluate the ankle in the morning and see if a trip to the ER was warranted.

Long story short, the thing is bruised all over, and still painful. I did manage to get a shoe on however both Saturday to go to Target, and today for work. It is a hiking boot, and so I am *gasp* wearing my hiking boots to work. (no sarcasm intended) I could get the clogs on, but umm yeah, not going there even in the name of fashion.

I can walk on it, so even if I have a broken bone, it isn't a weight bearing bone and therefore nothing will be done. More likely according to my mom, who as a marathon runner is a foot guru, I popped a tendon. All the symptoms indicate this. Painful.


AB had a ton of work this weekend. It was month end at work and so he busted his butt working late each night and going into work on Sunday. He also had a program to run for one of his classes - and no homemade programs by professors can be run without a whole gamut of complications, it is a rule. And he had a 10 page paper due. So AB was scarce.

The pillows

Leif was getting tired of toting around a cripple and insisted on a trip to Target to brighten his spirits. (Not. He despises shopping more than dad.) We needed to go out for a few things and pillows was one of them. (Leif was the lucky recipient of the FP Little People Garage purchased with Halloween money from Grandma however... that toy is ruling his life right now.)

AB and I have a pillow problem. There was one comfortable pillow in the entire house. We have a problem buying them. We buy a couple and a few days after bringing them home, they suck and are relegated to the guest bedroom, to holding the pillow shams, and to Leif's room to play with. We seriously have like 14 pillows in the house.

So the one comfortable pillow just happened to be mine. I am quite positive AB and Leif are in cahoots. Leif would get up and need attention, I would go tend to him and return to AB having stolen my pillow. Fine, no big deal, give me yours I would tell him. No, he couldn't do that to me, he wouldn't want me to have a shitty night's sleep. Awww, the guilt.

So we needed at least one new pillow. The perception AB has is that *I* am the only one capable of picking out a decent pillow and that *I* should just go to the store and pick out one for him based off what I would like. He was off the hook since he was so busy and I complied with this request in order to relieve MY pillow of it's frequent kidnapping.

I went to Target and was shocked to find that they carried a whole 5 types of pillows. We have a small Target, but it is a Target nonetheless. This one is too hard, this one is too soft, aww... this one is JUST right. I bought two, they were $2.99 each. Yes, you read right... $2.99. I have spent $50 on a pillow that was uncomfortable as hell. I figured why not try the $2.99 pillow?

I replaced the summer quilt with the down comforter and duvet and new pillows and AB hasn't had *this* good of night in months. He slept like a log on his $2.99 pillow.

Ok, so maybe the pillows die a premature death, but for $3 if I need to buy a new pillow each 6 months I will do it. The things we do for comfort.

Here is another case of who are you and what have you done with my husband? I got home from Target and AB said, "oh I wish I would have thought about it before you went to Target, we need some new towels, the old ones are getting really bad, and the "new" ones should be replaced and relegated to "old towel" status". He may think it was just fortuitous that he said it AFTER we returned from Target... but I have learned... I put it on my to do list so I don't forget.

Fatty foods, so good yet so bad

Last night we made pork tenderloin with green peppercorn cream sauce, roasted asparagus and potato galette. It is one of our stand by master dinners. It was made even better by having an assortment of 12 bottles of wine to taste that K&V dropped off. They had worked one of the big regional wine judgings and since the half empty bottles just get tossed, they managed to get out with 24 half bottles and dropped half of them off for our tasting enjoyment.

I love, love, love my green peppercorn cream sauce. It is just impossible for me not to sip little tastes of it while simmering. Then on my pork tenderloin? Every bite was sopped. I even contemplated how I would make a soup out of this stuff.

Let's just say that is a bad idea. Man did my stomach pay. It is just now recovering. I am quite certain I gained back a few pounds of pure fat from that stuff. I guess the good thing is that I made myself thoroughly sick of fat, heavy, cream sauces and am craving a salad tonight.


Happy Halloween!

Pictures will go up tomorrow I hope. Leif was quite intrigued as we walked through the halls of his school with all the masks and outfits that the kids were wearing. He was only a little disconcerted as we walked into his room and everyone was fascinated with his ears. He didn't quite realize that he too was wearing a costume and every bit as fascinating in appearance as everyone else.

Friday, October 28, 2005


The whole family needs a weekend. This week has flown by for me, but it has been a good week aside from getting a head cold.

The highlight of my week was the promotion. I am still enjoying knowing that in just a few short months I will be making more money. I divulged the info on my promotion to the biggest mouth in my division and am plain curious to see how quickly the info spreads. She asked what my mentor thought about it and I told her the honest truth, that he was thrilled and said that my promotion to 4 could be nearer than I think. (I couldn't resist including the later statement.)

Now this woman, who is my new level for some unknown reason (believe me, UNKNOWN reason and is poster child for milking a charge code dry) and has only been with the company for 1.5 years tells me, "oh they will never promote you until you bring down your own grant, that's what they told me which is why I am switching to management". (Her in management... whole other story.) I replied, "remember my proposal? You know the funded one?" Oh yeah, she replies. Well you will need another one then. Apparently she knows more than my mentor who is levels above us all, and has been with the company for 20 years?

I got my hair trimmed last night after cancelling my appointment twice before. I thought about cancelling again since I was sick, but didn't. I decided while I was there for my reward to myself, since the Pottery Barn buffet I want is not an option for awhile longer, to schedule a massage next Friday evening. A hot stone 1 hour massage. I so need that. I was going to do a pedicure, my indulgence, but I haven't had a massage in so long.

I woke up this morning, after having a horrible nights sleep since Leif was up every half hour from 2am to 3:30am coughing, to Leif singing in his bedroom. So, so cute. It just melts my heart. It was more of a "la la la" combined with humming, no words, but definitely singing. What a nice way to wake up instead of to the alarm clock.

I spent today working with a coworker on our project in another lab. I run the "bench scale" system, he runs the "full scale" system. I have never gone down and helped him before, but I had a great time. We were scrambling to correct problems a few times, and we had lots of laughs while he divulged embarrassing moments about our PM to me. It was fun. The run was to take an hour and I was down there for 3 hours because of the problems we kept encountering. But the other option was to come back here and work on a proposal... I don't think so.

So that proposal I need to be working on... yeah well I should go. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sucks to be sick

I have managed (not surprisingly) to pick up Leif's head cold. I just hate being sick. At this point I am just really hoping it doesn't make its way to my chest, like 95% of my colds do. Which then leads to bronchitis where for 2-3 weeks I will be coughing and sound like hell.

I am wading through the things that need to be done. This week has actually been quite productive, mostly in part due to a large number of people that I work with attending a couple conferences. With so many people out, my productivity has increased, but dampened a little by the remainder of people stuck here and not at conferences "hanging out". It's all good.

One of my coworkers was interviewed by Playboy for some research he has done. Seriously! I am dying of curiousity to read it. AB may have to buy one. Apparently he also offered to pose to go along with the article, but was politely turned down. ;-) I asked him if he included this in his fact sheet, and yes, he did. But our manager has yet to mention or question why exactly it pertained to his work. I can tell he is dying while waiting for her to ask.

More on the rollercoaster bit I mentioned the other day with Leif. Yesterday his teacher told me that they actually do not show the kids that they can push the trikes up the "rollercoaster" and that Leif figured it out on his own. I said, "well certainly the older kids must do it and he saw them". No, said his teacher. There has only been one other child in the 6 years she has taught this class that did that and he is now long gone. Another thing about this other child was that it took him weeks to figure out how to get onto the trike while it is perched up on top of the first hill. That would be get down and walk to the stairs, but I guess most kids are just slower on the uptake. EXCEPT for my son! No, Leif (genius daredevil boy) figured out the first day to get down off the hill and walk to the stairs and that the trike remained there where he can climb onto it and then careen down at speeds faster than light. *Most* kids just walk on the rollercoaster.

Leif was in the sandbox when I picked him up yesterday. A little girl in the class above him was sitting next to him, shovelling sand ONTO Leif. (rolling my eyes) THIS is why not only his shoes are full of sand, but frequently his diaper too. Nice. (Brat.)

This weekend will be full of house chores that need to be done. Our shower is leaking somehow and we need to fix this. The drywall on one side is starting to look bad and the trim is warping. In looking at this preliminarily I think that the caulk on the shower door has come off and that it is leaking out the side of the door. So we need to take the trim off, sand down the wall, repair it if necessary, buy a new piece of trim, etc.

What this more means to me is that we might need to PAINT the bathroom!! I love painting! We haven't painted anything since Leif's room when he was still in utero. Our house seems half done to me because the styles don't flow. But the rooms we don't "live" in are the ones that aren't painted. (Library, Formal Dining room that has no furniture, Guest room) Oh wait, we do live in the Master Suite and it isn't painted. So guess what?!?

I am thinking that I *could* paint the Master bath over my Thanksgiving break, especially if I taped it all off on a Sunday night. Then Monday that I am off, take Leif to daycare and paint (I am envisioning a nice grey-ish lavender... This is among my other list of things to do over Thanksgiving week like finish the quilt I started 2 years ago, finish Leif's one year scrapbook, organize my recipes, make a new Christmas tree skirt and not to mention prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Ambition is my middle name.

There is also one area that I still would like to go and look at lots in. We have kind of quit looking for lots recently now that Leif is on a better sleep schedule and we aren't relying on driving him around in the car to get him down for a nap. I would like, if we have time, to drive out and look at these lots this weekend, in between picking up the house, tearing down the outside yard furniture and gardens, and repairing the shower bay. And Hans has a 10 page paper due Monday? No problem! ;-)

Well I need to devote a little time today to my proposal and pushing it forward. Have a good night!

A few promised pictures

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


It is nice that the grounds people here at work provide so much entertainment for us meager scientists squirrelled away in our offices. It is October, yes October, when it starts to freeze. Yet a grounds person was out pulling weeds (good thing) and planting, yes PLANTING the two concrete pots in front of our building!

To their benefit I suppose, they were planting ornamental cabbage which is cold hardy. There was some forethought to this. I walked in with one of our admin the other day and we both got inside the door and pondered why exactly money was being spent to plant things in October, likely weeks, maybe even days before it will freeze. I have been contemplating removing my green tomatoes in preparation for an impending freeze.

The next day I got to work and was happy to see that the company evidently saw another purpose in planting that I, in my naive view, did not see . No, I forgot about the poor little bunny rabbits that reside in the bushes that we are "encouraged" NOT to feed lest the multiply, well, like rabbits. (The summer students repeatedly ignore this request and find great entertainment in feeding the rabbits whatever out of their lunch that they can live without. And let me tell you, those girls apparently don't need *anything* to live on... at least when sitting with the guys.)

The two big concrete pots, a mere 16 hours after planting housed 6 stumps each where the ornamental cabbage USED to live. The rabbits will now live for the entire winter and can hibernate happily.

Finally the day has come

My manager called me last night before I left and told me that they had the promotion meeting last week and that I have been promoted to "Senior Research Scientist". Yay!

I am happy, probably not as happy as I should be mostly because I feel it should have happened last year but it didn't for whatever reason (and I have theories, believe me... but I won't go into it here, but you can scroll back to last year at this time to read them). Anyways, happy mostly because that means I don't have to go be confrontational and reconsider my career path.

I am very happy at this level and if I never got another promotion I would be content with my career. This is a level which many scientists opt to stay at their entire career if they choose. So my plan is to hang out here at this level until Leif and any other future children are in school and possibly then push forward. My mentor disagrees with this and stated in an e-mail to me this morning that the next promotion is probably closer than I realize.

I will get a salary action to go along with the promotion, but numbers haven't been put out yet. My personal goal is that when I have a second child to be in a position to where I can cut my work schedule back to between 75-80% time to have more time with family.

Of course my good news was immediately shadowed by a call from daycare... Leif fell and chipped a tooth on the concrete. Poor guy. Evidently he took it well, no bleeding, no swelling. You can just barely see the chip. Regardless, I plan to take him in to have it smoothed out and looked at.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The fog

It has returned. Fall comes in slowly here, hot days, followed by a wonderful Indian summer when suddenly one morning you wake up socked in by fog. Then it burns off and you have a wonderful day, but pretty soon the fog will be a day in day out thing.

Growing up in Wyoming and Colorado I don't remember fog except a rare occasion. Well duh, we weren't near the ocean or a large number of bodies of water. I remember as a kid on one of the rare foggy days in Wyoming my mom told me that the fog was just clouds on the ground. I thought this was SO cool and played outside in the clouds all day. I even went out and took a container to put the clouds in to save. I debated on how I would decide to open the container to release the cloud one day... I likely never opened the container, because I have resolve and willpower like no ones business (as opposed to my sister who got the short end of the stick there). Instead my mom probably found it, opened it and released my cloud and put the container in the dishwasher one day.

Here we have the distant ocean, but mostly a large number of rivers. I remember my first year here, I counted 30 days straight of dreary fog before a sunny day hit. This is actually rare, but I found it concerning after growing up in sunshine Colorado and going to grad school in Reno. I do need the sun.

I like the fog as long as I can stay in my house with a cup of coffee or hot tea or cocoa and watch it roll by outside. I even like walking in the fog with Winny. I do not, however, like driving in fog (especially with some nitwit in a blue Buick riding my tail with a cup of coffee in one hand and the cell phone in the other...). Give me a snow storm anyday over fog for driving. There are days when I have parked in my parking lot (feeling semi-sure it was my parking lot) and not being able to see the building 50 feet away. Driving down the highway at 55mph in this, not my idea of fun!

I am busy here at work today, which is not new. My good project is running out of money currently and the PM had to make some tough decisions in concert with the client's PM. Decision was that the focus would be (drum roll)... my project. Sigh. Mixed blessing. I love the fact that this is big on their plate right now and that they are very confident about taking this to the industry floor, this also translates back to me and my team as we will hold the patent and it appears that licensing is likely, which also means royalties. So I need to get this to market so to speak.

But then the other side of the coin is that I am damn busy with other stuff and I am one of only a few people who can actually cover my time 100% right now. The other people whose tasks were put on hold pending the new year are not in the same boat as me. They are scrambling. I was able to offer one guy tasks on my project to do, basically keep my hardware up and running. But this takes a few hours a week at most. Where they are used to charging 20+ hours to the project.
Anyways, that is the status here at work. I have an abstract to submit for a conference in Hawaii which if accepted I will likely not be able to attend because it is on that one former project of mine, and funding is questionable. I don't blame them really. But I also don't really want to take the time to write the abstract either. Oh well.

Ok, I have to do some scrambling now... rumor is out there that promotion talk has begun.

Monday, October 24, 2005

A Leifer Update

It is 8pm, AB is in class, Leif is sleeping and an hour before Las Vegas is on... oops I don't "really" watch that mindless show...

So here I am, my favorite topic to blog about - Leif.

A Boy and His Dog:
Today Leif and I went to pick up Winny at the groomers after work. Leif is quite taken with Winny - Winny not quite as taken with Leif, but she loves him. One day when Leif throws her ball further than 2 feet in front of his feet she will realize his worth.

We picked up Winny at Petsmart (image to ponder, one antsy dog ready to leave Petsmart, one toddler with a ball, one big bag of dog food and one mom). Umm yeah. I get Win-dog and the food in the back of the 4 Runner and put Leif in his carseat, still rearfacing (because that is the safest way for him to ride). He loves it when he can see Winny back there and willingly gets into the carseat. I am thinking Winny is condemned to start riding wherever we go now.

Leif is sitting there, reaches out his hand, points at her and clearer than any other polysyllabic word he has ever said states, "Winny!" Ok, so it was more like "weenie", but it was SOO cute. He repeated it once, but I couldn't coax it out of him again.

Plain Rude:
This weekend AB sat down on the floor to read to Leif. Leif starts scowling at him and finally gets up, yanks the book out of his hands and marches over to me and hands the book to me. Then sits himself down and smiles, waiting attentively for me to read it.

Mean mommy said no. Handed the book back to AB for him to read, while I sat with them.

My Daredevil:
Daycare has a "rollercoaster" in the yard. It takes work, but guess who loves it? You guessed it. He rolls the car from across the yard, up the roller coaster, rests it at the top. Crawls down and goes over and climbs the long set of stairs to the top where he perches himself precariously on the cart and inches forward. Within seconds my son careens down the slope, surmounts the next hill, flies down the second slope and onto the grass where the cart comes to a rest 50 feet from the end of the roller coaster. Seeing him do this just made my heart pound!

[The truth: Daycare has a "rollercoaster" in the yard. It takes work, but guess who loves it? You guessed it. He rolls the car from across the yard [5 feet away], up the [plastic slope] roller coaster, rests it at the top. Crawls [steps] down and goes over and climbs the long set of stairs [set of two steps] to the top [8-10 inches off the grass] where he perches himself precariously on the cart and inches forward. Within seconds my son careens [rides] down the slope, surmounts [barely coasts over] the next hill, flies [rolls] down the second slope and onto the grass where the cart comes to a rest 50 feet [maybe 5 feet] from the end of the roller coaster. Seeing him do this just made my heart pound!]

Trip to the doctor:
Leif went to the doctor last week to have her look at his non-infected ears. I was *positive* we would get there only to have them infected. But it could have been teeth (molars) making him fussy. Apparently it was molars. But the doctor did get to see that he does occasionally NOT have an ear infection. But I fear the next infection will result in a referral to an ENT for tubes. Ack. In the meantime he got his first half dose of the flu shot and was found to weigh 24 lbs and 6 oz. We shared a scone afterwards - truth be told I was allowed to have a few bites of his scone.

Since getting over the ear infections Leif's vocabulary has continued to grow, ever so slowly. He is getting better about using mama and dada appropriately. However, it is amazing how much stuff sounds like "da", like "doggie" and "done". It is all about the context.

"Juice" is the newly mastered word, that sounds more like "oose" (rhymes with moose). Rice is kind of like eyes, which saying that particular word will yield a tiny little finger dart aimed right at the iris. Thank goodness for eyelids.

Milk is still a quick yank at mom's neckline on the shirt and a glance downward and whining, even though he has been weaned for 5 weeks. I am shocked that he still associates milk with mom's chest!

Leif is sleeping like a pro and we have (knock on wood) seem to have surmounted the 5am wakings. He is up routinely at 3-4am for a bottle, drinks it quick and is out equally as quick until about 7am. I am loving the time in the morning to walk Winny and get back and shower and get ready without someone hanging from my legs. It goes so much quicker. And AB is loving the sleep in time.

I would post a picture from the pumpkin patch, but damn Netscape will not let me upload a picture. And since I am not feeling like switching browsers, relogging in, copying this post over all to upload a picture it will have to wait till tomorrow.

Have a good night!


So after taking a day off for Ropes and having a weekend, I am here at work playing catch up. Thought I would take a break from today's fiascos to write a little.

So last Friday was Ropes... that was different. It was like an all day adult recess. Which would have been a lot of fun if you were one of those people that liked recess. I, otoh, as a child found recess painful. I was so shy that by the time I worked up the nerve to go ask if I can play with the other kids, the bell would ring. Then it would start over at next recess, work up that nerve and the bell rings. Eventually I quit trying to work up the nerve and would just walk the perimeter of the playground. I did, eventually, find a good friend in 3rd grade and we were inseperable until I moved at the end of 8th grade. I was just one of those kids that did better one on one.

Ok, so I digressed. The thing about this "recess", at least for me, is that I felt like most everyone there was probably one of those nerdy kids that found recess a waste of time and would have rather been inside studying. But here there was NO competition, just team building. (And I am NOT one of those anti-competition people.) I walked onto the Ropes course a skeptic and finding the whole process quite painful (and some of it was literally, painful), but I left happy.

Some of the challenges initially seemed as thought they were aimed at 10 year olds. Like, pick what superhero you are based upon these qualities. (I already forgot who I was... something to do with being dependable.) But in the end, they all had "lessons" that anyone could take from. There was a lot of symbolism and metaphors, yet they didn't take a whole lot to figure out. The tasks were physically challenging at times and it was completely necessary to get over any fears of being touched or someone in your personal space in order to have success.

My favorite challenge was the Spider Web, but probably because I was one of the main organizers for my team during this challenge AND I only had to be lifted up and passed through the web once, as opposed to 10 times like some other people.

The last section was the actual Ropes. The catwalk and the trapeze. I had intended on doing both, but was not in the first group of people for the trapeze. I knew that as a former gymnast I would have no issues with the catwalk. Actually I was wrong. My issues weren't with the catwalk, however, it was getting up TO the catwalk. Climbing the staples on the phone pole, even while harnessed up, was very scary to me. Getting OFF the staples and onto the catwalk was difficult. I don't have a fear of heights, but I have a fear of falling.

After watching the trapeze I knew there was just no way I could climb the staples and get myself to a standing position on the top of a telephone pole (not quite as tall) and then jump. So I finished with the catwalk. Many of my team members had a real difficulty with the trapeze, people who I wouldn't have thought would. It wasn't a difficult decision to keep my feet on the ground for that one.

All in all, I had a really great day. This may have been the first ever "recess" I ever enjoyed. Even when we played "chase" I proved myself to be among the more athletic by lasting untagged until the last 3 people.

I will close in saying, if you get a chance to participate in a Ropes course. Do it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pure torture for those afraid of heights

Tomorrow I will be flying through air with the greatest of ease (not) and leaping tall buildings (yeah right). Really I am just participating in a Ropes course with a number of other similar level scientists in my lab. I am not enthused. I have had two people, who I like and trust, tell me it is a lot of fun. Today one of them assured me that he panics greatly with heights, but LOVES participating in ropes courses. Aw well, we shall see.

Honestly, I have a lot to do and would to some degree, rather be here working. (Me=Geek)

I searched and searched today for long (longer than 7") forceps, tweezers or fine touch tongs with teflon coated tips. Anybody looking for an idea for going into business? Make these. No one makes them. Ok, I did find one place, but at $50-$60 a pop and a minimum purchase of 3.

I had a patent filed yesterday. I was a co-PI listed on it. Thrilled? Not really. I could kind of care less actually. It is on my project, oh excuse me, FORMER project that I didn't care for. I didn't even read the 55 pages of legal speak, that's how interested I was. This may sound silly, but all it was for any of us was a fact sheet builder. Something to put on a bid for promotion or big raise next year. It is not, despite all the wishings of the other PI's, going to get licensed or even recognized. The legal group here was strong armed into filing patent application (thanks to the big mouth of the PI) after they initially rejected the submission of intellectual property. In other words, they didn't care or see the point either.

I have a proposal draft due next week for my good project. I am responsible for composing a quarter of the $1.2 million proposal for next year. Yay!

I am feeling sad though today despite the two above reasonably good things. We have had a number of people tell us they would consider visiting for Thanksgiving and now all have bailed. I don't know why this hurts my feelings so much, especially considering it happens almost every year. But it does. It hurts my feelings when it is my family that bails. It hurts Hans' feelings when it is his family, which then makes me sad that he is sad. And all the while I think to myself why does no one want to come to our house and see our family, or at least Leif? Is there something wrong with us? Is my house not clean enough? Do I not host well? Do they not like my food? Do they just not understand the $$ and difficulties involved in traveling with a toddler to them? It just makes me really, really sad as I see how fast Leif is growing up and how little effort anyone makes to come see him and what a wonderful little boy he is. (tears) Ok, I am not going down this road yet again with whining about this.

The time has come. I must go pick up Leif, then Hans and then lastly my 4Runner at the dealership where it has been in for the 2nd time in 1 week for warranty work. Hans is thrilled because it means he "has" to leave work on time tonight.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Who are you and what have you done with my husband

AB: I am home.

NM: Hi honey, what movie did you get?

AB: Monster in Law with Jane Fonda and J Lo.

NM: (giggles) You are kidding, what did you get?

AB: No, have you seen the previews they look really funny!

NM: I don't think I have. (stiffling giggles)

After movie.

AB: They just don't make comedies like they used to.

NM: No honey, they just don't. (stiffling laughter - NOT from the movie)

Monday, October 17, 2005

"When I grow up I want to be?"

What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you that now? Have you ever doubted what you do now and wished you did something else? And if so, more or less technical than your current position?

When I was about 4 my grandmother asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told her I wanted to be a nurse just like her. She told me, "no, you don't want to be a nurse, you want to be a doctor!" From that point through most of my life I either wanted to be a doctor or a scientist. I had episodes of wanting to be an astronaut, or an archeaologist, things that usually coincided with what I was studying in school. And then I went through the art phase... I was an "honor art student" in high school. At my high school reunion my "friends" were surprised to hear that my Ph.D. was not in art, but science. Yes, I can draw and paint and I have a portfolio hidden in the back of my closet that can only be coaxed out with some really good wine.

Most of my high school friends weren't the smartest cookies on the block and we almost never talked school. I guess it never mattered that I wasn't in their classes other than art. A few knew what classes I was in, but not many. I think many actually didn't have any idea what calculus was, let alone it was offered at our school...

In college, (I always knew I would go to college and I wanted to go to college badly) I started as a double major, art and biology. But I hated the memorization of biology and sucked at it. The art appealed to my creative side, but I hated being graded and told what to draw. Then I started rocking my chemistry tests and figured 'what the hell' and changed my major to straight chemistry. Oh, then I hit organic chemistry and struggled, finished o-chem but had no idea what to change my major too then, so I took the lazy route and just continued down my path until something better came to mind... I did nearly get a minor in religious studies due to my questioning my path in science... oh where would I be now with that?!?!

I ended up loving the next class in the chemistry line, physical chemistry and was sold. I was going to be a physical chemist. I was cautioned by my advisor and mentor in college who was an inorganic chemist that people become p-chemists because they like that everything comes down to a number and it isn't as simple as that. Nerd girl is still trying to figure this statement out... simplicity is good.

In grad school (after a couple years hiatus working in dermatology and skin cancer surgery trying to be sure I really didn't want to go to medical school like everyone had told me I wanted to that point) I was drawn towards surface science and not just because it was the mid-late 90's and the tech industry was booming. I really, really liked it. My post-doc was immediately post-911 and the semiconductor industry was nearly obliviated and I found myself post-doc'ing in nuclear physics and rad detection, where I have learned a lot.


I guess what I am getting at is that right now, at this point in my life, I can't imagine doing anything else. I had given thought to teaching... I was good at teaching. I won two teaching awards while in grad school, one from my department where my name hangs on a plaque at the entrance to the department. And the other was a University wide award. I liked teaching college kids, but found myself incredibly frustrated much of the time. If they would just TRY or just THINK... most college students are very, very stupid.

Hence how I have come to this point of thought in my ramblings. When I was teaching I came to the conclusion that not everyone should go to college. I have debated this many times and amazingly people feel very strongly the opposite way, that everyone should go to college. I was thinking about this feeling the other day and how I would handle it if my incredibly intelligent son, who I am quite positive will be a world reknowned strings theorist who with his charismatic personality will open the field to the understanding of millions, decided he was not going to college. *Gasp*

Before Leif I told AB that I would strongly support my child pursuing any career of his choice after high school as long as it wasn't sitting on my couch. If the child wanted to go to acting school, I would work my hardest to enable this. Auto mechanic school? Sure thing. Beauty school? No problem. Harvard? Will they take credit card? So why now, when I see my little boy sitting in front of me do I have dreams of him roaming the University of Colorado, Boulder campus to and from class, and that is the "only" option for him. (Ok, I will settle for Harvard...)

I have a number of friends and acquaintances and even a blog I read where people have true callings outside what they are doing now. One of my good friends who is an internationally known nuclear physicist (4 scientists, not post-docs, scientists have recently relocated to work with him) has dreams of owning his own bakery someday. And one day I am quite positive that he will simply not show up and a new bakery will pop up here (and he is young). Another friend of mine has her Masters in biology but yearns to be a chef, L has her Masters in geology and taught high school but wants to go to beauty school.

I guess what I am wondering is in the back of their minds, did they always want to do these things? Do they see merit in their college education? Or like for my sister, was it a horrible period of their life full of struggles and unhappiness?

How should we decide what career path we should choose? Would it be more helpful to have more rigorous decision paths in grammar school that streamlines students? No, I don't think this is the answer personally, case in point, AB who was thought to be stupid through most of his grammar school experience. Or my grad school buddy V who in Bulgaria was pinpointed for business, but has found his calling with femtosecond lasers. (That's 0.000000000000001 seconds for the non-science types.)

Ok, so there is my neuroses from the past weekend. Answers anyone?

My sucky weekend.

There isn't much to say about the weekend. It was boring, I was sick, AB worked on his test.

I woke up Friday nauseated and it only got worse throughout the morning. I told myself I could muscle through it, I had so much to do at work, lots of meetings, etc. But it didn't work. I crashed on the bed, AB got Leif ready and took him to daycare.

Bless daycare... 8 hours by myself. Now if I were just the normal "sick" as in "I don't want to spread cold germs to everyone else", I would have stayed home and whined and worked on the computer, cleaned the house and layed in front of the TV in the living room.

Nope, I wasn't that type of sick. I spent in bed. Even when I had to get out of bed and go get a drink of water or call to cancel my hair appointment :-( it took real effort. I slept much of the day and relied completely on AB to take care of Leif.

I spent the weekend working on recovering with up spurts and down spurts. By Sunday most were up and we even went out for a walk:

He does not look like a girl with the hat on either. :-P

I did get a few things done around the house... about 20 some lbs of tomatoes put through the mill before they rotted, then froze a few gallons of tomato puree. I also made zucchini black bean soup for Leif... still loving the immersion blender - evidence of zucchini has been completely annhilated. Even AB wouldn't have known.

Oh here is one more. I loved this picture. AB and Leif were picking raspberries and for some reason Leif becomes a little possesive of his beloved berries and feels the need to run off with them, in case we change our mind I guess. Here he is, cornered and stuffing berries in to his mouth.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Safety goggles now required at home

Leif has a major fascination with me brushing my hair. He tries to brush his hair, but alas, he has so little it isn't fun. He likes to take the brush and try to help me as I blow dry my hair in the morning. But last night he went and got the brush and as I sat on the floor eating my tuna casserole (in hopes he would see how yummy it is and decide he wanted some too) he brushed my hair for me.

I am quite positive this is a 100% case of karma biting me in the ass. When I was a kid I LOVED doing my mom's hair everynight. I would sit on the back of the couch behind her and brush and brush, braid, twist, rat and put curlers in and "demand" that she sleep in the curlers so she would be gorgeous the next day. (She never did.) When she would not let me use water on her hair to make it style "right", I would resort to spitting in her hair (very quietly) as an alternative. Nice, huh?

Leif, at 14 months, is still learning the word "gentle". Starting the brush at the top of my head was, most of the time, more of a "whack" on my skull. Then he would PUUULLLL the brush through my hair. Thankfully I have fine hair and it flows through the brush easily. (One sentence I *never* thought I would say.) Occasionally the "whack" would start a little close to my eye, and so I put my glasses on. I thought momentarily about the fact that they were not "safety rated", but put it out of my head.

After about 10 minutes of this I was tired of the "whack" and PUUULLL. Ok, you might wonder why I tolerated it for 10 minutes. The reason... I was able to eat fairly uninterrupted and he loved it. I am a sucker for my son having a good time.

I took the brush away and tried redirection to about 10 random toys in the living room. Yes, TRU did explode there. I even redirected him to BOOKS! (His new favorite.) He declined. Finally I resorted to grabbing the brush and while he was looking the other way launching it into the master bedroom and then getting up and wandering, inconspicuously, to the room and shutting the door. Evidently I was not inconspicuous enough. Leif figured out the brush was gone, the door now shut. WAAAIIILLLL!

He goes to the door and wails, and he pounds on the door, then he wails some more. Ugh. Nothing was even equally interesting as brushing my hair. :-( My ears were now in pain from the wailing. Head in pain from "whack and pull" or ears from the wailing? Which is better?

I stuck to my guns. My hair did NOT need to be brushed anymore. I started his bath. Ha ha ha. That was not going to be an effective redirection either. He wailed in the bath, which he never does. He loves the bath. I got the sand from the sandbox semi-rinsed off of him while he was climbing out of the bath and up my body, nekid. Yes, climbing, and I don't have a climber (relatively speaking!). He grabbed my waistband of my pants and pulled up, grabbed the underwires (note - I am back baby!) in my bra and pulled up even further... Ugh.

Got him out, into pajamas somehow and calmed down with a bottle and off to bed he went.

Toddler in house? Get safety goggles, they aren't just for the lab anymore.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Second Tuesday of the month

Also known as Book Club Night or more appropriately what my social life has been reduced to since having a child. Don't get me wrong, it is all excellent, but it is amazing how easily one takes for granted getting together with friends to drink, eat and chat (50% book, 50% what our kids are doing, our husbands, living in this area) when a little one isn't present. Now that Leifer is here, it isn't even that we want to go out and party, but having the opportunity to go out with friends is a treasure nowadays.

Eating out now is a huge deal. Ok, I admit it. We have taken a hiatus from eating "out". We order in because Leif sitting still for a sit down dinner just is way too much to ask. There is one local Mexican restaurant and Leif likes the waitresses because they smile and oogle at him, and he thrives on attention. Lack of attention by bystanders (or sitters) makes him miserable and unhappy. (Is he REALLY my child?) Or is his personality just far more from AB's side than I like to admit? (kidding... sort of...)

Work is going well. I picked up a new project today. Yeah, just what I needed. Yikes. I swore up and down I wouldn't get overwhelmed with projects. But then the *perfect* opportunity presented itself this morning. I am to get an Auger instrument and its associated UHV hardware up and running and able to measure Si. Shouldn't be that hard and this is my ideal task, exactly what I went to grad school for. And hence the real reason I could *not* pass this up. Of course the secondary reason is that it is another one of my division director's pet projects. So declining this would not be a good move politically, while accepting it and making it work could be huge.

I had one of those borderline embarrassing moments today. Lesson learned - read and understand what exactly a meeting is for before attending. It was organized by a woman who I have done some work for last year - I immediately assumed it was for that project. Nevermind that I was surprised that the staff on that project had apparently completely turned over... and that amazingly they were all people who are in my current group (do you think I realized that immediatly though? Noooo...). So we had to do intros and I intro'd myself and talked a little bit about the work I had done on the project I *thought* we were meeting about.

About 5 minutes later it dawns on me that this is TEAM meeting for one of the other 2 teams that I am NOT a member. (Still following?) I was either invited on accident, or I and two other guys who are also not in this team were just invited for the sheer pleasure of confusing the hell out of us. We all left with blank looks on our faces, but with a charge code for the hour (which is what counts at this time of year I suppose). CW1 was thrilled to have a charge code for an hour and stated he would go wherever he was summoned for a charge code. Me, otoh, stared at the minutes tick by that I could have used to prepare my telecon presentation for tomorrow.

Yes, I could have gotten up and left I suppose. But that's rude. And I did know the people there. I must have been invited for a reason... but that reason is still located in the depths of someone else's brain.

Ok, I am leaving so I can go make my boys dinner before abandoning them for a night "out" with the girls!

Monday, October 10, 2005

All hail the immersion blender

Who would have known? The thing sat in our cupboards, relatively unused for 2-3 years now. Hans wanted it, "needed it", and my mom (the kitchen gadget guru - she passed her illness onto me you know) bought it for him for Christmas a few years back. I am still not sure why he needed it so, but he did and until now it has proven to be a big cupboard space occupier with loads of attachments to lose in the cupboard.

Nope, not anymore. Tonight I made Veeg's homemade black bean soup. So it isn't vegetable intensive, (but I could push the limits here...) but it is full of things Leif by themselves. Like well, black beans - 2 cans of them. Plus onions, tomatoes (he does love tomatoes), garlic and other yummy stuff. I tossed cooked shredded chicken and salsa in as well.

He ate nearly THREE servings! I have never seen him request thirds before, even with his ever-favorite canned Beefaroni (don't even look at me like that... he loves it and it has hamburger in it... just try and get him to eat "meat" any other way).

Ok, so he spit out the whole beans, and the occasional onion I missed in my puree'ing efforts. And he wanted nothing to do with the cooked chicken (the meat thing again...). But he chowed on the black bean soup base (black beans, onions, tomatoes, garlic, chicken broth and salsa) like it was going out of style. The secret... the immersion blender!

I hate, hate, hate pulling out and using my blender. We have a nice, (very heavy) supposidly fancy one we got for a wedding present 5.5 years ago. But I hate pulling it out, running it and cleaning it. None of that my friend with this handy gadget ($22 at Costco).

Images of hiding vegetables with ease are floating to mind now...

Man am I glad my mom didn't have one of these. I would have grown up on pureed everything in her efforts to get me to eat vegetables that weren't potatoes, corn and okra (I was a weird child).

This may very well become my new standard baby shower gift...

Eating raspberries! Yum!

Leif being silly.

Leif sitting on mommy's tummy.


I roasted a chicken and made mashed potatoes and gravy last night. Whenever I make that, which is one of Hans' favorite meals every, I feel so domestic. It is like the classic domestic meal. Now if it would have been done properly and we didn't have to stick the already cut up bird BACK into the oven to finish roasting it would have been nice. But skeptic me... I never trust the thermometer (yes, I am a scientist, really), it had been in for as long as advised. Oh well. So it was a little dryer than it likely should have been.

We had an alright weekend. AB spent much of his waking time working on a take home test that was due Sunday. We bailed on the Pumpkin Patch because of this. So Leif and I entertained ourselves.

Saturday we made waffles, after his nap we went to the mall and bought "play clothes" at Children's Place and I ordered new prescription sunglasses ($ouch$). Children's Place was interesting. I rounded up my purchases, including a hat that makes Leif look *exactly* like daddy. We were in line and getting a little annoyed by the woman in front of us who kept begging for answers. Then I started listening to her. Her complaint was that online are advertised 50% off in store sales, where is the stuff?

I had noticed recently that whenever everyone else is having season clearances, CP rarely has much to offer. I became intrigued by the answer... evidently it is much more worth their time to box up and ship off to other stores their out of season items rather than put them out at a discount. The girl said it would take at least 12 hours to sort them and they didn't have the time or space for this. And to not expect that in the future they will either, instead they will just box it up and ship them off to another store. I felt completely jipped and somewhat irked.

I suppose not enough so that it will cause me to change my purchasing habits there since I proceeded to rack up $74.73 worth of "play clothes" for Leif... The woman asked if I wanted to spend $.27 cents more and get a free picture frame... why sure. (Insert amazement that she knew it was $.27 cents that quickly...) Oh wait, we are in the age of technology, the register probably told her what she needed to read off to me...

New sunglasses! Yay! Old ones (at least 7 years old I figure) broke on the DC trip. $245 later... hence the ouch. The girl helping me told me if I found a coupon in the next 30 days to bring it in. I recalled V e-mailing me a coupon and so I went and pulled it up and hauled it in when I picked them up the next morning, saved $85. I don't feel *so* bad now.

Saturday night I cooked "crab pot". I was in the mood to cook but Leif doesn't like me being in the kitchen. He will play nice in there for about 5 minutes... then he starts pushing me out of the kitchen and if I don't comply he resorts to the chompers. Biting. Which makes me unhappy and him doubley unhappy for being punished. So I was in the mood to cook and sought out an easy (done in under 30 minutes) new recipe. I would post the recipe but couldn't find it on the Cuisine at Home site... kind of a cross between a Thai tom yum soup with coconut milk and a stew since it had bacon and potatoes in it. It was different, but very good. And it got rid of the age old king crab in the freezer.

Sunday I slept in, Hans made cinnamon rolls (canned), and we went for our Winny walk. Leif loves walking with and not riding in the stroller. Amazingly he will walk nearly a half mile before pooping out. The good thing though is that after he walks this distance he is READY for a nap. On Sunday he wanted his pacifier out of the stroller. So we gave it to him. That is usually a sign he is getting tired. Then he went and did something new and pretty silly. He walked to the front of the stroller, got onto his knees on the asphault trail and layed his head down on the asphault. He was tired and ready for a nap. LOL.

I picked him up and carried him a little while since I certainly wasn't going to make him lie down and sleep there. Then we got him into the reclining stroller where he konked and slept for the rest of the walk.

We got home and I showered and ran out to get my new sunglasses. Then to take my car for an oil change and car wash. I found out my car needs work though, some snake-type belt is damaged and shouldn't be, should be covered under warranty though. (My Four-Runner has had an abnormal number of bad belts and it is only just over 2 years old.) So now to fit that into our schedule - thankfully AB works near me. I looked at my schedule today and not a single day (other than today) am I not required to be at some other building. I would say "offsite" building, but I am the one offsite and requiring me to drive to the "onsite" buildings... Oh well, I will have to steal the Subaru for a day and AB will be without a car.

We bought our plane tickets for Alaska for Christmas. We leave on the 21st at 7:30pm and arrive at 1am, come back on the 28th at 2am and arrive back here at 8am. Miserable flights I know, by choice. We figured maybe this would mean Leif would sleep the entire time both ways? Please, please, please?? And maybe, just maybe, the flights won't be full? Another please, please, please...

Work is going well to start this morning. I have 4 of my 6 confirmed invited talks. 2 of the 3 people I invited who I didn't know accepted, even the guy who is supposidly ancient and "never travels anymore", I am glad I tried him! He accepted! I invited one of my CW (also a friend) to talk, my one local talk. He accepted but is trying to come up with a topic since our research is off limits for discussion until the patent comes through. But he is a line manager... he can talk about his employees work can't he!

I got a nice call from a guy in another part of the lab looking for someone with Auger expertise. He said he found my bio on a Sharepoint site and noted that I had done surface science and Auger work and asked to meet with me! Whee! But of course, can I come talk to you right now?? Just kidding, the meeting is for tomorrow morning, but I am very intrigued.

Ok, time for lunch, and to get my day moving along.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Friday at last! Leif woke up full of energy and went full speed ahead all morning at home. Then when I was dressing him he went and found his pacifier and blankey and started falling back asleep. Putting him in the car next for the 20 minute drive to school didn't help matters. He was tired when we got there. Sorry daycare.

When I was a kid I liked fruit cocktail, except for those occasional frighteningly dayglow red/pink cherries. Evidently Leif has the same fear. If I spoon fruit cocktail out for him he will if there is a cherry decorating the mound. He will instead pick each individual piece of fruit that he normally enjoys greatly off of the tray and onto either the sleeping dog below him or the floor. BUT, if I pick out the cherries beforehand and offer the same pile of fruit cocktail to him it is fabulous stuff. I would be perplexed by this behavior, but I have to admit that I was THE exact same way as a kid. I had very strange food rules. Sadly I have overcome them and will now eat nearly whatever is put in front of me (except cucumbers and watermelon).

I am really looking forward to our trip tomorrow to the pumpkin patch. Last year we went with our close friends and got some fabulous pictures. We have decided it will be an annual trip. I would upload a picture from last year, but the controls are appearing to be funky here and not responding. Oh well, I will wait until Monday and post side by side pictures.

The other thing we might do, depending on how far AB gets on his take home exam, is go buy a tree. Last spring AB and our friend K moved our wonderful cedar that was "strategically" planted by the landscaper (who we believe to have been high the entire time he did our front yard) to grow up under the eave of our house. It was a spectacular tree that we loved and that grew nearly 3-4 feet a year for the last 3 years. Unfortunatly, after much nursing thus summer, the tree did not survive the transplant and AB cut it down a few weeks ago. We will be replacing it with something. We have talked about a cedar, but I am afraid that part of what killed it was being in direct sunlight in a dry part of the yard. So we might opt for a pine of some sort.

I would love a tree that changes leaf color in the fall to a deep red. But a few things here... the likelihood of us actually raking up the fallen leaves is not good. So that means our "good neighbor" status would probably plummet when the winds that this area is known for kick up and blow every single leaf into our neighbor's yard and nooks and crannies of his house's exterior. I wouldn't worry so much, except that they are particularly anal about their yard. And well, we like them. The other thing is my deal... I love decorating for Christmas and I love putting lights on trees. I have images in my head of two nicely lit pine trees at Christmas-time. Awww...

I have to laugh though. When I told AB this morning that I wanted to go shop for a tree, he immediatly thought I meant a CHRISTMAS tree for the house. Yes, I love the holidays and preparing for them, but I am not that weird. Plus the fact that last year we spent a small fortune on a fake 9 foot tall tree. Truth is, I started having pangs of guilt every year for buying a real tree that was happy and growing in some lovely little forest (yes, I know that is not where most Christmas trees come from), but the emotions of being a new parent got to me. Then there is the safety issue and the fact that we are rarely, ok never, home for Christmas. And then there are the disposal issues... I love the smell of a real tree, but I just couldn't do it anymore. So we forked out the bucks for a prelit behemoth marvel that graces our library. (And forces us to *never* buy a house without tall ceilings again.)

Aside from the pumpkin patch and tree shopping we don't have much planned. I will go home to a clean house tonight which is the biggest treat. I would like to cook something yummy this weekend and Leif and I need a trip to either Children's Place or Target to buy some "play clothes". I was frustrated last night when I went to pick him up and it was noted on his day sheet that he "fingerpainted". Well I didn't really NEED that noted because it was quite obvious in looking at him covered from head to toe with orange paint. Conveniently I had sent him to school wearing a white Gap long sleeved tee-shirt. Ok, so maybe this was stupid of me, but it was nearly the last thing he had in his drawers that was long sleeved... after he spilled a glass of water down his front sopping the previous outfit he started in.

I did manage, after two applications of Spray and Wash and an overnight soak in Oxyclean to get the orange stains out for the most part. So I love the fact that he fingerpaints there, but can they not put smocks on the kids? Or request that each family send in an old long t-shirt to put on the kids for these activities? Oh well. I learned my lesson and Leif will from now on attend wearing "play clothes".

So I have 4 out of 6 positive responses from my invited speakers for my ACS conference section. Wohoo! I had not expected this and thought it would be more like pulling teeth to get people to attend with only an $85 reimbursement of the conference fee. But apparently people like being invited to present their research. I am waiting on one person to decide, she was tentative. And I need to actually GET the name of my last person from my mentor, who is getting settled in DC where he will work for the next 3 months. :-/

Otherwise work is basically uneventful while we wait for $$ to come in.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

What my birthday means...

Ummm yeah. Me, dead on. (But who exactly comes up with this stuff?)

Your Birthdate: January 8

Born on the 8th day of the month, you have a special gift for business, as you can conceive and plan on a grand scale.
You have good executive skills and you're a good judge of values.
You should try to own your own business, because you have such a strong desire to be in control.

You are generally reliable when it comes to handling money; you can be trusted in this regard.
Idealistic by nature, you are never too busy to spend some time on worthwhile causes, especially if managerial support are needed.
There is much potential for material success associated with this number.

Moving along

Life has been relatively boring lately since returning from DC and surviving fiscal year end. Let's see, I reported to the PM1 about the trip to DC. Thanked him for the opportunity and have found myself shuffled back to the realm of "we don't have to be nice to you anymore now that we don't need anything from you". No worries, I am busy with other things. I left it with the PM that "when money comes in, if you need anything, you know where to find me". I found that a better way to phrase things instead of "ne ner ne ner, it's FY06 my time on your projects is done and don't you dare ever come ask me for anything else".

My industry client work is going very well and we will start our CY06 proposal soon. I received an offer from PM2 this morning to work with him on heading up and writing the proposal. That scares me a little, but intrigues me as well. Writing a $1 million a year proposal with pretty much guaranteed funding (with guidance) would be awesome experience. I am thinking about it... The biggest problem is that I don't "need" the time. I had intended devoting the next few months to working solely on my LDRD project and achieving my FY06 milestones and deliverables by the end of the year, before I get swamped with everything else.

I have been working on inviting speakers for a section of an ACS conference I am chairing. I have invited 3 people I know and have 2 acceptances and one tentative (will confirm by the end of the week). Now I have to invite the three people that I don't know. That is on my list of things to do today. I "lucked" out I guess... my topic was put under the symposia topic. I have ALL invited talks, 30 minutes each, and no contributed talks.

Stress, all around, is at a minimum here. I am loving it.

Leif has been a little on the fussy side. He still has molars coming in, but I think it is more than that. I think he is being a little high maintenance. His teacher confirmed this thought this morning. She said that he gets in his head what he wants to do (play in the water, go to the commons area, go outside) and even though they encourage kids doing things that they "want to do" and not necessarily what the group is doing. These aren't things that he can just go do by himself. And so this has resulted in many melt downs recently. AB and I are working at not letting him have his way all the time, and well, if he is going to lay on the floor and scream for 15 minutes because he didn't get to empty the refrigerator, then that is what he will do.

At the same time he is constantly doing the funniest things. I am pleased to say that he has figured out how to "blow" into a Kleenex. Unfortunatly the blowing doesn't come from the nose. He takes a Kleenex and blows with his mouth making "ppfbbbttt" noises. Ok, so at least we are on the right track... he knows Kleenex's have a purpose other than to eat!!

The second baby wave has hit among friends here. A post-doc who I work with on occasion, his wife gave birth on Tuesday. One of the admins gave birth a few weeks ago. One of my coworkers just announced she is 16 weeks pregnant. One of our good friends, who have a daughter a few months older than Leif, the mom is pregnant. I knew they planned to start trying for #2 after E was 18 months and I am glad to hear that she is expecting. Leif's former daycare teacher is due in November.

I am now resorting to bottled water only... a baby right now, while it would be a wonderful thing, wouldn't be ideal. I am hoping for a promotion and would like to actually be able to afford daycare for #2. Then there is the conference next June that I am chairing a section at and would rather not be 8-9 months pregnant for. Then there is my industry client project... my PM would freak. He freaked when I had Leif and for the 3 months after I returned from leave he told me how happy he was I was back. Now a few months down the line ask me again...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Life has never been so entertaining

Leif just cracks me up. (OK, I just cannot get with using LJ for him... I am resorting to his name again.) Lately his thing is books. I was a little worried for awhile as he showed little interest in books. I was a book fiend as a child. But Leif didn't care to sit and listen to books when I read them, or at school. Nonetheless I insisted on reading. The last few weeks, however, he has changed his mind.

About a month or so ago I decided to let him pick out a book at Barnes and Noble. He picked out this cheap, $3, Clifford on the Farm board book. I figured it was just chance that he picked it, but I am reconsidering this conclusion. It is HIS favorite book. AB and I can recite it (and probably do) in our sleep. And the thing is, it is boring! "The cow says Moo, The owl says Whoo, The Bird says Tweet". Of course we embelish the sounds some. But it is a pretty boring book. Nonetheless he finds it hilarious. The bird saying "tweet tweet tweet" is especially funny. And then at the end when the question is posed "What does Clifford say?" He pipes in with "doo doo doo doo", which I suppose is his version of my "woof woof woof woof". (Ok, so the book says "bow wow", but I didn't like that. ) And once we finish he flips it back to the start and points to the start page for a second, third, fourth... go around.

His other favorite book just happens to be my favorite as well. ;-) The Boynton Belly Button Book. Love that. He pokes his belly throughout the book. And at the end when it says "bye bye bee bo", Leif waves.

One of his favorite things is to sit on my belly on the floor and let me tickle him. Personally, I *hate* being tickled. So why one would actually enjoy being tickled perplexes me. But then again, I am a woman who has given birth...

Ok, so he is on my belly last night and I am going at his tummy doing the "zzzzzz" noise as I fly my finger to tickle him. He started doing the "zzzzz" noise and then decided he would direct my finger in himself. So he held onto it and swung it in a circle once then PULLED it to his belly. The timing of it all was hilarious. "zzzzzz" as finger goes in a circle, then hilarious giggling about a millisecond before he pulls my finger towards his belly. So evidently the really funny part isn't the actual touching part of the tickling, it is the anticipation of the tickle. Oh yes, he is my boy... I too love the anticipations in life.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Why the horns?

This is something I just don't get, driving with one hand on the horn. Everytime I go to a big city I am just amazed at the horn usage. Around here, typically speaking if someone honks their horn at you they either know you, or you are *this close* to getting into an accident. We are in a cab going to the mall area in DC, there are no other cars withing a 10 foot radius of our cab, yet he is honking and waving his hand in general directions. Umm, wtf?

We were making a left hand turn, completely allowed, and every car has to honk their horn at us.

We were pulling over, to the right, to valet parking at the hotel and people honk at us. Hello, we are getting OUT of your way.

Ok. Now that I have that out of my system.

I am back. Happy FY06 to everyone! My project needs are limited right now and so I am decompressing big time. My LDRD has money as of today, and lots of things that need to be done. My industry client project has limited funds through December 2005 and LOTS of things to be done. So between those two things, October should be a pleasant month while I wait for the budget to be passed and the rest of the funds to trickle in on other projects (mid-December to early January my guess).

AB and Leif survived my absence. A little too well if you ask me. Saturday morning I went to get Leif up and he looked at me like he never even noticed I was gone. Oh well.

The trip was good. I left early morning on Thursday. Arrived in Baltimore about 4pm. I was on the same flights as two other guys in my group who were also giving presentations. They had a rental car and so I tagged along with them the entire time. We found out that we all had an unlikely connection to each other... we knew we were all physical chemists, but found out that at some points in our academic careers we had all been at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I did my undergrad there, CW1 did his graduate work there at exactly the same time I was there (and worked with my graduate advisor while he was doing his post-doc), CW2 did his post-doc there. So we actually had lots to talk about and compare notes about.

We arrived in DC from Baltimore and I am always suprised what a pretty area it really is. The drive from Baltimore to DC has just a ton of trees. And we flew in over Chesapeake Bay. Trees make me happy, I live where trees just don't naturally grow.

We ate at a Thai restaurant, yippee. I suggested we eat somewhere that we don't get in our region. Well this suggestion was not taken to heart by the other two guys since we have like 17 Thai restaurants here for some reason. Sushi was out because CW1 doesn't like fish. And CW2 looked at me like I was nutso when I suggested it. Oh well.

Back at the hotel after dinner I crammed on my presentation. Finished it up and ready to go.

I could not sleep. I watched the end of Survivor, then the Apprentice, then ER... I haven't watched ER in ages because it is on too late for me. It wasn't until 4:30am when I really fell into a deep sleep and wouldn't you know it the stupid alarm clock didn't go off? I was woken by room service bringing my Scottish oatmeal with vanilla bean cream and grapefruit juice. Which I could eat none of because my stomach was tossed up in knots.

We all met and took a cab to the mall area. Met up with our program manager who beamed when he saw us and was happy to have a troupe to parade through the building and introduce us to everyone he knew from his time there.

My talk was last and I was happy it was since a big wig popped in for the last half hour. My talk was 15 minutes long as requested. The big wig smiled and nodded as though he understood exactly what I was talking about. Which I know to be all BS because he is a politician who likely knows next to nothing about nuclear physics. But it was very valuable face time.

Afterwards we trekked out for Chinese, which sucked. Then over to the Air and Space Museum. I scored some goodies at the Museum store for Leif and AB, and a key chain for me. Then we left 45 minutes later for the airport.

CW2 and I did our best to navigate the little map given to us by the rental car company while CW1 drove. The main route to the Baltimore airport was closed due to an accident. Not just slow, but closed entirely with instructions to "use alternate route" and no alternate route directions were given. We pulled up to the rental car drop off 1.5 hours before our flight was to leave. We all headed to restrooms to change out of suits for the flights home.

CW2 and I were flying back together while CW1 had a different flight. Once to Salt Lake City we were tired and sore from both of us being stuck in the "coveted" middle seats. We headed over for a smoothie and then walked laps at the airport for an hour or so. Headed back to the gate and were greeted by a "who's who at the lab", all people flying back on the night of the end of FY05. We talked and talked to other people we knew, which was nice. After 2 days with CW2, who is a really nice guy, I was looking forward to chatting with other people. Even program managers who I thought didn't know my name smiled and came over to talk! Everyone was eager for a familiar face I believe.

I finished my October book club book, After Dachau by Daniel Quinn. I am still tossed up on this book, but am really looking forward to discussing it. I will likely blog about it soon trying to reconcile my feelings about the book. It was a quick book, that kept my attention, so I suppose I liked it. More about it later.

Anyways, we had a nice, somewhat relaxing weekend. I made almond crusted salmon with lemon leek sauce last night and we had a pinot noir to go with. I went to a baby shower for one of Leif's former teachers in his infant room who is due in November. Ok, etiquette violation #2... another shower where envelopes were passed around for thank you cards. Apparently I am the only one here who thinks this is rude. But I played along. There were a huge number of people there however, and so like V said, writer's cramp from all these thank you cards anyone? I was glad to go to the shower, but happy to leave. (Aren't they always like that?)

Anyways, it is nearing lunchtime. I have been updated by two people on project stuff the last two days. And a sense of calm is setting in as I realize how many people took vacation today to recover from last week and presumably because now they have limited projects to charge to. I am counting myself as one of the lucky ones.