Friday, March 31, 2006


The past few weeks (read: months) I was indulgent. When ordering my Friday mocha I neglected to say "nonfat please". After recent dissatisfaction with my weight and a realization that parent tot swim lessons start a week from tomorrow, I have put myself back on the lowfat regimen. I really believe in making changes to my life to lead a healthier life and thus, hopefully, lose weight in the process. There is no use (to me) in depriving myself in order to lose weight, because it never fails that I will go back, gain the weight back and be dissatisfied. Changes I can live with is my mantra. I lived with nonfat lattes for years, I can go back. I never realized how creamy a 2% latte can be... I can forget, can't I?

Leif has been such a funny little guy the past few days. He has been absolutely wound up each morning and evidently at school too. The teachers said that all the kids have been, they have spring fever. And spring has sprung here. I am loving it.

Leif is back to being obsessed about the potty chair. I am not sure what to think. I keep reminding myself to simply follow his lead. Next week it will be old hat again and he won't care. Of course, if anyone who has been there done that, has anything to offer, let me know. This past week he has been back to sitting on it and going before bath. (The week before he could have cared less.) Then there are the past two mornings.

Yesterday Leif put a cushion up on the couch. Went and got his potty chair while I was fixing breakfast. He crawled up and put the potty chair on top of the cushion on the couch. Umm no, we don't sit on the potty 3 feet off the ground... I removed him and the potty to the floor. He immediately started pulling at his pajamas and groaning. I pulled his pj's off, he helped pull the diaper off, he sat down and went.

Today we were getting ready to go and I told him to go get a new diaper since I forgot to grab one with his clothes. (I was talking to AB and trying to help him with a program on the computer.) Leif returns with the potty and again starts pulling at his clothes. Again we take off his clothes and diaper, he sits down and goes.

I also have plenty of indicators that he isn't ready. He doesn't get upset with having a wet or poopy diaper and doesn't ask to be changed. Also he has a horrible time getting his rear end on the potty seat without help. If one of us didn't stand there and help him, he would be on the floor 75% of the time. Anyways, I can't help but wonder if we are taking the correct route with this.


Another whine... I had one yesterday and while I always try to limit my whining in my blog, I have another today.

We have friends that I work with. I am Co-PI with the wife (same person I whined about yesterday), but this time it is on a personal note. They have an obnoxious little dog and are constantly needing someone to take care of her because she and her husband travel a lot for work. Leif likes Sophie and I also feel that we should help out our friends when they need. They don't really abuse us as dog sitters - they have a neighbor kid that they always attempt to tap first. But when they can't, they come to us. Since they don't have a fenced yard, I don't feel comfortable leaving Winny with them in exchange.

So instead, they have offered babysitting services. I asked the wife to babysit Leif once a month so I can attend book club while AB is in class and she agreed. I told her that I understood that there would be times she was on travel and couldn't.

Yesterday she told me that she didn't want to do this next book club since her husband is going on travel the next morning. I can kind of understand this, they want some time together before he leaves for a few days. However, in the nearly 2 years we have known them, and taken care of Sophie at least a dozen times for sometimes 5 days at a time, she has babysat Leif exactly twice. Once in January for book club and once when I had a client dinner and Leif was about 5 months old.

I am starting to feel used. I never would ask that they pay me to watch Sophie, it is something I do as a favor. But my generosity is starting to feel exhausted in this regard. Am I being selfish?

I really believe in honesty and so I should value the fact that she told me she didn't want to watch Leif (if that was OK with me). I mean, what am I going to say in response? I don't care that you don't want to take care of my child, do it anyways? No way. I don't want someone watching Leif in that circumstance. But I am wishing she would have just said I have another obligation that night and can't do it. I would have never known and I wouldn't be feeling abused and reluctant to help them out by watching their obnoxious yapper dog.


So anyways, on a better note. I just got off the wackiest phone call. This woman with Boeing has been calling me and trying to purchase a piece of equipment for a few days now. She keeps getting my voicemail and so since I had no freaking idea what she was talking about I never returned her call.

She caught me this morning and started talking to me about confirming a purchase. But I don't SELL anything! We are both convinced the other is nuts. Finally we figure it out... the representative evidently sent her quote with my contact information on it. Neither of us is nuts (presumabley at least), the sales rep is!


We have a Costco trip to do tomorrow. I wanted to wait until the 7th when the coupons start, but I need too much stuff now. I was invited by my manager to go on a hike, but I had to decline since AB will be studying for an exam next week. My gluts and my dog could use a 5 mile hike up a hill, but the timing is just bad unfortunately.

Well everyone have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Life as a scientist

I had been looking forward to my Thursday and Friday being "open" this week. Monday thru Wednesday afternoon are my busy days. Then I usually wind down with catching up with things on Thursday and Friday. I came in this morning to two meeting requests for today (which I *hate* not having advance notice - the analytical side of me).

I am pulling my Co-PI through the "muddy waters" (her view) of optical spectroscopy and she is just about to drive me nuts with it. So often the roles are reversed as she teaches me the "intricacies" of nuclear engineering. Even though I have handed her undergrad textbooks and reluctantly loaned her my "bible" (Instrumental Analysis by Skoog and Leary) and backed off so she can learn the basics I am finding her resistance difficult. I cannot seem to convince her that to a chemist, this stuff is easy. That we don't need to go look at 10 Cary spectrophotometers around the lab... they all function the same, we just need to find one we can use or buy our own. And once you have used one (as I have many, many times) you can use them all.

She went and talked to another "expert" on Tuesday. He and I have nearly identical backgrounds but because he uses lasers she expected that he would have more experience since lasers are "optical". In all honesty, this offended me a certain degree. I resisted asking her if she would rather not work with me on this project and why she doesn't trust me. Does she really not believe me that I was in charge of maintaining one of these instruments for 3 years while I taught PChem lab and Instrumental Analysis.

Ok, so there is my whine for the week. Maybe she is coming around, I got the impression that the "expert" told her the same things I had and maybe even implied that I was perfectly capable in this capacity.


For the last 6-8 months I have been e-mailing with a former fellow grad student. We were friends and used to occasionally go out for a beer after teaching lab. Nice enough guy, but from my experience exemplified the term "slacker". He graduated a few months ahead of me (started a year before me), went and did a 1 year post-doc at UNLV. Then came back to Reno and post-doc'd with one of our profs there. (This isn't exactly a situation that wins accolades in many circles.)

He secured a position last year at a chemical and biological weapons depot and research lab and about that time struck up contact with me again. AB said the first time he contacted me, "just wait, he is angling for a job".

AB knows him well. Yesterday it happened, after many inquiries into where I work, salary structure, what exactly do Ph.D. chemists do here, etc., he asked if I would help him get a job. I have mixed feelings on this to be totally honest. He is incredibly capable with instruments and design, very smart in those regards. But that word "slacker" keeps popping back into my head. He has the "qualifications" that make him an ideal candidate here, I think he could be hired on, even the type of candidate that is recruited easily.

Slacker, slacker, slacker.

It sucks that I know this guy. Could he have changed? Or is his job hopping indicative that this is just the way he is? Do I believe him that the woes he experienced everywhere else were just as he explained and really similar to the woes I experienced as a post-doc, and just he has a lower tolerance for such crap? Or are they indicative that he has frequently moved on before being told to do some actual work or leave? Or is it really that he just hasn't found the right situation? (Kind of like my husband?)

AB suggested I do as he asked, pass on his CV and limit it to that. Let the recruiter do his job, let the managers check his references. He is my friend, I like he and his wife. I want good things for them. I want her to be able to settle down instead of moving every year and finding work in auto parts stores. *Sigh*

(Is this one of those posts that at a later date I am going to kick myself for posting? He, or my co-PI won't possibly find this blog will they?)

"We need to use our inside voice now"

This phrase is going to become my mantra with Leif. I don't think my mother EVER had to utter these words to me. It was the opposite, "speak up!"

Leif is taking after AB in that he has absolutely no problem being heard. When AB and I first started dating I remember noting that when he spoke he could be heard across the room. And when we watched TV and it was funny, the neighbors could tell. My parents even commented when they first met AB that he has a booming laugh. It is wonderful, he has never been afraid to laugh out loud (like I was) and could always be heard in a large room.

Leif will be the same. Laughing is full force and his voice also carries. It is virtually impossible for Leif to say bye bye to anyone without screaming it. (Unless he is on the phone - then he becomes "shy".) I look at other kids he hangs around with, Atticus and Cate in particular, and they have such soft little voices. Their poor parents are going to know Leif as "that noisy kid"!

Sufia had a funny story for me yesterday. One of the girls in Leif's class is named Ella. Her mom came at 12:30 to pick her up for an appointment. The kids go down for nap between 12:00-12:30 and so most of the kids were down for a nap by then, except of course, for Leif. Who is fully into resisting naps both at home and daycare. (Poor daycare doesn't have a vehicle they can pop him into and drive around and look at lots until he goes to sleep...)

In walks Ella's mom and Leif starts screaming at the top of his lungs, "ELLA, ELLA!!" Because obviously, no one else would have noticed that Ella's mommy was there to get her. It was solely up to Leif to notify everyone (including those children napping) that Ella's mommy was there. And he didn't stop this until Ella's mom had RUN out of there with Ella.



I got the first unsolicited "I love you" last night and it melted my heart. After putting my noisy child into the carseat I asked for a kiss. He grabbed my face and planted a wet gushy one on my lips. Then he stops, looks at me and says it, "I lo u". Ahhh! I told him, "I love you too Leif".

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The typical evening in Leif's life

We are leaving class now, "bye bye"! (I scream this as loud as I can to everyone who is deserving.)

I run at the speed of light to the train table and uncover it. After 5 minutes of playing mommy offers up the magic word I have been waiting for, snacks! (Gummy fruit chews.) I cover the table back up with the sheet and attempt a few more plays with the sheet over my head.

My feet start moving but we are beckoned by the fish, gerbil, frog and parakeet calling my name from the kindergarten room. 5 minutes later Mommy insists I say bye bye to each one. They are deaf so I scream it at the top of my lungs.

I run out of the school with mommy chasing after. Always stand on the curb and count before jumping off... "two, two, three!"

Long boring ride home, but I am rewarded with snacks!

We get out of the car in the garage, let Winwee out with us and we walk across the street to the mailbox. Mommy tries to get me to walk with one arm up over my head, I don't understand this, but if I don't, she carries me. Let my wacky mother hold my arm up above my head to cross the street.

The mailbox... attempt to open every single mailbox while mommy does the one with the key. Open and shut the big box 14 times. Walk back across the street with my arm over my head.

"Wawa!!" I have to make sure that mom knows we need to water the new cedar so it doesn't perish like the last one. I water it very well and wait until Winwee has done her job in diverting mommy's attention so I can water my knees and feet. When she thinks we are done, I do my best to try and spray her in an effort to prove we are not actually done. Now the flowers need wawa.

Spontaneously the wawa turns off. I look around. There she is! That mommy of mine over at that valve! I run to it screaming whereby she scoops me up and we go inside to listen to who is talking on the counter.

"Owside" Winwe wants to go owside and I must accompany her. There are many toys owside. Among my favorites is the doggy doo shovel. (Daddy says he can't wait until I really know how to use it... I practice everyday.) The other favorite is the big red thing that shoots fire out of the end. When I pick this up off the thing called the BBQ'er I can guarantee that mommy will chase me and then go in and call daddy to tell him how savvy I am at finding this object that she thinks needs to be stashed away in some drawer. This only encourages my curiousity.

Finally mommy makes me come in and watch a mowee while she fixes dinner. I like Nemo the best, then after that I like Dory, then Nemo again. But we don't always get to watch Nemo and sometimes mommy insists we watch Baby Einstein or Teletubbies. I know she really likes them and so I give in.

Dinner time! If it comes from a can I KNOW it will be yummy. If mommy spent more than 5 minutes in the kitchen I know it will be awful and can make the worst faces when prompted.

After dinner we have some time to read stories or play with blocks or puzzles. The crayons have disappeared for some reason. Personally I liked my wall art, daddy notsomuch I guess. My favorite is stories and we read all my favorite books; Bumble, Bee Bo, Elmo, Bears and Open the Barn Door.

I have a new and fun way to read Open the Barn Door. I had the book memorized from front to back, but now I like to scream EIEIO when we open the doors. Mommy and daddy think this is really funny and they talk about how smart I am!

Bathtime finally! If I feel like it, I sit on the potty. And I may or may not go. I just want to keep everyone guessing. But I know once I get in the tub I can go there. We have a great time in the bath, we blow bubbles, we pour water. My biggest challenge is how to get the most water outside the tub. And bonus points if it lands on her or daddy. I am faster than lightening mommy says.

We get out and I make a bolt for it. I see how far and fast I can run while nakey. Finally I am captured, tortured and bound. (Or what mommy and daddy call diaper and pajamas.) I go to the kitchen where I get three of the four things needed to make my baba. Hand them to mommy so she can put milk in it and make it warm. She keeps telling me my days with baba are numbered. I don't believe her.

We snuggle in the chair in my room with my blankey and baba. We read my favorite bedtime books, The Going to Bed Book, Kiss Goodnight and Mimi. We read Mimi over and over. Finally mommy or daddy puts me in bed and I force them to recite Mimi or else I scream.

Sweet dreams Leif, sweet dreams all night!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Shouldn't it have been a 3-day weekend?

I could have really used a third day to my weekend. It was a fairly uneventful weekend. Friday night take-out Mexican and the movie Jarhead (ok, cinematic narcolepsy set in about 2/3 of the way through and AB assured me that I didn't need to watch the remainder because I would just feel compelled to comment further on the language, stupid things males in packs do, etc...). Saturday AB worked on homework faithfully nearly all day. Leif and I went and got groceries and he was surprisingly well behaved.

We got home and apparently I hadn't let him run enough because he was not ready to nap. Two car rides later I got him down (oops, I mean AB finally got him down). And he really WAS tired and would have slept well past 3pm if I hadn't woken him up, fearful of really throwing off his nighttime schedule. I made chocolate cupcakes, half with vanilla coconut frosting (like the ones from Cupcake Royale that were so yummy) and half with vanilla frosting and sprinkles. My weird child didn't even want the ones without the coconut. He cried when I put a taste of frosting in his mouth and took half the cupcake over to feed the dog. Sacrilege! I swiped it from him and popped it in my mouth... no cupcake of mine was going to the poor neglected, abused dog.

Saturday afternoon AB took a break from studying and we walked to the grocery store for trip #2. Apparently if you are making buffalo burgers, buns are a nice thing to have. Leif cracked me up with his little burger - he worked so hard to hold it like AB and I held ours. He took a few bites before deciding green beans were the favored dinner choice. He was smart... AB and I ate our buffalo burgers and were both miserable all night. My misery extended through much of Sunday as well, ruining my plans to go to the mall and go clothes shopping. Blah. We didn't even attempt watching Capote Saturday night. It was useless to have to stop the movie every 10 minutes. TMI?

Sunday morning we headed to the park to fly the clown fish kite we bought at Costco. Coincidentally we ran into V and C there. So the kids played together. Leif admired C, C admired Winny. V and I chatted. AB was highly persistant in getting the kite into the air, and even with the wind blowing 25-30 mph it wasn't going to happen. Sucky kite. Back to the 10 year old, very reliable and strong Delta kite I bought for AB when we first started dating. One of the supports broke last summer though, it just needs to be replaced.

As usual we spent much of Sunday on the phone with various family members. AB tired of his homework and for at least part of the afternoon we veged on the couch watching TV and reading since we still weren't feeling so hot.


My grandmother cracks me up. She is 82 years old and I adore her. We have been very close all my life. One thing about her is that she mixes up words badly. Enough so that after she had back surgery the physical therapist became concerned speaking with her and sent her for speech therapy. My grandma was completely perplexed why she needed speech therapy. Finally, my uncle (a radiologist) explained to the therapist that for her entire life she has talked like this. She confuses words easily, like production and prediction for example. She knows what she means, but doesn't worry about which one she says. If you correct her she just looks at you like, "but that's what I said".

Ok, so maybe she does need a speech therapist, but a lot of it is her quick personality. She was always one of the quickest walkers I ever knew (she was a nurse for 45 years and became known for her quick stride), but her tongue is just as quick. Quicker usually than her brain. (I have the opposite problem, my brain is quick, but my tongue doesn't move.)

Anyways, this weekend I was telling her about our trip to Seattle and that we saw the "Seattle locks". She said, "OH, I saw the Seattle locks too!" I said, "oh you did? What did you think of them?"

"Oh," she replies, "they were so huge and it was fascinating going through them, the clearance is so narrow. And they are so long! It took us forever to move through them!"

(I had no idea what Seattle locks she was talking about at this point... not the ones I had been to.)

She continues, "Yeah, that trip to Panama was a lot of fun, I will never forget the Seattle locks".

I said, "oh do you mean the Panama canal?"

"Yes, the Seattle locks in Panama!" She tells me.

I giggled, but knew exactly what she was doing. She was carrying the word "Seattle" with the word "locks", like they were joined... "seattlelocks".

A friend of mine I used to work with in Colorado told me once I needed to write down the wacky things she said. Two reasons, so I don't forget them, and because they really were hilarious. So anyways, this one isn't hilarious, not like some of her others. But this is my attempt to start writing them down because she is right and I have forgotten so many of the things she says that cracks us all up.


One last follow up to a post last week about a task where I don't know what is happening. Meeting on Friday rescoped our project. While the task wasn't completely eliminated, like one of the others, I was told to limit my experiments and finish up the data collecting in 2-3 weeks. Then we will focus elsewhere. Sigh. Good thing though is that the area they want to focus in requires the use of a UV/Vis Spectrophotometer. I know those things inside and out, backwards and forwards. I can diagram one out on a napkin in a second - and have. My Co-PI is frighteningly hesitant on this new proposed scope. I love her to death, but let's not dwell on this! Trust me I know these things, let me charge the task and let's move forward. (She is taking a week with a few of my textbooks to learn all she can about optical spectroscopy and instruments. And I am not supposed to say a word to her about it until she is finished reading, lol.)

Anyways, regarding the original task, at least I will HAVE the data. At that point I can write it up, interpret it and eventually submit it as a paper on my own time. In the meantime, however, we may have to withdraw the submission to the May conference with the paper. In fact, I am anticipating that. That sucks.

Seattle Pictures

Friday, March 24, 2006

I love search referrals

"how to deal with stubborn and rebelious people"

Umm yeah, can't help you there.

Recently though I have been getting a number of searches with key words that include my son's great great grandfather's last name (Heggem) and various combinations about boat building, Seattle, Ballard, Smithsonian, etc. I had talked about him last summer in our trip to the family cabins. Heggem was a well known boat builder in Ballard (just outside of Seattle) and some of his boat plans are in the Smithsonian.

I am particularly interested in the recent increase in these search frequencies this last month, especially the ones from Norway, where he was from. Please feel free to comment or e-mail me if you have searched these words and been lead here. We have a family member who is VERY into geneaology and is constantly looking for more info. (And I glean from her whatever I can...)

Friday Leifisms

Leif is getting to that age where he not only does funny things regularly, but I think he is trying to do funny things to make us laugh. Then there are the ones that make me think I have the sweetest little boy ever. Of course, there are still the "other" ones... like for example, the crayon. MY HUSBAND found this one particularly funny this morning...

The Crayon

I was getting dressed this morning and do you think I can find decent clothes to wear? Nope. I need to do laundry since everything I have is dirty. I found an older pair of CK jeans, put them on and surprised that they actually fit OK and the tapered leg wasn't TOO bad. (I know, pot kettle black.) I looked in the mirror and was pleased (a rare thing). So I went to the kitchen to get breakfast ready.

As usual, Leif was banging on my legs and butt, trying to hang off me, sit on my feet. All the typical things while I am trying to get breakfast going that I am really good at tuning out. He was banging on my butt an excessive amount, but I ignored it. Oh yeah, I told him, "honey if you want mommy to do something, please use your words". No voice.

Out walks AB and he dies laughing. Leif wasn't banging on my butt. He had an orange crayon and was drawing all over my rear end and thighs. (And there is plenty of space to draw there...)

Thankfully we buy washable crayons. But this also meant I was pulling jeans out of the "worn once but can still wear again if need be" stack. Nice.

Leif and his buds

It just amazes me watching/hearing about Leif interacting with his friends at daycare. He and Jonathen and Atticus are tight knit. Last night I went to go get Leif and Atticus saw me coming. He ran over to Leif and grabbed his hand. They walked around holding hands all the while I gathered up his stuff. Then Atticus walked us to the door, they let go and said bye to each other. Now how cute is that?

This morning we got there and Atti was already there. He came over and helped Leif put his lunch away and TRIED to help Leif take off his jacket. (I fooled them both and had put a pullover fleece on him instead of his coat - they couldn't figure out how to get it unzipped all the way.)

The first "I love you"

Leif loves to talk to daddy on the phone. AB called last night in a panic. He had lost his keys and was late for class. Luckily he works like two blocks from the school. Of course in checking, we find out that *I* have AB's car keys in my car. They must have fallen out of his pocket. So we were on the phone a few times trying to figure out the least painful way to get the keys transferred. Leif gets rather irritated if daddy is on the phone and he doesn't get to talk. So after pitching a small fit, I called AB back and his phone went to voicemail. I let Leif talk.

"Hi Daddy" Leif says. I tell him to say I love you... and to my surprise I hear "i-lo-u". Ok, so it did sound a remarkable amount like E-I-E-I-O. (Say it as fast as you can so it sounds like "eyio".) AB was a little skeptical when he heard it, but this morning Leif repeated it to him as he was putting him in the carseat. (I think I may have even seen a tear in AB's eye.)

Sigh! So cute. But I do think it is about time mommy gets an i-lo-u.


I was talking with V about this today. Can someone explain to me why my son can say very clearly "I'm Nemo" and "I shower", also attempts at multisyllabic words and I love you... yet "sorry" is like asking him to say "supercalifragelisticexpealidociuos"?

Support the arts, buy from Purple Elm!

I added a link in my side bar to my friend Kacey's Etsy Shop, Purple Elm. Check her stuff out and consider her if you are in the market for unique jewelry. I think that she takes special requests as well!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

25 minutes

Until I am out of here for the night.

I had a good work day. I spent a lot of time doing data analysis - my favorite part of my job. Then a couple meetings. I had my mentor meeting, which is always fascinating and very insightful. I really did make a great choice in picking my mentor. He has pushed me in ways I would have never thought and today he provided some great feedback on the first half of a proposal I am writing. He also reassured me that my SDR rating (ME+) was acceptable and not to stress over it. Stated it was all politics, he got the same thing and there was flat out no explanation for it other than our division director dumbing them all down. He told me to believe what my manager told me in that SHE gave me an exceeds expectations.

The second meeting was with my good friend and co-project manager where we spent 30% yapping and whining (with my door shut) and 70% of the time staring blankly at some really fascinating data I have been collecting. Staring blankly and shrugging our shoulders.

Here's the situation... I accepted a task from our division director to design a particular experiment that to his knowledge had never been done before. In talking with him we concluded that we had about 75% chance of seeing absolutely nothing and in which case, we would stop the task and move on. What killed us is that not only did we see something happen, but we saw multiple effects. We spent the last two weeks going through papers from the mid 50's that were all either in any one of three foreign languages or were translations. It seems as though every single paper contradicts the previous and there is NO consensus on some similar type experiments. And apparently the experiments by these three international groups were then dropped. No more info.

Now here we are observing this fascinating "phenomena" on this very fundamental science project (a rarity in my division) and we have absolutely no freaking idea what is going on or why. I am feeling excessively stupid right now because I can't even offer up ideas on the mechanisms. We have months of experiments lined out and a peer reviewed paper to write that is due the first week in May (ha) - paper is for a conference associated with a preeminant journal.

Ok, then to top it off, there is a possibility that as of tomorrow the task could get cut. The external review committee (all applied people) stated that they didn't see the point to the task. My division director isn't one to just agree and do whatever the committee says (from what I have seen in the past and know of his personality), but he may just see the exact same thing that they do and couple it with the fact that we cannot explain what we are seeing.

I need to shut my door tomorrow and do some serious pondering about fundamental solid state physics. Why oh why did I not listen more carefully to those discussions on Brillouin Zones? Any experts on this, please contact me asap. Seriously.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


This morning we were running around trying to get out of the house since I had my weekly client teleconference at 9am. Leif was doing his typical "delay tactics", turning everything into a chasing game. I had him on my lap as I tried to put his socks on. Suddenly he bolts up, aims forward and starts running to "escape". Face first into the door frame. Screams. I grab him and hold him and he opens his mouth, blood everywhere. His lip looks like hamburger and his teeth appear to be bleeding too.

I worked in skin cancer surgery, I have a strong stomach (except when dealing with cutting hands and feet - ewww). But something about seeing his blood and hearing his screams sent me woozy. My stomach was a knot as I yelled at AB to do this and that. Leif willingly took the ice pack, AB called the Urgent Care, I e-mailed the teleconference delegate since my PM is out and we packed up and headed out.

Of course we got there and Leif entertained and smiled at everyone. Yeah, this is the kid you heard screaming bloody murder on the phone 5 minutes ago...

I was happy when in walked one of our "usual" docs on call who was wonderful when Leif and I had thrush, and has been great with Leif's ear infections. He takes a look at the inside of the lip (my stomach knots up again seeing the gash) and tests the teeth - they are tight. Then he tells us that in an adult, he would stitch it, but never a kid Leif's age. As we could all see, it didn't seem to be bugging him too bad anymore, and kids, even older ones, would just chew out the stitches within an hour. He really was wonderful at reassuring us (me) and so we went on our merry way.

I *hate* Leif being injured. It really kills me.


I am tired, just exhausted lately. I have had so many meetings, and then a class all day yesterdar that I haven't been able to catch up from being gone last Friday completely yet. Which really scares me that I haven't caught up with 1-2 days out when I have about 10 days I am planning on being gone for in the next 3-4 months. Ugh.

And the house? Complete disarray. You would have thought that since we weren't home all weekend it couldn't get that messed up. Wrong. I might just blame poor, neglected Win-dog.

So the neighbor kid came by Sunday night to return the key and get paid. I pulled out and handed him a $20 and I had never seen his face brighten up so much! I think I now have a committed dog-sitter.


One of the funnier things that happened recently... Monday morning the phone rang at 5:30am. AB and I were fearing the worse because his grandfather had a mini-stroke last Saturday. I picked up the phone groggily (in Leif's room I hear him yell "hello hello!"). The voice on the other end is panicked, an old, old woman yelling "Betty? Betty?" I tell her "I am sorry, you have the wrong number". I tell her this twice while she screams "Betty" in my ear. I was worried that something was wrong with her and so I looked at Caller ID and sure enough I have her phone number and name. I asked her if there was something I could do to help her and "are you ok?"

The response? "Oh screw you!!" she yells in my ear and slams the phone down.

Ok whatever. (My mom died laughing when I told her this story.) And goodness knows that if AB had answered the phone she would have been a sweet old lady who would have never told him off. Because that's just the way it goes.


Three days into playing the part of my good project manager and I am tired. Maybe it is dealing with the client all the time that is wearing me out? I knew they were demanding, but now I get a sense of HOW demanding they are. And I assume that since they are dealing with me, that I am only getting a fraction of what my PM gets on a daily basis.

I am averaging four phonecalls a day from any one of the three lead scientists at their sites. Lots of duplication because they are all at different sites. Three FedEx packages sent to me in two days requiring immediate pick up and attention at the shipping warehouse. And countless e-mails to me requiring a variety of things, data sent to them, opinions on this or that, and information and power point presentations to be disseminated to the group. It has been hectic, but I am loving it.

Today I showed up only about 10 minutes late for teleconference thanks to the Urgent Care trip. We don't have "assigned" seating in the conference room, but we do have our regular places where we all sit and have sat for the last few years. I walked in and Miss Pinkpostdoc was sitting in MY seat. First off, I am presenting at the telecon, she is not. So why she felt she had to sit next to the speaker phone I don't know. I sat down at the only open spot, at an adjacent table of all places. Second, I am particularly anal and I like my routines, don't throw me a curve ball by stealing my seat on my crappy morning.

When it was my turn to present I started yelling to be heard on the speakerphone and asked if the client could hear me. They stated that they could barely hear me. What happens then? The delegate lead for the telecon gets up to swap me places, as does a project advisor and another one of my coworkers. Miss Pinkpostdoc sat her ass in *my* chair and never offered to get up and give it to me.

So for the rest of the telecon we played musical chairs and swapped chairs whenever someone was sitting at the satellite seat needed to talk. Miss Pinkpostdoc didn't open her mouth once. Can't stand her.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Happy Anniversary NM and AB!

6 years as of Saturday. On our way to Seattle this weekend we commented that it sure felt like longer, but in essence it really has been. We started dating 12.5 years ago and have lived together since 1996. I couldn't be happier!

Friday morning we got up and hung out around the house. At nearly 11:30am we headed out hoping to keep Leif on his nap schedule, (naps noon to nearly 3pm). We succeeded until we needed a Starbucks fix in Ellensburg. Unfortunately at that point he woke up and stayed awake until we arrived in Seattle. We found our hotel and AB was thrilled about the waterfront location on Lake Union. It was a nice place and extra bonus, had a pool.

We turned Leif loose in the park for a little while before heading down to the Pikes Place Market. I have been there a number of times and still I really enjoy visiting at every opportunity. AB put Leif in the pack carrier and Leif smiled at everyone and looked at all the sites. A number of people commented what a good little boy he was! I beamed, but knew they were getting Leif on his very best behavior. The market was closing so we wandered over and bought some steamers and fish and chips. Afterwards we headed to the carousel where Leif rode a "hoss". I thought this would thrill him since his second biggest fascination behind fish is horses. I don't know if he was freaked out by the up and down and fast speed of the carousel - oh wait, no never mind, that would be ME that was freaked out by that. ("Exactly how high does this horse go and shouldn't someone have warned my that I might not be able to hold a squirmy toddler on a horse 2 feet over my head?")

We got back to the hotel and hurried in for a swim in the frigid pool. This is about the point we realize that we forgot a bottle. OK, *I* forgot the bottle. Leif still takes a bottle every night and it isn't something that we have spent too much time trying to break at this point. This is where the meltdown started. We did happen to find one lone binky in the bottom of the car and here broke the rule about "no more binkies". AB got directions to the nearest grocery store where he had his own series of snafus and 45 minutes later he was back with a bottle.

And Leif was sound asleep.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early. Leif and I sha-sha'd while AB forced his eyes to stay shut. We returned to the room and got ready at which point Leif successfully located every single non-babyproofed hazard in the room. (And I wonder why "no" has become such a vocabulary staple...) This forced AB up and into the shower himself and we made our way down to breakfast. Meals? Ok, I just won't talk about them because I don't want to give anyone any impression that my son is either a spaz or not perfect. ;-) Suffice it to say that the Marriott's restaurant hates us. Sunday when they tried at every opportunity to take our FULL plates away, we got that message plain and clear. We pride ourselves on being good tippers, you are a hotel restaurant, get over yourselves and no tip for you! (Saturday I felt bad and left a nice "sorry for the commotion" tip, Sunday I was ticked and they got jack.)

We made our way to the aquarium where Leif had an absolute ball. He wasn't so thrilled with the seals or otters up top, but when we got to the underwater part, he got really excited. They would dive down and swim by and Leif would squeal "WOAH!" for every.single.animal. It got to the point that the other aquarium patrons were more entertained by Leifer, than the animals. We headed to the underwater fish dome, which is just truly amazing. Leif was beside himself and sat with his body pressed against the glass (face too) trying to see more. He was soo soo enamored.

We moved on to the tanks and he was a little less thrilled, but still thought they were neat. There was a Nemo tank. And I have been completely reassured by 100's of toddlers that Leif's Nemo obsession is completely normal. Any orange fish and there were 10 kids screaming NEMO! Leif joined in and then there were the Dory's too. The kid's interaction area was fantastic. Leif loved sticking his head through the standing plaquareds (sp?). He loved the jellyfish ring, watching the octopus and best of all, touching the tactile animals in the coastal zones. I really think though, that the fascination of that part wasn't so much the animals, but that he got to put his hands in the water.

We left at about 11:45am and each of us had one of Leif's hands. We got outside and his legs failed him. He started stumbling he was so tired. We put him in the carseat and within minutes he was out, dead to the world sleeping. We stopped at Ivars and AB retrieved us lunch then we headed back to the hotel to nap and decide what was on the books for the afternoon. Leif was so so excited and wound up from the aquarium that I hesitated doing the Children's Museum or the Science museum. I wasn't sure he could handle it and so we finally decided on a more low key activity, visiting the Locks in Ballard.

On the way I caught sight of the Mecca... the original Cupcake Royale. The locks were really cool and AB reminisced about his childhood visiting his grandparents in Ballard. We watched two tugboats and two small boats go through the big set of locks. Leif wasn't very interested and was only thrilled to be "owside". We let Leif run around the botanical gardens and then we wandered back to Mecca where I limited us to 6 cupcakes. Drool.

Dinner we decided to brave Buca de Bepo after hearing it was family friendly. It was. Leif played with a 15 month old in the waiting area, but when our wait approached 20 minutes and Leif was doing the body flop and whining we placed a to go order and headed back to the hotel. Another swim, a bottle of milk and he was down for the count again. AB had watched The Chronicles of Narnia on the hotels PPV Friday night but was disappointed that my cinematic narcolepsy set in only 30 minutes into the movie. So Saturday he decided he would surf bad TV again instead while I reviewed my book for book club this week.

Sunday morning was a repeat of Saturday except for the little added entertainment in the restaurant that was NOT provided by my family. Nope, a woman and her daughter were getting breakfast, the daughter (12-ish) went to retrieve her toast. The mom told her "NO Sandra, that isn't yours." The girl said, "yes it is, that is the toaster I used". "But," the mom replied, "that is WHITE toast!" The girl mumbled that was what she made. Mom flipped her lid and said, "Sandra, just so you know, I *never* buy white bread, it is not what *I* choose for this family and I should hope that you would make similar decisions regarding your health." (This was loud.)

Ok yeah, I also never buy white bread, but the spectacle that the mom made was embarrassing for them and frankly very self-riteous! That poor little girl. And geez, give her a break, it is vacation. (I just couldn't resist commenting on someone else's disturbing the meals other than my family...)

We packed up the room and headed to Ikea. Yay, my stop! I was so excited to get there, yet disappointed once there. There was a lot of stuff out of stock and I came home with about half the stuff I had intended. Probably good, we didn't have a ton of room in the car and like I really need to spend the money. I got a wooden shelf/table for the utility room to hold the laundry baskets and that I can fold stuff on top of. A decorative mirror. A lightweight comforter and new duvet cover. A grill pan (AB balked... but I reminded him how I do not BBQ and with him gone in the evenings much of the time, I wanted it.). Some badly needed new bowls. A bunch of stuff for Leif including a hoss he was very thrilled with. Towards the end Leif had reached his limit and we raced. AB was cranky from fielding Leif (although he denies it). He does have reason, the little guy can completely wear a person out.

I shopped, but I didn't drop. It takes a lot more shopping than that to make me drop. But that excursion is for V and I coming in May or so, sans guys and kids. THEN I will shop till I drop.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

More Leifisms

He just cracks me up. Here are a few recent ones.

ABC Bears

One of Leif's favorite books is Alaska's ABC Bears (I can't find it on Amazon, must be a regional thing). My MIL picked this up for him and he is obsessed with the bears. He listens patiently until we get to "I, Itchy Bear", then he likes to squeal "itsy"! Quiet through "J", but "K, Kissing Bears" prompts him to flip around and plant a big kiss on my lips. Love that. Silence until "M, Many Bears" then the roaring starts! I haven't quite figured out why he doesn't "roar" until M yet. (The roars continue on every page from here on out.)

Then his favorite page is "U". Any guesses?

"Upside Down Bear" of course! Seeing a bear stand on his head is evidently the funniest thing ever!

A Daddy Obsession

Leif is really obsessed with daddy right now. Now it is still me that he wants most of the time, but evidently I am incapable of doing certain things that only daddy can do. For example, opening his string cheese. I retrieve from the fridge an individual string cheese serving. If AB is home I don't DARE try to open it. If I do there are many squeals as he tries to grab it away from me. Hand it to him and off he tears, "daddddyyyyyy" and hands HIM the cheese to open. AB loves this since fine dexterity is not his forte... peeling apart two wrapping layers takes him some time (and much frustration). But for his son, he will do anything.

(If you want to really send AB reeling, send him to the store to get produce... those bags are the bane of his existance.)

This morning I got my giggles in. Baby DaVinci is playing and we are on "mouth". There is a real hippo in a pond yawning. Leif perks up, points to the TV and squeals, "DADDY!" I thought it was hi-larious! AB notsomuch.


We have been working on counting to three. We count before we are doing something (jumping off the curb to go get the mail across the street, being lifted into the chair for meals...). Leif is really picking this up quickly and has started counting himself without us, when he does things. I am learning though that while he is getting the concept of saying something three times and doing an action on the third, what he is saying doesn't mean a whole lot yet.

Leif counting, "two two THREE!" One has gotten lost somewhere. Where, I am not sure. That's OK, who needs "one"!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Four things

Four Movies I Would Watch Over and Over:

1. How to make an American Quilt
2. 50 First Dates
3. Better Off Dead
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas

(Note that Finding Nemo is NOT on this list.)

Four places I Have Lived:

1. Fort Collins, CO
2. Boulder, CO
3. Reno, NV
4. And presently WA state

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch:

1. Sopranos
2. Boston Legal
3. Desperate Housewives
4. Survivor

Four places I Have Been on Vacation:

1. Costa Rica
2. Hawaii
3. Mexico
4. Napa Valley

Four Websites I Visit Daily:

1. Yahoo
2. Delphi Forums
4. Bank of America

Four of my Favorite Foods:

1. Crab cakes
2. Sushi
3. Seared ahi
4. AB's green chili and grilled flank steak burritos

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:

1. Playing with Leif
2. Shopping
3. Out for a run
4. Hanging out with my mom

Four Dream Jobs :

1. My current job, scientist.
2. Professor
3. This is hard... physician
4. One more... sommelier

Four Books That Changed My Life:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird
Radiation Detection and Measurement
3. Annapurna, A Woman's Place
4. The Life of Pi

Four Albums That Changed My Life:

1. Social Distortion, self titled
2. Bob Marley, Legend
3. Richard Thompson, Rumor and Sigh
4. Nanci Griffith, Storms (not all country-ish sounding music sucks...)

A new goal

So my new goal is to start dressing more professionally here at work. We are very much a blue jeans and t-shirt group out here. No dress code and sometimes I think there should be when I walk around the buildings here. Seriously, as it stands now I think I (in my jeans and top) dress more professionally than many.

My manager nearly two weeks back told me that she sees my long term career goal in project and task management and told me that there were many compliments to me about my client interactions at our reviews. The negative side was that I need to take more initiative and speak up when something needs to be said. Soo... I put two and two together and here we are today. All this past week I have taken more initiative on a couple things, first my funded project that was tasked under a lab fellow and I was dolled out $120K to manage a task.

Second area has been in my happy project and my PM being unavailable a few days this week. I plowed forward, jumped in and answered questions for the client. Then they started calling me for help and advice. (Yes, I am working this around to why I need to buy new clothes...) My PM leaves tomorrow for a 2 week trip to Mexico (*jealous*) and he changed his normal delegations on the project. CW1, who is usually the pessimistic pita delegate sceintist 5, was given the teleconference duties. Set it up, gather presentations and distribute and then moderate. *I* was given delegation on all client interactions! (Smiles!) I really think that it was my stepping up to the plate this last week and taking control instead of waiting for the pessimistic, pita scientist 5 to tackle it. I am also feeling a little nervous and intimidated being selected out of the entire team where I am the most junior (save for Miss Pinkthing Danceonthehoodofwhitesnakescar post doc).

So I need new clothes. I just FEEL more professional sitting here in my crappy office dressed in my black pants and button down shirt. I FEEL more confident and like I should be listened to. They are right, dress the part you want to play. (And go buy new clothes to do it.)

So the crappy office thing... still a crappy office even though I now have a new tall bookshelf and table instead of an ancient desk. One of the lead admins came by a few minutes ago and was appallingly disappointed at what the "furnishings specialist" came up with as a solution to my lack of space to work. She is so cool. She sat down and decided that if I had one of those new round tables in my office it would give me lots of room to spread out and work, then maybe next year I can get a new desk. I have a huge (I shouldn't say that too loud)... I have a decent open area in the middle of my floor, why not put in a round conference table? Yay, I like her.


So Friday we are taking off and driving to Seattle. AB got the neighbor boy to come over and take care of Win-girl. He cracks me up. He follows AB into the house and AB shows him the back door, keep it locked when he isn't here, takes him and shows him the food and water bowls, where the food is, etc. We talk about that he should come by on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and afternoon and then Sunday morning. He seems excited about the money... err I mean the responsibility. I gave him a key and told him I would leave a list on the table to remind him just in case he needed it. He left.

About five minutes later the doorbell rings. It's the kid. "Umm," he says, "I forgot when you said you wanted me to do this and my mom told me to come and find out."

LOL! I wrote it all down on a piece of paper and sent him on his way. He leaves and AB says I told him at least 5 times this Friday thru Sunday! Yeah, yeah, he is a 10 year old boy. Like they listen.


Leif has been Mr. Grumpypants lately. His teacher thinks he has another tooth coming in. Yay. His other teacher, not the main one, is convinced he is sick and needs to go to the doctor because he has green snot. (rolling my eyes) I thought green snot just went hand in hand with toddlerdom. His main teacher and the other young one have been arguing about this, and I got to hear all about it from his main teacher this morning. *sigh* The politics of daycare teachers. Oh well, the young one is new. And Leif has a total crush on her. He stops by her picture and tries to take it off the wall and home with us every night on the way out.


And the latest is that my little sister has entered the 1990's! She and her husband bought a new computer and she is learning how to use it. My anti-technology sibling is being broken down and brought up to speed. Kind of. Friends set her and her husband's band up with a site.

Of course then what do I do? I have a slow point in my day yesterday and went to check it out. GACK! I should have REALLY, REALLY known better. Do not check out things from my sister at work. Curious? Go to and search bands for The Taints. There you have it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tuesday blah

On the way home last night I started feeling a little off. After dinner it only got worse. AB got Leif bathed and put to bed, then cleaned the kitchen while I layed and groaned on the couch. GI bug. Yuck. At least mine wasn't nearly as bad as Hans' last week. Nothing actually came up, yet.

Leif was up off and on all night again. This after a few really good nights (sleeping through, but up early). AB got up with him each of the three times and to his benefit worked on the sleep training and didn't take the easy way out. At 4am when I heard Leif crying and was sure he was up for good AB went in and got him back down where he slept until 6:28am. (My favorite wake up time.)

I tried and tried to keep moving this morning. But at 8am realized I needed to just send Leif with AB and rest some more. I wandered in at 9am. I took a call from my good PM saying he was in meetings all day and asked me to work on gathering materials for the teleconference tomorrow, since he wouldn't be able to. Since he was unavailable that also meant that for the first time ever I was fielding client calls!

I am not sure how that came about. My PM didn't tell me that he left my number as contact, so I am thinking it was on the client's part. (My phone number is on my sig.) Suddenly I was really happy that I made it in today. (And really happy that I have a charge code to sit at my desk - working of course - all day...)


Springs window fashions. Use them, they rock. So yesterday I had spent some time on the phone with them about my unmountable cellular shade that was special ordered from them. Initially they were no help at all - telling me to call Lowes and complain to them, it's their fault they special ordered it incorrectly.

Last night I got home and there was a message on my voicemail, well two messages actually... but the first one is one that just pisses me off and happens a few times a week. (TYVM family members who use our phone number and address as contacts for people you don't want to talk to...) The second message was from Springs, the woman who I had spoken to that afternoon called me to tell me about a website that is not affiliated with them and that sells hardware to mount blinds in situations like mine. How really, really nice. They have just redeemed a good part of the customer service industry. And if the website pans out and provides me the hardware I need then I am e-mailing them many kudos.


I am panicking a little now about our trip to Seattle. Not in regards to the drive, or Leif in restaurants (yikes). Nope, I was a slacker and didn't call my ultra-reliable neighbor girl until Sunday to ask her to dogsit. Well no, she can't. She and her family are going out of town. Ugh. So now I am scrambling to find someone to take care of Winny. AB is going to talk to our other neighbors tonight. They have a 10 year old boy who is looking for ways to earn money. My only hesitation is that he seems terrified of Win-girl. Anyone who knows Winny will laugh about this. Hope this pans out and that the son and parents are OK with this. Otherwise I am going to be imposing on friends, and I hate that.

One set of friends has 2 big dogs that get along great with Winny. But they also have a 15 month old and I don't want to burden them. I also know Winny will hide in the corner the entire time and not eat being away from home. But maybe Allie and Julie could coax her out to play. Another set of friends, we dogsit for them all.the.time. But they have a huge lot with no fence. I know Winny well enough to know that given the chance she will run all the way home and sit on the front porch. But that is still an option and I can provide a tie for them to put her on. Ugh. Why can't my neighbor girl just be at my beck and command whenever I need?

Monday, March 13, 2006

And now let's all laugh together

I hate the wind.

You Are Wind

Strong and overpowering
A force to be reckoned with, no one dares cross you
You have the power to change everything around you

You are best known for: your wrath

Your dominant state: commanding

Why does nothing work right?

So who watched Sopranos? The entire episode I kept telling myself (and AB), "Tony is going to die" or "something is going to happen to him!" So my theories on what was going to happen were off, I thought the Florida guy was going to shoot him. Anyways it was a great show! I have Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy recorded on the computer and will write them to DVD to watch them. Or watch in hi def on my 20" widescreen... naw... big TV.

So attempts at hooking up the home network obviously failed for the most part this weekend. The wireless router worked fine, but damn Tivo was incompatable. I couldn't justify the $100 for the wireless router for those rare occasions when I need to access my company's internal site. Or to access the older than dirt computer in the guest room. (See, I am trying to be frugal.) Plus the $49 for a Tivo wireless adaptor. So we hauled it back to Costco for a refund.

So now we have one very long phone cord still plugged in for Tivo across the Master bedroom AND a very long coax cable going around the corner into the library to the computer so that I can record shows on the computer. Both are tripping hazards. (Can I convince you I don't work for the government now? Safety at all costs extends to home.) *sigh* So the best way we see to remedy this situation is to finally hire someone to finish the built in shelf area we started on, string the coax through the wall to the library and put a cable plate on the wall. Connect up the computer and the S-video to the TV. We have a TV tuner and DVR on the computer that does not require a monthly fee. So this means that once we accomplish this, we need to dump Tivo.

We could dump Tivo now and just write everything to DVD-RW and play in the DVD player. Naw, not convenient enough. So until then, we will keep it.

What was exceptionally frustrating to me this weekend was figuring all this out. I have always been way up on my tech-savy-ness. Or at least I like to think of myself as being way up on it. What has happened to me these past couple years? Why has my technical knowledge slipped so much? I got to the point where I was so frustrated and annoyed trying to figure all this out. Couple that with AB having a completely different approach to every single thing. What do people who don't regard themselves as being technically savy do?

So the other major frustration this weekend was in the cellular shade I bought for my library. 71" wide, special ordered through Lowes. The biggest problem here is that it must be side-mounted in my window since I have a large arched window. "No problem, " the woman at Lowes told me a few weeks ago and sold me a set of side mounting brackets. Of course the side mounting brackets don't fit the special order blind, I call to order the ones that go with and am informed that I cannot side mount a blind longer than 60". She tells me it will sag and not function properly and starts to explain why their engineers recommend this. I stop her, I get it.

What can I do?

Well one of two things. Either mount a piece of wood in the window frame or return it for refund. Gurr. I want neither thank you. I want it to work. Three phone calls to Lowes later. Twice on the phone with Ditzy McBrainchild who was my "representative" who just could not figure out why the hardware she sold me would not work... finally I got rude and told her that had she placed the order correctly and indicated on the order that it was to be side mounted she would have automatically been told it wouldn't work. She swears to me that she did indicate "side mounted". I respond that "oh it must just be the special order company who is lying to me then..."

4 phonecalls later and I am waiting for a response as to how they are going to "fix this". AB says screw it, give it up, quit being stubborn. He will just get a piece of wood, we can paint it, mount it somehow and hang the damn blind. But damn it, I don't want that! It will look fugly and I am damn sick of everything in my house being a kludge. Just for once I want something that looks nice and is made the way it should be and not just muscled and super glued to work.

Ok, vent over.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Recovered from the grumpys

I have a stack of journal articles I should be plowing through in preparation for a meeting tomorrow. Many of them are actually in French, Russian or German and are from the 1950's-60's. I am actually really surprising myself with the foreign ones how much I can glean from the plots! Enough to get the jist of the article, or so I think. We will see if my counterpart came to the same conclusions when we discuss them tomorrow. (I am now seeing why the much despised Dr. L in grad school forced his students to take a few years of German.) I do work in a place with people from many different countries. I know people from Germany and the former Soviet Union that I am betting I can send excerpts of the papers to for a quick translation.


Leif was up twice last night. Each time for at least 45 minutes. The first time (after listening to me whine greatly during the day) AB got up. After standing next to the crib, patting his back and hushing Leif to sleep without any success, he committed the cardinal sin of picking him up. What resulted then was not really a surprise. Leif struggled to get down and then bolted across the house to our room to get me. I got up with him and sat, rocking him to calm him and then to sleep and carefully depositing him back in the crib. An hour later he was screaming again. This time he was *not* getting out of the crib. I hurried to the nursery and sat there working to convince him to lay his head down and go to sleep. After 30 minutes of this AB came in where I rudely chewed him out (unjustly). He took the next shift and got him down in another 20 minutes where he slept until *gasp* 6:15am.

We are heading back to taking the hardline with him in the middle of the night. No getting out of the crib unless a complete necessity. Like I said yesterday, going to bed? Not a problem. It's the constant wake ups.


AB is feeling better. We went to lunch today for a Safeway deli sandwich. Last week we got 4 coupons in the mail for free lotto, megamillions and 2 scratch game tickets. I never play the lottery here, but for some reason whenever I am in Colorado I buy lotto tickets. I think mostly it is peer pressure because my mom always does. So since I am standing in line with her, I may as well too.

We redeemed our coupons for a stack of tickets (lotto and scratch). The lotto tickets yielded nothing, of course. But the scratch ticket otoh... we are on a streak! A $2 winner that we turned over for another 2 tickets with another $2 winner and so on. After 4 days our streak is dead. Two losers today. I am sure the goal is to entice the general public to play the games and get us hooked. If that was the intent then giving me a $100 winner would have been far more effective! Since I am now finished.


I am really, really tired of sales people. I am buying a large piece of lab equipment and have asked for quotes. The vultures are circling. I have the quotes, I need to review them all still, but if another sales guy calls me asking where his quote fell I might just scream. I have two that have called twice a day for the last 4 days. I have written their numbers down since their affiliation doesn't come up on my caller ID. I am now screening.

One guy is hell bent on me because in the last bid series he lost out on a $50K piece of equipment. He swears up and down that his quote didn't match bid request (his fault, not mine). I am *this* close to telling him next time he calls that if he doesn't quit breathing down my neck I will pull his quote from the stack and toss it. I have had it.

The other guy is just seeming more and more like he isn't on the up and up with me. The company is defunct, but he sells the refurbished instruments and another company he is affiliated with has taken over contract to produce the equipment, but he has yet to get me a quote. Yet won't tell me who the company is so *I* can contact them. His quote for his refurbished piece-o-crap has landed in the garbage can and the yet to exist quote on the new system is teetering.


Leif was so funny this morning. At 6:15 am he was ready for his morning moo-wee. We went to the living room and I put on Nemo. I am so sick of Nemo I could puke. It appears that Leif may be feeling my nausea for it too as he was mad when it came on. Fine. I stopped it and started Teletubbies.

Yes, I Tivo Teletubbies for Leif. He really does like them. He calls them "Tubs". And thinks the rabbits on the landscape are neat. He really gets into saying "hello" and "bye bye" and dancing to the music. I know most adults really, really hate them. But you know, I don't for some reason. Maybe it is just "not Nemo" for me. Or maybe I feel a little rebelious letting my son watch it because Tinky Winky is SO obviously gay. You really just can't even argue that he isn't. But you know, that purple boy blob's need to carry around a red purse just doesn't strike me as an issue that is important. So Teletubbies it is!

This morning we got to daycare a few minutes late. About half the kids were there and each had a little ring of bells. Wow this made my morning drop off easy. Leif put his lunch away, hung up his coat, paused for his kiss and then ran to the back of the room to get his bells. Once he had the beloved bells in his hand he was king of the mountain! He waved them in all the other kid's faces (they all did have their own). And then he started dancing and making as much noise as possible. I waved when I left and he waved back with a huge smile on his face.

Leif is obsessed with using the potty before bath and is very successful with it so far. He has used it the last week consistently and thinks it is awfully neat. We clap and praise him and then he gets into the tub. He hasn't "asked" to use it any other time. Although he does "ask" to sit on the big potty every morning while AB is in the shower. I hold him up there with his clothes and diaper on and give him TP. He wipes and wipes, then puts the TP in the toilet and flushes it. Our plan is to put everything in his court. I am quite convinced though that this is just a phase and his interest will wane as quickly as it popped up any day now.


AB has class tonight. My plan is to Tivo Survivor like I usually do so we can watch together. While this is happening I am going to set up our home network. I am really excited about this and anxious to enable the computer's cable and DVR. What has really prompted this urgency is two fold. Sunday at 9pm (Desperate Housewives vs. The Sopranos) and Tuesday at 10pm (Boston Legal vs. Amazing Race). We don't watch many other TV shows with fervor. AB watches 24, but the violence in that has been bugging me and I have quit. He also watches ER, but I am a little tired of that drama and far prefer Grey's Anatomy. Oh and wait, AB has his Friday sci-fi night... Why is it then that 4 of our 6 "must see" shows fall opposite each other? Haven't the TV execs done their demographics studies? Someone is going to lose here. Or maybe they just count on all of us to have multiple Tivos. (Obviously we have succumbed and this little issue tossed a high end computer with these extras into our lap.)

Ok, I am off. I must get to those journal articles and then leave early to go get Leif and go home. C is coming over at 4:30 to visit, so that will be fun!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I just had a meeting with a "furnishings specialist" here at the lab. (?!?!) Yeah, I didn't know that job title existed either. My manager's admin set it up because I have really, really sucky office furniture. It was the penance I paid when I got an office, my old manager refused to allow for "standard" furniture since (I believe) he felt backed into giving me an office so I had a place to pump since HR told him that telling me to buy a battery adaptor for my pump so I could pump in the bathroom was not acceptable. Anyways...

During my SDR meeting last week I complained to my new manager about my furniture. I wanted to complain about the office situation, but in my head, knew better. I knew the option would be to move to another offsite building, miles from here and drive back and forth to the labs I work in, instead of walk to the neighboring building.

Back to the furniture... I have a 1970's metal desk in my office that houses one computer, my laptop and printer. The other desk I have is akin to a Walmart special with a lower keyboard area. These came out when the concern of carpal tunnel syndrome became an issue and this is definitely a first generation "thing". This Walmart special desk gives me no room for anything to be spread out. My manager shared her woes of lack of overhead funds, but authorized the "furniture specialist" to try and find me something used that is a little more acceptable.

It still irks the crap out of me when I walk by a few offices with junior technicians, who have been here 1/3 the time I have and who have their own office and standard furniture. Not to mention that every new staff member in our group gets new standard furniture and anyone here a few years ago who wanted, got new furniture. Yet *I*, a "senior reseach scientist" can't seem to procure STANDARD office furniture. (Have I mentioned I landed a $1.8 million grant over four years?) Whatever.

So my meeting with the "furniture specialist" was at 1pm. I made it back to my office at 1:05pm. Yes, I forgot about this ultra-important meeting. Apparently, now I am paying and my requests for standard furniture have fallen on deaf ears. She was far and away the bitchiest person I have ever dealt with here at the lab.

She walks into my office and says "107". Not "Hi I am looking for...". I look at her and say "yes?" As in yes, this is office 107. She says rudely, "I am asking you where office 107 is." You are standing in it I tell her and get an eye roll in return. She complains about having to drive *all the way* out to this site, she has never been here before, etc. Give me a break, it's your freakin' job Miss Furniture Specialist.

She stank up my office with some nasty flowery perfume and stared at me like I was some juvenile delinquent and most definitely not worthy of her time. This is one "rate our service" follow up questionnaires that I will be all over when it appears in my mailbox. (And will probably mark me for life as being difficult.)

So what do I get for my troubles? The 1970's metal desk will be removed and replaced with a whopping 3 foot table and I get another small rolling file cabinet and she will "look into" a new bookshelf to hold all the stuff currently stacked on the desk. What a waste of my fricking time.

There is some part of me that is really looking forward to AB graduating and seriously seeking a position as an engineer elsewhere. I already know we will get no "official" assistance here. But I am in one of those moods today where I am looking forward to going into my manager's office and telling her I have an interview with some other group or company and here are the reasons why I am looking at leaving. There is nothing keeping me in this position right now.


Ok, so I am obviously feeling the grumpies today. Chalk it up to a sick husband, not his fault, and a son who can't or won't sleep. Sitting with Leif at 4:40am I was near tears and started asking myself why I was so stupid as to think I am ready to start trying for a 2nd child. What if the second has Leif's same sleep issues (that AB also has and I suspect his mom as well). This is first and foremost among the reasons that I cannot even consider trying for another until I know that AB will be done with school by the birthdate, thus aleviating my guilt for asking him to get up with Leif (or another) in the middle of the night. I cannot do this by myself. I cannot go to bed only to get up an hour and a half later and sit up with screaming child for an hour. Go back to bed for 3:40 until child believes he needs to be up and watching the damn "Nemo moo-wee". And still head out to work for 8 hours and function adequately. Yes, he can sit there in his crib and scream until 5:30am. And he will given the opportunity. But then we don't sleep either and isn't that the point... I want sleep. At least I can snooze lightly through Nemo, mostly.

The details in case anyone has a winning suggestion... Leif (19 months) has no problem going to bed in his crib from wide awake state, even without me in the room. Thanks Sleep Lady. Most of the time he will sleep through the night. (For those of you with no kids, sleeping "through" the night is 6 hours or something ridiculous.) When he does wake up in the middle of the night (before 4am), 90% of the time he can be hushed back down. The other 10% of the time (like last night) is full on screaming. Then the morning wake ups. I can count on my hands the number of times Leif has slept past 6am. 6am is a perfectly acceptable wake up time as far as I am concerned. I can deal with that. I cannot deal with 4:40am. (Even if I didn't stay up until 10:40pm playing on the new computer.)

I would love ideas or suggestions. Please be explicit. And also know that if any of you out there with perfect children post in MY comments anything like hmmm... "Until my darling Elmo started sleeping through the night at 6 months we were up too and it sucked" you will be cursed!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Leif's 18 month well baby

So he is just over 19 months... only a little late. Makes those milestones appear even more impressive!

We got there and Leif was thrilled to play with the new toys in the waiting room. He stacked boxes taller than himself while I sat there beaming. He said "bye bye" to each and every patient that was called back by the nurse. He was being his normal happy self.

Then it is his turn. We head through the double doors and he realizes this place is a little too familiar. He turns tail and runs back. I coaxed him down the hall with the promise of "snackies" (fruit chews). No real surprise that he didn't want his shirt off, nor his pants or shoes. So it was a battle while he screamed at the top of his lungs.

It took both the nurse and I holding him down to get head circumference, O2 levels (he had been wheezing), and his length. The scale was even more fun as he sat on it attempting to flail himself off the top. Even snackies didn't help.

We get back to the room and his mood was vastly different than the last few visits where I threatened Hans with his life if he didn't come with from now on (he had an excuse, stomach flu for the second time in 9 months). Leif sat on my lap, refusing to get down or smile to anyone. (Very uncharacteristic of him.)

So his stats...

Head - 47 cm
Weight - 26 lbs 3 oz (50th percentile)
Height - 33" (while squirming, 55th percentile)

He has gained only 10 oz in the last 7 months. The doctor did pause on this and note the deviation from the trend and we dwelled a little on his eating habits. He is obviously not starving, and he has also thinned out significantly. Leif is incredibly active as well. AB and I were both string beans growing up (what happened?). Anyways, probably nothing to worry about. I wouldn't be surprised if he is actually a little taller than 33". The squirming Leif was doing was pretty massive leading to a large error likely.

I KNEW I forgot something

Last night while AB worked on homework I sat on the couch and caught up on my reading. I knew there was something else I should have been doing. I should have put a little more thought into what my next day schedule held for me.

Fast forward to an hour ago as I stood in the doctor's office, pulling off my clothes and picking up the flimsy paper gowns. Yeah, *that* appointment.

So does it being wintertime and a busy working mom excuse me from not shaving my legs for *that* appointment? I was mortified and there was even a fleeting thought of 'how can I get out of here'. And it wasn't just stubble, I am talking weeks of growth. It was a forest. Last weekend I contemplated actually getting AB's clippers to deal with the forest, but stupidly put it off. Yes, *that* bad.

Being the geek that I am, I pulled my socks up as high as they would go and situated my paper gown as low as it could reasonably go. Only for it to be shoved completely aside by Dr. M. Then compound it all by the fact that Dr. M is pretty much hot makes it even that much worse. Thankfully, he is quick, in and outta there, literally.

Still, I am mortified.

Monday, March 06, 2006

More Leifisms

Last week I unloaded the dishwasher and found the dental floss in there. I am somewhat used to Leif putting odd things in the dishwasher and thought nothing of it. Threw it down the hall towards the bathroom.

The next day, the same thing. Dental floss container in the dishwasher. It wasn't until day three that I started really wondering about why in particular the dental floss. Leif can reach up and grab things off the bathroom counters, but why always the dental floss?

Mystery solved! I use the Cascade gel pack things. Love them, btw. Square shape, bright blue... about the same size as... you guessed it... the bright blue dental floss container. Leif loves to do "dishies". I put the Cascade gel pack in. He closes the flap and then the door and pushes the buttons I tell him to, then we LEAVE the dishwasher. (This has helped a ton with his fascination of it and has resulted in far fewer aborted runs thanks to Leif.) On Friday night I told Leif we were going to do "dishies" and here he came running with the dental floss to put in the soap container! Mystery solved!


Book obsessed. I am happy to say that Leif is obsessed with books. He used to bring one book and if it wasn't the one he wanted would get up mid-sentence of the first page, take it away and find another. Repeat until acceptable book was found. He has been seeking out particular books that he wants to read and will turn over every inch of his bedroom if he wants the Elmo book and it isn't readily apparent. He has also been far more interested in bigger, longer, non-board books. This morning he got most of the way through The Other Dog (which I bought for Winny when I was pregnant and a complete sap. I sobbed reading it to my dog.) before deciding he wanted to read Bumble instead.

We have books in all rooms of the house and Leif has his own personal narration to his favorites. Like for example:

Me: "But never in cold wintertime when belly buttons hide"
Leif: "No no beebo no no"
Me: "No never in cold wintertime when belly buttons hide"
Leif: "No no beebo no no"
Me: "Bye bye Beebo."
Leif: "Bye bye beebo, no no, more" (while he signs "more" indicating we should read it again.)

Ok, so I love it. Especially the seriousness with which he says "no no".


Food. Oy vey. What can I say? Should I question whether or not this is really my child? He does not like food. Even typical toddler foods. Eating is something to be done as fast as possible so he can return to whatever he was doing previously.

Favorite foods? Pears, blueberries, macaroni and cheese and Peeps. (oops, my fault) Oh yes, "daddies" too. AB makes swedies (crepes) from an old family recipe. Leif loves them and calls them "daddies" presumably because it rhymes with swedies and AB makes them. (You don't see the rest of the foods named after ME!)


Leif has a close couple of friends at daycare. He and Atticus and Jonathen are buds. They stick together and whenever one of them does something, you can expect the other two to follow. On Friday at daycare Leif and Atticus were sitting together as usual. Atticus picked up his glass of milk and poured it, purposely, down the front of his shirt. Leif, seconds later, reaches and does the exact same thing. The poor teacher had to change both of their clothes before naptime. Leif rarely needs clothing changes at school, so imagine the teachers surprise when his spare clothes are about two sizes too small. I cannot believe he was that tiny when he started there.

There was no fitting him in and so he borrowed the ugliest shirt ever. I suppose that's how they remind us to bring back the borrowed shirts, make them so ugly you don't want them in the drawer.


I got recommendations on a place that cuts hair and caters to kids in the area. Monkey Doo's. This research and recommendations all for naught when AB admits that the only reason he harps on Leif's mullet is to give me a hard time. Leif, in fact, does not need his haircut *that* badly. Gurrr. Now why? I obviously didn't get that it was a joke. I thought we were "arguing" about the mullet.

No way, AB tells me. Leif doesn't really need his haircut and I am right, they stylist will just laugh at us if we put Leif through this trauma (because it WILL be a trauma) only to take off a few inches of hair on the back of his head.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Finishing off the week

What a gorgeous day! The sun is shining, the wind isn't blowing and it is not bitter cold. Very pleasant.

I just got off the phone with a candidate for the lab's internship program. She has a resume that trumps most that I have seen. I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with her running through my list of canned questions... "What are your strongest traits, how do you demonstrate these traits?", "Where do you want to be in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years?", "Can you give me an example of a leadership position you have held?"

She actually did alright, not fabulous, but fine. IF my project could hire her (I have the funds, but all we will be doing is buying and assembling things) I am actually not sure I would. She told me that she wants to use techniques as a chemist and not necessarily know about how the instruments work. Well bad thing to say to me in paricular. Others might be fine with that though.


I finally had my staff development review with my manager this afternoon. I had a really nice talk with her. I took up most of my hour long meeting. I didn't have much to complain about, especially since I was promoted this year. She told me that my coworkers had really nice things to say about me and how much they like working with me. The only thing she said I needed to work on was not being afraid to jump in and give my opinion. This is something I do on occasion, but not to the extent that I should. And it is a characteristic of my social style. I will work on it.

The one thing that I addressed with her was my concern that even though I was promoted I did not receive the highest rating "exceeds expectations". Instead I received "meets expectations +". I asked her why this was, or what in her mind could I have done to have received that level. One thing I like about my manager is her candidness, and hopefully this is truthful and not her just passing the buck. But she told me that she didn't have a good reason for this because she DID give me "exceeds expectations". However, when she met with her boss, my division director, he dumbed down every single one of her ratings one notch save for one or two people who he did leave at the "exceeds expectations" level. Evidently he told her that "here in this group we have very high expectations as compared to other groups". (She is new to my directorate.)

I could chalk it up to a "Manager-ism". But this does scare me a little. I worry that I am forever tainted in the eyes of my division director. When I first started as a post-doc here, he was my line manager. I had a pretty frank discussion with him early in my career here where he expressed extreme distaste for the project I was hired onto. There was no love lost between the project and line management... that team rejoiced when he moved on (up) and they didn't report directly to him anymore.

He told me that if I ever wanted him to hire me permanently that I needed to find some other projects to work on, no joke. My post-doc mentor was ticked. But he held strong to his word and one day he summoned me to his office and offered me a full time position saying that in the 6 months since we talked I did what he asked, got rave reviews and so he intended to make good on his prior statement to me. (And again my post-doc mentor was ticked.) I was thrilled, but later also questioned whether I wasn't some sort of pawn in a power play between he and the project management.

Anyways, this is why I worry that he may view me as having a black mark is my prior association with "that" project. No real way I will ever know short of asking him straight up. And I will be damned if I will ever do that! The guy scares the living daylights out of me! Intimidation factor at its best.

Well suffice it to say that I had a really, really good talk with my manager. She praised me whole heartedly and offered me different options on my path forward. She has suggested that I am really good at organizing things, budgeting and seeing things through and suggested that I seek out management type roles (task and project management) as well as business development based off the really good ratings I got on my favorite project where I interact with the client weekly. My project manager for that project told her that the client likes and trusts me. This is an unusual position for someone of my level to be in actually. Most often clients will talk only to the project manager, not the team. This is really where I would like to see my career move. I want to have some foothold in the lab. But really I want someone else to go to the lab and work under my direction and then provide me with the data to manipulate and report on.(Does that make me sound lazy?) ;-) We will see if that pans out.


AB had an eye appointment this afternoon. His doctor pulled him off all drops recently and so the hope is that maybe he can stay off of the drops now. A few months after we got married AB got shingles. It showed up on his forehead and had followed the nerves on his face. It actually ended up following his optical nerve and going into his eye. This resulted scarring of his cornea. For the last 6 years AB has had to use a variety of, and multiple eyedrops a day. Evidently the "bumps" are still there on his cornea, but they aren't impeding his vision, nor getting worse. So this is good news.


We don't have much planned for the weekend. We are having our good friends K&V over for dinner on Saturday night. Leif will be happy to play with C. They are at that age where they are starting to interact more and more. I am planning on making Vietnamese spring rolls (salad rolls). This is one of the first things I made for AB when we started dating. I think it secured my spot as girlfriend way back when! It is still one of his (and my) favorite meals. I also would like to make ginger ice cream... yum.

We have a few errands to run, but nothing major. I am mostly excited by the fact that AB doesn't have to work! He has some homework to do, but that is it. Yay!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Propelled into the 21st century

The computer arrived!

AB noted yesterday morning that the UPS tracking system stated the computer was "out for delivery". We were surprised as it wasn't even in the system until Monday night. (Getting off this topic before I start down the long road of why UPS sucks.) So over lunch we headed to the Clearwire store and signed up and got our satellite receiver for our NEW wireless internet access! (Bye bye cabel wired modem.)

Suffice it to say that we could not elect to stay home all day between 8am and 7pm to wait for the computer. So at AB's earliest convenience (4pm) he headed home. No attempted delivery. About an hour AB was greeted by a knock on the door and two large boxes. Yay! (And perfect timing.)

He started unpacking and by the time I got home with Leif he had components pulled out. We quickly hired the electronic babysitter (Finding Nemo) and got to work. A little while later we had it assembled (in a temporary position pending buying a new computer desk - AB's words, not mine!) and turned it on. We sat in awe of the 20" widescreen monitor as it roared to life, quickly clicking through all the required legal notices about software, etc until we finally got to the Windows screen.

Quick break for dinner. Our regular evening routines (I pick up, AB does bath and bedtime) and we raced back to the computer. I won and so I set up new e-mail accounts and Outlook and then opened the Media Center, which btw, is awesome. I don't know what else to say. We inaugerated it by sliding in the Star Wars DVD and cranking the sound while the words "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away..." rolled back. It is a thing of beauty I tell you!

Shortly after the inaugeral ceremony we explored the Media games and were sucked into a new Jewel game (Tetris like). AB posted a score, I spent about 30 minutes beating the score and then went to bed where AB spent another hour and 20 minutes stomping my score to pieces and came to bed vowing to never open the stupid game again thanks to its sinkhole of time quality.

AB and NM have entered the 21st century (along with deeper debt).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Being petty

I am going to stoop here. Stoop far. I really try not to make snap judgments about people, but this one was too much to pass up.

I am sitting in teleconference today, I missed last week because I was in class. There is a new post-doc on the project and I had not met her yet. In she walks. My guess is that she is 30-35 years old. She smiles and comes and sits next to me at the ever shrinking table (as the project shrinks we keep moving to smaller conference rooms).

My first thought is, "wow, she likes pink". She has a hot pink shirt on, jeans and hot pink VELCRO tennis shoes. Like the ones I had when I was 12. Her hair is poodle style permed and she has the front pulled up on the top of her head with a hot pink scrunchy so it cascades down the side of her face. I am kicking myself for making snap judgments about her based upon her 1985 outfit. (Does that redeem me at all?)

This is where it gets worse. She pulls out a very large cell phone, my guess is it was one of the first generation picture phones. It is encased in pink plastic. She props it up on the very small table we are all squishing around with laptops and lab notebooks and brings up a freakin' picture of her pug "so he can watch". The mongo cell phone sits there the.entire.teleconference with her pug staring at me. Great restraint was taken so as that I didn't "accidentally" send the thing flying across the room.

I was both embarrassed for the girl and thrilled that our teleconference is not a videoconference. Does she really expect me to take her input on this project seriously? (Oh and the jeans... camels toe AND muffin top. That just cannot be comfortable and jeans are supposed to be comfortable.)

I will now return to my realm of being nice... relatively.