Friday, November 30, 2007
We haven't seen that side of Skadi's personality develop yet, but she is only 8 months old. (And officially crawling, have I mentioned that yet?) She can be a smiley baby, but compared to Leif, she is probably more on the side of normal. I fear her claim to fame is going to be her temper... her teacher has declared that the reason she has hair at this young is her way of indicating to others around her that she has that stereotypical "red-headed temper". This is the same teacher that called Leif her "willful charmer". She has an uncanny ability to peg baby's personalities.
Yesterday one of my friends told me that her son came home and said, "I want to be like Leif". She said he was pretty down and depressed sounding and went on to say he didn't want to be himself anymore.
"Why do you want to be like Leif?" she asked him resisting the urge, she told me, to ask him if he wanted to go live at Leif's house then since he had been such a turkey lately.
"Because he is always so funny and always makes other people laugh. I want to make other people laugh," he told her.
I felt his pangs, his agony. And it isn't that he isn't a funny kid. All three year olds are funny to a certain degree, aren't they?
I was one of those kids. The ones that were never very funny, took awhile to pick up on jokes, couldn't tell a joke to save my life (AB thinks that is just hilarious - my inability to tell a joke). The kid that saw those spirited funny kids that walked into a room and lit it up just by their presence. I wanted to be one of them.
I would say I didn't know where Leif gets this... but if you know my family, it is quite obvious where he gets this personality trait.
My mother in law.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
I admitted to him that I didn't know how to end it and asked for suggestions. He didn't know either. You see we dated for about 3 months and then he broke up with me (boo) over the phone (double boo), a week before Valentine's Day (triple boo). I had decided it wasn't meant to be and wanted nothing to do with him. I refused to call him and avoided him at school. He didn't come to my intramural volleyball games and I was glad that he was no longer my lab partner.
I took to flirting with my Inorganic Lab TA... which was going surprisingly well.
Then one day AB called me. He asked me if I had listened to a particular Mark Cohn song... sure I had. I had introduced him to Mark Cohn. Then he continued to talk, and talk. He told me on one of the subsequent long calls that his best friend, JB, was coming to town with his then girlfriend and they were all going to Moab for Spring Break. I was a little disappointed that I wasn't invited and wrote him off in my mind... again. I did have to work - I always worked spring break, but an invite would have been nice.
They got back from Moab and he brought the two over to my apartment so I could meet them. We got back together at that point and dated for about 6 months until the following fall. We survived rolling my car that summer and I had graduated. AB had switched majors and still needed to complete two more semesters. I planned to stay in my job at the dermatologist that year and figure out what I wanted to do.
The next time he broke up with me that fall he came to my door. He had walked all the way over to my house (after much razzing about the phone call break-up), thinking the whole way. There he broke the news to me, we were over, done, kaput.
This one lasted a little longer. I don't remember exactly when we got back together, but I remember we weren't together when we took his sister to see Phantom of the Opera that fall for her birthday present. We had bought tickets earlier that summer and wouldn't you know it we split up. But I still really wanted to see Phantom and so I kept my ticket.
That night I did make sure he knew that I had other options out there - as far fetched as they were. My old best friend from high school, Brian, had recently contacted me and we had written a few letters back and forth. For a little bit I pondered if there could be something there. I knew there wasn't really, but I let AB think there might be.
He spent that Christmas in Alaska with his family which I remember because he called me at my mom's house and I remember telling my mom, "I don't know why he called, we aren't together".
She replied, "because it is Christmas and he is a nice guy". Or something to that effect.
Sometime after that we were back together. Spring Break again arrived - this time JB (who wasn't with his girlfriend anymore), AB, Brian and Josh were headed to Moab. I had to work, AB knew it and it was a guy's trip. I stayed home again. AB came back with a short crew cut - ditched the long feathered look from high school. (About time.)
AB graduated and was job hunting. We had no idea where he was going to end up, and I was applying to grad schools my first time around. I chose high end grad schools - I had a mediocre GPA - there really wasn't a chance.
After a couple jobs making little to nothing AB decided he had to go to Alaska to work on the North Slope and earn real money. I was denied entry to the grad schools I selected and was facing another year working in skin cancer surgery.
The move to the North Slope was a tough one on our relationship. I recanted this with AB the other night, curious on his take as I was reitterating our first two years of our relationship. I didn't know where I would be the next year. He was unhappy in Colorado, but had a job offer in Alaska. I wasn't moving to Alaska. We made the mutual decision to break up.
We both cried. I remember going for walks sobbing. Both of us. I didn't want him to go, but I couldn't ask him to stay either. I felt I didn't have anything to offer him there.
AB recalls that he got to Alaska and had a week before his stint on the slope started. He got outfitted and headed up. He called me regularly to let me know what was going on. Regularly turned into almost nightly for those next nine weeks he worked. I was still smitten. But feared the heartbreak.
He was nearing his time off and he asked if he could come back to Colorado and stay with me for those 2-3 weeks of time off. So there it was, we were back together and that third break up - in two years - lasted an entire 11 weeks. If that really.
I flew up to be with him in Alaska for Christmas that year. We attended one of his friend's weddings and had a really nice time. I fell in love with Alaska.
We started talking about our plans for the future. AB had been working and making very good money and we could suddenly afford to do things on his off time, like travel to go skiing. I made travel plans while he was up on his slope time. I worked at my job, applied for grad schools, then he would fly down and we would have 2-3 weeks of being together.
Finally I got my grad school letters.
I had to decide between attending at Moscow, Idaho and Reno, Nevada. I remember calling and trying to arrange a visit to Moscow and was met with such opposition, I became immediately nervous. It wasn't that they didn't want me to visit, it was that getting there, posed a difficulty and was expensive enough they couldn't pay for the whole trip.
This was a red flag for me. If I couldn't get there for a visit, how was AB going to get there? We had at that point decided that we did want to be together and wherever I chose to go to grad school, he would fly to. He was not stuck on Colorado and his family had moved to Alaska again. He would pay half the rent and utilities and we would live together.
I thought this a good compromise for my first year knowing I really needed the time to get established in my program and to study. During his time up there, I would study my rear off and work hard. Then I could slack off a little for his 2-3 weeks off.
I arranged our visit with Reno to coincide with one of his off times. We drove to Reno and then drove into San Francisco to visit JB thereafter.
Reno it was. I liked the program, the profs, the students. And we liked the proximity to San Francisco.
At this point we were back to being a couple and no more break ups ensued. We got through that rough patch initially. Then when AB was working on the Slope it became obvious that despite being broken up, we really did want to be together and not only that, we would work to plan our lives on the same path.
This was the corner we turned in our relationship that changed things for good.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Get a load of this new trick mommy!
Leif "just call me Remy" at work. Seriously if I heard one more time, "you RUINED the soup" or "stop that soup" while making my cream of mushroom soup on Thursday I might have just screamed. Hey though, he ALMOST tried it after making his modifications (which included lots of pepper).
AB feels it too. He asked me a few minutes ago if we moved back to Colorado, would we live in Boulder or somewhere on the outskirts? I said I didn't know, probably the outskirts, we probably couldn't afford to live in Boulder, plus we have been there done that. He paused a little and said he thought he could do Boulder again. This shocked me coming from my conservative husband. "Boulder has a lot to offer," he said.
I look at my family. AB cheering "Touchdown CU!" (every few minutes because evidently both defenses suck rocks). Seeing Leif play with my Christmas village (that we set up this morning - he is putting all the animals and people to sleep and waking them up "get your blankey off" - oh wait that one is going to sleep some more...), and seeing Skadi in AB's arms. Things are so different now, but so much better in many ways. Still my time at CU, meeting my husband, was a great time of my life.
So back to my story...
So we had left the Dark Horse and walked back to his dorm room to get my stuff and he kissed me.
I liked him, he kissed me, we were on our way! Or so I thought.
He told me later that he didn't want a relationship, was not ready for one and was just plain too busy for a relationship. Plus, it was just a really bad idea as lab partners to date each other.
Darn it, he had his head on straight and knew what he wanted. This was somewhat unusual to me with a guy I liked. I was disappointed, but vowed we could be just friends. I knew in my heart I could change him. He had kissed me after all. I knew there was something there.
Halloween and the big football game was coming up. Nebraska versus CU... at home. It was huge. Still is huge. This was before the game was moved to the day after Thanksgiving. It used to be Halloween weekend... in Boulder... combine that with the then recent backlash from killing the Mall Crawl and you had a weekend of craziness in Boulder.
AB not only made sure I was attending, but knowing the parking situation, walked down to meet me and walk back up to the game. It was a great game and afterwards we went to the bar where AB and I did some walloping up ourselves in the form of foosball.
We were a great team and obviously destined to be together (again I thought).
That night he kissed me again.
Had I won him over this time? Oh and I can't even remember if the Buffs stomped the Cornhuskers or not. See where my mind was?
A couple days later after working on lab reports he asked me if I was interested in going to see Miss Saigon with him? A date! A real date! Not a football game! I said I would love to. Then wondered a little about this guy who was proposing to take me to a musical. Guy... musical... guy... musical... oh no, I thought. Was I setting myself up for hurt? Was this guy really... umm... gay?
My mom was excited I would get to see Miss Saigon, I was excited to be with this Alaska Boy on a real date.
I worried about what to wear. I was upset with myself that the nicest coat I had (since wearing my ski coat to a musical wasn't going to work) was a green fleece thing. (I laugh now at how I neurosed about this knowing that my husband is so not clothing concerned.) I thought back to the "other" ChemE major from Alaska and his regular comments to me on what I should select to wear to certain events.
The date wasn't exactly what I was expecting being that my husband was taking his residents in the dorm hall to the musical. So there were plenty of fellow students around and we rode a bus to the theater. But still, I was thrilled. It was our first real date in mid-November 1993.
Miss Siagon was great. I am dying to see it again still. I was so surprised that this Alaska Boy enjoyed the musical so much as well.
He told me afterwards that he decided that we could now date as the semester's close was near and we would no longer be lab partners.
I had a boyfriend! I had a boyfriend that didn't mind going to musicals (in fact he liked them), he was kind and considerate and knew what he wanted. What could go wrong now?
Nothing, I thought. I didn't have visions of us marrying each other. I was living in the moment. Who knew what would happen when we graduated? I didn't have any idea what *I* wanted to do when I graduated, how could I even think about this relationship?
I had a boyfriend.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year. This goes back to when I was a kid. The first memory I have of Thanksgiving is probably from when I was about 6. I looked forward to wearing my long skirt and baking with my mom. She always made fresh bread and pies on Thanksgiving.
Dinner was always at my grandmother's house with games afterwards. We had to cross the North Platte river to get there and I envisioned myself a pioneer girl crossing the river while I sang "over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go". There wasn't any through the woods though. In fact it was more like, down the street, over the river and down the street again. She lived about a mile away as the crow flew. By the time I finished my song, we were there.
I loved the smell of baking bread and my mom always gave me little bits of dough to shape and bake in my own little pans.
That year I was so excited to be baking with my mom that when the neighborhood boys came and inquired as to if I wanted to go sledding, I turned them down. I remember my mom saying I could go if I wanted to, she could get things done without me, my only hope was that she didn't MAKE me go sledding. I loved sledding, and the neighborhood boys were nice enough. But cooking on Thanksgiving happened only once a year. And at least in Central Wyoming, snow happened all the time.
My first year in grad school we didn't go back to Colorado. Instead we had a few people up to our place in Reno. I think that was the year my sister flew in, JB (AB's best friend) came over the hill from San Fran as did Brian and maybe Josh too. I am even thinking JB's sister came out too. Our turkey was late. (The plastic popper thing never popped.) I discovered AB really didn't like mayo, it wasn't just his imagination. I tried to convince him it was yogurt in the spinach dip - he replied, "well I guess I don't like yogurt either" - it was a year or so before I could convince him to try yogurt again. We had mashed potatoes, lumpy gravy and not much else.
My first Thanksgiving was a real learning experience.
My second Thanksgiving though was different since I had a little cooking experience under me with a real professionally trained chef. My stepbrother cooked the rehearsal dinner for 50 people as his gift to my other stepbrother on the eve of his wedding day. I was thrilled to act as his sous chef. I am not sure I have ever learned so much on one topic in 48 hours. I still apply all that knowledge I learned that summer in any large dinner I cook.
I bought my last minute groceries this morning and picked up some different cheeses. In preparation for the games on Friday I bought a couple six packs of beer which resulted in a marriage proposal from the guy bagging my groceries. (Apparently his ex-wife never brought beer home and the fact that I did just made me the ultimate potential wife to him.) Ok, it made me smile. (He said nothing of the wines I happened to score... so much for him.)
Today I made the turkey broth/drippings for the gravy - all that needs to be done tomorrow is the roux base and mix it together. The cinnamon rolls are done and doing the final rise in the fridge. The components of the dressing done and ready to be combined and baked. The pumpkin pie is baked.
Tomorrow I will do my mushroom soup, make mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts and act as bartender while AB smokes the turkey and makes his yam and apple gallete with pomegranite reduction.
I picked Leif up from daycare and his mood was vastly improved. I am wondering if it has to do with the fact I let him haul HIS blankey in. I fear this is going to be a routine now. My little Linus dragged his blanket in and out of preschool today with a smile on his face. I had a blankey too.
Leif has AB's speech patterns down to a science. This morning he was watching Skadi play and he said to me, "did you see what your daughter just did". It was all I could do not to just completely bust up laughing at him.
Oh and speaking of my daughter. Three forward crawl steps today. She has yet to reproduce it, but I fear my days are numbered!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
What finally cured him? I should have known. He is behaving just like his father lately, striving to talk like him and such. A hot shower. He took about a 30 minute hot shower and was cured.
This morning I spent about 20 minutes conversing with his teacher about behavior issues. For once even though she said that he has been a challenge in class, she added on the phrase, "but no worse than any of the other kids this week, it's a tough week all around for some reason". She even told me that her granddaughter - also 3, has been exhibiting some "rather bizarre" behavior. I felt better.
Since I didn't care to hang out in my house while my housecleaner cleaned, I headed to Walmart for a few things with Skadi after the preschool dropoff. Then to the mall for a couple presents. I got home and was somewhat happy to see our housecleaner was gone. Partly because I looked forward to not having to hear about her wacky family, but the flip side was that she had only been there 2.5 hours. 2.5 hours and I pay her how much? House better be sparkling.
We got in and I went to go feed the fish. The temp on the tank was down. (Goldfish) It doesn't matter so much because these fish could survive the apocalypse. But I do have a plecostomas and it is getting to that time of year when they go belly up as the temp starts dropping. However, not to 66F. Dang. Killed another pleco.
66F? I have never seen the temp that low. I went to the house thermostat and it read 64F. No wonder we were cold. But I reset the thermostat yesterday knowing I was going to be home all week. It should be a balmy 72F.
Gurr. I made the call.
One way to warm up the house is to bake. Or maybe I just cannot stand to have a clean kitchen. It must just be subliminal. I made the fixings for five Thai chicken pizzas a la K&V and froze them. The fixings, not K&V. Then I also made these ginger cookies. Yum. The texture is amazing.
So I didn't get a jump on my Thanksgiving cooking. And I didn't finish up my photo albums. And I didn't sew curtains.
I did keep my daughter warm until the HVAC people could get there ($251 later and we have heat again). We also have yummy ginger cookies.
I found out he was a chemical engineering major from Anchorage, Alaska. Sound familiar? I asked him if he knew my other ChemE friend from our PChem class. Sure enough... turns out their dads worked in the same industry (banking) growing up and they were acquaintances. He also told me the guy was "quite well known" in the engineering department as being a lady's man. I left it at that.
I started going to football games with two of my geek-boy friends. They were fun enough and taught me the rules... "if the ball is moving, no talking".
A few weeks go by and aside from the weird purple pants episode, my lab partner was growing on me. He was good looking and he was smart. He was entertaining to talk to. He was athletic and also enjoyed my favorite sport, volleyball, though he professed a real love for water polo. We talked about our past loves. He was newly out of a relationship and not looking for anything. It had been a year and a half since my last serious relationship (the guy I moved from Fort Collins with) and I was ready. We talked about the upcoming football game and I asked him if I could join him.
He seemed perplexed that I asked if I could watch the game with him but agreed upon a place to meet. He told me he had reserved tickets, but there was always plenty of room to squish in. I looked forward to squishing up next to him.
I bailed on the geek-boys. I showed up and met his engineering buddies and pretended to understand the game in front of me. I even picked up one of the free pom poms on my way in as an effort to show my interest. He was a sweet guy who was thoughtful of me, but darn it, was not showing ANY interest!
I started scooting closer to him in lab classes. Sitting next to him in our associated lecture. Letting my hand linger in pointing out something in his lab notebook. I would stress about what to wear when we would get together to work on our reports. (Would he notice my new Mary Jane Doc Martins? Would he like this brown sweater with a deep V in the front?) I found myself lingering and chatting after working on our reports, dreading the time he would say he either had to do rounds (he was an RA in the dorms) or needed to go to bed. You would have thought *I* never needed to sleep.
He continued to include me in his football plans with his engineering cronies and on away Saturdays I would miss him.
Then finally... one night after working on our lab reports he asked me if I wanted to walk over and get a beer at the bar across the street. I was amped! We went to the bar that was then quiet on that weeknight. The movie Better Off Dead was playing. I knew we were meant to be as we both knew all the lines. ("I want my $2!" ... "He puts his testicles all over me!" She said. "I don't think that word means what you think it means," he would say. ... "This is PURE snow man!")
That night after the beer we walked back to his dorm room in the lightly falling snow. I went to retrieve my lab report materials from his dorm room, and it happened. He kissed me.
I was elated.
To be continued...
(P.S. Purple pants... AB now he professes that he couldn't come to lab in shorts and for some reason had a pair of purple fleece long johns in his bag and put them on under his shorts instead of walking back to his dorm room... makes sense now. I suppose.)
Monday, November 19, 2007
What does it say about me that it is driving me absolutely insane to have stickers all over the chart and none in my very neat, perfectly square, constructed boxes? Insane, positively, absolutely insane.
He does this on purpose, I know.
I used to state that I didn't know what the Terrible Two's were all about. Nope, we didn't have the Terrible Two's in our house. We do, however, have the Terrible Three's. So not a fun experience. I am lucky, he is a great kid, he is a smart kid. But wow, he is exerting his will right now. And he is willful about everything. Everything is a battle lately. From sitting down to dinner, to what shirt he wants to wear, to pooping in the potty (again).
I selfishly kept him in preschool this week while Skadi and I took the week off. I want to give Skadi some one on one time with me. I want to live by her schedule for a few days. I want to not endure screaming at the mere suggestion of naptime.
Oh wait. I forgot... must maintain my facade that my child is an angel. Let me think of something funny or cute he has done lately...
Really, there should be something to write here...
Ok, well the one thing that really cracks AB and I up lately is that his speech patterns are uniquely AB's. I asked AB the other day what it feels like hearing your own voice and sentiments echoed back at you. Because I find it frankly hilarious hearing AB's speech patterns come out of this little 34 lb beanpole walking around my house. "Probably", "actually", "why don't we do this", "how about we..." and any combination of these phrases.
I am being selfish leaving Leif in preschool. And I am working on not feeling guilty about it.
Skadi fell asleep last night at 7pm and woke at 4:28am for a quick nurse and then back to her marathon sleep until 6:48am. That child can snooze when there isn't anything popping up in her way (teeth).
We took Leif to school and then ran to the bank. It was closed and since I wasn't going to take her out of her carseat and schlep her up to the foyer ATM, the banking will wait.
We headed to Winco for groceries. I debated Albertsons vs. Winco. Albertsons and the convenience, the nice store, the one stop shopping beckoned me. But the vast money savings of Winco won me over. Skadi is a most excellent shopping assistant and didn't make a peep the entire time, even while I bagged my own groceries (hate that).
We headed home where she went immediately down for a nap. I put the groceries away and had time for a quick e-mail check before she was back up again. Not surprising given the sleep previously.
We played around the house. She watched me hang the pictures that have been begging for places on the walls. She worked on her crawling (backwards still and that is oh so very frustrating to her). We ate some lunch, turned on Days of Our Lives and folded laundry. At 1:30 she was back down for her afternoon nap.
Wow did I score with the afternoon nap. 2.5 hours to pick up the house, make my Cranberry Zinfandel sauce and start on my photo albums. I was productive there. At 4pm she started making peeps and we packed up to go assuage my guilt and retrieve the boy child a little early.
I looked at my Monday list. I accomplished about half of it. The other half remained untouched, or changed. So "Go get bearhands" changed to "See if Leif's old Bearhands will fit Skadi and call the shoe store and see if they have Bearhands this year". (They do.) I will run Leif down sometime this weekend to pick some out - he wants yellow... they don't show yellow as an option on the website. Why oh why do they not make yellow when they make every.single.other.color. Mentally preparing myself now. "Oh look Leif, they have ORANGE! Isn't ORANGE your favorite color? ORANGE will match your olive green and blue coat SOO well!"
I didn't get out to pick up one of AB's presents. But I will do that tomorrow while my housecleaner is here. Since I don't want to be here while she is here - yap yap yap. (Must remember to pack up the stroller tomorrow morning.)
My list was optimistic. I knew this. But what is really important to me is to have the time with Skadi. What I get done while she sleeps is just my extra bonus.
(Will get more down on my how I started dating my husband post tomorrow.)
Sunday, November 18, 2007
That fall I looked forward to a year by myself, exploring the options, dating, or not! I was determined to find out what *I* liked.
It was my year to take Physical Chemistry, which was either going to rescue me as a Chemistry major or be my deciding factor to dump this major too since I loathed Organic Chemistry. I sat in about the third row in the deep pit of a lecture auditorium so I was strategically placed at my professor's eye level.
I was one of "those" students, the ones that always sat in the front.
I was raised that if I wasn't 15 minutes early, I was late. (Imagine how horrifying this is when you are 14 and there is a junior high dance to attend??)
This 9am class was my first of the day and I always arrived early before the doors were opened. A chemical engineer I didn't know always arrived early too. He had an 8am biochemistry class prior to this one and so he was always pretty punctual. We would politely acknowledge each other, but never really say a whole lot as we stood outside the JILA tower auditorium. He was immediately recognizable with his port wine stain on one side of his face. I had noted he was also in my Greek Mythology class and so we would make small talk about that class. Within minutes the people I knew from other classes would arrive, my conversations would switch elsewhere with my friends. The professor would come and open the door and we would file in.
The geek-boy friends I knew sat directly behind me. And nearly everyday, I sat next to the chemical engineer who told me his family was from Anchorage, Alaska. We would smile at each other and one day he asked me out. We dated off and on that year. Then he quit calling which was fine since I got tired of not being good enough or pretty enough or always sticking my foot in my mouth. We did maintain a polite friendship though. He continued sitting beside me... though now I wonder why? Was he copying off me in exams?
The following year when school was getting ready to start and football tickets were on sale I thought maybe I hadn't given him enough of a chance. I decided I was ready for a relationship, and well, he was good looking and nice enough.
I called him and since I knew he would be getting football tickets asked him if he would get mine too. (I had never gotten football tickets before, but thought it was a good excuse to touch base with him again.) He agreed and even rode his bike to my apartment to get my check and information from me. I thought things may be off and running with him again. I was hopeful at least after a year of being single and random dates.
The next Monday morning he gave me my football tickets. One set of general admission student tickets.
Umm what? General admission?
Oh, I thought you could get reserved seating, I mentioned to him.
He informed me that had I wanted reserved I would have had to go and pick out for myself where I wanted to sit. Apparently sitting next to him wasn't going to happen.
I was done.
Classes started my senior year in 1993. I was unsure what life held in front of me as I had just decided I didn't want to go to medical school. I surely didn't have the abilities to do grad school and here I was nearly finished with a degree in chemistry (I had loved Physical Chem by the way).
It was the first day of Physical Chemistry Lab and our TA, Scott, told us to partner up. I looked around dismayed to see my usual lab partners with each other.
You know that slight panic when you realize you are left out? I look over and saw the guy - the chemical engineer - from my PChem 1 class... the one with the port wine stain, who always stood outside the auditorium doors with me, not the one I used to sit by thank goodness.
We kind of nodded at each other, shrugged at each other and wa-la, we were lab partners.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I was a senior in high school bound and determined to leave Colorado for college. I wanted out and wanted to see something new. Despite the advice of my advisor and my mom, I applied only to out of state colleges, UC San Jose, UC Irvine and UC San Francisco. (I could have really used help in picking schools... Irvine is acceptable, of course, but the others? What was I thinking - other than Northern California sounded cool.)
At the last minute I decided I didn't want to leave Colorado.
I panicked and went to my advisor who made two phone calls. One to the admissions department at CU (50 miles down the road) and one to CSU - the college across the street from my high school. CU would give me a place in their music department and I could change majors after that.
What? Sure, 9 years of piano lessons as a kid, but I was not a musician. (I didn't understand colleges so well at 18.) They told me I didn't have to take music classes... but I went with the other option, Colorado State. I was in and good to go in the fall.
I dumped my high school boyfriend (who was a year behind me) early that first semester for a guy about 6 years older who I met at my job. We were both at school at CSU and he lived with his parents off campus. Coincidentally I had gone to high school with his little brother too.
Looking back I am not sure what I saw in him. He taught me a lot and I do admit that we had a good time together and he taught me about enjoying good food, he thought he knew a thing or two about wine and started me on the road to enjoying the beverage. He also pushed me over that first hurdle to becoming not so picky anymore. But a romantic relationship wasn't what I needed at that time. I needed to learn how to be by myself. I knew this in the back of my head, but it was a scary thing. So I ignored it.
(But I did like his family a lot! I still wonder how they are.)
One day he told me that he had been thinking... he said he was 24 years old and didn't want to live in his parent's basement and go to school there anymore. He wanted a better business school and was planning to go to CU.
I was upset he had just made the decision without asking me what I wanted. After a long discussion with him, thinking by myself and a talk with my mom I decided I too would switch to CU after my first year. I am not a person that takes change lightly. I knew that CU was where I really wanted to be, it was a better school for my major and a "cooler" town than the one I grew up in (which town isn't cooler than the one you grew up in?) and my mom encouraged me to go there, to expand my horizons, but I was still scared. (And I was going to move to California the year before??)
We up and moved. We had a townhouse together, two bedrooms I insisted and he was fine with that. (What kind of college relationship has two bedrooms where you actually stay in the seperate rooms?) I should have known this relationship wasn't for me when we were setting out to decide what we wanted for a place to live. Hindsite is 20-20.
About four months later, it was over. We resumed being friends, which was what we always should have been. And since neither of us could afford to move, or keep the townhouse by ourselves, we existed peacefully until our first years at CU were over. That spring my mom came down to help me find a one bedroom apartment and I set out to be single for one year. I was determined to find out who I was and to focus on school.
To be continued...
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
So tonight after dinner we sat down for our occasional YouTube session. Upside Down was the first request:
I can't argue with Leif there. He likes the monkey... and well, I just like Jack. Yummy. (Want more of Jack, put your cursor at the bottom of the video... the video for Taylor cracked me up. LOVE Ben Stiller.)
We hit "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon" again. Then hit our new favorite Sesame Street. Maybe AB has a point with liking Bert... I find him quite humorous in this clip. "Ernie! Those sheep are tap dancing!"
We got Leif to bed and I finally had time to sit down and burn a cd for us to listen to in the car, that is a set of songs that I am assured that Leif and I will both like... right?
Steal My Kisses - Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
Swinging On A Star - Bing Crosby
Superman's Song - Crash Test Dummies
Upside Down - Jack Johnson
People Watching - Jack Johnson
We're Going to Be Friends - Jack Johnson (Love this one.)
3 Rs - Jack Johnson
Talk of the Town - Jack Johnson & Kawika Kahiapo
Sweet Baby James - James Taylor
The Safety Dance - Men Without Hats (AB balked at the inclusion of this, but Leif likes it!)
Heavy Things - Phish
Peaches - The Presidents of the United States of America
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers
The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) - Simon & Garfunkel
Walkin' On the Sun - Smash Mouth
Birdhouse In Your Soul - They Might Be Giants
Particle Man - They Might Be Giants (My other nickname for AB...)
Man, I should have been a deejay. I think I missed my calling. My favorite song ever? Richard Thompson's 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, followed a close second by Persuassion and Beeswing.
Monday, November 12, 2007
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that I couldn't find Skadi a bathing suit the past two weeks given Leslie's difficulties back on August 1. I truly just do not get it. I mean, August 1 was still the height of summer here. I realize it is early November, but is this attitude the reason there is no full scale, open year round, public pool facility here?
I went to the mall after swimming on Saturday and ran to each of the kid's clothing stores in search of a 12-18 month swim suit for Skadi. No, she doesn't *need* a swimming suit, *I* am the one that needs her to have a swimming suit. She grew out of her cute little green bikini... the top at least, I am still putting her in the bottom and she is enjoying the water a la Brazilian style with no top.
The straw that broke the camel's back was when Gymboree, unlike the other stores who gave a polite apology, "nope, I am sorry, no swim suits", gave me a full on laugh with an "oh God no, it's cold outside!" response.
I haven't been impressed with the store even though I am a Gymboree fan. They carry only select items routinely, things are hard to sort through and they say and ask stupid things. Example, I am carrying my new baby girl at about 2-3 weeks old. The sales woman (who is the manager) oogles at her and asks HER name etc. Then asks me why I am returning a little blue boy's sweater. My response was, "well like you said, she is a girl".
I was annoyed. I responded, "it may be cold outside, but there are swimming lessons, swimming pools in health clubs and people do vacation in warm places with their kids". She suggested I try online. Yes, I know the online store far too well.
And you know, I think I will keep my Gymboree purchases to online only and will start entering the store only to return my online purchases that don't work.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I got an e-mail from my sister in law saying that they don't like materialism and being that it "isn't fair" that we all have to buy for each of their three kids, they don't want it to continue this way. They have set up a new gift exchange routine that is just plain complicated, but essentially says who we will buy for with a strict amount. No draw. Oh and we will all buy for AB's sister... the one who the last two of the three years of the exchanges hasn't actually participated for some unknown reason. (She had AB each time, so I know this for certain.) But since she has no kids we are to shower her with gifts instead. How nice for her.
I hate that my kids don't know their cousins. But this is just another way to drive a wedge between already very distant cousins. "Sorry Leif, we aren't buying for those cousins. Oh and the one we are buying for, you won't receive anything from." No, I wouldn't say that. But do the kids all understand the dynamics of the exchanges? I am not sure I understand them.
As usual, I am the big stick in the mud that sent a big stick in the mud e-mail. I am on the bottom rung of daughter in laws, there is no place further to fall. I may as well tick off my mother in laws "best friend" (my SIL, aka the perfect mother).
Part of my job as a parent is to counter materialism with real parenting. It is also to teach my child that Christmas is not just about receiving, but it is also about giving and choosing items for people that are what THEY would like, and not what my son would like. And when receiving is involved since that is an inevitability (a joyous unevitibility for all kids out there) how to be a gracious recipient and to politely acknowledge the gift and the generosity of the giver.
On Thursday on the way home Leif told me he wanted to get N a surprise. We talked about this since his first suggestion was that he wanted to buy her Colorado. (Wondering if it is really... color yellow?) We decided after we talked about the logistics of "giving" Colorado, that he would give N a book, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus". It is his favorite book and we just so happened to have a spare copy put up on a shelf as a Christmas gift for someone else (oh maybe a cousin I am no longer supposed to buy for?) He very excitedly picked out a gift bag and a big green bow to put on it. He was proud to take it to her. She said thank you and Leif was happy. He talked about giving her the book a few times this evening.
Then tonight we went to sit down to read books before bed. I asked Leif if he wanted to read the Pigeon book. He told me, "but I gave my favorite book to N", in an almost matter of fact way.
"No Leif," I told him, "you gave her a copy of the same book. See you still have the book too! You didn't give her your book." I pulled out his copy to his complete astonishment.
"Oh!" he told me excitedly. "Then let's read that one and probably N's mommy is reading her the pigeon book too right now."
I had tears in my eyes. I was so proud of him. My son did that well all the time thinking he was giving the one and only copy of his favorite book away. Even when it was time to read it, he accepted he had gifted it to someone else very matter of fact.
I do believe *I* am doing the right thing with my son.
Things are looking up. Suddenly I am feeling more optimistic about my future at my company and those recent dips in my bobber I threw out into the pond seem a whole lot less lucrative. During last month one of the only things that kept me from telling AB we needed to throw in the towel here was first that he actually has a job he likes, second my 5 years of service with my company (which translates into 4 weeks vacation a year), third my flexibility with my job. Being able to take a morning off to chaperone a field trip, or run out early to get a sick kid without anyone questioning my motives, is huge. So while I am a cappy by nature, a goat that seeks to climb the ranks professionally, I also need to look at the needs of my family and the type of mother I strive to be and find balance.
And maybe this doesn't mean packing my family up, moving to the city to pursue life an industry career.
Anyways, this past week I had a number of proposal meetings. I had lunch with one of the higher up scientists who I really look up to both profesionally and on a personal level. It was an impromptu lunch where we discussed a proposal call and I also bounced off an idea on him and received an affirmative answer back on feasibility and desire to be involved. Which for a scientist his level means, "you can put my name on your proposal to add strength and viability".
Then on Friday I got word from my manager that one of my concepts was accepted for full proposal! Yay me!
November is at least starting out in a positive manner.
NM: "Leif are you happy?"
Leif: "Yes, I am happy and cute too!"
Leif getting his flu shot said to the nurse:
Leif: "Ouch, she poked me! You NEED to say you are sorry!"
Thursday morning I was nursing Skadi on the bed before we left for work. Leif asked if he could turn on the TV in our room (that seriously probably hasn't been turned on in years) and "watch the news". I told him he could. The TV is on the National Geographic channel and it is one of the umpteen million shows about researchers searching for shipwrecks on the ocean floors - which I actually do find interesting sometimes.
NM: "Leif I can change the channel to Sesame Street if you hand me that remote over there."
Leif: "No, I am very curious about that boat."
He sits and watches for a few minutes.
Leif: "Wow, that is a beautiful boat." (Verbatim from AB, identical voice inflection and everything."
NM: "That is a neat boat."
Leif: "My grandpa builds boats."
NM: "Your great great grandpa was a boat builder, your great grandpa built boats for fun and he built the boat that you and daddy use at the cabin."
Leif: "Daddy is a good boat driver. Daddy and I are going to build a boat."
(Of course this has conversation and subsequent conversation later in the day with AB about the show has prompted AB to return his thoughts to boat building...)
Thursday, November 08, 2007
So here is my list of planned events...
Prior to the big event (i.e., the week off):
-3. Upload all recent photos and order prints.
-2. Confirm guest list for Thanksgiving day.
-1. Sit down with AB and create menu and compile grocery list.
On my list (priority items):
1. Put all photos in photo album.
2. Finish Leif's curtains for his room.
3. Grocery shop for T-day.
4. Prep what I can ahead of time (that list will come a little later).
After the above "need to do" list is done we move onto:
5. Sort through the bags and bags of baby/kid clothes. What can be donated/sold? What do I really want to keep?
6. Figure out where Christmas village is going and set it up since it is stored in the garage (and I don't need my husband to get it out).
6a. Take a trip to Macy's and Michaels with Skadi to get some "extras" for the village. I want my village to rock this year. Ok, maybe it will rock in a few years...
6b. A proper outline must have two subtopics... it bugs me when they don't.
7. Christmas photo of the kids dressed in Christmas clothes.
7a. Decide on card photo/photos
7b. Order cards.
Further down my list, filed under "wishful thinking":
8. Clean out Leif's closet and get it in order for him to use.
8a. But that will require having a place to put all.that.stuff. (What do you do with your wedding dress, for example?)
8b. Garage sale fodder? (NOT the wedding dress.)
9. Finish organizing our closet - go through and get rid of clothes unworn.
And under "if time should stand still while I remain in motion":
10. A trip to Joanne's for fabric and cute patterns.
10a. Look up pillowcase dresses, get the materials for one, and find/borrow from any number of princesses around, white wings. And Skadi will also need a halo... My Christmas Angel.
10b. For complete hokiness factor make Leif be a shepherd...
And under "if money suddenly becomes no object":
11. I really want a new outfit for the holidays. Maybe two. Maybe I just want new clothes. Whatever it is, shop for clothes for ME and not the kids. Sure Skadi could use a few more things but not one more item can fit into Leif's dresser. No way no how.
Or my former manager.
Though I AM having one humongous heyday remembering the very ironic conversation I had with him 3.5 years ago about office hierarchy. Or maybe it is really more of an issue that deposed managers fall so far in ranking that he now must live with the common folk.
Mental note to self... remember the walls are paper thin.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Just over two years ago I bought on clearance some wonderful Pottery Barn silver garland. All five feet of one strand.
My tree is nine feet tall. (Yes, I like Christmas THAT much. AB is not sure he likes Christmas that much... all 200 lbs and three boxes of tree.)
Five feet of garland, nine foot tree. Five feet of garland, nine foot tree.
See where I am going here? Great, you are smarter than I was.
I love my pretty silver berry garland. I am tired of my Crate and Barrel star garland.
The last two years I have waited for someone to make a knock off (hello Target), but no one has.
I now like eBay too and look forward to receiving my additional 3 strands of garland so I can kick the star stuff to the street... well at least to the garage sale pile. (Where I can hopefully also convince AB to kick the icicle lights that are so 90's in exchange for something a little more classy. Since we will be home and all for Christmas this year.)
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
What has this girl child done to me?
While I would like to say how easy I *know* it would be to make this dress over Thanksgiving... I also remember the cute lemon fabric and sundress and bonnet patterns sitting on my sewing machine from this past summer. Untouched.
So I will repeat until it sinks in:
I could not would not make the dress.
I will not will not buy the dress.
Not in my shopping cart
Not on my machine
Pottery Barn, you let me be!
I do not like cute gingham dresses.
I do not like them PB Kids.
(Of course there is the taunting voice I hear...
You do not like them so you say,
Try them try them and you may,
You may I say.)
Monday, November 05, 2007
I went out to check on them and was nearly choked up at seeing the demise of my giant.
"It's so sad Mommy," Leif said with a big grin on his face as he tossed chunks into the can.
"It is sad," I told him.
Somehow a big sendoff seemed more fitting. But what do you do when you have 140 lbs of one pumpkin to send off?
AB said he was a little concerned about the trash can. A total of 210 lbs of pumpkin on top of our regular trash might give the garbage truck a run for its money.
Ok, now that I have that off my chest.
We had a lot going on this weekend. A long weekend for us all. My FIL and his girlfriend arrived Thursday night. Leif, despite our insistence that "grandpa from Alaska" was coming to visit us and not Bompa from Colorado, was hugely disappointed when our expected visitors weren't who he was expecting. He took me into the kitchen and asked that I tell them to leave. Now.
That didn't happen obviously. Instead Leif grew to appreciate their presence after realizing that grandpa came with pool access. And Friday morning at the Holiday Inn Express afforded us the luxury of an entire pool and hot tub just for us. We had lunch at a local winery/bistro where Leif was able to eat cracker straws and salami and run around scuffling in the leaves while we enjoyed the fall air and a nice Gewurztraminer.
Dinner also took Leif by surprise. We had talked for days of Miss K coming over on Friday night. Well, then the strep struck her. (Or flakiness struck her, I never know which.) I had to scramble at the last minute. I made a quick call to Skadi's teacher and we had a new sitter. One who Leif didn't know (despite our insistence that she knows him VERY well) and certainly wasn't going to roll around on the floor with him. I have seen Miss K... I know exactly why Leif wants to roll around the floor with her...
He was apparently quite subdued the whole night. But upon Miss R's arrival to the house, Skadi was thrilled. She bounced and giggled when Miss R walked in the door. Bonded. I know this made Miss R's day.
Dinner that night at the other winery was fantastic. There had been discussions of slow service, but everything that night was on cue if not too fast. I was a little worried we would go home and Leif would still be awake. Believe me, if I am paying a sitter, I want a sleeping child when I get home!
I handed Miss R a wad of cash. I did my calculation. According to my coworkers, if your babysitter is a professional, you never pay less than minimum wage. And what is minimum wage? $9/hour or so. Truth be told, I have no idea. I rounded up given that I have two kids. We were gone 2.5 hours. Wa-la... a reasonable payment for a night out and about what I pay Miss K or A. Miss R took the $5, handed me the $20 back. Insisted. Ok, I KNOW babysitters make more than $2 an hour. I protested. Then she insisted I put my $20 away. Just wait until Christmas.
Saturday morning Leif had swimming lessons, which he excelled at. Then AB and I got our suits on. AB went into the pool and played around with Leif while I went and did parent tot lessons with Skadi. I had been worried about timing with nap - though not the stress level that I did at that age with Leif. Skadi loved it.
After swim lessons it dawned on us that we had already had a full weekend it seemed, yet it was only Saturday morning. We headed to Target for a few things and well, also because I like new stores. Nevermind that the "old" Target is very close to the health club. Leif and Skadi each had $20 gift cards from grandma for Halloween. Leif can count to 20 and so I hoped to use this time as a learning experience for him as well. We need to find out how much something costs and if it is lower than 20, then you can get it.
How naive I am.
It turned into a lesson of, "you can't just have everything you can grab". I truly think to this point he was fairly oblivious to the toy aisles. Though we did have a shot at working on one of the more important lessons, "you can have X or Y but not both" where X was a Spiderman and Y was a Buzz Lightyear. That slowed him down.
Buzz was the verdict after much deliberation.
Saturday afternoon AB wanted a trip back to the apple orchard to pick more apples. Because when you don't have massive quantities of fruit to process, cook or preserve, you just apparently become almost bored. (Eye rolling? Naw, not here.) You know you live in a small town when you get to the orchard. They are closed. But you call them and they come right down to help you with all the supplies. We hurried in our apple picking since we didn't want to completely inconvenience the owners. Though I expect it was probably the easiest $20 they made in a long time. 20 lbs of apples later...
Sunday was grocery morning where we spent loads on food. We spent a fair portion on foods aimed at establishing a more "Meditteranean Diet". I am actually doing pretty good at losing the pregnancy weight (thank you breastfeeding). All of my pre-Skadi pants are fitting me. (Pre-Leif pants will take a little more work.) But AB and I are foodies enough to know that we will never be able to go with a Nutrisystem or prepackaged foods diet without approaching depression. We also know that as we approach our late 30's (only approaching here... I have another 2 months at 35) that we need to change our daily diet even more so that we don't continue to gain weight. Incorporating excercise would be ideal, but aside from our evening walks and weekend madness, we just aren't there yet. Though we will get there. But until then, Meditteranean dieting we will do.
Sunday afternoon Leif, Skadi and I were playing in the backyard. I happened to note that the double wagon had seatbelts. Hmmm. Sure enough I could secure Skadi in the wagon and entice Leif to join her. Since AB was plastered to the TV screen watching either the Seahawks and Browns or the Colts and the Pats, we headed out onto the walking path. A half hour later Leif was crying, "I don't want to go back home", but Skadi was looking a touch chilly, and I was huffing and puffing from hauling them down the path and back. AB? Never even noticed we were all absent from the backyard for that 30 minutes. And the double wagon? Amazing! Skadi loved being a big kid, and Leif loved entertaining her. Winny just loved getting out. I did not think I would be out on a walk with both kids and the dog by myself.
Dinner was easy last night as I had put hamhocks and beans on earlier in the day. Comfort food at its best. My grandfather made this and I chowed it from the time I was Leif's age. Leif wasn't so interested though. That's ok. More for me.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Heading out for tricks and treats! There was a major haul by the end of the night in our house.
And this is par for the night with Bean the Ladybug. Fussy, fussy. But at least she was cute...
One benefit - and truly, no tongue in cheek here, it is a benefit - of working where I work is that if you are a woman, after you have a baby, you get the use of a hospital grade breast pump for 6 months. Really, really nice benefit since you also get the kit that goes with it.
I love the Lactinas. I really, really do. Last year after I finagled an extra month of use out of the one I had on loan I looked at purchasing one on eBay. They ran about $800. After gasping a little, I decided at that point to buy a new PIS-A instead, which I used for that last 5 months.
So comparison now that I have experienced both... the Lactina is worlds above the PIS-A. There is a reason for the price discrepancy. I can expect my supply now to take a dip. Which is fine as I near these last 4.5 months of pumping daily. AB is probably hoping it does dip since we truly have no more room in the freezer.
(Which by the way, I was told there was a special on Dateline about donating breastmilk internationally, anyone have the info? I exhausted all avenues regarding local donation "just in case" I really ended up with that much. See I am an over producer. Massive, massive over producer. Like 13 gallons in my freezer over producer. You really wanted to know that didn't you? And no, I am not going to make soap, or cheese.)
This time I didn't need to finagle another month. When I got the e-mail saying "bring it down tomorrow", I could do it. Which by the way, how about a little reminder. Something like "just a hint from benefits... your child is now 6 months... you know what that means!" It would probably minimize those number of panicked e-mails back from moms saying "Wait! It can't be! I still need it!"
It's my second run with the big blue box. Kind of sad to think about hauling it in. But I will head down to hand it over to a brand new mom with a brand new itty bitty baby of her own.
Mine? Not so bitty anymore. All 23 pounds of her courtesy of mama milk.