Monday, November 23, 2009

My week

Thanksgiving is my week. After about my first year at the lab I started saving my personal holidays to use during Thanksgiving, whereby I could then supplement these two days with 8 hours of vacation time and wa-la... a full week off with minimal expense on my part.

Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday of the year and one that I really enjoy prepping for. I remember back to 1st or 2nd grade when the neighborhood boys came to get me for sledding one Thanksgiving day and I declined the offer in favor of cooking with my mom.

I enjoy puttering about the house, working on small projects, improving little things, thinking about Christmas presents and prepping for the big meal. Or little meal as the case may be. We always cook more food than we can possibly eat because it is thoroughly impossible to make a traditional Thanksgiving meal for just a few people.

This time around I hadn't taken much time to plan for my week. Many factors playing into this... first the plan to host Thanksgiving for my mom and stepdad and then that not working out. The second is work. I have never been so busy and overwhelmed with work. Third is the kids, they keep me hopping. Fourth is that this year is just moving by so quickly that I am still (despite the fridge full of groceries) having trouble believing that Thanksgiving is really here.

I did think ahead enough when we found out my family wouldn't be visiting to declare it a good time to paint Skadi's room. So we are tackling that. (Pink, green and periwinkle with flowers. The pink is done.)

Aside from that the plans are:
-Make jerky (aka pemmican) with Leif (done and it turned out superbly).
-Clean the fridge (done)
-Dermatologist appt (done and I have the wounds to prove it)
-Cook/bake (will start with cranberry zin sauce tomorrow)
-Entertain children for six days straight.
-Check work e-mail multiple times a day (ongoing)
-Keep checking my phone for signs of work distress (ongoing)
-Empty (and quit paying for) the storage unit (still need to inform AB of this one).
-Christmas shopping started and/or done (good start)
-Photo for the Christmas card (working on tomorrow)
-Abandon town for the snowy hills this weekend for a day of sledding/scouting ski areas/retreating to nature.

You will notice a number of different things on this list from previous years. The work aspect... cannot seem to abandon it all this year. And the Christmas shopping (normally nearly finished by now) and the photo (normally with cards in hand at this point). Also there are fewer projects.

This year there is more simple struggle to stay on top of what is at hand as opposed to undertaking new things.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Skadi McBeaners


Every pool of standing water has fishies in it. The sink has fishies. As does the toilet bowl. As does the bathtub.

Fishies, you should know, are any floaty things.

Shreds of toilet paper in the toilet? Fishies.

Strange floaties in the tub? Fishies.

At first it was kind of cute, but now it is bordering on a strange compulsion.

"DON'T FLUSH THE TOILET ANYONE!" she screams. "THERE ARE FISHIES IN THERE!" (And she looks SO serious as she eyes us all directly and points at the bathroom.)

And it is highly traumatic if you ignore her pleadings. So for now we tiptoe around and wait until she is out of earshot to flush the toilet.


And then we fish out every little bit of shmutz out of the tub as she points to each one individually. Specks really.

("Who do you want to ask, the *speck*? There's no one here!")

Not sure where this came from since we just recently went to the aquarium where she saw ACTUAL fish in the water.


The Witch Costume

Back about mid-September or so I picked out a fabulous (inexpensive) witch costume for Skadi. It was perfect. Purple and pink tulle with stars and I paid a little extra for the matching tights.

Then it arrived and was deemed to be highly offensive.

Would NOT wear it. Would NOT touch it.

She would get a little brave and talk about the witch costume. We would pull it out... and then quickly return it to the hiding place when the screaming hysterics would start.

I gave it up and she wore Leif's bug and tiger costumes on Halloween.

But something happened this morning and not only did she ask to see the witch costume, but she (*gasp*) put it on.

Then she modeled it for pictures.

And wore it to school and proclaimed the entire time that it was Halloween.

Her teacher, Miss Kaitlynn, was the one who broke the news to her that it was no longer Halloween and so right then and there she stripped the costume off and handed it to me to take home.

I got at least one wear out of it!


Speaking of stripping

I can't keep clothes on this girl.

She comes home and strips down to "nakey bum" status. She and her dolls. No one wears clothes. I have a great picture of Skadi practicing her Mardi Gras greeting at the park the other day.

I thought maybe for awhile this was limited to home, but apparently not. In order to fall asleep Skadi needs to strip herself down to her panties for nap.

I am optimistic that someday the importance of clothes will become apparent.


Skadi speaks

"her" (Everyone is a her.)

"Papernose" (Kleenex/facial tissue)

"warm legs" (Leg warmers)

"You hurt my feelings." (What it says. This is the standard reply to anything she doesn't want to hear.)

"Weifer" (her brother)

"Not you" (aimed to me most often)

"You are not nice at all." (Again, reply to anything she doesn't want to hear.)

"Chicka maow maow" (??? Frequent statement.)

"Coca" (You are coca. Her name is Coca. My dolly is Coca. Coca is my friend. Etc.)

"GO WAY CAT!" (Ever since Lucky thought Skadi was trying to play with him and batted at her, she no longer trusts him anywhere near her.)

"Freya here." (The chosen animal who should reside next to her at all times. Either chosen or she has learned to keep Freya near to prevent her from chewing on her dollies - who are all named Coca.)

"I share this with Coach Brett, I need a baggie." (Breakfast on Monday morning.)

"Tonia did it!" (4th Branch teacher who is highly coveted for her hair styling skills.)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Back in the saddle in a sense

When I was hired on 7.5 years ago I was told all about the glories of travel.

When I started my team bought me a laptop and an international plugs kit. And I started dreaming about the places I would go with my international plugs kit.

My laptop is a boat anchor somewhere and my international plugs kit is still shrink wrapped.

The team I joined at the time talked real big... but then when it came down to it, the more senior staff got the international trips and got to specify who went along. (And it was never me.) And I got stuck with trips like to DC (a few times) and New Jersey and Bloomington, Indiana and Seattle and Lincoln, Nebraska.

All actually were quite cool with the exception of Lincoln. I was a lone buff awash in a sea of red. I was verbally attacked at lunch as a representative to DOE about my not funding them (I was a junior scientist at the time and completely perplexed). And my host's idea of a good evening was to take me out for Scottish dancing. And I was 3 months pregnant with Leif and still nauseated.

But aside from that trip, all my work trips have been very interesting and good for me. I discovered that I really like Washington DC. I discovered that New Jersey was truly beautiful and that you should always plan to BYOB to dinner as some counties do not serve alcohol in restaurants. Bloomington was a fun little college town and Seattle... I always love going to Seattle. My visit back to Reno was also good in that it grounded me and brought Reno back down to it's proper 4500 foot resting spot instead of remaining high in what once was to me.

I have been lucky that during those periods of time when I don't want to travel, I have easily gotten out of it. Like for the first year and a half to two years after having each child. Skadi is now 2.5 and this stint of no travel is up.

There is something appealing to me about occasional travel. I couldn't do it on a very regular basis. But I like the anonymity of travel. I like escaping to the big cities and eating good food and maybe taking in a show. I even actually enjoy going out to dinner by myself. One time in DC I went to the opera - my only opera - and saw Placido Domingo as lead in Idomeneo. I like the quiet escape of a nice hotel. Of watching whatever I want on TV. Of picking a restaurant without compromise. A quiet serenity.

I don't like leaving my family. I really don't like flying. And I don't like worrying about who will be there if something goes wrong at home.

So, it's good that I don't travel regularly. But every once in awhile? It's a treat.

I am headed back to DC this Sunday. For me it is kind of a neat trip and a first in that I am not representing other people's projects. I am representing my projects.

In taking a tally I have learned that the vast majority of my coworkers under this program will also be going. Not only to the same review, but on the same flight there and in the same hotel and at least one of them is on my same flight back. There will likely be about 10 or 12 of us. And this bums me just a tad because it means I don't get my little bit of anonymity on this trip. And that I may have to compromise on dinner sites. (I was always glad I never had to travel with one coworker on my first project here - his favorite place to eat - every.single.night - was rumored to be Applebees.)

Three nights. I did the good lead scientist thing and contacted another one of my clients to let her know I was going to be visiting the area and she jumped on meeting up. So all in all, I am most excited about day three of my visit where she is taking me to tour around her headquarters and meet her people. Leif hopes I may get to go on a sub. I explained (again) the whole confined space entry thing, but did promise to bring him something back from the Air and Space museum.

Is it just me...

or is foul language making more of an appearance lately?

Actually I know it isn't just me because we had this conversation at book club the other day.

One friend mentioned walking along with her daughter who is practicing her sounding out of words and she notices she is sounding out words in the parking lot. V-a-n and then s-t-op. And then she quickly works to divert her daughters attention when she sees a bumper sticker at eye level with the f-word. See what a prude I am with cursing, I can't even type it on my blog!!

I didn't even scream it when that 8 lb frozen cinder block of a roast fell on my toe the other day.

A coworker a few years back told me that he was in the car with his 8 or so year old daughter who said, "dad, they spelled organs wrong on that bumper sticker!" To his horror it was "orgasm", not organs and all he could do was agree with her that they were silly and had spelled it wrong.

I thought about it today as I was driving home listening to XM radio and was reminded that they are not subject to fcc regulations. Must be better about thinking about what song is on.

Then a few days ago we were out shopping at Costco and the language coming out of the guy behind us in line! I want to say he was oblivious to those around him, but truly, I didn't get the impression he even cared.

Naughty language to Leif and his friends is saying "stupid" or "hate".

And I get busted for "stupid" pretty frequently. Apparently I think a lot of things are stupid.

I am just going to sit and enjoy this stage for a little while...

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Reprieve... issued by Daddy

I think it might be something about daddies and their little girls' hair. My mom said that my dad always liked my hair long as a little girl.

I was ready to give Skadi's hair the big chop. A short little bob or something.

Then AB looked at me like I had lost my mind.

And he reminded me how much she loves having the option to do her hair "fancy fancy".

And he mentioned something about the holidays and pictures.

And we compromised at a "good trim".

She lost about an inch.

I think Leif lost about the same despite my asking for a "light trim with longer on the top" and I would have appreciated the front being somewhat straight... but I suppose I can fix that.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

To cut or not, that is the question!

I remember my mom's voice so well as she complained about my hair.

"If you don't keep your hair tied back nicely, you will have to cut it off," she would say.

And I would cry.

Because I really, really, really wanted long hair. Short hair would make me look like a boy and I wanted nothing to do with looking like a boy. Ever.

So I would keep my hair pulled back and brushed, until the next time, which was usually just a week at most away. My hair was a long battle with my mom.

Skadi has just recently decided that she doesn't want her hair in "ponies". For awhile there I got away with hauling hair bands into daycare and letting them tackle it since she wouldn't allow me without serious bribery.

(The result of bribery is below... "if you don't let me do your hair, we won't get to go to the pumpkin patch with Cate." I know... I shouldn't threaten anything I am not willing to follow up on, but it works.)

This is contrary to this past year and a half or since she had long enough hair to stick in itty bitty ponies. She loved having her hair done.

And she loved having it done in wacky ways too.

And she has beautiful hair if she would just let me keep it brushed all the time, like this:

But this is a rarity. It is most often coated in some unknown substance (usually yogurt or snot).

And it just looks bad after a day at daycare. Oh who am I kidding, it looks bad after an hour at daycare. Even her school pictures where I braided her hair in French braids, the pictures taken a mere 30 minutes after drop off show a different picture from the neatly groomed little girl I dropped off.

I am thinking the scissors are going to meet the hair this weekend. I am actually taking her in to get it cut and I am angling for a shortish cut. I thought I might have to convince her, but so far she is on the bandwagon to cut her hair.

She even said, "like a boy hair?"

I replied, "no, not that short" envisioning myself at her age and how that would have sent me over the edge.

"Oh," she replied quietly.

"Unless you want it like a boys," I told her reminding myself that boys are wearing their hair longer these days. I let Leif's get pretty long and scraggly between trims and if he didn't inherit AB's AND my fine straight hair, I would let it get longer.

"Ok," she said.

I am taking that as indifference on looking like a boy or not...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Learning in progress

I am certain that as a teenager he won't make a similar mistake.

Leif: (Crawling all over everything in Skadi's daycare room, being highly obnoxious.)

Me: "Leif stop it."

Leif: (Rolling around the floor and taking apart the mats in Skadi's daycare room, being highly obnoxious.)

Me: "Leif, I said stop it. Stand up."

Leif: (Climbing onto a table and standing up. Oh and being highly obnoxious.)

Me: "Get off of that now. The next time I tell you, you are losing your Wii privileges, do you understand?"

Leif: (Sheepishly nods while I talk to another parent.)

Me: "Let's go guys."

Leif: (Walks out of the daycare room and crawls onto a table and jumps off.)

Me: "That's it, you are done. No Wii privileges."

Leif: "But mom! I didn't hear you! I was ignoring you and plugging my ears to you while you were saying no Wii privileges earlier!"