Sunday, February 27, 2011

Words that strike fear into my heart...

Me: "What is Skadi doing?"

AB: "She's downstairs watching the Academy awards."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My gamer

Leif is very much a little gamer. He comes by it honestly really. Both AB and I enjoy board games and computer games. I vaguely remember a long distant past where I would sit for hours in front of the computer playing Diablo and Civilization. It is a vague memory that doesn't include little voices around me. As a kid I was much more intrigued by an afternoon in front of the Colecovision or my Commodore Vic 20 than going outside.

Leif inherited this unfortunate quality. I should probably apologize now to all his future girlfriends because he inherited this from both sides.

Today one of Leif's female friends - who isn't a gamer - came over for a play date. It didn't start out well when she went to play with Skadi's dollhouse and Leif had a despondent and somewhat desperate look on his face. We let this rest a little to see how long the doll thing would last.

It went on a little long for Leif (Skadi was thrilled) and so we released him to his DS for a bit.

After a little while I picked up the Wii Tangled game that she brought with. Leif siezed the opportunity to get the Wii remote in his hand by agreeing readily to being Flynn Rider.

"I have a sword!" he exclaimed.

Pretty soon they were playing away. But I loved the conversations during.

Leif: "I am going to get that guy!"

C: "No, you are supposed to ask him if he has the radish drink instead."

Leif: "Oh."

Few minutes pass...

Leif: "I am going to slice that bad guy in half!"

C: "That's not a bad guy, you have to see if he has a jewel."

Leif: "Oh."

Few minutes pass...

Leif: "Hi-YA! Let me go tackle that one and fight him C!"

C: "C, no Leif we just have to see if he has the answer."

Leif: "Oh."

I was impressed that despite there being no bashing or whacking or sword slicing that he hung in there. I was worried we would see tears, but no. And he didn't even make any requests for teaching C how to play "Lightsaber Duel".

I was impressed that he was just happy enough to be able to play Wii that he willingly and enthusiastically (mostly) played a "girls" game (dubbed so a little bit later because there "isn't enough attacking").

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's good my kids make me laugh...

Me putting Skadi to bed:

Skadi: "Mom, I need a song."

Me: "Never smile at a croco-"

Skadi: "No mom, I need a song-"

Me: "Twinkle twinkle little-"

Skadi: "No MOM! I need a song from daddy, go get him please."


Me: "Skadi, why does the wind blow?"

Skadi: "Because it is rude that way."


Me: "Where does snow come from?"

Skadi: "From the clouds."

Leif: "No Skadi it comes from little drops of water in the sky that dry out and turn to snow."


Skadi: "Mommy, can we give me to Niranjana since she doesn't have a sister?"

Me: "Well if you were Niranjana's sister that means you wouldn't be my little girl anymore, you would be Auntie Melissa's little girl."

Skadi: "That's ok, I like Auntie Melissa."

Me: (Sob.)


Me: "Skadi why is the sky blue?"

Skadi: "Because it is supposed to be."

Me: "Leif, why is the grass green?"

Leif: "Because that means it is healthy."

Me: "Well why is it brown now?"

Leif: "Because it hasn't rained in a long time."

Me: "Does that mean it isn't healthy."

Leif: (Sighing) "Mom, it means it is dormant."


Leif: "Mom, I want to read 'The Lion, The Witch and the Warthog'."

Me: "I think you mean 'The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe'."

Leif: "No, I mean warthog, why would it be wardrobe?"


Leif: "I have to have my snow gear today!"

Me: "Well it didn't really snow much, there's barely any out there."

Leif: "Well Ms. M said that if we brought our snow gear we could have a snowball fight!"

Me: "But there isn't enough snow for a snowball fight?"

Leif: "Well then why would she say we could have a snowball fight?"


Me: "Skadi where were you before you were in my tummy?"

Skadi: "North America."

Me: "What were you doing?"

Skadi: "Just playing dolls and stuff."

Leif: "Mom, babies come from EITHER places or tummies."

Me: "No, all babies come from tummies."

Leif: "No mom, you are wrong, some come from places."

Me: "What do you mean?"

Leif: "Well we came from your tummy, but Niranjana came from India and that is a place."

Me: (Still haven't continued this conversation.)


Me: "Skadi how are clouds made?"

Skadi: "By God."


Me: "Skadi how do bushes grow?"

Skadi: "Up."

Leif: "From the ground Skadi, say from the ground, they grow from the ground, it is a trick question."


Me: "Skadi why is the grass green?"

Skadi: "Because it is supposed to be."

Me: "Leif, why do the trees have leaves?"

Leif: "Because the tree sucks up water and water makes the leaves and the leaves catch more water and make more leaves and more leaves."

Me: "Sounds like you have a pretty firm grasp of science."

Leif: "Yeah, but I want to be a computer engineer spy who works for the CIA mom, I don't want to work with you anymore."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Signs my daughter has been in trouble at preschool...

This morning.

Me: Skadi get your shoes on.

Me: Skadi get your shoes on.

Me: Skadi, I said get your shoes on, we have to get to school.

Skadi: Well Ms. A told me that I lost the privilege of wearing shoes to school.


At dinner.

AB: Skadi eat your dinner.

AB: Skadi eat your dinner.

AB: Skadi, I said you need to eat your dinner.

Skadi: Well Ms. A told me that I lost the privilege of eating dinner.

Goals Update

I spent this past weekend working on my February goal. I am actually really, really pleased with myself. It is not 100% complete. But I have a very good chance of it being completed on time and within budget by the end of the month.

I, with the help of a good friend, painted my little half bathroom on Saturday and finished it up on Sunday. It took about an hour to tape it all and get it prepped. She came over and manned the roller while I crawled around the floor painting around the toilet and sink and chatted away. Normally AB does a lot of the painting with me, but it was nice to have a friend to help.

My little tiny bathroom went from blah white to elegant and spicy! (If I may say so myself.) I am really, really happy with the bathroom. I had to run to Michael’s on a secret errand this weekend and ended up buying a few decorative elements for the bathroom. I haven’t been happy with this little cabinet I have in the bathroom that sits on the floor that I use to hold the TP. So I got a tallish metal cylindrical vase thing and stacked the TP in there. Ok, so AB thought this was about the most ridiculous thing ever… But I like it. It looks stylish. I think.

AB loves the bathroom and commented that it looks like it belongs in some other house… not our house! It really did change the feel of the bathroom.

The one thing I have left is to paint the crown moulding and have AB install it. He is pleased about this revelation of mine that I suddenly “need” crown moulding in the bathroom because it lends credence to his long standing claim that he “needs” an air compressor and nail gun.

When we were in Palm Springs last week I loved the look of the black crown moudling in the hotel room. I opted for “espresso” to match other elements in the bathroom and the furniture we have in the front lower level of the house.

Once the crown moudling is in and I have bought a few hand towels that match the bathroom better than the ones I presently have… and a new valence… and a soap dispenser… then I will be done!

Which brings us to the topic of March.

March is going to be multi-faceted.

I want to finish the quilt I started (yes, the one I swore would only take me 3 weeks to do the top, and then the dog killed the sewing machine…). I want to finish that for spring so that I can pull my duvet off the bed and have smooth lines of a pretty quilt. My biggest issue is trying to figure out how to “quilt” a king sized quilt. It may be that hand quilting – which I HAVE done before (a long time ago) – may be my best option. Yikes. Not sure a month is long enough for that.

My closet has recently fallen to absolute disaster levels. Not only does it need cleaned out, but I need some more hooks for accessories and I need a good purge of the clothes I no longer wear.

The last one that AB has challenged us to? Eat our freezer to the bottom. This isn’t entirely possible. Because I am NOT eating the four or five chicken pot pies I have saved in there. And I think we probably have 15 containers of spaghetti sauce. I have seriously like 3 weeks of food if we only ate chicken pot pies and spaghetti sauce. I have a tortierre from a friend that I am saving for a special occasion to savor in there too. All the other stuff? The meat and such that we have purchased and not cooked? Bring it on.

The other tasks on my list for 2011 are (in no particular order):

Patio for the backyard (we may opt to take the backyard remodel that we want in steps and just start with getting a nice concrete pad out there).

Hardwood flooring for the office and formal dining room.

Paint the foyer/dining room/office.

Master bedroom… just take my word for it, it needs a serious overhaul.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Switching away from pink

When you know someone who is suffering cancer it seems like there just isn't enough money out there for research. As a scientist, albeit a non-medical, non-bio scientist, I get the proposal and funding process and fully understand that there is limited funds out there for really great ideas.

Breast cancer, at one point, was the cancer that people didn't talk about. A woman's problem. And not always terribly survivable. Thanks in large part, or maybe huge part, to the Susan G. Komen foundation this has changed. Breast cancer has turned into, in the last decade or so, a cancer with a much higher survival rate. Thankfully.

As someone who has lost a family member to cancer, I have seen in the cancer communities online, frustration with breast cancer research. "All the money goes to breast cancer", is the common lament. As someone who lost a family member to a rare cancer, it would be easy to fall into this. Nobody researched rare cancers. There is no payoff. A cancer that 4000 people get a year is terribly unfortunate. But who is going to research and make a medication to treat 4000 people a year. It doesn't make financial sense. (And I am a capitalist at heart.) I found this frustrating, financial sense be damned, you are talking about my mom.

Once my mom exhausted the routine treatments for her type of cancer (pretty quickly) she moved onto clinical trials where none of her options were targeted treatments for her cancer. It was frustrating to her. To all of us. Her participation in a clinical trial was akin to playing the lotto with the major benefit being to check off a researchers list - nope it doesn't work for this rare cancer. The researcher didn't hit the lotto and neither did my mom.

In the last few years I quit opting for pink. I bought the obligatory pink pin at work for $5, but my money hasn't gone to breast cancer research or to buy pink blankets with ribbons on them, or appliances with little ribbons on them. Instead my giving to the American Cancer Society went up as well as to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. A small foundation that is devoted to this rare and fatal cancer.

I never stuff my change or money into the jars in the check out lines at the grocery store. But I stood there today reading what the cause of the day was, surprised to find out it wasn't breast cancer. Nope, pancreatic cancer. A cancer thought to be highly related to my mom's rare cancer, cholangiocarcinoma. I immediately opened my wallet and stuffed some bills in the cup that held pennies and a few dimes and nickels.

As a scientist I do understand that the research performed on breast cancer may very well lead to discoveries that help different cancers. That there are markers that are similar and may respond. I believe that the researchers are doing their best to save a lot of women. And they are saving a lot of women, thank God. (I have a high school friend who is battling breast cancer right now and I am very happy for the research that will hopefully give her a new lease on life.)

But my point? Let's not forget about all the others. A once small foundation has turned pink on its head and enabled many women to live strong.

Let's change the way people think about green now.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Making Decisions

I have always been a tad bit indecisive. This is part of my versatility thing that I have been working on the past few years. Analyze the situation (quickly) and make a decision when one needs to be made. I am getting much better at this in my professional life.

Personal life? Not so much.

Leif will start public school... first grade, this fall. I am taking a big gulp and registering him for this new phase of his life on March 1 with a good friend who is also in the same position. Declining that private school option that we have been with for the last 6 years with Leif and jumping over to the scary unknown. The place where kids are eaten alive.

Ok, kidding. I have friends whose kids are surviving with minimal scars.

I survived public school.

But I also had my mom home there waiting with homemade cookies and orange juice at the end of the day.

This has been killing me for the last year or so as I stare down this new aspect of Leif's life. Public school. A bus. A class with actual desks in rows. A teacher to student ratio of more than one to six.

Today I met with one of my managers. I truly am lucky to be in such a great group with two women who have children and have been through this all before.

I am also extremely lucky to be in a position where I can make decisions about my career and schedule. Not many women can choose whether they work 40 hours a day, flex their time and work from home, or opt for a less than full time schedule.

I trust my managers and appreciate their input. So when my manager had a quick answer for me this morning on what I should do this fall with my son going into first grade, as one mom who has been there and done that with a very successful career, I truly appreciated it.

Last year I carried seven projects where six of them were my own with my name as PI or Co-PI. This year it dropped to four. Three of those finish (or wind down substantially) on September 30th. I am in a position where (if my proposals pending out there don't come through) I will be looking for work. This hasn't happened in years.

"Do it now," she said. "It won't hurt your promotability, do it when you actually have a decrease in work. Try not to go below 80% time."

And I left her office elated. My answer! And it felt right.

Starting late this summer I am dropping from full full time. To just mostly full time. Or almost full time.

And with any luck I will have more time in the evenings to hang with my kids, get dinner made and just be happy.

And to be there with homemade cookies and orange juice. (Maybe.)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Keeping it simple... and clean...

One of the really, really neat things about raising kids is seeing their evolution. Lots of people love babies. Ok, yes, I love babies. But I really, really love the toddler to young child time. I love when they start interacting. Trying to communicate, developing their own styles of communication, saying funny things. I don’t care for the Terrible Twos and Threes and I have had a lot of that the past two years, but we can just use a partition coefficient here and pretend that doesn’t exist for now. I keep saying it, and I will say it again. It just keeps getting better.

Since Leif was little he always showed a bit of OCD. In fact, I think I have a topic reserved in this blog for Leif’s OCD. The past few months this has spread into a new and interesting area. His bedroom.

If you saw Leif’s bedroom you would assume he is a poor abused child with no toys. While the reality is that the kid has a closet that rivals our Master closet and a toy room. But that’s not all of it… His closet? Skadi spends the vast majority of the time in the closet rifling through stuff, generally destroying the area. And I have about 6 Rubbermaid containers stacked in there as well. I will take storage space wherever I can get it.

Nope, Leif likes things simple. All he really needs are a bookshelf for his books, a place to put his clothes, a place to store his electronics (i.e., charge the DS, keep his headphones handy, etc.), and a few shelves to show off his trophies and his Harry Potter collections and to keep his new locked box. (I bought him a $10 cash box with a key at Target… best thing since sliced bread according to Leif.)

Compare to Skadi’s room that is just unmanageable. Seriously. That child can destroy her room faster than you can blink your eye. Tornado Skadi. And she has toys and loves her toys and wants them all out in her room at all the same times. This is a scary tale for another day. Leif's closet? Well she endured his wrath the other night when she pulled out a box of trucks and didn't put them back.

Back to Leif.

We have “pick up night” every Wednesday evening. The kids’ rooms get picked up along with common areas throughout the house to enable the housecleaner to be able to actually clean.

Leif is a master bedroom cleaner. When he says it is done, you can bet he is not joking. It’s done, it’s perfect and it took him less than 3 minutes. (I have started paying him to help Skadi with her room.) On top of that, Leif has started cleaning his room ahead of time so that he doesn’t have to do it on Wednesday. Because according to him he just has “too much stuff to do on Wednesday with spelling test on Thursday and all”.

Last Tuesday night I finished reading him a book and tossed it on the floor next to the bed. Wow did I unleash the wrath.

Leif: “MOM! I just picked up my room, I don’t want to have to pick it up again tomorrow, would you please put that book back where it belongs?!”

(I could have sworn I have heard this line many times before... only not starting with "mom".)

Leif loves having friends over, but he gets pretty massive anxiety after they leave and his room is a mess. In fact, I have decided that from now on we need to incorporate pick up time into play dates. I did this when I was a kid. I remember storming out of one friend’s house and marching home because we (once again) got into a fight about something. I got home and Jennifer’s mother had called my mom and told her I didn’t help clean up. Dang it. I had to march back up there (tail between legs) to go help her pick up.

Yes, picking up is going to be part of the new play date routine.

I see Leif’s future… a sparsely furnished, stylish (thanks to his interior decorator sister) minimalist loft. Hopefully he can find a woman who will put up with his neat freakiness…

Having Leif jump on me about not putting his book away made me smile.

My mom was somewhere looking down with a big grin on her face.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Hola February

I have really been looking forward to my February goals. I needed a change up from organizing and picking through stuff and trashing stuff and sending stuff to Goodwill... I need a pretty project.

So here it is my tiny half bath on the bottom floor of our house. It is most commonly used by my kids. Next would be guests. Last would be AB and I. I want something pretty and elegant, a bit edgey and fun.

I never used to have a hard time picking paint colors, but I have seriously been all over the map with this room. Partly because I want a unified theme for the entire first floor. Specifically the office, foyer, dining room and half bath. I have lots of two toned woods, grey carpets that will hopefully see the curb this year in favor of hardwood and clayish, terra cotta-ish colored tile.

And this green foyer. The green foyer is going bye bye. I can't coordinate anything with it. It's killing me.

February is a short month, so I can tackle the half bath and get a start on my redecorate the front first level of the house.

I started with some brown/deep purple/plum colors. I want something a bit dramatic and am not overly concerned with making the space appear small. It is a half bathroom after all, it is never going to appear spacious.

The main color I was targeting was the one next to the mirror. (Don't you love the wooden mirror? I do.)

I went a tone or two softer to test because so many people said, "you can't go that dark in that room".

And well... maybe they were right. But I also couldn't do the mauve.

Back to square one.

One evening of after Christmas shopping I came across these iris paintings on a great clearance. And I love irises. Reminds me of living in Boulder and the iris field on Broadway as well as my wedding flower.

See in addition to the dark color and the mauve, I had also picked out an "acorn spice" color. When we put it on the wall we said, "ewww, breastfed baby poop". (The mustard on the right by the window. Yes, I will be replacing the valence.)

Then I put the picture up.

And suddenly the breastfed baby poop color wasn't so bad. The gold on the frame really popped!

But I wanted to play with the color a bit more, I am not a fan of yellows that much... I was attracted to the color because of the name... acorn spice.

I went and bought a few more colors. Four more to be precise. And this is the collection so far.

See the color at the top on the right? Loving that for the bathroom. Just enough orange and gold to bring out the gold on the frame. On photo #2 it is the color to the left of the picture.
See the brick color on the bottom? Loving that for my foyer. AB has issued a "we'll see about that" decree. (He still loves the green.)
So President's Day - a forced day off since the kids' school is closed - I hope to paint the bathroom. Then we will need new rugs, a new valence and I would like some decorative element to go on the little cabinet I have in there that holds the TP and all that stuff.
I had kind of hoped to piggy back on another goal this month. But it is seeming short enough as is. My March goal I am hoping to devote to backing my quilt and quilting it for spring use in the bedroom.