Tuesday, December 30, 2008

the era of pretend

It's so fun to watch the little wheels turning; Aidan's beginning to pretend. He's talking to his stuffed animals and other toys, and to himself in his crib when he wakes up. He's been talking on the phone for awhile now, but his conversations are getting much more interesting. The other day I walked into my inlaws' kitchen (holiday travel), and he was standing on a stool having an in-depth conversation on their wall phone. In the midst of it were several, "ah, no"'s, and in the midst he paused, then cracked up as though he'd just heard or told the funniest joke ever. So fun to see!

He's very much enjoying having some new toys to play with, especially the train and car-related items, the art supplies and books.

From the department of Christmas miracles, my dear, dear friend is a mom. If I were telling this in person, I couldn't do it without crying, but in this setting, you can't tell. She's had a long road with heartbreaking bumps and turns, but a beautiful baby girl was born Christmas Eve, and now is home making more lives than she'll ever know brighter. No more deserving parents; lucky girl.

Now I count down the days (4) to a week in Acapulco with my boys. Highs of 86, lows of 68. Mmmmm.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The year of

We are so very fortunate; I know I've said it before, but we really are. To have each other, health, family, love, home, jobs, whatever we could want. Makes me think about giving back, which we've been trying to do more. I always find it interesting that you see what's on your mind all around you, but here's another case of it. Had lunch w/my friend Jen the other day, and she's starting a volunteering group (go Jen!). Told my sis about that, and she was inspired to follow through with a first-ever food drive at her work, which has really taken off. The team I'm working most closely with at my client has adopted a rather large family for Christmas, and we've adopted a child for Christmas at Aidan's school and also participated in Toys for Tots. All of these have provided opportunities for me to feel extra grateful, and also for us to contribute here and there where we can.

A woman at work was shopping with her kids for the family we adopted, and her daughter asked, "Why don't they just ask Santa for the stuff they want?" Tricky answer, no? I don't want Aidan to get everything he wants, but I also don't want to have to explain why Santa's so good to other kids but not him, even though he's a very good boy. The thought of that is just heartbreaking. On the other hand, when I was growing up, we didn't have any money. I always had food, but rarely frills. I didn't know it, though. I was showered with ridiculous amounts of love and fun (thanks, Dad!), and I didn't realize that I was missing anything. We took camping vacations and traveled a lot--by car, mostly. One year I got a new bike that I later learned was from a junkyard that my dad painstakingly restored. I am a firm believer that you don't have to have money to be happy, and I've never had money, so to speak.

I'm still incredibly grateful, though, and I'd like to help others whenever I can. That's what I want to work on in 2009. I don't really do resolutions, per se, but I like to work on an idea. For example, one year it was being graceful (if you know me, you know that I don't mean physical gracefulness or that, if I do, I wasn't particularly successful). I think this year I'll work on giving back. I want Aidan to be grateful, too; this will be the start of it. That and showering him with ridiculous amounts of love and fun.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

There is a good kind of tired,

and this is it. I got to swim today, and it felt positively yummy. I never thought I'd wax poetic about the opportunity to do a workout, but boy, was that nice. I've been riding a (rather sad) exercise bike that we've got in our basement, so I've felt good for the last few weeks that at least I'm doing something active. Honestly, it's the first I've really done since Aidan's been born, other than running around at the park and such. I know it's about time, but better sometime than never, right? It was a real treat to do something different, and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy swimming. I like the peace of swooshing through the water. I'm not a very good swimmer; I don't let that bother me, though. Slow and steady, slow and steady. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Boy, am I ever

Here I sit, watching my son play in our warm, comfy house. Our Daddy/Hubby is off at the gym, and when he gets back, we get to spend the whole day with family, and then still have a long weekend together to boot. We have all we need; we never have to worry about where our next meal's coming from or whether Aidan will be cold in the night. Aidan is beautiful, healthy, and about perfect, as far as I can tell, and I'm happy to say that a good portion of that comes from his dad. I am truly blessed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I am not a teenager

and yet, I just stood in line to get the autograph of the second-yummiest man on the planet (my husband is first, of course). Harry Connick, Jr. I don't care how dorky that makes me - the man can play most instruments, tap dance, sing, and act, is funny and adorable in most ways that I can tell - without actually knowing him, that is. I started having a crush on him while I was in college, which wasn't yesterday. He's gracious enough to come outside in the cold after a concert and sign autographs just to be nice. Kudos.

Like most celebrities seem to be, he's shorter than I thought, but that's okay. He can wail on piano (I once saw him tap dance a drum solo on one, but today he was just playing it). He can make that piano sing, and bring a tear to your eye.

My hubby, a very good man, is aware of my crush and okay with it. I called to tell him I was waiting for an autograph - he asked me if it was just me or lots of people (lots - including my sis and her husband). I asked him what he thought, and he said he thought I was a little nuts, but "more power to me." See - my hubby really is the yummiest.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

what I didn't expect Aidan's eye doctor to say

"His hair will likely get darker, though not as dark as yours." Something about the pigment in his retina, though whatever it is is somehow balanced by how dark his irises are. Honest.

I'm impressed that he was able to assess so much of Aidan's perfection from the little examination and no feedback he was able to get from a 20-month old boy. He didn't inherit my far-sightedness; he has a slight astigmatism, though that's common for his age, and he'll grow out of it. Here was a surprise - "good" vision for a little guy Aidan's age is 20/60, not 20/20. That's why toddlers are always getting so close to things - it's the only way they can see them clearly. Who knew?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

At some point, will I stop being surprised?

The latest surprise for me came Friday night. We were watching Happy Feet (beware spoiler), and at a point where the baby penguin was in mortal peril and very frightened, Aidan melted down. He didn't melt down during the attack, he melted down after it, when the little penguin was hiding and collecting himself. Sadly, I had underestimated Aidan to think he wouldn't get the nuance. I'm guessing I won't stop underestimating him, but I hope that I will. I prefer to think of it as being surprised.

There's a museum near us that focuses just on little fellas - those under 5 or so. We went Saturday morning with some friends, and it was a huge, huge hit! They have a water table with flowing water, sprinklers, and PVC pipe that they can build with, several musical instruments, a theater complete with costumes, places to climb, train tables, legos, sand, building and such. It's a wonderland! We'll definitely be going back there during the winter when it's harder to get out. If anyone has other ideas about great places to go with a little guy during the winter, please let me know. My short list has the library and a rec center on it. I'm still new at this.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The arrival of fall

I read a couple of blogs pretty regularly (for me, anyway). I am amazed at the writers for being interesting day after day; more specifically, I'm amazed at the way they're able to make every-day things sound so fun that I wish I'd been there. I'm guessing that their lives sometimes feel uninteresting, and yet they're able to glean the sparkly bits of their days. This makes me realize that I have sparkly bits of days, too, and that I have endless opportunities for other sparkly bits of days, and that I need to recognize, be grateful for and make the most of those sparkly bits.

Along those lines, we took Aidan to a pumpkin patch on Sunday. He liked the corn box (like a sandbox, but kernels of dried corn are used instead of sand), and some of the other things were cool, too. They had slides and climbing, a maze, and a hayride. By far his favorite part of the day by far was "driving" a huge tractor. It was stationary, but he was so excited by the shifters and the big steering wheel, that he didn't mind. He was beaming from ear to ear.

My favorite part, other than picking out pumpkins to carve and spending some time with my two favorite boys, was when he spotted some painted plywood cutouts of animals. He saw the cow and yelled, "MOooooo!" and such. When he saw the horsies, though, it was really too much for him. He yelled "Neeeiiiiiighhhhhhhhh" and took off full tilt to go see them. When he got to the "herd," he asked for help - he wanted us to hoist him up so he could ride them. Of course, we couldn't - nowhere to sit on the edge of plywood, but he couldn't understand why we wouldn't hoist him up there.

Speaking of Aidan's animal noises (I read recently, that if you start that way, people will naturally follow without realizing that you hadn't actually been speaking of his animal noises), he'll be dressing as a lion for Halloween this year. Roar! His roar is very ferocious

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

as much boy as baby?

My boy. My beautiful little boy. He's growing up, faster than the speed of light.

He's started telling us "no" this week - I know; for everyone else with kids, this is no big news, but it's new to us. He's very emphatic about what he wants and doesn't want, and he knows exactly what that is. I have no idea where he gets that trait.

He's looking quite grown up, thanks in part to a new haircut. Put him in a pair of jeans with his gym shoes and a polo, and he could be a preschooler. Ugh!

He's got grown-up interests, too. He's into helping in the kitchen, pushing a chair so that he can reach the counter. He loves helping in any way he can, throwing away trash (including his own diapers) and putting recycling in the bin. He uses his mower outside, and helps put leaves into bags. He's a very eager helper. Yesterday in Target he did something I remember doing as a kid - hiding in the clothes racks underneath the clothes.

It's all happening so quickly. I know it's never going to slow down, but I'm still surprised by how quickly it goes by.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

the real story

OK, there's something I've not been telling you. It happened at the wedding.

As you saw, my sis was gorgeous, and she wore very long gloves. As she was putting them on, she took off her (vintage, of course) engagement ring and handed it to me to hold. It was too small for my ring finger and too big for my pinky, so I put it on the pinky and tried to concentrate on it. After that came the whirlwind during which I tried to make everything perfect for her and deflect any type of question or concern that might distract her from total bliss and happiness. I ran all over the venue, inside and with pictures outside, really all over.

A brief aside: I'd promised my brother, who'd gotten ordained online so that he could perform the ceremony, $100 if he'd start out the wedding with "mawage." If you're not a Princess Bride fan, you should be, and you wouldn't understand that. If you are, wouldn't that be awesome? So we get into place, and my brother starts out "mawage. Mawage is that bwessed ewent that bwings us togevah today." I said under my breath, "$100," but he refuses to take my money because my sister set it up with him months ago. I don't care what anyone says - my sibs are cool!

Anyway, flash forwad to mid-wedding. I'm standing there and realize that I'm no longer wearing her ring. I'm not wearing it and I have no idea where it is. I'm going through the day in my head, and I know I've been everywhere, but I can't imagine how I did what I've done - lose the ring. It's really not like me to do that. I forget little things all the time, and I can be absent minded, but I don't forget or lose really important things like that. I just don't. Immediately after the ceremony, I tell my sister-in-law, my hubby, and my dad. During the photos, the three of us are making excuses to leave repeatedly, and are tearing apart every place we can think of. My dad and I are in the room where all the women had gotten ready, my hubby was walking along the street, we were trying everything. In my head, I was trying to figure out how long I could go before telling her. I knew that once she knew, the entire wedding would be ruined, and I wanted her to have as many good memories of it as she could. I was sick and miserable. I couldn't believe what I had done.

We were having no luck searching, and finally my dad said to my mom, "She lost her ring." My mom looked at my and said, "she's wearing her rings." Dad told her, "no, the bride's ring." My mom came over and asked what ring we'd been looking for, and I told her it was my sis' engagement ring. Mom said, "You gave it to me hours ago - I'm wearing it." I tell you, to this day I have no memory of that. I had a whole conversation with Mom when I told her that I was worried because the ring was loose on my pinky, and I didn't want to lose it. Mom said she'd wear it because she could put it under her gloves and it wouldn't come off. I guess I'd been concentrating so much on making her day go well that I put that conversation out of my mind once I'd dealt with the situation. I'm a little concerned about the pictures that were taken during that time. I'm sure I look in pain - I was in pain.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

a lugnut?

As I was walking to my client's office today, I had to cross a street with a brick walkway. I was wearing heels (if you know me, try not to be surprised), and I felt my heel get stuck in between the bricks. I wasn't happy about this on several levels - first, the light might have changed soon; second, the shoes fastened to my feet, so a quick escape wasn't plausible; third, I didn't want to have to sit down in the street (one of the busiest in our city) and take my shoe off to get away.

Luckily, after a short struggle, I was able to free my heel, but I heard a weird clicking which is usually an indication that the rubber part of the heel is gone and that you're walking on the nail only. Great - first thing in the morning. When I got to the sidewalk, I looked down, and the indication was wrong. I hadn't lost a heel, I'd gained a lugnut.

Somehow, a single lugnut was sitting upright in the middle of the walkway. Beyond that, somehow my heel fit into it exactly. Furthermore, I somehow stepped squarely into the middle of said lugnut. How is that possible? What's the likelihood? I unscrewed the rusty lugnut from my new shoe and carried it in with me. I'm thinking it must be a good-luck charm.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Yesterday at school my son asked for agua, and knew what he meant! One of his teachers spent time in Argentina, and so speaks some simpler words in Spanish around the kids, which apparently is working. Maybe by the time we go to Mexico in January he'll be better at Spanish than his dad.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Curse words aren't the only versatile ones.

One of Aidan's favorite words, I'm sure for its versatility, is "uh-oh." Something drops, "uh-oh." Stuck? "Uh-oh." Not getting your way? "Uh-oh" works just great.

This morning I was washing my face with a cream cleanser, while Aidan stood on the toilet seat next to me, brushing his teeth and helping me. Of course, I use the term helping loosely, but I digress. I looked up after I lathered up and before rinsing my face to ensure that he was doing okay. When he saw me, all white-sudsy-faced, his eyes got big like saucers, and out came "uh-oh." I laughed so hard I got soap in my mouth.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Alright, I'll tell you where i've been -

my beautiful baby sister's wedding!

It was this weekend, and it was truly lovely. It was love-filled (love-ful?). She was gorgeous and radiant, and she deserves every second of it. She's in St. Lucia now, hopefully frolicking in the sand without a care.

Her gown - oh, the gown. A friend made it, and it's stunning. My sis is a girl who loves Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, who can sing along to any big band song and tell you whose band it is and who's singing, and who can pull off vintage. Vintage it is - a 1957 pattern and vintage fabric, even vintage fasteners. She was gorgeous like a cross between Audrey Hepburn and Cinderella. See?
We got to spend lots of time together getting ready for the wedding and over the weekend itself, too, which was wonderful. She and I are both busy - she's got a full-time job and is a military reservist (gorgeous and could also kick your butt), and I'm about choc full myself. The time was very special for me and my girl, and I've been treasuring it. We picked out the cake and flowers, we made the favors (glue guns are a new fave for both of us), we ran around and took care of details. She stayed with us the night before the wedding, and we took her to breakfast (on her wedding day, she must eat, must breathe, must drink water, must not lock knees), and I did everything in my power to make sure that she loved every minute. I believe she did - complete success!
Oh, and if anyone ever asks you for some wedding advice, tell them this: rent a photo booth for the evening. You can set it to make two copies of each strip of pictures. She set out a guest book and asked that everyone take photos and leave one copy in the guest book with a note. It's priceless!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

and speaking of adorable

When Nora's mom (Nora and Aidan are still pretty inseparable) picked her up the other day, Aidan came over, said "gentle," and handed her the elephant he'd been playing with. It must be true love.

He's getting all sorts of new words. I think I read somewhere that kids "should" have about 6 words by 18 months. Aidan's got way more than six, some of which might be recognizable to people who aren't his mother. "Mine" is the recent addition I may or may not be excited about. In fact, the other day he was trying to use keys on the back door. I reached down to help him, and he grabbed the keys back and yelled "I!" I believe this is code for "Thanks, Mom, but I'd like to try that myself." Other new additions recently are bubbles, cracker, Grandpa, yeah, and shoe.

Over the weekend, I picked up one of his favorite books, and I swear to you (I have a witness even if she is Aidan's grandma) he said, "Where that duck?" Three words in a row, and the name of that book to boot! We're in a stage right now where he'll say things once and then not again, so I'd love to have him say it for you, but I'm guessing he won't do it. He really did, though, honest.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Disaster averted

Yesterday was my first birthday party in decades - really, and it almost wasn't (the party, that is).

Brilliant as I am, I've been seeing signs around my city about a block party on August 31st at a local park. Each time I saw the signs, I'd think to myself, "Good thing that's not Sunday, when we've planned my birthday party for the same place - lucky thing." I'm sure you can see where this is headed. The park seems like the perfect place, because I wanted something low-maintenance, so people could toss their kids in the car and go. Playground equipment, shelter (with electricity), restrooms, lovely setting - it's got it all. Except that Sunday was the 31st. Ugh.

Didn't realize it until yesterday morning, as I was ordering the pulled pork and such online - the checkout kept saying they'd have it ready the 31st, and I kept thinking, "No, I want it today, not tomorrow!" I'd try again and again, and then I saw that it said Sunday the 31st. At that moment (yesterday morning), I realized that I had 50 or so people coming to a park at 4:00 that afternoon that would be overrun with hundreds, likely thousands of people. Maybe not the greatest idea ever.

Called Mom and Dad first to let them know we had to cancel, and they insisted that we'd just have it at their house. 50 people. After much consideration (most of it about people who'd turned down other fun plans to be there and done at least some amount of planning for it), we agreed to have it there. There were a few factors in our favor - first, we were able to call everyone and let them know about the change in venue; second, my folks' house is perfect for this sort of thing, with a couple of acres of yard to play with - in fact, my sister's bridal shower was held there on Saturday. We told my brother yesterday that it was up to him and his wife to have something there today, or the trilogy would not be complete. Anyway, third, despite the fact that my folks live in a very nice area of town, due to circumstances that could only be true in a story involving my family, there was a drug raid/shootout next door that has left that house abandoned since last fall; this meant that we could park all of the cars in their backyard with no complaint. Perfect!

We called some friends who have every sort of equipment possible for entertaining little people (bouncy house, bean bag toss, small picnic table, etc.), stopped by and picked up everything that would fit in our Jeep, ran to pick up some food and some extras, and then up to help my folks arrange it. Bless them, the place was set up perfectly - more chairs sitting out than I thought they had, four tables to hold food (which was lucky, given that people must've recognized my penchant for sweets and brought more than two tables' worth of dessert alone), games, a swing and a hammock in place, and big smiles to boot.

It was lots of fun - got to see so many friends, catch up and watch all the kids playing together (if you ever want to make a party a hit, get a bouncy house for the kids!). I think it ended up better there than it would've been at the park after all. Happy day certainly!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One more project

In the wake of the incredibly successful "Making-a-book-of-our-day-at-the-park" project, I'm now entering production on "making-a-binder-of-the-first-year-at-school." It's kind of cool - I have all of his daily sheets, most of which have pretty detailed descriptions of what he did that day and what types of things he was learning. They're organized by date, and I've got all of the pictures that they sent home, too. I'm putting it together in a book that I'll be able to use in lieu of any type of baby book I might have thought I would've made in the recent past (or near future). How could a woman who still hasn't finished her brother's wedding quilt in the month of his fifth anniversary (it's together, just not quilted) think she would pull this off? One can only imagine!

The transition to the new room has been a little bumpy, but made better by the fact that all of his friends have moved up with him. He's especially close to Nora right now, so her dimples and hugs are really helping him along! He's been a little clingy when I try to drop him off, but if I hide in the hallway just past their door (so I can hear him but he doesn't know I'm there), I know that he finishes the crying within seconds, just like they said he would. We've had to sign a couple of incident reports for his biting (ugh!), but I believe that's slowing down now to only when he's very, very excited or very, very tired. (please?) The teachers really are wonderful, and are the kind of women who, in the midst of complete chaos (their oldest isn't even two) are laughing and having fun with the children, and still teaching them things. Bless them all!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

new room

Aidan's in a new room at school. The good news is that all of his friends moved up with him; the bad news is that his teachers didn't. I'm sure the teachers in the new room are just wonderful - they seem so, patient and fun-loving all. They're just not Kathy and Keely (especially Kathy & Keely), who loved him from when he was just tiny and know him so well.

We're one week in, and I've signed two incident reports for Aidan's biting other children. Ugh. I have a bruise on my arm for same; we're working on it. He does it as much when he's excited as when mad, and they assure me it's developmental and that he'll get through it. My hubby says we should invest in one of those Hannibal Lecter masks so that he can't bite anymore. I'm tempted.

He's having a little trouble with being dropped off which is unusual for him, but usually when he sees that his friends are there, he's just fine. This morning beautiful Nora with her dimples and pigtail on top of her head reached out to him as he struggled; I love her. They have news toys out every week, a schedule (like herding cats, as far as I can tell), and less stringent rules (to the extent that tiny people can have fewer rules). They go to the muscle room and the playground more, and they still get to do cool art projects. My boy loves to sing and dance, and they do lots of that, too. It's going to be alright, I just know it. I still miss Kathy, Keely, Sarah, Robin and Stacey though.

another hats off -

It's the Olympics, and I love the Olympics. I get goosebumps for people I don't know who are competing in sports I have no other interest in. I tear up when they win. What an amazing accomplishment - a dream realized.

I very recently met a Canadian hockey player who went to the Olympics at Lake Placid, the year the US beat Russia for gold. I remember that game, jumping up and down in the living room of our house in Chicago. Anyway, Canada missed the medals round by a tiebreaker, apparently. I talked to him about his experience--he was 18 and travelled with that team for a little over a year. Amazing tales of Herb Brooks (Canada trained with the US in Colorado for awhile, I now know). Amazing tales of putting on the jersey of your country and skating out, getting chills (at the time, and me hearing about it now). He says that no matter how big, mean and/or manly you are, you cry when you stand on the podium and hear the national anthem of your country. I believe him - heck, I cry watching at home. My hat's off to him and all the other athlets who are so driven by a vision to become the best in the world.

Monday, August 18, 2008

perhaps if I ply you with adorable photos,

you won't notice that I haven't written lately. Overcome with the boy's cuteness, you'll smile happily the rest of the day. That's what happened to me when I made the latest pic my background, anyway.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Isn't that the guy who disintegrated his pants?

I sure didn't expect to hear that sentence in everyday conversation.

My sister is about ten years younger than me. It's pretty amazing what things you remember about a point in time based on your perspective. Saturday I was at her first bridal shower (it's true - I'm not actually 22, though I look it), and I told an embarrassing story about myself. No - that's a whole different story about walking through a warehouse store pushing one cart and pulling another, both full of about 15 cases of beer and running into a friend from high school who I hadn't seen in years (funny guy - he looked at me and said, "Thirsty?"). You see, the beer was for a work function I was coordinating, and - well, anyway, I was telling this story when my sister piped up and said, "Isn't that the guy who disintegrated his pants?" I had no idea what she was talking about.

Turns out that she remembered a story I'd told her when I got home from school one day. It's from Chemistry, which would've been 10th grade - I'm 16, so she's 6. Apparently this stands out in a six-year-old memory: Kent (ha! used his real name, just in case my sis remembered the right person) was in chemistry with me. Our class was experimenting with some chemicals one day, and he jumped up to sit on the counter during the lab. He sat on the chemicals (whatever they might have been), and disintegrated part of his pants. I bet that really was funny - too bad I don't remember it even a little bit!

Monday, August 4, 2008

now you know the truth - i can't really keep up

This probably explains why I was so happy to be a little ahead of the curve last week (and I'm still happy about that.)

My little family is in an even littler house, it seems sometimes. Dear Hubby and I are dreaming of space, more space. I'm sure Aidan is too, after spending time in some of our friends' play rooms, but he's not complaining. To be fair to Aidan, he can't because he doesn't have the words (though yesterday he did pick up a very clear Mommy), and to be fair to the house, it's the house I bought single, and it was plenty big for just me.

We're thinking that in the spring or summer next year, we might be ready to move. Now I find myself wanting to surf real estate sites, telling myself it's just to see what's out there and available, but knowing that I'm bound to get a crush on at least one house I view. Yesterday this number was closer to twenty, but you get the idea.

Our lives are crazy busy, even by my standards, which is saying something. Something has to go, but instead we're adding to it getting a house ready to sell. The good part of this is that it really needs it - we never really decided what to keep and/or get rid of when Hubby moved in. I wouldn't normally tell you this, but I feel kind of safe because I know you can't see them: my garage and basement are ridiculously full of junk (mostly junk). We can park our cars in the garage, but barely so. Also, the office is suffering from becoming the office/spare room when we made the nursery. What I'm saying here is that the clutter's taking over. It's taking over everything.

And the yard. If the house is cluttered, the flower beds in the back are wrecked. The yard's pretty small, and you wouldn't think that much could go wrong, but I promise you that it can. My folks came over for a day and helped us completely re-do the front yard (thankfully); now the front yard looks wonderful! The back, though - ugh. I have an entire flower bed, say, 8 x 15 or so, entirely made up of weeds. Some of those weeds are taller than me. Not just weeds, either - weeds and grass which is now thigh-high. It's horrid.* Sure, we mow, but not in the flower beds. As a cherry on top of this extravaganza, a viney-sort of weed is taking over what's left of my lawn. Somehow this has to be presentable enough first for me be able even to glance at it and not wince, and second to make a buyer feel that it must be his/hers/theirs.

So, we now have good reason, not that we didn't already, to clean out EVERYTHING. In our "spare" time, of course. We're trying to accomplish at least one thing a week, so when it gets a little overwhelming, we focus on whatever we're trying to accomplish that week. Truly, I am happy about whatever baby step we make. This weekend, it was new screen doors in front and back. They look great.

*horrid if you live in the house and see it enough to make you crazy. We're not receiving notices from the city, but likely only because those who might complain (and many of them reside in my neighborhood) cannot see the back yard.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Basking isn't just for sunshine

So, I'm feeling pretty big right now. I'm caught up at work and I did a little project for home. Is my home clean? Nope. Is it less cluttered? Nope. However, I did a project for fun, and that's making me feel pretty big.

Aidan and I went to the park on Sunday - we rode our bike (with cart) in the morning and had the place all to ourselves for a couple of hours. We climbed, climbed and climbed some more. We slided (slid?), we played on the swings (swang?) - we had a grand old time. Due to a fancy new habit in which I carry my camera in my (now mom-sized) purse, it occurred to me that this would be a wonderful opportunity for photos. I'm not going to lie - I took 130. We snacked, we rode home, with the wind blowing through our hair and only one of us arriving awake (luckily, me, the driver).

As Aidan napped, I went online and made a book of our morning. I always mean to make books of my photos, but I don't ever have time. I have grand plans of doing "this is my first year" or "times with Grandma & Grandpa" as gifts, but those are pretty large undertakings. Putting together a book made of a sample of 130 photos - that's manageable in one naptime. I sat, I designed, I chose the very cutest pictures - no easy feat given a smorgasboard of cute pics, I might add - I made a book. Already, it's arriving today! I'm excited like Birthday Excited to get it. AND I'm feeling big.

I'm a mom who has it together. I plan on the weekend for a potluck on a Thursday night (actually done this week); I have a present ready for the expectant book club mom before the day of bookclub (actually done last week); I use a slow cooker occasionally having dinner ready when we get home from work; I do fun projects in my "spare" time. Honestly, I rarely am this good. Even a little bit of "together" makes me feel big, but that doesn't mean I won't bask in it for a brief moment. I'm basking.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

oh, excuse me, Highness

Why do some people think their time is so much more valuable than everyone else's?

I earn an hourly rate with no paid time off; my time is, literally, valuable (at least during working hours - after that, the value is more intrinsic).

Today I went to an appointment a few minutes early to be safe. This came out of my chargeable hours. I sat and waited, waited, and waited some more. When it was a half hour past my appointment time, I asked whether I should reschedule, because it was a half hour past my appointment time. I was informed that they told me my time was 15 minutes earlier than it actually was. Really? Am I a child to be managed? Is the rest of the world so inferior that only those people are allowed to worry about being inconvenienced? All of this oblivious to the fact that still, it was 15 minutes past my appointment time. They assure me that I'll not be waiting longer - no need to reschedule.

Fifteen minutes later, I rescheduled. They couldn't believe it. I couldn't help it - I had a client meeting that I had to attend. In total I was away from my client for an hour and a half. The amount I lost isn't staggering, but the principle of the thing is.

I won't get on my soapbox about the state of service industries today, other than to say this: I contend that any industry is at heart a service industry, and I'm stymied by people who don't seem to understand that they're at our service; we're not at theirs. Oh, excuse me - am I bothering you as I sit here waiting to give you my money? Would your day be easier if I showed up first thing in the morning and just waited quietly until the mood struck you to give me the time of day? No problem.

Monday, July 28, 2008


My boy loves fruit like no child I know. If I fed him nothing but fruit, I'm sure he would love me even more than he does, or at least be happier with me.

He's learning a few words - we've added "hot," "doggie," and a version of "tree" to our repertoire. This morning after he finished his waffle, I asked him if he'd like some berries. "Berries!" he yelled. Fast forward to tonight and dinner of dino-nuggets. Every minute or two, he'd look at his nuggets, which he likes, and yell, "Berries!" Hey - at least he has an opinion and know what he wants.

On the other front, more hitting and biting. I don't know why; he can be as happy as a clam, and then you can see him get an idea and hit me. He has a consistent sound he makes when he hits, so at least I have warning about that. There is no warning when he goes in for a kiss and bites a chunk out of my face. Okay, he hasn't actually bitten a chunk out of my face, but it sure feels like it. His teacher says that he was very loving and gentle with a baby doll at school today, so it seems as though for now the hitting and biting is directed principally toward me. Why am I the lucky one?

Friday, July 25, 2008

testing, testing

And so it begins. My beautiful, soft, sweet boy is really testing me. It's hitting and biting, and my mother-in-law tells me he gets at least the biting from his dad.

He looks at me with a big smile, then hits or bites me (it's normally me, though I've had to sign some incident reports when it's been someone at school), then says "stop" and makes the sign for stop. To be fair, if you didn't know that he does the sign and says it, you might not know what he's doing, but I do so I do. I tell him "no-no hitting" and sign "stop," and he says and signs stop and then does it again. Must put the boy down, otherwise this could be an endless game.

At school, he does it when he's frustrated by someone - Nora has a toy he wants or some such. At home, not so. He's really just testing me.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Does anyone else do this?

Every time I start a new endeavor, especially at work, I'm nervously optimistic at first. Then, as I get underway, I get a little overwhelmed at accomplishing my mission and fear that at any moment everyone will discover that I'm a complete phony. This inevitably disintegrates into some level of meltdown in which I confess to a confidant, normally my husband, that I'm way too stupid for my job, whatever that may be. He then reassures me that I always think this and that I always do well. I thank him but secretly know that he's biased because he loves me and that this time I'm really in over my head. It's different this time. He gives me steps to think about, "tomorrow, you're going to go in with a great attitude, take little steps and set realistic expectations."

So, at New Client, NC, I've already been through the cycle, and I'm now feeling much better about things. I saw it coming this time, and I warned my lovely and patient hubby about it. Unfortunately, he took an illtimed business trip and was gone during the melancholy semi-meltdown. Unfortunate. We're on a good road now, full speed ahead.

Honestly, I even see it coming and I still fall for it. I'm 40 in a few weeks - when will I get it? I mean, really get it and avoid it, as opposed to falling for it again?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

City Girl at heart

I'm a city girl. I'm from Chicago originally, and I feel at home in most cities' downtowns.

NC (new client) is right downtown in the city where I live, and that makes for a very happy me! I've run into several people I know this week, I've eaten lunch at fun places, and I've enjoyed the atmosphere. Another thing that's fun for me is that I'm working closely with lots of people who have expertise in my area. I'm used to being the only expertise in my area for my clients, and I'm feeling a little bit back in my element. This is a very different consulting gig for me (and my little company), and the change is refreshing. I'm sure I'll go back more to what I had intended, but I'm enjoying the variety. Promising start at NC. YAY!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

is it next month already?

This has been a pretty big month.

Let's see - since our last postings, we've been to Savannah and Hilton Head for a very strange wedding (VSW) and revamped our entire morning routine. Now that I'm a mom, I think the latter is more notable.

The VSW was VS (but lovely) for several reasons. First, the wedding and the reception were in precisely the same location, but not on the same day; one Saturday, and one Sunday. Frankly, my reception was on a different day, but that was because I was married in Hawaii but had a reception here in the midwest; the commute would've been prohibitive. This was at the very same place, a house on the beach. This leads to the second oddity - the bride and groom stayed in the house on the beach, which was gorgeous - makes total sense. However, they invited several other couples to stay there in the house with them, for their honeymoon. I wouldn't have reacted well had friends and/or family shown up on my honeymoon. We wanted to do things on our own time, sightsee what we wanted to see and generally spend two weeks playing together. Third, the speeches were interesting, in that the best man's speech centered around the small size of the groom's privates, and the groom's didn't mention the bride (though it did mention several tourist attractions in the area and the general advantages of Hilton Head). Hmmm.

Savannah's lovely, though - we took the trolley tour on a day that was so hot we melted, ate on the riverfront and enjoyed the plantation-style architecture. We'll definitely be going back there. Hilton Head was wonderful as always, and we have about a zillion pictures of Aidan being adorable on the beach. He loved being curious and digging in the world's biggest sandbox much more than he loved being in a hotel pool. Not excited about the pool. He also had a great time at putt-putt, carrying his red plastic club around the course and giving emphatic commentary.

Also last month my company won a contract for a large project that I'll be working on for a new client (NC). NC will be taking most of my time, though I'm still keeping Fridays free as much as possible. Because of wanting Fridays for Aidan Play Time, I need to be more prompt during the week to fit in as many hours as possible. This has led to the Great Morning Reshuffling. Now Daddy takes Aidan to school two days and I take him two days, which feels extremely luxurious so far. Aidan's trying to adjust to his new schedule that gets him up 1-2 hours earlier every day. Between that and cutting a bunch of molars (early), he's having a bit of a rough week. On the bright side, my little company is expanding faster than we'd thought.

One new development with Aidan is "uh-oh," a very useful word if you're 15 months old. He doesn't quite understand that "uh-oh" is for an accident; he uses it that way, but also in a way analogous to "fore!" If he's about to throw something, he'll say "uh-oh" and then throw it. He also uses it as, "Hey - I'm trying to tell you something here!" For example, earlier in the week Daddy forgot to put the car seat in the car ahead of time, so had to do it in the morning. Apparently he wasn't as alert as one might hope, because driving down the road, he heard the "uh-oh" and then the same but more urgently. He turned around to see what was going on, and Aidan's seat was slanted to 45 degrees or more, and Aidan was hanging precariously across the seat. He says that was a sight to see (and hilarious to hear), and we're still laughing about it.

Now our travels for the year are over, which is bittersweet. This girl loves to travel! However, I am happy to have a little more time, conceivably, to work on the house. I have to say that my house is not immaculate, as surprising as that may be, and that I can use the time to do some cleaning up of clutter or find the actual ground beneath the weeds in the back yard. Wish me luck on all counts.

ps - a word from recent experience: bang! If your sump pump has stopped working and it appears that your basement is going to flood, don't panic. When you call your dad at 4 am, he'll suggest that you bang on it, and it will go right back on, averting however narrowly all disaster. Seems that banging on sump pumps is well-known in some circles, but for those who aren't in the know like I wasn't, there's a helpful hint.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's all coming together

Yesterday, Aidan and I had to drop something off for Daddy on our way to school/work. At a stoplight as we got close to his office, I turned around and told Aidan, "We're gonna go see Daddy!" Of course, he got all excited. Then he looked out the window, saw a black SUV very much like Daddy's, and started pointing excitedly toward it. He knows Daddy's car!

This morning, as Daddy was leaving, Aidan did his usual "Hi" with wave. Daddy looked at him and told him, "Daddy's leaving now, so we say Bye Bye." Aidan replied, "Bye" with wave. It was actually his second Bye, but this one was obvious and verifiable.

In the car on the way home tonight, we were playing "What do you see?" I see a tree, I see a car. As I was pointing, he started to point and make "eh, eh" sounds, which are the sounds he makes to let me know he's signing something to me, like "more" at dinnertime. I pointed to the sky, and he said "kye, kye" about 5 times. We said it back and forth. I realized then that he knew I was telling him the words. We tried others, but kye was the clearest.

Aidan likes to play with keys. On his was into the house after work Daddy was holding Aidan, who started reaching for his keys. Daddy said, "Do you want the keys?" Aidan said, "key, key."

It's beginning!!! In the forseeable future, I will be having conversations with my son. He will be able to express himself even better than he does now. I realize that this is only the beginning. He's not consistent yet, and we've got a long way to go, but it's really beginning! I'm even more excited about this than about the sandbox, and that's saying something.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Can it be a visionquest if it's in search of a sandbox?

It sounds easy enough - the boy must have a sandbox! Shouldn't every store carry sandboxes and be as excited as I am about ensuring that the boy gets one, and speedy fast-like? Um - sadly, no. This was a two-day venture.

I loved my sandbox when I was a kid. My dad built it (as he did most things), and it was perfect! We - I and all the neighborhood kids I grew up with in Chicago - played in it for years and years. I've been determined that Aidan would have one, too. Saturday morning, as soon as the stores opened, he and I started our quest. We went to store #1, we found LOTS of perfect sandbox and pool (we're getting a membership to the community pool this summer!) toys, and we had to get most of them. We found a giant bouncy ball. Not one sandbox. Well, there was one, but it was outrageously priced. No fear - we had several other options. By the time we had exhausted those, however, it was lunchtime. Nobody likes a hungry Aidan, though to be fair he gets it from me - nobody likes a hungry Mommy, either. Thwarted!

Sunday morning I started out alone, no less determined. I had searched online and found what I was looking for - a selection of about five different sandboxes! I got to Store #5, where I never go, and it was humongous. Ginormous! Searched and searched for a sandbox, an associate, really anything that would help me in my quest to no avail. I did get sent back and forth from end to end of the store a couple of times, though, which was great.

Finally, the in garden section I found a very helpful gentleman. He told me that "almost no one works here on the weekends anymore." Why would a ginormous retail store scale back its staff on weekends when more customers are there? I don't know. Anyway, just as he and I both were about to give up, I spotted the one sandbox they had left. One type, one sandbox. No problem - one's all I needed! Loaded up a more sand than a gal should have to haul around on a ridiculously hot day, and back home to put it all together.

Luckily, realizing the quest was very easy once all the pieces were in place. No assembly needed, just a little more hauling around of sand on the same ridiculously hot day. Got the whole thing ready to go, toys and all, and wouldn't you know the boy was napping? After about a year and a half of waiting for him to wake up, or maybe half an hour - not sure which, I got to strip him down to his diaper, lather him up with sunscreen and take him out there. I tell you, the whole, hot, two-day affair was worth every second. He loves it! Climbed right in and started exploring. Very handy that the mud room, I mean kitchen sink, is close to the back door - I can just hose him off with the sink's sprayer, and no sand all over tarnation. Everybody's a winner!

Sunday, June 1, 2008


It's Aidan's first real word; he waves and says Hi. Mom-mom, Daddy, ba-ba (bottle), signs for "more" and "all done," and Hi. That's so Aidan - he's a very interactive sort of boy, working his hardest to engage every person he comes across in some sort of game or flirtation. What's the best tool for all of these things? "Hi!"

Oh, and separately, did you know that Godiva stores have drinks? They're along the lines of iced coffee, but they're made of chocolate. Honest!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

you see what you're looking for

Who'd have thought?

I was on vacation, reading in the palapa with my husband and friends, and along came Glenn to see whether we wanted to take a snorkeling tour (of course we did). Glenn had a delightful accent, and he asked us to guess where he was from. Guess #1, Australia - wrong. Guess #2, New Zealand - wrong. He says that it's always the third guess. England? Doesn't sound English, but why not try? Yup - England. He's from Lincolnshire, next to Yorkshire, and from what he says, it's important to make the distinction. The two towns seem to have an archrival-type relationship. Linconshire isn't "posh," and Yorkshire is thought of by them as full of snooty people who aren't any fun.

The reason I tell you all this is because the reason we guessed England third and as a fluke is that Glenn's vowels don't sound what we Americans were thinking of as British. Turns out, up where he's from (far north of London), the accents are very different. This was all discussed in that course on the History of the English Language that I listened to awhile back, and dates back through Old and Middle English. You see, Northern England was influenced by the Scandanavian languages in a way that Londoners were not. It changed their dialects in a way that was so different as to be incomprehensible, both in pronunciation and in idiom. I find it hugely interesting that this difference is still so pronounced today (and it is).

Glenn went on to tell amazing stories about his prior career, when he "turned around bars" in England. If the bars weren't doing well or had frightening clientelle, he would come in as manager and turn them around. I hadn't realized that this sort of career existed. He then told us a couple of amazing stories about dealing with what we might call gypsies, or wanderers, and amazing bar fights related to same. He also had great stories about buying a bracelet for his girlfriend in England while on vacation in Mexico, and meeting his now wife in the jewelry store. Glenn's a pretty interesting guy, and we sure learned a lot from him during the course of his selling us a pretty fun snorkeling trip! This has nothing to do with the course, but oh my!

I know that when you're paying attention to something or looking for something, you see it everywhere, but I really didn't expect something so seemingly obscure to be demonstrated in such an obvious way to me. Now I'm listening to the course, "How to Listen to and Understand Great Music." It's a long one, but I'm enthralled so far. I can't help but wonder now how this will come back.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What's clingier than a 14-month old in a "mommy" phase?

One who's missed his mommy and daddy for four nights while they had a fabulous getaway. Heavens! The getaway was wonderful - sunny and tropical and reconnecting and everything it should be. Missed Aidan something awful, but I didn't cry at all (once I'd dropped him off at my folks - there were, to be fair, pre-departure tears). Noticed every single baby while we were gone, but my mom pointed out to me that I've always done that. I still think it was worse, though.

Aidan did just great - reading the reports from "school," where my folks dropped him for awhile each day so he'd feel like he was still in his normal routine, he had wonderful days and all kinds of fun. My folks reported same. He's even been jovial since we got home (two days ago).

Because of this, I was unprepared for the level of clinginess when I got home. Can't blame the kid - I explained to him how the whole thing would work before I left, and every time I drop him off anywhere, I remind him "Mommy will always love you, and Mommy will always come back." However, his being 14 months old, I don't think he really gets it yet. Every time since I've been home that I get up to walk to the restroom or even just to shift in my seat he seems nervous that I'm going to leave him and melts down, reaching for me. Talk about heartbreaking. We're definitely on the upswing, though. Hopefully in another day or two we'll be back to normal.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

of vinyl and cash

I don't know if you are "into" music, but I am. Oftentimes, hearing a song will take me back to a specific time and place, or at least to a "summer of" type of time. I have lots of vinyl, and quite a few discs, too; not as many as some, but probably too many for whatever income level I've had at the time of purchase. I love most types of music--I never really got into country, but I love anything from classical to classic rock to funk and R&B to oldies to alternative. Growing up, the house was full of mostly classical music, mixed in with a few oldies (Beatles, Beach Boys, etc.). For me, nearly anything is better with good music for support. I love to listen, love to play (piano), love to sing (sing with Aidan all the time) - really just love music.

I also used to wait tables. This may seem unrelated, but it's not. Back in the days when you could only buy concert tickets by standing in a line with money in your hand, ready cash from waiting tables helped support a concert habit of mine. I've always had a sort of evolving "must see" list in my head, and over time, I've crossed nearly all of them off the list. In fact, I'm lucky enough to say that I saw U2's Joshua Tree tour; it's the only concert I ever stayed outside all night in line to see. I realize that sounds ridiculous in today's online frenzy of "refresh" to get good seats, but it was a badge of honor at the time. Sold out in two minutes.

Why reminisce? I got to cross another one off the list last week. The Police! This is probably not exciting to you if you're not about my age and don't love music, but to me it was IT. I grew up listening to them, bought the vinyl, memorized all the words, and mourned their breakup only to be consoled by Sting's solo career. Mmm. Anyway, what a show! They played most of the songs you'd want to hear in a fresh way, and we all sang our hearts out.

Happily, the list continues to dwindle.

Friday, May 2, 2008

why WNTW rocks

OK, so unless you're out there and a girl or a significant other of a girl, you don't know what WNTW is, and that's okay. If you're a girl, however, you know as I do, that what they say works. Really.

I won't lie - since Aidan there's something that's literally weighing on me: pounds. To be completely honest, it started pre-Aidan (I believe it has to do with going from eating as a single girl to eating with a boy every day, but cannot be sure), but pounds I gained pre-Aidan were not shaped as these are, seemingly just glued only to my midsection. It's really only 10-15 pounds total, which may not be a lot to some, but it's a lot to me. A LOT.

I decided a few weeks ago (sadly, boosted by another reality TV show, when Ali won The Biggest Loser) that I was finally going to lose this, and I've been eating much better. Three pounds down - it's a start!

In the meanwhile, as Stacey & Clinton would advise, I need to be able to feel good about the in between, which will spur me on to get to the finale. Because I've watched a lot of WNTW, I have the rules in mind when I shop - a nice pair of trousers with wide-ish legs. Tops that accentuate the narrowest part of me so and glide away from my midsection, but not baggy allover.

I've been shopping a couple of times in the last few weeks - just a couple of separates pieces, some for work, some for play, so that I can feel decent about myself again as summer approaches. My "normal" summer clothes are all snug and fitted for a girl who's the size I normally am. These are not, but following the rules really works. At work yesterday, Doug (we love Doug) looked at my in my trousers and empire-waisted summer sweater, "You look thin!" In fact, since I've been wearing my rules-based purchases, I've gotten several comments on losing weight.

On the show, frumpy people always feel transformed - they can't believe that they can look as good as they end up looking. I don't feel completely transformed, but I sure feel better. Between that and the jewelry I've gotten from my sis' business (she's 10 years younger, so helps keep me in fashion to an extent at least), I've got some easy, go-to outfits that help me feel put together and confident. Haven't felt put-together and confident in a long time. Actually, I'm not good at fashion, so I rarely feel put-together; my sis is a little bit of a miracle worker getting me to accessorize as she has, but I used to feel quite confident.

That is why WNTW rocks!

Monday, April 28, 2008

add #12

12. Better to come down with whatever your son brought home from school after than during a theatrical performance you're attending.

I'm certain that I was too humiliated to mention it in December, but this is not the first time Aidan's brought a "present" home from school (note #1 in the last post). Though I had not been sick to vomiting for nearly three decades (yes, really), I succombed just before intermission of the Broadway Show Sweeney Todd. Let me pause for a moment here to say that I am the girl who tries to have a little class - I get frustrated when people are running to their cars during the curtain calls because it's more important to them to get out of the parking lot timely than thank the performers who worked so hard to entertain them. I don't like when people talk or crinkle loudly during performances, and I cannot understand when people believe it's okay to wear their most casual attire to such performances. In fact, I was distracted during the beginning of Sweeney Todd because a woman near my was wearing very pungent perfume. Ha!

Note that I said "just before" intermission. That's right - in one of my most humiliating moments ever, I had to use our cups (made Hubby chug my Sprite to empty one) to try and contain my contributions to the performance. I'm so humiliated, in fact, that we've switched the rest of our tickets for the season. Yes, we're season ticketholders, and no, I can't bear to face those poor people again. They know it was me. I couldn't eat Chipotle for some time after that either, but that's neither here nor there.

In an unbelievable and cruel coincidence, we had tickets to a jazz orchestra performance last Thursday. When Aidan started not feeling well on Tuesday, my hubby and I joked amongst ourselves that we should give those tickets away lest I have a repeat performance. It got to be Wednesday, we both still felt well, and we continued to joke. This was frightening close to the timing of the last episode, when Aidan started not feeling well Tuesday and ST was Wednesday evening. Flash forward to Thursday - Hubby started not feeling so well. He asked me at about 6:30 to find a last-minute replacement for him, so my sis filled in. Despite the fact that I felt just great, I was incredibly nervous. I was sitting on the aisle and had scoped out the pathway to the two nearest restrooms. Luckily, these performances are a little more feisty, so getting up wouldn't be nearly as frowned upon. No problem this time, though, and I got so cocky as to high five my sis as we walked to the car because I had avoided the plague. All was well until about 4 am, at which time I was stricken.

Still, better to be stricken after the performance than during as last time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

(some) things I didn't know before this week

  1. The time when "spit up" becomes "vomit" is somewhere between eight and thirteen months.
  2. Spit up washes out easily; vomit does not.
  3. Children with few teeth don't really chew their food much. (I should have intuited this, but hadn't thought of it.)
  4. Jewelry retains eau de vomit as well as clothing does.
  5. Stain remover will remove blackberry-stained vomit from rugs, but eau de vomit remains in sofas even after steam cleaning.
  6. There are vomit warning signs. It is very important to be aware of them and recognize them quickly. Any child who wakes up from a deep sleep and rips the binky from his mouth should be watched suspiciously.
  7. Twenty-four hours is not sufficient time to assume safety from watching for such warning signs.
  8. Pedialite popcicles are the bomb.
  9. Grandma and Grandpa make everything better. Children who feel fabulous at G&G's house may relapse at home.
  10. Sleeping on a couch with an ailing child is fine for one night, but the second night wrecks havoc with one's neck.
  11. An ailing child is an especially cuddly child (one bright side).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I really don't get it

My biggest concern about having a boy was (and still is) that I don't understand them. I love them, but I do not understand them.

Today I was told a story by my friend, we'll call him Joe, who went to a Michael Buble concert recently. He was there with his wife and another couple. He enjoys the Buble, but was teasing his wife and friends about going to the concert - just having fun. This was before the show, so not interrupting anything onstage. He was saying things like, "Hooray, hooray, Michael Buble." The gist I get is that Joe thought it might be interpreted as effeminate to be there (note that Joe was, in fact, there and happily so).

A gentleman, and I use the term loosely, behind him didn't appreciate his humor. He poked Joe hard in the middle of the back and said, "Shut up!" What he described that ensued was very testosterone-ridden. At one point Joe actually asked the guy (at a Michael Buble concert) whether they needed to go outside to settle it. Amazing. Joe also noted that the guy was "a 62-year old, balding, fat, stumpy guy." (Please understand I have nothing against the type - just describing in Joe's words for the story's sake.) What I find most interesting about this is that Joe is, I believe, 53. He's in good shape, but (even given that it's okay to pick a fight, which is a stretch) how can Joe make fun of the guy behind him for not knowing when he's too old to pick a fight, and then, probably less than ten years younger than the guy, invite him outside to settle it? I really don't understand. I'm sure happy I wasn't there.

On a side note, Joe asked the guy how he enjoyed the show afterward, and the guy apologized and said they'd both overreacted. They shook hands. Two-hour grudge settled; fight avoided.

Oh, that Aidan remains the cuddly, loving little boy that he is today.

Monday, April 21, 2008

all that and a grill to boot!

Have I mentioned how much I love spring?

Our bike ride to the park was just lovely, and Aidan had a blast riding in his little cart. He giggled for the first block and a half, and the little tuft of hair on top of his head flew up in the wind like a bad toupee. (I have it on good authority that eventually his hair will fill in and he'll have a beautiful, thick head of hair like his daddy, especially given that his daddy had no hair until he was nearly three.) The combination of the two cracked me up nearly enough to lose my balance, but I'm proud to say that I kept it together. I am ridiculously excited at the prospect of being able to do that as much as we want over the next several months. Oh, and to top it off, Aidan's no longer afraid of the swings at the park. Luckily, that was just a little phase in the midst of the life of a young swing lover! He played with children and puppies, and all was right with the world.

Our grill, may it rest in peace, died last year. It lived a full life, grilling all types of meats, veggies and other food experiments over the last seven years or so, so don't mourn. The grill's in a better place now; it's just us who miss it. Fickle as we are, we replaced it last weekend and have already moved our affections to the new addition. Happy, happy grillers are we! Tonight, balsamic beef kabobs! It'll be a festival of grilling and chasing around a little man who's intent upon climbing onto the porches and into the Adirondack chairs of our neighbors; luckily, said neighbors find this endearing. (Hooray for neighbors!) He scurries away, with furtive over-the-shoulder glances to see whether we're on to him. Oh, sneaky, sneaky little man!

Friday, April 18, 2008

we have a winner!

So here I am, feeling like I almost have it together, whatever "it" is. (Don't worry - whenever I get this feeling, I know it's fleeting, but I'm still mighty grateful!) I have my husband back from the throes of work, finally, and spring has arrived. The fact that the two were nearly coincidental is almost too much for my full heart. Beautiful Aidan is sleeping, not knowing that a bike ride to the park awaits; surely if he knew, he'd not keep me waiting so, though he does like to tease me. My little company is doing well, and I've been taking Fridays off again (and even fit in a weekend Vegas trip with my sister that hasn't made it yet to the blog). It't only mid-afternoon, and I've already done a load of laundry, the grocery shopping and putting away, and the pre-work for dinner tonight. I'm not as behind as usual at work or home. Because we replaced them this fall, I have windows that open and screens in them that fit - there's an actual sunny breeze coming through the living room as I sit and type (not shocking unless you lived here for five years prior to the new windows). My yard is blooming with daffodils, hyacinths and various other bulbs, and the little street I live on is filled with flowering trees in full bloom. This might be my favorite week to live here, despite my overwhelming love for summer.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Every kindergartener thanks you....ya happy now?

Thanks a ton, Renaissance scholars/teachers. Why is there a b in the words debt and doubt? Turns out it's a Renaissance thing. Teachers at that time decided that Latin was more scholarly than French, from which we actually got use of those words. They were already words in English, borrowed from French, sans b. However, the teachers decided that they wanted to go back to the Latin roots (from which the French got them) and spell them using those Latin roots, but to go on pronouncing them their English way. This, and a whole lot more examples like them, is why English doesn't sound like it looks. Well, that and the Great Vowel Shift that took place just before Shakespeare's time, before which line and join rhymed, and knight was a two-syllable word in which the k was pronounced.

Can you tell I've been listening to my "History of the English Language" class? It's really just fascinating!

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I really enjoy teaching. Very much enjoy it. In fact, I dream of teaching when I "retire." Probably at college level, but maybe even at high school level (in a previous life before all this business-y stuff, I had a license to teach high school), but I very much enjoy interacting with the students. I love watching lights go on as they figure things out, talking to them to find out what they think and dream of, and making pretty complex ideas more approachable.

I have no idea, however, what I was thinking that made me pick up ten extra classes in the middle of my husband's busiest time of year. It's a decision that a crazy person probably wouldn't make, and I like to kid myself that I'm still holding on to a shred of sanity. It's okay--I'm in on the joke, so I know the truth, but the kidding is reassuring nonetheless.

The last of the ten was last night. The classes were very interesting, helped me grow professionally, and were filled with amazing students, but I just couldn't be happier to be through them. I feel as though I can finally take a couple of deep breaths. It does not escape me that this coincides with the very beginning of warmer weather, either. Mmmmm. The fact that summer break hasn't existed for me for years doesn't take away the giddy feeling that summer is a fun, luxurious time of year. This, combined with a few deep breaths makes for a wonderful Thursday, especially combined with the sun peeking out here and there throughout the day.

flying solo

Aidan and I went to Chicago this weekend to visit some family. The cousins that we went to see were my big brothers growing up - not really, but I didn't actually have older brothers, and these guys were mine. I worshipped them. I don't still worship them, but I do still think the world of them, look forward to seeing them and very much enjoy the catching up. We still laugh and giggle. All around blast.

One has two kids, and Aidan couldn't get enough of them, though they were a little dubious of him, at least at first. Violet, nearly five now, was suspicious right off, sure to indicate when Aidan picked up something that was hers or belonged in her house. I explained that he would not leave with anything he hadn't come with - no thievery. No problem, then, for Violet. Lily, not so much. She's nearly three, and was very anxious about Aidan playing with her toys. In fact, she grabbed whatever toy Aidan would pick up to play with. Her mom told her couldn't just grab the toys, that she had to ask for them. After that se'd stand and ask him for the toy, and then grab it when he had no idea what she was saying. Of course, she warmed up to him on the morning we were leaving.

Aidan was fascinated by these older girls. He would reach out to touch Violet's hair or face, and squeal with delight. He loved their games, too. They played one in which their dad would be a monster and "frighten" them, and then they'd go squealing and running through the house into another room. Aidan watched this for awhile, then decided to play, too. Of course he had no idea what was going on, but he saw them giggling and running, and that seemed pretty fun to him. He was in the hallway that they ran through, so as they yelled, he tried to imitate the noises they made. At first this was enough, but then he got bolder. He decided to get in on the running, too. He walked toward the back of the house, where the monster was located, and started making the yelling/squealing noises. As the girls were "scared" and came tearing through the house, he started running with them (of course, much slower than them), and as they got close to him, his eyes got big as saucers, and he turned and ran to me instead. Maybe he'd set his sites a little too high.

This was Aidan's second trip via plane, and I was a little nervous to be traveling with him alone (Daddy had to work and couldn't come with us). Turned out better than could be expected - we're four for four (though I hate to admit it, possibly jinxing future trips). He falls asleep on me as we're leaving the tarmac (literally, during actual takeoff), and I wake him up as we're needing to get off the plane. What did I do to deserve him? I don't remember being that good a child. The airport was pretty funny, too. Our flight was cancelled and we were put on a later one, so we spent more time there than we'd planned. Ever chased a one-year-old through O'Hare Airport? Good times. At least he's cheerful as he runs through the crowds to explore, occasionally stopping at a pretty, dark-haired girl (usually the same one) with arms outstretched in the universal "pick me up" sign. Daddy would've been proud, and he had good taste to boot! I'd say that I'm now encouraged to travel alone with him often, but we'd still rather go with Daddy - we missed him.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How do you know when you've hired the right guy?


When he goes to run company errands and comes back with a surprise banana cream pie Blizzard (from DQ) for you. That's how!

Bless their hearts, the lot of 'em.

To all single parents and parents whose spice (mouse/mice; spouse/spice?) are not as incredibly helpful and supportive as mine, my hat is off to you.

I am in awe, truly in awe, of people who raise children by themselves. I have thought this since the beginning - when I was pregnant, I wondered how a woman could go through all the pregnancy stuff without someone to help get anything done, especially through the very tired portions. When Aidan was tiny, I wondered how one person could keep any semblence of sanity while sleeping pretty much not at all and keeping a little person's needs at the top of the list where they need to be. All this doesn't even consider that single parents also are likely working throughout. Amazing.

Now Aidan is a year old, and I am again reminded of how incredibly lucky I am. Right now is Hubby's very busiest time at work, so for the last several weeks (and several yet to come), he's coming home quite late and working through part if not most of the weekends. It's amazing what a difference a little (or in my case, quite a bit of) help goes. Our house looks like some sort of storm hit it, and nearly nothing is getting done outside of some meals (mostly for Aidan) and a little sleep here and there. I also take for granted sometimes how wonderful it is to have a buddy around to bounce around ideas with or just talk or laugh. By the time Hubby comes home, I'm exhausted but unable to put myself to bed because I'm excited to be able to catch up a little or snuggle on the couch.

I can't imagine doing all this without Hubby around for more than a little while. I know that when you're in a tough situation, you just do it because you don't have a choice. Most of these people, however, even have senses of humor and extra energy for making sure their kids are having fun and experiencing all different types of things in addition to basic care. What an amazing achievement - no joke. I'm just so very grateful for my little family and my wonderful life. Times like this make me especially grateful and aware of the many advantages I've got. Must give Hubby extra snuggles when he comes home tonight.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

back to college!

If you're reading this and know me, fear not. I have not lost my mind and decided to get another degree...

Oh, I'm so excited! Recently, a friend loaned me one of "The Great Courses" - honestly, they're called that - to listen to on CD in my car, as I've been doing a lot of driving lately from client to client, to teaching, etc. The course I listened to was on music appreciation, and it was absolutely gripping! Did you know that the name of the piece, The Well-Tempered Klavier has to do with the way it's tuned and the circle of fifths? If I did, I'd forgotten!

It turns out that "The Great Courses" are offered by The Teaching Company, and they have a course for every possible thing of interest under the sun. History, Philosophy, Science, the Arts, Language, Literature - it's amazing! My friend just lent me another course, this one on the history of the English Language, and I can't wait to dig in.

Am I getting commission for this? No (sadly). Luckily, my metropolitan library system has something like 159 of these courses for borrowing. (No, I certainly did not search for interesting courses when I should've been preparing to teach.) I have some on reserve now, just to give me something other than spring to count the days to.

I knew at some point my tastes would go from fiction ("candy" fiction, even) more toward nonfiction. Of course, I still love a good piece of candy, but I'm really excited to be learning about as many of these fascinating subjects as I can get my hands on.

Friday, March 14, 2008

big (little) man on campus

It's official - one year old yesterday. Though it was an extremely busy day for me with work, I knew it was a very special day for a little boy, so I decided to film "A Day in the Life of Aidan." You'll never guess who stars in my film. Okay, you might.

We start out at Grandma & Grandpa's, as I had taught the night before and he had stayed at their house. I got there right after he woke up, and we took some good film. We went to school, and it was a birthday wonderland. Big sign for him, big congratulations all around from people I don't even know, and big hugs and kisses from his girlfriend Paula in the kitchen. She got him a very tasty board book, and he's enjoying that. When he got there, the first thing they did was strip down and paint. Perhaps every day should start that way. It's all on film. Then Mommy went to work, and tried to be a grownup until late afternoon. Auntie B stopped in at lunchtime to play with him, and says it's obvious that he now thinks he's the big man on campus there. The show must go on!

Back to school, and filming him running through the halls, escaping to the muscle room. This is a wonderland, filled with balls of all sizes and varieties, as well as climbing aparati of all types. Very hard to get a little man out of a muscle room. Very cool discussions with a little man in one, though - full of squeals of delight and many different "words." Lots of film. Back to G&G's so Mommy could teach, and film of playing outside. We ended the day with Mommy rocking him to sleep. I'm pretty sure this is a blockbuster waiting to happen. Completely irresistible hero, charm galore, suspense, drama, comedy - it's all there.

Monday, March 10, 2008

One pooped boy

That's what a birthday party with many of his favorite people adds up to. Exciting enough to get to visit Grandma and Grandpa; then even more people arrived. Before you knew it, presents galore! Our little man is now the proud owner of 100 play balls (yes, 100 - it says so on the package) some bigger lego-type building blocks, and his first truck, among other things. Quite a day! I'm not sure what he was most excited about - we dumped everything out (all 100 balls, every building block) on the floor and made G&G's family room a wonderland. In fact, it was so wonderful that he was completely unable to nap. Not at all!

As if that weren't enough, there was pasta with red sauce (so close to the Spaghetti-O's that he loves that he was sucking the sauce off of all the noodles before eating them) AND cake with chocolate frosting.

I think the very best part of the day, though, was when we sang to him. Picture him sitting in his high chair, family all around, then inexplicably, they all burst into song at once. It's a hearty singing, and they're all somehow singing the same thing at the same time! The look of utter confusion on his face as he looked from person to person back and forth was pretty priceless. It was funnier to Mommy than the frostinged face after cake, and that's saying something. By cake time, he was so exhausted from the day that he couldn't help but rub his eyes, hands full of frosting. Frosting EVERYWHERE. Yeah for frosting.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

a very anticlimactic day for birthdays

This time of year is full of birthdays. In fact, today Jessica is 10 and Belle is 9 - both had birthday blowouts planned for today. We had two other parties today, too - one for Josephine, who will be a year old on St. Patty's day, and one for dear Aidan.

That was the plan.

None of these birthday parties happened today. Instead, about a foot and a half of snow happened. While it was fun to be snowed in today and play, Daddy didn't have fun shoveling us out for three hours this morning, and I'm sure there were some very disappointed little girls who didn't get to have parties. In fact, today felt like any other day when you don't have to get out of your jammies. (There's no proof that I was one of the people who didn't...)

Aidan's party has been relocated to tomorrow - luckily, it's a tiny guest list and I've planned very easy food, which made it flexible enough to reschedule. I sure hope Jessica and Belle are as lucky. I'm sure Josephine won't mind; I know Aidan doesn't.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Friday, Friday

(So good to me...) I have a confession to make. For the last couple of months, I haven't been taking Fridays off as intended.

I needed to be accomplishing things in that time, so I didn't really mind. This last Friday, however, I did not work. Mmmmm. That one extra day really a long way toward balance and sanity, and I could use the boost. (My mother used to say, "That would make a sane person crazy, and I didn't start out sane!" I believe I now know what she meant.)

In fact, this was not a particularly quiet weekend - we had family from out of town, we went to a Broadway show in another city (actual overnight, parents-only date!), and still we got the usual required items finished to ensure that all of us are fed and clothed for another week. Overall, a huge success. That one extra day, just those few hours, has made a world of difference, not just in what was accomplished, but also in perception of the whole. Without Friday, I would feel like the weekend didn't even really exist - it would have flown completely by without spending much time with Aidan and without my feeling particularly relaxed or regenerated. With it, it's as though the weekend floated as much as sped, and this week has been a much brighter prospect.

Must do my best to keep Fridays.

a billiondy less two

What is it like to be caught up? Is it possible to get caught up, and once caught, can one possibly stay there?

I got an unexpected boost in this direction today. One of the things I do is teach review courses for my profession's certification. I picked up several extra of these classes while my business is growing, which is great for cashflow and harrowing for time. Each class lasts about 4 hours, so that means that the outside preparation for me to teach is somewhere in the 5-10 hour range, per class. Today I found out that two of the classes I picked up (the ones that I need to have prepared by this and next week) are exact repeats of when I taught them last year. This means that, aside from reviewing my notes, I am already prepared. I Am Already Prepared!! I now have three weeks, not a day and a half, to prepare for the next time I teach. The realization of this as I sat at my office this morning had me on the edge of (grateful) tears.

Don't get me wrong--I've got a billiondy other things on the list that I've been ignoring in favor of being prepared for a class before my actual arrival to it. Students seem to appreciate me for that, and since they're paying for the course, it really seems only fair. The thought, however, of getting to a couple of the other billiondy feels like a huge weight has been lifted. As I re-think the next couple of weeks, which include my son's first birthday party, the extra time is much appreciated--luxurious, even!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I'm definitely a mom now.

Friday night, my hubby and I actually went on a date! We went out to dinner and to see a Jazz Orchestra performance. It was a wonderful evening of laughter and fun, and really great music to boot. Thanks to my husband's boss, we had a gift certificate to a pretty nice restaurant near our house - a little treat, and we used it to celebrate Valentine's Day.

We were eating our appetizer, a three-cheese chicken gratin with peppered pita wedges (not pickled pepper pita wedges - that would be silly), and it was really nice. The waiter came over and asked how we were enjoying our appetizer, and I looked at him and said, "It's nummy-nummy!" I actually said it aloud to a waiter in a restaurant--with gusto. Hubby and I looked at each other dumbfounded. At least the waiter probably took it back to the kitchen for a good laugh. I suppose you can take the girl away from the baby, but you can't take the baby away from the girl.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

how do you know that?

Connections - that's the theme at our house right now. In the last week, I've seen Aidan do the following: grab brushes from under the sink and "brush" my and his hair. Hold a play or real phone up to his ear. Play at lying down on pillows to sleep. Use his toothbrush the way a toothbrush is meant to be used. Drink from a straw on the first try. Throw a ball to play catch. Put lids on and off jars and tubes of things. Walk toward something he's not allowed to touch and shake his head, "no." Be ready for his first pair of "real" shoes (and flirt shamelessly with the salesgirl.)

While I'm certain that all of this didn't really happen in a week, that it just seems so, it sure does seem so. My little tiny love is walking, and he notices. He notices just about everything. His love for games is getting more interactive and pronounced. In fact, my friend Lesley wrote the other day and said, "Congratulations - you've got a mobile toddler!" Toddler? I'd love to disagree, but it really does seem so. Is it time for that yet? Are you sure?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

it's official

Aidan's a kid, not a baby anymore.

Okay, I know he's a baby, just eleven months yesterday, but he seems so grown up sometimes. The kicker for me is that this week he tried Spaghetti-O's and loved them! Liked them the first time, but couldn't get enough and really loved them last night. Loved them so much we had to go directly from the high chair to the bath, giggling all the way. (Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.)

Growing up I believe that they were a food group to me - did I want Spgahetti-O's (sometimes w/franks or meatballs) for lunch or anything else? If I'm not mistaken, my other favorites were of course, mac & cheese or a couple of sandwiches: egg salad, bologna and mayo, PB&B (I didn't like jelly, so I had PB & butter - I know; I wouldn't do it now) or grilled cheese w/Velveeta. Between those and how much Kool-Aid I went through every day (does anyone else remember putting two full scoops of sugar in every pitcher full?), it's obvious to me that I ate mostly processed food. It's a wonder I didn't turn out to be a big chemical, though as I think of it, perhaps that's why I'm so remarkably preserved and youthful looking now.

My husband said he rarely had that type of food as a kid - he was allowed only non-sugar cereals (whereas my favorites were fruit loops & Cap'n Crunch), and had home-made pasta, not from a can. I'm wondering now whether I should be worried. While he is younger than me, this may be outweighed by the fact that he has significantly fewer preservatives in his system keeping him youthful looking; surely one of these years he will pass me by. He will anyway if there's any chivalry left.

Anyway, I'm doing my best to avoid high fructose corn syrup (for Aidan and us) and other processed and artificial items. His cheese is not Velveeta, for example. The expense of the better/good-for-you food aside, I feel good about the fact that he likes many things that are good for him. Loves fruit and veggies, and even prune juice. A kid's got to have his guilty pleasures, though, and I believe his will be Spaghetti-O's. Join the club, Kid, and welcome to a huge part of my childhood!

Friday, February 8, 2008

perhaps i shouldn't have been so quick to thank my stylist.

Today I had a leisurely morning with my son (we'll start calling him Aidan, primarily because that's his name) and then had my hair done before going to work this afternoon. This, incidentally, felt like a little treat after a week when a sick son needed lots of extra attention and I still had to try to fit in work wherever I could.

Got to the office about lunchtime and had a nice conversation with a coworker, Scott. When I went to catch up with Paul, who works for me, I felt something funny and realized that little cut pieces of hair from this morning were stuck in my lipgloss.. Luckily, I wasn't embarrassed to get them off my lips around Paul because he's going to marry my sister in September. This means that in a brotherly sort of way has to deal with things like my pulling little chards of hair out of my lipgloss (and also my sister and me discussing girlish things in front of him, which is pretty funny to watch, by the way).

A couple of things made this a little more funny to me, though. First, after having Aidan I felt pretty dumpy (no, not the funny part). It had been coming on for awhile as I no longer look 16, but for some reason after Aidan I was the essence of frumpy and kind of resigned to it. Recently, however, I've realized that if I make even a tiny effort I feel eons better about myself (nicely leveraging the effort, the accountant in me says). Therefore, I've been making a little effort lately - I even accessorize sometimes, which is completely new for me. The fact that I was even wearing lipgloss shows that I made an effort today and was feeling pretty high-falutin. That'll teach me to get even a little cocky, won't it?

Second, Scott came to find me right after I realized what had happened because he couldn't stand it anymore and had to tell me that I had something wrong with my face. He felt stuck in the middle of a Seinfeld episode and couldn't stop staring at my lips; didn't I notice while we were talking that he couldn't take his eyes off my mouth? (No, but he did seem very interested in what I had to say, which made me feel even better about myself and my day.) He said that, much like asking if someone's pregnant when you're not sure, he's learned not to question certain things about women's faces. He finally decided that we were good enough friends for him to tell me because, and I quote, "it looked like you had stitches in your lip or maybe a very strange mustache - I just couldn't figure it out." It made for a pretty good laugh once he realized that I am not growing a beard and that it was okay to laugh.

When I was a little girl, I remember thinking that at some point in time, I would no longer feel like a little girl, clumsy, unsure and unkempt. I would feel confident, sophisticated, put-together, even worldly. If I remember correctly, that time would've been age 21; of course, I also saw myself married with a couple of kids by 25, so there you have it. Anyway, I no longer think so. I do, however, take much more joy now in feeling like a little girl than I did then.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

yes, indeed

He's walkin'! (He's not talkin', really.)

It was Sunday evening, and we were at friends' house for a Superbowl party. These friends have two sons, one about The Boy's age, and one 13 months older(!). They also have what was meant to be a dining room, but has been transformed into The Play Room. It's a wonderland, really.

Inspired by a number of toys not to be comprehended and a vast space like he's unused to seeing in our little house, he took off. One minute I was talking to him as he stood in front of me, and the next he was walking away from me. Walking Away From Me. Walking! I almost started to yell about it, but I didn't want to break the spell. You see, first, his daddy was in the basement with the projection screen TV, and second, we have a tendency to celebrate all kinds of things with "Yeahs" and much clapping. This was very tough to control, but the little tears rolling down my face helped.

You could see he was excited. As with his other skills, we've known he had the tools for it long before he did. With each step you could see his realization that he was actually doing it. Step, step, step, pause and look around, step, step, step, bend down and look around, think about what's happening, step, step, step, fall. Did you count 'em? I did - nine steps! I'm pretty sure that counts. Walking!

I'd like to thank my stylist, my publisher, my family....

I'm so honored that I've been chosen. I only dreamed, as a child, that this day might come for me.

Oh, alright, I didn't dream of it as a child; there were no blogs when I was a child. There were likely some massive computer prototypes, but I'd sure never heard of them. That doesn't detract from my honor at being chosen, however. Thanks to my friend at Trout Towers, I have been tagged for a meme.

Here are the rules:
  • Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
  • Share five random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
  • Share the five top places on your “want to see or want to see again” list.
  • Tag a minimum of five random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
  • Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment in their blog.

Now, five facts about myself:

  1. My dad is the most fun Show and Tell item you've ever seen. Topics he can speak on with first-hand knowledge include treasure hunting, flying trapeze, the Peace Corps, riding a motorcycle while standing upright on its seat, hang gliding, and Panamanian prison. Honest. When I was a little girl, I would play a game with him in which I'd dream up things that he'd never done - rarely won that game. I, in fact, have taken him to Show and Tell.
  2. In a one-year span I held both of these jobs: water treatment system salesperson, which required me to give two-hour in-home sales presentations, and amusement park game hostess, which required me to call out to get people to play my game and also avoid the darts that wretches would throw at my legs purposely instead of into the balloons to win prizes (I was happy to do this for only $2.35 per hour?). I was 16 that year.
  3. I just love surprises - good surprises, that is. I'll go to great lengths to pull one off, and am giddy when someone takes the time to do it for me. Big or small, doesn't matter.
  4. My family took a vacation once in which we drove from the midwest down Acapulco. Chevy Chase should've made that into a movie, and yes, Acapulco, Mexico. If you can be in a van with your family for two and a half weeks and not kill any of them, I believe you're good to go. It's okay to think about killing them.
  5. I can move one eye and keep the other still. Sounds innocent, but is freaky to watch. I used to use it as a party trick. Also, if you're ever being hit on by someone you'd wish would go away, this is quite effective. Look right at him, smile widely, and start moving one eye. 100% successful.

Five places on my "want to see or want to see again" list is harder than it might seem for me. I have an overdeveloped sense of wanderlust, quelled only by money and circumstance. At any given moment, in fact, if I'm engaged in something even slightly less than engrossing, I'm likely dreaming about traveling somewhere. I will try to limit myself to five. I don't like cheaters; I'm a girl who likes to play by the rules. (Now you have six random facts about me.)

  1. I'd like to go back to visit my friends who don't live near me. I realize that this is about a bazillion places, but I choose to count them as one. My blog, my rules. I'm chipping away at that one at an alarmingly slow pace, unfortunately, but the good news is that there are plenty of places left on the list.
  2. Europe, especially Spain and Greece, two countries I have not seen. My hubby's never been overseas, and I know he'd love it (recently discovered wanderlust on his part, not lifelong like my own). It's dorky, but we dream about trips with the boy for which we plan ahead for a year or so. During that year, we learn at least a few usable phrases and each do research on art, culture, architecture, etc. When we get there, we get to revel in seeing in person some of the things we've learned about; hopefully this imparts the wanderlust to the boy.
  3. Any beach. Any warm beach, that is. Any day.
  4. Australia.
  5. Thailand.

Because I only know two bloggers, one of which has now tagged me, I will tag only one. I reserve the right to tag four more in the future, after I've gotten better at this whole thing. Mary, you're it.

Monday, February 4, 2008

dreaming (not of california today)

My friend Suzi (now Susan) has a wonderful blog (www.trouttowers.blogspot.com). It makes my day to read it. Her latest is that she's taking ballet classes as an adult after taking them as a kid. I did that, and I'm SO excited for her!

When I was 27 (which now isn't yesterday) I went back and took ballet lessons after 17 years. I loved, loved, LOVED it! Even when my muscles remembered what to do, my limbs didn't react in the same way they used to, but it was just wonderful to Be There, to have the piano playing the same types of tunes and flit around the room.

There were two things that really made it worthwhile for me, though. First, I had lots of flashes of being 5 years old. Anytime you can flash back to an actual second of five-year-oldness is wonderful, isn't it? mmmmmm. Second, I would have split seconds of being graceful (a piroutte right on center or holding a scale just a little extra because center is whole). If I had one such moment in a class, the whole class was wonderful to me.

I danced again for several years, and then quit in my early 30s. Before I left, my teacher even took a friend and me to buy pointe shoes! She had said if we worked really hard she would give us little pointe lessons at the end of class. When I had quit as a kid, I was too young for pointe (ten), so this was a dream come true!

I'm definitely putting that on my list of things to do (again). Just thinking about it makes me happy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How many days 'till spring?

I'm not actually going to count and please don't tell me; if I know, I'll do a mental countdown every day from now until then. Seems like forever today. Warm winter vacations are a great retreat, but the tease about nicer weather to come makes what's left of winter stretch out even farther. To top it all off, it's about 50 degrees outside today - again with the teasing. This all makes The Yearning (for summer, of course) begin. Thank goodness for sunny days and offices with windows; these help quell The Yearning, at least temporarily.

I think there's a part of me that still feels like summer is the playtime it was when I was a kid, and the days would stretch out as far as I'd let them. I'm originally from Chicago, where there were at least 15 or 20 kids on every block, playing outside all day every day until as late as we could muster. (Clearly, this time was 9:00, when it was a well-known fact that every child should be inside. That's when The Robbers came out, and no one wanted to be out then. Was this an urban legend or just something one of our parents had started to make us come inside without a fight? We may never know.)

I'm especially excited for this summer. Not only do we have a couple of fun jaunts planned for when the weather warms up, but my son's old enough to wear sunscreen this year, so we'll be able to play outside about as much as we can stand it! wooHOO!

Our subsequent pool trips on vacation went as well as a gal could dream. By the time we left, the Little Man would sit on the edge of the pool and lean/hurl himself into the water for us to catch him. It's as close to a jump as a 10-month-old could do. He giggled and giggled and splashed. This confirms my anticipated need for a pool pass this summer. Our town has a brand-new, beautiful public pool with a whole separate section for little people. I can't wait to take him! I'm certain that I'm more excited to go than he'll ever be. I'm even willing to wear a swimsuit in public for it, and that's saying something.

In my daydreaming mind, as soon as the weather cooperates, our time will be filled with riding bikes, going to the pool, playing at the park (very near the pool, and we can ride bikes to both), trips to the zoo--just about every type of outdoor fun possible. Oh, and a vegetable garden where the boy can watch things sprout up!

Okay, maybe I do want to know how many days it is. I'll try to hold out longer before I look, but I can't promise anything.