Friday, January 29, 2010


It's supposed to snow tonight and tomorrow. Anywhere from 6-12 inches, said the radio's weather report this morning, though I'm not sure I believe that.

I'm actually kind of looking forward to it. If it will hold off until after 4 or so this afternoon, when most of our driving around will be done, then the timing is just perfect. We don't have anywhere to go this weekend, or anything to do that can't be put off a bit. Snow that starts Friday evening and continues into Saturday doesn't cancel school or make work difficult to get to. We have plenty of food at home, even if the power should go out.

So there's nothing to the snow, for us, except to enjoy it. To see it turning the barren and sharp-edged browns and greys of winter into a soft blanket of white. To play with the kids, or just watch them play. To take my camera out and see what wonders I can capture. And then to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate or tea to banish the cold.

I'm hoping for a good, relaxing weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blah Blah Blah

Nothing bad happened, but whole stacks of little irritants piled up. I ended up spending the entire afternoon yesterday in a self-indulgent case of the sulks.

And I can't even blame it on PMS, because the timing for that is completely wrong.

I wasn't sure I even wanted to go to book club last night, but I knew I had to get out of the house, so I went.

It turned out to be an excellent idea. A couple of us really liked the book, and several of us hated it. Those always lead to the best discussions. When we all feel the same about a book -- even if we really loved it -- there's not much to discuss. But with wildly diverging opinions, we all get to talk about what we did and didn't like, what drew us in and what pushed us away. We actually spent a good 2 hours talking about the book last night, which was fantastic -- we usually fall off at about half an hour.

It gave me some distance from some of my problems, or at least a short break from them, and let me regain my footing.

Today seems to have started out better. Let's hope it stays that way.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Write It

Last fall, I was trying to get into the habit of forcing myself to write at least once or twice a week. I was working through two stories (one novella, one novel) and making myself take it in order, so that I wouldn't just work on my favorite bits and leave the parts I didn't like as much to drag down the finishing process.

So instead, I got bogged down halfway through. I got to where I didn't even like what had been my favorite bits. I couldn't stand to look at any of it. So I dropped writing for a while. (This is why I'm not published, never mind professional, like I used to dream of being. I don't have nearly enough drive and commitment.)

But a couple of days ago, I pulled up the novel and started to read it. And while parts of it still drag, and some of my re-writes had sucked life out rather than building it up, overall the story managed to pull me in and keep me going. It actually got better when I got past the parts I'd rewritten, and into the bits that were only half-finished. I think I need to consider a big reorganization of that one. I need to cut out the parts that bored me -- if I, the author, can't even stay interested, what hope have I of snaring the reader? -- and focus on the parts that fascinated me. And even if it makes things a little more confusing, I think the cool gimmick bits might need to go. They're acting more like speed bumps than acceleration lanes.

And then yesterday I pulled out the novella. I approached it with a sense of something like dread -- almost like opening your high school yearbook and cringing in anticipation of being faced with something you used to think was incredibly cool, but now find completely horrible. But much to my surprise, it was imminently readable. There's one scene missing altogether, and another half-scene that I need to rewrite (I had an idea to improve it, and jotted notes, but never got around to doing it), and there's a couple of places where I need to make some changes to get my characters to act their ages (especially the one who's meant to be in his mid-20s but acts like he's 16)... but overall, I liked it. I felt their frustrations, I enjoyed their triumphs. I'd read it again, I think, even in this unpolished state.

(Actually, I need to beware the "polished" state. I've noticed a tendency in my editing to rework sentences so that they flow so smoothly, they're almost unnoticeable. Which is great with the day-job, where the point is to convey clear and bloodless information. But not so good with fiction, which needs to be gritty and visceral in order to make an impact.)

Anyway, I hope the fact that I got sucked into my own writing is a sign that I'm ready to start working on it again. I've missed it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


It looks like it's going to be a travel-icious year for us.

I'm planning a short trip by myself in February to celebrate having lost 100 pounds.

We're going to take a family trip in April while Penny's on spring break to Atlanta, to visit my grandmother (and so Matt and Alex can enjoy some of the tourist things Penny and I did back in November, or maybe some new things for all of us).

Then in July we'll go out to Chicago for probably about a week, for Matt's friend Jason's wedding and to visit Matt's family out there.

And I found out this morning that my cousin David is getting married at the end of August, so I'll be going back to Atlanta for that, I expect (though I don't know if that will be the whole family, or just me, or me and Penny, or what).

And that doesn't even include the possibility of travel for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or anything else that might pop up in the meantime.

Okay, maybe for most people this doesn't sound like a lot of travel, but for us, it's a pretty packed schedule. Especially with the kids in tow. Having the kids along always complicates things -- I admit to being slightly nervous about traveling with Alex right now, anyway: he still sleeps in a crib at home, but we won't have a crib to put him in, most of the places we're going. Do we lug along the old pack-and-play and hope he'll sleep in it, or put him on an air mattress on the floor?

Ah, well, at least we don't have to juggle bottles and formula for him anymore. And Penny got her very own suitcase (in pink!) for Christmas, so she's all set to be a seasoned traveler.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Seriously? That's It?

What the hell happened to the weekend? It was right here, and now it's gone!

Saturday was pretty good. I finally got to the bank to cash some checks and rearrange my direct deposit distribution, and I read my book for book club, and then we went to La Tolteca for lunch. Chicken fajitas, yum! We made a run down to Sam's Club in the afternoon for various things. And while we were right there, I stopped at Michael's Crafts to pick up candy molds. I spent the evening scrapbooking, and got almost through the end of September for my 2009 album, which means it's time to order pictures for October, November, and December.

Sunday morning, Vicki tweeted that she had no motivation to get out of bed, so I invited her over for lunch to provide motivation (and also because I was in the mood for company). Naturally, right after she'd accepted, a friend of Matt's called to say they were going to be in town and did we want to meet them in CW?

We tossed around options, and then Matt took the kids off to meet up with his friend (and his friend's wife and kids) and I stayed home and chatted with Vicki and made candy. And then when Matt and the kids got home, Penny helped me make more candy. That turned out really well -- and diet-friendly; only 2 points per batch! And pretty, too.

After Vicki left, I made dinner (lemon chicken with potatoes and tomatoes -- makes an incredible amount of food, and I wish I could make it more often, except that it takes a good hour or so in the oven, so it has to wait for weekends to make) and we got the kids bathed and PJed and booked and into bed.

I spent the evening putting together a picture order for my scrapbooking, and realizing just how busy our last quarter of '09 was, what with Hallowe'en, three birthdays, Penny's and my trip to Atlanta, and various Christmas festivities. Guess I'll have to really knuckle under to get anything like close to caught up!

And now, suddenly, it's Monday. Monday morning. A rainy Monday morning. And all I want to do is go home and crawl back into bed.

On the other hand, on the way to school this morning, Penny was pretending to be Raven from Teen Titans, she was chanting, "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" (though she pronounces Metrion like Mintrion, driving both Matt and I slightly bonkers). And after about the third time, she said, "Azarath!" and Alex piped in, "Mess! Dindos!" and he proceeded to recite the chant along with her all the way to daycare, despite her trying to tell him, "No, Alex, you're Beast Boy!" Which cracked me up, so there are worse ways to begin a week, I guess.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quiet Weekend

At least, I can only hope it will be a quiet weekend. There's nothing on the calendar, at least.

I need to read my book for book club. (I bought it weeks ago, and still haven't so much as cracked the cover.)

Other things I have on my "Might-Do" list for this weekend, in addition to the usual "Must-Do" chores:
  • Round up a box of books to take to the used bookstore.
  • Round up a box or two of old clothes and other crap to donate to the thrift store.
  • Go down to Sam's Club and pick up some household essentials we're running low on, like diapers and wipes and chicken broth and Splenda. And maybe some fruit. I've been eating egregious amounts of fruit lately.
  • Go to Target and pick up supplies/invitations for the Valentine's Day party I told Penny she could have.
  • Go to the dollar store and pick up valentines for Penny and Alex to take to school. (With candy or stickers or something, so Penny can be one of the cool kids.)
  • Do research for my diet-reward trip. Assuming I can settle on a destination.
  • Let Penny pick out a recipe or two from her kiddie cookbooks and help her make them.
  • Go through my new low-calorie cookbook I got for Christmas and pick out some things to try.
Yep, looks like a pretty slow weekend, all right.

Fine with me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Filthy Lucre

I swear, money concerns is my theme for this month.

The big one is that I put the company's holiday party on my own credit card, and am having a legion of issues getting the expense report submitted. The latest: due to some accounting changes with the new year, the number I have to charge the party to isn't even in the system -- I'm supposed to wait until next week, now, to submit it... but that credit card bill arrived yesterday, to the tune of nearly $2000.

On the theme of company frustrations, my boss wangled me a raise last year, and had it back-dated a couple of months -- but I still haven't received the back pay I'm due from that. That's money I hadn't been looking for, so it's a bonus rather than a worry, but it's a little annoying to have to keep reminding HR about it.

We had a broken window replaced, which needed to be done, but man was it expensive. At least we knew that was coming. Though I still haven't gotten around to calling and telling them they screwed up the blinds. Should do that...

The YMCA changed their prices this year. It wasn't a large amount, but I lost the paper where they told me how much it was, and thanks to MLK Day, they delayed actually taking my money, so I was going crazy trying to remember to re-check my account so I could write it in my check register. (I hate, hate, HATE automatic deductions! But the Y doesn't offer any other options.)

KT told me the other day about an online sale on jeans so I ordered a couple. The email receipt came back with the sale price, but I received the shipping notification this morning and it... did not. I checked my credit card balance online to be sure, and... yep. They charged me the full price. I have every expectation that their customer service department will straighten it out eventually, but it's a hassle I don't need. For pants I'm not even certain will fit.

And sometime in the next week, my W-2s will come through, and Matt's, and I'll have to brace for doing the taxes. Joy.

Sometimes, I really hate money.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I went to bed at 9:30 last night. I just couldn't keep my eyes open. I woke up briefly around midnight, when Matt came to bed, but otherwise slept soundly straight through to this morning.

One day, I imagine I'll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to attack the day with vim and vigor... but that day was not today. I still want to crawl back into bed and go back to sleep for another couple of hours. Or days.

Penny asked me yesterday on the way to Alex's daycare if we could throw a Valentine's Day party and invite all our friends. I asked her who she wants to invite, and she said, "Jess and Ray. And you and Dad can invite your friends! And we could have some food. Some healthy snacks, and some treats! And! And Mom, do you know what kind of treats we should have?"

"What kind?"

"I'm going to spell it, so Alex doesn't get all crazy," she said. "C-U-P-C-A-K-E-S! With S-P-R-I-N-C-U-L-S!" (I was pretty impressed that she managed to spell that well, out loud. Especially once Alex decided it was a game of some sort and started shouting letters, too.)

"That sounds tasty," I agreed.

"And we can play games!" and she launched into a description that sounded a lot like how she plays with her friends anyway.

I think she's hoping for a big event, like our Christmas party, and I don't think I'm quite up to that on three weeks' notice. But I'm not averse to inviting Jess and Ray and maybe a few friends from school over for a Valentine's party. It could be cute.

(And when the kids have driven me crazy and I'm wondering why the hell I agreed to do this... You guys know I'd rather not be reminded, right?)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I took Matt's place at his usual weekly Rock Band night last night. I'd been planning on doing it anyway (the plan, as I originally conceived it, was for me to swap in for Rock Band on the weeks after Matt's been to his D&D game, which has the dual benefit of giving me a chance at some social fun while letting Matt catch up on peace and quiet and even the possibility of sleep). But as it turned out, Matt had to work last night, so he wouldn't have been able to go anyway.

Elizabeth got sucked into the black hole of work along with Matt, so it was just me and Braz and Vicki, but we had a great time. We played Rock Band 2 and Beatles Rock Band. Between them, Braz and Vicki killed... well, a lot of beer. And I downed most of a 2-liter of Diet Coke -- and I haven't had caffeine on anything like a regular basis for the better part of the last three years (pretty much since Matt and I decided we were ready to have a second child) so I was pretty high, myself.

So I played drums and I sang. And I sang some more, and played drums, and sang, and sang. And ate junk food. And sang. Ate some healthy food, and drank more Diet Coke. We called each other names, and told some crazy stories, and Braz checked his work emails and we sent psychic sympathy to Matt and Elizabeth for the crap workstuff. We tried to figure out how to get Braz and Vicki and Matt and I all in the same room at the same time (because I have experienced Matt-and-Braz, and I have experienced Braz-and-Vicki, but the three of them together has some kind of exponential effect) but it was pointed out that any such gathering would most likely also have children present, which would act as a damper. (Well, maybe we can all go out for lunch sometime. It wouldn't be as awesome as playing Rock Band, though.)

I guess I got to Braz's place around 8:30, and I finally left sometime after midnight. And the only reason I was able to peel myself away was because my throat was getting sore from all the singing.

It's still a little sore today. And I'm a little tired, because it's been a long time since I was up past midnight. But at least Penny didn't wake me up at 3:45, and it was only a little harder than usual to roll out of bed this morning while Matt was still sleeping and go fire up the Wii Fit.

It is, however, possibly a good thing that it's going to be a fairly slow day at work.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a weird little holiday. Sort of a toss-up whether it warrants a day off or not. The schools are closed -- and the daycare, too. Matt has the day off. Which is lucky, because I... do not. As evidenced by the fact that I'm writing a journal entry, I suppose.

We had a busy weekend. Matt ended up having to work most of the day Saturday, which put a big hole in our original plan to go to MarsCon. We were going to take Penny, but take turns with it, so that we both got a turn at the Con relatively unencumbered, while the other parent stayed home with Alex.

Without him... Well, the author for one of my favorite webcomics was going to be there, and I really wanted to go, so I decided I'd risk taking both kids. That worked out about as well as could be expected. We got there, and paid registration for a day pass, and wandered around for all of about 45 minutes before I had to take them home so they could have lunch and Alex could have a nap. Then we went back, and we managed to hang out for an hour and a half or so this time. Thanks mostly to spending an hour in the henna cookie workshop. (Which is to say, a kids' craft workshop to practice making henna-style designs, using chocolate frosting on hand-shaped cookies. Which was actually pretty cool, I have to say.)

In the Dealer's room, Penny begged for a little toy dragon, which I bought for her. And I also got Alex a teddy bear with dragon's wings that he'd fallen in love with while Penny was dithering over her choice. But there really isn't that much for kids to do at a Con -- especially kids as young as Alex, and without another parent around to watch him, I couldn't take Penny in search of the particular things that might have caught her interest (anime/movie rooms, various crafts panels, etc.) So once they got bored, we gave up and went home. And I never did find the guy I'd wanted to meet. Oh, well. Maybe he'll come back next year.

Still... Con day pass registration: $25. Stuffed toys: $35. Exposing your children to concentrated nerd culture (even if only for a couple of hours): Priceless.

Matt came home just as we were sitting down to dinner, and sat with us for ten minutes or so before heading back out to his monthly(ish) D&D game.

Sunday, Matt slept in, then watched the kids while I escaped to the grocery store. We had a fairly normal morning and early afternoon, then we headed down to my parents'. They're still planning on moving, though apparently the cost of getting their house ready to sell has hit my dad and they no longer think they're going to be doing it this year. But they're still cleaning stuff out. Mom made me go through all the crap she used to keep in her foyer closet, and sent me home with a bunch of candles and candleholders, a lot of clothes that she can't wear anymore, and a promise that when they do move, I'm getting her china and her silver. Which means sometime I need to clean out my china cabinet, to make room for it.

We also talked about the house itself. I think my parents would really much rather we bought the house than they have to go through putting it on the market -- which I can't blame them for. To be honest, Matt and I were tempted, but eventually had decided that the cons outweighed the pros. But if they're going to wait a few more years, then the balance might tip back the other way, because one of our big cons is the dearth of daycare facilities that will accept the responsibility of diabetic care -- but in another four years or so, Alex will be out of daycare, and Penny will be almost too old to go anyway, and she should be much more self-sufficient, with regard to her medical care. And there would be some big pluses to moving to that house, including lots more space.

Well, we'll see where we are when they do finally decide to move.

After the kids had played for a while, we all packed up and went out to the Samurai for dinner to celebrate Dad's birthday. We hadn't been there for a couple of years, so it was brand-new to both kids. Alex was mildly freaked out by huge gouts of flame, but not badly -- he would startle and clutch at me, but every time, I'd say, "It's okay, Mommy's right here. Isn't it pretty?" and he would enthusiastically nod his head. He did a lot better than I'd expected, staying in his seat without a fuss until nearly the end of the meal.

I'd eaten Alex's soup and salad in addition to my own, and most of his vegetables, so I left more than half my rice on my plate because I was so full that if I ate any more I was going to feel ill. That counts as good diet strategy, right?

It was loads of fun, anyway, even with trying to keep Alex entertained, so I'm hoping we get to go back sometime soon.

All in all, a very good, if somewhat tiring, weekend.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Well, that was fun.

The handyman service I'd hired to replace our cracked bedroom window called Tuesday to say the window was in and could they replace it Wednesday morning? They told me it would take 4-6 hours, so I arranged to work from home Wednesday, which was easy because we're pretty slow at the office this week.

Naturally, taking the old window out let a lot of very cold air in the house, so I spent most of the morning with blue fingernails. But they finished the job in closer to four hours than six, and for a little less than their original estimate, so I guess it's a win. Though it was still way more expensive than I'd originally expected, when I asked them to give me an estimate for the job. Holy crap, but windows are expensive. (Also, they screwed up the blinds when they put them back up. I need to remember to call them today and tell them to come fix it.)

Anyway, I paid the crew and then went to the gym and the grocery store, and I was just getting home and checking my emails when Matt called to tell me that Alex had thrown up at daycare. Twice. In his sleep. So he was bringing the kid home. We worried briefly over various symptoms, and decided we'd wait until Thursday morning to decide if he needed a doctor. So I sent an email to work to let them know I'd be home again on Thursday and, with the kid in tow, I'd be lucky to clock half a day's worth of work, but that I'd at least check emails during his nap so I could review the day's documents.

Alex threw up twice more Wednesday evening, but woke up bright and early and chipper on Thursday. Whatever hit him seemed to have passed. Which was good news (because I really wasn't looking forward to cleaning any more upchuck, even if it was mostly apple juice and water) and also bad news, because he was not content to just sit on the couch and watch TV and let me work, or do much of anything else.

I wound up taking him to Target around mid-morning and letting him run around for the better part of an hour, just to get him out of the house. He was pretty good -- he would pick things up, but put them back when I asked him to. Even toys, he hugged and kissed and said "bye-bye!" before handing them to me to put back on the shelf. (Note to self: seriously, go back and snag a couple of those dollar plushies to save for Valentine's Day.) I managed to lure him into the clothing section long enough to pick up a couple of clearance-rack items for me (and a new pair of gym pants, which were not on clearance, but sorely needed) but mostly we just wandered around, looking at things and playing peek-a-boo-I-see-you around support pillars. It was kind of fun, actually.

Matt came home in the afternoon, but he had more work to do than I did, so I kept being the go-to parent. Just to try to burn off a little of Alex's energy (and give Matt some peace and quiet for half an hour) I took Alex with me to pick Penny up from school. He walked the entire half-mile (ish) from our house to the school (except that I carried him across the busiest road) and somewhere between a third and a half of the distance back home, once we'd collected Penny. It didn't even take the edge off his energy, though. Silly Mommy.

Back home, I juggled the kids, reading to Alex and helping Penny proofread her very first report for school, on wolves. (Consider "report" to be in fingerquotes. It was five sentences, four of which answered very specific questions asked by the instructions. But I guess they've got to start somewhere.) Also, I made dinner and ran to the store for an ingredient that I hadn't realized we were out of. (I sat in the store parking lot in the quiet car and pondered just staying there long enough to take a little nap, if I must tell the truth.)

Since Alex was in fine form all day yesterday, he's back to school today, and I'm back in the office. Thank goodness. This is much more restful.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Yeah, I promised I wouldn't talk too much about the diet over here, but I just hit a really enormous milestone, so I feel like crowing about it.

Officially, as of this morning's weigh-in, I've lost 100 pounds. That's since I started this diet in October '08 about 15 months ago. Which is not the heaviest I've ever been. I'm probably a good 120 pounds lighter than I was, say, about seven years ago.

But there we are. 100 pounds. One hundred pounds. One. Hundred. Pounds.

There are comparison pictures in the celebratory post for the diet blog.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some links to Facebook and Twitter of the pictures from our New Year's party for 2000. Matt clicked on the link and looked at the pictures, just to see what we were all up to, ten years ago. "Wow," he said. "You're probably not going to believe me, but at the time, I really didn't think of you as being heavy or fat at all, but looking at these now... wow. What a difference."

I still haven't decided what I'm doing to reward myself for this milestone (set of milestones, actually, as I've also finally officially left the "obese" BMI category and am now merely "overweight"). If you have any ideas, by all means let me know. But it starts right here, with me shouting it from the rooftops, or at least the blogtops:


Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Apparently, it's going to be a slow day.

I was slow to get out of bed this morning. So was Penny.

Penny ate her breakfast slow, and then got ready for school slow.

I got stuck behind a ridiculous number of slow drivers.

My heater is being slow to heat up my office.


Wish I could have just stayed in bed, where at least slow could have been put to good use.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quiet and Calm

It was a quiet, calm weekend, which was just what I needed, I think.

We took the kids out a couple of times, mostly just to stave off cabin fever. We went out to lunch on Saturday to Penny's current favorite restaurant, Wasabi, where Matt and I confirmed that while we're getting pretty good at estimating carbs in small portions -- a serving of rice, a piece of sushi -- we're still pretty bad at eyeballing a whole plate. Where in the past we've guessed her plates of buffet food at 60-70g of carbs, this time we estimated carbs for each small item and added it all up on the placemat, and came up closer to 90. And lo and behold! her sugars were in-range when we checked later before snacktime. It's good to know, and now we don't have to scratch Chinese buffet off our list of potential restaurants for causing inexplicable blood sugar highs.

Sunday was the grocery store as usual in the morning, and then after lunch, while Alex was napping, I took Penny to Target, ostensibly to buy her some new shoelaces. But while we were there, she also spent half an hour poring over toys so she could spend all her remaining birthday and Christmas money that's been burning a hole in her pocket. (She was so funny, vibrating with indecision when it came down to the very last choice to make, but refusing all suggestions that she could, you know, walk away without spending the money.) And since they'd put all their winter clothes on clearance and I'd just been bemoaning the fact that I could use another couple of turtlenecks, I scoured the racks until I found a couple that will help keep me warm for the next two or three months.

Back to school, back to work today, as Penny says. This week should be pretty slow and uneventful, too. This is my heavy meeting week (I have a few meetings that are every-other-week, and they happen to all be on the same weeks) but there aren't too many documents on the schedule, so it should work out. Which on one hand is nice (it's good to be able to relax a little) but on the other hand is frustrating (because when I don't have work to do, I'm more likely to get snacky and sabotage the diet). Oh, well, at least I shouldn't have any problems digging up the time needed to hit the gym!

Friday, January 8, 2010

White Stuff

We had some snow last night. Not a lot -- less than an inch, really. But it's very wet, so it's sticking to all the trees and plant life and generally making everything on the sides of the roads look like clips from a Christmas card -- while leaving the roads themselves mostly clear. My favorite kind of snow, really.

Our school district woke us up at 5:30 with an automated phone call to let us know that there would be a 2-hour delay. I blearily peered out the window, noted that the roads seemed clear, and decided we'd stick to the usual schedule but that Penny would come with me to work until it was time for her to go to school.

She and Alex were both pretty happy about the snow, of course. Penny threw snowballs at me and my car, so of course Alex did the same thing, which was actually sort of cute.

Traffic wasn't even too bad, so now I'm at work with Penny, getting ready to review a bunch of documents while she makes up a math worksheet for herself. Around 10, I figure I'll change for the gym, take her to school, then go do my workout before I come back to work.

It's looking like a cold but quiet weekend. We'll have to figure out something to do with the kids. See you on the other side!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Impossible and Inexorable

I'm pretty sure, though I don't have a clear recollection, that when Penny was a baby, the idea of her being in kindergarten and first grade seemed impossibly far away. Certainly, now that she's in first grade, it seems like only yesterday that she was a tiny baby in my arms.

This morning, for no real reason other than giving myself something to think about other than whatever "animal family" game Penny was playing in the back seat on the drive up to Alex's daycare, I was figuring out when Alex would start kindergarten. Turns out he'll be old enough for kindergarten in the '13-'14 school year (because a December birthday guarantees he won't start school until the year he turns 6).

It's '10 now, but that seems kind of unnecessarily far away. (Especially when I think about how much we'll be paying daycare every week between now and then.)

(It also occurred to me that we will have the most relaxed morning schedule we'll ever have, that year, since Alex and Penny will both be going to school at the same time. We'll be able to lounge around the house until after 8! The next year, Penny starts middle school, which means we'll be back to having to leave the house by 7:30. Though I might make her ride the bus. We'll see. It's a Long Way Off.)

And then, just for giggles, I thought I'd work out when Penny will graduate high school. Turns out that Penny is the Class of '21. 2021. Penny will finish high school just before my 50th birthday.

And Alex won't graduate until '26. That seems impossibly far into the future -- and it doesn't even get the boy through college.  (Though Penny should have finished her undergrad work by that point, at least. An advantage to having them almost five years apart.)

And yet -- fifteen and even twenty years into my past doesn't seem that long ago, now. Time marches on, and while I'm applauding Alex's graduation, I expect I'll remember the little boy in footie pajamas kneeling on my lap to play letters and numbers games on my computer with startling clarity, and wonder where all that time went.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I hate meetings. So, naturally, I have to go to a lot of them. Oh, there are plenty of people who can beat my meeting schedule, but it's far more than I'm interested in attending. I used to have two meetings a week, and it made me crazy.

Now I average two meetings a day (some days more, some days less) and I can look back on those balmy days and chuckle at myself.

The worst of it isn't even that I have meetings. The worst of it is the way they're timed. I usually try to go to the gym around lunchtime -- ideally leaving around 11:30 and getting back to the office at 1, but anytime between 11 and 2 would be fine. But that's when all my meetings are bunched up. For some reason, there seems to be this popular perception that just before and just after lunch is a great time to have meetings -- which means that I've got days where my meetings end at 12:30 and start back up at 1. Or worse, end at 11:30 and start back up at 1, which makes it tempting to believe I might be able to run to the gym, but is such a tight fit that I can't know for certain (since a lot of these meetings have a distressing tendency to run long).

I swear, I'd rather have a 9:00 meeting, or even a 4:00 meeting.

I spent most of an hour yesterday fiddling with my schedule and trying to figure out how to rearrange things so I can fit in my three workouts each week, and my allergy shots (which have to be done at some time of day other than lunchtime, at least), and have the bare possibility of occasionally meeting Matt for lunch (per my resolution for the year -- but which has to be juggled around his meeting schedule, as well).

I think I finally managed it, but just about any interference -- irregular meetings, major deliveries, or school holidays -- are going to disrupt things and bump one or more of my gym sessions to the evening.

I'm trying to figure out if this will get easier or harder to manage as the kids get older. Then again, I'm having enough trouble figuring out the now -- maybe I should avoid thinking about the future until it gets here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year

I didn't write a blog entry yesterday because I'm a slack wench. Also, because I'm mentally wired to write these things first thing after I get to work -- if I don't do it then, then it's not going to get done. And when I got to work first thing yesterday, I got sucked into trying to fill out my expense report so I can be paid back for the office holiday party before the credit card bill comes due. Filling out that report took -- and I'm not exaggerating -- two and a half hours.

Anyway, we had a very nice new year weekend. I took Thursday (the 31st) off from work (mostly, except for having to log in for about an hour in the morning) and spent most of the morning taking down Christmas decorations and schlepping them over to storage. I decided to put off taking down the outdoor decorations, since it was raining and I didn't want to pack that stuff up wet.

And as long as I was packing boxes and going to the storage unit anyway, I also packed up some boxes and pulled a few more out of storage that were things to be donated to the local thrift store, which cleared some space out of the storage unit and the house nicely.

Then I met Matt and Vicki for lunch at Ichiban, which was fun, and after they went back to work, I went and wandered around Barnes and Noble for a while. I picked up some Christmas markdown stuff for next year's stockings, and my book for book club, and almost bought a bunch of other stuff, just because it was cool and fun.

That evening, we had our New Year's Eve celebration on Greenwich time -- that is, at 7pm our time -- so the kids could participate. We blew on our noisemakers and drank sparkling grape juice from "fancy" (if plastic) champagne flutes, and I later tweeted about kissing cute boys.

New Year's Day, Friday, was fairly quiet. Mostly, Penny and I devoted it to cooking -- we made mint candies and cheese straws. Penny had a blast shaping her cheese straws into shapes, once she got the hang of how thin to roll the dough.

Saturday, we trooped down to Newport News to have lunch with Chuck and Anita and their daughter, Heidi. We were a little worried about Alex, since lunch carried straight over his usual naptime, but since he had a new place to explore and new toys to play with and people who paid him lots of attention whenever he wanted, he did just fine. Heidi and Penny got along like gangbusters, and eventually they settled into watching The Polar Express, which left the adults mostly free to chat -- everybody wins!

After we got home and put Alex down to collapse into exhausted slumber, Matt took Penny off to the Jumping Joey's to run around and get some exercise. It wasn't as much fun as she was hoping, I think, without a friend along, but she recognized another kid from school (albeit a 4th grader) and apparently badgered her into playing with her for a while.

And finally on Sunday, I took down the last of the Christmas decorations and put them away in storage, and then after Alex's nap we went down to my parents' to have a New Year's dinner with my family. That was nice, too -- very low-key; the perfect way to wrap up the holiday season, I think.

Now, of course, it's time to get back to work, back on the diet, and back into the usual rhythm of things.