Friday, April 30, 2010

Scrambled Brains

It's looking like today is going to be a crazy runaround day. At least for a while.

I've got a risk review for the Beast project from 10-11, and then a meeting to go over comments from the proposal review committee. Neither of those meetings are the kind where I'll be able to zone out and only pay attention with half my head -- I'm the leader/moderator for the risk meeting, and I've been asked to be the typist for the proposal one.

And on top of that, the proposal meeting is guaranteed to run straight through the time I usually go to the gym. Oh, well, it's been quite a while since I've had to go to the gym in the evening. Guess it was about due.

Right, well, busy as my day is looking, I guess I'd better get on with it. Sorry this is short. Talk amongst yourselves or something, right?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Location Location Location

I went to Book Club last night, and we had a nice time. We didn't want to talk about the book much, so we spent most of the meeting talking about our kids, which is what usually happens.

Somewhere in there, someone mentioned that the Jumping Joey where Penny's had her last three birthday parties is closing next month.

Well... crap. She'd already settled on having yet another birthday there, of course. I broke the news to her this morning, and tried to be upbeat. "We'll figure out someplace else for your party, okay? We could go bowling, or to the Virginia Living Museum -- you really enjoyed Heidi's party there last year, right?"

"How about our house?"

"No, I'd really rather go somewhere, hon. Parties at our house are a lot of work for me and Daddy."

Sulk. "But it's my birthday, and I get to be the queen! And I want our house!"

"Sweetie, our house just isn't big enough to have more than one or two friends over at a time."

"...I guess, Rachael and Jess."

Oh, good lord. She'd rather cut down her guest list than go somewhere else? Crap. "But don't you want to invite Ray? And Gillian?"

"Well, but I don't see Jess that often! I want to catch up with her"

"Honey, that's great, but if we had the party somewhere else, you could invite all your friends!"

She's still not convinced. So I've got about three months to talk her into an alternate location for her party. Joy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Late post this morning -- after I dropped the kids off at school, I came back home long enough to make some coffee and eat a cup of yogurt, and then I went back out to a doctor's appointment. Specifically, it was an ultrasound of my thyroid, so my doctor can be reassured that the bump he felt in my neck is really just a cyst and not an alien tracking/homing device.

That went more quickly and smoothly than I had expected, and I was walking out the door a mere 30 minutes after I'd walked in. Which means I should have time to hit the gym today, after all, whoo!

I'm working from home today, which is usually very peaceful and restful and productive, but it because of the proposal, it might have been better if I was working at work instead. Oh, well; we'll see how things go. If I'm really shockingly unproductive this morning, I might pack up and go back into the office after the gym and lunch. (The afternoons are less productive at home, anyway, because Penny gets home from school around 3:30 anyway.)

We had an interesting conversation in the car this morning, though, after we'd dropped Alex off. It started with Penny asking me when she might be allowed to eat the school lunches again. We'd tried her on them at the beginning of the school year, but they're so carb-heavy, they were making a huge mess of her afternoon and evening sugars, and after the first week, we gave up and switched her to a packed lunch. I tried to explain this to her, and I said, "Maybe if you were to go on a pump, we could try the school lunches again."

"But I'm never going to want the pump!" she protested.

"Oh. Well, sorry," I said.

Penny was quiet for a moment, then she asked, "Does it hurt?"

"The one I wore didn't hurt at all. It mostly just felt like a sticker on my skin."

"A sticker? That's it?"

"Well, there's a little bit of plastic that goes under your skin, but that didn't hurt when the nurse put it in. After that, all I could feel was the sticker that goes on top to keep it there. I don't think it would hurt any more than the shots you're already getting, anyway. And you'd only have to do that every two or three days, instead of having five shots every day. Wouldn't that be nice?"

"Yeah... Why not four days?"

"Well, after a while, your skin gets tired, and it needs to be moved."

"Where did you move yours?"

"Oh, I just had the one. I wanted to see what it felt like. But I just got the part that goes on your skin, not the whole pump. So when my three days were up, it was done. I pulled it out and threw it away, and I didn't have another one to put on. It was just a test one."

"Oh. Was there blood?"

"No, no blood."

"Oh. Huh." She thought about it for a little while. "What if I wanted to do a test one?"

"We can certainly talk to Dr. G about letting you test it, if you want, sweetie. Do you want to?"

"I don't know."

"Well, there's no rush. You think about it, and if you decide you want to try it, I can make the appointment for us to go look again. Or you can talk to Dr. G about it at your next appointment with him, okay?"

"But my next appointment with him is in August!"

"Well, yes. But like I said, there's no hurry. If you want to do it before then, I'll call. You just let me know what you want to do."

"I don't know!"

"I know, honey. You think about it, okay? ...You know what? Remember that girl, Amy, who said she might be able to babysit? She had a pump. Maybe we'll ask her to come over sometime and help us out, and while she's here, you can ask her about it."

"Yeah, that's a good idea. She was really nice. You should call her."


So. I don't know how serious Penny is about this move toward the pump, but apparently our chat cleared up some misconceptions she'd somehow come up with. That's a start. I hope I managed to project the right level of encouragement and support without getting pushy or trying to take away her sense of power over the decision. As good as a pump would be in the long run, I think she's got to fully commit to making that switch on her own, or it'll just be a waste of time and money for us.

But I'm hopeful.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Full On Edit

I think the reason I've been struggling to write blog entries -- or anything else -- this last week or so is that I'm in full-on edit mode at work. I'm working a proposal, which for me means that I'm pulling together write-ups of old projects and rearranging them to highlight their similarities to the job we're trying to get, and I'm getting the resumes we're submitting and doing the same thing, and I'm getting all this stuff buffed and polished with regards to formatting, and then I'm reading through the main parts of the proposal (which have been written, mostly, by writers ranging from horrible to adequate) and fixing typos and grammar and spelling and rewording things that are awkward and generally... editing.

Mind you, I'm good at this. The grammar and spelling and formatting can be done by any half-competent high school graduate (though having interviewed for our last three tech writer openings, those aren't as numerous as you might believe) but the rewriting and smoothing and rearranging and highlighting? That's my shining star, and I'm glad my office's managers understand that and let me do what I do.

But it's very much a left-brain effort -- manipulative rather than creative -- and I'm not very good at switching gears. So when it's time to do something creative, like writing from scratch... I'm floundering a lot. I've got stories that I want to write that just refuse to come out. I load up this blog every morning and can't come up with even a single anecdote.

As an aside:  I've seen several comic characters who use writing to access their powers -- Promethea springs to mind, as do Kevin Thorn and the Literals from Fables, and (arguably) any number of Sandman threads. But I'd love to see a comic duo of the Writer and the Editor, neither of whom can properly function on their own: the Writer generates the power, but needs the Editor to shape and direct it. The Writer's icon would be a quill, and the Editor's would be a red pen. There: since I don't write comics, an idea free for the taking to anyone who does.

Yeah, I amuse myself.

On the plus side, editing mode is perfect for scrapbooking. You might think scrapbooking would be a creative effort, and it can be, but largely, it's rearranging and highlighting and smoothing and editing: what's the best way to crop these pictures, and the best way to arrange them on the page? I can get creative with paper shapes and decorations when I'm in the mood to do that, but when I'm not, a simple strip or two on the side or top of the page suffices to accent the pictures without making me dig for true creativity.

So last night, when Matt was out and by all rights I should have been taking advantage of the quiet to write, I scrapbooked instead. I managed to finish up last year's scrapbook, finally. Now I need to think about this year's -- specifically, whether my falling so far behind on last year's is indicative that I'm trying too much and need to do something of less impressive scale (e.g., a single 2-page spread for each month, leaving most of my pictures for flickr) or if I just need to buckle down and commit more time to my scrapbooking projects. I don't know; I'm still thinking about it.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I'm feeling a little weird and off-kilter this morning.

It was a good enough weekend, I guess. Alex pretty much flat refused to nap on Saturday -- I'd blame it on the Dr. Pepper I let him drink while we were waiting for Matt and Penny to come out of Penny's swimming lesson, but I really don't see four sips of soda hitting him hard enough to push off his nap for four hours. Eventually, Matt took him for a drive, and he ended up getting a half-hour nap in the car, but that was about it.

My sleep was weird all weekend, too, but I can't put my finger on it. I went to bed around the usual times, I got up around the usual times, but... I don't know. I had a bunch of weird dreams this morning -- I was hunting bad guys with the Teen Titans, for petesake -- and I'm fairly sure that at least one point, Matt was snuggling me in an effort to get me to stop snoring.

But the weather was better than expected -- cloudy but not rainy, and warm. We watched Sky High with Penny, and I think some of it was a little too fast or over her head -- she kept asking me to pause the movie so she could ask questions, until Matt got irritated enough to tell her to stop it and wait until the end, and she was still asking questions and trying to figure it out the next day. But overall she seemed to enjoy it, so we may actually be able to ease her into a few live-action movies, now. And honestly, I'm glad she was asking questions: it shows me that she was actually thinking about what was going on and trying to follow the action instead of just mindlessly watching; and it also gave me a sense of what she did and didn't understand, and what she picked up and what was a little too subtle for her. These are good things to know. (For myself, I didn't like the movie quite as much as I'd hoped to, but it was cute.)

She spent most of the weekend playing with Ray. Between them, they wrecked both houses (we actually had to make Ray come back over to our house after dinner last night to finish cleaning up) and they sprayed each other with the hose while washing Ray's mom's car, and generally had a fantastic time being kids and doing the things that kids do. I always like watching Penny and Ray together.

Had a less-than-optimal drop-off for Alex this morning: they've moved the baby/toddler room, so Alex couldn't find Ms. Gwen at first, and then when he did find her, she didn't have any crackers to give him, so when I finally got him back to the 2-year-old classroom, he broke down not only in tears but screaming and I had to pry him off my arms to walk out of the room. I hate those days. Hate them. I should start carrying an extra package of crackers or something in my car, just in case.

And Mondays are always a little messed up, schedule-wise, anyway. I've got oddly-stacked meetings that make my trip to the gym awkward, and I never can seem to get anything done.

And all I really want to do is go back to sleep and see if I can't manage something a little more restful, this time around.

Guess it's time for some coffee.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Every Year

I do this to myself every year, it seems. I expect it to get warm faster than it does.

I remember deciding to take a swimming class to fulfill one of my PhysEd requirements in college, and then thinking that if I took it in the spring semester, I'd spend less time running around wet and cold. Which was really stupid of me. All of September and half of October are plenty warm for swimming, with occasional warm spurts well into November. But though warm days start in March, you can't really count on it being warm here until May.

And it's only gotten worse over the years. Something in my body chemistry shifted while I was pregnant with Penny, and after she was born, I couldn't stand it being cooler than about 72, where before I was fine down to 65 or so. And now that I've shed a hundred pounds of insulating fat, I'm really most comfortable at around 75 or 76, unless I've just finished a workout.

We had a warm spurt a couple of weeks ago, and I settled into it, so now I've spent half of April whining about how cold it is.

It's got its bonuses, though. I discovered last summer that I was fairly comfortable in temperatures all the way up to 90 or so, where before I started sweating and muttering under my breath and looking for air conditioning as soon as we hit 80. Who knows? Maybe my ranking of the seasons will change.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I said something yesterday on the diet blog about increasing my veggie intake. A bit later, Matt emailed me with a link to Dominion Harvest, a local CSA. Our friend Vicki found them a while back, and I'd given some thought to signing up, but hadn't gotten around to asking for the link.

Since Matt had the link ready to hand, and I've been thinking about trying this out since I first heard about CSAs a few years ago, I decided to sign us up. CSA, if you didn't feel like following the link above and haven't heard of it before, stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and is basically a buy-in to one or more local farms. Typically, you pay a set fee, and then you get a share of whatever happens to be producing at the time.

I'm hoping this will be a great opportunity for us to help support our community and to be exposed to produce (some of it possibly even new for us!) when it's perfectly in-season and therefore tasting its best. The website says they do deliveries sometime in the Wed-Fri timeframe, which makes it perfect for my menu planning (which I usually do on Thursdays or Fridays) -- I'll know what we've received and be able to incorporate things into my plans.

Of course, it's possible that we'll just end up with a lot of food turning fuzzy and brown in the bottom of the fridge every couple of weeks, so to start, I signed us up for the standard produce box every two weeks. If it works out great and we're eating the veggies and fruits and loving it, we might consider upping it to weekly. I don't see us ramping up to one of the eggs/cheese/bread/meat boxes, because we really don't eat as much of those things. (Or more precisely, we mostly eat diet-friendly versions of those things, like low-fat cheese and low-carb bread.) But if they show up in the "add-ons" section, I might consider throwing them in from time to time.

I'm kind of weirdly excited about this, and looking forward to deliveries starting in May.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's On!

So KT and I are going to have a writing weekend at the end of May. Memorial Day weekend, in fact, which is helpful because it gives us the Monday holiday to catch up on stuff we usually do on the weekends.

Just yesterday, she got permission for us to use her dad and stepmom's beach house, which is about two blocks from VA Beach, and sits right next to some outlet of the river. There is no wifi available, which is, actually, exactly what we want, since then we will not be tempted to log in "just for a minute". (I'll have my phone with me, but hopefully I'll be able to avoid that temptation.)

The times are still fuzzy, but I expect we'll head down Friday afternoon or evening (depending on how early I can get away from work) and come back Sunday afternoon. Which gives us Friday evening, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning to write. We'll plan our meals and bring our own food with us to avoid too many diet temptations (though I expect we'll eat out once, in celebration). We'll walk on the beach when we need to stretch and get some exercise. But otherwise, we'll act like reclusive shut-ins, staying in the cabin and writing. Or on the porch, I suppose, if the weather's good.

I can't even convey how excited both of us are about this. Mind you, KT and I get pretty excited any time we're going to get to spend time together -- we don't see each other nearly often enough. But we've been such good writing partners for each other in the past, we're both really hopeful that this will help both of us get into gear on our various projects.

I'd love to make it a regular thing. Maybe not the whole weekend -- maybe just one day a month or every other month where we find a space that we can work and not be interrupted or disturb anyone else, sort of like we used to do for scrapbooking events. Only quieter and not nearly as messy.

In the meantime, this is a possibly weird but absolutely perfect little mini-vacation for both of us, and we're thrilled to the point of having to suppress our squees.

We're also insanely grateful to have such awesome and supportive husbands. Just putting that out there, because way, way too many guys would balk at taking on single parent duty voluntarily.

My calendar is marked, and I'm counting down the days!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'm plodding through everything at the moment.

Plodding through work so I can get home.

Plodding through making dinner so I can eat.

Plodding through cleanup and making lunches so I can sit down and relax.

Plodding through the kids' bedtime routines so I can take my shower and get fifteen minutes to myself.

Even sometimes plodding through my evenings so I can just get to bed.

I've always been someone who endured work rather than enjoyed it, but just lately I'm spending an awful lot of my personal time enduring, as well. And I'm not sure why.

It's not every day. I felt fine yesterday. I was even feeling moderately challenged and fired up for work. But today I feel like I'm wading through mud.

It's not PMS -- hormones should have me on the upswing, this week. Is it lack of sleep? Some shift in my diet? The aftereffects of some dream I can't remember? A need for coffee? Vitamins?

Whatever it is, I need to shake it off and reacquire some enthusiasm for at least some portion of my life.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Weekend

There was a joint birthday party for KT and Kevin on Saturday. Theme was "tiny food" because KT had these tiny plates and bowls and wanted an excuse to use them. Rather than work around Alex's nap schedule, I took Penny down as soon as she was back from her swim lesson and ready to go, and then Matt and Alex followed a couple of hours later. It was a fun party. The kids had lots of fun, we sat around and talked and ate an absurd amount of tiny, adorable food off tiny, adorable plates, with tiny, adorable forks and spoons. (I took pictures of the food, but they didn't turn out very well. But Elizabeth brought these little birds' nests made with wheat pasta and grape tomatoes and mozzarella balls that she'd dolled up to look like little fat chicks that were almost too cute to eat. It was extremely squee. Alex spotted them and thought the mozzarella chicks were Peeps, and then discovered that they... were not. He made the best face ever.)

Also, KT and I made plans to escape for a couple of days, probably Memorial Day weekend, for a writing retreat. We'll be going off-grid -- no internet at all for the duration -- and doing nothing but writing, with breaks to eat and go for walks. The hope is that by being together, we've got someone to bounce ideas off of and also to keep ourselves honest, while still reducing distractions enough to let us really sink into the Zone. I'm pretty excited about it.

Sunday was Matt's and my anniversary. I got him 3 movies (Up, Zombieland, and Inglourious Basterds) and promised to watch them with him sometime. He got me 100 roses, a book, and a food processor. He admitted later to being really nervous about the food processor, because it is in fact the kind of gift that could be taken Badly, but I'd been dropping hints about it. I'd actually started dropping hints before Christmas in the hope my parents would get it for me, in fact, but I'm not remotely disappointed. (I think 100 roses manages to balance out the romance quotient, anyway.)

Our Sunday afternoon plans got a bit jostled. The original plan was: after Alex's nap, I was going to take him to a birthday party for a classmate (whose mother happens to be in my book club), and Matt was going to take Penny out to get a chore-chart reward toy, and then go to the Cube and the park. Well, Alex conked hard, and then Penny snuggled up to me on the couch and promptly fell asleep on my arm, and both of them woke up around 3:30, by which point we'd missed the birthday party and there wasn't going to be time to go to the park. So we all packed up and went to the Cube, and then went over to the Yankee Candle store so Penny could pick out a toy. We were there for a while, as Penny managed to work herself up into tears over having to choose between her two favorites. In the meantime, I talked myself into buying this neckless flamingo. (It was sort of inspired by my having failed to acquire the buffagiraffe to go with my buffalocerous and the buffalion, Many Years Ago. And now that I look at the website for these toys, I see they have also have a neckless giraffe, and it is squee.)

And now I'm back at work and wishing I wasn't, because as much fun as the weekend was, it was entirely too short.

Alex anecdote: Watching Sesame Street has given the boy quite a vocabulary for a 2-year-old. I've mentioned that, right? It's cute to prompt him to say words like "exquisite" and "metamorphosis" just to hear him try to wrap his mouth around them, but we weren't sure if he was actually absorbing the meanings of the words, or just their sounds. But last night in the bath, he ripped off a big fart. Matt, supervising the bath, said something along the lines of, "My goodness! What do we say?" To which Alex promptly responded: "Humongous!"

Friday, April 16, 2010


A couple of days ago, Neil Gaiman twittered that his short story collection Fragile Things was on sale at Amazon for only 99 cents for the Kindle edition. (It is still on sale this morning, which is why I'm including the link. No idea how long it will last, of course.)

I don't have a Kindle.

But I have an iPhone, and the Kindle app for the iPhone is free. (And why wouldn't it be? Sure, Amazon would like me to buy a Kindle -- but I'm sure they'd much rather I get their app for free and then give them money for the books. There will always be more books to sell, but 99.9% of customers are only going to have one reader device, and they're only going to replace it every few years.)

What the hell, right? So I downloaded the Kindle app, and I bought the book, and then I spent an hour poking around Amazon's Kindle Store looking for free books to download. There are lots. Most of them older books in the public domain, but some are first books of series, or excerpts from authors who want to whet your appetite. I downloaded some foreign folk tales and a couple of classic novels and a couple of what will probably be bad trashy romances (but hey, they were free!).

I'm about half-considering switching to the Kindle app the next time I have to buy books for Book Club -- they're almost never books I'd want to keep, anyway. Might as well not have the physical book cluttering up the house until I get the time to take it to the used bookstore, right? (Though being able to re-sell the physical book has obvious advantages, so I'm still pondering it.)

Certainly, I expect I'll be downloading the Kindle app for my laptop -- not because I expect to do a lot of reading on it, but just because it's got a larger hard drive, and I'm not going to want to keep my entire e-library on my phone.

I don't think I've "chosen" Kindle as my e-reader app of choice. It happens to be my first (not counting plain documents and PDFs, obviously) but only because of the serendipity of a sale. I'll probably eventually collect the other free e-reader apps as well.

(Additionally, it occurs to me just now that I had been debating with myself over which e-reader to get, if I were going to get one, and I'd put the iPad in the running with all the others... but because the iPad can have not only its own native reader app but also a Kindle app and the Nook app and assorted others as well, then the iPad kind of wins hands-down on functionality, because it's always going to have all the functionality that all its apps have. Which nudges me a little bit closer to making an iPad my next diet-goal reward. Assuming I ever get there, but that's another post for another blog.)

I'm sort of looking forward to seeing my physical book library do what our physical music library did, really: we didn't throw away any of our old CDs, but we never got them out. So we chucked the cases and packed them into binders. I don't think either of us have opened the binders for months. Years, maybe. I'll probably take them to the storage unit, the next time I do a big household purge, because right now, they're just a barrier I have to step over from time to time. We haven't stopped buying music, by any stretch of the imagination, but now we buy it online. Sometimes, someone gives us a physical CD as a gift, but that's about it for the physical growth of our music collection.

I don't see myself replacing most of my physical books with e-books (though there are a few favorites that I'll probably eventually purchase digitally), but I can certainly see myself turning toward digital versions in the future. It cuts down on clutter. It cuts down on dust. It's easier to move. And while I do enjoy the visceral sensation of holding a real book in my hands, I don't mind reading on a screen, and my phone is a hell of a lot more convenient to take with me to the gym or the doctor's office.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I frequently encounter words about how your mood is -- partly, if not entirely -- under your own control. You can choose to make the best of a situation, or you can choose to wallow in the bad stuff.

And that's true... up to a point. And when I say "up to a point," I'm not referring to the serious chemical imbalance that has as its primary symptom a profound and unmanageable depression. That is way beyond the point at which you begin to lose control over your mood.

No, I'm talking about the point that's right at the edge. When the day started out just fine but then you got smacked upside the head with a flurry of frustrating/annoying/upsetting things, and now you're straddling the fence that divides a good day from a bad one. Now you have to make that choice between saying, "What a crappy morning. That's not very auspicious for the rest of my day, is it?" or saying, "Well, now I've eaten my frog and it can only get better from here, right?"

Unfortunately, knowing which choice you should make there is not the same as making it. If it was easy to push yourself into a positive outlook when you're balanced on that cusp then there wouldn't be dozens -- make that hundreds -- of self-help books on the subject. Sometimes, teetering on the edge of the cliff, you need someone to grab your hand or throw you a rope.

...Boy, that was a crappy morning. Someone pass me the BBQ sauce for this frog.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Devils and Details

Details I didn't bother to mention yesterday:

Penny's blood sugars were almost suspiciously excellent for the whole trip to Atlanta. She had a couple of lows when meals were delayed or we were doing a lot of walking around, and we had to chase a couple of carb-heavy meals with some additional insulin, but as a rule, she responded to corrections quickly and smoothly and was back in range by the next check. It was a relief for things to be so nearly normal.

Alex was sleeping on a little roll-out trundle bed and sharing a room with Penny. Matt and I were a little nervous about it, because he's still in a crib at home, and while I was fairly sure he wouldn't fall out of bed (he sleeps on a cot at daycare just fine) we weren't sure he would stay put once we left the room. But he was fantastic about going to bed -- all our relatives were downright flabbergasted at how smoothly naptimes and bedtimes went. And the mornings weren't too bad, really -- Penny woke me up around 7 the first two mornings (which was hysterical, since she didn't have a clock in her room) and then Alex came and got me at 6:30 the last morning, which was earlier than I'd have liked, but within the realm of reasonable.

On the other hand, the middle of the night was not nearly so smooth. The first night, Penny woke me up around 3:30 to come and soothe Alex back to sleep. And then again the next night she came and got me around 2:30, and then kept coming into our room and waking us up every fifteen minutes -- and then Alex figured out that he, too, could get out of bed and come in search of Mommy. I think it was an artifact of having them in the same room together: having woken each other up, they weren't familiar enough with having another person in the room to get back to sleep. At one point, Penny came in and complained, "Mom, Alex is rolling!" Finally, I had Alex get into bed with Matt and I for about half an hour (which ensured that all three of us stayed awake) until I was sure Penny had fallen asleep, and then put him back to bed -- which wasn't until about 4:30. We all took a nap the next day! At least they stayed asleep the third night.

I was also a little nervous about the stairs -- Bill and Sharon's house is three stories high, and the stairs go straight down the middle of the living areas. Alex is usually pretty good on stairs, these days, but he's occasionally a bit unsteady, and I was a little worried he'd attempt the stairs on his own in the dark and get hurt. But he wouldn't go near them even in broad daylight without Matt or I holding his hand (and more often than not, the lazy little weenie would beg to be carried up or down anyway), so that went well, too, and I have a lot less concern now about the trip to Chicago in July. Also, I'm beginning to think we might finally be able to get rid of the gate on our stairs at home. Penny was 2 and a half when I started letting her navigate the stairs by herself, now that I think of it.

Both kids were amazingly good about being at the nursing home where my grandmother lives. They were a bit shy and wary of all the old people admiring them, but Alex didn't flip out or get upset, and Penny was very patient about answering all the repetitive questions ("What's your name? How old are you? What grade are you in ?") and enduring the ones who wanted to touch her hair or her arm. I was really proud of both of them.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Time Flies

I didn't post an entry yesterday morning, because I had a doctor's appointment fairly early that I needed to leave for. I figured I'd slap something together once I got back.

However, it turns out that yesterday was the very first day my doctor's office was using a brand new all-electronic charting system and it was really dragging things down. They didn't call me out of the waiting room until it was an hour past my scheduled appointment time, and then of course I wound up sitting in the exam room for a good while before the doctor came in.

Thank goodness for my iPhone with its Solitaire and PvZ games!

On the plus side, my doctor was really very excited about my weight loss. He actually, literally bounced when he entered, "Morbid obesity: resolved" on his tablet computer for me.

On the down side, my reduced weight enabled him to poke at (excuse me, "palpate") my thyroid glands and feel things much better than ever before, and he says he can feel some sort of bumps ("nodules or cysts"), so he wants me to schedule an ultrasound so they can make sure it's nothing to worry about. Whee. I haven't called to schedule that, yet, though. I think I've pretty well used up all my medical patience for this week. I'd really been looking forward to getting back to the gym yesterday, after taking the better part of two weeks off.

Our trip to Atlanta was pretty good. Alex was bored by the airport and the plane, but thanks to the tubes in his ears, at least the pressure changes didn't bother him unduly. He was pretty patient with all the wandering through the airport we had to do, at least, and we'd carefully packed everything carryon so we didn't have to wait on luggage.

I don't usually get rental car insurance, but this time, on a whim, I went ahead and got it. And it turned out to be a good thing, too -- I missed the very last turn to get to my uncle's house, and when I tried to do a u-turn to get back to it, a college kid on his way to work slammed into us. No one was hurt, thank goodness, and we were close enough to our destination that I got my aunt and uncle to walk down the block and get Matt and the kids to take them back to the house so Alex could get the nap that he was long overdue for, by that point.

I'd been hoping to visit my grandmother that afternoon, but it got lost in waiting for the police and then driving back down to the airport to turn the car in, fill out their paperwork, and get a new car. Aside from the hassle of having to drive back to the airport, though, that went very smoothly. I think I'll be investing in the rental insurance from now on.

I did, however, spend the rest of the day with one line from Soul Coughing's "Circles" stuck in my head: "When the gas runs out just wreck it / you've insured the thing"

The rest of the trip was great, though. Wednesday morning, Matt and I took the kids to the Georgia Aquarium. Between Alex getting tired and Penny's blood sugars bounding all over and the huge crowds of people, it wasn't an ideal visit, but Alex really seemed to enjoy looking at the fish and sticking his arms into the touch tanks. And the beluga whales were back, so Penny enjoyed watching them for a while.

That afternoon, while Alex was napping, Penny and Aunt Sharon made cookies. It was a "secret dessert" the two of them had decided on, and they had fun trying to keep the rest of us from peeking. Eventually, only my Uncle Bill "didn't know" and Matt and I were sworn to keep him from finding out.

Later, Bill took Penny outside to help him fill up their fountain. I think Penny went mostly because I pointed out that it would be a good way to "distract" him from trying to figure out what the dessert was. I took my camera to the window to take some pictures of them -- which is how I happened to be watching when she suddenly turned on him.

Thursday, Bill and Sharon came with us to take the kids to Imagine It! which is a children's museum. It was fantastic. Everything was kid-sized, and there were no rules, no long lines to worry about, no one trying to tell the kids how they had to play with things. It was just play, with some sneaky education scattered here and there, like the play-food area, which demonstrated food originating on a farm, then being shipped to the store, then being taken home to be eaten.

There was no moratorium on messes, either: they had sand tables and a huge water-play area (complete with raincoats you could borrow!) and a long wall that kids could paint directly on.

There was a gigantic mechanical contraption that carried plastic balls up and around and over and through (kids could manipulate the contraption to move the balls or make them get stuck in various places) and eventually dumped them from a 2-story height into a huge bin. There was a separate, walled-off area for kids under 2. There were family eating areas and a whole quiet room for nursing mothers. There were tunnels and playhouses and science experiments and dress-up stations and more things that I didn't even get to see. If Alex hadn't been in desperate need of a nap, we quite probably would have had our lunch there and spent the whole day.

Some day, when the kids are a little more comfortable with Bill and Sharon, or we can time a trip to be there at the same time as my parents or John and Sam, I want to send the kids to Imagine It! with someone else and go to the aquarium with just Matt, so we can go slowly and look at everything we want to see.

That night, we had a big family dinner. We picked Grandmom up from her nursing facility, and two of my three cousins were in town. I got to meet David's fiancee, Alexis, and we all toasted Meghan's engagement to Nic (even though Nic hadn't been able to come to dinner). The kids were great, and it was wonderful to be with family.

Friday was the trip home -- nothing to talk about there, except to be happy that the kids were once again well-behaved.

Saturday afternoon, my parents came over to babysit the kids so Matt and I could go out for our anniversary dinner. (A bit early, but it was the only weekend my parents had free in the whole month, so that's when we did it.) We went to Fat Canary, which was decadent and wonderful, and then wandered the bookstore for a few minutes before heading home.

Sunday we took the kids to see How to Train Your Dragon. Somewhat to my surprise, Alex stayed in the theater for the whole movie, though he got a bit squirmy near the end and kept switching back and forth between Matt's lap and mine. But we all liked the movie, and Penny is looking forward to talking dragons with Jess next weekend.

Getting back to work and school yesterday was a bit of a letdown... but also kind of a relief!

Monday, April 5, 2010


The weather could not have been more perfect for Easter weekend -- warm and sunny, simply perfect.

I took the kids out on the porch Saturday to dye and decorate eggs. It was Alex's first time, so that got a bit messy (he was willing to use the spoon to scoop the eggs out of their dye, but then he'd pick them up off the spoon with his free hand to transfer them to the paper towel to dry). But he really seemed to get into the decorating part of things, which helped draw it out a bit.

Sunday, of course, was Easter. Penny was awake at 5:40 -- Matt had to shoo her back to bed. But finally we were all up and the kids dove into their baskets.

They also dove into baskets from Matt's dad. And then they dove into the chocolate.

And into playing with the toys.

After their naps (we made Penny take one, too, since she'd been up so early), we got them into their fancy new Easter clothes and went down to my parents' house. The kids got baskets there, too, of course, and then got to hunt eggs.

After which we had a fantastic dinner with everyone. And then we took the kids home and tried to get them into bed, though Alex talked until nearly 9, and Penny was up and down well past 10. Yay, chocolate!

I hope your weekend was as sweet as mine! Or at least as sweet as my kids!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Vacation Time

Spring Break looms! Penny has a half-day of school today, and then she's off all next week.

I'll be bringing her to work with me Monday morning, so I don't know if I'll get a chance to do a blog entry that day or not. If I don't, then I'll be in Atlanta for the rest of the week, so you probably won't hear from me again until the 12th, unless something so awesome happens that I feel the need to post from my phone. Be strong, and try to limp through the days without me.

I realized taking the kids to school this morning that I forgot to get the eggs and candy for Alex's class Easter party, and I still need to pick up a couple of baskets for Easter, so I may be skipping my workout today to run to Target and then take stuff up to daycare. Oops.

In other news, I learned yesterday that the official publication date for my novella will be August 14th -- mark your calendars! I have a lot of mini tasks before that -- not just editing, but turning in forms to help the marketing and art departments do their thing. And to go along with some marketing suggestions the publisher made, I started a separate writing blog. It's over here.

Not that I worked on writing much yesterday, despite having a couple of hours free in the afternoon. Matt's been watching Smallville on Netflix lately, and I think the show is cute and watchable but I could mostly take it or leave it... except that I'm well on my way to a minor obsession with the Lex Luthor character. And his father. The dynamic between them is fantastic. Anyway, there's a recurring character in the first season that I was beginning to wonder if she's part of the larger Superman mythos, and I don't know most of the villain's names (especially the alter egos) well enough to match them up against the name in the show, so I hit Wikipedia to find out. (The answer turned out to be no.)

And then I spent the rest of the afternoon surfing about the show. Starting, naturally, with Lex. (I can't help it. Major kudos to the actor, really, for making a character who has that much self-control manage to be so revealing. Also? He's kind of hot.) But then I wandered off into other tangents, reading up on other characters and plotlines and... Wikipedia is dangerous, kids, and don't let anyone tell you different!

Anyway, if you're planning to celebrate Easter, then I hope you enjoy your celebration. And if not, then at least enjoy the approach of spring! Spring Break, here I come!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fool Me Twice

I don't have the deep-seated hatred of April Fool's Day that a lot of my friends seem to have. I think a lot of the elaborate internet pranks are actually kind of fun.

Penny is starting to get the hang of it, though subtlety still escapes her, so I had a morning filled with such stunners as, "Mom! There's a bear behind you! April Fool!" She didn't even pause long enough for me to pretend to look around for the bear.

I tried to lead by example on the way to school. "Oh, no. I think I forgot to put your sandwich in your lunchbox!" and then waiting for her, "Oh, pickle!" before saying, "April Fool!" But the lesson was mostly lost -- about ten seconds later, she said, "Mom, I think you forgot to put the soda in Dad's lunchbox! April Fool!"

Alex, of course, had no idea what was going on, and spent the whole ride to school just randomly proclaiming various people to be silly for no apparent reason.

Today isn't looking like it'll be my favoritest day ever, as I've got an obnoxious stack of work to take care of. I need to get to the gym if I'm going to get in three workouts this week, and I really ought to do some planning for our trip next week. And I have birthday and anniversary gifts to arrange, still. Whee!

And all I want to do is go crawl back into bed and sleep for another four hours. No fooling.