Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nothing

That's about what I did today, just nothing. Well, OK, I did buy groceries, and washed the sofa cover and cleaned the bathrooms, but that was about an hour, total, so just a tiny spurt of activity. And then I did bake blueberry muffins, but that was because all I've wanted to do for weeks was to bake, so that was indulging a craving, really. And then I crocheted whilst watching a lot of nonsense TV (The History of Dippin' Dots!). So, really? Nothing.

The coming week, though, holds some fun stuff. Tomorrow Joe and I are, separately, taking public transportation to meet up and watch the suddenly red-hot SF Giants play the LA Angels. This will be his first attempt at crossing the bay on his own (by ferry), so that's kind of cool, and then we got a package deal at the ball park which offers him a ton of food credits, further good news for a garlic fries fan. I will bring the camera.

Then Tuesday, yet another old high school friend found on Facebook is returning to our hometown, and a big group is meeting up after work. At this rate, who needs this fall's planned 30 year reunion? I will have seen everyone.

Friday is dinner with dear friends from college days and their kids, folks we only get to see a couple of times a year. Sunday, of course, is Father's Day. For what's supposed to be the most unstructured week of the summer for us, a fairly full schedule.

We have not heard from Annie, but that is to be expected. She is currently in Washington, DC, and without internet access. Europe happens either Tuesday or Wednesday. The nice bit is that I'm in fairly regular touch with the nannied family's mom, so I'll hear if anything disastrous happens. Otherwise, I can assume no news is good news.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sleep of the Dead

All I've wanted for weeks...no, months, now, is to sleep real sleep. Not the stuff you do because it's 10pm and time to go to bed - I want to sleep REAL sleep. The kind in which you don't wake up 10 times because either you don't want to forget that thing you have to remember first thing in the morning (field trip form? water the veggies? paper due? need to go in early for a meeting? don't forget to pick up the forms to sign a kid up for a class for next year!) or, and this is the worst, you INVENT things in your dreams that you have to wake up early for.*

Tonight is the first night of my summer. It is the night for Real Sleep. I'm down to just one responsibility that I can't shirk (my internship, 9 to 5 M-F). And two more that I can't shirk for more than a day without the potential for death (the vegetable garden and the parakeets). Rob has the dog and Joe (to the extent he needs it) covered, and Annie was put on a plane at 2:00pm today for the summer away.

Ahhhhhh.

*I really have begun to do that since early last semester...I have recurring dreams about elaborate time-based problems I have to solve (HAVE to solve) that have me waking up multiple times each night: "don't forget that on odd-numbered Tuesdays you have to be at school at 4:00am! And yesterday was a cloudy Wednesday, so don't be late for your 7:00am meeting! Get up! Get UP!"

It's freaky.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Good China

There's a moment in everyone's childhood in which we cross the threshold into the big world and stop looking back. It starts, of course, the moment we leave the womb - our interactions with others outside our family are short and controlled at first, then gradually, over the years, we spend more time away from home and family than we do in it. If we're lucky, the childhood years include a home that we want to come back to, a place that feels safe. But even with that, there comes a time to move on. We create our own safety and comfort zone somewhere new.

My mother once got upset because I referred to my dorm room off-handedly as "home." The house I had left was home, she insisted. I know what she meant. But really? Home is where you feel settled at the moment. It's what you expect to find when you open your eyes in the morning. And I'd crossed the threshold and found a temporary home in Mary Ward Hall, third floor. I've had a lot of homes since then, and that house I left has been home to lots of other families since that time.

What I've carried around with me to all these homes is a sense of who I am and where I came from. Like good china. Better than a house, and easier to pack, too.

Annie is standing at the threshold, and not inclined to glance back. These last few months we've watched her turn her attention out into the world, gaze focused farther each day. Far away college dreams, boyfriend, international plans. This birthday weekend is all about friends, and we had to kidnap her last night for an hour in between work and a night at the movies to even be able to give her birthday cards and money and wish her well.

Next weekend is the last weekend before she heads to Europe for the whole summer, and where I once had to literally pry her 10 year-old fingers off me and push her into a car to go on a fabulous three day adventure with her closest friends, she now has not even a hint of wistfulness about what she leaves behind.

And although I will miss her both this summer and in the future, I could not possibly be prouder or more happy for her. She knows what she wants, and she's going for it. She has made wonderful choices for herself, and worked hard to achieve her goals. She is a good friend to have, a fine family member, a superb part of the greater community. She takes care of herself and those around her.

In short, she has her good china packed, and is ready to go.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Seventeen

How the heck did this happen? The first picture is not long after her 11th birthday, the second is just a couple of weeks ago.

Like me, like all of us, she is a work in progress; she had some bumpy patches today, her birthday. But unlike me, unlike most of us, she gets that about herself. And I think that meta-maturity is what impresses me most about her.

She'll do all right. Yes, she will.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How's That Working Out for You?

For those who, somehow, might not have kept track of every detail of my life, my master's program requires a full time summer internship, and I'm at one of the best my program offers: blood epidemiology at the Blood Systems Research Institute in San Francisco.

The Beast hooked up with Beauty (not that I'm Beauty, but it's a handy allegory) because he was a nice guy, not because he was handsome. When I ranked this internship top of my choices, I knew it would be interesting, and it is. They've got some great projects for me to take on, and have encouraged me to do nothing but read read read for the first two weeks to get some foundation information. Yesterday I spent the whole day learning about hepatitis C virus, today will be all about genetics. Interspersed with my reading are bouts of looking at data, one of my favorite things, and seminars on all manner of interesting topics.

But Beauty got some surprises she hadn't bargained for when that Beast turned into a handsome prince. Interns at BSRI always publish, how cool is that? And at my "intake" meeting, I found out I have full benefits for the whole family for the summer at the astonishing cost of $82.83 per month (saving us about $1100 per month). The dreadful commute I anticipated has turned out to be quite pleasant and predictable (I will write a lot about San Francisco this summer). And the people are just so nice, I could go on and on. Whereas my last job was all about The Drama, these folks are as down to earth as Minnesota farmers.

And there's free tea. I like that a lot, too.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Some Stuff Making Me Happy This Weekend









Just some things. The radishes are the last of the first bed of them from the vegetable garden, the swiss chard is the first harvest (destined to be sauteed with garlic and minced onion tonight). The empty bed is the second round of radishes, planted today. I overplanted lettuce and we're trying awfully hard to keep up, but this is the second grow-back of this cut-and-come-again patch, just about 1/5 of the baby lettuces.

The Ultimate photo is a "hat" point in a tournament that had a bunch of silly spirit points. I have video of a "skipping" point that was great.

The fridge (it's CLEAN) and laundry (it's CLEAN, DRY, FOLDED, and SORTED!) are things that got awfully far behind the last few weeks.

Tomorrow might be cherry picking in Brentwood, or it might be something else altogether. Don't know yet.

Oh, and the boy at the top? He's CLEAN, too.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Recap, Re-entry

It turned out to be a long drop out. Since that last blog post, lots has happened, all good, all time-consuming, all mentally and/or physically taxing. We've had ultimate western championships (girls placed 5th, although if the Ultimate Deity had been with them for one thirty second period on the first day, it would have been 2nd or 3rd), ultimate state championships (one of the school's two teams took first), soccer, Annie's SATs (a triumph, thanks again, Kaplan), amazing academic turnarounds for Joe, a turbulent but finally triumphant second half of the semester for me, the end of my job at the hospital, and the start of my internship at the blood bank, Rob's aborted move to a new school, and the planting of a vegetable garden.

One thing kept coming back to me over the past month: I miss writing for fun. I'm spending a lot of time, lately, reading and editing research papers(I picked up an easy, if not lucrative, job editing scientific non-native English authors), and even more time writing for school, and it makes me miss thinking carefully about the sound of the words I'm choosing, what I want to talk about, how, and to whom all the more. So, at least for the summer, regular blogging is one of my goals. Secondary to that is blog reading. Apologies to friends who write beautiful prose un-read by me for months. I'll try to catch up, and more importantly stay on top of.

The other is getting back to running. Not a day goes by that I don't miss both the running and the being in shape. This semester (and most likely the coming fall semester) were just not conducive to doing anything but what had to get done THIS MINUTE, but I want to try to remember what it feels like to be a runner by late August, even if it's fleeting.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

In Which I Drop Out, For a Bit

Clearly, this semester hasn't been the cake walk I was sure it was going to be. If anything, it's been tougher academically than the last, and I've come to understand the insane standards of Berkeley's School of Public Health, at least for fair to middlin' brains like myself. I do see a couple of people coasting through, but most of us are in a constant state of frenzied, low self-esteem panic, and that's the kids who DON'T care about grades. The ones who do are scary crazy.

So I expected to be sleepless and crazed for the next four weeks. I had a huge project due Thursday (culminating in me talking about vector borne disease, a topic I knew nothing about, for a full hour, no dance routines or adorable animals allowed), and once that was done I knew I needed to catch up on everything else.

Imagine my surprise when I realized Friday evening that, for the most part, I *was* caught up with school. I'd been such a nutjob, I'd only had one day's worth of work to do. Holy crap.

And while I COULD spend this weekend getting ahead, I've instead chosen to spend it being normal. Today we planted vegetables, I cooked dinner (lasagne!), we cleaned and did laundry. Tomorrow is an Ultimate tourney at the beach, followed by a barbecue pot luck for all the families. The weather is glorious, incredible. And I'm just happy as a Pismo clam.

One journal article review, one group project (well underway), one final in stats software class and a few assorted homeworks, and I'm blowing the Berkeley pop stand for the summer. I am beginning my internship at a (transfused) blood research group on May 21, and can't WAIT. They have loads of wonderful data, their interns always publish, and the mentorship is well known to be fantastic.

That's my story. How are YOU?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Back for a Bit

Break started at 2:00pm today, thankfully. It was the glorious, warm spring afternoon one of my professors chose to explain the difference between log linear, logistic and linear regression. If we hadn't all been waiting to burst out the doors of the auditorium like a scene from a movie at exactly 2, we would have all been sound asleep in our chairs.

I knew I was ready for spring break this morning, though, when I realized another stats professor's handouts were beginning to read like poetry to my eyes.

It's spring, but not really much of a break. Yes, I am released from classes for a week, but I still have homework in all my classes and one project due as soon as we get back. I have to shadow an epidemiologist at her job at the EPA on Wednesday, and work full time the rest of the week to make up for time taken off interviewing the last few weeks. Throw in a meeting or event Every. Single. Night. this week, and that rounds things out.

But still. It does feel like a break. Happy spring to all.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?

I really am gone until after break, but so much has gone on I wanted to post just to keep a record (that's half the reason I blog...the other, of course, is the glamour).

Not long ago my children were making me absolutely crazy, in a synchronized, water ballet kind of way. Lately, though, they've made me exceptionally proud to be their mom. Joe has morphed into a kid with a budding teenage sense of humor, and has made huge strides in his level of responsibility (and not surprisingly following that, competency) in his academic world. He was told to leave Math Lab (tutoring for those struggling) mid-year, and went from having a failing grade in science in late October to an A+ in March. He exhibited incredible resilience and fortitude along with leadership (of those younger than him) at a dreadfully wet and cold Ultimate tourney two weekends ago. He is taking an on-line HTML class through the local community college and went from needing constant hand-holding from me to zipping through the units to the end with no oversight and, more importantly, no nagging. He's a star.

Girl child is living her own spotlight life. She is in negotiations to spend the summer in Geneva (the one in Switzerland, not the one in Alabama) as a live-in babysitter for someone I know, while taking French at the University of Geneva. Yeah, that'll do for a junior year summer job. She's being trained as the youngest barrista at work. She is stepping up to a leadership role of her own in Ultimate, starting a hardcore SAT prep class tonight, managing to maintain a very sweet relationship via distance with her young man and even being supportive and kind to her family, all whilst maintaining an absurd course load at school with an astonishing GPA. Nope, no steroids...her super powers come from within.

Rob is thinking seriously of abandoning his job for one almost an hour away, losing tenure in the worst economy in memory, which says something about how very much he hates the evil war lords who employ him. Most people would be mean and grumpy given his lot, but he remains cheerful and funny and extremely supportive of his family.

Me? Why, I spent the day talking about boobies and weanies, as was pointed out at dinner tonight. I'm in the middle of internship interviews, and today included two: a breast cancer project in Marin County and the sexually transmitted disease branch of the California Department of Public Health. Also featured the last few weeks have been asthma, obesity and blood. I will be assigned an internship in mid-April, based on a matching algorithm I don't understand. But there's only one I wouldn't want, and I get to throw it off my list, so I'm pretty confident I'll be happy.

School continues to go well, consuming almost all of my time but offering great rewards in return. I've come to understand stuff, like linear regression, that I've worked with my whole career but never really "got." I've learned an incredible amount about global climate change. I've solidified some friendships, become a more confident public speaker and found that in fact there really ARE places to park in Berkeley. You just gotta know where to look.

Annie and I had a great (Great!) trip to see The Guy last weekend, along with his mom, who is a delightful travel companion. The four of us toured Hearst Castle, the campus of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo proper and the mission, Avila Beach, Cambria and most every coffee place en route. Loads of fun.

And that's all the news fit to print.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Or is it "absinthe?"

As if I wasn't already AWOL enough, this is offical notice (hi, Mom!) that I am going underground until after spring break. Facebook takes up precious little time in tiny little chunks, blogging/reading blogs takes up large swaths of time. Three huge school projects, all fun (but still huge), are due on March 18. Six (count 'em, SIX) internship interviews in the same time frame. One trip to SLO, three frisbee tourneys.

My life is awesome. Wonderful. Spectacular! Just wish there was time to write about it, and read about others' interesting lives. :-)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What's Up

As obsessed as I am with the state of the world economy, things are looking rosy here. I was asked to interview at a plum internship assignment with the state department of health (that'll be in mid-March). I was hired to do some editing for an editing mill at absurdly low and yet still useful wages. I have a lead on some paid data analysis contract work. Overall, not shabby.

Things are rosy enough that I actually loosened up the purse strings to plan a short trip for Annie and me to go see the college boyfriend in two weeks (I got a free hotel room, so I didn't loosen the purse strings much). Nice as the boyfriend and shoreline weather are, I'm really excited about seeing Hearst Castle for the first time in 25 or so years. And we're bringing Boyfriend's mom along, a great travel companion. Should be fun!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Potpourri

Long time no blog. The short story is that I just got tired. Bone tired. Trudging through the days tired. I think there are some fixable reasons for that, and I'm working on them. In the mean time, I decided I had to give over and put school at the top of the list. I even considered leaving my job early (I'm due to leave in early May), but work is so slow right now that it didn't seem necessary. And things are going better at school with my priority change. I'm a good student, always have my reading done before lecture, show up at every single lab and discussion section, turn in homework early and carefully read even the optional articles. Not surprisingly, so far, this semester is far less stressful than last. The family seems fine with it, we're all in high nesting mode, anyway.

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Annie had her first driving lesson today. I was surprised to find that I was actually worried about that. But it was fine, and she seems to be over her anxiety about driving, too, and ready to get on with it. Three cheers.

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I was thinking yesterday that what we needed right about now were some Fireside Chats, and wondering when Mr. Obama might start telling us regularly that, yes, everything IS grim, but it'll be OK. Then tonight I turned on Marketplace on NPR and realized that Kai Ryssdal is the Fireside Chat guy. If you don't regularly listen to this program (and you're like me, not a financial wizard), you should. Ryssdal and his guests and reporters do a marvelous job of breaking the financial madness down into understandable and useful chunks, in an easy-going, shucks, it's gotta get better delivery style. Cool jazz in between the segments, too.

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The economy has been keeping both we grownups awake lately, as we consider job changes. So I finally went to that dark place this week, The Worst Case Scenario. It came as a shock, but I think we'd survive even if we both lost our jobs for a while. It wouldn't be FUN. But if we made do without everything unnecessary that we've come to take for granted, we'd still have food and a roof and (used) clothing for a very long while. And that made me feel a lot better. I really didn't want to end up in a modern-era Dorothea Lange photo.

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And so, I can end on a cheery note. Things aren't as dire as they could be. It's raining cats and dogs here (helping our parched, drought-weary state), the stimulus bill passed, our Governor is pushing hard to pass a budget so Rob will keep getting paid, we're all healthy and we know how to cook beans in a pot. In fact (as was mentioned on Marketplace tonight) for people like us who have always been the ones NOT going skiing, NOT going to Europe, NOT buying cool stuff for the kids, this is kind of a nice time for us. We fit in, for the first time in a long while.

That said, my heart goes out to the many who are not feeling cheery tonight. I know so many people who have lost jobs just this month, it boggles the mind. Hang in there. Like Kai will tell you, it's gotta get better.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Disease and Death - With Tables and Graphs!

I subscribed a while back to something called the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It is the most fun thing that lands in my Google Reader every week. Especially fun for graph geeks and hypochondriacs. Did you know that we're having a really light flu year so far? Everything's down. Even chlamydia. I blame the economy.

This week's best bit of news was that lead toxicity in children in NY state is down considerably, and apparently it's all down to hapless homeowners scraping paint around toddlers. Everybody else appears to have got the message.

Check out QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged >18 Years Who Had Ever Been Tested for HIV, by Age Group and Sex. It's happy stuff!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Banner Week

This has been a fabulous week.

Annie passed her driver's permit test today, meaning that she gets to learn how to drive. YAY. I can't even express how great that is for ME.

The internships we can apply for got posted this week, and despite dire warnings that the pickin's would be slim due to the economy, there is a bushel's worth of ones that I'm really excited about. I'm back to thinking I want to be an epidemiologist when I grow up, and I have at least 7 epi internships looking for people like me. At this point, since they haven't called, I don't think the Government Accountability Office is going to pan out. But that's OK.

I rediscovered how much I like statistics. I was, truth be told, pretty demoralized by last semester's Intro to Biostatistics class. I struggled to understand what on earth the teacher was talking about, and the GSIs made me want to kill myself in labs. Then I completely bombed the final, which made me feel like I should pack up my calculator and go home (I still got out with a B+, thank god for the other grades in the class and good ol' grade inflation). But I am adoring both my stats professors this semester, and feeling excited about the topic again. Also? Projects instead of tests. Life is good.

A paper which I wrote some of at work (and did most of the groundwork for) was picked for a presentation at a conference in FL in February. Sweetly, the grown ups at work had given me first author credit. I probably won't present (I'd have to miss four days of school, and when I did that last semester, I never really caught up), but having first author on a current paper in my current field is huge. Big plus at job search time.

I was asked to write a manual of operations for a multi-center project. This is just about as huge as the paper, in terms of handy things to have on your resume. That'll be the last project I do before I leave in May for an internship, and since I love to write and hate to recruit patients for studies (I'm relieved of those duties, now), I'm a happy camper.

Rob was at least loosely offered another job, albeit a 1 hour commute away and we don't know about the pay yet. Still exciting.

My mom would want me to mention that she bought a new place to live and sold her old one, and that's true, too (although she and Rob *ought* to get their own blogs! :-)). The sun is shining down upon us all.

All things considered, it's been a spiffy seven days.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Some Things I've (re)Learned Lately

There's no story here, nothing to deduce. I've just been learning a lot of little lessons lately, and thought I'd collect them:

  • It's nice to have friends. I have had moments where I've thought that it's so hard for me to be a decent friend I should just give up. But lately some kind people have encouraged me to keep on trying. And I'm glad.
  • It's really wonderful to have people at work listen to you and act on what you say, especially if you have to work very hard to convince them. Especially especially if you're low on the totem pole and the people you're trying to convince are doctors and administrators. Maybe "leading from where you are" is possible, after all.
  • It's not a parent's job to make sure her children are happy. In fact, sometimes, the only right thing she can do is to create a situation in which her children are unhappy. The ultimate goal is to set conditions for them in which they can make themselves happy.
  • My thighs get bigger when I run more.
  • Shoes smell BAD when you run in them too many days in a row. Alarmingly bad.
  • The moon is most beautiful in the winter.
  • Money actually can solve some problems. Not the most important problems, but a good chunk of your garden variety problems.
  • There is nothing fair or reasonable about a gravely ill child, and we mortals are never in a position to judge the parents of same.
  • Poetry isn't as bad as I used to think it was.
  • I really do like math. It just has to be taught well, and applied interestingly.
  • My husband is a saint.
  • Children like to know where the boundaries are. In fact, I think all of us like that.
  • There is a lot of merit to organized sports for children. I've swung like a wild pendulum on this. I'm back to my original opinion. There's a lot of abuse of the ideas behind organized sports, but in their purest form, with good coaches and supportive parents, they're the greatest thing since sliced bread.
  • I miss traveling when I'm home and miss home when I'm traveling.
  • I still don't feel sorry for chickens, but I'm pretty convinced about mammals, and don't eat 'em anymore. Except for that bit of Joe's hamburger the other day. But it was going in the trash, so it didn't really count.

Now that I've looked that over, it reads like the 16/25 Random Things meme...I didn't mean for that to happen.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Predictably...

...things seemed to get better around here just as soon as I started to act like the third teen/toddler in the family. Last night had all of us either in tears or on the verge, and I decided, yes, I set my chin, they needed to be sent to boarding school. And not a moment to waste.

By midday today, we'd all said our apologies, and we could be regular again. Not perfect (we're seldom perfect, anyway), but regular: human, and forgiving and kind and grumpy and funny and tired and generous.

. . . . .

Those who know me on Facebook will think I've gone around the bend with Dylan Thomas this week. But one of Annie's erudite friends, Ryan, needed to be tutored on the difference between the mis-use of Thomas in a movie script and the real thing, and the poem tied in so well with what I've been feeling about my own growing up lately, it's just stuck. Repeating bits over and over in the back of my mind.

It's a short poem, easy to read, and great for those middle aged days when you can't find your glasses and you notice that your left eyelid is drooping a bit more than last week and there are gray hairs sprouting from your CHIN, for God's sake. [As silly as that last sentence was, this poem actually makes me cry about every third time I read it.]

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

On Growth

My children are giving me a run for my money right now. I am, truth be told, tired of being the mom at least once or twice a day, and not in a little way. In that big, weight of the world on your shoulders, how the hell did THIS happen way that almost any parent is familiar with. Those moments usually comes in waves, and right now it's sort of like there's an offshore storm that's making the waves faster, higher and more intense.

The good thing about having been at this business for nearly 17 (!) years is that I can start to see some patterns, and I think they'll hold even at my children's advanced ages. With these times of aggravation and strife come a few things: I get better at parenting (as does Rob). The kids grow (sometimes intellectually, sometimes emotionally, sometimes physically, sometimes a combination). I grow as a person, if I'm paying attention and remembering to consciously meet the challenge. And best of all, we all feel so much better when it's over.

So I need to just focus on the When It's Over part. Because it will be over.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Going Public

We've pussy footed around it long enough. I want to be able to refer to this person in my blog. Here are the facts:
  • My 16.75 y daughter is dating an almost 19 y college freshman.
  • Yes, I am OK with that.
  • She was friends with him for several years before they started dating in November.
  • He goes to a school on the Central Coast, so only comes back to Alameda for breaks, although she got to see him at the Santa Barbara tournament. That is, in fact, his gross knee in the photo.
  • So he IMs.
  • He IMs me, too. I like IMing with him so much (he's taking a lot of classes similar to mine, is a Giants fan, and knows a lot about what goes on inside pre-teen boys' heads, all of which are useful and fun to talk about) that I would have added him to my list of great new people of 2008, except it just felt weird to add my daughter's new boyfriend, and except that I've already known him for a couple of years.
So now you know.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reality Sets In

Boy, oh boy, yesterday was great. Best day I've had in years. I was giddy with delight all day, after watching the ceremony and speech in the cafeteria at work with about 200 of my closest friends.

Today? First day of Spring semester. And tonight? Yep, I already have homework due tomorrow.

I'm really going to appreciate this degree when I'm done. (Note to self: repeat phrase as necessary.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

How Excited Am I?

So excited that I cried like a baby hearing John Mellencamp sing Ain't That America.

So excited that I'm dreaming about it.

So excited that if I could, as much as I hate crowds, I would be there.

So excited that we already ate our Boniere Bakery Obama cookies.

I'm that excited.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Competence

Many years ago, before I had lived through even one pre-teen, I attended a parenting workshop about pre-teens. One of the things that stuck with me from that workshop was that pre-teens really like to feel competent. They like meeting challenges, knowing how to do things.

I could, here, go into how I think that's true and give some examples from my experience parenting pre-teens. But this blog is about ME, remember?

Yesterday was my first day back at campus since finals in mid-December. In one and a half hours I: met with my internship advisor, bought a reader for a class, picked up a pre-ordered book for another class (all the other books were bought via Amazon, for less than the campus bookstore prices...'cause I have caught a clue), picked up my Spring '09 campus card sticker (a vital part of every Cal student's life), joined the gym (I have two hour breaks on Wednesdays and Fridays - yay!) and had my first froyo of the semester.

I drove, moved my car three times with no hassles, stood in exactly zero lines, and had time left over before my next gig to go buy the cutest trench coat EVER at Target.

In other words, I exhibited extreme competence. It was such a huge contrast over the start of the fall semester, and I was so delighted by that contrast, it made me think I really haven't evolved much beyond the pre-teen stage.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ultimate: Santa Barbara Qualifiers 2009

This batch of silly high schoolers placed far ahead of most of the other (collegiate) teams at the tourney this weekend. I've never seen the teams more "gelled" and happier to be together. It was hard NOT to be happy, with the weather in the 70's and the sun on full strength, surrounded by lovely young people passionate about a great sport.

They get to play AGAIN this weekend, but locally, in Berkeley. How cool is that? No scheduled games for months, and then two weekends in a row.

The Science Fair projects are DONE (pictures after the fair on Wednesday), the recital is over, the various crises are winding down (except for the phantom accident, which turned out to be real and very very complicated, but potentially resolvable). School starts a week from Wednesday for me, and I finally have my schedule in hand.

The weather has turned, and although the September-like weather in January is a little bizarre, I can't complain too much. Things are looking up.
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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

In Which The Unexpected Happens. Again. And Again.

This, my friends, was to be the week that I took it totally easy. This week I am working only 20 hours, and am not in school, and my family has all gone back to work and school. Yeah, this week I was going to run when I damn well felt like it, start painting the living room, sew a bit. Take a few bubble baths, catch a flick with friends. Life was going to be alllllll right.

In the end, I'm grateful that all the crap that happened this week happened THIS week and not a week that was already overloaded, but as of this moment, not feelin' that so much. Here are some things I had to deal with (some of them started before this week, but came to a head since Monday morning, and only the Science Fair and tournament were expected):

  • Multiple plumbing crises, necessitating a day of plumber time today.

  • A phantom car accident that we keep getting information from our insurance company about - but they will not return calls to explain this accident to us.

  • The DMV has completely lost the registration for one of our cars - they don't even have a record of our license plates...they are convinced that this is both our fault and our problem, causing me to spend much time at both the DMV and at the Toyota dealership.

  • A collection agency began going after us for a debt we do not owe (I *swear*! I always pay all of our debts on time - I know who originated this and why, but convincing the collection people of that requires some doing).

  • A crazy week at work, filled with unexpected deadlines and crises.

  • Both Rob and I were asked to apply for jobs, requiring pulling together references and revised resumes and scheduling interviews.

  • It's freakin' Science Fair week at school, which means Oh. My. God. we have to go to the office supply store/hardware store/Cameron's house/Chuy's house/Walgreen's to pick up photos/back to the office supply store...

  • There's a flippin' frisbee tournament stuck onto the end of the week starting Friday. Six hours away, in Santa Barbara.

  • Not enough for you? There's a RECITAL for both kids on Sunday afternoon (yes, the child who will be in Santa Barbara will be driven home by yours truly).

  • Don't forget! Science Fair projects are due Monday morning!

Ack. I don't know why I'm not on medication.

I leave you with this photo, which kind of says it all.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Rez

Last year, I put some resolutions down on cyber paper. Let's see how they played out, shall we?

2008 resolutions:

I have, since early November, lost 8 pounds and gotten to the point where I can run (heh, "trundle" is a better word) aaaaaaaaalmost three miles on the street and a bit over three on the treadmill. So the first resolution is to keep up the good work on my health.

Covered that one. I went on to lose a total of 20 pounds and begin running in earnest.

Get in to a master's program ranks second.

Check. Got in to two programs, actually, and began one.

Then there's "try not to be a shrew to my family, friends and co-workers when I'm suffering from perimenopausal meltdowns". The exercise is helping some. I think. If not, well, sorry...I really am trying.

This year was better than last with regard to mood fluctuations and general bitchiness. I think losing weight has helped, running has helped, getting acupuncture religiously once a month has helped. I've also done a lot to be true to myself this year, more than ever in years past. I get better and better about listening to myself first, rather than just jumping in to make sure everyone else is happy, whether I am or not. Finally growing up at 47.

Make, oh...five quilts this year? Is that reasonable? Maybe if I have someone else longarm them. I want to make one for our bed, and a one for the new family room sofa that we get. My sister is lobbying for one. I can do that.

Turns out that, no, it was not reasonable. I have almost finished one quilt, and must put the top together during this break from school, then send it off to the long-arm lady for quilting. I did take up embroidery, and that was fun. I did knit a sweater which I do sometimes wear. But my quilting days may either be over or may just go dormant until school is done. I don't miss it, much. Even when I was searching for home dec fabrics for throw pillows earlier this week, I wasn't tempted to wander the quilting cottons aisles. It just doesn't sing for me, in the words of Jet.

OK. Onward. 2009. No implied order. And yes, I do know that they're not concrete like they're supposed to be.

Live through Semesters 2 and 3 of school, and thrive in my 12 week internship. This is just a one foot in front of the other sort of thing. I don't really have a choice.

Become more mindful in my parenting. The fall semester put the kibosh on any good parenting I am capable of doing. I think the next two semesters won't be as bad, for a variety of reasons. Although it's been great for the kids to become more self-sufficient and for Rob to carry more of the parenting load, I'm not quite ready to quit altogether. Both kids are going through really interesting times right now, and I want to be there for it, if only to watch.

Spend at least 5 minutes a day living in the present. Over the last week, because I've spent a lot of time in "now," I've found myself only a little worried about the economy, the future of the nation/world, my grades, my children's futures, all the other nebulous floaty things that keep me up at night. I'd like to stay there, to the extent possible.

Running goals are posted at my running blog, if you're interested.