Category Archives: Human nature

A Romantic Weekend

My closest girlfriend (friends since before we could drive) and I, have a date this weekend.

We’ve been talking of doing a girls day for a few months, just the two of us.  No husbands, no kids, just us.  Usually when we get together with our families we have a ton of fun but it only happens a few times a year because we’re separated by a few hours drive.   What to do, what to do….

We decided we need to shop.  We need cocktails.  We want at least one meal we don’t need to cook or clean up.  We want to wake up, when we wake up.

So this is the big plan: We’re going to THE CITY for the weekend.  We are meeting for lunch, we are shopping, we are having cocktails, we are staying in a hotel room together and we are not setting a wake up call.

I’m really looking forward to it.  I’m pretty sure I’m also really going to miss the little hugs and kisses and book reading to my 2 and 4 year old in the evening and my friend will miss her 3 kiddos too.  However, it will be rejuvenating in the way only a little personal time can be.  Please, my only other time alone is a 5 minute shower every day and even then I hear tiny voices of ‘mom, mom, mom!’ through the door.

I’ll miss it, but I’m really looking forward to the weekend.  Maybe we’ll read each other Goodnight Moon.

He Had a Good Life at 95

My grandpa, whom I mentioned here, passed away last week.  He was in hospice care for barely a week and then he died.  This past weekend we went to the funeral in rural Illinois.

He was a really good person.  Quick to smile, full of stories, and most of them were true.  He was the only 80 something I knew that could email and had a cell phone; although use of both declined in the last several years.  Even though we lived miles apart, I  thought of him often.  He had 4 kids, 11 grandkids and 13 great grandkids.  I’m sure that’s not a record but it’s certainly a lot.  Thank you grandpa, for all the memories, and the fun.

Evidently I Wasted His Time

You know when you receive a rude email your initial response is to respond in kind? No? Just me? About a year ago I was looking for a new job.  I was new to the area and had been freelancing so, a new full time job.  After interviewing at many companies, it came down to two different companies where I had interviewed three times at each place.  I was very fortunate.

The more fortunate part was they both made an offer on the exact same day, within hours of each other.  I turned down a very good job offer, in favor of one that was even better in many ways. Instead of graciously saying “okay Katie, thanks for letting us know you’re declining, may I ask why?”, as professionals typically do, this person said I “wasted his time”. Excuse me? You were clearly interviewing other people, as you should, so why should I put all my eggs in one basket?

No one enjoys the interview process, but no need to make it ugly. I wrote a reply in my head, and then deleted it. I badly want to respond saying that he is correct. I did clearly make the right decision, but I think it best if I just leave it unsaid. If anything it made me realize this is not the type of person I want to be working for. I have a whole file of email responses in my head. I just have to remember not to actually write them out for fear of accidentally hitting send.

I had a little incident of ‘don’t respond!’ at work today and it brought this back to mind.  And all that made me remember how much I hate interviewing. I think it’s a little like first dates.  I didn’t love those either.

It’s Tough to be a Grandkid When You’re a Teenager

My grandpa is in hospice care right now and it’s got me thinking about him, and the time I spent with him and grandma when I was a kid.

I have a lot of great memories of spending time with my paternal grandparents.  They lived in a small town in central Illinois and a few times a year we would make the 3 hour drive to their house spend a few days. Most summers I would spend a few weeks there with either my younger sister or a cousin, and we’d have a blast.  We would do all sorts of things that my parents would alternately laugh and be shocked at if I told them now.  Do you know what lawn darts are?  A big, dart with a 4 inch metal tip that you would hurl into the air with the hope that it would land in one of the 3 foot wide circles that you spread on the lawn.  At least that’s how we played it.  Come to think of it, the ‘rules’ are a little fuzzy.  How we didn’t impale ourselves I’ll never know.  We went running BAREFOOT in the street.  We played in the wood paneled basement that was basically a museum of curiosities.  My grandpa’s wood shop was in the basement and the door was always open. Electric tools. We never went in there, but I know some other cousins did.  Always back in time for dinner at grandma and grandpa’s.  Then we’d play Uno or Connect Four until it was time for bed.  At Halloween they would always make the drive to our house in the suburbs and dad and grandpa would take my sister and I trick or treating. They would stand down on the sidewalk while we marched up and rang the bell.  Then they’d help us sort through our loot when we got home.  Taking out the sketchy home made popcorn balls and unwrapped candy.  (Do people still do that?)

Then we moved to California and I got older.  I was a teenager.  Dad would call his parents and ask me to say ‘hi’ to them. I would roll my eyes in that cliched teenager way and humor him- talk for a few minutes about school or the weather.  Conversations with them were so boring I thought.  They were OLD.  I didn’t have anything in common with them and I didn’t know what to tell them.

In my mid 20’s I became interested in my history. Their history.  I did the whole ancestry (dot) com thing and learned a lot.  I contacted all my relatives and got more family tree information.  Then I started asking specifics of my grandparents.  Important things, like, what color was grandpa’s hair was he was younger, and what kind of jobs did he have?  Where did they meet?  And I wrote it all down.

A few years ago my grandma passed away.  She was a great woman and I remember her smile, her laugh and the fun.  I wished I stayed in touch with her more during the recent years.  More than the cards with pictures of the kids every now and then.  My grandpa had been in a nursing home for about six months until recently and I called and wrote more often.  That makes no sense.  He has no short term memory, and that’s when I decide to communicate more?  This week he was moved to hospice care.  Not surprising as he’s 97 now, but still.

I try really hard not to have regrets, but I do here a little.  I wish I had done a better job of staying in touch with them over the years; I can’t go back.  But I’m going to try to remember all those stories, all those little things, and write them down so I can share them with my kids, when they are teenagers.  Even if they roll their eyes.

October = New Swimsuit

At 9pm tonight, operation swimsuit goes into full effect. In October my husband and I are going to Hawaii for 5 nights- sans kids.  I’m really looking forward to it.  This summer we went to the beach a lot, but the beaches here in northern California are pretty cool, so shorts, sundress, light sweater, are more in order than a swimsuit.  But now, now, we are going to Ha-wy-ee and a suit will clearly be in order.  Possibly, even a two piece. Possibly even a bikini, not the tankini with a skirt I’ve been sporting at our local pool.

I’d like a swimsuit that says: She looks good. I know a swimsuit won’t make me look good, but wouldn’t that be nice?  Just as copious amounts of black eyeliner won’t make me look like Angelina Jolie, and the perfect straight bangs won’t make me look like Zooey Deschenel.  I just want to look the best I can. Not oh, she looks good for 37; or, she looks good for a mom of two; or, she looks good considering her job is making her a ball of stress, she is now getting her hair colored every 5 weeks instead of 6, her daughter just turned 2 going on 15 and her son is 3 going on 2.  I want to look good.  I want my husband to say ‘wow’.

So, a few pounds in 2 months and at least one new swimsuit.  I’m running, I’m relatively in shape, I just need to snack less and be more mindful of what I’m eating.  At least that’s the theory.  What do you think? Reasonable? Also, this is in effect at 9pm because I am really craving some cheese and after today, night time cheese snack is out the window.

Also, now that it is August, I’m not seeing many suits in stores now. Best bet for finding a great suit?

How Do You Not Compare Your Kids?

I shouldn’t be so thrilled by this, I knew it would happen eventually.  My 23 month old daughter now has 6 words in her vocabulary.  For the past few months she’s been getting by with Momma and Dadda and a lot of pointing.  She would sing and make lots of noises, but no effort to repeat words she’d hear.

I’ve been trying so hard not to compare her to her 3 1/2 year old brother.  Really, comparisons aren’t fair for any kids right?  But I was starting to get a little worried.  Little boy had almost 100 words by the time he was 2.  Little girl is getting by on grins and giggles.

Have no fear, she is up to 6, in just 2 days.  There is no stopping her now!  We’ve got apple, door, bowl, more!  And earlier today?  “I know.”  But she draws it out, “I knooooooowwww.”  And it’s ridiculously cute.  How do you manage to not compare your kiddos?  I was thinking, this is likely the only time I’ll be so thrilled she’s becoming a talker right?  Eventually she’ll be a…. teenage girl!  Fulfilling stereotypes for the next generation.

Still weird about posting pics of the kiddos. They’re actually bigger than this.

Really though, how do not compare your kids?  I know they are individuals, boy/ girl no less.  I just want them to be happy and healthy.  We take it so for granted sometimes.

It’s going well – I think

Baby girl has now had 3 physical therapy appointments for her torticollis and her PT says it’s going pretty well.  By the time she’s 1, in August, her head should no longer have that adorable tilt to the left and she should be back on her baby development track. On her way to crawling, walking and running amok.

I had no idea what to expect but it’s basically a lot of exercises to stretch and build muscles and exercises for us to do with her.  It’s been a little fun even.  Except when she cries because this strange woman is trying to massage her back and legs and neck.  Have you seen my baby’s legs?  They are huge.  They look a lot like this:

That’s right.  Her juicy, fat thighs are full of rolls and squeezability.  I’ll take an actual picture that will put that turkey leg to shame.  Hmm, evidently squeezability is not recognized as a word by WordPress.  Neither is WordPress.

Anyway, thank you for the good thoughts and vibes on her PT.  Now go outside and do something fun with your family like I plan to.

I’m having a hard time

I’m having a hard time.  As everyone is, I’m juggling a lot, and there is this thing in the back of my mind that is distracting me from other things that are definitely more fun and interesting.

That thing is this: I told my husband I’d be fine with moving to Australia, to be closer to his family.  I told him this before we were married, about a dozen years ago.  We met in Australia, his family is split between Australia and New Zealand, and my family is in California.  When we were young, childless and full of our own awesomeness, I said of course, let’s move to America for a while and then of course, lets move back to the Southern Hemsiphere to be near your family.  Why not? We have no ties.

Now we have 2 kids and they are adored by their grandparents here in California.  Their only grandkids.  It will just kill them, not literally, but really hurt, if we move away.  And I want them to visit their grandparents more than once a year.  Husband’s parents have 6 other grandkids, not that it’s relevant really, but sheesh.  I know, Husband needs to see his family, fair enough.  I’ll be the first to say he doesn’t spend near enough time with them and he misses them, and he wants his parents to know our kids.  Fair, right?  I know it’s fair, and right.  but still.  I really don’t want to.

Ugh.

Money and poo

So, apparently my salary will cover day care and my husband’s will cover rent. Thank you Bay Area.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving the closeness of my family and actual civilization, and the weather, and the culture, and the beach, and the general awesomeness, but yikes. I guess awesomeness comes with a price.

Toddler boy is 26 months old and baby girl is 6 months.  The crazies have moved in.  Toddler is certainly testing the waters, and his parents in every way he can, but he’s also loving his little sister.  What he calls “my baby”, which is pretty sweet, especially when he brings her her toys, completely unprompted.  Baby girl is rolling over and drooling all over herself.  It’s such a fun age, but I suppose they all are.  I’m just trying to enjoy the 2 year old right now while recognizing that all kids go through this stage and it will be okay. Right?  It will be okay right?  They are pretty fantastic and I love them to bits.

In other news, if I hear one more person tell me that their little boy wasn’t potty trained until he was 4 I may scream.  That’s not right.  There must be something between applying a little assertiveness and waiting until he is ready because I can tell you that we are not looking forward to 4 year old boy poop.  No thank you.  I’ll bribe him with whatever, but I’m done.

Please tell me your thoughts on this one.  He’s not interested in stickers or seeing progress on a chart leading to a reward.  He’ll tell us when he’s gone, after the fact, but not before.  He’s interested, to a point.  Really, sanity is at stake people.  What say you?

Also, I’m in the final stages of interviews for a new job, wish me luck!

Months, not days

At first I was thinking that it had been days since I blogged. Then it was weeks. Now it is actually months.  My kids are 2 months older. I have more gray hair and my husband’s job is ending in a week.

Ugh.  In other news, we are moving again, back to the Bay Area and my husband and I are both in final rounds of interviews. And I have bangs.

I am at the same time overwhelmed and anxious and nervous and excited.  I was hoping to be able to just freelance part time for another year but with Husband’s job ending and our resulting move back to civilization we can’t afford for me not to.  So of course I do what my family needs me to do and my little family needs me to go back to work full time.

I’m dreading finding a new place to live, finding a day care, or possibly a nanny, and going through this final round of interviews.  A little excited, but mostly dreading right now.  Not the actual working, but the process of looking. Can I hire someone to house hunt for us? We’re just going to rent for a year and no realtors so far have been interested in helping us out.

Anyway, it’s true. As you get older time goes by faster. I want my 6 month old baby girl to stop and stay this size for a while. I want my 2 year old little boy to just slow down and stop growing up. Except for the potty training. Potty training can continue on please.

Where does the time go?