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Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Sun's still there (figuratively AND literally)

I'd just finished giving my Mom a laundry list of why my mood was foul, when I looked up in the sky and saw a thick cloud cover.
"And I can't even see the  sun!" I wailed.
"But you know it's still there," she responded.

Yes, I do know. I guess that's why I keep getting up & going to work - even when my week presents a perfect storm to obscure the sun.


Later that day - there it was. The sun. I noticed it when I got a glimpse of a window or caught a moment of fresh air. Then, miracle of miracles, the workday was not only manageable, but I was able to knock off early.

I practically skipped to my car. My Mom, my daughter & I walked to the library. That sounds lame, right? But it was AWESOME. She literally raced into the children's area, yelling "books!" My parents take her all the time, so she ran around showing me all the cool things - the train, the puzzles, the cushion circle, the computers - oh, the computers! Then we played some serious Dora bingo.

After all that excitement, would you believe there was more?! There's a little park behind the library! It's a little boardwalk over a small pond. My daughter was en fuego! We walked out to a little gazebo, and this turtle swam over looking for a handout. 
"Oh, hey buddy! Sorry, buddy! Adios, tortuga!!"
Pretty much anything we said or did, we got immediately back from her. Right down to crossing her legs - a little difficult with her little munchkin thighs & total hilarity.

I wasn't the only (um..) role model either. There's a series of painted fiberglass turtles, and the library has one. She even got down and imitated their tortuga.


For the finale? There was a totally awesome little playground. I may or may not have played on the equipment more than my daughter.

Eventually, we had to go back, rejoin our menfolk, etc & so forth.

The literal sun was shining. The sun had figuratively returned to my little world in full force. I hadn't to wait long to see it again really.

My wish for me - that my daughter will feel half as lucky to have me as I do to have my mom.

My wish for all - that you always have someone to remind that the sun is there, even when you can't see it. And someone to help you find it.

Don't ever let the clouds fool you!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Quantum Angst

"I can't decide what I want. Will you split these two things with me?"

I can't tell you how many times I've asked this of a fellow diner at a restaurant. Always someone I'm with, swear! I become infinitely more fond of anyone who says yes. My husband used to say yes regularly till he had me hooked; now I really have to beg.

Entrees are divisible. Circumstances are not. 

I can have half an omelet and half a French Toast.

My daughter cannot simultaneously have her shoes on and have her shoes off. Yet, time after time lately, this seems to be exactly what she wants. Or, to simultaneously have her sandals on and her boots on.

I cannot, just for example, have half an only child and half a family of four.
(Disclaimer: for the purposes of this discussion, it matters not at all that said husband wants an only child. So, if he happens to read this, we need not have that discussion again ... right now.)

I am quite sure that many parents have the same internal debate after their first child that I am having now.

Me: "She should have a little brother/sister."
Myself: "She's great just the way she is, and we're all happy."
I: "But maybe down the road, you & she will wish you had."
Me: "Well, maybe if we do, we'll wish we hadn't."
Myself: "You're not getting any younger, maybe you should just consider yourself lucky that you had one wildly healthy child."
I: "40's the new 30, and I'm ONLY THIRTY-FIVE!!!!"
And so on. ad nauseum.

Here's the thing. What I want. What I really want. Is both. At the same time.

This is not unique to the only child v. second child debate. This is my life.

I do not actually understand quantum mechanics. What I sort of get is that a subatomic particle cannot simultaneously be in two physical states at one time.

I'm just a Sci-Fi nerd with some angst. I see it beginning in my daughter on a smaller scale. I call it quantum angst.

We can't be the only ones who wants it both ways? Or can we?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Puppy Therapy

I was in a pissy mood this morning. Long story short - I forgot that there's really only one thing you can control - your own reactions. Toddler up too early (again) and refusing to go back to sleep (again) - evidently, I can't control. My heretofore beloved bangs looking not as awesome today of all days, when we have a girls' night - I can't control. Being huffy & crabby - I can control, just apparently not this morning.

However, a cup of coffee, a dose of work-pals, and some heavy-duty puppy therapy, I am now in fine spirits.

No, I don't have a dog at work. No, I didn't go out & get a real puppy. All I did was Google "French Bulldog Puppies" - I felt better. Seriously, don't you?

As the day went on, I was amazingly productive. Someday, probably when I'm old & gray, I get one of these to snuggle with me and be lazy.

This lovable lout, however, remains our one & only for as long as he lives --

My point, as far as I actually have one, is that you can make yourself feel better. You don't need to buy anything or eat anything either.

Happy Friday! :)

PS - I am now going for a cocktail, but I longer feel like I need it. Puppies are better than cocktails!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Cowlicks are like life, like art, like parenting.

For years, I thought I couldn't have bangs because I had such a severe cowlick. But, as you know, unless you live under a rock, bangs are kinda in lately. They were taunting me. Finally, I decided to go for it. I figured if I didn't like the bangs, I'd pin them back --- which is pretty much what I do with the longer flop of hair in front anyway. The stylist & I agreed to go fairly long & not very heavy - you know, starter bangs. They just whet my appetite. So ... I had my mom follow the lead & cut shorter, heavier bangs. Crazy? Again, there are always bobby pins & headbands. But they're fabulous. And she can trim them weekly if I want for free. The stylist had taught me how to blow dry & straighten the bangs, so that they'd hang in a uniform curtain across my forehead. I smiled & nodded. It was the ideal. But I knew I'd never ever do it. I have done it, once or twice, but you know what - I like what the cowlick does to the bangs. It's cute & it's my own.

Here's how I draw a life lesson from this haircut. Basically, I decided my apprehension was BS, and I went for it. My life almost never looks like the picture in my mind. But it's mine, and it's wonderful.

As for parenting & art ... have you ever planned an art project or "sensory experience" for a toddler? If so, you know what I mean. I can have a great plan, gather all the materials, deck us both out in grubby clothes, and she has a completely different idea of what we're doing. Most often the finished product isn't ready for a gallery or even a scrapbook. But the memories, the smiles & the giggles will stay in my heart forever.

Take today - I had printed a list of "sensory experiences" from Pinterest (of course), and my big idea was to use straws to blow cotton balls across the coffee table. Well, first of all, I grabbed bendy straws, and they ended up making quite musical sounds. So that was fun. (Music! Art!) Secondly, although she could make lovely music, the kiddo could not quite get the air to blow anything anywhere, so -- instead -- she used her straw to just bat the balls off the table. She was so proud of herself. Then I decided we could take a walk. We got as far as the empty lot a few houses down, where she proceeded to play in the dirt for about 20 minutes.

I love plans, and I plan to continue to plan. But the unexpected outcomes can be amazing.

Monday, January 2, 2012

PS - Redirecting to Gratitude & Listening

This is a quick lunch break post, so it doesn't count as time spent away from my goals in the previous post! :)

In 2011, I definitely did a better job of listening & being grateful. In 2012, I want to continue to improve.

  • I have said before & will say again - it's hard to work in a hospital & not feel grateful. But that is largely a negative form of gratitude. As in, "I'm so glad I'm not sick, and my loved ones aren't either."
  • What I want to work on is a postive gratitude. I have much to be actively thankful for - as mentioned in my last post: a great husband, wonderful daughter & sweet dog.
    • I also have a great relationship with & lots of support from my parents - who, by the way, also provide a great example of a successful marriage!
    • I work in a great hospital, with a group of amazing professionals, who have turned out to be a wonderful group of friends as well.
    • I have extended family & friends all over the country, whom I get to see from time to time, and whom I love keeping up with otherwise!
  • This year I will start statements of gratitude with "I am" or "I have" rather than "I am not" or "I don't have".
  • In my defense, I am very interesting. (Very). But this year, I want to do more listening than talking. With friends, family, and total strangers. I have gotten much better at asking questions of others. Yet, I still find myself considering my next statement while they're talking. I also tend to dominate conversations.
  • This year, I will listen more & talk less.
Thanks for listening. Happy New Year ... again. :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012


So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye. More accurately --- see less of you for the next few months.

There's only so many areas in which one person can direct their energies. When that person is a working mom, two of those directions are non-negotiable. The limited time remaining becomes very precious. Any time taken away from parenting better darn-well be worth it.

So here's the deal - I have been spending some of that time blogging & on Twitter. Time I am about to lose. You see, I have been on a leave from my Masters in Public Health program. There were no more regular classes to take, and I couldn't take my final exams till June. But now, it's time for me to start working on my final paper and studying for said exams. So ... I have a studying & writing schedule. I strongly believe scheduling the time early and sticking to it, will allow me to feel like I have time do other things I care about.

If I want to maintain adequate time for the family & career, and maintain some sanity, something needs to go. So I will be taking a leave from the blog-o-sphere for the next few months. So the biggest redirection for the next six months: Study more; Social media less!

Of course, all work & no play just doesn't work for me, so -- I will also spend time on other things too.

I firmly believe that where you direct positive energy, you create positive energy. So -- in addition to my Masters work, here's where I'll be directing my positive energy these next few months.

1. Special time with my daughter.

  • I've never considered myself a crafty person. You should see the baby blanket I made my cousin's daughter some years ago. I dropped a stitch nearly every line, and it looks like a pennant. But kid crafts - I can handle. And they're a hoot. My daughter always comes up with some spin on my plan that is totally unexpected & way fun. Weekends will still find us up to our elbows in paint or pouring corn from one container to another.

2. Special time with my Hubben.
  • You can laugh all you want that this mainly means watching science fiction series after getting our Munchkin to bed, but it works for us. We also plot out home improvement projects, mainly at my nagging. We debate about where to go on future trips & reminisce about past ones. We even occasionally go on a real date.

3. Special time with my dog

  • Our dog & I have been a bit on the outs since I had my baby. He's kind of a butt to her, and it just drove me crazy. He felt my annoyance. And ... he became more annoying. I got more annoyed. And so on & so forth. A few weeks ago, for whatever reason, I decided to start walking Bernie after putting the kiddo to bed. I started calling it our special time. He instantly loved it. He's more calm. He even seems more tolerant of our daughter. This has made me feel better toward him, and he's continued to respond to that. And so on & so forth.

So ... that's where my energies will be going the next few months. I will admit that I've gotten a little addicted to blogging. I wouldn't be surprised if something comes up that I just have to write about. I also hope to keep up with some of my fave blogs as well. One of which is Liberating Working Moms, where I just linked up. Won't you check them out?

Above all, I will not overextend myself. I love my life best when I stick to this -- it leaves me rested & energetic, able to fully engage with the most important "directions" in my life.

Happy New Year!

Liberating Working Moms Button