Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Movin' On Down the Web Road

You can now find me at katechaux.
Hope to see you there.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stuff I Love


*sigh*
My new jeans. I love them so.
These may be the most flattering jeans on earth, or at least a close second to my all time favorite Jelessy jeans (which died a tragic death when they split from one cheek to the other when I squatted down to pick up the little boy).

I picked up these Hudson jeans on sale at Macy's - thank goodness they were on sale, because even at 40% off they were $95. Still, worth every penny. Snug in all the right places without pinching or pushing anything in a direction it ought not to go. Long enough (praise Jesus!) for this 6'0 tall girl, in fact I have to wear heels with them. My legs look about 10' long in these jeans. They've got a bit of stretch, so they're comfortable to wear all day, even if I have to crawl across the floor with the baby. Best of all is the butt pockets. I will not buy any garment meant to cover my butt that doesn't have rear flap pockets - everything else is just horribly unflattering. Not only do these have the flap pockets, but they're pointy! Making me appear to be even slimmer! Genius!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Spell Jest Fyne

This one's for you, Ali, though it is also near and dear to my own heart:

Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL), and their project, "Typo Hunt Across America".

I plan to sic them on my local pseudo-newspaper.

Via @KodakCB


Edit: Haha, I misspelled "pseudo" in my first post.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stuff I Love


I had to get a new phone. The former phone was pretty much only good for talking, and even for that limited use it wasn't great. I've gotten to a point with work where clients need to be able to have me respond to emails pretty quickly, even if it's just to confirm that I got it. I also needed something that played nice with my Mac but that wasn't going to cost me $400 and require that I wait until the end of June for the new iPhone (as sweet as that iPhone is, I'm just not digging the touchscreen when it comes to texting and emailing).

The lovely boys at my local AT&T store, who know me well by now based on the frequency of my visits with issues with the last phone, recommended the Blackberry. So far, I'm pretty happy with it. Sure, I wish that when it synched to my Mac it would do it via Bluetooth (nope, need to be connected via USB cable), or that when it imported my address book contacts it retained the pictures that I had associated with most contacts (frustrating, but not a deal-breaker). But overall the coverage is excellent, the battery lasts a good long while, and the keyboard is super easy to use. Best part is, I'm going to play with it for the next three weeks and if I'm not still loving it, I'll return it and wait a couple of weeks for the new iPhone.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Getting My Move On


At long last, we're moving home. It's been almost two years since we left our house in town, and I've missed it for most of that time. We were able to find a tenant for our mountain house, and so early in June, we'll load up the truck and move back down the hill.

It was a hard decision for us as a family, because A loves the mountain house. He loves the solitude and the scenery and the space (both inside and out). But for me, things changed when Valentino was born. I don't want to put him in his carseat for 40 minutes at a time, twice a day, just to drop him at the nanny's. I don't want him to be limited to visits with friends and family to only those times we come down the hill with specific plans. I want to be able to plan days at the park or the pool and be able to come home for a nap, instead of having to plan my day around being gone from home the whole day, because it's too far to go home for a nap and leave again. I also want back that hour of commute time each day, so that I can spend it with my boys.

To say that I'm thrilled about the move would be the understatement of the century. I'm not even stressed about the actual move event (although for me, that part is trivial, I have lots of practice - this will be my 21st move in my 37 years). We have wonderful friends who've offered all manner of help with getting ready and the actual lifting of my furniture.

All of this reminds me is that things usually work out for the best. I was getting miserable in my home in the mountains, and I truly knew that I needed to move back. We were able to make that happen. I'm forever grateful to my husband for knowing just how badly I needed to do this, and helping to make it happen.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Today is the first time that I celebrate Mother's Day for myself, rather than honoring another mother. As I write, my boy is in his crib, refusing to nap. He's talking to his toys and intermittently yelling, but doesn't seem especially unhappy so I'm letting him ride this one out. He never naps well for me on the weekends.

Okay, now he's asleep. The idle chatter gave way to gasping, shirt-rending screams. I had to take him to my bed and lay down with him. It's odd, he doesn't give me any trouble about going to sleep at night, he's still awake most nights when I put him in his crib, and he drifts off quickly without a fuss. But naps, forget it.

I'm not sure what the purpose of Mother's Day is other than to make sure that our moms get thanked, even if only once a year. I do know lots of moms out there (including my own) who take it pretty seriously, so I get her the card and the little gift. I love finding fun cards for her, but the gift part does feel a little bit like an obligation, and I hate giving gifts under those circumstances. Oh well, suppose I'll suck it up and head over to Home Depot for a gift card (believe me, for my mother, that's almost as good as jewelry).

To all the moms I know, and all the ones I don't, Happy Mother's Day. I hope you all get (at the very least) a big kiss from your kid.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Balance


He is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. Without question, the light of my life. On the rare day that I get to be with him from waking in the morning to rocking to sleep at night, I look back and realize what a fantastic day we've had together.

I have to leave him every weekday and go to work. Some days are shorter than others, but I have to go every weekday. I take him to the nanny's house and I leave him. Sometimes he doesn't even notice that I'm going, already absorbed in a toy or the nanny's little girl or Teletubbies or whatever. When I pick him up in the evenings, he is happy to see me, but he is equally happy when he's playing his "goodbye" game with the nanny.

Sometimes I get so jealous of her, the way he smiles when he sees her. Part of me knows that he loves me, he knows I'm his mother, but the part of me that's a little closer to the surface is wounded. I am really struggling with this lately. I have no choice about working, we simply can't afford our life without my income. Hopefully there will come a day, not too many years down the road, when that will change. But for now, this is our life.

I have it better than most, I know that I do. I only work about 30 hours a week, I have a wonderful woman looking after him when I'm not there, and when we're home in the evenings, his father dotes on him in a way that makes me fall in love with him all over again, and again, and again. But I question myself all the time - am I doing right by him? Am I being patient enough, loving enough, to make up for leaving him? I hope I am. I am striving to find that balance between work and home that nearly everyone goes through, with my own little family's twist on things. Some days are hard, though. Today is one of those days.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Creepy Girl

Okay, she is freaking me the hell out.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Stuff I Love



New shoes. LOVE.

Get this - they're Crocs. No, really, they are. I swear.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Stuff I Love


I have the hands of a little old woman, always have. Add to that the super dry climate of Colorado and life at nearly 8,000 feet, plus the near-constant hand washing that goes with having a little one, and you can probably imagine the skin of my hands. No? Think lizard with a touch of sandpaper thrown in.

I've spent years on a quest for the perfect hand lotion - a container small enough for my bag, a pleasant scent, moisturizing enough but still able to soak into the skin and not cause me to leave an oil slick on every surface I touch. There have been some good ones over the years. Vaseline used to make a FANTASTIC hand lotion, and then they "rebranded" or "reformulated" or some such shit, and it's now not the same. Dr. Hauschka's hand creme is amazing, but at $23 for 1.7 oz, it's a little pricey. A few years ago, I bought a tube of Glysomed and fell in love. It's made in Germany and not easy to find in my local stores, although these days you can find just about anything on the internet (here or here, for example). The tubes come in regular or unscented, but I love the smell and so always buy the regular. Best of all, there is a heavier cream version available in a tub, and I keep that beside my bed and slather it on my hands and feet each night before I go to sleep. I just got a shipment yesterday from Amazon - 3 of the 5 oz tubs for $18. Sweeeeet!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Long Time, No Nothin'

So....where to start?

The baby grows by leaps and bounds. In fact, I think that soon I will no longer be able to refer to him as a baby, he is most definitely moving into toddlerhood (especially if the size of this clothes is any indication - hello, 12-18 mo. toddler pants!). He babbles and he laughs almost constantly. He eats well, sleeps well, and is content to play with a wooden spoon, as long as there is a dog nearby. I fear that we will always have to have a dog from now on, he is so crazy for them. The bigger and slobberrier the better.

I am working again, although not full time. An old colleague reached out to me through a networking site (I should be a poster child for LinkedIn), and now I am working for him about 30 hours a week. I am finding that I quite like part time work, leaves me plenty of time for errands and the occasional breakfast with a friend. However, it's not going to get me out of debt, and that is my 2nd priority right now. I have another friend who has just ventured out on his own, and he will probably be needing my help in the very near future. That should be good for 10 or so billable hours a week. All in all, I think I can start to get back on solid financial footing in the near future. That thrills me.

I'm also taking advantage of having some extra time to swim. My office is just a couple of blocks from a rec center, so I've been going over there every few days when my schedule allows, and I spend 20-30 minutes swimming laps. I've always been a swimmer, both casually and competitively; it's like breathing for me. I feel so peaceful as I move through the water, and it helps to settle my mind while I'm working on slimming my waist. I have been inspired lately by Alison and her Bikram yoga challenge (lord, I am afraid of hot yoga - me+heat=hospital). I've slowly seen weight creeping up for the last few years, and I'm determined to stop that little march in its tracks. I'm not going to be too terribly hard on myself - I gained 38 pounds in pregnancy, I've since lost all of that plus another 14 pounds, but I most definitely have a few more to go to qualify as "hott" again (a designation most important to my darling husband). I always hear the word "challenge" as a shout in my mind, followed by lots of exclamation marks.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Holding pattern

First of all, whatever that bug I had was, I still sort of have it. I'm keeping food down and all that, but lord I still don't feel right. Guess my superpowers failed me this time.

On the bright side, neither of my guys got sick. They're a little sick of me feeling sick, but whatever.

The job hunt continues. It sucks to be out of work right now, with everyone so frightened about the economy (oh, except, apparently not our fearless leader), with tax time looming, etc. etc. etc. Between a Euro costing $1.50 and stories of gas going toward $4 per gallon, I just want to sit quietly at home and try not to do anything that involves spending money. Especially since I don't have any coming in. I am bad with money. Well, not really, I know exactly how to manage money. I just usually choose instead to have lovely shoes or handbags or half the contents of my local Gap and Banana Republic stores. These are things I'm working to change. Carrying debt prevents me from having choices, like to choose not to go back to work for a while, or having the type of job I can accept dictated by the pay I need to be making. It sucks, and it's no one's fault but mine.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sicko



Stealing a few minutes here to post before the little boy wakes up from his nap. We've had a nice day, were able to get out in the stroller for the first time since fall. We timed it well, Valentino dropped off to sleep after a half hour or so, just in time for his afternoon nap. I'm in recovery mode, slowly eating an apple and yogurt and drinking lots of water.

Friday night I was a sick as I've ever been in my life. Curled up in bed shivering, feeling like I was dying of thirst, throwing up any water I did drink. Saturday morning I dragged myself out so I could watch Valentino and his papi at swim class, but then I went right back to bed when we got home. By dinnertime last night, though, I was right as rain. Very strange, although not unusual for me. I seem to always contract an accelerated version of whatever everyone else has, burning through all the symptoms and ailments quickly and usually feeling better pretty soon. I think it's the prenatal vitamins, which I continue to take even though I have no intention of having any more children. I think those vitamins are part of the reason I've been so healthy the past 2 years, hardly a cold or a cough. Let's hope it stays that way.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Early Morning Quiet


Valentino is a morning boy, waking around 6, hungry and ready to be out of his crib. I bring him to our bed to nurse until he falls back to sleep, and then I get up for the day. First stop, coffee maker. Next, layer up on fleece and Uggs and take the poor dog out (but only after I step out and check for coyotes, bears or mountain lions in the yard). Once Ruby has danced around the yard for a bit and done her thing, I come back inside, prepare my coffee, and head for the living room upstairs. Our living room and sun room are on the top floor of the house, and the rooms face east, with additional windows to the north and south. I can see mountains out of every window, and the pine trees that surround our house provide some filter for the intense rising sun light.

I love this time of day. I have always preferred the mornings to the late nights. To be able to wake up and slowly ease into my day with my little routine makes heading off to work so much easier for me. Even on the weekends, when the work is at home or errands are the only things on my agenda, I still rise early, have my bowl of coffee with steaming hot milk, and settle into the couch to check email and news, catch up on the stack of magazines that I never have time to read, or just look out the window.

Our routine will change some in the months to come. We've decided to move back to our house in town, and find renters for the mountain house. When we bought this house way up in the mountains west of Boulder, we had no idea that less than a year later we would have a baby. I think that if we had known Valentino was coming, we probably wouldn't have bought this house. It's difficult to be 30 minutes from anything. If I run out of diapers, which has fortunately never happened, it is 30 minutes to the nearest store. I never head home with less than a half tank of gas, because I have been stranded on the road for hours. We can never go out for drinks or dinner after work, because the dog is always at home, waiting since morning to be let out. Once you make the 30 minute drive home, you don't leave again. Friends never come to visit, either because the trip is so long, or because the roads are intimidating for half the year. I miss having people over for dinner, miss running home in the middle of the day to take lunch in my own kitchen, miss taking the bus the to the farmers market in the spring and summer.

We finally decided that since we do have an alternative, we'll take it. We hope to be able to keep the mountain house by renting it, and someday if we're doing really well financially, we'll keep it just for us to use on the weekends. Either way is fine with me, I'm just happy to be moving home, back to the first house we ever owned, the house where we had our wedding celebrations for days on end, where we can (and have!) comfortably put up 6 friends, and where there are currently three other children under the age of four within 100 yards of our house.

I will miss my quiet mornings here though.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Who's that boy?


I walked into the nanny's house today to pick up Valentino, and he was sitting up on the couch next to her, watching the other baby play on the floor. I looked at him and thought, "who is that?" He just looked like a boy, not a baby. When did that happen?

The mystery of the drool has been solved. Tooth numero uno has pushed through. He has hardly fussed at all, bless his little heart.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

What's in your bag?

Oh, this could be ugly.....

my bag - brown Gap bucket bag:
  • Herbacin kamille & glycerine hand lotion
  • cloth diaper / burp cloth
  • clear plastic envelope with coupons & gift cards
  • diapers, wipes & changing pad thingy
  • Moleskin for notes on a new project
  • spiral notebook for stuff that inspires me
  • receipts, unpaid bills, W-2s
  • plastic zip-top bag (from my last flight) with one lip gloss, one lipstick, one tub of lip stuff, Tide to Go pen, perfume
  • Trader Joe's facial tissue pocket pack
  • handkerchief with my initial embroidered on it
  • key ring 1 - house key, rental house key, safe deposit box key, friendship token, wisdom blessing ring
  • key ring 2 - car key and alarm thingy
  • digital camera
  • card holder for department store / infrequently used charge cards
  • 6 pens
  • small post-it note pad
  • USB flash disk
  • 2 tubes of lipstick, 3 tubes of lip gloss
  • Bellybar (granola bar for preggos, which I fell in love with while pregnant (and I'm not preggo anymore!))
  • nail file
  • homemade business cards that say "ring my cell"
  • dry shampoo
  • 3 checkbooks
  • wide-tooth comb
  • 3 tampons, one thong panty liner
  • cell phone
  • wallet (see below)
my "wallet" - Coach wristlet containing the following:
  • Anthropologie gift card from my sis
  • receipts
  • business cards
  • pictures of my boy and my niece
  • King Sooper and Sephora "loyalty" cards
  • driver license
  • 2 Visa cards
  • 2 bank ATM cards
  • insurance card
  • Costco card
  • Eco Pass (bus pass)
  • my husband's expired driver license (the only picture of him that I carry)
  • $35.07 in cash and coin
  • namaste blessing ring token

Might be time to get a smaller bag.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Well, it turns out the easiest way for me to fix the Twitter issue (and the stupid comments issue) was to switch templates. Thank you very much, problem solved. Sorry if the page is a little boring, but I was ready for a change and this will do just fine for now.

Thank you for the calls and emails about getting fired. You're all very kind. One of the best things about this little blog is when people "call back". I have no news to report on that front, things seem to be moving very slowly right now in the jobosphere. I'll just keep plugging away until something breaks.

I posted a couple of weeks ago about slowing down, even before my job ended. This change of pace feels pervasive in my life right now, and it feels really good. I joked to a friend the other day that I think I have single-handedly sustained the US economy over the last ten years with my spending habits, which now accounts for my extraordinary level of debt. There are slivers of truth in that statement. Even before I was laid off though, I started to feel the need to slow down, spend less, conserve more. I've always been careful to recycle and reuse as much as possible, but at the same time I suffered from a compulsive shopping urge. I have more STUFF than anyone I know, and a lot of it is either useless or pretty close to it.

I have now embarked on a journey to declutter my life and my home. It started with cleaning out my closet (which was in fact three closets in my house), and I'm now down to less than one regular sized closet for all of my things. Then I moved on to all of the baby's things - outgrown clothes, swings and chairs for which he is now too big, car seats and strollers that are too small now. I gave away a lot to friends with new babies, took the clothes to a consignment store, and Craig's List has been AWESOME for the rest of that stuff. Little by little, the clutter is disappearing. With it goes some of the weight on my shoulders - even if that's only how it feels, it's still worth a lot to me.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Snap

There are so many things that I wish I could do. I wish I could cook a meal that just makes you go "oh, yum!". I wish I could jog. I wish I had the crafty gene. Right now, I really wish I was a web guru, so that I could fix the stupid Twitter feed on the right. It's driving me nuts, but I love the idea of it so I'm leaving it there until I figure out how to fix it.

I also wish I'd gone to college. It just wasn't possible for me after high school - no money, no scholarships, mediocre grades (lazy!), and people willing to pay me to work. I floated around for a couple of years, and then from the time I was 19, I've been working full time at increasingly challenging jobs. I've really enjoyed myself, especially a job I had doing research in the film industry for about 7 years.

I found myself unemployed two weeks ago. Suddenly, with no warning. Let go due to "restructuring", which is corporate-speak for "gee, we wish we'd managed our funds better". I'd had a bad feeling for a couple of months, but genuinely thought my position was safe. Guess I was wrong.

Job hunting is difficult under the best of circumstances, but I'm finding it hard to get in the door to even interview. The education thing is hard, because I'm currently in a technical field, and people want to see engineering and/or computer science degrees. I've always gotten by through relationships that get me in the door, and then I work my ass off to learn what I need to know. This time, though, it feels harder.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Build Bridges, Not Fences"

I have always been fond of Pennsylvania. An old friend was from Boyertown, and I made a couple of trips to visit his family during our time together. The thing I remember best was white peaches - my friend's sister had an orchard and a little store, and those trips set the standard by which I still judge all peaches.

This morning I read an article in Cooking Light about Dinner Day. Pennsylvania passed a resolution in 2002 that encourages you to invite your neighbor to dinner on the second Saturday in January. How cool is that? I wish I'd known sooner, I would have liked to plan a party around it and include a few of my neighbors. I am going to do this next year, and it should be even more enjoyable because Valentino will be able to eat with us by then. He's just starting solids, and eating in his high chair for the first time.

Truthfully, I don't need the excuse of Dinner Day - last weekend (on Saturday, coincidentally!), Alex made a huge pot of braised beef and vegetables, and polenta (yummmmm), and we had so much food that we felt guilty eating by ourselves. We called up 3 of our neighbors and invited them all over. They were a little surprised at the last-minute nature of the invite, but I think that they really liked the fact that we thought of them and had them over just because. It's hard for me to do dinner parties like I used to, because we live so far from town and the road to our house can be treacherous in the winter. It's a little too intimidating for most of our friends in town. The only way I can get them up here is by planning well in advance and luring them with a special wine or meal. Or, maybe the promise of some lush white peaches....

Friday, January 18, 2008

Slow

Slow food. Slow year. Slow lane. Slow down.

Everywhere I turn, the signs tell me to slow down. Some of that is already happening, even without my really intending to make changes. Having a baby does that to you, I guess. One of the first things I learned when I met Valentino is that I can't rush him into anything. Late for an appointment? Too bad, he needs to nurse. Gotta get to work on time? Oh well, you can only stuff the baby into his jacket so fast before you piss him off.

Understanding that this was absolutely beyond my control (and not in a creepy John Malkovich kind of way) was actually a relief. An entire adult life spent being early for appointments and never keeping anyone waiting is not without value, but now I have a reason to take my time. The best possible reason. So I do. And I treasure those little stolen moments with my boy, when he is ready to go but is looking up at me with a smile, and so I pause for a few extra moments just to smile back at him.