23 June 2015

i wanna get better

There's a book out called The Fringe Hours.  I haven't read it, and I have no doubt that it's wonderful, but I have a feeling I already know the central message of it: "People in general, but especially parents, use your time wisely.  Get up earlier than is normal for you and create a new normal.  Squeeze in something for yourself in the evening--knitting, running, reading, writing, tinkering, gardening, something--before you go to bed.  Hire someone to do some of your housework.  And occasionally spend an entire weekend sitting on the deck ignoring the chores and projects on your to-do list."

Caring for a child takes a lot of time and energy.  It's absolutely worth it, it's an unbelievable amount of fun and entertainment, and I wouldn't trade it for the entire world.  But it's an adjustment, perhaps especially when you've been married for nearly 9 years before you expand your family.  Most evenings, I'm worn slap out and want to do nothing but sit on the couch with my husband and dog after the kid has gone to bed and watch a couple episodes of Friends on Netflix.

I don't have a lot of stamina left to read books or write blog posts or exercise or cook or fold laundry or make phone calls or crochet a blanket or even look through the mail that arrived.  But giving in to that lack of energy means my whole work week is just that: work.  There's very little play involved.  So I'm going to start trying to use that fringe time.  Wake up just a little bit earlier, exert just a little bit more effort in the evenings, give just a little bit more focus to relationships that I'll be glad I didn't neglect 18 years from now when my kids have begun to leave home.

As part of that, I'll try writing on here more often.  I doubt anyone is still reading this since I've been so neglectful of it, and perhaps one day soon I'll start publicizing the fact that I'm writing in it, but for now I'll just let it be a private goal, between me and the Ukrainian folks who "visit" my site, according to the stats.

Today started with Huck discovering that he could unravel our toilet paper.  And it ended with me getting to rock him to sleep when I got home from attending a goodbye dinner for a coworker who just resigned.  There was some stuff in the middle that wasn't so fun, but ultimately, I guess I really can't complain.

Unless you get me talking about the fact that we have an iMac that hates us.  Then I can do some serious complaining.  World-class complaining.

But I'll save that for another post.

21 February 2015

some sunny day

Last year at this time, I had been in labor for 9 hours.  Little did I know, I still had 25 hours to go before our lump of squishy baby boy arrived.

This year, that boy is no longer so lumpy, but he's still squishy, and for at least a little while longer, he's still a baby.

The icepocalypse has thwarted our birthday celebration plans, but here's what I know: All you need for a complete birthday celebration is the birthday boy, a good meal, and cake.  The birthday boy is currently napping {thanks be to God}, we're going to have broccoli soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, and have mercy at the cake we're going to eat.

{For real.  Have you had the yellow cake with vanilla frosting from Whole Foods?  If not, go right this minute and get one.  It's so much more amazing than it sounds.  Trust me.  I don't joke around about cake, people.}

Never mind that I just came down with a sinus infection yesterday and can't breathe through my nose AT ALL right now.

Never mind that my whole family had to bow out of coming to see Huck celebrate his birthday b/c of the icy road conditions.

Never mind that JLR's poor parents, who are stopping here for a couple days on their way back to California from a Caribbean cruise, may be scared off by all the ice and slush and grossness and declare they're never coming back to our neck of the woods.  {They wouldn't actually say that, I guess, since they're not southern.  They would say something different.  Something much more California.}

Never mind any of that.  We will eat cake, which means we will prevail.

I realize that I haven't posted more than one time in the past 14 months, so there's no record of my child being born or learning to roll over and sit up and throw a ball.  No record of his first smile or his first laugh or his first injury.  No images to let you determine whether he looks like me or JLR or both of us or neither of us.

Let's just take it as a given that JLR and I had a child.  We named him Huck.  We have all survived {some may even say thrived} for an entire year.

And we are having a blast.

Even when he throws tantrums.  And tries to drink from the dog's water bowl.  And runs his plastic hippo into our ankles for the 43rd time in one evening.  And screams like a banshee when we change his diaper or clothes.

Especially when he dances.  And laughs.  And plays hide-and-seek.  And wants to give hugs and kisses.  And is so proud of himself for taking steps on his own.

Stay tuned.  More to come.

03 January 2015

stay with me

Remember me?

It's been...well...a while.

Sorry 'bout that.

Last thing I knew, it was January 1, 2014.

Then I blinked.

And now it's January 3, 2015.

So I guess...Happy New Year!

I really don't even know where to begin with the catch-up session that needs to happen, so I'm just going to accept the fact that there's no way I can do the year 2014 justice and give you the major highlight of the entire year:

Huck was born.

On February 22, 2014 at exactly 3:00 p.m., JLR and I became parents to a very active, very squishy bundle of baby.  We're certain nothing will ever be the same now, but I think that's normal, b/c really, with or without kids, nothing ever really is the same, is it?

In the past 10 months, we've been challenged, amused, supported, exhausted, and completely convinced that Huck is the best thing we've ever done.

We learn as we go.  Parenting is not always intuitive, but it is always educational and it is almost always really, really fun.

Huck crawls around the house now like he owns the place, and I don't expect it to be too terribly long before he's walking and then running, but I'm not wishing away one moment of this time.

I know already that Huck has JLR's sense of humor.  He can't talk yet, but I can tell.  Just you wait.  He'll prove me right.

Stay tuned for more regular posts, but for now, I'm going to let myself ease back into this process.

01 January 2014

raise your glass


I can't believe it's the year of our Lord 2014.  I remember when it was about to be the year 2000, and computers were going to crash and the world was going to stop spinning.  I even remember what I wore that New Year's Eve, and I'm glad fashion has come a long way since that chartreuse shirt, those baggy jeans, and that pair of clunky brown shoes.


I got a little sentimental last night, thinking about how it was the last New Year's Eve JLR and I would spend alone together.  From now on, there will be another human to think about and take care of and keep alive.  And while I was thinking of all these things, JLR was sound asleep next to me.  Obviously we were riding separate trains of thought.

Tomorrow we go back to work, but we've had a nice long break and have accomplished a lot in our time off.  So much that I really don't know where to begin.

So I'll just give a little debrief and save the rest for additional posts.  I thought about making a New Year's resolution to post on a regular schedule, and then I decided to save myself the embarrassment of failing at that and have instead made zero resolutions.

Aim high, yes?

In short, we have finished rearranging our house to prepare for the Kernel's arrival.  We have had two rooms painted.  We have worked on several house projects.  I have learned to knit.  We have spent time with my family in Kentucky.  We have run errands, lunched with friends, and cleaned out junk.  We have put away our Christmas decorations.  And as I take a break from working on painting and polying shelves {don't worry, I'm taking measures to ensure that I don't breathe too many fumes} to write this post, JLR is under the house implementing what we hope will be a fix for a creaky floor in the nursery.

Also, it's really weird that I can call a room in our house a nursery.  We're back to that whole keeping another human alive thing.  I figure if a whole lot of yahoos in this world can do it, so can two capable people.

More to come soon.  Stay tuned.

29 October 2013

dancing bear

My mom is a huge fan of Dick Van Dyke.

Dick Van Dyke lives in Malibu, in a neighborhood just down the hill from Pepperdine's campus.

JLR and I met him at a Malibu High School production of Les Miserables.

My dad and brother saw him at the Chart House on Pacific Coast Highway.

My aunt and uncle got his autograph when they spotted him at Coogie's, another Malibu restaurant.

A girl I worked with my senior year at Pepperdine baby-sat for his next-door neighbors and chatted multiple times with both DVD and his wife.

But as long as I lived in and around Malibu {11 years}, and as many trips as my mom made out there to visit me {a lot}, she never once laid eyes on him.

Bears are my Dick Van Dyke.

I went to Yosemite in the spring of 2010 with JLR, his brother Blake, and Blake's wife Meghan.  Cautionary tales abound about what to do and not do when bears appear, how to store your food to keep from attracting them, etc.

I never saw a single trace of a bear.

And I may have even left a Luden's cherry cough drop out in our tent in the hopes that the scent would draw one close...


I've been to the Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee multiple times.  My dad and stepmom see bears all over the place there.  Other people spot them in downtown Gatlinburg.

But do they show up when I'm there looking for proof that they exist outside of cartoons and zoos?


This past weekend, JLR and I drove east to "camp" with my dad and stepmom for a couple nights.  We stay in their motor home and eat most of our meals at local restaurants, so there's really not much roughing it going on, but it's always nice to be in the Smokies.

Where there are zero bears.

In case you were wondering.

24 October 2013

sugar, sugar

You know what's really disappointing?  Seeing a caterer come into your conference room at the end of an all-day training seminar to drop off a cake...that's not for you.

But hey, Person Who Put in 25 Years of Service, congrats.  Hope you enjoyed your icing balloons as much as I would have enjoyed them.

{Like that's even possible.}

Really, this day has consisted only of training, e-mails, sore feet, scrubbing floors, and various other household chores.

But it has definitely not involved cake.

Of that I am sure.

And at least I'm not bitter.

22 October 2013

where in the world is...

Day one of my new employment situation is done, and there were only a couple incidents that had me shaking my head, so I'll call it a success.

One such incident was when I was introduced to someone who immediately responded, "Carmen San Diego?!" as he shook my hand.

If only I had a nickel for every time I've heard that...

Let's be honest.  If I really had a nickel for every time I've heard that, JLR and I would be so rich that neither of us would need to work and we'd fly to our vacation home in French Polynesia on our Gulfstream jet.

There are vending machines on each floor of the building where I now work.  Odd-numbered floors have Pepsi products in the drink machine.  Even-numbered floors have Coke products.

Guess which floor is mine.  The third floor.

And guess what I am.  A Coke girl.

It didn't make the day a total bust, but it sure does seem to be a sign that I'm not in a lifelong position.

After work, JLR and I made dinner and watched Wheel of Fortune while we ate it.  One of the puzzles was a "What are you doing?" category, and the answer was "Watching the sunrise from the deck."

Is it just us or does it seem like kind of an odd puzzle?  Why the deck, specifically?

Now I find myself in the hour right before the clock hits double digits, and there is laundry to be done before I go to bed, so I guess that means it's time to fold some towels.  Turns out this full-time work gig means you actually have to be there every single weekday, all day long.

{Who thinks of these rules?}

Try not to be jealous of all the glamour we experience on a daily basis.

21 October 2013

9 to 5

Happy Monday!

{Too much?}

This, folks, is my last day of "freedom."  I say that b/c tomorrow, I start a full-time job in the HR department of a large corporation.  I've always worked in "mom and pop" types of settings, so this should be all kinds of different.

I use quotes around freedom b/c really, I'm not cut out for staying at home or working from home full-time.  I'm smack on the line between being an introvert and being an extrovert, so I'm energized both by being around people and by being alone.  Turns out I'm only motivated by being around people.  At home, with no human company and no strict deadlines, the minutes turn to hours and the hours turn to days and I realize I've gotten through half a season of a show on Netflix but I still haven't put away my breakfast dishes or done any actual work.

It's all fun and games till a sheriff shows up at your house at 2 p.m. looking for the guy who used to live here and you have to answer the door in your PJs.

By the way, Guy Who Used to Live Here, in two years I've had two visits from the sheriff's department and one from the IRS.  If I were you, I'd get my crap together real quick-like, b/c eventually, I'm pretty sure they'll locate you.

{Hopefully, Guy Who Used to Live Here, you won't be in your PJs like I was.}

In case any of you would like a pregnancy update, here goes: It's a boy!  We're officially having a mini-JLR, and I think the original JLR is pretty relieved by that.  Other than that, it's just business as usual.  I'm feeling good, we're discovering exactly how much needs to be done before mid-February, and we're trying to enjoy every moment of the process without being overwhelmed by it.  The occasional Ritter Sport, of the Butter Biscuit variety, really helps calm me.  Try it sometime.  You can find them at your local Trader Joe's.  Or in Germany.  They're cheaper in Germany, but the cost of transportation kind of offsets the savings, so it's up to you, really.

And since I don't know where to go from there, it's probably time to work on my last to-do list item for the day.