Monday, August 29, 2005

moving on

Last night, after the kids had baths and brushed teeth, Q and I were cuddled up together on the couch watching some silly show on TV. His head was on a pillow on my chest so I could smell his freshly washed hair, and as we were just there being mom and son, I had the thought: "I'm halfway done with him." He's 9, and in 9 more years, he'll be on his way to college and a legal adult (well - able to vote and join the military but not drink which is a whole 'nother rant). I was lying there and nuzzling his little boy tousled hair thinking that right now, I am his everything. I am the center of his world. He is old enough to be a unique, thinking, intelligent person with wonderful thoughts of his own, and I am still his world. He loves me beyond reason right now, this amazing person. And my job for the next half of my time with him is to make it OK for him to stop. From here on out, I will become less and less of his world. My job is to make sure that I start to disappear. He is supposed to start needing me less and needing others more. The times when I am the first person he wants to share his joys with, and when I am the one he needs and calls for when he is scared - these times are almost done. When he doesn't need me like this anymore, I will know I have done my job well. This job is the most heart wrenching and most wonderful job I have ever known. When he is grown and a man with his own family and life and ambitions, I will be so proud and happy, though a part of me will mourn the loss of the baby/child that orbits me now. But I suspect we are wired such that the bigger part of me will know that the moving on is natural and right and good. It's all OK. Isn't it?

Monday, August 15, 2005

evidence of autumn

I've figured out why I'm having such a hard time with the heat this August (other than the obvious reason which is that we're having a very HOT August). I am already in school mode. I had a meeting tonight with last year's treasurer of the PTA because I was kind enough to volunteer to do it this year. We've already had one PTA board meeting and will have another on Wednesday this week. So I'm already in the mode of thinking back-to-school night, fall carnival, and fundraisers. Similarly, we're moving into fall-mode with my religious education committee at UU. I finish up my summertime curriculum of Harry Potter in 2 weeks so we're starting to plan the fall ice cream social and the autumn curriculum. In several areas of my life, I've moved into autumn, yet it's still 97 degrees outside. Thus, my objection.

The weekends filled up this summer. I couldn't tell you with what, but they did. I didn't get to do my tour of the state with the kids like I'd planned. I didn't restart my reading binge or start my exercise binge.

But all is well. The kids swam and went to Busch Gardens and the beach, and we had lots of cookouts and visited with grandparents and cousins. So I'd say it was a success overall.
And see? Here I go again, acting as if it's over with a somewhat wistful review of the season. We still have 3 weeks until school starts. It's not too late to pull out those Pilates or Yoga tapes after all! Yeehah.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

exhausted rant

I'm punishing this poor 41 year old body by trying to act like a teenager again. We had a sleepover last night - not just my kids, but ME. Q and E's babysitter Paige invited over my family and two others for a barbeque/campout/sleepover. The kids ran wild playing with the chickens and llamas and we all sweltered in the heat and had cold beer and hamburgers and ice cream. The dads ended up out in the tents camping out with the young ones whil we moms sat inside and talked until 3:30 am. Nope, I haven't done *that* in a while, and for good reason, apparently, says this tired body. Then I had to get up at a reasonable hour to run the Harry Potter Quiddich Tournament at UU this morning. And again with the heat... Visions of skiing out at Bryce Mountain keep popping up in my head in a poor attempt to keep myself sane. I'm about to spend the afternoon napping and knitting while I let my kids play gameboys ALL AFTERNOON.

I ended up with lots of things to think about with respect to the kids' school after our late night conversation. I am so naive. It's a little bothersome that I just don't see a lot of the more ugly things that are out there. I have a tendency to explain them away as a defect of my own observation. There are a lot of troubled kids out there, you know, even in our school. Some of the stories Paige can tell (she subs up at the school) are just so sad. Kids learn how to be mean really young. I worry for Q and his fast temper and lack of emotional control because he could so easily be a target for some mean kid, and I worry for E that she'll BECOME one of the mean kids. All I can do is just keep swimming. Middle School....AAAAHHHH!!!! Just keep swimming...

I read an update on the bad man in the woods in the local paper. The disturbing thing is this is not some whacko that ended up around here - he *lives* here. Drunk and waving a gun around - lovely. Thank you NRA. We are all so much safer now knowing that idiots like this guy can buy guns. I've been thinking a lot about how nice it would be to live somewhere like Madison or Berkeley where I'd at least have some connection with most of the residents. As it is now, I have my little enclave of like-minded friends and we comfort each other and wonder why the average person around here is so afraid to think for themselves. Everyone happily spouts the administration's party line and then feels safe because they are "AMERICANS". Gaaa. Forget Madison or Berkeley. Maybe I need to consider a move to France. I can take differences of opinion. What I cannot take is support for an administration that is baseless in fact. How can they not *SEE* what is happening? Just put on those blinders and feel good because you're in the reight. (heh, that was a typo I just couldn't correct).

Well there's my political rant for the week. See what exhaustion does to me?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

E: "There's a bad man in the woods!"

Yesterday was somewhat interesting. Friend K called in the afternoon to let me know that the police were chasing some guy in a purple shirt carrying a gun, who ran out of a neighboring subdivision and into the woods bordering our subdivision. They closed off our entry road and got the dogs to track him down. Woo. I had L over playing with E so I locked all the doors and kept the kids inside. About 3 hours later I heard they caught him. Now curiosity is just killing me. What the h*ll was *that* all about???

I've added a new favorite wine to my personal list: McWilliams Harwood Estate Cabernet (and Shiraz). It's (naturally) Australian. Very very tasty and inexpensive to boot. I just can't get off of the Australian wines. Kathreen (from South Africa) swears that if I like Australian reds so much I'd love South African wines too, but I have yet to really start trying them.

Do I drink too much wine? Mom worries. DH does not. Since they are usually in agreement over most things of importance I'm not sure what to think. I did check on the internet, and found a website here that lists the recommended safe levels of standard drinks per day by country. Let's just say I'd best be moving to France. Here in the US I'm a lush. There, I'm just your run of the mill wine-swilling gal.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Happy, worried, good

Friend K brought this bracelet back for me from their vacation in Minnesota - how cool is that!!??

Our friends Jamie and Jamie are back from their 3 month trip too. We went over to their house last night for about 5 hours and drank wine to toast their brand new house and the kids ran around in the woods in the dark trying to scare each other. Friends are what make my world.

Which brings me to my current worries about my kids (there's always something). Q is back to his old ways of fighting with anyone that comes in his path. He's not physical (other than "accidental" mild pushes and such) so I guess I should be glad about that. He's just crabby and no fun to be around. He was horrible to Paige, his babysitter yesterday. He fights with E constantly. He has some great friends, but I told him they're not going to want to hang out with him when he treats them so rudely. In general, he's improved, but over the last few weeks, he's had a big backslide. Guess I shouldn't worry so much, but when do you know when these behaviors are just phases and when he needs a little extra help to help him deal with his strong emotions? I've got the names of two counselors that have been recommended to me by other moms. I may need to give them a call.

This is a picture of my latest knitting project for my new niece Sarah Beth (5 weeks old). I got to hold her last weekend, and she is a sweetie - all warm and sweet smelling. I love babies.

Oh, and update on the poster saga. Gao and I took the sparkling nice poster printed by my coworker Larry and the sucky poster printer by the professional service provided by Langley to all employees back to Graphics to show them the difference. I was very polite and told them that I would like to use their services, and was letting them know the print quality I needed. You know what I was told? "Well, we're not in the business of printing posters and we don't really care if you take your business somewhere else." Bah!?? We went straight to our branch head and nailed that guy. He's wrong. His company is being PAID to provide a service to us and obviously he is unable to provide it. The real story is that he's an "artist" and really wants to be designing our posters for us. No. Way. Like he would understand the science points I'm trying to get across. Anyway. Things are good. I've got a nice poster to take up to New Hampshire and I was very professional in dealing with this whole thing.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Problems printing powerpoint poster - please perfect process

I really don't like conflict very much. I don't think I do, anyway.

I'm getting ready to go to a data workshop meeting next week in New Hampshire for the latest airborne mission we've done. I did my poster in powerpoint (3ft x 5 ft) and took it to the graphics lab to be printed. Basically, it sucked. It was blurry and you could hardly make out some of my data plots. I took it back to show them, and was told that they only print out what we give them, and that power point is difficult for them to print. I was prepared. I showed them a poster my officmate had done (by them) in powerpoint that was nice and sharp. So then it was because my file must have been of poor resolution. (This is a NASA graphics lab. The incompetence is mind-boggling).

So I took the same file to a coworker who printed it out on his large printer because he's just a nice guy, and of course it looked fabulous and clear and you could actually make out the data points on my figures. Jim and Gao are telling me I need to take this new sparkling poster and the sucky one that graphics did over to graphics tomorrow to show them. They're right - I need to let them know that if they want our business they have to up their quality. But the guy who I'd have to talk to is someone I know and he's a total jerk. So he will take it personally and end up making me uncomfortable and then mad, and then I'll go and spout of something that I'll regret. But I've got to be a big girl and just go do it. Bleah.

And for anyone who has heard my vents about powerpoint, yes I used it. But it was to prepare a poster presentation, not a bullet-laden oral presentation. :-)

I'm looking forward to the meeting. I do feel like I've got at least a basic understanding of some of the issues with this latest mission so I can hold semi-intelligent conversations. I should see some old friends there, as well, and I'm positive Gao will take us to Chauncey's Creek Lobster Pier in Kittery Maine, where he recommended that DH and I stop by on our 10th anniversary trip to Maine last fall. We did, and yes it deserves all the praise. Beautiful scenary - you eat outside on a pier over a river, and the lobster was fantastic. And we'll have a clam bake at the meeting one night too. Oh, I love shellfish. It may just be the butter for dipping that I love, but regardless, I'm anxious to dig into lobster with a cold beer. I love New England.