Please be patient

I am screwing around with a slightly new design. I am not getting it to work (and since I pay for this, it damn well BETTER work)

So, please pardon the mess as I try to clean it up!


Now that I have it to my liking, what do you think? Too big? Too much? Icky?Great?

MUST NOT SLAM HEAD INTO WALL!

I am TRYING TRYING TRYING to submit my manuscript for the conference in May. I submit it in postscript format and they convert it to PDF and then you review their formatting. I am up to try #5.

  • First try: Figure 1 is not correct, too large, beyond the margins
  • Second try: Figure 1 is missing half of the data points
  • Third try: Figure 1 is fixed, figures 2 and 3 are a mess
  • Fourth try: all figures are beautiful, but the page order got reversed.

I am this close to slamming my head into a wall. THIS SHOULD NOT BE THIS HARD!

Wednesday

(This was written yesterday and transcribed today)

Wednesday, 3:05pm
Cambridge Mass, East.

Here I sit, in a windowless room, on the east side of Cambridge, writing a blog entry on paper. Yes, I have a rare minute (30 of them) of "down time", that mythical beast which fears the computer and iPod. To complete the mood, I have a non-fat-2-pump mocha and a peanut butter cookie from Starbucks (aka the Mermaid store). How have I slain the overschedule monster? Easy! I over scheduled myself. I planned for a meeting to go for 2 hours and it only went 1. This left me enough time to relax before my 3:30-5:30 meeting. Since my office is on the OTHER side of Cambridge, I am separated from my computer. Not bad.

This morning, I met Tigermama. I first met her when I was dancing* with infertility. We got pregnant the same month. Her daughter is 4 days younger than Soleil. In those 5 years, we had never physically met, something to do with west coast-east coast. She is moving to Vermont and flew into Boston. This was a great excuse to get to meet her! We met for breakfast. The girls, Soleil and M, hit it off once they were fed. I hope we can get together over the summer to play.
I am not sure, but I think the combo of meeting Tigermama and Johnny’s post got me thinking. I find it odd how I can reach out across a T1 line and feel connected to people who I may never get to meet. I have precious little telephone time, even less at corresponding, but put me in a room of interet women and I won’t stop talking.

My friend Becca (of the internet) hosted our meeting in Feb. I cannot tell you how relaxed I was at her house. How it felt like I had been the best of friends with her and all of the women at the house. I know if I lived closer, I would be going out with Becca on a regular basis. Or L. SHe’s only 6 hours away, but we have only gotten together once. I waved in her general direction once. It is amazing how we grew up about 40 miles apart. Or CL, who lives in the mid-west near a city I doubt I would ever had a work reason to visit. Or Lisa, out in AZ whom I hit it off with much better than I thought. And of course Victoria, who has lost her internet voice during the day and I miss her emails every single day.

Why can’t I find these sorts of connections with the women around me? Why?

* normally I would use struggling, but that just sounds so violent.

Just a day

I actually got sleep last night. In fact, Luna has slept through the night 4 of the last 8 nights (5 if you count the day she woke up at 5:30, but Dr. Jay isn’t counting that because he tried to get her back to sleep for an hour)

This weekend was soggy. Rain, rain and more rain. It made Sunday very difficult, especially when Dr. Jay was gone 80% of the girls’ waking hours between softball and grocery shopping. Then yesterday was soggy, but we drove an hour towards the Cape (Cod that is) to pick up a table from Criag’s list.

Here’s a photo of the table. It wouldn’t fit IN the Rav4, forcing me to strap it to the roof  rack (YES, I brought the tie downs). The girls were thrilled. The woman selling it was, well, a pain. I found her selling this on ebay for $65! That was WAY too much for a used table. So I emailed offering $40. She ignored me. Then she went on Criag’s list and offered other stuff. I tried to buy another table from her, but she was upset I didn’t reply right away (I told her I was out of town), but then she said she had this table. I wrote back saying YES and again she claimed that she sold it to someone else. Grrr. So I waited a week and she wrote back that she still had it.Table

She claimed she cleaned it. HA. There were so many spider nests I was getting the willies trying to clean it. But the girls helped and we got it all cleaned up. It is sitting in our living room and around 4pm, Soleil strapped on her bike helmet, tied a tape measure around her waist and went "rock climbing" on the table.

I love buying things "gently used" for the kids. It is so damn expensive anyway to buy new and why waste the plastic (yes, it is number 2 recyclable, but that’s not the point). I have my eye on a playhouse at ebay right now.

After a long day of mommy and the girls, Daddy comes home. At this point, mommy is chopped liver and hides. I come down to watch Lady and the Tramp* with them, but Soleil comes and sits on my lap. Followed by Luna.
Here I am, the person they have spent all day with, getting tons of loving while watching tv. Luna kept reaching up and stroking my cheek.

* There is ONE scene in this movie that drives me insane. It is when the Siamese cats sing. It is so overtly racist that I get sick to my stomach watching it. The cats have buck teeth and speak in a poor construction of English so to indicate that they are "different". UGH. I hate that stuff. Thanks Uncle Walt, you stupid bigot!

Cue up!

What a man. Last night, we were test driving a new babysitter. She was GREAT, by the way!
So we went out to dinner and to shoot some pool. Dr. Jay offered to buy me my very own cue. Now. in no way am I a "great" billiards player. Really fun stuff, enjoying when I blow a shot, just a fun night out.
But I have used a nice cue before and it makes the game more fun. We spent about 20 minutes debating and getting taught what to look for. Then we got this guy.Cue1
Guys

I love it. It is as smooth as silk. I felt far more confident and sunk some amazing shots. I also blew alot more than normal because I had the guts to just shoot on instinct and not worry about the stick.

Check out the closeups of this puppy!Shaft1

I love this man, Is he not the best?

Sleep Under

Tonight, we are trying a new concept. A sleep under.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of a sleep over. The jammie time, the pillow fights and other fun things. But with kids under 5 or 6, a sleep over is just too much. The concept is great, but the reality when it is time to go to sleep and you are not with mommy or daddy is just too much.

So tonight, Soleil’s best friend Rachael is coming over for a sleep under! We are going out to dinner at Friendly’s (aka the Ice Cream Restaurant) and then over to our house. The girls will play and then get dressed for bed. Popcorn will be made. Cinderella goes in the VCR and they can watch the movie. Then we will read some night time books and Rachael and her parents will head home.

I think this will work well. Rachael will conk out on the ride home and Soleil will be thrilled to have a sleep under!

Good Harbor

 I started a new book today while I was exercising called "Good Harbor". I remember this book was politely panned in the Boston Globe when it came out. The author only has one other work of fiction, and it was amazing. However, she had good background material! (ok- in doing the link search I found she has a new book out as of 8/05)

As I was reading this book, I was immediately drawn in. First, the two main characters are Jewish; one from birth, one from conversion. Secondly, they are both mothers. Thirdly, one of the characters went through fertility treatments to have her 12 year old daughter. The other character has lost a child.

As the one character is exploring her relationship with her daughter, I am compelled to think about Soleil and Luna in 8 years. Soleil will be 12, Luna 10. Will Soleil shut us out? Will she be a "typical teen?" Will Luna be hurt by her sister’s need for isolation? Will I keep my cool when she goes hormonal on us? And when Luna reaches that phase, will Soleil help her? Or will the house just be full of three hormonal women?

Soleil gives us glimpses of the future. She is very testy and has always been. She will run off to her room and shut the door to have alone time. We have told her this is fine. I usually stop by and talk to her to see if she is ok, and we have a heart to heart. But this is so not 4 year old behavior (ok, she’ll be 4 in July). Our cousin who has an 18 year old and a 12 year old (both girls) told us that the behaviors you see as toddlers come back when they hit the teen years.

Luna is still to young to gage. She has this happy-go-lucky attitude that I can barely understand. I wonder how she will be as her personality really emerges in the 2-3 year old phase (ok, she’ll be 2 in June)

My Kid won’t…

BK (before kids), I would hear this phrase often. Usually from my mouth. "My kid won’t (fill in the blank with hideous behavior)". Then I became a parent. And something happened. I realized that I can only control a portion of my child’s behavior. I cannot force her to do certain things.

Here’s an example:
Luna. Yesterday. On the plane. She cried during takeoff and promptly fell asleep after that. I could hear the voice saying "My kid would never do that" in the background. But the child was tired. She was confined to a row of seats on an airplane and didn’t understand WHY she had to sit still. That’s a tough thing to explain to an almost 2 year old.

We realized pretty early in this parenting thing that kids are, well, kids. They are not miniature adults. They are not born with a built in obedience system. They are people who are learning how to work within themselves, their emotions, their physical limitations and the outside society. That’s a lot on their plates!

Our family made the decision that we would raise our kids to be respectful, but not necessarily obedient. I wish that they would listen and do what I ask more, but instead, I ask them to talk to me about what they want to do instead. We often have discussions that go like this:

Me: "Soleil, could you please pick up the toys?"
S: "Not now"
Me:"Yes now"
S: "No!"
Me:"Soleil, can you tell me WHY you will not pick up those toys?"
S: "Mommy, I am building a car and I need those toys"
Me: "OK, then when you are finished building the car, please pick up those toys"

(shaking my head thinking, Why didn’t you just tell me that in the first place?)

The answer? She is a kid. She isn’t born with the skills we adults have. As you become a parent you do understand the phrase "pick your battles" and you understand that your kid WILL do those things that
you never wanted them to do pre-kid. It’s our job as parents to teach our kids what behaviors are acceptable, and what aren’t. And we have to expect to remind them often.

Because they are their own person and they are people with their own wills and wants.

And yes, Your kid WILL do that. At least once!

Home Depot hell

As you may have noticed, I love working on our house. We actually have several projects set up this year. Our latest has been the master bath (which is very small). Toilets are our specialty, leading to many colorful phrases in our home.

We recently had the floor re tiled. Dr. Jay and I decided to be environmentally friendly and switch out to a 1.6Gal flush toilet. We researched and bought a K0hler from Lowes. Dr. Jay went to set it up. All looked great. Then he turns on the water and water poured out onto the floor. He undid everything and put the tank (which was factory sealed) onto the sink. Filled the tank and the water leaked right out of the seal. He was pissed to say the least.

We mentioned this to our tile guy. He immediately told us of the industry secret. Home Depot and Lowes have deals with many large manufacturers. K0hler, D3lta, and M0en and many many other companies produce a lower quality product for them, but sell them under the same name. For example, the toilet we bought was most likely made at a plant the produces lower quality goods, so Home Depot and Lowes can sell them at a nice profit.

The more I looked into this, the more I heard from other people that they had the same experience. Tools are the same way. D3Walt tools are not the same at Home Depot. If you buy one and it breaks, D3Walt will not fix it. You have to take it to Home Depot.

I was saddened by this. We had originally bought our tiles at Home Depot. But our tile guy suggested a different place. We looked and bought at the other place. The tiles at the other place were more expensive and CLEARLY better made. They were thicker, more uniformly glazed.

So buyer beware. We have decided that we will no longer buy "big" items from the box stores. We can do better going to our local place, that is pricier, but get better quality.

I’ll post when my eyeballs fall out!

We are back. On a 7:30 am flight from Cleveland. Did you know that Luna could scream loud enough to be heard across the entire plane? And that I didn’t give a damn? Any person who flies these days has to expect a screaming child. That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

I am exhausted. The girls were merciless on this trip. Soleil was literally going to bed less than 1 hour before we did and got up overnight and was ready for the day at 7am EVERY SINGLE DAY! I am exhausted. Luna was not much better. She refused to go to bed. When she did fall asleep, she wanted to be in our bed around 2:30am, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Except the first night when we foolishly let them sleep together. Luna woke Soleil. I finally calmed them both down when Luna saw this 3 foot tall statue/doll in the room. It is one of those odd pieces where the doll looks like a kid standing in the corner crying. I never understood why people bought those. Anyway, the fabric of the time-space continuum was ripped as Luna saw this doll. She sat up "SYLVIE" she screamed. Then looked to the other side of the room where Soleil was just falling asleep. "SYLVIE"? She started to whip her head back and forth as she looked at the doll and her sister trying to comprehend how Soleil could be in both places at once.

And this morning… Did you know that a 21 month old could pitch an amazing fit just because she doesn’t want her jacket off for security? So much that the screener almost let her through with it on, but the other screener and I told her the zipper would set it off and we would put the girl through more torture. And then, as soon as we got through, and I got it back on, she wanted it off.

I still am working on this stupid paper. I have 4 and a half pages. I need 8. Shoot me. I will finish it. I have just found about 3 more paragraphs to write plus I have the bibliography to write, acknowledgments, etc…

I am so tired, I need a vacation from this trip. I told my boss about it today and he told me to take a day off if I needed. I may just do that, Friday. I need to finish this paper first.

I just reread this post. Damn, is it boring. I have more to write, but not right now. I am so exhausted and I am trying to keep up with my blogs (I need More Tuba), my kids and my science. How the hell do people do this? Am I really such a loser?