Monday, July 31, 2006

Serenity Now!

Somehow, according to the comments, my family members have the belief that I'm worried and fearful about what may or may not happen. Which, actually, couldn't be further from the truth. As any responsible parent, I do tend to get anxious about paying our bills since neither Ed nor I have consistent, regular income, but considering THAT (which, trust me, is a lot to consider), I'm fairly confident that things will work out, if not for any other reason than the fact that they have worked out for an ENTIRE year despite daily uncertainty. If I do get the job, great- it's security in the form of I know that I get a paycheck every month (even if it's not very big). If I don't get the job, great - I won't know when or where the money will come from every month, but I do know I have jobs lined up that will most likely lead to more jobs. Besides, when it all gets too much, I have Ed, wine (as necessary), plus, photos or moments like this one of Jack to give perspective.

I will tell you what makes me anxious more than anything at the moment: heat. Or rather, the impending heat. By Wednesday, the weather is going to kick our butt; the heat index is supposed to be around 110 degrees (as if 1 or 2 degrees in either direction will make a difference). The weather folks just say this: it's going to be "hot, humid, and hazy." We don't even get blue sky with the heat; just the constant, oppressive inability to breath too deeply. We bought another air conditioner for Jack's room (we were going to get him a toddler bed, but the money went to keeping him from heat exhaustion; I'm thinking he can wait a while for the bed). My sister has it worse in Kansas. She's got a few days in the 100s-- making Boston's current temp (a cozy 85) sweater weather. I look to the west and imagine the low 70s and wonder, how could I ever have appreciated the seasons without the extreme heat and cold?

I saw a leaf fall from a tree this morning and wondered if this week of heat will be the last before a distinct change comes around in the wind and air. And, it got me thinking not about mourning summer, like I usually do, but rather, about what Jack could be for Halloween (ideas are welcome!). I used to mourn summer in the Northwest - I think because we never really got enough of it; I want to be knocked down by summer, beaten up enough to prioritize weekly trips to the beaches or lakes; lathered in so much sunscreen that I crave long-sleeve shirts and cool evening walks. If nothing else, this last year in Boston has forced us to actually live moment to moment - sometimes it's terrifying, but more and more, it's liberating. Not that I would recommend picking up and moving across the country with a one-year old and no financial security, but hey, security is overrated. And I knew that, I just didn't live it long enough to really know it. And, really, we have more security than most in the world, so what the hell? Time to live it up: crack open the orange juice, Jack--he usually drinks apple--; leave the vaccuum in the basement Laura; and Ed, save those emails for later. Sweat, BBQ and be merry, for tomorrow we bundle up.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Son of a . . .

This is our new favorite wine. It's so nice to have a new favorite wine. Having a new favorite wine means two things: 1) we have a few extra bucks to spend on the wine; and 2) we have the time to not only search out new wine, but to drink it. Bitch is a wonderful grenache blend from Australia. It's amazing. So amazing that when I called Ed last night to pick some up after grading papers he foundthe wine was sold out of the place we originally found it and needed to be ordered. He did come home with another granache blend, bless his heart.

Normally, I don't imbibe on the weekdays (at least not before Wednesday), but I had my 'finalist' interview with the president and provost of MassBay community college yesterday afternoon, and like all of my job interviews lately, I leave feeling exhuasted and certain I fucked up. Of course, I did as fine as I could, but when imagining the two other rock star teachers I'm up against, my 'fine' doesn't seem to stand up. And, of course, I pump myself up for four days before the interview with positive thoughts, research, and confidence (it helps to have a performance consultant in the house) -- so much so that as soon as the interview is over, my low-self-esteem demons seize their chance to invade my thoughts, reeking havoc on my well-won and well-deserved confidence by shoving endless second-guesses about what I should have said or could have said better. By the time Jack was in bed last night, I was going to finish either a bottle of wine or the cookie dough batter in the fridge that Jack helped us make this weekend. Tanins are better for you than butter.

Anyway, I find out in a few days whether or not this next year will provide secure steady income, insurance, and an unbelievably grueling teaching schedule (five classes a semseter plus committee work); or if the year will provide the unstable, if not familiar scramble to teach a handful of courses at various community colleges and drum up freelance work. Like anything, all I hope for is the grace to deal with whatever life brings.

For instance, Jack has been bringing a special blend of grumpiness. He seems to go in these boughts of sheer unhappiness, as if the world is against him (wonder where he gets that...). He has been crying more than usual when I leave him at daycare and by the end of the day, when he's home, nothing makes him happy, regardless if he was with me all day or not. In the morning, he looks up at me from his crib and softly says, "I wanna stay home." It takes every fiber of my being to get him up and prepare him for the reality of his day at daycare (which he does enjoy, but must not remember that until five minutes after I leave). The thing is, if we don't keep him going, it will be that much harder in the fall when he as to go more often. Right? Right? I'm not working this week (other than cleaning out the basement) because the freelance project I'm working on is back to the client until September. I'm beginning to think that life is partially about learning to live as if you are breathing steadily, even if you are holding your breath. Anyway, I have a hunch that Jack has realized that the good life: nana visits, being home with momma and daddy, and trips to the beach are by far preferable to day care and seeing momma and daddy only a few hours a day. Duh.

Ed finishes up one of the classes he's teaching next week, and the other the week after that. We'll have about two weeks to devote to Jack (and the beach). That should make us all good and ready to tackle another year.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

So I've yet to meet a casual Red Sox fan. You know, the type of fan who knows it's baseball season and that's about it. Seattle and the Northwest are full of casual M's fans - the type that root on the M's if and when a playoff run comes, but until then probably wonder, "does that Ichiro-guy still play for them?"

There's nobody like that here. Everyone knows where the Sox are playing throughout the season, who's pitching, and everyone, at all times, knows exactly how many games away we are from the Yankees.

We went out to dinner with Adam and Elizabeth last night.

"We killed you guys yesterday. Five home runs... didn't you love it?" teased Elizabeth.

I did know the M's were hosting the Red Sox - but that was about it. Between the World Cup, school, and everything, baseball has been on the back, back burner. All I could muster was some lame comment about Jamie Moyer still in the starting rotation at age 55.

So we watched the last half of the M's-Red Sox game this afternoon. Jack even got into it, putting on his baseball cap backwards and wanting to "play base-baaaaaalll!" Safeco Field looked great in the sun. Of course it did. What's the saying, "the infield grass always looks greener...."?

M's won on a walk-off homerun. Take that Red Sox Nation.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

July Rocks

Why is that when I finally have some time and energy to devote to blogging, there's really nothing interesting going on... and when it was all interesting, I had no time to write about it? The trick is to set aside blogging time (don't you love the notion of "setting aside" time, as if it's this piece of dark chocolate that you'll savor on the couch tonight at 11:00 even though what you really want to do is crash in your bed and sleep like the dead?). Anyway, since Ed's last written, it's been a great July. I've visited friends in Pittsburgh (first city that I've been to that Ed hasn't since we've been married), and my mom flew the red eye from the Northwest to spend a few days with us. (Do you know that until I was 21, my mom NEVER flew on a plane? And the only reason she faced her phobia was because I was lying in a Nevada hospital after a nasty car wreck - and now, she's flying all over - I say all this because we were and are SOOO thrilled to have family visit. Mom, if you run into any other family members or friends, please tell them how comfortable your stay was an how the humidity really wasn't that bad. Then, send them to the link to buy tickets.)

While my mom was here, we celebrated Jack's 2nd birthday. I imagined that since we were on the other side of the country, that we'd have relatively few presents for him. FALSE ASSUMPTION. Starting five days before his birthday, the packages started coming, one after another. And even though the presents were awesome, all of which Jack loves, just having so many return addressess of various family members made it feel like papa, grandpa, nana, pop pop, aunt Lisa, uncle Steve, Elijah, aunt Bev, Uncle Paul, Conor, Ryan, aunt April, uncle Frank, Lily, Daisy, and Uncle Bryan were that much closer to us. That's the real present. I think if everyone were actually here, gaging Jack's overwhelming exuberance around my mom, he'd pass out from excitement. We received so many presents that I decided to stager the gifts throughout the day in order to avoid overwhelming Jack. My dad bought and sent us a new digital camera (after Jack dropped our other one too many times), so we took a ton of pictures lately (some of which are posted). Our cups overfloweth.

I realized, after a soggy fourth of July, that July is going to be the best month EVER. Not only is July 4th my absolutely favorite holiday, I won't even have time to be sad about the fireworks being over before we are getting ready to celebrate Jack's birthday. The idea that I can get so genuinely thrilled about my kid's birthday is one of those things that trumps all the other inconvenient exhaustions that come with parenting.

Oh, the pictures (thanks, again, Dad). The first one is of Jack in Boston Commons, trying run away from George Washington; the second is the us on the bridge above the Swan Boats (yes, Ed has lost weight; and, yes, he looks great); the third is Jack hugging my mom at Hull Beach where we spent the morning of Jack's birthday(wait... emotional stablization in process... miss you, mom); the fourth is Jack the morning of his birthday, in p.j.'s and in the new coat nana & pop pop sent that we had to bribe Jack out of despite the 80 degree/80% humidity temperature ( at 9:00 am, mind you); and the last picture is, well obvious. What isn't so obvious is the five toddler-size index finger holes on the other side of the "2" candle.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

For those of you who love maps, politics, and polls, I give you this. Enjoy.

File this under "Tomorrow is Promised to No One." Jack and I just drove through that tunnel a few days ago to pick up Laura from the airport. It's really quite amazing when you think they took a freeway that once went around downtown and over the harbor - and buried the whole thing underground. I just don't want to be driving in it the next time a 12-ton slab of concrete comes crashing down. [shudder]

Jack's lastest "thing" - to "scare" us by pretending to be a dinosaur, then come up to us, put his arms around us, and say, "ok, dada, ok, Jack dino-saur..."

I'm convinced that one day they'll find a gene that causes parents to believe their child is the sweetest, smartest, cutest thing on the planet.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Jack was ready for the 4th of July this year....

Summer's in full swing here - I guess typical summer weather in Boston are the 3-H's (hot, humid, & hazy).

I'm TA'ing for 2 classes this summer - both are grad classes. I go to high school during the mornings, in a town just outside Boston, to supervise the grad students completing their pre-practicum placements at the summer school there. It's a relief to be back in a high school - familiar territory. I never got used to being in an elementary school this past year - little chairs, little desks, all that art on the walls - just seemed unnatural. But a high school [exhale] the rows of lockers, the blank walls, the apathetic young adults wandering the that's the school setting I know.

It's not a bad gig. I stay out of the summer school teachers' hair - hang out in the library - grade their papers - and from time to time give them my 2-cents about teaching history or literature to 16 year-olds who don't want to be there. Oh, I lead a discussion section on Fridays (talking education theory with a bunch of grad students who don't want to be there, but that's no sweat. It's a little scary that I would have even the slightest of impact in the beginning of anyone's teaching career - don't do what I did, just do as I say...

The other class is a research class. I don't have much a role, apart from grading papers - which is fine. Actually, I'm kind of like Ed McMahon - Dr. N. (who's a really nice guy) will be lecturing, then say something like, "Ed would agree with that, right?"

"you are cor-RECT sir, yes!"

Saturday, July 08, 2006

It's been just Jack and I this weekend, since Laura flew to Pittsburgh to spend the weekend with some friends. To be honest, I think I owe her another weekend like this since I flew to Vegas last year and back to Seattle for a couple days last March.

Today started promptly at 7am - not by Jack mind you, but by my neighbor from upstairs asking if he could move my car. Oh, he didn't phone - he just poked his head in my bedroom window,

[in thick Boston accent] "Ed, let me use yawr keys to move yawr cahr, will ya?"

I'm all for breaking down the isolation of modern living, but this is ridiculous - he could've waited another hour. Still, he's putting in a patio in the backyard, must've been on a schedule. As it was, Jack was up soon enough. He's now old enough to call for us,

"Dad." "Daaaaaaad...." "Daaaaaaaad!"

Sir Jack now likes to have his milk in his crib for a bit before getting up. It's actually nice - gives me a chance to put some tea on and get his breakfast started. Picked him up from his crib,

"Wet Dad, I'm wet. Change jamee's." He'd spilled some milk on his pants. He wanted new pajamas - we compromised on put on some new bottoms. Maybe I'm not very sharp before 8am, but negotiating with a 2-year old is not as easy as it sounds.

"Momma plane." "Come home."

We had told Jack Laura was "on a plane". Apparently, he must think that's what she's doing this weekend, just flying around for 48 consectutive hours before coming home.

Our big adventure before lunch is to drive to BU and throw pinecones. Don't knock it - on the side of the School of Management are dozens of the best pinecones around (if you wanted to have a good pinecone fight). Jack's a little young for that, but he loves to pick them out, throw them all out of the sidewalk, pick them all up, put them in a pile, and throw them all back below the trees. Then the cycle repeats itself.

"Train dada, big train!"

The T runs down the length of Comm Ave at BU. So every 5 minutes Jack would stop what he was doing to point out another train. For lunch, we went had pizza at Bertucci's (which I think is Bostonian, for "Olive Garden") Our waiter must've thought he was the greatest waitor ever since Jack loved it everytime he brought us something -



"Peetz!" (which is Jack-speak for "pizza")

We drove home after lunch. Jack went down for his nap with his blankie.

"Momma come home."

"Yes, Jack, Mommy's coming home tomorrow."

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Most researchers in learning and behavior would tell you we all tend to seek pleasurable activities and avoid those things that cause us pain.

So what explains why I sit down and put myself through another World Cup loss?

I'm not going to be mad at the boys for not being able to get it done in penalty kicks tonight - I'm not going to pretend I know what it feels like to run for 120 minutes and then stop, place the ball on the penalty spot with everyone watching and score (granted, the ball is only 13 yards from the goal) but - I'm not going to judge.

I'm pissed. And by pissed I don't mean, "drunk", although that wouldn't be such a bad thing right about now. I mean I'd like to lean out the nearest window and scream the cuss word that sounds an awful lot like "duck", being careful to linger on each letter of the word, you know, "FFFFFFFFFFFFF- " Well, you understand.

I'd also like to say duck-you to the Argentinian ref who sent Wayne Rooney off in the second half.

To anyone who likes to remind me soccer is boring and will never really take off in this country - duck off.

To our waitress at lunch today, you don't really deserve to be told to duck-off, but you do suck at waitressing and we waited forever for our food.

To you condesending ducks that like to say outloud that perhaps it's better that Ghana, or Brazil, or Costa Rica win these games, "because that's really all they have..." Duck. You.

Oh, and a giant duck-you to every ducking person who openly root against the U.S. or England - without really supporting a team of your own - as if our loss, against anybody, it doesn't matter, is a small victory for.... who really? Duck off.

Well, that's it really. Can't say that I'm even mildly interested in watching a World Cup Final between Germany and Brazil, or Italy and France, or any combination of the four.

I apologize if this blog comes across as, well - bitter. But I feel better. Thanks for listening.