Thursday, December 29, 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Dylan's two year doctor appointment went well: he's above average for size (88th percentile) but being referred for some speech help to get his word count up.
He's good with "B" and "S" words (Ha!) but isn't stringing enough of them together. Luckily, he's good at pointing and showing what he wants and all his caregivers are good at reading him.
Plus, I'm great at reading people's non-verbal cues, so I can infer more from an eyebrow slant than some people can from an entire conversation. Which means that while I rock at charades, I probably am not helping him stretch verbally, even though we talk and read with him a lot and verbal communication is kind of the lingua franca at our house.
But we'll go get some tips from the speech and language pros so that he can start sparring verbally with his sister, instead of just screeching in frustration or whacking her when she's bugging him.
If he turns out to be a great orator, this will make a funny story some day. Kind of like actor James Earl Jones: he has one of the most recognizable and enthralling voices of a generation but he overcame a severe stutter. Fascinating story.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
On a whim, made first ever cioppino using this recipe http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cioppino/Detail.aspx with reviewer recommendations of clam juice, no water, less butter in lieu of olive oil and other minor edits. Used shrimp, clams, scallops, wild cod.
Dylan ate two bowls and Jason said, "This is the best dish you've ever made in our entire marriage." Favoriting.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Monday, November 07, 2011
We also were the happy recipients of boxes and bags of clothing from family and friends with older kids, who were happy to 'regift' and 'pay it forward' with unworn items once their kids out grew them.
I can't tell you how nice it was to dive into bags organized by size and pull out lovely items for outfitting our kids whenever we noticed newly exposed wrists and ankles poking out of their clothing.
It turns out, there are a number of local places in need of new or gently used children's clothing. Red Tricycle has a bunch on their site and the stories on the St. Joeseph's Baby Corner site were very moving and just who I had in mind for paying our own blessings forward.
Throw in a few gift cards for the other essentials of raising babies and toddlers (wipes, diapers, books, baby wash, fresh food, etc.) and you're providing a lovely assist to parents grappling with the life's challenges, in addition to the care and feeding of growing kids.
Got any other ideas on sharing your bounty with others this pre-holiday season?
Sunday, November 06, 2011
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Women make up a majority of the labor force in five states plus theGeography makes a difference when it comes to women's relative economic standing. So do the kinds of jobs they are working. Which is yet another reason why I love living in Washington state.
nation's capital: the District of Columbia (52.6 percent), Washington (50.2
percent), Rhode Island (50.2 percent), Mississippi (50.2 percent), Massachusetts
(50.1 percent), and South Dakota (50.1 percent).
At the bottom of the list is Utah, where women make up 45 percent of the labor force. Alaska and New Hampshire also have relatively low shares of women in the labor force (45.9 and
46.2 percent respectively).
Friday, November 04, 2011
Knowing the drill, we arrived 95 minutes early to check in and found a line of at least 75-100 people waiting to use the check-in kiosks at Seatac Airport which have replaced the old guys who used to allow you to check in curbside. I later learned the new kiosks were being staffed by a skeleton crew missing three staff, plus a "supervisor" (Joan) who was apparently tasked with telling new arrivals to the mayhem where to go (incorrectly), then castigating them for going where she told them.
There's no crying in
Six hours after arriving at the airport, disappointed, tired and frustrated, I was trying not to cry in front of the children, because after all, that's their job.
"Well," I said, "Since we haven't flown every August for 25 years, and I don't work for the airline, perhaps you can tell me what I should do now since I've been here for six hours already."
But I don't think it's asking too much of airline staff to at least be helpful and considerate - meaning having consideration for the person with whom you're dealing. Meaning assisting the visually impaired traveler or the mom traveling alone with two small kids and helping them to navigate your suddenly broken check-in "process."
Just a thought: perhaps she could be brought in from Chicago to consult with the United staff in Seattle on how to improve the customer experience. Just be sure to remind her to arrive at the airport at least an hour early. 90 minutes tops. I'd hate for her to miss her flight and have a bad customer experience.
|Home again, having survived Seatac-alypse 2011|
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Clearly, you're not imagining your utility bill, or rent/mortgage, or food costs so the headline writer did a disservice to the article and readers.
Perhaps a more suitable headline would be, "Seattle residents ask: Holy $#*t! Where'd my money go?!"
Or maybe "Seattle: expensive, but worth it for high paying jobs, clean air and water."
I once read a schnarky letter to the editor of a women's magazine about an article on the difficult tradeoffs that families make when deciding whether one or both parents should work. It went something like this:
Dear Mag for Women - I read with interest your story about the work or stay-at-home dilemma but couldn't help but think, "What dilemma?"
If you have been blessed enough to give birth through your hallowed loins, for the next 18 years (at minimum) you should forsake any other task that does not relate to caring for and nurturing the tiny life to which you have been entrusted.
That's what my husband and I did: I quit my job to stay home with our children and it's been the best thing to happen to us. Sure, we had to give up frivolous expenses like eating out, new clothes, fancy cars, and any vacation beyond our immediate neighborhood. But our children's well-being is my most important mission and being there for them every minute of every day is my most important contribution to the world.
Also, the smile on my child's face when I wake him up from a nap is worth more than a big house or fancy job title. In fact, I think his smile should be bankable currency, because I'd be so rich beyond belief that I would run out of deposit slips at my local financial institution.
So I think the "mothers" in your article (if that's what they call themselves when they leave their child to go to work each day) should be ashamed of themselves for being so selfish and not giving up the trappings of success to which they've become enslaved. If we can live on one salary, they can too.
Judy JudgementalI so wanted write back in and suggest that Judy come to Seattle or go to any urban area and see how well her approach would fare in an expensive city. Sure, there are those who are able to do it, but as the P-I article shows, unless one or both parents has a very high income, it's not easy.
Smalltown with extremely low cost-of-living, and home prices well south of $100,000, USA
Regardless, people should simply acknowledge that whatever choices people make in life, most of them are doing the best they can given what they know and their resources and options at the time.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
At least we know it's his throat, but he refuses or spits up meds and most liquids. I tried sneaking them in juice, applesauce and sports drink. So far, no dice, except for a little of the applesauce.
Any way to get meds into bacon? 'Cause sore throat or not, he's eating that. And we're in the "I prefer the juice that mom brings more than the one that dad brings, even though it's the same juice" stage.
I hate to see him in pain. The one small consolation is that after refusing everything offered, I asked if he just wanted me to lay with him and keep him company. He slowly nodded yes, and put his head on my shoulder and hand on my neck.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
I love this article and didn't know all this about cartoonist Lynda Barry. http:// nyti.ms/uAn9 iR
Her approach that 'everyone has something worth writing or talking about' is why I blog (unevenly). It's my story to tell and that's enough.
This line particularly resonated for me: I have a real chip on my shoulder about that - the idea that some things aren't art. It's from growing up poor. You run into that your whole life - people of my background and education can't participate.
This is part of why I care so much about the service aspect of my job and giving everyone access to government. There are many people out there who do feel the rich or propertied should have more access to elected officials. Usually it's people who are rich or propertied. I remind them that I'm here to help EVERYONE get better service, information or guidance, not just those with contacts or resources.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Someone on Facebook asked: "What's wrong with that?"
"Absolutely nothing," I replied. "Just stating a fact: mama ain't doin' any home cooking tonight."
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
I've finally grown tired of trying to curl up with Dylan on the crib mattress on the floor to put him to sleep at night. That would be from the crib that he refused to sleep in. Ever. Even though the people at his daycare put him in one and report that he quickly drops off to sleep. Grrrr.
Mere weeks after we bought it at a consignment shop, drop side cribs were outlawed anyway. So he's alternated between our bed and the mattress for months. First in our room on the floor, then in the room he now shares with Ava.
So we found a great deal on a twin bed and mattress on Craigslist and picked it up this morning. The afternoon was spent getting bedding and a new boxspring.
His favorite part of the new bed? The squishy football & baseball pillows that he picked.
My favorite part? If I fall asleep in his bed now, I won't wake up with a crick in my neck that last for days. Winning!
Friday, October 14, 2011
In one case, a kid asked to stop training with someone else and come to Jason instead because he wanted "positive reinforcement." Smart kid.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Conversely, if I attempted the same thing, A) I wouldn't enjoy the show because I'd be thinking about how wrecked I'd feel the next day when the kids come bounding in to wake me up in the wee hours B) I don't drink coffee, so I'd be trying to kick start my day with my standard hot chocolate, which unfortunately, is just soothing, chocolate goodness that makes me want to curl up in a blanket and read something, so I'd be fighting fatigue even more and likely wind up heading to the 'wellness/nursing' room at lunch to take a quick nap instead of eating.
Given a family history of a grandmother who lived until a lucid 100 years, and all her sisters who lived healthily into their 90s, not to mention several aunts and uncles also active into their 60s and 70s at this point (one of my uncles runs 3 miles most days. He's nearly 70!), I probably have a good chance of ekeing out at least another 40 to 50 years, barring any major mishaps.
So I'm planning a 40 day countdown to the big day, during which I do some things to prepare me for the next phase of my life. After all, we spend the first 20 years or so of life being prepared for and preparing ourselves for the next chapter of life or "adulthood," right? So I think it makes sense to take stock of where I am now and start laying the groundwork for what I want the next few decades to look like.
I started by taking stock of the things I've always wanted to try, do, or attempt, but haven't gotten around to yet. Not exacty a bucket list. Maybe more of a "before it's too late to try" and "while I still have the interest and inclination" and "wouldn't it be cool to..." list.
- Renew my study of the French language
- Learn to play chess
- Plan and take a family trip to go innertubing in the snow
- Take a photography class to learn to use our DSLR camera properly
- Do some career planning
- Write letters to people I care about to tell them what they mean to me
- Work with a personal shopper to upgrade my wardrobe
- Sponsor a local family for Thanksgiving or Christmas
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
|Giddy up Dad!|
The horse ride was actually impromptu. We passed a sign as we were nearing the resort and J. said, "You know, I've never ridden a horse."
"What?!" I said, incredulous. "How is that possible?"
"Where would I have ridden a horse in the city?" he asked.
"In the parking lot of Safeway, like me and Ava," I replied.
"Right. Okay, let's turn around! You have to ride!"
So we turned around and pulled in to the riding area, which was really just a shed with a horse trailer and a corral off the main road. We met the friendly horse dude and Jason was introduced to Alvarez, their biggest horse. After a few instructions on steering, they set off through the trees for a 30 minute ride.
The kids were asleep but woke up once the car stopped. They were too young to ride, so we hung out with the remaining horse tied by the shed and tried to counter their nature deficit disorder (NPR).
As we waited for J. to return from the ride, another group of riders came back and one of the women's voices sounded familiar. But I couldn't place her. Finally, I asked her name and introduced myself. Recognition crossed her face too. It turns out we'd worked together at a TV station in Seattle 18 years ago when Jason and I first started dating. Small world, right?
After the ride and catching up with my former co-worker, we continued on to the festival, and let me tell you: that was totally fun. For us and the kids. First off, the sun was shining - in October! - and it was a beautiful, Fall day in the mid-60s.
|There was a hay maze!|
I agree. Add in the hot cider, kettle corn, homemade apple butter we bought, and lunch at Suncadia's restaurant before heading home, it was pretty darn good, and a reminder that we need to get out in nature more. Which I'm totally up for, as long as it's not raining. So unless there's a surprise trip to Vegas or Maui in the next few months, we won't be doing anything like this again until Spring. But at least we have pictures and memories.
Sunday, October 09, 2011
Saturday, October 08, 2011
Earlier today, I helped a couple department directors hand out customer service awards at the Human Resources Division’s staff meeting. In my remarks about how we’re trying to revamp King County customer service, I talked about the “no wrong door” approach and about an epiphany I had while listening to a news story on Steve Jobs and Apple’s impact on the world.
An Apple designer said something like, “Our innovation has really come down to looking at something and asking the question, ‘Why do we do it that way? What if we did it differently? How can we do it better?”
As I told the folks at the meeting, the process improvement effort we’re undertaking is about county employees asking the same questions about our processes, and being empowered to act on the answer with their co-workers and supervisors.
The Jobs quotes below, courtesy of Michael Sebastian at Ragan.com, may provide some similar insights for us.
10 inspiring Steve Jobs quotes to pin to your wall
Next time you're looking for a little inspiration, borrow it from a man whom President Obama called 'the greatest of American innovators.'
By Michael Sebastian
Posted: October 7, 2011
Steve Jobs not only changed the way we interact with technology, but also inspired a loyalty that went beyond mere branding—he created a lifestyle for Apple customers. And, as NPR points out, helped shape popular culture.
Along the way, Jobs also provided inspiration on a variety of other topics. Many of these quotes come from The Wall Street Journal, which compiled them in August when Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple.
Conformity is boring.
"It's more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy."
[from Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple, 1987, via The Wall Street Journal]
Sweat the small stuff.
"This is what customers pay us for—to sweat all these details so it's easy and pleasant for them to use our computers. We're supposed to be really good at this. That doesn't mean we don't listen to customers, but it's hard for them to tell you what they want when they've never seen anything remotely like it."
[via Fortune, January 2000]
Sometimes, focus groups aren't the answer.
"For something this complicated, it's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."
[via Businessweek, May 1998]
What it means to be a creative person.
"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they've had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.
[via Wired, February 1996]
Can you say this about your workplace?
"We're just enthusiastic about what we do."
[via Playboy, February 1985]
The importance of strong managers and coaches.
"What's reinvigorating this company is two things: One, there's a lot of really talented people in this company who listened to the world tell them they were losers for a couple of years, and some of them were on the verge of starting to believe it themselves. But they're not losers. What they didn't have was a good set of coaches, a good plan. A good senior management team. But they have that now."
[via Businessweek, May 1998]
Take note, small business owners.
"Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it."
[via Fortune, November 1998]
Traditional media remains vital.
"I don't want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers. I think we need editorial oversight now more than ever. Anything we can do to help newspapers find new ways of expression that will help them get paid, I am all for."
[D8 conference, via All Things Digital, June 2010]
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."
[Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]
Words to live by.
"Stay hungry, stay foolish."
[Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]
WSJ and Mashable have even more Jobs' quotes worth checking out.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Not only can she hit, she throws sizzling fast balls overhand like she spent spring training working out with a major league ball club.
In my next post, I'll close out the birthday rehash with a scene from late in that day that assuaged my concerns over her focus on all things princess-related. It turns out loving princesses and being an athletic powerhouse are not mutually exclusive.