Monday, October 31, 2011


After gettin back from the ER at 5:30 a.m. I took the day off to stay home with Dylan and we've had a relapse to the excessive crying due to pain.

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.

On the mend

2am ER visit, 2 hours, 2 throat swabs, 2 nurses to help hold him down, 2 meds, 3 stickers, 1 popsicle. Diagnosis: something viral. But meds clearly working: he tried to push every elevator button on our way out of hospital.

Dylan's second ER visit

High temperature, inconsolable screaming and lethargy for normally easy-as-pie kid whose motor is stuck on go? Off to ER. His second visit in eight months.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Everyone has something of value to share

I love this article and didn't know all this about cartoonist Lynda Barry. http:// 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

Ava, seeing oversized male torso ad in Abercrombie & Fitch: "Why is that man showing his nibbles in there?!" Great question kid.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Picking up kids & pull Vietnamese takeout menu from car door pocket. Yep, that's how this working mom rolls tonight.

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

Hope this makes @seattlebuschick smile: at 22 months, Dylan's word count is up to 7 w/this week's addition of "cookie" and tonight "bus."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ava at 11:45pm: Can you lay with me for a minute?
Me: Why aren't you asleep?
Ava: I just am-n't.
Me: "Am not." Go to sleep.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stayed home sick. Always try to tough it out then give in, go to bed & think, "Why didn't I do this sooner?"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Milestone: big boy bed

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

Words have power

Saw this picture on Facebook and was stopped cold. Great reminder. Jason was just telling me about watching the faces and demeanors of kids being publicly berated by sports-obsessed parents and coaches. It's demoralizing to them. Some are old enough/strong enough to shrug it off. Others are clearly not.

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

40 days to 40

By the grace of God, I am closing in on 40 years old next month. Most days, I feel about 28, except when I'm around actual 28 year olds, who I now realize are genrerally much perkier and prone to/able do things like go out to concerts that last until 2 or 3am during the work week. They can then show up for work and say things like, "I'm dragging a little. I need another cup of coffee to get me through the morning."

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
I considered adding "play pool with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson or Hugh Jackman (no, that's not a euphemism and hey, don't judge!), but it didn't fit my criteria of being attainable in the next 40 days and some sort of skill or experiential improvement that would better prepare me for later life. Although an argument COULD BE MADE, believe me.

Like Norman Rockwell

Some fathers and sons fish, some hunt, some do tandem technology.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Urban cowboys and girls

Last week, Ava and Dylan were enjoying pre-bedtime horseback rides around the house from J. Much laughter and squealing ensued.
Giddy up Dad!
J. must have been inspired. After he returned from work Saturday morning, we hopped in the car to go ride horses at the Harvest Festival east of Seattle at the Suncadia Resort. It's a short drive so we were out there earlier this year and about a year and a half ago with the kids.

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.

"Besides there."

"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).
They threw rocks, whacked trees with sticks...

tromped through the grass, kicked dirt on things, investigated ants, stuck twigs in mole holes, and no one lost an eye. It was great!

I worried that Dylan would be freaked out by the huge horse, but hearing it suddenly whinny loudly behind him, he turned around and said, "Sssshhh!" Ava even asked if we could go camping. Clearly their dad's outdoor-phobic tendencies are not rubbing off. Yet.

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!

And a bouncy house for the kids. Directions: 1. Inflate contraption. 2. Insert small children hopped up on Harvest Fest fun, goodies and preschooler adrenaline. 3. Let the mayhem begin. Again: no one lost an eye. So it was all good.

And more horse riding. In fact, I was the only one who didn't get a ride that day.
Dylan may be freaked out by vaccums and haunted houses with animatronic skeletons (there was one at the Harvest Festival), but a several hundred pound pony? Not at all. The lady guiding the kids around the corral began with, "Okay, you're going to have to..." before she could finish, Dylan had already grabbed hold of the handle and was looking at her like, "Next?"

 Ava to lady leading her pony: "This is my best day EVER!"

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

4 yr. olds rock: Ava: what's the weather going to be like tomorrow? Me: You mean today? Cool & rainy. Ava: Okay, I'm picking out some warm clothes to wear.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

What government can learn from Steve Jobs

No, not world domination.

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, 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]

Don't. Settle.
"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.

Used flashlight app on #Android to knit in the car on the ride home. What do you call that? Crafty anachronism? Plain old dork?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Back on my high school campus for a morning mtg. It always makes me feel 15 again. In a good way.