Happy things

Today I cried. That was not happy, but I needed it. My son, not even two years old, came over to hug me and pat me on the head.

Later, I was cuddling with my son under a blanket on the couch, watching Curious George before his bedtime. Both of the dogs came up, Gilly lying down between my and the kiddo with his head on my shoulder, and Trip behind my curled legs. Cuddles with all 3 of my babies at once. Doesn’t get much better,

Even later. Trip snuggling next to me, sarm, his fur so soft, his paws smelling like Doritos.

Mom’s Sick Day

Last week, we experienced one of the inevitable side effects of taking our son to daycare– his first cold. This wasn’t too terrible, honestly, as he only had one day where he seemed really unhappy, and everyone says it’s better for him to get the germs now and build immunity, rather than be exposed to everything at once in Kindergarten. I am lucky enough that my work allows me to take sick time to care for my sick child, so the one day I had to keep him out of daycare, it was okay. It was actually not bad at all, because he slept pretty much all day– just what his little body needed to fight those germs, I’m sure– so I got to have a semi-relaxing/productive day at home. I could have even worked from home, but I didn’t clear that ahead of time, so I didn’t. I’m sure we are in for worse sick-baby days in the (probably near) future, but I felt pretty confident with how we weathered that first little storm. I was kind of worried about the first cold and how tough it would be; turns out I didn’t need to be so worried about (at least) the first cold.

What I should have been worried about was the first time I got sick with a young baby! Two nights ago, my throat began to feel sore. Later that night, the body aches started… pretty soon, the dreaded influenza was full on, complete with fever, chills, and headache. (Luckily I was spared any gastrointestinal discomfort.) But what the crap? Didn’t I get a shot to prevent this?? It’s been awhile since I had the flu, and I’d forgotten how much it can suck. And of course, the baby, who normally is a pretty good sleeper, woke up at 3am alllll sweaty, so I had to change all his clothes, which woke him up thoroughly and made it harder to get him to go back to sleep. Rocking him, trying to get him to sleep without getting him sick(er), was agony. I felt like hell. So I called in sick to work.

I don’t know if I got sick from my son or if I got something else entirely (the symptoms seem to be different), but I hope I got it from him, because I really don’t want to give him what I have! I also don’t know if you’re supposed to bring a kid to daycare if he’s potentially been exposed to the flu from a sick parent… but I didn’t really have any choice yesterday. My body and head hurt so badly that it was all I could do to get him dressed and drop him off at daycare (dad had to work at 6:30 and our daycare doesn’t open until 9, so I had to be the one to do it). I contemplated stopping for a coffee on the way home from the drop off and decided not to– and those of you know know me well know that almost nothing can keep me from my coffee! I drove home, kept the dogs confined, ate half a banana, and went up to bed. I slept until about noon when I got up to feed the dogs, eat something, and pump, then I went back to bed until almost 3. Still felt like crap all evening and went to bed early.

When I woke up at 3 to feed the baby, I felt maybe not quite as bad as the night before. Still, I decided to stay home from work again, seeing as the flu is generally contagious for the first 48 hours, and I figured I could use some more rest.

Today was a little different from yesterday. I got the baby ready for daycare, dropped him off, and then… I got coffee! A better start already. At that point, though, I should have gone home to rest and recuperate. But no, I didn’t. Here’s what I did:

-Made a “quick” Target stop to pick up paper towels, take advantage of a good sale on diapers and formula (for supplementing), and pick up some prescriptions.
-Ended up taking a lot longer than I thought, because I realized we needed some clothes for our family photo shoot on Saturday, so I purchased a couple of shirts, then I picked out a swimsuit suitable for my post-pregnancy body, and picked out Father’s Day cards for all fathers involved.

-Got home just in time to meet the guys who came to tune up the furnace and air (even though they were supposed to come between 4 and 6)

-Fed the dogs and let them out

-Folded laundry

-Wrote Father’s Day card for my dad

-Let the dogs in

-Washed baby feeding implements


-Ate lunch

-Let the dogs out

-Watched 1/2 hour of TV while doing Target survey in hopes of winning a $25 gift card (I didn’t)

-Let the dogs in

-Tried to take nap, couldn’t sleep

-Let the dogs out


-Put blankets in laundry

-Gathered paper and plastic bags to recycle

-When the spouse got home with baby in tow, loaded up baby and went to Menard’s to pick up a new filter for the furnace

-Went back to Target to recycle plastic bags and pick up a couple things I forgot

-Nursed baby

-Put dinner in oven (okay, it was a frozen meal from Let’s Dish– thanks, Mom and Dad!)

-Fed dogs and let them out

-Put cloth diapers in wash

-Ran dishwasher


-Ate dinner

-Nursed baby again

-Put baby to bed

-Chased down dog who had escaped from the yard

-Turned mattress and hanged sheets on bed

-Emptied dishwasher

-Washed non-dishwasher-safe dishes

-Washed baby feeding implements again

-Checked to make sure baby was still sleeping (he wasn’t)

and finally

-Nursed baby again and put him back to bed (which took like half an hour)

So…. yeah. So that happened. 😀

My throat is still sore, but tomorrow I better go to work. I’ll get more rest there.


A Day in the Life of an Introvert

This is an account of a fictional but pretty typical day.

7:40 am: 

I stop for coffee on my way to work. Since I stop there frequently, I know the baristas.  At least, I know them by sight, and they know me (and my drink order!)– as far as I know they don’t know my name. I walk in and see that it’s the dark-haired girl making drinks. I only know her name because randomly they wore name tags for a couple of days. The dark-haired girl’s name tag read “emily.” I like her–she’s nice.

But do I rejoice that I will get to talk to her? Nope! Instead, all kinds of thoughts are running through my mind: When should I say hello– right when I see her? She looks busy. Should I say my drink order at the register, or do I assume that they remember it when I hand them my reusable mug?

I overhear another patron asking emily about her vacation. Do they know each other outside of the patron-barista relationship? How, in interactions that last a few minutes a day, did they get to the point where they know about each other’s lives? I don’t know how to do that– I can make conversation, but it’s restricted to the niceties and talk about the weather. Which, granted, in Minnesota is actually an interesting topic, but still.

At any rate, I have cordial but superficial interactions with the dude and the dark-haired girl as I go about getting my coffee. They make excellent coffee, which is an introvert’s best friend.

8:15 am:

I get to work and get settled in, and open up my email. There it is: a message from Auto Forward, with the subject line “Fwd: (612.XXX.XXXX) 01:18 Voice Message.” It’s a voicemail. Oh, crap on a cracker, I think as I put in my headphones to listen to it. As I listen, I evaluate whether I can justifiably respond by email instead of calling the person back. Maybe the caller will leave an email address in their message, thereby giving me permission to respond by email. No such luck. Or, maybe it’s one of my students, who has questions that require web links or attachments?  Nope, it’s a parent–strike two. Even worse, they don’t specify their questions in their message– it’s just “I have some questions about the Montpellier program.” So there’s no chance I can just call and hopefully leave the answers on their voicemail. No, there is simply no way around it– I am going to have to have a phone conversation.

As I pick up the phone and dial the number, I can feel my heartbeat speed up and my body temperature rise. Why! I know I will have the answers, and more often than not, the parents I speak to on the phone are pleasant and thank me for answering their questions. This is the case today– the mother I speak to tells me I’ve been very helpful and thanks me for my time. There’s no rational reason to be nervous, but there’s just something about this method of communication that causes me stress. It’s infuriating.

I’m Badass!

This weekend was pretty fricking awesome. Saturday we went to a wedding reception/open house (very informal) for two of Rob’s coworkers who recently got married. Then we went to a birthday party for the spouse of one of my coworkers. We rode the motorcycle to the birthday party, because it was in Uptown, where it is always impossible to find parking, and also there was an art fair going on that day so we knew it’d be even worse than normal. It was only my second time riding on the bike, but I did fine. I’m actually starting to kind of like it. It was awesome to quickly and easily find FREE parking (unheard of with a car!), and I did kind of love that when we showed up with our helmets, my coworkers said it made me “even more badass than I already am.”

Yesterday we had brunch with my parents and my brother and sister-in-law. YAAAAY! So awesome to see my little bro.  We went on a quick motorcycle ride with my parents while the bro and SIL had to run over her parents’ place for awhile, and that was pretty awesome.  Then I had Fest practice/performance at an event put together by Can Do Canines, a local group that trains service dogs. So not only was practice fun (PERFECT weather!!), there were adorable dogs everywhere. Dogs are seriously the best ever. I regretted that I hadn’t brought my dog with me! Then after practice, it was back to my parents’ house to shower, then we went to an Indian restaurant for dinner. Yummmm! Then home to the spouse and pup for pack cuddle time while watching True Blood and Newsroom. Very nice weekend.

What a crap day….

This morning: first I notice that unexplained charges have appeared on my credit card. Luckily, I called the bank and I think that will be resolved easily and quickly.

Then, I called to schedule the physical therapy prescribed to me by the TMJ specialist I went to see, to whom I was referred by my dentist. Along the course of scheduling my PT, I learned that since TMJ is covered by my medical and not my dental insurance, I need a referral from my physician, not my dentist, in order for the expenses to be covered. What? How was I supposed to know that? Who goes to the doctor for TMJ? So now, I’ve already had the mouthguard made, but I had to call retroactively to get my doctor to give me a referral so I don’t have to pay the entire $1000+ cost of the mouthguard, and also to give me a referral for the PT. She’s doing it because she’s super awesome (loooove my physician!!), but…. my God! Insurance complications, so annoying….

The worst part of all of this is that it required me to make two phone calls.

In other news, tonight I need to clean the house and would like to sew a chemise to complete my new Fest garb. Tomorrow, 3 hours of Deadliest Catch— 2 hour season finale + 1 hour of After the Catch. The last 2 episodes of After the Catch have had some quality Josh Harris interviews/footage.  Looking forward to more of the same tomorrow!


Last week one of my husband’s friends passed away very suddenly from a stroke. He was 45. My husband, obviously, is quite upset, although he’s doing better this week. Since it was Easter weekend, they had the wake last night and the funeral was today. I went to the wake with him, and it was nice—of course it was sad, but people shared a lot of fun memories about him. But it was still very emotionally exhausting (not just the wake, but all of last week). I wasn’t able to go to the funeral today because I had work obligations I couldn’t get out of—a visitor from the French consulate. Luckily, another of my husband’s friends who lives just down the street from us was also going, so they went to the funeral together.

My visit today was quite enjoyable—the visitor was quite young, only 22, and really sweet. It was fun talking to her. (I was afraid she’d be old and cranky and we’d have nothing to say!) I am glad to know her, and although I sometimes (okay, always…) dread these visits, I am also thankful for them because I do get to meet a lot of really great people through my work.

Tomorrow I have a bit quieter day, just an orientation, and Friday I have my advising shift and then an all-afternoon orientation for my students going to France. Another exhausting day that I’m not looking forward to.

The weekend will be busy too—I’m speaking at an event on Saturday morning for my masters program, then it’s off to “Easter” dinner with my spouse’s family right away, then Sunday I have practice with my Fest group. No downtime, basically, over the weekend.

My BFF and her fiancée want me to come out and meet them on Thursday night for drinks, and I feel like I should go because I am the matron of honor, and I am planning the wedding shower and bachelorette party, along with their other friend. The planning is basically all done and they didn’t say that the meeting was for planning. But I feel like I should go.

I am just so exhausted already, and I was looking forward to alone time on Thursday night (my spouse is hanging out with his friends). So I really don’t want to go out. I probably won’t go…

Sometimes being an introvert makes me feel like a bad friend.

A Good Day

This morning, I slept in, then I woke up, took a shower, went to look for some underwear to put on, and realized I hated all my bras and most of my underpants. I hate spending money on that stuff, so I always put it off until they’re all stretched out and misshapen and uncomfortable as heck. This morning, I decided I was sick of my bras riding up and my underpants being generally uncomfortable, so I threw away almost all of my old ones, and went to Target and bought all new ones. I don’t buy expensive underwear, at least not for every day wear, so it cost me under $100. Not too bad.

At Target I also got a cup of coffee at the Starbucks there. That was good except the guy who works there always says, “Thanks a latte!” It annoys the crap out of me. The first time it was kind of cute and funny, but I I’ve heard it many times since then, and I hate feeling obligated to force out a chuckle to be polite. Ugh.

But that was pretty much the low point of my day. When I got home, I put on a lovely, new, comfortable bra and sat down to work on formatting my thesis. I wanted to watch TV in the background, and nothing much was on, but Robin Hood (the new movie, with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett) was on HBO, so I put that on. I’d heard mixed things about it, but I ended up really liking it. I missed the very beginning and didnt pay complete attention to it, but I became interested and when I was done formatting, I just sat and watched it without doing anything else– something I rarely do!

Trying to Eat Right

Recently I’ve been trying to get back into tracking my eating habits to make sure that I get the proper nutrition, and don’t eat too much junk food. I’ve had a couple of streaks in the past when I was really good at this for a long time, but eventually got out of the habit of doing it.

The tool I use to track my eating is great, and I like it even more now because between the last time I used it and now, they have greatly modified the site to really help you track your nutrition, not just your calories, fat intake, etc. It is Calorie Count from About.com. And it’s free!

Last time around, I was also restricting calories because I was trying to lose a few pounds, and that was discouraging because I didn’t see results and I felt hungry all the time. This time around has been better so far, because I’m really focusing more on the nutrition aspect, which is a better motivator for me. The motivation to lose weight is really society’s goal for me, not my goal for myself. Good nutrition and general health is more important to me. Plus, aiming for my maintenance number of calories is easier than weight-loss number, and if I got a few calories over (which I’ve actually only done once so far this time), I’m not stressing about it.

Unkind Radio DJs

Lately, the radio show I typically listen to on the way to work has been really cheesing me off.

It all started the other day. They have this bit where people can call in and the DJs will weigh in/ask listeners to weigh in on a problem the caller is having. So the other day, the caller’s problem was this:

She’d gone on a few dates with this guy, she really liked him, and the night before they’d been making out and heading in the direction of getting intimate for the first time. All of a sudden, the guy stopped and said he had to tell her something. The something he had to tell her was that he has a vestigial tail. She said even though she really liked this guy, the tail was a deal-breaker.

WTF? You really like someone and you can’t overlook the fact that they have a small (3-4 in.) vestigial tail? I think it’s sort of cool, actually! She could have at least given it a chance. But she sounded like a shallow b*itch anyway (incidentally, she had the same first name as me– that ticked me right off!). The thing that really got me is that the radio DJs were right behind her. “Oh yeah, that’s a total deal breaker” and making fun of the guy and everything. Granted, most people get those removed at birth, and one wonders why this guy’s parents didn’t have that done, but is it really THAT big of a deal? And what if the guy had been MISSING a limb, instead of having an extra one? Would they have still made fun of him? I don’t think so. UGH, shallow people!

So then the next day, they were doing “Treywalking” (like Leno’s Jaywalking) where their producer, Trey, finds a random person on the street and asks them questions. So the guy he picked the other day was an 18-year old, and when Trey asked him what he did for fun, he said he played the cello. The DJs were like, “Ohhh, a cellist, I don’t know how he’s going to be,” in a kind of derogatory way, implying that he’s obviously a total geek for playing the cello. He did get all the answers wrong, but they were all things about sports and pop culture– I would have gotten them all wrong too! The DJs were totally making fun of him the whole time, saying things like, “He’s terrible!” and “He’s a geek!” Are those things REALLY that important to know? I’d have been more concerned if he didn’t know the name of our president or something like that, but what pop star just announced that she’s divorcing her husband? Who TF cares?? Good for the kid if he has better things to do than listen to celebrity gossip.

Fest 2010: Sixth Weekend

Sixth weekend was tough. I really wanted to go out both days, seeing as it was the penultimate weekend, but due to the nasty cold I came down with at the Learning Abroad Fair (see entry above, “A Long Day of Extraverting Takes Its Toll”), I was still super sick on Friday night. I already missed 2 days of work, and I really didn’t want to have to miss more, so I decided it would be best to stay home from Fest on Saturday.

Sunday was a good day, but pretty uneventful. We did our normal busy morning schedule, and then I wandered around for a bit, and then between our 2 afternoon shows I took a nap. Well, I didn’t really sleep, but I was close, anyway. I found out that it is a bad idea to near-sleep for an hour and then wake up 20 minutes before a performance – I was still waking up when the show started and I couldn’t remember how the first tune went!

I ended up have a relapse of my cold that night. I got back to my folks’ place at about 7:30, and I was ready to go to bed by 8:30 or 9, but my dad was going to give me a ride home when he went to pick up my mom at the airport, and that wasn’t supposed to be until 10. So I hung around their place, and as I sat there, I started feeling sniffly and stuffy again. As it turns out, I didn’t get home until after 10, and not to bed until after 11, and I felt quite icky again. But I was okay for work on Monday.