Thursday, March 27, 2008

Where did I go?

The routine used to be:

1 - sit down at the computer for blog time
2 - visit the sites on the blogroll...try to make interesting comments
3 - check the news
4 - make a cursory check of my work e-mail and maybe reply to one or two messages that needed my attention
5 - focus on the blog

Since I have been in the office a couple of days a week, people have caught on that I am available to do their work for them. Now the routine is this:

1 - sit down at the computer for blog time
2 - check voicemail while the computer is starting up
3- return gazillion phone calls while making sure my favorite bloggers are still around
4 - pull up work e-mail and freak out that there are 20 e-mails: 3 with those little exclamation points that let you know the sender thinks you won't read his e-mail unless he puts his important pants on, 2 with the word "urgent" in the subject line, and 7 that are forwards with only "fyi" addded on top of a string where my co-workers said things to each other that should never be put in writing
5- frantically attempt to answer e-mails while feeding the baby and stalling Natalie until I finally give up and shut down my computer to go take care of family
6 - avoid computer remainder of day

Sunday, March 16, 2008

March of the Whys

These days, almost every request made of Natalie is met with a “but” or a “not right now,” or most often, a “why.”

Mama: Natalie, don’t stand on your book please.

Natalie: Why?

Mama: because it will break

Natalie: Why?

Mama: because it’s not made for that

Natalie: Why?

Mama: because people don’t want to pay for books that are strong enough to be stood upon

Natalie: Why?

This is not going my way, is it?

Mama: because they have budgets

What? Budgets?

Natalie: Why?

Mama: because we have to feed our families and pay our bills

I need a new strategy here…

Natalie: Why?

Mama: Ninjas

Natalie: (laughter) No, mama! Try again!


This post is dedicated to Russell – you would’ve had so much fun with this girl, man. Happy Birthday. We miss you so much.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm a b@#$%, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother

And I’m fond of using song lyrics for my post titles.

Last week I wrote a post complaining about going back to work. About an hour after I wrote it, I began feeling guilty. How can I complain about having a job that pays me well for my skills and is even flexible enough to accommodate part-time work? How much of a spoiled little brat am I that I can bitch and moan about 2 days a week in an air conditioned office where people respect me and my work? There are millions of single moms out there working 2 or more dead-end, minimum wage jobs just to put food on the table, and even more who would give their right eye for even one minimum wage job – not to mention the dual-parent families struggling to make ends meet. I have what they are all dreaming about, and here I am complaining.

Now, having said that, and meaning it 100%, let me say it one more time with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek.

I am a spoiled little brat for complaining about having a really great job.

It’s hypocrisy to pretend that I am so empathetic that I can die to my own self-pity just because I know in my head that I’m not that bad off. I wish that I was able to do that, but I’m not. Instead I’m here in the duality of being honest about how I feel without giving myself license to wallow in it.

There is always someone worse off. I recognize that what I am going through is not suffering. It’s really not anything like suffering. It’s unhappiness, and it’s a valid emotion. I don’t need to feel bad for feeling bad when others are feeling worse, but I do need to keep my own situation in perspective and use that to pull myself up and keep going. I do need to appreciate the good in what I have, even when I don’t feel good about it.

I have something in common with those single moms, too. We are all feeling the same pull to be more – more of a provider, more of a lover, more of a playmate, more of a teacher, more of soft spot for our kids in a hard world – all at one time. We tell ourselves that we can choose, and we call it “prioritizing,” but so often the choices feel like they are being made for us. We have words thrown at us like “working mom” and “full-time mom,” as if there is some kind of part time mom or not working mom. Then we beat ourselves up for being in one category or another when we really want to be everything at once.

In this, none of us is alone. It drags us down and it pulls us back up onto our feet.

And if it wasn’t there, the word “mother” wouldn’t mean as much as it does, so I guess I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Just a quick update

Well, I went back to work this week. It was not fun on several levels -

1 - Isaac won't take a bottle from his sweet nanny, so he ate absolutely nothing the first day and about 3 oz. the second. We will spend the weekend trying out different bottles.

2 - I was at work about an hour before the parade of people eager to tell me about how miserable they are and how stressful the workplace has been began.

3 - I was at work 2 days (TWO DAYS) before my boss asked me to start working more hours than what we had agreed on.

4 - The difference between getting up at 5:30 a.m. and my usual 7:00 a.m. after a short sleepless night is bigger than I expected. Today I took a 2 hour nap with the kiddoes and the laundry sits unfolded upstairs this afternoon. Unimportant, I know, but it still makes me feel out of control.

There is a silver lining, and I will find it. Not today, though.

By the way, the asparagus are not photoshopped. Actually, it is a banana tree that thought it could take on my husband in Battle Royale. My husband is a big cheater and brought a chain saw.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

That is my name too!

According to the internet,
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?
I'm not sure it's true, because the site also says there are 0 people with my husband's name. I knew you were special, honey!
In other Internets news, apparently the celebrity that I most closely resemble is Wen Jiabao. If I force the darn thing to believe I am not a man, then it thinks I look like Geri Halliwell. So....Ginger Spice, or the 69 year old communist premier of China? Really?
I had to do some research on this, so when I upload Wen's photo, it does match it to him, but the female he most closely resembles in Marion Jones. Ginger Spice matched Agam Rudberg (who seems to be some kind of internet pinup girl) and Meatloaf, but not Geri Halliwell.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Or Maybe I Really am Crazy

I really love spring. My family is fortunate enough to have bought a house that someone else spent the time and money to landscape, so this is the time of year when we get to enjoy all the beautiful flowers that we would have killed if they required any maintenance on our part. My husband did the trimming this weekend, and I decided that today would be a good day to take pictures of all the things that are blooming.

We have irises (my favorite):

The Texas classic – azaleas:

Even the oleander is trying to wake up for Spring:
This is where I started to question my sanity:

Are asparagus supposed to get that big?