What Have I Done Now?

Last Spring I was recruited to join the PTA at Kamryn’s school for the ’12-’13 school year.  Actually, I wasn’t asked to join, but to run for one of the executive positions.  I agreed to the Financial Secretary position – the description made it sound like all I would be doing is counting money and depositing checks.  I got my start in the working world (at least post-college working world) as the Operations Manager for a bank.  I could handle a little elementary PTA position.

My idea of PTA moms consisted of all stay at home moms, wearing dresses with their hair “just so” and smoking cigarettes.  I saw a movie depicting a mom in the PTA and that’s what she looked like and beyond that, I knew nothing else.  I got quite an eye opener at our first board meeting a couple of weeks ago.

All I can say is “Wow!”  And really, that’s all I can say.  I’m not at liberty to discuss any of the goings on of the meeting.  I will say this, though, I have to do a helluva lot more than deposit a few checks.

One of the other things I did, ignoring the advice of a friend, was signing up as a chair for two PTA sponsored events.  The first is compiling and organizing the school directory.  I thought this sounded pretty easy and I used the directory quite frequently last year so I felt it was something that I could “give back”.  Kamryn has 825 kids in her school.  Each family can choose to put in a listing that includes, phone numbers, emails and addresses.

I did not think this through.  There was a reason that chair position was still open.

I’m not saying I regret my decision to join the PTA or even take on these extra activities.  I just didn’t realize that things were taken so seriously.  Everything is very closely monitored and discussed at great length.  It kind of blows my idea of sitting around drinking coffee and eating donuts every month with out of the water.  Apparently those things cost money and are only budgeted for certain meetings.  Damn.

Vacation From Vacation

I always hear people saying they need to rest when they get home from vacation and I typically feel the same way, but it’s because I’m traveling with my kids and that is usually exhausting.

Ryan and I went to Chicago aloneon Thursday and got home this afternoon and I feel like I need to sleep for a week.  This may be better illustrated with photos.  See if you can spot the common theme.  Enjoy!

My Iowa ladies.

The Cubs Crew. I swear that is water spilled on my shirt – not beer.

Go Hawks!

I have to give credit to Kellie for letting me wear her hat – I think I invented an alternate personality when I had it on.

I kind of surprised myself at not riding the bull – that seems like something I would be doing without an ounce of hesitation. It must have been the hat. Ryan, on the other hand…well, let’s say we had a bit of a roll reversal.

And I’m done. I slept for 2 hours on the plane – that mouth agape, drooling sleep. No picture of that.






Vacation Post III

Last night, after spending a day at Wrigley Field, we headed back to Miller’s Pub for dinner. Ryan and I had stopped in at this place the night before for a night cap and we met Frankie. Frankie is a homeless man, but he told me he always keeps a smile on his face. He said he tries to get $53 a day so he can get a room because he’s tired of sleeping in the park. Frankie was outside again last night and was smiling from ear to ear. I asked him if he got enough money to get a room and he said he did. I had told all of my friends about Frankie and within a few minutes we had dinner for him, over half his cash for a room and a potential job greeting customers at a bank.


Did I mention Frankie has a huge white afro? He thanks his grandfather for that.

If you’re in downtown Chicago anytime soon, go see Frankie and help him out. He’s got a lot of interesting stories about his life and his energy is contagious.

Vacation Post

Ryan and I are on a little weekend vacation in Chicago do the posts over the next few days will be short and based on the events of that particular day.
The first big news, and actually has nothing to do with our trip is that Rory has a spot in preschool!  I’m do excited to tell him, but I’m also feeling extremely anxious about it.  I want him to go, he wants to go, but I haven’t been alone for any significant amount of time for the last 6 years. 
Now for some fun trip stories.  We were in the elevator of our hotel with 3 other guys, all of which had very thick southern accents.  In just 8 floors of travel, we found out they are from Tennessee and are filming a reality tv show for CMT.  Awesome.  I was starving so we didn’t chat much more than that, but now I want to go find them and ask all kinds of questions. 
The reason I couldn’t talk to the Southern lads was because I had to eat this.image
That is a bone in filet on a bed of wild mushrooms.   I now have the meat sweats.

Cutting Me Down To Size

I was taking some clothes out of the dryer today and I noticed a tag on one of my shirts that said it was a size XL.  It kind of alarmed me because I didn’t recall buying an extra large shirt recently.  Maybe alarmed isn’t the right word, but I knew what shirt it was and I thought I had bought a medium.

Well, as it turns out, I did buy a medium…in the US.  In Japan, my shirt is considered an XL.  Not a large, but an extra large.  Two full sizes bigger.  A few months ago I bought some shorts at Costco.  I normally wear a size 8, but if it’s a slimmer fit, I might wear a size 10.  I held the size 8 up and thought they looked a little big, but figured they would fit.  I got them home and I could pull them on and off without even unbuttoning them.

Some women would rejoice at buying a size 6.  I was pissed!  I am not a size 6.  I know I’m not a size 6 and I am 100% fine, secure and happy with that fact.  Tommy Hilfiger, in what I imagine, in some attempt to attract a vain customer, drastically undersized their clothes.  Out of principle, I returned the size 8 shorts and refused to buy a size 6.  Or maybe a more likely story is that I thought the 6 would be too small and I didn’t want to have to make another trip to the Costco returns counter.

The medium shirt that I bought is actually a workout shirt.  It fits me perfectly.  I know that the sizes have changed quite a bit for women in the last 20 to 30 years and a size 8 today was probably closer to a 12 in 1970.  I don’t really care that much about that, but I like being able to walk into a store and grab a medium or a size 8 and walk out with quite a bit of confidence that it’s going to fit.

I do wonder what happens to the size 0 or size 2 ladies.  Are they in the negative sizes now?  Do they have to buy girl’s clothes?  Or do the clothes designers figure there most likely isn’t any sense in playing into a potential body insecurity issue with someone who is that small so they just keep them true to size?


Shake, Shake, Shake

I have lived in California for a combined total of roughly 5 1/2 years and as most people know, California is known for earthquakes.  I felt my first earthquake about a year after we moved to San Diego – sometime in 2004.

Coincidentally,  that first earthquake I felt happened the day after I was asking all kinds of questions about what one is to do if there is an earthquake.  I had lived in San Diego an entire year and hadn’t felt a single shutter, but also realized I had no idea what I was supposed to do if I did.

The next day, I was sitting in my office and all of a sudden, I felt like I was falling out of my chair, I heard a low rumbling and my computer monitor was shaking.  It took me a minute to register what was happening and at nearly the exact moment I thought earthquake!, I heard my manager yell down the hall for everyone to get in their doorways.

I wasn’t scared – not even the slightest bit.  I don’t know why since the only information I had about earthquakes was from movies like the aptly named, Earthquake, 10.5 and Aftershock.  None of these movies featured slight tremors, they used the best special effects available to them at the time to create an unbelievably huge earthquake.

I stood in my doorway with a stupid grin on my face while my co-workers maintained a more stoic appearance.  Afterall, most them were California natives – they knew what could happen and fortunately, it didn’t.  There was another aftershock that day, but only minimal damage to a couple of store fronts.

Feeling an earthquake was one of those things that I couldn’t even fathom what it would be like until it happened.  It was the same sense of wonder I had when I found out I was pregnant.  I couldn’t imagine what it was going to feel like to have a baby kick me from the inside. 

There were a couple of earthquakes today – neither of them felt by me.  I can’t say that I like feeling the earth move under my feet (you got that song in your head now, don’t you?), since they can obviously be extremely dangerous, but on those slight little tremors where there is no damage or injuries, I feel like I missed out on Mother Nature’s free little amusement park ride.

Rethinking Preschool

There is a chance that Rory will be starting preschool in a couple of weeks.  I am on a waiting list to get him in, but decided to follow up and see if there had been any pre-preschool dropouts in the meantime.  I was told that there may be a spot for him, but they wouldn’t know for sure for a week or two.  I told her I wasn’t in any hurry and 2 weeks would actually be ideal for a start date.

This morning when I dropped Kamryn off at school, she was all smiles and didn’t have a care in the world.  It made it really easy on me as well.  I know this has a lot to do with her being in her Pre-K class last year, being familiar with the school, having the same teacher and seeing lots of familiar faces.  It didn’t even phase me that my little girl was starting kindergarten.Then I saw my friend, Patty.  She just sent her two youngest girls off for their first day of kindergarten and she was a little glum.  Poor Patty.  I still have Rory to send off to school so I know I have two years before I need to face that realization that there will be no more 1st days of kindergarten.

I went home and started organizing the kitchen to accommodate all the food I bought at Costco last night so I could easily make Kamryn’s lunch in the morning.  That got me thinking…if Rory starts preschool, he’ll go 3 days a week.  At first that was so exciting for me.  I thought of all the things I could get done during a week, but seriously, after about 2 weeks, what else am I going to do?  And then, I was the glum one.  I started to get all teary-eyed thinking of sending my little boy to preschool.

Someone once asked me if I just had Rory for entertainment purposes.  Well, no…I had no idea he would be as entertaining as he is, that’s just a bonus.  Today I got a super bonus.

I had to go to Home Depot to pick up some plumbing supplies.  (Note to self, don’t become a plumber.  It sucks.)  I still had 45 minutes before I had to pick up Kamryn and it wasn’t worth it to go home and leave again so we went over to Ross to browse.  I picked out a couple of things for the kids – a first day of school present – I don’t know why I insist on spoiling my children.  Anyway, we were standing in line and a very short man walked past Rory and I.

Now, Rory is barely 3 feet tall himself, and this man, while he wasn’t technically a Little Person, he was a very short man.  He was probably in his mid to late 60’s, and not quite 5 feet tall.

The minute Rory saw him, his eyes got wide.  I was already biting the inside of my cheek just because of Rory’s reaction.  But then, he turned to me and shouted, “That guy is LITTLE!”  I heard a couple of snickers behind me and I now had my teeth fully imbedded into the flesh in my cheek.  I stood, looking straight ahead of me as the little man turned and looked in our direction.

That got Rory a little too excited and he started to say it again!  He got out, “Mama, look at that…” and I nudged him on the arm and said the first thing that popped in my head, “Come on, we need to go get Sissy!”  That was enough of an interruption to at least stop him mid-sentence.

Luckily, it was our turn to pay and we got the hell out of there.  I stepped outside and out came the suppressed laughter.  Rory asked me what I was laughing at, I told him I was laughing at him and he got pissed.  Ahhh, Rory, you must stay home with me and be my little jester for just a bit longer.

I Almost Made It

Summer is ending for us in 3 days.  We have had a great summer and just like everyone else, I feel like it flew by.  It really does feel like Kamryn got out of school last week instead of almost 3 months ago.

One of my biggest fears of the summer is the dreaded summer cold.  It always feels worse in the summer.  Late yesterday afternoon, I started to feel that unmistakeable feeling in my throat that signals the start of a cold.  It’s been so hot lately, though, that I thought maybe I would just sweat it out.

I have been burning the candle at both ends for about the last week so I went to bed early last night and slept like a champ.  However, when Rory came in this morning at 6:30, I knew I was in trouble.  I had just had 9 1/2 hours of sleep with only one wake up and I was still exhausted.  In fact, when Ryan got up at 8:00, I was falling back asleep on the couch.

I eventually got up and went out and laid by the pool while Ryan and the kids swam.  I was sweating profusely and dipped in the pool to cool off which resulted in me getting the chills so I got back on my chair in the sun to warm up.  After about an hour, I had had enough and went back inside, ate some lunch and fell asleep on the couch.

The rest of the day I held down the couch and watched a movie.  I’ll be spending the rest of the night with my two good friends:


California Dreamin’

Before I had even visited Southern California, I had a much different idea of what the residents of the state actually did here.  I thought everyone lived at the beach.  There were beaches and ocean – why would you not spend every waking moment there?  I hadn’t considered having to park a car and cart infinite beach essentials with me.

The first time I came out to San Diego to visit my brother, I was 20 years old.  I came out with my parents and the main objective was to work on the house he had just bought.  That was absolutely not my idea of fun.  He had a pool, which wasn’t heated and a bit too cold to swim in, plus it was in the middle of June Gloom and I couldn’t figure out why everyone was so damn excited about San Diego weather.  Little did I know how much I would appreciate that June Gloom as a resident.

I got back to Iowa a week later feeling disappointed and let down.  This was not the California that I had seen on TV.  I wanted to go to that place.

I went back to San Diego the following year in November.  It was perfect.  Sunny, warm and beautiful.  I was sold.  I visited my brother at least once a year and after Ryan and I met, he accompanied me for his first trip to California.  I believe we went in April and he was sold.  Upon our return to Iowa we began the plan of getting married and moving to San Diego.  It took about a year and a half, but we did it.

Neither one of us had a job, but we didn’t care – we were confident we would find one and eventually we both did and even started on the same day.  During that time of unemployment, we had a little money in our pocket, but we didn’t want to spend it on things that we didn’t need.  Our entertainment was reliant upon all things free, which are kind of hard to come by in California.

We would go to the beach, Balboa Park, free museums, flea markets,  etc – pretty much anything you could think of that was outside and didn’t have a parking lot (unless the event was in a parking lot), we were there.

Once we started working, we realized that our weekends were to be cherished.  We at least had money that we could spend on entertainment, which was nice, but after working all week to be able to afford to live in San Diego, I didn’t want to do much besides lie around the pool, which is still one of my favorite things to do in the world.

I go to the beach a lot more than I used to since I don’t work and that is getting me a little closer to the California lifestyle I envisioned before I moved here.  However, there was still something missing.  The one thing that every movie that was shot in Southern California had…a bonfire on a beach at night.

Last night my California dream came true thanks to my friends Patty and Darren.  Apparently you have to get up at about 5:00am to get a fire pit.  Darren got there at 9:00am, the pits were all taken, but he scored a picnic table right next to an already claimed pit.  After warming up our neighbors with some leftover pizza, they allowed us to roast marshmallows on their fire.  I took multiple pictures of sunsets, obligatory couple photos, kids frolicking in the waves and of course, the fire.