Friday, July 7, 2017

Diary in the Life of a Mom

June 30: Celebrated the end of our first week of teaching with my co-teacher, Rob (he's from New Zealand, and the students love him). Beers at the treehouse, late night for us all. It was super fun - reminded me of what life was like before D. D falls asleep in the car, and miraculously, we can transfer him from car to bed (this never works...)

July 1: Crazy day with lots to do. Hit the Farmer's market and the library in HMB. Then to Costco to get gas and fill up on food. Took food to Alex's refrigerator in lab and hit a pool party hosted by one of Alex's labmates. Then back to lab for Alex to do some work and for me to pick up my stuff. Then to Chipotle for dinner, and meet up with friends at the Canada Day celebration on Stanford Campus. Then over to the building directly across from the Stanford Stadium to watch fireworks. They were so loud. So loud. My kid cried and wanted to leave, but we forced him to stay. We are really good parents :) Another night we can transfer D from car to bed...

July 2: desperately clean house. Alex goes for bike ride with Rob. D and I hang out. Rob and wife and weirdly, friends from grad school come out for BBQ at our house. It's a gorgeous day and we go for a nice walk around LH. Good food, good company - lots of laughs. I loved it.

July 3: I teach with Rob at 9am. My lecture is ready, mostly put together. I'm tired. Too much fun in the sun, I guess. This class is intense and I teach for a full hour. I feel defeated afterwards - anti-climactic, I guess. A and D come to work with me, and we leave early, around 2pm. D falls asleep in the car on the way home and sleeps for about 1.5 hours total for nap. We are exhausted.

July 4: A relaxing day. We hang out at home. A goes for a bike ride. We go to LH 4th of July picnic where there are games like a 3-legged race, an egg toss, a water balloon toss, a tug of war. D competed in the game where you fill a small cup of water, put it on your head (and try not to spill it) and then try to fill up a big cup across the way. He was the slowest of all the kids but he was so adorable. He took it really seriously. Also, he loved the hay hunt. They took a bale of straw and hid a bunch of stuff in it - little toys, candy, etc. He spent a ton of time in that and was very determined. He also swung on a swing tied to a tree branch. It was a real dose of Americana in the redwoods.

July 5: The cat wakes me up at 4:30am. I think she was upset. Or hungry. Or something. At the same time, I hear, "Is that you, Mama?" and D is up. I feed the cat and try my best to get him to go back to sleep but to no avail. He seems agitated, excited? My mom radar says, maybe he's getting sick? But then I think, no it's just been a crazy couple of days. We finally get up at 5:30am and we play with toys. He's grumpy bc he didn't sleep. He doesn't eat much. I have to teach at 9am, so we leave to get me there on time. I don't feel so great. My stomach is off. A & D drop me off and I go to class, tired. At 11am, daycare calls. D has a fever. 99.9. I think, well, I should have listened to my mom-radar. Last time I ignore that. We are teaching until noon, then Rob and I get lunch. We have to write a midterm and study guide. Daycare calls A. D is at 102.8. A leaves to get him, takes him to store, gets Tylenol, gives him Tylenol, juice and ice cream and goes to my lab to wait until I'm ready to leave. Rob and I write midterm study guide. Then I meet my family and we go home. I don't feel good either. That night, D and I slowly get worse and worse. I get a fever. My stomach is really upset. D is coughing. His fever is pretty high. We are dosing Tylenol, then motrin. Watching lots of TV. I take a nap and then go to bed at 8pm. D crawls into bed with me to fall asleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, I wake up and have to barf. I feel better, but still shitty, tired.

July 6: D comes into my room at 6am, scream/crying. He sounds like a seal. His fever is super high. I give him Tylenol. Play with toys. Watch god knows how many Puss in Boots (so, so bad, let me tell you). I take a nap. A finally gets up. I take another nap. We are all sick. Joy. D's fever is still high. He's upset and clingy. Just wants to cuddle, but he's so HOT. Ugh. He also takes comfort in holding my hair, which, after a while, just annoys the shit out of me. We spend the day taking meds, watching TV. At some point, he falls asleep in my arms like a baby. We watch Beauty & the Beast, Frozen. He won't eat, but he will drink apple juice. I think that's the only thing he got in him yesterday. Bedtime comes, and after one story he falls asleep immediately (9:30pm). At 10:45pm, he wakes up scream/crying. He is incoherent (but not feverish). I think he has to pee? Or he need water? I don't know. I finally calm him down, get him back to sleep. At 11:45, he wakes again, scream crying, and incoherent. This time, he wanders about the house, and I can't figure out what he wants. Dear god, help me. Finally, he lays down again and goes back to sleep. I think his fever has finally broken. He's not hot anymore.

July 7: At 4:30am, he wakes again, comes into my room and barks, "I need medicine". I give him medicine and get him back to sleep once again. At 7:30am, again, "I need medicine" - still sounds like a seal. I give him motrin, but he doesn't want to take it because it's not the Tylenol that tastes good. He wanders about the house, scream/crying/barking. It's fun. He finally takes his medicine. And he agrees to eat some Olaf soup. Chicken noodle soup for breakfast, it is. He drinks some juice. We turn on Puss in boots. Its still on, Mama needs to work. I feel better, but now tired/exhausted. My parents were supposed to come this weekend. No more. I have no idea what D has and I don't want them to get it. Also, he is not that fun when he's sick. Another day of TV, hanging out at home. I am frustrated and stressed out (but I feel better after writing this). I have so many things to do at work, and I cannot do them at home, esp with kids TV in the background. I am hoping I get time to work later. A is going to ride his bike to work.

Ugh, just ugh.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I picked up this book a the library the other week. I really enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees by Kidd, so I thought I would probably like this book as well. The book follows a slave named Handful (or Hetty) and some of her owners, Sarah and Angelina Grimké, two  sisters from Charleston, SC, who become abolitionists and feminists in the early 1800s.

When I was in high school, we took these trips down to LA as part of the National Honor Society. Mostly, we just joined that group so we could take the trip. It involved going to Hard Rock Cafe or Santa Monica Beach or some "cool" place like that and it was always fun. One time, we went to the (at the time, newly opened) Museum of Tolerance in LA. I remember that trip being a little depressing (obviously) and my only lasting impression from that museum was a pile of shoes. Shoes upon shoes upon shoes. All of them left when Jews were led to the gas chambers during the Holocaust. I don't know what it was about those shoes, maybe it was the familiarity (I wear shoes all the time) or how personal they are (we all have different shoes) or the fact that those shoes touched someone who was then brutally murdered, I don't know, but it made the Holocaust much more horrific to me. Much more real (more meaningful than reading about it in a history book).

I started Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States and I honestly could not get through it. The horrific descriptions of how people were kidnapped in Africa and chained down in a ship to be sold for slavery was more than I could honestly handle. I had never thought of slavery that way. I can remember asking my mom when I was a kid if people treated slaves nicely and then maybe if they did treat them nicely if slavery was OK. Nope, never OK and people were never nice. To force a person into submission like that you cannot be nice. Nice is never a part of it. I had never appreciated that aspect of slavery. I had never really understood slavery and what it would have been like for people, day in, day out. I don't think I have the brains to understand it. But it is something that I need to remind myself of and I need to teach my kid about and I need to try to face, difficult as it is.

The older I get, the more horrified I am by things happening in recent history. The Holocaust, slavery, reconstruction, integration, the fight for equal rights. There are no words for how abhorrent some peoples' actions have been. I can't explain how I can know about these things for years, since I started school, but not truly appreciate what these things did to people, especially people of color.

This book was unreal. The novel begins with Sarah receiving Handful as a gift for her 11th birthday. Her mother ties a purple bow around Handful's neck and presents her to Sarah at her birthday tea. Sarah tries to refuse her; she doesn't want a slave, but her mother insists. Handful's mother, Charlotte lives with the Grimké family as well and Handful is forced to leave her mother's bed and sleep on the floor outside Sarah's room in case Sarah needs something in the night. Sarah is upset by slavery and at this young age, tries to free Handful (but is stopped by her father, a judge). Sarah and Nina are real people who left behind journals, letters and writings on the horrors of slavery and feminism. Kidd based her novel on what she knew about them. Sarah also (in real life) had a maid named Hetty who was presented to her as a gift. But we have no idea what happened to her in real life - it seems she died young. Kidd invents a life for Handful/Hetty and imagines what it would be like.

Sarah teaches Handful to read, and they become close friends (not sure what other word to use here, but Sarah has sympathy and empathy for Handful's position and tries to set her free in the only ways she can). This book is heartbreaking. The way the Grimké family treated slaves was horrific, to put it mildly. I cannot imagine being born into slavery and knowing nothing else. I also cannot imagine not being able to leave a place whenever I wanted. What freedom we have!

The story follows both Sarah and Handful as they navigate the life they are given. Sarah starts off with a voice, loses this voice for a while and then finds her voice, literally, in lectures for abolition. Handful draws strength from her mother, even when her mother is no longer there. This book was about strength, but also about what horrors people can survive and continue on. I both loved and hated this book and I feel like I learned a lot from it. I would highly recommend it as it's well written and compelling. However, it's obviously got me thinking about lots of things like slavery, racism (why are people such assholes?), why are cops shooting unarmed, harmless black people? and all kinds of stuff like that.

Sorry for the random stream of consciousness. Guess that's what this blog is for...

Friday, April 28, 2017

Just some pics

 hanging out with Grandpa
 superbloom above Ventura
 waiting for Dada to get a suit
Me and D on the Dragon at Happy Hollow

more pics to come...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


D is singing in the giant bathtub as we finish our first full day in Glasgow (pronounced glaz-go, in case you were wondering). We flew out of LAX on Monday night and arrived in Glasgow Tuesday night. The flight was largely uneventful, except for a couple toddler moments, with D crying, "I need to get off now!!!". He slept some, but the seats proved too uncomfortable for prolonged sleep, even for a 3ft tall kid. Alex and I slept some, but we were so thrilled to arrive to a warm hotel room for our first night. We ate at the hotel restaurant and collapsed into bed, exhausted. Naturally, jet lag had me awake and starving half the night. We woke up and caught the bus to city center, checked our luggage at the train station and walked about the streets. It's a beautiful city, and a lot of the architecture reminds me of the nicer streets in Philly. It's clear that our older cities found inspiration in the major European cities, likely because many came from here. My maternal grandfather was from Glasgow. His family came to the US in the early 20th century.

We ate a light lunch at a cafe and wandered about, checking out the Glasgow MOMA and finally settling in a square where D chased pigeons (and attracted hundreds just by throwing dirt on the ground - dumb birds!). We checked into our flat for the next two days. It's a nice place, but to our eyes, a little disorganized and shabby. But no biggie - we don't live here.

So far, I've had lovely interactions with people here. The bus driver complained to me about people putting their luggage in the racks the wrong way. It reminded me so much of Philly - the conspiratorial complaining that is actually quite funny. D ran around a market, finding items that were in the wrong place, and wanting to return them to their proper place. The clerk told me he does this all day - and he has no idea why things are left where they are (a package of cakes found by the fridge section, shoved in a crack).

We stayed at the apartment the rest of the day, except for a stop at the market. A jet lagged toddler does not have listening ears, and acts spastic at best. A good idea to keep him contained. Tonight, spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner. Some odd breakfast meats on deck for tomorrow. Tonight, D fell asleep during his nightly story, a first for sure. And now, naturally, at 10pm, I am quite awake and not at all sleepy - figures!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Haiku Friday

This week was rough, I
should focus on the little
things. We are healthy.


Serious crisis
in confidence. It happens
Not too. More rain.


Visitors Sunday
Dusty and family. We
love seeing old friends.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Worse and worse

I can't even keep up, and I'm honestly so upset that I don't think this will be coherent.

The Great Barrier Reef has been bleached at an unprecedented rate. An enormous part of it is gone and will not return in our lifetime

EPA cuts that prevent monitoring of water and air, and encourage corporations to relax regulations, releasing god knows what into our environment

A muslim ban? WTF?

Relaxing the regulations so we don't need to build more fuel efficient cars (why would you stop progress?)

Budget cuts not only the arts and Meals on Wheels, but also NASA and the NIH. He truly wants to build an electorate of uneducated, uninspired people.

My job is based on money from the NIH. I will lose my job and be unable to get another one if the cuts to the NIH go through. If I do get a job at a public school, I will have to work under the most uninformed, uneducated Education Secretary ever. Doesn't sound like a good thing to me.

Why do we need a bigger military? Are we at war? Are we going to war? With who?

Why are we trying to preserve manufacturing jobs when the clear issue is technological advancement? Why aren't we trying to find sustainable jobs for blue collar workers?

Why aren't we supporting education? Math? Science? Arts? Music? These things contribute heavily to a well rounded, enlightened society. Why eliminate them?

Why eliminate American exceptionalism? Why crush it?

I am unsure my family and I belong here anymore. I am unsure who these people who voted for him are, but they clearly do not share any values that I do.

I wonder if they regret electing him?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The sounds at my house

What does it sound like at your house?

In the early, early morning, I can hear the creek rushing in the valley

The trees rustle unless it's really windy and then they sound like a hurricane coming through

Sometimes, it's raining

Cows moo at each other and the moos echo across the valley

During the day, the woodpeckers and the squirrels fight constantly. One of the giant trees in front of our house is a woodpecker granary. The squirrels are constantly trying to steal the acorns. The battle commences daily.

The stellar jays talk a lot too. Sometimes they talk to you when you are walking in the driveway

The occasional car drives by

Sometimes, the volunteer fire department alarm rings

Our neighbors' chickens cluck

The ducks at the pond quack

Dogs bark

People walking by chat and also huff and puff. We live in a hill

Sometimes our neighbor is working on his house - sawing, hammering, listening to some oldies

Inside, D is laughing or talking or whispering

Toys are making noise

The cat is often meowing loudly

Usually, laundry

If our neighbor is home, there is lots of thumping from the downstairs apartment