Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My, the Time Flies

The Professor and I celebrate our 8-year wedding anniversary today. The day of our wedding was fabulous. I had a leisurely morning of getting my hair and make-up done at a professional salon with my sister. After all the primping was complete, we headed to the site of our wedding, the 19th Century Club in Memphis. I spent the early afternoon chatting, laughing, and sipping wine in the bride’s room with my sister and my best friend.

I vividly remember this day. I remember seeing the Professor for the first time and how excited we were to take the plunge of marriage. I remember nervously but eagerly saying our vows. I remember seeing the pale of the Professor’s face wash away to a healthy glow once I said, “I do.” I remember feeling on top of the world that evening, drinking champagne, dancing with my new husband, talking to our guests, and truly feeling like the happiest person on the planet. We were thrilled to be finally moving on with our life together. I had finally graduated from college and was ready to settle in to married life, get a job, and support the Professor while he finished his Ph.D.

We moved up to the Great White North together and began our life. Since then, a lot has changed. We have returned to Memphis, bought our first home, got a second dog, bought a second car, and had a baby. Our life has been full and for the most part happy. We have taken trips together and explored new things together. We’ve survived some of the bumps in the road of marriage and have even managed to allow each other to grow. Things have been great.

Aside from continuing to be completely in love and devoted to each other, one thing has remained constant throughout our marriage – I am completely miserable. I am miserable because a) I suffer from a mild form of depression that I am determined I can manage without the use of meds (this depression runs rampant with the females in my family and I feel lucky to have only inherited a smidgeon of it. It also didn’t really manifest itself until about 2 months after the wedding) and, b) I have not yet figured out what the hell I want to spend each and every working day doing and it is making me crazy!

I have to work, there’s no question about that. And even if I didn’t have to go out and earn an income, I’m probably better off working because I would probably spend too much money, eat too much, and feel guilty about not doing enough and thus, end up even more depressed. I would love to stay home with my son for a while, but even then, I know I would have to have VERY structured and planned days or I would go nuts. But, I must earn an income, so work is inevitable. And that’s the problem – work. I can’t seem to figure out what to do that makes me feel good about it. I want to be a productive citizen. I want to feel good about what I do. I want to be busy and feel like I’m making a positive contribution to something. And selfishly, I want to like what I do for a living and even feel somewhat energized by my work. Instead, I sit in an office everyday finding myself angry at my work situation.

After I gave birth to my son over a year ago, I knew that I would have to change jobs. I worked in a high stress job with excruciating long hours. When I learned that I was pregnant, I immediately began planning for a job change that would allow me to at least leave work at a reasonable hour on a daily basis. And I found one – a job as an administrative assistant at a college. I work in an office that does a lot of really great work, and I’m proud of that. I just absolutely hate being an administrative assistant.

I detest the way my job duties are laid out in a task-to-task manner on a daily basis. I am unhappy with fact that I’m involved in a bazillion different things each day, but I barely get to scratch the surface of any of them. It’s like being at a wine tasting of the best 100 wines of the world and only getting to taste a drop of each one. I am the third party representative for a multitude of programs and duties and it leaves me confused and completely disjointed from anything in particular. And then, I’m also just bored. My mind needs a little more of a challenge than remembering to call so-and-so on behalf of so-and-so to say that so-and-so #1 is running behind and will be at your lunch meeting 3 minutes late. And, since when did I suddenly become an accountant? I didn’t go to school for that!

So, I’m trying to figure out this whole job/career thing. Since I must work, I might as well feel good about what I’m doing, right? I’m smart. I’m educated. I can do whatever ever I want to do, right? I’m sure the Professor is reading this now and rolling his eyes because he’s heard this line over and over and over again for well, the past eight years. He heard it when I was waiting tables fresh out of college. He heard it when I worked for the non-profit, when I taught, when I wrote proposals, and now when I administrative assist.

In this career quest, I have considered several options, most of which require additional schooling. I’ve considered the health field for both humans and animals. I’ve considered teaching again, hoping that I will rekindle that passion I had for education while in graduate school. I have considered counseling (either in a school or elsewhere), grant writing, nonprofit work, etc. I have almost narrowed it down to still too many choices. When I talk to the professor about it he just says to select something and go for it. If it turns out that it’s not the one, then go for something else. I appreciate his optimism, but really, I’m afraid if I just take a wild stab at it, I’ll still be trying at the age of 70. Not that continually learning and developing oneself is a bad thing. I just don’t think I can continue to live my life with such a feeling of angst about a career. And I certainly don’t want my children to grow up with a confused and angry mother. I already went through that and it wasn’t that great.

So goes the past eight years of my career-life. I really can't complain. The Professor has certainly been a continuous support throughout these years, and I can't thank him enough. He truly deserves all of the wonderful things that he has achieved recently: his dream job, a beautiful son, and a not always nutty wife. Happy anniversary, my love. And here's to hopes for the future and that the next eight years will be as full and fantastic as the last. And maybe by the time we reach 20 years, I'll have this whole career thing sorted out.

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary, Daddy!
We spent yesterday at the Chockley's and were completely entertained by all of their blogging friends and their monkeys. In fact, the kids outnumbered the adults, which didn't prove to be that scary after all. We enjoyed playing with the monkeys, eating LOTS of chips, guacamole, salsa, fish tacos, chicken tacos, more chips, and quesadillas. It was a great afternoon. Thanks to the Chockleys for inviting us!

Pre-party nap

Cute Chloe

The loner
Asleep within seconds on the drive home.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Random Stuff

Roxy and Maggie battling the bumps and curves.
Hanging out with Nana.
Lurking in the trees
First Corky's roll
Banana party
Playing
Loving on Maggie
Chillin'
Laughing
Pointing
The "uh oh" face

In Bloom

So, everything that Neal has tirelessly worked for in the yard is all for naught. Or at least for him anyway. Unfortunately, by the time he returns, all of these beauties will probalby be shriveled up, yellow, and brittle. I'm doing my best to keep this from happening, but I just don't seem to be blessed with his green thumb.







Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Things I Miss

There are several things that I miss while the Professor is away. First and foremost, I miss his love and companionship. He is absolutely a wonderful person who communicates his love every day in various ways, often times with the simple words, “I love you.”

I sometimes fail to notice the other ways in which the Professor communicates his love, or at least I get bogged down with my own day to day duties to absorb these things fully and let him know how much I really appreciate him. In his absence, though, these things are certainly more apparent to me, and I really can’t wait for him to return so that I can pass some (not all) of these duties back to him.

1. He feeds Charlie in the morning, leaving me ample time to get ready for work in an un-rushed fashion.

2. He greets us at the door when we return home and helps me tote all of our stuff back into the house.

3. He helps me make dinner and prepare Charlie’s meals for each day.

4. He helps fold and put away the laundry.

5. He scratches my back on demand.

6. He also rubs my feet if I ask him nicely.

7. He feeds the dogs, fills their water bowls, and gives Maggie her meds.

8. He mows the lawn.

9. He picks up the wretched dog doo in the backyard.

8. He even bathes Roxy after she rolls is said dog doo (yes, our dog is completely disgusting).

10. He kills the spiders and other creepy crawlers that find their way into our home (I have killed at least 6 spiders since he left).

I especially appreciate that he is brave enough to smash the brains out of those evil insects that are the cross between a spider, cricket, and, I am sure, a roach. I shudder as I write this. Wednesday morning, I drearily woke up an hour before Charlie rose. I let the dogs out, made a cup of tea, and headed toward the shower. As I opened the shower curtain with half shut eyes, I noticed a little hoppy thing in the damn tub. I screeched. I squealed! Then I cursed out loud. I am SUCH a girl when it comes to situations like these. I was alone with a spider/cricket/roach thingy. A Spricket, if you will. That’s the scientific name, you know.

Anyway, with my heart pounding, I assessed the situation. Could I get Maggie, my 12 year old English Setter, to come and wipe out this horrid creature? Well, even if her nimbly legs would allow, she was already busy with her morning nap. Roxy, the 3 year old Golden Retriever is just like me, I'm afraid. At first sight of the spricket, she would probably cower away and go whine in the corner. Then I immediately tried to imagine ways I could get my young strapping son to come and help me, but then gave up on the idea since he can't even walk yet. So, I had to turn to my own devices and decided that a smart, wedge, brown leather sandal might do the trick.

I was confident that I would get this nasty creepy crawler/hopper in one try, so I only brought one sandal back to the shower. I eyed the little bugger and BAM! threw the sand to miss him by about 3 inches. Crap, I thought. I went to get the second sandal, and then a third, and then a fourth (the second pair, also brown sandals). After three missed shots, I was getting a little nervous about whether or not I was going to be able to murder this gross spider. I really needed to take a shower and the clock with my precious morning minutes was clicking.

Those spiders are smart! That thing had inched up underneath one of the three shoes laying helpless in the shower. He was hiding! So, I summoned up all the courage and determination I could find at 6:00 in the morning and did a little maneuver that exposed the spider and allowed me to hit it dead on, squashing him senseless and dead. And then came the task of actually picking it up with tissues to flush it down the toilet. I must have used at least half a roll of toilet paper to ensure that none of his disgusting parts of innards touched my skin. My sissy demeanor when it comes to things like these took at least 15 minutes out of my morning. If the Professor was here, he would have had the whole mess taken care of in 30.2 seconds.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Haircut

I did it. I bit the bullet. Maybe it is because the Professor's away and I'm feeling rebellious. It's probably because I've been thinking about it long and hard for the past several weeks, especially when yanking a comb through my long, straight, stringy, tangly hair each morning. It's a good thing I had the afternoon off of work today to go to a real salon and get it cut because I soon may have gotten too fed up and gone to a hack job cutery or worse, done it myself. As my hairdresser said, "you'll feel liberated!" I do! I feel liberated!


My Charlie Boy

He's so cute! And he's doing so much! And unfortunately, he started throwing up at school today. Not spit up but real throw up! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's just a quick bug because otherwise, he feels fine.
This morning we practiced brushing our teeth. Charlie mostly just sucks the water out of the bristles.


Charlie zonked out on the way home from work and school. I couldn't help capturing the moment through the vanity mirror. And yes, I did this while driving. Bad mommy!


This evening, we played with almost everyone of Charlie's birthday toys. Charlie even stood on his own with the assistance of the coffee table and his toy car. I need add, though, that this moment of standing lasted only long enough for me be back away slightly and snap the shot. When he did finally start his assent, I noticed that he was very careful to stick his cute little butt out to cushion the plop to the floor. It was cute!

Also, I got a haircut this afternoon and whacked at least 6 inches of my long stringy locks.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mammaammaamamamamama!

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and Charlie and I got to spend an extremely enjoyable afternoon at my mother’s house (a.k.a. Nana’s house). After a morning of napping, reading, and watering the plants (the hydrangea’s are beginning to bloom), Charlie and I headed to Nana’s for an afternoon of eating, playing, more napping, and visiting with the other mothers in our family – Diana, Aunt Caroline, Nana, and Great Grandmother Ruth.

Grandmother Ruth just loves spending time with Charlie. It’s been a long time since she got to spend any real time with a baby since everyone has lived away from Memphis when their little ones arrived. I am happy that she gets to spend this time with one of her great grandchildren, and am just as happy that Charlie gets to spend some time with her. While Charlie scoot, scoot, scooted across the den floor, Grandmother Ruth tried to convince him to take a few steps. As evident in the photo below, however, he was content to keep his cute little butt and the floor as one. Gravity is just too much of a contender with him right now.

While our lunch was being prepared (by me, my sister, and her friend), Nana and Caroline took Charlie, Morgan, Taylor for a walk. The adults walked while the kids rode leisurely in the wagon. Nana and Caroline came back huffing, but Charlie was not ready for the adventure to end. Apparently he thought he might bring on the charm with a few tears in hopes of getting to make another block.

Also while passing the time until lunch, Charlie’s cousin Morgan attempted to teach Charlie and I her rendition of the beloved dance of the 80s, The Robot. Okay, I know that the 80s are back in style, but really, does The Robot have to make a come back, too?

After our glorious lunch of grilled meat on sticks (YUM!), grilled asparagus and grilled peaches, Nana took the children to the neighbor’s house for a dip in the pool. Charlie really seemed to enjoy floating around in the warm water. He particularly liked chewing on the noodle float and drying off in the warm sun.


Once home, Charlie got a nice warm bath. While in the tub, he practiced the not so new skill of drinking bathwater from a real cup and showed off his newest skill of attempting to utter the words “uh-oh”. He opens his mouth wide and contorts his jaw to the side, bares all of his four teeth, and lets out a wretched “accchhh-uch.” It sounds more like a cat coughing up a fur ball, though, but very cute nonetheless.


This morning while scrambling to get out of the house on time, Charlie passed the last few minutes “eating” his Cheerios. I say eating loosely because with the amount that fell out of his lap when I picked him up added to the amount that went on the floor, I wonder if any made it into his mouth. I think he is finally learning the fun of feeding Roxy from the high chair. I was really hoping that would not happen for a long time. But I’m sure the dogs are happy!


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Clepto

Yesterday was a busy day for Charlie and his mom. We were fortunate enough to be able to start off slow and relax a bit before we took off running. After a 7:30 a.m. bottle, we went back to bed for a little weekend morning snooze. We woke up refreshed and ready for the day.


After our leisurely morning, we ran errands. We made our usual Saturday trip to Easy Way. Charlie loves to go there and see all of the different colors and shapes of food. Usually, he is happy to just observe, but on this day, his curiosities got the best of him. At one point, I looked down at him riding happily in the shopping cart and he is munching on a piece of onion paper/skin. While picking out tomoatoes, he helped by picking out the fattest redest tomoato he could find and throwing it on the floor. Fortunately, it wasn't ripe enough to burst into a pulpy mess.

After these two moments of me not noticing just how easy it is for him to reach out and grab something from the shelves, I determined to keep a closer watch on him. I (or so I thought) figured out a way to park the basket just so, in order to keep the bountiful produce out of his reach. After picking out my asparugus, mushrooms, and zuchini, I turned the corner to head toward the check-out. I looked down at Charlie to announce that we were nearing the end of our shopping trip when I noticed something red and mushy all over his face, shirt, white shorts, and fingers. He was munching on one of the most beatufil red strawberries I have ever seen. And he looked to be in heaven. I wondered where he got this little gem because the strawberries are usually stored in tightly locked plastic containers. Well, duh. He's no fool! My son stealthly poached a strawberry from it's plastic home while I was checking out the asparagus. And these were no ordinary strawberries either. No, these's weren't the 2 packs for $4 strawberries. These were the delectable, long stem, perfectly red and ripe Drisoll strawberries. $5.99 for one pound. Good taste that boy has, eh?



We ended the day by celebrating Chip's birthday at the Chockleys. We drank wine, ate Sekura, and played. Charlie had a grand time playing with Connor and Chloe. He even gave Chloe a hug, and I think he would have stolen a kiss if she would have let him. Aunt Tiffany was also there, and we all know Charlie loves him some Aunt Tiffany!

Overall it was a great day, but we really miss Daddy and can't wait to see him!

Friday, May 11, 2007

What is it with me and the birds lately?

The other day while at the park feasting on my usual lunch of salad with tomatoes, chicken, and crumbled feta, I was torn away from reading my book by the most fascinating scrap between three birds over a half eaten apple. Even though I work in one of the most beautiful environments in this city, I often go to a nearby park to escape the confines of work. Usually, I camp out at a wooden weather beaten picnic table, scarf down my lunch, and spend the rest of the time reading. Occasionally, I’ll get distracted by a few screaming kids running by, a stranger whizzing by on his bike on the nearby path, or once in a while, a lone wandering and possibly homeless person in dire need of conversation with someone other than himself.

Rarely am I distracted by the creatures of the park. I guess I’m immune to them. Squirrels go darting by in their nervous way in search of a nibble here or there. Birds swoop and squawk and watch me from trees in hopes that I’ll drop a few crumbs or a tomato or two. With my nose in my book and my eye on the clock, I hardly ever notice these residents. On this day, however, I noticed. Even though this display was hardly unusual, I was intrigued.

Two birds tentatively crept up toward the half eaten Red Delicious Apple. Once both were within inches of this bountiful fruit, they faced off, each fluttering in the air pounding chests and screaming wildly at each other. The apple was the size of two of these birds put together. Couldn’t they just share?

After a few minutes of flitting around and arguing another bird came into the picture.

This bird, bigger and more beautiful (and obviously smarter), swooped in to make peace around the apple. He looked as though he was trying to explain to the smaller birds, “chill out, we have enough to share.” It was interesting to say the least. I watched them for several minutes trying to decipher that actual conversation that took place before me.

Finally, the mediator bird flew off. I guess his job was done. The other two, believe it or not, went on to actually peck simultaneously at the apple. They had reconciled their war and were willing to live more harmoniously. It was a serene and hopeful observation - a metaphor for my own hopes about the world we live in perhaps?

Hugging



Let's just say that our second Daddy-less morning was not a great one. First of all, I am dog-sitting a friend's dog, which makes the dog count in our house now three. And if you take into account the size of these dogs, you could really say that I now have 5 1/2 dogs in the house. My dilemma for the weekend - do I even bother to vacuum since the hair I suck up will instantaneously be replaced with a fresh layer of fur?

Kennedy, the golden retriever (and Roxy's best friend) is not happy being here. The dogs definitely have fun together, but like anyone, the comforts of home are just irreplaceable. Thus, Kennedy woke earlier that I would have liked this morning. Her early rise woke my two dogs and by the time the three of them got to whimpering and whacking their tails against the wall and the bed, Charlie was awake. Plans for sleeping in a little late foiled! And with that, things just got off to a bad start. After feeding and clothing, Charlie was in a mood.


He was instantly calmed with a little blow drying action. Oh, how he loves having his hair styled.



Then, after naively thinking I was in the clear with Mr. Grouchy Pants, he spit up; we had to make a wardrobe change causing Mr. Grouchy Pants to bring out the big guns.

Finally, Charlie composed himself and went back to being the sweet and lovable baby that we all know and love. One of his favorite new tricks (besides biting me) is hugging. Within the past week or so, he has discovered the joy of putting his arms around my neck and snuggling into my neck (and often biting me, but that's beside the point). It is so sweet and every time he does it, my heart flutters.


He even seems to want to learn to smooch. Here, after I crouched down on the floor to his level, he scoot, scoot, scooted all the way over to my face and leaned in for what I thought would be a sweet, wet, and sloppy baby kiss. Instead, he bit me. He seemed to be so happy with his little trick. He giggled so much; I could swear I heard him say under his breath, "Suckahhhh."