I think it’s time for another blog post full of randomness.
My sabbatical starts in 32 days, 7 hours, 41 minutes, and 43 seconds! (A bit less by the time I actually post this, of course.)
And our cruise is coming up fast (don’t bother robbing us while we’re gone, we’re going to have a house sitter. Plus we have nothing to steal unless you like fabric. Please don’t steal my fabric.) and I’m working on shorts for the boys.
After the cruise is the boys’ school Winter Fair and my friend Bea is having a booth and she’s letting me sell some of my bags! So exciting! So I uh, need to make some bags. I wish I could bring my sewing machine on the cruise. Hmm.
Remember when I tripped and skinned my knees like a little kid in my friend’s backyard way back in August? (I may not have mentioned it here.) Well, I also hurt my right foot a bit at the time, but not a ton, but it’s just been bugging me ever since. I finally went to my orthopedist and he confirmed it was nothing major, which was a relief. It’ll just take a while to heal, and it’s fine to continue exercising and not do the things that make it hurt (mostly lunges and burpees OH DARN and anything that causes me to flex my toes.)
But what I found out that was interesting is that I have extra bones in my foot! Under my toes! And they’re all broken up! Most people only have this tiny bone under their big toe, but I have them under all of my toes, and they should be in one piece, but they’re in a few pieces. He said that is due to some old trauma, and it wasn’t causing my pain, it was just an interesting discovery that we found because of the x-rays I had.
If I had to guess, the “trauma” was running twomarathons and 13 half marathons overweight. Whatevs.
In other news, competitive soccer is done for the fall, but school soccer has begun! It’s not as time-consuming, though. But I do have to pick them up from school a couple of times a week. But that’s okay, I guess.
OH, this is exciting – I have been wanting to volunteer in a NICU starting during my sabbatical but I hadn’t had much luck getting into any of the programs in local hospitals. Finally, I got a call back from two hospitals, even though neither of them had openings in the NICU. I chose the local Children’s hospital because it’s smaller. I went to volunteer orientation, got my TB test (negative, whew) and some other tests, and I’m just waiting for an interview now so I can be put on the schedule. To start, I’ll be walking people around the hospital so they don’t get lost (it’s kind of a maze) but at some point, I’ll get into the NICU to rock babies. I’m in this for the long haul, so no rush. I can be patient.
So sabbatical plans:
Organize house (i.e., throw away a lot of stuff)
Volunteer at hospital, hopefully get to rock some babies at least
See Kiki at some point
Work out a lot, make muscles bigger
In yet other news, my lemon tree might be dying. My black thumb strikes again. I’m so sad. It was full of lemons, but they abruptly stopped growing at some point, but ripened really fast, and ended up the size of ping pong balls instead of grapefruit like last year. The leaves on the tree are all withered and it’s v sad. It doesn’t look good.
My theories are either that the Bradford pear next to it is stealing all the sunlight (but surely it wasn’t that much shorter last year?) or something to do with fresh, healthy lemon tree growth at the base of the tree? Sapping all the nutrients from the rest of the tree? I have no idea.
Anyhoo, that’s about it for now. I’m sure I’ll think of more as soon as I hit “publish” but I’d better do it before I have to change the sabbatical countdown at the top of the post again.
It was about to rain/get dark so I used my external flash and it sure did give a weird look to the picture, but better than nothing.
Here’s the hard part – I had to prioritize Linus’s cute smile over Miles’s annoyed look, but I feel like it can pass as “moody” rather than “irritated.” Fine line.
Now this one of Miles is perfection, but his brothers, well, alas. Hee hee!
This one would have been okay if the lighting had been better. Oh well.
I am not ashamed to admit, when they were younger, I did my share of swapping the boys into pics to get a good one. If the lighting had been even, I could have put Miles from picture 2 into the first picture, but it wouldn’t have matched. But I used to do that all the time when they were babies. (No, I never tried to substitute one kid for another. I’m not evil.)
The movie Coco was one of our favorites of the past year. We’ve watched it several times, and when I flew to Singapore, I even fast forwarded to the end just so I could cry. I mean, it’s so beautiful. I loved learning more about Día de los Muertos, which I thought I knew something about since my friend Terry had been setting one up at the pub for Gareth ever since he passed away.
Terry and I decided it would be a wonderful tradition to start an altar (or ofrenda) this year for my dad, because now the boys (and I!) understand what it all means. And it being the 20th year since his death, it seems kind of fitting.
So with Terry’s guidance, I collected everything I needed and set up the altar last night. Today I’ve been playing the Neil Diamond station on Pandora in the living room and I am imagining Dad sitting on the sofa with Ziggy, eating a handful of the peanuts we put out for him, washing them down with the glass of Pepsi.
(Ziggy would make a great alebrije, eh? We should have dressed him as Dante for Halloween!)
Here’s what we have on it:
A cup of coffee
A deck of cards
A pack of Benson & Hedges and a lighter
Fried chicken (thigh)
Glass of water
Candles (LED, don’t worry)
Photos of Dad (if you saw Coco, you know how important these are!)
I am definitely missing a golf ball, but I’ll remember it for next year. I can save the flowers, flags, candles, cards, and cigarettes but don’t worry, I’ll throw out the chicken and peanuts. (Poor Ziggy really wanted to eat that chicken last night.)
I really need to make more time for blogging. You shouldn’t have to look at a picture of my desk for this long. (Though it is still neat, I’m proud to say.) (I say this like my blog is something people just “drop by” to see if I’ve written anything new.)
I think part of it is that I have all these pictures from the soccer tournament earlier this month that I need to finish editing to upload, but I’m just kind of blah. Here, how about just a few?
Quick (yeah right) recap of the tournament weekend.
I flew home from Orlando. Linus was sick, got him to the doctor, he wasn’t contagious, but by the time we got his prescription filled, it was 6pm, and there was traffic, and we didn’t get to our hotel until close to 11. And I hurt my back getting frantically packed.
First game Saturday morning, a win! Linus didn’t play, he spectated instead. I think he got really annoyed with me for asking so many questions, so he decided he felt well enough to play the later game. Which they also won!
Game 1: 4-1 win!
Game 2: 4-2 win! (A lot of pics, but the light was just so beautiful at that time of day)
Saturday night, the kids swam a bit in the hotel pool while the parents watched and partook in an adult beverage if they wished, and then we all ate pizza and went to bed. Sunday morning was another game! Which…they won! Which also meant that we’d be staying later for the finals. Remember, I’d been gone for the whole week prior, so all I wanted was to go home and sleep in my own bed.
Game 3: 6-2 victory!
Of course, I was proud they were heading to the finals of their second tournament. But I was also tired. So tired.
Anyway, the fourth game rolls around. It’s hot. And this game was hard fought. It was a nail-biter. No one was scoring. Both teams were really great! And so after overtime (or whatever they call it) the score was still 0-0! ACK!
So it went to penalty kicks! Eek, this is like World Cup level stuff, right? (I dunno, I didn’t watch it.) The deal is, whichever team gets to 3 penalty kicks wins.
The other team kicks…and misses!
Our team kicks…and gets it in!
They kick…and miss!
We kick…and get it in!
They kick…our goalie stops it!
We kick…it goes in!
Eeeeeeee! It was very exciting. All the kids went nuts, and let’s be honest, so did the parents. It was awesome!
I have been utilizing the services of a coach at work to help me with time management and today we talked about the state of my desk and how it affects my productivity and stress levels. So my assignment at the end of today’s session was to clean off my desk, take a picture of it, and blog about it. (I was going to post it on one of our internal blogs at work, but someone did a “show your desk” thread a few months ago, so I figured I’d post it here instead. I mean, if you want to show a picture of your desk in the comments, feel free!) The blogging part is for accountability, and if you look in the menu up at the top and see all those 365 projects I did way back in the day, external validation is a powerful motivator for me. (Words of affirmation are my love language, yo.)
I’m getting off topic.
Somehow it looks way neater in real life. But trust me that is as clean as it gets. Hooray!
Next step: Every morning, I will spend five minutes straightening it up before starting my day. (Hopefully won’t be too necessary, but just in case.)
PS Cleaning up my desk had a beneficial side effect: that Amazon gift card had $15 on it!
Before too much time passes, I have to blog about this year’s Grand Meetup! It was my fifth, can you believe it? (In a way, it’s my sixth at Automattic, but I didn’t go to the 2013 one – but I was on trial and I sure did work my butt off while it happened.)
I hate to say it, but I wasn’t as excited about the GM this year as I have been in the past. I mean, Orlando? It’s hot, whine, whine. One of the greatest things about the GM for the past four years has been the weather. Actual fall weather! In the mountains! And the forecast for Orlando was hotter than New Orleans, bleh. And the only mountain around was Space Mountain, and I wasn’t going to be going near that. And I wouldn’t go on it even if I could (THANKS DAD FOR SCARRING ME FOR LIFE.)
On the bright side, the flight was under two hours and direct! That almost made up for the weather. I mean, not having to take two long flights to Vancouver and then sit on a bus for two hours to get to a (granted, gorgeous, luxurious mountain) resort was amazing. And I did sew all of the clothes I wore (with the exception of my bathing suit and workout clothes and one team t-shirt) so that was stressful fun.
But once I got to the airport in Orlando and started seeing friends, and then to the hotel, well, you know, it was awesome. The whole thing.
We arrived on Saturday and the opening party was around the pool at the hotel. We got fancy water bottles and fun buttons to attach to our lanyards. Needless to say, there was plenty of food and drink and lots of people to catch up with. Meanwhile, back in New Orleans, the boys were at a soccer game, and Miles scored his first goal of competitive soccer! This mama got pretty weepy at having missed it. (Thanks beer!) Sigh. But still, a great night.
Work started the next day – we spent it with our team. Actually, I spent the whole week working with my team, but some people spent other days in classes or working on projects. And then we did have some downtime for socializing. Like in the party suites. And at Disney Springs. Even went to Orangetheory one day.
But the VERY BEST PART of the whole week (erm, aside from, you know, uh, hanging out with my amazing colleagues) was Tuesday night.
Dinner at Harry Potter World!
After hours – so we had that section of Universal to ourselves! It was seriously magical. Of course, I had special outfits for the entire day. My day outfit was my Harry Potter t-shirt with a pinafore, and my evening outfit for HP World was a Harry Potter skirt. We got to ride the rides and there was food and drinks and we could get free ice cream and wander around Diagon Alley and eeeek, it was so awesome. Words can’t really describe. Fortunately, I took pics. Natch.
Day Harry Potter
Evening Harry Potter
One of the best parts about the GM for me (and the most nerve-wracking) is meeting all of the people I’d interviewed and/or hired over the past year. One of the days we had a Happiness Hour, where all of the Happiness team got together and did some activities (like writing cards that were delivered throughout the GM) and got t-shirts and hung out. The crazy thing is that Happiness is now the size (or maybe bigger) than the whole company was when I joined. Insane!
Sadly, I had to leave a day early because of the boys’ soccer tournament in Pensacola (yes, also Florida) but that’s a post for another day….
I’m in Orlando for this year’s Grand Meetup (which of course I’ll blog about later) so Daddy had to fill in as the photographer this month.
I am leaving my wonderful colleagues a day early because the boys have a soccer tournament this weekend, so while I am sad to miss a day with everyone here in Florida, I’m excited to see my boys again. (Oh and guess where the soccer tournament is? That’s right. Florida. I’m flying home from Florida tomorrow and I’ll be driving back to Florida with the boys in the afternoon.)
The boys’ team (with the catchy name 07B Louisiana Fire WB Red or something – you try yelling that while cheering them on) had their first tournament last weekend, and I guess I spoiled it in the title, but they won!
(Their division, I mean, which consisted of four teams.)
It was only their third, fourth, fifth, and sixth games as a team, because so many other games were rained out, so that makes their victory especially sweet.
We had to get their early Saturday for the first game. It was hot. They won! Yay! Warning: Lots and lots of photos to follow…
(Linus is 90, Miles is 91, Oliver is 92)
Miles getting a pep talk from the coach
The second game wasn’t until late in the afternoon, so we went home and I took a little nap and they rested and ate. If I thought it was hot for the first game, that was nothing compared to the second game. It was scorching. George and I sat there sweating while the boys sat on the bench. Continue reading →
So, fast forward a couple of weeks, and I washed and dried the fabric and got brave enough to make my t-shirt. I was super nervous about cutting this beautiful stuff. What if I messed up? But I’d made a shirt out of this pattern already, and I liked the fit, so I was pretty confident it would work out. I laid out the back piece of the pattern on the fabric and cut it out. Then laid out the front piece and…HOLY CRAP IT DOESN’T FIT.
So I sadly piled it on my dresser and tried to figure out what to do. It sat there for months. Since the pattern had a color-blocking option, I thought about finding a coordinating solid and using that for part of it, but that made me sad. I even went as far as buying a pale pink remnant but I could never bring myself to use it. I just didn’t want to have to break up this lovely fabric.
Finally, one day, I decided I was just going to make the shirt. I was going to piece it together and use all the fabric and it would be fine. Okay, there would be some seams across it, but it would be okay. Better than wasting the fabric altogether!
So I laid the remaining pattern pieces out, and yeah, I had to make a few cuts, but I squeezed them all onto the fabric and it was fine. It was gonna be fine.
Took them up to my sewing machine to put them together and…wait, why was the top front piece not lining up with the rest of the pieces? This is very strange. I cut it on the fold as directed. I mean, sure, I’d had to put the pattern piece upside down to make it fit but…oh no…I cut it on THE WRONG FOLD.
Cue banging of head onto desk. This pattern has short dolman sleeves, so the neckline curve looks suspiciously like the curve under the arm.
Soooooo another place I had to piece it together. Right down the middle. And then right under my bust. And then a band at the bottom. Lovely.
I call it…Frankenshirt!
the floral pattern hides it reasonably well.
I don’t care.
my beloved York pinafores hide the seams and coordinate perfectly with the print.
(Photo credit: Ellie)
I’m also going to sneak in a picture of the Blank Slate Blanc tee I made out of Harry Potter knit fabric because it’s so beyond dorky I can barely stand myself. Well, the picture even more than the shirt. I went and dug out the wand Oliver got at Universal a couple of summers ago as a prop, for goodness’ sake.
This shirt also sat on my “unfinished” pile for ages and ages for no good reason, and I still haven’t hemmed the sleeves and I probably never will. I wonder if there’s a spell for that?
Last Thursday, I took the day off to spend with Ellie, who was in town while her parents went gallivanting around New York City with some tennis players or something.
Yes, this Ellie! ❤
Okay, not exactly that Ellie. More like this Ellie:
She’s a little taller now. I mean, 13 years does that to a person.
We dropped the boys off at school, and got beignets (her first! okay, my brother says she’s had them before but she doesn’t remember so they don’t count)
and wandered around the sculpture garden at City Park a little bit (shh it wasn’t open yet but the gates were open so we wandered around a bit and didn’t get caught – we’re such rebels!)
Then we went to get manicures. She got blue and I got red.
After that, we went to my favorite local fabric store and she picked out some blue fabric so I could make her some pants for school. With pockets! Then we went and met our cousin Lisa for lunch at this great place called Toast. Ellie and I had crepes, yum! I didn’t take any pictures at lunch, boo! So unlike me. Ellie was very excited because there was a Tesla parked outside. She is a tad obsessed with Teslas.
It was pouring, so we headed home so I could start on her pants before we had to head to the bus stop to get the boys. We didn’t embarrass them too much there but of course, I did make them take some pictures together.
Goofballs. Don’t worry, that house is vacant.
The boys were supposed to have soccer that night, but it was canceled. For the life of me, I can’t remember what we did for dinner. I know the night before we made pizzas, which was notable because we got a cauliflower crust from Trader Joes for one of the pizzas and no one noticed! SCORE! Oh well, I guess it doesn’t really matter what we had for dinner that night.
The next day we headed to Baton Rouge to hang out with my brother and sister in law, who were back from NYC, and we did fun things like swim (MY MOM WENT DOWN THE WATER SLIDE) and went to LSU to take the bench picture again and I made Jennifer an apron for her birthday. Pics!
Jennifer in the apron I made her
Ellie in the pants I made her
In the pool!
Linus and Miles and Ellie underwater
Later, we went to LSU to take the bench picture again (here are the 2012, 2015, and 2017 versions) but it was pouring rain. When there was a break, we got the photo. Whew!
Playing in the rain:
They went home the next day, but we’ll see them again in just a few months at Thanksgiving!