Unanchored Thoughts

Bits and pieces of musings about family, friends, social issues, and whatever else travels through my head without a purpose.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Skiing-G Part 2

Our ski weekend experiment was a success! We don't have any "action" shots, but I'm happy to report that Graeme seemed to like skiing. It took about an hour for me to figure out how to "teach" a toddler to ski. Ski equipment, boots in particular, are cumbersome at best and down-right dangerous at times. Graeme doesn't always want to walk on his own in slippers, let alone boots that weigh half as much as he does. And, when Graeme doesn't want to do something...forget it. It's like pushing a rock up a hill. Why the bunny slope is located a good 100 yards from the ticket line is beyond me, but after a lot of deep-breathing and breaks we managed to get ourselves and our equipment to the base of the bunny slope without any tears or bribes. An accomplishment in and of itself. I then thought, "now what, smarty pants." We proceeded to move around on the skis and walked in the boots and then Graeme lay down on his back and said "I want to go home." Sigh. Steve suggested we revise our goal to be just getting on the lift. Good idea, daddy. Graeme was excited to go on the "ride." However, he really couldn't move at all in skis and I'm not exactly a graceful swan myself with 5 foot boards on my feet. But, we managed to slide and move to the front of the line, though by this time I was sweating buckets and my upper-body was aching. Once on the "ride" Graeme was thrilled. We managed to dismount with ease. At this point I'd picked up some tidbits from watching a few other parents teach their toddlers. And, I fielded about a dozen different questions about Graeme's age and comments about how brave we were (or completely nuts, as they were probably really thinking). So, I swung Graeme between my legs, told him to make a slice of pizza with his legs (oh yeah, he doesn't eat pizza), put my own legs into a familiar wedge position and off we went! He lllloooovvveeeddd it. My quads were SCREAMING, but we had a blast! We rode the ride 3 times before it was time to get back to Ian (who was entertaining my dad and his wife back at the house). At one point Graeme was singing Frosty the Snowman as we went down the hill. It was adorable and I was excited. Maybe those Olympic dreams aren't so crazy afterall!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


We are taking Graeme skiing this weekend. I'm both fearful and excited about how this might turn out. I've skied since about the 7th or 8th grade, which really meant I attached some boards to my boots and slid around the ice-covered hills of central New York until about the 10th grade when I figured that it was much more fun to just hang around the lodge and flirt with the 10th grade boys from other schools. When I was 23 I ditched my job as a commercial underwriter (what a terrible title - just a few letters from being a mortician, which would have been much more lucrative) to be a ski-bum in Colorado which was a great time despite the fact that I left behind a great boyfriend and met up with a psycho one. It was there that I really learned how to ski and then eventually snowboard. I felt really cool doing the latter. For one, I was much better at it (could never master the moguls on skis) and it was at a time when snowboarding still wasn't allowed at all ski areas so it felt really edgy. Side note: I was snowboarding at Ski Liberty a few years ago and one of the 20-something (I seem to have issues with this particular age bracket) stopped me and asked if I'd be willing to sell my snowboard because their shop collected antique Burtons. I drop-kicked him. Anyway, I spent a few years perfecting my skiing, snowboarding, bartending, and drinking skills before deciding I should probably do something else and eventually I ended up in graduate school, then a job with the federal government, a house, mortgage, car payment and two kids. My life used to fit in the back of a pickup and now I need an 18-wheeler and a few PODS. As you can tell I have a lot of emotional energy wrapped up in this skiing thing which makes me all the more cautious about taking Graeme. I want him to have a great time and learn to be a great skier so that we can be uber-cool and take fabulous ski vacations and then he can try out for the Olympics and I can boast about how I was one of the first snowboarders in the West. But, you know, I don't want to pressure him at all or be one of those parents who lives vicariously through their kids and make them miserable in the process. Then again I may be getting ahead of myself if Skiing-G won't budge from the lift, which is an entirely possible outcome. Regardless, I'll post some pictures of him either wearing, standing next to, or throwing the very cute skis we have rented for him and if this is as far as his ski career goes I'll still be proud.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Date Day and Why the Unemployment Rate is Too Low (or Why I Hate JCrew and Macys)

Anyone who has spent much time with Steve and me knows that we rant about the unemployment rate being too low and the need for open border policies. This post addresses the latter...and what does any of this have to do with Date Day, you ask? Let me tell you.

Today being a federal holiday Steve was home. We took Graeme to school and made date day. It began with me going to the dentist (how romantic), Steve going for a run (more romance), and then a long lunch at Harry's Tap Room (now the date really began). Afterwards we decided to go to the mall to take care of some Christmas returns. We started at JCrew where I waited 20 minutes in line while ONE check-out person rang people up. Actually, there were two people until the "floor girl" wanted to go on break so the manager decided her time was better spent on sweater folding duty so she closed up her register with nary a nod to the long line, which is a good thing because we were all giving her dagger eyes. When I got to the front of the line I said something like, "so, they have you working by yourself on this busy day?" He responded, "well, we don't make any money in January so they only have three people working today." A reasonable economic argument for a very short-sighted or cash-strapped establishment. And a very honest answer. I didn't want to engage in a long-debate with the poor cashier. But I couldn't help myself when I said, "well, you will continue not making any money because I'm not shopping here anymore."

Then we headed to Macy's where Steve saw some shoes he wanted. I bought him shoes for Christmas, but he thought they were too trendy. He found some at Macy's that were trendy, but not too much. Well, at Macy's the shoe clerks work on commission. So Maurice was, smartly, rounding up as many customers as he could, retreating to the shoe dungeon to collect a bunch of shoes half of which were the wrong size or color because he doesn't have more than two wits in his brain to remember all of the various size and color combos. He returns 20 minutes later to deliver the wrong shoes and collect more customers while the first customers place their requests again for the shoes they asked for the first time. And this continues until some miraculously gets the shoe they want or walks off in frustration. Meanwhile, slim chick with attitude who has come over to help in the shoe department wanders around avoiding eye contact and when approached says, "I can't help you if you're already working with someone else." Well, eventually Steve gets the right size/color combo and goes to the counter to pay. Slim attitude chick says "I can't check you out because you are working with someone else." Maurice is in the bowels of the shoe dungeon and Ian is crying. After a few minutes I plead (probably not nicely), "can you please just take our money, we've been here a while and I have a fussy baby." Attitude girl turns to me and says "we work on commission." I say, "can't you use his code or something, we've been here forever." She gets mad and says, "no, it's a courtesy." This is where it gets ugly - Steve and I simultaneously and a bit too loudly say "a courtesy to who, the employee?????" Attitude girl says, "I'm calling security." "Please do, can they take our money?" I say. By now, Maurice has appeared and gladly takes our money and we march out of the shoe department. Next thing I know some squirrely 20-something is grabbing Steve's arm and pushing him through the men's tie section. "Who are you?" I ask. "I'm nobody," he responds. And I realize this is very ugly. He stops Steve and gets about an inch from his face and starts spewing words about how he's watching out for her (attitude girl, I presume) and Steve had better watch out and be careful and not to run over his toes with the stroller again and to be careful and watch out and more about the stroller...over and over because he also has two wits and nothing to lose if he's hanging around "protecting" attitude girl while she makes $5/hour selling stinky shoes. Holy f----ing shit, we're in the middle of the men's skivvy department and some squirrely thug is going to kill us. Steve, thank the lord, kept his cool (which is really unbelievable) and just stared him back 'til squirrel man finished. He (squirrel man) ended it by - I kid you not - slapping Steve across the face. I start ranting about security, but the lady in the fine acrylic sweater department just looked at me blankly so we left. So, we are never shopping at Macy's again either which is probably a realization I should have come to long ago.

What does this have to do with unemployment? My theory is that if the unemployment rate weren't so stinking low employers could be more selective about who they hire and we wouldn't have to deal with shit-for-brains workers like these. In the meantime I've added Macy's and JCrew to the list of places I won't spend money (Safeway is also on that list and I must say I've faithfully avoided the one adjacent to the Bradlee Shopping Center for about 8 months now.)

And thus ended date day. Maybe it's a good thing we don't get out very often!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Things I Love

1. The way Ian smells, even when he's kind of "gamey."
2. The scrunched up face Ian makes when he stretches.
3. Graeme turning up his hands to emphasise a question - "where did the -nowman go?"
4. Graeme dragging his little stool across the kitchen floor to get better access to the counters.
5. A good, long nap with Ian on my chest and Graeme next to me.
6. Graeme mixing up his pronouns - my favorite is "hold you."
7. When Ian thinks I'm the funniest person in the world and gives long belly laughs.
8. Watching Steve and Graeme play.
9. A stretch of uninterrupted time to do nothing.
10. My boys.

Monday, January 14, 2008


It's a little blurry, but these are the cutest Superheros I've ever seen!

What Not to Wear

I'm fearful of facing an intervention some time soon, something akin to what happens on the show What Not to Wear. I don't particularly like this show, but it is often the best viewing option late at night. Thankfully, I've started a new book that will hopefully supplant my stupid TV viewing habits. My clothing these days consists almost exclusively of fleece and I have a small selection of both pants and tops that I interchange to create what might be called a wardrobe. Fleece means you don't have to shower, so I top off the outfit with a baseball cap. I usually force myself to bathe before the days-end, but I certainly don't apply any make-up after said bath. To forestall the intervention that I'm sure is being planned I decided to spiff things up this weekend and actually wore a real sweater, make-up, jewelry, and these fine red shoes that Graeme loves to wear around the house. My two-year old seems to have a better sense of style than I do.


Graeme finally met his godfather, my cousin Bob who is a lacrosse-playing Sophomore at LeMoyne College. He and his brothers have "good moral fiber" and hence are suitable for this role. Here's a picture of Ian with Graeme's godmother, my Aunt Karen.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More Imbalances

Seems that everything is off-kilter these days. I have a foremilk-hindmilk imbalance. What in the sam-hill is that you ask? It means I make too much milk and therefore Ian fills up on the high-caloric, sugary foremilk and doesn't get enough of the fatty hindmilk making his digestive system (and moods) go haywire (read: he has lots of gas).

Ian has always had a steady supply of gas and he seems to have a love-hate relationship with nursing. Loves it, but hates the milk that sprays all over his face when he nurses. I hate that part too. It means we are both covered with bodily fluids which is really pretty disgusting. I've come to accept that parenting means contact with all sorts of fluids that one would never consider touching or talking about pre-kids. I just sort of added milk to the list of fluids I regularly have smeared all over my clothes, arms, hair, skin, furniture, etc.

Two nights ago Ian seemed particularly uncomfortable all night long. Finally at about 5AM I turned to the trusty Internet for some answers. Within minutes I had a link to a La Leche League site. These are hard-core long-term nursing mamas, or so that's my impression. But, the information on their website resonated so clearly that I called about attending their next meeting. Ian had 10 of the 13 bulleted items listed on a page about an oversupply of milk. What to do about this? Start selling milk on Craigs List? Worth consideration, but I'd rather just correct our supply-demand problem in-house. Turns out that I need to feed him LONGER on each side so that he gets the creamy hindmilk. I'm not the patient type so it's no surprise that I wasn't nursing him long enough (and my mother, darn her for being right, has long complained that I feed my babies too quickly). We tried the new system and last night was our best night in months (well, two months). Ian was particularly fussy today, but I'm going to blame that on something else (that I'll find on the Internet in the wee hours).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Knock knock

Me: "Knock knock"
Respondent: "Who's there?"
Me: "Control-freak. Now this is the part where you say control-freak who."

Thanks to Jane for sharing this one! (Even Steve laughed.)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


I've spent a better part of the day identifying various dinosaurs in our new 600 sticker book. Most end with 'aurus' and are barely pronounceable. It seems fitting given that I'm a big grump-a-saurus right now. Can't shake the crabbies. I had high hopes of starting 2008 with some great new plans, including:

1. Running 3 times a week for 10 minutes, increasing the time by 5 minutes each month. Modest goals are the key to success.
2. Planning a date-night per month with my spouse. Again, modest goals.
3. Giving Ian a good infant massage 3 times per week.
4. Really engaging Graeme. I think I do a pretty good job of engaging him as it is, but I would like to pay closer attention to what he really likes and dislikes.

And then there were the "if I get to them" kinds of things like:

5. Figuring out how to get out of my job-rut. I love the job, I think. It's the "I think" qualifier that needs exploration.
6. Taking Graeme skiing.
7. Finding my ab muscles.
8. Writing a good article not related to economics. (Not that I write good economics articles. I've wanted to explore creative writing. This blog is supposed to be an attempt to get the juices flowing, but it's turned into more of a Kelly bitch session.)
9. Getting Graeme to eat more than cereal, turkey meatballs, and PB&J.
10. Letting go of stale friendships and nurturing some new ones.

But, instead of jumping into 2008 with enthusiasm, I've been slapped in the side of the head with "you're a control freak" a few too many times lately. I know this. I work on it. I try to keep it in check. I think about it. I work on it some more. But, apparently not enough. So, I'm in a funk. I don't want to make life miserable for those around me. But, directing the show is part of who I am. The past few days I've done nothing. Kitchen is a mess. We don't have any food in the house. Meals are a fend-for-yourself affair (except for the kids, of course). Toys are everywhere. Bills sit unpaid. Mail is tossed if it looks uninteresting. I barely answer emails and delete without a care. Pretty daring of me, eh? In some ways it's been kind of liberating. I don't want to be a control freak, but I don't really know how to selectively uncontrol. So, I've just stopped controlling everything. I have done some deep cleaning in Graeme's room, the linen closet, bathroom and hall closet. I guess this is my way of having control in ways that aren't harmful to anyone around me. I really don't like this self, but I don't really know how to put the old self back in a way that doesn't piss off those in my life.

So, I've tossed #1-10 above and replaced it with nothing, sort-of. I have run the past two days, spent some great time with Graeme and given Ian a massage. Perhaps this is where I should focus my efforts. And, please find me that sticker with "controlalopholus" on it. I know exactly where to find the dinosaur.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year

2007 ended like a train wreck and 2008 came in like a flippin nightmare. Can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for me.