Monday, December 1, 2014

Six and a half months

I'm sitting here trying to remember what has happened in the last six and a half months that has prevented me from writing, and because there is no nice, neat way to write it all out with smooth transitions and all that jazz, I'll just list it all.

1. Work. That's the biggest thing. Even though I usually get home by about 3:30, I insist on cooking actual food from real ingredients for dinner, so there's not much time for anything else.

2. Leah and I spent a week in Atlanta in early August, where she had surgery for endometriosis. There were some highs, like when she was so hopped up on the after-effects of anesthesia that she couldn't find the button to press for morphine-on-demand, and she whined to the nurse that she felt like she had to hit the button with a hammer. And there were a few lows, like when she had a dystonic reaction to the morphine and her whole left side cramped up and twisted her like a pretzel.

3. Also in August, Mansquared left for his junior year of college, which will forever be known as "the year God made it clear he should not play soccer." There were several injuries, one of which involved a knee, but the mother of all junior-year injuries was when he was moving forward with great speed, planted his left foot, his left knee locked, and all the forward momentum of 192 pounds centered on the back of his hip socket, which did not react favorably. At 21 years old, he broke his hip. We joke that we're going to buy him a cane and a membership to AARP. So now he's walking around with a small chunk of loose hip socket held in place by the ligament. The specialist at UVA Sports Medicine says it will heal itself if he will just take it easy for 6 weeks. (Ha!)

And may I just comment on the wonder of a CT scan? The below photo was taken at UVA in about 6 minutes. The doctor pulled up this 3-D image, and with a click of the mouse, he was rotating it in different directions, showing us the break from multiple angles. It's the oblong piece just to the right of the femoral head, about 3 cm long and 1.5 cm wide. Amazing.


4. Multitudes came to my house for Thanksgiving, including the beautiful grandbabies, four of the five children (one with husband and aforementioned babies), brothers and sisters-in-law, parents, nieces and nephews with spouses and children, and a few extras we picked up along the way. It was loud and crazy but so fun and a wonderful break from work. So wonderful, in fact, that today at my desk I had a very hard time concentrating. It will take a few days to get back in my groove, I think.

And now I'm wondering how four things can take up six and a half months.

Here's hoping I remember to write before next June.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

This weekend has consisted of way too much eating, from the church lunch today to the homemade shortbread and my mother's lemon pound cake. Tonight I feel like I never want to eat again, even though I know I will change my mind before tomorrow morning. 

I had a good visit with my mom and dad today to celebrate Daddy's 79th birthday, and then spent the afternoon making pierogis with my sister-in-law for an upcoming graduation party. Now I'm finally home lying on the couch and enjoying the quiet and hoping for a non-stressful week. 

Hope your weekend was productive and happy. 

Be thankful~

Monday, April 28, 2014

In which we discuss loading the dishwasher.

As with most things in life, there's a right way and a wrong way. And my way is right.

Ha! Just kidding. 

But not really. 

I guess I've never thought about this before because I taught my kids how to load a dishwasher, so of course they do it right.

Then I got a job and had to share a kitchen with a bunch of strangers.

I tell you, it's downright horrifying the things people do in a kitchen. From not separating the big forks from the small ones in the drawer to keeping some coffee mugs in one cabinet and others in a cabinet across the kitchen, the instances of "this makes no sense" are rampant in the company eating space. So to keep you from being "that person," here's a list of do-not-ever-do-this-in-the-shared-kitchen items:

1. Never leave time on the microwave. When your food is heated to your liking, remove your food (and the plastic thingy that covers it) and press "clear."

2. Wipe the place where you sat at the table. Do not leave crumbs, Diet Coke, salad dressing, or remnants of sprouts for the next person to dodge.

3. When placing dishes in the dishwasher, open the door all the way, pull the rack out, and load dirty dishes in the back first. Silverware goes in handle first, with the eating/cutting surface UP. Plates face the same direction. (Do I really need to say that?) Bowls must be positioned so the water drains out of them. Also, this is a cheap dishwasher. Rinse your dishes first.

4. When putting food in the refrigerator, tall things go on the tall shelves, short things on the short shelves.

5. Never throw another person's food away, no matter how moldy. It is acceptable to ask around the office to expedite the removal of nastiness from the fridge, but don't assume. And especially never throw away someone else's containers.

6. Do not, under any circumstances, burn popcorn in the microwave.

Now don't we all feel better?

Be thankful ~

Saturday, April 26, 2014

When I was a kid I used to hear my grandparents and great aunts talk about how older people don't need as much sleep, and I've been counting on that day all my life. Now here I am at the ripe old age of 52, and I'm still waiting. I have plenty of time in the bed, it's just that the sleep thing isn't happening and I'm wondering how much older I have to be before my "don't need as much" catches up with my middle-age insomnia.

Lately I've been trying to remedy the situation with exercise. Today I set my alarm (on a Saturday!) for 6:30. I got up and took the dog for a 2-mile brisk walk, came home and ate some granola and went to the gym for a 9 am Pitaiyo class. Stopped in Walmart for some Round-Up, then came home and weeded the two walkways and sprayed them both. I would tell you about the walkways, but I almost can't do it without cursing the boneheads that put them in, so I'll spare you. Suffice it to say one is nothing but rocks and the other is made of a frillion bricks that all have 1/2-inch spaces of dirt between them. And you know what grows in dirt? Ding-ding-ding! You win the prize behind door number three!

Sorry. Once I get started . . .

Anyway, the rest of the day was filled with laundry and cooking a pot of beef stew because I was craving it. I know. Weird dinner for a 75° day.

Now I'm craving ice cream and have none in the house. Who wants to go to  Coldstone and get me a French vanilla with crushed butterfingers?

(I keep forgetting to say)

Be thankful ~

Friday, April 25, 2014

My own little United Nations

Let's talk about Maria. She won't mind.

Every day at lunch, I pepper Maria, the planning officer at the company I work for, with questions. She is from Russia, about a 2-hour flight southeast of Moscow as she describes it. I asked her if it was in the countryside, and she said, no, a small-ish city.

Maria is in her mid-twenties, married to an American. She's one of the tiniest women I know, and I bet size 0 clothes are too big for her. She says she sometimes shops in the girls' department. She wears a size 5 shoe.

The other day at lunch we were all talking about the "eat local" movement,  and knowing the source of our food, growing a garden, etc. She began telling us about her growing-up years, and how there wasn't much in the stores and they had no money anyway, so if they wanted vegetables, they had to grow them. She worked in the big family garden every day after school and on weekends. She said growing potatoes was the worst because of all the digging and you would come in filthy, but that's what it took to have food. And this girl is only 25. Can you imagine? Our view of Russia is this modern country where people live like we do here. Not so. Much of the country has very little.

Now let's talk about Clarisse. She is in her early 50s, like me, and she's from Central African Republic. (I work with some pretty interesting people.) She is the CEO and CFO of the company, wife of Jean-Paul, who runs the place. (He's from Belgium, but we'll save him for another day.)

Clarisse's first language is Sango, then French, then English. She has a beautiful, exotic accent. At this same lunch conversation, we were talking about not being able to get truly fresh meat, and she commented, "In Africa, we would never buy a dead chicken. You don't know how long it's been dead! Only live ones. Then you know it's fresh."

She is mildly disgusted with the nicest grocery store I've ever been in (Wegman's) because the chicken is not fresh enough. Who knows when it was killed?

I love working with such a diverse group of people and hearing the perspectives they bring to the (literal) table. The countries represented there are CAR, Russia, Belgium, South Africa, Holland, Mexico, and me, the token American, the only one who speaks just one language. I couldn't have asked for a more interesting job.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

King of his castle

I have been trying to get outside for at least a little bit each day in spite of the cloud of pollen hanging over Northern Virginia.  It doesn't seem to be bothering Pete. 


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What a weekend. Mansquared came home with his not-girlfriend and future roommate and HIS significant other, and let me tell you, I have never seen four people put away more groceries. They literally ate every scrap of food on the table at every meal. It was amazing, but gratifying too. I love feeding people who regularly subsist on the slop that's served at Liberty's dining hall, known as (not even kidding) "the Rot." So they came, they saw, they scarfed it all down. Then they went back Monday night for the last few weeks of school. It was fun, in an exhausting kind of way.

Do I have a single picture? Nyet.

Today was back to the grind, where I found out I will be training a group of translators in Cameroon in the ways of idiomatic but correct English. Hoh boy. Their first language is an African one, second is French, third is English, and that the British kind. It will be an adventure, for sure.