Monday, June 6, 2011

Gianna gets a haircut.

I realize it's been awhile since I've visited my blog, but apparently I've forgotten how to upload a picture so that it's at the top. I'm sick of messing with it so I guess it's going to be at the bottom. Gianna got her first hair cut last week (more like a trim), which she took very seriously indeed. For $20, she got the full treatment: shampoo, trim, and style. It was so cute how she solemnly sat in rapt attention, never flinching at the tugging of the comb and brush. At home, I only brush her hair every couple of days. She doesn't like it and I usually have to hold her down, or more commonly, bribe her. I thought if we lopped off an inch or two, it would be easier to brush, but nothing is easy to do to a toddler if she doesn't want it done. Plus, I was too wimpy to have Kim whack off more than an inch or so, since Gianna's curls are so beautiful. On another topic, I have 3 more weeks of work, then I'm gearing up for a whopping, unprecedented (or nearly so) 3 full weeks off work. Our massive plans involve DRIVING to Wyoming, spending a few days over the 4th with family, and then flying to Kauai'i for 10 days, get this, withOUT our daughter! I'm feeling a little trepidation about the latter, because we've never left her alone for even one night (except on Joe's 50th b-day, but she stayed overnight with her very trusted nanny), much less 10 nights. And guiltily, I'm looking forward to some time "off" from a toddler. ALL of my friends in the area who have children also have family around to help them out. These friends constantly show up at BBQs, girls-night-out, etc kidless because they can just drop junior off at grandma's house. Want to attend that Tuesday night book club/class/happy hour? No problem! Want to snag some drinks on Friday? No problem! Joe and I, on the other hand, must either go out without each other (while the other stays home with Gianna), or just say "fuck it" and stay home, or bring her with. That's why I like afternoon BBQs or house parties, because they tend to be kid-friendly events. Not fond of movie theaters, art galleries, or happy hours because they are decidedly NOT kid-friendly. This is not to say I will always find art galleries irritating, but at least for the next few years. Anyway, so for 10 solid, uninterrupted days I can sleep in, go to adult places, put on a cute dress, and go out and sip drinks without having to be back in the hotel room by 9:00. So I feel kind of guilty for looking forward to all this, while at the same time I know it's normal and people do it all the time. I just don't want her to feel abandoned, or constantly be asking, "Where's mommy?" Guess we'll just have to call a lot : ). Once we get back, we have a leisurely week to make it back to California.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Aug 24, 2010.

So I ditched that Smartphone I had in favor of the iPhone 4. I succumbed. The other phone was too big a pain in the ass with seizing up, or my cheek would hit the virtual keypad and beep whilst I was talking. Worse, it wasn't compatible with my Mac laptop. I did not foresee this very grave stumbling block. I now have the iPhone and am very pleased. Here is a photo. This is from the other day at Artbeast. I don't go there very often, only 3 times now namely, because it's sort of expensive to get in and she's over it within 1 1/2 hours or so. After we left, I decided lunch was in order. I was seized with the sudden impulse to devour meatball at Ikea. I was also keenly aware the place teems with children, so any of her antics would just blend right in. Plus, I wanted to check out the bedding and toys real quick. We got there and I nearly just departed once I glimpsed how long the line was. But to my astonishment, Gianna waited patiently and did not scamper off. Maybe it's because she was so hungry.

We all went to Lander and got back last week. The visit went well and there were no awkward conflicts regarding politics or religion. Joe has a hard time keeping his mouth shut when one of my nieces or nephews says something right-wing or ignorant. But nobody really did....Joe likes to get them started on the topic of Mormons. Since they are evangelicals (at least my bro Jason and Karen), Mormons are particularly irritating to them. They irritate me too (the religion, not necessarily the people, although some do), so I find it highly enjoyable to listen to Karen or Jason's lengthy tirade on how Mormonism cannot be Christianity, and Joseph Smith was a shyster, and how weird those garments are they wear, etc. etc. On the way back to SLC, Karen an mom drove us. I really think that Karen and Jason are really left-wing but don't know it. When things are framed correctly, she nods and agrees. Like, if one simply says, "Corporations are evil," she would likely disagree. But if stated like, "The free market system has been compromised due to mergers, and corporations are not paying their fair share of taxes, unlike us regular folks, and our good pals the small business-owners," she may actually acquiesce. Although, definitely stay away from the topic of abortion, etc. And of course don't even bother to try to convince an Evangelical what a joke religions are.

Anyway, Emily stayed at mom's all week to hang out while Jay went to AZ. Joe and I managed to slip away to the saloon exactly twice, which is good. Nothing like swallowing down a few beers. Joe likes to sit out side, but sometimes I like to actually sit at the sweaty bar to remind myself we're really at a bar. It's more tangible. Otherwise, sitting outside with a beer I could just be at Crepeville or something. Sometimes I want to glance up and see the taps or that bottle of Maker's Mark sitting there. We went on the Nature trail, which was significantly longer than what i remember. Gigi handled it well though and walked most of the way. The swinging bridge made me nervous though, because the fence isn't adequately stapled down at the botton. And of course my pubescent nephews are jumping up and down on it and making it swing wildly. Gigi also made cookies with Grandma, a tradition for us all. We fed the fish, went to City Park, ate breadsticks. All the usual junk one does at a Lander visit. Must say it was fun, and Joe didn't vanish as much. Gigi had a blast too.

I'm dreading Melissa leaving on maternity leave. It'll be me and the bumps-on-the-logs and the Republicans. It reminds me that she's at least 50% of what I enjoy about my job. At least Steve got us a sub, Mike, who is not too bad.

Well, I guess I'll retire. My evenings are so short. After Gianna goes to bed, I really only feel alert for 60-90 minutes.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

So here's one of Gianna's favorite activities, captured by my new Smartphone. Since of course it is not compatible with Apple, I have to email them to myself, then download them onto the laptop. Sigh. Should've just gotten an iPhone, but thought it would be redundant given I already own an iPod Touch. She is removing the snails we collected in our yard, and placing them at the base of a tree in the park, their "new home."

At any rate, the 4th of July holiday was quite fun. On Saturday I dragged Joe to the aerospace museum, which turned out to be pretty cool. They had a Star Trek exhibit that Gigi really enjoyed, especially the transporter thing. The rest of the museum was pleasingly cavernous, with most of the planes actually being outside on the tarmac. Some of them were open, and I think even Joe was impressed with the WWII troop dropper-offer one. There's also a space-aged theme playground right next door, with 3 different levels. I was quite impressed.

In the afternoon, we then went to Karen's house for her barbecue. The whole gang was in attendance, and we nibbled hot dogs and the usual bbq fare. Gianna enjoyed twirling the sparklers, but when it came to letting off the larger stuff, she wasn't interested whatsoever. I guess she was scared by the smoke and noise. Joe took her inside the house, and we split soon after that. On Sunday we went to Melissa's and spent a few hours swimming by her pool. Brian always puts on a yummy spread-tacos, guacamole, salads, etc. Then, on Monday morning I met Melissa and Brian, and Julie the Mormon at the movie theater to watch "Eclipse," the 3rd installment in the Twilight series. Silly, sappy books, but nice to escape for a bit. Joe stayed at home with Gigi so I could go.

So on to our Monday in Hawai'i, before my memory fades. We piled into the rental van and headed out early for Waimea canyon. Since it is a some distance (for that island, anyway), we wanted to see that before the week got away from us. The way there was breathtaking, of course, and as we drove along the rim. We stopped at the first lookout....difficult to keep one eye on the toddler while the other eye is soaking up the view. The drop off was precipitous in places and it wouldn't take Gianna long to clamber over the fence. She wasn't too happy at the lookout area, because there were all sorts of places she couldn't go. But we did sit down in some grass for a little bit, as there was a vendor peddling dried fruit and stuff, so we had a snack before leaving. We stopped in Kolo'a near Poi'pu and had lunch at Tomkats. It wasn't very busy and it had a courtyard that was open to the air. There was a kitty there that kept G amused for awhile. She fell asleep on the way back, which was good because the prior 2 days she didn't have a nap at all. After that, we went swimming again, beach, etc. Gianna developed a liking for the hot tubs, which she called "hot bath tubs." Since there were several, I could usually find one that was either vacant, or occupied by kids already so she couldn't disturb too many folks. Mostly she liked pushing the button that ran the jets off and on. We had also gotten a little inner tube that gave her some autonomy in the water (and no doubt a false sense of security) which she enjoyed tremendously. She would sink in, and say, "Feee-yalls good, mommy! Fee-yalls good!"

Well, I'm getting tired and I've got to pay some bills, and task which I loathe. Not even just because money is exiting the household, but I literally loathe writing out the checks, weeding out all the junk stuffed in the envelopes, etc.

Friday, June 25, 2010

June 25, 2010

Gianna likes to look for snails. I guess I started it, exclaiming and pointing whenever I came across one in the backyard, which is often. She likes it when I line them up on the little edging thing, and will watch them until they start to move. Until recently, she wouldn't touch them or pick them up herself. She began to feel brave enough to do so the other day. I discovered a whole cache of them gathered where the fence meets the garage; perhaps it is cool or moist there. We plucked them all off and put them in a bucket. There must've been 25 or 30. Since I really don't want to kill them (much less have Gianna watch me do it, or see me throw them in the garbage or something equally heartless), but also don't relish them slithering around the yard and munching on the plants, we decided to go find them a new "home." So we strolled to the park and released them at the base of a sycamore tree. I guess I may as well kill them, but at least this way they perhaps have some small chance. When they start to emerge from their shells, Gigi says, "it's moving mommy, it's moving!" She'll touch their antennae/tentacles things and watch them withdraw, then unfurl again. Actually, I kind of like to do that myself.

We are back from Hawai'i and I really need to chronicle it. My favorite Gigi moment actually occurred in the elevator in our six-star hotel. We (Joe, I, and Gianna) entered the elevator, as did two men. One man had a glistening, deep green watermelon. It was totally silent in there as the elevator began to ascend. I could see Gianna watching the man, and thinking about something. She blurted out very loudly, "Got waterMELON?" and everyone burst out laughing. He replied he would give her a piece were it cut up. It was so cute.

So let's see if I can remember this stuff: Day 1, June 4th. Our flight out of Sac was at 9:30 or so, requiring that we get up and out of here fairly early. Gianna seemed excited, as were we. We parked and rode the shuttle to the airport. It was immediately apparent what the biggest obstacle to traveling with a toddler is: when you need to go somewhere, or wait in some line, or some other mundane task, said toddler will strongly prefer to do otherwise. Perhaps the other direction is more interesting. Or where does this conveyor belt go? The toddler in question will want to closely inspect every garbage can, rope, kiosk, chair, but especially the escalators. Every where we went, we had to ride the escalators before we could depart. If departure was attempted without indulging in multiple rides, one must prepare oneself for loud and shrill protests, often for a prolonged period. Anyway, everything went smoothly, including the flight. As it was relatively early, and the curiosity factor exceedingly high, there was no chance Gianna would sleep. I staved off her restless for approximately 2.5 hours, at which time I had to produce the secret weapon: this laptop upon which I now type. DVDs and admiring photos kept her entertained until we landed in Honolulu. The connection went very smoothly, and we landed in Lihue. We saw Hoss and Tristan right away. Gigi was very happy and the two embraced. We split for the hotel, but our room wasn't quite ready so we loitered around the beach with Genny and Hoss, somewhat uncomfortably in our street clothes. We were in Sac at 9:30, and Kalapaki beach by 2:30! How beautiful and amazing it was! It's difficult to believe that this place is part of the U.S. From the hotel, one had a spectacular view of the expansive pool below, green knoll, and the beach. Beyond, hulked the craggy mountain that is quintessential Hawai'i, or as Joe and I said on a few occasions, "It looks just like Lost."

As soon as our room was available, we gratefully changed clothes and returned to the beach. The ocean is so warm and inviting. Just cool enough to be refreshing, but not enough that it gives your body that shock upon entry. Nothing like Lake Tahoe even at its warmest. Nothing like the Atlantic, or even Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey. And certainly nothing like the Pacific here or any glacier-run-off Wyoming water. All of the bodies of water I have ever entered require the deep breath, run at top speed, and plunge-in-to-get-it-over-with method. I also didn't expect the weather to be that mild. Intellectually, I understood it was always 80. I had been watching the temperature in Lihue via my iPod for months before departure. It was always 77, or 82 or whatever. But I still expected sweltering, or muggy, or swarms of insects, or torrential rainfall. Maybe those are stereotypes about tropical rainforests, I don't know. I guess I don't know what 82 degrees feels like because Sacramento is 105, and Wyoming is seldom above 65. It was mild enough that one felt downright chilly if emerging from the pool later in the afternoon, or if clouds were obscuring the sun. Perfectly comfortable, all the time. Except when Joe wanted to sleep with the window open to hear the ocean. Then I was sort of hot all night. It was nice to hear the ocean, but then you'd also hear random dudes mumbling things from down below in the courtyard. Or maintenance people scraping around the pool.

I was thinking we ate at Duke's that first night, but I think I just took Gianna to bed since she hadn't slept all day. Yes, that's right. Because I never really ate aside from the crappy airplane meal and I awoke ravenous the next morning. Ravenous, and looking forward to a cocktail, heh heh.

Genny and Hoss said that after each voyage to Kaua'i, Tristan matured, or "grew up" after the experience. Gianna did change a bit, I think. Most notably is that she no longer nurses in the morning. It had been intermittent, but she was still fairly consistent with wanting to nurse in the morning. In Hawai'i her bedtime and morning routines were very different for myriad reasons: first, I could not just lay her down and exit like I do here at home. So I had to dim the lights and lay down with her. To my surprise, I enjoyed this because I would turn on the "Scenic Hawai'i" channel which permanently airs aerial views of all the islands filmed on a helicoptor, all paired with appropriate and soothing music. After she fell asleep, either myself or Joe would move her to the other bed. Usually it didn't take her long to fall asleep, since of course our days were full of activity and the hour would be considerably later than her usual bedtime. Then, in the mornings, rather than slam the door open and run into the bedroom yelling, "nurse! nurse!" she would sleep in a bit more and/or simply say, "Next to Gigi?" or "Next to me?" at 5:30 am or so. As long as I crawled into her bed with her, she'd fall back asleep to the indulgent hour of 7 or even 8:30 one time. Gasp.

Now that we are back home, she just never thought to ask for "nurse!" again. That's not entirely true, but I just patted the bed and said, "Next to me?" and she's been willing to crawl in and if not doze, at least contentedly lay for a while. That's why we nursed for as long as we did: so I could continue to lay there, even just for 15 minutes. It's been almost a month now, so there's no going back. I will miss it in many ways, mostly when her little fingers flitted around my belly, or kneaded. But she needs to move on, I suppose.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Regional parks, here I come.

Since I'm getting a little sick of the same old thing, I've resolved to visit a nearby park, reserve, shore, or attraction every weekend that there isn't some other obligation. I'm also a little weary of taking Gianna to Saturday morning 10:00 activities. First it was Kindermusik for at least 6 months or so, then I switched to Waterbabies. I'm doing gymnastics with her right now, but it's sort of lame because only 2 kids are in the class. Anyway, since Gigi usually rises pretty early, between 6:20-6:40, that's a long time to putter around the house before the class. I hesitate to start a walk or excursion because then she has a fit when we need to leave. I don't know, I guess there's 9:00 classes.....But since this is a beautiful time of year, we could emerge to some new (or old trusty) destination. This weekend we tried to go to Deer Creek Reserve (or whatever the hell it is called). I say "tried," because not only was there a little creek to forge in the car, which Joe wasn't keen on doing, but it became increasingly clear that this was going to be a true hiking situation. I was looking for just a large, open space environment. When you walk with Gianna, it's best not to be in a hurry or have a real destination in mind. Her ambling, diversions, and investigating all things curious IS the destination. There is no hurrying her along. We could have loaded her into the Ergo baby carrier, but we weren't prepared for that sort of trip. So, we aborted the mission and went to the Folsom Powerhouse instead. We explored the old building, then went along a short path and stuck our toes in the river. Then we went to eat at the Hacienda Mexican joint, sitting outside on the balcony enjoying the nice breeze and warm sunshine. On Sunday, we set out on another excursion, to the Mather Fields Vernal Pools. This will be a place we need to visit again, this time bringing picnic provisions and, much later in the future, boats! People were just loading their kayaks in and stuff. There was also a large playground. Again, to truly see the pools, we would need to load her into the Ergo carrier to do any serious traipsing. So, we grabbed some lunch and then drove home.

Gianna now says, "That's me!" when she sees herself in a picture. She'll also say, "Sorry mommy," after making a mess. She'll also ask stuffed animals or her Thomas the trains if they are ok, or will say "Sorry." On Friday morning, while we were still all laying in bed, Joe says, "We're gonna go to the zoo today!" Gianna said, "Giraffes! Tall, long necks!"

Ciao for now!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Good bye, Darwin.

Here I am sitting with my new Macbook laptop. And wi-fi. After years of Joe being the de facto internet gatekeeper, I have total freedom. I can't tell you how many arguments we got into because I wanted to use his computer for something (usually to mapquest, upload pictures, or look something up) when he didn't want me to. If I so much glanced toward the computer, he'd get suspicious and come investigate. And when permission was granted, he'd grumbled the whole time saying, "Are you done yet?" or, "Don't mess anything up!" Even if he didn't mind, it was moot past 8 pm, because Gianna sleeps in that room. Now I have complete autonomy; mwah hah hah!! Anyway, this weekend was fairly pleasant. On Saturday, we went to gymnastics class, then Gianna and I met Genny and Tristan at Crepeville. Afterwards, we went across the street to the Storybook theatre. Considering that it was at noon, essentially Gigi's naptime, and the fact that she is 25 months old, she did really well. There was some rooting around in my purse and climbing around on me and the seats, but for the most part she paid attention. We had a lot of fun, and I resolved to go to all the plays whenever possible, now that I know she found it at least somewhat engaging.

Today I wasted most of the morning trying to find an animal shelter willing to take the stray cat (Darwin) I finally caught. I sort of feel wistful, and I truly will miss her. It felt good to have the little critter greet me in the mornings and after work. I also enjoyed seeing her snuggled down in the garden in the sun. She was still painfully shy, but I was able to gradually get her comfortable eating in the pet carrier, and today, while she sat munching unsuspectingly, I just slammed the door shut. I felt horrible, as she yowled in surprise and fear. But it's just not practical to delay any longer. She is surely pregnant by now, which means another 5 homeless cats or so. Then more, and more. And we can't keep her due to Joe's allergies. Plus, he really doesn't want any animals, and we don't need another thing to argue about. It's really no life to live, residing under the neighbor Mike's house. She'd eventually get run over, or worse, mauled by some dog. And I couldn't ever get her vet care, being as how it is so difficult to catch her. I considered telling animal control to call me if it came down to the wire and they were going to euthanize her. If she were spayed, then theoretically we could go back to how it was before. Of course, it would probably be awhile before she'd trust my traitorous ass again. Surely life as an outdoor kitty is better than euthanasia, right? I don't know. Maybe I'll call them in a few days. But Joe reeeallllly doesn't want cats around. It reminds him of his ex-wife. I'll wait until Gianna is old enough to do the pestering for me. Anyway, most of the animal shelters were either closed, or refused to take her as I was "out of their jurisdiction." Luckily, they sent an officer to our house rather promptly, once I called. Poor kitty.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oct. 7, 2009

Last weekend we ended up jettisoning the Oktoberfest plans, because Joe wanted to be at this gig by 4:00. Given the $10 cover charge, there would be no real point in him attending. Karen was going to come along, but I really didn't feel up to chasing after Gianna by myself, especially since she had managed to procure a babysitter for Gavin. Instead, we went to Alana's house where Melissa and Jessica were planning to go, before heading out to Sylvannah's birthday party. Jasem and Livi were there too, so Gianna had a few friends to play with. I could pretty much relax and just let her scamper around. Alana has a cute house; she made it sound like it was a tore-up, delapidated hell-hole, but really it's quite nice. I had a beer and a margarita, but that's all because I was the driver (Karen hitched along with me). We played Wii a little bit, and I kicked everyone's ass at bowling. This is completely out of character for me, but the Palermo step-children are very much into video games, and the last several holidays at Lorayne's have involved obligatory Wii participation. Plus, I actually understand bowling and it's easy to stand around and have a drink while doing it. It also doesn't require one's full concentration. I need to get busy and find Gianna a Halloween costume. We may actually take her trick-or-treating this year, or preferably, someone may invite us to a Halloween party. I'm hoping Megan will do so: even though she'll probably have a 1-week old infant at the time, her daughter Ainsley will still need to do something. I kind of want to get away from our house, because answering the door 300X to dole out candy does not sound very appealing. Under normal circumstances it might, but each time Gianna is going to attempt to flee, and when I restrain her, as I must, she will freak out. And it seems kind of boring to just dim the lights and hunker down. I might put a fake patient in at noon, which just might give me enough time to go to the mall. I can't go this weekend because we're going to Meeks Bay at Tahoe, and I'm worried everything good will be picked over. And the shit at Target just sucks.

I'm trying to decide when and how to fully ween (wean?) Gigi. Ok, I know how, but I have to muster the energy for it. The two times I've withheld, she got pretty pissed. And this morning, when she awoke at 6:15 am, which is pretty typical, I just didn't feel like getting right up. If I nurse her, I can lounge in the warm bed another 20-30 mins. The alternative would be to get right up at 6:15, and start entertaining her. And the first few days it won't be in the least entertaining, because she'll be screaming "Nurt! Nurt" which is how she says "nurse." When she realizes it's not happening, the fury will be unprecedented : ). Well, better get to work now.