Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Remind Me

Our Thanksgiving was very quiet, but good. I was able to have a good visit with K, who seems to be changing each time I see him, not so much physically, but in maturity. Not only did we have some good talks, but his patience level for certain things has increased just a little bit.

On Sunday, we got up early and drove up to the Oakland airport in order to get him a non-stop flight home and to get him home early to try to avoid the rush. As I expected, the lines were quite long, but moved along at a decent pace. I think I only heard K grumble once, but then I reminded him "what better do we have to do here but wait?". Once we finally got to his gate, we sat down and tried to wake up. After a short time, an elderly woman with white curls sat down next to us. She asked me if I could see the numbers on top of the new Southwest poles, and then proceeded to explain twice about the new boarding procedure. I already felt my patience waning and was trying to figure out a polite way to discontinue the conversation. Then, I happened to glance over at her boarding pass and saw her first name was "Frances", which was my grandmother's first name. Suddenly, I imagined my grandmother sitting next to someone in an airport and I thought to myself, "if this woman was my grandma, I'd want the person sitting next to her to be nice to her". My heart softened a bit as grandma seemed to be reminding me about the patience and kindness that was so much a part of the way she treated those around her. We talked a bit longer and she mentioned that she was also from Spokane and anxious to get back home. She asked K a few questions, which he answered very politely. K even asked her a few questions and told her about the upcoming cold front, especially where he lived in the mountains. As we sat there talking, and I listened to her repeat herself , I smiled and remembered some of the last conversations I had with my own grandmother.

When she got up to stand in line, K and I looked at each other and we both commented on her name, which surprisingly, K had noticed also. When I told him that I miss grandma, K said what had already been on my mind - "the holidays are not the same this year without grandma".

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!


THINGS I'M THANKFUL FOR: my family and friends

TRADITIONS I LOVE: getting together with family, mashed potatoes and gravy



2 cans of corn, mostly drained, but with a little juice left
~3/4 cup crushed saltines
~3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
~3/4 cup of milk
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together and place in 8x8 pan. Garnish with paprika, if desired. Bake for around 60 minutes or until completely "set" in the middle.

Disclaimer: This recipe has approximations since my grandmother made this from her memory.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Greater Good

So I was home yesterday watching some sort of local news program and caught a quick blurb about a researcher out of UC Berkeley who is the director of the Greater Good Science Center. Her website is devoted to how to teach our children to be happy and emotionally literate, and is based on research from the Greater Good Science Center and is collected from other studies completed outside the UC Berkeley system.

What I like: First off, the website grabs my attention, but also has good content, both in the form of writing and video clips. I like that the information she provides about teaching "happiness" has to do with things that I would consider "outward focused" instead of "inward focused", like how to be grateful or how to teach our kids about failure and how to deal with it. I also have asserted, like the author, that it really doesn't matter how smart academically a child is. If they can't make it socially, they have a tough time not just in school, but in life. Looking through the video clips, the author's advice makes sense - nothing really radical is being proposed. Sometimes, even if we know the right thing to do for our children, it still helps to hear it or read it again.

What I don't like: Studying "happiness" is subjective. Also, there is no easy way to access even a list of the research (not just links to articles) that the author alludes to on the website. I don't like to have things watered down or summarized for me. If someone mentions research, then I like to see the actual study to see the particulars and formulate my own questions and opinions.

What it made me think: It's hard to teach my child happiness because, even though I don't view myself as a sad person, I also am not overly joyful or bubbly. Kids learn how to cope not as much by what their parents talk to them about, but how they see their parents react to different situations. K has picked up some bad habits about how to react in stressful situations and I cringe when I realize how I have taught him these bad habits. It makes me realize the need to be hyper-vigilant in the area of my own emotional literacy if Jellybean is going to learn how to be a well adjusted person in this world.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

You Look..... Okay

Be still my heart. I was shopping in OSH today for an extra paintbrush and a mask to use while sanding down baseboards that will be painted this week. The lady who helped me looked at my belly and asked me, "When are you due?". I desperately wanted to say, "Oh, I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat." Instead, realizing that I'm too far along to get away with that explanation, I sighed and told her "December 11". She looked me up and down once more and said, "You look.... (pause)... okay". Grrrr!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Home Stretch

I'm 35 weeks along in my pregnancy and I feel like I'm on the home stretch. This time is a bit different, though. Unlike my first pregnancy, I'm not anxious to have the baby out ASAP. Of course, that could have something to do with the fact that I can still get out and do things, and because I still have projects to complete. With K, we had the worst winter in Spokane since the 1960's - the snow was piled so high in the middle of the streets that you could not see oncoming traffic. I was pretty much confined to the house, which drove me mad. Add to that that I'd pretty much gotten everything set up early on, so I didn't have a lot to do the last month.

Physically, I'm tired a lot, but then I have trouble sleeping. I can no longer put on my own socks, and I have to wear shoes that slip on pretty easily. My belly button (previously a deep innie) is now halfway an outie. I cry during television shows that don't normally stir up emotion for me, like Good Morning America. This is in stark contrast to episodes where I become extremely pissed off and curse a blue streak because of something really minor, like when Safeway gave me a bag with a rip in it and my olive oil dropped out of the sack and broke in my garage.

It's a good thing work has slowed down. My patience has become a bit thin dealing with my more difficult students. My goal is to work until the end of November, which would give me about a week and a half before my due date to relax. We'll see how long I last. We just finished our last night of childbirth preparation classes, which is a relief. Neither H nor I do well with paying attention for learning after the dinner hour, but the class was helpful. Now we have to complete the birth plan, tour the hospital, and pre-register. In the meantime, I've been trying to find recipes that I can double so that I can freeze part of it so we won't have to cook so much right after Jellybean arrives.

More later....