Well, he has been losing more weight. His bones are kind of sticking out in places, and we only recently noticed it. I have an appointment for him at the vet on Monday, and am trying to not get too nervous before we go.
Both cats have been pretty uninterested in their cat food lately. I don't know if the company changed their recipe or what. I had started giving more dry food again, and they aren't too much into that either. We grabbed some cans of another brand to try and they are similarly disinterested. They will eat a bit, but not ravenously suck it all down (we would give some wet in the AM, some wet in the PM, and then a little dry to supplement at some point). The only thing they have been super excited about has been their Trader Joe's cat treats, which we give to them at night in Mina's bedroom.
So who the hell knows. Given that Jayne is the older cat and the one with the health issues, he is the one we were expecting to go first. Our cat longevity expectations are a bit unreasonable too I think, given that all of ours lived to 20+ (the last one, Max, had diabetes for his last 5 years).
I hope I am overreacting. I'm dreading facing this whenever it comes, with Mina. :(
I've been working on cleaning up and cleaning out the garage. I'd love to get my car in there this winter, when snow is predicted. I've been putting a ton of stuff out front, and the good thing about being on a main street, is that things end up walking away and reporposed pretty quickly. The easier work is done, so the harder stuff to tackle (Brian's workshop half of the garage) is up next. I told him my awesome organizational skills will make his life so much easier, and bring all the boys to the garage. :)
I have yet another 3-day week this week. Originally we had a dentist appointment scheduled for Mina this Friday, but with the terrible pain she was having we ended up scheduling a second one a couple of weeks ago. Since Brian and I had both taken the day off, we'll spend it together doing whatever. Maybe going up to Salem to walk around sans-kid, before the Halloween crazy begins. We want to check out a friend's store, too.
I'm scheduled for barre tonight and Dance2B (the new name of DanceEnergy, for some reason) on Thursday. I went for a nice walk with a neighbor along stretches of the Riverwalk in Newton yesterday. If I can get more walking/hiking in during the week and do some more at-home strength/yoga kind of workouts, I would have a nice balance of things.
No sewing this week. I want to start cutting out and working on holiday outfits. I've been itching for a new Star Wars costume (maybe I'll finally tackle a jedi) and I had great ideas of making Wonder Woman for Mina, and Hippolyta for me (based on the DC SuperHero Girls movie).
We sold our old home in Framingham in 2004, and moved to the house we are in today. It was a choice we made after learning the hard way, that less space and more awkward space closer to 'stuff' for more money was way worth the larger/nicer home further away. We got rid of quite a bit of stuff before our move. I can't remember if I had read this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004GNF6T2/
Since then I am constantly weeding things out. I go through my own stuff as I encounter it during the day. I will ask Brian if we can rid ourselves of things that I know we haven't used in a long time (sometime he complies and sometimes he doesn't - he would be the packrat in this relationship, or just has hobbies that require a lot of stuff). I will ask Mina for permission before weeding her stuff out. Clothes that don't fit, toys she just doesn't seem to care about anymore. I will always respect her desires is she wants to keep something, but most times she will think for a minute, and tell me it is OK to let go. Sometimes, she even comes to me and gives me something, and asks me to donate it. She knows that we donate things "to kids that don't have enough toys or clothes". She is also used to hand me downs, and buying thrift more than we buy new. Most times, we end up buying new because it is a particular item that's hard to find thrifted (like cotton PJs or a particular kind of shoe, not very worn).
I'm rambling, though. Since reading that Scaling Down book, I have read others of that topic. I guess over time I've figured out a couple of things about me. First, I'm a dancer. Even though my studio is closed and I may not perform as much anymore, it is part of who I am. It is not what I do, it is who I am. Second, I'm a translator. I have done well professionally being able to speak to both the techies and the non-techies, being a bit of both. This is a rare thing, and it has served me well. I enjoy being in both worlds, and I guess I sort of did the same thing in the cliquish world of high school (was with the metalheads, the geeks and also the popular kids via dance/theater). It served me well when I worked in psych as an undergrad. I am perceptive generally and can 'get' where folks are coming from, and can clue others into that. It helps us immensely (imo) with trying to manage Mina. The 3rd thing I am, that I've only recently really come to understand (though I always knew it on some level) is that I am an Organizer. It is funny to think of this as something that's key to my identity, but it is what it is. As a kid I was always cleaning and reorganizing our house. I would rearrange furniture and ask my parents to buy tables or containers or whatever. I would play school (by myself), pretending I was the teacher, and reveled in the act of carefully curating books and writing supplies and whatever. At a time my parents told me I should be an interior designer, because I always enjoyed decorating our spaces. But when they told me that it was an artistic endeavor and I would need to go to art school I was all out. I love a pleasing space and I have fun making it my own visually, but for me it is all about the function, and the peace that comes with that. It is all just organization.
I'm rambling again. Given my penchant for reading things about getting rid of crap and organizing and simplfying one's life, I came across the blog http://www.theminimalists.com/ at some point. And then their podcast. I love listening to podcasts while I'm commutting or doing dishes or whatever, and theirs has grown to be one of my favorites. Their documentary came out this week on Vimeo, and if you preordered it (as I did) it came with something like 6 hours of additional footage. Basically, all of the stuff that got cut from the movie. I enjoyed watching it on Tuesday night, though it was a lot of the stuff I had seen. It was slow moving and kind of repetetive. Still, it was good food for thought. I'm looking forward to watching all of the other footage. A lot of it is interviews with other blogs I've come to follow, and podcasts I've added to my list. It was again, inspiring. That night I went into my closet and pulled out some things that I never wear, that I don't absolutely love. It (for me) is very freeing.
We are recovering from paying the most we've ever done (I think) for a home remodel. We did pay a lot in cash, but we also took out a HELOC to pay some of it, and are gradually paying it off. After working so hard to pay off debt (minus our mortgage, and then adding a couple of car payments), taking out the HELOC made me feel a bit like a poser. But we have good jobs and will pay this down, relatively quickly. We have had vet bills for Jayne (echo) and will have more (teeth cleaning/extraction), have our weekend vacation to pay for, and Disney in October. We had Mina at the vet with a filling, and will probably have her back again to get it revised/repaired. We have been bad about spending, with all of the remodeling we are doing (paint/carpet/hooks/stuff).
I guess this movie, these books, these podcasts help bring me back from the anxiety of OH MY GOD SO MUCH MONEY SO MUCH STUFF SO MUCH WORK. They center me again. Because at my heart, I'm an organizer. I'm a dork, but that's who I am.
(so if you ever need help cleaning out a closet or organizing a space or packing to move, I'm your gal)
There is a lifetime of records and tapes and CDs.
A Lane Home Chest, filled with old hand-made costumes
Antiques to find homes for (an old ticket window and a baby grand piano)
Two ancient sewing machines
People are trying to help, and trying to take home mementos of their own
Folks are going through and finding things they never new existed, like old photos or autographs from celebrities (Eleanor Powell!)
My friends L and S own a Kung Fu studio, and will take the red and white mats, and some mirrors, so history lives on a bit. I'll be back up tonight to help sorting again, and will cart a lot of the trash to my friend's house for pickup tomorrow.
I'm ending up with a neat piece of modern art sculpture for my office, because Miss Patty thought of me when she saw it.
The dance studio year-end party was last night. Pizza is ordered, snacks come and we watch the recital video. This time pictures came off the walls to go home with former students, folks took home holiday decorations. I ended up with a framed puzzle that hung on the wall for many years, of Miss Piggy, Kermit, some art deco buildings in the background and a bunch of tuxedoed rats, all dancing. Miss Peggy was called Miss Piggy in error by many young kids in the 70s/80s and era of Jim Henson. It will hang on my bedroom wall. I'll be helping them clean things out early next week (must be all emptied out by the end of July). My good friends who own a kung fu studio will take the old red and white striped mats, and maybe some mirrors. Craziness.
Our porch is almost all closed in with fancy new windows and doors! I can't wait to paint and decorate. We need to get some carpet tiles for it. We also need to repair our broken concrete steps and put railings up. I got a new house # and some solar sconces. Very exciting!
My cousin's wedding is Saturday in CT, so Mina is going to sleep over at my brother's house (they are going to the wedding) and we will have some time to ourselves before we head out. It will be FUN! I had a blast dancing at his older brother's wedding in DC last year. We don't see each other a lot, but we were quite close as kids. It is fun now, getting together when we have our own kids and drastically different lives.
Company is in the paper today:
We shall see where that goes!
We went for the orientation at the new school yesterday. I went up to get Mina settled into her new classroom at around 9:30 (after their drop-off/breakfast period) and then once she was comfortable with that, went down to fill out papers/answer surveys. It is amazing how much different this place is in its formality and involvement with the families. We talked about volunteer opportunities and regulations that the program is held to. They actually operate the town's Head Start program (though they aren't exclusively Head Start), and as such receive Federal Funds, and have to meet the requirements related to that. As a private-pay student, Mina/we don't need to adhere to a lot of the rules, but we had to do things like fill out WAY more paperwork, and get dental reports, which aren't typically required. After meeting with an administrator I sat with her teacher, Miss Danielle, and went over another long survey so she could get to know our family, traditions, styles and Mina's nuances. I am way, way, over the moon impressed, and kind of feeling silly that we hadn't found these folks earlier.
I ran into 2 people I knew there. One used to be a teacher at Mina's school, and I think isn't a teacher or aide there, but has a daughter there in the school. The other was someone I worked with at Burger King in High School! I went to her young daughter's 3rd birthday party or something in her old, shitty subsidized apartment. There were plaques on the wall indicating "PLEASE KEEP THIS AREA TIDY AND CLEAN". Talk about demeaning. Said daughter is now 26, and she went on to have 3 more kids. Still married to the same guy she was married to. At 17. She works there in the kitchen, and the kids all know her. She said we will love it. It the short time I was away from Mina she played with all of the things, made some friends and made a few art projects to take home. Mind = blown.
I'm looking forward to getting back to the normal routine. Between the school transition, visiting Justin and his wake and funeral and then Brian's NJ trip it has been very crazy for us all. Yay for mundane routines, sometimes.
Justin's services were full-on Catholic, but they were perfect for him. It was a tribute to his reach to see all of the folks at the funeral home for the wake and also at the funeral. It was nice to see old geek friends who have long pulled away, but just sad it was for this reason. The family hosted a luncheon at The Chateau Norwood after the cemetary, and it was nice again to catch up with "The Star Wars" (as the priest at the funeral said) friends.
I had to be at work for a 7:30 meeting this morning, but despite Mina's late (terrible) sleeping last night, she was up early enough that I could see her. During such an odd week, it kills me to leave her that early in the morning. I'm excited to have a lot of snuggle time with her over the weekend. I'm relieved that we won't be too hard hit with the snow, because managing snow blowing just won't happen with just me and a Mina in the house.
On next Monday I'll bring her to spend a couple of hours at the new school. It is awesome and mind-blowingly different from what we are used to.
The Dragoncon sadness got better each year, and now I don't think much about it at all. I like seeing costume photos and hearing stories when my friends come back home, but I don't miss it anymore. Kind of like Manray. I'm not the person anymore that I was in those days. I miss those experiences and sometimes that person, but love where I'm at today. It is a fond sentimentality, not a sad one.
Most of all, I'm excited to check out the new Spring Megafest convention this weekend (thank you for giving us a non-Celebration alternative!) and even moreso, I'm excited about our White Mountains vacation, next weekend.
I tend not to make a big deal about birthdays, but I resolved to do 'all the things I like to do' this year to celebrate my 40th year. I'm proud of myself for sticking to it, and thankful to Brian for humoring me with my arrangements. :)
Brian was at a nearby friend's nephew's Star Wars birthday party, suiting up to be a stormtrooper. It was the first time we've been in this crazy hobby that he's done a party that wasn't a Make a Wish type thing (other than our Nephew's party when he was like 4, and now he's 17). It was in the local Community/Arts center on Moody Street, that used to be a middle school. They have a sweet setup for residents to rent spaces for 2 hours, with cool activities to choose from. I was invited to bring Mina over after dance class to see Brian and have pizza and cake (for his 'payment' of sorts). We left there to head to Cambridge for our haircuts, and she slept in the car (I live parked on the street and Brian got us take-out Burdick's cocoa before we headed to the garage). Fortune was smiling on us, because we got the freaking last spot in the parking garage. It was so sad to see all of the street spots filled with snow (or snowed-in cars). We had a nice visit with Dale at DHR, and then went next-door to New England Comics. The guy working was absolutely nasty, which really stinks, because we used to buy a lot of stuff there. We were in there looking at the kid comic section, and he was giving me dagger eyes while Mina excitedly and very carefully looked at some books. Another couple with tween sons were lectured about how the boys shouldn't wrinkle anything while handling, unless they planned to buy them (these kids were like, 12 years old). So much for making comics exciting to the new generation! I'm happy for our local shop Outer Limits on Moody, where Steve is very supportive of the young set, and also Double Midnight in NH. We picked up take-out Chinese on the way home, and settled in for a nice family Valentine's Day night together.
Snow, really. We stayed in Sunday and given the winds, it wasn't even really reasonable for Mina to go out and play in it. Awful fires in Waltham this weekend. I feel for the firefighters covered in frozen water, trying to battle these things around piles of snow. :( We drove up to NH yesterday to spend some gift certificate $ at Double Midnight, and then headed over to the Mall of NH for lunch and indoor playground playing with my brother, his wife and their son. Mina actually was involved in a brawl of sorts with a kid there. A much older, bigger kid pushed her off of one of the play structures. She fell down, got up, looked at him like "WTF?!" and then purposely and calculatingly grabbed his shirt and pulled him off of the thing. He fell a couple of feet to the ground, landed flat on his back (and had the wind knocked out of him). He paused for a second and started SCREAMING. He was totally OK, but just freaked out. This little girl took him out, and he just wasn't expecting it. He got up and ran over to his grandparents, and we went over to Mina (she started crying too). Once kids were calmed down. they both apologized to each other. She kept saying she felt bad for hurting him, but I'm also kind of proud that she stuck up for herself. We joke that she's going to be the bodyguard for our less in your face nephew #2. It is so weird to see it in action. I was a social kid like her, and talked a lot (very outgoing), but definitely would have shyed away from this kind of thing. It is such a tough thing to balance. Hitting/pushing is not cool, but I don't want her running to us to fight all of her (figurative) battles, either. It is odd to see this combination of empathy and force. I wonder how much impact the superhero stuff has had on this.
Our makeup dance class yesterday (making up for last Tuesday's cancellation) was cancelled. We are due to have a class tonight, but given that Waltham has a snow emergency and you can't park on the street, the city lots may be filled, and there won't be parking for class. I'm expecting another cancellation. My clothing is fitting so poorly. I want to get moving again!
Here are three of my top wishes for you in 2105: You will have a clear, precise sense of what's yours and what's not yours . . . of what's possible to accomplish and what's impossible . . . of what will be a good influence on you and what won't be. To help ensure that these wishes come true, refer regularly to the following advice from Cancerian author Elizabeth Gilbert: "You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. That's a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control."
Home: Make something (I knit a bit and made sugar cookies with Mina, first time for her). I did not sit in front of the "fireplace" with Brian. Maybe tonight?
Work: I did indeed rock the big presentation I worked on at the Schrafft's building. I didn't get much done with the EDW migration. This is creeping up on me, because the "old" data warehouse shuts down on 12/31. Connectivity/tools/learning curve issues plus regular work are preventing me from doing this as proactively as I'd like.
Personal: I did get to the gym once (Friday). I kicked a lot of butt in Ballet class on Thursday. I did read a teeny bit of my kindle book.
We had a fun weekend. On Saturday I took Mina to dance class and she participated more than she has yet! She was making us all laugth with her excited "dancing", I was almost crying. A 501st member from CA was in town and stuck with no car in Natick, so we drove out to get him and then took him over to Walden. I hadn't been since I was a kid on the beach, and had never walked in the woods or to the cabin site. We bundled up and put Mina in the hiking pack. It was nice to see it finally and she did well considering her boredom. After we brought him to a big group dinner with other legion friends at Brittish Beer Company. On Sunday we hung around the house a bit and went to our friend's annual cozy bday gathering at their home. Mina had a blast hanging with her kids and we all ate comfort food and watched superhero TV. It was perfect! From there we drove a bit so Mina could nap, and went to Ikea to try and find good bedding for her (she asked us for a purple room, happy to oblige). They had nothing good for us, unfortunately. On the way out we learned that the Enchanged Village is already open at Jordan's. We would have had way more fun there! I may take her some Monday when it's not crazy crowded. We had dinner out there and drove home.
Yesterday was great with her! Despite a rough night where none of us slept (she is fighting a cold and/or has a growth spurt or something) we had fun playing around the house in the morning. I had to bring my car for a service at Subaru (routine) and the easiest way to deal with that was bring her with me. Their waiting room was fully stocked with a lot of good toys (namely, megablocks) and a couple of massage chairs, which she thought was a RIOT! I had packed us lunch and snacks and lots of activities and even planned on letting her sit in the front seat of the indoor demo car, but it never came to that. The work took less time than planned. She was quiet and entertained and I was so proud of her being so good in not the most exciting of situations. She fell asleep in the car and though she woke up when I transferred her into the house, we had some snuggle/restful time on the couch with a movie (Frosty) in lieu of a nap. We made the sugar cookies from start to finish (even making our own sprinkles with sugar and natural/dye free color). She had a blast. She had the most fun actually putting flour on the pastry board and just squishing the dough with her hands. She was very patient waiting for the cookies to cool. I see her becoming a great kitchen partner as she gets older.
I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week!
Home: put away attic things (I did actually get done Thursday morning, when I was home with a "sick" Mina*), Thanksgiving Decorations (maybe get our fake Xmas tree: we need to buy a new one this year) - I pulled the decorations down Thursday too, and we bought our new fake tree on Friday night**.
Work: Report Card phone calls (finally done, and ongoing), spend time migrating old code to the new Enterprise Data Warehouse (never got to do, due to system/network issues***).
Personal: Gym Wednesday and Friday (nope, not at all - meetings/life intervened), Spend a night either reading or sewing (no TV): I did manage this, though it was mostly due to a late night getting Mina to bed and our exhaustion. We just did the necessary prep for the next morning and then went to bed.
*On Wednesday we had a lunch meeting, and I didn't get to the gym. I was going to head over at 1:00 but had too much work to do. Then I got a call at 3 that Mina had vomitted right when she woke up from her nap, and had a fever of 99. I left to get her. She was kind of droopy but just fine all night, just fine the next day (I was at home with her). This is the 3rd time she's thrown up at school, just as she was waking up from a nap. We wonder if it is due to eating and then laying down right away, on top of a cold and post/nasal drip, and being flat on the floor. This never happens at home. I'm going to ask her Pedi about it at some point. Not concerning but annoying because she is always fine at home.
**Some years I've developed an odd rash around Xmas time that always goes away after Xmas. At first I thought it was related to some kind of plant I touched when decorating my Gram's gazebo (it was surrounded by who knows what in plant life. Sometimes I'd get it, sometimes I wouldn't. It came with a vengance when I was pregnant. Then I had it again last year. After multiple derm appointments and a re-test for allergies last year, we think it was due to a mold allergy, which means no more real greenery in our house for Xmas. We had a small/sad Xmas tree that we donated at the end of last season, and bought a new taller and pre-lit one this year. We got it last weekend, to insure that we have it for post Thanksgiving. Mina had a BLAST checking out the Xmas decorations at Target. She took all of the 2 foot foil trees (of various colors) off of the Mina height shelf, lined them up, and then carefully placed a plastic lollipop ornament in front of each one, and then proceeded to hang the pop on each tree. She is looking and acting more and more like her mama each day. It is going to be a fun year, because it is the first one where she really will get into the spirit of things.
***Partners is migrating from an old Data Warehouse (oracle based) to a bigger, huge enterprise data warehouse (windows based). The old system goes away 12/31, and I've had a host of connection issues in trying to just take the time and migrate all of my code/projects to the new system. I'll figure it out.
Goals this week:
Home: Make something (sew/knit/build with my kid), Fireplace with Brian one of these cold nights
Work: Rock my presentation tomorrow at the Schraffts building, Get some work done with this EDW migration
Personal: Walk or gym once this week, Read some more of my kindle book
Last night, we made it to an event at Drumlin Farm. I used to go all the time as a kid, and so it is special to share it with Mina. We ended up getting a MA Audubon membership, and now get the magazine as a result (which is where I found out about this event). It was a nighttime event with walking in the dark, "spooky" (g rated) kid activities and the educational stuff you'd expect from MA Audubon. So cool! Mina was most fascinated by the crow, the corn snake, the meal worms, and touching furs and skulls from various animals. One building had a huge stone fireplace lit inside, and a volunteer dressed as a witch reading "Room on the Broom", a super cute story, in the dark. There was cider and cookies. We did a "haunted" hayride, which was low on the haunted. She jumped when things (high school kids with halloween store and DIY masks) jumped and yelled boo in the cornfield, but then asked "where did they go?" and "I want more scary things".
I think she's our kid, alright! Fall achievement unlocked.
-One night in the den with books and the 'fireplace' with Brian
-Play in the yard in the leaves my kid
-2014 PCP Rept Cards
-gym on Wednesday and Friday