Monday, May 31, 2010

Monster Rain Boots

I love the great rain boots for kids available now. When I was a kid, we had plain rubber boots in basic colors - black, yellow, blue, red. I had ones that were blue that I really liked. Now the kids have had green froggies, in various sizes, blue monsters, and pink ones with flowers on them. Today, Kaylen was wearing one green one and one pink one. She had a similar pair on a couple days ago. I did not ask. Maybe I should have, but she was happy and playing in the backyard, so what the heck!

One of the makers of the themed rubber boots is Melissa and Doug. I think this is interesting because they make great, high quality toys, like wooden puzzles. Because you find their toys in specialty toy stores, like ones in touristy beach towns, you can often find their rubber boots, matching raincoats and umbrellas at these toy stores. It is not the first place I'd think to look when I need rain boots for the kids, but maybe it should be! I am not sure if it is because it rains so much at the beaches here in Oregon, or if it is more about walking in the wet sand and saving the good shoes. I doubt rubber boots would be good for walking in wet sand in, but can't say that I have tried it. I can see a kid getting their boot stuck in the sand, the foot slipping out, and soon it is "bye-bye bootie."

As the kids get older, their interest in these cute boots is likely to fade, but I must say, mine has returned. I want an adult-size pair of blue monster boots! If you see some on sale, let me know!


Yesterday Kaylen threw up at the park.
She threw up again after her bath.
In the middle of the night the dog had diarhea all over the carpet.
Casey noted I had been experiencing quite the bodily fluid weekend.
Did I mention the jet lag?

Today, girl, dog and me - mostly all better.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thoughts on Carry-Ons

I know I am not the only one who has noticed the large numbers of people who now attempt to carry on to an airplane the largest piece of luggage permissible. This is presumably so they do not have to check luggage and risk it being lost, or maybe just don't want the hassle of checking and picking up luggage. It is a great idea. In theory. In reality, airplanes are not built to accommodate such large amounts of bulky luggage in the overhead bins. People end up storing their items rows away, which frankly, is not fair. If it does not fit in the compartment above your row, it should be checked.

I was a bit apprehensive about checking my one piece of luggage for my trip, but as I had to take suits, shoes and a variety of clothes for a week, I had to do it. My carry-on was perfect. I only took a messenger bag. I was able to fit in two paperback books, my netbook, some Luna bars, toothpaste, toothbrush and other personal items, plus a lightweight change of clothes. It was all I needed for the flights, plus a safety back-up in case I got stranded somewhere without my suitcase for a night. It easily fit under the seat in front of me. I did not need to worry about overhead bin storage and anything I wanted during the flights was easily accessible. In addition, it was lightweight and easy to sling across my body for travel through the airports. Even once I had my large rolling suitcase, the messenger bag was easy to carry. I had no problem making it through airports and even the London tube system with that combination of luggage.

I have mentioned messenger bags before, and I swear by the two I have. Although a backpack might be easier to carry long-distances, for safety and ease of movement, a messenger bag is the way to go. On the tube, a backpack would not have worked well - I could not have seen if anyone was trying to get into it, or if I was about to hit someone behind me with it. I would have needed to take it off and carry it. Also, I could even get things out of my messenger bag without taking it off - can't do that with a backpack!

Messenger bags are found for sale with luggage, and if you don't have one yet, consider it the next time you need to take even a day trip. I have never been sorry that is my choice of bag I carry to work every day and also my top choice for travel.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Avenue Q

I was so excited to get to see a play in London! Since we were traveling with a large group with very different tastes and lifestyles, many more conservative than mine, I figured I would go along with whatever the group decided. I hoped for a musical and quietly expressed my preference, but was not specific, adding encouraging comments whenever a musical was mentioned. I was surprised and delighted when Avenue Q came out as the winning first place choice at the official discount ticket booth, the second choice was Billy Elliot, which I am sure also would have been good. I am happy to be able to casually drop into conversation, "Oh yes, I saw Avenue Q in London. Wasn't it spectacular?"

The play is about a 22-year-old with a BA in English who has recently moved to a low-income area after graduating from college and is trying to find his purpose in life. He runs into love, lust, friendship and confusing realities of life beyond college. The play is a bit of a satire of Sesame Street and the Electric Company, and mixes human and puppet characters, and little educational snippets via a computer screen. Make no mistake. This show is NOT for children, the themes are quite adult-oriented....I have seen the words "bawdy humor" used when describing it and someone in our group who enjoyed the play still felt there was gratuitous sex and profanity useage. Kind of the point, in a way - a commentary about a certain class and way of life.

The music is fantastic! How can you not like a play whose most well-known song, The Internet is for Porn, includes these lyrics:

The internet is really really great
For porn
I've got a fast connection so I don't have to wait
For porn
There's always some new site,
For porn!
I browse all day and night
For porn!
It's like I'm surfing at the speed of light
For porn!

I MUST get the soundtrack! The Broadway version includes 21 songs by the original cast, including, It Sucks to be Me, Everyone is a Little Bit Racist, and If You Were Gay. Yes, there is a gay character, who is having trouble coming out, even to himself. The soundtrack for the Tony-Award winning musical has been out since 2003, so it should not be hard for me to find it on sale somewhere. I guess I could just surf the web....for Porn!

An Elegant Wedding

The Bride and Groom

Bonnie and me

Some old car they found for the bride to ride in.

Great food in Paris and London

While in London and Paris, I did indulge in dessert far more often than at home. Part of the vacation experience, right? Fortunately, I do not believe I will need safe weight loss pills because we generally only ate two meals per day, walked for MILES (and that was just getting through the tube), and stayed up late - always on the go! I have discovered that I like regular cheesecake, as opposed to New York Style, it is lighter and creamier, much less rich, but still very delicious. Had to have a croissant in Paris with Bonnie, and we dined at an Italian cafe on the sidewalk of Paris. (Something wrong with that sentence...) Ah, when can I go back? In the background of the Cafe shot is the Arc de Triomphe, which was completed in about 1836.

Jet Lag

It will be interesting to see how quickly I recover from time zone adjustments. I think my timing was pretty good in that I actually slept during what is my normal sleeping time last night. In London I was up until at least midnight most nights and sometimes more like 2 or 3am, which back home would have been about 7:00pm. Worked out well for the times I was able to Skype with the kids before going to bed. The first couple days there were the hardest, after the long flights over on pretty much no sleep. I could have used some eye cream and a Red Bull. I settled for my first ever Red Bull. Wow...went down smoothly....I was drawn to the dark side for two days, then my straight-guy roommate for part of the trip convinced me it was bad stuff, which I have always known, and wouldn't let me indulge anymore.

I was "forced" by the bride to drink a Red Bull and vodka at her girls night out party. The drink is called.....wait for it......

Absolut Bull.


Safely Stateside

My internet access was limited by both cost and time, otherwise there would have been daily posts on the amazing time I was having during Bonnie's wedding trip. I made it back about 2:00am this morning, only about 5 hours later than scheduled. The London departure was late for a variety of reasons, so missed connecting flight out of Philadelphia. I got some good sleep for a few hours and since then have been catching up on emails, spam, apidexin reviews, and Facebook friend requests. It's about worn me out....maybe time for a quick nap before I head out for the 3-hour drive home to be with the kids.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

First Day in England

I have arrived in England. It is actually very late, after my first night. Last night I gathered with my friend who is getting married, Bonnie, and all her female friends and family that are here so far for a nice meal and lots of chatting. We later hooked up in the lobby of the hotel with the guys. We pulled about 20 chairs into a circle, sat around drinking and laughing, and ended up playing "quarters" with any coin that could be found. It was pretty funny and I have pictures! I will see if I can download/upload some when I get some down time, probably tomorrow before the wedding, but who knows?

It was a late night...up until almost 3:00 local time, after logging in to Skype with the kids. I slept until about 11:00 though and now need to hop into the shower.

Getting Soft

It has been a year since I was carrying my law school rolling computer case up and down the stairs at school, and I must admit, my arm muscles are getting a bit soft. I walk, but I really need to get into the habit of doing some strength training. Maybe I need a gym with weights and pull up bars . Even carrying the kids, which has kept me somewhat strong, is mostly a thing of the past. As a special treat I sometimes carry Kelton to his bedroom, or give Kaylen a piggyback ride, but they are too big for it to be a routine event these days. I wonder if I am thinking about activity because I am actually writing this on the airplane where it is difficult to even get up and move?!

In Flight Thoughts

(Written about 2 days ago and posted 5/23.)

I am currently flying over some state west of Pennsylvania. By the time I post this, I should be in the Philadelphia airport, waiting for the time to board the 7 ½ hour flight to London. The flight from Seattle has been pleasant – quiet, no screaming children, no rowdy passengers. Most everyone was sleeping, reading, or using an electronic device such as a laptop or MP3 player. I have alternated between reading and resting.

Tonight I will sleep on the plane, tomorrow during the day I do not know the plan, but tomorrow night is “boys night out/girls night out” according to the intinerary my friend's fiance emailed. The wedding is Monday. It was only a few short months ago I was wandering paper stores with the happy couple, brain-storming ideas with them about custom-made invitations, and now the day is almost here! I am so happy for them, and excited to be on my way to join them half-way around the world. Wild!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Heading to England!

I am sitting at the airport, waiting to board a flight to Pennsylvania, and then on to London! I have heard from Kelton three times, calling from his teacher's phone. He is quite upset that I will be out of the country, unable to call him at the usual times. He sounds OK when we talk, but I know he is distressed. I hope to find some wireless locations during some down time so I can Skype him and Kaylen.

I used my brand new passport for the first time. I did not know that it has a little section that works in a barcode scanner for check-in. Handy! I have passed through airport security, have my shoes back on, and now need to go find a restroom. TMI? I suspect there will be an update later from the Philadelphia airport.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A "What's Really Going On" Post

Hey all! I realize that I have been doing a lot of only minimally personal postings lately, which are probably not all that entertaining. For those of you who read both Casey's blog and my own, I suspect inquiring minds are interested in life from my perspective, too. Hey - I get it - we all like good gossip, right? If you have hung in this long, which I know many of you have, you deserve to get some good stuff now and then!

I am still searching for a full-time job in the legal field - and the need for that to happen soon has increased because I was told last week my position is getting cut to half-time. (Oh, and by the way, we want you to keep doing all of your work you are currently doing.) It is time to leave the safe, comfy nest I have been in during law school and during this transition time, and find my new place in the working world.

The kids and I are doing well and we are mostly used to the new "visitation" schedule, but sometimes it is harder than others. They would like me there way more often than is realistic for a mom who no longer lives with them. I would love to see them everyday, but that is not possible. Casey and I are doing well as co-parents, and getting to a good place as friends, but it is better for us not to be together too much.....old patterns creep up way too easily and can harm the real progress we are making.

As some of you have discovered via Casey's blog or a few FB hints I have dropped, I am seeing someone, and have been for about two months. It is odd to be at this age, involved with someone, and seeking a label. It is too soon to use "partner," "lover" seems crass and limiting, and "girlfriend" seems too young and not encompassing enough, but that's what I will go with for now. So, yes, I have a new girlfriend. She lives across the country, but fortunately has both the means and a career that allows her to travel, so she has been able to visit me a number of times already. She gets along very well with the kids and they really like her, and she and Casey have gone out a couple of times to get to know each other. (Yes, that is a bit odd, but also very civilized and a great way to approach this for the kids. We are all adults and need to get along - showing respect is a minimal requirement, but if we can all actually enjoy each other's company, how wonderful will that be for the kids?! Thank you to Casey for being open about this!) For those of you quick to judge, or wonder about how we handle such things with the kids, I will say, we go slowly. We have introduced the concept of "dating," and of "girlfriend," and what those things mean and do not mean. Neither of us plans on parading a large set of women through their lives - and we are trying to balance their needs with our own realities.

What else? This Friday, I leave for a week in England! A good friend that I have known since 6th grade is getting married there and offered to pay for my trip. How could I turn down that kind of chance-of-a-lifetime trip? I am just starting to get excited. It doesn't seem real. Also, this is the first vacation I have ever had that I had no control over at all. I usually pick the destination, the hotels, the flight....all of that (with Casey's input, of course). Here, I am totally just along for the ride. We're going to London, a day trip to Paris, all sorts of fun planned!

So, though I am uneasy about my job situation, overall, I am optimistic and very happy in my life. Good things are coming, and good things are already here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Camera!

Did I mention that I finally got a new camera? I know I have been whining about the poor quality photos taken on my camera phone (not that it kept me from posting colorful slug and leaf pictures) and acknowledged I needed a camera of my own. I received a very nice Sony Cybershot for my birthday. I won't swear the one in this picture is the exact same model,but close enough for comfort. Except that mine is better - it is blue!

The camera is a 14.1 Megapixel with a Sony Lens with 4x Optical Zoom. The display is large - 3" - and very clear. There is a cool auto mode that "thinks for you" - "recognizing scenes, lighting conditions, and faces, and adjusts settings resulting in clearer images, faces with more natural skin tone, and less blur." Yes, I took that out of an add because it sounded cool.

What matters to me is that it is easy to use, has an easy to recharge battery that comes with it's own small charger, and the camera itself is very compact. I have an LG cell phone. The camera is slightly smaller. It is perfect for slipping into my pocket so I am ready to take pictures of the kids or nature or whatever at a moment's notice without dealing with a bulky camera case.

Now that I am noticing, I have seen several of these models, or very similar, for
sale all over the place. No wonder - it is a nice camera!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ate the Cookies

Most likely you are not reading these in the order I am posting them because I am doing several close together. There was an entry a couple back where I referred to taking the cookies out of the oven. I was not joking. I am preparing for my upcoming trip to England to see my dear friend, Bonnie, get married. The kids decided to pretend to prepare for their own trip. They packed their luggage, turned their bedrooms into hotel rooms, and soon I decided to join in and play "room service". I first brought complimentary bottles of water, and later took warm cookies and milk to them at the local "pub" where they were hanging out.

I had to indulge in a few cookies myself. I am now looking at myself and wondering how to reduce belly fat. Probably lay off the cookies!

Great Day with the Kids

Saturday was an excellent day! We started with Kaylen's ballet lesson, then off to Target to spend the gift card I got for my birthday (Thank you, Stella!). I managed to get all of the odds and ends I needed for an upcoming trip to England - converter plug, calling card, extra SD card for new camera, underwear - plus a few extras for the kids. Kelton was a generous brother and shared his birthday money with Kaylen, and I wanted them to see me doing the same thing. A good chance for a life lesson. :)

We then wanted to use a coupon for a pizza place that used to be next to Target, but had moved. We decided to go on an adventure and find the new location. It ended up to be near downtown Portland in a trendy little neighborhood. We ate pizza, enjoyed their crazy 80's decor, posed on some outdoor lounge chairs, and then found a really nice park for the kids to play in. It was nearly 4:00 by the time we found our way home, and I still needed to weed whack and give the dogs their baths! All done! (Kaylen loves bathing the dogs!) A productive and fun day. The kids crashed fast last night and slept well. I stayed up a bit too late, but still got some good sleep. Love those kinds of days!

Discussing How Looks Matter

Let's face it, looks do matter. In the work force, at a restaurant, and certainly when dating, I bet most of us pay more attention to looks than perhaps we'd like to admit. We might not even notice that we are doing it, but do the good looking waiters and waitresses get bigger tips than those with uneven features and adult acne? I am betting they do.

I had a conversation with a friend last night about what either of us would do if we made a romantic connection over the internet with someone that we later met in person and did not find attractive. Give it a try because there had been something special in the emails or over the phone? Make an excuse because there is no point in trying to get over the state of not being attracted? Don't people get more attractive the longer you know them and the more you care? Certainly there is truth to "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I think I would ultimately give it a chance, but in the long-run suspect it is more satisfying to be with someone for whom there is an immediate attraction.

Eating with Kids

Anyone else have the challenge of eating right when you are around kids? I do pretty well with eating healthy at breakfast and even lunch, but when it comes to dinnertime with the kids, I far too often fall prey to their mac and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches, chips, cookies..etc. Hard to just say no sometimes, but that would be easier than needing to find diet pills that work!

Oh, gotta go take the cookies out of the oven...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hot Tubs Are Good

I am watching over my sister's/BIL's house this week, enjoying their home and their hot tub! Before they left, my brother-in-law showed me about the chemicals to be added and how to remove the cover. They have the coolest unit designed to make it easy to remove the spa covers. It is more or less a bar that fits over one side of the cover, then you lift the other side of the cover over the bar, and then the bar acts as a lever so the whole thing folds over to one side. Hard to imagine without a picture I suppose, but it is very handy! Casey's brother has a hot tub without the handy-dandy cover removal aid, and it is a real pain compared with the ease of this one! that the hot tub I hear calling my name?

The Heat is On!

It has been a mix of sun and clouds over the past few days, but today, the sun is out and it is a glorious, gorgeous day! Ah, that I were not in the office, daydreaming about the fun to be had just outside my window...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Always Another Toy on the List

This is not a technical article. This is not even a review article. This is just a "Wow, isn't this a cool thing" article. I'm not a techno-geek. I don't have a need for all of the latest technology as soon as it comes out. Heck, I couldn't afford it even if I felt the need for all the latest gadgets. I am fine with waiting for prices to come down and glitches to be resolved.

A friend recently wrote a blog advising against buying an iPad until the glitches have been resolved. He had good points about this being a new product and how in a short period of time, it will be an even better product with a lower price tag. I was at his house a couple weeks ago, and there, sitting in his house was an empty iPad box. Hmmmm....I think...has he purchased one? A bit later, sure enough, he is showing me how cool his new iPad is, and yes, it is cool.

He justified his purchase because he is a musician and can store all of his words/chord charts on it easily - easy to access, easy to read, no shuffling through pages looking for the right song. Very slick. He showed me how easy it is to watch a streaming Netflix movie on it, too. Very clear pictures, smooth - nice.

I am sure the iPad is wonderful for many things - photos, video, surfing the web, reading books. I haven't gotten onto the ereader bandwagon, yet, but that's probably not far away. This looks like a better option as it also has tons more capabilities in the size of a notepad. The price tag is certainly steeper than an an ereader, but hey, in a couple years I will probably be able to afford it, will find it on sale and will have a whole list of my own reasons justifying my need for such a toy. :)

Friday, May 07, 2010


I heard on the radio that we've not been able to see Mt. Hood for the past two weeks due to the rain/clouds/hail and general dreariness. My mood over the past few days has reflected that problem. I have been craving a nice, SUNNY walk in the woods....but the sun only comes out long enough to grab a jacket and head out the door and then there's the rain. Now, I am not one to turn down a good rain walk now and then, but not when I am in need of pure sunshine!

Today, thank God and all that is good, the sun is out and it is going to be a beautiful day! I will be in a CLE (Continuing Legal Education) class all day, but that is OK. I have a drive there and back, lunch, and MAYBE the room will have windows! Even my anticipated stop by a store later suddenly seems brighter. I will be able to walk by pop displays, magazine racks, and produce tables with a renewed smile on my face.

It's going to be a great day!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Appreciating the City

I have been spending a lot of time over the past couple months in our downtown area. I find I love it! I love the old buildings and the new trendy locales, the people on the streets, the music on the corners, the Starbucks and Subway shops that are located every couple blocks. For those on my FB page, you know that about a month ago, I stayed at one of the city's oldest hotels, and the long hallways reminded me of The Shining. Given that we did not actually see any bloody axes, possessed children or the like, I quite enjoyed it. I loved the ornate door plaques, brass fixtures, textured wallpaper, chandeliers.....all in stark contrast with nearby bars and restaurants boasting exposed pipes and industrial handles. Both designs have a feel and a charm of their own, and they co-exist well together. Hmmm....seems the city is starting to win me over. I suspect I will write more about this soon, and maybe even include pictures!