Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lighting My Way

So, this is the lamp that I mentioned in the previous post. I LOVE this lamp.  I believe it is the first thing I bought for the new apartment.

Here's what has followed:

 These wall lamps will eventually be surrounded by enlarged photos I have taken.

The bedroom lamp....Yes, George sits by my bedside.  Kaylen sent him with me to keep me company when I moved out.  

Not sure why this is amusing me tonight, but it is.  You can play along and be amused, too. :)

Seeing the Light(ing) at Buy.com

I had not realized until the last couple years that I am particular about lights.....by lights, I actually mean lamps. A ceiling light, I generally might not even notice, unless it is an obnoxious flourescent light.  I like certain lamps and bedside lights I am particularly sensitive to. I want them to be bright enough to read by, but not much more than that.  Calm lighting in the bedroom is important. A bit before I moved out of the house, I (finally) installed some really cool reading lights above the bed. It was nice to have lights that installed on the wall and did not take up bedside table space.

In my new apartment, it has been fun choosing all of the lamps.  We have a living room table lamp that is a tall rectangular shape, and appears to be a box made of sticks. I love that lamp!  We have used that shape as the theme for all the lighting in the apartment.  (Who knew you could design a home around one accessory?  Probably Martha Stewart......and my girlfriend......sorry, if you don't appreciate the comparison, Vicki!)

Tonight I saw this light and really like it:

 Here is the cool part - it is wireless!  "Wireless?" I thought upon reading it. That would be great!  I was hoping for an ingenius power source, but it is simply powered by three AA batteries.  I suppose if you used rechargeables, that might work out just fine.  You can mount it upwards or downwards, and it swivels for interesting lighting possibilities.   The lights themselves are 9 bright LEDs....great for living rooms or hallways. I think it would be too bright for a bedroom, although it does have a dimming feature, so maybe it would be good for that, too.

I really like the clean, chrome look.  Modern, functional, and no wires!  I hate wires, and in an older apartment, with not quite enough power outlets, wireless is a huge plus!  This lamp is on sale for under $30, including shippping, at Buy.com.  I may have seriously consider adding this to my lighting collection.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Brady Bunch is at Buy.com

You could be the proud owner of all five seasons of The Brady Bunch.

Far out and groovy, right? Just what I was thinking! I grew up on the Brady Bunch - Bobby, Peter, Greg, Cindy, Jan, Marcia (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia rings in my head in Jan's whiny voice), and of course, Alice. Oh, they had parents, too. Forget the "everything I needed to know I learned in kindergarten;" I learned it from the Brady Bunch. In 30-minutes a week, or a day once reruns started, this family would teach me how to react to and solve all of life's problems. The lessons have served me well -

- Always tell the truth
- Think of the other person
- Help others, especially family
- Don't throw footballs towards the house

I also found out who Davy Jones was. I was a bit young to have understood that one.

I think it would be fun to have all episodes on hand. I LOVED the ones where they sang. Those were my absolute favorites! Can anyone NOT remember "Time to Change" when Peter's voice changed? The Silver Platters when the kids had to enter a contest to pay for the engraving on their parents' anniversary gift?

I would love for my kids to grow up with the Brady Bunch messages. Are they too simple though now? They represent great values of honesty and compassion, but without the very real threats of violence, drugs and conveniences such as cell phones and computers, would the kids be able to relate? I tried Kelton on an episode or two on cable back a year or two ago, but he was too young to be interested. A friend's daughter recently discovered The Brady Bunch on Nickelodeon and thought she had discovered something new and wonderful. Guess there is hope the messages live on and are relevant to today's kids, too.

All five seasons can be found on sale for under $100. Seems like a good investment to me!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Someone mentioned to me something about the fact I had been drinking my way around the city. That not having been the case, I was confused, but realized it was the way I worded my post about last weekend. I was out and about having a fun time and did have a headache the next day, which I indicated was a payback for my indulgences. I simply meant sort of a karmic payback for the free-wheeling, spontaneous time I was spending. No alcohol involved. It was primarily a sinus headache.

Today I was awakened by a phone call from my crying Kindergartner. She wanted me to come and see her before school. We negotiated that I would meet her at school, give her a giant hug for bravery, but then neither Casey nor I would stay in her classroom this morning. She agreed. Drop-off at her classroom went well. Our fingers are crossed. Casey and I spent a bit of time after that talking with the school counselor about Kaylen's transition and the plan for this week and into next. It is sad that this is so hard for her, but I know we will get there. She's such a bright, social, fun-loving girl and school will be so much fun for her once we get her past this separation part.

Been following me on FB? If so, you know I have confessed to watching the first two Twilight movies. The first was better than the second, and I have heard the third is quite good, and humorous, finally understanding the need to poke some fun at itself. I have to admit a certain fascination with the overall storyline and world that author, Stephanie Meyer, has created. The teen angst is somewhat overdone, but I suppose that is, by definition, what teen angst is about. There is some wonderfully creative, sensitive, well-considered storytelling at work here. I have to admit that after hearing radio interviews of some of the middle-aged soccer moms clamouring to witness local filming of the movies, I was skeptical of the value of the movies or the books. I should not have been so quick to judge. I still do not know that I will read the books....so many books, so little time...but I now admire what the author created.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Opposite Sides of the Same Coin

I know many of you reading this now also read Casey's blog. I think it is nice that you are interested in both of our lives, and that of our children. I am sure you have noticed the stark contrast of the tone of our posts, and I thought I would address it before snarky comments start getting posted on one of the other of our sites.

Some of you are probably sitting dumb-founded that this even might happen. It does. Casey has a rough weekend - I have a wonderful weekend - I become the carefree, irresponsible parent who does not act in anyone's best interest but my own. Odd, right?

I will state the obvious: We are two very different people and our blogs have always reflected that. While I tend to keep my posts a bit more light-hearted, Casey reveals what is going on at a very personal level. I admire her courage in doing that, and know it has sometimes resulted in painful personal attacks.

We approach our blogs differently, and we approach life differently. Rest-assured, those of you who may think I am dancing through a field of flowers oblivious to my daughter's current stress and Casey's anxiety over it all, I am in tune with what is going on and am not dilly dallying the day away wondering about how to get rid of blackheads. Sometimes it is difficult being the parent who is not always with the kids and able to offer a hug or words of wisdom when needed. Sometimes, all I can do is call or text, and wait until the next day when I get to see them. Sometimes, that very thing does make my life easier, but sometimes, it makes it harder. That is not a complaint, just a statement.

Weekend Report

It was a good weekend, filled with reading, romantic comedies and homemade M&M cookies. I was on my own and I wandered the streets of my new neighborhood, took the Max train to Powell Books, and later accidentally found a new way around the city :) I did pay for my indulgences with a wicked headache that I could not get rid of yesterday. That called for more laying around and watching romantic comedies - Twilight - New Moon (maybe not a comedy....but nearly), Sleepless in Seattle and Letters to Juliet.

Today I awoke feeling renewed and refreshed despite waking up several times during the night....but about lunch time, tiredness crept in and now I think I need some under eye cream so I don't look like one of the Twilight characters. The sun is calling, and I think I need to pay attention before it is gone for the year. A little after-lunch walk would be good!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Invitation

A friend sent me a link to this poem entitled The Invitation, and told me it is how she tries to live her life.

I do not have permission to reprint the entire poem,(although I guess it spread like wildfire and inspired an entire book back several years ago) but here are the first few lines:

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

-Oriah Mountain Dreamer

If this intrigues you, click on the link above or do a search on the author's name. I will be looking into her work more. Her words touched me.

Found a Cool Watch at Buy.com

I can easily go into a jewelry store, or pick up a catalog and find a watch I love. I tend to have expensive taste, and often my first choice is far out of my price range. I don't need expensive watches. I have one really nice one that my sisters and their kids got me for law school graduation, so I have a beautiful "special occasion" watch. I rarely even wear a watch anymore, despite my ever-growing collection. Still, they are fun to have, collect, look at, and wear upon as the mood strikes.

Today a less-expensive watch (though by no means cheap), which is also a woman's watch, caught my eye, so I thought it was worth sharing. I often think the nicest designed watches are men's watches, so finding a woman's watch is notable. It is a Casio Baby G in purple.

The watch is shock resistant with LED light. It also has the following features: Afterglow. World time - 29 time zones (27 cities), city code display, daylight saving on/off. Countdown timer. 5 independent daily alarms (4 one-time alarms and 1 snooze alarm). Full auto-calendar (to year 2039). 12/24-hour format.

It is plastic so I was disappointed to find it is not water-resistant. I doubt anyone of repute even make men's watches that are not water resistant, but it does speak to this being a very fashionable watch. It looks like an everyday watch that you could wear to work or out running errands, but probably not my first choice to take out camping.

I love the vibrant color - on my computer it is more of a blue violet than true purple. If that is really the color, the watch would be worth it for the color alone. That was my favorite color in the 64-pack Crayola pack when I was a kid! This watch is on sale for half its usual $150 price tag at Buy.com.

A Weekend on My Own

Ah, Friday! I don't want to be the kind of person who always lives for the weekends, but I have to admit, sometimes, that personal time with the freedom to do absolutely anything without answering to anyone sounds like bliss! I enjoy my time with the kids. I enjoy my time with Vicki, when we are fortunate enough to be on the same coast. I also enjoy time with myself. I am still processing a lot, making plans for my future, dealing with kid issues, and more - so having quiet time to think and write and plan is really necessary. I am lucky to have the luxury of that opportunity.

I don't even know exactly what I will do this weekend.Casey has the kids and I know is looking forward to down time with them - not focussed on school or homework. I will do some studying and writing, maybe watch a movie and bake M&Ms cookies, cook a good meal or two (hopefully I won't need to compare diet pills after such an indulgent weekend!) It is interesting living alone again....paying attention to my own wake and sleep cycles, watching the movies I want to watch, reading, noticing my own thoughts without the constant feedback from another person. I do not mean that in any way as a slam to Casey. I think all people who go from living with someone to living alone must experience this...if they allow it in. Some stay too busy to listen to themselves. I like to listen.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kindergarten Progress

We are making slow but steady progress with Kaylen's transition into Kindergarten. Yesterday she stayed two hours, with Casey out of the room most of that time. She used her new tool of being able to leave class to go sit with one of the secretaries, chew a piece of gum (a sensory integration/calming tool) and return once she felt better. That seemed to give her a bit of a sense of control. Anything that helps!

I just got a text from Casey saying that things are doing well so far today. She's been there about two hours, and we are hoping she can make it the full half-day (Wednesdays are half-days for the whole school due to budget cuts), which means she is half-way there! I am hoping it continues going well. The more consecutive days of success she has, the better, and the less "new" it will all feel. I really think once she is comfortable and knows what to expect everyday, most of her issues will go away for now. She will likely have trouble with transitions and sensory overload for years, but giving her tools now for how to cope with life is really important.

Kelton is doing well. When I talked to him this morning, he had four shirts on. He was amused that they made him look "chubby." As we have told Kaylen about the boys in her class that are bothering her, "Boys are weird." :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Small Steps Will Still Get Us There

Some of you know that Kaylen has been having trouble adjusting to Kindergarten. She has been looking forward to going to school since Kelton got to start three years ago, and has spent much time at the school because of Casey's work with PTO. The girl knows the school and the people who work there "inside, outside, upside down." We expected the transition to be easy....but her separation fears got the better of her. Last week, we tried letting her "tough it out." By Friday she had spent days in tears, traumatized by a variety of unexpected events, including "The Spitter," and could not pull it together enough to go to school. She was a wreck, and was not just manipulating us. She is really upset because she WANTS to love school and she just can't seem to make it work. This weekend Casey and I spent time figuring out what is wrong and how to help her.

People at her school who know her said she needs some special services and can tell this is some sort of disorder. Casey spoke with a few people, we emailed, read...and have put a lot of information together. Our little one has always had some sensory issues and now it appears that she has Separation Anxiety Disorder which is intensified by her Sensory Integration issues...well, hard to know which came first, probably the sensory stuff, since research indicates it often starts with NICU kids, which she was. So, we have to deal with both....but we came up with some coping strategies, particularly one from a book - telling her that she has a Brain Bug that is telling her lies - like that she won't see Casey again, and she won't have friends. She has to squish that bug.

Today, we had a successful short day, she felt proud of herself, and together with her teacher, school counselor and principal, we came up with some strategies to empower her when her senses get overwhelmed. So, hopefully, rather than her eyes tearing up like faucets, she can remove herself from the classroom long enough to get away from all the sensory stimulation, calm down, and come back to class once she feels better. She seems to really appreciate that we understand how she feels and that we are trying to help her overcome the signals her body is giving her about being afraid.

She will get there and be successful....the path is just not quite the one we expected to be taking. That's parenthood for you!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Waltons on DVD at Buy.com

OK, tell me the truth, how many of you can now hear The Walton's theme some playing in your head? I think it is an involuntary response for anyone over a certain age...and I am betting that age is close to 44, possibly a bit younger even. As the song plays, you might even be able to see some of the characters in your head - John-Boy, Elizabeth, Ben...and who were those sisters who enjoyed the moonshine? The Baldwin Sisters! (I had to look it up.) Also, who among us has not mimicked the familiar, "Good Night, Jim-Bob," "Good Night, Mary Ellen," "Good Night, John-Boy."?

Reading the description of the 9th and final season makes me want to watch this series again. It highlights a much more simple time, with its own complexities and struggles, but somehow comforting. Maybe it is the family bonds, the clean-cut values, the lack fo computers and cell phones, or maybe it is because I remember it from when I was a child and life was simple and easy.

Here's the description:
When CBS debuted THE WALTONS in 1972, no one was prepared for the level of success it reached. Telling the story of a large family living on Walton's Mountain during the Great Depression, the series tackled universal themes that continue to ring true to this day. The start of World War II plunged the family into new dilemmas as, like the rest of the nation, they watched their children go to war. Told from the perspective of John Boy (Richard Thomas), an aspiring writer who makes his way through college and into adulthood, THE WALTONS is a timeless work of entertainment. This ninth and final season brings the Walton boys back to their homestead, to reunite the former soldiers with their loving family as they discover their own destinies in post-war America.

I always related to John-Boy, feeling that I connected with the writer in him and his strong moral compass. I dreamed of someday being a writer like he was, and the truth is, I sometimes still do.

Each season is now available on DVD on sale for around $20, or so, each. The Waltons just may have to go on my "need to collect" list.

School has Started

Well, the new school year has begun. Kelton is doing well, back to the familiar routine for him, happily going off to school and looking forward to seeing his friends. Kaylen is not doing well at all. She is having serious adjustment issues around being away from Casey and being around so many other (not well-behaved) kids, among other factors. I won't go into all the drama, but will say we are getting her some help with the adjustment from the school, and I have no doubt that once she settles in, she will absolutely THRIVE!

I am happy to say that the kids are in nice classrooms, and not in a metal building portable classroom, except for music. Out away from the other classrooms is a great place for music, anyway! I am sure the other teachers appreciate this fact very much!

So, it is my weekend with the kids and I do not know quite what is in store - some rest from the first nearly-full week of school, and a special Grandparents Day at The Spaghetti Factory are all that is planned so far. Casey and I are both staying flexible in case this weekend becomes a total release of the stresses of a new school year and the kids need to be in their main home. Playing this as we go.....

Friday, September 03, 2010

Multnomah Falls

Last weekend was a busy weekend with the kids. Vicki and I took them up to Multnomah Falls, a local tourist destination/nature point, and we all hiked to the top. This is something the kids have been begging to do since they were old enough to walk, it seems, but Casey and I always told them it was too far. Let me just say, we were right!

We barely made it this time, but we did and were all happy for the effort. It is a mile up and then over another quarter mile to the lookout point. So, we hiked between 2 1/2 and 3 miles that day, half up hill! I was very proud of the kids and at the top, we got some great photos. These are a few of my favorite shots. (Don't the ones with just the background and kids' faces look Photoshopped in? Oo-oo-oo -trademark misusage- Photoshop is not a verb!)

That Time of Year

Ah,the plight of an attorney with no law firm experience. I graduated. I passed the bar. I stayed in my old job, partly due to the nice salary and partly because of all the personal life changes, but now....I still have not added to my legal experience. People look at my resume and because of the kinds of places I have worked, think I should be looking at health care jobs, or those related to health care. Nothing against health care, but it is not my thing....not as far as actual care, or the legal realm. No interest for me, really.

Fall is here though. A new school year. Funny how we always maintain that sense of a fresh start that we experienced as children with each new year of school. The time for playing and settling into a new apartment and new life is over. Time to get serious. I will soon find, at the very least, some good volunteer work - a way to enhance my skills and my personal growth. Good things are out there, among the fresh notebooks and new crayons. I can feel it.

Weekend Before Me

This may be the last really nice day of the summer. I hope not, but it is the last out of the 10-day forecast. It is already 11:00 in the morning....a beautiful day. I have had a nice breakfast, sent out a resume, done an email or two, and now the day is stretched out before me. A four-day weekend for me, it is. Yes!

Bet tonight would be a great night to pull the hot tub cover off, climb into the hot water and gaze up at the stars. Oh, right, no hot tub at the apartment....or the house....guess that was my sister's house....darn!

Maybe tonight will be a venture out downtown and later in the weekend a trip to the beach or drive in the mountains. Not sure. Odd to have a whole three-day weekend where I could have made kid-free plans, but did not. Now, the possibilities are endless. I detect a nap in my future....

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

First Day a Success!

Both kids had great first days at school! Kaylen bragged to me over the phone last night that she got to eat gingerbread cookies. Casey explained that the gingerbread men were hiding throughout the school and the Kindergarteners had to find them....then decorate and eat them! Kelton was happy to report he did not have to do any real work, and that he made 5 or 6 new friends. He is back at school today, but Kaylen is off now until next Tuesday.

A bit of nostalgia:

The last photo is one of my all-time favorites. We called it "Rock Eater."

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The School Year Begins!

How great is the look on Kaylen's face?

We had two very excited kids this morning! Kaylen lost it for a bit, suddenly scared and overwhelmed at her first full day away from home and a mom, but then she decided taking a buddy would make her feel better. She now has a stuffed turtle in her backpack, should the need for comfort arise during the day.

Kelton was all excited to see his friends that he's not seen all summer. He decided he did not need us to walk him to his class, but at least he was not too cool to give his moms kisses before heading on his way.

Kaylen was excited and put on a brave face as she posed for pictures, hung up her coat and backback and made herself at home in her Kindergarten classroom.

Wow. A big day. I can't wait to hear all about it!