Sunday, August 31, 2008

Staying Put

I think it's safe to say that I have had more relaxing Labor Day weekends. We spent Saturday running errands and watching The Weather Channel. (I did manage to get the mall for my FREE STUFF, though.) M worked his ass off getting everything ready. He even painted the plywood so that it looked like a window, complete with shadowing for a 3-D effect.

Window Cover

The fun continued. I happened to be putting towels away in the bathroom when I heard a large crash. I realized that M was outside, on a ladder, trimming some tree branches. I ran outside with visions of broken legs or even worse. M came around the corner holding his back. He was ok, just bruised. It scared the hell out of me. Luke managed to catch a nap in the middle of all the commotion, but he held on, just in case.

We fell into bed at 11pm with plans to wake up early to hit the road. The highway we take my parents house (I-10) is also the highway that everyone uses to get out of Louisiana and Mississippi. I don't know if he was not feeling well or if it was teething, but Luke got up four times. He has been sleeping through the night for several weeks. When we got up at 5am we turned on TWC and discovered that we dodged yet another bullet.

It's an interesting exercise to look around your house and think about what you would be willing to sacrifice. Obviously you can't take everything, but what would you be unwilling to live without? Besides insurance papers and things like birth certificates and passports, do you really need it all? What makes something worth saving?

Whatever the answer to that question is, my thoughts are with the people who are in the path of this hurricane. I hope everyone stays safe.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Don't Wanna!!

As I watch the weather channel and stalk the National Hurricane Center website I feel like a little kid having a tantrum. I don't wanna evacuate!!!! We are on alert and the space center is preparing to shut down with everyone instructed to wrap their computers before they leave for the long weekend. M wants me to leave for my parents house in the Austin area on Saturday. He is going to board everything up and join us on Sunday. I think that we need to wait and see what this thing does. That's a lot of work for something that probably won't hit us.

I actually have a decent weekend planned. Saturday I plan on working around the house and Sunday they are opening a new Lush store at the mall!! I love their stuff, but I usually have to get it through the mail (expensive since it ships from Canada) and I can't order it in the summer because it will melt. So, this is a good thing. Plus, there will be free stuff. FREE STUFF. Why do we need to leave???

Toys 26w3d

Oh, right.

I joke about it, but I really hope it loses some steam. I would hate to see any loss of life or property. It's just one more reason why I want to get out of this area.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Six Months Ago

*Children mentioned with pictures.*

Six months ago I got up, took a long shower, fixed my hair and met my son. The whole day is a blur. I remember being very hungry and very afraid I was going to get sick from the pain meds. I remember the sound of Luke's first cries (he was so pissed off) and how the doctor laughed because as soon as they pulled him out (butt first) he peed all over Dr. T.

Luke & Kate 2-25-08

Luke 2-25-08

It's only been six months, although sometimes it seems like a lifetime. So much has changed. Luke sleeps through the night. He sits up and babbles. He smiles when M walks in the room and he loves to eat zucchini. Well, he loves to eat, period.

Starfish 25w6d

I spent most of the first few months worried, worried, worried. Breastfeeding was difficult, hormones were raging, and life was turned upside down. I know that I did not appreciate the small moments as I should have. Everyone told me that this time would go by so quickly and they were right. I worry that I don't appreciate this time enough. Every day is full of work, school, dishes,laundry,and a million other things. All I really want to to is spend time with my baby. Soon, Luke's gummy smile will be full of teeth and then he'll be walking and talking. When I look at those first pictures of him I wonder what it will feel like to watch him go to college or get married. Will I still remember what it felt like to rock him to sleep?

Feet 7 25w6d

Look 25w6d

We went to mass as a family for the first time since Luke was born. As I paused in prayer before the service began, the only words I could come up with were thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You Will Be Assimilated

I know how to take a hint and after two people in one day told me to get a Facebook account I decided to see what all of the fuss was about. I have nothing against social networking sites, but I must admit that I always thought these things were for 13 year olds, people posing as 13 year olds, and college girls with poor judgment. Little did I know that an entire world of people I knew and people I should know were out there. Within thirty minutes of signing up I found two very good friends from college and my 65 year old Aunt. It seems that half of my long lost friends are on their second marriage and the other half have come out of the closet. I have even found some blogger buddies! It's also forced me to go through some old photos and post them to my account - just for grins. It's very addictive.

In the months after I talked about feeling disconnected I have made an effort to re-connect. I organize a parents group, I have made an effort to get out of the house and I read more blogs and try to comment more often. Facebook seems like a natural progression. This kind of connecting is so easy, though, isn't it? They find the people you know by scanning your address book and you can have complete control over what part of yourself you present to the world, much like blogging. Unlike blogging, though, it is not anonymous. It's not a place for raw emotion or deep thoughts. You can put logos on your page that tell people what team you root for, who your candidate is and what kind of day you're having, but a fight with your husband? Probably not.

Is that really connecting? I don't have an answer. It's just something that I was thinking about as I added my Cubs and Obama logo to my page.

Do you want to be my friend? Pretty please?

(A photo from days gone by. I'm the pale one on the left.)

GNO 2006 3

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's A Living

This weekend I attended a party with an East Coast theme. Because of the space center, most of the people in this part of Houston are transplants. Many of my friends come from New England and spend a lot of their time being homesick. My friend V opened up his house, so I left Luke with M, put on my Red Sox jersey and headed out. It was fun, although I could only drink water since I had to drive myself.

Here is the obligatory alcohol shot. Yes, that big bottle of JD was empty by 9:30pm.


Fudgie the Whale and Cookie Puss made an appearance. I have no clue where V got them in this area. Knowing him, he paid an obscene amount of money to have them shipped, although I do not appreciate the writing on Cookie Puss. Considering the season that the Yankees are having, I'll let it go.


A few months ago my company was awarded a very prestigious contract to built the next suit. We unseated a very large and powerful company in the process. As we expected, they filed a protest. We were issued a stop work order and have been waiting for the whole issue to be resolved. It has been, sort of. You can read about it here.

As a result, things at work have been very slow. Right after we won everything was insane. We were reading resumes, interviewing and trying to talk people into moving to Houston, which is no easy feat in the middle of summer. It's all come to a complete halt and while there are some housekeeping type things that I am glad to have time to take care of, I feel a little under stimulated. I always wanted to be the type of person that had a job that was more than just a paycheck. I wanted to really like what I did for a living. I do like HR. It's not always very exciting, but there are some aspects that I find interesting. It's not my dream job, though. My dream jobs are jobs that I would do if I was independently wealthy and did not have to worry about steady income or job security.

Ethnomusicologist - Collecting folk songs and spending hours in libraries - heaven!!

Lounge Singer - I would get to sing all of the standards and wear slinky dresses. Hopefully the lounge would be smoke free.

Talent Scout for an Independent Record Label - Find new bands and go to lots of concerts!

I struggle with the feeling that I am a big sell out, but the practicalities of life make it hard not to be. Being a lounge singer would be great, but the hours and pay don't really do much to provide a stable home for your child. Maybe this is a good lesson for me. For too long I was my job. I lost sleep over the days events and part of my mind was always in the classroom. I'm not sure that's the healthiest way to live. I think that finding an identity that is different than what you do from 8-5 everyday is a good thing. Maybe I'll be a lounge singer on the side. As long as we're daydreaming, what is your dream job(s)?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Could I Do That?

I just realized that this is my 100th post! Wow. Thank you to everyone who reads and comments. I always appreciate hearing from you. By the way, the drink that was pictured in the last post was a G&T, my favorite summer drink. We couldn't have mojitos because they were out of fresh mint. Not great planning on their part!

Lately I have added a lot of single parent blogs to my reader. Some of them are single because of tragic circumstances, some are single because they decided to go it alone from the beginning. Whatever the reason, I don't think that anyone out there would say that it's easy. As I read these blogs and quietly root for them from my little corner of the world, I wonder what I would do if faced with the same circumstances? Would I rise to the occasion as well as they have? I would like to think so. I think that if I had to raise Luke by myself, I could, but it would be hard. It would be very hard. If I am tired or busy or stressed, I can turn to M. If he needs to go run and errand or work late, I can take the parenting duty for the night. Our support system is right there within the walls of our home. I respect and admire anyone who goes down that road and I hope that I can remain thankful for the support system that I have in my life.

Are you a single parent? Were you raised by a single parent? What have your experiences been either as a single parent or the child of a single parent?

Conversation 24w4d
My Buddy

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Despite the sad news about my cousin the rest of the weekend was ok. My parents have a pool and we have been introducing Luke to the water. (I’ll spare you a picture of me in a bathing suit). It was 102 degrees on Saturday, so the swim was very welcome. M and I went to our favorite lunch spot and I had my favorite summer drink:


I post a lot of pictures of alcohol, don’t I?

My dad and I went to the farmer’s market and purchased some free-range, grass fed, no-hormone steaks. I call it left-wing beef, which is fine with me, because that’s how I roll. I also had to get a picture of the house next door to my parents. He’s ready for the election, I think.

I wonder who he's voting for?

That’s a political yard sign, Texas style.

Almost every Sunday we have dinner with our friend DD. He and I love to cook and M loves to eat, so it works out well. I brought the left-wing beef and we had some surf and turf. It was awesome.

Steak, Shrimp and Fire Corn 8-08

As I start another work week, my mind is wandering. In fact, this song keeps going through my head. I think that as a result of not having a summer vacation my focus has decided to go on a trip without me. I hope it went somewhere fun . In the meantime, I will keep daydreaming until its return.

Monday, August 11, 2008

If Only

If Only It Really Worked
Originally uploaded by KateSowa
We barreled into my parents house this weekend with the 10,000 essential things you simply must bring with you for the baby and I heard the words that I dread. We have some bad news. A cousin of mine took her own life.

My father’s family is large. He is one of seven brothers and sisters and so the cousins are numerous. She wasn’t one that I knew very well, but my memories of her are fond. She was bright and energetic, loved to talk and loved to dote on the barn kittens that lived on my uncle’s farm in rural Iowa. Her immediate family is devastated, obviously, and the rest of us are left wondering what could have gone so terribly wrong?

I feel so badly for her mother. The sheer powerlessness she must feel after discovering that her daughter’s frequent calls home were leaving out what must have been a lot of pain. As a parent your biggest fear and ultimate goal are the same thing: to prepare your child for a life that is independent from yours. I don’t expect to always be able to be there to comfort Luke. I know that there will be times when he doesn’t share everything with me and may bear certain burdens alone; we have all done that from time to time. As I look at him now, smiling his gummy smile and chewing on his fingers, it’s hard to imagine that there will be a time when I will have to let him go. News like this makes me want to hold on a little tighter.

Now her family is left with the “if only’s”. They are left behind to replay every conversation and every day, looking for clues that are too late to discover now. There is no crystal ball to look into and no way of knowing what our future will hold. One thing I do know is that she deserved better than to end up alone, in a room, far from home. I hope she found the peace she was looking for.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

T.S., I Love You

This was my desk on Monday afternoon. With Tropical Storm (T.S.) Eduardo moving in, they closed down the space center and we were ordered to wrap everything and go home. It was a nice day, despite the raging heat, so we went and had some of these.

Luke came along, too, since his daycare closed early, as well.

We charged all of our phones, checked batteries, and waited for the rain to start. Sometime in the night the system moved east and we caught the "dry side" of the storm, meaning it was just another rainy day in Houston. I woke up at 8:00am since M let me sleep in (thank you, thank you) and realized I had not slept that late for almost 6 months! We spent the day puttering around the house and playing with Luke. I even got to play a little bit with the camera M brought home in case he was called into work. It is very nice and very, very out of my price range.

We were very lucky and it turned out to be a nice day off.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Over The Weather

For the last week the heat index has been over 100. With August comes some of the most miserable of all of the summer weather. It's especially hard since summer will sometimes last until September or October. Yuck. It doesn't look like we'll be moving anytime soon so I endure the special torture of looking out at a bright, sunny day knowing that it is in the high 90s and unsuitable for most forms of life. There is always music to pass the time, though, and I have created another iMix for your listening pleasure. You can click here or click the picture of my nano on the sidebar. It's got a melancholy quality to match my mood as of late, but sometimes you just need that kind of music.

Things haven't been all about the heat, though. We went out on Friday to my favorite pub and Luke helped me pick out some songs on the jukebox. They have quite a good collection, including a Belle and Sebastian album!

Luke also receive a toy that has become his favorite. Despite the hundreds of dollars that family and friends have spent on things that talk, light up and tell you your future, the plastic water bottle full of sparkles and jingle bells is the biggest hit so far. He loves it. He was happily playing away in his car seat (we keep it on the stroller in the kitchen) the other day when the noise abruptly stopped. I turned around and saw this:

Luckily I had my camera, because I knew that M would never believe me.

There's a Cubs game on. They're first place in their division. Maybe that's really the reason I feel so out of sorts. I'm not sure how to function in a world where my Cubbies are....dare I say it....contenders. I'll put that thought out of my head. I've known the disappointment of too many Octobers. I'll just enjoy this game and not think about the next. Yet.