Wednesday, June 27, 2012

PSA: Lock your doors!

& get a dog and an alarm system. Apparently, we left our patio door unlocked yesterday; however, we set the burglar alarm before we left for work. I got a call at 2:30 p.m. from our alarm company, Guardian, asking if we needed cops sent out since the rear door alarm had gone off. I said "YES SEND THEM WE ARE AT WORK NOBODY SHOULD BE THERE," *deep breaths*.

Then, I told Jeff and headed home, all the time freaking out over what I'd find when I got there, if the dog was ok, how to deal with homeowner's insurance ...

I get there, find the cop sitting in his car outside, because he couldn't get through the locked foyer. I let him in, unlocked the main door, unlocked our condo door, fully expecting him to go in ahead of me, but no, he waited for me to open the door. (WTH?) Well, nobody was in the house and at first glance, nothing was amiss. I noticed the patio door was open and just leaning against the jamb. I realized then we must have left it unlocked. The policeman told me to do a walkthrough of the house, see if all valuables were still there while he opened every closet and closed door to ensure nobody was in the house.

Nothing was taken. He left. No report filed. As I am closing doors and calming Smokey down, I realize no way in heck could we have left the door open, even if we left it unlocked. The alarm cannot be set if the door isn't at least latched closed.

So, somebody walked off the parking lot, onto our patio and tried our door. Tried to open it, and the alarm went off. Smokey also most probably went apeshit. Those two things combined possibly scared him/her/them away. But, I am still freaked out. Woke up twice in the night to walk around and ensure everything was locked and alarmed. Looked out the patio door to make sure nobody was standing around. Ugh, I know nothing went missing but for somebody as jumpy as me, it's going to take a long time to regain my peace of mind!

But, in the meantime, thanks to my hero :) even if he was barking all crazy because he wanted the would be thieves to come play with him, he possibly scared them off.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June's almost gone

and with it, half the year! June's been a busy, busy month. Busy at work, family visit, Father's day and my birthday made it a month that just flew on by.

For Father's Day, Jeff and I did a sailing tour of the Inner Harbor, during the Sailabration. We got to view the tall ships up close without walking though the throngs of people. It was a perfect day for a sail, sunny with a breeze.

We had dinner at Rusty Scupper, which we've wanted to try for a while. I was a little disappointed because they had a small menu available because of the events, so I think we'll have to go back to try their regular menu.

For my birthday, Jeff and Brenda joined me at Fogo de Chao in Baltimore for a long and meaty lunch. (There was an empty seat for Suheir at the table but she never showed up :-P) I have to say, this was my second time there, and I still like the place. I wouldn't go for dinner because it's pretty expensive. But, for lunch, I love their food, including the salad buffet that has asparagus trees. Oh no, they are really that big. That was my only fun thing all day, since I had 3 scheduled doctor's appointments. Hey, I would have had to take time off 3 different times if I didn't do it yesterday.

And, then how can I do a blog post without talking about this little buckaroo?

See how the picture is slightly blurry? He's in motion? He's ALWAYS in motion. That young man does not sit down, ever! He's almost 20 months old, which is tiny in the large scheme of things,but his personality is HUGE. He refuses to sit in a high chair. Arches his back and cries like we are strapping him into a medieval torture machine. So, after a few months of no eating out with him, we tried going out last week and had him sit in a regular chair. It worked a lot better. He sits and stands in it but he eats his dinner and more importantly, Jeff and I finished our dinners!

He loves music still, starts bouncing or swaying in the car seat if a song he likes is on the radio. And if he doesn't like the song, he sticks his fingers in his ear. And, he has some new moves to share with you for the enxt time you find yourself in a dance-off:


My handsome, fearless young man, I'll quote a song by Lee Ann Womac:

Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance

I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance

Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'
Don't let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance

I hope you dance
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
(Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder, where those years have gone?)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean

Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance


(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
(Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder, where those years have gone?)

 Oli, I hope you dance your way through life, stealing hearts with that cute smile of yours! You already have the hearts of mommy and daddy and everyone who's met you in the palm of your hand. I love you buggaroo and am happy you are here to celebrate my birthdays with me.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I do have it all

This article, Why Women Still Can't Have It All, is causing all kinds of stir all over the internets. I'll fully admit I didn't read it word for word, mostly skimmed it. The very first sentence bothered me.

It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed. 

To me, that's the same as somebody saying the following:

If you really want it, you can have it all - a fully balanced work and home life - a decent job, a happy marriage, a content child. You are just not working hard enough at it.

The problem with both those proclamations is that they are all encompassing. And, anytime you make any of these "never should ..." or "everyone should ..." statements, you are going to leave out people and piss off people and generally make an ass out of yourself. So, before I attempt to speak to my situation, let me make it clear that it is MY situation. This is MY balanced life. In no way, shape or form do I state that if everyone did it this way, they'd have the same quality of life I do.

I feel like I do have it all. But, the "all" I speak about is my all, not your all, or her all or his all. Everyone's definition of that all is different. My all consists of the following (please don't take the ordering as any indication of importance or preference):

  • Myself: I am the most important person to me. If I am not happy with myself or my life, it's unfortunate but true that my husband will not be happy and neither will be my child. The negativity will bleach into other relationships as well, into my work, tainting it. So, I make a concerted effort to keep me happy. I work out daily. It makes me happy and makes me feel good about myself I realize some of my other habits make this an easier thing for me than others. I am a morning person. It's far easier for me to run outside at 5 a.m. than it would be at 10 p.m. if I wasn't a morning person. This bleeds into the next important thing ...
  • My time with my husband. Just because we had a child doesn't mean we stopped being a couple. It takes effort but we need to connect as just the two of us very now and then. We do date nights, alone and with other couples. We go to happy hours after work with our work friends. We commute together to and from work almost daily. We go to a movie every other month. We consciously put all electronics away after Oli goes to sleep and sit together as just us to watch TV or play Scrabble. Once again, our individual situation might not be the same as others. Our ability to spend money on a babysitter affords us the luxury of dinners out alone. When my parents visit for longer than a few days, we've even taken a weekend away without Oli. And, it was blissful. Does that mean we love our child less than others who never leave their children overnight? Some would say yes, some would say no. I just know that we love him more than we ever thought possible but getting away alone is great as well. 
  • My work: I couldn't wait to get back to work after maternity leave, despite what many said. I wrote about it, trying to put into words how my love for my work did nothing to diminish my love for my child. I enjoy what I do. I enjoy the travel that rarely comes with it. I enjoy the interactions and friendships at my job. There are frustrations, like there would be at any job, but the fulfillment I get from going to work way outweighs the frustrations. And, I've somehow managed to get promoted in the last year as well. Not bragging but the author of that original quoted piece seems to think you have to pick between ambition or family. And, I am trying to prove you can have both.
  • Friends: I just did a girls' night out dinner with girlfriends last month at The Melting Pot and we have one planned for July and another in the works for August. I went out to line dance lessons with Brenda this Wednesday and we're planning on making that a weekly thing (as much as possible). I joined a local mommy's group online and attended a mommies night in event a couple months ago and will try to attend more. All of these are obviously planned around Oli and Jeff's and my schedule but I am doing it. Obviously, I have a supportive husband who doesn't think these are all a waste of my time and not every woman has that luxury either. And, since Oli's bedtime is 7-7:30 pm, I can schedule a lot of events for after that.
  • Family: We talk to our parents every weekend, we try to call during the week too. Actually, having Oli has brought us closer to our parents. I'll fully admit I am a lot more understanding, even encouraging of Jeff to call his mom more often since I had Oli. Because, I know someday he'll get married and I'd hate to be perceived as that mother-in-law who wants to talk to her son too much. Because, as the mother now, I can't imagine there ever being a too much when it comes to talking to my child. We try to do a video chat with both sets of grandparents every weekend. With allll of this, you probably think I never see my child?
  • Oliver. My monkey, my darling, the child I love so so much. Some would say, I don't spend any time with my child, given everything else I do. But, besides my working hours, I spend 99% of his waking hours with him. I mean, the kid won't leave me alone even when I am sitting on the toilet. Some would say I could give him so much more if I stayed home with him. I know myself I wouldn't. I'd be an angrier person if I didn't have my work. And, trust me, a happy mom for 5 hrs a day is a lot better than an angry mom for 13 hrs a day. We even eat weekly dinners at a dining table. Some days it's a challenge, most days it isn't. I'd say in 19 months, there have been a total of 3-4 weeks worth of nights that we couldn't sit together to eat. Even if it's fast food that I picked up on the way home because I spent way too much time looking at clothes and shoes at Kohls, but we still sat at the table to unwrap the utterly unhealthy food and ate it as a family. Which brings me to
  • Cooking: I do it on the weekend. Crock pot is my best friend. 3-4 meals made on the weekend last us the whole week. If I can't do it on the weekend, I throw something in it morning before we leave and by the time we are home, there's a nice, hot dinner ready. I also cut up 1 huge container of salad and 1 huge container of mixed fruit on the weekend that lasts me for lunches through the week. So, my week is a little less hectic and needs less thought. Obviously, there are pizza nights and the McDonald's run because a late work meeting happened or the doctor's office took too long at the afternoon appointment.
There are a lot of caveats to this. Our waking time, my kid's sleep schedule, our ability to pay a babysitter, or go on trips to see family members, proximity of our work to our house (12 miles),  the fact that Jeff and I work a mile from each other, the fact that Jeff has no conceptions about the so called "right place for a woman" and so on and so forth make up our unique situation. And, it enables me to have a life where I feel like I do have it all. But, no way would I ever suggest to somebody struggling to keep it together that they are just not working hard enough at it. So, I take offense when somebody suggests that it's impossible to have it all. I might not hold it together all the time. I might come to work bleary eyed after nights of teething hell. I might have some signs of hair tearing after frustrating moments at work. I might vow to never speak to my family again (only lasts a day or two ;0)), but those are minute phases in our entire life.

I am not rich, super human or self-employed. Yet, I feel like I have it all. And, most of the time, I am too scared to say it because I think I'll be called a braggart or a liar.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Running (almost) barefoot

Wow, I took a hiatus. Between Oli keeping us on our toes and my family visiting last weekend AND my time at work split between two departments, it's been busy around here. But, I started something new in my workout regimen a few weeks ago and wanted to share my experience.

I found a pair of Fila Skeletoes on clearance at DSW and with another $10, they were only $25. So, I figured let's try them out. Also, after using them a few days, I realized they were the men's version but they fit and they work, so I kept them.

I started a C25K program 3 weeks ago and I used the new shoes. Everywhere I read about this, it said there's a learning curve and some adjustment time. I was surprised at how easily I was able to run from the very first day. Let me compare them to my old running shoes that I got measured for, at a running store.

If you look at the inside of the left orange & white shoe, you'll notice that the sole comes out a bit. That's to correct my tendency to over-pronate. Which means when I ran, I tended to roll my foot from the outside of my heel to the inside of my toes, ending the run on my big toe. That would hurt my toes and my knee when I ran. With the New Balance shoes I had, that little bit of protruding sole helped correct that. The Skeletoes, as you can see, has no such thing. So, I was worried I would hurt my knee again. But, no, instead I just automatically correct myself since I feel like I am running on bare feet. Today, I advanced to running in 5 minute intervals, and my knee felt no strain at all.

These photos compare the soles between the two shoes. The Filas have almost no sole, but they have a slightly hard bottom under the sole and heel. I thought that might cause pain to my foot but so far, all I have felt is my toes getting a bit uncomfortable by the end of the run. But, no pain.

Overall, I think the theory that running barefoot is better for the body/feet might be true. I have only done a 1.5 mile walk in Baltimore, not a run yet. But, I am looking forward to trying a run outside next weekend. I think I run better, as in, my running gait is more correct. For example, you are supposed to run using the front of your feet, but most of us run pounding with our heels. With a shoe that has barely any sole, it's tough to hit the ground with my sole first. I move to the balls of my feet quickly and it's more of a rolling gait. I think that's what helps keep the knee pain away.

It's only been a few weeks so all of this is just my initial thoughts on it. I'll try my first run with them outside and report back later.