Saturday, June 21, 2008

6/21/08 Hot Run

I went running this morning while Dave picked up The Three from sleepover, figuring I'd catch the cooler morning. Nice plan, except we're in the midst of a heat wave, and the morning was also really hot.

I planned a route that included my favorite trail (Upper Wildcat Canyon), one I haven't run in months. But to get there involves some decent uphills, and they hurt. Usually after a few minutes of uphill, I hit my stride, but this time it took every scrap of willpower to keep going, from giving myself nearby goals ("make it to that tree!") to thinking about how I'd been wronged by ex-boyfriends to forget the pain. Neither worked, but I finally plodded to a vista point where I let myself rest, choking for breath. I even sat down, and that proved to be a big mistake -- my feet and hands felt swollen and strange, and I felt dizzy and almost faint.

It was very hard to get going again, especially since I had another half-mile of uphill to go, and the break only made it worse. Then I started to get chills -- actual goosebumps on my arms, and had a few waves of nausea. My thinking was still fairly clear, and while I don't offhand know all the symptoms of heatstroke, chills, nausea and dizziness probably aren't good signs. But all would be fine when I reached the peak.

Finally, I made it to the top of my favorite trail, marking the end of the uphilling, and headed down with great relief. This trail is shaded, downhill takes far less effort (cardiovascularly, anyway; musculoskeletally, not so good), I'd play my music, and I'd be set. Wrong. Somehow not having to push through the uphills let my endorphins ebb or something. It took so so much effort to keep going, as my whole body hurt and I felt weak and strange. I had to coach myself for every step now, and reached back even farther for jerky ex-boyfriends (lots of those to fall back on). I didn't dare walk again.

It was the longest trip down that trail I'd ever taken, but somehow I made it to the farm, where I took a long, long drink at a fountain. Not because I felt all that thirsty, but because I was getting scared about how strange I felt and figured dehydration must be part of that. I'm not a big water drinker, and I never carry, or need, water when I run. The stop again set me reeling and made the relatively short flat jog back to the parking lot one of the hardest stretches I've ever done. I had to stop twice more, and twice thought I might faint, though I have enough experience fainting to know if I have time to think about it, I'm not actually fainting.

I made it back to the parking lot with more fear than relief. Quick stretch, then a long walk to my car (in a different parking lot), where I sat for a few moments to see if sitting would bring on more waves of weird feelings and if I could drive. I could. At home, some fruit, drinks, sitting and seeing my children all made me feel much better, but it took all day to shake off the weak feeling. It's too bad that my long-awaited reunion with my favorite trail was one of the hardest run experiences I've ever had.

OK, so much about me.

I've really been feeling bad that I haven't been doing anything with the kids, and that I'm so constantly distracted by remodeling things, my Dad's affairs, the turmoil of the rental house, and by our upcoming trip. Still, I think with all the sleepovers they needed some home downtime, and after my very rough morning, I wasn't in the mood to go anywhere today.

Downtime got old and the boys complained about being bored this afternoon. So I un-bored them by getting them to help me unpack, which made it a lot more fun. Julian liked unwrapping things, and Gabriel labelled some boxes for me -- very neatly!! He was offended when I offered to spell something that he thought he already knew.

Katrina mostly bopped around and played and "chatted" with me and the boys during our work. When Julian unwrapped a decorative jar of nuts, she zoomed right in on them. I dumped the nuts into a big melamine bowl and let her go to town. She picked out the pecans and put them into a little olive dish, then dumped the nuts back into the bowl, and played with them for over half an hour (wearing Julian's sandals, of course). It's amazing the little things that can entertain kids!

Julian couldn't resist joining in the fun, and after some admonitions from me, was able to sit back and mostly watch her, chipping in from time to time without making her screeeEEEEEECCCH!!! in protest.

It occurred to me during my run today (during one of the few moments when I was able to let my mind loose instead of focusing intently on survival), that Julian is old enough to be a playmate to Gabriel, yet young enough to be a playmate to Katrina too. He's the glue that keeps the other two from polarizing the family dynamic. Gabriel and Katrina interact a great deal, but even though Gabriel is not even 2 years older than Julian, his interaction with his little sister is much more on a caretaker level than on a peer level. Julian and Katrina truly play together, to whatever extent Katrina permits it, whereas Gabriel's play with her is much more like mine. It's amazing what a difference 2 years makes when you're only 4. Yet the childhood age difference will be permanently established in their adult relationships.

I got on a good roll tonight and worked hard organizing the garage, unpacking the living room, and emptying more odious boxes that torment me every which way I look. It will take months to undo all the habits our house-under-construction created with its odd spaces, just in time to have to dis-establish all our new habits from the rental house. Ample shelves in an attached garage can create some pretty lax habits!

But tomorrow, some play is called for.


Friday, June 20, 2008

6/20/08 Residents of where?

Dave and I went out again tonight, again in downtown Sunnyvale. The theory was that a short dinner closeby would mean time to work at home, but in practice, I just don't feel like it. Our state of half-unpacked has reached steady-state, and now adding things to this household and living in it had taken on greater urgency. That's unfortunate, because I find the boxes oppressive. But I'm just not in the mood to do anything about it now.

I know I've harped on this a lot, but it really strikes me how different our current neighborhood is. I like driving around it, I like the variety of houses, the older narrower streets, the bigger trees, the close-together small houses, the relative hustle and bustle of people outside.

We visited our house-under-construction tonight, and it hit me that we've actually been living in Cupertino all along, not Sunnyvale. It's a Sunnyvale zip code, but everything about it is much more like Cupertino -- quiet, large lots, cookie-cutter houses, and yes, the school district with the whizzy-whee test scores. Now we're in Sunnyvale, which is scrappier, lower-brow, less ordered, not as neat and clean.

Clearly I'm brushing on a minor identity crisis between my urban upbringing and my suburban adulthood. But we're not moving!!

I misplaced my camera tonight, otherwise you'd be enjoying photos of Katrina in a rare dress, after soaking through two sets of T-shirts and shorts today playing in water at Melissa's. It's HOT here, a full-on heat wave! The kids are on yet another sleepover, in theory so we can dig out at home, but I'm so defeated that I think I'll just go to bed. After I find my camera. It probably dropped into a box somewhere.

[ Later addendum: it was in my car! ]

If Katrina isn't pushing the tricycle around in circles with one foot, then she's pushing around something else with wheels. Later, all three of them on their way to Tonya's for a sleepover, big brother as usual on baby duty.

At Tonya's, we weighed them with clothes but without shoes. Gabriel was 39.1 pounds, Julian 35.8. Gabriel might actually break 40 pounds before he's 7!

You can probably see that I trimmed Katrina's bangs, sneaking in a snip before she knew what was happening, resulting in a goofy angle again. I give up!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

6/19/08 Permits in!!

We got our building permits today!! Now work can start in earnest. And here I haven't ordered our entry door yet...pressure's on! of toddler form. Arrgh! And I'm flying with her in 9 days?!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

6/18/08 Yarn crafts

This morning I found a long crocheted chain, made with the yarn Gabriel picked from Michael's the other day.

I taught my son to knit tonight. I never thought I'd say that, but I'm delighted, and so is he. It's been a long time for me too, but once my brain set free, my fingers knew exactly what to do. It's much harder for him than crocheting, but he's having a great time with it.

Julian is very envious, so I spent some time with him tonight finger-weaving, which is how Gabriel got started. I don't actually know how to finger-weave, but it didn't take long to realize that Julian mostly needed my one-on-one attention, not the yellow yarn.

My tiny tyrant tonight absolutely refused to feed herself -- I had to spoon-feed her. Yesterday she would have been horribly offended by that, today she insisted on it. Argh! Toddlers! Well, the upside was that her dinner went much faster and I didn't have to spend 5 minutes on my hands and knees scrubbing away the aftermath.

I went running today with someone else at work during lunchtime. He's just six weeks older than I am, and has a brand-new baby in his life....his granddaughter.

Overwhelmed with preparation for our upcoming trip East, a monster application form for a pension for my Dad, finish selection for the remodel. Yet all I seem to achieve is gridlock!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

6/17/08 Tile

When I picked Gabriel up from the CDC today, he was working on his second row of crochet! I sure wish I had time to sit down and do this with him....if I remember myself that is.

While I was signing Gabriel out, Katrina took off on an adventure, I thought into the other room. I asked him to mind her, and after a moment realized I didn't see them in the building. I dashed outside to the parking lot to find Katrina determined to go into the parking lot, but Gabriel dutifully restraining her, turning it into a game.

It was far from an emergency, but it was one of those brief lapses of attention that lead to close calls and accidents, when some good piece of fate steps in and keeps a moment from turning to tragedy. This time, my guardian angel was Gabriel. I thanked Gabriel, but also told him it was my fault for not paying closer attention to her and that he shouldn't have to be responsible for her, though I was very glad he was and very proud of him. What a terrific brother!

I spent the afternoon at a fantastic tile store (which happens to be called Tile Fantastic) in complete sensory and aesthetic overload. Everything there is just so beautiful. How do I choose? Fortunately, I had help, from my architect-now-interior-designer, and she helped focus what I wanted and pull it together. Though we have 6 areas of tile to choose (three bathrooms, two fireplaces and kitchen backsplash), we picked it for two bathrooms and make good headway on the third. I'm beside myself!

Hard to tell from photos, but here's the design for the downstairs bathroom. It's intended to be light, with punch accents from the glass tile, and looks much better in real life than in the photo.

Guest suite bathroom

Then I went to the kitchen designer's place and settled on butcher block for my island after all. I'm really excited about this now -- I love wood, so organic and natural, absorbs sound, mixing bowls won't slide. The island will have no obstructions so it won't be hard to maintain (the one big downside), and I think it'll add an earthy touch to a country-ish kitchen.

Left from right: red oak flooring, cherry island door, cherry butcher block (I x'd out another one that's beech, which I like better but is too close in color and too uniform in grain, though I also like that better!).

This would be a lot more fun if I still didn't have so many unknowns ahead of me, but we made serious headway today. I'm treading into the world of friends like "Kinda Crafty," for whom design and colors and matching and coordinating and ideas just flows from numerous fertile rivers in her head. Me, I'm stuck at the bottom of a dam, staring up at a vast expanse of concrete, stunned. I have to thank scrapbooking for starting to open the door, and help me learn to find my aesthetic instincts. It's an uphill struggle. I'm a lot better at measuring and cutting and applying the right kind of glue than choosing patterns.

I got a happy chuckle from an unexpected source today: my Dad. Seems he's found a lady friend, in less than a week in his new digs! He's younger and healthier than most residents, and he's lacked daily companionship for so long, I'm so glad he has an outlet now. I smiled all day at the idea of him living that utterly normal part of his life again.

Building permits due tomorrow!


Monday, June 16, 2008

6/16/08 Gabriel's new hobby

I took all 3 to their respective locations this morning....except as I was just about to drop Julian off, I decided to take him to Katrina's last music class instead! The teacher remembers him, and said she loves his story: that he was motionless in class, but that he remembered the songs and sang them on the way home from class, and often talked in song.

Not much has changed, he mostly sat and stared just like he did when he was a toddler.

Katrina clopped around in Julian's sandals for most of the class.

I'm not sure why I clicked the camera at this exact moment, but I unwittingly caught a moment that was notable, sort of. When kids put objects away (scarves in this case) there is usually at least one kid who goes around collecting every object they see, even if another kid is holding it. Nothing mean or aggressive, just eager. One almost 2-year-old girl was one of these uber-helpers today, and attempted to help Katrina put away a scarf.

Katrina's reaction stopped all traffic for a moment: one of her ear-splitting hair-raising eye-popping screeches, in which her whole body tenses up, face turns red, veins push out, and it looks like she's about to explode. My goodness, the offense! I was as stunned by the excessive force of her reaction as everyone else for a moment, but once I regained my wits she was easily redirected.

Julian had fun at the class, and when I asked him later if he liked the teacher, he said, "Oh, YEAH!". Mary Lynne really is exceptional, and I will certainly find a way to take Katrina to another Music Together session.

When I picked Gabriel up from the CDC today, he was once again in the knitting corner, studiously crocheting a pretty nice little chain, amidst other kids (and one grownup directing it all) knitting. He really wanted to do more crocheting at home, so I took him to Michael's tonight to get him his own crochet hook and yarn and knitting needles (my knitting stuff is buried deep in a box somewhere). He's really excited about it!

I don't know how long this phase will last -- there's a good chance it'll end the first time some macho-boy informs him that crocheting is for girls. My mother, my sister and myself all knit, and my sister even started her own business with her own unique and charming crochet designs, so I'm happy to nurture this. This will be a great airplane activity for him, and he's looking forward to getting pointers from Aunt Stephanie.

Big steps backward in night-training, no dryness the past few nights.

Little progress unpacking too, it's really becoming odious.

Beautiful old fir floor in house beyond repair -- in fact, some of the newer plywood subfloor also beyond repair. Now the house not only has no floor, but no subfloor either. I should get a photo just to show people who still think we could have lived there during construction!!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

6/15/08 Shaggy boys no more

I really wanted to go the Y today, but there was a Sunday playdate at one of our favorite parks, and I knew at least one other mom would be there. I haven't taken all three to the park in a long time, and we needed the "sanity." Somehow my camera got left behind, so I didn't get photos of Katrina acting very silly inside a tunnel.

They all had a great time, though we left way too late. When we got home, Katrina made a beeline for her room, cried "Mimi!" and almost lay down in the floor, begging for a nap!

Not long after that, Julian asked about his bin -- the boys both have special bins to put things that are their very own -- but it was on a shelf buried behind boxes. So I moved the boxes, and as I did, a sort of obstacle course emerged. I deliberately created a goofy path through the boxes, wondering if the boys would notice what I was doing. Julian kept asking about his bin and Gabriel ignored me until he impatiently asked, "What are you doing?! Then I said, "I'm making a maze!" They both immediately brightened and started ordering me where to put boxes. I made a tunnel and a dead end and they played happily in there for the rest of the afternoon. I can't win against the pile of boxes, so I might as well make use of them somehow.

My late-afternoon plans to re-attempt the Y got shortcut again by...well, short cuts! Though there are plenty of nearby haircut plaes, I took them to the Supercuts we usually go to since it's close to the Y, where I needed to go anyway (the Y had two purposes today: to exercise, which didn't get fulfilled, and to pay for daycamps, which did). Julian said he wanted a chicken haircut, meaning, his hair all spiky like I do with shampoo sometimes. The nice lady granted his wish with gel, as he was so sincere and cooperative. I told her the story of Julian's first haircut and how good he was, unlike his brother and sister who screamed and cried. He was very proud to hear me talking about how good and brave he's always been about haircuts (which is exactly why I did it), and the ladies at Supercuts were completely charmed by him.




I used to think gel was silly, but now I think it's fun!

Katrina needs her bangs trimmed, but I think I better drum up a Valium prescription first. For her or me, I don't know yet.