Thursday, January 12, 2012

1/12/2012 The Lag

Is it possible for jet-lag to be lagged? I've never felt more fatigued and worn-down than today. I haven't even blogged about our exciting NYC trip, or sent photos to my family!

Not only haven't I been blogging, but I haven't been baking. How can that be?!

Mostly, it's the change in job. My new job is really different, but despite a few moments of panic about leaving the super-analytical world and moving a little closer to IT (though I'm a network engineer I've never ever done "IT"), it is SO the right thing. I really love it. I guess the angst and frustration at being held back in my old job was a big driver behind all the baking -- I needed to be useful somehow.

That's not to say I love every last aspect of my job. I'm in a sales company now, and it seems I'm learning every week what that really means. Wreaking out every last technical detail isn't as important now as it was, and social geekiness isn't admired with amusement the same way. This week, I'm stuck in a sales conference for 3 straight days -- including Saturday -- and I'm trying to be a grownup about it, but it's a serious drag. In the sales world, this is the bread and butter: networking! Visibility! Elbow-rubbing! Relationship-building! For engineers, on the other hand, it's just a pain in the rear end. But we're begrudgingly going through the motions because we all know what a great situation we have overall.

But it sure makes me sleepy and worn-out. And interferes completely with my exercise routine, adding to the fatigue. Spending all day in large freezing-cold hotel conference rooms only adds to the exhaustion. (However, it's being held in a really, really, really nice, and I mean, beautiful, hotel in San Jose -- much nicer than the one Katrina and I just stayed in in New York! (Hotel Valencia -- courtyard, fountains, roof deck, fountains, courtyard -- wow!)

And I'm way behind on my annual Doudna-kid calendar.

There. All my excuses. And now, at 8:30pm, I just want to go to bed!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

1/10/2012 The biography

Ugghhh....another book report -- with clothespin doll! I HATE clothespin dolls. I swear, whoever comes up with these must be female and only have daughters. What 2nd-grade boy likes to make clothespin dolls?

And another book report, after so much freedom. This is on a historical figure in American history. The first day the report was announced, two-thirds of Julian's class chose their biography subjects from the school library right away. My experience with local libraries is that when the second grade is doing a book report, the books get wiped out fast. This is such a pain. Whine, whine, whine.

I talked to Julian about who he should do his biography on, and got Mr. Science all excited about Thomas Edison. Nope, taken. Benjamin Franklin? Nope, taken. I know -- Theodore Roosevelt! I'd read a biography of him and he's fascinating. Nope, taken! Argh!

I'd once read a kids' biography about the first woman doctor, but couldn't remember her name. Clara Barton? No, she was a nurse, or something like that. I suggested Clara Barton anyway, along with Daniel Boone, Meriwether Lewis and Sally Ride; and printed out short bios of each one for him to bring with him to school to pick his biographee (?). To my surprise, he picked Clara Barton.

Having experience with book reports, I've learned it's better to buy the books, rather than wait until the weekend and troll the local libraries in the hopes of finding a book. Then we're not stuck with return dates, the kids can share the book, they can mark it up, there are more choices, and it's usually a good book to have. And they're rarely expensive; under $10. So I ordered a few inexpensive kid-books on Clara Barton from Amazon, which arrived just before I left last week for NYC. (While doing so, I found that the person I'd had in mind was Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor.)

And Julian is all over it. He LOVES the story of Clara Barton. He read all 3 books quickly, and keeps talking about things she did, and asking questions about what it was like in the 1800s.

Recently he'd caught a bit of Gone With The Wind on TV with me, so we'd already talked a fair amount about the Civil War -- perfect background for learning about Clara Barton, "Angel of the Battlefield." In fact, that's why he picked her, because he wanted to read about the military battlefields. It turns out that all 91 years of her life were quite interesting, not just the 4 years she spent tending to soldiers from both sides, and he loves talking about it.

Julian even pointed out a drawing in one of his books of Clara Barton as a young woman, as a teacher, and said she looked really pretty. He said he liked her long dress and her curls. Ding! Now I know how we'll dress his clothespin doll!

For once, the book report is not a drag -- and actually, pretty fun. It's so nice to see that sparkle in Julian again. He had it so much more often when he was in preschool and kindergarten, usually around something in science or medicine, and I see it in him again with this. Though she died in 1912, Clara Barton is still saving people!


Sunday, January 08, 2012

1/8/2012 Back from NYC

A whirlwind, exciting trip. So much to say, and lots of wonderful family photos to post. For now, a small subset focusing on Katrina's experience will have to do.

Katrina's trip to NYC

Back to reality tomorrow!