3/31/2008

Poker Queen

Saturday night was the annual couples Texas Hold'em tournament at my friend Tammy's house. I had rearranged some plans so we could go and hired a sitter. Last year's party was so much fun that Tammy invited a lot more people and the turnout was awesome, 40 people buying in at $10 each. I've played a few times but Mike gave me some tips in the car ride over.

I had a few drinks and some snacks, socialized a bit, and then at about 8:30 we started to play. My table took things pretty seriously and moved right along getting more hands in before the blinds were raised than the other four tables who were a bit rowdier. Poor Mike acted as council for another girl who proceeded to get some very good hands and took a LOT of chips. Nobody at our table got knocked out for a long time.

One by one people started dropping and we consolidated tables. Next thing I knew it was 2am and I was still playing with just two other guys. Most of the people had gone home. I was pretty tired and decided third place was good enough so I went all in on a bluff and lost. Everyone was quite impressed. I took home $70.

Next up, Mike's office is holding a similar tourny as a fundraiser for March of Dimes in two weeks and we are already entered. Much more enjoyable than walking 7 miles last year for MOD while I was 7 months pregnant.

3/26/2008

Sick Baby Part 2


Pajama Morning
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
The pediatrician's office is completely sick of seeing my face. Alex now has an ear infection. Which caused him to scream mercilessly all morning. I swear, we can't catch a break.

3/24/2008

Easter Reflections


Catching Rays
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
Our Easter church service yesterday was awesome, the best Easter service I've ever been to. It helps that our church is huge and we had a full orchestra, big choir and rock band style worship team. We went to the 9:30 service (there are four to choose from) which is usually mainly traditional hymns, but on Easter they blend traditional and contemporary styles for all four services.

I LOVE Easter music. I think my favorite hymn in the world is Christ the Lord is Risen Today. It is the most joyful and significant hymn I can think of. We also sang In Christ Alone, a lyrically fantastic song. Easter means so much to me that I admit I cried while I was singing.

A woman gave her testimony in the middle of the service, something not very typical. She said she had no spiritual foundation for most of her life, into her early thirties, and her successful career in the environmental field was her identity. She had a baby and soon thereafter ended up divorced. She said she was looking for peace and found it through yoga, which of course I was keenly interested in. But MOST interestingly, when she signed up for teacher training in yoga, one of the recommended reading materials was the Bible, and she took it very seriously and started reading it, and that's how she found her faith in God and Jesus. I'm surprised that of all the reading she must have been told to do for yoga, the Bible is the one that she chose to believe and identify with, but I shouldn't be surprised because it's the Truth and God just used yoga as His way to introduce himself to her. She ended up in a Bible study, and then a church, etc etc and now it has profoundly changed her life.

Considering HOW many people ask me how yoga fits or conflicts with my faith, this testimony was great to me.

Also the sermon was the best on I've ever heard our pastor give, about the solid evidence that the resurrection really happened, and how it can have a direct impact on how we live every day. Good stuff.

Oh yeah, and the choir ended the service with two selections from Handel's Messiah, my favorite piece of music ever. Worthy is the Lamb and the Hallelujiah chorus. It was magnificent.

*As a side note, little known fact about me, I have put it on my list of things to do before I die to sing the Messiah. Not the solo parts of course, just the choral parts. I mean, in a choir. A big one.

3/23/2008

Happy Easter!


Happy Easter!
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
This was the first year that Nathan understood the concept of the Easter Bunny, and the first year he can really voice every thought he has, so the running commentary on the easter baskets was priceless.

3/22/2008

Snot


Snot Baby
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
Good news, Alex is much better. Finally! He slept from 7:30 last night till 8:30 this morning. Just in time for Easter Sunday.

Bad news, I'm sick. But good news is my doctor could see me this morning, and I got drugs...lots of them in fact. She looked up my nose and said "It's really quite impressive actually, the right said is all allergies and the left side is quite infected." So three prescriptions for horse pills later and I should be better soon.

Thank God for the best healthcare in the world. Do I want everyone in this country to have healthcare? Sure. But not at the expense of the quality of the system. Socialized medicine is not the answer, especially not if we still want this country to practice the kind of cutting edge medicine that develops breakthroughs all the time, and maybe someday will cure cancer. I think there is a happy medium somewhere between completely privatized healthcare and government run medicine.

That said, Obama gave a pretty great speech at the constitution center in Philly the other day. Unlike my ultra-conservative friends and family, I will not be horribly afraid and depressed if he is our next President.

3/20/2008

Hot Mamas


I love my MOPS group. Have I mentioned that lately? My group consists of 64 women at least half of whom I'd consider my friend. Probably about a dozen...maybe more...I'd consider really GOOD friends. The kind of friend you can call up and ask a favor of any time of day or night. The kind of friend you can go out with and laugh over drinks, or cry over tea with.


Another reason I love my MOPS group is last weekend we had our gigantic semi-annual kids stuff consignment sale. I was able to sell a few things I didn't need anymore, like my double stroller and my swing that Alex is too big for. All in all I made $81. Next fall I expect to make a lot more because I'll have more clothes and baby toys to sell that Alex has outgrown.


One of my many MOPS friends, that hot blonde in the photo, is hosting the second annual couples Texas Hold'em tourney next weekend and Mike and I will be there. I'm very excited because I just found a babysitter and I don't even have to drive her home at one in the morning. She invited a LOT of our friends and so far she has something like 15 couples coming. Should be awesome. Last year I was pregnant and the designated driver and babysitter returner. This will be way better.


Hot Mamas

3/19/2008

Sick Baby


Scoochin
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
This little dude has not looked this happy in almost a week. We saw the doctor twice since his fever had not gone down which was a waste of time both times. Breathing treatments with Xopenex and Pulmicort help but oh what a pain. Last night he refused to sleep until 10pm, and then was up every couple hours. Which is still better than previous nights when he was up every hour. I think the fever is finally gone now but the snot and cough is still ever present.

In the meantime it's raining out and I can't take my sick baby out in public so it looks like the three of us are stuck inside today.

On the plus side, Nathan pooped in the potty for the very first time in months this morning, after asking to sit on the potty and trying three times. This is a miracle, and hopefully there will be no going back from here.

3/17/2008

Happy St. Patty's Day


Little Leprechaun
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
Mine is not so happy. Alex has been very sick since Friday morning and is still not any better. Fever, snot, cough, whiny, and not sleeping or eating. We saw the doctor on Saturday but I'm taking him back in again today because he isn't any better. Meanwhile he woke up crying every hour last night, so I am very very tired.

Hope your holiday is better than mine. Have a Jamison on the rocks for me.

3/10/2008

Drugs in Your Drinking Water

Since the title of this blog implies it is supposed to occasionally be about water issues, here's a deep one for ya. If you're looking for light banter you can quit reading now.

This morning while watching the news I heard a story about a "new" report that found trace amounts of many different types of pharmaceuticals in drinking water in many major cities around the country. The drugs included antibiotics, anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen and the like), mood elevators, and sex hormones from birth control, etc. This story was repeated several times in a way that was designed to be shocking to people. How did these drugs end up in drinking water? Simple, the went through people's bodies, got flushed down the toilet, and went through the wastewater treatment system, ending up out in the river, which is the source of the drinking water system. Sound gross?

This is not news to me, being a water industry professional. These compounds, known as "personal care products" or micro-contaminates...we have lots of names for them...are being studied in wastewater and drinking water systems worldwide. The effects of things like estrogen on aquatic life is being studied, but we have no idea if these teensy tiny amounts of drugs will have any longterm affects on humans. The fact is that these chemicals are really hard and expensive to test for, and are unregulated. They are not removed completely in standard treatment plants. One of the most interesting things I'm involved with now is a research project to study how the technology I design and sell might help treat these compounds.

So the environmentalist in me says maybe they ought to be regulated. But the economist in me knows that such regulations would cost billions of dollars, probably not in federal money but in the form of drastically increased water and sewer rates and city tax rates, for something that we really don't know how much of a health risk it is, right now it appears to not be much risk at all.

This is always the trade-off with me, the conflict in my mind is that I usually feel I just don't know enough of the details to make a sound judgement on it...whether the cost is justified to offset the potential risk. My bottom line opinion is that if the Democrats take office, it will likely be great for my industry, but really bad for my own personal pocketbook and for the economy as a whole.

3/07/2008

More Fun With Video

Since it's not fair to only show Alex's cuteness on film, I thought I'd show you one of Nathan's many talents. Blame Mike for this, I had nothing to do with it. Mike has been singing the Penn State fight song, "Hail To The Lion", to Nathan since he was born. I'd say this is pretty good for a 3 year old. For reference, here are the lyrics:

HAIL! to the Lion, loyal and true.
HAIL! Alma Mater, with your white and blue.
PENN! STATE! forever, molder of men,
FIGHT! for her honor — FIGHT! — and victory again.

S-T-A-T-E Go State! Oooooohhhhhh


video

3/06/2008

Another Video Clip!

Sorry Neel, I completely forgot to put the hat on him before I took the clip. Next time!

This just started yesterday. I was working at my computer and the sound caught me completely offguard.


video

3/05/2008

Seven Random Facts

Ok so Meegs tagged me with a meme, something about 7 weird or random things about me. Have you noticed I start a lot of posts, sentences, and thoughts with "Ok so..."? I have. Noticed, that is. I'm not gonna bother tagging seven other people because I don't even know if I have seven readers, but whatever.

1. I can't cook. Like, at all. Well maybe not at all, but not much. Mike jokes that everything I make comes from some sort of box. Occasionally I will be daring and pull out a recipe or a cookbook, but that is VERY occasionally. I wish I liked it more, perhaps if I were better at it I would like it more. I blame my mom for this, she isn't what you would call a naturally skillful chef, although she can cook, but she certainly never taught me. I also blame having too much disposable income and being able to afford eating out a lot. That money really would be put to better use if I liked to cook.

2. I love to dance, especially ballroom. I haven't done that since college but I really loved it. Mike does not love it. In fact I don't think he's ever done it. My ballroom dance class TA was Bobby Engram, who is now a star player for the Seattle Seahawks. He was a very good dancer and I LOVED dancing with him. It was also very interesting talking to him as he prepared for the NFL draft. He carried a set of worry beads around with him in the month or two before the draft. I even like to polka :)

3. I was 5' 4" in the fifth grade. I've only grown two inches since then. I was off the charts tall until middle school. I could comfortably rest my elbow on the top of my best friend Kate's head. But I was terrible at basketball. Most sports really.

4. I love bridges. My favorite is the Brooklyn Bridge in NY because of it's beautiful stonework and its cool history. Other favorites are the Firth of Fourth bridge in Scotland and the Golden Gate in SF. I inherited this from my dad, and I guess it's because I appreciate the engineering, even though I'm not the kind of engineer that designs bridges. You would definately not want me to design you a bridge.

5. I love maps. That's probably also something that goes with the engineer in me. I love to study them for no good reason, looking at all the different ways to get from here to there, discovering new places to visit along the way. I really don't like to use a GPS if I have a perfectly good map...although it's useful when you're actually driving.

6. I can't decorate. I may have mentioned this before, but I am interior design challenged. My walls are all white because I am paralyzed with fear of not being perfectly coordinated, yet I have no idea how to pull that off. That and I hate painting. But that doesn't explain why my windows are mostly bare too. My walls only have a bit of art on them, nothing purely decorative. It's sad, but it saves me money because if I COULD decorate I would be constantly buying s*** for my house like some women I know.

7. I would like to get my MBA from Wharton. That's right, not just anywhere...Wharton. Ain't never gonna happen, but I'd like to do it. It costs about $50K and you can only do it if you take two years off work or through the exec program which your very large and wealthy company must pay for.

3/04/2008

12 Angry Men


Yesterday I had to serve jury duty for my county. They don't let you out for excuses like you have babies at home or it would cause hardship for your employer. They let you postpone it, which I already did once. They have drop-in daycare at the courthouse for jurors and people with "court business" which to me signals abused and neglected kids whose guardians are either battling each other or battling the state. I hope I'm not being too quick to judge but I really didn't want to put my infant in a place with people I knew nothing about.

So my mom came and watched Alex while I headed to court and prayed I didn't get picked for a trial. The process was amazingly smooth, the courthouse staff are absolutely delightful. There was free parking with a big sign that said "Juror Parking" and very clearly marked signs all the way to the "Juror Marshalling room". Something about that name made me feel like a farm animal trapped in a giant pen. But it wasn't bad at all, they chairs were comfy, we saw a well-done video, and the woman giving directions should've been a standup comic. What was amazing to me was how fast 47 people who didn't know each other at all started chit-chatting. A woman next to me immediately asked me about the book I was reading.

After a couple hours of sitting around they called random numbers to go up to a courtroom for the only jury trial in house that day. Well they had only required just enough people to report, so 45 out of 47 of us had to go in. Then we sat around in the courtroom for a long time. First the lawyers and judge were back negotiating in private while we waited. We could watch the plaintiffs and defendants, and we could talk to each other. Then the judge came out and gave us instructions about the "voir dire" process. They asked a bunch of questions, mainly about if you'd been a party to an automobile accident lawsuit before. I was stunned how many jurors had been, probably about 20 out of 47 of us. Then the really boring part, they called each person who had responded positively to the questions back into chambers to question them further in private. That took awhile.

I sat next to an immigration lawyer with medical equipment and hearing aids with him. He looked unhealthy, but he was pretty funny. He was very interested in hearing about my business and the lawsuit I was a party to. I listened politely to him talk about his business, even though I could've cared less. What I really hated though, was that he kept whispering things to me when we were supposed to be listening. Like he would ask me if he had trouble hearing something the judge said. Or he would make comments like "that Juror number 8 is so outta here". I'm a teacher's pet, and I HATE THAT.

I had lunch with three other jurors, two suburban moms my age and one young guy who was a resident at a hospital in the city. He was a big self-deprecating geek who talked a LOT. About himself and his lack of a girlfriend. Maybe working 85 hours a week has something to do with that? Or maybe NOT. SHUTTING. UP. has something to do with it.

In the end, I was not selected for the final jury. Thank goodness. But I could not get over how some of the jurors acted towards each other as we were all leaving. People were hugging goodbye and waving and exchanging numbers and thanking each other for advice. Like we were all best buddies. Is it me? There must be something wrong with me that I think I have nothing in common with these people and I will never see them again the rest of my life so just let me serve my civic duty in peace.

3/02/2008

Bring On Spring


Hydranga
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
March came in like a lion, with cold and wind, chilling through my bones as I shopped with Mike's parents yesterday. Nathan had his two days of playing in the snow last week, getting minimal use out of his snow pants and boots, his new sled and shovel. Now I am ready for warm sunshine.

I went to Produce Junction on Friday for cheap healthy food and decided some flowers would brighten up the house. The prices as the Junction are amazing, $1.50 for a bunch of gerbera daisies, $5 for two dozen roses, and 2 lbs of green peppers for $1. I've been cooking a lot more and making a lot of recipes that include peppers and onions.

Then we went to Lowe's and Home Depot to find a new overhead kitchen light fixture. The front entrances of both stores were lined with starter materials for flower and vegetable gardens. Here's where I get all kinds of inspiration and motivation to do some serious gardening this year. But as my husband says, I'm a dreamer. I get all kinds of grand ideas that I do not follow through on, and gardening is always one of them.

But I am ready for spring. Ready to stop needing to bundle up the kids everytime we go out. Ready for warm walks in the park. Ready to trade in the Uggs for strappy sandals. And ready to swap the sweaters for sundresses.

Too bad it is still a long way off.
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