25 July 2016

Family updates, and Everett is the happiest baby

Chugging along through the summer over here. Gabriel has mostly been at his dad's, which is as usual/nothing to report.
He's at sleep away camp this week, which technically counts as one of "my" weeks, even though....he is not here. I think it should count as nobody's week, but I also think it's important that he get to go to this stuff, especially when it means going along with his cousins, etc. So here we are.
--
Susannah (niece) turned four last Friday.
All the cousins were available for her party (she's pictured here with my niece June, as well as a friend). My brother and sister-in-law completed their residencies, and have taken jobs in/moved back to California. And it's great having them living closer.
I love that Everett has a cousin his age!
Everett and Baby Duncan
Everett and baby Duncan are 4.5 months apart (which is the same age difference as Gabriel and his cousin Elliot). Because of school cutoffs, baby Duncan will be in the grade above Everett.
I wonder when baby Duncan will get tired of being called baby Duncan.
His parents report that they want to call him Mac, which is fine! Except I've never actually heard one of his parents call him that. And also our grandfather is still alive and well and named Mac, so the rare times my brother HAS referred to his baby as Mac, I thought we were talking about an old man.
Everett is Everett's middle name (his first name is Quentin), so here both the babies are juniors, and I would like to share my naming wisdom. We got RIGHT OUT THE GATE with Everett. In fact, I think quite a few people are not actually aware that Everett's legal first name is Quentin. (My brother) Duncan dawdled on the whole nicknaming thing, didn't establish a preference until like a week ago, and it's just hard to come around now.
Well maybe he will be successful in his bid for Mac.
I'll let you know how it progresses.
--
Everett is just the happiest baby.
Chest clip is too low!
His basic disposition is "delighted by life, and all that it contains."
And we are all delighted by him.
The face of a boy who just learned that popsicles exist
He occasionally gets overtired.
And he still wakes up in the night for a nurse.
And sometimes he needs a STOP EVERYTHING emergency nursing session in order to keep his life together.
Emergency naked nursing
He learned how to clap! It's pretty much the best. I highly recommend baby clapping to cheer you on in your day to day life.
He has two tiny teeth.
He is SO EASY about going to bed. I put him down in his crib, and he snuggles down with his butt in the air and chatters at himself for a few minutes, before drifting off to sleep.
Gabriel is more difficult about bedtime than Everett.
Also, Everett eats more than Gabriel. Like in absolute, quantitative terms, he consumes more food. And yet, he's not a very big baby (hey, he poops a lot).
He now occasionally stands unassisted. But only if he is distracted into letting go of his perch.
For instance, if he needs to clap.
Is he always this happy though?
Well, yes.
He really is.

18 July 2016

Recommendations, with reservations (diet/weightloss/exercise related)

I'm going to recommend two things to you, with the disclaimer that I actually hate both of them.

The first is hot yoga.
I hate everything about hot yoga. I hate being hot, I hate doing yoga. I hate doing yoga in a hot room full of other hot sweaty people doing yoga. It's expensive. The room smells. It attracts insufferable people. I dread going. I am hot, and sweating, and doing yoga, the entire time. It does not feel good to me in the moment.

Here is what I like about it:
 - It feels amazing. From the moment it is over, and for at least a full 24 hours after it has ended, I feel light and airy and calm and centered and fantastic.
 - Weightloss/slimming miracle. I don't think it's so much the sweating (which would just be water weight). It's that you don't feel like eating anything too heavy before hand, or at all after either, so it changes your eating habits for a full day, towards fruit and salads and fruit salads.
Also, there are normal people there. I'm not the only one. Just don't focus on the skinny beautiful young people. 

The second thing is giving up grains/dairy/alcohol.
I love grains. Carbs are the building blocks of life. I also like milk in my coffee and cream cheese on my bagels. Cheeses! And a glass of wine because why not. Fancy cocktails! This is not a sustainable diet for me. I want to enjoy my life, not move through it restricting my pleasures for the sake of my size.
However. I gave up all grains, dairy and alcohol for a week. Just one week! I didn't change anything else. I ate the same number of calories (I actually ate MORE calories than normal for me). It happened to be a week that I didn't do any exercise beyond my daily walk. I lost 6lbs.
It's not actually the way I want to live my life, but I was thinking that I could give up MOST grains, non-celebratory cheeses, and alcohol during the week, and make a pretty good cut into my upper arm fat. 

09 June 2016

Is not giving me credit for something the same as taking credit yourself?

I work at a publicly traded retail company, in the general ledger/financial reporting department.
I used to be a staff accountant, now I'm one of the managers.
Well, I was promoted last June, but went on leave at the beginning of September, so there wasn't a transition of duties until I got back in January.
I spent January and February learning how to do my job, and really took over in March.

We have a chronic problem of closing the books late. Not late like LATE, just late like, the people who are doing it are at work until 10pm on the final day of close. So I mean, not late like it affects the whole company, just late like it affects the people in finance. It specifically affects the four people (me included) who have to wrap everything up once all entries are in.

In March, I declared that we weren't closing our books late anymore. I told my boss, I told HER boss, and I told the other two managers. We aren't doing this anymore.

I identified who normally makes us late. I made a point of checking in with them early and often, and keeping them on task. I took over some of their close duties myself, to make sure they were completed timely.
We closed March on time.

LOOK, I said. I DID THAT.

Luck, says the other manager (let's call him N).

I'M DOING IT AGAIN FOR APRIL THEN. WATCH ME.

For April, I did more of the same. Reached out to people ahead of close to make sure they were on top of their scheduling. Took on a few more things from my chronic deadline missers. Checked in and checked in and checked in again.

Before we closed, I told my boss, we're closing on time again this month. Remember this when I ask for a raise.

We closed April on time.

LOOK, I said. LOOK AT THIS.

Nope, says N. I've been closing the books here for over 5 years, and we never close on time.

But we CAN.

Luck.

May close.
We close on time.
N: Maybe it's that we're fully staffed now (we only were not fully staffed when I was out on leave)
N: Maybe it's that we (WE?) have gotten the message out about scheduling (WE??).

In March I said that we were going to start closing the books on time, something that had never happened in the 2+ years since I've been here.
We closed March on time.
We closed April on time.
We closed May on time.

Refusing to give me credit for this is annoying sure, but my mom said something to me today. She said, "He's taking credit for it."
No, he's just being obnoxious.
"All he has to do to take credit is refuse to give any credit to you."

And that is what I would like to discuss.

Is refusing to give me credit for a thing that I did the same thing as taking credit for yourself?

Because this is a thing that I did. We didn't use to close on time, and I decided to change that, and I did.
--
EDITED TO ADD: N is a senior manager, I am a manager, he and I have the same boss. 

26 May 2016

The definition of feminism, politics making you an asshole, career goals

I've been feeling SO HEATED about Being a Lady in America lately. This elections cycle has really brought it out in me.
Regardless of your political leanings:
  1. If you do not believe in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes, you are not a good person. Being a feminist does not guarantee that you are a good person, but not being a feminist certainly guarantees that you are not. 
  2. If you do like Donald Trump, then you like bigotry and misogyny. Being okay with this person is being okay with all of his beliefs, even the vile, hateful ones. I understand if you do not agree ideologically with the left, but if you agree ideologically with Donald Trump, you are a bad person.
  3. If you align politically with Bernie Sanders, but would vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, I guess you just REALLY hate women. I can think of no other explanation.

The particular balance a woman has to strike between wearing makeup, but not too much, being attractive, but not sexual at all, being smart and capable and just ridiculously good at her job, but not being threatening to anyone with a penis, even if that threat is entirely in their own mind: bullshit.

I would love to throw it all aside and not get up two hours early to do hair and makeup and apply spanx before big business days, but here I am in this system, and I DO want to get ahead. I don't make the rules, and if I don't want to be cast out, I have to abide by them.

In Badass Lady News, in 2010 I was making about $28K/year, living well below the poverty line. I sat down and wrote out a list of well paying jobs that I thought I wouldn't hate, that I could do well.
Then I researched the qualifications I would need, and picked the job I could get to (from where I was sitting) with the lowest commitment of time and expense.
So now I'm a CPA.
It was a calculated decision, and I don't regret it one bit.
I wanted to be able to support myself, support Gabriel, and not feel so nervous financially. 

The career goal I set for myself then was to earn 6 figures, after taxes and deductions, by 2020.
It is 2016. I'm not there yet, but I'm on the path.

I enjoy parenting boys as a strong, financially independent woman. I am very much enjoying raising my sons as feminists. Which, I will remind you, means that you think men and women should be treated equally, and is one of my requirements for being a decent fucking human being.
I am glad that my boys have a mother who is also a Badass Lady.
I am glad that I myself was raised by a woman who is a Badass Lady.

Is it shallow to make my career goals entirely about money?
Maybe.

But I don't live to work. I work to live.

23 May 2016

Baby Comparisons, Book Rediscoveries

You know what's fun? Comparing children.
Everett, 7.5mos
Gabriel, 6mos
For the most part I don't think that Gabriel and Everett look THAT much alike. They share the basic features of a cute baby (CHEEEEEKS, mainly), and they have the shared vague ethnicity of being half black, but I think that Gabriel looks a LOT like his dad, and Everett looks a LOT like HIS dad, and, despite Gabriel's third grade teacher*, their dads really look nothing alike.

*Gabriel's third grade teacher could not tell Gabe's dad apart from Quentin. Despite the fact that share no facial features, have very different builds, different hair, beardedness versus not, glasses versus not, Gabriel calls one of them "dad" and one of them "Quentin", etc. etc. Literally the only feature they share is blackness. THEY HAVE TOTALLY DISSIMILAR FACES.

Anyway, sometimes, like in the pictures above, I DO think they look a lot alike, and then I think maybe they look more like me than I generally THINK they do, I guess.

I went stand up paddle boarding for the first time yesterday! It was not as difficult as I was expecting it to be.
I have very poor balance; I go all wobbly when I'm asked to stand on one foot in yoga, and standing on a thing that is on the (very wobbly) water, seemed like something that I would definitely not....excel at. Well. I didn't excel at it, to be sure, but I was not terrible! I fell in once, on dismount, but otherwise stayed upright and afloat.
My feet are sore from it though. You somehow end up using all the muscles in your feet to stay balanced and not too wobbly.

Gabriel got the fifth Harry Potter book on CD from the library. He's read all of them, and seen all the movies, I suppose this is the next step in his Harry Potter vision quest.
I read all the books, but as they came out, so it's been.....well it's been years.
The audio versions are EXCELLENT. I normally hate audiobooks because well, they read it ALL WRONG. The Harry Potter ones are read in EXACTLY THE RIGHT WAY, with the RIGHT voices. I'm getting sucked back in. I want to reread the series now.
And sit down and watch all the movies. I've only seen the first movie straight through. I've seen bits and pieces of the other ones, but I haven't sat down and ACTUALLY WATCHED them.
I'm inspired!
A pretty cool thing about having a 10yo is rediscovering and rereading books. I recently reread My Friend Flicka, and wept a lot. I got it for my nephew, who is very into horses, and very frustrated by how girly all things horses are.
Why is that, do we think?
It doesn't SEEM like horses should be a Girl Thing, does it? Or a Boy Thing for that matter.

10 May 2016

Dieting, Baby Updates, Various/Disjointed/Etc

It turns out that 7 months after having a baby is where I hit a wall on my appearance.
I stopped feeling like my postpartum body and I were working through some issues and started to feel like god damn, I'm just fat.
So.
I've pivoted from dairy factory to fitness.
I'm not making major or dramatic diet changes, because history tells me that I'm not successful unless I do something gradual and sustainable.
So I've quit alcohol during the week.
I've quit buttered toast.
I've quit white bread peanut butter sandwiches.
I've changed breakfast from Carb Party for One to protein shake plus fruit.
And I still AM a dairy factory, of course, I just decided not to make that my MAIN PRIMARY NUTRITIONAL FOCUS. If my supply dips a bit, that's okay. The baby is not so tiny anymore, and we shall persevere.
Mental health is important too, and all that. 

Anyway.
Exercise:
Upped my lunch walk from 1mi to 2.
Added in 7 minute workouts after each pumping session at work.*
I'm doing a month of sweaty yoga.**
I signed up to run a 5K with my sister in July.***

*I searched the app store for 7 minute workout and downloaded a couple of the free ones. They are surprisingly GOOD workouts, but so blissfully short that they feel very attainable. It's EASY to fit them in. I don't quite break a sweat when I do it so I don't mind doing it at work. Recommend.

**Hot yoga is so fucking gross. The room is CARPETED. Also, the first class I went to, my sister billed as a hot yoga class, but it was IN FACT A HOT BOOTCAMP CLASS. As in, a bootcamp class held in the hot yoga room. As in, doing burpees in a 105' carpeted room. I SUBMIT THAT THIS IS AN INNER CIRCLE OF HELL.
It's SO gross, but I will say that it's like, a weightloss/waste trimming MIRACLE. I think because you don't really want to eat much before, and then you don't feel like eating much AFTER, it has this all day appetite suppressant effect that really CARRIES YOU THROUGH.
Plus by the end you just feel high as a kite on the endorphins of sweating out your body, and grateful to be alive. I'm not sure that I'm recommending this. Well. I'm sure that I'm NOT, and yet, I would do it again.

***Currently I run 0K. I figure if I can get myself up to running 2 miles, social pressure should more or less carry me through on race day.
--
Well that was fitness.
How about a baby update?
The baby is a joy.
Truly and absolutely, a joy.
I'm just so PLEASED with him.
He started crawling at right around 6 months. And then standing RIGHT after that.
No walking yet, which is REALLY JUST FINE THANKS.

He sleeps like a baby, which is to say, terribly and with lots of interruptions.
Nevertheless, we are all just crazy about him.
Of course I was crazy about Gabey too, but this is such a different baby rearing experience.
A planned baby, and we have adequate financial resources to raise him as desired, and a happy home, and he's so delightful.
--
My brother is in town with his wife and kids. My nephew turned 1 on Saturday!
Babies - pretty much the best.
Life has been just humming along, really.
Work is fine.
Home is nice.
Oh! Quentin had his surgery, it went well, he did not die. He is now internally plumbed, which we all prefer.
On Sunday (Mother's Day) Gabriel and I went ocean kayaking. We saw a grey whale and her baby! They were only about 30' away from us. It was magical.
I am quite enthused about outdoor activities right now.
We are planning another kayaking excursion in a few weeks, and I found a friend to try stand up paddle boarding with me.
Gabriel's been surfing too. I drop him off with my 12yo nephew. I found a wetsuit at a thrift store for him. No one tell him that it's a ladies' wetsuit, please.


21 March 2016

Various Updates (on children, husband)

Well.
We are all still here.
How about an update?
--
Everett
Everett is an EXCEPTIONALLY delightful baby.
I have no complaints!
He was six months old on the 20th*. He eats, he nurses, he naps. He wiggles around on the floor (he's not crawling, but he does not stay put). He rolls both ways and easily. He loves his toys and his brother and his dog. He likes his stroller, but only if he's faced forward. He likes to be worn in a carrier, but only on my back. He does not like his car seat, but he tolerates it when provided with ample distractions (toys, or a brother sitting in the back seat with him).
He sounds remarkably like a baby goat. I don't recall other babies who cooed like a pigeon quite like he does. Well on an infant it's quite endearing.

*His 3mo and 6mo "birthdays" (12/20 and 3/20, respectively) both fell on the same day of the week as his ACTUAL (9/20) birthday (a Sunday). I think this must not be how it usually works out. A combination of 30 day months and then leap year? That's not how it NORMALLY works out, correct?
--
Gabriel
Gabriel has been doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu this year.
It's not my idea of a good time (rolling around on the floor trying to physically dominate your opponent), but Gabriel LOVES it.
Here are things that (in my experience) make him love activities:
-special outfit/uniform
-prizes or awards that one can collect and display
-pomp and ceremony and generally taking oneself too seriously
-personal aptitude/ability to excel
-adults who also take activity very seriously
-sanctioned violence
BJJ hits all of these marks quite nicely.
In a way, it's the perfect activity for him.
I am not especially impressed with the price (which is HIGH), but Quentin does all the ferrying about and interfacing with other Jiu-Jitsu adults, and Gabriel loves it, so. We pay the exorbitant costs.
Gabriel is in 4th grade now. He turned 10 in January.
I would consider him to be over scheduled, but he is a kid who really thrives on an abundance of activities.
He is also involved with:
Sewing class, swimming, running club, LEGO Robotics, indoor rock climbing, Physics and Chemistry Club, ceramics class, Cub Scouts
We are not doing Little League this year, thank goodness.
(Edit: I see that I've already posted almost this exact same Gabriel update. At least I'm consistent)
He has a good teacher this year. She's strict but fair, and works a lot of really interesting stuff into her curriculum.
He is quite academically minded, so it suits him.
Ten is an excellent age.
In fact, it might be my favorite age so far.
Gabriel is a delight.
Gabriel and Everett are both delights!
Excellent.
--
Quentin.
Quentin is doing fairly well. His colostomy reversal surgery is scheduled for Thursday.
This is excellent!
Many things are excellent right now!
No one wants a colostomy bag in their lives, and everyone is happy to see it go.
Quentin is quite nervous, because he hates doctors (which is how we got into this mess, in my opinion), and because anaesthesia terrifies him.
 He's convinced that he's going to die and keeps giving me Life Directives based on these assumptions.
This is not helpful, nor is it a particularly pleasant mindset for one's husband to have.
And honestly Quentin, if you were going to die, it would have been the first time around, when you were having emergency YOU ARE DYING surgery.
Well, Thursday will be here soon enough, and he can prove himself wrong by having surgery and being just fine.
I will be glad to have a husband whose organs work as designed, and he will be glad as well.
Quentin also has an ongoing workers comp case.
Two years ago an industrial ceiling pipe fell (from the ceiling) onto his head, damaging his back.
At work, and on video camera!
Despite all this, his resulting back injury was determined not be work related, and we have been in a lengthy appeals process involving lawyers and headaches.
At his most recent appeals-related examination it was determined that probably the thing that happened at work that hurt his back did in fact happen at work and hurt his back.
So there is still more paperwork and whathaveyou, but it seems that in the near future this should resolve into treatment and a settlement, which will be helpful both to my husband's health and to our finances.
Quentin turns 46 at the end of this month.
Hopefully by his birthday he will be home from the hospital and doing well.
--
I intended to post updates about work and some other things, but this has gotten long enough, I think.