Friday, March 30, 2007

Growing Up

Here is a picture of the plants that I am starting indoors from seeds. I have been growing them under the light of the desk lamp that I used to have at work. I got it when I read somewhere that too much time under flashing florescent tubes would drive a person insane, and so the continuous beam from the incandescent bulb was to make up for the fact that the my spot in the maze of cubicles was never close enough to a window to allow any sunshine to get to me. Anyways, I think they are doing well. I know I should thin some of them out, but each one is such a little miracle I feel cruel beheading the weakest so the others can grow stronger.

So yesterday I went to chaperon the middle school beach party. I was disturbed by how unorganized it seemed. When I got arrived there were moms holding baked goodies roaming around not knowing where to put them. So I got the janitor to bring some tables and I helped set that up. I thought it would have been better to have tablecloths and napkins, but there didn't seem to be any so the moms made do but I couldn't stand it when they started pouring warm pop into cups with no ice. So I used my Leadership Skills to find my new friend the janitor and get let into the cafeteria where the ice machine is. Later, they ran out of cups so I found the teacher's kitchen where there were no cups but when I peeked into a paper bag I saw in the corner I found...beach themed tablecloths and napkins. Too late! Frustrated, I decided to see if I could locate my own son. I kept recognizing children that I have known since they were in Kindergarten. Except now they seem so shaggy-haired and slouchy. I found Timmy standing in line for the mechanical bull with his friends. He looked shaggy-haired and slouchy. He greeted me politely but his eyes pleaded: please don't embarrass me! So I schlepped off to find the janitor so he could clean the pop puddle on the floor.

Due to the timing of the party it worked out that Jeffrey would get home about six minutes before us. To prepare for this new situation beforehand I asked him: "What will you do when you are all by yourself in the house?" He thought and then he brightened into a smile and said "Eat the frosting from the can in the refrigerator!" So we had a talk about being responsible. When we did get home Jeffrey was munching on a granola bar while booting up the computer. He greeted us with: "Hi Mommy everything's fine I picked up the mail it's on the counter for you!"

Today is my birthday. I am going to go to lunch with my mother. It seems to be important to her to see my on my actual birthday even though we are celebrating as a family on Sunday. But it should be fun because she's bringing my niece and nephew. Then after the decorating I'm going scrapbooking and there's going to be a cake and "special beverages."

The unseasonable weather from early in the week didn't last. Now it's a more normal 50 degrees. But while it was so gloriously warm it seemed like it would stay that way, and now I wonder if I made the most of it while I had the chance.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Secret Lives of Daytime

Yesterday was a a beautiful day. I walked Jeffrey to school. We held hands and talked about the worms that were everywhere, squirming in the puddles. Then I went out to breakfast with 2 of the gals from the sub, at a charming place in the village called "Victoria's Delights." I had my favorite, french toast. We used a coupon. I can't even think of when I have ever gone out to breakfast, unless I can count airports. We "lingered over coffee" and ended up spending 2 hours in there. Lingered!!! But the conversation was productive. We scheduled the subdivision garage sale, came up with a plan for the Association board elections and shared many good thoughts and ideas. Oh! And I found out where to buy a replacement head for my sponge mop.

Back at home I could hear a great commotion coming from the lake, so I went out to the dock and there were these 2 geese standing atop a mound of sticks honking and growling and thrashing their heads around. And another pair of geese was swimming nearby and answered them. Then they traded places and started the whole conversation over again. It was something to see and I just sat there quietly observing the whole thing. I have also been watching the Cranes. (which are giant birds, NOT a neighbors last name) I got to see them do their Special Dance of Springtime and I felt a little embarrassed for watching but it really was neat.
A nice lady came to the door and handed me a religious pamphlet. She wasn't hard to get rid of at all but that could have had something to do with the frightening aftermath of my Exercise Every Day objective.

And, I made the Gang Gai for dinner. I think it turned out just great, although when I make it again I will try to use more brown sugar and less green curry paste. It was a little spicy for the boys. I noticed that Larry's face turned an unusual shade of bright red but he said it was good. Of course he'd be a fool to say anything other than that if he hopes to keep this Learn to Cook thing going. Jeffrey used his Everyday Math skills figure out the cost for the meal was $8.59 for the four of us. That's reasonable but we did amortize the cost of the green curry paste assuming that I'll use it again, so I will. I'll try to make any recipes you want to send me, but we have to avoid eggs, milk, cheese, peanuts, cashews and msg due to allergies.

I'm looking forward to the days ahead. Thursday I chaperon a beach party at the middle school and Friday I decorate the elementary school for the spring fair. It has a medieval theme and I used my Calligraphy skills to make banner signs. Next we fashion a giant castle out of cardboard.

I moved some leaves and found a crocus blooming. Almost missed it. Here's a picture:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Getting Going

I have big big plans to do so many things, I've even made some lists and schedules. But so far today...well, here's a picture. The lake is now without ice, and when the sun shines it's a sparkling blue that hasn't been seen for so long. Lovely.
The thing that is keeping me going, like fuel in a tank, is all of the support I've gotten from so many different people. I thought I'd share some with you:
From Michele, my neighbor:
"You’ll have so much more time to hang out and watch the cranes in the back!" (so right)
From the Glenmoor Gals, some invitations to join them in their daytime world of ginger cookies and iced tea, plus comparisons of my blog to our last book club selection "Julie and Julia" and a title suggestion for the book they think I should write: Mindy and MELINDA: What Staying at Home is Like after the Corporate World.
From my sisters: well, Mary Beth posted her comments and Becky said "I will not be reading your blog." (why not?)
Rachel wanted to be sure that I haven't been diagnosed with a terminal disease. (No, although life itself is a terminal condition, the only diagnosis I've gotten recently was of having 34.1% body fat which is outside of the "acceptable range" according to the lady with the pencil who circled it.)
And my favorite of all is from Darrin who said: "I never did buy into that whole "Melinda" thing... You were always Mindy.... That was just a mask you wore for work..... " And then he sent me a recipe to get started on my "Learn how to cook" objective. I don't know why he picked this particular one, maybe he supposed (correctly) that I didn't really pitch ALL of those hoarded chopsticks from the cafeteria. Anyways, I bought the ingredients and , buoyed from the success of the purple jello (it was hardly runny AT ALL) I will be attempting this tomorrow:
Gang Gai
Serves 4
3 chicken breasts – sliced thin
1 green pepper – sliced
8 oz fresh mushroom – sliced
5 oz can bamboo shoots – julienne
14 oz can coconut milk1 T green or red curry paste (I use green)
1 T Basil ¼ - ½ C brown sugar – depends on desired sweetness
Mix ½ can coconut milk, curry, basil and brown sugar in a large skillet and bring to a boil
Add chicken and cook until no longer pink
Add remaining coconut milk, mushrooms and bamboo shootsBring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer uncovered until sauce thickens (as desired)
Stir in green pepper and cook approx. 2 min (peppers should be firm)
Remove from heat and serve over rice immediately (Jasmine rice preferred)
I'll let you know how it goes.
Oh, and I changed the settings so you can post comments without signing up for anything. So feel free to pipe in, that's what makes this fun.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Last Day as Melinda

So I had my last day of work today, which mainly consisted of going out to lunch with some co worker pals. The nicest thing was that they gave me a little gift. It was a cute bag with box of fancy chocolates (consumed by the time I finished driving home, NET WT. 4 OZ ) a "good luck" card, and this most hilarious object, specially made just for me. It is a guide loop painted blue with green polka dots and made into a magnet. Here it is on our refrigerator. The magnets are rather strong, I'm interested to see if anything wrapped in foil travels to the front of the refrigerator.
Then I had to meet with my boss to hand over my computer, pager, ID badge and credit cards. While we were doing that he looked up to someone over my shoulder and said "I'll get with you later." I glanced back to see the person's face for just a split second, and let's just say it was the VERY LAST person I would want to be around for that moment. Yuck. Luckily the happy glow from lunch was still with me and the chocolates were waiting in the car.
So now I'm home and Jeffrey just asked me to make Jello. Purple. So I've gotta go I hear the water boiling.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Emptying my desk drawer

Man is it weird, this leaving thing. I have to clean out my desk. What stays? What goes? And so many whys?

Why did I hoard so many post-it note pads and should I put them back in the supply room if some sheets have been used? (keep)

Why did I grab so many little band-aid kits from the some health fair? Did I think I would bleed to death from paper cuts? And if I really had needed a band-aid, would I have recognized these little packages? (pitch)

I have a lanyard (that's a necklace thing for attaching your ID badge) that says "Bringing People Together." No idea where I got it, and why does it say that? How does a lanyard bring people together? (pitch)

I have a metal scale that says "Fisher Guide." I always liked that thing because it felt like a valuable antique after that company went away. Plus I felt like a proud engineering geek for always having a measurement tool at the ready. (keep)

A pack of 5,000 standard staples. Stapling rarely happens anymore. (return)

Chopsticks from the cafeteria. Lots of them. Why did I keep all of these? For stir-fry emergencies? (toss)

Ring, watch, and buckle covers that are worn in assembly plants to keep from scratching the vehicles. Thinking hard about other possible uses for these in the world....(toss)

I piece of paper torn from a Sponge-Bob-Square-Pants notepad that says "I love you" in Timmy's early handwriting. (keep forever)

Tomorrow is my last day. I'm ready!

The ice on the lake is beginning to form holes where you can see the water through them. Soon they will connect until there are just a few floating ice-plates that will shrink until they are gone.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The end...the beginning

So in 4 days I will leave my job as an engineer at General Motors. It is something that people there generally don't do, because it's considered a good job and there aren't many of those to be had these days. Plus I have 25 days of vacation a year and a lot of holidays. But I have decided that this is what I must do. It has been difficult for people to understand. My mother wanted to know how I will survive. My director tried to convince me to stay. My co-workers are stunned. My family thinks it's a good thing.

So then what? Well, I am going to be a mother who is there when the kids get home from school. I am going to organize the house. I am going to exercise every day. I'm going to learn how to cook!! I'm going to write a best selling novel! I'll blog about it all! Well, we'll see but it's bound to be a new adventure for me. I just have to get through the next 4 days.

Mindy (Melinda for 4 more days)