Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fun MeMe

Here's a fun meme!

1. MY ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car),
Dolly Cherokee
(Penn is Freddy Cherokee)

2.MY GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Cherry Tollhouse
(Jamocha Tollhouse)

3. MY “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name),

4.MY DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal),
Pink Parrot
(Royal Cat)

5. MY SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born),
Jean Anchorage
(Daniel Lakewood)

6. MY STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first),

7. MY SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink),
The Green Diet Cherry Coke... The Green Cola probably works best.
(The Red Mac n' Jack)

8. MY NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers),
Francis Curtis
(William Penn)

9. MY WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ),
Ann Henry
(James Elizabeth, okay that one doesn't work so well)

10. MY TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter),
Sibley Seattle
(Penn is Shaw Shreveport, how great is that?)

11. MY SPY NAME: (your favorite season or holiday, flower).
Autumn Hydrangea
(Independence I-don't-have-one)

12. MY CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
Apple Tee
(Blueberry Sweats)

13. MY HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree),
Granola Madrona
(Biscuit Redwood)

14. MY YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + A fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”),
The List-Making Thunder-Lightning-Wind Storm Tour
(The Playing-with-my-baby Snow Tour)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I just wanted to let you know that Penn's interview was a success, in the sense that it went well, he made it home safely, and he was offered the position.

However, he just turned it down.

Although the salary was extremely generous, the cost of housing in the area is $500/sq ft and up. ! He looked at several two bedroom cottages on itty bitty lots in the $550-700,000 range and wasn't impressed with the safety of the neighborhoods.

It is a beautiful area with lovely weather but very very busy and full of people.

We feel good about the decision and are excited about staying here for the holidays.

And in the meantime, I'm enjoying my four bedrooms, ample storage space, and normal-sized back yard!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Love Hurts!

I haven't posted in sooooo long because I haven't had anything new to report. And everytime I came up with a story or thought I want to share, I didn't feel like typing!

Yesterday was the first day of my women's Bible study after the summer break. It felt like the first day of school. I forgot how nice it is to get together with a group of ladies to share and pray for each other. We have two new women in our small group, which is very exciting.

Nicknack enjoys this weekly outing as much as I do. He's been attending with me since he was one week old. At about three months I started leaving him in the nursery, for church and on Bible study days. He just absolutely loves it there. He never really went through separation anxiety. Which was very convenient, but hurt a little. Several of the other children would throw a fit when their mommies left them. My guy was always like, "See ya later!" He hardly noticed I left. At all. Next time, I want one of those clingy babies. :) But now he at least runs to greet me and gives me a huge smile and hug when I return. I know all you mothers out there know what I mean when I say that I live for such moments.

I had no idea the affection of my child would touch my heart so much. It's almost like having a crush. I love when he holds my hand (rarely!), or gives me my morning hug, or reaches for me and says "UP-HH!" (His second word - the first was "HHAATTHH.") Now whenever Penn sees his mother he makes a bigger fuss over her because he no knows how much we parents crave the love of our children. I had no idea, pre-Nicknack.

The big news from yesterday is that Nicknack has a girlfriend.

My favorite friend at church (who is in my small group) has a daughter about six weeks older than N. In fact, we got to be pregnant together, which was neat. Her daughter is one of the most adorable children I have ever seen. Maggie (not her real name, but close) has fuzzy golden blonde curls and her eyes are so blue they look lavendar! She has the rosiest cheeks and an adorable perma-pout. The first time Penn ever saw this girl he was imagining the offspring she and Nicknack would produce. "Can you imagine his big eyes with her eye color!?"

She looks like a dolly. But she is a fiest! I don't know where she gets it, because her parents and five-year-old brother are all so laid back. But this girl is a force to be reckoned with. She walk and talked unbelievably early. Drank out of a cup and sat in a chair before Nicknack could even crawl! She is so much more advanced than him - it is hard to even describe. She has a huge baby vocabulary and a huge baby attitude. She is the sassiest thing I've ever seen in diapers. I just love her.

And so does Nicknack.

Oh, and she is bites. Her mother works at a preschool and daycare and is able to bring her with her to the latter job. To her dismay, almost weekly, little Maggie bites someone. My friend is right there, trying to prevent these occurences. But they just happen. And she feels horrible. She's tried everything I can think of.

Yesterday, for this first time, Maggie bit Nicknack. He and his gal were canoodling together in the nursery playhouse. Hugging and holding on to each others hands. How cute is that? I wish I could have seen it. I'm leaving my camera next week for the nursery ladies to capture the magic. Which ended abruptly when Nicknack put his hand on the playhouse doorknob. Ouch! Right on the finger.

Don't worry, the bite didn't break the skin and he recovered quickly. When I got to the nursery my friend and the nursery staff were so apologetic. But Maggie didn't look at all remorseful. She positively scowled at me. It is a good thing she is such a beauty. I can't imagine any little boy could ever resist her, despite her antics.

The bad news is that yesterday afternoon Nicknack tried to bite me! Twice! He was giving me a hug and then a semi-kiss/bite. I tried to be really stern and the second time I even gave him a little swat on his bottom and said "No BITE!" I don't really consider myself a "spanker," but I've already determined that I have the kind of child who might need the occasional swat just to get his attention. Nothing that hurts - he wears a diaper for padding, after all. But this is a habit I do NOT want him to pick up.

I am not going to keep him away from his future bride. But why couldn't he pick up any one of the dozens of words she says or her ability to imitate every single farm animal?

I'm hoping this is an isolated incident.

Penn flies to California for his interview this Sunday. If you think of it, will you please say a quick prayer for him for safe travels? I am petrified of flying. Kinda odd since my mother, aunt, uncle, and grandfather are all pilots. I've been flying in single engine airplanes since I was a newborn. But as an adult, I've developed a fear of jet flights and I hate the thought of Penn flying. And driving on unfamilar freeways.

I'll let you know what happens!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Atherton and Nordie's

Penn is flying down to Atherton for his interview next Sunday.


In other news, the retail area close to our home has a bunch of new stores going up! They're adding on to the mall, which will house an additional movie theater and eight new restaurants. AND there is a new Kohl's!! We used to love Kohl's when we lived in Connecticut, because they had a section for tall people. Penn, not me. ;) So Nicknack and I drove over to take a peek. Unfortunately it isn't open yet, just hiring. But there is a brand new Nordstrom Rack next door so I strapped Nicknack in his stroller and went inside to see if they had any cute earrings or fall clothes for the little man. Big mistake.

First of all, you should know that I hate shopping. Especially for myself. Ask my mom. I'm no fun. She's not a big shopper, either, so I guess that's where I get it. I prefer to do all my shopping at Land's End and Nordstroms (for cosmetics and stuff) websites. I hate trying things on. I hate waiting around for someone to bring me my shoe size. I hate leafing through racks of stuff to find just the right thing. But I must admist that I do like buying Nicknack's clothes, so that's the only reason I usually step foot into a mall or department store.

In addition to shopping, I hate crowds.

Well, this Nordstrom Rack just opened. It was awful. There were throngs of people. Also, they provide smallish shopping carts for shoppers, but the aisles aren't meant for carts. Then you have Nicknack and I, with our stroller and large straw handbag hanging off the stroller handle. The whole time I was frustrated because I couldn't get down the aisle or I was in someone's way or Nicknack had kicked something off a rack.

And I didn't find any cute earrings or anything for Nicknack. I walked out with a pair of gloves for my mother and a headband. Woo hoo.

(By the way, I've read on other people that some folks call Nordstrom "The Nord." That sounds so odd to my ears. Around here we call it Nordie's. )

I think I'll stick to my internet shopping, thank you.

But on the way home we stopped at the kiddie consignment store in the fancy zipcode next to our own not-so-fancy neighborhood. Where I found a baby gate for $8. Yay! I went expressly to look for another baby gate and they had just gotten it in today.

They also had two of those gigantic train tables for very reasonable prices. I have to decide between the two - one is higher for a toddler to stand at and the other is meant for kneeling.

Although, if we're moving to Northern California I'd guess I shouldn't buy anything I don't want to move.

Hey, has anyone reading this ever been to the Atherton/Palo Alto/Stanford area? What did you think? I looked at and the housing is soooo expensive. Like $600,000 for a decent condo in a neighboring town. Can you imagine? No wonder Californians are always moving other places. Who in the world could blame them?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Answered Prayers

I haven't posted with job news because things are up in the air right now.

I've been praying that God would throw obstacles in front of the changes that aren't right for us. And at the end of each prayer I've tacked on a half-hearted, "and, of course - if you want us to stay put for a while, let us know." But I've not-so-secretly hoped God would see things my way, and uproot us in a major way. Because I love change. I really do.

Let's start with obstacles. There are three positions Penn has pursued in the past few weeks.

Position 1, at the ski resort, is just too big. Too many hours, a staggering amount of work and responsibility, too much stress, less time with us. Just a step backward as far as quality of life. Even though it would be an excellent career move... Obstacle city.

Position 2, at the Vermont inn? They hired someone else. So that's a small obstacle, don't you think?

Position 3, is similar to his current role, but a step up. A bit more managerial with more people to supervise and less hands-on. The big draw? It would be a HUGE salary increase. Huge. HUGE. I just can't emphasize how much more money it is. But there are obstacles. Like it is in one of the most expensive zipcodes in the Silicon Valley. Where are we supposed to live, even on this (to us) amazing salary? For some reason neither of us are excited about it - the job or the move. That's kind of weird, in and of itself, right? No one followed up with Penn after last week's telephone interview, so we figured they weren't interested and that was okay with us.

In the meantime, I woke up early Saturday morning and Penn was missing. Not answering his cell phone and gone for several hours. I was racking my brain, trying to imagine where he could be. It started out innocently enough - Perhaps he's picking up breakfast at McDonald's, getting the oil changed, making a grocery store run - that kind of thing. After a couple hours I was considering more dramatic explanations for his whereabouts. Maybe he'd driven himself to the emergency room. Maybe he'd been in a car accident. Maybe he'd been forceably taken from the house, at gunpoint. Maybe he'd decided to leave us for that girl from the bar who'd thrown herself at him after the reunion. (It didn't bother me at the time, but I obviously hadn't forgotten about it, right?!)

Finally, he called. He was at the men's Bible study breakfast.

Oh. Oh-kaaaay.

He thought I would remember that it was scheduled for that morning. But even though I'd pointed it out to him in the bulletin a few weeks ago and he'd actually put the invitation on the front of the fridge I'd totally forgotten about it. In a million years, I didn't expect him to go. He didn't go last year. Or the year before that.

Wow. So totally unexpected and exciting. My husband. Voluntarily signing himself up for an organized church activity. Getting up early every other Saturday morning to discuss a book about spiritual discipline.

When he came home with his study book and Bible under his arm I was so proud! I tried to play it cool, like it wasn't in the least bit surprising. But it was. It still is.

That night he got out a calculator and figured out how many pages he needs to read to get through the Bible in a year. Ohmygosh. And he's already finished two chapters in his book and two days of Genesis.

I've prayed for Penn to have a closer relationship with God. He and I are always moving in the same direction, but at a different pace. The fact that he takes us to church every week, occasionally prays with me, says grace when the three of us eat together, and brings up spiritual matters fairly frequently - that is really more than I ever expected.

I've been pretty careful to give him space and not nag him about faith issues. Because that would be such an ineffective approach. From time to time I remind him that he is the spiritual leader of our family. For the past few years I have been so amazed to see him step into that role more and more. And I know his motivation for doing so has very little to do with me. I tend to try to control every little thing but I've tried very hard not to try to manipulate him when it comes to this kind of thing.

It's a fine line to walk between encouraging and supporting someone, with out trying to lead or coerce them, isn't it? I think it's the difference between a) asking a question to see if someone agrees with you or to change their mind and b) asking a question to see what someone really thinks.

So this is all so encouraging to me. And also my own Bible study is about to begin. I've signed up for MOPS. I actually have a social engagement on my calendar for the month of October. There is a women's retreat, Oysterfest with my in-laws, and my parents' "Barn Party," all in the same month.

All of a sudden I remember how much I love our house. I've rearranged a few things, which is fun and allows me to see it with new eyes. Our weather has been absolutely perfect for at least a month. Lots of variety, ranging from mild and rainy to summery and sunny. Fall is almost here - my absolute favorite time of year, which always serves as an emotional pick-me-up.

Basically, I feel like I've had a perspective shift. All of a sudden I feel quite content to stay right here for at least a couple more seasons. Maybe longer.

We still have the same goals - for Penn's career and to find a hometown for Nicknack. But they aren't immediate. I'm wondering if God hasn't been working on my heart and mind because the thought of a major change no longer sounds so exciting.

And Penn is on the exact same page, which is always a good sign.

But this morning Job #3 people called. They want to fly Penn down for an interview. I think he will go. Until you can see a place it's hard to know how you feel about it. It's always good to have more information to make a decision. But in my heart of hearts, I hope he doesn't like the area, the job, the people - something.

I know we can find a new church there, but that sometimes takes a lot of time. He's taken such a big step with this Bible study, I'd hate for him not to be able to go through with it. The move and all it entails, a new job and all it involves - both would be hugely distracting. Would he still make time to move forward with his Bible reading plan?

So I'll be praying about this, but right now I'm leaning toward putting the job hunt on hold until at least January. In the meantime I'm just enjoying September and looking forward to all the fun things happening, just around the corner. Here, where I am right now. For as long as we are here, whether that is three weeks, three months, three years or even longer.

Friday, September 7, 2007

White FLOUR?

This is one of the funniest things I've read in a long time...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fall is in the Air

I forgot about the holiday weekend... Obviously, we didn't hear anything about the job on Friday. So we hope to have more information today or tomorrow.

However, in the meantime, we've done a bit of sleuthing. And found a few red flags. Red flag might be too strong a term. Pink flags? You get the idea.

Just so you have an idea of what I mean, the job is manager of a small, brand new resort at one of the best ski areas in the country. Penn would have to hire a team and do a bunch of other stuff in a very short amount of time. Construction on the resort isn't even finished yet. The schedule would be pretty much around the clock for four or five months. But then he would have two or three months off, paid. We've discovered that the housing that comes with the position is inadequate for our family. Housing would be a huge challenge, because a small, 1979 two bedroom condo in this particular area would run us at least $400,000. And there is a whole laundry list of other things that would make this position tricky - just technical stuff that only Penn would even notice about the resort plans. But the salary is lucrative and it would be a GREAT career move for Penn.

So it's still of interest to us, but there are a few... obstacles. And wasn't I just praying that God would send us obstacles if this thing wasn't quite right for Penn? We've brainstormed about three pages of solutions to problems that we think would prevent the resort from being smoothly run/successful. So we'll just see. There are a couple of other interesting, somewhat similar, positions that we expressed interest in over the weekend. So, who knows.

Thank you so much to those of you who commented or e-mailed to tell me you would pray for us. I really appreciate it! The thought of someone I don't even know speaking to God on our behalf is just so neat.

The nice thing is that we are in no big hurry. We are getting closer and closer to Penn's end-of-year 10% bonus, which is enticing, and an important part of our retirement planning/saving. And now that fall is practially here, I feel pretty content to stay here for another season or two. So we'll keep our eyes and ears open. We're ready to move with only a couple weeks notice (although I have GOT to start organizing the garage, so we'll really be ready!), but also happy to settle in for the autumn/winter. But when 2008 arrives, we'll step the job search up a notch or two.

So change is still in the air. But so is fall. And the joy that autumn brings to my heart is overpowering my heart's desire for change. Although the weekend weather was nice, today it is gloriously foggy and drizzly. And not the typical Seattle overcast that burns off mid-morning and turns into a summer day. Really, truly fall-like weather. Last night we had a huge (for us) thunderstorm, which is somewhat rare around here. We loved the late summer thunder and lightning storms that were a nightly occurence when we lived in Connecticut. So we threw open all the bedroom windows and watched for a while. Then we fell asleep to sights and sounds of the storm and the smell of fresh air, rain, and the beach down the cliff.

We interrupt this blog to report that Penn just called me about another interesting job that he spoke with someone about. So I must dash so I can help him draft a follow-up e-mail.

A personal assistant's job is never done. :)