Sunday, November 29, 2009


This is the second Thanksgiving I have ever spent away from my Mom. The first was years ago, when Hubby's (then boyfriend) Mom invited me to meet them and spend Thanksgiving with them. That Thanksgiving was full of nervous anticipation. It was also a little weird.

First of all, my in-laws are not from the United States, they are Korean. So the fact that my Mother in Law cooked me a Thanksgiving meal really meant a lot. According to hubby, they never had Thanksgiving dinner. It was a little awkward, as my Korean is subpar, their English is heavily accented, and my future brother in law also brought his girlfriend (whom the parents had never met, also). There were not enough regular chairs, they had to bring out a stool from the garage and an office chair. Also of interest was the addition of Kim Chee, white rice, and pickles to the feast. It was also the first time I had ever had mashed potatoes out of a box (if you discount school lunches). So, first Thanksgiving away was weird, but I really hit it off with my future mother in law.

This Thanksgiving, hubby and I decided to stay home instead of flying to L.A. The last three years we have traveled and it was really, really stressful. The first year because of the dog. The second and third because we had Cookie. There were so many obligations to meet with family and friends that Cookie and us really were stressed. So this year, with two kids, we opted out for the Thanksgiving travel.

We invited some wonderful friends for dinner. They spent last Christmas with us, and we had a great time and so did the kids. I enjoyed being able to cook for them too. Our friends are expecting their third child and the wife had to work until 4:00. So the idea of being able to give them a break was fulfilling. Not to mention that my dinner turned out great. I like to give that credit to my Mom for showing me how it is done after all these years, yes I did learn something.

While we had the traditional Turkey, and stuffing. I strayed a little from my Mom's Thanksgiving meals. I made the Yams and Cranberry Sauce (which I forgot to put out) and I made carrots instead of green bean casserole. I also got to enjoy our friend's tradition of "dirty" rice. The kids had a great time playing, they even ate a little.

But a blog that I really did not mean to be about me turned into that. Really it is about an old friend of mine, whose Sister In Law suffered a horrendous car accident. She has four children and each day is touch and go. And as we enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner and watched the kids play, I realized how lucky I was. My friend's family is suffering one of my worst fears. My first fear is of course losing one of my children. The second is losing my husband or dying myself and leaving my kids without a parent...or worse both of us. After having Cookie, I suffered a little post pardem, besides the slight depression I had horrible fantasies of my husband dying. These fantasies were paralyzing. I think making friends and connections in town finally brought me out of that dark place, but this one family is facing a long and dark road. So as I have been putting together Cookie's Christmas gifts, a thought occurred to me. This mother who is lying in the hospital most likely had been putting together her list for her kids. A list that will not be fulfilled. I can imagine what agony it is for that mother to think that her kids might lose her, to think that forever their Christmas's might be blighted by mommy's injury. I contacted my friend and asked if I could buy the kids some gifts so that they would not wake up Christmas morning without gifts. So that their mom can concentrate on recovery and not her children's Christmas. I know that if it was my children I would want them to have some sort of Christmas, to see Santa at work, to let them know that they are not forgotten. This year I am Thankful for our health and good fortune. I am thankful that I can afford to offer this family something. I am hopeful that mother will recover and be able to embrace her children for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Short lived Obsession

My husband is a bit fickle. That is, he's fickle when it comes to his obsessions. He has this habit of falling in love with some sport or activity to the point of obsession, but for short bursts of time. Okay, maybe a couple years is not so short a time, but it is when it means obtaining a plethora of equipment.

Of course each of his obsessions cost a heady sum. First there was paintball. When I met my husband....oh 15 years ago, he was really into paintball. Many a times we would end up at the paintball store. He talked of nothing but paintball. Obtaining the newest, coolest paintball gun.

Scuba Diving. This obsession included the wet suit (two), tanks, vest, dive computer, knife, net, spear, flippers, bag, goggles, and not to be forgotten the boat. He actually bought a boat with a friend.

Next was bowling. He spent hours upon hour at the bowling alley. Equipment tally: 5 bowling one for me and a pair of shoes. Okay, the bowling thing was fun and it is nice to not have to borrow the yucky alley shoes and have a ball that is comfortable.

My not so favorite was RC cars. There was a constant cache of parts everywhere in our tiny 900 square foot apartment. He had to have tho cars, parts, gas, oil, parts box, folding table for the RC driving ventures. Specific comfortable clothing. Yes, the list can go on. There was constant fixing, oiling, testing, and cursing.

An attempt at snowboarding, where not only did he get a snazzy new board, boots, jacket, pants, and goggles, he bought me a board and boots. But this did not last long. First, it took forever to get to any skiing (while living in both CA. and CO.) Second, I ended up hating it. Third, I got pregnant soon after moving to Colorado and the idea of him leaving for ski trips was not popular with me.

Cycling. This sport I love. He got into shape and it gave him an outlet for some of the pent up frustrations he tends to harbor and hold inside. Bonus was that it became a way for us as a family to get out together. We were able to take Cookie in the trailer and go all around town. Cycling has morphed into a great sport, exercise, and challenge for him. He has entered and participated in two tri-athelons and now has taken up mountain biking. This venture has also allowed him to make friends and meet new people.

I have been wondering when the new obsession would come to pass, and it has happened. He has decided that he wants to go camping. While on vacation in L.A. him and a buddy went camping. So now he needs all kinds of new gear. Tent, sleeping bags (yes I said bags, as in more than one.), stove, flashlights, food, hand gel, etc. etc.

I just laugh at his many many obsessions. Because when he find a new one, he is like our two year old with a new toy. He lives, eats, and breaths it. And I must admit, while the spending of the money drives me crazy, he could be doing a whole lot worse with his time and money.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Sometimes it takes just one person to really change the course of your life. Sometimes it takes just one person to take the time to take you under their wing for you to succeed. When I first started taking classes at CSUN, I was a bit lost. I did not know how to write historically, I did not know what kind of history I really wanted to study, and I did not know how the system really worked. I was lucky though, my professors were awesome. Each taking a special interest in my studies. One professor in particular took the extra care to encourage me to apply for scholarship after scholarship, writing letters of recommendation, and I believe influencing some of the panels deciding who was awarded. Without his help, I would have struggled to pay for college. With his help, I finished, debt free.

Today, I received the History Department newsletter. It was a bittersweet read. My Master's teacher, Dr. Andrews has moved back to Colorado and is now a professor at the University of Colorado, Denver. This move thrills me, as he is now close, and maybe, just maybe, I can take one or two classes with him to meet the requirements to renew my teaching credential. Plus, he was a wonderful mentor and teacher. Bittersweet, because after being momentarily elated of this news, I read on the next page that my former professor, Dr. Gerald Prescott had died. So I am a little saddened at the loss of a great man, a great historian, and a great mentor. Because of Dr. Prescott, I learned to write, to view the history of the West differently, and I finished school. I am not sure he realized how many students he must have influenced, but I know that I was at least afforded the opportunity to tell him how great he was a few years back.

Both of these teachers are examples of what teachers should be. They remind me as to why I became a teacher, as to why I one day, would like to go back to my career. Everyone in their life should be so lucky to have had a wonderful mentor, let alone two. So in this week of Thanksgiving, I am thankful to these two men and the countless other teachers out there.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dr. Magoo

Anyone who knows me, knows that I recently visited my family and friends in California. Of course it was a trip anxiously anticipated by Cookie. A visit to Nana, playing with Slugger (Nana's dog), seeing the cousins, and a visit to Sea World. Hubby loves this annual trip because he gets a break from it all. The wife, the kids, and for the most part work. He gets to hang with his best bud and detox from the craziness that is our home. I get to see my friends and family, and get a little break with some help from Mom. Or that was the plan. On this trip my poor little babies both got sick this vacation.

Normally Cookie getting sick does not cause me much concern, other than the normal feel really bad for her and horrible that I can't do much to make it go away. But with the swine flu going around I was more worried than normal. I have a firm belief that if Cookie was to get the H1N1, she would weather it just fine. It is Jelly Bean that worries me the most, being so little.
So normally I would not panic. However, things were different.

1. I was not at home, near my doctor, who knows my kids.
2. My husband was not there to keep me sane. I mean he was a phone call away and would have come if I really needed him, but not having him there at two a.m. when Cookie is crying and holding her head while Jelly Bean wakes up was stressful.
3. I had my Mom feeding the panic. In her defense the memory of a 3 day hospital stay for my brother when he was three and had the croup trumps all sense of calm.
4. I had all of these horrible visions of not being able to get home or take Cookie to Sea World like we had promised.

So, I ended up taking the kids to my Mom's doctor's office, on two different occasions. The group has two pediatricians. On the first visit, Cookie was "ill". Of course she makes a total liar out of me, her fever by ten a.m. had gone down to 100 and she was dancing and singing. The doctor she saw seemed competent enough. He reminded me of a cartoon character with a bushy moustache. For some reason I kept picturing Sylvester the Cat. He made Donald Duck sounds and bird noises. Diagnosis, Charlotte was fine, had a bug or something. His answer, give me the H1N1 vaccine so Jelly could get the immunities through me. Okay, positive note, score one more vaccine for Colorado, one less for California.

Three days later Jelly Bean came down with the bug. another sleepless night and a return to the doctor's office. This time we see the other doctor. I will refer to him as Dr. Magoo. His nurse wrote everything down on a Post It. And when Dr. Magoo deemed to lumber into the room, he really had no clue whom he was seeing. I told him Jelly Bean's symptoms, which were far worse than Cookie's were. He kept referring to her as "Baby". "Ohhh hello Baby," he addressed her and then proceeded to almost drop her! Hubby and I kept looking at each other with the questioning look, "did he just drop our baby?" We left very confused, $30 lighter, and not really sure whether or not to trust Dr. Magoo's diagnosis of, "it's not the Swine flu."

Our little trip made me really appreciate our doctor, her nurses, and her staff. Jelly is still congested and has since seen our doctor, giving me the relief I was looking for.