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Archive for the ‘Dr. Daddy’ Category

Back to Work

That’s right! My maternity leave is over and I’m back to work (and will be back to blogging, too).

First, I need to say that I was tremendously blessed with a maternity leave that lasted 3 months and I was paid 100% of my salary. My company rocks in a major way and I wish more mothers could be equally blessed.

I’ve been back to work for 2 and a half weeks now. I came back on a Thursday as recommended by my HR rep. When I was pregnant, I was convinced that I wanted to come back on a Monday. She suggested that I return on a Thursday or Friday because it makes leaving the baby a little easier, knowing that you’re so close to the weekend and seeing the baby all day again. My HR rep was 100% correct. It really helped!

My first day back was odd. I wanted to just hide out at my desk and avoid the trouble people. (I’m tech support for over 50 people… you can’t like everyone, right?) Instead of getting to hide out, I was slammed with meetings – so strange! But it wasn’t bad and it stopped me from spending the entire day looking at pictures of baby. Although, I did look at them a TON and watched a 30 second video of her laughing at least 6 times… sooo… yeah… maybe it was good that I only spent about 2 hours at my desk…

I hate when my coworkers ask me how I’m doing being back at work. If I don’t say I miss my baby, I’m a terrible mother and if I don’t say I missed (at least some of) my workers, I’m kind of a dick, right?

So here’s the truth. I really miss the baby. No one at my office is so excited to see me that they smile with their entire body – no one is smiling so hard that they kick their feet! However, I can’t be a stay at home mom because I have too much student loan debt. Heck, I can’t even afford to reduce my hours! Ideally, I’d like to reduce my hours, but oh well. On the other hand, my baby gets to spend all day with my parents because Dr Daddy’s office is attached to his house and my mom is his receptionist. My mom is the baby’s primary care person during the day and that’s great! My mom and my baby love each other. The first day away from the little girl was rough but knowing she was with my mom made it easier.

Plus, I like being back at work. It’s nice feeling good at something tangible. Having my coworkers happy to see me because they missed my skill set is super! And I love my baby, but being able to use both my arms is welcomed again. Baby girl insisted on being held for most of my maternity leave. – which was a little rough when I wanted to do anything beyond baby snuggling!

So I’m back to work and enjoying spending time with the baby when I can (she goes to bed at 11 when I do… so I still see her plenty!)

All in all, I would say life is good!

Now… I just need to get back to running…

We're ready to roll! (These sunglasses cost 98 cents and totally crack me up!)

We’re ready to roll!
(These sunglasses cost 98 cents and totally crack me up!)

People Can Be Awesome!

My birthday was last week. This year, I did almost nothing to celebrate. Quite different than last year, that’s for sure. But this year seems busier and more in flux.

But one thing I did was go to the Butterfly Place in Westford, MA (aka, for you non-MA-residents, the edge of nowhere) with my dad. It’s one of those places that’s kept very warm and is filled with all sorts of butterflies. It was actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be. (I totally recommend it to anyone in the area). I even had two butterflies hitch a ride on my shoulder for most of the time I was there. Something I learned: butterflies have eerie little faces. But I was the envy of everyone there, so that was kinda cool. (Note, my dad – who also was a butterfly taxi for a while – and I are older and slower than most of the people – aka small children and the parents chasing after them – who were there).

After the Butterfly Place, I stopped for gas. I was feeling a little flustered and my typical behaviors around filling up my tank changed a little because my dad was in my car. So instead of throwing my wallet on the passenger seat, I put it on the top of my car. I may have also gotten a little distracted by the gurgling of the gas filling my tank and how I hate to use gas station rest rooms. And… for the first time in my life… I left my wallet on the roof of my car… and drove away!

I have NEVER lost my wallet in my entire life! And when I finally figured it out at my parents’ house, I was devastated. My parents called the gas station, but no one had turned it in. We raced back up there to search, but to no avail. The one shining light was that I never carry cash (I have direct deposit and a debit card… what would I need cash for? Plus… I spend cash in ways I can’t account for and it drives me batty). So really, I lost maybe $1.50 in change. I was most concerned about having to replace all of my cards (even my library card… which doesn’t mean much and I doubt someone could use it to steal my identity, but I love my library… and it was the metaphorical straw to this camel’s back). It all seemed so nerve-wracking and time-consuming for such a stupid mistake!

However, on my drive home, some super awesome man named Steve from Westford called my parents. He had found my wallet and wanted to return it! (I may not have changed my address from my parents’ address on my driver’s license even though I haven’t lived there in years… therefore his investigation returned my parents…)

For my birthday, the best gift I received was a boost to my faith in humanity! Thank you to Steve and the universe for returning my wallet! That was awesome and I’m so super grateful and relieved! I’m pretty sure my wallet was run over a few times (the zipper doesn’t work anymore), but buying a new wallet is the least of my worries. I’m just so, so thankful!

 

Another Adventure Recap – White Water Rafting

This update is super delayed, but the weekend after Father’s Day, my wonderful boyfriend and I took my father on a white water rafting trip (along with a bunch of my wonderful boyfriend’s fun coworkers). We went down the Kennebec River in northern Maine (almost Canada) with a company called Northern Outdoors and got the trip 50% off thanks to CBS Local (similar to LivingSocial and Groupon). I really think this is shaping up to be my summer of mini-adventures and I’m quite digging it.

It was just the beginning of the heat wave, so it was a beautiful 80°. At the lodge, before the trip, they reviewed the supplies they offered for rent. They started with a paddle jacket, suggesting most people would rent that (if anything). The chest part was wet suit material while the sleeves were a light and flexible material (similar to real wind-breaker). They showed the wet suit jacket and booties for your feet. They also showed the bottoms of the wetsuit, which I think they called the “farmer john.” They said “unless you had 0% body fat, you won’t need the ‘farmer john.’ Oh and the water is 51°. Thanks for listening.”

It was the 51° degrees part that really resonated with us. We’ve been on this trip before, so we knew that during the rafting, everyone in the boat would get wet. And we knew there were multiple parts of the river you could get out of the boat and float down the river yourself.  I hate to be cold, it’s completely miserable and you can’t do much about it. As someone who also enjoys alpine skiing in the winter, I have learned that if you have too much clothing, you can always take it off until you’re more comfortable. It was worth it to us to spend the $10 and get the paddle jackets and the farmer johns.

This was during lunch on the river. You can see T’s farmer johns, the top of mine are folded down.

Very few people made that choice, and there were probably about thirty 20-something-year-old girls in bikinis on the trip who spent the entire day freezing and miserable. Especially because even the air felt cooler on the river.

We’re carrying the boat down to the river at the beginning of the day. Here you can see our full outfits with the jacket and the farmer johns. I’m second from the left, my dad is third from the left, and guide Dave is on the right.

The day was gorgeous! Everyone in our boat got a chance to sit up front, even me. The last time we went (last fall with T’s family – it was FREEZING!) I had no interest in sitting in the front and I never did. I didn’t really have any interest in sitting in the front this time either, but my dad insisted. He was totally right, you get the best view. And it’s not that the view from the second seat is much different. It’s just that the front person sets the pace, the second+ person needs to get in sync and pay attention to someone else’s rhythm. The front person can spend that extra brain power looking at the river instead of looking at the paddle in front of them.

So glad that T has a waterproof camera! (and he’s good at taking “selfies”) Here we are floating down the river (nice and warm in the wetsuits).

My wonderful boyfriend, T, told me that this is a pretty unique style of white water rafting and you won’t find it everywhere in the country. For example, one of his coworkers, Jenn spent her honeymoon in Pennsylvania and one of the days they went white water rafting. But they didn’t even have a guide in their boat. They was just one guide with the entire trip. I’m going to guess their river was a little safer. Our guide, Dave (who was in the boat the entire time and was in charge of steering), had to guide us around things like the “kayak keeper”: a set of rocks that created a cycle of spinning water that could literally drag a kayak down below the surface for good. Or he had to avoid “unemployment rock.” Inches before unemployment rock looks like some really sweet white water, but 6 inches past the rapid is a giant bolder, doing a nice job of staying hidden, but completely dry. It’s called unemployment rock because if a guide steers his boat that way… he’ll be on the unemployment line in a hot second. There are lots of things like that to this river, things you might not notice if you didn’t know what you were doing. I can’t imagine doing a river without a guide with me. Plus, the Northern Outdoors staff are all funny and very knowledgable about the area.

We had a super time! And I’m hoping to do a more challenging river this fall. 

Here my dad, Jenn, and her husband, Keith enjoy the last bit of “white water”. The photo was slightly staged… until they got spashed… those faces of surprise are real!

 Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take any pictures during the actual rapids, but it was super awesome and I would totally recommend this to anyone!

Identity: Confirmed!

Last weekend felt like it was very much about identity. I talked earlier about the moment that made me question my long-held view of myself. Here is the moment that reaffirmed another aspect of myself (I’m really sorry this post is sooo long). Plus, my dad called me a “superstar” after this moment, which was a nice bonus. My dad and I have a great relationship, so it’s not out of the ordinary for him to tell me he’s proud of me, but it’s still nice to hear.

Before I talk about the exact moment, I feel I should give you some background.

First, I like to call my father’s side of the family my “United Colors of Benetton” family, out of love. I’m going to give you the rationale in the quickest possible way. My father came from NYC and was raised Irish Catholic (or rather is Irish and was raised Catholic). He was the youngest of four children. I feel odd using their names so this is how I will refer to them: Sister #1 (oldest), Brother, Sister #2, Dad (youngest).

In the 1960s, Sister #1 married a black man (long before Heidi Klum and Seal) and produced my only Male Cousin.

I don’t know all of the details, but at some point she and her husband divorced. Sister #1 and Male Cousin moved to Canada. In Canada, Sister #1 came out of the closet as a lesbian, and now has a partner of about 30 years. Her partner is Jewish. About 15 years ago (and 10 years ago), they adopted 2 girls from China (they adopted them separately with a 5 year gap between the adoptions). My Canadian cousins speak 4 languages: English, French, Cantonese (I could be wrong though, it might be Mandarin), and American Sign Language (Sister #1 works as an ASL translator, so the girls know it, too). The eldest of the two had Chinese dragons at her Bat Mitzvah. How cool is that?!

Brother, moved to Germany when he joined the air force in the late 1960s and has never moved back to the states, although he visits often. He married a sweet woman from Virginia who is afraid to fly, but has all the gentility you’d expect from a southern woman. They never had any children.

Sister #2 moved to San Fransisco in the 1970s. She dances to the beat of her own drummer. To give you an idea of her level of awesome: her favorite color is Chartreuse, for her 50th birthday she died her hair pink (not old lady pink, but PINK), for her 60th birthday she died her hair leopard print (she described it as “time-consuming”). About 20 years ago, she joined the “Big Brother/Big Sister” program. Her “little sister” was pregnant at the age of 16 when they first met. I’m going to say that the “little sister” was not prepared to be a mother. My aunt became the child’s legal guardian when the daughter had to go to summer school for kindergarten because she missed too many days of school (her mom couldn’t get her there). And she’s been my cousin (as far as I’m concerned) ever since. I feel the need to reference: she’s in college now, so missing too much kindergarten isn’t the end of the world. She’s African-American (just so you get the full picture of the diverse family, otherwise, I couldn’t care less).

So we’re a pretty good mix, I would say. The benefit of being from this type of family is that you learn you’re not allowed to hate anyone from any walk of life because they are most likely in your family! We’ve got it all: different races, different countries, different sexuality, different religions, and a wide variety of view points! It’s a great way to see things.

So, experience #2 that colors my upcoming story: George Carlin! One of the best gifts my boyfriend has ever given me was a ticket to see George Carlin live (during his final tour as it turned out). A few minutes after he went on stage, some jerk started to heckle the venerable George Carlin… George invited anyone in that man’s row “to stab him.” George’s reasoning was that the heckler thought that because he paid for his ticket, he had the right to say anything he wanted. However, the rest of us paid for our tickets to hear George say anything HE wanted. The heckler’s ticket did not negate the rest of our tickets. The heckler promptly shut the f*** up. And George was fabulous!

Finally, I was raised by hippies (who were all about LOVE). I don’t tend to join in to the negative chants at the football games. I’m not the drunk girl walking in, shouting about how a certain opponent performs fellatio if you catch my drift. If  I had a stadium of 65,000 people chanting that I sucked, I’d cry. But I’m totally down with the positive stuff about my own team. So yes, I will always join in a spirited chant of  “Go Pats! Go Pats! Go Pats!”

So, the story! Finally! On Saturday, I was in Gillette Stadium at the Patriot’s Game (vs the Denver Broncos) with my father, brother, and one of my dad’s friends. Oh and 65,000 other people. My father is a season ticket holder and this ticket was a Christmas gift to my brother and I. As a note, the person who owns the seats behind my father’s always sells his, we have no idea who he is, but there are always fans of the opponent behind us. Most of the time, they are nice to us, and we are nice to them. The people behind us this time were a group of four; two couples. One couple were Pats fans, one couple were Broncos fans, but all friends. The ladies were nice, and the men were DRUNK.

If you’re not a football fan, let me tell you how the game went: it was a bit of a blow out and Pats fans were happy. It was also 20 degrees during the game, with the wind chill factor, it felt like 9 degrees. I was wearing 4 pairs of pants, 6 shirts, and have hand and foot warmers. I know how to dress for cold weather!

At half time, the ladies behind us left because of the cold. And that was when their men started showing how much alcohol they had been enjoying. 25% of what was coming out of their mouths was the N word. Another 25% were synonyms to the N word. And I’m listening to this s#!t getting pissed. Normally at football games, they announce that if anyone is acting inappropriately, you can anonymously report them via text. However, they never made that announcement on Saturday…

So I turn around and politely ask them to stop it because “racist stuff isn’t cool.” To which, the Pats fan lets me know that “racist stuff is never cool, that’s why it’s racist.” And they’ll “try to stop, but it’s just coming out, and what can [they] do?” He also asks how I feel about religious stuff. Now when he says that, I think that he means he wants to make fun of Tim Tebow for being Christian. And my thought was “really? You want to make fun of the dominant ruling class in the country? You’re going to get punched in the face so fast!” I tell him “whatever.”

That’s when they start yelling that Julian Edelman is a Jew.

They follow that up by using an F word that rhymes with maggot as EVERY OTHER WORD that comes out of their mouths!

I ask my brother if these guys realize that they are nut height to my fist. My brother (also raised by said hippies) says “you’re not going to punch them.” And he was right, I wouldn’t be able to punch them. I could probably only get one of them before bedlam would break out.

I could feel all of my muscles in my back getting tighter, my shoulders were getting closer to my ears as they tensed, and my hands were balled into fists. And I looked at my dad to the left and realized he was in the same stance. My brother to my right was clenching his jaw. And that’s when I realized, F those guys! I’d asked them to stop and they didn’t. And their ticket and their enjoyment did not negate my ticket and my enjoyment.

Off I stormed. I went to the top of our section and told the tiny, 75-year-old woman who checks out tickets to make sure we’re in the right spot (and not crashing). She says “Oh, I’ll have to get my supervisor, hold on.” Well, one of the 6 state cops nearby hears that and comes over. He’s JACKED! He authoritatively asks me what’s going on and now it’s a very different situation. I was confident with the little lady, I was nervous with the trooper: “Um… well… there are some guys being kind of racist.”

“Where?”

“Um, row 34”

He marches down to row 34. “Who are they?”

But he’s next to the row, so I, on a stair above him, have to lean onto him to see down the line. Finally I see the guys and point them out. Into the row rush 4 of the 6 cops. The other 2, stand a few stairs up, watching, in case anyone throws punches. I don’t know what to do with myself to get out of the way. I went back up the stairs to stand next to the little ticket taker.

The cops rush the guys up the stairs, so now I’m standing next to them! Ah! I rush back to my seat and the men get hauled off! Kicked out of the game!

I get back to my seat and everyone is gossiping about it. Now I feel guilty, a little like a narc… or even a bully myself.

My dad turns to me “Whoa, I wonder what happened!”

I happened. They were bugging me.”

You got them kicked out?”

“Yeah, shhhhh!”

My dad gets all proud and starts telling everyone and I get really embarrassed and nervous and try to quiet him down.

He pointed out to me that everyone around us was glad they were gone. Those jerks were ticking everyone off.

My brother pointed out that the guys to the left of the jerks were probably really glad they were gone. I’m not sure where they their ancestors were from and I think there is a lot of pride tied to one’s heritage, so I don’t want to guess incorrectly, but I do know that the ancestors of those guys were from closer to the equator than my Irish ancestors. They were probably glad the racists were gone.

I got people kicked out of the game! And I reaffirmed to myself that it’s true, I DON’T tolerate hateful, racist behavior.

Taken before the drama

Who Do You Think You Are?

This past weekend was an interesting one for me. During two separate moments I was lead to consider my long-standing views of who I am as a person. For one of the moments, I found myself questioning my identity; at the other moment, my views (of a different aspect of my morals/value/identity) were completely reaffirmed; but I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

Today is about the question.

I have pretty much always considered myself a nerd; an awkward, non-physical nerd.

When I was in the second grade (and actually this occurred up through the 5th grade), I was on a community basketball team.  I was explicitly told that I couldn’t be a guard on the team because they dribble up and down most of the court, and when I dribble, I look like a fairy.  The coach was legitimately telling the truth: when I would dribble, the hand not touching the ball would mimic the hand with the ball, so I had this two armed flutter going on… oh… and I pranced.

When I bowl (very occasionally), I do this weird little skip and a hop, completely unconsciously, before releasing the ball. It looks a little like I’m dancing.

I won’t join my company softball team because I can’t catch… except with my face.

I always joke that my athletic skills are best explained by me being a drama geek. To me, in high school, drama club is pretty much the farthest away from the sports teams as you can get.

Need more examples of my lack of athletic abilities? Read this.

So that is always how I have viewed myself. On Saturday, my boyfriend (in all seriousness) called me a jock. In the moment he said that, I was prepping a coin jar to put on Dr. Daddy’s reception desk to help raise funds for my 9k run. I was talking about how I didn’t know if I would fit in any running this week. And I was wearing my Wes Welker (Patriot’s) football jersey. I was about to get ready to go to the game, where it would be below freezing temperatures (not a game for a “fair weather fan”). He had a bit of a point. And as a former jock himself, he meant it in a nice way.

It made me think.

Also… I may have made a football reference in a drama class last night… (and was understandably met with complete confusion).

Can I be the antithesis of athletic and a jock at the same time?

Getting Nervous for Another 5K

I’m running another 5k tomorrow, and just like the first one, I’m crazy nervous.

Mainly, I’m nervous about clothing choices. According to weather.com, it’s supposed to feel like it’s 29 degrees tomorrow morning when I start my run. I don’t really know how many layers I should be wearing for that. I’m afraid I’ll be too cold while I stand around waiting for the run to start and then too hot 1/2 mile into it. I’m sure I’ll figure something out. My dad thinks that if I get too hot, I should just shed gloves/a hat/my fleece jacket at the one mile mark when I run past him so he can pick it/them up for me and have them at the finish line for me. It’s certainly a possibility. I just don’t know how he’ll get around the other runners.

I’m doing the same thing that I did last time when it comes to spectators. I’m going to position my dad and my boyfriend at the one mile mark and then have them take a short cut up to the finish line so they can cheer me on there too. I think that will help motivate me like it did last time.

(not my actual family)

I’m keeping my goals in check this time around as well. Just like last time, I’m just hoping to finish and to have run the entire time. I don’t think I’ll make a personal best (I’m going with the British version of this, “personal record” seems silly to me, I’m not a “making and breaking records” kind of girl). This course is very hilly where as the other one was “flat and fast.” I don’t run hills so I know this will be a challenge for me.

Another challenge/fear: I typically run in the evening. My muscles are already warmed up by then, I’ve had plenty of food and plenty of water. This run starts at 9 am. Not only am I not a morning runner, I’m not a morning person. I would rather run at 2 am than 7 am… I’m waking up early tomorrow just with the goal of eating breakfast and drinking enough water to expel it (go to the bathroom) before I leave the house. I hope I’m a functioning human being by 9 am!

See you on the other side!

My First Understanding of Thanksgiving

I grew up in a middle-class home. I never went without anything I ever needed. And I had plenty of fun perks to life (ballet class, video games, etc). I also didn’t know how good I had it.

My father did though. He had grown up pretty poor and was always determined to give back and help where he could. For over 20 years, he was a member of the local Rotary Club. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, it’s a “do good” type of club. He was always trying to get me and my brother involved and when I was about 15, he finally succeeded.

Every year on Thanksgiving, the Rotary Club members would meet at something like 6 am, and assemble “turkey baskets with all the fixings” thanks to a fundraiser they held the weekend before. These baskets held (and probably still hold) a turkey, bread, stuffing mix, everything for pumpkin pie, vegetables, etc. Basically everything you would need for a nice Thanksgiving meal. They would then deliver them around town to a list of people they received from some social service organization (the food bank maybe?).

I was still a surly and sleepy teen, so I skipped the part where the baskets were assembled, but my dad picked me up at about 9 am to help with the delivery. I will never forget it for as long as I live.

We went to a house less than a mile from our own. A six-year-old boy opened the door. Cheerfully, I handed him a gallon milk, and held on to a gallon of orange juice while he went to put down the milk. By the time he was returning, his father had shown up and was taking the giant basket of food from my father.

The little boy chirped to him “Dad, dad, they gave us a gallon of milk!”
To which the father replied “Why would they give us an entire gallon?”

That broke my heart! Especially because I knew that I had an entire gallon of milk in my fridge probably going bad because none of us ever drank enough milk.

That was the first time that I ever truly understood how good I have it.

Since then, I have always been thankful for my life. I have the important stuff and I know it:

  • If I’m cold, I turn up the heat
  • If I’m hungry, I go to the grocery store
  • With a few minor exceptions, I have my health
  • Enough people love me that I never have to worry about being “all on my own”

What are you thankful for this year? How do you give back?

 

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