Saturday, January 19, 2008

And it's kind of an annoying CD, too.

I often feel for the boys. They’re both so vocal (they’re at very different stages in their language development, and they both have such different approaches, though that will be another post), and yet so much of the time, I have no earthly idea what they’re trying to tell me. I thought this wasn’t supposed to happen. I thought my status as (Omniscient) Mother meant that I would automatically understand everything, and I would interpret what they said for everyone else, the way other mothers seem to do.

And yet, I seem to miss a lot, even when what they’re saying is so unbelievably obvious. Especially when they bust out with something I’ve never heard them say before. Take the exchange I had with Primo today, in Spanish:

Keen: Primo, what kind of music would you like to listen to?

Primo: Arroz Leche.

Keen: No, you just had milk. You’re not having any more for now. What CD would you like Mama to put in the CD player?

Primo: Arroz Leche.

Keen: No, no milk right now. How about some music?

Primo: Arroz Leche.


Primo: Arroz Leche.

Keen: Ohhhhh. Arroz con Leche. [The same CD we just finished listening to.] Oh. Right. OK, then.

My penance? Listening to the Arroz con Leche CD about fifteen times today, once for every time it was requested. OK, that’s an exaggeration. But only a slight one.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Motherly love... when you look at how little milk is left in the jug, sigh, and dutifully fill up your boys' sippy cups before you add copious amounts of it to your coffee.

That, and jumping in front of a train or something to save their lives. Right now, though, the coffee thing is feeling a whole lot more relevant.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A little break

Today, I have the day to myself. I'm using it to clean, organize, put away laundry, and unpack the bags from our trip. (Yes, we got back two weeks ago. Ahem.) It's unbelievable how much there is to be done, but whenever I'm busy with work, I just let things pile up around me.

Just a few questions/comments:
  • Why is sorting out the boys' clothing such a pain in the ass? I feel like that's all I do. Outgrown/too big/give away/sell/winter/summer/this year/next year. For someone as organizationally challenged as I am, it's totally overwhelming.
  • I just discovered this music site. I like Pandora a lot, but the Latin music keeps me moving. Our local station seems to be all-reggaeton-all-the-time, and I can only take it in small doses.
  • I totally found my SmartTrip card. Yay! I missed it. A lot.
  • Controlling my Internet breaks throughout the day is challenging, but necessary if I want to get anything done. The same goes for when I'm working.
  • While surfing, I found some cool crochet patterns, though. Even though it's still unseasonably warm, it's crocheting season for me. The only thing I've made this year is an orange stole I wore to a wedding. Today I found the most awesome pattern for a baby afghan. There was a deluge of pastels around here when the boys were born, and this is just the opposite. I even have the yarn for it, so I'm going to start tonight.

Monday, January 7, 2008


When the twins are having sleep issues, it just really sucks. I can’t complain most of the time, since they do really well overall. People who have stayed with us sometimes seem really surprised that once the boys are down for the night at 8:00 or so, they’re down until the next morning, no matter how much of a ruckus we make down here. (Not that we usually make much of a ruckus.) They sleep really well and I like having my down time in the evenings—I don’t know what I would do without that.

We’ve recently been enabling Primo a bit, though. He was sick, and we were on vacation in a strange place. ‘Nuff said. He started waking up between 2:00-4:00 a.m., and we started bringing him into bed with us. Two weeks later, he’s still doing it almost every night, and I knew this would happen. The thing is, I also knew breaking him of the habit would take a little work, and who wants to deal with that at 2:00 a.m.? Taking him to bed in the guest room is just easier. (As an aside, here’s the one thing I didn’t know about parenting that became obvious to me once the boys were born: All of the things I thought I would or would not do kind of flew out the window and I made a lot of decisions based on whatever would let me get a little MORE SLEEP. If I’d known that, I could have saved a lot of the time I spent reading baby books while I was pregnant.)

In the end, I stayed up past 3:00 this morning. Two good things came of it. Although I could have done some work on my translations today, I really, really wanted to be done, and I did finish my work. Also, when Primo woke up at two, I was wide awake and able to deal with him. I staged a little intervention of sorts. Every time he cried, I went back in there and settled him down. I must have gone in ten or fifteen times. Sometimes I just patted his back and he would go back to sucking his fingers and would curl right back into his sleeping position. Sometimes he would throw his lovey out of the crib and I would just give it back to him without making a fuss. I would explain to him that everyone was sleeping and that he needed to sleep, too. Sometimes my tone was soothing, sometimes it was a lot firmer.

In the end, he stayed down. I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself, though we’ll see what happens tonight.

Whatever gets you through the night

For me, that would be:

-A nice, strong latte with a splash of mint, to keep me awake.
-Two slices of crusty artisan bread generously slathered with Nutella. Mmmmm. Good thing I didn't resolve to lose weight this year.
-A can of sparkling water, to keep me hydrated.

I'm burning the midnight oil, editing several translations I worked on this week that are due tomorrow. Fortunately, my translations are pretty good, if I do say so myself, and don't require major editing. (Thank you, Wordfast! I love you! You cost me a bundle and I may hate you once we have our first major falling-out, but for now, I love you!)

Another thought keeping me going tonight: If I get it all done now, I can come home from court tomorrow afternoon and take a looooong nap. Mmmmm.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Low. Low Tech

My beloved Palm Pilot bit the dust in Costa Rica. I have no idea what happened: one day it was working, and the next, it wasn’t. Somehow, it made me feel better to know that I was not obviously at fault, unlike, say, the time I dropped my camera off a cliff, or the time I drowned my cell phone in a glass of Zinfandel. At least this time I couldn’t really be mad at myself. It’s kind of amazing it lasted as long as I did.

I adored my Palm. I bought one of the old black-and-white ones waaaay back in the day, and then P gave me a snazzy Zire 71 for my birthday a few years back. It was how I kept track of all my jobs, contacts, expenses, birthdays, and things to do. I loaded two very good bilingual dictionaries on it, one general and one legal, that came through for me many a time while I was interpreting. And when things got boring, I snuck in some Solitaire and Bejeweled.

Seeing as how I can’t be trusted to remember, oh, anything without it, I need something to replace it, and pronto. Funny how this happened just as we put ourselves on a budget, no? Also, I don’t really know what I want. I don’t particularly like the Palm software or the way it works on my Mac, so I don’t think I’ll be getting another Palm. What I would love is an iPod Touch, but I want to wait awhile. I don't like being an early adopter, though that thing looks amazing.

My solution for now? I think I'll go out and buy an honest-to-goodness paper planner. I feel like I’m back in high school. It’ll be cheap, and it should work. Unlike my PDA.

P pointed out that I can't exactly play Bejeweled on a planner. But I'll also be carting around a book of Sudoku puzzles, for when things get boring.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I’m just like e.e. cummings. No, wait. I’m so not.

I just finished a big translation project. It was an awesome job. Good pay, flexible deadlines. Also, I wasn’t working through an agency. I was working with a group of colleagues I really like and respect. We were organized, kept track of who was doing what, and then edited each others’ work. It doesn’t get any better than that.

I got one of my translations back, though, and was mortified. I apparently can’t capitalize for shit. I was all over the place, and my colleague/editor sent me a very kind e-mail in which she quoted the Chicago Manual of Style extensively. I sent back an e-mail in which I joked about my Excessive Capitalization Syndrome.

It wasn’t such a huge deal, I suppose, but I was really annoyed with myself for being sloppy. I’d even looked it up online, where I got conflicting information, so I went with my gut. Ha.

Whenever I doubt myself, I try to remind myself that I’m just demanding a lot of myself. I want to turn in good work, which is a good thing. But obviously, I need a style manual. It’s kind of appalling, given my reference library, that I don’t own one. I suppose you can’t go wrong with the Chicago Manual of Style? Definitely something I need to look into when I get back.

Oh, and when I doubt myself, I start to have issues with hyphens and apostrophes, too. And I tend to overuse commas. Yeah, I need a style manual, pronto. I think I need to read it cover to cover. Or maybe I mean cover-to-cover. See?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Just One More

Oh, look, I still have time to squeeze in one more non-resolution:

I will make sure my slow cooker and I become better acquainted with each other this year. I say this because last night, I decided to throw some steel-cut oats in there, along with some cream, dried berries, maple syrup and a pinch of salt. The result was so delicious I could hardly believe it. Getting up and finding a nice, hot breakfast ready for you feels downright luxurious.