Saturday, June 01, 2002

Yesterday, as I was working out, I suddenly felt like I got run over by a truck! It was really weird! I was doing chest press and did 2 really heavy sets (60 pounds) and suddenly, I couldn't lift anything more. I finished my workout nonetheless, but as I was going, my legs got achier and achier and I got chills and certainly didn't feel well enough to help out at the kids' field day, as promised :(.

So I went home, took my temperature and turned out to have a 101.4 fever. Wah! I called off our dinner plans with friends and tried to nap and take it easy. Last night I started feeling better and thought I'd shaken it, when I got up fever free this morning. Unfortunately, around noon, I had 100.0 again. Thankfully less and Advil basically made me feel better. So hopefully, tomorrow it will be gone! I have too much going on to be sick!!!

But, while the rest of the family played at the pool, I made myself a nice spot on the deck, in the shade (it was 95 degrees today, but at least low humidity, so quite nice with a little breeze), with water and a stack of magazines. Nothing like being sick to catch up on unread stuff!

Kai stayed with me and we planted some Morning Glory's in the back against the fence and in the front around the lamppost and the mailbox. Hopefully, they'll come up as nicely as they did last year.

And Kai caught a baby Praying Mantis and put him in a bug bottle with twigs and leaves. He found out Praying Mantis' eat ants, so he went to hunt some ants. When he put them in the bottle, we got to see the Mantis eat one from close up. Very educational! There is a nice urban myth attached to Praying Mantis', and another half myth and Kai will let his go tomorrow.

I really, really hope to have shaken whatever it is I have by tomorrow!

Thursday, May 30, 2002

A quick one tonight as I should be in bed by now, but I'm too wound up to sleep. Not good, as I have a very full day tomorrow and I'm already exhausted from the week.

This morning, I first dropped Saskia off at school and then made my way to Kai and Katja's school. I dragged in Kai's bass, which is huge! And then attended the volunteer tea, where the volunteers were honored with a certificate and school stationery. It is always a really nice gesture I think and when you see the table full of certificates, it hits home just how many parents volunteer at this school. And I truly believe that makes the school so special.

After the tea, I made my way to the Artsmart closet to prepare for the Robert Rauschenberg presentation in the fourth grade. I had brought a bunch of magazines for the collages and really got into cutting out pictures with certain themes. Sports turned out to be in vogue and we didn't have that many sports pictures. All in all, they made some wonderful collages!

When the Artsmart was done, I rushed off to the gym for a quick workout. Unfortunately, I met my mom in the parking lot and she felt it necessary to announce then and there that she was permanently moving to the Netherlands, close to her friend of less than one year. It's a long story. Suffice it to say I felt I lost a dear, close friend today.

I managed to work out for an hour, as I was quite distraught and I could tell by how high my heart rate was all the time, it kept going way over my limit! I quickly showered and then called Rick and shed some tears. How good it is to have a loving husband! And, over the years, he has learned to just listen and not try to solve immediately. I thanked him for his calmness and then dried my tears and headed back to the school.

On the way I called my sister, equally distressed and then my best friend and after talking to them, I did feel better. At the school, my friend Ann and I selected the best pieces of Artsmart work of the 6th graders we taught and made a list of how many we had for each artist. Of course, poor Ann had to hear about my mom troubles as well. Hey, telling the world about my dirty laundry makes me feel heaps better ;).

I just realized, though, I didn't bring said list home and didn't call the organizer with the totals, even though I promised! Ack! I'm losing my mind!!

I came home, made sure Kai and Katja were ok (Katja was being a mother's helper at a friend's house) and then went to CVS to pick up medicine and then pick Saskia up from school.

Then off to the pool of course, where I chatted nicely with a Turkish man named Tarhan and Saskia and Kai had a great time. Rick came, watched Saskia jump in the deep and we ordered sushi for dinner. I was on the phone/on Messenger all night with many loving and well meaning siblings and friends. We'll be fine, I just hope my mom will be, I have my doubts :(.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

I'm just a teeny, tiny step further in getting the art show organized for next week. I printed out the labels with names. Wow! What an accomplishment ;). But really, the printer is very finicky and just having one set of correct labels is exciting right now.

After the personal training session and cardio workout I did this morning, I ran home to eat lunch and prepare those labels. Then off to the school where I talked to Kai's teacher and we determined that, rather than wasting time calling all kinds of parents, I would just provide the cupcakes and juice for the party on the 7th. Sometimes I think we get bogged down in calling around for volunteers, when what's needed is just a few dollars.

Then I spent time wondering how I was going to mount 12x18 artworks on 12x18 black paper and still have room for name labels. I never figured that one out, so I'm at a temporary stalemate there.

So, off to the sneaker store I went. My old shoes were literally falling apart, while I've only had them for a little over 6 months. The place where I buy them is special, they let you try on 100 pairs of shoes if need be, just so you find the one that fits your feet best (a good sneakers should not feel uncomfortable in any way). It took me about 80 pair at the time to figure out, that only the most expensive Saucony sneaker fit that bill for me :(. Why? Why couldn't it be the least expensive??? But that's the reason I wait till the very last moment to replace them. And every time I replace them, they've undergone an "upgrade". And that always makes me anxious, because what if the upgrade means something will feel uncomfortable and I will have to try on another 80 pair to find the right one? So I happily pay my (insert large amount of money) after finding out they still fit marvelously. And I'd better keep running miles a day, so I feel I get the cost of the shoes out of it!! Thus the trials and tribulations of buying the right sneakers.

At 3pm I had a doctor's appointment. Suffice it to say I'm glad it's over and she told me she could provide me with the medication the rheumatologist gave me, so, yippee yay, I could cancel the rheumatologist appointment for June 6th.

After Rick got home, our babysitter Lauren came and took the kids to the pool, where Saskia proudly showed her her newfound courage in jumping off the diving board. And Rick and I went of to the Melting Pot and had delicious fondue there.

My friend Marie Anne just called from Singapore and I'm so superexcited, as they (hopefully, as she may bring her son Thomas) will come here on the 27th of June. Yippee!!! Life is great!
I just have to blog my dream from last night. Not only because it was just weird, but also because I hardly ever remember my dreams!

This one came back to me when I gave Kai a kiss on the cheek when he left for school this morning. I dreamt, that I had visited my sister and brother in law in Massachusetts, as I did last week, and that I was on the phone with my oldest brother. Somehow my sister became a part of the conversation and proceeded to criticize just about everything we had discussed about parenting a baby. This while we were completely agreeing during my visit.

I got very mad, especially when she called Saskia a girly girl and I hung up the phone. Then, somehow, I was at their house again and was trying to get water out of the faucet. But for a long time, I didn't get water, but red-hot fluid (colored red too, ew!). And then it became water.

I very calmly asked my sister and their neighbors, if they had changed to a cheaper water company. Their answer was affirmative and so that put everything into place for me. I told them their water was coming from Hell! The moment I said that last word, a fiery flash came out of the ground and suddenly I found myself battling (without any fear, I'm proud to say ;)) all kinds of scary mythical creatures and other hellish figures.

I combatted them all successfully and then saw Satan standing there (I don't remember what he looked like, unfortunately). We had a pleasant conversation, in which he admitted defeat. All came back to normal, and we realized that my sister's critical comments also had to do with the hellish water.

If anyone knows to interpret dreams, I'd love to hear what such a dream means!

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

I had enthusiastically set my watch alarm for 6:30 this morning, thinking I would work out before going on the field trip with the sixth grade. Well, I woke up, but I was way too tired to get up!!!! So I shut my eyes again and before I knew it, it was 7:30. Oh well, no extra exercise this morning!

After the usual hectic getting the kids ready and out the door (Saskia was very upset, because I was running out of time and she *really* wanted me to take her to school, so she could show me a move she could do on the playground, but I just had to be at the school by 9 and couldn't take her :(), I got to the school just in time.

At 9am, I entered a yellow schoolbus for the first time in my life! It was, of course, just like any other bus, but it still felt kind of cool. The busdriver had the most amazing nails, Katja and I noticed, I don't know how people can function with nails the size of Texas!

After about a half hour, we arrived at Arlington National Cemetery. My group consisted of 3 girls and 2 boys. We stuck with 2 other groups headed by parents I know the whole time, so we ended up having 17 kids under our wings.

They had been instructed many a time, that this was a *cemetery*, they needed to be appropriately solemn and quiet. Well, the moment we set foot in the cemetery, we stumbled upon a Navy funeral. We had to stop for the sailors to carry the casket to the grave and I think it brought home to the kids, that, while this is a beautiful place and an interesting place, it's not a *fun* place. They were very quiet and respectful the whole time (just over 3 hours) we walked around the park.

Our first stop was John F. Kennedy and his family's gravesite. On previous occasions I've wondered why there is moss growing between the stones at the gravesite. But last year I found out, it is purposely put there, it's imported from Kennedy's homestate of Massachusetts.

The kids had to answer all kinds of questions about things they saw along the way and one of the questions was which quote at the gravesite spoke to them most. Almost everyone chose: "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

It is a powerful quote!

After a visit to Robert Kennedy's grave (and I'm always struck by the total simplicity of his grave: simply a white plaque with his name and a white cross, across from the grave is a smooth fountain with quotes by him), we quickly made our way to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as we had about 15 minutes before the next changing of the guard.

I have to say, I was impressed with the interest the kids were showing, we had to regularly tell them to walk on, as they were trying to read tombstones and trying to imagine what life was like when that person lived. It felt somehow wrong to hurry them, the others agreed with me, but we were on limited time and they had to see at least the 3 main "attractions" (wrong word for a cemetery, but you know what I mean).

The site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was in plain sun and quite warm. It wasn't crowded and we all got a good seat to view the ceremony. This ceremony remains impressive, everything is so calculated to the second! The clacking together of the heels by the guards is one single clack, not two. The presenting of the guns is completely simultaneous. And it must be so grueling to stand guard there in the plain sun of summer for a whole half an hour at a time! I was soaked through with sweat in less than 10 minutes! But it's a great honor to be part of the Honor Guard at Arlington National Cemetery.

After a quick restroom break, as some of the boys' bladders didn't hold out as well as the girls' (none of the girls had to go the whole time and 4 of the boys did! One wonders ;)), we made our way up Crook Walk to the Arlington House, where Robert E. Lee lived during the Civil War. The house is furnished according to the period and the views of Washington DC are gorgeous! In the room of one of Lee's sons a Confederate uniform still lies on the bed, as if he's coming home any time.

After Virginia seceded from the Union, the federal government seized the property and turned it into a national cemetery. The Lee's never returned to the property.

After the tour there, we made our descent back to the Visitor's Center and the schoolbuses. Then it turned out, the busdrivers had parked wrong and were in the paid parking, while no adults had brought any money.... but me! So I was the (very shortlived ;)) hero, when I paid for the parking and thus allowed us to leave!

Once back at the school, the very hungry kids attacked their lunches and I made my way down to the art room and selected the 4th grade artworks I'd want to show next week during the art show.

I had about 15 minutes at home and then it was off to the orthodontist with Katja and Kai came along to keep me company. We (Katja and I, that is!) also wanted to get a quick manicure and made the mistake of just popping into the nails place next to the orthodontist. Well, there is a huge difference between the different places, as these people did an awful job!!

Katja wanted to go home and go to the pool, so I dropped her off and then went to Saskia's school to her art show and talent show. Then quickly to the pool and we ended the day with a great Pizza Hut insider pizza. Pfff! I'll sleep well tonight!

Monday, May 27, 2002

Hmmm, I wonder if everyone is going to be bored to tears reading my blog for the summer. I envision it will read something like this: went to gym, went to pool, ate dinner, went to bed ;).

I imagine a little 6 year old girl is quite tired right now. I'm surprised she's not asleep yet (just heard her upstairs, Rick is with her). I took her to the gym with me this morning, she's grown fond of the childcare center there, after the big drama on Saturday. I biked for a half hour with Christine and then did a vigorous weight workout.

After the obligatory ice cream (the gym has a cafeteria), we headed home and got into our bathing suits quickly, as they predicted thunder storms by 3pm. By 1pm, Saskia was floating in the pool (with me shivering on the side ;)). I witnessed about a thousand handstands under water and an equal amount of flips. I had entertained the strange notion, that I might read some, while she played, but I found myself hoisting her and her friend up on my legs and launching them into the water instead. Great exercise, considering they're 50 pounds each!

I also had a nice chat with Elisabeth, who is here from Sweden and with several other acquaintances. This is what I love about the pool, it's a place to socialize. I know more people from the pool, than from anywhere else, I think.

Saskia held out there for 3 hours! She jumped of the diving board 7 times and it wore her out. Halfway through, Katja and her friend came as well, but it's not cool to hang with your mom at that age, so I just lapped up Saskia's undivided attention (and vice versa!).

Kai had spent the night at a friend's house (and we had one of Katja's friends stay over, they were remarkably quiet, it has to be said) and stayed with that family for the whole day.

Around 4, my dad came with my mom's computer, but it turned out her drive was shot (it's a new computer), so he's taking it back tomorrow. At 5, our friends Ross and Jeanne and their boys came over for dinner. We had delicious grilled chicken breasts, with pasta salad, corn on the cob and breadsticks and, of course, wine. All the while, it was thundering and lightning all around us, but it didn't rain till we finished our s'mores dessert (for those who don't know what that is: Graham crackers, milk chocolate and grilled marshmallows). Delicious!

The kids are off to bed and we're watching Everybody loves Raymond, which is a repeat.

Sunday, May 26, 2002

I'm about to go to the pool with Saskia, Katja and Kai are both at a birthday party. The weather is hot and it's great pool weather, except the pool water is still frigid! But that doesn't bother the kids, they just jump in. Not me, though, brrrrr!!!!

It's been a busy couple of days and I'm afraid all of next week will feel like a marathon, the way it's shaping up! On Friday, after my work out (an hour of personal training and I was still quite sore from the day before!), I had a massage, highly necessary.

When I came upstairs, I noticed a huge hot pink stain on our carpeting next to my bed :(. Saskia had had an accident that night and her sleeping bag bled on the carpet. Nothing I used made any difference. If anyone has a suggestion on how to get hot pink out of gray carpeting, I'm all ears! I ran out to buy a dark gray throw rug, which doesn't look too bad. Still, this carpeting! There are so many stains in it already and we've only lived here 3,5 years!

On Friday night we went to Chuck's birthday party. It was a lot of fun and the weather nice enough to sit out on the deck. Summer is definitely approaching and the temperatures are finally getting nice and warm.

Yesterday I took a kickboxing class at the gym and oh my, I'm feeling muscles I didn't know I had today!!! I guess it's good I'm shaking up my routine a little. It was a fun class too, definitely good to get some frustration out!

After we got home (Saskia went to the gym with me), we went to the pool for the first time this season. Delicious! It always gives such a vacation feeling, even if it's not vacation. And it's always such a fun place to socialize, many people we know, we only see during pool season.

My dad came over for dinner and we had a nice time with him.

This morning we had Mickey D's for breakfast and Kai had an early birthday party. Saskia and I went to the gym again and then to the nursery for some geraniums for the deck. Now she's impatient with me, as she wants to go, so more later!