Thursday, April 30, 2009


So I get home from work, change into comfy clothes and realize that our stinky boy needs a new diaper.

Mission accomplished. I then plop down on the bed with him chatting with Susanne for, I swear to God, at least a minute before I realize that Danny is contentedly playing with an entire leg of his green pants.

The pants that he's wearing.

Hmmm??? Something is not right here.

Su and I both burst out laughing as we realized that our boy has been dressed like this since the diaper change. And neither of us noticed!

As I said, thank God it's Friday! -Monica

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

People let me tell you 'bout my best friend!

Su's first cousin Patrick has been visiting us from Germany and it's been great. Danny adores him, he's funny and sweet, and try as we might, there seems to be no way to talk him into staying with us forever to be our "manny".

Stupid university.

Seriously though Patrick, when you get back home and see this, I hope you'll remember all the wonderful times you had with us and Danny especially this trip to the zoo where he practically pulled hairs out of both sides of your head.

You are always welcome here with us. See you next year in Deutschland! -Monica and Su and Danny (who is really, really, going to miss you!)

Wash with like colors...

Clearly my inner domestic Godess is not manifesting itself very well during these years of child-raising. So???? I get the cold water part of this, but really--like colors? If I wash it with the whites do I risk the pinkest jersey ever? Not to mention the pinkest load of whites ever?

Or do I go with washing it with the darks and watch my white and red pinstripes fade to a pinkish grey.

Life is so hard sometimes people. -Monica

P.S. I really was faced with this dilemma on Sunday. I met the challenge with inertia. The jersey waits alone in the basement. Unwashed. Unworn. But not forgotten.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh dear...

So technically my summery capri pants, that we got out of storage in answer to this DC heat wave, still fit.

But for some reason I keep having this vauge memory of watching the Incredible Hulk when I was a kid. You know. That show where mild mannered Bill Bixby transformed into Lou Ferrigno?

Oh that's just silly. These pants fit me just fine. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to extricate myself from this chair to go get something to eat.

On second thought, I'm not really hungry. -Monica

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dawning awareness...

I do not have allergies. I repeat. I do not have allergies.

So why then, for the last three springs, has it felt like I've been swallowing tiny pieces of jagged glass whenever I step outside?

But this makes no sense. I am not an allergy person.

Time to rephrase. I apparently have allergies. I apparently have allergies. (Thank goodness for Cl*ritin). Oh geez. What's next? The heartbreak of psoriasis? -Monica

P.S. I wrote yesterday about our friend Cornelius nearing the end of his life. Sadly, but not unexpectedly news came last night of his passing. Good night sweet prince.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


When I worked at Peace Corps I met a sweet friend named Laurette. Then I met her wonderful husband Cornelius, and had the honor of greeting them at the airport when they arrived home from overseas with their newly adopted daughter. This was about 10 years ago. How time flies.

I remember when they were trying to adopt they ran into troubles because Cornelius had previously had cancer. He’d been in remission for a long time, so they were beyond thrilled when they finally got the go ahead to adopt their beautiful girl. For several years all was good. Heck, all was great!

But over the past three years Cornelius and his family have been visited anew by this arch enemy. This cancer. And every time he’s miraculously made a comeback.

But today, he is in a hospital room surrounded by his family, dying. The doctors have told them that it won’t be much longer now. The pneumonia he contracted last week has been too much for his weakened body. Laurette wrote last night that "Cornelius is resting comfortably with his baby and her stuffed animals snuggling close in his bed."

I’ve been so sad all day just thinking about him and everyone who loves him. Thinking and praying.

I keep remembering something that Laurette and Cornelius once shared with us. It was that every year on their wedding anniversary, they both put on their original wedding clothes and dance around their living room.

At the time I was just amazed at the idea that their clothes still fit them, but the more I thought about it the more I was amazed that they were just so darn romantic.

So Cornelius, I pray for peace for you today and always. And for another dance with your beautiful wife someday. -Monica

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mama bye bye? Mama bye bye?

Apparently my lovely wife has heard Danny repeat this question about a zillion times since I left DC on Sunday morning to go to a conference.

I'm still away and when I return Wednesday, there is a slight chance that I will no longer be the apple of his eye. Seems he's been getting grumpier and grumpier with his questioning over time.

I don't travel much for work, but when I do I miss Su and Danny terribly. You'd think I'd be taking full advantage of this opportunity to sleep soundly at the lovely hotel where I'm staying, but I haven't. The first night I woke up twice thinking I heard Danny cry a bit, and this morning I'm up well before the crack of dawn because fluffy pillows are no substitute for the warmth and comfort of my beautiful wife.

All this being said I can't wait for tomorrow. For hugs and kisses and, I'm hoping, Danny's joyful shriek of "Mamo" (which sounds suspiciously similar to "Melmo" (yes his favorite Sesame Street friend). Heck I'd settle for his latest variation on my name, the very clever "Mamaca".

Whatever. Just so he is thrilled to see me. We haven't taught him yet how to hold a grudge, so I'm very hopeful!

See you soon loves! -Monica

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Do you remember Max the dog in How the Grinch Stole Christmas? How excited he was to sit on top of that sleigh?

See, this is our problem with Danny. When he acts up, we put him in timeout on the living room steps--just like "the books" recommend.

And for his part, he sits there with a happy grin beaming at us.

It's rather hard to continue to be sore at him. What a boy! -Monica

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dream a Dream indeed!

If you haven't had a chance to see this clip yet, I highly recommend you do. It's from a show called Britian's Got Talent (much like American Idol as I understand it) and shy, rather awkward woman named Susan Boyle stunned the judges (including Simon Cowell) with her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables.

Maybe it's just my love of the underdog that has made me simply adore this. Watch the judges and the audience. It's awesome! -Monica

I think I can, I think I can...

So I’m not saying my job is totally boring because it’s not. But yesterday the most exciting 5 seconds of my day—those precious moments where I felt most alive and engaged—were when I was waiting to see if I’d guessed the right password on a web app I don’t use often.

Like most, I have way too many passwords, and try as I might, I sometimes lose track of them. That’s when I resort to guessing.

This was to get into a travel system we use in my agency. I only had three chances—three strikes—and I’d be out. Then I'd have to contact the site to get a whole new password which is an annoying hassle. Ugh.

So I made my first guess. WRONG!

Okay. Let’s try guess number two. WRONG!

My adrenaline surged. I leaned forward in my seat and oh so carefully tried my final answer.

The screen went into that waiting pattern. The little world spun round and round in the corner of my screen.

Then this.


I’m embarrassed to say I actually threw both fists into the air in a little victory “dance” and whispered “yes!”

Maybe today I’ll try and figure out how I can put someone on hold and bring another caller on the line. It seems so easy when someone else does it. ;-)

Friday, April 10, 2009


I haven't had a chance to write this week about how really excited Susanne and I are about the exciting news coming out of Iowa, Vermont and our home town the District of Columbia in regard to legislation to either allow for gay marriage, or in the case of DC, to allow people who are legally married elsewhere to have their marriages recognized here. To learn more about some of the details of these issues read here.

One thing you'll note if you take a look at the link above is that another measure was approved the same day. It was introduced by DC Councilmember Phil Mendelson's and deals with determining parentage for domestic partners in DC.

This is a big deal. In a nutshell, if we were to have another child, by virtue of our Domestic Partnership Agreement, I would be listed immediately on our child's birth certificate. We could give the baby either of our last names, so we could immediately give him or her mine. With Danny, he had to carry Susanne's last name until I could legally adopt him at 6 months. In fact since we took him on a visit to Germany as a younger infant he needed to get a Social Security card in order to get a passport--both of which had to be done with Su's last name that was later changed. What a hassle to redo all of that stuff!

It's hard to explain how frustrating it is to have to prove that you are a worthy parent with home studies by social workers, court dates etc...all the while having virtually no legal standing to care for your little baby until a judge says "yes" (and that's not a guarentee!). Sadly in the eyes of the law, you are a complete stranger to that child.

If this new legislation passes, our second child, should we be so blessed, would be our child LEGALLY from its very first breath. How exciting. Not to mention saving thousands of dollars on adoption costs. But since the cost of the adoption basically gets reimbursed as a credit at tax time, I am less concerned with the cost than I am by the prinicple of the matter.

So, we'll have to see how this all plays out since legislation passed by the DC Council is subject to review by the U.S. Congress due to DC Home Rule (don't get me started.) We are just so excited that little by little change is coming. Yes! -Monica

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Oh Snap!

For Christmas this year Susanne got her wish--enrollment in a digital photography class. She's always been a very good photographer, but she wanted to learn a bit more about F-Stops and lighting and composition and stuff like that. As you can see from the photo here she did very well. Of course it helps to have the most adorable model in the world I always say!

Congratulations honey! Great job! -Monica

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tough call...

I work in an organization in a federal government agency that focuses on a couple of different things, including a section of the Rehabilitation Act that deals with IT accessibility.

So even though most of the questions I deal with come from other federal colleagues, because it is in the broad area of disability, sometimes I get questions from the general public, and I do my best to try and point them in the right direction.

This morning a call was transferred to me from our front office, and it was a gentleman who had been disabled by a stroke but was recovering. He was clearly looking for help. As I started to listen to his story, I could tell right away that this man was in deep despair. I knew that I could offer him no assistance in terms of our program, but that was beside the point as he continued.

He’d lost his job and was going to lose his home to foreclosure in two weeks. He felt like he’d been tricked by a shady lawyer and so ashamed that he'd let his whole family down. He began to cry as he told me that he didn’t think he could go on anymore.

We talked (I mostly listened) for about 15 minutes and during that time I looked up the number for the toll free suicide prevention hotline, and also an organization in the city where he lived that offered free counseling for people nearing foreclosure.

I found that I was all choked up as I spoke with him. I like to think that he felt that I was empathizing with his pain and I was.

I told him that I was going to give him two numbers to call and asked him if he had something to write them down with. I remember from my years as a first aid instructor reminding students that when people are very distressed they need very concrete direction.

I asked him if he would do me a favor and promise me that the second we got off the phone he would dial the 800 number to talk to a counselor about how he was feeling like he couldn’t go on. I asked him to promise me, because a promise is a very concrete and powerful thing.

He promised me he would. After he’d talked to them , I said, then call the local number for the foreclosure counseling. I also told him that the first place he was going to call was probably going to have some even better ideas that I didn’t know about.

As we were about to hang I up I told him “God Bless”. And I meant it more than anything I’ve ever said before.

I’m so grateful that there are toll free numbers for suicide hotlines, poison control centers and rape crisis centers. I don’t think I could ever do that kind of work, but I’m grateful to all you folks out there who do.

This whole experience also just makes me livid at those who have caused the economic mess that we are in today. I'd like to see all these AIG and other Wall Street bigshots have to listen to the calls that the suicide prevention line gets all day. Maybe then they'd see what they have done. -Monica

The eyes have it!

So I think that all people who examine other human beings for a living should be taught the dangers of saying “hmmmmhhh?” as they examine their patients.

This morning during a routine eye exam (okay I hadn’t had one in years) my optometrist after looking in one eye and then the other and then back to the first eye again, opined “hmmmmhhh?”

Turns out that it’s no big deal. So what if one optic nerve (actually bundle of nerves) looks a lot different from the other? I have no other risk factors for glaucoma (including perfect pressure) and he emphatically told me “I don’t think you have glaucoma”, but still, did he need to do the “hmmmmhhh?" We'll check again in 9 months to see if everything is still looking okay. Unsymetrical, but okay.

You know, it wouldn’t have been so bad if he’d been uncommunicative during the whole exam, but he was one of those peppy “you’re doing great!” kind of guys.

So, anyway, after my anxiety raged for a moment or two I was fine. Turns out my right eye is near sighted and my left eye is far sighted. That explains a lot about my recent vision strain. Looks like I’ll be getting what are called progressive lenses (sort of bifocally with no line.)

Ah, another day, another $200. -Monica

Monday, April 06, 2009

Gentle Danny, gentle...

I honestly don't know which is more impressive. The fact that Su captured this shot of Danny discovering a butterfly on a flower, or the fact that the butterfly was still there when he got this close.

Another billionth of a second and it would have just been a picture of wings lifting off! -Monica

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Perceptive eh?

When you look at this logo what do you see? (Okay, scroll down a bit now.)

While driving past our local Goodwill story recently we learned that Susanne sees the letter "g", while I see half of a smiling face.

What does it mean??? Inquiring minds want to know! -Monica

Friday, April 03, 2009

Meme! Otherwise known as look at me, me!

Oh boy! Jenni over at Oscarelli tagged me for this six random things meme. I’ve never been tagged before. Great! That will be my first random thing about me!

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six Random Things About Me.

1. I’ve never been tagged before! (Well I guess technically I have now.)

2. From 1994 -1996 I lived in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I was a civilian with the Justice Department and was helping the thousands of rafters who had fled Cuba, and were intercepted at sea. One funny story is that I would sometimes accompany people on flights to Florida once they’d been granted parole. When the flight attendant would start the safety speech in Spanish and mentioned the personal flotation devices, you know, “in case of a water landing”, just about everybody on the plane (seriously) would start looking under their seat to try and check out it out. Made sense if you think about the fact they’d fled on rafts, but it was very comical to see happen.

3. When I delete words when I’m typing I prefer to go to the beginning of the word I don’t want and hit the delete key, rather then going to the end of the word and hitting backspace.

4. In second grade I got a mix of A’s, A+’s and A-’s on my report card. I told everyone I got “crooked A’s”!

5. When I was about six I wrote a letter to The Quaker Oats Company asking if my brother and I could be cereal tasters at their company. I assured them that my dad could drop us off an pick us up every day (apparently I thought it would be a short commute between the Twin Cities and Chigago). Anyway, someone wrote back and told me that I could apply for a job when I was 18 and they sent us coupons for free boxes of Quisp and Quake Cereal. I was in heaven! Come to think of it, I don’t know why I didn’t write more letters like that!

6. Here's something random. I never realized til now how hard it is to come up with these random things about myself. Thank goodness I only needed to do six of them (as opposed to that Facebook "25 things about me" AND found a way to make my numbers 1 and 6 here basically about nothing. Cheers!

I'm tagging:

1. Beth at Beth and Eric Down Under

2. Amy at Bugaloobrenny

3. Strawberry and Nutella at 1 in Vermillion

4. Stimey at Stimeyland

5. Casey at Half as Good as You

6. Sarah at Journey of a Co-Mom

Thursday, April 02, 2009

What we have here is a failure to communicate...

This is catfood.

This is a floor without catfood strewn all over it.

Can someone out there help us explain to Danny why cat food is for cats and not for strewing? (And yes that is a real word--I checked.)

He knows that it is a no no and in fact now repeats back to us "no, no" while waggling his finger as if to show us that he gets it.

But still he strews. Twice now in the last 12 hours.

Parenting 101. Remove the temptation from the child's reach. Divert the child's attention.

Parenting 201. You can't remove everything from the child's reach at all times. You can't divert a child's attention at all times.

I think we’d better stop auditing these imaginary classes and figure out what to do here.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I April Fooled myself today!

Yes, I'm that silly.

I sat down to log into my computer at work like I do every day. User ID. Password. Just like I do every day.

But it didn't work.

I tried it again. Thoughts of the dreaded April Fools Day C*nficker virus filled me with a sudden and terrifying sense of doom.

One more time slowly, checking to make sure my CAPS LOCK was not on.

It was all over. I was absolutely convinced that every cent of money in every account gone. Every password to every thing I'd ever logged into in my life was surely now in the hands of some terrifying enemy.

Then my brian recognized something so small. So tiny.

Apparently my 10 letter last name that is incorporated into this combination of IDs was a little short today. I SPELLED MY OWN LAST NAME WRONG! I forgot an entire letter to be exact.

Geez! It's not like I haven't typed it approximately 7,223,999,876 times since the dawn of the computer age.

But oh the relief when I got into my system.

So April Fools Day to you. To all of us!