Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dorothy was right!

There really is no place like home! I've been out of town the last few days at a training, and am so excited to jump in my rental car at 4pm when today's session ends to head back to my family.

Don't get me wrong. I've had a nice time here and have met some great people I'll be working with a lot this year, but going home is the best part of this event for me.

"Susanne! Danny! See you soon. Yeah!!!" Love, Monica

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just wondering...

So when I end a conversation or phone call I always say "see you soon" while the other person always says at the same time "see you later".

What does it mean? Am I so needy? :-) -M

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Tale of Two Coffees

I never drank a drop of coffee until I was 27 years old. Why knows why?  I certainly grew up in a household of coffee drinkers, and now I adore it, but there was definitely a turning point for me that I will now share in the story of how I came to love coffee for a meme called "Coffee Stories".  This is for Blissfully Caffinated who just had her 3rd child last week. Congratulations!

It was really hot in Guatemala. The kind of hot that made your sweat sweat. Yeah, it was that bad. I’d joined the Peace Corps and was off doing “the toughest job I’d ever love” and since I was a health educator, part of my job was to encourage people to boil their water.

Of course explaining about invisible germs without having benefit of speaking the local language was interesting, but I tried my hardest. You see, in the rural area of this beautiful Central American country, when the rainy season starts, many people get sick. Really sick. Here’s how the disease transmission part  works. Without toilets or latrines, many people just find a good place to “go”, and after taking care of business, cover up their mess leaves or other organic materials. When the rainy season starts it rains every day for six months. The rains flush everything downwards so the streams and rivers flow with all the additional rain. And the additional “you know what.”

Long story short, I got my share of gastrointestinal illnesses. I tried to be so careful about not drinking water that wasn’t bottled or boiled, but somehow I got pretty sick.

Going up to visit people in the rural villages was always my toughest challenge.  I was constantly faced with the conundrum of accepting offers of hospitality that included things like glasses of lemonade. I was almost certain that the water had not been boiled (even though ironically that was one of my reasons for being there with our local nurses—to encourage boiling water.)

Importantly, it was considered rude to reject an offer of hospitality, but I was so sick of getting sick. Then one day I spied something boiling on the wood stove at the house I was visiting. “That’s coffee” I was told. "That’s boiled” is what I was thinking.

Well it wasn’t exactly coffee. It was corn coffee which is apparently composed of a few coffee beans and corn all ground up and then boiled. It tasted awful but I graciously accepted it and stayed healthy.

After drinking this "coffee" for several months, one day I went to breakfast with friends at a nice hotel in Guatemala City. That morning, on a whim, I ordered coffee with my food.

I COULD NOT BELIEVE how delicious it was! Black Gold, Texas Tea, hey, this stuff was more valuable than a whole gusher of oil in my opinion.

And that ladies and gentlemen is the story of how I came to love coffee. As a matter of fact, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll head out to buy myself a steaming cup now. Ciao! -Monica

Thursday, October 22, 2009


So for a leadership development program I'm in, I have to do what is called a 360-degree assessment. That means I have to rate myself in an online database and and I have to ask my boss and other colleagues to also log in and rate me.

The ratings are all anonymous but when I go to my leadership training I'll get to see the combined ratings and do all this comparing and contrasting of how I perceive myself as compared to how others percieve me. I've done similar assessments in the past and it's pretty interesting, except that this time there is a very interesting twist.

You see, it looks like the organization that assigns the passwords and log ins accidently gave the same exact information to me and some stranger. 

How do I know this? Well, I've started getting e-mails from the company running the 360 degree assessment saying "so and so" has completed the rating you asked them to do. But unfortunately half of the names I'm getting back are people I don't know. It looks like some woman named "Tammy" and I were assigned the exact same log in and password. And our raters are logging into the same place to answer 85 questions about me. And her. And it's all getting combined.

Of course, I've contacted the company and the organization running my training to let them know that this problem is occuring. And I'm guessing "Tammy" is doing the same since she is more than likely getting the same e-mails telling her that some strangers have just completed her assessment.

I hope she's really cool and well liked. Everyone's favorite leader. You know, just in case they never solve this problem. -Monica

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Painting the Town (an awfully small town at that)

Imagine an itsy bitsy baby finger painting on your innards all day. Sound like fun?  Yup, our little fetus is pretty darn active. You know. In that sort of Karate Kid "wax on, wax off" kind of way.

So in addition to the usual kicks and punches, Susanne gets these very funny waving sensations quite frequently. Mabye he or she IS just waving?

"Helloooooooo" to you too baby. We can't wait to meet you! -Mommy

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Look Mom! Look!

Danny is really into being a back seat driver lately. Whenever we come up to a stop sign he lets us know that we need to stop. But sign are no big deal--stop lights are his thing. "Green! Go!" he'll cheer us from the back seat every single time we see one.

One thing he doesn't quite get yet is why we don't always go right away when we have a green light . Such as when we are trying to turn left into oncoming traffic.

His solution is to just yell more loudly and clearly, over and over again as we wait our turn.

It really is cute. Although a little rough on the ears. We're sure the baby will love this little game once he or she is safely ensconced in a car seat with Mr. Backseat Driver. Gonna be fun! -M

Friday, October 16, 2009


When you are in your third trimester, traveling with an animated two year old, and a spouse who is well meaning, but at times a bit of a dolt about successfully navigating airport security, there is little that can make you just start cracking up.

But on Monday this is exactly what happened as we passed through security with our typical collection of small carry ons, stroller, diaper bag, jackets, shoes, etc... at the Milwaukee Airport. Susanne busted out laughing!

Here's why...

I found a story about this unique sign in a Milwaukee newspaper and it kind of warmed my heart. Who says our federal government does not have a sense of humor?

Sincerely, Susanne's always well meaning wife!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

That's a head scratcher...

One of my sisters was momentarily stumped as to why Danny was wearing a Walgreen's ball cap when we visited MN this weekend.

Yup. That a great logo the Washington Nationals chose isn't it? But at least we don't have Dubya anymore! -M

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our poor poor boy

Did I mention that Danny got sick yesterday? He'd never been nauseated before, and I think that he was justifiable horrified and shocked by what started to happen after his belly started hurting.

It was just so sad to see him holding his tiny belly in pain crying "boo boo mom" as he'd start coughing and then throwing up again. I tried not to worry too much, but failed miserably. (And yes I called the doctor after he'd been sick 5 times over 5 hours).

Fortunately he's somewhat better today (after spiking a fever last night) but still hasn't eaten much.

We'd like to offer a medal of commendation Jenni who, bless her heart, had to simultaneously console our little guy while keeping her two boys out of the mess. Thanks Jenni. We don't tell you this enough, but you are the best! -Monica

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

True story

I sent my mom a small package in the mail this morning with a not so cryptic note that said:

Dear Mom,
It's official. I'm an idiot. 
But I'm your idiot. 
Love, Monica

The package also contained her entire key ring (including car key) which we used when we visited my side of the family in Minnesota this weekend.

Why so hard on myself you might ask? Well, this is not the first time I've had to mail that silly set of keys back to my mom after flying back to DC.

I keep thinking "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn, those keys like me. They really like me." -M

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Who knew? Apparently not me!

This my friends is the Washington Post Food Section. It comes every Wednesday. So, let's do some math here...for about the last 312 Wednesdays since I've known my lovely wife Susanne, I have not noticed that she always reads the Food Section.

I clearly missed all the clues. The Food Network marathons on weekends--you know, the omnipresent Iron Chef, Next Food Network Star and America's Test Kitchen programming. That and all the delicious foods Susanne cooks. Geez, I'm a freaking idiot.

And how you may ask did I finally figure out that Susanne always reads the Food Section? Because yesterday morning when we were running late I took the paper with me to read on the train. And not wanting to be burdened by an extra, you know, 4 ounces of newspaper I got rid of the "dregs". The classifieds, circulars, and, gulp, the Food Section.

So of course when Su and Danny got home she looked through the paper I'd politely returned to the coffee table and I was, shall we say, questioned?  I believe that a synonym for "clueless" was bandied about.

OMG! Do you think there are other things I should know about her but I don't? Has anyone else had a similar revelation? Oh well, signing off now to see if I can find anyone here at work who still might have the Food Section from yesterday. Cuz online is just not the same. Ciao! -Monica

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wedding March (or shall I say Slog?)

Yesterday our City Council introduced legislation to allow for same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia. This will have to pass a 30 day review by Congress (since we have home rule here) so we won’t know if it will become law until December. But we remain hopeful.

The council member in our ward of the city was not a co-sponsor of the legislation. So 10 of the 13 council members, and the mayor, support the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009, yet our council member does not.

I had actually written him an e-mail last month appealing for his support. You see, the thing is, he knows me and my family because of my involvement with community issues and I honestly think he harbors us no ill will. But I think he is very concerned with how his vote would be accepted (or not accepted to be more precise) by many of his constituents.

Here is a little bit of what I wrote him:

“You know, I really wish that this kind of politics didn’t have to play out state by state (or district as in our case), but it is what it is. When I think of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, I have to wonder what it would have been like if each state had been able to pick and choose how it felt about civil rights. (Very ugly I imagine.)

That landmark piece of legislation in 1964 outlawed racial segregation in schools, public places, and employment. It’s hard now to imagine that we even needed legislation to right such a terrible wrong, but we did.

I guess my point is, I believe that politics is a special calling where an elected official, yes of course, listens to the will of his or her people, but is also powerfully challenged to do the right thing. You can bet there were lots of people who were outraged that they’d have to integrate with those they considered inferior, and guess what? They were as wrong as wrong can be. The politicians got it right in my opinion for the good of all.”

He did respond to my e-mail in part by saying

“I have been steadfast in my position on marriage equity and invite you to review my record on the issue and encourage those who have a position on marriage equity to speak up on the issue.”

I got to thinking about his use of the word “equity”. It is not the same as “equality”. It strikes me a bit more like “separate buy equal” which is how many people view domestic partnerships and civil unions compared to marriage. I’d love to see him become a true supporter of marriage equality for all as he continues to lead our ward.

Anyway, I guess I’m glad that I got my two cents in and I guess now I should consider writing to the Archbishop of the Catholic Church here in our area. Here is his latest contribution to the debate:

“Marriage is a path toward holiness,” he wrote in a letter to about 300 Roman Catholic priests. “As members of the church, we are obliged to be all the more attentive to the challenges that weaken marriage.”

Sigh. I wish I knew how we gay people being married weakened straight marriages. Seriously. I never thought we were all that powerful. Oh, and I think that there are many paths toward holiness, and being honest and accepting is one of the best ways I know. -Monica

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

Plenty of vegetables

So seven months pregnant Susanne has been really craving chocolate of late. Her favorite is dark chocolate which, she likes to remind me, is chock full of antioxidents. But even better, last night a friend pointed out that technically chocolate comes from beans and is therefore a vegetable.

Hmmmm...I'd better digest that one for a while ;-)

P.S. Following this reasoning coffee is also a vegetable right? -M

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Eating my words

Remember a few posts ago where I was saying how excited I was for the baby to get here? Like now? Well, I've decided that December (when he or she is due) is early enough. Why am I eating my words? Ummm...Danny has had a bit of a cold. The ususal symptoms are all there. Slight fever, very runny nose, very hard time getting comfortable sleeping with the congestion. "Nose boo boo" he cries whenever he wakes up.

And Tuesday night he woke up 6 times. Crying. Even though we elevated the mattress where he lays his head, sometimes when he's this congested he only feels better sitting up and being rocked for a while. And with Su busy growing a spleen or something for baby number two, this night duty fell to me.

I am still tired 48 hours later. He's still not 100% but he was only up twice in the night last night.  You know, I  had completely forgotten how tiring it is to be woken up every few hours. And in all honesty people, I do not wear sleep deprivation well.

So. Little baby number two. Take your time sweetheart. We'll be here waiting. In December. Love, Mommy