Monday, April 25, 2011

Moving Parts

I've not blogged much lately. We've been too busy living.

Here are some highlights:

Peter visited from Boston.
Since his wedding in Newport three summers ago, Peter has been busy overachieving in the child acquisition department. He and Sarah added one to the one he already had and their second will be born this summer. They also adopted a child in need. It's a wonderful story and I'd share it except that my keyboard will stop working with the amount of tears that fall every time I think about it. The only downside to Peter's much expanded family is that they will not be coming with us to Italy this summer. And that's a bummer because his oldest daughter is the same age as our gemelli and they have a blast together. This picture is of the happy couple in Spain with us on Father's Day, 2009. Sarah is happy here. I hope she's as smiley this Father's Day when she has four children, one not sleeping through the night and another in diapers. I bet she will be, after all, she did teach high school science in a previous life. Surely the little kids will be easier than private high schoolers.

Kathy visited from Boston.
Mark did the marathon then they were here for the week. I had dinner with them in the city. Note: even if you show up at Slanted Door right when it opens you have a snowball's chance in Siberia of getting a table. And I was dressed very well that night! Kathy is the middle gal in this picture, taken in Savannah when a bunch of us celebrated our 40th birthdays. She looks 14 and is a professor of biostatistics at Boston University.

The Klevatts visited from Chicago.
David is my first cousin and we grew quite close when I was in undergrad and he was in law school nearby. Maybe I took advantage of him because he was my escape when my roommates made me nuts? I dunno. I'm very fond of him. He has a wife and two daughters, roughly the same age as our own. His eldest daughter does classes at The Second City. If you do not know what that is, look it up fast and get yourself to Chicago pronto. David, my brother and my father have the same sense of humor. My abs are still sore from all that laughter.

Michael and Riley visited from LA.
Spring Break = college tours. Michael and Dave met freshman year in the dorms. We warned Riley that the people you meet in college really do become your life-long friends. I look at Michael and see a 21-year-old.

There is still skiable snow at Tahoe and it irks me that I do not have time to get up there to enjoy it. I'm perhaps the only person in the Bay still doing a rain dance.

My client work is frenetic. And then my husband bought another publishing company, which I would like to participate in more than just listening to him talk about it for 30 seconds before I fall into my coma at night.

The rabbi at our synagogue (also known as The Cousin) is departing. I did not expect to take this as hard as I have. While he may no longer be the right rabbi for the larger part of our congregation, he was for us and now we've got some serious thinking to do about our affiliation. It's one more moving piece. All would be right in the world if his next job was at the synagogue two 'burbs north. But think that the rabbi there still has a few years in him. Oy!

I'm looking forward to the weekend, and to celebrating a family friend's Bat Mitzvah. I'll also be checking out that synagogue for future membership in a clandestine sort of way. I suppose it is not so clandestine if I just told you all about it.

Is Passover over yet?!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Goodbye Dr. Peggy

We are a family of five. A healthy family of five. Yet we spend an obscene amount on healthcare because Dave and I are both self-employed. I've been thinking about switching to Kaiser for a long time. I like a lot of what Kaiser is about: operational efficiency, preventative services, easy-to-obtain same-day appointments or somewhat urgent care appointments.

Yet I stalled mostly because The Pinks have been with the same pediatrician since they were old enough to know they had a pediatrician. And she is a wonderful woman, a compassionate and skilled physician.

Things such as Thing 2's unexpected encounter with the icicle are a significant out-of-pocket expense for us; using the Kaiser model it wouldn't be a big deal at all.

And so I pulled the trigger.

Experience 1:
I needed my eyes checked. The exam lasted 15 minutes -- 45 minutes less than the last visit I had to an optometrist. However, my prescription was updated and I can see again.

Experience 2:
Eldest Daughter needed a well visit. Parking was a nightmare. But the pediatrician herself was nice enough and again, the visit was quite brief as compared to a well check with Dr. Peggy.

Experience 3:
Thing 2 injured her finger at school playing ga ga. I called Kaiser and by phone, a sympathetic RN helped me examine Thing 2's hand. She then told me what to buy at the pharmacy and saved me a trip to urgent care. I really liked that! However, Thing 2's finger did not heal as fast as the RN thought it should. And that led us to Experience 4.

Experience 4:
Hello Minor Injury Clinic, the model of efficiency. A same-day doctor's appointment, a quick trip to x-ray two floors down and a return trip to the doctor's office for the diagnosis. Except that the doctor skipped delivering the diagnosis as he tried to push us out the door to the cast room. I stopped him and said, "I must have missed the diagnosis. Can you review the x ray with me?" He did stop and show me the bone chip, a fracture. And then came the splint. While we were having the splint put on, Thing 1 mentioned that her allergies were still bothering her. What the heck, we went upstairs to pediatrics and saw the first doctor who could work her in.

Experience 5:
And I liked this guy better than the pediatrician I'd selected for our kids. But he's a he! And the shes want a she. Ugh.

This is an adjustment.

I did not realize how much of a relationship I had with our long-time doctors until we switched. I've often wondered how much they really knew me, knew us. I don't have that same expectation with Kaiser. How much does that matter to me? I'm not sure yet. Me being me, I penned lovely farewell notes to each of our former doctors, ensuring they'd at least remember us if it turns we go that route again. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Skeletons in the Closet

A high school friend phoned today. He asked me to edit his manuscript, an autobiography disguised as a novel. He is a strange adult who is, by his own admission, the result of a less-than-ideal childhood. I am happy to review his work and also more than a little scared.

I am lucky to play a small part in helping him share his story.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Living the Dream

Thom is a huge advocate of writing down your goals. They are easier to achieve if you are frequently reminded of them. I think I need to write down my goals, more concrete things than live happily ever after with Dave and The Pinks, leave the world a better place and learn to make dinner so that everything is done at the same time.

I had lunch with a friend last week and in four years her husband will retire. In five years their youngest will be out of the house. She has a clear plan for the next phase of their life. I like that.

My brother's college buddy lives in Truckee. He worked hard to live his dream. He convinced his ultra-conservative San Francisco employer to let him work from Tahoe. He married a woman who supported his dream, perhaps even shared it. They have a child together (named Sierra, duh!) and ski a lot. And he often posts beautiful pictures on Facebook, ones that make me smile ear-to-ear on the most frenetic of work days.

One of our Tahoe neighbors has a son who wants to be on the US Ski Team. Although they have a house in the Bay, they live at Squaw and the 16-year-old trains and skis year-round. The son is living his dream.

I feel sorry for my children. They have no concept of how good they have it, how much they are living the dream. If not their dream, many people's dream. From the top of the Shirley Lake chair, on the most glorious of Spring days and overlooking the lake, I gave this considerable thought. Our children have coordinating, brand-name ski clothes. They ski on good equipment with sharp edges. When they forget their gators we pull out our credit cards and buy them new ones instead of letting them suffer for their oversight. For lunch at the mid mountain restaurant they eat overpriced, over-salted hot dogs and drink not-very-hot chocolate made from water and powdered mix.

If these kids are to continue to ski, I need to give them some tough love. They need to know that skiing is not always ski in, ski out. Here's my plan:

1. They will be woken at 4am on Saturday mornings and have their sleepy bodies thrown in the car for day trips to Sugar Bowl.

2. They will carry their own gear from the far reaches of the parking lot to the lifts!

3. They will know the fear of driving to the mountains in a rear-wheel drive station wagon.

4. They will do this drive without a DVD player, iPod or DS.

5. They will eat McDonald's pancakes for breakfast in Auburn.

6. They will put on their boots while sitting in the back of that station wagon.

7. They will take them off in that now-really-cold-station-wagon at the end of the day, without a warm, cushy sofa to kick back on and someone to hand them a bottle of water.

I predict this will aid their character development significantly.

Back to living the dream. What's yours? How are you going to get there?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Springtime at Squaw

When I opened my eyes Saturday morning something was wrong. Instead of seeing snow and trees I saw multicolored canopies. Was I at a swim meet? A swap meet? Earl Gray and I walked out on the balcony. Sure enough, there was a canopy city out there and it was growing larger minute by minute. They were so close I could have handed them cups of coffee. But they paid no attention to me, the woman wearing a lime green ski jacket over purple plaid pajamas, looking befuddled. An hour later it became clear: Granite Chief was setting up for a demo day. Still, it blocked my view. I did what came naturally after a very long work week: I went back to sleep.

The kids did not feel like skiing so we lounged around and when Dave came back from racing in the Far West Championships, I ventured as far as the grocery store. The best part of the day was during the late afternoon: Neighbor Ben's 9th Birthday Party at the Papoose Chair! We tubed, made s'mores, drank margaritas and feasted on gluten free pizza and cake.

The Birthday Boy and his family moved up here this winter. They still have a house in the Bay but he and his younger brother go to school in Donner. The parents and younger sister commute and they have a manny, too. The party guests were an eclectic mix: city friends who spoke of Lick, Burke's and Hamlin; neighbors like us who talked about rockers and renovations; ski team families who talked about the Big Air results; the Birthday Boy's local classmates and their families who compared notes on Summer ski plans for the southern hemisphere, and the Birthday Boy's extended family.

When I opened my eyes Sunday morning it was very quiet. At least I saw snow. But there was no line at the KT chair. Once again I was befuddled. And then I realized that it was because there was no fresh snow. Fresh snow = diehards who get in line two hours before the lifts open to lay the first tracks. My brother and father showed up promptly at 9a to continue the tri-generational skiing we enjoyed two weekends ago. It was a beautiful day of Spring skiing. My brother pushed Thing 1 harder than she is used to and her parallel turns and hockey stops improved. So did her confidence level; I would not have dragged her down some of those black runs on my own!

While there is a lot of snow up here, a record 61 feet this year, it's melting quickly on the lower mountain. Squaw will be open through Memorial Day and while I doubt we'll ski that late in the season, it may be tempting to come back up that last week just to have done it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lessons from Glee

You love this show. I love this show. The music is upbeat and great for running. Grey's Anatomy, a TV show I have been with since its pilot, just did a music episode, likely to capitalize on the trend. Fail. Big fail. Even though the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack is a winner, the music episode was barely worth watching. Glee is magic.

Here are some things Glee reminds us of:

Gay is okay. Thank you, executive producers, for putting a same-sex kiss on TV during prime family viewing hours. And Kurt and Blaine were so adorable, too! Does anyone know if the actor who plays Blaine is gay in real life?

Teen pregnancy is not okay. Sure, Quinn looked cute and all but how much fun could it have been singing and dancing while hauling around that big belly?! And Quinn's water breaking at a competition? Ewwww! Fortunately Quinn regrets this, too, and has returned to the Celibacy Club.

Gywneth Paltrow is a triple threat. And did you see the fabulous choreography on Singing in the Rain? It's my all-time favorite piece of Glee choreography. Gywneth, do us a favor and keep to the screen. Your blog is terrible.

Parenting is hard. Example 1: Kurt's dad having the boy-on-boy sex talk with him. Example 2: Quinn's mom kicking her out for getting knocked up. Example 3: Finn's mom telling Finn that she deserves happiness and for him to suck it up and be happy she is marrying Kurt's dad.

High school is hard. For everyone. The closeted football player who kisses Kurt. The virgin, married guidance counselor. Always-angry Santana who can't figure out if she likes girls or boys. Coach Beiste who is tough on the outside but easily hurt. Trouty-lips Sam and Rachel, who are the odd ones out in the Quinn-Finn on-again, off-again romance.

Embrace your personal style. Rachel is adorable in her preppy nerdiness. Tina embraces her inner and outer Goth. Mercedes dresses big and bold, showing off those curves.

Well-written, well-executed dumb is hilarious. Brittany's deadpan one liners kill me time and time again: "When I pulled my hamstring I went to a misogynist." "Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?" "Sometimes I forget my middle name."

I am proud to be a Gleek.