Saturday, January 19, 2013

Observations from this Dance Mom

There should have been an Abby Lee lookalike award at Hollywood Connection last weekend. Dead serious.

This was Liberty's first dance competition and convention, and that face-spanning smile at left stayed with her all weekend. She took classes all day Saturday then dolled up and performed. Her team won second place and gold, for those who keep score. We'd planned to watch the older dancers compete after we'd had dinner but she lay down on her bed in the hotel and opened her eyes 11 hours later.

Paris stopped dancing competitively five years ago. Here are my observations after returning to the scene.
  1. This year's trend in costumes is derriere adornment.
  2. This year's trend in hair is wigs. Piggy tails. Pony tails. Colorful, fun, wild things, too.
  3. The level of competition has increased. By an order of magnitude.
  4. Cash is king if a dancer eats chicken nuggets and pizza. Finally there is convenient food set out for the dancers that does not involve sitting down, waiting and tipping on bad service. If a dancer does not eat these things then the Dance Mom spends her weekend dashing to and from Panera, Jamba Juice, Chipotle and Subway. 
  5. The further away the competing studio is from a major metropolitan area, the greater the chance the Dance Moms are wearing blinged sweats branded with their studio name. Watch out Nicki Minaj.
  6. I am far less competitive than other people. I just want Liberty to have a good time.
One convention down, three to go. Plus Disneyland.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wrapping Up

I begin my new gig in a week. Since deciding to change my work situation I've been frantic tying up loose ends because starting a new project is synonymous with a reduced amount of free time and an increased amount of mental exhaustion.

As everyone knows by now, in the Jacob vs. Edward drama Edward gets the girl. Seeing Breaking Dawn Part 2 was on my list. The movie was fine. I just needed closure on the whole dang thing. It feels like forever ago that I read the Twilight Series.

I baked for our next two NCL commitments. My current favorite cookie recipe is similar to risotto and soup in that you use whatever you have in the house for the top of these three-layer cookies.

The Steve Jobs book by Walter Isakson. Surely I'm the the last person in the Valley to read it. In technology circles its quoted as often as The Minority Report and The Social Network. My first clue was finding eight copies on the shelf in the Mountain View Library. Truth be told, it took me a long time to get through. Isakson is a gifted writer and I wanted to savor the words and also think about it, too. I began my tech career in 1989, toward the beginning of Apple's historic rise, and even worked on the short-lived NeXTWorld Magazine.

Deferred Tech Support. Off to the Apple Store I went with one ancient desktop and two laptops to migrate the data from the old one to the new two. I needed to straighten out Apple IDs and iTunes Libraries. I gave some TLC to my PC, which has seen little use this last year. It needed software upgrades and a good reorganization. A dusting too.

Filing. Recipes and travel articles and health insurance claim forms. Creating new files for 2013.

Framing. The kids' art and new black and white pictures we had taken in Mexico. Hanging all that stuff. Taking old stuff down. Deciding where to put old and new framed art. This takes time!

Alterations! I'll be in an office five days a week so I did a big drop off at the seamstress as well as parked myself in front of Pitch Perfect on demand to do simple fixes myself. You can skip Pitch Perfect.

Shopping. I hit the mall for some work wardrobe basics, essentially winter sweaters in fun colors to go with all those boring pants I just hemmed. Also foundations. Liberty, now 11 and who was with us, found this part as much fun as having a flu shot. Paris enjoyed it more and for the investment I made on her foundations, I should have let her go to Victoria's Secret like she wanted to in the first place.

My list is getting shorter and the daylight hours are getting longer. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Who quits a job they love?!


I woke up bright and early on January 1 and made Coq au Vin. I'm eating it right now and it's good. So good it was worth all that shopping and chopping and sauteing and braising and reducing. It's gluten-free, too.

Why did I cook instead of sleep in? Because one of my goals for 2013 is to cook more. And to cook more I need to spend more time at home, which is also why I quit a job I loved. It's hard to be a great mom and wife when your mind is constantly spinning technobabble messaging. I'm sure I'll love my new job, too, and I'll especially love that it's 43 miles closer to home and that I'll be able to see The Pinks both morning and evening. We're on the back nine after all.

The hardest part of quitting my job was actually getting the words out of my mouth. I literally had to force them out. And once I did, the recipient of that phrase, "My last day is January 11" sat back in his chair, paused and then said, "Really?!"

I'll be working on a change management project at PG&E come January 14. It's on Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek.