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Thursday, April 28, 2016

51 Months

I freely admit that counting in months is downright silly at this point. She's 4. That said, I promise myself I'll publish once a month and if I had to come up with a real title, then that might not happen on the same somewhat regular schedule. So, 51 Months it is. (This is going to be really awkward when she's getting her driver's license some time around month 192.)

It's official! Erik got tenure at De Anza. 
The big ceremony
This month, Ammy learns there are things she's good at and things she's definitely not good at.

Things Ammy is Good At: 
I realized that Stanford Continuing Studies had made a minor transcription error in that I'm teaching two classes for them this quarter for the first time and they had my new Mastering Your Google Account scheduled for the day that the Mastering Your iOS Device class was on my calendar. I'd been thinking for months about how to prepare that class as I interacted with various different Google properties (hello Blogger!) and thought that I was getting close to being ready to start preparing the class. But I figured out the error by sending an email to my iOS class on Monday, April 11th around noontime, and someone replied saying, "Isn't that on May 14th?" There's that gut punch you get where you realized that person is almost certainly right. And you go look it all up online and confirm that they are most definitely right. And then you momentarily completely freak out as you realize you have a week and a half to write the entire class and get it printed, all while doing your day job and having a 4 year old. Yeah. That was a thing. So, I got started. I stayed at work to work on that after hours til the last shuttle left, then grabbed a terrible McChicken sandwich on the way home, ate that while driving the last 2 miles to home, and arrived just in time for tuck-ins and songs. Then once I was done there, cracked open my laptop and spent another 2 1/2 hours working on it. Then I did the same thing on Wednesday. By a few minutes after midnight on Wednesday, I felt like I could've taught it the next day in a pinch. By the end of the weekend, I was ready. I opened it one last time on Wednesday at lunchtime to make sure there weren't any stupid typos (that are freaking invisible til you haven't looked at it for at least two days) and printed it on Thursday. I taught the class on Saturday, April 23rd to a group that seemed very happy when they left, telling me what a great instructor I was and how much they loved this and hoped they would really apply it soon. The class was scheduled from 9:30-4:30, and we wrapped up at 4:20, like a boss, even though I'd never said one single word out loud in prep. I just knew how long it was going to take because sometimes experience is awesome.

Today I had to give an orientation to Toolbox to new firmware engineers. I started the prep yesterday. I had a one hour slot. I gave 30 minutes of orientation and 20 minutes of pitch to create their own articles, wrapping up in time for everyone to be out of the room for the next group. Smooooooooth.

So yeah, I'm good at that.

Things Ammy is not so good at: 
We've been working on a swing/Bollywood choreography with Anna. It's completely awesome that she's organized and led this. Sadly, I am not good at picking up choreography. Lead/follow dancing is totally my thing. There are many people who I can dance with and with the slightest lean, the tiniest hand movement, or just meeting eyes, I can follow what they're doing, even if I'm not familiar with even the basic footwork of the dance. But memorizing an independent pattern that involves moving in space, doing something specific with my feet, and doing something entirely differently specific with my arms at the same time is way beyond me. This disappoints me terribly. Not only am I letting myself down in this case, I'm letting down a dozen other people who are recording a video on Saturday to show off what we've worked on for two months. I went to rehearsal on the 16th and was introduced to the last section, hoping I'd pick it up quickly since I was necessarily missing the next meeting to teach my Google (nee iOS) class. There were several big new moves - a Charleston thing, a group arm circle thing, a section where we all moved to new positions doing one of three different moves, a swing turn, a Bollywood bounce and arm thing, and a closing group thing. I didn't feel like I got a single one. Not even the swing turn was working. I can follow any swing turn in my sleep, but there I was totally blowing it. The only times I went the right way at all was when I finally stopped trying and just closed my eyes and let people move my body for me. And I was going to miss the last rehearsal and then we were filming the following weekend. So I had a big cry about it all, feeling like a total failure. I emailed Anna to see if maybe I could just child wrangle while she took my place, since she was choreographing not dancing and I didn't want to screw up the video for everyone. But it was on a thread about dresses and shoes, and she skimmed over that part. Then I went off to class and Anna said she'd be taking Joanne's spot because she was in wedding panic. And Erik said what about my spot because I was quitting too. And then they brainstormed a plan and are getting two last minute fill-ins who have way more jazz and ballet experience than me and teaching it to them in two evenings and that's how it will work out, which Erik told me as I was going to sleep after teaching all day Saturday. And then I spent the entire night waking up multiple times feeling like a total asshole. I would never quit a dance if it meant that someone was going to have to scramble to fix it. I've danced bone-tired and injured just to make sure a four hand or an eight hand Irish can go. But I wasn't there, so I couldn't speak for myself. And I wouldn't have needed to if I could've been there at the rehearsal anyway. Net result, Erik told everyone I was a quitter, I feel like a jerk, and I'm going to try to go anyway on Saturday to help them get the video done, all the while feeling like I'd rather never show my face to the group again. So yeah, I'm not good at that.

In news of Athena, she's having a little trouble in Pre-K. She's gone from being one of the oldest, most articulate kids in the yard they share with all the 2 and 3 year olds to being the youngest in the room again, and she doesn't want to go. There's one boy who has been throwing food at her, and there's another girl who gets frustrated with her not doing things right. She takes these things personally. See the above story for background on where she gets it from. I talked to her teacher, who was really not okay with the food throwing and who also was going to chat with the other little girl. Clementine has been out a lot and also occasionally a little withdrawn as she has her own struggles with the transition, so Athena has been sad on school days. She's also taken up biting her nails all of the sudden. For that, I desperately miss Miss Kym. She was always helping them with nail polish activities so Athena never started it before now.

On the plus side, we got great school photos back.







Steve Gardner (who she met at 6 months on the Alaska cruise) used Photoshop magic to improve it.
On Thursday, April 21st, the school called about 3:30 and said Athena had thrown up after nap. Erik ran to school and got her and she threw up again before they made it home. She threw up one more time watching Octonauts. Poor ladybug.

She spent the next day feeling miserable, but bounced right back Saturday morning like nothing had happened. Erik decided to go ahead with the weekend plans, ready to pull back at any moment. This started at  dance rehearsal and went on to daytripping to the gamer campout. After rehearsal, he went up to the Portola Redwoods for the day and Athena had a blast with Lorelei. We all went back the next morning and Connor joined the adventure. We let them run and play while we played some games and we knew they were okay because they'd go running by every few minutes, collecting banana slugs, chasing each other, walking on logs, and so on. We hiked down to the ranger station at Mrs. Lendvay's suggestion to get coloring books and the girls sat and colored by the fire for the next hour. The adults got sucked into a game called CodeNames which is ostensibly about two teams competing against one another but is really about the two people giving clues bonding over how crazy their teams are with their guessing strategy.
Arriving on Daddy's shoulders with cookies from Rachel
Coloring by the fire with Lorelei
Walking on a log
A performance upon the stage
Earlier in the month we went to San Jose Fantasy Faire. Now, I'll admit I was pretty down on the fantasy faire concept originally. I mean, Ren Faire was about a certain amount of historical accuracy and trying to give people an understanding of another time, and fantasy fair was just cheating. But really, it's been a good long time since Ren Faire was about Elizabethan or Tudor England in any serious way. There's Ottomans wearing lame. There's Germans marching around England. I'm not buying historically accurate. Fantasy faire rips the band-aid off and is actually a nice alternative to the overly serious Ren Faire attitude. And Athena LOVED it. She danced on stage with the Pryanksters for Jenny Pluck Pears and Sellinger's Round and Ring Around the Rosy. She had storytime with mermaids and climbed all over a pirate ship and rode a giant unicorn.
Getting ID bands on Friday night in the rain

Sitting with the mermaids

Tickling Daddy in the stocks

Aboard the pirate ship

With her rain boots under her dress

Snuggling with Sarah



Mermaid storytime

With Rapunzel, Elsa, and Anna
Dancing on stage with the Pryanksters




Pryanksters of Fantasy Faire 2016
Hugs from the fairy queen
Vlad the Unicorn

Erik got to go observe Athena's dance class this week. We love her ballet teacher. She keeps the kids on task and focused. They're really learning. I really hope this gives her skills she'll use throughout her life.




Dancer besties

Finally, our house sale closed escrow. Ten years later, my house was worth what I could've sold it for in 2006! Yay! The best part is that we were able to sell it to a friend who'd been experiencing the same market problems we'd experienced - getting outbid and watching prices rise above the ability to save. So congratulations to Susanne! I hope the house treats you as well as it treated me over the years.
Sold!
And now, your moment of Zen.
Because that's the face of love when your kid decides to make faces at you while you pee.




Friday, April 08, 2016

50 months and counting

The end of March was utter madness in our household. It was:

  • finals for Erik's classes. 
  • end of quarter at Tesla and I got sucked into Model X documentation in the war room at the Factory with much of my day's work being projected on a wall as I did it. No pressure!
  • putting our old house in San Jose on the market and selling it.
  • running our neighborhood Easter Egg hunt for the first time.
  • launching Model 3. 

So, we've um, lost cohesion. We're okay. Now. Thanks. But if we seemed to fall of the edge of the planet briefly, it's because we kind of did. There was too much. Let's sum up.

The house is sold. We had multiple offers. It went to someone who really deserved to win. We're closing escrow before the end of this month.

Athena has been so completely adorable that Erik spend a lot of time staring at each other silently mouthing, "Oh my god can she be any more adorable? Seriously?"

Easter went well. It started with an Easter basket from the Foxes. Athena took us on a merry chase through the house following the fallen eggs.




Then came the local neighborhood tradition. 15 kids across a dozen or so houses, going from house to house to hunt eggs and ending in one neighbor's back yard for mimosas and snacks. We're not quite sure how we landed in such an awesome little neighborhood, but we did. The Bakers started the tradition ten years ago, but their kids are grown, so we're taking over. I learned how to do layers on a Google Map to make a map of participating houses in the neighborhood. It was a cool trick, and one I'll use in my Google class in May.

All the egg hunters
The older kids helped direct traffic
Afters at the Whites
Since Athena Lendvay's dad was in town, she hosted Easter dinner. We ate too much, then headed out to Lorelei's school to walk it off. Athena will follow Lorelei anywhere. 

Happy together
We've had two rounds of Erik's all-day Runequest game. One was on a Saturday, so Rob, T, and Danielle all came by at the end for a little unwinding. Athena sees these folks maybe six times a year, but in moments, she was showing off her trucks, climbing into Rob's lap to explain to him about the Octonauts, and goofing around with T. It's nice that she trusts our friends so deeply.
Give me your arm.
You're required to cuddle me. 
Here T, let me tell you about Captain Barnacles
The second Runequest day, Athena and I headed out to Happy Hollow and Jeff and Connor joined us there.
Sea horse sillies
Thanks for the bell Ethan!
Sharing a ladybug
Sophie was in a mood
Perched
I have touched a Model 3. It was one of the ones on stage. It was a real car. It was a very pretty little baby. And it was comfy in both the back seats and the driver's seat. I am so on the list.

Anna organized a dance rehearsal/performance group with babysitting because she wanted to dance more and because too many of us weren't doing that because of kids. So, we're learning a crazy swing/Bollywood fusion dance choreography on Saturday mornings. That should be wrapping up at the end of April. I feel hopelessly out of step and incompetent, but at least I'm moving. We'll post the video when it's all done. In our fantasy world we're this cool:



And now, your Moment of Zen: