Category Archives: Work

2 months


October Early November 2008 093

Elena Mae, 2 days old

Elena will be 2 months old tomorrow and  I’m flabbergasted.  How did this happen?  My baby!  She’s already grown up so much.  She gives us huge, gummy grins and pouts with her bottom lip stuck way out.  She stands up, balancing precariously on her toes, as we hold her steady.  She charms the socks off of every curious face at Safeway.  And she curls her feet up, tucks her arms in, and snuggles her head into our neck when Jesse and I hold her.

She would like to spend her naps sleeping ON you, thank you very much, and generally disagrees with being put down at all.  When carried around, she peers over your shoulder with her neck stretched out like a turtle and if you don’t walk around enough, she’ll whack her head into your face.  She grunts and squeaks and coos and says “hmmm” as she’s falling asleep.  She tries to talk to us in coos and woos and whos.

She likes to eat, and eat and eat, and thinks a pacifier is a cold, cruel substitute for being soothed by Mom.  When she’s hungry or grumpy about not getting her way, she pumps her legs up and down in anger.

Sher loves to be tickled.  But don’t overdo it, or I’ll spit up on you!  She tries to stuff her fist in her mouth, she tries to stuff my fist in her mouth and she likes to chew on arms.  She does NOT sleep through the night, not even close.  Her poops are explosive and she usually goes while I’m breastfeeding, more often then not, making a big mess of every layer of clothing.  Completely at random, she’ll spit up lumpy curds for an hour and then demand a meal.

She so precious.  Her skin is the softest ever and her hair, on your cheek, is dreamy.  She splays her fingers in her sleep and melts in to you.  When she smiles, her tongue curls up and one eye (her left) is bigger then the other.  She loves to look in the mirror and having her diaper changed.

She has brand new downy hair on top of her head and her eyelashes are longer than mine, but blond, like mine.  She still has milia, the small white freckles (keratin deposits, I found out) on her cheeks and she has an impressive and expressive double chin.  She has a very bit of a belly, but is mostly long and lean, with chubby thighs.  Her belly button is like a little cinnamon roll.  Her left eyebrow is permanently ruffled, like Jesse’s, and her ears have little curled bits, like mine.  She’s somehow 5936750928 times more beautiful then either of us.

Elena Mae, Ellie Lu, Lainy, Ellie Mae, you are the sweetest little bit of vibrant life.  I’m looking down into your angel face right now.  As much as I’d like to freeze time and preserve you in this soft, cuddly, smiley time, I can’t wait to see what happens next in the story of our new, crazier, happier, tired, loud, busy,  and messy lives.

To commemorate, I finally uploaded pictures to flickr.  See them there on the right side of the page.

Now it is your 2 month birthday!  At 5am on this morning, two months ago, my water broke in bed…


Baby and Vacation


Gah! I did the “worried pregnant lady” thing today and called the doctor to ask questions about some minor weird little things from the past few days (do you really want to know? Are you all women out there? I’ll tell those of you that would want to know on the phone, how’s that?). She surprised and scared me by telling me I should have come in immediately! It’s my third trimester! I have to be careful! Come to the office! Gah!

First off, of course, nothing is wrong.

So after a short cry (she scared me) while I was changing out of my houseclothes (boxers and a ripped up old t-shirt of Jesse’s) I got in a cab to the doctor’s office to see a giggling, 50-something, French ObGyn. They went through all the motions; weight check, blood pressure, pee in a cup, etc., and then took a look at my cervix, which was, as always, pronounced very healthy. It’s actually quite reassuring to have always been told how healthy my lady-parts are. They always get praise.

And then I got another ultrasound. Score! I have another set of pictures of a chubby baby face. I asked the technician how the size of the baby was and it’s measuring just right – 60th percentile or somewhere around there and somehow from measuring around it’s head and body and legs or something like that, she came up with a weight of 1.23kg which is somewhere over 2 lbs.

All together, it was a good time! All is well in my uterus. I jumped the gun on my scheduled monthly appointment, which was next week, so they canceled that and have decided to check my cervix (great) just once more a day before I fly.

Geez, I’m sorry. I think I’m rather single-mindedly tuned in to all-baby-all-the-time talk these days. There must be more I can share with you. Ah, yes! I taught my last class at Jesse’s school yesterday, finishing up a course I created for beginning students where we read, discussed, and played around with some short (simple) stories. It was fun and I’m going to miss those students. Jesse’s really darn excited about coming home, too, but feels he’s going to miss teaching quite a bit. You know what? He’s a very good teacher.

Oh, also, we went on a little mini-vacation this last week. We took a 4 hour bus ride to the base of the nearest mountains to Shanghai (hills, really, but craggy ones) and then a taxi up the mountain to a small town. The “taxi” was actually a mini-mini-van (smaller than my honda) and the road barely fit two of them to pass. We careened up the mountain around hairpin turns so tight they had mirrors to see who might be coming and a 20 km/h speed limit. Our driver went around 40km/h despite his engine starting to steam (or smoke?) alarmingly about halfway up.

Once there we settled into our very nice and clean hotel and found a sandwich to eat at a “lodge” ran by a foreigner. It was not so hot as Shanghai, but really steamy and thunderstormy. We went for a walk around some trails and through bamboo forest, but after my 7th mosquito bite, found a place to have a real lunch. After our lunch of bamboo and tofu, we returned to the hotel and reclined in the steaminess and read our books. For hours. It was awesome.

We had a late dinner of some more bamboo (don’t get me wrong, all this bamboo was delicious) and egg and something else. Back in our hotel we rinsed off in the shower and drifted off early, like barely after 9pm.

Jesse (purposely) woke up at sunrise (this means 4:30am in China) and took a walk through the forest, getting some really fantastic pictures. He came back around 7:30, just as I was waking up. I went in the bathroom to pee, at which point the power went out and I accused Jesse of turning the light out on me. The power never came back on, but it made no difference, except we missed having the fan. Also? The proprietors never mentioned it even when we were checking out, despite the lights flickering on and off while we were chatting with them.

We had an awesome traditional English breakfast at the “lodge” and read our books again for a few hours before a taxi came to careen us back down the hill. We had been up in the mountains for exactly 24 hours. After another bumpy, swervy, horn-honking, 4 hour bus ride, we were back in Shanghai and grabbing some McDonald’s to go for dinner.

And that was our vacation! Actually quite relaxing and beautiful.



Today I am teaching a CLASS! Ack! I have picked up a class at Jesse’s school and will be teaching about Culture (but mostly about speaking English) 3 afternoons a week and, though I am prepared, I am nervous. And having a hard time finding anything professional to wear. My one collared shirt and one pair of non-denim, non-cargo pants will only last me one day of class and then what do I wear? Also, these items don’t fit so very, very well, so I will be uncomfortable. Gah! Also, it’s exciting!

Daddy, This One’s For You


We had an absolutely gorgeous day today! It must have been over 50, clear blue skies (very unusual in Shanghai) with a gentle, springy breeze. Ahhhhh! And I got to spend it all with my sweetie! Jesse is still spoiling me, though it’s post-birthday now, so we spent the day completely relaxing. We walked a bit, sat around a lot, read our books, and sipped hot beverages most of the day. Now he’s studying Chinese next to me while I tippity-tap a bit on my computer. I wish every day were the weekend.

I’m 31 now, which seems just a bit old for someone who still claps her hands in excitement and likes exotically flavored chap sticks. But you know what? It’s OK! I don’t mind at all being a bit older. I’m pretty happy with all I’ve done thus far in life, and I’m sure glad I wasn’t in too much of a hurry to enjoy it. I’m pleased with the five years I invested in a career at OMSI, and I’m also glad I left and have had the opportunity to see so much more. Our year in Japan was amazing and eye-opening and sometimes, I miss it so very much. My students were sweet and so crazy, Hachinohe was beautiful and we made fantastic friends.

Our short but sweet months in Spain we so very awesome. Living and studying in Europe! With your love! It was, far and away, the most romantic months of my life. Once we’d moved home to Portland, Jesse and I both felt a bit at odds with ourselves, what to do now? We got random jobs, took an embarrassingly long time to move out of Erin and Adam’s apartment and, ultimately, both ended up back in school. Jesse got a second Bachelor’s and I had a fantastic time learning Chemistry (Biology, Microbiology, A & P) and working my butt off to learn it well. We had so much fun hanging out with my expanding family and reconnecting with old friends.

And now here we are taking it to the next level, folks, living in crazy Shanghai, loving and learning even more about each other every day. CHEERS! To living my life to it’s fullest! I can’t wait to take it to the next level and see where we go from here.

I was talking to Momm and Daddy today and he told me how very much he enjoys reading my updates. He said I write in my voice and he can hear me laughing when he reads them. That makes me feel so good! This one’s for you, Daddy.

Hi, I’m Here


The server at work is down, Jesse’s at work and Momm and Dad are out seeing a museum, so here I am at home with my first few free minutes in front of a computer for quite some time.

My computer had an “episode” (for want of a better word) last week and I’m afraid to turn it on again for fear it will still be busted. It simply would not go past the startup screen. Leif said I probably fried either my CPU or motherboard. Mostly I was worried about our pictures. All our traveling from the last 4 years was recorded on my computer. I was going to send the dumb machine home with the parents for Leif to try to get the pictures off for us, but that evening I tried turning it on and it started right up. I had blown a large ugly mess of dustbunny/hairball from around the fan (whoops) but it still seemed to be running really hot. We copied all of our pictures and random other music and documents to an external hard drive we have (a gift from Jesse’s Dad, it was full of music that we had to partially delete). Now my computer is sitting arse up, waiting for me to get up the guts to open up it’s underside and blow out all the dust and gunk. Leif seems to think this is my best bet. I may have just gotten lucky that one time to get it to turn on again for us to take our precious things off. And it may be fine.

So I’m using Jesse’s computer. (I’m going to check and see if work’s server is back up…)

OK, it’s hours later and I finished work. Whew. Computers are t.r.o.u.b.l.e.

Tomorrow, Momm, Dad, Jesse and I are leaving on the early train (only we don’t quite know when that is) for HongZhou, the most beautiful city in China. It has a man-made lake in the middle of it and I don’t know what else. I suppose we’ll find out. We’ve all been having a fabulous time together.

Having worked for the past 4 hours, I’m a bit computered out. I’ve got to do something else.

Heck of a day


This morning I locked myself out. I left with Jesse, he to work, me to grab a cup-o-joe before going home to work. We left at 8:20 and I was back at 8:55, ready to work but instead I was looking through the door at my keys. This means that (assuming I’d like to get inside) I must walk the 40 minutes to Jesse’s work and then walk back. I had been 1.) going to start work at 9am and 2.) already getting a blister from my winter shoes (flip flops = summer shoes, everything else = winter shoes).

So, I walked (stomped, more like) and grumbled my way to his work, scraping the skin off the back of my heel on the way. Once there, I perked up a bit, as there were people to be social with. I asked around about a bandaid, but they don’t seem to be a common “helpful thing” to have on hand here. I was instead offered tape, yes, plain old tape, which I used and it worked! I made it home with no further damage to my heel, though the other one was a little worse for wear by the time I got back. What the heck? I wore these shoes all over tarnation last winter. I think I just need to toughen up my heel again.

Today I worked to the Beastie Boys and Bjork and they kept me typing away like a fool. When good music is on, I actually often end up typing in rhythm, which is awesome except I’m a terrible typist. I spend more time fixing my typos than I spend typing in the first place. It’s worse with rhythm because even when I can tell I’ve just gone all over the place, I can’t stop the rhythm, yo and end up with big messes to fix.

Oh, and the weather? That I complain about to an irritating degree? It’s like early winter here, all of a sudden. In one week we’ve gone from sleeping with nothing, all sheet and blankets shoved at the bottom of the bed, to clasping each other for warmth with a sheet and quilt over us. We need a blanket thrown in that mix, I guess.

Working Girl


I’m spending about 4 hours a day now on the computer working on exchange student-y things and it makes setting aside time to write these ramblings a little more difficult. It’s dang good to know I’m making some money, though, and I remember again how good it feels to work for a company that you think does some good. It makes me miss the office, though, which I had no idea I was attached to. I think it’s all parceled together with the “missing Portland” feeling.

Jesse had a work dinner/party last night and it was crazy. We were fed (or offered, anyway) pork trotter (foot), duck head, fish soup complete with heads, fins and tails and some other stuff that would sound too normal and delicious for me to bother writing them down. There was also a lot of beer and some kind of deadly strong Chinese alcohol that was the doing in of a few at the table. Only three people partook and they were crazy by the end of dinner. There was also a moment of strange peer pressure, when a pack of cigarettes was passed all along the table and people who never smoked lit up and those of us not smoking were bugged about having ‘just one’. Of the 13 people around the table, only 4 of us abstained and the result was a foggyness in our corner of the restaurant that was just gross. In Japan, the “work Party” (called an enkai), is a ritualistic evening consisting of speeches, a lot of beer and a lot of men smoking. It’s very rude not to go and it’s a little rude not to drink. If not drinking, you will be harangued a bit by the bosses until you do, or until you laughingly refuse enough. But nobody would expect a lady to smoke. Jeez.

The weather has officially changed. It’s, well, it’s cold! Erin would tell you that I am always either cold or hot. It’s probably true, I’m a temperature complainer. It went straight from shorts and flip flops to pants and long sleeves and I usually wish I’d remembered a scarf. I think the humidity has changed a bit, too. I’d noticed that the hot and wet weather had a very positive effect on my skin. No dryness and my skin was always dewey and fresh (and sweaty, too). Now, though, I do feel a little after-shower-dry-skin and think I’ll have to break out the lotion again for my arms and legs.