Friday, April 22, 2011

Blue Steel

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Outsmarted by a 3 year old

Jerry: Lets play a rhyming game. I say a word and you say a different word that rhymes, okay?

Allison: OKAY!

Jerry: Hat.

Allison: Bat. ... My turn! ... CELERY.

Jerry: ...

Allison: I WIN!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Newspaper column

Although the idea of retirement probably sounds like pure bliss to the majority of those putting in a 40-hour work week, I now realize that the transition isn't always so easy.

Long commutes, never-ending meetings and aggravating co-workers aside, careers often define us. They provide much more than a paycheck and a sense of purpose. For some, they can result in a body of work to be remembered by.

I started thinking about all of this as both of my parents near the end of their final year of teaching. The decision to retire wasn't one either of them took lightly, but after more than 70 years of running a classroom between them, I'd say they're entitled to some downtime.

The hard part is that neither of them know how to sit still. When they visit for a few days, I have to mentally prepare for the ensuing exhaustion. Frankly, I've stopped trying to keep up with them.

My dad rips around the house looking for something, anything to fix. He checks the expiration status of the water filter on our fridge, tests the batteries in all of our fire detectors, and once I caught him inspecting the seal on our new storm windows.

If it's possible, my mom is worse. You'd think my house was uninhabitable the way she cleans. I could hire an entire team of professionals to scrub from ceiling to floor right before she gets here and she'd still head right for my vacuum and mop.

Neither have hinted that they're feeling any trepidation about the impending life change, so I'm just planning being there for them if they need to talk when the time comes.

Personally, I can only relate on a small scale. A few months ago, I left journalism -- a career I loved and cultivated for over a decade -- to spend more time at home with my children.

As I drove away after my last day at work, a box beside me filled with the personal contents from my desk, the range of emotions I felt was almost indescribable. Even though I was confident I had made the right decision for me and my family, I ended up sobbing so hard I had to pull over and call my best friend.

Responding to breaking news. The rush of meeting nightly deadlines. Satisfaction of a job well done. Even the office environment -- occasional computer problems and all. It was a lot to give up all at once.

I can only imagine adding a few more decades to the tally.

Now that I've had some time to adjust, and with it a little perspective, leaving a career isn't the end of the book. It's just the start of a new chapter.

I guess it's natural to think about the change as an ending. But eventually you realize it's also a beginning.

With that in mind, I suppose I shouldn't be worried about my parents. I should probably be more concerned about resting up for their more frequent visits.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Newborn Heavyweight Champion

I know. He's a month old and I haven't updated one bit. To be honest, I have SUCH a newfound appreciation for parents with more than one child. Hard doesn't even begin to describe the responsibility.

But when I get a few hours of sleep and can focus my eyes, I have two incredible little beings to cuddle with and love.

Here's one quick photo from the hospital. He's already benching 20 pounds.