Thursday, July 31, 2008

Getting To Know You, Part 3

It's really been a week of new experiences for us. V and I just returned from our first meet-up with a large group of moms in our new city. First of all, I think that is the best website in the world, especially if you're a new parent (yes, dads can use the website, too) and if you're new to an area. Just type in your zip code, and you're instantly connected to other parents in your town. That's how I met the amazing moms and dads in our old city in Ohio, and it's basically how I met the group of moms here in Indiana, today. I sent out a request on Mamasource for information on any play groups in the area who might be interested in more members. In less than a day, I received two responses to my request, one of which inviting me to join a group through another website called The site is great because not only do members post little profiles about themselves, but they're also provided with a calendar of events. Members can RSVP in advance for specific events and see who may be joining them. The particular moms group I joined had a meet-up today at the local Barnes & Noble for coffee for the adults and play time for the kids. The store is minutes away from our house and it looked as though a lot of moms were going to be there, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for V and I to meet other people. I'm so glad we went! V had so much fun playing with the other kids, especially at the Thomas the Train set located in the Children's Section of the store. I had a great time meeting some of the other moms and getting to know them and their children. One mom and I in particular seemed to hit it off fairly quickly. She and I have a lot in common right now: our sons are only a day apart in age (though she has an infant son, as well); she used to teach and now stays at home with her boys; her husband is going to be starting a new job, too; and they all just moved to the area about a month ago from another state. It was nice to find someone else in the same boat as us. We didn't stay at the store for very long, since it was close to V's nap time, but I'm already looking forward to future meetings with this group of moms. I've gathered from the calendar of events that they try to meet several times a week, so everyone has an opportunity to get to know each other at some point. I liked the informal atmosphere of the meet-up today and that there will be gatherings at all sorts of places throughout the city in the future. Also, they had a "moms only" game night last month, which sounded like a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to more activities like that, so I can get to know the ladies themselves a little bit better. Hopefully, both V and I will gain lifelong friendships with some of the moms and their kids. All in all, I'm pretty excited about living here!
Best to you all,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Getting To Know You, Part 2

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that we finally met our next door neighbors this past weekend, too. They're a young couple with two young sons, a six-year-old and a three-year-old. We had just returned from the farmer's market when we saw them in their driveway. Apparently, the couple's parents were going to take the boys on a camping trip for the weekend. While we introduced ourselves and talked a bit, V had no problems getting acquainted with the youngest of the two boys. I'm thrilled he's become so sociable and actually initiates play with other kids. I was such a shy kid growing up, and I was afraid he might inherit that from me. I guess I've been so outgoing in the past few years, it's rubbed off on our son. Anyway, I'm really happy our neighbors have young kids and are about our age, too. I foresee us having lots of spontaneous get-togethers and play dates in the near future. Maybe B and I can turn them on to playing board games, if they don't play already. That would just be an added bonus! Either way, it'll be nice to have possible babysitters living so close! ;) Well, it's late, and I better get to bed soon. We've been trying to transition V to a toddler bed, which is located next to our bed right now. He's okay when I put him to bed after he falls asleep, but he's been waking up at 2 am wanting to get back in bed with us almost every single night. Some nights, he doesn't even make it into his toddler bed. Last night, he woke up and took forever to get comfortable again. I ended up taking him to our guest room with me, so B could get the sleep he needs for his new job. I hope we don't end up in the guest room again, tonight. Does anyone have any recommendations on getting a 2-year-old to sleep through the night? We could use any advice we can get, right now! ;)
Best to you all,

Getting To Know You...

My family and I've spent the last few days getting to know our new community. Saturday morning, we woke up early enough to drive downtown and find the local farmer's market. We had intended to have breakfast at a place called "The Cereal Barn and Peanut Butter Cafe". Supposedly, they made their own peanut butter from scratch and customers could add all sorts of things to their sandwiches, like marshmallows and Nutella chocolate spread (S'mores, anyone?). I say "made" because after walking around town trying to find the place, we ended up in front of what looked like a condemned house with a sign saying it was about to become the new community something or other. So, in our search to find a great breakfast, we found ourselves inside "The Copper Cup", which was basically a generic Starbucks. My mocha was pretty good, and I liked my blueberry scone, but it wasn't what B had in mind when I said we were going to get breakfast before visiting the farmer's market. Luckily, the market made up for our lousy meal. I had become accustomed to a small farmer's market with maybe twenty booths in our old neighborhood in Ohio. Saturday's market in our new town was HUGE! There were all kinds of local produce and other food items for sale, many of which were certified organic. There were lots and lots of tomatoes and corn, the staples of Indiana agriculture along with wheat and hogs. We also saw lovely berries of all types, potatoes, green beans, zucchini, other squash, and beautiful flowers. Some vendors had interesting mushrooms, and I saw a couple farmers selling various meats and wild honey. We ended up bringing home about a pound of fresh green beans, a few zucchini, and about six ears of corn. I also bought some very nice looking cherry tomatoes for myself (B doesn't like tomatoes, and V's tried them, but doesn't seem very interested in them). I'm so glad we made the trip. The market was lovely, though crowded and a little overwhelming for V. Over the weekend, we had fresh sweet corn cut off the cob and sauteed in butter at dinner and zucchini bread with chocolate chips for dessert (and breakfast later in the week). We also had broiled zucchini with garlic, dried rosemary, and olive oil at another dinner, and I boiled up the green beans for lunch the same day. The best part about the whole experience was the fact that we enjoyed every single thing we bought, including our son, who can be a picky eater sometimes. I've never seen him eat green beans before and love them, but now I know that fresh green beans are much more edible to a toddler than frozen or even canned. I kept this in mind when I went grocery shopping yesterday. Another great thing about our new town is the lovely co-op grocery store, which is less than 10 minutes away from our home. Everything in the store is natural and/or organic, and most of the produce and other foods are grown and sold by local farmers. Not only are we supporting the farmers in our community when we shop there, but we're also helping the environment by buying food that hasn't had to travel far to get to the store. While there, I found organic green beans just like the ones we bought at the farmer's market, organic green grapes (or "bapes", one of V's favorite new words), organic bananas, some great all natural macaroni and cheese, and a few frozen organic lunch items, like pizzas and spring rolls, among other things. The store also sells bread from a local bakery, which is excellent for garlic bread, and the store's deli has lots of wonderful ready made pastas and sandwiches. The co-op was really a great find for me. I know the groceries there can be more expensive than what Wal-mart or Kroger sell, but I don't feel guilty shopping there because I also know the food is much better for me and my family than many of the items I used to buy, which were mostly processed and full of ingredients I couldn't pronounce if I tried. Best of all, I'm exposing our son to fresh fruits and vegetables, which I hope will help him make healthier food choices as he gets older. He still likes his cake and ice cream ("cake" being another favorite word this week), which truly makes him his parents' son. ;) I just hope he learns that all things can be had in moderation. After spending time at local grocery stores and the mall yesterday, I took V to a nearby park this morning. Our town has a great parks and recreation program, and the park we went to today even has a large community pool area. We didn't go swimming, but after walking around the park a little, we found a great playground built specifically for 2 to 5 year olds. If it hadn't been so hot while we were there, I would have let V play all day. However, it was close to lunch time, and I was sweating buckets, so we made it a quick trip and went home to eat leftover fresh green beans, all natural mac n' cheese, antibiotic free deli smoked turkey on wheat pita bread, and juicy, fresh cherry tomatoes. We've had a great time discovering places and things to do in our new city. I can't wait to unearth more treasures in the coming weeks. Hope you all are having just as much fun as we are!
Best to you all,

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another Backyard Friend

I saw one of our little bunny friends in the backyard this evening, and it sat still enough at one point for me to finally get a picture. If no one is in the sun room, the two rabbits (or more, though I've never seen more than two at the same time) come pretty close to the back of the house and happily chew away at what's left of my Gerbera daisies, which didn't travel well from Ohio. After taking the picture and scaring Bunny away, I went back into the house, only to discover him later actually sitting in the Gerbera daisy container and eating at the leaves. Both of the rabbits I've seen are very small, so I don't know if they're babies or just a small breed. Either way, they're awfully cute, and I love that our neighborhood's so quiet and they feel so comfortable coming into our yard. I wouldn't be surprised if we found their nest under our deck, since they seem to run that way when they see us moving in our sun room.

Here's Bunny:

10. In the end, it's all worth it!

It's very appropriate that I'm ending my list of "Things I Learned During My Husband's Residency" on the eve of my husband's first day in his new practice. He technically won't be seeing patients until the end of the week, but tomorrow morning, he will be getting up and going into the office to start his journey as a doctor in the "real world". And, after reflecting on all of the long hours and hard work he put in during his residency and all of the time I spent on my own, I realize that it was all truly worth it. We gained so many positive experiences in Ohio. We both made a plethora (yes, I said "plethora") of friends, both in our individual workplaces and outside of work. We found out what it was like to be independent adults away from our families, and then, after having our son, discovered the importance of having our families close and involved in our lives. I gave birth to an amazing little boy who surprises both of us daily, keeps us on our toes, and is our shining light of hope for the future of our planet. I opened my eyes and mind to new ideas in regards to living a more green, organic, and holistic lifestyle, which I'm nowhere near to achieving, but slowly making progress, I think. I became physically and mentally healthy by changing my diet somewhat, exercising regularly, and finding new hobbies and interests. (I've kind of fallen off the wagon when it comes to eating healthy and exercising, but that will change when we join the local YMCA. I have, however, taken up knitting again, which I haven't done in years and have found quite relaxing.) Finally, my husband and I discovered a common interest (gaming) that has allowed us to renew our relationship in many ways, make lots of new friends (and to be open to making new friends, which used to be a hard thing for me to do) and have fun along the way. Residency was a hard journey for both of us, but we're better and stronger people for traveling it and for successfully reaching the next point in our lives. I don't know if the journey will get any easier, but I do know that because of our previous experiences, we'll get through it just fine because we'll do it together. To all of you reading this, thank you for sharing in the journey with us. I hope you enjoy the ride along the way.
Namaste, and best to you all,

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why I Love Our New House....

This morning, while we were just sitting in our family room enjoying some time together, I noticed some movement through the windows of our sun room out of the corner of my eye. I looked up to see a doe and her fawn in our backyard happily nibbling away on our wildflowers. Luckily, our camera was close enough that I was able to get some pictures before they both scurried off. I tried to get a little closer onto the deck and into our sun room, but I ended up scaring Mama and Baby off. Mama came back later without her fawn (probably because it was too "unsafe") to do a little more nibbling in our and our neighbor's yards. We would have never seen anything like this at our old house in Ohio because we lived in such an urban area there. (Well, we actually had deer in our front yard there once, but that was a fluke.) Living in our new town, which is a much more rural city (if there is such a thing) and full of woodsy areas, I think we'll be seeing more occurrences of deer and the like. I know that we have two little bunnies living nearby because I've seen them nibbling on our plants a couple of times this week, too. They always hop away before I can get a picture though.

Here are the doe and her fawn enjoying our flowers (picture quality isn't that great because of the glare of my camera's flash on windows):

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

9. There will be times when you'll feel like a married single parent. You're not alone.

Wow, I realized I'm almost at the end of my list of "Things I Learned During My Husband's Residency". It makes me wonder what I'll talk about after I reach number 10! Actually, it won't be difficult for me to come up with SOMETHING to discuss, since it seems as though SOMETHING usually comes up at just the right time! I think I thought up the idea of being a "married single parent" while chatting with a fellow mommy in my son's play group and trying to describe what it's like to live with a spouse who at that time was constantly working and away from home. I touched on this briefly in my last post. Residency can be difficult enough on a couple without the addition of a baby. Bring a child into the world and the equation, and it's a whole other ballgame. I was very lucky after our son was born to not only have my husband home with me for a whole week (per his employer's paternity leave policy and some saved vacation time), but I also had both my mother and my mother-in-law spend time with me after he went back to work. I needed their help while I recuperated from the C-section and tried to get my son to breastfeed successfully rather than chew me to bits. It was a very trying time for me, and I couldn't imagine doing it completely on my own as many single moms do. After the "honeymoon" phase and our moms went back to their homes and it was just us and the baby, the realization hit me that I was pretty much on my own when it came to raising our son. My husband did the best he could with helping out, but as I've said many times, his work schedule didn't really accommodate for parenting time. I think the worst month for both of us was when our son was just a couple of months old, and my husband had to work a night float rotation. I truly discovered what it was like to be single with a baby because B worked four nights a week, slept during the day when he was home, and was awake at night during the weekends while I slept, giving us very little time during the day together to enjoy our new son. This schedule did help us out extremely well when our son still wasn't sleeping through night, and my husband could take him for a few hours while I got some much needed rest during the weekend. However, during the week, I had to figure out how to manage night time feedings, day time housework, and the growing demands of a newborn. Luckily, we got through it and moved on, and the whole parenting thing got a little easier day by day. One of my biggest worries about B's occupation and having a new family was the amount of time he was able to spend with our son and to see him grow and develop. It was hard to have B come home and hear all about how V rolled over for the first time, or scooted across the floor for the first time, or said his first recognizable word. I know in my heart that he really hated missing all of that. However, having me home full time made up for that a little, I think (I hope). When V's first birthday rolled around, B realized that he was scheduled to be on-call at the hospital. Luckily, he was able to switch his shift with another resident and be a part of our little celebration. I know we could have had the party any time during the week, and our son wouldn't have known the difference, but the first one is always special, and even though it was just me, B, my father-in-law (he was in town helping us with some landscaping), and the birthday boy, we had a wonderful time watching V try his first chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream. Now, our son is almost 2 years old, and though things got even easier over the past year and B had more time with us occasionally, it was still very busy for all of us. My son and I have been so lucky to have this small amount of time with my husband between residency and his first day of "real" work. We've been able to settle into our new home, go on a real family vacation, and spend time with friends and family who we haven't seen in months or even years. It makes me a little sad that my husband will have to start working in a couple of weeks and will start missing out on V's little moments, again. The fear of the unknown is there, too, because we have no idea what to expect with his office hours, surgery schedule, and home calls for the office and hospital. He reassures me that it'll be very different from residency because he joined an OB/GYN practice full of other parents like us, who know the importance of family. It all sounds very promising. We'll discover the difference between residency and "the real world" on August 1. Keep your fingers crossed for us! ;)
Best to you all,

Monday, July 21, 2008

8. After counting your responsibilities, try counting your blessings, too!

I think this particular bit of advice is hard for a lot of people to remember, me included. When my husband was in residency and working all the time, I took on a lot of responsibilities that were probably shared between us before. I did almost all of the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning around the house, gardening, paying bills, taking care of our son, and running various other errands. Before we had our son, I also worked full-time in an office, so I had that added on top of everything else. I even learned how to mow the lawn after we bought our first house and found that it could be a stress relieving experience! It's not that my husband wasn't capable of doing any of these things. He was just very busy with work, and most of the time when he came home from the hospital, he brought work with him. There was very little time left in the day for him to do any of the mundane things at home. All of that added responsibility made me very stressed and unhappy some days. Sometimes, I just wanted to throw in the towel and forget about everything I needed to do. However, my house and (later) my son were a constant reminder that nothing magically takes care of itself and that really, my situation wasn't as bad as I kept making it out to be. I had to remember that I was blessed with many opportunities, people, and things in my life, which I was taking for granted because I was letting all the little things get me down. I still have to take time out now and then to count my blessings, so I'd like to provide a list of them here in my blog in the hopes that I'll come back and read it every so often to keep me in the correct frame of mind.

I'm blessed in life because:
1. I have a wonderful husband who takes care of me emotionally, psychologically, physically, socially, and financially. He has a lot of his own responsibilities in life, and I think he takes it all in stride in a way that I wish I could emulate. He is able to work to provide for our family, and he knows how to have fun and keep things lighthearted and spontaneous. I love him dearly and hope he knows it every day.
2. I have a beautiful baby boy who reminds me constantly how precious life can be. He's physically, mentally, and socially healthy. He keeps me young and reminds me that I have to take time to play every day. His giggle is my favorite sound in the world, and I love that I have the opportunity to stay home with him and watch him grow and develop in every little way.
3. I have TWO families who love me and wish all the best for me and my husband. I'm talking about both my immediate family (Mom, Dad, my brother, and my sister) as well as the family I married into (my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, and my two sisters-in-law). They've all been supportive of our endeavors and have been pretty understanding about all of those times when we've missed holidays and get togethers because of B's work schedule. We're very blessed to have all of our parents still alive and enjoying life, and our son is blessed to have four grandparents who love him deeply. They'd all do anything for us if we just asked, and I have to remember that they have more life experience than I do, so their advice should always be taken to heart. All of our sisters and brothers are wonderful people with their own talents and personalities, and they make life fun and exciting for everyone. I am truly blessed to have so many amazing people in my family!
4. I have lots and lots and lots of friends living near and far, who care deeply for me and my family and who bring fun and joy into my life. Whether they're other parents like me or my gaming buddies or college friends who've been through thick and thin with me and B, each and every one of them has a special place in my heart. I really couldn't have gotten this far in life without my friends, and I love every single one of them for who they are and how they've touched me in some way. Since I have the opportunity to do so, I'd like to thank all of them for being a part of my life! I'm not going to name names here, but I think you all know who you are. ;)
5. My family has a beautiful home, a pantry and refrigerator full of food, comfortable beds, and enough money to pay our bills and to take care of our basic needs and wants. Our current living situation is not lost on me, especially now, with gas and food prices at all time highs and many people struggling to live day to day. We are truly blessed to not have to worry about where we'll be sleeping, where and when we'll have our next meal, and how we'll be paying for everything we need to survive.
6. We live in a safe, quiet neighborhood free of violence. Our son will never have to be afraid to go outside and play, and he'll have many opportunities to make friends, learn new hobbies, and develop new talents as he grows older.
7. Most importantly, I'm physically and mentally healthy and able to take care of my family and my home. I still have the ability to have more children when I choose to have them, and I'm still young and active enough to keep up with my son. My brain is still active and always ready to learn something new. I have so many opportunities for my own personal growth and development, and I hope I don't waste a single one of them.

There are so many more blessings I could list, but I think these are the most basic and important for me to remember every single day. After I post this, I'm going to take some time to enjoy my family, since I'm blessed to have my husband home with me and my son for a couple of more weeks before he starts his new job.
Namaste and blessings to you all,

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Quick Dose of Geekiness...

We have college friends arriving soon to check out our new house and to hang out with us for the rest of the day, so here's a quick dose of geekiness to last you for the rest of the week:

It's "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog"!. Check out the ultimate in zany Internet musical series' provided by creator Joss Whedon and actors Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion.

Watch Simon's Cat annoy the heck out of his master.

One of my favorite little animations released by Wizards of the Coast to promote the new 4th Edition of "Dungeons and Dragons": an interview with a Tiefling and a Gnome. "I'm a monster! Rowrrr!" That kills me every time!

And, finally, a commercial for Discovery Channel that I absolutely love: "I Love the World!".

Best to you all,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

7. Find a new creative outlet or hobby.

Whew! Now that the excitement from yesterday is starting to wear off (though I'll never forget having MY PICTURE ON WIL WHEATON'S BLOG!!!!)...Okay, maybe it's not worn off, yet. Sorry about that. Anyway, now that we're back from vacation and settling back into some sort of normal routine (and now that we have Internet access in our house, again. Yeah!), I can get back to what I had originally planned to discuss on this blog: experiences with a spouse who's in a medical residency program. Which brings us to #7 on my list of "Things I Learned": you really should explore new creative outlets and find new things to do with your time. Because, you're going to have A LOT of time to yourself while your spouse is in his/her residency. I already talked about that to some extent in my last post on basically doing what you love to do. However, I found that the Internet and Netflix were not enough for me. Being a stay-at-home-mom, I sometimes found myself wanting to expand my horizons and learn about the world around me. Really, I just wanted to start using my brain again, which kind of atrophied after having my son. Don't get me wrong. I love taking care of my son and being home with him every day. It's been a wonderful experience, and with my husband's work schedule in residency, I realized how important it was for at least one of our son's parents to be around and available for more than just a few hours a day. I know that not everyone has the opportunity or ability to stay home, so I feel very lucky to be able to do so. However, there are many times when I just want to do something for myself on my own away from my family, not only to help take care of me and my needs, but also to have fun in the process. So, last year, I decided to take belly dancing lessons, and I learned how to make jewelry. The belly dancing lessons came about through a silent auction I attended at an event held by my husband's hospital. No one else outbid me for the gift certificates, and since they had an expiration date, I couldn't back out of the lessons or suddenly decide to "lose" the certificates. I called the instructor up, and in about a week, I found myself in her studio with a few other women learning the intricacies of belly dancing. It is truly an art form and a workout all rolled up in one. Unfortunately, the 10-week-long lessons I took ended around the time we put our house up for sale, so I decided not to continue on to the next level. To help me feel better about my decision, my hubby gave me some belly dancing instructional videos for Valentine's Day. I've yet to break them open and watch them, only because our old house wasn't really conducive for that sort of thing. However, with all of the room we have in the new house, I think I'll have to give it a whirl, again. Plus, I've found a few places in our new city that give lessons. It might be good to get back into a group setting! My passion for jewelry making came about when I decided to take a workshop on making chain mail jewelry at Gen Con Indy, last year. It was so much fun and easy to learn that I decided to try it at home on my own. I found a great bead shop at a local mall that had classes on both chain mail jewelry and bead working. Before I knew it, I was sucked into the world of jewelry making. I admit it's an expensive hobby to get into, but the rewards are great! After taking a few basic jewelry making classes, I decided to make Christmas presents for all of the women in my family. They either received a unique bracelet or a pair of earrings. Not only was it fun to make the jewelry, but all of the ladies loved their gifts. After that, I beaded at home whenever I had the time and felt the urge to do so. What's great about this kind of hobby is that it usually doesn't take much time (unless you find something very time consuming to make, like chain mail dice bags--I still have to finish my husband's Father's Day gift!), and if you have a lot of leftovers, they can be used to make other things. Plus, if I feel like it, I could always start selling some of my products at craft fairs. So, if you find yourself with lots of time on your hands, don't be afraid to try something new. You might find that you're really good at it, that it's a lot of fun to do, and that you're learning something in the process. I need to go for now because B, V, and I are going to attend our first board gaming session with a new gaming group this evening. It should be a lot of fun, and it'll be a new experience to boot! Woot!
Best to you all,

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And, Now, The Internet Can Implode...

So, we just got back from vacation on Sunday, and later that evening, I innocently uploaded some pictures from our little vaca to my blog. I also, just as innocently, commented on Wil Wheaton's blog that I had added a picture of his book among other things I took on vacation with me to my blog. Yesterday, our internet connection in our new home went down, so I didn't find out until just now in our public library that not only did Wil Wheaton see my comment, he also posted my picture of his book and said a few nice things about it on his own blog. All I can say is that I'm deeply honored for him to acknowledge me in this way. I will admit that I had a major crush on him as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" growing up. Now, I deeply admire him as a writer and father. I have no other words to describe this moment except "Awesome". And, now, because he linked to my blog and I in turn linked back to his post about my blog on his blog, the Internet can implode and I would be perfectly happy. Thanks, Wil. It meant a lot. The title of your book The Happiest Days of Our Lives couldn't be any more appropriate than how I feel right now.
Best to all,

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words....

So, here's a few "million" words for your reading eyes, because I feel they can spell out our trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, better than I ever could on my own.

A quick note on the last photo: I'd like to entitle it "What I Did On My Vacation". Look closely, and you'll see my Nintendo DS, my iPod, a copy of Wil Wheaton's latest book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, and a copy of the Science Fiction short story anthology, The Road To Science Fiction: Volume 3--From Heinlein To Here. Yeah, it was a great vacation!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July! We're Outta Here!

Happy Independence Day, my fellow Americans! I hope your day is filled with sunshine, barbecues, parades, fireworks, and good times. Stay safe and have lots of fun! It's currently raining at our new house, but hopefully, there will be no rain (or very little) at our respective parents' houses, where we will be spending time with families and watching fireworks. After the fireworks, B, V, and I will be hitting the road with my in-laws for a week long trip on the South Carolina coast. We won't be taking our computer with us (read: total relaxation), so there won't be any new posts until we return around July 13th. Have a great week everyone, and I'll see ya when I see ya!
Best to you all,

P.S. Above is a picture of a beautiful sunset taken by B in Phoenix, Arizona, a few years ago to get you through the week until I get back. ;)

We Start Them Young....

This is just a glimpse of our weekend in Ohio, where we attended the Origins Game Fair, hung out with all of our game loving friends from around the country (well, from around the Eastern and Mid-western states, at least), and totally had a blast. V, as you can see, is our little gamer in the making!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Your Weekly Dose Of Geekiness....

In order to keep this blog from becoming a total downer, which I've found is happening quite rapidly, I would like to include random posts here and there of just pure Internet silliness. One of my favorite comic writers, Aaron Williams, author of Nodwick and Full Frontal Nerdity, does this at the end of every one of his bi-weekly online journal entries. His computer is his livelihood, so he's able to do this. I, on the other hand, can't search the interweebs for the silliest, wackiest, weirdest, and just plain geekiest sites every single day. However, I will link to whichever sites he and others like him think are fun to experience. So, without further ado, I give you the first ever "Amanda's Weekly Dose Of Geekiness":

Find out where the hell Matt is and watch him dance through all seven of Earth's continents. I want to be Matt when I grow up and travel all over the world and, hopefully, meet so many amazing people. I probably won't take pictures of myself dancing when I do it, however. I don't think people would find it so amusing if I did.

In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned one of my teenage crushes of TV and film, Wil Wheaton. Apparently, one of my other childhood TV idols, Neil Patrick Harris, will soon be appearing in an Internet mini-series entitled Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. It also stars Nathan Fillion of "Firefly" fame and is a project of Joss Whedon, who created "Firefly" among other things. Here is the FAQ for the mini-series, which will be premiering on July 15. Looks like a blast!

No "blog post of geeking out" would be complete without a mash-up of Star Trek and Monty Python.

One of my other favorite web-comics is xkcd. It's fun with language, math, computers, romance, and lots of geeky stuff using stick figures! What's not to love?

In the "WTF!" category, we have The Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show. Click on "Episodes" to see some amazingly weird stuff. I love it because I don't know whether to laugh at or be embarrassed for Kiko's unwitting guests.

And, finally, I would be remiss if I did not include a link to my very good friends' website Dead Gentlemen Productions. The DG are an independent film company based out of Seattle, Washington, and L.A., and they're well known in the gamer community for their hit cult film "The Gamers". A few years ago, they screened the sequel, "The Gamers: Dorkness Rising", to standing-room-only audiences at Gen Con Indy. It's been screened at other conventions since then, and because they signed a distribution deal recently with Anthem Pictures, it will be released on DVD at Gen Con Indy, this August. They have a link up on their website for an installment from their "Demon Hunters Orientation Video", which is sold alongside the new role-playing game based on one of their first films "Demon Hunters". Go take a gander at their website and check out the trailer to "The Gamers: Dorkness Rising". In full disclosure, my husband and I have been good friends with one of the company's founders/directors/editors/other jobs/all-around-nice-guys for a few years. (Hi, Ben! If you're reading this, we miss you!) They're a great group of people to get to know, and we feel that the films and other media they produce are just fantastic. Please, support your fellow independent artists as much as possible. The more money and support they receive, the more enriching creative experiences they can produce for you and the rest of the world to enjoy. End of soapbox.

Well, that's it for now. Hope you enjoyed the ride. Look for more doses of utter geekiness coming your way in posts to come.
Best to you all,

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

6. Your spouse will be working long hours. Netflix and the Internet are your friends!

This little piece of advice is pretty self-explanatory, so I won't delve into it too deeply. Let's just say that there will be times when you will find yourself all alone with nothing to do because your resident spouse will be putting in (yet, again) a moonlighting shift at one hospital, and you won't be seeing him/her again until some time the next day when his/her shift at a different hospital ends. The best thing to do in this situation is to learn a new hobby or two (preferably those that need only one person to do them) or to re-establish old hobbies that have been put aside for one reason or another. My favorite (solitary) things to do in life are to read books, watch movies, and surf the Internet. A long time ago, I decided to join Netflix, partly because I hated going to the video store, and partly because we never had the time to go to the theater to see new movies. Netflix was a godsend for me. No late fees, no lines at the video store. I just add a new movie to my long queue on the Internet, and whenever I'm done with one movie, I send it back in the mail and receive the next movie on my list a couple of days later. I've been able to see all types of films, and at just under $20 a month, it really has paid for itself. My favorite part is that I don't have to worry if I get a movie my husband doesn't want to watch. It made his moonlighting shifts and call nights at the hospital so much fun for me! I'd actually look forward to some alone time, so I could watch an epic period piece, foreign film, or "chick flick" without him being disgusted or bored by the film. Of course, B has a say in some of the films on our list, and he's enjoyed having his own time to watch movies that I may not enjoy. It's been a win-win situation all around! And, it's saved us a ton of money because before Netflix, I'd always buy DVDs to add to our very large collection. Now, I decide after watching a movie from Netflix whether it's worth it or not to buy it for keeps. Another thing that has really helped me get through the long, lonely nights is the Internet. Okay, it might be an addiction, but I'm happy to admit that I'm a web surfer, and I enjoy it! E-mail has kept me in contact with friends and family who used to live long distances away from me (and it will continue to do so after our big move). I've discovered one of my teenage crushes from TV and film is now a successful blogger/author/actor/father (go read Wil Wheaton's blog; I promise you that it won't disappoint). I've found oodles of web-comics and gaming resources and parenting resources and other funky, fun websites that have helped me spend my time in a (sort of) constructive way. Mostly, it's kept me sane through those nights when I really missed my hubby. Finally, I rediscovered my love for books, and though having a son has lessened the amount of time I have to actually sit down and read, I still have found some amazing stories to fill my alone time. Really, it all boils down to finding something you enjoy doing and doing it at a time when it'll matter the most to you. I'll talk more later about finding new hobbies and things to do with your solitary time, but for now, I'm going to enjoy some leftover ice cream cake from my birthday last Friday with my son in front of our new satellite TV. I'll see ya when I see ya.
Best to you all,

And....We're back!

Hello, again, dear Reader. Oh, how I've missed you! My family and I are now in our second week of living in our new home and absolutely loving it! We managed to get a phone line and Internet access last week, but due to traveling back to the old house over the weekend for various reasons, I have not been able to catch up on my "Internet time" until today. Our satellite dish was hooked up just this afternoon, and hubby is enjoying our leap into the new century by using the pause and fast forward functions on live TV. I am so looking forward to the DVR function! No more missed programs! I feel like we've been out of the loop when it comes to quality TV due to the Writers' Strike, and soon, the possible Screen Actors' Strike. Of course, I'm so out of the loop that the Actors' Strike may not even exist, and I'm too lazy right now to research that. Anyway, we are settled in the new house and feeling very comfortable with all of the extra breathing room. Most of the boxes are unpacked, and most of the rooms are pretty well furnished the way we would like. We will need to buy more furniture in the near future for our formal living room (we actually have one, now!), our game and TV rooms in the basement, and our sun room (since the patio furniture is staying on the patio, this time). I love to shop, so I can't wait for all of that to happen. Our son and our cat are both enjoying the multitude of short staircases throughout the house. It's a split quad level, and each staircase is only about seven or eight steps high. I don't have to worry about V walking up and down the stairs, because he became so used to them at the old house. He also discovered he has his own room. He isn't sleeping on his own, yet, but we're in the process of procuring a toddler bed from some friends of ours. Hopefully, its short height and novelty will be incentives for him to sleep in his own bed. The house is still somewhat of a mess with boxes and items strewn about waiting to be opened and put away, but we have lots of time to put everything in its place. I'm really loving my new kitchen. It has so many cupboards and cabinets, and it is so well organized. Plus, I have a pantry for dry foods! I discovered that I have just enough room for all of my cooking appliances and utensils, which makes life very easy for me, now. In fact, B and I made our favorite egg rolls last week, and we had enough room to cook together without losing work space. The central island really is handy! We've started getting used to our new town and will be driving around more to get a feel for things. Tomorrow, we may even get a family membership to the local Y. I'm so looking forward to getting into an exercise routine again, and possibly, getting V into some toddler programs. The whole moving experience was made easier and less stressful by hiring a moving company to pack up what was left to pack, load it, deliver it, and unload it for us. Of course, moving wasn't without it's perils and mishaps (read: a sick toddler in the backseat of a very quickly moving vehicle in the middle of a torrential downpour). However, everyone made it safe and sound, and we have oodles of time to unpack and move and change things around as we see fit. There was so little stress this time around (for the most part) that we drove back to our old house this past weekend and spent time at a game convention in Ohio called the Origins Game Fair. Really, though, we were there because B needed to take his final written medical board exam and say goodbye to his colleagues. And, we love our new house so much, that we're turning around a leaving for a week long vacation in Myrtle Beach this Friday night! All kidding aside, though, we really enjoy living here, so far, and are excited about showing off our house and new neighborhood to family and friends. Look for your open house invitation in the mail, soon!
Best to all,