Monday, January 27, 2014


As I laid awake earlier this morning, I debated whether to go down to the Mall in Columbia. I had viewed the site on Saturday as it was closed to the public while they evacuated hundreds of shoppers & workers from the mall. On this eerie, gray day, the buses they brought to shuttle people were unnervingly bright & cheery. Not what one associates with a seemingly random shooting at a busy mall.

On Saturday when the mall was closed, seemingly random things occurred to me. I need to deposit some checks at the bank there. I really need gloves because this damn polar vortex is returning. My husband had planned to work at his Columbia office both days this weekend and when he went into work on Sunday, I was a little nervous. He said he didn't notice much although when I went to drop something off at his car, the mall security questioned me. There were police cars in front of his building as it was the pick-up spot for items left in the common area. We'd usually pop into Uno for lunch or vulture for bar spots at Cheesecake Factory. I usually drive on the mall loop to come home (it also gives me a chance to get my annoyance fix by honking at drivers who stop at the sign that says "Incoming traffic has right-of-way").  The mall is part of my front yard so to speak as I've noted before.

Today, however, the mall reopened. There were ceremonies to commemorate the victims of this senseless, still unexplained tragedy. I went down there to check it out, but I didn't get out of my car. I deposited my check and returned home. I had a twinge of fear and of schadenfreude & I shouldn't/couldn't be there.

But for me, once I say something (or blog, I guess), it helps me to move on. Now that this catharsis is done, I'm going to visit my friends who work at the mall and support Columbia & Howard County.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas Vacation Vegging

A friend’s Facebook posting yesterday made me feel guilty for what I’ve allowed my almost 10 year old to do a lot this vacation. Veg. Watch TV. 5 episodes of ANT Farm in a row in one morning. Headphones on watching Austin & Ally on her new iPod. We gave her the Disney Infinity Xbox game and my hubby & I played with her on that a little bit over the past few days. Oh, and Facetime with her oldest friend. (They gave each other tours of their houses…a little odd since they’ve been to each other’s house.)


Ever since she was born, I’ve treated her as a person, not as a child. Meaning that people have different needs at different times. When she was an infant, we specifically messed with her schedule. The thing is, life doesn’t always happen as scheduled and learning how to adapt is important to my husband and me. Sometimes there's an accident closing down 95 and you have dinner an hour late. Stuff happens and the ability to adapt quickly to the situation is crucial. I also want her to say yes to opportunities that are outside her comfort zone. She has learned well and when confronted with a change of plans (whether from us or others), she acts just like my husband - a couple minutes to ruminate and she's on board. 

We started traveling with her at age 4 months - her first cruise on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore. (Don't tell my Papa Bill - he thinks we've only been on 1 cruise without him...) She loves to travel and adjusts quickly to new challenges. We see so many parents that lock themselves in their house once the baby is born...that's not us.

For one thing...

Luke & I worked a lot. He moreso than I, so the demands of his schedule made me step back from my career. Although I don’t do it anymore, I worked 60 hours/week many times in my career. Granted, I’m an accountant and it’s not like I was saving lives in an emergency room. But I did have to be “on” and when I got free time, I enjoyed it. I needed down time. I needed to watch TV and distract myself. But we definitely had a "Work Hard, Play Hard" philosophy. 

Lil has worked hard for the past few months. She performs with Ballet Mobile, a non-profit classic ballet troupe that visits retirement homes and rehab centers to lighten the residents’ hearts. She practices for many hours each week. At school, she tries to help out teachers and other students. Luckily, she completes her homework quickly. But she’s doing a lot of above-grade level work and there’s a lot of pressure at school and she places a lot of pressure on herself to perform well. 

And sometimes we contribute to that...So…

I want her to chill out. She had one performance during the break, but no practices/classes. (Although she dances everyday regardless of venue…) But I wanted her to play with her new Christmas gifts and enjoy the lack of schedule. She embraced vacation – few expectations of her, apart from putting her breakfast bowl in the dishwasher. She got her first pedicure. She did crafty stuff like her rainbow loom. But she did watch a LOT of TV & worked on her YouTube search abilities for Disney Tween content. She danced to the music on the TV, set up little forts on the floor and the best was her sweet giggles when she laughed.

Today was a little different. We were cleaning the house, putting away laundry, preparing dinner and we only played 2 games of Clue with her. She had wanted to finish the gingerbread house and play Apples to Apples with us. When I told her it was time to finish her Facetime chat, she responded, “It’s only because you haven’t been playing with me.”

Which means…

Christmas vacation is over! (But possibly to be followed by a snow day on Friday!)