Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sound Check

Sitting at a sound check and finding myself with time on my hands.  No, sound checks are not my regular gig, but our friends Ron Ellington Shy and Taber Shy, who used to live and perform in Las Vegas (and now live in Southern Cali) wanted to come back and do a show here in town.  So, they know Romeo is not only a music aficionado but as a friend would do anything for, here we are "producing" their show at a park district building on the east side of Vegas.

It means that since October we have been e-mailing, mailing, and calling their old friends and colleagues in town, drumming up support.  Getting chummy with the director at the park district building to work out the details of tonight's show.  Driving to and from Cali and other gigs here in the southwest to take pics of Ron and Taber, just to find that PERFECT one for the ads, fliers, and newspapers.  I've been creating and managing a facebook page for the group and specifically for tonight's concert.  For the last two weeks there's been lots of computer work to create the concert program, slips for audience members to fill out for a giveaway autographed headshot.  I even pulled out my scrapbooking supplies to make a large (and may I say really neat!) "Now Appearing" poster for the lobby.

The show is 7:00pm tonight.  And sound check started at 11:00am this morning.  I love these men.  They are dear friends that I met through Romeo.  He's actually "produced" shows for Ron before when they were both living in Southern California.  But that means I've also been to more gigs of theirs than I can count, and all these songs they are rehearsing right now and will play tonight?  Well, I've kind of got them memorized.  I do have to admit though, that hearing them professionally mic'd is a great experience.  Most times they are playing in blues clubs or casino lounges and none of the sound and tech is tailored to them.  I've heard them this way only a couple of times.

Oh, I forgot to mention, I guess "producing" also includes going to Costco for water bottles, deli meat, cheese, and rolls, and making the band a homemade sandwich tray for backstage.  LOL.  Makes me sort of wonder how Romeo used to produce as a single guy in Cali, seeing while he's been the "business" guy and worked with the contacts for 4 months now, I'm his "right-hand man" when it come to the technology, crafting, and of course sandwich making!  :)

Anyway, it's been an adventure.  But I don't know when we'll be doing it again.  I'm pooped!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wine Tasting with Grown Ups

Yesterday, I was invited to attend a Wine Tasting. I like wine. A lot. But I usually taste it, decide it's good and drink it. Yes, I have my preferences. I like Malbec, and I generally don't like Shiraz (although I do like its non-Australian counterpart, Syrah. Mostly, I like it to drink it with dinner.

Anyhoo. My "cousin" has been inviting me to this Wine Club of hers for a while now, and finally, I peeled myself off the couch after work, left the baby with my Mom, and met B one his way home. It was at Fogo de Chao, which is one of those Brazillian steak houses with the gauchos and meat on a sabre. They had a location in Chicago which B and I went to on one of our very early dates. We knew the food would be good, which definitely motivated us to shake things up on a weeknight.

It turned out that it wasn't so much a wine club, but was a radio show called Wines Du Jour. Basically, every week, they feature a different vineyard (or a different brand) at a different restaurant in Vegas. The host chats with the wine rep (in last night's case, the owner of Bridlewood vineyards) and then directs everyone to swirl and sniff and taste. For $20, you get three wines, along with three food pairings. A Chardonnay paired with bacon-wrapped chicken breast, a Cabernet Sauvignon paired with linguisa sausage, and a Syrah paired with filet mignon. I was too excited about all the sophistication to take pictures of every course!

I listened and learned, B chatted with the people seated next to us, and we generally had a great time. The radio show itself is an hour long, and about two hours in, we were on our way home. While our wine was winding down, we lamented about my Mom leaving and that we wouldn't be able to come regularly without her around. B even asked the hosts whether it would be inappropriate to bring a baby with us sometimes. They hesitantly said it would be fine, so long as she didn't make a lot of noise. I think B was mostly joking, we've got enough people to watch Mia for a couple of hours once or twice a month. I'm thinking Juliet and I leave the babies with Romeo and B next week, if the restaurant sounds good. You in??

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Super Tuesday

This morning, I woke up, did yoga with a baby trying desperately to use my leg as a pull up device, showered, got to work, and had a flurry of productivity. It's now lunchtime, and I've checked 5 things off my week's to-do list. Other to dos:

-Find a House to Rent. When we moved to Vegas, we planned to stay in our apartment for a year and move out in October. Well, that date came and went and we extended our least for 6 more months. Our new lease is up April 1st. I desperately want to leave, since we've definitely outgrown our apartment. There are tons of great houses for rent out there, and I'm sure there's a perfect 3 bedroom, not over 1,700 square foot house out there for the same amount we are currently spending on our apartment. B does not want to pack, nor does he want to spend for movers. I sad, with a few volunteers, we might be able to do it ourselves. This also did not go over well. Hopefully, when February rolls around and we start looking at houses, his motivation gets kicked up.

-Take more photos, with a real camera. I downloaded Instagram to my iPhone and spent way too much time yesterday taking and editing pictures. I have a feeling you're all going to be treated to quite a few Instagram-ed photos from here on out, starting with these:

-Read "The Manager's Guide to HR" from cover to cover. By the end of the week, I'll officially be the only HR person on staff. On Monday, I performed my first HR duties and mediated an argument between an employee and his supervisor. All is well, everyone is keeping their jobs, everyone will try to communicate more.

-Watch the following Oscar Nominated films: 1) The Descendants (I'm reading the book right now). I love that the girl from Secreat Life of an American Teen (a guilty pleasure I am usually afraid to own up to) is in it, and that she was nominated for a Golden Globe. 2) Hugo. It looked pretty strange and unappealing in the previews, but Time magazine said it was one of the top things of 2011. So, I'll add it to my to-do list. 3) The Ides of March.  I watched this last night, actually. I love me some Ryan Gosling. I liked it a lot, but it was definitely not what I expected. I thought this would be an uplifting story about working for a political candidate, but... it was not so uplifting. Still good. and Ryan Gosling was still sexy. 4) The Artist - I am French. I should probably see this. I loved the acceptance speeches by the Actor and the Composer of this film. 5) War Horse. This is B's pick. He says, and I quote: "There aren't enough movies about WWI". Totally.

-Finish the baby sweater I just started and am feeling totally challenged by. I finished one side of a sweater and found it to be too simple, so I unravelled it and picked up a more complicated cable knit pattern. This will 100% be the most complicated thing I've knit to date, once it's finished. I'm using a beautiful merino and cashmere blend, so Miss Mia is going to be stylin'. I'd better finish before the weather turns too warm.

A work in progress
-Write and send thank you notes for Mia's X-mas gifts. We got quite a few, but I want to at least write notes to those who actually mailed theirs, to let them know that we received them. We got a couple of packages of belated gifts this weekend, which was a super surprise. A picture of one of Mia's dresses from her Grandpa:

Pretty Hearts dress - Please note that she pulled herself up on the coffee table in order to get one of her hair clips and promptly put it in her mouth.
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend marks the last of having a stay at home babysitter. My Mom has been with us since before Thanksgiving patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) waiting for her fingerprint appointment for her green card renewal. We've had the benfits of 1) having a nanny, and therefore having both my hands free at work, 2)having a person in our house who hates having dirty dishes in the sink, and therefore having all of our baby bottles clean, at all times. and 3)someone to go out and do things with while B watches football.

We commemorated the weekend by having multiple and mostly mundane activities that made weekends oh-s- fun. On Friday afternoon, I started by taking a 2 hour lunch out of the office, something that will be accomplished with difficulty once Mia returns to her status of Working-Baby. I met up with my "cousins" (in the Filipino sense) and had a glorious lunch at DW Bistro, an awesome restaurant - trendy but delicious - the exact type of restaurant that I miss going to in Chicago.

On Saturday, my Mom, Mia and I went down to Fashion Show Mall, which is an enormous mall on the Strip that does impromptu fashion shows featuring one of its stores. It was nothing terribly exciting, but Mia watched the catwalk with great suspicion and interest. On Saturday night, B and I had our last "parents night out" in what I imagine will be quite some time. We met up with Juliet and Romeo, as well as two of our other friends for a Japanese Evening - a Sushi dinner, followed by Karaoke! Juliet and Romeo took us to this awesome dive bar that they frequented pre-parenthood, and we all had a great time. Cheap drinks, dim lighting, everything you would expect from a total dive. Also something that I thought no longer existed amidst the Trysts, Taos, and Wet Republics that dominate the Las Vegas bar scene. B was thrilled to find it. Not that we'll become regulars, but, nevertheless, it's nice to know that we do still live in a city, rather than a suburb that surrounds the Strip.

On Sunday, we relaxed, enjoyed the baby, knitted (me), watched football (B) and did the massive amounts of laundry that I have managed to delay since we got back from France. Next weekend, a wedding, and then, back to the reality of being a Parent from Work Mom!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Whatnot Wednesday #1


Well, it's here!  I'd like to make a big announcement: Whatnot Wednesdays are beginning here on "Mommy and the Sin City!"  This is an idea and trend that is the brain child of the author (we'll call her "E") of the blog "Every Day The Wonderful Happens" and Frenchie and I are excited to take part.  I encourage you to become familiar with this author's entertaining blog about life and motherhood.  I promise you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll get sucked in!  Cross my heart, hope to die, never tell a single lie!  But for now, do me a favor, and at the very least follow the hyperlink I've included with her blog title, or click on the button above, and read some of her weekly "Whatnot Wednesday" entries.

The idea is exactly as she describes: it's "like a neti pot for your brain."  In fact, it is very much my PREFERRED style of writing.  (I don't do it often, because many times my OCD overtakes me and I proof-read EVERYTHING and thus what could be a 15 minute blog post session turns into an hour and a half--sadly, I'm not kidding.  It's often why I go days or weeks without writing-- because I over-analyze everything I write!  But with these Wednesday posts I'm going to try to let myself breathe.)  In Whatnot Wednesday posts not everything is in "perfect paragraph form."  Not every point transitions perfectly into the next.  Not everything has a backstory, or further explanation.  Why?  Because it's not about any of that.  Rather it's about writing what's been bubbling up to the top of your brain.  Letting your fingers graze the keys and see what is transposed by them.  Allowing yourself to just write/talk/get "it" out.

So, here goes, my very first Whatnot Wednesday!

  • Tybalt is walking.  Finally.  Man, Romeo and I have been worried.  The pediatricians (his original and the new one we don't like and so are finding yet another new one to replace) have said he should be walking by 13 months.  Now at almost 17 months he is finally, albeit gingerly and tentatively, walking. He started taking a few steps on New Year's Day, stopped for a week or so, but is now crossing our small living room.  He doesn't walk in any other room or any one else's house, but hey, it's a start.
  • I'm watching QVC's "In the Kitchen With David" as I type.  I would normally NEVER do that, because I prefer to solely focus on the writing.  See, I'm already allowing myself some wiggle room with this type of post!  Yay, me.
  • Speaking of QVC--I'm an addict.  There, I said it.  Sometimes I order, sometimes I don't.  But I watch it.  Alot.  Frenchie has talked about some of her Guilty Pleasures?  Well, QVC is definitely one of mine.
  • Romeo came home sick yesterday from work.  This worried/frightened me for two reasons.  1) Romeo is NEVER sick.  Literally.  Okay, occasionally a sniffly nose and tickly throat, but even then he never admits it.  I always just realize a couple days later that we are out of Kleenex in the house.  We actually tease he's the carrier monkey.  I have a weak immune system and get sick all the time.  If anyone is sick at his office I am bound to get it.  I don't know how it happens; I never have physical contact with the co-worker, and Romeo doesn't either really.  But I guess sharing an employee restroom or something must be enough, because he passes the germs on to me.  Yet he doesn't get it!  So for him to come home sick wakes me up and makes me worry about him.  It means he must REALLY be feeling near his death bed.  2) I have an irrational fear anytime he comes home early.  It started with my youth.  My dad lost his job a couple of times, and I remember once in particular.  He came home in the middle of the day, and my mom (I'm guessing from her experience when he was fired/laid off the time before that I'm not old enough to remember) FREAKED THE HELL OUT.  Seriously.  We lived in a condo, on the second floor, and had large living room windows that faced the street.  She heard a car door close, saw him, then opened our door and saw him walking up the stairs to our place.  Holy. Crap.  It was not a good day.  So anytime I hear Romeo's key turn in the front door lock midway through the day, my stomach drops.  Until I know he's there for an unexpected lunch, or forgot something-- anything innocent--I start to tremble and feel like I'm going to puke.  (In a weird fortunate way, he was the one puking though yesterday.)
  • I said I was watching QVC while I typed and that I normally never would.  I have to admit about 45 minutes ago I did put it on mute.  Baby steps, baby steps.  And 45 minutes shows how long I've been typing, proof-reading, and re-typing.  But again, baby steps, right?  :)
Ah, what a refreshing feeling!  My brain has been cleaned out a bit!  Interested in participating in Whatnot Wednesdays yourself?  Follow the hyperlink button at the top of this entry to link to "Every Day The Wonderful Happens," and find out more!

New Job

Not a new job, not really. I'm still doing what I do.

But, a couple of days ago, my boss comes in to my office ranting about our HR clerk. He's decided enough is enough, and she is going to get fired. I've been saying for ages that we need a proper HR person, not just someone's neice who keeps telling everyone she's going to law school, but two years later, she's still misprinting paychecks and forgetting to inform our insurance company when people are no longer with the company. Anyway, this is her last week.
Then, he said: "You can handle HR, right?"

Um... yes?

So, yes. I am now in charge of Human Resources. Thankfully, I will not be doing things like printing paychecks and keeping track of vacation time and sick time, but otherwise, it's all me. I will, however, be maintaining personel files, insurance and other things that I don't know about yet.

I've also decided that I'd like to implement things like an Employee of the Quarter program (month seems like way to often, considering the number of employees we have), Staff Appreciation Days, and other things like that. Which is where you all come in! I'd love to hear about what kind of programs your companies have in place that you like, or things you don't like. OK, GO!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Mommy Worries

Amalah and I were pregnant at the same time. For me, this was awesome. Since I was pregnant for the first time, all I wanted was to hear about someone else who was in the exact same pregnancy place as me. I was one week ahead of Amalah's pregnancy, so it worked out pretty perfectly. We also gave birth one week apart, continuing to follow the same schedule. Now, I'm realizing that this is both awesome, but also awful.
Today, Amalah wrote about how Baby Ike is not sitting up unsupported. She goes on to talk about how she didn't want to make a thing of it, etc, since it's her 3rd baby and how she shouldn't worry about these things anymore. Of course, I, as a first time Mom, constantly worry about these things. Mia started sitting up super duper early, before she turned 5 months old. I was absolutely thrilled about this, and love that she can sit up on the floor, in her crib, in a restaurant high chair. However, she started rolling over "late". She would roll onto her stomach, and then just scream because she couldn't figure out how to turn herself onto her back. Plus, the baby books say that usually, a baby will go from front to back before going from back to front. Worried Mama. At her 6 month pediatrician appointment, she was still not going from front to back. Our pediatrician is super laid back and, she just casually asked about the rolling, where I had to embarassingly say "Maybe she just likes being on her stomach, but can roll to her back? Maybe? Please?". Of course, two days later, she started rolling.

Mia, 4 months old, sitting with a cautious Mama in the background.
Since she turned 7 months old, she has been making crazy progress. After worrying about her not rolling for over 2 months (rolling starts at 4 months), she's thisclose to crawling. She's already figured out the legs/knees part, she just doesn't understand how to make her arms move in coordination. She tries really hard to scoot herself forward with her legs only, which ends up looking like a downward facing dog combined with a push up. Yesterday, she grabbed on to the sides of her crib and pulled herself up with ease. While we were in France, she learned "peekaboo", where she holds a blanket over her face, and then drops her arms and smiles. She claps when you say "Yay!". She holds her arms up when you say "Touchdown!". She moves her hands around when you sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider". She's learned to do all of this, from the rolling over to the clapping, in the past 3-4 weeks. It's amazing, and I can't believe how much she's learning and growing everyday, how much closer she is to being out of the baby stage.

Mia, 6 months old, NOT rolling.

And while I marvel at these amazing developments, I still manage to worry. Mia has no teeth. Every time she cries without apparent reason, I tell myself, this is it, she'll have a tooth soon. But nope, no teeth. Her gums aren't even red, or swollen, nothing. Not a tooth. She drools like a fiend, she moves her tongue around like she's feeling something going on in there, but nope! No teeth! She's small, she measures in the 25th percentile for weight and height. Although her pediatrician reassures me that she's growing properly and consistently, that her proportions are good, I worry that she's below average. She doesn't eat a lot. She rarely finishes a 6 ounce bottle, and rarely finishes a entire container of Stage 2 baby food. She doesn't hold her own bottle. If we do try to have her hold it on her own, she pulls it out of her mouth and plays, splattering herself in the face with milk.


When I worry about those things, I constantly have to remind myself of the things she is on target with. Her smiles, her happiness, her eagerness to start moving. Amalah's post makes me realize, that no matter what other things your child might be doing, no matter what stage of the "Mommy process", you're going to find some things to focus on. I guess the you can do is to make sure to enjoy your baby, and not to let those worries overshadow the progresses that your baby is making. Mommies of the world, let's make a pact to quit worrying about what our babies aren't doing, and remember that they are all amazing and developing, at their own pace, in their own way.

Because, really, we've come pretty darn far.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Guilty Pleasures: The Bachelor

When I returned from our vacation, I felt the same childlike excitement of Christmas morning when I saw that I had the first episode of the Bachelor waiting for me. I actually jumped in the Bachelor/Bachelorette bandwagon pretty late, but I can officially say that I cannot get enough of what happens to these men and women. Stockholm syndrome at its best. I wathed Monday's episode with my Mom and Brother and they were both making fun of me for smiling while watching. I had no idea I did that! Must remind myself not to watch with non-family.

For the Brad Womack II season, I loved a couple of the girls pretty quickly. Shawntelle (the undertaker) and Emily were charming and lovely. Probably too good for Brad (who wants to know you, badly), but hey, they wanted him. I was genuinely sad for After the Rose when things were visibly awful between Brad and Emily.

Ashley's season was out of control entertaining. The whole Bentley fiasco for the first half of the season was pure gold. Once the men had been whittled down a bit, I may have fallen slightly in love with Ames and Ben. I preferred Ames, but that probably wouldn't have worked, since a lot of people thought he was uber-weird. When they announced Ben was coming back as the Bachelor, I was seriously counting down the months.

Now, to the point of this blog post. Ben the Bachelor is in its second episode, and so far, I am not impressed. His preferred girls so far are... too obvious. He's smitten with the cackling model, he made out with horse-face, he likes horse girl who had to tell everyone that she'd rather smear dirt on her face than wear this pretty dresses and make up, and he got rid of the psycho Carrie Bradshaw impersonator! I was really hoping she would stick around and entertain us for a while. Plus, Ben is not yet charming. It took him a while to warm up with Ashley, so I'm guessing it will take a little while this time around too. Here's hoping things get a bit more exciting.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Frenchie goes to France, or How a baby handles Jetlag

So, we're back. We're a bit more French, a bit more fat, and certainly more worse for wear. We're also about a week and a half away from having a crawling baby in our house.

In answer to my post-title question, a 7 month old baby does not deal with Jetlag. She sleeps as though she was at home, continuing to follow Pacific time, as if you hadn't just put her on a plane and travelled across multiple time zones and expected her to adjust to being 9 hours ahead. During the day, she would look around sleepily, wondering why it was daytime. While at night, she'd look around and yelling (in babyspeak) "Play!!!!" from 2am to 6 am. So basically, B and I need to spend the next two weeks sleeping, to make up for us not sleeping for the past two weeks.

Village in Normandy

But, besides the whole no-sleeping thing, there was fabulousness. Fabulous food, wine, more wine, and then, just a bit more food to top things off. As I promised B, there were croissants every morning along with multiple cups of coffee. Big French lunches (Duck, Hare - not my favorite -, Castrated Chicken -no idea, but this is exactly as it was presented to me-, Lamb, Steak Frites, Oysters, Shrimp, tons of beautiful breads, cheeses, ice cream, eclairs and have I mentioned wine?), walks around the small city where my family lives (Rouen, for those of you who are interested to know specifics), and light dinners of pate, cheese, and (you guessed it) wine.

My uncle's fancy midieval house.

B and I did manage to spend a night without Mia in Paris. We pretended to be young again by trying to keep up with my younger brother and his girlfriend, and B got to visit the most fabulous city on earth. We didn't have too much time, so we focused on my favorites. The Louvre in the morning (not my favorite - but B insisted he had to see the Mona Lisa), then we hopped on the metro to Sacre Coeur and a stroll around Montmartre, including lunch at an adorable cafe with multi colored chairs. Then, we headed over to the Isle St. Louis for some Berthillion Ice Cream (best ice cream in the world), and I sped back to the train station (dragging a less willing crowd behind me) to get to my little bundle for fear that she had learned to crawl in the 24 hours that I left her.

On the banks of the Seine.
Then, back to Normandy for a few more relaxing days of family time, translating everything for Brian, and eating all the pastries we could manage. We shopped with some of our Christmas money, but spent most of the loot on Mia. She got quite a few French baby clothes, a ridiculously expensive French baby doll which I insisted on buying because it was exactly like the one I had as a kid, French books. I got a beautiful Italian leather purse from my uncle and felt completely satisfied and did not buy anything else for myself (except ice cream and eclairs).

With her Tito F, my brother.
Now, I'm back at work, catching up on emails and blogs. I've only been gone two weeks, but I feel like I've missed about a million things. I'll easily admit though, although we got very little sleep, I was grateful for the vacation from social media and cell phones, and I got to complete immerse myself in the Hunger Games Trilogy, which I finished just moments before I came in to work on Monday morning.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year (and Whatnot Wednesdays?)

Hello again, and Happy New Year.  Well, if it wasn't obvious before, it's pretty dang obvious now that Frenchie is the more dedicated blogger between the two of us.  But I mean well, I swear!  And like I said recently, my depression is just in full force right now.  And while I hope to feel better soon, I don't quite yet.

I did want to introduce you though to a blog that I've become addicted to as of late: "Every day the wonderful happens.”  The author is a married mom of two pre-school aged boys.  They are 6 months apart—one biological son, and one adopted son.  I encourage you to read more at the blog’s “About” page and then blog post after post, after post, after post!  Believe me, you’ll be hooked!  :)

Once Frenchie returns from her oh so fabulous French holiday, I will discuss with her starting “The Wonderful Happens” trend of “Whatnot Wednesdays.”  I am very excited about the prospect.  Go to the blog and check out some of the author’s Whatnot Wednesday posts to see what I am talking about.