Friday, May 30, 2008

Oma & Opa return

At least they tell me they're back in the country, having just come into Dulles this evening. And then back to Seattle on Saturday. And today is my brother Rob's birthday! It's pretty warm here so Veeka and I might go scope out some water parks as our pool (that I pay a hefty monthly condo fee for) is having construction work done on the pool house for the next month. Talk about absolutely lousy timing.
The photo is of Veeka and Opa while Opa was working at the computer a few weeks ago. The new car is doing well. Unfortunately I have not gotten ONE nibble on my home so today my realtor and I made the sad decision to cut the price by quite a lot of $$$. The going rate seems to be dropping by $1,000 a day in these parts.
For those of you who take a peek at the Washington Times web site [] my series on the sanctuary movement ended today. It ran Tuesday-Friday and was it a relief to finally get *that* published. It got good play the first two days, then so-so play the last two, to my disappointment. It did start on the front page all four days but it was a pretty slow news week to boot, so it SHOULD have started on A1. Don't think I'll propose any more series for quite some time, as certain folks on the paper basically got tired of the story by the third day. Sigh.
I took Veeka out tonight for her first ice cream cone. Bright bubble-gum pink and pretty messy.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Oma turns 80

Oma and Opa's car just pulled away a few minutes ago to speed toward Dulles airport and a Turkish vacation. They were here (with a one-day run up to Philly to see my Aunts Dottie and Lee) for about six days now. On Tuesday, Opa and I went car shopping; the result of which you can see right behind them in the photo of everyone posed in their church best by my 2006 Subaru Outback. YES - it is loaded with all sorts of cool things; a sun roof, leather seats, seats that HEAT up plus it's a cool color. And nifty things like a CD player (first time I have had one of those) and a gauge that tells you the outside temperature from inside the car.
Opa and I first spotted the car Tuesday in a Toyota parking lot (someone must have traded it in for a Prius) and from experience I knew that some of the best buys are when you buy a car of one make in the parking lot of a dealer specializing in something else. I'd bought my Honda Accord 9 years ago in a Toyota lot too - usually the dealers want to off load them fast, so they are willing to make some discounts. They did not take our first offer on Tuesday but by Wednesday night we had agreed on a price that everyone was pleased with. Opa and I had gone to another dealer to try out some Subaru Forresters but this Outback was by far the superior car. It was so nice to have someone with me who knew how to bargain down the dealers. Y'all know what it's like when you're a female alone doing the car shopping. Did that nine years ago - never again.
The Accord, by the way, went to a Christian car ministry to be given away after being spruced up a bit, as it has another 1-2 years on it. But at 185,000 miles, I figured it was time to switch.
Thursday, Oma and Opa and I went househunting in the area I wish to live in which, again, was helpful insofar as having more than one pair of eyes present. Basically though, they pretty much hung out, giving me some much needed time to catch up on stuff, such as going to the county courthouse to register Veeka's adoption with the state of Virginia and yesterday going to see the new movie "Prince Caspian." I have not been to a movie in SO long....
Thursday night, we went to a pretty waterfront restaurant to celebrate Oma's big day. They brought out a dessert with one candle so Opa and I sang to her softly. There were also lots of walks to the park, the Saturday market and time spent petting the kitties. Oma pioneered a new technique in putting pigtails in Veeka's hair as is shone in another photo taken this morning.
Tomorrow (Monday) is MY birthday.
In the top photo, by the way, Opa is holding Veeka's Sunday school drawing.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The little ballerina

I just wanted to post a photo of Veeka at today's recital. She's the third person from the left, staring off into space for some reason. It was so cute, the way all these 3-year-olds were lined up, trying to do something to the music but having no idea what! Five zillion little kids were whizzing around in all manner and color of tutus and hair ribbons. I didn't realize that it's the custom to present your kid with flowers when she has a recital. Hmmmm. I never got flowers during MY ballet career.
Then tonight I took her to a Kurdish party downtown where she bounced from table to table and charmed everyone and, of course, danced, until about 11 p.m. She wanted to close down the party but I said NO. Other exciting news here: My For Sale sign disappeared from in front of my house Thursday, so I filed a police report on the missing sign. Turns out the condo association pilfered it because they found something arcane in the by-laws that didn't allow something attached to the sign. Of course my sign has been up six weeks; am not sure why they went after it now - but when they got wind of the police report, they quickly replaced it, without the offending attachment.
Honestly these condo commandos are something. Neither my realtor nor I got any written note, warning, nothing. I was frantic to get it replaced by the weekend, which is the big time people come looking at the place. People show up at my door without even a realtor; they are in the neighborhood and want to see the place. Today Veeka was sequestered for a nap when someone knocked on the door so of course she bounced out of bed. I have to keep this place obscenely clean all weekend long just in case folks drop by which gets to be a real strain after awhile, especially after 7 weeks on the market. I will be so glad when this is over...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ballet recital this Saturday

Yes, here is a photo of the Little One in her tutu preparing for her recital this Saturday. She looks charming there, but - sigh - she is now in the Terrible Threes. The daycare people today were telling me she was a very naughty little girl today - hitting the other kids, constantly picking her nose - sigh. And she is just refusing to fall asleep these days - doesn't conk out til 10-10:30 p.m. Am at wits end on this one.
The recital will be this Saturday at the local high school with all sorts of cuties performing. I found another mom who had an extra pair of ballet slippers and the tutu and leotard came with the class fee. So we are off. Then on Monday, Oma and Opa come for 6 or so days. Do we have things for them to do! Repair Veeka's bedroom door. Help fix living room chairs. De-rust Veeka's new red wagon (well, it is used). And other fun jobs. Plus help me buy another car and look at potential homes.
No, I have no contract yet. Am going crazy, as some of the homes I want are getting snapped up by other buyers while I just tread water here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Surviving the layoffs

It was like a morgue at my workplace this week. Maybe 20 people from the newsroom were let go in the past 10 days and it was so sad to see folks trudging sadly from the personnel office, packing boxes in hand. We had all guessed at whom some of the laid-off employees might be but others were a surprise to everyone. People were wandering about the newsroom, giving the let-go folks hugs and commiserating with them. It was so sad.
Fortunately we had a large meeting in my newsroom today where it was announced the layoffs had ended and there'd be a huge switch in who reports to whom. I have a new boss to whom I will report starting Monday. I actually did well in that I will get a part-time assistant to help in the religion reporting. There's also talk of my getting a column, some weekly religion pages, more TV and radio time, etc. etc. So I have done well in this transition. It helps that the WTimes is very partial to religion, naturally.
A few highlights: Last Saturday, I got to attend - along with 3,000 other journalists, movie stars and politicians - the White House Correspondents dinner downtown. You can see here two views of the strappy sandals and strapless gown I wore along with my newly done hair. Fortunately the weather was quite warm. Veeka unfortunately looks a little spooked as she had a hard time getting into the spirit of it all. Perhaps she wasn't sure why her mommy was so dressed up. The two guests - both clergy - I got to invite were very charming and appreciated being there. One was a bishop and the other, I suspect, will soon be one. It was a $200/plate dinner, so it was nice that my paper allowed me to attend.
Other nice things: I just won a first-place award in a local journalism contest (can't remember the name right now) for my India series and am one of 10 finalists in another contest - for religion specialists - for best religion reporting in 2007. Considering I was on maternity leave for 3 months of that year plus had mono for another 2-3 of those months, that's pretty good.
About my home - STILL no contract. Every other place nearby that's on sale DOES have a contract, so I am a bit depressed. And all of those places sold for substantially more than I am asking, so go figure. Meanwhile, I am down to a final 2-3 choices for the home I want to move into, so it'd help if I could sell my current abode. I have already reserved a place for Veeka at her new daycare across town, so am just treading water.
Miss Veeka, newly 3, tries her best to cause trouble. I now have to lock the screen doors as she has a nasty habit of opening the door and running as fast as she can out into the street. Even tho the condo association re-did the latch on my back gate, she has learned how to un-do that and, again, tear into the back parking lot. She has learned to say "ouch" and loves shoving one finger up her nose just to bother me. Tonight she somehow got ahold of the Comet underneath the kitchen sink, brought it upstairs and poured it all over the hallway carpet.
Twice now when she's been in the bathtub, I've heard a surprised, "Poopee!" and looked down in the bath water to see...well, take a guess. That ends our bath time pretty quick. Potty training, unfortunately, seems more distant than ever. Her new love is Trader Joe's, because they hand out balloons. Speech lessons are going slowly because, as the speech therapists and I have realized, it's not that Veeka can't say all the words. She just doesn't want to. But when she wants to communicate, the words bubble up. Examples: "cookie," "balloon," and "no."