April 2009

Walker discovers balloons at his friend Lucass first birthday. It didnt really occur to us that Walker hadnt spent much (or any) time with these wonderful things. He didnt really want to share once he figured out how fun they were.

Walker discovers balloons at his friend Lucas's first birthday. It didn't really occur to us that Walker hadn't spent much (or any) time with these wonderful things. He didn't really want to share once he figured out how fun they were.

I sit here drinking some wine, looking over work email, and pondering my return to Adobe.

I had one great vacation — not because I went somewhere exotic or did something unique or fascinating. I had a great vacation because it did what vacations are supposed to do — rejuvenate and relax you. The last three weeks were filled with a balance of working for Adobe and AiT/Planet Lar, completing things for the household, and doing things just for me. The result is a significantly smaller TO DO list, a more functional computer, a new blog, a trimmer me, and a tidier home and finances.

I must begin by saying I love being a mommy and I wouldn’t change anything in the world. However, I must say, the last few weeks have reintroduced me to the feeling of TRUE ACCOMPLISHMENT. Let me explain. I’m the Girl of 100 Lists (the Go Go’s song is my theme) and my lists are written with a small box to the left of each item. (A former boss gave me no end of grief about this format for my multi-page lists.) Each time I complete a task, I take a moment as I make a solid, confident check in the box. For a particularly significant item, time stops for just an instant, as if to honor the effort it took.

All parents will understand that a small human puts a crimp in life as you knew it. My 100 lists became 1000 lists over the last two years and every weekend I’d get stressed because more boxes were created than were checked on my lists. As I thought about my sabbatical, I considered packing up the family and using our miles to go somewhere fantastic. But the more I considered these scenarios, the more stressed I felt. Then a friend said something about her “staycation” and the more I thought about what that meant for me, the more comfortable I felt. So, Staycation it was. And it was great. I’m relaxed and I suspect our home appraisal will be higher.

Some Staycation highlights:

  • Run/walk each day making it up to running 2.75miles at a stretch and watching the full FIREFLY series in the process. Oh, my pants fit better and I joined a gym near work so I, my family and co-workers continue to reap the benefits of my exercise regimine. (And I mean my stress reduction, not my better-fitting clothing.)
  • Lunches, errands, and a movie with my honey
  • Creating a home office, cleaning the guest room, taking stuff to the safe deposit box that should have been there a year ago, balancing all the finances, and meeting with the insurance agent
  • Digging through and eliminating two years of crap on the table in the living room so it’s recognizable (and usable) as a table
  • Weeding in the front and back and planting a few nice things that should do well in our sandy and windy backyard.
  • Shopping
  • Going to the Genius Bar to have them fix a the small problem with my email — oh yeah, years of emails DISAPPEARED when Adobe upgraded my system software… but they’re back now
  • Migrating my blog to http://www.mimzilla.com (Were you paying attention? This will be addressed later)
Heres the sidewalk that was a KPI for the Staycation. I didnt do much other than carry a few 40lb bags of paving sand, transport bricks and do some weeding. It was all Larry. I wasnt even foreman. It looks great and Walker loves running on it.
Here’s the sidewalk that was a KPI for the Staycation. I didn’t do much other than carry a few 40lb bags of paving sand, transport bricks and do some weeding and grading. It was all Larry. I wasn’t even foreman. It looks great and Walker loves running on it.

There were many other things that were accomplished but I won’t bore you. Just know that this goes down in Mimi’s history as one of the best vacations ever. And why? Because I rediscovered the euphoric feeling of efficient TO DO list completion. And because life doesn’t stop when you’re on vacation. Things still happen like your dryer breaks, PG&E must inspect your solar installation (we’ve made more than 100 kilowatts than we’ve used), your fence breaks in two places in a wind storm, you and everyone in the family get a horrible cold, and you need your electric service replaced to your house. Had I been somewhere exotic, I’d have to try to deal with most of these things upon my return. However, with my fantastic staycation, I had the time to deal with it AND do a bit of exercise.

Adobe has a shut down in June and I’m already planning a day-by-day TO DO list.


You may have noticed that one of the highlights was that I’ve moved the blog. Yes, this is the final posting here. All future postings will be at www.mimzilla.com. It’s time we move to a more permanent URL. Please update your bookmarks. For those of you subscribed to RSS and emails, I’m really, really hoping you won’t have an interruption in entertaining posts.

Walker update

No post is complete without some Walker news. Our little guy is using more functional words. “I’m hungry” and “Want go home,” “Drink,” and “Move” have been added to other important words like ball, Barney, Elmo, Hop, Tweet (the bird, not a 140-character online post), YeeHaaa, Whee, Oh My, Boy oh boy, and Um.

Walker went a whole week without being sick! But alas, he’s got a runny nose again. Today, we were preparing to visit our friends Adrienne and Jim and Larry grabbed Walker’s hand to put his shoes on. “Did you put lotion on his hands?” he asks.

“No, that’s snot,” says Mommy absentmindedly.

“Mmmmm, creamy,” was Larry’s reply.


Adobe is very generous giving employees with five years of service a three week sabbatical. You have two years to take the time off and then you lose it. At the end of this month, I will have been with Adobe seven years, thus, it was now or never for the sabbatical. Larry and I spent quite a time thinking about what we could do with the time but after some careful consideration, we decided to have a three week “staycation” filled with chores, movies, and naps. In order to ensure a successful sabbatical, I’ve established some KPIs (key performance indicators) for the time off:

  • Exercise daily
  • Create garden paths
  • Make home office
  • Make guest room somewhat liveable
  • Be able to use the living room table as a … table

Of course, there are many other tasks I’d like to complete such as knit a blanket, create a quilt from old jeans and flannel pants, convert the crib to toddler bed, see some movies, catch up on financial paperwork, etc. but I consider all these stretch goals. I have quite a long list and will consider it a success if I can check off half the items.

I’m already a week into my staycation. It started off with a trip to the after hours clinic — the second time in three weeks. It was clear Walker had an ear infection when all the gunk drained out overnight. He was diagnosed with a ruptured eardrum and a wheeze which was treated with a week of antibiotics and doses from an inhaler. Sounds very dramatic but it’s very common for kids. But, of course, Larry and I got the cruddy cough. Despite the fact I sounded like hell and had a body-wrenching coughing fit every fifteen minutes or so, I wasn’t going to let it stop an activity-packed sabbatical.

On Monday, I took Walker to Day Care and then took a very, very long walk along the beach — oh, and the first 30 minutes I chatted with a vendor about a work project. While a lot of the week was spent wrapping up a few things for work, I did it from the convenience of my new home office (check off one KPI), after walking/running/watching FIREFLY episodes (check off another KPI for week one), with the benefit of meeting-free days. Tuesday night the dryer decided to stop drying clothes and we had to take a few hours and $150 to get it fixed. All in all, it was relatively painless and inexpensive given I thought we’d have to replace our 20 year old dryer (which was predicted to last another five to ten years by the repair man who simply cleaned it to get it working again…) By 5:30 on Friday afternoon, I finished my work and could finally start my sabbatical in earnest. And yes, everyone is feeling much, much better. Tomorrow we’ll be starting the work on the garden paths.

Walker had a wonderful Easter. On Saturday we colored eggs and, this morning, the Easter Bunny left a very big basket on the stoop for little Walker’s second Easter. It was filled with Barney and Elmo DVDs, a puzzle, a bunny pull toy and some sidewalk chalk. Despite all of that, Walker was more interested in Daddy’s See’s Candy Jelly Beans. Later in the day PopPop came over and we had the First Annual Easter Egg Hunt. I filled some plastic eggs with organic chocolate graham crackers and strawberry fruit chews and distributed them around the back yard. I couldn’t get the camera started fast enough — Walker saw the basket and took off around the yard collecting eggs. He was in heaven. After finding all the treasures and transferring from the Easter basket to the Christmas tree holder, we did a bit of chalk drawing.

It’s also worth mentioning that it’s spring and Walker is not immune to the love in the air. He has been smitten by a young girl at Day Care named Madeline. When we returned from a week in Florida, Walker spent the first day back at Madeline’s side, giving her hugs and kisses and returning her dropped pacifiers. Periodically, when he awakes from his nap, he’ll run straight to Madeline’s crib and give her a hug. Apparently his love is not unrequited. Madeline follows him around as well.