Sunday, July 31, 2011

Alphabetic Trance

Jeremy and I had a conversation about memory tricks the other day, and I thought it was worth noting here. 

Admittedly, my brain isn't wired normally.  I've read a lot of things that say the way my mind works is similar to what someone diagnosed with ADD suffers.  I've got a photographic memory, concepts come easily to me, and I can identify seemingly random connections -- but names, dates and minutiae escape me.  I live my life around lists.  I have lists on my nightstand, on my desk, taped to my monitor, in my phone, on a whiteboard in the kitchen -- the list goes on (pun intended).

Anyway, the point is, I've developed tricks to remember things that have escaped me.  There is one in particular I use all the time, when there is a word on the tip of my tongue, but it's not coming to me.  I go through the alphabet in my head.  About 99% of the time, a letter sparks the memory.  I don't know why it works, but it does.

Jeremy has noticed me zoning out when I'm trying to remember something, and I finally told him what I was doing.  I go on autopilot while I go through the alphabet in my head -- and when I come out of it, I've got an answer.

Kind of like a alphabetic trance.  LOL

Eldorado Canyon

Erin, Scarlett and I went for a hike in Eldorado Canyon on Saturday morning.  It was the first time I have ever taken Scarlett on a "real" hike, and I don't have a "real" hiking pack for her yet, so we chose an easy trail to start.

We drove on the single-lane dirt road through the park to the visitor's center first.  After talking to the ranger on duty and getting a park map, we chose the Fowler Trail.

The trail was extremely easy, but the views were breathtaking.  Scarlett did amazing, even in the heat, so next time we can try a tougher trail.

The trail hooks up with a series of trails within Boulder Open Space, and we were going to explore those a bit as well -- but when we were standing at the trail crossing trying to decide which direction to take, we heard a shriek behind us.

We turned around and a man and a woman who had just run by us were standing in the middle of the trail to our left, staring at a rattlesnake.  We weren't close enough for me to worry, but we were close enough for me to see the rattles on its tail.  I wanted to get closer to get pictures, but with Scarlett strapped to my back, I hesitated.  So I don't have any pictures of the rattlesnake -- but I do have some other pictures to share.

You can see Boulder at the end of the canyon

This type of massive rockslide area is called "scree" in hiking terms

The Bastille

Intrepid hiker stopping for a snack

Off we go!

A clown, even out in nature.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Paintings at Sacred Grounds

This is just sad.  Sad, I tell you.  For an entire week I have forgotten to mention that I now have two paintings up on the walls of Sacred Grounds Coffee in the Canyon.

Sacred Grounds is an adorable little family-owned coffee shop right on Cheyenne Blvd in Colorado Springs.  The address is 1801 Cheyenne Blvd.  It's a great place to stop in and relax on your way back from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, or from hiking around Seven Falls.  Plan on staying long enough to relax on the front porch and enjoy the shade of the canyon.

These are the pieces that I have available there, and they are both for sale:

Child on Earth

Both paintings are 11x14 acrylic on canvas board, and both are framed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Scarlett's Birthday Party

We had Scarlett's first birthday party in our new house on Sunday.  It was a really good test to see how many people our house could hold -- and our house was absolutely packed to the brim.

Jeremy's family came up from the Springs, my family came up from Castle Rock and Aurora, and friends came from Lafayette and the Springs.  We had kids here ranging in age from three months to 18 years.  It was utter chaos, and yet Scarlett handled it all with grace.  That kid is amazing. 

We had a pretty good spread of food.  Fruit, veggies and dip, cheese, meat, crackers and pub mix took up the entire length of our kitchen table.  We ordered the cake from King Soopers, and they did a great job with the rose theme.  They even made Scarlett her own little cake to mash up.

And mash she did.  When we put Scarlett's little cake in front of her, she first daintily touched the "1" on the top of the frosting -- but she quickly figured out there was a whole cake under there and went to town.  Two days later, I'm STILL cleaning frosting out of the nooks and crannies of her high-chair.

Our guests were extremely generous with their gifts.  Scarlett got so many awesome toys and adorable clothes.  She'll be the best-dressed kid around until she turns 2!  And we'll be able to keep her interested with a new toy every week for that long, too.

After the party, Jeremy's family took us to Cinzzetti's for dinner.  That place is a Mehring family tradition now. 

Here are a few pics from the day.

 About a quarter of the people at the party are represented in this pic. It was a full house.

 Scarlett started out daintily picking at her cake -- but within two minutes she was mashing it all up.

Scarlett loves her cousin!

She looks SO much like my dad in this pic. She definitely has the square Zimmerman eyes at times.

Spoiled rotten with all her new toys!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Overworked and Loving It

I delivered my ghostwriting project proposal, so that is still in the scoping/contract phase.  But that doesn't mean I've been lacking for work. 

I seem to be moving more and more into a writer role in my day job, which actually works quite well with my regular responsibilities as a web content manager.  But it used to be that one job was a break from the other -- and that is no longer the case.  I'm no longer an after-hours writer.  I'm a writer 24/7.  I've heard that doing what you love for a living can actually ruin what you love, but so far I'm not experiencing that. 

I've taken on a new role with GlobalWrites, as well.  I am now the website editor and project manager.  It's going to be interesting, I can already tell.  As a Virgo, I'm a natural editor.  I'm detail-oriented, and I love schedules and deadlines, and establishing process and rules.  However, wrangling a bunch of creative types (writers and site developers), is a totally different level of work.  And for site content and IT-type stuff, I'll have to do a lot of wrangling.  So place your bet now -- how long do you think it will be before I tear my hair out?

Jeremy is concerned that there is too much on my plate.  And I admit, I've got a lot going on.  But the fact is, we need the money.  The only other option is for Jeremy to go back to work -- which means Scarlett goes to daycare, our family is split up for the most part of every day, and I lose the day-to-day household help that Jeremy provides.  The situation we have right now is ideal.  Our family is together all day, every day, and Scarlett is with us instead of a daycare provider.  Not many people have this luxury, and I want to continue to do it as long as we can.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Scarlett's One-Year Stats

Scarlett had her one-year checkup today.  The doctor said she's looking great, and Scarlett is an "unusually friendly one-year-old".  The doctor also told us that we are "some of the most natural parents she's ever met".  She said that she meets a lot of parents that just don't know what the heck they're doing, but we seem to have it all in hand.  That made me feel good.  :)

Scarlett is in the 24th percentile for weight, and the 73rd percentile for height.  She's growing like a weed.  :)

Poor thing got 5 shots, but she was such a trooper.  As soon as I picked her up, her crying slowed and then stopped. 

I say this all the time, but man we got lucky with our first kid.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy First Birthday, Scarlett Rose!

One year ago today, I gave birth to a perfect 7lb, 3oz baby girl.

And she has grown into the most beautiful, funniest, sweetest, smartest little munchkin.

Happy birthday to my little rosebud, the light of my life, whose funny faces never cease to make me laugh, whose cries never cease to break my heart, and whose smile never ceases to lift my spirits.

Jeremy's Birthday

Jeremy turned 30 on Friday.  The big three-oh. 

I already mentioned that I gave Jeremy a crested gecko for one of his gifts last Monday.  He is still extremely excited about little Squirt, and he is fascinated by the reptile store near our house.  I know a lot of girls are reading this and getting grossed out -- but I grew up with two brothers and my family spent a lot of time outdoors when I was a kid, so reptiles and amphibians have always been just like any other wild animal to me.  And frankly, a lizard or a snake is a lot less needy than a dog or a cat.  We're not going to worry about Squirt when we go on vacation, whereas we have to make arrangements for Tyr and Cairo.  So Squirt is a fun and stress-free new addition to our household.

Friday after work, Jeremy, Scarlett and I went to Three Margaritas for a birthday dinner.  Jeremy got a margarita the size of my head.  LOL.  And as you saw in one of my previous posts, Scarlett got to have her first quesadilla -- and she loved it.

The three of us went to Cohen's birthday party on Saturday.  Cohen is my friend Tam's little boy, and he was born on the same day as Scarlett.  Tam made Cohen this awesome blue monster cake, and in typical one-year-old fashion, Cohen smashed a big piece of it all over his face.  We let Scarlett have a few bites of cake as well, and she looked like she had smooched a smurf.

Saturday evening, Erin and Shane took us to dinner at the Vietnamese Cafe.  Erin was my college roommate, and over the years we've rarely lived close to each other. I'm so glad to have her close by again.

Sunday my family came up to Northglenn and took us out for a birthday lunch at the Armadillo.  I had never been there before.  They had a great, really reasonably priced Sunday brunch.

My last gift to Jeremy was a photography class on Sunday evening.  I got Boulder-based photographer Barb Colombo to give Jeremy a private lesson.  He was so surprised, and he took some amazing photos during the lesson.  I wasn't planning on staying, but Barb insisted -- so Scarlett and I ended up being Jeremy's subjects a few times.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wildlife and Fried Brains

Our new house is by a lake.  So was our old house.  But the wildlife is so different here, it's crazy.  There is a huge variety of waterfowl alone, but we also see a ton of other kinds of birds, butterflies, and we've even seen a coyote.  It's amazing how a few miles can change a terrain so much.  We're enjoying the heck out of it.

I had big plans for a blog post tonight.  I wanted to talk about how we're still recovering from the loss of Loki, how excited Jeremy is about Squirt, my forays into the Northglenn/Thornton areas to find a good gym, and how I'm trying to get back into reading fiction for pleasure because somehow that went to the wayside over the last few months.  I even wanted to write about how Scarlett's sleep schedule has gone BONKERS since we moved (5:45am wake time and fighting every nap???  WTF???).

But my brain is fried, so that will all have to wait.  I'm even taking supplements to try to get my brain back in top-shape after the craziness of the last year (and most of you guys know how a post-pregnancy brain is harder to get back in shape than your abs).  So I'm going to curl up with Insatiable, by Meg Cabot, and call it a night.


I'm not a religious person, but I do consider myself spiritual -- and I firmly believe in the power of the universe.  On days like today, the universe practically screams "HEY YOU!"

I decided recently that I wanted to get into ghostwriting.  Heck, I've done enough writing for other people's glory, why not formally add ghostwriting to my resume?  It's great work for someone like me.  I write the stuff, deliver it to the client, and they take it and publish/market it.  I'm just the writer.  Though my name isn't on the finished product, it takes all the publicity stress off of me.

And it just so happens I'm very good at networking, and I have a network of people who are really good at networking -- so before long, I got a lead.  I had a meeting with my first potential book ghostwriting client tonight, and it went really well.

I'm putting together a formal proposal over the next week, and once we agree on a project plan and budget, I'll start to write this gentleman's book.  Good stuff.  Wish me luck for smooth sailing!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Goodbye Loki, Welcome Squirt

We had to make a very difficult decision yesterday.  Loki's health has been declining for months, now, and her vet couldn't figure out what was wrong with her.  She looked like a walking skeleton, and there was no energy or happiness left in her.  After many tears, we decided it was time to end her suffering.  I made the phone call this morning, and Jeremy took her to the vet to be put to sleep.  We were all heartbroken.

So to help ease the pain for Jeremy a little bit (though not an attempt to replace our beloved dog), I gave Jeremy one of his birthday presents tonight.  Introducing Squirt, the crested gecko:

He (or possibly she -- we won't know for about 10 months), will grow to be about 8 inches long.  He's gorgeous, and easy to handle.  He won't replace Loki, but he brought a bit of joy to the very depressed Mehring household tonight.

For those of you reading this who know Jeremy, please be kind and don't bring up the subject of Loki unless he does first.  We're all tender about her passing, but Jeremy especially needs time to heal before it's bearable to talk about.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Scarlett's First Ice Cream Cone

We checked out the new Glacier Homemade Ice Cream place here in Northglenn today.  They had a baby-sized ice cream cone -- and we couldn't resist.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Scarlett and Storms

Scarlett is something else.  Her facial expressions alone stop people in their tracks.  She hams it up whenever she can, making people laugh in stores, in restaurants, on the street.

She had a real attitude for the week surrounding our move.  I'm happy to say that the attitude is over and done with, now that she's settled in her new home.  But now she's going through a growth spurt, which isn't much more fun.  She's eating like a piglet, and having trouble with her regular nap schedule -- though she is taking very long naps when she finally does go down.  And she's been REALLY needy.  Especially with me.  There are times where she does everything she can to wriggle out of Jeremy's arms to come curl up with me.  She has clearly defined Jeremy's and my designated roles: Daddy is the one to play with, and Mama is the one to snuggle with.

Scarlett is also climbing the stairs a lot these days.  She's really good at it.  She still isn't showing any real interest in walking, though -- but she can stand on her own for a few seconds at a time.  And she has no interest in feeding herself with a utensil.  I'm not worried, though.  Just like everything else, one day she'll decide to do it and that will be that.

I have been teaching Scarlett baby sign language since she was 3 months old.  She recognizes the signs and responds to them -- but she still refuses to do them back.  This little girl is going to be just like her daddy -- if you don't want her to do something, tell her to do it.  LOL

In other news, we are still in love with our new house.  It suits us so well!  One thing we are still getting used to, though, is how hard storms can hit us here.  We live farther from the mountains than before, and the storms that come from the west build up a lot of pressure before they reach us.  The pressure hits us and it looks like a hurricane outside for about 10 minutes.  Then the storm settles in, does its thing, and moves on.  It's pretty crazy, though, and it honestly scared me a little the first few times.  Now it's almost refreshing, though, because it sweeps the air clean so fast, and I know the storm is on its way in and will be over soon.

Peaceful Saturday morning

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Fourth of July

The Thornton Rec Center is across the open space from our house, and this is where the Thornton city 4th of July festival was being held.  There were food and garden vendors, an orchestra, and a parachute jump.  You can see the progression in these pics, where they started to set up the venue, and then people started to fill in as the evening went on.

These are the parachute jumpers.  They jumped at 9:30pm and held fireworks as they fell to earth -- so they looked like comets coming toward us.  It was breathtaking!

And here are some of the fireworks we saw.  They were fired off from the lake behind our house, so our view was amazing.  We were sitting in our back yard when I took these.  

Monday, July 04, 2011

Springs Trip, BBQ and Other Stuff

We've got a working dishwasher and washing machine now.  Wahoo!  My house isn't a complete disaster anymore!  Just don't look in the guest room or my studio...

Scarlett and I went down to the Springs on Saturday.  She got some one-on-one time with Jeremy's family while I went and got my hair done.  It's great that I can leave Scarlett with people and she doesn't have a meltdown.  That may change when she's older, but right now she sure makes it easy on me.

So Scarlett spent the afternoon playing with her Grandma and Grandpa M and the twins.  Little David, especially, can't wait until Scarlett can walk -- he grabs her hand and tries to get her to come with him everywhere.  But in the meantime, he's happy bringing her toys, mimicking her sounds and facial expressions, and kissing her on the cheek at every opportunity.

As you saw in one of my last posts, I got red streaks in my hair.  My stylist loves me because I let him get creative.  And heck, as long as I can get away with "creative" hair, I will take advantage.  I know eventually I'll have to make a more professional impression -- or I'll just plain get too old for it.

My family came up for a pre-4th of July BBQ yesterday.  It was a good test-run for our new house.  And it worked out great.  There was plenty of room for everyone -- we weren't squished at all like we were in the last two places we've lived.  And after the sun went down, we sat on our back patio and watched all the fireworks displays across the northern horizon.

Today is a holiday for me from my day job -- but not from my other jobs.  I have one painting to complete for my display at Sacred Grounds, and then I'm off to get frames.  Meanwhile, I've completed the illustration for Scarlett's birthday invitations, and I'm printing those up while I'm typing this. 

I should have mentioned this weeks ago, but GlobalWrites now has a Facebook page.  Check us out and "like" us when you get the chance!  When I have got my wits about me again (this move has erased my wits, currently), I'll post more there.  But for now it's mainly run by business owner JoAnn Takasaki.