Monday, November 28, 2011

Breaking Dawn and Spoiled Scarlett

My parents, Drew and Lisa came up to visit on Saturday.  Jeremy was at work in the Springs, so he missed out on our fun.

We went to lunch at 3 Margaritas, then went back to the house so I could give the guys the rundown on Scarlett's afternoon routine.  Drew and my dad stayed with her while my mom, Lisa and I headed to the theater to see Breaking Dawn.

This was the first time I've been to our local theater (obviously we don't get out to a lot of movies these days).  It was so cool!  It's one of those dine-in theaters, so every row of seats has a table in front of it.  There is a huge menu, and a waiter comes and takes your order and checks on you during the movie.  And it wasn't any more expensive than a regular theater.  I kept thinking how perfect that would be for a date night -- dinner and a movie in one!

Breaking Dawn was incredible.  It was my least favorite book of the series, but it is now my favorite movie of the four.  They took a difficult story line and created a visually stunning movie experience from it.

Meanwhile, Scarlett was in heaven having her uncle and grandpa at her disposal.  She showed them all her toys, and gave them a tour of every room in the house.  I don't even think she noticed I was gone.  I'm thrilled that she does so well with people babysitting her.  It makes leaving her with people a treat instead of a pain.  She makes the time together fun for everyone.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We stayed the night at my parents' house on Wednesday, to get some extra family time in and also to avoid having to rush the next morning.  It took two tries, but Scarlett went to bed pretty close to her usual time and stayed down all night.  So us adults got to drink some wine and beer and enjoy the new Conan movie (eh) before we crashed for the night.

Thanksgiving morning was a feast of fresh fruit and sweet rolls.  Scarlett was in heaven with all the new treats to try.  The rest of the morning was spent hanging out and cooking.  It was so beautiful outside, Scarlett got to spend lots of time running around the back yard.

Thanksgiving dinner was delicious.  Conversation focused on the Occupy Wall Street movement -- we all believe it has strayed so far from the original idea that it is absolute hypocrisy now.

Before we left for Jeremy's parents' house, we had coffee and dessert and let the baby take a nap.  Lisa made pecan pie, and it was probably the best I've ever had.

We got to the Mehrings' in time to see Jennifer's family for a few minutes before they left for their next dinner.  Mariah is 4 weeks old, now, and just as cute as ever.  We spent the rest of the day and evening hanging out with Janet, David, Kelsey and the twins.  Scarlett is getting a little pushy with the boys, so we're having to keep a close eye on her.  Only 16 months old, and she already thinks she's the boys' boss.  LOL.  I explained to little David that we had to help teach her the right behavior, and he was totally on board.  In fact, he was happy to report to everyone how Scarlett told him "thank you".

Jeremy stayed in the Springs to work the next two days, so Scarlett and I drove home by ourselves Thursday night.  She was asleep within two minutes of getting into her car seat, and hardly opened her eyes when I moved her to her bed at home.  Unfortunately she had a bad dream and awakened me in the early hours, so I brought her to bed with me -- and that always means I don't get much sleep.  I'm a light sleeper, and I am a worrier, and that combo equals me waking up every time she sighs or stirs.  At least I never have to worry about rolling over on her.

This morning was really rough.  I'm so glad I had the day off from work and other obligations.  Between the lack of sleep, a terrible allergy attack, and the following Claritin which made me soooo tired, I didn't even change out of my PJs until Scarlett was up from her morning nap and ready for lunch.  In fact, I need to get to bed early tonight, so I'm going to wrap this post up here.

The following photos are courtesy of my brother Chad.

The Zimmerman side of the family

Crazy baby

Scarlett loves fruit, just like her mama

Future cheerleader?

Grampa's little angel

Hi Dada!

Scarlett found her Daddy's hat today and insisted on wearing it for a good half hour. I figured I should get it on video, since Jeremy was missing out while he was working.

YouTube link:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Houston Startup Weekend

I've got a lot to download here in this blog today.

I flew into Houston Hobby airport late Thursday night and was picked up at the curb by GlobalWrites owner/foodie extraordinaire/awesome friend JoAnn Takasaki.  We went back to her condo, where she fed me leftover couscous and spinach salad -- leftovers that would be considered 5-star fare in a restaurant, btw. We stayed up talking until 1am.

Friday I worked my day-job from the condo, stopping only for a kolache and Starbucks break. We were serenaded by JoAnn's friend Bruce for lunch.  Bruce is learning to play classical guitar, and he gets really nervous playing in front of people -- so he wanted to use us to try to get used to an audience.  And JoAnn promised him a gourmet lunch in return.

After I logged off work on Friday, we headed over to the Houston Startup Weekend kickoff.  I had no idea what to expect, but it didn't take long for me to get excited right along with the HSW participants.  Entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes -- successful business owners, starry-eyed college students, dreamers with big ideas, nerdy application developers, representatives of some of the most incredible creative companies in the world -- all in one place and interested in only one thing: to work together to create new startup companies.  The collaboration was unlike anything I've ever experienced.  Absolutely inspiring!

After the kickoff, we met up with my long-time friend Jennifer at Lupe Tortilla.  It was one of my favorite restaurants when I lived in Houston, and they still have the best tortillas I've ever had.  A few margaritas and a giant quesadilla later, we three girls were gabbing away and losing track of the hour.

Saturday morning, JoAnn, her husband Chris and I hit Artcrawl Houston. Once a year, a portion of the Houston warehouse district is transformed into art galleries and people are free to peruse.  It's similar to Open Studios here in Boulder, but it's not just studios you're seeing.  I met some incredible artists and saw some breathtaking work.  And to top it off, the prices were so insanely good, I was happy I hadn't brought my checkbook -- or I would have drained our savings account that day.  I fell in love with an abstract piece entitled The Guardians from an artist named Pizo.  It was 28x22 original oil painting, and it was only $250.  Seriously!  Do you KNOW how hard it was for me to not run to an ATM that day?  Oh, and I fell in love with an even larger acrylic piece from Nia Jacob (part of the fabulous MOCAH's Queens of Creativity group) entitled East Side of My Heart.  Sadly I couldn't fit that one on a plane or it, too, would have been worth running to an ATM for.

On our way back to the car from Artcrawl, we ran into Alex Barber of Whiteboard Labs and Lizbeth Ortiz of East End Studio Gallery.  I've been in conference calls with Alex before, but never met him in person.  And Lizbeth is a good friend of JoAnn's who just opened her own gallery, so I was extremely excited to meet her because one of my dreams is to open a gallery.  Obviously I will be picking her brain now that we're Facebook friends.  LOL

Also on our way back from Artcrawl, I stopped and got a yellow cupcake from a food truck -- YES A CUPCAKE TRUCK!  I think the name was Frosted Betty, but don't quote me on that.  Anyway, as a Coloradan, food trucks are an curiosity to me.  A really delicious curiosity.

Post-Artcrawl was a quick stop at Whole foods for lunch, then another quick stop at the condo to change, and off to the Houston Startup Weekend happy hour.

GlobalWrites was a sponsor of the HSW happy hour, so we brought a couple of cases of wine and stayed to hang out for a few hours.  During that time, we met Twilio guru Keith Casey.  The dude is a genius.  I could have listened to him talk about startup businesses all night.

We relocated to Boheme after happy hour ended.  A few folks joined us there -- Keith, Grace Rodriguez of C2 Creative, fellow GlobalWriter Adam Rosen and his lovely Brazilian girlfriend.  Out on the back patio, in the humid breeze, we drank and talked well into the night.  We were pretty shocked when the bartender announced the bar was closing!  How I made it until 2am without falling on my face, I'll never know.

Sunday morning was brunch with JoAnn, Chris, Jennifer and her mom at Farrago.  Let me tell you what my breakfast was, because it pretty much encapsulates the charm of this place: organic, free-range eggs brought to the restaurant from a local farmer; shredded potato cakes made from ingredients purchased from the midtown farmer's market that morning; homemade blueberry/choc chip/strawberry muffin with a sugar-crisp top; and a bottomless mimosa.  I devoured this while enjoying the company out on the sunny front patio.  The owner even stopped by the table to ask specific questions about each of our meals -- could I tell that the eggs were organic?  was the mole sauce on Chris's migas too sweet?

JoAnn, Chris and I spent the rest of Sunday with our heads down in business planning.  It was a huge task to try to get the plan for brand-new business GlobalWrites really nailed down, and it was a sometimes emotional process -- but we really accomplished a lot.  We even have the beginnings of a mission statement!  I'm excited to see where it heads in the next year.

Saying goodbye to JoAnn was bittersweet.  It was such an inspirational weekend, but I am happy to be home with my family again.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Justified Attitude

I mentioned not too long ago that Scarlett has been a handful since we returned from Florida.  Well, I now know why.  She's got FOUR new teeth coming in!  Three have already broken the surface, and one is just about to erupt. 

Mystery solved.

Unfortunately she's also hit the age where she's starting to have nightmares.  Last night was my first full-night's sleep in nearly a week.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Writer Voyeurism

I know a lot of writers.  And they're all voyeurs.  It seems to be a necessity of the job.

I'm constantly seeing "character notes" from my writer friends on Facebook.  They read something like this usually, OMG, barista at Starbucks just picked her nose with her inch-long fuchsia talon. Great character for my next book!

And really, all characters in every book ever written have had some basis in reality, whether it's a physical trait or a personality quirk.  And a great place to get character ideas is from people in a public place.

But I can't do it.  I am not programmed that way.

When I go to a coffee shop to write, I am head-down in my work.  I consciously shut out everyone around me.  Is this shyness?  Self-centeredness?  No!  It's PARANOIA.

I am so scared someone is going to catch me looking at them, or listening to them, I make every effort to avoid doing so.

You know those times where you're lost in thought and absentmindedly, unintentionally staring at someone, and they catch you?  Yeah, I hate that.

Could be because I was an insanely shy kid growing up.  Could be because I am a crazy-person magnet, and eye contact is a surefire way to get a crazy person to come talk to you.  I dunno.

But I need to break this habit.  I need to become a voyeur myself.  People are inherently inspirational, and my writing sure could use the juice.

I'm heading to the airport tomorrow night to catch a flight to Houston.  Maybe I'll practice there.  Wish me luck!

View from Home

Our house is on a hill, and our master bedroom has a huge picture window facing the downhill side of the house. In this room, you are a full three stories up. It gives you the sense of being in a treehouse during the day, since the only objects at eye-level are the tops of the nearby cottonwood and birch trees.

But at night... everything transforms.

Standing at the window, your view is of a sea of sparkling lights. Like glitter on blacktop. You can no longer tell you're in a suburban neighborhood when laid out before you is a cosmos of streetlights, lit windows, distant antennae and the occasional flash of a car on far-off 112th Street reflecting off the lake.  It's beautiful, to say the least. Jeremy likens it to being in a hotel, and I agree it has that sense of strange space to it.

Every night I lay in bed and stare out at that glittering black ocean for a few minutes before sleep overtakes me. I can't bear to close the blinds, even though I know you're supposed to sleep better in the pitch black.  The world from the top of this hill is mesmerizing.

The view from our master bedroom is what sold me on this house. As soon as I walked into that room, I knew I was home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Visit from the Curry Clan

Della, Sophie and Orion came over for dinner tonight.  I can't believe how big those kiddos have gotten!

Scarlett is so affectionate with other kids these days. It's so cute.  We had to keep a close eye on her tonight because she was obsessed with hugging Orion, and he's just barely able to sit up on his own so he's still kinda wobbly.

Did I mention my daughter smooched a little boy at the mall on Saturday?  It was hilarious!  She walked right up to this little boy who was sitting in his stroller, and kissed him right on the lips.  I've got my hands full with this one.  hahaha

Here's a pic of Scarlett hugging baby Orion tonight.  This was taken with Della's phone.

Anemia Facepalm

Yesterday was a big *facepalm* day.

I've been exhausted lately.  After we returned from FL, I assumed it was travel fatigue.  Then I got strep and I assumed it was due to the healing process.  After that, I thought it was allergies.

But yesterday I was so exhausted I could hardly move.  My head was foggy, like I'd taken cold medicine.  I could hardly muster up the energy to smile.  Again I thought allergies, or maybe PMS.

Jeremy ran some errands yesterday, one of which included picking up my very expensive (but so worth it) vitamins from GNC.  I have been out for nearly a month.  I went to bed early last night and proceeded to take said vitamins after brushing my teeth, as is my usual nightly routine.

And it struck me.



I'm a vegetarian, and those vitamins are my main source of iron -- and I hadn't been taking them for a month.  I got anemic when I was pregnant and I felt the exact same way, with that crippling exhaustion.  And extra iron supplements fixed me immediately.

I woke up this morning, body full of iron from my vitamins, and I felt tons better.

Why is it so hard to remember remedies and cures when I'm not feeling good?  Maybe it's because I rarely get sick, but when I do start feeling icky, for the life of me I can't remember what fixed me the last time.

Hopefully I'll just remember to keep my vitamins in stock and I won't have to remember this particular lesson again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


In a desperate attempt to procrastinate tonight, I am trying out a new blogging tool.  I'm writing this post from Scribefire, a Chrome browser extension (also available for other browsers).  It's supposed to be a one-stop shop where I can update multiple blogs.  So far, so good.

Speaking of my blogs, if you haven't checked them out lately, you should visit Attack of the Muse and Penning the Way for art and writing updates.

Wow, this weekend just zoomed by.  And I didn't do much.

Thursday night I did some painting.  I used my new 300lb cold-pressed watercolor paper for the first time, and I am still trying to decide if I like it or not.  I've got more work to do on the painting to bring out the details, but I'm pleased with the first layer of color.

Friday night after Scarlett went to bed I just watched Grimm and Supernatural and then headed to bed to read.  I'm re-reading Arrows of the Queen.  It's the first book in one of my favorite series from childhood -- I seem to read it about once every two years, and it never gets old.

Scarlett had a rough night Friday night, so I didn't sleep much.  So Saturday morning was a lazy one.  But in the afternoon we went and met up with Erin for some window shopping at Flatirons mall, and then dinner at Tutti followed by a stop at Starbucks.  Scarlett really loves Erin.  It's pretty cute watching Scarlett try to monkey her way into Erin's arms at every opportunity.  However, Scarlett has been getting really wild in the evenings lately, so she was a handful and a half at Starbucks -- mainly she just wanted to run around squealing and pushing chairs.  That was not so cute.

Jeremy was home from work when Scarlett and I got home that evening.  So we spent some time together as a family before Scarlett went to bed.  And then Jeremy and I caught up on season 3 of Fringe.  I know.  We're just wild.

Jeremy let me sleep in on Sunday, and I slept until almost noon.  It felt sooooo good.  It's been about a month since I've really been able to sleep in.  We planned to go for a walk this afternoon, but the wind was just nuts.

I'm heading to Houston later in the week to meet up with JoAnn for some business planning/brainstorming, meet-and-greets and to serve as GlobalWrites representatives at Houston Startup Weekend.  I'm so excited!  I haven't been to Houston in years.

I just went to publish this post and I realized ScribeFire doesn't have spellcheck.  Uh oh.  Good thing I'm a good speller.  LOL

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Fits and Procrastination

Some days the writing comes easily.  And some days it comes in fits and starts.

Today was a fits and starts day.  Well, really so far this whole week has been that way.  But I just remind myself to keep starting (I believe that was from Eric Maisel) and not edit myself as I go.  I can always go back and revise later.  (You guys should see what the first drafts of my blog posts look like.)

Luckily with my GlobalWrites work, we have somewhat of a peer revision process in place.  So when I write godawful copy (ahem), JoAnn doesn't hesitate to send me a note saying "Hey, can we try it this way instead?", and she re-spins my words to sound a million times better.  I, in turn, do this for her and the other writers.  We've got a good system in place.

Novel writing is a different story.  It's a solitary pursuit.  And for me it's getting more solitary.  I don't let people read my first drafts anymore.  I don't like feeling that anxious and exposed.  So I pound this keyboard with my headphones on and my door shut.

I downloaded Freedom tonight.  It's a little application that shuts off your wireless connection for a designated amount of time -- and it makes it difficult to turn the wireless back on before that time is up.  So basically Freedom stops me from Facebooking, blogging, checking email, even researching while I'm supposed to be writing.  I've only used it a handful of times, but so far it's a good anti-procrastination system.

Another good anti-procrastination system, but this one for my day job, is working at a coffee shop.  I've gotten into the habit of going to a coffee shop for half a day at least once a week.  It gets me out of the house, gives Jeremy and me some breathing room, and allows me to really focus on projects and tasks.  It's amazing the amount of work I can crank out in a few hours at Forza or Starbucks.  Of course, the easy access to high amounts of caffeine probably helps too.  I got almost all of my fourth quarter metrics reporting done today, thanks to a pumpkin spice latte.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sapling with an Attitude

Scarlett has been a handful since we got back from Florida. It's hard to say exactly why.

It could be that she learned some bad habits on our trip. When you're out in public with a toddler, the enforcement of discipline has to be somewhat appropriate for the environment. For example, no raised voices in a restaurant, or letting her cry in a hotel room (sadly she's one of those kids that needs to cry for a few minutes before she goes to sleep, about 50% of the time). She got more of a response from us with crying and whining than she usually does, and I wonder if that notion stuck.

Or it could be that she's still readjusting back to being home. We were away for an entire week -- it's not unusual for a child to take time to readjust. We're just used to her readjusting quickly.

Or it could just be Scarlett's age. Testing boundaries, asserting independence, increasing pickiness with food -- it's all normal for her age, according to all the childrearing books and websites.

So I'm extra glad that both Jeremy and I are with her so much right now. Both of us work together to curb the bad behavior and reinforce the good. I know how unusual our family/work situation is, that we are both home with her, and I am grateful for it every single day. I won't ever take it for granted. And I do see that it has a positive effect on Scarlett. Even on her worst days, she's an incredibly good kid.

I left Scarlett with my parents on Saturday so I could go get my hair done and visit our new little niece. Scarlett has never gone through that separation anxiety phase, thank goodness, so it's easy to leave her with people. Though with her attitude and boundary-testing lately, I did wonder if she'd be a handful for my parents. Luckily she was on her best behavior for them, only getting cranky when she woke up from her nap. And that was shortly before I got back, so they didn't have to deal with it for long.

I do love seeing her with family -- mine and Jeremy's. She adjusts so easily to the different people and different routines. At my parents' house, she walks around like she lives there, and she loves to play with my dad, snuggle with my mom, show off for Drew, and cling to Chad. And at Jeremy's parents' house, she knows all the toys are there for her to share with the twins, and she dives right in to join the boys' play. She relies on Jeremy's mom, acts coy with Jeremy's dad, and clings to Kelsey. But it's all seamless. From person to person, she just adjusts. I am so blessed to have such a flexible child. I hope she continues to be that way.

I have a hard time with change, believe it or not. I get into routines and change is uncomfortable -- but I very quickly adjust and establish new routines, so I have learned to compensate for my inflexibility with rapid adjustment reflexes. It still doesn't stop me from getting that uncomfortable feeling every time there is a change, though, whether it's a job change or a change in dinner plans. In my younger years, I would seek out big changes to shake up a stale life or escape bad memories. And even though I sought out those big changes, they were still hard for me.

I don't see that in my daughter. Yet. Her flexibility is like a sapling that bends and snaps back easily, while mine is like Legos that get knocked down and rebuilt. I'm glad for that. I'd rather her be a sapling than a Lego tower.

So anyway, this weekend. I got to meet my new niece Mariah. Oh she's so tiny and precious! Not even 2 weeks old, and she's already got more hair than Scarlett. Holding her made me want another baby so bad. Not that I didn't already want another baby, but it was a stark reminder that I need to get on the ball because I'm not getting any younger. As I just mentioned, change is hard for me. A new baby is a BIG change. So my anxiety is not only for my childbearing years passing by, but also because I kinda want to get that big change over with. That probably sounds awful, but babies are HARD WORK! Worth every bit of it, of course. But man they change your life. I can hear my mother saying "I told you so," as she is reading this. LOL

Wow, so this post went in a direction I didn't plan on. I really did just want to recap some of my weekend here.

My family all went out to an Asian fusion restaurant called Volcano on Saturday night to celebrate Drew's birthday. The food was awesome. Scarlett was kind of a pain in the butt. She wasn't loud, she just had ants in her pants.

I guess the only other thing I didn't mention yet is that Jeremy got home at 4am this morning. Drew was having a party at his house to celebrate his 30th birthday (my little brother is 30! OMG!), and I couldn't go because I had Scarlett, but I told Jeremy he should stop by on his way home from working in the Springs. Jeremy was having such a good time, he asked if he could stay a while, and who am I to deny my husband a good time now and then? Besides, he doeesn't ever get the opportunity to go to parties anymore, and he gets along so great with my brothers. So he got home at 4am (yes, sober -- he's a good husband and father) and I got up with Scarlett this morning so he could sleep. He took over with Scarlett when he had enough sleep, though, and I got a nice long, leisurely nap today. Aaahh. Sunday naps are such a luxury anymore.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Denny's, Book and Alaska

Jeremy, Scarlett and I had a little family outing tonight.  We went to Denny's for dinner.  I know that doesn't sound like much, but with our limited funds these days, and Scarlett's early bedtime, it was a nice little date.

After watching Bones with Jeremy tonight (FINALLY the new season has started!), I headed upstairs to do some writing.  My current work-in-progress is entitled Alaska Song, and I got about 1,500 words in tonight.  Not shabby, but certainly not a record for me.  For all you non-writers, that translates to about 6 pages.

It's November, which means it's National Novel Writing Month.  If you'll remember a few years back, I actually completed the NaNoWriMo challenge and in a matter of 26 days I wrote a 52,000-word book entitled Breach of Fate.  Ever since, I have wanted to join the competition again and crank out another book -- but life got in the way.  First a move to Lafayette, then a baby, and now a family and multiple jobs.  I just don't have it in me to write a book in 30 days right now.

But I'll keep cranking out the pages, even without joining in NaNoWriMo.  I will get another book written.  And it will be better than the last.  And it will sell.


Anchorage keeps popping up as a destination in all of my book ideas.  I don't know why.  I've got this obsession with the place, and there is no real reason for it.

My parents went on an Alaska cruise a few years ago, and it sounded so amazing.  Jeremy and I have been wanting to do the same cruise ever since.  My parents have talked about wanting to do the cruise again with us, and darn it, I'm sick of saying "someday".  So I'm looking into it for next year.  It will be the perfect trip for a then-two-year-old (leisurely cruise and lots of animals to see), and I can do some location research for my books.

Essence of Childhood

Playing in a pile of clean sheets.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Scarlett 15-month Stats

It's time for a stat check!

Scarlett is over 15 months old now.  She is a tall, skinny girl at over 29" long and just over 19lbs.  She lost a little weight because before our recent trip to Orlando, she got a stomach bug -- and then of course she got a virus/cold in Orlando as well.

She walks with much more confidence, now, though her balance is still precarious.  She at least watches where she's walking instead of blindly walking over things on the floor now, so that's a new improvement.

She regularly says "please" and "thank you", without prompting.  "No" is her favorite word, however.  She mimics single-syllable words when you say them to her, such as done and back.

Scarlett gives hugs and kisses when you ask for them.  She is extremely affectionate toward stuffed animals and baby dolls -- though she'll hug and kiss almost anything she likes.  She blows kisses too.

She has started this growling thing recently.  We're trying to teach her the word "help" so she can use it when she needs assistance -- but she insists on growling "Aaahh! Ahhh!" when she needs help right now.  She's got a bit of a hoarse voice from this cold, and I honestly think she likes the sound of it (or maybe the feel of it) and that is part of why she makes that noise.

She never did pick up a lot of sign language.  She does the sign for milk and food/eat, and she made up her own for "all done" (she throws her hands up by her shoulders).  And she responds to a lot of the signs we do.  But signing was just never her thing, I guess.

She still takes two naps a day, and she still goes to bed at 7pm sharp and wakes around 7am.  Unless she's got a problem, she sleeps through the night.

Scarlett is fascinated by so many things.  I'm excited to see what her interests narrow down to as she gets older. Right now she loves the piano, coloring, dogs, horses and dancing.

First Pumpkin

We let Scarlett pick our her first pumpkin at Anderson Farms on Sunday.  She was very clear about which pumpkin she wanted, even at 15 months old.

Since she's still too young to really enjoy carving a pumpkin for Halloween, we thought we would just let her draw on her pumpkin.  So on Halloween, we dressed her up, took her out front, gave her a few markers and let her go to town.  Amazingly enough, she only get a little bit of ink on her hands.