Showing posts with label Work. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Work. Show all posts

Monday, November 15, 2021

Gratitude 14-15

 #14. I am grateful for the garden.  As I blanch the last of this year's kale, I remember the well-loved line from Blueberries for Sal where the mother goes to pick blueberries "to have food for the winter."  I was surprised how tasty the tomatoes were, given that we picked most of them green the day before the first major frost was expected;  I am eagerly awaiting the finish of fermenting and bottling of the beer Terry made with hops from the community garden.

#15. Today I am grateful for telework - for having a job that enables it, for State for letting me do it. I spent my pandemic productive, safe in my own home, and with the added benefit of being able to throw a load of laundry in the machine during lunchtime. It is also lovely to greet the kids when they come home from school.

Sunday, September 19, 2021


 I'm back from three weeks in Doha helping move Afghan evacuees from Arrival Point #1 (Doha) to either Final Destination (for American citizens who just needed to get home) or Next Stop (for Afghans who need to be vetted and processed at some other location, like Germany, better suited for long-ish term living before being able to - most likely - move to the U.S.). Still processing the experience, but wanted to mark it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Human Bonspeil

Across the street from the Consulate in Olympic Plaza there is a fountain that is made into an ice rink in the winter.  It is free to use assuming you have your own skates, but who doesn't have there own skates in Canada.  For people without skates, there are also rentals.  So once a year there is a charity event to raise money for KidSport Calgary.  The organization helps kids without the financial means to play in organized sports.  The fundraiser is a Human Bonspiel competition.  What is bonspiel? you may ask.  It is normally a curling competition (curling: winter sport mainly in Canada played with brooms on ice. Has a horseshoe/bowling element of throwing something heavy down a lane and attempting to hit a bulls-eye). The human bonspiel is similar, except instead of a stone thrown down the lane, players jump on intertubes and they are the stones.  There is also no sweeping.  Officials measure how close you are to the "button" (the center of the target).  Teams of four compete, with each throwing themselves down the ice.  The goal is to get the lowest total measurement of all four teammates.

I was on a team with three other Consulate members.  Due to the skills of other players on my team we did manage to get through the first round of competition.  Because we made the top three for the day we went to the finals.  Monday through Thursday were the initial rounds.  The top three from each day continued on to the finals on Friday. We performed better than the first day a team but we had much stiffer competition with 12 teams competing for the win. Unfortunately we did not place, but I did have a ton of fun and we raised some money for charity.  Above is short video of me sliding on the ice.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The travails of two working parents

Yesterday I got a phone call from Zoltan's preschool. His eye was red and swollen, he might have conjunctivitis, someone needs to come get him.  I call Terry. "But I am about to go into a meeting."  "But I need to go to class, there's a zero absence policy and I test in 2 days." Long pause.

We agree that he'll go get her, but he's in Virginia and needs to get the shuttle back to DC to metro home. I go back to work (well, studying, but that's my job right now). Then it's time for class. An hour after our last conversation my phone rings. "I'm stuck in traffic on 395." @$(%@!*$)%)(*

So I got to discover how not exactly 100% attendance is required, because, obviously, there are certain exceptions. We're lucky I took the car, because it would have been a lot longer to get there otherwise.

And of course by the time I get there, the area around his eye is a tiny bit swollen but otherwise fine. Not red, not gooky. He must have gotten something in it, and after it was flushed out it took a bit of time to heal from it. But as I was there, I took him home. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Inching closer

I have Travel Orders!And a housing assignment! And flight reservations, sort of!  Last week I was able to apply for my and Zoltan's passports. I scheduled my packout. I am trying to find time to meet with the ever-popular Ash at CWT to make our flight arrangements - hoping it will be next week. I went to get the first round of shots this week. (ick!)

I met my Desk Officer and got an initial briefing on what's up in Kazakhstan. I started my job-specific training and am learning how to do my job.

We have a bunch of construction and smaller house projects to complete in the next two weeks. Terry will be assisted by a professional for some of it, and his father (also a professional, but much cheaper) for other parts of it.

We are totally moving the ball forward.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A little more detail

So yes, we're going to Kazakhstan. Astana, to be exact, as there is also a post in Almaty. Yes, we're happy about this. My head is still swimming and I stayed up way too late last night looking at post information. We'll be here through the summer - I need more Russian language training before we go as I didn't test high enough (I knew that was going to happen, my abilities are nowhere near where they had been after a year back in the USA). Other than that, I am eager to be paneled so I can reach out to post with my thousand questions. That poor CLO has no idea what's coming :-)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The final piece of the puzzle

I am thrilled to report that the final piece of the puzzle has been put into place. This week I hired a lovely lady to take care of the children in the morning and get them where they need to go. I am now free to be excited about the upcoming A-100 class!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Soon to be a working mama

When Terry joined the foreign service, I quit my job as an attorney in Philadelphia so that I could accompany him all over the world. I conveniently became pregnant two weeks after my last day at work and being a mom has been the bulk of my "employment" since then. Even when I was CLO, I was never away from home/the children more than 8 hours a day, 4 days a week - including commute.

What this all means is that the whole family is about to get thrown into a huge turmoil. Chores that have been mine for the last 7 years now need to be shared. My children won't even see me in the morning when they wake. I have a feeling I'll spend a lot less time on Facebook.

I am both excited to once again be a professional, and terrified about how the family will adjust to the new life.

On the whole, though, I am mostly excited - especially as each piece of the puzzle fits into place. Zoltan was easy - he can go full time to his preschool, and he's finally becoming comfortable there.  Both days this week he played with everyone; he told me yesterday he likes speaking Russian.

For Alex there's been a lot more anxiety as those darned snow days last week made it impossible to call facilities to see if anyone had any space in March. As it turns out, the after school care center that I walked to in 10 minutes actually takes the kids outside EVERY DAY. In rain. In temps as low as 15F (yeah still plenty warm but lower than the school's outdoor recess policy so I'll take it gleefully). They tell parents to bring boots, umbrellas, whatever. They do kitchen projects like make vegan cookies or homemade play doh. Did I mention they go outside every day and are a 10 minute walk from home? They also have a summer camp that books up week by week so if there's any gaps in the Russian camp there's a backup.

The very last piece of the puzzle is morning care. I'm meeting a woman today and if it isn't a good vibe I have a few more applicants I can call. I am also amazingly lucky in the friends I have made in since we got here - two fellow moms have offered to pitch in if I end up short. Think about it. These people have known me barely 6 months and are willing to take my children in at 6:30am and get them to school. I didn't think this kind of thing happened outside the foreign service, where 6 months is an eternity and people become each other's "emergency contacts" within weeks.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gratitude #10

10. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to stay home with my children, and also to work part time. If anyone had said 7 years ago this would be my life I would be shocked and horrified. And yet as trite as it sounds, having children really does change everything. I wouldn't want to have missed all this wonderful time (well, from birth to 6 months I could do without, but apparently that is exactly the time children don't fare too well without a mama). The linked piece is that I am grateful to have worked part time for 3 of the 6 years I've been home with the kids. They had a chance to bond with other (wonderful, fabulous, almost better than me) caregivers and later to play with other children all day. My schedule let me be away from them fewer than 30 hours each week so my role as primary was pretty cemented. But having "adult time" is also important for my mental and emotional health, so it was a perfect balance. If only every job had the part-time options!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The deafening sound of silence

A large part of my job is organizing the celebration of American holidays. There's also the "job" of being co-president of the IWC. Between the two, November and December are nightmares. In the span of one month I put together Thanksgiving, the American table for the Charity Bazaar, co-put together the monthly IWC meeting which involves a guest speaker and lunch at a hotel, and, finally the Consulate holiday party which is the biggest event I plan all year.

That nightmare ended last night, with the successful conclusion of the last event. Zoltan was sick so he was in the nanny's hands all day - they were out when I came home to change for the party so I saw my son for 20 minutes (in the morning) all day. Terry did bedtimes. Tomorrow I will be with Z all day. Happy Hanukkah to me! Between now and January 10 I will work 4 more days.