Friday, March 20, 2009

new jobs and teenage vampires

It’s the first day of spring! Winter has been very good to this Kajander family. Our sweet Clara Belle is six months old and almost 60 pounds! She graduated from Obedience Level I at the Canine Coach. She can now sit and lay down. Sometimes she will shake your hand, if you have an extra tasty treat. Now she needs to learn how to come when called! And she needs to learn that 5:30 AM is too early.

In other news Andy received an amazing promotion yesterday from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. He is frequently recognized for the good work that he does there, but now he will be a part of the management team. We do realize how fortunate we are.

I was offered a new job with Hennepin County Aging and Disability Services. I am starting in just one week! This is exciting. I am ready for a change, and feel so blessed to have the opportunity to try something new. I have been working with Adult Protective Services for four years, though I have only been doing the field investigations for less than two years. I am so grateful for the experience I gained in working with these most vulnerable adults. I was humbled all the time by people’s willingness to open their homes and share their stories with me. What I am most excited about in my new position as a case manager for disabled adults, with Hennepin County Aging and Disability Services, is the opportunity to work with people who are actually asking for help. This will be a fundamental change in the type of work I will do. I think it will be a better fit for me. I am not very good at telling people what to do. I like to know what is expected of me. What can I say?- I like to be told what to do. After all, I am an ISFJ.

The bummer of my new job is that I will have to move out of downtown. I have loved working at the Government Center, and I have loved the people that I work with.

I made a list of some things I will miss about downtown and not surprisingly, many of them have to do with food:

* The stories.

* Overhearing snippets of conversation that you just could not make up, ever. “it was a chinchilla in the drawer?” “so the priest got her the pot?” “no, I don’t have any waders in my car.” (shouting across the floor) “I CAN HELP YOU GET AN AMPLIFIED TELEPHONE!”

* The zen box. THE BEST quick skyway food.

* The Classic Cookie company in the Qwest building. You have to buy one when you walk by it just smells so good.

* Talking about the Twilight series, and all the other wonderful book recommendations we swap over cube walls. And recipes! I love the recipe swapping.

* Trips to Target and Macy’s over the lunch hour.

* The farmer’s market on Nicollet Mall.

* The book club! I will miss the Adult Protection lunchtime book club. Guess I’ll be down to two book clubs now…

* Chicago mix popcorn at Candyland.

* My dentist, whom I chose simply because it was convenient that she was in the skyway. And now, I have completely fallen in love with her. The practice is owned by two smart, young, strong, women who do great dental care and are genuinely happy people. This can be hard to find in a dentist. There is great indie rock played through out the place and the magazines are fabulous (W and people and real simple…)

* The Potlucks. This floor eats well!

I have made some great friends here, and I will miss seeing them every day. But that’s what dog parks and babysitting and lunch dates and facebook is for!

I am moving over to Eastside Neighborhood Services. I don’t know much about this place, but I do know that there is a day care and a thrift store in the same building. Good stuff! I think I will have a little desk there, maybe even a cube. Northeast Minneapolis will be my new stomping ground. I am sure I’ll have a list of things I love about Northeast Minneapolis in no time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

first christmas tree

a tiny rubber band
glass christmas tree ornaments (2)
silver tinsel
dirty socks
cardboard chunks
one golf ball
a lime green sharpie

i fished all of the above items out of clara's mouth. just today.

she loves christmas! so much to get in to.
we put up our first christmas tree this year, and it makes our house feel even more like home.
at first we just left the bottom two feet free of ornaments, so that clara would not pull them down. however, she is growing inches each day so it was no use. she boldly jumps up and grabs the ornaments and then smiles back at me. in her defense, they do look like toys. she also learned how to pull down the tinsel today. she is above the curve.

we have not had to worry about the cats climbing the christmas tree yet. buddy has circled it a few times, rudy has blinked slowly at it while sitting on the sofa (squint test!) and lanka, well, she's probably still in the closet.

the only solution was to cage in the christmas tree- to keep all these wild animals out.

Friday, December 5, 2008

St. Nicholas Day

in december of 2006, i wrote the following blog post:

Tomorrow is St. Nicholas Day. Because my brother's name is Nicholas, it has always been a family tradition to celebrate this day.

For the past 27 years, on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, I put my shoes outside my door and wake up in the morning to find them overflowing with magical treats. You know, like Rolo's and Tootsie Pops, and maybe a $5 bill. Yes, it's true, just like Santa Claus, St. Nicholas can find you where ever you are. With the help of the USPS he even found me in Duluth. I enjoy tradition. Comfort. Candy.

I have been reflective and sad all day after receiving the following email, yes, email, from St. Nick:

Dearest Nick and Sarah,
Well, I must say you have both grown up to be admirable young adults. I have watched you through the years and am as proud of you as your parents are. You are both fine young people. I think it's time for me to concentrate my attention on youngsters who will be lucky to get some coal in their shoes! Look for my return when YOU have youngsters I'll need to keep an eye on.
All my love to you both always,
St. Nicholas

Yep. I have been officially declared an adult, by the Patron Saint of Children. I feel broken-up with. Let down. I didn't see this one coming. I believed in the magic. It could have gone on forever? No?

Then again, maybe St. Nicholas is right. Maybe the time has come. Maybe I am an admirable young adult. Maybe the tradition does not have to die. Maybe this isn't so bad. After all, St. Nicholas believes in me.

But, for the rest of today, I am going to pout, play, and eat cake. Then, tomorrow, I will grow up.


two years later, now, st. nicholas day is tomorrow. the above email greatly effected my family. now that there is some distance from it, let me tell you what happened after that day.

my brother and i were devastated! we protested to st. nick (commonly known as mom.) we let her know how much that tradition has meant to us and how we were not ready to give it up. how it made us sad to think of the holiday season without it. how we knew we were grown ups but for that one day, we could forget that we were. when we woke up and looked for our shoes, we escaped from all other worries. my mom hadn't thought of all that. she was simply trying to respect the fact that we were getting older, more mature.

when we explained our sadness, my mom immediately understood the magnitude of that email. she took it back! in fact, later that same day, st. nick arrived at my work, with a paper bag full of treats, and a heartbroken mother asking for forgiveness.

you see, we will always be children to her, um, st. nick.
maybe until we are filling the tiny shoes of our own children, st. nick will come to visit us and remind us how much we are loved. i bet he will.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

mittens vs. gloves

i guess there is a reason why chunky, colorful mittens work for me.

this season i bought a pair of sleek black leather driving gloves. i thought they would look
more professional, more authoritative now that i am out in the field for work.
the first day i wore them, i stopped at lunds on the way home from work. by the time i got home, i only had one glove.

i think i stepped out of the car and the glove fell from my lap into the parking lot at lunds. it was just so flat, and black, i didn't notice it on the ground. i would have noticed a giant colorful mitten on the asphalt.

there is nothing that would discern my glove from any other. i can't really call lunds and ask if they have found one "plain black leather glove." of course they have! lost and found boxes all over the world are full of single black gloves. it would be much easier to call and ask if they have found an "orange and purple recycled-sweater mitten."

my glove is gone, i am sure, but there is still hope for others...
one of my favorite winter sights is a single abandoned mitten propped up on a fence post or a mail box, in hopes that it's owner will wander by again.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

100 things in this world i love

1. (inspired by) “pink of perfection”
2. fla-vor-ice pops
3. apologies
4. potlucks
5. kids getting off of Head Start busses
6. Harold and Maude
7. swimming dogs
8. diet coke
9. finishing 5 k runs
10. simple prayers ("thank you.")
11. post-it notes
12. letter openers
13. hand knit socks
14. Christmas cookies
15. clunky clogs
16. people magazine
17. recipe books
18. post cards
19. switching shampoo
20. fireworks at powderhorn park
21. getting tucked in
22. page protectors
23. stickers
24. protest signs
25. google reader
26. evergreen Chinese food
27. lemon scented Joy
28. my moms carrot cake
29. sweet potato fries
30. polka dots
31. step one
32. cherry chap stick
33. magnets
34. clipped articles
35. to do lists
36. yearly planners
37. tiny elephants
38. big dogs
39. kitty paws
40. craigslist
41. daisies
42. oprah
43. scarves
44. sea glass
45. baby turtles
46. craft fairs
48. lunch with my mom
49. bumper stickers
50. room temperature drinking water
51. black and white photographs
52. match books
53. Kleenex travel packs
54. Duluth
55. sharpies
56. Winona Knit mittens
57. pistachios
58. bingo
59. short cuts
60. barely frozen puddles
61. hot baths
62. vintage greeting cards
63. farmer’s markets
64. estate sales
65. national night out
66. thrift shopping
67. turtleneck sweaters
68. andy’s beard
69. book recommendations
70. redbox
71. cloth napkins
72. old fashioned chirstmas lights
73. ice cream dates
74. hand holding
75. cardigan sweaters
76. hot coffee
77. straws
78. board games
79. finding something lost
80. campfires
81. little jelly jars
82. saunas after the gym
83. to-go cups
84. rag rugs
85. how we met stories
86. glitter
87. glue
88. handwritten maps
89. feeding ducks
90. puppy dreams
91. free boxes
92. open mics
93. anne lamott
94. fiesta ware
95. bike rides
96. vintage glass beads
97. Mexican paper flags
98. left-over’s
99. book clubs
100. our breakfast nook

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

gorilla baby

i feel so blessed to have this tiny little dog, making our house seem even more alive. the cats are ducking for cover, and are just starting to realize she is not going anywhere. andy and i are calling the puppy sweet names like gorilla baby and button-cake. just in time for the holidays!

i reached into my pocket at work today and when i felt the broken up bits of puppy biscuit in there, i had a sudden pang of puppy withdrawal. i had to get home quick.

to fully enjoy clara belle, you must come over and hear her long sighs and sleepy grumbles. ridiculous! and the paws!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

mas fiction

someone i trust said to me just last night, "you know what you need? fiction. you need more fiction in your life."

today i picked up the new mia tyler memoir from the library. (yes, liv tyler's sister.) i can't stop with the memoirs! it's become a problem. i don't even care about mia tyler! at least not yet, but soon i will know everything about her.


after babysitting for some of our favorite boys last weekend i realized that one thing i need to do is read those harry potter books someday. everything that our friend's boys were talking about had to do with harry potter. it sounds like harry potter is pretty cool. i needed an interpreter or a cheat sheet. i was so out of the loop!
okay, so after i read infinite jest, on to harry potter.

it may be a while.