Thursday, May 17, 2012


It's 11:38pm. My son and husband are sound asleep in their warm, comfy beds. I'm sitting at the dining room table. Working. In a few minutes, I'll shut down, brush my teeth, and collapse under the sheets. Bright and early tomorrow morning, I'll be back at my desk to do it all over again. And I'll still be a month behind.

So I just keep telling myself it'll get better. Because while it seems like work is all there is, I remember there's this:

And this:
Peanut Butter!

The ICFs have arrived!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


OK, so I lied. (Clearly I don't know too much about home building.) The last photo did not, in fact, feature "footers" as indicated, but rather the framing for the footers. Tonight, I redeem myself by sharing an updated photo featuring the actual footers... fully poured and setting nicely!
If I hadn't said anything, would you really have known?

Monday, May 14, 2012


Today, as on most days, I found myself running from one meeting to the next. I was shuffling along, trying not to bump into the man walking in front of me, when I noticed him look left down a short hallway. At first he looked confused, but as I watched him do a double-take, smile and keep walking, I knew exactly what he was doing. The man in question was a colleague. The object of interest down the hall, his wife Sara.

Our company was founded by a young couple, and through the years, many more have followed in their footsteps. Partners, lovers, husbands and wives, each bringing new meaning to the expression "my work is my life."

Several years ago, we were graced with the presence of yet another young couple: Rob and Kasey Bromee. I knew them as one of us. We shared a few meetings here and there, but what I remember most were the reputations that preceded them. As individuals, they were well known around the office as incredibly smart, charismatic, helpful, and dedicated. As a unit they became known as pilars of hope, faith, and courage. Nearly a year and half after being diagnosed with Anaplastic Oligoatrocytoma, Rob Bromee passed away this weekend surrounded by the people he loved.

It was when I circled back to Sara's desk to share with her the secret moment I'd witnessed between her husband and her back, that I understood a simple truth: where we work, family means more than significant others. "Thanks so much for sharing," Sara said. "I really needed that today." I asked if she was OK, but I knew that she wasn't. None of us were. We'd lost one of our own. 

Sara and I hugged without saying too much. She went back to her work, and I shuffled off to my next meeting where I sat and thought about the things that really matter.

Those moments when we think no one is watching. The all-too-brief encounter with someone so special that they inadvertently change our lives forever. The people we love. The people that make us laugh. What else is there?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Hudson has two older brothers: Baloo and Nigel. Nigel is the sweet, fat one who's always looking for love. If somethings is yours, he'll sit on it and keep it warm for you. In particular if its something you need or are trying to read. He'll jump in your lap, bake biscuits on your belly, and literally wrap his arms around your neck to give you a hug and whisper sweet nothings in your ear. Baloo on the other hand is the one that's bad news bears. He jumps, scratches, nips at your heals, escapes from the house every chance he gets, takes huge bites of your freshly baked cake when you're not looking... the list goes on and on. While I was pregnant, I would have nightmares about Baloo jumping into the baby's crib at night. 

Oh, did I mention they're cats?

Turns out, I had absolutely nothing to worry about. While Nigel was relatively indifferent to Hudson, Baloo took it upon himself to be his guardian angel.

For a while I think Hudson thought the cat's name was actually "NOBALOO!" since that's what we yell at him 90% of the time. As he got older, he'd mimic us shaking a finger at Baloo telling him to stop whatever bad thing he was doing at the time—most often, laying all over Hudson's Thomas the Train tracks just as he was trying to squeeze his engines around the bend. Nowadays, they're peas in a pod, and we're the ones getting dirty looks for scolding either of them.

Most of the time, it's hard to remember why we love him so much, especially since he's always getting into trouble. It's not infrequent that Logan's complaining about the wretched smell of Baloo's poop (he has the totally-not-endearing habit of leaving his twosies uncovered in the litter box... like he's trying to show the world who's boss) or I'm yelling things like, "Why is he so bad!?!? Why don't we just let him run away!?"

The answer is simple: Because just like our human kid, we love him unconditionally.

And so, as he headed to the emergency vet a few mornings ago with a hugely swollen face, and we were told there's a possibility it's a tumor, all of the bad thoughts we'd ever had about Baloo flew from our minds and we buckled down to take care of our sick boy. After undergoing surgery, he came home with a drainage tube sticking out of his face and a cone around his neck (which, evidently, is not used to help deaf animals hear.) 

Tomorrow, our oldest son will go back to the vet to have the tube removed and to undergo some additional tests. Despite everything, I just want him to be OK, to come back home, and to tear up the place just like old times. 

Huddy's been extra careful with him since this whole thing started. Petting him gently on the head, saying "Baloo sick. I love you, Baloo." 

Well, I love you, too, Baloo. Just like the Wooz does. (Maybe more.)

Sunday, May 6, 2012


While the bulk of my thoughts normally tend toward the mysterious (what am I going to be when I grow up?), the worrisome (how are we going to pay for this thing?), the frustrating (why do people suck?), and the things that are out of my control (why did Sacramento have to be west of LA?), this weekend was different. I traded in my everyday worries, for 48 hours of fun.
LIKE... that I know where we'll be
every first Saturday of the month
LIKE... that Hudson is obsessed with "Backet-Ball"
but LOVE ...that he's smartening up quickly.

LIKE... that these two guys know how to celebrate a birthday in style.

LIKE... that these two guys don't care who's watching.

LIKE... that doggies are models of unconditional love.
LIKE... that Hudson is the Assistant GC.

LOVE... that I know where my breakfast comes from.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


The non-profit I've work for over the last 5 years was founded in 1986 by two amazing people. Our mission is to reduce the economic and environmental cost of energy, which makes it pretty easy to get out of bed and go to work every morning. 

Technically, 2012 marks our 26th year. And yet today, we kicked off our official 25th anniversary celebration in grand fashion. Over 260 employees, from 4 regional offices convened in Burlington to honor the company and the great work we've achieved to date. Add to that, two pretty inspiring speeches by Senator Bernie Sanders and Vermont State Governor Peter Shumlin—neither of whom are actively campaigning, meaning they came to our office because they really believe in and are proud of the work we do—and who cares if the math's a little wonky?

The after-hours pizza party had been billed Employees Only so we thought it would be inappropriate to bring Hudson. When I mentioned that to our Director, he said, "That's ridiculous." Add that to the fact that another couple (both of whom work with us) had gotten clearance to bring their kid, we decided to buck the system and bring ours too. After all, he relocated to DC for the firm. Didn't he deserve a little pizza?

After dinner came an epic trivia contest. (Imagine, if you will, 150 pretty nerdy people answering wicked nerdy questions.) After the 1st round of pre-scripted questions, the tables were turned and each team of 4 was asked to come up with questions of their own. Just as round 2 was beginning, 1/4 of our team went home and I had to leave the room to change a diaper. When I returned, I learned that Logan had submitted a question on our team's behalf. A geography-based question. I knew we were in trouble.

"What city is west of LA?"
A. Tijuana
B. Sacramento
C. Phoenix
D. Tahoe

He thought it was brilliant, given that we'd recently seen an awesome Google Chrome ad—and subsequently conducted a pretty funny Google search—that revealed the answer. Well, sort of

At first we were thrilled, NO ONE had guessed the right answer except our team, which meant we got bonus points. But when the "correct" answer (D. Tahoe) was revealed, the crowd revolted. Smart Phones whipped out faster than you can say Please do not bring your cell phones to this event. Engineers, Planners, Customer Services Representatives, HR Managers... all were up in arms. "It's SACRAMENTO!!" they yelled. What ensued was 10 minutes of arguing, Googling, and finally an on-screen digital presentation that proved that Sacramento was, in fact, west of LA. And while Tahoe is also west of LA, Sacramento is wester. Seriously, people? Wester? 

The crowd argued that we didn't deserve any points for our deceitful question, but I—in defense of my husband and the honor of my son who seemed perplexed, but greatly amused by all the commotion—retorted, "We deserve 5 points, not 1, for causing this much fun!"

Logan will likely never live down the great 2012 debacle now infamously known as "The Sacramento incident", but I know that 25 years from now—or 26 if you're really counting—I'll be as proud of being part of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation family as I am today.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I once worked with a woman who was born on December 29. Her parents named her after her grandmother: Mary Christman. Yes, seriously. Luckily for her, her parents gave her two gifts: 1) they nicknamed her May; 2) they decided to spare her the disappointment of being forgotten amidst two major holidays by moving her birthday to May 1st. I've always loved that story, and though we've lost touch over the years, I always think of her on this day.

So, here we are. May. My actual birth month. 

I've always been a huge fan of birthdays. From kindergarten through twelfth grade, my birthday always marked the time of year when spring had officially sprung, and the countdown to summer vacation was in full swing. College was a little more challenging. Since classes ended about a month earlier, my birthday always fell smack-dab in the middle of exam week. Even still, we always found some small way to celebrate. 

As an adult, I've been thoroughly perplexed by the people that take the day off from work in honor of their special day. "But if you're not here," I say, "then how can everyone wish you a happy birthday??" Clearly, my view of birthdays is similar to that of a two year old. Hudson seems to be fully on board with the concept of celebration, as evidenced by the fact that he blows out imaginary candles every time he hears the word. 

Three times in my life thus far, I've had to share my big day with all of the mothers in the world. This year will make four. I've spent the better part of four weeks now dropping not-so-subtle hints to Logan that I fully expect to get two cards from my boys. And then today happened.

And away we go!
While at the office, our friend Morgan popped over to tell us that her husband and son had spent the morning checking out the trucks working at our new place. Turns out, we broke ground today.

After work, we rushed right over to the land to check things out. There we found, much to Hudson's amazement, life-size replicas of the "big trucks!" we read about together in his books every night. From the woods we could hear a persistent buzzing. "What's that sound?" Huddy asked. "A chainsaw!" dad replied. It was our GC, friend, and "uncle" Gary, clearing the land to make the property line more visible for the excavators. 

At bedtime tonight (from which, it seems, most of my revelations seem to stem), Huddy and I shared a pretty awesome exchange:
Hudson: "Gary, chainsaw, cut down treeeeeeee!"
Mom: "Wow, Huddy. That's awesome that you remember that. Good job! Can you say 'awesome'?"
Mom: "Do you know who is awesome?"
Hudson: "GARY awesome!"

After Hudson went down, I hopped on Facebook to share the story with the big man himself. It was there that I learned that today, May Day, is actually his birthday. And he spent it working on our new place. Putting a big hole in the ground, helping to make our dream a reality. 

Today, I learned a lesson in sharing. Maybe one card would be OK after all.

300 Cochran Road, Richmond, VT