working mom

Who Gets to Play with the Purple Legos?

This week is the last week of summer camp before D starts 1st grade next week.  He was supposed to end the summer as he started it with a week at Lego camp; instead, D is attending camp at our local YMCA this week.

These Lego camps are put on by a franchise that uses theme-based plans and kits with Legos for educational play. Blah, blah, blah…basically, the franchise running these camps is not sponsored by Lego, and these camps are not official Lego camps. These camps are being offered at one of the city parks and rec locations, so we signed up for the camp via the parks and rec summer camp registration site.

A little over a week ago, I received an email from the local franchise owner telling me that D could attend the afternoon session but not the morning session.  The afternoon session was on space.  The morning session was building and crafting with Lego Friends, including making jewelry and origami. I knew D would enjoy the space session in the afternoon, and I knew that he would enjoy the morning session with the Lego Friends theme (he has one or two small Lego Friends pieces). Yes, it was being marketed to girls but did not specifically indicate girls only (at least in the description I read on the parks and rec site). Needing coverage for most of the day since I work full time, I had signed him up for both sessions.

The session the franchise owner told me D could not attend was the Lego Friends-themed session.  He said that it was marketed to and restricted to girls only. I emailed back and forth with the franchise owner to be absolutely certain that he would not let D attend.  The answer was an emphatic no.  I was initially irritated because damn it, now we needed to figure out something for that final week of camp and we were getting ready to go out of town.  But I was also irritated because I have mixed feelings about the Lego Friends sets.  I get that the sets are a (misguided in my opinion) attempt to make Legos attractive to girls, but why do girls need cutesy Legos?  Why does Lego assume that the ordinary primary-colored bricks are uninteresting to girls? I played with regular Legos as a child, and I even had a Lego space set. And it does seem a bit insulting to have sessions on space, pirate ships, minecraft, catapults, etc. for the entire summer and then have one “girls only” session to introduce girls to Lego’s girl-themed sets.

Also, the other Lego sessions were open to any gender, and girls had attended the sessions D was in the first week of camp. Why couldn’t a 6-year-old boy whose favorite color is purple not attend the Lego Friends camp?

We decided to withdraw from both sessions, and I emailed both the franchise owner and the parks and rec representative about our decision and why we were so disappointed. A few days later I received a polite email from the parks and rec representative telling us that they had decided that in the future, the only Lego sessions they would hold would be those open to both genders. Victory? or screw up?

I have mixed feelings about the situation. I feel like I was trying to game the system a bit because really, I needed some place for D to go for the entire day and I knew the Lego Friends session was focused on girls. However, I really dislike the message it sends that girls need cutesy pink and purple Legos in order to be interested in building and engineering, and that boys can’t like cute stuff and girls can’t like kick-ass catapults. And it really struck me since this happened around the same time Target decided to remove gender labels in the toy section.  But this article makes good points that Lego Friends aren’t dumbed-down sets and how Lego’s traditional sets have clearly been targeted to boys.  If girls enjoy the Lego Friends sets, isn’t that OK? Does it have to mean anything more? What is a gender-neutral toy anyway? If we applaud little girls playing with the supposedly “gender-neutral” traditional Lego sets, why can’t a little boy enjoy playing with Lego Friends?

What do you think?

At least D is enjoying YMCA camp and in a few days, all of this summer camp mess will be over.


Imagining Small Things

Daniel’s school is about 5-10 minutes away (depending on traffic) from where I work. It’s wonderfully convenient, especially if I take the side streets instead of the main thoroughfares to get to work.

One of the side streets I take is a winding, narrow street that has been gentrified. It has a mix of quaint houses and stylish new apartments. A few years ago, I truly would have been nervous driving down this side street (justified or not) but no longer.  The far end of the street closest to my workplace has the Governor’s School for the Blind and a historic park.

About three-quarters of the way along this street is a sign saying, “Hidden Driveway.” It has caught my fancy. I’ve been down the street enough times not to see anything that resembles what I would consider a hidden driveway. I assume that maybe what they mean is the School for the Blind’s driveway because I see no other likely candidates.

However, every time I see the sign, it gives me a thrill and sends my imagination into overdrive.  This street is tucked away enough to make me wonder what serendipitous things we might find there.  When I think of a hidden driveway, I envision an entire household living underground.  When a sensor beeps, telling them they are clear, part of the foliage on the side of the street is thrown back, and a car appears. It enters the street and the house recedes from sight again, the secret safe. Hidden driveway indeed.

Maybe this household has decided to live off the grid. Maybe they are protesting world conditions. Maybe they just want to reduce their dependence upon foreign goods. Who knows? I picture them defining their interaction with the world on their terms.

When a household is so different from yours (as a family living underground or hidden in plain sight would be), you wonder how they deal with typical family issues. How do they deal with the preschooler’s whine, “I don’t WANT to eat that?” Or the fight over who cleans the cat litter? Or doing dishes? How do such mundane tasks fit into the focus upon broader issues?

Shortly after the sign, I turn onto another street. Work is practically within sight. I miss the whimsy suggested by the “Hidden Driveway” sign. Reality will be crashing in again soon.  Maybe one day, if I’m really fortunate, I’ll see the people who live there. If I’m not so jaded as to make it impossible.

What are your magic moments during your commute?

Leaning In and Leaning Back

Next week I’ll have the chance to read Sandberg’s Lean In and review it for Liberating Working Moms.  You can’t go online anywhere without running into the book whether it is a pre-publication review (sometimes by someone who hasn’t read the book), a critique of the review, a critique of the critique and then the inevitable article about why women hate successful women. How meta.  Needless to say, I’m looking forward to actually reading the book and deciding for myself what I think about it.

The Huffington Post has been publishing a series of posts by contributors on whether they chose to lean in or lean back and why.  They are often short and sometimes not very good: I don’t think some understand quite what leaning in or leaning back means because their stories confuse the terms.

I feel like I’ve chosen to “lean in,” considering that I’m still working and continue to accept more responsibility.  I like what I do and find it challenging, interesting, occasionally infuriating and fulfilling (usually).  I can’t help but feel, though, that sometimes “leaning in” feels like being “all in” to borrow a term from poker.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about “leaning back.” My intuition tells me that more time at home and with my family could be very helpful right now, but the problem is that is that it’s not easy to “lean in” and then “lean back” without serious repercussions.  Ideally, it would be a lot easier to transition between the two states, leaning in, then leaning back when necessary and then leaning in again without hits to salary, benefits and career trajectory .  A fluid motion not  unlike that of a rocking chair, rocking back and forth with ease.

Maybe the book will have some wisdom for me.

A few interesting links I came across this week:

The Monday Snapshot: The Bad Day Do-Over

This is my FIRST contribution to part of a weekly feature called The Monday Snapshot over at PAIL.

Snuggle Bug

This morning did not go well.  When it was time for Daniel to get dressed, I found him reclining on the couch, and he told me he didn’t want to go to daycare and that he didn’t feel good. I cuddled him for a minute and asked him if his tummy hurt and if he needed to throw up.  He said no, but that he wanted to stay home.  Me too, kid.

His little face looked up at me slyly, and he smiled and repeated that he wanted to stay home.  I decided that he was “telling a story” as they say to get out of going to daycare.  He didn’t feel warm and hadn’t thrown up since Friday. We had a talk about things we have to do vs things we want to do and that mommy and daddy needed to go to work and he needed to go to daycare.

I told him again to get dressed.  He refused and the situation deteriorated quickly.  Next thing I knew, Jimmy was holding a screaming child while I struggled to dress him.

We were livid.  He was livid.  I wondered how a 3 foot tall little person could have so much anger at 3.5 years.  I wondered how adults in their mid-thirties could have so much anger at a 3.5 year old.   I carried my sobbing, raging child to the car and strapped him in, feeling defeated and miserable.

I tried to make amends on the trip to day care.  I told him he would have fun.  He would go outside and play with his friends and before he knew it, I would be there to pick him up.

Daniel replied, “No sir.  No SIR.  I will NOT have fun.”

“Fine, ” I sighed.

In his class, his lips trembled, and his face was still flushed from crying.  I cuddled him and told him I loved him and left, feeling like whatever creature makes cockroaches look like higher life forms.  There’s something about those little woebegone faces that make Mondays extra hard.


I had just pulled into a parking space at work when my cell rang.  It was day care.  Daniel had thrown up.  The policy is that a child has to throw up twice before you must come get them.  Having arrived late and left early due to illness on Friday, I hoped to snatch a little time in the office.

Forty-five minutes later, another call from day care.  Daniel had thrown up again.

When I got to his class, Daniel, dressed in too-short pants and odd shoes, ran to me, telling me he had “throwed up.”  He was so happy to see me.  I felt like shit.  He really had been sick. I assumed this morning’s obstinance had been from reluctance to change out of his new, cozy Thomas pajamas and desire to stay home and play with his toys.

I took him home, helped him into his Thomas pajamas and gave him juice.  I explained to him that mommy needed to do a little work.  He played in the kitchen for a little while but soon brought his trains to the dining room table where I was sitting with my laptop.

He played with his trains but decided that my laptop was more fun, joining me in my chair and pressing keys.   So sweet.  So little.  Still so much a baby though he’s almost 4 (WTF?).  I felt humbled that he wanted to be with me, cuddle with me after our awful morning.


In between emails and conference calls, we snuggled and goofed off.  I apologized to him repeatedly and tried to get him to eat a little bit.

I hope it made up for this morning in some tiny way.

Karma, Karma, Karma, Karma Chameleon

I’ve been doing some quick research tonight:

  • Be grateful
  • Act with love
  • Watch your attitude

Or this:

  • Be thankful
  • Change your actions
  • Check your intentions

Or this:

  • Ingest a tonic tonic that includes detoxified iodine and fluid extract of wild cherry bark, stillingia, yellow dock root, poke root, burdock root, as well as syrup made with beet sugar

Sounds yummy

Or this to cleanse the home:

  • Cleaning supplies, candles, rock salt, incense, and Tibetan bells
  • Clean your house, open doors, light candles
  • Sprinkle the rock salt in corners of the rooms
  • Turn off all electrical appliances (that may take a while)
  • Clap through each room
  • Light incense and walk through each room (I personally hate incense)
  • Ring the Tibetan bells in each room (I bet the cats will love that)

Or, for $200, you can have an emergency spell cast for you. This kit is a lot cheaper (do you get what you pay for?). This spell promises some awesome outcomes like feelings of euphoria, appetite for life and a trouble-free existence. You can buy one on eBay!  You can buy anything on eBay!

Yes, I’ve been researching karma cleansing.  Why?  Because we had an unexpected after-hours visit to Daniel’s pediatrician today.  We went in for one issue and left with a prescription for an antibiotic for his BRONCHITIS (!).  The original issue still exists but is likely more of a nuisance than illness (I’m being vague to spare any delicate sensibilities).

In the past week, all three of us have now been on antibiotics.  Daniel gets a day (or more depending on the original ahem issue goes) at home with mommy.  Mommy wonders whether she’ll work any more in 2012.  Daddy has no more sick leave for the year.

I don’t mind at all staying home.  I work for a family-friendly organization, and I can work a bit from home.  I really don’t mind.  It’s more just the OMG WTF??? of it all.  Bronchitis?  Really??

I just…shake my head.  Throw up my hands.  Wonder when we’ll catch a break and start seriously considering whether we should look into one of the karma cleansing rituals or kits. In the meantime, I take comfort that Daniel seems to be full of energy and feeling good even though we’ll be adhering to the BRAT diet for a while.

Because I’m getting pretty tired of feeling like my family is being picked on by the universe.

What do you do when you feel like you have received more than your share of bad luck?

Braindead Blather

‘Twas the night after the election…

No.  Just…no.

I’m rather brain dead tonight, so you will be treated to rambling and nonsense. Sorry.

  • My household is very happy with the outcome of the election (obviously).  I really hope that magically we can restore some civility to our discourse and not call the President of the United States very thinly veiled racial slurs or cast doubt upon his citizenship or devotion to this country any longer.  I also hope that somehow a sense of bipartisanship permeates DC.  I can dream, right?
  • I’m attending the Internet Summit tomorrow, so you might want to mute me for a bit because I will likely tweet a lot, but it probably won’t be snarky.  Maybe.  Depends on the speakers.  I’m excited to attend because I attended the first few years but missed the last 2, so it’s good to be back.  I love learning about the latest in social media, search and email.  And I’m out of the office.  What’s not to love?
  • Daniel and I had a delightful conversation tonight about what he wants Santa to bring him.  His mind is getting so complex!  I love discovering his little personality.  I wish we could buy him everything.  I know that would likely be a disaster, but oh, the urge to give him everything his little heart desires is strong.
  • Remember how on Sunday I extolled how our first day with the time change had been fine?  Well, then the work week started.  It’s dark when we leave daycare, which is jarring, and Daniel has been much closer to melting down since he’s had no nap and is up a little bit longer than he normally would be.  It’s like walking a tightrope, but so far we’re handling the change OK and avoiding horrific meltdowns.  Our hope is that by the weekend, he will have  adjusted to the time change. Pretty, pretty please with whipped cream and cherries on top.  Truthfully, I think that we’re going to have to split up daycare duties sooner rather than later and have Jimmy take him to daycare while I pick him up so that I can leave earlier.  It felt like we had so little time with him in the evenings already, but the time change has really exacerbated it.
  • We really, really, really want to see Lincoln.  Maybe we can see it over Thanksgiving.
  • I wish North Carolina had gone for Obama like in 2008, but I’m OK with the outcome although I am a little concerned at what the newly-elected state government will do to education.  Again, prayers for good sense and compassion would be welcome.
  • I need a new fiction book to read.  Any recommendations?

I think that’s all the blather I have.  I hope to resume more interesting and substantive posts tomorrow.  Have an awesome Thursday!


Sunday Wistfulness

Here it is Sunday night.  The clock says 8:30 PM, but my body tells me with greater authority that it is 9:30 PM darn it!   Our first day dealing with the time change was mostly uneventful.  I habitually wake up at 5 AM (not something I like), but this morning it was 4 AM.  The cats wanted to eat earlier and let us know it, but our kitties will use any excuse to eat as soon as possible.  Daniel woke up at a reasonable time, which really is all that matters since we have been practically been doing calculus to figure out how to handle the time change with the minimum amount of disruption to our routine.  Isn’t it funny how something like a time change has morphed from minor annoyance (oops, I showed up to work early!) to a major obstacle? Ah, parenthood.

My major complaint with the weekend is how short it felt.  If we can legislate when we turn our clocks back, why can’t we legislate that weekends need to be long enough for you to a) actually enjoy them b) get some rest and c) accomplish even a fraction of what you need to accomplish?

Jimmy and I both feel like we lost more than an hour today; we lost the entire day.  Jimmy has been suffering from a Frankencold (partly sinus, partly congestion) all week that makes him sleepy, yet prevents him from getting sleep.  As I did last Sunday, I awoke with a migraine.  The migraine itself is brutal enough, but once it’s over, I feel like my brain has been scooped out.  I’m weak.  I can’t find words (I called an onion an orange).  It’s like being hungover.  And to have two in a week sucks.  I don’t know if it’s the weather or stress or what, but they are amazingly debilitating.

And I medicate them with caffeine.  I don’t know if any of you suffer from migraines, but medication doesn’t work (maybe some good drugs would, but I don’t have any), so if I can’t sleep it off, then the next best thing is caffeine.  I drank a lot of coffee this morning.  The only problem with the coffee (other than non-stop peeing) is the jitters.  Happily, the jitters left me with so much excess energy that I swept the entire house.  Sweeping and laundry (washed and dried but not folded!) is the sum of our accomplishments this weekend.

That’s OK, though.  What’s important is the great weekend we had with Daniel.  He amazes us every day with his sweetness, his thoughts, his sense of humor and whatever catches his fancy.

When we went outside this morning, Daniel thought my flowers could be put to better use by decorating the jack-o-lanterns on the porch.

The artist at work

The artist at work

Beautified Pumpkin Family

Later on, he found a wreath-making kit I had intended for a craft for us to do and decided he would rather play with the leaves than make wreaths.

We all love Fall in our house

It turns out that trains like to travel through leaves as well.

The Island of Sodor in Fall?

Our littlest cat Lucy has discovered that the smallest human in the house is very aware of her, and they are fascinated with each other.  Today she had us in hysterics when she shoe-horned herself into one of Daniel’s shoe boxes that he was using for leaf storage.

They love each other

Tomorrow it is back to work and what will undoubtedly be a stressful week.  I’ll think back to the weekend and the giggles and cuddles shared with my wee family and hopefully that will insulate me from any sturm and drang. And hopefully the next weekend will come swiftly.

Week in My Life 2012: Friday


Friday was a frenetic day.  I knew it was going to be hectic because I had a few meetings and I was going to leave early because Daniel had a Halloween party and costume parade at daycare, but it ended up being even more hectic than I anticipated.

I dropped off Daniel at daycare with kisses and a reminder that we would see him at his party and then I dialed into my conference call, my first meeting of the day, as I headed into Raleigh.

I had one mug of coffee that I drank during my commute, but I needed more, so in between meetings 1 and 2, I headed to Cup A Joe for another shot of caffeine. It’s always fun to go there, especially because you often run into the reporters from one of the local stations whose office is up the street.

Local campus favorite

Freshly caffeinated, I headed to my second meeting at another building on campus.  It also happens to be the building Suzanne from Pretty Swell works in although she wasn’t there today.

There were some really pretty leaves on the ground as I walked into the building.

Fall is here!

After that meeting ended, I headed to my office for my weekly staff meeting, my third meeting of the day.  Normally that meeting is on Thursdays, but I had rescheduled it since I had to take my car to the dealership on Thursday.  At 10:45 Friday morning, I was questioning the wisdom of rescheduling it since I had precious few hours to actually accomplish anything that day.

My office building. My office s behind the tree in the middle. Eventually those trees will become a gorgeous shade of red.

After my staff meeting, I was pulled into an unexpected fourth meeting with my organization’s executive director AKA my boss’ boss.  After that meeting, I scarfed down lunch and caught up on emails before heading out for the main activity of the day: the daycare party and costume parade!

OMG the cuteness.  First of all, 18 3-year-olds and cookies, cupcakes, fruit and veggies (ignored–what a shock!) could be perilous, but they all did well.

Daddy and Daniel looking at his party plate. Looks yummy to me!

Daniel hadn’t napped, so the extra sugar was like heaping fuel onto the fire, especially since he was so excited to see us.  We put him into his costume, and he looked adorable.

Oreo cookie!

I had been worried that the costume would be too small, but it fit well and actually would fit a bigger child too.  We’ll use a white shirt on Halloween.  Daniel thought it was great fun that he could bump into walls and be well-insulated thanks to his costume.

Finally as the sugar took hold in everyone, it was time for the parade.  The parents gathered outside while each class paraded around.  It was very, very adorable.

Our cookie!

After the parade ended, we took our sugared-up, hyper little boy home.  It was a good day.

Week in My Life 2012: Thursday

OK.  Here I am posting about Thursday and I finally find myself able to do a morning routine post.  Yikes.  Y’all, it’s been that kind of week.

So, Thursday was the day I washed my hair again.  In case you are keeping score at home,  I washed my hair on Monday and then again on Thursday.  In my defense, I meant to wash my hair on Wednesday, but we overslept.  Also, maybe it is my lone superpower, but I can go a few days between hair washings before my hair completely collapses.

Anyway, I present for your amusement the 5 stages of my hair, analogous to the 5 stages of grief.

Stage 1:  I washed my hair.  I had to or my hair was going to walk off my head

Stage 2: Moment of truth.  Do I attempt to dry it or let it dry naturally?  If I use the dryer, do I beat my hair into submission with the round brush?  See, the issue is that the older I get, the wavier my hair becomes.  That’s not a humble brag.  I had stick-straight hair growing up, but now it’s wavy.  And when my hair is short, it’s curly.  Sort of.  The curls look good the first day but less so the next day because my hair is oddly curly. Even though I prefer to be as low-maintenance as possible, I’ve discovered that when it comes to my hair, a few minutes with the hair dryer helps me have manageable waves without looking like, well, I let my hair dry naturally.

Wet hair!

Stage 3: Half of my hair is wet, the other half dry.  Am I really leaving the house this way?  Yes.

I have no shame

Stage 4: OK, my hair has dried a bit and looks semi-decent

Dressed to impress obviously

In between Stages 3 and 4, Daniel wakes up.  Mornings are not his best lately because he does not want to get dressed and go to school, so much cajoling is involved.  He also wants to undress and dress himself except when he doesn’t.  Finally, he is dressed and eating his granola bar. The shirt he is wearing wasn’t my original choice and is too short, but he demanded a Thomas shirt and frankly, I capitulated in order to get us out of the house without me pulling out my semi-dry hair.

I win, Mommy!

Oh look!  The kitty cats want to eat too.

I dunno…they look pretty well-fed to me

Daniel insists on doing everything for himself!  Like putting on his shoes.

Like putting on his jacket.

Like getting in the car by himself which is rather impressive considering I have a Honda Pilot that is a little higher than a normal sedan.

I really am proud of him. It’s just frustrating during the morning rush.

Finally, we’re on our way, and he is eating part 2 of his breakfast, his waffle.


This Thursday, after dropping off Daniel at daycare, I had to take my car to the dealership for an oil change.  I sat there for almost an hour before the shuttle came to take me to work.  I was intrigued to see free masseuse services while I was there.  Um no.  But I can show you how my hair dried.

So very attractive

And then I went to work and had more meetings and wanted to bang my head against a wall.  Happy Thursday!

Week in My Life 2012: Wednesday

Wednesday got off to a rough start.  Around 4:30 AM, Daniel woke up, ran to his bedroom door and started calling, “Mommy, come cuddle me.”  We woke up and waited to see if he would go back to sleep.  He didn’t and started to get really upset, so off to his room I went.  I got him back in bed and cuddled him, and he seemed to settle.  I went back to our room and had barely gotten back in bed before he was out of bed and calling out for me again.  He didn’t become as upset as before and after about 15 minutes, he returned to his bed and fell asleep.  I fell asleep again too and didn’t wake up until almost 7.  Oops.

Running very late, I raced around to get ready, but my racing didn’t feel as fast as it needed to be.  I felt like I was moving through molasses.  Daniel slept late too, and I had to rush him.  Sensing my desire to get out of the house ASAP, he did what any 3-year-old would do and decided that following directions was optional.  I told him to put on his shoes 4 times.  He debated whether he was wearing pants or shorts with me as a diversion from actually putting them on.  He decided he didn’t like the socks he had on after he had already put his shoes on.  He informed me his name was not Daniel; it was Diesel.  He thought chasing the cats around the house was great fun despite my admonition not to.  He refused to come in the bedroom to change, standing in the doorway, meaning I couldn’t close the door and causing me to have to do a little cat chasing of my own.  My frustration boiled over, and my tone became sharper than I would like.  When he was putting on his shoes, he said, “Mommy, are you happy?”  I answered, “I will be happy when you have your shoes on.”

Not our best morning.

Looking attractive on the outside; feeling like crap on the inside

I was supposed to attend a free conference, but I decided to skip it and head to the office since I needed to hunker down in my office.  I also had a slight headache and was glad to partially close my door and work.  I was mostly left alone too.  Maybe it was the “talk to me and I’ll cut you” vibe I was giving off?

I dare you to ask me a question

At 5, I trudged out to my car, my eyes bleary from staring at my monitor all day.

OMG is it only Wednesday?

Daniel hadn’t napped today, but he was in a good mood on the way home.  Even though the sun is often in my eyes this time of year, I love how pretty the drive home looks.  It’s like someone turned down the sun just a bit.

He loves his stuffed animals. He has three with him.


Not the best pic, but hopefully it conveys the light

Jimmy and I both hoped for a better evening than Tuesday, and it was.  Daniel wanted Jimmy to build him a fort in the kitchen.

Fort in the kitchen! No cats allowed

Despite not being pizza or ice cream, Daniel enjoyed his turkey dog and tater tots.  He was less enthusiastic about the carrots.  Oh, have I told you his new habit?  He likes to spit.  That includes spitting out vigorously food he does not like onto the floor.

These carrots suck

Every other sentence out of Daniel’s mouth lately seems to be, “What is that?”  It’s very cute except when you’re driving and can’t figure it out and he continues to ask until you finally make up something.  Not really.  OK sometimes.  During story time, he kept touching parts of Jimmy’s face and asking, “what is that?”

What’s that, Daddy?

After Daniel was in bed, it was time to tackle Wednesday’s chores.  We have to make lunch for Daniel to take to daycare and on Sundays, I make three lunches, so on Wednesday I have to make two more. I’m kind of in a rut with his lunches because I end up making the same thing (wraps), so if you have any suggestions that don’t need to be warmed up, please give them to me!

I think it looks pretty yummy.

Jimmy and I ate and began a documentary while elderly feline Bit eyed my side of the bed, ready to pounce if I got up.

Move, old lady, and that spot is MINE

And that was Wednesday!  After a rough start, it ended quietly and rather mundane, which was awesome.