And Then There Were Two…(and a dog)

When we got married, we thought children would follow quickly. Unfortunately, our first attempt to produce an heir was not successful and the road to figure out if we could become parents naturally was so uphill, and expensive, we decided to take a breather and enjoy the view.

During this stop I decided we needed to reset the countdown clock and start over. We married each other to share our lives together, not to make them harder by depleting our resources chasing after an impossible dream. Surely enough technology will prove me wrong and at some point it will become totally possible but for now, we needed to face our reality and improve it. Once my husband agreed, we decided to buy and customize a brand new home to start anew.

Deciding how to proceed was a source of constant disagreement. We had hosted countless parties the first ten years of our life together that my husband thought we would be disloyal if we didn’t take into account entertaining in the design. Although I agreed that the space needed to be functional for guests, it felt pointless to resume that hosting duty because it didn’t really go with our new perspective. It was hard for both of us to accept that the new living space should be designed for just two people, who happen to entertain on occasion. This required less seating space, more foldable or expandable furniture and much less consideration for children as part of the decor.

In a way we had to change the style of the home to functionally classy from family fun oriented. As adults we will still have fun but we didn’t need to flaunt it. Our collection of knick knacks moved to the newly created library space, and the frames around the first floor gallery held geek ark pieces instead of posters and souvenir pictures from vacations past. We moved the frames that mattered to us upstairs so we can enjoy them daily. The videogames moved to a dedicated audio/visual suite that does not interfere with my sleep, and the front room fits the ping-pong table easily, when it isn’t doubling as the curtain/cover for the new sideyard french doors. It looks more like us now, the grown up versions anyway, but it still screams: “Cool!”.

There are many more things left to settle and decorate but now we know what works for just us and what doesn’t. The dog loves this new space and its humble beginnings. No more tension oozes from the wall. No more ghosts and broken dreams haunt it. The energy in the rooms buzzes and electrifies everything we do, brightening our existence. We know now that by focusing on ourselves the rest will come in time, with no need to rush into action. This is our haven, our piece of heaven, and we have to finish its design selfishly and guilt free.

In the end, we hope it all comes together. If it doesn’t that will work fine too. As Zach, our pit/lab mix, sleeps in the middle of the family room floor, I smile and pat myself in the back for having taken the chance to let go of what did not serve us. The landscaping and interior jobs may not all be completed but we are a step closer to the new us. Let’s chase the bigger dreams now peeps! The best is yet to come!

On The Day of Fathers…

My life was filled with many dads that took up the responsibility of raising and loving me when my own father couldn’t. Every day of my childhood was filled with the support and lessons of my male role models, who ensured I knew the difference between a good, caring, kind and intelligent man vs those who would want to use, abuse and harm me. From train sets to repairing carburetors, my uncle and grandfather made sure I knew how to fix anything and solve problems that I was yet to have. In the periphery, my father worked hard to build on top of the educational foundation these great men had given me to be worthy of the moniker of dad.

My sister’s relationship with my father is strained because the environment had changed by the time she, 8 years younger, came into the world. My mother didn’t need him to be a constant in her life and ended their 16 year partnership. Through her developmental years, my uncle and grandpa were there for her, and as luck would have it my aunt’s boyfriend also became a strong positive presence in her life. She had three dads that would encourage her to reach for the moon and stars, a sentiment she desperately needed to get over her own child development issues. (She was one of the ADHD/anxiety generation, and her life didn’t really get any easier after she graduated high school.) It was their undivided attention and tact what got her through her darkest moments. We were blessed to have such great trainers in our corner teaching us how to jab, cover, and throw in the towel.

Because my dad is usually missing in action or with his first family (we are the second set), Father’s Day is just another commercial holiday. We will answer his calls and seek him throughout the year, but we won’t make a big deal of celebrating him. Unfortunately, my grandpa and Papo (aunt’s BF) passed a few years ago so we celebrate them in spirit. It is hard to remember what we lost when everyone is hanging out with their dads but the pain is worth it. These men went above and beyond the call of duty setting a high bar for what a father and husband should be to their daughters. We were blessed to have had them for as long as we did. May they rest in peace forever.

My uncle is the last surviving male role model left and we make sure we call and text as often as possible to remind him about the good awesome children he helped mold. His own daughter adores the idea of having surrogate sisters, and we make sure we treat her as such. Hehe. She gives him the hugs and kisses we can’t send via mail, and that is good enough repayment for his sacrifice. He was 21 when I was born and didn’t have a need to become someone’s guardian angel. As my godfather, he taught me how to do my pigtails in braids and showed me how to combine colors when dressing up. My favorite dresses were gifts he bestowed upon me when my mom sent him out to get my portraits taken. Pizza, Dunkin Donut holes, M&Ms and Baskin Robbins ice cream will always serve as reminders of his love and dedication to us. Hehe

To all the dads out there in difficult situations, please hang on and don’t give up. Long distance or up close, you can make a difference in your progeny’s life and emotional health. I grew up without my father and managed to “stay off the pole” because of all the effort my own absentee dad put in to help me aspire to a greater life that he could ever give me. Knowing when to step back and let the other men take over was a task he mastered a few years into the arrangement and it must have crushed him to know he wasn’t the only dad I had. He never took it out in us or on our mom, who to this day reminds us to give him the respect he deserves.  It took a village to raise us. We raise a glass to all the villagers out there too.

Happy Father’s Day everyone! Keep up the good work.

Cheers!

What I Do Is Not Up To You

Diana turns to Steve and exclaims: “What I do is not up to you”. This phrase has been around for a long time and it defines Wonder Woman perfectly. She doesn’t need anyone to tell her what she can and cannot do, and most importantly, is an independent agent who is capable of brokering her own decisions and will. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to viewers and fans that this Amazon is a strong and resilient individual that will stop at nothing to pursue justice, doing was is right and not what is easy.

My husband got me a shirt with this slogan (link from The Tee Warehouse) after I won the “we are moving to a custom brand new house a few blocks away” argument because he realized there was no stopping me when my made was made up. I’m sure many spouses can relate to this dynamic, especially when their partner is headstrong and entrepreneurial. Backing down is never an option for me, and I attempt to achieve a win-win every time I am up against a situation in which many people would yield or compromise. This gift conveys how much he appreciates my will power and since he ordered it, by mistake, in a guy’s size he gets to see me wear it to bed or around the house although he keeps insisting I could wear it outside.

Vanity, thy name is MrsEnginerd. LOL

Women are told every day that they can’t do what they do or know what they know. In business and in society, their decisions are questioned, scrutinized and taken lightly. Congress is making bills to legislate over their rights to reproductive coverage and/or abortion because “their virtue must be protected”. Ladies can’t state that they like the pleasures of the flesh or the satisfaction of a career without being accused of being sluts or selfish, and even worse, inconsiderate of their husband’s and family’s needs. Heck, their hard work is devalued so much that they even get paid less because their performance in many fields is considered to be inferior to men. Sexism is alive and well folks; we need to make an effort to eradicate it.

If you have little girls or young women in your family, or love a very wonderful and impressive woman, take this message to heart. What they do is not up to you and furthermore, does not represent you. The men and women in their lives must support and build up their confidence and pride so they can reach their goals and enjoy their very well deserved achievements and accolades. Don’t sell yourself and themselves short. With an open mind and a courageous heart we can all live up to our full potential. My grandparents believed in my mom and she retired as a Colonel or Full Bird from the Army. I have a Masters and BS in Engineering. Someday my daughters, adoptive or by proxy, will be able to go to Mars and beyond. We need more Wonder Women in our lives. Let’s build a better future together!

Hooahh!😎💪🏅

There Is More To Life Than A Good Origin Story 

We are born. We die. What happens in between is a magical, mysterious, and emotional rollercoaster ride. Sadly, many believe their origin story seals their fate, that they have no choice but to be a victim of their circumstances. The decisions our parents and ancestor made shaped our arrival but these choices and their outcomes should not cloud our future and the opportunities presented to us. It is up to us to challenge our environment and ourselves to become better than the sum of their parts in our story. We have to grow, mature and improve regardless of our hard or easy starts in life.

If all there was to Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince or Clark Kent was their origin story, we wouldn’t have Batman, Wonder Woman nor Superman to save the day. Even though their pain, birth and uncertainty about their lives motivated them to seek the truth, justice and inner strength, they refused to be defined by their grief and apprehension. As they evolved so did their understanding of the world, giving them an opportunity to make a difference and become advocates for those who had no one else to rely on. These heroes were blessed to have protectors and guides that helped them become greater than their parents’ legacy and expectations for their well being so they felt the need to return the favor in an extraordinary fashion.

Dwelling on the past can be beneficial as long as we fully comprehend the lessons and experiences that made us who we are. To move forward, we have to cleanse our subconscious mind from the biases, rules and limitations put upon ourselves by either society, our upbringing, religious organizations or those we consider authority figures/worthy of emulation. Our mistakes do not define us, and it is up to us to get back on the proverbial horse and joust once more until we emerge victorious. Without a goal in mind we cannot achieve. Good self-esteem and image depend on our ability to feel and believe that we are worthy of love, success and glory after we sacrifice, work hard and execute on careful and effective planning. Letting go of the past comes with great introspection and responsibility: We will gain the power to become who we must be to make our own fate.

No love story is truly original even though they can be unique. In the same fashion we must understand that our story may not be original but it is unique because it affects us. We are balls of clay, molded for a purpose, once we have to assign ourselves and execute to become genuinely successful. Death may define us, and time will determine if we lived up to our potential. In the meantime, we must continue to stretch our horizons and see beyond our current situation and predicaments to find the hope necessary to leave an everlasting legacy. Children, inventions, new tech or scientific breakthroughs; literature, poetry, art; whatever our impact quantifies and qualifies itself we have to be willing to step up and perform.

Take a chance on yourself and remove your own mental roadblocks from your way. We can be our own worst enemy and a new appreciation of your origin story may help you jettison unnecessary regret, resentment and anxiety. We are all heroes in our own right. Be brave and bold enough to redefine your own story.

I Was A Mom (Poem)

I was a mom once,
A loving, nesting, pregnant mess of surreal possibilities,
And my husband, a dad, that couldn’t stop smiling.
Glee poured out of his pores.
We couldn’t contain our happiness.

For twelve weeks you brought us joy,
The only kind a parent to be can feel.
We were proud to call you our own,
Making plans to spend our lives trekking the world with you,
To not spoil you too much or too little,
To give you a sense of purpose and belonging.

Even though we will never hold you in our arms,
We carry you in our hearts everywhere we go.
It hasn’t been easy, and people have been unempathic to our loss but we have persevered.
Your departure made us stronger, wiser,
More resilient.
Kinder, gentler,
Awake to opportunity and change.

For now we, your parents, walk together the path less travelled,
And vow to love each other as we did you.
The wonder of expecting you,
Our first born and heir,
Will be one of our most beautiful and sad memories,
One we wouldn’t trade it for anything this life could offer.

We are who we are because of you.
Thank you.
Rest my angel, rest.
Love always,

Mom and Dad

Unboxing the Past, Resetting the Future 

The worst part of moving to a new home when you are in your 30s is letting go of the stuff 20 year old you bought with those first paychecks. Most if the items are still in good condition but you don’t really need them anymore. Some were gifts from people you adore but have outgrown, and/or remnants of the business you left unfinished. Pajamas and knick knacks from Xmas past, the many baby shower and wedding giveaways that weren’t meant to last a decade or two, they all cluttered the new space in a way that was unexpected. Suddenly the meaning behind the keepsake changed; divorces, deaths and moves redefined the life you had planned and gave birth to the life you are now living.

Downsizing the beer and wine bottle collection to relevant pieces was both hard and strange. Surrendering a part of history because it was documented elsewhere was new and difficult. MrEnginerd and I take pictures of everything and document any changes that we observe. Our memory boxes and external hard drive are full of tickets, invitations, cards and mementos of the last 16 years together. It is almost as if we wanted to make sure these waypoints in the timeline were preserved. That there was evidence of the places and experiences we have had, especially those that involved others’ happiness. A few boxes of pure joy and/or deep grief and sadness. We even had a few articles from when we were going to become parents. (See Wrestling Infertility for more details on that journey.)

This new house was meant to be a fresh start. The walls are covered with the items that represent this new incarnation of ourselves. We let go of the old, the worn out and the unnecessary to open up room for whatever the next decades bring to us or take us. If you are one of our friends and are wondering if we kept memories related to you around you are either missing the point of a cleanse or may need some affirmation that we still care. (We do.) After 30 weddings, 50+ showers of all kind and our own milestones, you learn what to keep and from whom. Carrying the weight of remembering all these events was a burden we choose to lighten. We don’t expect people to have our big happy smiling faces on their walls anymore, unless you are our grandparents. 😀 The next time you walk into our house, virtually or otherwise, I hope you can appreciate the evolutionary leap forward we took. These are the wiser, stronger and more sophisticated versions of us. (And hopefully more entertaining and less boring.)
Once the garage sales and such are completed, we will deal with whatever refuses to leave us. Maybe those items will give us a new direction or remind us of roads we left unexplored. Maybe they will become someone else’s bounty when we drop them off at the donation bin. Life defines us in ways we may never comprehend. For now, we will do our best to define our path despite all the unwanted challenges. I sincerely hope the best is yet to come.

Cheers!

10 Birthday Party Ideas For The Young At Heart

Planning an all age inclusive birthday party has gotten harder the more into our 30s we get. Between newly weds, newborns, older and younger kids, and aging parents, the crowds at family and social gatherings have become more diverse and harder to please. Taking grandma to the bar may work if she used to be a Marine (lol) but for the most part you will have to plan separate shindigs or put up with incessant complaints. Lame! To avoid not having fun on your well deserved celebratory time, consider these 10 ideas that are sure to be crowd pleasers and satisfying for the guest of honor.

1. Arcade style establishments.

GameWorks, Dave and Buster’s or any local arcade and/or family fun center may suffice to fulfill this category. Many places offer privacy/activity rooms where the people who may need more peace and quiet can hang while the kids and interested adults do their thing. Some places offer mini golf and laser tag as well. Adult themed places like the first two will have alcoholic beverages and the latter not so much. Ask before assuming you can bring in your own refreshments and decorations to make sure there are no branding conflicts, etc.

2. Board game party

In the PNW they have a few places that cater to table top gaming. Mox, Game Shire or many other card and RPG playing locations are available to host parties if you can’t do it at home. Some restaurants and brewpubs will not charge you to use their facilities as long as you purchase a minimum order of food and drinks, and have a family area (they aren’t just a 21+ bar or establishment). Some even have games!

3. Dinner and a movie at the park/backyard

With the advent of technology many systems that used to be expensive, like projectors and outdoor screens, are making a come back as cheaper and even more effective versions of themselves. Many entertainment companies will rent them to you for a small fee if you don’t have the $150- $300 to invest on a system, complete with high quality speakers and comfy lawn chairs. Pair this with a dinner BBQ and you will be ready to go. Check sunset times during the summer to avoid losing people mid movie because it is getting late. 😉

4. Bowling

You’d be surprised how much equipment is out there to help people of all ages and disabilities to throw the ball down the lane and score a strike. The environment can get loud during leagues and peak times but it can still be a good trip for grandma and the kids if there is an activity room or restaurant attached to the venue. This is a fun way to get a team together without much hassle, and can be done on a school night quite easily. 2-4 hrs and you are done! Check Groupon for specials to have fun while you save $$$. 😀

5. Day at the beach/Water park/Pool

Pulling off this event is easier the closer you live to a beach or water park. It works best when paired with a vacation or road trip. If not find a pool that is available to rent for private parties. (Bonus points if you get an indoor pool during winter/cold weather seasons.) The Great Wolf Lodge is another cool indoorish alternative since there are a few around the USA and have rooms and packages available all year round.

6. Sports game outing

Buy group tickets and take your crowd to a day at the ball park/court. Get coordinating themed or team shirts, check out what you can take into the stadium legally and per policy so that your crew can get creative with signs, dress and chants. Bonus points of you attend college games, little league, Roller Derby or AAA baseball or female sports league play. There’s a lot out there to choose from. Find a sport that everyone likes and set up teams to play afterwards or in lieu of the event. Heads up!

7. Renting a boat for the day/River or Lake Cruise

Pick a location with meaning to the guest of honor. Be it nearby or a quick roadtrip away, there is nothing better than spending time being pampered in the high seas or quietly enjoying the view of the water. Some lines have activity rooms in existing cruises that you can rent for a few hours, making planning very easy. Charter a boat with a crew for full effect, especially if you are going fishing for prize catches. Ahoy!

8. Hike location with climate controlled visitor center.

This may sound ridiculous but you can take the family to a lot of National Parks and hike spots that have climate controlled visitor centers with restaurants and educational displays. It is easier to attempt a substantial hike with the ability to leave kids behind for a while if they are too young or adults that can’t walk for longer than 15-30 mins. These guests can still enjoy the beauty of the location without having to leave a safe environment.

9. Museum

Sci-fi, art, music, science, technology or pop culture,  museums come in so many varietals you will have many experiences to choose from. Learning is fun, especially since knowing is half the battle. 😉

10. Dress up, Mystery Murder or Escape Room party.

Check Groupon for deals in your area. If you don’t like to participate, try a show dinner theater like Teatro Zinzani or a dinner train. This idea is good for groups of 7 to 25. Some venues can be pricey so make sure everyone is willing to pay a premium if using professionals to coordinate the event.

Enjoy!

QuirkBooks: Keeping Nerd Awesome One Book At A Time

During the Emerald City Comic Con I had the idea of swinging by the QuirkBooks booth about an hour before the convention ended and walked into a frenzied discounted product sale! Woop woop! Their add in the event’s program guide piqued my interest because they carried a book called Wonder Women and once I got there they had so many geektastic offerings that it was hard to walk away with just one. The staff was very generous and gave visitors the last of the tote bags with lots of freebies and goodies. 😆😊

The first item I picked out to read from the stuffed goodie bag was Stuff Every Geek Should Know. This thin booklet didn’t have a bar code on it or ISBN so assume they must give it away for free at Cons and special events. My only regret is that I didn’t take more because my friends would love owning one of these manuals to ensure successful geek coexistence with the real world. 🤓😛 Their bit about hacking your online profile, naming children after your favorite characters and ways for nerds and geeks to make friends at cons were hilariously accurate. Their advice was dead on! Can’t wait to try it.

I liked the rhetoric and aloof writing style so much I decided to review the offerings I purchased by blog article to share them with my peeps and future readers. My hope is y’all visit the store’s webpage and sponsor the endeavor. It was really cool to finally find material I could relate to and enjoy. I’d like to contribute to their success too!

Wonder Women


Sam Maggs wrote a compilation of stories that focus on women who are recognized as pioneers and overachievers in their respective fields. Illustrated by Sophia Foster-Dimino, gorgeously designed page backgrounds are filled with factual data and quirks about each selected superstar. Great book to inspire and teach children of all genders and orientations about the achievements of female scientists, innovators, adventurers and even spies that shaped our modern world. 🔬🔬🔬🔬

The Geek’s Guide To Dating

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Have you ever wondered how geeks manage to navigate relationships successfully? Are you stuck in the dating world’s Neutral Zone? Do you need bonafide geek advice to find your Player Two? This book will help you figure out what kind of nerd you are and what steps to take to find a quest-mate. Although it relates to dating it can also help you build any type of relationship, reagardless of geek status and gender or sexual preferences. Be prepared to honestly take stock of your character stats and get your stores in order to embark on this hilarious journey of introspective self discovery. The geek references alone are worth every copper piece spent! (This book is a good read for the married geeks looking to spark things up again, nerd style.) 😄😄😄😄

Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture, Edited by Steven H Segal

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Filled with quotes from around Nerdom, this book will remind any geek and nerd why they fell in love with the sci-fi and fantasy genres in the first place. Asimov, Huxley, Ralph Wiggum and Mae Jemison, to name a few, are featured in this work to remind us that many of the truisms and phrases we use daily come from our beloved geek heroes; the people who shaped the sci-fi, fantasy and actual scientific writings into mainstream speak. Reading its pages reminded me of my childhood and upbringing, of the many one liners I drop on people hoping they understand where I am coming from, to find my tribe. Excellent gift for nerds, geeks and posers alike. 🤓🤓🤓🤓

Enjoy!

Endless

Love, eternal
Flawless win over death.

Hope,
endearing and bright in the middle of the darkness.

Lust,
perennial mistress of heart’s desire.

Empathy,
Bold, gracious and kind keeps these three at bay.

Love, hope and lust wisely.

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