Friday, September 28, 2007

The motivation behind the Febreze poll.
As you know, for many years now I've been biking or jogging to work most days that I'm not teaching. We have a fairly casual workplace, so I just bring my clean clothes along and clean up when I get there. I hang my clothes up to air out on the back of my office door, and set my bike shoes and helmet under my desk.

It never used to really matter that I had sweaty gear in my office, because I was exercising so much and hydrating so well that there was virtually no smell in my sweat (you know, as long as I didn't leave the stuff there for days). But that's only true, it seems, if you're exercising a lot. Which I was.
And there's the problem.

With a baby, and dangerously hot summer weather (for a little one, I mean-- I can handle the summer just fine!), and not enough hours in the day to even watch a sitcom once in awhile, I no longer get my requisite 2 hours of training every day. And now my sweat has a sort of musty smell. Not so much stinky, more like a "presence." So, months ago, I bought a bottle of Febreze antimicrobial (orange label) and used it on my clothes/shoes/helmet. BUT-- by the end of the day, the clothes, helmet and shoes were flat-out-stinky. Way worse than if I had not used the Febreze.
I gave it another chance. And another. And another. Every time I used the Febreze, it left my clothes smelling like a high school boys' locker room.

Yeah, I am sure you wanted to know that.

Anyway, I am at a loss, except to start carrying a separate kit for riding/running home, and just putting my helmet and shoes into a bag during the day (which, eww, I'd like them to get aired out a bit). I won't be one of those people who sprays cologne all over their sweaty stuff to mask the smell. When I worked at the gym people did that and it was nauseating.

So, the poll was because I was trying to figure out whether anyone else had the same experience. The commercials make it seem like you can spray Febreze on something and it becomes not only un-stinky, but downright heavenly.

Which is true, if you think that Treavor McNeighborhood Football Player's socks smell heavenly. Maybe it's just the antimicrobial kind, and regular old Febreze is OK. Or maybe it's that Febreze is bad on technical fabrics. Or maybe it's that my sweat is radioactive.

OK, let's just change the subject. This weekend, SNG and I (read: SNG and I)build a new deck just below the existing deck. In honor of the construction, e-baby donned her rust-colored Carhartt's that her Grandpa gave her for just such occasions.

SNG will be blogging about the new deck project soon, complete with pictures.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

NEW POLL! (I keep Febreze in my office to spray in my bike helmet and shoes. Not so sure it really works. I'll let you decide.)

E-baby's birthday party pictures are HERE

Pictures from Isabelle and Le Chef's visit are HERE

Other random September baby pictures are HERE

The party was tons of fun. Poor e-baby got a cold for her birthday, which is obvious in some of the pictures. She alternated between CRYING and LAUGHING MANIACALLY but she was very happy when everyone sang Happy Birthday, she loved playing with birthday cake, and best of all-- gift wrap, bows, and lots and lots of dogs! Her best frind Season came over (and she kindly brought her parents along), DOTi the Dog came over (and she kindly brough Peace and Fuzzy along), Aunt Dianaverse came over, and Granny and Grandpa came over. It was just the best little party. E-baby got lots of terrific gifts-- many of them dog-themed. She told us all about each one.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Birthday Girl!

Today is e-baby's birthday, and in the last few weeks we've watched her transform-- so fast you can hear it-- from a baby into a toddler. Along with walking and talking has emerged an interest in actively involving herself in the world around her: she wants to walk to the mailbox, and take the mail out, and eat it herself. She wants to drink her water and use her spoon without any help. She wants to push the stroller, not ride in it. She will chase down the neighbor's dog and climb on mommy's bike and open the bag of goldfish crackers and play with the older kids in the neighborhood. She will not be tied down.

For example... yesterday at grocery store, she was pushing the shopping cart down the cracker aisle when she was sidetracked by the Wall Of Goldfish. You know the one- it's about 10 feet wide and All Goldfish. At e-baby height were the large Goldfish cartons that look like cereal boxes. With a joyful gleam, she started at one end and threw the boxes at the front of the shelf to the floor one by one, singing an e-baby song as she went. How could I get mad? It was hilarious! I couldn't put them back on the shelf as fast as she pulled them down, so she had to be redirected while I reshelved the crackers. Luckily for e-baby there was a display of bananas right across the aisle. We took home two bunches to avoid getting the stink-eye from a store manager.

But for all her toddlerishness, she's still my little baby. She's cuddly, and sweet, and non-manipulative, and too young to feel jealous when another kid takes her toys. Soon she'll move up to the 1-year-old class at daycare where she'll learn new tricks. But for now, I'll luxuriate in the snuggles.

I've said it before, but I always thought that love for my child would be like love for my parents, or SNG, only moreso. It isn't. It is total and unconditional. The love gets bigger and stronger all the time, to the point that it's overwhelming. There's nothing else like it. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Even my old size 6 butt. I'm excited about the next year, and the next, and the next....

Happy Birthday, e-baby!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Someone left a bag of candies in the breakroom for people to munch on, so I grabbed 2 pieces of Starburst: a yellow one and a blue one. I opened the blue one first, because I couldn't recall ever having a blue Starburst. I ate it. YUCK! ACK! It's like berry-MINT or something! Pppppth! So I opened the yellow one, thinking, this one is lemon. I like lemon. But oh, no! It's minty too!!

I read the wrapper carefully: Polar Citrus Starburst.

Polar. Citrus. What?

Polar? Like arctic/antarctic? Like frozen tundra? With citrus? As in, if you like pina colada? Something has gone very wrong over at Starburst. I want my money back.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Actual conversation over dinner (with apologies if you are eating your dinner):

Me: The doctor says we need to send in a... uh... specimen... so they can figure out why e-baby's feeling so poopy lately.
SNG: Oh, that'll be fun.
Me: Well, actually they need 4 specimens. I already did the first two and there wasn't enough poop.
SNG: So now we're waiting for another poop?
Me: Yeah. And it's your turn. You have to fill the containers until the liquid solution reaches to the "fill line." It makes me throw up a little.
SNG: Eew. Do they at least give you a spork?
Me: Yeah. It has 2 prongs.
SNG: Oh GOD I was kidding about the spork!

Now you can, in some small way, join in the fun we've been having this week.
HEY! New poll.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hooray! We finally got some rain and some cool weather.

On Friday, e-baby finally decided that yes, it is OK to walk without holding onto anything. We knew she could do it for weeks now, and would catch her walking 2-3 steps at a time, but now she's ready to walk across rooms and over obstacles and such. When she falls over, she gets up and tries again.

She is up to about 20 words (spoken and/or signed) although the main ones are still dog, duck, bear and ball. Newest: airplane, more, and peas.

In the past 5 years or so we've cultivated a tradition of "food and fake sport" to celebrate birthdays with some of our friends. For example, pizza and bowling; barbecue and ice-dancing; salad and billiards; pizza and putt-putt; sandwiches and lazer-tag. Two weeks ago it was burritos and poker with one friend, and last weekend it was pizza and Wii with another friend. This weekend is my turn, so I picked fruit pie and bocce. I ordered a bunch of Hubig's pies and tomorrow some friends are coming over to help us eat them. The weather should be nice. I haven't had a Hubig's pie since I was probably 12 years old. Unfortunately, they accidentally sent me 5 pineapple pies and only 3 lemon, which is the opposite of what I ordered. We also have peach, chocolate, and coconut. I hope they're as good as I remember.

Not much else going on with me. What about you?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Watch Me Resist the Temptation to Entitle This Post Philadelphia Freedom.

So I'm teaching in Philly this week, and SNG is in New Bern with e-baby for a business trip of his own. His parents live there so it works out nicely. I'm delighted that e-baby got some 1-on-2 quality time with her Granny and Grandpa, since they usually only get small doses of e-baby. It sounds like they've been having a terrific time together. Well, SNG had a rough start, what with forgetting to pack e-baby's milk and with some logistical troubles on how to take a pee-stop on a road trip with a baby in-tow (and no stroller). Still, he'll get it all sorted out before the next time.

My own trip has been hot and cold as well. Yesterday, I dropped off e-baby at daycare and took a picture of her with my phone.

Well, I couldn't leave with that sad little face in memory, so I went back and played with her over lunch. We had a great time, and I left with a happy baby mental image (no picture this time, though).

My flight was on time, but once I got on the Avis bus, I suspected something was wrong. It was the most crowded Avis bus ever. At the 3rd airport stop, we had to leave passengers behind because there was no space for them. The driver ambled-- no, he crawled-- to the Avis location and crept at 2-3 mph through the "Preferred" lot. Most of us on the bus were "Preferred" customers. After moseying along slower than walking speed, the bus (with us still on board) LEFT THE AVIS LOT. We circled around. We window-shopped at the terminals. We went BACK to the Avis lot and circled some more. Passengers kept asking the driver what was going on but he wouldn't talk to anyone. Around that time I noticed the lines snaking out the door of the Preferred office into the parking lot, and the lines out the Peasant Avis office snaking toward the Bus Exit. We were released from the bus and queued up for our car assignment. My car, it turns out, had already been assigned and we had passed it, contract on the dashboard, several times from the bus.

Here it is.

The best way to describe the experience of driving a Mistubishi Eclipse Spyder is as driving the car of your friend's blond-haired teenage brother who listens to rap music and wears his hat cockeyed-sideways with a sweatband on underneath. It has mesh in the headrests. It has a massive subwoofer in the backseat. I can't see over the dashboard very well. I can't see out the side window very well either. Still, I love driving a convertible so I'm making the most of it.

After spending two hours getting to the hotel, I had birthday dinner at a chinese place and read a book while the waitress gave me a look that clearly said "It's not polite to read at the dinner table" but she didn't effect any behavioral change from me.

Tonight I "licked the windows" at the King of Prussia mall and had soup & salad for dinner. It was so luxurious that I didn't buy anything and it was OK. Now I'm watching back-to-back special documentaries on the 9/11 attacks. Birthdays will not be the same again for a very long time. Speaking of which, tomorrow is J's bday, so happy bday, amigo.

SNG sent me a picture-mail from New Bern that I will share with you.

I can almost hear the GUFFAW - SQUEEEEE!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

What happens when you present a precocious baby with a bucket of clean laundry? This is a longer one than usual, but I think it's hilarious.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Oooh, fun. I've discovered polls.

Today we rode the bikes over to a La Leche League festival out at a local park-- my friend Peace had a booth there to drum up new students for her baby sign language business, and so we went to show off a real-live signing baby and to enjoy some baby-oriented fun. You might (or might not) know that today is a big nurse-in day to raise awareness of the legal right to breastfeed in public. First of all, I don't think anyone gets their jollies by feeding a baby in public. It's a bit awkward, but if you've ever spent much time with a baby, you know that when they're hungry, they have to be fed. Funny thing about babies. And it's ridiculous that women are thrown out of public places all the time for breastfeeding, even though most states protect them legally. That makes no difference to the flunkie manager who is asking her to stop feeding her baby or to cover it up (and, um, yeah-- just you try to feed a baby while its head is under a blanket). Once in awhile someone is able to raise some publicity about it, but usually, these moms just go home, humiliated. It makes me sick. Anyway, back to the LLLI festival.

There were tons of families there and some interesting vendors. I ordered a new baby sling that my mom will be SO excited to try out (it's stylish and comfortable! and no baby-butt-slippage!), and the LLLI ladies had planned a little kiddie parade that, at first, had more the feel of a march than a parade. The kids made posters about how great breastfeeding is, and then they were lined up to parade around the park and play musical instruments and wave signs and it was all starting to get a little weird, when one of the leaders asked Peace if she'd like to be in the parade. She politely declined, but the woman said they needed someone to lead a song. Peace agreed to lead a sign-language sing-along for the parade. Since I know two of her songs, I decided to help out and we sang/signed "The More We Get Together" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" around the park as the kids shook their maracas and waved signs about the wonders of breastmilk. Somehow the music managed to cancel out the vaguely protest-march-feel that the whole thing was starting to have.

I mean, if the LLLI ladies want to protest, then let's march the kids around in the local Applebee's parking lot or in front of Delta's ticket counter or at Target's headquarters or something. I'd be happy to whip out a boob to make a point in the face of some jerk who wants to call it indecent exposure. At the park, I don't think anyone was going to be offended anyway. Still, if they were, they'd have been faced down by a formidable crew of ankle biters wielding percussion instruments.

It was surreal. E-baby slept through the whole thing. After the parade, she woke up and saw her favorite pal (Peace) and jumped straight into her arms. We all had a lovely time.

On a related note, Dianaverse went to a march for dogs today. They walked dogs and had a contest for cutest dog and she saw a boxer from a rescue organization. Maybe the dogs had posters extolling the wonders of clicker-training and vendors selling organic dog-treat mix and signing people up for doggie day care. I hope that the mommy dogs were allowed to nurse their puppies in public and didn't have to cover their fuzzy little heads with blankets. Those bitches get really defensive about their pups. (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun. I hope nobody is offended. If you are, I can put a blanket over the computer screen.)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

So I have one of those credit cards that gives you cash rewards, and I'm about to cash in for a bunch of play-money. SNG and I are thinking about using it to get each other a new iPod for Chritsmas. Serendipitously, Apple announces its new 160 Gb SUPER-pod yesterday. My laptop doesn't even have 160Gb so it's not like I could fill it up with stuff, but our next computer probably will have a terabyte or something.

So I'm wondering, is it worth it, or should I save $100 and get the (now so-less-cool) 80Gb iPod?

iPhones are out of the question. I don't even want one, since my new Treo is The Awesome.

I'll probably get the SUPERpod anyway, but I wonder whether my early-adopter, late-adopter, and no-adopter friends have any ponderings on the subject.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

I'm so over summer. We had a mild June and July, but August was terrible. Yesterday was fabulous. Today is even nicer. I thought, "Hooray, we're into September and through with summer and I can jog every day again!"

The Fitness Weather Forecast says otherwise. It'll be up to 95 again by Wednesday. I'll ride the bike instead. This week we're starting a new routine: I'll take e-baby to day care and SNG will pick her up at the end of the day. That'll free me up to stay a little later at work, and ride home through the state park. Riding 8.6 miles a day on a mountain bike isn't much, but it's a step closer to returning to triathlon fitness. If I stay on the roads, it's only 5 miles a day. I used to consider it an average day to run 8.6 miles on my commute to work; now I'm excited about biking that same distance. It's really no wonder I can't seem to get back into my old clothes. :-)

Mom goes back to Austin on Tuesday. :-( She's been here (well, not here, but in San Diego or Columbia, or DC, or Raleigh) for almost 4 weeks. It's been so much fun. I bet dad is ready to have her back now, but we could just keep her for another 4 weeks and have a great time. I promised her milder weather if she came to NC, but it's turned out to be hotter here than in Austin almost the whole time. Sorry, mom!

A week from tomorrow I am flying out to Philadelphia for another Crappy Birthday Away From Home. I'm covering for another instructor whose 5-month-old baby is sick, so I don't feel bad about having to go, but I had expected to be home for all of September. Still, I did get exactly what I wanted for my birthday so I'll be watching TV from my phone in the airport and everything will be OK.