Friday, May 30, 2008

So PC is Going THAT Way Now, Eh?

There have been a few prominent headlines recently that have me thinking about political correctness. These headlines are prompted by the same demographic who get so self-righteous about wanting to display jingoist crucifix-on-stars-and-stripes-background or the Rebel flag flown proudly in front of govt buildings, or the ten commandments in a courtroom. The battle cry is something like "All this PC bulls&*t! Damn those PC people!" Not that I care if someone wants to put a rebel flag, or Calvin peeing on a Ford, or naked-lady silhouettes on their mudflaps. Whatev, I am a bigger fan of individual liberties than I am an un-fan of little boys peeing on pickup trucks. But some of those instances can cause an entire segment of the population to feel marginalized by the very body that is supposed to represent them.

But how can this be considered anything other than PC bulls&*t? Or, even better, this? Come ON, it's PAISLEY! Next we'll be boycotting the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince.

The irony is delicious and bitter, like a good espresso.

Thanks to roving reporter SNG, who apparently only gets his local news from abroad, for the links.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day Recap, Redux

We decided to try something different for our road trip to New bern over the holiday weekend. Instead of leaving work early and driving through nap time, or going after work and driving during dinnertime or waiting until Saturday morning and driving during morning playtime, we decided to treat Friday night like any other night, have dinner, give e-baby a bath, put her in some jammies, and around her bedtime, load up into the car for a 2 1/2 hour drive. The idea was that we'd arrive in NB, quietly unload her little sleeping self from the dark car, carry her up the dark stairs, into a quiet dark room, put her into a crib, and she'd be asleep for the rest of the night.

It seemed like a good idea at the time! The drive was a refreshing nap. She was up until 1:30.

Other than being a little picky about who was allowed to look at her, or touch her toys, or speak to her, e-baby had a good time. The antisocial behavior is best explained by this weird uber-mommy-centric phase she's going through right now. Add to that the farigue of recovering from pneumonia, and voila, you have "Do not dare to gaze directly upon the baby-queen! Or her dinner!" With 2 kitties to torment (who gave her the same lukewarm reception she was giving her extended family), and a dog to play with (who was SO HAPPY to have a toddler to lick) things would have been fun enough. But add to all that excitement: e-baby went on her first boat ride! She rode in SNG's kayak, then on Granny's Big Boat, and then the next day in my kayak. So really, she went on her first three boat rides.

Here are pictures.
Here are some more random pictures for May.

The drive home was during nap time. All is peaceful in the e-baby empire.

I need to blog. Soon.

We spent Memorial Day weekend in New Bern having a WONDERFUL time. I have pictures. I will post them soon. There's a big deadline at work that can't be missed. Gotta run. Bye!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Heaven and Hell Sunday

First, the Hell:
Sunday I performed the annual harvest of the Poison Ivy crop, front and back yard. Ordinarily, all yard work is SNG's problem, but he gets special dispensation from activities involving poison ivy as he inevitably ends up needing rounds of steroid shots followed by a course of oral steroids to counteract the weeping, bleeding, oozing mounds of red, blistered flesh (external and internal). I (knock wood) have never had more than 2 or 3 itchy little blisters, and those might have been ant bites. So I get to do the annual harvest all alone.

In spite of my apparent lack of Ivy allergy, I still wear gloves, a full Tyvek suit with legs tucked into my socks, and a hat. You just never know when an allergy will decide to form. I harvested one leaf-bag full of the stuff, sprayed Ivy killer on whatever I couldn't uproot properly, and threw everything-- Ivy, gloves, socks, Tyvek suit-- into the outside trash can where SNG can't eat it or roll around on it.

And now, the Heaven:
As a reward for my efforts, I made petit fors. Inside-- paper-thin yellow cake layers with red currant jam in between. Outside-- the darkest dark chocolate ganache you've ever seen.

Somebody got to lick the icing spreader:

The recipe was met with full approval from the critics.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ode to a Cheap Bike

Decaled with cool words like Spinner, Aluminum Alloy, and Trailhead that are certain to clinch your reputation as the raddest, baddest thrasher on the paved suburban bike path, my chemical-green Mommy Bike is back in play after a season in the shed waiting to get new cables. This is the bike I bought so that I'd have something permanently on campus for making quick trips to the day care or meetings in buildings more than 1/2-mile away. It was the cheapest thing REI had that could still really be called a mountain bike, and it is specifically designed for women between 5'0" and 5'3"-- so it might actually be the first bike I've ever owned that is small enough. It is certainly the first single bike I've ever owned that lets me stand over the top tube without having to leave a foot on a pedal (or stand tippy-toe). The tandem lets me do that, but it is a Bike Friday, which means that even e-baby has standover clearance.

Last fall, after almost a year in the sun, rain, freezing cold, and burning heat of the bike rack outside my building, I realized that the cables housings had all but dissolved off the cables, which were rusting and falling apart. It took another six months to get around to dropping it at the bike shop, and another two or three weeks to get around to dropping it back at work. So when e-baby fell asleep this afternoon in her bed, I rode up to drop it off. It is a beautiful day today, so I took a long route through the state park to get there, doubling back after a couple of miles just to have the honeysuckle breeze up my nose a little longer. I left the bike locked to the rack next to the dumpsters outside my building* to endure another year of weather, and jogged home. I have to say that when you're not transporting a baby (trailer or jogger), riding a bike is still a MILLION times more fun than running.

If I had the chance to get back just one thing from my pre-baby life, it would be the freedom to ride 150 miles a week without pulling a 70-pound trailer.

* It is funny that bike racks are usually placed in positions of such status. But I'll tolerate the dumpster smell with the smug knowledge that I have a closer parking space than anyone else.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Every Good Boy Does Fine.

Poor e-baby. Pneumonia is not for wimps. Although she hasn't had a fever since Sunday night (the antibiotics are killing something in those lungs; you should smell her breath!), she is defninitely not well. Monday she went to sleep at 11am and was in bed for the night by 7:20, Tuesday she took a total of 5 hours of naps starting at 10:30 am. This morning she seemed to say "OK, mworld, I am SICK of being sick. I'm gonna have FUN." She played hard and by 11:40 had a biblical meltdown that lasted, I am not kidding, 35 minutes. Nothing made her happy: putting her in bed, going outside, lying down, standing up, carrying her around, food, water, books... Finally I just sat next to her as she screamed and writhed and when she had worn herself out a little, I asked her whether she wanted to go night-night. "uh-huh!" She was asleep in less than 2 minutes from the time I put her down.

All of this means that e-baby has been in no condition to go to daycare, and I don't want to expose her to any germs right now anyway. So I'm taking mornings off and SNG is taking afternoons aoff all week to stay with her. What's scary is that if SNG were still working at his old job, he would not be able to come home, and since I'm teaching every afternoon this week, I'd have had to cancel a class. Sick time you are actually allowed to take: one more reason I am SO HAPPY that SNG found a cushy gummint job.

So, there's the e-baby update in case anyone was wondering.

Non sequitur-- since e has pneumonia, part of my brain keeps wanting to say that she has pneumatic fever, which makes me want to say mnemonic fever. Which makes me laugh. I have mnemonic fever! A Rat In Tom's House May Eat Tom's Ice Cream. SOHCAHTOA.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What a Big Weekend!

Yesterday morning e-baby did not want to get up. She had to anyway, since we had a babysitter coming for the first time ever (you know, who wasn't family). She's a very responsible teenage daughter of a friend at work, and I trust her more than I'd trust any other kids her age that I know, but you know I was chewing my nails anyway. But it was great-- SNG and I took a ride on the road bikes for about an hour and e-baby had a GREAT time with her sitter. When I took the sitter home, e-baby fell asleep in the car, which seemed odd for 11am, but meh, kid probably played hard.

Dianaverse came over around lunchtime and we took e-baby to see some sheep in the fields down the street, which was super-fun. After we came back, e-baby was sleepy again, and was even staggering a little. So I put her down for a nap, and she slept for > 3 hours, and didn't want to wake up at 5pm. She felt warm. A little coughing, but not much else to speak of. Except that tick I pulled out of her ear last weekend. That one had me worried.

We went to the Whole Foods for some dinner (which e-baby was not interested in) and she got warmer. By the time we got home, she was 103.5. So quick into the bathtub, a dose of baby Tylenol, and once again, she couldn't wait to get into bed.

We set alarms to check on her, and at 12:30am her temp was OK. At 4:00 she was back up to 103, crying this weird, croupy cry and asking for milk. We gave her more Tylenol, 12 oz of cold milk, and read some books. Her temp came back down pretty quickly, and she was asleep again by 5:30. We all slept until 8.

No fever at 8. E-baby (and her daddy) gave me the sweetest Mother's Day cards, with a letter that made me get all sniffly, and everyone played and had a grand old time. At 11 we went grocery shopping and around the time we checked out, she was getting warm again. At home, she obviously felt badly and her temp was back up to 103.5, so we packed up a bag of toys, books, diapers and snacks and headed off to the hospital. It occured to me that pediatric urgent care would see her faster, so that's where we went. It was still 2 1/2 hours, but I bet the ER would have been twice that. Plus, you know, all those yummy staph infections.

Oh, have I mentioned that after getting shots every 3 months her entire life, e-baby is TERRIFIED of doctors?

They looked in her ears, listened to her chest, investigated her nose and throat, and took some chest x-rays. The good news: it is probably not Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, because there is an alternative explanation. The bad news? It's pneumonia.

Her oxygen saturation was good (99%) so it seems we caught it early. But poor kid. She missed (rejected, really) her lunch and most of her normal naptime because of the Urgent Care interlude. She's asleep now and won't be going to day care tomorrow.

How stupid is it that my first thought, when the doctor said she had pneumonia, was "It's my fault! What did I do to cause this?" There's nothing I did or didn't do to cause/prevent it, but something about motherhood causes a knee-jerk reaction that every bad thing that happens to your kid is a direct result of something you did or did not do.

Think some nice thoughts for e-baby, who will be on antibiotics for a couple of weeks and doesn't feel so good right now.

And on a totally happier subject, Happy Mother's Day to all my favorite mommies, moms and mamas. You are the bomb.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hey! There's a New Poll

I haven't posted any polls in awhile, so there's a new one over in the sidebar. Just another way I like to let you feel like your voice is heard.

Recently, several people have commented that e-baby seems ready to start potty training, and since she can tell us when she's going potty in her diaper, we figured that was probably true. So now we have two tiny plastic toilets in our house, and e-baby has decided she doesn't want to wear a diaper at all anymore, and instead wants to tote her tiny toilet around, holding onto its side handles with the seat attached to her bottom like a nearsighted turtle. Or a hermit crab.

She uses it for its intended purpose only about half the time, and I do a lot of disinfecting on the floor.

If I knew for sure that you were eating right now, I'd tell you all about yesterday morning's pooptastic adventure. But, for all I know you aren't eating, and what's the fun of a poop tale if you can't ruin someone else's appetite?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Picnic in the Sun

Today was the annual company picnic. Calling the event a picnic is kin to saying that Einstein was clever, or that Mardi Gras is a party. Technically it's true, but it doesn't do justice. Besides the "picnic shelter," the annual picnic also occupies the softball fields, the soccer field and the jogging track on campus. There are acres of rides, games and crafts; "the Triangle area's best classic rock cover band" in one area, a DJ playing disco in another area, and a pub with beer and pool hall music in another; all the hog dogs, nachos, bbq chicken, garden burgers, chips, watermelon, ice cream and snow cones you can stand to eat; and on top of that, there are all your friends from work and their families basking in the sunshine or relaxing underneath the trees that surround the fields. Little kids EVERYWHERE. It's the antithesis of the winter party, and every bit as much fun. It was e-baby's first time to go, since last year Peace and Fuzzy's wedding was the day of the picnic. The wedding was even more fun than the picnic so we forgave them for scheduling right over top of it.

Anyway, so SNG and I put e-baby in the trailer and biked over to campus. As we rode in, SNG admonished me about not rolling down the grassy hills with e-baby. He also admonishes me about swinging REALLY high and JUMPING off the swingset we built for e-baby. I can understand not wanting to teach e-baby to jump of the swings yet, but I have no idea why he doesn't want me rolling down the hills. Come to think of it, in previous years told me that I shouldn't roll down the hills and I have no idea why.

E-baby played in the toddler tent, ran in circles in front of the ice cream tent, danced in the hula hoop area (which was HILARIOUS-- the disco DJ was right there, giving prizes to kids who could hula-hoop really well. E-baby would put a hula hoop on the ground like a little stage, step inside, and start dancing. If SNG or I tried to get into her dance ring with her, she'd say "No! Out." and go on dancing). She ate a hot dog and an ice cream bar. She played with a hundred kids and probably caught a hundred colds, but she seemed to think it was worth it.

So, we had a ball, ate lots of junk, visited with lots of people, and ended up escaping from the harsh sunlight on a hillside overlooking the inflatables under some trees with Peace, Fuzzy, and Spiderwoman. E-baby was running UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN the hill. SNG was chasing her, catching her each time she tried to faceplant. Poor kid already has a busted lip from faceplanting in the middle of the living room last night, tripping over her own foot, and she seems totally fearless about dirt-diving some more. After awhile, SNG was tired of the chase and said it was my turn. So I taught her about the joy that is rolling down a grassy hill. We had so much fun rolling. OK, e-baby needs to refine her technique but it won't be long until she's rolling with great style and velocity.

And oh now I am so itchy. There are a million red pricklies on my legs, arms and abdomen from the grass. Why oh why do I always have to roll down the hill? Stupid grass allergies! But you know what? I'll do it again.

In other news, we have rearranged the furniture in our guest room, and tomorrow we're replacing the matress up there. The room feels so much homier now. So if anyone was avoiding a visit on account of our guest barracks, it's time to reconsider.