Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I'm writing this before midnight, but the neighbors across the street threw a New Year's party for the neighborhood kids and we rang in the new year at 8:30pm, so I'm already an hour 28 minutes into 2008 right now. The party was fun, and e-baby had the time of her life, until she started to cry uncontrollably, grasping at her pants. I took her home and changed her and found that the fettucine alfredo she had for lunch did not agree with her. Poor kid must have felt like she had fireants in her diaper. We gave her a bath, she fell asleep before 8, and SNG watched football while I headed back to the neighbor's party to eat the best cannolis outside of Angelo Brocato's. Poor e-baby. I hope she feels better in the morning.

Christmas was SO much fun. We had my parents, SNG's parents, Dianaverse, and our friend Kiltman here for Christmas dinner. We'll be dining on leftovers until 2009. SNG and I gave each other matching iPods, which are great except then we realized that they won't show our home movies. So what's the point of a video iPod if you can't watch your videos on it? E-baby got lots of toys, including another bike which will probably fit her by summertime, a red wagon she can pull around, a singing kitchen, a book that meows/chirps/barks, a lovely pink handmade scarf, and countless other toys, books, and clothes. In spite of the riches bestowed upon her, e-baby's favorite toy of all was the $1.99 bathtub xylophone from a Walgreen's in San Francisco.

Last weekend we drove to New Bern to visit SNG's parents. E-baby terrorized their cat and played their harpsichord. We also toured Tryon Palace while we were there. And all of us slept well, which as far as I'm concerned, is all that's really required to make it a good weekend.

I guess that's all. One more holiday before returning to work. I can't believe the twelve days are almost over.

BTW, to see pictures from Christmas day, they are here.
Other pictures from December, including Christmas eve and a couple of shots from the neighbor's New Year's party, are here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Blog Post

The latest I've slept since the holidays started is 6:30. On a work day, I barely drag myself out of bed by 6:40 and on vacation, I'm up at 5:30 or 6 most days. How is this normal? At least with my parents in town, I have some pre-dawn company. Dad is usually up by 5.

I did all the Christmas grocery shopping yesterday at 6am, at the 24-hour Teeter, with a bunch of stockers and one other shopper, probably an off-duty stalker, in the store. No lines. No open registers, even. One of the stockers (not the stalker) opened a register when I was finished. Registers On Demand: the way grocery shopping should always be.

I emerged from the store into the the usually crowded parking lot, with its half-dozen cars scattered across three acres of pavement. The sun was just rising and it was a little bit foggy-- mist enbough to muffle sounds but not enough to block out the streetlights. A few scavenging doves cooed and bobbed around the cars, and the soon-to-be-busy roadway nearby was completely silent. The feeling took me back to a moment in my late teenage years when we had pulled an all-nighter in the French Quarter. We wandered the streets as the bartenders were starting to wash the sidewalks and made our way to Jackson Square. Immediately in front of the cathedral, which ordinarily would be a riot of tourists, street performers, pastel portrait artists, fortunetellers, and the occasional churchgoer, it was misty and silent. Beneath a bum sleeping on a bench a little flock of doves searched for a rogue Lucky Dog bun.

They say that a smell can take you back to a powerful memory more than any other sense. I don't think I want to relive the smell of Jackson Square after a Saturday night. The smell of the beignets we ate a few minutes later would be OK. But a blanket of fog and the silence of pre-dawn, sprinkled with the busy bopping of a few doves, can put you at one with the universe for a brief moment.

I'll live with a bit of insomnia if it'll make me one with everything. I feel like a Lucky Dog.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

(One Day Belated) Birthday Boy

Friday was SNG's birthday. I don't think I turned on the computer except once to look up his Christmas wish list, so I didn't post until now. Happy Birthday, SNG!! You're the best husband and friend I could ever wish for and the perfect "daddy" complement to my "mommy" secret identity. I'll love you just as much when you're 99 and crunchy around the edges, but for now you're still pretty spry. And tall, dark, handsome, etc.

Someone tell me. Is this irony, or just a bummer?: Friday was SNG's birthday and I took the day off. He wasn't able to because it was his boss' last day and he wanted to help send her off in style with a surprise party. Not that I'mn complaining-- I'd have done the same thing in his situation-- but it is funny that for SNG's bday I stayed home.

I look forward to 12 days off, but e-baby has had a couple extra days of vacation. My parents arrived in town on Tuesday and kept her home with them Wednesday and Thursday. When they arrived, e-baby took about five minutes to process the paperwork on my dad, and when it came back clean, she was his best buddy. He will be known as "The Cool One Who Takes Me Outside Even Though It's Cold" and "The Cool One Who Entertains Me While Someone Changes My Diaper." From my perspective, he's doing all the hard stuff, but I think he's having a blast.

That's about all for now. I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays. I'll drop updates from time to time this week since I have a lot more time to do so.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Motherhood Means Never Having to Pee Alone... one of the things that my mom used to say which I have recently realized is true. She had a different way of saying it than that (she insisted that children and dogs had a 6th sense about when she put a toilet seat into use, and they would come from miles away to sit and play on the floor at her feet). Unfortunately, if you prefer to pee alone, then the only way this will happen is to leave town. I had nearly two weeks of delightful privacy. With no trips until mid-January, and 12 days off for Christmas holidays, it's back to, "Why don't you show mommy how you can throw that tissue into the trash can? Very good! No, you don't have to unroll any more, thank yoooou!" for awhile.

The funniest thing is saying (and signing) thank you to e-baby-- she signs thank you back (and says "ta-too."). She thanks herself for throwing something away without being told to.

I got home from DC Friday night and on Saturday we finished unpacking the upstairs den from when we moved. That's pathetic, but I challenge anyone to claim that every item from their last move, if it was in the last 10 years, has been put away where it belongs. Somehow there's always something that you wait to do until later, and later becomes a few months, and the thing creeps into a closet or a corner and a few months becomes almost 4 years. The motivation to finish unpacking (framed pictures and prints, office supplies, electronics cables and old computer hardware) was the idea of Christmas at my house: my parents, SNG's parents, Dianaverse, SNG, me, and a 15-month-and-one-day-old e-baby. It will be quite enough to keep her from unwrapping everyone else's gifts without stopping her using an extension cord as a neck scarf or banging together my diplomas (which cost a car payment to have framed) like cymbals.

With the last gasp of putting away 2004 detritus, we are really ready for the holidays. It's such a contrast to last year when we could hardly juggle the 3-month-old and sign 10 Christmas cards for my coworkers, so forget about getting anything into the post. This year we had Santa and his flamingos in the front yard the day after Thanksgiving (e-baby initially called Santa "Pa-Pa" which is her name for SNG's dad, but now she calls Santa "danda-dah"). We did all of our shopping and even sent cards and ornaments to everyone in the Texas crew. We got gifts out to our babies all over the US. Tomorrow I'm dropping off gifts for e-baby's teachers, and I brought in cookies for my coworkers on the one day I was in the office last week. It makes me wonder, if SNG and I did everything while not only going to work every day, but also having me out of town and SNG playing single parent most of the last 2 weeks, what the heck are we going to do with 12 days off? Bake a dozen pies and ten loaves of bread? Make 60 jars of jam? Sew baby clothes? Clear out the backyard snake habitat to make a happier place for little feet? Build a house? Restore a car?

I suppose I could get a head start on next year's Christmas list. The malls probably open early on the 26th. SNG better get going on the backyard snake thing.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Home Intermission

The San Francisco trip was a mix of great fun and ridiculously bad luck. The "lucky" streak began on Saturday night, when I was up at 3am chucking up all the day's lunch and dinner. The flight to New York on Sunday was on time, but the flight from NY to SFO, which should have been 6hr 20min was 8 hours. We left on time, but the pilot mentioned something about wanting to see the a big fiberglass duck and the hotel shaped like a turkey along the way, so we took a few detours. (Thursday Trivia-- PIC has been to the Gobbler. She has the pictures to prove it.)

I stayed at San Francisco's first "Green" hotel (ladeda), which as far as I can tell only means that you can shut down all the electricity to your room with a cardkey, and had to be assigned three different rooms before one could actually be opened by the electronic cardkey system. By this time I was starving and half asleep, but sleep won over hunger.

The class was terrific- smart, inquisitive students, kept me on my toes. Monday night I shopped and had dinner at a good asian fusion place near union square. Tuesday I woke up at 5:00.

My left eye was crudded shut.

Pink. Eye. I caught it from SNG, who probably caught it from e-baby.

Three hours of phone calls back home to my doctor, one CLOSED "24-hour" urgent care clinic, and one "24-hour" pharmacy that opened at 8am later, I had a prescription for eye drops and four tubes of (priced-to-be-disposable) mascara. For every crud there's a creamy center, though, and Tuesday night I had dinner with a dear friend and his dear wife at a wonderful vegan restaurant in Oakland. The best thing about travel for a living is getting to visit good friends that I'd probably never get to see otherwise.

Wednesday night I took a train to a train to visit my aunt in Menlo Park, where we had a dinner at an Italian place near the train station. The time just flies by when I visit with her, and before I knew it, it was time to catch my train back to the city. We had a wonderful time, except I left my backpack and my iPod at the restaurant, and had to get my aunt to go back and get it for me. Oooooops.

This morning I woke up at 4 to catch a train to the airport and .... I have a cold. Hopefully this is the last crud-thing that will happen this week. Right now I am blogging from the Admiral's club at DFW (in Terminal A-- the one with the EGG CHAIRS in the music room-- I Luuuurve the EGG CHAIRS). Today's creamy center will be getting to rock e-baby to sleep after her bath tonight.

Boarding in 10 minutes.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Got the Date on the Golden Gate

I got a Friday morning surprise today: I'm leaving for San Francisco on Sunday. Coming home Thursday evening. Then, three days later, I'm going to DC. Well, the 2nd trip is not a surprise.

This kind of news called for rapid-engagement social-mobilization tactics. In San Francisco, I have a dinner plan with my aunt and another with an old grad school friend. If I can arrange one more dinner date with some work friends, then I'll have a hat trick, and no time alone to feel bad about leaving SNG and e-baby for five days.

Well, you know, except those wee hours from 4-7am, when I'm awake but no one else is. Stupid Pacific time zone.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

An Anniversary of Sorts, and a First

One year ago today, I woke up after sleeping for 8 hours: e-baby had slept through the night for the first time.

Today, e-baby made her first 2-word combination: "No, mama!" She knows exactly what it means. But she's so polite when she says it.

She has not yet said "No, daddy!" *sigh! *

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Insert Title Here

I still don't have a whole lot to say, but I have enjoyed reading PartnerInCrime's daily blogging so much this month, I should post more frequently. So if my babbling is boring, feel free to click to something more interesting. Otherwise, I'm glad you're here! Hi!

The rest of Thanksgiving weekend was terrrrrrific. On Saturday, SNG's mom watched e-baby all day while we excavated the upstairs attic. We have 2 attics: one over the dining room, accessed from an odd little door in e-baby's closet (oh yeah, there will definitely be monsters living in there someday) and a larger attic above the 2nd floor. The upstairs attic has been overtaken by the ghosts of Christmas Past. I don't know how we ended up with so much Christmas crap. We had 4 boxes of small empty boxes and countless boxes and bags of gift wrap, lights, ornaments, tree stands ("Honey, where's the tree stand?" "We don't have one." "Let's go buy one today." "OK!"), tags, bows, Christmas-themed tchotchkes, socks, boxer shorts, sweaters, turtlenecks, you get the picture. We had all our moving boxes from the last move, and wanted to give them to Peace and Fuzzy who move into their new house this weekend. There were also several boxes mysteriously labeled "clearing clutter at Peach Haven." I think this means we shoved all objects from dresser-and table tops into boxes so we could put our old house on the market. Old ticket stubs rested side-by-side with vases, a food dehydrator, a blues harmonica, and some costume jewelry. Most of that stuff ended up in the trash or at Goodwill.

It was so nice to have the attic taken care of, but it took all of Saturday plus part of Sunday to accomplish.

On Sunday I made about 10 dozen pecan-raisin hermits. The recipe says they have to sit in an airtight container at least 2 weeks before serving. I dunno, they tasted pretty good fresh out of the oven. They tasted even better fresh from the mixer. While I baked, SNG put up Christmas decorations. But that'll be another post with pictures.

By Monday I was asking "Is the holiday over already??"

Friday, November 23, 2007

"You're not hardcore! Unless you live hardcore!" Jack Black

We had a nice Thanksgiving with SNG's parents and Dianaverse here at the house, along with teenykitty and Daisy the Dog. Against my best judgement I woke up at 6:00, and since I couldn't sleep any more, started cooking. Six hours later everyone showed up and we ate tooooo muuuch. We had 3 pies (blueberry, pumpkin, and key lime). E-baby had a bit of pumpkin pie and key lime pie with Reddi Whip. She squealed for the new delight of Holiday treats.

We digested. We ate antacids for 2nd dessert. Sorting through newspaper circulars in preparation for the Friday shopping extravaganza, SNG's mom, Dianaverse and I told stories of, and laughed at, those goofy people who would be waiting at the Kohl's at 4am or at Circuit City at 5am the next morning, waiting to bombard the doors for the best deals. Silly, silly silly. Why on Earth would you get up so early on a non-work day? Who's accountable to the poor employees who are there an hour or 2 before that? Must be a maniac to do that kind of thing.

And who has insomnia and occasionally wakes up at 5am and can't find anything to do while everyone else in the house in still sleeping?

I was at Sam's by 6:00 and could have purchased a Wii. I found SNG's Christmas present (not a Wii). A friend of mine was also there, a fellow insomniac-not-maniac. Sam's served free breakfast. The breakfast-chaperone was not happy to be at work since 3am. I sympathized and told her that the marketing execs who made the decision to open at 5 should be required to man the store. We were fast friends. I was home before e-baby woke up. Happy day-after-Thanksgiving. I'm thankful that my child seems to have inherited her dad's sleeping habits instead of mine.

The Sam's trip combined with the (daylight) shopping trip with SNG's mom and Dianaverse means that nearly all our holiday shopping for the year is finished. Yay!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Weekend Before Thanksgiving

I don't really have much to talk about, but I feel like writing so I'll just tell you about our weekend. Saturday morning we got up fairly early and did some Christmas shopping while e-baby was in happy mode. This weekend was also the High Holy Days, so after Christmas shopping we met a bunch of friends at a chinese restaurant for lunch and trawled the acres of tables of cheap used books afterwards. SNG and I found 20 books for $10. I intended to go back today when it's $5 to fill a box or $2 to fill a bag, but we just couldn't get it together.

Sunday's to-do list was:
Early grocery run (just need to grab a couple of things for Thanksgiving dinner: $261 later, done. oops?)
Sort and put away laundry (not quite done yet)
Bike ride (done)
Play in the yard (done)
Lie around in the hammocks (done)
Straighten up the house for the maids on Tuesday (if they're actually coming this week)
Feed Chuck (my pet sourdough-- he's doing well, thanks for asking. Housebroken and everything.)
Check the diaper bags and replinish whatever is needed (oh, and throw away the half-dozen containers of half-eaten baby cereal that have been in there for heaven knows how long)
Wrap baby gift for tomorrow's birthday party (Done)

Now I am going to read one of my new used books: The Shipping News, by E. A. Proulx. I saw the movie. But the beauty thing about being me, other than meeting new people every day and finding humor in the same joke every time it's told, is that I don't remember anything about the movie except Kevin Spacey. It isn't a spoiler if I've already recycled those memory neurons.

I never forget where I purchased a pair of shoes or item of clothing, but I can't recall what I had for dinner yesterday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Adventures in Altitude

I just got home from a one-day trip to Philadelphia, and for once, I disagree with the airline's decision to let us fly in rough weather. Now, I fly a lot and I am not afraid of flying; quite the opposite: I enjoy it. I grudgingly endure surly airline/TSA employees and crabby passengers, but I love the freedom of going from coast to coast in 7 or 8 hours. I enjoy seeing the world from 30,000 feet. I enjoy little plastic cups of club soda with a lime wedge and floor lighting that directs me to the nearest emergency exit (and keeping in mind that the closest exit might be behind me).

I've flown through turbulence, thunderstorms, rapid losses of elevation, and very rough landings. I've calmed my share of irate passengers (and in one case, flight attendant) and had to be escorted from a plane by burly security men because of a drunken scotsman with a randy temperament. But today was a new high in scary flight behavior. As we started our initial descent into RDU, we passed through some sort of cross-dimensional time-space vortex which sent drinks, ice, in-flight magazines and flight attendants flying through the cockpit. As the attendants got themselves safely shackled to their tiny jumpseats, you could hear the low murmur of Hail Marys and the faint "click" of rosary beads amid the occasional "Yelp! (expletive)!" as more ice catapulted into the air. Even the pilot sounded a bit, well, panicky. Then, as these things often happen, it was over as quickly as it had begun. The landing was a bit rougher than usual, with a couple extra bounces and some crab-sliding, but nothing to write home (or blog) about.

I'm sure some of my friends (particularly you military types) have experienced much worse, but since all my aviation experience has been of the commercial I-am-a-paying-customer variety, and I've never (yet) been expected to refuel my own plane, this was worse than anything I've been in before. And for a few minutes, I was working out a deal to send e-baby to a convent when she turns 16. Hopefully parochial school is close enough.

Speaking of e-baby, she's getting very good at sporking. Spoons are difficult to pick up small things like peas and pasta-twirls with, but those baby fork-spork things work nicely. She's got about a 70-80% hit rate from spork to mouth. It makes dinnertime tons of fun.

So there's my week in an html-shell. How are you?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday was our 3th annual Guy Fawkes Day celebration. Ordinarily, this is the "premier get together in the woods and burn stuff" event of the year.

Originally uploaded by catandtony318

However, this year, Raleigh has experienced a drought of historic significance and we're under strict burning restrictions. Besides, living in the woods right now means we're living in the middle of hundreds of acres of top-quality dried kindling. So, no fire this year. However, we did build the monuments and burned them, along with Guy Fawkes, played by a paper dinosaur this year. We just couldn't justify burning the big scarecrow when we're not even allowed to wash our cars or water our plants.

No, sadly, no toasted marshmallows or exploding 2-liter-bottles on the flames, but we did have lots of good food and beer and great company. And that's half the fun anyway. And next year? We're talking major burnination.

The rest of the pictures are here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Everybody's healthy again. SNG did catch a minor case of the crud and missed work Monday, but he was spared the worst of it. On the bright side, I dropped a dress size being sick. I'll ride this lose-weight-fast wave as long as I can. I still have, after all, 10 pounds of baby weight to drop. At what point do I stop thinking of it as baby weight and just call it fat? Not yet, apparently.

Speaking of babies, e-baby's newest tricks:
* Telling us when it is dinner time: when e-baby decides she's hungry, she goes into her hamper and finds a bib, carries it over to her high chair and points up to the chair. If I don't clue in right away, she tries to put the bib on herself. Am I so clueless about reading baby's signals that she practically has to spell things out to me? Yes, yes I am. Thankfully she is able to do so. She knows the sign for "eat" but for some reason doesn't use it unless she's already in her chair and eating. She prefers the more direct approach of "Hey, lady! I wanna put on this bib and eat!"

* Requesting a specific book to read: Her favorite right now is Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton, but she loves anything that we sing the words to. She'll choose the book she wants, give it to me, and sit on the floor like an attentive audience. I figure she picked this up from daycare, because I have always read to her in my lap.

* More housecleaning skills: Starting about 2-3 months ago, if you'd hand e-baby a tissue or paper towel, she'd immediately get to work scrubbing the floor. Now, if you hand her a square of toilet paper, she walks over and deposits it in the garbage can. She will deposit square after square. Every time she drops one in, she raises the paper WAY over her head and sort of slam-dunks it into the can, with a little exclamation, like "bop!" or "ya!" I have no idea where that came from, but it's HI-larious.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Yup, I caught the creeping crud. It does seem to be worse for adults than for babies, which is a good thing because if e-baby felt like this, I'd have probably taken her to the hospital. Whe something is called a 24-hour bug, in this case, it's qute literally so. I started chucking at 9pm last night, and chucked until 5pm tonight, and then continued feeling green until, well, around 9pm. I still don't want to eat anything, but at least if I do, it stays down. I've had 3 pieces of wheat toast, pedialyte, and 3 spoonsful of soup all day today.

Perhaps the worst thing about getting sick was missing my friend's wedding this evening. I was really looking forward to going but you know, getting all of their family and friends sick, not a friendly thing to do.

I'd better feel better this weekend because we have a coupon for a free 10-oz bag of Godiva coffee that expires Sunday. Go in for the free coffee, leave with so much more. ;-)

PS: I've posted October e-baby pictures, including more Halloween, some cute clothes she got for her birthday, and a particularly funny photo shoot with her daddy's hat and my sunglasses.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!
Fish sent e-baby a FABULOUS costume. Tres chic, non?

Cutest dragon ever

An acorn-eating dragon?

Poor e-baby vomited all over her bed last night, so she didn't get to show off her new costume at daycare. Instead, she wore it in the front yard and again when all the neighborhood kids came trick-or-treating. She is feeling much better, by the way. It was the strangest thing. Sick as a dog last night, fine this morning. She has no appetite but otherwise seems completely fine. Well, and she went to bed about an hour earlier than normal tonight.

***Edited to add: I found out that a 24-hour vomit bug has been sloooowly going through the daycare class for the past 2 weeks, hitting about one person every 3-4 days. SNG and I better make sure we're caught up on work by Friday or Monday, since I suppose we're next. It seems to be a lot worse for the adults than for the babies.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Day #4,607 in the Life of the Happily Married
AG: Honeybunny, can you go soothe her back to sleep?
SNG: Mrphle-mrph-wha-yoo-say?
AG: The baby-- can you please go soothe her back to sleep?
SNG: Mrphle-'k (dresses, goes upstairs)

(upstairs light on, SNG trying to change a very cold, wet baby in a very full diaper)
AG: That must be why she woke up.
SNG: Poor thing, she was cuddly but wide awake and then I realized that her diaper had leaked all over and she's soaking wet. It's too cold up here.
AG: I'll hang out with her awhile

AG: She won't sleep, and I can't get comfortable enough to fall asleep holding her. It's too cold!
SNG: Bring her downstairs and at least you can lie in bed.
AG: Turn off the alarm clock.

6:30am (snoozing baby sounds)
AG: One of us should stay with her while the other gets ready.
SNG: You wanna go shower?

SNG (enters bathroom with e-baby): She woke up and noticed you were gone.

e-baby: goo! ba! ma? ma? MA!

And so on throughout the morning. I dressed and put on makeup, deciding I would drive to work since I didn't have much sleep and it was 35 degrees outside and I just didn't feel like running. SNG remarked that I could walk to work instead. E-baby could take a nap in the jogger, and if I walked, it would be a longer nap, which is good. SNG helped me dress e-baby like a tiny UT booster (frilly cream-colored onesie with Lawrence Llewellyn Bollen sleeves, burnt-orange fleece pants, burnt-orange fleece hoodie "Bevo" sweatshirt, pink socks, rhinestone-studded tennis shoes). We ate ludicrous oatmeal* for breakfast and danced to "Cherry Baby," and whaddaya know, all three were ready to go by 8am.

Teamwork made the morning bearable. I'm so happy I married the guy I married. Not that I want to wake up at 4:15 every day, but I'm glad I have my SNG. I'm also glad I didn't drive the car.

*Ludicrous oatmeal is another of SNG's continually evolving recipes. It involves steel-cut oats, barley, quinoa, spices, dried fruit, nuts, and anything else he can think of to warm up a cold winter morning. It's ludicrous. Come visit and he'll give you a bowl.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Random Stuff Update

New poll!

Biggest news: Despite inheriting a recessive gene that causes definiciency in peeing-on-a-stick, Twinkie2 IS harboring a teeny little parasite in her belly. Maybe two. They/it should be out and breathing air by July next year. Here's to hoping she brings us another soldier for our army of tiny girls! Or, the token boy soldier. Don't worry, we'll let him pee standing up. But he's gotta put the lid back down. We're sending healthy first-trimester thoughts.

I arrived home a couple of hours ago from Atlanta, catching an earlier flight on standby again! Go me! I got home in time for e-baby's bath and she was sooooo silly. Between being tired, excited that mommy's home, and eager to show me all the new stuff she learned while I was gone, her behavior was best described as delirious (cue the Prince song).

Atlanta was lots of fun. Best thing was getting to have a long, leisurely dinner with J&K, who I always enjoy seeing and just don't get to see often enough. Hey! Let's take that hiking trip in the mountains, whenever K has a long weekend free! :-) The rest of the trip was also good. Class was fun, and the students were a convivial bunch.

And now, two and a half weeks home. Aaaaah.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I got home from NYC last night, and thank goodness I caught an earlier flight!! I was scheduled for a flight which was supposed to get me home around 8:30pm, but LGA weather and traffic being what it is, that plane actually arrived in Raleigh at 12:30am. I managed to squeak, standby, onto the last seat of a flight that should have left at 2:50 but left the ground at 5pm, which got me home before e-baby's bath, around 7:15. We were so happy to see each other. She had a great week all alone with SNG, but I was pining for her the whole time. SNG was considerate enough to send little pictures and videos to my cell phone throughout the trip. They were like water to me. Today I've had a lot of trouble putting her down because those little baby hugs feel sooooo goooood.

Tuesday night I had some time to waste so I went to see Les Miserables on Broadway. I paid half-price for the tickets, which was still $60. I figured that since I love the movie and I waded through all 10,000 pages or whatever it was of the book-- including all 100+ pages on the battle at Waterloo and countless chapters on the geography of Paris and its development over the 1700s-early 1800s-- and still loved the book, but had never seen the musical, it was high time I saw it. I didn't even know any of the songs from it. I knew people in college who would get weepy over the very thought of "Les Miz" but then again, I was a theatre major in those days and I knew people who would get weepy over dance belts.

It was fun, and the music was nice, but the lyrics? Ugh!

Please oh please don't let the next line be "And my name is MA-ri-us!"

It might have been better if I didn't understand English. The rhymes were obvious and the lines were forced. What funny is that I read over the lyrics afterwards, and it doesn't read nearly as awkwardly as it sounded live. Perhaps we had a poor cast that night. There were understudies filling in for understudies who were filling in for the billed actors who took their places after the big-name billed actors had long-since retired from the cast. In fairness, the guy playing Enjolras, the boy playing Gavroche, and the woman who played adult Ponine were outstanding. The little girl who played child Cosette made me want to stick an ice pick into my ear. The guy playing Javert appeared to have a metal rod holding him up from the base of his spine to the base of his skull. But his voice was fantastic.The costuming and set design were wonderful. It was worth the $60 just to go and see a show. And if I'm completely honest, I will get weepy over the scene with the Bishop no matter how many times I see/read/hear it.

Wednesday night I went to dinner with my cousin Cosmo and we had a ball. Good sushi, good company. If all my trips were fun like that I'd be on the road every week.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Updates From the Annoying Family

We had the most amazing weather this weekend. It's actually well within the normal range of temperatures for this time of year, but it was so miserably hot in August and September that in comparison I had the urge to pull out my parka. Peace and Fuzzy hosted a day of playing Bocce and Kubb at a local park and eating burgers for Peace's food and fake sport. We had fun with friends, e-baby had fun with 2 of her little friends, and we probably shouldn't have stayed so late because all three of the little people missed their naps. You might be thinking, "So what? Kid doesn't get a nap. Big deal, she'll sleep better that night" but kiddo has other ideas. Kid misses the nap? Kid is cranky. Kid tries to nap instead of eating dinner. Face resting on cheese toast and lima beans. Kid tries to nap instead of taking a bath. Leaning over the edge of the tub trying to climb into mommy's arms and dripping all over mommy's sweatshirt. Kid finally gets put in bed for the night, and is overtired and punchy. Alternates between maniacal laughter and psychotic screaming and crying. Finally falls asleep around 10, only to wake up again at 3:30. Thankfully she slept until 8:15 after that. It was a new record.

Have I mentioned that e-baby is an exceptionally good sleeper? So I can imagine that our friends must have had difficult nights as well. Still, it was worth it to have such a good time at the park yesterday.

Sunday we were determined to keep e-baby's schedule on schedule. She was still kind of a crab, and probably had a hangover from all the sunshine and wakefulness of the day before. She had her nap in the bike trailer while we rode and rode all over Umstead. In this kind of weather I dream of quitting my job to become a professional recreational bike rider and picnic eater. I'd be really good at it.

I also used the weather to do some yardwork. Our basil plants out front were reaching record heights of about 4 1/2 feet, and were each about 3-4 feet across. I cut them down to about 3 feet and harvested a big mixing bowl full of fresh leaves. What the heck do you do with a gallon bowl of fresh basil leaves? I know. You're right. Make pesto. It yielded 2 quarts of finished pesto. What the heck do you do with 2 quarts of pesto? I've put it into 2 oz jars, but they're not processed or vacuum sealed, so I'm really not sure what to do with them. They'll probably keep a couple of weeks in the fridge. That's a lot of pesto to eat in 2 weeks. Anybody want a jar of pesto?

In the middle of making the pesto, I needed parmesan and pine nuts, so we took our little crab to the grocery store and gave her one of those silly "Customer in Training" miniature shopping carts to push around. We were that annoying family whose kid is running into all the produce displays and blocking access to the free samples at the bakery. E-baby likes to hang on with her mouth and her hands. Luckily we only needed a few things and so the CiT cart was the only one we had to wrangle.

I guess really it's SNG who has to eat all the pesto, because I leave Tuesday for New York and then the next week I'm going to Atlanta. I'll be seeing my cousin Cosmopolitan in NY, so I'm really looking forward to the trip. I haven't called anyone in Atlanta yet since I always stay in an inconvenient part of town for anyone to visit and I won't have a car. Still, I might see if anyone is around. But it is a short trip and, you know, no car.

If it's quiet around here for the next couple of weeks, it's because I'm staying out late and eating at restaurants with BOTH hands free. Hee!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

So the one-year-old class transition has gone well for e-baby. Both days I've picked her up, she's been downright silly-giddy, as if she wants to tell me all about all the cool new things she did today-- playing on the slide, and the rocking horse, and the ride-on bike-thingie, and singing new songs, and dancing, and the sandbox, and new kids, and everything that is great. She's also pretty pooped at the end of such a big day.

I was going to take the morning off today to visit with Fish, who was going to a conference in Charlotte and decided to stop in Raleigh on the way. True, Raleigh isn't on the way from Pittsburgh to Charlotte, but both are in North Carolina, and that's a good excuse to come visit. Everyone was really excited about it, but unfortunately, he did not make it because his flight was cancelled. Adding insult to the situation, his girlfriend got a ticket when she dropped him off-- by the cop who directs airport drop-off traffic. Since when do they give tickets? So now Fish had to drive to Charlotte, just in time to get to the conference.

Unrelated side-thought: yesterday was election day, and unlike most off-years where I show up to vote for a bunch of people I've never heard of, this time there were three people I knew running for various offices, plus one that SNG knows and one that Dianaverse knows, bringing the total to five familiar names on campaign signs. This year I was actually looking forward to the off-year election day. It kind of felt like student council elections in high school.

The trouble is that ever since we moved to the woods, we don't actually get to vote for any of these interesting offices. That's right: no mayor, no city council, no city park bonds. We're in The County, living like militia members with a population density of 0.8 Porsches per household. I always forget this because we used to live in Raleigh, and I'm still not used to living on the fringes. I left work a few minutes early and hopped my bike over to the polling place, announced my name, gave girl scout's honor that it was really me, and received my ballot. I stepped up to the booth, ready to vote for all my friends. And what did I see?

1. School Board
-So-and-so incumbent
-Next door neighbor with the cute kids and the world's most spry elderly dog
-Wierd guy who actually said in an interview "I'm not interested in the school board but I think it's my civic duty to serve"
-Some nobody

2. Public space bond bla bla $200,000,000,000.00 for county parks that will eventually be "accidentally" granted to developers

3. Community college bond bla bla $100.26 for education

4. County library bond bla bla $15.08 and box-tops from cereal and crackers collected by rural county residents to fund new books and technology

That was it. The whoooooole ballot. I actually turned it over to see whether there was a back-side continuation. There wasn't. So, in about 10 seconds I had filled out my ballot, and spent the next 30 seconds checking my work so I wouldn't be the first one to turn in their paper and leave the class.

I rode back to my office in time to do another 30 minutes of work. Woo. What a life.

At least e-baby got another "I Voted" sticker, which made her happy.

My neighbor didn't win, but he did have a good showing, coming in 2nd place. In fact, only one of the people I know actually won. But I didn't have any say in the matter.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

We had a terrrrrrrific time in Austin. It was super-super short, but we made the most of it.

We flew out on the nonstop Friday evening after work, which was not a good idea. The flight left an hour late, which was already past bedtime, and e-baby wouldn't sleep on the plane. Once we got to my parents' house, she saw THE DOG and wouldn't sleep. We finally got her down at 2am. Thankfully, she slept until 9am so we did get some sleep.

E-baby spent most of her weekend playing with my brother's dog or trying to catch him. Thurston is one of the world's all-time sweetest dogs, and he tolerated all manner of annoyance from nose to tail. Sunday morning, she was walking around with a ball, saying "ball!" and Thurston followed her around, looking at the ball (dog loves to chase balls) but knew that he had to be gentle with The Boss. She even walked right up to Thurston, held the ball up to his mouth and said "Ball!" He didn't take it from her, but his face said "Oh I want that ball!!!!!" She eventually threw it and Thurston caught it and did the happy-boxer-dance. E-baby did the happy-e-baby dance and sang her aaAAaaAAaaaaAAaa song.

Saturday we went to T&E's house to see them and the boys. Everyone's doing great, and E's brother The Belgium Biker got married on Saturday, so everyone was working on arranging flowers and whatnot. We helped a bit and visited a bit and then headed back.

So, let's see... from our list, we saw TEAM, went to Central Market, went to IKEA, had chicken soup at Austin Java, had pancakes at Magnolia cafe, got a chrome Bevo for the Ruby-doo, drove past campus, walked around the old neighborhood, pondered the outrageous real estate prices, decided the summers are still too freaking hot, and saw the newest house that my brother is working on flipping. Oh, and Salt Lick BBQ for lunch on the plane. If I've never mentioned it here, the Austin airport is top-shelf for food and shops. Almost everything is local, and not just local, but some of the best local stuff. It's worth making a 2-hour layover in Austin on your next vacation if you can.

As a bonus, we saw Twinkie #2, who was in San Antonio for a procedure, and hell, by Texas standards, the IKEA in far north Austin in just a trivial (2 hour) side trip away, so she met us up there to go shopping and get her e-baby fix. She, BTW, is looking terrific. I'm sure she'll tell us everything on her blog.

Saturday evening mom had a belated bday party for e-baby and she enjoyed her big pile of wrapping paper (and the gifts). Sunday morning we flew home, which was much better than the flight on Friday, since it was not past bedtime. E-baby was so ready for bed this evening.

Tomorrow: e-baby's first full day in the 1-year-old class after 3 partial days in transition. *sigh!* I'm so nervous.

She seems quite relaxed about it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

With thanks to PIC for pointing this out and showing where to get this cool button, today is National De-lurking Day.
Lurkers! Say Hello!!
The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

We're heading to Austin this weekend, mostly so I can hang onto my gold status with my preferred airline, but also because it's great to get to visit family and friends. We've got one good day and a short morning to do everything that needs to be done, including visit Ikea (oh, excuse me: IKEA), have breakfast at Austin Java Co., have pancakes at Kerbey Lane, have BBQ at Ruby's, Kruetz's, and the Salt Lick, oh and at Black's too, so that Kruetz's don't get too full of themselves, lemonade at Hoover's, Flintstone's style ribs at Art's, iced chai at Quackenbush's (rats, closed now), coffee at Spider House, watch the water flow by at Mozart's, hike on the greenbelt, swim in Barton Springs, drive to Wimberley and back to see the Devil's backbone, shop on South Congress, visit the Whole Foods world HQ, go by my old building on campus, eat vegetarian lasagne at Mother's, eat dessert at Jeffrey's, buy a chrome Bevo at the Co-op, lie on the grass in the South Mall on campus, catch some live music at Stubb's, see my brother, s-i-l, mom, dad, T&E, and their 2 little ones a and m (did you catch that? they're now T.E.A.M.- ha!), walk the old neighborhood and mull over real estate, decide we really SHOULD move back someday, talk ourselves out of it because real estate is too expensive and it's too hot in the summer, and, finally, Waterloo records for the latest KGSR recordings. Whew! Think we'll pull it off?

Aaaaaanyway, so we're doing this trip to ensure next year's gold status with an airline. The only reason I bother is because if you're gold, you get treated only just a little bit worse than non-gold people were treated 5 years ago. If you're gold now, you're flying 3rd class with Jon Arbuckle. Non-gold passengers are placed in the 3rd class luggage bins overhead.

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.

Friday, August 31, 2007

This is mostly for my dad because he couldn't be here to visit this week, and I'm sure he's quite jealous of all the e-baby fun my mom is having. Here are 2 videos, one from San Diego, and the other in my living room of e-baby-shenanigans. The sound quality on the 2nd one is terrible because I had to downgrade to a lower-quality filetype to fit it on youtube.

I'll post a good talking video when I have one suitable for public consumption.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tiny Dancer
Originally uploaded by catandtony318

After 4 weeks of traveling with a baby, I have been cured of my need to take e-baby on all my trips and will probably welcome the next trip all on my own. She is wonderful, but mama wants to stay out past 6pm and have dinner somewhere that doesn't have high chairs.

Still, we had a great time in DC, especially mom and e-baby, who visited monuments, museums, and the national Shrine. The biggest crowd they encountered was the one that e-baby attracted when she used a sign-frame to sing and dance for her appreciative audience. They laughed and snapped pictures of this crazy, laughing, dancing baby in the Smithsonian. Who needs Panda-Cam when you've got e-baby-en-arabesque??

More pictures here.

E-baby was so happy to see her daddy last night that she wouldn't let him out of her sight until she fell asleep. In other news, e-baby is still not too sure about walking on her own, but she can run all around if she's holding on with one hand. But the words, oh goodness gracious. She is talking (and signing) up a storm. Today she learned the word BIKE. I'm so proud. Unfortunately, the best talking video I have of her is in the bathtub, and of course I won't post it because of the internet pervs.

In more other news, I might have to go to Philadelphia on my birthday. Bummer. But I will enjoy staying out late and eating at restaurants that don't offer me crayons to go with my placemat.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

She Really Is My Child After All

Quick update from South Carolina.

Mom and e-baby did some shopping while I taught all day. When we were back in the room this evening, mom showed me her purchases: lots and lots of shoes-- mostly strappy sandals. When I dumped them onto the floor to look at them, e-baby, who had been cruising around the couch, said "SQUEE!"and walked 3 steps over to the shoes, where she proceeded to play with ALL of them. She was so dazzled that she forgot that she wasn't supposed to walk. It was the first time I've seen her do it.
That's my girl.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We had THE BEST time in San Diego last week visiting Lizard and miss c. All the girls had fun, and e-baby went to the zoo! There were some BIG dogs there.

In spite of the cruising accomplishments, I still have not seen her walk (teachers and Lizard have seen it) but we have one better-- e-baby has started talking (more than MAMA and DADA and Dee-Dah, which is babyspeak for Doti). She now says Dog, Duck, Bear, Ball, and Bird. She tries to say Fish, Kitty, and Butterfly, but those come out as Yeeh, Iddy, and buh-buha. She is also using a few new signs: fan, dog, duck, hello. She's been signing for a couple of months now, but mostly just milk and bye-bye.

Her newest and coolest trick is a game of "where is it"- I put her toybox on the floor, and ask "Where's your bear?" and she finds the teddy bear that Christa and Volker sent her, pokes it in the nose and says "bear!" and gives it a hug. Sometimes she puts its nose in her mouth instead. She can also identify her favorite ball and her rubber duckie bath toy with this game. Book is kind of tricky, though. When I ask where the book is, she picks up a wooden domino, or a piece of paper, or something that isn't a book. She also still has trouble with the word Book and usually says Took.

The bear is her favorite toy right now. It has a lot of drool on its head and gets many, many hugs. Lucky bear.

We're glad to be home, but poor e-baby was welcomed home with an ear infection. She's getting an antibiotic today, and should be in ship-shape by Monday when we drive to South Carolina.

I will post pictures soon, but for now it's all the time I have to tap out a quick update.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Here's a mouthful of teeth that's making me laugh today.

"Roar! I'm a BEAR"
Today we took a long lunch to apply for e-baby's passport. It was a major league pain in the tookus, requiring three separate trips to the passport office and one trip to (gasp! arg! ack!) Wal Mart. Everyone involved was very friendly, which was an unexpected treat, considering I was expecting something along the lines of DMV workers. E-baby has a way of defusing bad moods.

After work, when I picked up e-baby at daycare, her teachers asked me whether I had noticed her "starting to, um, stand, and er, walk, yet?" I said I thought she was VERY close to walking, but hadn't yet, as far as I knew... wait a minute. Why do you ask? "No reason! Just wondering!"

You see, a lot of parents don't want to know if their kid starts walking or talking (or crawling, or any other photogenic milestones) for the first time at daycare. I think they want to have the excitement firsthand, and perhaps they also feel bad that they can't be there to see all those little firsts since the kid is in daycare. These might be the same people who don't want to know whether they're having a boy or a girl.

I can totally understand this. There's a real thrill to seeing your child do something for the first time. But personally, I am an information-hungry person. There's no such thing as TMI in my book. I want to know whether the baby will be a boy or girl, and what s/he will major in in college. And I want to know if she's started walking, even if I wasn't there to see it happen.

Anyway, back to daycare this afternoon. I couldn't help but notice the shifting and hemming and hawing, so I told the teachers that it was OK with me if they told me whether anything was going on with e-baby. They sighed with relief and told me that e-baby walked 3 steps today. Even better, she didn't just walk 3 steps and fall down. She walked 3 steps over to the little boy she likes to play with and then climbed over him.

I still haven't seen her do it, but I'm not worried. She'll do it in front of me soon enough. She's tentative about letting go while standing up, so it'll probably be a week or 2 before she walks confidently, and then thump-swish will give way to pitter-patter.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

What's new?
This weekend we're dog-sitting DOTi the wonder dog, a.k.a. e-baby's crumbcatcher.

My pumpkins don't like the summer heat-- about half of the plants have died. We'll see whether they make it or not come October.

I don't like the summer heat much myself, for that matter. I've been teaching and working off-campus all last week (and next week, too) so I haven't been able to bike or jog to work, and by evening it's too hot to put e-baby in a jogger and run.

Since I 've been off-blog awhile, there are several new baby updates.

e-baby's 2nd top tooth made an appearance about a week ago and about the same time she started standing up on her own, without holding onto anything. After a week of practice, she can walk while only holding one of my hands, but she's kind of clumsy looking. She also trying very hard to communicate verbally. She started signing awhile back, so she's already "said" her first word ("Milk," of course) and about 3 weeks ago she started waving and saying "bye-bye" to people (usually after they left the room). This week she seemed to want to speak. She has been trying and trying to say Dog, Ball, Duck, and Book. She comes close, but the sounds aren't quite refined to where other people would recognize them.

This morning's "chat" was SO funny. e-baby was climbing onto the coffee table with an animal cracker in one hand and a remote control in the other (whatever keeps the peace, y'know?)when she spotted DOTi out the back window, and she pointed to the window, looked at me with this big-eyed look of WOW OH WOW on her face and said "DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH!" Later in the day I heard her call DOTi a "Daaoww." I guess I shouldn't be surprised. She is a native North Carolinian, after all.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Before the baby was born, from time to time Peace and Fuzzy would call us up- late on a weeknight, usually- and say one word: RALPH'S! We'd jump into the convertible, pick them up, and drive under stars with the wind in our hair, laughing at stupid jokes and telling stories the whole way, until we arrived at Ralph's and we'd eat fruity water-ice or chocolatey cream-ice in the parking lot.
The landscape has changed since then and we don't leave the house past 8pm, but Peace and Fuzzy still come over to eat chips and salsa from time to time, which keeps us feeling a little like we still have lives.
I don't know whether I mentioned it here or not, but we decided a few months ago to sell my convertible and replace it with a 4-door. It's ridiculous to get a baby in and out of the backseat, and she isn't really safe with the top down (you know, flying debris and little eyeballs and all that stuff). In a serendipitous turn of events, SNG's new boss' husband bought it. I'm sure he'll get lots of great years out of the cherry bomb.

It's really best that we sold it because the car wasn't getting much use (it's had about 2000 miles on it over the past year) and around here, a convertible should be driven. A lot. But I'm sad because I really enjoyed that car.

Today we bought its replacement. The ScoobyDoo has a new sister, and they now need new names.

Say hello to Ruby-Doo and Scooby-Blue!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Sorry there have been no posts in awhile- we were in Chicago last week and this is the first time I've been on the web in almost a week.

I wasn't supposed to be in Chicago last week- I was supposed to be spending the week working on something with a tight deadline but the guy who was supposed to go to Chicago was called to another project, so I had to go. I've still got this week to meet the tight deadline-- except I have to sit in on a class Wed-Fri this week. If you do the math, you'll count two business days to finish two weeks' work. So I probably won't be blogging much this week either.

The Chicago trip was a lot of fun. SNG quit his former job and his last day was the 13th. He started his new job yesterday, so all of last week was free (he was very fond of saying "I'm between jobs at the moment" and told people this at every opportunity). He and e-baby flew out with me and did lots of Chicago-style sightseeing while I was at work all day. They went to Millennium park, the park along the lakefront, the Sears tower and many sweet shops. He had ice cream for lunch the first day, chocolate mousse cake the 2nd day. I think the 3rd day he finally went healthy and had a hot dog or something.

In the evenings we ate heavenly Italian food: first night we had Volare (take-out: it's too swanky for a 10-month old) and the 2nd night we went to a pizza joint for deep-dish cheesy, saucy goodness. E-baby tried pizza crust and it was OK, but her FAVORITE was the linguine fra diavolo from Volare. Who knew, kid's got a taste for the spicy.

Finally, SNG did a little bit of shopping. As you probably know, SNG and I don't follow baseball (and frankly, if there's a ball involved, you can be sure it's a sport I don't follow) but we are a fan of this baseball:

And, um, no, we don't give e-baby Sweet-Tart squeeze candy to eat. That's a "decoy" tube of butt-paste we give her to play with during diaper changing time. She was so interested in chewing on the real butt-paste tube, which, eewe, so we got this as a safer, more hygenic alternative. SNG eats the candy, though, and... eewe.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Another Baby-Related Blog Entry

Next week is e-baby's "10 month conference" at the daycare. This is when the primary teacher sits down with the parents of a baby nearing 10 months to discuss her progress, what competencies she must achieve before she can "move up" to the 1-year old class, and what we can do together to help her reach those goals.

Whoa there, little fillies... did you say move up to the 1-year old class? I mean, sure that's in 2 months but Holy Toledo where did the time go? Where is my little bitty baby that just a few months ago looked like a puffy little pillow of baby softness? Suddenly there's this (completely adorable) little almost-toddler who has a recognizable family resemblance, and a whole library of different facial expressions, living in the nursery where just a few days ago I put down a newborn.

Given that babies only grow up, never down, and given that I can't do a darn thing about how fast the time will fly, I need to embrace the growing up. My only consolation is that she just gets cuter, and funnier, and more interesting than before.

This week's tricks include:
*Weaning herself off of baby food. We've been giving her little bits of finger-food for a few months, and starting about 2 weeks ago, she is uninterested in strained baby food, and more interested in feeding herself. So now those strained peas and powdered oatmeal are being converted into baby pasta sauce, and instead of homemade strained zucchini, she gets pieces of the same veggies SNG and I are eating. And in e-babyland, no meal is complete without banana chunks. I've never seen anyone who loves banana that much. Although really, she loves anything that she can feed to herself.
*Saying bye-bye. She started waving and saying "Bye" when people leave the room. It needs refinement, though. She says it (and waves) after they've gone. Probably something to do with babies' slow reaction time.
*Singing whatever song is stuck in her head. She like to dance to music, and makes up her own songs, but the other day, as she rode in her bike trailer to day care, I actually recognized the song she was singing-- it was a Michael Franti song that was playing in the house right before we left. But where Michael says "Lies, lies, lies" she says "Dah dah dah."

Yesterday my friend Zen and her baby Season came over with a loaf of homemade whole wheat bread from flour than Zen's dad had ground himself (how very cool!) and the girls played in the kitchen together. I think we were both kind of taken aback at how much they are changing and becoming more engaged with the world around them. They were playing together, rather than mostly with their respective mommies, and laughing at each other's little baby-babble jokes. It was so much fun. Season's getting so big and her face is gaining lots of character.

I guess I just continue to be surprised at how quickly everything changes. As soon as I figure out how to handle one baby, one set of quirks, of needs, of dangers, another baby appears with a whole new set of quirks, needs, and dangers. I have newfound respect and more than a little guitly conscience regarding other mothers of small children, some of whom I've quietly chided in my mind for their kids getting on my nerves. Still, it keeps me on my toes.

Part of me hopes that the ten-month conference will reveal that e-baby is the smartest, most competent baby ever known. But another part of me is glad that she will stay in the infant class a little longer. I'm just not quite ready to be through having a baby.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

There's never been much question that I eat some weird stuff. I don't even know where to begin with that. Therefore it will come as no surprise that I am on a mission to test-drive various tofu ice cream recipes. Oh wait: I'm test-driving tofu ice cream recipes sweetened with Splenda and fruit instead of sugar and with unsweetened (green-box Silk) soymilk. Because tofu ice cream, that isn't weird enough by itself.

Perhaps one reason SNG and I are such a good pair is that he has noooo problem cooking his own dinner if I make something he doesn't want, and he'll make me something too, in case what I made is too weird even for me to eat.

Why the recent interest in no-added-sugar tofu ice cream? Because Alton Brown said we needed an ice cream maker, and SNG takes Alton's opinion on such matters as law. And because I don't do cow's milk products. And because sheep's milk ice cream just sounds nas-ty.

I'll let you know how the tofu ice cream turns out.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July and Happy Birthday, Granny!!

Originally uploaded by catandtony318
E-baby wore her special Texas-style red white and blue today, in honor of her Granny's birthday. She also took a bike ride to the playground and played on the baby swing. It was most awesome.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fruity Darkness: A Tragedy in Three Acts
Act 1
Scene: A local grocery store, produce department
Alphagal, sniffs, prods, and examines various fruits and vegetables as SNG and e-baby wander amlessly, singing along to the in-store music.
Alphagal: Ooh, these grapes look pretty good. But you never eat grapes. The pears are nice, too. But we had pears last week and I made jam so I'm sick of pears.
SNG: ...feel the beat of the rhythm of the night, dance until the morning light...
Alphagal: Oh, HERE we are. Strawberries are buy one get one. Do you think you'd help me eat strawberries?
SNG: Sure, I like strawberries. Do You Like Strawberries, honeybunny? Hm? I Bet You Would if You Tried Them! Ooh, I think I'll chew on your toes now!
E-baby: LA! LALALA! DE! DA!
Alphagal: Well, you'd better be sure because it's buy one get one on 2-quart baskets. And it isn't worth getting just one. They're not half price. It's strictly buy one get one.
SNG: Awoogawooga. Yeah, I'll eat a few strawberries. Just don't get too much stuff! We always get too much and then we end up throwing something away.
Alphagal: Better to have too many fresh vegetables in the house than not enough.
E-baby: Wooooah!
Stranger: Oh, aren't you sweet!
E-baby: MAMA!
SNG: No, honeybunny, don't grab those onions. I don't think you'd like them.
Alphagal: I'm getting the strawberries. And these ranier cherries are on sale so I'm getting 2 pounds of them as well. Will you eat them?
SNG: I like cherries.

Act 2
Scene: SNG and Alphagal's kitchen
(the baby is crawling into the refrigerator and pulling things off the shelves as SNG and Alphagal put away groceries)
SNG: Hey! We already had cherries!
Alphagal: I know, but they were black cherries
SNH: But I would have eaten them if I'd known they were here! Why didn't you tell me we had cherries?
Alphagal: Same reason I didn't tell you we have sliced mozzarella-- I figured you could look in the fridge and see it for yourself.
SNG: But they're in the produce drawer!
Alphagal: Yeah? And? Isn't that where produce lives?
SNG: Yeah, but I don't go looking in there for something to eat! You've got to tell me to eat the cherries.
Alphagal: You were with me when I bought them!
SNG: That doesn't mean I know they're there! You have to remind me to eat produce or it'll go bad.
E-baby: (smacking together two jars of jam) Bla! Bro! Bra! Huh! Hee!
Alphagal: Well, we also have the fresh blackberries I picked on our hike yesterday right on the counter and you haven't eaten them yet.
SNG: I didn't know we still had any left! I would've eaten them! You've got to tell me...
Alphagal: They're right next to the sink. Don't you ever look at the countertops?
SNG: No. Hey! There are BLUEBERRIES in here, too! When did we get blueberries? We have too much fruit.
Alphagal: (Gravely) Do you think I should make a cobbler?
SNG: (equally gravely) Yes. It's the only right thing to do.
Alphagal: I can pit some cherries and makes a cobbler of cherries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, a little splenda and jiffy mix.
SNG: Mmmm I like cobbler.
(time passes)
Alphagal: (peering into oven) This is ready. But e-baby needs a bath and tonight is hair-washing night.
SNG: (Mock fearfulness) Oh no! Not hair-washing night!
Alphagal: And she had a little diaper rash so she gets extra naked time.
SNG: I'll make some salmon and roasted veggies while you take care of that.

Act 3
Scene: The next morning. Kitchen is spotless. Baby is trying to open the refrigerator door.
SNG: OH! We forgot the cobbler! It's still in the oven!
Alphagal: OH! Oh WOE IS ME!
Alphagal: Oh DARKNESS!
SNG: It smelled so GOOD! How did we forget? I even ate ice cream!!
Alphagal: Me too! Well, soy-cream. And it was a healthy cobbler! Mostly fruit and no sugar. I PITTED CHERRIES BY HAND!
(Aphagal and SNG fall to floor in front of the oven, weeping. Curtain.)

OK, it could have been worse. At least we remembered to turn off the oven, so we could eat it for breakfast this morning. But it wasn't warm from the oven anymore.