Thursday, March 29, 2007

The pictures from e-baby's recent photo session are online here, if you'd like to see them. It has musical accompaniment, so you've been warned in case you're supposed to be working right now. The pictures will only be there for a week, so better go look now.

Surprisingly, there are some very cute shots. I can see why this photographer has won awards.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Springtime in the woods at last! With it comes the yellow pollen-- so thick that it looks like smoke. So thick it makes it hard to see more than a block away. So thick that it stinks. Yup, stinky yellow pollen. It must be the Bradford Pear trees. Those things smell like dead rats, I tell you! They're so pretty that I guess people are willing to live with the smell, but I find it repulsive.

On Tuesday, e-baby had an appointment with a photographer, her first formal photo sitting. I bought 3 new baby dresses for this. The photographer came out to my office, where the landscaping is prettier than anywhere else, and we found a beautiful spot with weeping willows, a little stream, and a flowering dogwood tree.

E-baby was not in a mood to smile. She picked that day to start getting nervous about strangers. She wouldn't even face the photographer, who was a super-sweet, very baby-friendly person.

Hopefully we got some cute pensive-looking shots, but forget about that big-gummy-grin I love so much.

Later that same day she got 5 shots in the legs for her 6-month check-up. Poor little froggie. It was a rough day.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Random News Bits:
* BigAl is now a BigBrother! T&E had their baby boy (as yet unnamed) on Friday: 7lb12oz, 21 inches. All are doing fabulously. There is a rumor that E's labor lasted a grand total of 2.5 hours. I've said it before, I'll say it again-- girlfriend is made to populate the earth.

* Yesterday was e-baby's first half-birthday, so she had her first solid food, and a little half-birthday party with Peace and Fuzzy, Aunt Dianaverse, and her 2 cousin-dogs Daisy and DOTi. Dianaverse gave her a half-birthday card, and it was delicious.

* Someone asked, and yes, SNG did make the interesting toy you see in yesterday's post. You can read more about it, and watch a demonstration video, on his blog.

* With e-baby's new bike trailer, we are on the road again. An easy ride to/from Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop is 12 miles which takes about an hour (those hills slow you DOWN when you lug a trailer), just enough to burn one small scoop of Cherry Garcia.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy, when skies are grey.
You'll never know dear how much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away!

*SMOOCH!!! *

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mentioning sugar pie and poutine earlier reminded me that I had the weirdest dream last night. I dreamt of making a squash dish, and it was divine. In dream-world, I had some shallots, an onion, a bunch of yellow squash and garlic. I browned the shallot and onion, then added the squash and garlic and stir-fried them together. It was de-licious.

When I woke up, I remembered that we actually have all of those ingredients. Then I fell back asleep and forgot about it.
Fast-forward to this evening after SNG got home. I remembered the funky veggie dream, and decided to have the mythical dream-squash for dinner. SNG added a personal touch with truffle oil and fresh red peppers.

It was, to be sure, the stuff of my dreams.

BTW, the rest of dinner was catandtony-style hot dogs: a kosher dog, kraut (sadly, not Krispi Kraut), tomatoes, (mustard for SNG- ketchup for me) and Texas Pete on a wheat bun. I know, I know-- you are getting very hungry.

Do you remember those old Riunite wine commercials? "Riunite on ice, Riunite so nice, Riunite, Riunite!" There was an elderly woman eating a hot dog with her glass of Riunite on one of those commercials, an image which is inextricably tied to hot dogs in my neural circuitry. It's the reason I know that you should serve white wine with hot dogs.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Poet and Didn't Know It But His Toes Show It... They're Longfellows.
SNG will probably kill me for sharing this, but I overheard him talking to e-baby the other day and he (inadvertently) composed a poem:

Hi Sugar-pie--
And I know of which I speak.
We ate a lot of sugar pie one summer,
And you are just as sweet.

For the record, among seven people on the Quebec trip summer 2005, I estimate we ate 9 sugar pies. In 3 days we ate a pound of butter. Just... butter. I will not divulge the amount of poutine we ate.

All of his nicknames for e-baby are food-related, mostly fruit-themed:
Pumpkin pie
Sugar pie

Small fry
Tater tot

Most of my nicknames have to do with 70's pop-culture:
Dancing Queen
Cracklin' Rose
Freakout (le freak, c'est chic)

Love Bug
Little Liza Jane

or else are in another language:
Ma Petite chou-chou
Ma petite

Child won't know what the heck her real name is until the first time she gets into trouble and then it's "First-Middle-Last name, Young Lady..."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

First Haircut:



Happy Anniversary, SNG!
March 18, 1995 SNG and I threw the hottest party of the decade and made the best decision of our lives. Twelve years later I am still crazy about him, and he still sneaks kisses when I'm not expecting it. The best thing in life is family to love and be happy with; we have that in spades.

If you want to see e-baby's media debut, here's the article. You might have to sign up to read it, but it's free.

I guess the reporter thought it would be more interesting to leave out anything having to do with SNG, or the fact that I'm married at all-- maybe she thought a single mother made a better story. Oh well, I suppose that's the price of fame.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY, bed-head and all!

The trip to Crazyland was fine, but I was glad to have a colleague there with me. Miami is, essentially, Crazyland on steroids. Crazyland magnified and saturated. I felt like I was in a Carl Hiaasen novel, one of the chapters set in Miami.

It surprised me to notice, gazing from the restaurant window at Biscayne Bay and the seafood-rich waters beyond, that seafood in Miami is more expensive than anything else. It's probably because only cruise liners and luxury playboats are permitted to land at Miami's port, and fishing vessels are redirected elsewhere.

My colleague did the driving while I watched for lunatics, such as the 5 or 6 cars that ran every red light, pick-up trucks heading down the wrong side of the road, sports cars driving over the median to pass cars stopped at a red light, cars backing up at stop signs to turn around in the middle of a busy road. It probably didn't help that many of those cars were filled with drunk Spring-breakers.

Last night there was terrible weather in the Northeat, so many people didn't get home at all. We were fortunate that our flight was only 30 minutes late, which means I got home at 1am. Against all folk wisdom about letting sleeping babies lie, I woke up e-baby to eat and she gave me a big smile. I sure missed that little booger.

Speaking of traveling and my little St Patrick's booger, if you live around here, be sure to pick up a copy of Sunday's paper. She's famous!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Working From Home, Dreaming of Crazyland
Yesterday afternoon, e-baby had some yellowish goopies in her eyes and the teachers thought it could be conjunctivitis, so she had to be taken home and medicated for 24 hours before she is allowed back. I don't think it's pink eye because she has been in the jogger for 30 minutes twice a day all week going to/from work, and I suspect that the wind and springtime pollen is taking its toll. But, pink eye is contagious and the health policy makes sense so I'm not complaining. Last night she had a bath and started a round of antibiotic ointment (the same stuff Goofch would get- awww, isn't that sweet?) and there have been no signs of goopie since.

All of this means that I'm working from home today. Today I also leave for Miami. Which means SNG will be working from home later on this afternoon. Tomorrow night around midnight my flight comes home from Miami, God willing.

Do you remember what I think of Florida a.k.a. Crazyland? Do you?

The quintessential Crazyland story was from a business trip I took to Ft. Lauderdale once. It takes place on a Tuesday 8pm-ish, on the expressway. I had merged onto the freeway a mile or so earlier and was in the right lane, going 65-70mph. There was little traffic on the road. Just then, a car came up behind me, going about 90 mph (in the right lane) and at the last second, zipped around me on the left, pulled up next to me, laid on the horn and held up his middle finger at me while obviously screaming something venemous in my direction. I waved back, and raised an eyebrow as if to say "Hello, Crazy man, I'm sorry you're having such a bad day but please go away now" and he turned back to the road and sped away. All of this at highway speed. That was it. I never saw him again, but I figure his ex-wife must have driven a rental-car-burgundy Buick and I reminded him of that pain.

Another time I was in Crazyland driving on a 6-lane divided street (3 lanes in each direction separated by a dirt median). When the traffic was heavy, people would drive on the median in both directions, a real-life game of chicken, to get by the slower cars. Oh, and this wasn't just when cars were stopped. If traffic flowed at 25 mph, the median zig-zagged and dodged at 35mph. You could almost hear the Blue Danube waltz playing over the madness.

I have read that more than half of the nation's ten most dangerous cities for pedestrians are in Florida. It's not that crowded of a place, it's just that the drivers claim right-of-way on all surfaces, paved or not.

I haven't been to Miami since I was about 6 years old, but I remember not liking it much. At least I'll have a coworker with me to share the misery and to help break out of the trunk of our rental car as it sinks to the bottom of a lake somewhere.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy Pi day!

At work, all three cafeterias are celebrating pi day with free pie for all at 3:14 pm. Yeah, I know, it should be at 1:59:26. That would be during the lunch service so they went with 3/14 at 3:14 instead of 3/14:1:59:26....

A colleague and I agreed that the free pie will only have 3.141592653589793238462643383279... Calories, which I can work off by walking around in a unit circle. My unit is a foot.

Mmmmmm pi

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The trip to Seattle was, unsurprisingly, fanstastic. The women in my family are so much fun that we make the wallflowers have fun. We make the wallpaper have fun. Lizard looks fabulous, and she and G will love parenthood. I have a lot of pictures on flickr here (Seattle set) and here (March set).

Our trip home was Saturday, and e-baby did not want to go to sleep Friday night until almost 1am. She knew she'd miss her cousins. But 5 hours of sleep followed by 8 hours of airplanes isn't all that awful so I wasn't sweating it. E-baby did really well on her flights to Seattle (2 1/2 hrs plus 4 1/2 hrs flight times as well as a 2-hour layover), and she was mostly happy on the seattle to chicago leg, except for one total ears-hurting meltdown that lasted as long as it takes to fish out the baby tylenol and sneak a few drops into e's mouth, and then she slept the rest of the time.

Our flight left Seattle at 10:45, landing 4 hours later. That'll be 2:45, set watch forward a few hours, next flight leaves at 5:45, that's a 3 hour layover. Right?

Plenty of time to be the last one off the plane, then go to the Admiral's club, change a diaper, throw a blanket on the floor and play until time for the last flight home.

Diaper, play, play, look at stupid TV coverage of garbage news, look at watch, still an hour until take-off (time sure flies when you're having fun), half an hour until boarding, check monitor for delays and HOLLYCARP THAT MONTIOR SAYS IT IS 5:43?!?!?!?! My WATCH SAYS 4:43?!?!?!?! WHAT THE???? I thought I had a 3-hour layover!

Um, yeah. too many time zones to keep track of and I screwed up BIG time and completely missed my flight home. My layover was actually one hour. First things first: call the Platinum desk. They always brag on the benefits of having status and using The Platinum Desk.

Platinum desk tells me that they cannot rebook me. I have to see a gate agent.

Gate agent tells me that they cannot help me, and that I have to rebook from one of the Red Courtesy Phones.

Red Courtesy Phone lady tells me she can't help me, that I have to rebook with the gate agent (who has, by now, left the gate) or leave the security checkpoint and go to the main ticket counter.

Meanwhile, e-baby hasn't eaten in over 4 hours (another time-zone mix-up) and is screaming her head off, I'm in tears because there are no more flights back to Raleigh, or anything within 200 miles of Raleigh that isn't oversold.

I beg, I plead with Red Courtesy Phone lady that I have a 5-month old, we've been travling since that morning, and it seems that NO ONE at American Airlines can help me and do I just have to rent a car and drive back to Raleigh?

That got her attention. She told me that she has a new grandbaby and she wasn't going to let that happen. Hold music. Screaming baby. SNG in my other ear (cell phone) saying to go down to United and catch their flight at 9:20pm. Hold music. Screaming baby. A friendly 20-year old offering to hold the baby while I get all this sorted out. E-baby screaming at the friendly woman. Red Courtest Phone lady tells me she will rebook me on the 7:15am flight at no charge (technically against AA's rules) because she's a rebel fighting for the cause of tiny babies stranded in airports. E-baby squirming out of 20-something's arms. SNG saying "Go to United! Go to United!" Confirm 2 seats aboard Sunday morning's flight with American. Hang up one phone, hang up the other, get e-baby back down to earth.

Call back SNG-- the United tickets are over $500 each.

SNG finally relented from his United battlecry, and gave me the number for the Chicago O'Hare Airport Hilton. King bed, non-smoking, porta-crib, toothbrush, free breakfast and all for a mere pittance of Hilton points. I keep the most well-stocked diaper bag ever, and had a clean outfit and blanket for e-baby and basic personal hygiene stuff for myself. Socks can be sink-washed and dried in front of the heater vent.

In spite of the rookie time-zone mistake, I am, still, a Road Warrior. The picture at the top of this post is e-baby the Road Warrior at the O'Hare Hilton.

We were asleep by 10, I was awake by 2 (um, 3? time change, so there was no 2:00. I was awake 4 hours later) and lay there staring at the red light on the smoke detector until the wake-up call at 5. E-baby thought it was entirely too early to be awake, but she smiled graciously at everyone in her vicinity.

We just got home an hour ago. e-baby and I both missed SNG so much. He and she are busy staring at each other all day today.

Friday, March 9, 2007

The trip to Seattle was surprisingly easy. Five months old, ten hours of airports/airplanes, and e-baby took it all in stride. She even flirted with many middle-aged businessmen and probably could have talked any one of them out of a college fund if she wanted to.

Mom met us at baggage claim (her flight from Austin landed about an hour earlier) and we headed off in our Bugsy Mallone-mobile for PIC's house. Which took 2 hours because of a closed road and a crazy detour. So by the time we reached PIC's house, e-baby wanted some DINNER! But then she was OK again. She slept that night from 8pm until 5am. I was up at 3:30. The next night she slept until 6:30. I was up at 5. It's funny to me that the baby adjusted to Pacific coast time in one night, and I still haven't quite made it.

c-baby developed a little bit of conjunctivitis, and I'm not sure whether e-baby has caught it or not. Just in case, I had her dr. prescribe a tube of eye-gloop that I'll use if the watery eyes turn into green gobbies.

Since we've been here, e-baby and c-baby have been bonding. They're going to be best-cousins. We hit Pike Place Market on Wednesady and visited the Best Music Store Ever. e-baby picked out a few musical instruments that she can grow into and a few shakers that she can use now.

c-baby is the cutest little slip of a thing you've ever seen. You already know this if you've gone to look at the pictures. I have some more terrific pictures and videos which I'll upload to YouTube when I get home.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

We're having a good time in Seattle. Go see some cute pictures of e-baby and her cousin c-baby here. I'll update more later!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

I have 2 new videos for you to laugh about. I mostly do this for the grandmothers who, like me, can't get enough e-baby shenanigans.

Chatting with mama

Keeping SNG on his toes

Friday, March 2, 2007

A Week of Firsts
*edited to add: I forgot to mention, e-baby sat unassisted for the first time this week, too! And not even that tripod-thing, a proper upright sit! She gets tired pretty quickly, but she can do it on her own. That means she can ride in a backpack or bike trailer. It's like a whole new world of opportunity.
First 5K: Wednesday I jogged to work for the first time since e-baby was born. She rode in her red 3-wheeled convertible and we had a blast. It was so much fun we did it again on Friday.
First Kiss: E-baby has started soothing herself by making kissy-noises. These aren't the sloppy, open-mouthed smooches I told you about a few weeks ago. No, this is something she does all alone: first, she goes bbbbbbh(making a lot of bubbles) and then she sucks her lips in and *smack! * I think that since SNG and I are always kiss-kiss-kissing her, she associates the sound with warm-fuzzy feelings.
First mouthed consonant sound: MAMA!!! Mamamamamamama. Sometimes she just mouths it silently, and sometimes she says MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMA.
First top-of-the-class honor: One of her teachers told me she's the most affectionate baby in class. OK, there are only 4 babies, but I took it as a good sign.
Everybody think healthy dog thoughts. Poor Daisy got really sick this week (It's something called Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE)-- K and Fish will get that, the rest of us say "ooh, sounds bad"). She's probably going to be OK, but she lost a whole lot of blood, and Dianaverse is probably losing a whole lot of savings and some sleep, too. So everyone send positive vibes for Daisy and Dianaverse.

In Happy News, I found out this morning that Lizard will be house-hunting in Seattle the same time as I will be in Seattle, so she, PIC, mom and I will get to hang out and dish over baby-stuff. Fun! Can't wait can't wait!