Thursday, July 31, 2008

To Do

My to-do list for the day just keeps getting longer and longer. Here's the stuff that has to be done today, in roughly the order I'll get to them:
  • Fill in timesheet for yesterday

  • Post journal entry (okay, technically optional, but I'm already here, aren't I?)

  • Do PMP (mid-year evaluation and "coaching") for my underling

  • Write 1-2 pages on the benefits of CMMI for a proposal

  • Get next week's menu & shopping list planned and printed (in case I actually get to take my "vacation" tomorrow)

  • Find out if I can take my "vacation" tomorrow (It's in quotes because I'm going to be spending it doing manual labor.)

  • Office "workout" (knee rehab and light weights) (Yes, this is mandatory. I can actually go down stairs again without clinging to the railing for support or gritting my teeth in pain; I'd like it to stay that way.)

  • Host a conference call at 1:30

  • Weekly QA status meeting at 3

  • Leave office by 3:15 for allergy testing follow-up appt

  • Pick up the kids from school no later than 5

  • Either: feed Alex or supervise Penny's bath (Matt gets the one I don't do.)

  • Either: bathe Alex or make dinner (Again, Matt gets the other one.)

  • Wash dishes and make bottles/lunches for tomorrow (Matt usually helps with this)

  • Eat dinner

  • Calculate and give Penny her insulin dose

  • Get the kids put to bed

  • Take a shower

And here's some stuff that I really should try to do today:
  • Review updated Test Plan

  • Review updated Test Procedures

  • Go for a walk, preferably before the temp is over 100

And some things that I would like to do today:
  • Update the photo album

  • Run to Target for diet soda

  • Read some of the book club book

  • Play some WoW

So, yeah.

(Matt told me this morning that he feels a little weird about leaving the house before 7. On days like today, I get a little anxious if we're still in the house at 7:10.)

Updated: 2:00pm

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


So Braz isn't staying with us anymore, I guess. Good luck, Braz.

A lot of people seem to depend on the good opinions of others for the backbone of their self-esteem. It's an easy trap to fall into, and I'm not immune. I like to think that I mostly restrict my concern to people whose good opinions actually matter, people who I respect and even wish to emulate. Mostly.

But here's the thing: I'm a sore loser.

No, really. Everyone hates a sore loser, and I don't want to be one, but I am. I don't even care so much about winning, but I want to... show well, if that makes sense. If I lose, I at least want my team members to be glad I was on their side, and I want to feel like my opponents had to stretch to beat me. Even if it's something brand new, I want to feel like I'm nearly there.

In short, I want to feel -- and I want the others around me to feel -- like I'm competent.

And if I lose that feeling, I can be really, incredibly bad-tempered about it. I mean, I'm adult, so I don't kick the game board over and yell, "Stupid poopyhead!" at it... but the impulse is there. I internalize it and laugh it off until I can go off to sulk in private. And then, mostly, I don't play that game anymore, because I'd rather be the kid who packs up her toys and goes home than the one who pitches a tantrum every time she gets frustrated, and no matter how hard I try, there just isn't a third option. The frustration is too blindingly intense to work through.

And that doesn't just apply to games. It applies to everything in my life. Parenting is especially difficult for me, emotionally, because I can't just walk away when I feel incompetent and stupid. I spend a lot of time trying to hide how angry and defensive I feel about being a parent.

But work is kicking me in the head, right now. I got put in charge of coordinating this proposal, and I was a little nervous, but also kind of proud that my boss thought I could handle it, and I thought, well, if I have problems or questions, he's right there and I can ask. I didn't feel like I had to blow anyone out of the water, but I wanted the people I was working with to think, "Not bad for a first time."

But the people I'm working with on the proposal are mostly unknown entities -- I've never even met most of them before, much less worked with them. And because this isn't internal to my office, I don't know what the politics of the situation are, which is dangerous water to be in. And my boss wound up being out of touch almost completely.

So I had a status meeting yesterday, and was hoping for some goodwill and teamwork and a general sense of, "since you've never done this before, let us suggest some next steps," from the team, but instead, most of them were giving off a vibe of impatience and irritation that I wasn't handling things better.

So now I'm feeling incompetent, and I want to go curl up under my desk and sulk, but I can't. If nothing else, I have to figure out how to report to my boss without letting my inner child slip and kick over the game board and burst into tears with the frustration of it all.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On the Drive Home

"I know another word that starts with V," Penny said.

"Do you?"

"Yes. V... V... VICK. That starts with V."

"It certainly sounds like it."

"A vick is a kind of animal."


"It's at the zoo. It looks kind of like a cow, but it might bite you! It has really sharp teeth, and if you say, 'Hi, vick!' it will bite you! And eat you up! So you'd better not say that. Just look at it."

"I'll certainly keep that in mind."

"I have a lion, but he's a baby lion. He's a son lion," Penny said a bit later.

"Well, all right then."

"Some sons are boys."

"I'm pretty sure all of them-"

"Some sons are boys, and some suns are up in the sky."

"Um... Yes! Yes, you're absolutely right, sweetie."

Ow, quit it. Ow, quit it. Ow, quit it...

Attention Karen and other needlephobes: This isn't your entry. Come back later. Really.

So, yeah, allergy test part one yesterday: Dust and dust mites, grasses, trees, tobacco, and animals. My biggest reactions were to dust and dust mites, cats, and one type of grass, but I had at least some reaction to everything except feathers. (So I can keep my down comforter, at least.)

Shopping list for this weekend: Dust-reduction slipcases and sheets, and an air purifier for the bedroom with a HEPA filter in it. Might go ahead and pick up air purifiers for the kids' rooms as well -- there's something like a 75% chance that they'll be allergic to dust as well, so we might as well do what we can right away, right?

Round two of the allergy testing will be tomorrow, and will cover other pollens and molds. I don't expect to get off any lighter for those.

I tell you, if we decide to get Penny and Alex tested for allergies, though, we're going to shop around and find an allergist who will do the testing that they gave Matt, which exposed him to the various serums with these little brush-like things. I got the stuff injected under my skin. None of them hurt too much, but I counted over 100 individual injections. (22 separate serums, delivered multiple times in varying strengths, though after the 2nd or 3rd round, she started eliminating things that had already either maxed out the reaction or had the same reaction regardless of serum strength.)

This morning, my arm looks like I slept on a bed of nails, or perhaps had a bizarre accident with one of those pin art toys.

And with reactions like I had, there's pretty much no chance the doctor will recommend anything but shots. That'll be once a week for... probably most of a year. And then every other week for another year, and... like that. Three to five years is the usual run. At least that's a walk-in thing, and the office is over near the Y, so I can just swing by and get my shot on the way to exercise.

Monday, July 28, 2008

House of Five

Mostly, it was a pretty quiet weekend. We ran errands (the new Target is all of five minutes away from both home and my office, which is great for me. Now, if only they carried the soda I like to drink) and did the usual chores (Alex even managed to maintain his cool the entire time we were at the grocery store!) and Penny and Ray played together a lot.

Ray's parents have decided they're okay with him coming over to our house solo, which is actually a lot easier on all of us -- if they're not coming over to keep an eye on him, then we're free to do our own chores or relax on our own and just keep one ear on the kids. To confine the boundaries of mess, I've told them that they have to (mostly) stay in the green room or Penny's room; the other downstairs rooms are acceptable for passing through, and the other upstairs rooms are absolutely off-limits. It worked out pretty well. Plus now I can send Penny over to play at Ray's house without feeling obliged to follow her.

There's not any reason to obfuscate this, so I guess I'll just lay it out there: Braz and his girlfriend broke up, and so he's living with us for the time being, sleeping on an air mattress on the floor in the green room. I have no idea how long it'll last -- if nothing else Braz's allergies are bound to get to him sooner or later.

It makes for a fairly crowded house, but Penny is thrilled all to pieces. The morning schedules are likely to get a bit tricky, with an additional person needing a shower, but I guess if I get too anxious about it, I can always leave early.

We'll see what happens, I guess.

This week promises to be awesomely crazy, anyway. I've got three separate appointments for allergy testing and follow-up, and the usual meetings and teleconferences, and there's this proposal doohickey that I'm trying to coordinate (though that will be taken back off my hands at the end of the week, thank the gods).

Plus the, you know, trying to fit in time to exercise. What with the doctor appointments and the proposal stuff, I may not get to swim at all this week, and almost certainly not today, so I threw my other exercise clothes into my gym bag -- I might have time to give the bikes a try.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Who Sleeps?

I wound up staying up until midnight last night. Played WoW until almost 11, then noodled around on Facebook until 11:30, and then got sucked into reading until midnight. Oops.

Oops x2: Alex woke up at 5:15.

At least he was good. Penny came downstairs at about 5:40, just as Alex was finishing his bottle, and I set him down on the floor while I helped her get her play dress on (they are having "Fairy Tale Day" at school today, and everyone gets to dress up as their favorite fairy tale -- yes, we made her put on regular clothes under the play dress). When I'd finished, Alex seemed content to stay on the floor and play with the toys, so I let him. He rolled, squirmed, proto-crawled, and chewed his way across the entire floor, working his way from one toy to the next, perfectly happy, for at least half an hour. He probably would've gone longer except that I got up to clean a little spitup off his face, and he remembered that I existed, and got fussy when I walked away again.

Anyway, here I am at work; I've got a document waiting for review, and I'm supposed to be "leading" a teleconference at 11:30 for Proposal #2 but I have no idea yet what the agenda is supposed to be or what to put on it, and I probably need to be organizing something to get Proposal #1 underway, but I have no idea who's supposed to work on it (and the people I suspect it should be are currently working on the late stages of a completely different proposal that I'm not involved with).

Oh, and I discovered yesterday that caffeine does really fascinating things when mixed with the new antihistamine/decongestant the ENT gave me. Lethargic and jittery, plus a bad case of can't-shut-up. (Yes, I heard you snickering over there. I mean worse than normal.)

All of which is likely to add up to this probably not being the most stellar of days for me, but at least it's Friday.

(Assuming, you know, that I don't have to work over the weekend.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dang Book Club

Went to book club last night, had several drinks in celebration of my first club meeting in over a year where I could both a) drink and b) stay later than 9:45. (Whoo, pregnancy/nursing!)

The book was Momzillas. I don't remember the author's name, because I only got about forty pages into the book before deciding I don't have enough spare time to be reading a book I actively hate. The writing wasn't bad, though a little heavy on unexplained and unnecessary flashbacks (at least in the 40 pages I read). There were glimmers of real humor, here and there, and she kept throwing in references to a surprisingly wonderful list of movies. But I couldn't get past the Mom-Competition thing. Which was the whole point of the book, I know, but... Seriously, I have enough issues with worrying about whether people are judging me and my parenting as it is without having to put up with even a fictional set of judges. (I do like "momzilla" as a nickname for these people, though.)

Also, since I skipped ahead and read the ending when I decided that I wasn't going to bother with the middle of the book -- the ending was trite, insipid, and too "perfect" for believability. (Spoiler warning... Skip to the next paragraph if you actually think you might read this.) Okay, I can kind of buy the best friend suddenly winding up with the husband's best friend because that kind of thing does sometimes happen in real life. But the gargoyle mother-in-law suddenly becoming warm and caring just because the husband finally stood up to her? HA. HA. HA. Yeah, maybe she finally shut her mouth -- but actually changing her attitude? No way. I say this in all honesty with the perspective of someone who still feels kind of inadequate in the MiL's eyes, despite an honest, unforced increase in warmth from her -- I can't imagine an ultimatum actually changing her opinions, and I can't imagine her opinions not making themselves known, subtly, even if she's technically toeing the line.

Also, the whole person-by-person epilogue blurby thing... that's a device for movies that don't have time to actually tie off all the threads properly. One real epilogue chapter in the book could have easily gotten across all those tie-offs without being nearly so gimmicky. Ug.

Anyway, that's my quickie review. The book club was divided about evenly between "loved it" and "hated it" -- and sometimes that leads to interesting discussions of the book, but this time, the book being so fluffy, we mostly just talked about the real momzillas in our lives and segued off into stories about the kids and such, as usual.

But while we were there, Kris and Tammy talked up Facebook and kind of pushed the rest of us to join, so... *sigh* I did. I'd managed to avoid social networking sites up until now, but I suppose it was inevitable, eventually. More shocking yet -- it's not blocked from my office. I have to assume some higher-ups are using it as a networking tool, because I can't imagine a major site like that actually escaped the notice of the content-blocker gargoyles. You know, 'cause I really needed another thing to eat up my time.

Especially since my boss decided it was time for me to dive into proposal management, so in the grand spirit of "throw the baby in the pool and see if she floats," he's given me two proposals to coordinate, both of which are on tight schedules. (Even tighter than most proposals, in fact. Which is really saying something.)


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Work It

Monday evening, when I came home from work, Matt and the kids had already been home for a while. Penny was sitting at the dining room table. "Hi, sweetie," I said as I dropped my purse and keys and stuff by the door.

"No, Mommy, don't look! I'm making a surprise!"

"...Okay, I'm not looking." I went through the Green room into the kitchen, where Matt and Alex were, and was talking with Matt about our days when Penny came in and showed me a piece of red construction paper that had been folded in half. "It's a Valentimes card for you, Mommy!"

The front was covered with hearts, which had been meticulously colored in. Inside were flowers, drawn with a hand far neater than Penny's. "Did you draw these?"

"No. Miss Tasha drawed them, and I colored them in!"

"Well, that's really wonderful, sweetie. Thank you."

"Wait wait wait! Give it back!" She sprinted back to the table. "I have to write on it!" When she brought it back, it read, "PENNY LOVE MOMMY."

Sometimes, I worry that I'm doing everything wrong as a parent. And sometimes, I don't.

I've got an appointment to take my car to the shop for regular maintenance on Friday, which means we're dropping it off Thursday night and picking it up Friday afternoon. Which in turn means that I won't have a car for yoga on Thursday, and if I'm going to swim Friday, it'll have to be in the evening instead of after work.

So I went to yoga last night, because I'm trying to do that at least once a week. There were fewer people this time, which was nice, but the girl teaching the class went way too fast for me, and as a result, I spent a lot of time not doing anything and I didn't really feel like I got a very good workout. Oh, well. I'll remember to check the schedule and avoid her classes from now on.

And I kind of wish I'd thought to pack my things so I could swim today, but I've got book club tonight, so it's probably for the best.

I've been giving some thought to what I want to do about exercising in the fall. September brings a host of complications, starting with a shift in my work schedule to accommodate Penny's school schedule that will make it almost impossible for me to fit in anything immediately after work, so I'll be restricted to things I can do on my lunch break, or else going out after dinner. (Or, theoretically, early in the morning -- but I'd have to get up early enough to be back home by 6:15, and let's face it: I'm just not going to do that.) And once we get to late October, it'll start being cool enough in the evenings that I'm probably not going to want to be swimming, anyway.

I've already considered starting to walk on my lunch break, if my knee is improved enough. (I'm being pretty good right now about doing my rehab exercises every day, at least.) Walking is boring, but maybe I'll find some podcasts to listen to (as a rule, I don't like audiobooks, but podcasts are more conversational in tone) or randomly call people and chat (I've got 450 minutes per month on my iPhone's cell plan -- my typical usage is more like 10 minutes, so I have minutes to burn).

I might check out the Y's workout room and see how feasible it would be to prop up my iPod or my phone to watch movies while I'm on a bike or something. That's still an after-dinner proposition, but it wouldn't be quite as much of a schedule-buster since I could wait until I get home to change and shower. (Actually, come to think of it, I might occasionally be able to squeeze that between work and dinner, on hot-dog night, when dinner takes all of about 5 minutes to prepare.)

(Pundits who say things like, "People eat too much fast food/takeout! You can make a healthy homemade meal in only half an hour!" need a good smack upside the head. I consider half an hour a long time to spend on cooking -- especially if it's a half hour of active cooking, as opposed to half an hour that I can use to do other things while dinner is in the oven. These people have obviously not ever had to juggle kids, work, exercise, and social schedules. Hot dogs and prepackaged chicken nuggets are my lifesavers on bath nights. I swear, I ought to do a blog post about all the ridiculous and contradictory advice I encounter.)

Alex woke up at 4:30 this morning. That's after he woke up at 4:45 yesterday, and 5 the day before that. Enough is enough. I went into his room, changed his diaper (though it really didn't need it) and put him back in bed. Then I went back into our room, turned the monitor off, and climbed back under the covers. I didn't get back to sleep right away -- monitor or no, I heard him talking and squeaking and whining until around 5:15. But then either he went back to sleep or else I was too tired to let him keep me awake, and I managed to doze until Matt's alarm went off at 6.

Alex was squeaking, so I got up and went to get him. He was happy to see me, which makes me think he did manage to get some more sleep. And he was pretty happy for most of the rest of the morning, so I feel pretty good about that decision. We may have to push it for a few more days until it hits home, but -- for petesake, child. Six is more than early enough!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


A last-minute delivery kept me at work until almost 5:30 last night. So much for fitting a swim into the time between work and dinner.

But I've got book club on Wednesday, which is going to make a swim difficult to fit in, and so this was looking like another 1-swim week, and I was feeling excessively grumpy about that, so I packed up and went to the Y after the kids were in bed. It was actually kind of nice -- there weren't many people there, and since I didn't have to get home in time to cook dinner, I wasn't watching the clock, just counting my laps. (I'm up to 8 laps, 16 lengths -- that's half a mile! It's pretty slow, but at this point, my goal is movement, not speed.)

I finally saw the ENT yesterday about my deaf ear. He peered into my ears and mouth, and threaded a scope up through my nose to look at my eustacian tube from the inside (and that's pretty much as comfortable as it sounds like) and told me that it looks like my sinuses are so swollen that they're blocking the eustacian tube entirely. Which means that in addition to retaining water, my inner ear can't pressurize properly, which means my eardrum isn't functioning the way it's supposed to, which means I can't hear. Whee.

He suspects the swelling is due to allergies, so he wrote me three prescriptions (a mild steroid to reduce the swelling, and an oral antihistamine and a nasal decongestant -- or maybe I've got those backwards -- to deal with the immediate symptoms and hopefully get my hearing back. (He said there's a 20-25% chance the meds won't do the trick, in which case I'll be getting a tube. Yay.)

And now I'm scheduled for not one, not two, but three appointments next week for allergy testing. (Correction - two are for testing, the third is the follow-up appointment to discuss the results and set up a course of treatment.) You know, 'cause I wasn't having to take enough time off from work already.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mama Mia!

Whoo, good weekend!

KT and I met up Friday evening -- we had dinner at Ichiban, then went to see Mama Mia. It was a sold-out show, but I think she and I were probably among the youngest people present. Eh, who cares? I love that there aren't any bad guys in the movie and it's all about personal conflicts between good people, and that it ends with everyone happy. I hate to use the trite phrase "feel-good movie" but it really is. After the movie, we got ice cream and wandered around New Town a bit and talked until quite late. It was really nice to re-connect.

Saturday was a pretty normal stay-at-home day, but it did result in the precious bit of fun that I posted yesterday -- Alex continued to laugh at that for the whole rest of the weekend. And Matt discovered a gift card to Outback that we'd forgotten about, so we did Outback takeout for dinner. Mmmm, steak.

Not much of interest happened Sunday, either, except that I took Penny to the Yankee Candle store to see the indoor snow. She had a blast.

She also managed to talk me into a new toy -- the little dalmatian puppy that's in her hand in the picture. Of course, we got a toy for Alex as well (a green hippo) and some candles for me. I did manage to leave the store for less than $50... but only barely.

This week looks mildly busy for me -- two doctor appointments today, one tomorrow (god that makes me feel old), an assortment of work appointments, and book club on Wednesday. (I hate the book so much, I haven't even bothered putting it in my sidebar.)

...and my boss just came in to give me something to occupy all my extra minutes, so I'd best hit Post and get to work.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


The things you never want to forget about having a baby:

- The smell of their hair, especially when it's freshly-washed.
- The feel of their skin, so soft it's almost unbelievable.
- The sight of their smile.
- The sound of their laugh:

Friday, July 18, 2008


Whoo, Friday!

KT and I are doing our monthly get-together today. The plan is to have dinner and go see Mama Mia. Since the new Batman movie opens today as well, I anticipate a crowd at the theater, but a mostly empty auditorium. No idea what we'll do for dinner; we haven't discussed it yet.

No real plans for this weekend. We can't even drop in on my parents, because they're on their way to San Antonio to pick up my grandmother and bring her back up here for a visit. So hopefully, we'll get a chance to just hang out and relax. Penny can play with Ray for hours on end, and maybe I'll get a chance to do some scrapbooking.

In the car this morning, Penny said, "You can't touch the sun, because it's hot."

"That's right, the sun is very hot."

"Like mashed potatoes."

"...The sun is hot like mashed potatoes."

"Yeah. They're really hot."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dang Kids

I did make it to the Y for my swim yesterday, but because of various work hassles, I was running about twenty minutes later than usual. But I decided on a different meal for dinner (that would take about half the time to cook) and took a few deep breaths and promised that I wouldn't cut my swim short just because I was feeling rushed.

I was about halfway through my usual lap count when about eight kids and two swim instructors moved into my lane, because the kiddie side of the pool was full with two other swim classes.

I don't begrudge the kids their swim class. If I'd gotten to it a bit earlier, Penny might well have been one of those kids. But here's the thing:

1) How is it that the Y didn't realize that four classes was too many to have in the kiddie lanes at one time? And

2) If they were going to be using the far lane of the lap pool, why didn't they put up a sign so I'd know not to swim there?

Naturally, there were no other lanes available for me to move into. I gave up and headed for the locker room. Where I discovered some mom who had, for some reason, brought her 3-year-old into the clearly-marked, adults only locker room.

I wanted to throw things, I honestly did.

Alex seems to have settled into a pretty stable sleep pattern: When it's Matt's turn to get up with him, he sleeps until 5:45; on my days, he's up at 5:15. I keep trying to inch his bedtime back, because 7:30 to 6 (give or take fifteen minutes) would be so much more tolerable than 7 to 5:30. But he's not having any of it. Every time I keep him up later, he wakes up earlier.

The little stinker.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Moose and Squirrel

Since I didn't get to swim on Monday, I went to a hot yoga class last night. This one was only an hour (the first one was an hour and a half) so I managed to keep up better -- with the long class, I got about 45 minutes in and started feeling nauseous, so I spent the last half of class having to stop and rest every couple of minutes. This time I only had to stop a few times. I didn't much care for how crowded it was -- there were probably a dozen or more of us in there -- but it didn't matter so much once we started actually working.

(Though there's simply no way for me to do the poses that require lying flat on your stomach. I've got DDD boobs, and they only flatten so much before it starts getting pretty painful. I doubt if most of the other women in the class have ever even seen a C cup.)

At least I get to go back to the pool tonight.

It was my turn to take the kids to daycare this morning. I pulled into a parking space (people who park at the curb when there are perfectly good spaces open make me crazy) and opened Penny's door and undid her seatbelt, then left her to make her own way out of the car while I got Alex out and retrieved the assorted bags from the trunk.

I took the kids inside, turned Alex over to his teacher and kissed Penny goodbye at the door to her class, then went back out to the car to head to work, which is when I discovered this:

Apparently, Penny wanted me to have some company on my way to work this morning.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I was on my way into the pool yesterday when I happened to glance in the locker room mirror and saw...

My butt.

I don't mean the shape of it, or the size. I mean I could actually see it. Through my swimsuit. The chlorine had finally destroyed enough of the suit's fibers that it had become as transparent as gauze.

...Well. So much for swimming. I went shopping for a new suit, instead. (I got a new suit about a month ago, but I didn't try it on. It used to be that I routinely bought swimsuits about two sizes smaller than my clothing size for the best fit -- I don't know why, but that's how it was. Not, apparently, anymore, as I could barely get that suit on, nevermind fitting correctly.) So I got a new suit, and I actually tried it on this time, and I'll swim Wednesday. No problem.

It does rather make me wonder how long my suit has been see-through, though. Maybe I'm better off not thinking about it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Magic Bus

Nope, I have no idea what the title is about, either. This is what happens when you force me to come up with titles every day.

Had a good weekend, though. Got my iPhone, finally, months after deciding it was what I wanted and then waiting for the new phone announcement in June and then waiting for the actual release date, and then working through a couple of glitches...

Glitch #1 turned out the be that I'd apparently set a PIN on my old T-Mobile account at some point in the past, without which they wouldn't turn my phone number over to AT&T. I tried all the PINs I ususally use, without success, so I had to go down to the nearest T-Mobile store (half an hour away -- the one that used to be a couple of blocks from us closed, dangit) to prove that I'm who I say I am, and get it reset. (I'm still not convinced that I set that PIN. The guy at the store told me what it was, and it rang no bells at all. My suspicion is that I agreed to a temporary PIN at some point and scrawled it on a piece of paper with the intention of changing it later, and then forgot to do so.)

Glitch #2 popped up last night when I went to use it for some music while I was putting dishes away. Songs that I'd ripped off my CDs (or downloaded illegally, back when I was still doing that, shhh) played just fine, but music I'd legally purchased from iTunes would show me the album art, and the counter would tick, but no sound would come out. I couldn't even play the sample clips when the phone was connected to the iTMS. Some poking around discovered that, specifically, the phone wasn't playing w4p files, but that was no help, because they're supposed to be supported. I fiddled with settings and spent an hour looking around online in help files and another on hold with Apple's tech support line (I never did get through -- I gave up and decided to call back today from a speakerphone). Later, trying to play some game I'd downloaded, the phone hiccuped and reset itself, and when it had rebooted, all my music was working just fine. So... I dunno.

The other glitch, which is entirely my own fault, was downloading a "game" for the phone which creates bubbles when you drag your finger over the screen, and then lets you pop them by tapping on them... and then letting Penny play with it. Now she wants to borrow my phone to play the game every thirty seconds or so. This morning, while watching Dora, she clutched my phone in her hot little hand, desultorily swirling her finger around the screen without even looking at the bubbles.

Anyway, we had a fairly good weekend, iPhone aside. We took the kids down to visit my parents for a couple of hours while Matt and I got some shopping done, and I finally got around to listing a whole bunch of crap on our local FreeCycle list that I've been meaning to get rid of. It's not all gone yet, but most of it has been spoken for, whoo! I'm all in favor of crap reduction.

The only frustrating part to the weekend -- and even this was kind of funny -- was that Alex quite suddenly and completely out of nowhere seems to have decided to come up with a case of separation anxiety. If he could see me, then he was not happy unless I was holding and/or playing with him. And if he saw me turn away from him (or heaven forfend, walk away) then he would burst into tears.

He only did it for me -- sitting in his jumper between the kitchen and green room, while I was cooking at Matt was folding laundry, Alex actively leaned toward me and cried, even when Matt tried to turn him to face the green room and play with him. It was all about Mommy Mommy Mommy this weekend. It'll be interesting to see if he pulls it out when I drop him off at school Wednesday.

On the other hand, he's so close to crawling, I can taste it. He'll definitely be crawling before Penny's birthday. He gets up on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth, trying to figure out how to get his legs and arms coordinated. This is earlier than Penny. I don't remember her doing the rocking thing much at all, but I do remember she started crawling on Mother's Day, which means she was about nine months old; Alex is six and a half. I wonder if that means he'll crawl longer than she did, or start walking earlier?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Truer Words

Penny, this morning, as she scrolls through pictures I've uploaded to my iPhone...

"Wow, Mommy! This is a magic phone!"

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I'm sending this test post not only via email, but from my new iPhone!

...Because I'm a geek.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


The hot yoga class was... hot. The yoga itself was hard to keep up with, but I did the best I could to maneuver around my fat, and I don't feel too bad about my efforts, considering how out of shape I am and how much flexibility I've lost over the years. I did, however, feel like I spent half the class just sitting on my mat, trying to make the room come back into focus so I wouldn't throw up or pass out.

But I definitely got more stretch out of my muscles in the heat, and the sweating didn't bother me terribly (except for when it made it hard to hold onto my ankles or the mat) -- and it did fantastic things for my skin. My face feels smoother and softer than it has in years. You heard it here first: A $15 hot yoga class beat out a $60 facial treatment for improving my skin.

The instructor congratulated me on making it all the way through the class -- apparently most first-timers don't. And I really didn't feel wiped out and exhausted for the rest of the day, like I'd expected to, and aside from a slight tightness in my upper thighs, I wasn't aching yesterday, either. (Today, however, is another story. My hamstrings are killing me. Even just sitting still. Ow.)

All in all, it wasn't too bad. I'd consider going back, though I really wish they had a one-hour class (instead of 90 minutes) somewhere closer to either lunchtime or the end of the day, so it could be worked into my schedule a little easier. Between the class itself and the need to shower and change afterward, I was out of the office for well over two hours, smack in the middle of the morning, when I'm usually getting most of my work done.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hot Hot Hot

I am wavering between I can't believe I'm even going to attempt this! and I hope I love it!

I'm going this morning with Heather (an office friend) to try a session of hot yoga.

Which is to say, it's a relatively normal yoga class -- on the slow side, easy for beginners to follow along -- in a 95-degree room.

The theory is that the heat allows your muscles to stretch further, and the excessive sweating (let us not pretend otherwise) flushes toxins from your body. If nothing else, it should be good for the skin, I suppose. I know, it's weird for me -- I hate the heat, and I especially hate sweating. Thus the I can't believe I'm even going to attempt this! attitude. But I'm hoping that if I'm going into it knowingly, it won't be so bad. Or at least maybe I can bundle up my other frustrations into my dislike of the heat and sweating and leave them behind in the shower.

Heather did a hot yoga session last week, already. She said about five minutes into the 90-minute class, she was wondering what she'd gotten into, and fifteen minutes in, she was swearing she'd never do it again. Halfway through, when they switched from standing to floor poses, she decided it wasn't so bad, and at the very end, when the teacher laid a cold cloth over her face, she decided to go back if only for that perfect moment.

I did love my prenatal yoga class, which was with the same studio. It did amazing things for my chronic feet problems -- even only going to the class once a week, I was walking around barefoot without fear. So I'd really like to like this class.

The time could be a problem, though. The class is an hour and a half in the middle of the morning. Probably two hours, once I've factored in a cool shower and changing clothes afterward. At least it's close to the office, so there's minimal transportation time to consider -- five minutes round-trip, even walking. I'm hoping they'll go back to having a one-hour lunchtime class in the fall. You know, if it turns out that I like it.

Alex was up at 5 this morning. I let him talk for ten minutes or so, hoping he'd go back to sleep, but no dice. (I found out why when I picked him up. If I had that much poo in my diaper, I wouldn't sleep, either.)

Thinking about trying to maneuver around my aching boobs in the hot yoga class, I decided I couldn't take it. So I nursed him, after five days dry. There wasn't much there -- he still killed a 6-ounce bottle half an hour later -- but it eased the worst of the pain. I guess that means that he's weaned (he certainly didn't seem bothered by the lack of boobs for those five days) but I'm not.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mmf, wha?

I went to bed last night feeling pretty good. Alex is weaned, so Matt and I are back to taking turns getting up with the kids. And this morning was Matt's turn. I was happily anticipating being able to stay in bed until the alarm went off at 6. Ahhh.

Except that Penny woke up at 12:45 with a bad dream. And she was up again at 4. And she begged me to stay with her when I tucked her in from that one.

"Just for a minute. ...You need to close your eyes and go back to sleep."

"I can't. When I sleep, I have bad dreams."

"What kind of bad dreams, sweetie?"

"...Daddy was hurting my fingers with his teeth."

Wince. "Oh, sweetie, you know Daddy would never really do that, right? It's just a dream." She nodded, but still was reluctant to close her eyes. "What if I give you a new dream in your ear?"

"Okay. You have to take the bad dream out first."

So I mimed, fishing around in her ear for the bad dream, and throwing it out the door. "Get out of here, bad dream. Penny doesn't want you! What kind of happy dream would you like?"

"I think eating watermelon for dessert."

"That sounds like fun!"

"Yeah! And Batman will come to visit."

"Okay, I'll give you that dream." I blew on her ear (isn't this how dreams get into everyone's heads?) and kissed her and went back to bed.

But by this point, I'd woken up enough to start my brain moving. I was still mostly awake at 4:30 when Alex started coughing. He'd cough a couple of times and make a little noise, and then go quiet for a few minutes, then do it again. Around 5:15, he started talking in earnest. At 5:20, I nudged Matt, and he got up.

I finally got back to sleep, but it was restless. I dreamed I was in this... reenactment village, or something, trying to find clothes I could wear to work, except I kept getting distracted by the shows. There was more to it, but I won't bore you with it. Suffice to say, it wasn't exactly a restful dream. When the alarm went off at 6, I could barely walk straight to go turn it off.

On the plus side, I got to work early enough this morning that I'm not going to feel guilty for running out at lunch to get pre-approved for a new iPhone.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Home of the Brave

That was a good weekend.

We had our Fourth of July celebration with my parents and my brother. (Sam's in Montana visiting her family, so John was on his own.) BLTs, corn on the cob, and watermelon FTW! I ate obscene amounts of food, though not quite as much as I'd expected to, actually: Two open-faced sandwiches, two cobs of corn, a largish serving of green beans, and a big slice of watermelon. Plus an extra slice or two of tomato and few extra strips of bacon. Mmm, bacon.

Saturday, Matt took Penny to the library to turn in her books and get some new ones, and then in the afternoon, we dropped Alex off with my parents and took her to see WALL-E. She was weirdly reluctant to go, at first, but we lured her in with the promise of popcorn.

We really enjoyed it -- it was cute and funny. Penny didn't talk too much, at least not until near the end, when she was getting restless. And she actually paid attention to the story more than she has in the past -- she spent the rest of the weekend asking me questions about various parts of the movie, instead of just locking in on a particular scene from the beginning.

(Doing her BG check and insulin dose in a dark theater was, on the other hand, not oodles of fun. I'll be glad when she's older and we can dose her before she eats.)

Sunday was a bit calmer; Penny spent most of the afternoon playing with Ray either at our house or at his. It was nice how they're willing to play with each other more than insisting on parental participation. Maybe by next summer, they'll be able to play without immediate parental supervision, too. (Actually, I'd be okay with the kids doing their own thing while they're inside -- I'm still not sold on their safety skills for playing outside solo. But one of Ray's folks always comes with him when he comes over -- he's only just four, so I can't blame them for wanting to keep closer tabs on him. But it means that when Penny goes over to his house, Matt or I go with her just so they don't have to do all the supervision.)

Alex was mildly fussy all day Sunday, and taking lots of naps. We suspect he might be teething again. The timing seems about right; it's been six weeks or so since his first two teeth broke through. Matt tried smearing some Anbesol Jr. on his gums, though, and it didn't seem to help his mood. (We did get some amusement out of the faces he was making, at least.)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Funny Little World

I called the ENT yesterday to make an appointment about getting my ear unstuffed. The earliest appointment I could get? Three weeks from now. Whaddafu?

So if you were, like, an ENT looking for a place to settle down and establish a thriving practice, Williamsburg just might be the place for you. Apparently, we have a shortage.

Fourth of July tomorrow, so no post. We'll be going down to my parents' for BLTs. Which reminds me, I need to call and find out what I should be bringing.

I'm looking forward to it immensely. BLTs are one of the few reasons to tolerate summer, as far as I'm concerned, and my family gets very serious about these sandwiches. We only do it once a year, but when the time comes, we do it right. Mom buys tomatoes big enough so that one slice will cover (and I do mean cover) the bread, and she cuts slices thick enough to shame steaks. Dad fries up nearly a pound of bacon per person, and they toast up most of two loaves of bread. A head or two of lettuce and a couple of bottles of Durkee's complete the ensemble. (I think I was in college before I learned that most people just put mayo or mustard on their BLTs.)

To make it the quintessential summer meal, we'd have a dozen or so cobs of sweet corn, and a big ol' watermelon for dessert. My mouth is watering, just thinking about it.

We may eat more on BLT day than we do at Thanksgiving, to be perfectly honest. But let's face it: turkey and mashed potatoes taste the same year-round. Tomatoes and corn are indisputably and indescribably better in the summer.

Yesterday, I came downstairs in the morning to find that Penny had -- for reasons unknown -- wrapped a satin and rhinestone toy dog collar around her Batman action figure and left him on my purse.

I don't know what she was thinking when she did it. What I thought was, Huhn. Well, it's not all that surprising that Bruce would be a little kinky. Or that he'd be the Sub.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I've said for years that if it came down to a choice between losing my hearing or losing my vision, I'd rather keep my vision.

It's not the choice everyone would make, I'm aware, but I've always been very visual. My hobbies are visual -- even my social life is 90% online, conversations read rather than spoken.

Still, I've been almost entirely deaf in my left ear for over a week now, and it's getting to be irritating. I'm almost done with the run of antibiotics my doctor gave me for the ear infection, but it still feels like my ear is full of cotton, or (probably more accurately) water.

Our usual seating arrangement in the living room puts Matt at my left. He's getting tired of having to repeat himself, but more than ever, he sounds like a Charlie Brown teacher. Wah-wa, wah wah wa wahwawa.

Dealing with more than one person at a time is a bit frustrating, too -- especially if someone in the group is soft-spoken. I spent a lot of Book Club last week trying to read lips and missing probably a quarter of what was being said.

I'm beginning to wonder if my ear is ever going to clear. Did the eardrum blow out entirely? I expect it has more to do with the notorious kink in my ear canal that makes it difficult for pressure to equalize. (You know that trick for airplanes where you hold your nose and blow to clear your ears? Has never worked for me. Not once. Occasionally it results in agonizing pain, but that's about it.)

So I'm beginning to suspect that more drastic measures will be needed. I'll be calling the ENT (ear/nose/throat) doctor today to make an appointment, and see what he can see.

Because yes, I'd take my vision over my hearing. But I'd much rather have both.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


So, yeah, Penny's doctor appointment collided with her field trip, but it worked out -- the appointment was toward the end of the field trip anyway, so I just picked her up from the park where they were playing (which is closer to my office and the doctor's than her school anyway) and she didn't miss more than maybe half an hour of running around being crazy.

The doctor told us we had an ear infection in her left ear, and that's why her eyes were getting goopy, so he wrote us a stack of prescriptions, gave her a sticker, and turned us loose. Of course, that was after we'd spent most of an hour in the waiting room and another half hour in the examining room, so there wasn't much point in my taking her back to school, so we went home and I managed to do a little work while she was watching Sesame Street and Dora.

I swear, the child has more meds right now than an old lady. From the end of dinner until we tucked her into bed last night was one long string of medications. Insulin and then eye drops and an antibiotic and cough medicine and another kind of insulin and stuff for her wart. It's incredible.

The weirdest part of the whole thing was that, while Penny and I were sitting in the doctor's office, I recognized -- and was recognized by -- someone I haven't seen for something like twelve or thirteen years.

I knew Rob back in college. He was a friend of Paul's, one of a trio with Carl and Rick, until he seduced Rick's on-again-off-again girlfriend of several years and they stopped talking to him. That happened after I'd more or less lost touch with them, anyway (which happened almost immediately after I'd broken up with Paul, until Carl resurfaced several years later as Colleen's boyfriend) -- I heard about it later through a third (or possibly fourth) party.

Weirdly, I'd actually seen Rob last week -- I'd recognized him as I was coming out of my chiropractor's office, but I thought I was seeing things. But he said no, he really does work in that building and I must have seen him heading out for lunch. He's still married to the girl he "stole" from Rick, so I guess that was a good move, in the long run. (She was there, too, but I'd only met her a handful of times, and barely recognized her.) They have three daughters; the one they had with them at the doctor's office was quite adorable, and the pictures she showed me of her sisters were just as cute.

It was weird, in the way those things are, like going back to your hometown after college and finding that buildings have gone up or been torn down and everything's the same except that it's completely different.