Saturday, May 31, 2008


The sunburn is starting to fade. Just tiny patches right on the tops of my shoulders are still painful (except when Alex rakes his tiny fingernails over my arm, and then it hurts like hell). But mostly it just itches. It started itching today, and when I got undressed for my shower tonight, sure enough, it was peeling.

So if that's not the "owwie" referred to by the title, you're wondering, then what is?

Let me just say this: Creative Memories' scrapbooking blades are very, very, very very sharp.

The good news is that they're also only about an eighth of an inch long, so even when you are as dumb as it is really possible to be and slice one all the way across the pad of your thumb, they cannot, in fact, actually cut all the way to the bone.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Alex slept until after 6 this morning! Whoo!

Will he continue this trend through the weekend? Who knows?!

Does it matter, since Penny has lately taken to waking up at 5:45?

These are the questions that rule my world lately.

It should be a nice weekend. We've got a kid's birthday party on Saturday -- it's about two miles from my parents' house, so it's looking like Matt will take Penny to the party while I take Alex to visit Grandma and Grandpa for a couple of hours. (I just don't think Alex is quite ready for the sheer noise of a bowling alley yet.) After the party, Matt will drop Penny off with me and go to his monthly D&D game. And then an hour or so later, I'll take the kids home and tuck them into bed.

And Sunday will be "normal," which is to say we'll spend it doing the grocery shopping and the laundry and Penny will run in and out of the house all day.

That's the plan, anyway. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


For those of you who might be interested, I've finally uploaded most of May to the photo album.

Only a sample of the cuteness!

Stuff and Toof

Took Penny to her pediatrician yesterday for her pre-kindergarten physical. She's 41.5" tall (at the 25% mark -- which doesn't surprise me; I already knew she was one of the shorter kids in her class, if not the shortest), and 45 pounds (at the 75% mark).

They tested her vision -- 20/40 on each eye individually; 20/30 with both. That is, good enough not to need glasses, but we'll want to keep an eye on it, especially since Matt was in glasses at a fairly early age, and she's practically his clone.

They tried to test her hearing, but she either didn't quite understand the instructions or she got bored with the test, because she didn't seem interested in raising her hand when she heard the beeps. I'm not too worried about it. If she's got the same hearing problems I do, the tests won't catch it anyway and she'll eventually learn to compensate (mostly).

They did a blood hemoglobin test. I forestalled them using the generic (read: too deep) lancet by suggesting that Penny do her own "stick" for them to use. The nurses and doctor were very impressed with her -- apparently some kids make as big a fuss over the lancet as they do over the shots.

I won't pretend that the shots went smoothly. I had to hold her down, and she screamed. Loudly. The tears stopped eventually, though she made me lift her in and out of the car for the rest of the day. Other than that, though, she did really well, and now we can gather together the rest of the paperwork we need to get her enrolled in kindergarten.

I had book club last night. We read Momfidence!: An Oreo Never Killed Anybody and Other Secrets of Happier Parenting, and pretty much all of us liked it a lot. Except for Kris, who thought it was funny but couldn't quite get behind the low-pressure approach to parenting.

But we all had fun sitting around talking and drinking and eating, which is about 75% of the reason we have book club, anyway.

Alex slept until 5:45 this morning, which I would have bet against, given how poorly he nursed at 10. He was all smiles when I picked him up, though. (Alex wakes up fast and happy, unlike his sister, whom we've learned to just give as wide a berth as possible in the mornings until she decides she's ready to deal with being awake.)

After he'd eaten, I played with him a bit, and as he was gnawing on my finger, I realized that something in there felt... hard. I couldn't manage to pry his mouth open and keep his tongue out of the way long enough, but Matt confirmed my suspicion -- his first tooth has broken the gum. (Timing! I'd said I was going to wean Alex when he started teething or at 6 months, whichever came first, and I'd already put together a plan to start reducing the pumping next week.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

And the Cool and Collected Award Goes To...

Not me, that's for sure.

Apparently, I have only one nerve left, and every single thing seems to be getting on it today.

We can start with the sunburn, because constant pain isn't good for anyone's mood.

My hair looked fabulous this morning -- but I absolutely cannot stand for it to touch my shoulders right now, because even that is painful, and naturally, hair that's looking fabulous down looks lopsided and weird pulled back in a ponytail.

Alex was hungry and hungry and hungry this morning, which means I'm not going to get any milk from the morning pumping -- and I'm missing the afternoon pumping to take Penny to a doctor appointment, so he's going to be Formula Boy tomorrow. (Why this bothers me so much when he's less than a month from being weaned, I'm not sure.)

And after being hungry and hungry and hungry, he managed a spitup that drooled over his shoulder and pooled on my pants, so it looks like I've wet myself. Did I mention that I only have two pairs of pants that I can wear right now, because of the knee brace?

Shortly after that, Penny threw a baby blanket at my face. She was only playing, but it pulled hair out of my lopsided and precarious pony tail and smacked the sunburn on my neck and I lost my cool and screamed at her. No, I don't mean "raised my voice." I mean "screamed."

When I dropped the kids off at school this morning, Penny witnessed a toddler pitching a fit when his mom left, and somehow that triggered her to get clingy and whiny about not wanting to be at school.

The school, by the way, announced yesterday that they're changing hands; Minnieland has sold them to another daycare company. Will the new company's policy let them keep doing Penny's insulin shots? We don't know yet. Matt or I are going to have to go to the parent-question session next Tuesday evening. But I'm getting a lot of mixed messages -- the director told me there were no personnel changes planned, but the announcement letter started with the phrase "mixed emotions" and she's acting noticeably tense about it.

I forgot to bring Penny's insulin chart with me to work today, so it's not going to get faxed in, again.

I've got Book Club at my house tonight, and while I'm really looking forward to it, I still have shopping to do, and then I need to clean the house (non-trivial, especially since the simple act of bending over to pick up something off the floor makes my sunburn suddenly shriek with pain) and get the food set out. Which will all be done with Penny in tow.

How can a house that looked blessedly clean yesterday after the cleaning service came look so sloppy and horrible this morning?

And speaking of sloppy and horrible, my glasses are crooked and I can't get new ones until August; my boobs are hanging to my waist and it doesn't make sense to get new ones until Alex is weaned, and I'm feeling particularly fat lately.

Maybe the extra physical sensitivity caused by the sunburn is triggering some variety of mental sensitivity as well. I want to just shut my office door and sulk until it's time to go pick Penny up for her appointment.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Long Weekend

Saturday morning, I took Penny to get her very first haircut. She was amazing.

She told Mandy (my stylist) that she wanted hair "just like Mommy", and then actually managed to sit up straight, chin up and shoulders down, hands in her lap with only minimal fidgeting, the whole time her hair was being cut.

Mandy swore she'd never had a kid that young act so good.

That afternoon, we packed up and went down to Chuck and Anita's for their monthly board game gathering. Their daughter Heidi ran off with Penny, and the other women present were happy to pass Alex around amongst themselves for most of the time we were there, so Matt and I got a couple of hours of mostly kid-free social interaction. It was nice. Chuck grilled an astonishing amount of meat and everyone brought good sides, and we had a nice time.

The only downer was that about ten minutes before we were going to leave anyway, Penny had a bit of a mishap on their backyard swing -- the chains twisted mid-swing and ended up scraping Penny's back and hip on the wooden support for the slide. She wound up with two ugly bruises surrounding a couple of fairly ugly-looking scrapes. I feel bad for poor Heidi, who'd been pushing the swing -- I think she felt responsible, but it really wasn't her fault, and she tried very hard to help distract Penny while Matt was cleaning off the scrapes.

That night wasn't so good -- Penny woke up around 2 with an ear infection, and of course she had trouble getting back to sleep. She got up about four times over the course of half an hour or so. And of course once she got back to bed, Alex woke up.

(Alex wasn't so good with the sleeping all weekend -- he was up closer to 5 than 6 all three days.)

Sunday morning, Penny's ear was still bothering her. It seemed to come and go in waves, but when it hurt, she was sobbing in pain. Matt took her off to the Urgent Care clinic as soon as it opened, and they came home a couple of hours later with a confirmation of the ear infection diagnosis and some antibiotics.

But by that afternoon, she was feeling enough better that we packed up again and trooped down to my brother's house for a pre-Memorial Day cookout. That went smoother than Mother's Day -- we managed to get Alex to fall asleep just before dinner, so he napped in his carseat while Matt and I ate. He woke up before dessert, but he wasn't the Superfuss he'd been just before he dropped off.

As fun as all that had been, Matt and I were relieved that we didn't have any actual plans for Monday. We anticipated spending the day lounging around the house. It... sort of worked out that way.

At 10:15 that morning, Ray rang our doorbell to ask if Penny could come out and play. By 11:30, all four adults were out as well, watching them and chatting idly.

At noon, Travis hauled out the grill and Melissa invited Penny (and us) to join them for hot dogs for lunch. The kids were very excited to get to eat outside without having to interrupt their fun. After lunch, they went right back to playing with Ray's superhero toys without missing a beat.

I got Alex down for a nap just about lunchtime, and took the baby monitor back outside with me. Matt and I kept checking it to make sure its battery hadn't died, and every time we ran into the house for this or that, we'd listen, but he must've been completely wiped out from all the activities (and the waking up early), because he slept at least three hours.

It was really awesome -- Penny and Ray were perfectly happy to play with only occasional, minimal input from the adults, so the four of us sat around and chatted and generally had a great time.

Penny and Ray didn't stop playing until Travis and Melissa decided it was time to take Ray in for their evening activities at about 4:45. Six and a half hours, the kids played. It was awesome. Though it's possible that I should've put sunscreen on myself at the same time we were putting it on Penny...

Friday, May 23, 2008


When I was in high school lo these many years ago, I went through a phase that I can now only describe as "jittery." Have you ever almost fallen, and caught yourself at the last possible instant, that split-second of adrenalized terror? I felt like that for nearly two months. It wasn't emotional -- the feeling persisted through joy and sorrow and fury. It was horrible, and I didn't know what was wrong with me.

I finally told my mother that I wanted to see her psychiatrist, and she made me an appointment. He ran down a long list of questions, most of which I thought were irrelevant. I don't remember what they were. I remember that he didn't try very hard to disguise his snort of derision when I told him I had a phobia for spiders. I especially remember it because I spent the rest of the interview watching a small grey spider crawling around on the outside of the window.

He dismissed me and my jitters as mere adolescence, a phase to be endured. He didn't even offer sympathy. I remember being infuriated as I left, and then writing him off as a hack, interested only in the cases of middle-aged and middle-class women for whom he could write prescriptions that insurance companies would then pay. He didn't want to help anyone, much less me.

It is possible that adolescence exacerbated the problem. Certainly, by the time I was out of college, I wasn't suffering them very much any more.

But they're back now. They've been back for... I don't know how long, because they crept back slowly and gradually and only made themselves obvious in the last few weeks. I am far too out of shape to run in the rain. They manifest now in daydreams and fantasies.

I dream of sweeping my arm across the dining room table, sweeping everything on it to the floor. I dream of doing the same thing to the counters in the kitchen, the tables in the living room. Not just throwing everything away, but actively flinging it all to the ground, shredding paper and splintering wood and shattering glass. Even the things that are mine. Especially the things that are mine.

I fantasize that I will come home to a burning house -- an old-but-favorite of the Mutant Worrybrain -- and yet lately I wonder if it might not fill me with as much relief as grief.

Yesterday, as I was coming home from work, I turned into my neighborhood and thought, "I have credit cards. I don't have to go home." It was an impulse without desire, not even a momentary one. It lasted less than a second and was gone. But when I got out of the car and walked up the porch steps and put my hand on the doorknob, I had to stand there for three long, slow breaths to convince myself that I was going to open the door and go inside.

Today, I walk through my office halls and smile at officemates as I pass, but my hands are shaking, ever so slightly. I'm munching carrots at my desk, almost continuously -- I've gone through more than a pound of them today -- because chewing something takes the edge off the jitters. It's better for me than chocolate bars, at least. Is this how I got fat in the first place, using food to work off nervous energy? I don't know.

I don't know what's causing this. I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't know where my daydreams and fantasies come from, because I do know I don't want them to come true. I don't know what they mean.

And I don't have time to figure it out.

EDIT: That's a reference to lack of wiggle-room in my schedule, not some impending Doom. I'm not that crazy.


The whole family is dressed and ready to go at 6:45. How about that?

That means I can start today's entry a bit early, which is good, because work is going to be absolutely slam-bang crazy today. I know there's a document waiting for me on my desk, because it was there when I left last night at 5:45. (Which is, I might note, more than an hour later than I'd planned on leaving. It's a good thing Matt was able to pick up the kids, because daycare closes at 6.)

We've got 18 documents to deliver today and Tuesday -- that doesn't include the three software components and their version description documents that got delivered yesterday.

Whee, end-of-contract rushes, eh? Most of these docs have already been delivered before (multiple times, even). This is just the last, final, get-all-the-little-edits-in official final delivery. Sheesh.

This weekend's plans: Penny and I are having our hair cut on Saturday. I may cry; it will be her first haircut. Yes, as a matter of fact, I very well might bring along a baggie for those first snips.

That afternoon is Chuck and Anita's monthly Game Day. We need to figure out what we're bringing for the food table.

On Sunday, my brother is having a (pre)-Memorial Day shindig. They've requested Lemonade Pie, which apparently I've made before. I don't remember it, though. I wonder if he's talking about my lemon chess pie.

Monday... I figure we'll just hang around the house and try to recover from all that activity.

I don't promise posts over the weekend, but you never know!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


The title doesn't mean anything. I just couldn't think of one, so I decided I'd just go with the first word to come to mind, and my eye fell on the little Batman bat sticker Penny put on my hand this morning.

I have a suspicion that Penny's going to be a bit touchy today; she didn't get to sleep last night until around 11pm, and she was in our room at 5:45 this morning. (I did send her back to her room, but I doubt she actually went to sleep.)

Alex was awake at 5:45, too, but not fussing. I wouldn't even have known he was awake if Penny hadn't woken me -- I could hear his breathing on the baby monitor, and its force and rhythm told me he wasn't sleeping (I can't hear him breathing at all when he's sleeping, usually) but he wasn't fussing. He wasn't even talking. Just laying there, apparently, looking at the pictures on his crib bumper.

I suspect today is going to be a bit frustrating at work; we're doing this weird release to make up for an earlier release but neither one has been by the book and... oh, the heck with it. It's frustrating and stupid and I actually kind of hope we don't win the bid for the follow-on work on this project, even though the technology part of it is so cool, because the management needs to seriously be beaten with sticks. Big ones. With nails in them.

But today is Thursday, which means I'm meeting Matt for lunch. A bright spot in my day.

I went to see my doctor about my knee again yesterday, and if I'd known he was just going to refer me to another doctor, I would've just asked for the info over the phone. Instead, I sat around in the waiting room for more than an hour past my appointment time, finally saw the doctor, and he just confirmed that it was bursitis and promised to have this other doctor's office call me today to set up an appointment. Argh. I want this taken care of! The weather is so beautiful, I want to go for walks. I want to go up stairs without having to lean on the wall like a crutch. I want to sit on the floor to play with Alex without wondering if I'm going to be able to get back up again. Argh!

...So apparently I'm feeling kind of crabby today. Didn't realize it until just now. I think I'm going to go have some coffee and try to regain some balance and focus. Maybe I will post again later.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Time for a Vacation

James Lileks took his family to DisneyWorld on a more or less spur-of-the-moment vacation. He's still in the process of describing the trip, but so far this is the bit that caught my attention:

This isn’t an attempt to redo that great last May, but a simple reaction to craptastic weather in Minnesota in May. Two weeks ago I looked at the long-range forecast and said "we’re leaving." So here we are.

I really quite like the idea of that -- just deciding it's time for a trip to DisneyWorld, booking it, and going. I can't wait until the kids are old enough to take them there.

Scratch Dirt Over It

Yesterday wasn't horrible, but it sure could've been better.

Daycare forgot to give Penny her shot after breakfast. Which is annoying, but we can kind of understand it -- apparently she picked at her breakfast for well over an hour before deciding she was done, and they're running shorthanded while the director is off on her honeymoon. The thing that really made Matt and I wince was this fundamental lack of understanding: When Matt told them to go ahead and give her the breakfast shot before lunch, and then the regular lunch shot after lunch as usual, they asked, "Should we give her some milk with that?"

...Milk is what they're instructed to give her if she's running low. Having forgotten her shot, she was running high. Okay, we don't expect every joe off the street to know these things, but they've been taking care of Penny's diabetes for over three months now! You'd think they'd have assimilated some basic understanding of what's actually going on!

Truly, as my mother-in-law wondered after immersing herself in the deluge of information and formulas for calculation: How do stupid people manage this disease?

It was a slow day for me; I started moaning about a third-dimensional warp somewhere around 10am. It was raining, so I couldn't take a walk, and even though I was quite productive and got a lot of work done, the clock just continued to crawl.

Penny's doctor called just after I got home to talk about her weekly chart. He'd tried to reach me at the office first, per my request. "Did you know your voicemail message says you're still on maternity leave?" he asked me. Oops.

Baths, dinner (just hot dogs -- I try to plan super-fast dinners for bath nights), put Alex to bed... He whined and cried and then screamed for more than half an hour before finally succumbing to sleep.

I did have a pleasant snuggle with Penny before she went to bed -- usually she climbs up on the bed with me and wants to play games; last night she'd brought a book with her and she leaned against me and flipped through the book to look at the pictures while I read my book, and then I read the first chapter of her book to her.

[Begin geektalk]
We logged into WoW, and K.T. and Kevin offered to take Matt and I on a Heroic Ramparts run. We picked up Elizabeth to off-tank, and started off quite well, but then we started getting tired or our luck ran out and we wiped three times in about half an hour, and then I had to log out, so we called it a night. I actually don't feel too bad about the wipes; mostly I'm just confused about why the guy I was supposed to pull refused to take my aggro. Twice! Though I did manage one three-trap chain, which is pretty much my limit. And at one point, Kevin popped up the damage and healing stats, and I actually appeared to be pulling my weight on the DPS scale, which was a nice change of pace. I'd been worried that my more or less laughable gear would dump me below the tank.

Before we continue the run, though, I need to put together the shot rotation macro I found and practice using it. It should help enormously.
[End geektalk]

After I logged out, I went upstairs to check Penny, and found her sugars high, despite the new dinnertime correction the doctor had suggested. I gave her the shot, but it bothered us that she was so high for no apparent reason.

As I was putting Alex back to bed, I realized: she'd had a banana with dinner and we'd forgotten to include it in our calculations. *quick mental math* - yep, that would account for it. We were mad at ourselves for missing it -- but I was also relieved. High blood sugars aren't always immediately explainable (invisible things can affect it, like an immune system boost to fight off a virus, or stress, or growth spurts and other hormonal shifts) but she's so unstable right now anyway that it's reassuring to chalk it up to an obvious cause like food. Even if we forgot it and had to feel stupid.

On the plus side, both kids slept soundly all night, and the weather is quite pretty today. As K.T. has been fond of saying lately -- scratch dirt over yesterday; it's done. Move on. Maybe today will be better.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Book: Holy Cow

(In case you were wondering: yes, as a matter of fact I am trying to do a review on each book I read before I take it out of the sidebar.)

Holy Cow by Sarah MacDonald is, in summary, about a woman who goes to India and, despite being an atheist, decides to try on a half-dozen or so religions for fit.

I went through the book half-cringing in expectation that she'd end the book in the bosom of Mother Church, but she didn't. She did come away with an expanded sense of personal self and spirituality.

But here's the thing: I didn't feel it.

She did a fantastic sense of conveying the feel of the various religions and retreats she visited, she imaged India and her experiences there quite vividly... and yet I couldn't detect any difference between the author at the end of the book from the author at the beginning of the book. I guess that's because she probably didn't start writing the book until after it was all over, or maybe it's an artifact of my having read most of the book in 2-3 page snippets, but it seemed to me that her tone was pretty much the same when she left India as it had been when she arrived. At any rate, I didn't get a feel for her having actually grown or changed as a person, no matter what the words said.

Which is too bad. I wanted to like this book about spirituality that didn't climax with a come to Jesus moment and then spend the denouement trying to sell me on the One True Way. Instead, it left me feeling vaguely concerned for the author's sense of self.


Well, I was going to post pictures on the photo album this morning, but I couldn't get my SFTP connection established (what's going on over there, Jeremy?) so... no go. I'll try again this afternoon, I guess.

Yesterday was awesome.

No, that wasn't sarcastic.

The weather simply could not have been more beautiful. My boss took me (and some other people) to lunch. I decided to swing by the Fresh Market on my way back to the office, and I hit every light just right.

I had to restrain myself once I got there -- everything in the store looked amazingly good, and I wanted about half the produce department immediately. (And at the Fresh Market, the produce department is easily 1/3 of the store.) I found some gourmet chips on sale, and decided to get some almonds, too. The guy at the cash register mistook my almonds for honey-roasted peanuts (they're small almonds), so I only paid half-price for them.

I actually got what I consider to be an above-average amount of milk from my pumpings. Penny and Alex were both in great moods, and the tuna that I made for dinner was awesome. Alex only fussed about going to bed for maybe ten minutes. I had a good time playing WoW (even if I got squashed and had to take the graveyard rez).

And to top it all off, the kids did not sleep through the night -- Penny was up at four with a bad dream, and Alex woke up around 4:45 -- but Alex did fall back asleep on his own! Whoo, sleep-training!

This morning hasn't been quite as stellar (it's raining, for one thing, and Alex was being a touch fussy) but I have high hopes for the day nevertheless.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Heeeeere, Feeshy Feeshy Feeshy...

Tonight was my second attempt at cooking fish, and I'm feeling pretty danged successful about it.

This time, I made tuna. Specifically, this recipe for teriyaki tuna steaks. (I followed it pretty precisely, except I only used half the garlic, and I broiled the tuna instead of grilling it.)

I got ambitious about the side items, as well. When I put the tuna back in for its final few minutes under the broiler, I added pineapple rings (fresh would've been better, but we don't eat it that often) and some halved tomatoes which I also brushed with the sauce. I also microwaved some edamame.

It made for a colorful plate (I wish I'd stopped to take pictures before we sat down to devour it), and the flavors all blended perfectly. Matt was enthusiastic, and Penny was at least willing to eat the amount we told her she had to eat in order to get dessert.

And when Penny was done, there was a slab of tuna steak left on her plate that was two or maybe three ounces -- not quite enough for a meal, but far too much to toss. There was also most of a tomato half that she hadn't eaten. I considered eating it myself, but I was already full from my own dinner.

So I chopped it all up, and tomorrow for lunch, I'm having the poshest tuna salad I've ever had. (Complete with some fancy pita chips to scoop it up.)

Ladies and gentlemen... we have another winner.


I stumbled across this last night while I was surfing, and was sufficiently entranced to bookmark the essay and make a note to say something about it later:

Why Your Internet Experience Is Slow about the amount of bloat and cruft that attaches itself to websites these days. We all know it's there, but this is an actual analysis of a page, and it's pretty astonishing.

...The irony of linking to this from an autopost blog host with plenty of its own cruft has not escaped me.

Weekend Report

I did get a nap on Saturday. I got up with the kids at 5:45 or whatever awful hour it was that they woke up, and when Matt got up at 8:30, I handed Alex to him and said, "I'm going back to bed now." And I did. I slept for two glorious hours, and probably would've gone longer except that I thought Matt might like to get dressed sometime before lunch.

We had such a tough time getting Alex to bed on Friday that Matt and I decided it was time to start sleep-training.

So Saturday afternoon, as Matt packed Penny up for a visit with Braz, I put Alex in his crib and started a timer. I seem to recall it taking about 45 minutes for Penny to get to sleep, that first sleep-training session -- Alex went much the same way, conking out mid-cry at about 43 minutes.

He was still so tired from all that crying that he barely went over five minutes that evening. And so it went. He lasted maybe thirty, thirty-five minutes for his afternoon nap on Sunday, and conked out fairly quickly at night.

We're still letting him get us up in the middle of the night for now -- we figure we'll give him a week (maybe two) to get the hang of going to bed in the first place before we start denying his mid-night joyride. (He goes right back to sleep after those anyway, and since Penny's pulling out of her honeymoon phase, we're still needing to check her in the middle of the night anyway.)

Penny had a great weekend; she spent most of Saturday playing outside with Ray, and then we took her to the park for Ray's birthday party on Sunday.

Of course, just as the kids were finishing their cupcakes and Ray had finished opening his presents, it started to rain, which meant the kids couldn't go back out into the park to run off all that sugar. Once the other kids had gone, though, Penny and Jess and Ray found other ways to amuse themselves.

The Hickses came back to the house with us afterward; we hung out and talked and watched Penny and Jess run around like miniature maniacs. It was fun. (Even if we did forget to make Jess spit out her gum before they left... Sorry, guys -- hope you managed to get it out of her hair... and her clothes... and her ears... and the carseat...)

Friday, May 16, 2008


An interesting side-effect of exhaustion is a sort of super-alert state where I notice everything. Everything. My physical reactions are degraded, so noticing everything doesn't do me any good, but I'm moving around in a near-surrealistic universe where I spot ladybugs on pieces of grass on the side of the road as I drive by at 55 MPH. The world looks like it's been run through a high-contrast filter a few times.

I nearly missed my exit for work because I'd never actually looked at the sign, and having noticed it this morning made it look so unfamiliar that I was, for a few seconds, not sure I was in the right place.

I'm a little twitchy about the feel of my hair on my skin anyway, but right now I'm so sensitive to touch that I'm about to take my earrings out because the feel of them swinging back and forth as they dangle is too distracting. Gods only know what it's going to feel like when I pump.

Hoping for a good weekend. Saturday, Braz is throwing a shindig. Matt is going and taking Penny, because she adores her "Uncle" Braz. Alex and I may go, depending on his mood -- it's a late afternoon/early evening thing, which puts it on the edge of Alex's fusstime.

Sunday is Ray-Ray's birthday party. That'll be at Penny's favorite park, and it's Batman-themed, so she should have a great time.

Our weekends are filling up again already. Next weekend, Penny and I are getting our hair cut, and then Chuck and Anita are hosting another game day. (No, we don't have any plans for Memorial Day yet, though I expect we'll essentially relocate to my parents' for part of it.) The weekend after that is Matt's D&D game, and I think the weekend after that I'm going down to hang out with K.T. at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Zombie post

Alex was up at 4:15 this morning.

At least, I thought, at least he'll take that bottle and then let me sleep until six.





Thursday, May 15, 2008


Feeling mostly better today. Thanks to everyone who left well-wishes in the comments or my inbox.

It helps that Alex slept last night. He had some trouble getting to sleep (I expect we're still going to have to sleep-train him at some point) but once he went down, he barely cracked an eye when I fed him at 10, and didn't wake up again until 5:15 this morning. It's amazing what six hours of uninterrupted sleep can do for a person.

When he woke up, I decided I needed to go to the bathroom before I picked him up. When I came out of the bathroom, Matt was hovering outside Alex's door, waiting to see if he'd go back to sleep. "I've got him," I whispered. "Just had to pee first."

"You make the bottle," Matt said.

"Sweetie... it's after five."

Matt looked blearily at his watch. "...Oh." He shuffled back to bed.

Sad though I am that Penny's honeymoon period is ending, it was inevitable, and the only question was when it would happen. But yesterday, for the first time in probably two weeks, her sugars were under 150 before every single meal -- even despite the cupcake she had at the birthday party in her class!

I made homemade sweet potato french fries last night. (The idea is to get Penny eating sweet potato, which is about the same carbs as regular potatoes, but more nutritious. I thought she'd enjoy them baked, especially since I topped it with butter and syrup, but she didn't. This was my next approach.)

Mistake #1: I used olive oil, which smokes and burns at a much lower temperature than most other oils, and didn't check them regularly while they were cooking, so they burnt on one side. Mistake #2: I made them early and then let them sit too long, so they got kind of floppy and soggy.

I half-expected Penny to tell me she didn't like them. I was ready to toss them and make some mashed potatoes.

Never underestimate the appeal of french fries for little kids. Taking the time to cut them as close as possible to the size and shape of fast food fries paid off: Penny got a healthy dollop of ketchup on her plate, and ate a whole handful of the burnt fries.

And actually, if you could ignore the carbon flavor, they were pretty good.

But next time, I'll use canola oil and cook them last.

Today is lunch-date day. Matt and I are going to Ichiban, which is a Japanese place near his office. (We always eat near his office. That's where most of the good restaurants are.)

Mmm, edamame and the teriyaki bento box. (Except I'll pick all the fake crabmeat out of the california rolls. I'm trying to get better about seafood, but I just can't get enthused about sealegs.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I'm feeling pretty pessimistic this morning.

The doctor confirmed yesterday that Penny's starting to pull out of her "honeymoon" phase, which means her sugars are going to get harder to manage, and we'll have to be even more careful about what she eats. And I noticed this morning that her nose is running -- if she's caught a cold, it'll make things even harder to keep in check.

Alex was fussy yesterday evening, woke up at 2:30 last night and then was up for the day at 5:40 -- and then spent half an hour of it screaming until I finally figured out he was hungry again.

My milk is inexplicably drying up again, and despite all logic to the contrary, I can't seem to stop feeling defensive and inadequate about it.

I was turned down for life insurance because I'm so fat.

Out of nowhere, suddenly every freaking thing in my closet is teal or aqua. I was trying to get away from the monochrome wardrobe thing.

The bursitis in my knee is getting worse and not better, despite the knee brace. And the limping is making my fasciitis come back.

I smashed the top of my head on the car frame this morning, driving about six spiky little points from my hair clips into my scalp.

Okay, okay, enough whining. I am not posting this until I can find three good things to say about today.

1) The weather is absolutely, stunningly gorgeous right now.

2) Both kids were fantastic at dropoff this morning.

3) Daycare is finally letting Penny's teacher handle her shots. She gave me a practice shot yesterday (with just water).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Something Fishy

The other night, as Matt and I were just settling down to sleep, he said, "Do you hear that?"

I lifted my head from the pillow a bit and heard... nothing out of the ordinary. "No," I said, and relaxed back into the cool fluff.

"It sounds like someone's playing a radio."

I strained to catch even a hint of bass rhythm wafting through the air. "I don't hear anything."

Matt sat up. Oh, for petesake, I thought. It's obviously not the kids, and what are you going to do about it if it's the neighbors?

He got out of bed, and headed for the bedroom door. He paused as he went by my nightstand, and stopped. "I think it's your alarm."

I still couldn't hear anything. I sighed and turned over to face him, the nightstand, and the radio alarm clock. "No, I haven't had the alarm set since-" With my face three inches from the clock, I heard it. Faintly. Barely. The radio.

Someone (likely Penny) had turned on the radio, turned the volume almost entirely all the way down, and then wandered off. I turned the volume back to something normal and then turned off the radio.

How long had it been like that? Would I have ever noticed?

We all know my hearing sucks, but seriously, I felt like a LOLCat: "LISNIN: UR DOIN IT RONG."

There was condensation on the cars this morning. Penny stopped at the first window she came do -- my front passenger window -- and drew a large oval with her finger. Inside one end of the oval, she drew a circle, and filled it in. At the other end, just outside the oval, she drew two more, smaller ovals.

"Look, Mommy! I drew you a picture!"

Having seen this picture before, I knew what to say. "What a beautiful whale, sweetie! Thank you!"

Today is brief anecdote day because Alex woke up last night at 2:15, and then after Matt put him back to bed, he laid there and talked to himself for a while, so I couldn't get to sleep because I was braced for him to get fussy. That lasted until probably about 3 or so. And then he was up this morning at 5:15.

Today is not a day to split my morning coffee half-decaf, is what I'm saying.

I made salmon for dinner last night.

And I mean real salmon, not canned stuff. I actually bought a 12oz salmon fillet and cooked it.

I don't eat fish. I've never been big into seafood. Fishsticks, which hardly count, and canned tuna or salmon, but not real fish, much. I used to love shrimp when I was little, but somewhere around middle school or so I developed an aversion to their kind of poppy texture that I'm only just beginning to get around now.

But about 90% of my friends are going to Weight Watchers or on some other diet right now. (No, really. K.T., Kevin, Elizabeth, Dave, Karen, Sam, John, my parents, most of the women and a couple of the men at work...) And even though I'm not really ready to join them, it's making me think about how to not-diet in a healthier way, if that makes any sense. And I've been hearing for years how fish is one of those really super foods -- nutritionally dense, low in bad fats and high in good ones, etc. One of the things that everyone should eat at least once a week.

And then I was watching one of my cooking shows (I don't even remember which one) and they had a slab of tuna that they just barely seared and served still rare and it actually looked really good. Maybe it's time to try fish again, I thought. I decided I would try real, fresh fish -- the last time I tried it, I went with a pre-seasoned, frozen thing, and Matt liked it but it had this nasty, back-of-the-throat freezer burn taste to me. And I'd try salmon and tuna, which my palate has at least a nodding acquaintance with, via the canned stuff. (I know, I know, it's like comparing fresh, sun-ripened tomatoes with ketchup, but there's a similarity.)

So this week was the first experiment, and it was salmon. I found a recipe that sounded both tasty and simple (a glaze, and then broil the fish) and I cut my fillet into three pieces and charged onward. The smoke alarm went off because the bits of glaze that pooled away from the fish burnt and smoked, but what was on the fish did what glazes are supposed to do.

I took the fish out of the oven when the timer went off and regarded it dubiously. "...or until it flakes with a fork," said the recipe. I did this once before, with another kind of fish, and never did figure out what "flakes with a fork" meant. I tentatively prodded at one piece with the spoon I was using for the couscous, and three big flakes fell off. Well, that answered that.

I brushed the last of the glaze over the salmon, and put couscous on the plates, and served it.

Penny was extremely reluctant to try the fish until Matt pointed out that it was pink, which is her favorite color. She wound up eating about half her piece -- maybe about 2 ounces of salmon, altogether, but at least she didn't take one bite and then stop completely. Mostly, I suspect, she was just full from the couscous.

Holy crap, I made a fish dish, and liked it! Matt was enthusiastic, and Penny didn't hate it... I'm going to make this again!

Here's the recipe:

Line a baking pan with foil, coat it with nonstick spray, and on it put:
12oz salmon, cut into 4-6oz servings, skin-side down (Next time, I might go with a bigger piece.)

In a bowl, mix:
2 Tbsp maple syrup (I used the real thing, but I don't know if that's important.)
2 Tbsp soy sauce (the original recipe called for low-sodium, but I like salt.)

Brush about half of it over the fish, being sure to coat all visible flesh.

Broil for 7 minutes, then take it out and brush about half the remaining glaze over the fish.

Broil another 6-8 minutes ("or until it flakes easily with a fork"), and brush on the last of the glaze.

Serve with rice or couscous.

Speaking of Penny trying new things... At John and Sam's for Mother's Day dinner, John grilled up a bunch of fresh asparagus. I had a couple of stalks, I don't know if Matt had any (we were swapping out because of Alex), but Penny ate like... four or five of them. She preferred it to the chicken or any of the other vegetables I gave her.

It never would have occurred to me to try her on asparagus -- it's such a strong flavor, and it's traditionally one of those foods kids hate -- but she scarfed it right down.

Mind you, if I buy a bundle next week and serve it, she won't touch it.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I'm the first one into the office this morning, so while my computer was booting up, I wandered down to the kitchen to make the coffee.

I turned on the plate, filled the pot with water, and left it in the sink while I got out the filter and coffee-pack. Filter into its box, open up the pack and dump the coffee in, put the box on its rack.

I picked up the pot and was just about to open the water-intake when the coffee machine... sputtered. And hissed.

As if it was heating up some water.

I looked at the pot in my hand, and then, out of curiosity, stuck the empty decaf pot on the plate.

It's a good thing, too, because a few seconds later, coffee started to come out of the drip. Someone had pre-filled the machine with water before turning it off, on Friday. And if I hadn't happened to turn on the plate before doing the rest of the prep-work, it wouldn't have sputtered until I'd already poured in a second pot's worth of water. Which would then have overflowed the pot and made a huge mess in the kitchen.

I could be annoyed about whoever prefilled the machine. It's a dumb thing to do unless you are 100% certain you're going to be the next one to turn the machine on.

But I'm in a good mood this morning, so instead, I'm choosing to feel good about having averted a mess. (We've had this happen before. This is exactly why I turn on the plate before I do everything else.)

Mother's Day was... okay, I guess. I had cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and Matt got me a couple of DVDs that I was excited about.

But Alex spent the day kind of fussy, so I didn't get to sleep in as much as I wanted to, and we spent the day trading him back and forth and trying to lull him into a nap. And Penny had more energy than she knew what to do with, which translated to her being loud and not terribly well-behaved at the grocery store, and then into all kinds of attitude in the afternoon. Combine that with our frustration with Alex, and we wound up yelling way too much.

The dinner with my family was nice -- grilled chicken stuffed with goat cheese and herbs, and grilled marinated vegetables, and salad and rolls. Except for Alex being fussy, which meant Matt and I couldn't be at the table at the same time, and we pretty much had to run as soon as we were done eating.

We did linger long enough for a picture, though. I'd wanted several pictures, but Alex was just too cranky -- but he's coming up on five months old, and I still didn't have a picture of the whole family together. So we did that.

You can tell Alex is tired, and I think John's tripod was crooked, but at least we're all together.

When we got home, Alex was so exhausted and overwrought that it took him half an hour of screaming to get to sleep, and then Penny got in trouble again for attitude and went to bed sobbing. It wasn't the best end to the day I could have imagined.

But despite that, I'm in a decent mood this morning. I feel like I could accomplish something this week. You never know - it could happen!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What It Feels Like

Last night, Penny and I were snuggling before she went to bed, and she was being unusually quiet.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

She shook her head. "No."

"What's wrong?"

"High." We'd tested her blood sugar a few moments earlier, and she was running quite high. It was too early to correct, though, since she'd had her shot from dinner only an hour and a half earlier.

"I know you're running high right now, sweetie, but we can't do a correction now. If you're still high when I get ready for bed, we'll give you some more medicine then." She nodded. "What does it feel like when you're high?"

She paused, thinking. I didn't expect her to be able to answer; I'd asked the question mostly just to make her think about it so she could learn to recognize her own symptoms.

But then she said, "It feels... like I'm going to get lost."

Friday, May 9, 2008

Flowers Rock.

My Mother's Day flowers from Matt. With, of course, my pictures of my beautiful kids.

Oh god, I have to think up titles now?

After observing to someone a day or so ago that Alex hardly ever seemed to feel like "talking" anymore, this morning he was Mr. Chatterbox. He sucked his lower lip in and made little "mmm!" noises, and he pursed his lips and made slightly different "mmm!" noises, and he grinned hugely whenever I made eye contact with him.

He's such a happy little kid. Penny was happy, but I don't remember if she was this happy. If he's not actively upset about something, he's usually good for a smile or two. He loves any kind of personal interaction -- even eye contact, but especially being touched, and skin contact is the best. Getting his diaper or his clothes changed is the biggest joke in the world, especially if we pause to zerbert or num on his tummy.

It should be a nice day and a good weekend.

The daycare is doing a Mother's Day social this afternoon, with ice cream for the moms and kids who show up. I've done this in the past, and it's a nice treat for the kids. Matt is taking them to school this morning so I can do the social and then bring them home tonight. (Otherwise, it'd be my turn to take them in and his to pick them up.)

(Note to self: Look up carb info on ice cream and chocolate sauce before I go, so I have a general idea how much of a shot to give Penny, in case they don't have it.)

Nothing much is happening Saturday -- errands and maybe we'll take Penny to the park or Busch Gardens or something.

Sunday, of course, is Mother's Day. We're having dinner with the family at John and Sam's, which I'm looking forward to. I always like visiting with my family, Sam is a great cook, and the kids will get all the attention their little hearts crave.

Whether I'll post over the weekend, I don't know. I want to keep up my commitment to posting at least once every work day, but whether this format will morph into additional postings... we'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Book: Little Brother

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow

This is an easy read (it's written at the YA level) but not an easy read. It involves some tough topics and inspires some pretty heavy thinking. Shortest summary possible: Near-future sci-fi in which a 17-year-old high school kid gets on the bad side of the Department of Homeland Securities.

What's really in it?

Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...

That about sums it up. Maybe not so much the fencing or the giants. Replace those with hacking and massive political machines. Everything else... check. Also, pirates, video games, and LARPing.

It's well-written. The kid is exceptionally clever and well-educated for a 17-year-old, but not unbelievably so. It's terrifying in its plausibility. It makes you really think about where you think the boundary should be that divides safety from freedom, and what could change the location of that boundary.

It's well-researched. The history, the social science, the technology, the methodologies, all ring true, even the ones that are extrapolated into the future.

And it's free; just download it off the website and you're good to go.

Two thumbs up, five out of five stars, a must-read for anyone over the age of about thirteen who plans to live or do business in the U.S. for the next decade.


Naturally, I got everything set up to move over here, and wrote my last, forwarding journal entry for the old address, and out of sheer habit, I logged into the FTP client to upload it, and... it worked. The block that was in place yesterday is not there today, for whatever reason.

Much ado about nothing. But I still think this move is for the best, in the long run, so here we are, for better or worse.

Not that I have much to talk about today, anyway. Alex is starting to get over his cold, so he's sleeping better. He woke up around 3 last night, coughing, but managed to fall asleep again on his own. Whoo!

I think I've managed to convince Penny to trade out Yo Gabba Gabba for Dora the Explorer for her morning TV. I feel better about it; Yo was aimed slightly younger than Penny, say 2 or 3. (Sesame Street is still the only show I've found that works as well for 6-year-olds as it does for toddlers.)