Thursday, April 30, 2009

Worked Out

I got home from work and realized I'd forgotten to take the chicken out of the freezer for dinner. After a few moments' frenzy, I realized that it was actually an opportunity. If I'd been thinking when I made this week's menu, I would've planned leftovers for Wednesday anyway, to give me more time to get ready for Book Club.

And Matt'd had an enormous lunch and didn't want dinner anyway. So I fed Alex and Penny on leftovers, and fixed myself a can of soup.

Which gave me more points to use on snacking during the book club meeting, so it all worked out. I love it when that happens.

Book Club itself was nice, though small -- only three people came, and one of them was late and only stayed for about an hour. And everyone was gone before 10.

We universally agreed that while the book (Woman of a Thousand Secrets, by Barbara Wood) hadn't been a complete waste of time, there were parts of it that really annoyed us. And then we moved on to talk about our kids and husbands, as usual.

I have to say, it's a damned good thing I'm not PMSing right now. Because just lately, there have been a whole rash of incidents that my PMS-brain would absolutely, positively interpret as "no one wants to be around you" and it would be a huge mess. Or at least, I would be a huge mess.

So, yay for being semi-rational.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Book 'Em.

Book club at our house tonight. Which means that sometime between now and when I head for home, I need to figure out what I'm going to serve, so that I can stop at the store on my way home and buy it.

Good thing I already have a bottle of wine ready to go, I guess.

So I'm leaving work at 5:30, stopping at the grocery store on my way home, getting home and making dinner, eating dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, living room, dining room, and downstairs bathroom (good thing the maid service came yesterday) and setting out chairs and food for book club before 7:30.

Note to self: Don't plan on anything requiring more preparation than "open package, put food on serving dish" or I'll run out of time.

I'm trying out a new "to-do" app on my iPhone. I fidgeted with several free ones, but they didn't have any of the features that made having a to-do application worth the effort of entering things.

This one is missing one key feature that I want, and one or two "would be nice" features, but their website says they're working on the key feature for a future release (which will be free for people who've already bought the app), and it's got lots of other nice features. I don't know if it's going to replace my Daytimer for my work list -- writing is still faster than the phone, especially if what I'm entering has big/long acronyms, which almost all my work tasks do (iPhone really needs a caps lock feature). But I have my phone with me all day, unlike my Daytimer, which mostly just stays at work, so this is a good way to capture personal tasks and things that I happen to think of when I'm not at work.

It's got a matching desktop application, and I downloaded the trial version, just to play with it. It's got more features than the mobile app, which only makes sense, including the feature I want for the mobile app. And it syncs perfectly and wirelessly with the iPhone, which is nice. But since I'm not at my Mac all day, I don't think I'm going to be paying for the desktop app when the trial period runs out. It's handy, but not handy enough to justify the price tag.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


A friend at work is turning 40 today. As soon as she left the office yesterday, the practical jokers swung into action. An "Over the Hill" sign stands outside her office door, and her office itself is filled with black streamers and balloons. There are joke gifts, and every door in the office has a sign on it to alert everyone to the presence of the "elderly".

I thought she deserved at least one gift that didn't come with an old joke attached, so I stopped by Starbuck's on my way to work this morning and got her a gift certificate. (She's addicted to Starbuck's.)

As long as I was there anyway, I picked up an iced coffee for myself. It's something I don't have often, but always enjoy when I do, which strikes me as a bit odd, somehow.

When they called me to the counter to pick it up, I had my purse on my shoulder, the gift card and a pen in one hand, and my receipt in the other. I picked up my coffee, and the barista handed me a straw. I took it and tried to resort all the stuff in my hands, and the coffee, in its condensation-coated plastic cup, slipped.

"No, don't!" I gasped, and grabbed...

I looked down with an inward wince, expecting to see the floor -- and my pants -- covered with coffee and ice.

Instead, there was a plastic cup between my hands (not so much held as pinned). A few drops of coffee had been forced out through the straw hole, but the lid had held. There was no disaster. No mess.

I set the cup carefully back on the bar. The barista's eyes were wide. "That was impressive," she said.

"That was lucky," I corrected. I rearranged my stuff, took a more careful grip on my coffee, and headed out.

Almost a disaster, but saved at the last minute. If that's going to be the kind of day I'm having... I can live with that.

Monday, April 27, 2009


The carnival was great. I took pictures, but haven't pulled them off the phone yet. I escorted Penny to the bouncies and the petting zoo while Matt sat in the shade and watched Alex play with pine cones.

The petting zoo was adorable; Penny got to pet a chicken, a goat, a sheep, a donkey, a pony, a rabbit, and some ducklings. All the animals were tiny -- the biggest of them (the donkey and the pony) only came up to my hip. Penny loved it, though, and spent a lot of time cooing, "Awwww! So cute!"

After that, we headed into the gym to see what games they had, but once we were there, Penny didn't want to play the games -- she just wanted to run around the gym. It was too hot to argue the matter much, so I sat down by one wall and watched Alex watching the juggling demonstration on one side and a karate demonstration on the other while Matt played with Penny.

He took her to the cafeteria to see if she wanted to do crafts, but she was only interested in the snack table, right up until about half an hour before they were ready to shut everything down, naturally. She planted some flowers and made a card for me for Mother's Day (I haven't seen it yet; I was told to not look and then she and Matt hid it when we got home) while Alex ran around and giggled.

Of the 20 tickets we'd bought, we only ended up using four of them (I got some fruit and a juice box for Alex from the snack counter) -- but that's okay; the point was to help sponsor the PTA anyway, really. And the kids had fun. We even arrived and left all together -- Alex was in fine spirits the whole time (though ready for a nap by the time we got home).

That evening, Matt went to his monthly D&D game, so I packed the kids up and took them out to eat by myself. I was a little hesitant about it at first, but it worked out great. We went to La Tolteca, and both kids were really great. Penny wanted to sit next to me in the booth at first, but relented to sit across from me when she realized that was the seat that would let her see the TV. She even ate her chicken nuggets before starting on her fries entirely without my reminding her -- and then only ate a handful of the fries. Alex ate an entire cheese quesadilla, and was happy and flirty for the entire meal. All in all, a success!

I lowballed Penny's insulin a little for dinner, thinking that her active afternoon would still be dragging her sugars down a bit. But when I checked her at 10, she was over 300, and I had to give her another shot. I sent Matt a text message, asking him to check her again when he got home from his game. Myself, I stayed up until 11:30 or midnight playing WoW and then reading.

Matt got home at 2, and Penny'd come down some, but was still over 250. He decided not to give her another shot, because a day or so previous, she'd dropped by more than 100 overnight. I concurred (I'd woken up when he came to bed) but the fact that the 10:00 shot had done almost no good at all prodded the Mutant Worrybrain into high gear. (My coworker's wife who died a few weeks ago went from 150 to 550 in the space of eight hours, was in ICU before another eight hours had passed, and died two weeks later. Nothing short of a cure is going to pry that out of the Worrybrain's stockpile of ammunition.) I gave up and checked her again at 3 -- 240, which at least meant she was holding more or less stable, and not going up again. I think I finally got back to sleep around 4 or 4:30.

So naturally, Alex woke up at 6 instead of sleeping in until 6:30. Sigh. As I said on twitter: I could tour Europe with the bags under my eyes.

And once I'd administered a correction for her still steady-around-250 morning sugars, Penny's sugars stayed neatly below 150 for the whole day, so I have no idea why she was so high Saturday night. Maybe she ate more of those french fries than I thought.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fair Weekend

I like having a short week.

Tomorrow, Penny's school PTA is having their annual Spring Festival, which will involve several inflatable bouncy things, a petting zoo, games, and food.

We're definitely going. The weather promises to be beautiful, and since the school is only half a mile from home, we can bring Alex's stroller, and then if he gets tired or fussy, one of us can take him home without stranding the others. I'm actually looking forward to it quite a bit. I remember going to the fair at my elementary school and having a blast -- the inflatable bouncy thing alone made it worth the trip, in my eyes.

I'm feeling positive about today. I don't know if it's the weather, or the fact that both kids had good dropoffs this morning, or what, but I'm feeling good.

Let's see how long we can make it last.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dream Discussions and Warren Ellis

I had a dream this morning. I was with a whole bunch of friends, sitting around someone's living room and talking. The first thing I noticed is that they were all real-life people, which I don't see much of in my dreams. The next thing I noticed is that these were all friends who I especially admire for their intellect, people who make me feel, at best, haphazardly and inadequately educated. People that I love to hang out with, when I get the chance, because even their random conversation is informative and fascinating.

And we were really talking -- not just telling stories and bullshitting, but earnestly and seriously discussing things and dissecting their meanings and searching for the pearls of truth scattered amongst the swine of belief and interpretation. We didn't all agree on every point, but it was exactly the kind of passionate but respectful discussion that I love to be part of, even peripherally.

Just before I woke up, I was making a point about how nearly every culture in the world has some variant on the Golden Rule. And what did it mean -- what truths could be extracted from that fact? Was there, in fact, a universal morality?

And now I'm wondering: why am I dreaming about intellectual discussions of morality? Am I starving for intellectual stimulation? Missing those pre-child days when deep discussions might indeed erupt at any gathering? Do I long to expand my education? Am I working toward an inward examination of morality and spirituality?

It's a conundrum, but it does seem, oddly, to have stimulated my thought processes. As I was driving to work after dropping the kids off to school this morning, I actually started composing a discussion of Warren Ellis as an author and a philosopher, trying to get at the theme that runs straight through his work that I've enjoyed the most -- Transmetropolitan and Preacher and The Authority and FreakAngels -- and that a mind capable of holding onto that theme is almost certainly not really as cynical as the angry and acerbic front he projects. Or at least, that it it capable of that cynicism, but it is also equally capable of a matching and balancing optimism.

That's about as far as I got with it -- it's a short drive from Penny's school to my office -- but I really wanted to put it down, because it's not often that I consider these kinds of things anymore, and I miss it. But I couldn't just suddenly throw it out there without telling you about the dream, because I think it's relevant.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I took Monday and Tuesday off, and it was lovely.

Funny, though, how there never seems to be enough time in a day when you're on vacation.

Matt and I lounged around the house Monday morning for a couple of hours, then went out to lunch, then did a bit of shopping, and then it was time to head home so we could pick Penny up from school.

Yesterday I was home by myself, so I dropped the kids off at school, then went to the gym, then came home and did a little scrapbooking, ate lunch, and then loafed on the couch reading a book until Matt and Penny got home.

We had a good anniversary, despite Alex turning up with double ear infections Saturday morning -- but we got him into the doctor's office and on antibiotics before lunch, at least. Penny was oddly excited about the whole thing -- she kept dancing around and reminding us that it was our "special day", and cooing over the flowers Matt sent me. I gave Matt some new t-shirts, and he gave me some adorably silly socks -- apparently, for us, eleven years is the "cotton" anniversary. He also gave me an audiobook that I listened to at the gym yesterday and while I was scrapbooking, and it had me laughing out loud until people on the elliptical next to mine were giving me odd looks.

Anyway, it wasn't nearly a long enough long weekend, but it was wonderful to sit and relax and do nothing -- not even have to talk to anyone if I didn't feel like it -- for hours on end.

Now, alas, back to work.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Weekend, Ho!

Just need to get through today, and then I've got a glorious long weekend to look forward to.

Tomorrow is Matt's and my eleventh anniversary. We weren't able to line up a babysitter for the kids for this weekend, so Matt and I decided we'd take Monday off from work and go out for lunch. (We thought about lunch and a movie, actually, but since we'd need the movie to be over by 2:30 so we're not late picking Penny up from school, that doesn't seem very likely. But I decided months ago that I was going off the diet for our celebration, so I'm looking forward to that.)

And then I decided that I was so stressy over work that I need another day off, so unless something goes horribly wrong at work today, I'm taking Tuesday off as well. I don't have any solid plans for that, yet. Maybe do a little shopping, go to the gym, take a nap... That probably fills up the day for me, right there, to be honest.

Whatever. Four glorious days of not being at work. I can't wait.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Headless Chicken

If the state of my email this morning is going to be any indication, it looks like I'm going to be spending today running around like a headless chicken.

I've got three software deliveries prepping for delivery tomorrow. One of them involves two separate applications. Each application must be accompanied by a version description document. Plus there's a status report document due out today and another two status report documents due out tomorrow. Each application and each document has about five pages of paperwork to go with it. Plus I have to verify that all the applications have been tested and all the bugs fixed, and I have to review all the documents to make sure they're technically and grammatically correct.

And my document specialist is out of the office today, and I'm taking Monday (and possibly Tuesday) off next week, so I have to try to avoid getting any new work added to the calendar until at least Wednesday next week.

And since we're past the middle of the month, I have a status report to write. Though that could reasonably be postponed until next week if need be.

Also, I need to call and make an appointment to get my car inspected, find some time to get online and order some short-sleeved shirts and bras that actually fit me (since the idea of finding time to go to an actual store is laughable).

I am So. Freaking. Ready for this weekend.

I took off work a bit early yesterday to take Penny shopping, so she could use her Easter money to buy a toy dog she'd seen a few weeks ago and fallen in love with.

In the car on the way to the store, she said, "I hope no one already bought it!"

So of course when we got there... it was gone. "But I was going to name it Penny," she said, almost too softly for me to hear. I thought for a minute that she was going to have a breakdown and cry, but she didn't. She held it together. The store owner came out and helped her look all over the store (it's a crowded little junkshop) just to be sure, but when they didn't find the dog anywhere, Penny wandered around doubtfully for a few minutes and eventually decided to pick out another toy. She settled on a pink and white striped cat, instead, and proudly counted out her money at the register.

"I'm going to name her Kitten!" she crowed. "You know what her middle name is going to be?"

"No, what?"


"So her name is Kitten Pinky Kitteny Kitten?"


Well, all right then. Kitten Pinky Kitteny Kitten slept with Penny last night, and rode with her in the car this morning. Apparently, the love transplant was successful.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Someone vastly misinterpreted something I said yesterday, accused me of implying they were an idiot, and -- in effect -- stomped off in a huff.

Despite several witnesses agreeing with my "WTF?!" reaction and backing me up on this person's overreaction, it affected me more than it should have, nearly to the point of an honest-to-god anxiety attack. Several hours later, I was still feeling faintly nauseous.

Why do I do that to myself? Is it another manifestation of the stupid PMS thing? Even knowing that I hadn't done anything wrong, I let it eat me. Even thinking about certain other people makes me feel judged and anxious and inadequate. Why do I let people who don't even care about me that much matter so much?

More to the point, how do I stop it?

Sorry about this. I had a semi-lighthearted rant going in my head this morning that I was going to use, but it really kind of belongs over on the diet blog, not here. Maybe I'll get some time to post it later.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ten Again

I neglected to write about this last week, because I try to keep the diet talk over on the diet blog, and because last week was pretty insane at work. But assuming that I haven't completely gone crazy on Easter candy (and I'm pretty sure I've stayed within limits on it) then I've passed my second 10% marker. That's not 20%, since each 10% is calculated based on where I start it. But it is more than fifty pounds lost since last October.

Which makes it a milestone worth mentioning here. The last time I went on a diet (three or four years ago) I got to about this point -- which was the thinnest I'd been since before Matt and I got married -- hit a plateau, and gave up. I've got a better support network this time, though, so I'm hoping to push through it and onward to my final destination.

Every pound I lose for the next twenty or so will be the thinnest I've been since... well, I didn't track my weight while Matt and I were dating. But I know about where I was when we started dating, and about where I was when we got married (which is heavier than I am now). This next 10% journey will cover what remains of that territory. It seems appropriate to start it off, then, just before our anniversary.

And the next time I mention the diet here, I'll be back to grad school territory.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Cold Spring

Well, I was just about to tell you about my good weekend. There's some pictures over at flickr of Penny dying eggs and the kids with their bunny ears, if you're looking for something cute and uplifting this morning. (Alas, I didn't take any pictures while John and Sam were over for dinner, but that went well, too, and we had a good time with them.)

But my post-good-weekend mood just got crushed.

There's a guy I work with. He's closer to my dad's age than my own, and in fact was kind of a buddy with my dad, when Dad used to work here. He's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he does his job well, and he's a really good guy. He always stops by my office when he walks by and says hello, and tells me to say hi to Dad for him. When he goes on travel to foreign places, he always brings back little souvenirs for all the non-traveling folks. I've got probably half a dozen little bric-a-brac things in my office that he gave me.

Last week, on Monday, I found out that his wife -- whom I've never met, but he always speaks of her in terms that let you understand she's the light of his life -- was in the hospital, in ICU, and expected to be there for the next several months.

What puts a fifty-something woman in ICU for months? Well, she's diabetic, and she scratched an itch, and didn't notice when it got infected. Then the infection crossed into her bloodstream, and it was a matter of hours before she ended up in the emergency room, and from there admitted to the hospital and installed in ICU. There were gory details, but I won't pass them on. It might've been less serious, but her religious beliefs forbade her from allowing a blood transfusion.

("I wish I hadn't been there when she went to the ER," the guy told me last week. "Then I could have told the doctors to go ahead and do it, and claimed ignorance. But she told me, 'No blood,' and I can't go against her wishes.")

He stopped in this morning to tell us that she died on Saturday, after several days of apparent improvement.

So somehow, I'm not quite ready to talk about chocolate bunnies and lamb chops, just at the moment.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Not The Best

Not the best start to the morning ever.

At some point, apparently, I turned off my alarm, so I didn't get up quite on time and the whole morning felt slightly rushed.

I stepped on the scale this morning and discovered that I've apparently gained back the pound that I lost last week.

Alex pitched a wobbly fit when I went into the kitchen to get everyone's lunches out of the fridge and take my meds.

Penny broke down in tears when I dropped her off at the daycare and had to be pried off me.

I am so. so. so ready for this weekend.

There is a picture I want to take. A very specific picture.

There are redbud trees all around here, especially along the edges of the roads. In the spring, when they're blooming, they look like this:

I love redbuds in the spring. They're sort of symbols of spring for me, and I love it when I come around a corner or over a rise and another spray of purple surprises me. (Pink dogwoods take me the same way, but they're much less common.) There's a thick cluster of redbuds just as I get on the interstate on my way to the gym or my allergist from work. On a clear day, it's an explosion of color that always brings a smile to my face.

My camera has a function that will take pictures in all black and white except the color you tell it to keep. I don't use it often because it's a pain to set up, but the results can be pretty interesting.

I very much want to take a picture of the trees along the road, that's all black and white except for the purple of the redbud flowers. I'd especially love to do it along that stretch of interstate, where there's so much purple to pick up, but really almost anywhere around here would work. We even have a redbud tree in our back yard (well, technically, it's in the neighbor's back yard, but it leans over our yard a bit), though the presence of houses and fences would sort of spoil the effect for me.

But it's not going to happen. Redbuds only bloom for a couple of weeks, and I saw this morning that they're starting to show green on their tops already. And it's going to be cloudy for the next few days, and...

Every year, I plan to take a picture of the tulip magnolias blooming in our neighborhood -- they're in full bloom for only a matter of days -- and every year, I miss that, too.

Why is this bothering me so much? Am I PMSing? Is it because I'm having a bad day or a stressful few weeks? Is it a metaphor for all the other things that I've let slip me by? Is this what my midlife crisis is going to be -- flower pictures? How stupid is that?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Weekend Sighted

Okay, so yesterday wasn't quite as smooth and productive as I'd been hoping, but it wasn't a total flop, either, so I guess that's something. Today promises to be fairly busy, as well, but hopefully not too crazy. It's kind of a vain hope, though, I expect.

But the weekend is on the horizon, so that's something! And it'll be a good one. Penny will get to dye eggs on Saturday (Alex is definitely too little to even try it, yet) and I get to put Easter baskets together and hide eggs for Penny and Alex to find (though Alex hasn't really glommed onto the game yet) and I'm considering making lamb for Easter dinner. (I need to get over to my local hoity-toity grocery store today and see what they've got -- it's only the 4 of us, so I don't want a whole leg, but they might be able to give me shank steaks or some stew cuts. It has to be today because I also need to pick up some chips for Alex's class party tomorrow. I've been forgetting that all week. Bad Mommy!)

Also, I need to go to Sam's Club to pick up diapers and chicken nuggets, so I should look around and see what else we need before I go.

And our front bushes are threatening to eat the porch, so I should get out the trimmer and hack at it for a while.

But I'm even looking forward to the chores, because they won't be work.

I just have to get through today and tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Oddly Not Bad

Twitter is full of people complaining about lack of sleep or poor sleep this morning. Oddly, then, I suppose, I slept just fine, if (as always) not as long as I might have liked.

Also, I had an extremely busy but moderately productive day at work yesterday -- neither bored to the point of twiddling my thumbs, but not one of those stupid-crazy days where I get interrupted every thirty seconds and end the day feeling like I never managed to accomplish anything.

Dinner was a bit odd -- I got ready to make our usual Tuesday night dinner of chicken nuggets only to discover that there were only eight left in the bag -- certainly not enough for all four of us! So Penny and Alex got chicken nuggets, and I went scrounging for leftovers for Matt and I. Luckily, one of my buckets of leftovers worked out to almost exactly the same number of points as the chicken nuggets would have, so I didn't have to scramble to recalculate my day or risk running over.

Then after we got the kids into bed, I had a fairly satisfying wiirkout (rhythm boxing FTW!) and settled into WoW to chat. I don't really have time to do serious questing with my main on nights I have a wiirkout (or a workout, for that matter) so I decided I'd take my "bank" character around to do a bunch of low-level quests. The low-level stuff is fairly close to the big cities, so she's not shirking her bank duties, and I can knock out five or six low-level quests in half an hour pretty easy. (I said I was doing it for the reputation points to make things cheaper, and for the easy exploration achievements, but really? It's just because the low-level quests are so cute and easy.)

And this morning, the kids were pretty good -- occasional whining but no out-and-out tantrums; and calm acceptance if not enthusiasm when I dropped them off at daycare.

So all in all, things are going okay for me right now. I actually got my to-do list at work clear enough that I might be able to tackle a couple of my bigger long-term projects and nudge them a little further along, and head for the gym after my lunchtime conference call without worrying that I'm leaving someone in the lurch.

I'm hoping for a good day, but I'll be satisfied with another "not bad" one.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Sometimes, what's going on in my head really needs to stay there.

And in the meantime, work continues to be crazy, the kids continue to be adorable and silly ("I'm not silly, Mom!") and life continues to be hectic but mostly uninteresting, and the upshot of it all is that I don't have much in the way of a journal entry this morning.

Sorry. This is probably why I only have half a dozen readers, eh?

Have a picture, instead:
Table Tossing
From the acrobat show last week, if you hadn't guessed already. The blurry objects mid-air are tables, being tossed from juggling feet to juggling feet.

...I hadn't actually intended it for a metaphor for my life, currently, but it fits.

Monday, April 6, 2009


One of my primary job functions is to review documents and software before we deliver it.

On average, I review about one and a half deliverables a day. (About one a day exactly if you count weekends.)

Today is April 6th, and we've had a weekend. So far, this month, I have reviewed twenty documents and software packages. That's over three a day. Or five a day, if you don't count the weekend.

In other words, approximately a 350% increase in workload. For one of my job functions; I have several other functions that are expected to continue normally.

Just in case anyone was wondering why my brain has been mush for the last few days.


It was a really lovely weekend, if possibly not altogether good for my diet. The weather was perfect, with highs in the low 70s and a brisk breeze to keep the air fresh and moving. Clear blue sky and light fluffy clouds. Perfection.

Friday evening, Jen and Brian came over and we went out to dinner, and then after Matt and I got the kids tucked into bed, we sat around talking until nearly midnight. It was really quite lovely -- they're the kinds of friends that you fall in with immediately, even if you haven't seen them for a while, and we have this fantastic Venn diagram of interests that overlap significantly but not completely, so there's enough common ground to start a conversation, peppered with plenty of those wonderful "I never knew that" moments to keep it from being a rehash of things we all already know.

We're thinking of starting a small, once-a-month game, if we can settle on a system and a GM. I'm kind of excited -- it's been years since I was in a tabletop game, and as much as I love KT's email games, there's something visceral about being face-to-face with everyone and having to think up your responses on the fly.

Saturday we went down to Chesapeake to celebrate Kevin's birthday. That was wonderful, too, despite KT still feeling a little bit under the weather from a cold. Penny and Jess were thrilled to pieces to be together, we ate lots of wonderful food, and Alex was even reasonably cool, considering he'd only taken half a nap before we went.

And Sunday we went to my parents' house for an early Easter, since they're leaving this week for Cancun. We arrived just as my parents were finishing up hiding eggs in the yard for Penny and Alex, so it wasn't long before we were out there taking pictures and trying to get Alex to play along. (He was pretty game for the first four or five eggs, and then mostly lost interest.) But the weather couldn't have been any nicer, and we had both kids dressed in their Easter clothes that my folks had sent for them, so it was wonderful.

Friday, April 3, 2009


3 AM: Alex wakes up and has a long and, apparently, invigorating conversation with the toys in his crib. I glance at the clock, groan, and put my pillow over my head. Eventually, Alex settles whatever discussion is taking place, and goes back to sleep.

4 AM: I am robbing a vault. Looks kind of like a bank vault, but it's not a bank. I'm with a team of other thieves. They're waiting -- patiently, but tensely -- for me to finish opening the smaller safe that's inside the vault. I cut and splice some wires, check the readout... Should be good. "Here goes nothing." I touch a pad... and an alarm sounds.

"Crap. Crap! Fuck! Shit!" We look around wildly, and I check the map in my head: We have most of a minute before the guards will arrive, so we can- the door is closing automatically. "Out! Out! Out!" My compatriots run, slip through -- but then the closing crack is too narrow for me. I'm locked in the vault. "Well... shit. What now?"

The guards are coming. I start working on a plan.

5 AM: Alex sounds a barbaric YAWP. He doesn't sound upset. It's not crying. Just a single, long loud noise, a declaration of existence. And wakefulness. I wait a few moments in the dark, listening, but apparently the noise summed up everything he wanted to communicate, because he's quiet, again.

5:30 AM: The vault door opens. Two guards are pointing guns at me. I squeak, and then sag with feigned relief. "Oh, thank god!" I breathe, and launch myself on wobbly legs toward them. "I was working late, and I just walked by and he grabbed me and shoved me in here and-" I'm carrying my purse. Why did I bring my huge clunker of a purse on a robbery? No idea, but it lends verisimilitude to my story. Anger at my failure to finish the job rushes over me, and I let it summon tears. "I was so scared!" I gasp.

It isn't quite a lie. I wasn't scared before, but I am now. The guards aren't stupid. They'll keep me around while they investigate. If the other thieves didn't lay enough of a trail as they left for the guards to find -- or if they left too much of a trail -- then I'm cooked.

6 AM: A metallic scream or squeal -- a screal? It stretches on and on. "What the hell-?" Matt gets out of bed and turns off his radio alarm. Apparently, it was a commercial sound effect. At least, I hope it was a commercial sound effect, because if it was meant to be music, it failed.

I'm not feeling very well-rested this morning.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Off By One

I keep thinking it's a day later in the week than it really is. Been doing it all freaking week, in fact.

I'd walk into the documentation office for a status update and say something like, "So where are we on all those Project X documents for tomorrow?"

And the documentation person would stare at me in horror and say, "I thought they weren't due until Thursday!"

"Right," I'd say, "Thursday, which is... not tomorrow. Never mind. Carry on."

All. Freaking. Week.

Last night, packing my lunch for today, I thought, "Huhn. I have a left over cup of EggBeaters. I thought I'd worked it out so I'd use the last one on Friday. Wait. Dammit."

When my alarm went off for the first time this morning, I thought, "Oh, thank god it's Frida- Wait. Dammit."

And then twenty minutes later, as I was picking out my clothes for the day, I thought, "Hey, I could wear jeans, it's Friday... Wait. Dammit."

It is so unfair that today isn't Friday. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


The acrobat show was lots of fun.

It was general seating, so I chose seats for us that would leave an empty chair in front of Penny. It left me sitting behind a very tall man, but since I was leaning over toward Penny anyway to hold her hand in the dark, it didn't matter too much.

Unfortunately, after the intermission, something happened on that row and the man ended up moving down one seat to sit right in front of Penny, and his wife in front of me, so Penny and I wound up leaning together to watch the show between their heads. Ah, well.

The pacing could have been better -- they did most of the surprising and fascinating acts in the first half, and what was left for the second half was less stunning, at least visually. (With the exception of the guy who built a tower of chairs, starting from the orchestra pit and ending with a hand-stand that had his feet literally touching the ceiling -- that was pretty damn cool.) And they couldn't figure out what the tone should be. For the first half, it was "the mysterious orient", but then they tried to introduce an element or two of humor in the second half that was cute, but didn't quite fit.

The actual acrobatics, though, now... that was awesome. Contortion and juggling and flips and dives and body-pyramids of every sort. The "ballet" bit was striking in its simplicity -- I've seen ballerinas in arabesque en pointe before... but this one did it on the top of her partner's head.

The foot-juggling was fun -- parasols are traditional, and then they moved on to clay pots, chairs, and kitchen tables. (They climaxed with the tables, but I wondered if the pots or chairs might actually be more difficult, as they were less symmetric.) There was a woman doing sleight-of-hand and quick-change masks, which was great.

Yay, acrobats! I had fun.

During the intermission, I bought Penny a little bead charm in the shape of a duck or a chick (she named it "Chicky-Wick-Nick") and a Chinese yo-yo for us to "share". Penny figured out how to work the yo-yo pretty quickly, and gleefully flung it at Matt after we got home.

Of course she's tired today -- we got home a solid two hours after her usual bedtime last night -- but she's refusing to admit it. And she kept Chicky-Wick-Nick clutched in her hot little hand right up until we got to school and I made her put it in her backpack. (I tried to convince her to attach it to her backpack or med-kit zipper, like it's meant to be used, but she flat refused. I figure in a week or so, when the love affair has cooled some, I'll try again.)