Friday, May 29, 2009

Into the Wild Blue

So I'm leaving tomorrow morning to fly to San Antonio to visit my grandmother (and my dad, who's there with her). The trip is as much to provide him a little support as it is to visit her.

But it's also about visiting her. When my grandfather was dying, I waffled and weaseled and let my family talk me out of making the trip. When he died, I didn't find out for more than a day, and by then it was too late to make the trip for the funeral. I've always regretted that I didn't go, either to say goodbye or to help my family through the funeral. The reasons that I thought I had turned out to be not as compelling as I thought, at the time.

Grandmom isn't dying -- at least, she isn't on her deathbed. But her health has been deteriorating quickly over the last few years, and I strongly suspect she's still living now only because she's always had an iron will. When she finally decides she's ready to go, I expect she'll slip away very quickly indeed. I may not be able to make a deathbed visit. I suspect that's part of why my dad and his brother have been taking turns staying with her, even though she could very conceivably live for several more years.

The other part of why they're there is that she can no longer live in her apartment. It's too dangerous -- has been for several years now, if the truth must be told. She's fought tooth and nail the move to the assisted living facility, but it's overdue. So Dad and my uncle are sorting through her things and paring them down for the move. That can't be an easy task. I don't know if they're even telling her about it -- her bad memory is even worse when she doesn't want to hold on to something, so I don't know if she'd remember that she's moving even if they did tell her.

I've been told that they want me to look through her jewelry while I'm there and help sort out the nice things from the costume jewelry. I'm not sure why that falls to me, except that I was the favorite grandchild for a long time, and I'm the only one with children who might enjoy playing dress-up with the discarded costume stuff (and if you don't think I'm ambivalent about that notion, you can think again). Oh, well, we'll see how it goes.

I expect it to be a somewhat hectic trip. I'm arriving Saturday evening around dinnertime (a slightly late dinner, at that) and may not even get to see Grandmom until Sunday -- I don't know what the visiting hours are at the recovery facility or how strictly they're kept. Sunday will be devoted to visiting and packing, and then I'll need to head for the airport around mid-morning on Monday (I'll be getting home right around Penny's bedtime that evening).

Matt suggested that I try to get my dad to go with me to see the new Star Trek movie while I'm there, which is an excellent notion, though I'm not sure where we'd fit it in. One of the evenings, I expect, after visiting hours are done with. And I'm taking my laptop -- I've loaded it with movies to watch if things get slow, and I can show Grandmom pictures of the kids to give us something to talk about (it's very hard to have a conversation with someone whose short-term memory shorts out every few minutes). Plus, it would be nice if the Village's wireless network will allow me to video-conference home, so I can talk to Matt and Penny. Failing that, I'm taking my iPhone, of course.

I'm going to try really hard to pack carryon-only. It seems ridiculous to check a bag for a two-day trip when I'm not even going to need to take a jacket with me. A pair of shorts, a couple of shirts, and enough socks and underwear to get me through should do the trick. I won't need my purse -- I slim down for trips and just take my ID, a credit card, and a little cash. If the laptop will fit, I think I can get everything into my old backpack with room to spare.

I'm not a very good traveler, and this trip isn't for the most fun of reasons, but I think I'm ready.

Up, up, and away.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Hrrrrgh. Definitely did not get enough sleep last night. I stayed at Book Club until late because we were having such a fun discussion (nothing to do with the book, mind, but fun anyway) and I was still a bit keyed up when I got home, so I didn't get to sleep until almost midnight.

The days where I could stay up until 2am and still function (if somewhat groggily) the next morning, and where midnight was no problem at all -- those days are long behind me, I suspect.

Maybe I'll be able to get some extra sleep while I'm in Texas this weekend. Not that I anticipate being able to sleep in, but naps are not out of the realm of possibility. And unless the WiFi has a lot better coverage than on my last trip, I certainly won't be staying up late playing WoW.

On the way to school this morning, Penny said, "Mommy, I didn't sleep so good last night."

I said, "I'm sorry, sweetie. Why not?"

"Because Daddy told me to go potty before bed."

That fiend.

More Alex words:

Ba (or sometimes baba) = blanket

Ba-boh = Hippo (his favorite stuffed animal)

Doh = door

Moh = milk, or mouth (context is king)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I'm feeling pessimistic today.

Weigh-in wasn't all I'd hoped for this morning; and my workout last night was horrid; and I'm going out of town this coming weekend, which is never good for diets.

It's time to teach Penny some hard lessons about planning ahead, and even though I carefully explained to her last night about it, she chose poorly, and she's going to run into a wall with it this weekend (if not before). While I'm not here, so I'm feeling guilty for having to drop that on Matt's head.

I'm going to San Antonio this weekend to visit my grandmother. While I'm there, I'll be helping my dad and my uncle sort through her possessions so they can arrange to move her from her apartment into an assisted-living facility. She's been fighting that move for a while now, but it's a bit overdue; her memory is really too bad for her to be living alone anymore. It's sad, watching her fade away like this, and I'm terrified -- terrified -- that she'll turn into something like Matt's stepmom's Granny, who doesn't recognize anyone and is convinced that she's lost and living in a strange house.

And that's on top of the usual dissatisfaction with work, and the everyday personal junk, and... bleh.

Tell you what. Back up and check out last night's post about Alex's talking, and pretend that's what I wrote about today, 'kay? 'Kay.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Essence of the Word

Alex is finally starting to talk. I couldn't tell you what his first word was, because he edged into it so slowly and I have no idea when his random syllables actually started to sound like parts of real words. He's got a dozen or so baby words now. Hard as it is to understand, I find myself amused by the baby words. They're like the distilled essence of the actual words. "Na" for "banana", for instance. "Cheerio" is rendered as "yo", which I find utterly adorable.

He can also say "eye" and "nose" almost intelligibly. "Mama" is a sort of blanket word that means lots of different things that start with the "m" sound -- Mama, or mouth. (Of course, he still calls Matt "Mama" and me "Dada" sometimes, so we're not sure how solid he with that one.)

There's "baba", which is either "bubble" or "bottle" or "bye-bye" -- it takes some context to figure out which.

And the ubiquitous "baw" (ball), and also "na-na" for "night-night".

He'll be competing with his sister to fit those words in edgewise into every little silence pretty soon!

Feelin' Groovy

I was kind of expecting a weekend that busy to leave me feeling wiped out, but it didn't. Nothing worse this morning than the usual morning "I'd-really-like-another-hour-or-two" sleepies.

And it was a really good weekend.

I had a great time at the girlie Mary Kay party and got all fabuloused-up, and bought stuff I probably don't need. (I was once again surprised by how nice my eyes look when I put even a little bit of mascara on, but I have yet to figure out how to remove the stuff at the end of the day without getting makeup remover in my eye and turning it all red and puffy, so alas, no sexy eyelashes for me.)

And then I came home and braced for the sleepover. That went pretty well. The girls went outside after dinner to play with Ray, and after a while I took Alex out to help keep an eye on them all. We were outside for a good hour or more, and there was only one spout of tears (Penny got overenthusiastic and bonked Jess with her elbow) and only one argument that looked like they might get out of hand (Ray is going through a no-sharing phase, and Jess was not interested in taking no for an answer -- once I'd broken up the wrestling match, they managed to compromise on him sharing a different toy with her) which is not bad for a bunch of 5-year-olds, really.

I eventually shepherded them inside to clean up and get ready for bed. Jess has apparently learned that the secret to being popular is to be aloof; I overheard this exchange after they got into their pajamas:

"Jess, I like your pajamas! You look really pretty!"

"I know. It's purple."

"Do you think I look pretty, too?"

"No." (She later relented and backed up to "A little.")

I got the inkling that the girls were a touch overtired and overwrought when about every other thing that happened started to result in tears... I wouldn't agree to a third bedtime book: tears. One girl drank her cup of water faster than the other: tears. One girl beat the other in the race up the stairs: tears. One girl didn't know all the lyrics to the song we were singing: tears.

"Okay, are we ready to go to sleep?" I said.

"No," Jess said.

"What's wrong, honey?"

"I don't have a second pillow."

"Well, honey, Penny only has one pillow, too. I think it'll be-"

"I have two pillows," Penny interrupted, "but one of them is this little fuzzy one!"

I counted to ten and tried not to strangle my beloved daughter. Some quick thinking turned up my old tooth fairy pillow, which is about the same size as Penny's "second" pillow, and Jess seemed happy enough with that.

I eventually got them into bed and gave Penny hugs and kisses (that wasn't favoritism; Jess refused the offer) and said, "Okay, go to sleep now. I'm going to go take my shower now, and I'll see you in the morning."

I got as far as my room and heard, "Mom! Jess doesn't feel good!" I investigated, allowed them to share a cup of water, and suggested that they take turns going potty before they go back to bed. I went back into my room and got my shoes off. "Mom! Jess misses her family!" We got the phone and called KT and Kevin and let Jess say goodnight to them. I got the girls back to bed and went back to my room. I got my shirt off and heard, "Mom! My tummy hurts because I didn't finish my dinner!" I convinced Penny that having left a single baby carrot on her plate was not going to cause her to starve overnight and that in any case it was too late to eat anything. I got my pants off, and was working on my bra. "Mom! Jess got hurt!" I ran in, and discovered that "got hurt" was code for "rolled over and bumped her butt against Penny's dresser." "Try not to sleep that close to the edge," I advised.

I finally got into the shower, and just as I was picking up the shampoo, the bathroom door opened. "Mom, I can't go to sleep because Jess keeps talking!"


They eventually fell asleep, though, and were so exhausted that they slept right through my 10:00 blood sugar check for Penny. (Well, Jess did, anyway -- I had to wake Penny up for a juice box.) It probably goes without saying that by this time, Jess had scootched around on her mattress until she wasn't anywhere near her two pillows, right? Right.

I'd been hoping all the extra play would tire the kids out a little, but the girls were up at 5:55. Actually, they were probably up well before that; 5:55 is when I dragged out of bed to tell them that I didn't care if they were awake but they needed to be whispering and not waking Matt and me up.

Didn't get back to sleep after that, anyway, but I stubbornly stayed in bed until almost 7, just to make the point.

The girls had recovered from being overtired, at least, and were happy and giggly and in good moods for the morning. Matt volunteered to take the girls and drive Jess home, which helped the scheduling nightmare, since it let me go to the grocery store at the usual time. Alex was awesome for that, even -- he usually gets a bit cranky around the time we get to the last few aisles, but he was cool this time, playing a silly noisemaking game and flirting with other shoppers.

After Matt and Penny got back from dropping Jess off, we had lunch and then headed down to the Virginia Living Museum for a birthday party. Penny was a little shy for the party itself -- Heidi (the birthday girl) is 10, and most of her other guests were of a like age. (Penny got invited courtesy of Matt and I being friends with Heidi's parents, I suspect.)

The Living Museum has a very cool birthday schtick, though -- the birthday kid gets to pick two animals from a list and they actually bring those animals out and let all the guests look at and even touch them. Heidi had picked a screech owl and a box turtle for her animals, and it was really kind of cool, even for us adults. (The owl more than the turtle, admittedly -- we've all seen turtles. But I helped Alex pet the turtle, and he seemed to enjoy that.)

And after the party was done, we were turned loose on the museum itself, and both Penny and Alex had a blast. Alex wasn't terribly interested in most of the museum, but he had fun going up and down some stairs and then back and forth through a door a dozen or more times. He did spend a short time fascinated by some fish, and charged headlong down the (enclosed) nature trail, walking a good half-mile all by himself before demanding that Matt pick him up. And later, he had a good time with the hands-on exhibit, rubbing various animal furs on his face.

Penny actually had some interest in the museum itself, and she really liked the hands-on exhibits and the fish tanks. She liked the night animals and the dinosaur statue, too. She ran excitedly from display to display, exclaiming, "Cool!" and "Look at this!"

Myself, I could have spent an hour by the jellyfish tank -- the jellies ranged from the size of my face down to the size of my thumbnail. They were gently lit purple in the dark room, and their slow floating was hypnotic.

We definitely need to keep the Living Museum in mind when we have a weekend free and need to figure out something to do -- I don't think Penny even saw half of what was there to see.

After all that, I thought I'd want to spend Monday collapsed in a heap, but we were really feeling pretty good. After a calm morning, we packed the kids and went down to visit my mom for a bit. We only stayed about an hour -- both kids turned up tired and got variously irritable and whiny, so we gave up and went back home.

We didn't do anything particularly special for Memorial Day, but I did get Matt to fire up the grill and make steaks for us. (Penny whined at first, but once she got started, she scarfed down her entire 4-oz steak.) I made a bean-and-tomato side salad and threw in some leftover bacon I had in the 'fridge, and it turned out really tasty and not nearly as diet-unfriendly as I had feared.

So today's schedule is a little crazy (all my work meetings that usually happen on Mondays got rescheduled for today, and they're overlapping my meetings that usually happen on Tuesdays) but all in all, I'm feeling pretty good.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Long, But Busy

Approacheth the Memorial Day long weekend. Whoo!

Let's see what we have on the ol' weekend to-do list:

- Need to take Penny shopping to get birthday presents for Ray and Heidi. That needs to be completely done by about 10:30, because...
- At noon, I'm attending a Mary Kay party with KT down in Virginia Beach.
- At 2, well before I get back, Matt will pack Penny and Alex up and take them to Ray's birthday party. (And Jess will be there, too, with Kevin.)
- When that's done (4ish), Kevin is going to bring Jess back to our house for a sleepover.
- Matt will leave around 5ish for his monthly D&D game, so I get to herd the three kids through dinner and bedtime.

- Wake up with the kids (6:30-7ish), herd them through breakfast and hope they can be kept moderately quiet so Matt can sleep, since the game generally runs until 1 or 2am, and he's already been out past midnight a couple of times this week.
- No later than 10, I need to get Jess into the car so I can drive her home and be back in time for...
- Heidi's birthday party at 1 (which is down at the Living Museum, so we'll need to leave home no later than 12:30). I should double-check that time. I will feel like an idiot if we show up at 1 and the party isn't until 2.
- Sunday is also grocery-shopping day and laundry day. I'm not sure how that's going to work out. Some of it may spill into Monday, I guess. Hurrah for long weekends.

- Go to the hardware store for a new filter for the air filter thingy, and some planter pots.
- Transplant the tomatoes and johnny-jump-ups from their seedling cups to the planters. (Yes, I've left it a bit late. I won't have tomatoes now until August.)
- Collapse.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thin Skinned

My skin seems awfully thin lately.

That's not a metaphor implying that I'm easily offended or hurt. My skin actually seems to have become thinner lately. Easier to tear and bleed. Last night, I tore skin to the point of bleeding by trying to open a bottle of salad dressing. Seriously -- ripped holes in my thumb and middle finger when they caught on the plastic hinge and the little leverage tab opposite.

I've also got a paper cut on the index finger of the same hand.

They're minor wounds, admittedly, but they sting like the dickens. I wondered briefly if there was something about losing weight that makes the skin thinner and more prone to damage, and then I realized it's far more likely to be something infinitely more sinister: age.

Modern society doesn't think of the 30s as being particularly old, but in all honesty, it's on the downside of peak physical condition for most humans. It's only in the last hundred years or so that our life expectancy has reliably gone much past 60, and evolution takes more than a few generations to adapt to that kind of thing. Much past 30, and the body begins, slowly, to fail -- that's a fact, even for people who take very good care of their health. It's rare for professional athletes to stay in the game much past 35 (depending on the particular game, I know). All other factors accounted for, the risk of birth defects jumps surprisingly once the mother passes the age of 35. (Which is why my insurance classed my pregnancy with Alex as "high risk" -- not my weight, not genetic factors, just my age.)

The organs work a little slower than they did ten years ago. New cells get built less readily, so healing takes a little longer. (That includes healing the micro-tears that are the result of strength exercises, which is why building new muscle is harder after 30 than it is when you're young -- and it offers a double whammy of reasons to avoid ramping up an exercise regimen too quickly.)

And the skin... it thins. It becomes less the tight, rubbery, quick-to-heal wrapper of a child, and more the loose, tissue-y, delicate shroud of the old.

All of which sounds pretty depressing, but I'm actually not feeling too bad about it. It's annoying, and perhaps just the slightest bit funny...

I like to laugh at the ridiculous ways I've injured myself. In college, I wound up on crutches as the result of a game of Frisbee (and not even Ultimate Frisbee -- just tossing a disk around with a couple of friends). I can still see the faint scars on my arm from a terrible pizza injury, a decade ago.

But I think "multiple wounds from salad dressing" has to top them all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Morning Cloud

I didn't get to sleep until after midnight last night. I stayed up late reading, and then wasn't quite asleep when Matt got home from a meetup with an old friend from college. (Wish I'd been able to go, too -- it sounded like fun. Oh, well, maybe next time we'll get enough notice to arrange to meet for dinner instead of late night drinks and we can bring the kids along.)

As a result, my head is a little fuzzy this morning, like there's a cloud floating around it.

I'm trying to get tickets to fly out and visit my grandmother, but it kind of sucks. So far, I have three choices: I can leave Norfolk before 7am (meaning I'd have to get up at 4am), I can get back to Norfolk on my return flight after 11pm (meaning I'd get home around 1am -- and have to go to work the next day) or I can pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $350 for my tickets. Grr.

Today I'll try going directly through the airlines instead of the resellers; sometimes they have combinations that aren't available elsewhere. Failing that... I dunno, maybe I'll push my trip out a couple of weeks and go in mid-June; Grandmom's health is failing -- she may or may not make it to Christmas, depending entirely on her own stubbornness and strength of will (which is considerable) -- but she's not on her deathbed right at the moment.

It's a ponderance.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Excitement Central

Yeah, so, weekend of strep. Actually, it wasn't too bad. I didn't get it -- apparently the scratchy throat was allergies and the headache was from stress or lack of sleep or something, because it was all gone Saturday.

Alex didn't sleep very well through the weekend, and he was kind of clingy, but was in pretty good spirits during the days. Penny was fine, though being sick made her sugars skyrocket -- we ended up calling her doctor and increasing the dosage for her long-acting insulin (from 4.5 to 5.5 units a day) and changing her corrective factor (from 1:150 to 1:100) for the duration. She had a couple of lows and near-lows yesterday, though, so we've started inching things back toward normal.

We managed to get a lot of chores and errands done, though -- a run to Target, a run to Sam's Club, the weekly run to the grocery store, a trip to the library, the lawn mowed, the clothes washed. I'd meant to transplant my baby tomatoes to their large pots, too, but it rained all weekend and I didn't feel like getting wet. Maybe I'll get to it during the week.

I didn't post yesterday because my new document person started work yesterday, and I spent yesterday morning getting her settled and the paperwork done. (I'm up to three minions, now. Fear my power!) And then once that was done, it was the Day Of Meetings, as always on Mondays -- 10-11, 1-2, and 2:30-4. I ran to the gym during lunch, and that was pretty much my whole day gone.

On the plus side, it looks to be a fairly slow week at work, so maybe I can finally finally finish my Six Sigma project writeup and get that out of the way.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Love in the Time of Strep

Last couple of days... not the best. Matt's car broke. Both kids came down with strep throat. My document person is out of town for a funeral, so I'm completely soloing two software deliveries today (and any documents that randomly turn up).

So rather than rehash all the attendant minor disasters that occurred in relation to the above (cf., Penny's first experience(s) with pills rather than liquid medicines) I'm just going to post a random blogmeme I stumbled across and thought would be fun.

Here's the deal:

1) Go to Wikipedia and hit the random article link: That topic, whatever it is, is your band name.

2) Go to QuotationsPage and hit their random quote link: The last four or five words of the last quote on the page is your album title.

3) Go to Flickr and hit their Explore the last 7 days link: The third picture, whatever it is, is your cover art.

4) Use your graphics program of choice to put it all together!

So here's mine:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The morning started off pretty good, but Penny is off in la-la land and not listening to me and not thinking about things before she asks about them and now I'm feeling crabby and grumpy.

And Matt is in Richmond all day for a meeting for work, so I have to leave work at 2:45 to pick Penny up from school and then get Alex for a doctor's appointment. And I just realized that means that I can't go to the gym during lunch. So I should've gone yesterday, after all. Guess I'll try to go tonight, instead.

And the work on my to-do list today is mostly boring, tedious administrivia that I don't want to do but can't get out of.

Just call me Whiny McWhinypants today, I guess.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


At the daycare's carnival this past weekend, they had every family fill out a ticket for a raffle. "Lots of prizes!" the sign promised. "You don't have to be here to win!" I never win drawings, but I saw restaurant and store gift cards on the sign-up table, and the grand prize, which was two weeks of free tuition. So... what the heck? It only cost me thirty seconds to fill out the ticket.

This morning, the director hailed me as I was taking Alex back to his class. "Don't leave without talking to me!"

When I came back up to the desk, one child lighter, she handed me an envelope. "You won a prize from the raffle!"

"Oh, awesome! What is it?"

"Two tickets to Busch Gardens!" Amusingly, we didn't win the first drawing -- but the family that won the tickets at first already had season passes for this year, so they gave them back to the daycare for a second drawing. But that is pretty awesome, especially since Busch Gardens just opened their new Sesame Street themed kiddie area.

Now we have to figure out when we can go. With Penny and Alex along, I don't see it being an all-day excursion -- a few hours at most, really -- but if we register for Fun Cards, then we can go back all summer, for just the price of parking.


I forgot to mention the sweetest thing that happened on Mother's Day.

Penny was playing in the dining room, and said, "Oh! I found something!" and brought me a random scrap of paper (I think it was a registration card from a Highlights magazine) on which she had written, "To Mom Frome Alex I love Mommy"

"I think Alex made this for you!" she said, completely disingenuous. "Wasn't that nice of him?"

It was so utterly sweet of her that I teared up.

I am suddenly not sure whether this child is actually my spawn. It would never, in a million years, have spontaneously occurred to me to help my brother make a card or gift for our mom or anyone else.

And if I did help him make a card for Mom (on someone else's suggestion, perhaps) then I would absolutely not have tried to let her think he'd done it. I would've made certain she knew the full extent of my contributions.

At least she made sure that "Alex's" card did not outshine her own.

Monday, May 11, 2009


I had a good weekend.

Matt sent me flowers at work on Friday for Mother's Day. This time, instead of cut flowers, he sent a potted miniature rosebush. It's really beautiful; let's hope I can keep it alive!

Saturday, Alex's daycare held a little carnival for their students and families. It was lots of fun, actually -- they had games set up, and some firemen there to show off their truck and gear, and some Humane Society volunteers with puppies and guinea pigs for the kids to pet (and try to talk their parents into adopting) and plenty of food.

Alex didn't really know what to do with himself -- mostly he just charged around the playground and his classroom, giggling at all the people. Penny got her face painted and spent a lot of time petting puppies. I took my phone with me, but forgot to take pictures. All in all, it was a lot of fun.

Sunday was Mother's Day, of course. I slept in (or tried to; Penny woke me up at six, playing in the bathroom, and after I got up to tell her to go play in her room, I don't think I ever actually went back to sleep, though it was nice to lounge around in bed and be lazy for a while). When I got up, Penny and Matt were just putting the finishing touches on my breakfast. They'd planned to bring it upstairs for me to have in bed, but since I was up, they brought it to me on the couch, instead.

Matt and I had talked about the old doughnut tradition -- if two years of something can be called a tradition. We missed it last year because Penny's diabetes diagnosis was still pretty fresh and we weren't too comfortable with giving her that much sugar -- and Alex was only a few months old, and not likely to take the drive with aplomb. This year, I'm on a diet, and doughnuts are a lot of points. I told Matt that if Penny was really set on doughnuts, to just get me one, instead of buying a whole box to bring home.

But they'd managed to avoid it, so instead of a doughnut, I had two pieces of cinnamon toast, some strawberries, and a glass of milk. (All of which was about the same points as the doughnut, but didn't leave me feeling like I needed more.)

Penny breathlessly presented me with a whole pile of tissue-wrapped gifts (mostly pictures she had drawn for me) and a card she'd made. Matt got me a spa gift certificate, and some new cookie sheets, and a doohickey so I can listen to my iPhone/iPod in the car. Alex gave me hugs and kisses.

We went over to John and Sam's for an early dinner, which was nice -- the whole family hasn't been together for some time. Excellent food, and we enjoyed chatting (except for Penny, who didn't get to dominate the conversation and thus was pretty bored -- but after dinner, my dad took her outside and she got to pet the dog who lives next door).

So, all in all, a darned good weekend.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Commercial Break

I find, just lately, that I'm more and more impatient with the commercials on the radio. I'm less willing to just ignore them until they go away, and more likely to turn the radio off entirely -- and then just as likely to forget to turn it back on for the rest of the drive.

I'm especially annoyed with "story" commercials. Real people do not talk like this, using the full name of a store, or when asked how to contact a company, being able to recite the precise phone number and address. Kids do not excitedly tell their parents about how much they learned at a museum, and I have yet to meet any woman who cares exactly where her boyfriend or husband bought her jewelry -- much less brag about it to her friends.

Seriously. Just tell me who you are and what you sell and why your product or location is better than your competitors', and just tell me how to contact you. I don't want a little faux-play to illustrate how much happier my life will be when I give you my money. Listening to those commercials is the audio equivalent of biting into wax fruit.

I'm quite the curmudgeon today, aren't I? I might need to just burn some mix CDs to keep in the car, or get an iPod doohickey, and stop listening to the radio altogether.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


My stomach is rumbling.

Penny had waffles for breakfast this morning, and the smell of butter and syrup lodged firmly in my head. And then, to make matters worse, when we dropped Alex off at daycare, they were making blueberry muffins in the kitchen, and the scent permeated the whole building. I could've eaten a dozen of them, right then and there.

Mmm. Muffins.

Work should be slightly less crazy today. Which is good, because I'm leaving at 2:30 to pick Penny up and go to the dentist. (Which, I note, means that I won't get an afternoon snack. Apparently, it's just destined to be a Hungry Day for me.)

And I need to get my allergy shot today, too, whee.

Okay, can't think of anything else to talk about now, because I'm too hungry. Gonna go have breakfast.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


My current to-do list (so far):

- Monthly status report for the Beast project. DUE TODAY. (30-45 min)
- Call allergy office and find out if my new vials came in yet. (10 min)
- Go to the gym. (1.5 hr)
- Call our new hire to welcome her aboard and make sure she knows where to go and who to ask for (that would be me) on her first day. (15 min)
- Put together the document schedule for the Beast project. OVERDUE. (Who knows? It's 3 days overdue and I've been putting hours into it every day. Maybe another 4-5 hours?)
- Baseline the software for the SARSS project. DUE TODAY. (15-20 min)
- Do the QA analysis for the SARSS project. DUE TODAY. (15-20 min)
- Write up the new doc procedures for Beast and send out for review. DUE TODAY. (30-45 min)
- Get QA database caught up to the end of April. (45-60 min)
- Do the CM/QA Status Report for the end of April. (1 hr)
- Do the closeout paperwork for the Six Sigma project. (3-4 hours)
- Attend conference call. SCHEDULED TODAY. (1 hr)
- Prepare CCB meeting agenda. (15 min)

I have no doubt that other things will get added to the list as the day moves forward.

Which is why you're getting my to-do list this morning instead of a real blog entry.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday Morning Post, Caffiene-Deprived Edition

I did actually get to bed early last night. Or at least, earlier than I've been going to bed, which is to say around 10. I conked out quickly and slept soundly, right up until 4:30, when Penny came in to tell me she'd had a bad dream.

She tried to climb into bed with us, and I steered her back toward her room. I laid down with her, but she did not fall back asleep. She fidgeted and twitched and kept me awake for half an hour, until I gave up and kissed her good night and promised to leave the door open so she could see the night-light in the hall, and went back to bed.

Losing half an hour of sleep in the early morning is actually worse than getting up half an hour earlier than usual. It's also worse than going to bed half an hour late, or even losing half an hour in the middle of the night, because the hour of sleep I got from 5 to 6 wasn't enough to sink me down into the really restful sleep.

Not Penny's fault, of course, and she really did seem agitated and upset last night (unlike sometimes when she claims a bad dream, but is so calm and cool that I suspect she just woke up and wanted company). She's almost as irritated by it as I am, in fact. "The bad dreams didn't get stuck in the triangles," she mumbled last night, referring to the dreamcatcher we'd given her. "They went into the circle!" And this morning, she demanded, "Why am I having so many bad dreams?!"

She'll outgrow them in a few years, at least. Just in time for Alex to start.

(This is the point at which I consider rearranging the bedroom and turning the bed so Matt is closer to the door.)

Monday, May 4, 2009


Let's see, this weekend in review...

Friday night's game was fun, even if I don't have a real personality for my character yet, and Jenn accused us of getting all "Scooby Doo" on her and tracking down "clues" that didn't actually exist. (Ah, such is the plight of the GM -- we hared off after phantoms while the actual plot floated along untouched. It was a hoot.)

Saturday we took ourselves down to visit KT, to wish her a happy birthday and give her gifts. Penny and Jess had fun playing, though the visit only served to redouble Penny's pleas for another sleepover. We really should try to make that happen soon.

We got home to pouring rain. I had, of course, left my car windows open. And it was cloudy and rainy all weekend, and the forecast is calling for clouds and rain all week, so it'll be next weekend before I can air it out. Ah, nothing like the smell of mildew in the morning, and the clammy feel of damp upholstery.

Saturday night, Alex was fussy and irritable and he had a runny nose, and I feared the onset of another round of ear infections. It was pretty well cinched when we put him to bed and he woke up every few minutes to whimper and cry. He finally conked out around midnight, thanks to the application of some Benedryl and Motrin, not to mention sheer exhaustion.

Sunday morning, he was in a much better mood, but Matt noticed that both of his ears were filled -- and I mean filled with goo. It took three double-ended q-tips to get them to the point that we could even see his ear canal. And a few hours later, they were filled again. We came to the conclusion that his eardrums had given way under the pressure and burst.

Matt took him to the Urgent Care, but it being Sunday... they gave us a prescription for an antibiotic (three times a day, dammit, which is a major pain in the ass when the daycare won't administer meds) and said that we should follow up with the pediatrician, and that it was possible he'd need care from a pediatric ENT, of which the nearest one they knew was down at CHKD. Sigh.

But he was happy! And cheerful! I guess so, with that pressure-pain finally gone. Poor little tyke. We're dosing him regularly with decongestants (to keep the drainage to a minimum so it doesn't impede healing) and painkillers (to kill the pain).

I made cabbage rolls for dinner last night, which was nice. They're a little time-intensive, so I can't make them on a weeknight, but soooo tasty. I should make them more often. (And the tip I heard somewhere was right; a bit of caraway seed in the pot cut down on the cabbage-y smell a lot.)

And Matt just emailed to let me know that he talked to the pediatrician. She's calling in a new antibiotics prescription for him that's only twice a day, and doesn't want to see him until that run is finished, so we don't have to take time off today to drag him to the doctor. (And she'll be able to see how much damage there is after it's had a chance to heal.) I expect we'll still need to take him to an ENT -- three ear infections in two months is a bit excessive -- but maybe she'll know someone local.

Right; on with the week, I guess.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Distractio- What?

Yesterday I could not manage to stay on a single task for more than ten minutes. It wasn't me, even -- I just got interrupted that often. It was insane. And I don't think I actually got more than about three things checked off my to-do list.

Which means I'm up to something like ten for today, most of which really have to be done today. I may go into isolation and stay offline until I can get the most important stuff done, just to reduce the distraction static.

I'm hoping for a good weekend, though.

Hey, it's KT's birthday! Happy birthday, KT!