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Saturday, December 30, 2006

happy birthday Jenna!

only a few hours of it left but while it lasts, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR JENNA!! you've continued to be a great friend to me and today i honor you and send wishes your way for a wonderful day. hoping it's so fabulous you are NOT online right now reading my blog, but you'll see this days later when you finally get back from your trip and catch your breath!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

not exactly according to plan

when i pictured lauren's first christmas, i knew she would not be as interested in the presents as the wrapping paper, so i carefully wrapped her things with big pretty bows. we were going to videotape it and have jake in the background in his big pretty bow, her grandparents smiling approvingly, etc. we were supposed to see ryan's family on christmas morning and mine in the evening.

instead, we made it out of our house on christmas eve in a feverish state, and drove to my parents' house so they could take care of us, leaving behind one present for grandpa and one present for lauren which would not fit in the car (truthfully the grandpa present is not bigger than a shoe box but i put it in a giant box to trick him because he always guesses his gifts!)

in the wee hours of christmas eve/christmas morning, i woke up feeling really really sick. Let's just say it was no longer just a pink eye/ear infection/sore throat/coughing problem but had moved into being the other kind of flu. i felt so so so so sick. spent christmas day in bed with a 102 fever.

while ryan & i were upstairs recovering, uncle peter videotaped lauren opening her gifts and from what i hear, she was the belle of the ball. my mom took care of her all day. my dad fed her solid food (she for some reason has a very healthy appetite for baby food with her grandpa like no one else). i'm so glad she was healthy and that her other relatives could be there for her. my brother's girlfriend's family was also there. it was the first time they'd met lauren and they don't have any babies in their (immediate) family so they were excited to see her first christmas and they got her gifts as well.

yesterday was my cousin charlie's birthday and when we called to wish him a happy birthday, we found out that my cousin andrea was also sick on christmas with a similar flu thing. i hope one day ryan, andrea & i can look back on this as "the christmas when we got sick", in other words that it will be the only sick christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006

amoxycillin family

so it's official that the whole household is sick (well, not jake). ryan has strep throat. i have 2 ear infections and pink eye. lauren has diaper rash (but her pink eye has recovered). i had to cancel all of my social plans. i didn't want to pass any diseases along. my parents came up to help out with lauren and have been a huge help. so far, knock wood, they have stayed healthy.

ryan went to the doctor for the first time in many years. i can't remember a time in our 10 year relationship when he went before this. and good thing he finally went! strep throat can only be cleared up by antibiotics.

i had to go to my ucla doctor today because the antibiotic eye drops from kaiser were not enough, sure enough i had two very bad (one was bleeding!) ear infections.
somehow the kaiser doctor missed this. grrr...

if i'm not better by monday, this will be my first sick christmas since 3rd grade, when i had chicken pox. makes me really appreciate the 22 year streak.

i wish all of my readers good health this holiday season.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

kaiser times two

yesterday had to be one of the worst days i've had in awhile. i felt like absolute shit. i woke up and i had pink eye and was sneezing. :( immediately called my doctor's office at UCLA to try to get an appointment. kept calling from 8:00 on and kept getting a message that they were either closed or "experiencing extremely high call volume" so finally around 9:00 i left them a message asking them to call me back to make an appointment. it has now been 28 hours and they still have not called. i could be dead by now if it were anything serious.

anyway, on a hunch, i thought maybe my office had not yet cancelled my kaiser membership, so i called and sure enough, it is active until 12/31. so i called there and got a 2:20 appointment for urgent care. this is the kind of slam dunk thing kaiser is great for. when i have something like pink eye, or strep throat, or a broken arm, any fool can tell how to fix it and they're quick and easy to deal with. i would not want to have cancer or give birth at kaiser, but they do really well at handling the simple things.

anyway, was playing with lauren and went to use the aspirator on her (little bulb shaped thing you use to get snot out of babies' noses) when she started choking and gasping for breath. i turned her upside down and thumped her on the back. then she started vomiting snot and blood. not good. i did not know if she somehow swallowed something she should not have, which was cutting up her stomach, or if she had some serious disease or what. i decided to bring her to the emergency room. keep in mind, i have no car to speak of. i called ryan but of course this would be the one time all day he was standing before a judge so had to have his cell phone off. i decided to put her in the (barely running) taurus and drive the 1 1/2 miles to kaiser myself. this involved quickly and half-assedly installing the car seat (we took it out when someone from craig's list was going to buy the car, then the person flaked).

got to kaiser without the car stalling or overheating (phew!) and then decided to just take her to the peds clinic instead of ER because by then she was happy and singing to herself. ryan by then got my message and met us in the waiting room. the doctor there determined that she'd had a nosebleed in one nostril which dripped back into her throat. since babies can't yet clear their throats, she couldn't handle all of the gunk in her throat from the cold and that's why she was making the choking sounds. yeck! i'm supposed to give her dimetap, which is cool, they make these strips that dissolve on the baby's tongue just like listerine breath strips.

then i went to my appointment and the doctor seemed kind of dumb. i had to remind her to check my ears, for example. and she knew i was breastfeeding but she tried to give me some kind of decongestant which even i knew nursing moms can't take. not just that, she just had a weird bedside manner which i won't get into, but she seemed more like a DMV employee than someone with a medical degree. anyway, she gave me the prescription for the eye drops and we went to the kaiser pharmacy. that place was a zoo! everyone seems to be spending down their HCRAs so the shelves were bare. Fine, but you'd think the buyers would learn this by now and stock up extra for the end of the year. Grrr, they were out of prenatal vitamins (no, i'm NOT pg again, breastfeeding moms have to continue their prenatal vitamins) and folic acid supplements. lauren napped in ryan's arms at the pharmacy-bad because then she wasn't tired when we got home and I WAS.

anyway, got done with kaiser, drove home and got into bed with the not-sleeping lauren who wanted to play and pull my hair. managed to get to sleep but got such a case of the chills that i had about 6 blankets and still couldn't get warm. woke up a few hours later hot from the blankets. tossed and turned. tried to shut out the sound of lauren crying (she was playing with her daddy downstairs but would rather be with me).got up to go to the bathroom and almost fainted. had to lie on the ground with the room spinning and feeling so shitty i wanted to be in a coma so i wouldn't feel anything.

have never yet in her life lost patience with lauren, have not yet snapped at her or lost my cool, but came so close yesterday. all i wanted her to do was go downstairs and play with ryan and let me be my myself, curled up in a fetal position, shivering and miserable. i did finally summon enough energy to sit up so she could nurse and she took a sip and then flashed me the most grateful, illuminated smile.

called my mom and told her to please please come up and help because really, i didn't see how i would get from the floor to the bed, let alone take care of lauren and walk jake and do anything else. she came up this afternoon and she is upstairs now, napping with lauren. ryan is back at work.

i am feeling much better today. the eye drops are a miracle, the pink eye is pretty much gone. i still have a wheezing cough but no runny nose. i have very little appetite and my head is pounding and stuffed up but man, compared to yesterday, today is a breeze.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

the gift that keeps on giving

lauren has given me her pink eye and cold. :( she herself is feeling much better today. she slept until 9:30 and woke up smiling. she looked over and pointed at me, one of those "hey, acknowledging YOU" rock star to audience kind of pointings. Then she started to sing. Anyway, I feel the opposite of singing. i have goop in my eye and a runny nose. i had to cancel some plans for tomorrow because i didn't want to pass this along. i don't have any enemies i'd like to sneeze on.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

holiday cards

new phone, new task of re-entering everyone's addresses & contact info. please everyone do me a favor-email me your mailing address, phone #, birthday and any other info i should have.

i just spent the past few hours making 40 christmas cards and i'm still not done. that should about take care of my family. if you were at my wedding, you know what i mean. all of those blue-eyed, olive loving people with the weird sense of humor (penchant for puns) who vaguely look like me, all 18 aunts & uncles and 26 cousins, they each get a christmas card. but luckily i don't have some of my cousins' addresses so i'm off the hook for them.

but seriously, the rest of you, email me your address because even some of you who sent us holiday cards this year (ahem, Beesons) didn't put your return address on them. so whether you live in flower mound, texas, harleysville, pennsylvania, minneapolis, minnesota, catskill, new york, los angeles, california, or some other wonderful place, i don't know your address by heart so do send it to my gmail account. thx!

Monday, December 18, 2006

lauren playing with her new ball

video 1 of 2. lauren at age 8 1/2 months, playing with her new ball

Vegetarians/ IQ

This story was all over the news yesterday. Children with high IQs are likely to become vegetarians by age 30. They have not yet linked diet to improving IQ scores, rather, the other way around. But who knows, maybe I was supposed to be a complete imbecile but since I was a vegetarian even before age 10, viola!

And yes, Lauren is a vegetarian, and will remain one for every meal that I feed her. Debates rage on regarding the meals others feed her (especially a certain grandparent who has meat ball plates planned!)

A Talent I Can Do Without

Today Lauren went to the doctor's for a pink eye infection. She was there the Friday before last, as well, for a cold. While she was there that time, her doctor asked me what she had been up to. I told her in the few weeks since she'd been there, Lauren had hit several milestones. At 8 months, she has a 5 word vocabulary, she started crawling forward, and she can stand on her own. She can point to things in story books and she knows her primary colors. The doctor kind of nodded "uh huh, uh huh" but didn't seem too impressed.

Then she got out her stethoscope and headed towards Lauren, who started to pick her nose. That got the doctor's attention. "Ooh, she is so advanced! What coordination! Such an early age to pick her nose! Wow, she can do it with either hand! What a MILESTONE" and she wrote it in the chart.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Fa la la la la la la la

As I write this, the Christmas lights are twinkling on the tree behind me, the ornaments are hung, and 3 packages are wrapped. The little girl is upstairs napping and the little dog is as well. 4 dozen nutmeg logs are baked (the must-have Christmas cookie of our family) and all of the ingredients for fudge sit on the counter ready for assembly tonight. We bought a new stocking for Lauren. It's red silk (the Victorian sort of cranberry/maroon shade of red)with a green ribbon pointsettia. We also got a "baby's first Christmas" ornament and put a picture of her on it and hung it. We've bought her exactly 3 presents because at this age it's more about the ribbon and paper than about the actual gifts. But then again, there are still 2 weeks left before Christmas, we may get more if we cannot restrain ourselves. ;)
Uh-oh, she's awake, gotta go...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Mama!

Tonight, Lauren said "Mama" for the first time. I had walked in the other room and she started to fuss and Ryan said something to her like "who do you want?" and she said "Ma MA" really clearly!

Yesterday she said "Jake" twice while petting him and she continues to say "Daddy", usually as "Da da da da DEE". And last night while I was snapping her pajamas, I said "snap, snap, snap, snap" and she repeated "snap"!

In the space of a day, she's gone from being a baby to being a talking little person who's way more coordinated. She can also as of yesterday, stand on her own holding on to a table or toy for long 10 minute stretches. She can do complicated flips in the bathtub so that she starts out sitting up, goes to the backstroke, flips to crawl stroke, and then sits back up again, keeping her face above water the whole time.

And she has been crawling forward more. Can you guess why? To try to touch Jake! (He moves out of the way in time)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Daya

It may be Lauren's first word. Not "aBOOah!" which she's been shouting for a few months now but which can mean anything she wants. On Monday she said "Daya" while looking at Ryan. A few times since then she has been babbling "dah dah dah" or "dee dee dee" but no "Daya" again, and no "Da Dee" together.

On Friday she'll be 8 months old. She weighs approx. 23 pounds, 11 oz (weight the weekend before last but while wearing clothes & diaper) and is about 28 1/2 inches long. Her doctor didn't want to measure her today but just consulted her chart and said that she is about the average of what a 12 month old would be, so that's her height. I have tried to measure her myself with a tape measure, but the wiggle factor interferes.

Lauren knows some of her colors, and can point to red, yellow, green, and blue BUT the items from which she is choosing have to be more or less equal, other than color. For example if you ask her to pick yellow, and show her a boring yellow shirt and a red shiny toy, she will go for the shiny object no matter the color. But if you show her legos that are all the same, she can pick out the right color. I said she knows some of her colors. Ask her for "sage" or "mauve" and she cannot tell them.

She is crawling a lot these days, backwards and sideways. She rolls over, sits up and still loves her bathtime. In fact, when she tried to crawl forward, she does this by trying to "swim" forward. She lies flat on her stomach and flaps her arms like she can move the air to go straight ahead. It's really funny to watch. It works for her in the bathtub, so she's trying to make it happen on land.

One place is which she's not "advanced" is in hair growing. She still has only an inch or two of light duck fuzz on her head, necessitating wearing hat. She likes to pull hats off, and a few weeks ago we lost a hat at the park that way. A really nice yellow lined velour bucket hat that looked adorable and was one of a kind made my some lady who sells at farmers' market. Wah! Oh well, I'm sure this is the first of many pretty things she will lose in her lifetime if she takes after Mommy.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Bad Car Karma, part 3 (the horror continues)


That picture pretty much sums up what the car's been up to lately.

On Wednesday on the way down to San Diego in the BMW, a large white truck loaded with crap passed us on the right driving recklessly. As it did so, a baby seat went flying out of the back (no, no baby in it!) and bounced up and under our car, knocking off part of the front bumper, the front license plate, and taking out the auxillary fan. We pulled over right away but couldn't get the license info from the truck. Ryan was driving and was understandably shaken. Good thing, he didn't veer into the cars on either side of us, and kept his cool. What an ass some guy was to have his truck so craptastically loaded and to cut us off like that. Luckily our car was driveable and my dad and Peter fixed it for us (yet again) but sheesh, we cannot catch a break with this car!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

overheard in West LA outside bookstore:

Man to woman: "So what am I supposed to say to them? My son wanted to wear a condom and your daughter didn't?!"

Thursday, November 16, 2006

anyone know how...

to get pink liquid amoxicyllin stains out of baby clothes?

oh and lauren has her first ever diaper rash. :( also probably from the medicine. good thing i received about 5 tubes of diaper rash medicine as shower gifts! and was hoping never to have to use any of them. oh well. it's relatively minor, but she didn't like it when i was changing her, and made the ODDEST little laugh/cough/cry noise. i thought she had hiccups. but no, she was reacting with wild sadness to the diaper rash pain when she was being wiped. poor little girl.

overwhelming

today is one of those days where i am feeling overwhelmed. i am into this project at work which is requiring a ton of focus and quiet uninterupted time to take apart some CSS code and rework it. it's a long boring technical story, but the gist of it is that i inherited a giantic website which the person created 3 years ago (and it still has not been launched!) in dreamweaver using fireworks rollover buttons which no longer work today if viewed on a mac in safari. so i have to recreate the whole nav structure and since my boss liked the look of the old one, i'm trying to keep it the same color, font, style, etc. and also make sure it's compatible in all browsers. it's a huge site with hundreds of files--granted, some of them are image files and web photo albums, etc., but still it's a lot to keep track of and a lot of places where weird little errors crop up. so there you have it, folks, that's my day job. or should i say, my middle of the night or whenever i can squeeze in time, job.

and you know, working at home to answer emails, work with a database and coordinate events (the other former part of my job until it went to just the technical stuff) was a breeze, fairly easy to do in between baby things and dog walking and all of the rest. but i cannot seem to get into this stuff. i walk around all the time with that feeling like when you have to write a term paper in 2 hours. and there is no one at work that can help me, no one knows how to do these things, and in fact the person who created the web site was unaware of things like browser compatibility and the need to minimize image files for ADA compliance. There are tons of huge sized images that need to be optimized, and bad file naming structures, etc. my friend H. is going to help me with some of it this weekend but he is doing it to be nice, he doesn't work with me or get paid to do it.

Anyway, it's overwhelming and it makes my head hurt and the worst part is that my inability to finish this stuff is my own fault. i have a wonderful supportive boss who will give me whatever software, hardware, etc. that i need. i have figured out more complicated things on my own before, i can teachd myself this CSS stuff if given enough time. what i lack is the mental focus, the alert state of mind and the distraction-free place to do everything.

Technical note; read this guy's blog entry for the Fireworks rollover buttons problem i was talking about. he used to work for Macromedia and he's the guy who created the program's feature and he recommends against using it!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Antibiotic children

Today was kind of a shitty day. But before I get to that, let me thank all of you who have left comments. I will have to try the food Jax & Kel recommended, and it is interesting to see people's results on the quizzes.

This morning Lauren was screaming and crying when she tried to take her nap. This is very unlike her, so I felt instinctively something was wrong. We took her to the doctor and she has an ear infection. :( She's on antibiotics and Jake is, too.

After we dropped off her prescription at the pharmacy, we went to Tuesday morning to buy wrapping paper and I had a little incident. This happens to me about once every 2 or 3 years-I get this weird tunnel vision thing and start seeing spots. If i'm reading a number, say "2489", if i focus on the 24, then i can't read the 89, and vice versa. If I close my eyes, it's mostly okay. So I have to get to a dark room and lie down and try to sleep. Last time it happened, Jenna came over and took me to the ER but by the time I finally saw a doctor, the symptoms had gone away. Saw an opthamolist who thought it was either stress related or an occular migraine. I was not under stress either time, and in the times in my life when I have been under a lot of stress, nothing happened to me physiologically that was worth seeking medical attention.

Anyway, Ryan dropped me & Lauren off at home and then went to the pharmacy to pick up Lauren's first ever prescription, which did not go well because they could not find her in the HealthNet system. Ryan called and they did not have a record of her in their system, but he had added her in April. So he had to pay full price for the prescription, which wasn't too bad, but made us worry that all these months, she had not been covered under medical insurance and we would have to reimburse the pediatrician's office. Because he thought he would worry about it all weekend, Ryan drove back to his office tonight and found the fax confirmation page from the form he sent months ago adding her to his insurance. Now on Monday he'll call his HR office and raise hell.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ballerina girl

Lauren's got food issues. Specifically, she doesn't like to eat. She will nurse every couple hours and she's never refused milk but rice cereal has zero appeal. She does take a couple of bites to be polite but her heart is not in it. I was given the advice to forget what the books say about nursing first, and give it to her when she's really hungry. So last night we tried that. No interest. I was also told to try some bananas because they will usually like that. Nope. She tried a bit to be polite and gave me the most confused and horrified look, like "WHAT is this crap?!". I tried mixing it with rice cereal and it was like that poisoned the taste of the cereal, which before she was just tolerating, and now she was loathing. I am not sure what to do, keep trying to give her bananas every day for 5 days to make sure she's not allergic? And how would we even know, given that she spits out 99% instead of ingesting it?

Oh and the ballerina girl subject line was meant ironically. She's still off the charts for weight, although all from milk, and although her height is up there too. But she's not exactly wasting away!

Jake wet the bed

$462.85 to find out that Jake probably has a bladder infection. He has been wetting the bed a little bit each night. Luckily, he no longer sleeps with us, he is on his Jakey bed. It only happens when he's deeply asleep. Ryan took him to the vet yesterday and they did x-rays to rule out large stones, checked his prostate (fine) and did lab work on his urine for crystals (normal). They could have done another $140 test on his urine to see if he had a urinary tract infection but they decided to just give him the $50 medication anyway, since the lab test takes over 1 week to get back and it would cost more than the medicine. So we're all hoping that's all it is. If it doesn't clear up, then he has to go back for a $400 ultrasound to see if he has smaller stones that the x-ray didn't pick up. Sad day when you're hoping your dog has a UTI, but we are, considering the alternatives.

Again, I recommend anyone getting a dog to get pet insurance.

someone else do this test too so i know if it's accurate or coincidence




You Are Likely a First Born



At your darkest moments, you feel guilty.

At work and school, you do best when you're researching.

When you love someone, you tend to agree with them often.



In friendship, you are considerate and compromising.

Your ideal careers are: business, research, counseling, promotion, and speaking.

You will leave your mark on the world with discoveries, new information, and teaching people to dream.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote Yes on No

Today is election day. I have no strong opinions for this ballot. But I am considering automatically voting "no" for every candidate or proposition where I received a phone call "urging" my support. We probably got about 5 phone calls which seemed to all occur as I was trying to put Lauren down for a nap, or just got through to a friend on the other line, or stirring something hot on the stove. And I don't give out my # very much, and pay extra for it to be non-listed. I am on every do-not-call list known. In contrast, my parents got about 5 calls per day.

(Note, similarly, I hate getting menus on my doorstep and refused to patronize restaurants who litter, on the theory that if their food was any good, they would not need to send guys with backpacks out into the neighborhood to leave menus. Also, the menus tell robbers when people are out of town.)

I didn't get his permission or anything, but here's an email my dad sent about one recent call he received:

With 24 hours before the election, the political phone calls are coming in at a hectic pace and are getting even more bizarre.

Besides the hundreds of candidates for local offices, there are 13 propositions on the Nov. 7 ballot in California...everything from alternative energy to a huge cigarette tax.

The state assembly and senate don't actually make any decisions in California, they put everything on the ballot for the voters to decide. In California, people do all they can to avoid confrontation. We think it may be that they don't want to offend anyone by casting a vote that someone would not like.

To date we have received calls from Rudy Giuliani, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael J. Fox, Bill Clinton, an elementary teacher endorsing a community college board candidate, the wife of a candidate obviously intent on keeping him gainfully employed or at least out of the house and a myriad of other, lesser movie stars and politicians.

All have been recordings until this morning.

An elderly man called me while I was in bed trying to shake the flu.

He was calling on behalf of the Women's Political Group, or so he said, and he wanted me to vote against Prop. 87, the state alternative energy initiative.

Because I thought it was a recording, I made the mistake of asking him a question. That led to a half-hour conversation during which he asked how everything was down there in Georgia. I had to explain to him that he called me in California about a California proposition. He said that he couldn't be expected to keep track of these things because he was in Illinois.

He did not have a good answer to why he was calling on behalf of the Women's Political Group and I suspect that he probably didn't remember who he was calling for because the name changed several times during the conversation.

He did ask how Gov. Gerry Brown was doing, so I told him about Ronald Reagan, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis and Arnold all of whom succeeded Gerry. But I had to add that Gerry was running for attorney general this year. The caller thought maybe this was a good idea since he was such a good president and, after all, this caller was a Democrat. I'm not sure, but I think he had Brown confused with Reagan.

We hung up, but not before promising to touch base during the next election campaign. He thought it was every two years or so, but I told him about the frequent special elections for politicians who are often recalled or convicted and the numerous annual propositions here.

He didn't know whether the Women's Political Group would hire him next time to express an opinion about the propositions, but I sure hope so.

He had a killer recipe for horseradish that I have been looking for.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Well this makes no sense but here are my results

Your Political Profile:
Overall: 65% Conservative, 35% Liberal
Social Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Monday, October 30, 2006

Big Baby

I'm the big baby this post. I went to the dentist. More on that in a bit. But first, my day! Lauren woke up at 5:30 and I convinced her to play with her toes and babble in bed until 6:15 when I finally got up with her. We went downstairs and did work email for an hour, got dressed, etc. and then drove Ryan to work in the rental car. Drove back home and stopped at Kaiser to get a flu shot. It took 16 minutes to park and walk over to the trailer where they give shots, only to discover a sign that they were closed on Mondays. I'd have known this if they ever actually updated their website. Grrr.. Anyway, hurried to get out of the place before 15 minutes passed because you have to pay to park after 15 minutes. It's only $1 but on the principle of the thing, I don't like to pay when I got zero service.

Anyway, the parking guy waived me through even though it had been about 18 minutes and we went to Enterprise to return the car. Originally, I was going to put the stroller in the car and walk home from Enterprise. It's about 1 mile. But I realized, what would I do with the car seat? Remembered their slogan "Pick Enterprise. We pick you up." and sure enough, they agreed to drive me home. Got home, made lunch and tried valiantly to get Lauren to nap. She'd just napped for 1/2 hour in the car, but not enough (according to the book I'm reading) to be of use to her. She would have none of it and wanted to play. Her new favorite playtime activity is peek-a-boo with herself in the mirror. That and clapping. It's really cute. :)

Anyway, headed out to the Ford-with-the-blown-headgasket, with 1/2 gallon of water to put in the coolant reservoir. Cautiously drove the 2 1/2 miles (which in LA, no matter where you are, works out to 20 minutes. Well, a little less. But not much!) to Lauren's doctor's office. Got her flu shot. She didn't cry a bit, didn't even pout. Nursed her in the car (the only "reward" I can give her at this age really) and then drove to our dentist, who is on our street so I usually walk there but since we were running late, I drove. Carried Lauren in her infant carrier (she will only fit in that thing for a short time longer, it's a matter of DAYS, it barely buckles anymore) and sat her down while I got my teeth cleaned. She played with her toes and her book and watched the cleaning and was very good.

Here is the big baby part: I have to go back tomorrow for a replacement filling. Wah! And the dentist referred me to an oral surgeon because I have a swollen gland along my jaw that has been big for a very long time, so I need to get it looked at and possibly biopsied. I also have this loose teeth/jaw clicking thing which she thinks is from my grinding my teeth, except I don't grind my teeth that I know of, and Ryan has never observed it when I sleep. I never even knew I had this problem. When I told her about the car accident, she said that could have loosened things up and be causing it. Great, another thing to settle with Mercury insurance. So now tomorrow I get the filling and I have to get fitted for this special $500 retainer mouth guard thing to wear at night. But I "only" have to pay $250, insurance covers the rest.

Getting old sucks.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Bad car kharma part 2

We are at Lake Arrowhead at the moment, in a rental car, for my office retreat. Since it's work related, my boss is paying for the rental car, how cool is that?! And it is much more "play" than work. At this second, Ryan's reading, I'm typing, and Lauren is napping. We're in a little cabin in the mountains. But back to the reason we need a rental car. On Thursday afternoon I was driving the BMW to work and again a hose popped off and sprayed coolant. I pulled over and Ryan came in the Ford to get me (keep in mind, that car has a blown head gasket and is only supposed to go 5 miles or less. We live 4 miles from my office.) . He drove me to work and then my dad picked me up and drove me to the car. He determined that a clip on the hose was broken, probably from when they recently put in a new radiator. The hose had hit the fan and broken some blades. It was okay to drive to the mechanic's but slowly and cautiously. So we dropped it off there.

This morning the mechanic told us the problem has to do with the reservoir, not the radiator, and that it was not his fault, it was a different broken part. Dad says he should have looked at that part when he put on the radiator. So maybe it is his fault, I'm not sure? Either way, it's time for us to get serious about getting another car.

I'm not one of those people who locates their sense of self worth in their car (I do it in shoes. Just kidding!) but I do like to have certain features. And they're not what most people even rank. Nice rims and custom paint job would be completely lost on me. I like my BMW because it has these features: able to accelerate fast, good stereo, tight wheel radius and good steering for easy parking, and back seats fold down for access to the trunk. Also it's safe and gets pretty good mileage (~24 mpg). It's been my experience that BMWs are pretty reliable cars. It's been my experience that Fords break down. I've only owned a few cars in my lifetime which have mostly been older BMWs that I put tons of miles on and just drove until they were eventually crashed into (last year) or my brother drove into a boulder (and walked away with only minor scratches, another selling point for the car) or eventually required some major repair that wasn't cost effective, but after YEARS of good performance. Anyway, so you get from this which manufacturer I'm leaning towards.

I also had a Honda Civic once, which was okay but felt designed for someone smaller. I don't know how else to explain it, it just felt like it was meant for a little short person, the way the seats and buttons were designed. It also did not have much pep. But the back seats folded down! :)

Anyway, we're renting a Ford Focus. It's okay. Not as bad as Geo Metro's I've previously rented. But hey, it STARTS and it RUNS which is great in my book.

Changes are afoot

Lauren has been in the habit of sleeping with us, and she's got us trained that she only wants to be right next to us, or in our bed without us, but not in a bassinett, crib, or playard. This works out great on vacation, we don't need to pack a special bed for her. But as you might imagine, 3 of us on one bed can get a bit tight. To the point that this morning when she woke up at 5:45 and wanted to talk and play, once I finally got her back to sleep (nursing, does the trick every time. Even if she just ate!) then I had to go and get a sleeping bag out of the guest room and sleep on the floor next to her because she'd sprawled out and I didn't want to move her and wake her up. This bought me another hour of precious sleep.

I'm reading some books about children and sleep. Evidently us putting her to bed at 9:30 every night is bad, or at least the guy who wrote the book I'm reading now (I'll link to it later, too lazy now) seems to think it's too late. (But she WANTS to go then, and if she's put down earlier, she just plays or fusses and won't sleep until that magic hour) He says if you put the child to bed at say, 8:00, she will sleep for 12 hours or so. And there is more, about phasing 2 naps into one, cumulative effects of sleep loss, etc. All a bit Ferber-tastic to me, (he advocates letting them cry it out) but I'll read a few more books and condense the ideas and make some changes.


Word on the street is that once she starts solid foods (on Halloween we plan to!) she'll be so full and tired she'll just crash anywhere, even in her crib, and sleep through the night, or at least that's been the experience of our Danish friends. Right now she wakes up 2 or 3 times but I just lean over, put her pacifier back in or feed her, and she goes right back to sleep.

Then again some people are big on the whole family bed concept. I'm not sure about it, but I do know if we go that route, well we need a bigger bed than queen sized! And it would be a platonic bed, hence a natural birth control. No wonder babies like it, it prevents making their brothers & sisters!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

acHOO!

We are in NY and all 3 of us are sneezing up a storm. The leaves are beautiful, the cousins party was great (Lauren got SO MANY kisses!) and we would be having a 100% wonderful time if not for being sick. We've each gone through a box of Kleenex, and Lauren is looking like the typical "snot-nosed kid", which is not a great first impression for meeting all of her aunts & uncles & cousins. It doesn't seem to have stopped anyone from cuddling with her and telling her how cute she is, though.

Tomorrow we go to see the other side of the family in my Aunt Patty & Uncle Tony's new house. There seems to be a trend of that, new houses thing. Right now we're in Uncle Freddie and Aunt Marguerite's new house. After 25+ years in their respective houses, they each bought brand new bigger houses. It's weird to have to get directions to go to your relatives' houses. We are enjoying the guest rooms and the chef here is quite good. :) I can never get enough Italian food and there were cookies from Little Italy at the party yesterday. I've had eggplant parmesan a few times now and could go for a few more. Tomorrow we'll have real NY pizza for lunch. MMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmm!

Today we tried to go to Mohonk Mountain house but, as happened last year, the grounds were closed for a private party again so we couldn't see. Stopped at a few farmstands though, and had great apple cider. Saw pumpkin fields. Stopped at an antique store and bought some postcards.

I've got Lauren on my lap now and she is fast asleep. She slept really well on the plane (but her parents did not). We were really proud of her. Time to get some zzzzzzzzzzs myself!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Linky link links

I'm finally going to edit this blogger template. If you want me to link to your blog or personal webpage, myspace, flicker page, etc. so everyone can see it, lemme know. This is for people I know personally, not spammers! So Alex, Jenna, Steve, Suzy, whoever else has a page and wants me to link to it, let me know. And tell me what you want it to say, if you want me to use your real first name, name of band, or just the title of the blog. If you don't ask me to link to you, then I won't. So don't take it personally, just comment here or email me and I'll be happy to linkety link link!

Jake has worms

Yeck! Ryan came home today at lunch and helped me out by walking Jake. While cleaning up after him, noticed a worm! :( We rushed over to the vet, who tested the "sample" (now THERE's a free sample you wouldn't want to get in the mail!) and said it was just tapeworm, no other parasites. There was a new vet tech there so Jake was buddies with him. He hates this guy Mike who is really really nice (to people, too, he always helps me carry the dog food out to the car and talks to Lauren) but was the one assisting when Jake had his surgery, and also is the one who clips Jake's nails, so Jake HATES him. Anyway, Mike was off today and this new guy had never done anything to Jake, and plus gave him beef jerky treats, so they're buds.

Total time, driving there & back: about 1 hour. Total cost, including the visit, tapeworm shots, fecal test, and 4 pills for him to take in 2 weeks: $130.85. If you haven't read it, here's my Million Dollar Doggie post. Take note if you will be getting a dog-get the pet insurance as well. Would have been really useful yet again.

Oh one more thing-we're going to have to walk Jake with a muzzle now, to prevent his disgusting habit of eating things he finds on his walk. "Things". Let's not elaborate, especially if you've just had lunch!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lauren wishes to make it known...

1)That she would like SOCKS to be her first solid food. If they are placed on her feet, they will come off and go in her mouth.

2)That she is a BIG GIRL and would like to nap only in the BED not a crib, and certainly not a bassinette.

3)That is she TRYING to grow hair but meanwhile, she'd like to grab onto yours because maybe that's how hair happens, if you can't grow it, you can just harvest some!

4)That dogs are SO FUNNY, even when they growl, what you should always do is laugh at them. And then pull their fur because, see #3.

5)That reggae music should be played at all times, everywhere. And they should make a rasta baby line of toys instead of that Baby Einstein crap. Who wants to hear Brahms's lullaby when you can hear "I Shot the Sheriff"?

6)That there is never a monkey in the mirror, it's always a beautiful girl.

7)That Ralphs and Trader Joe's are the most awesome places on earth and the only way to make shopping better would be, see #5.

8)That Mommy should really stop writing in her blog and play with her now.

Juice Glass Mystery

One of our wedding gifts was this handy set of 6 small juice glasses in a metal carrying case from Crate & Barrel. In time, 2 of the juice glasses broke, though. For Christmas a few years ago, Tasha gave us a set of 4 juice glasses, same size, with cartoon cats on them. I put them in the carrying case mixed with the clear glass ones. Then eventually enough broke so there were exactly 6, some of Tasha's and some of the original. Anyway, today I was putting away juice glasses and noticed that one of them is a heavy leaded glass, not like the others. There are still 6 total, but 2 are Tasha's, 3 are the original, and there is 1 that has a bigger base and is heavier than the others. Where did it come from? A mystery! I can only assume someone broke one and decided to replace it. But they replaced it with a nicer glass than they broke. And anyway, where do you buy only 1 juice glass?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Bad Car Karma

Had an interesting weekend walking places. Both cars are ill. Here's the story:

(BACKGROUND on the story: We have 2 cars from the 90's: a BMW and a Ford. The BMW was "my" car and the Ford was Ryan's. We plan to replace the Ford in early '07 but are trying to keep it going a few more months. The BMW gets about 25 mpg and the Ford gets something like 11, so we switched cars since I'm not driving much. However, on Thursday the garage door opener was broken so the Ford was trapped and I took the BMW.)

Thursday night was driving back from work with the BMW when "splat!" something wet and sticky on the windsheild. Thought at first someone threw a water balloon. I was almost home. At the last light, I noticed the engine temp was in the red. So I babied it down the street and parking in the front parking spot before the red zone(already anticipating a tow and wanting to leave room). The splat had been coolant.

Called my dad, he told me it could be a simple problem of a hose coming off, which I could fix myself. He talked me through it. Sure enough, I could see the errant hose, right in front. Got it back on and decided to add the coolant in the daytime. Ryan took the Ford to work and we agreed I would add coolant to the BMW.

Next day, I went to add coolant and took what I thought was a jug of antifreeze out there. Good thing I have seen coolant before and knew what it should look like. It was used motor oil! So, just put water in instead. Got Lauren loaded in the car and head out to Hollywood for dinner with some friends in town from Italy. Was bemoaning the excesive traffic on Venice Blvd. Had only gone about 1 1/2 miles in 20 minutes. Suddenly the car went into red again and I U-turned (figuring it's illegal but a cop would excuse it since I might otherwise obstruct traffic pretty badly) and pulled over. Let it cool off a bit, added some water and noticed it was coming out someplace. Decided to baby the car and mostly coast, from the 1 hour parking spot where I was, to a big large parking lot 1 block ahead. Pulled in there and left the car.

Loaded Lauren into the umbrella stroller and began the walk home. Ryan was out at a movie. Figured I was already dressed, hungry and would be too tired to go the whole way back without food, so stopped at La Dijoinaisse for dinner. Got a few odd looks, a single woman and baby eating by themselves. Also, couldn't order the Crepes Florentine because they are "not doing spinach" at the moment. But had an overcooked vegetable quiche which gave me enough energy to go the rest of the mile home.

The next morning, Ryan drove over to get my valuables out of the car, and on the way there, he'd gone about 1 block when white smoke started pouring out of the FORD! :( Needless to say, he was not handling it well. I called Wallid, his mechanic who happened to be open on a Saturday. Before this, I didn't know Wallid would also work on BMWs, I usually bring it to a place in Venice. Anyway, Wallid agreed to take a look at both cars, and said the Ford would be okay to drive there if Ryan agreed to pull over if it overheated.

So, our good friend Alex came over with his wife's car with a carseat, and followed Ryan over to the mechanic's and drove him back home. Then we all drove over to the BMW and called a flatbed tow truck to tow it to Wallid's.

The verdict: The Ford blew a headgasket and is not worth repairing. We can drive it short distances but have to keep adding water and make sure it doesn't overheat. And we need to prepare for its imminent approaching demise.

The BMW's hose came off because a piece of the radiator had broken off, so it needs a new radiator. $420 later, it will be ready this afternoon. Ryan has taken the Ford to work, agreeing to stop halfway and rest and add water. Let's all cross our fingers for him!

Although it was bad luck to have both cars go out at once, on the other hand, in some ways it couldn't have happened at a better time. It was the weekend. We had to miss a friend's surprise party, but other than that, we had nothing pressing going on. Since it's not a Thursday, I didn't need to be at my office. We can walk to everything we need. So if we need to be a one-car family for a few months, we can do it. And I would rather wait and save a bit more and get a nicer car. NEVER another Ford! (All of the problems would take another long boring post)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hero Dog

We have our little Jake/Lauren/Mommy morning routine going, which goes a little something like this: wake up, feed Lauren & change Lauren's diaper. Go downstairs, put her in her office (really a Baby Einstein Activity Center), get Jake his breakfast (Hill's Prescription Diet W/D with broken up treats or pieces of cheese on top), put my tea in the microwave, check gmail, get the tea out, drink it, take Jake to the backyard and back inside carrying Lauren, check work email, feed Lauren, read to her, put Lauren on the rug to play, do some work, wait until she needs a new diaper, take her upstairs for her bath where she splashes for half hour, feed her, and let her nap. She naps for about an hour, so I throw clothes in the wash, load the dishwasher, and take my shower then.

Today the routine went as above, as it usually does, except, oh I should mention that Jake usually "guards" me by lying on the bathmat while I take a shower, or "guards" Lauren from his dog bed which is on the floor by where she sleeps. Anyway, today he was by Lauren and I was in the shower when suddenly Jake came in and scratched at the glass shower doors which he has never done before. I thought this was odd and got out to see what he wanted. Sure enough, Lauren was screaming and Jake was trying to tell me this.

So, I got out and consoled her. I was so thrilled with Jake for alerting me. Okay, the story would be more dramatic if she was in actual danger not just cranky yet safe, but still, I was impressed with my doggy hero today.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Still Off the Charts

Fresh from the doctor's office, where Lauren only cried a little bit for 1 of her 3 shots. She still has the sniffles but no fever, so the doctor said it was fine to get her shots. She has to go back again next week to get the flu shot, which hadn't arrived at the office in time. She weighs 20 pounds, 14 3/4 ounces, and is 27 1/4 inches long. She is at the top of the charts for height and off the charts for weight. The doctor said she can start eating solid foods, but we're going to wait until we get back from NY to do it because it would be too messy to feed her on the go, and it will be simpler not to introduce a new thing right around the time her whole surroundings are new. I'm not really looking forward to solid foods. Messier, more trouble! Now all I have to do is unbutton and she's got a meal. But real food has to happen some day...

6 Month Reflections

On Sunday, Lauren turned 6 months old. She now has 6 teeth with 2 more on the way in. She can flip around from back to stomach, do situps, and crawl, mostly backwards but sometimes forwards. She makes loud squeal sounds when she's happy and she says "hi" and "hey" and "Gee". She's got about 2 inches of duck-fuzz hair which looks strawberry-blonde at the moment but changes to look light brown, blonde, or red.


On Friday night her grandparents took all of us to Cirque du Soleil at Staples Center. She liked one reggae song and banged her hand on her knee in rhythm to it, but later got scared at the loud drumming on stage and cried. We were there an hour and a half but then left because it was just too overwhelming for her. On Saturday night, the three of us went to a going-away party (friends moving to MOROCCO! WOW!) and although Lauren was asleep when we got there, she woke up and was pleased to be passed around. When we got home she was wired up and wouldn't go to sleep until past 10:30. (Around 9:30 is her usual bedtime.)

Today was her first day in Size 4 diapers. Tomorrow she is supposed to get her 6 month shots but we think her doctor might want her to wait because she's had the sniffles and some congestion. We'll find out then what her current height & weight are, and I'll post them.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What Lauren's been to up

She might be growing red hair, we're not sure. Her eyebrows look like my mom's, and I found an old photo of my mom as a baby where she had Lauren's coloring, so there could be a chance. Her eyes are back to being more denim blue than green, but definitely not the light Grandpa-shade of blue like her legions of aunts, uncles & cousins have.

Her benefactor, Alexa, gave her some more toys and in the batch was a little pink plastic car. She loves it! I have to hold her on it because her feet can't both touch the ground but I push her around on it and she tries to get one foot on the ground like she's riding a motorcycle. She's got great balance. She can stand if I am there to make sure she doesn't fall, but she's been doing that for the past 3 months. She has 6 teeth but thankfully, she does not bite when she nurses. She tried it a few times when she had only a few teeth but I nipped it in the bud (pun intended, hardy har har).

She loves to giggle and she likes to get in on the joke if other people are laughing. (Even at her!) She flurberts my face and thinks it's the most hilarious thing ever. She has long monologues with herself when she first wakes up in the morning and she still wakes up happy every morning (is she really my kid?)

She likes to put her arms up to get picked up, and her latest thing is doing this in the stroller when she feels she's been in too long. Then I'm stuck pushing a stroller and lugging a 21 pound baby at once. I weighed her by stepping on the scale and then doing it while holding her, and subtracting. It was 21.5 pounds more, but i figure her clothes & diaper, plus margin of error, she is probably 21 pounds. We'll know for sure on October 3 when she goes to get her 6-month shots.

I'm a big proponent of shots. I would have her get a shot for every single kind of illness medicine can prevent, if I could. I would take her to the vet and get a rattlesnake shot! Seriously, there are people who are worried about mercury levels in shots causing autism. I'm more worried about her catching a disease before she's been immunized. We are both getting a flu shot. Think of it, when I was a kid, I got chicken pox. I still remember how itchy and miserable I was. Now Lauren won't get it, she'll just get a shot instead!

I am SO EXCITED about our upcoming trip in October to New York to introduce Lauren to relatives. I think about it several times a day and in my head, I'm deciding what to pack, where to go, and how great it is going to be. We'll only be there for 5 days because I have to get back for work, but that's okay, I'd probably miss Jake too much if we were there longer. This might be crazy, or it might just work, but we're taking an overnight flight and I'm hoping Lauren will sleep the whole time, in my arms. We practice now, having her nap while I hold her sometimes. All of our hard work to get her trained to put herself to sleep alone, now I want her to not be distracted by me and to sleep in my arms!

I'm trying to decide which baby equipment we need and I think I'll err on the side of not bringing things, on the theory that we can borrow or buy whatever we forgot. So no lugging a stroller, no car seat (borrowing one there), very few toys (she'll play with measuring spoons or we'll hit the toystores if we need too) but lots of clothes! I've got so many cousins with kids that it shouldn't be a problem if we need equipment.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Another review by Ryan

Another review by Ryan is here. BTW he liked United 93, but someone had already reviewed it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Who I Wish I Looked Like

I wish I looked like her.

I am getting closer because my hair is getting darker, but it's not that dark yet.

Studio 60 is pretty good, from what I saw of the pilot. Didja know you can get it at Netflix? Also the pilot for Jeremy Sisto's new show "Kidnapped". I wish I liked Kidnapped. I was hoping it would be the new "24" for us (back in the early years we used to watch it with K8 & Mrk) but I didn't get into it. Maybe it will take a few more episodes to grow on me, or maybe it's just not that good.

What new shows do you like? Please comment.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What Ryan's Been Up To

For those of you who wish Ryan had his own blog (hi Esteban), well this will come close:
http://www.oscarfrenzy.com/reviews/black-dahlia-noir-gone-awry/

It's a film review on his friend Dave's website Oscar Frenzy. Be sure and leave him a comment. He may do more reviews in the future.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Blonde hair, green eyes

I looked at Lauren today and realized suddenly that her hair has grown in a lot this week and it's blonde. Half the strands are a white-blonde color and some are yellowish. There's some light brown in back. So she's got highlights! I was sure sure she'd be a redhead. (Maybe her sister or brother will>)

Also her denim-blue eyes are turning green!

These days she's wearing size 9-12 months and she can completely sit up by herself. Her favorite thing is to "swim" in the bathtub, doing the backstroke and kicking. She can stay in the bath for an hour at a time. She also likes music, still a big reggae fan. I played some They Might Be Giants the other day (their new children's album) and it got her giggling.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Suburbs: Sub-par or sublime?

I was going to post this long rant about how I hate the suburbs but I had to self-censor. I do not want to offend my suburban friends here, but I'm against moving there. I think it's a much different experience if you grew up in a suburban town and move back there with a network of friends and family, versus picking up and moving into a new community. Ryan (who grew up in San Jose) is trying to convince me that now that we have a child, we should debark to the suburbs. I don't really want to do this for many reasons. I'd miss you guys! (Those reading this near my zip code.)

Last weekend we took a drive out to Claremont, where, he was told, they have good schools and it's a cute little college town with affordable homes, where he can commute to work supposedly in 20-30 minutes. It was 114 degrees. (It was 86 degrees at our condo when we got back.) We tried to find a nice little lunch place and there *were* interesting looking shops, which were all *closed* because it was a Sunday with school not in session. We found the one open, non-chain Mexican restaurant in town and ate there. (The deleted post contained a long tangent about how I always prefer to eat at independant restaurants with chefs, even bad chefs, to going to chain restaurants where the food is all the same mediocre heated up crap everyplace.)

In my ideal world, I'd have a small, nice, centrally located townhouse in the city, and a bigger weekend house with some acres of wildlife to explore in my free time. I'm not really used to suburbs, having grown up in a small rural town with lots of nature and now living in a densley populated part of town. Things I don't like: every house looking the same, traffic jams getting home in the evening, chain restaurants, having to drive to go to restaurants, shops, etc. If I do have to drive to get to places to shop, I want to drive through beautiful scenery, not through housing developments. I also cannot stand the heat. Literally I faint when it gets very hot.

Ryan wants to move to the suburbs because IHHO, it's safer and for the same money, we can buy a bigger house with a yard. Tract homes do not bother him since he grew up in one and supposedly, it's like when you're friends with twins, you do learn to tell them apart after awhile.

So, dear readers, where does this ideal place exist? Must have charming houses under $600,000, must be safe, must not be 114 degrees, and must not have crowds of people all crammed into one freeway to get home at night, and must have a job for Ryan in driving distance. I think many places like this exist, just not in Los Angeles county, and heck, not in Southern California at all.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Paperbackbookswap.com

Join our club and swap paperback books for FREE - PaperBackSwap.com

I just joined this morning and already people wanted 3 of my books, and there were 2 books that I wanted. I went through my Amazon wish list and Ryan's and entered it book by book so that if anyone has a book I want, they'll mail it to me for free. There are no fees beyond postage mailing my own books to other people. The books I had which people wanted: a cookbook, a book about organizing, and a book called "how to make a new mom happy".

Friday, September 01, 2006

First tantrum in the car

Lauren had her first real car tantrum tonight. Not to say she's never cried in the car before, but the other times it was when she was much younger and I was able to pull over and feed her and it was understandable then because she was eating so frequently. Tonight I drove a friend to the airport. Because Ryan had fallen asleep and Lauren was not tired, I decided to take her. Going to was mostly okay. She likes the motion of the car and we were usually moving. She fussed and cried a little bit when we were almost there, but putting the pacifier in her mouth calmed her down.

I dropped off the friend, and we then proceeded to sit in 30 minutes of stopped traffic exiting the airport. It was so frustrating because Lauren was SCREAMING at the top of her lungs and nothing was moving, no way to pull over and help her. I tried singing all of her favorite songs and that would calm her at first, then she'd remember that she was hungry. I didn't figure out that was the problem until I noticed she'd get more furious a few seconds after I put the pacifier in her mouth. She'd suck at it eagerly and then spit it out with a vengeance. The half hour of stopped traffic was pure hell.

Finally we were able to get on the freeway, which was moving full speed. I got off at the southernmost exit where I knew my way around, pulled into a well-lit parking lot, snatched her out of her seat and nursed her. She was INSTANTLY calmed. She pulled off after a minute or so, flashed me a big smile, and went back at the business of completely draining any milk she could get. Then I strapped her back in, she fell asleep, and is still sleeping upstairs now as I write this.

Lauren's first Dodger game

On Wednesday night, we took Lauren to her first baseball game, Dodgers vs. Reds. We left at the top of the 8th inning but we found out later the Dodgers won. RM gave Lauren a pink Dodger bat which she has in her nursery, but she didn't bring it. She wore a pink Yankies onsie to the game, along with her pink teddy bear baseball hat. She had a great time but she got a little scared when people cheered loudly. At one point she cried until she saw I was smiling and it was okay, and then she smiled and wiggled like she was cheering. In the car on the way home we were all very tired and Lauren got a case of the giggles so we all laughed with her. Mid-giggle, she fell asleep! I think she takes after me-when I'm very tired I can get punchy and the slightest thing will set me off laughing and I can't stop. She seems to be the same way & it's very contagious. Watch out if we're both tired!

Monday, August 28, 2006

My new boss is two foot two

As a general rule, I don’t blog about work. This is for several reasons. One is for privacy and semi-anonymity. But mainly, my work is usually not very interesting. (I work at a large institution doing some very specific technical things.) But also, the occasional anecdotes that seem really interesting or important might annoy co-workers (who may or may not still be reading this blog) if I take the time to write them down. Then they’d feel like they’re under a microscope. I think it’s unprofessional. That being said, I really wish I had blogged about the weird Jamaican guy who had the wrong number and kept repeatedly calling me trying to get me to tell him how he could become a doctor. (My job has nothing whatsoever to do with medical doctors nor admittance) I wanted to tell him “look, there is no way you’re even going to get your bachelors’ degree, you are a complete idiot!” but anyway, my boss finally talked to him for me and after we determined he was not a friend playing a joke on us, her conclusion was the guy was completely high or mentally ill. The last time he called, he threatened to write a letter to the president of the United States about me for not answering his questions about who he needed to talk to let him in the school. No, I’m not kidding.

But I digress…the one thing I wanted to post about is that in 4 days I will start working from home at 50% time. I have to go in to the office on Thursday afternoons but other than that, I will be working from a work laptop from home. I only get 50% pay so that is the bad part, but it will be offset somewhat by no parking (well except for the 1 day a week but that’s cheaper than monthly permit), less gas, and no childcare bills. Those would have been $1300 a month or so, had she gotten in to daycare. That is another whole long post which I intend to someday write, but for now the gist of it is that I got on 3 different waiting lists at my employer’s different daycares when I first got pregnant, last year, but they STILL do not have a place for Lauren. I had to pay $50 to be on these lists and they were not open and honest about the slim chances I’d have for getting her in, they just took my $50 and they made it seem like a fair system when in fact it is not. But anyway, that is another whole long story which you don’t want to get me going on…

So, after it became clear to us that I would not be able to, as I planned, simply drive Lauren in to daycare, go to work and visit and feed her at lunch, and then drive home with her, we started looking into other options. Of course, by now since I didn’t have her on any outsidelists, I lost out on some chances for other good daycare places. We didn’t want to hire an illegal alien nanny, which seems to be what a lot of people around here do, and we didn’t know how we could really trust someone in a small home daycare system. (Mainly our distrust comes from watching our neighbors who have (had?) an illegal daycare operation running where kids were playing in a pool unsupervised, etc.) The institutional daycare appealed to us because of the level of oversight. No one would really get a chance to molest or beat or neglect our child with the sheer number of employees and parents coming and going. Some of them even have webcams for parents to watch their child at any time. But big institutional daycare centers have long waiting lists so they were out of the picture. I did not really want to stay home with Lauren and be a stay-at-home mom because well, frankly, we need the money and I value the company of other adults who compensate me monetarily in appreciation for my work! (In other words I would be bored at home all day and can’t imagine not having a paycheck.)

After much soul-searching on the matter, we decided that if I had to, I would take a leave of absence from work until we could get her in to a good daycare program. We have her on a list for a co-op daycare which starts at age 2. It really appeals to us for the level of involvement parents have. All parents have to volunteer one afternoon a month and one Saturday a quarter (cleaning on Saturdays) Another program was recommended to me with an even longer list but I learned the insider tips for getting Lauren in (sign up for every list they have, even the ones for only one or two days a week, then get in for one day a week, and from there you have a better chance of getting in full-time. Demonstrate that she is “gifted” and that we are willing to volunteer and commit to the program long-term). A friend with a baby offered to watch Lauren but she lives completely on the other side of town and it would be too long of a commute. Anyway, I wanted to give my boss as much notice as possible about possibly not working, so I had a talk with her about it and she said that rather than lose me as an employee, she would try to come up with some way I could work part-time from home. The main component of my job that I am the only one here who really knows how to do, I can do from anywhere on my laptop. So starting on Friday, I go to the new plan!

I’m very grateful that my boss has given me this chance to work and still spend time with Lauren and not have to worry about her. The loss of 50% of my salary is downright scary but we would have had to start paying almost that much for infant care anyway very soon. My mother is watching her at the moment but she is a teacher and her school year is starting. Plus, she has her own life and needs to get back to it. My “telecommuting agreement” is that I will do this for September, October, and November. In November, my boss has the option to review it and see if she wants to extend it or recall me back to full-time office duties. I’m banking on Lauren continuing her long afternoon naps, and if not, then I’ll have to do the work in the evenings when Ryan is home. I have a feeling it will end up adding up to more than 20 hours if I am constantly checking email to see what I’m missing. But on the other hand, I will be able to focus more on technical things without all of the interruptions I get now from people constantly wandering in lost, calling on the phone, or just coming in to chat. In fact, I should get back to some of that work right now; I’m interrupting myself by writing this!

Monday, August 21, 2006

funny translation of a german spam

Got a German spam email today.  When I ran it through babelfish, this is what it came up with (note especially the last sentence):
A beautiful good evening Mrs. emperor Kaiser-Afroune, we got your inquiry concerning a housing management passed on. In order to be able to provide you an offer that is particularly co-ordinated with your desires, we need still a few data. We usually take up before offer dispatching with the customer telephone contact, in order to present us briefly and experience object details. You would like to also take yourselves or wish a few minutes time you only an offer of kind of condition. This would be then not-binding up to the object inspection and corresponds to our experiences with a comparable object. About a feedback we would be pleased much. Gladly you can call a telephone date us or call you simply on. About an InterNet attendance on our homepage www.erdbeerblume.de we would be pleased also much. Loving a greeting from the cloud-imposed meal its Sandra Sziedat

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Chocolate Story with a Sweet Ending

Last night I was supposed to go do a focus group and get paid $75 to taste gourmet chocolates. I was looking forward to this all week. After work I got in my car and drove through heavy traffic to Plaza Research, down by the airport. The recruiter on the phone told me it started at 6:00 p.m. but when they sent me a postcard with directions to the facility, it asked me to be there 15 minutes early. At 15 minutes to 6, I called to let them know that I was on Sepulveda, almost there but not quite. They told me to "not bother coming" because the group would be in the room by then. :( But I figured maybe I could still make it by 6:00 and since I was so close, I drove the rest of the way anyway, and arrived in their office at 6:05. They said "Why did you bother coming? We told you not to on the phone?". I explained about the traffic, and they were not very nice. No $75, no chocolate.

The thing is, I absolutely structured my week around this stupid focus group. I made sure Lauren had extra milk in the fridge, pumped at work right before I left, got my mom to watch her, changed social plans, missed Greg's birthday party, etc. Not to mention all of the wasted time and gas driving down there. So I was really mad at them for not letting me in, simply for being 5 minutes late. Then they tried to tell me that no, I was really 20 minutes late. But the recruiter on the phone had said 6:00. I would not have agreed to it had I thought it started at 5:45. 45 minutes is not enough time to drive across town in heavy traffic and keep my sanity. It's just not worth $75.

Anyway, I got back to my car (which they did at least validate my parking ticket for, I would have been really angry if I had to pay to park on top of everything else) and called Ryan. I didn't mean to but I started to cry. I hate being female sometimes. You try to be tough but estrogen kicks in and the tears flow at inopportune times. Anyway, the happy ending is that being the wonderful husband he is, he went out and bought different kinds of gourmet chocolate and surprised me with a "tasting" for me at home. Reason # 2 million of why I love him, is the little things he thinks of to do.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Lauren and Jakey, Sitting in a Tree...

Lauren has decided that Jake delights her. She watches his every move with a captivated happy expression on her face. She reaches out and tries to pet him but instead pinches him and grabs big fistfuls of his fur and tries to pull it. He takes it but only for so long and then he moves out of her reach. Sometimes he kisses her on the forehead and she loves this. She squeals in delight. She finds it hilarious when he barks, or growls or paws at me or acts naughty in any way. She opens her mouth, throws her head back and laughs out loud, shakes her arms and wiggles in appreciation.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

MBNA Credit Card Not Worth Having

I will spare you the even longer more boring story, but to sum up, I purchased some big-ticket items with my MBNA LL BEAN PLATINUM VISA and afterwards went to register the product's with Visa's warranty protection. I was informed that MBNA "does not participate" in this Visa benefit. What?! So then I spent a lot of time on the phone with Visa trying to figure out what was going on, because I have used this very feature (when the fridge and DVD player broke in the same week, back in 2002 or so) and because of the benefit, that's why I put all of my expensive stuff on that card, such as Ryan's laptop, computer printers, and appliances.

Oddly, MBNA has continually raised my credit limit on this card so that it is now almost my yearly take-home pay. Way higher than most people with higher incomes even get, and way higher than my limit on other cards. So it's not just that I had the wrong kind of card or not high enough level. Evidently they did this for everyone. They supposedly sent out a letter informing customers that this benefit would be dropped. I'm one of those people who actually reads the small print enclosed in statements and I never saw any notice. While I was googling to find out about this problem, I found this post from another guy who also never got their supposedly sent letter. This seems like a class action waiting to happen.

There are 2 ironic things in this story though-1 is that I had another Visa card in my wallet which I would normally use because I get Amazon points (through Chase bank) and that card would have provided warranty extension but I didn't use it because it didn't say the word "platinum" on it which I thought was key. The second is that after I went the trouble to return the items and buy them back again on the Chase card, I found out that 1 item has a 3 year warranty anyway! (The store's ad said it only had 1 year thus prompting this whole warranty-extension madness in the first place).

Anyway, I am boring even myself as I type this but bottom line, I wanted to warn my friends that if you have MBNA, they SUCK and you should use another card. I recommend the Chase card and I recommend registering your big-ticket stuff with Visa. You send Visa copies of the receipt & warranty and if something ever breaks, they double the warranty for you, reimbursing your repair bills if paid on Visa. It's a protection benefit you already have through your card so you might as well make it work for you. Just don't get MBNA!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

This will make you smile


Click on this and see if you don't smile back! =)

It was taken when Lauren was 7 weeks old. Usually I am private about photos & video of her and haven't put any on this blog, only on login-only websites. However, I felt the need to share just this one. She looks so different now! But the smile is the same, and I am glad to report that I've seen that look many times tonight and giggles as well! Which means she is finally getting better. Phew!

Sick Little Girl

We took Lauren to her regular doctor yesterday and she thinks she has some kind of virus/flu because her temperature was too high to be just from teething. We are supposed to give her Tylenol every 4 hours and hope it goes away in 1 week.

Poor little girl has been fussing and tossing and turning at night. We had to throw the whole "sleep training" thing out the window and have her sleep in bed with us because she wakes up frequently and thrashes around and panics if she can't reach out and touch me in her sleep. And also if her pacifier falls out, so it's easiest if I'm inches away, to put it back in her mouth. She sleeps like I (normally) do, stretched out, so that means I sleep curled up to have room on the bed. As a result, this morning I woke up with such a backache. I didn't want to take any medicine for it, even aspirin, because I didn't want it to get into my milk and react with Lauren's Tylenol. So I put heat on it and after a couple of hours of just sitting in my chair at work and not getting up, the pain went away.

But really, a little back pain is nothing compared to how bad I feel watching Lauren suffer and make her pathetic little "eh eh" sounds. My mom says she is doing a little bit better today. Not back to her usual happy self yet, and she still has a fever, but she's less upset. We hope she's getting better soon!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lauren's First Trip to Urgent Care

After I wrote the last post, I took Lauren's temperature again and it was up to 101.4. So I gave her a cold bath (found out later this is not good, should be a lukewarm bath not COLD) and got it down to 99.5. We took her over to Kaiser's Urgent Care. We are fortunate enough to have 2 insurances. Her main pediatrician is through UCLA and doesn't do urgent care, so I would have had to bring her to the emergency room through that insurance. Instead we went to Kaiser.

Anyway, the pediatrician looked her over and thinks it is just from teething. Her eyes, nose, mouth and ears were fine. He gave her liquid Motrin and IMMEDIATELY she perked up (although she cried while eating it) and then she finally ate. She was in such a giggly mood when we got home, back to her completely normal self. That is, until the medicine wore off and before we gave her another dose.

She is supposed to suck on Pedialite pops and I'm supposed to bring her in to see her regular pediatrician as soon as she can get an appointment, Monday or Tuesday.

She's fussing now so I have to go give her another chilled pacifier...

Who Are You and What Have You Done With My Sweet Baby?

Lauren was up all night last night, sleeping only for short bursts of time, which meant we were up all night. She is teething and she's in pain. You know the moaning sound Harry made in "When Harry Met Sally"? She did that "ehh ehhh ehhh " thing all night when she wasn't screaming. At 3:00 I finally gave her some infant Tylenol which helped for a few minutes. She refused to eat until I got a chilled bottle, even then she had only a few sips.

She seems fine this morning, mostly back to her cheerful usual self. She is a little bit whiny still with some "ehh"s in there where usually it's giggles. If she doesn't perk up in a few hours, I'm taking her in to Urgent Care to make sure she doesn't have an ear infection. Her temperature is 98.8

Friday, August 04, 2006

4 Month Relections-4 Days Late

Lauren turned 4 months old on Tuesday. She's such a sweet, sweet baby. We're really proud of her. She always has this twinkle in her eye like it's Christmas morning for her all the time. I love watching her see new things. I look forward to her first ice cream cone and her first trip to the beach. Of course, she's not eating solid foods until at least 6 months and she's not allowed out in the sun yet either (I'm afraid she got my fair complexion-one of these days I'll be posting about "Lauren's First Freckle").

One of her new activities is sleep appreciation. (I can relate!) Yesterday she took a 6 HOUR NAP. Yes, you read that right. And the night before that, she slept from 10 PM to 5:30 AM. Now, she did wake up twice and made fussing sounds, but Ryan put her pacifier back in her mouth and she was fine. For the nap, though, she slept 6 solid hours in a row from noon until 6:00 p.m.

My mom is watching her this month and they're having such a good time. Lauren loves Nonnon and giggles and looks so happy. They play and read stories and have lots of cuddling. She still loves the grocery store (that can be read either way, my mom loves it too!) and meeting new people.

Last night Lauren's European boyfriend came over. They were both playing on the mat when they HELD HANDS! I was in the kitchen and was summoned in but they stopped by the time I got there.

Lauren has really come so far in 4 months, from a baby who mostly slept all day and ate and pooped seemingly every hour, to the interactive baby who loves to reach out and touch things and "talk" (we can't understand her "words" yet). Oh, and we found out she loves reggae! She gets a very happy, focused look on her face when it comes on, like she's going to compose any day now.

She's grown 2 teeth and 2 more are on the way. Her eyebrows have gotten darker, more like mine (Ryan's are very light) and her eyelashes are very long. The hair might be red, we're not sure because it seems she has even less of it than when she was born. I think that her eyes are turning green, but they are still a sort of navy blue, not the light blue like my dad's. She's wearing size 6 months clothes and size 3 diapers.

Congrats Ryan!

Ryan found out the other day that he is a quarterfinalist in the Nichols Fellowship screenwriting competition. a> Less than 10% of entries received made it this far in the competition. He then advances to the next round. Yay, Ryan!! Cross your fingers for him and his latest script! Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

Monday, July 31, 2006

IQ Test

Tonight Ryan assembed the Baby Einstein Exersaucer or whatever they call it. It's like an IQ test for adults, to see if we can put it together. I failed the test, got frustrated and pouted. Ryan stepped in and finished the job. Seriously, the instructions were not in English. They were in Pictionary. :(

Anyway, it's done and Lauren likes it. Her little toes don't quite reach the ground yet in it but since she can sit up now, she can be in it. She spent a long time exploring the rings tonight, and pressing the buttons to make different sounds. She got this intense look of concentration on her face which her Daddy said makes her look like Grandpa (who was upstairs at that moment fixing the drier).

This past weekend Lauren had a great time with 2 of her boyfriends. On Saturday she hung out with "the European guy" (he is 3 weeks younger) and his family. They napped together and she played with his toys and slept in his pram. He didn't mind. It must be love. Then on Sunday, she went to the 1 year birthday party of "the older guy". He had another girlfriend there as well, and some other babies. It was a swimming party and Lauren got in the kiddie pool early on and stayed splashing for awhile. She was fearless and didn't mind getting wet. She was the only girl in the pool.

Wah, my cordless keyboard is crapping out on me so I'm going to end this painstakingly written post now. More later...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Teething and Shots, Oh My!

Lauren went to the doctor today to get her 4 month shots. (She'll be 4 months on Tuesday.) She got 3 and she didn't cry for the 1st one, and only a little for the 2nd two. She was very brave. Afterwards, she was okay and then she fell asleep, then woke up when we shopped at Trader Joe's. She loves loves shopping at the grocery store.

But back to the doctor's office-she weighed 17 1/2 pounds! Still off the charts and very healthy. Oddly, she had not grown in length since 2 weeks ago when she was there for her cold, which makes me think they measured incorrectly either that time or this time because she seems taller and she's outgrown some onesies, by length. Her doctor thinks at this rate, she will outgrow her carseat by 7 months. We already bought the next sized one, just in case, but we still have to buy one more for the second car. We want to buy the Britax Decathlon. So far we found a cheap used Britax Roundabout for $60 on Craig's list so we bought that to have as our second carseat (right now 3rd, but I mean, 2nd when we get rid of the other 2. We'll figure out which car we use least and put it in there to replace her infant seat.) The Decathlon is about $300 with tax and shipping.

2 other firsts for Lauren-she has her first 2 teeth (at once)! They're the front 2 on the bottom. They're coming in and have pushed past the gums. She also rolled over for the first time. Both things happened yesterday. And today she had her first nightmare, or at least the first one we knew about where she woke up crying. We're almost positive she dreamed about getting shots. :(

Friday, July 21, 2006

For Nippy, 1993-2006

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am a diamond glint on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft starshine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not here. I did not die.

(poem by Mary Frye)

Tears are streaming down my face as I write this. Nippy died this morning. He had been suffering and was not himself for the past year or more. He had arthritus in his back and had lost control of his bowels and urine. He could no longer jump up and follow us around the house or sit and beg for treats. Always a house dog, he spent the last year of his life living in the garage and yard because he made too many messes.

I still remember the day we got him as a puppy. It was the summer after my junior year in high school and our cat had run away. My parents said we could get a dog and some breeds discussed were German Shepherds and Black Labradors. When I saw 2 puppies at the pet store that were half German Shepherd and half Black Lab, I ran home to tell my parents. My dad went back to the store with me to look. He got this completely enchanted look on his face when he held Nippy, who was calmer than his brother and completely black. We went home to ask Mom if we could get him. She reluctantly agreed that we could bring him home "for Peter" who was in NY for the week, and was still upset about losing the cat.

We went back and paid I think $60 for the puppy and another $100 or so for treats, food, a collar, leash, and what they said was his favorite toy (a rubber bone which we could never get him to play with). We took him home and he followed us around the house, especially my dad. He got into all kinds of mischief. The first day home, he walked onto the pool cover and had to be rescued from drowning. Peter got home from his trip and decided to name the dog Nippy because he was always nipping at people's heels. He also "nipped" Peter's brand new leather soccer cleats.

At first he used to spend his nights in the garage, in part that was sectioned off from the rest. Every morning we'd find him outside his section. He'd taken items and moved them into piles to make steps, then climbed the steps to get out. Smart dog! I used to take him on long walks around the hills in our neighbor hood to burn off his puppy energy. Once this worked too well and on the way back up a hill, he stopped in a neighbor's grass and rolled on to his back and took a snooze. I had to carry him home.

There were so many tricks he knew-"sit", "Lie down", "come" "stay" "Left paw", "right paw", and "roll over". The thing was, he was smart enough to do these tricks only if he had adequate compensation. He also learned other key words in English. We taught him "no, that's chocolate" meant he would never have a chance at getting a bite so he might as well not beg. "Go see _____" and he would go see the person named.

Friendly does not even begin to describe his personality. He used to run away so many times that my parents had a pixelated photo and "lost dog" ad copy on file at the newspaper so they could run the ad with just a phone call. One time he followed a jogger home, ran right into her house and got in bed with her 3 kids! They were disappointed they could not keep him. Another time he found a new home and got a new name-"Blackie". When I went to pick up "Blackie", the guy who found him started to ask me questions to prove I was his owner, when he ran over, jumped up and licked my face, ran past me, jumped through the open window of my car and sat down in the back seat with his paw on the arm rest as if to say "take me home"!

The last time he ever ran (far) away, I was in college and working and taking care of him by myself while my parents were living near Sacramento. He'd been gone for a few days and I kept calling the animal shelter to see if he was there. Finally someone told me they had no mixed black dogs but one "purebred black Lab". I decided to go take a look. Sure enough, it was him. He was sitting in his cage and as soon as he saw me, he barked excitedly and tried doing every trick he knew. He sat, offered his left paw, then his right, lied down, and tried to roll over but the cage wasn't big enough so he tilted left, then tilted right, then sat again. When I finally bailed him out, he dragged me towards the grass where another dog was out meeting potential adopters. I thought "great, he's going to start a fight". No, he had not gone to the bathroom in 3 days so he really really had to go for about 5 minutes! After that, 1)he stayed close to home and didn't run far away again. He'd done his "time behind bars" and it reformed him! 2) we didn't worry that he'd been left too long and might have made a mess in the house. We knew he could hold it for 3 days! (Well, until he got old and got arthritis)

He loved people but did not always get along so well with other dogs. He was like the hyper ADD kid with no social skills. Once and only once, we took him to Dog Beach. I was holding his leash when he took off after another dog, dragging me a good 10 feet in the sand. We looked like Elizabeth and Clifford the Big Red Dog. When Dad stopped laughing, he helped me get Nippy back in the car. We turned right around and went home and never tried dog parks again.

My mom was worried for a long time that Nippy would not be good with cats, because the black Lab next door had killed our neighbor's cat. So for the first 5 years of his life or so, she didn't have a cat; he was an "only pet". Then one day he went out at night and didn't come home. Mom figured he was visiting our neighbor, June, who served her dogs, and Nippy as a dinner guest, expensive dog food. She thought maybe he was spending the night there. She heard him barking, and June also heard him barking. In the morning June came out to see what the fuss was about. Nippy was in the brush halfway between June's house and our house. He walked over to June holding a kitten by the scruff of its neck and let her back to where 2 other kittens were. All night he had been standing watch over them, guarding them from coyotes.
June took the kittens to the vet and found homes for them.

After that, Mom didn't worry that Nippy would kill a kitten, and she adopted Bert. Bert and Nippy got along so well that we nicknamed Nippy the "kitty-momma". "Kitty-momma" and Bert would nap curled up together. Bert used to eat Nippy's dog food out of the same bowl at the same time. We have a picture of their 2 little faces at the bowl. When Bert went outside, Nippy used to follow him to make sure no wild animals came near. When Bert wanted to come in and scratched at the door, Nippy would bark to make sure Mom let him in. As Bert got older and more independant, he didn't sleep next to Nippy anymore, but the 2 would always be in the same room and Nippy would still bark to let Mom know if Bert needed the door opened.

When I used to visit as an adult, he'd still sleep in bed with me. Then later when Mom decided she didn't really want him in the guest room, he'd sleep in her room as usual but first thing in the morning when she opened the door, he'd dash out and sit by the guest room door waiting for me to wake up. I used to brush him. He loved that, it was a special treat for him. He could be brushed for hours (and hair would still come out hours later, he was a great shedder!)

He hated suitcases and used to bark at them, because he knew that they meant someone was going on a trip and leaving him. When Peter was packing to go to Yale, Nippy came up with a plan to get him to stay. The luggage was out on the floor, halfway packed, and Nippy pushed everything under the bed to hide it. It didn't work, obviously, Peter left anyway.

Nippy had, on the balance, one bad year of suffering (alleviated, though, by painkillers) and twelve wonderful years living a loved, charmed life. I will miss him terribly, though. I've known this day was coming for awhile, tried to prepare myself but it's never easy. In spite of my best efforts to only remember the good times, tears are still streaming down my face.

Rest in peace, Nippy.

Cute little Lauren things

I have been accused by my husband of spending way too much blog space writing on about "pointless things" like my hair and not enough about Lauren. The thing is, that day I had a lot of free time to write on and on and hair was on my mind. Most of my Lauren posts are done post-haste (ha ha) with one hand and her in the other (like right now). I try to economize words b/c I get tired, and if I'm thinking about her, I'd rather be playing with her. Anyway, she is up to some pretty cute stuff these days. I took a vacation day today and we have big plans to walk to downtown Culver City and go shopping. While she naps I am going to upload more new photos of her and order some prints.

One of the cute things she's been up to is she now knows the game "where's Mommy's nose?". I used to ask her that and move her hand to my nose, then "where's Mommy's chin?", etc. Now she can find, on her own, my eyes, mouth, chin, cheeks, forehead, hair and *sometimes* my ear. For some reason she thinks my ear is the same as my cheek. Anyway, it was at first impressive that she even reached out at all when I said "touch my nose". I would help her find it with her hand. Now she can find it on her own and she can also take out her pacifier on her own and put it back in her mouth (sometimes wrong side up though and this frustrates her!). This is really impressive for not even being 4 months old!

Another trick of hers is she says "uh-uh" when she means no sometimes. I ask her "Lauren are you hungry?" and she says "uh-uh" when she's not! She also told my dad "HEY!" when she had a poopy diaper, like "hey guy, CHANGE ME!".

She is at a great age for visitors because she loves new faces (and may touch your nose!) and doesn't have stranger anxiety yet. She can hold up her own head so it's not as scary to hold her (for non-baby "I might break her" types). And she makes great babbling sounds which can be interpreted by those who are so inclined, as phrases in a foreign language. "She just said 'it's cold outside' in Swaheli!"

Anyway, that's the latest and greatest Lauren update. Now we are off to have our shower (me) and bath (her) and go shopping. She loves shopping and can shop for hours without so much as a pout (unlike her Daddy!)