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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Eye Color Inheritance game

Someone asked me for this link months ago, and I'm just now posting it:
http://www.ideum.com/genetics-eyecalculator.html

This site calculates your odds of having children with each eye color based parents' and grandparents' colors. This means that Lauren has an all but 16% chance of having her eyes change to green. Otherwise they'll stay blue, and it's nearly impossible for them to become brown. I had blue eyes until I was 3, then they turned green. They are still blue from time to time, when I pay Dr. Kutcher extra for the special contact lenses! ;)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Donuts for Dinner- "because I'm the mother"

This only happened once that I can think of, but I do remember a time
when my mother had a sweet sugary snack, the kind of thing us kids
were not allowed to have except on special occasions, and she had it
RIGHT BEFORE DINNER. This was a shock to us, my health-food eating,
wheat germ sprinkling mother having some chocolate dipped pastry thing
at such an inappropriate time. The kind of thing she would never let
*us* do (but Grandma probably would! More on that in another post)
but she herself did that one time. So of course, I asked her why she
got to eat junkfood instead of say, brussel sprouts and I will never
forget her reply- "because I'm the mother!". She then proceeded to
explain that when I'm a grown-up living in my own house I can have my
own rules and do whatever I want (but until then, vegetables). I
became fascinated with this idea, that adults got to do all of the fun
stuff. (Little kids don't fantasize "someday I'll have to pay a
mortgage and taxes and have ultimate responsibility for other little
people's lives!") And of course, I imagined that I would have donuts
for dinner every night.

Fastforward twenty-some-odd years, and you know, I don't think I've
every had donuts for dinner! But every once in awhile I do experience
a fleeting sense of glee that I *could* do it if I wanted to. And
it's weird, now I *am* the mother, and I'll probably have these same
sorts of conversations with Lauren one day soon, who will in turn wish
she were 18 and living the sweet life but won't realize her peas and
carrots days are not so bad.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

My Long-Distance Relationship

We met during welcome week of college so that makes it almost 11 years, even longer than I've known Ryan. Through the years, I've only cheated on V. three times. Once with a French guy in St. Tropez, once with some anonymous person at the mall, and once with my friend's sister. In those instances I was desparate, V. was in London and it had just been too long since I'd seen her and her magic hands. The morning of my wedding, when I needed her services, I couldn't imagine using anyone else.

V. is Vickie Lavanty, my hairdresser. She is truly a hair artist. Please, if you know my hair and don't think it's that great, don't judge *her* work by *my* laziness to maintain it. I would rather have bad looking hair which is unattractive from neglect because it has been 6 months since I saw Vickie than to have bad looking hair because it was cheaply cut by some newbie at Supercuts. (And BTW you may be able to get a decent cut at Supercuts but it's very hit or miss.) She is worth any amount of money because she truly has a gift for perfect, precision cuts that flatter face shapes.

I first met her when my roomates and I decided we wanted drastic changes, freshman year of college. Linda, Janet and I saw an ad and a coupon in one of the UCSD publications and we took a bus to downtown La Jolla. She cut 8 inches off of my hair to an above-the chin pageboy, while 2 of her associates chopped even more off of Linda's hair and gave Janet some hip purple highlights. She charged what we thought of at the time was a ton of money for the cuts, but luckily this was offset somewhat by the coupons.

Somehow after that I found out about her academy and her need for hair models, who got free cuts in exchange for sitting there for 2 hours while students painstakingly practiced. This is not as risky as it sounds because you can think of them like beauty grad students. They were already licensed and knew how to cut hair but were learning her precise method. Having sat through so many of these classes, I can tell you a little bit about what she does. She has them look at the shape of the occipital bone, the symmetry of the person's face, and any natural parts or cowlicks. Then they use "overdirection" and "underdirection" and hold the hair out from the head at certain precise angles while cutting, so that it falls a certain way and flips in or out. Even for those very shaggy cuts that seem to be imprecise, they first do a very precision bob and then shorten or "take some weight off" pieces on top. Once she had someone redo my entire cut 1/8 of an inch shorter because they were holding the scissors at the wrong angle.

Another time in college, my favorite cut, I was a model for her in a runway show at a fashion/beauty convention. For that, I had a rounded bob with long layers and three kinds of highlights/lowlights with copper and gold tones. Very glamourous, back then I could fit in size 8/10 clothes. (Funny, we never appreciate our looks at the time. I never though, wow, I am looking so fit! Never thinking I'd go up sizes in the future or that eventually the pix in the photo album from that time would look okay to me in comparison to now!)

Whenever I tell people about being a hair model, they usually react with horror thinking of some wild experimental haircut they'd likely end up with. But actually IMHO, it's the best time to get any kind of drastic change because with that much attention paid to you, your face shape, etc. they will not screw it up. They are being watched carefully by instructors who will rush over if they sense anything amiss. (Oh, and sometimes the instructor cuts it as an example for the whole class.) Since then, I have gone to Luis Licari in Beverly Hills to be a model for highlights. Licari salon is famous for their blondes. I cannot afford to regularly go there and spend several hundred dollars every few months to maintain a platinum look. Instead I can get blonder whenever I feel like my hair is getting too dull& dark by paying $35 and going to Licari model night so they can make it look like I spent a week at the beach.

I haven't done highlights in about 2 years because of the pregnancies and I'm kind of enjoying the darker hair. Ryan says he likes it lighter because "I married a blonde". What he doesn't realize is that before my wedding I went to Licari and actually got LOWlights where they highlight parts of your hair *darker*! So he married a brunette! Well, darker blonde anyway.

Back to Vickie and my hair history though. Until I was in 4th grade, i had long(ish) blonde hair that got very light from summers in the pool. Then in 5th grade, I got a perm and a layered haircut all at once, and they chopped away all of the blonde parts. I didn't feel like me. It looked horrible, and I went home and cried. After that, haircuts were never relaxing, they were always long drawn-out tense experiences where I wondered if I would emerge looking worse. This was true even later when I knew the hairdresser (my best friend's aunt) and trusted her. It always took me a day of buyer's remorse before I could like the cut. When we moved to San Diego and I didn't know anyone or where to go, I picked a Fantastic Sam's because it had a convenient location. I got a horrible bob that was about 2 inches longer on one side than the other. :(

Anyway, later when I met and began to trust Vickie, I put myself completely in her hands and told her she could do whatever she wanted. And I have never not liked a haircut. In about 2000 or 2001 I decided I was sick of long hair and wanted very short, inspired by Camille in "Milou en mai". She was the only one I would trust for something that drastic, and she didn't do it exactly as pictured, she altered it to be more flattering to my face and showed me several other ways of styling it. She did my hair for my wedding. I hope she does Lauren's first haircut. I used to ask her for recommendations of students who'd been through her courses and worked in LA, but she never followed through on actually giving me their contact info and I stopped asking. Now I just go see her whenever I can when I'm in San Diego. We've got a long distance relationship, but it works for me!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lauren sleep update

Thanks everyone who commented or emailed me about baby sleep stuff. The update is that we are putting Lauren down to go to sleep in her bassinett but when she wakes up around 3:30 or 4:00 to eat, she spends the rest of the night with us, usually without waking again until morning. It's our compromise and it's working for now. I also put her down in the bassinette for her naps. She makes little pip sounds and plays with her pacifier for awhile (she can now take it out of her mouth with her hands and can occasionally even put it back) and then falls asleep on her own. So, Dr. Wu should be happy that she's "self-soothing" and we are happy we don't lose the closeness of cuddling with her, especially in the mornings. She won't be still doing this when she's 14! But for now, we are enjoying more together-time with the little girl while still giving her some independance.

Efficient police officers? Is it POSSIBLE?

I was so shocked today that I just had to post about this. I take Beverly Glen Blvd. to work and they are doing construction at Santa Monica Blvd. There have been signs warning about the upcoming month of delays. They also hired traffic officers to hand direct cars at the intersection. Today I was pleasantly surprised to see that everything was flowing even MORE smoothly than normal, in fact, I got to work in only 17 minutes. This is some kind of record considering it took over 5 minutes just to go the first 1/3 mile or so, well before the construction. Anyway, are these people doing their job well and controlling traffic efficiently?! It would appear so. Does this mean when the construction is over, it will go back to being bad? Or is it only moving fast because UCLA is out for the summer and less cars are heading that way in the first place.

Sadly, my route home is all screwed up because I can't make a right turn from Santa Monica to Beverly Glen now so I have to take Overland instead which takes longer.

World Cup-Is it Just Me?

Is it just me or is World Cup suddenly popular in the U.S. just this year, like never before? It seems like everywhere I go, a game is on someplace and people are watching intently and cheering (and I didn't notice this last year, couldn't have even told you when World Cup was on last year). And people who I've never heard express an interest in sports in their life are making comments like "I think Ghana deserves to win this one". This could be because where I work and associate are places that are international melting pots, except I think it's bigger than my little corner of LA. What I want to know is, how far across the country is this soccer fever extending? Are people watching in Kansas? Comment and let me know. Heck, just comment if you're even FROM Kansas and reading my blog!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It's Not Just You

No really, it's not you. We haven't called ANY of our friends lately.
So it's not that we're with our other cooler, more interesting set.
We haven't hung out or done many fun things with anyone. Work is
exhausting and taking care of Lauren is a full-time second job. We
don't think of planning social occasions. So please call us. Invite
yourselves over. If you just show up and play with the baby, we might
even find food in the kitchen and feed you! We will probably settle
into a routine one of these days and have more time to pick up the
phone and call you guys (when Lauren is in college!) but meanwhile,
CALL US! =)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Jake's lost love

A few weeks ago, a pointer puppy moved in next door. Bridget was
about 10 weeks old, brown fur and classic puppy spazziness. Jake was
curious about her, and then indignant-how dare a new dog move in to
HIS building?! He tried to feign indifference yet he ran to the door
whenever she walked by. She unabashedly pursued him. Every time she
came back from a walk, she stopped by his door to see if he was home.
Finally this weekend they played together, and it was LOVE.

Unfortunately, this same day, we learned that Bridget and her owner
were moving the NEXT day. So it was 24 hours of each dog pining for
the other, meeting briefly when outside at the same time, playing,
hugging and having a grand old time. Now Bridget will go to a house
with a backyard and more space to run. But will she think of Jake?
He will certainly miss her!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Gene de Chene Books

Please go to Gene de Chene Books on Santa Monica Blvd. in West LA and buy lots of books! It's this great little used bookstore. The owner is a really cool, beautiful person and she is way too nice to make lots of money. She practially gives away books and I worry that she will have to close the store and then I will not be able to go there and browse and buy things like "The Amish Cookbook" or have a very friendly "you take it", "no, you take it, you were here first" fight with someone over the copy of "Moosewood Restaurant Cooks At Home". (The other girl insisted I have it in the end.)

Here is her blogsite:
gdcbooks.com

If you go to the archives, you will find a cute baby picture.

Oh, and at the store she sells my greeting cards which is the only retail location you can find them. She bought about 40 of them from me and still has about 20 left. Well, okay, I made that up. I have no idea how many she has left other than she told me she sold "a bunch" and I saw at least 10 of them still out on the racks.

She always has brand new books on tape or CD, still in the wrapper for about $8. Those things are about $30 new. And has a fascinating collection of first edition children's books. Okay, I could go on but I won't. Just go there, you can park for free in the back and you will have an interesting time. If you're not looking for a certain book, you'll find another that you didn't even know you needed to read.

LOVE the new dishwasher!

LOVE the new dishwasher. It's great and such an improvement in
every way. I should have gotten one way sooner. And I don't even
know if it's the dishwasher itself that is so great or just that
ANYTHING would have been better than the piece of crap we had before.
The old one looked like it was installed in '81 when the condo was
new. It had been white once but faded to a dingy manila color. The
racks inside had rust on them. It didn't so much wash dishes as sort
of rinse and then heat them up and disinfect them along with any food
that happened to be stuck on.

The new one does what it is supposed to do and it designed
ergonimically and just makes sense, with lots of slots and baskets and
spots for real dishes & pots and pans. They come out sparkling clean
and I don't have to rewash them. The stainless steel face looks sleek
and modern and helps it look like we have a current updated kitchen.
We're hoping this will help resale value; meanwhile, it helps me be
happy not to have so much work prewashing!

Oh, it's a Maytag Quietseries 300 and they're about $499 at Home
Depot. We caught ours on sale for 10% off plus free delivery. Installation
was free--THANKS, DAD!

Again, though, I tend to have old things and then when I get brand new
ones, it's always a pleasant surprise at features designers have
thought up. After years of driving a 1985 BMW, I got a newer one from
the 90's that seems to me like heaven simply because it has features
like a button that rolls my window all the way up or down with one
touch, rather than holding my finger on it to complete the task. And
it has power locks with a REMOTE, something they didn't have in '85 so
it seems so novel and luxurious to me. What else? Oh, dual climate
control, back seats that fold down to put big things in the trunk, a
HEPA air filter, power mirrors...these things are probably standard on
most cars now but they're still little miracles to me.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

yay, computer is fixed!

Yay, my computer is fixed! We thought the power supply had burned out
but something was just loose in there and my dad fiddled with it and
no probs now. I should be better about backing up files anyway, this
was a good lesson. I'm BACK online again at home, yay! I actually
wrote the the jeans thing a few days ago. Now that Esteban suggested
to email posts, I looked into it and can do them from work or anywhere
else. Thanks, Esteban!

Hello My Old Friends

This morning I saw some old friends I have not seen since before I was pregnant. "She is planning get-togethers before noon?!", you are thinking. Not you guys! No, I'm talking about some old friends at the back of the closet-my jeans! And today I am celebrating finally fitting in to them! :) Despite having a huge appetite all the time and going to the gym only 1 or 2 times a week instead of the suggested 3, I have somehow managed to reconfigure the fat in my body so that less of it is around my abdomen, and now they fit!! You have no idea how exited
I am about this. I'm not ready to go on a shopping spree yet (my wallet's on a diet as well) but at least I'm not rotating the same 5 outfits endlessly.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Lauren's Song

(Caution, barfing ahead if you don't think babies are adorable and wouldn't sing to one!)

Here is Lauren's Song. She looks at us anticipating until we get to the word "rose" and then she breaks out into a big grin and giggle. =)

Teeny tiny toes
Little button nose
Everywhere she goes
Everybody knows
She's pretty as a ROSE

Pretty as a rose in bloom
Lauren makes the cars go zoom
Lifts the people's doom and gloom

She's got...
(repeat)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Bye-Bye Sanny G

Wah! Last night we took a walk to downtown Culver City and San Gennaro was closed! It was a complete shock to us. We were just there a few weeks ago and had no clue that the end was near. They have another location in Brentwood, which is still open, but they lost their lease in the Culver City location. I called the Brentwood location to get the
scoop and they said their last day was on May 15th. We were just there on something like May 10th!

It was my favorite restaurant for awhile because they have a huge
menu, I could walk there easily, and the ambiance was nice. They had
live music and big wine list and great apple martinis. They also had
2 for 1 pizza on Monday nights, which was usually decent and once in
awhile was absolutely scrumptious (depending on the chef that night).
We hadn't been there for awhile, other than the recent visit, because
they had a "B" in the window. (Out of towners-instead of closing
restaurants for health violations, around here they grade restaurants
and post signs in the window with "A", "B" or "C". Since they didn't
have an "A", that meant they had rats or roaches or some other
violation that gives me the creeps thinking about so I avoid those
restaurants whenever possible.)

The Brentwood location has the same menu (and an "A" in the window!)
but a completely different ambiance and no live entertainment (that I
know of). It's also 5 miles away, not 5 seconds away. I guess we
will go there if we're at the Barrington dog park sometime in winter
when we can leave Jake in the car, but probably not very much other
than that. The parking situation there is bad. It's just not the
same as having a neighborhood hangout nearby.

There are a BUNCH of other new restaurants in downtown Culver City
though. A new one, Ugo, just opened up days ago. We tried to go but
there was a 20 minute wait, so we just got Greek food instead at
Daphne's. Harrison Ford's son Ben opened up Ford's Filling Station,
which we haven't tried yet. Ryan attempted to go for lunch on a
weekend but they weren't open then. There are SO many restaurants
within walking distance of us. I love it! It reminds me of being in
Rome, especially because they all seem to have sidewalk dining. I
can't imagine moving to another part of the city where I couldn't walk
to all of these restaurants, shops, art galleries and businesses. Not
to mention Trader Joe's! I love that my bank and my gym are so close
and that when I was on maternity leave I didn't have to get in my car
very much to do errands.

"The Crap"

I call The Gap, "The Crap" now because of how their clothes wear out.
In mid-April I went to the Gap Outlet to get some elastic-waisted
clothes (not willing to buy post-maternity clothes in plus sizes to
only wear for a few weeks!). I forgot my anti-Gap stance (bad
sweatshop exploiters) in my delight at seeing the cheap prices. You
get what you pay for. Now less than 2 months later, the clothes are
absolutely falling apart. The black pants have faded to a brownish
gray color, the elastic on the skirt is so stretched that I could get
pregnant again and wear them until the due date (in fact it is too big
to wear without the danger of mooning someone!) and all the clothes
are pilling.

The weird thing is, we've received Baby Gap gifts as gifts for Lauren
and they're holding up just fine. Maybe it's the gentle washing with baby
detergent. They look very cute and are practically designed. As Ryan
says "Made BY and FOR babies!". I can only hope they are less
sweat-shop-tastic now than in my college days, because I like their
kids' clothes. But forget about their adult stuff. The CRAP!

Big Little Girl

The little girl is not so little. At her doctor's appointment on
Monday, she weighed 14 pounds and was just shy of 24 inches long.
This is "off the charts" for 2 months. The weight is fine in
proportion to her height and head size. The doctor was pleased with
her growth. Some of her size 3 month clothing is too small for her
already! I have her in some 6 month things. But then again there are
a few newborn things that still fit. Just depends on the sizing.

(BTW for all [MOM] who thought that she would NEVER fit in size
newborn and would be born huge, you were WRONG, she was doing just
fine in that size for the first 6 weeks)

She got her first shots. There were 3 of them, but one was 3 shots in
one. For polio, hepatitus B, tetanus?? and I forgot the rest. But
she CRIED loudly and furiously. She did NOT like it one bit. Before
the shots, the funny part was when the doctor asked us if she smiled
yet. We told her yes, and sure enough Lauren did smile when the
doctor was looking away writing on her clipboard. As soon as she
looked up, Lauren stopped.

Per the doctor's advice, we are supposed to be washing her gums with a
wet washcloth after she eats, and putting her to bed in her own
basinette, not with us, and while she is awake, so that she learns to
put herself to sleep. The obvious problem with this is the CRYING
factor. Is this Ferber-izing? I don't know. All I know is I tried
it on Monday night and the crying and fussing were too much. I kept
getting up to put her pacifier back in her mouth and rub her back, and
I think this was defeating the purpose, but I couldn't NOT do it. I
determined *I* would never get to sleep and this would not make me a
nice person at work the next day, so I decided to try it again on the
weekend. According to our doctor, before 4 months is a critical
window of development for infant sleep patterns and we need to make
sure she can "self-soothe" and not depend on us for that, which will
establish lifelong habits and help her development. What do you
think? Comment please...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

RIP Tony the Dog

Back in December, Ryan and I rescued a dog from the East Valley
shelter. He was a big black lab/shepherd mix who reminded us of
Nippy. He was eager, friendly, and kind of spazzy with happy energy.
We were volunteering for the animal shelter at a rescue event to get
dogs adopted. I was of course, very pregnant so I couldn't manage big
dogs. I got to handle a series of little dogs who got adopted. Ryan
got Tony all day. Big dogs are not as adoptable and sadly, neither
are black dogs. At the end of the day, only a few dogs were left and
Tony was one of them. It broke our hearts to see him shoved back into
the cage in the LAAS truck. We couldn't let him be put to sleep, so
Ryan kept calling the shelter to check on him. I put ads on
craigslist describing him so people would get interested. It didn't
work, and after a week or so, when he was up for euthanasia, Ryan took
an afternoon off, drove up to the Valley and saved his life.

We then sent emails to everyone we knew, and put him on petfinder through Karma Rescue (where we got Jake).
I also put fliers up in my building. Meanwhile, we took him home and
got him used to being in a kennel while we were at work (Karma Rescue
nicely loaned us one), taught Jake that it was okay for another dog to
be in the house, that Jake was still the "baby", and trained him to
sit. I think he already knew "sit" a long time ago, but he'd
forgotten. We bought him his own dog bed and toys. We got him
groomed and took him to the vet for a cut he had on his ear. We gave
him medicine and added vitamin supplements to his dog food and tried
to put some meat on his skinny bones. Mostly, though, we showed him
love and gave him lots of petties.

We interviewed 3 potential families and found the best one, then drove
him out to El Monte to his new home where he had a big house with a
yard and a pool and best of all, 2 little girls who were so excited to
have him that they would fight over who got to walk him. We were so
happy for him. The mother of the family is someone who works in a lab
upstairs from my office. She'd seen a flier I posted in the elevator.
From time to time I would see her around the building and she'd give
me updates on Tony, now renamed Sammy. They had a fence constructed
around the property, they bought him a new toy, etc. There were Sammy
stories.

Sadly, when I ran into her this week, the Sammy story did not have a
happy ending. Apparantly, in March he got out of the fence and ran
away. The girls chased after him and called him. When he turned
around to come to them, he got hit by a car, crossing the road. The
car didn't even stop. He died twenty minutes later.

I feel so terribly sad for the two girls who had to watch their
beloved pet die. We went to an incredible amount of effort for this
dog, and I don't regret any of it. We would do it all over again in a
second, and we probably will rescue other dogs in the future.
Although his death was tragic, I still feel it is not as tragic as if
he had died from a needle, alone in the back room of the shelter, as
hundreds of thousands of dogs do every year in Los Angeles.

Rest in peace, Tony.

back at work

I haven't posted lately, but I am back at work. Yay! And keeping busy. :)

For some reason I cannot log in to blogger at work, and then when I
get home I want to spend every second with the little girl (and also
have housework, paperwork, phone calls to return, etc.) so I haven't
wanted to update there. When I did get a chance, blogger was down!
Finally today I realized I should just write what I want and email it
to myself, then post it at home later.

It was an adjustment, going back to work. Here is the routine from
the past few days: Wake up at around 6:30, feed Lauren, put her back
to sleep next to her Daddy, pump, disinfect the pump parts and set
them to dry, walk Jake (ok, sometimes I skip this and let Ryan do it),
feed Jake, shower, get ready, pack the pump parts, go to work. Do my
work, around 10:30, pump, then disinfect parts, etc. At 1:30 pump
again. At 5:30, get home, feed the little girl. (She takes a long
time to eat because there's not much for her at that point.) Make
dinner, go work out (every other day, if it's not in the morning,
which happens when I wake up before 6:00 a.m.), hang out with Ryan &
my dad, then go to sleep around 10:30.

It's weird (in a good way!) being back and not being pregnant, because
the entire time I've been in this job I've been pregnant. I feel like
I've been operating at half strength. It used to really bother me
that the parking lot was so far away from my office, and that I had to
wait for an elevator because I'd park on the 6th floor. Now, I just
take the stairs with my extra energy and don't mind.

Also, smells don't bother me as much as before. Now I can walk by the
stinky bathroom on the 1st floor and not gag. And better yet, I can
sprint up the stairs and use the 3rd floor one. :)