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


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.