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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Adventures at Costco

Today I spent $160 at Costco, which is some kind of world's record for me, considering I generally don't like the place. How un-American of me! To admit, out loud and in print, that I don't like the giant bulk-sized quantites and shoppers, mini-van & SUVs in the parking lot, loud people on cellphones waiting on long lines to show their IDs as if it were an exclusive club, then waiting longer inside like pigs at the feed trough to get samples of whatever wares the store is pushing, and then again as you get to the checkout where they don't even have bags (!) but shove your merchandise into, say, boxes that margarine came in. You then wait in another line for someeone to highlight your receipt and pretend to scan the contents of your cart "for your protection". For this privledge, you pay $65 a year.

Why do I go, and why pay $65 a year? Secretly, I don't pay, my mother does. Or, since we have a joint business membership from when I almost started a business back in 1999, the "CFO of my company does". Oh, and that is another thing-my mom to this day gets junk mail at my home address, sent through Costco. They are not upfront about this, but they sell members' info to AmEx and other businesses. She constantly gets insurance offers, etc., the kind of things a real CFO might be interested in, despite all of my attempts to remove her name from any list. (BTW, she has never lived here and never gotten any legit mail here.)

Anyway, back to shopping. I go twice a year. I go around April to buy contact lenses (although lately, I've stopped, and I pay twice as much to directly buy them from my optometrist, whom I adore). and I go in December to pick up some holiday items. I usually buy the boxes of Belgian chocolates to give as gifts for those people you're never sure what to get, and I buy the boxes with liquor filled chocolate bottles in them, for me. :) This year, they were out of both things, but I did manage to find $160 worth of other things. One large $100 item was a nameless gift for a certain person who may or may not read this blog so it shall remain a mystery. The rest? Oxiclean, La Brea Bakery bread, ravioli, 3-pack of organic milk and some photo prints.

Oh, and I think I almost got shot in the parking lot. SUVs were circling like vultures, waiting for my spot, and I chose that moment to have the audacity to strap my child into her car seat and give her some bites of pizza to eat, which did take an extra 60 seconds out of someone else's busy day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And while we are on the subject...

Here's what I wish the common etiquette for invites to families with children was:

"We'd love to see you for dinner on Wednesday the 8th and we're giving you as much notice now as possible so that you can line up a sitter" *

or

"We would love for you, Ryan and Lauren to join us..."

otherwise, we are always guessing if she is welcome or not, and have to assume not, and trying to find out by dropping little hints about it, saying "we'll check if our sitter is available then" so that we can see if you then say "oh, of course bring her if you want" or not.

We don't want to be one of those families that just assumes their kid is invited when maybe not.

And by the way, for those not in the know, sitters around here are $15 an hour these days! So if you invite us for something like a wedding, naturally we'll be there, kid or no kid. And probably kid at grandma's anyway, we get a lot of lead time on weddings to set that up. If it's dinner nearby, sure, once in awhile we like to get out and leave Lauren home and grandpa is happy to read her books for a hour or two. But for a trip to the valley with drinks & dinner and travel time, this could easily cost us $60 and up for the sitter alone.

Musings on Friendships

This is going to be a long middle of the night post since I can't sleep. The rain is pouring outside and I'm downstairs checking email in the middle of the night & reading friends' blogs and wishing I had something more exciting to write about. It's the season when X-mas cards are pouring in and slowly making their way out of my house. We are sending 70 of them this year, down from 85 last year. I trimmed the list because there are some people I haven't heard from in awhile and some whose addresses I don't have. If we get a card from them in the next few days, then we'll write back. No newsletter this year, we had a quiet year of good fun but in small nice ways, nothing spectacular to announce. No new baby, new dog, new condo, new job. Same as ever but not interesting to write home about.

Anyway, sadly of these 70 people, a whole bunch are out of town and even of the semi-local ones, some friends have moved to the 'burbs or otherwise deserted LA. This year we got invited to exactly 3 holiday parties, and one was my office one, and one hasn't happened yet. (Thank you, R & V, we had a great time!) It's been fun reading about other people's adventures on their blogs and in their holiday cards, but I feel left out that I'm not having more of a social life.

I guess at this point in my life and family status and whatnot, I'm lucky to have some good friends I can call at the last minute and just have dinner with (thanks, H & B!) and it's nice to see my parents as much as I have, but I do miss parties and get-togethers and it's especially hard to hear about them on the outside looking in. Maybe I need new friends with similar geography & family demographics. In other words, people who will invite us over with Lauren and we won't have to drive for an hour to get there. It's really hard to make new friends though, and I wish I could just adapt my old ones and say "have kids or just get used to ours! Don't forget about me, I still exist! I'm not going to stay awake until 2 a.m. doing shots with you* but I do still have a phone! Call me!"

*This makes it seem like I used to have this wild partying lifestyle which is a bit misleading. (Yeah, me and Paris and Lindsay out clubbing!) But at least I did get out! And go to bed later than 11:00 p.m.! And talk about adult things with adults!...Ah, the days!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Baby, penguin, cookies! (or "What Lauren Wants for Christmas"

What Lauren wants for Christmas: babydoll, penguins, cookies.

What Lauren is getting for Christmas: penguins of various shapes & sizes from practically everyone she's ever met.

A doll from me, which she has seen before and was there when I bought. We explained that the doll will live in the closet until Christmas morning.

A plasma car, in yellow. She played on one at the toystore and liked it, plus I read that adults up to 220 pounds can even play on it. You'll all be fighting for a turn.

Elmo slippers, which have to be exchanged for a bigger size ecause they were purchased when she was a size 6 shoe, and she is now a 7 or 7.5W depending on the shoe. Yikes!

Stocking stuffers:
Boo-Buny Ice Pack, which she really could have used today when she fell on the pavement and got a giant goose-egg on her forehead!
Cat beany baby, (the closest she'll come to a real cat since Ryan's very allergic)
New toothbrush. She loves to brush her teeth but has been gnawing at the old one
Freeze dried strawberries. She eats these things like candy and since she doesn't know what candy is yet...


Well, that's what she's gotten so far. She told Santa at first that she wanted "baby, penguins", but the second time she saw him, she added in "cookies". Not sure if she wants them, or if she was reminding him that she paid attention when he told her to leave out a plate of cookies. Either way, she'll get some Christmas cookies, too!

I have to say, she's been easier on us this Christmas than I was on my parents at her age when I asked for brown skin!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

20 month Lauren update

Lauren's giggling her way through life and making lots of jokes along the way. Yesterday she came up with a new one: "Nonnon? Yes yes!" and she still has great comic timing, calling Jake "Newman" and shaking her finger at him when he's naughty.

She's got a big giant stye in her eye, which worries us more than it does her. We have been to the pediatrician 3 times about it, and my optometrist once, and finally convinced her ped. to give us a referral to an ophthalmologist. We got the first available appointment, which is not until the end of the month. Meanwhile, she is stuck with this red, swollen eyelid. Oh, and I didn't mention, it's not a stye, our optometrist told us that styes go away in about 2 weeks, this is something else.

Anyway, that aside, Lauren's been pretty healthy this month. Which I hesitate to type because it will jinx her good health for December!

She likes to go around the house naming the person who owns various objects. "Mommy's!", she'll triumphantly exclaim. Sometimes, though, she'll insist something is Papa's, even if it's not. Any suitcase she sees must belong to her grandfather, and she will correct you if you say otherwise.

Our friend Barbara just had a baby (congrats on Baby Thomas!) and Lauren went to the hospital with me to visit them. Thomas's big sister Sophia is Lauren's little buddy. Ever since the visit, Lauren will pat my stomach and say "baby? please? baby?". Not going to happen for a few years!

Lauren at Clippers game

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pedigree

So Lauren and Mina are officially pedigreed. Kate and I went down this morning to get the official copies of their birth certificates. Only took 19 months for me to get around to it! Now she can get her passport one of these years...

Mina was very cute and slept most of the time, but she smiled at Lauren at one point. Kate was adorable, too.

In other news, lots has been happening but probably most noteworthy: we took L to her first professional basketball game, which also was our first professional basketball game. We saw the Clippers vs. the Rockets. Man, Yao is tall! I had to google Dan Dickau later to find out if he was truly short and midgety or if he just appeared so next to him. Dickau is 6 feet exactly.

In other excitement, I found out today that my employment contract has been extended another year. Since I'm this weird hybrid of semi-university employee and semi-contractor, it's a good thing. I don't have to pay my own taxes or anything, but then again I don't get health insurance or other benefits. But it was this way last year, too. And I get to work in my pajamas as ever. I have never in my adult life earned so small of paychecks but then again, I've averaged only 20-30 hours per *month* total. My hourly isn't bad, I just don't have many hours. I've had some interesting freelance offers come my way lately (and fulltime offers too. BTW, what is the deal with me and job karma and Pasadena?! I've out of the blue gotten calls from 3 separate Pasadena employers wanting to hire me! No thanks, I'm not looking to spend over 2 hours a day on the road commuting, but how random is that? All in the same city by people who each knew separate people I used to work for who recommended me. Can someone recommend me for Sony, please, so I can walk to work?!)

Alright, I'm veering off on side tangents having nothing to do with the subject of this post, so I'll stop...

Monday, November 19, 2007

the 1800's around here again

On Friday our phone & DSL went down again. This required several calls to AT & T to get it fixed, and of course I was routed to India. The phone reps with their calm, overly polite demeanor annoy me so much! They had a voice activated system. They would ask questions requiring a yes or no answer, and Lauren, nearby, thought it was funny to shout "no" so that eventually I got routed into business billing questions or somesuch place. Anyway, when I did finally get to the right person, while I was on hold with my connection issues question, they played all sorts of "did you know?" messages all about how I could get help on their website. Well, duh, if I could get ON their website, I wouldn't be calling them with connectivity issues!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Lauren & Mina


The background story is that Kate came over with Mina last week. When Lauren was getting dressed, I had some nice outfits selected. She reached past them and pointed at this Syracuse cheerleader dress in the back of the closet and insisted, "this please! THIS!" so I let her put it on. This odd wardrobe choice was a gift from one of my cousins who went to Syracuse and still lives nearby. So did my dad, so they sent this for Lauren, maybe in hopes she'd go there too? Anyway, Lauren LOVES it and would probably wear it every day if it weren't conveniently in the laundry for long periods of time. Orange is not one of my favorite colors, neither is yellow, but Lauren likes them both a lot.

Back to little Mina, Lauren loved loved loved having her visit and has asked for her several times since the visit. I have another shot of Lauren trying to lick her face (her new way of kissing, she thinks it's funny to pretend to be a doggy) and Mina looking quite skeptical. Mina's an agreeable little baby who put up with it. She's only 7 weeks old, so how would she really stop it anyway? :)
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Newman

A few nights ago, Steve & Melissa came over for dinner and Ryan was telling them Jake stories. I told them, "it's like Ryan is Seinfeld and Jake is Newman." That was on Monday evening. Lauren was there, evidently listening. We didn't talk about it again, but out of the blue yesterday, she pointed at Jake and said "Newman!" and then laughed.

She also has a lot of books memorized. To quiz her, I will stop right before a word and she'll finish it for me. But she still slurs words like a toddler, so that often I am the only one who understands her (other times, it's perfectly clear). "Boon" is balloon, "tak ew" is thank you, "wawa" is water, etc. We went to Ryan's aunt's house on Monday and when their new dog came running up, Ryan was racking his brain trying to remember the dog's name and Lauren (who had only seen the dog twice) said "Nimo!" So she is listening, and she doesn't miss much!

Tonight we were talking about Todd (who got in a car accident today, but is fine) and Lauren said "Todd, Todd, TODD!" perfectly. When I started to ask "who is Todd's girlf-", she interupted, "Jenna!" and then continued "Todd! T!". Don't know if she was spelling his name, or if she wants to have a tea party with Todd. =) Either way, we are glad to hear Todd is okay!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Big hips=smart babies?

Why didn't the midwives ever tell me this, instead of worrying about my 35 pound weight gain? Apparently, having a low hip-waist ratio (in other words, bigger hips than waist, "curvy") is good for the developing baby's brain cells.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007

19 month Lauren update

Laurenific is 19 months old today. Let's see what's different this month since last month...
2 constant companions: Amy and Penguin. (doll and stuffed animal who sleep with her and play with her and yes, even breast feed from me per her request.) An obsession with pumpkins. A transition to cloth diapers and more experiments with the potty. A doubled affection for "Dee Dad" and a if he's not there when she wants him, outraged cries of "MY daddy" implying you had offered someone else's. New skills: drawing with crayons (but then still trying to eat them). Easily and effortlessly stacking blocks, no longer having the necessity to knock them down immediately afterwards. Walking up and down steps by herself holding a hand or the railing, without scooting on her butt to do it. Finishing mother goose rhymes and making up her own ("Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of..." "Wah wah" "...Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling..." "later!")

A love for: rice (fairly new), Jake (continued and redoubled), Frankie (neighbor's new puppy), "Doolee" (Julie, our neighbor, whose door Lauren likes to bang on), purses (mine and her own) and lately...saved the best for last...MONEY! Yes, the little capitalist child loves the green stuff and the shiny coinage. She will get very excited if she sees it and she'll say "Money! Please? Please! Money!". She likes to be the one to pay at the store (on rare occasions we use cash) and she no longer tries to eat cash. She still loves to carry around "The Motley Fool Investment Guide".

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fire update from my mom

From my mom's mass email 10 minutes ago:

A few minutes ago I realized from the chirping of the birds that they've all returned to the yard..that sound is even better than hearing the planes ovehead preparing to drop water and fire retardent. And finally the Santa Annas are gone even though the newscasters announced as such a bit sooner than we, in the midst of them, realized! We were very, very lucky that the fire burned the way it did. Of course, the story isn't the same for everyone. One positive thing ..turns out the breakin at a friend's we talked about was probably the National Guard checking for people staying behind in that neighborhood since their car was left in the driveway. (The screen was slit and nothing seems to be missing) The cleanup will take a long, long time but everyone has some experience with that and today in Alpine at least we are having the kind of day that makes people flock to California.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fires

We (me, Ryan, Lauren & Jake) are not near any fires & we're fine. If you ever hear of Sony Studios being in flames, then worry about us. Otherwise, we're sandwiched between 3 fire stations, the trucks from which are annoying, but the sirens are reassuring.

My parents, though, are in Alpine. The western part of their town has been evacuated. They sent me these 2 pictures, taken yesterday and tonight, of the view from their front yard:




Since the wind has changed direction, they're worried about the fire now jumping the freeway and heading towards them. I've been telling them for 3 days to come here, but now they can't without difficulty because so many roads are closed. They were going to drive out to El Centro and Palm Springs and then head west, but 8 East was closed. 5 North is closed. They would have to find some way of getting to 15 north, parts of which are closed. And the information on local road closures is very incomplete.

So, they're sticking it out at home. For now, they have power and they have internet access. The car is loaded up and ready to leave at any moment. My dad's friend Paul and his wife are out of town, but have a house near Rancho Bernardo. Their area was evacuated & apparently Paul got a call on his cell phone that his home was being burglarized but the alarm company was not allowed into the area to investigate. So I guess, good news, bad news. The house is still standing, but his stuff is looted!

It has been in the 90's here. Lauren is running around in only a diaper, except when we have to go out, and now I'm glad I didn't give away her entire summer wardrobe just yet. The air quality is very poor. LAUSD has canceled outdoor recess for its schools. We missed farmers' market because we didn't feel like making the trek. So, we've been cooped up inside and going a little stir crazy. Tomorrow I'll have to plan some kind of air-conditioned adventure...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Now for the cuter celebrities...




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Paparazzi at Mr. Bones






Today we were at Mr. Bones pumpkin patch. We went with Alex & Jill and Laurel & Jill's sister Megan. While there, we saw a line of paparazzi at the fence (see top pic) and then we found out why! Alex Duffy was there with his family. Yes, THE Alex Duffy of The Alex Duffy show fame. We took some up close shots of him, his wife and child. Didn't get up the courage to ask for his autograph though.

Oh, and Mark Wahlberg and family were there, and also him and her, but I'm sure they were just there for Alex.
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Friday, October 12, 2007

I am so bored!

Man, it is boring here at the moment! I finished a bunch of work this week and have no new assignments at the moment. I have a ton of things around the house I *should* be doing, but not feeling like doing them. Lauren is asleep, having an early nap. We were supposed to have friends over to play, but never heard back from them. So I kept Friday unscheduled, and now although the world is my oyster, I can't think of a thing to do. Well, I can't do anything anyway until she wakes up. I kind of want to cook something, but if she wakes up suddenly and I have half a recipe done, that will be impossible to finish. I think I'm all caught up on reading my friends' blogs. I guess I could do something work-related yet not work, like download new updates & software, clean out my spam, even do an online training class or two. But again, Lauren might wake up any time and then I'd have been interupted and feel resentful.

Usually when I am bored like this and can't think of anything good to do, I end up shopping. Dangerous for my wallet! Oh, last night we had a really funny exchange when Lauren took my wallet and I caught her looking through it going, "money? money?" (I had only a few dollars in there and no shiny coins.) So, I took it away and put it in my purse, on the table behind the couch, and then went back to emailing. I looked over a minute later and she had the wallet again! Me: "How did you get that?" Lauren: "I take it". Me: "Yeah, but how did you get up there and get it?" Lauren: "I no tell you!"

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

18 month vital stats & height stuff

Lauren had her 18 month checkup appointment today & got 2 shots (flu & MMR). I also got a flu shot there, so we can have the same immunities at the same time and also, just for my own convenience.

She weighs 29 pounds, 5 1/2 ounces and is 32 1/2 inches long. Her head circumference is 19 inches. She's slowed down a lot in growth and is now at about 75% for height, 95% for weight. I did one of those online calculators to see how tall she would grow to be, and it predicted 5' 5". I'm 5' 9" and Ryan is 5' 11". Then the calculator said something like "Don't believe us? Plug in your own parents' info for your height!" so I did, and according to them, I should be 5' 5" as well. (My grandma was also tall but she doesn't figure in to their calculations). So, it's anyone's guess at this point.

Another thing I've heard is that you take a baby's height at age 2 and double it, and that's what they'll be as an adult. If my mom had better records of this kind of thing, we could test it with me, but she didn't fill out my baby book very much after the early days. So, anyone out there have their own baby books and care to test the theory? How many inches tall were you at 24 months and how about now? Do comment, please.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Pumpkin gathering, the roundabout way

This morning, Ryan & I decided we would take Lauren to a pumpkin patch. I remembered seeing one in the Valley last year when we got off on an exit by mistake so I tried to find it on pumpkinpatchesandmore.org . I found something off of 405 which turned out not to be it, we later realized the one we saw last year was probably off of 101. If anyone knows where this is, please comment. Anyway, the one we did go to was soooo not worth the drive. When we arrived, Lauren had fallen asleep in the car. So we each took turns watching her and scoping out the place. $5 for little bags of kettle corn, $4 admission to the "fun area", not to mention, pumpkins themselves were about $12 for the little ones, and up! Oh, and you couldn't pick a pumpkin where it was growing, to see the fields you had to get out your wallet yet again & pay for a train ride! Such a tourist trap. Luckily, Lauren's young enough not to know what we had intended to do with her Sunday afternoon, so we got back in the car and left.

I remembered that there was another pumpkin patch on 23rd and Wilshire, so we tried to go to that one, only it turned out to be not open yet for the season. So, instead we stopped at Co-Opportunity to pick up some groceries (rolled rye, Mona, for the bread!) . It was there that Lauren saw her little "punt-in", the price of which was not marked, but we figured, it was the Co-op so it would probably be cheap. Turns out, she selected an organic pie-pumpkin which cost $16.60. Thus making the tourist trap place ones look like a bargain. But I guess it was good that it's organic, because she began kissing the pumpkin as soon as it was in the cart. :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

One and a half year old!

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Muw-COO! A Lauren 18 month update

Yes, bored with English, Lauren has started creating her own language. Yesterday, she started calling milk, which she *can* pronounce perfectly, "Muw COOOOO". As in, "muw COOO, please!". She also announced to me, proudly, "My name is hip-hop!". She brought her new doll and informed me, "this is Nance." I don't know where she gets these things! And she can say "love you too" on the phone. She loves to have animated conversations on the phone with Papa and Nonna, complete with inflections and questions and prolonged good-byes.

She's also in a climbing phase, and a dancing phase. She likes to get on her "stage" and shuffle her feet around and do the happy dance. The stage is usually the plastic storage box where we keep Jake's dog food, but it can be any platform.

We took her to the San Gennaro festival yesterday, and the Greek festival a few weeks ago. She had a great time at both! She loves to be around people and out in public. Her favorite food is pizza, which she will request by name. But also, oddly, rice. Today when we went out to lunch, she asked for "wice, please" but she got an omelette instead.

She's up to some other interesting stuff as well, but I'm tired and don't feel like writing about it. May edit this post later. Certainly'll add a photo.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Baby Mina Jane!


With permission, here's the beautiful Mina Jane. We can't
wait to meet her in person! Lauren has been practicing
saying her name, and when she sees any baby picture,
she says "Mina!"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sprint woes

I am so mad about this I can't even relive it but the summary is that I got to the Sprint store at 4:15 to have them repair my Treo 600 which I have phone insurance for. The camera takes fuzzy pix, the speaker phone doesn't work, and lines are on the display. (Which have been there ever since I got it, to replace an older Treo under warranty, and I was just not bothered enough by the lines to return it until the other probs). Anyway, they told me to come back at 5:15 to get the repaired phone.

I spent an hour looking at local shops with Lauren, then went back to get the phone and was informed that the speaker function worked just fine for them, but they were unable to repair the camera, so they would order me a new phone under the warranty plan, BUT that my phone was unavailable, all they could get me was a Treo 650 without a camera. In other words, "your camera is broken, so let's give you a phone without a camera".

Naturally, this was unacceptable to me, so I asked to talk to the manager, had to wait behind 3 people to see him, and he told me that he has access to some queue of available phones, which changes every couple days and right now they only had one kind of Treo they could order, which didn't have a camera. If I came back next week, he might see a better phone but not today. but they told me there was nothing they could do, I had to call them in a few days to see if they had new phones.

So, I went back to my car. I got a phone call and tried to put it on speaker for Lauren to say hi. At this point, I noticed that my speaker phone didn't work. This got me mad because supposedly it was working fine for the repair people. I went back in to complain, and then they told me to call customer care.

So, I called customer care while waiting and pacing around the Sprint Store, and was on hold 20 minutes, then they transferred me to the insurance department. They told me if they sent me a new phone, it would cost me a $50 co-pay. I explained the situation, and the woman on the phone told me she would talk to the manager of the store and have him give me a camera phone of better quality than my phone. So I had to find the manager, wait to speak to him and hand him the phone. She said something to him, and he told me he would check in the back. Then he disapeared. By this time, it was after 6:00, and I had to call Ryan and explain where we were (my dad's birthday celebration was that night and we were late for it.) He went to the back of the store, then took my phone and fiddled with it for awhile (trying to fix it himself??). Eventually, he came out and told me that he couldn't do anything except give me a $30 service credit for my inconvenience. He wants me to call him next week, and he will look in the computer then to see what has come in.

This is so frustrating. I have had a Palm Phone for 7 years now. I'm addicted to it, can't function without it, and certainly should not have to *downgrade* to one without a camera, because, why have I been paying extra every month for the phone insurance? Grrrrr...

By the way, this is my 5th Palm Phone and I prefer Treo the least. Kyocera was my first Palm Phone in 2001 and it was the best, followed by Samsung. The Kyocera and Samsung let me choose different ring tones for who was calling, which my Treo does not do. And the Kyocera was efficiently designed, with a flip, and with a voice recorder and intuitive buttons. And this was 6 years ago, and I haven't seen anything better since then. I wish I still had it. Alas, only
Treo is now available through Sprint. If these phones didn't cost so much, I'd consider switching carriers over this. But I'd rather Sprint just caved in and upgraded me to the 755p, which they have TONS and TONS of IN STOCK in the store. Wah!

UPDATE: 10/16-They gave me a 755p! I love it! I took my attorney down to the store with me but he was just the "heavy", he didn't have to say a word, the manager remembered me and handed me a brand new 755p. And this time, everyone was really nice. My backup plan was to release the toddler in her all phone loving destructo glory onto their phone displays, but we didn't even have to do that. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Welcome Baby Mina

Welcome to the world, baby Mina Jane! Congratulations to Kate & Mark. She was born last night, 8 pounds 12 ounces, 19 inches long. A new buddy for Lauren! I will post a link to her picture in a few days if it's okay, when I can ask her parents' permission first. :)

And a belated congrats to Alex & Jill on the birth of baby Laurel last month. And to Amy & Charles the month before, for tying the knot. And to Dan & Jen for buying a house, they close escrow in a few weeks. And to Helen for winning a radio station contest trip to Jamaica! And to Jenna, very belatedly, on the new job. And so on and so on and so on. Such exciting news all around that I haven't written about. Please post if I missed something. And please post if you're Mina's parents and want to give me the okay to put her pic up!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Good news!

Jake's tumors are benign fatty tumors! Phew! I will get the full scoop from Ryan when he brings him home, but for now wanted to post the update. :) YAY!

What do you mean, they won't win the World Series?

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Cheerleading tumble


Mommy likes the Yankees, Daddly likes the Giants but I'm an LA fan!
Go "Dah jahs"!
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Lauren learns to eat with a spoon


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Terrified to be at the Vet's

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Jake's lump this morning

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Jake update

He's currently being cut open. Poor guy! The vet is going to see if they are fatty tumors (normal, just how some dogs put on weight). If they are, great, no worries, they'll come out but that's all. If they look *different*, then he's going to send some tissue out to a $pathologist$ and they'll biopsy them and tell us what we're dealing with.

While he's unconcious, Jake will also have his teeth brushed and nails trimmed. When he comes home, he'll be wearing an Elizabethan collar and have stiches. He'll be on painkillers & antiobiotics, plus probiotics to counter the antis. My big worries are of course, cancer, but also that when he gets home, Lauren will be so excitd to see him that she'll hurt him. And that, as he did last time he had surgery, he will become obsessed with getting the collar off and will do nothing else but focus his energy on chewing, wiggling, maneuvering, until it is off! And then process to take out his stiches. :(

Think good thoughts for the little guy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Face that Launched a Thousand...

...Dollars!

Jake, m'quake

Jake's having a problem. :( I have to bring him to the vet because he had a sort of lump on his chest, now I have to bring him in so they can drain fluid. We're going to go in a few minutes. I hope the little guy is okay. I feel really bad about it because all week various people have been telling me about the lump and I thought it was a different lump that he's had ever since we got him, which the vet said is a normal fatty tumor. This is different, and it scares me because it's by his heart. But the vet receptionist said they can just drain the water and it's usually not a big procedure. But, I'm nervous. And my wallet is scared as well! Wish us luck.

UPDATE: 12:30-He has to have surgery next week. It turns out he has 2 tumors, one on his chest and one on his back leg. He's getting it done next Monday. They'll look at the tumors and if they are just fatty tumors, that'll be good news. If they look fishy, they'll be biopsied. It will be approx. $1,000 for removal of the tumors, plus while he is anesthetized, they will brush his teeth and clip his nails. Imagine if they did that for humans? "Yes, while we removed your hernia, we did a root canal and gave you a pedicure."

Sunday, September 02, 2007

17 month Lauren update

I'm trying to think of what's new this past month that wasn't going on with Lauren the month before...Hmm. The big thing is that I've switched her to cloth diapers for about 80% of the time, except not when we travel, because I don't want to lug around soiled cloth diapers in my luggage, yuck! I did this because it's better for the environment and I always intended to do it, but didn't get around to it until now. It's also supposed to make toilet training easier, and she did, for 2 mornings in a row, point to the potty and say "pee pee, please" and ask to use it. Sorry if that is TMI!

We've been using the bike more. Almost every day we go out for a ride, and we've discovered that a few of the places which seemed far to drive by car, because they cut through heavy traffic or lots of lights, etc., are pretty close by bike. We go to some shops on Sepulveda which is not atrociously far from my house, but I'd never walk there or anything, but by bike it's cake. Lauren falls asleep in the bike seat now, predictably in the same spot each time-when we're heading up the last hill on the bike path. Then I have to dismount, life the bike over the little barrier (WHY do they have these padlocked 1 foot high barriers at the entrance to the bike path so that everyone has to lift their bike and can't just pedal straight from the street to the bike path. Why? Just to torment me? Besides this, what purpose does it really serve?) and I notice that she's flopped over in an unnatural position in kind of a "C" shape slumped across the seat. I then worry over each bump in the road until we get home, that I'll throw her spine out of alignment or give her shaken baby syndrome. But she's always fine, and sleeps through all of it as I carry her upstairs and gently put her down for her nap.

Her vocabulary is improving. She still says "please" and points to things she wants, but if she knows the name, she uses it, or else she'll say something like "this please, huh?" as she gestures. Some kids have "lovies"-a blanket or stuffed animal that they carry around. Lauren just has Jake. She has to be aware of him in the house at all times and wants to do "pat pat Jakey, please". But aside from that, lately she has started carrying around Karen's old clothes that are still too big for her. She will take her long-sleeved red shirt all around the house, for example. But it also extends to other clothes from her own wardrobe. The other day I even let her take a bath clutching her yellow t-shirt because it was easier than dealing with the tears and look of utter betrayal if I took it away. When we were at thrift store, I saw a red dress that I was considering buying her, and she grabbed it and said "yes, this please, yes" and clutched it. She wouldn't give it back so I had to rip off the tag and have the cashier just scan that. Then she carried it all around and even slept with it. After I washed it, she insisted on wearing it the next day. 80 degrees and she was wearing long sleeves by choice.

The other day, though, was the funniest thing. Instead of something of hers, she decided to carry around an article of my clothing. Can you guess? Yes, some of my underwear. I let her have them for awhile but I would not let her leave the house clutching them, and she got mad. We traded for a wet washcloth. She will always accept wet washcloths. She chews them and also "cleans" things with them. The problem is when someone is actually cleaning, with 409, Windex, etc. and she wants to help, get a cleaning cloth, and wipe with us and then wants to suck on the cloth. Tears invariably ensue in these situations.

She is saying more complete sentences. No one can resist when she says "Read this book, please". I heard her say to her grandpa, "No, I want my da da please" and put out her arms to him. Yesterday we ate the last of Mona's rye bread from the freezer and she said "Mmm, more Mona bread, please!". We visited my parents for the weekend and one of the first things she said when we arrived was "pool, please!" and then "Cat! Pat pat Bert!". My mom gave her some ice cream today and later was telling me about it and spelling out "i-c-e" when Lauren chimed in "ice!". No, we don't think she's a child prodigy who can spell, but it still made our jaws drop when she said it.

Another thing she's been doing more of lately is imitating me. She loves to go through my wallet, and try to use my cell phone, or bang on the laptop, but she's been doing that for awhile. This month she's started also putting my purse over her shoulder, going to the door and saying "bye-bye" and then giggling. I put her on my shoulders sometimes and she loves that. Yesterday when I did it, she had on a dress and she spread the dress over my hair and said "Me Mommy's hat! HAHAHAHAHA". I bought a hat to wear sometimes so that she will want to wear her hats more often and with less protest. But whenever I put it on, she tries to take it off and wear it herself. She also loves to grab glasses from anyone's face. I took her to Dr. Cucher's (optometrist) office with me and she was like a kid in candy store. She looked around with big wide eyes as if thinking "wow, one guy has all of these glasses to play with?!"

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Us!

5 years ago today, Ryan and I were married. To celebrate our anniversary, he bought me new barristers bookshelves, and a dozen red roses. I got him a UCLA T-shirt and sweatshirt. We ate dinner at Cucina Paradiso which was delicious. We had not been there before. I had the pumpkin ravioli and pannetone bread pudding for dessert. We brought Lauren with us because our sitter was busy, and she was pretty well behaved, until the very end when she tried some bread pudding, squealed with delight and then kept making happy screeches. So we put "the plug" in (pacifier) and all was well.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Many Faces of Lauren





These pix are taken today, when Lauren found my wallet, then I took it away so she pouted, then she got it back and triumphed.
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