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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Baby dog whisperer


Lauren's new trick is saying "Sit, Jake!" and giving him treats. Even if she doesn't have treats, she still gives him the command, and then squeals with delight when he listens to her and actually sits. In this picture, she's attempting to share her teething biscuit. Since I baked the teething biscuits for her, and last week I baked Jake some dog treats, family members have been teasing me that it's the same recipe. (For the record, they're not!)
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rasta baby



Lauren loves her reggae music, which is really funny because Ryan and I between us have hundreds of CDs (about 30 for me and the rest are his) and found that we own only ONE reggae CD, Bob Marley and the Wailers, "Legend". Lauren and I listen to this every day, and sometimes she asks for it by name-"Bob" or "Bobby". Not that we mind his music, but after the two hundredth time, we don't clap our hands with glee at it like our daughter.

Well yesterday we were at Farmers' Market when I met this musician who does reggae songs for children. At Farmers' Market, I am the living embodiment of the phrase "a fool and his money are soon parted" and tend to spend every last dollar in my wallet buying wild amounts of produce that ends up rotting, handmade baby hats, potted plants, and other things I didn't know I even wanted. So since I met the musician on the backside, I didn't have $15 cash left to buy the CD, but when I told Ryan about it, he decided we must all go back next week and he'll get it for Lauren's birthday.
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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Italy!

I just found out that I could, if I wanted, obtain Italian citizenship through jure sanguinis. My mother's mother's parents emigrated from Parma. Then if I got the dual citizenship, Lauren could get hers fairly easily. Or at least, this page makes it seem easy.

"If your great grandfather became a naturalized citizen before your grandmother's birth, you are not entitled to Italian citizenship jure sanguinis unless you fit into another category. ". I don't think my great-grandfather got around to getting citizenship before my grandmother died (she was only a few years old) but that would be the thing to find out.

The curiosity for this was spurred by my friend Alex getting his Irish citizenship in case he ever wanted to work in the EU, and also from my friend Ivonne talking about how, according to her, Italy is desparate for new immigrants and there are a lot of jobs there.

I've been to visit Italy 3 times now and it's pretty great. Of course, moving there would be another matter entirely. But having dual citizenship is just a fun option that I can keep in mind. Will I ever actually do it? Well, I still haven't even gotten around to getting Lauren's birth certificate yet. You have to go in person to the Norwalk courthouse or pay a notary public $5. Don't know where Norwalk is and don't know a notary public. And haven't bothered to find out either yet. So you tell me if I'll get around to getting Italian citizenship!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

LA Marathon again

Last weekend was the LA Marathon, and they've changed the route so it doesn't come anywhere near us but one year, we forgot about it and got stuck in massive detours trying to go to Fairfax Farmer's Market. This year it went to the Valley and the Eastside. A lot of people do not know that the marathon is a private entity, owned by a millionaire named William Burke, who is married to County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke. To me, it is amazing how many volunteers he gets in his for-profit event. Imagine if Home Depot asked for "volunteers" to restock their shelves and ring up customers?! My former boss used to work for the man so she's told me some interesting stories. The city of Los Angeles pays for security, traffic detours, etc. for the marathon every year, agreements get made because of his wife's political clout. And this year, he tried to get the city of Los Angeles to pay metro fares for race participants. Here is an article that was in the LA Times last week about that fiasco.

Here is a big expose that LA Weekly did about the marathon ownership and conflicts

litigation

i probably shouldn't be posting this and i may delete it later, so read it while you can. for those who don't know, i was in a car accident on april 15, 2005. i don't talk about it a lot, don't like to think about it, wish i could just put the whole thing behind me. here's the story:

i was stopped, in the process of turning right at a red light and waiting for a pedestrian to cross in front of me, when out of nowhere, i suddenly got slammed from behind by another car. this caused me to hit my head, bounce forward, slam my skull back on the headrest and knock me unconcious. i went to the emergency room where i was x-rayed, treated for whiplash and soft injury tissue to my neck,head and shoulder. i went home and took painkillers and could not go to work all week, could not drive per the doctor. the car had a dented bumper and was knocked out of alignment, total of $1300 in repairs.

i had to go back to another doctor for follow-up a few days later. i had to spend time driving the messed up car around to body shops to get estimates, one time when i was at one body shop that took almost an hour, i also got a $42 parking ticket from an expired meter.

i had the worry that i might be pregnant while all of this was going on, and if so, that the x-ray and CT-scan may have hurt the fetus. i thought i was probablhy not pregnant, but it was a possibility and thus, a worry. i had been working on an overtime project at work, which, when i was out for a week during a critical juncture, got reassigned to someone else, so i missed out on overtime pay.

i had to go back to the doctor in a few days when the pain was not better. kaiser then referred me to physical therapy. i went to physical therapy and the therapist wanted to see me once a week or more, but kaiser did not have appointments available sooner than a few weeks from then, so it did not help much. i had to sleep with a special pillow and wear a warm neck wrap at work.

at odd moments i would be in the car and suddenly panic, remembering the feeling of being hit. i sold the car and spent more money on another one.

the shoulder got better from the daily exercises i had to do, but the neck did not. after a few months of suffering with this, i found a rehabilitative chiropractor who could see me as often as i wanted. he began treating me, but could not use his electrical muscle stimulators on me after i got pregnant, so could only do adjustments. each time i went it would be immediate relief but the pain came back often.

it has been almost 2 years and about every 2 weeks i wake up and have intermittent neck pain. i did not have neck pain before the accident, and now i have to be extremely careful of how i sleep and how i work out at the gym (oh, and i could not go to the gym for over a year) or even of going to a theater even where i have to crane my neck.

the bill from the emergency room was about $2100, the kaiser physical therapy was over $800, and the chiropractor bills have been over $3000.

here comes the "emtional distress" part. i have paid these bills out of my pocket (granted, for kaiser i have paid only my co-pays but they are now saying i owe them the $2900 due to the accident not being my fault, they want reimbursement from the guilty party). so for all of these medical bills, plus my lost wages at work, plus pain and suffering, think to yourself, what would be a reasonable amount for mercury insurance to pay? how many thousands of dollars would it take to "make me whole" for what i've gone through? keep in mind, i did NOTHING wrong, was completely stopped, and the other driver admitted "i only looked away for a second". everyone agrees she is 100% at fault.

the amount they offered me? get ready, you are going to be mad...they offered me a grand total, for everything, of $2500. they told me that the medical bills were "excessive" (even though they have been getting receipts as i go, they chose NOW to determine this) and that i should negotiate myself with kaiser because they charged too much, that i should have seen the chiropractor "maybe a few times" and that's all. yes, that *I* should actually call my HMO and tell them they were charging too much, as if they're some kind of friendly neighborhood doctor who negotiates rates, and as if *I* should be spending *my* time on the phone with them. Their client hit me!

now it's war. i've "lawyered up" as my friend bitsy calls it. i wasn't asking for anything from them but reimbursement for my bills. and at that, i didn't even keep track of every little thing. there were days i took sick time from work to go to physical therapy appointments that i didn't even keep track of. i never charged them for things like ibuprofin i had to take, parking and gas to go to appointments, etc. you'd think they would have AT LEAST covered my basic bills. grrrrrr...

this is why lawyer dave will now take this off my hands. but i am suffering "emotional distress" as i type this. and you should have seen how upset i was when i got the $2500 offer. i hope it goes to trial because if i were on a jury for this kind of case and saw that the insurance company had made an offer that DIDN'T EVEN COVER THE MEDICAL BILLS of the victim, i would be very pissed. pissed enough to award punative damages.

dave's firm will get 40%. and that's fine with me. i can afford to pay my own medical bills, frankly, but i shouldn't have to. it's about doing what's fair. and mercury should not be allowed to get away with this.

Monday, March 05, 2007

telemarketer recordings again

i was going to post about this but then i realized i'd already written about it here. not much else to say except this time all of the calls have been from the Democratic Party and labor unions and people endorsing specific school board candidates. bleck.

11 month Lauren update, 4 days late

Lauren's taking her afternoon "map" as I write this. She's alternating between one long nap a day and two shorter ones. Sometimes she seems like such a "big girl", but other times she cries for barely any reason, reminding me that she is still a baby.

This morning she made a joke. She found her Mary Jane shoes and put them on her hands, then raced to the top of the stairs, giggling the whole time. At the top, she moved her hands with the shoes on them as if they were feet and declared "walk!" and then rolled around laughing at herself.

Last night Alexa came over to play with her and they had a grand old time. Alexa's now 1 1/2 and I was impressed at how well she understands me. I said things to her like "drop the ball here" for one of Lauren's toys and she looked at me and did it. Lauren still plays with toys her own way, which may include chewing on them or carrying them around or using them to pull herself up on. They took turns playing with toys and pushed each other around on the bike, which used to be Alexa's until she nicely gave it to Lauren.

About 2 weeks ago she went to the doctor and at that point, weighed 25 1/2 pounds. This is at the top of the charts or possibly above the line for weight. (They didn't measure her height this time.) She still doesn't like food much. Lately the past few days, all she is interested in is nursing, and will only eat a few bites of food, and then only if she is sitting on my lap, not in her seat. Then she will try to grab the spoon and smear it in her hair, or she'll spit it out across the room. She will still eat Oatios and lately, tiny bits of bread. She tried pears and hated them, looking horrified as if I had tried to poison her. I hate pears, too, so I see where she gets it from. She will eat small amounts of oatmeal in the morning, but only if I mix some of my milk in, which is hard to find time to do, since she has been nursing every last drop she can get out of me, so not much left to pump out.

She's very cute, of course, and she surprises us with the things that make her giggle. When Jake growls, barks, and tries to get attention, she laughs uproariously and claps her hands. Today she did that and also sighed happily, "Ah, my Jakey!". She has put together a few sentences like "Grandpa get book". Oh and note "Grandpa", she's no longer calling him "Gee". She calls her Nonnon "Na na na" and when the phone rings she looks at it hopefully and says "Na na na? Daddy?".

When groups of people come over she becomes a clingy koala cub and likes to stay on her perch on Mama's hip, except if Mona is here. Mona is like a second mother to her, and she will put out her arms to go to her. She even said "Mona" on Saturday but I didn't hear it. She'd been practicing for awhile with "Mmmm, mmmmm," and then give up. I knew she would get the word soon because it's close to Mama and Na na na. She also loves Barbara, who is little Sophia's mom, but she doesn't see Barbara very often since they live across town.

Our neighbor gave us her old jogging stroller and we put her in it yesterday. She was okay for awhile but then fussed and made me carry her the rest of the way home. Ryan was with me and didn't want to walk fast, so I think I will try walking fast or running with her in it next time to see how she likes it. She loves the feel of wind in her hair and she craves anything daredevilish like being suspended high in the air or going fast on her little bike, so I think she'll like this when she gets used to it. She also likes new experiences and new people and gets bored if she's home too much without seeing new fans that tell her how cute she is.

The other aspect of her personality that is really coming through is her joie de vivre and and sense of humor. She usually looks like someone at a comedy club waiting for the punchline, and it doesn't take much to get a giggle out of her. She's very ticklish, too. Three things that will get a laugh out of her every time: telling her she has stinky feet and waving your hand in front of your nose while looking disgusted (she waves her hand in front of her nose, too) or nibbling her toes, playing peekaboo, and wearing one of her hats or putting it on someone else.

She now has 10 teeth and still chews everything she can get her hands on. She was stealing the remotes so much that i finally took the batteries out of one from our old DVD player (which also works with the new DVD player but we used as a spare) and I let her have that one. I don't give it to her, though, I let her find it so she thinks she's getting away with something. She still chews her books and the best loved ones have the most chewed spines. Favorites these days are still anything by Sandra Boynton (new book we got her: Doggies) , "My Truck is Stuck", "Bears in Pairs"and some lift-flap books. The problem is, she tries to grab the books now and will look at them herself, but upside down, and won't give them back for me to turn the pages.

This morning in the bathtub, she started singing "la la la la la" and making up her own tune. She's never done that before.

She gives very sweet baby kisses and only sometimes bites, but if she is not in the mood to give a kiss, she will turn her head away and reject the person who asked, so if you do get one, it's genuine love.