29 December 2011

Season's Readings

Owen's gift to Jane from his Santa Shoppe:
A New Kid in Town bib
Crocheted Christmas dress by me!
Jane's first Christmas was a smashing success, of course. We made it to Oklahoma and back with beautiful driving weather on both of our travel days. Spending time with my family and getting to see many friends at Jane's baby shower were really the best parts of the trip. Having a happy baby 99% of the time was pretty swell too!

The temperature difference from Oklahoma to Louisiana is extreme. I enjoy bundling myself up and feeling the nip of cold air on my face, but wrangling a baby into a car seat in the freezing cold is not my idea of fun.

If we lived somewhere colder it definitely would have made more sense to get a infant car seat to start, since you can load the baby into it inside the house, wrap blankets over her and then click into the base. (The seat we have is a convertible one -- works from birth to 70 lbs.)

I tried to start traditions of our own this year -- the most ambitious being a Christmas book each night in December leading up to Christmas to serve as an Advent calendar.

We did read The Night Before Christmas
on Christmas Eve
Originally I was going to wrap 25 children's books, but then I realized that was ridiculous, as I'd be wrapping and opening them myself. So I just went with the pile of books and tested them out that way.

My mom gave me a whole slew of books that we'd had as kids, so it was fun to read those especially. I remember the big basket of Christmas books and being excited when they came down each December from wherever they lived the rest of the year.

Before I pack away our Christmas stuff I will be wrapping up 25 (or more?) books in tissue paper, which is easier for little hands to rip into -- next Christmas Jane will most certainly be able to do that -- and tissue paper eliminates the possibility of paper cuts. (I learn all kinds of things reading the internet!)

So this year I read a children's Christmas book almost every day. But as we were getting into and out of a routine/schedule/whatever I didn't always remember. Next year I hope it will be exciting for Jane and an easy part of our routine to implement.

Also, I read something on my pastor's blog about Christmas being the beginning rather than the end. And what would our culture be like if we celebrated most the 12 days between Christmas and Epiphany? So perhaps I should extend my book reading beyond the 25th of December? I have saved the Wise Men books that we have to read on January 6.

I definitely want Jane's experience of Christmas seasons to be full of wonder and joy without the trappings of gimme-gimme-gimme materialism and Santa Claus. I know that will be tough in our culture, even in our church culture, but it's something to strive for.

Hopefully in future years we will add traditions as she develops -- more crafts, baking cookies, etc. But I never want to forget THIS Christmas, especially seeing Jane getting to know my Gran -- they love each other so much. And I love THEM so much that it made my heart happy. I only wish we lived closer together so I could have that heart happiness more than once or twice a year.

Disclosure: Amazon affiliate link used for car seat.

17 December 2011

Read: Babyhood & Happy Chaos

BabyhoodBabyhood by Paul Reiser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This gave me lots of laughs. I didn't seek it out, just randomly found it in the non-fiction section at the library when I was looking for Babywise (never found it even though the electronic card catalog said it was on the shelf). This book made me a bit nostalgic for Mad About You, as Paul Reiser has the same sense of humour in the book as he infused into that show. It's just a good, funny memoir about becoming a parent. Enjoyed it.

Happy ChaosHappy Chaos by Soleil Moon Frye
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another fun parenting memoir -- which I found at the library on the new biographies shelf by the checkout. I loved Punky as a kid (one of my best Halloween costumes was as her ... although I lost my knee bandana and that still haunts me). She wrote the book sort of with the help of her Twitter followers and Facebook fans -- the start of each chapter has quotes from those people responding to questions about parenting. I kind of skipped over those, but otherwise liked reading about her life, her pregnancies and deliveries, and her parenting strategies. Fun read.

View all my reviews

16 December 2011

Relativity

My not-so-new newborn (~5 weeks)
Jane has gone from being "so big" to "so small." She's still growing, filling out her clothes, and I'm sure keeping up her high percentiles in weight and height.

But now when people see her or meet her, instead of saying "what a big newborn," they like to say "Oh she's so small. My kids were never that small." (Although they obviously must have been, as few babies are born 11+ pounds!)

It's all relative, or perspective, or something. When you have actual kids running around it's hard to remember them being so tiny. And I know relative to those kids Jane is. And I find it hard to believe that I will forget -- although I almost certainly will.

How can I forget the feel of her little body melting into mine as I hold her and she drifts off to sleep? The way she fits so perfectly into the crook of my neck?

How can I forget the way her little diapered bottom fits right into the cup of my hand? It's perfect for patting.

How can I forget her newborn hair -- so soft and staticky?

How can I forget her newborn smell -- milky and diapery? And the sweetest breath in the world?

How can I forget her sweet coos, grunts and cries? I know has her language develops it will be harder to remember, although I can still hear Owen's gurgle giggle and it's 7 years later.

I know what I'll never forget about Jane is how much I love her. It's ridiculous and deep and the best thing ever. I don't want time to fly by so quickly, but I know I can't grasp it or stop it. So I'll try to mark it where I can. Hoping that in words I can help myself remember that yes, she was this small. And she's always been so lovable.

10 December 2011

Pinwheel Mobile

I made Jane a pinwheel baby mobile, thinking it would be clever and cheap. Uh ... between what was spent on a couple versions of fishing line (that I gave up using in the end), the star brads, the scrapbook paper and embroidery hoop it was probably about the same cost as a store bought mobile. The yarn is from my stash. But now we have it, and Jane seems to like it OK.



Basically I cut down 12x12 scrapbook paper to 3x3 squares. I used double sided tape to put two designs together then followed this tutorial to make pinwheels.

I wrapped the embroidery hoop with the yarn, and then after trying and failing to assemble the mobile with fishing line I used the yarn to connect the pinwheels to the hoop (using graduated lengths) and to make a loop at the top to hang from the eyelet hook that happened to be in Jane's ceiling.

For not being very complicated it sure took me a long time to get it completed (I started this early in the third trimester).

I didn't think the pinwheels would turn because the brads were too short to allow that. But the yarn itself twists and the pinwheels can spin up if you blow them and then spin the opposite way as the yarn unwinds itself. And I've got tons of black and white scrapbook paper leftover to play with.

30 November 2011

Goodbye November

I am glad this is over. Although writing daily, even when I did it crappily (i.e. every day), was good for me.

Today I drove with Jane for the first time and she did well. We went to the library for a free book -- Read to Your Bunny. Pretty good stuff. When she's a little older we'll go to infant lap sit story times. Definitely want to raise a reader.

Here are her feet, because I think they're so sweet:


29 November 2011

Elf Yourself 2011

This post will be obsolete in a couple months when they stop hosting the videos, but I think it still counts for nablopomo.

Also, someone's umbilical cord stump fell off today ... and she went to the doctor and weighs almost 11 lbs!


28 November 2011

Decorate

Shawn brought in my storage boxes of Christmas goodies -- decorations, wrapping things and old cards. Today Jane and I looked through them but mostly didn't get much out. We don't have a tree (yet), so not sure if we need to unpack the ornaments. It seems like I have enough collected to fill a tree. There'd be no theme, other than historical ornaments from my life and a few handed down. I don't think Shawn has any ornaments of his own, other than some I may have given him.

A neat tradition that my aunt did for her boys is to buy them an ornament each year and then when they move out they have a set of ornaments that cover their lives. I want to do that for Jane. I ordered a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament today because it was cheap on Cyber Monday. But I'll probably want to get something nicer too -- and so there's a 2011 baby ornament for us to keep in our collection too.

I'm so exhausted I'm not sure how I'll be able to remember this holiday season. But I know when Jane's my age and even sooner I'll want to remember it in detail! So I'll be writing a lot in December -- although probably not as much here as I have been doing this November!

27 November 2011

Advent Season

Today's the first day of Advent. Shawn and I took our baby girl to church. I'm not sure if it was a good idea -- given her young age and immature immune system. She seems OK, and no one touched her but us. She also was an angel during the service and slept most of the time. We'll see if I psych myself out of taking her again next week.

Mama & Jane at church ...
Why yes, I am posting a flattering picture of myself!

26 November 2011

31: Made to Order

Hey, hey. It's my birthday.

And it's like I special ordered this day. I woke up with a house full of family -- Beth finishing cleaning and doing laundry, Owen being his sweet funny self, Mama cuddling a baby Jane, and Shawn filling in everything else.

It's been rainy and overcast -- my perfect weather. (If I had my way, it would do this every day ...) Right now it's really pouring and I'm sitting in the sunroom listening to the first Christmas music of the season (Jane's first Christmas music EVER).

We're spending the day at home together. Thinking about going out to dinner, but the thought seems overwhelming, especially since we didn't get an infant carrier/we'd have nowhere to put Jane down. So maybe takeout instead.

This time last year my arms were aching -- aching for Jane. But patience -- even imperfect patience -- paid off. And how blessed we are.

I can honestly say, despite the exhaustion and steep learning curve of caring for this sweet baby girl, that I have never had a happier birthday...

This is 31 -- with my two favorite little people: Owen and Jane!

25 November 2011

Left Overs

Beth made our Thanksgiving dinner, and boy was it good. So good that we really don't have much left over, except some turkey (so yummy -- really the best turkey I've ever eaten) and some Pumpkin Dump Cake, which is so good and so easy. Definitely an overly rich dessert, but yum-o.

We also went on a walk -- took Jane to the local park for the first time. Owen had a great time on the playground, and I even swung a little bit. Now I'm trying to figure out birth announcements (still hemming and hawing about those because I want them to be just right), decide whether to do a separate Christmas card (less self-designed, more drag-and-drop) and what to do about Christmas gift shopping.

What I really need is a nap!

Daddy & Jane stroll home from the park

24 November 2011

Grateful Life

Another non-meme meme -- everyone is of course posting about Thanksgiving today and being grateful for all our blessings and even our first world problems.

Shawn and I have a lot to be thankful for. It's too much to even try to list and almost too much for a heart to bear. But here's a little bit of what's on my mind and heart these days, in the month where gratitude is top-of-mind for many.

We have a beautiful, healthy baby who's growing and being so good.

We have family who help us take care of her and who take care of us (my sister and mom have been amazing in their tag team efforts).

We have a lovely home, plenty of food, heat and air conditioning (depending on the hour it seems!), clean water and a comfy bed.

We have each other, and we've got LOVE.

Jane's new gown from cousin Maelee

23 November 2011

Review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherBattle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book caused quite a controversy back when it was released. My husband's boss loaned it to us now that we have a daughter. The book wasn't as extreme as I was expecting. It's more of a memoir than a how-to-parent guide. It details her experiences raising her daughters in the "Chinese" way of high expectations and no excuses. Some food for thought, but I think I learned more from Jim Burns' Confident Parenting.

View all my reviews

22 November 2011

All Wrapped Up

Moby Success?
We have a variety of baby carriers -- Baby Bjorn, Moby, Ring Sling. I'm not sure what the baby likes.

She let Daddy carry her around the back yard in the Baby Bjorn (another hand-me-down -- hurrah!), and I was able to hold her in the Moby for a bit. I think both times she was sleeping. Not sure how she feels about being carried when she's awake.


The ring sling has had mixed success. But we'll keep trying. It's the prettiest carrier of all -- it's purple and a gift from Gingie!

21 November 2011

Fringe Benefit

A side effect of growing a human has been an increase in the strength of my fingernails. Normally they are pliable and prone to breaking and peeling. But right now they're as long as they've ever been and ALL are long -- not just a few randoms. They're also super strong. But to be a better mom (i.e. not scratch up my kid) I'm cutting them off. Just wanted to take a picture of them and document them here -- once I grew long nails! (Nowhere near the accomplishment of growing a human, but still something.)

Also my wedding and engagement rings fit again! I haven't been able to wear them in months, and even after the delivery I was so pumped full of fluids that I was a stay puff marshmallow even MORE than what I was at the end of the pregnancy. Everything in that regard seems to have resolved and I think my feet have stayed the same size -- still gargantuan, but not any bigger than they were in February, pre-pregnancy.

20 November 2011

Sugar Dumpling

Not many pictures of me and my girl, so I took one with my webcam. Owen is SICK -- so we haven't had many pictures of the two of them together. I am stressed out at the thought that she might get sick too. She's so little and vulnerable. Hoping breast milk really does help ward off any germs she may encounter!


19 November 2011

Initial Baby Gear Thoughts

In my 10 days as the mother of a newborn I have a short list of things that I've really liked and that have been most useful. I thought I'd share them, and I'll probably have additional thoughts as Jane grows and I learn more.
  • Boppy pillow for breast feeding in my chair -- and good for propping up the baby for photo shoots or otherwise when she's being supervised
  • My Brest Friend pillow for breast feeding on the couch (our couch is deep and this pillow wraps around the back and buckles, providing lower back support)
  • LOTS of prefold cloth diapers as burp rags -- they're everywhere in our house
  • Swaddler blankets -- Jane likes to have her torso wrapped for sleeping so her arms are still able to stick straight up (and sometimes she can find her fist to suck on in a pinch) but keeps her feet warm and provides a little snuggle -- we have the Aden and Anais ones from Target
  • Snap up jammies and gowns -- pulling things over her head is doable and she doesn't cry, but it's much easier to just stick in arms and then snap up the front
  • Baby seat -- we got a little rocker seat from my coworkers and it's been great for letting her sit on her own while we eat, while I go to the bathroom when I'm here alone, etc. It has vibrations, but she can take or leave them.

Jane in snap-up jammies propped up on the Boppy
Edit:The Boppy was a hand-me-down and I actually find that it's the superior BF pillow. The Brest Friend seems cheap -- especially when you take off the cover to wash. I also managed to break the zipper on my cover when trying to get it back ON the pillow (really just some foam cut and glued together). So if you're going to get just one pillow, I'd say the Boppy, although I know some people swear by the other.

18 November 2011

SUSHI for the win

Forgot this easy post ... Shawn and I got takeout sushi last night. Huzzah! What other things were verboten that I can now enjoy?!

Angry Charlie!

Wait For It ...

Tomorrow my two favorite little people will meet. Owen comes to town, and Jane will meet her cousin! I think it will be epic ... not that there is any pressure. :)

Still from Webcamming Wednesday
I hope the visit produces enough fodder for posts thru the rest of the month...

AMLBO!

17 November 2011

Love Story

Daddy plays a tune
Warning: This is a little sappy and hormone-fueled. But it's also true.

Want to find out what your heart is made of?

Have a baby with the one you love most -- and who loves you most too.

Seeing Shawn with Jane has melted my heart and given me even more reasons to sing.

I really couldn't imagine loving him more, but seeing him holding our girl ... it unveils new depths.

Jane didn't pick her parents, but we picked each other. And I think we did a marvelous job.

We have a lot to learn, but it's exciting times b/c we will do it together!

16 November 2011

Touch

I don't have an iPhone, and I've turned off my work Blackberry for the duration of my leave. But my iPod Touch (no such thing as an iTouch) has been a lifesaver.

I used it during labor to keep up with email and distract myself. I used it to play music (with a little speaker from Amazon after reading about it on Jezebel). It was handy during the hospital stay to read all the replies to our baby announcement.

It's great now because I can work it one-handed. stay up-to-date on my Google Reader (although I'm pruning b/c don't want to read about pregnancy anymore ... but give me lots about baby development, please -- and let me know if you have blog suggestions) and read emails as they come in. (I mostly wait to respond until I can get to the computer b/c typing is so much easier with even one hand on a keyboard than thumb typing on the iPod!)

I won this iPod in a PRSA contest several years ago while living in NYC. That alone should be enough to keep my membership up to date. (I recently let it lapse though -- whoops.) It's an older model, so no speaker. But I love it. If it were to crap out on me I'd definitely want to replace it.

This is my one and only Mac product.

15 November 2011

Kathunk

Almost forgot to blog. Halfway through the month. I guess I'll continue, despite my sometimes zombie-like status.

I haven't uploaded photos yet today, so here's one from yesterday (the day before?):


Went to the doctor today -- all is well. Jane has gained weight and jaundice is totally gone. The doctor marveled at her feet (going to be tall!) and how she doesn't seem like a newborn.

Otherwise same old, same old. In love and learning new things every day.

14 November 2011

Inbox Zero

I am beginning to understand people's frustration with email. In my "regular" life I am able to manage email quickly and efficiently. Even with high volume the messages are still one-to-one and I can process them -- reply, delete or archive as needed.

BUT when I sent out my mass emails with the news of our greatest joy I got myself all tangled up. I use gmail, and because of the conversation thread I am having a hard time tracking to whom I've replied, and every time someone else responds it sends the whole thing back up to the top. And inevitably I look through the entire thread to be sure I've responded to everyone who's going to get a response.

On my iPod though I can see each message individually. MIGHT there be a way to -- at least temporarily -- view gmail in the mobile version so I could better assess the incoming messages?

In any case, if you're emailing me and not getting a response the best bet is to change the subject to be something other than my daughter's name, i.e. start a new "conversation" just between us. And then I'll be much better -- maybe not responding any faster BUT I will be able to keep it a little bit more straight and the response will eventually come.

I can't figure out how to add photos to a created-but-not-published Facebook album so I'm still not convinced FB is the right place for me to post regular photos of Jane. I don't know why I don't feel the same way about Google that I do about FB (i.e. that I'm OK with Google having lots of my data, but something about FB doesn't sit as well with me). So I may do a private Picasa album -- or maybe even Flickr. I've really got to get my act together.

In the meantime, a photo of a 5-day-old who looks anything but (at least to my untrained eye):


Update: I figured out the FB photo album -- I think. So there are 22 photos there. That's not too bad for 6 days (although I have 250+ on my memory card).

13 November 2011

Let 'Em Fall, Let 'Em Fall, Let 'Em Fall

I will probably never see snow falling outside the window of my sunroom (although if I did it would be an amazing view). But what I can see now are leaves falling -- by the bucket full.

Yesterday Shawn and his dad raked and bagged 11 huge bags of leaves -- and today the yard is covered again. It's actually beautiful and calming to watch them drift down. And the crunch they provide is nice -- and alert that visitors have arrived.

Perhaps they provide protection to any would-be thieves if they have to make a lot of noise to get to the doors.

We had a door-to-door salesman come by yesterday looking to sell magazines as part of a "lift me up" program or something. Shawn said the weirdest part of his pitch was "I'd rather knock on your front door than your back door," which we took to mean was a threat that this guy would break into our house if we didn't buy magazines.

We didn't buy any magazines! (And I LOVE magazines ... but I already subscribe to all that I want at this point.)

So I guess we'll just keep watch and hope for the best for our safety. (And we probably should have got that guy's name ... although Shawn did get the name of the organization he was representing, looked it up and thought it seemed like a scam.)

12 November 2011

Combed Hair


My hair woes don't seem as important anymore. Here is my daughter (!) after a sponge bath with her long dark hair combed. (Her hair is her most complimented feature so far.)

Oh I love this Pumpkin Girl!

11 November 2011

Homecoming

Baby stories would be a lot more interesting with pictures. Will have to make a better effort to transfer them. I'm already a few days behind. I don't want to turn this space into a mommy blog anyway ... but that's just all I have to write about for right now.

We made it home OK. Discharge was uneventful -- but coming home was more exciting. Last night was near freezing, so the house was chilly (63). We'd never turned on the heat in the house, so knew it would be stinky ... but didn't expect it to fill the house with smoke.

Welcome home, Jane! Hope we don't burn the house down on your first day home. (We didn't.)

(We also didn't take the standard picture at the hospital of us as a family of three -- whoops!)

Also, 11/11/11 is corduroy day or something. Hilarious!

10 November 2011

Control

So much I cannot control. Some I can, like typing a post everyday as time allows.

But what to write about now that my big, life changing information is public on this blog and Facebook?

We're not going home today, so homecoming will be 11/11/11. I guess if you can't have it as a birth date it's not a bad date to have as your first car ride, first night at home, etc. It's also four months since we closed on the house.

More tomorrow, I am sure.

09 November 2011

Best Laid Plans

My birth plan was a bust. It will take me a while to adjust to that new reality. I hadn't decided whether to post our story here. I may change my mind, but for now no. But I will give a few more photos b/c they are easy to upload w/ one hand...

Birth day evening

Daddy loves Pumpkin

Pumpkin girl
The J is for juggle image from yesterday is a print for Jane's nursery. From Kindygarden on Etsy.

07 November 2011

Waiting

Things are happening (being forced to happen), and I may not be able to update tomorrow. But I figured while I'm still able I would knock out a post and at least get to 7 for NaBloPoMo 2011.

I'm starving and may not be able to eat for some time. Hoping that things go quickly and smoothly. Prayers for discernment to know exactly what to do.

And for any blog readers who have no idea what this means -- all will become clear in a couple days time.

06 November 2011

Undefeated

Geaux Tigers and Go Pokes! Both teams remain undefeated this season. I flipped back and forth last night watching their games -- both on at 7 p.m. central on national television. The streets were full of screams and fireworks after the Tigers won -- it was reminiscent of election day 2008 in NYC when Obama won. NYU students don't get excited about sports -- they get excited about politics. Anyway.

We watched the games on mute on our tiny TV. I'm not a big fan of the commentation, although our TV is so small it's not always easy to see how much time is left -- and when there's a penalty ... forget about it! Maybe someday we'll have a bigger TV. What worked in our studio apartment isn't as conducive to watching in a bigger living room. But it gets the job done and I enjoy many an hour of TV each week on it..

No writing prompts over the weekend -- it's for "free writing." One of the prompts I didn't use this week was this: When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?


The answer depends on what I'm writing. For note taking purposes, I'm a handwriter all the way. I can write much faster than type, at least in shorthand. But composing things like blog posts and emails, obviously typing is better. I like to hand write my letters and cards though.

Hair update: looks the same straight as it did before the haircut. It looks so long when straightened. At least no troubles with pony tails in the near future.

05 November 2011

Saturday Yard Work

We have a lot of leaves because we have a lot of trees. We don't get the brilliant colors of fall in them, but they certainly do fall. That means there's always yard work to do -- raking, putting them in bags, sweeping them off the carport floor. Shawn has a lot of upkeep to do.

The house itself creates chores too. Cleaning is the big one, but also laundry and groceries (my main weekend tasks that are obviously less about the house and more about the people residing here). Shawn takes care of home maintenance. He is the best husband -- and house owner -- I know.

Big game tonight. Very glad it's an away game, should we need to get somewhere tonight (most likely we won't).

04 November 2011

Disappointment (Another Hair Post)

Tip #1: don't choose a hair salon based on convenience to your house.

Tip #2: don't go to a salon called "Rage" because you may every well end up leaving ENraged.

My hair has been recovering from the weird haircut in January. It's still got super short pieces as layers on the top back from the weird stacked thing that girl did. I had a trim at a mall in Florida in May, and I think that made it even worse/puffier. But at least it was a cheaper cut.

Basically I wanted to go get a haircut that would add some shape back to the bottom of my hair, which has grown out considerably, maybe get some razored ends added back for the rock star look and mostly to get a really good blow out.

Instead of picking a chain haircut place I made an appointment at a salon that I drive by every day. A SALON, where I expect the stylists to have some modicum of training beyond snip, snip and an ability to shape hair/add layers.

The stylist was nice enough, although weird (who brings a little dog to work? the whole place seemed a little grungy). I got shampooed, which was nice, and we talked about my hair and she said she would cut some of the back off and try to blend in the layers better. It seemed straightforward, and I did emphasize that I wanted to keep the length to still be ponytail-able. She asked if I usually wear my hair curly, and I said yes, not thinking that the way I usually do it would be the way I walked out. The weather has changed here -- yesterday morning was exactly like Vancouver in July -- so it really isn't too humid for my hair to go straight, which was something she said as she was looking at my hair.

Shaping/styling didn't really happen, and the cut was about the level of a Supercuts or Fantastic Sam's visit (only twice as expensive). She just did a bit of trimming with scissors for maybe 5-10 minutes and that was that. She put some smelly stuff in my hair, searched for 5 minutes for a diffuser and then used it to dry my hair. I paid for a "style" that was really bad, i.e. so dumb I could do it myself. And my hair in the end looked like one big curly triangle.

The worst part? I still tipped her!

My hair went right back into its pony tail when I got in the car. And I raged and raged at myself for my stupidity (because really it's my fault -- I could have easily asked her to please add more layers/shaping and blow it out -- but I was ready to get out of there).

This weekend I'll wash and blow dry it myself, just to see if it's at all different than it was before once it's styled straight (because it definitely doesn't look any better when styled curly).

TL;DR? My hair woes in Baton Rouge continue...

03 November 2011

Google-y Changes

Google Reader has changed this week, and some features are gone. Specifically the social features -- like the "what I'm reading online" bit on my sidebar -- dead. Now instead of sharing w/in Reader you share items on Google+. Old fogey that I am, I don't fully understand G+, but hopefully it will make more sense as I use it.

I wouldn't call myself a power user of Reader, because I've never really used all the sharing functions to their full advantage. But I certainly do use Reader every day and have hundreds of blogs that I'm able to keep up with thanks to the tool.

I followed a few people on Reader, most of whom I know in real life and therefore am connected to on G+ or am easily able to add. But there were a couple people who were strictly Reader-only connections. I was worried that because I didn't write their names down I wouldn't be able to find them and "circle" them on G+ so I could still get their recommended RSS items.

My basic questions: Where are my Google Reader Shared Items? and How can I find who I was following on Google Reader before it changed?

My shared items are still at the same URL (which I luckily have access to from my blog sidebar). New items that I share via G+ do not get added to it though, and eventually (soon?) it won't work at all.

I was also able to find them on G+ (not public, but as part of my profile) -- click profile at the top (icon looks like a person in a circle), then click Buzz on the right of the menu bar under your name. This is also where I was able to see a list of the people who I followed (and who followed me, in theory, although it never would load for me) on Reader.

So I circled the couple of people I had been following in Reader, and hopefully will remember to check G+ once a day or so to read any shared items. (I guess it would be wrong to ask for an RSS feed of my G+ feed so I could read it all in one place, i.e. Reader, which is almost always open on my computer?)

I also did the Google Takeaway option for Google Buzz (a link on that same part of G+ described above), creating an archive and downloading it. And I'll be darned -- it created a ZIP file of all the things I've shared on Google Reader. So if one of your questions is "How do I save all of my Google Reader Shared Items?" this seems to be the way to do it. Although I guess if you did other things on Buzz (what other things could you do on Buzz?) those might be created in the ZIP file as well. I saved my ZIP file in Google Docs, and I don't think I'll ever actually need it/want to review it. But if I do, it is there.

I'm sure I'll get used to these changes and maybe even start to like G+. I am intrigued by its ability for "hangouts" -- web chats with multiple people and multiple cameras. If I figure that out it could be another service-y post. Hope this one is helpful to some people. I was so excited when I figured it out yesterday!

02 November 2011

The Memory-Keeper's Daughter

In my spare time I've been reading the Internet, like woah, and one blog I've been reading for a while is The Mom Creative, which presented 31 Days of Memory Keeping in October. It was a great series, and I got a lot of good ideas.

The Mom Creative is also great about sharing online deals related to memory keeping (cheap photo prints, free photo books, etc.) -- it's how I made the ABCs of Owen book over the summer for the cost of shipping at Paper Coterie. Good stuff.

I don't know that I'll ever consider myself a successful memory keeper, but I've had a lot of fun making things for Owen. And our wedding book is one of my favorite things (although I certainly wish I'd spent more time lightening/adjusting the photos in that book).

We have many a photo album at my mom's house and grandma's house that catalog my and my sister's childhood. And I think about the weekly letters my mom wrote to her mom and wonder what memories those held, and if they survived the years (I'm guessing not). I have my own journals to see about my life from my perspective once I could write (ca. 2nd grade).

So blogging is one way that I'm keeping memories and it's an outgrowth of my childhood journaling. But my blogging is selective ... and I have been falling away from it so much that when I left a comment on The Mom Creative to thank Jessica for her series I got my blog URL wrong! (blogger vs. blogspot)

Perhaps this November effort will get me back in touch with what I liked about having a blog in the first place. Or maybe not...

Today's NaBloPoMo blog prompt: If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be? 

Sort of easy: Gran's fried chicken or chicken-fried steak, new potatoes and white gravy, loaded salad w/ Catalina dressing, Sonic vanilla diet coke, millionaire pie.

01 November 2011

November One

I've taken part in National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo) for the last few years. I have plenty of time on my hands right now, so I figured why not give myself a challenge? I may will likely not make it the entire month, but I can give it a shot. It remains to be seen if I will write about the most important parts of my life, or if those will remain in offline mode.

If you'd like to join Zulilly use my referral link and I get $15 credit. I've ordered a couple things from it but not sure it's actually worth anything. Quite the ringing endorsement, huh?

So the writing prompt for today is What is your favourite part about writing?

Does anyone have an answer for that? I think partially it's reading my writing later -- not for the quality of the writing but for the memory keeping itself. I also like to choose words, and I like grammar and punctuation. Probably a lot of it has to do with navel gazing.

28 October 2011

Rebound

Still haven't discussed my personality results further, but am less stressed by them/they're not keeping me up nights anymore. One of the things the guy said was "these are all strengths" -- a regular line, but whatever. And really I don't doubt myself -- I'm a kick ass employee and typically pretty highly valued. I'm in unique circumstances now, but still encouraged.

One of the things the guy asked me was about a perfect day -- at work and off work. For work it's about getting a lot of tasks to do and plowing through it, getting feedback and clearance quickly, until it's time to go home (maybe with a good lunch break with coworkers thrown in). Perhaps I'd answer that differently if I wasn't so starved for tasks (again, it's the unique, temporary circumstances dictating that mostly). Hrm.

My response to the "off work" perfect day was basically spending time with Shawn and/or our families (can any day be perfect without a squeeze from Owen Jay?!). But the more I thought about it, the more I thought I'd like a perfect day in New York. In some crisp fall air, with a street festival, some Mercado's pizza slices and a Diet Coke, a stroll through Washington Square Park (assuming construction is all finished by now) and a look up 5th Ave through the arch. Maybe a matinee Broadway show (drama or musical ... just something good). Maybe a sushi dinner after the show and a ride down 5th Ave on the bus to get "home" -- or maybe ride all the way to the Staten Island ferry for a night time ride in the cool air before ending the day.

What is my perfect Baton Rouge day though? I don't have any activities I really love that are exclusive to BR like my NYC memories. I LOVE our house -- so puttering around here is fun. Actually my perfect day now would involve my couch, comfy temps (read almost chilly in the room with a cozy blanket), something good to eat and drink, and a full DVR of shows to watch, heavy on the Psych. Oh, and maybe something good to read too ... because I'm seriously bored much of the time as I wait ... and wait ... and wait.

23 October 2011

Assess Me

I took a personality test -- or something like it -- at work a couple weeks ago, and on Friday I got my "results." Nothing too shocking. I mean, I know I'm detail-oriented and impatient. But what was a surprise was my "score" on manageability.

I like to think that I'm a really good employee -- I follow directions, offer suggestions but know my place once a decision is made and go do my work. Apparently not, at least according to this test. Perhaps it's a reflection of how I FEEL rather than what I DO, because sure I might grumble about directions or projects that don't make sense, or when a decision doesn't go my way ... but I don't think that makes me unmanageable when I keep the grumbling to myself and ultimately do the work as assigned. So I've been tumbling that around in my head for a couple days now.

The results also showed that I would not likely be happy or good in a leadership role, i.e. leave me alone in my work. I can see that, but I also want to think of myself as having room to grow into a leadership capacity. Maybe not in the cards, but if not I would like to think it's my choice rather than a personality trait.

So what I came away with is that I can't be managed and I can't lead -- so what am I do to for an occupation? Blurgh.

I still have to talk with someone who actually works with me/has seen me in action (results were given by a nice third-party guy). Also funny to note: I am totally different personality/traits wise than everyone else that I work with in the region. The third-party guy was really confused how I fit in ... until I explained to him my communications role and journalism background (and then he thought skepticism was the bees knees for me rather than a possible hindrance). Oh me.

05 October 2011

Domestically Disinclined

On Saturday I did a big grocery shop to make a bunch of casseroles to freeze. The shopping wasn't too bad (although getting to the store was -- stupid timing on our part re: game traffic). But the cooking has been exhausting. So far I've made six dishes, and we've eaten one of them (a spinach and cheese strata that I realized probably would not freeze well, although I'm not actually convinced any of them will taste good).

When the inlaws were here my m-i-l took me to Sam's and one of the things we bought were these throw away foil pans for casseroles. But I'm realizing they have a weird smell to them, so we'll see if that affects the taste (I made the strata in a regular pan).

Here's what I've made, none of which look as good as the recipes, of course:
The two left to make are Baked Rigatoni with Tiny Meatballs (what am I thinking, this recipe is two pages long?!) and Spinach and Rice Casserole. I also have the stuff for Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili, but I pre-cooked and froze the chicken so hopefully can just cook as directed and throw the thawed chicken in at the end. We'll see how that works ... and if I can get it together to make some corn bread or muffins to go with it -- I guess that's another thing I could premake and freeze.

I've come to the conclusion that I should have just relied on takeout ...

Random song/video for fun:



Road rage got me this morning on the way to work. I need to revisit my defensive driving materials from work. To be fair I was provoked/the guy was tail-gating me, but I'm really lucky nothing actually happened. Good grief.

18 September 2011

Spending Trending

I've had to commandeer Shawn's computer to write this post (which could really be three separate posts) because my computer WILL NOT recognize my camera as a valid drive. For that and other reasons I'm in the market for a new camera and trying to decide between a DSLR or another point-and-shoot. I love the portability of P&S but dig the kick-ass pictures that I can take with my work camera.

How now, brown couch?!
Not shown is the matching ottoman, because I took this picture before it was delivered (yeah, two separate deliveries). We really need to figure out a new placement for that framed print, either slide it over to be centered over the couch or maybe add another, similarly sized print to its right. The blue in the mat and picture itself goes really well with the pillows for the couch (although who knew we'd get so many pillows?! and they are SO FIRM). It's a great place for a nap -- took my first one today!

I also still need curtains/drapes for the living room (plus get similar or matching valances for the window and door in the kitchen), and I'm thinking red or black/white graphic. Red would match/mimic/complement the dining room wall, or black and white would go with my dishes and still be OK with the blues in the couch pillows and image. Because my parents-in-law and aunt/uncle-in-law have been here I've learned all about drapery hooks/pins and pinch pleats, etc. for my options, because the curtain rod that's here is one of those that you can open and close with the pull of a cord.

The inlaws have also been invaluable in doing some work around the house. They trimmed a TON of shrubbery mess around the house, and once the debris is hauled off we'll have the prettiest house on the block. They also helped Shawn pull down the shower doors in both bathrooms. Now the rooms seem so much bigger, the shower is so much nicer and with more light. Delighted! Now Shawn is painting a room (pictures to come eventually) and we're contemplating dinner... We'll probably eat the sausages that came free from the dealer where Shawn bought ...

A MINIVAN. Yeah, that's probably the lead of this story. I haven't taken pictures of it, and it's raining now, but it's really nice and a great purchase for us. It means he can leave for work earlier than me and stay later without issue (in the apartment he could just ride the bus or his bike, but neither is really an option here). It also is great for shopping -- we can load that sucker up with whatever we want, and it's been very handy to travel with everyone at once -- seats six adults very comfortably, and probably seven uncomfortably.

Unrelated, a couple crochet projects to share:

A Bubbles Pattern baby blanket for Maelee
A crocheted pumpkin hat, from this pattern

11 September 2011

Reflecting

Manhattan from Governor's Island, Summer 2010
It's like a non-meme meme, as almost every single blog I read has done a 9/11 post today or at least in the last few days. I really like the feature on the NYTimes showing a map of where people were color coded with how they're feeling now. Here is mine (now feeling hopeful, although that is a reflection of things in my life far removed from 9/11):
"I was in my car on the way to class at OSU. Heard the news on KATT and thought it was a weird joke."
Today's sermon was on forgiveness (the 77 times passage in Matthew), and it rattled at least one guy in church who cornered the pastor afterward to ask him how that could be that we should forgive. Why, if we did that, we'd just give up the country and be under terrorist's rule. I didn't stick around to hear the conclusion, maybe because I didn't hear the same message as far as how forgiveness is defined.

We didn't talk about 9/11 at all in Sunday school, which I think is in part a reflection of the class ... it seems all very much to be about what's happening in our lives today/rehashing our weeks, although without actually applying any scripture (seriously, we didn't even read a passage today). It's almost like we're trying to find our way without using the road map sitting right in front of us. And I'm not sure how to suggest another way.

09 September 2011

Broken Weather

I hesitate to write about this, knowing we could easily shoot back into the 90s with insane humidity, but for now at least the heat has broken. We have fall-like temperatures (Shawn compared one evening to October in New York, so nice), perfect for walks around the new 'hood.  (OK, we've taken one walk, but that's a start.)

We survived Tropical Storm Lee unscathed -- just lots of rain last weekend and then beautiful clear mild days this week. It's been oddly comfortable, and downright cool in the mornings.

In other news, the first home football game is this weekend, so getting home was even more of a nightmare than usual. RVs rolling in, extra traffic from pre-tailgating tailgators. We made it home, and I don't intend to go out again tonight. Maybe not tomorrow either, although we'll see how I do on that.

Our couch has been ordered, and probably once it's here I will take pictures of our living room to post. I've hesitated to do a room-by-room post of our house or house video tour because of the idea of setting up a blueprint for potential thieves (I think someone at Maryland told me a story about that back in the day). But hopefully showing one room of furniture (and by no means decorated or styled) would be OK.

Oh ... still need curtains for the LR and kitchen and SERIOUSLY hoping that I can get something cool, black and white, and graphic from the Missoni for Target line launching next week ... although maybe I'll want something a little more swirly and a little less stripey. Or perhaps just solid curtains are the way to go for someone like me (someone so design challenged I mean).

03 September 2011

Life, of Late

We have NOT been blown away by Tropical Storm Lee so far, and I hope we remain as lucky. Oddly my work is asking that I check in daily. I guess safety as a priority is OK, but do I really need to do ANY type of work, even if just 30 seconds, on a long weekend? I guess I should be glad they care? Meh.

So today has been a lazy, hang around enjoying the rain day. I did go out to buy some juice for church tomorrow. Our Sunday school class is responsible for coffee hour and I signed up for juice, thinking that would be easiest. It's also the heaviest. And I hope that what I bought can last us throughout the month, so I don't have to buy juice every single week.

I am finally using up my iTunes gift cards of last Christmas ... on the two Adele albums that I was reminded to buy by that VMAs video. I think I still have a bit leftover, which can pay for part of another album whenever I think of it next. I still don't buy apps or anything like that. Mostly because of lack of interest on my part, but also because my iPod touch is getting old and cranky. I'm lucky when it can connect to my wifi on its own. You get what you pay for (and it was free/I won it in a contest several years ago). It still plays tunes, i.e. serves its main purpose.

We had grand plans to couch shop today, but the rain and general attitudes made us decide to stay home. Maybe we can take advantage of sales on Monday if we're feeling up to it. The couch is the last BIG thing I really want to get soon. I'd also like drapes for the living room and new curtains for the kitchen soon. I should online shop.

Sorry for the non-post post. Trying out Blogger's new look and ... it's going to take some getting used to, but it probably is better overall. Ta.

29 August 2011

Adele: Someone Like You



I didn't watch the VMAs ... actually can't remember the last time I would have watched that, or even the last time I've looked at MTV ... but I did watch this video when it came up on a blog I read. Yowza. Not so much the song itself, although it's lovely. But her voice. No lip syncing there.

28 August 2011

Mario DS Cover

Someone special is turning seven this week. SEVEN!

Lately his passions have included Mario Brothers and Transformers. I can't crochet a Bumblebee or Megatron, but after perusing Etsy one day I found something that I COULD crochet: a Mario Nintendo DS (like a Game Boy for us olds) cover.

My version isn't as great as the Etsy one, but I was able to use salvaged yarn from Gran. Mine looks wonky because the blue thread is thinner than the red. I'm hoping that his DS fits (otherwise I'll have to try again -- it isn't a project that takes very long to put together). The wonky buttons and velcro look like a crazy aunt made it -- TRUE! There's one pocket in the back for a DS game or two.

I really hope a certain seven year old likes it! AMLBO!!!



 Edit: Update! He likes it! He really likes it!

27 August 2011

Blog Improvements

Somehow I stumbled onto Momcomm -- a great blog with tips on improving your blog, including advice on affiliate marketing (i.e. getting paid whenever someone buys a product after clicking a link on your site).

My favorite feature on her site is the weekly Blog Critiques -- there's always a lot to learn by reading her advice to other bloggers. And I've found some interesting new blogs to peruse at the same time. I don't think I've put much, if any, of her advice to work on my blog, mostly due to lack of interest in writing blog posts made me think why bother making the blog better? Content is king!

But one thing I am going to try is affiliate marketing to promote the DIY Blog Critique e-book that Momcomm has produced. I bought the e-book myself and am reading through it, possibly to improve my own blog in some ways. If you're a blogger you might consider purchasing it too. If you do, let me know what you think.

24 August 2011

Parking Perilous

The university parking situation is ridiculous in and of itself (too many cars, not enough spots, lax monitoring, etc.). But the parking department has made it worse by not having its act together as this semester starts. We're finishing the first week of classes, our permits from last year have been expired since Aug. 14, and the department has NO NEW permits yet to distribute. I was able to get a temporary pass (because someone in my office is a nervous nelly and didn't want to take the chance at getting a ticket), although the university did send out an email (which I only saw b/c of good old Shawn) about no tickets being issued to legally parked cars in the student lots until after Labor Day. That means presumably they'll get the passes in next week/before the labor day holiday. My temporary pass is good until December, so I can wait until the traffic thins out to get my real pass. The department also tells its callers to "check our website for updates," and their site hasn't been updated in ages. Even if it has, none of the information is about parking permits -- not even the content of the mass email about no tickets until after Labor Day. Seems pretty typical for this ... place.

Most of my coworkers pay $250 per year to have a parking spot closer to our building. I've just been parking in the free student lot that's across the street. Probably a 5 minute walk if I'm doing it leisurely. I was joking with one of my coworkers that Shawn didn't want me to get the closer-in pass because I need the exercise. The coworker was appalled, even though I was laughing. It's true I need the exercise (and a lot more than that), but that's not the real reason I don't spring for the pass. It's really me being cheap -- why pay for something that I can have for free? It is a little more frustrating to find a spot during really busy times (say if you need to leave for lunch and come back after). But it is what it is. I wish my employer just paid for it (especially because our rent in this building is so low), but they do not.

One thing that could sway me to pay for the closer spot is the fact that sometimes when crossing the road to the other parking lot cars nearly mow me down. It has been worse this week since school is back in session. Pedestrians have the right of way, and I'm even in a cross walk. There's something so unnerving about a car speeding behind you or in front of you when you're halfway through the walk. I really think cars should wait until you're completely across before proceeding into the crosswalk, at least at breakneck speeds. What if I suddenly turned around or tripped forward? I shudder to think about the near misses I've had, and the obnoxious teenagers speeding by on their cell phones, oblivious, just as they are when they're the pedestrians and walk out in the crosswalk without looking. It's a wonder there aren't more accidents, especially on this particular road at the edge of campus. I would think a few days of regular monitoring and tickets for speeders could help things -- but obviously the parking/police department at this university has better things to do than assure my safe crossing...

Rubber Stamping

My love of all things stationery has manifested itself in moving announcements this week. I took that house sketch, made the door red (like it actually is) with layers in Gimp and added some red text on the grass with our new address. (Only thing I would change about the "design" is to not center the text ... I don't like centered text, but for some reason I put it on this -- BOTHER.)

I used the same fonts as on our wedding materials. I ordered the flat cards from VistaPrint, which came with white envelopes. I worried I ordered too many (60), but actually that has turned out to be the exact right number. VP tossed in 30 extra flat cards so I could even send some extras if I wanted/found more addresses of people who might like to be pen pals.

For the return address I re-purchased the rubber stamp I had when we lived in 8G in NYC: Paperwink's Flapper stamp. I like our NYC one as a souvenir of our time there. So in preparing the moving announcements to be sent it was so satisfying to ink up my new stamp and press the design onto each envelope (after I sealed them with a wet washcloth instead of licking -- can't help but think of Susan from Seinfeld when I do a big mail batch like this).

I think the ink-stamp-dry process was bringing out my latent librarian genes. Do librarians these days even need to use rubber stamps anymore, now that everything is digitized? Whatever the case, it was a lot of fun and I'm glad to have added to my stationery arsenal.

23 August 2011

Travel Perspective

I love Back to School time -- mostly the new supplies for super cheap and the promise of cooler weather to come. Give me some new No. 2 pencils and a stack of notebook paper, and I will feel very happy. But BTS isn't all roses.

This week school started and the students are back ... with their cars. One of my FB friends, who happens to be a relative and live in Stillwater, wrote about students returning: "Like my Mom would say, 'I think they all bring 2 cars with them: 1 to drive and 1 to park!'" It definitely feels like it here in this college town.

Shawn and I only have the one car, but we both work on campus so carpooling is fine for now. Our usual 5-8 minute commute was more like 20 yesterday. (And I know some people would be thrilled with a 20 minute commute, so it's all relative.) Today we did a little better, partly because Tuesday classes start later and partly because we took a different route.

It reminds me of this blog post I read recently that had an image on it, and no matter what I try I can't find it (It was something I read via my Google Recommended Items, which don't seem to be searchable). I can find versions of it but not the image I remember. Anyway, the image was something like: You are not stuck in traffic. You ARE traffic.

So all the time I sit in traffic on Highland trying to get home I try to remind myself that I am part of the reason why things are backed up. It doesn't always work.

21 August 2011

House Beautiful

Shawn and I have made amazing progress on getting the house this weekend. We have a few finishing touches -- big and small (couch anyone?! and new drapes for the living room, etc.), but all our boxes are unpacked.

The linen closet is full of clean and fresh sheets and towels. We have empty space still in the closets, and I have a full empty drawer in my new-old-dresser that my parents brought. Am going to do my best to NOT fill it up. We'll see how successful I can be at that.

One year ago I started my job. It took several months to feel comfortable doing what I was doing -- not that I was unable to do anything but more about not being able to stay busy. I still have periods of inactivity, but I definitely feel more confident and stable. Not 100% sure that I made the "right" decision between the job choices a year ago, but it is what it is. And I make more at this job than the other one offered SO it allowed us to get the house faster ... and might make it possible to get a second car that we're starting to want.

Speaking of, I'll have to leave soon to pick up Shawn from the office. After all the house work yesterday he certainly needed a break (and probably some last minute class prep -- school starts tomorrow). He's such a great worker and provider.

07 August 2011

525,600 Minutes

How do you measure, measure a year?

It has been one year since we rolled out of NYC to start our new life. In that time many things have changed, and we've both settled into our jobs (Shawn more than me). Now we are homeowners.

We've spent the weekend shopping, unpacking and cleaning. Shawn climbed on the roofs of the out buildings to clear off some leaves and trim some trees. I cleaned kitchen cabinets, put contact paper in as many of them as I could stand, and unloaded our dishes and dry goods. We're exhausted, but making real progress.

This week we'll get a furniture delivery and have a place to eat! We'll also get a new bed so that we have extra sleeping capacity. A coworker was getting rid of a twin bed that his son had grown out of, so we have that too. With the new bed we'll be able to comfortably sleep three extra, and with the air mattress two more than that. Eventually we'll get a couch that will provide a sleep solution should we be overrun with multiple family members and/or friends all at once. I'm thinking Mardi Gras time!

During the shopping excursion yesterday I found something I had lost. Something I lost one year ago, and which bugged me so much. I had thought it had fallen and been left in the U-Haul. I'd thought about calling to see if they had lost and found. I'd googled replacements and thought about how I might make my own. I put my hand into the umbrella pocket of my Franco Sarto purse yesterday to grab my phone and lo and behold -- the missing key chain was there! It never held our Southgate keys (reminder I need to write a review of that place ... good grief), but skipped from NYC apartment to BR house. I'm really excited to have it back and smile every time I look at my keys and see the sweet face of a certain baby Owen.

What's the longest you've gone between losing something and finding it?

06 August 2011

We All Love Lucy

It's the 100th anniversary of Lucille Ball's birthday. Google has transformed its doodle into a 50s style TV that plays a clip before going to a search results page for her name. (Click around the dial to see them all.)

I first remember watching Lucy with my Grandma Jane. Oh how I laughed. Favorites include Vita-meata-vegi-men, the Chocolate Factory, and the one where Ricky sings "we're having a baby, my baby and me."

I watched some while living in NYC, which gave the show a similar "I know where that is" vibe that I got when re-watching Seinfeld.

Watch some Lucy (CBS has episodes online), eat some chocolate, get into some crazy antics, fake cry to get your husband's attention and keep on loving Lucy.

What's your favorite episode?

04 August 2011

House Sketch

I want to turn this into "We've Moved" cards (I did this with a Gimp plug in). In an ideal world I'd do letterpress, but mama needs some new furniture more than super luxe cards. Plus who has the time? So I'm thinking maybe just cheapie photo prints and then I can write on the back? I should probably incorporate the new address into the print -- maybe on the grass or something (which when this picture was taken was just mowed by Shawn). Hrm...

28 July 2011

A Dog and His Crown

Rascal with an inflatable crown from Mardi Gras 2011
Beth sent me this photo a couple weeks ago. I wanted to post it and laugh at the dumb dog. The story of how he came to our family is silly, and I'm not sure that I haven't written about it already. I couldn't find anything though.

About 7 years ago I was working at OSU, living in an apartment and having a pretty good time. I had just been unceremoniously dumped so was highly emotional (i.e. prone to giving into something like accepting a dog). But this dog was never supposed to be mine.

Across the busy road from our offices lived a guy named Sexy Chocolate. Seriously that's how he identified himself on his voice mail. He owned this puppy, Rascal, who jumped and escaped and loved to run in the road. After rescuing him several times from traffic, my coworkers decided that he had to be saved and that it would be easy to give him a new home (with Sexy Chocolate's permission, of course). Somehow I ended up being that home temporarily, despite the fact that I couldn't have pets in my apartment and didn't really need the hassle. (Although Rascal was pretty cute ... I'm not sure I have a digital photo of his puppy-dom ... if so, not on this computer.)

While Rascal lived with me, during the day he stayed in the bathroom, and I would come home at lunch to let him out. At night I'd make him sleep on a towel on the carpeted floor by my bed, but somehow he'd always end up in the bed with me. Meaning I never got deep sleep because I was constantly putting him back on the floor -- or imaging him jumping up on me.

After everyone who said they'd love to have the dog ignoring me I decided to drive the beast three hours to I-town. He puked on the way and hated riding in the car, but I had leather seats that were easy to clean and we made it.

Now he lives with my parents, and while he's never been a "good" dog he and my dad are good buddies. I'm sure his life is better in Indiahoma than it ever would have been with Sexy Chocolate, although he did end up getting hit by a car -- he survived.

27 July 2011

Vancouver Timeline

So I did a picture post, how about a quick bulleted list post of the things I did while I was in Vancouver? (Confession: every afternoon I took a rest/nap in the hotel ... I had to ask housekeeping to make up the room earlier so I wouldn't be disturbed ... talk about high maintenance!)
  • Saturday 7/16 we arrived and it was late. Checked into the swank hotel, showered off the airplane funk and conked out. We had free sit-down full service breakfast every morning so didn't have to worry about that!
  • Sunday 7/17 Shawn had to practice his talk so I walked around a bit on my own. Shops don't open up until 10 or later, so all I did was get a Tim Horton's latte and drink it on Granville St. Tim Horton's in NYC near my church on 86th and Park makes a MUCH better latte -- i.e. it's not a 7-11 style stick-the-cup-under-the-machine-and-hit-a-button as it was in Canada, rather in NYC they steam the milk and add it to the coffee. When Shawn was sufficiently rehearsed we walked north to the water, looked around, had lunch and then he checked into the conference. Dinner was a laugh because everything was closed on Sunday evenings. I think we ended up with kind of fast food pizza by the slice ... made me miss Mercado's even more.
  • Monday 7/18 Shawn is at his conference and giving his talk. I get up and around then take a public bus to Granville Island. Everything in Vancouver is expensive, even the public transit (and when my comparison is NYC, you know that's saying something). But I made it to the "island" that's really not. I did some shopping, had lunch, looked at the views of downtown, and toured the public market, wishing our hotel room had a fridge! Met back up with Shawn and had dinner with his NYC office mate. Was fun to catch up with her.
  • Tuesday 7/19 I was intrigued by all the signs on the Sky Train for Metropolis mall (450 stores!), and when I was at the Kid's Market on Granville Island I found a brochure that offered tourists a $10 gift card, free return transit and a free tote bag (something I was lamenting not having brought despite owning roughly 500 yet not willing to shell out $10 CAN for one). This time I took the Sky Train (subway) and did a little shopping. I had lunch at the food court, watched a lot of people, got myself a souvenir -- a Danier leather wallet -- and read a book I had downloaded to my Kindle (The Help). Shawn and I had dinner with a group of his cohorts at a pub-style place.
  • Wednesday 7/20 About mid-morning I met up with my friend who also happens to be a mathematician attending the conference, and we went shopping at the Pacific Centre underground shopping mall that was right near our hotels. We browsed but didn't buy, had lunch and mostly had a good time catching up. (She and her husband moved from Baton Rouge about a week or so before the trip, but we still had plenty to catch up on!) I was wearing terribly uncomfortable shoes, so I went back to the hotel thinking I would change them and go do something else later in the afternoon ... uh, nap time came instead! Shawn and I had dinner at a local pizzeria and got a discount because they were crowded and we waited patiently. Manners pay off I guess.
  • Thursday 7/21 I decided I had better play the true tourist and get on a tour bus to really see what the city had to offer. I looked online and got a second day for free (great thing about the hotel -- fast internet and free worldwide calling). I got to see Stanley Park on one loop and the city on the other loop. It was too expensive ($38 CAN), but kept me occupied and got me where I wanted to go. After I did the complete tour I had lunch and then took one of the buses to Robson Street, very chic, for shopping. I didn't buy anything other than a bottle of water and a cupcake from a Cupcake Girls shop (a show I learned about by watching Canadian TV during my rests ... although looks like I can catch it on WE stateside), but I got to people watch and get two free drinks -- a Coke Zero and Vitamin Water. One good thing about cities: lots of people all together means marketing promos/freebies. Shawn and I had a quick dinner and then went to a public math lecture at the conference. It was pretty funny, although all I had to contribute was critique of the guy's PowerPoint. I mean, he's this high dollar academic and he uses COMIC SANS in his presentation? GAG. :)
  • Friday 7/22 Beth's birthday! I did the bus tours again (I know a lot of facts about Vancouver now!), and this time I got off in Stanley Park at Prospect Point and looked at the Lions Gate Bridge for a while. When I was back at Canada Place I went to Gas Town, which is a little shopping district by the water. I got some souvenirs and ate lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory (marketing paid off on me once again because the ads for this place were everywhere). One of my favorite things about being in Vancouver was eating outside in July. And the weather was always so comfortable (and even when it's raining most tables/patios are covered) that we ate outside quite a lot. After the conference ended Shawn and I went on a harbour dinner cruise. It was expensive but very fun and relaxing -- good buffet dinner (although I'm surprised I didn't fall with my full plate of food because we had to walk down stairs on a moving boat while carrying it) and stunning views of the city and the sunset over the mountains. Lots of smooches too!
  • Saturday 7/23 Grouse Mountain, which I already wrote about. After we got back we picked up our luggage from the first hotel and made the move to the second hotel (Shawn booked so far in advance and through the conference company that there were issues with extending the stay, so he found an alternate hotel for our last two nights). It was a schlep, but we did it with all our luggage and made it to the hotel in one piece. This was a little less swank but it was bigger and still clean and comfortable. It was a "suite" in that there was a kitchenette and a couch area. There was a balcony with a view from the 16th floor and again super fast internet, so we were able to Skype with Shawn's parents, which was pretty fun. We had dinner in the "new" neighborhood -- at an Irish pub that didn't serve fish & chips. Whoever heard of that?
  • Sunday 7/24 After a free hotel buffet breakfast we took the public bus to Stanley Park and went to the Vancouver Aquarium. It's pretty expensive, but we got to see beluga whales, dolphins, jelly fish, many many fish and frogs, and a 4D experience movie (which my favorite tour bus driver told me not to miss). As the day wore on it got more and more crowded with children (assuming many were local because their passes are cheaper). We stayed until we had seen enough then strolled in the park a bit (it is a HUGE park though) and took the bus back to the hotel. Had another lie in, then ate our last dinner at a really cool choose-your-own-pasta place (pick noodle type, sauce, toppings). Seemed like the kind of thing that would be a hit in a college town like Baton Rouge (and I think we have enough fro-yo shops). We also got gelato and saw a movie being filmed in Yaletown, although unlike NYC they don't list what the film is on the no parking notices on the street and we didn't see anyone famous so who knows. Then back to the hotel to pack up and prepare for the 12 hour journey home.
Overall a really good time and quite restful. I didn't check work email once, and I don't think I missed much of anything as I'm caught back up for the most part. I think I was missed at least a little, which is always nice. Things are picking back up on the work front, which I like, but it does entail a couple trips to New Orleans in the near future. I am not looking forward to that at all.

Got to hit the sack and really should have put off typing this post until I'm more rested. Maybe the blogger bug has re-bitten me?!