They Call Me MISter Pig!

Posted on 7/31/2007 04:57:00 PM
"Momma, I want to name my baby sister Pig and then I would call her Sister Pig."

Cinderella is looking better and better.




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RELAX!!

Posted on 7/31/2007 06:53:00 AM
What follows is a transcript of my OB visit yesterday:

Nurse takes blood pressure: "Hmmm... It's a little on the high side."

"How high?"


"150/80."

"Well, that's not normal."

Enter Dr. RandyQuaid - figures it's him.

"You seem to be causing some problems here today."


"Yeah, I guess the blood pressure was a little high. But keep in mind, I just came here from work and hiked my pregnant self up the stairs because the elevator door wouldn't open, so I'll bet if you take it again, it'll go down."


"Have you been experiencing any unusual stress lately?"


"Hmm... well, this weekend my brother's friends were killed in a helicopter crash, last month a relative committed suicide but now it looks like maybe her ex-husband was involved, they're trying to figure out custody for her kids, we almost moved to Oregon a few weeks ago, then my husband turned down that job and got a different one entirely, but we still might move to be closer to his new work if he keeps that job, we bought a car, I'm trying to finish a bunch of projects at work before maternity leave, I have a three year old at home and oh yeah, I'm pregnant.... do you want the rest of the list, or is that good enough?"

"Oh." silence "Well, have you been experiencing any swelling?"

"Have you taken a look at me?"

"Any vision problems?"


"Nope. You got me with that one."

"OK - well, relax for a few minutes and we'll take it once more before you leave. If it doesn't go down, we need to talk about what to do next. In the meantime, here's a prescription for a
RhoGam shot. You need to go to the hospital and have them administer this as soon as possible because it's time."

"You can't do that here? I got the last one at the perinatologist's office."


"No - we can't do that in the office anymore... so you have to go to the lab at the hospital. They won't take appointments, so you just need to go early in the morning and hope they can see you without waiting a very long time."


"You don't really want my blood pressure to go down, do you?"


He almost sent me home with a bed rest order, but when the nurse took it again it was down to 140/80, which I guess at least shows improvement, and he let me go back to work with the stipulation that now, instead of office visits every two weeks, I'm required to come in once a week. If the blood pressure is still high next week, I'll probably be ordered to bed. Yeah... that oughtta help with the blood pressure.

So until then, could you try not to stress me out? Kthanksbye.


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Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Posted on 7/30/2007 07:34:00 AM
Last week I submitted some photos to a photography exhibition. I love to take photographs and probably have thousands on a stack of discs, but I've never actually had anything I've done shown to the public before - excluding the random photo I took at a conference in our company newsletter - and that was just because there weren't any others available.

So it was really hard to work up the courage to even take them down there to submit. It's not like this is even a big gig. It's a local show for amateur photography. But still. My precious pictures. Being offered up for criticism. To the public. This means I can no longer just secretly believe in my heart I have talent. Someone actually qualified would be the voice of reason to say yea or nay. I don't know if I can handle it.

When I was in high school, I took some photography courses as an elective. I learned to take and develop photos and do all sorts of cool darkroom tricks that are probably now made completely obsolete by digital cameras. My dream was to win one of those
coveted spots as Ansel Adams' student and stay at his home one summer, but I was always too busy and poor to really devote the time and effort to my photography skills that was required. I even considered majoring in photojournalism at one point in my life before college began and set up a make shift darkroom in my basement for awhile. Turns out, photography? Is expensive. It requires you purchase cameras, different types of lens, darkroom equipment, chemicals, and a never ending supply of film. Being a poor college student on a scholarship with only a part time job, I gave up the idea of majoring in photography once I found out the university I was headed for didn't supply film and resources.

So anyway, I got handed a flier for this exhibit a couple of weeks ago and thought - what the hell. I took four photos that I liked, framed them and brought them down on the day of submissions. The people were incredibly nice and even allowed me to submit all four of the photos I brought (the limit was three but I couldn't decide what to lose so they told me to put my husband's name on one of them and took them all). Then they handed me an information sheet and said, "Next Saturday, there will be a reception for all the photographers and their families. We hope you can make it." My first impulse was to say, "Oh, but I don't know the photographers" until I realized she meant me: I was the photographer. Which also meant a) she fully expected at least one of the photos to appear in the show and b) that the photos weren't so bad that they would look at them and immediately say, "Can you believe she thinks people want to look at THAT?"

It's funny, I've taken pictures for years, but I've never considered mys
elf a photographer. There are actually a lot of things I do, but don't consider myself a doer of those things.

A good deal of my job involves desktop publishing and graphic design. I edit and publish a newsletter and I design covers for publications and typeset the text. I love this part of my job. I love the creativity of taking an idea and representing it graphically. Of taking some one's words and making them look professional. Yet, I do not consider myself a graphic designer - I consider myself the person who does the graphic design because our budget is too
tight to hire a real one. This is always a point of contention between the KingofHearts and I. When I get frustrated with my job and mutter under my breath how I want to not work or when we talk about moving somewhere else where my job prospects would be more limited, his suggestion is always that I quit and work as a freelance designer from home. I, however, feel that my dabbling in graphic design is just that: maybe dabbling coupled with one semester of being the newsletter editor and taking a graphic design class in junior high school, but ultimately it boils down to just dabbling.

I administrate a website, but I am not an .html programmer.

I write and design a book each year for work, yet I do not consider myself an author.

This book has a statistical review in it, but I can't count myself as a researcher.

I am a trained musician, but have never been a performer.

I manage my company's computer network and yet when the occasion arises that I've requested help with some issue with the network and people ask to speak to my Network Administrator, I always say, "Oh we don't have one."

Am I the only one who does that? Is this a woman-thing or is this a me-thing?
Why are we compelled to sell ourselves short so often? The KingofHearts writes... writes well, in fact... but has of yet never had anything published. He considers himself a writer. Why can't I? I write this silly blog everyday. It's only been recently, and with much trepidation, that I even respond to the term mother... and I think that's just happened since The Dormouse started talking and calling me "momma" and made it completely unavoidable.

I'm not sure what there is in my makeup to minimize the things I do. I guess because in my profession, there's a big problem with people who aren't trained calling themselves therapists and that rubs me the wrong way, so without specific training in these other areas, I feel unqualified to say, "That is me. I am that." My whole life, my problem is that I'm interested in too many things. So I've never really focused on one thing long enough to get really good at it. Chalk it up to a short attention span, I guess. I can never stick with something long enough to... Look! A bird!

Last week, I found out that three of my four entries had been selected to appear in the show. I know it's just a local amateur's show, but it was kind of a big
deal to me and my normal blase attitude about stuff in general was exchanged for total excitement for a change. Yet that diminished somewhat, when I couldn't couldn't think of a single person to invite to the opening with me because it would mean telling someone I thought something I did was worth driving across town for. Ultimately, the only people whom I considered bringing were The Dormouse and The KingofHearts, and then he didn't make it back from whatever it was he was doing in time to be there. So I went there alone, with The Dormouse, and sat in a corner while all the other photographers reveled in the praise of their family and friends... and we ate all the cookies.

Turns out, the photo I was most confident about was the one they did not put in the show. So I guess I'm not much of a photography expert after all. The thing The Dormouse was most impressed by? Two of the pictures were of her.

The one that did not get selected.

Oh and also? The one hung in the most prominent spot in the show?
Is the one I put the KoH's name on. Figures.




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Man, She's Strict

Posted on 7/29/2007 04:53:00 PM
"Daddy, you were not good because you did not obey me. Do you understand? You just messed up... and we will talk about it tomorrow. Maybe then you can earn your prize, but you did not earn it today."

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My Kind of Town

Posted on 7/28/2007 06:44:00 AM In:
Since the entire Nation of Blog is away at a conference this weekend, I feel a certain responsibility to fill up some of the empty space out there. (BlogHerNot button blatantly stolen from Mrs. Flinger.)

Part of my job involves running a yearly convention, which as it turns out if you read Dante carefully, is one of the nine circles of hell. Because of this, I normally don't relish the idea of going to conferences that I have to pay to attend. I have seen the ugly side of conventions and, as such, I don't usually think "Hey, it'd be fun to attend that," when I see an advertisement. I just think of what a pain it must be to host it. Even being an attendee and not a conference planner doesn't appeal to me because all I would do is sympathize with those running the conference and go around trying to explain to other people that complaining to the conference planner because you think the maid might have smoked in your hotel room is really just adding to the list of Things They Can't Do Anything About and how about taking it up with the hotel desk? (Add "conferences" to the list of Things My Job Has Ruined For Me.)
However, this one is different. I really wish I could go because this year's BlogHer is being held in Chicago, one of my favorite cities of all time. I suppose it's just as well that I'm too busy, pregnant and poor to make time to go because I would totally be tempted to waste the registration fee and skip everything happening at BlogHer in lieu of walking up and down Michigan Avenue, my neck craned to the sky.
I'm not sure what it is about Chicago or where my love affair with that city began. It might go back to movies of the 80s that I watched incessantly as a teen. Growing up in the Southwest, Chicago was just about as different a city to what I was used to as you could find. I think I was entering the cusp of adulthood the first time I realized that it wasn't really on the East Coast - it seemed that far away. When I was just getting out of high school, my father had to go to Chicago on a business trip and he offered to take me with him - I still don't know why... just for the hell of it, I guess. During the day, he did whatever it was that he went there for and on the evenings and weekend we did every touristy thing Chicago had to offer. We took boat and bus trips around the city, ate Chicago-style pizza on the waterfront, went to the art museum, rode the El around the Loop, hit the John Hancock Center, and generally gawked at all the cool buildings downtown. I'd just read The Fountainhead and had begun a lifelong fascination with architecture. Oh, aaaand... we went to Carl Fisher - yes, even back then I was a big music geek and this was exciting to me. (I can't believe my father put up with this looking back now.) It was the most fun I ever remember having, just me and my dad together.
Later, as a prepubescent adult who had just moved to Washington, D.C. and gotten married, I felt the heady weight of being able to do anything or go anywhere I wanted... just because. The KingofHearts, Monica and I learned of a new art exhibit called Cows on Parade, where artists painted and decorated life sized models of cows and exhibited them around the city. Oh I know, you've heard about and seen a million of these by now with moose, fish, elephants and donkeys, Orioles, horses, and even Snoopys (Snoopies??) in various cities across the continent. But this was The First and we'd never heard of anything like this before.
"I've simply GOT to see that!" Monica and I said simultaneously, as we shoved the KoH into the car and drove the sixteen hours one way (we hit Chicago by way of Ohio, where we stopped to pick up a friend of KoH's)... to see cows. We spent the weekend - literally two days - walking the streets of the city, taking pictures of every cow we could find. I was full-swing into my Frank Lloyd Wright phase by then, so we also managed to fit in a tour of his studio and the Unity Temple. Then we drove home again and were back at work the next morning. Aaah... I miss being that young and spontaneous.... also being able to function on that little sleep.
When I was looking for an internship after college, I tried desperately to find one located in the Chicago area, to no avail. When the KingofHearts got his bachelors degree and started looking for jobs elsewhere, I encouraged Chicago like it was the only place on earth. Apparently, engineers don't really live and work in Illinois. And every year when we're sitting around at work, wondering where next year's conference should be, I am always the one to innocently suggest, "Hey, what about Chicago?" We had a conference in Chicago once, before I started working there, and haven't been back since. However, we've been to St. Louis four times. What's up with that?
And now Chicago has found yet another way to reject me by way of BlogHer. It's not that I couldn't go. I could probably scrape together the money, find someone to watch my child, and not being able to go on a plane right now, maybe even drive the eleven hours there. But the reality is that even if BlogHer were a block down the street from me, I would probably not have the stamina to walk around from session to session, and apparently, it's not ok to rent a mobility scooter if you're not actually disabled.
So to everyone who was able to get out to BlogHer, congratulations, hope you have fun. Give a wave at the Associates Center for me, OK?

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Inappropriate Songs (vol. 16)

Posted on 7/26/2007 11:51:00 AM In:
The wise man built his house upon a rock.
The wise man built his house upon a rock.

The wise man built his house upon a rock.
And the rains came a tumbling down.


The rains came down and the suds came up.

The rains came down and the suds came up.

The rains came down and the suds came up.

And the house on the rock was washed clean.

Apparently, we need to spend less time at the laundromat.


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More Office Fodder

Posted on 7/25/2007 07:55:00 AM
This, after we were discussing the flooding that's been going on in England.

Coworker #1 to me: "I just got another photo on my email from my friend in the UK that you've gotta see."


Coworker #2: "Oooo! Is it obscene?!?"

Just for everyone's enlightenment, this was the picture:




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More Adventures at Glen Echo Park

Posted on 7/24/2007 07:25:00 AM



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Do You Hear the Glen Echo?

Posted on 7/24/2007 06:45:00 AM
We took a trip to Glen Echo Park over the weekend with Monica and Marielle to celebrate the gorgeous weather. I've wanted to go out there since I saw it featured on an episode of this show. (Is it wrong that I only learn about places to go in the area where I've lived for 10 years on television shows that I watch? No? Mmmmgooodthanks.)

Glen Echo is a fun little place that used to be an amusement park in the early 1900's:

Begun in 1891 as an idealistic attempt to create a National Chautauqua Assembly "to promote liberal and practical education”, the park became instead the area’s premier amusement park from 1898-1968.

Today, the park has come full circle, offering year-round educational activities, while two amusement-era destinations (the Spanish Ballroom and Dentzel Carousel) remain major attractions.

It has some terrific art deco buildings that make you almost feel like you've stepped back in time fifty years or so as you walk around. I would love to have seen that place in its heyday. The thing they didn't let you in on in the brochure was that apparently at least one member of your party must be extremely pregnant to enter. Everywhere you looked, there were giant bellies peeking out from under now too small maternity shirts. It was like some sort of Chernobyl-like nuclear accident had happened there recently and this was the sad aftereffects of nuclear fallout.

We got there too late to attend most of the activities and kids performances so we'll have to plan for a trip earlier in the morning next time, but found a great resource for glass blowing classes (The KoH gave me a glass blowing class for Valentines' Day a couple of years ago and I've been itching to add to my Three Warped Glasses and a Paperweight Repertoire ever since) and a host of other artisan activities and communities.

They also had a playground with a spider-web like attraction that nabbed a couple of children:

And if you ever want to keep The Dormouse busy, just point out wildlife and tell her to "go get it":

"Catching bunnies is hard!"

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I'll Just Wait for the Movie

Posted on 7/23/2007 01:46:00 PM
Let me get a few things out of the way right off the bat - an admission of guilt, if you will: I am not a Harry Potter fan.

And because I know the Interweb, I know I need to clarify: I do not have anything against Harry Potter... I just am not that into the phenomenon that is Harry Potter.

I have not read a single one of the books... again not because I have anything against them (so don't start sending me nasty emails schooling me on the virtues of the Potter Experience, please), but for no other reason than I Just Haven't. I've seen the movies; mostly because I've been dragged there by my husband and stepson. I found them entertaining but they didn't inspire me to go buy the complete set of books and read on ahead either. I can wait to find out what happens until the next movie comes out. I'm completely in support of people who find the stories fascinating and wonderful and I think it's great that it's inspired a generation of readers and J.K. Rowling is the ultimate rags to riches story so if you want to admire her go right ahead and I have nothing against any of those people who just want to know what happens. I know most of them don't have my obsession for say, Humphrey Bogart or Alfred Hitchcock movies, so I can relate, I just don't happen to share this exact interest. (Last week we watched a special on the Discovery Channel about the Harry Potter craze... did you know there are dozens of authors who have written books about the Harry Potter books? Amazing.)

A few weeks back, an acquaintance at church invited me to her Harry Potter Weekend last Friday. The plan was for all these women to wait in line for the book release at midnight, purchase it, then they would all hire babysitters for their kids, rent a cabin in the woods and drive out there to spend the whole weekend reading, uninterrupted by their children, until they were done.

"Thanks for thinking of me," I said, "but Harry Potter is not really my thing."

"WHAT??!?!" You would think I'd said I would rather club baby seals.

"You should invite The KingofHearts. He loves those books."

Apparently, it was just a girls' weekend as he did not garner the invite.

My child loves to read and I love to read to her. But she doesn't yet have the attention span to sit through reading one chapter of a Mary Poppins book so an 800 page novel, it's pretty much above her head. And truth be told, mine too. I get distracted halfway through a magazine article. I suppose that may change as she gets older and perhaps I will read them to/with her then, but for now, I just can't really work up a ton of enthusiasm for it all.

So what possessed me to go to the "Second Biggest Harry Potter Release Celebration in the US" on Friday night is beyond me. I hate crowds. I am clumsy like a pregnant ox. It hurts to walk. My feet look like giant foot-shaped balloons that have been blown up inside my thongs (which are the only shoes humans make that will fit right now). I wasn't that into the whole thing in the first place. But the Dormouse likes the movies, so I convinced the KoH that we should go because she'd find it fun and for "the spectacle of it all".

And spectacle it was. We let The Dormouse take a late nap and dragged her down at about 8:30 pm. Obviously, I had no intention of staying until midnight to purchase the book but we thought some of the events leading up to it would be fun for a couple of hours. The article I read promised "The surrounding area will be transformed into Daigon Alley" and if nothing else, I wondered how they would accomplish that. Here was Borders' big attempt to "transform" the street:


This was the sum total of decorating. Quite a "transformation", huh? Next time I want to invite out of town guests to my house, I will finger paint a sign, hang it up over my garage and tell people, "Welcome to the Taj Mahal."

We were also promised "magicians, jugglers, face painters, fortune tellers and balloon artists, a unicyclist performing throughout the night; live musical performances, a cape making party and butter beer."

Not entirely untrue, there was a balloon artist, who was so mobbed by people, the balloons kept popping when tiny Harry Potters got too close with their wands. And there was cape making, by clothing shop, Marimekko, where you had to have come pretty much the day before to place your cape order. They would then have made it for you... but only if you paid for it in advance. "We're taking orders for capes to pick up tomorrow," the 20-something man with the sewing machine offered.

Me: "You mean, YOU make the capes? Not the kids?"

Perplexed 20-something: "Yes. What else would we do?"

Not quite the child-friendly event I'd imagined.

We saw no unicyclist (but to be fair, there was no place to unicycle), no face painters, no jugglers. We did see this one hula-hooper, off the beaten track, whom I imagine, just happened to be there and was not a part of the official festivities. Borders apparently had some of these things inside their store but in their infinite wisdom, when they invited thousands and thousands of extra people inside to mill around for four hours, they decided it wasn't necessary to remove the stacks of random displays in the center of and blocking access to aisles before opening their doors so it was all but impossible to walk from one end of the store to the other in under fifteen minutes. We had only our small umbrella stroller and often had to pick that up just to move around in the store. We never found the butter beer, the face painting or the juggler. We did see a fortune teller; the "line" for her went from the back of the store nearly out the front door, thereby blocking more walkways and aisles.

Even the newscasters couldn't find a place to stand.

The last straw was when some college-punk dressed like Harry Potter behind me apparently decided that my waiting patiently for people in front of me to move so I could get around to the next aisle was unreasonable and I was not moving fast enough for him so he placed his hand on my large, obviously pregnant, side and shoved me into the stroller I was pushing and the people in front of me.

"That's it, we've leaving."

I turned to leave the store with The KoH trailing behind me saying, "Just point out who it was, I'll punch him in his eye."

"I can't even tell who it was, there are so many people in here. Just put a curse on him as we're going out."

We headed home with a $7 light up sword, sold by a vendor on the street and I think The Dormouse had more fun with that in the car ride home than she did the whole time were were there. But I guess some people enjoyed themselves:


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You Gotta Love Funny Bookstore Employees

Posted on 7/22/2007 12:17:00 PM
We stopped into a local bookstore yesterday, looking for this book.

Girl behind counter: "Can I help you find something?"

KoH: "I'm looking for this book - maybe you've heard of it. I think it might be called Harry Peters and the Something Something?"

Girl behind counter: "Oh yes! We have that. It's actually called Harry Potter and the Death of All Trees."

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And This is Why I Love My Coworkers

Posted on 7/20/2007 06:33:00 PM
Colleague #1: "Who is the President of Nameless Corporation, does anyone know?"

Colleague #2: "Isn't it that woman who dances and smokes like a chimney?"

Colleague #3: "No. It's that woman who's an artist and drinks like a fish."

Colleague #2: "Are you sure? I really thought she was a dancer."

Colleague #3: *deadpan* "Well, get a few drinks into her and she'll probably dance for you."

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Weirdest Pregnancy Symptom So Far

Posted on 7/20/2007 08:11:00 AM
Feet cramps.

No, not leg cramps, which would make sense and be something that others in the state of knocked-uppedness have actually experienced.

These are feet cramps. On the tops of my feet, not the bottoms, beginning from my third and forth toes to just below where my ankle starts. Horrific, debilitating, wake me up and make me want to scream into the darkness at 3:00 am, feet cramps.

Find a solution for THAT, Dr. Google.

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I'm Not Dead Yet...

Posted on 7/19/2007 12:46:00 PM
OK people... whaaaat is with all the work lately? Apparently, those I work for/with simply don't understand that my unpaid, unappreciated blogging job is more important than anything I do for my paycheck. I guess entering into a third trimester has brought me to the sudden realization that maternity leave may become a reality at some point in my future and I'd better get off my keester and finish some projects before that happens. And it's not over yet... so in lieu of actual content, here is the last several weeks of my life in bullet form:

  • Finally entered into that stage of adulthood where we've purchased a new (used) car without waiting for the old (used) car to be totaled in some sort of accident first.
  • Feeling rather impressed with self for reaching this monumental life stage.
  • Then met someone who purchased a brand new car that had never before been owned by any living being.
  • Marveled at the novelty of this concept.
  • Took new (used) car back to make them repair/replace brake pads and rotors that were not fixed before they sold it to us.
  • Take that THE MAN!
  • Have spent so much time at CarMax recently that now when The Dormouse sees any car lot or dealership by the side of the road, she points and yells "There's CarMax! There's a different CarMax. There's another CarMax!"
  • Also know seven CarMax employees by name.
  • Have begun dreaming that the baby dies and/or we aborted it - now longing for the days of dreams about the intruder in my house.
  • Considered briefly moving to Oregon when the KingofHearts was offered a job there.
  • Realized that without my income, we could only afford to live in a cardboard box in Oregon.
  • Considered living in said cardboard box, only to realize that it rains a lot in Oregon and we would need plastic box.
  • Could not afford plastic box.
  • Asked Oregon people for more money to afford plastic box. They offered to add $200 to original salary.
  • Decided while extra $200 may pay for nicer plastic box, would probably not be sufficient to pay for the therapy I would need after packing up all the crap in my house and moving it across the country.
  • Also: excuse me, $200??!?
  • Turned down Oregon job.
  • Went through alternate periods of mourning because I really wanted to move and glee because I would not have to go through the process of moving.
  • KoH also interviewed for job in Seattle.
  • Swallowed tongue when told how much it costs to live in Seattle.
  • Fortunately, Seattle people made decision much easier by not offering him the job.
  • KoH found new job locally and quit his sucky job that was way too far away to start new job that is even farther away. (Hopefully, however, this one will be less sucky.)
  • Happy because new job is close enough that we do not need to move right now.
  • Unhappy because new job is close enough that we may not be able to afford to move at all.
  • Good lord, what is up with the housing market here?
  • Received one nice severance package piece from old job: used outdoor jacuzzi tub from another employee.
  • Called electrician to put in appropriate outlet so jacuzzi tub may be plugged in and turned on.
  • I will probably give birth by the time he gets back to us with an estimate.
  • Endured neighbors' comments of "You can't get in a hot tub... you'll cook that baby." without bothering to explain that many hot tubs, including this one, now come with temperature controls.
  • Stopped seeing "pain specialist" once I realized the only reason she was so familiar with patients in pain is because she was not alleviating any.
  • Really could use that hot tub right about now.
  • Now feeling like giant, lumbering cow in a china shop - hating pregnancy more and more.
  • Realized that if all goes as planned, in about three months I will be taking care of a newborn.
  • Had mild panic attack.
  • Do not yet have acceptable name for newborn... Cinderella is looking more and more a possibility.
  • Also do not have place for newborn to sleep. Must kick Dormouse out of converted crib.
  • Am considering playing game: "Who gets to sleep in a drawer?" with both girls each night.

Yeah... that's about it.

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Recipe

Posted on 7/16/2007 11:49:00 AM
What do you get when you combine:
  • a box from Target, formerly packed with new kitchen chairs
  • one box cutter
  • an old shirt of Daddy's
  • several cans of paint that were going to be thrown away
  • a few old paint brushes

Answer: An afternoon of fun, if you're a three-year-old.














Or: A nice cage, if you're a parent.


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Be Forewarned

Posted on 7/11/2007 08:27:00 AM
What happens when you let a three-year-old pick out her own new outfit at Target?

You get a nightmare in shades of pink:


Plus a budding supermodel:


Heaven help me.

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How to Retrieve a Lost Pencil

Posted on 7/10/2007 09:12:00 AM
Sure it's annoying and she didn't actually get the pencil, but it shows a knowledge of tool usage I didn't previously know she had.


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Fireworks Redux

Posted on 7/09/2007 01:28:00 PM
Alternate Title: Hey, look what I figured out my new camera can do.











Over the weekend, we found a repeat performance of the
Fourth of July, complete with fireworks, in one of the metro area communities.


I was able to snap some nice sunset photos over the lake:











It was muggy, crowded, and t
here were a ton of really rude people, who apparently came out to the fireworks display specifically for the single-minded purpose of walking around non-stop, texting their friends and talking on their cell phones.











You didn't lo
ok up at the sky once, dude with the iPhone standing in front of me. Why did you bother to come?











But the stilted attempts to experience fireworks of the last two years were made all worth it to hear this:


"I'm the luckiest girl ever!"


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Natural History Lesson

Posted on 7/07/2007 06:59:00 PM
The Dormouse, talking to KoH's cousin, who came by for a visit this week:

"My mom took me to a museum so I could learn all about dinosaur bones."





"Oh really? What did you learn about them?"


"Umm.... they come from dinosaurs."



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One of These Things Just Doesn't Belong

Posted on 7/06/2007 07:31:00 AM
Another issue in continuing installments of Explanations for Why I'm Crazy:

We got a box in the mail the other day from Grandma that contained the following three things:
  • an adorable baby blanket for the new baby
  • a gorgeous, silk outfit from Chinatown for the child
  • a cutting board

Yeah, you read that right... a white, thermoplastic cutting board... like you use in the kitchen to cut tomatoes on.

On the cutting board was written in permanent, black Sharpie pen:


"For Little Cinderella and her big sister The Dormouse. I love you. Love, Grandma"


Later on the phone, I said, "Thanks for the gifts, mom, but why did you put in a cutting board?"


"I didn't have a piece of paper to write on."


So I was telling this story to Monica yesterday and she offered the following: "I love that my midwife wrote all her notes on a paper towel the other day."

Me: "
Maybe she didn't have a cutting board."

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To The Moon and Beyond

Posted on 7/05/2007 07:21:00 AM
Google has decided to commemorate the first lunar landing with Google Moon:

In honor of the first manned Moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969, we’ve added some NASA imagery to the Google Maps interface to help you pay your own visit to our celestial neighbor. Happy lunar surfing.

My favorite part about it is this FAQ on their website:

3. What happens if I try to zoom too close? Well, you'll have to go and find out, won't you?

Those people at Google are funny ones. Go see what happens.


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4th of July Bust

Posted on 7/05/2007 06:35:00 AM In: ,
One of my absolute favorite things to do on the 4th of July is go down to the National Mall for the National Symphony Orchestra concert and fireworks. It has special significance since the KingofHearts and I actually met on Independence Day at the National Mall. (Well, we lived next door to one another before that but we didn't actually speak until that Fourth of July on the Mall. Long story. Actually, not a long story - he wasn't that impressed with me. End of story.)

The Fourth is one of my preferred holidays and every year, that's my preferred activity to celebrate. That's what I want to do when asked. There's just something so cool about being in the nation's capitol during the Independence Day celebration.

Since September 11, the Mall experience has gotten a lot more difficult. There are now restrictions from where you may enter the Mall to what you may pack in your picnic lunch and what you may carry in your pockets. And I'm all for new experiences, so for the past few years, we've tried a few different things.

One year, we saw the fireworks in the Inner Harbor at Baltimore, (near Fort McHenry) from the landing of the National Aquarium. That was awesome. So was the food they'd provided and the entertainment for the kids. But the most awesome was just showing up with the clothes on our backs and being led to actual chairs and serv
ed actual food that I did not have to lug in.

In other years we've been invited to big, extravagant parties at rich people's homes where I sat on a bale of hay next to a Supreme Court Justice while eating my fried chicken out of my lap, watching my daughter ride a pony and then planning for a dip in the pool if it got too hot. That was pretty cool too. It pays to know people who know people who know people - all of the fun without any of the responsibility to meet, greet or act respectable over and above not causing a riot. Heaven for me.

We've done quite a few other fun things on the Fourth but no matter what we end up doing, I miss the National Mall.

Last year we went to Philadelphia to visit a friend who w
as living there at the time. We were torn between seeing the big Philly firework show that had been talked up to us and going to Valley Forge. I, the fake historian of the family, opted for Valley Forge because it would be more "authentic" or some such nonsense. Do you know what they do in Valley Forge for Independence Day? Nothing. No. Thing. I guess it's authentic in that that's probably what Washington's soldiers did while there too.

When we got there, I understood why they might not do a fireworks show - there is waist-high grass as far as the eye could see, just waiting to burst into flame when a stray spark glances in its direction. But there was nothing else either. No parade. No reading of the Declaration of Independence. No fife and drum corps. Not even a str
ay reenactor dressed up in his own makeshift redcoat costume. It was weird. The closest thing to a celebration was deer as tame as cows and a local parade in a neighboring hamlet that promised "blocks of entertainment."

So, we packed up the car and drove back to Philly that night for their show. What Valley Forge lacked in planning, Philadelphia scored an A plus. On the program was: a big band, some kid who won a song contest, some other performer I don't remember, Fantasia from American Idol, some other performer I don't remember, and Lionel Richie... plus "fireworks at dusk." Looking at that lineup now, I don't know why my first thought wasn't "How on earth will they fit all that in and still have time for fireworks around 9:00ish like I'm used to in D.C.?" We just thought it'd be awesome, sitting in front of the steps Rocky climbed, watching a firework show that was supposedly bigger than the District's happen out over the river. Plus, I'm a child of the 80s and Lionel Richie was no chopped liver to the still teen aged portion of my brain.

So about 4:00, we staked out our claim and settled down to wait for the show.
At 10:45 when Lionel Richie still had not come near the stage, we gave up. The Dormouse was exhausted from a day of walking all over but too over-stimulated to sleep, we had had our fill of the mentally ill dude who was preaching to the crowd about how the government was watching him because of their concern that he'd steal all the women, and we couldn't justify anymore time spent waiting for the promised fireworks that never came. We finally left before seeing even one pretty explosion in the sky or hearing one note of Dancin' on the Ceiling. On the interstate on our way out of Philadelphia, we saw a few stray fireworks - this was around a quarter to midnight. I'm glad we didn't stay.

So this year, I wanted things to be different. And like every year, I really wanted to go to the Mall, despite the fact that Tony Danza, the cheerleader from Heroes and yet another American Idol reject were not a big selling point for me.
But then events conspired and before I knew it we'd changed all those plans and were now going to watch a firework show in a local park. Which... it's not the National Mall, but... mmmkay whatever, I have a three year old who just wants to see fireworks and I'm pregnant. Sometimes you ask for champagne and you just get water.

So we packed our pic-a-nic basket with all things good to The Dormouse (i.e., bananas and jellybeans) and headed down to the park. We sat there for about ten minutes, eating sandwiches and waiting for the city band to set up when the police started driving around the park announcing over the loudspeaker that there was a tornado watch and they were evacuating the park.

Tornado + picnic in the park = poor July 4th experience.

So we left. We got home, turned on the television and watched newscasters and police complain about how they couldn't get 500,000 people on the Mall to
go into buildings (have you ever BEEN to the Mall? There are no buildings except museums and ALL the museums close at 5:30. And since I didn't hear a thing about any of the museums reopening to allow people in, I'm guessing that probably wasn't an option for most people.) We kept trying to find information on what local or city shows were still happening, but there was none.

By 8:00 The Dormouse was exhausted, so we put her to bed, promising to see one of the firework shows in the next few days that had been rescheduled. Which apparently, also isn't an option because they appear to all have gone off as scheduled once the tornado and thunderstorm watches had expired around 8:00.
As I was drifting off to sleep, I heard the familiar boom boom boom of the firework show a few miles down the road and promised myself next year will be different. Next year we will definitely see fireworks and go downtown. Next year.... when I will have a four year old and a nine-month-old to keep worry about losing in the throng of 500,000 people.

Or maybe we'll just plan to watch it on TV now.


Fourth of July photo - as taken by The Dormouse


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Now THAT'S Patriotism

Posted on 7/04/2007 06:40:00 AM
Hey, he stole my outfit.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

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FAQs

Posted on 7/03/2007 02:29:00 PM In:
Frequently Asked Questions About This Weblog
-or-
My Attempt to Make it Look Like I Have More than Three Readers Who Did Not Watch Me Grow Up


You sound just like every other self-obsessed, egocentric mom out there who thinks her blog will some day score her a big book deal, don't you think?
Why, thank you. That's entirely what I was going for. I'm reminded of the words of my step-son, who, when his father asked, "Do you know what a blog is?", rolled his eyes at the backasswardness of his old man born and reared in the previous century and said, "Yes... it's an online journal." And that's just what this is. My online journal. To keep my thoughts and my experiences for my posterity. It's all about me. The only reason I even bother to do it on line is because I am somehow patently unable to continue writing when it's in a notebook that no one will open for half a lifetime. I've been more successful at keeping this blog going than the several dozen other journals and scrapbooks I've started since I was a kid. The bonus is that I don't have to use The Phone to keep friends and relatives up on my life. When someone says, "Hey, I didn't know you had a kid, why didn't you tell me?" I simply blink and say, "Read the blog." But if you're someone out there who wants to pay me actual dollars to write about this crap so I can quit my job and lie around the house all day, living in a manner I'd like to become accustomed to... hey, I'm all ears.

What's up with that step-son anyway? Why don't you ever talk about him?
My step-son quite possibly is one of the greatest kids ever. But a) he's a teenager and I'm sensitive to the fact that he might not want to someday see cutesy stories about himself on the Interweb, however anonymous they are; b) he lives with his mother most of the time, so I have less day to day stuff to write about, and; c) I am concerned that maybe his mother possibly would like to not see cutesy stories about him on the Interweb either. Basically, I'm protecting his privacy in case he one day would like to disavow any knowledge of my existence.

Does this mean you'd stop writing about your daughter if she felt uncomfortable with what you were posting - even if it were anonymous? Absolutely.

How about your husband
? He doesn't rank the same sensitivity. Especially since one of his favorite hobbies is telling other people how "scary" I am.

I'm offended by [insert blog post here] that you wrote and I want to tell you how wrong you are. Have I not made it abundantly clear that this is all about me? Look, there's a lot of content on the web, so if you don't like what I'm writing, you can feel free to hop on over to the NRA website or on-line porn or something that more suits your sensibilities. But... because I am accommodating like that, I have installed a polling system on my website so you can click to announce your displeasure at any given time. See that little red box in the uppermost top right hand corner of this window? Yeah, the one with the X in it. That's it. If something I write here offends you and you want to let me know, click that.

Why is the font so big? You could fit more stuff on a page if you made the font smaller. Perhaps, but I would also not be able to read it while leaning back in my chair with my feet up while looking like I'm doing something else at work. And since we've established that this is all about me....

Is everything you write true?
Yes. Absolutely. Except for when it's embellished truth. Or when it's just plain fabrication. In fact, how do you even know I'm answering this question truthfully? Honestly, this is my life as I see it. So no apologies when my perspective doesn't match yours. That having been said, however, I do try very hard - especially in quoting things people say to me - to directly quote them. So if you're reading this and you think something I write about seems like something you said and I'm making you sound like a dumass, that's probably how you sounded to me when you said it.

Can't you think of anything else to write about other than your kids and husband? Sure. My job, my boss, my extended family, my paycheck... But I'd kind of like to hold onto all of those things and I'm fully aware that my husband and kids are the only ones with the sense of humor to not Dooce me. Also, they are powerless to do so, so that's a plus.

Just what is it that you do? My job requires that I be equal parts therapist, computer programmer, writer, planner, executive assistant, network administrator, editor, musician, graphic designer, middle-manager, marketer, bookkeeper, mechanic, and shoulder to cry on. As passionate as I am about my career, however, my job often bears little resemblance to the career for which I was trained. It's also fairly specialized, so I won't go into any more detail than that, because someone once warned, "be ye not so stupid", and I be not.

Why don't you put up a belly pic every morning and evening?
First, I am assuming that the writer of this question implied a "while you are pregnant" at the end. If the "while you are pregnant" was not implied, then, well, this is simply not that kind of site. If it is implied, I'm pleased as punch you want to look at my knocked-uppedness and watch it grow. But I can assure you, it's not a pretty picture. I do not get "cute pregnant" like all those little skinny girls who end up looking like an olive on a toothpick in their eighth month. My body... expands. And it's unpleasant. I'm actually considering telling people that I'm sitting shiva and covering all the mirrors in the house until about nine months (or maybe more accurately, two years) after I give birth, when I can again see my reflection without wondering, "hey, who's that fat lady?" If you want to see cute pregnant bellies, there are plenty of photos of Angelina Jolie, Katie Holmes, and Brittney Spears out there... and given Hollywood's obsession with sex, I'm willing to bet there will be more to come.

Why don't you think pregnancy is the most fun you've ever had!?
Five words: pain, vomiting, pain, fear... and pain. Actually the vomiting has passed me over with this go around. But I've also had an extra dose of the pain. All other things being equal, I'd take the vomiting. I dislike the shopping for maternity clothes quite a bit too.

What's with the Alice in Wonderland thing? I honestly can't explain that adequately. It started when I moved all the way across the country to take a job that turned out to be one of the worst mistakes I've ever made in my life. I remember telling my family that I felt like I was Alice and I'd stepped through the Looking Glass into this world that didn't run the way I was used to. I started using characters in the book to identify my co-workers... my boss was the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat was someone who was there the first day I worked but that I didn't see again for weeks, etc. It just kind of stuck with me. I love Lewis Carroll's writing. He was one of the first uber-popular children's writers in the US (take that, JK Rowling) - so there's a ton of cool artwork, history, and a variety of book editions and treatments of the story to examine.

Why do you use code names? To keep Chris Hansen from showing up in my living room to film another installment of To Catch a Predator.

Why do you use code names for you and your family, but not your friends? Good point. Most of my friends show up on the blog under the moniker "a friend/coworker/acquaintance/person I know/family member said the other day....". This way, I look like I have just one friend. Which is not at all true... I have two friends - and sometimes use those terms interchangeably for the same person. But it is true that I have been known to use real names for some people. In those cases, those other people have set the precedent by either a) outing themselves on their own blog or website or b) outing themselves on their own in my comments section first. So I know that they do not share my paranoia about putting a name on the Interweb for all to see. In addition, the "real" names tend to be common ones (unlike some of my family's names) and a Google search result of 158,000 hits is almost as good as anonymity. If a friend has a codename on his/her own weblog, I'll gleefully use that instead because I think they're more fun anyway.

That KingofHearts, he sounds like a real tool. What's up with him? Actually, that wasn't a real question. But that made KoH stand up and take notice, didn't it honey? Gotcha.

Tell me the story of how you and the KingofHearts got married. He wore me down. End of story.

Is your husband as big of a geek as he sounds? You decide. In my house there is a box of Dungeons and Dragons paraphernalia. It does not belong to me.

Why does your site look weird in insert name of browser that is not Firefox here? I'm not much of a web designer - I totally stole this template (and this FAQ) from Zoot. I look at my site in Firefox and occasionally IE7 and I barely bother to make sure it works there. That much obsession I cannot allow into my life because soon, I'd be touching doorknobs and turning keys eleven times before opening the doors and walking through, only to wonder if I really turned that key the ninth time, or if it didn't really count because I maybe didn't turn it all the way to where it stopped on the left and then having to turn the car around a drive the three miles back home to make sure it was done right or I'd bring some horrible calamity raining down upon all the people I loved.

Why did my comment not show up after I submitted it? There are several possibilities for that: 1) your comment was spam and even though I know it's an uphill battle, I like to do my part to keep the Interweb as ad-free as possible so it was not approved. 2) your comment was completely unrelated to the post and you were just looking for a forum to spout your opinion/product/website and Alice don't play that way. 3) your comment was assy and I hate wars started in comment sections by people who are just looking to get a rise out of others, so it was not approved. 4) you can't figure out how to work the Leave a Comment feature and you need a little more practice with the Interweb.

Why do all my comments have to be approved?
See the question above - and then let me tell you a little something about myself: I'm lazy, lazy, lazy. And there's an extra step to deleting comments in having to look back at your web page all the time. Once I post something, I tend to not go back and look at it again until the next time I post something and comment moderation comes with a handy email that comes straight to your inbox.

I comment on your site all the time, why don't you comment on mine? I know it's difficult to believe, based on the number of lanes I can take up writing about nothing on the Information Superhighway, but I am actually a person of few words. I read lots of blogs, but I will only go to the trouble to comment if there's something I really feel the need to say (or more likely, something to say that I think is really funny). I hate it when someone raises his hand in church to say exactly what the last guy just said, just using different names in what turns out to be pretty much the same story. So if I see that someone else has commented with basically what I was thinking, I don't bother - there's enough redundancy on the Interweb as it is. Plus I am L-A-Z-Y.

Why didn't you comment about my comment? Gimme an L. Gimme an A, Gimme a Z....

What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow
? African or European?

I've heard that Mormons are a cult, is that true? The Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists five different meanings of the word "cult": 1. Formal religious veneration, 2. A system of religious beliefs and ritual; also: its body of adherents; 3. A religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also: its body of adherents; 4. A system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator; 5. Great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book). I think that on at least four of those five counts, Mormons qualify. But so do Catholics, Baptists, Hindus, Pentecostals, Methodists, Jews, Muslims, Charles Manson's Family, and the Heaven's Gate people. So I'm not really sure you can use that word to any distinction. (Even daring to answer a question like this makes me glad I have the comment moderation on. Welcome, Google searchers of the Internet, please see the answer to question five.)

Where do you find the time to write all this stuff? I've got a lot of things in my life that require procrastination. You gotta fill up that time with something.

Where do you find all of those crazy pictures you use? A lot of people don't know that in addition to being a pretty excellent doctor, Google can also find an image on the web for just about any search terms you care to query. I do, however, make attempts (however minimal) to avoid using copyrighted and/or personal graphics and photos. Sometimes that's difficult to determine on the web though

Is it really true that nobody guesses Pluto first? This is a veiled reference to a Pictionary game eight years ago that no one has yet forgotten. To answer the question, no, it is not true. But it really is true that geeky, astronomer types think so. Of course, they also used to think Pluto was a planet, so, what can you really trust them with?

Did you really have enough questions to warrant an FAQ page? Yeah... you got me. Just looking for topic material.

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Things That Really Creep Me Out

Posted on 7/02/2007 07:20:00 AM
Troll dolls.
Especially when they are miniaturized by some sweat shop worker in China and stuck to a hair clip.


But they are well-loved by some.


Thanks, Grandma.


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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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