Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Now I can finally put Stanford on my resume!

And I won't even be lying!

Last week I completed my Stanford Advanced Project Management certificate. And? I actually really enjoyed the program. Lots of real-world, instantly applicable tools and experience, god exploration of strategy and portfolio, etc., etc., buzzword, etc.
No, really, I got a lot out of it. I've done a bit of project management training in various areas, and found this to be much more useful in my work than some of the more theoretical approaches often taken.

And now, on to the other stuff!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Yeah, yeah, yeah... no updates, and it's been like a month.
I'm really really busy. I know, everyone is always busy.

This past week I finished up a series of classes, to get my Stanford project management certificate. Actually, a very useful set of classes with quite a good focus on immediately applicable, real-world, practical skills. But being out of work for that long means I go to class during the day, try to do my day job at night, try to still get done all the work that I would normally do at night from home, and then, oh yeah, the home and baby stuff too.

Anyway, Molly is still cute. She drools!

From 2011 Molly

Just LOOK at that drool!

Also this week, Molly got to spend most of a day with her grandparents as Paul and I had to be other places. She apparently behaved just fine.

I am barely keeping my head above water, but, well, honestly that is just part of who I am. Yes, I volunteered to help out with that giant cluster of a global project again this year. And, some other big big stuff is also going on in my "spare" time. What else would I be doing anyway?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Stranger Danger!

It's official: Molly has Stranger Anxiety. Some sources say this is a 6-9 month thing, others say it develops between 3-6 months. Molly is 4 months, and she is certainly reacting to people other than her parents. "Stranger" could mean people she has spent lots of time with but not seen in a few days. Which is awkward for grandparents and such.

What does it mean? Well, it is part of the learning continuum with object permanence and separation anxiety, and understanding her separateness from us in general. These are all good things, but in the meantime, she needs a little extra time and suavity in approach.

So, if you're visiting, please don't try to swoop in and pick her up while making a bunch of exciting noises. Give her some time to adjust to you quietly on her own, and I'm sure she'll come around. Forcing the issue only makes it worse and more tiresome.

Oh boy! More work for us! It was so nice when we could just walk into the room and unceremoniously dump her into an open set of arms and lap.

She has lately developed high-maintenance habits in a delightful array of areas, such as:
  • No longer happy to eat whatever, she now wants bottles. Except, she screams and resists that she doesn't want them at all. Until you trick her into eating, and then she voraciously sucks down a bottle. Unless she is distracted by noise, or stuff to look at, including a blank wall, in which case she twists and turns and fusses and is generally impossible to feed.
  • I used to be able to put her down for the night without a pacifier. No more. I don't care about the pacifier, except that every time it falls out, she screams and needs someone to put it back in. This is a terrible habit, that I wish she had not been allowed to develop.
  • Rolling. She is a rolling machine. Mostly back to front. Often gets stuck on her tummy. This is adorable. Besides the fact that rolling and getting stuck on her belly makes her squawk, this is of course a high-maintenance development because OMG we can't walk away from her anymore. She will end up in the fireplace.
  • She can grab things now. Which is awesome, but it means there is this mysterious hand constantly stealing her binkie from her mouth, and she wonders, loudly, what the hell is going on, and who stole her binky.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


We did it!
We managed to get back to our old adventurous drinking-in-public ways!

Yes, having a baby is stressful. Yes, the things going on at work are stressful. So? We took off. North. I have to say, of all the directions available I like North the very best.

I had booked a cottage in Little River, about two miles south of the town of Mendocino. It had a kitchen and a gas fireplace and a little view of the ocean. It was small and cozy without being too rustic for our first baby travel.

Besides the long drive, it was perfect. Saturday, we spent in Mendocino, puttering a little, and then dinner at the cottage, followed by watching mindless movies on cable with the sound turned off.

Sunday, we had lunch in the pub next door, then took the short hike to Van Damme State Beach. Molly traveled pretty well in the sling (thanks Gregg!) and we resumed our irresponsible ways.
Molly apparently is not an oatmeal stout drinker. Snob.

And then, Monday we took a long time getting out, then took the long way home. Which, really was probably not all that pleasant for Molly. But! We did get to stop in Berkeley for my very favorite Indian food. OMG

In short, travelling with baby was not all that bad. We didn't do as much as we would have on our own, but it was a nice slow pace.

Motor Control! Or, Holy Crap, those are MY hands!

Molly is learning how to reach up and touch and grab things right now. Also? Working on being able to roll over from laying on her back. She started rolling from belly to back last week while Grandma Ellen was here to watch her do it three times in a row, each time with a little less shock on her face when finding herself suddenly and inexplicably looking up at the ceiling.

(video link! clicky!)

She's definitely grabbing stuff now. Rolling is still a bit of a struggle and chance.

I can only hope that when she finally realizes she can do stuff with those hands, she can jump to the next earth shattering conclusion-- she can also NOT do things with those hands. Like: NOT knock her pacifier out of her mouth all the time, and NOT hit herself in the face while she is trying to sleep.

Then, perhaps, the holy grail... being able to put the pacifier back in her own mouth so we don't have to.
She actually figured out how to pick it up and wave it around, and finally, she put it in her mouth, but it was sideways, like a cookie, not at all the way she wanted it. Sigh...

Sunday, January 09, 2011

First Sentence of the month for 2010!

Having this 4 day weekend has been heaven.
From 2010

The past month?
We've been puttering mostly, keeping the seats warm at our local beer-serving cafe, dealing with the house, crafting, etc.

(no photos!)

So! What did we do this weekend?
From 2010

I took a week off last week, and thought that I would get lots of work done on my quilt embroidery, and that I would be able to finally use the time to catch up on work.
From 2010

It is the coming of the pockyclypse!
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

Paul and I needed a vacation.
From 2010

Oh! They are here!
From 2010

(no sentences)
From 2010

(yes, this is staged. I did not just drink 3 beers.)

So the blog is stopped up, and I know exactly why.
From 2010

It is now nearly one week late, but...
From 2010.10.08 Molly 0th birthday

Halloween came and went this year, and I never even got to have candy corn.
From 2010.10 Molly

Oh how the time passes!
From 2010.10 Molly

Yearly thingie

Looking back at last year's blog posts around this time, I realize I had a much more interesting life back then. Now it's "what have you been up to lately?" "Baby, baby, blah blah blah..." Seriously, it's like hearing someone talk about their cat. "why just the other day, she did just the cutest thing!"

I've been using this inventory for the past few years or so. a lot of these things don't seem to apply to me very well anymore, but I'm always loathe to give up anything that might be *tradition* so here it is:

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?

  • Bought life insurance
  • Changed a diaper
  • Owned a car (still no license to drive it, though)

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Considering I couldn't remember what any of them were, seems unlikely. But let's see what I wrote:


  • Keep my job. - Uh, well, I did this, sort of.
  • Grow my responsibilities and cross-functional work - Shrug. I think I did that.
  • Do my damn PMP thing - Ahem. Ooops. But I did get farther along!

  • Continue "running," specifically continue improving my cardiovascular health - Total fail there. I was actually in pretty good shape last year around this time, running on the order of 3-4 time/week, and increasing speed and endurance every time (not much compared to others, but I was only comparing to ME) I was all set to run through pregnancy, until I got incredibly bad RLP around 14 weeks or so, so much I was nearly in tears. The last time I ran/jogged, I was nearly doubled over in pain for about 45 minutes afterward. I have a pretty high threshold for pain, so I knew that was not a good thing. Too bad, because I enjoyed it. Now I can't find the time at all.

  • Max out my 401K - check!
  • Meet the cash savings goals Paul and I are finalizing tonight - Well, just about. The money is there, it's just in different places, since the 529 had a big minimum investment. That's not cash, so I guess we technically failed on this one, by a hair.

  • Have monthly crafting day at my house with family and friends - yep! Except for October and December, which were way too busy.
  • See my friends more - well, yes and no. Some people are really hard to get time with. Others, not so difficult. Wish people weren't spread so far apart. We spend a lot of time going back up to the East Bay, and it is worth it.
Well, that's not as bad as I thought. What about the coming year?? I just finally sat down to do this. Here we go:


  • Keep my job.
  • Grow my responsibilities and cross-functional work with an emphasis on projects that people who "matter" will actually recognize. (perhaps I should also resolve to stop working with/for people who refuse to recognize things around them?) Actually, this might be a reflection of working to mature my understanding of the organization's project portfolio prioritization. Ooh! big words!
  • Do my damn PMP thing - No, really! I mean it this time! I finally have gotten through some of the mental roadblocks and stuff.
  • Finish the Stanford Advanced Project Management certification in Q1

  • Q1: Use Molly's nighttime nap (if there is one) to use the little exercise bike. - I'm too stretched to make big resolutions here. There is zero give in my schedule to sneak off to the gym. Yes, I much prefer running at the gym, and I MUCH prefer morning workouts, and I KNOW half the time I'll be running back in to shake her back to sleep, and it will be the shittiest workout ever. But what can I do? Besides hire a nanny. Maybe that will be Q2.

  • Max out my 401K by end of June
  • Add $X to our savings accounts each month. (X being a number we agreed on. Not sure I should really list the dollar amount publicly)
  • Add $X to our 529 for Molly each month. (X being a number we agreed on, that, according to all of the college savings calculators, will end up making public college administrators laugh at her and say "oh, it's too bad your parents didn't really love you!")

  • Have monthly crafting day at my house with family and friends. (already scheduled Q1)
  • Keep a journal daily, at least 90% of days
  • Create a will/trust by the end of March

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I have a new niece! And my husband's wife gave birth too! I was totally there for that!

4. Did anyone close to
you die?
We lost our kitty in July. She was a huge character in the plotline of Rebecca and Paul, so that was really tough.

5. What countries did you visit?
We spent some time in redneck country, CA. Does that count? I don't think there will be much international travel in our near future, and this makes me sad. On the other hand, I really don't want to fly anymore, as I don't feel like grappling with the choice between an unproven radiation blast for my daughter, or teaching her that it's ok for random strangers to feel her up for no goddam reason.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Sleep? Not possible? OK, how about my drivers license, and my PMP?

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
October 8th. Well, duh, because I got this really nice water bottle at El Camino Hospital that day. And a baby.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

  • I narrowly avoided gestational diabetes, despite my best efforts.
  • Managed to go through the whole pregnancy thing without using to many pregnancy cards. Not a lot of "move aside, I'm a Pregnant Lady!" or "can't do that. Pregnant." or "LOOK. I'm Pregnant. Center of the universe, here! Magical Vessel, and some other crap." One of the nicest things someone told me when I was like 8 months pregnant was "we weren't sure if you were pregnant, because you seem so *normal*" The last few weeks of pregnancy were hard, because I was at home (no AC) and it was like 110 degrees. I should have stayed at work where there was air conditioning and non-stop frozen yogurt.
  • I had a baby without telling my husband I hated him, like they always do in the movies. It really wasn't that bad. Try the epidural, people! It is awesome!
  • Managed to get a promotion, while on maternity leave! I should go on leave more often. Maybe absence makes the office heart grow fonder?
  • I did not scream at some really stupid, maddening people. I often consider it a win when I am able to keep my opinion to myself.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I didn't teach my fetus three different languages in-utero. I still have not submitted my PMP application. This is something of a tradition, now.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I just got sick like three days ago, which I managed to avoid for the past year or so. That's pretty good, I think. I try to avoid inventorying all of the various ailments I had during pregnancy. They sucked, but not that bad.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Buying a car was a good idea. The Miracle Blanket is a close second though!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Paul was so good to me while I was pregnant. He carted me around to all of my appointments and helped me vacuum at 10pm near then end (when a spider tried to KILL ME)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Stupid dumb Democratic Party. You deserve what you get for abandoning your constituents and failing to deliver on ANYTHING. Repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell came a little late for re-election.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Savings and rent. We have not had to buy much baby stuff, because: 1.) Babies don't really need that much, and 2.) we have incredibly generous and supportive family and friends.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Obviously, having a little person in the house!

16. What songs/bands will always remind you of 2010?
Can't think of anything.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

ii. thinner or fatter?

iii. richer or poorer?

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Exercise. Keeping in touch.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Pissing away time on the intertubes. There is an unlimited amount of information out there, but trying to consume too much of it interferes with the things we should really be doing.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent Christmas with family as always.
22. Did you fall in love in 2010?
I got to fall in love with Paul, as a dad this year. He is fantastic with Molly and it is a joy to see him as a whole new person.

23. What's on your night stand?
  • Earplugs, which I don't have to use every night anymore.
  • water bottle from my stint in the hospital, because I drink lots of water in my sleep
  • alarm clock *same as last year
  • Glasses-because I'm legally bind in one eye *same as last year
  • ballpoint pen and an old packing list
  • Iron pills because being pregnant made me slightly anemic
  • Toilet paper roll because I'm congested from being sick
  • a fancy phone which I also am not yet used to *same as last year
  • The case for my NTI nightguard, which I still love *same as last year

24. What were your favorite TV programs?
We still don't have TV but we still watch The Daily Show and Colbert Report on the internet for free, though lately we've been too busy

(what happened to 25?)

26. What was the best book you read?
Various baby books. How lame is that?

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
89.1 FM KCEA. It is THE BEST.

28. What did you want and get?
Baby. Check. Healthy baby. Check! Healthy adorable baby! CHECK!

29. What did you want and not get?
Still have not met my friends' second daughter. Android tablet?

30. What was your favorite film(s) of this year?
Another year without setting foot in a movie theater. We did go to the opera though! This makes us sound snootier and higher-brow than we actually are.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Spent the day with Paul and my sister, painting ceramics in Willow Glen. A few days later, Paul took me to a really nice dinner in campbell. I turned 33!

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More time with friends. It feels like such an operation to get together with people anymore. People are so busy now I guess?

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Not spending terribly much money on things you can only wear for 9 months.
I had a funny realization early one when I started trying on maternity clothes. All my life, in a dressing room, when I'd throw something on and think "this makes me look pregnant" I would then throw it into the "no" pile. I did that a few times before reminding myself that everything was making me look pregnant, because, well, I was pregnant.

34. What kept you sane?
knowing that it would all end soon and turn into a different kind of hell. Knowing that most things are temporary, except for Paul-- he is forever and he keeps everything right in my life.

35. Which celebrity/public figure(s) did you fancy the most?
shrug. Don't care.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Fix Congress First. Nothing else will matter until we fix congress. It doesn't matter who you elect as long as they are just working for the lobbyists to keep them in office.

37. Who did you miss?
It's the same every year. Always miss my grandfather and James. I miss living in SF and Berkely, where most of our friends are.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Molly! she's the newest person I know.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

You really can get what you want just by screaming a whole bunch. Even if what you want it for someone to touch your poop.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

hmm, I got nothing. How about a picture instead?
From 2010.10.08 Molly 0th birthday

Monday, January 03, 2011

Union Strike

Total Mollygeddon!

Molly has been an utter and complete monster the past few days. It started as a refusal to nurse-- obnoxious enough on its own, and tonight it has built into a refusal to eat at all, and screaming bloody fucking murder any time I pick her up and sit in a chair or anywhere, it seems, she might think I would try to get her to eat. She just screamed at me for over an hour straight while Paul was out. It was fantastic. I got back at her by taking her temperature, though. No fever. So, no excuse.

In between she is cute and smiley, very excited at smiles and cooing. But don't let it fool you, she is a monster.

From 2010.10 Molly