Sunday, November 11, 2012

3 cheers for socialism!

Darn near perfect day!
We stopped at the library to pick up Joseph Stiglitz's The Price of Inequality
Then we headed out to California's first State Park for a little hike.
I have a day-use pass for the Parks since joining California State Parks Foundation, so we can just visit when we like.
It was a little cold, but Molly loved it!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend! Craft Day!

This Saturday, we had Craft Day. I got out our hot glue gun and burned my fingers long enough to make all these barrettes for Molly:

The two with strawberry printed ribbons are made from ribbons I got from my mom. Those ribbons were used in some clothes/barrettes made for me when I was a kiddo!

I also poked at our Christmas stockings again (I'm going on three years of working on them, and not done yet!) No pictures because they aren't done. But they are *almost* done. And anyone who crafts like me knows that *almost* done is the danger zone of incomplete projects. I swear I will finish them this year!

Molly loved her new barrettes and wanted to carry them around the house, put them in and out of small bowls, etc. She also apparently wanted to lose one of the cuter ones on the way back from Murphy Street last night. Sigh,

Speaking of making things, here's Molly last week in a dress that her Aunt Mary made:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cable News

So, about that TeeVee.

Holy Crap.

We don't watch much TV. I did finally buy a TV last year, mainly because I wanted a second monitor for working from home (which I rarely use in that capacity because as it turns out, televisions make lousy monitors due to some weird difference in the format of pixels, blah blah blah)

We do have television hardware, but we do not have cable or the digital antennae necessary to watch broadcast TV. Which? Is fine. I don't want to watch it and I don't have time. I have just barely enough time to watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report and the internet the day after they air.

But in Kansas!
We watched. So. Much. TeeVee.
And so much "news"


So interested in lady parts.
I'm honestly shocked that prenatal testing is the next frontier of "controversy" for them to take away.

Anyway, the only way to recover from sitting through hours of cable news about republican primaries in Kansas, is to give some money to Planned Parenthood.

Thank you, rick santorum, for reminding me to support all the good work Planned Parenthood does. I hope I was able to provide some women some abortions or something. Or, shudder, some PRENATAL TESTING. ZOMG.

I hope that every time we have to watch some of this crap, we remember to respond by pitching in to the frontlines to counteract this garbage. So please, if you've just sat through some horrendously offensive republican "debate" or accidentally forgotten to mute the TV before being exposed to a soundbite about how muslims are ruining America, or atheists are waging war on Christians (puhlease!), or how torture is just fine...
The best way you can wash your ears, eyes, and soul out after such a trauma is surely to visit the donation pages for ACLU, Planned Parenthood, or Rootstrikers!

Kansas! We're not in it anymore!

Oh lookie, I'm a week behind in my blog!

You see, last Sunday was not really a Sunday, because it was a three-day weekend, but even more importantly, because I was on the far away island of "Kansas" where time is slowed down.

It started in the wee wee hours of Friday morning, February 17. We woke up at 3:30. Which was made even more sad by the fact that Molly thought it would be a good idea to wake up screaming at 2:30 and 12:30 before that. Fine. Up at 3:30. Flight was off the ground around 6:35. Stopped in Phoenix before going to the bustle and hubbub of Kansas City. Molly flew like a champ. People actually stopped to tell us how impressed they were with her behavior on the flights. Hooray.

We picked up an awesome little shitbox from the airport, Paul wrestled the carseat into it, and we were off to Overland Park to visit Paul's dad and stepmom. Molly was pretty fed up with being strapped into a chair by the time we got there, and refused to nap for a while before spending the next several days being absolutely spoiled and exhausted by nonstop play with Linda.

Sunday morning we went to the park! In Overland Park! Which apparently is a bizarre thing to do. All the houses, even those that were within 30 yards of the playground, have their own playground in their backyards. So I guess there's no need to go to the public park. So we had it to ourselves. Molly saw ducks and geese! Later on at her grandparents' house, she got to play with bubbles for the first time.

Meanwhile, the rest of us just worked on keeping all the breweries and wineries in business. And kept the television company. I've watched enough TeeVee to keep me sated for the next 6 months at least. More on that later. (can't get clean!)

The flights back were not nearly as nice. Molly was fussy and tired but barely slept, and woke up halfway through the second flight in a very very angry mood. BABY VERY ANGRY. We tried everything to keep her shut up to get off the flight. It was not fun but we all lived. As bad as it seemed, I know a lot of toddlers are way way worse on flights.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hmm, the weeks just fly by, don't they?

Rather the focusing on the things I didn't accomplish (and there were A LOT of them!) Let's try to stay positive, shall we?

Molly loves pasta!

A few days after this, I decided it was time to focus on spoons for a while.

Saturday, we went to Berkeley with Jennifer to see some of her friends from high school. We had lunch at Udupi Palace, which was, as they say, totally boomin'. Molly and Paul and I took a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood, played on swings and slides, and watched the drama at the dog park. Despite missing a nap, she was in pretty good spirits. Which was good because our next stop was Grandma Kathie's house for a quickish visit.

Sunday was Craft Day! And I had no idea what I was going to do, so first I felted another little thing:

and then, I took this cute dress that Molly's grandmother sent from Kansas, and I added some ribbon and embroidery and a little button to it. It was already a cute dress, but now it's just Molly's. And I'm sure she'll ruin it with some stainy pasta at her earliest convenience. Oh well. I did something.

In between, I got some use out of our treadmill and then remembered why I shouldn't wear my heart rate monitor for the first few weeks of jogging again (my heart rate is freakishly high and it just upsets the monitor)
Also, it's damn hard to get up early enough to squeeze in running in the morning, and it creeps Paul out when I listen to podcasts which seep through the walls into his dreams. Apparently, he thought someone was in the sideyard. It's worth noting that he decided this did not warrant getting out of bed.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

After an incredibly painful, drawn-out purchase (and handbuild) process, we finally have our treadmill!

I have been wanting a treadmill since about October. See, before about the fifth month of pregnancy, I was running 4 times/week, using the gym at work. I know "real" runners prefer running outside. I am not a "real" runner. I have tried running around the neighborhood-- too much to look out for. I want to tune everything out, maybe catch up on some crappy TeeVee or something.

So we found something we wanted, as a great deal from Sports Authority. And they delivered it about two weeks later. Well... they delivered some of it. Actually, it was missing the "console," which, if you've ever seen a treadmill, is pretty much all the important stuff you'd use to, like, make it go and stuff. Paul worked back and forth with Sports Authority and then the manufacturer to get the parts. The store would say "oh no, we'll order the rest for you right away, can't believe that happened, so sorry, blah blah blah" and then a week later we'd get some parts, but never all of them. Repeat. Finally, we got all the parts, and then the technician who was supposed to build it goes AWOL. So, FUCK IT, WE'LL DO IT LIVE. And now I have a lovingly handbuilt treadmill.

Does the drama end there? Oh NO, because I want to watch video and listen to music. I have a bunch of hardware. I have legally acquired a bunch of media. What's the problem? Well, the phone works great, but the screen is too tiny. What I really want is for my tablet to be out there. Oh, but one problem: it's an iPad. So, none of the Amazon Prime videos are available to me, and none of my Google Music is available to me. Because... umm... iOS is basically a crippled operating system where Apple gets to decide what is good for you. I swore off syncing my iDevices to iTunes a few years back, the last time a sync overwrote all of my contacts and I had the disconcerting experience of my phone showing my father-in-law whenever my incredibly hott husband called. Besides? Plugging in to sync? What is this, 2007?

Soooooooo, no, I am not buying a new tablet just so I can access my stuff the way I want. I have to much hardware already. I hate the iPad because it won't do practically anything I want it to do. I'm looking for anyone who has successfully made an iPad into an Android or Chrome or ANYTHING BUT IOS. Hell, even a Windows tablet would probably let me use my media.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ring Ring! It's me, phoning it in!

I promised myself I would blog weekly, but what if I have nothing interesting to report?

It's just been work, work, work this week, and crazy busy. Work/Life balance? Hah, what a joke.
I'm up at 6, at work around 7-7:30, home around 5. Put Molly to bed 8-8:30, then hop back online to hammer out some work while watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I'm trying to get much more regimented about sleep-- start winding down at 10, in bed by 10:30. I'm even trying to track my sleep with Electric Sleep on my Galaxy Nexus. I have serious doubts about the accuracy of the measurements, but it's something and it encourages me to go to bed.

If we ever get a complete treadmill, I'll try to get up at 5:30, so I need that earlier bedtime.

News? We booked a trip to Kansas. I am so not looking forward to flying with a toddler. I hate the TSA enough just by myself, thank you very much.

Funny, this will be the first time we need to go buy disposable diapers, so we stopped in the diaper aisle at Target, and were so overwhelmed, I think we'll just have to toilet train Molly tomorrow. WHY SO MANY DIAPERS???? I know one thing-- we can rule out anything with "snugglers" in the name, because Molly's idea of cuddling involves gouging your eyes with her fingers and punching you in the throat-- all with the cutest angelic smile. Also, holy crap, they have diapers for kids up to like high school now.

We took Molly to the park twice yesterday! Lucky little bean. She's suddenly sprouted a fear of slides, and a love of sand. Right now, she loves nothing more than lemons. Do NOT try to take her lemon away from her.

You know how sometimes you cook something, and it turns out that the only thing that will save it and make it edible is smothering it in cheese, or soy sauce, or whatever your thing is?
This was the kind of weekend that could only be fixed by beer. So I gave it the old college try, I did. I wanted to branch out into Margaritas, but then I found out that you can't get hard liquor at Target. WTF, Target? You could make some room for tequila by whittling down your diaper aisle, and that's not a bad place for it, really.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

OK! So it's been a week, and I bet you thought I would fall off of my weekly blogging wagon already!


It's been an insane week. I'm so far behind! I have not replied to that email you sent me! I know!

It started off innocently enough, sure. I had Monday off of work. But then Tuesday had me sent up to San Francisco for a work thing, which was nonstop until I ran screaming and hopped a Caltrain back home Wednesday night. Thursday, spent in a team offisite thing which really just translated to (OK, now that's three work days away from your work, so you are REALLY REALLY behind now. You don't mind taking these escalations during your bathroom breaks, right?)

Friday I did one thing that I loved. I fought my new Android phone, and I WON. You wouldn't think a simple upgrade would involve installing a Software Developer Kit and running a bunch of crap through Terminal, but then you'd have expected me to take "no" for an answer. OK, so it cost me several hours, but the important thing is my phone still knows who's in charge around here. Take that!

Saturday, I went with my mother and sister to a "Glass Artist for a Day" class here, and it was really fun! I made some stuff and got to play with fire and break glass!

Sunday wrapped up the week nicely with Craft Day! AND AND AND I actually sat down and started and finished something! I took my first stab (literally) at needle felting, and I came up with this little... thing. I found needle felting immensely satisfying and particularly appreciate that I could just sit and FINISH something, not at all like all of those sewing projects I have for years on end. (Hi, "quilt." I'm looking at you.)

In the second picture, you can see some of our other treasures:
  • A giant stein that belonged to Petje, apparently from a trip to Belgium.
  • An empty of Sippin' Syrup (Purple)
  • A train vase, brought to the hospital by my dad's parents when I was born, and then brought to Paul and me when Molly was born.
  • A porcelain bunny which you can fill with cotton balls and then pull out the of the bunny's butt, a baby shower gift for Molly
  • Two pretty Irish tea cups and saucers from my dear aunts' and uncles' Irish shop
  • The cake topper from our wedding: a bride and squirrel-groom. (etsy!)
  • A two-headed rooster, given to me by my husband for our 2nd year anniversary (the china anniversary!) (same etsy!)
  • And finally, the drink nametags we made to have at Grandma Kay's house to avoid the "WHOSE GLASS IS THIS????" issues. We kept Grandma Kay's, since we were the ones who brought the whole getup over in the first place and made her name band.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Yearly Thingie

Oh! So I have a blog. And it hasn't been updated in a long, long time.
I know exactly why. Not just because I'm busy, either.

Last year was a miserable mess. And who wants to hear about a miserable mess all the time? It's bad enough that the people around me have to hear about it. No, dear internet, you did not need to hear about what a miserable mess my year was.

But now, the year restrospective, whatever shall I do? I cannot pull my first sentence of every month. Last you heard, I put Stanford on my resume (I did, I really did. It's there, and I can show you, in case you are looking for an awesome project-managing, creative-problem-solving, troubleshooting, customer-relationship-managing person for your team!)

Things have happened since then. I wish I could remember what. Some of those things I think I'd rather not remember, but we must! So we can laugh about them in future-times.

Let's see...

oh, hey, I could always fall back on the old "yearly thingie" yes let's do that...

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
  • Navigated a very unpleasant re-org, and learned a *lot* about office politics
  • Had Thanksgiving dinner at home, with whatever we could scrounge up
  • Had a really fun time celebrating Molly's birthday!
  • Sucked it all up for the good of those who depend on me. Maybe this is the year I became an adult?
    2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
    Let's see how I scored:

    • Keep my job.
      • REALLY? I wrote this???? I guess I did this one, despite the fact that I thought my goal was the opposite. mmmmkay then.
    • Grow my responsibilities and cross-functional work with an emphasis on projects that people who "matter" will actually recognize. (snip some comments)
      • Uh, right. This was made early in the year before things became clear about the role I was put in. So, no. Although I did kick some ass at the end of the year, it wasn't politically advantageous.
    • Do my damn PMP thing.
      • YES. I totally did this. Just in time for a role where no one gives a shit. Sigh.
    • Finish the Stanford Advanced Project Management certification in Q1
      • Did this too! And it was great!
    • Q1: Use Molly's nighttime nap (if there is one) to use the little exercise bike. -
      • no, this totally did not work. It was impossible to get out while she was sleeping, she dropped that nap, and I had to do too much other stuff during that time. Big fail. Also I hate exercise bikes. What was I thinking?
    • Max out my 401K by end of June
      • Done.
    • 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)
      • Done, and more.
    • 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!")
      • Done.
    • Have monthly crafting day at my house with family and friends. (already scheduled Q1)
      • I'm gonna say I did this, though we may have missed one month.
    • Keep a journal daily, at least 90% of days
      • Hmmm, I was really good about this until the great Postini explosion of Q3, where I became so overworked that I just collapsed every night. I'd say I did about 85% of the time, so I'll give myself a green.
    • Create a will/trust by the end of March
      • Fail. Ugh.

    OK, so how about 2012:

    • Get back into a role that I love, whether that be growing in the dirt I was shoved in, or packing up and going. I want to feel valuable, and I want to feel responsible, and I want to feel the satisfaction of helping others. Doing a little planning, networking, and technical problem solving would round this out quite nicely. (this is a big, vague goal, implying a lot of little sub-projects and resolutions... networking! maintaining my accomplishments and resume, sharpening skills! oh my!)
    • Get some exercise for my poor little overbeating heart. Q1: Assuming Sports Authority isn't the sheisty operation they are looking like right at this moment, we'll be getting a treadmill shortly. Once that's set up, I want to get at least an average of 4 days x30 minutes on there every week. (yes, I know there's a free treadmill called "outdoors" but I've found that I really prefer indoor treadmill. I know, it's weird.)
    • Max out my 401K by end of March
    • Add $X to our savings accounts each month. On average, understanding that some months are harder than others.
    • Add $X to our 529 for Molly each month. Same $X as last year
    • Shut down BofA account. I've had BofA since college. But, yeah, I've been meaning to drop them since they bought CountryWide and pretended they had no idea how diseased it was. I've found a credit union with awesome rates and no bailouts.
    • Invest some of our cash. I do not know the first thing about investing money, and I would like to keep my life relatively simply (the thought of dealing with the taxes makes me sweat.) We need to do better than savings accounts this year.
    • 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 (Let's try this again)
    • Craft more: I want to make something at least once/month and blog it. Even if that means phoning it in with a god's eye at the last hour of the month. Something. EVERYONE IS GETTING A GOD'S EYE FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!
    • Learn new skills: I want to get one chapter/week on this Python for Absolute Beginners book I've had sitting next to my bed for months. Let's DO IT!

    3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
    no no no. But my sister became a "grandmother"... despite never having children.

    4. Did anyone close to
    you die?
    Yes. It was another reason for a shit year. My Grandma Kay left us in the nicest possible way this year, but she is sorely missed. The hole in my world is huge for such a little lady.

    5. What countries did you visit?
    None. We have a small child, and I hate the TSA. I really hate the TSA. Have I mentioned that I hate the TSA?

    6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
    A sense of "I love my job." I've had it before and I know what it feels like.

    7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
    It's kind of all a blur, and I think I'd rather not etch any of it anywhere.

    8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    • Passed the PMP exam with flying colors. (Really. flying.)
    • Navigated some really muddy transitions at work
    • Didn't get ANY visits from Child Protective Services!

    9. What was your biggest failure?
    • Settling. Waiting in my chair when asked to do so. The people who asked me to sit quietly would not have done so if asked, and that's my big lesson. I should have been long, long gone, months and months ago. I think I've learned a lot about politics and alignment since, but at what cost?

    10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
    • Nothing out of the ordinary

    11. What was the best thing you bought?
    • I bought Paul a broken motor. He loves that kind of thing.
    • I guess it's telling that I can't think of anything. So much crap to buy, and nothing of value to remember!

    12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
    • Paul has been something of a hero, taking care of a screamy baby, a frequently unhappy wife, and a very sick mother, while trying to get some studying in on the side.

    13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
    • I can just say, I've learned that people can have big impact on you even when they are a few steps removed, and you should keep your eye on all of them, all of the time. Don't assume malice is needed to destroy things; it could just be a blithely destructive nature.

    14. Where did most of your money go?
    • Savings and rent. Actually, no, taxes. Pentagon! Oh boy. Let's be clear that I do not mind paying taxes. I would gladly pay more taxes, even, but I want to have Single Payer Health care instead of all these wasteful wars.

    15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
    • Molly. Everything she does is clearly the awesomest thing any child has ever done in the history of humanity. I mean, really. Have you ever seen such an amazing child? Why just the other day, she did just the cutest thing...

    16. What songs/bands will always remind you of 2011?
    • Hopefully, none.

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

    • End of 2010, I was happy but anxious. End of 2011, I was just happy to see 2011 go. I guess I'm tempered quite a lot. This has not been a happy year.

    ii. thinner or fatter?

    iii. richer or poorer?
    Richer. I mean, I have more money I guess.

    18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
    • Exercise. Career-tracking

    19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
    • Working in the suggested confines I was given. I should have moved quickly and drastically, and without so much fear. (on the other hand, it is hard when you are the sole provider for two others)

    20. How will you be spending Christmas?
    • I spent Christmas with family as always. But this time, at home, not at Grandma Kay's house, for the first time I can ever remember. It was still nice though. Christmas is the best.

    22. Did you fall in love in 2010?
    • Well, of course I did.

    23. What's on your night stand?
    • Earplugs, which Molly keeps trying to steal
    • half a glass of water, because I drink lots of water in my sleep
    • alarm clock that I no longer use because I use my Android phone
    • Glasses-because I'm legally bind in one eye
    • ballpoint pen, which I should use to journal every night before bed
    • My Ten-Year Journal which allows just a few sentences per night
    • a fancy phone new Android phone which I can't use because it is misbehaving
    • The case for my NTI nightguards

    24. What were your favorite TV programs?
    Still just The Daily Show and The Colbert Report

    (what happened to 25?)

    26. What was the best book you read?
    Probably some crafting and parenting books. I've been really bad about finishing books lately.

    27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
    • I discovered that with Spotify, I can relive some truly bad music from my childhood.

    28. What did you want and get?
    • I wanted to get my PMP certification. I did it!

    29. What did you want and not get?
    • It must be obvious by now, I wanted to get myself into a role that is a better fit, and I did not.
    • OH OH OH. And I went through about 36 hours of seriously really very much so wanting to buy a Dorsoduro.

    30. What was your favorite film(s) of this year?
    • I haven't set foot in a movie theater in a few years.

    31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    • I turned 34. It was a great day. Paul got me an awesome blinking tiara, I got to have cupcakes with Jenni Williams (I KNOW!), and Amber India for dinner with family.

    32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
    • Torn between "serenity to accept the things I cannot change" and "courage to change the things I can." I suppose that leaves me with "wisdom to know the difference." But I'm leaning toward #2: Courage.

    33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
    • First half of the year: "I just had a baby, screw it."
    • Second half of the year: "hmmm, I guess I should really start to worry about this."
    • Also, I got a standing desk, which has changed my footwear choices

    34. What kept you sane?
    • The quiet moments. Taking Molly for a walk to examine leaves on the ground. Sitting on the couch with Paul after Molly is in bed. 
    • The words "Now that I know Rebecca is handling this, I know it will be fine." and other such votes of confidence. I know I do good work, and I do best when I can work with people who need me and value me. Kicking ass at work makes me feel great.

    35. Which celebrity/public figure(s) did you fancy the most?
    • Every single year, I have no idea how to answer this. "Celebrity?"

    36. What political issue stirred you the most?
    • Rootstrikers. Until we get the money out of politics, NOTHING in politics matters. All the political issues we get worked up about are just manifestations of this root problem.

    37. Who did you miss?
    • The list gets longer this year with Grandma Kay joining her husband.

    38. Who was the best new person you met?
    • I really need to get out more

    39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
    • You can work as hard as you want building a vibrant, wonderful, productive city, but all it takes is one Godzilla to destroy Tokyo. It's not even necessarily personal. I don't know if this means you shouldn't bother working so hard, or that you should work so hard that Godzilla can't get you. Or some, third thing about developing anti-Godzilla laserbeam technology.

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

    You made me doubt, you made me fear
    But now I´m not the same
    I don´t pretend that I love you
    'Cause there is nothing left to lose