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Showing posts from 2008

Boy in da Snow

@ has been talking about snow for weeks, ever since I told him we'd be coming up to LD's for the holiday. We drove up in the rain Christmas Eve-- he sat with a blue bucket next to him and explained how he'd use it to collect snow. Although it rained all night, temperatures didn't dive low enough to produce snow. I considered attempting to come up with words to a new song -- I'm Dreaming of a Muddy Christmas -- but the initial disappointment of missing snow was quickly replaced with the desire to rip into presents. Like most kids promised the arrival of Santa overnight, he woke up with the energy of a guy on his fifth can of Red Bull. After breakfast and opening presents, the rain turned to sleet. Shortly thereafter, on cue, it turned to snow. Both @ and Lucas thoroughly enjoyed it.

Dog vs. Bubble Wrap

I shall defeat you, evil bubble wrap. I am the hound. You will feel my wrath.

Dangers of Partying in the Forest

Stuffed deer heads on walls are bad enough, but it's worse when they are wearing dark glasses and have streamers in their antlers because then you know they were enjoying themselves at a party when they were shot. -- Ellen DeGeneres

Fifteen Days of Chrismuka

From Comedy Central.com Continuing the current trend of large-scale mergers and acquisitions, it was announced today at a press conference that Christmas and Hanukkah will merge. An industry source said that the deal had been in the works for about 1300 years. While details were not available at press time, it is believed that the overhead cost of having twelve days of Christmas and eight days of Hanukkah was becoming prohibitive for both sides. By combining forces, we''re told, the world will be able to enjoy consistently high-quality service during the Fifteen Days of Chrismukah, as the new holiday is being called. Massive layoffs are expected, with lords a-leaping and maids a-milking being the hardest hit. As part of the conditions of the agreement, the letters on the dreydl, currently in Hebrew, will be replaced by Latin, thus becoming unintelligible to a wider audience. Also, instead of translating to "A great miracle happened there," the message on the

Dual-Flush the Day Away...

Some office mornings just don't start well. Going directly from parking lot to conference room can be a little frazzling. But having a disembodied, and very cranky, voice yell at a room full of people across two states via speakerphone? Well, it's not pretty. At one point I considered offering to step out of the room to call Barack Obama on my cell phone to ask him to shift his presidential inauguration by a day to better align with this person's preferred schedule. However, I've been advised that "not everyone really understands when you're kidding." When the day starts sour, you know it's going to take a bit of doing to undo the film brought on by that variety of "professionalism." It took a field trip to another building for a lunch meeting, but I found it. Strangely, the best part of my day was an instructional sign above a new-fangled water-saving toilet. A sign over a toilet. And yes, I reallllllly wish I'd had a camera with m

For the Love of God?

"Hey, I believe in Jesus Christ and if you don't, that's okay because you're going to fry like a Jimmy Dean pure pork sausage." --Pastor Ken Hutcherson, Antioch Bible Church commenting on a protest sign posted near a nativity scene at the Washington State capitol Wow, that's just the kind of guy you want at the pulpit.

Just Another Day at the Office

Imagine if you will... It's Thursday afternoon in Cubeville. 3:17: Tra la la la. Sitting at your desk. La la la. Getting ready to leave at 3:45 for physical therapy. La la la. 3:18: A senior VP sends an e-mail to 5,000 people to announce this really great Web project -- you guessed it, the same one you'd been asked to hold until you received her approval. 3:19: Cubedwellers in earshot here a very perky, "Well, I guess that's approval!" Initiate IM search for Web developers. Uh, guys... 3:27: Compose e-mail, "Dear Boss and Boss's Boss, Imagine my surprise..." 3:35: Site is live -- warts and all. 3:45: Warts removed. 4:05: Praising existence of carpool lane on 101, consider personal budget for lavish gifts to Web developers. 4:35: Arrive at physical therapy prepared to get pummeled by 6'2" guy who has to release sciatic nerve tension by thumbs into calf and elbow into hamstrings and glutes. Tra la la. La. LA LA LA!

From Coop to Couch

I hereby declare my couch once again to be a couch. I will sit on it. I will read. I will watch movies. I will use those fabulously soft blankets I bought for cozying up rather than serving as a helicopter deck. My couch has, at various times during this week, been: a helicopter a really big rescue helicopter a barge a fireboat a scuba dive boat And, even more randomly today: a chicken coop. @'s imagination is amazing and amusing at the same time. The detail he puts into his creations -- that he will at length explain -- is always very carefully considered. These pillows are the seats, but those pillows are the parachutes. The smaller animals are afraid, so they stay away from the doors and windows in the middle of the cabin. We were rescuing animals yesterday. The burping cat (aka a stuffed Garfield for which he does not know the actual name but saw on television at some point) had fallen overboard and the dogs were lowering the rescuer to save him. The gray dog was to do firs

@'s Presidential Vote

My son has turned on me. Last week, @'s teacher interviewed the kids about their presidential choices and put the quotes up on the bulletin board. It's a jarring sight at 7:30a to see an adorable photo of your own child next to the quote: "I'm voting for John McCain because I like his hair. I love John McCain." Where have I gone wrong?!

A Philanthropist Falls Away

"What could be better than to hold your hand out to people who are less fortunate than you are? That's simply the way I look at it." --Paul Newman, 1925-2008

A River Runs...

" Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters. " - Norman MacLean

Not My Mommy

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Cute Overload, Indeed

There's definitely something to be said for cute. Even an overload of cute. My friend Cristal like has this friend, you know. And her name is like Meg, you know. And she's really cool (Cristal too of course). Any like she -- Meg, not Cristal -- started this blog posting pix of cute little critters. And Cuteoverload.com , well, exploded -- in a good way. How good? The #1 selling calendar on Amazon.com Multiple Webby awards An appearance today on Martha Stewart Cristal and Meg just happen to be three of the leading ladies who provide the fab three-part harmony in the Bootcuts , one fabu rad band o' fun folks. And then check Cristal and Meg singing . All I can say is, RIGHT ON MEG!

Let's Play Pundit Flippy Floppy

John Stewart's researchers rock. I love this bit.

Flamin' Amazin'

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Oddly enough, or not, one of our annual traditions has become going to a local car show out in the woods where LD lives. It's an interesting deal with an odd crowd. LD usually enters a car in the show, but this year opted out -- something about energy, spiderwebs, 104 degree heat, etc. So, this year we were spectators. My faves are usually the 32-34 Ford Fordor or Tudor hot rod restorations and I'll admit I have a thing for flame paint jobs. One of the cars this year has the most bad-a** flames I've seen to date. The flames trail from the front with little bursts on the sides. And then there's the trunk... (The trunk pic is worth double clicking to see larger, trust me.) Keep in mind, this is all free-hand work. I can't draw freehand with a pencil and a giant eraser. Whoever did this work, did it on a car -- no eraser. @'s fave is a delivery sedan he calls the "bug car" because he likes the headlight covers. And for the flame traditionalis

@'s Corporate Ladder

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A true, bona fide, verbatim quote from @: "Hey Mommy look -- I can put my corporate ladder wherever I want." And the accompanying visual: True story. 'Nuf said.

Cutbacks

Due to recent budget cuts and the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Momentary Flashback

I found myself in a familiar position yesterday, surrounded by familiar sights and sounds. And calm, but not at all thrilled about it. I spent most of the day sitting in a chair next to a hospital bed while the alarm for the oxygen saturation monitor squawked at me every few minutes. @ had his tonsils and adenoids removed yesterday. The surgery went well, but recovery turned out a bit trickier. We started our morning with an early breakfast-free start and a drive up to Stanford. He had a great anesthesiologist who sang Thomas the Tank Engine songs to him while he drowsed out on the way to snoozeville. The docs had initial concerns about his history of lung damage and recent croup, but everything turned out to be fine and his airways were clear. Original estimates were an hour for the surgery, with an hour or two for recovery, putting us home around 12:30 or so. If there's one thing you learn when you have a kid in the NICU, it's that all estimates are best ignored. @ initi

Election Year Math

I can't help it. It just makes me laugh. Out loud and everything.

Bad Day for BBQs

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The CAL FIRE stats are pretty amazing. That's all I know. I called LD to find out where the nearest one is to where he lives since a map shows one much closer than I'd prefer it to be (probably within 10 miles). Luckily, he's a big proponent of defensible space, ponds, irrigation ditches, and oh yeah, his own fire truck...

My Left Foot

Once upon a time, long ago, my left foot and I had a great relationship. We walked on the beach, played soccer on the fields, swam in the ocean, hiked in the mountains... until "the incident." Like many that change relationships, this incident changed the foundation of my relationship with my left foot. One day we went a little too far afield and met the edge of a sidewalk with all of the force you'd expect a soccer player to deliver in pursuit of a round spotted object. There was the realization of "Hmm... Gee, that hurt" followed by a bit of tenderfooting around for the next week. Ah, but it was the end of the season and tournament weekend had arrived. No visible injury, probably just bruised... A month or so later my first visit to the podiatrist began with him staring at an x-ray while delivering a question along the lines of "See these two pieces of bone? How did they get so far apart?" He really didn't like my answer of, "Well, I thoug

100 Year War

@ ain't available either.

Hang a Right at the Firetruck

My guess is that I'm not the only parent on the planet who is a bit squirrelly about having a son learn to drive. My guess is that fear typically sets in around age 13 or so. Not me and my overachieving and amusing kid. His feet can't come close to reaching the pedals, but he can steer a tractor. Not just a little lawn tractor, but a full-size Kubota farm tractor. And that's a good thing when mama's car is parked between Point A and Point B of "Adventures in Tractor Driving 101" as taught by Grampa LD. Strangely, I'm pretty sure LD would have sooner eaten granite gravel before putting me or my brother behind the wheel of any such vehicle when we were only barely at the midpoint between four and five years old. My how adding the "grand" prefix to parent changes things. Note how, except to redirect a certain kid's gaze forward, LD's hand doesn't even get near the steering wheel. And how Luke wisely stays four legs and two steps ahea

Industrial Sundae

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Once upon a time there was a worker named @. He was very good at working hard and had lots of buddies who liked to help him. One day, @ decided he was a little bit hungry, so he decided to build some dessert. First, @ used an excavator to dig a big bowl in the ground. Then he drove his tractor to the warehouse and used the scoop to get some chocolate chip cookies. He carefully brought them back to the jobsite and put them in the bowl. Blue Doggie drove his backhoe to the ice cream factory and got a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, brought it back, and put it on the cookies. Then he went back for a big scoop of chocolate ice cream. Then he went back again for a big scoop of strawberry ice cream. Engineer Doggie drove the tanker truck to the chocolate sauce station and filled it up the whole tank with chocolate sauce. He drove back to the jobsite and used the hose to put the chocolate sauce on top of the ice cream. Kermit got his cement mixer and went to the dairy for some fresh milk and

Dangers of Cheese

Mock my cheese allergy all you want. his would never happen at Chuck E. Tofu. Two moms allegedly brawl at Chuck E. Cheese in Massachusetts By Associated Press NATICK, Mass. - A child's birthday party at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant was cut short after a fight broke out between two mothers. Natick police said the mom of the 9-year-old birthday boy apparently became enraged because the other woman's son was "hogging" an arcade game. Sgt. Paul Thompson said Catherine Aliaga, 38, and Tarsha Williams, 33, both of Boston, would be summoned into court to answer charges of simple assault and battery stemming from the scuffle. Thompson told the MetroWest Daily News that police received a number of 911 calls about the fight Saturday night. He said what started as a birthday celebration turned into a "birthday melee."

Visual Perspective

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I grew up with an appreciation for the outdoors -- tall tall trees without phone lines running through them, rivers with hoppable rocks, big warm solar-heated granite boulders, dirt paths with deer tracks, clean air. We'll never be mistaken for the Cleavers , but my family camped, backpacked a few times, took a horse-pack trip, and spent a lot of time at my grandparents' cabin near Donner Pass. I carry a memory of a particular meadow -- we were on a backpack trip and took a day hike. I think we followed a creek that lead to a huge expanse of tall grass. I often conjure it in my mind when I need to escape. It's quite possible that the real meadow was far perfect than the memory photoshopping I've done. Part of that photo editing has included "installing" a huge flat granite rock where I can perch. So every time I see someone flick a cigarette butt to the curb, I growl. What would happen if I offered to collect a week's worth of their butts and toss them on

Health & Welfare

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It's official. I'm tired of coughing. Or Marge is. As is probably anyone who has been within 50 yards of me since, say, two weeks ago? I'm long since past contagious, but I don't sound it. Marge sounds like hell. I almost felt bad for the guy in the seat next to me on the flight home from Seattle. Almost. Until he unearthed a massive onion-filled tuna salad sandwich from a greasy paper bag and proceeded to eat it. And then silently but stinkily belch for the next two hours. He also felt he needed to share his newspaper at full width rather than doing a polite airplane origami. I complimented him on his sharing skills (after all, I have a four-year-old), but asked him to figure out the concept of personal space before his paper ended up in little wads seven rows up and three rows back. Actually, my phrasing was much nicer. Gosh, I really miss those monthly flights to JFK. Wait, no I don't. Someone should do a study on how many people eat burritos the night before a

Marge in Seattle

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I've been introducing myself as Marge on conference calls this week. I sound like a 67-year-old smoker with a two-pack-day habit. I got tired of people saying, "who is this?!" So I now have a sister. (No, I haven't actually always wanted one.) Unfortunately Marge doesn't have the same respect for health as I do. My abs are rock solid, not from exercise, but very active coughing. But here I am in sunny Seattle working with some of my favorite co-workers. Had I known that my lungs would have felt better as checked luggage, I wouldn't have boarded a plane. I thought the fever had been the worst of it, but I keep hearing estimates that the cough lasts six weeks, maybe just four. WHAT?! The Seattle office is adjacent to Seattle Center and Space Needle, walking distance to the Music Experience (going next time!), strolling distance to the Seattle Art Museum sculpture garden (so cool!), and within a few blocks of all sorts of good restaurants and such. They claim it&

Ready, Set, TWEET

I haven't set foot on a track with the intent to run around it since sometime in college. Soccer fields? That's a different story. I've run around, through, across, up, and down hundreds of those gopher rut-infested grassy havens. But @ wants to run. Suddenly the track is no longer that overly prescriptive circle of monotony it once was. Despite coming off the heels of a cold that kept me in bed all day Thursday, x and I took @ to the track on Friday after school. He wanted to race on Saturday, so I wanted to introduce him to the bounce of the all-weather surface, the concept of lanes, and the basic idea of running in circles. Teach a four-year-old to stretch before running. It's a blast. You don't just touch your toes, you make your fingers into spiders and crawl from your knees to your toes. Deet deet deet deet. (The sound of spider toes reaching little boy toes...) We went twice around the track. He wanted to go more. I woke up at 2a with a 102 degree fever...

Trouncing the Odds

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Four years ago, @ had been home from the hospital for less than a month. He was 4.5 months old and maybe weighed 7 pounds. He was attached to an oxygen tank and sat monitor 24x7. (It beeped. We jumped. ) We gave him breathing treatments 3x a day. He saw at least three doctors a week. He took more meds than the average octogenarian. We had to track his feeding, meds, and diapers on a spreadsheet to ensure he got enough calories each day, that the input & output matched, etc. When he threw up, we had to estimate how many calories came back at us. The kid could puke for distance. That was then. On Sunday @ and I took a two-mile hike in the hills. He walked the entire way. He found deer tracks and we saw deer. He met a horse. We talked to the chickens in the 4H coop at the park. Later, I worked in the yard and he practiced running. After the hike. Keep in mind, he's not yet three feet tall. Those little legs took a lot of steps. We had gone to a track meet to see a friend's dau

Slam Books

I was recently up at my dad's house and decided to bring home some things I'd stored up there. It was an interesting excursion into the past. I had shoeboxes upon shoeboxes of letters from summer-camp friends. Another box from my first boyfriend, who lived across town and went to a different school. (Never mushy teen melodrama, just two sarcastic smart-ass teenagers writing their views of the day back and forth.) I also found "slam books " from the pre-teen era. Each page has a question and each person has a line and answers the questions. In the end, you have a microview of preteen life, trends, and the occasional nasty sniping comment about some other kid. The current equivalent of the slam book now arrives via e-mail as spiffy little chain-letter question sets you're supposed to answer, then send to ten friends, while cc'ing the person who originally sent the list to you. For some reason, I'm still entertained and fascinated by this concept of shari

Yah Cat, Yah!!!

I took today off of work after a particularly challenging few weeks of cat herding for a major product launch. I've worked on launches for several years now, some bigger than this one. But this one? It kicked my butt. Even as I carefully left the catbox at work each night, little furballs would find the way to follow me home. Strange little IM messages. Random e-mails entitled "Oh Crap..." (imagine this with a British accent). Ringing mobile phones. But I kept most of it at bay, which has not always been my habit.

Stepping into a Cliche

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I went to the courthouse today to file more paperwork related to my divorce. I stood in line with several other people, handed over the papers, got them stamped (ca-chunk, ca-chunk) by the clerk , and ta-da... yet another step in the process is now complete. It's a rather clinical. Then... I went shoe shopping. I had to laugh at myself. Multiple times. Oh look, here I am indulging in an oh-so-cliche form of retail therapy. How weird does this feel? Oh so very weird! Oh so very funny. Then I thought, where would a guy in the same situation go? A Corvette dealership? P.S. Yes, I bought more than one pair. :-) P.P.S. Do a Google image search on "midlife crisis" -- amazing how many Corvette pix pop up! Or maybe not amazing at all.

Want Fries with That?

Drivers report seeing belly dancer shimmying across I-880 01/30/2008 11:39:11 AM PST Nothing beats a shimmy and shake to stop traffic. When commuters spotted a woman in a belly dancing getup getting her groove on with a road sign, they called 911. It's more than you might expect to see along the side of Interstate 880 in San Leandro on a Monday afternoon. The first call described a woman belly dancing along the right side of the road at 3:07 p.m. A minute later, drivers reported that she was using a light pole as a dancing prop and then a highway sign for a pole dance. It wasn't until she ran across the interstate that things got nasty, CHP officer Oscar Johnson said. The woman in a black halter top and black pants began screaming obscenities at drivers who nearly hit her as she dangerously shimmied across the highway, he said. By the time officers arrived at the scene, the woman had ducked into the brush near a homeless encampment and run away, Johnson said. For the reco

Metallica, Yes. Donut Holes, No.

Now, in the standard lexicon of things we've made up that don't really make sense, "donut holes" is a good one. They're not holes, they're the anti-holes, really. But @, well, he knows his stuff. X bought @ some of those dangerously, delightfully evil mini Hostess donuts the other day. (Getting @ to eat is an ongoing challenge, so if he professes interest in something, it's all good.) @ wanted donuts for breakfast, so I put two in a bowl for him. (Wrong bowl. Apparently, you can't eat donuts out of a Scooby Doo bowl. A Thomas the Tank Engine bowl, yes. Scooby? It's just wrong. Who knew?!) When he was finished he brought the bowl to me. "Mama, I don't like donut holes." I looked. He had carefully eaten around the circumference of the donut, leaving the center section around the actual hole intact. He did the same thing three days in a row. Systematically. Obviously, this kid does not like donut holes. Ah, but I do! Yum. I picked

Caution: Chicken Crossing

Because he's four and one curious little guy... the most-asked question in my son's universe is "why?" He and I often twirl into circular logic when the questions get silly or I bring out the heavy poultry artillery -- chickens. Why did you change the lightbulbs? Because these are fluorescent and last longer but use less power. Why do they use less power? Because it's a different technology. Why is it different? Because the chicken crossed the road. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side. Why are you laughing?

My Lucky Lunch

So... I go to the cafeteria today and wait in line to get a nice healthy stir fry of tofu and vegetables. Then, I hike all the way: through the maze of the parking lot across the street (over the light-rail tracks) back to my building up the stairs to my desk There, I open my lunch, take a bite, and then... ARE THOSE LEGS? Dammit, those ARE legs. Freakin' cricket in my lunch. I know crickets are supposed to be lucky, but are they still lucky if they're in a stir fry? How lucky can the cricket be if it ended up in a wok? And is lucky to eat a cricket? Or unlucky to eat an unlucky cricket? Or neither, because once it's been fried, it's just a fried bug? How did my lunch turn into a philosophical dilemma? I didn't eat the cricket. Sparky gave me some carrots. Janet gave me some soup. I considered putting the cricket in interoffice mail to the cafeteria manager, but left him voice mail instead to ask if they charged extra for crickets. He called back to assure

Running at 50% Power

Mother Nature and PG&E have conspired to remind me to slow down. OK, well, not just me. Everyone in the general vicinity. I'm not that amazingly arrogant that I think this whole storm is for my personal benefit. All of a sudden, someone remembered that "hey, we haven't yet really kicked any meteorological butt this season." And so the butt-kicking is underway, my neighborhood is in brown-out mode, and the puddles are nearing rhino-drowning depth. Still, silly me, I'm contemplating the ultimate Clash question: Should I stay or should I go? Out into the wild world of weather and errands, that is. Cabin fever has hit. It doesn't take long with me. I've been known to rake leaves in the rain. Or hike. Or just stand on the porch to listen to and smell the rain. I'm not such a grand fan of wind. The wind is playing with trees and such at full power, a local reminder that there's only so much peeps can do to control things. It's cleaning out the