Posts

Showing posts from 2009

Dog Cookies

Ah, New Year's Eve. A night fit for profound thought. Or not... @ and I were talking about cookies. He decided I should make dog cookies for blue doggie (his constant snooze companion). Me: Do I make them out of real dogs? @: Dog cookies aren't made from dogs, they're made from things dogs like. Me: But apple pies are made from apples, not things apples like.   @: Just make them out of cat poo. Dogs like cat poo, especially Butchie. Me: Eeeeew, that sounds pretty gross.   @: But it's funny too, right? Me: Yep, it's gross and funny. @: Oh, and it has to be really fresh so the dogs are attracted by the smell.  It's official. I've been verbally one-upped by a six-year-old.

I Don't Need a Leaf Blower...

I asked for one thing out loud this holiday season. And I got it. In fact, @ tested it out and it blew away my expectations. OK, not exactly. It blew away the leaves in my front yard. Yes, I am now the proud owner of a leaf blower. Maybe it's the editor thing, but I make a clear distinction between the terms need and want. And that's a good thing to teach @ when he proclaims a deep abiding neeeeeeeeeeed for 17 different things in 34 minutes at Target. Truth be told, I don't need a leaf blower. And I'd never buy it for myself. But I wanted one. I have a lot of rocks in the landscaping of my yard. It makes things easier. And while the novelty of it lasts, I have a very small, but determined gardener to "help."

Sticky Situations

Image
Things are well-fastened at my house. An elaborate system of bungee cords connects doors to one another so that "you need to know the unlocking secret" to enter a room. Fear of being tangled like a helpless fly prompted me to remove the ones strung between doors in the hallway. Forgetting the web in the middle of the night could leave me as bait for the dreaded bungee spider. Various arrangements of electrical- and duct-tape striping code the orange cones I once used to coach soccer practices. The coding has something to do with guiding guests through the house vs. women in cleats around a soccer field. I've received the explanation a few times. Next time I should probably take notes. And we just had a long series of one-page bedtime stories from The Jumbo Duct Tape Book , immediately preceded by a conversation along the lines of "No, we don't really duct tape dogs and horses." (A conversation to which Luke paid rapt attention in the hopes that the m

Solstice Walk

smell of woodsmoke and wet leaves, feel of brisk air and misty rain, dark of evening masking suburbia as i walk on the evening of solstice There are plenty of holidays to keep everyone amused this time of year. But for me, winter solstice has the most meaning. This is the longest night. Tomorrow the nights will get shorter, the days will stretch longer bit-by-bit. It marks a turning point that doesn't have retail mania and free shipping. The leaves have fallen, the nights are darker, and so many things are seemingly in stasis waiting for their next act. And that next act is rebirth, growth, reaching for the sun. It may look like everything is dead, brown, wilted, but there is plenty happening in preparation for the coming of spring. The rain is cleansing, removing the dust, restoring the damp to the ground. I am not very different. This year has brought me many things. The arrival of fall marked many of them. As the leaves fell from the trees, I was uncovering aspects of m

Don't Be a Turkey...

Recently I received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. I tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else I could think of to 'clean up' the bird's vocabulary. Finally, I was fed up and I yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. I shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. So, in desperation, I threw up my hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that I'd hurt the parrot, I quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto my outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful

The Toughest Question

I spoke at an event at Valley Med this morning as part of a "town hall" panel about prematurity at the opening of a new NICU family support program for the hospital. Here's my speech. I was at the grocery store on Tuesday and the checker asked me how many kids I have. It’s a pretty simple question. Innocent. Yet, it’s probably the hardest question in the world for me. The easy answer is to say one. But the fact is that I have two sons -- I have this amazing, intelligent, goofy six-year-old sidekick who charms the socks off of people every day. And in my heart, I have his twin brother, who I held in my arms for only an hour but will always be a part of me. I usually say I have one child because it’s somehow easier to say that out loud. But inside I always know the difference. I went in for a regular prenatal check on a Friday afternoon and was in the hospital within an hour. I remember walking by the NICU on my way to check in and thinking that I’d rather jump from

Prematurity Awareness Day

What is scarier than standing on the edge of a cliff? Walking into a NICU for the first time. Posts about @ and N: http://wordjanitor.blogspot.com/search/label/preemie

Ceremonial Chair

I'm big on metaphors. Some might consider it an affliction. Maybe it's the lapsed writer/poet in me. Maybe it's because I consider words to be playthings. Sometimes it's definitely to make a point when people are so tied up in the context of a thing that they need to see it in an entirely different language. (I have a whole slide deck on chocolate chip cookies, pecans, and network switches...) In the moment, I don't always know why I do what I do. Other times, I know the symbolism exactly. I live the metaphor. The day I went to the courthouse to file the original dee-vorce papers, I next went to a park where I could look out over a big open field to the hills. I wanted to see uncluttered distance, undeveloped space leading into trees. It had to be organic, growing, uncontrolled. After another courthouse visit, I found myself in a shoe store . Mind you, I consider shoe stores as entertaining as dental offices. But I was taking more steps. You can't do that

Ewoks Amok

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News , World News , and News about the Economy

@ Defines Talent

"Nate can make arm farts and Ian can make leg farts. They're really talented. Mom, real-sounding fart noises are hard to do." What's a mom to do? Well @, I hope you come up with some different talents. "Well I can make mouth farts, but that's not as hard to do. But mine sound real. See???" Are you prepared to say "excuse me" every time you make that noise? "phbbbt, excuse meez. phbbbt, excuse meez..." and on, and again, and on all the way from the parking lot through the first few minutes of shopping in Trader Joes. Saved by the banana display with the animatronic monkey. Phew!

New Hobbies for Halliburton

Certain degenerates at Halliburton and KBR will soon need new hobbies. Why? Victims of their previous hobbies will now be able to take legal action against them. Where once protected they're now subject to at least one rule of human decency. A certain headline on SFGate caught my attention this morning: The Gang Rape and the Republicans I'm not sure what nerve it touched -- is it because I'm a woman? liberal? HUMAN? But I clicked through. Mark Morford can be pretty aggressive, so I wanted to see what had raised his hackles. And oh, yeah, I get it. I read his column, looked at some more information, and yep -- I wanna hurl. Twice. What did I learn? Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Wait, already knew that. Money is the root of all evil. Wait, knew that too. There are people for whom power and money are so shiny that they've lost all sense of human decency. Wait, I'm sorry, let me correct that. It's not possible for them to have human decency -- they

Flashback: Letter to Parents

A search through my file cabinet for a particular piece I wrote eons ago unearthed some random amusement from past attempts to slay boredom with a pen. (Old school stuff -- I had my choice of a pen, pencil, or a typewriter, not a computer.) circa 1987 It's April, do you know where your parents are? Do your parents know who you are? Have they forgotten you? When is the last time you received a letter that ended "... and your little brother shaved the cat last week. Be good and try not to study too hard. Love, Mom and Dad" It has been quite awhile since my mailbox was last graced with the presence of such a letter, so I decided to write home and attempt to get to the root of the problem... To Whom It May Confuse (Mom & Dad), I was sitting in front of my empty mailbox, wallowing in self pity and decided that I ought to write to you. It seems to me that you do, but I sure hope that you don't, subscribe to the "out of sight out of mind" point of

Wee Boy Quote

"We don't need to bring the radio outside. We can dance to the sounds of the birds chirping." --@, Aug '09

Tree-Hugger Bumper Stickers

Image
Before someone throws bird poo at me... The irony that these go on CARS is not lost on me. NICE HUMMER Sorry about your little pee-pee. SAVE THE WHALES! Trade them for valuable prizes! May the Forest be with You Compost Happens My Car is an Honors Student at the EPA COMPOST A rind is a terrible thing to waste SAVE THE EARTH It's the only planet with chocolate The one I have in my cube at work? At least the war on the environment is going well!

Peachy Day

Queen of domestic culinary skills that I am... insert laugh track here ... I've never actually made a peach pie. Before today. And now I've made three. And I still have plans for cobblers, strudels, and other such previously unprepared pastrified peachification projects. I'm on a mission. My dad's peach trees went more than a little over-the-top this year. Despite thinning the fruit earlier in the season, he has three trees that quite possibly define the term prolific. The fruit on two of the trees is so ripe it can't be transported further than to the house. So, I've picked, peeled, pitted, and pared pounds and pounds of peaches. After pie #1 I was already bored with plain ol' peaches, so I've been experimenting... Muah ha ha ha... So far no explosions due to chemical reactions between grated ginger, peaches, and pecans. Tomorrow... The Strudel Experiment...

Golf Tourney '09

Interestingly enough, one of my previous jobs included working at golf tournaments every six months. Our company and hosted golf tournaments designed specifically for executive schmoozing at trade shows. The executive schmoozing, in itself, makes it even more amusing that it was my job to be there. At that point in my job history, I owned one suit and it was the one I interviewed in. My role was as a magazine editor and the tournaments allowed me the opportunity to meet execs of companies we might profile. But it was mostly an escape from the fluorescent lighting and concrete floors of the convention center. And it was an opportunity to spend the day with the professional golfer hired to amuse and gladhand the execs. The best of the bunch was David Fehrety , also known as "the sharpest wit in golf," who writes for Golf magazine and does commentary for CBS. How can you not like a guy whose tagline on his web page says "Raising potty mouth to a third-grade level"

Field Trippin' to a Field

Image
The walls were closing in on Cubeville. It was definitely time for a break. I pulled @ out of his summer program and took off Friday from work. FIELD TRIP!!! Destination: Harley Farms Goat Dairy , Pescadero. I figured it would be a neat experience for @ and I'd get some amusement out of it too. You know -- breathe some good coastal air, get close to some goats, learn how they make goat cheese, add an answer to the logarithmically expanding "how do they? how does it work? where does it come from?" list. How did we do? Breathe good coastal air: check Get close to some goats: check Learn how they make goat cheese: check Add an answer to the logarithmically expanding "how do they? how does it work? where does it come from?" list: check, check, check But really, how did it go? @'s trip report: "I milked a goat!!! It was so AWESOME !" My trip report: "I milked a goat! It was great fun!" And, no need to brag, but according to our abs

If You Love...

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was, and always will be yours. If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with. If it just sits in your room, messes up your stuff, eats your food, uses your phone, takes your money, and never behaves as if you actually set it free in the first place, you either married it or gave birth to it. I didn't write it, but gee... I dunno.

So, There Was This Tree...

(I'm typing this as my dog is sleeping on my right foot, dreaming, twitching, and barking in his sleep. ) So, there was this tree. And it needed pruning. Not a very big tree, really. But apparently big enough. And I have some killer branch chompers. So I got into the tree. And well, kinda got out of the tree. Abruptly. And since I'd already done some definite damage to the tree before gravity nudged me onto the ground, I landed somewhat tangled in some branches. While flat on the ground, staring at the tree that ousted me and doing the mandatory self-assessment that usually follows such a test of gravity, @ walks over and looks down at me, very seriously. @: Mama, get up. We still have work to do. Me: Why don't we go inside and watch TV for awhile. @: No Mama, we're not done working. Me: Well, I need a little break to ice my leg. @: Well OK, but we're not finished working. Junior Taskmaster, at your service. I had a pretty good bruise on my foot and figured

The Club

I belong to a very exclusive club. It's club no one ever wants to join. I'm part of an an online group for parents who have lost infants. I met a woman named Lisa through e-mail yesterday. She recently had preemie twins and her beautiful little girl passed away. I wrote this right before @ and N's second birthday. For Nobie In my mind, you are six years old Though if you were here, you would be only two I see you every day in my heart You are in a meadow, at a fence And you are happy And you are beautiful I probably picture you as six Because I think you would be safe That you would be happy That you would be past the pain And you would understand That we are not with you, but you are part of us I imagine that my uncle guides you He shows you how to watch us And answers your every question Though there is no one to answer mine He teaches you and shows you how to find us To watch us, to know us from afar You are connected To everyone I’ve loved And you are connected,

Typo of the Week

In a work-related e-mail no less!!! Found a ghiradelli lava cake mix in my panty last night. Made it. Have pics for you. :-) I think I've found the true meaning of ROFLMAO
It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it. - Arnold Toynbee Now, to make a list... End global warming Enable world peace ... Or is this just a really fancy way of explaining why when playing soccer I had sooo many OTB (over the bar) shots? All snarky comments aside: It's food for thought indeed.

Enemies of Language

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. --George Orwell Ah, my new excuse for simple language. I am primarily monosyllabic because I am so damn sincere. Hmm... the long words in the previous sentence suggest I am insincere about sincerity? So much to consider and my idioms are just too tired.

Different Paces

I'm the type of person who gets to the airport early, brings a book, and chills out before a flight. Right now I'm working with the people who breathlessly slide into their seats eight seconds before they close the doors at the gate.

Animal Instincts

Image
I have fun with Facebook update posts--those odd little things that have taught so many of us to refer to ourselves in the third person. Being a wordgeek, I'm entertained by finding ways to express myself in a sentence--hopefully with some humor attached. Reading them gives me a quick read on my friends--laughing, standing in line somewhere, stressed, vacationing, hospitalized. Heck, Friday I learned DaveBro was (briefly) 40 miles away at SFO instead of the usual several hundred in Texas. (Brat) I sometimes look back at my recent posts for some sort of accounting of the week. Apparently, animals are really causing me stress lately. Wordjanitor... is chillin' in the sunny backyard and checking e-mail for flaming chick ens. would be getting this stuff done if not for the flying monkeys throwing poo. is just having a fine ol' time juggling rabid wolverines and herding tired cats. laughs: "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pin

Lingua Franca

The common language of simple things differs greatly depending on a variety of factors, even within the same geographical area. An example: Situation: @ burps Response: At my house, @ follows with, "Excuse me." At x's house, @ follows with, "That's the sign that the tank is full." Ah, the intricacies of dialects.

New Buildings, Well, Suck...

Quick, I saw some open space, stick an empty building in it! Welcome to my pet peeve. Obnoxiously rampant in San Jose -- biz occupancy rates are down, so what are we doing? Building more huge empty buildings! YAY! Open space? BOO! Knock down an empty building to build a bigger empty one! YAY! The article by Jennifer Berry that got me all riled up and feeling green? The Greenest Building The environmental cost of commercial construction = huge. And knocking down something just to put a new one up -- even worse. And even if the new construction is "green" -- the total environmental and economic costs are massive. How massive? I've cribbed some nifty tidbits from the article below. “The Pew Center on Global Climate Change estimates that 43% of carbon emissions in the United States are attributable to energy used in residential, commercial and industrial buildings, making the building sector the largest source of greenhouse gases in America. This figure does not even i

Why I Walk

Image
This is my sixth year walking for March of Dimes. I walk, speak, and work on behalf of March of Dimes to honor my sons -- the one who has the most amazing laugh in the world and the one who is forever etched in my memory. My sons were born at 26 weeks and weighed less than two pounds each. It was, by far, the most frightening and memorable day of my life. And it was just the beginning of months of heartbreak and fear. @s brother died within an hour of being born. We didn't have time to grieve because we had to be strong and give @ every ounce of our strength and love to help him survive. He was in intensive care for nearly four months, had several surgeries, and spent a year on oxygen after finally coming home. We finally felt confident to celebrate on his second birthday. It took that long just to feel confident that yes, this amazing strong fighter of a kid would get to be a kid. @ is five. This year we celebrated his birthday with a trip to the Academy of Sciences and I de

Lightbulbs at Work

How many stakeholders does it take to change a lightbulb? Can we put the lightbulb in a microsite with really neat flash stuff? How many site strategists does it take to change a lightbulb? Do we still need this lightbulb on the site? What's the customer benefit of the lightbulb? How are the metrics for the lightbulb? What's the drive-to strategy? How many writers does it take to change a light bulb? What do you mean you're changing the lightbulb? Do you know how long I worked on that lightbulb? How many designers does it take to change a lightbulb? Can we make it a candle? Candles are pretty.

Lying, Cheating, and Stealing

May you never lie, cheat, or steal. But if you shall lie, cheat, or steal: ..... steal a kiss ........................ cheat on death .................................................. & ..................................................... lie with someone you love

Energy Credits for Stress?

I had a money-saving thought: If I could convert my workday stress into electricity, I could power the house and still get a credit back from PG&E. Gas, well that's another story. But with the right diet... Wrong diet? So far, 2009 has been the Year of Working My Tailfeathers Off. Yes, it ends in a preposition and you probably had no prior knowledge that I ever had tailfeathers. Well, no way to prove it now because they're gone baby gone. And if they have any sense, they ain't coming back. The big admission: I have a work ethic problem. It's not enough to get the job done. It's not enough to get the job done well. I have to figure out how to make it better. (Somehow this does not apply to cleaning my house...) Yeah yeah. It's not actually the intensity and long hours, though they're part of the equation. And it's not just in the job I get paid to do. But in the cube-dwelling arena, I have made a habit of seeing beyond the task at hand. I'm de

Sleep or Fava Beans? Maybe Both

I have my second sleep study tonight. Last week I put on my jammies, gathered up my blanket and pillow, drove across town and they wired me up like a giant lab rat with: electrodes to measure my brain waves and stages of sleep (there are 3 plus REM) movement sensors on my legs, arms, and parts of my face a heart rate monitor belts on my chest and tummy to measure movement when I inhale and exhale a microphone a nasal cannula a second measuring something or other under my nose an oxygen saturation probe on my finger And then they told me to sleep. Oh, and don't forget the camera on the wall with the circle of little red lights that you can see even without your glasses. All night. They monitor and watch, collect a ton of data, wake you up at 6a, rip off all the wires, tell you basically nothing, and send you on your way. I did sleep off and on. I woke up whenever there was noise in the hallway -- usually to hear someone tell the guy in the room across the hall to roll over or to

A Facebook Duel of Geek Proportions

A recent Facebook update by a friend read: Alex is wondering if anyone can explain in one paragraph how to setup a simple mailto contact form on IIS 6.0 (that doesn' Alt like perl - I normally use FormMail). So, being the snot I have grown to be, I commented back: Kim is wondering if she has ever seen a geekier FB update than this nonsense. Please, next time just put in some unix code and dispense with the formalities of actual words. To which, he replied: Kim, you're right. This is for you: 01001001001000000110001101 10000101101110001001110111 01000010000001100010011001 01011011000110100101100101 01110110011001010010000001 11100101101111011101010010 00000110000101100011011101 00011101010110000101101100 01101100011110010010000001 10110001101111011011110110 10110110010101100100001000 00011101000110100001101001 01110011001000000111010101 11000000101110001000000010 00000100111001101111011101 11001000000111011101101000 01101111001001110111001100 10000001110100011010000110 01010010

Are You Sleepy?

Rumor has it I likely have sleep apnea. I suppose repeatedly ceasing breathing in the middle of the night is not a habit one should cultivate or continue. So off I went to a consult yesterday with a pulmonologist/sleep specialist. Some people are just too serious. You can almost see their thought processes on a LED readerboard above their heads. I am a doctor. I have a form. I am going to ask you questions on the form. I will scrawl the answers in the appropriate spaces. I will not deviate from this path. Then, based on your answers, I will give you a rehearsed speech about the next steps. I will not deviate from the script. Want to make a doctor of this variety really uncomfortable? Use multiple-word answers. WAIT, I have a box for yes or no. I don't want to listen to a sentence, I wan't a monosyllabic response. How serious was this guy? He's asking me if I'm sleepy during the day. I honest-to-goodness involuntarily yawned. In fact, I'd been yawning s

Parisian Burger for Tofu Girl

Image
My (week)daily lunch travels usually take me to the building 3 cafeteria where I fill a compostable plastic container with whole grains, edamame, cucumber, tomatoes, tofu, sunflower seeds, and a bit of soy dressing. There's some variation depending on the veggie selection, but I pretty much have the same thing every day. Yes, because I actually like it. No, really. Every once in awhile, a coworker will catch me eating something from the animal kingdom and react with some surprise that I consume things that used to moo, bok, swim, or otherwise require chasing to catch for use as food. So my absolute glee (yes GLEE) upon receiving an Armadillo Willy's e-mail titled "The Legend Returns" and announcing the return of the Linda's Drive-In Parisian Burger could be quite a shock to some. E-mail marketing sometimes hits the mark. Even to a jaded web marketing chick. You see, the Parisian Burger isn't just a burger. It's nostalgia. It's the one burger plac

No News is Good News

Luke brought me a holiday gift this year... I had to wait to mention it, but I think it's finally safe. I figured I should be cautious. I spent the last few weeks scouring the headlines, google news searching, and otherwise verifying that come next winter, my dog won't be responsible for going way beyond Seuss's Grinch. When we're up in G'town visiting LD , Luke has the run of the woods. No fences, no leash. He patrols the property using the house as his base. A bird -- or for that matter, a moth -- flutters on the other side of the pond and he's off to the races to check it out. He sleeps quite well at night because he spends the days in nearly constant motion -- generally at high speed crashing through the woods, circling the pond, or traversing the driveway. A couple of days after Christmas, while my dad and I were moving random slash piles to burn piles, Luke emerged triumphant from the woods carrying a branch. As my proud pooch approached, I noticed the