Friday, November 30, 2007

NaBloPoMo finale

Going out with a bang, or at least a pop: I thought of two things to blog about today.

Number One...I've written before that the most satisfying and enjoyable activities are usually periodically painful and/or not fun while they are happening, such as training for the triathlon, assigned or contract writing assignments, and school in general.

I hadn't been to school in about two weeks because of illness and holidays, and I was kind of not looking forward to going in today for some reason. I guess I've been feeling overwhelmed by the project that I'm helping with...the bottomless chasm of neuroimaging. But I went, and within a few minutes of the start of the lab meeting, I was totally energized by the discussion, even though it was on area of research I'm not very interested in, relatively speaking. It reminded me that if I decide on a PhD (and I'm moving further in that direction), it will be the most intense, nerve-wracking and intermittently painful and exciting experience, yet I think it will be one of the most satisfying experience I could undertake. (Another grad student recently described her doctorate as "the most humiliating 6 years of my life." Am I sure I want to sign up for that?)

Anyway, it turns out that my previous take on the "pleasure formula" is more widely true for me than I thought. The activities that always seem like fun in the moment (like lounging on the couch all day, watching movies and reading magazines) are not very satisfying. The stuff that is ultimately satisfying is often not entirely fun in the moment, and often there's a big juicy goal to be achieved in the end. I'm sure this outlook is true for other people (Ray believes he's wired the same way), but I'm not sure how common it is. Glad I know this about myself, but geez, it took me long enough!

Number two...I had been adding to a list of potential blog topics for this month, and I only got to a portion of them, mostly because they are only partially fleshed out. Here are the leftovers:

Top 5 favorite Seattle food items: palmier, croissant, bread at De-Lite Bakery, chicken fresh rolls at Tamerind tree, wedge salad at Gordon Biersch, steak/black bean/plaintain/garlic entrée at Mojito, little pizzas at Black Bottle, stout mud pie at Rockbottom, Red Mill cheeseburger,
Baby room décor
Photos of eyes
School, potential research areas
5 inanimate objects I’d take if there were a fire: propeller, glass bowl, Baciu painting, Thinker, tree plate
Lukewarm turned recommendation for Angels in America, the Conversation,
Draft posts
Rejected baby names: Torrance, Ramona,
Upload my Miis
Best gifts I’ve ever given: Russ & Daniel “snakey”, Karis’ wigs, Karsten’s “kitty”,
Poem about
Annoying things: paper towels with patterns,
Music picks
5 talents I wish I had
5 best smells: chlorine,
Sammy photo
Addicting things: online mahjong, Ninja Warrior
August’s fall palette (colors)
Weird expressions: “Kick in the pants” to describe August
The pressure of 8 pm...freetime!
Why do my potluck dishes always go horribly wrong

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why hasn't anyone mention this before?

Ray has said I can pick out some jewelry for birthing a small human -- right on! So after lunch at Lee's with Sheila today, we ducked into Menashe & Sons and browsed around. I saw some earrings I liked, so I asked for help. The sales woman said something like (I'm almost positive):

"So is this a gift for the holidays, Thanksgiving...?"

Um, people get gifts for Thanksgiving? Like, jewelry-gifts?! No way! Maybe I can pitch this idea to Ray so every year I can get gifts worthy of popping out a baby...without the baby-popping part.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Favorite directors

Other new favorites include Mira Nair (The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding) and Marc Forster (Stranger Than Fiction).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Big day

August experienced her first day at the pool today -- and by "day" I mean all of 10 minutes. She seemed to like it, and she even laughed a few times. I could've stayed for hours, but it's probably best to take this a little at a time.

Can't tell you how excited this makes me. I hope she likes the water as much as I do.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Me 1, Dentist 1

Since my victorious trip to the dentist about a year and a half ago, I've been pretty cocky about the state of my teeth. As of today, this era has ended.

I've put off my regular visit for the last several months, and about a week ago, a couple of teeth started bugging me. It began as simple minor achiness on the left side and back of my mouth, both upper and lower. In the last few days the aches have become more persistent and pronounced, like, I can't chew on that side. A good portion of my left jaw is sore too.

Before examining the problem area, the hygientist had some major work to do to clean things up. Apparently those darn pregnancy hormones can do a number on your teeth. (I'm beginning to wonder what can't be blamed on pregnancy hormones.) Then the dentist came in to have a look. After having me bite on that weird carbon paper, looking at my x-rays, and having a poke around, he declared he didn't know why I was having this type of pain. After more or less ruling out good old TMJ teeth grinding, his best guess: I've got "pulpitis" -- which sounds like a made-up diagnosis to me -- and if correct, the inflammation and pain should decrease over the next week.

Meanwhile, it's hurting like a mofo, enough that I had to interrupt dinner to suck on frozen bits of mango. Ugh, this better get better soon.

The good news cavities!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Project for...someday

Just completed my first round of Christmas shopping this evening, which means I've been nooddling with my computer for an hour or two. Somehow I got sidetracked with a baby clothing idea, i.e. August needs a dress with the Union Jack on it. I dug around all over the internet to no avail (though I did buy some Union Jack Babylegs). Jana, this is right up your alley: maybe I can find a Union Jack iron-on, and then a simple cotton dress on which to adhere it. I'll add it to my list of 411 things I'd like to get to this decade!

Speaking to make the apple pie I intended to make Wednesday night.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The perfect gift

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pumpkin pie needs its 'just desserts'*

I can't believe I've just now figured this out: pumpkin pie is underrated. Sure it gets a spectacular honor as the dessert of choice at Thanksgiving, but is this favorite only desirable one day out of 365? I admit I take pumpkin pie for granted as I rarely eat it except for Thanksgiving. This year that's going to change. It's just too damn good for an annual sampling.

When I made pumpkin pie on Wednesday night, I had a little left over pumpkin. I threw in the spices and what was left of the evaporated milk and other ingredients. I baked it in little ramekins next to the big pie for nearly as long. They came out more like little custards, and they were really delish, not to mention easy. Must do this again soon, like even later this weekend.

All in all, I guess I have to hand it to Starbucks for coming up with a seasonal pumpkin pie-inspired drink (Ray's beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte). Pumpkin pie is really best all through the fall and part of the winter. Maybe it should be my cold weather alternative to ice cream. (Well, maybe that's going too far.)

* I looked up the phrase 'just desserts' and found it's actually 'just deserts', which doesn't sound right, but uses a little known meaning of desert. Who knew. But it's cuter here wrong.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

red wine - white turkey meat - gravy - dark turkey meat - mashed potatoes - cornbread stuffing - green salad - yams - pumpkin pie

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Day 21

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Frickin' A, People!

Today marks the 97th dog rescue undertaken by one or both members of our household (I think I've only blogged about Rescue #1). I finally got out for a Bob walk with Sam, and a dog who's always on a lead in a yard on the next block got loose. Thankfully this is a really friendly dog, so I didn't have a scary baby/Sammy/crazy dog incident.

So, I went up to the door and knocked loudly. No answer. I tried to re-tie the broken lead. No luck. The dog seemed interested in staying near the house, so I decided to keep walking and come back and re-knock in a few minutes.

The dog followed me, and luckily I ran into a neighbor of his. The guy was nice enough to come back to the house with me and pound on their door a few more times. Then he stayed with the dog while me and my menagerie went home to get a leash. I came back and tethered the dog to the porch.

"I hope he doesn't chew through that."

"Yeah, me too."

Dear world: If you are going to adopt a dog, please be remotely decent doggie parents and keep them from getting loose*. And for god's sake, get some kind of tags for them!

* There is one exception to this rule. You know who you are, Lupe!

Which turkey is bigger?

Monday, November 19, 2007

On the 37th day of Christmas

Woohoo! New washer and dryer delivered today! The delivery people couldn't get them to stack properly, so someone else is coming out Friday to do that, which means that not only do we have the luxury of new quiet and energy-efficient appliances, but we get some new storage space in our closet-challenged house. I couldn't be more pleased!

But why, I ask you, do I always have a bra or two drying in plain view when service people come to install something and not realize it until they've gone? And why do these guys always wear more than their share of cologne? I think it's the strong smells they bring with them that sets Sammy off more than anything else.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Adventure Sunday

I have done virtually nothing all day today, since August has not kept anything down since early this morning. This is a little alarming as a) she doesn't spit up generally and b) she is not a complainer, so we can't tell if she's feeling bad or not. I'm sure it's probably nothing, but it's a little funky when your 3-month-old hasn't fully digested anything in almost 10 hours.

So painting went out the window, as did a trip to the gym, and other plans for the day.

Off topic: Here's another old drawing from a few years ago...apparently a study tool from some class I've now pretty much forgotten. Good sign for next year, eh.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sammy's butt

Sammy's butt is a magnet for freshly painted surfaces. She loves to lay down in places where she can lean again still-damp paint. First it was the wall paint, and today the trim. Thankfully, the grooming wipes we have on hand work pretty well on wet paint and black fur.

Rainy Saturday

I am looking forward to getting some rainy day activities done today:

1. painting some trim in the living room
2. digging around journal article databases on a couple research topics
3. baking!

I'd also like to take a Bob walk with Sammy, but this wet stuff has to stop first.

Friday, November 16, 2007


August had her first experience with a babysitter tonight, and I was excited to have her with a Mexican family for some Spanish-immersion. Watching a baby girl was apparently a thrill for the parents and their two little boys. "She is a beautiful baby! We just sat around her and looked at her."

I think August has a new fan club. And I think her new sitters have some fans too.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Handy gizmo

We get an extraordinary number of annoying phone calls, from market researchers, charitable organizations, companies selling stuff, politicians leaving recorded messages (during election season anyway). It doesn't seem to make any difference that we are on the Do Not Call lists.

So Ray ordered this handy little device for less than $10! -- the Zenith EZ Hang-up. When you pick up a call you don't want to continue, you press the little button and hang up, rather than interrupt the person and ask them to take you off the list and have them (amazingly) try to talk you out of it. There is something very satisfying about hanging up on them while they listen to a recorded message, repeated once so there's no question:

"[ding-ding] I'm sorry, this number does not accept this type of call. Please regard this as your notification to remove this number from your list. Thank you."

(Ding-ding is the sound it makes at the beginning of the message, not the cute pet name we have for the people on the other end, as fitting as it may be.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Everyone is sick

My cold is nearly history, but both August and Ray are in the thick of it. Everyone is at home today, wearing pajamas. Miraculously, August is still smiling and laughing despite the coughing, sneezing and runny nose. And Ray is still working.

Speaking of sick, here's a weird thing: you know how music can bring you back to a specific time, place and feeling? Well now, when I listen to cds I bought during the first few months of pregnancy, I feel ill. Don't get me wrong, they're good albums, but because I was feeling pretty queasy for a few months there, I instantly recall that nausea when I listen to Regina Spektor, Michael Franti and the latest Shins. It's a bummer because I'm not really inclined to listen to those albums even though I like them.

Can you tell I have not much in the way of blog post ideas...again. I feel like I'm barely coasting through NaBloPoMo. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New template

What do you think? I finally updated to the latest version of Blogger, and spent a good hour or two messing with the html to get it the way I want it. Sort of. I may keep playing with the format a bit when I get the time.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Paint files

I did this a few years ago, based on a guy I saw at the coffee shop. I didn't like it at the time, but now I kinda do.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Note to Book Publishers

In the future, please consider not using teaser quotes like...

"...brings the final curtain down with a satisfying wicked twist..."

...on the covers of your novels. I spent the whole book (The Cottagers, Marshall N. Klimasewiski) guessing about the twist at the end, coming up with some pretty interesting theories, only to be let down by an ending that was not satisfying, not wicked, nor even unexpected. I really liked this book, but a teaser like that is just a set-up for a let down.

Songs for Sunday

Sunday has its own soundtrack. This has been true for years. Maybe it started when I was a kid, and Sunday was marked by going to church in the morning. Music, those Sundays, consisted of C89's gospel show while getting ready for church, the traditional and contemporary hymns while at church, Sunday school songs at Sunday school, and then hearing my brother practice riffs on his guitar in the afternoon.

The soundtrack these days is much different, and I can hardly say it's been informed by those Sundays from childhood. It has, however, not changed much in the last 10-15 years.

- Classic rock, especially Led Zeppelin
- U2
- Classical, like Mozart's Requiem
- Jazz, like Chet Baker
- Ill-titled 'adult contemporary' stuff, like Sarah McLaughlin, Patty Griffin, Neko Case (I'm not saying these artists misnamed their songs, but rather the whole category title, i.e. 'adult contemporary' seems silly and dumb.)
- And overall melancholy mixes, like what appears on the Garden State and Elizabethtown soundtracks

Music that is NOT Sunday:
- Hip hop, like Kanye West
- Reggae (definitely for Saturdays)
- Latin, like Tito Puente
- 80s music, like flashback weekends on the radio
- Fun-loving indie rock, like the Shins

Saturday, November 10, 2007


It's been a week now since I started feeling sick. I feel better, I guess, but not much. Hacking, rattling cough. Stuffed sinuses, runny nose. General ugh. Today Ray woke up with a sore throat. It'll be a miracle if August stays healthy, but so far so good.

We are going to distract ourselves today by going to Fry's and looking at cameras, dvds, and gadgets for Christmas. Plus Ray needs to buy a hard drive.

Friday, November 9, 2007


I really have nothing to say.

Dinner last night was neither Buffalo, nor wings. But it really did "taste like chicken!"

We got a new dishwasher, installed yesterday. It's like Christmas came early!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What I wish I would've known

I was thinking last night about labor and delivery, more specifically about coping with the pain. I've described it to several people by saying it's like it wasn't really me doing the work. When it got really bad, it's as if someone else came in, took over, and I kind of sat around nearby flipping through a magazine. That person really worked hard and endured some hellacious pain, so I'm very grateful she was available for the occasion. (Bertha, was that you?)

I'm betting that those labor and delivery books I read ahead of time said something about pulling from special coping stores to get through this experience, but I don't remember it. Obviously the same thing happens when most of us (maybe all of us) are in a really traumatic or difficult situation and we do something miraculous to get through it. It bothers me (maybe even offends me, though I'm not sure why) when people say "Wow, I could've never done what s/he did" about experiences like this, like when someone heroically performs CPR, or stands up during a violent crime, or beats cancer with a great attitude. Chances are they can, and probably will do something similar if faced with such a situation. In those moments, there doesn't seem to be any choice, and we get to access this incredible innate coping fuel, a secret stash only available at these times to see us through.

My sister-in-law is having a baby in a few months. I'm going to tell her about this aspect of my experience. I wish someone had told me (or that I would've listened!) as it would've alleviated a lot of my worry about dealing with very intense pain. And I bet Bertha will be back for an encore should I need her, one way or another.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

3 months

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Why is it

Why is it that things I find fun are usually dull to most people and completely useless? For instance, when I made that plaid pattern for my last post -- totally fun. Am I a MSPaint nerd? Geek? Or dweeb? There must be a word for someone who has mediocre skill at something unremarkable. Linguaphiles, get back to me.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Warning labels

I'm fighting a cold and not feeling like posting today, but I'm only a few days into NaBloPoMo, so no way I can stop now.

Here's a stupid thing: The Bumbo chair was recently "recalled." We'd heard rave reviews about this thing from other parents, as it helps babies sit up earlier than they can do so on their own, and they really like this. But some stupid parents did not use their common sense OR read the labels on the packaging and the chair itself and decided it was a good idea to use the chair on an elevated surface, like a COUNTERTOP. What the eff were they thinking! So of course a few kids have fallen out of the chair and endured some serious head injuries from the fall from that height. And these parents are suing the company.

The company is recalling the chairs so they can add a warning sticker to it, since apparently the molded-on warning and and statements on the packaging and instruction booklet that say virtually the same thing are not enough for some people.

I have historically not read warning labels. They say stupid things like: Toaster "Do not insert metal objects into heating mechanism" and Anti-Itch Cream "Do not ingest" and Car "Do not attempt to enter or exit vehicle while moving." Now that I have a wee human counting on me, I've started to read warning labels on things. For the most part, baby-related warning labels are both obvious and inspire some vivid worries about the absurd. Like August's bassinet came with a big warning on the side of the fabric that said something about watching out for baby not to get stuck between the mattress and side of bassinet. Looking at the thing I can't imagine how this would happen, but I'm sure it has happened once or twice, miraculously, and since the parents sued the company, they now have to post a warning about both the obvious and the inconceivable.

Anyway, we will be keeping our Bumbo chair. And we won't be using it on the kitchen counter, though maybe she'd enjoy sitting in it while riding on the hood...

Just after I posted this, I walked into the living room where Ray was feeding August and watching a show where a guy on a motorcycle is trying to jump a school bus after setting himself on fire.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Today's project

Who am I kidding. Painting the living, dining rooms and hallway is really this month's project, or maybe even this fall's project. As for today, I'll try to get the hallway and at least one wall in the living room done, including white trim.

We picked the middle color, "Flour Sack White." Sounds so elegant, eh. It was the most pleasant regardless of lighting changes. The other two got a little funny looking depending on time of day.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Weird dream

This was my dream last night: Ray and I were woken up in our house (but actually a house I've never seen before) by a intruder. Ray heard a strange noise and we both got up to investigate. While we were looking around and peering out windows, a tallish, lanky guy walked into the living room.

"Who are you and what the hell are you doing here?!" I said.

"Just give me the equivalent of what you pay each month for your mortgage, and I'll be on my way," he replied.

"Like hell we will!" I said, and jumped him. Never underestimate someone with experience with and unresolved issues surrounding break-ins.

We found some twine and tied the guy up. I wondered if he was bound too tightly, but was so furious it was all I could do to keep from pummeling him to a pulp. We called 911, and I breathlessly told them the situation and our address.

A little while later, while I was still struggling to keep him from escaping, the police arrived. Actually, it wasn't really the police but this Swedish woman who was like a police apprentice, intern or volunteer. Apparently our break-in didn't warrant the real police initially, so she was there to do triage until an officer showed up.

She took the perp to another room to ask him some questions. Apparently he had a sympathetic story and somehow managed to cut his back and then woefully blame me for wound. He was charismatic enough that by the time she was done with him, she was blaming me for my cruelty. "But he's the one who broke in here demanding money! He's done that to himself!" She didn't believe me.

Meanwhile, more people began to show up at the house. Strangely, this guy was actually someone I had met at a party some years back, and was a friend of an acquaintance. His group of friends (who I knew) came to see what the ruckus was all about, and were alarmed by his panicked pleas and the accusations that I had accosted him.

After a while, the media arrived to cover the story. By this time the guy had tried to escape a few more times, managed to inflict several more deep wounds to blame on me, but somehow no one noticed but me. He had also worked himself into such a state that he had regressed to about a 7-year-old -- he literally behaved as if he'd dissociated back to childhood. I could no longer tell if this was real or an act.

Regardless, this was fascinating to the media. The TV reporters' solitary focus was the drama of this distraught young man who found himself at the wrong place at the wrong time. The house was now so full of people and camera crews, I couldn't even get to the police officers, who'd finally arrived, at the other side of the house.

Then I woke up. The end.

Funky, eh. For those of you into dream interpretation, enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

First day NaBloPoMo

We had 76 trick-or-treaters this year, down 2 from last year. Kids seemed extra polite this year, which is always nice.

I wasn't really sure what August's costume was, but her Nana said, "She's a menehune (a hawaiian fairy), of course." I think she's probably right.