Sunday, December 23, 2007

sarangi


My fingering isn't perfect in this pic. But anyway.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

still gone.

drove to the county animal shelter today, talked to the neighbors, posted on craigslist, checked the online 'founds' at the humane society and the biggest animal hospital.

it is wrong that i got a crush on another cat while i was checking out the found kitties? feels too soon, but he wanted to play and he had orange eyes. bea had a blast looking at an entire room of kitties. i felt so sad, knowing that most of them probably wouldn't have anyone coming to look for them.

according to the movies, she should have shown up at the door either when i was packing bea and the stroller and the cat carrier into the car to go to the shelter, or right when we got back, or right after i talked with all the neighbors. damn lyin' movies.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

cassie

she's missing.

i've had this cat for nine years. only a few months shorter than the length of my marriage.

she's gone missing on us once before, when we moved to portland, and she decided to hang out in the neighboring overgrown yard for a couple of days. but we've been in this house about a year now, so there should be no disorientation.

i came back from music lesson last night, read my son a couple of chapters, and settled with my own book before drifting off to sleep. i didn't get to ask my husband if he had sent her out for the night - a source of squabble, as i've never believed it to be safe, but the cat has never believed in letting us sleep through the night, either. i would be the one getting my nose or toes chomped around 3 am, while my husband simply couldn't stand the mewing or clawing to get into our bedroom if she was shut outside our room at night.

i noticed yesterday that she was walking gingerly up the stairs like an old cat. she's at least 11, and tiny. we don't know her true age as she was an adult when we adopted her. she hadn't been acting sick, but she had seemed to need more time with me after the kids had gone to bed recently.

even tj seems a bit put off, as if he's trying to ask where she is even though they were hardly buddies. he's had many a nose-swack from her in the mornings, idling for space at the breakfast bowls. the rest of the time, they ignored each other.

i hope i open the door to get the paper tomorrow and find her. i've checked the animal shelter's online lost and found, and unless she made it to gresham, she isn't there. also checked the major animal hospital, and craigslist. the number of lost pets on craigslist in just one day made my heart break a little. i have searched all the hidden nooks in the house, hoping that if she has passed, she found a comfortable space and slept until she couldn't wake.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How did I not know


... that John Larroquette is now on Boston Legal?

Strikingly white-haired now, but you'll always be Dan Fielding to me....

Thursday, December 06, 2007

bibliofantasy

noun: something you've always wanted to see in print, but it doesn't exist.

usage: "I did recently check out a history that is exactly in the area I was researching, and noticed that most of the secondary material cited in the book postdates my graduate studies. This is kind of a bummer, because if I had finished my thesis, it likely would have been cited in it. As a library geek, it's always been a little bibliofantasy of mine to be cited."

Monday, December 03, 2007

"It's wicked cold!"

A few days in New England trained my son well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

learned to do / to learn to do

recently i've been exploring jewelry making more, and music. and now i'm starting to develop a check-list in my head of things i'd like to dabble in:

- there's a few quilting shops around here with great fabrics. i just want to find a nice, simple tunic pattern and whip some up in the spring.

- more jewelry making techniques. after thanksgiving we're dedicated to gettin the garage in order, which include machine shop space, and i want to use what i've learned and expand. here's what i made on my first go-round:



- scent. while i've been having some fun going up to a custom-scent body products shop not far from my house, i'm curious to see what i could come up with on my own. i don't know if i really have the patience, though - mix up a batch, wait six weeks, see if it needs chucking or tweaking...

Friday, November 09, 2007

150

i did a bit of exercise on a regular basis for a while (hello again, Denise Austin!), and my weight went below 150 for the first time since Bea was born.

then i had a crazier than usual week, and i forewent getting up at 6 to follow along with the previous day's tivo'd exercise show (denise is on at the same time as curious george, and i'll never win that battle. plus 7 is just a little too late - i have to do it before the kids are up.) so this morning, i'm at exactly 150.0 lbs.

seems like some kind of sign to get moving, or admit defeat.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

busy.

hella.

i coulda sworn i was posting about easy-going, not-much-happenin' days. over and done with, apparently. i've been taking an insane number of classes - music, jewelry-making. got to meet ram narayan's son, who gave an amazing sarod concert. (oh and oh. it turns out my original sarangi teacher in pune was good friends with his dad. and he put a blessing on little bea's singing head, and said he'd be at her first concert. cloud 9 stuff for me.) have been asked to participate in a music performance in december, and to prepare a demonstration on sarangi for several classes in nathan's school. also been asked to be the 'professional guest jew' for hannukah in nathan's classroom. got a new responsibility at work, which i'm really enjoying - collection stuff, which i haven't really had under my belt before (i get to buy stuff! woohoo! you know they like you at work when they let you play with their money.) oh, and my kids. are awesome. boo is all about the halloween. and somehow i turned 'hey let's trick or treat together' with some of his friends into 'hey let's have dinner at my place, then go trick or treating.' trying to exercise regularly, since two people during one weekend asked me when i'm due. (!!!!) trying to be busy making more knitted jewelry for friday, but i'm typing this instead. meeting up with a couple of perfume people thursday. my hands hurt.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

welcome to the boys' sangeet club

i spent three evenings over the weekend in a raga singing workshop with pandit pran nath's disciple, terry riley. (wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Riley)

riley is also an experimental musician in his own right, having played with tape loops since the 50s. but this workshop was purely indian music. he'd give us a little bit of the raga, a bit more, and a bit more, until about an hour later we'd have the whole composition.

there were certainly things to be gleaned from this: that there is a certain pattern of ascent and descent, and that the same 'note' may be quite different depending on how you're approaching it. it felt like the note could be considered to have a range, started just above the note below and ending just at the tail of the note above. pran nath apparently believed that a note would be different from raga to raga.

the group in the workshop comprised of about 20. it was mostly guys. at least half of the women who were there practice singing or chanting as a devotional, and were looking to expand their range. many of the people there were also instrumentalists - several tabla players, and one guy who had just returned from tuva with a lovely folk stringed instrument and a penchant for throat singing. (amazing post-workshop jam between that and tabla!)

i've already found that i'm using what i learned in my sarangi playing, even though i haven't had a lesson since the workshop. my sarangi instructor is also a student of pran nath, so she's looking forward to working on the ragas with me.

one thing i realized, though, is that although i've been wanting to play music with someone, i'm hesitant to just call someone from the workshop and work with 'em. because it's likely to be a guy. and there was definitely a feeling of being in a guys' club during the workshop. toward the end, someone asked terry for an anecdote about pran nath, and he wasn't able to just spit one out - so he said that two of the men at the workshop were also pran nath's students and could also be asked. my instructor had to pipe up that she was pran nath's student too - and we were all in her house at the time.

so.... still just me, the sarangi, and the buddha machine for right now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

someone come to my house

and show me how to use Garage Band.

The Apple shops all offer the GB classes from 3-4 PM, which doesn't work when one has a kid to pick up from school.

I have been messing around with my sarangi and a Buddha Machine, and wrote a little melody to play over one of the loops. I'd like to develop it further, but I realize what my problem is:

The hours of 10 pm - 12 am are about the only reliable time I have with my hands free. In this time, I am trying to: knit a sweater, make jewelry, read, play music, and actually talk to my husband. Unfortunately, I while away a chunk of this in front of this very computer screen, too.

Someone come to my house, and sew me on some extra arms.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

there are toast marks on my back

i was grilled for over an hour by a scientologist at the reference desk today.

a lot of the answers had to do with explain what our policies were regarding collections, cooperative borrowing, donations, and various fine points about the catalog and how it organizes results. and then, after literally AN HOUR of this, he wants to know how the dewey decimal system is broken down.

"you don't have a handout you can just give me?"
"nope."
"they don't teach dewey in schools anymore. they just teach politics."
(not rising to the bait on that one.)
"why don't you have a handout?"
"because most patrons come to this desk looking for a particular author, or title, or subject. and i help them get it."
"what if they want to browse?"
"usually they still want a subject area to browse in."
"so i'm a freak of nature?"
"you're one of the more curious patrons we've had in."

other parts of the exchange included explaining that we don't take donations if the donor specifies the book has to become part of the collection, and that just because our branch is big, we may not have all the material on scientology he thinks we should have, but we will get it from other branches. why don't we have it? because there are six other copies of this book in county, and none of them are checked out, and we don't get many requests for it at our branch. therefore, there is an adequate supply.

i kept my cool, but i'm totally drained. i hope to g-d he doesn't come back in tomorrow.

i know that i should not have spent that much time on one patron. i did interrupt him when other patrons came to the desk and i told him i would do so. i do have a fear that patrons with agendas like that are looking for an opportunity to have a problem with how they are treated and to scream discrimination.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

loneliness

now that boo has gone back to school, it has hit me.

i am mindnumbingly, soulstompingly lonely. moving twice in two years, and staying home all week with a baby has finally gotten to me.

i was really looking forward to connecting with some of the parents at boo's new school, and it isn't happening. not only is it not happening, but at a coffee morning last week, i actually felt quite snubbed. i looked around the room and saw that everyone had gotten paired off into conversation, except me. someone had started talking with me, and before i could even respond fully, she gave me the 'uh-huh' nod had turned to someone else. i waited for about 8 minutes, and left without saying anything further. i am now avoiding people in the halls.

i barely see my neighbors, and i'm feeling awkward around a couple of them anyway. next door, we had given them a wedding present that they have yet to verbally acknowledge - which is all i'm looking for, i don't expect a written thanks - and across the street, we made them sorbet out of the cherries they brought over before their month-long trip out of town, so they wouldn't miss their own fruit. i mean, just tell me if you liked it. or return my tupperware. or something.

i'm basically crying a lot, and anything tips me over right now. i hold myself together long enough to get boo into his classroom, and to pick him up and spend the afternoon with him, but that's about it.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Beach day!




This was the Sunday before school started. We just took it as a day trip. Cannon Beach's hotels were entirely full, so it was just as well.

Bea got a chance to put her toes in the sand, and I held her above the water (too cold for baby toes). Boo flew a kite and felt quite masterful by the end of the day.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

deeeep breath

boo's first day in his new school went fine. for some reason, the school system tried to knock him out of his class, but his teacher was prepared for him to show up. or, semi-prepared: his desk was waiting in the hallway. he doesn't seem too put out by being in a roomful of kids who mostly know each other already.

the small amount of people-watching i did during pickup and dropoff was fun. it was like being in a hallway of my clones. i feel a tad bit pigeonholed.

dad's surgery was delayed by an urgent case that his surgeon worked on this morning. this made me fret for a bit until i got more news - one prefers a fresh, non-tired doc working on your folks. however, by 9 pm EST, surgery was done, and all went well. it took longer than expected, but went well.

boo also did well at his tabla lesson today. he was really dreadful during some of the summer sessions - he did not like having to wait for my sarangi lesson. when we drove to his teacher's, he had fallen asleep in the car. this is usually a sign that i'm in for a lot of protests and tears. there was a bit, but i simply told him we were there for his lesson and he was to do it. i stayed in the other room (he acts up a bit if i'm watching) and it sounded like one of his better sessions.

i took a long walk with bea in her jogging stroller this afternoon. i was surprised at how out-of-shape i had become. i tried on jeans last night and felt awful about finding myself a size 14. there are boxes and boxes of size 8s and 10s in our garage and closets, and i want to be in those clothes again.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

favorite thing



Bea loves thumbpiano!

bullet points (non-violent version)

- Boo has another wiggly tooth. He's also willingly gone to the dentist to have a couple of front teeth repaired. When he was little, he refused to go to sleep without a bottle. This left him with cavities. I knew they needed repairing but was scared of the process - the dentist we went to in Manassas wanted him to go to a specialist, and I had a grave fear of having him go through a major procedure and anesthesia. We have a dentist on our block here, so we went in for a cleaning. They told us that the affected teeth will likely fall out in the next year, and that the roots had formed a hard protective layer around themselves. Fixing them was mostly cosmetic, and I let Boo make the decision to have it done. His smile looks a lot better. I'm happy for him, it will be nice to start school at yet another new place with a better smile.

Sub-points: Yes, the bottle was a major argument between Boodad and me at the time. I pointed out that giving him milk after he brushed his teeth negated the benefits of brushing. I am shaking my head about this now - why didn't I just take over bedtime? Even if it was the only time Boo really got with his dad. Thankfully, these haven't been issues with Bea - neither the bottle, or the lack of dad-time.

- While Boo is losing teeth, Bea is gaining! Two little stubs on the bottom. She doesn't seem bothered by them, but I do get the occasional wicked chomp.

- I am not a good ukulele player. Not even passable. Boggles me that I can play sarangi, but not this.

- I think I've gotten my perfume ya-yas out for a while. It can become a ridiculously expensive quest, and I find it puts me very much into immediate gratification mode. This compounds the expense, as I have samples on order but still go out to sniff things in stores because I really want to smell something new, now. I like having a wardrobe of scents to chose from as part of getting dressed. But I don't want to end up on a never-ending ultimate scent quest.

- I do like perfume because perfume doesn't care if I can't lose the babyweight. And it is more pleasant to smell like Eau d'Whatever than Whiff o'Babypuke.

- Yes, we're looking forward to school starting. But I'm feeling a little guilty about this. Did we have enough fun this summer? Did I take Boo on enough adventures? It has been difficult to feel like I've been fully engaged for Boo while also taking care of Bea. I was looking forward to Boo taking the bus to school, but Boodad reminded me that taking him to and from school was helpful for meeting other parents and being able to interface with his teacher last year. Maybe he'll take the bus there, but I will pick him up.

- Once school starts, I can get Bea in the jogging stroller and move more. Yea! I had been trying to do this in the evenings, but it started getting impossible. Somehow our dinner-to-evening activities got later and later, and I couldn't get the time to myself. Boo would throw a fit about not going with me, and that meant I couldn't move with much speed.

- Later this month, I will be taking a three-evening raga class with Terry Riley. I'm very, very excited. I'm also at a point with the sarangi that I want to do more with it - playing with someone, or learning how to record myself and process it on the computer.

- I have been trying to be involved with the Portland chapter of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, but I have some reservations and obstacles. One is, I can't see what they're doing that is different than other groups. The goals of the national movement are kind of amorphous to me, and there is not much online presence from other chapters to make idea-sharing easy. Another obstacle is a guy in the group who gives me incredibly bad vibes. Exactly the same vibes from a damaging exboyfriend. I don't like being in the room with him. I ran into him at the grocery store, and he didn't acknowledge me but I still got bad vibes. Eugh. And perhaps the biggest obstacle is a heap of passive aggression from Boodad, who will inevitably be late home if I have a meeting.

- Just realized this morning that the High Holy Days are right around the corner. Still haven't templeshopped yet, and I don't like doing it right before the holidays. I also don't feel a huge compulsion this year, which is very unusual for me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Uke!



I gots myself a beautiful bright blue ukulele today. And a book of mildly cheesy classic songs. I'm plinking my way through 'Daydream Believer' right now.

Wheeee! Boo is more than a tad jealous, even though he got a new guitar today too.

Monday, August 20, 2007

btw, boing boing

dear boing boing,

please start tagging your posts. it drives me bonkers when i remember reading about an interesting book on your site, and can't remember any identifying information about it. readers have to scroll back through to whatever day it was posted on - and sometimes i don't remember exactly what day that was. having tags like 'book' 'science fiction' would be helpful.

yeah, i could set up a del.icio.us account just to do this, but for pete's sake. the place that pimped 'everything is miscellaneous' should be into doing some tagging, right?

full, full day

i worked a bit today, but not at my regular reference duties. i got to help with a program featuring a local author and Holocaust survivor. i've been used to seeing fairly low turnout at adult library programs, but this one was amazing. we had over 100 people, who stayed in rapt attention, despite the building's failed air conditioning.

i have heard Holocaust survivors speak before, and it always humbles me when i meet one by chance. i don't want to think i'm immune to hearing about the horrors. but i stood toward the back of the room, wondering if there was a portion of the crowd there for the 'horror porn' part of it. much in the way there are always readers for those 'a boy called it' books. this speaker had much to say about how the smallest shred of compassion could yield yards of hope. i am hoping that listeners took home that message.

right after i got home, we bundled out and headed to the india festival in the center of the city. lots of food, music, dancing. i think earlier in the day they may have had some events that boo would have been able to participate in, but i think he had fun. i surprised a couple of people with my mad hindi-speakin' skillz. (har.) however, did not locate somewhere to obtain mad malayalam-speakin' skillz. oh well. did obtain a sari, salwar kameez and bangles - and got bea some baby bangles - because sometimes i have to go to indian music events.

while watching boo stride about, i wondered at what point i could even begin to explain the Holocaust to him. the idea of him knowing that humans could be so horrible disturbs me. he's too young. and once he knows this, he can't be so young anymore.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mind the gap

Boo has lost his first tooth!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

blipvert!

Boing Boing has a post featuring two iconoclasts shillin' for da man. But yippedy skippedy, BB'er David Pescovitz terms the Burroughs spot a "blipvert!" Ah, I can almost smell the ZikZak.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Staring contest



Whose eyes are bigger?

My perfume history

This is in response to the question, "Do you believe in a 'holy grail' fragrance?". Yes, I've gotten obsessed with this to the point that I've joined two perfume-specific webboards.

My take on this is kind of backwards, I guess:

I was introduced to 'real' scents sometime in high school, when I was given a couple of minis of Paloma Picasso. Kind of ridiculously strong for a 15-yr-old even in the 80s, but it's always been the scent I compare everything else to - even if I'm looking for something quite the opposite in character.

I've had several scents that lasted for long periods of my life: Feminite de Bois when I was a few years older, Red Door in college (until a housemate made it her signature too), I can't remember what I wore in grad school but probably couldn't afford much. I somehow found a spray bottle of Joy in Marshall's just before I got married, and after we moved to a metropolitan area, I wore Robert Isabell's Calla and By by D&G. I collected oodles of things from Duty Free shops (Diorever, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ultraviolet, Patou For Ever) on a couple of visits to family in England, and would buy something from time to time (Casmir, Amor Amor) but didn't feel settled with one particular scent.

The area that we lived in had pretty bad air quality, and my sinuses suffered. I would have to go for long stretches wearing nothing. I also worked in an environment where scent was not tolerated.

I eventually wound up having a septoplasty to relieve my poor old sinuses, and my sense of smell vanished for about a month. It was really unnerving, how many pleasures this took away - food in particular. Once it came back, I looked for something gentle to wear every day, and chose Clarins' Par Amour Toujours.

But now, we have moved, I've had a second baby, and my 30s are waning. PAT feels too young to me, and I went back to 'something like Paloma Picasso, but not so strong' for my new scent. I'm very happy and will likely wear Premier Figuire Extreme most days (good grief, I will be known here as "that PFE girl" if I mention it again!), but there's just too much out there to say that's the only one for me. And there will always be a rounded bottle with a black sillouette on my dresser!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My busy, busy nose

So.... got some samples from online retailer luckyscent.

The first shipment of the samples got lost in the mail (I suspect there is a very nicely scented postal worker somewhere in Portland!), and the company graciously resent. In the meanwhile, I visited the Perfume House, which was an amazing experience in itself. I sampled and sniffed away and walked out as the delighted new wearer of L'Artisan's Premier Figuire Extreme. I have never, never spent so much on a bottle. I had fallen for it before I found out the price.

The samples that arrived afterwards seem disappointing in comparison - which I'm happy about, since I've made my major perfume purchase and don't want to find something else right away.

First up: Pilar and Lucy's Tiptoeing through the Chambers of the Moon. This line gives cute names to everything. And, of course, most of the notes are "secret", but supposedly include amber and tuberose. Well, let me divulge the "secret." THIS SMELLS LIKE A BIG O' BOTTLE OF VANILLA, with nothing else.

I do not enjoy feeling like a walking cupcake. I scrubbed it off my wrists.

Second: Maitre Perfumeur et Gantier - Or des Indes. I think I was interested in this because I was also interested in Patou's new scent, Sira des Indes - unfortunately, too sweet on me. This isn't sweet, and does indeed bring back memories of the air in India. Liked it for the top and middle. The endnote, however, smelled like flat patchouli on me.

I have a few more samples to go through, but they'll have to wait for another day. I went back to putting on some Figuire. It's got a nice top of fresh fig, with spiciness underneath. It has enough to it to become a dear, personal signature scent.

I'm new to writing about perfume. I hope to make this an occasional topic - although I wonder if my nose can detect enough complexity to put into words.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Parents just left today

I kinda held my breath until I heard from them upon their arrival in Providence.

My dad has some nasty recurring vascular clots in his leg, and he almost had to have surgery on them while here. In a way, I wish he did, because he wasn't able to enjoy as much of this visit and it seemed that the medical treatment he got here (went into the emergency dept of local hospital when the warning signs suddenly popped up again) seemed more indepth than he was getting at home. He wanted to see his surgeon at home, however, and the home doc concurred that if he took it easy, he could wait til then. He sees his doc tomorrow, and will probably be immediately routed for another surgery. His fourth.

I am more than suspecting that he may decide this is his last plane trip. I'm glad it didn't happen while he was in Navajo territory.

After we brought my folks to the airport this morning, we hung out with a friend whose son plays good-n-loud with Boo. Good to see my friend (we had fun collaborating on a piece of jewelry together!), and also good for both Boo and I to not sit at a now-much-emptier home.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

gonna have to watch out for this one

my parents are visiting, which has given me less time to post.

yesterday, i took mom and bea out for some girly fun at a local boutique. boo was quite relieved to stay at home with pa. unfortunately, the owner's little dog barked and scared bea, so it took some time to calm her down again.

after shopping, we went to a bubble tea place to cool off. there, bea decided to flirt with the guy at the next table. he had a bar piercing in the middle of his eyebrow, facial hair, and oodles of tattoos. bea was trying her darndest, but he wasn't interested.

she eventually decided she was more interested in trying to grab my honeydew milk tea. and she got some smiles out of other patrons.

Monday, July 23, 2007

one step forward, skip a step back....

why do all CFL lightbulbs come in plastic packaging? they really aren't any more fragile than traditional lightbulbs, which come in recyclable cardboard. it seems like some kind of silly tradeoff - get the eco-responsible bulbs, leave a heap o' plastic on the planet. manufacturers, change this!

Friday, July 20, 2007

mashup time!




"Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. "

here's where the story ends...


hee hee hee hee. (thanks, dorota!)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

luxury is the pursuit

a couple of observations:

the other day i stopped by uwajimaya, a japanese grocery-and-then-some store in beaverton. unlike the 'global foods' in northern virginia, this is a place to find very high quality produce and other foodstuffs. there is an entire row of imported cookies and candies, tons of spices (not just japanese - i bought some indian chili powder, which is just made of chilis. american chili powder has salt, cumin and some other things in it.), kitchenwares, gift items, bath products, noodles, frozen foods. this place also has a japanese-language book store, and a shiseido boutique. i had a brief food list - yakisoba noodles and some other things - but i stepped into the shiseido boutique.

it's a small white room, where the products are arranged. there are testers. a woman popped out and offered advice, demonstrated a product on my face, gathered what i was shopping for, and included some samples in my bag. shiseido's products have nicely stylized packaging.

it occurred to me that this was much like being in the apple store - simple clean store, demonstrations, salespeople who know the products well, products that are physically attractive as well as highly functional. apple stores need to work well because they are selling higher priced products that have functions that can be found at lower price ranges. much like shiseido and other higher-end cosmetics need to be marketed through the specialized counters with exclusive staff - there's a world of experiential difference between buying that level of product versus picking up face goo from the drugstore. apple needs their buying experience to be a much more satifying one than that found in the lairs of best buy and circuit city.

i'm sure if i read some marketing magazines or books, the analogy's probably been made already. it's likely that apple studied this kind of consumer interaction when designing the stores.


the other thing that's been tempting my time away lately is reading perfume blogs. now smell this and basenotes have addictive amounts of information on them, and i find myself tracking down obscure scents that i hadn't heard of before, but somehow must smell. not that i don't already have a bunch of bottles - it's the tracking down of something new, and wanting to see if the written descriptions match the nose's experience. luckily for me, a number of online perfume stores will sell samples. i tried a couple of the variations on paco rabanne's 'ultraviolet', but didn't like them. a couple of other scents that sounded good online were not pleasant on my wrist. i'm trying a few more from luckyscent - mostly ones i've never heard of before reading these blogs.

the impression i get when reading the blogs and especially the comments on them is that for scenties (just a spin on 'foodies for the perfume fanatics), there is some ultimate perfume out there somewhere, and lots and lots to try out during the pursuit.

i am thoroughly aware that reading about perfume is like dancing about architecture. and that there are a lot more important things to spend time and money on. sigh.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

yes, both of these in one shift at work

patron a: i must have books by (duder) t. (duder). he's a genius. he's an economist, and i hear him on the radio, and he's the only one telling the truth.

me: ma'am, we have books by several duder duders, but none that look like the right person. let me do some more searching.

patron a: i tell you, if the politicians actually paid attention to him, this country would finally be running the right way.

me: ma'am, could it be (duder) _e_ (duder)? he's a professor in the economics department of (blank) university?

patron a: that's him! you mean you don't have his books? it's criminal that you don't have his books.

me: well, his list of publications shows that he last published a book in 1999, and his books are published by small presses and are more likely to be purchased by academic libraries. i can look at multnomah county library's catalog and see if they own any of his works; as a resident of this county you are also eligible for one of their library cards. we don't exchange books with them, but <

patron a: (in disgust) oh no, i won't step foot in that city.

me: your other option is interlibrary loan (followed by explanation of how ILL works). so, you'd like "big huge libertarian book of why governments shouldn't provide any services", correct?

patron a leaves, somehow escaping without becoming engulfed in flames of irony.


patron b: can you help me get online? i need to look something up on the internet.

me: sure, i can get you started. do you have a library card?

patron b: yes.

i get him logged in. the screen shows the internet use policy.

me: this is the internet use policy, it basically states that you can use the computers for one hour per day, the printing will cost ten cents a page, and that there's no online gameplaying or naughty stuff.

patron b: really? you have a policy on that?

me: yes....

patron b: because i always vote against the library levy, because in the news they show people getting playboy on the library computers.

me: perhaps you might want to actually check out what goes on in the library before the next levy comes up, sir.


seriously, i just wonder how these patrons couldn't see the glaring disconnects between what they were purporting to be true, and the fact that they were using a service that they supposedly disagree with on principal.

Friday, July 13, 2007

quality time with another neighbor today

boo was invited to play with our across-the-street neighbor today, and they had a great time sharing time on a swing, making mudpuddles and playing in damp sand. i held bea and got to chat with the mom. it was very nice and relaxing.

between this, last night's wine tasting, and the network of spiritual progressives meeting yesterday evening, i am starting to feel a little more connected. it's been five months-ish since we moved to this house, and 14 months since we moved to portland. for some reason i'd been feeling a little down lately: unconnected, not feeling certain about spilling my guts to anyone, and wondering if i;d become too guarded to spill my guts anyway. or too guarded to *have* guts, and just living a fairly surface-level life.

for someone who is kinda loud, i'm fairly introverted, and i sometimes fear being tolerated versus being truly liked. actually, i feel like much of my awkward childhood/adolescent was in the state of being bemusedly tolerated instead of liked, and when i get a little down i feel like i'm right back there.

having a couple of just nice interactions really helped lift that cloud. now i wonder if that cloud is fairly normal.

drunk. courtesy of the neighbors!

our neighbors landed at our house with 4 bottles of red wine.

this was a planned thing, supposedly to help them choose which wine would be served at their wedding reception.

man am i drunk. and i'm suprised that i liked the cab most of all.

they got to try my ice cream: greg is lactose intolerant, so he had blueberry sorbet, while martina, boodad and i had my newest concoction: rasmalai ice cream!

3 cups heavy cream
2/3 c sugar
12 cardamom pods
pinch saffron
2 tblsp rosewater

heat cream, cardamom pods and saffron until bubbles form around edges of saucepan. stir in sugar until dissolved. cool down, add rosewater, store mix in fridge for at least 4 hours. spoon out pods before putting in ice cream maker. top with chopped pistachios if desired.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

oh noes! my million dollar idea, gone!

when i was in grad school, i had a horribly petty boss at my assistantship. this inspired a great idea, that i never actually brought to fruition:

effigy pinatas.

you contact me and give me a picture of whoever it is who's bugging you, and you get back a customized pinata. great for exes, bosses, politicians, annoying celebs, etc. get your aggressions out, and get candy!

dammit dammit. i should at least grab the domain name if it's available.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

hunt and peck

i'm posting this from our new toy, a nokia internet tablet with a touchscreen. there's a little stylus, and a 'keyboard' automagically pops up when you're in an entry field. it even tries to give you options to complete your words! the keyboard is mostly qwerty with some punctuation marks added in. there's an email client and a media player, and the device runs on linux. no phone, but you could add a webcam with a mini usb connection.

i have been avoiding iphonamania, although i will say i was disappointed to read that the rumored 4th quarter iphone nano is most likely just an analyst's wishful conjecture. i just want my cell phone to sync with mac's ical! and i don't want to pay 500 or 600 for that function. this device, though, is a relatively measly 120, and at that price i can use google's calendar. woohoo!

two hours and two onions later...

i just made dhal and a mushroom/pea/paneer curry for my sarangi teacher's music teacher, Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan.. I'll be running over to deliver the food tomorrow.

He was in the house during our lessons today, and he held Bea for a little while and was cooing and singing to her. Lucky baby!

Monday, July 09, 2007

i blinked...


and now my baby is six months old.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

smoreestas (tm)

chocolate graham crackers
peanut butter
dark chocolate chips
marshmallows

toast marshmallows on grill.

schmeer peanut butter on graham cracker, sprinkle with dark chocolate chips.
sandwich toasty marhmallows between schmeered and plain graham crackers. heat of marshmallows will melt chips and peant butter.



you're welcome.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

if you give a kid a flag....

my son was given a small american flag last night. the fabric is about 5 inches by 4 inches, and it's stapled onto a wooden dowel.

he spent a lot of time today aggressively waving it in my face, and trying to swat me on the bum with it. is this kind of behavior just endemic in the fabric, or what?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

in portland....


dennis kucinich is a rock star!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

carryin' baggage

i love the fact that i can walk to my local freddy's (fred meyers, a grocery store that's almot like a wal-mart without the nausea). but i am going bonkers with how many plastic bags i'm brining in to the house. i have tote bags, but they all seem to have permanent functions right now. so, i went a-webhuntin' for a canvas tote for the grocery store.

decided i wanted an american-made tote.

so, do i go the plain-ol' route, and get an LL bean (made in maine, which suprised me because so much of their clothing is now imported) or - the only candidate i'm interested in who has a tote bag - john edwards?

the thing that's killing me on edwards is $7 shipping for a $15.5 bag. augh!

update: LL bean's shipping is $6. so i ordered the edwards bag, and made a donation to the kucinich campaign.
update 2: and then i get to work, and realize the library foundation sells exactly what i'm looking for, for $10. d'oh! i am now the proud owner of a red one.

Friday, June 22, 2007

house is for sale!

click on the title to get a detailed website.

budding chef

believe me, you'll be glad there are no pics for this.

i cam downstairs after my shower and found that boo had been 'cooking'. the tally includes: 1 whole onion, bag of frozen blueberries, 2 eggs ("i can crack them without getting any shell in the bowl!"), tumeric, dill weed, curry powder, sprinkle topping for ice cream, food coloring, flour, confectioners sugar, culinary lavender, peanut butter, cherry tomatoes, i would guess some water, maybe some milk, mustard seeds, lemon peel, marjoram, and.... god knows what else.

no, he didn't try to eat it, and he didn't ask me to try it, either.

Friday, June 15, 2007

i can has cutebaby

it has occurred to me that while the LOLcat phenom is probably a jumping sharkfest now, it has affected how i babytalk with bea.

'nanners are the yum!' 'is your tireds?' 'do you has the wa-was?'

poor kid, and her poor future teachers who will be undoing mom's grammatical miscues.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

i'm stealing woot's product description

because it's a very nice tribute to don "mr wizard" herbert.

We're Off To Take Pictures Of The Wizard

A glass of water sat on St. Peter’s gold-trimmed marble desk. On the surface of the water sat a small box-like structure, made by folding up the sides of a piece of ordinary window screen. Eyes a-goggle, St. Peter stared in wonderment as the screen boat lazily floated across the water.

“I give up, Don,” St. Peter finally laughed. “Why doesn’t it sink? I mean, the thing’s full of holes! And it’s made of metal! What gives, huh? What gives?”

The new arrival smiled. “You see, all matter is made up of tiny particles called molecules. Molecules are all attracted to other molecules, some more strongly than others, and this attraction is called adhesion. The adhesion of the water molecules to each other forms a kind of ‘skin’ on the water’s surface, which is strong enough to hold up the screen without breaking. This is called ‘surface tension.’ Now, er, if you’ve seen enough, maybe I can go on through the gates-”

St. Peter waved a hand impatiently. “In a minute, in a minute. What’s the hurry, right? Eternity isn’t going anywhere.” With an eager flourish, the white-bearded saint produced a glass milk bottle, a hard-boiled egg, a strip of newsprint, and a match from beneath his gossamer robes. “First, how about the egg-in-the-bottle trick? Please? I’ve never seen this one in person.”
Don sighed a weary sigh. “OK, but take a picture. I’m not going to do this every time you want to see it.”

“One step ahead of you there.” St. Peter turned on his Vivitar 8600s 8.1MP Digital Camera. “Check this Vivitar out – an 8 MP sensor, a 2.8” LCD, and a 6x optical zoom. That’s twice the zoom of your standard camera. Pretty scientific, huh, Don? Ooh, I know! I’ll take a video! The 8600s takes VGA mpeg4 video at 30fps!”

Keeping his opinions about the Vivitar brand to himself, Don started the experiment. He’d done it a thousand times before. Light the strip of paper on fire. Drop it in the bottle. Set the egg on the open neck of the bottle. SHLUP! In goes the egg, fully intact. He couldn’t believe he was running through this banal stunt once again, while all the delights of Heaven waited for him just beyond the gates. But Don’s impatience turned into delight when he saw the awed grin on St. Peter’s face. This was what he’d lived for. So what if I’m dead?, Don thought. Life is temporary. Science is forever.

this makes my brain hurt

commentary by former American Liberry Assn prez Michael Gorman on britannica's web 2.0 blog...


responded to a blog on social sites and linked on boing boing (and now on britannica's blog as well)....


i'm currently reading 'everything is miscellaneous', which deals in part with these very issues. in fact, in one of the beginning chapters it details with britannica's history of trying to find other ways of ordering information, which often made it more obscured in the process.

frankly, i'm embarrassed by gorman's assertions. he hinges his argument on the belief that humans learn either by direct experience, or by direct interaction with teachers, experts or authoratative texts. he feels that the internet encourages non-authoritative and non-expert materials out there. for a discussion that is purportedly about web 2.0 sites, this argument is woefully outdated. i know. i made this argument in liberry school. pre-wiki, pre-blog, and at the very birth of google. and even then, we liberrians-in-training talked about applying bibliographic instruction to web information so that our patrons might have a change in heck of discerning a page with valid info from a crackpot site on the wild, wild web.

however, the very point of web 2.0 is that those sites' claims can be debated and challenged - often on the very site, if not on another that links to it much like a citation index. and while i am not saying that consensus equals truth, the formation of consensus - or the failure to form consensus - is as much a set of information as that of original point being made. metadata! it's a good thing.

a big topic, and i'm giving it short shrift here. i also need to read gorman's second part - a quick glance gives the impression that he's off on a further tear about the non-authorative nature of web 2.0, and calls it 'anti-intellectual', and those who support it are under the sway of 'pop sociology'. i wonder why gorman seems to think that every intellectual exercise needs to follow the structure of scholarly academic tradition.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

all hail his noodly appendage!

had an urge to try making pasta from scratch. which of course meant doing one of my favorite things, buying a kitchen gadget or appliance that can only do one thing. in this case, technically it was two: a hand-crank pasta machine, and a pasta drying rack. a cuisinart was also purchased, which also only does one thing: proves that i'm a big yuppie.



it's a little tricky, and my first batch wasn't particularly elegant, but it was mighty tasty. cuisinart was used to mix dough and to shred cheese. (and to prove that i'm a giant yuppie.)

family pics

what is this, cute overload?



boo entertaining the sister. notice the family funky hair!







yup. they're really like this. unless he's being really goofy, in which case she's giggling like crazy.






it gets even better....

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

buncha pics!



beatrice received an amazing quilt made by my former boss! she's also stylin' in an outfit sent by a former coworker.




one of her favorite toys. okay, i bought it because i liked it, and she eventually decided she likes it too.





helpful big brother! i still have to take a deep breath when he says he wants to help with her, or to cheer her up when she's fussy, but he's really very sweet with her and she absolultely adores him.





the big news: SOLID FOOD!! this is from her first trial of rice cereal. the next day, i mixed some up and took it with us when we went out to dinner. she scarfed it all down, and i had made more than i thought she'd ever eat - and she ate very neatly. i wound up running to the grocery store down the street from the restaurant to get more baby food! she then ate a little jar of pears. the entire jar.

ok, that's a total mom thing to get so excited about. but she really seemed to be a bottomless pit last night.



boo walking after school with one of his best friends. if i had caught them a moment earlier, i would have captured them holding hands.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

buncha little notes

it's back to busy for me. or at least, out of the house most of the day. keeps me outta trouble, or something.

i've been spending a lot of time at boo's school library, and have begun co-planning and presenting the programs for kindergarteners. since the class is large, it is split into two groups, so i'm in there twice a week. (d'oh! just realized that the book fair is tomorrow, and i haven't any cash. oops.) i'm having a blast, and it's a good change from being in there just trying to keep the kids under control to trying to keep the kids engaged. it's making me think that i could swing being a children's librarian after all. school media specialist maayyybeee - but from what i see of jane's day, i'd go bonkers with the constant interruptions and lack of assistance.

i've also gotten back to cooking. we do live in restaurant heaven, but it really hit me one night when my parents were visiting that i'm capable of making most things on a non-ethnic restaurant menu. (my mom ordered an asparagus risotto that was $14.) i guess i've always felt that restaurant food must be more complicated than i could do at home, but that order was really a mindchanger. the other thing about cooking is that i watched my mom do the passive-aggressive dance in the kitchen: an appearance of lots of exertion for, um, british-style food (nigella not included) topped with a 'oh don't worry about little ol' me doing all this work'. between the highly overpriced risotto and the very simple recipe for macaroons on everyday food just before passover, i finally realized cooking is really not that hard. i've since subscribed to everyday food (martha stewart gets us all in the end), and now find i'm actually planning what to try cooking days in advance.

since bea has now enjoyed a fingertip of rose petal gelato a couple of times now, i tried making rosewater ice cream last night. pretty good! i used a philadelphia-style vanilla recipe (meaning, no eggs and therefore much quicker to prepare) and added two tablespoons of rosewater. yummy! i think i may try adding some raspberries into the cream - strained to keep seeds out - to get a nice rosey hue next time.

later tonight i'm going to try setting up a whole wheat sourdough starter. we've been paying over $3 a loaf for locally-made wheat sourdough bread, and i'm sure i could make some. i used the bread machine sunday night to make pizza dough, and last night boo gleefully helped roll out the dough and put on toppings. another big hit, and since the dough can be prepared in advance, it will probably become a monday (or hectic) night favorite.

back to martha stewart getting us all in the end: i've been using that new garnier face stuff in the green bottles, because if you're a 35-yr-old not-quite-hipster, you'll do whatever sarah jessica parker tells you to do.

started back on sarangi lessons today. boo is going to try a little tabla during his next violin lesson. while he sounds very good on violin, i'm a bit tired of the arguments we constantly have about continuing. i don't want him to quit so soon, although at the same time i'm highly aware of how much i hated being in choir when i was a kid, and how i wasn't allowed to leave for eight years. he, however, is actually getting a music education with his lessons, where i was in a parrot-this-back situation.

i've been trying to knit up this very sweet dress for bea. it has a small amount of lacework at the bottom hem, which is where the pattern starts. twice i messed up the lace pattern (you know you're exhausted when you can't keep an 8-stitch repeat straight), and then i finally got it - and then realized that i had twisted the fabric on the circular needles, causing a mobius strip that couldn't be repaired. so on to attempt #4....

i've made some jewelry in the past month, too. and now etsy has produced a little 'mini' that lets me put this on this blog...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

mindful

when i was on a meditation retreat a couple of years ago, one of the practices was an eating meditation in which each bite was taken slowly and completely before the next bite began. one was encouraged to think about how the food got to the plate - the growing, reaping, transporting, preparing, etc, in an effort to be mindful of the food's connection to the earth and to other people. (not much chemicals in the food at the meditation center!)

these days, i practically inhale my food because i never know when i'm going to be needed by one kid or the other. i hope i can get back to slow eating one day.

today i took myself and bea out to lunch. while waiting for the order, bea and i had a little coo-filled 'chat'. she fell asleep right about the time the food arrived, although she was pretty interested in my salad before she conked out. last weekend she had a fingertip's worth of rosewater gelato, and she's been mooching for food ever since. i ate the rest of my lunch realizing how quickly she's growing, and how little baby-time we're going to have.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

better pic of boo


boo makes a goofy face when he's posing for pictures. it's a very stilted smile. he photographs much better in candids! this is him enjoying a horse swing that was at the tulip farm.

tiptoe...



or roll through the tulips, depending on the age.

yesterday was gray but not really raining, so i took the kids to a tulip farm about an hour away from portland. (no school due to a teacher workshop day.) it turned out to be clearer out there, and the sight of rows upon rows of tulips was amazing - boo even asked 'am i imagining this, or are we really here?'.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

this sanjaya thing

let me start with the standard "but of course i don't watch american idol". which is actually true, i don't like it because i am not interested in common denominator music, even if all hipsters bow before kelly clarkson's 'since u been gone.'

while there's plenty of chatter about the sanjaya phenomenon, i haven't seen anything about the underlying reason this is happening. ladies and gentlemen, it's about race. it's about those 'other' categories on the census. don't believe me? well, can you imagine this joke (or however you think of it) going on so long if the kid in question was white?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

spring is in the air, erasure's on the stereo

new erasure song

they asked for erasure fan submissions of 'falling in love' for the video, and i nearly sent one in of bea and i having our first look at each other, but didn't - i wouldn't have been the only mum to have done so, it turns out.

such a sweet and happy song. waiting for the album....

seder went well

seder went very well. jun didn't come, as he started a new session of classes and was tired. the boys behaved pretty well and asked the classic four questions: can we eat yet? can we eat the orange on the seder plate? can we eat yet? when's dessert?

boo helped me make 'fruit heads' - we took a 'personal-sized' watermelon, cut it in half, scooped the innards, and made fruit kabobs with the watermelon, strawberries, mango chunks and grapes, and used the kabobs for 'hair' and pieces of fruit for faces. those we very successful desserts for the boys. we also made chocolate macaroons, which were easy and really yummy. both recipes/projects were from PBS shows we saw over the weekend - the fruit heads from Zoom, and the macaroons from everyday food. boo also helped me mix the charoset together. he really, really enjoys cooking.

lots of songs, including the 'my darlin' clementine' version of the four children's questions, and a song about the ten plagues sung to the tune of the addams family theme!

i made an 'iranian beef and eggplant stew' that was in a kosher cookbook i've owned for years. it came out really, really nicely. nancy brought matzoh ball soup - i will have to ask her to teach me to make matzoh balls, mine fall apart so i've given up. i also prepared baby carrots and baby yukon gold potatoes. and, in great jewish mom tradition, i made waaaay too much (i prepared brocolli that didn't even make it to the table!) so we'll have leftovers for a day or two. yippee!

Monday, April 02, 2007

ca-a-a-an you feel the lo-o-ove toni-i-ight

over on consumerist: (clicky)


some of those comments make me darnright misty eyed. or, erm, dewey eyed.

someone call john hughes...

So my seder tonight includes 2 babies, 2 six-year-old boys, 2 non-jewish husbands and possibly a Japanese exchange student.

Monday, March 26, 2007

the most my brain has worked in a while

there's a buzz about the brooklyn public library considering offering netflix services, for free, for its patrons. it reached consumerist. the long-ass comment from 'dewey decimated' is mine.

Monday, March 19, 2007

mamadramalates

so i'm ready to start exercising again. now that we've moved to the hawthorne area, and the weather has been blissful as of late, i'm doing a lot more walking. but i wanted to do something structured, and something that would help get rid of the post-c-section abdominal pudge. there is a 'mamalates' class for moms and babies at zenana spa, so i thought i'd check it out.

it's taught by wendy foster of divine pilates. i went to her website to get contact information for registration. and that's when i see she has a page about c-section recovery that includes tips on 'getting rid of the toxins and emotional baggage' from having a c-section. and 're-birth your baby with your ideal birth.' and 'talk with your baby about your feelings around your labor and delivery.'

crap like this has got to stop. it's similar to an article in a recent issue of mothering, in which being 'supportive' to a mom who has had a c-section is phrased as 'it's okay, dear, you didn't know any better and next time you can have a VBAC.' it's condescending.

yeah, i want a flatter tummy, but not because it's being pressed down by someone else's idea of how guilty i should feel about having a c-section.

Monday, March 05, 2007

whew

the mac is finally working right again. new MIMO router is making it superhappy.

my son is now 6. my daughter sleeps through the night, at 7 weeks!! (this took the son about 2 years to accomplish.)

my tub doesn't leak, but it doesn't bubble yet. the kitchen sink, on the other hand... sigh.

the library called and asked very gently if i'd like to come back to work, and when. i'll return to my sunday shifts in may. the new branch may or may not be open by then.

Friday, February 23, 2007

house

so today's the third day this week i've been hanging around the house, waiting on a contractor/tech/repair person.

today it's for a ge tech, to see why my dishwasher doesn't work. the builder reinstalled it because it leaked the first time he put it in, causing damage to the wood floor. he seems to have fixed this by preventing water from getting into the dishwasher at all now. ge's warranty doesn't cover installation errors. of course, the builder's assistant swore to me that they ran the machine, so i'm obviously incompetant when it comes to... closing a door and pressing a start button. and hearing the machine run the cycle, and finding a machine full of hot, dry, dirty dishes.

yesterday's wait was for the same assistant. he came by to open the drain for the washing machine. the cap on it had been epoxyed in place, so the sears installer couldn't complete the hookup that i waited for all day on wednesday. mysteriously, the 'it should just pop off, why didn't the sears guy know that' drain cap needed to be drilled open.

last week was fun with qwest, in which we found out that the DSL in our area is painfully slow. also, the phone jacks that the builder put in weren't actually connected to anything. dish network tried to install, but the trees behind our house obscure the signal too much. so, i get to wait on comcast next week. i'm sure we'll find that the cable jacks don't hook up to anything, either.

the builder's assistant will be by on monday, too, to repair the tub. this is a vast improvement from the initial response of 'what's the problem, the shower works, right?'.

so why are we finally getting any help from the builder? because we threatened to go to the contractors' board. and we discovered he's been operating without a license or insurance since october. we know he's working on another house now, and we know we should be reporting him. it makes us ill that someone else will have to deal with the same kinds of issues and nonresponsiveness (until the threat) that we have. but for right now, the threat of reporting him is the only leverage we have to get things fixed.

i'm naming names. the builder is will speakman, his company is reserve construction, and here's a link to his license info:

https://ccbed.ccb.state.or.us/ccb_frames/consumer_info/search_results.asp?regno=167336

and here's how it affects us, although we can say we did not knowingly buy from an unlicensed builder - his real estate agent told us several times he was licensed, bonded and insured.

from the ccb site:

"Check on a Contractor's License

Why check a contractor’s license? The Construction Contractors Board (CCB) believes the best way to a successful home improvement, repair or new home project is to know your contractor. Checking a contractor’s license can tell you:

If the contractor is actively licensed, which means they have a surety bond and liability insurance;
If the contractor carries Workers' Comp Insurance to protect its workers on the project;
Breach of contract complaints filed with the CCB in the past seven years.
CCB disciplinary actions against business in the pasts seven years.

IMPORTANT: Homeowners lose the ability to recover damages through the bond and insurance as well as the CCB Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) if they use an unlicensed contractor."



diagnosis?






"Errmm.... you're screwed."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

oookay....

so it appears that the mac/google problem has something to do with airport. this was determined by hooking a cable up to the router, instead of using the wireless connection. boom - instant google, gmail, and blogger. but how the heck do i fix the problem? ran a software update, and it says all my mac software is current....

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

dammit dammit

this was one of those 'start stupidly, get progressively worse' kinds of days.

for starters.... since yesterday, i've been unable to access any google services from my mac. no searching, no gmail, and while i can look at blogspot sites, i can't get into blogger to edit my own (i am on a windows laptop right now). no freaking idea why. i have rebooted the mac, the modem and the router. i have cleared the cache, erased cookies and reset safari. i downloaded firefox and still no go. WTF?

i went over to boo's new school for next year and went on the introductory tour. thankfully there were other parents of first-graders there (the tour is usually for kindergarteners' parents) because i could let them ask the questions and just listen. i was too tired to engage my brain enough to formulate my own questions.

then, over to the new house. we're having all the furniture moved over on thursday, but we've been bringing in bits and pieces each day - and last night, my muscles were not happy with me. still sore today. so, over to the new house to try out the lovely jetted tub in the master bedroom.

hmmm, i push the button but the jets don't work. so it's just a normal bath. there's also a handheld shower thingy that isn't working. annoying, and since it's a feature that helped sell us on the house, i decide to at least report it in to the builder. after getting dressed, i head downstairs to grab the cell phone and ask husband for the builder's cell phone number so i can let him know about this. and that's when i find water dripping from the ceiling onto the kitchen floor. when i head back up, i open the access panel and see the floor under the tub is wet, and the carpet in the bedroom is soaked. husband didn't have the number, i call my real estate agent and get the builder's number. as contracts are all done and signed, there isn't much she can do now besides friendly advice.

i call the builder, he returns the call. and it turns out HE KNEW THAT THE PLUMBERS WHO INSTALLED THE TUB NEEDED TO REPLACE A PART and that without the replacement, the jets wouldn't work and this leak would happen. he neither followed up to make sure it was done nor notified us that there was a problem. he was going to come to the house this afternoon.... but didn't. last time i talked to him, he couldn't get in touch with the plumbers.

so, i've emailed this to my real estate agent, and asked for a referral to a lawyer. because if this isn't repaired tomorrow, yeah we're gonna need one.

about the only thing that went smoothly today was walking around my new neighborhood, hitting a record shop (why do i still think in this term when they sell very little vinyl?), and quickly finding the cd's i hoped to give boodad for valentine's day. and not getting any snark from the guys behind the counter.

btw - tones - we went with the 32". upon measuring the larger tv, we found we had a 27" so this will still feel like enough of an upgrade. however, upon bringing the small tv there i found that rabbit ears do no good in our house, so we will wind up with dish or cable of some type. oh well.

i'm gonna go self-medicate with chocolate now.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

bwaa haa, horoscope

"If you are contemplating a session of retail therapy today, think again. Buying things to make yourself feel better may provide temporary relief. But in a couple of day's time, whatever has been bothering you will still be bothering you. Any impulse buys you make today could drain your bank account of much-needed funds. Save your money for another day and don't take any financial risks -- especially with new technical gadgets that you have not researched."

kinda busy

yep. i'm in those days when taking a shower and doing two loads of laundry counts as being highly productive.

despite this, we are moving to the new house next week. mainly because it's driving us crazy that we're paying for two houses and we're not living in the nicer one.

dumb question for my reader(s): we're contemplating a new tv. we have a 13" that we do most of our viewing on, since it's in the master bedroom. the 32" is downstairs, and doesn't get decent reception as a result (we're on rabbit ears, no cable). the 32" no longer has its remote, and the universal remote we got for it needs reprogramming for time to time - a gigantic pain in the pitoot - and it is so heavy that it's making the cabinet we store it on hard to open. we're looking at the pretty LCDs that my husband's employer makes, which gives us the benefit of not paying retail price, as well as new furniture.

so - do we get a 32" flat tv, or pay almost twice the amount for 42"?

we've been saying we're "not tv people", but i'm not 100% sure if this is a chicken and egg thing -are we not tv people because we have 6 channels, or do we only have 6 channels because we're not tv people? a good chunk of the reason we don't have more is because of our loathing of comcast - which we did give one chance to show up for an installation appointment, and comcast failed - and reluctance to put a dish on a nearly 100-yr-old house. we'd go with dish for the new place.

if we get the 32", will we regret it down the road? and how would we get justify buying a bigger one later?

ugh. technology.

Monday, January 29, 2007

curls!


we're not sure where this comes from on the family tree, but bea's hair forms tight ringlet curls when she has a bath. and this morning, one was right in the middle of her forehead....

Monday, January 22, 2007

awwww 2.0



big brother and sister chat

Saturday, January 20, 2007

thanks, worth1000!


'apple's new product' contest generated a high percentage of iPoo toilets, but also this gem....

Saturday, January 13, 2007

so she's here


sunday night, we had gone in with regular contractions. they kept us overnight to see how we'd progress, and at some point during the night we had to decide if we were going to keep the c-sec appointment for monday morning or not. it really looked like labor was finally going to progress, so we let the appointment go.... and at about the same time we would have been in the operating room, contractions petered out. we went home, but rescheduled for a c-sec tuesday morning.

about 3 am tuesday, i started being rocked by waves of hard contractions. but i was so tired of how these never went anywhere, and decided to do nothing and keep the c-sec appointment. we went in at 8 am for a 10 am operation. as the spinal was being placed i was still in contractions. at 10:43 am, Beatrice RuthJoy Jesudason was born.... weighing an amazing 10 lbs 4 oz. (the midwives have since opined that the no-progress labor i kept experiencing was likely due to her size, and that the c-sec was the better way to go.)

we're home now, after four days in the hospital recovery rooms. things there went relatively smoothly. boo is doing pretty well as a new big brother, and had made 'welcome home mommy and beatrice' signs for today.

Monday, January 08, 2007

beatrice has a sense of humor

i'm scheduled to go into the hospital in 8 hours for a c-section, and NOW i'm in real labor. going in!!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

E for Effort

No, no baby yet. It's as if she tried her darndest on Wednesday night, but has barely bothered since.

Here's a list of what I've tried to convince her to come out:

-acupuncture
-baths
-dong quai tea
-echinachea
-foot massage
-full moon
-pineapple
-spicy food
-walking
-whoopee
-yoga

oh, and begging and pleading and cajoling. oh well.

favorite advice: when i called wednesday night because the contractions were 5 minutes apart for about 2 hours, i was told to call back when i couldn't talk through the contractions. which would have sounded like, "errrrrghhh!" "okay, go to the hospital now" "errrrghhh?" "uh-huh." etc. but it didn't get to that point. i suspect i've trained myself to talk/concentrate through anything, since it's a needed skill when one has a curious little boy at one's side most of the time.

Friday, January 05, 2007

it's a race

so i'm scheduled for a c-sec, 8 am monday. unless beatrice shows up first, or i chicken out.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

washpost article on fairfax's weeding policy

i'm cutting and pasting this from the washington post. my former library system is fairfax's neighbor and we had pretty much adopted the same policies, much to the consternation of many librarians. i've been wondering what the reaction has been to this article:

Hello, Grisham -- So Long, Hemingway?
With Shelf Space Prized, Fairfax Libraries Cull Collections
By Lisa Rein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 2, 2007; Page A01


You can't find "Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings" at the Pohick Regional Library anymore. Or "The Education of Henry Adams" at Sherwood Regional. Want Emily Dickinson's "Final Harvest"? Don't look to the Kingstowne branch.

It's not that the books are checked out. They're just gone. No one was reading them, so librarians took them off the shelves and dumped them.

Along with those classics, thousands of novels and nonfiction works have been eliminated from the Fairfax County collection after a new computer software program showed that no one had checked them out in at least 24 months.

Public libraries have always weeded out old or unpopular books to make way for newer titles. But the region's largest library system is taking turnover to a new level.

Like Borders and Barnes & Noble, Fairfax is responding aggressively to market preferences, calculating the system's return on its investment by each foot of space on the library shelves -- and figuring out which products will generate the biggest buzz. So books that people actually want are easy to find, but many books that no one is reading are gone -- even if they are classics.

"We're being very ruthless," said Sam Clay, director of the 21-branch system since 1982. "A book is not forever. If you have 40 feet of shelf space taken up by books on tulips and you find that only one is checked out, that's a cost."

That is the new reality for the Fairfax system and the future for other libraries. As books on tape, DVDs, computers and other electronic equipment crowd into branches, there is less room for plain old books.

So librarians are making hard decisions and struggling with a new issue: whether the data-driven library of the future should cater to popular tastes or set a cultural standard, even as the demand for the classics wanes.

Library officials say they will always stock Shakespeare's plays, "The Great Gatsby" and other venerable titles. And many of the books pulled from one Fairfax library can be found at another branch and delivered to a patron within a week.

But in the effort to stay relevant in an age in which reference materials and novels can be found on the Internet and Oprah's Book Club helps set standards of popularity, libraries are not the cultural repositories they once were.

"I think the days of libraries saying, 'We must have that, because it's good for people,' are beyond us," said Leslie Burger, president of the American Library Association and director of Princeton Public Library. "There is a sense in many public libraries that popular materials are what most of our communities desire. Everybody's got a favorite book they're trying to promote."

That leaves some books endangered. In Fairfax, thousands of titles have been pulled from the shelves and become eligible for book sales.

Weeding books used to be sporadic. Now it's strategic. Clay and his employees established the two-year threshold 18 months ago, driven, they say, by a $2 million cut to the budget for books and materials and the demand for space. More computers and growing demand in branches for meeting space, story hours and other gatherings have left less room for books.

And nowadays, library patrons don't like to sit at big tables with strangers as they read or study. They want to be alone, creating a need for individual carrels that take up even more space. And the popularity of audiovisual materials that must be housed in 50-year-old branches built for smaller collections only adds to the crunch.

To do more with less, Fairfax library officials have started running like businesses. Clay bought state-of-the art software that spits out data on each of the 3.1 million books in the county system -- including age, number of times checked out and when. There are also statistics on the percentages of shelf space taken up by mysteries, biographies and kids' books.

Every branch gets a printout of the data each month, including every title that hasn't circulated in the previous 24 months. It's up to librarians to decide whether a book stays. The librarians have discretion, but they also have targets, collection manager Julie Pringle said. "What comes in is based on what goes out," she said.

Classics such as Ernest Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" are among the titles that haven't been checked out in two years and could be eliminated. Librarians so far have decided to keep them.

As libraries clear out titles, they sweep in new ones as fast as they can. A two-month-old program called "Hot Picks" is boosting copies of bestsellers by tracking the number of holds requested by patrons. This month, every Fairfax branch will display new books more prominently, leaving even less space for older ones.

"We don't want to keep what people don't use much of," Clay said. Circulation, a sign of prestige and a potential bargaining chip for new funding, is on pace to hit 11.6 million in the Fairfax system this year, part of a steady climb over the past three years.

No other system in the Washington area is tracking circulation as quickly -- or weeding so methodically. Montgomery County, a similar-size suburban system, has not emphasized weeding in several years, said Kay Ecelbarger, who retired last month as chief of collection management.

In the District, library director Ginnie Cooper said she has not tackled weeding and turnover policy in the system, which is struggling to increase circulation. She hopes to address those concerns with a recent infusion of cash from the D.C. Council.

There are no national standards on weeding public library collections.

As Fairfax bets its future on a retail model, some librarians say that the public library may be straying too far from its traditional role as an archive of literature and history.

Arlington County's library director, Diane Kresh, said she's "paying a lot of attention to what our customers want." But if they aren't checking out Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," she's not only keeping it, she's promoting it through a new program that gives forgotten classics prominent display.

"Part of my philosophy is that you collect for the ages," Kresh said. "The library has a responsibility to provide a core collection for the cultural education of its community." She comes to this view from a career at the Library of Congress, where she was chief of public service collections for 30 years.

The weight of the new choices falls on the local librarian. That's especially hard at the Woodrow Wilson branch in Falls Church, one of the smallest in the Fairfax system. It's a vibrant place popular with Latino and Middle Eastern immigrants, the elderly and young professionals. Branch manager Linda Schlekau, who has 20 years of experience, says she discards about 700 books a month.

"Nine Plays by Eugene O'Neill" sat on the top shelf of a cart in the back room one day in late December, wedged between Voltaire's "Candide" and "Broke Heart Blues" by Joyce Carol Oates. The cart brimmed with books that someone on Schlekau's staff had pulled from the shelves. Sometimes she has time to give them another look before wheeling them to the book-sale pile. Sometimes she doesn't.

The Oates would return to the shelf, "because she's a real popular author at Woodrow Wilson," even if "Broke Heart Blues" isn't, Schlekau said. The Voltaire would go. An obscure Edgar Allan Poe volume called "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" might be transferred to another branch.

Schlekau hesitated over the volume of O'Neill plays, which was in good condition but had been checked out only nine times in its lifespan at the library, falling short of the system's new goal of 20. She sighed. "The only time things like this are going out is if they're [performing the plays] at the Kennedy Center."

But, she said, she's disinclined to throw O'Neill into the discard pile: "That's the English major in me."

Books on the Chopping Block in Fairfax
The following books have been weeded from the shelves of various branches of the Fairfax County Public Library system or haven't been checked out in 24 months and could be discarded. In parentheses are the branches where the books are endangered. The same title might be available at another branch.
The Works of Aristotle Aristotle (Centreville)
Sexual Politics Kate Millett (Centreville)
The Great Philosophers Karl Jaspers (Centreville)
Carry Me Home Diane McWhorter (Centreville)
The Sound and the Fury
William Faulkner (George Mason Regional)
The Mayor of Casterbridge
Thomas Hardy (George Mason Regional)
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Ernest Hemingway (George Mason Regional)
Desolation Angels
Jack Kerouac (George Mason Regional)
Doctor Zhivago
Boris Pasternak (George Mason Regional)
Remembrance of Things Past
Marcel Proust (George Mason Regional)
Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well
Maya Angelou (Chantilly Regional)
The Glass Menagerie
Tennessee Williams (Chantilly Regional)
Writings Gertrude Stein (Chantilly Regional)
Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte (Chantilly Regional)
Doctor Faustus
Christopher Marlowe (Chantilly Regional)
Great Issues in American History
Richard Hofstadter (Chantilly Regional)
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
Gertrude Stein (Chantilly Regional)
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Pohick Regional)
Babylon Revisited: And other stories
F. Scott Fitzgerald (Reston Regional)
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee (Reston Regional)
The Aeneid Virgil (Sherwood Regional)
The Mill on the Floss
George Eliot (Fairfax City Regional)

it's the due date, and my horoscope sucks

Scorpio:

All your forward momentum is starting to wane a bit, which is both a positive and a negative thing. On the one hand, this time out will finally give you a chance to take in the interesting view you've been missing out on for so long. But on the other hand, this pause means that you are going to have wait even longer for the changes you've been hoping for. Conserve your energy and be more patient. Be confident that you will experience what you deserve soon enough.


Argh!!

The walking yesterday did little to help - in fact, fewer contractions than usual last night. I can't even get in to the midwives' today, my appointment is tomorrow. I'll have my progress checked and if there's been any dilation, fine, I'll give her til Monday to come naturally. If no progress since last week, I will have a c-sec on Friday.

Another gripe:

While out yesterday, I did a little shopping at one of my favorite pampering places. In fact, it was the only shopping I did, so I realized later at the grocery store that my bank card had been left there. It took several tries to get through the busy signal to confirm that yes, my card was there. "Do you want me to hold onto your card?," the salesperson asked. "Um, as opposed to handing it out to a stranger, yes..." I replied. Went back to get card. Somehow wound up in a position where I'm thanking the store for holding my card - that the salesperson had neglected to return to me in the first place. Isn't that supposed to merit an apology for inconveniencing me?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

nope

so.... more than 4 hours of contractions without hitting the magic 5 minutes apart, although there was about 1/2 an hour between 3:30 - 4 am of that. and then petering off again. kinda back on this morning, let's see if it makes a pattern. kid is at school; pretty soon i'm going to go walking around the mall or something to try to get 'em back on track.

guess what

so when you call and speak to the midwife on call and tell her you've been in contractions for the past 2 hours, ten minutes apart...... she tells you to call back when they're 5 minutes apart.


gaaargh.

10 mins! wooooot!

contractions have been 10 mins apart for the last 1 hour and 40 minutes. gonna make sure it lasts 2 hours, then we're calling in to the hospital.... (we're supposed to call after an hour of this, but i've had too many false starts to trust it.)

other things to note:

-ran into my coworker hillary on the streetcar today. happy serendipity! and good to see her.

- i measured my belly, it's 47 inches if i'm sucking it in and 48 inches if i'm not.

- lost my mucous plug this morning. while it's exciting, it doesn't correlate to when true labor starts - could be hours, could be a week - so i tried not to get hopes too far up. i will say, though, that it's pretty gross - like the biggest booger you've ever seen, times ten, coming out of something that ain't yer nose. hope that visual memory fades.