Monday, January 29, 2007


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:

-dong quai tea
-foot massage
-full moon
-spicy food

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


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.


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


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.


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.