Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Miscellaneous Things

Things of late...
  1. Biff boom crash. Crash boom smash. Thud. These are sounds that are heard on an increasing basis at Chez Piggy. I'm thanking my lucky stars that these new sounds are not accompanied by six seconds of deafening silence (now isn't that a fancy oxymoron?) followed by WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH at many many decibels. Because they could. But they aren't. Again, Praise the LORD. ALMIGHTY.
  2. There is one less Tiffany dragonfly torchiere lamp gracing my living room, as of last night.
  3. Although there have been times when I have wished for nicer furnishings, I am quite thankful that the material goods in our home are nothing to write home about. It makes it much more tolerable when we have to part ways.
  4. The Tiffany was one of the nicest things I have d.
  5. It wasn't a REAL Tiffany. But it was still nice.
  6. I have an identical one in another, more BooProof part of the room.
  7. Torchiere style lamps and one year olds do not mix.
  8. Even when you put safety latches, plugs, or covers on all the doors, drawers, outlets, and knobs, and keep a keen and watchful eye on your little one 99.999% of the time, he will do amazing things in that 0.001% snapshot of unbridled freedom.
  9. If you're anything like me, your first thought after thanking God that the baby is unharmed, is to offload as much responsibility in the event as possible, as soon as possible; i.e., blame the husband.
  10. If you're anything like me, you will notice yourself doing this, laugh, and ask your husband if he thinks it's funny that your first instinct after ascertaining all is well with the baby is to offload as much responsibility in the event as possible, as soon as possible on someone else.
  11. If you're married to someone like Mr. Gadget, he will laugh right back and say it's a good thing it happened on your watch, not on his, because he was busy relaxing on the couch and watching tv, while you were busy cleaning up the kitchen (and supposedly watching the baby).
  12. If you're anything like me, you'll still make the comment that the lamp might not have fallen over had the big new box of diapers not been left on the cedar chest, because everyone knows that boxes are a baby's best friend, especially if they're conveniently set at just the right height for a busy little boy who is also very strong and who loves to push things off of surfaces because it's so fun to see what happens when they fall.
  13. If you're anything like us, you'll still laugh, clean up the mess, put the broken lamp away, thinking that it might possibly be salvaged (and knowing that it will stay in the garage for a few years and then possibly end up in a yard sale for 50 cents), squeeze the baby and give him lots of hugs and kisses, blow raspberries on his belly until he giggles and squirms and laughs and giggles, and put him down in a safe place far from Tiffany lamps, and go on with life as usual. Which means staying up too late, watching too much tv, waking up at midnight and again at 4 a.m. to feed the nibbler who won't eat enough at one time to hold him more than 4 hours, sleeping through the alarm clock, waking up feeling briefly happy that you might have actually had some decent rest until you realize that you slept through the alarm and you should have left for work an hour ago.
  14. If you're anything like me, you're undyingly thankful that you have the kind of job where they are very forgiving if you happen to wander in an hour later than you intended.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Geniuses in the blogosphere

Last night I was lurking among the handful of blogs where I tend to lurk, and I happened upon a link to an intelligence quiz on Angie's blog (Angie who has an amazing home, accomplishes incredible projects, both in quality and quantity, and is about to have a baby, hooray!). I decided to try it, just for fun. The score key says 1-5 is average, and 19+ is genius. I put alot of pressure on myself, because I like to think that I'm kind of smart, and I'd hate to find out otherwise. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got past 5! I was also relieved to find that I didn't have to go in order, so I could go through the list and finish what I could figure out and go back to the stumpers. I finally gave up, with a score of 31, and googled the remaining two that I couldn't figure out. I'd have never gotten them, no matter how long I tried.

I had to make an enthusiastic comment on Angie's blog, and in so reading, discovered that she is in the company of greatness, as it is now even more evident that there are geniuses in the blogosphere. I think everyone who commented had scores in the high 20s and up. Far beyond the 19 genius level. I am not surprised! I always marvelled at how intelligent everyone out there in blogland seems to be, with all the witty and clever things they write about. I think the set of population who are bloggers (at least in the sphere of blogs where I lurk) are smarties, yes indeed.
I envision Barney Fife's expression when he's all puffed up and pleased with himself -- the one where he takes in a great big snort of air through his nose and mutters something like 'yeh'.

Geniuses! The lot of us!

Show and Tell - My computer

Blackbird has requested a peek at our computer(s).

I've worked with computers for quite some time. I remember when a 286 was considered sweeeet, and fast! One of my first jobs was in a computer lab, pulling batch printouts and distributing them to their rightful owners. Operations. Woo hoo. It was so very high tech, at the time. I even remember programming on a mainframe using cards. We'd painstakingly type out our code on a little monitor/terminal and our program would spit out a deck of cards with one line of code per card (if I recall correctly). Then we'd stand in line to submit our job, our program, to the mainframe. In would go the stack of cards and we'd wait for our printout to see if our code worked. What a process. Some of us have no idea how good we have it today! Punch cards. Now that speaks to history. Technology has come a long way, baby.
I have a work computer that is configured appropriately with all the approved corporate stuff. It's a laptop, relatively new (upper left picture). I use a docking station and a 19 inch flat panel monitor, both at the office and in my home office (Santa suprised me BIG TIME with this monitor, this year, middle right). I need the big screen for the things I do. Those purple post-it flags? They're very important for my data analysis work. Low tech, but very useful. The yellow post-it has my phone numbers and office backup numbers. We just changed phone systems at work and got new numbers. Very inconvenient (remembering new numbers, but the new phones are quite nice).

My home computer is a home-built desktop variety. It had all the latest for its time, but is pretty much obsolete by now. I just installed a dvd-burner, and it has a 40GB hard drive, which is partitioned into two 20s, one of which is full. I'd like to remove the partition but don't want to lose any data, so am struggling with mustering up the courage. The 20 that is full is the main drive, and I don't even have enough room to defrag. Very frustrating. Things are getting slow, so I will soon be forced to do something about it.

I have a switch that allows me to toggle between my work computer and my home computer yet use the same keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Very cool. I just hit the Scroll Lock button twice and voila! Switcheroo.

Mr. Gadget gave me an optical wireless mouse and keyboard. They're nifty, actually, but I can't use the keyboard for security reasons. My work doesn't allow wireless keyboards, so I bought a wired keyboard for $5 at a local drugstore, to use while I am working from the home office. It's only a year old and the 'e' is nearly rubbed off, and the s, d, c, n, and o are close behind.

I run Windows XPpro on both machines, and I use the MS Office suite for many of the things that I do. I've also used ColdFusion quite a lot, but it's been recently updated to something called Studio 8, which has a bazillion capabilities that I have yet to learn.

All in all, there's nothing sexy about my computing setup. Maybe one of these days we'll do a wireless LAN in our home, and then I can blog from the comfort of my couch while trying to keep the baby from chewing on the screen. Then again, maybe not.

p.s. Mr. Gadget has a collection of computers. Very few of which are usable. We have a computer graveyard upstairs. And in the garage. I'm afraid to even attempt to count or photograph what we've got. He collects them from people who give them away, and once in a while he gets them to work again. We've given some to his family members. Who have promptly hosed them by not following instructions and installing things that shouldn't be installed. But I digress. Bottom line. Too much electronic junk is hanging around this house.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday

Self Portrait Tuesday - Personal History III

Forty years ago, or thereabouts, my parents dressed me in traditional Korean garments in celebration of my first birthday and my mixed heritage. Every brother and sister has a similar photo commemorating their first birthday. The girl's dress has been worn three times. The boy's garment had been worn six times, between 1963 and 1982, until last week, when my beautiful boy turned one. I waxed nostalgic and dressed my blonde haired blue eyed quarter Korean beauty in the traditional garb for his first birthday picture.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Wanted: New laundry fairy

At our house, the housework is accomplished by fairies. My husband and I are supposed to split the detail, but somehow, his chores almost always get done without him. We have a dish washing fairy and a laundry fairy. They are the most prominent. A basin, tub, and tile fairy makes a more occasional appearance.

Alas, these fairies can not always be trusted. Sometimes they use too much soap. Sometimes they don't load the dishwasher right and things interfere with the spray action. My husband tried to blame one for washing a burgundy tablecloth with a load of darks, which also included the baby's brand new pro sport sweatshirt and pants with bright white side stripes, now pink. But I know for certain that no fairy was involved. I know when my husband actually does the laundry. It's not often. But it was that load. He still denies it.

The laundry fairy went too far this time. It was a load of whites, with one queen size flannel sheet too many. The machine went into its high spin cycle and started to hop across the floor with such a thundering thump thump clunk thump, that it scared me and the baby half way to Kansas and back. I ran to the laundry room as fast as I could, just in time to witness the mad hopping, and as I reached for the power button to make it stop, the front door gave way to the weight of the load. If only my reflexes were more honed. I could have saved my washer. But it wasn't to be. The door latch would latch no more.
My husband tried to blame this event on me. ME! How could it be me, when we both know that we have laundry fairies. It's a good thing that he fixes appliances for a living. We were up and running again in no time, and he finished the laundry that night.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A matter of depth perception

Or lack thereof. What does it mean when a woman has three park assists in her garage?

It's not that I have trouble parking (although I did actually recently scrape my side mirror against a support beam in my office's parking garage). The thing is, I am married to a gadget guy.

One day I was pulling the car into the garage and was greeted by a dangling blue ball. When the ball hits the windshield, it's time to stop. This is parking assistant number one. Low tech. A little time passed. A new parking assistant arrived. A laser. Ooh. Ahh. Parking assistant number two. When the red dot appears on the left front dashboard speaker, it's time to stop. Groovy man. I just rolled my eyes at him. The other day the Park Zone appeared. The light is green as the car approaches, turns yellow as the distance closes, and red when it's time to stop. Parking assistant number three. It was on clearance, he says, as his defense.

The baby likes the laser one. He likes that red dot. He always looks up at it when I'm getting him out of his car seat. This bothers me. Is it just a red dot, or is it something that could harm him? I hope no more parking assistants show up.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Show and Tell - A good hat

Ooh, I love hats. But rarely have occasion to wear one. I actually wore this hat yesterday. In fact, was wearing it when I read Blackbird's announcement that today's theme is a good hat. Voila! Okay, yes, I was wearing a fleece snow hat indoors. Why? Well, you see, our recent heat bill arrived to the tune of over $200 for only ONE MONTH. Outrageous! Double from last year. Before the baby came, my husband started calling me Mother Russia because I insisted we keep the heat down in the house, 65 degrees while we're in, off while we're away. I programmed the thermostat and that was that. Once the baby came, we needed to keep the house at 68 degrees all the time, so I set the thermostat to Hold 68 and that was that. The baby is now a year old, and in daycare, and I'm back in the office a few days a week, so I set the thermostat back to Run Program. Only I worked from home yesterday, and was freezing! So I first donned a heavy sweatshirt over my jammies. Don't tell my office that I work in my jammies! (I start at 6 a.m. and it's so much easier to stumble out of bed and get to it.) I was still freezing, and the hat was conveniently nearby, and one does lose a tremendous amount of body heat through one's head, you know, so on went the hat.
This hat? I designed it. My brothers were talking about how cool they (the brothers) are on the slopes, catching air and whatnot on the snowboard, and the topic of cool hats came up. Wouldn't it be cool to have dredlocks? I'm no snow bunny, but I like a design challenge, and so was borne the dredhat. (Yes, one can get dred hats in Jamaica, but they're costume, mainly, and not suitable for extreme snow antics. Plus, I didn't know such a thing existed at the time. So you see, my design? Still original in my small world.)

They were a big hit on the slopes. People kept asking the avid sportsters where they got those cool hats. And people kept telling me I should sell them. And I kept telling them that they're not cost effective. One would have to hire slave labor in third world countries to be able to sell them at a price the public would be willing to pay. It's those hand braided dreds. So time consuming. But a nice effect, eh?

As it turns out, the dredhat is more suited to the non-extreme snow sportster, due to the long locks whipping in the wind and interfering with one's vision. And as well, my brothers learned that a hard helmet is advisable, in the odd chance of a wipeout.

Now this is a good hat, don't you think? High marks for cuteness, but that's mainly because of the model.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A year ago today

A year ago today you came into the world and took your first breath. How perfect you were, my 10lb 7 oz giant of a boy. Yet how tiny you seemed. I was terrified when it hit me, the responsibility of my job from there on out. To protect you. To nurture you. I felt suddenly so inadequate. You were my dream of dreams, my miracle boy. How I yearned for you, for all my life. How amazing it is to see you now, the bright and beautiful boy you are growing into. Your personality unfolds before my eyes. You have a fine sense of humor. Such a twinkle in your eyes. And your smile! Oh, your smile! You light up the room. Your giggles are a joyful noise. You have so much fun being you. And I have so much fun watching you be you. You are very smart, my love. I can watch you learn. I can literally see the comprehension dawn on your face, your beautiful face. You are stubborn, dear one. Just like your dad. Tenacious, just like your mom. Are they not the same thing! We are all that way, aren't we? I will do my best to teach you the things you need to know. I will do my best to give you the best of me, and keep from you the worst of me. I want so much for you! I want you to be well adjusted, to have all that you need, to appreciate life and simple pleasures. I don't want to spoil you. I want you to be gracious and kind, to think of others as well as yourself. I want you to be strong and courageous, but wise. I hope I can teach you these things. I hope that you never grow to resent me. I hope that you will always know how much you are wanted, how much you are loved, and how much you belong here, in this world. I love you, my precious one. I love you.

A year in the life of a beautiful boy

A year ago today, my life changed in the most wonderful way.
Happy Birthday to my beautiful boy!!

Friday, January 13, 2006

It's 8 O'Clock and Do You Know Where Your Binkie Is?

It's all my fault. I should have checked the diaper bag before we left the daycare. But I didn't. Instead, we went merrily on our way. Once home we had dinner, a bath, got into the jammies, and settled down for a bottle, before night-night. It was then that I realized we were sans binkie. No problem, I thought. He's not addicted. He can manage a night without it. But he squirmed. He writhed. He tossed. He arched his body into unnatural contortions. He whined. He whimpered. He. Didn't. Fall. Asleep. This went on. And on. We have a couple of backup binkies. The Soothie was his first favorite. He used it for several months. I lost one, and we managed to survive with the remaining one until he decided he no longer liked it. I found it and tried to give it to him. But it just wouldn't do. I tried his teether binkie. He likes to chew on it, but not suck on it. He knew the difference. He spit it out and continued to writhe.

It's all my fault, this addiction. He wasn't dependent before, but a couple of months ago he started grinding his teeth and I just couldn't stand that sound. It was worse than fingernails on a chalkboard, or running your finger around the rim of a glass to make it ring. It was excruciating to hear. So I'd stuff the binkie in his mouth the instant he started grinding. Bad mother. Bad mother.

I handed the writhing unhappy and exhausted child to the husband and went upstairs in search of something I vaguely remembered stashing away with other baby things passed on from friends, over a year ago, when I was stocking up and preparing for motherhood. Aha! A bag of binkies. They weren't the right kind (when things like nipple confusion mattered), and they were used, so I'd never actually brought them out before. But this was an emergency. I gathered them all and brought them downstairs, sterilized them, cooled them down, and offered them to the unhappy child. He would have none of it. He'd open his mouth, taste it, then fling it across the room. Soon the lot of them lay scattered and dejected on the living room floor.

The husband shook his head at me and said, "That's why I always check the diaper bag before we leave." Yes. Right. But we won't go into that.

"Shall I go to the daycare and get it?" he asked. "No, it's too late," I replied. So I sent him to the store. I wanted my baby to get to sleep, poor little guy. It couldn't be just any binkie. It had to be a specific kind, and we've only seen it in two places. Babies R Us and _____. For the life of me, I couldn't remember the name of the store where we'd happened to see the exact kind in stock. I thought of getting them for backup or emergencies, but decided that the love bug is nearly a year old and should be weaning from it shortly, and surely we could manage on the two that we already have. Surely they will last as long as he needs them. Of course, a few days later I was washing one of them and noticed he'd chewed all the way through it and it had become a choking hazard. In the trash it went, with no further ado. Still, I thought we'd be able to make it with the one remaining. "Babies R Us is too far away. I think it was Albertson's", I finally said. "And if not, it's probably Price Savers or Rite Aid".

Off he went. I tried giving the boy a bottle again. His routine is to drink all but the last half ounce in his bottle, spit it out, take the binkie, and crane his head and neck into the shape of a question mark, and drift off contentedly to sleep while clutching my hand and fiddling with the heart charm on my bracelet. It's his routine. Poor little guy was so exhausted that he did fall asleep while drinking from the bottle. Daddy arrived an hour later, after going to Albertson's, Rite Aid, and having begged the checker at Price Savers, which was closed, to show him the styles they carried by holding them up to the glass of the shut door. Not the right ones. They were nowhere to be found. He finally tried Target, and what do you know. That's where we saw them!

I put my sleeping boy to bed and placed the new binkie within reach so that when he started squirming at midnight, as he always does, he would find it, place it in his mouth, and drift contentedly back to sleep.

Show and Tell - Favorite Room

Show and Tell this week is our favorite room. This is my first house and I love that I finally have a house, although it's by far nothing like my dream home. It has a somewhat typical American suburban development tract floor plan that doesn't make much sense to me, but given my options and budget, this is what I have. I don't have a favorite room, per se. I thought of posting a picture of my bedroom, as I long, LONG, for a good and full night's sleep. But I spend almost no time there, unless I am sleeping. I thought of posting my kitchen, which I love, in that it is much bigger than anything I've ever had, has a pantry and an island and a deep sink. But it's messy, and really sort of average, all in all. Plus, I feel like a slave to the chore of feeding the family sometimes, so it's not always my favorite place. Especially when I don't get as much help keeping things clean and tidy as I would like. The other living room used to be my favorite, but then we got this ridiculously big tv that doesn't fit inside the armoire (I like things tidy and electronics concealed -- it's good feng shui, you know), so I had to move the armoire out, which is a very pleasing article, with nice bookshelf units on each side. The room used to be balanced and nice. Now we have a very comfy sectional sofa to go with the tv, but the room is too small for it, so it just doesn't work. Plus, we also have a crib next to the sofa. It's very crowded in that little room, so I don't like it's looks at all any more. But the function is nice. Many people can hang out in comfort and ooh and ahh at the amazing detail one can see in high definition tv. But. Not my favorite room any more. I therefore offer this picture. This is taken from the sofa in the diaper changing living room. I like to sit there on occasion and look up at all the crazy lines and angles in the ceiling. (Floor level is more cluttered than I like.) I like the tiffany style pendant lamps and the vaulted ceiling and the skinny rectangular windows. I like the skylights in the upstairs loft. I like to sit here and daydream about what kind of crazy lines and angles I want to build into my dream home. They will be more meaningful lines, though, with practical and useful features and functions.

Go see Blackbird for more show and tell!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Not a day goes by...

Today you would have turned 35.

I hope you are singing showtunes in heaven
Surfing the waves of the Aurora Borealis
Dancing amidst the stars
Soaring through the universe
Smiling
Laughing
Now and forevermore

I think of you every day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday

Self Portrait Tuesday - Personal History II
In 1971, Professor Pig followed his heart and sold his home in a quaint university town, gathered up his Honorable Bag and tribe of unruly children (number seven in utero), and journeyed to the Sceptred Isle to spend a year in the sacred walls and halls of the esteemed Cambridge University. The Professor had his own passport, and his family shared one. This is the family passport photo, although it's missing one child (who is, sadly, missing once more; this time, forever).

The band of foreigners made their home in a humble flat on Norwich Street. Number 19. A young Squished Piggy, a misfit in her own land, found herself somewhat of a celebrity. After all, the English children had never seen an American before. Are you a North American or a South American? she was asked, time and again. The shy girl who had no friends in her home land found herself befriended by two young girls, Bernadette and Elizabeth. There were afternoons with tea and toast and walks along cobbled roads lined with berry bushes. It was the happiest year of a young Squished Piggy's life.

Years later, in 1994, a grown Squished Piggy made her way back to 19 Norwich Street. She walked the streets of Cambridge, and marveled at the majesty of the university --the grounds, the architecture, the history. No wonder Professor Pig was so enamored with the place.

Fast forward another ten years and a few more travels. Warsaw. Manchester. Mexico. Paris. Rome. By 2004 the Squished Piggy passport had run its course and finally expired. Present day. A new life. A new look. A new passport.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Oh why not...the American Express Meme

Blackbird and several of her faithful readers commented about this meme, so I thought I'd give it a go myself...

My name....SueeeuS

childhood memory....A kiss on the forehead and a whispered “You’re a good kid” from my Grandpa while I was pretending to be asleep on Christmas Eve

fondest memory....Staying up late playing games and drinking tea with my brothers and sisters

soundtrack....The slap slap slap slap of my baby’s hands on the hardwood floors as he crawls to me as fast as his mighty little body can move

retreat....A woodsy place with a view of water, mountains, trees, blue skies, and white fluffy clouds

wildest dream....Look good in lingerie while performing lead guitar and vocals in a rock band

proudest moment....January 14, 2005, holding my son for the very first time

biggest challenge....Raising my child to be kind, strong, gentle, considerate, decent, and loving without giving him my ugly baggage

alarm clock....Set to wake to music on very very low volume

perfect day....The best of all possible worlds

first job....Youth Conservation Corps

indulgence....Blogging and TV

last purchase....Rapid rising yeast

favorite movie....Gigi, My Fair Lady

inspiration....hope of a brighter tomorrow

My life....is so much better than I give it credit for

My card is....American Express in the Costco 2% cash back flavor

Show and Tell - Something Crafty

This year I told suggested the cool cat make me something for Christmas. I tried to make him something as well. I had visions of making a photo holder with a concrete base, where the base is a hand or foot print, and there is either a notch or a stem to hold a photo (of the Boo, of course). I first tried making a sand casting. I mixed the sand to the proper wetness for forming, and I covered it with plastic wrap to keep down the mess, and also to produce a smooth finish. Unfortunately, it takes quite a bit of pressure to make a clear impression in the sand, and Boo, Mr. Magooboo, didn't take kindly to that. I poured it anyway, to see what I'd get (which was an undefined lumpy foot). Not what I had in mind. Next, I made play doh, because it would be softer than sand and easier to make the impression. I found a recipe on the internet, and what do you know, it worked. Since I didn't have the plastic film this time, the finished product didn't turn out smooth. It looks sandy and coarse. But much more like a hand and foot print. I gave up on the photo holder details, and decided that these would just be paperweights or garden stones or something.
I tried, anyway. On the left are the play doh castings. They haven't cured as long, and are a dark color with a coarse finish. On the right are the sand castings. They are smooth and white, having cured a week longer. Also, their color may be more white because of the smoothness factor. I like the smoothness and color of the sand casting better, but I like the definition of the play doh casting.
This is what the cool cat made me. Bless his heart. My BIL is an excellent craftsman, having built an incredibly beautiful and amazing home and furniture and whatnot. So. When the cool one presented me with my gift, he didn't say, Merry Christmas, Honey. No. Instead, he said, I'm not D. By way of apology, I guess. Silly man. I love that he made me something. That he thought it out and made it happen. It's a box that holds my ribbons. (I had mentioned that I'd like something to spool my ribbons on, as it would make gift wrapping so much easier.)
Now my ribbons spool oh so nicely. I like this gift quite a lot.
Since he was on a roll, he made me a spindle for the gift wrap as well. He got a little carried away with the dowels, bless his heart. It works, and holds quite a lot of paper. Incidentally, this was the baby's favorite item on Christmas day. He kept pulling dowels out and swinging them about like a Kung Fu master. He had loads of fun.

Go see Blackbird for more show and tell!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday

Squished Piggy, past and present.