December 29, 2005

My new printer

Santa brought me an HP PSC 1410. It is at the bottom of a nice line of printers who print, scan, and copy (hence the "PSC"). The main differences I could see between it and those higher up the line were in how much paper the input tray could hold at a time, and small differences in speed of printing...and fairly large differences in cost. So far, I love it. It's fairly compact, and setting it up was a breeze. It prints color pictures on plain paper better than my Epson ever did (I printed out some so that I could stop hearing "Mommy, look at pictures!" every time I sat at my computer), and the black-and-white is crisp, too. Copying has been easy, and as advertised, does not require the computer itself.

I've been busy figuring out some work-arounds for the parts of my computing life that are in System 9, that I'd like to print out. Being cheap, I'd rather do that than upgrade software for money if I can help it. The most important one is in Quicken; that's the one document I really, really, really would freak out if I lost (and I was a little worried when my hard drive crashed a while ago, but thanks to Ty I recovered everything. And there was an old back-up on Matt's computer. I just didn't want to have to hand enter five years worth of check registers....) Keeping that incident in mind, the first thing I wanted to print once I again had a reliable printer was that whole time period of the register in the computer.

I was able to export the data from Quicken. I found a freeware program called AbiWord, which has gotten good reviews, to paste the data into. It's not pretty but it's readable (Quicken's fault, not AbiWord's), and it's nice to have a hard copy now. I think I will have fun with AbiWord, too; after the check book, the worst loss from not being able to print from Classic is all my Word documents (most notably, lesson stuff). This new program *looks* like Word and *acts* like Word--as far as I can tell from our brief acquaintance and its online reviews--but it's open source, cross-platform, and did I mention it's free?

Anyway, not being one to do things by halves, I opened up this 164 page document in AbiWord to see how it'd do. It did what I wanted, but sloooooowly. I haven't figured out how to fix that, although Word would likely have a similar problem, though perhaps not quite so slow. I'm also not sure how much I care, though, since now that I have my Master's, and have done the stoopid portfolio for my shiny new license type (that is now not required--argh.), I can't imagine needing to print out this much at any one time (after today). As I type, the new printer is humming along: 2005 is long since safe on paper, and it's up to 2001 (I didn't mention, but it collates, too.)

December 28, 2005

One more free thing

Electric blanket, twin size, dark green. Worked just fine 9 years ago
(and should still...it's just been in a box.)

Free Stuff

Even before Christmas, we had a pile of stuff that kept growing 'til I
had time to "Freecycle" it. Now, more than ever, it's time to clean
out the old hobbit hole. Let me know if you want any of this stuff
within the next week, and I'll set it aside for you until we connect.

Epson Stylus Color 600 inkjet printer. I took this apart to clean it,
and, well, I never put it back together (I *did* clean it, though).
It's kind of a bear to do, although the directions (complete
schematics) are online (I can tell you where to find them). Other than
having to put it together, this is a great deal: it comes with two sets
of cartridges, AND a refill kit for both kinds (color and black). Its
print quality I would class as "acceptable" (though that might be
because it needed cleaning). A caveat for Mac people: it won't work
with OSX because it only has an Apple Talk connector, not USB.

HP DeskWriter 600. It needs something, possibly just a new cartridge.
Sometimes it will do up to six or so pages in a row, then stop one
third of the way down the page with a "cartridge cannot move" error
(even though the cartridge CAN move). When it prints, it's really high
quality for an inkjet. Again, won't work with OSX.

Keyspan USB Twin Serial Adapter: If you're a Mac person, and you want
one of the printers, take this handy (though expensive!) contraption
off my hands: though you'll still have to use OS9, it lets you connect
AppleTalk devices to your USB ports.

UMax FireWire Scanner. I have the OS9 software for it. The b------s
at UMax aren't supporting OSX, but you can buy software to make it work
with OSX for around $50. It's always worked just fine. Since I have
an OSX ready printer/scanner now, I just don't need it.

Broken glider rocker. The glider mechanism works o.k., but one of the
pins?rods?bolts? that hold the glider part to the chair part broke off.
Cushions are faded green/brown/cream plaid.

Stereo system: two speakers, radio and tape decks work. CD was *very*
temperamental but worked last time (8 years ago?) I tried it. Never
tried the turntable; it does spin, but I'm sure it needs a new needle.
Speakers some times cut in and out; probably needs a good cleaning on
the inside around the volume control area.

Tubing and all the gear for hospital-style double breast pump (but not
the electric pump itself, though there is a manual one included here).
You're not supposed to reuse these for more than one person,
supposedly, but what a waste; they got used, I think, twice in the
hospital, never since. I've boiled them, too.

Some firewood; perhaps a normal fireplace's (top to bottom, side to
side) worth? It's not tons, but it's pine and a little maple. Been
out in the elements for one and 3/4 years.

If I think of anything else, I'll post it here.

Christmas, Days 3 and 4

Well, I never would have guessed it, but there was singing at the Moore
family Christmas. We even went and caroled for a few neighbors. It
was nice to have something to focus on besides food and gifts, and
thanks to my Aunt Barb, we have the grown-up gifts covered for 2006 (a
family calendar, with each family contributing one+ months worth of
illustrations, events, etc.)

The only jarring note was that Emily has not been her usual sunny self
the last few days. She does have a good reason, though: her second
tooth showed up sometime Christmas night. Given the need, Matt has
found a better way to get Tylenol into her than I was using.
Hallelujah!

We saw Julie last night for dinner. Though quieter, of course, than in
years past, it was nice to get caught up a little bit.

And that concludes our official family Christmas-ing, though of course
there's more visiting to be done. I'm also hoping to finally get to
watch the DVD versions of Star Wars (the original ones: 4-6). Matt
decreed that he wanted to see them, too, so as a matter of honor and
fidelity (high), I haven't seen them since we haven't managed a time to
do it together. They were a birthday present. My birthday's in March.
I think it might be time....before my birthday rolls around again.

December 25, 2005

Christmas, Day 2

It's true: sometimes, the best gifts aren't under the tree. Without
going into too many details, last night's festivities were made MUCH
happier because someone in his family gave Matt the gift of......peace.
As a result, both of had fun. At least, as much as we could with an
insane toddler, anyway.

We tried, we really, really tried, but Laura would not go to sleep
yesterday for a nap at her usual time. She finally fell asleep about a
half an hour before we had to leave; usually, waking her up at that
point leads to a really lousy evening, but fortunately church and
relatives distracted her from grumpiness. (She did get to help with the
manger scene at church, and aside from playing for a while with one of
the stuffed sheep, did a great job [she eyed the baby Jesus dolly in
the manger for a looong time...I was sure he was going to get burped,
or even fed, but she let him sleep.])

The lack of sleep eventually took its toll, however, and she was
basically bananas by the time we were halfway through the tree. Nobody
died--or even got hurt, as far as I know--so all's well that ends well.
She slept in for a while this morning, and she's asleep again now.
Rest will help!

Emily was her usual flirty self, happy to be passed around to new and
old faces alike, as long as they were looking at her. I have noticed
that she absolutely hates going to sleep when there are people to see
(I think she missed two naps in a row yesterday afternoon and evening.
Did she care? Nah. She just conked out about the time the buckles on
her car seat clicked together.) That would be our extroverted child.
I guess it's nice to have a set; just like having both salt and pepper.

This morning we elected to forego church (especially as there was no
child care today), in favor of putting together toys. I've also been
taking the pre-emptive step, recommended by others who share my rants
about loud toys, of putting clear tape over speakers while Laura's
somewhere else. I don't think she'll care, but I know I will! Now I'm
off to try the printer Santa brought me (thank you, Santa! It's just
the model I asked for!), and maybe do a few things to prepare for
tomorrow.

Merry Christmas, all. We feel very blessed this year, and hope you do,
too.

December 24, 2005

Christmas, Day 1

In just a few hours, we'll officially start Christmas. First up is
church, for the family Christmas Eve service. I can't predict what the
Vic may do, but last year she had a short sermon involving all the
children and some plastic animal toys. I've been promising Laura that
we'll be singing some Christmas songs, too.

After that, we're off to Matt's mom's house for his family's
celebration (and dinner).

Day 2 will involve our tree here, maybe church again (we'll see!), and
'Mah!' coming over for a casual dinner.

Day 3 is A Very Moore Christmas, here. I'm hoping music will become a
new tradition for us...we have a lot of talent in my family, and seldom
get to share it with each other. If we can convince anybody to sing,
I've got the carols all copied.

Day 4 is our day to be with Julie.

And on the fifth day...we rest (or see some of our wandering friends
:-) ).

Last night, we went over to Ross and Tamara's (and Molly's, as Laura
points out), for dessert and goodies and a good time. Laura decided
she likes the "other Hallelujah song" (it's that little ditty by
Handel... ;-) ), to which she danced for our amusement. I am impressed
by her ear for music, since she recognized the Mannheim Steamroller
version of it this morning (last night's was a classic choral
arrangement). When we got home, she cried and said "go back Ross and
Tamara's!", so I think she had a good time, as did we.

December 23, 2005

We dig, dig, dig the whole day through

O.K., it didn't take all day. Yesterday Matt and I each took some
action to try to keep the basement dry (the spider closet and nursery
have remained dry since we fixed the front downspout so it doesn't
connect to the street).

I went out and looked at the main back downspout Wednesday night, and
realized it needed more help; the plastic doesn't leak (except where
the two pieces of it connect), but it was on ground that sloped up a
bit. So, with my trusty shovel I dug a small trench for the tubing and
nestled it lovingly into it (actually, I shoved it with my foot; it was
raining at the time.) One nice thing about doing this sort of thing in
the elements is that we can always check our work: I saw the flow of
water increase quite a bit once the spout was level. Seeing how much
there was, I decided to extend the trench a bit to give all that water
a place to drain...I'll just plant something in front of the two-foot
long dip in the spring; it's in my herb garden anyway. Maybe mint.
Since I was moving all that dirt (mud) anyway, I sort of dammed up the
trench on the house side of the join in the pieces of plastic; that way
all the leakage will go towards my woman-made lake rather than the
house.

Step two was Matt's job: moss removal. While I was out mucking around,
I noticed what looked like moss growing on the lip of our roofed
gutters, just above the problem area. It wasn't all that much, but
when it pours, *any* barrier there will make the water spill over where
it shouldn't. He cleaned out as much as he could without standing on a
ladder, and we'll do more when the ground dries out.

Here's hoping these two things will fix it, 'cause dammed (heh) if I
can think of anything else we can do.

December 22, 2005

More water...

We got a little more water in behind the washer in the basement this
afternoon; it did really pour for a bit. I went out and cleared both
downspouts (leaves had collected a little at both of them), and tried
to fix the slope a bit on the southeast corner one....water won't run
uphill, usually. On the up side (har), that particular area of the
basement is still not a big deal for water--it's just bare cement (and
having the furnace and the dryer both down there effectively
counteracts mold forming--especially the furnace, since it really dries
the air). Also, the drain works now! Yay!

We're going to get our Christmas cards out just under the wire this
year. I had an "interesting" experience trying to get our family
wallet photos with Snapfish, which slowed us down (to be fair, I got a
full refund and some credits; they get full points for trying, though
not, alas, for speed!) And my insistence that all lettered members of
the household sign for themselves makes it take longer, too. But hey,
we think you're worth a little extra care! Anyway, if we love you (and
have your snail mail), they're on the way soon.

There is no Christmas letter; I just couldn't do it this year. I know
there are acceptable ways to write about losing a loved one, but if
just writing this makes me tear up (and it does), imagine what looking
at such words over and over as I stuffed envelopes would do.
Obviously, I'm not done "processing" through the grief yet, however
quiet I might usually be on the subject. Maybe next year we'll do one
again. Meanwhile, at least there's this blog to entertain you.

Laura still doesn't go for the Play-Doh. Today, one of the open
canisters got upended, and she refused to pick up the Doh itself that
had fallen out. She did try, but then backed away suspiciously and
absolutely refused to pick it up. I'm guessing she's a little creeped
out by the texture....Not being all that thrilled about rescuing it
from the floor myself, a Temporary Play-Doh Moratorium has been
enacted: she can play with the canisters all she wants, but Mommy's
not taking the lids off for a while. Laura seems disappointed but not
heartbroken with this development.

The best news: Matt's finally on Winter Break! We're excited to get
caught up with all those we haven't seen in a while, and maybe even
sneak in one or two quiet nights at home. He's free for a literal
twelve days, so in our house, Christmas can now officially begin.
Bring on the pear tree!

December 20, 2005

iPod

At last, Matt's speechies have given him his holiday present, so I
don't have to keep their secret anymore: they gave him an iPod. It's
the new kind with video capabilities, that holds 30 gigs.

This sort of thing is a definite advantage to having a huge team. And
on his behalf, thanks, Speechies! I know he'll love having it!

December 19, 2005

A bit better....

The laundry pile has abated a bit, though Emily did her part to add to
it today (and the feather pillow is just going to have to wait;
contrary to the labels, it IS possible--even feasible--to wash feather
pillows at home, but drying takes a while and HAS to be done right away, or mustiness develops.) I listened
to the furnace guy's report while holding a burp rag (and Emily) in
front of the wide swath of my chest she had just blurped all over. I
don't know if he noticed, and I suppose it's a sign of my status in
mom-hood that really, I don't care!

Speaking of which: the furnace cover is *not* just jiggling loose; he
said it's not very likely. On the up side, if resetting it by opening
and closing the cover works for us (if the same thing happens in the
future), he said there's no particular danger in going ahead and
running the furnace (basically, if it runs, it's safe; it's usually the
safety features that keep them from running in the first place.) He
fixed the one thing that required no parts--cleaning out something like
a flame-recognizer?--and said that was one of three things that might
have been wrong. So if it's one of the other two, it'll happen again,
and we'll probably be out some bucks to fix it. Personally, I can
handle spending money (not that I *want* to!) ; it was the worry that
we'd all die in our beds that got to me. I know it's irrational, and I
still just viscerally hate natural gas. So I feel better now, though
who knows if it's fixed...I guess time will tell.

In other news, I was called for jury duty for tomorrow, but I deferred
it (for what I think are fairly obvious reasons: not only am I a
nursing mother, but Matt's not out of school until Thursday). At least
in this county, though, there's no acknowledgment that they've gotten
your little card begging to defer, so I called today. And called. And
called. The second try on the second phone number actually got me a
person, who said the person really in charge wasn't there; they did
take a message, and the PIC did get back to me. So the secret to
finding out what day you've deferred to is to call them up and make
sure you *have* deferred; she was nice enough to let me know I'm up on
July 7th without me even asking. I can handle doing my civic duty
then.

Since we were sort of stuck on one floor of the house today (lying in
wait for the furnace guy...it's *very* hard to hear the door when we're
in the nursery), I broke into the Play-Doh Laura got for her birthday.
She had never played with it before, and I just have to share the
lesson I was reminded of today while watching her.

I took the lid off one of the containers, got out the Doh, smooshed it
down to show her how it worked, and used one of her Play-Doh cutters to
show her how she could make a 5! Out of Doh!

I asked if she wanted to do it. "No. Mommy put back in container."
Hmm. O.K., it's your toy, babe. She then brought me each of the other
colors (there are four in this set), had me take the lid off, looked
inside, noted the color ("Lellow!"), and said, "Mommy put lid on."

She spent the rest of her time with them today stacking the containers,
arranging them neatly in a row here and there, having me remove and
replace the lids--often stopping in between to shake the contents from
side to side, and pretend "eat" from them--and repeating the colors.
Never did she remove the Play-Doh from its canisters, though I think
she poked it experimentally with a finger once or twice.

So what lesson did I learn? Well, of course there's "to each his own",
but what I was thinking of was the full enjoyment of whatever life
gives us for fun. If she ever gets around to the Doh itself, it will
just be the icing on the cake!

December 18, 2005

The Amazing Emily, Now Performing

Our baby's hobby is creating laundry.

She and Laura both have colds, and it looks like her next tooth is
arriving soon. Since we got and decorated our tree yesterday, I got a
little behind, and today was one of those days (both Emily and I got
extra bathing in tonight. In a word: Ick. I wish there were some way
to get the Tylenol inside the relevant part of me, so it could just be
mixed with her food. I could handle the shot! Joe? Robyn? Is this
possible?!?) So I'll get back to you when the clothes--and
bedding--and pillows--and towels--that she's polluted are all taken
care of.

I've got to admit: for someone so small, she's got amazing abilities.
I just wish she'd apply them to some other hobby.

December 15, 2005

Thought for the Day

The other morning, we were sitting at breakfast, and the topic somehow
got to diapers and what goes in them. (N.B.: In case you don't have
children, this is not all that unusual...Sorry.)

So I was explaining to Laura that, like the book says, "Everybody
Poops." In fact, I noted, warming to my subject, it's part of being
alive. Even plants poop!

Matt said, "Wow. Right now, we're *breathing* plant poop!"

So. Take a nice, deep breath. Feels good, doesn't it? [in the
background, swelling music becomes clearer; it's "Circle of Life" from
_The Lion King_ "It's the cirrrrcle....the circle of liiiiife."]

Brrrr!

This morning, for the second time in about a month and a half, our
furnace inexplicably shut off. Matt went down, popped the cover off,
put it back on, and all is well. It reminded me, though, that we
hadn't had our annual free checkup this year (the summer was a little
busy!) So to be safe (we do sleep in the basement, after all), I
called Northwest Natural to schedule one.

The first available date was Jan. 25th. Hmmm. If there's something
really wrong, that's too long to wait. So, I talked to a human,
explained the issues, and they'll be out Monday (for free, unless we
need a replacement part). Hopefully it's just the cover wiggling
loose, but I hate messing with gas, and this way we'll *know*.

It seems to be the year for it, but also hopefully this is the third
and last thing of the "coming in threes" things: first the water
heater, then the brakes on the Camry (I didn't mention them, but that
was about three weeks ago; fixed now. New rear rotors and pads.), now
the furnace.

I must say, after setting that date, it occurred to me that I can come
up with at least five places nearby, without thinking hard, where we
could camp out in a pinch if we needed to shelter somewhere warm.
Thanks for being there! (and we'll call if you need to get out the
sleeping bags...)

December 13, 2005

SNOW DAY!!

Actually, it was ice. In any event, it was totally unexpected; Matt
was already getting dressed before we saw the little blinking light
indicating a voice mail had been left. At that point, it was just a
delay, later changed to no school.

Woohoo!

As we told Laura, "We get Daddy home all day, and it's not even the
weekend." (and in case you think it's terrible that a teacher--or even
two teachers--would rejoice in a snow day, let me tell you that it was
a teacher of *mine* who taught her whole class the lyrics to "Let It
Snow", and told us that if we all sang it outside in our yards that
night, maybe it would snow the next day....)

We definitely seized the day. We cleaned; I made bread; we invited Ty
and Jonah and Elisha over; the toddlers played; the babies slept; the
men talked computers. Laura and I each got a good nap. We--all four
of us, which is kind of a dog-and-pony show--went to two stores after
naps.

We are now needing another day off, just to recover!

December 12, 2005

Toothsome Similes...

Like Kilimanjaro rising about the plains....

Like a white Ford Aspire edging around a triple-trailer semi on the
freeway...

Like Jack Torrance's axe chopping through the bathroom door in _The
Shining_...

Like a piece of cheese placed crookedly in a sandwich, sticking out
over the edge of the bread...

Emily's first tooth has made its official appearance.

December 11, 2005

Weekend roundup

As I sit here snacking on leftover shrimp, cream cheese, and crackers
from the CIMmers do, it occurred to me that I hadn't updated the blog
on our weekend.

Before I do that, I want to apologize to everybody I owe emails to.
Very fortunately, the *vast* majority of you read the blog. So that
helps. I do find that most of my time to write ends up going here, and
I have noticed that what was a trickle of mail I managed to keep up has
now dried up almost completely. We all know what the road to Hell is
paved with, so I'm making no promises to change; but do know that it
makes me sad. On the other hand, I think I end up keeping in touch a
lot better this way. On the other, other hand, life is generally all
happy and frisky here on the blog, and that is not always *really* the
case at home (and there are some things I can't write about, due to
confidentiality ethics. Often those are also not happy or frisky.).
On the other, other, other hand, isn't it more fun to read about
positive things most of the time? :-)

Friday, two of my very favorite people came to visit: my Aunt Barb and
Uncle Charles (they are not married to each other, but brother and
sister, each with their own spouse). Charles was in town from his home
in upstate New York, and they had a few hours, so they got to come hang
out with the girls and me for the afternoon (bringing lunch, too.
Yum.) We had fun marveling over our gene pool, discussing children,
and trying to track down an auncient album of A.A. Milne poetry set to
music (it is out of print, to say the least, and unavailable except
perhaps on a lucky eBay day.) Emily was in great form, and when Laura
eventually awoke to join us, she did unusually well, too. (We lured
her with a book: I gave Charles the one she'd been asking for a lot
lately; she started in the furthest corner of the couch away from him,
but as he read, got closer and closer and closer so she could point
things out to him on the pages. I always knew books would be her
downfall!) All in all, it was a great afternoon. I want more!

Saturday we finished the Christmas shopping, decorated a little, and
betook ourselves off to the Davisons for the CIMmers thing. The
CIMmers (I'm not even sure that's the unofficial name anymore) are a
small group of Sprague-eys (or former Sprague-eys, in my case), who are
all sort of the same age and generation in terms of when they started
teaching (and having to deal with the CIM). To further cement our
bond, four of us all had children (Liam, Jonah, Marc, and Laura, in
that order) the same calendar year, which constituted a minor Baby
Boom. So, we try to meet and get the kids together when we can,
especially at the holidays (we--the Ogles--missed last year, which
meant I hadn't seen some folks for two years. Too long!) Those baby
booms are all toddlers now, and it was a lot of fun watching them play
together. Of course, Laura spent a lot of time by herself instead of
following the boys around; that's my little introvert. I must say it
is nice to be around a group that has pretty much all read the Harry
Potter books, mostly likes the Lord of the Rings (books and movies),
and doesn't think I'm a freak for being able to quote the first three
Star Wars movies verbatim (rather, they encourage and compete with me
at it!) Though we met at Sprague, I think it is more these things that
keep me in the gang now. Thanks to Ty and Erin for hosting us all!

Ho ho home free!

I'm smugly satisfied to announce that I'm done Christmas shopping (another way DSL has changed my life; I did most of it via the Internet). I mention it not so much to brag, but in wonderment: I don't think I've ever been done this many days before any gatherings before. I might pick up a few things at Toys 'R' Us (we have to return something anyhow), but my actual list is done. Now, the wrapping is another matter....

Another way technology's impacted me lately is that I've tried RSS. That's Really Simple Syndication, but I'd never really heard a simple explanation of what it was, so I finally just tried installing it. Very nice.

If you don't know, it's essentially a program that searches your favorite web sites for you (no clicking required; mine does it automatically whenever I start the program), and provides you with any updated information that appears there. So far, different web sites will give you different information; with some blogs, you get the whole text of whatever someone's written. Others just give you the first few lines, and some sites (kgw.com) give you just a headline. It saves time for me, since I don't have to actually go to each site to see if it's been updated (and half the time with news sites, I just want to check the headlines anyway).

The one I tried is Net NewsWire Lite, a freeware program for the Mac. (If you want to try it, scroll down to the very bottom of that page to find the free version.)

December 7, 2005

The Five-Second Rule

Ty and Jonah and Elisha came over to play today, and we all (the Ogles,
at least) had a good time.

Among other things, we discussed the ten-second rule (or, more
accurately, I guess, the five-second rule). Ty suggested it'd be a
good blog topic, and as a loyal reader, I'm willing to humor him (send
your topics today! Be tomorrow's lucky winner!).

If you're not familiar with it, it says basically that when you drop
things you plan to eat, if they are retrieved within that brief window,
it's still o.k. to get them from the floor and eat them. (The
discussion here centered on "O's", which are constantly being dropped
by toddlers. Mostly mine.)

I remembered reading that somebody had done research (Google it and it
comes right up :-) ) about this rule, and here, to save you research
time, is the gist:

Bad news: if there's something really nasty on the ground, any amount
of time is enough for contamination to occur. This is much more likely
either if the floor is wet (and has been for a bit), or if what you
drop is especially sticky (peanut butter and jelly...face down).

Good news: most dry floors aren't that dirty, at least in terms of
bacterial levels. Probably because bacteria like damp, wet, ooky
places (sponges, anyone?); deny them moisture, deny them life!

More good news: people who study disease have figured out that,
especially in your own home, especially when you're a toddler, down
around on the floor all day, you're not going to get anything new and
different that you haven't been exposed to already just by picking up
food off the floor. Your toys are down there. Your (tasty) feet are
down there. Your water bottle is rolling around down there somewhere.
So isolating your food is basically pointless (and unjust) segregation,
outlawed by the Supreme Court in the little-known but ground-breaking
Cheerio Decision of 1968. If you're going to get some bacterial nasty
from your local environment, you're probably going to get it regardless
of where your food has been...and you're not especially likely to in
the first place, if only you keep things a little arid.

.......
The toddlers also did some sharing, practiced the "trade" maneuver for
toys, and played a very little chase. Laura enjoyed showing off her
yoga moves (a funny: Laura says and does "Downward Dog." Jonah
Assumes the same Position (which could also accurately be called "Moon
the Moon") and says "Woof, woof!")

Elisha and Emily even got a little face time, trading smiles: "Hey,
that's a baby! She's cute! I must drool now!" (I can't really speak
for Elisha, but I'm fairly sure that's what Emily was thinking.)

......
I am far, far behind in reporting on books I've read, but alas, my time
for today is almost up. I can, however, tease you with titles:
"Living Out Loud", by Anna Quindlen. "The Truth", by Al Franken.
"Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House." And one of
these days, as God is my witness, I'm going to finish the 9/11 report
(I started it the day it came out, and got about 80 pages
in...gripping. But I got distracted shortly thereafter and have yet to
get back to it. Maybe over Christmas; it can't be less cheerful than
Martin Gilbert's "The Holocaust", which I often re-read around then
just to remind me how good life is. Superb book, by the way; full of
first-person witnesses' accounts, as well as scrupulous research and
reasoned commentary. It always makes me cry, and resolve to do more
good in the world, to put it simplistically.)

Finally, a Day Without "Rain"

Yay! Emily wore the same outfit all day yesterday! (This may not
sound exciting to you, in which case, you are not someone who does our
laundry.)

She *is* still teething, though, and that doesn't help. Monday, she
got two baths. The first one was occasioned by time and grime; the
second....well, let's just say the attempt to medicate her for her
teeth didn't turn out well (the medication was successfully
administered, eventually. And the second bath apparently "took".).

Some days, we all teethe together; Laura's still growing her baby teeth
(and chewing determinedly on things), and believe it or not, I'm almost
35 and I still have all my wisdom teeth (seems like that's a rarity
anymore). One of them's been "cutting in" for the last month of so.
If nothing else, it helps remind me how annoying it is to teethe (and
no, I have no big plans to have them out. According to dentists,
there's plenty of space for them: I have a big mouth. I can hear you
laughing. Shut up. Really. Or else. I feel like biting anyway....)

December 5, 2005

The Inquisition, What a Show...

Laura does not wake up well (neither do I...Matt and Emily are both the
annoying sort who roll out of bed all happy and ready to greet the day.
Ugh.)

She's been asking, on and off, for us to sing songs she hears in church.

This morning, as I was getting her up. I was greeted with a VERY
demanding, toddler directive: "SING HALLELUJAH!"

Not liking the tone much, I told her she'd have to ask nicely.

No dice.

"SING HALLELUJAH!"

*"SING HALLELUJAH!"*

I called out to Matt, who was in the next room, that it was a bit like
having the Spanish Inquisition in our house.

Of course, nobody expected that, either....

December 4, 2005

Book Blitz

We went on another of our hair-raising library raids today; they close
at 5, we arrived around 4:35, and scurried. I needed to get out of the
house (it had been a week!), and had books due, and books on hold, and
I also thought it'd be a good idea for Laura to have a fresh crop. My
idea was right, since when we got home, she upended her bag o' books
and we had to drag her away, forty minutes later, to eat dinner.

Emily took her maiden voyage in her new car seat, and did just fine.
Of course, inserting the child into the car is tougher on a different
part of the back than the infant seat was, but at least we know we're
set until it's time for a booster. She "christened" it immediately;
that's what we get for filling her up before each journey, I guess (it
was only a little, fortunately).

The only problem we have now is that, without the infant seat, we don't
have a stroller that would be remotely comfortable for her (mostly, we
just stayed home when Laura was at this stage. Now, however, it's the
holidays and that just doesn't seem likely). She's kind of heavy to
just lug around in our arms, out in the world, where there aren't handy
arm chairs all over the place. Solution: keep the infant seat in the
trunk, keep the handy wire stroller attachment for same in the trunk,
and voila! a stroller. She's grown enough that her head isn't really
*quite* safe in the infant seat in the car--that's why we upgraded--but
she still fits side-to-side, and I figure she's still safe enough to be
driven around on foot (safer, probably, than in our other strollers!)

Matt/Daddy was welcomed home this morning, and he is DONE with speech
tournaments until January. It's a good time for a break.

December 3, 2005

1984 in 2005

An oft-heard conversation in our house:

Ginger: Let's go change the baby.
Laura: Time change Miss EM AH LEE!

[Diaper change proceeds... Approximately halfway through:]
L: Could be Nekkid BABY!
G: Yep.
L: Mommy, zorbit her!
G: You think I should zorbit her?
L: Yeah!
G: O.K.

[Diaper on, shirt off, Emily is thoroughly zorbited.]
G. Would *you* [to Laura] like some zorbits?
L. Noooooo. Mommy zorbit *her*.
G. Are you sure?
L. [slowly and clearly, as if speaking to an idiot]
Mommy....zorbit....Emily!

For some reason, this always makes me think of the Thought Police
breaking Winston in _1984_, until he cries, "Do it to Julia! Do it to
Julia!"

The Grandma Parade

Yesterday, I was planning to report a banner day once Laura was down:
Emily wore the same outfit all day! But alas, in the time between her
bath at 6:15 (it had to be *after* the bath, of course) and Laura going
down around 7:30, she defiled three.

So I thought I'd write about something funny I'd noticed. My children,
through no fault of their own, have a lot of grandmas (mostly because
of my side of the family; Matt's only responsible for one!) This is no
problem; Laura's smart enough to know grandmas are the cat's meow, and
when the girls get older, I'm not too worried about explaining them
all, since they'll be surrounded by people whose grands are half
step-grands (gotta love those crazy Baby Boomers!). If anyone notices
the bounty, they'll probably just be jealous.

It's the language that makes it funny.

In the beginning was "Mah!" Mostly, this applied to my mother, but
very quickly Laura realized there was another Mah, in the form of
Grandma Pat. They were both Mah! for a while.

Then she noticed Grandma Julie. This was the tipping point; she
realized there were too many people with the same name, so my mother
got Mah back, and everyone else was Grandma ______.

And then she added *my* grandma to the mix, Grandma Jan. And then *we*
(the "grown ups") were talking about my mother one day, mentioned her
as Grandma, and needed to specify. Laura wouldn't know her name, so we
said "Grandma Mah," and she knew just who we meant.

What's so funny about this is that, naturally, it sounds like
"Grandmama"--visions of pinafores, pressed linens, _The Princess
Diaries_, etc.--and that is SOOOOO not my mother. She is the last
person on the face of the Earth (except perhaps a male...) to fit that
appellation. Oh, well...it's sticking for now.