30 November 2006

getting lucky

No, not THAT kind of lucky...it seems my timing has once again been very, very good. First Javis Davis offered me free baby stuff. Today I received email from Jason, the founder of gDiapers, saying I was the 500th subscriber to the Yahoo! group for gDiaper users and he would like to send me a little something. Not sure if that will be gDiapers gear or something cool from Australia but whatever appears, free stuff is always fun.

We thought about trying gDiapers with Oliver but the local shops didn't carry them and I was too lazy to investigate them, and my plumbing, further. The company has really taken off so I'm optimistic I'll see them around here. (NOTE: Looks like there is one shop in Pittsburgh that is selling them, and the new house isn't far from them.) The renovations are giving me a chance to learn more about my plumbing and so far, the reports are fairly good. Now I will definitely have to give them a try when Baby v2.0, the girl version, arrives.

Here ends NaBloPoMo. The bitter end, in some ways. It's HARD to post every day and those bloggers who manage to do it without something like NaBloPoMo hanging over their heads have earned my admiration.

29 November 2006

noodad is for not so noomom too

I needed this yesterday. As is usually the way these things go, I read it a few minutes after I needed it.

One day left in NaBloPoMo. Still can't believe I am going to make it, barring unforeseen catastrophe. I'm really glad a month with 30 days was chosen. 31 might have been a stretch.

Even more surprising, however, is that there is actual blue sky to be seen here in Surrey and not a hint of a cloud (at this particular second). Tomorrow is predicted to be like this as well, which should be nice for our trip to London Zoo. We are going to celebrate the nice weather with a walk and a trip to Granny's (my mother in law's) for tea.

28 November 2006

eyes on London

Oliver enjoys the London Eye capsule
Oliver made his first trip to central London today, including a visit to London Eye. Click the photo to go to Flickr and see a few more photos of Oliver in the capsule. I was worried that he might be afraid but I could not have been more wrong.

We'd planned to go to London Zoo but were detoured into shopping instead, which probably does not come as much of a surprise. Fortnum & Mason, La Maison du Chocolat, the Apple Store on Regent Street (of course) and Hamley's were all visited. Found a terrific, and LARGE, wooden pillar box at Fortnum's. Should make a fine addition to Oliver's new room. Shipping it cost a fortune but at least we don't have to wrangle it on the planes. I should have taken a picture but I will try to remember to do so when it catches up with us in Pittsburgh.

Transportation from where we are staying in Surrey to the city is very easy. We are a five minute walk to the station where we catch a train to Waterloo. It was very dark when we came home as street lights are non-existent and it gets dark even earlier here than in Pittsburgh, but we found our way.

Rumor has it the floor in the kitchen at the new house goes down tomorrow, and the bathroom demolition will occur later in the week. Wonder what they are going to do until January when the cabinets arrive....

27 November 2006

the news from dampville

Rains a lot here. Windy too. We did see a patch of blue sky for a few minutes this afternoon, then it was gone.

Funniest moment thus far: Driving past a place selling garden sheds, spotting a huge sign that says "FREE ERECTION". (This is going to be a boon to my search engine hits, I'm sure....) Wish I had managed a photo. It's in a difficult spot on a busy, narrow road.

Off to London tomorrow. Oliver should enjoy the train ride. I hope he feels the same way about London Eye.

It's too bad I don't have Clumber with me. I could hear shooting when I was trying to take a nap on Sunday afternoon. Today there were beautiful male pheasants in the back garden. They looked a lot like a tasty meal to me.

26 November 2006


I need not have worried about successfully completing NaBloPoMo while in the UK. I'm here, and I'm posting. It seems Surrey is part of the civilized world after all. Not only am I posting, I'm sitting here with Oliver, watching his favorites on YouTube, connected via wireless. Just like home, except the people speak funny so very properly and keep offering me tea.

We seem to have slept well last night. Oliver for more than 14 hours, CD and I for about 10. Not having a clock in the bedroom can be a good thing.

It's raining here. Not much of a newsflash, I suppose. I really do like it here but November is not an ideal time to visit.

25 November 2006

hi-dee-ho man

My father would approve of our latest YouTube find for Oliver:

24 November 2006

off like a prom dress

We're off to London today, though I'm still no where near ready to go. Oliver can say London and the names of everyone he's going to see, but I'm sure he hasn't a clue what is really in store. I told him it was a "big day" today and he's been saying that a lot. Wonder if he knows the difference between "Big Dave" who he talked to on the phone yesterday, and "Big Day", that involves planes.

Wish us, and all of our fellow passengers seated within earshot, a lot of luck.

23 November 2006


It may be Thanksgiving but the best we can do is turkey meatballs with spaghetti tonight. Too much to do and not enough hours between now and our flight tomorrow. I don't even have time to blog. I'm hoping all of my regular readers are safely in their tryptophan comas by now anyway.

22 November 2006

demolition man

demolition man

This is the current view of the new house, looking from the dining room into the where the kitchen will be. Three walls are gone, the floor is gone, and the ceiling and outer walls are almost gone. Quite a change from Sunday when everything was intact.

living room, looking into kitchen

Another view, this time looking from the living room into the new kitchen. The existing opening is on the left. That will be filled in. The new opening, giving the cook a view to the living room, is on the right.

Quite a change since Sunday, when everything was intact. I only wish I'd been able to participate in the demo. I suspect it might have been very therapeutic.

Things are a bit different upstairs.

basking in the new room

Bathroom work hasn't started yet. Work in the bedrooms will be minimal. The floors need a light sand and some polyurethane, and the walls need paint. Oliver seems to like the size of his new room. I think I could probably fit three of his current rooms in there!

21 November 2006

the TLAs of pregnancy

Pregnancy is filled with those lovely TLAs, or Three-Letter Acronyms. For me it all started with an OPK, or "ovulation predictor kit", and an HPT, "home pregnancy test", and goes downhill rapidly from there.

My first doctor visit resulted in the letters AMA being printed large, and in red, on my chart. That's "Advanced Maternal Age", not "against medical advice"! They also asked for my LMP, which was July 11, so they could calculate my due date. This is used as the first day you're pregnant, though conception really happens about two weeks later. I would probably have to go to med school to figure that one out. Since I was charting my temp and other factors, I can tell you exactly when I ovulated, when any associated baby dancing was done, and thus can pinpoint conception within about 24 hours.

Around eleven or twelve weeks, we had the CVS, which we've talked about before. This told us baby v2.0 is a girl and she seems to be okay, from a chromosomal standpoint.

Last week, I had my AFP test done, another one that looks for birth defects. Thought I would hear something by Friday but didn't, and didn't remember to call my OB's office until 4:15pm, or 15 minutes after they closed. I called yesterday and they said they would call back. When they did call it was only to tell me they needed a consult with the genetics department but they'd call me again later on. Nope. No call. By this morning I was a wreck. I know the rate of false positives for the AFP is high, and a positive result only leads to more tests, but still, I was worried. I called again today and they assured me they had not forgotten me and they would call back when they knew something.

Finally, around 1:30pm, the call came that the test was "basically ok". Note to medical students out there: choose your words CAREFULLY!!!! I had to ask what she meant by "basically" and the doc said, "It's fine. All the x's are right in the middle." Whatever that means.... I think it means there is no increased risk of Down's or any of the other birth defects that can be linked to high AFP levels. That's my story and I'll be clinging to it for the next 20 or so weeks.

I was hoping we were now done with the TLAs for this pregnancy, but no, in about six weeks I need to have my GTT. Drink the nasty sprite-like liquid. Sit around the waiting room for a very long time. Give yet another blood sample. Hope mightily they don't decide to make you come back for the three hour version of the test.

And come next April, I hope to have a VBG and no PPD.

20 November 2006

if you knew sushi...

I am resisting the urge to save this for tomorrow. Let's hope I have something to say when tomorrow is today.

I'm not at all convinced this would solve my sushi craving problem, but I am willing to give it a try. And I happen to know someone heading to San Jose in a few weeks.

instant amnesia

I probably should have blogged about all the "button pushing" Oliver did last week but I was usually too fried by the late evening to re-live it. I know 19 month olds should be expected to test their parents and every boundary set by them but he really kicked it into over-drive last week. He pushed buttons I didn't even know I had. My "favorite" was his acting out when I arrived to pick him up at school. He would make sure I was watching and either climb onto a table or hit a friend. By the end of the week I started getting better about anticipating what he was about to do and would turn my back before he could act. It was mostly effective, though exhausting.

It's funny what a difference a few seconds can make. All Oliver had to do was utter two little words and I was stricken with instant amnesia. Last night I put him in his crib and tucked his duvet around him, patted his back twice and said what I always say, "Night night, Bunny. I love you." He doesn't usually say anything but last night he said, "love you." Button pushing? What button pushing? I don't remember any button pushing....

JT, a far more experienced parent than I, reminded me this is akin to why babies don't smile until they are a few weeks old. They wait until their parents are at the end of their rope from sleep deprivation and all the other things that go along with having a newborn. That tiny smile gives them a knot to hang on to. Apparently this concept isn't lost on toddlers.

19 November 2006

fair weather fan

I admit it. I'm a part-time Steeler fan. So many years in New England as a Patriots fan during the years they were known as "The Patsies" has made me feel like I deserve to enjoy the success they have had in recent years. As long as the Steelers and Patriots are not playing each other, I root for both teams to win. And when they do play each other, I lean towards the Patriots or stay neutral, knowing I'll have a team to call my own the following Sunday.

Now that it looks very much like we're staying in the 'burgh for the long haul, I should probably re-think that policy. Winning the last Super Bowl helped, of course. This year, it has been a bit more difficult but here we were today, rushing home to catch the end of the game. We were not disappointed, as the Steelers took the lead for the first time with 33 seconds to go. We've gone from defending Super Bowl champs to, "Wow, they've won two in a row!"

Just so you remember this is really a mommy blog, Oliver said, "Steelers" today. I'd try to spell it the way it came out but all of my attempts don't come close to doing his pronunciation justice.

Question for the Blogger users.....I'm going to be out of the country during the last week of the month and don't want to risk my thus far successful participation in NaBloPoMo. Since I don't seem to be able to schedule my posts ahead of time, do I have any options? I may have web access when I'm across the pond but I don't know for sure. What to do?

18 November 2006

day 18, still kicking

This is day 18 of NaBloPoMo, well past the halfway mark. I should be feeling pretty good to have made it this far, right? Nope. I wish. I seem to get to 9pm every night, after thinking at various points during the day of three or four cool things to write about, and decide I have nothing to say.

Today I thought about telling you all about what it's like to BFAR, the fascinating details involved in choosing a super-duper range hood or cabinet finishes, or perhaps the joys of taking one's 19 month old to have his hair cut. Bah. Bor-ing.

So, you're off the hook for today. I will try to be interesting tomorrow.

17 November 2006

not so tame after all

I think most of the new house is going to decorated with fairly neutral colors. I'm finding myself drawn to various shades of beige, khaki and cream lately. So when I had to choose something for the new nursery from Javis Davis, I was surprised that I kept going to back to some bright color combinations. I've always been a fan of bright colors but lately I have been choosing things like basic blue and sage green instead of anything more on the wild side.

So it was a bit of a surprise to type things like lime and fuschia and black when I was placing my order. I'll have to post some pictures when the blanket and pillow arrive. Later on I'll order a crib bumper and some fabric for curtains. I am hoping I can re-cover the rocking chair as I don't think Oliver's denim is going to work in his little sister's crazy room.

As for Oliver's room, I was turned on to a cool paint technique that looks like chambray fabric. And the person who suggested it even offered to help. It doesn't get much better than that. CD wants to put up chair rail in both kid bedrooms so we'll do the chambray effect on the bottom, and paint the rail itself RED.

The rest of the house may lean a bit towards boring but the kid rooms are going to be a lot of fun. It is such a relief to have a few ideas and a direction, even for a few rooms in the house. There is lots left to sort out but we're on our way. Demolition may begin on Monday!!! The architect emailed last night that he's eager to get started.

Tomorrow we finalize all the appliance decisions. I think CD is going to give in on his wish for a side-by-side fridge. (He's never tried to fit a pizza box in one!) The only real dilemma is the range hood. The kick-ass range needs a decent hood but we need to find one for less than the $1200 estimate. So far, the in-the-counter steamer/pasta cooker and the wine fridge remain a part of the plan. For how long, I don't know, but we are rapidly approaching the point of no return.

16 November 2006

decorating for the design-impaired

I'll be the first to admit I am challenged when it comes to color and design. On my best days, I can distinguish from what I like and don't like but I'm generally hard pressed to come up with a specific reason. I go with my gut, most of the time. Faced with the new house, which is largely a blank slate, I am overwhelmed. Enter my dear friend JT, with degrees in design and impeccable taste. She lives far away but has generously agreed to come to my rescue by visiting Pittsburgh in a few weeks. We've been emailing a lot, and she's seen pictures of the house so I am hoping that her short visit will be very productive. Fortunately for me, what I find terrifying is her idea of a good time.

I received some advice recently, telling me to look for inspiration everywhere. I may have taken that a little far when I emailed JT that I was thinking about using the colors found in an LL Bean dog bed for the living room. I think I probably need to start looking in more interesting places for my inspiration.

One of the many blank slates rooms in the new house in need of JT's help is the nursery. I have been very focused on "boy stuff", or the lack thereof, since September of 2004, when we found out the gender of our first child. Now that I am expecting a girl, I am starting to wish there were fewer choices. After about two weeks of daily visits to the Pottery Barn Kids website I finally settled on a pattern for crib bedding and accessories. Then suddenly it's all on sale, which can only mean one thing....the pattern is being discontinued.

Now today in my inbox comes the loveliest of emails, along the lines of "you have won" but it had nothing to do with a UK lottery. No, much better. It was from Javis Davis, maker of absolutely gorgeous bedding for babies and kids. They want to give me a couple of free products. I assume they found me due to a comment I left on a NaBloPoMo site. Alas, I'm once again left with a decision...they have so many stunning fabrics and combinations I can't decide what to order. Hoping JT can help me choose. Not sure what I would do without her.

15 November 2006

driving the road to hell in a minivan

Once upon a time one could choose between a variety of all-wheel drive minivans. I have happily driven Subarus for years and like all-wheel drive. I drive in the winter, in a place where there's snow and ice. It's a no-brainer, as far as I am concerned. We need a larger van, not any of the little ones. We have dogs that ride in crates and we will have two kids by spring. No small van is going to have enough room for us. I'd also like at least 48" between the wheel wells in order to fit two crates across the back. (Yes, I walk around the auto show with my tape measure. Very few of the van spec sheets contain that measurement, and none of the sales people know either.)

For years I'd though the Chrysler Town & Country was the "one". Lots of my dog showing friends have them and like them. It has 49" between the wheel wells, perfect for two Clumber crates. Then they dropped the awd model. Consumer Reports doesn't like them anyway.

No problem, I thought. At the auto show the only minivan CD and I both liked was the Saturn Relay. All-wheel drive, comfy seats, enough room for kids and dogs. While I have never owned a car made by any of the big three, my sister has had Saturns forever and has always been pretty happy with them. Then they too dropped the all-wheel drive model. Sensing a trend yet?

Today, there's just one awd minivan, the Toyota Sienna. Consumer Reports may love it but the one I saw and sat in at the auto show made me want to hurl. None of the dashboard controls or gauges were easy to view or where I wanted them to be. The seat was uncomfortable. The price? Obscene.

Since I can't have awd anyway, I started looking at the Honda Odyssey, again. It's okay, I guess. Consumer Reports loves it, but they've never been able to get the fold-flat rear seat right. It doesn't fold flat. If you put a dog crate on it, it's tilted, not flat at all.

We have until March to decide, and the auto show will be back in February, but I fail to be optimistic that there's something out there to be uncovered. Anyone have a suggestion? Have a missed a great minivan out there? (Remember, none of the small ones will work for us.)

14 November 2006

big news, nearly forgotten

Can't believe I forgot the biggest news from yesterday. My subconscious must be working overtime on NaBloPoMo crap stuff, knowing I would be well-advised to have a reserve in the very likely event the well runs completely dry.

Yesterday morning I found myself face to face with Dennis Quaid and his puppy, Bear. Though shooting on the film has moved to another part of campus, Bear has a doggy friend named Molly over in our building. Mr Quaid was bringing Bear over for a visit. He was very nice and is obviously attached to the pup. I just wish my camera had not been back in my office.

I have to say again how well Mr Quaid fits in on campus. He was just a guy walking his dog, and didn't stand out in any way. Good casting and great wardrobe. I am looking forward to seeing the movie.

13 November 2006

new toy

new toy
Oliver received a Thomas the Tank Engine set when he was born, a special gift from special friends. We've been waiting to give it to him, thinking the "3 years and up" guideline on the box could perhaps be safely ignored. He was having a rough time on Saturday and it was time to distract him with a new toy. I took a chance on Thomas, and he didn't disappoint. I think we may have to look into adding to the set in the future. This looks like a toy he will use for years to come.

That's a Williams sweatshirt he's wearing. He wore it to watch the game earlier in the day.

12 November 2006

welcome wagon

We had a nice family visit today, just to meet the Clumbers. Goes with the territory when you have a somewhat rare breed. Good breeders and the breed's rescue organization are not going to place a dog with someone who has never met a Clumber. Seeing one on tv or reading about them on the web or in books isn't enough. So a few times a year, we welcome strangers into our home and let the dogs do what they do best.. Few people who have met our dogs end up getting a different breed, in spite of all the hair and drool they end up taking with them.

Penguin was in rare form, showing off the typical Clumber "U", when they are wiggling so much that they bend themselves into a U shape. She let go of the toy in her mouth only long enough to try to lick our guests. Chewy, spotting an easy target, flopped onto his back and waited for the inevitable belly rub.

The family has four kids, all under 6 or so, and all dressed in matching shirts. They were adorable but mostly uninterested in the dogs, save one. They did enjoy playing with Oliver's toys, and fortunately, Oliver didn't seem to mind. He was really overwhelmed at first, but did get comfortable after a few minutes.

After today I can say, without equivocation, two kids will be enough for us, not that it was really in much doubt before today. And while I'm on the subject of kids, I think CD and I decided on a name for Baby v2.0, the girl version, last night. It will be a surprise to everyone but us but I can divulge that she will not be named Esmerelda, Endora, or any other character from Bewitched. We will tell you it's a girl, but you all have to wait for her to arrive before we share her name. We have seen far too many people change their minds based on silly criticism prior to the child's birth. We love the name and as long as it seems to suit her when we first see her, that's the name we will go with. This strategy worked well for us with Oliver and we are going to stick with it. So there.

11 November 2006

the biggest little game in america

The day we wait for all year has arrived, the day the Ephmen of my alma mater beat up on the boys from that other school, home of the defectors of 1821, in football. Williams isn't a big school, about 2000 undergrads, and it's Division III, so no one is there on an athletic scholarship. But there will be alums watching the game in at least 50 locations, including the William Penn Tavern here in Pittsburgh.

This is the 121st meeting of the two schools, making it the most-played rivalry in the US. Williams is currently undefeated, while Amherst has a 5-2 record. But that really doesn't matter. Today begins with a clean slate. Williams could be 0-7, beat 'herst, and declare the season a success. None of the Williams faithful would bat an eye.

Check back later to see what happened. Go Ephs!

UPDATE, 1:15pm: It's not over but at the end of the first half, Williams was leading 27-0. A certain small person named Oliver needed a nap so we had to leave.

UPDATE, 2:45pm: Ephs win, 37-7!!!!

10 November 2006

brugge frites

I need a new food to love like I need a hole in the head, but here I am, already trying to figure out when I can go to Point Brugge Cafe again. I was there last Saturday, and again today. Everything I have tried is yummy but the Brugge Frites are what I think of first. Cooked twice, in the traditional fashion, and accompanied by basil mayonnaise (which I use very sparingly), they are really worth the trip. The new house is just a couple of blocks away. This could mean trouble.

When I was pregnant with Oliver I wanted peanut butter and jelly all the time, and mac and cheese. Thank goodness for Annie's single serving pouches. Now it's the frites. I always "share" with someone else, though I know I eat more than my share. I have started warning my dining companions in advance but I guess I have an excuse, for a few more months anyway.

I'm starting to feel "my excuse" wiggling around. With my first pregnancy, I didn't know what to expect or when (beyond what the crazy-ass books say). This time, I know too much and every day I feel nothing makes me worry there is something wrong. It's very reassuring, though I suppose it could also just be gas.

09 November 2006

21 more days of this?

Oh dear. The well has run dry. This is what I get for posting four times in the last two days. Payback. Here are a few tidbits, apropos of nearly nothing.

1. It is possible to watch too much HGTV. When I was home sick I watched a ton. I thought maybe I would see something to inspire me for the new house. Nope. Nada. Zilch.

2. Google maps covers more than just the US and Canada. You probably knew this. I didn't until I checked today, looking for directions for our UK trip in a few weeks. I will be able to navigate our way from Gatwick to Surrey. I do not drive over there. The roundabouts scare the crap out of me. CD seems to have no trouble switching back to driving on the left so that's his job.

3. IETF audiocasts its sessions. I thought it would be fun to let Oliver hear Daddy tonight, since I knew there would be a well-timed session where CD would likely be speaking. Oliver looked confused for a minute, then he demanded Elmo.

4. I finally broke down and got Oliver a Steelers sweatshirt. Everyone, and I mean everyone, in town wears Steelers gear to work on Fridays before a game. It's weird, like a black and gold bomb went off all over the city. Now I just have to remember to put it on him tomorrow morning.

Pretty lame, I know. Maybe something more interesting will happen tomorrow.

08 November 2006

no justice

There is no justice in the world. While I have had the pleasure of watching Dennis Quaid and his dog, Oliver got to meet them today. He was out on a walk with his class and Mr Quaid brought the pup over to visit with the kids. And Oliver isn't old enough to tell me about it. It's just WRONG!!!!

dropping the v-bomb

Seems "vomit" is the magic word around here. I sent an email update to CD on the state of things here at home and he promptly changed his plans. He's coming home on Friday, instead of Saturday. Oh happy day.

Oliver is much better today. Last night I thought we were headed further into the depths of hell when he woke up at 11pm and was very unconsolable. After 45 minutes of trying to get him back to sleep, I gave him some motrin (much to his chagrin). 10 minutes later he was conked out and was not heard from, other than a brief wimper or two, until 7:15am. He woke up happy and energetic, a lot more like his usual self.

As for me, I got up with the dogs at 6am. A little coughing triggered a lot of wretching. I hope it's just the pregnancy but my gag reflex has gone from average to over-active. V-bomb indeed.

07 November 2006

I voted. Did you?

I decided I wasn't too sick to vote today. As usual, the poll workers were a few ants shy of a complete picnic, and I felt too crappy to find it as entertaining as I usually do. The touch screen machines were fine where I was. I didn't miss the silly lever thingies at all.

My timing was better than usual. Only one person was waiting to accost me on way in to the polling place. It's the thing that burns my bacon every blasted election day. I don't recall electioneering being allowed right up to the door when I lived in Maine and a few other places. Here, it's another story. I call it "running the gauntlet". I find it very insulting when campaigners get in my way and shove papers in my face as I'm trying to enter the polling place. Do they think I haven't decided yet? I usually tell them I will be sure to NOT vote for their candidate if they don't leave me alone.

In this case, there was one tough decision on the ballot. I remain unimpressed with both of the senatorial candidates. I went with the democrat, but grudgingly. His only redeeming quality is that he's "somebody else".

too sick for Dennis Quaid

It's sad. Really really sad. I must be pretty sick if I'm staying home when Dennis Quaid, and his dog, are hanging out mere steps from my desk. Just yesterday I was discussing what he could bring to my bed before I'd throw him out. I think I drew the line somewhere just beyond toxic waste. Crackers would not be a problem. Ah, the crazy hormones of pregnancy.

I saw Mr Quaid and "Bear", his adorable yellow lab puppy, walking together outside when I was heading out to my car yesterday. Nice to see he doesn't staff out the puppy's potty breaks. They didn't stand out in any way on the campus, except for the security-type dude with a wire in his ear watching them a discreet distance away. Not wanting to scare said dude, I didn't get out my camera.

I'm not sure I like the facial hair on Mr Quaid. I go back and forth about that. Always loathed it, on everyone, until CD. He shows more hair than skin on his face, and has for many years. I think he's about eleven years old in the only picture I have ever seen of him without it. If anyone ever told me I'd marry a guy with facial hair, I would have suggested they might be insane. On Quaid, it does seem to fit the part he's playing.

Shooting is supposed to be going through Thursday so I should have a few more chances for another brush with celebrity.

If you are visiting from Blogging Baby, welcome! Thanks for stopping by. I'm actually doing okay for blog fodder (and hope to hold off on a poop post for a few more days at least) but what I could really use is ideas for re-naming this blog. To catch you up on the state of things, we're down to two dogs, the "baby" is very much a toddler, and there's another baby on the way. "Three dogs and a baby" doesn't quite fit anymore. I should have realized it didn't have legs but thinking ahead isn't exactly my strong suit.

So if you want to help, put some ideas in the comments. Please be nice. I have a delete key and I'm not afraid to use it.

06 November 2006

what's with the movie quotes?

I know you've been dying to ask....what's with the movie quotes under the blog title? I mostly stick with Bull Durham, because I love the movie, know nearly every word, and there's so much great material. Today, however, we're branching out to another fine film, The Big Easy. This is in honor of Dennis Quaid who happens to be making a new movie, Smart People, a few feet from my desk. For the next four days, a film crew has taken over our hallway.

The last time a film was made in my building I had a rather unfortunate incident with Robert Downey Jr. The movie was Wonder Boys and I really hope Mr Downey was simply stoned at the time. I had to go through the set to get to my office, then located in the basement. Only one way in or out at that time. I had to follow Mr Downey down the stairs and he seemed to think I was stalking him. Granted, I was walking with more purpose than usual since I was tired after two days of being told I had to wait, be quiet, go away, etc by obnoxious production assistants, but he need not have been so paranoid. It wasn't pretty. And we won't even get into the ridiculous machinations they went through to come back and film a few months later, requiring they put fake snow all around the building.

By all accounts, the folks making this film are being much nicer than the Wonder Boys crew. I haven't been yelled at yet. Mr Quaid's chair is right outside my door and I saw him a few minutes ago. We have been asked if his puppy could hang out in our office for a bit. We are well equipped for canine guests. I have a crate in my cubicle and we have water bowls and dog toys already. If it happens, it will be blogged!

05 November 2006

we have a cold

No royal we, either. Oliver and I are both feeling a tad on the crappy side. Sniffles and coughs, general grumpiness. Oliver is actually pretty happy as long as the muppet videos are on my computer without interruption. Unfortunately, they do not have the same effect on me.

I keep forgetting to report that Oliver eats pasta now. Since I'm doing NaBloPoMo, and thus grasping at straws, now is the time. I thought I was going to have the only child on the planet who would not eat pasta or noodles. It started at the school pot-luck a few weeks ago. (It really started sooner with him eating things at lunch, but as far as acts I witnessed, this was first.) He ate some baked rigatoni. I decided it was either the baked part, or the really big shape part. I leaned towards the latter since he refused the rigatoni if I cut it up for him. About a week later I made some at home and he ate it. A miracle, I thought. Tonight I tried another test, since he's been eating it consistently at school. Trader Joe's Mac and Cheese (the Joe's Diner version, from the Fearless Flyer) was on our dinner menu. Yeah, I know I could make it myself pretty easily but I feel crappy and don't have the energy. Sue me.

But I digress. Suffice it to say Oliver ate the mac and cheese. He asked for seconds. It was good.

Is this morphing into a food blog?

04 November 2006

cauliflower cheese

I know no one cares what I had for lunch, which was here and lovely, but how about dinner? About once or twice a year CD suggests I make something he calls "cauliflower cheese". He doesn't elaborate and I have generally ignored him. Since he's leaving tomorrow for yet another week with geeks, I decided to indulge, though I really had no idea what I was signing up for. But hey, we had a nice cauliflower from the weekly CSA haul so I was feeling game.

I found a few recipes thanks to Google, but settled on two, here and here. Simple enough. I used panko breadcrumbs and pre-shredded cheese (will do better on that next time). Had to crank up the broiler to get it brown but it was nice. Crunchy cheesy bits are always a good thing. I may have to add this to my repertoire.

03 November 2006

house fun begins

Today we had the pest treatment, the radon mitigation system installation, all the locks changed, and yet another fence estimate, all at the new house. We took Oliver along because his school was closed. He loved doing laps around the living room, dining room and kitchen. That will change a bit once the renovations commence but it still should be fun for him. He pressed the maid's bell that's in the floor of the dining room on one lap and scared the stuffing out of the locksmith. Alas, no maid appeared.

He seems to love his new room. He lights up when I take him up there and tell him it's Oliver's room. The awnings were taken down sometime in the last couple of days and it makes the second floor a lot brighter. We will not be putting those back up in the spring, just the ones on the back porch.

I'm afraid there may be a lot of posts like this one during November. NaBloPoMo seems to be pressuring me right into writer's block.

02 November 2006

MetroDad created a monster

Since last Saturday, Oliver needs only a glimpse of my laptop before he starts asking, "Monster?" It doesn't sound exactly like that but that's what he means and I can't begin to figure out the phonetic spelling of what he is saying. This morning, he was asking for "Monster" before I had poured his milk at breakfast.

Blame it all on MetroDad. He put this video on his blog last week. On Saturday, we had to watch the darn thing every half hour. The original is one of my favorite songs, so the first 25 or so times were not that painful. It's getting a bit tiresome now.

Fortunately, one of MD's kind commenters turned me on to this list of great kid video clips, courtesy of Sweet Juniper and her peeps. I have since found more videos on YouTube, like Elmo and the Goo Goo Dolls and Elmo and Robert DeNiro. One that really mesmerizes Oliver is a video with Ernie and a cast of thousands. Now I can't get "Put Down the Duckie" out of my head.

Thanks loads, MetroDad. I owe you one. What say I take you and the Peanut to Westminster in February? You can educate me on the Korean restaurants on 32nd St, and I will introduce you to the wonders of dog shows. Given the celebrity status of the MetroDog, it's only fitting.

01 November 2006


Come on, you know you want to! You still have a few hours to get in on the fun.

closing is really opening

We closed on the new house yesterday. That means the links to the realtor's website in previous posts no longer work. Odd that it's called closing when it's really more of a start than an end. The end of some torturous negotiations in our case, but the beginning of something I expect will be great....in about 3 or 4 months.

We had a 3+ hour meeting with the architect today where we finalized the kitchen plans, and took a stab as some ideas for the bathrooms. I'm afraid the dog crate built-ins are gone, as are the pocket doors I was in love with. They weren't really necessary and the more freaked I am getting over the budget, the more nixing them becomes a good idea. The upside is the living room isn't going to shrink by three feet. As for the doors, they were to be between the living room and kitchen. I could imagine no circumstances under which I would ever close them. The built-in pasta cooker/steamer unit remains however, in the island, which will be a lovely 3" shorter than standard counter-top height.

The bathrooms will be interesting. I would love to witness the demolition, executed by someone named "Rocky" who sounds like he has no neck and is probably from Jersey. Apparently for a mere $700 he will take a room back to the studs in 1 day and haul away all the debris.

I am still in a quandry over colors for just about every room in the house. Various shades of beige are starting to look attractive.