2.28.2008

Update on Abby

It’s been a good couple of days.  Abby continues to get a little stronger and have a good appetite.  Her mom has continued to stay very close, but everyone has encouraged her mom to take small breaks here and there.  Abby will have a very special visitor today.  Her all-time favorite hockey player, Mike Ricci, is coming to visit her this afternoon.  The visit was arranged through friends in the hockey club.  Abby is very excited about it and there were plans underway last night about what Abby would wear and what they wanted him to autograph.  There was even a discussion about whether he’d be with teeth or without!

 

Hey look. I've got skates on.

I really think she enjoyed herself. Also, she totally looks like a little kid here. Sigh. My baby's growing up.

VOTE the US Women's Hockey team into the US Olympic Hall of Fame

The 1998 Women's Hockey Team is a nominee for this year's US Olympic
Hall of Fame. 

To cast your VOTE for the TEAM which won the inaugural GOLD MEDAL for US
Women's Hockey go to:

http://www.usolympichalloffame.com/?page_id=7

Select 1998 Women's Hockey Team on the voting card and Submit your
Vote.

Voting Ends March 28, 2008

Have A Nice Day

I just had this crazy altercation with this self-entitled woman at
susan's fancypants grocery store. I was holding our place in line,
minding my own business, watching all 3 girls in Susan's giant stroller
while Susan grabbed some items. So she puts said items on the belt
thingie while the girls and I wait for our turn.

Lady behnd me goes 'did she just cut in line?' I say, no no, she's with
me. That's our stuff.'

Most people would now say, oh, okay. Or even, sorry.

Not this lady, no. She says 'whatever' in this horrible, mean tone like
I've just completely ruined her day.

I could've let it drop but I didn't. I say excuse me. That is my stuff,
she is with me.

Because, you see, I have this thing about cutting in line. I won't do
it. So of course I had to correct this woman, even if it did unleash a
longer-than-necessary string of nastiness from her.

I also have this thing about not letting people give me crap, especially
in front of the kids. No, they don't need to see me going postal, but
it's important to me that they see me stand up for what's right.

Just as importantly, I stayed calm enough to respond, for the most part,
in a civil manner. It was definitely one of those times where I went
over it again later in my head and in the end, ya know, I said the right
stuff. To get to this point where I can stand up to a person who was
being so rude for no reason and walk away truly saying 'she was just not
worth my time' is some sort of milestone.

Honestly, I think it means I'm a grownup. Even if I do say dude all the
time.

2.26.2008

Abby Update

Abby came home from the hospital on Sunday with hospice care.  She is
resting comfortably for the most part in her mom's big bed.  She is
able to talk a little and sleeps a lot.  She's been eating a
little.  There are flashes of her sense of humor as she interacts with
family and friends.  Her mom and dad are being well supported by
hospice, family and friends.  Just to get Abby home was a major
accomplishment.  No one knows for sure the prognosis, but the family is
making the most of every moment with their precious Abby.

2.25.2008

A Proud Day


Skating!
Originally uploaded by liz2d2
I write this knowing that no matter what I post after posting about the tragedy that Abby's family is going through, it won't be the right thing.

***

Saturday was the day I'd been waiting for since Val was born. Her little feet are FINALLY big enough to fit in the smallest size skates made (6, in case you're wondering) Her skates had arrived on Thursday and we were ready. She was ready, too. She's been saying 'skating! skating!' for a while now and making a little skating motion with her hands and feet while she did it.

So we got her skates sharpened -- a flat sharpen, which I didn't know existed -- and headed off to Belmont. The place was kinda packed with 2 birthday parties so we took our sweet time getting ready, hoping the place would clear out a little by the time we got on the ice. It sort of did.

It was a little tricky getting onto the ice while holding Val up. But we figured it out and then we were off! Val did a lot of flopping around so we had to hang on tight to her. She got a little more steady on her skates and that's when Riley stepped in to hold her hand. Riley was a rock, I am SO impressed at how helpful she was with her.

Val did not want to leave but after a half an hour, our backs were all hurting from the leaning, plus we'd gone three whole laps in that time so that was enough.

Later that night I had practice on the same rink and found myself grinning more than once, remembering that I'd been there just hours before skating with my baby girl.

2.22.2008

No Words

I just heard that my tournament teammate's 7 year old daughter is losing
her brave fight against cancer. She's going home from the hospital with
hospice care as soon as possible.

If you pray, please pray for little Abby L. and her family.

2.21.2008

Huge

Val's first ice skates arrived today. She and I are home right now and
she's trying them on. I think she's as excited as we are about this!

Saturday we'll have the Mass Trek To The Rink where she'll take to the
ice for the first time. I have been waiting for this day since before
she was born.

Given how much I've been looking forward to this, I'm sure she'll do 2
laps and be done.

2.20.2008

Progress Report

We've been at this potty training thing in some fashion since last
summer. For Val, I mean. We mostly have it down.

We started with 0 expectations about a timeline, just making the potty
available and taking her when she asked for the 'poppy.' Once a day,
twice a day, she'd go. Hey, I figured, that's 1 or 2 fewer diapers we
have to change. Go, us!

Over the last couple of weeks, without us hardly noticing she's made
huge progress. To the point where I can say that right now, she's about
60% potty trained. We are not brave enough to venture out in public
with her in underwear instead of a diaper just yet but we're now having
successful potty visits out in public and at home.

And really, folding her little Elmo undies and putting them in her
drawer is like the cutest thing yet.

2.19.2008

A Little Movement

Andrea and I had a great talk about the Job Thing. I realized, with her
expert guidance, that the important thing in making any kind of change
at work is to follow the best manager. I should add that the issues I'm
having are more process-related than anything else. My group has a
dramatically different process than any other group within our team.
That's not going to change anytime soon, or ever. I think I've just hit
the wall with that process.

So I thought about the manager I thought I'd do the best with in the
other groups and I approached that person today. It's with the team I
had initially thought I'd move to when Bubbles and I first moved over
from content.

The conversation went well and though that group has no current
openings, I'm confident/hopeful that whenever that changes, I'll be a
solid candidate for the job.

Through it all, I still miss Carol. She remains The Best Boss Ever.
Hat's still off to you, MB.

Shopping is fun!


Shopping is fun!
Originally uploaded by liz2d2
Same spot, a year later.

Playing at the mall


Playing at the mall
Originally uploaded by liz2d2
This time last year.

2.18.2008

Our Big Weekend

Saturday, we took Val down to the Aquarium to see some fishes and
birds. We stopped at Cheddah's parents house, it was lovely to see
Cheddah and Val had a blast running around entertaining everyone. She
even peed on their potty, setting a trend that continued through the
weekend!

Cheddah's parents loaned us their passes so the aquarium was free.
Which is always an excellent price. The place was packed, but Val still
enjoyed the sights.

Sunday, I had a double header, and Andrea was nice enough to watch Val
while I drove all over the bay area in my hockey pants so I could make
the second game. The first game was a hard-fought loss, but it was fun
even if we did have a thousand penalties. I ran to my maroon game,
where we had a great time, winning 3-1. Go, us!

Today, we were both off work! Woo for not working! We took Val to our
little local zoo, where we learned why they have guinea pigs. Thanks,
mr boa constrictor, for showing us a flattened guinea pig. Ew.

Val totally loved it, enjoying the animals, the playgrounds and the few
rides they had open. As far as amusement parks go, it's kind of
lacking, but for the toddler set, it's the perfect way to spend an
afternoon.

Just having 3 days together as a family was super swell. I'm just here
now, in total denial that I have to go back to work tomorrow.

2.15.2008

Dexter Migration!

We just noticed that CBS will start showing the first season of Dexter.
Sounds like they've removed some of the more bloody bits and toned down
the language, but it's still the same excellent show. So for all you
without Showtyme, check it out - for free! You can thank the writer's
strike for that.

We like it so much that I think we'll watch it again.

This Just Rules

At 78, Irene Bryson still plays hockey

It's Saturday, hockey night in Canada, including Rexdale, with a couple
of important wrinkles.

For one thing, a trio of fans are chanting: "Go, Grandma, Go!"

For another, Grandma is ... well, going. Strong. Quite possibly, right
into the record books.

Irene Bryson, No. 12 in the black Bruins-themed sweater, skates on left
wing, part of the regular Saturday night Rexdale Women's Hockey League
doubleheader at Westwood Arenas.

From a distance - even up close - you'd never guess that at 78 years of
age she may well be the oldest woman playing organized hockey in these
parts, or others. No one keeps definitive records, but suffice to say
that Newmarket's Bryson is the senior member of her non-contact league
by at least 10 years. The league's minimum age is 18 and many of its
skaters are half Bryson's age, or less.

"I always say, when I grow up I want to be just like Irene Bryson," says
team captain Donna Bonneville. She's 44 and only half-joking.

Bryson played on her first real team at 21, when someone finally
organized a women's team and entered it in a pioneering three-outfit
league north of Toronto. She learned the game skating on the pond with
her brothers on the family's farm near Maple, Ont.

"We had body-checking and everything back then," she says. "We had
hardly any equipment, either. All I had was a pair of gloves and shin
pads. No helmets, nothing like that. I was a pretty good body-checker.
Some of them even got in fights. I never got in any, I was a little
small for that."

She's "4-foot-11 or 10 1/2, something like that" and has always played
at about 145 compact pounds.

"She's tough as nails," says son Larry, 39. "When I was 16 she could
still beat me in a play fight."

But Bryson, a woman of few words more inclined to let her actions speak
for themselves, says modestly that women's hockey has evolved through
the years. "The players are a lot better now."

Only three or four years ago, Bryson was among the league's top few
scorers.. This season she's been mostly held off the score sheet on a
team that has had its collective problems winning. But on this night she
assists on the goal that gives her team a late, short-lived 2-1 lead (it
would end in a 2-2 tie). The resultant celebration is ageless, downright
girlish.

Husband Cameron will be 82 in May and for all these years has rarely
missed one of his wife's game. They married later in life - she was 32 -
but now find themselves only three years from their 50th anniversary.
They have three children and five grandkids, all boys (three of them at
the game on this night), with another on the way. Cameron skated once or
twice but has never played hockey.

"It's a good thing," says Irene, impishly. "Somebody had to look after
the kids."

"When you get to be 80," observes Cameron, "you don't want to be out on
the road in the bad weather. But if I told her we weren't coming (to the
arena), I'd be sleeping under the bed."

Farmers early on, both husband and wife drove school buses for 25 years.
Irene still works in the summers, selling vegetables at Round The Bend
Farm in Kettleby, Ont.

In her younger days, Irene was an avid fast-pitch softball player, a
catcher. She'd sometimes play two ball games and two hockey games on the
same Saturday. Sundays, through the years, have been mostly reserved for
attendance at the Gormley Missionary Church in Richmond Hill.

"She's inspirational," says Jennifer Maclachlan, 53, who plays on one of
the Rexdale league's other three teams. "Some of us started playing
hockey late in life. I was 47. I always felt I missed so much. But when
I see Irene, I see how long I have to look forward to.''Irene, whose
mother died when she was 10, says she has only rarely been sick and when
asked if she has any post-game aches or pains, says simply: "No." She
only reluctantly informed her physician that she was still playing
hockey - perhaps afraid he might shut her down - but he wholeheartedly
endorsed her recreation.

When might this long and active love-affair with Canada's game, this
skate down the decades, end?

She'd aimed to play until she was 75 but having surpassed that milestone
and then some, Irene says she's got her sights set on 80. But she is
really taking it one game at a time and one season at a time.

"I've had fun. I just like getting out there and playing."

http://www.thestar.com/article/302606

2.14.2008

Not How I Thought It Would Go

I've always thought that I could get Really Excited about programming if
I had more official training in it. Javascript has long kicked my ass
in all but the most rudimentary senses but I thought, oh yes, just some
training and I'll get it. I'll be filled with passion for functions,
I'll sing the praises of variables, my life will be one giant array of
joy.

Well, this week I'm in training all week, mostly on JavaScript. I'm
reminded of a couple things: first, training is just not that fun,
especially when you're writing code for no reason. And secondly, that I
have very little passion for writing code anymore. Thirdly, this
confirms my suspicions that the current base level of nerdiness in my
group at work (and in general, I suspect) is much higher than I aspire
to acheive.

I'm willing to bet that my company's intention in sending me to this
training was to get us energized and all that. But for me, it's having
the opposite affect.

Add in yet another bout of drama and finger-pointing about the smallest
of projects and I'm quite suddenly at this place where it's clear that
something about my job needs to change.

What that is, I'm not quite sure. For a lot of reasons, it's best if I
stay with my current company so now it's time to figure out my next best
move.

Stay tuned...

More On Having That Kid

So, you're wondering what I did while Val was going crazy at the mall
yesterday...

Moments like those are the ones that challenge my parenting the most.
When she's so upset that she can't be consoled, when no matter what I
mention she changes her cries to beg for whatever I say, screaming all
the while, that's when it's tough. I tried a combination of things she
knows: first, talking to her about what she wanted. What she wanted was
to get out and walk. But that wasn't an option because the girls were
strapped in their stroller.

One constant we share with Soosan is that Auntie/Mommy doesn't get
overruled. So when Soosan says no or lays down the law somehow, we back
her up just like she does for us when we lay down the law. In this
case, she had them corralled so even though maybe I could have wrangled
Val and her empty stroller (were I insane), it was more important that
Val follow suit.

Even though it made her very irate.

So, I bent down and talked to her, offered things that I considered
compromises or distractions. A toy, a bag, anything I could think of.
But that didn't work so I tried counting to five. That's something we
do a lot, the counting. Usually that gives her a chance to calm down
and focus. Not yesterday.

After the attempts at reason and the counting, I became That Mom. I
turned her stroller around and headed out into the mall. We headed to
Hannah Anderson (spelled wrong on purpose) with her screaming all the
way. I marched on, doing my best to tune it out because at that point,
I'd done all I could. Our best bet was to get her to the HA store where
she could play with their toy table.

In an ideal world, we can always fix what's making her so upset. Most
of the time, we're lucky and that's how it goes.

But sometimes, they just have to cry.

2.13.2008

I Had That Kid

Yesterday, auntie took all 3 girls to the mall, so I met them there
after work. Val had been perfectly behaved all day but apparently
seeing me pushed her over the edge. I think she was just exhausted.

She wanted OUT THERE! Out of the stroller NOW!

But managing a toddler who wants to touch everything gets kind of old,
so in she stayed. She screamed all the way down the mall, lamenting her
trapped in the stroller status, kind strangers smiling at me with
sympathy.

As soon as we hit the car, she conked out and slept all through dinner
as if The Screaming had never happened.

Fashionable even in carseat


Fashionable even in carseat
Originally uploaded by gadgetgrrl
This look is hard to beat!

2.11.2008

More Fun Than It Looks

So last week we started having a little trouble getting Val's carseat straps tight enough. I couldn't find anything that was making it stick but y'all know that there's no way I'm going to just ignore that so on Saturday, I took advantage of Val's nap and the warm weather to re-install the thing.

Here's what I found when I pulled it out:

Yummy, eh?

I'm guessing that for kids who are forward-facing that ring of debris is more on the floor in front of them than on the seat. Given all my recent reading on the topic, especially learning the fact that in a crash, a rear-facing seat absorbs more of the impact (in a forward-facing seat, the shoulder straps take the brunt of the impact), it seems obvious that the best course is to keep Val rear-facing until she hits the weight limit of the seat. That's 33 pounds for those of you following along at home. She's currently about 23 pounds, so we've got some time.

I read that it's better to adjust the angle for rear-facing older kids, making the seat recline less, so I did that too. With all the cleaning of grain-based snack products and the re-install of the seat, it's like a whole new seat! Val seems more comfy, too.

2.09.2008

The Origins Of Hot Lips

Apparently Margaret 'Hot Lips' Houlihan on MASH got the nickname from a
tryst with Frank Burns during the movie that came before the show. She
told him to kiss her Hot Lips and the pranksters broadcast it to the
camp.

2.08.2008

Post 4,993

Seriously, this is my 4,993rd post. When I started this here blog 8 years ago, I didn't really expect that I'd keep it going for almost a decade, or that in those years, we'd have so much exciting, horrible and wonderful shit go on.

But here we are, at post 4,993 and now entering my 8th year entertaining you three.

As these guys once said: thank you for your support.

Oh, Oprah

So today, Oprah had a show about the children of sperm donors. I watched, because I'm working from home (today, that meant a crapload of work crammed into Val's thankfully longass nap) and because my mother called me to tell me about the show.

Just thinking about watching Oprah called to mind the infinite wisdom of the Soup, with their weekly references to Oprah's Vajayjay. So I tuned in, snickering out loud to myself about Oprah's Vajayjay.

But as you might have guessed, when you're working at home with a toddler, you're actually not snickering to yourself. So it probably won't shock you to learn that very shortly, Val was running around saying 'jayjay! jayjay!'

The best part was when I actually watched the show, Val saw Oprah and shouted 'jayjay' at her. Yep, she apparently knows all about Oprah's Vajayjay.

But that's not why I'm here right now. Anyhoo (hoohoo, aka Vajayjay), Oprah was talking to adult children of donor sperm. The show opened with softly lit interviews with some women talking about the circumstances of their conception. A couple were quite well-adjusted, but some wore their bitterness on their sleeves. Why were they bitter? Because they didn't have much (or any) information about their donors, and/or they learned about being a donor sperm kid as adults.

There was the inevitable bitching about the not knowing and always feeling different, how angry they were at not knowing the full story about their lives' beginnings.

You bet your ass I understand this. Being adopted has, for me, meant that I'm always wondering about something. I am well aware that I'm ridiculously lucky in this regard -- my birthmom is now a relatively active part of my life (as I write this, I've had to pause twice to put the Abby Cadabby backpack that she sent Val for Christmas on Val's back, so yeah, she's part of our lives for sure). In my quest to find my birthmom 11 years ago, I met a ton of people who shared the bitterness that the uninformed sperm donor kids showed today on Oprah. Anger at not knowing, anger at somehow being abandoned (obviously, the sperm donor kids don't have this bit to the degree that my adopted bretheren do), anger in general. I felt so sorry for these people I met, people who had somehow framed their lives by these feelings and so lucky that I'd had different circumstances that hadn't driven me to that hard, bitter place about this.

Conversely, the sperm donor kids Oprah and her Vajayjay spoke to who knew all along how they were created didn't have that kind of anger. Makes sense to me.

So that brings me to Val. For what it's worth, we know more about her sperm donor than I still do about my birthfather. And yes, I even met him once. So I feel good about all that history, a tangible document that I can hand to Val once she starts asking. And there are no secrets with her about this. I even told her today:

Val, when we made you we had some help because mommy and I couldn't make a baby without that help.

She looked at me very seriously and nodded. Then asked for Mac and Cheese.

Obviously we can't hide the fact that we had help in creating her. But even if the circumstances were somehow different in a way that would let us hide that fact, you bet your ass that she'd know the truth, just the same. Because everyone has the right to know as much of their own story as their hearts can hold.

2.07.2008

This Cannot Be Fair

In Vegas, I played 2.2 extra games with my other team so I could get
credit in order to qualify for Regionals. It was exhausting, but more
importantly, it took me away from hanging out with the Burninators.

But I did it, because the goal was Regionals.

I still need 2 games, one of which is this weekend. Against the
Burnunators, which sucks too. But I'll do it because the goal is
Regionals. Only now the last game, scheduled for next week, just got
cancelled and the coach is telling me I won't have enough games after
all.

I am simply too pissed off to speak.

Today Could Be A Really Good Day

Because it started out with this news about my boy Mitt Romney bowing out of the presidential race. What this means is, whatever happens in November, the people left to campaign aren't going to waste America's time by focusing on the non-issue of whether or not gays should get married. Regardless of how the courts handle it afterwards, the current Monkey In Charge made saying that my life is bad, somehow less worthy of the same rights as his life a cornerstone of his campaign.

And my fellow Americans, for reasons I cannot fathom and refuse to consider, agreed.

But now, somehow, either people have started to see that seriously, those gays are just not going to bother their own marriages no matter if we can get married or not, or they're starting to realize that health care is more important than preventing 10% (ish) of our population from having something that's a basic right for everyone else. Even for that stupid Britney Spears.

So it is with a tiny grain of hope that I celebrate the bowing out of the conservative's conservative. It with another tiny grain of hope that I look forward to the California supreme court hearing arguments in favor of gay marriage next month.

It seems that somehow, by the end of this year, we'll have a decent President in the office. I have a shitload of respect for John McCain, so at this point, no matter who wins the Big Salami, I'm good to go, I'm about a thousand percent more comfortable living in this country (not that I'd move, that's not my point. My point is the profound disappointment and discomfort I have felt these last few years, when such emphasis on banning my right to marry was such an issue.) than I was just a year ago, and especially since 4 years ago.

It also seems that there's a chance that by the end of this same year, I could finally be allowed to go to City Hall and get married like everyone else. Wouldn't that just be fucking amazing?

2.05.2008

We're Idiots

So, Patrick ran out of the smaller sized pill he takes. I thought, hey,
why not just see how he does with the bigger (4x the dose) pill?

One day at the lower dose is all it took.

I was doing my taxes, minding my own business when I heard the telltale
sound. Then it stopped and I thought, hrm, maybe it's over. So I
finish what I'm doing then head out.

My man was not quite seizing but he was laying down, not moving
(breathing tho). 30 long minutes and much Pat-dodging later, his tail
finally came back up into it's rightful wagging position. We were able
to slip him a double dose of meds between attempts on his part to nibble
on my toes.

He's out in the kitchen whining now. This is the hard part to balance -
if we go out there, he'll likely get even more worked up. If we don't,
he may get more worked up. Really, I think we'll never have these
seizures under control. All we can do is provide the meds and hope for
the best.

2.04.2008

With My Luck

We'll have flakes for tonight's co-ed game and we'll wind up with 3 D
again.

It's Possible

For hockey to not be all that fun. Only sometimes, like when you show
up to sub then someone leaves after the first period and you play with 3
D for the rest of the game.

Playing 3 D just sucks. You have to pace yourself, you can't really run
it up at all since you know you're going to have to rest really fast
when you do get to the bench. Now maybe, probably, for the folks who
are younger/more energetic/whathaveyou that's fine but ugh. It just
makes me say ugh.

I still had some fun but given a choice, I'll always choose at least two
lines.

2.01.2008

Dumplingpolooza!

We brought dumplings over to Soosan's house tonight and had a damn tasty
dinner. It was tons o fun and now, my ass is still stuffed.

So much for wearing my pre-pregnancy jeans because now, um they're a
little tight.

Val's been weaing her boots all day. Sometimes on the correct feet,
other times not. It's about the cutest thing ever.