Underloved food

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:38 am

You know what I hate?

I hate when you’re not hungry, but you know you aren’t going to have a chance to eat again for a long time, so you force food into yourself, and you’re thinking, “Aprille (or some other name if your name isn’t Aprille), food is good.  You love food.  You should enjoy food while you eat it.”  And yet, it is an unpleasant experience.

This is what I’m doing.  Poor chicken that is going unloved.


My baby’s got sauce

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:05 pm

I was going to go grocery shopping today, since we’re running low on food (actually that’s not true; we have tons of food but are running low on some essentials).  I was all set, then I realized Denny had the car with the carseat in it, so Miles and I were stuck at home.

As I am wont to do under such circumstances, I made dinner out of stuff we had around.  Tonight it was College Pasta, a dish I invented during my days of a smaller food budget.  It’s basically just whatever pasta you have around in a simple sauce of garlic, butter, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, grated parmesan, and anything else you’re in the mood for.  I’ve often done toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, and parsley, but once you start getting too fancy you miss the point.

Anyway, I reserved some for Miles before I added the crushed red pepper, and he loved it.  It was very garlicky, made with the special home-grown garlic from Steve.  I’m very proud of him.


Kool-Aid Pickles

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:15 pm

I’m a year-and-a-half late on this, but Kool-Aid pickles?

Okay, why not?


Strangely appealing

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:21 pm

Want to see some pictures of fetal animals?  They’re not gross formaldehyde fetal pigs or anything.  I have no idea how these pictures were taken, but I’m going to assume it was through some kind of awesome ultrasound technology because other potential methods are sad.

They’re really cute.

No hands

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:08 pm

The title is not quite accurate.  He still has hands.

Miles has been getting quite a thrill out of letting go of whatever he was leaning on while he stands up.  I got some video of it but I haven’t imported it yet.  I probably should do that, since the memory card in the video camera is getting full.  I’ll add that to this post shortly.

ETA:  Here you go.  It’s about 2 minutes of Miles madness.

Mubby and Skittergramps are helping me this weekend while Denny is out of town at Trivia.  The is the second Trivia in a row I’ve missed, which is a shame, but it just seemed impossible to take Miles on a six-hour drive in the winter to Wisconsin.  Maybe next year.

You’ve got to admit it’s getting better

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:31 am

Today, on Jessa’s suggestion, Denny and I came in and played for 10 minutes or so before we left for work.  That worked pretty well.  Miles seemed to do fine while we were there, though he got a little weepy when we left.  That tells me something I knew already but hadn’t actually witnessed:  he likes being there and has fun; it’s just separation that’s the problem.

Also, have you noticed that separate is a word people misspell really often?  Also, misspell.

Miles apparently has door trauma.  He associates it with us leaving.  The other day he was doing fine, but when Jessa got up and locked the door, he remembered that the door is used for leaving and got upset.  This time she locked it from the inside while we were still there, in such a way that we could get out but she wouldn’t need to go fiddle with it again.  That was a thoughtful gesture.

Okay, believe it of not, I have work to do.  I get to analyze the D2L license and perhaps even pay it.  Do you ever lie around and dream about having such an exciting life as mine?


A day of mixed emotions

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:51 am

First, the sad ones:  when I dropped Miles off this morning at Jessa’s, he was weepy.  I figured it would only last a few minutes and then he’d start having fun, which was the case when he went to Sue’s last night for a couple of hours while DC and I went to dinner.  No such luck.  I called Jessa around 9 to check in, and she said he was having a sad day.  She’s doing her best to keep him cheerful, but I think it’s finally sinking in that when he goes there, Mommy and Daddy leave.

I went over and whimpered to Denny about it.  He was appropriately sympathetic but also reminded me that we can’t shield him from everything forever, and that it’s a normal stage in his development to have separation anxiety.

Whenever I am feeling unsure about a parenting decision, I ask myself, “What would a cavewoman do?”  I don’t think millions of years of evolution would really steer me wrong, even when so-called experts say otherwise.  For example, when faced with the decision of letting him cry alone in his crib versus picking him up and comforting him and letting him sleep with us, I think about cavewomen.  A cavewoman would not leave her baby to cry, because that would attract wolves.  A cavewoman would sleep in the same den as her baby, because it’s warmer and safer.  A cavewoman would nurse her baby when he needed it, because it’s nutritious and immediately available.  This is how the species has gotten as far as it has.

A cavewoman would probably not go work in a cubicle.  However, once her cavebaby is a year old, a cavewoman might very well go off and gather berries or whatever in the mornings, because she would have a community of other cavepeople who can care for her baby.  Jessa is my co-cavewoman.  It doesn’t hit me in the gut as wrong to leave Miles with her, even though I’m sad that it’s kind of a difficult transition.

I think a cavewoman would go pick him up and bring him some especially good berries.

Now for the good emotions:  I think you know what I’m talking about.  We get to stop saying “President-Elect Obama” and start saying “President Awesome Obama.” I am a little nervous that we as a nation are setting ourselves up for disappointment.  We can’t expect one individual to solve all our problems and bring us juicy berries and cater to all our whims.  But it’s certainly a step in the right direction, and I’m really excited for the future.


Massage for art

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:18 pm

I’m working on a film, doing costume wrangling.  It’s called The Offering, and if you want to join a Facebook group on the topic, go for it.  It’s kind of stressful because it’s really different from costuming live theater, but I’m learning as I go.  It’s hard being away from Miles, but he and Denny have been having fun together, and they came to visit me on set today.

The best part is that there’s a massage therapist hanging around all the time.  Yesterday I was bent over a sewing machine for kind of a long time, and I got a great massage that counteracted it.

Shouldn’t all workplaces have massage available all the time?  What that we all worked at Google.


So, whaddaya know?

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:32 am

I need some office art.  My cube walls are nearly bare.  Any suggestions?

I plan to put up a Miles photo or two, but not yet.  I need to wait until it starts feeling normal to leave him in the morning.  Right now I keep feeling like I’ve just been in for meetings, and that tomorrow I’ll be home with him like usual.  It’s a little sad.

He’s doing great, though.  This morning when I dropped him off at Jessa’s, he looked around and smiled, as if he remembered how much fun he had there last time.  That was reassuring.  It was much better than his reaction to the doctor’s office yesterday.

I thought he recognized the nurse who’s given him shots in the past, but Denny suggested that maybe it was a paper-covered table that triggered his memories.  Either way, Miles had a very strong and very negative response to being there, outright terrified screaming and lots of genuine tears.  Poor dude.  He had to have 3 shots and a blood draw.

For the first week of his life, pretty much around the clock, he got blood draws every three hours to check his bilirubins.  I don’t know how we managed that.  What an unpleasant introduction to life on planet Earth.  But I’m glad he’s enjoying his time at Chez Jessa.  She sent me pictures she took on his first day, and it looked like the boys had lots of fun together.

Tomorrow I’m going to be back in the swing of things at work, doing the sort of thing I used to do all the time:  leading a discussion on the topic of intellectual property and “Who owns knowledge?” for faculty.  It will be kind of fun to use my brain for other subject matter than poop.


Day 2

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:52 am

I survived yesterday.

Today so far has been a little harder, since it’s the first day we took Miles to his care provider.  I must emphasize that Jessa is wonderful—she’s a former preschool teacher who quit her job to stay home with her little boy, who is just a month older than Miles.  I am not nervous about the quality of care he’ll receive.

He got startled by their cat, who came over to sniff him.  Miles’s only experience with cats is at Aunt Jackie’s house with Norman, who would rather just be left alone, so we encourge that.  Jessa’s cat seems pretty friendly.  Denny and I are both allergic, so I guess we’ll find out if Miles is.

I teared up a little in the car (and of course I didn’t have any Kleenexes), but actually the drive from Jessa’s house to the office was kind of nice, because I got 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to talk to Denny.  That almost never happens anymore.

In other good news, I got a really restful night’s sleep.  I went to bed early, as I was pretty tired, and Miles had a good night.  It’s had a positive influence on my general attitude.

Here I am in my awesome cubicle.  Photo via iSight/Photobooth.


Hi-ho, hi-ho

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:48 am

No, that’s not an insult.

I’m going back to work this morning.  I mean, technically I’ve been working from home for about 9 months now, but today I go back to the office.  Right now I’m sitting at my dining room table with the laptop that has actually been work-issue this whole time.  I’m looking out at my beautiful backyard and the park that extends from it, and I’m thinking about how my view at the office.  On three sides of me, I’ll see carpeted cubicle walls.  I can’t even remember what color they are, even though I worked for a year in that particular cubicle, because they are purposely forgettable.  I think when decorators pick out their colors, they have a special palette of colors that nobody bothered to name, ones that don’t draw attention to themselves.

I dreamed the other night that it was my job to think up names for paint colors.  I probably came up with some doozies.  That sounds like a pretty fun job, unless you get the task of naming that color of my cubicle wall.

Across the aisle I will see someone else’s cubicle wall.

I shouldn’t complain.  I like a lot of things about my workplace, including my coworkers, whom I’ve missed this year.  It’ll be good to have a reason to leave the house every day, especially in this crappy winter weather when Miles and I haven’t been going to the park or doing very many outdoor things.

It’s been a good/hard/long/short/educational year.  I’m not sorry for a second that I took a year at home with Miles.  He’s going to be with his dad this morning, then I’ll be home in the afternoon.

Wish me luck.


Birthday and other recreation

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:21 pm

Here are a couple of recent videos of Miles, about 2 and 1.5 minutes respectively.


The big places are tiny

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:42 pm

Here’s a cool effect for your landscapey-type photos.  It makes them look like miniatures.

This is from Saint Josef in Montréal, which is quite large.

You can do it, too.

Thanks, Mark.


Monthly Miles Memo #12: The Big Oh-One.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:15 pm

My little boy.

My own little boy, just for me, whom I don’t have to share with anyone: not daddy, not Mubby and Skittergramps, not Grandma Cheryl and Grandpa Denny, not Uncle Tyler or Uncle Michael. I mean, I do share you with them, and I will continue to, but you’re mostly mine. Soon I’ll share you with Jessa, your care provider, and later with more teachers and classmates and prom dates and coworkers, but I don’t want to think about that right now.

My little boy.

After a year of life on the outside, your personality is pretty well established. The words people use the most to describe you are bright and curious. Those things are definitely true: your big blue eyes take in the world, and you want to learn everything about it. If there’s a drawer, you’ll try to open it. If there’s a door, you’ll look behind it for a boingy-boingy.

Maybe you get it from me. When I was a little girl, I loved doing experiments. Some of my experiments had an actual scientific basis (these were the ones I copied from Mr. Wizard’s World or the various books of experiments for kids that Mubby and Skittergramps bought me). Other times I just mixed things together to see what would happen.

One of those times when I was mixing together household items with no clear goal, your Skittergramps asked me what I was doing. I said it was an experiment. He asked me what my experiment was trying to prove, and I didn’t have an answer. It hadn’t occurred to me that experiments needed to prove anything. I wasn’t much of a scientist then. I’m still not, really, except recreationally.

This year has been sort of an experiment. I read a lot of books and tried to do things with an actual scientific basis, but other times I just poured a bunch of stuff together and hoped for the best. Fortunately, a lot of what makes you wonderful was out of my ham-handed control. After your bath today, I put you on the bed as usual and started in on our lotioning routine, in which I attempt to lubricate your skin with lotion while you squeal and giggle and try to escape. I was spreading lotion on your back, and as you twisted out of my grasp, I felt the rise of your tiny shoulder blade.

I don’t know why a shoulder blade should feel so miraculous to me. For one thing, I don’t believe in miracles. I believe in science. Second, I see shoulder blades every day. I have a set, your dad has a set; they’re really not exotic. But something about seeing that perfect wedge of bone move under your muscles and skin made me marvel at what a fantastic working machine you are.

Your daddy taught you a trick. If he holds a toy in each hand, then helps you to standing, he can release the toys and you’ll stand by yourself for a while. I tried it with you this morning and you stood independently for at least ten seconds. I keep trying to coax you to take steps on your own, because you’re so close, but in the end (so far) you’re too scared to do it by yourself. You reach your chubby little hand out to mine, and once you’re securely holding onto me, you walk where ever you please.

What makes me think it’ll be so great when you can walk by yourself? Why would I ever want to discourage you from reaching out to take my hand? It reminds me of an anecdote Mubby told me that she heard from Hillary Clinton. Hillary wished she hadn’t let Chelsea skip a grade when she was young because it would have meant one more year with her at home. Maybe if I quit with my efforts toward helping you stand and walk by yourself, you’ll spend a little extra time holding my hand.

Unlikely. You are an adventure boy. I’m sure you’re going to figure it out soon.

This month has marked the discovery a great source of adventures for you: the bathroom. You love to lean into the tub and peek at whoever is taking a shower, to pull the extra toilet paper out of the holder, and to open the toilet lid and reach your hands in. I wish you loved to wash your hands as much as you enjoy other bathroom activities, but mostly you want to fiddle with the faucets rather than actually wash.

You had your first Christmas this month, of course, which didn’t impress you much. You enjoyed taking bows off packages, but other than that, you were just pleased to have so many family members to play with you. You didn’t even complain too much when we put you in an elf outfit that Mubby bought you. You didn’t love the hat, but the little suit was okay.

You have nine teeth. You hardly ever bite me anymore. You laugh and smile and scrunch your forehead on concentration. You shriek sometimes in anger, sometimes in delight, and sometimes just because you haven’t shrieked in a while.

You are better than the experiment where you sprinkle pepper on water and stick a soapy finger in the middle. You are better than the experiment where you dangle a paperclip in sugar water to make crystals. You are much better than the experiment where you mix together ketchup and water and food coloring and noodles. That one is just gross.
Since I now know that experiments ought to try to prove things, what has this experimental year proven?

  • Doctors don’t laugh at first-time moms and dads who bring their kids in about totally innocuous stuff. That’s why the doctors make the big bucks.
  • Blueberries and cherries are not only high in antioxidants, but also high in comedy value when they end up all over a baby’s face.
  • I will always be your mommy. Always, always, always. When I’m 101 and you’re 70, I’ll be your mommy. Please remember all the times I changed your diaper and cleaned up your puke and pretended to understand what you were talking about when it made no sense.

Miles, you are my best experiment ever.

Love today and for the rest of your life,


P.S. You love lip balm.


The day before

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:46 pm

It is the one-year anniversary of the day everything changed.

Miles’s birthday is tomorrow, because he did not come quickly, but it was one year ago today that a trip to the bathroom ended in gushing and hollering and a cheap Puerto Rico towel drenched in amniotic fluid.

I knew enough about pregnancy and birth to know that there was no turning back.  Once a person’s membranes have ruptured, just about every hospital is going to make sure she delivers within 24 hours.  I knew as we drove to the hospital that I was going to meet Bisquito, as he was then known, soon.

And, twenty (mostly but not exclusively) excruciating hours later, I did.  Bisquito became Miles, and our lives changed forever.

More on that tomorrow.


Southern Discomfort

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:37 am

Denny got me a coffee grinder and some nice beans for Christmas.  I used to always grind my own beans, but then my old grinder broke, and what with the kid and everything it just got easier to grind them at the store and plop the grounds into the coffee maker in the morning.

I figured that Miles is old enough now that he can handle the 30 second delay in his morning routine for me to grind some coffee, so I decided to do that this morning.  Also, my pre-ground coffee was all gone.

I probably should have anticipated it, given his response to the horns at the basketball game last weekend, but he hates the sound of the coffee grinder.  We’re talking screaming, crying, face bright red, sheer terror.  I aborted the mission halfway throw and now have a grinder full of half-ground beans.  And I like a fine grind.

I searched the cabinets and found a little packet of Southern Comfort flavored grounds.  I brewed a pot.  It is not so good.  Coffee with actual Southern Comfort in it might be good, but it is Monday morning, not the best time for spiked coffee.  Artificially flavored Southern Comfort extract is not fantastic.

And yet, I’m drinking it.  As I mentioned, it’s Monday morning, and Miles had a very rough night.  What am I going to do, not have coffee?  I am certainly in no state to operate a motor vehicle to go get more coffee.

I think when Denny gets home I’ll have him insulate Miles in some other room and I’ll grind a few days’ worth.


Jim Pusack

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:42 pm

Yesterday I learned that someone with whom Denny and I have both worked, a professor in the German department who was an active technology user and proponent, died earlier this week.

My thoughts are with his loved ones, especially Betsy and Sue.

Jim Pusack, 1945-2008

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