Monday, September 29, 2008

Smooch Gone Awry

That's it! No more dog cartoons for this kid. I suppose he's into the "imitating dogs phase" of toddlerhood because the other night during dinner at Oma & Opa's house he ate his food off his plate by mimicking how "Ooooh" does it. ("Ooooh is his pet name for Joschka, the Siberian Husky) This morning he climbed up to snuggled on the couch with me while watching Clifford and acted like he was going to kiss me. As you can see, I got duped!

Don't Need a DogI don't need a dog, I've got a toddler! I don't know what's up with the licking but I suspect it's this stupid dog cartoon he's been watching.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Apple of My Eye

I've been wanting to post this video clip for some time now. It's one of my favorite memories from our cross-country road trip this past summer. It's a little home movie of us and our visit to the Boylston Street Apple Store in Boston, MA. I hope you enjoy it.

Apple Store Visit from TheMacMommy on Vimeo.

One of the many highlights of our cross-country road trip this summer (July 2008) was a visit to the
Apple Store on Boylston Street in Boston, MA. Lucian was just learning how to navigate steps so the glass spiral staircase was a real treat! It was lots of fun watching him play with an iPod Touch. Someday, maybe we'll have one of our own.

I swear I did not coach him to say "Apple" but I'm hoping Steve Jobs will find it cute anyhow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Family Bedhead

Well, we've been back at home for two months now and we're still having sleeping issues. I've been trying really hard to get more sleep and for about a week or two, it was working out pretty well. Lucian was finally starting to sleep in his room, in his bed for an entire night. I finally started accepting that and taking advantage of it. Now he's cutting his second molars and getting up and coming into our room each night – again.

I'm blaming it on the teeth. It makes me feel better.

We've been co-sleeping with him for so long now that most times we just give in and pull him into bed with us. Sometime we even have a little step stool by the foot of the bed that he can use to climb up and tuck himself in so we can sorta still sleep undisturbed...kinda...well a little more than actually having to wake up all the way and pick him up. The step stool is now in the 2nd bathroom (Lucian's bathroom) in front of the toilette and I'm tempted to purchase another just to keep at the side of the bed!

I'm convinced that sleep is for the dead.
Sleep — it's just not for me. Passing out from exhaustion for a few hours, maybe, but sleep...I just can't get it to stick unless medicinally provoked.

Despite how much I joke about loving being high on Benadryl, I really loathe taking pills or having to rely on any type of chemical to make me do what I should be able to do naturally. You know, like normal people. I envy people who can just fall asleep. Just lay their head on the pillow, close their eyes and drift off. I envy people who can breathe with pollen in the air. I envy people who can wear or touch wool. I envy people who can naturally coexist with furry animals and not break out in hives or have an asthma attack. I welcome the sanctuary of my little bubble of existence in front of the computer where most times my mind stays too busy to sneeze or feel miserable. All my problems seem to slip away temporarily. If it weren't for having to tend to a toddler every couple of minutes, I might forget to eat or go to the bathroom! I might actually finish blog posts instead of starting and stopping and forgetting what I originally intended to write about.

So, anyhow, I'm grumpy because when he sleeps in bed with us — he sleeps — we don't. He's a bedhog.

There is a foot in my face, an arm across my neck, another hand tangled in Daddy's hair.

A couple of times now, I've been successful at moving him to the pack-n-play after he's fallen asleep when I can't take it anymore. We've moved the pack-n-play back into our bedroom to get it out of the living room. Normally it's reserved for time outs. He doesn't seem to have a problem sleeping in it with his pillow and blanket because I think he just likes being near us. Sometimes I've even been able to put him back in his own bed, but nothing is consistent.

For as grumpy as I am though, I love this little boy more than words can express. I kiss him and hug him constantly. Which, by the way, is why I don't wear lipstick hardly ever anymore. It always gets kissed off! He lets me snuggle him, but since he's a toddler, you know how they are about their body buffer of space. So, I suppose being tired is the tradeoff for being able to snuggle him more while he's sleeping because he doesn't squirm then.

Every night he sleeps with us, I always hug him and kiss him and tell him what an extremely loved little boy he is and how lucky we all are to be together as a family in the same bed. Afterall, it's only temporary and other people aren't as fortunate.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Us and Them

During our travels across this big country and in to different states across the U.S.A., I've witnessed my son interact with people from many different walks of life. Old, young and in between; different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to people who look and sound just like us. (If you met my mom or dad, you'd know what I mean. I couldn't give my mom away if I tried. I'm her clone.)

In the two short years since Lucian has come into this world, he has seen more places than I've seen in all my life before my late twenties. I love the fact that my husband and I can provide for these experiences and it gives me great joy to know I can share these memories with him in the future too. (If only I could stick to writing about it more!)

I have a fond memory of us all riding the T in Boston on the evening of the Fourth of July. It was a very busy night as you can imagine. The trains were very full and people were crammed in wherever they could find standing room. Even though Lucian can walk, his little legs get tired very easily, especially in a big city like Boston, so we transported him in an umbrella stroller. That night on the train there were several other families with the same compact umbrellas. One group of people that stood out in my mind in particular was a Hindi family who all dressed in their beautiful and colorful garments. They had a little daughter that looked to be around Lucian's age and she was sitting across from Lucian in her own umbrella stroller.

It was such a delight to watch my son engage in a conversation of "baby talk" with this little girl. There was something so awesome about the way they were talking to each other in their strollers and it made everyone around them smile. It was great entertainment to watch as we all traveled to our destinations all cramped together in a confined space. There was something so pleasing about the way we as parents smiled at each other while watching our children play so happily together.

It was the Universal Language of Parenting.

Our son with his bright blond hair and his fair skin was dressed in denim jean shorts and a red T-shirt with a red, white and blue flag. He was wearing his blue, plastic knock-off Crocs on his feet and his silver bracelet on his wrist. (He never takes it off. It was his Daddy's when he was Lucian's age so it's a family heirloom. People always ask about it.) The little Hindi girl was dressed in a beautiful, bright pink sarong. I think I remember she also wore some type of jewelry and a bindi on her little forehead. The pink color really complimented her dark skin. She was just a most beautiful little girl.

This is a very colorful memory for me. Not just because of the difference in skin color or ethnicity, but the way the children interacted with each other. It was a beautiful moment that I was glad to be a part of. It was very fitting for the evening of the Fourth of July.

It was an American moment.

Yesterday Lucian and I walked to the local park just a few blocks from our home. I love taking him to the park to play. I really enjoy watching him explore and climb. My heart melts when I watch him interact with people and he seems to be a magnet for affection and smiles wherever we go. What I really love most is witnessing the innocent, unprejudiced, unbiased view that this little boy has for his surroundings and I can only hope he stays this way for a long, long time.

Is forever too much to ask?

Yesterday I got to share another colorful moment with my son because the people were different from us, but in a special way. Some of them were mentally disabled and some were both physically challenged as well. There were two different groups each with a set of caregivers. They looked to be having a really good time at the park. The caregivers were trying to take their pictures and get them to smile. All of that struggle seemed to get a whole lot easier as soon as Lucian arrived.

There was one woman in particular who was very affected by Lucian. She was a frail and elderly African American woman and it appeared she has some mild form of Parkinson's Disease. She squealed with delight while reaching out her finger in a desperate attempt to touch my little boy. I didn't think she would try to harm him so I didn't get really defensive about the situation. I know from experience that sometimes mentally and physically disabled people have the potential to maybe squeeze too hard or lash out unexpectedly unaware of their strength so I stayed close, but just observed. Two caregivers were within hands' reach and I trusted them to know their consumers well and to react appropriately.

Lucian was a little cautious at first but very friendly and he slowly approached the woman and reached his hand out to touch her. She then became afraid and shied away from him and then it became a sort of game as he would walk away then she would pine for him to come closer. Other people in the group also came over to see what all the fuss was about. The women in the group especially were curious about this little boy joining their group. They all love babies and children no matter how far off the charts they might be with their mental abilities. One woman complimented me on how cute my son was. She repeated several of the words in her sentence over and over with lots of stammering but of course I could understand what she was saying and I thanked her for the compliment. Another woman kept saying Momma while rocking back and forth and an Aide was positively acknowledging her for her correct observation. "Yes, that's right, that's the little boy's Momma."

At the time we were there, it was just the groups of consumers (a term borrowed from my sister-in-law who is a caregiver for people who have disabilities.) and their Aides. There were no other children and parents like Lucian and I.

It was just us and them.

The word 'them' seemed to weigh so heavy on me each time I said it or thought it. I was at a bit of a loss as to how to communicate to my son about who these people were and what was different about 'them.'

One of the groups started gathering in a line to leave. There were some in wheelchairs and walkers and some walking with a limp or assistance to follow instructions for exiting the park. It started to look like a parade and when Lucian noticed this, he got right in line with them and began to follow along. The people in the line were waving goodbye to him and I instructed Lucian to wave too. "I said, go ahead, they're saying goodbye now, wave to them."

In his cute little toddler voice he squeaked out "Buh bye! buh bye! Sthee you sthoon! Sthee you sthoon!" (He has a bit of a lisp right now since he's still working on that sound.)

It was then that I realized that 'they' weren't really a 'them' anyhow. I didn't need to really explain anything about the people at the park. It made no difference to my little boy what kind of person someone is whether they are black, white, brown, purple, green or yellow — whether they can form complete sentences in a language we can understand or if they have only one leg or shake all over. It doesn't matter if the person is his age or older than dirt — as my grandmother would say. My little boy doesn't see skin color, age, mental or physical ability.

He just sees people.

If they smile and want to talk to him, he reciprocates that back.

It's the Universal Language of Kindness — one of the many lessons we can learn from children.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Follow That Post

This post has been brought to you by pfizer: makers of Benadryl.
No, they're not paying me to say that. Their drugs are just influencing me to write stuff now that probably won't make sense to me or anyone else after I press the publish button. Because sometimes the publish button wakes up the evil blog gnome who manipulates your words while you're sleeping and makes you look like an idiot. And when I say you, I mean me.

A few days ago Dave Taylor posted a question to one of his blogs. I commented on it, but it ended up being more of a blog post by itself. I probably shouldn't have written so much and if I had more time, and less antihistamine in my system, I could have trimmed it up some, but again I am rambling. Out of necessity, he'll probably have to remove it or trim it because his readers will break the scroll wheels on their mice. Sorry about that, Dave.

Here is what I wrote on the subject. Oil up that scroll wheel and get a snack. If you're new to Twitter, you might want to actually read the whole comment and original blog post. You might just learn something from Dave.

Dave Taylor asks, "To follow or not to follow, that is the essential Twitter question."

My Comment

First let me tell you that I have been trying for days now to post a comment on this. One word and I'm sure you'll understand: interruptions. (of the kidlet variety)

Second, reading this was like getting a warm hug from you because I am on the list of people you follow and I consider it an honor to be followed by and to follow you back.

Having said that, aren't you impressed that I've been able to retain the fact that this post even exists in my mommybrain all this time?! (4 days is rather impressive for me - who doesn't know what day it is sometimes without looking to the upper right of my screen.) (I only wish you could have seen the comment I was working on for a post on your AP blog but sadly, kidlet was just too demanding for me to focus long enough to finish it. Will try again sometime.)

Now, to answer your question with a question: Is there an answer to your question? That is the real question. If you type the word question enough times, after a while, it doesn't even seem like a word anymore.

If you follow too many people in twitter it doesn't really seem like you're really following anymore either. What does it truly mean to follow someone? Are you hearing what they have to say or are you just listening? I mean that in a technical sense. Your twitter API could be set to listen for pings, but if you're not around, how can you really hear it? [rhetoric]

Right now my twirl app listens for 512 twitter users. Astonishingly, there are close to 800 listeners to my feed whether they are actually hearing me or not. They all have something to say, but I only hear a fraction of it at any given time. The time I actually engage into a conversation is an even smaller amount, but, nonetheless, I feel fulfilled with my twitter social experience overall.

I actually 'heard' your post because I was listening at the time and because you're someone I will actually make an effort to track back, even days later, and see what you're up to. Out of all of the people I listen for, you're one of the few I actually hear from time to time.

I follow people on twitter because I believe they have something of value to offer me — they, for the most part, tell me what I'd like to hear. That value could be technology advice, parenting advice, shared interests, common goals, humor and more. I follow people *back* because it appears, at first impression, they have something to offer to a discussion or share a common interest with me. I block scrapers and spammers right away. I don't follow back those who I feel are just trying to sell me something, but I see no need to block them because if they want to follow me, I'm fine with that.

For most people, the reason they chose to follow me is obvious since I'm kind of a niche type of person. When the reasons are not as obvious — MANY times I really wonder why someone would want to follow me. That's not for me to judge, but I might not follow back if I don't feel the person has said anything to contribute to my interests. Sometimes, I don't follow back and then that later that person sends me @at comments and it gets my attention and I learn that the person genuinely wants to be friendly and I follow back. Some people are asking for reciprocity and for the most part, I'll honor their request since they've taken the time to ask for it in a friendly manner.

Everyone carves out their own policies when it comes to how they choose to socialize. It's a great liberation compared to working at a corporation in a cubicle where socialization is dictated by administration. It's good to be King and it's even better to be Admin.

Some of these policies are based on cultural expectations and some are based on personal disciplines. I try to strike a happy medium between the two as my personal policy goes. It also depends on the tool. I ascribe to your twitter follow policy guidelines more closely when it comes to Facebook because, for me, (and with the exception of a few) that's where people I truly know for years hang out because it's become mainstream enough.

As for the exceptions, sometimes I believe that an established digital relationship matures in dog years as compared to analog relationships with certain people. Some peoples' personalities are just more conducive to a quickly maturing relationship online where others' can only exist on a limited basis offline. There are people I 'know' online that I feel closer to or know more about than some people I've 'known' offline since high school. There are some people I went to high school with that I now know better because we've reconnected online. Instead of catching up in the locker room or in between classes, we now catch up in emails, forums and blogs. Sure nothing can replace an in person meeting, but once you've subscribed to their life, you don't feel as removed during the time in between meeting offline.

Twitter is networking for me too. I follow more people back because I believe in casting a wider net. If I only followed a fraction of the people I do follow, I might not get my needs for socialization met. I might not get my twitter community questions answered as quickly.

I don't mind the noise so much when it comes to twitter and FriendFeed because I can self-filter when I need to. Since I'm a busy parent and work part time, I only have time to dip my toe into the social waters and spash for a bit till my toes get pruny. Then it's time to get out of the pool and go back to life in the anolog sense (as you so eloquently put it a while back).

Not only did I hear it, I also retained it too. *That's* following.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cat Got Your Tongue? A Mouse Ate My Mic!


There's a mouse in our house.

I found out the hard way that it has an appetite for technology. I've now learned the lesson that it's *not* a good idea to leave snacks in your gear bag when there's a mouse in the house.

The price I paid was losing a $30.00 Plantronics .Audio 650 USB Headset. I'm really ticked off right now because it was a great headset with built-in mic that enabled me to record good, quality sound for podcasting. It also came in real handy for joining in on public talkcasts.

A mouse got into my gear bag and while snacking on a granola bar I had mistakenly left in the bottom of the main compartment, he decided to chew on a few other cables for desert. Along with the Plantronics headset mic, the it also snacked on an iPod cable as well. I've since inspected all of the other cables in the bag and luckily, those seem to be the only casualties of the mouse's appetite.

I guess you could say he has good taste, right?

What makes me even more mad is that I usually keep my gear bag very organized and while I do travel with snacks, I usually keep them in a different compartment. If I had put the granola bar in the other zippered pouch like I normally do, instead of tossing it into the larger compartment in a hurry, the mouse might not have chewed the other cables that happened to be close in proximity to the granola bar. It's hard to tell though because this was one hungry mouse. It also chewed a little U-shaped mouse hole (think Tom & Jerry) in the cardboard inside the fabric divider.

I'll have to replace my headset mic and won't be able to do any quality recording until I do. I'll need to check with my insurance company before I go shopping just to see if it might be covered.

We have had trouble with mice in years past but never was there any damage except for some half-eaten boxes of food in our pantry. We've since learned to keep any and all dried or loose food items inside plastic storage containers. I never thought my gear bag would be a target, but now I know better than to keep anything in it that might attract a mouse, like any type of food. It's just like adding bait to a cluster of cables. Who knew cables would also be so yummy to a mouse?


I took some photos of the damage. While I was taking photos, I started thinking more and more about taking photos of ALL of my gear to document everything for insurance purposes. I started photographing everything but had to take a break and post this in the mean time. I plan on doing another meme post of "What's in your bag" to detail all the gear with which I travel. It will serve as a good documentation for insurance in case anything else should ever happen to other items.

If there is any humor in this at all, it's the fact that Nate and I were, just the other day, discussing how we recently increased our insurance policy on our computers and gear before we went on our road trip. Nate said that when they explained the additional coverage over the phone, they listed the weirdest things that were covered. Damage done by rats was one of the things on the list. I'll have to check with the insurance company now because I'm sure that the deductible will be higher than the cost of the headphones and iPod cable, but who knows. Maybe I'll get lucky and it will be covered somehow and I can get them replaced.

Wish me luck!
(Wish the mouse luck he doesn't get caught!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Blogging Stuff

I have a huge backlog of pictures and videos with little text snippets that I want to post from our road trip this summer. Should I post them under some sort of Memories type theme or should I back-date the posts so that they appear in a correct chronological time line? I'm thinking that if I want to read this blog as a diary several years from now, I think I'd want the entries to be in the order in which they happened. I think I'm going to try and post a couple of entries soon and back date them. But, then I wonder what happens in an RSS reader? I assume the post would come through as unread, but it would be pushed back further and a subscribed reader might miss out.

Maybe what I might do is post the entries as a series of memories with current dates and then later on, say after a month, go back in and back date them so they appear in the correct time line.

I'll think of something.

Right now I'm experimenting with NetNewsWire and trying to use it as a means of somehow archiving my blog and twitter tweets. One thing I'm most interested in lately is archiving my blog. I'm also considering moving it all over to Wordpress and also pointing this blog to my registered domain name. I like the idea of having separate pages for things instead of having one long side bar that scrolls forever. I'm thinking of breaking out that stuff onto a separate page. I mean, the stats are really for me. I'm not sure how many poeple really like to look at that on a regular basis. My goal is to keep it clean and clutter free and easy on the eyes. I'd also like to make it mobile device friendly as well. I'm thinking if I segregate things, it might load faster on a mobile device.

I tried out Wordpress, but so far I just can't get it to do what I'm able to do with my Blogger blog here for free. I know everyone raves about Wordpress and it looks really nice on other people's blogs, but I just wonder if it's really worth all the frutstration of trying to migrate and then have to pay for it on top of it all.

At this point in time, I just can't justify having to pay for something I can do just as well for free. Frugalistas unite!

Well, anyhow, I'm trying to get through my backlog of stuff, but Lucian has been very needy lately and it's been hard trying to find time to write and stay focused. We've recently begun potty training, so it always seems like just as I get into it and start getting focused and concentrating, then I get interrupted with the potty dance.

That's it for now. If I don't press the publish button now, it's never going to happen!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Got My Eye On It

Greetings friends and family from far away! Just another update for yas on Lucian's eye, Nate's back and my thoughts/frustrations about my little home business. This video is around 8 minutes, so grab a snack.

got my eye on itwhat's goin on - a little update on where we're at with Lucian's eye, Nate's back and my home business frustrations