Monthly Archives: December 2008


  • 12:17 if anyone wants bookshelves for $5 to $10, the Chevy dealership at 444 S Vermont is closing + liquidating their office supplies #

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dear movie theater at the grove

Dear Sound People At The Theater At The Grove Shopping Monstrosity:

The whole POINT of Mommy & Me Movies is that you turn the lights up (so we can see to deal with our babies) and the sound down.

Otherwise, when you get to the WWII sea battle scene in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, my six month old son will visibly cringe, look up at me with a crumpling face, and whimper in sheer terror at the noise.


shut up, jenny mccarthy!

When Paul and I were getting an ultrasound done, by a doctor who used to be head of high risk babies at Cedars-Sinai, he told us an anecdote about a woman who asked him about vaccinations. She had come in and asked him about whether vaccinations cause autism, and if they were really safe and necessary. He emphasized that yes, they were safe and yes, they were necessary. She listened to him, and then said, “well, I’m not going to vaccinate, just to be safe.”

Paul visibly winced in pain at the lack of science present in that philosophy. That autism myth comes from two sources, according to my pediatrician:

1) a study done in the UK with an insufficient sample size and
2) Jenny McCarthy

As a result. there was a measles outbreak in San Diego recently. Eleven kids came down with it, and thankfully, none of them died. But it raised a post about whether anti-vaccination means anti-feminist I think that’s stretching it a bit, but I do think it’s incredibly selfish because it relies on everyone else getting vaccinated. Do these people not realize how at-risk their kids will be if the mentality takes off and more people stop vaccinating because some idiot gets on TV and yells that it causes autism?

I had questions about vaccinating, so I talked to my pediatrician. I was concerned about the megadoses, so I asked, could I space the vaccinations out? Yes, I could – but then Ben would be at risk longer, and if I was at Whole Foods with him and he was exposed to one of those diseases in some kid whose parents DIDN’T vaccinate because they thought it caused autism, or because they didn’t want to deal with their kid possibly having a reaction to the vaccine, then my baby could die. So I said, please, go ahead, stick the needles in him! Let’s minimize the time he’s vulnerable to disease carried by a child whose parents are fuckwads who didn’t vaccinate.

Now, I do have a very robust and healthy baby. He was a little crabby the day after he got his last set of vaccinations, but he didn’t get sick after either set. He did get very ticked off when needles went into the chub on his legs, but my pediatrician was right when he said that the doses were so small that giving five vaccinations in one day was no worse or harder on Ben’s system than giving one or two at a time. And after reading The Vaccine Book, I stood by my decisions to get Ben vaccinated on schedule.

Still, we’re lucky to live in an era with vaccinations. Did everyone see John Adams when the kids were vaccinated for smallpox? They did that by poking infected pus under their skin. Now, it’s a quick, hygenic needle, and almost no chance of a bad reaction (ie. coming down with said pox). Without vaccinations, children are in danger of brain damage from fevers. sterility from mumps, death.

This reminds me. Ben is due back at the pediatrician Friday for his pre-daycare flu shot. Sigh.

things bought at costco

1. 750GB external hard drive, for collective storage of photos, music and video, to use with the soon-to-be-Media-Machine (the one being hooked up to the TV)
2. Wireless mouse & keyboard, also for use with Media Machine
3. Socks for me, in both work and workout varieties
4. 18 pack of flavored Talking Rain Sparking Ice low-calorie fruit-flavor beverages.
5. 3 large bottles of Woolite Dark, or, as we call it, “goth laundry detergent”. It’s hard to find, so we stock up when we find it.
6. Large container of environmentally safe Costco brand detergent for non-darks
7. One bag frozen wild caught cod fillets
8. One giant bag frozen strawberries
9. 3-pack of English cucumbers and giant bag organic baby carrots for me to take for lunches
10. Ten bottles of moderate quality wine, in both red and white varieties, which should hold us for a couple months.
11. Very large packs of batteries
12. 3-pack of toothpaste.

It amazes me that this is all justifiable spending, on stuff we will use, and some of which we actually need. And some, like the wine, is just a vice. Still, it seems IMPOSSIBLE to walk into Costco without walking out with a cargo hold full of random stuff.

computer: fixed

I just fixed the UNMOUNTABLE BOOT DRIVE error on my main PC. I used this article to do it.

My main computer is the one I used to call The Beast: a state-of-the-art for 2005 machine. Now it’s getting older and crankier. It has a 160GB hard drive, 2.5GB of RAM, and a 3GHZ processor. It has a 256MB video card with PC out.

Now we’re turning it into a media box – and killing our cable, so we can save a few dollars a month. Almost $100, to be exact. We still have Netflix and access to lots of TV shows, so we’ll see how we survive.

a happy night for mr. ben

Ben slept last night from 7:30 (put down awake, went to sleep without fussing) through to 7:30am, with only ONE waking for a snack around 2am (went promptly back to sleep)

Fingers crossed that this becomes a full on trend.


We had Paul’s mom visiting us for three weeks this month. Nancy came in to fill the childcare gap between the end of Paul’s leave, and the start of Ben’s daycare. Of course, we only have a two-bedroom apartment (and a big one by L.A. standards), so we gave Nancy the nursery, and put Ben in with us. We figured because he was sleep trained, he’d stick to the established schedule: waking up at 3am for a snack, but otherwise sleeping from 7pm to 6am.


As soon as Ben figured out we were there, he started waking up more often. He found out quickly that we were RIGHT THERE, ALL THE TIME, and would grab him quickly. So instead of settling back into sleep like he did in his own room, he woke all the way up every time his REM cycle ended, and demanded we pick him up. Which we did. Then we would put him back down once he was fed and soothed, and he would demand we pick him up again. And crying it out, which we had him doing in his own room, was a more difficult option because:

a) he knew we were there, so he thought we were being total jerks and
b) we had to listen to him yelling at us

To make matters worse, it was COLD in our room. We have French doors that lead out onto the patio, and no heat in the bedrooms. When there’s a cold snap in L.A., it gets down to 60 or so in our room because those doors leak heat badly. We put Ben in an hooded blanket sleeper (which was actually meant for an outdoor outfit), over his footie pajamas. But even though his body temperature was fine, his face and hands were still exposed, so he noticed the chill and woke up. We tried putting him into our small walk-in closet, but it’s even less insulated in there, and too small to keep a space heater going in. So half the time, he ended up sleeping curled up next to me, because I was worried he was cold.

We eventually started running the space heater more, leaving him in his own bed, and letting him cry it out again because we were just exhausted. He had been waking up more and more each night over those three weeks. I was getting less than six hours of broken sleep by the end, and I need eight hours, because breast-feeding is draining. Paul was only slightly less wrecked, because he was re-adjusting to working – and working late more often than not.

Still, we muddled through. I upgraded to a higher end concealer to cover the bags beneath my eyes (the under eye concealer from Make Up For Ever is AWESOME, and totally worth the $23) and started using liquid blush to look healthy for work. But I couldn’t cover how spaced out I was from lack of sleep. “Mommy brain” is really, after all, just sleep deprivation.

Finally, we were able to put Ben back in his own room. But he kept waking up three times a night even after he was moved back. It was only this week that we managed to get him back to “normal”: a 7:30 bedtime, a snack at 2am, and a 7am wake up time.

But we still have rough spots. Like last night. Paul went into Ben’s room to get a blanket for our bed at 11pm (I totally spaced on moving the sheets and blanket to the dryer after washing, and we needed to find clean ones to put on the bed). Ben woke up when Paul came in. I went in to nurse him, and he drained both sides and then dozed off while eating. I put him down, and went to pass out from exhaustion myself.

Ben woke right back up and started yelling. Paul tried feeding him a bottle to top him off (he stays full & sleeping longer if we give him formula PLUS breast before sleep) so I didn’t have to get back up. He drank less than an ounce. Having established he was not hungry, Paul put him back down – and let him yell. Usually, if Ben’s needs are met – he’s warm, not soaking wet, full and has been soothed a bit – he complains a bit and then goes to sleep. He knows the drill. But last night, he Just. Kept. Going.

Ten minutes later, I was awake again, and Ben had ramped back up into Full Nuclear Mode. Worse, he was sobbing in between screams. I can handle him shrieking in anger at me, I can’t handle the sad little sobs in between. So I got back up and went in and put him back on the boob. He settled down immediately, and started drinking like he was starving. “OK, this was the problem,” I whispered to Paul when he came in to check on us. “He was hungry, and just didn’t want formula.” Then Ben fell asleep and I put him back in his crib. And although he was chuntering a bit, I walked away.

But he didn’t STOP chuntering. He ramped up. Again. So Paul went in to change his diaper. He was damp, not wet, but it eliminated the last possible thing that could be wrong with him. He was dry. He wasn’t hungry. His room was warm. He himself was snug in multiple layers of sleeper. So we put him down and let him cry.

And cry.

And cry.

The crying became screaming soon enough, and he just kept going, and going, and going. He ramped up to shrieking. He was ANGRY. I lay in bed, next to Paul, with a pillow over my head, hearing Ben’s muffled cries through the pillow, running through options in my mind. Should we go get him? And if so, what would we do with him? Would we have to bring him into bed with us? Or stay up with him in his room? And wouldn’t that just be reinforcing his learning that every time he wants to hang out & party in the middle of the night, we would repeat the scenario, because he would expect it? In fact, wasn’t the situation already this bad because we had been in and out of the room three times already?

“Are we doing the right thing?” I asked Paul, repeatedly.

“Yes, we are,” Paul reassured me. And, according to the sleep books we decided to go with, we were. Ben was fine. He was just yelling because he wanted us to come get him and play with him. But still, even Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child said to go get your baby if he cried for more than an hour.

And then, fifty minutes in, Ben finally fell asleep.

Tonight, when we put Ben down, he opened his eyes as I put him down, let out one little cry as I walked away, and then fell asleep promptly. Hopefully, he will repeat that behavior, and not last night’s, when he wakes up for his snack in the middle of the night.

i had a lot of writing to do tonight

Hm. I may have had a lot of writing bottled up in there, but because I have very little going on besides work & home, I opted to write book reviews instead.

No, seriously, no one wants to hear more about how cute my baby boy is. But Ben does get more sentient every day, which is amazing to watch. And as a result, he does more. He’s a lively, robust, happy little guy, who loves to play. He chortles more now, and grins at us, and babbles when he wants to tell us something. But I don’t want this to be all about Mr. Ben: it takes parents to understand how fascinating the day to day change in a baby can be.

And I could write about work, but this journal gets syndicated on Facebook, and it’s the first result under a Google search for me, and while that’s all as it should be (I set up the Facebook feed to Notes), it does mean that I don’t talk about my job too much here. Except to say that it keeps me busy, and it’s going places again. I am both Vendor Relations and the Emerging & Social Media Specialist right now, and both are roles that are perfectly suited to me and what I am best and most productive at doing. So that’s all right.

I could write about my family, about how I wish I could help my mother more as she copes with my father’s death. About how worried I was last week when my sister had appendicitis, how I was so afraid that something would go wrong, that I would lose her so soon after losing Dad. About how I wish I was closer to both of them, geographically, that I could go to help my mother as she struggles against the storms that are pounding the Northwest, or try to comfort my sister in her pain. But really, I don’t write so much about my family, unless I can make it all about me, because their lives are not my story to tell.

On that note, I could also write about how much I miss my father, especially right now, because yesterday was his birthday, and today was Christmas, and this was the big holiday for us all. But I also leave that for less public entries – and for times when I feel like descending into that kind of sadness.

There are also those times I see my friends to write about, but I feel that those entries have become stale over the years. The “and then we went to this club, and danced, and had the most awesome time” entries are too rushed, not descriptive enough, and I don’t seem capable of writing about those nights in ways that are fascinating to anyone who wasn’t there. And there are days when I see my friends at home, or for a quiet meal, and those aren’t exciting enough to blog. Or they might be, but the material is between me and my girlfriends, and not for my blog.

And there is always my longing for home to write on, but I feel I’ve written myself out on that topic. Ten years and change is a long time to mope about and miss Victoria, or, as its been in later years, Vancouver. I’ve written everything I could possibly say about my longing to go back to Vancouver, actually – especially on days like this, where I read or watch something set in the City of Glass. Today, it was “Everything’s Gone Green”, Douglas Coupland’s screenwriting debut, a Canadian indie flick that was a predecessor of jPod. So Vancouver in its recycled materials from that book! I made my usual sad noises at all the background scenes – everything Coupland does is part love letter to Vancouver.

Finally, there is the everyday events that go with being part of my own tiny family of three: me, Paul and Ben. There is the house to run, to keep clean, to cook in (almost all of our meals are eaten at home, to offset to costs of the high-quality groceries I buy, with the money we’re not spending eating out). There are the lists of projects: hang pictures, clean out drawers, clean off my desk, fix my boot-disk error desktop machine. There is the housing search, as I monitor real estate sites for a little house that will meet our needs and our budget.

Mostly though, all these things combine and mix up to form the grown-up I’ve become, who I happen to like quite a lot. And I could write about that process, those shifts, but even that’s too much navel gazing. Besides, I’m pretty sure I’m not all the way grown up yet. I hope that process never stops.

So instead of all this, I stayed up tonight for hours writing book reviews for my Goodreads profile. I have been reading a lot lately, because I read while I’m breast-feeding Ben. I know there are mommies who gaze down at their offspring every minute and revel in the bond between mother and child, etc., but when you’re sitting in there for forty minutes, that’s a bit too much reveling. So I read. And then I read in my spare time, before I go to bed, or when Ben is napping. And because I don’t get out much these days, I have a lot of that spare time. Paul plays the Wii, I knock off a book.

(The trick to being a proficient reader is to put the books on hold through the L.A. library system, and then ask to pick them up at your local branch. Much easier than sifting through the stacks downtown.)

I wrote NINE book reviews tonight. Below are the most recent six. If you click over to my Goodreads profile, you can see them all.

NINE book reviews. I’ve been at it for hours. I did have a lot of writing to do tonight.



  • 08:40 watching Situation at Sea-Tac: de-icing chemicals sucked into ventilation system. SO glad we are not there enroute to Victoria for Xmas #

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  • 13:10 gift from Parksville based vendor Bravenet: 8oz of BC smoked salmon, from Courtenay smokehouse. its a piece of home. #

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