chanaleh: (scream)
I duly wore my pantsuit on Tuesday, and I voted around 7:30am CST, before work. #pantsuitnation

At lunchtime I said to Etrace, "I think there needs to be heavy drinking tonight." "By you?!" he said. "Are you really that concerned about the outcome?" "Hell yes I am concerned," I said. But nailbiting notwithstanding, deep down I never really doubted that Hillary would get the landslide she deserved.

Well, it turns out we all got a surprise. :-/

Between dinner (Taco Tuesday!) and baby bedtime, I didn't really see any election results in progress until about 10pm Central. By which time the map had tipped heavily Trump. And then I would have liked to start drinking heavily, but I also felt too nauseated to start. I got into bed and sat with my iPad obsessively refreshing Facebook until well after midnight.

Maybe it will come around overnight, I thought. They're still tallying.

But no. Wednesday morning I woke up to our national nightmare. I felt numb. I actually cried on my drive to work.

If I haven't said it here before, my mom (who lives in northern CA) has been a big Trump supporter, and in fact so rabidly anti-Clinton in her Facebook comments and reposts that I've begun to wonder of late if she's actually coming a bit unhinged. We have basically agreed not to speak of the election.

Her younger sister though (who seems to show some distaste for Trump, but has been rabidly anti-Obama, so it's all of a piece) commented on Wednesday "I survived 8 years of Obama, you'll survive 4 years of Trump." I wanted to say "Yes, but FYI, not everyone will." But I didn't know how to get into it without spiraling off into futility.

I have many, many thoughts, but a week later here's what seems to have shaken out:

(1) No one actually knows what Trump himself is going to do while in office. He's talked big, but that was on the campaign trail. We all know the guy's full of nothing but hot air, and changes his stance to whatever his audience wants to hear. In a way, that's almost comforting.
(2) However, the people he's surrounding himself with (you know, to DO HIS ACTUAL WORK while in office)... scare the everloving shit out of me. Starting with Mike Pence, who is if possible the one person I would less like to see in the presidency than Trump.
(3) The "anti-PC" climate that says "This is Trump's America now, so we can be as hateful as we've always secretly wanted"... ditto.

I would add corroborating links to the above, but it's too depressing. :-/

So, what to do? For starters, I will keep supporting my top causes: reproductive rights (Planned Parenthood of course, Medical Students for Choice, and the Center for Reproductive Rights) and civil liberties (the ACLU). (Amazon shoppers, remember that if you shop via smile.amazon.com you can designate a charity to receive a percentage of your sales. I chose Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.)

Beyond that: Be strong. Support education and social programs closer to home. Show compassion. Stand up for truth and justice (and, not for nothing, the real American Way).

Fifteen months old

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 09:17 am
chanaleh: (sleeping)
I've backed off the monthly updates because Aria's baby book only has month-by-month pages for the first year! but I really should try to keep some notes here.

We now have a toddler rather than an infant )

Of course, now that I'm writing, there are a hundred things that I want to note. I need to make shorter and more frequent entries. :-}

Birthday!

Sunday, October 16th, 2016 09:11 am
chanaleh: Snoopy and Woodstock, celebrating (birthday)
My birthday was October 6, so I'm 44 now. It sounds a lot older than 43.

In mid-September, [livejournal.com profile] etrace said, "My mom wants to know what to get you for your birthday. We looked at your Amazon list, but she doesn't like it." "She doesn't like it?" "Yes -- nothing on it is anything she wants to get you."

We've had this discussion before, and part of it is that she has this notion that anything that's been on the list for more than a few months is Not Interesting. (For me, the fact that I've wanted something for over a year without getting it might make me MORE excited about getting it, not less. But whatever.)

So I looked at my list, and... huh, there was not much on there that I would be excited about getting for someone, either. Except for the Hamilton soundtrack, which I still had never even heard but was dying to. I promoted that back to the top of the list. Everything else... enh. So I spent a few minutes looking for things that were more fun/indulgent, and put those on the list. Only, then, [livejournal.com profile] etrace and [livejournal.com profile] jessruth got me all the new fun things, and my gift from MomTrace ended up being... a renewed subscription to the New York Times crossword app! This was genius because I really did enjoy doing it every day until they doubled the subscription price in early 2015 and I gave it up.

My dad, meanwhile, gave me some cash for my birthday -- also a couple weeks early, because he was having retina surgery in the meantime (oy!) and was not going to be able to visit for most/all of the month of October. I ended up spending ALL OF IT on clothes, because I've replaced most of my pants by now but I have still been trying to squeeze into my old shirts, and it's exhausting. But more on that topic in a later post.

I get my birthday as a paid holiday off work (yay!), but since that Monday and Tuesday were Rosh Hashanah, and then my birthday was on Thursday, I thought it would be better to take the Friday instead. Oh yeah, and SisTrace and her younger son (now age 20) happened to be coming up from Louisville from Thursday to Sunday, since she had a long weekend. So I worked that Thursday and then we all went out for deep-dish pizza; came home, put tired baby to bed, and had birthday cake and presents. And then on Friday I got to go out for a WHOLE AFTERNOON by myself. I got a pedicure (the first since Aria was born) and a haircut; and I went to Starbucks and got my free birthday PSL; and then I went to Kohl's and had the luxury of puttering around trying on clothes for like 2 hours. It was delightful. The only problem is that now I want to do it again. :-}

And now I have listened to Hamilton a couple times, and while I wouldn't say the appeal stems from the music per se, I can begin to see how people get obsessed with it and how transformative it is.

Also in there, there were holidays and tonight is Sukkot, and those all merit a separate post too probably. One of these years I would like to start building our own sukkah, but this is not that year.

Curses!

Friday, September 2nd, 2016 08:25 am
chanaleh: Muffin the Vampire Baker: "It's him, Muffin! You have to protect him at all costs!" "I'M ON IT!" (i'm on it!)
My work IT department has apparently been doing some review of employee network use recently, because yesterday while I was meeting with one of my close coworkers, they came to his desk to "uninstall some unauthorized software" -- Spotify. Ooh, he was pissed.

And today I discover that they have blocked LiveJournal categorically on the grounds of "Adult Content" (apparently "Time-Wasters" is not a category in Barracuda). Bah.

... But not Dreamwidth. >:-)

Does this mean I will have to post more often instead of reading? Time will tell, true believers! (It certainly means my DW reading page will get more traction, since I've been using LJ exclusively up til now for reading.)

Shabbat shalom!

Tisha B'Av

Sunday, August 14th, 2016 01:23 pm
chanaleh: (sleeping)
The 10th of Av is Aria's Hebrew birthday. Last year, like this year, it was the observed date of the fast of Tisha B'Av since the actual 9th of Av fell on Shabbat. Last year I missed the candlelight reading of Eicha because I was at the hospital in hour 17 or so of "early" labor. (I was reliving my own version of Lamentations though.) Last night I missed it because it was competing with baby bathtime/bedtime and I just couldn't face the logistics of driving 40 minutes each way to shul and back. But it's still on my mind.

I'm not fasting, either, to be honest. I thought about trying, but my brain is so foggy already these days that I just can't face spending a day in the fasting zone. I need to be able to do things.

Wishing a meaningful fast to those who are observing, though.
chanaleh: Snoopy and Woodstock, celebrating (birthday)
Right after Aria turned 11 months old, Dada was diagnosed with a slipped disc, and instructed to rest and not lift anything heavy (such as a 20-lb baby) -- so month 12 has been all about new babysitters for the afternoons. Grandma Bobbie and Uncle Rick came to visit from California for Aria's birthday, so we had a nice 4-day visit. We also started looking at toddler programs at the nearby Montessori schools, but haven't decided on one yet (Aria will be able to start in January at 18 months).

Aria is on the verge of saying actual words, but not quite yet. We are hearing more and more wordlike sounds like "haaa" for "Hi", "dah" for "dog", "shi" for shoe; they tend to appear in the right context, but still not really directly attached to their referents. She loves to walk everywhere and, suddenly, climb -- she can climb all the way up a flight of steps (though not go down yet) and all the way up the 2-step stepladder -- all with a spotter, of course. She likes to stand on her bedroom windowsill (with help!) and look out at the front yard. She has been excited to learn how the tub stopper works and likes to let out the water during her bath, then put the stopper back in! She likes to play with Dada's tablet and smartphone -- Mama's iPad less so, but it will do. (She does get excited when the Skype ringing noise starts to play.) We've started showing her "Elmo's World" in addition to the usual videos of herself; that show is like baby crack*. She waves bye-bye pretty well now, and has started spontaneously clapping her hands when she is pleased with something (like yummy food or climbing the stairs).

*I had seen a few "Elmo's World" episodes before, so I was familiar with the format. However, I never understood the seemingly random and pointless "Ask a Baby" segment. Now that I have watched it with Aria, I grasp that it is there as pure fanservice. :-)
chanaleh: [Erica and baby Aria] (aria-7weeks)
Shortly after she passed 10 months, Aria suddenly transitioned from "take 2 steps and fall" to "walking all the way across the patio"! so month 11 has mostly been about toddling around. Now that she is hands-free, she likes to pick up one thing in each hand -- two shoes, two books -- and walk around the room with them. She will do this for half an hour at a time, picking up two shoes, putting them down at random, walking back and picking up two more shoes.

Her first beach trip was Memorial Day weekend, to the West Beach of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. We didn't go in very far (water was too chilly) but she loved it! June 19 was Father's Day, so we took Dada and Grandpa to Kelsey's in Valpo for dinner. There were several other babies there, so Aria liked that -- she likes to make friends. Grandma Elsie bought her a swing as an early birthday present, so that's hung up under the deck now, on the patio.

Her 7th tooth is about halfway in now -- the lower right. Still no real words but she does say "dah" when she sees Tank... or when she is dropping food over the side of her high chair for the dogs that are waiting there. However, she can bring you any of the following when you ask for them by name: blankie, Bunny, bottle, book, Wookiee! Her favorite "lovie" is the bunny one that Auntie [livejournal.com profile] jessruth sent (pictured below; Vera Bradley, natch!), which has been officially named Bunny Foo-Foo and which she is usually clutching when she wakes up. She is obsessed with electrical cords and will make a beeline for anything with a cord on it (plugged in or not). She also likes magazines: diligently ripping out one page at a time, tearing it into little pieces, and eating them (!). Hopefully that behavior is on its way out. On the plus side, she has started taking more interest in books and will bring one over to be read, then consent to sit still in your lap for a minute or two while you read it.

She is remarkably determined. If you pick her up and physically remove her from some attractive nuisance (say, the dogs' water dish, the bark mulch under the tree, or the living-room cabinet), and put her on the ground even 20+ feet away, she will immediately toddle right back to it. No fuss, no crying, just calm focus.

click for picture )
chanaleh: (crow's nest)
Because this is exactly the kind of stuff that LJ (being, you know, a journal) is useful for recording:

I should start by noting that my friend Andy G (whom some of you remember from Brandeis) was visiting Chicago for a week around Memorial Day, and asked if he could come out and spend a day with us. He was staying most of the week with a friend way up in the north suburbs, but took the commuter train out here (about 25 minutes from our house, and just over an hour's ride from downtown) on Sunday morning. Aria and I picked him up and we all went to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Baby's first beach day! Then we came back toward our house, and went out for deep-dish pizza -- along with another mutual Brandeis friend, Dara, who was my hallmate one year and is now a radiologist and turns out to have started a locum tenens position right here in Crown Point (at the hospital where Aria was born), so she'll be here every other week for at least the next few months. Looking forward to hanging out with her again while she's here.

Then, last weekend, [livejournal.com profile] ablock came to see us! He was planning a trip to Chicago for NANOG June 12-15, and on realizing that we're just an hour away, he asked if he should come out a day early in order to visit us. "YES!!!" I said. So he flew into Midway Airport on Saturday morning, and I drove there (right around an hour from us) and picked him up. After the requisite Dunkin' Donuts stop for Coffee Coolattas, we picked up a(nother deep-dish) pizza for lunch, and came back and hung out around the kitchen table for the afternoon, then around the patio for the evening while [livejournal.com profile] etrace grilled steaks for dinner. Which meant I skipped the erev-Shavuot learning session I would otherwise have tried to go to at the shul... but, well, at least we had ceremonial cheesecake baked by nephew J.

Due to the 98-degree heat wave and the fact that we have only two window a/c units, we took Aria into our room so that Unca Pup could sleep on the floor in Aria's room instead of sweltering in the music studio. This sounded like a fine idea at the time -- we'll just put her down in the playpen/porta-crib that's in our room anyway! -- except for the part where she HATES the porta-crib and screams the minute you try to transfer her down into it. So, she wouldn't go to sleep, and wouldn't stay asleep, and I let her come downstairs with us while we ate cheesecake, and then I ended up trying to keep her in the bed with us all night, which meant I didn't sleep more than 20 minutes at a time the entire night. UGH. It gave me a new appreciation for how well she sleeps in her own crib normally! :-P So we gave up on sleeping by about 8am, got up, made pancakes, hung out some more, and then I drove Pup to the 1:38pm commuter rail.

And yesterday, we drove 2 hours south to Indianapolis to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] jesse_in_boston and [livejournal.com profile] jedilora (plus her dad) and 3-year-old R, who had driven out from Boston for the SCA 50th Anniversary event June 18-25. We met for pancakes (at the delightfully named Hotcakes Emporium Pancake House Restaurant) and it was SUCH a pleasure to see them.

Plus, [livejournal.com profile] etrace has other good friends in Indianapolis that we never see, and it turned out they were going to be free yesterday afternoon/evening, so we went to see them afterwards. After a brief interim stop at the Holliday Park playground (Aria's first real baby-swing experience, though the slides were too hot to try out), we hung out at their lovely house, where Aria spent fully two hours toddling around nonstop (until she fell over for a 20-minute nap). Then we all went up to the nearby Broad Ripple neighborhood, walked a little bit of the Monon Rail Trail and through the Indianapolis Art Center sculpture grounds, and ended up at La Piedad for casual Mexican dinner. A long but really nice day.

In unrelated news, today is [livejournal.com profile] etrace's first Father's Day, yay! We're going out for prime rib in a couple hours -- an early dinner -- and invited my dad to come join us. Right now, baby is napping (making up for yesterday) and now that I've gotten all this out, I'm going to lie down for a few minutes too. <3
chanaleh: Snoopy and Woodstock, celebrating (birthday)
Aria had a big growth spurt just the last two weeks or so. She was eating and sleeping like crazy, and now suddenly she has these rangy long little-girl legs that go sprawling out of Mama's lap. She's started walking a few steps at a time before she tumbles back down to her knees -- but if she's holding onto your hand, she can walk and walk, practically run! She can stand up all by herself in the middle of the floor now (instead of pulling up on the furniture), so it won't be long now.

We've recently started hearing more babbling of different syllables... and we're pretty sure she consistently says "dah" for the dogs, and sometimes "ki" for the kitty. We hear a lot of "muh, muh, muh" and "dah-dah-dah" but it doesn't seem to mean anything specific yet. She's got a very good pincer grasp now and feeds herself all kinds of finger foods: vegetables, cantaloupe, shredded-up chicken or fish. We have to parcel it out, though, or she'll cram it all in her mouth at once!

Eyes: still mostly grey-blue. Teeth: still 6 (4 top, 2 bottom). Hair: strawberry-blondish and starting to get long in the front -- almost into her eyes. Need to get some little barrettes!

Photo behind cut )

Editors, help...

Thursday, May 12th, 2016 04:50 pm
chanaleh: Snoopy at the typewriter, pondering (snoopywriter)
This poor sentence is trapped in the wrong language. It is in Marketingspeak and needs to be in English. Can someone please help me translate it?

“Throughout the organization, efforts are being redeployed around member-focused initiatives.”

("Members" = our customers. This line would be tolerable if it were a marketing-internal document, but it's actually being published in a major customer-facing piece of collateral. NO NO NO NO NO just no.)

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