Saturday, July 26, 2008


So we went to the Con yesterday... and it was SO much fun!

We took the trolley over from Qualcom and it wasn't too crowded yet when we got there. We got our badges and scoped out the upstairs a bit, preparing for when we came back up for the programming we were hoping to catch, and then hit the floor. We were lucky to start on the end that was way less crowded, with lots of comic book vendors and the publishing house booths. I finally scored a replacement for my To Say Nothing of the Dog at Mysterious Galaxy books, and got a free book from Dell Ray. Not bad!

We split up because it was going to be too crazy to keep together and meander. Good thing, because the kid wanted to take a break almost immediately. A father with probably a ten year old daughter stopped by to say what a great tradition we were starting by bringing SS, and that he had been bringing his for four years. Then we launched back into the fray. SS loved looking at all the pictures and people... especially the picture of Kung Fu Panda. The rest of the day she kept asking for "Panda? PANDDA?" But she also dug the giant inflated Pikachu (sp?) because it looked like it was sticking out its tongue, and the giant inflated Nickelodeon ball, and the cool funky lights of the SciFi channel booth. That end of the hall was a complete crush, though. People were all lined up around a lot of the booths, but there was no way to tell for what, and it was so crowded you could barely move, or you couldn't stop moving if you were in a stream of people going one way. We soon returned to the joys of seeing stuffed monkeys over at the other end of the hall.

Before too long we met back up with Dashing Daddy and Grandpa, and grabbed some early lunch, thinking (rightly) that we wouldn't have a chance to eat anything later. Then I dashed off to the Connie Willis talk. I caught the end of the preceding talk about comic book author/illustrators, and it was interesting. Then I grabbed a front seat for Connie. She was funny, inspiring, articulate, and wonderful. I left the talk reluctantly, as she said she would probably sign in the hall right then... but good thing I did, as when I called Dashing Daddy he told me he, the kid, Grandpa, and our friends Ethan and Meredith were about to get into Ballroom 20 for the Joss Whedon panel. I then felt like I was in a Connie Willis book... specific, Passage, where the main character can't get through the hallways of the hospital. I was turned back by events staff and turned around by the confusing hallways, and crushed among all the attendees. Finally I made it over to the Ballroom and DD (with the kid asleep on his back) had a reentry ticket he was going to pass to me... but the woman in charge was a bit distracted by someone else while we were trying to pass the sleeping baby to me, and I just grabbed my hubby and dragged him in with me. We all got to go in! So I got a quick hug from Ethan and Meredith and then out cam Joss, Nathan Fillon, Neil Patrick Harris, and the rest of the Dr. Horrible crew. They were wonderful and funny. NPH and Fillon opened with a bit where Capt Hammer pulled out Dr. H's chair from under him... and at the end, they did it reversed. The word is there will hopefully be more Dr. H coming out, and generally more of this form of media creation/distribution (without those studio folks who keep cancelling Joss' great shows!).

We stayed for the American Dad panel (with many of our favorite actors) and the Family guy panel (with Seth Green!) and we got to see some episodes. Then DD and Grandpa went off for more work stuff and I stayed for most of the Bones panel. We got to see a huge chunk of a new episode and then many cast members came out to talk. I ran off with a sleeping baby (she had been up for most of the time in there, as we moved closer and closer to the front each panel, but she woke up again when we left) to get to the signing with Connie. After all I went through to get a book for her to sign, they were giving away copies of Passage that she was signing. After that, I could not believe I had managed to do EVERY thing I wanted to do. Wow! I was elated when we we inside the ballroom, but by 6pm I was flush with pop culture contentment. We hung around while the boys finished up with work stuff and then decided to get dinner in the Gaslamp while the line for the trolley calmed down. We ate at Aqua 2 and who should show up but Ethan and Meredith? So we got to chat with Ethan a bit more while he was waiting to order at his table with his Hollywood pals, and Sophie got to see Meredith (as she was awake) and a great meal. And we sat on the patio so we had a great view of all the funky folk walking from the Con to the parking lots. As we walked back up to the trolley a huge flock of nerds on bikes came charging through the Gaslamp, hollering and whooping, and we all cheered for them. We got on the trolley and made our way back to the car (with the kid in silly form, asking to be tickled the whole ride). She nursed and conked pretty soon into the drive home. I admit I dozed a bit myself. Soon after coming home we adults also conked; it was a long, full day. But we agreed it was insanely fun and we had a great time!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Damn, you, Comic Con!

So we're going to Comic Con this year, finally... and I can't believe that both Connie Willis and Joss Whedon are going to be doing their things on the day we are happening to go... one right after another, NOT in the same room.


I am SO tempted to try to get into the Whedon show, because it would have the cast of Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog, plus info on all things Whedon... BUT I have to figure that there will be other chances to see Joss in San Diego, whereas Connie Willis is a special treat. And a super favorite author of mine. To Say Nothing of the Dog is the perfect book. (For the record, so are American Gods, The Bean Trees, The Beekeeper's Apprentice... there are many perfect books but not SO many that I can say "forget seeing Connie Willis!"). I figure it'll be way easier to get in to see Willis, too, whereas the other event will be crazy, too crazy for a CC newb. With a baby on her back.

If only they were at least a few hours apart, I could hope. As it is, I'll probably line up as early as I need to to see Willis, then when that's done (she's probably not doing autographs as there's an event the night before for that... but I will bring my book anyway... oh right, il Trebor lost it! LOL, well, Doomsday Book maybe) and then head over to the other thing and see if I can peak in or something... yeah right!

There's also a Seth McFarlane/Seth Green thing in the same room after that, so MAN I want to do that... but I gotta go with the novelist. Otherwise, Dashing Daddy is going for work research, so it should just be fun open time to wander around and see lots of crazy stuff! We're also looking forward to meeting up with a certain movie-making friend of Dashing Daddy's (hey, EW, any way you can get me into Ballroom 20 at will? Any magic powers?). Should be fun!


Okay, I finally have searched deep into my soul, consulted the wise philosophers of life's dark and light times, and I have found the upside of being terribly, horribly, PAINFULLY sick for a full week (as in, sick in bed in so much pain I could barely stand just to lay there, let alone swallow, let alone sip water... it was like Satan was kicking me in the ear, through my jawbone, and into my throat. The left side of my head and cheek were throbbing all Wednesday night! But, er, on to the bright side, as I said... I'm OVER all that... no more whining!)... the evil cold (ha! "cold") from Hell with its sore throat pushed me over a few more pounds to a new milestone:

Since a week or so into January (so not quite 6 months), I have lost 35 lbs.

Whoohoo!!! I am almost back down to pre-baby weight. Probably I am if you only count this baby and not the immediately preceding pregnancy/miscarriage/ice cream and chocolate and movies in bed for two weeks. I still am going to keep going until I hit a really healthy weight or it's time to get pregnant again, but I'm starting to feel really good about getting to a good starting weight before that time comes! Yay!

TF has just spent a huge chunk of time sitting in her chair eating peas, delightedly signing and saying "peas" every time I walk by. And asking for more five times or so!

The house is slowing crawling back to semi-clean after all the sickness. I figure we'll get it back to tolerable, and then the next time we clean everything we can go deeper, instead of killing myself now when I'm not 100% quite yet.

She has also been demanding to see pictures of her godfather, il Trebor! I printed up a bunch of pics to put in a book for her, of lots of loved ones, but having that big mug flashing across the big computer screen is all that will satisfy her sometimes. She also loves to list some of the people she loves: T! (her uncle), "Meysh" (her aunt), and "baddan!" (her other uncle). She woke up saying T one day a couple weeks ago, and went on to list all three, and ever since then it's fun little game. She loves to see pictures of all those wild and crazy family members, too. She also can recognize her Papa and Nonna in pics, of course, and Bimi.

She very sweetly gave many kisses to Grandpa on Friday. We were celebrating Dashing Daddy's belated Independence Day (it was the last of his two weeks' notice). I hung a banner made of manila folders and paper clips, with label dots for a festive touch, to celebrate his starting his own business.

Um... I need to get pics up, but I need to get cameras charged.

What else is new... the girl can read Mommy now, too. And eyes and toes, somewhat consistently. And she started reading letters on store signs while we were out last night... L! T! (Linens N Things had a great sale on tubs for cramming baby clothes into...). She walks over to where we keep the big print words and tries to get them, and demands, "reeead?" She loves counting to two as well. And she's just about got her colors down... green is still tricky and the Rubic's cube doesn't offer any purple practice, altho she loves to say black and brown, too. I like how she does white like she's wiping across her body and forehead, very enthusiastically. She really loves when we read her new Barefoot Books, so thanks MPK! She is OBSESSED with the photo picture book I got her for the car and says "kick, jump, stretch, HUUUUUG, sad" and etc nonstop all day... two of her new favorite words are Bow (because when Mommy bows it's hilarious, apparently) and Crocodile (of the Lyle, Lyle variety).

We're setting off on a whole new family routine, of Dashing Daddy at home in the upstairs office we put together for him, on my (former) laptop. I'm fussing about trying to turn this computer into a noveling station for myself. I set up my ancient awful webcam but still need to find the mike for Sykpe (please, Bad Dan, find me a webcam for my PC!). I hung up the silver magnetic board from Ikea and now I think it just makes the big living room wall look messy. Too busy. Too much. And I think I had convinced myself it was dry erase and now I'm bummed it's not. Blah. But it'll be interesting to see how things go in this new season of life together!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Moving to the next stage

It's so hard seeing my baby cry, but she's solidly into toddlerhood now and we're trying to shift our habits a bit from responding to baby needs to sometimes delaying and saying no to a toddler. Like when she was a wee baby, we tried to focus not just on her, but on living our adult (er, ya know, aspiring to adult) lives, and letting her observe. But we've had to keep more of an eye on her as she got more and more mobile, in this crazy modern world. So it's a good time to renew our commitment to "life-centered" living, now that she really has a good sense of herself and her world.

I've been rolling these thoughts around in my mind lately: how do we transition from that baby phase where she only had needs to a new phase where sometimes we have to delay or say no? We don't want to tell her that her needs are not important, but we also want her to get a sense of how things work for the whole family. I think she got a lot of this while at Nonna's home child care while we were visiting, when she had to wait for beloved Nonna to finish work, and play with lots of other children. I also know kids tend to act needier with Mommy than others; she's been a trooper while I've been sick, that's for sure! Anyway, as I'm rambling on here... I enjoyed skimming (in my sick stupor) these two articles today. I didn't love the woo-woo metaphor of blockage in the first one, but I like the idea. And the second one speaks to my strong impulse to be active with the toddler either learning by my side or playing on her own. That's hard when she's really on her own; I wish we had kids to call right over from next door for her to play with at the drop of a hat! Or a sibling! ;) Anyway, this is all ideal, but speaking to other moms I get the sense that we're on the right track. It really has just been a matter of building new habits.

Cry for Connection: A Fresh Approach to Tantrums

Who's in Control?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Now I Know My ABCs....

We are sick, by the way, the girlchild and I. I felt like utter death all weekend and now she's snotty as all get-out and pretty miserable. I think she had this cold first, tho.

So this morning I plop her down and she goes for her bath letters. She starts saying "lll lll lll" so I find the L for her, and she gets excited. Then she proceeds to say the name or sound for several other letters. She knows B, W, M, P, L, O, T, H, and maybe K and U... I didn't pay perfect attention (hey, I'm sick) but it was pretty impressive to me. Then she kept asking "whatsthat?" and she's doing it again, now... she's adamant that I tell her all the letters she doesn't know yet.

Aw, poor sickie, I think the energy post-nap has worn off already! Gotta go cuddle....

Keeping Homebirth as an Option

Well, Dashing Daddy has ONE more week working for the Man, before cutting loose and working for himself (developing his own website--just as Thomas Jefferson imagined the individual self-supporting American!). And we're going to set up some COBRA for insurance but if things take off, we'll have to leap into individual insurance-- not a pretty world, I gather. There's only one doctor (a certain "Dr. Wonderful" as he's known on the interwebz) I care to have during the next several (childbearing) years, so as long as I can see him and go to the hospital around the corner (makes it easy to show up in transition), I'm good. Insurance is otherwise to keep up from losing our home if we get hit by a bus, IMO. But if it turns out that it would actually be cheaper to do so, we could end up even doing homebirths down the line.

Which is why articles (well, not the articles but the facts in them) tick me off.

Big Medicine's blowback on homebirths

Also, a lot of women do not have access to Dr. Wonderfuls or baby friendly hospitals. Heck, home birth is still illegal in some states!!! With doctors ignoring science, pushing drugs that are not approved for birth, pushing inductions and sections to time births better for their holidays and TV watching... we need to have the options of opting out. I'm lucky in that my state allows homebirth (altho there has been gross mistreatment of midwives right here in Cali) and there are LOTS of choices of midwives in my area. It's nice to know that if I so choose, I have that option. Although, for me, it's hard to turn away from what worked so well last time. I did detest being in the hospital afterwards, tho.

Anyway, here's another good article outlining just some of the shocking details about maternal mortality (on the rise in the US-- we have one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality of any "first world" or even moderately developed country-- hmmm!!!!!!): Revealing the Real Risks: Obstetrical Interventions and Maternal Mortality

It's the science, stupid: the facts don't lie. Interventions lead to increased deaths of mamas and babies. Who wouldn't want to be able to opt out?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Notebook is Full...

And that means I need to move on to the next stage of writing, I suppose. I think it's going to involve lots of notecards taped to the wall, binders, sporks and tissues. And maybe even a little writing.

Seriously, I have my three books outlined (and two of them partly written). I have themes that seem to evolve marvelously from book to book. Character arcs that intertwine and twang against each other. A growing cast of characters. A magillion quotations from Women Who Run with the Wolves copied in my notebook for future inspiration (mostly I read that book and say, "WHAT? How does this woman know what's in my mind and soul? How do these folk tales from random cultures know? Maybe Yeats was right! No, no, Yeats canNOT have been right, the kook... hmm...."

So where do I go from here?

I guess I finish reading my inspiration books. I gather maps of the southwest US and botanical information on said locale. I reread what I have written (that's where the sporks and tissues come in I bet) and remind myself I wrote it all during NaNoWriMo and KNEW plenty of it was placeholding filler crap at the time. I figure out what character development I still need to play around with, and what organizational methods I still need to try out, in terms of plotting out story and character STUFF that is threatening to come spilling off the pages of my notebook, a million inked letters spilling off the page like letters are wont to do in the PBS show Word World (which we only watch for five minutes while I file the baby's nails... that's right, my baby gets a mani and TV... full baby spa service!).

And I figure out WHERE I want to start writing (rewrite book one? Jump back into book two, where I left off or reworking things a bit, since that one ended when I was too frustrated and too busy nursing the baby so often to type?). And then....


I want prizes!

Hell yes (as they say in the UCD Band-uh) I would like a suite of slings and other goodies...

Win the Essential Babywearing Stash from Along for the Ride (one Beco Butterfly, one Hotsling baby pouch, one BabyHawk Mei Tai, one Zolowear Ring Sling, and one Gypsy Mama Wrap)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

San Diego is jumping on the Greenwagon...and tangental ramblings

San Diego Goes Green

But I feel that we could do a really good job making big-impact changes here. We have the surfer/funky/crunchy culture going on, we made a big deal in the industries that we set out to grow here... it seems very possible and a good fit. Now if we could just get over the whole bankrupt/corrupt thing we've been rocking the last few years....

I'm very proud that a local group of Greenpeace is operating in North County and trying to have an effect on the current campaign, to let the possible local and national officeholders know they need to respond to the green demands of their constituents. And Encinitas itself is moving closer and closer to banning plastic bags (thanks in great part to the Surfrider association), which would be AWESOME. I forget my cloth bag occasionally (or forget to speak up the five times it takes to get checkers to avoid giving me a plastic bag, when I DO have a bag on hand), but MAN we've cut down on the number of plastic bags coming into our house. It's probably been like five bags (from any store-- grocery, Target, clothes shopping, etc.) in the past two or three months.

I feel especially good about this after seeing the pictures of masses and masses of plastic bags (headed for recycling at least) in the new Green Guide put out by National Geographic. Whew! Plastic is forever; it doesn't biodegrade, and it uses oil! The Green Guide, by the way, really impressed me, as a mainstream publication that actually seems to be of the mindset that making environmental and healthy choices might mean more than agreeing with whatever the FDA currently says and buying more and more products so long as they are somewhat "green." Granted, they do admit (at least they admit it!) that they are focused on consumer products, but overall I found the magazine more focused on things you're likely to buy no matter what, and helping you make the best choice, rather than showing off a bunch of stuff you don't need and telling you to buy buy buy because it's green. I found the magazine useful and not obnoxious and that's rare for environmental info out in the mainstream lately, so I give it my approval. I think people starting from scratch when it comes to going green would find it accessible and very informative!

Well this veered here and there, didn't it? Anyway, the lovebug has yet to nap today, so I am just trying to get her down for the night soon soon soon here, I hope! Poor thing!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Independence Day

Independence Day was technically Friday, but for our family it's still going... Dashing Daddy is officially quitting tomorrow! He is already coding away at his new endeavor (top secret, sorry!) and will be done with his final two weeks in, erm, two weeks, and will then be free of his job (I just deleted my comments on this... let's just say "his job" and you can imagine all the adjectives and modifying clauses I COULD type up about it). I am so happy and excited for him. He's putting me to work soon, too, so I get to be useful. It's rather funny as he sits at the computer doing market research on his project, and I sit on the couch across the room researching myths and things and brainstorming ideas for MY project (my books, which are coming along a great deal recently, thank you!), and our toddler runs around playing like mad on the carpet between us. Lights down on this Happy Domestic Family, as the keyboard, popper toy, and scribbling noises fade. And... SCENE.

The baby had a fabulous time at the fair last night, laughing heartily at the idiots who climbed into a giant ball and bounced through the air for our amusement. She was mesmerized by the man playing the Chad Stick or whatever the instrument is called, and she loved the animals (Moo! Baa! Goat! Bunny! Gobble gobble! Boc boc boc!) and the lights and kiddie rides (watching them-- we decided she was too little for rides yet). She happily cavorted with her grandparents and Auntie Em. And Dashing Daddy and Grandpa even did some research on the new business's field, so it's all a tax write off! Even the delicious, evil fried food and cinnamon rolls!

I really meant to write a post about our trip to the hometown, which was awesome, but it will have to wait until I get all the pics on the computer (and until I am writing on the computer with all the pics... the network is just too slow for this mama. But the Sweet Granddaughter did indeed have a fun time really falling in love with her mama's family and playing with the daycare kids and running amok in all kind of new places.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

So whaddaya say NOW, FDA?

In the article in my last post, the FDA claimed no good studies proved food dyes affect children adversely.

Well... "Food Additives and Hyperactive Behavior" in the Lancet this month would seem to add to the studies (that aren't good enough for the FDA, or the food industry lobbyists rather) that show us the harmful effects of these artificial food dyes.

Get this stuff OUT of our food! We're talking about kids here.

I'm flummoxed by realizing how much in the mainstream grocery store is not food (and I'm not talking about the packaging or the laundry aisle, either). I'm love how Michael Pollan puts it so simply (and this is our rule already): "Eat food." *hysterical laughter* Wait, DON'T eat petroleum and known carcinogens and hormone disruptors???

I feel so sorry for the kids made to feel bad in school and put on drugs to cure what could simply be a diet thing.