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California and water
Selling bottled water from California sources during a drought is bad/stupid, of course -- and this article has started me thinking: Much of what we celebrate as tech innovation isn't really that important - a smartphone, smart watch, etc. may be cool or fun, but we have serious problems we're ignoring.
Not enough fresh water where we need it. Rising sea levels due to melting polar ice. Feeding our power hunger from dirty sources (petroleum, coal) or food sources (ethanol) that speed up the rising sea levels and melting polar ice. Producing food with irrigation, using heavily subsidized water so that producers don't have a business case to become more efficient. On and on.
Shouldn't we be innovating our way to solutions for these problems? Shouldn't the venture capital community be funding work in these areas, and shouldn't there be a lot of upside for the inventors who can make things better for so many?

I think that with so much demand for water near coastline + sea level rise, we should be looking at desalination (in conjunction with power generation) and waste water reclamation. Today, we are not wise in how we use the water we have, and we are not investing enough in water for the future. Or, for a real technical breakthrough, we know the chemical "recipe" for water - maybe we need to look into making it.
If I ruled the world, there would be more reward for solving real-world problems, and those tech toys we're currently rewarding would go to the margins of spending/investment/reward, where they logically belong.

pop music and story songs
I popped my head into some pop music lately (blame Sirius XM) to find that there are melodies again - and there are story songs again.  I wandered away in the rap era.  It didn't appeal to me.

I've latched onto a Taylor Swift song, "Blank Space."  It's catchy, sassy, and tells an impressionist story.  (The music video fills in details you might not have imagined on your own.) Setting aside the troubling point that this song feeds into the "girls are crazy" belief in our culture, I find it refreshing and empowering that she's not the victim, that she has only a partial understanding of herself and her relationships, and that she's able to be flirty and tongue-in-cheek. (Per Wikipedia, the song is supposed to be satirical/autobiographical.) It keeps playing in my head.

Most of the other songs I've latched onto over time tell stories.  I'm a big fan of Jim Steinman's song writing - lots of great imagery, catchy melody, and storytelling.  I'd enjoy more story songs, with stories I can connect to and share with my children. Is that too much to ask?  Maybe we need to stick to Radio Disney?

where to start?
I didn't go to Berkeley for MBA
I didn't change jobs - I have a new boss and a seat at a new facility in my company, closer to my house.

My kids are growing.  Pounce is 7; Wiggles just turned 5 a couple of weeks ago. They both go to school - the same building - every day.  A college-student nanny picks them up from school and takes them to afternoon activities.

My house, where I lived before we got married, is on the market. http://1628santaclara.com I hope someone buys it and will live happily there.  We've been doing the work ourselves to sell it.  We've had it open 3 times so far and are scheduled to open it again on Sunday.

a lot to learn
Assume that your drive to experience pleasure isn't a barrier to your spiritual growth, but is in fact essential to it. Proceed on the hypothesis that cultivating joy can make you a more ethical and compassionate person. Imagine that feeling good has something important to teach you every day. (source)

public education SUCK!
I just got off the phone with Student Svcs at my school district.

The magnet school that was supposed to have plenty of space has waitlisted us.

I wish there were some way I could bring in my f'ing property tax bills and pull rank.  Damnit, I pay a lot for public schools in this city - give me a good kindergarten for my kid.

Writer's Block: Happy New Year of the Dragon!
I'm proud to be a Metal Dog!

Writer's Block: It's payday!
What would you do if you had a million dollars?

Writer's Block: R.I.P
What do you want done with your body after you die?
I love this question!  When I am dead, I no longer need my body.  Here are my wishes.

1.  Donate any usable organs and tissues to transplant patients.
2.  Cremate the remains
3.  Dispose of the remains with as little fanfare as possible.  No big cemetary display.  It's expensive and wastes good land on a bad use.

OMG - rudeness

I had an experience on Saturday that still irks me.
At a company event, there was free food - with tickets - and I was standing in line with a baby on my hip in the sun waiting my turn.  The vendor called next and someone from behind me came rushing up waving her tickets.  I spoke up.  "We've all been waiting here."

She turns on me. 


She violates the "don't cut in line" rule everone learns by Kindergarten, and she turns on me?

She loudly proclaims *me* rude.  She is served. 

I don't really care that she was served.  I care that she cut in line, yelled at me, and then was served ahead of people who had been waiting according to the rules.

I don't really care what color her skin was - but her behavior reinforced the stereotypes I try not to believe of people of her race.

Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you *not* to be?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

another dog to meet

poodle classified as medium adult, at nearby animal shelter:

poodle photowww.petfinder.com/petdetail/19196284
Kid A wants a smallish dog, and this poodle may be about right.  We (the adults) don't want a toy-sized dog. 

I've never had a poodle before - and I'm not into the fussy-looking show clips.  Hmmm.  Things to think about.

(no subject)
  • dog good with my kids => friendly, play gently, tends to avoid rather than confront.
  • my kids good with dog => respectful, play gently, let the dog get away if dog wants to leave the situation
  • attentive/obedient to me, Terpsichoros
  • polite/respectful to friendly stranger/visitor at our house (not jump.  follow commands, like sit/stay and wait for the new person to approach)
  • good student at obedience school, pass Canine Good citizen test
  • follows the house rules => Dog off furniture, kitchen counters, kitchen table...  Dog stay out of bedrooms. 
  • good with other dogs => plays at dog park, may wrestle other dogs, only playfully.  Gives "little dog" from upstairs a wide berth.
  • attractive/healthy/modest coat maintenance
  • good on leash - will walk in heel and sit when I stop; will sit at intersection and wait to cross street when on expanding leash
  • good neighbor => appropriate, minimal barking
  • tolerates several hours a day without people home
  • BONUS:  pet assisted therapy candidate, obedience trials competitor, tricks
(I'm pretty demanding, I guess.)

met the dog
and not a love connection.
too bad - on paper, she's perfect for us,
but she didn't show much interest in us.
or even in "her people" who brought her to the dog park.

I guess I want a slut-dog.  One who'll be
immediately affectionate to me.
or at least interested.

This dog is one-personish, and her one-person
had to give her up
because the husband
didn't like how one-doggish
the one-person was
(would rather spoon with Doggie than with husband)
and made some half-wit
argument about it being too much
to have the dog with 2 kids.

One-person was not the one trying to re-home the dog.
Her friends who had taken the dog in
were trying to re-home her.

I hope Doggie finds the right match.  I don't think it's us.

information presentation and retrieval
I guess I put my previous post in the wrong order.
I'm actually less worried about how to handle the kids while initially screening the dog - and more worried about *should* I meet the dog at all, and how will I keep my emotions in check so I can make a good assessment. 

meeting a dog
There was a listing on Berkeley Parents' Network last week - a family has a 5 year old spayed female dog, medium size, mixed breed,  who's good with their toddler but not good with cats, who needs a new home.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

We have a cat-free home.  I'm getting ready for another dog.  good-with-toddler is a good sign.

We're meeting her at Point Isabel on Saturday.

I'm trying to figure out the best way to do this.  In some ways, it might be best if I meet Doggie by myself first, to not have my hands full of toddler when I try to see how she is at being approached, handled, etc.  I want my family to meet Doggie and be OK with her if we're going to invite her to live with us - but maybe not until I've had a chance to screen.

I've been reading on the internet about how to evaluate second-hand dogs.  Good refresher lesson. 

I go back and forth in my mind - am I being hasty?  Will I fall in love and not think clearly? 
Then I freak out and think, "Cancel the appointment.  Don't go."

Lots to figure out in the next few days.

I didn't win the lottery
so I don't get to:
  • pay off the some debts 
  • make the house perfect:  roof, exterior paint, foundation, landscaping & play structure, reintegrate the upstairs/build the master suite, replace garage, re-wire, re-pipe, central heat...
  • make my car perfect
  • replace Terpsichoros's car with his choice of vehicle
  • create a fund for each daughter to use for education and launching expenses
  • fund retirement accounts for Terpsichoros and me
  • buy excellent vacations
I had a ticket - in fact, I was part of one of those office pools where we had a block of tickets - but I don't think we got *any* back.  So sad.

I feel like my desires are pretty modest, except maybe for the house stuff.
I like my job well enough I'd want to keep doing it for a while, unless I had such a large windfall that I needed to take time off from working for someone else just to manage what I was doing with my money.
As my kids are getting older, I wonder how I'll make a school schedule work.  I wonder how other working parents do it - are there before-and-after school programs that are near school? -- this led to a big digression of looking at the public schools nearby.  So much to figure out before Kid A (Pounce) turns 5.


About to give up my wknds btw Thanksgiving and Christmas for Dickens.
I haven't planned xmas cards, bought any xmas gifts, anything like that.
I must be crazy.
Pounce is very excited about Dickens this year, and Wiggles is excited about lots of things, probably including Dickens. 
Terpsichoros loves Dickens, so he 's excited to be back as a participant this year.  I like Dickens, but I have mixed feelings about the time commitment.

events and milestones
Friday was Pounce's half birthday.  She's 2 1/2 now.
We gave her a party with a HalfBirthday Cake  with 2 1/2 candles   There was dinner out with the grandparents, party hats, and presents too.

Today, Wiggles is 6 weeks old.
Yesterday, we took Wiggles to her first Gaskell Ball - since October is the Fancy Dress Ball, we had to costume her - as a Victorian baby doll.   (after the photo ops, I took her out of the fussy dress and put her in the wrap carrier - she was hands-free baby and very contet.
Pounce wore her ladybug dress to the ball.     She was very active.  She was happy to be there and talked a lot this morning about being at the dance party and wanting to run with the other 2 little girls again.  

(no subject)
Little Wiggles is 1 month old, as of 11:24 PM last night.  She and I were awake for it.  I hope that's not a tradition.

Sad news: Daphne
Our beloved dog, Daphne, died suddenly last night.  She went quickly from her happy normal self to very sick, then stopped breathing.  We're thankful that it happened when we could be with her and that her suffering seemed brief.

We will miss her. 

Baby & Me update

I'm on weekly doctor appointments now, since baby's due 14 September.  The basic stats:

3 cm dilated
60% effaced
(my BP and urine tests are fine; baby's heartbeat is fine)

Doctor thinks Baby will arrive within the week.  Also, he predicts she'll be in the 8 pound range.  (My toddler was 7 lb, 12 oz when she was born, so I think that's probably a safe estimate)  Eeek.  I thought I'd have more time!

I'd better wash those little clothes I was sorting on the weekend.  Someone little may need them soon.  Oh and pack the bag for me, for my toddler...

(xposted to "pregnant" and "septbabies2009" communities)

Some fun

Out to breakfast at La Pinata.  Ahhh, comfort food.

Out shopping at Babies R Us.  I think we've selected the double stroller:  Baby Trend tandem with sit/stand option
We even got to try folding it down and putting it in the cargo space of our car.    The competing product was hard to fold and seemed bulkier in the folded position.  We didn't test it with the car.  It also didn't have a sit/stand feature, and our Kidlet is getting tall enough that she'll outgrow a stroller seat soon enough but may still want to stop walking before the parents do... at least that's the theory.  When we tried sit/stand today, Terpsichoros called Kidlet an escape artist.  Right now, a stroller seat that reclines for impromptu sleep is the ticket - she falls asleep in the stroller a good deal.

Off to Kennedy Park in the afternoon for carousel rides (Kidlet had 3) plus the little train, the bouncy house, the petting zoo, and rides on swings and slide.  Yay!  I love this place, and I'm glad I had Terpsichoros with us to keep up with Kidlet.  I feel unhappy that I'm having to slow down just as she's really speeding up.  I guess this is another reason there are supposed to be 2 parents - or a village - to raise a child.

We were already planning dinner at Zachary's - then some family friends from Iowa called.  (like a spare aunt & uncle) They were in the area and wanted to meet for dinner.  We had them meet us, and we all had salad and pizza.  Kidlet mostly ate the cheese and Canadian bacon.  How do some people raise their children as vegetarians - vegans, even?  I would have a stunted, skinny little kid...  The only thing she'll consistently eat is meat.

Additional bonus -- Kidlet fell asleep in the car on the way home and is still sleeping.  I think I'll get to go to bed early tonight. 

Confinement (aka maternity leave, waiting for Baby)

The Victorians evidently called all of pregnancy, or at least the part in which the pregnancy was evident, confinement.  During that time, the expectant mother was limited in her activities and travels. 

Now, less than 2 weeks to the due date, I've reached confinement.  My maternity leave started Wednesday.  I spent Wednesday with Terpsichoros for his birthday (while Kidlet stayed with her grandparents) and had grandparent-care again Thursday afternoon so I could go to the doctor.  Thursday morning, I felt like a model mommy - Kidlet and I baked cookies and made "little cheesy rabbits" for lunch.
  I read books, told her stories...

Yesterday was the first "work day" in which I was home with Kidlet the whole day.  It was hard.  She was whiny.  I was probably whiny too.  I wanted to sleep and she didn't nap until much later than I expected.  I'm reminded that SAHM isn't all fun and games.  I miss Monique. 

We're having a holiday weekend, but I don't feel like going anywhere far or doing anything too active.  Baby is big.  I get tired.  I need the bathroom often and if I can't take care of my needs, I end up either grumpy or martyrlike.  Poor Kidlet and Terpsichoros.  Poor me!


Happy Birthday, Terpsichoros!
I can't sleep.
The one bonus?  I probably get to be the first to wish Terpsichoros a very happy birthday.

fabric flower instructions
looks cool and not too difficult:


not quite what I intended

My daughter said, "We're going to the store to get a new baby."

That's not exactly the message I thought she'd get from those repeated readings of Big Sister Dora and Mama What's In There?

Parenting: Slate article about play dates
"...the play date takes a satirical beating. It's the site of missed connections between mothers, a time for sitting in judgment and airing theories of superiority rather than enjoying the company of another adult (or the children who are supposed to be at the center of the whole encounter). These depictions of the play date ring true to me in the way that cartoon portraits do—the features are exaggerated but also familiar. At the same time, I'd like to rescue the play date from its maligned position on the front lines of the mommy wars. Because sometimes, mothers who have different styles unexpectedly come together over their kids. Fathers, too."

Link to article

No pet is perfect
but this is on the list of why I don't want a housecat:

little wiggles
I just saw my belly move due to baby movement. Trippy.

(no subject)
Accomplishment of the day:
used the rain check from the car wash and had the Zoomy Blue Car washed and vaccuumed.  I looked at the paper work- they changed my oil on 5 July, when it was already carrying fireworks debris on the outside and riverbank sand on the inside.  Much better now - it's shiny, and I even got them to vacuum under the car seat spot - Terpsichoros kept Kidlet, and I went by myself to the car wash.  They went to the street festival on Park.