Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My ignorance about gambling

I didn't know what a slot tournament was when I read Kathleen's blog just now.  Surely, I thought, this can't mean a slot machine tournament!  How can you call something a tournament that involves absolutely no skill-based component whatsoever?  But apparently they can, and do.  And people pay to participate.  The mind boggles.

That reminded me of the Robert A. Heinlein quote along the lines of, "gambling is a tax on people who can't do math."  But I couldn't find it.  "Author unknown," says google.  I did find a different Heinlein quote, more applicable to poker:

There is no such thing as "social gambling." Either you are there to cut the other bloke's heart out and eat it — or you're a sucker. If you don't like this choice — don't gamble.

I guess I've led a sheltered existance -- hey, I've been in Utah the last ten years -- but I didn't know there was a lottery advice magazine industry either.  I ran across an outstanding blog entry about them while searching for the source of that bad-at-math quote.  I can't excerpt Joe in a family-oriented blog, but he uses no stronger language than is called for.  (But if I scared you away from reading his blog, at least read the article that set him off.  Damn.)

You know the scariest part?  These people are voting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quick study

Isaac can now put his hands in his mouth any time he wants.  Now that's Real Ultimate Power.


I heard Matthew and his friend bragging to each other the way six year olds do.  For once it sounded like they were sticking pretty close to reality.

Friend: Have you been to Paris?
Matthew: No. Have you been to San 'tonio? [San Antonio]
Friend: No.
Matthew: San 'tonio is the most funnest state!

Take that!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Commentary on the blender

When Jonathan wrote "husband proof" there's a little background to that comment.

Jonathan is smart. Very, very smart. In fields that interest him such as programming, mathematics, and foreign languages, he is brilliant. It's a toss-up whether I married Jonathan for his brains or his exceptional good looks. :) Imagine my surprise then, early into our marriage when he found three "novel" ways to put together the blender. This blender had 4 pieces not including the base, and the lid. Twice he put the novel assembly to the test by turning the blender on- with predictable (messy) results. Granted the creative assemblies were discovered sheerly by accident. He really did intend to put it together correctly. After a few other similar incidences I came to the conclusion that the man is missing the mechanical gene.

If it needs to be put together, fixed, or built in the Ellis household, by general consensus that is now my job, or we hire a professional. Jonathan provides the brute strength for projects when necessary, under strict supervision. It works all right for us though, because I happen to like building things and using power tools. When Isaac gets a little bigger, I think I'll take a woodworking class.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Another bad idea

Since our pantry is directly at the bottom of the stairs up to the kitchen area, I like to save time by tossing non-fragile items down when I bring groceries in.  These include

  • Toilet paper
  • Cereal
  • Granola bars
  • Oatmeal
  • Chips
  • Capri sun drinks

Oops.  Turns out those little capri sun pouches are not as sturdy as they look.  The case burst open and two of the pouches emptied their contents into the carpet.  I used up most of a roll of paper towels blotting it up, but a lot of it soaked down into the layer underneath.

Bad idea

I picked up some expensive lemonade (Archer Farms) at Target.  It wasn't very good.  So I tried mixing it with some good orange juice.  That just made the orange juice nasty.

A manly blender

I saw an Ikon blender on Woot the other day for $80 that normally sells for $190 on Amazon.  Since that's only twice what you pay for one of the wimpy generic blenders of which we seem to go through about one per year, I figured, what the heck, let's try it.

It arrived today.  It has a button labeled "smoothie."  The smoothies were good.  I think we have a winner.

(Rachel says that as an added benefit, there's only one possible way to put it together, so it should be husband-proof.  Now, normal people would probably say there's only one possible way to put together an ordinary blender, too, so I'm a little skeptical.)

Friday, October 24, 2008


Sometimes when I nurse Isaac he'll pop off and look up at me with his gorgeous, round blue eyes. With milk dribbling down his chin he will grin and coo, and we'll carry on a little back and forth conversation. Melts my heart. He is such a sweet natured and happy baby.

When pregnant with him I felt that he would be a patient, gentle soul. Had absolutely no idea whether he'd be a boy or girl, nor did I much care. I liked both varieties after all. (If pressed I'd guess girl, but I'm a lousy guesser! I should have just listened to Matthew.) In his short experience with life thus far, he has had to put up with more indignities and pain than a newborn should have to endure. Yet he has retained his pleasant demeanor and joie de vivre. Even after his shots, he'd still trust us and we could comfort him.

Transient Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus
The diabetes is definitely in remission now. We no longer have to check his glucose regularly. We do have to be on the watch for future signs of diabetes. However, life is so much easier! I don't have that constant worry like a foreboding storm cloud. Is his glucose too high? Too low? How long has it been since he's eaten? Can't feed him until we check his glucose. His numbers are borderline do we give him the Humilin, or wait and see? Then there were the worries about the future. How do we introduce solids? Will be ever be able to leave him with another person? How do you find a sitter who's an RN? All of those worries are cleared off of our plates for now. It's a tremendous relief! Odds are that If the diabetes returns, it won't be until he's a teen at the earliest. At worst we've been given a nice long reprieve. We're forewarned, and I think we're capable of dealing with it again should the need arise...


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Where'd they go?

Isaac waved his arms around his face bonking himself in the nose. Then he pulled his pudgy fists slowly down towards his mouth, his tongue working in and out. Intense concentration was clearly etched on his face. Finally the hands located the mouth.


He got so excited his whole body squirmed in delight and he flailed his arms outward. D'oh! His face twisted up in frustration, and he started to cry. Fortunately he is easy to distract.

Why Daddy is willing to entertain the idea of having Ellis Baby #4, eventually

Don't get me wrong, even an "easy" baby is a lot of work.  But damn, Isaac is so different from his older brother and sister.

For instance, just now Isaac fell asleep in my arms while I was just holding him on the couch.  (That is difference #1.)  But just before he fell asleep, he pooped, so I had to change him, waking him up.  He was not pissed about either the diaper change, or being awakened (difference #2), but he was definitely not asleep anymore.  So I turned off all the lights but the oven light and put him in the swing, where he fell peacefully asleep (BIG difference #3).


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Genius in France

I was walking down the street in Chicago past a group of three college-student-looking men when one of them stopped and looked at me.  "Are you Jonathan?"

"Yes," I replied as I tried to figure out where we had met.

"I play Carnage Blender.  It's great to meet you!"

How 'bout that.

Poor MacBook

Rachel's MacBook has been sick for a while.  At 2.5 years old it is well into Laptop Middle Age.  Its problem mostly manifested itself in the form as spontaneous reboots, with the occasional complete lockup thrown in for variety.

Last week it gave up the ghost and completely refused to boot at all.  We sent it to Apple for fixing.  Fortunately, this is the first laptop we bought under my new Laptop Exception to the Extended Warranties Are For Fools rule, so there was no charge, but it came back and lasted about four hours before reverting to its catatonic state.

So here we go on try number two.  Half an hour on the phone got me a new mail in repair order.  The tech I spoke with seemed genuinely apologetic that they hadn't fixed it the first time.  We'll see if they do better on the second try.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Apples, Apples, Everywhere!

Today Renee and I made applesauce. It's been a few years since I last made it, and I'd forgotten just how messy the process is!

We canned 13 quarts with the assistance of 3 small people and 2 babies. Sound nuts? Maybe a little. Actually it went pretty well. We did have story time breaks, nursing breaks, lunch, and plenty of "help."

Jonathan was home too, so he kept the entropy from getting too out of hand.

Our three big helpers. They each took turns smashing the apples in the hopper and turning the crank.

Mmmm. Homemade applesauce. I'm not sure what kind of apples most commercial companies use, but we certainly didn't need fructose corn syrup or any sweetener for that matter. Just some local gala and jonathan apples. And it was good!

Home again

It took four flights to make one conference and four interviews in two weeks.  For me, that is a lot of travel.  Both flights to the bay area were out in the morning, back at night.  What a weird commute that would be.

I think all four of the companies I visited are interested, but one of them is rudderless -- in the institutional sense; they do seem to be good programmers.  Basically, it's a playground for some ex-first-N-google-employees guy and his brother, funded by the google guy.  It might be fun to dick around for a few months, pretending I was working for a real startup, but not longer than that.

So that leaves three from which to get a job by Oct 31.  My office is (almost) ready to rock.  Just need to clear a little more room for the scanner / fax...

(The "most thorough interview" award goes to Leapfrog Online, who kept me going from 9 AM to 5:30.  Although the others were not slouches; Mozilla was 10 to 5, and TruViso was 12 to 6:30, if you count the time where the CEO drove me to the airport on his way home.  The company with no direction took two hours.)

(The lady who checked me in at the hotel in Evanston was disappointed to learn that this is not the Leapfrog that makes the cool talking kids toys.)

Memo to Isaac

Isaac, my son, the past few weeks you have dined quite frequently at the all night buffet. Every two hours in fact. Between your appetite and my milk you have grown remarkably well, and your father and I are very pleased about that. However, all the baby books agree, you do NOT need to eat quite so frequently any more. You are not a skinny newborn any longer; you are a big, chubby 2.5 month old.

Grownups are funny creatures, they need sleep in bigger chunks of time to be fully functioning. Mommy is no exception. Three hours here, or four hours there is all I ask. So let's make a deal. Tonight I will rock you if you wake up before 3 hours have past since you last dined. This is to encourage you to sleep for slightly longer stretches at a time. So let's give this a try. Mommy needs to have the energy to carry the nearly 15 pounds of you throughout the day.

Lots of Love,

Your tired Mom

Monday, October 20, 2008

Green Tomato Pie with Crumb Topping

We were invited to dinner at the Cassler's house and brought dessert. They are very gracious people and have known us for years, so I felt free to experiment on them. (Plus I brought cookie dough in case dessert flopped.) I modified an apple pie recipe to use up green tomatoes that would otherwise go to waste.

The critics rave:

"Mmmm! I LIKE this pie! Dis good tomato pie!" - Melissa

"Can I have some more?" - Matthew

"I can't tell the difference between the apple and the tomato." - Val

So it turned out pretty well.

Green Tomato Pie

1 unbaked pie crust
6-10 medium green tomatoes (roughly)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons corn starch (or flour)
1 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

Peel and thinly slice the green tomatoes. Mix with lemon juice and set aside. In a separate bowl combine sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to the tomatoes and mix well. Pour into the pie crust and top with crumb topping. Bake for 350 for about 40 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Serve with ice cream!

Crumb topping: With a pastry cutter mix 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup quick oats, and 3-4 teaspoons butter. Cut with dough cutter until well combined and crumbly.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Melissa is cleaning her room

I told her she could clean her room, or she could sit on the steps in the garage (where her yells do not echo so loud).  She chose to sit for twenty minutes, then decided she would rather clean her room.

The results reminded me of growing up with Grant.  He'd start cleaning his room with the best of intentions, then at some point he'd inevitably unearth a book he hadn't seen in a while.  "Hello, old friend!  What were you doing there?"  And then of course he'd have to finish reading it.  Or maybe re-read it.

I told Melissa to start by picking up her animals.  She started well enough, but when I passed her room just now, the animals were having a party on her dresser.

It's 12:30 AM...

and guess who's wide eyed and bushy tailed?

Well, it certainly isn't me. I'm awake, but not bushy tailed. (He's grinning at me.) Since I'm up anyway, we'll rock and I'll blog.

Oh good, a big yawn. Let's see if he conks out before the end of this post.

Jonathan just got back in from Chicago about an hour ago. Since he's missed out on the doings of the small people for the past two days, I'll write about that.

The weather was beautiful Thursday so we played outside for a bit. With the assistance of the neighbor kids, Matthew dug some pretty impressive fox holes in the garden. Then we ran some booorinnng errands and also went to the library. That evening Matthew was invited to a friend's Halloween party. Melissa, however, was not. Her feelings were pretty crunched. From her perspective, why wouldn't Matthew's friends want her at the party too? To ease the disappointment, we had a girl's night after Matthew left. I made strawberry smoothies, we put a picnic blanket in the living room, and watched Powder Puff girls. Melissa was quite pleased with the idea of a picnic in the living room.

Matthew came home at eight and both kids went to bed nicely. I tackled the neglected housework after they were in bed, fully intending to go to bed early myself. But time flies when you're having fun (haha) and I didn't get settled in till around midnight. Oops.

After a series of short naps, it was time to get up again. I was pretty tired so I declared it pajama morning, turned on a video, and dozed with Isaac for another hour until eight thirty. Both kids announce that they are hungry for eggs. Very well. I make eggs. Matthew eats his, Melissa doesn't. We goof off in pajamas for a while longer and then it really is time to do something.

Since it is Friday, it is room cleaning day. For some reason they decided to clean rooms all day rather than pick up for 15-30 minutes and be done with it. I can only conclude that secretly Matthew and Melissa like cleaning their rooms and so make it last for as long as possible. While they putter around, I wash and fold all the laundry in the house (and yet the dirty clothes hamper has filled again!), strip and make beds, do dishes, make and feed kids lunch (Matthew eats his, Melissa doesn't), and clean my room. This is broken up considerably with feeding and playing with Isaac. A friend of Matthew's comes over in the afternoon and wants to play with him. Ahh! Now Matthew has motivation! His room was promptly cleaned in 15 minutes and he played with his buddy while Melissa napped.

I threw in the towel for room cleaning today with Melissa. I will just have to sit in her room and direct her efforts tomorrow.

While I cooked dinner, Matthew entertained Isaac. I overheard him chattering away in the other room. He explained in great detail all the things he wanted to teach Isaac when he got bigger. He also described Isaac's birthday to him. "Did you know you were in Mommy's tummy? You kicked and kicked. I was there when you were born! When you get bigger you can be at your brother's birthday too. We'll have lots and lots of brothers!" (Oh really?) Matthew is quite smitten with his baby brother. He's exceptionally gentle and really seems to enjoy playing and spending time with him. I think Matthew has a special bond with Isaac.

And so we ate dinner (Matthew ate his, and surprisingly Melissa decided to eat hers). Then it was story time and off to bed. They didn't go to bed quite so well tonight. Grr. I was productive though, I packed away my maternity clothes. Au revoir baggy ol' clothes! See ya later panel pants!

Isaac is now asleep and the mundane doings hashed out in excruciating detail. It's off to bed for me!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stupid hotel room tricks

I cursed my hotel for a good five minutes while I tried to figure out what was wrong with their ethernet connection.  I could ping carnage blender's server, the only IP I knew without DNS working, but nothing else worked.  I was sure that it was one of the standard "we'll redirect all traffict to our own server until you agree to our terms of service" things but I couldn't get it to work.  I've seen some that are broken on non-mainstream browsers but even Firefox was baffled.

It hurt my geek pride, but I finally called tech support.  "Is there anything between the computer and the ethernet port in the wall?"  Yes, my cat5 cable ran to the desk, which had another cable running to the wall.  "Try plugging your machine directly into the wall."  And magically everything worked.

Moral: sometimes it really is a hardware problem.

Boys 'n Dirt

Every Spring and Fall I let Matthew and the neighbor kids "look for treasure"* in the vegetable garden. I poked my head out the back door just a minute ago and saw Matthew and 4 other boys happily digging.

*treasure usually consists of interesting rocks, worms, bugs, carrot roots, bits of flotsam, etc. Great finds when you are 6.

The End of BLT Season

Alas, tomato season is over. The snow over last weekend killed off most of the vegetable plants with exception to the carrots and swiss chard. I think I need a greenhouse someday...

Surprisingly many of the tomatoes themselves were not damaged by the cold. I had too many to fit into the bucket, so I put the rest in the sling. There are a lot of green tomatoes left however. Not sure if I can (or will) do anything with them. Anyone cooked with green tomatoes? Are they any good?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The History of "The Thingy"

Isaac and "The Thingy"

Matthew was a fussy baby and did NOT want to be put down EVER. Even while being held he cried half of the time for the first few months of his life. He also did not sleep for very long stretches of time. We went on many walks outside with him in the sling, I spent a great deal of time vacuuming (he liked the noise while curled up in the sling), and going up and down stairs bouncing him over and over. Sitting or standing while bouncing was unacceptable. He wanted to move! Or rather he wanted ME or his daddy to move. You wouldn't believe how fast the postpartum baby weight fell off! (He also liked car rides so sometimes we'd go for a 3 AM spin around the neighborhood.)

It was around Christmas time and Jonathan and I were out shopping for a gift for Matthew. We were hoping to find something that would captivate his attention for 10-15 minutes at a time. You know, long enough to run to the bathroom or eat a bowl of cereal. So really the gift was a present to us. We found "the thingy" in the store and decided to give it a try. (What are those things called anyways?)

It was a huge hit with Matthew! He was 2 1/2 months old at the time and he loved waving his arms around batting at the toys. Sometimes he'd be entertained for up to a half hour. The "thingy" remained popular until he discovered crawling at 6 months. By then he was a charming, happy baby.

Matthew and "The Thingy"

Everything went into his mouth!

Happy baby = happy parents

You nurse, Daddy!

Isaac started fussing only an hour after eating this morning.  Melissa had a suggestion: "You nurse Isaac, Daddy!"

"I don't have nurses [breasts], Melissa."

"You have nurse!  You have TWO nurse!"

Pedantic kids!

"Yes, I have nurses, but boy nurses don't make milk.  Only mommy nurses."

I wonder if she thinks I'm just making excuses.

52% Daddy

Isaac's diabetes was caused by getting two copies of my chromosome #6, and none of Rachel's.

I find that this explains all sorts of things, particularly his mellow disposition.


Jonathan and I had our regular dental cleaning and checkup scheduled for today. Unfortunately we had to take the circus with us. Jonathan brought his laptop and I took a new movie along to entertain Matthew and Melissa. Isaac fell asleep in his car seat, so we kept our fingers crossed that he would sleep through.

Things went well, and Isaac awoke just at the end of my appointment. Yay! I took him back to the lobby where he was content to grin and coo at me. Matthew and Melissa were still mesmerized by the movie. The receptionist at the desk looked over at us and commented, "Wow, you sure are lucky to have such mellow, easy kids!" Heh. I smiled and said thank you.

Jonathan comes out, clean bill of health as usual. The man has NEVER had a cavity in his 32 years of life. I am insanely jealous. Does he floss religiously or brush three times a day? Heck no! He is just very lucky.

I sure hope the kids get his teeth.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A depressing thought

You can buy an early '90s ZR-1 for not a whole lot more than our minivan cost.  But I bought the minivan.

I hate being old.

Isaac development

Isaac's been playing with his toy "thingy" for over a week now. Yay for not being his sole source of amusement. Maybe Rachel will post a picture.

Yesterday there was another milestone: I tickled him gently under his collarbone and he grinned. I did it again and he grinned more. He can also grab fingers, tentatively.

This is when babies get fun for Daddy: when they can interact by more than pooping.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sandwich research

Apparently the bread I liked so much was technically Bánh mì; the white vegetable was probably daikon.  Next time I will add mayo; presumably that contributed to the bakery's sandwiches being moister.  I'm not going to waste good bread on cold cuts, though.  That's just wrong.


I was at Portland over the weekend to speak at the PostgreSQL Conference West.  I flew out on a flight so empty I had three seats to myself.  The flight back was packed like sardines.  Go figure.  While there, I

  • missed my bus home because it was four minutes early, and thus spent twenty minutes in 40 degree weather in a T-shirt waiting for the next one.  I know it was four minutes because that's how early I got there and I saw its tail lights vanishing down the street.  Public transportation can bite me.
  • had a dinner of appetizers because all the buffet food was gone at the sponsored (that is, free) dinner by the time Jason and I got there "fashionably late."
  • talked to a couple at the same dinner who had spent 3 years in China (him) and Japan and Australia and Thailand (her).  They are planning a trip to "Vietnam, or maybe Cambodia" this December, because it's been two years since they've been out of the country, which is to say, practically forever.  I'm jealous.
  • gave a talk to the smallest audience of my professional career, about ten people.
  • saw a talk by Jeff Davis of Truviso, who is doing some very cool and cutting edge technology in streaming databases.  I gave him my resume but I doubt they will be willing to take a chance on me since my background isn't super related to what they are looking for.  Jeff's boss emailed me back saying they have openings on the reporting team, aka "the boring stuff."
  • ate the best damn sandwich I can remember, ever, at a Vietnamese sandwich joint.  The sandwiches were served on freshly-baked demi-baguettes -- this seems weird until you remember that Vietnam was a French colony for a while -- with carrots and cilantro and some crisp shredded white asian vegetable that Jason could not identify.  (But, he said, "it's nasty outside a sandwich.")  I got a bag of their baguettes to take home and tonight I did my best imitation with sirloin and soy sauce and garlic and onion and carrot and cilantro but no white asian vegetable.  I shredded extra carrots instead.  Alas, the baguette had homogenized a bit -- the crust was no longer as crunchy and the inside no longer as moist.  Decent but no longer fantastic.

I like Portland.  It's more expensive than Utah (duh) but not insane like California.  It is temperate but not nearly as rainy as Seattle.  It has a lot of software companies and an active geek scene.  There are even places not too far from the city where you can get five acres for a reasonable sum.  And they have tons of good ethnic restaurants, although when I asked Jason to take me to a Filipino place he was stumped.  Guess no place is perfect.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

TV "news" is so puerile

Waiting at the airport.  CNN is a joke.  Was it always this bad?  I'm not old enough to remember the fabled Cronkite or others of his generation but I suspect the medium has always worked better for sound bites than for real analysis.  Or even in-depth reporting.

I'm pleased to report that the 30db earplugs I always bring to cut down on engine noise also work on the noise pollution in the terminals.

Don't you hate it

when you go to the rocking chair with your cranky two month old boy who has not slept since you picked him up over an hour ago, and neither your Main Book nor your Emergency Backup Book for reading while you rock him is where you left it, and in fact both are nowhere to be found?  Me, too.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

No Wonder My Arms Get Tired

Isaac is now 13 lb 7 oz.

We took him to the pediatrician today for his 2 month checkup. He is in the 75th percentile for weight and for height. So he is big, but proportional.

Isaac the contrarian

How to wake Isaac up: put him down.

How to wake Isaac up quickly: put him down in his swing.

Rachel was trying to wake Isaac up to eat just now so she wouldn't have to wake up on his schedule in half an hour or so.  He refused to wake.  She joked that she should put him in his swing if she wanted him to wake up, and it worked.

Of course he still didn't eat.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Aun' An'rea

Andrea served the kids cinnamon rolls for breakfast this morning, then left for home.

"Where Aun' An'rea?" asked Melissa.

"She went home."

"I wan' Aun' An'rea tum back!"

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Just Call Dr. Matthew

(Disclaimer: this post was approved by Andrea)

Andrea came this weekend to do some job "shopping" and spend time with her favorite niece and nephews. (Granted they are her only niece and nephews, but still.) While here she's been spending time with a particular friend. We'll just call him "Jeremy." Aunt Andrea and Jeremy were at his office, when Matthew asked point blank, "Jeremy, are you going to marry Aunt Andrea?" Taken aback Jeremy hemmed and hawed so Matthew interjected, "Well, if you don't, I will!"

Later Matthew decided Aunt Andrea needed some relationship advice. "Aunt Andrea, I have a secret! I know how to get Jeremy to ask you to marry him. You need to invite him to your birthday party. And you need to be nice to him. Bring ice cream to where he works. Also ask him over and make dinner. Don't forget to give Jeremy a present on his birthday."

Amused, Andrea asked, "Well, what if I do those things and it doesn't work?"

"Trust me, it will work."

This kind of reminds me of when Jonathan and I first started dating (note: this was very early on, we weren't even at the hands holding stage). We were invited to dinner at some friends' house, when their 6 year old asked Jonathan, "Is Rachel a part of your family?"

"Not yet, Joe. Not yet."

Now there's confidence for you! Ever since Jonathan has held a special place in his heart for Joe.

The Happy Programmer

Last evening Jonathan was sprawled out on the couch grinning and humming a happy tune.

When asked what he was pondering, he replied, "Oh, just thinking about programming."

And he was serious!

Monday, October 06, 2008

A Week Without Insulin

And he's doing great!

We're only poking him twice a day now. This is so much easier than before every meal.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I picked up a Wii soon after it came out, primarily (seriously!) so Rachel could finally play Super Metroid and the Metroid Prime series.  She enjoyed the 16-bit game but 3D was just Not The Same, so the Wii mostly lay idle.  Although Super Metroid was Matthew's favorite game for a while, too.

So, with Wiis selling used for almost new prices, I asked Rachel if we should liquidate it.  "Sure," she said.  "But wait: what about Wii Fit?"

"I think it's kind of boring, but we have it at work, so you can try it if you want," I said.

Today she tried it.  We are keeping the Wii.

I think she is hoping that my competitive instincts will be roused and I will not be able to keep myself from trying to break her records.  She is probably right.

Like Father Like Son

Jonathan loves to make up silly songs to sing to his children. I wish I'd written them down, because he's composed many on the spot that make me laugh out loud.

This one was chuckle worthy. Not his best composition, but made me smile nonetheless.

(sung with a rap beat)

I'm the Isaac.
I'm a pooper!
I fill my diaper,
It's super-duper!

Matthew is taking after his father and makes up songs too. Today he was singing about racing.

I driving a car!
I driving a car!
I beating the others
It's super fast!
I'm going to win a gold trophy
Yes! I won!

It's My Birthday!

Today I baked a rich chocolate cake (Jonathan's favorite) and it was cooling on top of the stove. 10 minutes later I looked over and saw Jonathan munching on a very large square of said rich confection.

"Jonathan! We haven't even sung happy birthday yet!"

"But, dear, it's my Birthday!"

True. Can't argue with that!

Cleaning the office

I'm cleaning out my office.  The problem was not that you could not go in to fetch a printout without stepping on some cords.  The problem was that there was nowhere to put the cords.  I cleared out two large bags of electronic debris and many empty product boxes.  There is still nowhere to put the cords but we are getting closer.  (Rachel is forbidden to "help;" I'd never find anything.)

I found the bag of toys I confiscated from Matthew's room when he wouldn't clean it himself, probably two years ago -- I didn't mean to keep them that long.  He wore the police helmet the rest of the day and this morning too.

I also found a drive bay cover from the original Carnage Blender server, state of the art about 8 years ago.  This was the machine Ellis built for his brother, who I bought it from when he went on his mission.  The rest of the machine was long gone, but I still had the bay cover!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Some Random Thoughts

that have been tumbling in my brain.

Isaac has been out of the hospital for a month now. While we were frustrated by some communication problems (the glucometer being a prime example) over all we treated very well by the staff and were informed and included in Isaac's care. We suspect that the geneticists, endocrinologists, and NICU neonatologists do not often work with one another and there some bumps there too. Despite this, everyone was very willing to answer questions and upfront with what they knew and didn't know.

When we brought Isaac to the hospital, we did so knowing full well that there would be plenty of tests and interventions. Something was wrong, and as hard as it was to watch, we WANTED intervention. Our baby wasn't growing, and he should have been. In the ER they did several blood draws to rule out XY&Z (infections, a full blood panel, ect). After getting some of the results back, they didn't believe the first glucose reading was accurate. So after rehydrating him, they tested again. Same results. So we went up to the fourth floor, and I carried Isaac there with an aide on one side pulling the IV and another with the portable monitors. The NICU staff was skeptical of the ER results. "That can't possibly be right." So they tested again. Of course they got the same results. Intravenous insulin was started promptly. Thank goodness Isaac was born when he was, where he was. Even just fifty years ago it is very possible he would have died.

Roughly thirty years ago one of my uncles was diagnosed with type I diabetes. Back then they didn't have home test strips. My grandparents were given the prescription for insulin and told to watch out for signs of hypoglycemia (they called it insulin shock). It's hard to fathom controlling glucose in a teenager without any way to monitor it, much less an infant! Isaac couldn't really tell us when things were off. Occasionally I could tell by his cry, but not always. Even though we checked every 2-3 hours we were still surprised by both high and low glucoses from time to time. At least twice I awoke in the night and felt something wasn't quite right. Isaac was fast asleep but I checked him anyways. Both times his glucose was in the 60s! So I woke him up, fed him, and checked again 15 minutes after feeding him and he was fine. At about a dollar a pop, the test strips are expensive, but so worth it for peace of mind.

While Isaac was in the NICU Jonathan and I made it a point to meet nearly every nurse that took care of Isaac. We often took turns going up to the hospital, which made for a lot of driving. We felt it was important for Isaac to have one of us seeing to his needs and holding him as much as possible. We also wanted to see who was taking care of him, see that things were going well, and to advocate for him when necessary. I personally wanted to be there to breastfeed him at least several times a day so that he didn't forget how to do it. I was very concerned that he might turn into an exclusively bottlefed baby, and I really didn't want that to happen. Breastpumps just aren't as cuddly as a baby.


(Bathtime with Grandma)

While there we observed lots of different parents and babies. Some babies were scarcely visible with all of the tubings, wires, and lines in them. Others just had monitors and maybe a line or two. The parents were all ages, from very, very young to maybe mid thirties, and from all different kinds of backgrounds. I saw parents visiting all of the their babies there, with the exception of one baby. In the big room with many babies, I observed one with a high-pitched inconsolable cry. She wasn't hooked up to anything except monitors, so her nurse walked her around the halls of the NICU until she fell asleep. I saw this same gentle nurse with her more than once, so I think she'd chosen this baby as a "primary." (Isaac had a few nurses who'd chosen him as a primary, so when they were on shift they would often be assigned take care of him.) This small baby concerned me though. She often cried (very shrill) and had no visitors. I wonder.... I sure wanted to scoop her up, take her home and love her though. I think of her and wish her a loving home and beautiful future, but I am troubled...