figment: Photo of me, smiling, in a sari (Default)
gratitude:
That I was able to spend a few hours today with my wonderful family, walking down University Ave and enjoying the sights & sounds of a very different St. Paul at Open Streets.

as a bonus, I will also share yesterday's:
That I was able to cook, and enjoy good food, good friends, and good conversation.

(I will not attempt to backdate any further, that seems to miss the point of a "daily gratitude journal". We shall see if I manage to do this for a week or more. Here's hoping.)

3 months

Sep. 9th, 2013 02:00 pm
figment: Photo of me, smiling, in a sari (Default)
Dear dreamwidth & livejournal,

I still love you but I often neglect you in favor of those Other Social Media Sites. So you get the three-month update on Niko a few days late. (His 3-month birthday was on Saturday.)

He sleeps through the night, takes a bottle from his Dad, nannies, & babysitters, rolls over (sometimes), makes a fabulous array of sounds, enjoys being out to explore in baby carriers or strollers, grabs and holds onto toys, sometimes sticks his pacifier into his mouth. Likes playing on his back, being sung/talked/read to, making faces, eating, and the bouncy chair.

He has tolerated my return to work reasonably well. I have also tolerated it reasonably well, but I think about my baby frequently.

Niko_sly_smile

Lots more photos in the flickr album:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30942716@N04/sets/72157632277191635/
figment: A photobooth picture of me + spouse from our wedding (happy)
My mom reminds me that I have not posted publicly to say that my son, Niko, was born on June 7th at 7:05 PM! And there was much rejoicing.

Time is flying! I can't believe Niko is one month and two days old already. (See, time is flying so much that I didn't even get around to writing this on the appropriate day.)

Some photos of his first month are here.

Although rumors of his sleeping through the night are greatly exaggerated -- I have to wake him up every 4 hours to eat -- we are blessed with a very good, easy baby. Niko is healthy, which is the most important thing. He is growing well, and eats and sleeps well. I am so grateful that nursing came easily to both me and him.

At one month old, Niko has learned to tolerate baths, especially if they are a proper bath and not a sponge bath. Often baths include screaming, but not last night! Very exciting. He has also visited both of his parents' workplaces, and visited both Grandma Colette's house and Aunt Caly & Uncle Scott's house a couple of times. He likes walks, both in the pram - in which he has visited Target several times - and in the Snugli. The latter made it so much easier for us to all attend CONvergence. There, Niko cosplayed as a very young Misfit and as Toby from Labyrinth. He lifts his head up frequently and pushes up, both while being held and while lying on his tummy. He has learned to entertain himself by waving his arms and legs around while lying in the bassinet or on a blanket on the floor, and seems to like to play like that at least once a day. Still, most of his time at this point is still spent nursing, having his diaper changed, or sleeping. We enjoy the awake and alert times, but also cherish the snuggly sleepy baby times. We have found swaddling him to be immensely helpful - gently restraining his arms really helps him calm down when he gets fussy. He has grown out of his newborn clothes already - I found myself wistfully sorting through them and rotating slightly larger clothes into his wardrobe instead of the newborn sized items today. But because we're so smitten with our little guy, every time we look at him in a new outfit we find ourselves exclaiming how cute it is - yes, both of us do this, even though Joe couldn't have cared less about baby clothes before.

Surprising no one but himself, Joe is a very good dad. He continues to work at his main job at VSS, from 9 AM to 1:30 PM. He took off from his evening job for the summer, giving him more time with our little family in the afternoons and evenings. Joe is very good at rocking or soothing Niko, and really enjoys hanging out with his son. It's fun to see the baby turn his head to follow either Joe's voice or mine - he likes to hang out with us, too!

We have enjoyed Nana Nancy's extended visit with us, which ends on Thursday. She has been able to be with us for the entire first month of Niko's life! It has been so very helpful to have another adult around to help rock him, soothe him, change him, and also do laundry and other needful things. I've been able to squeeze in a little more sleep thanks to her, which is great because that sleep only comes in 2 or 3-hour chunks for me at this point. And it's been nice for me to have another adult around to have adult conversation with... something that I would otherwise be missing in the extreme.

I continue to recuperate from delivery. My recovery is generally going well. I was amazed that I lost almost all of the pregnancy weight immediately. However, I have a long way to go in rebuilding my abdominal muscles and knitting them back together where they separated during pregnancy; and work to do yet on the recovery of my pelvic floor muscles. Slowly, slowly.

I'm very grateful for friends and family who have been supportive thus far, coming by to visit or with meals - and I hope to see more of you all in the next six weeks or so. It will be hard to say goodbye to my mom. Although I love Niko dearly, I do need adult interaction too! So please be in touch.
figment: A treewoman, a dryad, her arms are branches (treewoman)
We worked on our house on Saturday, and Marc & Rose's house on Sunday. And that was the weekend.

Hey, we have a nursery, and it even has big ol' silver stars that I spray paint/stenciled up near the top of the walls. And we ordered and paid for our kitchen counters! Very exciting. Also, Joe put together the changing table for the bathroom, hacked it to make it tall enough to go over the radiator, and I made a changing pad for it. A bunch of other stuff got done too. It really was a productive weekend.

And it was good to put a bit back into the giant karmic pool we've been withdrawing from so heavily to help other people who are also remodeling + having a baby -- only their remodeling is significantly more extensive than ours. It's also kind of nice to have that perspective.

It'd be nice to be social, too, but that is not happening so much right now.

One way or another, this is my last week of work. If the baby doesn't come by/on his due date (the 9th) I will be taking off work anyway. My mom gets here on the 8th, and it sounds like a good idea to take the time off.

Woah. Baby due any old time now. Where did the time go?
figment: Photo of my hands & crossed legs (hands)
http://lj-releases.livejournal.com/82710.html

Deletion of old accounts

With this release, we're making a change to the criteria used for removing old, inactive accounts. Accounts which have posted two entries or fewer will now be considered inactive, instead of just journals with zero entries. An account will be defined as inactive if ALL of the following criteria are true:

The account has 2 or fewer entries posted to it.

The account has not been logged into (or posted to for communities) in the last 2 years.

The account is not a Paid or Permanent account.

The account is not in a Memorial or Locked status.

An email will be sent to the current email address for any account which will be affected by this. The owner of any such account can prevent their account from being deleted by logging into or posting to that account. After two weeks, if no action has been taken, the account will be marked as deleted and the account owner will be notified again. Once deleted, the owner will still have 30 days to login to the account to undelete their account. After 30 days, the account is purged and the username will become available for anyone to use through http://www.livejournal.com/shop/renameaccount.bml.

**************************

oh, baby!

Dec. 18th, 2012 05:03 pm
figment: A treewoman, a dryad, her arms are branches (treewoman)
As I said in my last post, it's been a really intense and difficult time lately: a time of life and death and momentous things. It's been challenging to process them all simultaneously.

In my last post, I talked about death... so this post is for life!

Life! )
figment: Image of a figurine of a cat looking down (thoughtful)
It's been a really intense and difficult time lately. I haven't posted since mid-November because I wasn't able to put together a post that made sense and talked about the important things, and I didn't want to gloss over them. I also haven't had time. It really has been a time of life and death and momentous things.

I will try to start with the one I find hardest. I think this will be the only subject of this post.

Remembering Cameron )
figment: A photobooth picture of me + spouse from our wedding (couple)
I painted the bathroom window last night/this morning; it is now water-resistant. That means that we are 99% sure to be able to take a shower* when we get back from Florida! The excitement!

I know, I know, pics. Sorry. I was too busy painting to take pics. Soon.


*Note that the shower ability will not mean the bathroom is DONE, but it will be a huge thing nonetheless.
figment: Photo of me, smiling, in a sari (Default)
The bathroom project continues. I took some pictures of tiling a week or two ago, and then neglected to post them. Here they are:
Read more... )
Since I took those pictures, more progress has been made. The rough edges visible in one of the shots have been finished up. The area behind the toilet, and to the left of it as you are looking at it, has been grouted and is DONE. The shampoo shelf and soap holding thingy have been tiled into place. The other corner - the one marked "corner in progress" above - is done, all the way up. The only thing remaining to tile is the bottom few inches of the final wall, which sadly requires some tiles to be specially cut, but it's feasible.

Of course when the tile is done there will be MUCH REJOICING but it will not quite mean the end of the interminable bathroom project. We still have to:
(1) install sink
(2) finish scraping and sanding the window (we worked on this a bunch this weekend)
(3) repaint the window to make it waterproof
(4) install showerhead, curtain rod, etc. (this should be fairly easy)
(5) caulk
(6) TAKE CELEBRATORY SHOWER
(7) smooth out rough parts of walls and ceiling - in some cases this involves a little more drywall compound followed by sanding, in other cases just sanding
(8) paint
(9) install threshold
(10) install towel bars, toilet paper holder, etc.
PARTY IN THE BATHROOM!

Still, this list is something we should be able to accomplish with reasonable speed. Hooray! Also, I don't think I said here, but the Fabulous Handyman made it so we have good water pressure everywhere, both hot and cold. All of our old pipes were so full of sediment it was like the water was coming through a straw.

We also have a nice functional closet again in our bedroom, with a neat & tidy access panel in it, should we need to get at the bathroom plumbing again.

Progress... it's slow, but it's happening!

Huh.

Oct. 26th, 2012 10:44 am
figment: Photo of me, smiling, in a sari (Default)
So lj has closed down its US office. http://www.dailydot.com/news/livejournal-shut-down-us-office/

Not sure what that means for any of you, my friends, but I will say that I enjoy the customer service I get from Dreamwidth. I'll continue to mirror posts between livejournal and dreamwidth for as long as that is feasible.
figment: Photo of me, smiling, in a sari (Default)
It was a really good weekend.

On Friday we went to the Bryant-Lake Bowl to see The Complete Works of William Shatner. It satisfied - totally funny! And we got to hang out with the Ms after that, talking politics over ice cream & warm drinks at a nearby cafe.

Saturday, my aunt & uncle (who live in DC) were in town so came over for brunch. They adopted a vegan diet a little over a year ago and I'm not sure if they'd ever had vegan french toast, so I made that. It was delicious, if I do say so myself. And it was fun to show them our house and talk. They always have interesting things going on.
After they left, we got our costumes together and went to an epic Halloween party - Haunted Ruins at Vaxjo's house. He always does amazing stuff, but I think he outdid himself this year with two large towers, a rope bridge, and a giant slide... among other things. There were also delicious snacks (including those "Dexter" cupcakes, both delicious and disturbing) and great people there. We had a group costume of the Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. We didn't have the whole alphabet, but we did have about half of it. Omaha took some awesome pictures.
Here's an 'action shot' of our group meeting their fates. )

Sunday I wasn't able to join the family outing to the winery, but I did eventually feel up for making the short walk to kallisti's house for cider pressing, which was delicious, autumnal, and very pleasant. What a beautiful day it was, too!
figment: Photo of me, smiling, in a sari (Default)
Went to Heather's last night and helped her sew. She and Dan ordered Chinese and offered to share so I ate three cream cheese wontons that I had been craving since Saturday night. So delicious. Also, made good progress on her kimono; got the really complicated sleeve bits under control.

At home Joe was having band practice. It was cool hearing their music and getting to see them all using the upstairs area. Nice. We really need to get some heat up there so it's a going option long term. I suppose for now the space heater will do. When you leave the door to the upstairs open, a lot of heat does go upstairs too, so that sort of helps... Can't wait for them to have a gig playing their own stuff!

We had awesome faux-Philly-cheesesteak sandwiches for dinner (good use of some of the seitan I made on Sunday) and watched a cool movie called Haywire.

Stupid horrible sleep last night for me, though.

...

It occurs to me that after the frenzy of house updating I stopped entirely. This does not mean that nothing is happening, but it does mean the pace has slowed down significantly. The bathroom, which now has functional plumbing, is still in progress; the tile is more than 50% done and looking good, I should take pictures. The glow in the dark tile we are using as an accent border is particularly cool. Once the tile is up and grouted we can put in the sink and also start to take showers, an event which I anticipate highly!

We have other work we need to get done - finish getting the dryer hooked up (it needs one more part apparently but the friend who knows what that is has been busy), get access panels put in and finished in the closet so that if we ever need to get at the bathroom plumbing again, we can, and so that we can use the closet again! And of course we are not yet done unpacking, and if I were to list the various small projects that need doing I think I could go on for an hour and bore everyone, including myself.

I confess I have not been putting as much time into the house as I had been, either; I spend more time on creative projects and socializing. That's probably good overall, but it does mean progress is snail-tastic.

The next major thing to do is the kitchen, which is still on hold because I don't want our bathroom and kitchen both under construction at the same time. We need to fix two walls a bit, and some of the ceiling needs scraping to remove the old popcorn, and then we need to paint the walls. After that comes the work we hire out, getting the floors redone and getting new cabinets in. Hopefully we can afford all of that and also find a time to get the floors redone when we won't have to sleep in the chemical stink while it's going on. It would really be ideal to have that project going on while we're away for Thanksgiving week, but... it seems very unlikely to me that we'd be done with the walls by then.

Maybe I'm wrong to hold off on the kitchen until the bathroom is done? I dunno.

That's enough babbling for now. You're all caught up on the stream of consciousness in my head.
figment: Photo of me, smiling, in a sari (Default)
All weekend, we failed to go to the Art Crawl. I'm sort of sorry; but I'm also so glad that we avoided the drama I observed on facebook by a healthy margin.

On Friday we had thought to go, but I was not feeling up for that many strangers, and we had a housewarming party to go to that was populated mostly by people I know and like. So we went to that and had a good time and watched people play hammerschlager (I think that's the name) and so on. There were delicious gingersnaps right out of the oven. Clearly I need to up my game for parties and begin to produce food warm from the oven, mid-party.

On Saturday, I helped a friend work on a kimono she's making - it's the first time she's ever made anything complicated, and the first time she's made anything with a pattern, so it's good for her to have help. I'm probably going to go over and help more tonight after work. After that, I was abruptly done with people and needed alone time, so I stayed home and watched movies and was deeply slothful while Joe went to a Burning Man decompression thing at a cabin in the Stillwater area. I'm glad that we can each do our own thing without it being a big deal.

On Sunday, I felt like I needed to get out of the house, and needed exercise. We also needed some groceries. So we took a nice walk to the co-op and back, about 2 miles each way. It felt good to get some moderate exercise like that, and it was a beautiful fall day, and Joe and I got to enjoy each other's company. Also we achieved groceries. Win! At home, I worked on a prop for my Halloween costume, which involved papier mache - doing that made me feel like a little kid. Later I decided to make seitan, which takes a long time (but makes a lot). So I was too tired to cook dinner, and we ordered pizza, and [personal profile] spacebug and [personal profile] s4 came over and we played Rock Band and hung out. It was fun even though we are having a hard time beating the current challenge on the game! We miss living next door to them.

And that was the weekend. It was too short.
figment: Photo of me looking exasperated (now-what)
Oh, man, what did I do to myself last night/this morning? Maybe it was the panic I awoke in (because I was late for CVT's fund-raising breakfast) but now my neck and shoulders are terribly tight and painful, radiating up into my head.

This does not bode well for today.
figment: Image of a figurine of a cat looking down (thoughtful)
It is strange to go to a funeral for someone two years your junior. Someone who was only 34. It feels wrong.

Of course it was worthwhile to go, but I kept thinking about how D would have reacted to various parts of the service. It was odd; it wasn't particularly something he would have liked. But as was acknowledged at the beginning of the service, he would have understood that it was something that his family and friends needed.

I am glad I went. I am glad I stayed for a while afterward. But I am also glad that then I left, and went home and made a huge amount of autumnal food, because making things helps fill the holes inside. It's cheap, delicious, nutritious therapy.
figment: Image of a figurine of a cat looking down (thoughtful)
Yesterday I learned that my ex, D - the significant one before Joe - is in the hospital in a coma.

D's mother was diagnosed with familial amyloidosis a number of years ago. Weirdly, I am familiar with this very unusual disease, because primary amyloidosis is what my Aunt Marilyn died of in 2005. Familial amyloidosis is genetic and hereditary, and is manageable (although not curable) through medical intervention. D's mom is doing fairly well (I saw her a month or two ago). Unfortunately, D never got tested for it, despite apparently having some warning signs, because he was afraid that if he was diagnosed with it that he would never be able to get health insurance again.*

He collapsed a day ago at his job, having experienced severe damage to his heart and kidneys. Apparently he was without oxygen to his brain for 25 minutes. He is now in a hospital, in a coma, with very little brain activity. It is very unlikely that he will recover.

The only thing I can say that comforts me at all is that he and I had managed, in the last couple of years, to be friendly again, if not particularly close.

What a terrible loss. And how awful for his family and those who are close to him now.



... Update: He died today.



*And this is what is wrong with our health care system.
figment: Photo of me, smiling, in a sari (Default)
In lieu of actual content, I will share with you a cooking/kitchen implements meme.

Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don't use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of. (Things in plain text with no change are things I simply don't have and never did.)

"I wonder how many pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese boards, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, ice cream makers, fondue sets, healthy-grills, home smokers, tempura sets, tortilla presses, electric whisks, cherry stoners, sugar thermometers, food processors, bacon presses, bacon slicers, mouli mills, cake testers, pestle-and-mortars, and sets of kebab skewers languish dustily at the back of the nation's cupboards."

...Hmm. My results are rather dull/satisfying. Mostly I either have never owned such a thing, or I own it and use it at least once a year.

My fondue set gets used about once every 2-3 years.

Note that the two thermometers (meat/sugar) are one digital thermometer, and the cake stand (I think that's what it is) is used regularly, but seldom for cakes.

Miniature salad spinners? Why would you have a mini one? We do use our normal sized one regularly.
figment: Photo of hands frying something in a pan (cooking)
In lieu of actual content, I will share with you a cooking/kitchen implements meme.

Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don't use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of. (Things in plain text with no change are things I simply don't have and never did.)

"I wonder how many pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese boards, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, ice cream makers, fondue sets, healthy-grills, home smokers, tempura sets, tortilla presses, electric whisks, cherry stoners, sugar thermometers, food processors, bacon presses, bacon slicers, mouli mills, cake testers, pestle-and-mortars, and sets of kebab skewers languish dustily at the back of the nation's cupboards."

...Hmm. My results are rather dull/satisfying. Mostly I either have never owned such a thing, or I own it and use it at least once a year.

If we add "fondue sets", though, I would have to italicize that; it gets used about once every 2-3 years.

Note that the two thermometers (meat/sugar) are one digital thermometer, and the cake stand (I think that's what it is) is used regularly, but seldom for cakes.

Miniature salad spinners? Why would you have a mini one? We do use our normal sized one regularly.
figment: Photo of me looking exasperated (now-what)
Ohmygod that damned bathroom.

So we knew the bathroom in the house needed to be redone. It wasn't watertight around the tub, and there was a light in the shower surround area (electrocution, such a great way to start your day!)... so we knocked out the whole wet wall of the bathroom. Our friend J offered to help us out - he knew how to do plumbing and sweat pipes, he said, and we knew he needed some income. It seemed like a win-win for us all. So he went to work on it. Do we need to pull permits for this stuff? I asked innocently. Nah, he said, and I shrugged and went along with it.

Let's skip ahead quite a while, after he's put in the pipes (one of which, in the basement, is still peskily leaking a bit, but he's sure he can get it fixed). We proceed with putting walls back in and Joe's dad goes to work carefully tiling. We get the toilet in (hooray!) and move in, even though probably I was overly aggressive in that timing - we probably should have waited and just moved in when the whole bathroom was done.

The other night, J came over and got things set up so we might be able to use the tub. He thought he might have fixed the leak, too. Exciting!

But. When we turned the water on to the tub, it leaked. A lot. Like, the pipes that went just to the tub were leaking in a serious way. Oh shit. Not only was the leaky pipe in the basement not fixed, but the plumbing to the tub was seriously leaky too.

That plumbing is hidden inside a carefully constructed and lovingly tiled box that takes up the spare foot or so of space at the head of the tub. It's a weird construction but it was how the previous owner had it set up, and we were told that it would be too much of a pain in the neck to move the tub, so we should just reconstruct the box there and make it watertight. (We were told this by at least two people.)

So we had a real professional plumber come today, from Aqua City Plumbers. He spent about 45 minutes looking at the thing and shaking his head. Apparently there's no end of stuff that was not done to code; basically 90% of the plumbing that was added won't pass inspection. He also noted that because of the "box" at the head of the tub, the shower will need a big long neck to reach out to where it's useful... in short, it would have been better to move the tub.

According to the professional plumber, at a wild-ass guess, to have Aqua City do it and get our bathroom done right, we'd need to:
(a) pull all relevant permits (which means a city inspector would be there, and might find all sorts of other problems - say, with the rather aged wiring?)
(b) rip out the bathroom wall again - the one that just got redone - or else rip out the closet wall on the other side to give access to the plumbing
(c) quite possibly rip out the box and move the tub
(d) spend in the neighborhood of $5-6 K on just the plumbing issues... including taking out almost everything we paid J to do.

He seemed to vaguely indicate (but not want to actually say) that we had other options, like getting it done without permits and not to code by some other plumber. But I don't know if we'd want to do that. I feel like we screwed up once by hiring a non-professional and not doing it right, and I don't particularly want to go down that path again.






And then I cried. I'm honestly not even sure what to do next. Do we rip out the closet wall so we can have a plumber come back and try to replumb the whole thing? Do we (sob) rip out the lovingly tiled and built bathroom wall? I'm asking another friend who has contracting experience to give us some advice, so that's something. We'll come up with something, but ... ohmygod so much suck.
figment: A treewoman, a dryad, her arms are branches (treewoman)
Burning Man was really hard this year. Apparently, that doesn't make decompression easier.

I am too fried to really give you a good post, and pictures haven't made it off my camera onto a computer yet.
the trip, in bullet form )
I am completely exhausted, and back at work today.

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