Friday, March 31, 2006

The Lord of the Rings

A trailer

The problem with powder

We found a pharmacy that carries the special powder the doctor asked us to put J on. We picked it up tonight and started him on it. He doesn't notice it at all when it is mixed into his cereal. We haven't tried mixing it directly into his milk yet. We'll see how he does first.

The problem with the powder, though, is that it is basically a carbohydrate and sugar blend. While it increases J's caloric content, it also hypes him up something fierce and increases his activity level. And tonight, it was hard to keep him from bouncing off the walls. I have never seen him fall down so much or climb over so many things. I mean, he was energetic enough before we started him on the powder. I don't see how he can gain weight if he quickly burns through the calories with his high levels of activity.

I am exhausted. J has burnt himself out now. I may fall asleep. Here. At my computer. While I attempt to do my schoolwork. Or I may just do the logical thing: give up on schoolwork for the night and go to sleep. I have lots to do, but I'm past absorbing it now.

J has tried veggie chicken noodle casserole, veggie beef, and veggie beef with spaghetti. He has kept them all down. But tonight, he threw up his Minigo. He was just over-full. I must watch closer for his signs that he has had enough; he doesn't give the typical signals, and his "done" is much subtler than I would like. I can miss it very easily. Not good.

Oh dear

J just fell asleep while we were listening to "She's Got Issues". Apparently, The Offspring is restful and relaxing to this child.

This can't be a good sign.

Comments lacking

No one's commented in a little while. Make a comment. I like them.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Oooooooh ...

See the red house to the right in this picture? In summer, it's got a view of this. (A different view is available here.)

It's my fantasy house. Purdy. I want it.

Weight is up

J is 18 pounds now. While his weight is still not acceptable, he is improving. He's extremely active and has a very high metabolism, so he has a hard time putting on weight. The doctor was quite happy with J's activity level and the amount he is eating. But he wasn't happy with J's weight gain. So he has asked us to mix a powder into J's milk and formula to try to get extra calories into him. Now the tough part: finding a store that actually carries the specialty powder.

The doc wasn't worried about J's eating habits. He'll get into eating more textures at his own pace, and the meat will come also. We're doing well, and just have to keep trying things as we go along.


I'm still behind in my schoolwork. But J had a good nap this morning, and I got some work done. (Score!) Hopefully, I will get all caught up soon. Lots to do. It's a tough course. I know I always say that. I always mean it, too. But at least I seem to be through the section on computer hardware, so that's good. I've always been more into software than hardware.


Our neighbors sold their house. It's a smaller version of our house, with no veranda or corner pantry and without our upgrades. It's also on a smaller lot than ours. The city assesses it as worth less than our place. They got $245,000 for their house. They took less because they wanted a quick sale. Apparently, they could have gotten $260,000 had they been willing to wait the 45 days, but they wanted to sell faster.

Sounds as though our property values have increased by $100,000+ since we bought in. Woot!


Plans are in the works for J's first birthday party. It will be held the afternoon of April 8th. Mark your calendars. An email will go out shortly.


Yesterday, J didn't really nap. He got up at 6:00, went down for a brief sleep mid-morning, and then got back up again really hyper. He sampled graham crackers and milk for snack-time, and he kept down the veggie-chicken-noodle casserole I gave him for lunch. He fell over a few times, and gave himself something of a shiner. With considerable effort, I did not panic and rush to his side, and he continued playing as though nothing had even happened.

Whoever coined the phrase "slept like a baby" never had one.

Yesterday, J discovered how wonderful balls are. Soft, squishy, vinyl covered miniature versions of soccer balls, footballs, baseballs, and basketballs. We got them in a goodie-bag at a birthday party J attended on the weekend. He loves them. (Thank you, P&K.) He enjoys chewing them, and he carries them about with him wherever he goes. If it is round-ish, J will love it. Especially if it is also soft and squishy. Yesterday, H asked why my Dogbert stress ball was on the floor of the office. Simply enough, J had discovered it, and that's where he left it when he was done.

Yesterday, J and I developed a new game. He would climb out of my lap and crawl away as fast as he could go, and I would wait a few seconds, and then reach out and unceremoniously grab him back and tickle his tummy. He giggled, and then repeated his action.

Yesterday, J realized that Mommy's slippers make wonderful toys. At one point, he stood unsupported for a considerable length of time, standing sort of spread eagle, arms raised triumphantly over his head, holding one of my big blue slippers in one of his little hands.

Yesterday, J tormented the cats. He ripped a rather large clump of fur out of Jazz's side, and then started trying to pull Jive's feet. I tried to stop him, but sometimes I just wasn't fast enough. Jive retaliated at one point, with a swat to the top of J's head. He didn't hurt J, who was reprimanded for hurting the cat, and that's when the cat decided that this meant he could defend himself by attacking the baby. I had to separate them for a period of time until Jive had calmed back down.

Yesterday, J went to bed pretty early. He was enticed to do so by a car ride. Chasing J around had left me drained, and I didn't know what else to do. I went to bed early too. I had a headache. I feel better now.

Yesterday, I did no homework and no housework. There just wasn't time. I feel panicked about it. The house is a shambles, and my homework is behind. But I'll catch up over time. And hopefully J will nap today and give me an opportunity.

J has 4 teeth now, and is working on 2 more. He can crawl about, stand unsupported for short periods of time, and walk quite well hanging on to the furniture. He loves toys that he can hold with one hand and toys that make noise. He loves his Rollarounds Dinosaur, and often tries to push it up to the DVD rack so that he can reach for "When Harry Met Sally". Sometimes, he pushes a little too hard and the dinosaur falls into the DVD rack, taking him with it. He doesn't care. He is a tough little kid.

J has nearly weaned himself to homo milk, and only wants breastmilk in the mornings now. His mornings are starting earlier and earlier. But he usually sleeps well through the night, although last night he was up a couple of times. He still can't tolerate a great deal of meat, but we are working on it. He still wants pureed foods, and will only eat jarred baby food. The exception is grains; he will eat bread, crackers, Cheerios ... really anything bread related is good. He's still taking his iron drops to deal with his refusal or inability to eat meats, and he seems happy. I think he's growing well again, but I'm having him weighed today just to see where he's at.

J is almost one year old now. I can't believe it. It just doesn't seem possible.

But it is.

J is my pride and joy. I love him more than I even thought was possible. The thought that anyone would feel differently is completely foreign to me.

It just doesn't seem possible.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Have you ever

I often enjoy a little Offspring.

Have you ever walked through a room
But it was more like the room passed around you
Like there was a leash around your neck that pulled you through

Have you ever been at someplace
Recognizing everybody's face
Until you realized that there was no one there you knew
Well I know

Some days, my soul's confined and out of mind
Sleep forever
Some days, I'm so outshined and out of time
Have you ever

Have you ever buried your face in your hands
'Cause no one around you understands
Or has the slightest idea what it is that makes you be

Have you ever felt like there was more
Like someone else was keeping score
And what could make you whole was simply out of reach
Well I know

Someday I'll try again and not pretend
This time forever
Someday I'll get it straight but not today
Have you ever

Some days, my soul's confined and out of mind
Sleep forever
Some days, my darkest friend is me again
Have you ever
Someday I'll try again and not pretend
This time forever
Someday I'll get it straight but not today
Have you ever

Good song. Little dark. But I like it.

Hugs from J

,. 00000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 jr5 btmhjnmm, n klkub bbb bm bbb m, <

m n b nb guJJjjjjjjju u

In a panic ...

... and realizing there was no hope of completing my module in enough time to submit my quiz by tomorrow at noon, I skimmed the materials. I found the quiz answers. And I quickly submitted my quiz.

Life has been chaotic lately. We have had extended family issues. Plus J has been grumpy and teething, and totally inconsolable. After trying pretty well everything I could think of this morning (I held him, rocked him, cuddled him in the bed, fed him, changed him, gave him Tylenol, tried letting him lie in his crib on his own and watch Sesame Street), I gave up in despair. Nothing was working. Everything I tried made J scream even louder. I ended up putting him in his crib and closing the door. Sitting downstairs, I tried to steel myself against the screams. It took about 10 minutes, before he cried himself to sleep.

I am learning that J is a baby who sometimes just needs to scream, and you just have to let him be by himself and get it all out. If you try to help, he gets angrier. I hate that. I want to do something for him, but I can't. It makes me feel helpless.

In any event, my quiz is submitted now. I completed it in the brief window while J slept. And I will endeavour to get caught up over the next little while. I got full marks on the quiz, so that was good.

Off I go. Grumpy is screaming at me again.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A duck song

J loves the "6 Little Ducks" nursery rhyme. We sing it to him all the time. I sing the main part, and H does the "quack, quack, quack" bit. And J laughs and laughs. Lots of fun! Even when he is crabby, this routine can usually get a giggle or two out of our dear little boy.

H has a day off today. J is teething and grumpy. He was inconsolable for part of the day. We took him for a ride in the car to give ourselves a bit of a rest. But he screamed. And H got increasingly frustrated with traffic congestion. It was not the least bit relaxing, really. And as we were repeatedly cut off in traffic, with J screaming at the top of his lungs, we sang:

T: ... He led the others with a
H: Quack, quack, quack
T: a
H: Quack, quack, quack
T: a
H: Quack, quack, quack
T: He led the others with a
H: Don't slow down! What's the matter with you?! You stupid moron!!
T: No; that is not what the duck said.
H: Well, it would be if the other ducks were all idiots!
T: No.
H: Quack, quack, quack

Read the directions

Step 1: Read the resources you are given, looking for the information that you seek.

Step 2: Follow the instructions that you find. All of them. In order.

Step 3: If you have read the resources and followed the instructions, and it is still not working for you, THEN you may ask the tutor or your fellow classmates for assistance.

My opinion is this: A student taking Management Information Systems should be able to figure out how to extract a zipped file. Failing that, said student should be able to follow the very simple instructions provided in the "Download Data Files" window.

(Read very simple instructions here.)

Before you begin working on the data files in this course, you must first download them from a zipped file and save them to your hard drive. Follow these steps:

  1. Click the "Download data files" link at the end of these instructions.
  2. When asked "Do you want to open the file?" click Save. Click Save again to save the zipped file to your desktop. When the download is complete, click Close.
  3. Double-click the zipped file on your desktop to open it. Click Extract from the menu bar and choose a location on your hard drive for the data files using the New Folder button. Then click Extract once again to save the files to that location. Click Close.
You are now ready to open and work with the data files on your hard drive.

I figure this is a systems course and, if a student can't extract a zipped file, even with walk-me-through-it-and-hold-my-hand instructions, he or she may run into some difficulty with the remainder of the course. Just a thought.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The keychain of my dreams

I found this today. It was mentioned in my textbook. Surprisingly, it is nowhere near as expensive as I had anticipated.

I covet. I may purchase. Some day.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Swimming tuckers J out

Tonight, we went swimming with L&P and the girls and K&K and Draya. J had so much fun, splashing about in the water in the nice, warm pool. J loves to splash about! He got all pruney from the water, and he was really tired out from all his playing. He's been sleeping ever since we left the pool, and I think he will sleep right through the night. Such a dear, sweet, little boy! Night night, little one.

It was nice to get out and visit with friends. I don't get out very often these days. Too busy. But I was really glad to have gotten some time out with friends on a study-break, even if it was for just a little while.

I've been studying a lot tonight, but am finding it hard to concentrate now. (That nice warm pool is really relaxing, and I'm tired.) I may put my books aside for the night and go to sleep. I am a bit behind schedule and must catch up with my studies in pretty short order. That's a shame, as I had wanted to help Nez with her move this weekend. It's looking unlikely. Life got in the way this week and set me behind in my studies, and I must get caught up. I'm only on section 2 of my 9 section module, which I need to complete so that I can submit my quiz before Wednesday. I hope Nez's move goes well in my absence. I really wish I could be there.

Had a nice talk with L, who admitted that she was trying to avoid her schoolwork. I can relate and sympathize. L let me play the "accounting video game" that her class has access to. I thought it was pretty fun. I'm concerned about that; I think I might be a dweeb.

Now say that with a Scottish accent

"As silicon transistors grow smaller - there will be a billion on a single chip by 2008 - power dissipation becomes nearly impossible to control, and even cosmic rays can cause random processing errors".

Beam me up.

Seriously, though. It's an accounting designation. Why will I need to know how many bits are in a byte, or which superconductive metals are being considered as a replacement for the silicon medium in order to reduce resistance and speed processing? It's a little bit too technical, and I simply do not care. Why would I? It's not as though I am studying to build hardware components! What do I care what chips are made from? They could make 'em out of chocolate for all I care!

Mmmmm ... chocolate chips ...

Friday, March 24, 2006

How can I go back??

It's only 5 weeks away now. I have to go back. I have to go back, and leave you. Leave you with someone else.

Someone else will get to hold you, and cuddle you, and play with you, and kiss you. Someone else will make you laugh, and smile. Someone else will comfort you when you are sad or have bad dreams. Someone else will feed you, and change you, and give you your sippy of milk, and put you down for nap time, and ...

Someone else will be doing all the things that I love. And I'll be missing you. Trying to provide for you, and missing you. Arms aching to hold you. Listening for your cry. Wanting to hear your laughter. Missing everything.

Wishing it were me. Not them. Not someone else. Me. Wishing there were some other way.

I hold you, and I cry. And you reach up, with your beautiful little baby fingers, tracing my tears, awed and amazed by each new discovery. And someone else will have that, too.

I hold you, and I cry.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

No room at the inn

Our preferred daycare facility doesn't have spaces available for May. Unless some sort of miracle happens next week, where a couple of children in J's age group leave the facility, J will have to go to our second choice and then switch over later on when there is space in choice #1.

I am so sad. I was really hoping J could get in to the beautiful facility that we loved so. And I hate the idea of putting him in one place for a short time, and then pulling him out to move elsewhere down the road. As if putting him in care in the first place won't be traumatic enough, let's move him around a bit, just to make sure he has a really hard time.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A thing of beauty

Before I get into the crux of this post, I just have to begin by saying: J started crawling up the stairs today! He made it up three steps, crawling from Daddy to Mommy. We were quite excited, but have realized that we can no longer wait on buying baby gates. We'll be going shopping shortly.


I have a friend who restores paintings for a living. And today, it occurred to me that this has got to be one of the coolest jobs ever. She gets to work with great works of art and make them all pretty and new again. Who wouldn't want to do that?

It takes people from all walks of life, doing all kind of different jobs, to make our world function. We need all of them. I'm glad to be one of the people who makes the world go 'round. The work I have done is practical and necessary, and I have enjoyed it. But sometimes, I think about how much fun it would be to spend my day in a nicely lit space, beautiful art in front of me, music of my choosing playing in the background, as I work on restoring the great work which will soon be on display. Now, add to that the fact that you get to do much of the work in your own home studio, in a very cool city, AND make your own hours. And you actually get PAID for it! (And paid pretty darned well, too.)

I swear, if it weren't for the fact that I have no artistic ability whatsoever and would probably give the Mona Lisa clown lips or something, I'd so be training for that job. But alas, I have no artistic skill! So I shall continue on, with my math-oriented little brain, and do what I do well.

For someone with artistic ability, though, I would think this would be an amazing job, and a great way to make the world more beautiful to boot. How marvelous!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Okay, there's a chance this may have been a dream

"...and then you took off your energy mask, and you were Cameron Diaz!"

For some reason, this hits home with me tonight. This and "...what color is the sky in your world?" Yes. It's been that kind of a day, and I'm right there just now.


My blog's appearance is rather out of whack tonight. I've been assured this will be remedied in the next 24 hours. In the meantime, if it annoys you, tough ... I can't do a thing about it for the moment. I'll fix it when the bugs are gone.


I got almost no studying done today. I'll have to make up for that tomorrow. If the King will allow it. We shall see.


M, I'm sorry I didn't call you back. We've been out, and just returned home now. I'll talk to you tomorrow. Don't just call "them" about it!! There's a procedure, which we will discuss. If you read this in time, stay home for one more day (Cough. Achoo! et al) and I'll call you.


And now, sleepy me. Zzzzzzz...

Monday, March 20, 2006


And that's just the way it is.

New this week

Okay. I realize I have been remiss about updating the blog with pictures. I will try to get caught up over time. To that end, you may notice a change in the sidebar menu. "New This Week" will contain pictures that have been uploaded during the current week. "Photo Archives" will contain pictures you should have already seen.

For some time, "New This Week" will likely contain a combination of newer and older pictures, while I get caught up. But my goal is to provide an easy way to navigate through the photos, to find what may be of interest to you.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, here are some pictures of J enjoying his lunch. (Mmmm, carrots and Minigos!)

J is flippin' out!!

He is teething again. I think. Or maybe it's another ear infection. Or ...

Really, it could be 'most anything. Obviously, he can't talk yet, so he can't tell me what's wrong. But he's been grumpy yesterday and today. Harshly screaming and crying. Refusing to sleep, even though he's extremely tired. He won't eat much. He doesn't want to crawl or play; he wants comforting. But he doesn't really want to be held either. He doesn't want much breastmilk, but only cold homo milk from his sippy cup. He doesn't have a fever. He's been given Tylenol for pain, but it doesn't seem to be helping much just now.

Last night, he was inconsolable. We almost took him to Emergency. He finally settled down and went to sleep. But he woke up several times through the night. Screaming. And he decided to start his day before 7:00 this morning. So I got to start my day then, too. This wouldn't be so bad, were it not for the fact that he has abolished naptime.

I am tired. I need peace. Peace and a happy, pain-free baby. Sleep. These are my fondest wishes just now.

Please don't cry anymore, J. Mama is here. She will comfort you as best she can. Just please don't cry anymore.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

It's chalk! How is that possible?

My friend, Ninja Stan, put up a link to this on his blog. I just had to share it here. I mean, it's 3D sidewalk chalk art!

The work is by an artist named Julian Beever. Ain't it somethin'?

Little known fact

Did you know that the total revenue of Walmart exceeds that of Russia? I did not know this. My course lecturer just pointed it out.

About my course lecturer, I have the guy who sounds like Grover this semester. He's much better than the one I had in my last course, and he tends to provide useful exam tips. I'm glad he's on board.

J has decided

J has decided that everyone sleeps better with a soother. You need one for your peace of mind, apparently. Yesterday, I was attempting to cuddle J to sleep in our bed, but I fell asleep instead. I awoke to find J trying to shove his soother into my mouth. Most generous of J to make such a sacrifice on my behalf, but ... yuck!

Last night, J decided that he would sleep by himself in his crib again. I was thrilled! I hope it lasts.

J is a morning person. He awakes happy and playful, then gets increasingly crabby as the day progresses. He has decided that he does not need as many naps as he once did, and is currently rejecting the concept of an afternoon sleep. (Much to my chagrin; I love naps.) But this does mean he goes to bed earlier at night and sleeps through. It's a fair trade-off, I suppose.

Plans are in the works for J's first birthday party. It will be on Saturday, April 8. Details to follow ...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Dear sinuses

Clear up, already! I can't take it anymore!! They won't let me take any more Penicillin since I reacted to it last time, and I can't take any other antibiotics since I'm still breastfeeding. And I really can't take the pain. Now, stop getting infected and leave me alone!


Friday, March 17, 2006

Is this what is meant by "women and children first"?

L & the girls are all sick with colds. I spoke with L today; she sounded absolutely miserable. I wish they felt better. So far, P has escaped.

J & I have both come down with a stomach flu. At least, I'm presuming this is why we are having our particular issues today. I can think of no other reason. We are both feeling miserable just now. So far, H has escaped.

Must be cold and flu season. Fortunately, the stomach flu tends to come on quickly and run its course equally quickly. I hope L's cold will also be done soon.

J, stop trying to gouge my eyes out and just go to sleep already. Trust me; you'll feel better if you do.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

J and the ducks

At breakfast this morning, J threw up. Lots. And before I could get him all cleaned up, he decided to draw in it like fingerpaints. So I concluded that it was quite clearly bath time.

J has many tub toys. He enjoys them all, and clambers after them during his baths. But he especially loves his rubber duckies. He has several duckies, in various sizes. He prefers the largest one. After bath time, J decided that he needed his favorite rubber duckie to stay with him. He clutched it while he was being dried off and dressed, and he cried if it was out of his hands for a moment. He then took it to bed with him for nap time. He held it and caressed it in his sleep, and when he awoke and I went to get him, I found him sitting up in his crib, calmly playing with his rubber duckie.

It's been with him all day. Well, why not? It's a perfectly acceptable toy, and it was nice and clean, after all. I don't know if it's the size, the shape, the weight, or the fact that it is yellow that intrigues him. But I know he loves it.

J ate broccoli, potato and cheese casserole today. He found it acceptable. It was a jarred blend. He seems to like his food really smooth still. He'll eat textures when he's ready, I guess.

Also, J has decided that he must be cuddled to sleep. This is a sudden development over the last week or so. Up 'til now, J has preferred to fall asleep on his own. Now, if I try letting him sleep on his own, he'll flip right out. It's particularly bad during the afternoon nap. He insists that I lie down next to him in the big bed and cuddle him close until he falls asleep, and then I can move him to his crib. He falls asleep quickly this way. But if I put him in the crib fully awake, he'll scream his wee head off. I don't know why.

Not that I mind cuddling with a sweet little baby, you understand. In fact, I quite enjoy the extra snuggles. But I know that the daycare won't do this, and he starts going there in about a month and a half. Hopefully he'll be back to his independent little self soon and this won't be problematic down the road.

Today, I visited the west lake in Hangzhou. It didn't look like much to me, since high res isn't available there. But an online search revealed that it is in fact a beautiful place! I'd love to visit it in person someday.

One final sentiment for the day:
Dear Thieving Scum; May karma sneak right up and bite you on the butt!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I read the news today, oh boy

Can't be held responsible. I guess there is no one to blame.

What have we become?

It must be some kind of mistake, 'cause I'd like to think the world is a better place.

A random mix of cryptic

It's early. Early for someone who is not yet back to work. Not just yet.

My baby is awake.


H: Clean the house.
T: Move the couch.
H: Clean the house.
T: Move the couch so I can clean the house.
H: Clean the house so I can move the couch.
T: Move the couch; it's in the way, and I can't clean the house.
H: There are many places that need cleaning where the couch is not.
T: Couch!
H: Office!


Ever feel dumb?


I feel shunned. You were mean to me and mine. I didn't provoke you. At least, I don't believe I did. I certainly didn't intend to.

I think there was some misunderstanding. I don't know.

It makes me sad that you were mean to me, because I liked you.

But you don't like me.

It's over. Movin' on.


I may already be a winner.


It's hard to type one-handed. With a baby in your other arm. A baby who kicks the keyboard tray and moves it, making you hit wrong keys.


Stomach. Upset. Awakened in the night. Ow.


I love my support network. And sunrises. Crisp winter mornings. My family. My new course. My new job.

Nerve-wracked as I can get, I love it. Being busy. Being at peace. Being stressed. Being illogical. Or extremely logical. Silly. Serious. A state of being.

Being me.

I love my life today. It's a good life.


Baby needs cereal. No corn.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006

Something to look forward to

I have an online friend with an unusual name. She posted an entry on her blog that made me laugh today. Here is the entry.

Wonderful! It reminds me that I'll be returning to work in about a month and a half. Oh, the things I have to look forward to!

Speaking of work, for those who do not yet know, I have accepted a new job. It's my first accounting job, and it's actually with a highly-regarded public practice accounting firm. I'm nervous, but excited! I think it will be good. Feeling cautiously optimistic.

So starting on May 1, I will be an "Accounting Technician" instead of a "Legal Assistant". Both fine jobs, but the new job has more perks and potential. I hope I like it.

Baby is sleeping on me. I will try to sneak him into his crib and continue with my housework now. Busy, busy! Awaiting the arrival of my lesson notes for my next course, and then I can start that one. I hope to receive the notes today. This one is the computers class (Management Information Systems); hopefully I won't find it quite as difficult as the last one. Also have a project to work on for my mom today.

Back to work, now.

Things I took for granted before parenthood

Eight-hour work days.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A J update

J can sit, crawl, stand while holding onto something, and walk a bit while holding onto furniture. Sometimes, he sits up and puts his feet together in a yoga position, and then bounces up and down. If he's on hardwood floors, he gets good momentum going and can propel himself quite a ways forward.

J loves his learning table and teething beads, but has found that nothing beats an empty plastic pop bottle for entertainment value. He chases after it, picks it up, and waves it madly in the air. He carries it around with him, and tries to keep it in his hands when climbing up onto the furniture. Then he loses his balance and falls backwards. But he rarely hits his head now. He has learned to fall on his butt instead.

I talked with L&P about J's poor eating habits. They suggested I try the jarred baby food instead of making it at home. Lo and behold, it works. J prefers the really smooth texture of the jarred baby food. He's kept down squash and sweet potatoes today. Absolutely no vomiting whatsoever. It is so good to have knowledgable friends that I can talk to, who will give support when I'm feeling stressed. Thanks guys!

J still doesn't drink as much liquid as I think he should. But today, he drank about 3 ounces of diluted white grape juice. He thought it was quite tasty, and even held the sippy cup himself. Of course, he also really likes to chew on the rim of the cup. And if he waves the cup madly in the air, it will leak a tiny bit. He sprayed H pretty good with the grape juice this evening. It's okay; white grape juice doesn't show up at all.

J is really teething now. His poor little top gums are all red and raw, and there was a small bit of blood present today. Needless to say, my poor little man was dreadfully out of sorts. He had some Tylenol and a nap earlier, and he seems to feel a bit better now. Tylenol tends to make J very sleepy.

Tonight, I am sad

There is a place I go. Maybe I shouldn't go there. But I am close to a number of people in that place. Sometimes, they need support and encouragement. They've been there for me when I have needed them. I want to return the favour and be there for them. But it makes me sad. Being there. Seeing it. Thinking of it. All of it. It makes me sad. I cry. And then I have to hit the "X" button on my computer before I see any more.

I went and had a nice evening with L & M tonight. They're both so nice, and so much fun. J played with L&P's girls, and a very pregnant M got to hear all our labour and delivery stories. There was also much talk of accounting, and many jokes made about timeshare presentations and cheap digital cameras. The boys went and did a guy thing, and we gals played with the kids and just hung out. I had fun. And briefly, I pushed it all into the back of my mind. What I'd read. How I felt. But the sadness remains. I can't shake it.

I wish I could be the rock; the support my friends need me to be. I wish I knew what to say at these times. More to the point, I wish I could just make it stop, so that these times never even happened.

I wish.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Babies and timeshares

Tony Robbins and Mary Ann tried to sell me a timeshare last night!

Last night, plied by the free gifts, H and I went to a sales presentation. The point was stressed that it wasn't actually a timeshare; it was "vacation insurance". Little did they know that they had contacted the Cheapskate family!

After enjoying some free donuts and coffee and having a brief discussion with a very pleasant sales agent (more about him later), we headed in to a different room to watch the presentation.

That's when Tony Robbins burst through the door. Well, if it wasn't him, it was his identical twin. The personality was the same, too. He was highly entertaining. H and I felt privileged; usually, you have to spend a lot of money to hear Tony Robbins speak. A door prize was given away; it was a DVD player, and we didn't win it.

Then the video presentation began, and Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island told us all about how great these vacation packages are, and encouraged us to buy in. (Yes folks, it actually was Dawn Wells. I couldn't believe it either.)

More Tony Robbins; more videos; a few drawings on a big white board, and a glance through a catalogue. Then we were ushered back into a different room for the arm twist. We were quite adept at evading the sales pitch, and I am pleased to say that we are not members in a vacation club.

So we left unscathed. And we got a free weekend at a 5-star 2-storey 2-bedroom chalet spa type of resort in the mountains (3 days, 2 nights), and a very low-key digital camera (no, it was not on a keychain) out of the deal. The catch? We have to attend another 90 minute presentation while we are at the resort. I'm willing to deal with it if it means a free mountain weekend. The place looks quite lovely! And 90 minutes out of my weekend won't kill me ... I guess.

Our salesperson was a really nice guy, actually. He also works as a waiter in a couple of different locations, on a part time basis. He entertained us with tales of stupid customers. (Apparently, there are people in this world who think that waiters get some sort of commission-type kick-back if they sell a lot of the dish-of-the-day or something.) And he was quite happy to tell us that he was not on commission, so that made us happy; we weren't causing him to get less cash for the evening. He realized quite quickly that we were not going to have a need for the service, but he tried valiantly, and you've got to give him points for that. We liked him. He was lots of fun!

On to more pressing stuff.

J, why won't you eat? There is more to life than infant cereal and apple sauce. And I realize that you also enjoy Cheerios, certain other pureed fruits (peaches, pears and prunes), crackers, and Minigos. And I also note that you will occasionally eat pancakes, waffles, or a grilled cheese sandwich, if you are so inclined. But for the love of all that is holy, you also need vegetables and meats. Why do you throw up whenever we try to give these things to you? And furthermore, I don't think you drink enough. You've almost weaned yourself; you're only being breastfed twice a day now, and you won't take a bottle. Formula is unacceptable unless it is mixed with your cereal. And you drink little bits out of your sippy cup of either milk or juice, but you just aren't getting a lot.

We give you whatever you will eat without throwing up, because really holding down the food is the most important thing here; you need to gain weight. But every so often, we try to slip in a veggie or a bit of meat. We are always disappointed when you vomit it back up. It's very discouraging. And Mommy is becoming quite distressed. She fears that you will become malnourished if she can't get you to eat better. Please eat your veggies and your meats, little man.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Answer comparison

A few of my classmates and I compared our answers from the exam. It looks like I probably did very well. We all seem to have lost marks somewhere. I hope for good things when I get my mark back in a couple of months.

The course is not being re-run this term, but the exam is being offered at the end of the term for rewrite purposes (for those students who failed but were in the rewrite range). I hate seeing that. The anticipation of failing grades and required rewrites seems rather defeatist. By the same token, I recognize that each course in this program carries at least a 35% fail rate. I guess you've got to play the odds.

People in a couple of other courses are irritated by their exams. It seems the stuff they studied hard on wasn't on the exam. They followed the exam blueprint and did a bunch of the past and practice exams, and were thus taken by surprise when the exam followed a different format and didn't adhere to the blueprint. I don't blame them. I know our resources all say that they are only guidelines, and that students are responsible for all the material in the course. But we have to have some reliance on the resources we are given for exam prep. I hope the students fared better than they think.

A couple of students actually said "I studied so hard on [this one subject area], all for nothing". I think that's either a bad way to express yourself or else kind of a bad attitude. Did you learn it? Yes? Well, then it wasn't "all for nothing", was it? We're in this to learn, not just to write an exam and move on. Still, I think I understand what they are trying to say. And I must admit I'd be mighty ticked off if something like this happened to me. I hope it never does.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

He's only happy when he's dancing

J dances whenever he hears music playing. He bounces about and has a great old time. His Leap Frog Learning Table makes him happy because it plays the ABC's, and he can hang on to the table and dance. So cute! But H and I both have the "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10" song stuck in our heads now.

The exam last night wasn't too bad, really. There were some topics covered that weren't on any of the past and practice exams, and there were a few things that I had to take wild stabs in the dark at. There were also some things that I remembered vaguely, but not well enough to answer with certainty; I guessed. I know that I guessed at least one incorrectly, but that's not too big a deal; it wasn't worth a lot of marks.

I think I likely passed. I may have just squeaked by, but at this point, I'll just be glad if I don't have to retake the class. Then again, I may have done extremely well. I actually have absolutely no idea how I did. And I won't know for sure for a couple of months.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Exam tonight. AIEEEEEEE!!!!

Exam tonight. Exam tonight. Exam tonight. Exam tonight.


Exam tonight.

I have been reviewing a few trouble spots, just to refresh my memory. I have four more old exams with trouble spots therein. I would like to review the trouble spots that remain and then relax the rest of the afternoon away.

But I can't bring myself to review those last four exams.

I can't, I can't, I can't. I can't.

I'm thinking that if I don't know the stuff by now, I won't be learning it any better in the next 5 or so hours. So I should just stop now and try to calm down.

Stop. Relax. Mellow out. Wash diapers. Have a bath. Listen to music. Play Spider Solitaire. Nap. Enjoy a peaceful afternoon, and mentally refresh for the exam tonight.

Exam tonight.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Weekend bits

J is definitely teething. He cried a fair bit this weekend, but seems to be doing well now.

On Saturday evening, we went to Draya's first b-day party. We would have liked to have gone earlier, but I was so busy studying and then J was tired and wanted to nap. So we got there fairly late in the evening. It was good that we still got to see the birthday girl. What a cutie! As we were driving over, J's teething pain took hold, and he started screaming at the top of his lungs. He just shrieked and shrieked. He didn't stop when we got in the house either. Thankfully, K&K had baby Tylenol; we had failed to bring ours. J got doped up at the party and felt all better. He provided a slight disturbance to the other guests initially, but behaved himself well for much of the time.

It was fun to see people at the party. I'm glad we made it out. (Well, like we were going to miss Draya's first birthday for anything!)

Yesterday, J had a bath in the morning. We didn't have a tub ring yet, so we were still using the bath sling. J sat up, leaned forward, started crawling away, going after his tub toys, etc. It was hard to bathe the little guy and keep him safe. But we managed. At one point, I said to H, "We need to get a bath ring today; this sling is useless". It was as though J had understood that statement, and he decided to show us just how useful the sling is. He decided to quickly climb it like a ramp and try to shoot himself up into the air.

H went out to find a bath ring and a Leap Frog table. J loves Draya's, so we felt he should have his own. And I went over to my parents' place to get some good studying done. H found the Leap Frog table, but did not find a bath ring.

Studying went fairly well. I am now usually getting passing grades on the exams, but without much leeway. So at this point, it could go either way on Wednesday. It's the first time in a good 15 years that I've been this uncertain of whether or not I will pass a test. Frightening. The course tutor is being most unhelpful. There's a problem from one of the past exams that I just can't figure out, and I'm not getting a decent explanation. I've emailed L & M both, and I hope that one of them will be able to solve this pesky algebraic concept for me and shed some light on what is proving to be beyond my grasp.

J fell down yesterday while trying to stand up. He hit his head on the sharp corner of the leg of this rather treacherous coffee table over at my parents' place. Fortunately, he didn't break the skin. Just a bad bruise and a bit of a bump (pardon my aliteration; what an awful sentence). He cried a bit, but seems okay now.

Got to go over and see L&P last night. They're such fun! I'm glad we have gotten to know them better. L got her textbooks last week, so she'll be starting her course soon. Gemma and J played together. J would find a toy, and Gemma would take it away from him. J didn't seem to be particularly put out by it. I'm sure he'll do the same thing to L&M's baby. This is how babies play together. L&P gave us Gemma's old tub ring (much to Gemma's chagrin). Now, bath time will be easier.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Diapering and nursery rhymes, they go together

Ickity, ickity, ack
The poop went up your back.
Ickity, ackity, oop
A very stinky poop.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A surprisingly good-natured baby

I see J's two front teeth coming through. He's a bit red-cheeked and drooly, but not too grumpy. Cuddlier than usual and such, but he is generally being quite good-natured. Or maybe I'm just used to his moods now.

He sits in my lap as I type this. I tickle his tummy. He laughs. I stop tickling him. He slams the keyboard tray with his foot and screams.

It's the J show, folks. All tickles, all the time.

I'm still ... standing?

Today, J was standing up in his crib. I grabbed the camera and snapped a few pictures. I sang "I'm Still Standing" to keep him amused while I took the pictures.

I finished taking pictures. I put the camera in the diaper bag and started downstairs to get everything together to head out and get some studying done. With "I'm Still Standing" firmly stuck in my head, I sang as I walked.

And that's when it happened.

I slipped. Down the stairs I fell, landing hard at the bottom, banging up my back real good in two places, and pulling my left wrist in a failed attempt to hold onto the handrail and stop my fall. So I'm a little sore, but not really injured. I should have a couple of really nice bruises. And thankfully, it's the left wrist and I'm right-handed. No real harm done.

Note to self: I am too clumsy to walk down a flight of stairs while singing "I'm Still Standing". It tempts the Fates just a little too much.

Studied hard. Still struggling. I hope I pass. I'd hate to have to retake this horrid class.

In any event, here is a picture of J standing in his crib.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Exam nerves

Exam reads: "Draw a CVP-Analysis Graph."
I say: "A what now?"

Exam reads: "Draw a scattergram."
I say: "Oh, that's that thing with the dots, isn't it?"

Exam reads: "Explain in terms of r or r2 the relationship between variable overhead and production units."
I say: "Did we take that?"

Exam reads: "Provide three necessary qualitative criteria for the implementation of a workable activity-based costing system."
I say: "What does 'qualitative' mean?"


Today, I wrote three past exams. My grades ranged from 54% to 64%. Unfortunately, 65% is a pass.

I have no idea what to do to prepare for this exam. And my audio lecturer, who is supposed to help me figure out appropriate exam strategies, just continues to get duller and duller. I hate that my audio lecturer reads verbatim from the slides that I already have printed in front of me, and that she doesn't expand on any concepts. I hate that some of the slides just say things like "Refer to page 2 of the handout"; more to the point, I hate that 5 or 6 slides in a row will say that. I hate that my audio lecturer can't plan ahead, and will actually direct me to turn from page 2 of the handout to look at slide #36, so that she can read it out loud to me to direct me to turn back to page 2 of the handout. Making your voice ebb and flow doesn't keep anyone's attention if you have nothing intelligent to say. And I do not care about the name of your dog, nor do I give a rap what she looks like. Putting a picture of her on one of the slides does nothing to amuse me. Is this going to be on the exam? No? Then shut up!!

Away with you, audio lecturer! Give me strategy, or give you death!

Variance analysis

I think I have all of my variance formulae down now. I'm going to put all the formulae here for my own ease of reference.

Variance analysis

Production variances
(Note: Negative numbers are favorable; positive numbers are unfavorable)

Materials price variance = AQxAP - AQxSP

Materials volume variance = AQxSP - SQxSP or Materials mix variance + Materials yield variance

(Note: Total materials variance can only be calculated if amount purchased and amount used in production are the same amount)

Materials mix variance = AQ@AMxSP - AQ@SMxSP

Materials yield variance = AQ@SMxSP - SQ@SMxSP

Labour rate variance = AHxAR - AHxSR

Labour efficiency variance = AHxSR - SHxSR

Variable Overhead:
Variable overhead spending variance = AHxAR - AHxSR

Variable overhead efficiency variance = AHxSR - SHxSR

Fixed Overhead:
Fixed overhead budget variance = Actual fixed overhead - Budgeted fixed overhead

Fixed overhead volume variance = Fixed portion of predetermined overhead rate x (Denominator hours - Standard hours)

Revenue variances
(Note: Positive numbers are favorable; negative numbers are unfavorable)

Sales price variance = AQxAP - AQxSP

Sales volume variance = AQxSCM - SQxSCM or Market share variance + Market volume variance or Sales mix variance + Sales quantity variance

Market share variance = AQ@AMVxSCM - AQ@SMVxSCM

Market volume variance = AQ@SMVxSCM - SQ@SMVxSCM

Sales mix variance = AQ@AMxSCM - AQ@SMxSCM

Sales quantity variance = AQ@SMxSCM - SQ@SMxSCM


AQ=Actual quantity
SQ=Standard quantity
AH=Actual hours
SH=Standard hours
AP=Actual price
SP=Standard price
AR=Actual rate
SR=Standard rate
AM=Actual mix
SM=Standard mix
SCM = Standard contribution margin
AMV = Actual market volume
SMV = Standard market volume

On a completely different note, the sinus infection is refusing to leave. I went to the dentist last night, just to see if perhaps a tooth may be causing the problem. It is not a tooth issue. But the teeth that hurt are right next to the infected sinus cavity, and that's what is causing the toothache. The pain in my cheek, which had left, is back again today. I don't have time to take a day off, though, so I have to study through it. Sure does hurt, though.

Things I took for granted before parenthood

Daily showers and weekly laundry days.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Things you never thought you'd hear yourself say

"Don't kick yourself in the head".

I'm still standing

Last night, H and I were struggling to maintain our composure. We are both feeling rather stressed these days. J was in his crib, H was in the bedroom with J, and H and I were sort of shouting back and forth to one another, trying to have a conversation from different rooms. I walked into the bedroom to save on the shouting, and found J standing up holding the slats of his crib. H hadn't yet noticed.

T: Honey?
H: Yes?
T: Look at J! He's standing!

By the end of "He's standing", J had sat back down. So H missed it. But yes, J can pull himself into a standing position now. I am glad I was there for it.

This morning, H was taking J for a diaper change. H grabbed J's little arm and waved at me. "Say good morning, Mommy". When H let go, J continued to wave. So it's not on demand yet, but J can wave to us now.

Snow hit our fair city hard yesterday. We missed L's b-day party 'cause of bad roads. So instead of enjoying pancakes with friends for Mardi Gras, we ordered in. J enjoyed half a grilled cheese sandwich. I hope L's party was fun. But I still really wish we could have been there.

Bad roads will likely keep me confined to home today, too. I will try to study here.

Things I need to do before my exam next week:

  1. Review scrap and rework (module 2.6);
  2. Memorize the format for Production Reports using weighted average and FIFO methods (modules 3.4 and 3.5);
  3. Review cost of lost units (module 3.6);
  4. Review module 4.4 for income statement formats;
  5. Memorize the format for the Master Budget (module 6.7);
  6. Memorize the standard cost and variance journal entries (module 7.4);
  7. Do a refresher on modules 7.5-7.8, on which I am not clear;
  8. Review modules 8.4 and 8.6;
  9. Memorize the formulae for revenue and marketing variances (module 8.9), which I'm pretty sure will be on the exam;
  10. Have a brief review of modules 9.6-9.8;
  11. Run the self-test for module 10 and see if there are any areas that need review;
  12. Listen to the remaining exam review audio lectures (starting with lecture #4);
  13. Run all of the past and practice exams, and review trouble spots.

I wonder if J will allow me to study today. He got up early this morning. But he's konked out in my arms now, and I will put him back to bed and try to get on with it.

Actually, I no longer feel like studying. I am suddenly deeply disappointed and irritable. But I have to study. Hopefully, my mood will improve and I'll be able to get on with it.