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Saturday, May 29, 2004

And this is our baby, as of about 4 wks ago!
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This is my sweetie cat, Kostya!
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This is my scaredy-cat, Vyera!
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Friday, May 28, 2004
Nursery preparations
I just found a wallpaper border which would be PERFECT for our nursery. And I found it for $10 a roll, so it should only cost $30. It matches curtains, theme, colors. BUT we just spent $6,500 siding our house, and we're still paying that off. AND we have a lot more mission-critical things to buy before baby comes, so I'm torn. Of course, my mom IS sending us a $50 check to cover half the crib... Is this one of those times I ought to live a little? Will we ever get the border hung if I buy it?

Sounds like the cliffhanger ending of a Rocky & Bullwinkle mini-episode(!), but seriously, what do y'all think? Can you hang a wallpaper border on beadboard, anyway?

Interesting article on music and fetal development here. They don't seem to have any hard conclusions, except avoid discordant music! Alright, then, country music is in! I also sing hymns/praise songs in the morning on my 30-minute commute, but I'd like to spend more time with organ CDs on at home. We don't have an organ at church :(

Thursday, May 27, 2004
After leaching entertainment value from Possumblog for weeks, I finally have been tempted into participation in the Thursday Three. I think I can do this one without being a native southerner (and living so close to Chapel Hill)!

Seeing as how the South seems to be replete (or at least stereotyped as being replete) with “characters,” and seeing as no matter how uncomfortable they might make you feel when they catch you outside while you get the mail or walk the dog they ARE still good for making conversation, let’s see how you answer these questions:

1) Who is the most peculiar person you know personally? Please give a short listing of their particular foibles you find most compellingly peculiar. Obviously, the more peculiar, the more prudent it will be to disguise their identity to some extent--giving their name, address, and aluminum-foil-hat communicator number is probably a bit too much information. You know how those people are.

Apart from a truly mentally ill acquaintnce of ours, probably our neighbors are the oddest birds I know. Nice as all get-out, mind you, but odd, somehow. It's not the GMs in various states of decay scattered throughout the yard, it's not the half-attack dog, half wolves they own (yes, really- at least one of them is half wolf!), nor is it their conviction that the town is bilking them on their water bill. I think it may simply be all of these things in combination with the fact that they're actually from New Jersey. After that, excluding my yankee family, there's my friend from Georgia, who might be offended if I excluded her. After all, when we were in college, she mentioned how fond she was of bridal magazines: "All those Cuisinarts!" More recently, she spent the majority of a date discussing chemical weapons. "He was a chemical engineer! I couldn't help it!"

2) What characteristic(s) about yourself do you think others might find just a tad bit peculiar?

Ahhh.. where to start? I named my first personal cat Buckley when I was in eighth grade because I was a National Review junkie. Sadly, my political sensitivities may have been my most attractive feature at that point (not much of a selling point in junior high). And then, I don't think my college classmates quite understood my love affair with my then-13+ -year-old 1979 T-bird. I still think it's a beautiful car (I no longer own one, though :( ). Lately, mostly people just find it weird that a co-worker and I enjoy singing several different selections from the Veggie-Tales genre. ("If you like to talk to tomatoes, if a squash can make you smile ...") I'm sure Paul can come up with plenty more peculiarities, but then my pack-rat-ness is probably not readily apparent to people who haven't been to my house.

3) Knowing how Peculiar-Americans tend to have rather different ideas when it comes to politics, have you ever voted for a person who was identified as something other than a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or little-‘I’ independent?

I don't think so, but I enjoy casting votes for Alan Keyes in the primary when the opportunity arises. I did vote for the third candidate when Jesse Helms got re-elected in 1996, but I don't remember who that was. I may have fallen into some hyper liberal propaganda about Jesse (or maybe it was accurate- you can be a nice guy and still have really bad ideas), but I sure wasn't voting for Harvey Gantt!

Baby Marta Update

If you didn't see in the comments below, our niece may be going home very soon! Please pray that she doesn't suffer any setbacks and that she's soon sleeping soundly in the crib her Daddy has assembled! Thanks for all the prayers!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004
So, as Paul said, we had a very busy weekend, celebrating a friend's MBA from Georgetown, staying with other friends just west of Baltimore, and going to church with yet another friend back in No VA, who, I might add, we expect to grace us with her presence this evening. Being in the DC area is all at once bittersweet, frightening, exciting, and a reminder of great blessing. The first because I spent 6 of my first 7 years in Prince William County as my dad worked downtown at the FAA building or out at Dulles Airport or ?, the second because of the traffic (hello!), the third because of all the cool stuff around (though we never get much of a chance to see any of it), and the last because I was once offered a job with the FAA in DC which I declined solely because I was pretty sure I was about to receive a somewhat less lucrative, but infinitely more exciting offer in the form of a marriage proposal from a certain someone we'll just call hubby. Oh, and also because the driving around here looks so much better by comparison ;) Anyway, I'm always better able to enjoy my visits to beltway-land if someone else does the driving (Thanks, sweetie!)

Unfortunately, we got some sad news last night. My parents were visiting my sister Sunday night, so postponed the weekly phone call until last night. So I chattered on blithely about our unintentional detour to Dulles, all about our visits with friends, blah blah blah, and then my mother asked me if I got her e-mail. I told her that I hadn't, and so she told me that a good family friend had died last week. As far as I can tell, this sweet lady was my mom's best friend. She ALWAYS remembered our birthdays, anniversaries, and even sent me some maternity wardrobe money at Mother's Day. Her husband, who had been the pastor of our church when my family lived in Virginia, had just died last November of leukemia, and as hard as that was to absorb, we all knew he had been battling the disease for most of a year. We were not at all prepared for this- neither of them could have been much over 60. I can't help thinking she's probably better off, having been freed from the back pain she'd been suffering for years, reunited with her husband, and best of all, with her Lord and Savior, whose love she relayed tirelessly. Please pray for their daughter, Heather, and her husband that they would know God's comfort in this time.

If I had $80 lying around the house

Thursday, May 20, 2004
Alan Keyes and I see eye to eye on a lot of things. He's got a good piece here on NRO about the Abu Ghraib mess and the appropriateness of the president's response.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
By the way, Paul managed to get both the crib and the mattress into the Saturn yesterday and hauled them upstairs to the baby's room (by hand, of course ;) ) Next step: Assembly!

I just read a fascinating article at National Review Online. It is a profile of the Assyrian Christian representative on Iraq's Governing Council, Younadem Kana. Here's his take on the War on Terror:
"We appreciate the losses of the United States, of those 700 victims — martyrs, we call them — who shed their blood on Iraqi soil. But compare the losses in one year of fighting terrorism to the roughly 3,000 people terrorism killed in America in two minutes. Think of the $84 billion lost in those two minutes, and compare that to the financial cost in Iraq. You have to make these comparisons, and then choose whether to fight the terrorists in the Middle East, and keep yourselves safe, or to fight terrorism here, in your home."

Kana was involved in the resistance movement for decades, and saw many of his fellows (both Christians and other anti-regimists) pay with their lives for resisting Saddam's regime after they were essentially outlawed within Iraq. It is easy for us as American Christians to simply pray for the oppressed and accept that they are called to their suffering (and perhaps we can do little more), but why would/should we oppose governments which use the means at their disposal to put an end to this tragic state of affairs?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Here is a photo of our niece, Marta!

Angie Update

Congratulations to Angie and the whole family on the arrival of (not so) little Luke!

Yay!! We bought our crib and mattress last night! Now Paul has to go pick it up. It was kind of odd- he first set up the transaction for pickup at the Burlington store, which is only half as far from our house as either Durham store, and it told him the crib should be there within 3-5 days, but the mattress wouldn't be there for a month. Then he set it up for pickup at the north Durham store, and they said everything was in stock. We're in Durham a lot anyway (it's about a half-hour drive to anywhere in Durham from our house), so he decided to order it there. Here's hoping that both the crib and the mattress will fit into the Saturn at once!

Monday, May 17, 2004
Thanks, Sis!

My sister was just pestering me for not registering for the crib we decided on at Sears, so I figured I'd send her a link. Lo and behold, when I went to the Sears website and looked up our crib, it turns out it's on sale this week! So we get a pretty dark-wood foot-release crib with good reviews for $100 + tax! I figured there'd be a sale if we waited a little while =] The mattresses are on sale too! We just have to figure out if we can fit this stuff into either of our in-service cars. I'm guessing that the fold-down rear seats in the Saturn could make it a better choice than the Taurus, but I'm not really sure. No wonder people get mini vans with just one kid. Of course, my family always made do with a full-size Ford/Mercury station wagon. You can haul a lot in a '77 Country Squire.

Baby has a dresser! Paul and a church friend picked it up from the antique store this weekend, and I like it more each time I see it =]

Kostya cat has decided that it is the best place for an afternoon nap, which means that the whole house shakes when he jumps down. Well, not really, but when you're in the living room, you can sure tell the difference between a 6-pound-cat-jumping-off-the-bed thud and the 12-pounder-jumping-from-twice-as-high THUD! I hope our house is as sturdy as we trust it to be.

Friday, May 14, 2004
Paul's Birthday Adventure

Well, Paul's birthday was Tuesday, and he opened his small stack of presents while baby and I were at work (of all the nerve!). Paul got a book about fatherhood, a book about Mexican political history, and a fancy-shmancy _Master and Commander_ DVD "from the baby", who seems to have more money than any of the rest of us. Hmmm.

Since he won't tell you his take on it, I'll just have to tell you how wonderfully my brilliant idea worked out! Paul has a friend from his church in Michigan who is currently a senior at my alma mater, Washington and Lee University. Since beautiful Lexington is a mere three-hour drive away, it seemed like a shame that we had never made it to visit Daniel in the three years he's been there (he spent a year in London). And since Paul wouldn't give me any ideas for what he wanted to do for his birthday, and since I'm always hinting (in vain, sadly) that it would be nice to spend a weekend up that way, well, why not? So I e-mailed Daniel, who responded enthusiastically, and arranged to meet him around 4.

Paul was supposed to meet me at home at 1 (he was a little late), and they had about a mile of 86 south of Danville down to one lane, so we got to spend a good 10-15 minutes waiting for the flagman to signal us that we could go, all of which meant that we arrived at the Lee Chapel parking lot closer to 4:15 or 4:20. And Paul got pretty grumpy (by which I mean silent) during the last hour or so of the trip. He doesn't like riding/driving in the car for long periods of time, and it didn't help that he was feeling carsick (a new one on me) and that he figured I was taking advantage of his birthday to achieve my own selfish ends (visiting Lexington!!)

So Daniel was waiting for us and came striding into the parking lot as Paul put on his shoes and tried to suppress a smile ["I guess I didn't marry the most self-serving woman on the planet after all" (?)]. We got to see the new student center, and we went to the music building, where I surprised my piano teacher and introduced her to Paul. She is a very sweet lady, and (of course) an excellent pianist, who is apparently getting her due these days among the music faculty.

Daniel took us by his room, and we had dinner, piled back into the car, and came home (thankfully, with Paul driving this time)! It was a long day, but a good one (at least if you ask me).

Monday, May 10, 2004
I cooked up a birthday surprise for Paul today. Tomorrow (Tuesday- day of doom for my big brother) is his birthday and we are going on a little adventure! Since I didn't plan a proper party for him, maybe y'all could stop by his blog and wish him a happy birthday!

Friday, May 07, 2004
And I thought last week was bad! So, Tuesday a certain worm brought down my company's entire network. We spent the day cleaning our desks and wondering whether they were going to let us leave. Periodically, we'd get a loudspeaker announcement that "progress" was being made, but that there was no estimated uptime. I'm trying to imagine explaining to my customers that I'm making progress on their report, but I don't have any guess as to when it will be done! Of course, I'm sure our tech folks were doing whatever they could not to be at work all night, but it was rather frustrating!

Wednesday, after spending an hour and a half in the basement waiting for them to "fix" my laptop, I had to print out the report I e-mailed out last Friday, which turned into a battle with two color printers in my area, and ultimately resulted in my missing out on any decent seat for my training Wednesday afternoon through sometime later today. In fact, I got to sit behind the two loudest people in the class, one of whom is not even an employee of our company. Today, I should be working on a report due next Friday, but our departmental drive is only read-accessible, so IF I were to work on it over here in training, I'd have to e-mail it to myself, which I can only do now, on my lunch break, because my e-mail is not accessible from the dummy login I need to use to access the training tools.

But whatever. I'm 20 weeks pregnant today! Just 20 wks more to go. Our ultrasound last week was fine, by the way. We didn't want to know the sex of our baby, and the ultrasound tech says she didn't see, although she did refer to the child as "he" after she turned the computer monitor to see where the umbilical cord went in... But I thought it would be a boy anyway; we'll just have to wait to be sure.

So this is a big week for spending money. After our savvy camcorder purchase, we are watching our house change colors. We are getting insulation and Classic Cream Alcoa vinyl siding. Our 1920 cottage has been uninsulated with the exception of the foam we got blown into the attic shortly after moving in. I am sad to see my old clapboards covered up, but $400 gas bills on a 1,350 square foot house (in North Carolina, for crying out loud) are just not acceptable, and we haven't got the money for anything more sophisticated, like liquid ceramic coating or Hardiplank. Next come the crawlspace and its makeshift door (a piece of wood too small to rest around the opening and a large piece of aluminum, with a concrete block for support). Maybe then we'll have enough equity to refinance and (my dream!) install an upstairs bath. At least a half bath! Even some simple running water would be nice.

Monday, May 03, 2004
Baby Marta Update

Please keep our little niece in your prayers. She is apparently not eating well and having reflux problems, and as a result is not gaining weight. Please pray that she can start keeping food down and gaining weight and strength! Thanks.

So, long, tough week at work just finished. I made my deadlines by the skin of my teeth. It wouldn't have been so close, but we had to go for the 19-wk ultrasound Friday AM. And then I decided I deserved to have lunch with Paul. And he decided he deserved to have a nap before lunch. So when I got to work about 1:30, I realized that I still had quite a bit of work to get done that afternoon. Ooops!

So we went to Sears to check out the maple finish Evenflo Jenny Lind crib. It was on display, and looks like it will do fine with my slightly darker rocker and dresser (if we ever get the dresser home!!!). Then I had to look at the other baby stuff, which Paul didn't seem to mind until I started looking at the baby clothes. This he tolerated for as long as I made him, but he let me know he was ready to leave. So eventually, we turned to head out when Paul suddenly said- "Hey- we could look at TVs!" Not that we are at all interested in buying a tv, mind you. So (of course!) I said "Hey, I bet they have video cameras!" and we were off.

Long story short, they were selling the floor model of a Panasonic Palmcorder (regularly $350) for $105. So we did what any responsible expectant parents would do and took that baby home! We declined the 2 (?) year warranty for $125 as well as the longer-term warranties for hundreds more. Being a fairly ignorant camcorder consumer, I was very glad to hear that my dad had bought the predecessor to this model- Dad knows his electronics. So we're rather happy with ourselves today. I mean, a replacement battery for this camera costs $70 by itself! Now we just have to find the right tapes...

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