>of baby stuff

>The baby shower was yesterday, and I think it went pretty well and everyone had fun. I had fun, anyways. :P Brennan and his cousin both are going to have clothes and blankets coming out their ears, lol. I'm wondering if I'm ever going to have to do laundry while he's wearing 0-3 month clothing, lol.

He's going to be well read, too, with David planning on reading him comics and me planning on reading him a good mix of children's and young adult's books.

Lori brought something really cute for him when she came down that I've never seen before but looks like it will be really useful - a Fisher-Price Learning Patterns Play Dome. It's like a play gym and bouncer rolled in to one with a sunshade and net - which will make it absolutely perfect for the beach. I think poor Lori thought I didn't like it at first because I just kind of stared at the box for a while trying to figure out what it was exactly, lol. I've looked at so much baby stuff it's an utter surprise now if there's something I haven't seen before or at least know what it is.

I kind of felt bad about it because it ruined the surprise but I could tell you exactly what stores most of the gifts came from from at Jon and Heather's shower and ours. I feel like a walking store directory. I'm not really sure if that's normal or not for a pregnant woman but I'm guessing it is as I had a lady in Wal-Mart walk up to me rather than the nearby associate in the baby section and ask if they carried "rubber pants" as she was looking for some for her dog, lol. And it's not just like I spend a lot of time in the baby sections of stores but it's also like while my memory in everything else has gone to dust I have gained the memory of an elephant when it comes to baby stuff. Just ask David, lol.

*sighs* I can't wait for Brennan to get here. I'm tired of being in this strange in-between land. Two more months seems like an eternity.

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>a glimpse at the life

>
Home in Box Had Its Problems; Alternative Does, Too - New York Times
The box is as long and low as a frontier coffin, and answers soundly a knock of the knuckles. It has four small wheels and a heavy chain that snakes through a hole on the side and wraps around a “No Standing” sign. Hundreds of neighbors and Little Italy tourists pass it every day, just off a strip of busy lighting stores on the Bowery at Broome Street. They pass the box with barely a glance.

This is a fairly decent article about what it's like for a homeless man living in a box. It's not a sympathy piece but just a look at this guy's reflections on life in the box and life in the new apartment he's moving in to, along with a summary of his background. It's a good article, so I figured I'd share. :)

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>go to Stanford for free… no, I’m not kidding…

>
Stanford drops tuition for some students
In a radical change to its financial aid program, Stanford University will announce today that it will no longer charge tuition to students whose families earn less than $100,000 a year.

In addition, the university will waive room and board fees for students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year.

University President John Hennessy will make the announcement today on campus, university Provost John Etchemendy confirmed late Tuesday.

The university is making the change in the wake of published reports last month that its endowment had grown almost 22 percent last year, to $17.1 billion. That sum had begun to attract attention from lawmakers who want wealthy institutions to do more to reduce tuition costs.

The world just became a slightly better place. :)

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>just in case you’re wondering what’s going on…

>While it seemed like a great idea at first, I have found I'm not too crazy about the whole multiple site thing. First of all it means maintaining two separate blogs and second of all it renders Vixenk.net pretty useless. So I've merged everything back together.

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>*clears throat* amendments….

>I have a new favorite OEM when it comes to laptops.

Move over, Dell. Helloooo, Acer!

I cannot seem to rant and rave enough when it comes to my new Aspire. I honestly was not expecting it to even come close to to touching the hem of the Dell, and it freaking blew it out of the water.

How so?

More features, to begin with - TV out, RF reciever, webcam, high quality surround sound, the ability to be locked, firewire. Smaller and lighter. Much more attractive and user friendly design. Performance - this guy actually has a better motherboard, better graphics, and a bigger hard drive than its Dell twin. Now this isn't the sucker punch... I noticed all of this while I was shopping around online for a new laptop, as I was specifically looking for something that would be a jack of all trades with desktop performance in a small and portable package, and this rang the bell. I was still skeptical though in regards to the quality and how well all of this would fit together.

The quality is so far at least on par with the Dell. The reason I say "so far at least" is because, well, time is the biggest teller of all. As for how everything fits together... holding this is like holding a Macbook more than anything else. Yes, seriously. It is that comfortable. And here's a shocker (considering the OEM is Acer)... the body was designed by BMW. (BTW, what is up with the new trend of having car manufacturers design laptop bodies?)

Now, for one of the biggest surprises of all... the OEM install of Vista.

You know how I feel about Vista already. Did it suddenly get better? No, lol. But Acer did do something that up until now I have only dreamed of an OEM doing.

First of all, a minimal installation of bundled software. There is Norton (initializes on system start up), there is Orion, there is Acer Empowerment (their collection of system config, backup, and restore tools which are all nicely bundled in to a lightweight toolbar that sits on your desktop and initializes on system start up), Acer Arcade (which from what I can tell is kind of like Media Center), a handful of games, a CD/DVD burning application, and of course the registration utility that starts up when you first turn the laptop on. Minus Norton and the games, all the bundled software is actually *useful*, even their Empowerment toolbar, which has marked the first time in my life I've ever found myself using the OEM's system configuration utilities as opposed to what Windows comes with. Also note the LACK of bundled software. I have not found myself spending hours uninstalling useless crap and nag "trial"-ware, which is freaking GREAT!

There is also one more detail, that while small, makes a huge difference. They actually let you make a cd of just the drivers and bundled application software. While I can't say I've never seen this come out of an OEM before, I can say that it is bloody rare. It means no having to download the drivers/software from the OEM's website or "restore" the entire OS just because you need a driver or want to reinstall a piece of software.

Woot!

Now for support. I generally always find something to call support about, if anything just to check out what I can expect from tech support should anything go wrong. They have got the kind of tech support that won't win any awards for customer service or salesmanship but does diagnose the issue correctly, resolve it correctly, and get you off the phone quickly - my favorite kind. :) Although, I must say here that this is the point where I would *not* suggest Acer to a new computer user. Unlike most other OEMs, Acer doesn't go out of its way to pop support numbers and emails and chat in your face, nor does their tech support seem very willing to "babysit" or overly eager to win the adoration of the people that call in. If you don't have an "average" knowledge of computers and/or expect your OEM to really go out of its way to make sure you get tons of "friendly" and "courteous" support, I have a funny feeling you will hate Acer. The guy I talked to sounded and acted quite a bit like a techie and *not* a customer service representative, i.e., he could care less what my impression was of him (he was cordial and that was it), he just wanted to get the issue fixed. I have one request to Acer - please, for the love of God and all that is sane, DO NOT CHANGE YOUR TECH SUPPORT! That includes but is not limited to: moving your call centers overseas, pushing empathy/sympathy/etc. more than average call handling time and first time issue resolution, introducing lengthy call scripts of any sort, pushing your tech support to upsell (or any kind of sell really), and expecting ANY kind of "professional" "business like" "corporate" behavior. This crap does not work, and only serves to piss off both your reps and your customers (that is, the ones that are not... well, we won't go there). Trust me, things are fine as they are, at least from my experience.

Well, that's all I can think of to say for now. I'm happy with my laptop and would recommend it to others. :) Laters!

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>pregnancy safe medications

>I just found this site and it looks pretty helpful.... it's a database of drugs and tells you their safety rating during pregnancy, as well as what trimesters they're safe/unsafe to use during and the possible effects.

Drugs in Pregnancy : SafeFetus.com

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>Packing list for the hospital or birth center

>Today I got sugar, hemoglobin, and antibody testing. We also got to check out one of the birthing rooms in Birth & Beyond's birthing center. No T.V. ;), lol, but I figured as much - T.V. just doesn't matter as much to me as not being forced to lay down on a table with my feet up in stirrups, ugh. :P The room was very cozy and home like, complete with a bassinet for the baby and a nice, big bathtub with whirlpool - YEAH! :D I also found out one of the midwives had a hypno-birth experience and she had nothing but glowing reports about it and strongly encouraged I try it out. It was nice hearing it from someone that had been there. :) I love this place more and more every time I go... I have never in my life been so comfortable with any form of doctor or medical center. It's like this big house full of knowledgeable and friendly women. And they really care. They talk to you like a friend, and treat you like a person as opposed to a patient. Not to mention they are all for doing things naturally.... I love it! I really wish my mom could've had an experience like this when she was pregnant with/giving birth to me, she would've loved it as well, especially considering how much she dislikes doctors/hospitals.

Next up - Rhogam shot!

My latest focus has been on getting our suitcase ready for the big day. I've been using this as a guide on what to pack: Packing list for the hospital or birth center - BabyCenter.

And that's pretty much all that's new. :)

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>yup, she’s back…

>... the b*tch. I came quite close to snapping at Mom today... and I've been crabby with David for the past couple of days...

*sighs*

All I can say is I'm sorry. I don't know why I've been so doggone crabby. It seems like everything, no matter how minor, gets under my skin and drives me nuts.  I know a good part of it is the fact that I feel like I'm falling apart - I can't see, I can't balance, I can't focus, I forget things instantly, I've brought my klutziness to a whole different level I never thought would even be attainable for me, and it just seems like everything I used to be so good at or at least maintain some amount of competency at I FAIL at all the time now. It makes me get frustrated with myself, and then in turn I get frustrated with everyone else because they're either a. trying to help me b. showing me just how incompetent I am or c. rushing and/or confusing me (even though they may not realize that's what they're doing). It's like I have to go one thing at a time slowly be it mentally or physically, without any distraction or else I get confused, and it makes me feel so downright dumb. There's nothing like performing at a level far below what you know you are capable of. I can plan and organize away at everything but it all seems to fall apart when I try to put it into action. Gahhh!

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>hands-free breastfeeding

>Start Here to Learn Babywearing

This site teaches one the art of hands free breast feeding (among other things), and even provides patterns for you to make your own sling. Could come in handy. :)

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>Bottle-feeding basics

>Bottle-feeding basics - BabyCenter

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>the results are in…

>... and the placenta praevia is gone! Yay! :D Brennan is also measuring right where he should at 27 weeks.

He didn't like the U/S tech and got into a breech position to make things tough as well, lol. Although I can't really blame him... the lady was pretty rough, and my tummy was hurting for a while afterwards. I could feel her pressing down on him and him wiggling trying to get away. Why are some U/S techs so gentle and others so rough? :P

Anyways, that's all the news I have for now. 'Til next time! :)

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>hmm…

>Something kind of funny happened today. I got my weekly email from 3dpregnancy, and guess what it was about?

How much I needed to go ahead and get the basics I need for the baby just in case I go in to preterm labor...

Am I on top of the game or what? Woot! ;)

Now I don't feel so crazy for thinking along those lines. :)

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>I can finally relax some!

>Last night we finished getting everything we would need immediately if Brennan were to come early, and now I feel so happy and like I can finally relax. A huge concern of mine was that if he came early we wouldn't have all the things we would need right then and there. Now I'm working on getting everything cleaned up, organized, and put away. My mom has already commented on how sterile this baby is going to be, lol. I have been bound and determined to sterilize everything that comes near him. I just don't want to see his introduction to the world to include him getting down sick. :(

And once again, David is going to be such a great father. I can't seem to stress that enough.

Well, that's all I can really think of to write for now. Laters!

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>“what was lost now found”

>About a week ago (maybe more), I got the surprise of a lifetime.

A message in my Myspace inbox from my youngest half brother. Someone that I haven't had any contact whatsoever with since I was 18 months old and he was 12.

Since then, I've learned a lot about my father and the family on his end. I've started to know my brother beyond being just a face in old pictures. I've also learned a lot about what happened between my father and my mom, and my mom for the first time in my life has really opened up about what happened back then. I've learned that you can actually love and know someone that you didn't think you actually knew anything about.

For the first time in my life, I know what it is to be proud of my heritage - ALL of it, and not just half of it. For once in my life I'm also knowing where all those "quirks" in myself came from that were unheard of in my mother's family.

I also now know what a great man my father was. I wish more than ever now that I knew him, or at least gotten one chance to talk to him before he passed.

I at least do have my brother now. He is a great man as well, and I am proud of him.

I don't really have much more to say. I'm still reflecting on everything that has happened, and everything that I have learned. So I am closing this with a poem that he composed and sent me the other day. In many ways it reflects my feelings as well:
What was lost now found has just realized
the limit captured in potential
since everybody is sort of incomplete anyway

What was lost now found was really always known
just not seen
and the love that was always there never
became a stranger
but a stranger to herself she just realized

What was lost is now found with more strength then I could've imagined

that little 3 year old now grown, now with child
another generation chasin' themselves backwards
like clear water people swimmin' up water falls

What was lost now found has touched my heart all over again
and I can't believe since i

was never really a believer after she left.

What was lost now is found like forgotten inspiration
motivation left by the wayside, steps retraced just to find a new face.

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