Saturday, September 30, 2006

Busy Busy Bones

Sorry about the long delay in posting an update. You may have heard about the business of late in our house... Here's a bunch of stuff:

1) Bella has been adjusting better and better - she's still pretty defiant, but the last few nights have gone much smoother, and she's spending more time being a sweet older sister than a competing baby. We're so proud of her, and of course we know there'll be continued adjustments. But we're here for her.

1a) In the surreal category: Bella said "I'm going to UPLOAD my boots... with FEET!" She'll be a nerd allright.

2) Bella and I had a burrito date the other night, and we met Nick (Soopahman, uncle chicken) out at Guitar Center. This evening Bella played drums very well, watched Nick pound the skins like the pro he is, played keyboards very nicely with both hands going up and down the keys, AND decided to start holding and playing guitars - right now a very rough strum and no fretting, but she was VERY into it. So I think our little instrument are needs a little guitar too!

3) Pamela's actual 40th was a rough day - I had to work from 7 to 7, and it had been a rough night before, so we were a little comatose. I promised to make the weekend better... so...

4) Today we celebrated with Carrie, Scott, Grandma and Grandpa at Ike's for brunch, where we decided that if we NEEDED a one-syllable nickname for Isaac, it could be Ike. We have that out to a committee right now. When we got home, we got a surprise visit from Kari, Rick, Bailey and Ty from Chicago - they came up for 1 day to meet Isaac and celebrate Pamela's B-Day. Pamela was so amazed, she LEPT from her chair, ran to the back of the room with her hands over her mouth, then ran forward to hug everyone, crying with joy. It was a great surprise (that I helped coordinate), and we had a great day with them, running around St Paul, eating well, visiting my old College, Macalester, and enjoying the colors of fall.

5) Right now, Pamela is downstairs with bottles of Veuve Cliquot, two cakes from Caffe Latte, assorted truffles, and 10 good friends who are feting her properly, while I am taking care of the critters. Bella went down an hour back, Isaac is settling down after another bottle. I'm doing laundry, folding clothes, and generally being helpful.

6) Work is crazy, and will only get more so until November. That's all I have to say about that.

7) I'm hearing nice things from people about the BrainReady concept. Thank you all for checking it out!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Different with a Boy

The night wasn't too long: Pamela took the 1 and 3am feedings, I took the 5:30, and stayed up to go to work. The good news is that Isaac is taking his bottle much better - making up for lost time with 2-4 ounce feedings, punctuated with lots of napping. There is no bad news.

We had some mystery soakings: dry diaper with a soaking wet armpit and sleeper somehow? Our neighbor Gwen solved the mystery: You need to position the willy when doing the diapers. AHA! A little different than Bella.

We went to the lawyer's today, and got things going for the formalities... it's sounding like the legal bit will be over relatively soon, but we still need to wait out the 31 day window no matter what. So help us count to Oct 21st, won't you?

Bella remains with Grandma - by her choice! She's having a blast "on vacation" with the Grandparents, and we'll get her back tomorrow...

The neighbors are parading through, all very excited! And people at work were beside themselves, looking at the pictures and hearing the stories... People they do love the babies.

I can't blame anyone for thinking BrainReady isn't as exciting as a little baby and all... ;->

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Isaac's not the only thing happening these days. I was hinting a few weeks back about a project Paul and I have cooking.

It's ready. is the link. It's a cooperative effort: The total concept is both of us, but I make the BrainFlex worksheets, and Paul does the Podcasts.

Just check it out and let me know what you think!

Isaac Nikolai Aleksei

That's his name! Here's the breakdown:

Isaac is for Asimov (Genius), Hayes (Soul), and Mizrahi (Taste and Sass).
- Isaac Asimov was a famous science fiction author in the 20th century, very prolific and renowned for his mensa-qualifying intellect.
- Isaac Hayes wrote the theme from Shaft, and many other funk opuses in the 1970s. His 1990s detour as the voice of Chef in South Park and his conversion to Scientology are hopefully not indicators of future paths for our Isaac.
- Isaac Mizrahi is a clothing designer and talk show host, who is very sassy and stylish. His sass rarely goes to the side of mean...

Nikolai: A double on this. First off, Nick has always been a favorite name of mine, much as Isabella was an "always favorite" of Pamela's. Secondly, Bella's Uncle Chicken (aka Soo-pah-man, aka Nick) is a good friend and a surrogate member of the family, so he's a good person to be named after.

Aleksei: This is a nod to his older brother Alexander, who passed away in 2000.

Today has been a whirlwind: The night was punctuated at 2 hour intervals by mister squawker... It was easy to fall back into the habit. Bella woke up this morning and was very annoyed that we had moved Isaac back into our room for the night. She wheeled the bassinet back into her room and slammed our door.

Pamela and Bella went off to church this morning, and spent some one-on-one time. When they returned, Auntie Carrie was visiting... then Anne and JeMae and Jenny came by, and Bella got VERY envious of the attention her best friend was giving to Isaac, and we had a full blown regression - baby talk and pouting. That eventually blew over and the girls were able to play for a while. Bella really is being a good sport, but this is bound to be hard!

Bella is back with Grandma and Grandpa for the night, who will take her to school tomorrow, mostly so that we can get in to see the lawyers right away and not have to worry about finding things to do with Bella.

I did send the notice out to my coworkers... and one wrote back with a cute bit of verse incorporating all of our project phases into the rhyme! Alas, with only 18 days to go before we go live, and up to two weeks of 24-hour support after that, I will not be able to take a whole lot of time off... we'll be counting on our family and neighbors to help us make it through!

In all, day two with Isaac is going very well: Right now, we have no visitors, Bella is off with grandma, Pamela and Isaac are having a nap on the couch, and all seems right in the world.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

It's a boy!

As you know, our little Isabella came to us via Adoption some four years ago. Last October, Pamela and I finally got our act together to get "back in the book" to be eligible. No nibbles for 11 months, and we started getting ready to re-up our adoption eligibility for another year.

Thursday AM, I packed Pamela off to a spa in Arizona. Thursday NIGHT, I got a call: A baby had been born, the birthmom had picked US from the Adoption book, and are we interested? Several hours of panicked attempts to reach Pamela ensued. She was enjoying the desert, the dinner, the skies... her Cellphone didn't work out there, and she hadn't been to her room... Finally at 10:15, she called, and we decided to move forward.

Friday we got a little more information: a boy, 6lbs 9oz, 20" long, healthy, mixed race (1/4 african american, 3/4 caucasian). The mom is 18, and is VERY firm that adoption is what she wants. Both Pamela and I spoke with the Birthmom, and she was very sweet. By Friday night, we knew this was going to happen.

Today, Pamela got an early flight (3 days early)... Northwest was relatively helpful in rebooking her. The Spa was wonderful - they let Pamela out of her reservation without any penalty and heartily wished her luck.

Pamela wasn't due to get home until 5pm, and discharge was NOON today. Fortunately, Isabella was with Grampette, and Dad came with me, chauffeuring the Jag. We picked him up in the same room of the same hospital we got Isabella at almost 4 years earlier. While I waited for Pamela's flight to arrive, people came and visited us, and I had a very nice hour of napping with him on my chest - it was like a dream.

When Pamela and Bella came home, I got to see BOTH of their reactions at once, and it was fantastic! Bella took to the boy immediately, insisting on holding and feeding him, she pushed his bassinet into her room, and kept watch on him until her eyelids finally gave way to gravity. I think she is really loving this. Pamela has now taken the boy on her lap as she calls friends and family.

We don't have a name for him yet, but we're working on it. And given the way adoption works, there is some risk for 1-2 months where the birthparents can change their minds, but after we weather that, it'll be totally done. For that reason, we're not saying that this boy is a "baby brother" to Bella: We're saying that we're "babysitting" until things get finalized.

So that's what I've been up to this weekend!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Oof... crazy buffet.

I can't say what has possessed me, but I have now gone to CRAZY BUFFET three times in a row. Day one, it was me checking it out. Day two, we had 45 minutes to eat, and I brought one co-worker. Mongolian BBQ loaded with Peapods and Broccoli. Day three, we had 40 min to eat, and I brought two more. Day three I did not get the Mongolian BBQ.

I do not believe I will be going to CRAZY BUFFET tomorrow.

Pamela's iMac has AGAIN died: This is just a terrible computer, and I have vowed that this machine will not grace our counter again. This is its fourth death (third related to hardware), and horribly atypical of my Apple customer experience. It's 2.5 years old now... but come ON. Fortunately, after my experience back in June, I've been a total nut about backing up, so everything's there. I mean, I'm a total Apple evangelist, and this just irks me. When Pamela comes back, a different computer will be on her counter.

"Comes back?" you ask? Ah yes, Pamela is turning some special year next week, and to celebrate, I'm sending her off by herself to a spa in Arizona for 5 days. I used miles to get her there and back in first class (thank you flight attendants for NOT striking - I owe you one!)... And she'll have healthy activities and spa-liciousness to keep her occupied. I do NOT believe she will be attempting to learn any languages, nor any sudokus, nor crosswords.... we're just a little different.

I'm tapping into the wide area network to help with Bella, from neighbors and playdates to Grampette and overnights... and of course LOTS of one-on-one time with just the two of us. It'll be wonderful.

Monday, September 18, 2006


It's been a while since I've talked about food (forgetting for a minute my obsession with Egginahole). So here goes.

In the months I've been at my current client, I've had a hankering for chinese food which has gone unsated. There's a suspicious place 100 feet away called "Panda" which never seems open, and the one time I did see it open, there was a single grim man inside. Panda seems doomed, and I'm not the one to help them. Sorry Panda.

But with some interest, I saw a sign a few weeks back in a strip mall 5 min away from work: "CRAZY BUFFET COMING SOON!!!!" My mind danced with what this crazy buffet could possibly entail. Well, they opened, and let me tell you, it's crazy. CRAZY EXCELLENT.

Here's what you get: Mongolian BBQ (you pick the ingredients for stirfry basically), sushi, salad bar, authentic chinese food (Shu Mai, potstickers, ribs) thai food (coconut curry shrimp, chicken), american chinese food (general tsos, sesame chicken, mongolian beef, Dan noodles, etc), american food (corn on the cob, fried chicken, bbq ribs, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes), desserts (cream puffs, pie, jello cubes, fruit), beverages, ice cream.... and so much more. There were 6 hot steam tables, 2 cold, the BBQ stand, the freezer...

The place is HUGE and clean, the waitstaff all wear red imperial dragon brocade jackets and keep everything clean and fresh...

AND it all cost $6.70 with tax. COME ON PEOPLE. In was in and outta there in 30 minutes. And it was DELICIOUS - at least better than any of the chinese buffets I've been at recently. This stuff's not going to win any world records, but it's very passably good. My stir fry was loaded with peapods, and the sauteed green beans were dee-lish too (yes, I did try to eat somewhat "well" there).

I know this is the new "fad" in chinese food eateries - there are a few others in town (China Moon is one), and I know they're in other cities too... but there is only one CRAZY BUFFET, and it is MY CRAZY BUFFET.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Updates

1) As we were driving to Grandpa's house this morning, Bella saw a sidewalk all ripped up, and said - "uh oh: Sidewalk Closed" I asked her how she knew, and she said "It says it on that sign there". I looked over, and sure enough, a big orange sign saying "Sidewalk Closed". "Did you READ that?" I asked....

"Yes... you know I CAN read SOME things, Daddo. I can read books to Jenny too." Remember, not yet 4 years old, this girl.

Grampette was noticing that she's already moving to the top level of a memory/matching game she bought(3 levels provided, intended for up to age 6, and she's now bored with level 2). She's sort of alarming me... in a good way.

2) This morning, I did another Egg-in-the-Hole experiment: Olive Oil, not butter or bacon fat... and it was wonderful. And it didn't taste nearly as heavy/evil. Bella asked for a bite, then had me make HER one, which she ate almost all of. She really liked it!

Tuning the recipe: I think I need thinner bread (I'm using thick english muffin toast) because it's hard to get the center solid without burning the bread... The experiment continues.

3) My work is sadly invading my dreams. My reassuring green LED from the smoke detector has turned into an automated testing planning device, which grills me on exactly what order things need to be done in for my project. Bella cried out in the middle of the night, and in my dream, it was my security coordinator asking me for user lists and passwords. I'm not sure if Pamela heard me say "can't this wait until the morning, Julie?" The other night I woke up convinced I had dozed off at my desk and was getting out of bed to get to my meeting... when Pamela woke me up and reminded me it was 2 AM.

4) This is the week Pamela goes off to her Spa weekend for her (mumblemumble)ieth birthday... And we have fully synchronized schedules between my work and Bella's classes... And out of it I get a night off/out too, so here's hoping there's another "LDG" evening (The League of Distinguished Gentlemen).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Islands of sanity

Right away this week, it's been 10-12 hour days with my golive still on-target for 10/12. The mini joys and defeats are all blurring into a manic buzz, and I'm finding myself just tapped.... but I'm trying to find time. I've almost blogged little frustrations from work, and honestly, they come and go too quickly...

One thing that IS important: When I leave too early, I don't see Bella, because her mom is teaching her the fine art of sleeping in. On those days, i must come home at dinnertime, and I want to put her to bed. When I leave LATE, and have my breakfast with Bella, I can work a little longer into the evening if needed.

Today was an early day: I got up before 5 so I could work out (because exercise is also keeping me sane), and got home at 6pm... and Bella and I got a date night out: Burrito Store, Guitar Center, and Barnes and Noble. By Barnes, she just wanted me to carry her... and when we got home, she asked to go straight to bed, no stories please, just cuddles. It was a wonderful evening.

I'm trying to figure out what to do for Bella's music love: She said today she wants a keyboard, a drum set, and a guitar, and yes, she'll learn how to play them all. She's actually getting pretty decent on the drums at Guitar Center. I'm thinking perhaps a little Band Space in the basement, with keys, drums, and a guitar all at kid height, run through a little stereo (not too loud), and the neighborhook kids will all form a band! The guitar needs to be red or pink - that's for sure.

One final detail: As Pamela had been painting Bella's room, we had her moved into her old room... for the last 4-6 weeks. The goal was to keep her there until the room was totally done, so that Pamela could paint in the evenings. But for over 3 weeks, there hasn't been movement on that front, and tonight Bella in her sleepiness asked very nicely if she could please sleep in her big girl room because she's a big girl and she likes her room so much.... I couldn't say no.

I just need to figure out what to tell Pamela... ;->

Sunday, September 10, 2006

That Additional Info

To make Egg in the Hole: Take a hot greased pan - buttered, or you can use SOME of the leftover grease from making bacon (not all of it for god's sake). Take a small juice glass and cut a circle out of the center of a piece of bread.

Put the bread into the pan. Then crack a single egg into the hole. Let firm up a bit and crisp (like a good grilled cheese), then flip the whole thing over.

The egg fills the hole and fuses with the bread. The whole thing is crisped up, and you can pick it up and nibble on it - no need to use a fork and knife!

Perhaps it could be done with olive oil? Bacon grease is probably a bit heavy.... but that's how Papa likes it, so i figured I'd try it.

And that's the detail I'm SURE you've all been clamoring for.

Egg in the hole...

It was another Jenny and Bella overnight last night, and the squirrels were again a pleasure to have together from 9am Saturday to 9am this morning. This time out, they were a little more "visible" than usual - we had to intervene a few times and lead activities. This may be because both of them started up their school this week, and may have been just a little tired out. Bella was playing "Baby" a lot, and horror of horrors, she found a secret Pacifier cache in the house, and was pacifier baby. I have no idea where those came from...!

Even though I was invited to another BodyJam practice session, my daddy skills were so much in demand that I DID NOT GO to the wonderfulness. If that can even be believed. (To be fair, I did get my weights workout in... this would have been extra. And at the morning workout, they put me front and center in class and really worked on my technique - I got a brutal workout! I told them I really don't like attention at all, and that I was very shy. RIGHT.)

Daddo and the squirrels went to the car wash, and to Petsmart (to look at adoptable kittens - breaking my heart - and get fish food, as well as advice as to why our black goldfish suddenly got religion and turned gold (the answer: "Dunno")). Then to Target's cafeteria for Mac and Cheese and Cinnabon pretzed... such horrible decadance. I think Pixy Stix are actually better for you than Cinnabon. But the girls loved it.

Pamela worked on flowers for Alexander for church (we do this yearly around this time), and we went to the sanctuary as she set it up: We played hide and seek in the pews for over an hour while Pamela arranged the flowers. Here's what she was doing -

An 8 foot rod, hanging horizontal around 10 feet up across the back of the stage. Divided into thirds - the right and left third are shades of blue and violet ribbon forming a cascade. The middle third has some blue ribbons, but it mostly made up of white ribbons with small vials tied into them at 9-12 inch intervals (staggered) and in each vial is a white flower (snapdragon or rose). It's like a techno flower waterfall. Simply the most innovative arrangement I've ever seen constructed.

Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory - We tried to eat well, I had grilled salmon, Pamela a salad, the girls split a pizza... And the Apple store had no 24" iMacs for me to drool at, alas. Off to bed, and the girls had a harder time than usual winding down, but were asleep by 9 nonetheless (as was Pamela!)

This morning, the girls slept in to 7:45 and demanded pancakes immediately. We obliged. I also made bacon and Egg in the Hole (or Eggie in the Basket as it was referred to in the movie "V for Vendetta") I've never had this dish, but Evie sure seemed to love it in the movie, so I wanted to try it. AND IT WAS DELICIOUS. But now I'm feeling very logy from all of the grease and need to relax for a little while. As I was eating the egg-toast treat I was stating proudly that "I'd never eat eggs any other way". I think I can back off of that statement now. "Egg in a Hole is a Sometimes Treat."

It's been a good weekend so far!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Movie Report

In my life, there have been a few movies that for one reason or another I have not been able to finish. Usually, it's been the third movie of a night and I'm just too tired...

Unlike many people, I don't take not finishing a movie lightly. My mom in law is a total movie sleeper. I can't even wonder what percentage of rented movies she can claim to recall the ending of. No, for me, a movie is a sacred trust: If they're going to make it, I'm going to watch it whatever it takes.

The following movies are my hall of shame:

- XTRO: The not-so-friendly extraterrestrial. Rented no fewer than 5 times before I actually saw the end of it. Oh god why did I even bother. Such a terrible Alien ripoff with hints of ET.

- Videodrome: Rented 4 times before I saw the end. That was actually pretty interesting.

- Scanners: Rented 3 times, have not seen the end, as far as I can recall.

- Crocodile Dundee: Rented once. Have not seen the end.

- Dream a Little Dream: Rented once. Gave it 20 minutes before the Coreys wore out their welcome.

- The Libertine: No guilt about this one. You read my review a few weeks back.

- THX1138: Tried twice back in the late 1980s. FINALLY watched the new re-release tonight and loved it. George Lucas actually CAN make a good movie.

And that's the story.

(PS - Pamela asked what movie I was watching: I said "THX1138". Without knowing what that was, she just said "that sounds like a movie I would not be interested in". She knows her taste, that lady. And she's right in this case. It it was about two robots in Victorian England who are afraid to show their emotions because they come from different social classes, with lots of dropping on cyber-hankerchiefs and techno-bustles, perhaps. But as for dystopian futuristic psychodramas, meh, not so much for the Pamela.)

Fragile Flower

Poor little Bella has had so much this week, she's been a bit bruised as a result:
- Lots of activity last weekend with PapaBam in town, lots of Freddie the Dog, and lots of Daddy being around.
- Then Tuesday, Daddy's back to work, Papabam are gone, and Jenny got sick...
- Wednesday she was under the weather herself, and stayed in her PJs the whole day!
- Thursday, she went to swimming (with a great new teacher) AND a new Spanish preschool class (with Mommy - we'll be a spanish speaking house soon enough!)
- Today, she had her first day of preschool. And when she walked in, her favorite spot on the carpet was taken, and she just stood and cried. But by the end of class, she was right back in the action!

The past few nights, with all of these changes, Bella has had a rough time going to sleep - she's been on her way down, and then wakes back up suddenly full of sadness and concerns: They changed the playground at school, replacing the rocks with a spongey surface and she misses the rocks. Georgie said something. Daddy wouldn't read a 5th book for bedtime. Mom didn't do something exactly right... all very dramatic and tragic stories, with whole body wracked sobbing.

And sadly, when she would rev up with her concerns, she'd demand Mommy to help her out - Daddo just wasn't cutting it. So the week was a little long for me too...

Today, as she played in the neighborhood, she pretended that the Arm Eating Monster had eaten her arms (as it is wont to do) - and she pulled her arms into her dress. Then she decided to run away from said monster (despite the fact it had got what it needed - her arms). Of course, she tripped on the driveway and fell straight down, unable to catch herself with her arms (which were trapped in her dress).

Not to worry, nothing broken, nothing chipped, nothing too scraped. But her forehead and nose got a bit scraped up. I'm calling her Rudolph the Red Nosed girl.

But tonight, she was all cuddles and ready to snuggle down to sleep with Daddo, and it was just wonderful. I'm looking forward to a fun weekend with my little Rudolph.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Back at it.

After a nice weekend, Papa and Bam are back in Chicago, driven this AM by their kind chauffeur (that would be me). I got to work around 7 and slogged through to 5:30 - the days are chock full of stuff to do every day, and I can't see it slowing down.

Had an odd thing: We were scrambling for a "freeze" on the 11th - get it done. That would give me two weeks to prep before we do the pre-release to limited users. But my math says we need less than a week for prep. So I figured I could do my freeze on the 18th, give my people one more week....

I wasn't sure if they were going to kill me or kiss me. I wonder if I shouldn't have just held that reveal off for a few more days... ah, it would have been 50-50 either way. No pleasing folks. Not insanely stressed folks who are running to a deadline i suppose.

Bella loved having so much attention this weekend - Papa and Bam were here, we saw auntie Carrie and Scott and Freddy the Dog, and others.... Last night, near bedtime, Bella said "I have an idea - let's go over to Auntie Carrie's house and see Freddy the Dog!". We said it was a bit late to be going out. She said "Ok, let's call Carrie and see if she can bring Freddy OVER right now!" She loves that Boston Terrier.

As we were bedding down, Bella said: Daddy, your whiskers are scratching my pillow". Yes, I said, they're definitely scratchy whiskers. "Like a CAT's whiskers" she said. "But Daddy, can you please NOT scratch my pillow with your whiskers?" Why? "I don't want you to leave big black marks on my pillow." I'm still trying to figure that out... Maybe she thinks I draw them on with markers through the day?

Last night was fun: Uncle Chicken came by and regaled us with stories of his travels: His adventure in Scotland last month (distillery tours, yes. Haggis for breakfast, check), and story of a wedding in Seattle last month where he was relentlessly pursued by an elderly drunken Japanese man who was convinced that Nick was Superman (or "SoopahMAN!") and was insisting that Nick fly out next spring to see Sakura, marry his Granddaughter, and eat a special Japanese Radish. All this is true. He had us in stitches - we've wondered what Nick will finally do in life, and I think he needs to go have his adventures and tell the world about them. He should be blogging.

An early bedtime, as I need to get up and do my 6am workout: There aren't very many of us at 6am (usually 3, sometimes 5), and I have been so vocal in my love for the timeslot that they're expanding it to TWO 6am classes a week... but if I miss one, I feel like I'm letting the whole "early morning" cause down, and they'll just cancel them outright. I need to keep the faith! Also, it's a great way to wake up! But it's a lot of pressure, no?

Finally, some Japanese: When you enter someone's house you say "ojamashimasu" which translates to "I'm going to trouble you now". In such a polite society, you're apologizing just for walking into their house. I love the insanity.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Minor Details

1) As Bella tried to wind down to sleep tonight, she revealed a few concerns:

- There's a purse that looks like a watering can that she wants, and she cannot understand why we haven't got it for her yet (hint - BIRTHDAY planning). But she says she's worried that by the time we DO say yes, they'll be all out of them - that everyone will have one but her.

- She's VERY concerned that even IF we got it for her, the FISH might say no, and she'd have to return it. We tried to explain that the Fish have very little say in household decisions... but it took some doing.

- A few weeks back, she dropped a tiny piece of plastic into the drain of the shower, and whoosh, it went away. She was inconsolable. And even weeks later, she is still leery about taking showers, let her precious toys get sucked into the nether. Tonight as she fell asleep, she decided that IF we got an Elephant in, he could stick his trunk down the drain and suck the toy back out.

2) Last week at the lake, Bella asked me if I could cut the tag off of one of her dolls. I said "Sure... I just need a mushroom. I mean scissors" But the damage was done. Pamela heard, and I'm afraid that scissors have become mushrooms in our home. And I don't know why I said mushroom. Why did I do that?

3) I just realized that what with the extra workout today, I exercised for around 2.5 hours today, and I'm not collapsing. Wow.

The Golden Ticket

Papa and Bam are here, and we went off to the State Fair yesterday. for the first time, we went EARLY in the day - 8am out the door, 8:30 arrival. We had breakfast, and got into the miracle of birth barn right away (and yes, it was amazingly crowded even at 9am - we just loooove the baby animals, I guess.) Since you never know when a cow will start calving, they have greatest hits playing on huge 42" monitors hanging from the ceiling, so you had people clustered watching the miracle of birth, while it was actually quite easy to cozy up and visit with the miracles themselves (the newborn calves).

After the barn, we went to see the animals. In previous years, we'd hit these barns around 6pm. Seeing it at 9am is much different. For example: In the poultry barn, the roosters were all CROWING non-stop. It was a glorious cacophony. I halfway want a few roosters in the house just for the sound. One of my favorites was an ENORMOUS rooster, who crowed with a lusty, throaty warble, not unlike Fat Albert or Louie Armstrong. I got a little video of it.

The rest was standard State Fair story - lots of food consumed, Bella ate TWO corn dogs, was a bit relaxed in her stroller for the day, wasn't into the rides too much (just 4 rides, thanks), and dozed off near the end. We were home by 4:30, and many of us napped, while Papa and Bella did a project - making a cardboard house for small ceramic figurines.

A highlight for me at the fair was watching the nerdy teens cutting rugs on the Dance Dance revolution machines - there is a variant which was very scary - not just front, back, right, left, but a middle square, AND a whole second board you need to dance across to. 10 different dance pads to fast fast techno music.

I was pleased to note that the song that Bailey and Tyler were hooked on when they were up here (Roll over Beethoven) was selected quite frequently by the superdancers. So that's that cool song. (I'll also comment that Bella STILL dances like a maniac any time we put on that Butterly song from DDR... she gave us quite a show today).

In the evening, Bella went to a B-Day party and had a blast. I went out to meet a friend of a neighbor's who is in town from Finland and wants to know about the IT Job Market in town to see if he wants to move back. We hit it off well, chatting for a good half hour beyond when the neighbor had to leave. We may keep in touch!

Today, I went off to my AM weights workout (I had ramped down in the past weeks - once a week for 2 weeks, then a 10 day break - I'm right back to square one really). But it was very fun, and they asked if I had time this afternoon to come back for a practice session....

My little workout place is starting something called Body Jam, which is just dancing based, with some jazz moves, some hip hop style (yes, there is "crumping" as well as something called "chicken wings"), and lots of wiggling of hips. For 90 minutes, it was non-stop dancing (usually it's 60, but we had 30 min of learning basic steps). I LOVED IT. It's going to be in regular workout rotation in 3 weeks, and I can hardly stand it the waiting. I felt very uncoordinated and TRES BLANC, but mark my words, I will be a funky creature by the end of this!

I felt very happy to have been invited to the preview, and i really felt like I had won a golden ticket (see: Willy Wonka).

Tonight we're off to dinner out, and then a relaxing evening in (I'll probably work on my secret project a little).