Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Toy Story

I think I've always personified various objects that have a purpose, and it somewhat saddens me when they cannot achieve their purpose. Consequently, the movie Toy Story will always have a place in my heart.

These days, that movie seems much more real, as Emelia has dozens of toys, many of which are neglected in favor of others. Kathy collected some of the hardly used ones for giving away, but unfortunately she kept them in a paper bag in the front room, and so Emelia has gone through the bag and "rediscovered" these toys, leaving them strewn on the floor. These toys apparently have their purpose renewed, and will live in our household for another month or two.

Not so one of her Christmas toys, a talking refrigerator that wished to engage Emelia in learning activities. Emelia didn't understand the requests that the toy was making, for example, to find a food item beginning with a certain letter, or if she did, wasn't able to comply. But she enjoyed hearing the earnest voice, and kept going back to it. It was magnetic, so naturally we stuck it on our refrigerator. Alas, the toy was small enough to be carried, and solid enough to really smack against the hard kitchen floor the several times Emelia dropped it -- it took quite a beating in a very short time. Kathy was able to revive it once, but couldn't make it work again the next time, and apparently Emelia started freaking out when Kathy couldn't get it to work. So Kathy put it in the trash, part of an out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach that you can mostly get away with at this age (sorry Josh and Kim, but she really did love it while it lasted). The little lettered food magnets remain on our refrigerator, and Emelia is content to play with them.

I feel badly for the refrigerator, obnoxious though it was -- it "died" unfulfilled. It never got to be played with as it was supposed to be, except when Kathy or I would help put the right object into it for Emelia. It never really got the chance to help Emelia with her letters or food identification. Poor mistreated (though at least not neglected) toy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Innocent Victims of Subprime Lending

I came across this depressing article today, describing the massive increase of abandoned pets as a result of the flood of foreclosures that are happening all over the country.
"[M]ost people grappling with foreclosure are returning to rental housing or moving in with relatives — two situations where it can be difficult or impossible to bring pets."
Shelters and rescue groups are having to turn down pets because they have no space for them. If anyone is thinking about getting a pet, please consider adopting from a shelter rather than going to a breeder or pet store. Especially now.

Junebug, Our "Pound Puppy," Enjoying The Beach (January 2007)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

For Anyone in Need of an Emelia Fix

Here are three photos taken over the last 10 days:

She's growing up so quickly. There's the physical sense -- she seems to have hit a growth spurt in the last month or so, so that she's outgrown many of her outfits ridiculously quickly. She's gotten her molars in, and is finding it much easier to eat foods she used to have difficulty with (today she ate grapes for the first time without us needing to peel or break them up). Plus as these photos show, she's not a baby anymore -- she's truly a little girl.

There's also the mental sense -- she understands so much, and is rapidly improving her communications skills. Her favorite new word is hat, and she's perfectly willing to put anything on her head, be it a pot or a dog bowl, and call it a hat. Another word we hear constantly is "mao" -- she's become a cat fancier, and anytime she sees a cat a big smile appears on her face, and she calls "mao" (she hasn't got the "e" sound in there yet). We've gotten her a couple of toy cats, and on Friday Kathy got her a knit backpack with a cat face on it -- Emelia is smitten with it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's Not About the Money

Today in the mail I got a notice from E-Z Pass that I ran a tollbooth in Maryland a couple of weeks ago. I was livid as I read this, as I know quite well that I didn't run the toll -- either the machine malfunctioned or the attendant didn't signal to the machine that I paid. If I pay within 30 days, there's no fine, so with the stamp I'm only on the hook for $2.41. That means that the rage I felt was way out of proportion to the inconvenience I'm now facing. All the same, I don't think my anger was an overreaction -- this letter all but accuses me of stealing!

The letter also claims that they have me on videotape -- somehow I'd wager that the tape is focused on the red/green light rather than the tollbooth (which may support their accusation), so it doesn't include the interaction that I had with the attendant, or show whether money exchanged hands. It was the first toll on the trip up to Wilmington to get Kathy, and the funny thing is that I remember that particular exchange -- I gave the attendant a $20, and he said all he had were ones. I either said or thought something to the effect, "That's ok -- they're going to be used to pay the rest of the tolls."

So is it worth trying to fight over two dollars and forty-one cents? Given the principle involved, I think it's worth making a phone call before I send the money. But principle or not, it probably isn't worth any more effort than that.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Louise, Inc. Annual Report

When Emelia was less than a month old, I took a photo of Emelia Louise together with her great-grandmother Louise, her grandmother Virginia Louise, and her Mom Katherine Louise. Today we got a chance to get the four of them together in a photo again, and while three of them don't look dramatically different, the littlest one is a lot less little.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


On a Monday about a month ago, I was at home sick. It was recycling pick-up day, and yet again someone had put their recycling in my filled bin, their newspapers and magazines balanced atop my bottles and cans. That particular day was very windy, and the papers and magazines went flying, along the street and into my yard and my neighbors' yard, before the city had picked up my recycling. I spent a good 20 minutes cleaning cleaning up the debris, furious that I needed to do this when I should have been inside taking it easy.

Fast-forward to yesterday, and a plastic bag left by the curb somewhere on our street on another windy day. The bag, filled with styrofoam peanuts, was no match for the wind and was blown into the street, where it was hit by a passing car that tore a hole in the bag. A substantial number of peanuts were scattered, but the bulk remained in the bag, which some well-intentioned(?) soul picked up and placed into my yard. The gusts didn't abate, however, and the bag, now with a significant hole, emptied into my yard. I threw away the bag and what remained inside, but my heretofore plain plot is presently populated by a platoon of pink packing peanuts.

When I got home tonight I borrowed Tom's Shop Vac in the hopes that I could get rid of the peanuts, but the damn things are too big for the vacuum's hose! So they continue to infest my lawn, and it's too cold (and too dark when i get home) to pick them up one at a time.

I figure that right now, a couple of people are running a serious karma deficit.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Yesterday I drove back from Connecticut. Other than a couple of hours in heavy rain, it was an easy drive -- there weren't many cars on the road until early afternoon, and by then I was into Maryland. I made the trip with just the dogs -- with Kathy working Monday through Wednesday, we realized that taking one more day off (today) meant that she didn't have to go back to work until the 7th, and she decided to spend those days with her folks.

So today was the first day back in the office in nearly two weeks. And among all the other things I was doing at work, I couldn't help but notice that I was hungry, despite having eaten a normal sized lunch for me. I guess it's no surprise that all those days of hanging around my in-laws' house, with tons of snack food and sweets readily available (not to mention beers to try), had gotten me used to consuming a lot more than I ordinarily do during the day. And that hadn't been the only source of disruption to my generally healthy eating habits -- during the preceding month, there had been our annual party plus leftovers, office holiday parties, and candy all over the office. And it's a given that I need to revert to my pre-holiday intake pattern ASAP, lest the consequences overwhelm me. So while the hours passed at work, I did my best to avoid the vending machine, all the while conscious of how close it is, and how easy it would be to grab an extra bite. Tick. Tock. Somehow I made it through the workday without any snacking -- success!

When I got home, I ate the last 6" of the Subway sub I'd purchased on the drive home yesterday. Then I had a little bit of the ridiculous amounts of chocolate lying around the house. Then I went over to Tom's, taking a beer and an unopened package of Hanukkah M&M's that my friend Barrett had given me. Tom didn't eat the M&M's, but I did -- I figure I ate about five ounces, plus some cheese and crackers Tom offered up. So much for success. Maybe I'll have better luck tomorrow. Sigh.