lazy people like the holidays too

Santa was good to me this year, if by “Santa” you mean Not So. He got me a sewing machine (I’m thinking of calling her ‘Esme,’ but Not So suggests that it is a boy and should be called ‘Eduardo,’ because we are big, big dorks)(points if you get the ref). He also got me a blender – this was the year of the housewares, apparently – which I’ve been wanting for, oh, ever, and a new camera to replace the one that went all wonky and decided that all colors were purple.

I hear you, by the way. You are saying something to the effect of “A new camera? But you have the D70! You do not need a new camera! Also, children are starving.” To which I reply “Yes. I am obviously part of the problem. Also, I will gladly give them my old Canon, which I hear makes a lovely stew.” I am a firm believer in the point-and-shoot for spontaneous picture-taking moments. Do you honestly believe I am going to lug the D70 every time we leave the house? Because, no. The baby, he is heavy enough. Also, I am lazy.

And the D70, while rocking like a rocking thing in all other respects, does not do video. The little cameras take surprisingly good video clips and are much easier to wrangle than the camcorder. The upload is simple as well – there is no searching for the adapter cable, hooking it up, plugging it in, converting the video. There is just plug. I like things that have only one step.

(All of these, including the self-portrait at left, were taken with the new camera. I am, as always, blisteringly photogenic.)

The new point-and-shoot is a Nikon Coolpix L3. It is very, very wee. Hey! That made a rhyme, and I could follow it with a ditty about how I do not know I am a poet, but I will not. Merry Christmas!

The camera’s great, but it has what I have learned to think of as “Ugly Screen.” That is, everything on the preview screen on the back of the camera is rendered in uglyvision, and it isn’t until the shots are uploaded that it’s possible to tell which ones are good. Also, it handles color in a way that can only be described as “interesting.” I look like a thug in most of the pictures, but my eyes? Very blue. It’s a trade-off. All hail Adobe Lightroom, that’s all I have to say.

It does excellent video, though. I am all about the love for the L3 video. I could compose odes to it, but I won’t, because…lazy. Instead I will let you be the judge: check out the little test video we shot (before we set it to max resolution, even). Also, my kid? Cute.

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slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails

When I was first pregnant with Happy Fun Baby, I knew I was going to have a boy. I knew it. All my dreams were of a little boy, the stupid necklace trick said “boy” – how can anyone argue with such solid evidence?

Several TV hours of Gilmore Girls later, I found myself longing for a girl. I know girls. I get girls. Boys? A baffling collection of hair and muscles and testosterone. I started dreaming about baby girls, little girls, daughters. My list of potential girl’s names started to balloon. I loved the idea of having a girl: nothing against boys, you understand, but a girl made sense to me, having been a girl myself.

Naturally, every armchair psychologist in the house is raising their hand at this point and going “Oooh, me, me!” As a little girl, what had I wanted more than anything? A mother who was, you know, reliably present. Parents who liked each other. Stability. What could be more satisfying than writing over my crappy girlhood by Doing It Better Myself? Little known fact: you do win a prize if your kids still like you when they’re grown. Look it up!

Given all that, the ultrasound in which my child’s gender was unmistakably revealed (wow – that sure is a boy, all right! Either that or he’s got an extra limb!) was somewhat disappointing, and the thing I found most disappointing? The clothes. Boy’s clothes are somewhat unthrilling. My dreams of a tomboyish daughter in stripey knee socks and boots took their reluctant place in my Maybe Later file, and I started thinking about how on earth I was going to raise a son.

Happy Fun Baby answered that question for me the moment he was born. He looked straight at us with his huge, calm eyes and I knew, instantly, that he belonged to us. Not in a sense of ownership, but in the “Oh, of course” sense you get when you solve a problem that seems complicated but turns out to be deceptively simple. Of course this was my baby. Of course.

The best thing a parent can do is give a child the opportunity to be the best they can be. Maybe it’s easier when your child is already so obviously himself. He knows what he likes and what he does not. He’s fiercely independent and just as fiercely attached to us. To me – he thinks I’m just the greatest thing ever, which is weird and cool and satisfying and terrifying all at the same time. Which I think goes to the heart of the Gilmore Girls dilemma – can I live up to being the mother of a boy? Can I do this without screwing it up?

I’m not disappointed anymore that we don’t have a daughter. I can’t imagine anything more perfect than my dancing, raspberry-blowing, meat-eating, singing kid.

Happy first birthday, Monkey.

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snow day

Growing up in California (…mostly) we didn’t get to experience many snow days, but I still get a little frisson of delight every time it snows. Sky confetti! Festive! Plus, in Portland there’s very little chance that, for example, it will snow so long and hard that roads will be unpassable and I will have to trudge through a mile of knee-deep snowdrifts to get to work. (This is especially true now, given that I work from home.)

Today’s flurries aren’t even really sticking, but I have the shades open so I can watch the snow fall. I tried to interest Happy Fun Baby (“Look! Snow!”) but, surprisingly, he cares very little about something he can barely see or understand. Just wait until there’s enough on the ground for snowballs, that’s all I have to say.

Actually, the little one is feeling pretty punk. He woke up every hour or so last night wailing like the world was ending, arching his back and kicking, only somewhat mollified by the usual panacea of nursing. This morning he fell asleep sitting up in the comfy chair, but every time his head tilted back he’d choke a little and wake himself up. Poor Boo. I moved him to the futon and he’s curled up there now, sound asleep, with a look of displeasure on his face.

My diagnosis is a cold, which is probably exacerbated by the fact that he’s teething like a mofo. During our Santa Cruz trip he was regularly soaking through his shirts with drool, and when we got home he got serious about the biting business, going to town on his various teething implements. The odd thing is I can’t for the life of me figure out which tooth is coming through. I suspect molars. I dread molars. It can’t be time for molars yet, can it? (Note: denial. Baby cannot be turning a year old in two weeks. Is impossible. Next question.)

The snow is barely even coming down now, and all the flakes I photographed have melted. It’s okay. I’m still feeling wintry.

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picture perfect

A while back we got sick of our blank bedroom walls and printed out a bunch of pictures on Post-it photo paper. All the pictures heavily featured the color yellow, and I arranged them to have the most visual impact, because I watch too many design shows. This lasted approximately a day, and then the stickum stopped sticking and the pictures began fluttering, leaf-like, to the ground. It was all very autumnal.

This morning Happy Fun Baby found one of the pictures. This isn’t unusual (paper is, in his opinion, the best thing EVER for chewing and I’m constantly pulling paper pulp out of his mouth, even though it’s not like we leave paper out where he can get it, and OMG why would you want to eat paper anyway) but what happened next is: he held the picture out, studied it, and then said “Da!”

I looked, and the picture he’d found was of him and Not So at the playground. “Yes,” I said, “That’s a picture of you and daddy.” He bounced and giggled and kicked his legs so hard he almost fell over.

He’s never really identified a photograph before (and especially not one of these). I tend to take “artistic” photos. It’s all fine and good to look at extreme close-ups or skewed perspectives as an adult, I can only imagine that they’re nonsense to an 11 month old. Except, Da! Da da da da da. Kick.

He held on to the picture for a while longer, staring at it (and kicking) and touching the surface, and then he forcefully handed it to me and watched while I put it back on the wall.

Kids are neat.

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my kind of fairy

At 11 months (well, almost), Happy Fun Baby’s vocabulary is at a whopping four words: “ghee” for “kitty,” “luh” for “love,” “ba” for “ball” and “da” for “yeah.” “Do you want to go downstairs?” I ask. “Da,” says the baby. It’s like living with a little Russian diplomat.

I’m pretty sure yesterday (and today)’s crying jags are tooth-related. A couple of times today the baby has, apropos of nothing, put his hands to his mouth and wailed. I feel so bad for him, but I don’t know what I can do aside from offering snuggles and the occasional dose of Tylenol, which he sucks down like a little addict. Do you remember when medicine tasted bad? This cherry-flavored baby crack is not exactly off-putting. On the other hand, do I want to wrestle with my child before he will take his painkillers? No I do not.

The Code Fairy (aka my inimitable husband, who loves it when I call him a fairy) performed some sort of magic on my Buzzverb site and now it works gorgeously. I’ve posted the second of my 30 Days of Writing Links: if you’re doing NaNoWriMo (or even if you’re not) you should check it out. I’m not collecting all these links for my health, people.

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year (seriously, where would I find the time?) but I am all enamoured of a new manuscripting application. I downloaded the Scrivener beta yesterday, and it is, in fact, all that and a bag of chips. If you write novels, you know that Word is somewhat lacking in its outlining capabilities; I’ve always needed to either print out my notes and ideas so that I can refer to them while writing or have lots of windows open, neither of which is an optimal solution. And changing the order of chapters? Not exactly painless. Scrivener addresses these concerns and more. I’m digging the hell out of it. I may even do some work on the novel I started a couple of years ago and then abandoned in favor of sleep deprivation and mood swings. Er, I mean, parenthood. Stranger things have happened, you know.

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halloweeney goodness

Happy Halloween! We’re not dressing up this year, unless you count the fact that Happy Fun Baby is wearing pumpkin-colored sweatpants. Oh, and I’m going as a frumpy housewife. It’s a costume. No really.

The blogosphere is, as expected, abuzz with seasonal goodness. In addition to seriously cute pictures of wee children in costume, I am currently entertained by The Zero Boss, who is featuring a post from Girl’s Gone Child with an updated, politically-correct version of the trick-or-treat rhyme we all knew and loved as kids. (Man, we were smart-asses as children! You’d think we’d have grown out of it by now, wouldn’t you? At least I don’t threaten to de-pant random passers-by. Usually.) As someone who owns Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (and, er, its sequel), I can appreciate such things. Political correctness is totally a punchline. Didn’t you know?

I almost wish we’d decided to dress up the short person, but at almost 11 months old he’s a bit too young to appreciate the finer points of Halloween: namely, candy. I appreciate candy. I appreciate small, individually-wrapped confections of delicious, chocolate-covered…wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah. Trick-or-treating, and why it’s sort of silly to bring the little one out into the cold and dark to knock on strangers’ doors and beg for treats he can’t have. Which…seems pretty self-explanatory, now that I think about it. Still, he makes a damn cute pirate, even if we haven’t taught him how to say “Arr.”

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lack of creativity = weekend round-up

My creative muscle (which I think is located just below the base of my skull, if the headache is any indicator) has been stretched to the limit this weekend. Not only did I have the beginnings of a final project that kicked my ass all up and down the block, but we’re getting ready to launch both the official couldbe studios site and my pet project (one of them, anyway) copywriting service. And I’m almostalmost done with the site we’re designing for my first client. So: busy! But not too busy to update in list form. I’m never too busy to make lists. Other things I never am include well-rested, conservative, and frugal.

* I finally managed to take my kid to storytime at the library. The verdict? The kid had a grand time, and I really need to work on my social skills. Show of hands: who is surprised by this? Also, there are more hip parents in St. Johns than I would have thought. This is a good thing.

Note: my Cranky Mama flickr account is out of space for this month, so all these pics are from our other account. In case you were confused. Which, I would be.

* I take lots of pictures of my kid. It’s only because he’s so much cuter than anyone else in the world. Except maybe his dad. The two of them together? Cute overload.

* We figured out how to set the shutter speed on the camera. Yes, I know, but who has time to read the manual? I still need to figure out the whole f-stop thing. My photo-geek high-school self is mocking me right now.

* My head has hurt for almost two weeks now. Stupid sinuses.

* Happy Fun Baby figured out how to clap and wave this weekend. His favorite part is getting us to mimic him. Who can resist a baby clapping his chubby little hands together and then looking expectantly at you? The grin he gets when we do his bidding? Totally worth it.

* I have no other bullet points.

Right now the kid and the cat are snuggled up together on the couch, napping. I could take a picture, but I’m not going to. This one I want to keep for myself.

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