if by carnie you mean carnivorous

Had an unexpected attack of must eat flesh or I will die yesterday. After enjoying a spectacular medium-rare steak (Foreman Grill FTW!), I retired to the restroom, where – wouldn’t you know it? – I started my period. Iron cravings, anyone? I mention this primarily to illustrate that I appear to have gotten back in touch with my body (dirty!), but also because it’s been far too long since there was any TMI in this blog.

Currently I’m eating After Dark Chocolate ice cream (the best freaking ice cream ever, for serious) and trying to find tax stuff. I’m taking Tuesdays and Thursdays as “light” work days, so of course I’m working like a mad person. Seriously, internets: WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? Can I not take time off? Can I not prioritize? And it’s not like I was ultra productive today, either, what with my gmail being all wonktastic (the topbar is all improperly aligned and it drives me insane, it does) and my BlackBerry insisting that I have messages when I do not. But still. (I did update the portfolio section on the couldbe site, finally, so that if people go there they can actually, you know, see what we’ve done. Novel!)

I did spend some time this afternoon just hanging out with the kid. No TV, no computer, just us and the great urban outdoors. Then I dressed him up in Cranky gear and took pictures.

yodel shirt!

Next, I need to update that site. Maybe next Tuesday?

these words don’t write themselves

keyboard Taking a break from the novel, seeing as I’m premenstrual and liable to begin using the delete key in a decidedly unhelpful manner. A long time ago I figured out that my creativity is cyclical, and trying to force it along is always, always a huge mistake.

Besides, I’ve got work projects galore, and happily THAT sort of creativity is pretty much always on tap. My logo project is coming along nicely, and the new ecommerce client promises to be more fun than kittens. And kittens? Are a lot of fun.

I’ve got a great idea for the redesign of the Cranky Pals site, too. Because CLEARLY it needs another facelift. Pretty much since I stopped rearranging the house at regular intervals or dyeing my hair a different color every six weeks, I’ve been pouring my energy into website redesigns. It’s a sickness. But hey, it gives me something to do, right?

Speaking of, I turned neumanbeck.com into a Tumblr page (redirect isn’t live yet, but it’s here) and gave it a lovely custom skin. This is how I spend my free time, people. This, and gossip blogs. (Hey, it’s research.)

visual-free since ’93*

I was going to post a picture, but I’m on Not So’s laptop, which means I’m only using one browser, which means – you really want to hear this? Okay – I’m not logged in to Flickr under my Cranky Mama alias, so I can’t grab the code for the image I want. The short version is “because.”

Today I went to the office, where there is STILL NO BLOODY INTERNET, and spent the day stitching together the various and sundry body parts of a new batch of Cranky Pals. Then I came home so I could work some more! My life, you wish it was yours. Also, I wore unflattering jeans, but that’s okay since I haven’t exactly been feeling like a sex beast, what with the death in the family and the…death in the family. Yeah, weirdly, that’s not hot. I was surprised too.

The kid is currently sleeping on my chest (I’m in bed, which is the beauty of using the laptop). You will note that is is 9pm; he’s been out since 8. Miracle? Why yes, if you call the Great Nap Boycott of 2007 a miracle. At least it means I can get some work done without anyone jumping on my head. Yes, cats, that means you.

*…not really. But it made me giggle, so it stays.

happy babies need naps

Happy Fun Baby did not nap yesterday, exactly. He dozed on me while we were on the bus back from our playdate at Urban Grind (and Urban Grind = my new favorite place anywhere ever, and we had a blast) but historically his transit naps have been somewhat unsatisfying. I kept trying to entreat him to snuggle with me on the couch, but he was having none of it…which was really too bad, since I needed a nap too.

It wasn’t until nighttime that the full ramifications of He Who Will Not Nap were in evidence, and they were not pretty. Meltdowns! Tantrums! Hungry! But not hungry, why are you trying to make me eat food, I HATE FOOD! And then a nice, long interlude in which the baby was in the bed, and yet not so much with the sleeping. A long stretch. Did I mention long?

At 12:30am, the kid finally fell asleep. 12:30am. Need I mention that I had to be awake that whole time too? Awake, and immobile, lest my slightest twitch disturb his already nonexistent rest? By 12:30 I was completely stir-crazy and not at all tired, and my hives – which I thought were on the mend, after popping Benadryl like a crazy Benadryl-popping person the night before – were back with a vengeance.

Not So was snoring next to the baby, so I left them both there and got up to do some work on the couldbe studios site. See, because I’d been working on it earlier despite Not So’s indifference to the TABLE-BASED LAYOUT OMG and UNTHRILLING GRAPHIC SCHEME and LACK OF LICKABILITY, and the only thing he’d expressed a definite, emphatic opinion on was the one thing I wanted to avoid: the illustration. Says me: okay, so. A photograph would be fine, right? Says Not So: Oh, an illustration. We need to show that we can do custom illustration, right? Plus, so much cooler! (I’m paraphrasing. Or am I?)

Illustrations take time. Lots of time. Time I currently spend trying to convince an eighteen-month-old that he does, in fact, need to sleep sometimes. However, now that the toddler was sleeping and I was, to put it delicately, not, I figured I’d take advantage of the evening by seeing how far I could get on the illustration before my eyes started to cross. I surprised myself; I was done in two hours. (Amazing how much faster I work when no one is pulling on my wrists or helpfully clicking buttons on my mouse.) So, couldbe site done, yay!

Except boo, because my hives were all hivetastic and so itchy I could cry. I went to bed, but kept waking up to find that I was scratching like a mad fiend, which didn’t help the itch but added a nice, bracing sting. When Not So’s alarm went off at 7, I gave up on the whole sleep thing.

The good news is that the hives seem to have faded, again. The bad news is I’m hopelessly behind and pretty tired, to boot. And the kid?

Hasn’t napped yet today.


fist full of cranky

Man, I’m in a bad mood today. You know those days where everything seems to be arranged in a perfect tableaux of pissing you off? I couldn’t even find the floss. Clearly all my teeth are going to fall out now, which would be the perfect end to a perfect morning, and also prove that I have deeply prophetic dreams, especially if they crumble while still in my mouth. Dude, you’ve all had that dream, right? It’s such a bastard. I always forget what it means, too, aside from you are a crazy person who needs to floss.

Anyway, enough of all that. I will tell you about other things. The kid, for example! The kid is enormous now, all long legs and big grins and the very beginnings of actual speech, much of which involves either “Go!” or “More!” He’s ridiculously musical, which is baffling, given that Not So and I are…not. I wouldn’t use the words “tone deaf” to describe us, but you could, and we probably wouldn’t correct you. Not So does play a mean harmonica, though, so perhaps that gene just got passed on with interest. Plus, you know, my dead brother was all sorts of musically inclined, so you never know. The kid, though, he thinks everything is an instrument. He drums on boxes, strums his wooden sword like a guitar, and blows on puzzle pieces like they’re horns. You have not lived until you’ve seen him bouncing in front of the TV, watching Dan Zanes and strumming along on his sword.

The weather report said it was going to rain today, but it looks pretty shiny outside to me. We’re at the office, trying to get some work done before heading back to the house and trying to get more work done, plus laundry. The good news is we finally (finally!) have internet at the house, so working from home is decidedly more productive. The Covad people came out and hooked us up on Monday, and I celebrated by staying up until 3am working on all the projects I’ve had on the back burner for the past month. Because (and I know you will be shocked by this) it is not entirely productive to go to the office, frantically download everything that I might need for a project, transfer it to the ipod, bring it home, get it all uploaded to the home computer and then try to blindly make changes without being able to check to see if they’re working. And then bring them back to the office the next day to start the process again. I did that for a month. A month! And the fact that I managed to get anything done at all is testament to my extreme refusal to let something like lack of web access get in the way of web design.

But now I can work from home again, joy of joys and all that. I have to admit that part of me is a little disappointed that I no longer have an excuse to sit and read a book in the evenings anymore (because I couldn’t work anyway, not if I had something that required being online). We watched the last episode of Alias last night (only a year late! Go us! But it was full of stupid so I’m not really sad I didn’t see it when it aired) and I spent the entire time glancing at the computer, making a mental tally of all the things I needed to do as soon as the show ended. Hooray, OCD! How I’ve missed you!

You’re probably thinking Gee, it sounds like you need a day off, to which I respond Have you been talking to Not So? Because it isn’t nice to conspire behind people’s backs, you know! Also: that rhymed. I am so funny! And I do not need a day off. I have too much to do! Once I have done it all, then we can talk about a day off every once in a while. Assuming, of course, that I am still capable of speech by then and am not communicating by a series of expressive blinks.

Kidding! I’m kidding. Besides, I’m too tired to blink.

boring geek post

Yeah, so I’ve finally transferred all my POP mail over to Gmail. I wanted to love the BlackBerry Push service, I really did, and I would have if it didn’t SUCK SO MUCH. Seriously, when I can’t find messages from my clients in the daily barrage of “Enlarge Your Penis!” and “I am a lonely Russian girl…” (apparently the SpamBots think I am a hetero male, who knew?) it might be time for BlackBerry to come up with some sort of filtering thing, possibly, yes? And the Gmail client on the Pearl is so lovely and responsive. Love the lovely Gmail client.

When I’m not espousing the myriad ways Google owns my soul, I’m pledging my eternal love to Apple. I’ve got an ancient – er, three year old, which is close enough to ancient in the tech world – iPod with 40 gigs of storage, and I’ve been using it to transfer work files to and from my work computer. Why use an iPod when I could use Box.net or something similar? I will tell you why: no internet at home right now. This means if I need to design something, I need to do it the dumb way, with no impulsive internet searches or fortuitous downloads. I’m getting the hang of it, but I can’t say I will be sorry when the folks at Covad finally give us WiFi.

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behold: the baby who refuses to nap

Yes, friends, that is the face of the baby who refuses to nap. A cute face, though somewhat more full of motion than his mama would like. (Also: floor clothes! His new favorite thing is emptying his dresser drawers of clothing and filling them with things like crayons and shoes. Getting dressed in the morning = challenging.) I do not understand the Nap Strike. If I were offered the chance to nap every day, would I not take it? That is clearly rhetorical, and I will spare you my enthusiastic HELL YES. For the sake of the children.

This morning began on an inauspicious note: after dressing the child in what can only be described as the Cutest Freaking Outfit Ever (it involved a Nightmare Before Christmas hoodie, and you have not seen cute until you have seen my kid working the Burton duds) we went downstairs to acquire foot coverings, at which time Happy Fun Baby found a full cup of water that someone had left in his reach. You know where this is going. I did consider just cramming his soggy feet into his skater shoes and fleeing the scene, but that only lasted as long as it took me to discover that his whole outfit was soaked. Sigh.

Then, of course (of course) we got to the office to find that the internet was not so much with the connecting. Phone call to ISP revealed, eventually, that the property management team had apparently decided to re-do the roof. Where the antenna is located. Without telling anyone. So strike two, and I had to conduct my client meeting with a series of gestures and a winning smile instead of an online walk-through. Oh, and did I mention that my child took the opportunity to fill his diaper mere moments before the client arrived? Welcome to my office; this is a scent I like to call Eau de Excrement. Would you like to give me some money?

So now we are home, where there is internet, and also a place where the baby could quite reasonably nap, were he the napping sort. There was an incident involving peanut butter a little bit earlier, but I will spare you all the details. Mr. No-Nap is now entertaining himself by throwing things under the baby gate at the top of the stairs. Apparently they make an entertaining show of tumbling ever downward. Hooray!

Someone here needs a nap, anyway. It might not be the baby.

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please stand by

Technical difficulties abound at Chez Cranky and its satellites. I trekked out to the office yesterday, despite the obvious foolishness of attempting anything that involves being awake and functional the day after the time change, only to discover that our internet is down again. The point of being at the office? To get work done. Instead, I had some lunch, nursed an increasingly cranky baby (see time change, above) and fought a headache while searching fruitlessly for images on our hard drive. Lightroom was behaving abominably, refusing to serve up about a quarter of my images and freezing at inopportune moments. I’d troubleshoot, but: internet. Sigh.

Finally I gave up and headed out, but not without having the brilliant idea of trying the Ergo in the hip-carry position for the first time. See, to do that, one has to reconfigure the straps and remove the chest latch, which seems so easy in the comfort of, say, my own office. Reversing the process once it became abundantly clear that the hip-carry is the most uncomfortable thing ever and my shoulder was burning like it was on fire? Not so simple, especially with a wriggly, cranky toddler. I got him out, finally (after a dodgy moment in which I couldn’t undo one of the straps) but Happy Fun Baby darted for freedom every time I tried to use both hands to re-attach the chest latch to the straps. I ended up just scooping him and the carrier up and clutching them both to my chest while running for the bus.

Luckily I’m all set up to work at home, which is what I had planned for today. Ha! Did you hear that? I had a plan! And I’d have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for you damn kids.

I was up late last night doing my patented combo of work/geek/online window shopping and finally got to bed about 1am. I mention this to illustrate the level of not-awake I was at 7 when Not So got up for work. I always sit up and say goodbye to him and what have you, but the minute he steps out the door I’m out like a light.

This morning Not So decided to change things up a bit. After some banter about socks, he casually mentioned that the monitor downstairs had died. The brand new monitor we got from Amazon two weeks ago.

Me: What? What? The monitor?
Him: Yeah. It just powered down in the middle of working. I tried everything I could, but it’s dead.
Me: But…what? [Note: not awake.]
Him: So, I don’t know what sort of warranty stuff we have on that…
Me: What? What? Okay. Um.
Him: It was obviously defective. We’ve only had for a couple of weeks. I’m sure whatever warranty we have will cover that.
Me: Okay. Okay. I’ll…but I have school! And there’s no internet at the office! And –
Him: I can leave you my new MacBook.
Me: No, none of my stuff’s on it. I need my stuff.
Him: I can probably get us a new monitor.

So we’re getting a new monitor, and Amazon has a lovely return policy, so all is well. Except for the fact that I was up at 7am, blearily tracking down return and warranty info while yesterday’s headache crept slowly from where it was hiding at the base of my spine to the place just behind my eyes. Nothing like having to deal with technical difficulties first thing in the morning to get the blood pumping, am I right?

So today, instead of working from home in my pjs, I am battling a nasty headache and engaging in an endless argument with my iBook about whether there is a such thing as the internet. Fun! Let’s all sing the praises of the Samsung SyncMaster 740N and its amazing disappearing picture. It’s a good thing I have Advil.

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trials and tribulations of the wahm

The last couple of days have been scramble-tastic,* what with the logo-making and the client-troubleshooting and the endless, persistent teething with its related inconsolable screaming. One of these things is not like the other! One of these things does not belong! Part of me misses having an actual job**.

HowEVER, I am rocking the pajama-bottom and tee-shirt ensemble, and isn’t that what working at home is all about? I feel that this is what has been missing from my WAHM experience, and I may have to purchase several pairs of cute pajama bottoms simply so I can wear them while I work. Slouching around in sweats is so not the same thing.

Speaking of work (which we were, ad nauseaum) my OCD kicked into high gear this morning and I got up when Not So did, bringing my developmentally-impaired laptop upstairs with me so I could get things done while the baby slept. Which he did, adorably. My child is amazingly adorable. He is even adorable when he snores. The snoring thing = totally his daddy, too, since I am all girl and therefore incapable of something so coarse as snoring. (You bought that, right?)

My laptop pisses me off when I’m trying to get things done, seeing as it keeps denying the existence of a wireless signal in the middle of a page load, only to admit, grudgingly, that the signal is there once I turn Airport off and then on again. Rinse, repeat. STOP FUCKING WITH ME, STUPID LAPTOP! I KNOW THE SIGNAL IS THERE! I probably need a new Airport card, but now that the laptop has been relegated to Backup status it isn’t nearly so important. I mean, what, it’s too big of a deal for me to go downstairs and work on the Mac Mini? Especially, you know, if I’m rockin’ the pjs.

Given all that it isn’t surprising that I failed to get much done during my frenetic morning geek session. I still need to make some tweaks to one client’s site and send out some site estimates and finally, finally make another blog post and send out the March couldbe studios newsletter. First, though? I have to get this housework thing under control because OMG TOO MESSY CANNOT DEAL.

* Yes, I am aware I append far too many words with “-tastic” and I am seeking help.

** No, I am not suggesting that being a mother is not, in fact, a job. I am referring instead to the nine-to-five drudgery that I always complained about but had, at least, an end.


Look at this picture. Do you see me smiling? I am smiling because we finally have office furniture. More than one person can sit down at the same time. And no one has to sit on the floor! This, my friends, is progress. Also progressive: baby, sleeping. He really needed a nap. Really.

Now that there is a place I can park Happy Fun Baby while he sleeps, I can actually do things in the office. Things like work. I know! Crazy talk. Today, for example, I have checked my e-mail, read my rss feeds, set up the wee little TV/DVD combo, and rearranged the desk. Not work in the classic sense of the word, perhaps, but still nice.

Currently I am somewhat less than thrilled with the speed of our internet, but since I left my phone at home I can’t call and sweetly request that I get some sort of boost. Yes, you read that right: I left my phone at home. My lovely Blackberry Pearl is sitting on the charger even as we speak, lonely, abandoned. I will be back for you, phone! I have not forgotten you! (Except that I did, obviously.) I feel so…disconnected. And somewhat naked. You know that feeling when you realize you’ve left the house without a bra? Only none of my bras can check my e-mail, and maybe that’s the crux of the problem right there.

I had some high hopes for this afternoon, many of which involved going to Shoefly and seeing if they had any cute clearance shoes in my size, but instead I am browsing the interwebs while my kid sleeps. It works.

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