Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday travel plans

Two things of note for our holiday travel this year, during which we'll spend two days snowboarding in Breckenridge with my sister, brother, and brother's girlfriend. First, we didn't get to spend one single day on any mountain at all last winter because I was pregnant. Needless to say, both my husband and I cannot wait to give it a go!! Second, my parents will be keeping the Bug for two nights. They're thrilled, and my initial nervousness has given way to really looking forward to a couple of nights off. Ironically, though, we won't be catching up on sleep... we'll have to let my parents continue with breakfast feedings for a couple of days after we get to their house... I haven't slept past 7am in months!

Finally, we have done an annual trip with my sister, spending a few days up in Keystone and hitting the various mountains up there. It's always a blast - we have a great time on the mountain, and a potentially even better time cooking dinner, soaking in the hot tub, and drinking bourbon, wine and beer. This will be the first time doing the trip with my brother, which is awesome! Plus, the only time I have spent with his girlfriend was the weekend that the Bug was born. I must say, she was a trooper to bail on her Memorial Day weekend plans with my brother and spend it instead with family that was focused not one bit on her - I don't think I had a single conversation with her amid all the insanity. So it'll be great to get to know her a little!

After the little snowboarding mini-vacation, we head to the farm for four days of very intense family time. My husband anticipates starting drinking just a little earlier each day. I just hope that Santa can find us there.

Happy Holidays to you all!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Buffy and Angel - the comics

If you are a fan of the show, but for some reason haven't started to read the comics, let me first tell you that the Buffy: Season 8 issues have been great so far. It's nine issues in or so, and I'm totally into it. I don't love it as much as I love the show, but sometimes you gotta take what you can get. Since I also loved Angel, I was really excited for the first issue of Angel: After the Fall.

I am not really a comics reader, as evidenced by something I completely missed. No spoilers here for those of you who are looking forward to reading it yourself, but there was a major plot twist for a major character, and I missed it entirely. I actually went to an online forum because I thought I didn't quite get what had happened... and "quite" turned out to be an immense understatement. Luckily, when I learned what was apparently obvious to every other reader, it certainly shed some light into what I'd thought was a totally confusing book. I think I'll re-read it tonight and see if I can catch on.

My apparent lack of comic book reading comprehension aside, I am now enough of a regular for my comic book guy to show me his super-secret cool-stuff stash. My inner nerd is now my outer nerd.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cuddle party

Until I was pregnant, I was never much of a napper. I just find nighttime sleep to be more than sufficient, and napping always made me a bit groggy. Plus, I like to accomplish things, and you can't accomplish much while sleeping.

This weekend opened my eyes just a bit wider to the joy of napping. I'm pretty sure that taking a nap while cuddling a baby is one of life's sweetest pleasures.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My new favorite word

It's "polterwang". I had to look it up when I saw it on Go Fug Yourself.

I can't stop cracking up.

EEOC, part 2

I've decided to at least explore whether or not I have an EEOC case against my employer, and have called to open a file. The first step is pretty innocuous - you give a person some basic information over the phone, both about yourself and your employer, and they mail out a questionnaire which asks for additional detail. I have not officially filed a claim until the EEOC field office receives this document, either by mail or an in-person meeting. In New York State, I have 300 days from the initial action taken against me to do so. The person I spoke with is an "impartial party", so was not able to give any reaction as to whether or not I have a case here.

The reason for my taking this step? I called our disability insurance company to inquire as to why I have only received four weeks of disability pay thus far, and was told that our coverage is only for a total of six weeks if a woman delivered vaginally and eight weeks for a Cesarean delivery, the first week of either of which is completely unpaid. I reread our handbook, and really feel that the language was misleading. Technically it doesn't say that we are covered for 90 days, but I really believed that to be the case. So I was pretty angry and decided to do something about it. Hence, the call to the EEOC.

Monday, December 3, 2007


The Bug saw her first Santa Claus at Stew Leonard's yesterday. She absolutely hated him. She did the full-on lower-lip pout and started to cry. I couldn't even get her to go to him, and she loves people!

We picked out a tree while we were there. It's a really good one, although for some reason I was feeling like a smaller tree than we usually get. This one is about 8 feet tall; we usually go closer to 10. But with an Exersaucer and a Jumperoo vying for space in our little condo, it seemed wise. I know that the Bug won't care either way, but I cannot wait for her to see it covered in lights and ornaments!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

First Feast

The Bug had her first "solid food" on Thanksgiving morning. I use the term loosly (and in quotes) because rice cereal appears to be neither "solid" nor "food." There is clearly a reason that rice cereal is not part of the adult diet. Thus far, the Bug is less than thrilled with "solid food." Day three and we seem only to succeed in placing about six spoonsful in her mouth, the majority of which just squishes back out and onto her chin. I hope that better culinary alternatives increase her enthusiasm. Apple sauce is going to seem like a party in her mouth by comparison.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy this little clip from the archives of "The Show with Ze Frank". For those who are unfamiliar, this guy did an awesome video blog every day for a year. It was great. He opened every show with "Hello Sports Racers..." and had the sports racers themselves contribute their own openings during the last few months of the show's run. Anyway, this video seems to capture the holiday quite well, with a lovely little political bent.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Portnoy's Complaint

Before reading Portnoy's Complaint, I'd read two books by Philip Roth: The Plot Against America, and American Pastoral. I really liked them both, although I preferred the latter. The former is about the life of a New Jersey Jewish family in the 1950s, during an alternate reality in which Lindbergh was elected President of the United States. The latter is about the life of a New Jersey Jew during the explosive 1960s.

Needless to say, when I picked up Portnoy's Complaint, I had absolutely no idea that Roth could be funny. And in this book, we're talking laugh-out-loud funny! The entire book is told in the first person to the psychiatrist of a very sexually-disfunctional Jewish guy from New Jersey (trend here?), the root of whose problems probably lie in his boyhood relationship with his mother. Regardless, it's a funny, funny book. I am wildly impressed with the versatility of Roth's writing - this was an unexpected pleasure.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Game 2007

We took the Bug to The Game (which, for those not in the know, is the somewhat self-aggrandizing colloquialism used for the Harvard v. Yale football game by people affiliated with both schools) on Saturday. It was pretty cold, but we bundled her up in her puffy snowsuit, and she seemed completely fine with everything.

There was, however, something that was totally not fine. I am not sure if it was the fault of Yale, or of the New Haven cops, or someone else entirely, but the traffic was unacceptably terrible! We spent two hours getting from the Merritt Parkway to the Yale Bowl - a distance of roughly 3 1/2 miles.

By the time we got to The Game, it was nearly time for it to start. We were supposed to get there around 9:30, tailgate for about three hours, watch Yale destroy Harvard, and go home. Instead we tailgated for a couple of hours, learned that Yale was being blown out at halftime, elected not to go in at all, tailgated for a little longer, and headed home when the game was ending. I was disappointed not to have seen all the friends I'd planned to with the scheduling snafu, but we had a really good time all the same - I'd been looking forward to taking the Bug to The Game since before she was born!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Venus Envy!

Very happiest 30th Birthday wishes going out to my sistah, whose Venus Envy (#77 on the Weld County Roller Derby Queens) costume this Halloween kicked off my interest in that strangest of sports.

She's really thinking about trying out, folks, so please... share with us all your enthusiasm for her personal style (demonstrated here) and your conviction that she can throw elbows with the toughest biddies on the floor.

I wish I could be part of your Disco Party tonight!

Have a great one, Jessie!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bug and the cats

The Bug has recently become totally fascinated by our two jet-black house cats. She'll watch Sirius, the fancy 3-year-old male long hair, and Buffy, the super-fast (though recently somewhat rotund) 1-year-old female short hair, whenever they walk through the room. They've also recently become interested in her. When she's sitting on my lap or on the floor, they'll stare back at her, sometimes even walking over to sniff her and lick her little bald head. I can't tell if this means we have a future crazy cat lady on our hands, or if she simply realized that two (if she even realizes that there *are* two) beings, quite unlike Mommy and Daddy yet also quite unlike her, are sharing her quarters.

An amusing aside: Sirius loves the Bug's room. He slips in every night when we're putting her down to sleep. We generally realize it and remove him before shutting the door and going about our evening, but every so often - tonight being one of those times - we don't notice he's in there until we hear his cries emanating from the baby monitor.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two dental milestones

I hate the dentist. I mean, I REALLY hate the dentist. I hate the sounds, the smells, how it feels... and I have never even had a cavity. I actually get violent thoughts while I am in the dentist's chair, and I only get through it by clenching my fists, squeezing my eyes shut, and desperately wishing I could find my spirit animal.

So it is with quite a bit of pride that I announce two major dental milestones. Number one: for the first time, I didn't cry today. I didn't even tear up when my teeth were being cleaned. And number two: this marks the longest streak of visiting the dentist every six months of my adult life. It's my third on-schedule visit.

If I am completely honest with myself, though, the only reason I didn't slap ole Dr. Paul's hand out of my mouth, stand up, and run out halfway through the cleaning is that soon the Bug will have a tooth, and I'll make her go to the dentist. I couldn't handle the hypocrisy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Roller derby

"Obsession" may be a strong word, but I'm pretty sure I have a new one. It's roller derby. My sister dressed up as a roller derby queen for Halloween, and she's since actually gone to watch a bout. Then last night we saw this excellent profile of a couple of skaters on Treasure HD (which is rapidly becoming our favorite television network).

I've been checking out the Gotham Girls Roller Derby league online. The championship bout, between the Bronx Gridlock and the Queens of Pain, is coming up this Saturday night. I'm totally disappointed that it's happening on the night of the Harvard/Yale Game - I would love to attend. Plus, at the after-party they've got $2 PBRs with your wristband. Cool.

Unfortunately, my sweet husband doesn't believe that I am roller derby material. There's a league in Connecticut, too. But if you are, tryouts are next week... anyone have their A-Game?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My juicy gossip

A little more than a year ago, I ended up in possession of one of my friends' spiral notebooks. I'd intended to return it - there were some lists of on the first couple of pages but the rest was blank - but somehow I never did. I basically coopted the notebook, throwing away the used pages.

So imagine my surprise when I found a love letter in the middle of the notebook! It wasn't written by my friend, although I am pretty sure I know who the auther is. I'm not sure if it was a draft that was copied onto nice stationery (which was one of my tactics in high school), or if it was just never mailed. Either way, I'm definitely going to hell for reading this true confession of unrequited love.

Moral of the story: don't leave drafts of crazy love letters in anyone else's notebooks. And if you do, make damn sure you get that notebook back.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Babies don't fall back

The end of daylight savings time has kicked my butt this year. Apparently, the concept of an extra hour of sleep means nothing to the Bug. So Sunday morning, she was up at 5:30am. Normally, that's a little early for me, but I'd been up late drinking with some friends until 1 or 2am. So 5:30 was terrible. The Bug's finally coming around, and today she actually slept until her normal wakeup time of 7:00am, but I have yet to make up that extra sleep.

I suppose the moral of the story is actually twofold. The first, babies just don't "fall back". The second, revealed upon slightly deeper inspection, may perhaps be that I shouldn't stay up drinking until the wee hours when I have baby duty in the morning.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Candidates' tax plans

I was reading this morning in the Times about the various presidential candidates' tax plans, as well as a related article in the business section about some hard-to-dispute truths about the effect of taxes on economic growth. I personally believe that continued tax breaks for the very wealthy is bad policy. Our government is running at an enormous deficit, and while I don't like paying taxes either, when a country is at war it's got to pay for it somehow.

A couple of things really stand out to me as remarkable. First, I am actually somewhat surprised that all of the Republican candidates are planning to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Perhaps I'm being naive, but I would have expected *someone* to have a different stance on these. For one thing, tax cuts are simply not tied to economic growth. The economy has grown substantially in eras of decreasing taxes, as well as in those of increasing taxes. There is no proof that these tax cuts have done anything to stimulate the economy.

But more than that, I find the Republican candidates' strategies for paying for these cuts to be remarkable. McCain appears to have given it the most thought by proposing we prioritize our spending, although part of his prioritization includes eliminating things like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. While I support reform in all three (and can offer very specific recommendations for Medicaid), the elimination of these programs entirely would be complete folly - and since there is absolutely no chance of that happening, to propose this equates to doing nothing. Giuliani plans to cut the budget 5-20% across the board. How simple... but a little more evaluation would probably show that it's easier said than done. Romney's, however, is my favorite: he plans for economic growth. Wow. Such an easy solution - right there under everyone's noses!

I'm not going to pretend that the Democratic candidates' plans are perfect (and Edwards actually gives me a headache), but I do appreciate that they are addressing the growing income gap in this country. Our country's budget deficit needs to be eliminated. That cannot happen without taxes going up. While social issues ruffle feathers and get voters excited, a change in our economic policy needs to be the most important factor in the coming election.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Umbrella etiquette

I don't mind the rain. Even when I'm commuting, it's only the rare rainstorm that annoys me. But other people's misuse of their umbrellas can drive me crazy! There are two very simple rules I'm shocked require restating:

First, if it's not raining, don't use your umbrella. This includes (a) when it was recently raining but has since stopped, as well as (b) when it's snowing. Umbrellas are for rain. Period.

And second, unless you are actually golfing on a golf course, you do not need a golf umbrella. These enormous things take up the entire width of a sidewalk, push other people out of the way, and are invariably carried by little tiny people. They poke normal sized people with normal sized umbrellas in the eye, because no one who is rude enough to carry the golf umbrella is polite enough to lift it out of the way of the level of the other umbrellas.

This morning, when it wasn't raining, a tiny little man with a giant umbrella ran me off the sidewalk. I was reasonably proud of myself for not grabbing his umbrella and smashing it on the street.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A nice person

I was just reading this post about something a very nice person at Zappos did, when my office phone rang. It was a guy who knew me by name, but didn't know me personally. He was calling the last person that a friend of mine - who left her cell phone in his store - had called. When I told him it was my work phone, so I couldn't see the phone number, he asked if he could dial my cell phone so that I could let my friend know that he had her phone. He had no idea how much an act of kindness brightened up my day! So, if you're in need of a very nice guy to repair your shoes, you should totally patronize David Shoe Repair at 460 Hudson.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Senseless loss

Four years ago, one of my very good friends was diagnosed with desmoplastic small round cell tumor, a particularly nasty type of cancer with a very low survival rate. He went through a rather successful surgery, followed by some chemotherapy, which he endured rather well. For the next three years, he lived pretty normally - he lost some weight, but enjoyed being a daddy to his little baby (now toddler) and had a ton of fun with his wife and his friends.

Late last year, things took a decided turn for the worse. When we saw him in at our fantasy football draft in August, he was a little jaundiced and a little thin, although he still had the characteristic smile for everyone. And he gave everyone plenty of characteristic crap - and penalty Woo Woo shots - for doing stupid things. By December, though, he wasn't doing very well.

James was moved into a "pain management" facility early this week, and he passed away last night in his sleep. When I learned he was not expected to regain consciousness, I was saddened more than I thought possible. I'd known for years that this was possible, even the likely ultimate outcome... but for some reason I'd just believed that he would beat this disease. He fought his ass off, strongly, courageously. But the sarcoma ultimately won.

I ask everyone reading this to tip a glass in the celebration of James' life. I know you hear it a lot when someone dies, but this was truly the rare person who makes everyone else's life better, just for having known him. He transcended time and distance - whether you'd seen him last on Saturday or ten years ago, you knew he was your friend. And you knew that for no other reason, he'd go to bat for you and you'd sure as hell do the same for him. I'm going to miss him. His optimism, his fierce loyalty, his kindness, his friendship.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Verizon and NARAL -- Update

As update to my prior post: I received this email today in response to an email I sent to Verizon Wireless' public policy director:

Thank you for contacting us on this important issue. We issued the
following statement. Please share with interested folks.


BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - On Wednesday, September 26, Verizon
Wireless received a letter from NARAL regarding the company's policy on
text messaging. The following statement may be attributed to Jeffrey
Nelson, spokesperson for Verizon Wireless.
"The decision to not allow text messaging on an important,
though sensitive, public policy issue was incorrect, and we have fixed
the process that led to this isolated incident.
"Upon learning about this situation, senior Verizon Wireless executives
immediately reviewed the decision and determined it was an incorrect
interpretation of a dusty internal policy. That policy, developed
before text messaging protections such as spam filters adequately
protected customers from unwanted messages, was designed to ward against
communications such as anonymous hate messaging and adult materials sent
to children.
"Verizon Wireless is proud to provide services such as text
messaging, which are being harnessed by organizations and individuals
communicating their diverse opinions about issues and topics. We have
great respect for this free flow of ideas and will continue to protect
the ability to communicate broadly through our messaging service."

Monday, October 8, 2007

Irving Plaza r.i.p.

I guess I was paying attention to other stuff in April of this year, but the Irving Plaza music venue has undergone a name change. It's now the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza. Apparently the ownership group has a grand plan to rechristen a number of venues all over the country as "Fillmores", for cohesive brand messaging. While I am sure they believe it's the right thing to do, this irritates the hell out of me! Repainting the interior? Hanging curtains? The shuttering of the Wetlands in 2001 made Irving Plaza the de facto hub for jambands in NYC. I'm so sad to hear it's gone corporate!


I'm currently struggling with whether I should pursue any recourse for what I believe was lousy maternity leave treatment. I still feel like I was screwed. I'm in sales, and I returned to no live accounts. Particularly given our long sales cycle, that very materially affects my ability to close deals, and therefore to make money. But I am not sure if I want to go down that path - of being the trouble-maker and ruffling feathers. That said, "well behaved women seldom make history." I'm trying to determine if the EEOC would agree that I was discriminated against; what do you think?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Children of God

I just finished reading Children of God, Mary Doria Russell's sequel to The Sparrow. It was quite good; not as good as the first, but an interesting read.

Like the original, the book takes place on Earth, another life-supporting planet called Rakhat, and a hollowed-out asteroid used as transport between the two. Also like the original, Children of God is about a Jesuit mission to Rakhat, and the Rakhat scenes take place amid a society much changed by the catastrophic events set off by the first mission to Rakhat. But the books are less science-fiction than they are character-driven studies of people and their faith, or lack thereof.

At the end of the first book, the character of Emilio Sandoz is in the process of reevaluating his faith. He has trouble reconciling the God he has always loved with a God who could allow his horrible treatment in Rakhat. He chooses to abandons the church, and he falls in love. When he is kidnapped and forced to return to Rakhat, he has to confront the world he had hoped never to see again.

Since the original mission to Rakhat, there has been major societal upheaval, led by Sofia Mendez (she survived!) and Supaari VaGayjur. While Hlavin Kitheri was busy influencing the succession laws of the Jana'ata, Supaari and Sofia were teaching the Runa self-sufficiency and spurning them to revolt against their oppressors. By the time Emilio returned to the planet, few Jana'ata even survived, and those who did were in hiding.

As Emilio learns of the new situation on Rakhat, and of Sofia's survival, he is forced again to examine his relationship with God. This continual struggle is what makes Emilio's character complex and compelling - for him, there are no easy answers. In order for him to finally have peace, he needs to understand why he was meant to travel to Rakhat the first time, and why he had to return.

Russell's narrative is incredibly powerful. Her best passages are those in which nothing really happens, in which her characters simply grow. In addition to Emilio's spiritual journey, those of Sofia, Supaari, Ha'anala, Danny Iron Horse, Isaac and even Nico are tightly woven tapestries. The reader is able to understand what drives each character's actions and what makes him or her tick. None of these characters is shallow or single-faceted; all of them have fascinating layers. Russell's mastery of the written word - more so than the plot itself - is what makes Children of God a pleasure to read.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

One Laptop Per Child

I read this morning in the Times about the latest development at the organization called One Laptop Per Child. I first learned of this a couple of years ago... essentially, the group is trying to get laptops to under-educated children in the world's poorest areas. It's been quite controversial, for reasons including the lack of much less-expensive and higher-impact malaria nets in the same regions targeted by OLPC.

I'm really impressed with what they've done. The price of the laptop has not been driven quite down to $100, but they've now got a deal where you buy one laptop at $400, receive it and the tax paperwork by Christmas, and a second laptop is sent to a student in a poor country.

Apparently some critics (bloggers) are panning the design of this inexpensive laptop because for $1000 a consumer can get something much "better." But what I found very interesting about David Pogue's piece is that these laptops have some amazing innovations in technology, from battery design to the indestructible case. And its interface and built-in programs are wildly compelling to children. Plus, it was described as looking something like Shrek's robot cousin.

I really think that OLPC has taken an innovative stab at fighting devastating poverty. Malaria nets may be the single most needed item in many parts of the world, but bringing valuable educational tools to those most in need might just play an important role in driving permanent change.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Little Women, redux

I just got my 1903 copy of Little Women in the mail today. It's in great shape - the binding is even tight - you'd never believe it's over 100 years old! I found it in an eBay store; I bought it from a woman liquidating her late husband's personal library.

I cannot wait to read it again!


I've been enjoying my blog. I still don't know exactly what people will expect when they come here, but I have been having a good time with it.

Since I work at a Web 2.0 company... and since I now have a blog... I thought I would try another new experiment. I am going to "twitter", in the voice of the Bug. For those of you who are interested, you can follow along and see what the Bug is up to. Although sometimes it just may be what I am up to. You can see my twitter badge in the sidebar. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Verizon and NARAL

I was absolutely infuriated last week when Verizon announced that they would not carry text messages that their users opted to receive from NARAL Pro-Choice America. To tell you the truth, I didn't even realize a cellular provider could do that! Apparently, in the small print of your carrier's terms and conditions, it states that they don't have to carry information that they find to be objectionable. Ultimately, Verizon backed down from this assertion in this case, and agreed to carry NARAL's opt-in messaging. But regardless your stance on the issue of choice, it should be clear to everyone that net neutrality is a very real issue, and one that can directly impact your life. Carriers provide the backbone on which digital communication is delivered; that they may be able to deny service based on the content of the message is very scary.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Used Formula

This is what the Bug did to me after work today:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Little Women

My great grandmother had a set of Louisa May Alcott books that were published in the early 1900s: Little Men, Jo's Boys, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, Under the Lilacs and Jack and Jill. My great aunt was kind enough to give me An Old Fashioned Girl from the same set when we were in Colorado in August. Notably missing from the set is Little Women, which was my favorite book when I was growing up. I loved it so much I read and re-read it, as well as every one of the books my antique set, countless times.

I've been trying to complete my Alcott set on eBay for the past few weeks, but I keep missing the copies of Little Women that I've seen! My husband taught me how to "snipe" when we began dating, but these days I never seem to have the time to log on to eBay when the auctions are coming to an end. I have, however, bought Aunt Jo's Scrapbag, and Work. I've seen other sets of books that include the elusive Little Women, but I don't really want a half dozen duplicates... I am determined to find this last missing book, if I have to buy a matching copy of every other book by Alcott, whether or not I've ever heard of it.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Morning commute

The Bug was determined to derail the entire morning commute today. She took forever to eat her bottle, so we were running late before she was even dressed. I threw some clothes on her, and gave her to my husband to hold while I packed her bag for the day (bottles, formula, bibs, extra onesie, etc.). At which time she covered not only his shirt, but also his pants, with pungent used formula. By the time he'd changed all of his clothes, the bag was packed. And the Bug had created a poopie diaper to rival the best of them. She definitely inherited her father's comic timing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Current favorite word

omphaloskepsis -- the contemplation of one's navel

Usually, it is used as a metaphor meaning 'complacent self-absorption', but I prefer the literal meaning.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Big Night Out

Saturday was our first full night away from the Bug. We had a friend's wedding to attend a couple of hours away, and rather than hiring a babysitter to come to our hotel, we had my father-in-law stay overnight at our house. He had a blast; apparently the baby charmed him like nobody's business.

The issue was, of course, me. Not with leaving her at home - I was pretty comfortable about that. Yeah, I missed her, but she was in great hands and I knew that both the Bug and her Pop-pop would have a fantastic time.

So what was the issue, then? I drank too much. I got wasted. I'm pretty mortified about this. Not only am I way too old to get drunk at a wedding, but I have a kid now. I know, it happens to the best of us, we've all been there, etcetera. But I'm really and truly embarrassed. Of course, I'll get over it, but for the moment I feel like a moron.

And to add insult to injury, my hangover lasted all day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rollin' Over

The Bug has a new trick today: she rolled over from her back to her tummy! At around 5am. And despite knowing how to roll tummy-to-back for months now, she got stuck. So I had to roll her onto her back so that she could get some more sleep.

On the agenda today: lots of tummy time so that she won't get stuck at 5am again tonight. That's valuable sleep time for mommy.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Back to Work

Tuesday was my first day back in the office. I had a real mixed bag of feelings about it. Happy about being back in my professional life, sad to leave the Bug every morning, unsure if I still want to commute into NYC for my job every day. I think these feelings will continue to evolve in the coming days and weeks, but here's a summary of my initial reactions:

The Good: Everybody in my office (with the exception of my direct boss) missed me. People were really glad to see me. That feels good. But perhaps more importantly, my company's had a great few months while I've been out. We're currently viewed as the leader in enterprise social media solutions, with perhaps one legitimate competitor. Beyond our great market perception - and what really makes me excited - is that the market itself has finally shown that it's ready for what we offer. It's really a great time for me to come back and I'm excited to get back out into the media world and do some business.

The Bad: I really miss the Bug. The first day was hard; I teared up when I was giving her her morning bottle. The second day just about broke my heart. I didn't want to leave at all. I really do believe that it's the best thing for our little family - for me, for the Bug, for my husband, and for us as a unit - to have me back at work and the Bug at her fabulous babysitter. But an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening don't add up to nearly as much time as I want to spend with my little baby.

The Ugly: While I was out, all of my accounts were transferred to my colleagues. Under my name in the sales database, there were a handful of dead deals. No one covered for me - they simply absorbed everything. My boss told me yesterday that I need to name any account I want to be in my territory, but that's not how the game should be played. Now I've either got to fight for things that I want returned, or to identify completely new accounts out there. You hear the stories of women returning after a maternity leave to find their jobs have been stripped away from them, and I felt it had happened to me. I'm hoping that this will work out nicely, but no guarantees yet.

Anyway, three months is a pretty short time to be out. By the time you've finally figured out what to do with a baby, it's back to the office and an entirely new situation. I'm not really sure what the ideal solution might be, but I'm pretty sure this is not it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

All New Clothes

So on Monday morning, the Bug didn't fit into any of her clothes. No joke - on Sunday, she wore her "0-3 month" sized stuff. Snug, perhaps, but they fit. And on Monday, nothing fit. We're talking five pounds of bologna in a three-pound bag. I had to box it all up and move her "3-6 month" stuff into her drawers. When in the world did she grow?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Maternity Leave Musings

Before I got pregnant, I never gave much thought to corporate maternity leave policies. I knew that they existed, but I just hadn't paid much attention.

The first time I really discussed maternity leave was at my immediately prior job, which was at a start-up cable network. I'd been there for a couple of years before the employee handbook was printed. When it finally happened, women at the company were angry to learn that we offered no paid maternity leave. I was already interviewing elsewhere, so I didn't really get involved in the discussions.

My current company, a web 2.0 start-up, also has no paid maternity leave. Prior to these start-ups, I had been in the venture capital business. That experience firmly ingrained one primary belief regarding employee compensation. Employees are the hardest asset for a company to acquire, and the hardest for a company to replace; they are also the most important. While a company - particularly a young company - needs to be highly aware of how it spends its cash, nickle-and-diming employees is never worth it.

I understand that a start-up can't be paying people who aren't working. But I also understand that there is enormous value in the loyalty of key employees. For this reason, I viewed the no-leave policy as a starting point. I really thought through my request before approaching my new boss, who had joined the company only a couple of weeks prior. Given my year with the company and the fact that I'm not on their health insurance plan (a big cost savings), I asked if he would be willing to pay me for 5-10 days of sick time, plus allow me to take my full vacation even though it would not all be accrued by Memorial Day. He said, "no." No counter-offer, no negotiation, just "no." I would not be paid a penny between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but they would hold my job for me. The letter of the law, nothing more.

This inflexibility is very short-sighted. I was the top revenue producer; in fact, I was the only business development person with either meaningful revenue or large clients. I am also being paid a third (or less) of my market value. If my company had shown that I was valued - a few thousand dollars being a drop in the bucket to them, but quite symbolic to me - they would have earned my loyalty. As it is, I return to work in six days with none. I'm going back because the company has done well over the past three months and the technology and market perception are both on an upswing. If they'd fared differently over the summer, I would be starting a new job instead.

I have tried to put the pieces in place to make myself succeed: I stopped breastfeeding, we've lined up a babysitter who seems fabulous to take care of the Bug, and my husband is even able to spend Tuesdays at home with her. On the flip-side, though, I have a 1-hour commute, I am being paid nothing, my equity was just meaningfully diluted in the last fundraising a couple of weeks ago, and my boss is neither impressive nor fun. [Stay tuned: Lots to say there; probably a future entry.] I am hoping that within a couple of weeks I'll be able to realistically propose my working from home a day or two a week, which is both manageable and very important to me. But I am not sure there is any other way that the positives will be able to outweigh the negatives, particularly when the company has shown no loyalty to me. I certainly am not going to abide a situation I'm not happy with; ironically, I will have more time to look for a new job once I am back in the office.

Given my experience, I was not shocked to learn that the United States rates worse than many third world countries - and certainly worse than all of Europe and the former British Empire - when it comes to our treatment of women in the workplace. How is it possible that even with impeccible academic credentials and a proven track record, my company - which I've been with virtually since its inception - is all but encouraging me to look elsewhere for a job? It makes no sense at all to me.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Travel with baby

We took the Bug on her first vacation: a five-day trip to visit my family in Colorado. We really wanted to introduce her to her great grandparents, and thought we should do it before I go back to work since god forbid I actually take any vacation later this year!

The pediatrician recommended that we buy the Bug her own seat and carry her carseat on to the plane. We of course declined to do this, not only because we purchased our tickets late and they cost a fortune. So we were going to carry her on and hold her during the flights. Terrifying.

In reality, travel wasn't so bad. We learned a few lessons. First, it takes a very long time to mobilize when you have a baby. I woke an hour and a half before our 6:30am departure time in order to get myself ready, zip up our already-packed bags , pour the coffee, and feed the Bug; she and I were ready with not a minute to spare. Second, if you hope to sleep on the plane, you need that extra seat. There was an empty middle seat on our return flight, so we were able to bring her carseat on the plane. It was much more pleasant. I don't know that it was $500 more pleasant, but it was definitely better. Third, if you are visiting your family, you will not hold your own child. Nor will you feed her, bathe her, or change her diapers. You might get to play with her, but only if her grandparents are in the front row and you're watching from behind. Bug even slept in a pack-n-play in my parents' room; she was up, fed and dressed every morning before I saw her.

We're already looking forward to the next visit with the family... and I know that the Grands and the Great-Grands are, too! I doubt we'll be back out there before Christmas time, but I won't be surprised to see my parents out here yet this year.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Remember Home Movies?

I have incredibly fond memories of our old home movie nights. Dad would set up the projector and the screen, and we'd watch the Super 8 reels in the living room. We had so many old movies that Mom had spliced some of them together to make larger reels; if you remember, each reel was only a couple of minutes tops. We knew our favorites by heart, and every member of the family believed his or her narration to be the wittiest.

So today I bought us a movie camera, too, to capture the Bug's first (or, more likely, her second) steps and other /mis/adventures. But this isn't a movie camera like the old Super 8, audio-free days. It's also a far cry from the first VHS camera that we bought - that thing was a little bigger than my coffee maker. No, this thing is about the size of a beer mug (and can also be easily managed with one hand) and takes high-definition video. Yeah, that's right: high-def home movies. Maybe in the future, when we pop some corn and watch the hilarity on a 42-inch plasma TV, we'll hit the mute button for old times' sake.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The trouble with mothers

Does every mother drive every daughter absolutely crazy? Will my tiny, perfect little Bug someday be driven crazy by *me*?

As mothers go, mine is just about as good as a girl can hope for. Not just because she's put up with a great deal of crap from my brother, my sister and myself. But because she really instilled in us all the need to think for ourselves and to build our own lives. My mom and I have never had the explosive, blow-out fights that she and my sister have had, but she can absolutely drive me up a wall. During each of her last three visits - including the week when the Bug was born and Mom did all of the cooking and cleaning and errand-running - she put me through the ceiling more than once.

I really would love to believe that I'll be the coolest mom on the planet, a kind of Lorelai Gilmore meets Joyce Summers. Cool, fun, hip, yet sensible, understanding, and the Bug's emotional rock. But from the time she's 12 until the time she's 35 (excepting the college years, when she'll only talk to us a couple of times a year) will the Bug actually think I am insane and completely out of touch? If it can happen to my Mom, how do I break the cycle?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gathering of the Vibes

I never could understand people whose lives came to a screeching halt the moment they had a child. I've always been of the mind that you bring a new baby into your family - inviting the little one to your party, so to speak. So I've strongly felt that you should continue to do the things that you enjoy, and that your game plan just has to evolve to accommodate your moppet. I would be the parent who brings the kiddies to our gatherings, whose kids eat whatever the grown-ups eat.

We took the Bug to her first music festival yesterday: Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport. It seemed the perfect candidate for a day trip - less than an hour away, and the lineup sounded excellent. Mid-August should bring breezes off the sound for a comfortable summer day. We'd been talking about going since before she was born, and it was to be the first major practical test of my assertion.

The day could not have been better. The weather was gorgeous - sunny, not too hot. We parked within walking distance from the venue so didn't have to deal with the shuttle bus. We sure rolled into the show differently than we ever had before - pushing a stroller laden with bottles, blankets and extra baby clothes. We got there around 1pm, and by 2:30 were settled into a great spot in the shade, in the way-way back of the concert field. We saw Strangefolk, Donna Jean & the Tricksters, Assembly of Dust, Keller Williams; all sounded great, though we were watching from quite a distance. The vendors were fun to walk past, we enjoyed Magic Hat on tap, people around us were super nice, and the Bug had a great time - she rolled around on the blankets, napped, smiled at our friends. Other people around us had their children with them, and all were very much enjoying themselves.

We left the festival just after dark, the Bug sleeping happily in her carseat, listening to wierd old Les Claypool as we walked towards the car. Was it a far cry from the days of partying until dawn? You bet it was! But it was one of the most fun days I have ever had - spending time outside with my husband and baby, listening to great live music, and knowing that we haven't stopped living - we've just brought a new friend to join us. A tiny, pink little friend who is destined to have the best taste in music of her entire preschool set.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Aspirin, Boku-maru and martinis

I'm two months into a three-month, unpaid maternity leave. More later on just how wrong that really is.

My little Bug was born Memorial Day weekend. She is beautiful - I know, everybody says that, but she actually started out gorgeous - and very smiley. I really like her, and I love her, and I am very excited to see what kind of a person she becomes. Early indications are all very positive.

The first month was rough. I did not know what I was getting myself into. I guess I thought that since my husband and I are both very capable and laid back people, we would get the hang of parenthood right off the bat. I was a little bit mistaken. Bug cried a lot, probably because I had no clue what to do with her, or for her. I was really tired, and my bosoms were killing me from my early misadventures in breastfeeding.

The worst thing about the very first weeks is that motherhood is very isolating. I went from a very demanding, fun and high-energy existence, to entire days where all I accomplished was feeding the baby. I missed talking to adults, I didn't feel like I was getting anything done, and I resented all of the normal lives continuing around me. The baby doesn't even smile for about 5 weeks, so there's no feedback to indicate whether even that job is well done. And to top it all off, when you're breastfeeding you can't drink. For months I had been longing for a glass of gin like I had never longed before. And could I enjoy that delicious martini? Let it take the edge off? No. Hell no. That sucked. Crumpling to the floor in tears because the baby wouldn't stop crying (oh I get the irony there), and unable to have a tasty cocktail.

But ultimately I stumbled through those first weeks. And every day, Bug gets easier and more fun to take care of. Plus, the martinis await (although after this much time, I think I am probably looking at martini rather than martinis).

I intend this blog to document the entertaining mistakes of the first-time mommy, as well as random observations on literature, current events or pop culture, and really anything else that comes to mind. So rather than recount the past couple of months in excruciating (and boring) detail, let me begin today and we will experience life together. My life, that is, from here on out.