Friday, January 27, 2006

Challenger: 20 Years Ago

by Kimber

Has it really been 20 years? I can't say that it seems like yesterday, though I remember it as if it were yesterday. Watching it replayed over and over and over again on television. Watching a childhood dream disintegrate into a ball of flames in front of my eyes. Knowing that I was to have met the Challenger astronauts had they returned to Earth made it all the more painful and real. My gifted and talented school had set up a meet and greet with them for the spring. What an awesome chance for a 9 year old, to actually meet an astronaut in person. But it was not meant to be, and I have never gotten to meet one since, though my interest in the space program has not waned, despite my lack of time to truly follow it.

I'm sorry, I'm rambling. It is simply mind-blowing, even all these years later, and that sinking sense of dread and horror never leaves me, no matter how many times I see the footage. Particularly when it catches me by surprise, I still, to this day, get a lump in my throat. And one of my greatest sorrows is that it is not the defining "where were you when" moment of my life as everyone said it would be (9/11 now holds that spot, I do believe). Very sad indeed.

May we also remember the Columbia crew and the "Apollo 1" crew on this day.

The shuttle graphic at the start of this post was made by Kimber. I have been thinking of starting a "blinkie of the day" type thing on my blog, and when I saw this one today, I couldn't think of a better one to start with.
Currently feeling: 9 years old again

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Pixar and Disney

I've had a few emails from folks asking me about the new Disney buying Pixar deal. Here is an okay article summing up the terms. (I read a better one yesterday, but I can't seem to find it now.) The best thing about the deal is promoting John Lasseter to head of animation *and* Imagineering. I haven't heard news that great is ages. Now, if Disney will just put their money where their talent is, we'll be doing well. I will also say that I am gravely concerned that the corporate culture that Pixar is so famous for will vanish. One can hope that it does not.

But for everyone who thinks adding Steve Jobs to a starring role in Disney management is a good idea, you should read this article. Very very worthwhile reading all the way around, but to sum it up for those who don't care to read it (you really should), it basically reminds everyone that all Steve Jobs wanted to do was to turn Pixar into a hardware and software company, and then when that failed, he spent years trying to find someone to buy it since HE considered the animation unit a severe drain on the company's resources. It wasn't until Tin Toy won an Oscar that he decided not to fire all of the animators (he'd just try to sell them instead), and it wasn't until Toy Story became a hit that he decided they were worthy of his time, attention, and funding. If he can't recognize *that* level of talent and inventiveness, is that really the person you want making major decisions with Disney?

Currently feeling: hopeful

Thursday, January 19, 2006

And now a fever

Because, you know, that will certainly help the teething crankiness, right? Sheesh! I'm sure it's from the shots he got at his pediatrician appointment last week which "may cause fever and/or rash 7-10 days later due to the live virus." We're at day 8. Joy. I just hope this doesn't crash my weekend plans. I'm supposed to be going out to be with, you know, adults I'm not related to on both Saturday and Sunday, but I don't think it's fair to abandon DH to cranky baby two days in a row. I'm committed to Saturday, but I can still back out of Sunday if need be. I just hope there's no need.

Currently feeling: intemperate

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I hate teething

I'm going to be bald by the end of the week. I will have pulled all of my hair out. Luke is teething again, canines this time (I can see the very tip of the lower left one; he wouldn't let me check the others), and he is *so* not happy. And if Luke ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. It's going to be a long week, even with only three days left. ::sigh::

Currently feeling: toothy

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Miami Search and Rescue

Remember my recent confession that I hate being lost? Well, guess what I did yesterday. Yep, got lost. TWICE! It was so sad. Actually, I wasn't lost, I just didn't know how to get to my destination. Yes, there is a difference! (Stop laughing.) I was perfectly capable of getting back to where I came from, I just didn't know how to get where I was going.

All I wanted to do was get Luke a haircut, at a place we've been to before (though only once). Now how hard is that? Well, I forked the wrong way on the way there. I knew when I hit Gwinnett County I had gone way too far. You know you're really lost when you stop somewhere to ask directions, and they've never even heard of the place you're trying to go (and I asked about the mall it's in, not the salon itself). ::rolls eyes:: So I had to call Miami Search and Rescue: my brother, at work, with an internet connection. I have him my location and my intended destination, and he got me directions from the internet (how on earth did people get anywhere before MapQuest?). We get there (I wasn't *that* far off, actually), we get his hair cut (he looks *so* grown up!), and we leave.

And then I turned the wrong way out of the mall to go home. I didn't realize that until I saw the sign on the road I was on indicating that I was going north, when I should have been headed south. All I had to do was hang a U-turn and I was fine, but still. I usually have a *much* better sense of direction than that; I can at least usually say whether I need to go left or right to get back to where I'm going. Sheesh! In my own defense, though, I didn't get there the way I expected to, and the parking lot is quite wonky; it's quite easy to get turned around. Anyway, a trip that should have taken about an hour total took over two, and Luke was understandably exhausted by the time we got home (the car makes him sleepy anyway).

Currently feeling: misplaced

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Christmas 2005 pictures

A few Luke Christmas pictures for you. And yes, the irony of me changing my template back only to then post Christmas photos has not escaped me.

Our stockings this year, which really aren't stockings at all. It's just a table runner I found at target (i.e. it's flat; the "stockings" can't hold anything), and I used felt to make the letters that I stitched on. We used these great holiday buckets from Wal-Mart to hold our stocking loot this year instead. Luke loves buckets anyway, so it worked out just fine. The cards above each stocking show the wrapping paper assignments for each person. For example, all gifts from us to my mother are wrapped in the blue dove paper, while all gifts from us to my brother are wrapped in the red polka dot paper. That way I don't have to put tags on everything!

Here is the star of the show, getting his first look at his pile of gifts. Mostly from family, with a few from Santa thrown in for good measure. In the future (when it matters), Santa gifts will be piled separately, but for this year, particularly when no gifts could be left under the tree before Christmas Day due to kitties, we didn't bother. I still don't think he grasps the whole concept, and perhaps not this coming Christmas either, but the next one.... we'd better look out! Oh, and for anyone wondering where everyone else's gifts are, we did ours Christmas Eve so we could do our standard "take turns and appreciatively admire what everyone else receives" routine, which was much simpler without Luke, who would have either not waited patiently for his turn or would have wanted to play with all kinds of "off limits" things that we gave to each other. Probably will do that again next year, then include him in taking turns in 2007 (you know, when he's three ::faint::).

Every kid's dream: a pile of gifts so high, you can climb them!

One of his new favorite things to do (make a fish face). He also likes to stand on his head (bends at the waist, putting his head and hands on the ground), though I haven't managed a good picture of that yet.

And last but not least, the gift we are most proud of: the basketball goal. My husband picked this out for Luke all by himself, even though we had said we were done shopping for him. But I'm so glad we did get it, because Luke loves it! It even lead to his first word (I guess): yay. Every time he puts the ball in the basket, we clap and say "yaaaaaay." So now, he will put it in and start clapping his hands and saying "yaaaaaay." He'll do it if I put the ball in the basket, too, which was so funny the first time it happened. He can even extrapolate the sound to other contexts. DH was given the newest Rockapella CD for Christmas, and it is a "live in concert" one that includes some clapping and cheering at the ends of some songs. The first time Luke heard that after learning to "yay," he did it with the CD. We nearly died laughing, but it was so cute!

I think that covers most of the Christmas round-up (even if it is two weeks after the fact). The only other thing I can think of is that we decided to start a new tradition. Most likely, we will always have my family here for the better part of a week during Christmas. This year, due to the way all of the days fell, they were here for 10 days. It was fabulous! And, we got to experiment with some new recipes in addition to our family favorites. So, we've decided that each year, we will put together a "cookbook" containing recipes for all the things we made, new or old, whether we liked it or not (though noting in the comments section what we thought of it, and any changes we might make in the future). This includes desserts and snacks. It will be a nice stroll down memory lane when we look through it, and everyone will have the recipe should one of us decide we want to make something after the holidays. I thought it would be kind-of wimpy, but once I remembered to put in all of the snacks and stuff, we came up with 20 recipes! More than enough to keep us busy until next Christmas. I hear the 2006 Christmas Menu Committee is already testing new recipes....

Currently feeling: quite proud of myself

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

2006 - A look forward

Not traditionally the way to do things, but I'm not feeling very "conformist" at the moment. Most people review the previous year, and I could do that, but much of it is here in the archives if anyone cares. I had fun reviewing lots of entries for the Blogging Year in Review post below. A nice trip down memory lane, but I don't want to live there. It was a great year. Watching Luke grow from an infant who laughed for the first time just before Christmas last year to a walking and (almost) talking little boy has been an amazing experience. Not without its share of frustrating moments, mind you, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!

What will 2006 hold? I cannot help but wonder. I'm pretty sure I even posted somewhere in my blog about my mom asking me if this is what I thought I'd be doing at age 29, and I honestly couldn't tell her because I never bothered to look that far ahead. I spent much of 2005 feeling directionless, the only anchor in my life being Luke (though admittedly a significant one). I have no idea where this year is headed, but I do know that I want to get some kind of plan in place for the next, oh, 5 years or so.

See, I'm weird like that. I absolutely MUST have a plan. I don't particularly care if I actually *follow* the plan, I just need to have one. It goes hand in hand with my "being lost phobia." I hate being lost. I will have a panic attack if I feel truly lost. It's awful. As long as I know how to get back to where I was, I'm okay, even if I don't know exactly where I am. But once I start feeling disoriented, it's all over, and it's not pretty. I don't want to go through another year like that.

Will I go back to work? Yes. Soon? No idea. That may depend as much on the job market as my desire to get out there and search (which is virtually zero at present). We need to move in the next 2-3 years, so we should probably get some kind of plan in place for that (what repairs, cost estimates, landscapers for our completely trashed yard, where to move, etc). And then there's the big 3-0 coming up in July. I'd like to do something special, but I have no idea what. Maybe go out for dinner AND a movie? Nah, why set unattainable goals? LOL Let's see, what else.... Are we going to do spring training again this year? Can we afford it? That may depend on whether we get a family vacation to Key West up and running for June; we'll just have to see, but we can't wait too long to decide either. I also need to start watching the flights to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for good fares in May. My baby brother will be graduating with his PhD in epidemiology. ::insert thudding sound as Erin faints:: It will just be me going (I don't want to sit through a graduation ceremony with an 18 month old, do you?), so not as potentially stressful as it could be, just something on my horizon.

I have a couple of personal goals as well. Nothing as rediculously grandios (and unattainable) as being a size 6 by the end of the year, but I'd settle for being a bit smaller. (I have a number in mind, but I don't really feel like broadcasting it, ya know? And it is less than half of what I "should" lose.) That would be considerably easier if Luke would settle on a new schedule and stick to it. Maybe it will get better (as all of you with 18M+ children laugh hysterically). And I really want to start reading again. I'd like to start stitching again, but that may take too much concentration. I'll try on that one. But I desparately miss reading. I'd like to set a goal of a book a month. That used to be nothing to me, but now it seems like merely an attainable goal. I'll settle for one a quarter. Shall we compromise and say six by the end of the year? That means I should be able to do the three I received for Christmas from The Lady of the Acerage, plus three others. Well, one can hope at least. Nothing more fantastic than that; just a few less pounds and a few more books, and perhaps a fun trip somewhere thrown in for good measure. Such simple pleasures. May they be equally simple to attain.

P.S. I'll change the template back next time. I'm on the wrong computer to do it now! And look for Luke Christmas pictures coming soon.

Currently feeling: hopeful

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Blogging Year in Review 2005

Snitched from Whiz. This is all I can manage for tonight. I'll try to post a more thorough (and traditional) recap later this week.

Instructions: take the first sentence (or 2) from the first post of each month of 2005. That's your year in review.

January: Happy New Year... from the Gastons. Here's Luke's official Christmas snapshot. My goodness, was he *ever* really that tiny? You surely wouldn't know it now. I should post a pic from this Christmas for comparison. Probably will later.

February: How many times have those who know me heard me say that I know *tons* more women than men who watch SpikeTV, so *why* is it so irksomely being billed as a man's station? Neilson releasing numbers showing that 42% of SpikeTV's viewers are female. ROTFL!!

March: I've seen these same questions/comments made over and over again, so I thought I would address them real quick while I was thinking about it. LOL Me trying to show that I do know something about the Oscars, despite doing so horribly at guessing the winners in 2005. Too bad it wasn't the next entry, which discussed our freak March snowstorm.

April: Okay, so I know this seems to have become the Luke blog, but it *is* a place for me to write about what is going on in my life, and well, Luke is a huge portion of that. Luke learned to sit without support. Now he climbs all over the couch like a monkey.

May: Thank goodness it's... Monday? I know, that has to be one of the strangest statements you've ever read, particularly coming from me. But, I pretty much had a crappy weekend all the way around. Ah yes, our disasterous outing to our friend Ina's birthday party. Luke pretty much screamed and cried the whole time, and then we left. Stranger anxiety to the max. Thank goodness that has mellowed significantly.

June: Whenever I miss my old job.... A Baby Blues cartoon that really made me laugh. I love Baby Blues!

July: So sorry to fall off the face of the earth there. I knew July was going to be insanely busy, but I didn't fully realize just exactly *how* much it was going to take out of me. Which actually has nothing to do with the post, which talked about the deaths of the voices of Tigger and Piglet.

August: Sorry I haven't been around. Combination of not much to say, and not really feeling like saying much even when I did. I'm just feeling rather frayed lately. Nothing in particular, nothing to worry about. Again, not really what this entry was about. It discussed the fact that it was "so cold" here for a change (highs in the mid-70s, which is exceptionally cool for August).

September: Naturally, we got the long form on the census. I thought they only did this every 10 years, but what do I know. Me getting a kick out of the census questions and answers, or lack there of.

October: Well, since I've started my own meme, I guess I should actually support a few others, no? Funny, just this topic came up on a meme this week, a new one called The A List that is run by a couple of lovely ladies I know. Geez, I don't even know if that meme is still running. I haven't done it or any other meme (mine included) in ages. I am still posting questions to my own meme, I just never get around to answering them for myself. How sad.

November: A Buzz-y Halloween. Okay, so that's the best I could do in the clever title department. Not bad, though, I don't think. Lots of pictures of Luke dressed up for his first ever Trick-or-Treating Halloween. He looked so cute!!!

December: If it ain't broke.... Don't fix it. Just redecorate it! LOL Thus, you will notice that this new (temporary, of course) color scheme looks remarkably like my old one, at least in style. Oh, the irony, given that this will be the last post I make using this color scheme. I'll change it back next time. Just don't have the energy right now.

Well, our holidays were happy. Hope yours were, too. Wishing you all the best in 2006!

Currently feeling: festive