Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Stardate 60162.98 - Quick Loren Update

Loren had her check-up today. At 3.5 months old she was 25 inches long and 13.5 pounds. All is well. I just got back from 2 days in McLean for a work off-site, and now we are getting ready for a few days off and a trip to visit my family in Virginia.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Captain's Log 60150.17 - Quick Trip and a Visit

I took a quick overnight trip to VA for a Thursday afternoon meeting. I stayed over on my own dime (or less than a dime, really, for I stayed with Trent, Jenny, and Sheldon - actually I guess I purchased them a gallon of milk so it was something like my $2.50). Anyway, this schedule permitted me to play D&D Thursday night at Rick's. The Hotel Phillips continues to get rave reviews, and with two cats on top of me at night I had no trouble keeping warm! ;-)

I even got a cool rental car this time - a Ford Mustang. I felt pretty cool tooling around in my sports car and my shades...going to my D&D game. Ok, maybe not that cool. Anyway, this was a trip where things generally went well with the accommodations, the car, and the flight...until I was boarding the return flight. But I'll get into that when I have more time. Lets just say it involves the darkness, a 6-inch diameter powercable on the tarmac, me, and the pavement.

My cousin Angelique came in to visit with her kids (Kaya and Van) today (her husband Laurence works in Manhattan). She and Van had a quick visit in the apartment while she sent their nanny and Kaya off to the Central Park Zoo. Afterwards, we all met at 61 Bistro for lunch. She probably won't like this picture very much as I think she was starting to talk when I snapped it, but it was the only picture I took that had her in it - the rest just had Van or Cheryl & Loren.

And since I cannot make a post without complaining about something, I want to say that I'm really starting to get mad with Photoshop Elements. I'm starting to have failures when I first connect the camera and it tries to get the pictures. The Cannon software may not have been pretty or feature-rich, but I never had any problems with it getting the damn pictures off of the camera.

Update: I caught a lot of crap from Angelique for not commenting on the quality of her visit, so here it is - Greatest Visit by a Cousin Ever!!


Stardate 60151.43 - Video Post

James has been posting videos to Google's new video site recently, and it inspired me to post one. Here it is - not terribly interesting, but it is relaxing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Stardate 60144.83 - Loren Works Her Hands

Loren is getting more and more control over her hands. Here she decides Daddy's face is ripe for grabbing.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Stardate 60141.99 - Loren in Her Lion Outfit

Here are some pictures of Loren in her lion outfit before leaving with Cheryl for group today. Loren had only picked up a few ounces (so she is a little over 13 1/2 pounds right now) but that is apparently normal at her age.


Stardate 60142.96 - Jessica Stover Dot Com Blog Entries

A couple of people have mentioned to me that Jessica is not posting her blog entries any more. Not true. As the site says, Jessica Stover Dot Com is on hiatus; Jessica Stover is not. They are slightly hidden and secret while her web site is being re-designed. They are now under the The Dead Sto Scrolls located here:


So enjoy!

And there will be a Loren update later today. Cheryl is currently at group so we'll have a weight report and some cute pictures of her lion outfit later.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Stardate 60132.65 - Out and About on Friday

I enjoyed a well-deserved day away from work on Friday and spent it with Loren's Uncle Andy and Aunt Jen. We took a trip to Chinatown and ate some very inexpensive and very tasty dumplings and Aunt Jen looked around for a briefcase (unsuccessfully). The lighting was not great, as it was quite windy and signs and banners kept causing shadows to pop across our shots. Afterwards we went back to the apartment where Loren entertained.

Friday night Uncle Andy and Aunt Jen cooked a soup for us,

and we all made homemade pasta as an appetizer.

Our trip out to NJ for the weekend was canceled as Andy and Jen had to go to Ohio unexpectedly, which means Cheryl and I will be doing taxes on Sunday instead.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Stardate 60128.13 - Loren's First Name Tag

I take a couple of days to recover from working a million hours on this proposal and suddenly people are asking me where the updates are! Here is Loren with her first name tag from one of the new mother events she went to with Cheryl.

Cheryl's brother Andy and his wife Jen are here this weekend, so you may not see another update until Monday. Be warned!


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Captain's Log Supplemental - 13 and 5

Cheryl took Loren to group this afternoon but it is still only in the 30s so Loren had to wear her teddy bear snow suit. We tried to transfer her from the Bjourn (sp?) to the chair for a nap when Cheryl got back, but it didn't work out.

She was 13 pounds 5 oz which is still in the 75th percentile.


Stardate 60123.55 - Sunset on Proposal Work!

No, I'm not back in Virginia. And these are actually from a sun rise, not a sun set (taken from my hotel room at the Courtyard Marriott from the last time I was there). But the proposal I've been working 10+ hours days on for the past three weeks is going to the print shop tonight. So tomorrow the sun will rise on a glorious day and I will take some time off. Maybe only working half-days for the rest of the week.

Cheryl is going to group this afternoon so we'll have a weight update on Loren. The past few weeks she hasn't been gaining much, but it looks like she is getting longer.

Right now Loren is a little sniffly, probably because it is cold and dry here in NYC right now.

And we have Andy and Jen coming up for a visit this weekend, arriving on Thursday.

No proposal to work and family visiting...should be a nice, relaxing weekend. We'll even pop over to NJ for part of it.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Stardate 60120.19 - There Be Ents

I was looking through some old pictures (kind of by accident, long story) and I think I accidentally took a picture of an Ent. If you don't know what an Ent is, then you're just not cool.


Stardate 60120.90 - Digging Out in NYC

It was a record snowfall in NYC, but the sun is out now and things have been slowly melting throughout the day. Cheryl skipped her new mother luncheon today as the thought of trying to maneuver a stroller through the still snow-covered sidewalks was a bit daunting.

The good news is that I don't think we'll be hearing any construction noises today.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Captain's Log Supplemental - After the Storm

22.8 inches in Central Park by noon.


Stardate 60117.73 - Blizzard!



Stardate 60117.62 - Loren Trying to Stand (Maybe)

Loren can support her own weight as long as I keep her from toppling over (she doesn't have the balance thing down yet). And try to ignore my hair loss.

She was a little cranky as we worked with her on this feat, as it was late in the evening and she was tired. She does better when we play "Stand up for baby rights!" early in the morning.

I understand that as she gets heavier she probably won't be able to do this for a while, and when she can do it again she'll be closer to actually being able to walk. But for now, it is neat to see her sort of standing.

And now she is too tired to continue.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Captain's Log Supplemental - Pictures of Loren on her 3 Month Birthday

I've had some complaints that I am spending too much time bitching about work and not enough time putting up pictures of Loren.

So here are some pictures of Loren on her Three-Month Birthday. Special thanks to Great Aunt Bev for the outfit above (the ruffles on the butt are not visible in this picture)!!

And the picture below is Loren with our friend Kathy, who came for a visit with Su Ming today.

And here is what is going on outside on her birthday (actually they seem to have stopped for the day, but normally it is filled with noisy jackhammers).

Stardate 60115.59 - Loren's 3 Month Birthday

Today Loren turns 3 months old. Pictures to follow later today.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Stardate 60109.73 - Another Goofy Picture of John

John hated the picture I put up from yesterday's dinner so much I had to snap another one from Wednesday's dinner. We ate at On the Border in the Tyson's Area with an old co-worker of John's and her husband. I ate the one item on their entire menu that was marked as "healthy". It was a chicken breast with grilled vegetables and the entire place was supposed to be less than 800 calories. It was alright. I would have preferred something taster but I've been at work too early to work out every day this week, and I've been going out in the evenings.

I'll be glad when the proposal is over. And yes, my dear cousin Angelique, I'll still bitching about work!

McLean, VA

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Stardate 60106.83 – The Squeaky Wheel

Another travel story. I’ll try to keep it brief.

So John is also here for business (link to his blog is off to the right) so we decided to go have dinner last night at Legal Seafood in the Tyson’s Galleria. First, let me say that I really take for granted the no smoking laws of NY until I come back here to Virginia to tobacco-land. We had to sit in the bar because there was a wait for the main restaurant (a freaking wait on a Tuesday night in a Virginia suburban mall restaurant…I really hate this place). Service was alright, although it took them a while to a) tell us that it was alright to just grab any table in the bar area, and b) to get to the table to take our order. What I could not believe, and is further evidence about how this entire geographic area just sucks, was the drink prices. We both ordered a Mojito, and each one was over $10. And they were small. That is freaking NYC prices! And it was not that good.

We ordered the crab-dip appetizer and I had the grilled scallops with a side of seaweed salad and broccoli. And a second Mojito because it had been a long day. We complained about work, so I’m sure Cheryl was glad she was not there. She hates it when John and I start to go off about work.

But this entry is not about the restaurant. When I got to the Courtyard by Marriott and checked in, they gave me a smoking room. I didn’t know this until I got to the room, because the woman at the front desk (who was too busy being picked up my one of the maintenance men) neglected to tell me, even though my reservation specifically asks for non-smoking. So I went back down to the lobby and asked to be moved. The guy at the front desk (guess the woman went home with the maintenance man) told me they were full. I said, “You have to be kidding me, I always request non-smoking with my reservation.” He said, “Sorry, but we’re full.” I said, “Then I’m never going to stay here again,” and departed in a huff. (Maybe it was the Mojitos talking).

I got to my room and called John and asked him to check with the Hilton. He called me back and said they were full. In the meantime I called the front desk and asked for the manager. While I was on hold (10 minutes) I has John via cell phone to call The Ritz to see if they had any rooms. The same guy whom I spoke with at the front desk had fielded my call, and I guess he decided I was going to be trouble, so when I was taken off hold I was not speaking to the manager but once again to him.

He told me that he had “unlocked” a non-smoking room for me that I wasn’t given because it wasn’t “available” for the full length of my stay. So apparently other people can get a lock on a non-smoking room when they make a reservation but I cannot. He came up in the elevator with a new key for me, and I called John back to abort the Ritz call. Luckily he had just progressed to the point of getting the number but had not called them yet. So I got my non-smoking room by being a pain in the ass.

I am a Silver member of Marriott’s program, so it really pisses me off that they would stick me in a smoking room. I would rather pay $50 more a night than to stay in a smoking room. I will gladly switch hotels instead of staying in a smoking room. Having a non-smoking room is the single greatest desire I have when staying somewhere – more important than the view, the bed, the room configuration, or having free high speed internet.

And once I got unpacked and was finishing up some work so that this morning would go a little easier, the ass in the room next to mine made 3 business calls with his cell phone in speaker-phone mode. And this was between 10 and 11 PM. Argh!

So while they did work to resolve my issue, the Tyson’s Corner Courtyard by Marriott may need to go back onto the no-fly list. Why is it so hard to run a good hotel in the Tyson’s Corner area?

This place sucks so bad.

McLean, VA

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Stardate 60104.78 - Deja Vu All Over Again

Guess where I am this week! Yes, back in Virginia!! But none of you cares about my pain...

Here is what you really are looking for...Loren news:
  • 12 pounds 15 oz
  • Flipped over from her tummy to her back today

McLean, VA

Monday, February 06, 2006

Stardate 60101.23 - Move Review (DVD): Wedding Crashers

With a nearly three-month old baby at home we rarely watch an entire movie start to finish. We have what I like to call, “40-Minute Theater”. Essentially, Loren eats on one side for 20 minutes, and then on the other side for 20 minutes. So we watch shows and movies in 40 minute increments while she eats. This arrangement works out well for TV, as we can fit an hour-long show into 40 minutes by skipping the commercials. (The DVR is the greatest. invention. ever.) It also means that for most feature-length movies, it takes at least 3 feedings to watch start to finish.

Our Sunday 40-Minute Theater consisted of Wedding Crashers. It was pretty funny, kept us entertained, and while I’m not sure we laughed out loud, we did enjoy it. It was a little long, and there were a couple of scenes that Cheryl pointed out she would have expected to see in the deleted scenes section along with the commentary, “we cut this for pacing”. So we give it 2 thumbs up, and a solid “B” rating.

By the way, if any of my faithful readers is interested in what we are watching through Netflix, feel free to send an invitation to us to join as “friends” in their system and we can share what we’re watching and more importantly, the number of stars we have given every movie we’ve ever watched through Netflix. Right now we have our friends Trent, Jenny, & Sheldon and Cheryl’s brother and his wife Andy & Jen on our list as friends. It is pretty neat to see what they have watched, what is in their queue, and what is at home with them. Netflix even generates little quizzes you can take about what movies your friends liked or not and where they agreed or disagreed with the critics.


Stardate 60101.19 - Movie Review: Match Point

Cheryl’s parents came into town on Saturday to baby-sit so that Cheryl and I could have a “date” and go see the first move since Pride and Prejudice (which we saw shortly before Loren was born back in November). We were going to go see Brokeback Mountain, but Loren’s feeding time didn’t lend itself to making that one, so we went across the street to see Match Point instead.

There was something fitting about seeing a romantic(?) movie with British accents as our last movie before Loren was born and our first move after she was born. Additionally, Scarlett Johansson was in Match Point, and as you know if you are a regular reader of this blog, she is on my list, and Keira Knightley was in Pride and Prejudice and she is also on my list.

We both gave the movie a “thumbs-up”. If you want our Entertainment Weekly grade, we both give it a “B+”. It started off a little slow, had about a 45 minute slow stretch in the middle, picked up suddenly (and abruptly) near the end (“are we watching the same movie?”, we thought), and the final 5 minutes brought it up from a “B-“ or so to a “B+”.

I’d recommend you watch it at home on DVD. It was not a “must-see” for the big screen, and because of the slow pacing you may decide to get a snack in the middle.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Danish embassy in Beirut torched

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Danish embassy in Beirut torched

My company had an office in that building, although luckily no-one was injured.

Stardate 60099.28 - Church Un-Churchiness

As I have mentioned in the past, Cheryl and I are attending St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church near where we live. I've had two bad experiences with their "doorman" whose main job, as far as I can tell, is to keep the homeless out of the church bathrooms. He has two keys to two miniscule bathrooms that are barely accessible via a long, narrow hallway.

Last Sunday, Loren had a diaper incident shortly after we got to church which required changing. The "doorman" asked me, as I asked for the key while carrying a baby and a diaper bag, "Are you going to change her in there?"

"Yes, genius", I thought. I said simply, "Yes."

"You can't change a baby in there," he told me. "People have complained about the smell."

"Adult crap stinks too, and usually worse," I thought. I said, "I'll take the diaper with me. I won't leave it in there."

"People have complained," he insisted.

"Look," I said, "I have to change her. I can do it in the bathroom or I can just leave."

"Ok, ok" he said. "I'm just telling you people complained." But he did hand over the key, which was attached to a large piece of wood, like when you were in elementary school and had to carry a huge pass in order to be in the hall on the way to/from the bathroom. I briefly had visions of beating him to death with his own bathroom key, but I refrained. Barely.

So, fast forward to this week. We go to church and Loren is cranky. She won't settle down, so Cheryl and I have to walk her up and down the side of the church. I take over just before the homily, and because she is making noise I go out into the foyer where my good friend the doorman is.

Now, the church conveniently pipes the sound out into the foyer, so if you are out there with a crying baby you can still hear what is going on. At least you would be able to hear, if the frack'n doorman was not talking on his cellphone the entire time. Once again, I had visions of cramming his cell phone down his throat, but I refrained. Killing someone actually inside a church is probably considered a bad thing.

But it would have made me feel better.