Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stardate 61662.87 - Another Picture of Loren the Sailor

On our sailing trip on Monday, the Skipper's niece Hilary took some really nice pictures of Loren. My favorite of the ones I've seen so far is included here. Hilary is a photographer by trade, so if you want to see more of her stuff just visit her website.


Photo copyright 2007 by Hilary Steffens, all rights reserved. Reprinted here by permission. Permission is not granted to re-post this photo.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stardate 61658.63 - Loren's Stats at 21 Months

Loren had a pediatrician check-up yesterday afternoon. Her height was 34 1/4 inches (85th percentile) and her weight was 26 pounds (55th percentile). She impressed the Doctor with her language skills, for as the doctor handed Loren a sticker for being a good patient Loren turned to Cheryl and said, "Mommy help put sticker on shirt?"

I'm impressed with how quickly she has learned pronouns. She frequently hugs me or Cheryl and says, "I got you! I got you!" Not, "Loren got Daddy" but "I got you!" and sometimes, "I got you, Daddy!"

(Yes, I recycled a picture from our trip to Ohio last month).


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Stardate 61655.63 - Loren's First Sail

Saturday we went to the beach in Sea Bright, but forgot to carry the camera down to the sand. Everyone is probably tired of beach pictures anyway. We took Monday off and in an effort to see how Loren would do on a boat all day, I coordinated with Thomas and some members of the Manhattan Sailing Club to take the Catalina 34 out of Sag Harbor again (same boat I went out on back in June). We were on the boat all day yesterday, and Loren did very, very well! She even took her nap in her stroller down below while we took our lunch break in Coecles Harbor.

Here is our skipper, Thomas.

Here is Willy, one of our crew.

Cheryl relaxes after lunch.

Thomas checks on the sunbathing crew: Cheryl, Kathy, and Ellen.

View off the bow in Coecles Harbor.

Thomas' niece Hilary takes the helm.

A family picture on the boat (although it looks like Cheryl forgot to put her life jacket back on!). Loren doesn't look happy here, but she really did have a fun time on the boat.

Betty takes a turn on the wheel.

Cheryl gets in some time on helm, before Loren came over to "help" and cut her time short.

Curt maneuvers the boat into a narrow passage.

Loren enjoys a snack - she loves those plums!!!

Loren helps Curt work the wheel and the GPS.

Loren is very concerned that the mainsheet is not properly secured.

Loren really loved playing with the winch handle.

All-in-all, the experiment was a success and Loren did very well and we think she would do alright on a sailing vacation, as long as we have periods we can get her off the boat so she can run around.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Loren works for world peace

If you are freaked out by the videos Curt just posted, take heart that Loren is doing her part to promote world peace. Granted, the country she is representing here may not be the most influential, but it just may be the happiest.

This picture was taken last month when my cousin Jaclyn and her friends visited from Ohio. Loren and I went on the United Nations tour with them. Much thanks to Jaclyn for sending along the pictures from the tour.


Stardate 61651.42 - Shift Happens

Watch this and think about it.

Here is the updated version:


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stardate Unknown - In a Cab

My flight got in 1 hour and 15 minutes late, so I left St Lois on Friday and am getting home on Saturday. And don't get me started about my trials at the rental car place. Lets just say it took a full hour from the time I pulled into the car return and when I got to the check-in counter.

At least I am almost home.


Sent from my Blackberry

Friday, August 24, 2007

The week with Loren

First off I apologize to JamesF -- this is Cheryl writing and no, we have not gotten around to setting me up as a contributor yet.

I see that Curt hasn't posted since Monday so Curt's and Loren's devoted fans must be having some serious withdrawal symptoms by now. At the moment, Curt is high in a plane somewhere between St. Louis and New York. And tomorrow we are going to the internet-free zone otherwise known as my grandmother's apartment.

To hold you over in the meantime I thought I'd write a bit about life with Loren this week. Curt tends to report our activities and show the good photos, but he doesn't tell many of the stories that really show Loren's personality. She had a few funny "firsts" this week. Maybe the parents of older kids will read these and say, "Well all kids do that." But to me they really made the week special, if a bit aggravating at times.

First fashion statement: Until now Loren hasn't cared much about her clothes. She is very loyal to one particular pair of shoes (the hot pink Merrells) but other than that she just wears whatever we put on her. One morning this week she refused to let me snap her PJs back up after I changed her diaper. She wanted "shorts". She proceeded to go to her dresser, opened the drawers until she found the one with the pants in it, dug into the back of the drawer and pulled out a pair of pink corduroy pants with orange, blue, and red flowers. They were a Christmas present from Nana and Cracker and are by far the brightest pair of pants she owns. She handed them to me and said "These pants!" It hasn't been corduroy season for several months, but we had some very cool weather this week and it was cold enough that I didn't have to talk her out of wearing them. Luckily, she didn't insist on picking out a shirt so I was able to put her in a plain pink t-shirt that matched the pants.

First egg:
One evening after dinner she starting pulling on the refrigerator door and asking for an egg. I have offered her cooked eggs before, but she has never been interested. She was very insistent, so I pulled out the egg carton for her. She grabbed an egg and started to put one end in her mouth...very weird. I snatched it away and showed her how I could break it into a pan and cook it, but she refused to try the fried egg. I had a suspicion that she had seen someone eat a hard-boiled egg at day care -- how else would she know to take an egg and try to eat it whole? So I put a couple eggs on to boil, and when they were done I cooled one down and peeled it. Sure enough, she ate about half of it. She also tried to grab pieces of the shell and put them in her mouth... yuck! Unfortunately her regular teacher has been out the last couple of days so I couldn't check if my guess was right.

And the most amazing one... the first mile: As we left day care today Loren resisted going into the stroller. I decided to let her walk to the elevator and out of the building, and maybe for a block or two, figuring she would tire and want to go into the stroller soon enough. I was in no hurry to get home, since I had nothing in particular to accomplish before her bedtime. Well, every time I asked her if she wanted to go in the stroller, she said no. About halfway home (so after 10 blocks, or half a mile) she started to get whiny and wanted to be picked up. No way was I going to carry her for 10 blocks and push the stroller. I told her "stroller or walk". She chose walking. The couple times from there on that I tried to put her in the stroller she threw a fit.

It took us an extra 15 or 20 minutes to get home, but on the whole her pace was not much slower than some fully-grown non-New Yorkers I've walked with. And amazingly, she only struggled against holding my hand once or twice (failure to hold hands absolutely would have meant getting strapped in the stroller against her will -- she knows the sidewalk rules well).

I'm not quite sure who the winner was in this battle of wills-- she had to walk a mile, and I had to manage both a toddler and a stroller on the sidewalk (although 2nd Ave wasn't too crowded so it wasn't too much of a problem). I feel a bit cruel somehow for making her walk so far... but on the other hand, it's not like I forced her. She could have switched to the stroller at any point. And carrying her would have set a dangerous precedent. In fact she did finally climb into the stroller as we were getting the mail in the lobby of our building.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Stardate Unknown - I-70 CLOSED

I have been in the rental car for 90 minutes now, and I am only 6 miles from the airport. Yes, this trip is off to a great start.

I-70E, near STL

Sent from my Blackberry

Stardate Unknown - Full Flight

The flight is completely full and there are almost 30 people on stand-bym. Yum! Glad I have a seat assignent.


Sent from my Blackberry

Stardate Unknown - Airport Smells

I'm off on another business trip this week, so you have lots of rants to look forward to and fewer pictures of Loren. I arrived at LGA at 0500 for a 0615 flight and the airport was packed! Luckily, security was not too bad (lots of lanes open) and I arrived at my gate about 20 minutes before scheduled boarding time.

Unluckily, the man in front of me in security was inside a cologne store when it suddenly must have exploded.

Seriously, how can you not notice that?


Sent from my Blackberry

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Stardate 61632.5 - Video of Loren and Cheryl Dancing

From Luz's wedding today, I present video of Loren and Cheryl dancing:


Stardate 61632.38 - Luz's Wedding

One of Loren's teachers in her first daycare center babysits for us sometimes, and today she got married and invited all of us to the wedding. The wedding and the reception were at the Regatti Terrace in Queens. The place was fine, but the staff (at least I think it was the staff) were so incredibly loud at the start of the ceremony that the best man actually left his post to go tell them to shut up. Oh, and the bride and her family were 30 minutes late. Cheryl, Loren and I arrived 10 minutes prior to the start to find that we were the first to arrive, which had the staff asking me, "Are you the Groom?"

Here the flower girl and her escorts prepare for the start.

Here are me and Cheryl with Luz.

Loren and I dance near our table.

Cheryl tries to wrangle Loren during the meal.

And here are the happy couple!


Stardate 61630.97 - To the Beach (Again)

I feel like James with his seemingly endless series of pool pictures, as I present yet another Saturday at the beach in Sea Bright. The temperatures finally dropped here in the metro-NYC area, with a morning temperature Saturday of 58 and highs only in the low 80s. It was also quite windy at the beach and the blowing sand got to Loren after a little while so we cut our stay at the ocean short and returned to "Bobby's House!" to have lunch and for Loren to have her nap. The nice thing about the cool temperatures and the wind, however, is that the beach was nearly deserted - a rarity for a Saturday in August.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Stardate 61625.5 - Loren Practices in the Boat

As you may remember from vacation day five, we purchased Loren a boat for the water (which she loved and then proceeded to often sit in while we were in the room). Since we have an all-day boat trip with Loren coming up in a little over a week, Cheryl got out the boat again for Loren to play with. She also got out Loren's PFD (personal flotation device, or "life jacket") for her to wear a little at home so that when we get on the boat and put it on her Loren doesn't freak out because she has never seen it before (apparently the practice runs went well and Loren seems fine with wearing it).

The boat was still out this morning and Loren sat in it with her Dora doll and then said "cheese" and posed for me.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stardate 61619.95 - Hope There Isn't a Fire

Unless something truly horrible happens, this will be my last post about the hotel I am staying in during my trip to Montgomery, because I am sure people are tired of hearing about it.

I was looking at the back of the hotel room door yesterday, and something just didn't look correct. The evacuation sign seemed a bit off. You know the sign I am taking about, the metal or plastic plate on the back of hotel room doors showing which room you are in and the location of the emergency exits. The sign indicated that I was just a few doors away from a stairwell, if I turned left upon exiting my room. I opened my door and looked left...down a long hallway that lead to the elevators and eventually to a stairwell at the far, far end.

I looked right. A couple of doors down was the end of the hall and the stairs leading out of the building. The sign was wrong - it was the mirror image of what the hotel actually looked like. If there were a fire or smoke and I had tried to use the sign to figure out which direction I should exit in it would actually have steered me away from the exit!

The people are nice, as I mentioned before
, but I still think this hotel gets the "no fly zone" treatment in the future.

Montgomery, Alabama

The picture is of a fire exit sign resembling those accordant with the EU directive 92/58/EEC, without the text "fire exit". Drawn by Mysid in CorelDraw. The creator of this work granted permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. Subject to disclaimers.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stardate 61616.12 - Personal Hygene

As I got ready for bed last night I discovered I had forgotten to pack toothpaste. Luckily, I had purchased a pack of gum at the store so I used that as a substitute.

Today it hit 103, so it was a good thing I had not forgotten my deodorant, but I did have to go to the store again after work today to buy new toothpaste. I went into the Rite Aid directly beside the grocery store, thinking the price would be cheaper. It looked like something from a post-apocalyptic disaster movie. Shelves were strewn with debris, items were thrown on the floor, and entire sections were just cleaned out. As I left in disgust with no toiletries, I thought, "Do they know something I don't know?" But then I noticed the giant banner across the front of the store that somehow had eluded me upon my entrance, which read in 4-foot high letters "CLOSING". I guess that is what was going on. So I walked over to the well-stocked grocery store and got my toothpaste, where the woman in front of me in line smelled like she was in a liquor store when it suddenly exploded. But I got my toothpaste during what I thought was my last trip to the store.

I got back to my crappy hotel and realized that when the front desk said "You get room service each day" that "room service" didn't apparently involve cleaning the tub (now with back footprints from my wearing Tivas all day Sunday), or washing the dishes I used for coffee (decaf!) and cereal in the morning. So I looked around the room, and guess what else this hotel doesn't provide! Dish soap!!

So I called the front desk an hour ago to ask for some and was told "we don't have the little packets in the room anymore, but I can get you some." So I waited 30 minutes and no-one had showed up and then the phone rang. Apparently they thought I was coming down to get it. So another 30 minutes later and the front desk person shows up at my door with a bottle in one hand and says, "You got something to put this in?" So I hand her a bowl and she squirts some into it and now I have dish soap.

The staff is very friendly, but the hotel is just awful. Not move out awful, but never staying here again. It is cheap (under $50 / night) but charge me an extra $5 and give me shampoo and dish soap!

Montgomery, AL

I got the toothpaste image from Wikipedia, where it was procured from Image:Toothpaste.jpg, which was released into the public domain by user User:SCEhardt.

Source: derivative of commons:Image:Toothpaste.jpg

Stardate 61614.49 - Mystery Visitor

I use the Google Analytics package to keep tabs on how many people visit my blog. It cannot track the number of RSS feeds, but it does a pretty good job of tracking who visits from where (in case you care, I'm back up to 30-40 visits per day, with occasional surges up into the 60s or 70s).

Every now and then someone visits from a location and I wrack my brain to figure out who I know who lives there and just cannot make the connection. The current location is Kansas City. I just cannot figure out who I know there, but I get a visit a day from there.

I know, it could be where some automated crawler or something might be, but I thought I'd put up a quick post and let the mystery person from the "city of the week" identify himself or herself in the comments. Not that I'll do this type of post every week...or maybe if I'm on travel with no camera and nothing better to post than complaints about my trip...

Montgomery, Alabama

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stardate 61613.59 - Loren at the Zoo

Hi everyone, Cheryl here. I know that many of you are here for pictures of Loren rather than Curt's travel rants. Those of you here for Curt's travel rants can skip down to the next post, but should probably reassess your priorities. I did find it fairly entertaining, as travel complaint posts go, and for anyone worried about his hygiene, I can report that he did find a store to buy some shampoo.

Loren and I walked out to our local bagel shop to pick up breakfast this morning. She decided it was much more fun to lick the cream cheese off of my bagel than to eat her plain bagel.

Loren and I had a lovely (though hot) afternoon at Central Park Zoo after Curt left for the airport.

Loren defends her turf.

After the zoo we stopped off at one of the playgrounds, where my aspiring gymnast showed off her prowess on the balance beam. She usually finds much more terrifying things to balance on--retaining walls, etc. -- so I am usually too busy preventing accidents to take pictures.

Stardate 61613.33 - On the Road Again

I am on a business trip this week, and not one to my office in Virginia. This time I'm in Montgomery, Alabama (state slogan, "Hotter than Hell in August!"). I flew from LGA to Birmingham, because a co-worker who has been here before (I never have) said that it was an easier airport to get into and out of. Here is my litany of complaints:

  1. Again, I got to learn the difference between "non-stop" and "direct" as my "direct" (but not "non-stop") flight from LGA to Birmingham landed in Atlanta for an hour before continuing onto Birmingham. Imagine my surprise!
  2. If you are going to let the computer land the plane, I'm not sure getting on the loudspeaker and announcing to the passengers that the computer is going to be landing the plane is a wise decision. The people around me seemed a little unnerved by it. Probably not the reaction you wanted.
  3. It is great that Delta airlines has this big marketing blitz on right now about how great they are making their planes, but those of us stuck on a MD-88 don't want to hear it. Yes, the plane was clean and the overhead compartments were new. But there was no audio system, no video system, and you don't even get the full can when you are served your soda.
  4. I'm not sure the "difficulty" allegedly experienced at the Montgomery airport is worth a 90+ minute drive from Birmingham to Montgomery on a very crowded I-65. Yes, the speed limit is 70, but I didn't achieve it for the first 15 minutes or so.
  5. Alabama is a lot more hilly than I expected. Especially between Birmingham and Montgomery. And I love driving in lots of traffic on hills when people do 80+ down the hill and 55 up the hill (in a 70 mph zone). It is called cruise control people - learn it, love it, live it.
  6. I got into the rental car and figured out how to get the outside temperature to display. It cycled between 101, 102, 103, and 104 during the drive to Montgomery where, as I arrived at 1830, it finally settled down to 99.
  7. Why do hotel air conditioners always seem to be set to "Antarctica"? The temperature was set to 60. Now, I know it is "Hotter than Hell in August" here, but 70 (29 whole degrees cooler than outside) would have been quite fine, thank you.
  8. If a co-worker picks the hotel, do some research first. If he tells you "It is an Extended Stay America" place, make sure he knows the difference between Extended Stay America and a loose collection of independent hotels known as "Extended Stay Hotels". Because I can tell you that the difference is new and well-appointed for one, and old, drab, and no shampoo for the other one. Guess which one I am in?
  9. If you haven't eaten anything but a bag of sun chips in 6 hours, don't gorge yourself on a Schlotzsky's sandwich and a cup of lemonade the size of a pitcher. You'll just feel gross.
  10. And Schlotzsky, don't give me a game piece with the promise that I could "Win $25,000 A Year for Life" and make me go to a web site to give you my address and crap and then tell me, "Unfortunately, due to the Official Rules, residents of New York are not eligible to participate in the Schlotzsky's Winning Combination Game." That's just rude.
So while not off to a disastrous start, this trip is off to a low-grade annoyance start. And I already miss Cheryl and Loren! But I will enjoy my few nights break from putting Loren down to sleep, who is pretty good most of the time but still fights sleep like mad.

On the plus side, I arrived with no paper maps or directions and just put the address of the hotel into TeleNav on my phone (w/ GPS) and it guided me directly to the hotel. That is one of the coolest things ever! I'll never grow tired of hearing, "...and your destination will be on your right."

Montgomery, Alabama

The photo is from Wikipedia's entry on roads. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
Subject to disclaimers.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Stardate 61610.75 - Loren is 21 Months Old

Loren turned 21 months old today, and in celebration we went to the beach. This time she was not afraid of the waves (maybe because the tide was going out so the waves were crashing and then the water was sweeping towards her without a lot of depth - at least most of the time).

Anyway, she loved standing in the water and getting hit by the waves. First Cheryl held her hands.

Then I did.

Here "Bobby", Loren, and I all gaze out at the Ocean.

Loren also likes us to dig her a pit to play in, along with her standard activity of getting us to build sand castles so she can destroy them.

It was a great day to be at the beach, and after eating dinner out there we drove home.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Stardate 61606.94 - Back in Time - England, 2002

Since I don't have anything new to talk about today, why don't I talk about something old. Back in November 2002 I had to go to England for 4 weeks for a project (actually 5 weeks, but I came back for Thanksgiving after week 4 and then returned to wrap things up). One Friday was Veteran's Day, and so the location I was working was closed on that Friday and the following Monday. So Cheryl came out for a long weekend and we took a little trip to Cambridge. Here are some photos from that trip. Enjoy!


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Stardate 61603.61 - 5 Voice Over Guys in a Limo

Fellow Jessica Stover fan Dave posted this to his blog, and I thought it was so funny I had to post it here. The video is almost 5 minutes long, but worth it.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Stardate 61605.25 - Last Shot from Saturday

Here are the last couple of pictures I'm going to post from the Saturday event in Connecticut (these were taken by my cousin Justin). The top one I like because my Uncle Herb is in it and also because I'm in it - I usually seem to take the photos or for some other reason I don't think I post a lot with me in them. In the photo below Cheryl and Loren hang out with Zach at the (literal) kid's table.


Stardate 61601.09 - Flooding Cripples NYC Subway

I should have suspected there was an issue when the sidewalks were more crowded this morning as I took Loren to day care. I remember thinking, "Is this Amateur Hour?" as people seemed to mill randomly around with no clue where they were going or what they were doing. The buses also seemed a lot more crowded for a morning when the rain had already ended. Granted, there was a big storm early this morning, but the sun was about to break through. Why were people cramming onto the buses and randomly wandering around?

Because most of the subway system was shut down. (Along, apparently, with the MTA's web site).

And on a day when Cheryl has a class all the way downtown. Last I heard from her it was 10 minutes into the start time of the class and she was on a bus at least 30 minutes from the facility.

And on a day when (thanks to the rain) the humidity is up above 75% and the temperature is already above 80 and climbing.

I had to change shirts once I got back home as I was drenched. The cats are on the wood floor, stretched out to maximize fur contact with a cool surface.

Hope the power company can keep up with demand today.

The picture is of Coney Island Stillwell Avenue terminal of the New York Subway, Coney Island, New York and was taken by Kris Arnold. This file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License (cc-by-sa-2.0). In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of the file under the conditions that you appropriately attribute it, and that you distribute it under this or a similar cc-by-sa license.