Saturday, May 31, 2008

Let's talk about sox, baby...

Okay, I admit it. I'm a chronic loser. A sock loser that is. I can't really explain it, but it seems that whenever I hit the final stage of matching up our socks into pairs to put them away, one is missing. This has pretty much always been true and in all honesty it's never really bothered me. I mean, the missing sock will turn up somewhere sometime right?

My lovely wife on the other hand is not a big fan of my missing sock habit. It is simply illogical and therefore incomprehensible I guess.

But now I have an even bigger problem. You see, Danny has milk in a bottle several times a day and as I was just washing up the nipples, tops and bottles, I ended up with 7 nipples, 8 tops and, gulp, 6 bottles. I'm afraid my problem is no longer a pairs problem. Apparently my lack of logic has exponetially increased.

Well, gotta go now. It appears there are some baby bottle parts to find. Maybe they are hiding somewhere with this week's elusive white sock. -M

Thursday, May 29, 2008


So the phone system that I use at work instructs me to "press 7 to delete a message".

No problem.

Our new voice mail at home instructs me to "press P to play a message".


Does anyone else find it confusing that 7 and P are the same key?

Maybe it's a vast phone company consipiracy? -M

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A letter to our boy

May 28, 2008

Dearest Danny,

Today’s the big day! Exactly one year ago today, you came into this world, and I remember blurting out to your mama "it’s a Daniel!"

And what a Daniel you are! Someday you’ll read this blog, which is in many ways a chronicle of your life, and we really hope you can comprehend the powerful love that we have for you.

I wish I could write you something amazing and wonderful and profound and wise, but all I can think of, is to tell you that we love you with every ounce of our being.

Your smile is brilliant, your laughter infectious, and a hug from you is pure joy.

And even though we know you’ll continue to grow and change, we also know that there is a part of you that will never change--your essential nature. All that is good and kind and sweet. We love you Danny. Happy first birthday son.

–Yours oh so truly, Mommy and Mama

Saturday, May 24, 2008

And we're back!

Since I don't think it's a very good best practice to let the whole blogosphere (yes all 10 of you out there ;-) know when I travel out of town, I didn't really mention before that I headed up to a funeral in MA this weekend. My uncle (or more specifically, my mom's first cousin's husband) who we all loved dearly passed away last week. My uncle Cliffy was a character and one of my favorite stories told at the party that followed the funeral was that Cliff always told people that during World War II he was sent overseas. Technically true, but his deployment was from Brooklyn, NY to Staten Island, NY. Yes, a whole 3 miles or something.

As sad as the occasion was, it was great to see so many relatives. My mom and brother flew out from Minnesota, and we met up with lots of cousins, aunts and uncles. And the cousins all got to meet their newest cousin--little Danny.

Su stayed back home because there were some pressing things at work, so we decided I'd take Danny. I have to tell you, it was great fun but very tiring. Probably the most difficult thing was sleeping well at night. I'd gotten a hotel room with a crib, but it was pretty tiny. The first night there Danny did one of his sound asleep double marsupial flips that he does with ease while settling in back home in his own crib, and was rudely awakened because he smacked right into the bars of this little criblet. I'd gone across the hallway to visit with my cousin Rose and family because my mom was with Danny. She told me later that he woke up, stood up and wailed so she went to pick him up and he clung to her with all his tiny little might. She laid down on one of the beds with him and he went right back to sleep. I think she kind of liked that half hour of snuggling with a peacefully sleeping baby.

We arrived back yesterday and I'm not sure who broke into a bigger smile when we saw Susanne get out of the car. I think it was a tie! Anway, I'll post a pic or two later. Busy weekend going on around here. Someone is turning one in a few days! Have a great day everybody. -Monica

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Silly human computer tricks

Have you ever thought about the fact that generally speaking, most kids today are “digital natives”? They have never known a world without computers, cell phones, texting etc…

And then there’s us. Their parents. Most of us had to learn some of this stuff as a “second language”. And as is often the case with learning a second language, it can be a bit confusing at times.

No wonder kids look at us funny when they hear things like “don’t touch that dial!” After all, what’s a dial? (at least when looking at a television?) Okay, I digress.

So anyway, my way of dealing with this knowledge gap is to blatantly steal things that I see other people doing. It makes me feel self actualized.

For example, open up a power point slide show. Make sure it’s fully open, and then just hit the letter “b”. The screen will go black. Hit “b” again and the picture comes back. Then try this with the letter “w”. The screen will go white. (yes, when you hit the "w" again the picture will come back.) This is a handy little trick to know especially when you’re making a presentation and want people to stop looking at the screen and look at you. (Does this sound egotistical? ;-)

Another big favorite of mine is doing Control Y. Whatever you’ve just done in you document (any kind of doc by the way) such as highlighted something, pasted something, changed a color on something, whatever— you can just hold down your control key and while doing so hit the letter “y”. Over and over again if necessary. I use this all the time. It’s kind of like a perpetual “do over”. Love it.

But my favorite thing to do, especially when I have a couple of programs open, is to hold the Alt key with my left thumb, and then reach up with my left index finger and tap on the Tab key. So, to review, keep the pressure on the Alt key, and then just tap on the Tab key. You’ll see a box like in this picture and with every tap on the tab key you are picking another program to go into. Once your program has a little box around it, just let go. Now you’re in a new program. It’s fun! And this way you don’t have to go down to the bottom of the page all the time click on the little windows for each.

I find that this is a very helpful habit to get in for those times that that someone walks up behind you and you don’t want them to see that you are say…blogging… You can, in an instant, be back in say your e-mail program apparently doing your work. Tricky huh? (I really do work by the way.)

Anyway, does anyone else out there have any other fun human computer tricks? I figure if I have enough, I can be smarter about computers with Danny for just a little longer ;-) -Monica

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Cerebral Decision

This weekend Su and I made the big plunge and replaced our 2002 Subaru wagon with a 2008 Kia Rondo. The Rondo was just introduced in the U.S. in 2007 but has been sold as the Kia Carens in Europe for a long time to rave reviews. And the sticker price was way less than the Rav4 and some other cars we'd looked at!

I invite you to look at the passenger side back door of both vehicles above. The grey car (the Subaru) required a bit of acrobatic balancing to insert Danny into his carseat. His poor little head--let's just say he's been bumped more than once by a distracted parent (or two) while going in. But look at that blue car! Yes, when that Rondo back door opens, it's like looking into an abyss of car seat heaven! We are very pleased.

Added bonus is the 3rd row so we can easily carry up to 7 people and the 10 year 100,000 mile warranty. And cruise control? Wow. We've never had that til now.

When I had to adopt Danny this year I was able to deduct the adoption costs from my taxes which helped make this purchase feasible. But apparently it is not going to be okay to have a new baby every year just so we can get a bunch back in taxes ;-)

Have a great day everybody. -Monica

Friday, May 16, 2008

You're right sweetheart, it does have lots of minerals but...

Send Dan K. note

Yesterday I dutifully wrote down 17 things that I needed to do at work, and just as dutifully crossed them off as I finished them.

I feel pretty good when I "accomplish" a lot, so sometimes I'll write stuff like "Reply to Brenda". This involves opening Brenda's e-mail, hitting reply, and then typing two or three words. Oh and then hitting send.

All in a day's work.

But, my real reason for writing this post today is that item number 10 on my list yesterday was "Send Dan K. note".

At the end of the day I stared and stared at my notation. "Huh?" Who in the heck is Dan K.? And why do I need to send him a note?

I pondered it all the way home and even mentioned it to Susanne hoping she'd say something like "isn't he that guy you've mentioned from blah, blah, blah project?"

But nope. She had no idea. So this morning, I returned to my desk with a full cup of coffee and began to stare in earnest at the entry. Nothing...and then...EUREKA!

It actually said "Write Dave K. a note." Psych! I'd already followed up on something with Dave K. yesterday morning, so I was able to solve the mystery and cross another thing off the list.

I totally blame the Palmer Penmanship Method for this confusion. And, I never made my Q's like that!!!! -Monica

P.S. Thank goodness the weekend is almost here!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


This is an excerpt from and MSNBC news story that was posted earlier today.

“SAN FRANCISCO - In a monumental victory for the gay rights movement, the California Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage Thursday in a ruling that would allow same-sex couples in the nation's biggest state to tie the knot. Domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage, the justices ruled 4-3 in an opinion written by Chief Justice Ron George.”

The article goes on to quote the governor:

"I respect the court's decision and as governor, I will uphold its ruling," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a statement. "Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this (ruling)."

I can’t tell you how thrilled I feel right now. I’ll write more on this later. Right now I just want to reiterate again that this is fantastic news! -Monica

You are my Starshine, my only Starshine...

True story. I once had what I thought was a fabulous idea to “buy” my beautiful wife a star. You see there is something called the International Star Registry, where you can name a star and the best part is that you get to pick the star from pretty much anywhere in the sky!

In retrospect, I do see now that it does seem frivolous to spend money on such a thing, but I guess I thought it was romantic. Hmmm…

My first mistake in the romantic department was to name the star “Susanica”. As you know from our blog this is a combination of our names and I guess it’s not really quite so romantic when you include yourself in the mix.

And then there was the part about selecting where in the sky it would be. After carefully analying the zodiac and the place, date, hour and minute of her birth etc…I picked the perfect coordinates! It would reside in Pisces, right out there by where the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars or something.

But unfortunately, I was sort of unfocused when I was selecting the coordinates while placing my online order. As I pondered life and love, I was apparently scrolling the little wheel on my mouse thus accidentally making all kinds of inadvertent changes. As a result, this sweet little star that doesn't even know its name is Susanica is no where near anything that has to do with Susanne’s "coordinates".

Sadly, let’s just say that when the certificate and astral chart arrived, I realized that I probably would have been better off just putting the $$$ through a shredder or something. I can't speak for Susanne but I pretty much think she agrees.

On a brighter note, this is not the worst present I’ve ever gotten her. And we have the never ending junk mail from Footsmart to prove it.

So, in closing, I’d just like to say that all in all, it’s probably best that I didn’t get anything for my honey for Mother’s Day. Right sweetie ;-) Love you. -Mo

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Three Degrees of Separation

So, today I’m filling out a dreadfully long government form to get a new security clearance. So much fun as you can imagine.

To do this properly, I ended up having to dig out my college diploma since I couldn’t quite remember the date it was awarded. (I had to student teach and it was awarded in the winter instead of in the spring--very confusing for me apparently ;-)

Anyway…I found my diplomas hiding our filing cabinet and made the following discovery:

When I graduated from high school, my diploma says that I :

…am entitled to this diploma with all the honors and privileges which it confers.

My college BA says…I am hereby conferred with all the privileges and obligations pertaining to that degree.

And get this--my graduate school Master’s Degree says…that I am hereby granted my degree with all the rights, obligations and responsibilities thereto pertaining…

Hmmm… Seems like the more I went to school the more obligations and responsibilities I somehow got. I guess I just don’t know to whom I have all these obligations and responsibilities. I think I’ll stick with honors and privileges. Yes. That sounds like a lot more fun! -Monica

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Mother's Day Indeed!

Susanne and I really enjoyed our very first Mother's Day. We took Danny to church, and then had brunch and later just did stuff around the house. My sweetheart also surprised me by making the most delicious raspberry/rubarb/blueberry crumble while I took a little nap. You see, we'd planted rubarb a few years ago but it takes a few years to really start coming in well. Apparently it's in! Thanks honey! (Another Mother's Day bonus, we took turns taking naps!)

But I have to say, one of my favorite first Mother's Day memories is going to be coming home from my German class around 9:30 last night and spying an envelope on our coffee table. I recognized the mom writing from Minnesota.

Su was looking over my shoulder as I opened it and I felt pretty bummed when I saw that mom had written the card only to me. I turned to Susanne and said "I'm sure she meant both of us". Su just smiled and said "no she didn't--my card is over there."

Sure enough, mom had sent us each a card. Now I don't know if she realizes that one of the benefits of my being married to Susanne is that stuff like this can be a "twofer" Two for one. So one card would have sufficed. But, gosh, I just felt so thrilled that mom was so thoughtful. She signed both our cards "Love, Mom".

When I told my mom about 10 years ago that I was gay, she was heartbroken. Hadn't seen it coming. Felt like she must have done something wrong. Every sad feeling in the world. They say that people who deal with a loved one "coming out" go through the stages of grief. They are grieving. It's the loss of the dream they had for their child's life.

I think my mom now can see that my life with Susanne and Danny is amazingly wonderful. She just couldn't see that possibility back then. In the pic here, my mom and Su and I pose for a picture in Dublin a few years ago. Maybe next Mother's Day we'll take our moms and this time our little Danny Boy there again! Have a great day everybody! -Monica

P.S. Love you mom!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday again already?

So? Anybody else feel like this today? -Monica

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Had to be one tired stork...

One of my older sisters, Alice, was born 355 days before I came along, so that means for 10 days each year we are the "same age". When we were younger it used to pretty much annoy her that I could say I was the same age as her for that period of time, but now I think she kind of enjoys it. You know, like “Ha ha! You’re old like me now!”

Being that we are of Irish descent, we learned early on that we were “Irish twins”. Of course my mom and dad had seven kids in eight years (no multiple births) so this did not seem too strange to us.

I do remember our parents jokingly telling us later that they remembered thinking “God will provide, God will provide” but after number 7 came along, they started thinking “maybe God should provide some ideas on how to stop having a baby every year?”

To this day I don’t know how mom managed. Dad was at work all the time and she had all of us at home. I guess you could think of it as seven times the love, but in reality it was seven times the chaos too. It had to have been pretty overwhelming.

I’m thinking back on all of this because Danny’s first birthday is coming up later this month. And I cannot for the life of me imagine Susanne giving birth to a second child less than a year after Danny arrived. Like she'd be in labor NOW. I honestly can't wrap my head around that one.

But as Swistle wrote about it this amazing post, there is no right or wrong way to look at how families should or should not be. I guess it's like Ibrahim Hafiz so eloquently wrote:

"The place you are right now God circled on a map for you."

Have a fabulous day everybody! -Monica

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Springtime in Washington, DC. Gorgeous...

Last year Susanne had the great idea to dig up tons of irises that were growing too close together and replant them in various places around the yard. It was a lot of work but this year's crop is gorgeous. Can't wait to see what pops up next! -Monica

Well Screech is a little creepy looking right?

Last year when Danny was all of 3 months old he thought the National's Mascot Screech was HILARIOUS.

Now as you can see, at 11 months Danny's feeling have changed.

Screech? Are you crying too? As Marge in Fargo would say, "Oh Jeez!"

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Adventures in teething...

This is a teething ring...

This is not a teething ring...

Sorry buddy, just as soon as Danny can talk his first words are going to be "I'm sorry Oscar". Apparently he has no idea how sharp those seven teeth are yet. But he will. Yours are starting to pop too I can't help but notice. (But you're so sweet you wouldn't dream of chomping on the head that bit yours right? ;-) -Monica

Monday, May 05, 2008

Wakey Wakey little sub-conscious...

So I'd say 99.9% of the time when I wake up in the night I look at the clock, breathe a sigh of relief that Danny is sleeping soundly and THEN hear Danny start squawking.

He doesn't wake up often any more but it seems a bit uncanny to me that I always wake up an instant before he starts to cry. Or has he already made a "wakey wakey" sound that registered in my brain on some level I didn't quite comprehend?

The chicken or the egg indeed. ( I always pick the chicken by the way. And I'm always won over by my opponent's argument that it has to be the egg.) Until I have the conversation later of course ;-)

Have a great day everyone. And sleep well would ya? (That means you too Bubby.) -Monica

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The DO grow up so fast...

It has been so much fun to document this first year of our little Danny's life. I'm pretty sure that we'll start doing the slide shows much less frequently after he turns one (otherwise the side bar of our blog would stretch on for miles). I just hope that if and when we are blessed with a second child we'll do the same for him or her.

You know, it seems pretty unfathomable that a year ago this month Danny came into the world. Our baby will be a toddler soon. He's already cruising, pulling up on everything, crawling quickly and easily and can walk along with a little push toy. I predict he'll be walking by the end of the month. Guess you'll just have to wait til his season finale12 month slide show to see huh? Anyway, without further ado, here is Danny's 11th month slide show. Enjoy! -Monica

Risky Business

In project management, one is always looking at threats and opportunities. To do so you basically think of all the things that could possibly happen to affect your project and then try and figure out what the probability is that this thing could happen. Then you ask yourself, if it did happen what would be the impact? If you're looking at risks, you then need to decide whether to mitigate, transfer, avoid or accept the risk.

Sounds pretty dry huh? But it's not. Once you identify things that have a very high probability of happening that would have a high impact on your project, now you know where to start to focus. Like in the matrix above, anything in box 4 would be important because the chances were so high it might happen and the results so devastating that you'd want to begin focusing on those things right away.

So, the reason for this little primer? Yesterday Jenni brought little Oscar over to our house so she could watch both boys while I teleworked. (Su and I recently decided that Danny was getting too active to really watch and telework together so he is now officially in Jenni's hands on Wednesday too.) Anyway, we were enjoying a nice morning, me typing away on my laptop in the dining room, while Jenni, from the couch in the living room fed Danny his morning bottle. Oscar happily played at his mom's feet.

Suddenly our baby cat CJ who often wanders up on the front window ledge to watch the birds all excited by a fly or something on the glass. She jumped up and started to squeeze herself between the glass and a huge plant that we've had at that spot for over 5 years now. It was a "mother-in-law's toungue" plant. Jenni and I looked on in stunned silence as CJ clawed and pushed at the window. The plant started to rock, and as if in slow motion but really in an instant it plummeted to the ground onto the play area below. It broke into several pieces and I have to tell you it was heart-stopping.

The plant, pot and soil probably weighed 30 lbs or more and would have seriouly injured anyone hit by them. Oscar was pretty non-plussed but Danny, who'd been drifting off, was really scared by it. Of course it didn't help that Jenni and I were both understandably shaken by it.

I've tried not to, but I've played the scene over and over again in my mind. I've been so unbelievably grateful to God that neither sweet little Oscar nor Danny was there in that moment. Unbelievably grateful. And I can't help but believe that this is a cautionary tale in this for us all. We often think that as long as our kids can't reach or move something stable, that they're safe. I'd never thought of a cat or other animal doing the knocking down for them.

I know I can't freak out and see danger everywhere. But I also know that I will do any and everything in my power to keep Danny safe. Danny and any child who comes to our house.

So...on my matrix above, the probability of that plant falling was so low it was off my radar screen. Five straight years with no incident. But the impact if it were to fall is/was tremendously high. Box number 3 I'm looking at you. As maybe we all should.

Danny, you are the most important "project" that your mama and I will ever manage. We're learning and growing too and we love you more than you will ever know.

Signed, a very, very grateful mom. -Monica

P.S. This picture of Danny playing with our neighbors last week gives a good view of the plant that fell.