Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ron Paul for President?

Let me start out by saying that while I have some very clear-cut views about many issues that politicians blabber about endlessly, I am really not interested in politics. It makes me mad and frustrated all the back talk and spin they spew out continuously, so I end up avoiding dealing with elections as much as possible on a national level. Locally, I try to stay in touch with the issues and put up with more of the mud-slinging than nationally because I honestly feel that my opinion has more of an effect, and because I am much closer to the results of the actions our government takes.

That being said, I suddenly find myself very intrigued by the Republican hopeful Ron Paul, who is looking to get the nomination for president next spring. Some co-workers turned me on to his existence after feeling me out on my views. And... I'm pretty impressed. So much so that I'm actually contemplating voting in a Primary. I've considered myself an independent my entire voting career because my views really don't align with either party very well. Imagine my surprise in finding out I'm probably what you would call a Libertarian. Huh. Stop passing a bunch of laws to protect me from myself. (I HATE the seat belt law, but I wear a seat belt). Get the Federal government to BUTT out of local issues and let the people in communities who understand the problems fix the problems. Nothing makes me crazier than hearing about Congress discussing DMCA or other technology related bills (Don't get me started on Net neutrality) and knowing that the majority of these people haven't the foggiest idea how this stuff WORKS let alone how to make it work well for everyone.

So I did some searching online... and I found A LOT of uhm... enthusiastic people. So I guess the question is... what's the catch? I know a lot about routing and drivers and electronics and software, but macroeconomics and international diplomacy are not exactly my forte. (I took a class on microeconomics in college, and just about DIED, all I remember is supply and demand.) I guess... it's pretty darn easy to find what people like about this guy, but I usually like to hear both sides. So anyone a serious detractor that can give me actual facts/references? (Ron Paul Suxx0r commentors please restrain yourselves, and Ron Paul R0xx0rz commenters are also requested to skip this comment section)

Of course, given the crickets I maintain on this blog... I'll probably just Google it some more :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Second guessing myself

I totally dropped the ball at work yesterday. I got a call pretty close to the end of my shift about an issue, and I fixed it, but I had a feeling there was alot more to the story. I wanted to get home to my family though. So I spent the time doing some of the research, and when 5pm hit, decided to send an email to the rest of the group with what I'd gathered so far, and left it for them to pick up overnight Sunday and today. And like the compulsive workaholic I am, I've been checking my email all day. And... it was a big deal. The stuff that broke, shouldn't have, and I'm VERY lucky it didn't fail again before they started looking into it today. (Actually it hasn't failed again at all -yet, but that's not the point.) The point is... this was a BIG deal. And, while no one has chastised me - not yet anyway. I feel horrid. Yesterday I justified it to myself that the equipment in question is not my responsibility - I'm not fully trained to understand it - I just try to plug the holes on the weekend, and try to keep us from calling folks in their off-hours. But now... I'm seriously thinking that even if I didn't stick around to log a ticket with the Cisco TAC, I SHOULD HAVE called the guys whose responsibility it is to maintain that equipment -cuz they are in a total dither today.

Such a bad employee.. ::cringe::

On a good note, my husband and I slogged through a really difficult conversation about our priorities and what exactly we're trying to do with our time and money so we're not running off in different directions and getting so mad (mad's a strong word... irritated and disappointed continuously would be a better description) at each other for not helping with whats most important to each of us. I absolutely hate telling the man that I love bad news. But I'm supposed to be overseeing our finances (probably not the best idea for a compulsive spender), and it was time to be honest with him and myself about what we can and cannot afford to do before we get even further in debt. So now we have a plan, and I've got a better idea of what to drop when I feel tugged in so many directions. I know it's silly but I have to be told it's ok that I can't do everything or I just keep trying 'til I fly apart - and that's no good for anyone. At least I'm getting to a place where I can recognize this instead of being shocked when it happens. Lets see if it's actually preventable.

Those talks are really depressing usually - it's tough to face head-on the reality that we just don't have enough time or money to do all the things we want to do, and not even some of the stuff we need to do to stay sane and happy. I guess... it's the part of being a grown up that I just haven't embraced. You can't get away with only doing the icky not-fun stuff sometimes. You have to do it most of the time, because keeping the house semi-presentable means we don't lose time trying to find stuff- time we don't have. And we can't buy all the neat toys and stuff we want for ourselves and our daughter because we need to get out of debt - the debt we got into because we don't tell ourselves "no" nearly enough. We both learned to soothe being sad or unhappy by spending - some on ourselves, but mostly on others. And it's a self-defeating cycle we have to get out of.

So I guess we need to find other (really cheap) ideas on how to spoil ourselves and our daughter. And how to make it through Christmas with REALLY large, gifty families without feeling totally left out because we shouldn't be spending a ton of money on presents, but that's how we've learned to enjoy the season. And if we tell our families we're not doing gifts, that won't stop them. I wish we could just go into hiding for the holidays, but that would be even more depressing than being so bad with our money that now we can't buy our loved ones those thoughtful little gifts we always splurge on. (wah). I wish we could have someone just take over and say - naughty children - you've not been wise with you're money. I will not allow you to spend money on those frivolous things. And we could say to ourselves and our families (I don't honestly think our families care, but the guilt is still there) we WANTED to buy you lovely gifts, but that meanie over there said no.

Can you believe we had the audacity to reproduce? Not exactly responsible parenting, eh? Well, the good news is... I've faced facts, and DH was surprisingly agreeable. We're going to wait a year before ttc. We have one year to try to make a VERY significant dent in this debt we've accumulated before we sink ourselves further with the expenses and lack of time that another child will engender. And in the meantime, we'll enjoy the awesome daughter we already have, and each other. And that is more than enough. (My story and I'm stickin to it).

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My baby isn't a baby anymore

A good friend of my husband and his wife just had their first baby on Wednesday. They were married a month before we were, and have been ttc pretty much since the honeymoon. Honestly, I felt a little guilty around them since we were able to get preggo pretty much as soon as we stopped trying NOT to have a kid. Anyway, I'm very, very happy for them. Mom and babe made it through really well through a 9 hour labor, and we got to see them Thursday night.

This is the first time I've seen my daughter in the same room with a newborn in over a year. Oh wow. First of all, to see a tiny little (and gorgeous, by the way) infant with her teeny half-moon finger and toe-nails, and hear the soft little "awaah" cry of a newborn made me flutter. And remember. Oh, the horrid sleep deprivation. Oh, the grinding worry of not knowing what to do, what to expect. And oh, the glorious smell of your childs soft downy head as she nurses contentedly in your arms, or looks up at you with those blue-not-sure-what color-we'll-get eyes and sighs. ::shiver::

And I look over at my baby, and she's not. She's walking, and talking, and crinkles her nose and looks for her binka when the baby cries so she can soothe her. (No we didn't let her give it to her, but it was cute) My baby is growing up and it's happening too fast. I'm grateful we're getting sleep at night, but when did she learn to wipe her own mouth and hands after feeding herself? How did this sneak up on me? She's using 4 word sentences now, ones that strangers can make out? She's almost got the hang of jumping - her feet just don't quite leave the ground yet. This was my darling, floppy, came-out-of-MY-stomach baby girl. Now when I hold her in my arms, her feet dangle past my knees.

And I know, deep down... we have to do this again. We will make it work. Somehow we will muddle through with the finances, and the exhaustion, and not seeing each other enough. Because she needs a little brother or sister to care for. I see how sweet she is toward that little baby, and I know... I can't deprive our family of the other child that we haven't met yet. Whose smell I don't know. Whose grin will tease mine out on those very hard days. Who will try the babe's patience and teach her all those things my sibs and I learned from each other. She needs that. And I need it, too.

We aren't totally ready. Things aren't perfect.. but then... they weren't before we had our first daughter, and I couldn't imagine life without her now. We've managed. So, sorry about the very down post I did before. I haven't really fixed anything, but after talking with my husband about so much of it, I realize we don't have to fix it. We do have to just keep doing our best.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

So much to little time

I've been composing posts to this blog in my head all week, but when it comes down to actually having time to sit down and type them out, the time, well it is lacking.

Let's see.. On Friday, I was going to go into the VMWare saga. I was asked by my boss to get a quote for RHEL software and support for next year's budget, including information on virtualization. WHOOBOY! Well, I found out how much I didn't know on that topic. Learned alot of stuff, was going to post here, and ask questions, but now - meh. My sudden disinterest would mainly be because my boss told me never mind. And because if we went with Linux based virtualization, you'd better believe my job description would suddenly expand to include server management lickety-split.

Then over the weekend I had ideas for talking about our daughter's second birthday celebration (or lack thereof), and what I'm going to put together for it.

I also have alot of comments on the hoopla about Comcast & BitTorrent. Which I find funny because we also rate limit P2P traffic, and have been for years now. I can't believe we were ahead of the game on someone so much bigger than us, so this is like, really old news. And I don't feel bad about it, either. I mean, we have SOO many users that set-it and forget-it. Prior to packet shaping, our slow speed complaints were usually either because the subscriber had spyware infestations or a forgotten P2P app chugging away. So, we honestly don't feel bad limiting the amount of access our subs have to p2p off our network during peak times. Now, during the middle of the night, when we have the bandwidth to spare, and when they're not likely to notice the p2p stuff hogging their connection - wide open. so if you have a ratio you're trying to maintain, you can get your upload credit, and a copy of that movie that I'm sure is quite legal from China (yes, I know there is PLENTY of legal stuff out there - another reason we try to keep a light touch on any rate limiting.) And there was more - deep packet inspection questions and trying to get resources on desiphering packet headers after doing a WireShark trace...

And I seriously am struggling with the mommy/worker/wife ratio right now. I want to be a good worker, not just keep myself from being fired, but I want to be an asset to this company. It makes me feel good, feel smart and smart isn't something I get anywhere else in my life right now. At home, I feel quite the dunce. So, I need to start showing up to work on time again. Even if my boss doesn't care, and even if there are a couple of other guys that just sort of make up their schedules. The ones I consider to be successful in my department aren't so lackadaisical.

I want to be a good mother, too. I do NOT want to be one of those parents of seriously screwed up kids. I don't want my daughter to be unhappy and a detriment to society overall. And there are so many details that go with that goal (I'm listing all the ones that I'm seriously having trouble with - hopefully I do something right and don't know it or I'm going to have my parenting license revoked any time now).
Feed your kid only organic produce, dairy and meat.
Give your child the freedom to learn for herself.
Give your child consistent, clear boundries.
Allow your toddler to exert her independance whenever practical/safe.
Maintain a regular schedule.

Don't feed your kid too many foods/drinks with empty calories.
Don't let her watch TV before age 2. (That one's totally shot)
Don't let her watch more than an hour of educational TV after age two (and a two hour marathon of mindless Hello Kitty claymation for a 22 month old is how bad?)
Don't use plastic containers when cooking in the microwave unless you want her to hit puberty when she's 5. (exaggerating - and it's probably not true - I hope)
Don't put your child in daycare - it's evil - only selfish parents do it. (Someone told me this one over the weekend - made me want to cry)

There's more -so much more.

And then the wife front. Here's this great guy I found and he actually wanted to marry me. And then I did that thing that all my guy friends would gripe to me about when I was in college. You know - the bait and switch. I don't do my "fair share" of the housework - you can tell because the house is trashed - all the time. I'm not "affectionate" anymore because, honestly I'm whipped. And... you can't have it two ways... Look, either I can kill myself trying to get all this crap done and be all short on sleep, but the bills are paid and the house is, well, not gross, and we have food in the cupboards and dinner cooking when you get home. Or, I can try to spend some time getting back in touch with the care-free chick you met who seems to have died during childbirth. But... I can't do both, and it frightens me DEEPLY that I might eventually lose my great guy over it. I'm being pulled in waaay too many directions, and I know... that's not good, because I'm not adept at putting the brakes on before I fly off the cliff. Somethings gotta give. I'm willing to let the house go to pot a little bit, and give up some of my old fun habits (3 books a day anyone?) But it's not enough. He doesn't say anything mean, but I can tell. He's just getting more and more unhappy and distant.

I'm seriously starting to think... maybe we should put another kid on hold for awhile yet. Maybe a long while. Until I can get our finances and house and relationship back in order. Until I'm working a job that's got more kid-friendly hours. And that nagging thought makes me unbelievably, terribly sad. And alone.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The saga continues or How Not to Make Mac 'n Cheese

So... Still TIRED. But showered. The babe is... ornery today. Didn't eat breakfast. Has watched faaar too much TV today because I am way too tired today to deal with "Dego, dego, dego! go go Dego?" without giving in. (Such a bad parent... gah. Lets not go there now.)

Who's the parent? Dunno - she checked out halfway through coffee this morning.

So I made lunch around noon... Did the whole, "We're having PASTA!" (super cheery fake voice, cuz she's gotta eat lunch if she turned her nose up at breakfast & snack time - 11th percentile for weight. Gotta make sure she eats) "So, babe, what KIND of pasta do you want? Do you want colored wheels or colored squiggly pasta?" (always offer the illusion of choice, especially when I don't flippin care what kinda noodle I boil) To my surprise, she chooses "skiggos" instead of "wheews". OK (whatever, babe).

I get down some nested measuring bowls, and give her a few of the uncooked pasta noodles to play with while I get lunch ready. For a short while she is satisfied to pour the pasta from one bowl to the next. Until. She realizes how far a dry noodle will fly if placed on the floor and swatted. DUMP-flail. K. Well I guess I asked for it when I didn't contain her to the high chair. And I'm sure she's learning something about physics. (And she's not crying nor begging for Diego).

Meanwhile, it's time to hurry up and wash the dishes from last night so I have somewhere to drain the cooked noodles (Don't step on the dry ones - it HURTS). Get that done, drain the pasta, and begin the "fun" game of enticing a toddler who is so OVER playing with noodles to help mama pick up the mess. "Ooh, babe, let's try to find a GREEN one! Can you help momma put a GREEN one in the jar?" She wanders into the other room. Time to up the ante. Fake laughing. "WHEE!" Now for the killer. "Momma loves her noodles! MINE!" I hear a thump from the other room as she drops whatever she'd picked up. And pattering of little insistent feet. "NO MINE!" (Ah yes... sooo evil.) "No, babe, these are MINE! And I'm putting MY noodles in the jar." Soon she is frantically grabbing noodles, trying to hold them all in her little hands. I try to be nonchalant as I offer the jar. "Do you want to put your noodles in here?" In they go. (MWAHAHAHA - I win again.)

Then she asks so sweetly, as she stuffs the rest of "her" noodles in the jar... "Momma mac an cheethe?" Well, I could always make a cheese sauce for these puppies. (My DH isn't home to queue the reality check) So... do I open one of the 30 cookbooks I have? Or use my high-speed Internet and amazing powers of Google to get a quick recipe? HA! I laugh at recipes. I am a good cook! (uh...) I know what goes in cheese sauce! (uh-wait?)

So this is my (not) recipe for Mac an cheethe. (a.k.a Mommy-brain Macaroni)
1. Notice the noodle pan is smoking b/c you put it back on the burner after draining the noodles without turning off the heat.
2. Pour warm water in the pan before the pan warps.
3. While there is still water simmering in the pan, put a 1/2 Tbs. of butter in to melt.
4. Pour an undetermined amount of whole milk into the water-butter.
5. Turn down the heat to med-low, because you think you remember you don't want to scorch the milk.
6. Find shredded cheese. I chose yellow instead of white. (Yellow was Kraft 2% sharp cheddar, white was regular mozzarella from a local Italian grocery).
7. Sprinkle a handful in. See it start to melt. Notice consistency is VERY runny. Sprinkle in more. Stir.
8. Admire your cheese-soup runny goodness, then dump the remaining cheese in, hoping it will thicken the "sauce".
9. Decide you don't have enough cheese to thicken the "soup" and the quantity is getting alarming.
10. Decide you need to reduce the amount of liquid. Continue stirring on low for 15 minutes while babe gets frantic for lunch and you get bored.
11. Turn the heat up to high.
12. Watch cheese soup get thicker and VERY grainy.
13. Taste thick, grainy cheese sauce.
14. Gag, shudder.

So, did I pitch the grainy nasty cheese sauce? Oh no. See, in case I didn't tell you, mommy checked out this morning and left evil me instead. I think. Hmm. There ain't no way in HECK I'd eat this, so what would a picky toddler do? (She's not gonna touch this stuff with a stick) So I pour some into a ramekin to cool. And I get out some pasta sauce and put it in another. Put the noodles on a plate and plop her down in her chair. "So, babe, do you wanna dip your squiggle pasta in the spaghetti sauce or the cheese sauce?" She eyed the cheese stuff for about 1/2 a sec before tucking into the other stuff with a will. (Please note, usually she'd rather DIE than eat spaghetti sauce.) She even asked for seconds.

Later I Googled "grainy cheese sauce" and found out the 150 things I did wrong. (Oh you put FLOUR in cheese sauce? Ohyeah... heh.)

One of "those" days

Help. It's only 11 am. It's my "day off". Which only means nobody is paying me for the work I'm doing today. It's gray and drizzly and cold. I should be grateful. Babe woke up at 8:15, but she didn't really start insisting I rescue her from her room until 8:45. So I got enough sleep, even counting the middle of the night "bink recon mission". You know, where she's sitting up in bed with her eyes still mostly shut half sobbing, half chanting... "Momma... BINKA...binka...binka...bink....MOMMA!" So I fumble 'round for my glasses, and stagger in, trying to hop over the stupid baby gate that keeps her from making an escape. (The sound of my ankle cracking into the gate is what rouses daddy, but by then I'm already in, so he rolls over) I used to try to let her CIO, but I discovered that if we ever got to the point where those baby-blues popped open, we were gonna be dealing with full-on middle of the night trauma. If I could attach the stupid bink to her clothes/bed without worrying that she'd be strangled in the middle of the night, this would be SO much easier. Those binks attached to blankies look brilliant, but we lose her big silk blankies all the time, so I really don't wanna have to invest in a bunch of those when theoretically we'll be weaning her off the bink any time now.

By any time now, I mean before she's 5. We tried twice before, but it was SO traumatic (probably mostly for me), and there's always some illness or LOONG car ride that crops up. And my therapist when I was sobbing to her once about how HARD it is to watch her suffer asked me point blank "What harm do you think you're doing her by denying her a self-soothing mechanism you've trained her to use vs. allowing her to continue?" And I had to be honest. It's those daggers I get from great grandma and other parents that make me want to wean her off her binka-binka-doo (well that and my self-righteous decision before she was born that no child of MINE would EVER have an artificial nipple placed in their little mouths). Because I've done the research - I talked to our pediatrician, and her dentist. And they say that as long as it's gone before the permanent teeth come in, and it's not impairing her speech development (HAHAHAHA) there's no harm in it.

Anyway, there was no way she would've found the bink herself - she'd gotten it wedged down between the crib & the wall. Took me a bit to find it. (THIS is what happens when the spare binks get left in the car, isn't it?)

So right now... despite getting enough sleep... I'm so tired and foggy. BC (before child) I would've taken the opportunity to curl up w/ a book, a cuppa cocoa and snooze/read my way through the day. Miss it... oh I so miss my carefree single days.

Well, except for the part where I would cry myself to sleep multiple times a week because I felt so unfulfilled and lonely. That kinda sucked. I just KNEW there were some very important people missing from my life. So I guess... If I could do it all over again. If my saggy baggy not so perky self could go back to my younger single self and tell her what it would be like (tired for the rest of your life, inviting a mini tyrant into your homes, fights over who's doing the most chores around the house, but not EVER lonely, and sometimes so very sparkly wonderful) she'd probably ask if she could start right away.

Right. So... time to shower and buck up, and enjoy the life I chose and would choose again, and again. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A few of my favorite things...

So here's a random list of some of the things that make me smile in this hectic existance. The only order they are in is the order that they pop into my head.

1. The sound of my daughter singing songs. Poplar hits are (CAPS for emphasis):
inkle tinkle... STAR...ow-eye under... ARE. up A buvv...worl... HI.. ike a di-mon...SKY (etc.)
or the ever popular: ABCD, abc, abcd (repeat randomly until you reach the next part), Qrs(pronounced eth)T.. WxYZ
SO cute.

2. My husband's mischevious smile. (I like his normal one, too, but the little "I'm about to do something you may or may not like" smirk... still makes my heart go Ba-dump sometimes)

3. Webcomics like XKDC and Penny Arcade.

4. A rainy day, a good book, a cuppa hot cocoa, and naptime. (Doesn't happen much anymore, but when it does - BLISS)

5. Blogs like Because I said so, and Catherine Newman's offerings at Blogger and Wondertime, not to mention the recently discovered ParentHacks.

6. Beating ornery electronic equipment into helpless submission, especially when someone else has already tried to do so and failed...victory is so sweet, and with a worthy opponent - BLISS.

I'm sure there's a TON more but that's all I've got for now. So... any other nerds, geeks or parents out there with favorite ways to turn that frown upside-down?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

We pass?

Fair warning, going to go on about schools for a bit...
(rant) So, I've wanted to send my kids to Montessori school since I decided I hate public schools while I was still in junior high. My parents had 6 kids, and weren't exactly making 6 figures so we didn't have the option. One of my dad's teacher friends taught there, and when she would talk about the school I would think, now that's a REAL school! Students there don't have to do dumb assignments just because in March in the 6th grade we do (blah). If I already get it, I could move on to something new, or at least show it to some other kids which is more satisfying that writing and rewriting the same freakin word definitions or math problems over and over... (/rant)

Well, now I have a little girl and she's old enough to attend a Montessori school we have in our area. Unfortunately, we don't make 6 figures either, but we make enough that we definitely don't qualify for "aid". So, as a compromise while we try to save up $4000-9000 for a year's worth of school (she's not even 2 yet, but Montessori starts young or the kids have trouble adapting) I've worked it out so I can take her to classes on Saturdays for an hour and a half. The point of the classes is as much to expose parents to the Montessori method of teaching as it is to expose the kids.

She LOVES going. They have so many toys and activities (work) that she doesn't have at home or daycare, so that's fun. Then they also make a point of having everything at their height/size, so she can turn on the sink herself (no hot water), wash her hands and then dry them off (hours of fun right there). They also have little stairs & ramps she can safely practise going up and down, and don't even get me started on how much she likes the ... I think it's called the large muscle room. Which has hoops and stuff to climb & jump on. When I ask her on Saturday mornings now if she wants to go to "school", she just screams YEAH!!! and starts jumping up and down. I have learned not to do it too early in the morning or she gets mad because we haven't left yet.

One of the handouts I picked up last week recommended setting up our home so she has the same advantages - things she needs to do easily within reach, have her put away her "work" (toys) when she'd ready to use a different one, etc. I went through all 8 bookshelves we have downstairs and purged 1/3 of my collection to make room on the lower 2 shelves of each. At first I was really sad letting go of so many of my books, even if I hadn't read them since I met my husband 7 years ago (my criteria for purging). But, once I started digging all her toys out of the 2 bins we have set aside for them, it was so exciting! I mean, first of all, it looked SO much neater to have 2 or three items sitting on each shelf instead of overflowing out of a bin. And the look on my daughter's face when she saw it...well it was infectious. I had to get happy with her.

I also have been having her practise eating w/ a plastic knife (not sharp/pointy/serrated - would take some serious skills to injure yourself with it) and a shot glass or little mini juice glass to drink from. The part of me that hates a child dripping with her beverage after a meal cringes, but I was actually surprised at how well she does with a "big girl" cup instead of a sippy. Don't get me wrong - we've had some messes, but the glasses have survived and she's getting better so fast.

So anyway the highlight of my day today was when I was talking to the other moms and we were discussing night time habits. Two of the boys in the class are apparently waking up in the middle of the night and jabbering away at nothing for awhile before going back to sleep. So I mentioned that we had to move our daughter to a toddler bed when she started to try climbing out of the crib and was falling (back inside) and hurting herself. I figured it would just be a matter of time before she fell OUT of the crib and _really_ hurt herself. The teacher said something to the effect of "Well, Maria Montessori believed in allowing children access to their environments, its very good that your daughter is in a toddler bed." I felt myself go all wibbly with "We're actually doing something right." vibes. Because I gotta tell ya - we agonized over this decision. Especially since now that she can get around her room, she's doing odd things while she winds down for bed. Like taking all the clean diapers and stuffing them in the diaper pail. Or gathering everything that weighs less than 10 lbs and piling it on her bed. Nothing is too pointy or large. Board books, plastic picture frames, more diapers, the rough plastic teddy bear figurine from on top of her dresser, not to mention every toy, blanket, and article of clothing she has. We did this over 2 months ago and last night was the third time that we went to check on her and found her passed out on the floor, with so much stuff mounded on the bed there was no room for her. We've started hiding some things in her closet, so at least when she goes in there to get stuff we can hear the door sliding around and go up and put her back in bed. And we always have to do a sweep before bed and make sure that nothing made it in there during the course of a day that would be dangerous (or really messy) for her to have unsupervised.

She never does this for nap time or when we're in there, either. While we're there, she'll either just try to escape (run out/open the door & hang out in the bathroom), or ply us for songs or books. But after we turn on the night lights, shut the door, and clunk the gate in place (the gate buys us time to get over there if we hear the door open), she'll lie there for awhile (sometimes 15-20 minutes) before she starts padding around. Now, we can go back in and prevent the pile-up, but that just completely resets the process. She'll be up all night if we do that. But, if we let her do her hoarding, she'll stop after another 10-15 minutes and go to sleep...with her diapers scattered about and snuggled up with an empty picture frame. Or.. sleeping on her Hello Kitty rug like she's been booted out by the SASA committee (Stuffed Animals Sleep Alone). I'd love to take a picture (I don't think she'll believe us when we tell her about this in a few years), but its way too dark to get a pic to turn out.

I wonder if "toy mountain" is what Maria had in mind...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I do NOT heart Motorola

Alright, I'm a zombie wreck this morning and a bit bitter about it, so please excuse the rant. I try to be ok with losing sleep for the sake of my daughter, but when it's just some vendor's bug in their router code that keeps me up til 2am (well, 3am b/c I was so horked off I couldn't go to sleep right when I got home), well that's another matter entirely.

See, apparently our mid-sized cable company is the _only_ one that has discovered this recurring routing issue on their plant. And I'm the only one in my office who gets stuck working on this issue every time it comes up (mostly because the others don't know how to recognize it and blow it off until I get a call about it on one of my night or weekend shifts.)

Let me see if I can explain (there's only one guy at work who understands what I'm talking about, but I need to get this off my chest.)

In this example, we have two customers using our Internet service on two BSRs (large routers with RF capability) in different parts of town. Now, each router has different ranges of addresses available for the customers to use. Usually there is at LEAST one static range (pay extra for this), and usually a few ranges they can use dynamically. Now generally this issue presents as a subscriber is trying to remotely administer a server elsewhere on our network, or maybe VPN into a business in another part of town. They are either able to do so just fine from a third location, or are able to do so until they dynamically pull an IP from a new range. So once the helpdesk makes sure the customer hasn't blocked themselves out with a firewall entry or specifying the wrong subnet on the static assignment for the server, everyone involved thinks this is a simple routing issue (bad subnet somewhere?) or maybe we moved one of the scopes around, and left a remnant on the old BSR, and now it's black-holing the traffic.

Since routing, and managing the IP address allocations are both my jobs, this eventually ends up in my lap. I've only been working in this department for about 17 months, and this is the 5th time this has come up. Four of the 5 times, when working on the issue, usually with Motorola, one of the BSRs gets rebooted, and the problem goes away. BUT I do NOT like rebooting a router with 10,000+ subscribers on it, causing a 30 minute downtime for all and requiring about 4% to manually cycle the power on their modems to regain service - all for an issue that's ostentatiously affecting less than five subscribers. And then doing it again sometime in the next 3-4 months. We have enough outages as it is without some bug increasing the downtime.

Unfortunately, in order to PROVE to Moto that this is THE code problem, I have to do a rediculous amount of testing - to PROVE it's not a setting in OSPF, or a piece of equipment between the BSRs with a static entry that's black-holing the traffic. The best (*sarcasm*) part of the issue, is that on first look, it's fine, because you can ping from the gateway address of the initial range to the gateway address on the second. So, routing looks good. It's only when you involve the CPE (customer premise equipment) devices that respond to ping that you can get a picture of the problem. Now, usually the device with the static IP is blocking ICMP traffic (not a bad idea) even if the other devices involved in the problem aren't so I have to randomly ping devices in the affected subnets until I can get a decent test sample. THEN, ping from each gateway to each OTHER gateway in the affected and a sample BSR (control group), and ping the CPEs I found that are responding to ping earlier. And then to seal the deal, we try to get subscribers in the affected BSRs to ping the gateways and CPE devices.

I pop the results into an Excel spreadsheet, which now has the results from 3 different instances, so I can send it in when I open the ticket and (hopefully) cut to the chase. Although the solution they found last time didn't help clear up the issue this time, so we're back at square one.

So anyway... that's what I was doing until 2 am last night, instead of going home at midnight. And unfortunately for me, if I want to be remotely functional, I need my 8 hours of sleep. Since my husband leaves for work @ 8:30... and I don't know of many 2 year-olds who sleep past then, any time an issue like this crops up, I get no sleep. (Anyone else have trouble sleeping b/c they're not asleep and they keep themselves up worrying about not getting enough sleep? Beautiful.)

So... that's my rant. I feel better. Still stupid tired, but better.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Old Pics

Well, I was digging through some files trying to find a not-awful pic of me to upload here in my profile, and I found this cutie of our daughter at 7 months old getting to try swimming for the first time. She didn't like it too terribly much - the pool was quite noisy and echo-y and the water cold, but here's my favorite shot from the endeavor. She's w/ her daddy.

Right. So, pic not found, and its time to get ready for the night-shift while babe is still napping. Maybe next time.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Toddlers, tantrums and butcher knives

So I get my weekly update from Baby Center about my 23 month old. And it covers the usual stuff, tantrums, "discipline" (discipline means teaching, not punishing, etc.), and tells me my darling little girl should be able to dress and undress herself now.


By dress do you mean put her hands through the arm-holes of shirts after I chase her down, laughing, and squip the shirt or dress over her big head? (97th percentile for her noggin, thank you very much) My husband and I like to quote So I married an axe murderer: "It's like an orrange on a toothpick." Cuz, she can't seem to get pulling shirts on herself. Or hats. Now, she can pull em off her head, but that's only after we pull her arms out, which she has yet to figure out. And pants... well, if you hold em out, she'll step into them. Putting on socks just ticks her off. And the only shoes she can put on herself are mine. ::sigh:: In the developmental rat-race we're behind again. How does this happen? I have visions of my darling girl, standing in the coat room in the 1st grade, stuck in her raincoat and galoshes. She'll have to look up at teacher with those huge baby blues and say, "Help?" And it's all my fault of course. I'm way too quick to jump in and help her as she flails around, sobbing "help, help" when she tries to pull a hat on and can't seem to get it open enough to slide onto her head. But honestly who can resist such sweet cries for aid? Not this softy.

Well, unless she's crying "help, help" because she can't reach the butcher knife she recently saw me wielding during dinner prep. Somehow that's a bit easier. What is with this child and desperately craving sharp, pointy objects of doom? Toy knives don't make the "cut", either. It has to be a real one, or we get to enjoy the tantrums Baby Center so kindly informed me of. (Good thing they told me, ya know, since I hadn't noticed. I just thought she was possessed. Well, sometimes I still wonder...)

Oh and as for the tantrums, my husband is *convinced* she's playing us like no tomorrow. Because one minute, she'll be sobbing, tears streaming down her pink face, and then she'll suddenly notice... say - the bubble wand sitting on top of the TV stand. And... tears STOP. And she asks so sprightly: "Mama, bubbos?" Her face is still red and glistening, her chest still shuddering each breath from the storm a few moments ago, but the oh-so cheery voice and oddly sunny expression... Well, he's convinced she was totally faking the melt-down from the get-go. Me, I'm not so sure. I mean... when she's wandering around doing the whiny, half-hearted repeating of a word, that's my idea of faking. But the tears, and the not able to catch her breath, I know I'm sure not capable of those kind of performances...

So, do we have a budding actress on our hands, or maybe a Machiavellian manipulator, or the next Eve, or is she, like momma, a bit too easily distracted, even from life shattering events like... not having butcher knives?

On another note, I guess I should probably explain the name of my blog a bit... See, I was always The Nerd growing up. Then in high school I found another group of friends who were willing to adopt me, they referred to themselves as band geeks, and forgave me my bookish ways and tendency to use words like plethora and disingenious in every day conversation. I even ended up playing in the marching band so I could watch football games with them on the sidelines. (I played cymbals, which required no actual musical talent, just the ability to count to four, or one-and-two-and-three-and-four, as the case may be.) Also in college, I met up with a group of gamers (D&D) and was adopted into the fold there. I LOVE gaming, but to me it is not quite the passion that some have, and sometimes I take a few months off (*gasp*) to pursue other things in my life.

Now my husband... he's always seen himself more as a gamer geek (though I tease him very much about him being a jock since he played football in high school - which means jock to me). So, the title... it's about us, and my daughter. I mean, what happens when a nerd and a geek have kids? She seems so... normal. I mean...not painfully, hide under the table shy like I was as a kid. So maybe she's more outgoing like her daddy (though he says he wasn't that outgoing as a kid...)

Anyway. So this blog will be about things nerdy, things geeky, and my daughter.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I hate introductions

So, why does a shy, introverted technomama start blogging? This is a question for the ages. Perhaps because as a nerdy working mom in a suburban SAHM neighborhood, I feel even more socially inept than I did in high school. And because I like to hear (see?) myself talk. With the option of editing the responses of others. Ah the control.

Honestly, I'd like a place where I can gripe about routing issues and whether or not Motorola should be allowed to make enterprise broadband routers and then switch things up and talk about how my darling daughter just fell outside the other day and looks like she got roughed up by a bunch of street thugs instead of just the street. And the fact that I don't have to watch someone's blank stare as they either don't care about routers or kids is a serious bonus.

And why blogger? Well, I could build my own web server, and install Linux (please don't get into what Distro with me... it's worse than politics and I hardly know you.) And put maybe PHP and whatnot on it. And harden it so you nasty hackers who think Motorola makes GREAT BSRs don't get in, and register a domain, and... it never gets done. (Before I had a kid, this would've been SO much fun - but I couldn't undo that life change even if I wanted to - which I don't.)

So anyway, here's my blog, and I'll probably post feverishly here for a week before getting bored and doing something else with my nonexistant spare time. So, thanks for reading, if anyone does :D