Thursday, January 31, 2008

On edge

The thing about Heroes is, it's terrifying. Usually some kind of stressful tidbit from my research is trying to ruin any calm moments I might have, but not this week. This week it's been more like, I hear footsteps and it's not Snuffy AND I THINK IT'S COMING FROM THE BASEMENT **KNOCK KNOCK** oh it's the UPS guy. Or, there is another massive wind storm, slightly less violent, but this time coupled with a 30-degree drop in temperature and a treacherous coating of ice but everything is creaking and moaning for two days and is the roof really going to stay on? Or, wait, where did Aaron go? I thought he was going to be right down and all the rooms are dark and where is Aaron? Oh right, the bathroom. Moral: please don't sneak up behind me or make the floorboards creak or breathe heavily into the monitor when Dylan isn't even home. Thank you.

The other day Dylan was wandering around downstairs, chattering a little more than usual. I turned around to find out it wasn't just that she was babbling, she had important business to conduct.
Chocolate bar of the week: Hachez 88% Cocoa. VERY dark, but also smooth. This worked well because it was so bitter I couldn't eat too much of it but it was still really good.

**Special Feature** Food item I cannot live without even though it is too much money: this granola. It's like eating cake, and it's made locally. Bonus from the website: "Formerly Mountain Creek Herb Farm."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dylan's Manifesto

By: Dylan

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Put your hilarious caption ideas in the comments.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bedtime Story

Adapted from Snuffy, by Dick Bruna

Once there was a big brown dog.

Everyone called him Snuffy.
He saw a nice lady who had lost her little girl. He went to find her.
Then, he found her. He took her back to her mom.

Then, he went to sleep.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Ever since just before Dylan was born I have had what I believe are technically called Senior Moments. I can't remember why I walked in the room, what I was going to say, or any of the fifteen tidbits I fleetingly think of each day to post about before they fly gleefully out of my head into the golden sunset. This post will be a bit of a hodge podge as I attempt to dredge them out of the depths of my mixed metaphor brain.


Dylan and I have been watching youtube, goldmine of 2-minute whining toddler distraction items. She likes babies and dogs, but some of my favorites so far are this and this. (and mom, your favorite is there too)


Has anyone else heard the ads for Resident Evil on NPR? That's really funny, right, to hear the very serious commentators plugging a zombie movie?


Dylan noticed that we pat the couch or the bed when we want Snuffy to come up, so she's taken to patting chairs or the floor when she wants us to come over to her.


Sol showed us this link, which I think they should have posted on the maternity ward. In fact, I will post it.


Dylan is really talking a lot more, slightly more intelligibly. But it's like having my very own imaginary friend because the minute she gets around anyone else besides Aaron she clams up real quick-like and won't talk unless they spend a good half hour buttering her up.


We have been (obsessively) watching Heroes the past few days. I am finding it oddly addictive.


I am living dangerously (or more accurately, causing Aaron to live dangerously), as Bear Bear #2 is in the wash right now, just as Dylan is going to sleep. She prefers to have both of them in her crib at night, and I have to say it doesn't seem to be going well right now from the sound of the monitor. Send your thoughts to Aaron. He didn't seem to like it this afternoon when I told her to go to Daddy, the one who's always trying to make you go to sleep.


The Two Dog Circus continued unabated throughout the weekend. DOGS DOGS DOGS.

**UPDATE** Bear Bear #2 dried so I surreptitiously tossed him into the hornet's nest. Dylan settled in and went to sleep shortly thereafter, after 45 minutes of having trouble. Coincidence? You decide.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Always on Duty

We are dogsitting Snuffy's girlfriend this weekend. Dylan and her trusty sidekick are in charge of supervision via a 24-hour dogservation tower.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Readin' Time

Dylan routinely empties the bookshelf in the dining room, but always chooses the same book (Bells on Their Toes, sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen) to run around with.

Today at daycare they put finger paint on the kids' feet and had them run all around on a sheet of paper. They said some of the kids didn't quite get it, so they used Dylan to do a bunch of the colors. She's an artistic genius, what can I say? Or maybe a master of destruction channeled toward good instead of evil.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Forward thinking

Dylan's take on civil rights:

And Snuffy's:

I have not desecrated the image of any noted black leaders lately, so instead I will recommend Google Reader for anyone who reads more than one blog. I was not excited about using a feed reader because I thought my good old bookmarks worked just fine, but I am a convert.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Food Issue

If you are looking to consume an extra 760 calories today, have I got a suggestion for you.

A regular reader actually went out and bought the nutmeg chocolate (and enjoyed it!), so I thus been inspired to inform you of the food preferences of the whole family. Yes, you have lucked out. That chocolate bar actually served its purpose and lasted the whole week, but Annie was right that I am tired of the nutmeg and I don't think I'll do it again. This week I am trying pear, with slightly less success. Hershey has a few new lines of fancier chocolate and for a while they had one with cocoa nibs that I fancied, but it doesn't seem to be around anymore.

I also like to eat avocado, as much as will fit in my mouth.

We all enjoy this sloppy joe mix when we need a quick meal.

Dylan recommends a nice organic banana with, or as, every meal.

Snuffy cannot honestly endorse his one and only (allowed) food. Yes, he eats it, but only because he occasionally cannot get enough sustenance from Dylan's high chair.

Aaron's taste must be filed under the "weaving back and forth over the border of sanity" category. Several times he has announced that he does not like a food, for example, bagels, then every time I turn around he is eating a, for example, bagel. And then claims he never said he didn't like it. Also, he likes straight blue cheese. And he recently, at the age of 27, ordered a Shirley Temple. The waiter followed my lead and laughed at him.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

chomp chomp chomp

Some OTHER teeth just poked through in the past few days that weren't the molars. And I now suspect two more are coming in on top.
Nope, no teeth here, keep moving.

Suddenly Aaron's traditional Dylan Putting to Sleep Medley is not working. The only thing that works? Is the Bear Bear song. Aaron is not pleased.

Here is a series called Disruption of a Snuff in Repose

Monday, January 21, 2008

meh meh meh

For someone who disdains such things, Aaron knew an awful lot of details about the last episode of Celebrity Apprentice. But all is forgotten since he is solely in charge of bedtime duty as I seem to elicit either delighted giggles ("it's you! again! yay!") or miserable shrieks ("it's you! again! AAAAAAAAAAH!") but not much in the way of sleep. Lately bedtime has involved a nightly lottery of sorts wherein Aaron gets trapped in the room with Dylan for 5 to 60 minutes, then emerges, dazed, and demands dessert.

Although Dylan is doing great at daycare, she is still not above an anguished moan or two when I drop her off in the morning, just until I'm out of sight. (Now that I think about it, she does the exact same thing when I go to take Snuffy for a walk -- she clings to the baby gate and wails. And she understands what we're talking about so she starts wailing as soon as I even mention walking Snuffy.) This morning one of the boys in her class, let's call him Quinn, was clinging to his mom and whining. He has been in her class since she started a year ago, and his mom was clearly upset. Dylan is apparently sort of manipulative, because when we got there this morning she happily ran over and sat in her teacher's lap, then ran to get snack and waved bye bye nicely as I walked out of the room. The poor other mother was like, oh no, what have we done wrong? Don't worry, I told her Dylan cries when I leave every. single. day.

I think being sick must have been really hard on her system because since being better for the past few weeks I have noticed a lot of changes. She has plumped right up, which is good because she was looking a little scrawny for a while there, and she is more alert and communicative. I have been working on the idea of "two" for a while because she always wants both Bear Bears. This afternoon I handed her a cracker for each hand and she held them up and said two very clearly. She also said "more Bear Bear" this morning when she had only one and last week she said "bye bye dada". I have been trying for WEEKS to get her to add another word after more because otherwise she just yells meh MEH MEH increasingly loudly and agitatedly and I often don't know what she's talking about. I call it the baby alarm going off and it is really annoying. Last week we also celebrated baby's first poop in the bathtub, which had Aaron rocking back in forth in the corner for a while asking why me?

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I started collecting data for my dissertation project in August. The plan was to enroll two children a week for about six months, with an ultimate goal of enrolling 50 kids, all recently arrived refugees. Half of them were going to be from Buffalo and half from Rochester. By September I had two kids enrolled, and by the end of October I had...six. I have enrolled exactly zero children from Buffalo, and that number is not going to increase for boring logistical reasons I probably shouldn't go into on the World Wide Internet.

I am enrolling children who come from any country, and I rarely know ahead of time where they'll be from. Even when I do, that doesn't necessarily tell me what language they'll speak. In August and September there was a huge influx of people from Burma and it took a couple months for someone to locate the two people in Rochester who spoke Burmese and the three people among the incoming refugees who spoke English. It turned out many of the refugees didn't even speak Burmese, only Karen, a language specific to the incoming ethnic group.

Although all the people who work with refugees would prefer a slow stream of people coming in throughout the year, it doesn't always work out that way; sometimes the system is completely swamped (like, for example, right when I started collecting data) and other times there is no one coming in. Sometimes in all the chaos it is difficult for me to identify people eligible for my study. It is important for me not to miss anyone because with only Rochester as a study site, I will need every one I can find to get to 50.

I had planned to interview the children's parents while they were in the clinic for a health screening, but the clinic is very busy and the interpreters are in much demand. After a few months I realized that I would need to do try something new. Since November I have been traveling with an interpreter to do the interviews at the families' homes.

Yesterday I left my car in the clinic parking lot and drove with an interpreter to do an interview. When we got back the gate to the parking lot was closed. I vaguely remembered that the gate opens when you drive towards it from inside. I also remembered that the gate is set to "nerve-wracking" and only opens when you drive up to within a few inches of it. I had to squeeze through a tiny little space to get back into the lot, which I barely managed to do. Adding to the excitement, it was about ten degrees and very windy. So I made it to the car and held my breath as I nosed the car up to the gate, which miraculously did open. If I am not qualified to do fieldwork after this I don't know what you want of me.

Over the past few months I have been considering all sorts of different scenarios for finishing up data collection, but all of them have been very tentative because I have never been very confident about how things would go. It's hard to make plans when I don't know if I will be finished in June or in December or in a different June. That's the point of a PhD, right? Learning to live with uncertainty?

In response to complaints from all over the country, the federal government is making an effort to have refugees coming in throughout the year instead of mostly in the summer and fall, and already this year I have noticed many more people arriving than in January 2007. As of yesterday, I have enrolled 26 kids from six countries. I have identified enough children who are probably eligible that I think I can get up to 35-40 just from the list I have now, and more families should be arriving in the next few months. It is even possible that I will be able to add an additional study site. So all of sudden, after months and months of work, this project is actually going well. There are still plenty of things that could go wrong, but this is the first time there is a real possibility that I will actually finish.

Baby steps, right?

To the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear
Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear
Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear
Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear
Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear
Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear Bear

= Dylan's favorite song

Saturday, January 19, 2008

hot hot hot

As long as we are revealing my deep dark pop culture weaknesses, I would like to send a public note to a certain unnamed reality show. To wit: while it is lovely that I am able to watch entire episodes from your website, if you are, for example, the kid of show that eliminates people, let's call them "apprentices" from week to week, it is not nice to reveal who was "fired" in enormous letters at the top of the site where one might go to watch the show. Thank you.

Speaking of pop culture, Dylan will now show you what is hot.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Of Hair and Gremlins

We overdosed on Monk episodes when I was on maternity leave (or "The Netflix Months" as I like to think of it), and I haven't been able to watch it for a while. Last night Aaron wanted to watch an episode, and the time seemed right so I agreed to sit through it. Phew, was it worth it. It was the one with Howie Mandel as a nefarious cult leader, which is comedy gold as far as I'm concerned (Aaron: "Do you think the banker was involved in the murder?"). As I was trained to do growing up, I predicted the outcome within two minutes of the show starting, despite spousal nay saying. In case you need further convincing that this episode is worth your time, consider the following:

Captain Stottlemeyer: She became a member of the world's oldest profession.

Monk: Ah, stone masonry.

Now I've gone and looked up Howie on Wikipedia. Wikipedia, you complete me. Did you know he ALSO hosts Deal or No Deal Canada? (But not, unfortunately, the French version, Le Banquier. Six of the case holders are men. Men!) Or that he was Gizmo in Gremlins? AND Bunsen, Animal, and Skeeter on Muppet Babies? What an awesome body of work.

And now for those of you who are not interested in Howie Mandel, here is Dylan's pretty pretty hairstyle (obviously not done by me) from yesterday:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tips; By Kate

There is little more anxiety-provoking than being stood up for a work meeting in a busy diner by someone that you haven't met. You will be tempted to accost each person who walks in the door. You will wonder if, although the person sounded like a young woman on the phone, it is really that elderly man wandering around by the counter. You will be tricked into eating at that dive at the end of the block that you have successfully avoided for five years on the principal that the same family who owns that sucky car place at the end of the block also runs it and also everyone says it is terrible. Try to avoid this situation.

Netflix's streaming service, Watch Instantly, is awesome. Except for the crappy selection, which is probably because of licensing fees or something. The other day I got the bright idea that I could stream a workout video so I wouldn't have to go to the gym. The selection in the Fitness section proved as limited as in the regular people section, so I would up following the cardio kickboxing orders of Jillian from The Biggest Loser. That is one awkward girl, let me tell you. I knew we were on the same page though when she reassured me that you can't do resistance training EVERY day. Actually, I liked the workout, especially because it only lasts 20 minutes. Summary: Stream Jillian through Netflix.

The calendar I posted yesterday is more all-knowing than I suspected. That chain thing updates itself when you post it on your blog.

This vegetarian lentil soup recipe is amazing, and I do not have a knack for soupcraft. I think it is the splash of vinegar. Eat the soup.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

this post brought to you by your friends at katetvnetwork.com

You know the news ticker that runs across the bottom of the screen? I usually have one for potential blog content running in my head. [Note: I believe in this analogy eating has its own 24-hour channel and chocolate is responsible for a number of Paid Programming slots.] I know I am tired when it goes on the fritz, and when it stops completely that means it is taking all my mental faculties just to remain upright and continue breathing.

I know this entire post is the equivalent of putting my thumb on my nose and wiggling my fingers while sticking my tongue out at fate, but Dylan has started sleeping really really well. As is evidenced here, where starting Jan 3 green days = reasonably good sleep and non-green days = suck:

I can even explain away the bad days. The first one she woke up at 5:00am and never went back to sleep. When it happened I had no idea why she woke up, but that was the day of the crazy windstorm. As the day went on people kept saying how they had been woken up by the wind at that very time, so I think that must be what happened. The second one we started moving furniture after she went to bed, so we deserved what we got.

Anyway, I feel so much better now and the ticker is flickering back on and I no longer find myself dozing as I walk Snuffy. Dylan looks a lot better also. She is down from 3 eye folds to 1.5 and she breaks down a little later in the day. And Aaron and Snuffy are...Aaron and Snuffy. You know, they're always kind of the same now that I think of it. Here Dylan uses her new energy to corral errant beasts:

Monday, January 14, 2008

A productive day

I have long been searching for the chocolate equivalent of methadone. I require chocolate at least once a day, usually more, to avoid total grumpiness (although according to a close personal relative, air makes me grumpy, so maybe this is all a moot point). I have trolled the excellent candy section at Wegmans, looking for something that will give me my fix without causing me to inhale the entire bar in one breath. My strategy of late has been to try darker and darker bars, but even eating what is essentially glorified baker's chocolate has not yet stopped me. Today I think I might have the answer: nutmeg. I didn't mean to buy a nutmeg-flavored chocolate bar, but it had cocoa nibs, which I defy you to resist. Even I do not want to scarf down an entire chocolate bar full of nutmeg, but it is good enough otherwise that I still want to eat a little. Mission accomplished.

Upcoming Missions:

Bringing Snuffy up to grade level
Performing surgery to have the couch removed from Aaron and Dylan

Sunday, January 13, 2008

11 signs your trip to the fair may be headed in the wrong direction

  1. The fair is held in the facility that normally houses the ski sale and the job expo.

  2. The first thing you see when you walk in is the disaster-themed inflatable slide.Also available in: Katrina and World Trade Center varieties

  3. There is No Food Allowed inside because the whole thing is considered a livestock area.

  4. The dude guarding the bounce house has crotchless armor

  5. There is nothing standing between you and the elephant besides a quarter-inch thick rope.

  6. The llamas can reach around to the coin-operated feed dispensing machine, thus cutting out you, the middle man.

  7. The llamas, incensed by your insistence on participating in their feeding, spit directly into your mouth.

  8. Which feels like having manure injected into your sinuses.

  9. Even three hours later.

  10. Also, all over your clothes.

  11. CAN'T. GET. CLEAN.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My life is now a running game of peek-a-boo

But wait, where's Bear Bear?Oh, phew.

Friday, January 11, 2008

One Little Monkey (in Moroccan Garb) Jumping on the Couch

When we arrived at daycare both weating pigtails I had to pretend like it was on purpose.