Sunday, December 4, 2005

Fifth Month

He's really the cutest ... I can't wait to come home when I go to work!


He's starting to notice his toys now, and that these arm things can move his toys. He also lifts his head much more. I thought he lifted his head before, but his neck control is more impressive now. He turns his head rapidly when we walk outside, so he can take it all in. When our dog runs around the yard, he watches her! He still wants to fill his brain, and that takes more of our attention.


Same old 3-6 months size, footed rompers for this weather.


Yes, he nurses! He'll take a bottle now. We tried rice cereal a few times, but he thinks spoons are weird.


No luck here. sigh


Most of the time he's all about standing in his Intellitainer, and sometimes that's awful and he wants to lie on his back playing with the toys on his Gymini. He has tummy time there too, and it became nap time twice. He lifts and moves his head during those naps (closely monitored since Back to Sleep).


I don't soak through breast pads anymore, and in fact rarely soak them at all, although I still need to wear them. Now they protect that oh-so-tender area from rubbing and contact. I'm glad I use washable breast pads since they're rarely "used" at the end of the day. I know some swear by disposible breast pads, and I do have those in the diaper bags just in case, but I use washable ones.

Total weight loss: down 8 pounds overall (same as last month, and yes, that's 8 pounds less than my weight at his conception, and no, that's not average).

Friday, November 4, 2005

Fourth Month

The changes continue in the fourth month! His cries have changed again, so sometimes he won't eat when we think he sounds hungry. Keep adapting to the changes!


He started this month with a growth spurt that lasted longer than before and had many days of marathon nursing. We had to use formula few times because I couldn't produce enough breastmilk, but he was hungry enough to try anyway. (Ow. Formula gave me time to recover.) And growth spurts do include extra crying. His maternal grandmother saw him on Friday when the growth spurt started, and again on Monday. She remarked that he was visibly longer with a bigger head just in those three days. He was bigger again in the next three days too. One consequence of this weight gain is that our backs get tired sooner while carrying him. Another is that going back to work is not easy. (He fusses more when I leave, and I can't stand that.) When he's waking up, he does this funny stretch with his arms straight out in front, moving just a little. I call that Baby Frankenstein.


All of a sudden, with the growth spurt, 0-3 month clothing is too small! Actually, his tee shirts and onesies still fit, but his footed rompers are now too short in the legs. Since he loves to (try to) stand, clothing that keeps him from stretching his legs makes him upset. Footed rompers with non-skid soles are best since he needs help standing. Now that the weather is getting cooler, rompers are handy.


He tried upright nursing again, but that's very difficult for me now that he's taller. If he wants to make a habit of it, I'll need to sit on a cushion while he stands on the seat. (Of course he thinks standing to eat is the best. He loves to stand!)


The Amazing Miracle Blanket is still useful for swaddling because it still usually holds his arms so that he doesn't wake up by bonking himself in the face.


We got him the Intelli-tainer stationary activity center so that he could enjoy standing while we enjoyed watching but not holding him. Since standing is so fun for him, he loves it. He does move and study the toys on it, but I'm not sure how much he needs the toys yet. The height adjustment isn't the best (he can either reach the toys, or the floor, but not both), so I put a shoebox under his feet. Once I also put weights in there so he couldn't kick his support away, he was happier for longer.


We went to a Halloween costume party with him this month. At first he was quite scared, and we thought we would have to leave early, but he settled down after he noticed that we weren't scared by that devil costume. He was a hit! He loves being the center of attention, so I'm sure that helped too.

Total weight loss: down 8 pounds overall (up 1 pound from last month).

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Diaper Review, size 1-2

We used 204 size 1-2 diapers, a gentle step between size 1 and size 2. Size 1-2 diapers are between size 1 and size 2 diapers, and are rated for 8-18 pounds. The folded height on a Pampers Swaddlers diaper size 1-2 is half an inch shorter than the size 2, but otherwise the same. We used them when he was 12 and 13 pounds, using the last one the day before he turned 3 months old.

Overall, in diapers, we've had the best luck with Huggies and with Pampers. The most effective diapers are soft, so that they curve into baby shape easily. My favorite diaper is the Pampers Swaddler because it's soft, because the stretch waist helps hold it on despite lack of booty, and finally because they support Sesame Street (I like Disney, but Sesame Street rates higher, possibly because I grew up on it).

Since size 2 diapers also run up to 18 pounds and we probably won't see that until around 32 weeks, I can buy size 2 diapers in bulk now. (It's risky in the smaller sizes. I met a 20-week-old baby already in size 3 diapers, and his mom had to exchange size 1 diapers from her shower for size 2 in the first month!) Then again, I've been happier when he's not at the high end of the weight range for his diapers, so I might step up by 16 pounds which should be around 26 weeks of age. Or, if he keeps nursing at this rate, assuming I hold together, maybe next week. He seems quite intent on growing right now at 15 weeks!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Stationary Activity Center

Sunday we went shopping for a stationary activity center (a walker that doesn't move around the room, which would be dangerous with our stairs, and frustrating on our carpet). Mainly we looked at the Intelli-tainer and the ExerSaucer Mega. I know that you're not supposed to use these until after the baby is 4 months old, and that walking is developmentally delayed presumably because the baby can't see his feet. I was trying not to want one of these! However, when I saw such a happy baby face after a store test, I knew we would bring one home.

The questions to answer before buying one (other than, Does he like it when you set him in there?) are:

  • What are the maximum ratings for child height and weight?
  • Are the toys and batteries (if applicable) replacable? Both replacements combat child boredom.
  • For the noise toys, is there a volume switch as well as an off switch? This will save your sanity.
  • Is the height adjustable so it can "grow" with the child?
  • How well does it pack for travel to Granma's?

We got the Intelli-tainer. It doesn't collapse for travel like the ExerSaucer Mega, and the height doesn't adjust as easily (if you call that an adjustment!) either, but there's a better chance of seeing feet so we got it. Now that we've got it, the report is that the seat moving parts don't glide as well as the store demo, as well as we would like. To deal with the height adjustment simply, I placed a short box under his feet.

The report is that he loved "standing on his own" so I too had 20 minutes to stand on my own (happy back!) in a room with him awake! That's saying something!

Reformat Memory Card

Problem: The Compact Flash memory card (Type II, 2.2 Gig, named MAGICSTOR) in my camera refused to work in my camera or to mount under Mac OS X 10.3 or 10.4 or Windows XP one day, so I wanted to reformat it, to start over with a clean slate. (I only lost one picture, one that will be easy to shoot again.) Of course this happened when I was rushing to pack. How did my camera know I was leaving town? However, reformatting a drive that won't mount isn't easy. (DOS didn't do it.) Here's how I reformatted it anyway.

Warning: Be sure you know what you're doing before you run any of these Terminal commands yourself! You can guess that eraseDisk is dangerous, but newfs for a new file system isn't innocuous either.

Solution: First I opened Console (on my G4 MDD running 10.3.9), to read the error messages. This is a good place to start in general! From Console, I saw an error message about mounting disk3, which is all I needed to know to proceed! I ran this command in Terminal:

diskutil eraseDisk MS-DOS MAGICSTOR disk3

I could have named it anything up to 11 characters, not just MAGICSTOR. Again, it was disk3 in my case, but you'd need to be sure before trying this yourself!

After that, I was eager to see if this drive would work in my camera again. My camera offered to format it, so I did that. Otherwise I would have tried this next:

newfs_msdos -v MAGICSTOR -F 16 /dev/rdisk3s1

To write a new file system, you must use the rdisk ("real disk") instead of the interpreted disk. Since I made one partition, everything was on s1 ("slice 1"). The -F 16 formats it as a FAT16 partition, which is what I think digital cameras want.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 and server mailboxes

I keep trying to like Apple's (because it is well-integrated and simple) but it keeps showing "features" that annoy me. Mostly I don't like the "one big happy INBOX" view of my three IMAP accounts. I have different accounts for good reasons, and if I wanted them mixed together, I would forward all mail into one account! I can deal with selecting the different INBOXes, though. I like most of the UI of Mulberry, but I wanted junk mail filtering with the least input from me. I tried Thunderbird and liked the adaptive junk mail filtering, but it doesn't bounce messages and it doesn't feel nimble on OS X.

Software: 2.0.3

Problem: The latest "feature" was showing all files in one of my Unix accounts as mailboxes when they're not; my mail is in ~/mail.

Solution: I went to Mail's Preferences, and clicked on this account. Under the Advanced tab, there's a message to "check with your system administrator before changing any of the advanced options below" so I ignored those options on the first pass. However, the fix was in there! I added ~/mail to IMAP Path Prefix, and then it looked a whole lot better! So now we'll see if I can stick to this time (I've never even made it a whole day before).

UPDATE: No, I didn't make it a full 24 hours this time either. I'm back to Thunderbird for the adaptive junk mail filter, with some forays to Mulberry for the extended feature set with messages.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Third Month

The third month is about the same as the second month. I miss the simplicity of the first month!


The best play this month is eye contact! For that, you get big smiles and silent laughs! He also enjoys nose-to-nose rubbing and belly tickling. Holding him upright also delights him, but that could be a reflux thing.

We could start translating his cries this month so some days were easier than the second month.


He's finally filling out his 0-3 months clothing, but no real changes.


A button-down shirt works, but to look nicer in public yet nurse more discretely, a nursing top is better.

I used my breast pump, to practice for going back to work, and to relieve pressure on the rare (maybe two) days he didn't nurse as much as usual. He really doesn't like the bottle (NO nipple confusion!), and he completely rejects the pacifier.


Still no sleeping improvements. We had to give up on the SwaddleMe now that he's bigger and stronger. The Amazing Miracle Blanket works a little better than the blanket because it usually captures his arms. He always gets one leg out, and he always wakes himself up if he get an arm out.

When he's really fussy at night, the only thing that works is bringing him in bed with me. He loves the a la carte dining with the skin contact, while I love getting back to sleep. Yes, I know this is discouraged, but I reached a point where it seems reasonable to do if we're both happy and we're both getting something we want.

The larger swaddle that fits him is essential to longer periods of sleep between feedings. Also, two other things sometimes help him sleep longer at night. First, if I "fill his tank" just before bed, he might sleep longer. Sometimes. And secondly, I have to make sure he doesn't spend too much time (over 5 hours) napping during the day.


The bouncer chair is handy, so he can watch us eat (so we can eat without holding him), but he still doesn't care for the vibration or for the toys. We carry him from room to room in it. The rocking motion of the swing sometimes soothes him when he's over-tired but not too fussy yet, but since that's a small window, it's usually used to hold clothes.

The Tiny Love mobile on his crib is responsible for letting me take several showers: he loves to watch it and listen to the music! We have the one with animals that I think is the cutest (although the bird looks deranged).


I got a travel bad and an inflatable My Breast Friend nursing pillow for a business trip at three months. The travel bed is very handy, but he'll clearly outgrow it soon, so judge accordingly. The inflatable nursing pillow was perfect for airplane travel! I like the lumbar support. I use Boppy when I sit in a chair with lumbar support, and I use My Breast Friend when I sit in a chair (or on our couch) without lumbar support.


I noticed my hair falling out this month, after getting even thicker than normal (but softer) while pregnant. My hair is also much darker than before because incidental sun exposure has more effect on my hair color than I knew. I've been inside much more than ever this summer. My baby is related to me, and I've gotten sunburns in 5 to 10 minutes before. Really! And I'm not a redhead, and not really a blonde anymore either. I don't want him to have his first sunburn at this age.

Total weight loss: down 9 pounds. I haven't had time for exercise this month, and I know that will catch up with me soon in the form of increased weight, decreased energy, and increased aches and pains.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 tools: Software - Net - Bookmark Management

Social bookmarking at is a tempting waste of time! (See also You can use to avoid a trail of bookmarks, never where you need them, on different machines and between different browsers. Even better, you can assign tags to each bookmark for grouping into like categories. Of course you can browse all, browse by tags, and search. And as icing on that cake, you can explore what other people bookmarked who bookmarked the same link.

Cocoalicious 1.0b36, BSD open source, is an OS X (Cocoa) application interface to your account. You can create and browse your bookmarks. Since it caches the data locally, you can save some rendering time.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

ClamXav: Software - Utility - Anti-Virus

ClamXav, donationware, is a graphical OS X front-end to ClamAV, the open-source command-line virus scanner. Free virus checker, open source goodness, 'nuff said.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Cisco VPN client won't launch

Software: Cisco VPN client 4.6.03 (160) and probably other versions, on OS X 10.4.2 through 10.4.4 (at least, and so far)

Hardware: PowerBook G4/15"/1.5GHz (probably not hardware-specific)

Problem: Sometimes after reboot, sleep, or network connection change, my Cisco VPN client will refuse to launch with this error message:

Error 51: IPC socket allocation failed with error ff ff ff ff ff ff ff fch. This is most likely due to the Cisco Systems, Inc. VPN Service not being started. Please start this service and try again.

Solution: The easiest solution is to wait for your network interface to be ready before launching the VPN client. However, Quicksilver makes it too easy to launch before the NIC is ready. Sometimes that isn't the problem, though. When I need a stick instead of patience, I run these commands on the command line, and then the GUI client will work.

cd /opt/cisco-vpnclient/bin

./vpnclient autoinit

If that doesn't work, try reloading the VPN kernel extension.

sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/CiscoVPN.kext

sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/CiscoVPN.kext

Monday, September 19, 2005

Growth Charts: Software - Niche - Child

Growth Charts 1.2.2, free OS X software, lets you enter your own data on the CDC growth charts so you can compare at a glance to the U.S. distribution. Sure, you could download the PDFs to print and plot by hand, but this is so much tidier. It's also a reasonable place for me to log all those stats from each pediatrician visit. You can track more than one child (charts go up to 20 years of age). One of my pet peeves for software is locking me into a proprietary file format, but these data are stored in easy-to-read text files. So it's niche software, but if you're interested, Growth Charts is nicely done.

Prenatal Vitamins and Stress

My sample size is 2, me and a friend, so this isn't statistically sound, but it's not a bad idea in general and it worked for us. Professional women in high stress jobs occasionally (weekly?) need to race to the bathroom. It could even be diagnosed as IBS. However, I notice that it doesn't happen if I take my prenatal vitamins. I think the mix of B vitamins must be just right to combat stress! (I don't feel stressed by my job, but it's not a low-stress job either. But if I miss my vitamins one day, and there's any work tension, bye-bye lunch.) Here's the mix I like ...

Vitamin A 4000 IU (as Vitamin A acetate and beta cerotene) or less

Vitamin C 120 mg (ascorbic acid)

Vitamin D 400 IU (cholecalciferol) or less

Vitamin E 22 mg (dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate, at least 10 mg)

Folic Acid 1 mg (up to 800mcg without a prescription)

Vitamin B1 1.84 mg (thiamine mononitrate, at least 1.5 mg)

Vitamin B2 3 mg (riboflavin, at least 1.6 mg)

Niacinamide 20 mg (vitamin B3)

Vitamin B6 10 mg (pyroxidine hydrochloride, at least 2.6 mg)

Vitamin B12 12 mcg (cyanocobakamin, at least 2.2 mcg)

Calcium 200 mg (calium sulfate) or more

Copper 2 mg (cupric oxide)

Iron 27 mg (ferrous fumarate) or less

Zinc 25 mg (zinc oxide, at least 15 mg)

For comparison, here's the USRDA recommendations for adult women, with values for pregnant or lactating women in parentheses.

Vitamin A 800 mcg RE where 1 RE=1 mcg retinol=6 mcg beta carotene

Vitamin C 60(70) mg

Vitamin D 5(10) mcg, 10mcg cholecalciferol=400 IU

Vitamin E 8(10) mg

Vitamin K 65 mcg

Folate 180(400) mcg

Vitamin B1 1.1(1.5) mg Thiamin

Vitamin B2 1.3(1.6) mg Riboflavin

Vitamin B3 15(17) mg Niacin

Vitamin B6 1.6(2.2) mg Pyridoxin

Vitamin B12 2.0(2.2) mcg

Calcium 800(1200) mg

Phosphorus 800(1200) mg

Magnesium 280(300) mg

Iron 15(30) mg

Zinc 12(15) mg

Iodine 150(175) mcg

Selenium 55(65) mcg

If you eat reasonably well, you probably get Vitamin A in your diet, and you don't want Vitamin A toxicity. Likewise, if you see sunshine without sunscreen, you probably don't need to worry about Vitamin D, so I don't mind having less of those in my multivitamin. Also, some of the trace minerals, like Selenium and Molybdenum, aren't good for in large quantities and do occur in "real" food. So I prefer not to have trace minerals in my multivitamin because I love green salads and Farmers Market produce.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Washington Post Limericks

This blog entry contains three highly inappropriate limericks from the Washington Post's Style Invitational that I found hilarious. Not for young, innocent, or sensitive types.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Second Month


Now that he drools often and spits up on occasion, hand towels under the baby are essential. Waterproof pads are also useful, but I'm sure less comfortable for him so I use towels more often.

For the parents, hearing protectors. I can reduce the ringing in my ears, and still comfort my baby. We really need the hearing protectors for bath time! Hooded towels, soft baby washclothes (which can be regular soft washclothes), and a baby tub complete the bath time essentials. We got the well-reviewed Primo EuroBath, and it seems too big for this little fellow, so we're borrowing a smaller baby tub for a while.


Boppy is less useful now that he prefers to nurse semi-upright, but it's good for tummy time and supervised naps. I'm considering Pollywog instead. Sometimes he even wants to nurse fully upright (!), straddling my leg, which shocked my mother.

The PDA and laptop (with wireless networking, external keyboard, and padless mouse) are great! My favorite nursing bra turns out to be the cheapest one I tried, a Bestform B355. (I assume it's now discontinued, since that happens whenever I decide I have a favorite bra.) Breast pads are necessary, and I soak through occasionally.

I started using my breastpump, an Ameda Purely Yours. My mechanical engineer husband looked at it and a Medela Pump In Style, and said the Ameda design was better. And what's the point to marrying someone with these skills if I don't follow his advice? Pumping means bottles! Larger nipples allow my baby to use the same wide-open mouth for bottle feeding as for breast. Angled bottles are easier to position. I think a vented bottle to reduce air bubbles in the baby also helps since we don't have to burp him that often. We have the best luck with Playtex Natural Shape VentAire bottles, which has larger nipples, angled bottle, and vented bottom. To pump directly into these bottles, I also needed the adapter ring from the OneStep Breast Milk Storage Kit (get two kits if you want to pump both breasts at once). I really like hands-free pumping.


Sleeping? Even less this month! He was hungry about every three hours in the second month, and he cried a lot more. In the first month, if he cried at night, he was hungry; in the second month, who knows? Still using the SwaddleMe and the Pack n Play bassinet with changing station. He's now strong enough to shift the SwaddleMe to less helpful configurations, so we'll need to move on.


I added spare breast pads (dispo) to the diaper bag. He switched from riding in the Baby Bjorn face-in to face-out this month. He also likes to practice standing, so I'll look at exer-saucers.

Total weight loss: down 7 pounds.

Saturday, August 6, 2005


Using OS X 10.4.2 to send a long-distance fax using a calling card isn't as easy as I would have hoped, but here's how I did it. (Yes, I tried a dialing prefix, and I tried adding ,pauses, but it didn't work.)

I opened the document to fax, File:Print, click on the PDF button, Fax PDF ... Pick a fax destination (click on the person silhouette, use TAB to navigate). Do what you want for Fax Cover Page, and then change it to Modem in that pop-up menu. Uncheck "Wait for dial tone before dialing" and then reach for the phone. Do all of the dialing (yes, all), and finally click on the Fax button. Yes, it tries to dial again, but that didn't matter.


Looks like I'm not the only one trying to send a fax with a calling card. See Mac OS X Hints for another very similar version.

Friday, August 5, 2005

Diaper Review, size 1

We used 168 size 1 diapers. Size 1 is rated for 8-14 pounds, and we used them from around 9 pounds to about 12 pounds. What I notice about this baby is that he has no booty but he does have chubby thighs. Stretchy waists with the most depth should provide the best fit, so I went through these diapers from Little Tykes to Huggies, then on to Pampers. He gets a better fit when his weight is on the low end of the rated range.

  • Huggies Supreme have the narrowest crotch and are extra soft.
  • Huggies and Huggies Ultratrim have next narrowest crotch and the second-least depth.
  • Pampers Baby Dry have the next-most crotch depth, the thinnest liner, and are soft.
  • Pampers Swaddlers in size 1-2 (larger than size 1, smaller than size 2) have the second widest crotch, the most depth, are soft, and have a weave cover on the liner.
  • Little Tykes snug-n-cozy have the widest crotch, the least depth, and a sorta stiff liner with weave cover.

Around this time, we decided we like Pampers Swaddlers the best.

Diaper Wipes Review

My biggest opinion here is that pop-up wipes are much easier to use than folded. When your baby decides to make an additional donation on the changing table, you want another wipe as fast as possible. The next pop-up wipe would already be waiting for you.

We've used Pampers Baby Fresh, and Huggies Natural Care, and they're both functional (I have a preference for Pampers and Sesame Street!). I put my finger through the regular Huggies wipes, so I don't like those.

Also, diaper wipes are excellent for cleaning up messes, like explosive baby poop on carpet. They're much better at it than I would have expected because they hold together well (except regular Huggies wipes). (This is where I suspect commercial diaper wipes out-shine home-made ones.)

Diaper Review, size N

We used 240 size N newborn diapers, from 6 pounds to about 9.25 pounds. (We could have transitioned around 200 or 220.) Here's how we felt about newborn diapers:

  • Huggies were best at first (and what the hospital used) because they had the narrowest crotch (less bulk when he straightened his legs), and were the second thinnest that we used.
  • Pampers Swaddlers were also good early on, but less so above 8 pounds; softest, thinnest, and next narrowest.
  • White Cloud was ok above 8 pounds; next softest.
  • Luvs were largest and the decorative front band seemed very rigid but also very grippy for tabs. However, we had overnight leaks above 8 pounds.


Thursday, August 4, 2005

First Month


For my July baby, clothing isn't an issue. Teeshirts are not only good for the cord stump, but also convenient later because they're easy to change. Sleep sacks are also easy, but my favorite for sleep is the SwaddleMe. Other outfits are cute, but less easy ...

Bibs aren't useful (yet), but hand towels that can later be made into towel bibs are great! I try to keep one under him most of the time (at least if he's on my lap or on my glider with me; baby furniture has washable covers and/or waterproof pads).


Boppy is wonderful! I needed the extra cover a few times, too. Sure, you could use a regular pillow instead, but it's easier to walk and carry baby with Boppy because Boppy is less prone to shift. (I didn't try My Brest Friend or Pollywog, so I can't compare them.)

While I'm tethered to Boppy and baby, I like reading eBooks on my PDA, or using my laptop (with wireless networking, keyboard, and padless mouse).

Breast pads are helpful.


Sleeping? I wish! He was hungry about every two hours in the first month, but the SwaddleMe seemed to help him sleep longer periods at night. The Pack n Play with bassinet and changing station is perfect for one stop infant sleeping and changing care. I swaddled him in non-stretch receiving blankets during the day, hoping to make nighttime sleeping both different and better. (We also tried to keep him awake after dinner until our bedtime. Some nights it worked.) He always could kick off a swaddled blanket, but the velcro of the SwaddleMe was another matter.


The standby, the glider-rocker with recline and ottoman, is very nice! It's not strictly necessary, but it's comfy, the rocking action helps put him to sleep, and I could doze lighhtly while reclined when nursing. The ottoman helps rocking and positioning (by changing knee height, I can raise his head slightly, fewer air gulps go down). I got a much better deal on an easy-to-clean leather glider at a mattress store than I saw at baby stores.

Some babies like rocking (mine!), some like vibration, and some neither. Don't invest heavily one way or another until you know. The swing (rocking) got us through several bad nights, but the bouncer (vibration) is just a chair. I have two friends with vibration-liking babies, so you'll just have to see first (or borrow, or get a selection).


Car seat, stroller, diaper bag; you know the drill. I pack the diaper bag (just a zippered bag I had) with diapers, wipes, changing pad, waterproof pad, cornstarch baby powder (never talc-based), empty plastic grocery bags, and a clean outfit (teeshirt and hat).

For walks around the neighborhood (or around the house, to calm him down), the Baby Bjorn has been wonderful! It doesn't hurt my back.

Total weight loss: down 4 pounds.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Books for new moms

These are the books I like so far about life with baby.

OK, so Brill isn't about babies, and Lamott won't teach you about babies, but both of those have been useful: one for light exercise and the other for laughter (something to read in short chunks while breastfeeding).

Books for Pregnancy

In retrospect, these are the books that I'm glad I read while pregnant:

If you end up with morning sickness (I'm so sorry), try avoiding the foods with natural toxins (that don't affect adults but could affect embryos) mentioned in Pregnancy Sickness: Using Your Body's Natural Defenses to Protect Your Baby-To-Beir-2005-08-3-10-06.gif by Margie Profet. My crude empirical evidence is that of the three women who had terrible morning sickness whom I know personally, this diet worked. See The Virtual Birth Center for a list of foods to avoid following Margie Profet's advice.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Third Trimester

Oh, my aching sciatica! That's how my third trimester started. If it hurts, ask your OB to refer you to a physical therapist! The single most helpful exercise for me was the modified wall sit. I press (flatten, neutral spine) my back into the wall with my thighs at about 30 degrees from the wall. Repeat as needed. The sciatica went away when I followed the right set of exercises. One such set (I'm only using the wall slide) is here.

Each day I say that I've never felt so stretched ... and then the next day comes. I think the shea and cocoa butter lotions I use do help, but that could be in my head (still helps!). My first trimester visitors of thirst and fatigue are back. This time when I drink water, I can feel my belly expand. And since there's tremendous growth, I assume that explains the desire to nap.

It's cruel irony, but my sleep patterns have already changed for the worse. I now measure how well I slept by the length of the times I stayed asleep. It's usually 90 minutes, but sometimes half that. One night I got two batches of three hours each (and then a sound two hours on the couch), and that felt heavenly!

Favorite food: grapes! and still eating half a grapefruit for breakfast as long as the citrus season holds out. (Still can't handle fat and salt.)

Almost done! Keep exercising, and get as much sleep as you can (both to reduce pain).

Total weight gain: up 16 pounds.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Why I like Dashboard better than Konfabulator

OK, I'm impressed! I just wrote my first Dashboard Widget in under an hour without really trying, with no special experience, just some HTML familiarity. And that made me realize that I like Dashboard (in Tiger, OS X 10.4) much better than Konfabulator: it's so much easier to write my own! Plus I haven't had any stability issues with Dashboard, and I did stop crashing after I removed Konfabulator from my desktop Mac (dual G4 MDD). So that's two reasons to like Dashboard over Konfabulator: easier, and no need to troubleshoot stability issues!

I don't think Dashboard is a rip-off either; see Daring Fireball. If you want to write your own widget, take a look at the basics and more detail from Apple.

Or you could just wing it, like I did, with this procedure:

  1. Copy an existing widget, like /Developer/Examples/Dashboard/Sample Code/Blank Widget
  2. Rename and edit BlankWidget.html; edit Info.plist, and version.plist
  3. Replace Icon.png and possibly Default.png if called in (the new version of) BlankWidget.html
  4. Rename and edit BlankWidget.css and BlankWidget.js if applicable (I skipped these)
  5. If (the new version of) BlankWidget.html looks about right in Safari, give it a whirl in Dashboard!
  6. Rename the folder to [Widget name].wdgt (only wdgt extension is important)
  7. Move it to an "active" location, like ~/Library/Widgets

Wednesday, May 4, 2005


Here's an odd one for you. Ever since I got pregnant, especially after the morning sickness hurdle, I have had a difficult time with peanut butter. Normally, I like it. But lately, a little bit of peanut butter makes my stomach feel like it's not going to be very happy with me if I eat any more. Normally, I'd chalk this up to my own quirk.

However, out of the blue, a co-worker said his wife couldn't eat peanut products while pregnant and while breastfeeding, but his daughter doesn't have a peanut allergy. Like me, his wife didn't have a BAD reaction, just a clear indication that less is better. (They love Chick-Fil-A food that happens to be cooked in peanut oil. My pregnancy has told me in no uncertain terms to avoid as much fat and salt as possible, so I don't eat out in places like that. In fact, it's really hard to eat out. Can't take me anywhere! *grin*)

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Second Trimester

The second trimester, since I was lucky enough that my morning sickness ended, was mostly smooth sailing as everyone says. I felt fine, I wasn't showing (as long as I didn't wear belly-tight clothes), and I could do what I wanted (although I got winded easily). The challenge here was to fight the fuzziness of "pregnancy brain." Since I just finished an engineering Ph.D., people think my brain works. Well, pregnancy trumps a degree, and I had to work hard to keep my brain as sharp as possible. It was tough, but the payoff is that it "sticks" and I'm pretty functional brain-wise. Still, I have been a better multi-tasker. I used to take on 4 different tasks at work, not more like 2 at a time. My co-worker Chuck says the other two threads are talking to the baby even if I don't know it.

In the second trimester, I noticed that I felt a whole lot better with light daily exercise. I did stretches, light free weights (I've never seen 5 pounds free weights change my arms in two weeks, a pregnancy bonus! I usually lift a lot more too), and (if not too tired) elliptical trainer. I was slower and needed more sleep, but I pluged away at it, and exercise is a priority. I recommend it!

Least favorite foods: anything with much fat (no fried food) or salt. Fat/grease upsets my stomach, and salt makes my chest feel tight. On the other hand, my blood pressure is fine and everyone says I look healthy. Fat and salt aren't much of a loss, although it's difficult to eat out.

Favorite food: half a grapefruit for breakfast!

You can fight pregnancy brain fuzziness, and I think it's worth it in the long run as well as the short term. Exercise is good, and goes well with feeling better.

Total weight gain: up 5 pounds.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Palm Tungsten T3 and Smart Keyboard

Background: I went to Florida (Key West!!!) in January. On the trip down, my T3 turned on until the battery ran out. It did that a few more times during that week in Key West. I was particularly annoyed, not just to be on a trip without my PDA, but also because LiIon batteries can discharge completely only so many times before they die (that's the common failure mode). Glad I packed a charging cable! But it didn't happen again for months ... until this weekend when I went to Florida again (Amelia Island). On the drive back, I thought about what those two Florida trips had in common that doesn't happen the rest of the time I use my T3 (at home, at work, or on other trips). My hubby's T3 doesn't do this, and we have almost identical software installed. I think my T3 turning itself on (but not off) is also tied to using my cell phone, because it had a few days in Key West of NOT doing this, when my cell phone was off. What's weird is that my cell phone is too old for Bluetooth, so I don't know why/how it's getting my T3 excited.

Problem: My Palm Tungsten T3 stays on until the battery drains all the way, despite the Power preference to turn off automatically after 1 minute idle.

Possible workaround: if you don't want your PalmOS (v5, not sure if v4 has this) to turn on without your permission, look at the Keylock preferences.

Solution: Once again (this is frustrating!), the solution is to TURN OFF THE IrDA KEYBOARD DRIVER! I normally only have this driver on while I'm using the keyboard, and off otherwise so that I can sync. However, on these Florida trips, I thought I might use the keyboard so I left the driver on. Now that the driver is off, my T3 is acting normally again.

Opinion: OK, so my Smart Keyboard works when I want it to work, and I don't have to reset to toggle the driver on and off. But it has three flaws: (1) the keyboard's AAA battery is dead after a week because it doesn't seem to power off the keyboard, (2) I can't sync with the keyboard driver active, and (3) the active keyboard driver also causes my T3 to destroy its battery. I think the lesson is obvious: leave that driver off as much as possible! But it's a little annoying.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Morning Sickness

I had terrible morning sickness in the first trimester. No really, I've won every "I was so sick that ..." so far! Honestly I wish that weren't the case. The only time I wasn't sick was first thing in the morning, so let's call it pregnancy sickness instead. My pregnancy sickness started before the fourth week (probably at implantation), lasted through the first trimester, and came back for three weeks early in second trimester after I endured some airplane turbulence. I thought it would never end! I have some tips that worked for me, and I suggest that you do a web search and try all sorts of ideas that don't neglect nutrition and exercise.
  1. Wear loose waisted pants.        
  2. Don't slouch, but sit at 90-degrees or more (reclined, no belly compression) or stand.
  3. Take a nap (naps rule! no nausea when I wake up!).
  4. Take an almost-brisk walk outside in the fresh air.
  5. Eat an orange (or almost anything else I can stand; I feel fine while eating, and citrus seems to last after eating too).
  6. Never get full or hungry. Snack frequently. In first trimester, I needed 150-200 calories every two hours. By second trimester, I tapered off to more food every four hours.
  7. Eat bland food that's high carb and low fat, eat high protein and low fat, and drink fluids especially water and lemon-lime Gatorade. Look at the dietary suggestions from Margie Profet because I felt better when I did not eat the suspect vegetables (and I love my fruits and veggies; I just switched to fewer of some while eating more of others).
  8. Drink fluids between meals, not during.
  9. Don't hold your breath. I sometimes hold my breath when concentrating, but don't.
  10. Smell a lemon. Don't ask me why, but I'm fine while smelling a lemon scent. I'm told that sucking on a lemon slice will also get your mind off of pregnancy sickness, but I didn't need to go that far.
  11. Switch to a prenatal multivitamin without iron in it. GNC has one. This made a huge difference for me. (I also get lots of iron in my diet, so I need to worry more about iron toxicity than iron deficiency. Since the deficiency is common, this one may not apply to anyone else.) Do continue to take a multivitamin!
Good luck, best wishes, and it does end!

HotSync error 16385

Software: Macintosh OS X 10.3.8 (and at least one earlier version), Palm Desktop 4.2.1.
Hardware: any OS X Macintosh including Pismo, Palm Tungsten T3.
Problem: When I tried to hotsync with USB, I got this error message:
Unknown Sync Error
I had just installed the IrDA.prc keyboard driver for my SmartKeyboard SK6688. If it's active, I get that sync error.
Solution: But all I have to do is uncheck "Active Keyboard" in IrDA on my Palm! Very easy to toggle. Using Bluetooth for sync will also avoid this problem, but since I leave it in the charging cradle at work, I (like to) use the convenient HotSync button.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Anti on Anti-Bacterial

Antibacterial soap sounds great, right? Oh, where do I start on that one? For one, there's no indication that it does a better job killing bacteria than regular soap, so it's just scare-tactic advertising. (See WebMD.)

  1. Children raised in homes with high use of antibacterial products have a higher rate of asthma and allergies. Trust me, both of those are miserable: I have exercise-induced asthma, and my allergy to cigarette smoke makes me break out in hives at the worst times. (See Henry Ford Health System.)
  2. Beneficial bacteria are killed with the nasty bacteria. For instance, oral antibiotics can kill beneficial intestinal flora. (See Drs. Oz and Roizen.) What does that mean? Well, let's just say I would stay within a dash of the bathroom, and start eating yogurt with live cultures to get your intestines back in shape. Also, without the beneficial bacteria in residence, there's more room at the inn for the nasty ones. Bottom line: not all bacteria are bad! The ones that belong are less susceptible to basic cleanliness like scrubbing with soap and water.
  3. Increased antibiotic use leads to resistant bacteria strains! So when you really need that antibiotic to work, perhaps to save your life, the chances aren't as good as they could and should be. (See WebMD.) It's not yet known if antibacterial soap contributes to this like antibiotic drugs, but the antibacterials aren't great for your general health either.
  4. Antibacterial products are very bad for sewage treatment. (I know this is a re-statement of #2, but it's an important view of The Big Picture beyond your own hands and your own kitchen counter.) You can kill your septic tank this way, if you're not on a sewer line. If you are, increased antibacterial use has increased city sewage costs (passed on to you!) at the treatment plant! In both case, the antibacterial products kill the beneficial bacteria in the system to break down the sewage.

So what should you do instead? Rub your hands with regular soap and warm water for 30 seconds. (See University Health Network.) Then rub your hands dry to continue the mechanical removal of bacteria. If you're on the road, use a hand-sanitizing gel instead. (See WebMD.) Be prudent: this is a public health issue that affects everyone.

Moral: There is no quick fix! In this case, plain old soap and water with regular old-fashioned scrubbing is how to get clean.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

8600/G3 and OS X 10.3

February 15, 2005

I don't know when I will have time for this project, but I want to install OS X 10.3 on my old PowerMac 8600 with the Sonnet G3/266 upgrade and use it for a file server. I live in a multi-platform household, and a little SAMBA sharing could make life easier.

I already upgraded the 8600 to 9.22 with OS 9 Helper. And I "installed" X Post Facto 3.0. This 8600 has a USB/Firewire card and a few other trinkets.

Before I start, I will need to boot back to OS 9 (hold down option at startup, select that hard drive; one reason why I put 9 is on its own 4 Gig SCSI hard drive while X gets its own 36 Gig SCSI hard drive), and reformat the 36 Gigger with Apple Drive Setup. It wouldn't recognize it for the initial formatting, but X Post Facto isn't happy with anything else that I have (I'm fairly sure that my HDT is too old to count, but I did use it for the initial format).

Then it should be as simple as inserting the installer CD, launching X Post Facto, and letting it go to town.

March 29, 2005

UPDATE 1: Of course it's not that easy! I can't format the 36 Gig SCSI drive with Apple's software (I did dig up an old copy of APS PowerTools that had no problem), but in order to be compatible with XPostFacto, I have to format with Apple's software (not possible) or with Intech Hard Disk SpeedTools. This project isn't worth that much $ to me, so I'm pondering alternatives.

May 4, 2005

UPDATE 2: I dug out an old 4 Gig SCSI drive, formatted it, installed OS X. Once I booted into X, I noticed that the 8600 could format the 36 Gig drive ... did that, installed X on it, and swapped the 36 Gig for the 4 Gig drive. Other than spinning my wheels trying to decide if I were going to continue on this path, I think I got the 36 Gig up and running in the shortest way possible: by bootstrapping with the 4 Gig drive. I don't know why I couldn't format 36G with OS 9.2.2 on the 8600, or much of anything (mounting was problematic!) on my dual G4 MDD. But it works now, the install was smooth as silk, and I'm burning CDs with my favorite applications so I can install goodies! File server, here I come! I look forward to Samba file-sharing bliss at home.

November 18, 2005

UPDATE 3: I have spousal permission to use a Mac mini for our home file server instead, because it'll use less power.

Monday, January 31, 2005


The first question from one of my friends, after discovering I was pregnant, was, Have you had many nosebleeds yet? And the answer was, All the time. The medical reason I heard was that the nosebleeds are from the extra blood, but I don't think that's the whole story.

The other part of the problem is that we were both pregnant during winter months when it's drier. I took two trips to humid coastal Florida, one in January and one in March, and I didn't have any nosebleeds while there. Also, my friend who was pregnant in Florida didn't get any nosebleeds.

So nosebleeds during pregnancy are common if you're not in a high-humidity environment that helps protect your nasal membranes.

Saturday, January 1, 2005

First Trimester

What I remember about the first trimester (and even a little after, weeks 3 through 12 and then weeks 15 through 18) is the morning sickness. I felt sick all day, any time I had been awake and out of bed more than 15 minutes, so it was really not-early-morning sickness. None of the standard tricks worked, like bland crackers in bed before getting up. I was so miserable and exhausted that I had a difficult time coming up with my own ways to cope. Of course no one in my family ever had morning sickness, nor any of my local friends. I think (I hope) I could now manage it with my own set of tricks. At least my husband was thrilled about our pregnancy, and that made me happier at the time. I spent this time with one dominant thought: Dontbarfdontbarfdontbarf. I didn't, but it was hard to concentrate on anything else in addition.
I couldn't stand the smell of popcorn (that went about halfway through this pregnancy), and I really couldn't stand the taste of saccharin. Check out the leading brands of toothpaste (Colgate, Crest, Aim): they all have saccharin, and I couldn't use any of them, so I switched to Tom's.
The intense thirst responds well to lemon-lime gatorade, or not-too-sweet lemonade when water doesn't cut it. Nap when you can, and don't feel lazy: remember there's so much growth using your energy!
Favorite food: clementine oranges, followed by crisp-sweet apples. I lived on oranges and apples.
Just put one foot in front of the other. Do stretching exercises when you can.
Total weight loss: down 4 pounds.