Friday, February 27, 2009


Yeah, I like timelines (in their place) since a picture is worth a thousand words. Especially Simile Timeline! So I liked the looks of Google Calendar in Simile Timeline, except that it didn't work on my first couple of tries. Luckily there's My Timelines to create a timeline that's much easier!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Remember the Thunderbird Add-ons

As I was accepting a meeting invitation in Thunderbird, and therefore looking at my Google Calendar, I wondered if Thunderbird had an add-on for Remember the Milk. The answer is, of course, yes.

Gonna try that out right now. Looks simple to do.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Celebrity Lunch

Oooh, we just had a celebrity encounter at lunch! (Keep in mind that I live in a small town outside the city limits. I grew up on a farm, and hiking is my favorite activity!) We were sitting next to Chris and Sherry, the park ranger at Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area and his wife! My kids were flirting with them (especially her), and they were being great right back to my boys! Chris says he's marked a new trail at Occoneechee, and as soon as the weather's warmer, I'm all inspired to try it out!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Call

Like DH says, the reason why you answer the phone when it rings at a "Who would call me now?" time (8pm, putting kids to bed) is because it might be bad news you may as well know now. My mom's almost-the-youngest sister called. The only brother had his second stroke yesterday, and this one wasn't mild like the first one a number of years ago. Bob said he was walking around like 4 hours after that, and the effects wore off quickly. His kid sister, the medical doctor, says if he pulls through, he'll wish he hadn't, but she's a pessimist too. We could be running to Virginia soon. I'm glad my cousin JoAnn has such a nice husband since close-to-home support will help this not feel as wrenchingly terrible for her.

And on my father's side of the family, we plan to visit my grandparents tomorrow morning; they're over 90 and doing great. They also go to the gym several mornings per week. All of my grandparents were physically active, but the living ones also spent a lot of time in the gym. I think that says a lot about the health benefits of a gym! There's chain-sawing trees, certainly exercise, and what my maternal grandfather was doing less than a year before his death. Or gym classes. Yeah, I think the gym makes a big difference. I think I'll go do my evening routine.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Removing Duplicate Songs from iTunes

In the process of moving over to my new laptop, I ended up with a whole lot of duplicate songs in my iTunes library. Argh! I was sure there was a trick for it, and sure enough, I found one.

In iTunes, click on Music in the left-hand nav pane. Then choose "File > Show Duplicates" (or, if you hold down the option key first, "Show Exact Duplicates"). Ah, much easier than the manual approach!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Today was a spring day, despite being early February. The air temperature was a balmy upper-60s. The gentle breeze was usually warm, but ever once in a while, a chilly gust would remind me that it's early for spring. I could smell the bouquet of plants growing, the mild scent of the first greenery emerging. The sun made me feel toasty inside and out. While walking in to my office from the far end of the parking lot this morning, I was overcome with love for the promise of spring. Spring promises flowers blooming (several of my daffodils and one crocus have bloomed but the forsythia, usually first, hasn't bloomed at all yet) and weather getting gradually milder until the days stretch into the languorous days of summer. Ah, summer! Family picnics on the grass, floating around the lake on the pedal boat, sitting on the porch swing, and a hundred other reasons to head outside! And then easing into fall, back to weather that can be crisp, back to school, enjoying the days you can although the enjoyable evenings aren't as long ... and then bundling up for winter. Winter's not so bad with this view, and I never thought I'd say that I look forward to the rare snowfall, but it's still not as enjoyable as the promise of more fun that spring brings.

I had to stop on the sidewalk, face full to the sun, close my eyes, and inhale the wonderful, delicate spring smell. Enjoying the warm sun, the gentle breeze, just everything wonderful about this morning. Oh, I wish I could capture or convey that joy!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Blast from the Past

When we left this circus this morning, I saw my friends David and Anna whom I haven't seen since 1993 when we were all at Penn State for grad school (we were undergrads together, and in fact had almost all of the same classes as freshmen). I met their two sons for the first time, and they got to meet Cale. (Daddy and Karston were buying a snow cone at the time.) It was a whirlwind since kids wanted lunch, but what fun! what a bonus reason to go to the circus!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mom Tip: 10 and 25 minutes

I learned the 10-minute tip with my first child. Once Karston fell asleep on my lap, I needed to wait 10 minutes (with a margin of two minutes) before getting up from the rocker to transfer him to his crib. If I (fell asleep and) waited more than 12 minutes, he would wake up when I set him down. If I didn't wait at least 8 minutes, but usually 10, he would wake up as I stood up. The magic wait was 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes asleep on my lap, then put him to bed. The 10-minute trick also works on Cale.

The 25-minute tip is more subtle, but just as magical. I didn't notice this one with Karston because I was so busy learning the more obvious ones, but in retrospect, I think it also applied. For the nights when Cale wants to nurse to sleep, we can't spend more than 25 minutes in the chair before Cale goes in his crib. When he nurses to sleep, it's often difficult to tell when he falls asleep, so this rule covers that case. At the 15-minute mark, I try to stop the nursing so that he gets 10 minutes of pure sleep, but last night worked fine with 20 minutes of nursing and 5 minutes snoozing on boppy on my lap. Cale will stay asleep as I put him in his crib and pull up the covers if we move at the 25-minute mark; otherwise he wakes up. He also sleeps better if I stick with the 25-minute plan.

Don't think that this means bedtime is a 25-minute routine! There's a whole series of actions leading up to it, from cleaning up to kisses to bedtime stories. Last night Cale cried when I finished the third book (he and his brother get 3 books at bedtime), so I let him pick his favorite (Little Gorilla) and how many times (twice) to re-read it. I'm glad he loves books!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

(No) Snow

The weather forecast said we could expect 2 to 4 inches of snow Monday night and again Tuesday night. The ground was bare Tuesday morning and again this (Wednesday) morning, which is a normal amount of snow (none) around here.

I had engineers from the Boston area working with me Monday and Tuesday. They had to rebook their return flight on Tuesday due to snow in Boston. We made them laugh with our stories of how unprepared for snow we are! When one asked why, I pointed out that most of times we get snow, it melts within a day. So why not stay home and play with the snow for the short while that you can? The surprised comeback was, So you don't own a snowblower? No, no we don't; no snowblowers around here.

So when I woke up to no snow this morning, I checked the weather report on my iPod touch before getting out of bed. The report was that the bands of snow did dump 2 to 4 inches, but to the south and east of here. Here on the East Coast in the Northern Hemisphere, it generally gets warmer when you go south and east. If those guys from Boston thought we were unprepared for snow, the folks south and east of here who did get snow are even less prepared! Y'all stay warm and safe.