Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin for VP?

Well I'm not sure what to say on this one. I'm not sure what the Geeks and Nerds think of her. I know she is a member of the NRA, so that will sit well with my DH. However she's pro-life and against gay rights I think, which is typical of Republicans but it doesn't sit well with me. Since she's a governor and not a Senator, she doesn't have the voting record that Obama, Hillary, Biden, and McCain have regarding the Patriot bill and Net Neutrality and everything. She's pretty and smart. Has 5 kids, including a son about to got Iraq and another kid with Down's. Plus I think she is married to a Native American Eskimo or something. I'm sure she will be popular, just as Obama is. Still, when it comes to the ISSUES, I don't think she is going to have my vote. I think she is a good pick for McCain, especially since there are a lot of bitter Hillary supporters out there, but I don't think she's someone I want to support.
Between Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin though, I think this might give McCain some new popularity though. Her inexperience could go for or against them. We'll see in November I guess. Very interesting choice on McCain's part, definitely a better move than choosing Romney would have been. Glad Romney didn't get it, just like I'm glad Hillary didn't get it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Keep Biden out of office!

Geez, the more I learn about these politicians the more scared I am. I will not vote for someone who voted in favor of the Patriot Act. I think I've already said that. My husband suggested I do some research on Biden, and I have. Here's a pretty scary article from CNET:

Joe Biden's pro-RIAA, pro-FBI tech voting record

By choosing Joe Biden as their vice presidential candidate, the Democrats have selected a politician with a mixed record on technology who has spent most of his Senate career allied with the FBI and copyright holders, who ranks toward the bottom of CNET's Technology Voters' Guide, and whose anti-privacy legislation was actually responsible for the creation of PGP.

That's probably okay with Barack Obama: Biden likely got the nod because of his foreign policy knowledge. The Delaware politician is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee who voted for the war in Iraq, and is reasonably well-known nationally after his presidential campaigns in 1988 and 2008.

But back to the Delaware senator's tech record. After taking over the Foreign Relations committee, Biden became a staunch ally of Hollywood and the recording industry in their efforts to expand copyright law. He sponsored a bill in 2002 that would have make it a federal felony to trick certain types of devices into playing unauthorized music or executing unapproved computer programs. Biden's bill was backed by content companies including News Corp. but eventually died after Verizon, Microsoft, Apple, eBay, and Yahoo lobbied against it.


Sen. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee, whose anti-encryption legislation was responsible for the creation of PGP.


A few months later, Biden signed a letter that urged the Justice Department "to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks." Critics of this approach said that the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, and not taxpayers, should pay for their own lawsuits.

Last year, Biden sponsored an RIAA-backed bill called the Perform Act aimed at restricting Americans' ability to record and play back individual songs from satellite and Internet radio services. (The RIAA sued XM Satellite Radio over precisely this point.)

All of which meant that nobody in Washington was surprised when Biden was one of only four U.S. senators invited to a champagne reception in celebration of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hosted by the MPAA's Jack Valenti, the RIAA, and the Business Software Alliance. (Photos are here.)

Now, it's true that few Americans will cast their votes in November based on what the vice presidential candidate thinks of copyright law. But these pro-copyright views don't exactly jibe with what Obama has promised; he's pledged to "update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated." These are code words for taking a more pro-EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) than pro-MPAA approach.

Unfortunately, Biden has steadfastly refused to answer questions on the topic. We asked him 10 tech-related questions, including whether he'd support rewriting the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as part of our 2008 Technology Voters' guide. Biden would not answer (we did hear back from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Ron Paul).

In our 2006 Technology Voters' Guide, which ranked Senate votes from July 1998 through May 2005, Biden received a mere 37.5 percent score because of his support for Internet filters in schools and libraries and occasional support for Internet taxes.

Privacy, the FBI, and PGP
On privacy, Biden's record is hardly stellar. In the 1990s, Biden was chairman of the Judiciary Committee and introduced a bill called the Comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Act, which the EFF says he was "persuaded" to do by the FBI. A second Biden bill was called the Violent Crime Control Act. Both were staunchly anti-encryption, with this identical language:

It is the sense of Congress that providers of electronic communications services and manufacturers of electronic communications service equipment shall ensure that communications systems permit the government to obtain the plain text contents of voice, data, and other communications when appropriately authorized by law.

Translated, that means turn over your encryption keys. The book Electronic Privacy Papers describes Biden's bill as representing the FBI's visible effort to restrict encryption technology, which was taking place in concert with the National Security Agency's parallel, but less visible efforts. (Biden was no foe of the NSA. He once described now-retired NSA director Bobby Ray Inman as the "single most competent man in the government.")

Biden's bill -- and the threat of encryption being outlawed -- is what spurred Phil Zimmermann to write PGP, thereby kicking off a historic debate about export controls, national security, and privacy. Zimmermann, who's now busy developing Zfone, says it was Biden's legislation "that led me to publish PGP electronically for free that year, shortly before the measure was defeated after vigorous protest by civil libertarians and industry groups."

While neither of Biden's pair of bills became law, they did foreshadow the FBI's pro-wiretapping, anti-encryption legislative strategy that followed -- and demonstrated that the Delaware senator was willing to be a reliable ally of law enforcement on the topic. (They also previewed the FBI's legislative proposal later that decade for banning encryption products such as SSH or PGP without government backdoors, which was approved by one House of Representatives committee but never came to a vote in the Senate.)

"Joe Biden made his second attempt to introduce such legislation" in the form of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which was also known as the Digital Telephony law, according to an account in Wired magazine. Biden at the time was chairman of the relevant committee; he co-sponsored the Senate version and dutifully secured a successful floor vote on it less than two months after it was introduced. CALEA became law in October 1994, and is still bedeviling privacy advocates: the FBI recently managed to extend its requirements to Internet service providers.

CALEA represented one step in the FBI and NSA's attempts to restrict encryption without backdoors. In a top-secret memo to members of President George H.W. Bush's administration including Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and CIA director Robert Gates, one White House official wrote: "Justice should go ahead now to seek a legislative fix to the digital telephony problem, and all parties should prepare to follow through on the encryption problem in about a year. Success with digital telephony will lock in one major objective; we will have a beachhead we can exploit for the encryption fix; and the encryption access options can be developed more thoroughly in the meantime."

There's another reason why Biden's legislative tactics in the CALEA scrum amount to more than a mere a footnote in Internet history. They're what led to the creation of the Center for Democracy and Technology -- and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's simultaneous implosion and soul-searching.

EFF staffers Jerry Berman and Danny Weitzner chose to work with Biden on cutting a deal and altering the bill in hopes of obtaining privacy concessions. It may have helped, but it also left the EFF in the uncomfortable position of leaving its imprimatur on Biden's FBI-backed wiretapping law universally loathed by privacy advocates. The debacle ended with internal turmoil, Berman and Weitzner leaving the group and taking their corporate backers to form CDT, and a chastened EFF that quietly packed its bags and moved to its current home in San Francisco. (Weitzner, who was responsible for a censorship controversy last year, became a formal Obama campaign surrogate.)

"Anti-terror" legislation
The next year, months before the Oklahoma City bombing took place, Biden introduced another bill called the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. It previewed the 2001 Patriot Act by allowing secret evidence to be used in prosecutions, expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap laws, creating a new federal crime of "terrorism" that could be invoked based on political beliefs, permitting the U.S. military to be used in civilian law enforcement, and allowing permanent detection of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review. The Center for National Security Studies said the bill would erode "constitutional and statutory due process protections" and would "authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations."

Biden himself draws parallels between his 1995 bill and its 2001 cousin. "I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill," he said when the Patriot Act was being debated, according to the New Republic, which described him as "the Democratic Party's de facto spokesman on the war against terrorism."

Biden's chronology is not accurate: the bombing took place in April 1995 and his bill had been introduced in February 1995. But it's true that Biden's proposal probably helped to lay the groundwork for the Bush administration's Patriot Act.

In 1996, Biden voted to keep intact an ostensibly anti-illegal immigration bill that outlined what the Real ID Act would become almost a decade later. The bill would create a national worker identification registry; Biden voted to kill an Abraham-Feingold amendment that would have replaced the registry with stronger enforcement. According to an analysis by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the underlying bill would have required "states to place Social Security numbers on drivers licenses and to obtain fingerprints or some other form of biometric identification for licenses."

Along with most of his colleagues in the Congress -- including Sen. John McCain but not Rep. Ron Paul -- Biden voted for the Patriot Act and the Real ID Act (which was part of a larger spending bill). Obama voted for the bill containing the Real ID Act, but wasn't in the U.S. Senate in 2001 when the original Patriot Act vote took place.

Patriot Act
In the Senate debate over the Patriot Act in October 2001, Biden once again allied himself closely with the FBI. The Justice Department favorably quotes Biden on its Web site as saying: "The FBI could get a wiretap to investigate the mafia, but they could not get one to investigate terrorists. To put it bluntly, that was crazy! What's good for the mob should be good for terrorists."

The problem is that Biden's claim was simply false -- which he should have known after a decade of experience lending his name to wiretapping bills on behalf of the FBI. As CDT explains in a rebuttal to Biden: "The Justice Department had the ability to use wiretaps, including roving taps, in criminal investigations of terrorism, just as in other criminal investigations, long before the Patriot Act."

But Biden's views had become markedly less FBI-friendly by April 2007, six years later. By then, the debate over wiretapping had become sharply partisan, pitting Democrats seeking to embarrass President Bush against Republicans aiming to defend the administration at nearly any cost. In addition, Biden had announced his presidential candidacy three months earlier and was courting liberal activists dismayed by the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping.

That month, Biden slammed the "president's illegal wiretapping program that allows intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on the conversations of Americans without a judge's approval or congressional authorization or oversight." He took aim at Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for allowing the FBI to "flagrantly misuse National Security Letters" -- even though it was the Patriot Act that greatly expanded their use without also expanding internal safeguards and oversight as well.

Biden did vote against a FISA bill with retroactive immunity for any telecommunications provider that illegally opened its network to the National Security Agency; Obama didn't. Both agreed to renew the Patriot Act in March 2006, a move that pro-privacy Democrats including Ron Wyden and Russ Feingold opposed. The ACLU said the renewal "fails to correct the most flawed provisions" of the original Patriot Act. (Biden does do well on the ACLU's congressional scorecard.)

"Baby-food bombs"
The ACLU also had been at odds with Biden over his efforts to censor bomb-making information on the Internet. One day after a bomb in Saudi Arabia killed several U.S. servicemen and virtually flattened a military base, Biden pushed to make posting bomb-making information on the Internet a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in jail, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

"I think most Americans would be absolutely shocked if they knew what kind of bone-chilling information is making its way over the Internet," he told the Senate. "You can access detailed, explicit instructions on how to make and detonate pipe bombs, light-bulb bombs, and even -- if you can believe it -- baby-food bombs."

Biden didn't get exactly what he wanted -- at least not right away. His proposal was swapped in the final law for one requiring the attorney general to investigate "the extent to which the First Amendment protects such material and its private and commercial distribution." The report was duly produced, concluding that the proposal "can withstand constitutional muster in most, if not all, of its possible applications, if such legislation is slightly modified."

It was. Biden and co-sponsor Dianne Feinstein introduced their bill again the following year. Biden pitched it as an anti-terror measure, saying in a floor debate that numerous terrorists "have been found in possession of bomb-making manuals and Internet bomb-making information." He added: "What is even worse is that some of these instructions are geared toward kids. They tell kids that all the ingredients they need are right in their parents' kitchen or laundry cabinets."

Biden's proposal became law in 1997. It didn't amount to much: four years after its enactment, there had been only one conviction. And instead of being used to snare a dangerous member of Al Qaeda, the law was used to lock up a 20-year old anarchist Webmaster who was sentenced to one year in prison for posting information about Molotov cocktails and "Drano bombs" on his Web site,

Today there are over 10,000 hits on Google for the phrase, in quotes, "Drano bomb." One is a video that lists the necessary ingredients and shows some self-described rednecks blowing up small plastic bottles in their yard. Then there's the U.S. Army's Improvised Munitions Handbook with instructions on making far more deadly compounds, including methyl nitrate dynamite, mortars, grenades, and C-4 plastic explosive -- which free speech activists placed online as an in-your-face response to the Biden-Feinstein bill.

Peer-to-peer networks
Since then, Biden has switched from complaining about Internet baby-food bombs to taking aim at peer-to-peer networks. He held one Foreign Relations committee hearing in February 2002 titled "Theft of American Intellectual Property" and invited executives from the Justice Department, RIAA, MPAA, and Microsoft to speak. Not one Internet company, P2P network, or consumer group was invited to testify.

Afterwards, Sharman Networks (which distributes Kazaa) wrote a letter to Biden complaining about "one-sided and unsubstantiated attacks" on P2P networks. It said: "We are deeply offended by the gratuitous accusations made against Kazaa by witnesses before the committee, including ludicrous attempts to associate an extremely beneficial, next-generation software program with organized criminal gangs and even terrorist organizations."

Biden returned to the business of targeting P2P networks this year. In April, he proposed spending $1 billion in U.S. tax dollars so police can monitor peer-to-peer networks for illegal activity. He made that suggestion after a Wyoming cop demonstrated a proof-of-concept program called "Operation Fairplay" at a hearing before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

A month later, the Senate Judiciary committee approved a Biden-sponsored bill that would spend over $1 billion on policing illegal Internet activity, mostly child pornography. It has the dubious virtue of being at least partially redundant: One section would "prohibit the broadcast of live images of child abuse," even though the Justice Department has experienced no problems in securing guilty pleas for underage Webcamming. (The bill has not been voted on by the full Senate.)

Online sales of Robitussin
Around the same time, Biden introduced his self-described Biden Crime Bill of 2007. One section expands electronic surveillance law to permit police wiretaps in "crimes dangerous to the life, limb, and well-being of minor children." Another takes aim at Internet-based telemedicine and online pharmacies, saying that physicians must have conducted "at least one in-person medical evaluation of the patient" to prescribe medicine.

Another prohibits selling a product containing dextromethorphan -- including Robitussin, Sucrets, Dayquil, and Vicks -- "to an individual under the age of 18 years, including any such sale using the Internet." It gives the Justice Department six months to come up with regulations, which include when retailers should be fined for shipping cough suppressants to children. (Biden is a longtime drug warrior; he authored the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act that the Bush administration used to shut down benefit concerts.)

Net neutrality
On Net neutrality, Biden has sounded skeptical. In 2006, he indicated that no preemptive laws were necessary because if violations do happen, such a public outcry will develop that "the chairman will be required to hold this meeting in this largest room in the Capitol, and there will be lines wandering all the way down to the White House." Obama, on the other hand, has been a strong supporter of handing pre-emptive regulatory authority to the Federal Communications Commission.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

politics- Obama, Biden, and the DNC

So it's official. Barak Obama has not chosen Hillary Clinton to be his Vice-President. He has chosen Senator Joe Biden from Delaware instead. I'd never heard of Senator Biden until now, but my husband has. He said he's not very popular in the geek world. A quick Google search told me that the NRA doesn't like him either. That's 2 strikes. Just now I found this link-

That doesn't speak well for him either. So far I haven't found anything to like about the guy. And I am wondering what will be next for Hillary too, although I'm not sure if I care. Hopefully at least she will be out of office for a while.

I did take a quick peek at the speakers and the festivities planned for the DNC this week. It sounds like a lot of fun, but honestly Obama still doesn't impress me.

I'm waiting now to see who McCain will pick as his Vice-President, and what will Ron Paul do? Is he doing anything anymore? Where will we see Hillary next? Secretary of something? or will she join the speakers circuits for a while to make some cash there and stay busy?

In any case, I don't think Biden will help Obama's campaign, and if people remember any of Biden's history, maybe just maybe it will hurt him as a candidate overall.

The race to November continues. Looking forward to the RNC next week, at least in the news etc.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Summer is ending so fast!!

It seems like it is still the middle of August, but summer is coming to a close soo quickly! The kids go back to elementary and high school this week. The colleges resume next Tuesday. Meanwhile I suspect we will have a bit of rain over Labor Day weekend. So when the weather forecast for this past weekend promised to be hot and sunny, I made it a point to get my family outside as much as possible.

Friday night we picked up Abby at daycare and went to Greenfield to have supper with friends at Pete's Seafood. We ate inside, but afterwards we found an empty parking lot and let the kids play for a while while the grownups chatted.

On Saturday it was off to the Cummington Fair. Admission was a little pricey ($8 per adult!) so we skipped the rides which were pricey too. We still had a good time watching the shows, seeing the animals, and generally wandering around. We did have snacks - sno-cones, fried dough (sugar pizza!), and cookies too. Even though it was expensive, and it took a while for Abby to warm up to the place, it was a lot of fun. We did a trip around the place with Abby in the stroller, then she decided to get out, and led us back through everything all over again. And cows, and cows, and she wasn't even scared. She even touched a bunny rabbit! Way to go Abby! This kid is afraid of animals most of the time, so it was amazing to see her enjoy them on this trip. We will definitely be visiting more barns and farms in the future. It might have been because the animals were all tied up or in pens but whatever the reason, she did great.
We waited until we got back to Greenfield to have a real lunch though. I wanted to go to the beach, and it was crowded when we came home, but Abby was asleep so it had to wait.

Sunday, I was a bit worried. We needed to go grocery shopping, but I wanted to get outside too. So after some stalling in the morning, we finally got out to Greenfield. Went to BJ's and did that as quick as we could- not hitting every aisle, just getting what we needed. Then we went to the Chinese place nearby for lunch. Letting Abby eat with "sticks" was also a priority for her too. She wanted noodles and French fries, but she managed to eat some chicken, carrots, and broccoli too. After lunch, we split up so we could finish our shopping in the same plaza. This gave us a little time outside going from store to store. When we were finally done, Abby asked us 3 times if we were done with the stores and then quickly fell asleep. I guess she was really afraid to miss something. We got home and let her finish her nap, and I was really losing hope that we would get outside for the evening.

After her nap she had taken her time (and we had let her) waking up, having a snack and watching some tv etc. Finally I just asked her "Do you want to go to the beach? Do you want to go outside?" She immediately turned off the tv and hopped out of daddy's lap to get ready. Yay! My husband and I both knew that dinner had to be made, but I also knew that we HAD to go to the beach. So after some quick negotiating Abby and I were on our way. It wasn't until we got out to the driveway with the wagon loaded up and everything that I found out that we were going to the LITTLE beach and not the big one. Either was fine with me. So we said good-bye to daddy a few times and headed off. Down the road with Abby in the wagon, watching out for dogs and cars to the little beach. Abby made it clear that she did NOT want to share her toys this time, and was happy that the kids nearby weren't home. When we got to the beach there were 2 girls, older than Abby, there with their father and a canoe. The sisters swam and played as Abby and I quickly got into the water. We had our own fun playing in the water, and Abby was thrilled when her daddy finally showed up. He surprised me by coming into the water even though he was wearing long pants. He even took Abby out deep, up to his waist, or higher. It made me nervous, but they had fun and I stayed nearby swimming where Abby and I could see each other. Finally he went back home to continue supper, and Abby and I played on the beach for a little while before she decided we needed to go home too. It was a lot of fun, and as I said, I know we won't have many more chances to do it this year.

When we got home, we got dry clothes on and went outside to play. The mosquitoes were a real mood-killer for me, but with some bug-0ff cream I did the best I could. When supper was ready (pork on the grill), we ate outside and then came in as soon as we were done. My husband went back out to make s'mores on the grill before he put the fire out. Yum, yum!

We finally calmed down and got Abby to bed sometime after 9pm. Really was a great weekend. Lots of little things, but it all added up to.... wonderful. I should have taken pictures. Probably one of my favorite weekends of the summer!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Some fiction.... the Story of the Purple Dragons

This is a story I wrote last night for my daughter Abby. My copyright, etc. Don't use this anywhere without my permission, and giving me credit. And if you'd like to help me with some artwork, let me know.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away lived the purple dragons. They were very nice dragons who liked to help people. They lived in the mountains with the people who made things from Play-doh. The Mountain People made bowls and cups and spoons. They made tables and chairs and other things too. Then the Purple dragons used their magic fire breath to make the things hard and strong so they would not break. When the tables and chairs were cool again, the Orange Dragons used their magic to make the bowls and cups beautiful colors- orange, red, purple, green, and blue, and pink, and shiny. Then they added the glitter and everything was very pretty.

When the Orange dragons were done making everything glittery and pretty, the Mountain People took all the things made from Play-Doh down to the Valley where the river was. The Valley people had lots of yummy things to eat. They had apples, oranges, strawberries, and good vegetables. The Mountain People gave the Valley People the bowls and spoons and cups, and then the Valley People gave them the oranges and apples and all the yummy things to eat. Then everyone had a big feast, a very large meal. They ate until they were very full.

Then the Mountain People went back up to the mountains to make more things with the dragons, and bring them some of the good food too.

The end.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

more Disney planning

I think our plans are almost finalized, as best as we can do them anyway. I've got our tickets, made reservations for our hotel, and booked our rental car. I've made a few ADRs (advance dining reservations), and tried to highlight which parks would be best to go to on which days.
My next thing is to put all the info into organized places. I'm using Google maps, the Google calendar, and I think I will use Google documents too. I need to put all our confirmation numbers and other details into one easily usable place so I'm still working on that.
Meanwhile my mother in law is trying to decide what she wants to do, and I need to write a letter to my mother soon too. But my mom is still coping with her boyfriend's health so I'm trying not to push too much there.

only a few more weeks before we go. yay!!!

New Hampshire and my mother

In the midst of all this daycare craziness, my husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. An advertisement drew me to book a room at the Radisson in Nashua, NH at the last minute for Friday night. We got out of work a little early because of a power failure (which kept us home on Monday too), stopped at the house for some essentials, and then picked up Abby at daycare. Stopped at McDonald's in Orange for supper, and then drove up to the castle-like hotel. It was very nice, and a great quick getaway. In the morning the prices scared us away from breakfast, and we headed to the nearby mall for Dunkin Donuts and some shopping. After a couple of hours there, Abby was well worn out. So we headed up to Tilton, NH where I had heard they had a Tangers Outlet. Since Abby was still asleep when we got off the exit, we drove over to Laconia for a quick look at some of the lake area before we finally stopped for lunch and shopping. The rain from the night before was long gone, and it was a beautiful sunny day. I got our AAA coupons from the outlet office, and a $5 gift card for being good outlet shoppers (visiting more than one Tanger Outlet within a year or something) and we headed over to Uno Pizzeria or whatever it was for lunch. We spent the afternoon shopping, not buying a whole lot, but having fun looking in the stores. Abby got a new pair of boots, and a backpack. My husband got some new clothes and a new skillet. We all got overpriced bottled water at Starbucks. Abby even got to play on the playground for a little while.
When we were done we headed up to Burger King for a quick supper before we hit the road to come home, a long drive.
Now let me say this, where it can be easily seen.... Burger King in Tilton, NH has the most disgustingly gross bathrooms I have seen in a long time. The toilet bowls themselves were brown. And since it was a Burger King, it had no diaper deck of course, so I had to deal with a kid who would not use the toilet because it was so gross, and then I had to get down on the dirty bathroom floor to change her diaper. Thanks a lot folks. We had a great time in Tilton, but I'll never go there again, even if the playspace was fun.

The reason why we pushed so hard to get back on Saturday night, even though Saturday was our anniversary was because my mother was in the area, and we were supposed to have brunch with her on Sunday morning. Unfortunately when we got home there was a message from my mother saying she was having trouble with her cell phone. When she called us Sunday morning, it became apparent pretty quickly that we would not be meeting for brunch. She pretty much insisted that we drive all the way to the D.A.R. campground in Goshen to meet her, even though we'd already spent way too many hours in the car the day before.

We decided to do brunch at the Union Station in Northampton without her, and then we went. By the time we got to the campground it was just starting to thunder. After a couple of quick hellos, the rain came. She didn't want to leave the campground. She was barely dressed, and freezing, but wouldn't leave the campsite anyway. We left.

Later that night my mother packed up her gear and headed back to Florida, cutting her visit short by about a week. On the way, she had trouble with her rental car, and gave away her camp wood. A day or two after she got home, her boyfriend had a heart attack and almost died. I guess it's good she went home early, but it still would have been nice to have seen her for more than 5 minutes while she was here. It turned out that work was closed on Monday, so we could have spent that day with her if she'd still been around, and she still would have made it home in time for her boyfriend's heart attack.

Oh, and if you are wondering, we didn't do much for anniversary gifts. The trip was pretty much it. That and I gave him a card, and he gave me 2 cards- 1 serious, 1 fun.

Surviving the daycare juggles

So we had a week of normal, and then our daycare provider went on vacation. I'd been able to get a sitter for 4 days- Tuesday-Friday, and my husband and I had worked out who would get out early and do what etc, since the sitter wouldn't work as many hours as our daycare person would.
The plan was for my husband to take Monday off, which he really didn't want to do, but we had no choice. Then he'd get out early 2 days, and I'd get out early 2 days. Under no terms could he take Friday off. He got lucky though, and due to a power failure work was closed for both of us on Monday. That just left us with Tuesday-Friday. With a lot of extra gas being used, we juggled Tuesday-Thursday, and then our sitter canceled Friday on us. That left me to take the day off. No choice but to suck it up, and it will make our September plans interesting because I will be right on the edge of running out of time off for vacation/personal time at work, but we'll figure it out.
Now our daycare provider is back, and rumors about him closing are still floating through the air. We are really hoping that he will at least be in business through January (through the fall semester), but he has lost a lot of customers lately, and I think Abby is the only full time kid signed up for the fall right now. Scary. I don't dare start calling other places yet because I'm not sure if I'm looking for September or January, and I don't want to move her unless I have to. So fingers crossed. We'll never find another daycare as good as the one we have, and we're still a year away from preschool.


I didn't emphasize it enough in my last post, I really had to work on priorities while DH was gone. Was it more important to get to work on time, or more important to give dd a couple of extra hugs? Was it more important to get home or more important to spend an hour at the beach? Etc.

I got a good lesson on that on Wednesday, my first day back to work, when I got pulled over for speeding. Fortunately the officer was very understanding and gave me a written warning. That was a good lesson for me. In the morning, Abby had thrown a tantrum when I was dropping her off at daycare, and I had gotten to work 20 minutes late. Then I had stayed late to make up the time at work, still I was trying really hard to get to daycare on time some how because I knew that the substitute was there and would be itching to leave. I was trying to do it all, and it just didn't work.

On Thursday, I didn't listen to the tantrum so long, I made it to work on time, and I made it back to daycare. Then I found out that the daycare provider had rescheduled their vacation for 2 weeks (August 11th) and I was going to be juggling for care. I was really ticked. More than really ticked. It was also supposed to be the substitute's last day, but I didn't care about that at the moment. I immediately found a woman who I thought would be willing to watch Abby that week, and told her (she was parking her car at the beach) that I'd be calling her very soon. Meanwhile I was trying not to let my bad mood affect Abby, which was pretty much impossible and I also had to reach my husband in California to give him the news. It was a logistical freak time.

The near speeding ticket on Wednesday, the daycare thing on Thursday, it felt like every day I had some kind of crisis. Meanwhile I wasn't sleeping well, and mother nature wasn't being nice to my body either. I was very relieved when DH came home, and yet, I know I could do it all again. And maybe next time I will do it better.

I wish I hadn't gotten rid of all my Al-Anon books (friends and family of alcoholics) because I really found myself trying to remember those things about living in the moment and the serenity prayer etc. Keep It Simple Stupid. Right?

And now I've got to get back to work, and I still feel like I haven't said it all somehow.

trying to get caught up.. the week he was gone

Well I said I had a lot to write about, and I just haven't had time to do it. The week that my husband gone was a week of constant change. Daycare was supposed to be closed for the week, but then decided to be open. They didn't tell me at that time that the vacation they planned hadn't been canceled, but had been postponed instead. So, I decided to take 2 days off from work to spend with Abby, and then work the rest of the week.
Sunday morning, my husband had an 8:30am flight. We drove to the airport and got there early. My daughter slept in the car for the most part, and I made sure we had the stroller with us. It was her first visit to the airport. DH had to check in and go through security so we didn't have much time to say goodbye, but we made the best of it. Abby and I hung out at the airport until I was pretty sure DH had boarded and was due to take off. We headed back up to Enfield, CT for breakfast and then I got a text message saying DH's flight had been delayed but he couldn't get off the plane. Nothing we could do. DH's trip was in motion and he was at the beginning of what would prove to be a very long day, with 6 extra hours of travel time spent mostly in an airport.
Meanwhile, Abby and I ate breakfast and then headed back toward familiar territory. We stopped at Target and got some art supplies and then went home. We spent the rest of the day napping and doing lots of painting etc.
On Monday, I went to the AAA office and got tickets for 6 Flags and for our upcoming Disney trip. I had heard the rumor that prices would be going up soon for Disney and I wanted to get them while I could. Plus it's hard for me to get to the AAA office when they are open since the local offices aren't open on Saturdays. We also went out for breakfast first. Then we headed up to my father's farm, but since we got there sooner than he was expecting us, he wasn't around. So with Abby quickly falling asleep, I headed back south to Yankee Candle. When she woke up we went inside and explored. I had not been there in years. We ignored Santa pretty much, and as much of the stinky candles as possible, but did spend some time in the toy room before finally buying a Doctor Curious George. After that we had lunch at McDonald's in Northampton, and while I entertained the idea of going to Look Park, I realized we had done enough for one day so we headed home.
On Tuesday it was off to Six Flags, and this is was a good place to think about what was important to me. Six Flags on a Tuesday wasn't TOO crowded, but it was still big and confusing to me, and I had to decide how much to push Abby on to new things, and how much to sit and relax and just let her do her thing. I tried to balance. I didn't let her ride the rides twice, but I did let her spend a lot of time in the play area. We never did see the whole park. I also gave us a long lunch break, and another long break for shaved ice. (When we returned a few weeks later with my husband, we took a long break for shaved ice too). Abby lasted about 4-5 hours before succumbing to exhaustion and falling asleep. So I drove us home, stopping at a drive-thru for something for myself along the way.
Wednesday was back to work, and sort of back to normal. I had to balance her tantrums though with trying to get to work at a reasonable time. The first day, Wednesday, was tough, and I was actually quite a bit late, and had to stay late to make up the time.
During the week I tried to be understanding of the fact that we were both missing her daddy/my husband, and we were both kind of tired. We ate out more than usual, and she stayed up a little late. I also let her watch tv and eat food in the bedroom, two things that are normally against the rules. Some nights she slept in her own bed, and some nights she slept in mine. It wasn't a week to try to be a mean mommy. It was tough taking her to daycare, but I think by Wednesday she was also missing her friends quite a bit too, and that part of her was happy to go.
On Saturday we had one last day together before picking up DH late that night. The time just seemed to crawl by, as I counted the hours until the plane would arrive, but we did it.
As I posted before, I know that this will happen again. DH really needs to be open to some travel for his job, and I will have to do my part when it comes time. Fortunately we should be able to get a 2nd vehicle in a few months so airport runs will be a little easier too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Google Maps!

I love it! I just plugged in a trip to Virginia to see how long a drive it was, and then I noticed I had the option to get WALKING directions instead. LOL! I Love it! It does a great job too. Keeps you off the interstates and all that. Not very practical for my sake, but fun. Could be cool to see for some local trips too. What a great feature!!

Behind on posting,,, more to come later...b.

Well I just survived my husband being away for a week. It was the first time he'd been away overnight since before... since before we got engaged I guess. Plus I had our dd to contend with as well. It was an interesting experience, and will probably be the precursor of things to come. He spent the week at a conference in California- his first time there, and I think it was very valuable for him careerwise. Last year I did not want him to go because Abigail's health was too unstable, and indeed she ended up in the hospital. This year her health is much better and I was okay with his absence. The whole experience has left me with much to post about, but right now I am busy with work, so more to come later. I promise.