First Proper Sing-Along

I would deem tonight our first proper sing-along with the piano. We segued from Katy Perry’s “Firework” to “Jingle Bells.” All good.

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Not Ready for Christmas

As usual, I don’t feel at all ready for Christmas. I could run down the list of things that are half done, or not even begun, but that would be depressing. On the plus side, we are not traveling, so there’s none of that stress.

And… yeah.

So the news? The news is pretty depressing. The Sandy Hook nightmare bringing forth Peak Stupid in the media and on the Intarwebz actually brought me the closest I’ve ever come to quitting Twitter and other news sources (at least temporarily.)

The wholly manufactured “fiscal cliff” garbage is also almost too much to take.

And it’s been a very long week at work. At least tomorrow is Friday.

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Three Strikes for Instagram – See Ya’

Alas, I have missed a few of the “dailies” in Holidailies. I was in a big, long-planned meeting/workshop for two days this week. Two solid days in a windowless room with a bunch of [$REDACTED] experts discussing [$REDACTED] things.  (Those don’t really need to be redacted – it just entertains me; plus the topics are not relevant for the purposes of this blog post.)  I missed one bedtime and two wake-ups for TLG – but he and TheGuy seemed to manage just fine.

I also did not stay caught up very well on social media (for me that means twitter and my RSS feeds in NewsBlur). But one of the things I did lightly track was the big Terms of Service screw-up by Instagram. For me, this is Instagram’s third strike.

Strike One: Be bought by Facebook. Facebook is horrible. And it was clear then that it was only a matter of time before I’d have to bail on Instagram. But I’m lazy. And I always made sure to flow any Instagram pictures both to my phone photostream as well as to my flickr account. (And since they were on the phone, that means they get incorporated into my Aperture database.) I was just waiting for a decent alternative.

Strike Two: Start feuding with Twitter (or vice versa; whatever; I can’t keep track). Now, Twitter’s being ridiculous and difficult about various things itself, but Twitter provides a much higher value service to me than Instagram. And I’d liked being able to easily flow things from Instagram to Twitter.

Strike Three: Their TOS rudeness this week. That was a pure Facebook play: Assert something outrageous. Everyone gets upset. And then say you’ll walk it back just a wee bit. Whatever the challenges of monetization, the way they handled this was just insulting. Also, photographers (amateur or otherwise) are a distinct subculture, separate from that much broader subculture of people who play Farmville on Facebook. C’mon now; Facestagrambook were stupid. And venal, I suppose.

So – I’m done with Instagram. And that’s especially easier for me to say right now, since Flickr just came out with a nifty new mobile app (finally; thank you, Marissa Meyer?) that does what I need.  Eventually (there’s an action item OmniFocus, so that means it’ll happen one of these years) I’ll yank my content out of Instagram (and Facebook for that matter – but that’s a topic for another post) and put myself into read-only mode on those services. So it goes.

Like my ~big brother said, “It cycles, yo.”

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Sore Ear

TLG got some water into his “bad” ear today – past the ear plug he was wearing. (This is the eardrum that never healed up completely after he had ear tubes as a toddler – eventually it will have to be repaired, but it’s not clear yet exactly when that will happen. In the meantime, it acts like he still has a tube–which is good in that it helps him not get completely blocked up when he’s congested.)  This is the second time that’s happened. The first time it was tap water, and it ended up infected. This time it was chlorinated water – so we’ll see. It was really bothering him all day today–I don’t think I’ve seen him this upset about body pain since he was teething.  So we spent most of the day trying alternatively to comfort and distract him.  He seems ok right now – I think most of the water has come out. But I’m still worried we’ll end up at the pede’s again this week for a round of antibiotics. Sigh.

He’s also got a couple of patches on his skin that look like what he had at the very beginning of a truly awful bout of poison ivy. I don’t know where he got into it again, or if he touched something that hadn’t been cleaned since the last round (we never determined a source), but that’s stressing me out too.

I recognize that possible ear infections and poison ivy are minuscule concerns–especially this week.

But I can’t bring myself to write much about what I’ve been reading and thinking about in light of the latest mass shooting in this country. If I started I might not ever stop. Fortunately TLG has not heard anything about it, so we haven’t had to have that conversation with him – and I’m happy to keep it that way for as long as possible. Although given the frequency with which these things are happening, it’s not clear how long that will be.


Posted in Journaling, Parenting | 1 Comment

Busy Day Zzzzz…

Busy day. Well, moderately busy, but it included socializing at a Christmas party/open house this afternoon, so I am drained.

After breakfast and skyping with TLG’s grandparents, the three of us walked across the street to the front lawn of the high school to pick out our Christmas tree. And then we carried it back across four lanes of traffic (there’s a light; phew) to the house. TLG declared: “This is fun!” Unfortunately,  this is only an annual ritual, so he’ll have to wait a whole year to do it again.

Then TLG had tae kwon do class and I stayed home to begin wrapping some presents. We got some lunch. Puttered a bit with the tree, but not too much, and then off to the party.  At which TLG discovered the joys of the bowls of chex mix and goldfish crackers. (Poor deprived child – we almost never have those things in our house.) Then home, to dinner and bundling the boy off to bed.

Tomorrow should be less busy, although a new children’s museum opened near us that we might want to go check out after TLG’s swim lesson. And of course we’ll have to put ornaments on the tree.

But for now, I’m beat; time for a podcast and some zzzzzzzs.

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Horrible Day

Horrible day. My heart goes out to the families in Connecticut who lost their children today.

Here’s the thing: We as a society choose which problems we will attempt to address. And we manifestly do not have the strength of character to even attempt to address the massacre-by-gun problem in this country.   It is a national disgrace.

We should all be shamed.

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Racing to the End of the Year

No wonder I’m grumpy – it’s about time for my usual end of year recriminations about how much I did not get done this year.  One of my BFFs asked me today why I don’t keep a list of the stuff I did do. I said: “What would be the point of that? That stuff’s done!”

Yeah. Inside my head. Not always a fun place to be.

I am trying to clear a few more decks before 2012 is over, including taming my personal inbox again. For the second time this year I had to resort to setting a calendar item to “reduce personal inbox by net 10″ every day for many days. I’m almost there.  Need to do the same thing for @WAITING at work, which just accretes and accretes.  Then, in and amongst a bunch of other end of year stuff, I need to figure out what some of my personal projects for next year are going to be.  (On the bright side, we already have two family vacations planned.)

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Links Du Jour

A thousand ducks are nibbling me to death at work (metaphor inspired by Londo) – I’m feeling pretty angsty and stressed out about stuff there. And I’m tired, tired, tired. So, a few links today, mostly pulled from my Twitter stream which these days is basically retweets of things to be exasperated, outraged, or amused about.

  • I have only paid vague attention to the Wikipedia wars, but this piece by Jason Scott against the Deletionist faction is good in and of itself and also if you want to get a sense of what some of the issues are.
  • Atrios (Duncan Black) explains in USA Today why raising the Medicare eligibility age is a terrible, terrible stupid idea. Bad policy. Bad politics. That Obama is even letting this remain part of the discussion, much less actually considering doing it, epitomizes almost everything I have disliked about his Presidency.
  • I will not be seeing Zero Dark Thirty. This is…. gross. I just cannot think of another word to better describe this blatantly creepy propaganda effort. Just nauseating.
  • I do not approve of the elf on the shelf business.  You do what you gotta’ do with your family, but no creepy surveillance state indoctrination in this house.
  • Josh Marshall thinks the possibility of a massive government shutdown over the debt limit (aka GOP extremist whackadoos–oh, but I repeat myself–playing chicken with the global economy) is greater than most seem to think. I was not in Washington when Newtie threw his fit and shut down the government in the 90s. And I don’t know what this new potential shutdown would mean for my own work (which is at a DotOrg, but partially supported by government grants). But it’s possible that I’d have a bunch of time to practice on my new piano, I suppose.
  • And, for something amusing… no… I don’t have anything amusing right at the moment. Maybe tomorrow.


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Piano Has Arrived

The piano arrived today – delivered at 8am sharp. I worked at home and it was pretty hard to keep from playing with it all day.

Our house is small and has an open floor plan. One test will be whether TLG can manage to get to and stay asleep upstairs if one of us is playing the piano in the living room. I put the odds at 50-50. Of course, we’ll try to keep our evening tunes to mellow stuff. This evening he passed – I noodled on some Christmas-y lullabyes while TheGuy put TLG to bed. Seemed to go fine. But the experiment was confounded because it was a later than usual bedtime and he was tired. To be continued.

I have vague ambitions to try to learn (or relearn) one piece each month – that is to learn it for real, and not just fake my way through it like I’m doing now with my very stiff and rusty fingers. I know just enough to arpeggiate my way around some chords if I lose track of what I’m actually supposed to be doing.

The piano itself puts most of the rest of the living room furniture to shame. We’d been keeping an old recliner couch and a camp couch & chair combo around while TLG was little (in case of food or … other … accidents) but there haven’t really been any.  So maybe it’s time to start thinking about how we might redecorate and upgrade the furniture around the piano.  Hehe. Speaking of which, I need to email my interior decorator friend and ask for an hour of his time. (Once we feel recovered from the piano purchase, there are about a dozen other house things needing attention and for which I am basically at a loss – stuck in analysis paralysis.)

Anyway, here’s the piano – we are all very happy about it. TLG called it “our permanent piano.”  (They’ve been talking about dentists and baby teeth and permanent teeth at school – I thought that was excellent vocabulary usage!)

It's here! Making the rest of my living room look pretty shabby. @nowthis already composing!
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Primary School Angst

Kindergarten for TLG approaches. I am moderately anxious about that. We have been thinking very hard about what to do regarding his primary school education and pretty much every option has been considered (some, such as private school, more seriously than others, such as homeschooling). However, after all that, our current plan is to send him to our neighborhood elementary school, to pay close attention, and to be flexible in case other arrangements need to be made.

I’ve also started slowly getting up to speed on some of the ins and outs and controversies of the day regarding the county school district. I do this the way I try to get a feel for any new thing: I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds (or similar), and dip into them every so often just to see what people are talking about. I came very close to starting to attend local PTA meetings, but decided that was too over the top even for me. I’ll wait until he’s actually enrolled. (However, I do scan their newsletters.)

And, since I don’t feel like I can understand anything unless I understand (at least at a coarse level) the larger system within which it is situated, I’ve also started flowing some national education policy feeds into my information stream. Like probably anyone who has been educated within a given system, I find I have exceedingly strong opinions about these policy matters. But I also recognize that how various policy options end up being instantiated in a given classroom is somewhat unpredictable.

So really, it’s all a great unknown. And I know this post is vague, but this is one of those things I don’t want to write too much in detail about while there’s still so much uncertainty (in my head – about what the right thing to do is).  I do have great confidence in TLG’s academic capabilities. But this morning I got a call from his pre-K to let me know that he had had a bit of trauma and upsetness because he’d shoved a rock up his nose.*  So there are some other things he still needs to work on, obviously.

* Really, child? A rock up your nose? (I knew to worry about this sort of thing when he was 2 and 3 – and it never happened, but at 4.5 I really thought we’d dodged that particular childhood drama. Sigh.)

Posted in Education, Journaling, Parenting | 4 Comments