Thursday, December 28, 2006

How to stay awake: A primer by J.J. Dubin

Hey guys! J.J. Dubin here. How's everyone doin'?

Mommy's a little tired, so I told her to take a nap. Besides, staying up late is my new thing. In the past week, I've been up until 9:30 or later more times than not. That's over 2 hours past my usual bedtime!

So, you're wondering how I do it, aren't you? Let me offer this step-by-step guide:

1. Reach your arms up and pull your hair. That's right - give it a good tug.
Sounds simple, huh? Not so much for an infant. I mean, have you seen my arms? Reaching the top of my head is quite an accomplishment. Throw in the fact that I'm not exactly what you would call blessed with a full head of hair, and I'd say I'm probably eligible for some sort of award...
Don't be afraid to yank out a handful or two. I hear it grows back, yet a quick look at my daddy's noggin makes me a little skeptical.

2. Shriek like a little girl. Sure, you'll get laughed at, especially if you're NOT a little girl, but that high-pitched yelp will shock your system a bit and get the adrenaline going.

3. Sing. Seriously. Sing a song. Don't worry if it's not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing (BTW, I didn't make those words up - mommy sings them to me all the time. Maybe she made them up or maybe she heard them on the radio or read them in the Scene. I'm not sure).
Anyway, back to what I was saying, if the yelling takes too much energy, try singing. It will keep you occupied, create some noise to keep you awake, yet allow you to build up the energy to shriek a little more once your eyes start drooping.

4. Ah yes. Your eyes. They may be stinging. They may feel REALLY good when you shut them, but don't give in. Rub them with your fists. Grind your knuckles into them.
Then, try to hold your eyelids open REALLY WIDE and don't blink. I've only fallen asleep like this once. It sure freaked my mommy and grandma out.

5. Blow raspberries. It will break the monotony of singing, yet not use the energy that shrieking requires.

6. I just learned my final trick the other day. It was an accident - one might call it serendipity. I was blowing raspberries, and reached up to rub my eyes, and didn't have the strength to reach my peepers. Instead, I rubbed my raspberry blowing mouth with my forearm. The result was quite pleasing.
Since then, I've practiced, and can make this "bub a bub a bub bub bub" noise by rubbing my hand across my lips while I'm blowing raspberries. It's pretty awesome. Can you tell I'm impressed with my newfound skill?

I hope you find my tips on staying awake helpful. If you have any of your own that you'd like to share, just send them my way. I'd like to continue to build my repertoire.

Hope everyone's having a great week between Christmas and New Year's. I'd also like to take a moment to make a shout out to some special ladies who might be reading this. You know who you are... How YOU doin'?

-JSD, Jr. (Just call me J.J.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How aggregating...

This is one of those things I post that makes Joe say, "Huh? - Where are the pictures of the fat boy?" So, honey, go here for pics and here for the latest video.

So, if anyone's still here, when I first started this whole blog thing back in two double-ought three, I was supposed to be looking into RSS -- syndication, publication, parsing XML -- for work. The aggregators I started using to monitor feeds from news sources (and blogs) were Bloglines & FeedDemon. I never was a fan of Bloglines, except for the fact that it was web-based, meaning I could sign in from any computer and there were my feeds, just as I left them. Initially, I had two licenses for FeedDemon - one at home and one at work and I didn't necessarily have the same feeds (reading lists) in each location. Then, NewsGator & FeedDemon got hitched, and not only could I sync up FeedDemon at work with FeedDemon at home, I could also sign into NewsGator & there everything was.

Then, Google got in the game... And I imported my OPML file and tried it out. And I really wasn't happy with it. Yet.

Then, Google released some new Reader features and it was better, and I started using it to monitor some of my stuff and thought I'd like to use it for everything, if only...

If only it would sort my unread feeds oldest to newest.

Then, Google listened to me (and a WHOLE bunch of others) and here we are now...

I've switched to the Google Reader as my only aggregator. Yep. All 346 of my feeds now live in the same place.

And if you monitor more than a dozen blogs/news sites/flickr pages/searches on a regular basis and don't use an aggregator, you might want to check it out for yourself.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Funny the difference an hour makes...

One hour ago, there we eighteen people here. Eighteen. Two Babies, two kids, one teenager, and us old folks.
Eating, laughing, talking, opening gifts, playing with the puppy, enjoying each other's company.

Everyone packed up leftovers and headed home, to church or back to work (Joe). It's just me and J-bird.
He's sacked. I've already moved him to his crib. Lillie's out in the back yard, winding down and poor Zitty is trying to recover.

I have plenty to keep me busy until Joe gets home from work...
Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ho ho ho horrible photos!

Well, J.J. has filled his obligation to take the mandatory "bad photo with Santa" - twice:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Yup - that sounds about right

My sister just emailed me this:

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."

Bobby - age 7

Happy Celebrating!

Today is National Sangria Day. Be sure to observe it responsibly.

Now, if only I knew someone with a tried and true recipe...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Past

Growing up in Delaware, Christmas meant waking up to open presents, a visit to church for Christmas mass, followed by a 3-hour car trip to Pennsylvania to visit our grandparents, aunts & uncles. This picture was taken at my aunt's house. She's the older of my father's two sisters, and J.J. and I were lucky enough to stay with her and her husband this summer when he took his first road trip at 7 weeks.

I'm the awkward one in the center, not really sure where to look. I'm guessing I wasn't that thrilled with my new doll, as I was more of a Tonka truck kind of girl.

As I was wrapping gifts for J.J., the bear, Zitty, Lillie Biscuit and Joe earlier this evening, I was reminded of those Christmases past. When exactly did my siblings and I find those gifts from Santa in my parents' closet and weren't we scared to confront our parents with the fact that maybe we thought this whole Santa thing was a hoax?

For me, the best thing about Christmas is seeing it through the innocent eyes of children.

Seeing Christmas as a time to be with family and to be surprised and to give to others and not having the weight of the world on our shoulders. Christmas, while it is not the holiest of holidays (Easter, although it tends to be overshadowed by the wonders of Christmas, is the basis for the Christian church), is one of the most special, mystical days of the year.

As far as Santa goes, the bear is still a believer. I have a feeling that by next year or the one after, we'll be bribing her not to spoil it for her little brother.

Want to experience Christmas? Ask a child what they want Santa to bring them. Even better, remind them during the month of December while they're being difficult that he's watching. And if they question his existence, tell them that if they don't believe, he just might not take the time to shimmy down the chimney and leave them something special.

When J.J. was born, I took a few minutes to tell him the way things are. I told him the truth about Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I told him how hard life is going to be. I told him how even those people who love us most sometimes disappoint us. Then I told him no matter what, his daddy and I love him very much and even though there are times he might not believe it, everything we do, we do because we love him. Then I promised to never bring any of that stuff up again for many many years.

So, although we will spend maybe the next 10 years deceiving him, telling him a jolly fat man who lives at the North Pole can see his every action, we do it because we love him and because just maybe seeing him believe will reignite that spark within us.

Playoff mania

No, not the long shot that is the Titans' chance.

We're talking about ME here.

If Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Adam Vinatieri can work together and get more than 78.3 points, the Donelson Dubins are going on to the finals!

Or, there's always next year...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas present

Saturday morning, Joe took J.J. to the bear's basketball game. That gave me time to go out to the shed and drag my Christmas boxes in and finish setting up the tree, add a couple of strands of colored lights to complement the white ones, string the garland, and start to get the ornaments on. A trip to Lowe's for a skirt (I've never needed a tree skirt, since I usually have a live tree and the skirt to me just got in the way of adding water) and tinsel - the finishing touch.

By the afternoon, Joe left for work and J.J. was determined not to take a nap, and I thought finishing the tree would have to wait for a future evening when he was down for the night. But his Bammy (Joe's mom) came over and kept him occupied while I was able to work.

Of course, once I "finished" the tree, I found one last box of Christmas stuff, including more ornaments, so I'll have to sneak them in behind the tinsel.

I made a bow to top the tree, but took it down as soon as I fastened it on. It just wasn't right. I've looked for years for a star, but still haven't had luck finding one (and as you know, I'm not about to just get one to get us by until I find the right one). I do know what it will look like, though - it will be silver filigree. You know, almost like the gold filigree one that mom still uses to top her tree, but silver.

To me, Christmas is all about tradition. Keeping the traditions I've known in my life, sharing them with my family, sharing Joe's family traditions, and starting our own. I'm already enjoying sharing this season with J.J. He's mesmerized by the lights on the tree (even though the picture is deceiving, the colored lights outshine the white ones) and has taken a strong liking to tissue paper. Next year, he'll leave a plate of cookies for Santa on the hearth along with a carrot or two for Rudolf.

Mom and I finished our (traditional) holiday baking and treat making today - between last Sunday and today, we made fudge, chocolate bark with toffee, white bark with peppermint, rosettes, peanut brittle, date nut bars, butter press cookies, anise cookies, cream cheese dainties, Polish rugelach and spiced pecans.

Not bad when you consider we had to also tend to J.J. half of last Sunday and all of today.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Some of what's mine should be just mine...

I know that once you're married, most things fall into that "communal property" category. And I'm more than willing to share. My favorite coffee mug? Go for it.

My toothbrush? That's another story.

Unfortunately, Joe doesn't seem to agree with me on this one. Somehow, "my" toothbrush always turns into "our" toothbrush.

I've tried all I can think of - pink for me, blue for him. Pink for him, blue for me. I'll buy an assortment of brushes and let him choose his first, then select mine.

But within a week, he's using mine.

So I'll grab a new one.

And within a week, he's using it.

I pointed this out to him (yet again) this morning, when he grabbed my toothbrush and was getting ready to load it up with some toothpaste.

"Hey - nice toothbrush, honey."

So, he stopped what he was doing, grabbed his brush in his other hand, and looked from his left hand (mine) to his right hand (his) and back to his left hand (mine).

He shrugged, said "THIS one" (mine), and put his back in the toothbrush holder.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

This 'n that...

Check out those pearly whites!

----- ----- ----- ----- -----

Me: I'm a really bad Secret Santa.

You: "How bad are you?"

Me: I'm so bad, I just [blanked] the gift I was supposed to give tomorrow.

----- ----- ----- ----- -----

2 new videos here.

----- ----- ----- ----- -----

One of these would make a great Christmas gift for me (via /food).

----- ----- ----- ----- -----

Drank. The blank should be "drank". It was hazlenut cappuchino & it was very good. Sorry, too much Match Game...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What's next? The Teletubbies?*

So, if daddy's wardrobe choices don't cause J.J. to have gender confusion, my choice to supplement his diet with soy formula may (via NIT).

*That's supposed to be funny. I'm well aware of Tinky-Winky's controversy.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Restaurant recommendations... anyone?

So, let's just say you have this friend.

And her husband decides to coordinate a dinner/parents' night out with 6 couples (that's 12 people total).

And your friend tells her husband a week ago he should start calling to get a table/room for a party that large during the holiday Christmas season.

And your friend's husband says he'll do it and she needs to not worry about it.

And now it's Monday afternoon and the big night is 5 nights away and 6 couples have 6 babysitters and are expecting a good meal out.

And your friend's husband calls her and asks if she can call and make a reservation for 12 people on this coming Saturday night.

Short of waiting in the lobby at Old Spaghetti Factory for a couple of hours, any ideas?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

My little ladies' man...

J.J. and I went to Mothership for some 'cue and to hang out with his girlfriends. The little guy is quite the flirt. Unfortunately, I didn't get pics, as daddy took the camera to Houston. If you got a photo of my little Casanova, send me an email or a link.

He really took a shine to the Sista, but was seen flirting shamelessly with Ginger (and her daughter), Muffy, Jag, Kat, Brittney, and he most definitely has a thing for Aunt B.

Ladies, no matter how forward he may have been (I apologize for the boob grabbing - my breastfed boy has no shame), he's not allowed to date for another couple of decades.

And even then, I may have to chaperone...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

20 questions x 2.5

I have no idea where I picked this up - it's been in my "drafts' forever and a day (I didn't answer them until today).

1. How tall are you barefoot?
5' 09"

2. Have you ever flown first-class? No. I was SUPPOSED to fly first class and ended up in the back row on another airline after my original flight was cancelled due to mechanical problems. The flight attendant also gave me a full-size bottle of wine from the first-class stash as a "consolation" gift.

3. One of your favorite books when you were a child? The Monster at the End of this Book.

4. A good restaurant in your city: Yellow Porch.

5. What is your favorite small appliance? Mini food processor.

6. One person that never fails to make you laugh? J.J.Dubin

7. What’s your favorite Christmas song? Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

8. What was the first music that you ever bought? Blondie. I bought a 45 at a garage sale when I was in first or second grade.

9. Do you do push-ups? Heck no.

10. What was one of your favorite games as a child? Mousetrap.

11. What is the one thing that you cook that always receives compliments? Artichoke crostini.

12. When you were twelve years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? A lawyer.

13. Your favorite Soup of the Day? Beer cheese.

14. What in your life are you most grateful for? J.J. Dubin.

15. Have you ever met someone famous? Olivia Newton John was the first celebrity I met. I worked at an upscale toy shop while in high school and she was shopping for toys with her daughter. I pretended to be a dragon and let Chloe "slay" me with a plastic sword.

16. Date Of Birth? May 24th.

17. Top 3 thoughts at this exact moment:

My hands are freezing.
What on earth am I going to have for dinner?
Is the puppy outside or in the crate?

18. Three people you're thinking about right now:
J.J. Dubin (I know, BIG surprise)

19. Name five drinks you regularly drink:
water, milk, coke, black coffee, wine.

20. From what news source do you receive the bulk of your news?

21. Current hair? still in need of a cut

22. Current worry? bills

23. Current hate? Crusties that keep reappearing in my nose.

24. Favorite place to be? Sitting in the rocker, reading from The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh.

25. Least favorite place to be? work

26. Do you consider yourself well organized? not anymore

27. Do you believe in an afterlife? yes

28. Where do you think you will be in 10 years? At J.J.'s 5th grade Christmas program.

29. Do you burn or tan? tan

30. Who was the last blogger you hung out with? Joe. Does he count?

31. Are you more optimistic or pessimistic about the future? optimistic

32. Last time you had an alcoholic drink? I had a glass of wine or two last night

33. What songs do you sing in the shower? I don't torture myself that early in the morning.

34. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a kid? The alligators that lived inside the rug in the hallway between my parents room and mine.

35. What’s in your pockets right now?
2 packs of splenda, my work key card & half a pack of trident

36. Last thing that made you laugh? J.J. blowing raspberries as he was eating breakfast.

37. Best bed sheets you had as a child?
big black and white cats wearing red high top sneakers

38. Worst injury you’ve ever had? my Achilles sprain/heel spur combo

39. Favorite song? Country Roads by John Denver. Yes, I'm serious, so shut up.

40. How many TVs do you own? 3

41. In the last calendar year, how many people have you told that you love them? dunno

42. Last person that made you blush? can't remember - that doesn't happen often

43. Best compliment received? When the bear says she'd rather stay home and eat my cooking than go out to dinner.

44. What song is in your head? The Farmer in the Dell.

45. What is your favorite book? I like to read the dictionary when I'm bored/procrastinating.

46. Last meal you cooked for the opposite sex? Mexican chicken and rice.

47. What songs do you want played at your wedding? I don't plan on having another one.

48. What song do you want played at your funeral? A Linda Song by Barry Manilow

49. What were you doing at 12 midnight last night?

50. What would you like to accomplish with the remaining years of your life? Early retirement

Two(th)-fer Thursday

After gnawing on nearly everything in sight and drooling non-stop for over three months, convincing nearly everyone that it was going to happen "any day now", J.J. got his first tooth today!

And, his TMX Elmo arrived and was met with great enthusiasm by both J.J. and his mommy. Both of our pets are a little put off by the fuzzy red guy -- perhaps they think he's going to go for their food dishes?

And... would you believe no photos or videos of either?


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

We're # 1!

We're heading into the first week of playoffs on top of our fantasy football league! Unfortunately, this is the one that doesn't have a cash award attached to it... But yay for us!

Monday, December 04, 2006

It's going to be a long night...

Well, after 7 months of J.J. being the happiest healthiest sleeping-through-the-nightest baby, it's time for me to pay my mommy dues.

J.J. went and caught himself a tummy bug (insert incredible guilt about sending him to the babysitter while I work here).


Our poor little guy brought his dinner up in three scenes this evening, complete with costume changes in-between.

A quick check of the thermometer prompted a call to the pediatrician and a trip to Walgreen's for this and this, and now I'm on every 2-hour temp and fluid duty, with a trip scheduled to visit Dr. Sam in the morning.

Looks like I'll be using one of those 27 days...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Po's my favorite...

Ever hear people say the Teletubbies are crack for babies?

Ever seen it in action?

Want to?

Can't get enough J.J.? Watch J.J. tries to keep himself awake.

Oh yeah, and Pampers, lots and lots of Pampers!

Dear Santa,

I know it's been quite a few years since I last wrote, and I hope you're doing well. Since I seem to remember you doing quite a good job meeting my requests in the past, I thought I might give it another try.

Here's what I would like for Christmas:

I'd like to win the PowerBall, so Joe and I can stay at home with our family every day. It doesn't have to be a huge amount; we'd be happy with the base jackpot.

If that is out of the question, how about the following:

I'd like the top of the column on the side porch to be replaced. All it needs is to be slid back up to the top and secured with a screw. Well, perferrably two screws, but I know there's already one right there waiting. If memory serves me correctly, the second one was dropped on the ground way back in April or May or whenever it was we were trying to rescue the small creature (bird?) that was stuck in the column.

I'd also like for the flower bed in front of the porch to be cleared out, leaving just the hydrangea that I believe is still under there somewhere. You see, the hydrangea was the only thing I really wanted there in the first place, and it was quickly swallowed up by the wildflowers this summer and the weeds this fall. If you rescue it for me, I will do all I can to nurse it back to health (let's be realistic, I'll probably just replace it) and surround it with some mulch.

While you're at it, how about getting rid of the weeds in the rest of the beds along the front of the house? Joe has wanted to fill them with white marble since we moved in and I'll take care of that once the weeds are gone.

I'd like for that one cabinet door in the kitchen to be refastened to the cabinet. Heck, I'll do this one myself - but I need four 1 1/2" wood screws, and if you could put the drill and the bits I need out on the counter with the screws, I'd appreciate it. Oh, and if you could make sure the drill is charged up, that would be great too.

And finally, if you could clean out my refrigerator, it would really make me merry. And I bet the reindeer would love to snack on that gelatinous goo that's under the fruit bin. How does anything get UNDER the fruit bin, anyway?

Thanks Santa - don't work too hard, and make sure you shine Rudolf's nose, just in case it's foggy this year!