Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh Well...

So Saturday I had a MOPS steering team meeting from 9AM until 12:30PM (and I had to leave my house at around 8:30). I then had half an hour to go to the grocery store to get a salad before I had to be at my baby shower (which was awesome, btw!). That lasted until just after 3. It was at church, as was my next engagement, so I helped clean up and hung out until about 4. So then I did my normal Saturday afternoon Amplified rehearsal and service (Amplified is our new-ish "rock 'n roll" worship service at our church - try us out at 6 PM on Saturdays). Then, I went to pick up my mom from a friend's house and ended up staying for dinner and chatting until about 9:30. So after having left at about 8:30 AM, I got home a little after 10PM. It took me a little bit to settle down and I know I checked email and stuff...but it didn't occur to me until about 2:30 AM (shortly after VNB's coughing had woken me up and I was completely unable to get back to sleep) that I'd forgotten to post on Saturday.

And when I knew I was out, I didn't really stress about posting on Sunday (which consisted of church, lunch, a child-free shopping trip, musical rehearsal, dinner, and then "catching" up 0n email (I didn't make a whole lot of headway, although I'm also not terribly behind right now), so it's not like I had a whole lot of time yesterday either).

But really, even though I've washed out yet again from NaBloPoMo, I'm really gonna try to post more. I swear. And even post pictures of AJ for my favorite father-in-law (among other people).

But next year. Really. I'll make it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Critique of "Thomas and the Magic Railway"

So the little man is a "wee bit" Thomas the Tank Engine happy. He loooooooves his "Ta" and asks to watch him daily. We've gotten into the habit of watching some Thomas when AJ wakes up from his nap (he often wakes up extra cranky and this helps alleviate that somewhat - plus I'm just a sucker).

So usually the conversation goes like this:
Me: Hey Buddy! That was a good (short, long, whatever) nap!
AJ: Ta? (pointing to nothing in particular and vigorously nodding his head "yes")
Me: You want to watch Thomas?
AJ: (emphatically) Ta. (With a continuation of the vehement head nodding)
Me: Which Thomas would you like to watch? (We have episodes TiVoed in addition to this movie and a couple DVDs of episodes)
AJ: Rar-rar. (Still nodding)
Me: Ok.
AJ: Yay! (At which point he usually runs into the living room and climbs up onto the couch)

So I've seen "Thomas and the Magic Railway" a 'couple' of times now ("rar-rar" refers to the story's antagonist "Diesel 10" a mean diesel engine with a claw (named "Pinchy") attached to the top of him).

It stars Alec Baldwin (I'd love to know if this was pre or post horrific voicemail for his daughter), Peter Fonda, and the girl from Mathilda, except as a pre-teen (still has the slight lisp and chubby cheeks, but they're not quite as cutesy anymore). If you've never seen this delightful piece of straight-to-DVD movie-dom...well, consider yourself lucky. I have a few issues with it which I would like to elaborate on today.

In roughly chronological order:
1) Lily (Mathilda, and Peter Fonda's character's granddaughter) is sent on a train to go see her grandfather. She apparently has been given no instruction as to how to determine her correct train because as she comes down the steps into the station _alone_ (Are you kidding me? You'd just drop your 12-yr-old off at the train station and drive off? My mom doesn't do that and I'm 32!), she decides to ask a _DOG_ if he knows which train she's supposed to get on. He barks and leads the way to the wrong train (track 3 vs. 4 - which are clearly marked overhead) and she FOLLOWS! A DOG! And assumes that a random DOG she's never seen before knows which train she's supposed to be getting on. And never double checks the track number. And no one on the train seems to care that she's got a ticket for a different train because when she arrives at the wrong station, she's surprised. Every time I get to this point in the story and Lily says "why not?" to the implied question of should she follow the random DOG, I yell at the screen "BECAUSE HE'S A DOG!!" Every day. She never listens.
2) "Patch" (random sidekick kid) tells Lily's grandfather (Peter Fonda) that he found the entrance to his workshop "ages ago" but has somehow never seen the full-size train engine that FILLS UP THE ROOM.
3) Then, after having her necessary exposition with Junior (the "rogue with a heart of gold") at the wrong station (apparently the random dog knew this was necessary for the story, hence leading Lily to the wrong train in the first place), the station manager comes up to Lily and asks if she's Lily. Now, granted, she's in a Station Manager's uniform and she both knows the child's name and that she was supposed to have met her grandfather at another station...but when she says that she'll drive her over to meet Peter Fonda, Lily jumps up and gets into a complete stranger's car. Peter Fonda's character is supposed to be very sad and "never goes to Shining Time Station anymore," but your granddaughter who is coming to visit for the first time since her Grandmother died (the main reason he's so sad) got to the wrong station and you're going to let her get into a stranger's car instead of coming to get her yourself? I mean, I'm ok with him being sad, but that's just irresponsible.
4) The next day, Lily meets "Patch" who takes her back to Shining Time Station (with her grandfather's permission and explicit instruction that she be back by sundown). Patch apparently just drops her off at the (empty) station and goes about his business because Lily again meets Junior who invites her to go to the Island of Sodor with him.

So let's this point in the story, Lily has allowed a dog to pick which train she's gonna get on, gotten into the car of a complete stranger, and now has gone with another complete stranger (who's also like 6" tall) to a place she's never heard of before. Sure, he tells her it's a magical place, but I would imagine that a lot of pedophiles and kidnappers say similar things.
5) When "Patch" (poor kid never gets a real name) comes back without Lily (because she's stuck on the Island of Sodor), her grandfather's reaction is literally "that's ok." Granted, when she _does_ show back up the next day, he's very relieved, but the police or at least _act_ concerned.
6) And speaking of Peter Fonda's acting. Now, I've never seen him in anything else before, but one just assumes that being from the fabled Fonda family that he can act at least a little. And I know that his character was probably described as "extremely sad" or some such single-dimensional description, but he has ZERO inflection in his tone and has a completely relaxed/depressed face until almost the very end when they get Lady (the magic engine they're trying to save) running again. Then he's almost all smiles (so again, one-dimensional).
7) You really need to have seen the movie for my final criticism, but I'll try to explain briefly the storyline. Mr. Conductor (Alec Baldwin - who I would describe as possibly 2-dimensional to Peter Fonda's 1-dimensional better, but still not exactly good) needs gold dust to move from Shining Time Station to the Island of Sodor because Lady (the magic engine) disappeared years ago and she was the only other way to travel between the two. But after years of unnecessary use (he's standing next to Thomas at one point and uses his gold dust to disappear and reappear inside Thomas - literally saving himself like four steps), he's almost out of gold dust. So he spends the movie searching for how to get more gold dust (Lady makes swirls that have to get mixed with water, as we find out later). After Lily, Patch, and Peter Fonda figure out how to make Lady go again (using Sodor coal instead of real world coal), they go back to Sodor and have to escape from Diesel 10. As they're escaping, Mr. Conductor tells Junior that life is still over for them, Sodor, and apparently the real world (Shining Time) too since they're still out of gold dust. Now, I thought they needed the gold dust only because Lady was missing. They'd found her, so why do they still need gold dust so desperately (except to continue their laziness)? I just don't understand.

So anyway. This is my life almost daily (and these are the things I think about). And then at night when I can't sleep, guess what goes through my head? Songs from this dag-blamed movie.

At least I've instituted a "once per day" policy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In the Stillness of Naptime...

That sounds like a poem title that they'd make you read in high school.

But instead of a poem, you get my random stream of consciousness again...

So last night I filled up the car with gas. At $1.75 a gallon (minus our 5% discount for using the Shell card at the Shell station, which I would highly recommend). The thing is, I remember exactly when gas got to be $1.75 in the first place (i.e., the last time it was that "cheap"). I went on a trip to Nigeria with some folks from church back before VNB and I were married. When we left, gas was an "astronomical" $1.50-ish. When we got back, it had "skyrocketed" up to $1.75 and we were all shocked at the change in price in so short a time period. This was late August of 2005 and Hurricane Katrina might have been building in the Atlantic at the time. So anyway, it's been over three years since gas was this cheap. Just thought you'd like to know.

Yesterday I also was sent another rumor on the astronaut hopefuls email list. This time, someone had heard from someone who'd actually talked to someone in the selection office that if the references hadn't been contacted by now, they weren't gonna be and therefore I'm not in the "highly qualified" group this time around. But they'd also heard from people close to the selection office that references might be contacted throughout the interview process (which ends in January). I'm still gonna keep checking the mail through Thanksgiving, but I'm pretty sure I didn't make the cut this time around. :( Oh well, the only people I know of who got picked on their first try are the Mercury 7. Granted, I haven't done _any_ research in that regard, but it makes me feel better. much for the "stillness of naptime." He took forever to actually go to sleep, but he woke up right when he normally does (lately anyway). And he's quiet again. Yay for dozing back off!

And he's crying again...

And quiet...

Anyway, and I found out this morning that my mom's gonna be able to come into town for the weekend (which happens to also be my baby shower)! She's coming tomorrow night and staying through Wednesday afternoon! Woohoo! I planned the date of my wedding shower so that both my folks and my (future) in-laws could be there...which happened to be a date that almost no one else could come. My in-laws made it to AJ's baby shower, but it was looking like this was going to be a "friends only" shower this time around. So yay for my Mommy!

So two nights ago I got into bed probably around 10...and by midnight had given up on getting to sleep, so I got back up and piddled around until 2. At which point I slept pretty well until VNB's alarm went off, then slept again until AJ woke up. Last night I got to sleep around 11:30 or 12 and slept until 2:45 when I woke up thirsty. Getting up to get a drink (and go to the bathroom and eat a few more tums) woke me up enough that I couldn't get back to sleep. I kept trying until 4 when I gave up again. I stayed up until VNB's alarm went off (5-ish), then crawled back into bed as he was in the midst of his morning "hit the snooze button several times" routine. I remember him getting into the shower, but not out, so I slept from about 5:20 until AJ woke up right around 8. The last two days, I've almost actually napped while AJ did (I actually put the computer down and closed my eyes and did my best to get comfortable, which is impossible at this point and one of the main reasons that I'm not sleeping). Today, despite being just absolutely wiped out, I stayed awake. Hopefully I'll be so exhausted by bedtime that I'll conk right out and sleep through till morning (yeah, right...that's what I thought _last_ night). I really don't mind the lack of sleep so much as I mind the extra queasiness that goes along with it. I'm really tired of being sick.

So woohoo for being "full term" on Saturday!

Ok...that's it...he's asking to get out of his crib now. I have to stop pretending to ignore it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

For the In-Laws (and Everyone Else)

Pics from our relatively recent trip to the Nashville Zoo:

Yes, I know he's the absolutely most adorable little man on the face of the planet. And no, I'm not biased at all. Really.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dum De Dum...

I've made it 18 days so far without forgetting to post each day. There's not really anything for me to say today, but I've gotta post something.

So there are, what? 12 days more to go?

Let's see...what can I tell you?

Um....someone posted a list of the disciplines of people they're interviewing to be astronauts to the astronaut hopefuls listserv. They're sending out requests for references in these groupings. And if the list was correct not only in its constituents, but also in its order, then my discipline is dead last (woohoo). Meaning that my references will be contacted last. Meaning that I still might have to wait a while. The initial rumor was that if we hadn't heard anything by Thanksgiving, then we didn't need to hope any longer. Now the rumor is that they might be contacting references as late as January. I'm putting more stock in the first rumor though because that one was based on multiple conversations with folks from the selection office. This second one seems to be supposition.

And I picked up our Operation Christmas Child boxes from the church today. Our MOPS group organized all the logistics for the church and wrapped most of the boxes (not to mention filling a few). When we reached our deadline for bringing in empty boxes for wrapping (early October), we had approximately 50. In the few weeks after the official deadline, we got approximately 30 more. Those have been trickling back in for the past few weeks and I picked them up today since they were overflowing in the church office. We didn't count as we packed the car, but I know there were more than we wrapped. And what didn't seem like that many the last time I checked the office completely filled the empty spaces in my Escape. The only places right now that aren't completely packed with shoe boxes are AJ's car seat and the driver's seat. We've even got most of the backseat folded down. I still have a clear line of sight out the back window, so I _suppose_ we could have packed more in, but really, not that many. VNB's going to drop them off at the collection center tomorrow since there's one near his work. Hopefully they'll count them there to see how we did. Makes me proud.

Anyway...that's enough blather for the day.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Toddler Lounge Chair

So my in-laws have been storing our rear-facing baby seat for us since AJ stopped needing it. Since Baby will need it soon, we brought it back with us last weekend when we visited. My original plan was to just go ahead and hook it into the car so that AJ could get used to it being there, but then I remembered that I was in charge of getting all of my church's Operation Christmas Child boxes to the collection center this week. Since that'll take up all of our trunk space and then some, we didn't install the seat and today I got the last of the remnants from our trip (and things since) out of the car.

One of the first things I brought in was the car seat. AJ seemed to recognize it, so I asked him if he remembered sitting in it when he was a baby. When I finished bringing everything in, AJ pointed to the seat and asked "Baby?" To which I replied that, yes, the baby was going to sit in the seat. Then he looked like he wanted to climb in, so I helped him in and handed him his snack bowl. Now it's sitting in the chair with his snacks on his lap like it's a lounge chair, watching Thomas. Except for it being reclined a bit more than he'd seem to like (he sits up occasionally), he really seems to like it. Hopefully he won't mind sharing with the baby.

Heh...he just handed me his empty snack bowl and asked for more raisins. I'm not sure he can get out.

Well, I was going to upload a picture of him sitting in it, but while my camera knows that it's connected to the computer, the computer can't seem to see the camera. Sorry!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Do you ever...

Do you ever just get the urge to jump up on a stage and start belting out the opening song from Meredith Willson's "The Music Man?"

"Oh, there's nothin' halfway about the Iowa way to greet you, when we greet you, which we may not do at all. There's an Iowa kind, a special chip-on-the-shoulder attitude we've never been without that we recall. We can be cold as the falling thermometer in December if you ask about our weather in July. And we're so by-God stubborn we can stand touching noses for a week at a time and never see eye to eye.

But we'll give you our shirt and our backs to go with it if your crops should happen to die.

But what the heck, you're welcome. Join us at the picnic. You can have your fill of all the food you bring yourself. You really ought to give Iowa, hawkeye Iowa. Debuque, Des Moines, Davenport, Marshalltown, Mason City, Keokuk, Ames, Clear Lake. Ought to give Iowa a try."

That song has been permanently emblazoned on my mind since my freshman year in high school when we did it at my school. I was "woman #2" who says, "I haven't seen any uniform, or my boy either, since just after supper!" I put more emotion into that one line than most people put into...I dunno...a lot of things.

Anyway, I've had this urge to get up and sing this song at one of our Christmas musical rehearsals for a couple of weeks now. I just thought you'd like to know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Waaaaaaay Too Early

So lately, I've slept pretty well from the time I get to sleep (depends on when I go to bed, but usually somewhere between 9:30 and midnight) until about 20 minutes prior to VNB's alarm going off (around 5:15 on weekdays). Then I'm cognizant enough of the fact that it's about to get kinda noisy for a little while (with alarm snoozes and then his shower) and usually just a touch queasy that it's hard for me to get back to sleep until after he leaves. Then I sleep until AJ wakes up, usually between 7 and 8 (although I don't go into his room to get him until at least 8).

Last night, VNB fell asleep on the couch with specific instructions that I _wasn't_ to wake him when I went to bed (he's got a cold and was sleeping off the store brand Nyquil), so I did something I only rarely do. I read a book in bed before I fell asleep. Which meant that I was up later than normal (I probably turned off the light sometime after midnight). Then I was either still awake when VNB came to bed, or that woke me back up. Then I woke up around 6:30, wide awake.

That's just wrong on a Saturday morning. Granted, VNB has someplace to be shortly, so it's not like I was gonna get to sleep in today, but still.

In any case, not being at all sleepy and being a little bit queasy, I got up and did what any pregnant woman would do. I went to the bathroom, then I made myself a caffeine-free Coke with lime. Mmmmm...healthy breakfast. Hey...there's fruit in there. It's like it's a fruit smoothie, and everyone knows _those_ are healthy, right?

So in between getting VNB out the door (it's "build the set" day for our church's Christmas musical, plus he's got another trustee thing to do), I've just been sitting here, catching up on emails and watching the leaves fall from the trees behind our building. It's actually quite lovely.

And all of that together meant that you got a late posting last night and an early one this morning. Both about absolutely nothing. It's like a Seinfeld episode! Woohoo.

And the baby has his/her morning hiccups.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Almost Forgot...

I was just about to go to bed when I realized that I'd almost forgotten to post today. I keep waiting until the mail's come to see if there's anything exciting to report (nothing today, although I'm not sure how we got on Eddie Bauer's mailing list...wait...yes I am...we got an EB car of the great questions of the universe answered...) I wait and then almost forget to post for the day.

Arg...the baby has hiccups again. Somehow s/he is hiccuping on a nerve or something. Dude...that just feels weird. to bed for me and my hiccuping belly.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


We're big fans of Big Idea Productions around here (VeggieTales, 3-2-1 Penguins, LarryBoy), so it should come as no surprise that we were excited to hear about Phil Vischer's latest venture - JellyTelly.

He explains it better than I will, but basically, they're trying to create a Christian version of the online content that websites such as Disney and Nickelodeon. In the process, he hopes to help encourage young Christian filmmakers by providing them a platform on which to show their work. It's a subscription service, but they let you try the first month for free and the base price thereafter is only $3 a month (although at least the original plan was to let you pay more if you wanted to support the ministry). You can do the free first month without giving them any information other than your name and email address.

They just started airing content this past week and today was our first time watching it. They have a mixture of puppets, animation, and live action. There's catchy music (today there was a song about the book of Judges, listing all of the judges in order), and lots of good, Biblically-based information. But more importantly, except for one clip which was just too far above his head, AJ was completely riveted.

Anyway, they're not paying or giving me anything to write this, it's just a great new source of online Christian content that I hope succeeds! Check it out!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Unsubscribe All

So I get a good bit of junk email. I guess it's because of the surveys and whatnot that I give my info to, but I don't know who exactly is passing out my email address like it's going out of style. All I know is that it seems to have increased over the past few days and I think I have a conspiracy theory as to why. It goes like this:

1) Leia signs up for something which gives some company the opportunity to sell her email address to everyone and their brother.
2) Everyone and Their Brother, Inc. (henceforth ETBI) then sends Leia more junk mail than grains of sand exist in the universe.
3) Leia's Outlook kindly filters out approximately half of these (mostly the "I am Nigeria and must to send you money" emails).
4) Leia does the honorable thing and takes the time on the others to actually unsubscribe from the email lists of both the corporation in the advertisement itself and the _different_ corporation that sent it to her.
5) Leia then _blocks_ the sender (not that that matters all that much since they use a random email generation program to create the various email addresses that the emails are "from").
6) The various companies tell Leia that they have anywhere from 48 hrs to 10 days in which they "might" send her more emails.
7) ETBI and friends then put Leia on their "Spam-a-lot" lists for the maximum duration of their grace period so that her junk mail increases exponentially, making sure that they don't repeat email addresses just in case Leia has blocked them.

I mean, I get a good bit of email normally, but of the approximately 30 emails I've gotten so far today, roughly 15 of them have been complete junk that Outlook has failed to filter out. That means ~30 different times to unsubscribe, just in case it's a different company than it was yesterday.

I don't care how much Oprah loves it, I don't need any acai berries. We don't need help with our credit. I don't care which is better, Coke or Pepsi (because I've got familial obligations to say that Coke is better) and I'm not buying any of the things you need to buy in order to get the "free" laptop anyway, so it doesn't really matter. I'm not trying any of the amazing weight loss remedies you're selling right now or at any point in the foreseeable future. And I'm _certainly_ not going to "cleanse my colon" right now.

So internet conspiracy, I'm on to you. There's nothing I can do about you, but I'm on to you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


After my second trip out to the mailbox today, I realized that it's Veteran's Day and hence no mail. Dagnabbit. I mean, I'm extremely grateful to our veterans - I can't help but see a guy or gal in uniform (especially in pictures) and hope that it's one of my buddies from my time overseas. But did the USPS have to take today off too? Don't they know I'm waiting for important information? Do my needs mean nothing to them?

Oh...right...pseudo-governmental organization.

Does walking up the stairs twice (plus going to my appointment this morning) count as my exercise for the day? I think it should. Maybe my laziness has biased me.

Anyway, yay for our veterans ("Freedom is not free"). Boo USPS. And "Happy Birthday" (yesterday) to my little brother (yes I remembered to call him).


So more stream of consciousness from me today...

I had my 34-week check-up this morning at which the midwife was pretty sure the baby was, indeed, head-down and ready to go! Woohoo! Now if the heartburn would just stop. And the itching. And, you know...everything else that's uncomfortable....and this would be a "normal" pregnancy finally. Actually, the heartburn, itching, and uncomfortableness _are_ "normal pregnancy" unfortunately. But I'm still waiting for that "glowy" feeling that pregnant mamas are supposed to have. You know, the joy of new life growing inside of me. I keep hearing that I'm supposed to feel that way. Maybe someone should mention that to my back. And my esophagus. And my skin. And everything else that hurts, itches, or is just uncomfortable in some way.

But I _do_ have to say that this definitely feels different than the end of AJ's pregnancy did. I didn't get the "about to drop a bowling ball" feeling until about five hours before he was born. This one still has about six weeks to go (or thereabouts) and I already feel that way whenever I stand up. It's a rather...interesting...sensation.

So I'm a member of all sorts of online survey sites and things of that nature in an attempt to make a couple of easy bucks here and there. So far I've probably made like $0.000000000000000005/hr that I've spent filling out surveys and the like (and that includes the $30 I got for showing up to an online focus group just barely in time, which meant that they were already full and I didn't have to do anything). But today there was a pleasant surprise from the UPS man - 54 Luvs diapers for us to test out. Considering that Luvs is our normal brand of choice anyway, they basically just gave us $10. And I didn't even know it was coming!

Now if NASA would just hop on that "unexpected surprise" bandwagon. The mail hadn't come when I checked around one Veggie Tales video ago. Is it a bad reflection on me for me to measure time in Veggie Tales videos? There are worse things for AJ (and me) to watch. And he's started asking for "Bob." He really means Larry, but whatever - it's a nice break from "Ta" (Thomas) or "May/Vroom vroom" (Mater from the movie Cars, although I think he really means Lightning McQueen - hence the "vroom vroom").

So there ya go...this is what I think of during the afternoons.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Home Again

So we drove back from NC today. Well over 5 hrs in a car, if you include the stop at one of VNB's college friends' houses to meet a new baby and all of the other pit stop breaks.

AJ slept for about 2.5 of those hours and pretty much entertained himself the rest of the time. We're still surprised, given that he screamed most of the way down there.

Still no word from NASA, although there are people on the Astronaut Hopefuls Yahoo! Group that have been asked to come down to interview without having their references checked. There's speculation that the selection office is trying to catch up from...well, the poster said Hurricane Rita, but I'm pretty sure they meant Gustav. Still a few weeks of hope.

Boy am I ready to not be pregnant anymore. I mean, I'm looking forward to Baby #2, but right now overpowering that is the desire to be done with pregnancy. I can't tell you how great it's been the last two days to have about half an hour of feeling "normal" before the morning (slight) nausea set in. But seriously...7.5 months of nearly constant nausea? Are you kidding me? Not to mention other stuff. I'm so ready to be done.

But in the meantime, AJ has decided that the baby is hungry, so he just finished sharing his chicken finger with the baby through my belly button.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah

It's bad when on November 9th I already have nothing to say.

Well, right this second, Baby Jones has decided (for about the fiftieth time) to attempt an escape through my belly button. I keep pointing out to him/her that my belly button is _not_ the correct escape route, but s/he is not interested in my advice.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Two Things I Learned Today...

So today we went to East Carolina's Homecoming today. After watching the homecoming parade, we tailgated, then when VNB and AJ went to the game with one of VNB's friends, I had the afternoon to myself.

There were two things I learned during the day:
1) Former band members are terrible at planning tailgates (especially when it's a group of women who are pregnant, little kids, seminary students, and random other people from InterVarsity). We just have no idea what goes on. I mean, we brought chairs and got food (Subway - not really "tailgate" food)...but the people around us just seemed more "tailgate-y" than us. We just have no idea what to do at a tailgate since we've never been to one ourselves.
2) If you're not taken up in the rapture, you need to have a harpoon, because as I read today, after the rapture there will be great "whaling" [sic] and gnashing of teeth. I think I laughed about that for about an hour...and still chuckle every time I think of it.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Ok...once I finish this post, I'll be ready to head out the door to go to NC to see the in-laws. The floors are swept, the trash is (about to be) taken out, the cat is fed, watered, and clean littered.

And now I've posted for today...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Drug-Free Day Three!

So, while I'm definitely still feeling the "morning" sickness, Day Three was definitely do-able!

I was starting to get worried that I'd have the baby and still have issues with needing the Unisom. So woohoo!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Drug Free, Day Two

So two nights ago, I just forgot to take my 1/4 tablet of Unisom (for the "morning" sickness that I still have). Yesterday was a pretty good day, so I didn't take it again last night. I didn't sleep all that well either night, but I didn't sleep a _whole_ lot worse than I normally do. (When it takes a crane to turn you over, you tend to wake up every time you do...which is often because there are 30 extra pounds weighing down on your hips...and then there's the indigestion...)

But the times that I've tried to go without the drugs, it was the second day that was the real killer. So we were kinda concerned that today would be awful.

But it wasn't.

Up till now, I haven't made it to day three, so we'll see how it goes tomorrow. I may be drug free, finally after almost 8 months! Woohoo!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hope Lives!

So I've long been a fan of Compassion, International. They're an organization that reaches children in poverty and helps them help themselves and their families out of it. They do it using local people who are working for the betterment of their own community with money donated by sponsors in the US and elsewhere. The child that you sponsor is not a "representative" child that fifty-thousand other people are "sponsoring." That child is unique to you and your family and for $32 a month is well-fed and schooled. They write you letters and you can write them back. You can even send them Christmas presents or other special things for their community or family.

Anyway, Compassion has recently gotten into blogging, thanks in no small part to Christian musician Shawn Groves. Currently, he and several other bloggers are in the Dominican Republic seeing the work that's being done there and opening themselves and Compassion up to the world through the various blogs. They're also sponsoring their first ever blog contest! So here's my entry describing how hope lives in my life.

Ever since I was young, my favorite Bible verse has been Psalm 30:5b "Weeping may endure for a night, but Joy comes in the morning" (that's the Leia Standard Version, btw). Whenever anything "bad" has happened in my life, that verse has been my mainstay because, not only does it give me hope for this life (i.e., as Scarlett says, "Tomorrow is another day!"), but it reminds me of the hope that I have for my eternal life after I die here on Earth.

When I was going through my various breast lumps and wondering if at 23 I had breast cancer, I knew no matter what I was going to have to deal with, that God would be there with me through it all...and even if I died of cancer, I was gonna go to heaven, so woohoo!

When I lived and worked in Baghdad, I knew that, even if I were kidnapped or worse, that God would be with me through it all, and even if I died, God would be glorified through my death (as he was through the deaths of my friends), and I was gonna go to heaven, so woohoo! While others in my company wanted to hunker down and stay in our office instead of going out and actually _helping_ people, I was ready to go out to the "dark" places because of that hope.

More recently, when Baby Jones' first sonogram showed a "soft marker" for Trisomy-18 (a genetic disorder which only very rarely allows the baby to make it to term, much less live outside the womb), the only thing that kept us sane was the knowledge that God was in control. It wouldn't make the loss of this little one hurt any less, but we could rest in the knowledge that God had a plan even for the shortest of lives, and that He would be glorified through it all. And we were happy to give Him the praise when the follow-up sonogram showed no signs of anything other than a healthy baby!

Hope lives in my life because I can look back across the years and see clearly where God has taken care of all of my needs (and those of my family) and given me so much more than I could ever ask or imagine along the way. Knowing that He's always done that in the past, I can rest assured that He will continue to do so in the future.

As Bill and Gloria Gaither said, "Because He lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know Who holds the future. My life is worth the living just because He lives."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Pregnancy and Astronaut Selection

So in searching for info about where the selection process was, I came across a Yahoo! group for Astronaut hopefuls. I very quickly joined and posted my question to the group: "Do I call the selection office and call attention to myself and my pregnancy (and maybe get on their "one of _those_ people" list for bugging them) or do I just wait until my references have been contacted and _then_ raise the issue?"

The resounding answer was to go ahead and call them. Second to that was the information that pregnancy medically disqualifies you from the selection process. So, I no longer want to go down to Houston in November with the _first_ group of interviewees, I now want to go down in January with the _last_ group of interviewees. That way I won't be medically disqualified (since I'll no longer be preggers), and I'll have as long as possible to heal (and lose weight) post-partum before the first set of medical tests.

When they contact your references, they also tell you to get something similar to a Class II flight physical (what's necessary for getting a pilot's license). I had to get one long ago in order to fly on the KC-135 (the "Vomit Comet") and the only thing I remember from that which might disqualify me would be the baby weight. I remember a hearing test (which I only just barely passed due to a MD men's basketball game that I'd been in the pep band for the night before), a vision test...I guess I had to get a pap smear...blood pressure, etc. Anyway, nothing active, you just had to seem like you were in good health to the qualified doc who had to clear you. And you couldn't be considered "overweight," which may be my downfall.

Anyway, I called the selection office (who didn't say that I had no shot) and they suggested that I talk to the flight docs to see what they say since there will be so little time for healing post-partum, even if I'm in the last group. She transferred me and I left a message for the clinic nurses. We'll see if/when they get back to me. If my references _are_ checked and they haven't gotten back to me by then, I'll call the selection office again to see if I can get a direct line for a specific flight doc rather than just the main JSC clinic number.

But in good news, it didn't seem like an imposition at all for me to have called, so I don't _think_ I'm on their "one of _those_ people" list. At least not yet.

We're trying to teach AJ what "later" and "wait" mean. Sucks that I have to learn those over again too...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Wide Eyes

So AJ was "playing" with the baby a few minutes ago (kissing, sharing the sippy, peek-a-boo, etc.) when the baby started kicking. AJ was somewhat occupied, so I grabbed one of his hands and put it where the baby was kicking.

All of the sudden, he stopped whatever he was doing, and looked up at me with the biggest eyes I've ever seen. His mouth was a nice "o" shape too. I think it kinda wigged him out a little.

But a few minutes later, he put the baby "to bed" (i.e., pulled my shirt back down), then pulled my shirt back up, and put his hand on my belly. His eyes got big again (the baby wasn't moving as much) and he whimpered, but then put his hand on again.

I wonder how much he understands when I talk about the baby. That's got to be a completely foreign concept to him. I've never wanted to know exactly what someone else is thinking as much as I do with him. What thoughts go through his head? Are they more like what comes out of his mouth, or like Stewie from "Family Guy" (hopefully minus the thoughts of matricide and world domination)? I mean, I doubt he's thinking about Schrodinger's equations or something, but what does he think about all day? What goes through his little head?

Anyway, I guess I'm gonna try to NaBloPoMo, but I'm not gonna knock myself out if I miss a day.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


So it's National Blog Posting Month again. I haven't decided yet whether or not I really want to plan to do this. I mean, I didn't make it last year, primarily due to travel at Thanksgiving. I _probably_ won't be travelling then this year, but we _are_ visiting family in NC next weekend and theoretically, I could be in Houston at some point this month.

Of course, that's assuming I ever hear from NASA! I'm going a little nutty with the waiting. I was looking at their timeline the other day and realized that there's sort of a 0th cut. In September and October, they cut the total number down to the "Highly Qualified" applicants. Then in October and November, they cut the "Highly Qualified" down to the 120 interviewees who are interviewed in November, December, and January. So I would _hope_ that since I haven't heard that I'm definitely out, that it means that I've at least made it in to the "Highly Qualified" category. But I don't know that for sure.

So let's Google to see if anyone else has heard anything... yay for more for what it said....apparently, they don't send you a letter at each step. They're in the process of cutting it down to about 400 (the "highly qualified"). Some references have already been contacted (mine have not, to the best of my knowledge and considering that one of my references is a good family friend who's promised that she'll tell me if she gets contacted, I'm pretty sure I'd know). But other than hearing that your references were contacted by mail and getting a telephone call to arrange your interview, you don't hear one way or the other until the very end of the process (May of 2009!!!) that you're out. Apparently it's a very nice letter that they send you, but it boggles my mind that they don't just let you know whenever you're out. Maybe that gives them the opportunity to uncut someone without hassle.

Anyway, this is what some guy named Brian says about the process timeline. He's got some graphs and everything.

Makes me wonder if I shouldn't contact the astronaut selection office to explain my condition and request that if they're going to contact my references that they do so ASAP so that I can actually come down for the interview...

The good news is the scuttlebutt that those who aren't qualified (the less-than-0th cut, apparently) are contacted. I haven't been told that I'm not qualified, so I'm still in as far as I know. There were about 730 of those folks, so there are about 2800 "qualified" people that they're going to cut to 400 for the "highly qualified" group. They'll contact the references of all the "highly qualified" to enable them to cut it down to 120 interviewees. But apparently they start interviewing prior to getting through all of the references, etc. So interviews start Nov. 17th, even though they're still theoretically contacting references through the end of the month.

This is _way_ too complicated. Good thing I'm a rocket scientist.

So anyway...NaBloPoMo...I still haven't decided...but I figured I'd better post today just in case I decide that I'm going to try again this year....