June 2013

My birthday today was, for the most part, like any other day. I wouldn’t have even acknowledged it except that others were kind enough to send me birthday greetings and wishes online and via text messaging, and my judge and former court reporter gave me cards and a gift on Friday. I had not even realized my birthday was already upon us except for my friends’ reminders, and I didn’t even know how old I was turning. The stepkidlet actually had to do the math on her calculator last night. All I remember was that I gave birth when I was 35 so since Allie is 1.5 years old…and that was as far as I’d gotten.

Speaking of my judge’s card… on Friday after lunch, I returned to my desk to see the card envelope sitting there with my name on it. Since we were busy picking a jury for a criminal trial, it was almost an hour later before I was able to get to the card. I opened the envelope and pulled out a glittery Snoopy card, then opened it slowly as cut-outs of presents and ribbons popped up on the inside of the card. I opened it further to appreciate the 3-D effects, and suddenly it burst into song, VERY LOUDLY. I freaked out and clamped the card shut, afraid to look up. My judge upholds a very professional, formal tone in his courtroom, and here I was in front of multiple attorneys, a criminal defendant, approximately 35 prospective jurors, and an audience full of spectators. I looked at the card envelope again. Nope, he definitely did not leave a post-it note on the envelope warning me not to open the card while we’re in session. Looking around, it didn’t seem like anyone had reacted to the few notes that came screaming out of the card. Even so, my heart was pounding. Thanks for giving me a heart attack for my birthday, judge.

This morning, Mr. W juiced some fruit (apple, papaya, pear, grape, cantaloupe, lemon) and veggies (romaine lettuce, kale, beet, broccoli, ginger, spinach, cucumber) in his new juicer and we had that as a pre-breakfast treat, then I made Allie some healthy mini pancakes (1 ripe banana, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup oatmeal, that’s it) and fed her breakfast. The morning was hot so we pretty much stayed inside, although we did let her play in the backyard for a bit. My parents came over during Allie’s nap, and when Allie woke up, the 5 of us went to Rose Canyon Cantina for an early dinner. Allie wolfed down her Mexican food (shrimp ceviche, bits of my mom’s chicken enchilada, some of my red Spanish rice, black beans, grilled fish, and spinach enchilada, some of of Mr. W’s refried beans and green Mexican rice) but was uncooperative for photos. There’s one in which she looks like she’s plotting my demise. My social networking friends theorize that she’s just crabby from being out in near triple-digit temperatures.

After dinner, we stopped by a man-made lake that had a nice walking path and park-like setting all the way around it so Allie could run around. Her mood was much better at the park.

My parents are overly protective and paranoid about Allie’s safety, but would let her do stuff like pick up duck poop. :/ Baby wipes come in handy for times like this.

I’ve never seen her so sweaty that her hair stringed up almost like she’d just gotten out of a bath, until today. She did say “hot” as soon as we stepped out of the air-conditioned restaurant (even tho we ate on a shaded patio), but didn’t have a complaint after that. She drank a ton of water, though, and we had to stop by a Little Caesar’s Pizza to buy a couple of cold bottled waters (which she chugged) to refill her sippy cup before we headed home.

All day long, we were working on her to get her to say “Happy birthday, mama.” In the below video, my mom was supposedly recording Allie on her iPhone, but turned out she didn’t get any of it. My dad luckily was standing by video-recording on his camera.

At the end of day, when I was nursing her before bed, she was dozing off when I pulled her away to switch sides. She sat up drowsily with a sigh, looked up at me with sleepy eyes, and said, “Happy mama.” Then she smiled sweetly and proudly, like we shared a private joke. I smiled and kissed her on her cheek. It’s not the full “happy birthday,” but it’s shrewdly accurate as an observation.

I’ve had my little donated embryos on my mind, the two “A” quality ones, the one “C” quality that may not survive the freezing/thawing process. When I’d first donated them, I’d asked our clairvoyant friend Rebecca if she feels anything about them. She said she was getting nothing, but that they’d be healthy. When I’ve thought about them, they’ve felt like “my boys.” My two boys are out there somewhere, I was thinking. (Donation was final last summer.)

In mid-January I had emailed my fertility doctor, to whom I’d donated the embryos, to let him know that yes, we’d like to take him up on his previous offer of knowing the date(s) of birth if/when the embryos find their way to their new parents. I’d also included a photo of him with Allie and a professional studio pic of Allie from December, 2012, and a description about her growth and interests, in case the embryos’ new parents wanted some interesting factoids (such as don’t be alarmed if the kids don’t grow hair until well after age 1). Apparently he didn’t get that email, and we went back and forth after I’d sent a followup email this month. The backs-and-forths got offensive for a second there last week and I’d considered posting about that here to vent, but decided to wait. Basically he kind of yelled at me over email, saying that he doesn’t have a date of birth yet and that I need to email him in a year to check because now is too soon. Like I was jumping the gun. I figured he was mistaken because in a previous email in the string, he’d written that all the paperwork for the donation was finalized “months ago”, when I know it was actually 15 months ago, so he probably thought he read March of 2013 instead of the correct date of March of 2012. Besides, I wasn’t asking for a DOB immediately, just that when/if it occurs, I’d like to know. I wrote him a polite email setting him straight, and his response seemed to concede a bit in tone. He ended that email with “talk to you soon,” to which I didn’t respond because, why would I talk to him?

After the request for DOBs was (finally) communicated, I was confused and conflicted about how I feel. I think motherhood has made me feel a little more possessive and protective over my child and potential children. The detached clarity I had before I was pregnant, making me very comfortable about the donation of any unused embryos, had blurred a bit when I actually donated the embryos when Allie was a few months old, and now that Allie is my little spunky tyke, I wanted so much for her “brothers” and I had no way of ensuring that their new parents would make sure “my” baby/ies will be given proper nutrition, allowed sufficient rest, be provided with everything I try to give Allie. I couldn’t even ensure that the mother was properly educated on pregnancy and would eat/not eat, do/not do the best thing as her body built the kids’ organs, bones, brain neurons, etc. All that was hard to think about. Would these parents treat them well and not consider in their parenting that the child(ren) are genetically not their own? I really, really hoped so. And would they tell their kid(s), as they got older, the origin of their genetics, and if so, would the boy(s) look for us? Would I maybe meet them one day since they may be local to access the same fertility clinic, and would I know it? I wondered if maybe not knowing anything would be better. Not knowing if they’re out there, so I don’t wonder how they’re doing, what they’re doing. I imagined Allie one day knowing that she has full-blood brothers out there “somewhere.” How she would feel about being a big sister, sort of.

This morning, I saw that I got another email from the fertility doctor. I wasn’t expecting to hear from him again, and my hands felt slow and unsteady and clumsy as I clicked through the encrypted mail site, entered my password, and read. I was not expecting these words…

Your three (3) embryos were donated to another couple but they unfortunately did not conceive. Thank you very much for your generous gift. We all regret that the results are what they were.
Dr. R

His tone did not invite further questions, and had lost the original warmth they’d had in our initial email string (before it got offensive for me). The words on the screen blurred. A couple had hopes of conceiving children dashed again and again, and now this. The beautiful little boys I saw in my head who had Allie’s smile would never be running around out there somewhere playing in the grass. Confused by my profound sense of loss, I wrote back a curt response that did not begin to hint at the depth of what I was actually feeling.

Dr. R,
Thank you for the information. My heart goes out to the couple. I wish I could have done more. I’ll embrace them in prayer tonight, now that I know.

I did not realize how much I wanted these boys to exist until that moment. I quickly went into the restroom and cried it out. I didn’t know whether it was my loss I was feeling, or empathically the loss of the parents. This would be a couple who has tried everything to conceive naturally, to conceive through IVF, and now to conceive with someone else’s embryos. I didn’t understand. It made no sense. Those kids were supposed to be healthy. They were 2 “A” quality embryos. This is a very good, experienced fertility clinic whose doctors literally wrote the book on IVF fertility (really, you can buy this book and other doctors reference it) and their stats of success are well, well above national average. How? Could it be that the universe knew I couldn’t handle it well so it took the option/hardship away from me? Could it be that those embryos would have energetically only existed for me? I had zero problems with the fertility process or pregnancy, success with no complications the first time. How could my other top-notch embryos not make it, also? I wanted to give a family and a soul or two the opportunity and vehicle to incarnate and be together here in this life. What happened?

I may need to talk to Rebecca about this. Had they conceived, they would’ve been healthy, but she got nothing on conception itself. She’d also always said the souls waiting to cross to be our children were just waiting for me to make the decision. Could it be that once the decision was made to not have another embryo implanted, that the embryos were only dog-eared for us so they lost viability? That can’t be, or other people’s embryo donations would have failed, too. I don’t get it. I wonder what Riley’s doing right now. I realize I sound crazy.

I spent significant time personalizing the iPad Mini last night, trying to make it “mine” and usable. I think Mr. W believes that if I gave it more of a chance and really worked with it, I’d see how wonderful Apple products are and jump in his bandwagon and make claims about how Apple truly “makes a superior product.” The end result…the more I use this Apple, the more I appreciate my Android.

Let me point out first that I would not have gotten an Android tablet. I wouldn’t have gotten any tablet because with my Galaxy S3, any tablet would just be redundant to me. But I can see why Mr. W would want a tablet on top of his smartphone, since he needs objects/words to be visually larger in order to be comfortable viewing them. I’m not there. People with iPhones are always amazed at the larger size screen of the Galaxy S3 Android phone. That being said, if I WERE to have a tablet, I think it makes sense to get one of a different system like Apple so that things I can’t get on Android, I can get on Apple. For one, Apple has an app called Stream To Me that allows the Apple device to stream videos, photos, movies from our home PC to the remote device. I’m not sure if Android has something like that, I haven’t really explored it, but hubby’s already spent time and money on the Stream To Me thing so that’s what we used on Allie’s iPad and everyone else’s iPads. (I haven’t been able to test this, tho, cuz I can’t get Stream To Me to work on the Mini presently.)

Okay, so now that I’ve gotten to know Apple better, I’m not any more impressed. In fact, I have new complaints that I never knew about because I’d never spent enough time with an Apple product to know about these shortcomings, until now.
* No “menu” button. I’m not able to bring up submenus and options within an app, which I can do on Android by tapping the menu button or by long-pressing within the app. But I guess there’s no point in having a menu button on the iPad anyway, because…
* No way to edit functions within an app. Are you kidding? There’s no way to modify display options of email (I can’t even find a “delete” option when I check my emails), I can’t modify how my people are displayed in Contacts, I can’t add calendars in Calendar! No, I have to go to Settings, then look for the app I need to modify within Settings, go into those options there, and then hope there’s an option for what I need to do, such as display my Contacts in order by first name instead of last name. I also found out I can’t just “add” a calendar within Calendar (I wanted to get US Holidays to automatically display in the Calendar without having to input all the holidays every year manually); I have to go into…yup, Settings, then select Calendar, and then go thru a couple of more screens to “subscribe” to an existing calendar by entering the website address of the particular iCalendar. It worked, but altho there’s the whisper of some mystical place where one can get many different types of iCalendars to incorporate into a personal iPad/Mac calendar such as sports game schedules, I have yet to be able to find such a list of addresses or menu of calendars I can add. I only found the address of the US Holidays calendar because some random on YouTube posted it (ical.mac.com/ical/US32Holidays.ics, for anyone as frustrated as I was, and I found out it’s case-sensitive *eyeroll*). Which brings me to…
* No “back” button. You know how many screens I have to go thru to get to the spot where I need to enter that calendar address? Let’s count them. Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Add Account -> Other -> Add Subscribed Calendar -> Subscription. Six screens. Six before you can enter that address I gave you up there. If you mis-touch somewhere else on your journey and the wrong screen pops up, all you (or I, as I found) can do is hit the one and only function button on the whole thing, the round “Home” button, to go back to the general “desktop,” and you have to start your sojourn all over again.
Android has a “back” button, not that you’d have to go thru this on Android because you’d just press the “menu” button within the app and voila, all the options for modification show up!
* Basic apps are different, in a suckier way. Apple seems to advocate more commercialism. I can’t play Candy Crush Saga on the Candy Crush Saga app without it forcing me to simultaneously be logged into the social networking site it’s affiliated with, AND it forces me to allow the app to post all my game-playing info on the social networking site. I’d have to litter my friends’ feeds with crap like, “Cindy just gave life in Candy Crush Saga!” “Cindy just mixed a Striped Candy with another Striped Candy!” “Cindy just passed level 164!” I see that all the time since a lot of my social networking friends play Candy Crush Saga and I’ve always wondered why they’re posting all that crap, and now I know it’s because they’re playing on an iDevice and have no choice. I went around and around in a loop pressing “skip” when it requests me to post my game stats on the social networking site, then it’d take me to the game screen but immediately take me back to the “post stats” screen. I deleted the Candy Crush Saga app because it won’t let me play without announcing to everyone else that I’m playing. (I found an option for the game stats to just post for myself and not on public feed, but I don’t to litter my own feed with game crap, either.) On Android, I play the game independently of the social networking site and it just syncs my game with the info there every so often so that I can continue on the same progress when I switch between playing on the PC vs Android phone.
And the social networking app? It wants to announce to everyone that I’m online and available to chat. I don’t want people to know I’m online and available to chat. I have that option turned off on the PC and my Android phone, but I’ve looked it up and there’s NO WAY to turn it off on the Apple app. No privacy. I will not be doing any regular surfing of the networking site via the iPad Mini, either.
* Cumbersome keyboard. Really, Apple? You think if I were typing words, that I wouldn’t need all my punctuation on the same keyboard as my letters? I have to go to a separate keyboard display for an apostrophe, hyphen or a quote mark? You know where it is on the Android keyboard? Apostrophe’s above the period, hyphen’s above the comma, quotation mark’s above the L. To access them, I simply long-press on that key or I press “shift” first. Or I can Swype it, in which case I simply draw to the key when I’m drawing a line letter-to-letter in forming my word and the correct usage would just come up automatically. Swype is not something Apple knows anything about.
* No Flash/videos. I can’t see the videos on this blog in the iPad Mini. I can’t see my own videos on the social networking site either thru the Internet on the iPad or thru the social networking site’s app itself. I think I’m doing something wrong here, since too many people use their Apple products to get on the social networking site for me to think that none of them are viewing videos. But that goes to show how not user-friendly this stuff is to not just WORK on its own because I’ve opened the app. (My Android phone just plays the videos with a tap.)
* Adding Contacts isn’t automatic. I’ve added my Gmail account. It doesn’t just infuse my contacts into the Contacts app, the way it did with my social networking site contacts once I connected with the app? I still have to type in my contacts manually? I thought maybe when I’m in Mail, that my Gmail contacts would just be there even tho they don’t show up in Contacts, but nope; the email address book only has contacts that are in the Contacts app address book. I did not have this problem on Android. On Android, I connected to Gmail, to the social networking site, and my phone service, and Android’s Contacts incorporated all 3 address books into one, AND I can pick how I want the contacts displayed/grouped while I’m IN Android’s Contacts.
* No widgets. The Calendar app icon is sort of a widget because it does show the current date. But that’s it. On Android, I have a widget for my workout app so that the icon representation of the app shows my calorie burn thus far in the day; I have a widget for my calendar so that it not only gives me the day and date, but a preview of the upcoming events on calendar in the next week so I have it at-a-glance without opening the app itself; I have a weather widget that shows the time, current temperature and weather of the location(s) I choose in a pretty picture and a brief word, and to see other preset locations’ weather, I just flip my finger across the widget and it scrolls thru my preset locations. If there’s a way to get widgets on iPad, I haven’t found it. On Android, I can long-press and select “add Widget,” I can hit the “Menu” button and go to “Add apps and widgets,” or I can add the widget within the app itself.

I’m sure there are more things/irritations that have frustrated me that I’m not recalling right now. An interesting angle, tho — a high school friend, Alan, was trying to help me with the Apple calendar issue (altho I’d already found the holiday calendar address by the time he wrote me, telling me the exact same instructions), and he wrote:

I’ve had an Android phone before, and I loved it too, so no biases here on my part. Dare I say it, I consider Android more “techy” than Apple OS… so your inner-geek might be the one revolting against Apple.
The way I see it, I recommend Apple to people I know who don’t like fooling with tech (usually don’t check email much, still write notes by hand, don’t work with computers, etc), and Android to people who are more comfortable with tech.

I responded:

It’s so weird to think my inner geek may be revolting. Geeks are so self-righteous. *sigh* So you think I’m actually upset because Apple makes things too remedial for the control I want? I’ve just been thinking it’s not user-friendly enough cuz I can’t find the options I want for the mods/personalizations I want.


That’s exactly right. Apple’s motto is “simplicity”. So they hide the customization rather than inundate the non-techy people with it. It’s still there, just gotta look for it. Which is why I disliked the Mac when switching from a PC. But once you figure out their M.O. It all makes sense.

And then my lightbulb:

Then I don’t understand why all my geeky friends love Apple.
Oh wait…is this why they jailbreak?!

Mr. W’s Apple everything is jailbroken. Same with other techy friends’ iDevices. Mine is not. My mom had someone jailbreak her iPad but had so many problems with it (she’s not a techie) that Mr. W restored it back to the original form. I don’t have to jailbreak, or “root,” as it’s called in Android, my Galaxy S3 because everything I want to customize is offered in built-in options already. To this day, I still occasionally accidentally find a menu or option on my Android and I’d think, “I didn’t know about this! It’s genius!” Or sometimes Allie does something and when I get my phone back I’m like, “What’s THAT? I didn’t know I could have that!” I don’t want to jailbreak the iPad, I don’t want to be some sneaky techy pirate, I just want my stuff to function in a way that I think they should function without my having to rewrite the software for them.

OH. One hardware thing. Why does the iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone all use super-exclusively-sized charger heads? So Apple can make more money selling connectors, chargers, adapters, accessories like radios and speakers that the device is supposed to dock into? You know what I charge my Galaxy S3 Android phone with? At home, the charger it came with when upstairs, the USB charger/cord for the Galaxy S (1st generation) when downstairs by the computer, the USB charger/cord for the KINDLE when at work. Yes. They’re standard. Apple has always been about building their own exclusive monopolistic bubble (hence, iTunes for everything, no open-source apps unless jailbroken). So now I have to take the iPad’s charger everywhere.

Best thing I can say about the iPad Mini right now? It’s beautiful. There’s no shortage of accessories on the market to play dress-up with Apple.


Where in the world did the time go? My mom wrote a social networking site comment on a photo of Allie today about how she’s 19 months old today, and I had to double-check the calendar. Didn’t I JUST post about her 18-month birthday? Jeesh. Today, I packed up all her 18-month clothes and onesies (too short on torso length) and left her with only 24-month or 2T clothes in her dresser.

* Kids. She still calls them “baby.” She’ll go up to any kid at the playground and wave and affectionately touch their hand. I’ve noticed that maybe 10% of the kids welcome this contact. The other 90% glare at her and move away, or start hovering over their toys yelling “No!” at her before she even reaches them.
* Parks and playgrounds. New this month: She’ll have a fit and cry, sometimes throwing herself on the ground, when it’s time to leave.

* Music. Listening to it, singing it (she recognizes songs that I’m mindlessly humming and will sing out the next line or identify a character that sings it, and she’s surprisingly accurate on her tones and pitch), dancing to it, playing it on piano or guitar. Last weekend, she got to play with an Allie’s sized stringed instrument.

* New words and characters. This morning she surprised me by being able to identify and say “Big Bird,” “Ernie,” “Monster” (Cookie Monster), “Tigger,” and last week, “Eeyore.” She’s even memorized the order of some of the alphabet and numbers in English and Mandarin. I think it’s just phonetic to her, she doesn’t know “five” is a number or how many that really is, for instance.
* Trucks. I don’t get it. But she’ll excitedly point out pickup trucks (“Duck!”, as distinguished from actual quacking ducks, which she calls “duckies”) and dumpster trucks (“Beeeg duck!”).
* Doing things herself. If I don’t give her the spoon quickly enough, or I offer unwanted help as she climbs up steps or playground ladders, she’ll insist in a big rush, “Me me me! Me me me!”

* Eating the same veggie too many times in a row. She’ll either refuse it or push it out of her mouth with her tongue. Very frustrating. New thing this month: flinging unwanted food onto the floor. This drives Mr. W crazy.
* Being told what to do. She’ll resist it just to resist it and practically have a tantrum over it. Changing a diaper when she didn’t first announce “poo” has once again become a struggle. Same with leaving a place, even if that place is home. Leaving a playground is the worst. “More park! More park!” she’ll protest shortly before whine-crying and then resisting going into the car and carseat.
* Mealtimes. Or so it seems. At least half the time she’s fine, but we’re not used to her being picky so it’s nerve wracking coming up with something she’ll eat. We’re letting her go hungry if she’s very resistant, other than dig around trying to find something, anything, that she actually wants to eat, because we don’t want to train her into thinking she has her own short order cook. This is what the meal is, and if she doesn’t want to finish the main course, she can fill up on the vegetables. IF she won’t, she still has fruit for dessert. She’ll always eat SOMEthing, but sometimes just not much of it without some effort on our parts to distract her so she doesn’t spit it out, or to come up with a game. Last night’s game which worked very well was “Look at Allie.” Her baby doll which she totes around was placed at the dinner table facing her, also wearing a bib. We’d pretend to feed something to the doll, praise baby for eating well, and then offer it to Allie. And then we’ll narrate what Allie’s eating to the baby, as if bragging about it. “Look, baby, Allie’s eating a carrot! Look, baby, Allie’s eating a noodle! Look, baby, Allie’s eating an eggplant!” Allie would lift up her food in the air toward the doll and say, “Look baby!” before stuffing it in her mouth. She cleaned her bowls and plates, and at the end, she lifted her empty bowl to show baby, saying proudly, “Look baby! Nothing! Nothing!” Goes to show, peer pressure starts at a very young age. =P I also took a tip from college roommie Diana and started putting missing nutrients (spinach, kale, other raw veggies and fruits) into a smoothie for Allie if we feel she didn’t have enough nutrients throughout the day.
* Not having mommy. I’ve started driving to reduce the road rage stress for Mr. W, and when we’re coming back from my parents’ house or Disneyland shortly before her nap and she’s tired, she will throw a fit that I’m not there to offer her comfort. Specifically, she wants to suck her thumb and run her fingers through my hair. Dada’s short hair and arm hairs are poor and unacceptable substitutes. Today, she cried “Mama” almost the entire way home from Disneyland. I also feel like we have to re-sleep-train her because a little separation anxiety kicks in at nap/bedtime when I put her in her crib. She only protest-cries for a minute or less, tho, because we’ve always been consistent in not going in there to acknowledge her protest cries.

This morning we went to Disneyland for the last Sunday morning before our annual passes are blocked out for the summer. While I was changing her first thing this morning, I said, “Guess where we’re going today!” She guessed, “Mimi?” and got it right. She’s now able to express her will and get more meaning out of her trips to Disneyland, so it’s pretty different from the first times we would take her when we first got annual passes. Now we can ask her if she wants to go on the train (which she always waves to), or ride the flying Dumbos, and she’ll nod and say “Yah.” She loves the rides and usually will start to protest with “More! More!” when it’s time to get off. She also recognizes more characters now and with her familiarity, she’s less shy, so we make sure to visit Toon Town so she can greet Minnie, Mickey (both “Mimi” to her), Donald, Goofy, Pluto, and we try to stop by the Pooh ride so she can see Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore.

I should make more of an effort to wear makeup. Oh, well.

Just for fun, here’s her doing somersaults at the park a couple of weeks ago.

And here’s Allie and Dada playing follow-the-leader. Guess who the leader is.

Videos from my parents.

Mr. W called me at work this afternoon to tell me that he’d gotten a reminder from our shared calendar app of an event tomorrow, “Mom’s bday,” which had sent him into a panic. He’d immediately contacted a florist, ordered a big floral bouquet and arranged to have it delivered to his parents’ house in Las Vegas in a rush order. After all that was done, he thought, Wait a minute…my mom’s birthday is in March, and it’s JUNE already. And THEN he remembered that I had told him yesterday that my mom’s birthday is tomorrow. He didn’t even think to look at the color of the calendar posting to realize it was my event, not his. So he called the florist back and requested a cancellation of the arrangement. He said the lady seemed confused as to why he’d want to cancel it. He explained to her that he’d sent it to the wrong mom. I’m sure that cleared things up really nicely for her. I joked that he was getting old.

About an hour ago, I was sitting at the computer reading trending feature articles, hands sticky with the loquats I was peeling and eating, when Mr. W appeared next to me with a rectangular cardboard shipping box in his hand. “I can’t wait any longer,” he said. I couldn’t touch the box as all my fingers were dripping with juice and loquat skin (which stains everything into a beautiful shade of brown thanks to its high iron content), so he turned the box over for me. I glanced at the barcode sticker on the side panel and said, “Well, it’s an electronic item…” He opened the box, slid out a white rectangular box from it, opened that up, and now I was staring at the face of an Apple iPad Mini.
“It’s for your birthday,” he explained gleefully.
“What is WRONG with you?” I blurted.
He laughed. “I know, you’re gonna hate it.”
“Why did you get me that?”
“Because I think you’ll like this! ‘Cuz it’s smaller than an iPad.”
“…you got me the iPod Touch and it’s WAY smaller than the iPad…” I gestured the size of the smaller item. The iPod Touch hasn’t been touched since I’d posted about it, and actually, not for a long time since before I posted about it. The size of the iPads and iPods have nothing to do with my dislike for them.
“Look, I put all these apps on here already. It’s got Allie’s app, and the webcams, and Candy Crush Saga, and it’s small enough that you can put this in your purse and read books on it…”
“I already have a Kindle in my purse about the same size.”
“But you hate the Kindle. You complain about it all the time. This way you can read any of the books that I’ve already downloaded, and look at all these apps that I have on my account that you can have!” He scrolled through pages and pages of alphabetized apps. I think they number in the hundreds, if not thousands. He’s such the Apple fanboy.
“I don’t hate the Kindle. I complain about the battery drain. But I hardly ever use it because I read on the Kindle app on my phone.” My Kindle is synced with my Kindle app on my phone, and all set up on my personal Amazon account, so when I buy something to read, it downloads both onto my Kindle and my phone. My Samsung Galaxy S3 ANDROID phone, which I love. It’s pretty much a guaranteed fight every time anything Apple/Android comes up in conversation between us. “And that’s another thing — I can’t just download apps or books or anything I want on this iPad because it’s tied in to YOUR account and YOUR credit card. I can on my Android Kindle because it’s my account.” Yeah, I really don’t want to share my recent stash of guilty pleasure reads with him and have to hear about it. I know I’m reading crap, but sometimes I just need crap. Even if I have to hide it from everyone out of embarrassment.
He offered, “You can use this app here to download any books I already have into this iPad. Anything you read, if I don’t already have it, I can probably get it for free.”
“No, you can’t. Not the stuff I read. You’ve tried looking for me before and couldn’t find it, remember?” I hoped I wouldn’t have to elaborate on my Kindle-only book genres.
“You can use this app here to watch videos and shows I have on my computer, so you don’t have to watch it on the computer.” Now that’s appealing. I’ve been streaming his downloaded TV shows onto Allie’s iPad, but it was having problems and freezing every few seconds, so I stopped watching on the iPad and went to watching on the PC. There are nights I never make it upstairs to bed, falling asleep in the living room mid-Game-of-Thrones. And it does also appeal to me that I can check up on Allie’s daily progress remotely since the baby app that Jayne and I use to log Allie’s naps and meals is an Apple-only thing. There are times I wonder at work how Allie did with a unique lunch, or how long she napped, and now I’ll be able to look and see. But I’d have to lug the iPad Mini around with me and my purse is heavy enough already. I know I wouldn’t be using it to check my emails or to communicate, since I find Apple’s virtual keyboards and layout infuriatingly unusable. He knows all these points of why I have no interest in Apple products; we’ve even discussed it recently since my parents jumped on the Apple bandwagon.
I looked at him suspiciously. “Is this one of those gifts that you really want but can’t justify buying for yourself so you say it’s for me, like when husbands buy their wives bowling balls for Christmas?”
He laughed and said no.
And he pointed again to the Candy Crush Saga game app.

I don’t understand him. He must not understand me, either. It’s a very sweet gift and he put a lot of effort into setting it up, but I really would’ve been just fine with a $17 ring that looks convincingly like a real diamond ring.

Mr. W’s birthday is coming up soon. I think I’ll get him a Samsung Galaxy tablet.

Thanks to the social media site’s clever advertising, I’ve discovered online discount shopping. I’ve always prided myself on getting great deals on things, so this appeals to that side of me with shopper satisfaction, but it’s recently turned me into the dream consumer — one who brainlessly buys stuff because “it’s a great deal” and not because I need it and was going to get it anyway. These discount sites with the “limited time major discount offer” daily emails say to me, “Hey, go ahead and be an impulse buyer. We’ll rub this Discount Balm on your conscience.” It worked for awhile as I was buying dresses by the 4-pack, hats and outfits for Allie “just to try it out and why not cuz it’s so inexpensive,” but I realized it was getting out-of-hand when month after month my credit card statements have been hundreds of dollars higher than normal due to my one-time “exception” purchase of, like, 4 different things, and just this morning I thought, “Look at these great deals on Android tablets. I don’t need one. Do I want one? Hmm, not really. But I want to BUY one because look at these prices!” So now I know I have to stop. I have to stop before I start buying jewelry online. Even if they’re $17 for a convincing-looking CZ ring.

OMG, I just saw a thermoelectric generator that allows you to charge anything USB-chargeable…by the energy of heat derived from a pot of boiling water. I can charge my phone WHILE CAMPING simply by clamping the wires of the generator onto a metal pot over the fire! Does it matter that I don’t go camping? *pulling out credit card*

Allie’s having a lot of fun mimicking adults in actions and words. She will go into the closet and grab the small floor duster and dusting pan and start sweeping because she saw her daddy do it once. She will sing what we sing, say what we say. Often she’ll remember a word we don’t remember teaching her, but that she must’ve picked up somewhere. So it’s been pretty fun, despite the fact that with her being more vocal, that also means more volume, like in restaurants. That gets uncomfortable sometimes. But mostly it’s fun.

I got this text earlier from Jayne:
Jayne: Ok, so Allie’s latest addition to her vocabulary is Hawaii and she says it so clearly and almost perfectly! I was talking about Missy going to Hawaii.
Jayne: Oh and by the way, she wants to go there. 🙂

I can totally see that happening. Jayne says, “Missy is going to Hawaii!” Allie says, “Ha-wai-ee?” Jayne says, “Yeah, very good, Hawaii! Does Allie want to go to Hawaii?” Allie nods, “Yah?”
Chances are, if Allie hears “go” in front of anything, she wants it. It means she gets to go bye-bye and go play!
I texted back:
Me: Oh no! Tell Allie to pick a place without a time change.
Jayne: Too late.

While Allie’s current fun is with imitating us, Mr. W found a new recreational activity to do with Allie yesterday. Hairstyling! Allie finally got her hair did for the first time yesterday evening. Here is his handiwork.

I’ve never seen Mick Jagger in concert (or in videos, actually) nor Monsters Inc., and due to peer pressure I’ve tried to watch Shrek, like, 3 times already and it’s put me to sleep each time. But hubby’s seen all of them!

Allie’s pediatrician confirmed at the 18-month appointment that we can wean her at any time we want to since she’s gotten pretty much all the nutritional and other benefits she needs from breast milk at this point. She suggested we start with eliminating the morning feeding. I’d been thinking the same thing, since Allie is easily distracted in the mornings and moves on to other things. It’s the bedtimes that she points to the recliner in her room and asks for “mama, nom nom?”.

I waited until this week to cut the morning nursing, because Mr. W and I were attending a soiree last Saturday afternoon that would go into the evening, so we’d already be missing her evening nursing for the first time. I didn’t want to go more than 24 hours between nursings cold turkey as that would be…uncomfortable for me.

Allie did great Saturday night. Jayne came over Saturday afternoon and we did almost a normal goodbye routine with Allie. It was the first bedtime in Allie’s 18-month existence that I wasn’t there to go through it with her. I knew she’d be fine; she sleeps well on her own so even if she fussed before going into her crib, I knew once she went to sleep she’d be fine. And she was. Jayne said she tossed around sucking her thumb for half an hour after she was in her crib, then went to sleep. That’s pretty normal for Allie. Jayne said Allie gave her no trouble with teeth-brushing or flossing, and only asked once when she was being changed for bed, “Mama? Dada?” Jayne said that mama and dada would be home soon, and that was that. Meanwhile, Mr. W and I were at his boss’s 60th surprise birthday party thrown by the boss’s wife at their beautiful home on a hill with a spectacular view. They even had valet parking and catering for the event. I had 2 glasses of wine and a key lime pie martini. Here’s a photo Maggie’s hubby Tom took of us:

We weren’t able to take a photo with the spectacular view behind us cuz then we’d be backlit. 🙁

So anyway, now it’s Day 2 of the nurse-less mornings. Allie’s treated it the way she’s treated the elimination of post-nap nursings/bottles — like she doesn’t notice. We just give her a little snack before we leave for work, a couple ounces of cow’s whole milk and some fresh fruit or veggies. She loves her little munchies like I do; things just taste better when they’re “stolen” or “snuck” around square mealtimes. Meanwhile, I’m less comfortable. And I have to eat less crap and burn more fat to make up for not eliminating those extra milk calories.

I’m pretty anti-Apple products. I don’t like the concept of iTunes, Apple’s monopolistic business model, and I have a very hard time working with their products. I find it totally counter-intuitive and not user-friendly. Mr. W is the opposite and loves anything and everything Apple. I would’ve taken pride in not owning or having to deal with any Apple products, which was true once upon a time, but thanks to him, I have to enter Allie’s stuff, play her music, etc. in his first-generation iPad which he’d passed down to her (it’s left at home for the nanny to use in recording Allie’s logs and for a portable babycam monitor), he’d bought me an iPad Shuffle many many years ago and it was the smallest wearable mp3 player at the time so I’ve just dealt with it (even tho I don’t have iTunes so it is so hard to update the music on it), and within the last year, for no good reason, he’d bought me an iPod Touch which I don’t really touch. It’s in Allie’s diaper bag at home for portability if we can’t have her iPad (yes, HER iPad, not mine) with us but need it for whatever reason. So the only claim I could make then, was that I would never spend a dollar of my hard-earned money on Apple crap.

And then the one weak point. The one way I would ever spend money buying iCrap. My mom really wanted an iPad last year. She was on the verge of buying one herself, so I bought one for her to save her the money and the trouble, had it engraved, and Mr. W set it up with a wallpaper of Allie’s photo wishing her grandma a happy mother’s day. My mom LOVES that iPad, took it everywhere. In all their vacation photos, that thing was a permanent fixture in her hand. She used it in lieu of a camera and filled up the space on it insanely quickly.

And now, my dad is newly retired and newly hooked on a Bejeweled-like game associated with the social network site, and he loves playing the game through the affiliated app on my mom’s iPad (which she leaves at home for him when she goes to work). But he complains that the iPad logs onto her social networking account automatically so it’s not his game he’s perpetuating; it’s hers. So he’d have to log her out and log himself in each time, which he found cumbersome, put he doesn’t like playing it on the PC because he likes to play it full-screen which is not how the game is displayed when playing through the social network site.

So last weekend, I presented my dad with a new iPad bundle, complete with cover and a speaker redirector thing (which is actually a clever little plastic piece you slip on the corner of the iPad where the speaker is and it’ll push the sound forward instead of backward, which amplifies the sound a lot). It’s the same generation as my mom’s so they could use it interchangeably, but it’s 64 gigs, knowing now how quickly my mom burned through her memory. My mom was SO jealous. They talked about letting my dad have my mom’s old one and letting her have his new one, but the back of my mom’s is engraved so they didn’t end up doing it. Just today, I signed them both up for a free hour-long basic iPad workshop and a basic iPhone workshop at their nearest Apple store. I hope this gives Dad an alternative to moping around at home waiting for my mom to come home from work.

Yeah, I said both the iPad AND the iPhone workshops. I got a text from my mom last week and I responded first, then realized it came from her cell #. I thought, “She doesn’t have texting on her cell.” And then it hit me. See below conversation.

I had already ordered my dad his surprise iPad by then, so I guess I’d already given up anyway.

P.S. At the same time my parents got iPhones, my mom bought my grandma an LG android smartphone. She was up half the night programming it first so she could teach my grandma, her mother, how to use it, and she said it was SO easy and such a great phone system that had she been able to play with it before buying their iPhones, they would’ve gotten that instead of iPhones. But it’s too late so I guess Apple still wins this round.

My judge has been on vacation for the past week and just returned today. Meanwhile, work has been killing me; I’d been assigned to a criminal calendar court with no permanent staffing so nobody really knows what’s going on, and the temp judge assigned there was on vacation the first 2 days of my assignment there, so the cases were called in another department, one day along with 3 other courtrooms’ cases. Waiting around for your cases to finish among 3 other courts’ caseloads was a slow agonizing process and I didn’t have time to get all the work in by the day’s end. I caught up in day 2 and stayed caught up in the subsequent days, but it involved coming in 1.5 hours earlier than other coworkers and working through lunch daily with no breaks. I’m glad my judge is back. I used to pride myself on being a very good criminal calendar clerk, but the law’s changed quite a bit since I’ve done it regularly and the computer systems have evolved to accommodate (poorly) the changes. Add to that, with the recent extreme budget cuts to the county and state, we’re all getting more work than we used to, absorbing the caseloads of entire courthouses that have shut down around us. In all the crazy turmoil of the past week, however, I’m reminded of what great coworkers I have. People have been great in stepping in and helping me, giving me quick tutorials on things I didn’t know how to do, clearing out the overflowing mailbin here, bringing up case files for me there. I told one extra helpful clerk, “I owe you big.”
He said, “You don’t owe me nuthin’.”
I said, “I’ll come up with something worthy of all your help the past few days.” And then later, a brainstorm. “Hey, I know what I can give you as thanks! You can have my firstborn chil –”
“No, I already have two of my own,” he cut me off. Well, he can’t say I didn’t offer. =P

There’s a good Samaritan that’s been bringing up my mail and files for my regular courtroom, but I don’t know who that is. All I know is that my regular court’s mailbin was filled to the brim but I didn’t have time to do anything about it, and one day when I had a minute or two, I went to the mail section and my bin was empty. Coming to my courtroom, I saw that things had already been distributed. I don’t even know who to thank.

Impending layoffs are looming ahead, and with them, involuntary transfers from those of us left to other buildings in the County. I hope we don’t lose the good people. 🙁

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