Thursday, June 29, 2006

A good cause

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has a good cause on her web site today supporting breastfeeding. I'm planning on making a hat or two for the cause.

My own breastfeeding experiences were helped enormously by the presence of my great-grandmother and my great aunt. Both Grandma McNickle and Aunt Bea had a ton of experience breastfeeding babies. Aunty Bea not only fed her own babies, but during the war when other women in the neighborhood went off to work at factories, she babysat and breastfed their babies too.

One of my daughter's favorite stories about Grandma McNickle happened the first time I breastfed in public. My great-grandmother was born in 1900. By the time my daughter was born, 1983, she was a very nice looking little old lady, with white hair and a matrons hump. She always dressed very well, especially when we went out to lunch on Friday, which we did weekly. In 1983, it wasn't completely acceptable to breastfeed in public. I was in the bathroom of a restaurant feeding my daughter, when the restaurant owner came in... (one bathroom, I hadn't locked the door, figuring I didn't want to tie up the bathroom if someone needed to use it, but also didn't want to offend anyone eating at one of our favorite restaurants). The lady told me it was HER restaurant, and if anyone was offended, they could bloody well LEAVE, as long as it didn't bother me.

Hey, I've been on the beaches on the Med, being naked in public doesn't bother me. I took my daughter out and sat at the table and was feeding her... discretely, with a blanket tucked around so nothing was showing.

Some man, eating at the next table, was -- I think-- trying to get a look at the baby. My sweet-little-old-lady grandmother yelled at him "What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a TIT BEFORE?"

Thanks, Grandma.

By the time the oldest of my boys was born, I had the whole thing down... except that it was more accepted socially to breastfeed. I've fed the boys in malls, at the zoo, sitting on a bench at the park... no one ever looked askew or made a comment.

By the time my baby was born, I knew what I was doing. He was born with low blood sugar, however. The nurse and I went a quick round about whether to give him a bottle.

ME: I want him to learn how to latch on, I don't want him to have a bottle before he gets the breast. And I don't want him to have formula at all.

Nurse: The doctor said to give him a bottle, I'm giving him a bottle.

Me: Where's the doctor? MY pediatrician did not tell you to give him a bottle.

Nurse: The doctor on duty did.

ME: ANDY! Find OUR pediatrician.

And she did take MY baby and give him a bottle. I got a bit cranky after that.

Not that it affected him, he figured out nursing very quickly and nursed longer than either of my other children, and would be nursing now, at 5 1/2, if I'd have let him.

And I've just realized, 5 1/2 years later, that I'm still really pissed that that nurse didn't listen to me.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Baby sheep and Strawberries

Saturday the kids and I went and picked 10 quarts of strawberrys. This is exceptionally early for strawberries up here, normally they aren't ripe until after the 4th, so I told the kids it meant summer was really here. Dumb. Summer to kids doesn't mean strawberrys, it means swimming. They've been nagging nearly non-stop... and... it's not that warm-- down in the 40's at night, low 70's during the day... and Lake Superior is FREEZING still.

We also took a trip out to help the local shepard classify his new fleece... and to play with the lambs. I got some cute pictures of the kids being attacked by little sheep who wanted their BOTTLES! And one old ewe, Abbey, took a shine to Amanda. Mandy tried to convince me to bring her and her baby home.

They keep the lawn down, they are good fertilizers... if they could be trained to go in the litter box, I'd be happy to bring a sheep or two home.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My arms are going to fall off.

I have this frame loom-- a triloom. I got it several years ago and promptly made a couple of dozen shawls with it. Some I gave away, and some I put in a friends store on the south side of suburban Chicago. There were 3 left, finally, in the store and they hadn't sold in 2 years, so I picked them up when we went down for DucKon. One, a lovely blue wool and angora one, sold at DucKon.

I showed the other two, a mint green chenille/wool/silk/mohair and a burgandy/white mohair to the folks at The Studio and they'd like to put them in their shop. As a matter of fact, they want 5 more. Wow! Ok, these don't take that long and I have lots of yarn.

But the sad facts are, they take about 4 -6 hours each of lots of arm waving and about 500M of yarn. I have lots of yarn in my stash, but a lot of it is tagged for specific projects... like a lopi sweater for me, an alpaca cardigan for my mom, and various other things.

Now, not only are my arms sore because they aren't used to being in motion for 6 hours at a time, but I'm having to decide...

the lopi sweater or 2 things which I can sell and buy more Lopi yarn?

Money or yarn?

Decisions... decisions...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

DucKon 15

So, for the 3rd and final year I ran the Art Show at DucKon. Which means I spent the weekend sleep deprived and slightly stressed. Really! only slightly! I had an excellent staff who handled everything with their normal calm manner... we didn't lose any artwork (always a worry), we didn't underpay any artists (which is totally embarrassing) and everything went very smoothly. We had very funny and smart auctioneers, even though we didn't get to advertise RJ Johnson (who could sell anything to anyone-- I have personally seen him auction the shirt off someone's back, as well as get $250 for a 50 cent rubber duck) as much as we would have liked, so our attendance was down a bit at the auction, and our overall sales were down quite a bit (which was the trend in Art shows in the Midwest this year), but we still made money.

And we sent Theresa Mather, our fun and wonderful artist Guest of Honor, home without a significant chunk of her inventory for Worldcon. Sorry, LA, Chicago has some big Mather fans. Theresa is an absolute pro (which is a huge compliment in a world run by amateurs :). She and her husband, Barry, did panels, attended ( and heckled) at the auction, taught several kids aged 7 - 70 how to draw tigers and dragons and other creatures, and just generally had fun.

On the personal side, I saw lots of lovely friends whom I hadn't seen since last summer, and drank lots of really good Scotch with friends and a new friend, JD Fraier. He is going to be a new father in the fall, so we got drunk and told him horror stories about babies eating their own (and each others) poop, as well as teen-aged daughter horror stories. We scared the bejeezus out of him. It was fun.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The interview

After the interview on Monday, I felt a lot like I did right after I tried to explain the different levels of computing to the Research Accountants -- that is-- as if I'd dumped my brain on the table and someone had pounded on it with hammers... I spent a lot of time saying the same things over and over. I spent a lot of time in a conference room with bright lighting and iffy video equipment (actually the equipment in the room was excellent, but I think a lot of people called in from their desks). And I answered a lot of questions such as "How many watts is a megawatt?" and "What is the unit of measurement for heat/cooling?" Duh... would that be a million watts and a BTU? Do I win the Kewpie Doll?

You know the one that stumped me? What is a bit. Not a byte, a the end of the day... when my brain had shut off. 2 days later I'm still embarrassed.

Those of you who were warning me about the level of difficult questions at Google.. forget it. The most difficult time I had came from trying to explain why I would only load a 20 KW UPS to 50% when the interviewer wanted the answer to be 80%. He was happy when I said "If I had a client who would only buy 1 UPS for some stupid reason, I would not recommend they load it over 80% because no matter what the manufacturer tells you, they don't do 100%" He was happy.

I was annoyed.

It was a stupid question. About the level of "How many watts in a megawatt?" and "What products does we make make?" My answer to that was "Besides the search engine, online shopping, the magazine jpegs, gmail, the calendar, the chat client, map and Earth? Or will those do?" (Guess who I interviewed with)

The true geeks-- the datacenter techs and I had a much better conversation. We talked about vmwares (J & J, I have some stuff for you to look at when I get back). We talked about the differences in servers between AMD and Pentium. We talked about the laws of decreasing return (at what point do you say it's not worth upgrading and we should just buy new servers.) Those were fun. And I very nearly invited them to VS on Wednesday. The Logistics person and I had a good time trashing vendors, too.

I dunno, we'll see IF there's an offer, and what it is. It's possible I was just being pissy because I'd had a damned long day... 6 hours of interview and lunch are enough to wear anyone out. I'm going to write up my "Tell me about yourself" schpeil to hand out if I ever do another interview with this company.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Blessed vacation

I'm off on vacation in 30 minutes, thank the goddess. Although it's not as if I'll be relaxing or anything. I'm going off to a job interview in Chicago, then we're running around and seeing friends there, then we're working DucKon . I'm running the art show, Mike and Andy are running gaming, and we'll spend all weekend being crazy.

If you're looking for us in Chicago, the schedule is:
Saturday - Duckon Precon party
Sunday -- Zoo or Open
Monday - Interview
Tuesday - Witchywearables visit, and Duckon hotel meet.
Wed - Zoo (if not Sunday) and VS
Thur Art Show setup
Fri - Sun - Duckon
Mon - home

Call the cell phone or Kris and Michele if you need us.