Thursday, October 20, 2011

Just an average Thursday.

I'm having a kind of fun, busy day at work.

I was printing something and ran out of paper. I stood up, said to no one in particular, "I need some paper," walked over to the... refrigerator, opened the door, and stood there, wondering where the paper was.

I think I'm just all excited because... I'm going to flute choir tonight!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Live blogging my Teleflora Customer Service Experience

This is in regards to yesterday's post about my boss's flower arrangement, ordered through Teleflora, which looked nothing like the flowers we ordered.

I placed this call at about 11:13, and I've been on hold now for about 5 minutes. I was told (by the recorded message) that my call would be answered within 2-3 minutes.

They're playing very nice piano music in the background, but this dude keeps cutting in and telling me about their "wonderful products" and "exceptional quality." Not this time, buddy.

11:19... Still on hold.

11:20... Someone picked up. Told her my story. Back on hold.

11:22... She said that because I emailed them, someone from the email department had already refunded me the money as I requested and that I should receive an email from them. Since I haven't received any email, she said she would do it, and she said it takes 2-3 days for the refund to go through. She also said that the florist who prepared my order mixed up the cards. So someone got our pretty arrangment, and we got the shitty one. OK, I can see that happening. It's not very professional, but mistakes happen.

11:27... My co-workers seem satisfied with the outcome. My boss was always happy with the flowers (she likes those colors, and loves daisies), but I was just really disappointed that they weren't as lovely as she is.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Warning: Teleflora SUCKS

I ordered flowers (at the suggestion of another co-worker) from Teleflora for my boss for Bosses Day. I am very, very disappointed in how that transaction has played out.

From me, to them, via email:
The flowers my boss received do not look anything like what I ordered, nor are they comparable or worth what I paid. They are not even the same color scheme. I believe I should get a refund of at least $30 on this order. My boss said they were "pretty" and they were but I am incredibly disappointed. I will NEVER EVER order from you again. I would call but I am at work and I don't want my boss to hear me complaining about her gift. Someone should contact me via email or by phone soon to fix this situation.
What I ordered:
This arrangement is called "Zen Artistry."

What I received:
This arrangement is not Zen in any way.

Yes, they have a disclaimer when you order that if the exact arrangment isn't available they'll send something else but this is a joke. I think someone ripped these off a table from the local IHOP. I'm so mad - what a rip off. The other arrangement was not cheap, and this orange and yellow monstrosity (it was much smaller than it appears in this photo) a) isn't anything I ever would've have chosen and b) is not the work of a skilled florist. I could've put that bunch of Home Depot flowers together, for much, much less money.

Sprout Organic Baby Food by Tyler Florence

Patrick picked this food up for JP the other day. He'd read about it, and the reviews were amazing - people were saying stuff about how the food was so good, they would eat the leftovers if their baby couldn't finish it.

We tried it, and yep, JP was into it. He liked it. He liked it a lot. I liked it too (my only complaint is that the package is a little hard to handle neatly). On Saturday, I was about halfway through a container of Summer Squash, Yukon Gold Potatoes and Parmesan (which he was loving), when my brain suddenly turned on. Parmesan. Parmesan. Parmesan is cheese. Cheese from cow's milk. Cow's milk was on that list of foods I was given by a nutrition that shouldn't be given to babies before they turn 12 months old.

So. I took the food away and substituted something else (and let me tell you, JP was not happy about that), and I called the toll-free number on the package.

Not to complain: I should've checked the label before feeding it to him, so this one was on me (bad mommy!) but to question. I told them how much my baby enjoys the food but that I was concerned about the presence of a cow's milk product in a food marketed to infants, who, I thought, were not supposed to have cow's milk.

I didn't expect to, but this morning I received a call back from a woman named Sherry from the company. She explained to me that because the cow's milk in the cheese has been cooked, that the hard-to-digest enzymes have been eliminated, and that it's OK to give it to babies at this stage.

That phone call accomplished two things:

  1. It relieved my mind. I thought I'd totally messed up by giving him cheese.
  2. It made me want to tell everybody to go pick up some Sprout Organic Baby Food for your baby. They'll love it, and you will too.

From an interview in the Guadian with Haruki Murakami:

"...I have some feeling that I have to live, I have to live very strong. Because I don't want to spend years of my life… it should be the very purpose, life. Because I survived, I have obligations to give fully..."
I like this quote very much. My interpretation is that he's saying that the meaning of life is to live. And that living requires us to be strong. Or maybe I'm reading into it, because my mom's oncologist, while telling her that he was going to be adjusting her treatment (chemotherapy kicked her butt this time), also told her to "live her life." We all keep saying that, jokingly, to her (because he's not a very touchy-feely guy, it felt a little weird coming from him), but I like that advice.

I wonder if Siri would be able to come up with that one? I also wondered if Steve Jobs included any "easter eggs" (I'm sure there's a cooler, more tech-savvy name for these by now; I'm no Apple junkie) in any of the products he was working on before he died?

You can read the whole interview/article with Murakami if you click on the title of this post.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The maintenance required light came on last night on our way home from visiting my mom and dad in Culver City; it might (hopefully) just be that I missed my oil change 1,000 miles ago. I'd planned on taking it back to EZ Lube in CC but I forgot to do it yesterday! Anyway, JP was awake at 6 AM so I thought we'd try going to the dealer early. Guess who fell asleep in the car on the way over?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Can Apple save the U.S. Post Office?

Will Apple be able to save the U.S. Post Office with their Cards app? I don't know, but this looks pretty damn cool. I heard that some people are having trouble downloading the new IOS5 so maybe I'll try to upgrade in the middle of the night when I'm up with the baby... 

I can't wait to send photos to my mom and dad, or Pat's mom, of the baby! They'll love it!*

*I wrote these words before I noticed them on the Apple website, I SWEAR.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Better late than never: Best of 2010

When I decided it was time to finally sit down and figure out which of these posts constituted the "best of" 2010, a little voice inside my head said, "Isn't it kind of obnoxious to label your own writing as good?" I told that little voice, "True, but if I don't do it, who will?"

Since the little voice has (thankfully) chosen to remain silent on that point, here they are, only 10 months late, the best posts of 2010 from Maturity is a bitter disappointment and I Can't Stand [Meeting] You. I'll try to not include any of the posts where I recount for your amusement/annoyance the contents of my stupid dreams. Enjoy.

1. "He's gotta ticket to ride"
Maybe if Karen Carpenter had focused on a life of crime instead of whatever she was seeing in the mirror, God's big band in the sky might be missing (another) drummer.

2. "Dancing with the stars, or whoever"
I took a lecture-y tone with Little Miss Bristol Palin, and advised her to "see a Broadway show." Man I love Dancing with the Stars. It brings out the school-marm in me.

3. "Ay caramba, dude!"
Come with me back in time to a moment before I had the baby, when apparently my biggest worry was... my home's lack of storage space.

3A. "Stuff. Stuff!"
If you found item no. 3 interesting, here's a variation on the same theme. We still have no storage but the little baby we got instead doesn't seem to mind. Yet.

4. "Yesterday (no, not the Paul McCartney tune"
Another post where I wrote about the baby, and a nice big jumble of other, unrelated topics, including classical music, my (not very inspiring) choice of reading materials, and the hipsters who staff the Apple store (any Apple store). Also, is "hipster" still the word to use when describing people who are (mostly) younger than you who have interesting hair? And what's up with those weird beards? I saw another one just the other day on some kid walking out of one of the many churches in my neighborhood. Let me be 100% crystal clear: that kind of beard (this website calls it a "chin curtain") looks good on NOBODY.

5. "We know where we're going"
A short post (and I don't get why I used that title, either, except that I guess I was listening to the Talking Heads), pre-baby, where I spent a delicious 10 hours in bed, something that right now sounds so decadent and wonderful that I can't even conceive of it. Oh, and kitty picture! And now this "summary" is longer than the actual post. Included here because the idea of all that sleep has me a little giddy.

6. Untitled
On June 4th, Patrick's band Suffering Luna played a gig at a gross place called the Smell. I "live blogged" it (i.e., I sent text messages from my iPhone to my blog), and some of them were pretty funny. Unfortunately, as I sent each message one at a time and I didn't take the time to post them all in one entry with a title (like a normal person), I'm having a hard time linking to them, now. Does any of that make sense? Anyway, the next day, I wrote a post that explained what had happened. If you click here and then go back to "older posts" you will see what I did, there. Go ahead, try it.

7. "I have an inexplicable need to write titles that are longer than they need to be"
By writing a lot of seemingly random words, it appears that I can control LA Radio. Or, LA Radio is way more predictable than it needs to be. That's probably it, huh. Also: slow dancing - how can I make that happen?

8. "High finance in action"*
I took all my change to my local Ralph's and poured it into the Coinstar machine. Comedy ensued. Oh, not really, but it's kind of a funny post. I won't lie: "kind of" but not "very".

*Using that title makes it sound as if I was high. I was not. I swear.

The following posts are from my Stewart Copeland blog, which, if you think I've been neglecting this blog, must be seeming like it's, wait, I started that sentence without planning the ending and now I'm screwed, aren't I. Anyway, here are the best posts from 2010 in my "I Can't Stand [Meeting] You" blog, which is mostly weird-ass letters to, who else? Stewart Copeland. Read it, and tell me I'm weird. I love that.

9. "Dear Stewart"
[Note: almost all the entries in the Stewart Copeland blog are titled "Dear Stewart," but I was careful to link the right posts to the words "Dear Stewart". Don't think about that too hard, your brain will literally explode.]

I wrote a lot of words to a famous man who probably doesn't remember meeting me, about my mom's chemotherapy, People magazine, the theatre I work/ed at, and an invitation come see the show. It's actually (I think) a sweet little letter.

10. "Dear Stewart"
This is just like a letter you might write, say, from camp or something. And I called world-renowned drummer/composer/filmmaker all-around awesome guy Stewart Copeland "man" like he was my buddy, somebody I ditched 5th period world history with or something. Hey, man! What's up?

11. "Dear Stewart and Dufmanno"
Dufmanno is one of my favorite readers, of which there are probably three. She inspired a pretty funny post, if I do say so myself. Which I do. Say so.

12. "Dear Sting"
I took a time out from all the letters to Stewart to write to his band mate, Sting, where I lectured him about his lack of "fun" and "creativity," but the joke's on me, 'cause that guy has like a home in every country. He can take his lack of fun to the bank and they'll hand over bags of money, every single time.

12A. Another letter to Sting
Apparently Sting bothers me. Read it, here.

13. "Dear Stewart"
There aren't many words in this letter, but the ones that are there are sweet. I like when I, in a move exactly opposite to my normal operating procedure, use fewer words than usual. It leaves a lot unsaid (obviously) and context (and content) get lost but then I get to go back almost a year later and read some random thing I wrote like this and I wonder where my head was at. Not exactly knowing is kind of cool sometimes.

So, that's all. Enjoy, or don't: it's up to you.

Standing up

I guess I haven't been doing a good job of keeping this thing updated whenever the baby does something new or posting photos... I think I'm going to blame Facebook for taking away some of my focus.

Instead of posting the following there, though, I thought about it (all weekend) and decided to wait until today to use this space for the following exciting news:

Lo and behold, my little baby boy can PULL HIMSELF UP.

On Friday, I put him in his crib so that I could go to the bathroom. This is what we (mostly) use the crib for, since he sleeps with us (or at bedtime, I put him down to sleep in his crib for an hour or two so I can watch TV or read or whatever, then I bring him to bed with me). Sometimes he'll take a nap in there, too. He has a few toys (mostly stuffed animals) to play with and his room and his crib are closer to the bathroom than the Pack & Play, which is out in the living room. Generally he's happy enough in there for a few minutes. He'll wait for you longer in the Pack & Play, which is in the (livelier) living room and has more interesting toys in it.

Anyway, this time I heard him fussing in his room while I was in the bathroom, so I hurried up to get out there and see what he was doing.

What he was doing was standing up. In his crib. Holding onto the side.

My little crawler (still has his tummy on the ground, army-man style) has decided that he wants to stand.

After that, it was all he wanted to do. I held him up while we played on the floor (he loves the Busy Zoo my friend Missy gave us, and standing up to play with it is a million times more fun that sitting down!). I held him up while I sat on the couch and he apparently got a kick out of just standing there, because there literally was nothing else going on except his own slight bouncing motion. Oh, OK, I might've been singing to him, too ("Daddy's gonna take us to the zooooo tomorrow, zoooo tomorrow, zooo tomorrow, daddy's gonna take us to the zooooo tomorrow..."). We've been listening to Pandora on the TV (very cool thing), set to a children's station, and for the most part, I actually really enjoy a lot of the children's music, which is mostly silly. I do silly quite well, it seems. The channel we chose also plays Disney songs (I wanna walk like you, talk like you...!) and oldies (JP loves when Mommy sings with "La Bamba." I love making up the words. Does anybody know the words to La Bamba?). It's fun. He's started giggling a little when something funny happens in the room (as opposed to just when I'm kissing or tickling him), and man, that little laugh is so precious. He takes a lot of serious photos (and my friends in the swimming class usually just see him big-eyed and a little awestruck) but my baby can laugh.

On Thursday, I spoke to his Daycare teacher, and she warned me that he would be getting more adventurous (they have a little ball pit in his room, and apparently he launched himself out of it). She was right. (She also said that "he picks up things very quickly," which of course made me very proud of my little man.)

I'm trying not to be an overly protective, nervous mom (Patrick lets him have too much water in the bathtub! But when I say something, he says, YOU take him swimming in a 30,000 gallon pool! My response ["OK, but we're not talking about what I do!"] didn't go over well, so now I just stay in the living room and let them play). I think that's going to have to be a learned behavior, because my natural inclinations appear to include fretting. Anyway, I'm working on it, I'm working on it.

My mom thinks he'll walk by the time he's 1.
That freaks me out a little!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Win Friends, influence people, and annoy them as little as possible (I'm looking at you, Tiger Woods!).

I love this (below, from a NY Times review of the e-book version of Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People," a book I've never read but now almost want to - in the original; a hard copy version please, thank you!):
The following sentence, which appears on Page 80, is so inept that it may actually be an ancient curse and to read it more than three times aloud is to summon the cannibal undead: “Today’s biggest enemy of lasting influence is the sector of both personal and corporate musing that concerns itself with the art of creating impressions without consulting the science of need ascertainment.”
You can read the whole review (which also includes a discussion of the updated "Emily Post's Etiquette") here. Personally, when I'm looking for advice, I turn to "Dear Prudence," "Ask Amy" (not as annoying in print as she is on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell me") and Carolyn Hax, and for etiquette, the Social Q's section in the New York Times. Emily Post has never really done it for me. Oh, and I also like the Ethicist in the New York Times, though I did sort of prefer Randy Cohen to the anonymous female writer they have now.

This message will not only post on my blog, but will be posted to Twitter, and therefore, to Facebook. Hope it doesn't annoy you too much! :-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trapped on the freeway.

At least I'm not alone. There's like, a million other cars sitting here, going nowhere, doing exactly the same thing I am. Oh, okay, maybe nobody else is listening to Xanadu. 
I refused to believe it. My heart wants what it wants,
and that includes an open freeway.

Monday, October 3, 2011

..."Husky Anderson Cooper..."

Saw a guy, like a husky Anderson Cooper, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, no shoes, riding a skateboard, walking his dog. I wish my Monday was so carefree.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

More thoughts on parking lots than the topic deserves

I want some designer to put the "park" in parking lot, to make them a safer place for pedestrians.

More trees, walkways, better lighting.

Why does everyone act like that's impossible, or insane, or too much to ask? This weekend I walked with the baby to my Weight Watcher's meeting. It's 1.5 miles from my house, and a pretty nice walk, most of the way (except for the Intersection of Death, which we'll discuss another time). We mostly walked through residential streets, and then we had to walk through the K-Mart/Lowe's parking lot. There's also a Denny's, Verizon store, Starbucks, and Carl's Jr. in that parking lot. It's a huge, gigantic parking lot, with enough spaces for 10 more stores. There will never, ever, ever be a day when every single one of those spaces is filled with a car; there aren't that many people in the entire city of Long Beach who want to shop at K-Mart (I have never seen more than 10 people at once in there).

Not only are there a ton of extra spaces, the spaces they do have are all laid out weird. There are strange little cul de sacs and short lanes and no stop signs and spaces that aren't near any store - it makes no sense.

There's lots of room. They could have sidewalks, more trees, better lighting, bigger spaces for biggeer cars (I do not believe in compact spaces! Not because I don't believe in compact cars, but because there's always going to be some jerk who parks his Suburban in a compact spot and throws the whole thing off for everybody. If all spaces were the same size, everybody could park anywhere, regardless of the size of their vehicle).

So I had to push the stroller through the parking lot, basically "in the street" because there's no walkway for pedestrians. Sure, nobody was really there at 10:30 on a Sunday morning, but I didn't exactly feel safe. Nobody ever seems to think about what happens once you park your car, so pedestrians aren't even considered when parking lots are designed. But I think, if a store has a well-designed lot, and clearly takes my safety into consideration, then wouldn't I be more willing to shop there? Yes.

Anyway, I realize that there are more important problems in the world, and that probably parking lot design isn't #1 on anybody's list, but it seems like such a simple thing. It would be so easy. Someone should advocate for this. Maybe that someone will be me.

Maybe. I'll think about it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Review for mommies: Citadel Outlets

Yesterday I packed up the baby and set off for the Citadel Outlets in Commerce, California. Unlike other outlets in southern California, this one is easy to get to and not too far from pretty much anywhere in Los Angeles.

Before we left, I checked out their website to see if they had any information about accommodations for nursing mothers. Sure, I could've just headed over there and plopped on a bench outside the shops and fed the baby... but I don't really nurse in public like that anymore. For one thing, JP is much too wiggly - for my own comfort I prefer to cover up when out in the open, and he will not tolerate the cover anymore. I can pull my shirt around to cover myself but getting started is the moment of truth. And, he's also taken to stopping and starting several times during one feeding - it's too revealing.

So I clicked on the "contact us" link and sent an email asking if they had a "family or mother's area" for nursing a baby. I was very surprised: I got a response from someone in about an hour, stating that they do have such an area, called the Mother's Lounge.

I think this might be a new feature, because when I got there, a woman was photographing it. She was very polite and didn't bother me, so I just sat down and did what I needed to do. The room is right inside the ladies' restroom, and beautifully lit and decorated. There are several couches upholstered in a very soft fabric, a couple of chairs, and a little play area for older kids. There's nice lighting, and pretty pictures on the wall, and mirrors, and soft fabrics everywhere.
Before I fed the baby, we stopped off in one of the "family" restrooms so I could change his diaper. Again, beautifully done - big, clean room for just us (there are six of them, I think); we didn't have to share. There's one regular toilet, and a little one for the kiddies. Next to the sink is a changing table covered with a nice fuzzy fabric. My only criticism is that they installed the paper towel dispenser (automatic) right over the changing pad, right at baby's level. On the one hand, this gave JP something to do instead of squirming while I changed his diaper, on the other hand, wow that's a lot of wasted paper towels (I used most of the ones he caused to dispense when I washed my hands later). And my other criticism: they have two outlets, also at baby level, in the changing area. Why couldn't these two things have been placed higher up, away from inquisitive little hands? Otherwise, the family restroom worked out great for us.

So after feeding JP and using the restroom, we kept shopping. It's been awhile since I've been to the Citadel, and the Gap and Banana Republic used to be the only stores I cared about. This time I went to the Gap (but not Banana... I'm too fat still to want to buy anything from there anytime soon) and spent most of my time in the baby section (got him the CUTEST long-sleeved onesie with an old boom box on it... Patrick will love it), among other things. I did also get a pair of pants and a top for me, but this shopping trip was really about the baby. We received so many clothes for him as gifts but now we're starting to run out. And he needs warmer shirts and another little zip up jacket, and pants... I had fun shopping for him.

The Citadel has a good selection of baby stores: we went to Carter's, Gymboree, Osh Kosh B'Gosh... it was a fun day. We had lunch at Panda Express (but after I got my food there I wished I had tried the Mediterranean restaurant they have, called Lamajoon), and then I went back to the Mother's Lounge to feed JP again before the ride home. This time there was a woman feeding her 11-day old baby (so tiny!), and a couple of ladies just resting their feet.

We got a lot of stuff and had a fun day. To be honest, I think I'd rather go to the Citadel from now on, rather than the regular mall.