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Saturday, April 7, 2007

Look, No Hands!


Look, No Hands!
I had the 'no hands' hold going on here this
afternoon. She was just out cold, so I was still
able to maneuver without much trouble.
I spent quite a bit of time today with Kirstin. This was for a few reasons. One, because I'd been busy throughout the week and didn't have copious amounts of time to spend with her, and two to allow Beth some time to get caught up with other items around the house.

She handles me pretty well, actually. Unless she needs to be fed (which I obviously can't do -- although I tell most people I can whip one [boob] out, but it won't do any good), she and I get along pretty well.

Anyway, this afternoon she fell asleep on me, so I just laid back on the couch and watched some TV. Beth came in to the room, saw the picture, and decided to take one (she actually took a few). And here's the result. You can actually see I wasn't really 'holding' her any more at this point in time.

So yeah, that's my little pumpkin story for the day. Until next time...

--MZ

Somewhat Productive Afternoon

Well, as anticipated, I didn't figure I'd get very far on my list of things to do. I did, however, get several things done that I'd wanted/needed to do.

First off, I got Kirstin's baptism video captured. That wasn't that complicated to do, especially since I still had the VCR connected to my computer. The problem was that I didn't check the audio settings (for recording) and I had to run the video twice, because the first time I had all sorts of video, but no audio. Second time was a charm, I am happy to report.

So, sometime now that I've captured that video, I can play around and burn it on DVD.

I also managed to get most of the weekend 'chores' done, since tomorrow won't be an option for that, seeing as how it's Easter Sunday and all. So that was good. Actually, that reminds me that I didn't run the dishwasher again this evening -- so I guess that will have to wait. Not that big a deal.

I cleaned out the car a bit as well today (when I went to give the dogs some attention/food and take out the garbage). It needed to be cleaned up (garbage collected, etc.). I actually spent a moderate amount of time outside today (it must've been a half hour or better). It felt longer than that, though, because of the temperature and wind combination. Man, this is a strange April so far...

Anyway, that's really all I've got to contribute here for now. Kinda running low on the items to ramble about list. I am making another post right after this, though, through Flickr (so it'll have a picture). So until the next long post...

--MZ

Friday, April 6, 2007

A Long And Productive Day

Well, I stayed in town this afternoon/evening so that I didn't have to make extra trips with the vehicle, and it paid off. I was incredibly productive all day at work today. Of course, not having the phone ring (because the ringer was shut off) helps that out quite a bit. The plus side is that now that I actually got a bunch of things done (that I was hoping to have done by the end of today), I have absolutely no qualms about taking Monday off.

So that's a Good Thing.

I really don't have that much to ramble about right at the moment. I got Kirstin's baptism video tonight after church, so I'll likely capture that quick (seeing as how I still have the VCR connected to my computer and sitting on top of said computer) and eventually then burn it on DVD.

Short of that, and the fact that it's still damn cold outside (currently is 14.7), life is hanging in there. Kirstin slept for on the order of five and a half hours straight last night (which is an increase), so we might be working into even better sleeping patterns. She's not been really that bad at all since we brought her home...she's always slept at night for 2-3 hours on average. But I know that the five and a half hour thing was welcome for Beth. :)

Anyway, I hope to get a few random things done around here tomorrow. We'll see. If I don't get to physical stuff, I do intend to get some more pictures uploaded on Flickr. There aren't that many left, but what's left are the miscellaneous bits (and that makes them arguably the most complex).

Speaking of pictures, I'm still doing the Daily Kirstin thing. Sometimes I don't do anything but just get a picture or two of her, just for that reason (the daily posting). And sometimes I think that it's a bit redundant. But, then I look back at pictures I chose as the daily photo even a few days back and realize once again that it's all for a good cause. It should be interesting to see how things change even more as time goes along.

Flickr recently introduced this thing called 'Collections.' They're only available (from what I understand) on the Pro accounts (which is what I have)...but they're basically 'sets of sets' in one way. Seeing as how Kirstin's main photoset is 149 pictures in size as of tonight, and seeing how it's getting a bit unwieldy to manage (it's easy, but I can't see every picture on the organizing page without scrolling now), I think I'll be breaking it up into more manageable chunks. Most likely by month of age or something like that.

It also will potentially make it easier for frequent visitors to see only the more recent photos (without always seeing the old ones or having to go through the old ones to get to the new ones). So, I can use a collection to encompass the entire 'set of sets', but keep each set smaller in size.

I'm thinking about making that change, and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me to try it out that way. We'll see what happens for sure. Time will tell...

Anyway, that's about all I've got to say. I'm heading for bed and based upon how much I'm yawning right now, it won't take long to fall asleep. I know it didn't take Kirstin long to fall asleep tonight -- she was pretty much out before I started carrying her upstairs.

Until next time...

--MZ

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Cold...and Cold...

I'm running short tonight on ideas for a post, so this will actually be pretty short tonight.

It's been a really cold day today. My magic thermometer says the high only reached about 27, and the low was 8. This is April, after all. They always say never to make life-altering decisions in April. I guess I can believe that. Last week -- nearly 80, this week, not above freezing.

I had a fairly productive day at work, although (as usual) not necessarily in the ways I'd hoped. I got to do something today that I'd not done before (at least not with Windows XP) -- take control of a client's computer to do some fixing. It worked out pretty slick, and I might keep that in mind for future use.

I left work just a little early today (around 4:45), seeing as how I'll be there late tomorrow night. Rather than come home and head right back in to town for church (which is what I did tonight), I'm going to just stick around. Late. I'm looking forward and not looking forward to it. I don't intend to turn the phone [ringer] on tomorrow, claiming it as a holiday, so I'll be able to get a bunch of things done uninterrupted (Good), but I'll be there until just after 7PM (Bad). But, if all goes well, I'll not have to rush to do anything on Tuesday morning when I return to work for real, after taking Monday off.

I'm looking forward to the first of May, when we shift mostly to support calls (rather than deadlines) and then to future work. That will be good -- I like working on things that I've not had the time to work on (due to deadlines). It's just the next three weeks or so that will be less fun.

Anyway, that's about all from here; really nothing new or fancy going on. I'm working on my weekend list of to-do items; we'll see what actually gets done. But more about that as we get closer to the time. Until then...

--MZ

See, I told you this would be good an uninspired!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Well, THAT Snow Event Is Over

So before I get too far into this post, I should note that I found the 10PM weather report from Tuesday night's newscast (click the link). In it (about half way through) is the mention of the 8.5" in Donnelly.

Oddly enough, in today's Morris paper, there was also the mention of 8.5" by the NWS. So my question as to 'who's the NWS representative in Donnelly' still stands.

Today was one of those weird days. For starters, there was 8 inches of snow through which one needed navigate to get to work. That wasn't too bad, actually. But to be nice (it'd have been a real pain in the ass for Beth to try digging her own car out), I made a path down the driveway with my pickup, then cleaned off her car and backed it out of the driveway, turned it around, and backed it up to the house (so she could drive straight out when she came to town in the morning). So that took an extra half-hour of my morning up right there. I'm not complaining, but it's something I should've done on Tuesday evening as opposed to Wednesday morning.

Kirstin's birth announcement was in today's paper as well (finally). It only took two calls (and an email) to get that business straightened out. It turns out that somewhere between point A and B (being the hospital and newspaper office, respectively) the lines got crossed and the information became lost in the shuffle. Since I took care of it on Monday, it was well within time for Wednesday's deadline and now the world (or at least a portion thereof) knows. :)

Anyway, returning back to the rest of the day. My drive in to town this morning was less than fun. Under that 8" snowfall was at least a half-inch of ice and compacted snow. It made for a slow drive (but wasn't terrible -- I've driven in far worse before). But I can believe that yesterday and last night had the warning (see previous post about stuff from MN/DOT) about no travel advised. On the bright side, by the time I managed to come home, road conditions were significantly improved. There were/are still spots, but at least it's not the whole road anymore.

So now we'll hopefully get a slow and gradual melt/thaw of this freshly fallen snow. That would be a Good Thing.

In other news, I'm considering sending a bitchy email to the HughesNet folks. Maybe I'm more tuned into it than I used to be (it's possible, because I am actually using the Internet more often in the last month or so than I used to), but I have noticed with increasing frequency slight problems with the Internet service here. They don't tend to last long (generally things are straightened out within an hour), but they're related to something with their network operations center. Specifically, something with the web proxying business that speeds up content delivery (they call it Web Acceleration).

See, the problem I've been having (or noticing) is related to this functionality. The signal is still good; everything is in working order (and in many cases other non-web/http functionality continues to work (e.g. email transmission)), but if that Web Acceleration is disabled or not operating properly, loading http content is worse than the slowest analog modem connection that I can ever remember. NOTHING goes through.

Don't get me wrong, I actually like HughesNet's service by and large. When it works, it works pretty well and consistently. It's horrible for some things (FTP is a real nightmare at times, and direct terminal (SSH) connections have the latency problem due to the satellite link), and I could do without the $60 monthly bill for said service (I think it's a rip-off, but it's my only reasonable option), but it works...and works pretty well for 90+% of what I need. But lately the downtime has always taken place (so it seems) when I'm in the middle of something. And since it's not due to signal problems, which are out of anyone's control, I am a little less patient for a solution to come around.

I'm not in the right mood to complain about it right now, but if it continues to happen much more, I'm going to do some complaining. It won't likely do much good, but it always makes me feel better. :)

Anyway, that's about all I can think of to ramble about, so I'll leave it at that and bid thee farewell, for now.

Until next time...

--MZ

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Snowy April Day!

So it's been a pretty long day today. At home.

It was snowing reasonably well when I went to bed last night, and by the morning we definitely had some snow on the ground. According to the National Weather Service, there was 6.5 inches of snow in Donnelly at some point in time around 7:15AM. Now, where exactly in Donnelly that would be is another guess. Another, more pressing, question if you ask me is -- who reports this stuff in Donnelly?

Oddly enough, the Donnelly snowfall total made the WCCO 5pm and 10pm news (I didn't see the 6pm news). At 10, they reported a total of 8.5 inches, which I can believe, having been outside for a while this afternoon. I'll have to see if I can dig up a video there proving it.

But yeah, that really makes me wonder who calls this stuff in... Ah well. No big deal.

It's also been noticeably colder today. Currently according to my fancy thermometer, it says the outside temperature is +12.7F. It's chilly outside. But that's alright. It will hopefully help the runoff situation (and keep my basement dry). Last I looked a few hours ago, there were a few small (nickel-sized) damp spots around a few cracks in the floor, but nothing coming up through the floor. In fact, the slightly wet corner I mentioned the other day (at least I believe I mentioned it here) has dried up completely, so we should be in good shape as long as we don't get lots of rain and this melts off gently over a period of time (which as time goes on, looks more and more like the case).

Anyway, I spent the day working at home today. Not really big on driving to work when I can do most of it here...especially when it's inclement outside. That was definitely the case. When I went to get the mail, it appeared to be about a 1/4 mile visibility limit, and that was pretty much the case throughout the day. That's alright. I didn't manage to get quite as much done as I'd hoped, but I did get several items worked on today, which was a Good Thing.

I will presumably go to work tomorrow, although I'm not sure I'll be in right away in the morning. The current alert for our neck of the woods (from MN/DOT):

Becker Co., Big Stone Co., Clay Co., Douglas Co., Grant Co., Mahnomen Co., Otter Tail Co., Pope Co., Stevens Co., Swift Co., Traverse Co. and Wilkin Co. snow on roadway, slippery, snow drifts, reduced visibility, gusty winds, extremely hazardous driving conditions -- only travel if absolutely necessary, drive with extreme caution — until tomorrow at about 10:00 AM

last updated today at 5:28 PM
They'll have an update out tomorrow morning, presumably by 8AM, so I'll see how that goes. I do need to get to the office tomorrow, because I need to make a release/installation of some software, and I can't do that from here (not that I can't, but I refuse to do that from here for several reasons -- most of which are related to simple management)...so we'll see.

Not really much else new around here. Had a pretty good day. When I wasn't working on work-related stuff, I took a bit of a nap, did some trim and touch-up painting (mostly so I could put the door handle mechanism back into the door to Kirstin's room), and just enjoyed the day in general (as much as one can when one is basically stuck inside). I gave the dogs a bit of attention at one point in time when I went to clean off the Internet dish and feed them. They love the snow and whatnot. Of course, there's about a 1-foot deep drift in their area, so they really enjoy that.

I've been again into a real 'soulful' woman's voice tune thing (music) again today. Don't know why. This time it didn't start with Mary Beth Maziarz, though...although I did end up listening to that several times. This time it started out (while I was writing code) when a tune performed by Emiliana Torrini came up on the playlist (I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You). There must be something about female singers and neat piano riffs that make me succumb to play them repeatedly. Ah well. Kirstin will likely be a piano player (hopefully)...so perhaps she can be my little piano riff girl someday. :)

There were other tunes I played repeatedly today, but I can't recall what they were off hand (although I guess I did queue up Queen's 'Under Pressure' a few times -- nothing like weird deadlines :) ).

It seems like there was something else profound that I was going to ramble on about tonight, but I forget. So I'll just keep disconnecting thoughts here. I'm good at that. Well, maybe not good, but it's my niche here.

My Flickr account has now surpassed in views what it contains in pictures. Currently (as of 11:15PM), there are 1,076 pictures, and there have been 1,082 views of said pictures (obviously, not all of them, but distinct visits). The Little Kirstin set has had 595 views, the Daily Kirstin set has had 12 views. That doesn't mean only 12 people (or 595 attempts have been made to see those pictures), it just means that 12 or 595 have looked at the main set page. Statistics about things like that are interesting (but can easily be taken out of context).

By and large, the biggest number of picture views are of Kirstin...although some of my other sets are reasonably hit. Most likely based upon Flickr searches. But that's neither here nor there. So that's cool. First off that I have nearly 1,100 pictures online and that there have been nearly 1,100 distinct visitors. I know there are several people that check back daily with the pictures (so each daily visit from a single person would count as a view)...which is one reason I keep putting them online.

Anyway, it's going on 11:30 now, so I'm heading for bed. Until next time...

--MZ

Monday, April 2, 2007

Smiling Girl


Smiling Girl
I finally caught a smile on her with the camera!
Go Me! She's awfully cute with the grin going on.
Well, as the picture and description elude, I managed to catch her smiling tonight. Note the size of George in the foreground. He's still about twice her size.

Anyway, we've both seen her grin and even heard her laugh before...but it wasn't caught 'on film' as it were until tonight. It was actually quite by chance when I was working on getting her daily picture in. I noticed a smile starting and I quick took a picture, hoping that I could catch it. Indeed, I did. At least part of it.

It's simply joys like that which make it all worthwhile. :)

Alright, now that I've got the sappy stuff out of the way, well...not quite, I guess. While I was at work today, I heard the old familiar Willie's jingle (for Easter) played many, many times throughout the day. Sung by old Willie himself. Every time I hear any of Willie's old jingles, I smile and think fondly of him. He was quite the guy -- a true people lover -- and I find it a real honor to have actually known him (and a similar sort of thing to be able to sing next to him). There really isn't anyone else quite like Willie.

Okay, I've really got the sentimental stuff out of the way. I promise.

So today was a traditional Monday, with the exception that it was Haircut Monday this morning. So I've lost some weight (hair), and that's a Good Thing. There's a reason I religiously get my hair cut every four weeks on a Monday morning -- because I can't stand if it goes any longer than that.

When I got home this afternoon, I ended up dismantling the VCR from the set-up in the living room, because I needed to capture some video off a VHS tape to eventually convert to DVD. This is because the gal whose tape we have (of some of Beth's students doing presentations) needs her tape back. Soon. So, I took the opportunity to capture another item off VHS I'd been meaning to do for some time. So, in a way it's nice I finally got around to capturing some video, but conversely it's not exactly what I'd wanted to do tonight.

Ah well. I've left the VCR connected to my computer for a while; we'll see if I capture any other video or if I put it back and simply wait and capture more video once I actually order and install the RCA jacks for the Cat5e cable currently in the walls between the living room and the office. My guess will be the latter...

It's been pretty quiet here tonight; the only really new thing is that it's been snowing outside...basically since about 6:30 this evening. Off-and-on right now, but there's a definite white coating on the ground now. We're now in a winter storm warning...and it's quite possible that we might get that 3-6 inches of snow overnight. We'll see about that. I'd rather have it as snow (as opposed to rain) after our latest battle with the rain...so I welcome the copious amounts of snow. It will help with everything trying to keep up with the melt and runoff.

Anyway, that's about all I've got to say this evening. Seeing as how the NCAA tournaments are now over (as of a few minutes ago), the 10PM news should be on shortly...and then I can go to bed.

So until next time...

--MZ

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Kirstin Gets Baptised!


Matt, Beth, Pastor & Kirstin
Slightly blurry, but a reasonably good picture
otherwise.
So today was the Big Day -- baptism for little Kirstin. It went really well and was the first church service that she actually sat through completely. Weird. Or ironic, I guess. Anyway, Good Times were had by all. We had a really good meal afterwards in the basement at church. Just enough people where it was comfortable without being too overwhelming.

That's what I'd hoped for. We even had a guest organist that came all the way from Mitchell, SD, for the event (as noted in the previous post). Great Times! The service and dinner (and gift opening after) made for a bit of a long morning and midday, but it was all good.

I don't really have a lot more to ramble on about this right at the moment -- it went off about as well as it could have. The service was well-done (I know Pastor had been looking forward to it for some time), the music -- excellent, the food -- filling, and the gathering -- enjoyable. Much as I enjoy people, though, it was really nice to come home and really do nothing but hang around with my girls and critters. Something to be said about the simple joys of life, right?

Anyway, seeing as how it's now past 11, I'm heading for bed. Until next time...

--MZ

I Missed A Day!

Yeah, it's true. Ah well. I didn't really miss the day, but I just didn't have the energy to sit and write last night before I went to bed. There were just a few too many things going on...but all is well.

I managed to do some more paperwork type of stuff this weekend (specifically Friday night and Saturday through the midday). I did my quarterly filing reduction business (consolidate all of the items I've filed) which made more room in the filing cabinet (a Good Thing), wrapped up our taxes and got that business out the door, and just cleaned up around the desk here a bit. Very good things to have done.

Saturday night I judged the county 4-H Share The Fun skits. I was invited to be a judge about a month ago (as partially rambled on at the end of this post), and so I dropped off Beth and Kirstin at the parsonage (so they could visit with the Seidl's who were in town -- more about them later) before I headed over to the high school to be a part of that event. I wasn't exactly sure what I'd be getting in to, but I was quite pleasantly surprised with the talent and variety that was shown. It was a really good time (many, many laughs), and of course I was able to brush up a bit on my judging skills. :) I would definitely do it again, because it was most fun to watch.

Anyway, after that event was over (it was about 9:30), I headed back to pick up Beth and Kirstin. I stuck around for a while and visited with the Seidl's -- Good Times. You see, many, many months ago we had asked Becki if she would be so kind as to be the organist for Kirstin's (who was unknown in gender at that time) baptism. She gratefully accepted, so they made the trek all the way from Mitchell, SD, just to be a part of it. Fantastic! She rocks as an organist; it was an absolute pleasure to have her available (and she enjoyed it too from what she said to me). So anyway, we were visiting with them a bit, and then headed home. By the time we actually got home it was around 10:30.

I had to get the roaster rinsed out and ready to go (and also get the two half hams cooking), so by the time I actually got a chance to sit down and 'relax' for a bit, it was going on Midnight. Just a bit too late to start writing a post here (especially considering that the intention was to get up around 6:30). Besides, I don't write well when I'm really tired...and that's what was happening then.

So anyway, we had a fair night (after a bit of a rocky start). Kirstin ended up spending the night in her own room by herself. It wasn't the intention (that was intended to be tonight), but she was just making too much noise and causing too much commotion for either of us to get much sleep. Putting her in her own room and crib was fantastic -- we could hear the important stuff (crying), but missed out on the vast majority of heavy breathing/snoring, grunting, and other noise that she's so good at making. So after that interesting start, we all had a pretty good night.

I'll write another post about the baptism stuff...that's coming next.

When we got home this afternoon -- it was time for a serious nap. For everyone. So we got things put away and whatnot, then did the nap business. Kirstin in her crib, too. Beth was able to get some reasonably good nap time in (which is a Good Thing), as was I. A few hours passed, and everyone was refreshed enough to finish out the day. Woohoo! Again, no real problems with Kirstin.

After the nap business, I went outside to feed the dogs. But instead of a milk-bone type of treat, this time they each got a ham bone. They were so excited and happy about that. There really are few simpler joys in life than to see two dogs happily gnawing away on their respective ham bones. They enjoyed the treat.

The rain and snow has finally stopped -- at least for a while. I kinda wished I'd put out the rain gauge again, because I'd be interested to see how much rain we actually got over the last few days. It's been a bunch, and as I told several people today, "I'm glad I bought that stock in the ark building company..." Even though they raised the road 2+ feet last summer, when we came home from church this afternoon there was water running across the road. So far, there's no real water infiltration into the basement here (aside from a little bit in one corner where it's expected when a heavy rain comes). I think we'll be okay for major water issues this time around, as long as we don't get much more for a while. We were dry enough last summer and into the fall/winter that we should hopefully not have a problem. That would be nice.

Of course, now that I've said that, I'll be proven wrong. :)

One thing that I want to do (and I'm not sure exactly when I'll do it) is break into the cistern in the basement (which requires a concrete saw), and then dig in a sump basin (requiring a jackhammer). I figure that this would help tremendously for the future. That would be lovely. We fortunately don't really get that much water standing in the basement (because it all gently flows to the floor drain if it happens and is only as deep as a quarter inch at worst), but preventing it would be the better option. We'll see what happens.

And last but not least -- buttpaste.com This is funny stuff! They take their diaper rash treatment to a new marketing level. Shirts, caps, onesies. You name it, they got it. Fantastic! And they call it butt paste. That's the best part. It's supposed to work really well (we've got some, but not yet used it). Even better!

Anyway, until next time...

--MZ

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