Last summer I signed up for a Twitter account at the prompting of a friend of mine. I didn't really use it at all after signing up, but I had the account nonetheless. Every once in a while, I received a message about someone "following" me on Twitter. I really hoped that they weren't expecting much, because I never used the account. Never, that is, until this past week. I decided I would revisit Twitter and see what it was all about. While I have very little need to post anything myself on Twitter, I do enjoy reading what some other people tweet about. I have particularly enjoyed reading Wil Wheaton's tweets as he writes about what he is doing at a given moment. I have found that he seems to enjoy watching hockey.

As for my use of Twitter, I may use it occasionally much in the same way I use my status on Facebook, to inform my friends about what I am doing or thinking, not that anyone really cares. In fact, I am having anything I send to Twitter also be used to update my Facebook status. And, if you are interested in what I am tweeting about, I have included my Twitter feed to the right in my blog.


Another Birthday Party

This weekend we went to Mel's parents' house in Humboldt, Iowa, where we had a birthday party for Emma for Mel's side of the family. We didn't want to have the party at our house because we didn't feel that it could accommodate many people, and Mel's family is quite large. Besides, we didn't think many people would want to drive all the way here for a few hours. Having the party at Mel's parents' house was more convenient for more of the family.

We ended up buying some food for the lunch when we arrived in Humboldt. Despite not knowing how many people would be in attendance, we ended up without too much leftover. We basically had enough left for Mel's parents and us to have dinner Saturday night. After eating lunch Emma opened her presents. She was very excited about that and did a god job of tearing the wrapping paper off of her presents. Among the presents she received was the Little People Dance ’n Twirl Palace. She and her cousin Selathiel really enjoyed playing with that. She also got an Elmo's Mailbox Shape Sorter (which was also a lot of fun), some bubbles, and some books.

Since we will be having Easter dinner with my side of the family, we plan on celebrating Emma's birthday with them then. So the celebration of Emma's birthday gets to extend for over three weeks.

Mel's Birthday

Mel's birthday was on Thursday last week. I was still not completely recovered from being sick earlier in the week, but I was feeling well enough to go out to dinner. The three of us met my sister for dinner. Mel really wanted to go to Carlos O'Kelly's for dinner as it is one of her favorite restaurants, and she loves their margaritas which happen to be half price on Thursdays, but we decided that a two-hour-round-trip drive on a Thursday for dinner would be a bit much, especially for Emma, so she settled on Don Pablo's in Roseville. We had a terrific dinner, and Mel enjoyed some margaritas. Because I still wasn't feeling all that great, it didn't take much of my dinner to actually fill me up. Normally I would have been able to eat the entire dinner that I ordered, but I ended up with about half of it leftover for lunch on Friday. After Emma went to bed, Mel and I each had some of the Dairy Queen cake that I had picked up earlier in the day for her birthday. Yum!

The Superior Hawgs Ride Again

I have been a bit lax in blogging lately. A little over a week ago, I emailed the group contact for my RAGBRAI team to see if he would be submitting the registration for the group since only seven people had registered to ride with it. Previously we had been told that they needed a minimum of twenty people to go as a group. Despite not reaching this goal, he decided that the Superior Hawgs would indeed be going on RAGBRAI. This is good as I had still been trying to decide on how to do the ride if the Hawgs did not go. Fortunately I will not have to figure out an alternative plan. Hopefully our team gets selected in the lottery for RAGBRAI wrist bands, although I doubt this will be a problem.


This Sunday's Family Guy

The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation is reuniting for an episode of Family Guy this Sunday of Fox. From the preview, it looks funny.


Doctor Appointment

Emma had her two-year checkup at the pediatrician's office yesterday. She is developing as she should. Her height is 3 feet 1 inch, which places her above the ninety-ninth percentile for height. Her weight is 31.6 pounds, which is between the ninetieth and ninety-fifth percentiles which is fine since she is so tall. Also, she did not need to get any shots on this visit.

On a different topic, Emma gave me whatever illness she had last Friday and Saturday. I ended up going to bed around 6:30 last night without eating dinner. While I was tired, I unfortunately did not get a good night's sleep, waking up every half hour or so for much of the night. I ended up working some this morning and then resting on the couch for a bit. I continued to work some this afternoon. I don't want to use up all of my sick time this early in the year. I should feel well enough to put in a full day tomorrow, hopefully. On the bright side, Emma seems to be feeling much better now.


Birthday & Being Sick

Despite coming home sick from daycare yesterday, Emma seemed to have a good birthday. We got her some Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse toys that she has enjoyed playing with so far. We also had a little cake for her. We decided that we didn't need a whole cake in the house for just the three of us, so Emma and I picked up a six-pack of cupcakes and some ice cream from the grocery store. Emma didn't eat much of the cake or ice cream. In fact, she didn't eat much of her dinner at all.

Emma ended up sleeping in this morning until almost 9:00. She ended up getting more than twelve hours of sleep. Once she got out of bed, she didn't eat too much, which is probably a good thing, because it would have made for a bigger mess when she got sick sitting in her mommy's lap. Fortunately she went to sleep after we cleaned her up. Once she woke up she was upset that we wouldn't give her her blankie as it was still in the dryer, having taken a bit of a hit when she got sick.

Some friends of Mel from Cedar Rapids are coming for the evening, in fact they just got here. Hopefully Emma feels good enough that we can go out to eat, otherwise we'll be bringing food it.



My wife, Mel, is a big fan of the TV show ER and has been watching it since it began. Since getting married, I have watched ER on occasion. I usually enjoy it when I see it, but it hasn't been a show that I feel I can't miss. In this final season of ER though, I have been watching it more frequently. I saw the antepenultimate episode of the series last night and am looking forward to the final two episodes coming up. While I will not mourn the ending of ER, I think I will still enjoy the final episodes.

Happy Second Birthday Emma!

Wow! I can not believe that it was two years ago today that Emma was born! She has certainly changed in the past two years, especially in this past year. Her vocabulary has grown immensely, she can now form short sentences, and she can run and walk, and she can throw a tantrum when she doesn't get her way. Ok, I could probably do without that last development, but I suppose it comes with her asserting her independence some.

Unfortunately, Emma is sick today. She was acting a bit odd this morning, clinging to me more than usual. Then after she had been at daycare for a couple of hours, they called to say that Emma was running a fever and that she was having other issues that I would prefer not to mention specifically in my blog. She doesn't seem to be too sick, although she didn't eat much for lunch. I was also hoping that she would nap longer. She slept this afternoon for about two and a half hours. In fact, she has just woken up, so I suppose I should finish this and get her out of bed now.

Emma - One Year Old

Emma's Birthday


A Couple of Videos Involving Muppets

If I had seen this video earlier, I would have posted it on Tuesday for Saint Patrick's Day. It is a rendition of the song "Danny Boy" sung by the Swedish Chef, Beaker, and Animal.

The second video is of Elmo and actor-comedian Ricky Gervais. The video shows part of an interview of the two after the interviewer seems to have lost control.

Do Androids Dream of This?

Some shepherds in Wales who appear to have too much time on their hands attached LEDs to a herd of sheep and choreographed their movements in the night, recording it for our entertainment, and to advertise Samsung LED TVs.

Check That Fruit

I am often reminded by someone that I should be eating more fruit. I suppose I should, but this video gives me one reason to watch out for bananas.


David Prowse Battles Cancer

David Prowse, the actor who played Darth Vader in the original three Star Wars films, is battling prostate cancer. According to the article to which I linked, Prowse says he is feeling "fantastic," and that he has just had his last radiotherapy treatment. Despite the fact that David Prowse is on my dead pool list, I wish him a speedy recovery.


Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone! I am not planning on anything special to celebrate the holiday. I'm not even going to find myself some green beer to drink. Perhaps I will drive over to McDonald's to pick myself up a Shamrock Shake to have with my lunch, leftover chicken quesadillas from last night, but that would be all. Oh, the green beer would be fewer Weight Watchers Points, but the Shamrock Shake will be quite tasty as well.

Weight Watchers Weeks 7 and 8

I forgot to record my weight form last Tuesday on my blog as I was not working from home that day, having to drive to the north edge of Saint Paul for a work meeting. However, my weight last Tuesday was exactly the same as both my weight this morning and two Tuesdays ago. That's not bad considering I don't believe I recorded the Points for what I ate the past week and a half.

Weight: 214.6 lbs.
Change since last week: 0.0
Pounds to goal: 15.6



Someone I work with was supposed to be off work this week, but this morning she informed us that she would be working from home instead for most of the week. After she let us know that, another coworker, sent an email to her, and everyone else on the original email, calling her the "penultimate team player." I was a bit confused as to why the second coworker would want to insult the original sender of the email for saying she would be working from home. I definitely do not think being called the next to last team player is a good thing. Maybe she could have called her the ultimate team player. That would have been a much nicer thing to say.

A Rough Morning

Emma was quite unhappy this morning and she let me know it! I think she screamed for about an hour, taking a short break when I turned on Little Einsteins. She did not want me to get her dressed, and she definitely did not want me to put her in the car to go to daycare. I had a very hard time holding her down as I fastened her into her car seat. Once she was in the car seat, she proceeded to scream the entire way to daycare, and she was not happy about my leaving her there. She was fine when I was holding her, but when I set her down she started wailing again. I stuck around outside her room until I thought she had calmed down. Hopefully her day was better than her morning was.


I Survived!

It looks like I made it through the weekend. It wasn't really all that tough taking care of Emma on my own this weekend, although it would have been much easier if she weren't still trying to adapt to daylight saving time and her recent apparent need to cuddle before going to sleep. This morning Emma woke up shortly before 6:00, as with yesterday morning. We went to my sister's church this morning so Emma could see her grandmother once more before my mom returned to Iowa this afternoon. Emma actually did a pretty good job during the church service. She was fairly quiet with just a few "oh no"s coming from her mouth. Mainly when she took her shoes off, which she did several times during the service. She had a good time after the service eating a doughnut, and sitting with her grandma and aunt as well as my aunt and uncle.

About an hour after we got home, it was time for lunch. Emma did a good job eating lunch, but gave me some issues with taking a nap. I eventually got her into bed, but she never really got to sleep. I heard her babbling for almost an hour in her room before she started protesting being kept in her room. So, without a real nap, we headed to the Mall of America where I bought some birthday presents for Emma and for someone else who I will not name at this time. (I wouldn't want that person to know I bought him or her something today.) Emma quickly fell asleep in the car once we left for the mall. In fact, she was sleeping so well in the car that I was almost able to get her out of her car seat and into her stroller without her waking up. She did wake up though, but still did a good job behaving at the mall. On our trip back home, she once again fell asleep.

I don't know if it was because of her lack of a quality nap today or what, but Emma just would not go to sleep voluntarily tonight either. After trying various things for nearly an hour tonight, I broke down and put her in the car. We drove around town for a little while until she was sleeping. She did wake slightly when I took her from her car seat after returning home, but she went to bed quite easily. I just hope this doesn't come back to bite me in the ass tomorrow night when it is bedtime. I will not be driving her around tomorrow night! Maybe her mommy's return tomorrow will make her happy, helping her to get to sleep much better.

Even through I have to work tomorrow, I am not planning on getting up at my normal week-day time. I am going to let Emma sleep as long as she can, and I am not planning on waking up until she does, although I do have an alarm set in the unlikely event that she ends up sleeping much later than she usually does. There has been a time or two when Emma has slept until 8:00 or even later. With her lack of quality naps today, maybe tomorrow will be a repeat of one of those instances.



I was thankful that Emma allowed me to sleep later than 4:45, the time I had to get up yesterday morning. She ended up sleeping until just before 6:00 this morning. That was still a bit earlier than I was hoping for, but it was better that yesterday.

My mother came over this morning to see Emma and me again before she returns home tomorrow afternoon. After eating her lunch, it was nap time for Emma. Since her grandma was here, Emma didn't really want to take her nap. I was a bit of a struggle to get her to sleep, but eventually she went to sleep. While Emma napped, my mother and I watched Logan's Run, which she had never before seen. Emma ended up sleeping just two and a half hours, which is short for her on the weekend. Typically she will nap between three and four hours on weekends. I guess she just wanted to get up to see her grandma again.

My mom stayed for about another hour or so once Emma woke up. Afterwards, Emma wanted to go outside to play, but when we went into our backyard, she was scared by the barking dog next door. So I decided that we should go for a walk. We ended up walking for around thirty to forty minutes. Well, I walked that long, I ended up carrying Emma for the last ten minutes of our walk.

Emma did not want to go to bed tonight. After she got in bed, she called me in because she wanted her Handy Manny doll in bed with her. I started looking around her room, checking under the bed, in her closet, in the clothes hamper, behind the Diaper Genie. Each time I looked somewhere, Emma said "no." I then searched the remainder of the upstairs of the house before I finally found Manny in the toy box in the living room. Either Emma decided to hide it there to use as an excuse to stay up, or she honestly didn't remember that she had put Manny in her toy box.

As if that wasn't enough to keep her up, she then told me that she needed a new diaper. Once I got her diaper off, she indicated that she wanted to use the potty. After sitting on the potty I eventually got a new diaper on her and got her ready for bed, yet again. However before gong to sleep she felt that she needed to cuddle some, a habit she seems to have gotten into recently. While I don't mind cuddling with Emma, she really needs to be able to go to sleep on her own. After turning off all the lights in the living room, including the TV, I got her to relax and was able to get her in bed by 8:10 at which time she promptly went to sleep when I placed her in bed.


Weekend Without Mel

Mel left for Cedar Rapids this morning. She is spending the weekend visiting friends there and going to the Nickelback concert in the Quad Cities. Since the concert is Sunday night, she won't be returning until Monday afternoon. So until then it is just Emma and me at home.

The two of us did make it out this evening. My mother is in the cities for my sister's orchestra concert that is tomorrow night. Emma and I joined my mother and sister for dinner at Chammps Americana for dinner. My sister was running late from work, so we didn't eat until late, causing Emma to get home after her bedtime. She fell asleep on the way home, but naturally she woke up once I took her out of the car. She did let me change her into her pajamas though without any arguing, and after watching fifteen minutes of Handy Manny, she was ready to go to bed. Unlike the past several nights, she didn't whine at all once she was put to bed.

Now that Emma is sleeping soundly, and I have finished watching tonight's episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I should go to bed, in case Emma decides that she needs to get out of bed at 4:45 in the morning as she did this morning.


The Past Couple Days

On Tuesday this week I got to take a break form my normal routine of working from home. One of my coworkers from Iowa City was unable to come to Minnesota for a committee meeting, so she asked me if I could fill in for her. My workload on my main project is fairly light at the moment, so I let her know that I would love to help out. So Tuesday morning we had to wake Emma up early and take her to daycare around 6:30 so I could make the twenty-two-mile drive to Roseville, where the meeting took place. I was there in January to fill in for a different meeting, but this was the first time I got to work their math staff since before Emma was born. It was good to see them again. The meeting went well. In fact, it went so well that they didn't need me back on Wednesday.

It was a good thing that I wasn't needed for the meeting on Wednesday as I wasn't feeling very well yesterday morning. Actually, I started feeling not so good some time Tuesday afternoon. So I took the day off to relax and to recover. Unfortunately I am still not feeling all that good, but I should be able to get some work done.


Less Than Two Months

In just under two months, on May 8, the new Star Trek movie opens in theaters. The more I see of this movie, the more I am excited for its release. Here is the latest trailer for Star Trek.


Missing Iowa

It has been eight months since we moved to Minnesota, and before I say anything else, I do really like living here. However I do miss quite a bit about living in Cedar Rapids. First and foremost, I miss living near my friends. I have not been back to Iowa to visit with any of my friends since leaving Iowa in July, although I am planning on going back for a weekend in April. And I do enjoy working from home, but I do miss working in the office, spending time with my coworkers.

I am not at all saying that I regret moving to the Twin Cities. In fact there are plenty of things that I do like about living here -- I have plenty of relatives in the area, including my sister. I also like that there are plenty of things to do, such as going to the zoo, the science museum, and much, much more. There are also professional sporting events that we can go to. Of course similar activities are available in eastern Iowa.

So while I do like it here in Minnesota, I would not go out on a limb to say here for the rest of our lives. Maybe we will return to Iowa some day. Of course, Mel would have to find a job that she thinks she would really enjoy, and we probably need to wait for the economy to turn around, allowing the value of our house to increase to the point where we wouldn't be losing money selling it. This isn't to say that we would be moving back any time soon, or even ever at all. I am just saying that we are keeping our options open.


Rush "Defender of the Constitution" Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh, who was given the "Defender of the Constitution Award" at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) apparently thinks that being a defender of the Constitution means he gets to write it. Limbaugh claims that Barack Obama and the rest of the liberals want to bastardize the Constitution, but maybe he should take a look at himself. In his speech at the CPAC, Rush Limbaugh rewrote the Constitution by inserting words from the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, claiming that the Constitution entitles us to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." And as if that wasn't enough, the apparent leader of the Republicon Party, added "freedom" to that list as well, which is not even part of that phrase in the Declaration of Independence. Why doesn't Limbaugh just get a clue?


Pacifier Update

After yesterday's ever-so-exciting posting about the new office chair, I thought I would update you all on how we are doing at breaking Emma's bedtime dependence on her pacifier. It has been a couple weeks since we began trimming back on the pacifier, and things seem to be going well. She wants the pacifier when she goes to bed, but she doesn't end up using it much. In fact, yesterday morning she tried to give her pacifier to her Handy Manny doll. I think that within a couple of weeks, the pacifier will be mostly gone, and the will have lost interest in it. At least that is what I hope.


New Chair

We got a new chair for the home office this past weekend. The chair that we had been using was about five years old. I had bought it the day after Thanksgiving on sale for a very low price. So I think I got my money's worth out of the chair. I would have had no problem continuing to use the chair, except that one of the arms had broken. Not only was that a bit inconvenient, but it became a bit of a safety hazard. I could see Emma pinching her finger in the chair. Since I work from home full time, I asked my manager if I could get reimbursed for a new office chair, at least in part, since over half of the chair's use will probably be for work. Today she finally got back to me and gave me the upper limit that she would pay. The chair cost a bit more than that, but it is helpful that my employer will end up paying for about two-thirds of the cost of the chair.

We got this new chair at Office Max. It was actually not my first choice in chairs while we were in the store, but Mel liked it best, so I said it would could get it. Now that I have used it for a few days, I am glad that this is the chair we selected. The one I had been looking at was leather, or at least fake leather. This one has a nice, plush covering, making it very soft and comfortable to sit in. It is also much better than the chair that I had been using. Hopefully this better chair will help me to be more productive in my job. Yeah right.


Family Portrait

Here is the photo of our family from out photo session this past weekend.

Week 6

Weight: 214.6 lbs.
Change since last week: +1.2
Pounds to goal: 15.6

A Second Try

Yesterday I picked Emma up early from daycare so we could go back to Sears for a second photo session. When we arrived we found out they were running behind. We didn't get started until about forty minutes after our scheduled appointment, but that was alright. It gave Emma some time to finish her snack, which I prevented her from getting at daycare, and we got to walk around the third floor of the mall, and then browse a bit at Sears.

This photo session went much better. It did take Emma a few minutes to get accustomed to the camera and the photographer, so we just started playing with some of Emma's toys which I brought with me to the photo session. We started playing with her cars on a block that the photographer put in the middle of the room. We ended up getting quite a few usable photos, including the two shown below.