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Friday, April 27, 2007

This is a great site: Internet bumper stickers

I added lots of cute new blog 'stickers' (see right hand side) that I thought were funny.

I bet I can make you cry...

In a good way...

Holland and Eden

These are two of the cutest preemies out there and they've been through so much.

Their mom is raising money for the March of Dimes WalkAmerica.

Personally, I doubt I will ever participate in the walk, but I can't discount the good MOD has done for prematurity.

Please donate if you can.

Thank you.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Finding the positive...

I don't know what it is about me lately... I'm depressed and don't have much to be depressed about, in reality.

My daughter is being a typical kid (so I'm told). Typical is good! She's crawling, pulling herself to a stand, walking with support or while pushing objects, cruising... these are all good baby things. She's gaining her independence and testing her limits, throwing tantrums in the interim... all par for the course.

But when I think of her future, our future with her, I get sad. I get sad because when I do research on preemie's I very rarely hear 'good news'. I hear about the kids with autism, sensory processing disorders, mental retardation etc. Having these things does not make you a bad person and I will love my daughter if, at any point in the future, she is diagnosed with any of them - but it will make her and our lives harder.

I remember my social development as a child/pre-teen and it was not pretty. I was teased incessantly and ridiculed a lot - it has left a life long scar. I hate to think that my daughter would have to go through what I went through as a 6th and 7th grader. I am hyper sensitive to what people think of me, as a result (and the previous post, and my views on my self stem from that), have difficulty with conflict.

What would I do if my daughter was ostracized like I was? What would I do if my daughter was forced to sit alone, in obscurity, in the lunch room while other people snickered or threw trash at her? I don't know, but it will be better than my mothers advice of "well, if you want to sit at that table, then just go sit there".

I worry that she will grow up like me in regards to that kind of social sensitivity. I hope she doesn't.

I have a very harsh view of myself. I don't like how I look. On any given day I can find SOMETHING wrong with my appearance and will dwell on it. Alot of this has to do with the famly I was raised in. My grandmother put alot of emphasis on appearance - you had to portray yourself in a positive light, no matter how bad things were in your life. I remember when I was 9, standing outside the pool at my aunts house and my grandmother telling me I looked pregnant in my bathing suit. I never wore a bathing suit without a large t-shirt covering it after that. Today, for instance I wore some of my pregnancy pants and a t-shirt in size XL. I was sweating, yucky - but wear shorts? Um, no... no way.

In reality, I'm not huge. At one point in my life I couldn't purchase clothes in a regular store. To walk into GAP and purchase a pair of jeans was out of the question. When I got married I was wearing a size 22. Today, I can buy clothes in normal stores. I could stand to lose 20 lbs. but would like to lose 35. This is a far cry from the 75 I lost before... if I just went to the store and bought new clothes I would probably feel better about myself.

Our basement was destroyed this week and will cost a lot of money to fix and require a lot of our time. Alot of my pictures were destroyed, a lot of my scrapbooking supplies were ruined and we had to destroy the rooms that they were in by pulling up carpets and running big fans. This is stressful!

I've had a headache all day... Its 8:43, I think I'm going to go to bed now. Hopefully I'll start to feel better about everything soon. Or perhaps I should look into therapy? Sigh...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Missing them....

My life is very different now.

This time two years ago I would have been enjoying the 75 degree/blue sky day on the dropzone, hurling myself out of a plane - enjoying every blissful second of freefall.

Two years ago I was skinny, buying shorts in size 5!

This time two years ago I was happy and had lots of friends through skydiving and life was good.

Arianna seems to be going through some kind of temper tantrum stage and basicly whines all the time. Its very trying. Last night she woke up at 1 AM and I went in to her room to either give her a bottle or 'something' to calm her down. Nothing I could do would console her. Eventually I rocked her to sleep, but the moment I laid her down in the crib again she started screaming like a banshee and couldn't be consoled. I ran out of her room, woke Shawn up and said "I think I'm going to hurt her if I have to put up with this anymore, please deal with this tantrum". He did, and she went to sleep again in about 10 min. It was like slapping me across the face. What did I do wrong that would console her or get her to sleep?

This year has been incredibly hard for me. Arianna's prematurity has been very hard on both Shawn and I. Her hospital admissions were hardest on me as I stayed with her almost 24/7.

This winter has been hard with having to pull Arianna out of daycare. My supervisor is getting annoyed with all the time off I've had to take, but Ari keeps getting sick. I hate that there is a conflict between my family life and my career.

In the beginning it was just Shawn and me dealing with Arianna. My family and I were 'on the outs' again and my father didn't see Arianna until she was almost 6 months old. We had to deal with NICU, and then the PICU by ourselves. I went through the motions not realizing how stressful it really was until months later. I would have really liked a friend to talk to or a friend to simply call and ask how I was doing - no one called, ever.

I even remember one day while I was waiting in the NICU waiting room for shift change to end, my mother had the nerve to call me to vent about how a friend of hers didn't pay for her soda at lunch that day and how it was making her depressed. I have an infant in the NICU and haven't heard from more than one friend in weeks - wanna talk about depressed some other time, Mom?

Today, I don't even talk to my skydiving friends anymore. I had started a non-profit organization called Gaia's Rose two years ago, with my skydiving friend Mary from Colorado. We would raise money for breast cancer research. One thing we did was create a calendar, loosely based on the Calendar Girls movie, that would feature women skydivers who participate in the Jump for the Cause event. The calendar was a big success and I met so many wonderful, inspiration women. I went to lots of events all over the country and the atmostpher was intoxicating - I loved it! Mary and I talked almost every day while the calendar was in production. I really felt I had a 'forever friend' in her.

I haven't heard from Mary in almost 6 months. The 6 months prior to that the only time I'd hear from her is if I called her. She hasn't made any effort to contact me.

My friend Karen is in law school, yet she still manages to send frequent emails and when she does venture home from Philadelphia she makes a point of coming over to see Arianna and we talk. She is one of my only friends who has seen my new house - and we've lived her for 7 months. She's getting married in January, to someone we went to highschool with (yet didn't 'meet' until she was in Philadelphia), and I'm very afraid that we're going to drift apart.

My friend Kathy just had a baby boy - he's beautiful and Kathy and Shawn (her husband) are going to be great parents. I've known Kathy for almost 20 years - she is my best friend. She called me the day Nathan was born and I was visiting her (2+ hours away) 3 days later - enjoying the 'newness' of motherhood. The day Arianna was born I called her also. She wasn't home as it was the middle of the day so I left a message, it was very anticlimactic for me.

I've known my friends Brenda and Joanne for 4 years. We worked together at Rhode Island Hospital. We made plans for a 'girls night out' in December. Due to lots of stuff happening its been reschedule and rescheduled. Hopefully May 5th we'll finally be able to go out. What originally started as me wanting to have friends over to see my daughter (whom they've only met once, last summer) and my new house, has now warped into meeting for a few moments at some flea market in Wellesley, MA (over an hour away).

My friend Megan I've also known for 20 years. She's busy with a new job and her cute kids. I haven't seen her in weeks and we barely talk. Some day I hope our kids can play together. I hope some day we can actually see each other. I don't know what my excuse is - we only live 5 miles apart.

I miss my friends. I miss having a life outside of my daughter. Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter to pieces. She is the light of my life and I enjoy 99.9% of the time I spend with her - no matter what we do. But its hard. Being a parent is stressful, let alone a parent of a preemie with all sorts of therapy appointments and illness.

I want a break from all that stuff and just have coffee with my friends - forget about the stress of work/family and just talk like we used to.

I send cards to my friends but I never even hear if they get them. I hope they do, I spend alot of time making them. I don't have any more to send - all of my scrapbooking supplies/card supplies have been destroyed in our flooded basement. I don't even have my creative outlet anymore.

I miss the old me - the one who was skinny. The one who could actually keep friends and be chatty. Now I just feel like a fat lump who has spit up on her t-shirts so she can't go out in public anymore.

It makes me wonder what I did.

Lots of people say that any relationship is give and take. I've done alot to try and salvage all the relationships in my life and I don't feel I get much reciprocal from the other half- so therefore the relationships aren't salvageable, they're not really my 'friends'.

Where did I go wrong? What did I do to them that made them not want to put the same effort into our relationship? Just like Arianna's temper tantrum last night - Shawn could get her to sleep, but I couldn't? What was wrong with me?

I miss my friends, I miss the old me, I miss... being happy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

When it rains...

“In our lives there is bound to come some pain, surely as there are storms and falling rain; just believe that the one who holds the storms will bring the sun.”
I am very sore today. My back hurts, my head hurts, my soul hurts.

Last Thursday Arianna came down with a cold, after only 5 days at daycare. Then the fever came and she became very lethargic on Saturday. We let her sleep the days away through the weekend and fed her what she would keep down. She was miserable, we were miserable. She would be awake all night because she slept all day and was gagging and throwing up on all the congestion in her head. I feel so bad for her.

We knew she wouldn't be going back to daycare anytime soon and planned on my mother watching her. My mom told us it was no problem. She called at 10:30 PM on Sunday (yes, I was already in bed) to tell me she wouldn't watch Arianna as she didn't want to be sick for their vacation (Saturday they leave for St. Marteen). I'm more than just a little pissed, due to the time of the call and that it would mess up everything. Ok, Shawn and I would have to each take half days to stay home with her. Tuesday was already a planned half day for me as I had to meet the Sears repair man about our leaking washing machine - we don't want water on the floor now do we?

Monday morning my mom calls to apologize and offers to watch Arianna - of course after I had already made my boss run an obstacle course trying to cover me... ugh! So she'll take her Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Maybe we'll get lucky and she'll be able to stay overnight on Thursday again, cause we need sleep. We got almost no sleep all weekend and definitely close to no sleep last night.

Why did we not sleep last night you ask?

Well, we got a bad storm Sunday night into Monday and its still raining today. I woke up several times during the night to tree branches breaking, I was afraid one would fall on our house! But that wasn't what I needed to be afraid of.

Monday morning about 6:20 the power went out and wouldn't come back on until 2 PM. We have electric 'everything' in our house - the heat, the appliances etc. We do have propane hot water, so I was able to take a shower, at least.

When the power came back on Shawn had just left for work and I was in Arianna's room changing her diaper when I hear the sound of 'something' running. I quickly deduced that the sound must have been the sump pump in the basement. When the water table gets high on our property the sump pump kicks in and helps keep the basement dry, in our case, a finished basement.

But sump pumps only work when there is electricity.

I went down stairs to our finished basement to find stuff 'floating'. We had a good four inches of standing water.

Small list of some of the stuff destroyed:
  • my wedding dress
  • ALL of my scrapbooking supplies
  • ALL of my cross stitch supplies
  • One nice pink couch
  • One nice, new, recliner.
  • Several ham radios
  • The pretty rugs
  • Our wedding timecapsule
  • Arianna's baby clothes
  • Lots of un-replaceable pictures
  • Lots of un-replaceable memories

Thankfully we had most of our things in plastic tubs from when we were in Cranston. I was worried about our apartment basement flooding and put everything in plastic tubs. I didn't put the stuff listed above in plastic tubs though...

Sigh. This sucks. Last night we were up to 2 AM pulling up carpet/mats, vacuuming up water and crying.

Thankfully homeowners insurance will cover stuff like this when you say "sump pump failure" rather than "basement flooding", but it will be at least a week before anyone gets out to the house.

Thank goodness for our $1,000 'emergency fund'.

I think this constitutes an emergency huh?

Friday, April 13, 2007

And then there were two...

...debts remaining, that is! Today is such an awesome day - I can't believe we are here, finally!!

Today I'm sending $2,650.77 to debt.

For the first time in our adult lives we have no more credit card debt! As a matter of fact, the only debt we have left to pay are our cars!

14 months and $32,236.95 in debt - DESTROYED!!!

The best part is that we didn't even notice the money was gone!

November, here we come!

WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Is my code retarded?

From: Jennifer
Sent: Monday, April 09, 2007 16:09
To: Office Mate 1, Office Mate 2
Subject: Does source code have feelings?

I think this is hilarious… the answer would be… um, no.

I was having lunch the other day with a longtime member of the open source community, when i happen to mention, "well, it isn't like source code has feelings. it doesn't care how it gets used, modified or cloned. it's just code." Um, yeah, talk about awkward moments.

It wasn't necessary an "open mouth insert foot," moment, but more of a "whoa, i've never really thought about it that way before..." Over here at the keyboard, the jury is still out whether source code has feelings, but it makes for such an interesting lunch time conversation.

Oddly enough, I'm brought back to the Seaseme Street skit with the muppets playing in a rock band as objects moved along a conveyor-like belt. If the object was a living thing, like a plant or a frog, they band would play, "It's alive, na na na na...." and if the object were an inanimate thing, like a rock or a phone, it would play "Not alive, na na na na..." Maybe someone will find this clip somewhere on the web... I think Freakonomics also calls this particular skit leaving a lasting impression on young children...

The best analogy that i've been able to come up with is one of a teddy bear or a similar stuff animal. Does that stuff animal really have feelings? Or is it because we have such strong emotions connected to it that the stuff animal has feelings vicariously of us? Maybe that's why letting go of code you've written is so tough. It's hard to give your teddy bear or to someone else, hoping they'll appreciate and take care of it as much as you did when you wrote the code / received the bear or sentimental object.

Or maybe trying to figure out how shared and open source works within Microsoft and Visual Studio has finally caused me to lose my mind =)

What do you think?

From: Office Mate 1
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 8:37 AM
To: Jennifer; Office Mate 2
Subject: RE: Does source code have feelings?

Do you care if someone else takes over a piece of code you wrote?

That was my baby.

Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 8:42 AM
To: Office Mate 2; Office Mate 1
Subject: RE: Does source code have feelings?

Agreed… that’s why that entry sticks with me today.

Of course, if they ‘fix it’ and it works even better… well then I’m not so attached to it.

From: Office Mate 2
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 8:40 AM
To: Jennifer; Office Mate 1
Subject: RE: Does source code have feelings?


From: Jennifer
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 8:51 AM
To: Office Mate 2, Office Mate 1
Subject: RE: Does source code have feelings?

An analogy for that…

You have your ‘baby’ (aka. code) , its so cute to you, you love it. But in reality, your baby is not like the other babies, its really kinda retarded.

Because your baby is retarded social services comes in and takes them away (aka. code gets re-written). Ya, that’s the detachment I’m talking about … its ‘fixed’.

I should have my babies taken away a lot… guess I’m a bad mom.

From: Office Mate 1
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 8:53 AM
To: Jennifer; Office Mate 2
Subject: RE: Does source code have feelings?

Jen are you saying that your code is retarded?

Quite possibly the funniest exchange to happen in this office in at least a week.

Ya, ok, I guess you had to be there... or be a geek. Either one.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I did it

I signed up for the optifast diet again.

I'm so fed up with myself.

I'm so mad I've lost control again. I'm so mad I'm nearly 'obese', according to my BMI. I worked so hard before. I was finally where I wanted to be, I was finally able to shop in normal stores and was so happy about how I looked.

Now I'm fat again and can't control my eating. I can't control what I binge on and can't stop crying about it.

This is a vicious circle and I have to break it.

Our budget is going to take a hit as I have buy the shakes, but we'll save money in groceries...

Hopefully by the end of the summer I'll be svelt again and if/when I become pregnant again I will be so much smarter about my eating so I don't put on 50 lbs. (30 lbs. after baby, which I have yet to loose an ounce of).

I can do this.

I can go all day only having shakes. The first few days are torture, but I can do it! The weight will come off quickly and I'll be sure to pay more attention to the 'maintaining' part of the program this time.

My meeting with the doctor is 5/4. Lifestyle evaluation (which is always 'humbling') is 5/7 and my exercise evaluation is 5/8.

One meal a day, 3 oz. of protein and 2 veggies. I can do it. Yes, yes I can...


Friday, April 06, 2007

Thursday night we started Financial Peace University at the New England Chapel in Franklin. I have been so psyched to start this course that as soon as I learned about one in our, relative, area I signed us up!

We got there and I was pleasantly surprised to see my friend Jean there! I've been scrapbooking for years and would see Jean at various scrapbooking crops and we always had a good time! Becca is also a good friend of Jeans and she was hoping to get in on the class too but the classes she's taking for her MBA are interfering, unfortunately.

I also got to meet my friend Danielle and her husband John. I know Danielle from a Dave Ramsey support board I'm on. She lives in Wrentham and is one of the only ones I've 'met' there from New England, so we immediately clicked.

The class went well, but its obvious that we are far ahead of everyone there (besides Danielle and John who are debt free minus their mortgage). People seemed to be motivated by our story - we've paid off $30k in debt since February of 2006 - so 14 months. That is impressive!

We're looking forward to learning a lot more from these classes over the next 8 weeks.

Tonight Shawn and I are taking Arianna to get her Easter pictures taken - I hope she's a good girl!

Tomorrow I'm picking up my mom and Ari and I are headed to Dorchester for my cousins little girls first birthday.

Sunday is Easter dinner at my parents - they got a Honey Baked Ham! yum!

My brother, well, he's scum. I hope he rots in jail. He has no remorse for the serious trouble he's in and doesn't see anything wrong with what he did - never mind the fact he could have killed someone.

I hope he rots in jail. My anger to such selfish, negligent people is HUGE - he needs to learn, and it'll have to be the hard way.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I'm modeling!

No, not that kind!

Pretty scary looking huh?

Monday morning, my first day back to full time work, my boss brought me into his office and told me he had a new project for me.

This new project is massive - but could net our company a lot of new clients. I was very excited by what I heard!

He invited the CTO in and they proceeded to tell me about the database I would connect to and some background on the data. They gave me a database schema and the data dictionary. I was to create the database model (such as this picture) and create an initial design for the main page.

I spent all day yesterday entering in the tables (80 of them) and their fields in Microsucks Visio. By the end of the day I entered a little over half of them and realized I hadn't tried to add relationships yet (the lines between the boxes, as shown in the picture). Well, low and behold, I did it all wrong! I entered all the tables as views instead of entities - and as such I couldn't create relationships. Ugh, a whole entire days work down the tubes. I ended up working for about 6 hours last night.

Today I finished the model, showed it to my coworkers who critiqued it for me and I just finished adding their suggestions - its done! Until my boss gets back, of course. So tomorrow I can work on the design for the main page and hopefully have everything done by Friday when my boss and the CTO get back from their client meetings.

What was most interesting about the meeting on Monday was that my boss kept on talking about productivity. We're trying to hire another programmer and its not going too well, they can't find anyone they feel is qualified enough. My boss kept talking about 'picking up the slack' and being more productive, like I'm sleeping on the job or something - at one point he turned to the CTO and asked him if he wanted to comment (almost like he was asking him to add to his productive points). I was slightly insulted by his insinuations. Hopefully its just that he doesn't see how much work I've actually been completing while only part time. So in a way, I feel like this project is a test. I have a lot to do and I have to bring work home again tonight. I don't like bringing work home because I don't get paid for it and frankly, I like to spend that time with Arianna.

Hopefully tonight and tomorrow go better.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Sunday night my brother was arrested for driving while intoxicated. He hit a bolder on the side of a driveway of a house on the street my parents live on (at 27, he still lives with them, despite a $50k+/yr. job). He was trying to push it up the street when the police arrived. He passed the field sobriety test but refused a breathalyser test.

Monday morning he was arranged in court. Because he refused the breathalyser test his license was automatically suspended for 6 months. He is to return to court for sentencing on April 30th - the Monday after they (my parents and him) return from their trip to St. Marteen.

He works as an union electrical lineman - apprentice 3. It's a great job. He's paid very well and has the opportunity to 'climb the ladder' (pardon the pun) and make a lot of money. Part of his job involves having his CDL license.

Due to his Class C license (reg. driving license) being suspended, his CDL will be revoked and chances are pretty good he will lose his great, new, job.

This is sad on so many levels.

He has a problem - a big problem. This past January his union was called to Missouri to help restore power to the homes there after a big storm. He was gone for 4 weeks. He made $15k for that job. Its been 9 weeks since then and he has $1k of it left, which he had to use to pay back his girlfriend for his bail. He spent it all on alcohol he says. He does not think he has a problem.

I am mad. I'm so mad that alcohol has this control over him. I'm so mad my parents enable him by allowing him to live at their home. I'm so mad that his girlfriend is enabling him by being his 'driver' for the next 6 months. I'm so mad at him! He could have killed someone. If the accident had happened last week, Monday through Friday, at about 5:30 and he went left instead of right when he hit the boulder - he could have hit me, with Arianna in the car.

I'm numb at his irresponsibility. My mother has been in Alcoholics Anonymous for more than 15 years. She tells me its a disease. I can't help but think - no one tells you to pick up the bottle, no one tells you to get in the car and drive. No one tells you to then try to leave the scene of the accident.

I hope he doesn't loose his job, but I hope he gets help and I hope it involves alot of community service and mandatory alcoholics anonymous.

Monday, April 02, 2007


She finally did it! She's crawling all over - and it felt quite suddenly actually. Sunday morning I got up 3 times from breakfast because Arianna kept crawling under my chair and then going to sit up and hitting her head (and crying, of course). Prior to that she only went backwards, now she goes all over and gets in trouble! Ha!

My personal laptop has died and we are waiting for Shawn's bonus check next week before we buy a new one, so I can't show video or pictures (including her birthday ones!) until then, unfortunately.

Arianna started back at daycare today. I was a little sad dropping her off this morning, but Shawn called this afternoon to see how she was doing:

Well, I talked to Kristen. She said Ari is doing wonderful. She's doing great with the staff, great with the kids, etc. She's on her second nap and she's been a great eater. She had all of her first bottle, about 3 oz. of the second. She ate all of her cereal this morning and for lunch she had all of her veggies and about half of her fruit.

I'm glad she's doing good. :) :)

Gosh, she's doing great. When we dropped her off as we walked back down the entrance ramp we peaked into the infant room (where Ari is now the biggest baby, how'd that happen?!) and saw her crawling to steal a toy from another baby. When did she get to be such a big girl?