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On Midnight Mumblings [Jan. 26th, 2009|01:22 pm]
rmstraus
Our son is a much better sleeper now, but still has occasional rough nights.  Thought I'd share a bit of what can go down in our house around 3 am:

1.  Not long ago, we heard him yell out "Cookie!" during the middle of the night.  We think he was talking in his sleep.
2.  Last night he was up from about 3:15 to 4.  At one point, while my wonderful husband was with him downstairs, he demanded crackers.  My husband came back and told me this, and I found it hysterical.
3.  Also last night, I eventually gave up on getting him to go back to sleep, and brought him into bed with us.  This has its ups and downs, but at least that way we don't have to keep going back downstairs.  At one point--this was either in his sleep or very close to it--he said "Toys?"  Then he quickly (and correctly) answered his own question with "No...no."

Seriously.  Even in the middle of the night, this kid is criminally cute.
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Thoughts on the JCC [Jan. 26th, 2009|01:12 pm]
rmstraus
Many of you know that our son's daycare is closing in June.  We were (and still are) very upset about this.  But we've enrolled him in a very similar program in the neighborhood, and overall we know he'll be fine.

The daycare is at the local Jewish Community Center, and they make you join to register for daycare.  So, we now proudly pay a membership fee every month, for daycare we'll start using sometime between June and September.

Naturally, the cheapness inherent in my being requires that I get something out of this membership, so I've started using the fitness center.  I used the one on campus right after the new year, and I've noticed some rather significant differences between them:

1.  At the campus fitness center, I was the oldest person by at least 10 years.  At the JCC, I'm often the youngest by about 25 years.
2.  The older members don't always wear appropriate workout gear.  Today I saw a man in khakis and a button-down shirt, walking on the treadmill.  Then I noticed a woman in jeans and a sweater, also on a treadmill.  (For those who really want details, I saw her later in the locker room.  She showered, then put the same clothes back on.  As my son would say, "Ewww.....!")  I've yet to see it, but I hear that some of the older men also work out in their yarmulkes.
3.  I need to get over my student locker room-induced insistence on locking my locker.  I kept slamming the door shut trying to get it to close right, probably annoying everyone with a hearing aid.  Do I really think the bubbelehs are after my iPod Shuffle?
4.  Once classes started, it was tough to get an elliptical in the student fitness center.  There aren't many at the JCC, but since all the old people seem to prefer treadmills, I haven't had any problems.

And by the way, the Ramones are still the best workout music...even if they did learn three chords thirty years ago.
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First Conversation [Jan. 7th, 2009|01:02 pm]
rmstraus
It's true, I don't blog much.  And you get plenty of Dude updates from his dad's site.  But I had to share this one.

Our boy is getting bigger and bigger, and less like a baby every day.  (But I insist on calling him a baby until he turns 2.  After that, I know I'd be pushing it.)  He's talking more and more, and his little personality becomes clearer all the time.

But, until last night, his speaking had been somewhat limited.  He'd answer questions with "yeah" or "no," could put together some words ("Hi Mommy!"  "Bye-bye Daddy!"), and finally figured out that our dog has a name other than "doggie."

And last night, when his dad brought him home from school, we had an actual conversation.  It went like this:

Mommy:  Did you have fun at school today?

Dude:  Yeah.

M:  What did you do?

D:  Play.

M:  Who did you play with?

D:  Hudson.

M:  Who else did you play with?

D:  Who?

M:  Yes.  Who else did you play with?

D:  Jacob.

Amazing!
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President #44 [Nov. 5th, 2008|10:54 am]
rmstraus
YES, WE DID!
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Test, Part II [Aug. 10th, 2008|08:32 pm]
rmstraus
If you saw this once before, it's because the link isn't working right.  Trying again...

I'm doing a trial run for a survey I might have my students do.  If you get a chance, can you take it for me?  I can't see individual responses, and I'll post results.

Thanks.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=2GjTXApurV4shCBSFXgPdw_3d_3d

[Sorry--looks like you have to cut and paste.  Thanks!]
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Surveys [Jul. 17th, 2008|04:14 pm]
rmstraus
Has anyone ever used an online program to create a survey?  I want to try it as an experiment with my Intro to US Govt course in the fall; we'll create a survey on the presidential election for our students, analyze the results, and compare them to national data.  I checked out Survey Monkey, but I know there are others out there.  It would be nice if it automatically created cross-tabs (so it would tell us how many men chose Obama, how many women chose McCain, etc.), but that's not strictly necessary.  It would also be ideal (though I'd probably be asking for too much here) if it could keep track of who referred various respondents to the survey.  So, if Student A sent a link to a friend and they filled out the survey, it would tell me how many people Student A recruited to the project.

So, if you have any experience with these and any recommendations, let me know!
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Things I Never Thought We'd Say [Jul. 9th, 2008|02:29 pm]
rmstraus
Being a parent is an emotional roller coaster.  The little dude now is so much fun, so giggly, so happy.  Then he'll spend a night like last night (we were up no fewer than five times in a two-hour period), but wake up to be absolutely adorable.  It's not fair.

Beyond the incredible love and patience (and patience-testing) that comes with parenthood, I've noticed either myself or my spouse making statements on occasion that I never thought we would utter.  I won't tell you who said what (really, it's unimportant), but let me share a few gems with you:

1.  "Cali, stop licking your brother's balls."
       (For those of you who don't know us well, Cali is our dog.  She didn't know any better.)
2.  "What have I told you about climbing the stereo?"
3.  "That's a nice little turd!"

None of these are made up.  I'm sure there are more to come, and I'll post them as I remember to.
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Closed Stacks and Carousels [May. 23rd, 2008|01:15 pm]
rmstraus
The little boy and I ran some errands today.  First was a stop at the doctor's, for the third Friday in a row.  (First just a shot, then an ear infection, now a reaction to the medication for the ear infection, and next Friday another ear check.  These co-pays are adding up!)  Second was a stop at the drugstore to get him some medicine for the reaction.  Third was the gas station.  I still had almost a quarter tank, but as I drove down Western Ave I saw gas priced at $4.05 and $4.07.  When I came to Sunoco, with gas at the bargain price of $3.99, I pulled in just on principle.  (And for those of you in CA, with probably even higher prices, let me remind you...your freeways are free!)

But it's the final part of our trip that was a lot more fun than I expected.  I needed a book for an article that's already been rejected twice, and, of course, my campus library didn't have it.  I could get it through interlibrary loan if I was willing to wait a few days, but I wasn't.  Plus, my ILL privileges appear to be suspended, for reasons unknown to me.  I probably returned a book late, and they forgot to remove the restriction.  (One of the very few benefits to being a faculty member is that I never pay library fees.  That, and the mail room will give me my packages at any time.  Students have two windows of time a day.  Not me!)

The NY State library, however, has this book.  The library is downtown in Empire Plaza.  I got close, metered street parking, put the dude in the stroller, and off we went.

The library is in the Cultural Education Center, which also includes the state museum and state archives.  The library, the info desk attendant informed me, is on the 7th floor.  And as we rode the elevator, I wondered how they could fit all those books (it's a significant research library) on one floor.

Well, they don't.  The state library uses closed stacks, which barely seem to exist anymore.  Libraries opened their stacks in a move toward democracy, because it allowed greater freedom and access.  So I gave the call number to the employee at 11:10.  He informed me that the next trip to the stacks would be at 11:30, and the books would be available by noon.

Great.  Do you have a children's area, I asked?  No.  But there's a carousel on the fourth floor.  So, after I signed up for a library card, we took the elevator back down to find a beautifully restored carousel, with horses carved in the late 19th century.  They have German marble eyes and real horsehair tails.  The entire carousel was built and restored in the state of NY.  It was in a large room with windows all around, showing off the incredible greenery, with a nice view of the capitol building.  (Of course, that building's been in the news a lot lately....)  They offer free rides every ten minutes...and the dude absolutely loved it.  It's time like this when, in spite of occasional sub-zero winter temperatures, being a full day and multiple plane rides away from family, and having a senator that is being (not completely unfairly) accused of destroying the Democratic Party, that I really love living in New York.
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Da-Da? [Feb. 9th, 2008|01:19 pm]
rmstraus
Not long ago, strausmouse noted that the Dude liked to say "Da-Da."  I'd like to share with you the varieties of meaning that word has.  He uses the word to refer to the following:

1.  His da-da.  (Aww....!)
2.  His ma-ma (eh?)
3.  Clean diapers that he pulls out of the diaper stacker and tosses on the floor
4.  Dirty diapers that he tosses on the floor (kidding about the tossing part)
5.  His doggie
6.  The bathrub, the water in the bathtub, and the toys floating in the water
7.  Other children
8.  Toys and various kid-friendly products
9.  Not-so-kid-friendly products (power cords, plugged up outlets, etc.)

I think that about covers it.
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Need some movie recommendations [Jan. 19th, 2008|10:02 am]
rmstraus
Now that the dude is in a good pattern and in bed by (roughly) 8:00 pm each night, strausmouse and I have returned to the cinema.  That is, the cinema now comes to us.  In thin red envelopes.

But our Netflix queue is dangerously serious.  Lots and lots of drama.  Currently in our living room:  Raging Bull, Rashomon, and My Left Foot.  On the list after that, a bunch of crap that strausmouse wants to see.  These will likely be watched once a week, on Sundays, while I'm reading, grading, and sipping cappuccinos.

So, I think we need some assistance.  I'm primarily interested in your comedic recommendations.  (But please don't suggest Superbad.  That was super bad.)  But, given our dearth of upcoming films generally, any and all suggestions will be considered.

Thanks!
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