Sorry for the bulleted updates lately, but they are so quick and easy.
- The cats are friendly again. I don't know what changed, but it's not anything we did unless just keeping them separated for a few days was enough for their animosity towards each other to wane. Last night they cleaned each others' faces, which turned into play, and this morning they romped around the house as usual after their morning food. So I guess we'll be keeping Koji. For now.
- This morning I was eating a bagel and watching tv while nursing Squeakles. I noticed he'd stopped nursing, so I looked down and he was looking up at me with huge eyes and a smile. He seemed fascinated by my eating and wouldn't go back to nursing until I'd finished. He smiled huge every time I took a bite of the bagel and chewed it, and I really wasn't hamming it up in the least. He just seemed to find my eating to be fascinating. Meanwhile, I'm thinking, if you only knew how normal it is to eat the way I do and how bizarre it is to eat the way you do. :)
- We need to buy a stroller. Now that Squeakles is 14 pounds (according to our scale at home), I'm getting tired carrying him everywhere in 90 degree heat and then also carrying a big diaper bag and whatever other bags I happen to pick up along the way (e.g., grocery shopping). I've gotten advice on strollers from two people so far and it's completely contradictory. One person recommended a $50 Chicco stroller and the other recommended a $700 Bugaboo stroller! I really want to get the "perfect" stroller because I expect to be using it almost every day when the weather is nice (and hopefully it will be so perfect that I can use it when the weather isn't nice), but I don't know how to assess what would make a stroller perfect for me. And we'd really like to spend less than $700! Basically, I want something to use everywhere - going on walks around the neighborhood just to get out of the house or to go short distances, going for longer walks (maybe even runs?) for exercise, going to a restaurant or shopping where (for now) Squeakles would (hopefully) be happy to sit/sleep in the stroller, going out to run errands in small city grocery stores, and traveling by plane or car and using at our destination for sightseeing. I haven't managed to read through the reviews on all the strollers at Babies R Us, but right now this red Joovy stroller is calling out to me - all of the reviews are glowing. However, if any parents who read my blog have any advice to offer, I'm all ears!
- I'm learning (and re-learning all the time) that if I want to work at home, I have to avoid Squeakles and J. If they are in the office / nursery, then I have to move to the living room. And if they come out to the living room, then I have to go back to my desk. (Good thing I have a laptop.) And if they're all over the apartment, then I need to leave! I don't like to go to the office on the weekends (my work days include Saturday and Sunday) because it's a hot 15 minute walk and then I end up in a depressing office all by myself, so yesterday I went to The Good Karma Cafe. At first I tried to sit outside, but I discovered that even when shaded by an umbrella it was still too bright for me to be able to see anything on my laptop. So then I moved inside where every single table except one was occupied by someone with a laptop. I sat down and had lunch and did some work until my laptop battery ran out (about 2 1/2 hours). It felt so great to be close to home, but yet not to be at home! I was really able to focus on what I was doing, so I actually got some work done.
- I am reviewing abstracts for a conference and I'm finding it quite fun. I really enjoying hearing about different people's research, especially in such a quick and succinct way! Sometimes it's relevant to my own research and gets me excited by giving me ideas about future directions I might take. Also, it makes me feel like a part of something that my opinion matters. However, just because I'm enjoying the process doesn't mean I'm giving everyone high marks. I'm trying to find the good and the bad and to offer praise where warranted, as well as give some feedback and/or constructive criticism. Except for one terrible abstract that I can't even believe someone submitted. The abstract was basically this: "Many phenomena suggest X, which suggests Y. I present a model which captures this phenomena and show how it has implications for debates in this field. In particular, I show how it explains previously contradictory evidence in the field. I will also talk about its implications for the really broad issues in the field." Although I've taken out the details of what X, Y, and "the field" stand for, this is pretty much the abstract that was submitted. There were no citations, no details, no clear question, no summary of how the model works or even what it's really supposed to do, and certainly no evidence that the research project actually even exists. So that's pretty much what I said in my comments to the author(s).