msLaura: Modern Mama Laura Hamilton + Dan Baker = Julian Hamilton Baker & Adrian Hamilton Baker "When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her."
- Adrienne Rich



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the portable baby


recent posts
The egg has landed...

The best sign I've ever made

Another Gingerbread Baby...


Go Hike the Rock

The Origin of Go Baby Go!

Britney or Liza?

Girlfriends and their Babies

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« May 2006 | Main | July 2006 »

June 29, 2006

The egg has landed...

Henrietta laid her first egg today. It's a lovely egg, the color of cafe au lait. Perfectly shaped, not small, not big. I guess the first egg a hen lays can be kind of an oddball, but this one was just perfect.

It turned out to be a double-yolker! So I fried it up in butter and I ate one half and Julian ate one half on sourdough rye toast. Delicious. I took photos to document this auspicious occasion, but for some reason they were lost. I think I jiggled the memory card when I was changing the battery today. Darn. I got some great shots of Julian making yummy faces while eating his egg. Don't know exactly what happened.

Henrietta and Lucy are so funny. They've lost their shy, timid, beat-up factory farm attitude and are now happy, healthy, glossy free-range hens scratching around in the backyard and eating every bug they can find. They roam around everywhere. Very affectionate too. They LOVE grapes, and will climb into your lap if you have any. I don't have any problems picking them up anymore, they actually like it. It's sweet to hold a soft warm hen in your arms. They like to be petted. They will also come over to the patio table if we eat outside, just to see if we might have something tasty to share.

Lately the girls are trying to come into the house to pay us a visit, but since their poops are large and arrive unexpectedly, this is taboo. The poops are the only downside to having chickens so far. They do poop a lot, but it's mostly grass and greens. We just hose off the patio once a day and move their coop around every few days. Then we hose down the grass where the coop was and all the chicken poop disappears into the ground and turns into fertilizer. Our grass is looking exceptionally green.

So far the dog/chicken relationship is about even. Bugs regularly chases squirrels around in the backyard and sometimes he'll take a run at the hens as well, just for the hell of it and because it's fun to watch them cluck and scatter. But then they'll chase him too, just for the hell of it. I think they all enjoy the company.

June 28, 2006

The best sign I've ever made

The best sign I've ever made, originally uploaded by mslaura.

After enduring innumerable episodes of clueless people ringing the doorbell RIGHT after I FINALLY got Julian to go down for his nap I wised up and created the sign you see in this photo.

The worst offender was our ex-mailman, who, terrified of Bugs, would hurl packages from 15 feet away onto our porch with a huge house-shaking THUMP, then run up to the door and ring the doorbell about 20 times in succession, then run back to the safety of his mail truck and speed away. This whole cascade of events would of course send Bugs into a frenzied bark-a-thon that would wake the dead, much less a fussy barely sleeping baby.

The mailman was a daily pest, but we also had FedEx and UPS guys ringing the doorbell all day long when they dropped something off. (Which happens a lot, since I get about 2-3 packages a day). We had occasional solicitors too, and friendly neighbors telling us that we left our garbage cans or our gate open or something. I just wanted to kill all of these people, and no matter what their errand was, I fouhgt the urge to shout at them, "What the FUCK do you WANT! THIS HAD BETTER BE GOOD CONSIDERING YOU WOKE UP MY FUCKING BABY!"

I was tickled pink to read Dooce today and see that I'm not the only psycho mom out there putting threatening signs on the door.

Here is the sign on Dooce's door:

and here is the sign that she *wishes* were on her door:

Which, let me tell you, I am so down with. That's just what *I* really want to say too. But my slightly nicer sign works just as well.

Dooce's real sign would never work for me, because solicitors aren't my problem...everyone else who shows up here during the Sacred Naptime Hours of 12-3pm is. That includes the abovementioned mail carriers, UPS people, FedEx people, the organic grocery delivery guy who likes to ring the bell to let me know he's put the box on my porch, friendly neighbors stopping by to say hi, neighborhood kids selling stuff (who don't know what "soliciting" means), and random assorted other visitors.

The only person who has ever rung the bell between the hours of 12-3pm with my approval was a neighborhood mom who stopped by to tell me that my dog got out and was standing on the corner of the intersection watching the traffic go by. I was VERY glad that she disregarded my sign, and I hope she doesn't hate me forever for giving her the Look of Death when I answered the door.

Oh, the other thing that I found funny in Dooce's post was her description of falling for a scam whereby a kid comes by selling magazines. You don't actually want any of the magazines, but they tell you that you can donate them to any of a list of charitable organizations..women's shelters, foster child progams, sick kids in hospitals. So that's pretty hard to turn down.

We had a guy come by with the same story. He said that he was a trumpet player trying to earm money for his band program. I was about to buy a magazine subscription, being the bleeding-heart sucker that I am, but Dan asked him for trumpet lessons instead of magazines. The guy agreed and went on and on. He even played Dan's trumpet expertly, and gave him some tips. He had a totally valid back story!

Dan tried to email him that night, and all the emails bounced. Then we realized that we had been scammed. Dan was able to cancel his check, so no harm done. But it was a black kid, and I think it was a really shitty thing for an obviously talented black kid to do...go out there and scam people. Now our whole neighborhood is going to be assuming that any black kid that comes to the door is a scam artist, you know? With his musical talent, don't you think he could have found a better way to earn money rather than reinforcing negative stereotypes of African-Americans? I don't know, I just thought it was especially lame.

What's even lamer is that Dan hasn't played his trumpet SINCE. I think it reminds him of the scam now. So not only did this kid scam us, but he put a bitter taste in Dan's mouth about playing his trumpet.

Anyway, I had no idea that magazine thing was a common scam, but I guess it is. So now I'm not answering the door at all between 12-3. I'm not buying anything from anyone who comes to my door. And I'm thinking of making a much nicer-looking sign to replace my beat-up handwritten index card with Scotch tape.

Don't you like how I stick the sign OVER the doorbell though? That way you can't avoid it. You just plain can't get to the doorbell without moving the sign out of the way, and if you pull that shifty maneuver...well, my dog had better be out in the middle of the street or something, that's all I have to say.

June 20, 2006

Another Gingerbread Baby...

I just got back from my first prenatal appointment. Everything went fine. We took a look at the baby on ultrasound and it was a typical gingerbread baby...a little blob with round head, arm nubs and leg nubs. Kicking its legs already. I mean, leg nubs. Then it said, "Run, run, as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm...."

No, really, it did! Anyway, Julian was much more gingerbready at that age, but I think the other place had a more powerful ultrasound. He was like a perfect little gingerbread cutout.

I'm supposedly 8 weeks and 5 days along. How they get the 5 days is a mystery to me. Like it's that accurate, come on. Unfortunately, I can't confirm or deny, since I don't remember when my last period started OR the likely date of conception. After my miscarriage I figured that the next period was a wash, and didn't keep track of it. Ah well.

So my due date is January 27th, which will probably be my planned C-section date. It's weird that I will know the birthdate of this baby in advance. I'm still getting used to the idea. But yeah, no VBAC for me. No THANKS. I've had enough labor and transition to last me, well, pretty much forever. Transition? I've had six hours of it, thanks. No need for more. I'm pretty grateful that I rmanaged to regain my sanity afterwards. Eventually. ;-)

I guess we should start tossing around names. But I think we should wait until we find out the sex. One less set of names to worry about.

I'm still in love with Jet. Jet Baker, doesn't that sound great? But Dan vetoed, so that's out. Too bad. He likes some Celtic names and I'm not a fan of those, so vetoes are a good thing I guess.

OK, back to my contract development job. I'm past deadline. Ick.

June 16, 2006


Gossiping at the water cooler, originally uploaded by mslaura.

Our girls are finally here!

I've been wanting to have chickens for *years* and my moment has finally come.

First we didn't have a big enough yard. Our townhouse barely had more than a patio. When we moved into our current happy home, I knew it would be prime digs for some happy hens. Nice big backyard.

Then there was the coop. Where to put it? How to build it? Too many decisions, aarrghh. But then I found the Eglu and I knew it was just what I was looking for. The only problem was that it was only sold in the UK, and shipping charges to the US were several hundred dollars, so put it out of my price range. The dang thing is *already* pricey.

Well, finally Omlet started selling Eglus in the US, so I started saving up my money. The day arrived when I had enough to get my Eglu. Hooray!

Now I had my coop. Time to get some chickens! But another roadblock popped chickens were to be found! I could order fertile eggs, or baby chicks in the mail, but no chickens were to be found locally. I don't really want baby chicks, they need a lot of care and attention and some special equipment. Eggs are even harder.

I finally found a local woman who had some young pullets for sale, but they were Bantam Silkies, actually a hyrbid of Silkies and an even smaller chicken. They were cute, but tiny, and sort of fuzzy/furry instead of feathery. Not really my style. I like the glossy, big beautiful barnyard type chickens.

So I nixed the Silkies. But I couldn't find anything else. Finally I turned to Omlet and they said that they could send me two Gingernut Rangers by mail. Just the kind of bird I was looking for. Big, docile, friendly, curious hens that lay lots of lovely eggs.

I felt bad about sending them through the mail, but oh well. There didn't seem to be any other way to get my chickens.

They arrived last night at the post office, but my phone ringer was turned off and then I left the damn thing in the car, so the poor things spent the night at the post office last night. I didn't think they were coming until this afternoon, so when I heard the message I was a bit unprepared. I finished setting up the chicken run, put food and water in their bowls, plumped up the nesting box with straw and set off for the post office.

The poor girls were very hungry and thirsty when I got them home. They spent the first hour just drinking water and eating feed. Now they're clucking happily, exploring their run, and scratching around for the corn that I put in the grass.

They look a little worse for wear. Their tail feathers are kind of beat up, their combs and wattles look pale and dry, and they had their beaks clipped at the hatchery...which I find awful! Their lower beak juts out and the top beak is nipped off to a stub. It's horrible. I feel bad for them. I hope their beaks grow out soon.

They really are lovely though. I'm sure once they get some good food and happy hen living they'll be gorgeous. Their feathers are a beautiful brilliant gingery-red color mixed with white. Pretty yellow legs. They're very sweet and docile, and they are obviously very close to one another. They come up close for a snuggle every once in a while, bringing their heads together.

They're sooooo soft. They have to stay in their run for five days so that they imprint on their new home and know where to come and roost at night, but after that they can free-range all around the yard during the day. I can't wait...then we can really begin to handle them, hold them, and watch them explore and do their chicken thing.

I'm thrilled. It's funny the reaction I get. It's either "Um, chickens?" like I'm simply off my rocker, or else people get that spark in their eye, "Ohhhh, you are going to have backyard chickens? Can I come and see them? I'm so jealous! Wow, chickens......"

Go Hike the Rock

Big J - Super HIker, originally uploaded by mslaura.

Julian and I hiked Castle Rock last Friday and had a great time. it was spectacularly beautiful and Julian had a blast climbing over rocks, carrying a walking stick, and stopping frequently for tasty snacks at scenic overlooks.

There were tons of gorgeous wildflowers in full bloom, and breathtaking views over the Santa Cruz Mountains out to the Pacific Ocean.

I was impressed, he hiked about 3 miles out of the 4.7 total miles of the hike, and about half of that was uphill. It wasn't too noticeable because of the views, and scrambling over rocks from time to time. That held your attention so that you barely even realized that you were actually going uphill most of the way.

The last little bit back to the car was steeper, and more boring, and I was tired by then so I was feeling it. Plus Super J had decided to walk by that point, so I was hiking for two. Well, three actually, because I'm in my first trimester with Baby #2.

June 15, 2006

The Origin of Go Baby Go!

So I suppose a few people have wondered where I got the name of my mom/baby hiking group, Go Baby Go! Truth be told, I got it from the opener to one of the best movies ever, Russ Meyer's "Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!"

Um, maybe it's not a critically acclaimed movie, but for sheer entertainment value, it can't be beat.

You probably wouldn't think that a quote from this film makes an appropriate name for a mom/baby hiking group, but I find it perfectly appropriate, and most apt, too.

Dang if YouTube doesn't have just about *everything* catalogued and available on their website. I went there on a whim yesterday and bingo...there it was. Instant satisfaction. I was singing the theme song all afternoon while I sewed wraps. "If you want wild livin'..."

Then I had a vision of bringing up the rear on a hike and yelling at slow-moving moms "GO BABY GO! WORK IT ON OUT! HARDER! FASTER! Come on, let's GO!!! WAIL!"

Hahahahahahaha! Whew, I cracked myself up.

Britney or Liza?

Your trashy pleasure of the day:

Ye gods! This is Britney Spears (being interviewed by Matt Lauer), but I swear it's really Liza Minnelli, don't you think?

June 04, 2006

Girlfriends and their Babies

These are my college girlfriends.That's me with Julian at left, Angela with Scarlett in the middle, and Mimi with newborn Jack at right.

I haven't seen Angela since I was married (in St. Martin, where she lives) over 3 years ago. She was my matron of honor. I last saw Mimi on Angela's last visit to California, which was ...4 years ago? She lives in Marin. Man, how time flies.

We were all science geeks together. Angela and I were studying biology and Mimi was a chemistry major. Now MImi colors hair, Angela is a medical infomation technology manager, and I'm a web designer and a vendor of baby gear.

Mimi also has a 6-year-old daughter named Isabelle, and Angela has an 8-year-old son named Vincent. But we just had our little kids with us this day.

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