Friday, July 30, 2010

Vacation - Day 2

We saw Niagara. Maid of the Mist, the AeroCar, Walk Behind the Falls, and the White Water Walk. We climbed to the top of a monument that recognized a British victory over American forces in the War of 1812. That was fun. The climb, not the war.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oil Change Picture Again



This is the book where I found the picture of the girl last time I was here.  The picture is no longer there.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vacation


Day 1 - prep.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy A-Day

Dear Son,

Three years ago today, we got up early and drove to the courthouse to stand in front of a magistrate. On that day, you became my son, forever and ever. I am so proud of you, and I can not imagine my life without you now.

Love,
GDad



p.s. I'm sure I speak for GPop, too, but he should write his own blog.

Why I Like My Friends

Baldo: [to Son] You've got cat fur all over your jeans.

GDad: What's a cat fur?

Baldo: About five pounds.



Baldo, FTW!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Inside (the head) Voice

We went out for dinner on Saturday with our usual group of friends to a local Red Lobster. Little RoBet is the newest addition, and while she was pretty well-behaved, she is only about two months old, so she got a bit fussy. I decided to help out and walk her around out by the front door so she would calm down and not disturb the other diners. RoBet likes me, so she took to this idea pretty well.

As you can predict, if you have been human very long, there was a lot of cooing over the baby. The most common question was "How old is she?"

After a while, I thought about changing my answer from, "About seven weeks," to something like, "I don't know. Maybe nine or something." I didn't, though.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

We're a plane done of n dragon some pizza

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

I stepped outside about 25 minutes ago, and it was already almost too hot to be outside. Bleh.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm in that she is my favorite oh

Advertising - May the Best App WIn

Both the Kindle and the Nook are now available as applications for the Android platform. I've downloaded them both, but I haven't run a side-by-side comparison. Honestly, though, as far as e-reader software goes, I'm pretty sure I could live with this.

gdadhost:gdad> less <booktitle.txt

However, I'm sure that there are features I will find that I will absolutely love.

Foto Phriday - Everyone's Favorite Vacation Pic

I've seen quite a few that look like this.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mmmm... Approximate Pi

Happy Pi Approximation Day!

Nancy brick and supposed to be

Meat vs. Metal

I was playing with the speech-to-text function on my phone yesterday in a texting conversation with GPop. He asked if we needed anything else at the grocery. I held down the little button and spoke the words, "MIXED FROZEN FRUIT."

The screen showed the progress indicator for a moment, and then the text showed up: "NAMES ROSENDA SPRINT."

Um, no.

So, I have decided that I will occasionally use this feature to post here. If you see a string of nonsense words, your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to guess in the comments what the original spoken words were.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gone but not Forgotten


This is Daisy. She was GPop's parents' dog. She is succeeded by Ellie, a black mirror image of Daisy. Sort of like Snowball and Snowball II.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Modern Medical Care


The kid is OK.  There was a "crush injury."  Nothing was broken, although I suspect that Son will eventually turn this into the story of "the time GDad dropped the mixing bowl and broke my toe."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Did NOT Want To Be Here



This is a place no parent wants to take his child.  We had a kitchen mishap involving a heavy mixing bowl and a foot.

Badger badger badger badger



The rain made these pop up.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rhubarb

We planted rhubarb last year. We're getting a nice crop this year. Other than pies, though, there's really not a lot rhubarb is good for.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

He's Back

GPop is back after his trip out of town for five days. Hooray!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Foto Phriday - Glad Someone Could Use It Edition

This is an e-mail I sent out yesterday. Someone claimed the mug, but then another teammate got the answer to the trivia question correct.

I got this mug in a drawing, and while I appreciate that Vera Bradley may be a popular designer, I really have no need for another coffee mug, especially one with a ceramic lid. First person to show up at my desk with the answer to the trivia question below can have the mug, the box, and the bag in which it is sitting. I'll even throw in the wadded up tissue paper that was in the bag.



Trivia Question:
Cmdr. Charles "Trip" Tucker III, of the Starfleet ship Enterprise (NX-01), was infatuated with a waitress at Club 620 just off of Starfleet HQ grounds in San Francisco. Lt. Malcolm Reed told Trip that he was probably mistaken about the waitress's interest in him. What was the waitress's name?

Extra bonus geek points if you can point out what mistake I made when I presented the information in the lead-up to the question.

Minus geek points if you just show up and claim the mug without answering the question, which you're welcome to do.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Facebook Proposal

If Facebook allowed me to "enemy" people and causes, I might consider reactivating my account.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Four Word Movie Review - Reign of Fire

Son liked dragons before.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Lass, But Not Alas

Mandy and Mr. Mandy had a little girl about six weeks ago. In order to keep weirdos from stalking this lovely child, I shall use the nom de blog of Rosalind Bethany TheirLastName. This is important, because it is close enough to her real name to make the joke funny. To me.

I have decided that the girl's nickname will be "RoBet," which is short for Rosalind Bethany. When you say it, you have to use a metallic robot voice.

"RoBet de-mands food NOW!"

"RoBet's dia-per is full. You will change RoBet IM-MED-I-ATE-LY!"

"You will now pay at-ten-tion to RoBet!"

So far, the parents have been indulgent of my peculiarity. I shall endeavor not to wear out my welcome. The baby is just so darn cute!

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Dreams


I have been having a lot of dreams lately that seem really memorable when I get up at 4:00 to pee, but that vanish by the time I get into the shower at 5:45.

Maybe I should keep a notepad.  Of course, the notes would be something like, "Horse ride anteater sauce.  Makes munchkin engine for the children... Hamish."

What we did today


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Flashback

When I was in college, I worked for three years as a Resident Advisor in the residence halls. If my math is correct, I think I served in this capacity for about 180 students, all told.

The other day, one of them hunted me down and wanted to catch up. He was full of compliments about how he had admired me back in those days, and how he really appreciated all I had done while I was an RA. He asked me if I'd be interested in lunch. I said that I would, so we ate yesterday at a generic Americana restaurant.

The whole conversation was awkward, as though we were on a three-quarter-second delay. I'm sure he is a fascinating person, but it was just tough to catch up with someone who, to me, is one of 180 people that I knew for one year. I did my best, though.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Foto Phriday

This was one of the snacks at an off-site meeting at our corporate training center. Yum?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Healthy Kid


Son reports that he is ready to eat solid food.  Solid in the sense of chcken noodle soup.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Medical treatment


Son is in the operating room right now getting his tonsils out.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

It was about 92 degrees Fahrenheit at about 7:00pm today. The air was wet enough that if you you could get a good grip, you could squeeze water out of it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth

Happy Independence Day!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Nerds Again


Son resisted becoming a Star Trek fan for the longest time, but we got him hooked on, believe it or not, Enterprise.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Foto Phriday

Here are Son and GPop on Segways. We took a Segway tour of downtown Chicago whilst there, and it was a blast. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes walking tours but finds the chafing more irritating than the sore feet.

The company we picked has guides that are WAY better than the guides we saw riding around from other companies. Choose Absolutely Chicago Segway over the others. Seriously.

A couple of hours before our tour, we watched a guide from another tour company demonstrate the Segway to some tourists. His spiel included this line. "My name is Travis. You can call me Travis, T-Bone, T-Dawg, T-Man, or even Travesty. Just don't call me Trevor, because that's another guy." Really? When your audience is eight 40-year-old to 60-year-old suburbanites? @$$.

Our guides, conversely, politely introduced themselves and gave a little bit of background on what their training, education, and relevant interests were. Then they made sure that they assessed people's skills and comfort with the devices, and did a 20-minute training session. Then they took us out for a really fun ride.



At one point, we parked near an interesting historical building. Next to it was a Fannie May Candy store (not Fannie Mae mortgage place). The manager of that store brought us a bag of chocolates. Yum!

Our guides opted to change the tour around a bit. Normally, they go through the parks, but since this was the weekend of Taste of Chicago, which more or less blocked off a huge portion of the park, they took us through downtown. I think that was much more interesting.

Now I want a Segway, but there's not much call for it when there aren't any sidewalks.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

An Act of a Political Nature

GPop and I met with our social worker at the Populous County Family Services office a week or so ago. Every so often, the case loads change, and we get a new worker. This new one, whom I shall call "Pam" is the real-life version of the Dr. Krunklehorn character from Meet the Robinsons. The term "spaz" comes to mind.

In any case, we found out that there are a number of red tape barriers that stand in the way of kids getting adopted. We knew that there were, but Pam described them in sharp relief. It's really amazing that kids get adopted at all.

Our state's adoption rules are such that counties have a great deal of autonomy with regard to how social workers interact with each other and the state. That being said, the state did impose a statewide computer system to "streamline" the process of getting information about prospective parents matched up with records of kids who are waiting for families. Evidently, this software is called SACWIS. SACWIS is provided by the federal government, and it is used by a number of states. After our conversation, I agree that this software is a SAC of something, but probably not a SAC of WIS.

Of course, it's easy for an outsider to point to flaws in the system, and it's always harder to fix them once you are part of that system. This is especially true in complex systems that have regulatory constraints, and child welfare rightly has a number of regulatory constraints. However, nothing will ever get fixed unless someone recognizes the need to fix it.

In no particular order...

  • Social workers in other counties are not obligated to respond to inquiries.
  • Da Rules require that hearings be held to determine placement of a child. So, even if it is known that the child will be adopted by foster parents, the social worker must collect information on interested families and NOT TELL THEM that there's not a snowball's chance in heck that they will be picked for placement.
  • SACWIS's role restrictions do not permit a social worker to see information on a child who is not in the SW's case load.
  • SWs can not see family profiles for families that are not assigned to them. Even if the family's SW sends a profile to the child's SW.
  • The "e-mail a family profile to another SW" function does not work. It is supposed to work, but it is broken. The Populous County IT department can't fix this, because it's a state system. I suspect that the state will claim that they can't fix it, either, because SACWIS is provided by the federal government. I suspect also that the federal IT guys can't fix it, because it's a configuration issue, not a design problem.
  • In order to gain access to the national site AdoptUSKids.org, one must have an approved homestudy, which includes a confidentiality agreement. Some regulations across states appear to be governed by something akin to "full faith and credit", but some states won't put any relevant information about the child's situation on the site and won't discuss the situation until prospective parents sign that state's confidentiality agreement.
On to last night...

GPop and I sat down and browsed through the records on the web site. We evaluated the brief synopses, which were usually about one or two paragraphs loaded with code words. You know how real estate listings have code words like "cozy" (a.k.a. "cramped") and "charming" (a.k.a. "decrepit with a new paint job")? Adoption listings follow similar protocols. "Delightful" means "a handful," and "a family who will help him develop his skills" means "child with bizarre interpersonal habits." These are generally wonderful kids with resolvable issues, but the write-ups try to straddle the line between advertising and honesty.

We selected ten kids for this round that met our criteria. I created a spreadsheet with the children's names, case numbers, and social worker contact information to make it easier on Pam. She has to initiate contact with the other social workers; we're not supposed to. One more roll of red tape.

CNN is running a miniseries of reports on how LQTBG(etc.) people form families. One episode was the recent Gary and Tony Have a Baby. While I get very tired of being a political football and occasionally have the desire to tell critics to STFU and LMTFA, I acknowledge that not everyone is as enlightened as I'd like. So, to that end, GPop and I have yet another hurdle beyond the red tape.

When we look at the child's write-up, we need to be aware of what agency currently is in charge of the child. If the agency has some name that sounds Latin or Greek, I'll look it up on the web. Like as not, it is a faith-based organization with an unwritten, but very apparent, policy of refusing to deal with QBTLG(etc.) couples or singles. Sometimes, the policy is even explicit.

It's kind of sad, given that we have a very positive home and a good record of parenting thus far, that these organizations will dismiss us out of hand. It's also kind of sad that, even though there are plenty of religious organizations that don't have such policies of discrimination, the high profile of those that do makes it difficult for us not to put them all in the same bucket. We may have missed some opportunities, but it turns out that one of our criteria was "secular agency."

And, just to show that I've thought this through a little more than simply trashing the faithful, we also need to be aware of certain states and counties that have political environments that may be less than conducive to our goals. Oklahoma, Florida, and Arkansas are right out.

I sent the spreadsheet off last night. Pam responded this morning that she would send our paperwork out ASAP. When we chatted with her, we suggested that the cover page of her communications should include something to the effect of, "Please contact me if this family will NOT be considered as a potential match." We're hoping that this will increase the response rate somewhat, but I'm not holding my breath.

More to follow as events unfold.