Saturday, July 25, 2009

Baby's first... junk mail?

She's just over a month old, but Mikaela already received her first piece of junk mail today. It's from these folks at the Washington State Department of Health, and technically it's addressed to "The Parent(s) or Guardian(s) of Mikaela Stephanie Cuthbert," but it's nonetheless official: her name has been indelibly entered into mass marketing databases.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

First days and photos!

First and foremost, have some pictures. We have more, limited only by how speedily I can get them transferred and uploaded.

The first nights back from the hospital have been pleasant. Yes, you read that correctly. The main reason for this: now we're only being woken up by Mikaela, whereas before we also had caretakers coming in every 30-60 minutes to take vital signs and perform other tests. Don't get me wrong -- our care was second to none -- but it's nice to be able to get sleep which is a bit less interrupted.

Breastfeeding has been an adventure. I was starting to worry about whether Mikaela was getting dehydrated on Friday and was trying to figure out how to supplement the minuscule bits colostrum with glucose water, trying to make feeding sessions a bit more productive and less fussy by calming her, etc. And I was feeling guilty, because I couldn't actually feed her and take some of the burden off of Tamara. However, she politely but firmly assured me that this was all normal. Sure enough, she's getting a fair bit of milk now and feeding lasts a decent amount of time.

My role -- and one I'm happy with -- is to be Tamara's arms and legs when she's feeding.

Aside from when she's hungry, I'm actually somewhat good at getting Mikaela's fussiness under control. I've been using the techniques from The Happiest Baby on the Block. I'll quickly swaddle her, pick her up and turn her on her side, shush loudly into her ear, and sway her a bit, and Mikaela will quickly fall into that quiet-alert state. It's been remarkably effective for us.

Note that I don't recommend the book itself. While the techniques in it may work, it's more of an exercise in self-promotion by the pediatrician-author. I find some of the ancillary claims dubious.

Anyway, things are going remarkably well. Well enough, at least, that I have time to write this up here. :-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

And baby makes three...

Our daughter, Mikaela Stephanie Cuthbert, was born today (6/24/09) at 10:27 am PDT. A healthy 6 lbs 5 oz, 19 inches long. Mother and daughter are both doing great (and napping as I take a few moments away to write this :-).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Triathlon distances

What I don't get about most triathlons: the swims are usually short, often not even half-marathons. My casual swim workout is longer than most tri swims. These are followed by ridiculously long bike rides and marathon or longer runs.

IronMan Canada, I'm looking at you. Which of these things is not like the other?
  • A 180 km bike ride
  • A 42.2 km run
  • A 3800 m swim

Friday, May 22, 2009

Seawalls and chains

Yesterday, as I was bicycling from the ferry terminal, there were 15 or so fire, police, and medical units by the Washington Street Public Boat Landing, an old landing built on top of the seawall by Alaskan Way. This entire area is reclaimed land -- mostly rubble from the Great Seattle Fire that was pushed into Elliot Bay -- and highly unstable.

Well, as it turns out, some poor fellow fell into a hole when the sidewalk collapsed underneath him. According to comments on the Seattle Times version of the story, he was singing "Down In A Hole" (Alice In Chains) while being rescued.

Speaking of chains... I managed to snap my bicycle chain on my ride home yesterday. Apparently, I don't know my own strength. Anyway, the guys at the bike shop said I'm supposed to brag about this, hence this mention in my blog.

If you come across a broken chain lying along New Brooklyn Road on Bainbridge, now you'll know why.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Have I mentioned that jellyfish annoy me?

I've been swimming in Port Orchard fairly regularly since mid-April. The water surface temperature has been averaging 50°F or so -- chilly, but tolerable.

Last week, though, the surface temperature rose to the mid-50's. Apparently, the jellyfish polyps take this as a sign to bud off and produce juveniles. Fortunately, the jellies in Puget Sound are incapable of stinging humans. However, that doesn't mean the swimming through schools of them won't irritate your skin, as I can now personally attest.

In other news... um, well, there isn't much other news. Work exists, but nothing blog worthy. Bean arrives in a little more than a month, and we're insanely excited.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Another black eye for CFLs

Lifetimes shorter than advertised.
Slow (minutes-long) start up times.
Environment-contaminating mercury.

Now add power consumption to the list of reasons why compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) aren't all they cracked up to be.

This EDN article points out that CFLs have a terrible power factor, between 0.4 and 0.6. In layman's terms, this means the lamps are using 66 to 150% more energy than advertised: a 13 watt lamp may require the power company to actually pump the energy equivalent of 32.5 watts down the line to light it up.

The good news -- for you, at least -- is that you're not actually billed this larger amount. Electric meters measure "real power" -- the 13 watts put off by the bulb. The bad news -- for the utilities and the environment -- is that the electric company has to provide the "apparent power", or the equivalent of 32.5 watts.

This is still less than the 60 watts needed for an incandescent bulb, but it does eat away at the magic of CFLs.

(Apparent power is usually given in volt-amperes; this is dimensionally equivalent to a watt, but this helps us electrical geeks to distinguish when we're talking about "real" vs. "apparent" power.)