Sometimes this is what I look like when I'm at work.

And I wonder how people picture me when they're on conference call with me...

Gulliver Loves...

It's time again for a little Gulliver Loves section. Here we go!

Gulliver loves football. Yesterday we got together with the family for an Easter egg hunt in the park. Gulliver was the most adorable baby ever, toddling over to the eggs in the grass, putting the egg in his basket, taking the egg out of the basket, putting the egg back in the basket... you get the idea. It was generally awesome and heart-warming. At the end of the day's festivities something caught little Gulliver's attention. His cousin Commander Cody was tossing a football with Uncle Elvis. He was absolutely riveted and wanted nothing more than to take his own turn and get his hands on that ball! So sure enough, because he is our only child and we are still relatively new parents, immediately after our day in the park, we went out and bought him his very own football. Not a baby football, either. A real football. Goodness knows that Murray and I know not a thing about football, but if Gulliver wants it, Gulliver gets it! (Apologies to our future fourth child as you are reading this. Sorry for the hand-me-downs. And sorry for not running out and buying any toy or item that grabs your attention.)

Gulliver loves milk. Of course he loves milk. But the funny thing about milk is that he calls it cracker. I don't even know how this happened. Sure, I used the word cracker fairly indiscriminately (pretzels, crackers, teddy grahams, cookies, bread, etc.) but whatever I called "cracker" tended to have flour as a main ingredient. So really, I don't know how "milk" became "cracker." But he says it a lot. He'll figure it out eventually.

Gulliver loves Grover. Remember Gulliver's Grover? Well, this little buddy has a special place in Gulliver's heart. He snuggles with Grover, which he's never done with any other stuffed toy. And he loves when we kiss Grover's nose, too. That cracks him up.

Speaking of kisses, Gulliver loves kisses. You can just say, "Kisses!" and he tilts his face up to yours and accepts a kiss. THIS IS LIKE CRACK COCAINE, by the way.

Gulliver also figured out what hugs are. Crazy how he picked up on that. You can say, "Go give your dad a hug!" and he'll go over and hug Murray's legs. So cute.

Gulliver loves bucking bronco. I get to play this with him. I don't do the traditional horse thing. I get it so that he flops onto my back, belly first, with his legs wrapping around my neck and head, and then I buck him off. It's great fun.

Gulliver loves brushing his teeth. What age are you supposed to be brushing their teeth, anyway? He has plenty. He has about four molars, four top and four bottom, and is cutting his incisors. A lot of the time, I get ready while he's in the bathtub, so he sees me go through my routine. And he wanted my toothbrush once after he got out of the bath, and stuck it right in his mouth. (And if you know Gulliver, you know that he generally doesn't stick TOO much in his mouth.) So since I have a whole stock of extra toothbrushes (in the hopes that people come to visit us, and in case those people forget their toothbrushes---it's a little bizarre, I know, but at least it's genuine!), I unwrapped a full adult-sized toothbrush and gave it to him. He now loves brushing his teeth.

Gulliver loves the ants. And it's a good thing, because no matter what we do, they seem to come back every year. We had our house sprayed this winter, so they are actually not as bad as they usually are, but they do run along where the carpet meets the kitchen tile. And sometimes, I catch Gulliver sitting at that exact spot, staring at the floor, mesmerized. He never actually does anything to the ants. He just watches.

Gulliver loves the stairs and he is an expert at going up and down (always with direct supervision) at this point. I think he loves them so much because they're usually gated off.

Gulliver loves outside! He's such a big boy now (and a pro walker!) that we can do fun things like take him to parks and stuff. And he loves it. He especially loves picking up dirt, sticks, and leaves, and offering it as gifts.

Gulliver still says "Do What?" He still says "Nanana! Nana! Nanananananana!" (Banana.) He still says Cracka (but as we've seen, this means milk, in addition to cracker).

Gulliver's new trick is "No, no, no." You'd think that we were bad parents, telling him no all the time. Instead, we are bad parents who suddenly started singing "Try to make me go to rehab, I said no no no." (MURRAY WOULD LIKE ME TO INTERJECT RIGHT HERE AND LET YOU KNOW THAT WE ARE NOT TOP-40S PARENTS.) Something triggered it, and for some reason I sang it, and wagged my finger, "No, no, no." Gulliver picked up on that fun immediately, and wagged his finger, too. No, no, no!

Gulliver is AWESOME.

Gulliver loves the ants.

Don't get bent, TAX MAN!

So we have a tax man. The first time I met him, I was struck by how much he looked like Dustin Hoffman. I mean, he REALLY looked like Dustin Hoffman! So we started calling him Dustin Hoffman, and to this day (two years later, third round of taxes) we still call him Dustin Hoffman:

"Murray, can you call Dustin Hoffman and set up an appointment please?"

Like that.

The funny thing is that each time we actually see him in person, I am struck by how much he does NOT look like Dustin Hoffman. The fact of the matter is that over the year between our appointments with him, my mental image of him actually becomes Dustin Hoffman. So whenever we see him, I'm brought back to reality, and that reality is that our accountant is not, in fact, Dustin Hoffman.

BUT, our accountant is wonderful. Do you want to know why he is wonderful? Because my whole life, I have been fairly anxiety-free except for when it comes to money, and how much I suck at managing it. This anxiety is pretty much cured now that I'm married to Murray and can delegate most money management things to him. But I get slightly anxious during tax time still. But every time we meet with our accountant, a great weight is lifted off of my soul, as he speaks very calming words of how this is allllllll okay, and it's nooooooooot a big deal. In fact, the first time we met with him, I had a confession of a financial sin to share with him. This was a (I thought) weighty financial matter that caused me fear and panic any time it popped into my mind for YEARS. YEARS! And the first time we met with Dustin Hoffman and I shared my little secret with him, he actually told me that it wasn't a problem. At all. No big deal. At all. And in fact, everything was okay, and I didn't even have to do anything to fix my tax error from years and years ago. And it was like absolution and one of the biggest burdens I've ever carried was just LIFTED FROM MY SOUL.

I love Dustin Hoffman.

Each year, he takes our financial information and does our taxes for us. And we end up getting more back than we would if we did them ourselves. AND it saves us time. And saves me anxiety. This year because of the self-employment thing, I thought for sure it was going to be a big complicated mess. But it isn't. It is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. And easy.

Let me know if you want his REAL name, not his Dustin Hoffman name, and I'll refer you to him. Because we love him.

Conversation with Murray

I'm stuck in the middle of revisions with almost all of my clients right now. And I don't really love this process. Here's a conversation that I just had with Murray.

Me: I actually understand now why designers will tell you that they'll have your revisions to you in 2 weeks. I mean, most of the time, revisions only take one or two hours. So when I first started, I didn't really understand why designers couldn't just turn revisions around right away.

Murray: Uh huh.

Me: I mean, everything that I'm working on right now is revisions. And so now I see that I can't just turn everything around in the same day. I have to work on projects in order of priority. So that means, it takes a little longer for some people to get revisions.

Murray: Yeah.

Me: So I don't know. Maybe I should institute a 2-week revisions policy.

Murray: So what do you think the priority issue is?

Me: What?

Murray: The priority. What do you think the real issue is. With priority.

Me: Uh... I don't really understand what you're asking. What?

Murray, turning around to face me: I actually wasn't listening to you and I have no idea what you've just said, so I was hoping to bait you and try and get you to repeat it all without admitting that I wasn't listening.

Prepare yourself for the cuteness.

Tonight, Murray was assembling some Ikea furniture, and Gulliver decided he wanted to help. Gulliver's help wasn't always the most helpful, but Murray didn't complain. How could you possibly complain when you have this adorable mini helper??

Later in the evening, I saw Gulliver go head first into one of the cubes. Because if there's a cubby open for the climbing into, it must be climbed into! I'm sorry I didn't get the camera fast enough to catch the legs sticking out the top. Or the contortions involved in getting himself facing up again. But at least I got a few shots of him in his cubby.

If you're considering parenthood, we strongly recommend it.

Why Men Can't Find Things

Our pantry is a mess. I'll admit it. My mom helped me organize it over a year ago when she came to help out when Gulliver was born. And it was wonderful when it was clean and organized. And I've cleaned and organized it myself a few times. But right now it has deteriorated into a giant, unorganized mess, most likely filled with food we will never, ever actually eat.

So tonight, Murray decided he'd like to make us some tea. He admits to being an herbal tea man. He likes chamomile honey tea.

He was searching the pantry for tea. It's been a while since we've had tea. And he couldn't find the tea. So I got up to help.

As I stood in front of the pantry, I decided to explain to him the finding process, hoping that perhaps he could learn something. I said, "Want to know a trick? Sometimes I just look up through the bottoms of the shelves, because if what I'm looking for is on a shelf, I can see it from the bottom!" I said this, and lo and behold, I located the tea in less than 10 seconds. It was not, in fact, on the bottom of a shelf. But in putting myself at that odd angle, I was able to see it at the very back of a shelf, sitting atop a pile of other miscellaneous food boxes.

And then I asked Murray a very important question: Why is it that women are better at finding things than men are? At least this didn't come from an accusatory standpoint, since I was identifying this as a failing of an entire sex and not just him. Here is a not very faithful, but generally true transcript of our conversation:

Me: Why is this a problem for men? And I know it's all of you. Because we women talk about it. And because even when I was a kid, my mom would ask my brothers to find something in the pantry, and they couldn't find it, so she'd send ME, and I'd always find it, no problem. So why is this a problem for you? Because you want to know what we women think? We all think that the problem is laziness, and that we are enabling you because then we step in and find the thing.

Murray: No, that's not it, because I can honestly say that I really didn't want you to have to get up and find it yourself. I feel like I understand men enough to say that it's a situation where women are just naturally better in this area, maybe because of evolution. It's like, in the old hunter-gatherer days, men would go and hunt for the food and bring it back to the cave. And it was up to the women to put it somewhere. So the men's obligation at that point was no longer to think about the food or what they brought back, and they were reliant on the women to remember that stuff.

Okay, I can't remember any of the details of the middle part of the conversation, so I'll skip to the end...

Me: So let me tell you what is going through my mind when I'm looking for something. I have in my mind an image of what the tea box looks like. I think, "Tea box! Tea box!" and I look everywhere for that shape and that box. I know what the tea box looks like, so everything registers "not tea box not tea box not tea box" until I find the tea box!

Murray: Ah ha! That's interesting because that is NOT what goes through my mind. See, when I'm looking for it, I'm thinking, "the 'tea box'!" Not "the tea box!"

Me: [Blank stare.]

Murray: So what I see in my mind is that specific tea box, even down to the fact that it's honey chamomile. So when I'm searching for it, I'm looking for that particular tea box. What it sounds like what you're doing is searching for a broad idea of a tea box, and even getting down to the shape. So that kindof made me think, maybe there's something there!!

I'm still not so sure I get it. The tea box? The "tea box"? Are you kidding me?

What are your thoughts? (And please remember to be kind to the hunters.)


A few days ago I told murray that it is possible to just let gulliver play during the day while you get some work done. Many days, Gulliver is capable of happily playing on his own. Sweep the kitchen floor first and if you hear munching coming from the kitchen, go get him out of whatever he's gotten into.

So apparently Murray decided to test this out today, and didn't look up when he heard gulliver playing by himself for a while. When he finally looked up, Murray found this:

Gulliver had gotten into the artist's gesso. Which by the way is completely water soluble. Phew!

I walked in the door just in time to find Murray catering him upstairs to the bathroom.

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.

Clutching onto My Youth

A couple days ago Murray and I were talking about Macauley Culkin and how on the Oscars, he looked like a tiny boy, not much older than when he was in Home Alone. Really. I mean, he looks like a teenager at best. So then we were trying to figure out how old he was. I said I remembered him being almost my age but slightly older.

Murray said, "I think he may be 30."

My first thought was, "He is not THAT much older than me." And then I remembered. I turn 30 this year.

(I can remember my mom's 30th birthday.)

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.


At Borders today, Gulliver got very very excited and started wiggling, hissing, and babbling quickly and loudly. We tried to see what he was looking at. It was a display of sesame street characters. Gulliver has seen sesame street only a couple of times, but does have a few characters already. Today we let him choose a new friend.

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.

Little Nibbler

This time, both Murray and I were in the living room, and could hear Gulliver playing in the kitchen. And everything was going well until we could hear the nibbling again. Murray went to inspect, and this time, it was baker's chocolate.

Gulliver is a little nibbler.

Little Man

Gulliver's new shirt from Target makes him look like a little man. We are in love with this boy. Today, for the first time, I asked him where his nose was, and he got it right. AND he'll give kisses on demand now. Having your own baby tilt his head up to kiss you on the lips is pretty much the best high ever.




Scallop Pasta!

Today I opened the freezer and saw the bag of scallops I bought from Target the other day, and decided that whatever I cooked tonight, it would feature scallops. Which I have NEVER cooked with before.

So when cooking time came, I looked up scallop recipes to see what matched the ingredients I had in stock, and found this, which I modified:

6 ounces uncooked vermicelli, broken in thirds
(I used angel hair and didn't break it.)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
(I didn't measure the salt.)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
(I didn't measure the paprika.)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
(For some reason, I rarely add pepper to anything.)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
(I didn't measure the garlic powder.)
1 pound sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry
(I don't know how much sea scallops I actually used.)
1 tablespoon butter, divided
(I used 4 tbsp butter. And some olive oil. Ha!)
Cooking spray
(See above. No cooking spray needed.)
1/4 cup water
(See above. No water needed.)
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced spinach leaves
(I didn't measure the spinach.)
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
(I didn't measure the lemon rind.)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
(I didn't measure the fresh lemon juice.)
4 lemon wedges
(I didn't include lemon wedges.)

I added some cut up prosciutto.


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Meanwhile, sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt, paprika, pepper, and garlic powder evenly over scallops.

Heat half the butter in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add half the scallops to pan; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until done, turning once. Remove scallops; set aside and keep warm. Repeat with remaining butter and scallops.

Add water to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Remove from heat; add pasta, spinach, lemon rind, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss gently. Divide evenly among individual serving plates. Top with scallops; serve immediately with lemon wedges.

I followed the directions as general guidelines, and combined everything in the end and guess what. It was HEAVEN. It was soooooooo good. So good in fact that this will now become a family staple. In the future, I think I will also throw in a few capers, and some artichoke hearts, just for good measure.

No pictures, but I promise you. This is worth trying out! Dinner was ready in about as long as it took for the water to boil and the pasta to cook.

How the world views artists and designers...

Yesterday I read an interesting article written by a lawyer about graphic artists providing free work for contests. Basically, the idea is that someone needs a logo, so instead of hiring a designer, they host a contest, awarding a monetary prize to the design they choose. The article author talks about how you would never do something similar to a lawyer.

Murray and I have encountered similar things, like acquaintances asking for free work from us. I liken this to doctors. You would never go up to a doctor that you kindof know and say, "Hey, I'm due for my annual woman's exam. I know this only takes about five minutes to do. Could I pop in and get this done [for free] sometime this week?" (Heck, I hope you wouldn't ask that of a doctor that you know well, either!) There are times that I have asked nurse friends advice (thanks, Sarah!) but again, they are friends, and I'm asking advice. People can similarly ask advice from me, which I'll happily give for free, according to the amount of time I have to dedicate to it.

Today, (funnily enough, the day after reading the linked article) a former client emailed me about an opportunity to create a logo. I could submit my design along with two other designers, and the winner would receive payment of $100.

Fortunately, I'm booked for the next couple months.

But still. I know that the client wasn't trying to insult me, and probably thought that he was presenting me with a pretty good opportunity. But this client happens to own a restaurant. How would he feel if I told him that I'd be visiting his restaurant tonight, another restaurant tomorrow, and a third restaurant the next day, and I would award payment to the best meal!

Why do you think that some people undervalue an artist's or designer's work? Is it because our jobs are seen as fun? (A lot of the time they are.) Ideas?

Gulliver Loves...

(This is a photo that happened when Gulliver joined Nicole Gerulat's lighting demo a couple weeks ago... Too bad that it's on a flesh-toned background. Now if I can figure out a way to sneak Gulliver in front of Nicole's camera when he's in front of a complimentary background...)

Today Gulliver is having one of those extremely independent days where he just plays all around the living room and kitchen by himself. I've only had to interfere once this morning when I heard that he got some corningware (breakable) dishes out of the cupboard. And he didn't cry when I took them away. That must mean that Gulliver is in a VERY good mood. So let's check in on Gulliver, shall we?

Gulliver Loves...

...The corner kitchen cupboard, where he found chocolate chips the other day. I was working at my computer on the dining table, just barely unable to see him, and suddenly things got quiet and I could hear smacking.


He is his mother's son.

...The yellow couch. Still. Gulliver easily spends about 50% of his living room time playing on the yellow couch now.

...Eggs and cheese. And yogurt still. And cheese by itself. And bananas. (More on bananas later in this post...) But sometimes Gulliver won't eat these things, and I don't know why. Because as soon as he actually TASTES it, he'll gobble it up. Like this morning, when I tried to feed him cheesy scrambled eggs. He wouldn't open his mouth to taste it. I finally had to hold his head still and shove it in. Barbaric, I know, but for the record, he was actually laughing while I did it. And as soon as he got a taste, then he gobbled up all of his eggs. Until, that is, he was done, which he communicates by violently flinging his food onto the floor. Thanks, Gulliver.

...Walking. Gulliver can now walk around, albeit a little wobbly at times. He can walk from one end of the living room to the kitchen. He still crawls sometimes, but is walking more and more.

...His hammer toy from IKEA. He doesn't use the hammer yet, but he can push the posts through with his hands or other blocks.

 (And no, we haven't given him a credit card to play with, that's a hotel key.)

...Phones. He will take my iPhone, put it to his ear, and say, "ohh?"

Gulliver says...

"No." He doesn't mean it, though. My favorite is when he says it when he does something that has traditionally caused us to tell him no. I also like it when he repeats it after he's heard me say it on the phone. No. No. No. It's unbelievably cute.

"Stop." He pronounces it "tap." This and No are words that I think he learned from Murray.

"Banana." This is my current favorite, because he doesn't just SAY banana. He sings it. It's always done in his sweetest most sing-song voice. "Nanana! Nana! Nanana!" So so adorable. When Murray took him to the grocery store recently, he saw the banana table and started saying it: "Nanana! Nanana!"

"Yogurt." He says "Gogur."

So, as you can see, we have an adorable son who keeps on growing up!

Proper Pride

Remember my dead half front tooth? Well back in November I got the work done for it to get a crown so that the tooth was stronger and so that I no longer had a dead, two-toned front tooth. And after I got my temporary crown (while they made a proper one), Murray and I got insanely busy with work, which is why I'm finally getting the permanent crown put in now, only 4 months later.

Last time, they had to take off my cap and then chisel my remaining tooth down to a nubbin onto which they could cement a crown. None of this hurt of course because I have had a root canal on that tooth. When I was left alone in the room before they fetched my temporary crown, I was tempted to take an iPhone pic of my leftover smile. But I was too afraid of what I might see. So I didn't.

Today, the removed the temporary crown and fetched the new crown, again leaving me alone in the room, giving me the opportunity to snap a quick picture.

Again, I chickened out.

They tried out the new crown only to discover that it was the wrong shade. They gave me a hand mirror so that I could see that it was the wrong shade. They tool out the crown and left me alone in the room with the hand mirror.

I was all alone.

Did I dare steal a look?

I lifted the mirror and smiled at myself, and what I saw was basically the most horrific, hill Billy version of myself I have ever seen, so horrific in fact that I could only endure it about half a second before I quickly lowered the mirror and tried to purge that awful image of myself forever from my brain.

And still, the question remained. Do I snap a quick picture of this to share with the Internet? I generally don't hold back with the very unflattering images I snap of myself. (Go to and find the one where he compares me to a gorilla.)

In the end, I didn't have the courage. Sorry, Internet. There are just some things that shouldn't be shared, and hill Billy nubbin teeth belong to that category.

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.

Things I Hate

I'm generally a very positive person, but for a while now I've been wanting to post a list of some things that I hate. Sorry in advance for any offense! Remember, I don't hate people. Just some things.

Halloween lights and other outdoor Halloween decorations, esp when set up in September. Halloween does not equal Christmas.

People who don't understand how to use roundabouts and who get mad at you when you're yielding to the car that has the right of way.

People who break traffic rules out of politeness to you, gesturing for you to go when it is not your turn and when it is not safe to go.

The font papyrus.

Blinking lights in a dark room.

Any bedroom electronics that have bright LED lights that are constantly on, or unnecessarily bright alarm clock displays.

Rancid dish rags. (This should probably be number one.)

The term "brain fart."

The awful feel of cotton rubbing against itself, or dry hands on glass.

Welp, that's all I can think of for now! To be continued, I'm sure!

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.