Friday, February 29, 2008

Liam's Road to Nowhere

When Liam was six months old, he started growling. It was frightening how much it sounded like he was auditioning for a bit part in the Exorcist or chanting REDRUM over and over again. It scared the bejesus out of me. When he was about a year old, his father finally realized he was making that horrible sound whenever he heard an engine, be it a jet in the sky, a boat on the lake, or our own car downshifting. Ever since we realized that, it has been like a lightbulb went on...OUR BOY LOVES CARS.

As is the case with most toddlers, love of cars, has spread contagiously to love of trucks, trains, wagons, bikes, motorcycles, basically anything with wheels. And now, at a year and a half (I almost typed 18 months, but read something recently about how people HATE it when you give them your child's age in months), has started to name the various vehicles...

BOOOOOOOOOAT - this is the latest addition and is, by far, my favorite. Lest you miss it from my spelling, he draws out the O for a very long time and his little rosebud lips form a tiny o themselves...awwwwwwww)
TRACTOR - nobody but immediate family could recognize that he is saying tractor, but, it's contextually correct
CAR (sounds like he is from Boston as he drops the R sound and shortens the A)
Train, which he calls TOOT TOOTS
TRUCK - Sounds an awful lot like sock
BIKE - Sounds suspiciously like BYE
Just recently he's starting saying BEEP BEEP CAR...which I almost want to call a sentence until my mother reminds me that it's really just two nouns hanging out together...oh well.

Since everybody latched on to Liam's love of vehicles, he has been getting wheeled gifts. Planes, trains and automobiles aplenty. We are running out of room at the house which must be makeshift roundhouse, hanger and garage. (And, if one considers his sisters obsessions, jungle, barn, zoo and kennel as well). It's mighty crowded over here.

So, anytime of day, Liam can be seen with a wheeled vehicle in each hand. Whenever his mother, grandmother, aunt or Boppa (grandpa) sits still for a moment, we become his road. He rolls his train or car or truck all over our legs. Some more compliant relatives stretch out yoga-style on the floor to make a full clover leaf of roads for Liam. Others of us require him to use JUST our legs...NOT on our hands, faces, breasts please, Liam.

Liam is not yet a big talker. He's going through a stage where he makes this rather annoying, insistent question noise, but it's always the exact same noise with the exact same intonation. No words. It's almost a whine, unfortunately, so he doesn't always get the answers he desires. But, this morning he would not stop grunting and non-verbally prodding me until I spread the red cozy blanket, which we keep on the couch, over me...Once I did this, he started running his cars up and down my blanketed legs, smiling and growling peacefully. Apparently the cars run smoother on fleecy asphalt.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Peeping Time

I found a really neat site some time ago. I am thinking I might have even found it through someone's blog, but I honestly can't remember. Being a shutterbug myself, I love to look a photographs. I will sit on Flickr and refresh the "interestingness" button for hours and hours for entertainment. But, I digress and make it about me as usual.

This about a this really neat site I found. It's called timetales and it's a home for found pictures. In some cases, these are lost pictures. In other cases, abandoned. In a rare few, destroyed and restored. I am not one of those people who finds old pictures creepy or depressing (though I have met many who do). No, I find them interesting studies in what people chose to photograph in various time periods. What's nice about this site is the segregation by decade (so if you really aren't into creepy old pictures, you can look at the most recent categories).

As I scrutinize each one, I find myself trying to give the characters in each photo a story, and therefore a home. I even find myself swearing I know them, have seen them before, know a relative of theirs, or insist that they are a long lost relative of mine. In short, don't I know you from somewhere?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Shadow Theatre

Framed Shadow Portrait, originally uploaded by Kikigill.

Let me explain how I took this one. Liam is on my back in the Ergo carrier. The sun was behind us and there is a fence behind us which you can clearly see. The sunlight was streaming in between two trees. We were standing on one side of the street and there is a very steep bank on the other side. The bank on the side of the road provides the leafy backdrop of our shadow theatre.

I just think this shadow portrait is special in its symmetry, patterns and light. I fell like I am on stage in this one. Are the curtains parting or closing?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Did I Already Blog this one?

Botantical Garden 08 053, originally uploaded by Kikigill.

I sure hope not. OK, maybe I am super corny or maybe I am going crazy or maybe I am just falling hard for a flower (or my own photography), but...I think this flower is praying to God. See the light in the top left quadrant? it's God and the flowers are paying Him homage. They are facing His light and basking in His glory.

Liam and His Web Child Ticket

Botantical Garden 08 261, originally uploaded by Kikigill.

I don't know why I thought it funny that the ticket said "Web Child," but I did. It conjured up some platypusian image.

See Post Below

Botantical Garden 08 230, originally uploaded by Kikigill.

This is when I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the white door. Zoomed in post below.

There's Kiki!

Botantical Garden 08 235, originally uploaded by Kikigill.

I just love this one. For one reason, Liam was sick, so he's just completely limp and relaxed on my back. He did not pick ONE piece of flora while we were at the Orchid Show! For another reason, I love catching a glimpse of myself "in context."

I still remember the first time this happened. I was walking through a new grocery store (well, new to me) and I saw this long and lean girl walking towards me. I experienced that split second delay between recognizing that it was, in actuality, me in a giant, wall-sized mirror. Turns out I look pretty good out there in the world at large, "in context." It's just when I squeeze my round face into a small mirror that I feel pretty bloated and big.

This was especially cool because I was photographing something in the foreground and then I noticed the reflection behind. Hey, that's a cool-looking nature girl over there...

Spotty Character

Botantical Garden 08 248, originally uploaded by Kikigill.

I was struck by how each and every orchid has its own personality and charm. This one was almost speaking to me, I swear!

Ghost of an Orchid

Botantical Garden 08 251, originally uploaded by Kikigill.

We went to the NYBG this weekend for the 2008 Orchid Show. I will post a few of my favorite pictures on the blog using Flickr. Apparently Flickr and Blogger are now smart enough to speak to each other without my help...ahhh machine to machine communications, isn't technology grand?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Freecycle Boycott

Sad but true, the woman who once wrote this:

Friday, October 06, 2006
One Woman's Trash is Another's Treasure
Well, it's official, I have found the best way for me to clear out my closets. I am a freecycling fool! I love to feel like I am giving and, with Freecycle, I get to give away all things individually. My beloved possessions, of which I have so many that I am inundated and drowning and, therefore, no longer "beloving." In the past week, I have given away ten bags of clothes, two bags of books, one dirty toaster oven, baby clothes and bedding, and more I've probably forgotten. For me, Freecycle is the perfect blend between charity and classified ad. I end up feeling that I am giving away to the needy that which they actually NEED. It's pretty cool. it is...

My Ode to Freecycle

Treasure my trash I whisper as I hit send
My smaller size days have come to an end,
So have the bigger ones, no longer with child
I post OFFER: Maternity and the responders go wild.

Most of my items are popular and taken fast
I have yet to see anything out there really last.
You have a broken remote or ancient pair of shoes?
An old pitch fork? Post it! What have you got to lose?

But what about this iron bed I can't seem to get rid of?
Where is the person who will give it some love?
Sure it's broken and needs a little TLC
But, come on folks, it's a an antique, come see!

The irony is I am not a taker, only a giver
The idea of picking up others' clothes makes me shiver!
So, come take my trash and make it your own...
you too can dress yourself and beautify your home!!

Has now had an experience that has soured Freecycle for me. Sad, but is the whole email strand. See what you think:

My request:
A friend of mine has just taken up spinning her own yarn. I am putting this out here on the off chance that someone has an abandoned spinning wheel. I would also love any orphaned knitting supplies! Thanks in advance. Kristen

Her response:

I sent this back to her:
When I moved last year I posted about 25 offers. I don't have anything to offer right now. Can you please post my wanted?

And then, I forwarded her a copy of an OFFER I had made of a van that she, herself, had responded to at one point.

I then asked:
See...remember me? I freecycled a van! So, will you post my WANTED? In light of the fact that I freecycled for years OFFERing only and now am asking for a few things as I have fallen on hard times?

She responded (longwindedly):
First, We just want to remind you that Freecycle(TM) is not designed to be a wish list or a charitable organization. We are not here to take care of needy families and/or provide gifts to others. Though this may occasionally be the result, it is NOT our primary intent. There are many other organizations in the area that are specifically designed for this. Messages asking for help for
families, etc. will not be approved. This includes all requests for help from/for other charitable organizations.

Freecycle exists as a forum to help people give away items that they would otherwise be throwing away. We are here to OFFER things that we have but no longer want or need. We do not object to wanted ads, but we all need to consider what we are here for and use them wisely.

Second, You just stated that you are asking for a few things because you have fallen on hard times - How is asking for a spinning wheel for a friend a necessity?

My final note back to her:
I thought if someone had a spinning wheel sitting around that I could help them by giving it a home. No big deal.

I think if you look at my history, though, you will see that I have used Freecycle in its intended spirit for years. Sorry, I had no idea I could not post WANTEDs as freely as OFFERs. Sorry.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Well, as I find myself frequently doing, I am using my blog to tell another tale of customer service woe. I almost feel as if I could start a blog expressly for this purpose since the world is rife with poor customer service experiences waiting to grace my phone, email, broadband chat connection...But, UGH!

This time, the customer-service-sucks-ass award goes to HP/Compaq. I had completely planned on coming on here three weeks ago to write a stellar tale of my experience with them repairing my machine. I chatted with a gentleman named Morrie, told him about my broken laptop hinge, cd-drive issue and a couple other little annoyances and they sent a box for my machine, shipped it away, fixed everything, and in fewer than five business days I had my machine back good as new. I was thrilled and patted myself on the back for choosing to buy a Compaq laptop in the first place.

Well, that pleasure was to be short-lived.

When I had the machine fixed, I had on the list of complaints, a loose AC power adapter that seemed fine, but was clearly bordering on dangerous and could they please include a replacement when they returned the machine. I was assured that yes they could and I didn't worry. The machine came back and the AC adapter was the one thing that was not replaced. Unfortunately, as these types of cord injuries are wont to do, it progressed rather rapidly from a state of working to working in only certain positions, to working only with a mug slammed up against it, to working with only a mug and a pile of books pressed against it, to not working at all within a matter of days.

It was on the machine's swan song of battery life that I was able to send out a feeble SOS. Here, wait, I have the chat transcript here in my email box...Let me dig it up:

Thank you for your recent use of HP Real-time Chat Support. For your
records, we have provided a complete transcript of your chat session

NOTE: Please do not reply to this automatically generated message.

For information on keeping your HP and Compaq products up and running
please visit

Chat Transcript Begins Here
Hello Kristen.

hi there

Welcome to HP Total Care for Presario Notebook. My name is Morrie. How may
I assist you today?

Well, I just got my machine back on Mon

And I had asked for a repair to the cord

and it didn't get fixed

and will not charge the battery due to a loose connectino

can I get a new cord through you?

my order number for the original repair was MSN867-01

Model number is EE394AV

Just to confirm, are you experiencing the problem with DC Jack(point where
we connect AC Adpater to the notebook) or the AC Adapter itself?

DC Jack and it's not the machine, but the cord itself

the connection is loose inside wire

At the terminus right where it connects into the machine

does that make sense?

I understand that you are experiencing the problem with AC Adpater.

Am I right?


Thank you for confirming.

Let me check the warranty status of your notebook



Could you please provide me the serial number and product number of your



Thank you for providing the information

I see from our database that your notebook is underwarranty.

Thank you, yes it is

it was just repaired last week

and this was the one thing they forgot to fix

I see.

I will be glad to arrange for the shipping of new AC Adpater free of


You guys are the best!

Thanks for the compliment.

I mean it! This has been the best experience...every step of the way

Our primary goal is Customer's Satisfaction!

I was just so impressed with how quickly the machine was picked up, fixed
and returned

And I am loving having it fixed

Please provide me the following details

* Name:
* Mailing Address (No P.O. Boxes):
* Apartment/Building/Mailstop:
* City:
* State:
* Zip/Postal Code:
* Phone Number (including area code):
* E-mail:
* Call back time(exact time with time zone):

Kristen Gill


The Right Town, CT 06The right zip code

Phone number

Name, etc...

1PM ET (If call back is required)

Thank you for providing all the details.

Please provide me few momens while I create the case.

Thanks for your time and patience.

I have created the case and forwarded to concern department.

Here is the case number: 8007726033

You will receive new AC Adapter within 4 business days

Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Just to make sure, are we still connected?

Chat Transcript Ends Here

Four days went cord and no word. I called the 800 number. I talked to a woman named Sarah who needed me to spell the word Connecticut, Millers and couple of other words that had me a bit scared. Anyhow, the most important part of this conversation was that I THOUGHT they had updated my address in their system.

Chat Transcript Begins Here
Hello kristen.

Welcome To HP Total Care for Presario Notebooks. My name is Kate. How may
I assist you today?

Hi Kate

I am STILL waiting for a cord for my laptop

Could you please provide me with a detailed description of the problem,
which will help me assist you better?


I was on a business call


Customer service order number: MYQ902-01

I was sent a computer cord, but not to the address where I live. It was
sent to an address where I lived two years ago

I need a new cord sent out ASAP as I cannot power up my laptop and I have not been able to for the last 10 days

Thank you for the information.

Model Number:EE394AV

Could I have a few moments of your time while I search the information for you?

Serial Number: CND601129K


Thank you.

Thank you for sparing your precious time.

Sorry for the delay.

you're welcome

Kristen, I see that the ac adapter is shipped to the following adddress:


Yes, I have not lived there for over a year and a half

Please confirm me whether that was the exact address to be shipped.

it is not the address I gave in the chat

Oh I am sorry to hear that@!

the address should have been: Kristen Gill - RIGHT ADDRESS ETC…

Could you please provide me the exact addres for me to ship the part

Kristen Gill






Thank you for the information.

Kristen, I will create the case once again and the acadpter will be
shipped with 2-3 bussiness days.

I was told that on Sat

so, can you be sure to email me this time?

Kristen, i will make sure that you will recive the part within said time.

Is that ok?

Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

That's fine

Chat Transcript Ends Here

I was feeling all smug and excited until...I just checked the tracking information for the latest order online and guess where it shipped? Yup, you guessed it...the WRONG STREET ADDRESS, THE WRONG TOWN, THE WRONG ZIP...AGAIN...Now what do I do?