Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Calli's First Christmas

Busy, busy, busy. That's where I've been. By the look of my Blog Updates Page, that's where a lot of people have been. Not to say that it's been totally quiet, but I haven't cornered the market on being kept from the computer

I had the Tuesday before Christmas off work, but it was a far cry from a day off! Cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, laundry, etc, etc. Then I had Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Boxing day off. Christmas Eve, we had family over (hers & mine) for H'ors D'oeuvres/dinner, which meant more touch-up cleaning & prep. Christmas was present-opening, then to her family's for dinner. Then Boxing day, another wonderful dinner at my family's. I must say, the vittles are what I look forward to the most!

Today is my first real day off in over a week, just me and my two beautiful girls!

The best part of the holidays, by a country mile, came on Christmas Eve. After everyone had gone home, Andrea & I we talking to Calli, and she giggled! I was a quick "Ah-ha-ha," but it surely counts as a laugh! It was our Christmas Miracle, and it made our Christmas more special than anything we could have planned

And how was Calli's first Christmas? Allow me th summerize:
Family Members: "Oooh, she looks adorable in that!"
Us: "Hurry up and get your pictures before she spits-up on it!"

Yeah, it was a photo-op, plain and simple. All the activity really tired her out, too. I would have thought that being held by a half-dozen family members would be no different than being held by just Andrea & I, but all the fresh stimulus sure took it's toll!

Hope you all had a great Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

1 and 1/2 sided Conversations

A couple weeks ago, Andrea had some friends over, and one was schooled in Early Childhood Education. One thing that really stuck with me was how children develop better when their parents talk to them as infants. On one hand, it seems a little silly, when they don’t have the mental equipment to understand. But I’m starting to see reactions. She’s smiling a lot more now. She’ll “talk” back to us, even! It’s freakin’ crazy, watching her mind develop!
She’s winding-up for her 3-month growth-spurt (she’s officially 3 months on Monday). We’ve seen this sign before: she’s eating like she’s preparing to hibernate!

In other news, I finally registered on FaceBook. I actually registered awhile ago, but didn’t do anything with it. I thought I was the last one to register with Face Book, but apparently not.

Asking a couple of friends, they aren’t there. I guess the main reason I’ve been hesitating is that there are people I don’t necessarily want to get back in touch with. You may remember me writing about how I was really religious in high school (I enjoyed my adolescence throughout my 20’s). Already, one of my high school friends ‘Friended’ me. He’s currently a pastor in Michigan, working as a pastor, and has expressed some very conservative views. I guess I didn’t want to explain why I’m not in that head-space anymore. When I say it like that, it sounds a little cowardly. Well, there it is.

I must say, quite the time-sink! If I let it, it could eat up hours of my day, and I’d never see them go! But I’m not there for the games, as I’ve got enough on my plate already. So if you’re there, look me up!

That’s about the end of my news. Thanks for the comments on the last post! I love a good yarn! One I heard in a movie was “I’m the back-end of Snufflufagus” (Sesame Street). Dammit, I wish I’d used it!

Enjoy some pictures!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Spinning Yarns

About a month ago, I heard that 30% of what’s written in Blogs is fabrication. Either I’m only reading that 30%, or these authors are really uninspired.

Now, when I told you that in labor, my wife was in active labor for two hours, and really pushing for about 35 minutes, I can see it if that sounded a little far-fetched. If you don’t believe that that’s how it happened, no sweat off of my brow.

Other than that, there’s no reason to doubt me. I can assure you that I can be more clever if I wanted to spin yarns. Such as:

“When Calli was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around her ankle, and she bungied out of my wife, to bounce back up into the doctor’s arms.”

“I’m spending Christmas in Jamaica with Jimmy Page”

“I played a Jawa in Return of the Jedi.”

"I’m really Kurt Cobain, and I faked my death to throw-off the media”

See? Good, tall tales! But I believe that of all the Blogs you read, very few of them seem phony!

I work with a guy who does this in real life. Really, he’s a Sho Ren priest, he’s done Black Ops for the CIA, and has a family in the US that he can’t visit because 9/11 tightened up the border security. I don’t talk to him much anymore, because of a BS allergy.

Tall tales are a lot of fun, and I tell them often, but when people say “Really?” I say “No, not really.” A good example is when I 10-year-old lad comes through my line at work, I say “When the ladies ask, tell them you broke that rescuing puppies & orphans from a fire.” One of the mothers actually came back and said that her boy was telling that story!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pardon my Absence...

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and here’s why: life happens.

It’s always a busy season, but my hours don’t really change. My darling child, however, has been sleeping later, so I’m not up at 6AM. This sounds like a good thing, but it means that I don’t have the familiar routine: get up, heat a bottle & brew coffee. Half-hour feeding, with either TV or Podcast, then about an hour reading Blogs, then write while Andrea sleeps. Win-Win.

Another glitch was after a power-surge. Our computer seized on a black screen and said “Reboot error. System halted.” It was a scary time, believe you me! That is until my much-more computer literate wife applied the tech-equivalent of “Abracadabra;” Ctrl-Alt-Delete. Hopefully, I can remember for next time!

With Cali sleeping later, my wonderful wife will take the morning feed, because she’s up anyway, and has some bra-pressure to relieve. Honestly, it’s been nice to sleep, but I miss this, so here I am. Sorry if you’ve been missing my comments, but there’s my reasons.

We watched the GI Joe move last week. If you were never a fan of the comics or cartoons, and you don’t have to pay for it, it’s not too bad. I was chin-deep in the comics as a kid, so it drove me right-fucking-snaky to see the story bastardised! Were the producers not aware that many of the viewers would be long-time fans, who would see the holes in their story? It seemed to be a good action story, aimed at 15-year-olds, with a well-known name attached for marketing. Lose the GI Joe name, and it would have been much more enjoyable.

But enough of the movie rant. Tonight, Kuma & I are going to a buddy’s place, and it promises to be good times! He owns an RV Park that’s closed for the season, so my pooch gets a rare opportunity to run free! He’ll sleep for days!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Date Night

Yay, Date Night! Last night, we went out on our second Date since Callie arrived, and it was great! First, we went Mini Golfing. We hadn’t been in years, and it was a lot of fun. The place had a black-light, glow-in-the-dark motif, with pop music, that I normally would have found irritating-as-shit, but last night it suited our mood nicely. We had nice little boogie-breaks between puts. Being 4:30 on a Tuesday, it was quiet there – there was one other couple that we never saw. The patron of the place warned us that there were security cameras, and winked. No kinky shenanigans here!

Then after a lovely dinner at Boston Pizza, where we discussed the parenting challenges we were expecting, we went to my workplace for a few things. When people asked, “Where’s the baby?” I’d look wide-eyed at Andrea and say, “Oh SHIT!” I’m confident enough in my parenting that a good child-neglect joke can be funny on occasion!

By the time we got home, she was well into her “Active” time. Whether she’s fussy or not, she’s wide-awake, and wants to be entertained. So now we have the riddle of how to entertain a 10-week-old. Well, we just make up songs, hold her up by her armpits, or swing her on our arms, with her head on an elbow. She’s a little young for Baby Einstein just yet.

Any other infant-amusing ideas?

Monday, November 30, 2009


As I mentioned awhile ago, my store has a gas station, and I’m often out there. I don’t think I could do it all the time, but it’s a nice break from time to time. Time is spent coaching people on how to use the pre-pay, cleaning spills when people want to round their bill up to the nearest dollar, and general tidying. Mostly, it’s pacing, and waiting for someone has a problem for me to solve.

Not long ago, someone asked me about gas caps being left behind, and if we just throw them out. Yeah, if no one’s come for them after 3-4 days, we figure that they aren’t going to. Then said that we glue them together and make modern art sculptures.

He replied “That’s funny. You’ve got a great sense of humor.”

I’m a big fan of my humor; I find it well-tailored to my sensibilities, but that was surely not one of my gems. This fellow was clearly Carnegie-izing. (I learned that term from Alice Schroeder in her recent biography of Warren Buffett, The Snowball. It loosely means “flattering until the subject wants to do what you want them to do.” The concept is based on Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.) So this gent was clearly blowing sunshine up my ass.
I’ve seen this approach twice before at work, so I had an idea of what was coming. “Have you considered way of making some extra income?” Here we go…

Now, if you want to do Network Marketing, good for you. D. Trump and R. Kiyosaki endorse it, and I’m not going argue on wealth-building techniques with either of them. But when someone’s working retail, they’re getting paid to be polite. If we’re listening to your spiel, it’s because we’d get reprimanded for being rude.

My first experience with this was when I was cleaning up a water spill, and a guy said “I’m in insurance, and I’m looking to open offices in this city, and looking agents; people looking for a career change.” I guess mop-swinging made me a good candidate.

The second one was just precious. He offered me $900 for my earrings if I signed a contract saying I’d never get another piercing. When I asked what else was involved in this amazing (?!) offer, he got really vague. He tried convincing me that when a woman sees piercings on a guy, she assumes it means he wants to be led around (see “Whipped”). Then asks his wife, “When you see piercings on a guy, what does it make you think?” “That he wants to be led around.”
“Yeah, and you didn’t have any time to rehearse that at all, did you?”

Thank God a manager came along and told this guy that I had work to do. As soon as he was gone, I thanked her profusely!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, My American Friends

It’s been pretty quiet on the Blogging front lately, but many of our American friends are posting about what they’re thankful for. I think it’s great that we have a holiday to focus on gratitude; it’s just good for the spirit. They must be having a great time too, ‘cause not many of the ones I follow have posted yesterday. I imagine that Christmas will be the same.

What am I thankful for? I have a beautiful wife (if you haven’t looked at the picture lately, look now. Seriously, I landed me a Fox!) I’ve got a healthy child, who makes hilarious wide-eyed ‘Ooooh’ faces when we hold her in a standing position. We haven’t had any snow to speak of yet, but that could change at any time. I work with great people, and when I make my fortune, I may stay there awhile, limited part-time of course. My 10 year old cat is showing no signs of slowing. My four year old computer shows some slowness, but still works just fine. And last year, The Beastie Boys finally put out an instrumental album, though it lacked the diversity I would have hoped for

And my child sleeps through most of the day, until early evening, then she’ll be fussy until about 12:30. I’ll tell ya, it’s a special kind of hell when I think she’s out at 11:30, but when I put her down, she winds back up instantly! It’s hard to remember my mantra: “I’ll look back on this as The Easy Part.” I don’t imagine that I’ll be able to read & write from 7-9AM when she’s two. But I can hope…

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Most Important Post Yet!

Welcome to the Entertaining Season! For many, the best part is getting together with family & friends for some alcohol-enhanced visiting, and while this can make for good times and great memories, there is the inherent responsibility of making sure your loved-ones get home safe.

So here was my plan: I was going to get in touch with the local Police Department for advice on how to prove to guests that they are too far-gone to handle a vehicle. You know, things like ‘touch your nose’ or ‘walk a straight line.’ Naturally, if you need to ask, they probably are too drunk to drive, but convincing them of that is the issue.

When S/Sgt. Stephen Bishop of the Barrie Police Dept. got back to me (quite promptly, I might add), he said that such tests weren’t a good idea, since a seasoned drinker would have to trouble passing. Either way, the host is still legally responsible, and his summary was chilling: “You wouldn’t be the first to lose your house in a civil suit.”

So the best plan is what’s recommended on all the commercials: Transit, taxi, designated drivers, or just stay over.

We’ve come a long way in regards to responsible drinking, and most people will have a plan, or admit when they’ve gotten carried away. Let’s all help the upward-spiral, and be sure to have a safe holiday season for all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holy War In A Bottle

On Saturday, I took Calli to my folks place (about a 45 min drive), because a 2nd cousin couldn’t make it to the shower and wanted to meet her – her name was also Cali. (I don’t know if she was a “Callista,”). When my aunt came by to get her, it was funny to hear her say “Imagine that, eh? Will packing her up and bringing her up here by himself.” Welcome to the brave new world. Her husband (and much of the community) is a rustic, blue collar type who bring home checks, and wait for the kids to get a little older before getting very hands-on with the parenting.

By and large, we had a delightful visit, until the last hour, when mom said “(the church) is having a Baby Dedication on the 28th, do you want to come?” Well, no mother. No I don’t.
Oh yeah, it’s gonna be a parental-religious-argument post.

After years of me tip-toeing around the subject, they asked “What’s the hang-up. Really.” Now what I should have wish I’d have said was “I was chin-deep in it for so long (16-23, including 4 years of Bible College) I’m kinda tired out of it.” Sadly, what I Said was “my faith in God is as strong as it ever was, but much of what I’ve read in history doesn’t jive with the Church as it is.” I added that I haven’t shared because they are in a really good place with their faith, and their religious community, so I’m not gonna sit ‘em down to watch Bill Mayer’s “Religulous.”
Of course, they want to know what I mean by “historic problems.” Well then, how much to I want to show? An important part of my belief’s is “Don’t go messing with other people’s belief’s!” So, to throw them a bone, I explained that in the 1st generation after Jesus, there was a split between the Jewish followers and the Gentile followers. What we have in the Church is Paul’s Roman version, while the Jewish version (who would have had the better frame-of-reference for Jesus’ message) got marginalized.

Now, as Papa said, they’re “…really worried about me.” “Do you not believe in the Trinity?” Well, it’s a fantastic illustration of the nature of God… At the end of the day, it’s a matter of faith, and since their faith is good for them, I don’t wish to argue.

On the drive home, I tried listening to NIN, which didn’t help, so I switched to Aerosmith. Much better. Funny thing is, the next morning, I did just what I imagine they did: I found someone who thinks and believes as I do and vented. Then Mom called that night and it seemed that all was forgotten.

We’ll see…

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Shortest Post, Ever

I offer you, dear friends, a Canadian tribute to ‘80’s Brit-Pop:

Let it all oot.
These are the things we can do without,
Je parlez a tu

Thank you, and goodnight.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

She Smiled! kinda

It was hard to believe when it happened, but lo and behold, there were the beginnings of a smile there. Mostly, it was a lop-sided grin, with a bit of an Elvis curl. I had to listen to her middle for a moment, because such a look has been, up to this point, a herald of things to come, things that have earned her the nick-name “Thunder-Pants.” I’ve often told people, “It looks like she’s smiling at us, but I know it’s just gas,” and I was often told “Oh, you’re taking the fun out of it.” But when I’m not inflating the truth (get it? “Inflating”) it means so much more when I get the real thing!

It kinda reminds me of what a friend & I were talking about yesterday. He said that when a good writer is writing for someone else’s site (in more of a Home Page context, not Blogging. Or maybe Blogging, if that’s what a client wants), they can make them look better than they really are. We agreed that that’s not the best idea, since an accurate representation will pay off better than an exaggerated one. Like someone in Top Gun said, “Your mouth’s writing checks that your ass can’t cash!” (I think I was about 12 when I saw that, and I got the ‘check’ metaphor, but was confused as to how an ass could, even metaphorically, fulfill the promises. Typically literally-minded child) I think my favorite take on that is L’il Kim’s “My shit’s paid for, your shit’s loaned out.” (Will They Die 4 You, on Chef Aid, The South Park Album).

In other news, we got our Christmas Help in at work now. I got three of them to go to managers, and ask for the basement keys. Little did they know, the only way they’d find a basement was with a shovel. It was even better when the managers weren’t in on the joke, giving our poor Newbies a what-the-hell-are-you-talking-about? Look. One who didn’t fall for it had been a manager at a fast food joint, where they sent their newbies looking for the bacon-stretcher. Anyone else got any good Initiation stories? Within reason, of course – I don’t wasn’t to hear about the Limp Biscuit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Puppy's as Birth Control

Has this title gotten your imagine going in uncomfortable directions? Hear me out, it will make a world of sense in just a minute.

When we got Kuma about 14 months ago, he was just five weeks old and VERY high-maintenance. Asides from the constant attention he was demanding, there was a lot of clean-up, earning him the nickname ‘Lord Piddly-Squirts Von Bitesalot. Esquire. On his first day home, Andrea greeted me at the door, saying “We’ve adopted a Fountain!” A few months later, we felt it was safe to rent a steam-cleaner for the carpets. After more than ten hours of working with this thing (and about $85), it was less than half-an-hour after I got home from returning the steam-cleaner, he puked on the carpet. I nearly wept.

For the first six months of his stay with us, he slept in a kennel in our room, and he’d wake up 3-4 times a night to have us take him out to relieve himself, because he wouldn’t foul his little environment. Then he would take over an hour to settle enough to go back to sleep. Andrea and I took turns – whoever wasn’t working the next day would get up with him. This totally robbed weekends of their charm; “Whoopie, two nights of getting up three times a night.”

Now I’m thinking, when our kids get to that special age, when they know what “Getting Intimate” is, and they’re thinking about taking that step, I’d like to get her a puppy. When she’s been getting up through the night for a few weeks, I can tell her that “This is about 8% of what it’s like to be a parent.”

For the record, Andrea’s not sold on this idea. She’s pretty confident that this Puppy Parenting will fall to us, and the lesson will be lost on her.

Of course, it’s all moot, since my little girl is going to grow up to be a Nun-Doctor-Astronaut, and won’t need to know about parenting.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Reincarnation, Not Just For Hindus Buddhists, and Californians Anymore

Do you remember your past lives? It’s getting more difficult. There’s one that I recall, when I could go out for beers, and not concern myself with what kind of shape I was in when I finally crawled into bed.

I was able to call a buddy to swing by, and we could stay up late, playing guitars – the eight or so songs that we knew between us, then bbq burgers, and share whatever work gossip was current.

Andrea and I could just say, “Hey, let’s see if there’s any good movies playing,” then just take off, watching whatever happened to be playing, after a dinner out, and of course lingering around the book store for an hour. And we wouldn’t have to schedule our…intimacies.

I could sleep-in to a leisurely 7:30. Luxury. Now, I’m up at 5:30, almost every day. It’s not so bad, though. It takes about an hour to feed, and I used to see what was on TV, but at that time of day, it’s nothing but shite. Now, I’m more likely to catch-up on Podcasts, if she’s not flailing too much, and pulling my earphones out. Afterwards, Calli will snooze, her tummy full and her heart content, on my arm as I read Blogs. After a while of this, she’ll go in her chair, as I write. If, that is, I’m feeling particularly ambitious. But it’s a whole new life now, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! If it’s a little harder to plan my days, then so be it.

Last night, Andrea & I were talking about this, and she made a good point – even when we think of our parents, it’s next to impossible to think of them as having had a life before we arrived. I mean, there are pictures, and some stories, but it’s more like an historical tale, than anything that happened to someone I know! I suppose that’s how Calli will view us; we are the Providers who came into being for their care & feeding. The Grand Fixers of Dinners, and the Keepers of the Secrets of the Bank Machines. When I talk about going to college, or playing bass in bands, I might as well be talking about John Lennon, or Mozart (my, I flatter myself, don’t I?) But somewhere, deep inside of us all, remains a memory – a spark – of the people we were before we became Responsible Adults. Hold it tight, my friends. Hold it tight.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Cheater Costume -- Clever or Weak?

Last Saturday (Halloween), at my Unnamed Retail Outlet, a friend, who happens to be a Supervisor, really encouraged me to dress-up. I hadn’t planned on it, since I started at 9, and it would be difficult to cover Calli’s morning feeding, and get my own act together in time to leave. I do have my Vampire stuff from previous years, but oddly, it’s been shrinking in my closet (Denial? Me? No!)

At the last minute, I remembered an idea I had years ago. I thought it was the most clever thing EVER. Andrea said it was stupid, and nearly begged me to reconsider, saying that I’d make a fool of myself, and people wouldn’t get it. Here’s what I did:

A collared shirt and a tie. That’s it. But here’s the genius; when people asked what I was supposed to be, I said “I can only tell you if you guess once.” I heard “A lawyer or politician?” “Funeral Director” “A guy looking for a job” (From the store manager – just a little unsettling) Then I’d tell them “I’m a Rorschach Test” This wasn’t enough explanation, so I’d elaborate: “The Rorschach test is the Ink Blots, where you tell the Doctor what you see, so this is what comes to your mind when you see a guy in a shirt & tie.”

Naturally, some people got it, and some people loved it, and some were just confused, usually when I didn’t have time to explain it properly. So what do you think? Am I clever, or just a boob?

Incidentally, the friend who wanted me to dress-up came as Alex from Clockwork Orange, and she looked GREAT! Easily the best costume of the day!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How Memorable Was Calli's First Halloween?

So last night probably wasn't the worst Halloween ever, but it certainly wasn't in the top ten.
Now, for several years, Andrea & I would decorate the yard with assorted skulls, headstones, bats, spider webs, etc. then dress up in our Vampire stuff (she's just damn sexy as the undead!), and we'd give loot to the neighborhood kids until about 8:30. Then we'd go (with a friend Michelle) to a horror movie – the only time she'd watch horror, since it scares the bejesus out of her. We love Halloween, and relish this holiday of the macabre. This year, however, we really couldn't go out, 'cause of Calli, nearly six weeks old, and too small for any costume available (we looked, and they'd look like tents on her!). So we were gonna have Michelle for a B-Day dinner (she's 30 on Nov 2), and two of our coolest friends for dinner. I was really looking forward to it for weeks, until half way through Saturday, when I phoned home to find out that they were sick, and Andrea's mom & aunt would be coming for the uber-special dinner that Andrea had planned.
Andrea's family is great, and I enjoy our family gatherings, but when I'm geared-up for an evening with peers, well the “Party” turned into a “Gathering.” Oh well, I had to work really early anyway, so I guess it turned out for the best. The friends should be coming over next weekend, so that will be the night I was looking forward to!

In other news, Andrea had a funny incident with Calli. Like a lot of funny child stories, it really wasn't funny at the time. Andrea was getting her ready for a bath, and left her in her crib for a minute while she got the tub ready. That's when Calli started screaming. Not a fussy 'I'm lonely' scream, or even a more urgent 'I'm hungry' scream, but a guttural, shrill, banshee noise, as though she was being split up the middle! Upon investigation, Andrea found her with a hand full of her own hair! The pain made her clench and pull her fist, which made her hurt, which made her clench and pull, which made her look at Mommy with a look that said “Why are you allowing this torment?” Her grip was so tight, Andrea was afraid she'd break a finger if she tried too hard to save our little angel from herself! I don't know how it ended, but it's a funny image, and is a prime contender for Stories We'll Tell At Her Wedding.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

To Shoot, Or Not To Shoot

I think I've figured out why we've settled into parenting in a relatively fuss-free, non-paranoid way. Since both of us are in our mid-30's, most of our parent-friends are on their second or third child, so our role-models are way past the fretful, Don't-let-that-dirty-thing-near-my-baby phase. It was well-illustrated in an email Andrea got:

When the first-born drops their pacifier, the parent will wash it, sterilize it, then give it back to the baby.
Second child: Wash it, then give it back.
Third child: Wipe it on your pants, quickly suck it off themselves before giving it back to baby.
Fourth child: Give it back to baby.

I can imagine many first-timers seeing this and being just mortified. “Germs” are to us what “Demons” were to our medieval ancestors.

Which brings me to vaccinations. I'm kinda conflicted on this, as both sides of the argument – for and against – have valid points, and both use a lot of fear-mongering. It was easy to be idealistic about other people's kids, but my own little bundle of joy & spit-up has confused the issue immensely! Even more confusing, I understand that a huge percentage of medical professionals aren't getting flu shots. WTF?! Would you drive a Ford if their CEO drove a Chevy? So, are Tetanus and Polio shots OK, but H1N1 should be kept at an arm's length? This is where I should ask around, and it starts here, Please shed some light on this!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Date Night

By Gar, it's been awhile! I thought that having a new baby in the house would give me plenty to write about, and it does at times, but it's mostly eat & sleep. For me, it's eat, sleep and work. Fortunately, I'm back in the mentally-low-impact gas station, so I can gap-out for hours, as long as I'm available for customers to fix their problems.

As per usual, being in that dept. gives me the free time to contemplate the novel I've wanted to write for years. The first half is pretty clear, but the ending is vague. All I can do is plug-away on my 1st draft, and hope that more will reveal itself. This has actually worked a few times. Plus, it's easier when I can put Calli down & type with both hands. Any time I can whip-off 500+ words, it's a good day, but when I do that for at least a month, I'm sure my standards will be raised.

Last night, we took our first chance to have a Date Night since the night before Calli was born. We went to see ZombieLand, and enjoyed it immensely, as Andrea's mom stayed with Calli. We got the tickets last week when Andrea had another shower, hosted by my mom, because a lot of her friends from church & work were eager to shower Andrea with gifts. I little awkward, since Andrea knew so few of them, but one woman I've known for years (I went to school with her step-son, who wound up in my wedding party) gave us movie tickets & a restaurant gift certificate for a date night. In her experienced wisdom, she felt that it was important to not forget your couple-time when the family expands. This made a world of sense, so off we went! We're saving the dinner for next week! Hopefully, we can do Date Night at least once a month.

Calli slept the whole time we were gone (Surprise!), but Kuma was just beside himself! The last time we left him with someone, we came home with this little creature who shares our bed and takes a lot of the time he had with us! What else could he do, but fuss, whine, and throw-up on the door mat! And in our room; we were all settled-in and dozey when I found that. “Oh, one more thing before you call it a day: two big piles of dog vomit!” yippee.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Perception Gaps

I've been reading Blogs this morning and the last new one I read was Heim Binas Fiction (Great writing blog, by the way), and it was about how you compose yourself for the public. Do we actually put on a face for those around us? I think most of us do.

When I'm at work, I'm working with the public, so I'm pretty out-going & personable. I've had people tell me that they always come to my line-up, 'cause I'm fast, and they appreciate my demeanor. It's not hard, 'cause we're far enough from the City (Toronto) that we've still got a small-town feel. But here's the thing; I'm naturally a shy introvert who closes the curtains and screens calls on my own time. I'd rather hole-up in the basement and write than go out, of have people over. I mean, I enjoy having friends over, but maybe once every 3 weeks or so!

But when I'm at work I'm pretty convincing. So much so, that when I was telling a manager that I think my baby might be a shy one (when, in utero, she wouldn't kick for me), she said “She must get that from her mother.” I'm not being insincere, but I sure exaggerate that aspect of myself. I think I started thinking about this seriously after hearing Paul McCartney singing of Elanor Rigby's face in a jar by the door. I've come to liken it to a musical performer. I mean, Alice Cooper or Rob Zombie clearly enjoy the comic-macabre, but do they run around the house with fake blood dripping off their chins? AC golfs! And looks like a long-haired version of the other golfers at the time!

I think the point I'm trying to make is that sincerity isn't the same as consistent appearance. The human spirit/mind is too big and complex to be portrayed the same way, all the time.
And on to parenting news. We had a discussion on whether it was “Callie” or “Calli,” and my first thought was “Who cares?” But on second thought, it would be smart to be consistent. Good thing we got that worked out, she'll be reading any time now.

I also found out that I've been deceived. It seems that when people told me that their child was sleeping through the night, they really meant that they slept for six hours through the night. Maybe my standards are too high, but six hours is most certainly not “sleeping through the night.” It's like saying “I ran five miles! Well, it was five kilometers, so it might as well have been five miles!” (I'm not sure of the math, but I believe a mile is between 1 ½ – 1 4/5 kms.)

Pregnancy Stupids Log: Day...Plenty. As usual, I was up at 6:30 for first feed. I started the bottle warming, waited awhile, changed Calli, fed her, then went to write & read Blogs. By 9:00, I went to see if Mom was up. As I was passing her off, I noticed her sleeper seemed wet. I figured that since she was bundled-up and in a bouncy chair, she'd been sweating. It made perfect sense, until Andrea asked “Why doesn't she have a diaper?”

I am so smart. S-M-R-T.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Pregnancy Stupids"; Not Just For The Pregnant, Or Pregnancies!

At the risk of sounding sexist, have you ever heard of the “Pregnancy Stupids”? A woman Andrea works with introduced her to the term, and it denotes the general loss of focus and forgetfulness that comes with the third trimester. I honestly can't call this idea sexist, because I've got it too. Note the present tense; nearly four weeks after the birth, we're still losing our ever-loving minds.

Last night (or maybe the night before. As I've hinted at, you can't expect much from me right now.), as we were getting our shit together to go to bed, I asked “Where's the dog?” She didn't know. He was looking in through the patio door. She didn't remember letting him out, and neither did I. In hind sight, I think it was me.

Then I found the fridge door sitting open. Andrea had moved onto another chore, forgetting whatever she'd been doing in the kitchen.

And the list goes on. Our dear child is in the care of a couple of Witless Wonders (add that to your Road Rage vocabulary, if you care to). Naturally, we're blaming the sleep-deprivation. But I also must consider the massive shock to our mental systems as well. All of a sudden, we have to stop playing Grown Up, and actually become responsible adults! For the time being, I can't sit up sucking-back Wobbly Pops and playing computer games. If I'm not working the next day, I'm responsible for overnight feedings. That, and our present co-sleeping situation makes it unwise to go to bed polluted.

This brings to mind something I read in Marilyn Ferguson's “The Aquarian Conspiracy,” a book about how New Age thought sounded a lot like the Quantum sciences. It was first published in 1980 – WAY ahead of The Secret. The book introduced me to Prigogine's Theorem, which states that when something new is introduced into an existing system, it will either be absorbed into the system, or will rattle the system enough that it must re-organize itself into a more complex state. To illustrate, Andrea & I are The System. If I make a new friend, he'll stop by for burgers & beer every now and then, but our lives remain pretty much the same. The arrival of Callie, however, has re-arranged our schedules, our priorities, our finances, etc, etc.

And this is why, I believe, we're losing the dog and mishandling large appliances. A Nobel Laureate decreed it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Andrea came along & said, "There's one of her in her turkey sleepers," so there it is Enjoy!

YAY! I finally figured out how to get these pictures onto the Blog! Look at the big brains on me! The best I could find with the out fit are in her car seat. Then one with Papa and her cousins, then her being her usual cuddle- bug self with Nana.

Thanksgiving, and all the childishness you've come to expect here!

Well, I'm just having the worst time trying to get our Thanksgiving pics up on the Blog, but just as soon as I can, I'll be eager to show-off my Princess. The Holiday, as expected was great; one dinner with my family, and one with Andrea's, with a day in-between to let the first dinner settle a little. And have we had enough? Hell, no; we happily chowed on left-overs last night! We've also got the better part of a large pumpkin pie in the fridge – are we up to it? Lord knows I'm a force to be reconed with when pastries are to be dealt with, so I'm sure it won't go to waste.
Naturally, it was great to gather with family, catch-up with everyone, show-off the Main Attraction (my side hasn't had a baby in nine years, and all the babies on Andrea's side are on the West Coast). Callie must have been excited to be there as well; she promptly voided herself, in all it's green, curdy glory! About 1 ½ hours later, she did it again, and I had to taunt Papa and his near-phobia of diapers (I swear, “I don't do diapers” has replaced “Hello” for most of this year!). After the second Pistachio-cottage-grease melt-down, I took the clean diaper, unfolded it, and went into the living room, straight to Papa, and said “Dude, you think I'm kidding about the green...Whoops!” and up-ended the faux-mess on him. And good times were had by all. My sister (Jody, AKA mygirls26) brought her boyfriend, Brad. I won't lay on the drama by calling him “permanently scarred” from the evening, but he was quite entertained, and probably expanded his Fart Joke Repertoire. Which brings me to mom's Turnip Casserole, which I swear, is better than it sounds! I know, nothing says 'Diet of Desperation' like Turnips, but Mom whips-up quite the loveliness from them! Unfortunately, I had to work with the public the next day. My courteous restraint damn-near turned my 'Inny' into an 'Outy,' such was my abdominal pressure!

Now, this is totally off-topic, but when I was up for Callie's 6AM feed, I saw the most disturbing commercial. It started with B Obama clips, and I thought there were more Collectors Coins for sale. We should be so lucky, even the sticker-on-a-quarter scam would have been preferable to the – wait for it – Chia Obama. No shit, now you too can grow sprouts on an Obama Bust. My dear friends to the South, I am truly sorry. I'm almost suspicious of a Republican plot: If you can't beat him, strip him of all credibility!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Callie's First Holiday

Opportunity Knocks, our friend Michelle is over again, so I get to write, WITH BOTH HANDS! If you've seen my responses on the Blogs of others, they're usually written with one hand, as I've got Callie on the other arm, so it kinda looks like a big, pink spider is dancing on my keyboard!

Speak of the Angel, Callie is well. Her umbilical stump fell off last week, so we can do full-immersion baths now, and she loves it! She hated the sponge baths, screaming herself hoarse, and turning the color of a raspberry! We got video of it, it's really funny! If I can ever get around to transferring it from camcorder to computer, I'll post it!

We've got our Thanksgiving this weekend (up here in the Great White North), so it will be her first family holiday. Naturally, we had to get her an outfit, because it mixes two of Andrea's passions: shopping, and playing dress-up with our new little girl! Not that we've got a shortage of clothes from friends & family, but they're all huge on her! Our kid will be damn well-dressed from 5-9 months old! Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday; I love autumn, I love feasting, throw in a long weekend, and good times are had by all! Not to mention how important it is to have a general sense of gratitude; something that Consumer Culture has driven out of us. But I don't understand why they don't celebrate Thanksgiving is England; they'll celebrate the time a terrorist tried to blow up their parliament (Guy Falks), but putting all their Religious Fundamentalists on boats and shipping them off doesn't seem as note-worthy. Go figure.

A couple days ago, I posted about how much I help out with Callie, and got some great responses! When I ask around (and from what I've read on several other Blogs), it seems we're in the middle of a changing-of-the-guard. Men are becoming more involved, and “this reporter thinks it's about ph'king time.” (Kent Brockman). If I may hazard a guess, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that many of us were raised by single mothers, giving us a lot more sympathy for the women in our lives. Of course, there are a lot of issues related to such upbringings, but something good has come of it. For an absolutely stellar example of this, see Their book was given to me by Andrea, and it was just great! Let's hope that this is an ongoing upward spiral!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where's My Medal?

It has been wa-a-ay too long, but you know, life happens. The big thing was that we had settled into something of a routine. Andrea's been great about taking the overnight feedings when I have to work, leaving me to cover two nights. It sounds wildly imbalanced when I say it like that, but we're doing what we can to work around my full-time job.

Which brings me to something another Blogger – Vodka Logic, I think, but I can't seem to find the reference – brought up: there still seems to be this perception that men who help with diapers & other newborn inconvenience deserve medals and parades! Honestly, I helped to bring the little gaffer into the world! Even if you believe in a version of a Creator (and I do, though I wouldn't try to offer a definition of Creator, or believe that any institution corners that market, but I digress...), it was my pearl jam that got the ball rolling. Therefore, I have a responsibility to pull my weight! I had a great Paternal Model, and understand that there's more to it than passing-on a family name and teaching them to hate what I hate (“Take off your sunglasses when you're inside, you look like a damn poseur!”).

So in conclusion; Diapers? Nasty, but it takes less time than the average commercial break, so SUCK IT UP! Getting up in the night? It doesn't last long, and it's a great excuse for not bringing my A-Game at work :) Besides, my darling wife deserves a good nights sleep, even if I can only do it twice a week.

And another thing: many women wind up with men who resemble their fathers. Now THERE'S something to make a father's head spin! So when she's in high school, do I want to be up all night waiting for her to come home when I know what a ph'khol her boyfriend is? Or do I want to trust that she knows how a considerate fellow is supposed to treat her?

On a more mundane note, I finally got my first Late-Night-moodiness-incident last night (my turn). I thought she just needed a changing. She was wet, so that was that, and yet it wasn't. So after she wouldn't settle for half an hour, I fed her, nearly two hours early. Long story short, it took two feedings, three changings, and two ½ hours for her to settle. Just when she seemed to be sleepy, I put her down, and ten minutes later, she'd fuss again! This happened about three times! The funny thing is, we'll look back on this time as “The easy part!” Can I get an 'Amen'?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fading Fast!

In the middle of writing my last post, I went upstairs (computer's tucked-away in the basement) to refill my coffee, and asked Andrea, “What was that thing that happened this morning that we were doubled-over laughing about?” and neither of us could remember. If I didn't know better, I'd say that sleep-deprivation wasn't good for my...thing my head does...with the words and pictures of things that happened.

Turns out, it had to do with our re-packaging songs to sing to Callie. Years ago, I would sing a song to Andrea to the tune of Cookie Monster's “C is for Cookie:”

“B is for Boobie, is good enough for me (3x)
Boobie Boobie Boobie, Boobie starts with B”

It had been a couple of years, so when Andrea dusted off this ol' chestnut as an Ode to Callie's Grub, she couldn't quite remember how it went. What she came up with was,

“Boobie Boobie Boobie, Boobie starts with B,
“Boobie Boobie Boobie, you can put it in your tea.”

Well you could skip the sugar. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about! We've all been curious!

And that's as far as I got before I had a brain-cramp of epic proportions. Twice, I tried to write more, but all I got was crap, and you deserve better! Hell, I was up for half an hour today before I thought to put my coffee on – no ones more shocked than me!

That, and I'm laughing at the stupidest shit, like a TV clip that called Oatmeal “That hit of 1840” I need a solid 8 hours sleep; now I know what to ask for for Christmas!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This 'N That

Oddly, it's been busy-busy-busy, with little that's news-worthy. The feedings have been getting more sparse, but I understand that that's a total ebb & flow thing. We've learned why the hospital & Board of Health push so hard to get new parents to breast-feed: it can be a royal pain in the ass! It's gotten better, but like everything else we've learned from all these medical appointments, you can get 7 opinions from 5 professionals! It took 4 or 5 lactation consultants to get all the puzzle-pieces we needed to figure out this procedure. But things are flowing nicely now; it's almost time to realize my dream of shooting the cats! (with milk – no cats were harmed in the making of this Blog post, though we imagine that they'll be quite startled.)

We finally got Callie out to work to introduce her around. We mostly heard “Look at all the hair!” and “She's so little!” Now, I figured out years ago that I should never describe a baby, even the newest of newborns, as 'small.' I'm never gonna experience that part of birth, but I've seen where they come from, and I can't imagine squeezing even a 5-pound people through...there. And any woman who delivers a child larger than 9 pounds should get her picture on the front of the paper. Just 'cause it's not uncommon, doesn't mean it's not remarkable!

Speaking of work, I've got to go back tomorrow. Damn. I'll tell ya, this week ½ off just flew by, and we're almost settled into our household rhythms. That was you cue to laugh at my ignorance. I'm sure that as soon as we've gotten a pattern, our little angel will throw a wrench into them.

Have I mentioned the local Baby Boutique? One crazy thing I saw there was their CDs. I forget the brand name, but they had albums of Baby Beatles, Baby Rolling Stones (including Fool To Cry – cute – and Satisfaction – really?), and Baby Pink Floyd. With this in mind, I introduced Callie to Baby Cyprus Hill, making the age-appropriate changes to “mother-lovin' hits from the breast!” (if you're not familiar with CH, the original was “Hits From The Bong”)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Photos At Last!

Here, at last are the pictures from the Birth! Callie & me,
The obligatory Callie & Pooh (I think it was in the hospital contract Fine Print that we couldn't use their facilities unless we had no less that 5 items of Pooh paraphenalia

Our Fresh Family! Exhaustion, Vernix, and all!

Day 5: Lullabys & Grease

So where are we at so far? I speak of sleep the same way that immigrants speak of their Motherlands. I'm not quite ready for diaper-changing Olympics, but I show promise. I'm beginning to recognize free moments as precious, and will throw in some laundry when relatives visit. Disappear to the computer when a friend's over (Thanks Michelle!). Wash a few dishes while waiting for the kettle to whistle. And when I'm running errands, I'll think of a little face that's only known air for a few days, and smile to myself.

Remember the Simpson's episode when Homer takes all of Maggie's pictures to arrange on a sign in his office to make it read: “Do It For Her”? I get it

A development that I didn't see coming is a dish-washing station in the upstairs bathroom, close to the nursery where we use the breast-pump that has to be cleaned about 8x a day.

Every now and then, Andrea & I will look at each other and say “Look what we made!” This has really brought the best in her; she's simply glowing! This is great, because if she wasn't in good spirits, I wouldn't be able to do anything to make her laugh. I mean, I'm quite capable of tickling her funny bone, but she has stitches that pull dangerously when she laughs.

This has proved to be problematic with diaper contents. There have been instances that have brought the best (?) in my juvenile humor. Like yesterday, after an unsettling lack of poop for almost 24 hours, my little girl exploded. Or rather, a ½ cup of fudge brownie batter with way too much egg spattered into Callie's Pampers. And she wasn't done! As I was on damage control, her little sphincter kept weeping pudding.

Then there was today; we got the chocolate mustard, with traces of stringy pumpkin innards. Yes, our delicate angel is leaking toxicity.

On a slightly cleaner note, I've taken on the role of the resident entertainment director. I do much of the singing to Callie, and it's probably good that she doesn't know Language yet. She does, however, respond well to Rage Against The Machine. It makes sense: she's been a persons middle for 37 weeks, so what's going to be more familiar; the sweet chimes of “lullaby-y-y-y, and goodni-i-i-ite...” or my growly percussive selections? I think we know what sounds more like abdominal contents. Your Honors, I rest my case.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Baby's Home!

My apologies for having been a little slack in my Blogging, but, you know....

We didn't get home until yesterday, as Dr M wanted to keep them for 24 hours, which took us to 1:51 Weds morning. Nothing to worry about, just a precaution. Callie did, however, look a little jaundiced. Funny, I'd barely heard about jaundice until we were about to have Callie, then it came up several times. So when I heard that she was being tested, I was like, “Yeah, that's not unheard-of.” Turned out that her levels weren't too elavated, so they got the green-light to go home. No one was happier than Andrea, just being damn sick of hospital, hospital food, sharing a room with another new mother who's child was on a different feeding schedule. It was literally like, as soon as one newborn finished & settled, the other would think,”Grub? That sounds like a fantastic idea!”

So Andrea's glad to be home, as much as she's glad to be out of there. It's her turf, you know, all our stuff handy, and going on our own schedule.... OK, that's a gross exaggeration. I think we all know who's writing the itinerary in this house. She's getting fed every three hours, and, swear to God, it takes an hour to go through the whole process! Start with a diaper change (still tarry. Glad I heard all about Miconium, or this would have been very unsettling!), 10-15 mins on each ta-ta (much of this time is spent keeping her awake), then augment with a little cup feeding, clean her up, re-wrap, and clean up what I can while Mom pumps to stimulate production. I still like to hang around for this, because Mom nearly fell asleep once, and should this happen when no one's around, the consequences would be dire!

For middle-of-the-night feedings, we both got up. The way I see it, she did all the hard part, so missing a little sleep is the very least I can do! Not that I'm picking-and-choosing my duties, we're balancing it out pretty well. I'm taking on as much as I can, 'cause my wife most certainly deserves the Royal Treatment, and I'm just smitten with our new Little Princess!

And I'm not the only one! Kuma has been just precious with her too! If she makes a noise, he'll go over for a sniff to make sure that all is well. He'll sleep close by, and stay close for feedings, being careful not to be under-foot. He's been very gracious with the sleeping arrangements as well; Callie needs to be nestled on a shoulder, (we take turns) and Kuma will find another corner of the bed to curl-up on. To call this 'gracious' seems a little sarcastic, but really, that was his spot first. We were worried that he'd be jealous, but he's come into the Big Brother role just as easily as can be!

The cat's, on the other hand, want nothing to do with her. I'm OK with that, as long as they don't curl-up on her while she's sleeping!

Thank you all for the comments! Apparently, the we;;-wishing did the trick, and all this has been great! Wonderful enough that we may do it again!

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's A Girl!

WE DID IT! I can't believe it. No, really; I got up at 9:30 this morning after a 4-hour nap, and wondered if it really happened! I've had so many dreams about this happening, you really can't blame me.

But I've ignored the premier rule of writing: En Media Res, “in the middle of the action.” At 1:51 this morning (Sept 21), Callista Marie Burke joined us in this cold, bright world. That's right, after all of those 'Girl' dreams, lo and behold, we've been brewing a little lady!
And what can I say that hasn't been said a thousand times before? Describing a “Little Miracle” “Awed and Humbled” “Love at First Sight.”

They're cliche's because they're true.

Let me take it from the top. We got up yesterday (the 20'th), and arrived at the hospital at 7:30, bearing gifts of coffee & muffins. Andrea's mom is a retired nurse, so we got the inside-scoop on how to properly suck-up. We were a little slow to get the ball rolling, as there were more urgent cases. By 9:30, our Dr. applied the Hormone Jelly to get the cervix dilating. Then, by about 3:00 (I think. I journaled as we went, so I have the times, but my details are beyond reach at the moment.), he was able to break the water (Andrea called this part the most painful part of the delivery!).

After this, we waited. And waited, and waited some more. By 6:30, she'd dilated about 1cm. By 8:30, we at 2cm; it seemed to be going painfully slow. Painfully in the psychological sense, Andrea had had an epidural. I had to give my folks a call to tell them to hunker-down for the night, because this wasn't happening anytime soon. Now, they had wanted to come shortly after Church, but we convinced them to wait for the 8cm mark, so they wouldn't be waiting around the cafeteria for hours on end.

At 12:15AM, Andrea was 7cm dilated, meaning that she was close. My gut had been telling me
'Between 10 and 2AM,' but my mind had resigned to 'Between 12 and 4.' The lesson being: Go With The Gut.

From about 3PM 'till 11, we had a great nurse monitoring us, but the girl who relieved her was a bit of a twit. Overall, the nursing staff in the Pediatrics Ward of Barrie's Royal Victoria Hospital was great! Top Notch, and wonderful to work with. However, the nurse who was assigned to monitor Andrea's progression was the exception. She couldn't have been older than 24, and she acted as though she had been the top of her class at university, and expected the veteran nurses (and patients) to treat her with her due reverence. When it came time for me to return my Obstetrics Pass, she really said “Ta” to me. Really. I wanted to back-hand the precocious brat! I said “I'm thirty-five.” She said “Pardon?” “I'm thirty-five, you don't need to say 'Ta'” “Oh, it means 'Thank-you',” as though that justified speaking to me as though I was 2. I'm a little fuzzy on how it went from there, as I'd been in High-Functioning mode for more than 20 hours at that point.

Point being, at 12:15, she checked, and Andrea was 7cm dilated; massive progress! Twit-Nurse figured she should check again at 2:15. At 1:15, Andrea determined that she couldn't Breathe-Control her way through any more contractions; that her abdomen would push, whether she wanted to or not. Fortunately, one of RVH's finest had relieved Twit Chick for a break, and determined that labor was well-underway. This was at 1:15, and the doctor was promptly called, as were my parents. The DR arrived just in time for delivery, and my folks arrived shortly after delivery.

At this point, I'd like to stress just how easy the actual labor was. If you've had a child, or have had a wife who's had a child, or have had a relative who's had a child, you'll be tempted to think I'm full of shit. However, this is the God's Honest Truth; Andrea was actually pushing for less than 40 minutes. For a first child, this is virtually unheard-of.

She pushed, and I saw something like a black fingernail. For two more pushes, that's all I saw, then on the next, the black spot was the size of a a thumb. Two pushes later, what I saw was the size of 2 1/2 fingers. Soon, I saw a hair line. Dr M had to slow her down, because she was ripping, and needed an episiotomy.(sp?). That, I was unable to watch; I resumed my keep-a-cold-cloth-on-her-forehead duties with a new vigor. All the while. I was keeping Andrea appraised of what I saw of the delivery. It was no-time before I saw a hair-line. Then I saw an ear, and thought, “Holy Shit, this is a real people here!” Truly, it would be more believable and awe-inspiring to present a more painful story, but that's how it happened.

I'll probably want to give ya'll the forgotten details later, but for now, I'm just pooped, so I'll send all my love to all y'all, and say good night!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some cactus to plant around the house.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

One More Sleep! (Who am I kidding?)

So, tomorrow's the Big Day! Or possibly, the day after. But tomorrow, for sure, it's starting. I really want to thank you all for all of the love & support you've shown! Though we've never really met, it's great to get all that good-will, especially going into this pretty blindly. I mean, I honestly can't remember the last time I even held a baby (I was at the other end of the country when my 2 nieces were infants).

When we dropped the dog off at our friends, it started to hit home just what we were in for. Andrea & I have been alternating between zen-like peacefulness, and stomach-dropping anxiety. We went out to dinner at her favorite restaurant, Nino's, (great authentic Italian, and the place of her Daddy-Daughter dates when she was young), then went to see The Informant (Matt Damon. Great movie. I usually prefer big visual spectacle when I go the Big Screen, but we agreed that this looked like some nice light entertainment.) In a nutshell, just enjoying our last chance to get out without arranging for a sitter, then worrying that said sitter isn't going through our drawers, then having some punk-ass boyfriend over that her parents don't approve of to do unspeakable things on our couch!

Yesterday was my last shift, and they passed the hat, and put together a great care package for us; diapers, wipes, diaper bag, ear thermometer (a truly great innovation. Truly.) couple onesies, really a fabulous gesture! I can't wait to bring the little gaffer in to show off!

So there it is. We're gonna try and get some sleep now (fat chance!), and I'll keep you posted as soon as I'm able. After this, it'll be all about sleep deprivation and poop, or so I've been told.

PS Earlier this week, I realized that my Blog's acronym is FAOCT. That's right, my internet presence is FAOCT

Friday, September 18, 2009

My First Award!

If you've read the Comments on my posts, you'll have seen that Candance at Crazy Texas mommy has nominated me for the Honest Scrap award! Holy Poop-On-A-Stick, I was stunned! The award goes to Bloggers who just give it to you straight, and write from the heart. Now if you've ever been to CTM, you'll know that having Candance say that you're straight-up, entertaining, and Real is a lot like having a Biker call you a Bad-Ass! If you haven't been to CTM, get yer ass over there! Post Haste! Tout de Suite! Immediately! I'll wait...

So, here's how it works: First, I nominate seven Blogs that I think are written from the heart, then I list ten open & honest things about myself. It's kinda easy, cause I haven't been doing this for long, so I'm not regurgitating some same-old-same-old, but there's gotta be some boundaries. Like, “boxers or briefs.” Unless you're offering to do my laundry, none of your bees wax! Actually, having not Blogged for very long, the nominations are a little harder. I haven't been around much, but I'll list a few that I've really been enjoying. Since Crazy Texas Mommy has already been mentioned, I'll have to give Candance an Honorable Mention.

I'll have to put up the addresses the old fashioned way, because I can't seen to get the highlight-link to work,

If you like CTM, you'll probably also like Adam at Throwing Quarters. He's a tech-junky, proud Clevelander, and a father of two beautiful girls, the most recent arriving just last week, 09-09-09; cool, eh? He's also got a bitchin' Podcast, featuring a wide variety of music, and other stuff. Dial yourself in!

The next would have to be “Mighty” Mur Lafferty at I Should Be Writing. hosts my favorite writing Podcast, and her Blog is often the written version of it. She's got one book published, and has been very forthright about all the shit she's wallowed in before & after, and if, like many bloggers, you fancy yourself a Writer, it's just a great mirror!

Another great Daddy Blog is Daddy Scratches. seems to be a great example of a Family Man, and posts some great pix! It can be a pretty graphic picture of High Hopes messily colliding with reality.

For my philosophy fix, I like Jerry at Daydreamer., a lot of it is videos he likes, but he also has a lot of Musings if you look through the history. Of course, the video's are pretty cool!

Next, I've got to mention Jennifer at MoreFutility. is another parenting Blog I like, and it seems that she's been doing this as long as I have. She's got a great writing style, and I had to give her shit once, 'cause I read a good bit with a mouth-full of coffee. My cat smells great, but has yet to forgive me.

One More: Scribbling in San Antonio. think I've got a soft spot for Texans, 'cause they keep popping up. I found this Blog through CTM, and it's one I really enjoy!

Now for the ten really honest facts:

1. I think it's rude to call someone by their first-name, just because they're wearing a name-tag. I've heard that Dale Carnegie (How To Win Friends & Influence People) wrote that people like to hear their own names, but that was long before telemarketers! Of course, I've asked other name-tag-wearers, and some agree, but some are OK with it, but it drives me batshit! 2. I usually like to wait before I drop this one, but I went through several years of a Bible-Thumper phase. What can I say; I wasn't popular in high school, and found acceptance. Plus, I'm spiritually inclined & a white North American, so I must be Christian, right? It made perfect sense when I was sixteen. Presently, I'm not identifying with any group/sect, but I enjoy Buddhist, Hindu/Yoga, or Qabala writings.
3. I'm a total nerd. Psychology, philosophy, FUN STUFF!
4. I'm a total nerd. I've seen Star Wars enough to play the 'Star Wars Pants Game!' It goes like this: you take a line from the movies and change one word to “pants.” Such as, “I find your lack of pants disturbing.” “I'm altering the pants, pray I don't alter them further.” “Queen Amidala! Your tragedy on the landing platform; Terrible! Seeing you alive brings warm feelings to my pants.” Star Trek too: LONG LIVE PICARD!
5. Without Spell-Check, you'd never know I was raised in an English-speaking country! My spelling is really quite pathetic!
6. Speaking of pathetic, I honestly believe that you have to be as cool as Jack Nicholson if you want to wear your sunglasses inside, or on cloudy days.
7. I'll often refer to my dad here (“Papa”), who is in fact my step-dad. In practice, he's my dad. I use his last name, my first son will have his first names, and he was my Best Man at my wedding. I've recently gotten back in touch with my birth-father, and we had a great visit last summer! I'd like to be in more contact with him, but he's a truck driver, and otherwise unavailable. A real Cat's-In-The-Cradle story.
8. I'm a real Mystery School buff; Freemasons, Templars, Golden Dawn, all that shit. I'm not sure if I'd get initiated into one though, the politics can be just awful!
9. I played bass in two bands in my 20's. One rock, and one metal. The rock band was with my best friend on vocals, and many rotating guitarists & drummers. He'll say we were in six bands, but I think that's like resume-fattening. It's the metal band I miss, some of the coolest guys you'd ever want to meet!
10. Hmmm, one more, eh? I'm writing a book. Well, either a book or a trilogy. If I want to publish it as a trilogy, though, I'll have to wait until all three are almost finished, 'cause waiting for additions to a series can be a royal pain in the ass!

So there you have it, my longest post ever! Hope you didn't get bored & tune out. Talk to y'all soon!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Three More Sleeps!

OK, it's been far too long. Here's the deal; firstly, Candance at Crazy Texas Mommy nominated me for an award, so I've been working on my response, which entails further nominations, and some personal revelations. That's taken awhile, but I promise, it's coming.

Secondly, nesting instinct is in full swing. THREE SLEEPS LEFT! I spent my morning cleaning the bathrooms (I've taken that one on since Andrea's been breathing for two), vacuuming, then cleaning some grisly sludge from under the pet food stand. Any parenting book will say that it's time for dad to step up, and pull a little more domestic weight, and honey, step up, I did! I mean, I did chores before, but since I heard the term “Chore Play,” I've really brought my A-Game.

Yesterday at work, a friend asked how I was doing, and honestly, I've kinda settled into the waiting space. I guess I've spent-out my anxiety, for now, and I'm getting a little tired of having the same conversation with co-workers. “Yes, we're excited...” “We're as ready as we can be...” yadda, yadda. Then this friend said, “Dude, you're gonna be a mess! You're gonna be crying out your nose!” Even typing it, I'm laughing; he painted quite a picture!

Well, there it is. Wish I had more time, but I've got to get ready for work. yippee. Just wanted to let y'all know I was thinking of you! (Please pardon the Hallmark moment)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Beware the Loving Nuicance!

Been away for a few days; it's hard to get to blogging on the weekends, since my shifts start earlier, and by the time I get home, I'm either dog-tired, got plans with the missus, or I park my spent-assed carcass on the couch and call it Spending Time With Andrea.

Sunday was spent at my parents (after work – thank you, coffee!) for Mom's birthday, and it was good to have a last mostly-adult visit before the Baby arrives. My folks are of two minds as to when to come to the hospital next week; Pragmatic Papa wants to come after delivery so as not to spend hours-on-end in the cafeteria (there's no family waiting room at the hospital, selfish bastards are devoting space to medical purposes) but Mom wants to be there shortly after the 8-cm dilation point. Considering we have no idea how long this will take, Andrea's suggested that they stay at our house during that time – much more comfortable, and much closer; their house is a 45-min drive away.

Then I read Adam's advice at Throwing Quarters. To summarize, new parents are exhausted, and a house full of well-meaning relatives after birth can wear on already-frayed nerves when all you want is quiet & rest. To be fair, Mom's made it perfectly clear that she's totally available to help in any way, but doesn't want to be a “Mother In-Law” (1950's horror blood-dripping font unavailable, so use your imagination here). I think we'll be fine, but we should put the “No Unannounced Visitors” Stipulation out there, just in case. Perhaps that's how the Three Wise Men got their reputation as such; they knew that Mary & Joseph wouldn't be curt with them if they brought really extravagant gifts!

Oddly, I'm already pretty cranky at work. I mean, I'm fine until one of the customers pulls some 'I-have-near-god-like-infallibility-because-I'm-spending-money-here' bullshit. I would have thought that the nearness of having a child would have put me on Cloud 9, frolicking & singing Sunshine & Lollipops from dawn to dusk. Instead, the slightest provocation, and I'm surly-as-shit, muttering very un-family-friendly things under my breath. I guess the stress is just getting to me, realizing that I finally have to grow up. Or do I...?

I tried to let the Wise Men comment stay as it was, but I just can't. It doesn't say how many Wise Men there were, but it's commonly guessed that there were three, since there were three gifts. Also, Wise men is often translated “Magi,” from which we get Magician, so they were probably astrologers (Well, Duh; following a star) and possibly alchemists. Thanks for letting me nerd-out there for a minute.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Single Digits Now; 9 More Sleeps!

I neglected to mention it, but one of my wife's appointments on Tuesday was an ultrasound. The receptionist was a bit of a twit, so by the time my wife got in, she was a little disgruntled. As a consolation prize, though, the tech let Andrea see the screen (I don't think they're supposed to, cause since their not doctors, they can't answer when someone says “What the hell is THAT!” Truthfully, I'm sure they know, but their lawyers don't give 'em enough credit, so they only allow doctors to comment on any weirdness). So we found out our little bundle of joy has very chubby cheeks, and a bit of an attitude; (s)he was sticking their tongue out! Take THAT, medical establishment!

She's getting to that funny phase now; after a Dr's appointment, she says "Isn't this going really fast? Don't you wish we could hop off the ride for a little while?" Then when we're tucked-in & trying to get comfortable, she's saying "I'm pretty fucking sick of this, and I'm ready to get this baby out of me now!" I can totally understand both, but it's kinda funny to hear both in the same day.

Could it be considered a Milestone when you get your first Dr Seuss books for your children? 'Cause yesterday, we were in the for-sale section of the Library, when I said “Oh Yeah! Dr Mother Fuckin' Seuss Fuck YEAH!” I think you'd agree that a childhood without Dr Seuss is somewhat lacking. “And for the price of a cup of coffee a day...”

Speaking of charities, the local college kids were on every street corner today, for some cause or another. “Shine-O-Rama.” or some such cleverness, washing car windows for donations. So, what genius came up with this brain-storm? “OK, Think Tank time, people!, Now, what would a homeless person do?”

So, I'm still having a blast with this, and I've gotta say, I love the sense of community! We're celebrating the birth of Addison G in Cleveland yesterday (9-9-09 – Sweet!) on her dad's birthday, no less! Then someone in Texas needs help with something confusing in a cookbook (We've all been there!), and gets her answer, the same woman taught me to link with highlights! SUPERCOOL! It doesn't replace flesh & blood community, but it sure enhances is! I'll tell ya, I've got a lot more interesting things to talk about since I started this! Whatever did our ancestors do? Church, and the marketplace, methinks. So, it's like Church, without the threat of unpleasant afterlife, or fear of outsiders.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

White Lie Gone Horibly Wrong

Early on, when Andra & I started dating, we had some friends over for a BBQ. When my Papa stopped by to take a look at her car, we forgot about our sausages on the grill. After he'd diagnosed her car trouble, dinner was a little over-done. It gave her the opportunity to introduce me to the phrase “Drier than a popcorn fart.” I'm still not sure exactly what it means, but it strikes my juvenile funny-bone every time. Of coarse, I was fine with it, being somewhere between New Love Sunshine and Thank God I Didn't Have To Cook.

Kitchen-wise, I've come a long way, but she never forgot my blind tact. The current relevance comes from the fact that she's not as large as some of the other pregnant women we've seen. I was actually expecting the opposite, since she's not a tall woman, 5'1 or 5'2, so I thought she'd wear a pregnancy like a tether ball on a windless day. I mean, she's obviously pregnant, but we've seen women who look like they're smuggling large turkeys! I'm pretty sure she believes me when I say she's not showing as much as these new mothers, but not easily!

Yesterday was a marathon-appointment day: three, plus a class. By the end, we were past cranky, to delirious, meaning that we could sit in a hospital entrance, trying not to giggle at some of the people we'd seen. One woman, who was waiting for a blood test to see if she was to induce tomorrow, was huge! Andrea said, “Why induce? Just stick a pin in her!” I hadn't composed myself before she said “I felt like putting on a bikini.”

There was another who told the nurse she was having “Bladder Contractions.” (?) When asked for a pee sample, she said “Not a chance, I can barely get a few drops at a time.” Well, I wondered, what was that racket from the washroom about ten minutes previous? Were ya puking through a straw? Sweety, she's a nurse, not your parole officer.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mat Leave Is Not Vacation

I sat down last night to write, and here's how it started:
“Alright, it's about 8:30 on Sunday night, and I need another post to meet my four-a-week goal. I know, sounds promising, eh?: Intro to Filler.”
And filler it was, a bunch of unfocused rambling. So I decided to back-burner it and see if I could save it from itself.

On Friday (09/04), my wife began her Maternity Leave, Damned exciting! It was the night of the full moon too! If you're not into the Esotoric, the full moon represents just what it looks like: a belly full of new life (or 'fertility' in the general sense) I'm not off until the day before inducing, so on that day, we're looking for stuff to do to enjoy our last day of unencumberedness. (Shakespeare made up words too!) We're thinking of dinner & movie, perhaps we'll see of we're as bold as Adam at Throwing Quarters and try sneaking in! Maybe take the dog up to our friend's RV park for a swim; Nothing like sharing a car with wet dog & a pregnant woman's Super-Sniffer!

Andrea was worried that she'd be bored, with three weeks off before labor. Then we lost a week, and Bored simply isn't on the schedule! There's the last of the Nesting, and cooking. Clever girl that she is, she spent much of yesterday cooking, and filling the freezer so when we come home with Baby Burke, she won't have to worry about dinners. But, ambitious girl that she is, she was sure she could make a weeks worth of dinners on a Sunday afternoon. I got home from work about 4:45, and she was absolutely spent, and yet, still going! It was remarkable, and a little frightening! I said 'Is there anything I can do?' She said 'Yeah, make dinner!' No problem, she had enough 'sides' left over from her marathon, I just had to defrost & BBQ, and finish what she was doing with Freezer Shepherd's Pie. (In two weeks, we'll eat like royalty!)

Point being, she's tickled pink to be off work now, but I'll bet she misses it, maybe shortly after the commute looks less treacherous; in about seven months!

I'd like to welcome my buddy Ben, the Concious Ignorance poster. He's a philosophy student I know from work, and a damn pleasure to talk to! He's certainly not like other philosophy students I've known, as in he's not all up-his-own-ass with how clever he is. We got to talking about dream interpretation today, and he argued that it's too subjective, and if the interpreter's not the dreamer, then they're too likely to project their own thoughts & perceptions onto the dream. But he concluded that “Interpreting dreams gets you thinking, and anything that gets you thinking is good.” Amen Brother!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sixteen More Sleeps!

Boy-Howdy, is it ever getting close now! The day of my last post, I seemed to have worked myself into such a tizzy that a few friends thought I was over-reacting. Well, quite possibly, or maybe I'm just a little more verbal with my anxieties than many men. It really ebbs & flows for me, but I find the fear to be more fun to write about, and more necessary to purge. It's easier to be funny when ranting, than when I'm all aglow with optimism, but truth be told, I can't wait to hear what his/her first word will be, then denying that she/he learned her fourth words from me. (If it's “dumb/jack ass,” the smart money's on mom, but if it's “Ph'khol,” it came from dad.) I can't wait to take my offspring to work to show off, I'm looking forward to seeing my parents faces when I announce “It's a......” Telling the kids “I will turn this car around!” (And I will, I have a strong aversion to empty threats.) Telling them that I bought them from the Circus. Telling them that the Tooth Fairy uses their teeth to make toilets (my folks had me staring at the toilet trying to find the lines between one tooth and the next, until they told me that they were melted down first.) Watching the dog look to me for help when his ears & tail are being tugged!

Oddly, it's been harder to keep my cool at work. I can't say where that is, since there's a notice in the break room, saying that if they're mentioned, or if the logo's used, they'll crawl up our ass with so much litigation that we'd think we were pregnant with Perry Mason's bad acid trip. Suffice to say, I operate a cash register. As pathetic as that sounds, I'm actually paid pretty well, having been there for 11 years. I'll tell you, 99% of our customers are wonderful & fun to work with. Then there are those who want to get in line, then send family members to finish their shopping. “Oh, just a minute, my husband's coming with one more thing...don't look at me like that!” Then I'm the bad guy for getting impatient with these douche's. I've got to learn better customer service, and they've got to learn to be more considerate, responsible members of Society, reflecting on how their actions affect those pesky abstractions called OTHER PEOPLE. Point being, Being so jangly has brought the nerves closer to the surface, and made me oddly irritable. Anyone relate?

There's another strange affect of an impending child, a craving for mellower music. UHG! I think it started during the birthing class. A radio was on, and some pop-tart was covering Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah.” I think I first heard The Tea Party cover it in a concert, then I really took notice when the producers of House used it for an outro sequence. Then when I heard it in the birthing class, it hit like a wave; “Damn, that's a beautiful song!” Now, I've always hated it when recording artists released their isn't-life-beautiful-now-that-I-have-a-child albums. Now, here I am, saying “Now, wasn't that a pretty ballad!” Now, the dog & I are staring out the window, waiting for our balls to come home!

“Get that man 500 cc's of Slipknot, STAT!”

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Week Lost, and Parenting Class

Yesterday, our pregnancy got a week shorter. We went to see the OB/GYN, and when he called the receptionist to confirm our inducing date, he said “Oh...Oh, really...OK...OK. I'll call you back in a minute.” On his way out to her desk, he quickly explained to us that he'd switched his On-Call days with another Dr. Looking at his altered schedule, he decided that we'd go in to be induced on the 20th – a week sooner than we expected.

Yup, we just shat ourselves.

In four days, we'll see it on our Weather Network's long-range forecast. When looking at the calendar, I was shocked how close it really was, and thought I might be sick. Apparently not; got the dog excited for nothing. But at least our families are excited. We are too, it's just different. We're going in pretty blind, and they're telling us what we're in for. Most of them are teasing us pretty badly, until our faces lose all color. Then they find seats for us, and get more reassuring.

Then, last night, we got to go to our first birthing class. It was at the hospital, so we got there 45 mins early to give us lots of get-lost time. (not an Alzheimer's-friendly lay out) So there we are, the scene where our life will change in 19 short days, reading the free parenting magazines they gave us (Swear to God – there was an article on how dads can use diaper-changing as a bonding experience, though I think this Pampers-produced publication may have a slant), jittery as all hell. I was afraid to say much, because in that state, whatever I said wouldAllComeOutInOneLoudBurstInOneLongWord! And as I've mentioned, I can be a nervous-laugher, and here I am, going into a class heavily-peppered with “Discharge” and “Vagina.” I was fine until the nurse spoke of the mucous plug discharging, and another dad-to-be made a popping noise. Bastard. Think I'll see if he wants to grab a beer sometime. The good news is that she covered, very thoroughly, a lot of what Andrea & I already knew, making it one lo-o-ong two hours, pretty much dissipating our jitters.

They did have the dreaded video. It wasn't as bad as I'd expected, based on something I'd lingered on while channel-surfing; I was curious, until I saw the crowning. “Oh Shit!” I exclaimed, “It looks like her **** is blowing a bubble!” and promptly surfed on. (the **** wasn't the dreaded “C-Word,” but it still wasn't very polite.) This video was a VHS, and looked & sounded like the old reel-to-reel's we watched in school in the 80's and before. The poor baby looked like it was covered in Milk of Magnesia. (a syrupy version of chalk) Only one more class, though, so, worst case scenario, another two hours lost. Maybe I'll bring my novel notes, and we can sit in the back, alternating between that and X's & O's, maybe pass notes like a couple of high-schoolers. (C'mon, Baby, we only have a couple weeks to be childish!)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Introducing Kids to Uncle Andy and his Boyfriend

Now, here's a touchy one! With homosexuality being so hot-button in our society, and showing no signs of slowing, how does one broach this with children?

It came up at one of Andrea's Girl Weekends. One of the attendants 'came out' after high school, and though she's currently not practicing, she took it quite personally when another attendant said that she didn't want to explain homosexuality to her 3-year-old. I think that the latter's point was that she didn't want to explain ANY sexuality to her kid. That's fair, especially when they've just discovered their 'peepee,' and learned that you're supposed to leave it alone at the supermarket!

And how to explain the many faces of Love? I love Mommy, and we spend our lives together, and I love heavy music, but often listen to rap or instrumental jazz. I love Reese Bites, and they're sure not in the house all the time! I love the city I live in, and really enjoy visiting other cities. I love my nieces, but it's different than how I love my kids... All pretty deep & abstract, and difficult to explain to a child!

When it came up at work yesterday, someone (an older gent, with a love of his opinions, and no love of abbreviation) said “Kids with gay parents would have a hard time at school (granted) and they would grow up with a different set of values...” And another, younger, lad said “Yeah, they'd probably grow up to be more accepting of people in general.” I don't know enough such people to say for sure, but I'd bet he's right! (This is where the Comments option comes in handy; lets hear some feedback from kids, of their friends, of same-sex couples)

As for the bullies in school, If they're gonna target you, you'll deal as you see fit, just like the rest of us! Many of us went through it with Breeder parents, so “...For the Kids...” is a pretty weak argument against same-sex marriage! But I digress...

If you explain Gay to five-year-olds, won't they all think they're gay, since the other sex is 'Icky' and 'has cooties'? And if they all went through that, wouldn't they be more tolerant of 'That Kid' in High School?

Personally, I'd like my kids to be affectionately curious about those who are different than them. “Sikh? Cool! Where you from? How are your weddings different? How 'bout holidays?” “Gay? Neat..!” “Parachuter? What's it like..?” “You play the oboe? What's an oboe?..?” I guess my best hope is to live that way myself, and trust it to rub off.

And what if our child turns out to be gay? I'm plainly pretty liberal about the whole issue, and I've liked most of the gay people I've met, but how can I answer that before it happens? It's easy to say, “Of coarse my values will be totally consistant, but it may trigger something deeper that I'm currently not acknowledging. And I'm just as likely to say “Woohoo! Theater tickets for life!”

When I asked Andrea that 'what if...' she said, “that's fine, but they had better find a way to give me some grandchildren!”

P.S. Cheers to Crazy Texas Mommy for boycotting wedding in solidarity with our procreationally challenged Brothers & Sisters!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Birthing Room

Currently listening to: System Of A Down: “Toxisity.” Yet another awesome thing about writing: I get time to listen to all these CD's I haven't had time for in awhile

So, as I mentioned, Adam at is waiting for his child to be born, so I got to wondering, what does the father do when she's contracting & dilating? This could last for a lot of hours, and how many times can I repeat the same encouraging tidbits? I'm guessing that it would be pretty rude to bring a book. How much more so if I sat listening to my Ipod! I don't have a good phone for Twittering, and I'm guessing that she'd get sick of being fed ice pretty quickly.

Also, I'm not allowed to have hurt feelings. Since my wife comes from an Italian family, she can be pretty expressive, and I have to remember that when all's said and done, she'll be very happy & grateful for the bundle of joy I helped bring into the world. However, until all's said & done, I'm expecting a verbal fire-storm of biblical proportions. I'm sure it's nothing the nurses haven't seen before, but, being new to this, I'll confess to some trepidation. It may however make the “6-8 Weeks Off” a little easier! “Love you Baby, but let's dodge that bullet!”

And what of the medical horrors? When the water breaks, will I need galoshes? Will the afterbirth look like a brown-red wineskin? Will I be overwhelmed by nervous giggles? (yes, I'm that juvenile) If that come at the wrong time, I'm sure to get a punch in the throat!

One buddy at work had quite the story: He was speechless. No, really, here's this perpetual 14-year-old, who always has some smart-assery on the tip of his tongue, and has many, many write-ups for inappropriate jokes, but the sounds of birth (one vaginal, one C-Section) left him absolutely green! If I'm not mistaken, he may have passed out!

So, the more I worry about that day (or so), the less I'll worry about being a good dad. What's the worst that can happen? They'll need therapy? A job's been created!
So vote “Will” for “Prince of the Silver Lining!”

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vanity & Jitters

Currently listening to: Prince “Ultimate” One of the half-dozen 'Hits' compilations of his, but this one came with a 2nd disc of re-mixes.

In yesterday's post, I mentioned Mur Lafferty's site, and sent her a corresponding email. Partly a courtesy 'heads up' that I was referring to her, part fan-mail, and part publicity for my Blog. Then I thought “What was I thinking?” Maybe I should practice this under-the-radar so when the attention comes, I'll be bringing my A Game to the table. Plus, I'm just getting used to the technology; and somehow, I listed myself as a follower of my Blog. “Wow! This is Super! I can't wait to see what I come up with next!” Yup, I'm that vain. Seriously, I hope that it shows that I'm enjoying this, and I hope I'm sharing some laughs, but who, outside of my social circle, really cared to be introduced to my dog? But dog-baby relations really is a valid concern. Now I'm just prattling.

On the parenting front, the jitters are starting to set in, and it will only get worse. We're at 4 weeks, 4 days, and in three weeks, I'll either be utterly useless, or I'll have laser-focus and Jedi reflexes (as I did the week before my wedding).So I thought it was a little funny that when I checked out another Blog I follow -- – he was in an advanced stage of what I've barely begun. Good Luck, Buddy (I couldn't find his name on the Profile, but couldn't look for long.) Well worth the visit to check out this blog, and he's got great business cards too!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Appropriate is a Good Vent!

Currently listening to: Portishead, “Roseland NYC Live.” A band my wife turned me on to. Heard it on the radio today, and thought 'By Gar, it's been awhile...'

Yesterday's post has almost surely made me look like a cynical bastard, and I can be. But it's all part of a deeper trait, loosely defined as Credit-Where-Credit-Is-Due. If that sometimes means calling someone on their bullocks, so be it. What's the point of having a public platform if one can't honestly vent. Add to that something of a Punk ethos of brutal honesty, and sod ya if you can't take it.

But I hesitated. I was at Mur Lafferty's site, which I got introduced to through ITunes, looking for writing Podcasts. I haven't heard all of the writing podcasts, but so far she's my favorite (“I Should Be Writing”) Asides from being entertaining and informative, she's good at lighting a fire under my seat to just park my arse and write. I also found her 3 recent video Podcasts to be laugh-out-loud funny! I'm looking forward to getting my hands on her books, as soon as I'm through my short-list of urgent fiction.

Wow, what a digression! Anyway, I was on ML's site, when I came across her 5 Rules for Writing. It was 4 rules, until recently, when #5 was added: “Don't Be An Ass.” (Full elaboration in her June 30 2009 Blog) Apparently, a certain author got a bad review, and went on a brutal Twitter tirade against the Reviewer. Now singling someone out like that is certainly being an ass, but did this advice apply to my “Hairstyle” rant? I did adhere to a managerial rule I learned from my wife (who is an office manager): “Criticize Generally, Praise Specifically.” So I went ahead with it. People will know, when the tide has turned, that someone saw these trends for what they were in the thick of it, and when the next novelty hoopla arrives, maybe, just maybe, someone will remember this, and say “No! I'm not falling for this, not this time!”

So what does this have to do with parenting? Well, I guess that having a child on the way has led me to consider how my parents have influenced me. I have no complaints in this regard, my folks are great people who did a fantastic job! Not perfect, and they'll be the first to say so, but I'd say they did a better job than they thought they were doing. I'd bet that that applies to most parents, which I'll find more heartening as time passes. But I have to re-think my cynicism. Will I pass a bitter legacy? I doubt it. I've got a pretty solid sense of gratitude, and I'm generally a pretty positive person, but every now and then, something sets me off, and I've got to be careful that my kid, with underdeveloped social filters, doesn't go around saying “My Daddy says your hair is stupid.” We all know not to say certain words in front of kids, but I guess there are some things we learn not to say the hard way.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The World My Child's Born Into

Currently listening to The Tea Party: “Edges of Twilight.”

I think that a lot of new parents wonder what kind of world they're bringing their child into. My generation was brought into the Cold War, so I'm sure many of our parents wondered if we'd live to see adulthood. But having watched The Terminator, we were more excited than frightened for the post-apocalyptic world. Ah, blessed naivety. But there's always been something – wars, plagues, tyranny's, witch-hunts – to make expecting parents nervous. But I'd imagine it's like public speaking; if you're not a little scared, you just don't care enough about what you're doing, and it will show in your performance.

On the up-side, my child is coming into a world with a Brother in the White house, to which so many people just like me said: “I never thought I'd see the day!” (If you'll forgive a brief digression, I was reading Jeffery Deaver's “The Twelfth Card” the week of the election, and about three days after Obama won, I came to a scene where two characters were in Harlem, one asking if someone was out of prison. The response was “there'll be a n***** in the White House before he gets out.”) There are plenty of reasons why this is a great time to bring a person into the world, and focusing on the negative surely won't do anyone any good.

However, we are in a time of women's hair styles that are just awful. Let's look objectively at this reverse-mullet, short-back with long sides. I've seen beautiful, wonderful women who look just stupid, and I'm sorry if anyone takes offense, but honestly, people! I just want to tell them “Make sure you get lots of pictures. Dozens, even, so that you will never, ever forget just how cool you look right now.” Now, if you're younger than 22, you're expected to follow the fashions. That's what young people do! But if you're older, as many of these short-long wearers are, haven't you had a few regrettable style faux pas'? Don't you have pictures that make you say, “I can't believe I thought that was cool”?


Same with it's close relative, the forward-sloping bob. You've been warned. And I'm not too keen on the “BumpIt's” either. More novelty silliness, leaving yet more photos in it's wake to be brought out when the subject's due to be embarrassed.

Wow, that was quite the vent! Again, sorry if you're offended. It's just my opinion, and apparently, many disagree. I know many women bearing this style, who are great people, and some dear friends, who happen to look ridiculous. I also have two friends who bore these styles before it was trendy, one with short hair & long bangs, one with a subtle forward-slope bob, and it was cool before everyone was doing it. Both have altered their style in the last year.

If you're really POed at this point, and you're running for your Voodoo Doll, allow my to offer a truce: Let's agree that it's high time for the young lads to start pulling up their pants. As a former boss said, “I don't want to see anything I didn't pay to see.” (Hope you see this, K M) I was optimistic when studded belts became fashionable, but apparently, they didn't come with instructions!

The only other regrettable thing about bringing a child into this time is “Reality TV.” I sure hope that it burns itself out, and, like Variety Shows, is seen as a product of it's time.