Friday, October 30, 2009

Watch Your Mailbox, Grandpa!

To write, one must hold a crayon and speak the words out loud.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why I Should Not Speak to Strangers

I wonder about names. Do they come in waves, and how? How is it that we thought Tucker and Connor and Noah would be unusual names we might bestow on our baby boy, only now to discover that every time we go to the playground Tucker, Connor, and Noah are all taking turns on the slide or throwing sand at each other in the sandbox? Were the names already prevalent, and that's how we came to become attracted to them, though we didn't notice? Or does a whole generation of parents all simultaneously decide that Noah would be cute? And to what degree is Dr. Carter directly responsible?

Anyway, I've decided I need to shut up already and stop telling parents that "we almost named our son __________________." Why? Because somebody finally asked me, "Really? Why'd you change your mind?" And I couldn't think quickly enough of an answer that wasn't, "Because we thought he might not like the other kids at school calling him Tucker the F**ker."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

You Met Me At a Very Strange Time in My Life

That's a quote from Fight Club, Mom.

1. I'm not real keen on the new look. I have a suspicion that this is one ugly color scheme, but I was getting tired of the last one.

2. Happy Kissiversary, Aerie!

3. Things have been pretty strange around here, stressful and aggravating and also fun and amazing and tiring.

(a) There are serious disruptions taking place in Aerie's family, and we're hurting for them and worrying with them about what the future will hold and also hoping it all doesn't spill over too much into our little world.

(b) I also spent three straight weeks spending most of my free time working on a large copywriting project, and it couldn't be clearer to me that it's not a lot of fun and puts more stress on my family life. It does pay well, and it would be easier if I were better at managing my time.

(c) I'm struggling to stay motivated with Weight Watchers. As I've noted before, success gives me an inexplicable tendency to sabotage myself. I've kept up the exercise, though I think I've got a rotator cuff injury that's making weight lifting a bad idea. I'm still hitting the treadmill, though. In fact, I had a new personal best yesterday, burning 1070 calories in 60 minutes. I've got to say, The Crystal Method's Drive is my all-time favorite workout album. I think it was released as part of a promotion of Nike's integration with iPod, or something like that, which makes it about as corporate as you can get, but man, it's effective. I only wish it was long enough to get me all through a full hour instead of quitting at about 45 minutes. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel... Bad, right? Wait a minute, what was I talking about again? Oh, right. Stalling on the weight loss. Yeah.

(d) Thumper's been testing a lot of limits lately, and has developed a strong tendency to contradict everything that's said to him. We have whining, and screaming fits, and "I won't..." and "I can't...", and conversations that tend to follow these lines:

Me: "It's raining."
He: "No, it's not raining."
Me: "It's not?"
He: "No, it's raining."

So the stress and frustration from (a), (b), and (c) tend to make (d) less bearable, but every day I'm reminded by the people around me how wonderful he is. Wherever we go, people tell me how cute and big and smart he is. We had one of our best playdates ever this week, with 4 other kids on the playground all about the same age as he. The kids played together and shared toys with minimal friction, the 2 moms, a babysitter, another dad and I were all friendly and talked Halloween and potty training and developmental milestones and mothers-in-law. And they all expressed amazement at Thumper's age. The dad even said, "He can't do that yet!" when Thumper pedaled a borrowed tricycle on a circuit round and round the playground. So I'm daily reminded how lucky we are with him, but still, I'm doing a lot of yelling lately.

So, uh, yeah, all of that just to say I haven't updated much lately, and I don't like my new layout here, but I really don't have the time or motivation to change it. We're doing a National Downs Syndrome Society Buddy Walk today, which will be fun. And my beloved database project that was suspended indefinitely has been revived, so there's more work such that I may actually someday be able to signup for ushering shifts online, glory hallelujah. Facebook's responsible for my light posting, too. Curse you, you evil Bejeweled Blitz!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Here's 100 Words on "Place," inspired by Velvet Verbosity:

She hasn't got a place, though she could if she tried. No matter where she is, she's happier elsewhere. The fault is in the place, in the people that occupy it.

She lights another cigarette. She doesn't smoke, not really. Not anymore. It's a temporary fix. The stress is unbearable. She deserves a little outlet, no matter what they say. They don't know when to keep their mouths shut. They can't imagine what she's been through.

The baby cries. "That's got to stop," she says. I make a face. I roll my eyes. "I can't ever say anything," she says.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I used to be a daily Today Show viewer. Most of the time, I complained about it. I disliked Katie Couric and how she really, really, really wanted the families of the Columbine victims to squeeze out a few more tears. But it was better than the other network morning shows, I liked watching TV while eating my breakfast, and it made me feel like I was somewhat informed about national news. So I watched it, and I ridiculed it.

I didn't want to watch it with Thumper around, though, so we've been daily viewers of Sesame Street instead. Elmo is a whole other kettle of fish when it comes to the horrors of television, but I certainly haven't missed Matt and Meredith at all. In fact now, when I do catch a few minutes of it because Thumper isn't up yet, and Aerie was watching the local newscast for the weather which then bounced back to the network feed, I'm mildly horrified. It's an endless parade of tragedies and celebrity freak show voyeurism. Why did I watch that?

This morning, Thumper was still asleep, and Aerie was hanging around the house a little later than usual. She had Today on when I walked through, and I caught a few details. The sad story of Michael Brewer was particularly bleak, and it made me realize another way in which parenting has changed me. Before, I would have consumed the entire segment and felt superior to the people who could commit such an atrocity and to the parents who spawned them. I'd feel a twinge of empathy, a hint of horror, and my certainty about the black pit at the center of human nature would be confirmed. And then I'd sit there and wait for the next three-minute segment of human depravity to be paraded before me.

This morning, I had to walk away. As soon as I heard enough of the story to imagine Thumper as the victim of such an act, I couldn't watch another second. Now I know what people mean by "chilling."

Hypocritically, when I thought about writing a blog post, I searched for the segment on the show's website and watched it in its entirety. I wanted to see if I could find an answer to the question in my mind: Why would the mother agree to be on the show, to let herself and her child be this week's morsel drooled over by Meredith as she serves it up for our consumption, to be forgotten in favor of some other morsel tomorrow or next week? The mother did make a plea for peace, for the rejection of violence as a solution to human problems, but Meredith sidestepped that plea without comment and came right back, prodding for the soft spot that would get the tears flowing. The mother didn't break down completely during the interview, so at the end, Meredith tells Matt that the interview was filmed before the show went on the air, and the mother did break down after the interview was over. While still on camera! And we have it here! We asked her if it was OK if we showed it, and she said yes! So they show several moments of her sobbing, and we, the audience, we slurp it up.

I don't want to be a part of that anymore. The celebrity gossip! The murders! The rapes! The abuse! The 18-year-long kidnap victim! and Michael Jackson on endless loop! I mostly get it now only from the magazine covers when I stand in line at the grocery store. I'm going to try to avert my eyes from now on. I also watch TV Guide Channel because we don't have digital cable and never know what's on. I put the Mute on and suffer through the slow motion scrolling of the schedule beneath Michael Jackson and Flava Flav and New York and Ashton Kutcher, but still. Even muted, it seeps in through the eyes. If this is being informed, I'd rather be ignorant.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yes, It's Barney. Shut Up.

Rodius (singing): "Looky, looky, it's a cookie, cookie! Cookies are wonderful things!"

Thumper: "Fun!"

R: "What?"

T: "Wonderful fun!"

R: "Oh, is that how it goes?" (singing) "Cookies are wonderful fun!"

T: "Daddy no sing..."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Eh, a Little Gimmicky

Maybe I'm too late, but here's my response to Velvet Verbosity's 100 Words on "Bear."

When I reminisce, sometimes a memory swells, more than I can bear. Lingering in the past, the ghost-thought creates a sharp physical sensation, a pain that makes me grimace, and I bare my teeth and growl. Some are memories of what I did, or what I didn't do, or what I should have done; these are the anecdotes that don't bear repeating. Please, I ask, let no one bear witness to my weakness. Standing naked, bared to my own cruel judgment, I close my eyes and change the subject. Shame is a crop I cultivate, though it bears no fruit.

Friday, October 2, 2009

When She Left

I can still recall that surreal, disconnected, floaty feeling, not unlike the scene when Eddie gets cheated by Hatchet Harry and just sort of wanders out, then pukes in the street. Yeah, kind of like that.

I walked through the neighborhood, and every white car on the horizon was our car returning home, bringing her back home.

I remember my brother, who came when I called him, sitting with me, not talking about it, then sort of talking about it, and telling me, "If it was me, I'd fight." And suddenly realizing that I could fight or not fight, that I could let it be over, or I could try. It was entirely up to me. And I chose to try.

And things were bad, and things got better, and I learned that there is no happily ever after and you never hit the point in a marriage when you can stop working at it.

Now people we love are floating in that same boat, and the Mrs. has gone over while I stay here with the boy. I hope she can be what my brother was for me: a comfort and a sounding board. I wish both parties well, and I hope they can both find what they're looking for. I hope they can fight if they want to fight, and let go if they want to let go.

By the way, Big Brother: I know you don't read this, but your wife does. I hope I told you some time how much it meant to me that you came over. Thanks.

I Don't Yell at Him in Front of Her

My mother had many kind things to say. It's fun to be the object of lavish praise!
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