Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hey, Thanks!

Does your flatulence originate in "weakness" in your head? If so, this 1859 Harper's Weekly ad can help you. And best of all, it's "powerful, yet pleasant."

Somehow I doubt that.

Hurt Feelings

Dear Mommy,

It's not that I don't like peas. I just wanted to make Daddy feel better.

You know, the other day I was...maybe a little cranky. And Dad seemed a bit put out. So tonight, I figured I should throw him a bone. He doesn't like peas.

So when you tried to feed me peas, I screamed and made retching noises and spat at you and flung pea-spit around and whacked my own face so that peas got in my hair and eyelashes - all to make him feel better. It was a father-son moment. Bonding.

I hope you understand.

P.S. We can eat peas together. You know, when he's not around.

I Got a Present!

All the way from Maryland/Seattle! Thanks, Mrs. F!

I really like all the noises. And see how Mommy set it up? Two legs means I can reach everything. When I can stand up, we'll put on all 4 legs. Or when Callie comes to visit and totally wants to play with it. You know she'll want to.

She likes me. There's no denying it.

I was totally into the jazz music, and also...Mommy hates to admit it...the banjo music.

Winter is coming.

So I'm storing up nuts in my cheeks like a squirrel. See?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For Lucilius

These are images of Ross Castle, in Ireland. Lucilius has asked for information about the castle's restoration, and what we have is very thin. But I finally unearthed the photographs taken in Ireland two summers ago, and here are a few.

The resolution is fine enough that you should be able to blow up the image 150% or so and read the text (in English and Irish, no less) about the castle.

For those of you who haven't read the entire archives (shame on you!), in summer, 2007, Charles and I spent 12 weeks in England, Scotland, France and Ireland. Charles fell in love with Scotland, and I fell head-over-heels for France. Scotland was great, too, but France was...France.

Ireland? Yeah. Um. Yeah.

Let's not talk about that.

So there you have it. Two of the placards, a couple of shots of the castle itself and one of its back courtyard (the staircase), plus two shots of the lake it abuts.
I left out the actual butts, in the form of a photograph Charles took of some woman whose rear was hanging out of her trousers. One of the sub-genres of our vacation photos is a set of photos proving that everywhere you go, someone has badly fitted pants.

[EDIT: There is no butt-photo from France. People keep their bums inside their trousers in France. I rest my case.]

I Love Halloween So Much

According to the email that accompanied these pictures, Miss Maddie takes a "weekly class." It must be an upper-division course on Redonkulous-ness, because check out this pea-pod:

Also, note how Halloween looks in Southern California. No socks. Callie has to wear something akin to a snowsuit, while Maddie is basically throwing on a green bikini with a couple of balls and saying, "Whee! Candy!"

And here's the whole clan. I see I'm not the only one who loves Halloween.

I love Halloween

Last night, we joined the Bowes's for some potluck. I brought the crockpot (full of pulled pork that had braised all day long while I was at school - drool away, peeps!), and Sarah supplied the caesar salad and hot-from-the-oven cookies.

All that was nothing, though, compared to the entertainment. Feast your eyes on this:

OMG, Closeup:

Honestly. I think Callie should really come with a containment system. Otherwise, how can we be sure that her cuteness won't spill out into the world and start affecting all kinds of things? Imagine if - suddenly - Henry Kissinger was cute. Or bullfrogs. Or....I dunno. Could be anything.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ugh. She's Back.

Mommy can talk again.
And talk, and talk, and talk.
Sigh. It was so quiet...


7:00 – 7:30 – Iain, screaming in the bed, while I hold him and try to soothe him. Ooh, lovely.

7:30 – 9:15 – as if to say, “No really, it was because I hate you, Dad,” Iain slept quietly in his own bed, once I left him alone.

9:15 – more crying. Why? Oh, dirty diaper and hunger, natch.

9:20 – 9:30 – bottle, better loved than me.

9:30 – 9:40 – Iain screams in my arms, after lounging quietly in his chair after finishing his bottle. I thought he was mollified, but really, he just wanted to be up close and personal to say, “Screw you, Dad.”

9:45 – needing a lift, I decided to try Barley Cereal on the boy. Maybe if he liked it, he’d be a bit nicer to me.

10:00 – barley cereal was a success. After one quizzical face, and one upturned lip, he sucked it down with as much interest as we’ve seen in days. Which is not to say that I got his undivided attention even then. Oh, no. He squirmed and wiggled to keep the dogs in view. After all, he likes them better even though they’ve never fed him or changed his diaper.

10:10 – 10:15 – quick shower. No surprise puddle of vomit upon completion.

10:15 – 10:30 – Iain playing quietly in his Pack ‘n’ Play. I’m not holding him at the moment, so he’s relatively happy.

So, world, how was your morning?

Monday, October 27, 2008


First, I denied, then I got angry. I decided to try to make a deal. When that didn't work, I got very depressed. Now, I just accept it.

Yeah, right. Lately, it seems that many things I was taught in school might just be wrong.

Question authority. Don't argue, just do it.

What's wrong with Heroes?

F: The thing that's wrong with Heroes is that Hayden Panettiere cut her hair, and in all these episodes, she has extensions. They just don't look right.
C: Yeah, that's what wrong with it.

Mmmm...bubblegum flavor

So Iain got 3 desserts tonight. He ate his rice cereal. Then he had some banana for dessert (#1), because we were so pleased that he was eating. His appetite has been poor the last couple of days due to his cold.

Then he enjoyed a nice dropper-full of amoxicillin, bubblegum flavor, and a smaller dose of Tylenol, cherry flavor. He looked like it was Christmas morning in his mouth. "Mmm...I like that one. I can has more?" Yes, kid. In 4-6 hours.

But, despite his cold and a trip to our pediatrician (whom we adore), it was a good day. Iain napped pretty well, played a bit and even laughed his fabulous belly laugh. Apparently, watching Juno sit quietly on the floor is High-LAR-ious.

In the afternoon, while he napped, I went shopping. Now, I like new things as much as the next person. But a resale shop opened up near us recently, and I am fast becoming an addict. For about $4, I can get Iain just about anything. Today, I found 4 sleepers, three pairs of trousers, and a sweater, and spent $40.

I could have bought him a suede driving jacket for $12, but that seemed like gilding the lily. Plus, can you wash throw-up off of suede?

Above, Iain and Bobo, having a moment. Bobo loves Iain. Iain loves Juno. I love Iain. Juno loves me. Charles loves us all, but watches with amused detachment as we run around in circles seeking affection.

[Note to those who have just joined this program: Charles works at home so while Iain napped and I shopped, Daddy was in charge. Unfortunately, Iain can not yet stay home alone. Nor can he do laundry, wash the dishes, or calculate our taxes. But he claims he'll get to those things next month, and I believe him.]


Poor Iain has an ear infection. He probably caught Mommy's viral infection, which morphed (just like for Mommy) into an ear infection and a sore throat. So Daddy's gone to Walgreen's to get some antibiotics.

Pfft. Being sick is no fun.
P.S. In case you wondered - Mommy's voice is at about 20%. And tomorrow is a lecture day!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Making Silly Faces

This is how Iain and I spent the half hour between 10 and 10:30.


I had a fever? You were worried?

Oh. Sorry. It was nothing. I'm fine now.

But I got things to do. Like, I'm trying this new thing where I put my feet in a downward position and then push my rear forward and then fling out my arms and then look up. It's real complicated. You might not understand.

Here I am, practicing. The tricky part is keeping your feet in one place on those logs. They're kind of unstable. Good thing I have my handy backup staff to hold me in place while I get this figured out.

Ok, gotta go. Back to using my cell phone to make overseas calls. I also need to execute a Level 3 Diagnostic on my Exersaucer. The positron emitter isn't working right.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Speak of the Devil

So I tried to talk to my mother on the phone this afternoon. It came out sort of like this:

M: Hello?

F: [hissing noises, cough, squeeeeek! Cough. Whispering: hello!]

M: I can't hear you.

F: [hissing, squeaking, coughing, whispering: I can't talk.]

etc. Mother told me about her class today, that she was off to the movies with Patty and Lauren, and that she bought Iain some wipes and bath stuff for our weekend getaway. Then we had to hang up, because all I could say back was: eeeee...sssss....hhhhh and other pointless noises.
But one thing she asked was whether Iain was sick. Nope! I whispered.
Right. That was dumb-stupid, as I heard an astronomer say on Stephen Colbert. I didn't knock on wood or anything.
So, of course, Iain woke up from his nap with a fever (102.9). We called the nursing service. Or, rather, Charles called them since we didn't think they would understand my random noises or that seal barking sound I can make. They said that we should give him Tylenol (so handy having a former chemist for a spouse), watch him, keep taking his temp, and take him to a clinic tomorrow if he still had a fever.
No problemo. We Tylenol'ed him, fed him, etc. But his mood deteriorated like a cheap sponge.
Dinner was a nightmare of recrimination ("That's not bananas!! It's green beans with a little banana mixed in!! What do you take me for?"), my pea-baby-food production caused a huge wailing objection to the Cuisinart mini-prep noise, and the bedtime ritual was complicated by one poop and two throwups. On the plus side, his temperature at 6 was 100.4, which is fine.
On the negative side, he screamed his head off from about 5:30 until 7, with intermittent breaks to check that we were utterly traumatized. Eventually, he rolled over and went to sleep at 7:09.
Let's hope he wakes tomorrow with no fever.
In any case, I've learned my lesson. In future, the answer to any question about his health will be "No comment."

So Moving

Over at Barton's Blog, my friend Bart has a clip that I found really powerful. It's mostly for Californians, but since that used to be us and since we have friends there...

And if you would rather see something that combines political satire with LA-style dance, go to Door Number Two. Non-partisan fun for the whole family.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Green Bean Update

1 Tblspn. Green beans plus 1 Tblspn. banana plus 1 Tblspn. squash plus 2 Tblspns rice cereal = a good lunch.

As with other foods, it seems Iain needed 24 hours to decide that, yeah, that wasn't so bad.


My friend Chris says he wishes he lived here so he could enjoy robocalls. I hated to break it to Chris that Kentucky is a safe state for one side and thus we get no robocalls. I saw a map of robocalling and we're not one of the places with big square bubbles. Wah.

But I did get a push-poll.

For those of you who have never heard of such a thing, this is a poll where they aren't really interested in asking you questions. They're really interested in telling you things. In my case, the poll was about the senate race between Bruce Lunsford (D) and Mitch McConnell (R). The call came from a sweet old lady with a lovely southern accent.

"Do you think you'll vote for Bruce Lunsford or Mitch McConnell?" She wanted to know. And then, "Would you say you're Very Favorable, [etc.] to the policies of George W. Bush?"

That went on for a while, then the pushing started. "I'm going to read you a few statements that opponents of Mitch McConnell might make, and then I'll ask you what you think of them, ok?"


"Mitch McConnell was born under the Sign of the Beast. He actually has horns. His supporters sacrifice kittens under the full moon while drinking the blood of murdered virgins. Also, he likes pickles in his tuna fish salad."


"Would you say that you Strongly Agree with that statement, Agree, Pretty Much Agree, or Want to Know More?"

And on like that. It was great fun. I think Sweet Granny could tell I was enjoying her schtick, because at the end she asked, "Do you want to adopt a Grandma?" and I was totally tempted to say yes.

So, Chris, sorry. No robocalls to report. But that doesn't mean our politics lack zest.

[edit: I should add that we've gotten wonderful mailers from the red side, as well. They demonstrate incontrovertibly that someone over there can use PhotoShop. Here's Bruce Lunsford eating shredding $100 bills for breakfast. Here he is bathing in caviar while two fancy ladies look on. Did you know Bruce Lunsford wears gold-plated underpants? It's true! I saw a photograph of it!]

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thumbs Down. Way Down.

Green beans narrowly escaped being what teh interwebs call an Epic Fail.
First, he choked. Then he drooled. Then he refused. He made an icky face. He turned away. He refused to eat anything else. He refused to eat green beans mixed with squash or rice cereal. He threw up (not spit up, but true throw up - a first!).
It was awesome.
Then he pretended not to be hungry for about 20 minutes. In Baby Time, that's about 100 years. It's equivalent to the amount of time you wait for the Dramamine to kick in. Or the time you spend with that flouride stuff in your mouth at the dentist. Or the time it takes to get your trousers unbuttoned (note I did not write "pants" - that's for you, British readers) when you've really got to go. It was a long time. I ate a chicken breast and some asparagus while I waited.
Finally, he ate some rice cereal, but only after I showed him the bowl and he confirmed No Green. Then he ate some squash. Then I tried green beans again. NO DICE!!
When I got up, prepared to capitulate, he wailed. You didn't need a Baby-to-English interpreter to hear: "where's my dessert?"
So I cut an inch off a very ripe banana, mashed it up, zapped it to get it warm, then mixed that into the green beans. Presto. He ate about one tablespoon. Not enthusiastically, but without throwing up.
I need a nap.

Anthropology 101: Use of Tools

Welcome to Baby Anthropology 101. Today I'm going to demonstrate the use of a common tool. Be sure to take notes, because this information will be on the quiz next week.

See, you grab hold with both hands, see.

Then you're going to want to get it in your mouth. Through extensive trial and error, scholars have determined that it is important to put the correct end into your mouth. This end doesn't really work that well.

Note the hand positioning, as well as the intense focus. Tool use is serious business.

Success! Next week, we'll learn how to tip the tool up so that the milk comes out. Good class, everyone. Remember to email me your response papers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I can has apple?

We were going to start Iain on apples this Friday, but the doctor changed our plans a bit.
First, he said he'd like us to emphasize vegetables at first. Ok. A bit late on that, since we've already done bananas, but we can be flexible. So tomorrow I have to get something green (probably green beans) for this week's new food.
Second, he said he thinks 3 days is plenty of time to see if Iain can tolerate a food. No more waiting a week. So we will do something green tomorrow, then see if Iain likes apples over the weekend.

Love the Orchard

Over last weekend, we visited Evans Orchard again, this time with Iain in tow. While our friends the Bowes family love Reed Valley Orchard the most, we're too lazy to drive that far on short notice. So we chose Evans, where the apple fritters are possibly the most insane thing I've ever eaten.

The trees were especially beautiful:

But Evans is clearly on an expansionist tip. Check out the straw fort:

The side view looks like more fun:

And then there's this. Last year, it was a 3-story straw hill with a slide on it. This year, as you can see, it's a wooden castle with three levels, a tube, a slide, and this roly-poly area on the side:

Take a closer look: someone's been very creative with construction materials.

Did I mention the camel rides? Yeah, a camel in Kentucky. And a petting zoo. And pony rides (though, who'd want a pony when you could have a CAMEL!!?), and a bee-station where you can observe the life cycle and social behavior of bees, and a corn maze...

And a king-of-the-hill area:

And that's leaving out the cider, the donuts, the fritters (!!), the jam and honey and gifts and (last but of course most numerous) the apples. Did I mention pears? Asian pears, and something called a Honeysweet, that's tiny (a little bigger than a seckel pear) but really tastes like honey.

A good day, and I have to say I think Evans is giving Reed Valley a run for its money.

(there were also pumpkins to pick or buy)
(and vendors selling stuff)
(and a tent for picnicking)
(with country music)
(that nearly made my brother-in-law sick)

P.S. Today I feel better, but am still sick. My ear isn't transmitting sound very well, and it's still inflamed, but it doesn't hurt. My throat is worse, and I cannot speak. So that's excellent, since there's a faculty meeting today and I'm on the agenda. Also, lecturing tomorrow is going to be amusing, at best.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I had a bad day today.

I've been fighting a cold for several days, but mostly it confined itself to a throat ache and a small cough. Today, we took that up a notch.

By my 2pm lecture, the throat was scratchy and my voice was in rough shape, so I was drinking water and eating Hall's (poor front row - lots of fumes). But by the end of the lecture, around 3, my left ear started hurting. "Oh, great," I thought, "now I'm getting an ear infection."

Well, yes. At approximately the speed of sound. By 4:45, when my last class ended, my left ear was pounding with pressure, hurting, and not transmitting sound. The ride home was extremely unpleasant (thanks, Tom, for driving!), and the wait in the urgent-care facility nothing short of hysterical. The fact that, by then, I could hardly speak did not help.

Finally, I got to see the doctor, who was great. She popped 800mgs of Ibuprofin in my mouth, prescribed an antibiotic, and pronounced my ear and sinuses infected. She had me in and out in 5 minutes, and I liked her. That's doctoring.

The pain meds kicked in just after I got home. That would be about ten minutes too late for the total meltdown on the way in the house, so poor Charles got to try feeding a screaming baby while comforting his weeping wife all at the same time. Awesome. He's Super Dad, for sure.

But a bowl of chicken soup, two Sudafed, and the success of those 800 beautiful milligrams has restored calm. I get to take horse pills for the next 10 days, but I'm not getting upset about that right now. I'm just so relieved that my ear has stopped hurting.

Except when I burp.

For your viewing pleasure (and to prevent a total downer of a post), here's Iain, expressing his emotions at the orchard. He did not appreciate being asked to share his BOB with apples. Right after this, he expressed his outrage by falling asleep.

[Note the sweatpants. Size 12-18 months. 95th percentile, baby.]

Oh, and another thing

I went to the doctor yesterday. It was my 6-month checkup.

I weigh 17lbs, and am 28 and a quarter inches long. My head's still big, but now it's in the 55th percentile, so that's better.

The height remains a mystery, though. I'm in the 95th percentile for height, even though Mom and Dad are short. I mean normal. You know what I mean. (short). When I'm looking down on Shaq, it'll be fun to toss Cheerios into Mom and Dad's hair.

Sleeping in the car

After apple picking, apple fritters, buzzing bees and country music and the camel ride (!) and petting zoo and castle and rolling tubes and mums and pumpkins and, and, and...Iain was pooped.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Passed Around Like a Sack of Potatoes

First, it was this fellow. I wasn't sure about him, but eventually he proved amusing. I did not throw up on him.

Then there was this lady. She had a nice voice, and she brought me gifts (which is only right and proper, me being the High Potentate of Cuteness and all). Then, when I was explaining why I did not agree to a long car ride on Sunday, she showed me her sunglasses for ten minutes. Very interesting. I decided to shelve my protest for later, but I reserve the right to open the subject again whenever I see fit.

You'll note my expression. The camera-person was very rude. She took this shot just after saying, "blue stripes don't really match a day-glo orange onesie."

Some people. Nuts, I tell you.

P.S. Even though I liked her, I puked on the nice lady with the sunglasses.

P.P.S. But then, I puke on nearly everyone.

Genius - I want this

Dear Son,

Please do not dive off the sofa.

Thank you.
The Mgmt.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thanks for the balloon Sarah and John and Callie

And thanks to Sarah for taking and sharing the video evidence of joy.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Right Now

Upstairs, Iain sleeps in his crib while Callie sleeps in the Pack-n-Play. It's Iain's first sleep-over.

Callie and her parents came by for wine and cheese, then Callie took a snooze while the 'rents are off to a little party down the street. Here's Callie looking redonkulous before bed:

Ouch! More cuteness:

She's going to reach out and touch you. And since that finger has been in her mouth (a lot), you should probably invest in some lens cleaner.

Meanwhile, Dad's got his George Clooney face on:

And Mommy's been overwhelmed by Callie's cuteness. She can't help herself. She.Must.Smooch!

Seriously - irresistable. Iain played with a balloon, too. Video tomorrow. Try to sleep tonight, though I know the anticipation will be terrible.