Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More 4 Year Old Art

After a plethora of conceptual and abstract pieces, the Boy opted for representational work here. In the interest of full disclosure, the teacher drew a rough sketch - the Boy painted it.

Is it just a case of parental pride or is the Boy freakishly - prodigiously - gifted as regards "art"? I haven't seen enough toddler art to make a determination.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bush Vs Obama

Yeah, it's juvenile, but laugh anyway.

via JMG

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Tragedies Without End

Nicholas Hughes, fisheries professor at the University of Alaska and 47 year old son of poet Sylvia Plath, committed suicide by hanging himself on March 16th.

His mother took her own life in 1963. She turned on the gas in the kitchen after stuffing towels under the door to the room where her two young children were sleeping to prevent the gas from affecting them.

One of her last poems was about Nicholas. It was titled, Nick and the Candlestick.

O love, how did you get here?
O embryo..

In you, ruby.
The pain
You wake to is not yours.

Apparently, and sadly, it was.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mad Doctor

Dr. Flynkenstein contemplates her latest potato-head creation. She remains bitter regarding management's decision to forbid further experimentation on human infant siblings.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Time (Or Lack Thereof)

New baby, annual Dr. appointments (all their birthdays fall within a month of one another), the busy month of March, yard and garden cleaning, the Girl's speech and physical therapy appointments, school pictures for the Boy, birthday party planning (the big 0-4), lack of sleep, and the usual daily grind have all conspired to create a case of bloggus interruptus.

Regularly scheduled programming will resume shortly. Til then, it's hit or miss.

That is all.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pictures Worth A Thousand Words

For all you lovers of fine portraiture, I offer you the wonderful website, Sexy People.

Mmm, these belong on mantels everywhere.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Local Police Blotter

When May/December romances go sour:

A 39-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of assaulting his 76-year-old former girlfriend.

The woman told County Sheriff Deputies said Gregorio Monroy assaulted her at their home. Monroy threatened to hurt her again if she reported the incident, according to deputies.

Monroy was arrested and booked into the County Main Jail on charges of battery, elder abuse and dissuading a victim from reporting a crime.

Update From Wasilla

Hope you can return the wedding gifts you lovingly picked out for them. That cute couple of kids we remember so fondly from last fall have called it quits. Yeah, Bristol and Levi aren't getting married, shotgun or no shotgun. Seems Bristol thinks he's "white trash".

Um, pot meet kettle.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Boy En Espanol

The Boy said to his mother the other day,"You know, I can speak spanish."

"You can?" she queried.

"Uh huh."

"What can you say in spanish?" My wife was genuinely curious about this development.

"Dos," replied the Boy proudly.

"And what does dos mean?" asked his mother.

"It mean I speaking spanish," answered the boy.

(insert rimshot)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Reckoning

One of the disadvantages of having pets is that in all likelihood, you will outlive them - you will deal with the death of a faithful companion.

One of the disadvantages of having pets and children is that it's a lot worse.

Everyone kept asking me, "What will you tell the kids?" That's a fair question. I also had no fucking idea. The Girl is but two and so there is little for her to understand. Time and circumstance are curious concepts to her. Things come and things go. She moves forward.

But the Boy...

He said nothing yesterday. Asked not one question. Queried the whereabouts of the black dog not at all. I mopped my brow and was thankful, perhaps even deluded myself that he would not notice. My rank cowardice in the face of my dog's death, my inability to look her in the eye as she slipped this mortal coil could be rationalized - my guilt assuaged - with time. But the Boy? My act would need a reckoning and he would eventually come to me... as he did this morning.

I let the brown dog out as the Boy was eating his lunch. From out of the blue he looked around and then asked quietly, "Where's Coughy?"

I looked at my wife in the living room and then sat down next to the Boy at the table.

"Honey, Coughy was very old and sick. She had to go away."
"She went to a place where only dogs can go. People can't go there to visit."
"When will she come back?"
"She won't, honey. She won't ever come back."

His face contorted slightly. He was thinking and I know I saw a light click in his head. Then, after a long pause, in a breaking voice, he said, "I wish she could come back. I wish she was here." It was not weepy or whiny. It was simple grief from a little boy who understood more than he should have and not nearly enough. It was immensely sad and it killed me.

"I wish she could too," I said, trying not to blubber.

I looked around the corner and my wife's head was in her hands. She was crying - for the dog, for the Boy, for all of us.

He offered desperately, "Maybe we could get another black dog and call her Coughy?"
"That wouldn't be the same, would it?" I tried to get there for him.
"But..." he stopped himself, "No, it wouldn't." His lip was quivering.

"I'm sorry, honey. So sorry," I told him.
"So am I, daddy" he added quietly, the tears welling in his eyes.

I couldn't watch my dog die yesterday but I saw much worse this morning. We never escape that which we dread; only blunder our way through it in the hopes that we will somehow find our way out.

The Hat Crew

Lest we forget the adorable ones.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The End

I killed my dog this morning.

No. No, that's not technically correct.

I paid someone to kill my dog this morning. I gave them my credit card and they handed my back her collar and leash. That was the transaction. And then I slipped out the back door to avoid going through the waiting room as a snotting mess.

The black dog, 11+ years and arthritic, had a seizure last night. Right in the middle of the kids' bedtime story. She howled horribly from our bedroom and by the time we got there her eyes were rolled back and she was convulsing. It lasted a minute or two. Eventually she calmed, but was obviously disoriented, her breathing rapid, eyes darting. And then, as if to prove a point, she did it again. Her front legs stiffened, her head lifted back, eyes rolled, she shook. She recovered once more and after a while was back to her old, stiff, miserable self.

My wife and I got her as a puppy - a derelict from a shelter who moved in with us a week after my wife and I moved in together. Her early life was utterly dog-like: she loved a good pasture, bounded through water, snouted snowdrifts and chased cats.

She and I would run (back when I ran) every morning as the sun rose. No matter how cold or hideous the weather, we made our way cross-country through the forest of an urban park. I am certain I ran farther and faster with her than I would have had I been alone because the slightest car backfire or construction noise would terrify her. She would slip her collar and take off for miles ignoring my panting pleas to stop.

She peed in the back seat of my car once after lapping up half a lake on a Saturday excursion. My wife kept announcing to me from the passenger seat that it looked like she had to go. I was hopeful she could hold out just a while longer. She couldn't and despite a thorough cleaning my vehicle forever carried the whiff of piss.

She did not age well. Beginning with an injury some five years ago she slid steadily, miserably downhill. She spent the last year just looking for a comfortable place to lay down and whining inconsolably (and annoyingly) at the slightest noise outside the house. But she was our puppy - never averse to a little affection and always reciprocating. She could lick like there was no tomorrow.

The vet said that in a dog her age with no previous history of seizures it was more than likely she had a tumor in her brain. There would be nothing to do it for it but palliate her with phenobarbital until she finally succumbed. The vet suspected she was in quite a bit of pain. Much better to do it now. "It's the right choice," she offered consolingly.

I was a coward and let them lead her away. Shit that I am, I let her die with strangers rather than man up and be there with her. I was just unable to look her in the eyes at the end. I spent the moments before they took her scratching her ears as she shook and shed with nervousness. When I handed them her leash she licked my hand furiously and struggled to stay with me. It was awful.

She was not the same dog I remembered - not the happy puppy who raced after cows under covered bridges or stood out in her shiny black coat in a fresh field of snow, her snout dangling happy icicles. She was old and sad and ready.

Or at least that's what I'll tell myself to get through the rest of the day.

I'm Old So My Kids Are Dumb

Well this is great news. Seems old dads (like me) are more likely to produce dumb kids. The older the dad, the dumber the offspring. This now explains all those trust fund idiots I met in college - products of the unions of wealthy old farts and their young, vapid trophy wives.

I have hopes that my oh so youthful outlook innoculates my brood from the negative affects of my oh so aged flesh. That and the fact that, though farty, I am not wealthy.

Boy Art

The Boy created an art offering for his sister.

Titled: Bee With Moon And Star And Weather

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Maternal Gadgets

Gadgetry has invaded all aspects of our lives, from communication to libations. Everything has a device or app to increase efficiency or just make our lives easier. Screw most of it. But...

My wife has been ever so pleased with the iPhone I gave her for her birthday. She plays games, does her email, texts her friends, and yeah, once in a while she makes a call. However, since the baby has arrived it is powering through the charges. There's an app she downloaded that tracks all the nursing for the baby: which side? how long? how much? There's another that tracks the baby's output, allowing a parent to keep a chart on number of diapers and contents. If she needs something from me while she is nursing or putting the baby to sleep I get the pleasant ding of a text instead of a baby-waking holler.

But the kicker - the killer app - is the white noise generator. The kid is remarkably good-natured with nary a complaint, but one: change her diaper or disrobe her and her lungs go into a sonic range that is dangerous. She just doesn't like that and has no qualms with expressing her displeasure. Enter the "Baby-soother", a white noise generating app for the iPhone that runs the gamut from waves to rain to waterfalls to just white noise. Switch it on prior to the diaper removal and the kid coos through the process - not even a grimace. She is suckered right back into her womby, happy place during the most miserable (for her) experiences of her day. Life is good... for every one.

Gadgety or not, it beats tag-teaming our way through diaper changes with my head next to the kids ear and my "SHHHHH" on overdrive.

The Purple Glove

The Boy is, as I have mentioned before, a sensitive soul - artistic, with an odd and singular view of the world. He has told us for the last six months of his desire to choose songwriting as a career - pretty amazing, if not for the choice than certainly for the length of time this 3 year old has held tight to it. He paints, and draws and stares at trees. He also is a typical three year old boy in almost all other aspects.

But of late there is a certain very feminine quality that's appeared in his choices. His favorite color is pink (which, whether male or female, is just a bad call). When he dances, which is frequently, he likes to shake his ass like a pole dancer. He told my mother the other day that when he grows up he wants to be a girl. None of this bothers me. He is who he is and however he ultimately makes his way in the world, I know it will be as a loving and caring soul. Gay or straight, masculine or feminine, our son will always have our support and love.

Nonetheless, its a hard row to hoe for those that step out of their assigned gender roles in our oh-so-tolerant culture. I would like him to have some skills with which to cope with the expectations and stereotypes.

Yesterday, while at Target with the kid, I was picking up some overnight pull-ups for him. He still wears them to avoid accidents, which though rare, are still occurring. As I searched for the appropriate size he announced cheerfully, "Daddy, here's some with Cinderella on them. I looooove Cinderella. I want these!"

They weren't in his size so it wasn't an issue but he spent the rest of the excursion lamenting, "I wish I could have the Cinderella underwear. I sure wish I could."

I asked him what he liked about Cinderella and he said, "She's nice and kind... and has lots of pretty dresses. I love the dresses."

Ah well. To soothe his sadness, I got him his first baseball glove.

Hey, there are plenty of gay ballplayers.

I just fear for him in the playground hell. I joked with my wife that I thought I should spend more one-on-one time with him - to perhaps butch him up a little. My wife responded, "Doing what? Cooking?"

When I related the anecdote to Curry he added, "Not cooking; picking out furniture."

I am no macho role model. I care more for a good brine or delicate sauce than monster trucks. I prefer mid-century french design to Lazyboy. I revel in fine art more than centerfolds. I prefer theatre and dance to Ultimate Fighting Championships. I am outside the gender models myself. But I can function in a locker room. I can shoot pool with a longneck in my hand. I can skyhook a three-pointer without embarassement. I can still thread a needle with a football. In short, though I am hardly a man's man, I can, in a pinch, blend in.

That is all I hope for the boy. Save him the suffering he will no doubt experience if he can not at least keep up with the crap expected of his gender.

We played catch yesterday afternoon with his new glove. He enjoyed it - enjoyed his glove, though he used it primarily to protect his face and didn't really catch anything. He thanked me for the glove in the sweet way he has and hoped out loud we could do it the next day too. And then he added, "I love my new glove, but I wish we had gotten the purple one."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

After We Leave

Abandoned town of Kolmanskop, Namibia

Cross-post with De-moted Vision

Friday, March 6, 2009

Welcome To The Next Generation Of The Web

Been a long time since I've had my mind blown. Prepare for real net magic.

G - Pod

Greer Picture Of The Day

Smart Guys? Fuck You

Jon Stewart "praises" the geniuses at CNBC. This is priceless.