Saturday, February 28, 2009

Something else is broken

(They say you should not blog in anger . . .)

Something else is broken in our house and, once again, it is a piece of technology.

It seems that the Wii can no longer boot up. I knew that there was a problem a while ago after I caught Hannah holding one of the game disks, putting smudges all over the readable side. I thought all I would have to do is go the game store and buy a disk cleaning kit and all would be well again.

But this morning, the girls tried to boot up another game disk and the system wouldn't even load up to the opening operations screen. Lynda thought it might have something to do with our switch to a different remote a few days ago, but I knew that the VCR/DVD remote is the remote that is needed to move over to the video-capable screen that the Wii runs off of. And since that remote never changed, well, I didn't think that was the problem.

So, I tried it.

And sure enough, the blue screen on the TV never changed. The Wii menu screen never loaded. It looks like all of the cables are seated firmly in their sockets and everything is plugged in. Unless having Hannah jar the system, unseating some fragile component of the disk drive (please, PLEASE, tell me that isn't right) screwed it up . . . well, then I don't know what to do. 

Can I take it to a game store? Can I take it to Best Buy? Is there a place to have it examined? Do I have to ship it back to god knows where for repair? How much does THAT cost? Is it still under a warranty?

I'm not happy. I guess families with kids shouldn't buy this stuff.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Having kids

Having kids sometimes means enjoying the fact that they help clean up after meals.

But having kids also means that they sometimes drop a glass full of water, exploding it into many, many shards of dangerous glass.

Having kids sometimes means listening to their chattering voices as they run through the house, playing, imagining, and enjoying life.

But having kids also means that they might clomp through the house heedlessly, shouting for no reason and generally making an ungodly ruckus.

Having kids means watching them test their social limits, tiptoeing away from your protective arms and out into the world.

But having kids also means wondering where did they go off to? And are they thinking? Do they have any idea how dangerous that might have been?!

Having kids means cheering them on as they learn, expand their intellect, and broaden their self awareness.

But having kids also means carving out time to supervise their homework . . . and NO, I'm not doing it for you.

Having kids means letting your girls make new friends and being happy when they invite them over to play. (Isn't it nice how well she gets along with her and shares her toys?) It's so nice to have other people for her to play with!

But having kids means . . . another birthday party?! You went to one LAST week! How many friends do you have?

Having kids is great! It is the most rewarding challenge you'll ever undertake.

But having kids is tough! It is the most challenging thing you'll ever undertake that might never be rewarded.


Two photos, taken Wednesday night at Dairy Queen. For all the stresses and problems, these faces and the personalities behind them make up for so much:


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Problems reading books . . .

. . . and making interesting videos, I guess.

At least this video was created by me, about me. 
(That is an improvement, I think.)

Here is the latest video of last night's episode of LOST--"The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Someone else's (quite sound) advice to the lovelorn

(Yeah, I know . . . the VlogBrothers are saving my bacon yet again. But you've got to admit that this is well thought out and impeccibly reasoned. And considering that I am a father of three future teenage girls, I should RIGHT CLICK/SAVE AS . . ./SAVE AS WEB PAGE?/YES in my Documents folder to be reaccessed in five more years and then ever four years thereafter.)

(Oh, and just to provide complete understanding to the inside jokes, the "nerd boys don't sparkle in the sunshine" remark is a reference to [vampire] Edward Cullen from the Twilight series. . . . Gee, I hope I didn't spoil anything by saying that Edward was a vampire.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TV troubles

I don't think our main downstairs TV (yeah, we've got one up in the master bedroom also) is long for this world. It is at least ten years old . . . I think, who knows anymore . . . and is showing signs of age.

The color is pretty good, I guess, but what do I know about proper color, right? (I'm color blind, for any new readers in the audience.) But the sound has been diminishing slowly over time. Either that or I am slowly losing my own hearing.

Yet Sunday night, things seemed to turn for the worse. We've been using the VCR to broadcast our channel watching, as it improves the reception on some of our cable channels. And, as a result, the original TV remote that came with this Clinton-era RCA tube is long gone. Last night the VCR remote stopped making the TV work--or put more elegantly, the TV was no longer able to respond to the VCR remote.

Normally, you might say, well, that's not so bad. Just get up off of your widening arse and push the little button that turns the TV on. You are old enough to remember television without remote controls (heck, I remember television with an actual knob that you turned and you saw a backlit number on the dial). I agree that, if that was the only problem, there wouldn't be that much of a problem.

But . . . in order to watch anything through the VCR--including tapes or DVDs, I need access to the TV's video channel--00. And 00 is not preprogrammed into the TV's channel memory (nor CAN it be, I discovered while manually trying to access the menu screen and program it in). So, it seemed that we were only able to watch the TV and the wonders of pre-recorded or taped entertainment . . . not to mention the Wii . . . were off limits until we solved the problem.

But how to solve the problem? Lynda suggested that maybe now was the time to bite the bullet and get ourselves a new television--a fancy flat screen job with HD and digital cable and all that. (And, normally, who would I be to deny such a fantasy?) Still, we are in a recession and we are currently paying about fifteen doctors for twenty five medical procedures that we've endured over the last month. So, caution seemed prudent here. Not to mention, you don't just run out and buy whatever TV you find in the store, right? (Help me out here, its been a long time since I bought one.)

You've got to do some research! You've got to learn all the new acronyms. You've got to arm yourself with all the latest in prism technology or LCD versus, oh, I don't even know what. And what about HD, exactly?

So, here is my plea to you . . . my loyal readership. If you know Important Things About Modern TVs that you think that I should know, please shoot me some advice in the comments below this post. If you have done the research, let me cheat off of you. If you have recently bought a new TV, where did you get it? What is a reasonable price for a good TV that a family of five can afford?


Incidentally, we did get our current system up and running again.

In a stroke of Lileksian luck, I found an old Universal Remote upstairs. The batteries still worked and I was able to find the appropriate list of programming codes after a quick Google search for the remote brand in question.

After trial and error, I got the remote to talk to the television and so now I have two remotes. The Universal turns the TV on and lets me adjust the volume from the comfort of my couch. I can also use Universal to operate any TV channels independent of the VCR. But if I want to/need to use the VCR or DVD, the Universal allows me to get to 00 and it's just like old times. Old times with two remotes, but still, old times.

So, we won't be buying a new set this week . . . but it is coming. I can feel it.

Again, any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Comments are directly below.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hannah walks

I'll assess how accurate yesterday's Oscar picks were in the comments of that particular post.

Today is all about Hannah's mobile milestone.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscar twittering

I'm throwing down first impressions of the Academy Awards over on Twitter.

Check it out:


Uh oh . . . Penelope Cruz has won an Oscar. 

Doesn't bode well for her future survival, re. the Insanity of (former boyfriend) Tom Cruise. She has one but he does not. He won't like that.

In fact, just about everyone in the winner's circle tonight is likely in Tom's cross-hairs in the coming weeks. I hope they have all renewed their insurance policies.


Hmmm. I guess Tina Fey and Steve Martin have rocketed to the front spot in the Tom Cruise hit list. (Psst. Don't make fun of made up religions . . . I you want to live.)

Oscar night

Sorry for the delay in posting today. 

On to the subject . . .


Sunday night is Academy Awards night.

Given that I have seen approximately 5 out of the 50 films (both foreign and domestic) nominated in the total number of categories, I feel that I am imminently qualified to let you in on what films and performance will win the golden statue. 

[SPOILER ALERT!!!! Unintentional plot summary and twists might be revealed below, but I don't see how much of that is possible since I haven't seen hardly ANY of the films. But, you've been warned anyway.]

1. Animated Feature Film: WALL-E ought to beat Kung Fu Panda and Bolt here. Pixar has crushed all comers for many years, I think, so why not keep that going? The fact that some people (not me, but some people) were genuinely perplexed that WALL-E didn't get a nom for Best Picture, shows how likely it is to win.

2. Costume Design: When it comes to textile porn, the more complicated the better. And the most complicated costumery of the nominated films has to be The Dutchess. Revolutionary Road, Milk, Australia, and Benjamin Button are not as compelling when it comes to fabric and frippery.

3. Actress in a Supporting Role: This is usually one of the most unpredictable (and somewhat predictable) winners each year. It often goes to the least recognized person in the slate of nominations. Often that person is a foreigner (or has a foreign sounding name?). So, given that stupid logic, I predict that Taraji P. Henson will win for her role in Benjamin Button. It might go to Viola Davis for Doubt or . . . maybe for Penelope Cruz for Vicki Christie Barcelona . . . but the least well know person here is Henson. And while none of these movies will win the big prize, at least Benjamin Button gets one of the major awards here.

4. Cinematography & Film Editing: I'm no expert at this sort of thing, but I think the film that presents the most photographic-capturing and film coherency challenges out of these nominated films is Slumdog Millionaire. Getting camera around the slums of Mumbai and then cutting and splicing the various elements of this film into its coherent whole was the most challenging. Sure, Dark Knight had special effects challenges on top of that, but blockbuster comic book movies don't win these sorts of artsy categories.

5. Actress in a Leading Role: If there is ONE thing in the world that I am sure of, it is that Kate Winslet wins this one for her role as an illiterate Nazi in The Reader. If she had to put on beauty-destroying makeup, she's have captured the coveted Academy Awards trifecta (handicapped, Nazi, makeup). This one is my DEAD-SOLID LOCK of the NIGHT pick!

[music begins to play . . . and if I had the appropriate blogging skillz, I'd have imbedded a song to actually click and play here. But alas .  . . ]

Oh, wait, is that the music? Well, I'll have to hurry here as the orchestra is wanting to play me off . . . 

6. Actor in a Leading Role: I personally think it's a bit of a toss up between Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler and Sean Penn in Milk. I don't think Pitt is getting any credit for playing Brad Pitt in the middle of B. Button--or at least that is what I read other people saying (which is how I formulated just about all of these opinions). But are enough of the Academy voters savvy enough to appreciate Rourke? And Aronofsky is a polarizing kind of director. But it is the Comeback Story that Hollywood appreciates. But Milk . . . could be a winner. Yet, I think I'm talking myself into Rourke as a bit of a surprise pick.

7. Actor in a Supporting Role: The ghost of Heath Ledger won't be denied here, I think.

8. Best Director & Best Picture: I think Slumdog Millionaire is going to win for Best Picture and I think this will also propel Danny Boyle to the Best Director nod. I've liked a lot of his films, without really knowing who he was. SM is on a different level than Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary, or Millions but Slumdog has captured the public's imagination this year.

So, it wins Best Picture, Best Director, and Mumbai poverty was never a problem again . . .

Thanks to the Academy! And good night!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Back when I was in high school, preparing to head off on my own and enter college, I looked forward to the day when I would own a camera.

I thought that I would take the camera with me everywhere that I went, especially in the car--expecting that I would be able to notice camera-worthy images as I drove and pull the car over to capture the natural art surrounding me.

Naturally, those ideas have never quite come to fruition like I expected it to. My first (and second) cameras were larger, bulkier affairs and i have always struggled against the need to carry lots of stuff with me. (I think this is--more than AT&T or surfing the web or whatnot--what draws me to the iPhone . . . its combo-nature of phone, iPod, and mini-computer in a small package is very irresistible.)

So, I never had my camera sitting in the passenger seat as I traveled the roads of college. Though I sometimes thought of that younger person pledge, I continued to be camera-less.

That was many years before cell phone became widely popular or before I ever considered owning one myself. It was far before the IDEA of camera-equipped cell phones existed at all.

But now I have a cell phone with camera--as rudimentary as it is. And still, I have resisted the possibilities of using it. (Probably because I didn't think it was a very good camera, and why waste it. And also because I didn't yet know how to get images off of my phone and onto my laptop.)

But now I can do these things. And I will try harder to use the basic technology around me to better capture life from my eyes. Because that's the entire point of this WWYG?! enterprise, right. To present life from my own particular P.O.V.?


So, today's picture is an old-school Dairy Queen sign in Worthington. I was traveling back from the ENT appointment that Hannah required after her ear tubes surgery a few weeks back (BEFORE the cataract issue became "clear"). It was one of those appointment's guaranteed to irritate. Meaning that I left work, spent twenty-five minutes picking H. up from daycare and traveling across town to the doctor's complex. I got there right on time and didn't have to wait long in the waiting room. However, once I was escorted back to the exam room, the doctor was in and out in about five minutes total.

About thirty minutes for two minutes of exam and two-and-a-half minutes of chit chat. I mean, why not email me a hi res picture of what successful ear tubes surgery should look like and give me a flashlight? I would expend more energy than the good doctor did and, who knows?, I might even have gotten the diagnosis correct.

So then another twenty minutes back to the daycare? Nope, I'd already committed to taking the rest of the afternoon off, so I had time to kill. So, I took the surface streets rather than the Interstates, hoping to better construct the mental map in my head of the city I live in. (It can be helpful, in case I ever . . . you know . . . break out of the home to work to school to church to home path that I have for myself.)

So, as I was driving around Worthington, I drove past the DQ. I've always liked that sign and so I tried (only somewhat successfully) to capture it. I like the retro design and the much more vibrant colors.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Yep, still lazy

I'm still not feeling like devoting much time to writing a blog post.


It's days like this when you and I both wonder what the practical use of my 365 days of posts pledge actually is . . . since I am obviously treating it with less respect that it deserves and you are disappointed with the results.

But, I am sort of trying to push content forward every day--even if it isn't content that I personally crafted and honed.

But, honestly, even if I WAS taking the time to describe what a disaster of an evening I had Thursday night, and what a fruitless day at work I had earlier, and how I'm needing to work tonight but have absolutely no interest in doing so . . . well, you've heard that all before right? (And now that I'm trying to post every day, you've heard it MULTIPLE times and all quite recently.) So, I'll spare you that.

But, if I choose to spare you that, then (again) what is the freakin' POINT of all of this?!!


Let's step away from that nonsense up there and get to the real reason I started typing this post. I wanted to share an interesting video that I found that graphically describes the financial credit crisis.

Adding graphics makes things more approachable. I won't say that it is entirely more understandable, because all the jargon is still there and the rapidity of it all continues to make it hard to follow. But it is a help.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.
However, I am sure that some (me included, I guess, since I'm bringing it up) will be offended by the graphic choice to depict the "typical" sub-prime mortgage owner as a fat smoker, his wife, and their multiple (crying) kids. [This occurs at approximately the 7:20 minute mark in the video. You'll note the difference between them and the more "appropriate" fixed rate mortgage family that was used earlier in the video.]

h/t to the NPR Planet Money blog for the original notice of the video.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

One opinion on the Stimulus Package

I felt really lazy on Wednesday night after watching LOST, so I decided to rely on the Vlog Brothers to provide interesting content. 

(I decided to watch Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog instead.)


But, since I feel bad about not providing more specific content (at least content that is David-centric . . . as my blog usually is, I'll also provide this next bit of news. Apparently, Tolkien fans out there have put together a movie that they are going to be releasing in May (for free) on the Internet called The Hunt for Gollum. It owes great amounts of stylistic debt to Peter Jackson's trilogy because . . . well, would you rather it mimicked the cartoon films of yore?!

ANYWAY, you can read about the project and see a trailer for the film (impressive, I think) via this story from /


And finally, here is the latest episode of LOST Untangled:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Red zone

As if we didn't have enough bills to pay . . . now this.


Tuesday morning I was driving to work, after dropping the kids off at elementary school. I was halfway down County Line Road, woolgathering about who knew what, listening to the news report on the morning's weather and traffic when I happened to glance at the instrument panel (always a healthy habit to get into Young Drivers!).

The temperature gauge needle, which normally sat serenely in the middle of the arc inscribed between C and H was sitting firmly at 2 o'clock and bumping itself steadily (like a blood pressure needle) into the red area.

Now, normally, I've paid little attention to this particular instrument panel on the station wagon. Only when it's freezing cold out do I watch it, hoping it would nose up past the C and into the lined area of the arc--indicating that I could turn on the heater and warm up. (Oh, and  . . . the heater isn't working either . . . but that is a separate story--isn't it?)

And when I am desperately HOPING for movement towards warmth, the needle NEVER moves. Obviously, it does move and it has in the past, but it isn't usually movement you can see. It's cold, the engine is cold, you are cold, you drive, you turn, you drive, you look down and . . . okay, I can turn the heater on now. But the needle doesn't visibly move. It just changes when you're not looking.

But Tuesday, the needle moved. I saw it move. It jerked and wiggled its way into the danger zone. And when I was stuck at traffic lights, it jerked and wiggled more rapidly. I tried turning on the heater, to help bleed out the heat from the engine compartment (something I once had to do in an older car during the summer months--not good times), but . . . oh, yeah . . . the heater isn't working. And it wasn't helping.

I made it to the office and then had to figure out what to do with getting it to the service station, home, and what about Wednesday? We are so used to having two cars--and we've set up our work routine with that as a crucial element in that routine--that finding a way out of that with minimal disruption of the work load we are responsible for . . . well, that is going to be the challenge.

I guess I'll let you know how we worked it out once I know the answer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day of surgery

6:00 am I woke up to help Lynda with Hannah before she left for the hospital. The last bit of drink Hannah was allowed was a bit of apple juice. Then Lynda was off.

7:00 am The older kids are awake. I've been reading in bed for a while, unable/unwilling/unnecessary trying to go back to sleep. Soon we'll go downstairs and have our breakfast and decide what to do for the day.

8:00 am Lynda calls and asks me to clean the bathrooms while I'm here at home. Not my regular type of chore (in fact, I avoid that one as often and as completely as I can) but I can't say no . . . nor would I in any case.

9:00 am I've consulted with Sarah and Grace and they have decided to go see Hotel for Dogs after lunch. It'll be a good way to keep them occupied. Hannah should be starting her surgery soon.

10:30 am The bathrooms are clean(ish) and I've gotten a visit from a wandering Jehovah's Witness who handed me a tract, read me a Bible verse and asked me to consider "Who rules the world?" I listened politely.

I'll call Lynda in a few minutes to see how things are going. Hopefully our church priest is there visiting with her since I can't be. I'm sure she is nervous.

10:45 am The surgery went fine. Hannah has to recover for a while, but Lynda will be bringing her home in an hour or two. She hasn't seen her yet, but the doctor said things went very well. I hope Hannah isn't terribly uncomfortable for the rest of the day, but I expect she will be. Now the grim march of recovery must begin.

2:25 pm Back home again and the family is together once more. Hannah is home and sitting beside me eating some toast. Her right eye is securely patched and her voice sounds a bit hoarse (due to the breathing tube they gave her during the surgery), but all things considered, she is doing surprisingly well. She's staring into space a bit and absent-mindedly scratching her right side as she chews her toast piece. But she is looking around and showing alert interest in things. She hasn't scrabbled much at her bandage . . . but that will likely come later.

Hotel for Dogs was surprisingly decent . . . for a kids movie. In my childhood, it would have been a Benji story, but here is it focused on an orphaned brother and sister who are nicely scrubbed and bright eyed (though they've been in the foster system for many years). The loss of the parents in never explained and the current foster family is stereotypically, buffoonishly unable to parent (they are failing "musicians"). Thus the kids have free reign to roam the city and get into all sorts of cinema-friendly hijinks with their trusty dog named "Friday."

The siblings take in stray dogs (get it?) and house them in an appropriately grand abandoned hotel full of furniture and stuff that would have been looted long ago in a world where homelessness exists. But nevermind. The young brother has a mechanical bent (which he inherited from his dad . . . and never speaks of again) which allows him to construct many Rube Goldberg contraptions that keep the dogs fed, watered, exercised, and clean.

But the center eventually falls apart in the second act--as plot rules say it must--and the children, their newly photogenic friends (along with the stereotypically funny fat kid . . . oh, let's call him "Chunk"), and the dogs are all in danger of losing their idyllic life on the unseen margins.

Will it work out in the end?

5:31 pm I took Hannah for a walk around and through the neighborhood earlier in the afternoon. (Fresh air heals wounds faster, right?) It was a chilly day, but keeping moving kept me warm and I walked around the block and then down a different side street--making sure that I saved the downhill part of the final leg for the return trip (right Sven?). It felt nice to get outside on a pretty day and stretch the legs. And Hannah was quiet and drowsy throughout. I thought Lynda might take the chance to lay down and rest or (more likely) pull out her computer and do some afternoon work . . . but when I came home she was playing Monopoly, Jr. with Sarah and Grace. I let them finish the game while Hannah and I played in the basement. . . . And then it was my turn to play the game while Hannah had some dinner. Perhaps she'll go to sleep early tonight, but I don't have many illusions that she'll sleep soundly this night or many nights in the coming future.

Tomorrow morning Lynda (I think?) will take her to an early appointment to remove the bandage. And we'll move forward.

She's a strong one. Not any serious complaints and has handled it all very well. (I do think it is better to do this sort of thing when they are younger and less aware. It allows them to be more resilient, maybe? Sure, there will be complains and crying, but that would have happened no matter what the age.)

6:55 pm Just finished eating a very nice meal provided to us by one of our friends from church--pork roast, green beans, stuffing, cheesy potatoes . . . even grapes, oranges, and dessert. I wonder if THAT is the answer to the Jehovah's Witness that came by earlier in the day? Who rules the world? Kind people doing charitable things to help others . . . if we choose.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday night

When you have three kids and you don't have lots of imagination (or perhaps, I mean gumption) you can tend to moss away the weekend. There are always the chores to do--laundry, vacuuming, bathroom cleaning, dishes in and out of the washer, meals to cook and clean, toys to pick up again and again and again and again.

Lately we've been spending more time with Hannah in the basement. It allows one of the parents to stay "topside" and work while the other takes the neediest of the three out of the picture for a while. When it is my time, I usually fold laundry, watch cooking shows on Food Network, and watch Hannah as she crawls from one set of things to another. Everything is something to put in her mouth these days.

But in the blur of these chores and tasks, the weekend can simply move on by--especially if you are spending your free time wondering if you are going to work, wondering what you might work on, and then being disappointed in yourself when you realize that you are, in fact, doing the work that you'd resigned yourself to doing (though not fast enough, naturally).

In the winter, it makes it even harder because you are usually forced to stay indoors to avoid the cold. Sunday was not, I admit, a unwelcoming February day--it was actually sunny with blue skies. But the temperatures were chilly and . . . well, you can't do work outside. (sigh)

So, the kids played around the house and Hannah even played with them a fair bit. It is good to see the three of them interacting with each other in a playful, sisterly way. I look forward to more of that as they each age.


And so, on Sunday night, after playing, doing chores, working, and living, we faced the inevitable question of what to do for dinner. I'll admit that we took the lazy way out and chose to go buy fast food.

And where did we go?

One guess--

Oddly though, the music piped in wasn't the cook and hip music you'd expect from the "restaurant" that brought you the Angry Whopper or the Subservient Chicken.

Nope, it was 1970s Donna Summer and Elvis and stuff your parents would enjoy.

Is it retro-kitche? Is that what the college kids are liking today?

I can't keep up anymore.

And that's probably okay . . . I've got laundry to fold.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

When you're out of ideas . . .

. . . let CLAYMATION do the work for you!

I almost talked myself out of posting for today. Saturday was a slow day of chores, cleaning, some responsibilities, and reading in spare moments.

But as the kids went to bed and the darkness deepened, my eyes grew tired and I just wanted to loll in front of the TV, watching random channels or the latest Netflix movie.

I didn't want to endure discipline of finding something to write about. I didn't want to force myself to join Lynda at the dining room table, with her laptop already humming, and begin working, working, tediously working. (And still I know now as I type that I DON'T want to do this on Saturday night. The temptation to put if off until Sunday . . . or Monday calls to me. And I dimly respond that I NEED to work on Saturday night to not stay further behind . . .)

But, on top of all that . . . write a post? Really?

And then I remembered the weird YouTube video that I heard about from The Leaky Cauldron. The massive claymation video that tells the story of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows . . . in stop motion claymation! I'll admit that I've only watched the first ten minute segment, but I found it impressive enough to want to see more.

So, there you go. The daily post's obligation fulfilled. Click on the link above if you are an HP fan. Go and see the wonders that the Internets hath wrought.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Another eye problem

Sarah has my general facial structure.

Grace has my quick temper.

And, now, it seems Hannah has my eyes.


At Christmas, my Dad noticed that Hannah's left eye was turning in toward the nose. I agreed that it might be an issue and filed it away for verification at Hannah's upcoming one-year-old well visit. That visit was Thursday afternoon and our pediatrician also agreed that something wasn't quite right. Lazy eye is not uncommon in some kids, but something else seemed to be amiss. When the pediatrician shone a light into her eye, he did not get the red light reflected off of the retina that is normal. Instead, he got a black reflection . . . which is to say he got no reflection at all.

He got us a quick appointment on Friday morning with a children's opthamologist. The concern? Cataracts, if you can believe it. (Like father  like daughter, huh?) After some testing at the children's hospital, the suspicion was confirmed. Hannah has several issues:

a) she does have a cataract developing in her left eye. This  seems to have been encouraged by 

b) a misshapen (bubbled) "sac" that holds the lens in place in the eye's interior. This bubbled sac was, it seems, improperly formed at birth and caused the lens to develop imperfectly. As the left eye became less useful, Hannah's brain began discounting it which led to 

c) the lazy eye that Dad first noticed. 

So . . . here is the plan of attack.

First, we will address the cataract that is making her left eye weaker. It will be done in a similar fashion to the cataract surgery that I just had with some significant differences. 

First, Hannah will have to be completely sedated for this procedure because she can't stay still enough for the surgeons to do their work properly. Additionally, during the sedated period, the opthamologist can do the complete eye measurements that adults have done at each eye check up. (Again, because infants can't follow directions, such complete measurements can't be done unless sedation is used. These measurements will give a complete picture of what Hannah's existing eyesight truly is and what corrections must be taken.)

The opthamologist also told us that Hannah seems to be strongly far-sighted--meaning she easily sees distant things in focus but must work the eye muscles abnormally hard to establish clear focus at the middle range and close up range. Therefore, the artificial lens to be implanted will match the farsighted vision of her normal, right eye. This is done to allow the eyes to work in tandem as she ages. It will also ensure that she will require corrective glasses as soon as the surgery is completed to maintain close to 20/20 vision.

After the cataract lens is eliminated and she has healed, we will begin addressing the lazy eye situation. With two "normally" sighted eyes, the right eye (the industrious one, lets say) will be patched to force Hannah's brain to use the lazy, left eye. This is a fairly standard practice, and will, in fact, involve placing a patch over Hannah's right eye. If we are lucky, the lazy eye will acquire a work ethic and reposition itself in a proper, center fashion and Hannah will have proper, if corrected, bifocal vision.

If this work out, we won't have to resort to a second surgery down the road that involves repositioning the muscles attached to the outside of the eyeball which pulls the eye into the centered position. Again, I know about this because I had the same surgery when I was eighteen. It was unsuccessful . . . something that my doctor warned me was quite possible given my age at the time of the surgery. Because Hannah is MUCH younger, the likelihood of muscle repositioning being accurate is much higher. Yet we would obviously prefer that the patch eliminate the need for this second surgery.


So, that is what Hannah sees in front of her, so to speak. We have already scheduled the cataract surgery for this coming Monday. It is to be out-patient, so we might even be able to get her back into daycare the next day . . . maybe? (Lynda and I are still very busy with work, but luckily Monday--President's Day--is a company holiday for us.) I'm sure the work will suffer a bit over the next few weeks, but it may not be too difficult.

We will have to put eye drops in her rehabilitating eye for  several weeks following Monday's surgery AND we'll have to keep her away from the post-surgical bandage. And, of course, when we begin the Lazy Eye patching, she will strongly resist because we will be forcing her to use her weak, unreliable eye to see. But it seems that she won't have to be patched all day, every day. (The details will be clear once the surgery is done and we've moved on to Phase II.)

But it'll give me lots to blog about, I guess . . .


As I've noted here before, I tend to take these sorts of things in stride. Accustomed as I have been to my own surgeries, I am not afraid of facing them in others. I am naturally worried about Hannah being completely sedated on Monday, as that always carries risks, but the idea of surgery is a common one for me. I also don't feel upset that Hannah won't have perfect vision, regardless of how all of these procedures turns out. My attitude is, which of us DO have perfect vision?

Rather I am glad that we have identified these problems at this young age, when Hannah is less aware of the procedures and recoveries that follow. She will be less self-conscious of how she looks as she goes through it all and when it is all said and done, her vision will be repaired and she will have reliable sight for when she needs it most as she grows and interacts with others and at school.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Grace and astrophysics

Motivated by last week's LOST episode, I borrowed The Little Prince from a friend and started reading it Thursday night with Grace.

I thought she might like a new book, and while I was unsure if she would sit still long enough to tolerate the formal writing style of a book translated from the French, we managed to get several pages read.

But she was much more interested in talking about things than passively listening to a story. As is her wont, she wanted to enter into it and make it her own. She wanted to personalize it and understand it from her perspective. "Don't tell me what you think is important," she might say. "Let me tell you what I think is important."

And so, when she heard that the Little Prince lived on a different planet--a very small planet, she told me about what she knew of Pluto. And we were off on a tangent of looping questions and difficult hypotheticals trying to bring the mysteries of the universe and the motion of the spheres into a space the size of the bedroom and our rocking green recliner. (It wasn't easy.)

She had trouble conceiving of a planet smaller than Pluto because, well, that was the smallest planet. She hadn't been taught about other stuff outside of that and therefore her knowledge ended there. To try and stretch that knowledge into something else, something more, seemed to be a challenge to her . . . and Grace doesn't like challenges. She wasn't angry about it, just wasn't willing to begin considering the possibility of MORE.

And that, in a nutshell, is where my difficulties with Grace begin and end.

When we get into one of our rows, it is usually because she is utterly convinced in the rightness of her problem--"My hose are uncomfortable!" "My shoes don't FEEL good!" When I try to break her out of that simple declarative, she seems it as a questioning of her basic truth of herself, as if I am questioning her view of the world (and, I guess, in a five-year-old's perspective, that is EXACTLY what I am doing). She, she digs in her uncomfortable shoes to the unyielding earth and refuses to consider that there might be other things smaller than Pluto. She has no knowledge of that, so why should she be challenged in the rightness of it?!


All of this sounds like a contentious disagreement, but this is all me after-the-fact, applying hypotheticals to her basic life premise. As I think I said before I spun off into psychological tangents, our discussion of planets and the size of Pluto versus the size of the Moon and the size of a basketball, tennis ball, and football were quite good natured and pleasantly fun. She was genuinely interested in talking about what she knew and I was happily trying to teach her some of what I know.

If I'm lucky . . . a bit of it sunk down in there.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What's on my desk this morning

1. LOTS of books, papers, work to do.

2. coffee I still need to drink

3. pens

4. business cards I keep but rarely use

5. paperweight given to me by Dad. said weight is holding down out-dated papers

6. fire warden walkie talkie in recharging holder

7. Looney Tunes fast food give away glass circa 1974. it probably needs washing

8. ALCOA (Aluminum Company of America) paperweight that spells out TIFTON . . . my hometown and location of an ALCOA plant

9. tissues

10. cut up textbooks

11. non-cut up textbooks

12. phone

13. two vampire-related books. one is Twilight which I have to return to coworker after completing last night; the other is Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale which I have to return to another coworker after finally deciding I wasn't going to finish completely.


What's NOT on my desk this morning--Cliff Claven.


If you want to read my random thoughts on last night's episode of LOST (featuring SPOILERS, I guess . . .) check out the last fifteen or twenty of my entries on the Twitter page. You can either read from top to bottom, going backwards in time, or find the first entry and read up. Or skip around in homage to this season's plot motif.

And here is last night's episode 2 of LOST Untangled. Probably SPOILERS here as well:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A rare Twofer day

But today is LOST day, so all bets are off.

Here is the TOTALLY LOST video recapping last week's episode (The Little Prince) and teasing tonight's episode (This Place is Death) courtesy of Entertainment Weekly's theoreticians Jeff "Doc" Jensen and Dan Snierson.

I think I'll also be updating this post while I watch the episode with random thoughts. (But you probably won't see the random thoughts until later. I may be twittering thoughts on my Twitter page and then I'll place them here . . .

. . . wait, can I do that?

Well, it'll be something.

Stay tuned.

Afternoon blues

Tuesday afternoon: Boy, am I in a bad mood this afternoon! I left work to get Grace and take her to the school for Drama Club with Sarah. I left Hannah at the daycare so that I could come home and continue the endless task of reading multiple choice questions, correlating them to state standards and checking textbook page references. (I've been doing this, pretty much nonstop for several weeks now.)

But when I got home, I found that I had a great deal of trouble making myself stare at the spreadsheet more--knowing that I'll be doing it again later tonight when the girls are safely pajama'd and in their rooms. AND I've got to sort out dinner. AND I've got to go back out the door in the next hour to gather up all three kids. AND dinner (whatever it ends up being . . .) needs to be quick because Sarah has Brownie Scouts tonight. AND that isn't even counting the three or four other work-related tasks that I have been pushing aside and putting off for weeks now and will probably ALL have to be completed by next Tuesday. AND I've got to go back to doing it all again tomorrow.

So . . . what am I going to make for dinner?

It seems like we've eaten it all twenty-five times before. And all I really want to do is sit and eat cookies until my stomach hurts and I can't look at myself in the mirror.

But what could/should I concoct tonight? I just looked in the pantry and nothing seems to combine with anything else to create an appetizing possibility. It's all just a random collection of cans and boxes and bags and bits of this and half of that. We have lots of meat in the freezer, but in what manner should I cook it? How should I flavor it? And can I get it done in thirty minutes or less?

I just want to throw up my hands and buy something. Let someone else make me dinner tonight! (Ahh, but what about tomorrow? And what about nutrition? And what about cost?)

Just in a bad, dissatisfied mood.

Later: I didn't accomplish ANY forward movement on my afternoon work projects. I just couldn't muster up the energy to care. (Shh! Don't tell!) Instead, I trolled around YouTube, watching several short videos from my latest interest--the Vlog Brothers. As usual, I'm behind the curve on hearing about these guys. But I'm only one person and the Internet is a big place. Frankly, I think I need to start culling my interests to maintain some media/Internet sanity in my increasingly hectic life.


"But," you ask, "What did you do about dinner?"

I didn't go out and buy anything. I cobbled up just enough leftovers (hamburger patties, macaroni and cheese, green beans, supplementary baked potato for Lynda) to serve adequate quantities to all of the girls. I skipped all of that and had leftover Pirate Stew (Aaarrrggh!), which I cooked in the crock pot on Sunday. As with most crock pot items, it tasted better a few days after the original. The time in flavor melding and texturizing made a smoother tasting stew.

Sarah is at her Brownie troop meeting, which came after her Drama Club meeting, and before she does her homework--which she almost forgot at school for the second day in a row.

And now I'm just going to abruptly stop this post and try to be productive and useful around the house.


I clearly need to be reading The Happiness Project more often.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My thoughts on "David after Dentist"

It's not that bad . . .


Oh, you need more information than that?


How's this?

Still need more?

Well, all right! Here is the full story.


Last week I was taking a brief Slate break at work and happened on the blog opinions of people either outraged by or simply amused by the video I linked to above. "David after dentist" is taken by a father who is chronicling the aftermath of his son, David, soon after a visit to the dentist. While there is not a lot of context in the short video, it seems evident that the young man had just completed some oral surgery (stitches are mentioned). The humor being aimed at in the video is watching the young boy struggle out of the weird anesthesia fog post surgery.

The outrage from some camps portray the father as exploiting his son for video-based yuks. (Maybe he hoped he'd score cash on America's Funniest Home Videos?) Or maybe he simply was a fervent proponent of the Web 2.0 social compulsion to document everything and anything with our portable digital devices. 

I, being an acolyte in this Web 2.o environment, felt I had some reason to chime in on the discussion. (You can search for "David after dentist" on YouTube to find any number of musical remixes of the original video.) I am not skilled to do any of that, so I'll just say this:

I have posted videos of my own children on the Internet. I'll admit that after reading the commentary (but before watching the video) that I hesitated in my own evaluation of my actions. Was I improperly taking advantage of my kids? Should I be more cautious or more thoughtful?

Then I watched . . . and I really don't know what is so bad. 

I don't think the video is as damaging as some might have led me to believe. I really thought that the dad behind the camera was laughing throughout while his son suffered obvious, visible pain. But David was simply a bit disoriented and the dad didn't seem (to me) to be callously ignoring his son's needs. 

Perhaps he shouldn't have made the film in the first place? Or more specifically, perhaps he shouldn't have made it public?

I tend to act as if no one but my family and friends (despite my best efforts) will ever find my own videos in the enormous wash of the Internet's daily tide of minutiae. But, David's dad wasn't likely to be a mover and shaker in the vlogging world. So, maybe someday something of mine will actually strike an unexpected chord and become a meme.

Until then, I guess I'll record and post judiciously. Maybe if something of mine goes viral, I'll be forced to rethink my position.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sunday at the Zoo with David

(This was taken in the bathroom of the Southeast Asia animals exhibit. There are many pictures like this all around the bathroom. Exploitative? Yep! But even more important, this particular image was above the commode inside the stall. Talk about marking your territory!)

I've got two or three other partial posts that I could fill out more and complete for delivery on Monday morning, but I just feel too tired to devote the brainwork necessary to make the writing--and later reading--worthwhile for everyone involved. I really like the ideas and hope they won't be too removed from their topics of origin by the time that I get around to feeling up to completing them.

On Friday evening, a coworker asked me if I was going to get the kids outside this weekend since the temperatures were going to be so moderate. I didn't commit to anything and wondered if I would, parental guilt or not.

But Sunday rolled around and it was brighter and more pleasant than Saturday. So, I felt the need to get outside.

We decided to go to the Zoo, our usual default destination since: a) we have a paid membership, b) it allows us to stay outside for most of the experience, c) it makes us get on our feet and walk, d) it is educational and culturally enriching, and e) it's not as crowded in the colder months.

So, off to the Zoo we went! Lynda even went with us, thought I originally thought she might stay home to work. (Later Sunday night we both set up our laptops on the dining table and faced down our work demons for a while--until I got fed up and decided to finish watching The Dark Knight DVD from Netflix. We enjoyed perenial favorites like elephants, lions, tigers, and penguins. And we found a little corner of the Southeast Asia area with nocturnal animals and birds that we had somehow never been to before. It WAS a good time outside in the pleasing February weather. But I was tired by the end of it, with tired legs and a weary body. I'm simply not in good shape--exacerbated by the mystery that I gained about two pounds over the course of Saturday, and I don't entirely know how I did it.

I am increasingly behind at work. I thought I was doing ok, but at the end of last week I found that I have several small tasks that add up to several LARGE tasks that all have to be completed this week before Phase 1 of this new project can be given over to Phase 2. And even though next Monday is a holiday, I expect Lynda and I will be trying to squeeze some work in at home. Unfortunately, the daycare is closed that day, so no outside assistance from anyone else.

But enough of this stream of conscious complaining. I've got kids to get to bed on Sunday night and stuff to do before I sleep.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


The weather improved--meaning that the temperature went firmly above freezing and stayed there--on Saturday, but it wasn't what you would call an inviting day. It was always overcast and seemed on the verge of raining all the time.

But the snow has disappeared from roofs and yards and is melting away on the streets. So that is a definite improvement.

I should be working right now, instead of writing this (365 post challenge or not), but I'd really rather be reading or watching a movie or flipping through TV channels than work. But I DO need to do some work tonight--though I know it won't be as much work as is needed for me to complete.

Tomorrow night will be much the same. I'll be regretful that I didn't work more this weekend (though I really don't know when, outside of nighttime, I'd have the opportunity to sit down and do any work at all). And when I do have that opportunity, once the kids are up in their rooms, I just want to shut off the mind and do nothing.

Lynda, of course, is more work-loaded than me. And what is she doing right now? Sleeping upstairs in bed. I hope she isn't getting sick. I feel that my cold might be improving slightly, but I'll still be dealing with it for a few more days, I'd wager.


Friday night Lynda and I had a rare date--initiated by our semi-regular babysitter from church who knew she'd have the night free and told us to schedule. It will serve as our Valentines celebration this year. So we went out for dinner and decided to watch Slumdog Millionaire. I knew that it was a good movie, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. There are many sobering scenes and the realism of a difficult life made it less than the feel-good movie of the year, but it ended up being a surprisingly apt movie to see for a semi-Valentine's outing. Certainly, the pull of love and the desire to never give up on those you love is a strong theme of the movie.

So, take your significant other and check it out. I haven't seen the other Oscar-nominated Best Picture films, but I've seen that one and it is good.

Now, I've got to get some work done before my resolve shatters completely and I pop a DVD in the machine.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Episode 1 of LOST Untangled

For LOST fan who are still watching the show, this summary is not necessary, but in the spirit of completeness . . . and acknowledging that Lynda and I have a rare DATE tonight and I might not have time to write Saturday's post . . . here is episode #1.


Friday, February 06, 2009

Husband Olympics . . .

Wednesday night as were were driving home from Hilliard, I told Lynda about an odd discussion I had with a coworker at work that day. It seems that she was writing an educational activity on the United Nations, but she wanted to try and write it in such as way as to spark the interest of the potential student learner. So, she decided to cast her educational discussion in terms of the George Lucas Star Wars universe. She heard (I guess?) from someone (who?) that I "was a Star Wars expert" and wanted my opinion on her "facts."

It seems, she wanted to know whether it was all right/acceptable to make a comparison between the United Nations and the Galactic Senate. I thought about it for a minute (in all seriousness!) and then warned her that it was probably more accurate to make a comparison between the United Nations and the Jedi Knights. 

The Jedi were the main peacekeeping and negotiating arm of the Republic, even thought they were an extralegal body--technically independent of, but working along with the Galactic Senate.

My colleague seemed happy with that answer and went on her way to write other dubious educational activities.

As I related all of this to Lynda later in the day, I questioned the original assumption of the conversation that I was an "expert" at Star Wars. Maybe I had once been an expert in that universe (more on THAT topic later this week . . .) but the bad taste left in my mouth by the prequel movies--as well as the inevitable aging and moving on factor (again . . . later . . .) made me question whether I could properly be seen as expert. (Heck, I don't even watch the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series with any regularity. 

So, yeah, I knew some stuff, but expert? No.

But, I asked Lynda in that car as I related all of this to her, what WAS I an expert at?


We talked about it and agreed that maybe once upon a time I was an expert in Star Trek. I'd watched all of ST: TNG, ST: DS9, ST: Voyager, and even (God help me) ST: Enterprise. I'd seen all the movies. I'd even purchased companion books. But that series was tapped out and the culture had moved on. 

Sure, I was more than familiar with the Tolkien universe. I'd read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings many times. Also The Silmarillion and many of the History of Middle Earth books put forth by his son Christopher. And, I definitely seen all of the Peter Jackson movies--and celebrated them for their truthful rendition of the written story.

Definitely I could be considered an expert (in the local sense, anyway) for Harry Potter or LOST. Yet, it was increasingly clear that I was an expert in NOTHING useful! In an apocalyptic situation, I would be good for nothing.

Then I said, somewhat jokingly, to Lynda, perhaps I could be considered an expert husband? Naturally, I expected her to enthusiastically agree and then we could move on with our lives, but she didn't go there. She begrudgingly accepted that my suggestion might be possible, but it wasn't the ringing endorsement that I had been hoping for.

So I asked her, well, if I'm not an EXPERT would I qualify for the Husband Olympics? She said that oh, yes, I would definitely qualify for that. But she said it a bit too easily, as if I wasn't aiming high enough.

So I asked her if I could get nominated for the Husband Academy Awards?

She easily said NO, I would NOT qualify for that.

After teasing it out of her a bit, it became apparent that I would not get a Husband Oscar nomination because there are only five nominations. It is simply TOO selective and I don't measure up. I don't have the skills or a hope of making such a rarefied cut. But the Husband Olympics, well, that is a lot more forgiving, right? The Olympics let in just about any country that can pay for its own airfare. They welcome participation from everyone . . . all the more to seem inclusive and providing everyone the chance to earn fight for their place at the table.

Diminished in my own expectations of husbandry, I said no more about the entire affair and moved on with the rest of my night.

My only hope of medaling in this husband Olympics, it seems, is if I go up against Jamaica.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Short post due to sickness

I'm fighting a cold; I'm tired; I don't want to spend lots of time fulfilling my 365 post obligations today.

So, click here for a classic video from when Sarah was a three-year-old.

(In this video, infant Grace is asleep in the other room. That's why you don't see her here.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

"Corde du roi"

It's been a grim, depressing few days here on WWYG?! so I am attempting to move on with myself today by shifting the focus to one of my themes that has lain fallow for a while . . .

The Clothing Project!

Today, I am choosing corduroy pants as my clothing to ruminate on, in part because during the fall and the winter months, I almost entirely live in corduroy pants.

A few of my potential readers might have their own particular associations regarding corduroy but that is mostly a joke for some of the insiders.

You aren't here to figure that out. You are here to learn about what corduroy means to me and what it might say about my personality and my own life journey.

Well, I'm afraid I don't know how to answer that question. I'm just going to sit here and look at my corduroy pants--I've got six pairs of them--and free associate.

Let's begin . . .

As you can see from the photo, I've got quite a few pairs of cords here. I favor the wide wale type of corduroy--meaning that the fabric bunches in thicker "ropes" rather than in a more numerous thin pattern. Back in high school, when I first decided that I liked the soft feel, warmth, and drape of the corduroy pant, I wore a more narrow wale, but once college hit, for whatever reason I don't actually recall, I went exclusively to the wide style.

I only wear them in the cold weather months, of course, but during that part of the year, I wear them almost constantly. I have a brown pair, a tan pair, and a black pair that I rotate through with regularity. As you can see from the above photo, I have some color duplication. That is a result of the expanding and contracting of my waist over the years, not because I need to have more than one of a color.

You can also notice that I have a dark blue pair. They are probably too snug for me to wear right now, but they are distinctive for the fact that they are the only pair of pants that I have ever paid a seamstress to have the length adjusted. I bought them, oh . . . about six or seven years ago now when we were living in Hilliard. Previously, when younger, I had always had my pants hemmed by Mom or been careful to purchase pants that were length-appropriate. I think these were given to me as a gift. I don't think Lynda knows how to hem (but I guess I've never had occasion--except here--to ask . . . and they say people who are married for a long time have nothing new to discover about each other), so I had to find someone. I recall simply looking in the yellow pages under seamstress or some such appropriate key word until I found someone close to where we were living then.

I drove over on a Saturday morning and felt distinctly foolish and apprehensive. I carried the pants with me, thinking it was inappropriate (?) to wear the garment to the appointment. But, as I approached, I wondered if there would be a place for me to change. And then I'd have to stand there while a stranger crouched at my feet and adjusted and pinned. It was just a newly odd experience. This kind of thing used to be quite common, I believe, but I've never had it done to me in a business-like fashion. (And it was before I became a Harry Potter fan, so I couldn't distract myself from the awkwardness by imagining I was shopping in Madam Malkins or Twilfitt and Tattings.)

I used to get good-natured jokes aimed at me in the office for my constant wearing of the corduroy pants. And I just shrug it off. (There are much worse things to be defined by. . .) But this year, my uberboss stopped me at the start of the Fall season and asked me point blank why I wasn't wearing my corduroy pants yet. He pointed out that HE was already wearing his--and he was quite happy about it too. I don't think he made our sartorial solidarity known throughout the office, but I took that as a point won by me.

And ultimately, I don't care what anyone says. Comfortable pants are not to be scoffed at, no matter the fabric or season.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Hannah was sick again on Monday. Feverish, cranky, disruptive. It seems that someone in the family has been sick since before Christmas. Frankly, I am extremely tired of the coughing, wiping runny noses, checking temperatures, and constantly wondering if the kids will stay at daycare all day and whether or not I (or Lynda) can work at the office for a normal amount of daily work hours.

It was my turn Monday (or so I calculated). I even put my name, and my name alone, on Hannah's morning sheet when I dropped her off at the daycare. But I guess I was not explicit enough, as Lynda still got the call first. She called me and I told her that I would get Hannah and try to continue working from home.

If the kids cooperate, I can--in fact--manage a facsimile of working at home. The laptop can access the work files remotely and while it spins a bit more slowly, I don't have to carry half of a filing cabinet of papers home when I am forced to relocate. I can also stay up with emails and project progress from home as well. But I don't prefer working outside of the office. I rather like the forced concentration of being in public, having managers able to call and check on progress. At home I could slip away from the laptop and watch a cooking show for thirty minutes or just sit and eat cookies or something.

I chose to take the bullet and stay home today in part because Lynda is (no surprise) behind in her current project. That seems like it is a constant description of her working . . . more so than is common with me. I don't know for sure if that is a reflection of our two working styles or the amount of work they expect of her as opposed to me, but it always seems to describe her more than me.

And that does bother me. Sometimes I feel that I work for one-and-a-half departments (my own and part time as babysitter for hers). But that is just my surliness talking and I try not to let it get to me too often--thought Lynda would probably disagree . . .

So, I'm trying to catch up on some stuff that I might have completed in the office. And I am anticipating some opportunities to relax and get away from the laptop for a while. But who knows what Tuesday brought? Who knows if Hannah will be suitable for daycare and who knows which of us, Lynda or myself, will be staying home if she's not?


NOTE: I found the missing commercial that I originally wanted to pair with this post of a few days ago. Go check out the updated post.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Thoughts on Sarah and creativity

Many of you who have read my blog for years know that I have been tracking Sarah's writing and drawing projects. In the beginning I scanned a lot of her pictures and small stories into the blog and had fun interpreting what she was drawing and writing.

And then came our voyage through the Harry Potter books. We read, reread, discussed, and examined a lot of the seven-book story. And Sarah convinced herself that she wanted to be a writer. (There was the brief time when she wanted to be a writer/film director . . . but the film part of it has died down some when her friends weren't able to completely commit themselves to being actors in a film that she had no script for and no serious equipment to film this potential film on.)

But she still spends much of her leisure time writing and drawing stories and I love that.

But, there is something that I wish she would NOT do . . . understanding as I do that she is still very young and is likely to grow out of this.

She is a story chameleon.

Whatever book or author she is currently reading is the story that she emulates . . . and this emulation is complete. (For example, right now, she is filming a small video about making cakes and she drew a picture of her future wedding cake . . . because we spent a while down in the basement watching a wedding cake competition on Food Network.)

So, after we read through the Harry Potter books twice, she wrote stories about Harry & Co., featuring magic, Hogwarts, and all of that. After we finished reading The Westing Game, she wrote a story about the murder of a man named John Westing. And as she is reading The Goose Girl, she drew a map of a two kingdom countryside with a forest in between. I am sure that if we were reading The Wizard of Oz, she would be drawing flying monkeys and tornadoes in the Great Plains. If we read The Lord of the Rings, I can expect to see lots of hobbits, dwarves, and golden jewelry.

Another thing that I wish she would not do is abandon one thing for the next, newest author that she is reading. For example, the story about the murder of John Westing absorbed her thoughts and time for about three days. She wrote it on one of her blogs and had already written about three and a half chapters. But I found out the other day that she had stopped working on it and (even worse) had deleted the entire draft, without anyone reading the partially finished work.

I understand that she is absorbing ideas. I just hope she starts to show her own particular spin on these ideas into new, original creations that can carry on with their own life once the covers of the book are closed.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

[no title]

Saturday marked  the end of the first month of the 365 Post Project. I'm frankly surprised that I made it through all of January, but the prospect of keeping it up for 334 more days is even more daunting.

But I guess I shouldn't think about it. Much like exercise, dieting, 12-Step programs, or any other repetitive endeavour, thinking about it increases the possibility of caving under the pressure. One must simply Abide in the moment and focus on the moment. Counting, becoming Aware leads to downfall. 

So, I'll just move on.

Saturday was not a great day for me. I just was not in a good, cheerful mood. Hannah and Grace were feeling ill and the snow and cold outside, combined with the fact of sick children conspired to severely limit the possibilities of things to do.

Also, Lynda was crushed with work and I tried (in an admittedly begrudging way) to keep Hannah--at least--away from her so that she could keep plugging. 

(I have my own work to do, but as I write this on Saturday night, I can easily feel my brain talking itself out of committing to sit down and do any of it. A decision for which I will pay on Sunday, I'm sure.)

And so, the weather, the sickness, the work obligations . . . it all just put me in a pisser of a bad mood all day long. I just didn't feel like I did anything like living today. I simply abided with those around me and turning around loads of laundry. And not in a calm, relaxing way. It was a rote, effectless sort of day.

Man, that sounds really, really bad. And I'm sure people will be disappointed by my voicing it. But that was how it was.

Hopefully, Today/Sunday will be better.