Saturday, March 31, 2012


No, not the names we've chosen, sorry. This afternoon in the car I told Relia that when she has kids I'm going to be nosy about prospective names and she told me that she had already picked hers. If she has a girl, she will be named Catherine. If it's a boy, he will be named Ord. Where did she get that name? Click this to find out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I read to Relia tonight and we were trying to choose between two Dr Seuss books, 'Grinch who Stole Christmas' and 'Yertel the Turtle'.

Relia: I want the Grinch.
Me: But, sweetie, it's not Christmas.
Relia: Well, it's not turtle day!

I had no comeback for that. We read the Grinch.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baby Stuff

We're less than two weeks from the due date and I just realized that I've hardly done any blogging at all about the Oncoming Baby. I'm putting the blame squarely on the third baby stuff. You know, the first one has a full baby book, the second half full and the third baby book isn't even taken out of the wrapper. That's probably what's happening here.
Anyway, I was just reading back to when Relia arrived so I could try and gauge the comfort level of the FP Gal. (Go ahead click that link. It goes back to a younger, more innocent time. You might enjoy it.) It's interesting to read my words from back then when I knew so little. I know more now, but the biggest lesson I've learned with labor is this: do some reasonable preperation and then trust that the people who do this for a living can get you through the rest.
Anyway, I did want to put down some other thoughts here:

  • We think we've settled on names. We're not quite sure if we'll share them ahead of time or not. I'm pretty happy with both the boy and the girl name!

  • Relia is excited for the baby. Very excited. She tells us that she can't wait for the New Baby to get here. That's been our phrase around here; New Baby.

  • DF doesn't really understand what is going on. He knows that momma's belly has gotten big but that's about it. We're curious how he'll react. He loves babies in public. He likes to talk about their parts ("Baby eyes! Baby mouth!").

  • The house feels somewhat prepared. The New Baby will be in our room for the first few months so we don't need to really rearrange any rooms yet. We're still talking about what changes to make.

  • I'm planning on taking a week or so off of work. Having me in the house makes it a little easier when baby actually comes. (Along those lines, my biggest fear is that I'll go downstairs at the end of my shift at 130a and the FP Gal will tell me we're going in. That would be very bad from a sleep standpoint.)

  • Somehow it seems impossible that the time is almost here. Somehow it seems impossible that it hasn't happened yet. We're ready to meet you baby!

James Cameron and Point Nemo

You may have heard that the film director James Cameron has completed a solo voyage to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. You can see good video here. He dove more than six miles to get there and he talks about 'complete isolation from humanity'. He was down for less than half a day.
This got me thinking about a place known as Point Nemo. This is a very wet spot on the map in the South Pacific. It is the place that is furthest from any land. If someone dropped you off there and you were lucky enough to pick the right direction, you would have to swim for 1670 miles before you found a beach.
I first heard of this while reading about various round the world solo sailors. Especially in the early trips, they were further away from any fellow human than anyone in history. They were further away from the mass of humanity than anyone save the Apollo astronauts. Let that sink in for a moment.
All of this was in the time before global satellites and easy communication. Several of them sailed through there even though their radios had already failed. The winner of the first race, Robin Knox-Johnston, is a rather dramatic example. He anchored off of New Zealand and talked with a fisherman there. He then sailed east across the Pacific, all the way across. He rounded Cape Horn and considered sailing near the Falkland Islands to make contact, but decided against it. He sailed north across the equator without seeing any other boats. It wasn't until he was in the North Atlantic, some five months later, that he finally got close enough to someone else to talk to them.
Can you imagine going five months without speaking to any other person? Knox-Johnston was interviewed by a psychologist both before leaving and then when he returned home. After he returned the psychologist pronounced him 'distressingly normal'.
Isn't that a kick?

Sunday, March 25, 2012


It was a low key affair here this weekend. We didn't do much other than some shopping here and there. We did go to the MOA today to renew our aquarium passes. There was a little bit of novelty there as the guy thought I had the same last name as the FP Gal. Nope.
It was our first time there in some time. Maybe as much as five months. The actions of two walking (running!) kids doesn't always work as well. And boy do they move!
I don't know if I've mentioned it but DF's vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. Not only the number of words but his sophistication in using them is incredible. We think he's building on Relia's work. Isn't that how it goes? The younger sibling works from the older ones and gets some kind of conceptual leg up? (I think I did with Hans . . .)
Anyway, it was pretty quiet.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Garage Sale

Last night I told the FP Gal that I had an idea for what to do today. I said, "Two words. Garage sales." She became very attentive and said, "I'm listening". Yep, our very nice weather put me in the mood for some garage sales. I consulted this handy map and found some nice looking prospects. So off we went!
The first one promised books. This is like offering cat-nip to the kitties. We pulled up and, well, there wasn't much there. There were books, a table of them. Not as many as I'd hoped and nothing that I wanted. The FP Gal got one though. And our little shopper girl, Relia, got two dolls and (trumpet flourish!) a harmonica. She is very happy. I'm wishing I had figured out a way to steer her away from it.
The second garage sale had some infant and toddler stuff. I thought that the FP Gal might find something good there. No luck. It was a bit on the small side too. Oh well, it takes time for the good sales to ripen, right?
Still, we got out and hit some garage sales today. How often can you say that in March?

Thursday, March 22, 2012


While driving home today I told Relia that I have an aunt and a couple of cousins in California that I never get to see. She decided we should go visit them.

Me: So you want a vacation in California?
Relia: Yes. We can live in a hotel!
Me: And where else should we go?
Relia: Have you forgotten Hawaii? That we're going to Hawaii?
Me: Oh, that's right. Where else?
Relia: To Jamaica. We can see Pop Pop there.
Me: Sounds good. Anywhere else?
Relia: To Alabama.
Me: (pause) Why Alabama?
Relia: So I can meet some new people. (pause) And learn a new language!

To the good people of Alabama (Alabamans? Alabamists? Alabami?), I have no idea what she is talking about. She went on listing and included Iowa and Paris. Dare to dream, right?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Top Five December Movies

And with month twelve we draw to a close. December is the easiest month to pick from. (July was second easiest.) These are my personal five but I'm sure another dozen or two movies would also fit well.

Love, Actually - A sweet movie, with several intertwined love stories. Some work out, some don't. At least one brings tears to my eyes. And it gave us a name for our daughter! This is the first of our traditional Christmas movies out of the drawer each year.

A Christmas Story - A classic from my youth. Makes me want to run out and get a Red Rider BB gun.

It's a Wonderful Life - If you ran a poll about the greatest Christmas movie of all time, this would be the hands down winner. And I'm not about to disagree. I find it curious, though, how the message about how other you change the lives of everyone around you, isn't really a traditional Christmas message.

Scrooged - This is probably my favorite adaptation of 'A Christmas Carol' (though the 2010 Dr Who Christmas special was pretty darn good). Some good ol' Bill Murray doing the stuff he does so well.

Die Hard - A great action movie. Simply great. Hey, remember when Bruce Willis did TV? This is what changed all that.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


We've had such a strange winter this year that it's kind of a big anticlimax to reach offical spring like this. We've spent the past week in shorts. We've played outside. We've been to parks. If we get some typical April weather it's going to be really, really tough on us. I don't know how I would explain it to the kids!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Relative Sizes

This is the most mind-blowing thing I've seen today. My suggestion is to start from the small end and go to the big. Then speed it all the way back to small.
Very amazing on the cosmic scales but even the Earth bound stuff is interesting. I never had a feel for the size of the Apollo landing craft before this. And the size of Central Park is surprising. Very cool.

Happy Monday

The forecast is for thunderstorm today!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


You may know that this week was the start of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. This made me miss time in the office. For years (a full decade?) I was the guy in the office who set up the pool and ran it. Nothing aggressive. Two dollar buy in and the winner would usually get thirty or forty bucks. A good set up.
Of course I can't do that at home. Because a) only two of us have money and b) I'm the only one who cares even a little bit. Well, maybe the cats. Ozzie did spend the past two nights on the arm of the couch and he might have been paying attention.
Right about Wednesday I had a brainstorm. I could make a bet with Relia! The stakes would be which of us gets to pick where we eat on Saturday, after the first two rounds. We'd each pick the teams and simply count them up.
I told the FP Gal, kind of expecting her to be displeased. She threw me a curve and actually liked the idea. She did tell me that she was cheering for Relia and frankly, I was too. It would be much more fun to have her pick where lunch than to risk an argument over my pick.
So I lied to her. I actually beat her by three games (23-9 to 20-12) but she didn't know that. She did pick the biggest upset of the tourney, #15 seed Norfolk over #2 seed Missouri. That must be worth something, right?
So she picked. I was very afraid that we'd be going to Chuck E Cheese but instead she picked Panera. We called Grandma D and she joined us. It was a very nice little outing.

(Unfortunately, a virus that is making its way through the house made her loose that nice lunch hours later. Mine too, but you don't want to read about that.)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Top Five November Movies

Nearly done and onto November. This month means three things: Thanksgiving, family and the start of winter. I've got movies that fit all three of these categories.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles - The classic tale of a man trying to get home to his family for Thanksgiving. Instead he ends up with John Candy and all manner of problems. What's more quotable, "Those aren't pillows!" or "You're going the wrong way!"? Simply a great comedy.

Miracle on 34th St - Somehow I missed this movie growing up. I had it classified as a Christmas movie but since it starts with a big ol' Thanksgiving day parade, I think it fits November better. And yes, I would recommend the original over the remake.

About a Boy - This is one of the most pro-family movies that has been made in the last twenty years. I mean that in the sense that it makes a forceful argument on the importance of family, of being part of a family. It's warm and touching and if you haven't seen it, you should.

Dan in Real Life - Another family movie, this one about a big extended annual family reunion. Some wonderful acting and I want to steal a bunch of their traditions. And their cabin. And Juliette Binoche . . .

Unforgiven - A great movie but a very different tone than the first four that I listed here. I'm putting it in November for the wonderful scenes of the first snows on the high plains. This was the movie that showed me how great Clint Eastwood is.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"No Food"

The kids slept late today (we're still recovering from daylight savings time) and the FP Gal was able to quietly slip out to work. Relia woke up about 7a and came to get me. We heard DF stirring and went into his room. When I turned on the light I discovered that sometime in the night he had throw up.
He was very curious about this. He pointed to his blanket and said 'food'. He then looked at the smaller mess on the floor and again said 'food'. I agreed with him and started to figure out how to clean things up. Relia helpfully asked me if I could tell what they had for supper last night. I guessed wrong.
I want to say that waking up to a sick child and then cleaning up the mess is a rite of passage. That's what I kept telling myself this morning at least. He seemed just fine which made it tricky to figure out what to do. If he was running a fever or seemed down, then of course I would keep him with me and treat him like an invalid. But if this was a quick one time thing?
Eh. I really had no choice but to keep him home. We dropped Relia at daycare and went to the store to get some Jello. Again he seemed fine.
Then back home and after some more cleaning, I put him in his crib for a nap. By this time I needed a nap myself because I wasn't feeling that great either. A couple of hours later we both woke up. When I went in, he pointed at the bed and said 'no food!'.

He seems fine now. And I hope that he continues to not have 'food' in his bed from now on.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I should mention that we've had some beeyoootiful weather the past few days. So much so that on Saturday we let the kids bike around on the porch. Relia's bike has been there for some time, so she hopped right on. DF wanted a turn but it's just a bit too tall. After several precarious climbs he finally tipped over and banged his cheek. We quickly decided that he was ready for the tricycle.
Let me tell you, he has fallen in love with it! Every day since then he has wanted his 'bike' so he can spend time on the porch. (And every day when it is time to be done he has been quite upset.) The two of them zip around as well as they can. There isn't really enough room but they make do. There are some tears and upsetness but they're getting better at untangling wheels and being careful.
Soon the back yard will be dry and we can play out there. This nice weather has me remembering the wonderful days of last summer when we'd go out there and spend gobs of time. They'd play in the pool and with the playset. I'd sit in the shade of the umbrella and read. Very good times and I'm anxious for them to come back!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Open Homes

For whatever reason, my imagination lately has been wandering to home design. Not really with our house but more along the lines of what I'd do with some kind of large budget and a piece of land. With that in mind, I enjoyed this list from weburbanist.
Not all of them, of course. The concrete houses still seem cold to me, no matter what the editorial comment is. But look at the bridge house. Seriously, how cool does that look? And the last one, with the bookcases? Oh, yeah, that works.

Dreams, dreams, dreams . . .

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Top Five October Movies

And into fall we go! As always, feel free to leave suggestions and comments.

Dead Poet's Society - This is a back to school film and I suppose you could argue it for September but for me the imagery of colored leaves is too strong to ignore here. Every October I get an incredible urge to watch this and in some ways, this connection inspired this whole project. By the way, what a great film!

The Hunt for Red October - Another great movie, this one fits the month on name alone. True story, I saw this in Scotland and was later told that they 'don't really care for submarine movies'. Ah well, I'm nae bothered.

Silence of the Lambs - And then of course the scary movies. This is easily one of the best horror movies of all time. Another true story? I once went on a first date to this movie. I, um, wouldn't recommend that.

The Blair Witch Project - Another scary movie and a pioneer at that. This one launched the whole 'found film' style of movie. It really, really worked. Very creepy.

The Ring - A newer movie and another scary one. This one works with atmosphere and just plain strangeness. After this movie I will never get on a ferry with a horse.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


Today in the car, Relia asked why she is never on the news. (Before I continue, I should mention that we almost never, ever have the news on at our house. Broadcast news is so completely inferior to internet that there is simply no point. So I'm not sure where she sees the news so much that she wants to be on it.)
I asked her what she would do to be on the news and she told me she would build a building, because "don't you know that people like new things, dad?". I do in fact, know that. That led to this:

Me: Tell you what, if you build a Lego building, then I'll have mama video me interviewing you and she can post it on her blog. Will that be ok?
Relia: Yes!
Me: Good.
Relia: And Facebook! It has to be on Facebook.
Me: Uh, ok.
Relia: Nana is on Facebook all the time. She's always Facebooking me.

To be clear, I don't know how much she really understands blogs or Facebook.

Sunday, March 04, 2012


We might be. At least it seems like we're fighting something. Relia especially was just sapped of energy for most of the day, which is very strange for her. And the mornings have been phlegmy and such for her. Meanwhile the FP Gal and I traded off naps back and forth today.
Let's just hope this all passes and passes soon.

Saturday, March 03, 2012


Today we were supposed to have some friends over but those plans fell through. Fortunately we had a pretty good back up plan. My Aunt Janet is nearing one of those landmark birthdays and her son Keith organized a party for her that included a trip to the Waterpark of America. For those who don't know, that's a waterpark that is built into a Radisson near the Mall of America.
All four of us went and it was very interesting to join Relia and DF there. We started out in the kid's area. Think of a park play set with steps and ladders and slides all over. Now put it in a wading pool and add water spraying from all over. The slides emptied into long troughs of water so that kids could get a good wave front going. And they could control some of the sprayers.
But that wasn't all. Above all of this was a gigantic barrel. It would fill with water and at some long interval (four minutes) it would tip over and create a deluge. This happened to Relia just as she first climbed up there and she didn't really get over the surprise. DF handled this a bit better and kept going up there and daring it to tip.
Relia saw some tubes and decided we should float in one. It took some time to get one but we did. It was kind of a double tube, shaped like the number eight. After some trial and error we found a position where she could sit without falling in. Then we floated around on the 'lazy river'. This is a long path of water with a strong enough current to move the tubes. It took us about five minutes to make a circuit.
We decided to go around again and ran into (literally) the FP Gal and DF. He rode with me. We tried to get the FP Gal in but she can't fit with both Relia and the Oncoming Baby. So we left her behind and floated around two more times. I'd say this was idyllic but I could never tell if DF enjoyed it or not. He was so tired and crowded that only his eyes moved.
I did go down one of the big slides on my own. I could have done it about twenty more times but that wasn't to be. Too many people and family responsibilities. My quick review is that I'd recommend it.
As it is, I'm sure we'll hear many, many requests to go back there and soon. I'm sure we will.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Have a Great Friday

I call dips for the chair on the left!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Top Five September Movies

And on we go! As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Rushmore - An all time great movie about going to school. This is the one that put Wes Anderson on the radar in a big, big way. It also launched the part of Bill Murray's career where he excelled at indy films.

Spirited Away - An animated movie from one of my favorites, Studio Ghibli. This one deals with a young girl who is moving to a strange school and suddenly finds herself trapped in a magic world where she must work to rescue her parents. Simply a wonderful movie.

The Big Lewbowski - My hope is that this movie will really pull the list together. A cult film and one that isn't terribly grounded to any one month. However, early in the film a check is written and we can see that the date is Sep 11, 1991. How strange is that?

Good Will Hunting - Another movie about school, this one about a mathematical genius who has serious childhood issues. This might be the last really good movie that Robin Williams made. The therapy banter here is priceless.

The Natural - Yep, another baseball movie. This one is about a phenom who could be the best to ever play. That is until a mysterious woman derails him. Can he make it back for one last hurrah? (And yes, this is my third baseball movie and there isn't a single football movie that can even come close to competing. Not sure why that is.)