Letters to Holly

Friday, July 23


I won the derby logo contest. I just got the email. I am ecstatic. And relieved. I put some hours into that thing.

They want to tweak it a tad to guarantee reproduction, and that's fine. I'll meet with the team's artist-player after next week's bout, and we'll schedule a time. But that bout will feature the unveiling of the logo as it stands now for the whole town to see.

I don't know if I should say something on FB yet or not. I wanted to take friends with me, and I think I'd like to keep them in the dark until the logo flashes on the big screen/scoreboard.

But, for now, I do the Snoopy dance of joy.

Thursday, July 22

An Excuse to Post Videos

why yes, that's the moro reflex when infants throw out their arms as if to catch hold of something when they feel as if their falling. a pediatrician at the hospital here calls it the monkey reflex.

I'm shattered. I thought I had invented something. A maneuver, maybe. And that reminds me ...

I continue to work in the garden. I bought new stakes to which I lashed tomato plants. I also picked squash and peppers. The squashes are quite huge, and I don't know how that happened. Also, the pepper plants are twice the height of last year's. I don't think I changed the fertilizer or compost ratios that much.

The success isn't universal in my patch; there is one lone lettuce sprout out there, and the carrots could be nuggets as far as I can tell. I worked the garden while listening to Gogol Bordello. Some friends of mine love them, and I downloaded an NPR Tiny Desk Concert of them, and I liked it. They're a "gypsy punk band."

Much pruning ensued.

The evenings have settled into a definite routine. We eat supper and snack before Your Sister soaks in the tub. Years of advocacy have finally convinced her to read in the bath, and I encourage her to vanish for as long she wants. The deputy wakes up around 10, and I feed him a grande bottle of mama water while watching cooking shows.

Food Network recently spun off a channel devoted to actual cooking; the original channel is focused on game-show programming -- who can launch a restaurant overnight, who will get their own show, who can make a theme cake in eight hours -- and I just want to watch people talk and chop. Thankfully, the new channel also has the original Iron Chef. Yes, it's a game show, but it's an awesome game show in Japanese and French. I feed and watch, and Your Sister reemerges from her own soup to pump milk before we go to bed.

I'm very eager for her to go hang out with people Saturday night. I am also starting to get anxious about the derby logo. I've heard nothing. It looks like they'll tell no one beforehand what to expect before they unveil the winning entry next Saturday. This weekend is Bele Chere, and I will happily avoid all that fuss.

Wednesday, July 21

All Is Well

The child yet lives so yesterday was a success. According to our continuing journal (yes, the same notepad from the labor weekend) , he was fed hourly while we were away. That's a bit much, but he doesn't seem adversely affected. Your Mom sent me an email later in the day suggesting my morning crankiness was due to my concerns of being a good dad. And maybe so. They'll visit again Friday before their trip. I'll be at work.

I think we're gonna have to cut the stump off. I hope it's gone before we see the doctor Monday. It would be embarrassing. Among his few activities is staring out windows and a game I call Freefall. I grab his hands and hold them in front of him at his arms' length. After three seconds, I let go. Every time, he throws his arms wide open and waves them around. It distracts him from crying sometimes.

Picture of the Day
ComicCon, the nation's biggest pop-culture convention, starts tomorrow. It started as a comic show and has since ballooned into a massive festival that's mandatory for marketing genre movies and TV shows. Behold the San Diego Hilton:

Your Sister and I considered attending the Atlanta convention again this year, but the deputy's too young for that. Maybe next year. And he'll be in costume too.

Tuesday, July 20

A Polite Venting

Your Mom is watching the boy this morning, and she's keeping her distance from me. She got the hint Saturday that I'm not happy with her managerial skills. Oh, I have no concerns about her watching the boy; I'm sure she'll do fine with him. But what cranks me up is when she asks us how we handle something -- milk management, bottle sterilization, etc -- and immediately suggests how to do it differently.

We know we're new at this. We know she handled three kids, often on her own. I'm not questioning her maternal bona fides. What I bristle at is this:

Me: We do it like this.
Her: OK. But, you know, what about if I do it like that?
Me: We do it like this. This works.
Her: OK. Good. Right. Or you know I could do it like this and such.
Me: [grinds teeth]

I'm sure my wiring is to blame. But when I'm asked my preference and then steered away from it, it's hard not be insulted. My preferences aren't based on thoughtless whim. I put some brain toil into it. There's a reason I or we do things the way we do. She wants to help. And she is. But being helpful also means maintaining procedures, not trying to improve all of them. I'll say no more. Except that her babysitting is very convenient today.

Picture of the Day
Promo images are popping up online for the next big Marvel movie, Thor. The throne room of Thor's dad Odin looks apporpriately extravagant. Thor is Marvel's fantasy superhero franchise, the rare epic setting distinct from the dozens of other city-bound hero titles. What pleases me here is the inclusion of Odin's ravens on the throne. That's a detail I appreciate.

Monday, July 19

Slow Growth

Your Parents came over Saturday to officially visit with the deputy before their vacation. Your Mom will sit with him tomorrow while Your Sister goes to a school meeting. Even though she is not teaching this year, she still organizes the statewide teacher workshop materials on behalf of the district.

To test the deputy's resolve, we took him to two restaurants yesterday in addition to his second trip to the grocery store. he slept through virtually all of it, and I wore the papoose for the grocery trip. Our weekly trip to Starbucks may have backfired; he seemed wired later that day. We weighed the risk of passing along caffeine and noted that he wasn't more awake than normal. But he flailed more when he was awake. And it was flailing, not random baby movements. I gardened Saturday morning and used my own caffeinated antsiness for a short run. Minding a baby and schlepping his equipment is a decent workout.

He may be developing happiness. He seems to smile now, and we think he's laughing at funny faces. A personality could be on display here. His belly stump remains, but it's looking like it might fall off any time. It's withering.

When I'm not hovering over the manchild, I'm plowing through new comic readings. A neighbor lent me his copy of a gigantic Dickens biography, and I'll start that as soon as I finish this Japanese comic series I discovered recently. It's a true Japanese comic, not merely a comic made in that style. You have to read if from right to left and everything. Your Sister assures me I'm pulling my weight, and I continue to wonder about that. I printed out the photos she picked for the grandparents' baby books, and I think that qualifies as specialized baby duty along the lines of her nursing activities. We've got about four trays of milk in the freezer now, and I'll probably use some of that this weekend as she goes out with friends.

The house has a new balance to it as we're down a cat, but it feels comfortable. I almost prefer it this way. He's becoming more interested in the baby each day.

Picture of the Day
James Bond Boba Fett