Friday, August 31, 2012

Crashing the Facebook party

So, there's this hip new website called Facebook that is starting to get a little buzz. I've heard some good things and some bad things about it.

Good Things
It lets you sneak around the lives of your friends (and enemies) without actually having to speak to them. Or smell them. Or be in the same room together. Or even in the same state. This, my readers, is like the holy grail of the socially awkward. I'm talking about myself. The only thing science can do to one-up this is hovercars.
Also, on the off-chance you actually want to interact with another person, it can be done by pressing a "like" button. Or if you're really craving intimacy, you can always type a witty sentence fragment and press enter.
Bad Things
People post a lot of boring pictures of food.  
You will be fired from your job after posting pictures of yourself doing keg stands after the kids go to bed. Then, you will be fired from your family after the wife sees the pictures. Then, you will have to live beneath an overpass until you catch pneumonia and die.
Nonetheless, I have decided to start a Facebook page. I'm not sure why. I was bored. I saw other cool kids doing it. And sometimes Addison says something that I just want to share, but I don't feel like turning it into a full-blown post. Like the other day when she told us that her ice cream "hurt my feelings." I think she was experiencing a brain-freeze.

So, unless you're too cool for technology (in which case, no hovercars for you, ever), pop on over and "like" my page, and we'll crash the Facebook party. This is new for me, so let's just test it out a little bit and see how it goes. At least until those kegger pictures surface, in which case maybe some of y'all will visit me under the bridge.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to improve your marriage without talking about it

My wife is currently reading a book titled How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. She reads it, and then she talks to me about it. Which seems to me to defeat the point. But whatever. We've been to marriage counseling before, and I'm on board with improving things, whether through talking or the silent treatment. It's just that Lindsay sometimes makes it confusing about which we're doing.

This was the conversation that we just had:
Lindsay: Take this survey.
Me: What for?
Lindsay: It measures your fear and shame in our relationship.
Me: I'm busy right now.
Lindsay: Let me explain why you are not too busy to take this survey. 
Lindsay proceeds to talk about our marriage.
Me: I thought we weren't supposed to be talking about this stuff.
Lindsay: We're not talking about it.
Me: We are. We're talking about it right now. I remember, because I was here when the conversation started five minutes ago, and it's still going.
Lindsay: I'm just saying words. They don't mean anything. (sudden silence)
She actually said that. And it's definitely going to come back to bite her. I don't know much about history, or biology, or a science book, or the French I took, but I definitely know a good button to push when I come across it.

So I took the survey, and I look forward to deconstructing it with Lindsay later tonight, perhaps paired with a little defensiveness and stonewalling, after which we'll try some active listening and then we'll hug it out.

Monday, August 27, 2012

On giving the Universe the finger

A split second after Addison screamed I was out of my chair and moving. By the time I realized I was moving, I was already through the doorway of my office (also my bedroom) and dodging stuffed animals and cloth diapers and sippy cups in the hallway on the way to Addison's room. My body responded to some subconscious cue before I realized what I was doing. It was weird.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Satanic images

So, Addison and I were watching Fantasia yesterday. My favorite scene in the movie is also one that makes my toddler shriek and drop her toys and come running to me shouting, "'Cary, 'cary monster!" She's still working on her "s" sounds.

You can guess which one it is. It's Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain (what a great piece of music!), and it's the big finale for this fun, sweet little children's film. It was so much more innocent back then, before the dark, sexualized era that we live in today.

The dead rise up out of the ground, skeletons and wights and ghosts. There's a Satan-esque devil the size of a mountain with massive wings and horns and burning eyes and sharp teeth that emerge from a leering mouth (if I did my mouth the way the devil does it, my wife would slap me). Also, there are naked fire-dancing sprites, and harpies that dive-bomb the screen with huge, melon-sized bare breasts and prominent nipples.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Eating dirt

Addison and I were at the playground today, and for a while we played in the dirt in the shade underneath the slides. We made all sorts of dishes: dirt oatmeal, dirt pies, dirt smoothies, dirt spaghetti. And then we ate it.

Just kidding, I didn't eat dirt. Addison did.

In the last couple of months, we've learned that Addison has a new favorite snack. It's called nature.

Monday, August 20, 2012


After spending the morning with Addison, I was really hungry, so I passed her over to Lindsay and went to the kitchen. What does it say about me that it suddenly seemed like too much work to make a peanut butter sandwich? All that spreading, and getting out multiple ingredients...

I hate lots of food prep when I'm hungry. When I start feeling a little empty, my tummy needs food in it, and it needs it in it now. If I had low blood sugar or something, you might not fault me too much, but the only diagnosis that really sticks to me is: laziness. Also, that I don't care much about food. I'd just as soon eat cold cereal as anything else for three meals a day.

Too bad Lindsay doesn't like to cook either. Addison's gonna have to get used to cold refried beans sandwiched between little pieces of tortilla, at least until we make enough money to hire a personal chef. That's what I served up for her last night. I did ask Addison if she wanted her gourmet meal warm or cold, but she said cold, which felt like a gift from God. And then she ate it. My wife and mother-in-law try to get her to eat much fancier stuff all the time, which she refuses more often than not. So, I win.

Also, I did end up making the peanut butter sandwich. I have a great capacity for doing hard things.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chestbursting babies

I finally went to see Prometheus last night. It was the film's last showing at the dollar theater. Alien is one of my favorite films, so I'd been really looking forward to seeing this "prequel." I enjoyed it, though it didn't live up to the original. Especially loved the landscape shots at the beginning of the film -- I'm a sucker for beautiful landscapes. I even started a blog once devoted to landscapes in film, which I'll warn is kinda boring and academic.

Usually I go to the dollar theater with Addison as a special date, and she gets to run the halls of the mall before and after. We saw The Secret World of Arietty several times there, and we're looking forward to Brave. Lindsay suggested I bring Addison to Prometheus, too, but I had to gently explain the "good parenting" thing to her. No, this movie night was all for me.

I did, however, note sadly that there were several other young kids in the theater, and they cried during the scary scenes. Maybe there are some films made for adults that could debatably be shown to toddlers . . . but this movie really doesn't qualify. Poor kids. My dinosaur nightmares are nothing compared to xenomorph nightmares.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The joy of shopping alone

So I was just sitting down to work on a post for today, and Lindsay asked me to go out shopping and to make some photocopies. With Addison. Lindsay's really tired today, so I'm doing my best to work up some enthusiasm to help her out. Well, maybe I'm not doing my best; maybe it's about 70%. I agreed to go but my smile was pretty obviously forced. See, I'm usually the one who goes shopping with the kid, but I like to mentally prepare for it. I'm not one of those parents who just throws things together at the last minute. It's one of the things Lindsay loves most about me.

While Lindsay was gone with Addison on "vacation" before I flew out to meet her, I had the opportunity to go shopping alone. It was incredible.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My daughter, who wishes she was a dog

The family reunion we've just returned from was only two hours away, thank goodness. All considered, it wasn't too bad. Not as bad as the drive from the last family reunion. We had family bonding, time-outs every ten minutes because our sweet, uber-social daughter has recently decided to be a hitter, lots of good food, and lots of Olympics-watching.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Olympics as a nostalgia machine

I remember crouching at the starting line, my naked pimply shoulders tight against the next boy's, our flimsy jerseys held up by tiny shoulder straps, our shorts as short as anything you'd see on a girl, with legs that sprouted twig-like out of them, knots for our knees. We shifted anxiously like nervous wildebeests, unsettled by a strange scent in the air, our ears all perking in the same direction.

I remember setting my foot near the painted white line, and inching it forward so that it almost touched the nominal barrier that stood between us and 400 meters of burning legs and lungs, as though an extra half-centimeter could make all the difference.

I remember the tightening of anticipation in my chest and gut. I remember the sudden awareness of my own heartbeat, pulsing first through my head -- I could hear it in my ears -- and then rippling from that epicenter down through my shoulders, to my torso, my fingers, my legs, and the resulting jitters from the increased pressure, like what happens when a hose squirms as it erupts water. I remember blood and adrenaline mixing into a volatile fuel that would drive my piston legs for the next 58 seconds.

I remember the BANG!, the clipped roar of a predator, and our herd exploding forward. Like a single organism we rounded the first turn, and then as we entered the straightaway, separated slightly into our individual components, into the clumped islands of an archipelago. There was usually one lone runner, a straggler at the end, the last to re-cross the painted white line. Sometimes it was me, and I am okay with that. It was 58 seconds of pure effort, of approaching the finish feeling the numbness in my thighs and calves, knowing that I'd used up everything in me, no regrets remaining.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Vacation times infinity

We're heading off to Big Bear today for another reunion. Thank goodness it's only two hours away and not twelve. But if Addison decides to have another two hour screaming fit, I'm going to be seriously ticked.

So, there are all sorts of good, friendly people who I've been seeing over the last couple weeks, people that would feel bad if they thought I didn't like them. I'm appreciative of my family, of my in-laws, of cousins and friends who we don't often get to see...but I guess I'm just a person who needs this stuff in small doses. Does anyone ever believe it when you say, "It's not you, it's me." The fact is, I'm a social recluse, and all these get-togethers tax me, just like that scene in Spiderman 2 where Toby is virtually pulled apart while trying to hold on to two train cars at once. I'm drawing on reserves that are gonna take a long time to fill up again. Maybe until 2014.

At least when we get to Big Bear we get to stay in one place, and we don't have to relocate all of our things every two days. And it'll be a heck of a lot cooler there than it was today in SoCal. See, I'm trying to look on the bright side. My wife is rolling her eyes with a "get over yourself" look.

See you on the other side...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Things we cram my daughter in

In honor of surviving our road trip home, in which Addison endured being strapped into a tiny chair and only screamed bloody murder for an hour or two, this post is about the little things that she can fit into. Simply put, my daughter's three-foot-tall frame is perfect for fitting into tiny places. And it means she's an excellent hider, which my wife wrote about here.

In the first couple days of her life, Addison had to get used to sleeping in the "box," a fun contraption for jaundiced babies.

Friday, August 3, 2012

On suffering through the road trip

15 minutes into most road trips, my daughter and I are about equally interested in getting out, and getting out NOW. Addison is not a container baby, and she lets that fact be known. Loudly. I sometimes see parents whose infants are fast asleep in a portable car seat in the basket of a grocery cart, or maybe the little tyke is slumbering delicately in its mother's arms while mom chats casually with a friend. How nice that would be. It's probably good I have no idea how to put a car together (much less a car seat), because a rocket-powered escape route for my daughter is probably one of the first things I'd get started on. It wouldn't be child abuse; I'd give her a parachute.

I'm pretty jealous of the parents whose kids mostly sit quietly in the back seat, reading books, or singing songs to themselves, or napping (oh, that our daughter would nap in the car! It makes me tear up a little imagining how beautiful that would be).

We get on the road again tomorrow. It'll be about a 7.5 hour trip back to California. It's times like these that I wish I had a prescription for Zoloft or Xanax, or some other med with a strong Z sound.

At least she's pretty cute whenever she's out of her car seat. It's her saving grace. Here she is teasing us:

It's like she's saying, "see dad, this is what road trips could be like. Calmly reading the paper, all proper and sophisticated. I mean, IF I WERE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT KID."

Here she is faking a nap. That's the best we can hope for.

And this is about two seconds later. That is not a cry of joy. And as long as we're in the car, it's pretty constant.

I don't suppose I can blame her. I wouldn't want to be strapped into a stress-position torture device like this either. Don't worry kid, we'll be home soon. By all that's good and decent, please let us get home soon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The ocean = gross

I’ve been thinking more and more about this with all the posts that people are putting up about their summer trips and days at the beach and such.

The ocean is beautiful. Powerful. Mysterious. It is the ocean as an intensely rich metaphor that makes Moby-Dick the greatest novel I have ever read. However, the ocean is also full of yuck.