Friday, January 21, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Gratuitous baby video. Still trying out the phone. Eggs, Bacon, and pancakes for breakfast. Looney Tunes next.
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Test 2

We are having a mellow, break the rules kind of Friday night. Eating pizza in the livingroom, watching a,movie. Hazel cat is Snoopy-vulturing babywhumpus' pizza, and I am testing the Blogger function of my new phone. daddywhumpus is gigging, the snow is falling, and I don't think I am going to do bath tonight. babywhumpus has been in his new big boy bed since Sunday night, and he has only fallen out once. Last night. Changes are afoot at chez whumpus, including sleep training, painting, and potty training. He's growing up, and though we were here all the time, I sometimes feel like we are missing it.
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New Android phone, dragon movie, pizza, and weekend parenting.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happiest Toddler... Quick Review

Some books that were on my list have to go back to the library yesterday, so I am going through them today. I already wrote a bit about this first one, but here's my final word.

The Happiest Toddler on the Block
by Dr. Harvey Karp

No! NO NO NO! Dr. Karp, I hear that you are trying to write an accessible book about children for overworked parents, but I am not a toddler myself! Too many exclamation points and twee little pictures! Too many fallacies (homo erectus does not equal neanderthal)! Too obvious that you are writing mainly, if not only, to mothers, and those mothers are probably pretty well-off!

I read the first half and skimmed the second before I took it back to the library. In my case, the only possibly helpful bits were about sleep training, which basically spoke to some advice I got from my son's NICU team, and the bit about making praise specific (compliment the action, not the child). Granted, there may be other gems in the text, but I could not get beyond the writing style and simplistic design.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Now that we are not traveling or planning travel, it's time to hook up my request list for my local library. I can only have ten, and here they are:

The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear by Seth Mnookin

Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of our Lives by Annie Murphy Paul

The Corrections by Johathan Franzen
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
(Everyone keeps telling me I should read them, so I put them on my request list a long time ago. They both came in when I was traveling and very busy around Thanksgiving, so I added them again. I am number 182 out of 182 for "Freedom.")

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue

The Revolutionary Yardscape: Ideas for Repurposing Local Materials to Create Containers, Pathways, Lighting, and More by Matthew Levesque
Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soul
(We just finished a bunch of work on the house, and pending finances, more is in the works for Spring. With organizing and interior work involving minimal financial input over the winter.)

Solar: A Novel by Ian McEwan

Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel by Gary Shyeyngart

The Kids' Campfire Book by Jane Drake & Ann Love

Still at home and not yet cracked (from the library):

Touchpoints: Birth to Three by T. Berry Brazelton
(I can just catch the tail end of babywhumpus' development until he turns three.)

The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp
(This is the one with all the exclamation points, which I was finding annoying and useless. A coworker and mother of a similarly-aged child said the second part might be more worthwhile, so I'll give it a go).

Others on the to-read-this-year list:

Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured and Allied Victory by Ben MacIntyre
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership by Lewis Hyde
Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con that is Breaking America by Matt Taibbi
All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Shadow Tag: A Novel by Louise Erdrich
The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love
One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, and Indian Allies by Alan Taylor
Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 by Pauline Maier
Madison & Jefferson by Andrew Burstein
First Family: Abigail and John Adams by Joseph J. Ellis
Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby
Deadly Choices: How the Ant-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us ALl
Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth by Jay Hosler
Newton & the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of Elements by Sam Kean
McKay's Bees: A Novel by Thomas A. McMahon

No, my year is not longer than the normal person's, and there is almost no way I will get through all of those books... I still have to finish Revolutionaries by Jack Rakove and I forgot to list Washington by Ron Chernow up there.


I should stop re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, huh?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Struggling to Relax

I'm sitting on the couch, "Definite Article" streaming to the television, Guinness open near my knee, and I am antsy. I should be doing something. There are dishes in the sink; there is food on the table that should be put away; Finn's toys from last night and this morning are all over the floor; dinner needs to be made; there are countless other projects I could start. I am forcing myself to sit on the couch and drink and write, but it's not relaxing. There are things to be done. People will tell me that I should just sit and take it easy, but they don't understand. It's not possible to take it easy when there are things to be done. People will say that there are always things to be done, and they are right, but not doing the obvious things that need to be done does not make the things that need to be done any easier to do once you decide to do them.

So I sit here fighting with myself, resisting the muscular impulses that are twitching to take me to the kitchen to get stuff done.

It's not going to work. I can feel the things pulling me. The dishes calling, "There are only a few of us; it won't take you long." The frozen, homemade ravioli begging to leave its freezerly cage. The chicken, likewise wanting to be defrosted and thrown into a skillet with chopped onions, ready for soup.

I guess I could compromise. I have 21 rows left on my mom's Christmas present (it's OK, she knows about it), and that's like a cross between work and play.

I gambled with the bus stop...

and the bus stop won.

Our commute to and from our metropolitan campus workplace involves our metropolitan transit system, as yet consisting of mostly buses. To get there and back again, we can walk six blocks or take a bus that runs once every half an hour and then catch a bus that goes straight to campus, and then it's the reverse on the way home. You can time the morning to catch the first bus, but the afternoon is harder. In the winter, it's almost impossible, plus, this particular route is hardly ever on time, anyway.

This evening, it's snowing. Again.( I should probably start noting when it is not snowing, instead.) When I arrived at Second Bus Stop, I called the bus line and found that a bus was due in 3 minutes.

I weighed the evidence. It takes anywhere from 9-12 minutes to walk, so usually if the wait is under seven minutes, I go for it. 3 is a no-brainer. But it's snowing, and the buses are often behind when it snows, especially during rush hour in the evening. I was cold and wearing work shoes, so I opted for the wait.

5:18 passed with no bus. At 5:30, with no bus in sight, I started walking. Usually, this is cue for the bus to pass me when I am hopelessly in between stops. This time, the bus passed me going the wrong way, clearly extraordinarily late, and I made it home before the bus was anywhere in sight.

So in a way, in the end, I sort of won.

And right now, that's what I need.

Things I did right today: Made it to work by 8:30. Did the money and the bills. Drank a lot of water. Took myself to lunch.

Things not so much: Had to buy lunch.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2788 miles, ten states, 14 days, and we are home.

I need a vacation.

Tripped Out

It's the morning of the last day of the most exhausting holiday trip there ever was. It starts in South Bend, Indiana, and should end in St. Paul, Minnesota. Tomorrow, we are back to routine and work and day care, and though I need a week off with nothing to do, it might be a break just to be done.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I resolve...

to write something, some day.