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Thursday, March 30, 2006

As You Were ... 

Before anyone else calls to ask, we're still hanging around with nothing to report.

Evelin's sister and her daughter are visiting for a few days. Celeste was really cute, standing by her table and waving crayons to her cousin, K---, urging her to come draw buses with her. K--- was more interested in sitting still and eyeing her new surroundings. We all went to the park for a while, and Celeste did some good scrambling around, even going head-first down a slide ... unintentionally, but while she was a little freaked by it, she didn't cry much.

Nothing to Report 

Just in case anyone noticed that I didn't update last night and thought that something might be up, rest assured I just didn't get to the computer to post. Nothing to report. The baby is still in utero.

Celeste is feeling a lot better, however, judging by her eating habits yesterday: She had a bowl of oatmeal and blueberries for breakfast, asked for noodles, was told there weren't any, asked for an egg, ate about half of an egg scrambled with some cheese.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Jumping at the Phone 

Yesterday, I knew I'd be back in the Production Department at work for much of the morning, so I told Evelin to call me on my cell if she needed anything instead of leaving a message at my desk phone or something. My phone, nestled in my pocket, is set to vibrate and then ring. The first time she called (to let me know what time Celeste woke up and how she was feeling), I jumped. And then I jumped each of the next three or four times she called over the course of the morning.

This evening, as Evelin was walking in the door, the phone rang. I picked it up and the Caller ID read the name of the friend who is lined up to watch Celeste when we have to head to the birthing center. I hand the phone over, and hear Evelin say something like "I just called you a moment ago" ... and I start panicking thinking that this is it.

As with each of yesterday's calls, I need to just calm down. Evelin was just calling G--- to iron out a few additional details. (For example, If we call in the middle of the night, is Celeste going there or is G--- coming here?)

We're still two-and-a-half weeks or so away from the due date ... hopefully, if the baby does wait that long, I'll figure out how to calm down a little before then.

Crying at the Park

Celeste is feeling a little better, I think. She ate pretty well today (pasta with marinara sauce at every meal, which may not be great, but she showed some appetite and it's not like we were feeding her SpaghettiO's) and we went to both the library and the park this afternoon.

The funny thing is that over the past week or three, Celeste has gotten a bit phobic about something at the park and we're not sure what. Since Evelin was ordered to take it easy a few weeks ago, she'd been driving to the park instead of walking, and last week and today Celeste and I added a trip to the park at the end of an outing, so we were already in the T.R.U.C.K. and it didn't make sense to stop at the house and then head back out.

At the park, Celeste is fine for a few steps in the parking lot, but she soon breaks into tears and demands to be carried to the swings, still sobbing. Today, she did walk across the parking lot, essentially chasing me as I walked ahead over her as staying just out of reach, but she stopped on the sidewalk and refused to step on to the grass unless I promised to carry her the rest of the way. We're not talking a very great distance here.

After swinging on the first group of swings, Celeste wants to move over to the other swings. Again, there are tears as I try to get her to walk where she wants to go. The smiles return as soon as she's in the other swings.

Once those swings have grown tiresome, she wants to be carried again. I ask if she wants to go home or to something else in the park, and she's a little non-committal. So we walk over to the firetruck.

After the firetruck, she's fine. She walks all over the place, even slips and falls to a sitting position on one of the play structures and instead of crying about it just scoots over to the slide and goes down.

Talking with Evelin about it tonight, she said she's noticed the same thing. The parking lot to the swings to the swings is all tears. After that, Celeste is fine. We have no idea what's going on in her head. The other variable is that she's much less likely to demand to be carried if we walk to the park instead of drive.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Water Unbroken ... 

... and despite dreams of contractions at around 3:55 a.m., Evelin's feeling nothing but the normal kicks right now. Of course, blogging this so casually after a dinner of leftover stuffed onions and Tofukey kiełbasa is likely to lead to somesort of overnight surprise, innit?

Actually, it would be really nice if the baby holds off for a few more days (or even an another week or so), since Celeste is under the weather at the moment. Since Wednesday, she's had an on-again, off-again low-grade fever with some ... gastrointestinal distress. Despite the occasional nap-attack or general low-key activity, she's acting pretty well most of the time. We figure its somesort of virus — which would be nice to not have lurking in the house when the new baby come home or waiting to be sent to a friends when we have to head off to the birthing center — and hopefully she's on the mend.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Stuffed 

First off, to preëmpt any further phone calls on the matter this evening: Nothing's happening on the baby front. Evelin feels fine, but only Braxton-Hicks at this point.

On to the stuffing ... I raided Nami-Nami for dinner again. Her baked red onions with feta cheese & wild mushrooms looked too good to pass up, so this morning we trolled the mushroom table at the farmers market and came away with some royal trumpet mushrooms, as well as some fresh feta from Keswick Creamery. Sadly, the really nice red onions (variety Mars) Twin Springs had a few months ago were long gone, so I had to pick up a bag from the grocery store.

I'm not sure why — I don't recall having them as a child or anything — but I have a little obsession with stuffed vegetables. I don't make them very often, and when I do they often come out a little disappointing (example #1, #2, #3), but I still find myself intrigued, interested, and game to give it a go.

Well, mine dinna turn out as pretty as Pille's, but they were pretty tasty. I think my onions were smaller, because I ended up with a lot of extra stuffing. (I ended up putting some of the onion centers in two ramekins and topped it with the rest of the stuffing and a little more onion.) I served them with some baby spinach (wilted in some olive oil and lemon juice), and they were quite tasty, albeit a bit on the messy side.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Not Yet ... 

This morning the midwife offered Evelin an internal exam: 75% effaced and 3–4 centimeters dilated.

I brought a bunch of stuff home and checked out the company laptop because I have two magazines in production over the next two weeks ... and I may well be doing that between the 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. feedings.

Of course, since I went to all the trouble to prepare (technically, not mentally) the baby will probably wait another week or three ...

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

First Letter; Repeat 

As part of prepping Celeste for her role as a big sister, we have been talking about the baby and using the baby's name. We talk about the baby's room as [name]'s room; we point at Evelin's belly and talk about [name] being in there; when Evelin goes to the midwife's for a check-up, we talk about the doctors making sure [name] is growing well; and so on.

Over the weekend, I thought Celeste was trying to say [name]'s name. She can almost get the ending sounds of the name, but the first letter/phonome was giving her some her some trouble, so I exaggerated the sound and repeated it three times: Lah, Lah, Lah ... [rest of name]*.

Now, Celeste is pretty good at saying Lah, Lah, Lah ... [rest of name] ... for the moment, that has become [name]'s name.

*"Lah" is just an illustration here; [name]'s name actually starts with a different letter.

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The Red Menace 

The thing that surprises me most in this article ("Experts Rip 'Sesame' TV Aimed at Tiniest Tots,") isn't that Children's Television Workshop is launching a line of DVDs at the Under-2 crowd or even that 68% of kids that young watch two hours of television per day. No, the really scary bit is that "only 6 percent of parents know of the [American Academy of Pediatrics's] no-TV recommendation, which it adopted in 1999."

We've managed to keep Celeste from watching TV thus far, and while I think she'd really like some bits of Pancake Mountain, she's probably not going to get much exposure to television until her sibling is over two.

Still, it won't take Sesame Beginnings to get her hooked on Sesame Street. Her only exposure has been one bath toy and some books, but Celeste is crazy about Elmo. She not only recognizes him and talks about him, but "Elmo" is one of the words she says most clearly (although occasionally it comes out as ell-bow). Elmo's Valentine is in her hand a good part of each day, and, if she sees an Elmo balloon at the grocery store or an Elmo toy at the thrift store or Target, there is a big lunge toward the item in question.

Evelin and I are holding firm in not expanding the Elmo Empire in the house, but there is just something about Elmo that Celeste loves ...

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Clinical Diagnosis 

We took Celeste in for a post-ER follow-up with her pediatrician and he dubbed her "weird." I think he meant it in a good way, but we'll find out over time.

After bending and twisting her wrists, elbows, and shoulders and having her pull/push her arms away, he said that while there wasn't any swelling or signs of problems with the arm, the left arm did seem weaker. Probably it's due to residual soreness from the elbow subluxation, but he wanted us to watch her for signs of favoring one arm over the other.

Evelin noted that Celeste tends to color with her right hand, and that she seems to be right-handed. I countered that she tends to eat more with her left hand. The doctor said handiness usually doesn't affect arm strength at this age.

He also said that some kids will show similar favoritism in walking/leg use. While talking about that, I mentioned that Celeste sometimes walks with her leg stiff and kicking it out to the side à la Frankenstein's Monster or something. Evelin noted that it's always the left leg that she does this with. The doctor thought we were joking around, until Celeste demonstrated for him. He seemed a little stumped for a moment, and then declared her "weird" and compared her walk to Charlie Chaplin. I noted that she was a comic genius; the doctor said "It's been done before." I suggested no more Monty Python for Celeste; the doctor agreed.

All in all, it was a fairly odd visit to the doctor, but we did come away with the warning that since Celeste seems to have loose joints, she may have future cases of elbow subluxation, so we have to watch out for that. It was also good that Celeste got to have a doctor's visit without shots (especially since her l8-month checkup involved three vaccinations to make up for the ones she didn't get at her 15-month checkup because she was sick ...)

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Arroyo Wronged 

This evening, while getting her dressed for bed, I broke the news to Celeste about Bronson being shipped to Cincinnati in a trade for Wily Mo Peña. She picked up on how I was feeling and said, "boo hoo hoo."

I know baseball is a business and that Arroyo is considered an average pitcher, but there's just something about the kid that impresses me and while I like the pop Peña is likely to bring to the lineup — especially against the lefties that Trot has traditionally had trouble with — but ... I wish it had been Clemet (or Wells) shipped to the Reds instead of Arroyo. Thanks, Bronson, for some great games and memories, including my first trip to Fenway.

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Radio Days 

Here's a radio story more in the realm of being dooced than permission slips on hands. It's part of the introductory editorial for the new supplement/magazine I was working on last week, part of what kept me so crazy and near 過労死.
I remember when I first became aware of the physics that govern radio broadcasting. Growing up in southeastern Louisiana, my favorite radio station was WTIX(AM) in New Orleans, about 85 kilometers from my home, mostly through the Manchac Swamp. Each night when its operating power halved, the clear signal I could hear during the day disappeared.

I was only 8 or 9 years old and, while my father explained that some radio stations operated at lower power when it got dark, I never could quite understand why the AM dial sounded so different when the stars were out.

What I did discover, after my bedtime as I slowly tuned my way across the dial, was that I could hear lots of other, strange stations that were not on the dial during the day — Chicago, Pittsburgh, Nashville. Sometimes the voices would even be in French, either from a Cajun station in southwestern Louisiana or from Québec.
And the rest of it gets into things that belong in my work product and not my blog ...

Actually, it's an odd thing for me to have written for a publication, in large part because I've resisted putting any sort of "From the Editor" column into the books I work on. I don't particularly like the "cult of the editor" that some magazines/trade papers have, and I tend to be a bit adverse to promoting myself (q.v. public speaking) as it is, but this was the launch of a new product and it needed some sort of introduction for the reader.

The morning I wrote it, I had the alarm set for around 3:30 a.m. so I could get to work early to try to get everything that needed doing finished. I woke before the buzzer started and as I was laying in bed for some reason I flashed on the memory of being in bed as a kid and hearing a station ID itself as being from Pittsburgh. I was sure that I'd misheard, but it turns out I hadn't. Working from that memory, the column took shape.

Actually, I spewed about 15 minutes worth of radio-related memories, notes, and sentence fragments into my voice recorder while driving to work (probably only the second time I've used it in that manner). In the end, I only used that original memory (although if the second issue needs an editorial/intro I may mine that audio for ideas) and about 150 words about me for the edit; the other 200 words or so were all the magazine and subscription information.

The other thing about this is I wonder how much my closing in on three years of blogging has pushed away my aversion to writing in first person. Maybe it was a crutch, but I always hated writing about me and my life, but that's what 95% of my blog is — even if much of the time I'm just a supporting character in a story about Celeste.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hospital 

Not Evelin; Celeste. Since the whole jaundice thing was a regular admission, this morning marks her first (and hopefully last) trip to the emergency room. She's fine, and I don't think social services will be getting involved, so we're all fine.

The morning started off normal enough: Blueberries and oatmeal for breakfast; reading some books; a trip to the park with her teddy bear, Dee Dee (Celeste loved it when Dee Dee was in the swing); more books; usw. But around 9:30 a.m., Evelin and Celeste were sitting by the stairs playing "Trot, Trot to Boston". As Celeste came back up after the "falling in" portion of the game, she started wailing.

At this point, I really need to point out that while this happened with Evelin, both of us are surprised that I wasn't the one who caused Celeste's injury. In fact, when I relayed the tale to my parents, the first thing they both said to me was: "What did you do to her?"

Back to the wailing. We both figured Celeste had jarred something or that her arm had been squeezed a little too tightly or something, but no amount of comforting helped her. We really knew something was wrong when she didn't want to spin in circles — that usually can stop any tantrum, ease any pain. We called the pediatricians' answering service and I started googling "toddler" and "dislocated shoulder." Within a half hour we'd received our instructions and were on the way to the emergency room.

For the most part, Celeste was pretty calm. She was keeping her left arm limp and so long as we didn't try to feel it or move it or anything, she was uncomfortable but not crying. We read through the books we brought from home, as well as through several that were in the emergency room before finally getting a diagnosis &mash; nursemaid's elbow (elbow subluxation).

Apparently, it's a fairly common malady where a tug on the arm causes a ligament to slip into the elbow joint where it is then pinched by the radius. Fixing it requires the arm to be twisted and the palm brought up to the shoulder and yields almost immediate relief.

Celeste was a prime example of this. There were many tears as the doctor took her hand and twisted the arm into position, but as soon as she let go of Celeste, Celeste snapped her hands into the sign for CAR and made her r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r car sound — she wanted out of there and fast.

After about five minutes, the resident came back in with a sticker in each hand. I didn't realize she was testing Celeste and reached for the stickers myself, earning a reprimand. No stickers for me. But Celeste took one with her right hand and one with her left hand and was pretty happy, although still more than ready to be discharged.

She fell asleep in the car on the way home, which is understandable as it was about 12:30 p.m., well past the usual start time for her nap, and the rest of the afternoon went pretty well until this evening, when Evelin was reading Zoo Parade!. Twice Celeste tried to mimic the animals in the book and to tiptoe like an elephant and she slipped and fell probably due to her arm being a bit weak (something that should pass in a few days).

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Around the Web 

Celeste is napping, Evelin's out for a haircut, I should be cleaning up the basement/preparing to nursery, but instead I want to clear out a few things that I've been meaning to blog for a week or three ...

First off, this article ("Cooking 101: Add 1 Cup of Simplicity") in today's Washington Post makes me sad:
At a conference last December, Stephen W. Sanger, chairman and chief executive of General Mills Inc., noted the sad state of culinary affairs and described the kind of e-mails and calls the company gets asking for cooking advice: the person who didn't have any eggs for baking and asked if a peach would do instead, for example; and the man who railed about the fire that resulted when he thought he was following instructions to grease the bottom of the pan -- the outside of the pan.
Basically, the culinary skillz of Americans are so bad that foodie magazines and cookbooks are cutting back on recipes to add more illustrations of basic food preparation steps. I'm saying it here (so it'll probably come back to haunt me later in life), but I'm going to make sure that Celeste and her sibling know how to cook and, hopefully, enjoy doing so. I'm pretty sure Evelin will back me up on this, and add in her baking knowledge/skillz which far surpass my own.

On a different note, back around Mardi Gras, I mentioned that my grandmother was going to be on "Morning Edition." The segment ended up being bumped for a few days, but it did eventually run; I'm just really late in posting the link: "Katrina's Impact on Elderly Still Resonates."

Again, an long-past media segment that I meant to mention, but didn't The "Great Cookie-Off" at Red Sox Spring Training. Their spring training stats may be less than inspiring, but it's good to see that the Sawx don't need Millar to keep loose. Beth at Cursed to First summed it up best: We officially have the most adorable baseball team in the universe.

Thinking of baseball, I'm less bummed that the U.S. team is out of the World Baseball Classic after the second round than I am about how poorly the Aussies did in the first round, but I am really pulling for a República Dominicana vs. Korea final game. Korea would be unbeaten (they just have to get past Japan this evening) and the Dominicans are pretty much unstoppable. Plus, I want Big Papi to meet up with Seung Yeop Lee (이승엽) to see if there's anyway to get him in Boston. Don't get me wrong: I want Youklis playing first at this point, but if there's a chance to get Lee's bat (and assuming he'd hit in the bigs the way he has in the Classic) I'd be willing to consider some movement in the infield.

And while the U.S. may be out of the Classic, we're headed in to the World Cup with our highest ranking ever (#5), which is amazing for U.S. Soccer. We're in a pool with Italy, Ghana, and the Czech Republic so I'd say it's even odds that we'll make it to the second round this year ... but we'll see ...

Switching gears to languages and linguistics, AKMA had an interesting post two weeks ago about how languages are learned in seminary and the difference between learning to read vs. to decode when it comes to biblical studies.

Continuing with languages, when we went to the Hirschhorn a few weeks ago, I forgot to mention that I finally got to learn more about the Jim Hodges installation that's on the Constitution Avenue side of the building. I've seen it during my commute for a few months now, and have been intrigued by the phrase "Don't Be Afraid" in so many languages, so it was interesting to learn more about Hodges and his work, but I still wonder if the piece should be facing Capitol Hill and/or the White House ... although I doubt that would stop the constant fearmongering.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Feeling a Bit Chuffed 

I know there's a lot of things I need to blog from the past week or three (all the usual excuses about work), but here are two things that make me feel a bit pleased/proud.

First, this morning during Evelin's 36-week check up — all's well, baby is head down and at -1 or -2 station (I don't know exactly what that means, but Evelin said the long and the short of it is that the baby's probably not coming this weekend) — Celeste and I tagged along. While Evelin's laying on the table being palpated by the midwife, Celeste made a sign I didn't recognize. I asked her what she was talking about and she said "Mumma" and then made the sign again. Evelin asked what was up (the midwife was standing in a position that kept Evelin from seeing what Celeste was saying), and I described the sign as a sort of turning of the hands near the shoulders/armpits. Evelin said is it DIAPER? And Celeste let out a loud "Uh-huh!" She cracked everyone in the room up, saying that Evelin was having her diaper changed ...

Second, I just got an e-mail from some who worked for a short time at my college radio station while I was general manager. I'll just let the e-mailer speak for herself:
Is this the T. Carter Ross from KNWD?
If so, i just found a photograph of a permission note you had written on my hand back in 1990.
The sorority RA's in LSMSA's Caddo Hall were giving me a problem for breaking dorm curfew to attend KNWD staff meetings. ...
The cool thing is that she now works for a major broadcaster and attributed her time at the station under my watch for getting her interested in radio ...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Sibling Rivalry 

Her little [no, we're not saying yet] isn't even here and we're already having some sibling rivalry issues. A while back, when Celeste realized that our talk about babies meant that a new baby would be coming into the house, she decided to start changing the subject. Prior to that, BABY had been one of her most frequent signs. After a few months, however, BABY started reappearing, and she seemed to be getting used to (if not actually cottoning to) the idea of being a big sister.

And that has been the key concept: big sister, not new baby. It has to be about Celeste. If I say something about mumma having a baby, Celeste gets quiet or changes the subject; if I say something about her being a big sister, then she gets excited and will sign BABY or otherwise engage the idea.

For the past month or so, while we're doing the post-bath wind down, I'll ask Celeste if she's a tired puppy. Usually she signs DOG and makes her little barking noise, then pauses and roars — she's not a tired puppy, she's a tired lion cub.

Tonight, I asked if she was a tired little lion, she roared and nodded yes. I then asked if mumma was a big lion, and she roared and said yes. Then I asked if daddy was a big lion; again, a roar and a yes. I next made the mistake of asking if [the name we're most likely using] was a little lion, and Celeste took wubanub out of her mouth and very sternly and emphatically said no. I then asked if [name] was a little giraffe (another of Celeste's favorite animals), which got a tepid no, or a little zebra, which got a fairly noncommittal response ...

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Kiwa hirsuta 

Celeste was right. Monday night, while I was putting her to bed, she was signing EAR and HAIR and various animals. BEARs, I agreed with her, do have ears and hair; Mumma, Daddy, and Celeste all have ears and hair, too. But then she said that LOBSTERs have ears and hair. I childed her, saying that while lobsters have antennae, which are like ears in that they are sensory organs, they do not have hair.

Apparently, Celeste is keeping up with the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle's journal Zoosystema better than I am:
Marine biologists have discovered a crustacean in the South Pacific that resembles a lobster and which is covered in what looks like silky fur. Kiwa hirsuta is so distinct from other species that scientists have created a new taxonomic family for it.
— from BBC News, more at Ifremer (en français), Washington Post and The Age (good picture).

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Genesis 2:19 

... and whatever [Celeste] called each [toy], that was its name.

At the risk of being a bit blasphemous on my part, Celeste is channeling Adam, bestowing names on her toys and deeming it good. A while ago, she told us that the teddy bear she sleeps with's name is Dee-Dee, but last week we found out that one of the teddy bears that lives downstairs is named Tim (apparently, named after the best friend bear in Celeste: A Day in the Park and her bathtime penguin is Dave.

Actually, Dave is a sippy cup, a Mumsa sippy cup we picked up at Ikea when she was just a few months old. It's never been a very good sippy cup, but it makes a nice bath toy. Celeste likes pouring water from it, insisting that we help unscrew his head, and putting the cup portion on her feet. At some point, I started calling it Dave Penguin Head and apparently it stuck.

[POINTLESS ASIDE:The name "Dave Penguin Head" doesn't really reflect the cup's Swedish heritage, but penguins aren't native to Sweden anyway — Norway claims part of Antarctica, so it might be able to claim native penguins, but Sweden is a non-claimant nation — so the poor thing would be confused no mater what ...]

Here's the hard thing to figure out. I'm not sure if "Dave" has become generalized as a name for all penguins or not. Tonight, when I got home, Celeste was reading Baby Animal Kisses and when she got to the "feathery penguin kisses" page, she started pointing and saying "Dave! Dave!" Maybe she's saying that particular penguin IS Dave, or that these are penguins like Dave is, or maybe dave = penguin.

The other thing about Dave, since Celeste prefers to play with the two parts of the cup separated, I find myself thinking up stupid little ditties during bathtime like "Dave, Dave Penguin Head. Orcas like to eat him dead." I try to stop myself, but the rhymes always seem to turn out badly for Dave.

Tonight, I let the above verse slip out of my head, and as soon as I sang it, Celeste started making the "Numm, numm, numm" noise she uses when she's offering part of her lunch to one of her toy animals ...

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

This Weekend vs. Last Weekend 

Originally, I figured I'd back-date some of this, but since this weekend's been pretty sedate (yesterday, work followed by decluttering; today, just the park, farmers market, and tonight I'm making an asparagus-mushroom pizza), I'll go ahead and recap here ...

<cue the Wayne's World flashback noise/waving of hands>

Last Sunday, we took Celeste down to the Mall for a little culture. I'm not sure why, but I thought the Hirshhorn would be a good idea with her. She did really like looking out the windows into the courtyard, and some of the Hiroshi Sugimoto (杉本博司) exhibit did catch her attention, as did the surprisingly large number of babies, toddlers, and small kids in the museum. However, after a little while what gave her the most joy was how yelling echoed in the galleries ... we hurried out before the security guards had the chance to throw us out.

Once outside, we took a spin on the carousal and hung out on the Mall for a while, before heading over to the ice-skating rink in the National Gallery Sculpture Garden (just to watch) ...

Celeste in the Sun Celeste under Alexander Calder's ''Cheval Rouge'' Down by the Rink

<cue the Wayne's World return to the present noise/waving of hands>

Now that that (and my Ash Wednesday flashback entry) is out of the way, I have to go start that pizza, and then finish gathering together everything to do our taxes ...

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Eighteen 

Today, Celeste is 18 months old. As the videos showed, she's running around talking about herself a lot these days. Not to say that she's an egoist or something, just a cute little girl. Eighteen months is also noteworthy, according to a BBC report, because toddlers as young as 18 months demonstrate altruistic behavior ... and with her sibling due in six week or so, we're going to need that extra help, I think.

Actually, it's kind of funny: If I say something to Celeste about mumma having a baby, she withdraws a little about it. She's resigned to the matter and acknowledges it, but she's not so keen about it. However, if I say something about her being a bit sister or about her having a little sibling, then she is much more interested and excited.

Hiding Behind a Good Book Contemplating Just How Little Little People Are ...

There are a few things I still need to back up and blog (the start of Lent, music downloads, and last weekend's visit to the Hirshhorn, for example), but the quick-and-dirty version of things is that work is in a phase of 過労死 at the moment, and there is a lot still to do before the baby arrives ... and Evelin's not quite been put on bedrest, but she has been told to cut back on activity and to stay supine as much as possible. There's no dilation yet, but there is reason to be concerned, so Evelin's cutting back her work hours and is spending as much time as she can with her feet up.

Thus far, Celeste has been pretty good about it — she's doing a lot more independent play these days. We're at 34 weeks of gestation right now; Celeste was born at 36 weeks, but it'd be nice for this kid to hang on a little bit longer — I'd rather not go through the sort of jaundice scare we had with Celeste ... and that was pretty mild compared to some of the problems we could have had.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Baseball's Back 

I'm not sure if I'm getting MLB All Access free via my cable service again this year or not, but at the moment it's the bottom of the 7th of the spring training opener and it is so nice to see some baseball. I'd been thinking that I'd only buy the Gameday Audio package if I'm not getting the video online for free, but at the moment, I'm liking seeing baseball.

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A Portrait of the Artist 

While I was in Dallas, Celeste figured out fingerpainting and coloring. At first she was using Crayola Color Wonder paints and paper, but there's a bit of a delay between when the paint gets on the page and when the image appears. Celeste didn't seem too phased by that, but it just didn't seem right. Evelin later found Celeste some chunky crayons, and Celeste now goes to town with those. We usually tape two 11×17 sheets of paper (scraps from the office) to her little table and she just colors away at them. She likes it if we draw a dog or bus or something for her to color, but she's also happy going all pollack on it.

Using YouTube again (so viewing these files requires Flash), here is Celeste explaining what motivates her art ...


And, after that eloquent discourse on what art means to the artist (plus the emphatic repeating of her name — Celeste, and don't you forget it!), here is some further video of her working methods ...


(Yes, I have several things to blog from the past few days, but I've been busy ... I'll back date some stuff and post it tonight, tomorrow, or over the weekend ...)

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ash Wednesday, Clutter, & Music 

Once again, I'm violating my New Year's resolution about not post-dating blog entries, but I started this on Ash Wednesday and it got lost in the 過労死 of the past week ...

Here we are in the Lenten season and I have no idea what I will forsake for my fast. Last year was the first in a while where I didn't give up Diet Coke and while my body could probably use the detox, I'm not going to give up caffeine this year either.

Instead of focusing on the fast, I guess I need to focus on doing something positive ... like finishing cleaning up the basement so we can move the guest room there and then covert the guest room to the new nursery. It's not a matter of painting or anything, it's the much more difficult task of decluttering things. Over the weekend, I moved around books and bookcases, freeing up a wall to put the guest bed against; now I need to organize/throw out a lot of stuff. One thing I'm looking at doing is seeing what CDs I can get away with ripping the tracks I like from (and then getting rid of the discs), and for the other CDs switching from standard jewel boxes to slimline ones. Yes, this is level of decluttering I'm at. Effective, I'm not sure, but it will free up some space.

I'm also clearing out some piles of magazines and other things around my desk. I have a problem; I admit it.

UPDATE: Fast-forward to the future (Sunday afternoon), my initial trial with a 50 pack of slimline jewel boxes makes things look promising: I've ordered 500 more and I think I'll be able to consolidate most of our CDs into one big CD rack with only a little overflow (and a decent-sized pile of CDs to get rid of). The slimline boxes let me keep the CD booklet, but I'm planning to take apart the trays to get the back panel insert and will store those somewhere ... just in case I decide to reverse this decision at some point. As for what I'll do with all those empty jewel boxes ... I have no idea.

I'm also rapidly filling up a 100 GB external hard drive with tunes: the first 5 or 6 gigs were songs off-loaded from my computer at work that'd I'd picked up over the years from the old MP3.com, Amazon, the Live Music Archive, various band sites, and other places. But since then, I've ripped tracks from a stack of discs and started an eMusic subscription.

I have to say I really like eMusic. It doesn't have the selection of iTunes, but there is a lot of good (particularly indie and small label) music there — the entire Decemberists catalogue, for example — and it's all DRM-free MP3s, which makes it easy to transfer to different media for playback. Even nicer is that while they do have a pretty straightforward download accelerator, you don't have to use their software to organize your entire music library (something that's making me unwilling to try the free Connect downloads I could get from the new My Coke Rewards program.

This isn't a commercial for eMusic or anything, but the basic sign-up deal is a 25-song free trial, but if you shoot me your e-mail address, I can use their "tell a friend" feature to send you a 50-song free trial offer. (Full disclosure, for everyone I refer who becomes a subscriber, I get 50 free songs myself ... and there are a lot of things on my save-for-later list ...)

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