Archive for February, 2010

stories from Vancouver

27 February, 2010

Remember, we went to Portland to rescue my Brother-in-Law R?

Uncle R…Ms Squeaky and Mr Grunty did not remember meeting their Uncle R, and so were very shy when they saw him again. Me & MyBetterHalf were talking to her aunt, and then Uncle R saw the toddlers doing something they shouldn’t and acting quickly, he scolded them. The toddlers freaked out. Mr Grunty was crying loudly and lots. Ms Squeaky was hyper-ventilating from screaming. There was a stranger telling them “stop”.  It took a few minutes to calm them down.

By the end of the day, all was good. And Mr G even asked to hold his Uncle-R’s hand as we walked across a parking lot.

You know how all parents think their childrens are perfectly behaved. Well, I just sorta feel sorry for any neighbors we had at the hotel. I think our childrens are pretty well behaved, and don’t make too much noise, but maybe I’m used to it. I was aware of the times when a toddler would scream for a minute when they didn’t get their way. And when Mr Cuddles was waking up and crying for a few minutes in the middle of the night. I wonder, do hotels try and group kids together in a noisy side of a building?

Mr Grunty has a red jacket. He calls it his red sweater. I put on my red flannel shirt, and Mr Grunty said, “You have a red shirt papa?…I have a red sweater. You wanna be like me, Papa?”  Yes, I told him, I do want to be like you my sweet boy.

We went to the awesome Powell’s Books in Portland.

Saturday night, when I got back from taking their Uncle-R to his home, Mr Cuddles smiled at me, one hand on the bed, and said, “gawk” and pointed from one side of the room to the other. MyBetterHalf and I think “gawk” means “walk”.

The toddlers were very happy to have a big queen sized bed of their very own. And it is funny, we were woken up a few times during the middle of the night by a fussy/sick MrCuddles, and each time, Mr Grunty & Ms Squeaky were perpendicular, although at a different angle than previous. Must be the twin connection.

We visited Portland Sunday, and rode the train for the toddlers.

On the way home, Ms Squeaky was singing…”go home, to home, we watch Barney and wear underwear.”

At dinner in Centralia, Mr Grunty was not in a good mood. He did not want anyone using the ketchup that was in front of him. I took him out of the restaurant, because he was screaming, and got him to eventually calm down. I gave him two M&Ms, just to get out of the bad-mood-feedback-loop. He ate one right away, and then said, “I give it to Skweeky” for the other M&M.  Funny, he’ll share chocolate, but not ketchup.

“Brain, Vision, Memory” by Charles G. Gross

26 February, 2010

A history of neuroscience, by an actual neuroscientist.  It was, mediocre.

The first chapter, too long. Tries to sum up the entire history of brain science…and doesn’t tell a good story. I learned that much of our early knowledge, came from wounded men from war, fights, gladiators…

the introduction of high-velocity bullets in the Russo-Japanese War that produced discrete lesions and often small entry and exit wounds, and thus made it possible to plot the locus of destroyed brain and correlate it with usual field defects” – pg 76

The chapter on Leonardo Da Vinci was good.

Owen -vs- Huxley debate chapter was interesting… Owen thought Hippocampus Minor not present in other primates, so humans were biologically unique.  Quite the debate, and the popular press followed, and sometimes mocked them. Huxley was vicious, and eventually won…but years later was magnanimous in a 60 page chapter about his previous intellectual enemy. Owen seems to have slighted Huxley, coincidentally after giving much support to Huxley, and Huxley responded with venom.

Huxley wrote…”Of course I was in a considerable rage….I was going to walk past, but he stopped me, and in the blandest and most gracious manner said, “I have received your note. I shall grant it.” The phrase and the implied condescension were quite “touching,” so much that if I stopped for a moment longer I must knock him into the gutter. I therefore bowed and walked off.” pg 146

I have to end with a Da Vinci quote, I will leave it to the reader to discern the topic:

“...confers with the human intelligence and sometimes has intelligence itself, and although the will of man desires to stimulate it, it remains obstinate and takes its own course, and moving sometimes of itself without license or thought of man, whether he be sleeping or waking, and many times the man is awake and it is asleep, and many times the man wishes it to practice and it does not wish it; many times it wishes it and the man forbids it. It seems therefore that this creature has often a life and intelligence separate from the man and it would appear that the man is in the wrong in being ashamed to give it a name or exhibit it...” – pg 99

Happy Birthday, Mr Cuddles!

25 February, 2010

Dear Mr Cuddles,
I am very happy that you picked us to be your family.

When you wake up in the morning, you stand in the corner of your crib, next to the door, and you will talk. When I go in to get you, you great me with a big smile, and give me a fantastic hug when I pick you up. You put your arms around my neck and squeeze, then bury your face into my neck and shoulder and rub your nose. You pull back to look up at my face, then give me another tight hug.

Last night, we were watching you, as you practised putting a round block in a circle block, first with one hand, and then the other. I wonder which hand you’ll have a preference with. Especially since, it seems when I give you a snack in the car, that I put it on your left side. Which reminds me, the other morning, when I was loading your brother & sister into the car, you already were in your seat, eating your snack, you started screaming. What was wrong? Was it a bee? Was it a bear?  No, your sleeve had fallen down, covering your left hand, and you could not eat your snack.

Tonight, you got your first official chocolate, (even though, I’m pretty sure you’ve stolen some before). You started by pinching the frosting, pulling it off and putting it on your tray. I gave you a sample of the frosting, and you realized it is the yum, and started eating it. You did not get your face, ears, hair all messy…like some one year-olds have been known to do.

After dinner, you practiced your solo walking between your mommy and me. Sometimes, really good two steps, other times, you just fell forward in a stage dive, there was lots of laughs from you. Then, you grabbed my finger, and your mommy’s finger and you took your parents for a walk around the living room.

Then while your mommy was supervising the potty training of your siblings, you and me and Oliver-kitty hung out in your bedroom. You crawled around, found stuff, pulled yourself up, tried to reach stuff, crawled around, attacked me, tried to pull Oliver’s tail. The best thing you found was a toddler drumstick, you thought the mallet side was very tasty.

After your long day, you were asleep by 8:30pm, and didn’t even wake up when Mr Grunty was screaming he didn’t want a pillow, yes he did want a pillow, no he didn’t…or by your sister loudly singing.

I love you Mr Cuddles, it has been a wonderful year for me.

walking Mr Cuddles!!

22 February, 2010

This weekend, we went to Vancouver WA to pick up my bro-in-law R, who just finished his internship.

Saturday night at the hotel, Mr Cuddles took his first solo steps. It was a good step, and then a stumble towards a fall. But his Mommy & I were very excited, and he shared our excitement.

By tonight, Mr Cuddles had mastered taking two steps when going between parents. Although, sometimes he did like to not walk, but just stage dive towards the other parent.

Mr Grunty & Ms Squeaky were very supportive and clapped and said “Yay!!” for their little brother.

(After Mr C crawled away, Ms S brought over her blue-baby, and was having it walk from her to MyBetterHalf and then clapping for blue-baby. Then Ms S wanted to walk back and forth between me & MyBetterHalf.)


17 February, 2010

We are in the process of potty training Ms Squeaky & Mr Grunty. They sit on the potty, in front of the TV and watch an episode of Barney. So far, I don’t really mind the Barney. And I just want to cry tears of joy when Ms Squeaky sings “I luv yooo…” and leans over and gives Mr Grunty a hug.

For our evening entertainment tonight, the childrens stood on their potty chairs (which can double as a step stool), and were singing “ABCD” song, and “ItsyBitsySpider” to MyBetterHalf and I.

Mr Cuddles just happily discovered, that if you sing whilst on papa’s lap, and papa is bouncing his legs quickly, you get a great vibrato in your voice.

little conversations

16 February, 2010

Mr Grunty “Is the sky up there?” holding his hands over his head.
Ms Squeaky, “No. That’s the ceiling.”
Mr G, “Is the sky outside?”
Ms S was starting to get frustrated, so I interjected. “Yes, the sky is outside.”


Mr Grunty, “That’s Cuddelz truck.”
Ms Squeaky, “It’s Cuddalls truck?”
Mr G, “yeah”
Ms S, “Here Cuddalls, here’s you truck. Grunty, lets go find papa.”


Mr Cuddles has learned that “Ahh-aah-AH” is the crawling game, and he enthusiastically participates. He also knows his name, and “no”, especially when we are telling him not to break into the TV stand.

This morning, Mr C had a breakdown of crying, because his big sister was having an emotional meltdown. He is a very sensitive guy.

Sellevision is a bad book.

13 February, 2010

Sellevision, a novel by Augusten Burroughs is bad.

If you think that incest, stalking, statutory rape,  and adultery  are good fodder for humor, then maybe this book is for you. There is plenty of talk about fashion.

To make cheap gags, Mr Burroughs invents Celine Dion’s hit song from “Titanic II” or Joyce DeWitt’s age-appropriate facial creams.

Maybe, it’s supposed to be funny because of all the wacky scenarios…but if that’s what you want…PLEASE read Dave Barry instead. Dave Barry is funny.

Let me ruin it…a cable-shopping-network dude exposes himself on live TV because of a coffee mishap and loses his job. But eventually he finds success as a porn star.

Another host is stalked by a fan, turns to Valium & alcohol, whilst her husband starts having sex with the next door neighbor’s daughter, who is “sixteen. Well, almost.” The husband and his underage sex-buddy eventually end up happily-ever-after in Vegas. The stalker, was her eldest son.

Another host falls for a wonderful guy…but wait, after they have sex, they start talking about their pasts, AND is he her brother that her mother gave up for adoption?? (No, eventually the mother convinces her it isn’t.)

The only part I liked, besides it was short, was a few moments of life in the control room of live TV. That was interesting.

How does it end? A different host, because of a coffee spill, exposes herself on national TV.


12 February, 2010

I got to pick the childrens up from the day care. They were very excited to see me.

After we left, we noticed large puddles, and so Mr Grunty & Ms Squeaky spent five minutes getting good use out of their rain boots. And yelling at each other when they got splashed. Mr Cuddles was very interested, and would laugh when I would jog in place.

When we got home, we went to look at the tiny tree that SnarkyKat gave me many moons ago. Mr Grunty saw a car drive up, “It’s MOMMY!!” he squealed with delight, pointing. Ms Squeaky started singing, “I see my mommy, I see my mah-meee…” tilting her head from left to right. When Mr Cuddles saw his mommy, he tried to dive out of my arms to get to her.

Happy 14th date-iversary

11 February, 2010

14 years ago, MyBetterHalf and I started dating.

It all started, when my Bible study buddy was going off to Brazil. MyBetterHalf, who at that time was a friend and co-worker, who had actually met my family because she ran the Sound-to-Narrows. She thought, oh, a 12k, must be like Bloomsday, it’ll be fun. Except, the S-t-N is a worse course, starts out with a steep down hill for a mile, then it slopes back up for six miles. And, Spokane turns out to cheer on the Bloomsday racers, encouragement and celebration the whole way. S-t-N runs five miles through a park, so its quiet, and there is no one to cheer you on when you are running alone in the woods. To those that want a fun run, I recommend Bloomsday. To those that want a challenge, I recommend Sound-to-Narrows.

So, MyBetterHalf, asked me, “since your Bible study buddy is leaving, do you want to go to my Bible study?”  I agreed.

Later, she asked me to see Phantom of the Opera with her and some of her friends. I thought it was a date. It wasn’t, I found out a year later. Luckily I didn’t embarrass myself. In hindsight, I wonder what was more painful to whom, Phantom for me, or Sound-2-Narrows for her?

Later, at a white-elephant gift exchange, I mentioned that I liked playing chess. Using expert fishing technique, MyBetterHalf said, “I’ve always wanted to learn to play chess. Maybe you could teach me?”  I agreed, and so we started weekly chess lessons.

Over the course of January, I developed a bit of a crush on her.

I wanted to deny it, you know, the whole “I am a rock, I am an island” thing that boys do. But finally, my heart go the better of me, and I admitted that I liked her, and had every intention of suppressing those feelings…but it didn’t work. I walked for an entire day, trying to talk myself out of it. But, ended up buying flowers, and showing up at her door.

Me, being the ultra-suave, sooper-sophistimacated dude I am, hid the flowers under my jacket. Her roommate, was about to have dinner when I unexpectedly dropped in, but knew something was up, and took her pan of rice to her bedroom. I tried small talk. And then, there was a fly in their apartment. Presumably from the flowers, that were hidden under my coat on the floor.

So, I confessed, “I have these flowers for you.”

And seriously, why didn’t she just throw me out? …creepy looking guy (I was going for the Grizzly Adams look), hides flowers under his beat up black overcoat, shows up unannounced.

She took the flowers, awkwardly, asked her roommate if they had a vase, and then sat and looked at me.

Ah…silence…we meet again…well, you won’t get me to…

“So…uh…” I started after one point seven seconds of silence, “…I have a bit of a confession to make. I sorta have a bit of a crush on you.”

Previously, after walking all day around Seattle, I had thought of the thing to say. And, one of the best pieces of advice, from the USMC, “KISS…Keep it Simple, Stupid.” So, I went with “I have a confession, I have a crush on you.”

And, I gave plenty of time to worry about the things that could go wrong after I said that. The top three were…

  1. Her boyfriend (which I didn’t know of) walks out of her bedroom wearing only a hand towel.
  2. She turns into an alien, rips off my head, and spits acid down my throat.
  3. She laughs.

If figured, if it were #1, then, well, it would be sorta awkward, but would make a great story years later.  If it were #2, well, that’s an awesome way to die. If #3…well, then I would wish for #2, and well, my friends would complement my bravery for attempting someone out of my league.

Then it was quiet….I felt relieved, I had confessed, I don’t think I mumbled too much, it wasn’t going so bad, and it appeared that none of my top three fears would happen.

Then, she shyly said, “I have a bit of a confession too…”

uh-oh…I thought, that could be the prelude to #1  or #2….

She continued, “…I have a bit of a crush on you, too.”

Yay! my heart did a happy dance.

Hopefully soon, in a spirit of nostalgia, we can go see “City of Lost Children” or some other some other visually alluring/enchanting/disturbing French film.

Happy 50th week, Mr Cuddles!

10 February, 2010

Dear Mr Cuddles,

You have big smiles when you wake up, and now you give hugs and pats on the back when you are picked up by a parent in the morning.

You make your mommy very happy when she is leaving for work, and you put your hand on the window, trying to touch her hand.

You are a pro at crawling, you can go forward as fast as I can go backwards, which is fun playing the crawling game with you. You even do the “Ahh-ah-aaah” crawling game song. Sometimes, when you crawl, you have a block or car in one of your hands, and you just scoot it along the floor.

Eating, you like it. But over the past week, you aren’t into us feeding you anymore, you want to do it on your own. You grab for the spoon if we try that, so mostly we just put your food on your tray, and some of it end up in your mouth, or on the floor, or inside your clothes. It’s a beautiful mess, my boy. I am happy to say, that you will share cheerios and put them into a parent’s mouth, which you find very funny.

You like to go walking, holding onto index fingers, and walk around the house. When you find something interesting, you stop, let go, and drop down to the floor in crawling position.

You like to try to get into the bathroom, especially when your siblings are in the bathroom being potty trained.

Tonight, you tried to grab Sophie-kitty’s big furry tail. She glared at you, and then she sauntered away. Don’t try that with Oliver-kitty. He’ll swat you.

We got a big box, and if you are in it, you toss the toys out, and if you are beside it, you’ll toss the toys in. When the toys are all out, you stand up, push against the edge, and the box tips (onto a pillow) and then you crawl free.

You like to grab a block, and bang on the TV stand. The glass window part. Silly boy.

You dance when your siblings sing. And sometimes you sing along.

When I asked you tonight, how you feel about being fifty weeks old, you said, “Ahh… bAh, Blah – bVuh”.