Archive for April, 2010

Happy Fourteen Months!

25 April, 2010

Dear Mr Cuddles,

can you believe it’s been 14 months? Time flies, my boy, time flies.

These days you are really interested in the kitties. You see them, you get a big smile and start laughing, and walk over to them. Sophie-kitty runs a few feet away as soon as you touch a single hair of her fur. But it must be a game between you two, or she’s just lazy, because a few moments later you are laughing and just about to grab a fistful of Sophie’s poof. Oliver kitty is a bit kinder, he lets you pet him, you prefer to pet his back from tail towards head, against the grain of the fur. But he doesn’t mind. Then, you notice his long sleek tail, and you want to grab it. Luckily, he hasn’t scratched you yet. He does have limits to his patience, just ask you sister.

You’ve been sick the past few days.  Which was strange for us because you were uncharacteristically cranky, and didn’t hardly eat any of your food. Though, you did chow down on the watermelon.

Normally, you eat whatever we put on your tray. Enthusiastically. Sometimes, I think you eat a bigger dinner than your brother & sister combined. When you are done eating, and a parent tries to give you more, you vigorously push our hand away.

The other evening, you were wandering around the living room, and you had crammed a block almost entirely into your mouth. I said, “MrCuddles, please take the block out of your mouth.”  You stopped, took the block out, and then put the block in the box.

The other morning, I saw you, standing at the couch, there was an open book before you, you were jabbering lots, pointing to parts of the pictures, and then turning the page. Good job, my boy, good job.

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Relics of Eden

24 April, 2010

Relics of Eden, by Daniel J. Fairbanks, PhD.

Fairbanks writes about the abundance of evidence for evolution to the lay audience. The twist, is this time the evidence is from genomes, which, unknown in Darwin’s time, have been sequenced recently (please see “Language of Life”).

Early in the book, Fairbanks tells us that he holds “deep religious convictions” (pg 15), and if google is to be trusted, Fairbanks was educated and taught at a certain religious school in Utah. Fairbanks sees no incompatibility with being a biologist who believes in Darwinian evolution and a religious person. A later chapter in the book is about there is no need for religion and evolution to be at odds. He gives examples of religious men, Sir Ronald Fisher, Theodosius Dobzhansky & Francis Collins that were preeminent evolutionary thinkers.

Chapter two was about my favorite scientist, Barbara McClintock, who asked an utterly useless question, “why don’t spots on corn kernels follow expected patterns?” Who cares? Who would fund that research? You can see a politician mocking the project, calling it more waste of government money.

Appendix 3, is a fun and fast history of genetics from Darwin to the Human Genome project.

The bad – a typo “Charcot-Marie tooth disease” (pg 42) should have “Tooth” capitalized, because Howard Henry Tooth was the third researcher that first described this neurological disorder.
Nicolia Vavilov – found “greatest genetic diversity for a species, is in the place where it originated” (pg 104). This is important, because little diversity (read, the food we eat) can be a dangerous thing in the face disease. (Luckily, we have giant agri-business manipulating the genomes of our food.)

Questions I have that were not clear…
If DNA is read from 5prime to 3prime direction, one strand of the DNA, what happens to the other strand, is it ignored? Or when DNA is read, are two different proteins made at the same time?
(more…)

Time Spike

22 April, 2010

I don’t like time travel stories with their paradoxes, changing the future by stepping on a butterfly, and going back to play it all perfect.

None-the-less…I read Eric Flint’s Time Spike. Quickly. I justify me staying consistent by saying, Time Spike is more about what if normal people were put in a crazy new environment, which, just happens to be …the past. And I’m a sucker for “how do you survive in a crazy environment” stories.

The normal folks…prison guards. Along with the maximum security prison. Transported to the past, but lots of different parts of the past, so you have Cherokee, Conquistadors, and dinosaurs. Who doesn’t love that?

I was entertained.

The writing was, eh. The plot, predictable. The characters, two dimensional and I didn’t care about them. The romance sections, HORRIBLE. There were interludes with scientists trying to figure out what happened, which didn’t contribute to the story at all, except as a alleged “rational” explanation for the crazy happening.

It did get me thinking…would we be susceptible to germs from the Jurassic? Would the dinosaurs be susceptible to our germs. Would grass, which evidently was not around with dinosaurs, if a bit turf take over the planet?

Best quote “[he] noticed before that most American intellectuals were astonishingly ignorant about any and all military affairs. In that respect, quite unlike the British intellectuals…. He supposed it was a residue from the Vietnam War. American intellectuals tended to see that was as a manifestation of imperialist behavior, which they’d not expected from their country. …Whereas British or French intellectuals simply took it for granted that empires were empires and did what empires did.” (pg 39)

scoldings

21 April, 2010

This morning, Oliver-kitty & Sophie-kitty were playing or fighting.

Ms Squeaky went up to them, “No Oliver! That’s MrGrunty’s Sophie-kitty. You go time out. Go tell papa.”

Happy 6th B-day

19 April, 2010

Mr Oliver Kitty,

thank you so much for picking us to live with. And for being mostly nice to the childrens.

yelled at

19 April, 2010

Mr Cuddles likes to go to the kitchen, or into the bathroom. He can just tell when the door or gate are open, and makes his way there.

This morning, I closed the gate to the kitchen, right before he got to the gate, and he screamed at me. No tears, just volume of voice, staring at me.

Later, when I was doing dishes, the gate was open, and I let him go in. But instead, he practiced walking over the threshold of the gate, and open and closing the gate (not latching it though), telling me in a very serious voice, something that must have been, “see papa, I didn’t want to play in the kitchen, I just wanted to practice walking over this part of the gate, and play with the swinging gate. See?”

preschool garden

18 April, 2010

today, when the childrens were napping, and after I watched some NBA, I did yard chores.

While out there, I noticed the childrens flowers we planted in their garden patch ain’t doing so good.

I went inside, and saw MrGrunty, and asked if he wanted to do farm work. He said yes, and started singing old McDonald. Soon, after diaper changes, and cookie snacks, he, MsSqueaky and I were on the steps of the deck, picking the seeds out of radish seed pods. Tiny seeds, but the childrens were pretty good at getting the seeds in the collection container.

Then we went over to their garden plot, and I showed them to pick up a seed, and put it in the furrow, and cover it with dirt. They did wonderful.  I am very proud of them.

Then we went over to the overgrown strawberry spot, and they pulled a few weeds with me, after I showed them what they should pull. We only lost one strawberry leaf, they did awesome. They even remembered where the compost bin is, and took the weeds over to it.

In the mean time, MyBetterHalf was watching MrCuddles on the deck. He really liked going over to the new metal trash can and banging on it.

beach

17 April, 2010

I’m an idiot. Friday morning, I asked the childrens if they wanted to go to the beach or the zoo on Saturday. Naturally they were very excited that we were going to the beach, right then. MrGrunty informed me, “we go to the beach, last night we went to the zoo. We saw pig, a cow, a dinosaur…”  When I explained the plans were for the next day, they weren’t too happy with me.

So, this morning, we asked them, “what do you guys wanna do today?”

“Puzzles!”  MsSqueaky & MrGrunty shouted back enthusiastically.

Because I wanted to, in spite of the gray cloud cover, cool temperature and threatening rains, we took the childrens to the beach. By the time we got their, MrCuddles had fallen asleep, and it was raining. MyBetterHalf cheerfully volunteered to stay with sleeping toddler, and instructed me not to be out in the rain too long with our preschoolers.

We had to walk across a bridge that went over train tracks, and we were lucky enough to see a train approach. I held them, because I knew it would be loud, and they both jumped when the train whistle blew.

At the beach, we were alone. I was looking under rocks for crabs, but only found a worm. MsSqueaky was looking for frogs, I didn’t correct her that amphibians aren’t on the beach. MrGrunty was picking up interesting rocks.  We went down to the waves, and stood in the 3 inch surf for a minute, because we wore our rain boots, MsS liked that more than MrG did. In fact she didn’t want to hold my hand, but I told her she had to. When we were heading back to the kid-mobile,  up at the hide tide mark, the childrens were playing on the logs. Finally, I got them to head back. As we crossed the bridge over the train tracks, what did we hear? A chorus of frogs.

stories

17 April, 2010

Wed, April 7th-

Mr Grunty & Ms Squeaky were both awake to wave bye to their mommy. She tried to sneak into their room to quietly tell MrCuddles “bye”, but that woke him. The poor boy was groggy, and not ready to be awake. When MyBetterHalf went outside, she went to the window to wave at the childrens. Mr Grunty was at the table, enthralled in a puzzle. She waved and blew kisses to the children, MsS and MrC put their hands on the window. When she got in the car, Mr Grunty realized he hadn’t said “bye” to mommy, and ran over to the window, yelling “mommy-mommy-mommy”. But she was already in the car, and running late. MrG was about to freak out, but I flashed the porch lights, and MyBetterHalf flashed the car lights at MrGrunty, and rolled down the window and waved as she was driving away.

Later that morning, MrG and MsS informed me that their babies were sleepy, and so they went to their bedroom, brought blankets to the living room, arranged the blankets on the floor next to each other, laid down with their babies and told me to be quiet because their babies were sleeping.

When it was time to go, I asked MsS if she needed me to help her with her socks. “No, papa. Grunty, put my socks on” And MrG said, “OK” can sat on the floor, while she was on the couch, and put socks on his sister’s feet.

Once outside, they picked up the chalk, which for some reason we keep beside the steps outside, and started drawing on the steps.

sometimes…ya just gotta cry. And sometimes, that leads to a negative-emotional-feedback-loop. One morning, MsSqueaky, angry that I put pants on her, screamed at me for 45 minutes. At first it was just yelling, but then screaming, then laying on the floor screeching. I tried a few things to see if I could break the feedback-loop. No. So I went about getting ready, with her screaming. Finally, I asked her if she wanted to lay down on Mommy&Papa’s bed. “yes” she whimpered. And I took her in there, and she hung out. A few minutes later I asked her to help me pick out a shirt to wear, and she liked doing that. That’s one thing I love about children, they don’t hold a grudge.

stories

15 April, 2010

Wednesday, 14 April

It was morning, I was getting ready for work, and the children were playing.
MsSqueaky had been working on a puzzle since the night before. Occasionally she would say, “Papa, help” but when I picked up a piece, she would change her mind, “No papa, I do it myself”. Eventually she finished. MrGrunty went to the big table to investigate.
MrG “Good job, Squeak, good job.”
MsS the asked, “Wha’s dat Grunty?”
MrG “That’s a bu’erfly, and that’s a caterpillar, and that’s anodder bu’erfly, and dat’s a ladybug.”
MsS, “Good job, Grunty, good job.”
I like how they encourage each other.

Tuesday, 13 April
I like how these days Mr Cuddles is interacting more and more with his siblings. When MrG and MsS are making each other laugh, such as changing a single word in song lyrics, (“twinkle twinkle little mommy…”), Mr Cuddles will be standing there, looking back and forth at his older siblings, and smiling, and laughing a bit, but has a look on his face that his not quiet sure what the joke is.
Sometimes, when a toddler refuses to have their diaper change, we give them a choice, “do you want papa or do you want mommy to change your diaper.” Somehow, it seems to me, they usually pick papa.

Tuesday night, there was lots of playing in our house.
Mr Cuddles had two plastic Easter Eggs, and was very excited by the sound of
banging them together, and then, in the reflection of the French-doors, saw his reflection and the game got even more fun.

While MsSqueaky was reading a book with her mommy, (“And den the dog is
sleeping. And den the dog is in de bed. And den the dog has a blanket.”), me and the boys went to their room. In there, Mr Grunty started the crawling game, (where we crawl at each other, singing “Ah-ah-ahh”, and then I crawl over them). Mr Cuddles was playing with, but he was practicing his walking, and would laugh when he would crash into me.
Then, we hid under a blanket, which amused MrC for a moment or two, but MrG really likes. Grunty shouted out to the living room, “we’re hiding”. To try and get his mommy and sister to come looking for us. He kept calling out, then he went to the door, opened, shouted “we’re hiding” and went back to under the blanket. That still didn’t work, so he went to the living room, informed them, “we’re hiding” and eventually they came to the
bedroom to find us.
The other morning, as the twins were waiting for me to make breakfast, one of
them was standing at the gate. The other said, “I wanna go under you legs.” And they spent the next few minutes taking turns crawling under each other.