Archive for September, 2010

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

30 September, 2010

I got the book as a gift. I picked it up a whim one Sunday afternoon, when the children were asleep and sat reading the sun warmed the deck for maybe the last time of the year, and was hooked by a few pages. Gaiman is a good wordsmith, and he takes the reader on a interesting carnival ride of a story. I was reminded of Jitterbug Perfume (by Tom Robbins) where the gods disappear when they are forgotten. That’s the main thing happening in the book, the old gods (Odin, Thor, Isis) are being replaced by new gods (Media, Television, Technology).

And here’s the thing, when you are being pulled along by the gods, you don’t have many choices. And so, the main character, simply does what he’s told, and we wait until page 314 before he makes a decision of his own. I’m sure Gaiman knows this, because he writes “in dreams you have no choices” pg 303, and another time when the protagonists wife says, “you’re not dead,… but I’m not sure that you are alive, either” (pg 370)   So that sorta bothered me, the protagonist is just the way we watch the story unfold, without him actually making a decision.

Yeah….fate. You get a lot of that when mortals play with the gods, as when one says to the main character, “You have never disappointed me….You did everything you were intended to do” (pg 530.)

Personally, I like it when authors give their characters have free will.

(Oh, and if I wasn’t a dunce regarding fore-shadowing, which in hind-sight was bloody obvious, I would have enjoyed the ride even less.)


26 September, 2010

This morning, MyBetterHalf had a memorial service to attend, and I went to church with the childrens.  MrCuddles did NOT want me to leave him in the nursery, (last week, he found his own way to the  nursery, went in, pulled up a chair and sat at the table.) MsSqueaky, being a good sister, stayed with him…or maybe she just wanted to play with the toys. MrGrunty and I went up to the balcony, and he read a childrens Bible. He walked about halfway down the aisle by himself for the childrens bible minute, but then turned and called to me. Then we went to his class, I introduced him to his teacher in the Pre-school room, and left. MsS seemed to be having fun in the nursery, so I left her there. It was good for me, and maybe even for them, for the twins to be in different classrooms. And after church, MsS went looking for MrG, and when she found them they  both squealed with joy.

I had a wonderful afternoon of arguing politics with Newscat. She was amused when I dropped the F-bomb around my children regarding certain politicians who call themselves Christians. Sorry.

MyBetterHalf had a book club, so I took the childrens to the new Hamlin park. They were excited to see new playground stuff. And run on the new baseball field. We went on a walk through the woods, it was getting near twilight, and overcast and slight drizzle. Naturally, I was thinking about mythical monsters. And of course a occasional bear that shows up in Shoreline. Luckily, for my peace of mind, the childrens all stayed close together (which, I admit, would make us vulnerable to a Fireball).

Cute stories…

When the older two would get too far ahead of us, MrCuddles would call out, “Swee-eeee, Swee-eee”.

There was a sculpture, MsS climbed on, MrGrunty was having trouble. MsS instructed whilst giving an example:  “Grunty, you can put your knees here, like this, and then you can sit down.” And he did.

Later after dinner, we were reading a book. There was  a picture of a boy doing a “Cannon-ball” style dive into a pool. MrG said, “Look papa, he’s pooping in the water.”

Happy 19 months Mr Cuddles

25 September, 2010

Happy 19 months, MrCuddles!  Let me remind you of all the fun we had today.

Well, I pulled myself out of bed, a few minutes before 8am, you mommy had let me sleep in, whilst hanging out with you, your brother & sister. And somehow, we were in the kid-mobile, and on the road by 8:34AM. Yeah, evidently children move quickly when a parent asks “do you want to go to see TheBigRedDog”.

We went to the Seattle Children’s Museum to see Clifford, the Big Red Dog event. You never got to see Clifford, because you were having too much fun playing with the replica market, replica bus, replica taco-stand. You liked it when Clifford showed, because all the big kids and their parents left, and you had less people in the way to play with your stuff. You played with a big bead-maze with a girl, who was about your age. It is funny how when with strangers, parents seem to swoop in and have their children be super polite, “it’s time to let the other kid play” if one starts grabbing for something. You guys got along alright. And then you went to the little slide, had fun going down it when I put you on it, but spent five minutes walking up and down the stairs to the slide.

We were about to leave, but headed into the book room, and our family had it too ourselves.

Outside, we went to the fountain. You started running, when you heard “fountain”. You like to run away, and even more when I chase, saying “I’m gonna get you”.

You took a power nap on the way home.

We got ice cream, which because of your older siblings, we ate on the deck. And then we laid down for nap. Naturally, your siblings had plenty of reasons to get back out of bed. But eventually, they settled down. I suddenly was woke by you yelling, “Swee-y! Swee-y!” and that got MrGrunty up, and you two were making faces and making each other laugh. I told him to go to the living room, and took you there. At least MsSqueaky was napping.

That evening, we went to the beach. First we played on the playground toys. And you were amusing, squatting down, a bit of muffin in each hand, bending over to sip on the smoothie. Then we went down to the beach. And soon, we saw a train in the distance, so we had to go back to the bridge to watch the train pass underneath.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

24 September, 2010

“recently” MyBetterHalf and I had a little date night, to celebrate 12 years of marriage.

Naturally we wanted to see a Scandinavian film, all about men who hate women. Lucky for us, Män som hatar kvinnor was playing. The funny thing, in my memory now, the memories are in English. It was well crafted. I mostly liked it, except for the topic. It was nice to see a movie with normal looking humans as the actors.

Water – by Steven Solomon

21 September, 2010

Water – the Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization by Steven Solomon is a long, mediocre read. Solomon is a journalist, and many times the feel of the book was a very long newspaper article. Solomon attempts to show that the control of water causes the rise and fall of nations. Be it water for agriculture, or trade, or naval power, or exploration, or transportation, or industry…I think his theme was too wide, and he may have had ambitions to write the next “Guns, Germs & Steel” but didn’t.

An interesting point, when talking about WW2, you would think he would talk a lot about the huge naval battles, but he focused on the dams that America built in the 30s, that provided cheap power, that helped the industrial might of America win the war.

There was some BAD prose, “nomadic steppe cousins” (pg 151).

I wish he had discussed the man made ecological disasters of Aral Sea, and Lake Chad more.

Good quotes from the American West, “Water flows uphill to money” and Mark Twain’s “Whiskey’s for drinking. Water’s for fighting.”


20 September, 2010

I got home tonight, and MsSqueaky announced to me, “You wanna go to the park” with a big grin, holding my hands, and trying to have me carry her.

At the park, there were some big kids, and so my childrens were a bit shy. But MsS and MrGrunty ran around, sometimes making jokes to each other. MrCuddles, was just running, and would look at me, and when saw my gaze, would turn away, laughing and running. It was pretty easy to catch him, because he has short legs, and the uneven ground caused him to fall very often. And he would giggle and laugh even more when I caught him.

I tried to teach him to climb the stairs, and go down the little slide, all by himself. I think MsS was doing that at his age.

birthday parties

19 September, 2010

Yesterday,…trying to get the childrens a nap. I thought they were asleep, so I snuck out of their room. (Because they like papa to stay for a few minutes). A few minutes later I heard running, laughing, giggling…when I went to check on them, MrG & MsS had loaded up MrCuddles crib with toys, including two babystrollers. I kicked the big kids out, had them sit on the couch, and MrCuddles screamed for a minute, until he fell asleep. I explained MrCuddles is a toddler, and he needs his sleep.

Half an hour later, I took the childrens to a B-day party for a three year old boy from their pre-school. It was at a McDonalds with a huge play tower/collection of tubes and slides. I swear, some tubes were at least a dozen feet in the air. We place our gift bags on the table, and went out to find the b-day boy, when MrG saw him, MrG ran back to the gift table, and imploringly had to take the gift bag to the b-day boy.

And then they were on. There was a tower, and MrG quickly and happily climbed to the top. MsSqueaky climbed up one level, but got nervous, and came back. But then, she went up one of the tubes, and like a gerbil in a habi-trail, she was gone. She barely came down for food. I think only because B-day boy’s mom told him to get down, and MsS was hanging out with him.

MrCuddles tried to climb up a tube, and a slide, and was interested in all the new stuff to look at, and the big kids running by. And soon we had cake & ice-cream…which he ate by the fistful. And more playing, but MrCuddles was bored, and wanted to go explore the restaurant. And was none to happy that I insisted that I go with him.

I took the long way home, because I wanted them to get some bit of a nap, and nap they did on I-5.

We met up with MyBetterHalf, who had seen a show with KellyKelly that afternoon, and we were going off to b-day dinner for MyBetterHalf and a bunch of our friends at our usual after-church Mexican restaurant.

MrCuddles was not happy. He didn’t want his food. He didn’t want my food. He even threw french fries at the pastor’s-husband. He was only happy when I was holding him, and we were outside. I was proud of him, he has learned to say, “dog”, and I was teaching him the difference between bark & moss on a tree. He liked to say “bark”.

Tonight, I was singing “Snuggle Puppy” to him, and at the “oooooooooooooo” part, he puckered up his lips, and tilted his head up a few degrees and with a gleam in his eye, sang along “ooooo”. MrGrunty thought that was great, and we three boys spent five minutes singing “oooooooooo”.

song of the now

17 September, 2010

on the way home, I heard a very sweet song…I asked MyBetterHalf if she had heard it.

The Only Exception” by Paramore.

I’m partial to waltzes, and sad songs, (even if they aren’t playin’ this year), the song tells a nice story, simple, yet the singer tosses in tiny variations to keep the melody interesting.

Spokane, Sept 2010

16 September, 2010

We went to SpoVegas to visit the inlaws, and for a Celebration of Life for one of MyBetterHalf’s aunts who recently passed away.

I attempted to get to work early, and put in half a day of work, and then wanted to work half a day when we returned, because my vacation time is really low. Naturally, I decided to sleep in, and the childrens let us sleep in, too. It felt good. And they are such cuties, I was in no hurry to see them.

We played with cousins Ke, Da, Co & Mo, often at parks.

Me, MrCuddles, MsSqueaky, cousins Co & Mo got to play in bounce house! At first, MsS was very nervous, and didn’t like it, and she left, while MrG was having fun. But she saw her brother, and returned, and she started to have fun too. I had to remind Cousin Co to be careful of the little ones a couple of times. It must have worked, because when two older kids joined us, Cousin Co immediately went up to them and told them to watch out for his cousins! Co, Mo, MrC & MsS also took a little train ride.

MrCuddles took a lot of punishment. One night he slipped and hit the back of his head on a brick, his Uncle R saw it, and his Uncle R had a very scared look on his face. I took hold of my screaming boy, holding him, and explained to Uncle R, “the first thing about parenting…if they are screaming, they have plenty of oxygen and they are conscious, both of those are good.” Then Uncle R noticed blood on the back of MrC head, and Uncle R looked nervous again. “The next thing, is that head wounds bleed a lot. That’s much blood for a normal wound, and so hardly anything for a scalp wound.” I instructed Uncle R to build an icepack, and we tried to bring down the bruise. MrC did not want ice on his head, and soon he was off running and playing. The next day, MrC was yelling and crying and caught in a tube at the playground, I went to rescue him, noticing that there was blood. He had gotten a bloody nose. And when we got home, MrC was so excited to see the kitties, that he ran, and slipped on the hardwood floor, giving himself  what would be a black-eye the next morning.

Bed time seemed to go decently, except MrC would scream, because he IS a big kid, and he does not like to be in the playpen. MsSqueaky & MrGrunty would get on the big bed, with me in the middle, and they would fall asleep next to me. Surprisingly, the childrens did not wake me during the middle of the night with their noises, like they did last time we all shared a room.

At the Celebration Service, it was cute, MsSqueaky was playing with a kindergarten age cousin, wheeling around a shopping cart and a doll, while MrGrunty was watching the pre-teen boys & Uncle R play pool. Already, we have the gender divisions. I was happy that later, MrG took a turn wheeling the doll around the house.


14 September, 2010

Today the childrens had a dentist appointment.

MsSqueaky announced to the dental assistant…”I not gonna cry today.”

When the dental assistant asked MrGrunty a question, he just stared back at her.

MrCuddles was unsure of the whole thing, but he did like playing the the dental suction tube.

I held Mr C so they could exam his teeth.

MyBetterHalf had to hold MsS because she was crying.

MrGrunty had a pair of sunglasses on, and played the part of Mr Cool, but doing what ever they asked him to do, all on his own. Even getting x-rays of his teeth.