Monday, June 27, 2005

Rejection by Mail

I just got a rejection for my short story Corporate Samurai. I also made semi-finalist (again) in Writers of the Future for my short story The Colossus of Rhodes; while it's nice to make honorable mention, it would be nicer to actually win (and sell) a story for a change. I'm waiting for the critique that I'll receive as the prize for recieving honorable mention. The other short stories that have made honorable mention are Briallen Dreaming of Myrmidons and Skies of Dreaming.

Anyway, all these rejections brings my number of manuscripts in the mail down to two. My writing group's wisdom is that if you have ten stories in the mail at once, chances are good that you'll sell one of them (you don't get to pick which one, however). So it's time to get cracking and put manuscripts into the mail.

Civilized Baby

Coffee, tea, or...
I'm very proud of us.

Today we took Arthur to his first tea at Savoure. The visit went without a hitch.

Well, almost. The bottle of formula leaked. Luckily, we discovered this before Arthur did, so there wasn't a big scene. We parked the pram right next to our table. Mark had Willamette Morning Blend. I had Earl Grey Blue. We shared a plate of (high cholesterol) scones. Arthur slept through most of the tea (although there was a minor break for a diaper change).

We decided that Monday is French day, so when we got home, we put on Edith Piaf.

Yesterday Arthur met my parents. They were very excited. Arthur also met Vaal.

Do you eat vegitarians?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Only in Eugene

A new vaccum pump?

I'm pinned under a child. I'm amazed that I can type this, as I am holding Arthur in my right arm. At any moment we expect a Guatemalan baby sling to arrive in the mail. This will be a good thing, as it will free both of my hands. I'll admit that the stick the finger in the baby's mouth to trick him into thinking it is a nipple has lost its appeal (for me at least) because Arthur's sucking reflex is strong enough to take off fingernails. I've gotten to the point I sometimes look down at Arthur and think, "Augh!! There's a parasite latched onto my index finger!"

Last night (Wednesday) was Arthur's First Full Moon and the First Full Moon of Summer. We thought we might be able to see moonrise. Mark and I put him in his pram and were pushing him down a street near our house, minding our own business, when we walked by a mother and her six-month old. The mother was watering her front yard garden. The six-month old rode in a pack on her mother's back.

We got to talking. "What formula are you using?" she asked. The next thing we knew, she was offering to pump milk for Arthur. Her partner thought she was a little crazy as she wrote down her name and phone number for us. It was sweet, but at the time I must have had a odd look on my face.

We knew it was only a matter of time before the Secret Society of Mothers Who Pump Breast Milk would contact us.

Happy Solstice

Each new day with The Child seems to last forever. Maybe that's something to do with the 2 hour feeding schedule. Or maybe it has something to do with the goofy sleep schedule that is creeping into my days.

Mark continues to be a sweetie; he's become a laundry demon, whisking soiled clothes to the laundry facilities next door. He's also been sure that we each take some baby-free time each day.

The Child looks bigger today (Tuesday) than he did a few days ago. It's a relief; given all the food he eats I was beginning to wonder where he was putting it all. His solstice event was loosing his umbilical cord. It was pretty gross the night before solstice, hanging on his stomach in a red bloody paste. I found the umbilical bit in the morning. As a proper pagan parent, I suppose I need to sew up a bag and put the cord into it for him.

(Cue drumming)
John (dressed in ritual robes): "Oh my son, several hours after your first Summer Solstice, the umbilical cord that sustained you inside your mother's body fell away."
Teen Child (rolling eyes): "That's nice; can I have the car keys?"
Mark (stops drumming): "If we're done, can I stop drumming? It's hurting my wrists."

Yesterday (Monday) Mark and I put The Child into the baby Bjorn carrier thing and I carried him on my chest to the Eugene Library. The Library had a book on the Summer Solstice on hold for me. Of course I had to sing Sensitive New-Aged Guys by Christine Lavin as we walked. We hadn't gotten a half-block away from home when one of our neighbors pounced from her porch and wanted to see The Child. Once we got to the Library, we put him into the pram and pushed him back home. A different neighbor pounced as we returned home. I think I need a T-shirt that reads, "It takes one child to raze a village." The Child was out like a light by the time we got back to our house. I can tell that the pram is going to be my very good friend over the next few months.

One of our other very good friends is a heartbeat bear we got at a recent shower. It's a stuffed bear with a recording of a heart beat in it. It will play a whooshing rhythm for about twenty minutes and then turn itself off. It's kind of strange to me because it sounds a bit like the engine room from Star Trek. It's also oddly compelling because after a while, the relentless pounding noise starts to work its voodoo on my libido.

Heartbeat Bear: "Thud-whoosh, thud-whoosh, thud-whoosh..."
John (entering the bedroom where Mark has put The Child to sleep in the cradle): "Man, that bear really puts him to sleep."
Mark: "Yeah. He's out."
John: "It's odd; it kind of makes me want to do it."
Mark: "Everything makes you want to do it."
John (indignant): "Nuh-uh! Ancient Assyrian Art does not make me want to do it."
Heartbeat Bear: "Thud-whoosh, thud-whoosh, thud-whoosh..."
Mark: "But Ancient Egyptian Art does. (Takes classic Egyptain arms out stance) I don't see what the difference is."
John: "Assyrian Art is too militaristic; the Egyptians had a good eye for the human form. I still don't understand why this bear does what it does."
Mark: "That's because it's like mommy's heartbeat; Freud didn't get everything wrong, you know."
Heartbeat Bear: "Thud-whoosh, thud-whoosh, thud-whoosh..."
John: "What? Pound-pound-pound equals mom equals sex?"
Mark: "Yep; why do you think drumming is such an integral part of religion?"
John: "Mommy's heartbeat? Eeuw!!"
Mark: "It's primal; it's the first thing you heard for the first six months in the womb."
John (runs out of bedroom): "Mommy's heartbeat?"
Heartbeat Bear: "Thud-whoosh, thud-whoosh, thud-whoosh..."

Mark and I have been splitting up dad-duty. During my watch Monday, I decided to take The Child on another pram trip. I did a quick walk around the block. I was pulling the pram behind me in our front yard when I thought I heard The Child make a very odd clacking sound. I stopped the pram and I heard the sound again, only it wasn't coming from Arthur; it was coming from a crow perched on the power lines in the alley over our house. Traces of white frosted its black wings and its eyes glittered like hemetite beads. It inclined its beak as if trying to look into the pram, so I pushed back the cover for the crow to see. The crow peered down from the power line, then got interested in something else.

(cue drumming)
John (whisking aside his ritual robes to reveal a box): "And for your sixteenth birthday, I have made you this."
Teen Child (muttering): "It's not another mobile, is it?"
John: "What?"
Teen Child: "What is it?" (opens box) "A cloak of crow feathers?"
Mark (stops drumming): "Eeuw; so that's what you did with that carcass. I hope you washed those feathers before you sewed them together."

Sunday, June 19, 2005

First Fathers' Day

John Harps for Arthur

Our first Fathers' Day is over.

Our house is getting back to normal; we moved furniture around and now our bed is back in our bedroom and Arthur's cradle is at the head of our bed. It will be nice to sleep in our bed in the bedroom.

Arthur's a little fussy today. Mark thinks one of my secondary super-dad powers is bouncing Arthur to sleep. We think his embilical cord is bothering him. Maby tomorrow we'll take a picture of it and post it. It sort of smells like Pickle's ears did and in general looks like a small shred of dead flesh. I suppose that we'll have to make up some sort of ritual with lots of drumming, lots of fathers, encase the cord in lucite when it falls off, and read passages from Robert Bly's Iron John.

Mobile of Platonic and Aristotitelian Solids
In other news, I finally finished the mobile.

Well, OK. It is missing an octahedron. But as someone said yesterday, we can leave the mystery of the octahedron as a special treat of discovery in eight years. Arthur really loves looking at the mobile. I'll admit, it is neat, but I'm not sure that I'm as mesmerized by it as Arthur is.

Maybe for his birthday I can add some blinking LEDs.

Friday, June 17, 2005

More Pictures


Since I know someone will want to see a picture of Arthur's placenta, here's the link to it:

It was actually kind of cool. I think it looks like a tree, and I imagine that I'll have to meditate on it before I go to bed tonight and see what fun dreams or poetry I come up with. The OB turned it inside-in and showed us how it connected to the inside of V's womb and how Arthur had been floating around in the amniotic sack (and where he broke through).

Since we've had about a million phone calls a day and tons of e-mails asking for pictures, pictures and more pictures, you can see other pictures in the directory

New Health Report

We just got back from the doctor's office. Arthur is looking rosy and was looking so good they didn't want to give him another heel prick blood test (which he hates). Arthur is now 22 inches and has gained another 5 ounces since his Tuesday doctor visit.

Health Report.

Aurthur's doing great. He initially lost 5 ounces, which is normal for babies. Last we checked, he had gained back 1 ounce.

I am Locutis of Borg...

He sleeps a lot, and drinks a lot. It looks like he's settling into a 2 hour 15 minute cycle (plus or minus 45 minutes) of sleeping and then eating. Mark was a anxious that Arthur was eating too much formula because Arthur wanted 2 to 3 ounces at a feeding. This works out to 24 to 36 ounces per day, which Mark thinks is a little too much. Arthur doesn't agree; almost everyone (and about four of them are mothers) I've spoken with says, "If he wants more formula, give it too him."

Arthur's 'Stork Bite'
Arthur was a little jaundiced, but he's looking better. The poor thing had to endure 3 heel pricks so the doctor could get a bilirubin count. (Most babies' livers don't turn on all the way at birth and they have a really high count of red blood cells; when the cells break down and the liver can't process the waste, the result is a yellow baby.) We've chosen a pediatrician who is able to look at Arthur and predict his bilirubin count, which is a great pediatrician super-hero ability.

So far Arthur's not a fussy baby. He likes being held firmly while the holder bounces up and down on a Swiss Ball; I'm hoping this will tone my abs, and I'm pretty sure that my biceps are toning up from hours of "the football hold." He also likes to sleep on us.

You've got a breast!!!
Arthur also can smell progesterone at about 10 feet. The first time Julie visited and held him, his eyes and mouth opened wide and he started rooting around for her breast. I'm pretty sure he did it later in the day when Sarah H and Reverend Caroline visited.

On the subject of smells, the other day I was urinating and I was struck by the thought, "My urine smells like the baby." I'm still pondering if maybe the baby simply smells like urine and I'm suddenly more sensitive to smells or if there's some weird baby-biochemical voodoo going on. Or maybe I'm just sleep deprived.

Something to bring out for the first big date
Mark's been going crazy with the camera, so I should have some baby shots up soon.
There've been a lot of firsts; so far we've had, Arthur's first rain water (which I sprinkled on his forehead). We've had Arthur's first eye-booger (which Mark did something with -- I hope it doesn't show up in a scrap book). We've also had Arthur's first package addressed specifically to him.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Arthur and John
First off, no one told us we would get superpowers when we became dads.

I should have been suspicious that this might be the case several years ago when Keith Packard leapt across a fifteen foot room and snatched a piece of clear cellophane out of his daughter's mouth. The cellophane was invisible to me, and I was standing right next to her.

My superpower is judo-chopping friendly German Shepherds as they rambunctiously jump up. This happened with my sister Julie's dog, Sierra, while Julie was holding Arthur. I swear it was spinal cord reaction. Before Sierra hit the ground I had turned to Julie and said, "I'm sorry, that was a reflex." I'm not sure who was more surprised: Julie, Sierra, or me.

Just for the record -- because I know there are some stories floating around -- when Julie came near Arthur a little later on with a cup of tea (which it turned out afterwards was cold) I did not judo-chop her.

Julie holds Arthur while Mark reads (notice no judo-chop bruises on Julie)

Mark is jealous because his superpower is the ability to unflinchingly suck spit-up baby formula out of Arthur's nose with his mouth. And not being sick afterwards.
Mark's secondary superpower is being able to rattle off "diapers, formula, and baby-wipes" without thinking whenever anyone asks us what we need.

Arthur in stylish clothing
With chagrin I'm noticing that the Infant-Military-Industrial Complex is trying to slither its tentacles into our home. For some reason Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger are on the front of the diapers we use, and there's a Gerber Baby looking up at us from one of the receiving blanket labels. At least the hospital didn't want to stamp Arthur with a hospital logo (although now that I think about it, he did have to wear a security tag on his ankle while he was there).

Arthur in Arms of Gorilla/Bear/Dog/Thing.
To counter marketing schemes, I've continued work on the baby mobile, which Mark now refers to as "The MOMA project." Mostly because it's big and looks like something Frank Lloyd Wright would have installed. I think Mark was a little surprised at how big an icosidodecahedron is; all the polyhedrons have the same unit side, so the pentagons make all the dodecahedron-based polyhedra soccer ball sized. I still need to make an icosohedron and an octagon to complete the set of Platonic solids, and I'd like to make a snub cube and then I'll be done cutting and pasting paper.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

It's A Boy!

But we knew that all ready.

Arthur on the Scales

The child was born 3:04 PM, Saturday, June 11.

V was induced around 8 AM. She started having labor pains about 10 AM, and they broke her waters about then. Some time before 11 AM she was given demerol. The hard pushing began about 2 AM.

First Minutes

He was born facing up, head first, with no complications. The attending physician allowed Mark to put on latex gloves and help the baby out. Mark got to see his skull plates shifting around as he came down the birth canal. I managed to get photographs and video of a lot of the birth. I also got to cut his cord.

V had very little interior tearing.

My mother laughed when I told her the baby was 11 inches long and my sister condemed me with all other men who ever attended a birth and had to guess what the birth weight was. For the record, he was 22 inches long, and he weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces. He scored 9 (out of 10) on the Apgar Baby Health score. He has very big blue eyes, long fingers, long limbs, some fuzz on his head, and looks a little like his uncle Kevin.

Arthur Asleep

Then began the naming process. This consisted of me looking down into his plexiglas bassinet and asking him, "Is your name Corvus?" (baby kick -- yes) "Is your name Philip?" (no response -- no). "Is your name Arthur?" (baby kick -- yes) "Is your name Bootes? (the constelation of the shepherd in the sky)" (big baby kick). "Is your name Orphinchus?" (no response). At this point Mark said something about sticking to the list.

More Arthur Asleep

Melora also participated in what Mark called our "pychic communion with the baby."



Let the child be called Arthur Corvus Jackson Burridge

Our lawyer, V's lawyer, two hostpital records ladies and V inspecting paperwork 2 hours after Arthur's birth

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Things Are Getting Started

Pepsi Magic With VJust a quick post. This morning we went to the hospital and around 8AM, V got induced. I think she was three to four cm dialated. Sometime around 10 AM they broke her waters and contractions have started. It's looking like it might be a long labor.

The hospital is a no cell phone zone. They also don't have internet access. So... the next posting might be a voice-post. If I don't answer my cell it's because I'm not in the little waiting room which is the sole cell phone area on the materinity floor.

(left to right) Veronica, Melora, & Lisa

Friday, June 10, 2005

Maybe Friday Night

I just got off the phone with Melora.

The doctor says that V is another centimeter dialated and that he'd be surprized if the baby didn't decide to come tonight and if the baby doesn't come they'd do and inducement Saturday. They're running around right now doing last minute errands.

More as I learn it.

He's Not Coming Out

No baby yet. The amniotic fluid is crystal clear, so clear the med techs were saying things like, "Look at how clear this is" to each other. If the results of the tests show that the baby's lungs are ready to breathe air, they'll probably induce this weekend; maybe Sunday. Given my track record at reporting on what the doctors will or won't do, don't quote me.

The baby name game has taken a new twist. If the baby was born while Mark, V and Melora were bowling, his middle name could have been "Lane." If the baby was born while they were at Ambrosia (a Eugene restuarant), the middle name could have been "Ambrose." If the baby is born on artist Cristofaro's birthday, then his middle name will by Cristo. If the baby is born on William Butler Yeats' birthday, then I'm going to have to change my name to "Maud Gonne." (Although I've always thought "Gyre" would be an interesting name...)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Secret Agent Dad

The child is docked (or engaged). This means that his little forehead is firmly nestled into V's pelvis. I understand this is uncomfortable; sort of like having a beachball-sized cueball banging around between one's thighs. I'm pretty sure V's in the get this thing outta me! stage. At this point in time, calls to us (or left on our answering machine) of "Have You Had The Baby Yet?" are really not very helpful. If you simply cannot resist saddistic urges to call and ask, you'll have to use a secret code. I suggest something like the following:

John (picking up the phone): "Madam Vaal's House of Air Dusters."
You: "Hi, it's me."
John: "Oh hi! How are you?"
You: "I'm fine. If you haven't had the baby yet, say, 'Oh! We love our Denby!'"
John: "Oh! We love our Denby." (indicating the child is unborn)
You: "Oh well. If Veronica is doing OK, say 'Our pattern is 'Storm.'"
John: "Our pattern is 'Storm.'" (indicating V is OK). "We love it."
You: "I'm glad she's doing well. If dishes were days, how long do you think she'll be?"
John: "Oh we have one large platter, but we could use eight ramkins." (indicating 1 to 8 days; by the way, we really could use eight ramkins....and a new tea kettle)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Let the Child Be Named Gerbil

Still no child. The doctors don't seem to be as gung-ho to induce labor as they were last week. So now we wait. Veronica and Melora have turned to cooking.

In a related item, last night I dreampt my son was a small black gerbil. I was trying to do the father-son bonding thing by laying the baby on my chest. Only he was a gerbil. I had to chase him into a corner and under the hospital bed. I remember thinking, man, this baby sure is small; and I was concerned that I needed to support the baby's head (although as near as I could tell all the leaping around wasn't hurting him too much). I said to the nurse, "You know, I don't quite remember how the birth went."

"Oh," she said, "you passed out right away."

The dream concluded with a (possibly mechanical) bat side-kick trying to help me bottle feed the gerbil-boy as I lay in a very narrow hospital bed that became more and more tree limb like as the dream progressed.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Post-New Moon

Still no child. But... Melora did have a dream that V was in labor and the doula wasn't able to make it. And V stepped on a very large snail last night. In bare feet. In related news, I finished a double-tetrahedron (technically not a Platonic Solic) and a cube. I think I'll work on a snub-dodecahedron next.

More baby news after V visits the obstatrician.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Still No Child

Despite a marathon day of shopping, napping, and some "restless behavior", V is still great with child. I believe she's reached the get this thing out of me stage.

Mark and I sat down and wrote out our top-twenty baby name lists. Much to the dismay of various people over seventy, Corvus, Kepler, and Rigel are still in the running. Other names include Arthur, Henry, Blake, Edward, Harold, Martin, Phillip, James, and Jason. Mark told his mother, "If you want to name a baby, you can have your own." After my father groaned particularly loudly, I told him, "If you keep that up we'll ressurect Greek names like Orpheus or Agamemnon."

Work on the baby-mobile continues. I've finished construction of a regular dodecahedron, a regular tetrahedron, and a cuboctahedron. Mark has warned me that this (paper) mobile is not allowed to fall onto the baby.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

New Moon on Monday

New moon is June 6, 21:55, Universal Time. That translates to 2:55 PM, Pacific Daylight Time. Two new moons ago, Mark and I were just touching down in Orlando, Florida (we couldn't see the annular eclipse through the airplane windows).

The Summer Solstice will be roughly two weeks later: June 21 06:46 UT; or June 20, 11:46 PM, PDT.

Latest Doctor Visit

Veronica visited her obstatrician. Mark and I entertained a 3 year old with kooshes in the waiting room. The doctor told Veronica that she is 75% effaced, 1 cm dialated, that the baby is tall, and that if the baby isn't born by June 6, she'll induce labor.

Veronica's happy with the June 6 date; her mother, Melora, is flying in late Thursday night (tomorrow), and V wanted Melora there for the birth.