Monday, May 28, 2007

Security Doesn't Want to Know

We had a quiet morning as we prepared for our flight home. Mark, Melora, Kristina, and Melissa took Arthur to a park; he was bummed that there wasn't a train there. I folded laundry and watched Mary play a game called "Zuma" on the computer.

This time the airport trip was much less frantic (it helps to leave on time). Once again my carry-on bag caused a stir. A security guy pulled it from the X-ray machine and I helped him go through it (all the time I held Arthur). It was odd to watch his latex-gloved hands unzipping all six of the bag's compartments. He figured that the tarot cards looked odd on the X-ray -- either that or the camera and it's batteries looked odd. I wasn't sure if the cards themselves looked like a metal box or if the metallic threads in the scarf they were wrapped in looked like wires or what. I assured him that he could unwrap the cards -- I'd wrapped them well so it took him a few moments -- and when he did the Eight of Wands showed up. "Oh," I said, "You should be getting a message soon."

"No, stop," he said in his Brooklyn accent. "Don't tell me. When I was young, some friends of mine were always trying to get me to see some Gypsy. 'Oh, come on,' they'd say, 'she's really good.' And I always told them, 'If she was really bad I'd go see her, 'cause I don't wanna know.'"

We didn't take Arthur's car seat with us onto the plane, and that worked a lot better. For one thing, when he was seated he was unable to see the PG-13 movie playing.

We got to sleep in our own beds 1 AM West Coast Time.

Arthur woke up fairly early, but he's napping now. It will be a long afternoon, I think.

While we were gone, our roses and irises began to bloom. Muriel isn't quiet so irritating, but she is still needy.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

But Don't Eat It...

We had a stay-at-home day at Grandma Mary's House.

Melora pulled out a recipe for play dough. Arthur got into making it and to playing with it. We had to remind him a lot not to eat it (it has unsweetened Kool-Aide in it). Veronica came for a visit, and she enjoyed playing with Arthur and his new dough.
We ate outside.

I download a modular-programming package called "Scratch" for Kristina to play with.

Mark worked on stain glass pigs. It's a pattern that his Mom works on; but she doesn't paint as well as Mark does. The catch is that Mark gets bored painting the same thing over and over again, so one of the pigs became a pirate pig (with an eyepatch and a mermaid tattoo).

Today is our last full day in Suffern -- tomorrow we're going off to the airport around 2 PM.

As we sat down for a picnic snack in the garage (set up by Kristina) we recalled what our high points of the visit had been. Mine was navigating from Suffern to the MET and back (with a side trip to Maison du Chocolat) and back without getting lost. Mellisa's (and Mary's) was the pool party at Matt and Joanie's house. Arthur's was the train ride at the park.

My writing (beyond this blogging) has been non-existent. I did read a little from my new book on hieroglyphs. And I did watch a few new shows.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Girl Talk

I read in the NYT that folks who recall the past as if they were in a first person narrative are more likely to be affected by those memories than if they were recalled in third-person. However, if they imagine the future as third person, they're more likely to follow through.

I'll have to use that in my stories.

Last night Arthur didn't sleep well. He's been drooling so much that he's given himself some acne. When we got home from the movie, Arthur had taken over the Hannah Montana Memorial Bed; so I slept on the couch.

Mary had had some caffeineated coffee with Mark at the MET, so she was up until about 2:30 AM.

I woke up around 3 AM because Arthur was crying. I stumbled to Kristina's room, where he and Mark were sleeping. Well. In theory. The actuality was that Mark was trying to get Arthur to fall asleep in his crib because he was thrashing around too much to be able to safely sleep on the bed. Arthur was standing in his crib crying "Out. Please. Out. Pleeease" and probably waking the house. When I got in, Mark had a nest for himself on the ground next to Arthur's crib. Since this had been going on long enough to wake me up, I figured Arthur had been crying long enough. So I picked him up, rocked him, and crooned the "Farscape" theme (first season). Mark almost woke him when he said, "Aw" -- but I managed to get him into his crib with a minimum of crying.

Some deity answers my secret prayers: the Damn Hamster develops a twitch; he'll still sing, but you can't make him stop dancing. With ill-concealed delight I watch him writhe on the floor under a lamp table. Eventually, his batteries will die.

Saturday evening, we drove to Uncle Matt (Mary's brother) and Aunt Joanie's house. Matt and Joanie have a swimming pool, so we all got in. We got to see the Rasidek's: Nick, Laura (Matt and Joanie's daughter), and their triplet girls, Alexandria, Rebecca, and Michealia. The girls loved Arthur and taught him the word "bubblebutt."

And now that I think of it, Kristina taught him to sing "Shake Your Bootie."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Kumbaya, That's Insane!

Today was Mark's day without Arthur; so he's taken his Mother to the MET.

Arthur's been waking up at 3 AM -- this morning was no exception, and we fed him a banana and gave him a drink of water because he missed his bedtime snack. The only problem was that he really woke up afterwards.

Mark was great and took him out of the bedroom to watch "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" around 4 AM. They fell back to sleep (I guess) around 6:30.

Kristina has no school today, so we spent a quiet morning watching more "Chitty" and then I managed to get Arthur to take a nap. He looked pretty glassy eyed and seemed kind of loopy, so I imagine a long nap will be helpful for him. Tomorrow is another big day with lots of relatives, so I'd like him to have a day of rest.

Kevin, Melora's son, arrived in the afternoon. Arthur spent most of the first hour blowing Kevin away with words like "pungent" and "Kumbaya", and correctly supplying the synonym "insane" for Kevin's "crazy." Then Arthur head-butted Kevin on the nose (on purpose); since Kevin is a boxer, he was impressed.

Friday evening Melora, Kevin, and I went to see the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest movie. It was interesting and fun and grim. I actually had a hard time hearing a lot of the dialog because there were so many explosions, loud waves, and music.

Since I haven't seen the second movie, I had to imagine that I was watching an inexplicable French movie and just let the characters and plot fall into place (it helped that Kevin explained some key points).

I found myself analyzing the plot. I didn't know precisely why the goddess character did what she did at the end -- but it looked cool. And near the end I thought the plot was being "the pirate wanna-bes will love this" driven. But it was fun.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Road Tour

We drove to New Paltz for Megan's birthday. Megan and Morgan (and their two sons, Marley and Maceio) live in a cute, high ceilinged cottage. Morgan is a carpenter and Megan teaches trapeze.

We hung out with Megan and the boys. Arthur liked playing in the kid pool and sandbox. Megan and I had some short chats about strategies for raising two-year-olds.

After a while the bugs found me so I retired inside. I read tarot for Megan and Veronica. (And for the record: no, not every reading I did this week had the Three of Swords or the Nine of Swords in it.)

Just before we left, Mark and I had to sing the theme song to "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." Since we've seen scenes from the movie about two hundred times in the last year it was easy for us to sing harmonies and orchestra flourishes to an appreciative crowd.

We left around 8 PM so Arthur could get some sleep. He's getting a little worn out meeting people.

I notice that the Damn Hamster is sitting on top of the refrigerator.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Doing the MET

It's ditch the family day. I wake up at 6:20 AM (because Arthur is kicking me in the stomach). After a fevered night of tossing and turning, wondering if I have enough battery charge for my camera batteries, if my clothes will be unwrinkled by the morning shower, or if I will wind up in some horrible, dark, shady corner of New York City (The Capital of Big Evil Cities), I'm awake and ready to go.

After a quick (for me) toilette, I down a bowl full of cereals and milk, dress, hunt for a belt, and am driven by Mary to the Shortline bus stop.

There's a short moment when I think that the bus I'm on is going to go to the George Washington Bridge and that I'll get to the Port Athority around 1 PM -- but it takes the Lincoln Tunnel and I'm ready to hunt for the subway entrance. I overshoot it by a sub-basement.

Since there's a friendly subway lady helping folks with the FunPass kiosks, I ask her the best way to get to the 6 (and the MET). Her instructions work (take the S to the transfer point to the 6).

I call Mark just before plunging into the MET's depths.

First, it's the new Roman and Greek Sculpture Court. I'd have to say that the piece I'll remember the most is the marble stele of the woman with the huge hair.

I put my contact lenses in in the new sculpture court. It's sad but true; my vision is getting middle aged, so if I wear my contacts I have to hold my camera a short distance away to see the LCD viewfinder, but if I wear my glasses, distant art is blurry. I don't know what's in the air here -- probably a mix of construction dust and cologne -- but my right contact started flipping out a few hours later and I finally took them out again.

I enjoyed some of the Roman and Greek statuary, but I found myself comparing it to Egyptian figures. The Greco-Roman stuff is nice, but it has a mass-produced feel to it that lacks the sensuality of some of the nicer Egyptian statues.

Mmmmmm.... Egyptian sculpture.

Upstairs from the new court is a study room with touch screen stations that allow you to locate items in the forty-some cases. You can select by time-period and material (or see a list of all the cases).

I saw a gallery filled with fine carvings. Probably the oddest was a rosary of medallions that had knights and priests on one side and skeletons on the other; it ended in large beads that were half face, half skull. There was also a skeletal Death on a skeletal horse. And lots of crucifixions. Lots.

11:28 AM: I'm poised with about fifty other museum patrons to enter the Cafeteria. We're all hoping to beat the hordes of school children rushing about the galleries like Visigoths. I could be dining in one of the Museum's overpriced cafes, but I'm cheap. The gates open! Uttering a "Moo!" that is ignored by the other patrons, I surge into the cafeteria with everyone else. For the record, I had a thrifty lunch of poached salmon, asparagus, potato & and Coke.

Noon: Back into the fray!

When I go to the MET I look for griffins, bronze carts and wagons, medusa cameos, fantastical monsters (sphinxes, fauns, and dragons) and I spend time in the Egyptian, Near East, and Mediaeval wings and the sculpture garden. The sculpture garden was closed -- but I didn't figure that out until after I spent 20 minutes trying to get through the American and Portrait wings. So was part of the Egyptian wing, so I didn't get to see my diadem.

They've moved things around, so I had many pleasant experiences finding familiar art in new places and new art in old places.

I kept wandering into galleries about thirty seconds before tour groups -- this could be either good or bad depending on the average age of the group. The kids tended to be loud and squirrelly; the elderhostel groups were large and were led by a docent.

As I wandered through galleries and saw familiar objects, I took some pictures to try to improve my selection of photographs. The banner in the Mediaeval Wing frustrated me once again -- I always think I have an image of a banner of the Virgin Mary in red and it always comes out blurry. I've given up on trying to get a clear image of signet rings because the glare always confuses the auto focus. The other image that eludes my auto focus is the Egyptian frieze of a "Ball Playing Ceremony" where a pharaoh is tossing a ball at the feet of a goddess (probably Hathor). The composition has the goddess's single breast the same size as the ball.

The Special Exhibition, Venice and the Islamic World, left me cold: there was one cool minbar tile mosaic and the rest was portraits and fabrics. The docent wanted to be my best new friend (I think I was supposed to ask her out).

The exhibit Poiret: King of Fashion was . . . interesting; but I wanted something a little more oomphy -- although I must have been a model in a past life because most of the dresses looked like something I would wear. The most educational part of the exhibit was watching how he sculpted bolts of fabric into dresses. The most entertaining part of that exhibit was learning that he'd throw private parties for scores of people and demand that they wear his clothing designs.

3:30 Back in the cafe for another Coke and a cookie.

4:50 In the gift shop for SHOPPING! After looking at expensive, age-inappropriate gift candidates for Arthur, I go downstairs. I've come to the conclusion that there's nothing sadder than a bibliophile on a tight budget in the MET bookstore. I could easily spend $400 on Very Nice Art Books there. I managed to purchase a book on (surprise) Egyptian Hieroglyphs (leaving behind two sale books on Egyptian Calligraphy and Perfume in the Time of Anthony and Cleopatria) just before the museum staff herded everyone out of the building.

When I got out of the MET I gave Larry H a call to see if he wanted anything from Maison du Chocolat. We chatted for a few moments; he said he really enjoyed seeing Mark and me in parent mode. Then the poor thing had to endure a John non sequitour as I caught sight of some griffins outside a brownstone.

I managed to retrace my route back to the Port Authority. The weirdest thing to happen all day happened as I was buying my return bus ticket to Suffern. A guy, maybe a few years older than me, slammed right into me. I'd noticed him out of the corner of my eye about twenty feet away, walking along the wall the ticket booth was set into. I had my wallet in one hand (I'd been counting dollar bills for the fare). I didn't go down and I managed to hang onto my wallet.

I wound up facing away from the ticket booth, facing him. "Oh my, sir," he said. "I'm sorry; are you alright?" His tone sounded more calculated than conciliatory. He held out his hands as if he wanted to help steady me. Maybe he was drunk, or needed the wall for navigation. Maybe he did want to help me, but I recalled a story from some friends in Mexico who were "helped" in a similar way by a pickpocket.

I watched his hands and I probably gave him a "don't mess with me" scowl. He stopped in mid-step, I assured him I was fine and he went his way.

Evil Big City: Zero; John: Four.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Talking Things

We were supposed to wake up early, but Arthur didn't stir until after 9AM. We must have worn him out yesterday in New York.
Some time just before 9, I stumbled out of the "Hannah Montana Memorial Bedroom" and followed the sounds of 80's rock music to the rec room. It was Richard Simons, and Mary was going through her routine.

Frank, a high school friend of Mark's, and his wife, Lynne, visited. They graciously brought Arthur a talking toy truck, named Mator, from the Pixar movie, "Cars." I lost count, but I think it says over twenty-five different phrases.

Tueday evening, Melora and I went down into the glass shop in the basement and Melora helped me to slump glass in a mini kiln. After agonizing over several pattern ideas that were beyond my ability to cut glass, I made a cute little bird panel.

I find the Damn Hamster and hide it behind a collection of cleaning products in a high shelf.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Arthur in NYC

6 AM: Arthur wakes up. I think. Mark was a sweety and woke up with him.

8:30 AM: At about the time I'm thinking to myself, "Thank God that damn musical hamster isn't out," Mellisa is digging it out of some box. This thing sings "Girl, You Really Got Me Now." and dances. It's loud. I hate it.

10:00 AM: While visiting Melora's work, Arthur apparently reads a co-worker's name tag. "Tina!" Probably he either is wondering where Kristina is or else he hear Melora greet Tina. None-the-less, by this time an entire foyer full of Melora's co-workers is collectively reeling at Arthur's reading ability.

Noon-ish: We arrive at St. John The Divine's cathedral in New York City. The stone carving around doors includes a kabalistic Tree of Life and naked angel wrestling. The fountain in the courtyard is a giant bronze crab on top of which numerous bronze giraffes fondle a muscular Archangel Michael with their necks over the naked decapitated body of Satan.

The fountain used to have fire and water spouts, but it's been planted as a garden and a squirrel now lives inside the crab's body (it has to leap onto the claw holding Satan's head to enter).

We went into the cathedral, which is still being restored from a large fire. Mark gave Arthur the head of a recorder to re-create our Ole-Ole Dining Experience. The little chapels were interesting in their variety; I particularly liked a tile floor.

We met with Larry H and went to Central Park. One of the first things Larry said was, "John, you look great; have you lost weight?" This is about the fourth time someone's said this to me -- I guess I must have looked bloated last time I visited. Arthur and I ran around the park; he wanted to play in the sandpit where various shirtless, sweaty, fit guys were playing volleyball.

Then we went to the Central Park Zoo. Arthur really liked the chains fencing off the walkways, and the water in the sea lion tank, and the manhole covers (except when he lost a straw through one of its holes). Arthur also really liked the clock: every half hour bronze monkeys strike a large bell on top of the clock tower and then a parade of musical instrument holding animals, including a bear, a giraffe, penguins process underneath the clock.

We liked the decor of the zoo, so one thought for our back yard is to construct some columns with rings for a canopy.

We had a great time with Larry. After the zoo, Arthur fell asleep, so we were able to have dinner at Cafe Motzart.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Call the Police

I woke up (underneath the gaze of Hannah and the Care Bears) before Arthur (who slept really late).

Kristina, Mellisa, Mark, Arthur and I went to a local park and ran around. I managed to leave my bag (with my wallet, my cell phone, clie, iPod, my tarot cards, my Big Book of Art) in the park's parking lot.

We went to the store, and didn't discover my bag was gone until we got home. Mark and I hopped into a car and drove to the park. Mark remembered that he had his cell phone, so I called my cell phone.

"John ... Burridge's phone," said a man's voice on the other end.

"Hi," I said. "This is John. Where are you?"

It was a nice policeman and he had my bag. Luckily, he had driven into the parking lot where I left it before anyone couuld call it in as a bomb threat. On the way to retrieve my bag from friendly Officer Mitchel, Mark and I discussed proximity alarms for my bag and wallet. I've decided that I always make these kinds of mistakes when I'm in a new environment.

Megan, Morgan, Marlie, and Masio visited from New Paltz. Arthur is in between Marlie and Masio age-wise, and they played together fairly well.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Adjusting to Time Zones

We slept most of the morning in the "Hannah Montana Memorial Guest Room." For the next week I will wake underneath the gaze of Hanna Montana (a sort of 90's Annette Funichelo) and a host of Care Bears. Arthur and Kristina played well together during the afternoon.

Then we went to visit Veronica at Ole Ole, the restaurant she works at. Arthur flirted with the waitresses, and we decided to eat there. Mark let Arthur play with Melora's car key chain. So dinner conversations in the entire restaurant stopped when Arthur figured out how to use her safety whistle.

When we went back to Mark's Mom's house, I got sucked into the SciFi channel, and saw the penultimate, first, second and third episodes of "Heros." OK, it was after 1 AM when I went to sleep (buy hey, that's only 11 PM west coast time).

Friday, May 18, 2007

Flying to Suffern

I misheard Mark when he said when we were going to leave. So we ended up leaving for the airport an hour later than we should have.

Luckily, we managed to get curbside bag check and through security quickly. We thought for sure that Arthur's applesauce, bananas, and diaper stuff would cause a problem. Nope. It was my carry-on -- I'm guessing it was the camera, batteries, and metal pencil case.

We took off at 10 PM. Arthur was the best baby on the plane. The worst baby on the plane was a cranky six month old who was angry at her parents for bringing her onto the plane.

Arthur mostly sat in his chair. OK. He kicked the back of the seat in front of him and tried to unlock the tray-table with his toes. He refused to go to sleep, and tried climbing up his seat. Finally he had a mini-melt down and collapsed on our laps. This didn't prevent him from kicking me in the pancreas.

Arthur slept through the violent, sex-filled movie and the rough landing at 3 AM (our time). I don't think Mark slept at all. I always forget that the night is shorter when one flies east.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Moon Wednesday

Today was a new moon day. I try to feel mystic on new moon days, but usually I end up feeling low-energy and listless.

Today was a four Pepsi can day. It was fun while it lasted.

Today I ate a lot of chocolate. Hopefully I won't get a case of "backne."

Today was a Värttinä day. With any luck, hearing the song "Äijö" won't require therapy sessions for Arthur. I like the vocals and the percussion. Now if I could only figure out what they're singing -- I'd ask my Grandmother, but as she's Norwegian and the band is Finnish that wouldn't get me very far. Oh... wait... the lyrics are at the Varttina web site. (reads English translation) Oh. (reads more lyrics) How cheery. Oh, wait... here's a Quick Time movie of the group (16 MB) singing Äijö. Hmmm... I'm not sure but I think it's ABBA meets "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

One of today's high points was opening up "The Fearful Parent" Magazine to their laughable and pathetic "For Dads" collumn. This month's dad was shirtless, had low riding jeans so you could see his white Calvin Klein underwear band, and boasted a large koi tatoo on his shoulder and triceps. I guess I'm going to have to get ink done.

Muriel continues to be an irritant.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I find your lack of faith disturbing

Last Friday we went to Jerry's, a local hardware and houseware store. While we were traipsing through the waterfall section (and discovering that all the rock waterfalls are really plastic waterfalls) I spied an outdoor furniture arrangement. "Oh," I said, "it's Cafe John."

"You've been saying that for years," said Mark. "I don't believe that Cafe John exsists. Or if it does it's that card table sitting out on our patio."


For those of you who are wondering what 'Cafe John' is, it is an outdoor cafe table large enough to hold writing supplies, a teapot, several tea cups, and a plate or two of savories. The table's surface must be smooth -- so it's likely that it's brushed metal or glass plate. Two to four outdoor chairs surround the table -- they're probably made of metal, but they must be comfortable. There might be an umbrella over the table... or it might be in a gazebo... or white canvas drapes or other pavilion structure could shade it. And, I've decided that it should have a fountain or other ambient sound to drown out some of our louder neighbors.

So last night I went to Froogle to price out outdoor cafe furniture, only to discover that it had been replaced by Google Products and my previous wish lists had been lost. Sigh. Time to rebuild. I did find a really tall set of chairs, and my excitement that I might have found a workspace out of Arthur's reach was unbounded until I realized he would simply knock them over (probably onto himself). Unfortunately, it looks like I can have gracious or I can have cheap.

So now it's time to shop, because Goddess knows that I'm going to want to sit in a chair and table set before I buy it. And while I'm at it, I'm going to get a bench/bin for all the plastic toys scattered around the card table, too.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Mother's Tears

We've survived another Mothers' Day Weekend.

The tea party event was less High Tea than I thought and more mawkish than I thought possible. Granted, it was a Mothers' Day event (and children's fashion show) and because I was there with my Mother (and Dad), as the MC tearfully read a poem about thanking God for moments taken with the matching of socks and how only a Mother can heal life's boo-boos, I reached over and placed my hand over Mark's instead of French-kissing him. I mean please, just because Mark's the Working Dad and I'm the Stay-At-Home Dad doesn't mean Arthur is any less (or more) blessed by [insert your favorite Cosmic Force] here. As the third (ahem) poem was being read I realized I was in a room that the Baby-Military-Industrial-Complex loves. It was frightening.

Arthur, as usual, was Very Cute; and I'm thinking now that when people said "What a well behaved, even tempered child," we should have answered, "Thank you; he's the product of two gay dads." Oh well. We'll have to keep that it mind next year.

Mark didn't wear a brooch; but I wore my Celtic triskelion brooch. Neither of us wore hats, and only two other folks at the event did -- one was a straw sun bonnet, and the other one was an interesting affair with large flower patterns descretely sewn around its rim. I guess people don't do hats anymore.

The food was nice and the fashion show was fun.

After tea, Mark, Arthur and I went to a park and played on an old train. It was kind of cold, so I had to distract myself by taking photographs. By the time we got home from the park, Arthur was asleep. This meant we had to eat a little later (which was fine because I know I was still burning off all the tea and scones) because we couldn't have home made pizza until Arthur woke up to help my Dad mix the dough in THE MIXER!

Sunday my Aunt Joanne, Uncle Ron, and Cousin Kevin visited my folks. Grandma was there, too; she was a little more disorented today than I've seen her be in the last few months. We think we might deviated too much from her routine, which tends to confuse her. We had a tasty late lunch, and the desert was Ted Allen's Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse (thanks, Ted).

The pollen count is very high, which makes Mark sad; I had to take out my contact lenses. Arthur continues to be a little off-schedule with things like naps -- but given how much chocolate he's had this weekend I can understand that.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Jackie Oh!

My Mom wants to take us to a tea party and fashion show. So we're going.

"Do we get to wear Jackie O hats?" I asked. I'm not exactly sure I can reproduce the sound my Mom made over the phone. "Are you going to wear your Jackie O hat?" I asked once she could speak again.

"Well..." she said, "I'm not even sure I still have a Jackie O hat. I'll have to look in my hat boxes..."

I told Mark about the tea party and how we would both have to wear Jackie O hats.

Arthur piped up, "Jackie O hat!" and then repeated this phrase about fifty times. Mark accused me of dressing up Arthur in pill box hats all day, and then said that he wasn't going to wear a Jackie O hat.

"Oh, come on," I said, recalling his black pill box hat with a half-viel of black lace. "At least wear a broach. I think I might wear my Indian Wedding caftan."

Mark muttered something about a laundry accident.

More on High Tea Hijinx with the Ladies who Lunch after the event...

On the Arthur front, Arthur has been demanding that I sing (or play) Sting's version of the Christmas carol, "Gabriel's Message". It took me the longest time to figure out what he meant by "Angel; Sing," because he would get this slightlly out-of-focus look in his eyes and he would hold up his hands. For a moment I thought he was having some kind of religous (or at least New Age) experience, but then I realized his hand motions were his sign for singing and dancing.

Also on the Arthur front, I noticed that the word "chocolate" became more frequent this week. That's because Mark had bought a bag of chocolate buttons and was sneaking them behind my back. Arthur could smell them on Mark's breath and was asking for his own. Now if I could train Arthur to find my keys... hmmm.... on second thought, that's probably a bad idea.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Seasons and Light

Yesterday Arthur woke up at 5:30 AM. We weren't sure if his teeth were bothering him or if it was the sunlight coming through his window. Last night Mark put up a curtain (of sorts) and this morning Arthur slept much later. Later today we plan to go shopping for real curtains.

Monday and Tuesday were very warm -- high 70's and low 80's. I much prefer Wednesday's weather -- low 70's and partly cloudy. At least there was wind on the really warm days; in July and August it becomes quite breathless here. I'm trying to think up strategies for keeping the house cool then because it typically lags about three hours behind the outside temperature (which can be really obnoxious when it's 85 F at 10 PM). Right now the yard is nice to be in, but we're getting into the season of no shade as the sun's zenith goes farthur north.

Arthur likes to hang out at a local playground that has water features. That means when we're in our backyard he wants the garden hose one. I'm thinking that I should put together some sort of foutain that will recirculate water so that we won't be using so much this summer on infant recreation.

On the writing front I need to get things into the mail; there's no more excuses as I've finished my mailcall tracking script. I had a funny moment when one of my writing friends pointed out that I was recreating the Duotrope web site. Oh well. It may be a good idea to use both my tool and the web tool for backup purposes.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Write-O-Rama Photos

For those of you who want to see pictures of last week's writing workshop, there's a bunch posted at

Arthur's teeth bothered him so much today that he's taking an early nap.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Adventures in Newport

Mark had a seminar over the weekend, so we spent most of Saturday at the coast.

While we were travelling on Hyw 99 W, Arthur calmly said, "Change diaper, please." We stopped and he needed it. Mark was great and changed it while I went in for Pepsis. When Arthur saw what I had, he said, "John, evil drink, please."

When we got to Newport, where Mark's seminar was being held, we ran into a parade detour. A race closed most of Hwy 101. Mark started laughing as we drove with a host of other tourists through scenic beachfront Newport. Eventually, we overshot and ended up north of Newport at Moloch Beach. I'm not sure why Oregon has a beach named after an Old Testiment demon. By this time Mark was on his cell phone to the hotel where his seminar was -- the didn't seem to believe him when he told them the Newport Police had shut down their 101 entrance.

After we dropped Mark off, Arthur and I went to the Oregon Aquarium -- on the south end of Newport. Arthur liked the otters, the sealions and the harbor seals, and the birds. He also liked the gravel, the machines that crank pennies into tourist trinkets, a barrel of plush snakes, and the fake tidal pool. The plexiglas shark tunnel was merely an obstical to go through so he could get to the water sculpture at its exit. We mostly had a good time; Arthur saw a bunch of kids herded by their older relatives into a group family shot, so when they left, he demanded that I take his picture. But, he got upset with me when I wouldn't let him get inside of the Plover exhibit and didn't appreciate it when I told him that if he studied ornithology in college then the Aquarium might let him in. But he really lost it when I wouldn't climb into the otter tank to get their ball so he could play with it.

We drove back to the north end on a blissfully clear Hwy 101. We parked in the Agate Beach wayside and then Arthur and I had a quick snack and then found Mark. By this time Arthur had his second wind and Mark froze his feet off making sure Arthur didn't wade to Hawaii. We saw lots of kites and met lots of friendly people -- two of which managed to catch sand crabs for Arthur to look at (by this time my camera's batteries had died or I would have snapped a shot).

After cavorting on the beach for about ninety minutes, it was time for dinner. So we thought we'd go to The Whale's Tale in Newport. While we walked around Bay Blvd in beautiful Newport looking at "coastal art" and basking (tatooed) sealions, we met a (very tatooed) hooker, a drunk (presumably unemployed fisherman), and fellow Wordo Jeff Gieger. (No, Jeff was with his significant other and her parents.) Dining was also an adventure as we watched a (very loud) party of nine enter The Whale's Tale, spend about ten minutes trying to fit around a table for six, and then leave. Arthur shared our dinners, which is his favorite thing to do (and talk about) when we are in a restaurant.

We got home quite late. Sunday was lazy, except for the gardening.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Tra La, It's May

Busy week.

My Dad called and he wants pictures pictures pictures.... so here they are...

I spent most of Monday sort of recovering from a weekend writers' workshop with Ellen Datlow. A group of (mostly) Wordos spent the weekend critiquing fourteen stories. It was fun meeting Ellen in Eugene instead of at OryCon because I didn't have to worry about when the next pannel was.

Arthur and I went to my folk's on Monday and spent the night. Arthur and my Dad get along well. Arthur still talks about the time Dad showed him the moon; but his new grandpa thing is mixing pizza dough in the Kitchen Aid. I'm sure that once he figures out my Mom has a computer downstairs that she'll be his New Best Friend.

We also visited my Grandmother. She's doing quite well; she's walking with a walker and you'd never guess that early last Februrary she had her hip replaced. She's also in a new place, and I don't know what they're doing there, but Grandma's recovered a lot of her mental functioning -- it's like she was about four or five years ago.

Tuesday was Beltane. There was a nice Unitarian Pagan ritual at the UU church. We danced around a Maypole and jumped over fires. I surpressed my urge to expain to people, "When a Boy God loves another Boy God very much, things get tied up and there's dancing afterwards." Tuesday night is usually Wordos night, but it was kind of nice to take a quick break from all the critiques.

Pollen season is here, so that means Mark has been sneezing a lot. And he's been really tired. He provides great support for Arthur when he gets home, but the poor thing is so tired by the end of the day that he frequently passes out with Arthur during the bed-time story.

On the writing front, I've been working on a PHP script to help me manage my stories in the mail. Marketing is the hardest writer task for me, and my script tracks which magazines I've sent stories to and makes suggestions for where to send them based on genre, word count, and pay scale (not in that order). I like being able to write scripts; it's one of the things I miss about my old job at the U of O. And... I have some things I have to iron out of the script before Arthur wakes up from his nap.