Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tis the Season for Doing Dishes

Another holiday (I use that word deliberately - you'll see why later) season has come and gone, seemingly in the blink of an eye. 6 for dinner on Christmas Eve, and another 8 on Christmas Day made for lots of time in the kitchen. Yours truly washed each plate we own at least 4 times in a 48 hour period. Talk about your dish-pan hands... Seems only fair tho. Since The Wife did all the before-we-eat work, it was right that I take care of the aftermath. Who knows when we'll finally get our refrigerator back from all those leftovers.

Christmas Eve was with The Wife's parents and the Kid's Godparents. The second round of gifts were exchanged, and after The Kid retired for the night (after being told to listen for the reindeer on the roof), and the men-folk retired for brandy and cigars. Ha! Just kidding. We spent the evening assembling toys using instructions that were translated from Chinese to English by someone who speaks neither language. It's a dad rite of passage, so I didn't complain.

Much.

Christmas Day dawned as early as ever, since The Kid has yet to grasp the concept of "sleeping in". The opening of the presents (round 3) had scarcely begun when my parents arrived, with more gifts and food in hand. Brunch was a Strata that was enjoyed by all, but loved especially by The Kid and The Cat. Both were literally begging for more. By 11:00, The Kid was reaching her MSL (maximum stimulation limit), and needed a nap. Smart one there. The brunch plates were cleared, and room was made for the afternoon snacks for to hold us over until dinner.

As I mentioned, 8 for dinner, including some dear friends who just returned from a little over a year in Australia. When I say "just returned", I mean that one of them landed less than 24 hours before after a non-stop flight from Tokyo. The fact that he was still able to speak in complete sentences was remarkable. As was the fact that they chose to spend the evening with us. Dinner was a prime rib that weighed in at a rather respectable 8 pounds, along with a metric ton of sides and sauces. If The Wife is famous for anything besides her looks, her personality, her style, and her hospitality, it's her sauces. Right Mike?

With the sun a distant memory and the last load of dishes done, I finally got to that a cigar and nightcap.

But it wasn't over yet...

The house was empty again on Saturday, but only briefly. On Sunday morning, we celebrated Hanukkah (or at least one of the days thereof) with another couple and their daughter, who was born about a week after The Kid. It was another Norman Rockwell moment, if only he had painted scenes of tables covered in bagels and Salmon fritatas. The two girls played together, and us grown-ups watched with joy in our hearts.

Back to work today, only to get ready for Wednesday, when a completely different set of people will be staying with us to ring in the New Year. 6 for dinner. I'm thinking take-out on paper plates, but something tells me that I'll be washing all of our dishes at least once more in 2008.

* Pics are coming soon. Technical problems with a Snapfish upgrade...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Early Christmas

We had a bit of an early Christmas at Casa del Jeopardy over the weekend. With family members having commitments all throughout the mid-atlantic region, it became necessary to celebrate the season more than once.

Not that anyone was complaining.

The Wife's brother and his wife came up from thier bucolic paradise outside of Williamsburg so as to share in some festivities and help decorate our humble abode. The tree was trimmed, and the house bedecked with all manner of garland, greenery, and lights. Even our semi-adopted daughter, Midshipman 4/c J, joined in the fun. She took a break from her cell-phone texting and ipod listening long enough to hang an ornament or two. Teenagers will be teenagers, even when their the future leaders of America. Lest you think that this somehow bodes ill for us, let me be clear: we will be in good hands.

Gifts were exchanged, to the delight of all, especially me. I (OK, it was for both of us) got an antique rocking chair that fits like a glove, and is the perfect place to relax in my cardigan next to the fire.

Of course, no one gets more excited than kids. The Kid got something really neat from her Aunt and Uncle this year.

For those of you who didn't know, The Wife is a musician. She has a BA degree in piano, even.

So when Auntie and Uncle arrived with this,


It was like looking into the future. Or maybe the past...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On Being a Daddy

Before you become a parent, everyone says to you "it's gonna change everything". What you don't realize, can't realize, is what exactly "everything" really means.

Sure, in the beginning you get a lot less sleep, and you're pretty much chained to the house 24/7. Those are no-brainers. You can probably also comprehend loving something as much as you do your child. Again, not a great mental leap.

Of course, "everything" means the little things too. The really un-obvious ones. Allow me to offer an illustration from my recent past.

Several months ago, I went to a wedding for the first time since becoming a dad. No, not that one. It was before that. The Wife couldn't go, so it was just me. Again, it was a shipmate, so I was in my Full Dress Blues, looking awfully dapper and manly. If I do say so myself.

Everything was going swimmingly right up until the father of the bride arrived at the end of the aisle with his daughter on his arm. It was at that moment I realized that someday I was likely to find myself in that position. It was a strange amalgam of fear, resignation, hope, and joy.

So there I was, flanked on either side by fellow Naval Officers, resplendent exemplars of the best America has to offer, and I'm trying my best to remain composed. From what I recall, I faked stifling a sneeze to explain the sudden un-dryness in the ocular regions of my face. At least I retained some of my dignity. I'm just glad we (as ushers) were seated in the back of the room.

I thought my father-in-law might have enjoyed or at least related to this story, so I called him the next day.

When I got done, you know what he said?

"When it was my turn, it wasn't hard at all."

That may be the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me...

Ask

And ye shall receive...




















Reading a book before bathtime. Which explains the dinner on her shirt.



Taking a bath and experimenting with new 'dos.


The reasons I wake up, the reasons I come home, the reasons for my very existence.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shopping

So, yeah. It's that time of year again. Thankfully, the intertubes have put forth a site where pretty much everything is way cool.

Looking for a gift for me? You'll find it here.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

So I Got To Use My Sword Today

I just got back home from attending a buddy's wedding over at the Naval Academy. Beautiful place, the Academy Chapel. And the wedding was nice, too. We're not very close, the groom and I, but he was a shipmate in need, and that's what we do.

Having a sword arch with only 5 people? Well, that's just not done. I'm local and I own a sword. It was the very least I could do.

I was more than happy to don my Full Dress Whites for the first time, sword and all. The Wife couldn't make it, since someone had to watch The Kid. It's just as well, since she didn't know anyone there at all.

I have never been on The Yard in uniform, much less in one of the nicer ones we have. Did you know that tourists just love to get their picture taken with random Naval Officers? I didn't know that either. You may also be surprised to know that there are a lot of really hot young women among those tourists, and they all wanted to get their picture taken with me. Go figure.

In a country that seems to be infatuated with litigation and warning labels, it seems that the U.S. Navy is leaving itself wide open to some sort of lawsuit by not placing warning label in this uniform.


WARNING: IF YOU EARN THE RIGHT TO WEAR THIS UNIFORM, HOT WOMEN WILL LIKELY THROW THEMSELVES AT YOU.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Halloween

I know I'm a few days late in getting to it, but we made our annual Halloween pilgrimage to Greensboro last weekend.

We began the day by dropping The Kid off at her Grandparent's house (thanks Lili!) and continuing on. If you remember from last year, the drive down was absolutely horrid. What should have taken 6 hours ended up taking well over 10. This year was a complete opposite. Strikingly beautiful weather for the entire trip. We eschewed the interstates as much as possible, sticking to state routes and byways. We traversed a goodly portion of the Old Dominion, which was in its full autumnal glory.


The weather for the weekend was typical late October in the Piedmont. Highs in the 70's and lows in the 40's. I had to pack one of everything.

This event was different from years past, in that our most gracious hosts decided against the big bash and opted for a more intimate affair. Not that the big parties weren't a bucketload of fun, but it made it harder to actually, you know, socialize. The house was bedecked in all of its Halloween finery, and the photos cannot do justice to the decor.





I have to admit that I cannot remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did on Saturday night. Barbs were zinging back and forth in the way that only happens between people who have known each other as long as we all have. An outsider would have seen us laughing for no apparent reason, and to try and explain it would have somehow made it less magical for us. Suffice it to say, I am likely the worst dart player on the east coast, if not the whole of North America.

What else did we do?

Glad you asked...



We relaxed by the lake



We watched demonic Michigan fans learn to drive.



and we cornholed in the driveway for countless hours. A surprisingly difficult game, if you've never tried it. There's a whole lot more strategery then you might think.

Alas, Sunday came far to soon, and we got back into the car to head home. The Wife and I had forgotten how quickly one can pack without the The Kid and all of her accouterments. We were blessed with the same good weather going home as we had on the way down, and took an even more scenic route back to Richmond. Twisty roads through rolling hills that gradually gave way to the flat and straight topography of civilization. The Kid seemed genuinely happy to see us, and delighted in showing us the toys she has only at her grandmother's place.

Since we only get to see this particular circle of friends a few times a year, the time we get to spend with them is all the more special. Next up on our schedule is the annual March Madness weekend, which is (thankfully) much closer to home. And although college basketball ranks just above cleaning the catbox on my things-I-want-to-do-o-meter, that's OK. I don't go to watch the games.

Monday, November 3, 2008

As Promised

Some photos of our fall adventure...

Going down the slide


Making new friends


Helping Mommy find the right pumpkin (or as The Kid says, "cumpin")



Running through the cumpin patch

A hayride with Daddy

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kindred Spirit

Love me, love my Lego.

More here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Roadside America

It was a beautiful autumn Sunday here in the Old Line state, with a sky that was the reason someone invented the word azure. Leaves were falling, while here and there whiffs of wood smoke meandered through the air, letting all those with a sense of smell know that fall had well and truly arrived.

We packed The Kid into the family conveyance, met up with some friends, and travelled to visit a little slice of the not-so-distant past up in Ellicott City.

Before the days of Disney, King's Dominion, Busch Gardens, and the Interstate Highway System, America was dotted with small amusement parks and theme villages along the by-ways. Some were simple attractions like the world's largest ball of twine, or a back-room oddity museums, precursors of the modern-day corporate amusement park. While some of these have endured, most have lost the battle for vacation dollars to the larger, flashier attractions. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for a good high-tech roller coaster, but there is something to be said for the simplicity of these smaller sites.

The Enchanted Forest first opened in 1955, but closed in the late 1980's. A small and dedicated group of volunteers began raising money to re-open the park, but to no avail. In the early 2000's, they began to relocate and restore some of the attractions to a nearby farm and petting zoo. It's a shadow of its former self, but walking through the small vignettes gives you an appreciation for what we used to do when we went on vacation.

But did The Kid have fun.

I have pictures, of course, but they'll have to wait until tomorrow because the camera's memory card is safe in The Wife's work computer...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rookie Mistake

So The Wife had a networking function last night, which means I had to take care of The Kid all by my lonesome. It's been a while since I had to do it, and as she gets older, it becomes more and more challenging. In addition to the basics (feeding, cleaning, changing) we now have the added complication of entertaining the wee one for the 3 hours between getting home and bedtime. The simple solution to the entertainment issue is to acquiesce to the cries of "mowie, mowie" followed by "gooins, gooins". For those unable to translate Kid to English, this means "movie, movie" and "penguins, penguins". These are in turn translated as requests to watch Dreamworks' magnum opus "Madagascar".

Madawhoo-ha?

No, not whoo-ha. gascar.

I digress.

I resisted the urge to take the easy road and we watched The Science Channel instead, in a hopefully not in vain attempt to get The Kid as interested in cosmology as I am. It hasn't stuck yet, but it's still early.

We had the usual dinner and a bath, followed by story time and going to bed. Giving a bath solo is always a challenge, but I somehow managed to pull it off without a) letting The Kid spend extended periods of time underwater, and b) not getting completely soaked myself.

You: Where is this mistake of which you speak?
Me: I'm getting to that.

Since The Kid is all about routine (wonder where she got that?), not having half of the parenting team there left her somewhat out-of-sorts when she went to bed. Notice how I didn't say "to sleep". The Kid was in bed at about 7:30, and The Wife arrived home at 9:00 or so. Since The Kid was still more or less still awake, we decided to go on up to her room so Mommy could say goodnight.

Anyone else see where this is going?

Yeah. That went over like a lead balloon. There were tears, crying, lots of hugs, and a steadfast refusal to get back into the bed. We finally just put her into the crib and let her cry it out.

Funny thing, though. As soon as we closed the door to her room, it was as though she had been shot with a tranquilizer dart. Out like a light. Still, I don't think we'll be trying that again.

Just like Alex the Lion in Madagascar, but probably without the Sammy Davis Jr. soundtrack.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Things have been pretty busy around Casa del Jeopardy these days.
Easily the biggest event of late was my 20th high school reunion. I remember when my folks went to my dad's 20th, and I'm nowhere near as old as he is. Someone must be messing around with the time-space continuum again.
Anyway...

Here we are all gussied up for the party:


And to give you some indication of how people change over 20 years, here are 3 good friends then and now.

Then:

Welcome to Mullettville, population:3
Now:





We had only been at the party for an hour by the time the 10th person asked "Why aren't you on facebook?"
I may be a tech guy, but I think I am slowly evolving into a high-order Luddite. My new cell phone can only do one thing: make phone calls. No camera, no Internet, no GPS, no frills. I think it was designed for old people. Long story short, I caved to peer pressure (just like high school) and signed up for facebook the next day. I've heard from friends that I have neither seen nor heard from on decades. When I left college in '92, there was no Internet, and by extension, no email. keeping in touch with far-flung friends was difficult, and if you lost someone's phone number, you'd likely never speak to them again. Facebook may have it's faults (it's a stalker's paradise), but I'm enjoying catching up.
I'd be remiss if I didn't note one old friend who couldn't make it. He was born with a heart condition and was always living on borrowed time. It ran out some years back. I remember he and I went to see Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on opening weekend. As I recall, he wasn't too fond of the scene where the evil priest removed the still-beating heart from the sacrificial victim. He was a great guy with a terrific sense of humor and I was really hoping to get to see him again.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Taking the Threat Seriously

As most of you probably know, I'm a computer security guy for my week-day job. I know a thing or two about viruses and such. I also know about the numerous "forward this to everyone you know" emails that always turn out to be hoaxes.

This one is real. Got it today:

A warning to everyone about some dangerous emails that are making the rounds...

If you receive an email with the subject: "Nude Pictures of Sarah Palin!", Do not open it-- it may contain a virus.

If you receive an email with the subject: "Nude Pictures of Hillary Clinton!", Do not open it-- it may contain nude photos of Hillary Clinton.

Consider yourself warned...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Uncopyrightable

is widely acknowledged as being the longest word in the English language that does not repeat a letter.

Why do I care?

Well, as a consumer of all things trivial (helloooo. what's my name?), I also have a practical reason for knowing as many non-letter repeating words as possible.

A few months ago, as soon as The Kid was old enough for baths in the big tub (vice the kitchen sink) The Wife bought a set of foam letters that stick to the side of the tub. The only problem is that there is only one of each letter. Needless to say, that makes the number of words I can spell rather limited. It doesn't help that I have a compulsion to spell a different word every night.

Before you say it, I am well aware that OCD does not repeat a letter.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another post, but somewhere else

I posted on The Flight Deck for the first time in quite a while. You can check it out here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In My Inbox Today

From: HPAULSON@treasury.gov
Subject: INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU
To: Jeopardy
Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2008, 10:52 AM
DEAR AMERICAN:

I NEED TO ASK YOU TO SUPPORT AN URGENT SECRET BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH A TRANSFER OF FUNDS OF GREAT MAGNITUDE.

I AM MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY OF THE REPUBLIC OF AMERICA. MY COUNTRY HAS HAD CRISIS THAT HAS CAUSED THE NEED FOR LARGE TRANSFER OF FUNDS OF 800 BILLION DOLLARS US. IF YOU WOULD ASSIST ME IN THIS TRANSFER, IT WOULD BE MOST PROFITABLE TO YOU.

I AM WORKING WITH MR. PHIL GRAM, LOBBYIST FOR UBS, WHO WILL BE MY REPLACEMENT AS MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY IN JANUARY. AS A SENATOR, YOU MAY KNOW HIM AS THE LEADER OF THE AMERICAN BANKING DEREGULATION MOVEMENT IN THE 1990S. THIS TRANSACTIN IS 100% SAFE.

THIS IS A MATTER OF GREAT URGENCY. WE NEED A BLANK CHECK. WE NEED THE FUNDS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. WE CANNOT DIRECTLY TRANSFER THESE FUNDS IN THE NAMES OF OUR CLOSE FRIENDS BECAUSE WE ARE CONSTANTLY UNDER SURVEILLANCE. MY FAMILY LAWYER ADVISED ME THAT I SHOULD LOOK FOR A RELIABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY PERSON WHO WILL ACT AS A NEXT OF KIN SO THE FUNDS CAN BE TRANSFERRED.

PLEASE REPLY WITH ALL OF YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, IRA AND COLLEGE FUND ACCOUNT NUMBERS AND THOSE OF YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN TO WALLSTREETBAILOUT@TREASURY.GOV SO THAT WE MAY TRANSFER YOUR COMMISSION FOR THIS TRANSACTION. AFTER I RECEIVE THAT INFORMATION, I WILL RESPOND WITH DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT SAFEGUARDS THAT WILL BE USED TO PROTECT THE FUNDS.

YOURS FAITHFULLY MINISTER OF TREASURY PAULSON

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Ravages of Age

One of the things I don't appreciate about getting older is what it happening to my eyebrows.

They used to be completely normal, but now there are a few rogue hairs that have decided to go all-out. If this continues, I can't help but wonder what it will be like.

With modern image-rendering technology, we don't have to wonder. Using sophisticated age simulation technology, we can peer into the magic mirror and see my future self.

It isn't pretty:



Turns out that I'm not alone. More and more men are turning to the professionals for manscaping their manbrows.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hard to Find the Right Word

As I have mentioned before, The Kid is a pretty happy toddler. It seems like she's always in a good mood.

So, what happens when you give a first ice cream sandwich to someone who is already very happy?

They cross over into emotional territory that is beyond just bliss or joy.



Click the picture to embiggin and appreciate the mess we had afterwards. This photo was taken when she was about half-way through the sandwich.

With video goodness to boot:



Note the lizard-like tongue action.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Puzzler

I wanted to bring up something that has been troubling me for some time. I fear that I am spending far too much time pondering it, and doubt I will ever find a satisfactory solution. I may very well spend the rest of my days lacking a clear resolution. Here goes...

How exactly does one throw out a trash can?

Seriously. Think about it.

I'm not talking about a kitchen or household trash can, but one of the large take-to-the-curb ones.

Let's turn a critical eye to our options.

1) Take the Can to the Curb
I suppose this might work, but more likely than not, the garbage man (er, I mean waste disposal technician) will simply figure you are a moron for taking an empty trash can to the street.

2) Add a Sign to the Can
Let's imagine that you place a sign on the can that says "this can is trash". What exactly do you mean? The can itself is trash, or the items contained within it are trash? Maybe you have multiple cans, each labeled "this can is trash", "this can is recycling", or "this can is lawn debris". Once again, the collecting of the can itself as trash is placed into doubt by the ambiguity of the sign. A sign that clearly states what you intend would have to be something like: "This can is trash. And by that I mean the can itself (not the contents) is trash and should be collected." Methinks a sign that long won't be read. Again, you'll be thought a moron.

3) Cut the Can up into Little Pieces
Curb-side trash cans are designed to be durable and resist breakage. Even with my sawzall, it would take considerable effort to render a can into small enough pieces to put them into another can. Sounds a little too much like work o me.

4) Put it into a Bigger Can
While this is the primary method of disposing of lesser containers, it only works a few times before you end up with a trash can the size of the Space Shuttle External Tank. Not practical at all.

5) Take it to The Dump
Like I'm going to put a nasty trash can in my car and take a day off from work so I can go to the dump during their convenient weekday working hour.

6) Move and Leave the Old Can Behind
While expensive, it certainly has it benefits. Let somebody else deal with it, along with that leak in the basement. You just have to make sure that the movers don't pack it and take it to the new place.

As you can probably see, this is a problem that has vexed me for some time now. Our current trash can is starting to show its age, but The Wife has yet to recognize the dilemma in which we shall shortly find ourselves.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wild Kingdom - A Musing in 3 Parts: III

On the Seeing of Actual Animals

We took The Kid to the zoo for the first time a few weekends ago. And a good time was had by all. It was decided that the Richmond Zoo would be just the thing, what with the Grandparents living not so far away from there. And the weather was nice too. The mid-80s at noon in Richmond in August is just about unheard of. But we weren't complaining.

What did we see? There were small monkeys (or "gunkeys" as The Kid calls them).




There were big monkeys*.


there were chickens



Chickens which needed to be chased, no less.


We also saw gators, tigers, camels, bears, zebras, and assorted other creatures. All behind fences that seemed to be exactly at the Kid's eye level. Not that she wasn't able to adapt.








But best of all, The Kid got to see her grandparents.




* OK, so orangutans aren't technically monkeys. They're great apes, but until I can get The Kid to day "hominidae", they'll be monkeys.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Something old, Something not old

In the film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", there is a scene where King Arthur happens across a 37 year-old peasant working in the fields. The king mistakes him for an old woman.

"I'm 37. I'm not old." protests the peasant.

So I guess 38 is old?

That sucks, but at least I don't look like a woman.

On a happier note, here's my friend who just happens to be turning 3 on the very same day I turn 38.

How cool is that?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wild Kingdom - A Musing in 3 Parts: II

Part II: On the Consuming of Bugs

A few evenings ago, around twilight, we noticed some strange looking birds flitting around our back yard. Upon closer inspection, we realized that they're not birds at all. They were beautiful, swooping, feeding bats.

I like bats. Not enough to keep them as pets (ewwwww), but I appreciate what the can do for me. Anything that can eat its weight in mosquitoes every night is A-OK in my book. These winged mammalian hunters of the night, using an internal echolocation system that could put some of the most sophisticated military target tracking radars to shame. At once simple and complex, they are magnificent denizens of the night sky.

I immediately began to ponder ways to encourage these nocturnal visitors. I plan on some bat boxes, but need to figure out what kinds of bats they are. I also want to try and attract more food for them, but that would mean deliberately encouraging mosquitoes to come into my yard. Not a thrilling prospect.

Anyone got any ideas?


PS: I'm fully aware that bats are natural vectors for any number of zoonotic pathogens. Nasty ones too. I don't want to pet them, just encourage them to eat as many mosquitoes as they can.

Wild Kingdom - A Musing in 3 Parts: 1

Lots of animal activity of late around here. Not really sure what that's all about.
Part I: Wherein the Cat Earns Her Keep.

Last Friday, I left for work as usual, with my lovely wife still abed and enjoying her last few moments of shut-eye before greeting the day.

At about 6:15, she heard the Cat making unusual mewing and chirping noises. This usually means that she's not feeling well (about to hork up a hairball), or she's got something cornered. The noise subsided after a few minutes, and my wife went back to sleep.

A few minutes after that, the Cat (as is her wont) jumped up onto the bed. Normally, she finds a nice spot on which to curl up for an early morning nap, but on this day she made straight for the Wife's head. She usually does this when she's hungry and either wants you to wake up and feed her, or at least get up and watch her eat. She's a strange cat, that way.

But not today. With the Cat's face a mere inches from my hers, my Lovely Bride slowly opened her tired eyes to find our Cat staring back at her. With a (mostly) uninjured mouse in it's mouth. Apparently this is not my wife's preferred way to wake up.
Of course, when I heard this story, I immediately asked if the Cat was sufficiently praised for her work, and was told that yes, praise was lavished upon the Cat, along with some pleadings that should a rodent be captured in the future please wait until a decent hour before announcing it and for heaven's sake don't bring it into the bed.

With a shoe box in hand, the Wife dutifully collected the (mostly) uninjured mouse and deposited him (or her) back into the wild from whence it came. Seeing as it's the second time the little fella has made it into the house and been captured, I'm sure we'll see it again.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday AM!

I was looking for a photo of my sister to post, and realized that I don't have a recent photo of her in digital format. I do have one from a few years ago. It's a bit out of focus, but aren't we all sometimes?



In any case, here's to you.
She's got three terrific kids, a great husband, and couldn't be a better sibling. You never cease to inpsire us. I hope your birthday is a good one.

Friday, July 25, 2008

More, please

Looks like the 232 year-old Brass Ceiling has been shattered.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed the appointment of Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody to the grade of four-star general.



Like I've said before, I envision a world where my daughter won't have the opportunity to be the first woman to do anything. One more down, many more to go.

Mildly Amusing

So, I was walking through a cube-farm over at the Pentagon the other day, and I saw this hanging on someone's wall. It made me giggle, so I thought I'd share...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Birthday

To quite possibly the best female vocalist recording today.



Iffin you haven't heard her recording of "Evermore" from the Sandra Boynton album "Dog Train", do yourself a favor and listen to it here. If it doesn't make you just a little bit weepy, I think you may be a Cylon.

Happy 37th to Alison Krauss.

Your Wish is my Command

Had a request for more Kid pics, so here's a few choice ones from the past couple of weeks...



Yo Yo Yo! Kiddo in the Hizzouse...




"How do I get my hair so wavy? By applying a lot of applesauce and chewed-up pasta, of course..."





Today I am happy. For that I shall smile.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Outnumbered

My mother-in-law is visiting for a few days to spend some time with her granddaughter. It's nice to have her around to give us a hand and just enjoy her company.

There's only one small problem. It's Space Week on the Science Channel, and I'm in the gender minority. Its 3 to 1 (4 to 1 if you count the cat), and none of them seem much interested in 3-4 hours of high definition rocket pr0n every night. I can't think of anything I'd rather watch than a 2 hour documentary on the development of the NASA space suit, but the lovely ladies in my house seem to feel otherwise.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bound to Happen

14 months and 2 weeks in, The Kid got sick for the first time. Oh sure, she'd had the sniffles and such before, but last week was different. On Wednesay morning she was a little out of sorts, and by mid-afternoon her temperature was 105 and she wasn't eating. It was all she could do just to stay awake.

A quick trip to the doc that afternoon in order to rule out anything serious (it wasn't) and then back home to take care of her.

The Kid is usually pretty peppy and active (as you can see in the video below) but on Wednesday evening, she was a blob. A very warm blob, but still more or less inert.

Thursday morning broke but her fever didn't. I stayed home to be with her, and she spent the entire day laying with me on the sofa. She mostly cat-napped (with our actual cat napping next to her) for 20-30 minutes at a time, and spent her awake time just staring into space. She wouldn't eat much, but was drinking enough to keep hydrated. She didn't ever really cry, and only whined occasionally as if to say "I just wish this was over. I really want to play."

Friday morning was much better. She was (almost) back to her old self. She was talking again, and telling us what noises animals make. Ducks say "GACK! GACK! GACK!" in case you didn't know.

On Saturday she was well enough to go and spend the weekend with her grandparents, for which The Wife and I were especially grateful. It gave us the opportunity to do some 4-handed housework and spend some time with friends (and The Kid's Godparents) who had just returned from a 6-week vacation in England, Ireland and Scotland.

She's still catching up on her sleep, but it's over for now. Which is nice...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Shake your bootie!

So The Girl gets just a little bit carried away with the tunes these days. We thought the grandparents might enjoy a boogie dance.



Friday, June 27, 2008

Fun in the Sun

We're having so much fun this week it isn't even funny.

We sat on the beach.




We played in the pool




It was also a week of firsts for The Kid. In addition to the above activities, she had her first piece of Krispy Kreme donut, and her first piece of potato chip. All this with another tooth (her seventh) that showed up yesterday.

We'll close with a quick video of a nice stroll on the beach.

video

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Beach

Like the elves at the end of the Third Age in middle earth, every summer we feel an irresistible pull towards the shore.

On Saturday morning, we packed up the car, pointed southeast and drove. We arrived at the Wife's family's country estate that afternoon for an evening with the Kid's aunt and uncle. The men-folk grilled an enormous hunk of beef, and the women watched the Kid. A late-day thunderstorm threatened to wash us out, but luckily the only casualties were 2 southern pines by the driveway. A few well-placed cuts with the chain saw and a quick tractor pull made short work of the debris.

We took our leave mid-day on Sunday and arrived in Nags Head, NC that afternoon. I have been making this annual trip with the same group of folks for the past 8 years. We have a crew of 19 this year, sharing a house and parenting duties, all while enjoying the sun, sand and surf.

I'll have some pics of all the young-uns up soon. Right now I'm going to take a nap...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day

How great was my father's day?


It was that good...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm a-walkin'

Yesiree.
video

Three weeks ago, her walking consisted of taking 2 or 3 steps and sitting down. Now she's completely bi-pedal.

And since you can't really see how cute she is in the video above, here's a picture we took at the park last weekend.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day - Part II

My grandfather, a retired chief, lives in a small town in rural Rhode Island. Ever since Noah was a midshipman, he has been participating in the town's Memorial Day parade. To this day, the parade is pure Americana. There are boy scouts, fire trucks, the local marching band, and or course all the local vets turn up. Judging by the number of people watching along the parade route, its safe to assume that pretty much everyone in town attends.

In 2004, I had the distinct privilege to march in that parade alongside my grandfather, my father, my brother-in-law.

It was quite possibly the best day I've ever spent in uniform.

Memorial Day - Part I

2 Weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Cambridge American Cemetery in England. The site was established in 1943 on 30.5 acres of land donated by the University of Cambridge, and is the only WWII American Cemetery in Great Britain. Most of those buried or memorialized there were USAAF aircrew or those lost on the convoys across the Atlantic. More detailed specifics can be found here.

One of the most awe-inspiring elements was a large map of the UK carved into the side of the chapel. On it were marks indicating an American base, be it Army, Air Force or Navy that was used during the course of the second world war.

The interior of the chapel was equally impressive with a ceiling mosaic depicting angels escorting bombers and fighters, along with the following inscription:


IN PROUD AND GRATEFUL MEMORY OF THOSE MEN OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY AIR FORCE WHO FROM THESE FRIENDLY ISLES FLEW THEIR FINAL FLIGHT AND MET THEIR GOD. THEY KNEW NOT THE HOUR THE DAY NOR THE MANNER OF THEIR PASSING. WHEN FAR FROM HOME THEY WERE CALLED TO JOIN THAT HERIOIC BAND OF AIRMEN WHO HAD GONE BEFORE. MAY THEY REST IN PEACE.



There are 3,812 marked graves, but because so many of those lost were aircrew, and sailors, their remains were never recovered. To honor them, the cemetery contains a 472 foot limestone wall with the names of 5,126 listed as missing, lost, or buried at sea. Along the wall are statues depicting a soldier, a sailor, an airman, and a coast guardsman.


The cemetery proper was laid out in a semi-circle with the grave markers forming spokes radiating out from a central flagpole.
It was a humbling experience to walk among those crosses and stars, and to read the names etched onto them. They were not all that different from you and me, except they gave their lives for something far bigger than themselves.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

UK Memories




So I’ve been back for a few days now, and have gotten back into the swing of things at home and the office. Only 1500 emails in my inbox when I went back in. That’s what I spent all day Monday doing, if you were interested.

All in all, it was a good trip. Made some new friends, and had a pretty good time. I missed my family terribly, tho. I did what all dads do when they get to the BOQ on the first day of a deployment, det, or TDY assignment: put pictures of the wife and kid in the mirror.

The university town of Cambridge was just down the road from our base, so we spent quite a few nights (OK, almost every night) there sampling the local brewer’s wares. You can call it un-American, but there’s something to be said for warm, flat beer. Especially if it’s good beer. And although much maligned, British food isn’t so bad, as long as it’s Indian, Algerian, Thai, or some other ethnic import. Aside from Fish and Chips or Bangers and Mash, most of the native cuisine is pretty unpalatable. This coming from a guy who will eat just about anything.

Made it into London on Saturday. Saw St. Paul’s cathedral (where Nelson and Wellington are entombed) as well as the Imperial War Museum. Coming from a country where anything over 200 years old is considered “ancient”, being in a city where 500 year old buildings are still in use was a bit astonishing.

Lastly, on a familial note, a bit about a small village a few miles down the road from the base where we stayed. The area of England where we were based is called East Anglia, and is a lot like Nebraska. It’s mostly farmland with a few villages here and there. Why do I mention this? The village is named Ellington. Unfortunately, the only picture I have of it was from the car as we were driving on the A14.