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The Service of Nagging

Prepare for philosophicals meanderings by your won and only Glenndog, bow wow wow.

Folks, it's good to see you again. I'd like to slip into my Glen Beck profile and say:

You know, I talk a lot about how brutal, and crazy, and ... maddening childcare is. But ya know, there's one thing that makes it all worth it-- ... --how cute they are! (exit GB voice)

Parents always think their kids are so cute. It's obnoxious, but unless you've been responsible for the care of an infant, especially if it's your own, you can't understand. They're complex little things. We're hard-wired to nurture and keep them not only alive, but happy and emotionally fulfilled.

It all stems from our biological nature, right? Like animals in the wild? There's probably not much more to it than that, yet the strength of the urge is incredible; undeniable.

Imagine you're God, trying to determine how to create an effectively reproductive species. What better way than to make them love (have increased affection for) their offspring? (And make sex awesome?) When we see our children, looking like us and being all cute, especially in the small and precious first years, it starts that survival instinct inside the parent's mind that doesn't die away for the rest of their life.

My great-aunt Carol said once, "You never stop being a parent," which was her response to her granddaughter Tessa, my youngest cousin. She commented on Carol's acting like a parent to Tessa's mom, Carol's daughter, Laurie. Confused yet?

Let me re-cast the scene: this is my Bellingham family branch I'm referring to. Last Thanksgiving, my little family was up there, visiting theirs. Sitting at their kitchen table were three generations: Carol, the grandmother, Laurie, the mother, and Tessa, the youngest of Laurie's three kids. Oldest available to youngest.

Carol said something reminding to Laurie, something like, "Don't forget to ... " etc. Laurie nodded and said something minimal. She is the breadwinner of the family, a very successful businesswoman who works very hard to keep her, her husband, and three kids afloat and, indeed, sailing.

And get this: three. natural. childbirths. Laurie is able to live her own life, to say the least.

Then Tessa started laughing a little bit, and said something like, "It's funny, you're being the same mother to my mom as my mom is to me."

This, of course, made me, the spectator, burst out laughing. I had to walk away. "That's funny," I said at least two times, probably annoying the crap out of all of them. I remember all of them smiling, at least. Then Carol said, giggling, "You never stop being a mother."

So that whole little story is my attempt to prove that parents never stop looking after their kids. I mean, they're your legacy! You don't stop wanting them to succeed after they've grown up. Even if it really, really, really irks them.

A friend of mine recently had a particularly trying experience with their mother, for this very reason. This person is in their 30s and lives far away from her.

Some parents interject in their children's lives, and some don't. Most try to play it cool, in the middle ground. My mother is very good at this.

Love you, mom.

My mom is currently taking care of a post-op mastectomy patient, a member of our family. Hard times.


Perhaps older parents feel that their kids' aversion to advice and "help" is something to be simply shrugged off, since, after all, the parent has more experience points, knows better, and is only trying to help. Any antipathy the kid feels toward it is simply the product of an immature mind.

Naturally, the offspring sees it as a service of nagging, perhaps more so the older they get. Perhaps the kid has an equally  strongly desire to display to their parents their having aged beyond the need to receive the parents' advice and help, in part to receive approval, and in part to stave off more advice.

The receiving of parental advice seems designed to take some of that power away from them, and to make them little again. Perhaps the parent is the type who prefers prefer the soft, innocent, little, warm, non-arguing stage of the kid, to the older, argumentative, immature, unappreciative adult. Perhaps the parent  is glad to be done with the headache of fuzzy babies, whiny children, and dramatic, unstudied teenagers.

I posit that the reason parents do this is that the will to love their kids is instilled hardcore throughout all the years of raising them. It's a time-centered process that takes all your energy and patience and shapes you into something new and stronger. That, and our biological instinct to keep them healthy is a strong one. It may even manifest itself in the form of the intense love that's triggered when just looking at your kid.

I mean, just look at them! And my kids are the cutest things since kids existed, by the way. They're both beautiful. I'll certainly become a nagging dad to some extent. Whatever happens will happen. My parents make a concerted effort to keep me on their good side, and thus, so shall I with my girls. Unless they grow up to be criminals.

I was just sitting here in the kitchen, mesmerized, watching BB eat in her high chair. Her smiles are those told of in legends of cutest babies. When I hold her, I stare at her face. Every movement she makes generates the most affection my male countenance has ever mustered.

She'll be eight months old on the 11th. As her face gets older, I see the development of more adult features--more of her individual facial character. She's going to be a beauty, just like her sister. For some reason I've been blessed with beautiful children. Do all parents say that? It's probably cause she looks like her mother and I, and we ultimately plan to have her grow up in our image, with no individuality of her own.



Yesterday, driving with Justin, I found myself saying, "Sometimes it can feel like entrapment." I was referring, of course, to childcare.

We had been talking about how a mutual friend is going thru some hard times with his family, the details of which he has not let us in on. Speculating, we thought it was probably easy for him, a stressed, stay-at-home and graduate psychology student dad, to feel trapped by his family. Like he can't get out.

Oftentimes I find myself thinking, "If I could only just get rid of this burden of family. Then I could do all the other stuff I want to do." But if I didn't have kids now, I'd totally be high and on the couch playing video games, putting off my personal projects. It's the journey of raising the kids, the brutality of it all and the strengthening and hardening of my psyche, that's giving me this drive to fulfill my more personal desires.

Namely, I'd continue on my recording projects, my own and Born Without Blood's. I might make some bookshelves. I wouldn't be changing shitty diapers and listening to a baby cry in her crib cause she doesn't want to fall asleep at naptime and she's teething. I wouldn't be stuck here at home, allowing my kids to live vicariously through me.

It's not an easy thing to admit, and other people don't like to hear it, but raising kids can indeed feel like entrapment. One crack in the fragile shell you're holding together, be it in the form of a kid being a bastard, disagreements with your partner, troubles at work, problems at school, or a stupid song stuck in your head like some overplayed Led Zeppelin, and it's easy to become enraged.

Today, however, for some reason, I'm feeling good and centered, and am able to think pretty clearly about this. My kids are being good and precious.

Usually, it pisses me off to no end to hear parents with kids older than mine say, "Don't blink." That seems to be the go-to catchphrase for them. Fucking Baby Boomers, they're all the same. (wink wink, nudge nudge)

But then I started thinking--one day my Lucy won't be so cute and little anymore. One day she'll be less inclined to have me around her at all times, having fun with her. Right now, she's pure, and her purity spreads throughout the my home and into me.

She loves to have fun, with a desire pure and unadulterated. She hasn't become jaded yet with the bullshit of adult life. Hell, she hasn't even become jaded with elementary school yet. Her life is vast and expansive ahead of her. The roads she will travel are long. She hasn't built up defenses against common aggressions pitted against her by any of the world's many assholes.



What am I, some woman? I'm a dad. A man. A guy. Male. Tough and sinewy. Devoid of empathic moisture. Dry, yet humorous. Only when there's no work to doo doo I bog myself down in emotions. The rest of the time I push them aside (though, sometimes, late at night, they bang at the door really fucking loud).

When I begin thinking of all the hurdles to overcome when raising kids, hurdles comprised of the stupidest little bullshit problems I can't begin to tell you, I tend to feel like I'm trapped in a job I can't quit--can't get out of.

Yes, I could be a shithead dad and walk out on my family. Yeah, I could do that. And make my family, friends, and myself hate me. Not an option.

When I begin thinking of how sweet and innocent Lucy is, and how much evil there is in the world to shield her from, I get all protective and the passing time doesn't seem so lengthy.

It's all just a matter of perspective; how you shape the world from the lens of your mind. In the end, we all die. Our bodies decompose and feed the earth to make way for new life. The choices of anyone on the earth become inconsequential. Time will pass. The earth will one day wither away after our sun explodes.

A new outlook may be gained from this perspective, one of totality, and ultimateness. An emotionless center. In this way, I rise above my human weaknesses. I'm like our protagonist in The Fountain, rising up cross-legged in his bubble of enlightenment.

Clashing perspectives are apparently a normal part of my life. How about for you? Why don't you make a Facebook update about it and pretend it matters. Pretend someone groks you. Then you'll both die.

1. Black and death metal forever. Life is brutality.

2. My love for my little daughters is unending.

     Conflicting perspectives, right there. My mind is a jumbles mess of thoughts that bounce off one another and don't make sense when arranged in a logical order. Somehow this makes me very happy and gives me the sense that I have a lot to work towards, that life will never be boring, and that I'm just happy to be here.


Christmas' Intended Effect

Loving Christmas is definitely not metal.
Call me not metal then.

YouTube Xmas Playlist That I'm Listening To Right Now

This year, the Christmas cheer is violently infectious in our house. I've actually, voluntarily, been playing Christmas songs that normally make me grate my teeth. For some reason I'm letting go of my hangups and allowing the full experience of the holiday wash over me. I've even been reading Lucy the story of the first Christmas--Jesus has even made an appearance in our home!

With the kids around, it's become important to mama and I to create the conventional holiday experience in our home. This year is the first we've acquired a real Christmas tree, and it's made the difference in setting the mood. There's nothing like a real pine tree in your living room, decorated with lights, and making little girls excited. It looks quite beautiful, actually. And thanks to my awesome parents, the presents are flowing freely under our tree.

This year has been disappointing in one small way--I'm too poor to get anybody, except my kids, presents. Not like it's very different from years before, but I always feel a little guilty about it. Nobody I know thinks less of me (to my knowledge), but I reserve the right to this guilt. In my heart of hearts I'd love to be Santa Claus.

All in all, I love my family and friends. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone.

Is it weird that every time I hear Carol of the Bells I think, "Ding, dong, mmkay,"?

I'm not putting that question mark inside those quotation marks, Florangela. I refuse. It's MY BLOG, it's MY GRAMMAR.

So this Christmas, I've been given one. Great. Present. None of the presents under our tree are for me, and that doesn't bother me at all, because BASS GUITAR!

OMG it's so fucking awesome. Great sound, great action, you can customize the sound quite a bit with all those knobs (low, mid, high, and overall mix PLUS volume), it's got a metal shape, and it's purple as all hell.

My metal brother / sole band mate kind of hates it. He really wants me to replace it with a black one. It's funny. "Not gonna happen," I told him.

Receiving it was definitely an awesome surprise. A couple mornings ago, Megan texted me, after she walked out the door at 6:50 a.m. for work, with, "There's a huge package for you downstairs." Then, "Yes, that is what she said."

Thinking it was a box of presents from my parents, I let a little time go by, waking up and getting my coffee and dressing and cleaning up the excrement of my daughters.

I think Lucy was down for a nap at about noon, and I carried BB outside to the front porch to retrieve the box.

It was big and rectangular. Hm, I thought, interesting shape for a box of presents. I somehow carry it up the stairs one-handed, BB in the other arm.

I take it to the kitchen. Open it up. There's a smaller box inside with a big "ESP" logo on it.

I'm like, awww sheeeit.

Got it out and proceeded to play bass like a boss. Or a boss learning to play bass. It's really similar to guitar, but it's not the same. Works your hands harder with the thicker strings. Gets that low rumble tone. You gotta be careful playing chords in the low registers.

Finally, I can add bass to my home recordings, and write bass lines to all my songs!

Thanks, parents. A greater present I could not have received.


In true Christmas form, I'd like to get all mushy on you now.

One thing I love about this time of year is being reminded, and encouraged to reflect on, how much I love all the people around me, family and friends alike. Not those Facebook weirdos who I haven't seen in a really, really long time, but my real friends, who I come in contact with in my daily life.

Kathy, Craig, and Ian. Colleen. Guy, Laurie, Jared, Savannah, and Tessa. Jenny, Dan, Laurel, Nat, Katie and Matt. Joy, and Brad. Justin. Teal and Todd. Caryn, Jenna and Evan. Virginia. I love you all. You're all very important to me.

Megan, Lucille and Beatrix--my top dawgs. You're stuck with me. You get the best of my love.


I've got a few poopy Trix up my sleeve

Ya ever dump yer kid's poop in the toilet, straight outta their diaper, and when it hits the water it splashes up?

It might splash high or low, or any place a splash may go. Mm just finished bowl of oatmeal awesome. Glad to be finished eating before engaging in more toilet discussion. Ever notice oatmeal can look just like throwup! Ew, throwup! Digression aside, splashing toilet water is a menace.

Oh yeah, does anybody know how to toilet train a 2.7-year-old who has no interest in toilet training? Sheesh. I feel bad enough making her sit on that dreaded little green Ikea kid toilet. Simply finding the time is worse! Well, not true. I can always make time. The day is full of other kidtastic duties to complete; why not throw one more in there? I can be up and walking around and working all day, no problem.

Anyway, want to know my poopy trick? Hold the diaper just above the toilet water, so the splash splashes up and hits the diaper before it can travel anywhere.

Basically when you dump the poop out, you're holding the open, turd-laden diaper with two hands, and you've got to turn it around 180 degrees above the toilet to let it fall out. Know what I'm sayin? You're not gonna pick that shit up with your hands. Also, baby wipes are not flushable, so leaving it in the wipe and just flushing the wipe with it is a no-no. Nope, you've got to let the unadulterated poo fall in there, just like it does out of your own big ass.

Be an environmentally conscious parent, you. And don't just roll up poopy diapers and let them collect in whatever dirty diaper receptacle you put them in. It's not nice to the trash guys who have to pick it up and throw it on the landfill. Dump the poop out of the diaper--don't question it. You're a parent. Life is shit now. Get your hands dirty for your kids.

Revel in the shit of love.

Oh yeah, back to said trick--yep, you just turn that fucker over, above the toilet water, so the soiled side (inside) of the diaper is facing the water. But turn it over SLOWLY--and don't let it fall too far before it hits the water. This will decrease the distance the splash will travel. In addition--keep the fucker close to the toilet water--hold it inside the bowl, but without letting your hands touch the sides. Don't move the diaper away until after the shit hits the water and the splash hits the diaper. Catch the splash with the inside of the diaper, so it doesn't touch your hands.

Splashes spread the more they travel, right? A splash begins at a single point--the point at which an object hits the liquid--and spreads out from there. Catch the splash before it spreads. Otherwise you're wiping off your toilet bowl rim and getting your hands even dirtier, and wasting more time on this monotonous task.

Then, wad up the solid-shit-less diaper (as much as will fall out anyway--squishy shit doesn't always want to come off, and at that point, I say fuck it), throw it away, and most importantly--



Lucy Almost Exploded and BB Almost Melted

Megan probably wishes I was watching The Nutcracker, one of her favorite things as a kid, which is playing on our tv now, but ....

Last night, Lucy almost got blown up.

It was around 7:45. I was on the living room couch, Megan was in our room getting BB ready for bed, and Lucy was in her room, begrudgingly picking up her toys. Slowly.

She only uses one hand to pick up one toy at a time, and it's a pile of toys she has to get through. One of her recent behaviors, like of the past two or three weeks or so, she's been just straight up dumping her big, light-green, see-thru, plastic toy box on the floor in the middle of her room. Mama makes her pick them up every night.

She's doing it now, as I type. Picking up her toys, that is. It's almost 24 hours after the scene I'm describing. Well, I'm getting to it.

So... okay, you walk in her room, take a step or two and there's a mattress on the floor by the left wall and a toy chest and dresser on the right. Her black fan, plugged into the janky, old outlet on the left wall behind her bed, the only outlet in the room, is sitting on its side in the middle of the room. It's a small, circular fan, there only for the purpose of making a sound during naps and bedtime to drown out the other noises her parents can't help but making in this small apartment.

For some godforsaken reason, she started dragging her 2-ft-wide toy box over piles of toys, the fan, and its chord, to the 3-ft-wide space between her bed and dresser. I think she was trying to free up space to access toys in the other part of the room. After she dragged the toy box into place, she kept walking around the fan to pick up one toy, and walk it back over to the toy box.

After watching her repeat this several times, I say, "You should move your fan."

Then I looked away. A minute passed, during which I zoned out into my video game.

Then, a bright, light-orange flash of light, followed by a "Pop!" came from her room. Simultaneously, the fuse clicked off in the kitchen, the tv turned off, the clocks went out, and I think some lights turned off, but just for a second. Picture all that happening at the same time.

Then, quiet.

My first thought was that Lucy was being electrocuted and couldn't talk. "Lucy!" I called out and I got up and dashed to her room. I found her on her feet, unhurt, but shaken. She was just starting to walk away from it; she must have been too dazed and frightened to move at first. I was so glad she was alright, and I hugged her and asked her if she was okay and what happened and stuff.

Of course she couldn't answer other than to say, "Yeah."

I didn't even look in the direction of the outlet, where the flash had come from. Megan came in soon afterward, and asked what happened.

"There was a flash of light," I remember saying. Probably an, "I don't know," in there too. Either that or I thought it.

She walked over to the fan and picked up the chord, which we both see had become unattached from the back of the fan, where it was, like, you know, soldered on or whatever. She immediately unplugged the now-deadly, possible-Jack-Bauer-torture-instrument from the wall. Without a word, she walked out to into the hall, and then back in with a plastic outlet cover and plugged it in. Then there were two covers in that outlet.

After that I stopped being a lazy father and brushed her teeth and put her to bed.

Later on, I looked at the chord. It looked like it had been cut with a knife that was on fire. It was a mostly clean separation, with burn marks going down about an inch on one corner. The back of the fan showed similar burn marks, copper-colored on black. I looks like the explosion went in one particular direction, to the down-and-left out the back of the fan.

So I dunno what Lucy was doing, but whatever it was made that shit explode.

So that was crazy.

Then, today, I was holding BB, and cracking this glow stick that you gotta crack to get it to glow, ya know? It was a really thin one--like a 1/8-inch thick. Not much thicker than a Q-Tip stick, but about twice as long. Slightly pink-ish purple gel-stuff that glows bright when bent and cracked was inside. BB was sitting on my lap while I was sitting on the couch.

While I'm cracking it, the thing breaks open and glowing, pink-ish purple, glowing liquid squirts out onto BB's hand and up her arm! Stupid cheap toy from a fellow kid's birthday party that was actually nice to get in the first place, thank you party-hosting fellow parent.

Imagining what would happen if she put that hand in her mouth, I grabbed it with one hand, put the other arm under her butt, and carried her to the kitchen. Somehow, without letting her put that hand in her mouth for five seconds, I got the sponge wet and wiped her up.

Tonight, I'm just happy for a normal evening.

In other news, school is out. For. Winter. And I've actually stayed in the house after Megan came home from work today. We had pizza and mixed veggies for dinner. Megan put on the Nutcracker. Now it's 7:48. Goodnight.


False Attacker

Holy fuck I just had the craaaaziest experience not more than 15 minutes ago.

I was brushing Lucy's teeth when I hear what sounds like high-pitched voices of children outside. Lucy wanted to see what was going on, so we open the door.

They're getting closer, and I realize they're older. My age.

The voice I thought was a little girl turns out to be a panicking woman. I mean, she's yelling, "Get off me! Please don't touch me! I just don't want to get hurt!"

I put on my shoes, grab my keys, shut the door behind me, and run down the stairs. There's a crowd of people, mostly dressed in black coats and black jeans, like most Seattlites my age. I thought they were all teenagers at first.

Megan was among the crowd! Suddenly I'm very invested in this commotion that's going on.

This dude, black, in a sideways-angled black ball cap, black jacket, jeans and shoes, was trying to restrain this young woman. She, white and pale, had short black hair, a black jacket and jeans. Both around my age--30s.

I thought he was attacking her. He certainly didn't look professional in any way. Rage filled me; adrenaline and a survival instinct kicked in.

I walk up to the dude and grab his wrists, tightly, and very forcefully and loudly say, "Fuck off."

It was then I noticed the dude was holding a pair of handcuffs! Metal and shiny. Real. This guy wasn't fucking around. He was trying to tell me something, but I didn't hear him, even though he was right in front of my face.

All the while, Megan is yelling, "Glenn! No! He works with Loss Prevention! Honey! Glenn! It's okay!" I can see fear in her eyes and hear it in her voice.

I didn't understand, but I let the guy go. The woman had already run off, and he went after her. Then that I noticed the crowd was comprised of mostly Whole Foods employees, including a couple I knew. It dawned on me--Loss Prevention--theft policers. Whole Foods hires these private contractors to catch people who steal from the store.

I was simultaneously relieved he wasn't attacking her, and embarrassed for butting in where I wasn't needed.

After a second or two of talking to Megan and listening to the crowd, I go back inside to take care of Lucy. I was just about to put her down for a nap before I went outside. Coming in, I was all shaky and still full of adrenaline. To my relief, she was absolutely fine. She had no idea what was happening right in front of our house.

For the first time in a long time, I put Lucy to bed without reading her a story or laying with her. I wasn't in the right headspace.

I then went back outside to see what had transpired. I wanted to apologize to the LP dude.

The crowd wasn't there anymore. I heard voices coming from down the street and a little around the block.

Walking over there, I see the crowd, the man, and the woman. He's on his knees, restraining her, her back to him. She's totally manic and wailing shit like, "I just don't want to be touched! Please stop touching me! I've been raped before by men like you!"

She was going for the rape-victim-sympathy angle, a dangerous one to play, one that takes all womankind down a notch. Even though it may be true that she is a rape survivor, in this situation it was not what she was afraid of.

And he's going, "Dude, I'm married! I'm not gonna rape you! Jesus, calm down, dude!"

And Megan's saying, "Well, the police are coming." I think she was trying to calm the woman down. She was absolutely not calming down. She knew she was fucked, too.

Then, "The police are here."

A police car drives up from around the block. Now that I think about it, he was driving the wrong way down 12th Ave NE.

At this point, Megan and I begin to leave the scene. I look back at the couple and say, "Dude, I'm sorry about before," but they didn't pay any attention to me. He was still too busy restraining her. Megan tells me we should just walk away, so I don't finish my sentence.

We're tightly holding cold, sweaty hands. We cross 12th to our house's side of the street. A woman is standing there with a metal clipboard, and says to us, "A little too much meth with her Wheaties this morning?"

It hit me. Duh. Of course she's high as shit and stealing. She was trying to say anything she could to get away with it. Of course, I can't be sure. I really know nothing of what transpired, except for the small part I played a role in.

Megan says to me, "I am so proud of you for doing what you did back there, because that's exactly what you should have done."

This surprises and comforts me. "You really looked like you were going to punch that guy!" she said with a laugh.

The woman with a clipboard says that Megan should stay on the scene to answer any of the police officer's questions.

"Well, this is gonna be a great lunch break," she says. We kiss and I go back inside and now here I am typing.

I need to decompress.

One last thought--I feel strong.

Guitar Essay Levels Up

Earlier today I was confronted with a particularly frustrating set of circumstances.

Let me start from the beginning.

Last week, my COM 359 lecturer assigns the class a 500-word essay on an inanimate, or non-talking object. Meaning, it can be a baby or a pet. She said that previous students wrote about various things, including a guitar.

It hit me--my red guitar. I'll write about that. I've got plenty to say.

A day or two later, I sit down in front of a big ol' Mac in Odegaard Library's  computer lab, and bang out over 1,000 words. It was quick, fluid, and I had a great time writing it. It was therapeutic, even, writing about all my past experiences over the 10 years I've owned the thing. I was sure I had gold on my hands, and relief flooded over me. I knew that after a couple editing sessions that baby was going to look awesome.

Fast forward to last night, in class. It's the last week of fall quarter this week at UW, which is cool, but there's lots of work to do. Our final project is to present our blog to the class. I had been looking forward to presenting my blog for a good few weeks, but when it came time to actually present it, I was disappointingly rushed. In the eight minutes allotted, there wasn't time to talk about all that I wanted to talk about. I felt cheated.

The format of the presentations was such that we'd present our blogs, and then read a little bit of the inanimate object story. It's due on Wed, but everybody had drafts or final copies ready for recitation. When it came time to read mine, the lecturer asked, "But where's your guitar?"

I was stunned, and got a little hot in the face. It dawned on me that the essay I'd felt so cocksure about was not what the lecturer was looking for. The assignment is to write about the object, not myself.

"It's all about me, isn't it?" I asked. She nodded. She could see my mood, I just know it. The whole class could, try as I might to hide it. It was there, in plain sight, on the projector for all my classmates to see--I WROTE THE ESSAY WRONG.

'What are you, stupid?' my mind kept asking me. 'Can't you understand a simple assignment? And here you thought you were a good writer.'


I could tell everyone liked my blog and essay, though. That did feel good.

It was a kick in the balls to learn that my essay wasn't good enough, that I'd have to re-write it, and that I didn't know what I was going to write, Also, my pride was hurt. I couldn't help it; couldn't shake off the shame.

I went straight to the library, sat down in a little cubicle desk, and typed out 180 words of Inanimate Object Essay V2. It was getting late by then, so I went home.

Fast forward to this morning.

Stress. A new stress. Finding myself trying to reconcile letting my tired, needy kids play alone while I worked on my paper. It was so boring, what I was typing, and I was uninterested, over-caffeinated, and hurried.

Trudging thru, suddenly I found myself at 229 words. 'Just get to 250,' I told myself. More trudging. Suddenly, I found myself at ...

447 words? Fuck, I'm almost done!


Sweet. Now the 300-word essay I've got to write for Spanish 101 by Thursday, that I haven't started yet, seems less daunting.

Finding myself in the position of stressed-student-dad was uncomfortable, but through hella diligence, I got more done than I thought I would.

Sometimes you have to just put on your blinders and run.


Playin With Kidz

The Child-Adult Play Relationship

This morning, playing with Lucy, I realized something--I've got to roll with the punches.

In the arena of adult-child interaction, remembering one thing always helps: don't become invested in any one area of play. You'll end up getting frustrated with what may seem like the kid's short attention span.

(then you'll begin questioning your own motives for playing with kids' toys)

If the kid gets bored with a certain toy that they immediately previously seemed highly interested in, let them move on, and move on with them. They might laugh, squeal and shout at the expectation of the fun of a certain toy or activity, especially when you reply excitedly in the affirmative to their request of playing with it, with them. That's no guarantee, however, that they'll maintain a modicum of interest when it reaches their hot little hands.

Oftentimes the toy is my legs that she likes me to bounce her on, as I'm doing right this second.

They don't know that expressing this excitement causes others to expect that they'll have fun with that toy for... like, more than 5 minutes. Roll with the punches. Be one with the kid mind. The world is full of interesting and mysterious things to explore, and it's easy for young brains to become distracted by the next shiny shiny. And why shouldn't they? Maybe they really want to play with one particular thing, but then realize it's not what they wanted in their heart of hearts.

Kids want to feel that elation of pure toy-fantasy-pleasure. Don't we all? I hypothesize that as my Lucy quickly and frequently changes up the toys or the style of play she engages in, it means she's experimenting--searching for that ever-elusive, pure, ecstatic fun. It doesn't always come with the same thing. Certain toys will be totally tits one minute, and boring the next.

My Lucy rarely wants to play with the same toy for very long. One second, we're playing with blocks, making a house, dresser, couch, tv, and bed for her little pink bear. Before any of it's finished, she moves on to another set of toys, or just straight up asks me to throw her in the air.

"Fly high, in the sky?"

You should hear how she squeals when I acquiesce. And you should feel the burn in my arms. I basically have one hand under her butt and the other under her neck/shoulders area, and I'm throwing her up over her bed, quite high. I'm usually on my knees, cause her bed is low to the floor--no box springs, only a mattress. And her ceiling slants downward towards the wall on the far side of the bed, so I've got to be careful not to bash her face up there. And I kinda catch her on the way down, so she doesn't hit the bed too hard. This may or may not be necessary, but I would rather be careful. She's heavy, and falls hard .......

BB just woke up. Short morning naps for this one lately. Ok, just hold on, dear reader, must retrieve her.


Okay, you know what woke BB up? The biggest poop I've ever seen her expel. That shit was leaking out of all corners of the diaper. The back inside of her shirt had a nice goopy collection in it, complete with a black worm-looking thing. Ah, poop details. But, being the master shitwiper I am, I had that mess cleaned up in... 10 minutes? Something. Now it's several hours later, and she's waking up from nap #2.

Before the nap, I fed her a thick bowl of rice cereal mixed with half a bottle of breast milk, which she feverishly gobbled up. Then I let her wash it down with the rest of the bottle. That hot pile of food in her belly helped her take a good long nap. So bye bye now, gotta go play with a baby while a toddler sleeps.



Gotta show this blog off to an unappreciative class of do-gooders today.



Soothing Teething Sister

Mama's Soothing Voice

My life is chockfull of stuff going on, yet I can't think of a single relevant thing to write. Hmm, to relegate myself to writing about what's in my head, cause that's more interesting than real life ... ?

Oh yeah, no one else is inside my head. Must ... *cold shudder* ... relegate self to writing on real life.

I'm having a hard time waking up today.

This morning, about 5 a.m., I get up to pee. Deed done; back to bed with Megan and Bebersons. I lay down. Close my eyes.

A sticky baby hand brushes across my arm. Opening my eyes, I spy, thru the dark and delirium of early, early morning, a wiggling baby giving me the hugest smile.

It made me so happy I actually forced out a coherent sentence. "Someone's ready to play, huh?" Megan takes BB out of bed as she gets ready for work.

Next thing I know, Megan's waking me up at 10 min. to 7:00.

" (something I can't remember, waking up fog) ... both girls are awake," she said. "I've got 10 minutes before I gotta go to work."

She's got the sweetest voice. It must be a mother thing. Or a female thing. Or a Megan thing. It's like.... she can use it to psychologically soothe and guide one through tough mental states. She probably doesn't even know it. It's probably totally natural to her. I'm a lucky guy.

Sometimes at 5 wakes BBTron-B; sometimes she wakes at 7 with me.
That's my new hip-hop song's opening line.

Subsequent naps approach at different times in the ensuing day for both of these wakeup times, which contributes to a general non-solid sleep schedule. It wouldn't be so bad if she wasn't teething.

Yeah, she's been a little nuts for about a month now. She shows signs of mouth pain all the time, like the grabbing of her ears, waking up a lot from what are usually long naps, and being more crazy than usual during evenings.

Of course it's difficult to tell if she's just a cranky-tired-crying baby, or a my-mouth-fucking-hurts-crying baby. Or both. Maybe it's confusion about how to console her empirical mind with her compassionate soul in an ongoing, yet paradoxical ontological struggle.

BB turned 6 months old last Wednesday, the 23rd. Happy 1/2 birthday my precious!

Daughter's Now a Sister

It's hard to pay as much attention to Lucy when Beatrix is awake. When Lucy was a baby, I know she got all my attention, all the time. I want to give BB a similar experience, but there's no way it can be the same. There's simply a sister to contend with; for both of them.

Yesterday I found myself with a seeming mountain of stuff to do, all at once--and it was all just simple stuff--feeding them! BB was on the pink carpet just outside the kitchen, watching me heat up her bottle and get Lucy whatever food she needed.

Oh yeah BB had just spilled Lucy's cup of milk with her usual grab-for-everything motions. For the second day in a row. She was cool on the floor for a few minutes, but then she bagan to fuss when I wasn't ready to feed her yet. I felt like I was pushing upwards through an invisible mountain that was trying to crush me.

Of course I shrugged that fucker off. I am Atlas.

One thing about BB is she's got thicker skin than Lucy. She can be by herself for longer periods of time than Lucy could at that age. It helps that she can sit up on her own, look around and grab stuff. She's gonna be okay, even if she can't have all dada, all the time.

Her and her sister are sure gonna be different people, tho. They look so alike, yet so different.

Thanksgiving with the 6 Bellingham Smiths was rejuvenating. Just one night over there, with the ol' holiday bigass Thanksgiving dinner complete with four kinds of pie, and seeing my brother and all my cousins, MY generation, and Guy and Laurie, the PREVIOUS generation, and Laurie's parents, the PREVIOUS PREVIOUS generation, was really awesome.

More on that later.


Self Class Awesome Hot

Philosophical Self-Analysis

I feel like I'm on a constant journey for self-improvement, letting go of all my childhood and teenage inadequacies.

It's never quite as successful as I'd like it to be. Possibly, that journey could reach it's final destination at any time, right? Nothing short of a miracle could make me a perfect person by the end of the day, but who's to say miracles are impossible? All my unfavorable personal tendencies could simply wash away, and I would be left with perfect personal satisfaction in every choice and action I make.

It makes a strange sense that this journey of mine, to a version of which few should label themselves unfamiliar, moves sluggishly: it's moving at the pace of life.

Also my skull is thick.

Life moves slowly! Personal character revelations, the big ones, would seem to naturally follow suit. That's all I mean.

(The olden ones always tell me, "Don't blink." I don't buy it.)

If I could learn everything today, I would. I mean, if learning everything had no negative consequences. Who can know?

There's an argument in favor of the slowness to be derived here: if I reached the end now, what fun would the rest of life be?

I disagree. There's ever an end to learning. Goals are to be reached, not constantly strived for and kept far away. Reach a goal, move on to the next one. That's more my style.

I am a conquerer. I am Ahab. I am also a little slow.


Class at Bar

Yesterday I met Florangela, my COM359 lecturer, at Big Time Brewery on the Ave. Stop, it was for class! We decided to meet there instead of her office. Flor wanted to have 15-minute conferences with each of us about our blogs and the two papers due that day.

I was over an hour early. Had homework to finish up. I approached the counter. There were about six people behind it, more than ready to help me out with whatever I needed. I grabbed a menu, made eye contact, smiled, nodded as if to say, "Let me look at this for a second and collect myself," and sat down. The closest person across the counter from me understood--he smiled and nodded back--a bar/restaurant worker to be sure.

I sit for a bit and peruse the menu. Make my choice. Reapproach the counter. No one there.

I stand there for a long minute. This sloppy-looking tall guy in a ball cap sees me from the back of the hallway-shaped kitchen stretching behind the counter. Walks over goofily.

"I need chili cheese fries!"

"What?" Seriously?

"Can I have some chili cheese fries please? And a Coke?"

He takes the glass, uses it to scoop ice from the ice machine. If I wasn't grossed out by his appearance already, that did it. That and I knew there was no hand-washing between touching my glass and the cardboard. Lord knows where his hands had been before that.

I ask him where to sit where I won't be in any big tables' way. He is very helpful in this respect. He's gross, but very friendly. But when he brought my food, there was no napkin, no silverware. Then I see that water, cups, silverware and napkins are up by the counter. So I leave my food to sit there and get cold while I get up, unnecessarily, to get a fucking fork and napkins.

When I open a bar/restaurant one day, my employees will be groomed and attractive.

Oh, also the bartender and I kind of had a few icy interactions. She seemed irritated with my questions about the beers, especially when I didn't order one. She didn't exactly turn me on to the idea.

Florangela was late--had a last-minute interview just before. It was perfectly okay with me--I have great respect for her. Our conference went 10 min overtime, however, setting the stage for the rest of her evening.

An hour or so later, a classmate texted me and said he had been waiting almost an hour for his!

I knew there was a reason I signed up first. For one, there's the convenience of being done quickly. For another, Big Time Brewery sucks. In my opinion. For now.


My Kids Are Mostly Awesome

In other news, Lucy and BB were angels today. BB is teething and her mouth hurts and she's constantly sweaty, sticky, tired and cranky. Poor girl. Lucy didn't nap. Like I said, angels.

I never talk about it when they're good, only when they're bad, I realize. I'm a try to correct that.


My Girlfriend is Hot

My girlfriend is hot.


Gemini's field day, P1

Playing off one another a few days ago were an interesting double occurrence. Intercourse? Occurrence.

It began with one of the more interesting coffee shop visits I've ever had.

I walk in there for the first time. The art is nice, looks like a local artist, and on sale. Good thing it's there.

Seeing the previous customer being being told to grab her own tea bag, and her resultant looking for it and grabbing it among the standard restaurant 2-tier tea box stacker, is weird somehow.

Awkwardness hits me. Can't place it. Can't define it.

Maybe it was overhearing:

"There's no medium, ok? There's four sizes." This, that, that, and the other thing. "It's a common misconception, I know it's hard to wrap your brain around, but .... " It continues a bit.

The path is clear. It's my turn. There are two women behind the counter. One is the owner, the other is the trainee. I'd describe their physical appearances but... well, hell, I'll describe their physical appearances.

Owner--female, middle-aged, British or European accent, unadorned, spotty black sweater, older-hippie-woman-behind-the-neck ponytail, black hair, grey streaks, plain.

Employee--female, young, bright-eyed, wrinkle-less, a little makeup, festively plump, black hair tied back in a french braid of some sort, little cleavage, blue shirt with lacy black thing underneath, getting all kinds of red in the face.

I walk up and order a tall americano.

"Now what do we always ask when a customer orders a tall americano?"

(Lt. Tuvok voice:) Increased redness, captain. "Um."

She genuinely wants to know, but she's being put on the spot,  treated like a child, and I'm all cute and badass and everything, and she's probably getting all hot under the collar, yep, *stretch* aaaaand Sunday, too, yeah, who's got 2 thumbs and likes them festively plump? and she's trying to keep her new job, and probably can't think straight. The pressure, in short, is on. Like at an important quiz.

She looks even younger now--maybe not even 20. Fresh. Easily embarrassed. New to the working world. (certainly new to this boss)

"How many shots do you want?" It's as if a parent is teaching their toddler rudimentary English. Also, it's as if a business owner wants her employees to behave in such a way as to reduce all chances of customer and business unsatisfaction.

The boss isn't overly mean. The employee isn't overly mature. All in all--really awkward.

The whole way through.

I don't stay long.

"Sorry it's so ... awkward, right now," the owner says to my back, "we're training the employees and all."


Man, I gotta cut this off. It's 10:32, peeps, and I'm still at school. Part  will follow. You'll like that part better. More feel-good type stuff.



Sick, Energetic

Lucy and I are sitting here at the kitchen table, watching Beatles videos on my computer. I've got two windows open--one containing YouTube, the other this blog entry I'm typing. We CAN both have what we want, at the same time.

Three of four of my family are sick. Mama is the healthy one. BB is particularly ill. It's just a cold--she's not throwing up any more than usual, but she's got lots of snot and coughs. Yesterday was her sickest day yet--she had red, baggy eyes and an inferiority complex all day long. Very needy. Quick to wail. I don't blame her.

It occurs to me that if Lucy were this sick when she was BB's age, I would have been freaking out. It's the difference between being a parent once and twice over. For me. My experience and personality are not everyone's.

My friend Terri told me an adage about having the second kid: The first one's made of glass, the second of plastic. As for whether it holds true for me? Well ....

Here's one example:
Once when Lucy was a little baby, still very new, and Megan and I were in that shitty little white cookie cutter apartment, I was playing a video game or watching tv or something. Megan hands me Lucy to hang on to while she goes to the bathroom. I laid Lucy on her back on the automan and half-watched her. I look away for too long and she rolls over, right off the automan, falls flat on her back on the floor.

Instantly I converted into "sorry father" mode and picked her up, considering what would happen if I lost her; big, heavy thoughts. I shed a few tears. Lucy definitely was crying big time. A lesson learned for dada.

Once, a month or so ago, I sat BB on the couch to watch Diego and to watch Lucy watching Diego. I go to the kitchen to do whatever. It occurs to me to check on the girls after a minute or two. I go out there and there's BB, on the floor! She didn't cry or anything.

"Oh. There you are. Umm, you like it down there?"

First one--glass.
Second one--plastic.

So while BB's sick now, I can rest assured that she will be fine and I need to do nothing.

No, that's not true. I jest. Today will be a slight challenge. It's a Sunday, which is the first day of Megan's work week. Tomorrow begins my seventh week of classes. So I'll be watching the kids until she gets home, after which I'll go to school and catch up on homework for tomorrow.

Until then, I'll have to be pretty much holding BB the whole time. It's not easy to carry a baby as big as her and do all the other household and Lucycare chores.  But I'll manage. Dada has super powers, you know.

In other news, I've got to wipe clean my red Dell Inspiron 1521 laptop I've had since 2007, when I was starting school at Western. It's been faithful, trusty, tried and true, but it's starting to show serious signs of age. I ran a malware scan, which found 10 infected items. After that, it's been freezing up and going slower than mo-lasses.

Gotta locate the startup disc, wipe, start anew. Ugh. Hopefully that does the trick.

It took me five years, but I've finally named it!



Beatrix Variations

Bb. BB. BBTron. Fembot model Bv2, aka Bb. Beber. I'm a Belieber.
     SIDE NOTE: BB was born during the rise and reign of Justin Bieber.
       Fortunate: the whole 'I'm a Belieber' thing can be applied to her name
       Unfortunate: the whole 'I'm a Belieber' thing can be applied to her name

Here's a song I rap to her:
BBTron, BBTron, BBTron, bee
BBTron, BBTron, BBTron, wee

Just look at her.

She can sit up by herself pretty reliably now. It's awesome. Megan put her in the middle of a carpet in the middle of the room today, where a cat might lay. There she was, just sitting there and looking around, pleasantly attentive to her world around her.

It was a rather tranquil sight.



Sometimes I see news that leaves me shaky and disturbed.

A Texas judge was recently caught beating his daughter on camera.

Seven years ago, Hillary Adams covertly recorded a video of her father, Judge at Law William Adams, beating her with a belt. She was 16.

She uploaded it to YouTube last October 27. The video has gone viral, and people all over the country, and the world, are responding.

I tried to watch the video. When he started to hit her I couldn't do it anymore. I had to close it. Too much. Too close to home. Too scary. My kids were both awake, too.

Here it is.

It's fucked up. There's pain depicted here that no one wants to feel.

Apparently Hillary's mom joins in and helps dad beat daughter; I didn't watch that far into it. Mom, incidentally, is currently on a path to redemption. She probably wouldn't be so apologetic, I'd wager, if she weren't in an international spotlight. The dad sure isn't very apologetic. He's been quoted as saying "it looks worse than it is."

Hillary has ataxic cerebral palsy, by the way. Read her description of the video on the YT page, under the video window.

Here's a continuous coverage page from Corpus Christi tv news station KZTV. When you open the page it will automatically open a smaller video window over the existing one and you have to close it... just so you know. It won't even play the video either.

Here's an NPR story about it. Mature coverage.

Here's my favorite comment on the video:

Judge William Adams
301 N. Live Oak St.
Rockport, TX 78382
Phone: 361-790-0138
Fax: 361-790-0185

Here's my 6 word synopsis (it's for my COM class):
Texas judge beats disabled daughter, lives

What the fuck is it with Texas? Here's a story from 2009 about a San Antonio mom killing her 3-week-old boy, gruesomely. This was the last story I read that made me react the way I did today.

Texas. Lately, they've given us the George Bush twins, Rick Perry, the San Antonio Slayer, and the Aransas Daughter Beater Judge.


So Grand Theft Auto Five looks like it's gonna be awesome, right?


20 Clauses Describing Halloween

20 clauses
COM 359

The drive to the rendezvous house was beyond frustrating
We got quite lost
It added at least fifteen minutes to the trip
The baby was crying a lot
Lucy was babbling
Usually I would think it was cute
It was dark outside, 6:30 p.m.

Lucy was distracted as I was getting her out of the car seat
I snapped at her
“Stop fighting me!” I snarled as I forced her arms out of the straps
She was scared as I set her down on the pavement
She was crying and went to mama
My outburst helped to make her less confident as the night went on
I think I should make a vow to myself
To never ruin another holiday with a bad mood again

She also seemed a little neurotic, however
Started the Trick or Treating very nervous and scared
Wanted mama very bad at first
She reminded me of myself at that age-cries easily

Took a couple tries to watch how the bigger kids did it
When she learned that you get candy from every house, she got into it
She choked on her first piece of candy
She couldn’t wait to eat it
She didn’t know you’re supposed to stockpile, not eat as you go
I obliged
She shoved it all in her mouth
Scared the shit out of me
She managed to swallow it
Red-ish Twizzler drool on her chin
Strangers stopping to see if they needed to perform CPR
Was very scared at this point—a peak
Megan and I wanted her to walk through it and be strong
She got over it
She started having fun

I am proud of my little girl beyond words
Lucy wanted to walk inside every participating house
One house was made up to look like a UFO
The older lady answering the door was in full alien costume
Saying only “Bleep, bleep, bloop,” in monotone.
Cloth sheets with spaceship sides drawings covered the front of the house
A sheet sporting a drawing of the top of a spaceship, and some stars and black space, covered the roof
Black light was involved somewhere

There were other families and kids all around
Walking by us on the sidewalk-less street sides
Kids were falling down and crowding one another in excitement
It took much parental energy
I stayed by Lucy the whole time
Went up to the lit doors with her
Sometimes engaged the candy givers
Snapped what pictures I could
I never want her to forget this night

Lucy made it
Barely keeping up with the big kids
Dressed up like a hippie
With flowers in her hair