Family Archives

August 10, 2007

Singing on the Potty

Why is it so funny that little boys like to sing while sitting on the potty?

I don't know. I just know that I am giggling at the echoes of Ttake Me Out to the Ballgame" as sung by a 3 1/2 year old who is sitting on the throne.

I just had to share that.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:14 PM | TrackBack

August 06, 2007

Lady Marmalde

I am not sure if I just became an official geezer, or if I am simply going through a midlife crisis.

Perhaps it is a marmalade moment. I get seized by powerful cravings, and revel in them for a period of months, before sliding away. I had one involving marmalade, where I made multiple batches, ate the stuff compulsively, and become something of a marmalade expert. As part of my marmalade madness I did learn to make jam, which I continue to do. But I no longer have this powerful craving for jellied orange peels.

This marmalade moment involves boats.

The Perfect Storm

I like boats. I always have. Most boys do, as I recall.

My folks retired down to the Jersey shore. There is a sandbar near their house. We like to paddle kayaks out to the sandbar at low tide. When the dog was younger and had a more robust stomach, we would load her on the kayak and paddle her out to the sandbar to chase birds and eat dead shellfish. We stopped doing that after the dead shellfish began to bounce.

Now we take the boys to the sandbar from time to time. But at 3 and 5, they are getting a mite big to balance on your lap while kayaking.

Perhaps a rowboat would do it. For a while the folks had a little inflatable runabout that they used to explore the back bays. This was great for taking the dog to the sandbar. When she jumped out to chase ducks, we could even haul her back into the boat. But the engine was not reliable, the oarlocks snapped off the first time I tried to row the boat into a headwind (and there is always a wind at the shore), and eventually the boat sprung one too many leaks. No more inflatable.

I have been maundering about a fixed boat off and on for a few years. That is part of the legacy of the doomed inflatable.

Recently, I started running yet again, only to have my knees bug me once again. Very very frustrating.

We live two hundred yards from a lake made out of a dammed tidal creek. There is a launch ramp a mile away from us. On summer weekends there are always a passel of jonboats out chasing fish. We are thinking about moving, and the new house would likely be a few hundred yards from the Cooper River — a internationaly recognized rowing location complete with launch ramp, boat house, and sailing club.

The result was a perfect storm. I was between obsessions. I needed a source of exercise. We wanted some sort of boat that was in between a kayak and a 19-foot boston whaler. Perhaps a boat to take them sailing in? A Sunfish would be nice. I learned to sail in a Sunfish when I was a kid. But just plain sailing boats are boring.

We do have a minivan. Minvans are great for hauling stuff. They are also tall.

After a bit of thought, lady wife and I figured out that there were really two boats I wanted.

Boat A

Can be dollied down the muddy hill to the local lake, lakeside launched and recovered, and dollied back up the muddy hill.
Can be cartopped and taken to the shore or to a launch ramp.
If we move near the Cooper, could be bicycle dollied (or kept in boat house and bicycled to).

This all works out to a light boat - preferably 80# or so, certainly under 100#.

Primary use is exercise rowing on sheltered waters.

It will also go down the shore and be used for water well within its seakeeping abilities, whatever they happen to be. (No wind in morning/evening, strong breeze mixed with wakes from 30 foot canyon cruisers at prime time.)

Primary person is me - this is my boat.

The boys will want to go too. It might be rides to the sandbar. It might be something to do with two awake boys at 5:30 on a beach Sunday morning. It might just be me trying to get some exercise while babysitting. But boat A has to safely carry two young children.

This means good secondary stability, positive flotation, and self-recovery if swamped. (Right boat, boys into boat, dad into boat, bail boat.)

Boat A will also probably take a second adult out from time to time. It will take the dog out, because she loves to ride in boats. It is unlikely to be loaded with more than 400#.

12 feet to 14 feet long, 80 pounds, fixed seat rowing with flotation and safety gear.

It needs to be price-competitive with a bicycle or a gym membership.

Leading contenders for this are: Michalak's Oracle, Michalak's Roar2, Welsfords Seagull, Marten's Scilly Gig, Redmond's Whisp.

Seagull is prettiest, but too heavy. Whisp is lovely but requires more time and woodworking skills than I have. I found myself dreaming about an Oracle painted buff with burgundy trim. Sounds like a contender.

I ordered plans. I will decide if I can be trusted to complete the project, or if I need to find a boatbuilder. First step will be to build it in cardboard at 1/12 scale.

Boat B

If boat A was aimed at the local lakes, boat B is aimed at the Jersey shore.

Lets start with the water. It is a tidal salt marsh. There are mudflats and shallows - at anything other than pure high tide the Sunfish ran with its daggerboard partway up. There are also deep channels - the Intercoastal Waterway goes right through there. Did I mention the bridges? Any boat has to readily pass by bridges or be trapped on one little stretch of bay. The wind is tricky and eddies because of the houses and islands. The water is shallow. There are cruisers and cigarette boats and center console canyon boats zooming past at all times. There is almost always a current. There is often catspaws.

We live near a tricky inlet to the ocean. The Atlantic off the Jersey shore is usually pretty gentle. There are a couple of dozen 16' Hobie-cats that sail from the beach right next to the inlet. Sometimes they capsize.

For a couple of years in the 1980s I had a 17' O'Day daysailer down at the shore. It was a terrible boat for the water. Slow, unwieldy, trapped between the bridges, and bouncing its daggerboard over the sandbars for all but half an hour a day. I never got it out to the ocean. I sold it for a lot less than I paid.

Now lets look at the purposes for boat B.

1, exercise rowing for me
2, teach the boys how to sail
3, carry 2 adults, 2 kids and perhaps a dog.
4, get out on the water and mess about, especially in the back bays and (on gentle days) the ocean.
5, derived from 3 - must carry its own mast; must be able to step and drop mast and sails while out.

There is no way that a cartopper will do all this. So it has to be a trailer boat. If possible, it should be something that can be launched and recovered off a floating dock. There are a lot of 200 to 300 lb classic and neo-classic boats in the 14 to 17 foot range that could be boat B.

My eye loves Whitehall hulls. My worries about wakes and water push me toward a dory hull. There are also a lot of sharpie-derived boats like the Goat Island Skiff. John Welsford lives in boats like this.

Boat B will be trailered. So I need the cost of the trailer. In addition add about $900 to the cost of the boat because our minivan does not yet have a towing package.

Boat B is probably more boat than I am comfortable trying to build, more boat than I can afford to hire someone else to build. Time to scan the used boat ads.

When the entertainment budget recovers, I will subscribe to Messing About in Boats. Until then, I have all the Craigslists within driving distance bookmarked.

Conclusion:
If you look at the boats on the water, many of them have names like "Midlife Cruises."

If you look at the pictures of boatbuilders, many of them have grey hair.

I qualify on both counts.

The first boat to the water will probably be called "Lady Marmalade"

Posted by Red Ted at 11:20 PM | TrackBack

July 09, 2007

Fun, but not too often

Yesterday I took the boys to go see the Camden Riversharks play minor league baseball.

It was my first minor league game. I had some fun. The boys had some fun. Younger son, 3 and change, was a bit overwhelmed by the heat, the sound, the crowds, and his lack of nap. Older son was also a little cautious. But, they had fun, and we watched some baseball in and around the other things we did.

Older son says he wants to go back after his birthday in August. The first homestand after his birthday is in early September. So we have a date. Younger brother is only coming along if J. comes too.

I won't really know he liked it until he asks when we are going back. It turns out that baseball in the abstract is compelling, but baseball in practice leaves him bored after half an inning.

For those keeping score at home:

Tickets: $30 (I could have gotten by with one ticket for me, since the boys sat on my lap all game.)
Parking: $3
My lunch: $6
Water bottle: $3
Pretzel: $2.50
3 hot dogs: $6.00
Icee: $3.00
Playground pass: $5
carousel rides: $2

Posted by Red Ted at 11:10 AM | TrackBack

June 22, 2007

Signed with Love

J. and I write a lot of email back and forth. I tend to sign my emails with love.

My office also uses a lot of email.

I find that at least once a day I have to go back and delete the "Love" that my fingers have typed at the end of a work email.

I think this is not unusual. But I had to mention it.

That is all.

Posted by Red Ted at 02:38 PM | TrackBack

June 07, 2007

Out of the mouths of toddlers

Earlier this morning our younger son, 3 and a half, told J.

My life is not easy, because I have a brother in my house.
He is a character, a very articulate character.

That is all.

Posted by Red Ted at 07:52 AM | TrackBack

August 02, 2006

People Drink Coffee

I was driving home with youngerson, 2 1/2, and he told me

"Cars drink gasoline."

I agreed with him, then I asked him what do people drink.

No answer.

So I asked him what do you drink?

"[Youngerson] drink MILK!"

"What else do people drink? Do they drink water?"

"People drink COFFEE. Boys drink milk. Cars drink gasoline. People drink coffee."

I could come up with an answer to that one, so I let it rest.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:23 PM | TrackBack

May 29, 2006

Pink and Yellow makes Teal

Did you know that if you combine pink and yellow you get teal.

No, really.

It must be true.

Both boys insist on it.

Let me explain. The boys get 2% milk. J. and I drink skim milk, except when we sneak a little 2% into the coffee where it impersonates heavy cream. Different weights of milk come in different colored containers, to make it wasy for shoppers. And, different companies use different color schemes.

The milk we usually buy uses red for the 4%, dark blue for the 2%, light blue for the skim. So when the boys were on whole milk and they mixed it with skim, we called the result purple milk. They liked it.

A while back we had someone's green-label milk jug in the house. And when the boys asked for purple milk, J. combined blue and green and then pointed out that blue and green make teal, not purple.

So, all blended milk became teal milk.

You see where this is going - the current jugs are yellow skim milk and pink 2%. And, sure enough, today at bedtime snack the boys asked for mixed milk, and insisted that pink and yellow combined to make teal milk.

It could be worse, as I recall Richard Pryor was caught in a wicked explosion when he tried to mix whole milk and skim milk together.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:35 PM | TrackBack

May 18, 2006

The American Siesta?

I have been working an odd schedule recently, and apparantly I am not alone in doing so.

We go through our morning, eat breakfast, and then drop the boys at daycare before J. and I head off to work.

I am then usually the first one out of the office, leaving before 5:00 so that I can get home to pick up the boys, have dinner, and do the other fun family things. (They are fun, even when elder son shows signs of turning into a pre-school psycopath.) Then, after the boys go to bed, we work for another couple of hours before we go to sleep.

The way I describe it to my single co-workers is that they will work 10 hours, then go out and play. I will work 8 hours, then play, then work 2 more hours. It is like taking a siesta, only at dinnertime so I get family time.

It appears to be a more and more common pattern these days, as people try to juggle two careers, family time at home, and the long American work week.

Is there a better name than "American Siesta?"

Posted by Red Ted at 08:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 12, 2006

A Working Definition of Tradition

Elder son, 3 1/2 years old, came up with the best working definition of tradition that I have seen in a long time.

"Why do we eat only Matzah on this night?"

"Because we do."

I really like the notion that tradition is the things that we do because, well, because we do.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:46 PM | TrackBack

February 22, 2006

False Choices

Younger son taught me something very important the other day.

"Eat it or wear it" is a false choice.

That is all.

Posted by Red Ted at 03:50 PM | TrackBack

February 07, 2006

Circle

I am not quite sure what two-year-olds should be saying. I do know that our difficult younger son shows signs of being both bright and troubled. He gets anxious easily, and does not like to be away from family members. But that is a different post.

As I was picking him up from his new day care provider - a nice lady who does in-home and can give him more time (and older kids) than the regimented day care center that kicked him out - he said, roughly
"Daddy car
"Daddy car have wheel
"Wheel go around in circle!"

He is using five and six word sentances with a subject, a verb, and an object. If he used them more often then he would be more articulate than some high-school kids. But, most of the time he still communicates in one and two word chunks "hungy"

Ok, enough baby bragging.

Posted by Red Ted at 09:19 PM | TrackBack

January 31, 2006

There's Coffee in the Pot

To the tune of Whiskey in the Jar

As my dreams were roaming over
The mountains of the morning
I heard something wake me and
It was a toddler crying

So I outs of my warm bed
For to see what's the matter
And I said lets get going
For you are an early riser

And it wack for the daddy oh (3x)
There's Coffee in the Pot

Posted by Red Ted at 10:34 PM | TrackBack

January 24, 2006

Toddler Blues

With apologies to the Rolling Stones

You can't always get what you want
No you can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You get what you asked for

Posted by Red Ted at 01:52 PM | TrackBack

November 09, 2005

Wanna commit a felony?

J and I went down to Alexandria Virginia this weekend to go to a wedding.

It was a good trip: we saw friends, saw friends get married, and took the kids to the zoo to see the elephants and the giant pandas.

Also, I got to use my favorite pickup line as we crossed the Potomac into Virginia:

Hey babe . . . wanna commit a felony?

Posted by Red Ted at 10:29 AM | TrackBack

October 28, 2005

Musst! Musst!

I used to think that the Littler Man was pretty sharp for a 19-month-old, but last night's dinner is making me think again.

Like most American toddlers, the Littler Man likes his ketchup. We don't mind - even with the sugar and the hfcs it has some nutritional value, and it encourages him to eat the rest of his dinner. We do look a little askance at his tendency to finish dinner by reaching out with his hands, grabbing a handful of ketchup, and schlorping it into his mouth, but hey, kids will be kids. We would prefer that he eat with a spoon, but we pick our battles.

Last night we were having sausage with ketchup and mustard. Littler man saw mommy and daddy eating mustard and insisted that we put some on his plate. "Musst musst!" So, we gave him some. He dipped his sausage into it and ate them, and liked it.

He had thirds on sausage, seconds on mustard (the kid must be growing, because he is eating hugely and staying skinny.) Again, "Musst Musst!"

As we were filling in around the corners, we saw the Littler Man reach out a hand and grab the pile of mustard. "Are you sure you want to do that?" "Musst!" and he licked his fingers clean and smiled. "OK, I guess you like it."

We continued to talk, and then out of the corner of my eye I saw the little hand heading for the mouth with the rest of the mustard in it - about a teaspoon full of Grey Poupon. Too late! In it went.

He smiled, at first. Then he opened his mouth in surprise and began to complain. We did our best to soothe him, including getting him to eat some bread, or sausage, or noodle to cool the hot spicy in his mouth. Finally, he diluted it with water and peace was restored to the dinner table.

Until, "Musst! Musst!" and the little hand reached out to clean the last of it from the edge of his plate.

We took it out of his reach, and began to reconsider. We had begun to think that the Littler Man was pretty sharp for a toddler, but after that performance maybe he really is dumber than a bulldog.

Posted by Red Ted at 05:25 PM | TrackBack

September 07, 2005

Louisiana Memories

My earliest memory is of going crawfishing in a bayeau near Baton Rouge.

We lived in Baton Rouge from when I was about 2 until I was 4, and my earliest memories are of Louisiana. The strongest is a set of fragmentary moments from when I was about 3 years old.

It is morning. Dad is talking about how we are going to go crawfishing.

We are getting out of an old pickup truck - or maybe Dad and I are in his car and Mr. G.-- H.-- and his four boys are getting out of the truck. I do remember the truck. We unload the gear from the truck - nets, and poles with nets, and there must have been a basket but I don't remember that. We walk down an old dirt road. I am very strong on the old dirt road and the pickup truck - I want to say it was a round-nosed, flare-sided pickup truck covered in dust, but that might be a false memory.

We walk down the dirt road to a dock. It stuck out into the water, and I remember it being a long way above the water. Of course, a long way up when you are 3 is not very tall at all.

The other boys used the poles with nets on the end to scoop up crawdads. I could not manage one I am pretty sure that I did try and so they gave me a square net with a cord on each end. I threw it down, and pulled it up again with crawfish in it. I think both the men helped me work the net, but that memory is less clear. The clearest memory of that day, probably my oldest clear memory, is catching crawfish with that square net. I did it again and again.

I have no idea how long we were fishing - a long time for a toddler.

Things shift, and the next memory from that day at least I think it is that day is of a big party at our apartment, lots of people around, and me wandering into the refrigerator, opening the door, and just STARING at a big red salad bowl that was heaped full of cooked red crawfish, the crawfish that were left over after everyone ate their fill. That bowl of crawfish is my other extremely clear early memory. Like the dirt road leading down to the Bayeau, the image is strongly imprinted in my visual memory, a still life with crawdads and background noise.

That was a good day.

My other early memories are also of Baton Rouge, but many of them are blurred memories. Do I remember playing on the little yellow banana scooter, or do I remember seeing a picture of baby Ted sitting on the little yellow banana scooter? I know I remember someone singing Burl Ives songs; it might have been G.-- H.--. I was told the story about liking to go to McDonald's because they had roaches in their flagstoned outdoors patio, and I liked to step on them while we waited for our food. I don't remember that one, but it seems to be in character.

Nostalgia is one response to tragedy. I suspect that all the news, horrible news, about New Orleans and the gulf coast has dredged up the detritus of these old memories.

The Phantom Professor suggests, as a writing exercise, that we try to hone our voices while describing a place. This blog post is a rough draft, more about the act of memory than about the place remembered.

Oh, and as a post-script, my boys are at the age where they are probably building what will be their oldest memories. I suspect that Elder Son will remember getting on the train to go to the Penn Relays. I wonder what will stick with the Littler Man?

Posted by Red Ted at 12:17 AM | TrackBack

August 29, 2005

Birthdays like Chanukah

Elderson turned three last week. He is turning from a toddler into a little boy. He talks, no, he chatters constantly. He runs about. He is both cute and shy. He is a good helper. He has lost his hollow leg (but can still eat remarkable quantities every third day.) He is almost potty trained, meaning that he rarely pees his pants but almost never calls a poop before it happens.

We treated his birthday sort of like Chanukah. There were about three different little things, but no single overwhelming moment.

J's parents came down from Boston to see us and go to Phil Folk (next post), and so we went to my folks' place last Saturday before last to have chocolate cake and presents from the grandparents.

On Wednesday, his actual birthday, he got his two big presents from us: a decorated cake from the bakery to take to day care and eat with his friends, and a bicycle. They cost about the same (before we paid to have the bicycle assembled.) This is, I guess, either a statement about Chinese bicycles at Walmart or a statement about hand-decorated sheet cakes at McMillan's Bakery. It was a pretty cake.

Then, yesterday, he had three of his friends over for playtime, more chocolate cake (this time decorated by Dad), and presents from his friends.

It worked out well - no one day was overwhelming, he got to feel special for a week, and now we return to ordinary time.

Oh, and I got to eat chocolate cake twice in eight days. It would have been three times, but the kids did not leave any bakery cake for us to eat. Still, everyone is happy. Especially his baby brother, who likes the bicycle.

Posted by Red Ted at 07:48 PM | TrackBack

July 12, 2005

Ticklish Hair

This evening, after dinner, as we were taking our usual mile or so constitutional, the elder son decided he wanted "to be a runner." We spent some time working on his arm motion -- it just bugs me to see anyone run with chicken-wings -- but mostly he ran while I walked, pushed the stroller with the littler man, and managed the hound. At one point he was moving mighty quickly, so quickly that I had to jog a little to keep up with him. He looked up and announced

"The wind tickles my hair."

I really like that.

I liked it so much that I made the executive decision that my calf injury has indeed healed enough that I will go running again tomorrow, for the first time in weeks.

I want the wind to tickle my hair.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 08, 2005

Uniform of the Day

Today was a grey and rainy day.

Somehow both the boys ended up in bright yellow shirts this morning. So, I decided to make it the official uniform of the day and put one on myself. J was a slacker, and wore red. But then, she never wears the uniform of the day - it must be a guy thing.

Part of the fun of toddlers is that you can fairly regularly dress them alike. It is like playing with real live barbie dolls.

Only Barbie does not spill strawberry jam on herself quite the same way.

Posted by Red Ted at 07:30 PM | TrackBack

June 20, 2005

An observation

Another weekend at the shore, another good time, and another observation.

Toddlers live life in the imperative mode.

That is all.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:46 AM | TrackBack

June 01, 2005

Caption Contest

I was digging through the digital pictures from May and came across this one of the littler man reaching for my copy of Brad DeLong's Macro textbook.

I decided that this one deserved a caption contest - so go to it. If Brad's undergraduates find this, they are welcome to join in.

Picture of a baby reaching for a book.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:07 PM | TrackBack

May 31, 2005

Memorial Day Weekend

We spent Memorial Day Weekend at my parents' house at the shore. It was a good time. Highlights:

The kids agreed that grandma has a very large sandbox, but thought the water was too cold.

The kids liked the small town parade.

The kids did not do well with having their naps shifted so they could go to a naptime parade.

It is a lot of fun to paddle around in a kayak with the littler man on your lap.

It is even more fun to paddle around with an articulate 2 1/2 year old.

Salt water makes for nasty diaper rash.

The littler man is no longer an infant, and now that he has cut back on the Frankenbaby walk, he is now a toddler. That means that his big brother is now officially a little boy.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 23, 2005

Frankenbaby

For the last week or so we have been having the good fun of playing with Frankenbaby. I suppose I could call him zombie baby, or sleepwalker baby, or Scooby-Do-Villain-Baby, but Frankenbaby has a better ring to it.

The littler man is just barely walking. As he walks he sticks his arms out in front of him, like Frankenstein's monster did. I had long wondered why it was that the stereotypical slow, clumsy monster - classic zombies for example - held their hands out. Now that I see Frankenbaby, I see that the arms out are a way of increasing the moment arm for rotation from feet onto buttocks, and thus a good way to keep your balance - sort of like the way that runners will stick their hands out to either side when running down hill.

It is also pretty darn cute.

Posted by Red Ted at 02:18 PM | TrackBack

May 13, 2005

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is a very good day - the littler man was born on Friday, February 13th 2004.

All Fridays the 13th (Friday the 13ths?) are now lucky days for us.

(and a very good subject for what MT tells me is the 1,000th post.)

Posted by Red Ted at 12:54 PM | TrackBack

April 28, 2005

Things to look forward to

Earlier this week I decided that on Friday I would take the toddler to the Penn Relays.

I have been looking forward to it all week.

I suspect it will either be a really great day, or it will be an all-time-record meltdown.

It might also be both.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:41 AM | TrackBack

April 11, 2005

Call me Daddy Morden

Lately I have felt an awful lot like Mr. Morden, from the old Babylon 5 TV series.

I have been constantly repeating "what do you want?" with various degrees of emphasis, to an audience who does not really understand the question.

Of course, when Morden asked his question he was trying to figure out which major power would answer with a paraphrase of Genghis Khan's definition of what is good, while when I ask I am more interested in getting a shirt, any shirt, onto the toddler.

Still, I find the similarities distressing.

Posted by Red Ted at 07:52 AM | TrackBack

April 10, 2005

Poop blogging

The littler man got a gut bug on Friday. He has had it over the course of the weekend.

I may never be able to eat butterscotch pudding again.

That is all.

Posted by Red Ted at 09:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 26, 2005

Toddler bread

I would not have tried this combination on my own, but the bigger man was acting as foreman yesterday. So, we call this toddler bread.

1 cup plus one ounce water
2 cups bread flour
1 cup WW flour
cup yellow cornmeal
1 egg
1 tsp yeast
scant tsp salt
long tbsp honey

Detailed narrative (cute but long and self-indulgent) after the fold.

Do you want to help daddy make bread?

Yeah.

OK, up on the counter with you.

Lets see, what do we want to put in the bread today.
[goes into refrigerator, grabs sourdough crock.]

No want daddy sourdough.

You don't want the sourdough in the bread?

No want daddy sourdough!

OK, lets put it back. What do you want in the bread?

No want daddy sourdough!

I know, it is already put away. Bread has flour water salt and yeast. Lets see, we are out of salt. Lets refill that first.

[Goes into cupboard, grabs box of kosher salt to refill the salt pig. Bag of cornmeal falls out of cupboard and onto counter next to toddler.]

OK, we have more salt. Now lets make bread. Bread is flour, water, yeast and salt. What flour do you want?

Want yellow powder [pointing to bag of cornmeal]

Yellow powder? Do you want cornmeal?

No want cornmeal. Want yellow powder.

The yellow powder IS cornmeal. We make it by taking corn, drying it, and grinding it up. Do you want it in the bread?

Yeah.

OK, lets put in half a cup of cornmeal. Does that sound right?

OK

Do you want to measure?

No. Daddy measure.

[ cup of cornmeal goes into the bread machine bucket.]

Now what other flour do we want? Do you want brown flour?

Yeah.

[1 cup of whole wheat flour goes into the bread machine bucket.]

Lets add some white flour, OK?

[2 cups of bread flour go into the bread machine bucket.]

That is the flour. Bread is flour, water yeast, and salt. Lets put the yeast in.

[go to freezer, get mason jar of yeast.]

No want daddy sourdough!

This isn't sourdough. This is the yeast. We need yeast to make bread.

OK

Lets see, tsp per cup of flour, lets call it 3 cups of flour, so 1 and tsp yeast.

[Yeast goes in the bread machine bucket.]

Now the salt, 1/4 tsp per cup of flour. Lets call it a scant teaspoon. Do you want to dump it in?

No

[1 scant tsp kosher salt goes into the bread.]

Do you want anything else in the bread? Eggs, oil?

Want egg.

OK, [one egg goes into the bread machine.]

Do you want any oil in the bread?

No want oil.

How about honey?

Want honey.

Do you want to squeeze the honey bottle?

Yeah

About 2 tbsp honey gets squeezed into the bread machine

Do you want anything else?

No

OK, lets add the water. Hmm, 1/3 cup per cup of flour. So we need 1 1/6 cups of water. Lets put in a cup plus an ounce. Does that sound right?

OK

[Water goes into bread machine]

Flour, water, yeast, salt. We have bread. We put in egg and honey. Do you want anything else in your bread?

NO

Do you want to push the button?

Yeah.

[toddler gets carried from the work counter to the bread machine counter. Bread bucket gets carried from the work counter to the bread machine counter. Bread machine gets pulled forward. Bucket goes in. Daddy sets it up for a 2 pound loaf, medium crust, long rises.]

Are you ready to push the green button.

Yeah.

And the toddler made a loaf of bread.

Posted by Red Ted at 12:34 PM | TrackBack

February 22, 2005

Giving the cat an enema

There is nothing that is quite like giving the cat an enema.

That is all.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 21, 2005

Grading with the Wiggles

It is paper grading time here at the house of RedTed. It is also daddy-day-care time. I can combine these two moments by putting on a kids video and letting the boys watch it while I struggle through a couple of student works. I call this Grading with The Wiggles, and it works fairly well.

Except, of course, for the inevitable earbugs. For the last two days I have had "yummy yummy / fruit salad" stuck in my head.

I am getting ready to eat a steak in self defense.

Posted by Red Ted at 06:54 AM | TrackBack

February 15, 2005

Good relationship points

The boys and I scored good husband points on Valentine's Day

I was doing daddy day care on Monday. Around 10:00 we bundled into the car to run errands. Our first stop was the corner florist, where I got a dozen roses and the one-year-old, whose birthday is February 13, got a single rose.

From there we went to J's office. The toddler squawked as we were talking to the receptionist, and heads poked out of doors all along the front hallway to see what a crying child was doing in an engineering firm. Folks were rewarded by the sight of a toddler carefully carrying a plastic case with a single rose, and dad lugging the one-year-old (dressed all in red) and another dozen roses wrapped in paper.

It worked - we surprised J and made her happy.

It also worked - J. got serious husband-envy points from her co-workers.

And, we had fun doing it.

Next year the littler man will be two years old for Valentines day, and will have to give her two roses.

Posted by Red Ted at 01:35 AM | TrackBack

January 27, 2005

Babylonian Sleep Therapy

I have been doing a lot of Babylonian Sleep Therapy this week.

The littler man has been having trouble sleeping on the nights before teaching - so my students must think I am even more scatter-brained and goofy than I really am, and that is saying a lot. Let me explain.

The littler man has been having trouble falling asleep. His big brother had similar problems at about the same age. What we did with big brother is: stop rocking him to sleep, shift to shaking his crib instead, sing a bit, and let him go a little longer each time before intervening. It worked, the larger man now pretty much puts himself to bed (although is is also TWO, with all the associated tantrums.)

Alas, the larger man gets very cranky when woken up, and screaming brothers tend to produce stereo screaming boys - a bad thing. So, we have been very cautious about letting one boy be in a position where his crying might wake the other. Unfortunately, this has meant that we are behind the curve at teaching the littler man to go to sleep on his own.

So, we are accomodating and adjusting - doing less walking with him, trying harder to cut out his 4:00am feeding, and giving him more time in the crib before we pick him up. Still, he is teething and dealing with a nasty diaper rash on his neck (chubster is a no-neck monster with damp crevices in the folds of his neck.) This means that the littler man has good reason to not sleep, and should be held.

Anyhow, I got him down for nap yesterday with Babylonian Sleep Therapy (he had actually put himself to sleep at 11:45, but when big brother threw a hissy fit at 12:15 on his way to nap, well, it woke the littler man and I had screaming baby stereo. It happens. Larger man went to bed, littler man got babylonian sleep therapy until 1:15, and big brother woke at 1:30. I got no writing done during yesterday's nap.

Last night, littler man had trouble sleeping. I was up till 3:00 doing off-and-on Babylon Sleep Therapy, then tagged J. Between 10:00pm and 3:15 am we watched about 2 hours of a movie, which meant that I got about 3 hours of writing in and around the crankster.

Oh, but what IS Babylonian Sleep Therapy?

It is popping a tape into the VCR, sitting down in the rocking chair with squirm, and rocking until he falls asleep. I am currently working through my VCR tapes of Season 1 of Babylon 5, so I call it Bablylonian Sleep Therapy even if J is using the vcr to tape something that night and I end up watching a movie on DVD.

p.s. Disney's Miracle is a surprisingly good movie. Disney does well with compelling G-rated sports movies.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:48 AM | TrackBack

January 24, 2005

Brace for impact

I just wanted to share this with you.

The infant is now crawling. Utter mayhem will soon result (he turns 1 in a couple of weeks, and is a big boy.)

The toddler is almost 2 and a half, and just became "a two year old" - complete with tantrums, loss of appetite, and random moments of total cuteness.

In any case, that is part of why blogging has been slow.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 27, 2004

Done Shopping

Well, the littler man chubster and I went shopping today, and we finished our holiday shopping. We have all our gifts for everyone but me, and mine will be some sort of a combined Christmas, Channukah, birthday, multi-person splurge to be named later. (I am betting on a sort of cold frame for my early seedlings.) J is getting voice lessons - her current hobby is a choir.

Not that Chubster and I did a lot of shopping - $20 in books for the boys and my niece and nephew, $8 in some toys to fill in the gaps in the toys we are digging out of storage and wrapping up pretty for our boys, and we were done. The rest of the family will be getting jam and hot peppers - money we spent back during the canning and gardening season.

Monday we get to mail out the jam.

Posted by Red Ted at 06:31 PM | TrackBack

November 26, 2004

43 Boxes of books.

We spent the day moving boxes.

J's parents had come down for Thanksgiving at our place. My folks who live about an hour away went to New Mexico to visit my syster, so my brother and J's brother came to our house. It was a nice Thanksgiving - 7 adults, 2 kids, low stress, good food. I cooked. I like to cook for Thanksgiving, if only because it means I get out of doing dishes.

Anyhow, the point of this particular post is that this morning J's parents watched the kids while J and I went to our storage area and moved stuff from the 10' by 20' unit to a 10' by 10' unit. When we lived in Virginia we rented a 4 bedroom house for about 2/3 of what it cost us for first an apartment and then this mortgage. The excess stuff went into storage.

As part of moving and sorting (and flagging things to get thrown away or sold on ebay) I counted. We have 43 boxes of books in storage - almost all fiction, about half science fiction. My history books and journals are all in the house now. 43 boxes is a LOT of books - figure that one box is about one book shelf.

They say that if you don't use something for a year, you can get rid of it. We have had these books in boxes for three years now. But, several times a month, I wish I had them. So we get to keep them.

And so to count pieces and figure out how many of my old Avalon Hill games can be sold on Ebay. Anyone want a well-played copy of War at Sea? How about a very good copy of Magic Realm?

I am keeping my miniatures and some of the games, but we just have too much stuff.

Oh, the book boxes filled just under one quarter of the storage unit. The rest is filled head high with fabric and sewing, passover dishes, boxes of memories, memorabilia, and sheet music, and all manner of other good things. We hope to get rid of about half the contents of that storage area this coming year.

I am not sure if I would make a good turtle, for I carry my life around with me, or a poor turtle, because it is so heavy I can barely move.

p.s. we are keeping the 5-volume Ogden Nash.

p.p.s. The toddler likes Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, although he wants more pictures and less poetry.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:04 PM | TrackBack

November 17, 2004

Marlon Peabody

I have been referring to the two boys as the toddler and the infant. I might change that, for I have caught myself referring to the infant as Marlon Peabody. Why that name?

Well, he is a round-faced great big baby (85% on height and weight) with straight hair that falls forward. As a result he look a lot like Marlon Brando did in the later scenes in the first Godfather movie, only without the moustache.

For the Peabody - well, after you change a few soaked diapers, and the soaked undershirts that come with a very well hydrated baby, Mr. Peabody becomes the generic name for any baby with a full, wet, diaper.

Marlon Peabody, it has a certain ring to it.

Posted by Red Ted at 09:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 01, 2004

Unfortunate Name

With kids in daycare we are very aware of the current crop of new baby names. In addition to the usual shifts and changes - Jane is out, Samantha is in - there has been a rise in titular names, names derived from an old English profession. So there are lots of Hunters, a few Coopers, lots of Taylors (different spelling, and a girl's name, but still), some Fletchers, and so on. If it were not for the racial connotations that have attached themselves to workers in iron or in tin we would surely see a mess of Blacksmiths and Whitesmiths. I doubt that we will see many Butchers, Bakers, or Candlers, but who knows where name trends will go next.

In many ways these names seem to be a variation on the old hortatory names, where you named a child after a quality that you hoped they would acquire. There are still a few Hopes and Faiths, not so many Chastities or Preserveds, while good 16th century names like Praisegod are pretty much defunct. The problem with hortatory names is that, in addition to marking a parent as potentially overprotective, they can lead to either embarassment or irony if the child grows up to act in a manner completly unlike the name - an Atheist named Faith, a sexual adventurer named Chastity, and so on.

Many of the new titular names appear to be secular equivalents of a hortatory name - you name the child after a quality or image you hope they will grow into, but that quality or image is tied to body image, or machismo. It does not always work.

I was reminded of this because I noticed a kid at the park Sunday afternoon. He was perhaps 10 years old, although it was hard to tell. Not only do I have trouble judging kids' ages, I have more trouble judging fat kids ages, and this was a fat kid. He could walk, but he looked to be 30 to 50 pounds overweight and about 4 feet tall, perhaps a little taller.

I was playing with the kids on the swings (the infant loves the swings, the toddler is afraid of them. Go figure) and this boy was sitting on a swing nearby making an odd hooting moaning noise. I looked over to see what the noise was, I looked again and a third time to try to figure out how a kid that young got so fat - it looked like body by HFCS soda had gotten him, but who knows. Mom was upset that her kid was making a fool of himself and sent him to the benches for a time out. As he was waddling over I compared the mental image that goes along with his titular name, a name that I associate with lean, active, wiry people.

He was a Hunter, and it looked like he was the sort of a hunter who would need a power assist to get into his tree stand.

Still, it could have been worse. They could have named the fat kid Runner.

P.S.

I like traditional kid names - three out of the four names (first and middle) for our two boys are Biblical, three out of the four are common 20th century names - and one reason why I like them is the lack of conflict between the connotations of a titular or hortatory name and the unknown aspects of a child's growth. Also, a bit of truth in ranting, the toddler's middle name was chosen because it was a family name, because I thought it was a cool name, and because I like the hortatory implications of naming a child after someone who spoke truth to power. So when I rant about hortatory names or titular names it is because the parent has not done a good enough job of raising the child to the expectations inherent in their name.

Posted by Red Ted at 09:06 AM | TrackBack

October 10, 2004

Special guest blogger

The littler man was sitting on my lap trying to reach the keyboard while I wrote to students - they have an exam Tuesday and are starting to panic. While I did not let him write to them, he did ask to post something on the blog. So, without further ado, here is the littler man:

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooookkkkkkkkklok7iiiiiiiiiiii77770j7iokokopp;';/'/-;'
'='/

*
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GBJ-[=b b

This message brought to you by the society for indulgent parents.

Posted by Red Ted at 07:14 PM | TrackBack

September 07, 2004

Minneapolis

No blogging for the last few days because we were in Minneapolis for J's brother's wedding. A good time was had by all, but travel took a full day out and a full day back - flying with toddler and infant is a big hassle.

I had a couple of random thoughts about the Midwest in general and Minnesota in particular.

I like Walleye. It is a wonderfully textured fish. This is good because we were eating a lot of restaurant food and the Walleye was usually the least heart-unhealthy thing on the menu.

Minneapolis is a very clean city - a big contrast to Filthydelphia - although we were mostly in the hotel district near the convention center.

Folks were very friendly; while folks in the Northeast are nicer than our reputation, I found Minnesotans much more interested in sitting down and chatting with strangers. That made the trip fun.

My brother in law is not good at writing directions. Or detail work. Or pre-planning. Then again, he and his wife put this together quickly and from a long distance. J and I lost a lot of time planning our wedding. But, it all worked out and we had a nice little ceremony in an outside sculpture garden, followed by brunch at a nice restaurant.

The Minnesota state fair is BIG. It is also a lot of fun. We forgot to go on rides - I had wanted to take toddler on the merry-go-round - but we did get to go through the livestock barns. Toddler liked that a lot. He really liked the goats, but then one stood up on its stall gate and nibbled on his shirt sleeve and upper harm. He did not like that at all. We have been reading a lot of kids books about farm animals, and I am glad that he had a chance to see the things that the pictures were all about.

I did not find the stall with deep fried pickles on a stick. We did find just about everything else in the world being deep fried, served on a stick, or deep fried and then served on a stick.

I have now read Go Dog Go enough times for this week. I intend to hide it for a few days. Also Margaret Wise Brown's Big Red Barn and his book about Trucks. Unlike most of the other folks travelling with toddlers, we did not bring a portable DVD or beeping games. Instead we read books. Again and again. "Dog." "Big dog." "Little dog." "Big dogs and little dogs." "Black and white dogs." "One little dog going in." "Three big dogs going out." . . .

I need to remember that I only read about 100 pages of fiction, 50 pages of light history, on a three hour plane ride with a toddler. I packed far too many books for myself.

It was a good trip, and I am very tired.

And so to finish class prep.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:43 AM | TrackBack

August 24, 2004

Kid stuff

Today the toddler turns two.

It is hard to think that he has been around for two years. They have been good years, for it is wonderful to watch him grow and change. They have also been frustrating years; my writing should have been done a long time ago.

Happy birthday little dude

potty stuff

We have been working on potty awareness the last few weeks. He now pretends to use his potty, sometimes asks to use the potty, and is in the early stages of potty training. Next time I buy diapers, they will probably have to be pull-ups. (I suspect he is trying to potty train because he does not like to have his diaper changed.)

Last night he asked to sit on the potty. We perched him on it, and he proceeded to pee. Of course, we had not gotten the splash-guard into place -- J was distracted and thought he was just playing pretend. So, we hit a new milestone yesterday - the first day the boy peed all over the bathroom floor. I am sure there will be many more.

Posted by Red Ted at 02:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 10, 2004

Things not to do !

The Washington Post has a disturbing article on the use of hot sauce as a punishment for young children. Parents, mostly in the authoritarian-with-hugs style, apply a drop of the sauce to a child's tongue as punishment for transgressions involving the mouth - biting, speaking rudely, and so on.

It is a terrible idea. It is dangerous - hot sauce can cause serious reactions. It uses pain as a coercive device. It is effective, but only because it is so painful. I, as an adult who likes hot sauce, blink a little when I get a dash of tabasco on my tongue.

The correct way to use hot sauce is to put it on the kids' food, when they ask for it, and then mix it in so there is no one hot spot. Our toddler eats spicy food, in part because we feed him what we eat and we eat a moderate level of spiciness.

Posted by Red Ted at 02:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 04, 2004

Day Care Dilemna

Come the fall, day care drop off and pickup will shift from being a J-task to being a Ted-task. As part of the shift we are looking into shifting the boys from the center near J's work to a center near the house. Having them by work was crucial when J was hopping over at lunch to breastfeed the infant. But, with us planning to wean the littler man from his mid-day nursing later this month, now we can pick something a little more convenient and a little bit cheaper - J works in the high-rent suburb.

So far we have it narrowed down to three possibilities: the clean structured place, the happy chaos, and an in-home provider.

The clean structured place is a newer building, very spiffy, with well credentialed teachers. They have been open under a year and are very certainly catering to anxious yuppies - the doors are alarmed, there are security cameras, the classrooms are all separate. They do some very good things - they pay their staff well and so far have very little turnover, a constant problem in daycare. They follow an integrated curriculuum and do a very good job of preparing kids for kindergarten - most of their 4 year olds can read. And, from my visit, the kids were all happy.

The happy chaos has been in business for 15 years, and several of the junior staffers are people who attended the day care as kids: lifers. There are often kids wandering out of the classroom and into the director's office to visit and get a hug, it is noiser and not as well climate controlled, but it is a happy noise - no crying kids here. They do less teaching, more playing with symbols. I suspect that fewer of their four year olds can read, but I suspect that their two year olds have a more playful day.

Where the first center handles fights over toys by "setting up the children to succeed" - and handing everyone the same toy at the same time, the second place handles it by separating the kids and encouraging them to share. It is more like a family, less like an institution.

Which will we move to? I don't know. We are casual sloppy yuppies. Still, it is a worthwhile reminder that good day care comes in many flavors.

Posted by Red Ted at 04:54 PM | TrackBack

July 28, 2004

Home again, home again

Home from a trip to the beach - we went down the shore to visit with my sister and her family who were back for a couple of weeks from their home in the Western desert.

I am not sure what the highlight was, it might have been that on the 4th day at the shore the toddler finally stopped being afraid of the ocean, largely because my brother and I dug him a little wading pool and sand castle that he could use to watch the rising tide, and that let him figure out that the waves were more fun than scary.

It might also have been watching my nephew chase his uncle around, and watching my toddler chasing the nephew around, like 3 ducks in a row, all wanting attention and play with the bigger duck up ahead. (does that make any sense?)

Or, it might well have been the first day, where we overlapped with some old friends and their kids, and we had 10 adults and 6 kids for breakfast. Thats a full house!

Oh, and one day we took the toddler to the zoo in the afternoon. He saw a lion and was hypnotized by it. I think we get to take him to the local zoo one day when we will have more time to spend looking at critters.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:47 AM | TrackBack

July 23, 2004

The power of a single letter

The folks in Spinal Tap comment that there is a very narrow line between being clever and being stupid.

There is a similar narrow line between being cute and being gross. Consider what happened yesterday while I was babysitting a sick toddler.

"Oh, how cute, the baby is sitting in his bath and playing!"

Add an "h".

That was a messy cleanup, yep.

Posted by Red Ted at 04:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 12, 2004

Inchworms v Weeds

Some children grow like weeds. They become very tall very quicly, then they fill in.

Our kids seem to be growing like inchworms instead - they get very thick in the middle and then they extend themselves and become skinny again.

This pattern is made more noticable because both J and I are mesomorphs - wimps who look like we ought to be athletic - and both the boys are also solid little lumps.

I mention this because I am convinced that the toddler grew an inch last night.

Of course, he is still TumTum.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:49 AM | TrackBack

April 01, 2004

Haircut

J sez that since I blogged about wanting one I need to blog about having gotten one.

No, not that.

I got my hair cut yesterday. Clippers, black attachment, 1/2 inch, zoom zoom zoom.

It had been over two inches long - I don't make it to the barber often enough.

Posted by Red Ted at 11:22 AM | TrackBack

Uncle Fester?

The folks at the toddler's day care want to know if the infant looks like me or like J or like the toddler.

I told them the truth.

Right now he looks like Uncle Fester.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:47 AM | TrackBack

March 18, 2004

Hi Mom

Well, the parents found out about the web log.

Hi folks.

Posted by Red Ted at 01:40 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 05, 2004

Name your inner hobbit

At dinner tonight the toddler and I were "filling in around the corners" - having a little bite of this and a little bite of that as we properly pack our bellies for the long haul - hours at least - until the next meal.

I realized that what we were doing was filling our inner hobbit, the little man in your belly (or woman in your belly - everyone has one) who wants to know what happened to second breakfast? what are we having for tea? did you hear about what happened to my cousin's wife's great aunt's daughter? and what do you mean the beer comes in Pints!

I don't know what the toddler has named his inner hobbit, but mine has a name - Mortimer Stoutbuttons. I have long had a name for my tummy (some people name their sexual organs, but I know where MY priorities are) and called it Mortimer. Stoutbuttons is a fine hobbitish name and the usual surname for halflings and hobbits that I play in games. So, Mortimer Stoutbuttons it is.

What is the name of your inner hobbit?

Posted by Red Ted at 08:31 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

February 27, 2004

Wedding Vows

Just to make it clear that the post below is parody, here are the vows that J and I exchanged. Real names replaced with blog names.

Celebrant:
Ted, would you now raise J's veil.....
Take her hands in yours as you face each other, and repeat after me:

I, [Red Ted],
do take thee, [Lady J]
to be the wife of my days,
the companion of my home,
the friend of my life,
and the mother of my children.
I take thee to have and to hold;
for better or for worse;
for richer and for poorer;
in sickness and in health;
to love and to cherish,
till death do us part;
and thereto, with my whole heart
and with my earnest and compete devotion,
I do pledge thee my troth.

Celebrant:
J., take Ted's hands in yours and repeat after me

I, [Lady J.]
do take thee, [Red Ted]
to be the husband of my days,
the companion of my home,
the friend of my life,
and the father of my children.
I take thee to have and to hold;
for better or for worse;
for richer and for poorer;
in sickness and in health;
to love and to cherish,
till death do us part;
and thereto, with my whole heart
and with my earnest and compete devotion,
I do pledge thee my troth.

They are strong vows. We liked them then, we like them now.

Posted by Red Ted at 07:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 26, 2004

A Solecism in Patriarchy

The very notion of same sex marriage just makes no sense. I mean, think about it.

Everyone knows that marriage is the way that we transfer property between generations; without a legitimate heir (and she had darn well better be faithful or we will disinherit the funny-looking kid) how do we decide who gets the property and with it the liberties and rights that are attached to that property?

More than that, in a marriage the woman loses her legal identity to her husband. She enters his household and he has governance over her and over the children just as a magistrate has governance over the whole of society. The family is a little commonwealth or a little kingdom, take your pick. Either way, women and children are dependents, taking their legal existence from the husband, sworn to obey his wishes, and subject to his desires and corrections.

So if we have a same-sex marriage, how do we figure out whose identity gets subsumed into the other? If two men marry, do they both get to chastise the other with a stick no thicker than their thumb? If two women marry, do their legal identities vanish completely? Who is the patriarch and who is the dependent? Who gains property rights in the other's body? Do they just draw straws to decide which one vows to obey and which one vows to honor? The whole idea is a solecism in patriarchy.

What, marriage no longer works that way?

Never mind.

Posted by Red Ted at 03:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 25, 2004

Potential Tumult

The toddler is in day care, the newborn is asleep, J is resting, and I am writing up the final bits of class prep. As I sit in the quiet house I notice a big difference between the way things have been the last couple of days and the way things were over the weekend and overnight.

Even when the toddler is asleep, as long as he is in the house there is a tension in the air - like the tingle and heaviness that comes before a thunderstorm. It as if the toddler is a tumult unto himself, but sometimes it is an active tumult and sometimes it is a potential tumult. Perhaps I chose the wrong metaphor, perhaps a toddler in a crib is more like a rock at the top of a hill, poised and ready to roll down precipitating an avalanche.

Luckily, these are happy tumults as the toddler is generally a happy man. He runs, he plays very busily, he gives hugs, he waves his arms and makes happy noises (we need to get a video of it, it is quite funny.) It would be much worse if we had a destructive tumult or a cranky tumult looming over us every time he went up for a nap.

But the house does feel more empty when he is in day care than it does when he is asleep.

Posted by Red Ted at 11:02 AM | TrackBack

February 22, 2004

Dawgs and Toddlers

The hound is half trained.

By this I mean that when I have been working with her regularly, she is generally safe to walk on heel and off lead through a crowded situation with pedestrians, traffic squirrels, and the like.

A fully trained dog can be chasing a squirrel when you command "SIT", and the dog then makes skid marks with its butt as it sits down in full stride. A half-trained dog is still pretty impressive to people who do not train their dog.

Why am I pointing this out? Because we have a half-trained dog who is also a fairly submissive dog, we don't need to do dominance exercises with her on a regular basis. She has always been good with people, now that the elder child is a toddler she is getting to be good with toddlers.

Eldest child added a new household chore today - he is almost 18 months old and likes to help. I have the dog sit (always be polite) then hand toddler the food bowl and have him put it down for the hound to eat from. Giving food is a dominance statement, and so we are reinforcing the proper relationship between toddler and hound.

I did not say that we do not play a lot of dominance games - we play a LOT of dominance games with the hound so that we do not HAVE to play dominance games with her.

And the little man does like to help out.

Posted by Red Ted at 07:27 AM | TrackBack

February 15, 2004

Sunday morning

The littlest man comes home today. The little man is having a nap. I am taking a quick break before doing some housework and then getting ready to go fetch mom and baby.

My thought for the moment is twofold: it is a good thing that Monday is the American and French Revolutions, because I can teach those in my sleep; and the kids may not get their homework back on time.

And so to put sheets on the bassinet.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:22 AM | TrackBack

February 13, 2004

Its a Boy

Number Two Son arrived at 8:10 am this morning.

Seven pounds, 2 ounces
nineteen and 3/4 inches

Mom and baby are doing well.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:48 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 11, 2004

Hi Dear

"I put your picture on the internet."

"You what?"

"On my web page. I put your picture up so everyone could see it."

"You. What?"

"Don't worry, your face is hidden. No one can recognize you from the picture."

"You WHAT!"

"See, here on the front page of the blog."

"Is that us? Which one is me? What is that picture?"

"It is from when we were dating, it must be 8 years ago now. We were down at the shore, sitting on the dock at high tide. You are on the left, with your feet in the water."

"Oh. I see. Well, you can keep it on your page."

"Thanks dear, I thought you would say that."

Then she hit me.

Posted by Red Ted at 11:10 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 29, 2004

Minor Details


The little man likes Badger Badger. He got bored with Cows With Guns.

While watching Cows with Guns I noticed something very disconcerting. The lead character was a partially transgendered cow.

What do I mean?

Cow is a generic term for neat cattle, it is also a technical term for a fertile female just as a bull is a fertile male. Milk cows spend their working lives pregnant so they will lactate. Sterilized females (and young females) are called heifers, sterilized males are steers.

The hero, Cow Tse Tung, is referred to as "he" throughout the song. The animation for the hero shows udders - female secondary sexual characteristics: cow boobs.

Our hero is either a male with cow-boobs or a female with gender issues. Once I noticed that, I had to choose between reading the song as transgendered subversion or a total loss of my willing suspension of disbelief; it was no longer just general silliness.

And no, I do not know why it bothers my suspension of disbelief that "he" has udders but it does not bother my suspension of belief that "he" reads Che Guevara, packs an Uzi, and leads a cattle revolution.

I think it has something to do with genre conventions.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:05 AM | TrackBack

January 19, 2004

Great Grandma G.



Great Grandma G. was one heck of a good cook. She cooked comfort food, she cooked it well, and she ate a lot of it.

That side of the family, the North Florida/South Georgia side, was split. Either folks drank and smoke and died young of throat cancer, or they were teetotalers and lived into their 80s regardless of what they did. Grandma G. did not drink or smoke. My mom remembers her as a little old lady almost as round as she was tall. You would see this little old lady sitting in her rocking chair, asleep, with a small book in her lap. If you walked over to see which psalm she had been reading, you were more likely to find that she had nodded off over Zane Grey Blood on the Prairie - she liked her westerns.

She was mostly noted for her cooking. She had a most remarkable gift for gravy - it never clumped, it never got watery, it was always rich and thick and yummy. After meals she would take a slice of bread and pour the rest of the gravy on it and eat it with a knife and fork. She died in the 1960s - I have no memory of meeting her, but I do remember the stories about her.

My mom invokes Grandma G. often. As she tells the story, Grandma G. was sitting in heaven trying to dispose of her various gifts to her various descendents. There were not a lot of people in mom's generation - just her and a cousin. Mom imagines Grandma G. saying "well, who gets the gravy? This one granddaughter just goes out to dinner, or throws something on the grill. This other one, C., she may be a terrible cook but at least she is trying." And so, a couple of months after Grandma G. died, Mom was making gravy and poof - it worked. Before that day, the gravy never ever worked for her, after that day it never failed. And so, she thanks Great Grandma G. every time she makes gravy.

I can sometimes make a good gravy, but not always. I do it properly - pour the pan drippings into a cold frying pan, scour the roasting pan with stock or giblet water, pour that into the pan, add flour equal in volume to the fat, heat slowly till it thickens, add stock or giblet water or carving juice if it gets too thick. Sometimes it worked, as it did last night, sometimes it makes a mess.

However, I seem to have gotten zapped with Great Grandma G.'s pastry gift - I started with pie crust when I was a teenager because I wanted pie and mom did not like to bake pie. It does not always work, not like mom and the gravy, but my chewy breads tend to be chewy, my flaky pastry tends to be flaky, and when something works I also remember to give a bit of thanks to Great Grandma G. for sharing her pastry gift with me.

The pizza crust on Saturday was very good indeed. The sauce was not good, and the pie was mediocre, but the crust worked. Thanks Grandma G.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:12 AM | TrackBack

January 07, 2004

Grooming


My wife has never seen my chin. I have worn a beard or a goatee since before we met. For that matter, it has been about 15 years since I have seen my own chin.

But, my beard is getting greyer and greyer, and the grey is climbing higher and higher on my face.

I like wearing a beard, it has been part of my image and self-image since I was in high school. But, I am also going on the job market and am older than your usual freshly minted Ph.D.. I have to wonder if I would do better if I did not look older than my age?

So, I am thinking hard about shaving - either taking the WHOLE thing off (leaving a moustache) or going down to a goatee.

I have been thinking about a shave for a few months now, but I have to wonder if part of the re-appearance of the desire is that I am feeling in a rut and want to make a physical change in order to inspire an emotional change? Then too, I have an interview on Friday so I have to decide soon how to present myself.

To do today - get my ears lowered for the interview (and because my hair is being long and in the way.)

Posted by Red Ted at 07:44 AM | TrackBack

Groomed


Well, I now look different.

The beard, complete with lots of grey along the jawline, is now a solid red goatee.

The hair, which was getting long, is now a 1/2" crew cut. That is about as short as you can go without getting into the military-style cuts.

I look ten years younger. And, more importantly, I am reminded that I look good with this combination.

If only the hair down my shirt did not itch so.

Posted by Red Ted at 03:14 AM | TrackBack

December 25, 2003

Gold, Frank Innocence, and Mirth


In Robertson Davies The Lyre of Orpheus the comic relief is provided by Uncle Yerko. Uncle Yerko talks in gypsy dialect, is only barely connected to modern Canadian culture, and serves to embarrass our narrator. At one point, however, he has an absolutely delicious moment.

He hears the Christmas story for the first time, misunderstands it, and decides that the wise men gave "bebby Jesus" a gift of "Gold, frank innocence, and mirth."

As Simon Davencourt, Davies' spokesman among the characters, points out, there are many worse wishes in the world than gold, frank innocence and mirth. The world could certainly use more of all three.

So, from me to all dozen or so of my readers, I wish you a year with much gold, with frank innocence, and with much mirth.

Posted by Red Ted at 11:05 AM | TrackBack

November 26, 2003

Starting the Thanks list


I got some good news yesterday and today, and I want to start making a list of things that I am thankful for.

Some of these are personal, others are professional.

In my personal life, I am thankful for wife and son; both are wonderful. I am thankful that three out of four grandparents have met the baby, and all three are active if not healthy.

I am thankful that we will be in a position to host a feast for twelve people, that is its own blessing despite also being a lot of work.

In my professional life, the thanks are smaller, or better, shorter term.

My advisor likes chapter three, finally. I am thankful that I may have learned how to write a chapter.

I have an interview next week, there I am hopeful that something will come of it.

Some of my students are wonderful. Teaching a bright, interested student is a fine experience, and I am thankful that I have had it this semester. So too is being able to make someone excited about material that they had expected to hate, the power to convert is a fun power to have.

Despite my flashes of the blues this fall, it has been a good year. And I am thankful for it.

Posted by Red Ted at 09:32 AM | TrackBack

November 23, 2003

Busy day


We went to a wedding today. We drove 2 and a half hours, were there for about five hours, and drove back.

It was good to see J's extended family. She had forgotten to tell them she was pregnant; she got teased for keeping things quiet.

On the drive back I started thinking about Providence, the Texas Taliban, and chapter four. I intend to work up a think piece on Providence to help me figure out what to do with it in chapter four. I think that I might be able to extract my discussions of common Christianity, Providence, and Unity of the Spirit and put it together as a good article for Journal of the Early Republic or Journal of Church and State. Professionally, I need a good article. I have been looking for something I could extract from the dissertation. Right now, I am too tired to write it up. (Coffee while driving, then an idea to write down, and now here I am, rattling.)

And so to try to be sleepy

Posted by Red Ted at 11:40 AM | TrackBack