28 June 2009

Everything is damp

Really, I have been meaning to write more. I wrote something yesterday, but it went away when I hit post. It was not meant to be.

I am 27 now and one year closer to being in my mid-thirties, which is how old I actually feel.

My parents were here last week and we had a lovely time, despite me being constantly distracted. I am always distracted by something: quite often the wrong things. I don't like having to make a defense of the decisions I've made, and something about having my parents around has always made me defensive, especially in recent years. But last week, I didn't feel that way at all, and I think it may mean that I am getting older and more confident. I would like to think that.

My parents are also just good people and I think, every time that I am around them that I would like to spend more time with them and I wish we lived closer to them. But it is not in the cards right now, and that's okay.

For my birthday I got some Lacoste white tennis shoes, the kind that go well with my blazer and my overall adult look. I got a hair trimmer, which I have been using to keep myself in increasingly orderly condition below the neck line. I got an Amazon gift certificate that I will be using soon. I got Murakami Haruki's new novel in Japanese. I got another computer screen: this was my gift to myself and something I needed to keep my sanity when working and having Naomi watch a video. It worked out well in the end, but it took me two days to get it working.

What else? Naomi peed on the carpet again, but once in the toilet so that was good. I have a busy month of July. Then August and then in September, after the eighth, I will be done before I begin again. And that will be nice.

22 June 2009

The Dude abides

I'm ordained, everyone. I'm now going to start asking for money to support my ministry.

14 June 2009

A mixed bag, no nuts

It's been a busy week working on the second and third chapter of my dissertation: literature review and methods. This was supposed to be due on June first, but because of the baby and having so many people here throughout May, I got an extension. So I will be turning it in tomorrow, if things go as planned. I had a breakthrough on Tuesday and turned in a good piece of writing ahead of a Thursday meeting with my supervisor that also went very well. I have been waiting a long, long time for some good news about my writing and this was more or less what I have been waiting for.

There is still a lot to do, but I think I'm getting there.

Other things are going well. Yoko is getting her strength back more and more each day. Mei is getting bigger. Naomi doesn't want to wear a diaper anymore, but is still not precise enough about when she has to go to the bathroom. I keep promising her that if she manages to use her potty, that I will give her some chocolate, but she just looks at me skeptically.

My parents come on Saturday. A week with them which means London at least once, I hope, and then it will be my birthday... Then our wedding anniversary and then I have to go to Birmingham to give a talk on metaphor and my research. Then we will be at the middle of July already.

Oh, I still haven't sorted out Mei's visa. It all takes so much damn time. I'm hoping that the bank stuff will come in on Tuesday and I'll be able to send everything in on Wednesday. If I can get my passport back in time, there is some chance I'll be in Spain for my friend Robert's wedding, but I'm not holding my breath at this point.

09 June 2009

Not to be outdone

Not to be outdone

This saves me

Mei is one month?!


Google tasks

The famed older brother was talking about how sometimes we get tools thinking they will help us to do something, but what we really need is to see needs we already have and look for tools to solve those problems. Google tasks is something I have been waiting for my whole life: a to-do list integrated with my e-mail box. I have been using it to break up big tasks that I have (like getting a visa for Mei or writing my research proposal) into smaller, much more managable small tasks. It's going quite well. I love how it lives in your inbox too. Just hanging out, ready to be used at any time.

07 June 2009

Throwing things on the ground

We had our first discipline problem with Naomi today after she threw a bunch of stuff on the ground during dinner. She was crying and crying and we kept telling her that she had to apologize to Yoko before it would be okay. This stand-off lasted for about thirty minutes with her crying for part of it, trying to pretend like it didn't happen, going back to crying, sitting on the bed by herself, screaming. It was really bizarre: she was sitting on the couch next to Yoko and we were both saying, you have to say you're sorry, and she just wouldn't say it. She totally dug in: it went on and on. Finally, she was lying on the bed and I was sitting there with her and she whispered, 'Sorry, Mommy,' so I took her back into the living room and she climbed back into Yoko's lap and whispered, 'Sorry, Mommy' again. It felt like the biggest victory ever. And possibly (possibly) like she may have learned something in the process.

06 June 2009

Back in the UK

I woke up at 6:00 this morning and walked back to the station. The whole city was so quiet.

Now I am back in our apartment. Yoko picked me up at the airport and Naomi was so happy to see me. She was shocked almost: she screamed and put her hand over her mouth. I'd never seen her act that way before. She's gotten bigger.

So much to do before... well, before I die, when I think about it. But in the sort run--at least until the end of next week.

'I have a terrible need of--shall I say the word--religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars.' -van Gogh

05 June 2009

Last night in Amsterdam

A good, long day. Had a good time talking with Gerard Steen (whose book I'm supposed to be reviewing). I do, however, miss my wife and daughters and am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tomorrow, regardless of how crowded it is.

Amsterdam, on second thought, is pretty damn cool. Will be back next year for RaAM 8 for sure and with the wife sometime too, I hope.

04 June 2009

Amsterdam 2

First, the conference is great. Much better than last year because I know people and I'm a student and I can talk to people much more proficient than last year. A couple of doctoral students from the University here came up to me and said, 'Lynne told us that you were worried you were losing your mojo and we should try to cheer you up.' That made my day.

Amsterdam is okay. Better than I thought yesterday, but I'm still not feeling it. Being able to buy marijuana and pay for sex does not, in my humble opinion, a great city make. Especially for a prude like me, who, it turns out, really is just into hanging out with his wife and daughters and going to art museums. That's all I want. I can have sex for free at home, and beer buzzs me plenty, thank you very much.

But freedom means letting people be free to do things you don't like, so I can accept it. I'm not sure I would want to bring up kids here though.

Well, to the park again.

03 June 2009

Amsterdam= dirty hippies

I'm in Amsterdam now. A couple of things:
  1. It's only 40 minutes from London.
  2. Dirty hippies everywhere.
  3. Smell of Dave Matthews Band show.
  4. Vondelpark is beautiful.
  5. The canals are beautiful.
  6. Ready to go to work.
  7. Screw staying in a hostel. I don't know what I was thinking.
  8. Oh yes, this is living the dream. No question.

02 June 2009

June 2nd Coup

I am on the last day of paternity leave, and it doesn't really feel like I have taken any time off. I was with the famed older brother and family all of last week and Monday was spent trying to sort out servicing my car, getting a haircut, taking Naomi for a walk, and some other things. I was able to sort out getting the car serviced for this morning, so I have dropped it off and taken my bicycle across town to the neighborhood McDonalds where I have had a salad, a quarter pounder, some Sprite Zero and some WiFi.

I have a lot to write about.

My brother and his family were here last week and we had a good time. It's funny when you are with your family how normal all the things you do feel. Having spent three weeks with my mother-in-law and wife, avoiding doing the wrong thing and trying to be the least American I could be, it was nice to let it all hang out, if you'll excuse the phrase. I ate too much and felt quite fat all week for some reason, but upon getting on the scale today, I discovered that I had not gained any weight, and remain about 3.5 kilo above where I want to be. Hopefully the bike riding and self-control at McDonald's will pay off.

Otherwise adjusting to life without anyone around has been difficult, but I am leaving about this time tomorrow, so I won't have to deal with it anymore. Adding someone to the family takes work, and suddenly time is split again. It's funny how you slowly become something you never envisioned for yourself: walking to the park with two daughters. When did this happen?

The shooting of this abortion doctor has got me thinking a lot too, given my rather ardent pro-life stance. I have this question for the pro-choice crowd: if Dr Miller had tried to abort a baby, and the baby was born still alive, is he justified in killing it once it is out of the womb? Every time I get into an argument about this, the pro-choice crowd always gets right onto the rights of the mother, but I never get a good answer to: when does life begin? In my mind, where I am interested in moments when things change, I think the only defensible positions are conception or birth. As far as I'm concerned, everything else is arbitrary. And if you are okay killing a baby that is in the process of being born, I'm not sure what else I can say.

Well, I guess I do, as I've been thinking about it, accept the Roe decision and using viability as a cut-off point. Fine. But you have to make it so that the baby is assumed viable unless the doctor can prove otherwise, in my mind. I'm fine with late-term abortion if the baby is going to die anyway.

I think the pro-life movement needs to distance itself from the Christian crowd, shut the hell up about Jesus and run away from assholes holding an 'Abortion is murder' sign in one hand and a 'Stop gay marriage' sign in the other, and make a philosophical argument and some concessions. I'm not happy with either side of the issue.

Riding my bike was nice. The bike paths near the center of the city are much better than out near where we live. You can actually sort of figure out where you are using the signs.