Sunday, December 31, 2006

My First shoes

My First shoes, originally uploaded by MRHames.

This is me, sporting shoes for the first time. In Canada, they call these "runners". In the US, "sneakers". Not that I run or sneak, but anyway. Have a great New Year's Eve day!

The new wheels

As promised a long time ago, we picked up some new wheels. This allows all the girls the ability to road trip together. Lucy in the back. Autumn in her car seat in the back. This new ride, a sleek black Forrester, is technically Autumn's first new car.

Think back. You can probably remember the car you grew up in. For me, it was a green Plymouth Volare (which always reminded me of the Dean Martin song that my dad played many saturday mornings, but I digress).

This will be Autumn's growing up car. As she rolls around on the carpet beside me, I'm continually struck by moments. They get corny, I know. Her first dog just licked her face. It's enough to bring a tear to your eye.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Animated Autumn

Photo 51, originally uploaded by MRHames.

So last night, the family went for a walk. And through most of the walk, Autumn was laughing hysterically. She was in the baby bjorn, attached to mom. I walked Lucy. I would walk ahead, turn around and make a noise and Autumn would just break out laughing. It was amazing. It's been so much fun watching her get more and more animated. We've truly enjoyed it. so thanks Autumn. We look forward to your continued laughter.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

sleepy, sleepy, sleep

Ah sleep. Some say overrated. For the last couple of night, sleep hasn't been that regular. Good thing, because things aren't that busy at work. But still. We could use a little shut eye. Not sure what the deal is, but it could be the start of her chicklets coming in. The doctor said that her gums were firming up, and that means some teeth. It also means a lot less sleep for us. Alas. Here's a picture for fun.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


So, it was a whirlwind. It starts with loading up the car. We have the four-legged girl in the back of the Subaru. The two-legged one in the car seat in the back. Mom in the driver's seat and dad in he back trying to entertain/contain the girls, depending on their leg count. The Hames Family Christmas eve tradition begins, appropriately, at a pub. In England, the pub is a meeting place. On Christmas Eve, people bring their kids, sing songs and Santa brings presents. Autumn is too small for much of it, but she did manage to get some Guinness on her little fingers.

Then it was off to Christmas caroling. This was the 30th Anniversary of us getting together to sing Christmas carols. This was at Aunt Tracey's house, and while we were into singing, Autumn was more into eating.

But then, after some bad notes were hit, and good ones left out there to suffer, it was Christmas morning. Autumn's first. Another Hames family tradition is to sit and listen to the Queen while we eat Christmas breakfast. Then, we open pressies.

Then, we gathered all the girls, loaded up the Subaru, and made the dash back to Buffalo to have Christmas #2. Autumn slept on the entire ride home, whereas the other girl had some issues about looking forward, and literally choking herself. Anyway, we had no problem at the border. We unloaded at home. And then went off to the Cadenhead Household to have dinner and open more pressies.

We sat down, had a wonderful dinner, and wonderful conversation. As I've said before, the holidays are about spending time with family, not about the gift-giving. I might be biased, but bear with me. This year, looking at Autumn smiling, or giggling at something made it the best Christmas yet. And we have lots more pictures to remember it by. Happy holidays everyone.

Love, the Cadenhead Hames clan.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sabres Fan- Thanks Guzz.

Just a quick note to say GO SABRES! Although throughout the years I have watched hockey games and even back in high school had a crush on a few hockey players- never in all my years have I been so excited by the sport of hockey.

Pam and I went to a game last week, and although the Sabres did not win- a good time was had by the two of us. We did the whole thing- a burger and a beer before the game, ice cream during the second period and a few expletives shouted at the Montreal fans at the Arena. Next stop- a jersey for mama ! (note: Pam was decked in her old school jersey- NICE!)

Thank you Dave for giving up your tickets to us girls- we had fun right to the end!

Mom comments on Dad's 'Poop's there it is' post

Mom just wants to say that she does not feel the same way about Autumn's bowel movements. She is not comfortable posting about them nor would she ever EVER use the expression 'pitch a log' to refer to anything that came from the most beautiful little baby in the world.

clarification was needed that dad stood alone on the previous post.

Poop, there it is.

I can remember in my single days thinking that people with kids were weird. I can remember wondering about parents who talk about their kids poo like it's something important. If you could see me eating words, I'm doing it. Now

Because this is the second post about her pooping. The first one, admittedly, was more about Dad. This one is all Autumn. This morning, she pitched a log. What I mean by that, without trying to gross you all out is that she had a solid little log of poop. It was the first solid little bit of poop I've seen. I had seen some close ones. But this was solid.

Look at me. I'm posting about Autumns poop. You could argue that I shouldn't be this proud of poo. I'd listen. But here's the thing: she's gonna do a lot of things in her life that will make me fiercely proud. So this is really just a little practice. And honestly, I went up stairs and told Rhona right away about the solid log. And she confirmed, with a sigh, that it might be her first one.

So yeah, I'm proud.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Half Year Birthday Autumn!

6 months today. wow. sometimes it seems you just arrived, while other times it feels like you have been here forever.

You have grown so much ! You started size 2 diapers this week. There are so many things you can do already-
  • grab
  • grasp
  • babble
  • giggle
  • pop things in your mouth
  • reach out
  • squeeze (our lips and noses)
  • smile
  • squeal
  • jump in the jolly jumper
  • roll over when you feel like it
  • hold your own bottle
  • eat with a spoon (to date; sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, apples, pears, bananas, rice cereal)
  • stick out your tongue
  • stand up with help
  • sleep through the night (nope.. not yet just seeing if you are paying attention)
  • sit without help (still occasionally tip over)
  • entertain mom and dad endlessly
  • make us smile without even trying
  • inspire us to be the best we can be

I can't believe you are six months old today. I think as you grow older we will acknowledge both your half and full birthdays. Happy Birthday- We love you, autumn.

Weird curling shot

I have to admit, I find this weird on many levels. Don't get me wrong, I love curling. But this is sorta silly. A fashion magazine in Canada shot this spread. More pictures here.

It kinda reminds me of when I went to the World Premier of Men With Brooms. The after party was at swanky curling club in the north end of Toronto. There was a lot of hype and hope for this movie from the Canadian Film Industry. It had one of the biggest budgets ever, and had Canadian star power. Anyway, the after party was filled with the required beautiful people trying curling. Women in very inappropriate shoes were trying curling. I thought for sure someone would go down, especially since there was booze involved. No one died. Well, except for the dreams of a successful movie.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


We all agree, the holidays can be stressful. Getting presents, wrapping presents, figuring out where to go for Christmas, this list can go on and on.

For me, the best thing about Christmas is hanging out with family. My favorite memories of Christmas are of hanging out with my sister, and later my brother. Of sitting in the pub (back when it was Bramalea Place) and saying hi to all the people, and singing songs. I have the memory of leaving Carol singing with my sister one night and getting a ride home, and falling into a snow bank. None of this will mean anything to many of the people here, but then again, your memories will mean nothing to me.

The presents were nice, don't get me wrong. But more and more, my memories of growing up aren't about presents, they are about moments. And those moments were with family. So this holiday season, as you get stressed about the many things you will get stressed about remember this: you are making memories.

So make the most of them. And give your family a hug.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Web 2.0

So, Time magazine says we're the person of the year. And by we, I mean anyone with an internet connection. We, the authors of this blog, wanted to create something that did a couple of things. First, it created a memory hole for Autumn. Assuming that blogger, owned by Yahoo!, manages to stay a float, Autumn can potentially look back at some classic posts like, "A Night of Pooping", "Some belly time", or "Last Night", where I make her a deal.

The other goal was to create a place for people who don't get to see her every day, but can hear about her. Like, for instance, how she slept this morning until 6:00 AM! Or, how yesterday, her poop was decently solid for one of the first times. Or, how we had a pre-Christmas celebration at Simon and Christina's (they are going to Vancouver for Christmas), and Autumn opened her first Christmas present!

Anyway, that's what we are all about. And that's person of the year, in Time's world. For having a blog, for reading a blog, for talking. For updating the people we love on the life of our little girl. But I think we're only scratching the surface. Case in point:

This is a site that plays music and shows art based on the weather in your location. Just log on. It figures out where you are, and what the weather is there. Then it shows colors and plays music based on said weather. I wonder what it will play in the autumn? That's Web 2.0.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A night out

Last night, Nanny and Grandad came for a visit and let mom and dad go out for an adventure. We finished our Christmas shopping, went out to dinner, and went to a Christmas Party. Meanwhile, Autumn basked in the grandparent glow.

Nanny brought a new camera, and took a lot of pictures. We took a few pictures. All in all, mom and dad had a nice adventure, and so did Autumn.

Friday, December 15, 2006

On the beach in Florida

I don't know about you, but this shot makes me happy. I'm just saying.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Peter Boyle passed away

Peter Boyle, the dad from "Everybody Loves Raymond" passed away yesterday. Raymond is one of Rhona's favorite shows, so it's news around here. It's also news because Peter Boyle is responsible for a couple of moments that made me laugh out loud. One was this from "Young Frankenstein".

The other is a harder thing to find, so I'll start with a description. Peter Boyle plays a mental patient who is a religious nut in a movie called the Dream Team. It has Michael Keaton, and Christopher Lloyd. Anyway, in this movie, Peter Boyle goes into a Baptist Church. He starts to talk about how 'we're all naked in the eyes of the lord." And then he says one of my favorite lines: "Get naked for Jesus." That particular line, as my wife can attest, is one that I use often. And it was Peter Boyle who said it. If you liked Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein, or just as Raymond's dad, rent Dream Team. It's funny. Here's the trailer.

He'll be missed.

happy happy joy joy.

anyone who knows me at all knows that the holidays are not my favorite time of the year. but i just had to write today to say that i am super happy.

happy to be a mom, a wife, a friend and a woman. Happy to be the age i am, happy with all of our worldly and outworldly possessions, happy with the intelligence i have accumulated over the years, happy about the great weather, happy and guilt free with the relationships with family,happy there is a rumor in the air that an old dear friend is giving some thought to moving back to Buffalo, happy that i am running again after a long hiatus due to injury and pregnancy, happy to have our dog and cat and happy that it is Autumn's first Christmas .

today is a wonderful day and as i drive around with my new moon/sun roof open and my tom petty blasting i find myself filled with total contentment. I can take a deep refreshing breath and not feel stressed.

i am thankful for today and for everything in my life.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Autumn at Daycare

This morning dad dropped Autumn off a daycare in the new ride (pictures to come soon). The new ride is a Forrester. We can now get both girls in the car.

Looking around the day care, it's hard not to notice her smiley face everywhere. We, of course, thinks she's very photogenic, but we have a built in bias. Still, it's nice to see her all over the place. And the more we play peek-a-boo, the more she'll know we'll always come back to pick her up.

Peek a boo

There's nothing more fun than playing peek a boo. And lately, Autumn has been getting into it. Really exploring what is going on. This website talks about what Autumn is learning in a scientific analysis. If that's too much information on hump day, then this is a more simple explanation.

Peek a boo not only makes Autumn giggle uncontrollably, it also helps her build trust in her parents. Babies worry about separation. She worries that when we drop her off at Day Care, we won't come back. The simple game of peek a boo we played this morning teaches her that we'll disappear for a second, but we'll come back.

But honestly, when I'm playing peek a boo, I'm not thinking scientifically, and I'm not helping her ease separation anxiety, I'm doing it to get her to giggle. Because there isn't a better sound.

Friday, December 08, 2006

on the beach in Florida

on the beach in Florida, originally uploaded by MRHames.

It was a few seconds later that Autumn discovered sand. We'll have more pictures of that later. There are some other new ones at Flickr.

We have pictures

Yes, Autumn and Rhona were in Florida for a week. Here are the first of many.

Drinkers Earn More Money Than Non-Drinkers

"Drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more money at their jobs than nondrinkers and men who drink socially, visiting a bar at least once a month, bring home an additional 7 percent in pay, according to a new Reason Foundation report by economists Bethany Peters, Ph.D., and Edward Stringham, Ph.D."

From here. A Reason study. I think it's funny that people with Ph.D's are studying this. And they are doing it on the Reason website. Which is mostly a conservative website. And really, it was the conservatives who slammed through the 21 year old drinking age in the 80's -- thus ensuring that as kids go to college, they spend most of their college career (a time widely perceived to be about becoming an adult) learning how to cheat the system to get booze. Their first life lesson as an adult comes in the form of learning how to cheat.

And it turns out, they might make more.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A couple of countdowns

On the left side of our little blog, you might have noticed a couple of things. First, a countdown to Autumn's birthday. This isn't mean to be scary. Since this is about Autumn, I thought it would be nice to count down each year.

The second is another countdown. It's the countdown, to the second, of how long George Bush will still be president. It's just a countdown. Nothing political about that. Is there?

Last day alone

The girls come back tomorrow. In the week passed, Autumn had her first plan ride, her first trip to the beach, her first experience in a RED STATE, and her first Vacation.

What was the week like for dad? Tougher than he thought. Forget the notion that he shed a tear watching them leave, he thinks there's a good chance there could be a wet eye when they return.

The dog misses them. She's been acting a little weird lately. The cat definitely misses his mom. The cat has been sleeping on mom's pillow. Also, he's been bugging dad to run a bath.

Anyway, the three of us only have one more day. We're looking forward to them all coming home.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Weird Foods

This Sunday morning, I was sitting at home thinking about food. It possibly stems from that fact that I am suffering from day two of a hangover -- Friday night, I lit it up.

So, yesterday, I was suffering from Hangover Hunger. I would have eaten anything. Which got me to thinking about the things I like and don't. In terms of foods, I will try just about anything. In Turkey, I passed on the sheep brain, and I sort of regret it. In my defense, it was a grayish brain on a small plate, and I had no idea where to start.

In Scotland, I jumped right into the Haggis. The sauce it came with was a Whiskey Cream Sauce which was stellar. People seem to wonder about Haggis, but I wonder what they think of Hot Dogs. Think about the hot dog. It's clearly not 'dog' inside of it. Some claim to be beef, others 'meat'. I avoid them wither way. I do not always avoid Sausage, which can also be sketchy.

I won't touch liver or kidney either. I've never had the chance to say no to heart, or tongue, and I'm not sure if I would.

So, if you're reading this, tell me the food you will not touch. What seemingly gross food do you love? Posting is easy and anonymous.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The end of Leftovers

For us, Turkey day was Saturday. We cooked a bird, made some delicious roast potatoes, and had a great time. For the rest of the week, I had my staple turkey leftovers.
1. Turkey Soup. Boil the bones, drain. Add onion, sage, salt pepper, and generous amounts of Turkey. Enjoy.
2. The Turkey Sandwich. Eat person has their favorite way of making a turkey sandwich. Mine is this: Take a brown bun, spread mayonnaise, add salt and pepper to the mayo so it sticks, add turkey, top with lettuce. Sometimes I'll add stuffing.
3. Turkey curry. Growing up, curry was always something to do with the leftovers. We fairly consistently had a Sunday dinner. Roast beef, lamb, etc. The next night was a curry, where my mom used the leftovers as the ingredients. To me, a curry is the perfect solution for leftovers, so mine uses a lot of turkey, any vegetables, the potatoes, and all stuffing. It makes a wonderful meal.

I just finished the last bit of Turkey Curry. Meaning, thanksgiving is over. Officially.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why the Internet is cool

This is why the Internet is so cool. I’m listening to an online radio station called Flashback Alternatives. The last couple of sets were an obscure Tears For Fears song and a Tom Waits song called “Innocent When You Dream”. Those two songs sandwiched “Snow Miser”, from the Animated show called A Year Without Santa Claus. Easily my favorite show. I actually used to think one of my old bosses looked like the Snow Miser. But I digress, because it gets better.

I looked up A Year without Santa Claus to see who did the voice for the Snow Miser. Turns out, it was done by Buffalo, NY native Dick Shawn, who according to his bio in IMDB, was "Way ahead of his time most say, it was extremely difficult indeed to know how to properly tap into this man's eclectic talents."

The song Snow Miser was an example, in my opinion.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cool Music site

This is called Musicovery. It's an online radio station that lets you pick your mood and your music. Then it picks a playlist. Very cool.

Flying to Florida

Yesterday, my wife and daughter got on a plane bound for sunny Florida. And while i think this will be a great trip, I was struck by how sad I was watching them leave. As Rhona went through customs, carrying Autumn, I was struck by how tiny and vulnerable the situation made Autumn. Rhona was holding her and Autumn was just looking around at all the machinery of the Department of Homeland Security. I can't really describe it, but I was struck by how tiny she looked.

Anyway, mom reports that Autumn was near perfect on the plane. She slept, played, and generally had a good time on her first flight. Actually, when Rhona called me, as the plane landed, I could hear another baby screeching in the background. Autumn was apparently just looking around.

Last night, I slept like crap. I kept waking up expecting to hear Autumn or Rhona. Perhaps I'll get used to the quiet in a couple of days. But right now, I miss the girls.

Monday, November 27, 2006


If you get a chance, take a look at these shots. They are from the aftermath of Katrina. He uses this neat technique that makes thing appear to be toy-like. It's such a thought-provoking thing.


We were pretty quiet on the holidays. The family came over. We ate a lot of food. Had a great night. This was Autumn's first US Thanksgiving. She'd already had the Canadian Version, so she was a bit of a Turkey veteran.

Anyway, the night went off without a hitch. The food, in my humble opinion, was great. When you can cook potatoes in the turkey juices, you get a potato that is truly outstanding.

So, happy belated US thanksgiving to the Americans who read this, and hope you had a good weekend, to the Canadians.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Drugs? Maybe

I wonder about ads like this, if, at any point in the process, people were on drugs. Or, if this was designed to be zipped around on YouTube.

Good though.

happy birthday to me

I am sick today, a cold , fluish symptoms that make me want to get out of bed in the wee hours and soak in a hot tub. This morning I got up at 4am and started running a bath, I had just gotten settled when the alarm bells went off. She was up and wanted some sort of attention. I dried myself off and headed into her room and got my morning smile. As I looked down at her I thought to myself that she may in fact be the best birthday present ever... and the great thing is that I will get the same gift each year (although hopefully not always at 4.10am).

happy birthday to me.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Truly hilarious

"#292- "Well, I love the general feel but I rather expected to have photos instead of these scribbles."
(Client, on showing hand-visualised mock-up of brochure)"

This is a website of the collection of some of the things that get said in Advertising agencies. Life is often funnier than anything people can think of.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Late night feedings

So here's the new plan. We're feeding Autumn cereal. It's messy, but fun. Then we feed her from the bottle. Then, we put her down to bed. but then, we're trying something new. Specifically, feeding her more from the bottle in her sleep.

It's fun. She's sound asleep, so she's sort of a like a rag doll. Sound asleep. I pick her up, and she's still sound asleep. I place the bottle to her lips, and while still sound asleep, she begins to eat. It's the neatest thing in the world. If you have little babies around, you have to try it. I wonder if, at that moment, she's dreaming of food?

Anyway, when she's done, and that usually happens after about 2 oz., I then place her really gently on my shoulder and burp her. It isn't an actual burp -- apparently one has to be awake to let one rip -- it's just the exhaling of air. But the only thing cuter is her sound asleep face sucking on her bottle.

Oh, the joys of parenthood.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Autumn in Artvoice

Our little girl makes her debut in Artvoice today in an ad for Terrapin Station. There's a long story on how she got there, but the short story is they needed a cute little baby, and she currently fits the bill. This isn't the picture they used in the ad in Artvoice. For that, you'll have to get one yourself. But this is a shot from the photo shoot. The headline in the ad is: "For all the colorful people on your list". The guy is obviously meant to be a contrast. I love this picture.

Today is the big day

When I worked for Viatran Corporation, I got to travel around a little bit. I always tried to find a Sushi joint. Of the places I tried, none compared to our hometown gem, Kuni's.

Well, today, it reopens. Across the road from our house.

The menu looks close to the same. The Sashimi platter being an excellent option. However, I was partial to the Hot, Hot, Hot Salad. And Rhona loved the gyoza, mostly for the sauce. I suspect Kuni's will evolve into the place he wants.

More importantly, this is great for our little area. The stores on the corner of Lexington and Ashland have most likely struggled since the coop left. The coop was a magnet store, attracting people to the corner. Now Kuni's to go will be that magnet. People will come, order, and then look around. I think the little corner store will do a lot better (get some Sushi, go in there for some fresh baked cookies for desert.)

I feel really good about the location. now if only the place could reinvent itself and open up as a coffee/martini/good soup /dinner joint. Or something. Baby steps though.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More pictures of Autumn

The other night, while Rhona and Autumn were sleeping, I put together some images of Autumn in a Tabblo. It's called from now to then, and it shows her throughout her short little life. She's really becoming vocal. And she's getting to be an expert at eating cereal. She has personality, and her smile makes me warm and fuzzy. Anyway, here's the tabblo. If you click on this, then click on pictures, you can see them bigger.

Tabblo: Autumn from now to then

These are just some of the best ones. In my opinion.
... See my Tabblo>

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dad to Daycare

So, this morning I took Autumn to daycare. The people were wonderful. The place was warm, caring, inviting. And I almost lost it when I walked out the door. It's hard to put into words what I felt. Nervous? Not really, I trust that she's in good hands. Guilty? Again, no. She'll learn a lot about socializing. She'll be engaged. What then?

I think if you look at these pictures, you might realize it a bit. She's my little baby. I think I'm just in for a lifetime of worrying about her for no good reason.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Autumn and I

Weekends are about Dad time. I miss the chances to put her down for a nap. To change poopy diapers. To do the things you might think aren't all that fun, but really are awesome.

Lately, Autumn has been giving me face hugs. Like in this picture. I hold her, and she pushes her face into mine. Remember I said earlier that snuggling was the best thing in the world? The simple fact is, it's hard to pick one thing that's the best thing in the world. Her laugh. Her smile. Watching Rhona and Autumn laughing together. She's a perfect little treat. A perfect little treat.

Right now, mommy is running in the park. Lucy is laying at my feet. Autumn is napping in her crib. I'm listening to a story on the Vinyl Cafe that sounds touching enough to make me cry. But every part of this morning means they will be tears of joy.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

God's will

"In the late 1700s some people wanted democratic rule. Conservative elements of the church pointed to the Bible and said it proved that the king ruled by God's will.

In the mid 1800s some people wanted to end slavery. Conservative elements of the church pointed to the Bible and said it proved that God approved of slavery.

In the early 1900s some people wanted to give women the vote. Conservative elements of the church pointed to the Bible and said it proved that God made women inferior to men.

In the mid 1900s some people wanted to end segregation. Conservative elements of the church pointed to the Bible and said it proved God wanted to keep the races separate.

When you look back at how your parents and grandparents dealt with these things, are you ashamed or proud?

Now some people want to allow gay marriage. Conservative elements of the church are pointing to the Bible and saying it proves God hates homosexuality.

When your children and grandchildren look back at how you deal with this, will they be ashamed or proud?"

From here:

I think the religious people should have this explained to them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Such a well-written ad

After watching some of the worst political ads ever made, this one somehow makes it all better. This one tells me that somewhere, someone is using smart people to do their ads.

Amazing. Thanks to Claudinho.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My little heater

Autumn is well into her crib days. But in the mornings, I have to confess that I love it when she fusses. Sometimes I'll grab her and bring her into bed with me. She snuggles up beside me and goes to sleep. I can also sleep. Together we make a lot of heat, keep each other warm. Her little cooing sounds helping me sleep.

There's really nothing better that having my daughter snuggle up to me and fall asleep. The feeling I get is incredible, like I can take on the world because my little girl finds comfort in snuggling up to me.

She's a joy, and when I'm at work, I find myself looking through this blog, at flickr or tabblo, because I miss her. I now that she's at home with her mom, making raspberry sounds and laughing when she stands up, and staring at the dog. And I know Rhona is doing an awesome job at being a mom.

I love my job, but sometimes I wish I could just hang out with both of my amazing girls all day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

DayCare (part2)

A new day. Another try at daycare. We waited until after our morning nap and then we headed out in the car with positive feelings and optimistic thoughts. We arrived at the center and entered the Infant room. Autumn was still in her carseat with binky firmly planted between her lips. I put her down in the center of the room and walked away to start unloading all the 'stuff' the center handout had told me to bring.

I placed her change of clothing in her little cubbyhole (labeled with her name), I placed her diapers and wipes under the changing table in her little basket, I unloaded her own personal breast milk into the freezer... and as I glanced over I noticed that a small (very small) crowd had formed around Autumn who was still in her carseat. (inside my head- WHY is she still in her carseat?!, WHY hasn't one of the teachers taken her out to let her play, WHY is she still just sitting there?!) Her big eyes were scanning the crowd of onlookers- three kids and one teacher sat right next to her carseat and let her have time to get used to things, but interacted and talked with her (inside my head- i guess it is not so bad that they let her sit in her carseat afterall).

After a moment- the head teacher, Donna, went over to Autumn and lifted her slowly out of her seat. She let her stand up and look around... and I don't know if it was planned (unlikely), but right at that moment the other teacher saddled up to me and started talking to me about her childcare experiences and my emotional display on Monday. She laughed when she told me that I was "funny" the other day and that each day it will get easier. To make myself feel better, I joked with her "Well, surely with all your years of experience, I did not have the worst reaction to bringing in my child -smirk, smirk, chuckle, chuckle "... she said," Oh, Rhona- I wouldn't say you had the worst reaction in my twenty years, but maybe the worst in the past five years!!! hahahahaha....". Hmmmm - the worst reaction in five years... well maybe that just means that I love my daughter the most... right?

Occasionally during my conversation with this teacher, I looked over at Autumn and suddenly my tears started flowing again ... there she was- standing and having a good time.... with someone other than me. Donna was smiling at her and she was smiling back..... no doubt about it- I was jealous. So, now I was not only crying because she was sad, I was crying because she was happy.... good lord. It was clearly time for mom to head out... I looked at the teachers and said I am going to leave for awhile.... I will be back soon... they laughed and truly didn't expect me to make it out the door... but I did- I left the premises. I went for a drive, got a latte and walked around a grocery store for a little while.

The number of mothers and children at the grocery store was staggering... was it always like this ??@!#!! Every aisle I walked was filled with mothers smiling lovingly at their kids... I couldn't even hear the musak because of the baby sounds coming from everywhere... I was surrounded by kids, yet not my own. I walked around until I ended up staring at the diapers and thought it might be time to head back. I left Autumn alone for 45 minutes.

When I came back, she was sitting on Donna's lap having just finished a bottle (of my breast milk thank you very much!)... Donna was working at burping her, but I noticed that she still had her binky in her mouth. I said- "She sometimes burps a bit better without her binky in her mouth (who doesn't know that?!)- and as Donna pulled the binky out, my dear sweet baby let out a whale of a belch. While Donna congratulated her for her burp , I smiled to myself thinking she still needs me.

Friday is another day and we will see if we can last just a little longer. Today was a good day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


For most of my adult life, I've been a habitual voter. For the last 4 years, I've gone cold turkey when it comes to voting. As a legal alien, I cannot vote in today's election. In fact, I can't vote in any of them. I'll tell you this though: were I able to vote, I wouldn't be for a Republican. I personally feel like Republicans in the House and Senate have essentially given up their oversight duties and allowed a blank slate to President Bush. And while I personally feel like history will record Bush as one of this nation's worst Presidents, much fault rests on the Congress and Senate for their partisan desire to sit back and let him call the shots.

That said, our own elected member of congress, South Buffalo's own Brian Higgins voted for legislation that repeals Habeas Corpus. I won't bore you with the details, just know Higgins, a Democrat, voted for legislation that gives Bush the power to detain anyone he wants to, for as long as he wants to. The rule of law is replaced by the rule of Bush, and a democrat rubber stamped it.

I wonder for Autumn's sake if there will be more choices when she turns 18 and can vote. I hope so.

Anyway, go vote.

Before I forget....

Women in various stages of motherhood often experience a memory loss. For example, even though you grunted, swore and screamed your way through labor when someone asks you months later what the experience was like you may find yourself saying something like "It was amazing, beautiful and incredible.... the pain was minimal". It is this memory loss coupled with the advice giving that makes talking with mothers who have 'been there done that' sometimes difficult and uncomfortable.

There is absolutely nothing worse than someone patronizing you with advice on motherhood. I am officially a member of the club now and although I have a lot of new experiences ahead, there are certain things that I am aware of.

This post is meant to remind me to watch how I talk to pregnant women or women with babies younger than mine. I vow not to come of like a no-it-all and to appreciate that there are times when no advice is requested or required. Sometimes people just want to talk about how hard it is to be a mother, or how painful recovery from a c-section is. I promise to sit back and listen to stories about horrible daycare emotions, formula guilt, arguments with spouses. I swear to never say " you need to do this... or you need to do that..." I will try to share in your pain and offer suggestions (if you ask) based solely on my experience.

I will try desperately not to offer too much advice or to forget along the way how difficult it is to become a mother. Wouldn't it be great if we all could try to remember.

Monday, November 06, 2006

trial run at day care

we knew it would be a tough transition which is why we only intended to stay for a halfday or a half of a halfday... but in the end we stayed for about a half an hour! It should also be noted that when we arrived- Autumn was sleeping so really we were only there AWAKE for roughly 20 minutes. There was maybe only 2 minutes of that 20 when neither of us was crying. I tried to keep away and let the professionals take care of her needs, but as i sat on the comfy couch in one corner I just found myself shaking uncontrollably. I heard the lead-teacher say "i think mommy needs a kleenex" and I was thinking- I think mommy needs a sedative! Once I got a bit of a grip on my emotions- Autumn completely lost hers. She started sobbing and she just started wailing. Now, if you haven't had the pleasure- you should know that Autumn's face turns bright red when she starts crying. The skin near her eyebrows is especially sensitive and turns red... couldn't stop crying and screaming. We did the diaper thing, we tried (oh yeah- at this point i was now fully involved, no more sitting back)- we nursed and even that didn't work. Now that she had awakened the other three kids who had been sleeping and showed no signs of letting up- we pulled our stuff together and left.

i tried to be positive and said to the teacher- well- " Hey, maybe next time we will stay for a bit longer"... but what i was thinking was " Hey, well maybe I will just quit my fucking job and we will never see you again!".

I don't know what to say about it.... it sucked, it was awful, i felt like a horrible mother who couldn't soothe her child.... in addition to the overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, i had to write them a check for $391.40. This I was informed covers the $35 deposit, the 2week deposit and the first week. So far she has been there for a grand total of 30 minutes. On Friday apparently there is another $270 due. Really?@!@@@

So, Wednesday we are supposed to try again and I will try to be well rested and try to last at least an hour. I don't think I can handle many more visits like today's. The teachers just looked at me with understanding eyes and told me how hard "it is" and I thought- Well, why is it so fucking hard. Why can't we live in a country like Denmark where most mothers are given two years off with FULL PAY for maternity leave. Why does it have to be so hard- why can't we value motherhood in this country and provide opportunities for mother's to stay with their children until they can at least express their frustrations verbally... why am I sitting on the floor of a daycare facility surrounded by babies who are all younger than five months of age? "It is really hard"- NO SHIT it is hard, that is why I am sitting here shaking like a leaf of a tree, trying to get my head around the fact that my beautiful little girl is looking over her shoulder at me wondering why I am not there holding onto her? She is trying to figure out why there is a new face (albeit one with twenty years of experience) telling her it will be alright... why is it not me there speaking in our special mother/daughter raspberry code.... it is really hard is right.

wednesday is a new day and maybe it will be a day where she will like the new toys and the new faces, but i have a feeling I won't like it there for a long time.

Monday morning peeping

Wanna look into the world for a minute? Not a detailed look at someone you know, but a macro look at the world. A good way is to look, real-time, at what people are searching for right now. Here's a snippet:

Supreme leader of Iran.
Kindergarten games recess.

It's so random.
Here's the link. This is unfiltered, so it might contain gross words. You can read the filtered searches as well. Less porn.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Leafs win

Mom and Dad went to the Leaf's Sabres game. Aunt Tracey and Mitz came to watch Autumn.

Here are three happy people.

Autumn's really a Sabre's fan - HAAAA - does she look like a Sabre's fan in this pic - I think not!!! She loves her new Leaf soother and will make sure she has it for every Leaf game!! Thanks for helping the Leafs win Autum! Love Aunt Tracey and Mitz.

Right now

Love the computer.
Love hanging with my girls on a weekend.
Life is grand.

For the record, this is picture 554.
That's what the file is called.

Many have been of Autumn.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dennis Miller, what have you done?

Dennis Miller made Saturday Night Live's weekend update must-see TV before the term was coined. His rapid-fire delivery of the most obscure references was both angry and funny. In his stand up, his rants were made better when you understood the reference, but they didn’t depend on it. In an era that predated the ability to google his references, if you got it, it added another level of comedy to the rant. If you didn't get it (and most people didn't get them all), his points were still valid, thoughtful and funny.

In recent times, Dennis Miller has hitched his stardom to the republican machine. An admitted libertarian with conservative opinions, he early on hitched onto president Bush and decided to ride it all out on Fox news as a commentator.

I could care less about his politics. If he wants to stand up and rant about democrats, I’ll listen. Because again, his delivery is his own. His references are so arcane and clever that i would be in. In fact, he's such a smart comic that I would have thought I would learn something.

So I recently watched one of his rants on the web. And boy was I disappointed.

Watch this. It’s on a website called media matters, often called a left-wing site. Whatever. The topic is the supposed intelligent, or lack thereof of Nancy Pelosi. I don't mind a rant on that. But I would think it at least bears mentioning, fomr a comedic angle, that his President isn't gifted in the intellectual arena, and the president's dad had Dan Quayle as his VEEP.

To heap on the ironies, in a rant about the intelligence of the minority leader, Fox places pop ups to help describe the references for viewers. Thus, a rant about the intelligence of someone has to be dumbed down so people can better follow it.

I just can’t imagine that Dennis Miller missed that irony. If he did, then he's losing his touch. If he didn't, then he's losing something more.

Because I would have loved to hear him angrily say the dumbness of the minority leader isn't a unique thing. There are countless examples on both sides of the dumbness of politicians. But focusing entirely on Pelosi makes the argument partisan and weak. Plus, calling her a nimrod seems so anti-Dennis Miller. I would have preferred to hear how dumb she was using some arcane reference of dumb, like Alice in the Brady Bunch during the episode where Bobby gets hurt – or something.

I don’t agree with Mr. Miller’s politics, but I was happy to listen. But now, not so much. It seems he’s reduced himself to the level of prop comic, with post-production images and effects. And really, that stinks.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Scary stuff for Halloween

Just so you know, Autumn was a chicken. We have pictures. We gave away a lot of chocolate, and pretended that everything in the world is hunky dory. There is nothing even remotely scary about anything.

Except maybe these three things done in during the daylight by the US government:

1. Indefinite detainment is legal. No one is allowed to file a writ of Habeas Corpus to hear charges against them. An American Citizen can be legally arrested and detained forever and they no longer have the right to hear the charges. The key thing here is that the President is allowed to determine if you're an enemy combatant. It's his call. This law has been applied to a satellite dish salesman in NJ who sold Satellite Dishes that could pick up Al Jazeera. To further confuse the issue, if the Vice President suggests that an opinion on policy aids the terrorist, under this new law, the person who holds that opinion can be locked up.

2. Torture is okay. Even though the President says the US doesn't torture. That tortured logic makes sense when you realize that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 allows the President to define torture. If he says it isn't torture, it isn't.

3. Bush signed the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 (H.R.5122). Here's some more mumbo jumbo, for fun: The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) and the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385). Confused? Here's the point: the H.R.5122 allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder." The new law overrides the other two laws I cited that prevented the President from being able to declare martial law in America.

So, to recap. If a group of people protest the president, it's now legal to send troops in to stop the protest. The troops are allowed to pick up and detain American Citizens if the president says their opinions are aiding the terrorists. And, for good measure, they are allowed to torture American Citizens as long as the president says it isn't torture. Keep in mind, even in light of pictures of troops torturing detainees, Bush has consistently claimed the US doesn't torture. According to the new law, he's right.

Of course, just because all this stuff is legal, doesn't mean he'll do it. Not in America. But it makes you wonder, why make all these laws?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

We had a bunch of kids. A nice night. And a little chicken.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

baby's breath.

smells like perfection.
sweetness and the perfect amount of sour .
warmth filled with love and a bit of sage.
breathing in her breath fills me with joy
especially when she sucks on my nose just a little.

Are you Cereal?

Well, she has moved up to solid (semi-solid) foods. On Friday night Dad gave Autumn her first cereal. Now, as a first time mom when I was told about cereal I was expecting- you know flakes, kernels or nuggets or something that resembled what we find in the most colorful aisle in the supermarket... that ain't the type of cereal we are talking about. Autumn is eating rice-cereal.. well, to be more exact she is slurping rice cereal. It looks like cream colored talcum powder that you mix with breastmilk. It is very very exciting that she is coming into contact with a spoon... fun, messy, filling. Another milestone.

But, man oh man those diapers are getting stinky. oh i shutter to think.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My odd sock bag is overflowing

I have an odd-sock bag in my closet that honestly contains over 75 socks. 75. You might think this is me, exaggerating. One would have to live in a huge house, with dozens of rooms to experience that kind of loss, you muse. They must be around.

I can’t argue with that logic. I am sure that somewhere in the house there’s an identical odd sock bag waiting to be reunited with its long-lost twin. In fact, that reunion was the thing that kept me going.

But this morning, I decided I was done. I’ll tell you why. I have now lived in the US a little over 4 years. And while I think I may have imported some socks, I doubt it was many. It seems though, each year, I have lost almost two socks a month. That’s close to 20 socks a year. My odd sock bad is overflowing.

Now, I can understand losing Autumn’s socks. They are tiny, you could drop one of them in the corner and never even notice it. They can sneak into little places that you don’t look into for years, under washing machines, under dressers, etc.

But my socks? No way that 75+ socks are laying our house. Only thing is, I can’t think of a logical explanation for the sheer magnitude of the sock loss. Maybe this is the answer?

Anyway, this morning I came to a conclusion. This is nuts. I’m starting over. I plan to buy only one kind of sock from here on in. I’m tossing all of my socks and starting over. Odd socks suck. Now, I’ll pick a sock. One sock. And buy 40 of them. Presto, no more odd socks. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Autumn is cute and very mobile

All this political talk on Autumn's blog. It's really about Autumn and how overwhelmingly cute she is. She's cute. Honest. Take a look.

We, the writers of Autumn Created, would like to thank all the people who post here. We encourage posts. We look forward to them. In fact, we have a question: Mom and Autumn are booked to spend a week away from dad, lucy and romeo. They'll be jetting off to Florida. What can Mom expect from the flight? What should she take? What shouldn't she take? (The house she will be staying in has a crib and various baby stuff).

Your input is appreciated. Just click post a comment.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


what a big girl... this 'exersaucer' is still a bit big.. but soon her little legs and feet will touch the ground.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My famous girls

Autumn was around ten minutes or so, and already she was cute enough for Artvoice. The local alternative magazine.

And, rumor has it, mom has another shot in Still Life.

Congrats to both of my gorgeous girls.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Autumn and Romeo

We already posted about Lucy and Autumn. So the question is, how is Romeo and Autumn? For those keeping score at home, Romeo was Rhona's first man. Then I came along. Then Lucy. And now Autumn. He's been a trooper, just so you know. Take a look.

Tabblo: Autumn and her Romeo

And then along came Romeo.
Autumn's first cat.
... See my Tabblo>

Lucky to be home

Well, now that I have talked about the rough parts of staying at home... i thought i would take a second to relish some of the many POSITIVE things associated at with staying at home.

I can start by telling you that I am wearing pj bottoms, a stained t-shirt and a bandana in my hair. This is a wonderful thing and something that really is the start of my list of pluses. Now, I have heard from other mothers that this can eventually be viewed as a negative... " It is one o'clock and I still haven't changed out of my pajamas@!#!@!!"... but for me- ... I may change later, but for now I couldn't be happier.

I should also tell you that right now Autumn is sleeping in her swing which she adores. Binky is in place, teething ring in her hand and she is comfortable during this morning nap... this is another wonderful time of the day. I just finished emailing with college friends about planning a 15year reunion weekend, spoke with my mother and refilled my coffee... I couldn't do this stuff at work (all right- maybe I could do all this at work but now without at least a tinge of guilt for not neglecting on my projects for 'the man').

Did I mention that Autumn is sitting in her swing? What i might have neglected to mention is how much joy I get just looking at her regardless of what she may be doing. Right now (aside from the small scratch on her face- damn! those fast-growing nails- got to get better about that).. .she is lovely and I get the chance to take a moment and revel in the fact that we have such a beautiful baby. Throughout the day I appreciate all these small moments we have together. Whether she is 'standing' on my lap with a big smile on her face, laughing from her belly at the many ridiculous and crazy noises I make at her, nursing peacefully, watching the dog intently, avidly chewing on anything she can get her hands on, watching her reflection in the mirror or carrying on dialog with me... I appreciate the fact that i am HERE. I am not at work dealing with emails, calling international partners, talking with concerned parents... I am at home, in my pajamas watching our baby grow and develop.

Walking. This is a lovely treat that those in the working work don't have access to like I do these days. We have a dog who likes and needs to be walked, we now have a baby who needs stimulation... and i have all the time in the world. Being able to go for a walk (in my pjs no less) is a huge bonus. Granted it takes some prep time- dressing the baby appropriately, strapping her in or on (baby carriers are the best!), finding the dog's leash, grabbing an adequate supply of poop bags (for the dog) and actually getting out the door before the rain or snow starts to fall can be a challenge... but walking with the baby and dog is good fun and something I know I will miss.

Nursing. So there are those people for it and those people who find it a bit nasty what with the nipple and such... I never really formulated an opinion on it before Autumn came into our life... but we decided we would give it a go and although it was no picnic at the start- it is now something I truly enjoy. Being able to feed Autumn is a great joy and one that I will likely miss when I go back to work (although I will visit her daycare during my lunch hours to feed her) ... sometimes she can't latch on properly because she spends too much time looking up at me smiling... other times she is all business and gets right down to it... still other times she prefers snacking and rolls her head around checking out the scenery before getting right back to task... At this point I am truly enjoying nursing Autumn. I have spend a good deal of time wondering why the hell I had these boobs and now as I look down at her eating I am reassured. Now granted, there is going to be a time where I will probably want my body back, a time where I don't necessarily want to whip them out in public, a time when I get tired of dressing for it (do I have the right bra on? does this shirt provide easy access?, do I have a supply of breast pads?)- but for now- nursing is a big plus for both of us.

4pm tv. Let's be honest, for those of us who work an 8-5pm job- by about 4pm you are exhausted- you have been talking, meeting, emailing, conferencing, presenting, preparing, calculating, teaching, managing ALL day long. By about 4pm (if not 3pm) you are ready to call it a day. Well, thankfully Autumn's schedule seems to such that by about 4pm she is ready for a snack and maybe a little nappy. Her timing is already perfect- because as much as I hate to admit this... I like Oprah. I do, I like her show and if I don't like her show on a particular day- I probably will be somewhat interested in the Ellen show. So, after a day of baby stimulating, walking, cleaning, changing, nursing, driving, making funny faces and sounds- by 4pm I am ready to chill a bit- sit on the couch, feed the baby and wind down.

Even though throughout the days there is a lot of time when I ask myself "Is she being adequately stimulated?, Am I doing enough for her? What else does she need?" when I finally have to go back to work I know I will miss her desperately.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tonight on 60 Minutes

The interviewer was Leslie Stahl. She was interviewing Nancy Pelosi, and the title of the piece was "Two Heartbeats Away." The point being that after the mid-term elections Nancy Pelosi will be House Majority Leader, and only two heartbeats away from being President. You see, after the Vice President, she's would be next in line to the Presidency.

Of course, this makes the massive assumption that the Democrats will win the House back. I guess in the minds of 60 Minutes, it's a done deal. The US will have the first woman in charge of the House.

And if the notion of a liberal woman from California being two heartbeats away from the Presidency didn't scare, enrage, engross the red staters in the US, then Leslie's framing of the stance on abortion most-likely did.

Framing is the manner in which an argument is presented. For instance, in the case of Abortion, some people frame it as the killing of innocent lives. In their framing, Abortion is murder. And under no circumstances should murder be tolerated. These people are called pro-life.

On the other side, it's framed as a woman's right to choose. This side advocates that abortion is a medical procedure, and thus private. It's a woman's right to choose to have this medical procedure. These people are called pro-choice.

However, in the interview, Leslie Stahl refers to Pelosi's views as pro-abortion.

Now, this may be semantics, but I can't imagine that anyone is pro-abortion. Being pro-abortion implies that you're out there advocating for abortions. That's likely not the case. People who are 'for' abortions, are actually for the right for a woman to have one. I would call myself pro-choice, but I am not pro-abortion. Women shouldn't have them unless absolutely necessary, but if they need to have them, they should have the right to them.

Using the pro-abortion frame would mean that if a Republican pro-lifer is on the show, they should be labelled anti-choice. There is no suitable argument to be made to suggest they aren't anti-choice. The problem is both the pro-abortion and anti-choice labels are the extreme ways to label the issue. They leave no room for sensible debate. They offer no place for the middle ground in what is clearly a complicated issue.

In my opinion, 60 Minutes did a disservice to the debate. And it seems these days, we have less and less debate, and more extreme framing.

Trees litter the streets

Have you ever noticed that the trash that adorns Buffalo’s city streets often comes from fast-food places? Now, I am not blaming them, because Burger King and McDonalds don’t encourage people to drop their containers. But I think it comes more from the idea that fast-food is a disposable, quick meal. People get it to go, and eat it on the streets and toss it. It’s like a disposable meal.

But I wonder: if there was no such thing as take-out fast food, would there be less litter?

Which brings me to one more quick issue. And that is this: what goes through someone’s mind when they litter? Do they think, “I pay taxes, someone should pick this up.” If they do, then perhaps no one told them that Buffalo and Erie County are broke.

Maybe they don;t think about that. Maybe when they toss garbage on the floor they do so without thinking. In some ways, I respect the person who does it willfully over the person who does it without thinking. At least the first person is engaged in some way.

As the tree limbs litter the streets of Buffalo, I wonder if people will add their ‘garbage’ to the piles.

Hope not.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Stay at home mom

So, I have a minute to post (i think)... i am staying at home these days and am relishing every moment of it. I love making noises and smiling at Autumn and watching her smile, laugh, stick her whole fist in her mouth, you name it and i am enjoying it. But, truth be told staying home is not easy. There are many things difficult and before I list a few of the top ten- keep in mind I am loving my time with Autumn... but in no particular order here are a few issues. In the next couple of weeks (the next time I may feel i have the time) i will try to blog about the GREAT things associated with staying at home- I owe at least that much to my optimistic husband :)

- tons of time to look at your home with a critical lens yet no time or money to attack the problems. Example, Our front room is like base camp for us and it is my least favorite room in the house- although we just painted it i haven't had time to hang anything on the walls, replace track lighting, remove the tacky ceiling fans or replace the furtniture that i am tired of.... so, while it is nice to see Oprah on occasion to do so in a room where you are accutely aware of it's design flaws is tough.

-lonely. Yep- even though i have this gorgeous hunk of love I get to spend time with- staying at home can be lonely. I go out and talk more with cashiers, storeclerks, people on the street ... but as far as somewhat fulltime companionship it is tough. I am trying to branch out- but let's be honest- after 30 it gets harder and harder to make friends (alright- after 25).

- jealous of my husband. Well, I have seen this happen with other women when they have babies- their husband will walk in the house at the end of the day and after they wipe the spit up off their chin and brush their unwashed hair out of their eyes they say "So, what was your day like... tell me.... tell me... don't forget anything... really... fascinating, interesting- a ham sandwich for lunch you say... wow! that is something". Matt has started curling again once a week and although i should just be happy for him to begin doing something that defines him and makes him feel whole, happy and talented- i feel myself being envious and counting the extra hours when I will be alone in the house. It is stupid and petty - but it is fact. The crazy thing is that when he is home and encourages me to get out and go do something I am at a loss for what to do.. what did i used to do? I imagine this temporary paralyzed feeling will fade... but it is going to take some work. This is an area that I am trying to focus on right now.

-domesticity. This could be viewed as a positive, but really it seems a bit much. I try and keep the house somewhat neat, which is something I never used to care about. now, I find myself frustrated if I can't take care of the girl, amuse her, care for her AND vacccum, do dishes, and keep the toilets on the good side of discusting... who needs this kind of pressure. When I was working- we got a cleaning lady for awhile and it was glorious- now on one income i feel it is my responsibility and it sucks....

as i said...staying at home is a great luxury and one I am super pleased to have.. but it doesn't come without a price. Stay tuned for the plus side of staying at home.

Watch this everyone

I think everyone should watch a video from MSNBC. It's just my opinion, but I feel like we're at a strange, though familiar place in American History. It's now perfectly legal to detain people for no reason. This has happened in the US in the past. The US deterred Japanese Americans for simply being Japanese. The difference, I suppose, is that we all have blogs, bandwith, and video, so we can sort of follow what's up. So if you didn't catch this last night on MSNBC, you can see it now.

Habeas Corpus has been around for almost all of Autumn's life. Interestingly, we'll be able to mark a date, where that will change. It will come on Feb 7th. Barring some sort of strange shift (like the Dems taking the House and Senate) , on that date, it will be true that for over half of Autumn's life, she did not have the right to hear any charges levelled on her. Hopefully she isn't charged with looking cute.

Seriously, think about that: It's been a right since the year 1305. Early next year, our daughter will be in the weird position of not having it for most of her life. Strange days indeed.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Autumn rolled over!

Last night, while dad was at the hockey game, Autumn rolled over on her own. Then, to prove it wasn't a fluke, she did it again this morning. That's an official first. She'll be crawling in no time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's official, the US tortures

If you care, The President just signed into law the bill that allows him to detain and torture anyone without giving them the right to hear the charge.

It's getting downright medieval around here.

This was the post about the bill. It's now law. Brian Higgins should be pleased.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Buffalo Trees

The sad part about the storm is the tree damage. There are no real estimates of the damage. Who knows how the trees will bounce back? For now, they are an eerie reminder of the storm.

Tabblo: Buffalo Trees after the storm

You can see here where the branches just snapped off.
... See my Tabblo>

A moment in time

Officially, the great October Suprise, the Blizzard of '06, the holy-friggin-crap-it's-October snow storm is now a moment in time in the Yahoo Time Capsule.

I guess for Autumn, she'll always have the stories. Like finding a place for the breastmilk (thanks Bob and Dina) and drinking wine, and clearing snow, and simply being awed by magnitude of the thing. Pictures tell a story, but our descriptions will be the real stories.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

So, it's fall again

Check this out. Craziness.

Tabblo: Before and After

This is the corner near our house, in Buffalo, NY, on Friday October 13th.

And below, is the same corner, two days later on Sunday, October 15th.

I guess it's fall again.
... See my Tabblo>

Snow storm

When I last left you, it was thursday, and I was talking about how cute it was to be snowing on October 12th. We lost power on October 12th at 7:30PM. Still, we thought: it's October, how bad can it be?

Then came Friday the 13th. When this picture was taken.

It looked like a tornado. Trees, full of leaves couldn't handle the lake effect snow. Huge, old trees came down on the roads, on cars, in some cases on houses. Driving bans were in effect, and a state of emergency was called.

But overall, things were fine. We heard some friends had power and got on the horn and asked them to store our breastmilk. We happily said bye to our meat pies, but we weren't losing the breastmilk. We went to their house for dinner, which was awesome.

Friday really was spent trekking around taking it all in. We went to one of the only stores open and bought some batteries, and beer.

We had heat, which is more than some people. We had a gas fireplace and our gas stove, which we did use to make soup, coffee, oats and the like.

Saturday we spent at Grandma and Grampa's, shovelling the driveway, cleaning up trees. They had heat but no power and no stove (it's electric). So we brought them coffee, some hot soup and some company.

Last night we went to Pam's and watched the hockey game. And when we got home we had POWER.

So, it wasn't that bad.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's snowing

Thursday, October 12, 2006. 1:26 PM. Autumn's first snow. It won't stay around. And before anyone says "welcome to Buffalo", keep in mind that it snowed in Chicago today.

And while we're at it. She has some new measurements. She's 12 pounds 5 oz. And 23 inches long. Apparently in the 25th percentile. She's almost 2 feet. Which is not, incidentally, how much snow will fall today.

The Grandad list

I'm not that handy. I have hands, don't get me wrong, but I make my living writing words, thinking different, and talking human. And while if push came to shove, I think I could be shoved into a situation whereby I fixed something.

Take our bedroom window. For reasons too detailed to get into, it wouldn't close. Since winter is knocking on our collective doors, an open window isn't high on the list of things you'd want. I thought about a couple of solutions, but I wasn't sure.

Enter Grandad. There isn't a thing he can't fix. The window didn't stand a chance. And afterwards, he got to play with Autumn and say "well", and occasionally call her "little fella", both things with are monumentally cute.

Thanks Grandad, for all the above.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The other option seems tortured

A few days ago, I wrote about how people in the US, citizens and aliens like me, can now be arrested and held, without charge, for anything that is considered (by the President) to be aiding the terrorists. A vague charge indeed.

Thankfully, it seems the tide is shifting. It appears clear that the Republican Majority in the house and the Senate are precarious at best. Amazingly, it wasn't George's shift into the land of a dictator, it was the way the Republicans handled the Mark Foley thing. Tom Reynolds, a hand-picked protege of Tom Delay and the Congressman for Clarence, New York, is caught smack-dab in the middle of this affiar. Tom's former Chief of Staff (who is apparently gay) was the former chief of staff for Mark Foley (who is a gay alcoholic). But that isn't the problem: the problem appears to be his attempt to cover-up what he knew.

We'll see how that all ends up. But here's the thing: the local congressman here, in Buffalo, who represents us, voted yay to the bill that could put us all in jail at the whim of the President.

So who are we putting in power?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Thanksgiving, Columbus Day

Today is Columbus Day (US) and Thanksgiving (CAN). Some thoughts:

There's actually a day celebrating a guy who got lost and never really achknowledged it. Indians, also know as Native Americans, are called Indians because Columbus thought he was in India. For the record, India is 7144 miles from Plymouth, MA.

Thanksgiving in Canada is a celebration of the Harvest. If you've been to a farmer's market lately, you know that the harvest is now. It's easy in Canada though, since the climate is basically the same across the country.

Not so in these United States. According to Wikipedia, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would be the next to last Thursday of November rather than the last. With the country still in the midst of The Great Depression, Roosevelt thought this would give merchants a longer period to sell goods before Christmas. Thanksgiving is about celebrating the Pilgrims, and the bounty of the new world.

None of this really matters. The point of it all is this: We get two Thanksgivings. And I have left over Turkey today for lunch.

Friday, October 06, 2006

This is when Autumn came to work

See, told you I would lighten up.

Tabblo: Autumn came to work


Lighter side of the bed

We live in strange times where everyone has an opinion. Someone once said that opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. I'm no different.

But here's the thing: this morning I left my daughter and her mom, my wife, sleeping in bed together. They were snuggled up together, sound asleep. Both of them cooing a little.

It was so damn cute I almost cried. It's at points like that where I think, politics aside, life is great.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A dictaroship?

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."
- George W. Bush.

Here we are, it's 2006. Autumn turned 14 weeks this week. And it appears, this is the week the US entered the murky territory of being a dictatorship. And guess who the dictator is? Crazy talk from a sleep-deprived dad?


The US Government currently tortures. Under new law passed last week, Murder and Rape are outlawed, but other means of interrogation are up to the President.

The US Government has eliminated Habeas Corpus. The President is now allowed to declare someone an Enemy Combatant and hold them indefinitely. That person doesn't get to hear the charges, or dispute them.

The US Government is allowed to spy on anyone, without getting a warrant. In fact, the Government has been spying on anyone, without oversight for a few years now. This is the NSA Wiretapping story. The President calls it the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

The US Government has waged a pre-emptive war in Iraq. They waged war on Iraq not because of something they did, but because of what they might have done. Note the future tense: this is important, because the theme comes up again.

Now, the money-quote:
"In the 1920s, a failed Austrian painter published a book in which he explained his intention to build an Aryan super-state in Germany and take revenge on Europe and eradicate the Jews. The world ignored Hitler’s words, and paid a terrible price."
- George W. Bush.

His point is this: had the world stood up and taken notice earlier, the atrocities of the Nazis could have been avoided.

True. Only, he's talking with the perspective of history. He knows what Hitler did. When Hitler wrote the words that became Mein Kampf, he hadn't yet done anything wrong. Sure it would have been great to have arrested Hitler before he took over Germany and waged World War II. But doing so would have not have been right in a free society.

And that is the point. By envoking Hitler, the administration forces anyone who disagrees with even the premise of the argument to say Adolph Hitler shouldn't have been arrested for writing a book. Which is hard because we all know what it led to. So it seems insane to suggest that Hitler shouldn't have been taken care of when he wrote Mein Kampf.

But think about it, of course he shouldn't have. Because the people at the time would have had to arrest him for his ideas.

And ideas are different than actions in a free society. People should not be arrested and held without charge, and even tortured for their ideas.

And yet, the Government has the power to detain and the power to torture. And, in this particular speech, Bush is suggesting there is a historical precedent by which the world should have used dictator-like powers to stop Hitler by jailing him for his thoughts.

He seems to be arguing that if someone else has ideas that he deems harmful, he would presumably detain them without charge.

And isn't that the very definition of a dictator?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Thanks to Tabblo

This is a new site I am playing with. I like it. If you have images you want to upload, this is a great options. Like Flickr, it's free. Like Flickr, you don't have to register. Unlike Flickr, it doesn't have a limit. And, it seems, you can play a little more, as the below spread shows. So I will. Also, there's a free attachment that allows me to upload pictures right from iPhoto. And that's cool as well. So even though Flickr is owned by Yahoo, and we love Yahoo, I'll test drive this a little more.

Tabblo: Autumn close-ups

This is Autumn learning a couple of things:

1. She has fingers.
2. When she sticks them too far in her mouth, she gags. ... See my Tabblo>

Democrats v Republicans

US politics are a true "duopoly" . There are two options to vote for. Here, in my opinion, are the differences. If you look at the red state/blue state map, which is a map of who voted for whom in the US, what you actually see is that people in cities vote Democrat and everyone else votes Republican. This makes sense, when you think about it.

To me, Republicans are the go-it-alone party. They believe in little or no government, home-schooling, no health care, a free market, no taxes, no unions. They believe that you're on your own, and you should fend for yourself. In the Republican worldview, the only real job of the government is to protect the homeland.

Let me have my gun, my freedom, and stay off my back. And while on social issues, they get a little 'big government' on people, that's because there's an alliance between Republicans and the Religion. It creates a tension in the ideas of non-religious Republicans who don't want the government involved in things like marriage, online gambling, and the drug wars. However, the go-it-alone motif is the perfect metaphor for living in the country. In the country, you're literally on your own.

And that's not so in a city. Democrats, on the whole, are for education, equality, health care for everyone and a social safety net. To put a name to it would be the "we're all in it together" theory of government. It's a feeling people feel in cities. People band together to form an identity in cities: we're New Yorkers, we're Chicagoans, we're Buffalonians. People in cities can see that if the young people are educated, then they won't end up on the streets together. People in cities can see that if there's a safety net, then that person doesn't have to sleep on the street. People can see that a healthy environmental policy would be better for all of us. (Contrast that with the family whose nearest neighbor is a mile away, and you can see why Republicans don't see a problem with the current environmental policies).

The tension between these two demographic experiences are clear, there's a different mentality between a city and 'the country'. And while I clearly understand that there are Republicans that live in cities and Democrats that live in rural areas, the purple map shows that, generally, this dichotomy exists. People who live in cities vote Democrat, and generally, they feel part of a collective group all working together for the betterment of the city. People who live in the country, are predominantly interested in the betterment of themselves. I don't mean that in a selfish way: I mean, they are interested in schooling their own kids, healing their own kids and providing for their own kids. They don't want the government to help.

To recap: Democrats are more likely to be 'we are in it together'.
Republicans are more likely to be 'go it alone'.

In terms of Foreign Policy, the Democrats would be more apt to involve the world community in their foreign policy. This was mocked by Republicans who admit that their foreign policy on anything (Kyoto, Nuclear Proliferation, trade) is based on what is good for the US and only what is good for the US.

But, even at the macro level of the planet, the fact is, we're all in it together.