Friday, June 29, 2007

Autumn's student mom

Right now, Rhona, who also goes by my wife, Autumn's mom, and Buffalo State master's student, is doing a great job juggling all of her many titles. She's also become the chief dog walker to our strange dog.

Here's why she's strange. Lucy hates, hates, hates, thunder. Anything remotely like thunder, and she's going under the bed. Well, we live in the city. Close enough to where the Buffalo Bisons play that Lucy has learned to hate evening walks because the often coincide with fireworks (to her thunder) during and after the games. The heavy humidity also smells, to her, like rain is coming. And rain offers a chance at thunder. So times are tough right now for little Lucy -- she sleeps under our bed at night these days.

Still, Rhona and Autumn take her for a walk. And I think Autumn loves it. And I appreciate that Rhona has a lot on her plate these days, but she manages to get it all done. I just want everyone to know that she's doing a great job. Autumn, Lucy and I are all lucky people/pets.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

From bottle to milk: her first taste

Our pediatrician said it was okay to transition Autumn from formula to milk. Since she's one, we can give her Whole Milk.

So we did.

Last night, I went into her room because she was complaining. It was 8:30, well past her bed time. I gave her a bottle that had formula and whole milk mixed, which she greedily ate.

She spit out the bottle after a few minutes, and looked in need of a burp. So I proceeded to burp her. Well, she belched like I've never heard her belch before. I was thinking things were awesome when all of a sudden, she projectile vomited all over my back and her room. I yelled for Rhona's help and ran Autumn into the bathroom. She was still emptying the contents of her tummy.

Since I had milk all over my shoulder, back and legs, I decided to take a bath with the peanut, who perked up really fast. Mom cleared out her room (the carpet needs to be cleaned.)

Point being: Based on how her vomit looked- read cheese curds (I'm sorry, that's gross), we're going to give her much less milk. And transition slowly. So that she doesn't puke up smelly milk all over my back.

mom here- the puke was NUTS... it was like her belly made yogurt of the milk we fed her. I would love to hear from other mom's who may have experienced this absolute mayhem also... it was so strange... and don't get me started on the smell.

Web 2.0

Early this morning I did a power point presentation on Web 2.0. My point was to let people here know about the possibilities on the internet. Web 2.0 is a conversation. Not a one way message from agency to consumer, but a way to facilitate a community.

Here's my presentation.

Plus, I spoke.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Phew, we're rated G

According to this rating service, our blog is rated G.

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Which is good, because this blog is essentially about Autumn. I got the link from here, a blog that is rated PG. Although, if you're looking for insights on marketing, it's worth a look.

One year older

Yesterday, we took our sick little peanut in for her year one check up. She has a cold, and a mild version of pink eye. Meaning, she has a stuffed up nose and goop in her eyes. The doctor also removed goop from her ears. As you can imagine, she didn't enjoy that one bit.

But it got worse. They also took blood from her little finger by poking it, and then drawing the blood out. That isn't fun for me when I give blood, to her, it was murder.

But again, that wasn't the worst of it. Next, she was given three, yes three needles in her arms. Inoculations, they call 'em. At this point in the story, Autumn was looking to call the cops. When the needles were finally done, she was a mess of sobbing little baby. Runny nose, goopy eyes, and sore arms. She actually had four bandaids in her.

Holding her, she was just trying to get her bearings, breathing heavily. It was so sad.

And her ordeal isn't over. We got eye drops for her little pink eye, which he have to put in 4 times a day. And we're sticking salt water up her nose to clear that. She's still coughing, her nose is still stuffy, and her eyes are still goopy. We're hoping that she has a full recover for the big day on Saturday.

This is Autumn on a happier day.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I reiterate, my wife has talent

manhole art, originally uploaded by rdcaden.

My wife Rhona has a great eye. She took this picture, which I love. It's hanging in our living room. That red is so vibrant, it really stands out. Rhona matted using a dark red, and the frame is black.

It's an awesome testament to her eye.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A bad night out

We had an overnight babysitter, meaning, we could go out like adults and a few cocktails. A while ago, my company gave us a gift certificate to a swanky restaurant near our house. It seemed like a perfect thing. We would go, have some drinks, have a nice meal, and act like grown ups.

Everything was going to plan until the meals got there. Mom ordered a seafood pasta dish that was virtually inedible. I ordered salmon. i was taken a back when it arrived by the fact that my salmon dish was dressed with caramelized brussels sprouts. Yes, you read that right. Those tiny, crappy, smelly feet smelling vegetables, were on my meal.

It brought me back to a time when I was sitting at the dinner table, and my mom offered me ten dollars if I could eat a brussel sprout that was about the size of an ant. Ten bucks. I was ten at the time, so ten dollars amounted to a small fortune.

“I’ll be able to retire.” I thought looking at the crisp new ten-dollar bill on the table. My smile quickly faded when I contemplated my nemesis, the very offensive brussel sprout. I just completely loath them. They are like cabbages for Lilliputians. They smell like a combination of dirty socks and dirty underwear. That thing stood between me and possible retirement.

Usually I would cry if my mom put even one on my plate. Alright, maybe not cry, but I would whine like a champion 10-year-old whiner.

I stopped whining when the ten bucks went on the table. I elected to probe my mom for the ground rules.

I grabbed a spoonful of mashed potatoes and held them so my mom could see them. “Can I grab a mouthful of mashed potatoes, shove the brussel into my mouff, n’ neat?” I asked, giving her a demonstration at the same time.

“Yes.” She replied, coyly. She was clearly enjoying the prospect of seeing me eat my nemesis.

“And can I wash it all down with a glass of milk?” I asked through a mouthful of milk and potatoes.

“Anything you want. Just finish the brussel and the ten is yours.” I weighed the options; there was no way I was gonna say no. “You’re on.” I said, taking the bet.

Now it was just me and the dirty-sock smelling reject of the cabbage family. Either it was going down, or I was going down. But first, I would do a practice run. Some might call the query about the ground rules a practice run, but at the time, I hadn’t taken the bet. So it was different this time. This time I had my ten-year-old-I-want-the-ten-bucks-game face. The practice run of mashed potatoes washed down with milk went well.

I was ready.

My will wasn’t. I did try. I had it close to my mouth a couple of times, but when the brussel got close to my mouth, my nose caught a wiff and it was gag city. Staring at the brussel sprout, I knew it was going to win. I hated them sooooo much. Even for a small fortune, I was sure I could never eat it.

“When can we have something other than brussel sprouts?” I asked, getting close to giving up.

“When you learn to cook.” My mom said, taking the ten dollar bill off the table when it was very clear that I was not going to earn it.

I learned how to cook. I am not sure if it was the infamous brussel sprout incident, but I learned how to cook because of my love for food and for my desire to never, ever, make anything with brussel sprouts in it.

And I never once expected to get salmon with brussels on it. But even though the dinner was a flop, it was nice to be out with Rhona. We played some pool, walked the streets and had a nice time. Even a brussel sprout couldn't wreck the night completely.

Friday, June 22, 2007

First Birthday: the final chapter.

yes, today had it all....balloons.

The house was decorated to show the neighbors that today was a big day for Autumn.

dad took a half day to spend time relaxing with the birthday girl.

both mom and dad worked in the kitchen to make a splendiferous cake for Ms. Peanut.
dad readily admits he spent a good bit of time licking bowls...

and it ended with cake
well, eating cake.

Autumn on her birthday, in video

Holy smokes. I just watched this on the blog. Well, YouTube has a new version, and they've gone all mac on us. At the end of this video, you'll have a chance to scroll through videos like this one, ie, videos with an Autumn tag. Since all of our Autumn videos are tagged Autumn. You can look at all of the videos we've put up of her. Right here.

That's cool.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

First Cake.... the progression

The cake. I should say the first cake of the day. The great thing about this cake is that was free from a local supermarket... white cake, purple piping, pink lettering "Happy 1st Birthday, Autumn". The frosting was butter frosting and it is the stick to your thighs kind of yummy frosting.

A little group of friends at day care gathered. Donna the teacher, Dad, Jaywon, Noah, Josna and and then a few others joined .

What happens when I put my hands (gently) on the top?

Maybe add a bit more pressure to watch my hands disappear.

Better put on a bib...

What is this on my hands... yum!

Forget about it... I am diving straight in ... deep~!

Happy Birthday to me!

First Birthday: Pickles, Papa and the Pups

Autumn is like her mom, she loves her birthday. She loves it so much she can't wait to get started with the celebration. With that in mind- Autumn woke up this birthday solstice morning at 2am to scream from the bottom of her heart (or is it top of her lungs) "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY AND I WANT SOMEONE TO HUG ME!!!" .... So her first birthday started bright and ridiculously early with a freshly made bottle and some snuggle time in mom and dad's bed.

It resumed at 6am with pickles (her current favorite food) for breakfast and some quality time with the family. Today will be fun- she will spend a couple hours with her buddies at day care and then mom and dad will come with a cake to share with the class- then home to celebrate with the grandfolks and a special dinner of all her favorite foods (more on that later). There is even a rumor around our house that mom is trying to make a special cake for this special day.... photos (un-touched) to follow.

(note: i am worried I am becoming one of those mothers that is never in any of the photos- we will work on this between the ages of one and two. here is a little one)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Why Evolution matters

In the post, the Republican Debate, from early May 2007, I noted with dismay that 3 of the candidates raised their hands to say they didn't 'believe' in the theory of evolution. They were Senator Sam Brownback, Governor Mike Huckabee, and Representative Tom Tancredo. Later Mitt Romney issued a statement suggesting he should have raised his hand, but didn't. The first three most likely won't win the nomination, but that's beside the point. The simple fact that three and maybe four of the guys running to lead this country are willfully ignorant shows the level that knowledge holds in the US.

A solid majority of people in the US think humans lived alongside of Dinosaurs. Many think the earth is around 6,000 years old, and God created it. And us.

Why does this matter? Why does it matter that people think there's life in their peanut butter and a Creationist Museum opened up in Ohio? Because dismissing the theory of evolution is the scientific equivalent of dismissing the theory of gravity. It's that sound of a theory. Meaning, one doesn't dismiss evolution as much as simply dismiss well-known facts. And when facts are dismissed, then more problems pop up. For instance, if the majority of Americans believe in evolution, why not believe God is responsible for Global Warming? Or AIDS?

And that's what at issue here. The idea that America can ignore facts. The King of the Republicans, Ronald Reagan noted that "Facts are stubborn things." In the Christian Republican world view, facts aren't important (even though they continue to be stubborn). Just because you don't want to believe that Dinosaurs roamed the earth hundreds of millions of years ago, doesn't mean they didn't. That's the thing about facts: even if you don't believe them, they don't go away.

True, sometimes Science changes them a little. Einstein changed Newton's description of gravity, but that didn't stop things from falling. And there are theories that could alter Einstein's theory of gravity, but again, if you jump up, you'll come down.

So evolution matters because it's part of a larger discourse. American's seem to be getting dumber. According to a poll at National Geographic, we're not that clever in the US:
  • Only 37% of young Americans can find Iraq on a map—though U.S. troops have been there since 2003.
  • 6 in 10 young Americans don't speak a foreign language fluently.
  • 20% of young Americans think Sudan is in Asia. (It's the largest country in Africa.)
  • 48% of young Americans believe the majority population in India is Muslim. (It's Hindu—by a landslide.)
  • Half of young Americans can't find New York on a map.
And you have three Republican presidents advocating for increased dumbness. That's why it matters.

birthday eve.

Today there was a party. but the party was actually for mom. The folks I worked with got together and gave me a proper send off- it was very kind and much appreciated. This is apparently a week of celebrations- my send off, autumn's birthday and jacob guzzino's party... i am looking forward to all of these fiestas. As you can see from the images above... Autumn is also incredibly excited (although- it might just be the sticks!)

If it wasn't the stick or the measuring cup... it very well could be excitement over these rockin' boots. Don't get me started about these boots... What do you think- Aunt Jenst?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day care, part time

When we first started taking Autumn to day care, it made us sad. She was going four days a week, and honestly, we were worried that we would miss things. I think every parent worries about day care. About how their little one becomes more attached to the day care provider and less to us. It's a fear that is unwarranted. As Autumn's parents, we'll always have a head start on a bond that other people will never have. But that doesn't mean we didn't have the fear. Take a look: this is what we dropped off.

Fast forward to today. Rhona is now home most days. She's working on Tuesday and Thursday doing her internship for her Masters degree, so Autumn goes to day care now only Tuesday and Thursday. And sometimes not even for the full day.

So when she went this morning, she hadn't been to day care since Thursday. And in the last 4 days, she's really started walking like crazy. She's not quite standing on her own, but she's really close. She'll grab anything, Lucy, my leg, a wall, and help herself up in order to walk. This whole walking a lot thing was new to the woman there, at day care. She hadn't seen that at day care. So when I left her this morning, I didn't feel like we were missing her development. I felt that the people at day care were missing it. And that felt good.

Will Autumn be a good 'google'?

As we approach year one, it's worth reflecting on the fact that Autumn was born on the first day of summer. There's nothing easy about picking a name. But we picked Autumn's name walking along a street near her house. If our baby is a girl, we said, we'll call her Autumn. We picked that because the trees looked gorgeous, and the scene was breathtaking. It was a nice fall day that was slowly turning into a nice night.

We never wavered from Autumn.

Which brings me to the topic of this blog, her name on Google. According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, "You're nobody unless your name Googles well." It suggests the following:
"In the age of Google, being special increasingly requires standing out from the crowd online. Many people aspire for themselves -- or their offspring -- to command prominent placement in the top few links on search engines or social networking sites' member lookup functions. But, as more people flood the Web, that's becoming an especially tall order for those with common names. Type "John Smith" into Google's search engine and it estimates it has 158 million results."
Rhona has a special name. Type Rhona Cadenhead into Google and you will find one other Rhona Cadenhead. She's in Scotland, which is where one would expect to find her, but it's still a very uncommon and easily google-able name. As for me, "Matt Hames" isn't a terribly common name, so I'm there. A quick search of Autumn brings up only two hits. Meaning, she can make a name for herself on Google. And that's good. Apparently, we named her well.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A wedding, a parade, a weekend

It was father's day weekend, but we also had a wedding. First of all, the wedding: the best part about the wedding was getting to see Jayne and Craig (and their kids).

Seeing Heather getting married was also great, don't get me wrong. She's an old friend from curling and life, and she appeared to be very peaceful and very happy. Rhona and I thought she was glowing. Ron, her new husband is a born again Chinese man, so the wedding and reception involved a lot of god and a lot of food. Here's how the reception went down.

The meal was a ten-course Chinese food meal. Heather sat us at a western table, so the food was toned down a little bit. However, I did have Braised Shark fin soup (consistency of mucus) and boiled Sea Cucumber (ditto), both firsts. A roast pig led off the dinner, followed by various dished that included: bbq chicken, broccoli, shrimp and scallop stir fry, a sea food dish that included clam, scallop and the aforementioned sea cucumber. The 8th course was fried rice while the ninth and tenth were dessert. Some cookies made up the first bit of dessert while a hot sweet bean soup with potato(??) made up the final dessert. I took a whirl at everything and thought it was good, but hot bean soup with potato doesn't fit my definition of dessert.

While we were frolicking at a born-again Christian/Chinese wedding, Autumn was at nanny and granddad's. She actually participated in Brampton's official summer kick-off, the Flower Parade. She was in the parade! She's seen a parade before, but she's never been in one. This is a first. We hope to have pictures soon.

Here are some of the weekend anyway:

This was at a park in Oakville.

And this is back home reflecting on the weekend.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's day

We're sporadic blogging this weekend because we're on a father's day RT. We're at uncle Simon's and aunt Christina's. Autumn is walking up a storm, almost to the point where she can get up on her own. It's good that we have a lot of family here because she's very active. Later, we'll blog about the wedding we went to last night.

Friday, June 15, 2007

My famous wife

If you live in Buffalo and read Artvoice, then there's a good chance you've seen one of her pictures. She has an excellent eye, and her images of things, plants, buildings, fires, and of course Autumn, are excellent.

She says I'm her biggest fan, but Artvoice publishes a photo by her every week. So perhaps the real reason I'm her biggest fan is that she's talented.

Take a look for yourself in Artvoice. And if you're not from Buffalo, take a look here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

That's me blogging

Surrounded by the family. Here's another one, for fun. Thanks again Aunt Tracey! The garden still looks great.

A bad week for the Washington Post

If you watched the movie "All the President's Men" and loved it, you most likely have an affinity for the Washington Post. It's one of the mighty newspapers in this country. Recently though, things have been a little troubling. First, Carl Bernstein, played famously by Dustin Hoffman, has taken the last 7 years to write a book about Hillary Clinton. I've heard him recently on various news shows talking about his book, and he sounded somewhat incoherent. On Monday night, he appeared on Bill O'Reilly's show. Here's the opening exchange as Bill asks this about Hillary:

O’REILLY (6/5/07): Did she break the law?


O’REILLY: OK. Good, I like this. How did she break the law?

BERNSTEIN: She broke the law if, indeed, she perjured herself.

O’REILLY: Well, you just said she did break the law.

BERNSTEIN: No. The special prosecutor determined that she did not. So he did not file the charge.

O’REILLY: So you think she did. But the special prosecutor, Ken Starr, said no.

BERNSTEIN: That is correct. You know what? Let me be really straightforward. I don’t think she broke the law. I think there was a time that she did not tell the truth.

O’REILLY: Under oath?

BERNSTEIN: You know, I wasn’t in the room.

That's Carl Bernstein, the guy who brought down Nixon. And Carl makes me think of the Post, so it's on them sort of.

In an opinion piece in Sunday's Post, Andrew Ferguson was telling us how factually incorrect Al Gore's new book is. He wrote this first paragraph:

"You can't really blame Al Gore for not using footnotes in his new book, "The Assault on Reason." It's a sprawling, untidy blast of indignation, and annotating it with footnotes would be like trying to slip rubber bands around a puddle of quicksilver. Still, I'd love to know where he found the scary quote from Abraham Lincoln that he uses on page 88."

Seems like a gotcha moment. Al Gore didn't source his work, and thus, one could be lead to the conclusion that most of his Assault on Reason lacks, well, reason. This article was published, and got past the editors at the Washington Post. Then people began pointing out that Al Gore's book had hundreds of Endnotes. Well that's an Inconvenient Truth. Worse still for the Post and Mr. Ferguson and the last question he asks on the above quote, there's an Endnote for the very quote listed in the very book he was reviewing. So he could have known where it came from, if he read the book.

The Washington Post quickly found out that the entire article was somewhat embarrassing so they did something to show the correction: If you click on the article, you'll see the posts correction:

Correction to This Article
Andrew Ferguson's June 10 Outlook article, "What Al Wishes Abe Said," said that former vice president Al Gore's book "The Assault on Reason" does not contain footnotes. The book contains 20 pages of endnotes.

Only, it's about half this size, in red, and it looks like an ad. I bring this up because of the irony of an essay about "The Assault on Reason" that is so clearly unreasoned in it's argument that you almost have to laugh. It's like they are trying to be ironic.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Copywriting and writing

The other day, a long lost school chum asked me what a copywriter was. It sorta came out like this:

Her: are you still writing?

Me: yes, I'm a copywriter

Her: and that is?

Leading me to ponder what is a copywriter. The simple answer is that I write ads. Product A wants people B to buy their product. We ask them nicely to buy. It's really that simple. But it felt woefully inadequate. Where I work, we have a tagline called Talk Human. It means to speak clearly, like humans do. Because advertising people have the ability to speak marketingese, a language that is more confusing, I'll bet, than French (a language I am currently attempting to relearn so I can teach Autumn).

Anyway, Talk human means talk like you're not writing it down, sort of. Obviously, a copywriter must write it down, I mean it's right there in the title. But it's what 'it' is.

Then it sort of occurred to me. A writer is one who writes sentences and complete thoughts. Writers write articles, novels, movies, TV shows, essays, newspaper articles, even blogs.

Copywriters don't. Our job isn't to write the article, but compact the article into a short pithy description. With products, we don't tell the story of the product, we tell you why you want to get to know the story. We're the preview of the movie, the jacket cover of the book. We're the ad in the magazine offering a reason to try or another reason to buy.

Sometimes our job is to figure out what the medium is -- I once convinced a bank to do podcasts. I'm lucky that i love my job. It makes life less grumpified.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Labels on posts

Underneath all the posts, you'll notice labels. Things like 'Autumn', 'photo', 'war in iraq', 'firsts', 'politics', etc. If you click on one of those labels, like Autumn, you'll see all the posts that correspond to Autumn. Or all her Firsts (note, we're back labelling, which takes some time. We have a few hundred posts).

Thus, the people interested in Autumn, could just click on Autumn. It took a long time for us to figure this stuff out. Thankfully, we figured out more stuff about Autumn early on.

Note, this post doesn't have a label. It's stupid to label a post about labels. Because there will never be a post about labels again. I hope.

The Bush years, con't

A little while ago, I talked about the soul of this country. Well, it's gone. There's a new report that the US government has dissapeared people like some kind of mad-dictator. It's called extraordinary rendition, and it means picking someone up from the streets and taking them away somewhere to be held. That, in itself, is scary. But not the scariest part.

There is a pretty solid amount of evidence that in trying to capture Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the US government vanished his 7 year old and his 9 year old. A CIA official said this when asked about detaining his sons:

“We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children...but we need to know as much about their father's recent activities as possible. We have child psychologists on hand at all times and they are given the best of care.”

Another CIA official went on to say this:

"His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him."

This blog has the perfect answer:

"I'm sorry: children are not "psychological levers". They are children. And if we don't know the difference, then we should just hang it up right now, since we have plainly lost anything remotely resembling a sense of decency."

Eventually, I'll get around to talking about the candidates. Autumn's second President. It's way too early now, but that will come.

Just because

There might come a day when she leaves on her shades. Most likely not. As aunt Tracey learned this week, Autumn loves to take off other people's glasses. So as soon as she got some on, they had to come off. We haven't managed to get too many shots of her with them on, but I can tell you, she looks this cute. Even cuter. Anyway, these are her first glasses.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

At the Allentown Art Festival

We went this weekend, to look at the art. This was Autumn's first Allentown Art Festival. She loved it. It's nice to see the city come alive for a weekend. People all over the place. It gives you an idea of what this city could become. More to come...

New ideas

At work, we're charged to come with ideas to position a product. Sometimes we come up with new ideas, but there's a good chance it's not really new, but someone else, somewhere else, has done the same thing. You see, originality is something entirely impossible to quantify. Occasionally someone comes up with a truly inspiring and original idea that completely sets the world on a different course. Before Einstein came up with his theory of relativity, most people thought the study of physics was pretty much done. There was nothing more to figure out. then along came Albert, and the world only started knowing what it didn't know.

Now, equating ideas in advertising with E=mc2 is something one could only do on a Friday morning without enough coffee. Its teetering on falling apart, my entire point. The reason for this post was the movie Ocean's 13. In the brief description of the movie from, you get this: "Clooney, Pitt and Damon gamely give it another go in this raffish, if fluffy sequel to a sequel to a remake."

Along for the ride this summer is Fantastic Four 2, a sequel to a movie no one liked. Shrek 3, Pirates 3, Spiderman 3, Die Hard 4, the aforementioned Ocean's 3. There's even a sequel of sorts to Bruce Almighty called Evan Almighty which, when you understand the plot, doesn't even make sense as a movie title.

I have a theory about fast food that goes like this: the reason people go to Mcdonald's is not because they are going to pleased with the result, but because they know they aren't going to be displeased. They know what they are getting at McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King et al. It's not great, but we know it won't be horrible. There's an inherent risk in getting a burger from Jimmy's Grease Pit. It could suck. Of course, it could also be awesome.

The point is, there are some movies out there like Knocked Up that have a sort of unknown to them. They could be this year's Little Miss Sunshine, or they could suck. Whereas, Ocean's 13, you know probably isn't the best movie ever, but it will be fun to relive the original, and the characters are likable, and you know you won't be overly disappointed. That's the theory anyway.

But I should caution you: we've already seen a 3 this year. We watched Spiderman 3. And it disappointed. So be careful.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Aunt Tracey visits

What a great week. Aunt Tracey was here all week helping us out with her green thumb. It also gave Autumn and Tracey a great chance at bonding. Plus, it offered us folks a chance at a couple of sleep ins, baths, reads, relaxation.

Thanks Aunt Tracey.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Best Friends forever

Lucy is Autumn's first dog. And she's been awesome. Autumn can crawl over to Lucy and use her as a drum, or to climb, or simply to grab hold of. Lucy just handles it. Maybe because when it comes to dinner time, Lucy is right there, at Autumn's side, ready to grab anything. It's actually funny to watch. Autumn will place something near Lucy, and Lucy will take it (nicely) from Autumn's little hand. If Autumn didn't want it, she finds it hilarious. If she did want it, she'll start crying – until we point out that there's more. It's great to see them grow up together. We're lucky our dog is so loving.

the dogs

As much as Lucy loves Autumn, and vice versa, Lucy really loves playing with her friend Sydney French. Last Sunday (we're late getting to this), Sydney came over for a play date. Autumn found it hilarious to watch them play. And Sydney was great with Autumn. Syd licked Autumn's face, and then went back to wrestling Lucy. The two of them pooped each other out, which is never a bad thing for Lucy.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Wife carrying World Championships

Yes, there's a world championship for everything, and this one is held where the event was conceived in Sonkajärvi, Finland. In this event, the husband carries his wife:
The Wife Carrying World Championship is competed over a 253.5 meters-long official track. The surface of the track is partially sand, partially grass and partially asphalt. The track has two dry obstacles and a water obstacle, about one meter deep.
It gets better. The winner is not only the world champion, the couple wins her weight in beer. How awesome is that?

Monday, June 04, 2007

US, circa 2007

One day, when she's old enough, Autumn might look back on this blog. She'll see pictures of us and her and marvel at how young we look, and how little she looked. She'll get a chance to read about some of our struggles, and some of her firsts.

Overall, she'll get a good look at herself. Which is awesome. She'll also note some of the stuff that was happening, in real time, in the country of her birth. One of the biggest things, I think, is that the soul of this country is being challenged. It's a normal thing to occur when something monstrous occurs to a people. We watched the Towers fall, and hoped that our humanity wouldn't fall with them. Those of us who didn't think much of George Bush, hoped that he would be the leader we needed to rally a country.

There was no real evidence from his past that he would be, or could be that man. He is a so-called silver-spoon, private school, gentleman's degree earning rich kid. But while that's the facts of his childhood, that's not a guarantee that he couldn't have been more. He could have been. He wasn't. And even though it's dawning on some talking heads and right-wing commentators that he's not a conservative, and thus not one of them, the simple fact is, he's done an awful job.

His administration has taken the country to a place whereby, the US tortures. This isn't up for debate. However, you will hear Bush say that the US doesn't torture. And he's right, sort of. Because under the law that he signed, he gets to define torture. That, in itself, is spooky on a lot of levels. However, it gets worse.

Recently, US soldiers found an Al Queda handbook on Torture. Guess what, Al Queda, a group of fundamentalist religious terrorists uses torture along with terrorism to achieve its objectives of a god loving middle east.

The news though is that Right leaning publications are up in arms because Amnesty International, the New York Times and the 'liberal Main Stream Media' aren't placing the fact that Al Queda tortures on their front page. This is the headline: "Will Media Report Al Qaeda Torture Manual With Same Zeal as Abu Ghraib?"

My new favorite writer, Glenn Greenwald, said this about it at Salon:
The reason that it is news that the U.S. tortures, but not news that Al Qaeda does, is because Al Qaeda is a barbaric and savage terrorist group which operates with no limits, whereas the U.S. is supposed to be something different than that. Isn't it amazing that one even needs to point that out?
America is a nation of laws. Al Queda is a terrorist group using a religion to terrorize people. To honestly think that because they torture America should be allowed to torture as well shows just how far down the slope this country has gone since 911. It's not enough that a nation of laws holds people indefinitely in a legal black hole in Cuba. It's not enough that in a nation with a constitution that bans searches without court approval allows the President to perform searches without court approval. In the eyes of Bush supporters, because 'they' torture, 'we' should too.

That's what I mean about America's soul. This is the era into which Autumn was born. For the rest of her life, she'll be born in the Bush 43 years. His presidency might go down as the worse in the history of the republic. With 18 months left in the Bush presidency, the media most likely will do postmortems galore. But here's the other thing, we'll be pounded with the next campaign. Already there have been 2008 Presidential Candidate Debates. In June 2007.

When I look at the Bush presidency and the on-going analysis of the 2008 race, I wonder if 2008 will come fast enough.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Walking, by Autumn and Widespread Panic

Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls. Enjoy some Walkin'.

This is mostly for Jenny. Hope you like it. Incidentally, this was on our wedding CD. It was song #9 on our wedding songs. This is what Rhona said about it:
This song rocks. Nothing more, nothing less. Volume is recommended.

Climbing and walking

The other day, I was talking about Autumn walking. In the meantime, she's become excellent at getting up the stairs. Take a look:

Later today, she'll be walking on YouTube.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Plastic Bags

Earlier tonight, we went for a walk with Autumn. Whenever we go for a walk, we take Lucy. If you take Lucy, you need a poop bag.

These days, there are more than enough bags to go around. It's estimated that 60,000 plastic bags enter the US landscape every 5 minutes. If you ever wondered what 60,000 bags looked like, then wonder no more. It's on the picture above and below. Below, is one part of the picture, magnified (click on it to get a better sense). Keep in mind, this is in 5 minutes.

This morning, as I walked past a line up for Tim Horton's coffee, I wondered this: if you stacked all the paper coffee cups I've ever had in my life, how far would they go placed end on end? Would they make it to the border? Would they get to Niagara Falls? Truthfully, this question involved Math and things I really am not interested, so I am left to wonder. But not about my own personal consumption. As much as possible, we try to take bags to the grocery store to reuse them. Or we don't get one.

Because, and this is really thing, we're leaving a planet to Autumn. At a certain point, perhaps in our lifetime, but most likely in her lifetime, we might look back on 60,000 plastic bags in the Us every 5 minutes and wonder what the hell we were thinking. It's not like there's a shortage of cloth bags in the world. It's not life everyone doesn't have a whack of plastic bags somewhere hanging on their back shelf. It's a little thing, and it might be part of a bigger look at Coffee cups, plastic bags and the hundreds of other things we toss out as trash. So, if Autumn reads this later in life, she should know that mom and dad cared. And we did a little bit.