Friday, February 29, 2008

Corn is smarter than you

So sayeth the prophet of food, Michael Pollan.

Autumn loves Heinz ketchup. We had curry and chips last night with a side salad. It was a good meal, but we allowed Autumn to have some chips. Mom put the ketchup on the chips, and the cheeky little girl licked off the ketchup.

Which brought up a talk about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). When you're done reading this, take a look through your food and see what doesn't have HFCS in it.

If, in an evolutionary sense, the goal of every species is to propagate the species, then corn is winning. We're about to use it as a fuel in cars as well as soda. It's in damn near everything in our house, and we try to get rid of it.

You can't fight it.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Way cool

This is a video of people from 1 to 100 playing a drum. Awesome.

Hey parent's, does this give you any ideas? I want to shoot Autumn doing something every year. Maybe the yellow balloons.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Autumn's out of daycare

If you're a parent, and you drop your kids off to day care, then you know the feeling. When I put her down and she runs to my leg crying "Daddy, daddy, daddy" my heart breaks, melts, whatever metaphor you need. I reach down, give her a hug and feel her grab me with all the strength she can muster in her little arms, and I look around.

She was at a new day care. The one everyone says is awesome. It's in the city and on the way to work. In the summer, Rhona could walk. The other idea is that we could meet other people, families, and make new friends.

So we signed up. Autumn doesn't know any of the above, she just knows that the place she used to go is new. All new people. So, when the hugs, and leg hugs, and cries come, we're handing her to people she barely knows. And that's hard for all of us.

But what happened next was simply bad luck. Her new teacher kept calling in sick. That really isn't the fault of the day care, but it's a cause for concern. We're trying to hand off a visibly upset Autumn to someone she can trust, and that someone kept changing. And since it was an unexpected absence, they weren't always quick to solve the issue.

So we pulled her. We asked for our money back, and took her out. At this moment in time, she is no longer in day-care. We have mixed feelings about that. but this is the next adventure for Rhona and Autumn.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Soups no longer on

This is about the Sabres. They just traded Brian Campbell for a former fist round pick. A 23 year old (they were the youngest team in the league and they just got younger -- is that good or bad...Meg?)

Anyway, the argument I heard for trading his was that it was important so that they got something for him. I thought that if he stayed they would GET 3 months of him playing defense, which is a pretty significant thing, but instead, they traded him and got something else.

I think this something else is less significant, but it won't be going away at the end of this season. So it's a trade off trade.

And the thing is, he wasn't going to stay. He's not the number one defenseman on the team (that's Hank Tallinder and Tony Lydman), so you can't pay him number one money. And thus, he was going away. He was leaving.

So I guess the Sabres got something. Lets hope they didn't need Campbell to make the playoffs.

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Monday, February 25, 2008


This past weekend was the Canadian woman's curling championships, AKA the Scotties. In the semi final on Saturday, the lead of the Ontario made two tick shots. If you know nothing about curling, know one thing: the tick shot is a hard shot.

Or, it was. You see, they were playing the final on the new international-sized sheet. This got me thinking about two things:

1. The Game is officially different at national and international events. The US women were playing their final at around the same time. Only, their final was played on the normal every day sized sheet that we all normally play on. Meaning, the Canadian women, and men, will have a leg up.
2. The tick shot is easier. Again, if you know nothing about curling, know this: the tick shot is easier now.

I think the first thing has some serious ramifications on our game. The great part of this game is that it used to be the same. Now, the very best teams in the world will be playing on ice surfaces that we normal players can't pay on. We can't go around corner guards from the outside in. We can't play the tick shot a little more aggressively. The better teams can. Does this mean the better teams are going to widen their gap? I think it does. I think I'll research this a little more.

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The cost of meat

This isn't an anti-meat post. I like meat, and plan to continue my omnivorous ways for some time. However, chicken and beef are expensive, so at our house, we consume it a lot less.

Expensive you say?

Why, you could simply go to Sam's Club and buy a box of beef burgers for a $1. better still, you could get 100 chicken breasts for $0.25 (or some ridiculously inexpensive price).

And when you pay that extraordinary price, you have to turn off your brain. Because somewhere deep in your conscious, you know that to make meat this cheap, they have to cut some corners. There's a cost, but it's preferable to ignore it and add some BBQ sauce to make it all taste good.

Not us, which means meat is a luxury item in these United States. (Canada has a regulatory system with power. In the US, recalls are voluntary).

What do you think?

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Friday, February 22, 2008

10 days until the beach.

we can't wait to go back to florida in ten days... it can't possibly come soon enough.

sniff sniff, cough, cough.

Rockstar curling

So, I signed up. Why not, really. The 'try-outs' might be in Utica, and driving to Utica for a day might be worth it. We'll see. In the meantime, check this out, I suspect these dudes will be signing up as well.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

My vote might count

I got my interview date with the nice people at Homeland Security. At this point, I will go in there and answer any questions about my thoughts, feelings and desires. I have no idea what we'll talk about in there. Perhaps they'll ask me why I want to be a citizen. Really, I want to be a citizen for a couple of reasons.

1. To vote. I've now lived her over five years, and in those five years I haven't voted. Can't. And I used to vote in everything. Local, provincial, federal, gimme a vote and i voted. Soon, I'll be a voter again.
2. Curling. Hey, what the heck. You never know. Rockstar on.
3. Why not? I live here. Might as well get the membership card.

All this assumes they let me in, of course. And that's no gimme.

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You are what you eat, eats

Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food:
"Essentially, the idea is that we're part of the food chain, and in the food chain creatures eat other creatures, and so you can't just say, "This is beef." It's a very different food depending on what that cow or steer ate. A steer that was finished on grass is a completely different food than one that was finished on corn and industrial by-products in a feed lot. We don't pay enough attention to that. If you're eating from a grass-based food chain, you're getting a very different diet than if you're getting a corn-based diet."
You should read the book. It's out. If you're not convinced by this simple piece of insight, then read some more from the article it came from.

Random Autumn picture: We miss nanny and granddad.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Will this be the choice?

This is and gang doing Barack Obama.

This is the same gang doing John McCain.

Keep in mind, this is a conversation going on in a place that didn't exist in the last election. It exists now, and when you see these two videos, it shows you the difference, but also the power of this medium. Especially back to back.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

FISA, America, a snuggly bear

This is great. It's all about FISA. It's all about America. Told to you by a snuggly bear.

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Autumn in my hat

It's cold outside these days. It is winter. And I wear my Arsenal hat proudly, even though they're down to one trophy, and they don't start an Englishman.

Anyway, when I get home from work, Autumn and Rhona are always thrilled to see me. Autumn likes to come into my arms, give me a hug, and the take off my hat. After pointing to it and saying 'hat'.

Then, of course, she throws it one her head. This is her wearing the hat, intrigued by the lens cap of the camera we used to take the picture.

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(sob) my Yahoo mail

The life of a copywriter is fluid, to say the least. I've now worked at 6 different places, and while I admit that for a time in my life, I was more focussed on Curling than career, it meant that every time I left a place, i left the e-mail address there. That's why I almost got a Microsoft hotmail account.


Microsoft bought hotmail before I could sign up. And then along came Yahoo. I grabbed a yahoo e-mail address over 10 years ago. I didn't want a microsoft owned e-mail. At the time, it was partly because I thought they were ruining the computing experience with their crappy programs that didn't really work on a mac, but I had to use anyway, because EVERYONE used Word. no, it was more the clunkiness with hotmail compared to Yahoo Mail.

Rhona also had Yahoo mail.

Well, times up it seems. Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo. if it happens, our free-mail addresses will be owned by Microsoft.

Can anyone say Gmail? I've switched. If you know my yahoo e-mail, then instead of, simply change it with

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Monday, February 18, 2008

The fall-out of this weekend

It's a coming of age moment in a toddler's life. The day that said Toddler officially falls out of her crib. This weekend was the day.

Autumn fell out of her crib this weekend. It was, as you can imagine, a scary moment. Especially since I was in her room when it happened.

It was nap time. She wasn't really getting the idea, even after stories and downtime. So, with the lights off, I tried a trick that worked a couple of times in the past. I laid down on the floor in her room and closed my eyes. The thinking is, she'll see me asleep and copy me.

Only, this time, she decided to join me.

When the crash came, it freaked me out. One second I'm laying on the ground, the next second there's a thump followed by a wail. And I look over and autumn's head is right beside mine. I'm serious, she missed me by about three inches. had our heads hit, this message might not have the same tone.

They didn't. And outside of being seriously freaked out, Autumn was okay. Rhona came running (she heard the thump) and we all just hugged. After about 20 minutes, she was calmed down enough to go play again. No nap.

Next step. A toddler bed. This is the signal. When she can get out of the crib it's time to get her out of the crib.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Send Autumn an e-mail

At Rhona's baby shower, they played this little game whereby everyone writes a birthday card to Autumn for the next 19 years. Each year, she'll open a card from 2006.

We have another time capsule option. In order to secure her name, I grabbed her a gmail account. If you want to say hello, tell her a joke, or simply point out the weather that day, then e-mail her at autumnhames at gmail dot com (sorry, you have to write the e-mail address in yourself).

I'm not going to read them, but I'll go in once in a while to keep it active.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

wiggle hell

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The wiggles. I decided moments ago to do a quick search for the string "i hate the wiggles"... and it turns out i am not alone. Hate is a strong word but let's just say i hate that autumn loves the wiggles so much. I have been sick for about a week now and when up at 1-3am I find myself singing wiggles songs... believe me I would rather humm along to a quality jjcale tune or elizabeth mitchell at the very least... but now- "i think dorothy is doing some mowing guys" .... runs through my head!

Originally we decided autumn wouldn't watch ANY tv... now, that she is almost 20 months, I will admit- she often watches about 20-30 minutes in the morning- this let's me get something done ... in taking a quick poll of the other moms i know there is no need to feel guilty about this- but somehow i do. perhaps if autumn would be willing to watch something other than the wiggles the guilt would subside.

check out the strong opinions from other wiggle-haters.

The rule of law

We're at the point in Autumn's life where we have to begin to set down rules. Call it the rule of law. She's not allowed to dance on the table. She's not allowed to pick up the phone. She can't get everything she wants.

Admittedly, it's awfully cute to watch her dance on the table, but we can't allow it. There needs to be rules. And consequences. Meltdowns be damned.

At least, that's the theory. Only yesterday, the Senate of this country gave retroactive immunity to telecom companies who broke the law. It's not even open for debate that Verizon, AT&T and Sprint broke the law. You don't give retroactive immunity to someone who's innocent. Thus, it's all in the framing of the immunity. The President calls them Patriotic companies because they helped him fight terror. The problem with that is simple: if you believe what they did was good and right, then there should be no need to grant them immunity.

And yet, immunity was granted.

People reading this might think this is an incredible stretch to make. Us telling Autumn no and then holding her to a no doesn't compare to the delicate action of the government, whose role it is to enforce the laws of the land.

Perhaps it's a stretch. But I've been thinking a lot about the rule of law in this country, and at the same time, we're making attempts at setting down rules for Autumn. The blog was always meant to talk about Autumn's life in context with what's going on in the rest of the world.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Get skype

autumn loves Skype. It's a free program that lets you make free calls to anyone, anywhere in the world, who has Skype.

We Skype with nanny and granddad down in Clearwater. We skyped with an old friend from New Zealand. We skyped with Uncle Simon and Aunt Christina (side note, the words uncle Simon made Autumn giggle because uncle Simon makes her laugh hysterically.)

Anyway, as soon as we call someone on Skype, Autumn breathlessly watched the computer waiting for the faces and voices to appear and talk to her. To her, the computer is a phone as well.

If you have a video camera attached to your computer, then sign up for Skype (it's free). Look for Matt Hames in Buffalo and lets talk for real.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

An update on sleep

She's a sleeper.

(knock, knock)

That was me, knocking on wood. Because, Autumn sleeps through the night. It's now been weeks since she was up (yes, I know, I'm asking for it).

But what the heck. I'm going for it. She's a sleeper.


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A curling reality TV show!

I'm signing up:

"NBC confirmed yesterday it has an exclusive option to air a 10-episode sports reality show that will give the winners a shot at competing in the U.S. championships and even going to the 2010 Olympics."

From here:

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Some links on the earth

We're all in trouble. This is why. If you read one thing on global warming, read this.

This is a link to an article on the death of suburbia in the New York Times. I've long thought it was time. Here's a money quote from it:
In 1946, when the American post war housing boom started, the average house was 1,100 square feet and housed 5 people. Fifty years latter, in 1996 the average house would grow to 2,200 square feet and house 2.6 people and by 2007, fueled by easy credit, the average American home would would become the equivalent of a Hummer, “weighing in” at super-sized 2,400 square feet.
Big cars, big houses, big problems. It all kinda goes together.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Most watched football game

In November, 2007, Arsenal played Manchester United. According to the Guardian UK:
' estimated 1 billion people around the world watched Arsenal's match with Manchester United..."
The Premiership is thinking about playing league games outside of England. Arsenal V Blackburn in Toronto, for example (I made this up because Rhona and I watched Arsenal V Blackburn Rovers in London).

And we worry about the Bills playing a game a year in Toronto.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

One more

Photo contest

So I entered Autumn's picture into a contest. I think you have to register though.

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The glaciers aren't the only things that are melting down: Autumn has some doozy meltdowns.

Last night it was just me and her. When mommy left, I got the normal, expected mommy meltdown.

"Mommy" she cries near the last door that mommy went out of. "Mommy". it comes out in gasps almost, in between cries. When I try to pick her up she does that dead weight thing that parent's understand. She manages to contort her body in such a way that does actually make her 21 pounds feel heavier.

One I do manage to pick her up, I have to guard against the flailing legs. She's just tall enough now that her flailing legs come perilously close to the boys.

I learned that one the hard way.

The only option on a meltdown is really just waiting it out. I can't console her. I can eventually redirect her (what's Lucy doing?), but that doesn't happen immediately.

What are your favorite meltdown ideas?

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Potty alert

It was easy to think that Friday night was a fluke. After her bath, I asked Autumn if she wanted to sit on the potty. We do that a lot. No big deal. But this time, she peed. I yelled for Rhona and we spent the next ten minutes high-fiving each other.

But, we thought, no biggie. A serious first, but a trend, not yet.

Then, as if we pressed the repeat button, the same thing on Saturday night. Exactly. After the bath, the question. She sits on the potty and pees. Both nights, she grabs some TP and wipes herself.

And then, and I think this is the best part, she went potty this morning. Not after a bath, just out of the blue. She peed again.

That's three times in three days. That's a trend. We're in for a long haul, but the heavy lifting has begun.

update: at 3:00PM EST on Sunday, Feb 3rd, Autumn went poopy on the potty.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

My wife, the photographer

Rhona's photographs are still being featured in the Artvoice photo contest. Here is her and Autumn at the opening.

Turn on your side:

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