Archive for July, 2007
Because it’s a bit too big to embed here….
Here’s a pic of Grace & Grandpa Ed
In the 10+ years of our marriage we’ve not taken many family vacations. We’ve done a few trips to visit friends or family for a graduation or a wedding and then tacked on a couple days of sight-seeing and such, but rarely done a trip with the whole family just for the sake of getting away. Well, we just got back from a trip that was just for the sake of taking a trip together. Eleven days ago we packed up the kids in our mini-van and headed north to visit Washington DC. Early on we had planned on a couple nights at a hotel so Alicia could visit with some on-line friends, but that got nixed as not enough people were staying in one spot and they were so freaking expensive. So instead we spent our entire time with Alicia’s Uncle Bill and Aunt Karen.
The kids had a blast at “Biyld” and “Kawen”s house (those are Grace pronunciations) with their dog Gozer and, relative to ours anyway, big backyard. We visited the Natural History museum, Air and Space Museum, Air and Space Annex, Baltimore Aquarium, and National Zoo. The key to it being so much fun though, I think anyway, was that we didn’t push to spend all day at any place, and didn’t push to get there when they opened. Most days we got up whenever everybody woke up, had breakfast, hung around the house and played in the back yard and then went and spent 3-5 hours doing museum stuff. We also got to see Alicia’s dad and step-mom and her grandparents who all drove down from upstate NY to visit.
We all had fun, Sam got a bubble blowing RC Car that he played with incessantly in the front driveway and back patio area (complete with not-quite-four-year-old announcer voice each time he started it up: “Are you ready for some bubbles?!?! GO! It’s a bubble attack”). Grace managed to fall into the little pond in their backyard meditation garden while Bill was standing right there (she was trying to fish out a floating lamp I think), and wasn’t phased by the experience in the least (I was inside at the time and Bill carried her up soaking wet with a look on her face like “why are you people stopping my fun?”). Jake tried to teach Grace how to roll down a hill, but she wasn’t so hep on the idea. They all had a blast putting out birdseed and peanuts and mealworms each morning for the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and groundhog.
I managed to fill up the hard drive on my laptop with pictures (~15gig of pictures on there now), so Alicia and I are going to have to order some prints of, and backup, the old pictures before we can dump to laptop and then upload all the new ones.
Our two parental terror moments were: A) when Grace wandered off at the National Zoo (I had handed her back off to Alicia who was taking pictures and apparently didn’t realize I had. Within 30 seconds, while I was getting a snack for Sam, she had toddled over to look at the panda 50 feet away. Alicia also pulled her back when she ran to pick her up then) and B) when Sam got stung by a wasp at a Burger King play area somewhere in North Carolina on the way home (He was fine, though we gave him some medicine just in case, due to his severe allergy to some things, and had the Epi pen handy just in case).
All in all it was a great trip and time spent with family (and I even got some new books while we were up there).
As many of you (the three people who read this blog) know, I have a bunch of random side projects always in the works. But I’m never sure which ones are “known” and which ones haven’t really been mentioned elsewhere. So here goes:
Wordtrip is my biggest side project and the one I put the most time into. Wordtrip – All Things Wordly, is a forum based site for Writers, Readers, and Poets. With writing groups and open discussion we’ve made the Writer’s Digest top 100 websites for writers each of the last 4 years now. WordtripJr is the same idea but managed with younger writers and readers in mind.
This is actually the Wordtrip podcast which has been on hiatus for a while now. Podcast to discuss writing, etc, and points to http://podcast.wordtrip.com
These are both also tied to Wordtrip.com and though Editing week has never taken off, the Novel Writing Week has had a few participants from Wordtrip.com in which people commit to writing either: a short story, novella, or novel in a week (I’ve been a wuss at the short story level each of the times).
Jakender is the catch-all umbrella for all of my projects currently (I used to consider BreastFed Records/Productions my catch-all, but in the last couple years (with the demise of BreastFed Records in the late 90s) moved towards Jakender). Right now it’s just holding a placeholder page for web design work (which I do usually in conjunction with my good buddy Georg of www.imaginationtogo.com), but eventually will have a bit more information about all of the various endeavors.
www.rcmagazine.net – Defunct
The link now only goes to some search engine since somebody snagged the name after I let it expire. It was one of my first writing projects back before Sam was born. Along with Steve Greene of www.3cgraphics.com, I put out columns and articles that I, and others, wrote about the Radio Control flying hobby.
www.pillsburyfamily.comRight now, and for a very long time now, has mainly just had a photo gallery that I, and my sister, use to keep the distant family members up to date.
I came across this interesting piece on aid in Africa (via digg) and how some of the African people would rather we invest in their continent than just give them money. Some very interesting things being said in here about entrepreneurial spirit, and how charity can create dependency. While I find it tough to agree with holding up the Chinese government as a model in general, there are many other things said in here that are worth the time to read.
I have an uncle who has moved to Tanzania to help start a hospital, as well as help build educational opportunities. I like that what he’s doing is helping at one of the most basic levels of need (medical attention), without simply being a handout (they’re putting people through medical and business school so that they can sustain the medical system once it’s put in place). While it’s not the direct entrepreneurial investment mentioned in the article above, I think it still qualifies as investing in Africa. If you’d like to chip in you can visit: http://fameus.net/ for more information.
For more entrepreneurial investing there are places like http://www.kiva.org/ that allow a conduit for people to loan money to small businesses in other parts of the world (for start-up costs, or improvements, etc). http://www.trickleup.org/ apparently does similar work, though I’ve read less about them.
There is a portion of parent-hood that is occupied by a level of abject terror that is very hard to explain. Sam has developed some allergies apparently. Unfortunately they’re not of the “make your nose run and eyes water” variety, and are more the “cause hives and welts to pop so mom and dad freak out and worry about anaphylactic shock setting in” variety. We had thought that it was an allergy to a red dye that was being used in a children’s medicine, but last night we spent an hour or two keeping a very close eye on him due to some welts showing up on his legs and arms (either from apple juice, potatoes, or walking out in the back yard).
At first we thought they were mosquito bites (and may well have been), because he had been outside for 3-4 minutes with Alicia hooking up a new chain for the dog. The welts first showed up on his leg and he complained about them itching so I took a look… and then noticed another, and another. I left Jake watching his sister while I carried Sam in to Alicia and went to grab the Benadryl and EpiPen from our bag in case they were needed.
We put Benadryl cream on them to see if that would take care of them, but by that point he was standing around in his underwear (a favorite hobby of, I’m convinced, all 3-4 year-old boys) and we were watching for anything unusual. When the 4th welt showed up and Alicia thought she saw some coming on his chest we gave him a dose of Benadryl and let him sit watching the Cars DVD while we frantically hovered over and around him generally pestering the snot out of him with questions about having trouble breathing or if he had more itches… which really cut into his ability to focus on Lightening McQueen and Mater.
It had already been a long day with a wedding, and visiting friends. The extra hour or two for a parental freak-out wasn’t exactly in the schedule. Everybody went to bed quite tired and I stayed up a while longer just to go check on Sam every few minutes to make sure he was still breathing. I’m not generally a paranoid person (sure I’ve got a bit of a fear of heights… and I don’t like the concept of deep water or caves much… and I’m not so fond of bugs… but those are NORMAL right?), but something about the prospect (EVEN if the odds are in your favor) of not knowing when, if, how, or why your kid may randomly stop breathing and die… makes for some restless sleep (and with Alicia actually BEING a bit of a paranoid person it’s even worse for her).