Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spring has Sprung

So it is officially spring hereabouts, and we've got the signs to prove it.
Bunnies have been nibbling the first cut grass of the year (after raking tonnes of sweet gum balls - aka spikey balls of death). We appear to see two different ones, one largish one, another smaller.

Sophie named the big one "Grass Mower" and the smaller one "France."

How could anyone doubt the genius of that girl?

In other news.
Allergies are back with a vengeance, and I am either swimming in pseudophedrine, or coughing up a storm. Mercifully the rest of the family seems mostly spares, although Will may be showing some signs.

In a rather ominous display of what Allergy Season means here. We went out to dinner tonight, and drove the back way through a tree filled neighborhood. At first we thought perhaps we had entered some fog, or perhaps another house fire was burning nearby.

No. The clouds of yellow smoke that we saw hovering over the road and in all directions was pollen. Our cars are coated in the stuff.
Be afraid.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Down Low.... Too Slow!

So for a couple months now I've been playing "High Five, Down Low" with the kids. They get a real kick out of me yanking my hands away on the "down low" part and saying "too slow." We could probably play the game forever.

Today, Sophia did it to Will, the whole thing.


Settling in for the long slog

This last month was one of hopeful anticipation. Possibilities seemed open, moving, publication, etc. But for the most part these have petered out, so I am in this adjusting to things remaining much the same situation. It is strange, when you start to anticipate big changes, no change at all seems quite disheartening. But, logically, no change shouldn't be much of a change at all, right?

If you've ever driven a big van or truck that was slow to accelerate, full or inertia, and gotten the thing up to full speed, only to have to brake because of traffic, then face climbing a hill, you get an idea of the state I am in. I feel like I've lost a lot of momentum, and the prospect of pouring energy into my life, research, career, anything right now is too much. I'd rather "pull over" and take a nap.

I know I need to shake loose of this, and get back to work. Set new goals, etc.. I am just having trouble getting up much optimism right now. A couple minor victories would have really helped in that department.

Resolved that my new research is going to be about things that I am passionate about.

Anyway. That is part of an explanation for a lack of blogging this past few weeks.

On the positive side:
We had a very nice trip to DC last week. The kids got to see their great gram, and they are still talking about that. We saw the National Zoo and Smithsonian Natural History Museum, but they remember seeing Great Gram more. I am very happy with that.
I finally got to run my game last night. It went pretty well.
Summer plans are coming along nicely. Lots of camp for both kids.
Classes got a pretty good post break start.
Kids are sleeping a bit more than before, although we still had to get up with Will at 3am last night.
My contribution to Paragons is nearly done, so that is good.
Once I get past the blahs things should progress nicely.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Friday, March 02, 2007

No Sleep

Our one day record of sleeping through the night was quashed last night. Will appeared to sleep a couple hours at a time, but was howling throughout the night. Sometime around 3am or so, I stuffed cotton in my ears, but I could still hear him (interesting evolutionary adaption, children's cries are in a frequency no one can ignore). So again, we are zombies.
Will seems to have suffered from his lack of sleep, he is irritable and short tempered this morning. I am ambivalent about that. I sometimes feel a little resentment when the kids keep us up all night but seem totally unaffected by their own lack of sleep. So, part of me is thinking "serves you right." But then, it is us (Carly mostly) who really suffer from ornery kids, so it doesn't really benefit anyone.
Sophie amazingly, despite being in the room with him all night, appears unfazed by the experience. I don't know whether she slept through it (which she frequently does) or just rolls with it. Kudos to her.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


With no evidence (even verbal) that there was anything physically wrong with William. we decided to play Dr. Spock and let him cry as long as it took to go to sleep. We reasoned that he needs to learn to self comfort, and with us constantly going in there, that is not going to happen. We have not been so good at that 'tough love' in the past. It is not easy to sit back, or lie back, and ignore the screams of a pitiful two year old.
Tuesday night William cried, at the top of his lungs, from 7:30pm (when he was put down) to 1:30am. Not surprisingly, he was pretty hoarse the next day. Carly and I were not so thrilled either, listening to a crying baby and not doing anything to sooth them is not easy.
So last night we put the kids to bed. This time, like the previous night, we put Sophie in the play room, so William could scream his lungs out without necessarily waking her. She is a deep sleeper, and was being very good about all this. He started to cry, make excuses, bargain, and do everything he could to avoid bed time. But we were firm. Sure enough the crying began. But amazingly. Around 8pm it stopped. We suspected it was a short term pause, but it lasted. He did wake up a couple times in the night, but those lasted for only a few minutes. We slept until 6:45 when Sophie wandered out of the play room and opened out door.
I don't want to jinx it, but maybe we are on the road to regular sleep again.

And the winner is..

From all of the thousands, hundreds, tens... three comments on this post: Take your bets
No one won. The answer was, predictably B. I spent most of yesterday in the courthouse reading. And a reasonable minority of the time watching jury selection for a DUI case without being called up to the jury box.

Here are some reflections about the experience.
1. I felt singled out when the Jury Clerk said to the crowd of two hundred potential jurors "everyone put your hand on a bible, raise your right hand and repeat after me."
I just raised my right hand and swore the oath. No one made an issue of my not using a bible and we were not asked to "so help me Jeebus" or anything. But as near as I could tell I was the only one not touching a bible. Every table, and desk in the jury lounge had a bible ostensibly for this purpose, but it was creepy. No sign of a single Koran, Torah, or plate of Spaghetti any where.
2. Most people in the lounge seemed reasonably conscience about the situation, and there was only minimal griping about the task. That was good to see. People seemed genuinely interested in doing the right thing.
3. During the Selection Process it was interesting to see which jurors got booted quickly: Anyone who seemed overly casual or familiar with drinking, anyone who was a self-professed non-drinker (for any reason), anyone who knew someone injured in an car accident.
4. The most interesting question was one of the last ones, it would have been interesting if it had been asked earlier in the session. The defense attorney asked one older man if he thought an innocent person should take the stand to refute the charges. And the man sort of agreed, that he should. It took a little while to get this out of the man, he didn't seem to understand the question. But watching the rest of the jury I noted that several people seemed to be nodding in agreement (this was after a dozen jurors had already been dismissed). The judge noticed as well, because he stopped the questions for a moment and explained again to the jury that not testifying was not evidence of guilt, and that the burden of the case was on the prosecution to prove guilt, not the defense to prove innocence. It was interesting, because throughout the earlier questions, everyone seemed to understand that quite well. But the idea that a person might not testify on his own behalf was clearly thought to be suspicious if not condemning to the defense.
It is a sort of catch 22. Be a witness and give the prosecutor the chance to make you look inconsistent, nervous, and guilty. Don't testify and give the jury that sense without any help.