Wednesday, May 26, 2010
(No, Camelbak is not paying me to write this...though they should!) Opening the bottle can be a bit tricky for a little one. There's a small button that you need to press (deliberately, I should add) that releases the straw and allows the water flow. These babies don't leak as long as the lid is properly screwed on. Well, for the past 6 months that we've had them, Pita has been unable to open hers. Madge or Mares or I will end up doing it for her when she asks with her cute request of "aye-yah," with a requesting tone and her head cutely cocked to one side. All that changed yesterday as she finally figured out a way to use both of her thumbs to press the straw-release button all by herself. She was so proud of herself! We were praying the rosary on our walk home and she kept looking at us to see if we were watching her release the button all herself. She's our little button. And, my cutie-pie! I love you, Pita. The first bottle pictured is the one that Maddy has. This second picture is of Guadalupe's water bottle.
I'm often asked whether I support Sarah Palin for president. I don't. But I do very much support her as America's next Oprah. Her cultural antennae are exquisitely sensitive, and she relishes combat. "Sarah's book club" would be an improvement.
Monday, May 24, 2010
A couple days ago, we had an interesting conversation about vegetarianism. I had to preface the conversation by discussing what animals we eat. I had to broaden on Madge's reply of "turkey." (You can tell her favorite lunch meat.) The book made the point that it's the duty of those with special dietary needs (such as vegetarians) to inform the host of those needs in advance. I posed the question to Madge, "What should we do if we have a vegetarian over and we're eating some meat for dinner?" She replied, "We should tell them to try a bite. And if they like it, they should eat it. Otherwise, they don't have to. But they should always try it first." (I wonder if she's heard that line before! :)) She then went on that if our vegetarian friends didn't want to eat animals, they could eat animal crackers. Yes, Madge, I think they could eat animal crackers. What a crack-up! You definitely liven up our dinner conversations, Madge. We love you. Here's a shout out to all our vegetarian family members and friends.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Today you girls stepped out on the patio for a bit of relaxing paint time. Madge, as long as I can remember you have loved to paint. Today you wanted to make birds. We painted one together and you painted some others things by yourself. I left your easel in the sunlight to get dry; it should be there by now. Pita, I love you. You enjoy the painting too, but have not done it as much as Madge. Today you came in to wash your self off. You showed me where some paint had gotten on you. My tidy girl, I love you. You enjoyed rinsing your brush in the paint cup and pouring it on your paint plate. What an enjoyable morning. Paint. Sunlight. Fresh air. Two happy girls.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
This past Monday, Mares went for her 30 week pregnancy check-up. It had only been two weeks since her last appointment, since from 28 weeks on it is standard practice to go every two weeks instead of every month (at least around here--I don't know if this is universal or not). Anyhow, she had an appointment with the most risk-adverse doctor of the OB-GYN practice. Nevertheless, despite his risk aversion, he was so impressed with how good she and the baby looked that he told her not to come back for another month. Yippee! That's my wife. She does look so fine even as she is now 31 weeks along. 9 more weeks to go, baby!
Either way, despite my plug, the show got me thinking last night that all too frequently we know more about fictional characters and their lives (from TV, movies, books, etc.) than we do about real people whose lives intersect with our own. Uncanny, particularly since new forms of social networking and communication being created every day now are supposed to bring us closer together. (?)
In one of his treatises, Aristotle concluded that the highest form of happiness (on the natural plane, versus the spiritual) is a true friendship. This speaks volumes for the value and priority of personal relationships. I am not going to dig up studies now, but I have read various articles over the past few years that point to the fact that over the past five decades or so, the average American has fewer and fewer friends than in times past. Bowling alone. In a word, a reticence to reveal thoughts and feelings and lives has come to characterize so many people.
I am just finishing Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. My favorite work of fiction has long been War and Peace. I am ever the sucker for Russian romantic literature. Below is an apt excerpt that depicts the scene of two main characters, Levin and Kitty, as they welcome their baby son into the world. The emotional turmoil and thought process Tolstoy captures is remarkable: it’s a fantastic read.
(I should note, however, that despite my identification with Levin’s emotions as the expectant father, Mares’ parallel to Kitty is not as accurate. From her childbirth experiences, Mares contends that it takes too much effort on the part of the mother to scream during labor. In her having bravely endured our births both naturally and calmly, Mares has my utmost respect and admiration. I also get a kick out of how Kitty is multitasking—knitting—in the midst of labor. Women, my Mares in particular, are incredible!)
He [Levin] hurriedly jumped up, hardly awake, and kept his eyes fixed on her, as he put on his dressing-gown; then he stopped, still looking at her. He had to go, but he could not tear himself from her eyes. He thought he loved her face, knew her expression, her eyes, but never had he seen it like this. How hateful and horrible he seemed to himself, thinking of the distress he had caused her yesterday. Her flushed face, fringed with soft curling hair under her night-cap, was radiant with joy and courage.
Though there was so little that was complex or artificial in Kitty's character in general, Levin was struck by what was revealed now, when suddenly all disguises were thrown off and the very kernel of her soul shone in her eyes. And in this simplicity and nakedness of her soul, she, the very woman he loved in her, was more manifest than ever. She looked at him, smiling; but all at once her brows twitched, she threw up her head, and going quickly up to him, clutched his hand and pressed close up to him, breathing her hot breath upon him. She was in pain and was, as it were, complaining to him of her suffering. And for the first minute, from habit, it seemed to him that he was to blame. But in her eyes there was a tenderness that told him that she was far from reproaching hind that she loved him for her sufferings. "If not I, who is to blame for it?" he thought unconsciously, seeking some one responsible for this suffering for him to punish; but there was no one responsible. She was suffering, complaining, and triumphing in her sufferings, and rejoicing in them, and loving them. He saw that something sublime was being accomplished in her soul, but what? He could not make it out. It was beyond his understanding.
And Levin saw with astonishment that she had taken up the knitting she had brought in in the night and begun working at it again.
Kitty was walking about knitting rapidly and giving directions.
"Doctor! what is it? What is it? By God!" [Levin] said, snatching at the doctor's hand as he came up.
"It's the end," said the doctor. And the doctor's face was so grave as he said it that Levin took THE END as meaning her death.
Beside himself, he ran into the bedroom. The first thing he saw was the face of Lizaveta Petrovna [the midwife]. It was even more frowning and stern. Kitty's face he did not know. In the place where it had been was something that was fearful in its strained distortion and in the sounds that came from it. He fell down with his head on the wooden framework of the bed, feeling that his heart was bursting. The awful scream never paused, it became still more awful, and as though it had reached the utmost limit of terror, suddenly it ceased. Levin could not believe his ears, but there could be no doubt; the scream had ceased and he heard a subdued stir and bustle, and hurried breathing, and her voice, gasping, alive, tender, and blissful, uttered softly, "It's over!"
He lifted his head. With her hands hanging exhausted on the quilt, looking extraordinarily lovely and serene, she looked at him in silence and tried to smile, and could not.
And suddenly, from the mysterious and awful far-away world in which he had been living for the last twenty-two hours, Levin felt himself all in an instant borne back to the old every-day world, glorified though now, by such a radiance of happiness that he could not bear it. The strained chords snapped, sobs and tears of joy which he had never foreseen rose up with such violence that his whole body shook, that for long they prevented him from speaking.
Falling on his knees before the bed, he held his wife's hand before his lips and kissed it, and the hand, with a weak movement of the fingers, responded to his kiss. And meanwhile, there at the foot of the bed, in the deft hands of Lizaveta Petrovna, like a flickering light in a lamp, lay the life of a human creature, which had never existed before, and which would now with the same right, with the same importance to itself, live and create in its own image.
"Alive! alive! And a boy too! Set your mind at rest!" Levin heard Lizaveta Petrovna saying, as she slapped the baby's back with a shaking hand.
If Levin had been told before that Kitty was dead, and that he had died with her, and that their children were angels, and that God was standing before him, he would have been surprised at nothing. But now, coming back to the world of reality, he had to make great mental efforts to take in that she was alive and well, and that the creature squalling so desperately was his son. Kitty was alive, her agony was over. And he was unutterably happy. That he understood; he was completely happy in it. But the baby? Whence, why, who was he? ...He could not get used to the idea. It seemed to him something extraneous, superfluous, to which he could not accustom himself.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
You're only three and you don't even need a teleprompter!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
What can I say to the woman of my dreams? Only that I love you, that I am grateful to you for our 2.8 children (sorry, little Cal, you're not quite visible in the pic below), that I am grateful to you for our life together. Keep up all the good work. The girls adore you--as they should! I hope that we have been able to show you our appreciation and love throughout the course of our action-packed Mother's Day weekend. You're the best! Love you, you cougar!
Your Proud Husband,
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Mares: "Madge, we're proud of you. You've been staying in your own bed so well. First off, it makes God happy, and secondly it makes Dad and me happy."Hah! Madge asked a question I have never posed or thought of. What is the devil's last name? I guess if we think of a name as a definition (identity) of sorts with a genus and a species, the devil's name would be Lucifer the [fallen] Archangel. He comes from a great family (the archangels), but definitely has made a bad name for himself. But, as Mares, proposed, let's not focus on him but on God...
Madge: "Why does it make God happy first?"
Mares: "Because God is the first person we make happy."
Madge: "Who is last?"
Mares: [pause] "The devil."
Madge: "What's the devil's last name?"
Mares: "He doesn't have a last name. But we don't really concentrate on him; we concentrate on God, because we want to be like Him."