Monday, January 28, 2008

Watch Your Mouth

I should have seen it coming. Kirk's been occasionally using the phrase, "Oh. My. God." for the past month or so. But last week he busted out with, "This puzzle sucks!" And while it was frackin' hilarious to hear out of a toddler's mouth...he's two. I don't know that he should be saying sucks yet. It was so hard not to laugh though! He even says it just like his grandpa; he draws out the S and ends with a percussive report of consonant so it becomes, "sssssssssuCKs". I feel like I do a good job of watching my sailor language around him. Mr. b? Not so much. But neither of us really considered these low-level pseudo-swears. I've been trying to nip this particular bud by reminding him that things are awesome or rule. He's still young enough to be distracted by bait and switch. The biggest problem is going to be "gate". As in, "That giraffe is so 'gate'." Um...yeah. Not going to correct him. But that one is 100% Mr. b. He calls things gay all the time and I just don't know that he's got it in his power to stop. Even though it's not the 80s and he's not 10.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


wooden puzzles are fun

Kirk has really gotten into jigsaw puzzles the last month or two. I think it's awesome because I still love doing puzzles. For Christmas, Mr. b got him a really cool set of four wooden puzzles in their own neat and tidy box. But he didn't stop there. He also got two more wooden puzzles, these on planks so they can't be as easily put away. And then he took Kirk to the MoA and had a picture puzzle made with Kirk, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto! That one is friggin adorable. I'm not even mentioning all the hand-me-down, prize drawing won, and gift bag puzzles we've collected. Kirk loves doing them all and is really good at them. The problem, as always, is how to put things away.

Last night we played a game called Ten Things. It involved Mr. b going through the toy bin in Kirk's room and pulling out ten things that are too baby or too old or too annoying to keep in regular rotation. I then secreted them downstairs into the storage bin I've designated for toys. It made a big difference but doesn't really solve the puzzle problem. We can't just dump the puzzles into the bin; the pieces would end up strewn all over the bottom. Same goes for the ever growing collection of crayons and coloring books. I'm really not sure what we're going to end up with. I think we need a shelf system of some sort. There's just not really any room at the moment. Kirk still has both his crib and his bed set up and until he switches over to the bed, it's going to stay that way.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The League

Rereading the first two volumes of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen only served to remind me what an extraordinary piece of storytelling Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill have created. Anyone that might dismiss this work on the basis of its graphic novel nature is depriving themselves of possibly the most fantastic work of literature in our modern fin de siècle world. That it takes place in the original fin de siècle only makes sense. The interweaving of the characters and plots from famous or unknown, important or trashy, Victorian works is quite seamless. I've made it a point to use the League as a reference when I am feeling the need to read a "Classic" book. I've read the source material for all the of the members of the League (Dracula - Miss Murray [Mrs. Harper in that tale]; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island - Captain Nemo; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - eponymous; The Invisible Man - eponymous; King Solomon's Mines - Allan Quatermain) and have delved into dozens of minor characters and plot elements as well. Each panel, while vibrant and vivid, is also chock full of subtle references to other works. The thorough and incomparable annotations compile all of these details and have been invaluable to me when I need to find out just where someone or something is from. It's like stopping to look up a word. Only I'll stop to look up an allusion. Lost wishes it did literary allusions as well as League!

The end of each volume is also home to some fascinating prose. The first volume has a wonderful short story, again, extremely Victorian and Steampunk. I found it much more enjoyable this time and some of the events were referenced in the second volume. The second volume contains a tongue-in-cheek travelogue, listing all the fantastic places found on the globe. This was tedious as times. It seemed like it was merely a name-checking device to show off how well read (or well researched?) the authors were. More fun was when they would dig a bit deeper into the action, like talking about the follow-up party that went searching for the rabbit hole that Alice went down, and the terrible repercussions that followed. Rather clever, that. I didn't know it at the time but this catalogue of the phantasmagorical would be extremely important in the most recent tale of the League.

I didn't know what to expect when I started The Black Dossier. It turned out to be an exponential leap forward in storytelling from the already leading edge League. It managed to expand the League both forward and backward in time. And instead of just using allusions in comics panels, the authors appropriated the very writing styles of the authors (real and purported) of those times. A long lost Shakespearean play. A bit of gossip from Bertie Wooster. An excerpt of a beat novel from Sal Paradise. This took the notion that all of these fictional characters are real and part of a secret organization to another level. And it was amazing. A bit dirty. Somewhat maddening. Often silly. But intense and compelling and beautiful and utterly unlike anything else I've ever experienced. And now I have a whole new list of Classics that I am desperate to read.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Yay Diablo!

Diablo Cody:  Babysitter

From little Kirkie’s babysitter to Oscar nominee: the incomparable Diablo Cody. Congratulations to Diablo, Ellen, and Jason!

Monday, January 21, 2008


My abs were sore all weekend long. I did a group exercise class at the work gym on Friday and was appalled to confirm just how out of shape my abdominal muscles still are. Sure, I haven’t really been focusing on them in any sort of consistent fashion since having Kirk but I guess I didn’t expect them to still be so very weak. I don’t know if full-on diastasis recti happens for all preggos but still, the muscles do have to move apart to make way for the uterus. And I haven’t been doing a very good job of trying to strengthen them back up. I’m not even talking about getting rid of the muffin top. I’m fully resigned to that. And frankly, it doesn’t really bother me. I still go out in public in a bikini because I don’t care. Besides, the kinds of crunches and serious ab work I have in mind won’t get rid of belly fat. I need massive cardio to do that. I’m talking about actual medical reasons for getting my core strength back. The most shocking thing about my soreness was that it wasn’t even necessarily my abdominals themselves. It was all the points on my trunk that connect. So my hips felt it and my neck and my armpits. Clearly I have a lot of work to do. It would be legitimately smart for me to do something before I go off the Pill again.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Milk Fed

It's amazing how much more well-rested I felt this morning after Kirk sleeping through the night. For a change. How did I ever handle him getting up every night? Sometimes multiple times?! The problem isn't just that he's waking up. That happens. He'll need milk and then either a pants change and/or to come to bed with us. No big deal. Quick enough that I don't have to come to full consciousness. But this week he's just been a total dick in the middle of the night. Crabby, cranky, and bitchy. He shouted for milk and yet when Mr. b went in he screamed, "Not you! I want my Mommy get it!" That one ended with both of us up and stumbling around while he freaked out and complained. The following night when he shouted for milk? Of course he didn't want me. The moment I opened the door he exclaimed, "No! My Daddy get it!" I told him that his daddy was sleeping and that if he didn't want me to get it then he wouldn't get any. Then I went back to bed. A half hour later I heard, very politely, "Want more milk, Mommy." Heh.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pissing and Moaning

It's official. Kirk has started having temper tantrums. Thankfully they've only been at home so far and not out in public. He'll become absolutely, completely inconsolable for no apparent reason. He'll be crying and howling but without tears. And it'll be nearly impossible to shake him out of it. Particularly for me. He's also in a Daddy Phase and this one is hardcore. Sometimes we can use it to our advantage. Offer him Mommy to change his diaper or check his teethbrushing and then suddenly Daddy will be requested and the chore we'd been chasing after him to perform will magically become easy. Sometimes I wonder if it's because he spends so much more time with Mr. b than me during the week. I'm generally off to the bus stop by the time either of them are getting dressed - or even out of bed some mornings! They're home before me, too.

On the plus side, it looks like he's becoming interested in using the potty again. It had just been a fun game to play on occasion. Now he's actually beginning to request time to sit down. We bought a toilet seat insert but Kirk doesn't seem to prefer that over the potty chair. He switches back and forth between the two. He's even fine sitting on the pot with a book to look at! So I feel positive that we can finally start to actually put some focus on training. With Thanksgiving travel and Christmas and New Years with Nana and Papa it just seemed to be too chaotic to actually push him. Hell, we haven't fought the fact that he's still sleeping in his crib! The big boy bed is just a place to jump and hide and pile lightsabers.

For the New Year we joined my folks and sister and her family Up North at a time-share resort cabin in Breezy Point. We played outside as much as possible.

Papa Sledding

Kirk went ice skating for the first time ever. His skates are 4 sizes too big so I stuffed paper towels in the toes and tied them as tight around the ankles as possible. He loved it.

Ice Pirates

Kirk also adored snowmobiling with his Daddy. After going out a few times he discovered Auntie's helmet. And then he never wanted to take it off.

Safety First!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Year in Books

I can tell I rode the bus much more often in 2007. I read over twice as many books as I did the year before! Sure, some of them were graphic novels, but those still count and it was my resolution last year to read more comics. I didn't do a very good job of reviewing what I read. I started out strong, then dropped off to just occasional, and finally not at all. We'll see if that changes this year. I hope to continue to get in at least one of my own choices in between each book club pick.

Apparently I was on quite the gothic horror kick at the beginning of last year. I also read more non-fiction that I realized. Hands-down my least favorite book was All the King's Men. Silas Marner was the most overrated. Favorite is a bit tougher to pick out. Suite Française is probably the one that is most univerally recommendable (if that's a word) because I really can't think of anyone that wouldn't love it to bits. The most clever is definitely Ella Minnow Pea and that's another I'd recommend, particularly to word nerds and English majors. Copper Sun I read in a single night and forced myself to hold back my tears of pain and suffering at the beginning until they could be transformed into tears of joy and relief at the end. I think that Eifelheim was the most creative sci-fi offering I read this year. It was thought provoking and alt-historical and uttering engrossing. Hmm, still don't know if I can pick a favorite. I mean, how do you choose between Harry and Frodo?

1. Rose in Bloom Louisa May Alcott
2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon
3. Eifelheim Michael Flynn
4. B.P.R.D.: The Soul of Venice Mike Mignola
5. B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs Mike Mignola
6. B.P.R.D.: The Dead Mike Mignola
7. B.P.R.D.: The Black Flame Mike Mignola
8. B.P.R.D.: The Universal Machine Mike Mignola
9. Silas Marner George Elliot
10. The Five Fists of Science Matt Fraction and Steven Sanders
11. The Darkhorse Book of the Dead Edited by Scott Allie
12. Suite Française Irène Némirovsky
13. The Goon: Heaps of Ruination Eric Powell
14. Fray Joss Whedon
15. Memnoch the Devil Anne Rice
16. The Darkhorse Book of Witchcraft Edited by Scott Allie
17. Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurstone
18. Hellboy Animated: The Black Wedding Jim Pascoe
19. God of Mars Edgar Rice Burroughs
20. Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America Linda Lawrence Hunt
21. Sea of Trolls Nancy Farmer
22. Ella Minnow Pea Mark Dunn
23. Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings Christopher Moore
24. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix J.K. Rowling
25. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince J.K. Rowling
26. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows J.K. Rowling
27. All the King’s Men Robert Penn Warren
28. Five People You Meet in Heaven Mitch Albom
29. Uncle Mame: The Life of Patrick Dennis Eric Myers
30. The Photograph Penelope Lively
31. Jack Staff Volume 2: Soldiers Paul Grist
32. Revolt in 2100 / Methuselah’s Children Robert A. Heinlein
33. Angels and Demons Dan Brown
34. Star Wars: Dark Empire I Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy
35. Star Wars: Dark Empire II Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy
36. Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade Patrick Dennis
37. Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book1) Jim Butcher
38. Hellboy: Odder Jobs Edited by Christopher Golden
39. Time Enough for Love Robert A. Heinlein
40. Copper Sun Sharon Draper
41. The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones Anthony Bourdain
42. Split Infinity Piers Anthony
43. Blue Adept Piers Anthony
44. Juxtaposition Piers Anthony
45. The Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Babes in Toyland

Toys. Toys. Toys. There are toys coming out of my frickin' ears right now. And it's not just because of the Christmas haul. I actually didn't buy Kirk a single toy for a present (the same cannot be said of Mr. b's purchases) and neither did either grandmother. But I haven't been keeping up with toy removal all year. My sister has the best policy for her girls: for every new toy acquired, one old toy has to go. And as much as I love that plan, I still haven't instituted it.

Oh sure, we hauled an entire bin of crap off to live in the basement of the cafe. And I recently went through the drawers of books and pulled out everything that was too young or too annoying to keep on hand. But it's just not enough of a difference. Besides Kirk's own toys there's a steady stream of our toys from the 90s when we were still major collectors. Cars and Star Wars action figures and plushies and it's just never ending. Plus, apparently the new thing is now to give out gift bags at every single birthday party we attend. When did that become the rule? I can understand it for certain overachievers (yes, I mean you Auntie G, HA!) but it's just never ending now. I was relieved when we went to a party and didn't come home with any prizes. Nothing against hobbits but dang, no wonder they need the mathom house. That adds up!

So for the New Year I resolve to purge. But not just toys. The entire house has gotten out of control. The last time I pulled out stuff to go to goodwill it made it as far as the garage porch and there it sits. The basement is ridiculous. There's an entire section that, were it not the dead of winter and far too cold on that uncarpeted floor to stand on for long, we can't use for anything because it's just become stacks and stacks of boxes and tubs of storage. I need to purge as though we were moving. Show no mercy. Everything's gotta go. Now I just need to figure out how to sell on eBay. Of course first I'll have to track down the missing camera cord so I can upload pictures again...