books

Story time

When I was a kid my family used to read to each other after dinner. My brother too young to participate in any of the three, each night my mom, my sister, and myself would rotate through washing the dishes, drying the dishes, or reading for a half hour from whatever book we were reading at the time. Madeline L’engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is etched in my brain this way. It was my favorite book growing up and a few years ago when I read it to Liam over the course of a few nights I distinctly remember sitting at our family dinner table and beaming with pride every time I hit a new word but didn’t need my mom’s help working out its pronunciation. The whole routine in no small part contributed to my lifelong love of books and stories.

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Among the mountain of gifts Liam received for both Christmas and his birthday sits this paperback boxed set of the Harry Potter series. None of us have ever read any of the Harry books, and we’ve only seen bits and pieces of some of the movies but I’ve got a pretty good handle on the story. Maybe I spent all these years avoiding the franchise, even after almost everyone I know kept telling me I should try it, so that I could share the experience with Liam.

While Santa left plenty of toys under the tree for Liam, this particular gift was from Karin and I. More than the physical object it is also a gift of time, a gift of an experience. An experience we will share together.

Anyway, on January 1st Karin and I will start reading the entire Harry Potter series to Liam. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

Sleep and Stories

After a few hours of begging and pleading I have finally gotten Liam to sleep.  The house is quiet now aside from the gentle white noise of his ventilator.  It’s like our own unique white noise machine.   Instead of the crashing of waves we get the rhythmic inhales and exhales of Liam’s 14 breaths per minute as he rides his ventilator through dreamland.  I am the only one in the house who is awake; including the cats who are probably snuggled at Karin’s feet waiting for her to stir since any movement of hers between now and 4am will , in their minds, most definitely be only to feed them.

I had intended to do some writing tonight but as I look at the clock and see that 2am has already passed me by I’ll just retire to the couch and nap lightly until Karin comes downstairs from the bedroom and we trade places.   I would read until then but I finished the last of my library books just before putting Liam to bed and hesitate to start anything new until tomorrow when I will get a chance to pick up a new stack of titles at the library.  I’ve been reading quite a bit lately and will compile it all into a post of recommendations soon (until then the curious out there can see what I’ve been reading on my GoodReads profile).  I get very excited about going to the library and over the past 4 or 5 months I have made it a point to go to the library every single that I don’t have to work.  A day of no work and a big stack of new books to read – what’s better than that?  Plop the kid in my lap for a while and the Wife with me on the couch and I’m in paradise.  But all that’s tomorrow, after the errands are run and the Christmas shopping has begun.  Right now its off to sleep for me, at least for a little while.

Glasses, Books, and a Trip

Yep, I went ahead and did it again.  I haven’t posted in at least a week.  Bad blogger.  I have no excuse either because there have been quite a few blog worthy moments lately including The Boy finally getting his glasses!  I present to you. . .

The Professor…

Yeah, I know.  Cutest. Kid. Ever.

He actually doesn’t mind having them on his face.  I think the fact that he can now see clearer has outweighed any discomfort they may cause his nose or ears.  The frames themselves are one flexible piece of soft plastic and so have no moving parts to bend or break.  I’m almost jealous enough at how cool he looks in them to go and get myself some frames just to fit in.  19 months old and he’s already so much cooler than his daddy.

Liam took his first walk down to Sabin Point.  A small park on the coast of the Narragansett Bay a few blocks from my parents house which is only a few blocks from my house.  He was unimpressed with the experience as he was visibly upset by the odor of low tide.  We were able to sneak up to the largest gathering of swans I have ever seen in my life though.  I counted at least 80 but they were always moving around so don’t quote me on that.   It was great fun.

Write a lot, Read a lot.

The time I had usually set aside for posting to the blog was the late night (early morning) hours that I would spend watching Liam (or more accurately watching Liam’s equipment) overnight.  Midnight to 4am was my productive time.  Though I’m usually exhausted from a long day and the TV would be distracting me and calling out for me to stop thinking and just absorb.  After my last post about the library I turned it off.  I have stopped watching TV during those hours and with it I have also stopped turning on the laptop.  I’m reading again instead.  Finally.  I used to have one of those Goodreads widget in my sidebar to keep everyone current on what I’m reading but I don’t want to clutter up the new place with those things so I’ll try to post a list every now and again on what I’m working on.

In the past two weeks I’ve been tearing through books and graphic novels at a pace I’ve never achieved before.  Here’s a list…

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Bone:  Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith

Bone:  The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith

On Writing by Stephen King

The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Admittedly 5 of the 7 are graphic novels but a few of them actually took me longer to read than the 300 page Anansi Boys since the visuals prevent me from getting into that flow over paragraphs of prose.  I’m trying to quickly get through some of the well known classics of the graphic novel medium that I had missed out on all these years.  Which is why I’m currently a few chapters into Moore’s V for Vendetta.  As far as non-fictionis concerned I’m about 100 pages into Sarah Vowell’s Wordy Shipmates which is about as funny, captivating and entertaining as a book about the Puritans can possibly be.

In King’s On Writing he repeats often that the only secret to becoming a writer is to read a lot and write a lot.  While I have not written much in the past week as evidenced by the lack of output here, I have read a lot and I’m enjoying every page.  I’m hoping one thing will lead to the other.  We’ll see.  While I’m working on it though I’ll take all the suggestions and recommendations you can throw at me.  Not saying I’m gonna rush out and read each and every one but I’m always on the lookout for a new book to read.  As you can tell I’ve been stuck in a fantasy world for now, which may or may not change to some other interest soon.  I don’t exactly understand the changes of my tastes.  Alternative histories are high on the list as well.  I’m new to the Steampunk aesthetic but I like it after only reading The League. . . and Cherie Priest’s Bonecrusher.

What about you?  What are you reading and why?  Should I give it a shot?  Let’s hear it.

Time to sign off.  I’ll try to get a few posts in this week as we prepare ourselves for our fist overnight trip with Liam.  New Jersey and Karin’s family await as Liam will finally (I think I’ve used the word finally waay too many times in one post) be able to meet so many friends and family members who have only known him only through his vast online presence.  We’re all looking forward to it even as we calm our nerves at the preparation involved.  The medical supply service has been notified and they will be dropping tanks of oxygen off at my In-Law’s house so it will be there waiting for us.  We have at least two of everything needed just in case, and we’ll be borrwing my Mom’s SUV to give us enough room for all the supplies.  Of course, Karin and I may have to ship our own clothes down there a few days early because I don’t know where we’ll find the room for our own stuff but that’s cool.  We’ll just sleep in what we wear down there if we have to.  This is going to be a fun adventure.  The first of what will hopefully be many trips for Liam out of town.

Reading Again

“Oh no sir.  We don’t ever take anything more than $10.  There’s a limit – and we’ll never take more than that from you.”

“No I insist. These books are months overdue and I feel bad that people may have been waiting for them.  What do I really owe you?  I’ve got like $23 or 24 dollars on me, how much do I really owe.”  The books really were months overdue when I returned them to the library this morning.  My fines have always been waived in the past but those were only for books a day or two late.  This time was different.  I didn’t even want these fines to be waived.  I wanted to make it right.  “Let me pay my fair share.” I told the librarian.

It was a different librarian this time.  The librarian that has helped me in the past went to high school with my father.  On top of that she has a son who was born prematurely as well along with another son who is named Liam.  Needless to say, we have a bond of sorts, and she looks out for me if I make it in with my books a few days late.  I saw her shelving books today but I didn’t want her help this time.

“Well, I’ll tell you what…”  she scanned in both books (Boneshaker by Cherie Priest and Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.) and clicked away at her computer as I put all of my folding money down on the counter.  She slid the twenty out from the crumpled bills, leaving the singles, and walked over to her cash register. “I can only take the $10 today but your fine would have only been 12 dollars in total. Next time you come in, bring a few cans of food for the donation bin and we’ll call it even.”

“Sounds like a deal to me!  Does that mean that I can check out books again??”   I was happy and surprised.  To be honest I thought that I was going to owe a much bigger fine than that.

“Yep, you’re all set.”  She handed me my change and I scurried away to look through the shelves before she changed her mind.

Hell of a deal in my mind.  Ten bucks and a couple of cans of corn and I get unlimited free books.  Imagine that.   Even when you consider that it could have been free had I been more responsible in the first place; I’d still call it a bargain at twice the price.

In the beginning of this year I was flying through books.  Averaging more than a book a week I was also writing more but once I fell behind on those books it all slowed down.  I re-read some of my own books but the motivation waned and until today I hadn’t read very much at all.  I hit the Graphic Novel section first to see what they had on the shelves not expecting much but I was happy to find something I’d actually heard of.  The first 2 volumes of Bone by Jeff Smith stuck next to the two volumes of Art Spiegleman’s Maus that I had already read in March.  I had no idea what they were about but I knew that I had seen the Bone franchise on many of the ‘Best Graphic Novels’ lists I read on GoodReads earlier this year.

I walked around and picked up Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find as well because I’m in a big short story phase and saw that they had Stephen King’s On Writing which I have always heard good things about but have yet to read.  At the last-minute I hesitated on whether I should get the Bone books.  It looked a bit too whimsical for my tastes and I was going in hoping to find a graphic novel a bit …darker in tone.  Sure it’s marked as YA and maybe even written with children in mind but I figured what the hell, I’m so new to the genre anyway that I might as well just read whatever I can find.  I headed out of the local branch satisfied at the heft of the short stack under my arm.

Kid’s book or not Bone is well worth the time.  I devoured the first to volumes with Liam this afternoon while Karin got out of the house for a while to go grocery shopping.  We were supposed to have a nurse here today during my day off of work but he had an emergency to tend to with his own children at home, so we changed our plans accordingly and took turns getting away from the house for a bit.

There are more than a few more volumes of Bone for me to get to so I haven’t done any internet research on the franchise.  I won’t until I read the whole series, but Liam loved the stories and I loved reading it to him.  Fun, funny and quick, part swashbuckling adventure, part slapstick comedy , part romance and all comics I am enjoying the story of Phoney Bone, Fone Bone and Smiley Bone.  I’ll keep you posted if anything changes in future volumes but part way through the saga I’d definitely recommend.

Each of the past few years I have set goals for how many new books I’d like to read.  While it’s now unlikely that I’ll hit my target after taking these past 2 months off — it’s days like today that make me think it’s still possible.  Moving forward, all it will cost me is a couple of canned goods (providing that I renew and return on time).  Such a small price to pay.  Support your local libraries folks, I know that I always will.

Vacation Day one.

Liam fell asleep about 6 hours ago and so I figure I better throw something up here quickly before he wants to get up at about 2am and play for the rest of the night.

I had a great first day of my vacation. The Wife and I took turns helping my parents get some things done without a car while theirs was in the shop, which gave each of us an opportunity to wake up playing with Liam. There’s no better way to start the day than by playing with this wonderful son of mine. He’s just about over the cold I gave him last week and so suctioning and ventilator maintenance has gotten a bit easier yesterday and today. He’s also finally back to his playful self and spent most of the day wanting to play which is fantastic.

The afternoon was spent reading to Liam aside from the short while that I made it out to the gym. I haven’t been since I got sick last week and so it was very important to me to get there today. More important though was the time spent in the living room reading and playing with the boy which is how I spent the majority of my day.

If he’s awake and engaged in what daddy’s talking about we read his books. Mo Willems, Chris Van Allsburg, Grover. But when it’s time to calm Liam down or to help him sleep with the soothing melodious voice of his father I usually just read whatever I’m reading. I didn’t want to read him Maus by Art Speigelman. We’ll save the holocaust for a couple years at least and so I picked up the copy of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust that I had on the kitchen table. It was prominently displayed by the check-out counter on a shelf marked Librarian’s Picks on my last visit to the library. Liam likes Neil Gaiman. He’s heard Coraline, The Graveyard Book and selected chapters from American Gods. Stardust reads like a fairy tale anyway, and though Karin took issue with me reading about a witch gruesomely field dressing a unicorn, the book wasn’t all that inappropriate. A boy on a quest for a fallen star to bring back to his true love. How bad for him could that be?

Reading aloud has changed the way I read. It is a different type of reading and one that I feel I am getting very good at. Scanning ahead to the end of the sentence to ensure proper inflection and tone. It helps my comprehension, recall and understanding of how sentences are constructed and flow. I find myself lately reading aloud even when alone. You should try it.

A few night’s ago I noticed that our overnight nurse carried in a copy of Huckleberry Finn. “Are you reading Huck Finn to Liam?” I asked with great excitement.

umm well, … I’m reading it, but…sometimes if he’s almost asleep I’ll , umm quietly…” It seemed to me that maybe she thought I didn’t approve. That maybe she thought my excitement was because I was upset.

“Please do! I would love it if you read him that!” As one of my favorites I was a bit jealous that I hadn’t yet thought of reading it to him. I may need to get out my tattered, worn copy of The Grapes of Wrath and make sure that Liam hears his Daddy’s favorite American novel. The syndrome that Liam has been diagnosed with greatly effects his brain. Because of this, we are unsure of how much verbal communication Liam will ever understand. The excitement that Karin and I bring to a story that we love reading to him means so much more than what words we are reading. I love reading fantastic stories to Liam like Stardust and The Hobbit because I get to make up fun voices for characters like dwarves and witches and put on a little show. Reading The Grapes of Wrath with him will allow him to hear how much that story means to me. It will also allow me to dig a bit deeper into the writing than I ever have before as I read the book aloud for the first time. Not sure I’ll get through it all though. Damn Steinbeck makes me cry even when I’m reading silently to myself.

After a wonderfully relaxing afternoon I dragged the grill out of the garage and cooked burgers in the cold for dinner. After stuffing ourselves Karin and I watched The Night Train win gold in the 4 man bobsled before I set up camp on the couch by Liam’s crib for the night and Karin went up to bed. Not a bad way to start any weekend or vacation if you ask me.

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They’re starting to pile up again so here’s a bunch of links of the crap i find on the internet.

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Apparently the state of Utah has gone batshit crazy.

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Sleeveface some very cool photos involving album covers.

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These guys wore over 200 different T-shirts to make this very cool video. Check out the carnage of the T-Shirt War.

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Karin told me to check out Jeff Bridges website

Speaking of celebrity websites and blogs; if you are not reading Roger Ebert’s Journal you’re doing it wrong. It’s not just about movies.

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The essence of this blog project was always a lesson in self-discipline. To get me writing every day (or two, or three). It’s been a while since I wrote any true blog posts. I have notes jotted down on some things I really want to talk about but those things take time and energy to write. And I’m tired. Waa, waa waa, I worked all day, I have a baby at home, I didn’t get much sleep last night (last week, last month, last year) blah, blah, blah.

Excuses.

Anyway, I may not have the energy to write the longer pieces I want to write so I’ll throw together a bunch of smaller bits and see what sticks.

I may not have written much lately but I have been reading a lot. I finished the graphic novel Signals to Noise by Neil Gaiman. It was interesting. Dave Mckeon’s artwork in this is stunningly beautiful and darkly adds layers to Gaiman’s writing. It won’t top my lists of favorite graphic novels or anything but it was a good read and I’m glad The Wife added it to my library this christmas. I’ve been plugging through Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett. Its the latest in the discworld series and I think I may put it down until I read more of the earlier books in the series. Characters from earlier books have popped up without much of introduction and I want more of the back story before I get here. I’m sure I could read this without starting at the beginning of the series but I think I’d enjoy it more if I knew these characters better. I was very interested to see if Pratchett’s writing had changed much since his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. None that I could see in the 150 pages I’ve gotten to in this. I also started reading Gaiman’s Fragile Things which is a nice little collection of short stories and poems. I think I’m going to start reading more and more short story collections for awhile.

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Liam has been doing very, very well. He made it through the Holidays and his birthday without incident or illness and we are starting to get back into the routine of home nursing. Over the Christmas and New Years holidays we had very limited nursing help due to the calendar and some unfortunate family emergencies for our nurses. It was wonderful to spend so much time alone with Karin and Liam. The holidays are of course, a time for families, and having so much of it privately (especially since it was our first) was very special to us. Nursing care started getting back to normal last week and we are now able to get back into our routine of sorts. Routine can mean comfort.

Liam is of course growing like a weed and pushing through more and more teeth. His seizures have been controlled very well but he is getting a shot tomorrow that may give us a few more attacks in the coming days. We’re ready. He’ll be fine. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, and his vision specialist will all be starting to come to the house more often so Liam’s schedule, which has been relaxed the past three weeks, will come back to a full sprint soon.

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This is one of my favorite songs of all time. Trying to find some footage of the Talking Heads performing it I found this. Not bad. Veder’s range can’t pull it off the way Byrne did though.

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A fantastic collection of photos of the urban decay of Detroit. Some of these seem pulled right from some post-apocalyptic movie. Sad.

Well, that’s all I’ve got right now. Liam needs a new diaper and needs to be suctioned. Then, bed.

2009 Under Pressure.

After an absence due to holiday business and overall exhaustion it is my triumphant return to blogging! Its a long one folks as I break down the year with how it panned out for me, as well as my favorite Movies, Books, and Music. It’s been a strange but wonderful year. Settle in and enjoy my quick bloggy breakdown of the year that was.

The Pressure Support 2009 Year in Review!

Home and family life was a bit chaotic for us this year. Liam was born just before the new year and so we spent the first minutes of 2009 with Liam in the NICU.
Here is the breakdown of the rest of the year…
January 1st to May 28th: Hospital, hospital, hospital, trip to another hospital for a few days in Boston, Hospital, Hospital.

First Two Weeks of June: Two wonderful weeks of moving into our new house with Liam at home with us. Nightly battles with the pulse oximeter. The first weeks and days of being a family at home. No sleep. A flooded basement three times resulting in the digging of an eight foot deep trench to replace main sewer line into the house. (thanks for the help Uncle John, and Dad) More time spent with Liam. No sleep. Wonderful exhaustion.

Mid-June to October 1st: Hospital, Hospital, Hospital, Major Surgery, Hospital, Hospital, Hospital, Another Major Surgery, Hospital, Hospital, Hospital, Respiratory Training, Ventilator Training, Infant and Trach CPR Training, Hospital, Home!!’
October 1st to December 31st: Home! The most stressful (that’s saying something) and satisfying months of my life. Life at home with Liam becomes more and more routine and fulfilling. Life has new meaning and one look in Liam’s eyes can wash away anything that bothers me. Its all here in the blog which was started a few days before Liam’s discharge.
There you have it, 2009 for me. If it seems to be written as a big blur that’s because it was. Difficult to explain but while I can remember specific details of nearly every event it all seems to have gone by too quickly to process. A strange mix of fear, stress, and sadness, with unbelievable pride, happiness, and fulfillment. Parenthood is a confusing state of affairs.

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I didn’t see too many movies in 2009 so a round-up of my favorites would be hard to compile. Coraline seems to be the only one jumping up and down and waving its hand in the air in my mind. Well that and Wall-E which I watched with Liam the other day. I didn’t see Star Trek, The Wrestler, The Hangover, Inglorious Basterds, Where the Wild Things Are, District 9, or any of the other movies I wanted to this year. I’m looking forward to catching up in 2010.

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Books were dominated by Neil Gaiman this year as I started with American Gods in the hospital and went on to read Coraline, The Graveyard Book (both with Liam), the first five volumes of The Sandman, and Signal to Noise. I read a bunch of other books this year, but they were mostly re-reads or didn’t have much impact (I’m looking at you Perforated Heart by Eric Bagosian). But I’m glad I waited to write this little ‘best of’ piece because yesterday I found the best. Yesterday I read the best book I have read all year. Then today I read it again. Persepolis seemed to jump off the library shelf at me. I had heard of the book many many times but never made the time for it. It is easily the most powerful and thought provoking book I’ve read in a few years and I just now found out that it was made into a movie in 2007. I’ll have to check that out, but anyone reading this should run to their library to pick up this little gem published in 2003. I just wrote my mini-review of it for Goodreads.com. Here goes….

I never got that into graphic novels. I read the ones that everyone is supposed to read Watchmen, Dark Night and the like, started The Sandman this year and am very happy I did, but I never dug deeper into the genre. Its not that I wasn’t impressed or didn’t appreciate the talent in storytelling, dialogue, overall writing as well as artwork; I was very impressed actually but my to be read pile always superseded jumping into something new. Persepolis has changed all that. This book is incredible. At times hilarious and heartbreaking. I was almost in tears more than once. A young girl growing up during the Islamic Revolution of Iran and coming to grips with the differences between the solid and close-nit environment at home and the violent turmoil outside. Brilliantly and beautifully drawn in simple shapes of only black and white. A quick read, I flew through it in close to an hour immediately upon returning from the library with it, I waited and thought it over before reading it again the next day (today). I recommend this to everyone. Brilliant storytelling and a heartbreaking true story.

Just go read it.

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I didn’t listen to a variety of music this year and I certainly didn’t listen to much new music. The only new albums that I dug into were Ben Fold’s new album Way to Normal which I loved of course. He could sing the phone book and I’d buy it. And Regina Spektor’s new album Far which I LOVED!! After spending close to 3 months listening to it over and over again I could still put it on today and just listen on repeat. It will always remind me of time spent in the PICU of Hasbro Children’s Hospital but since it all ended well that’s ok with me. Aside from those two new albums I think I listened to more Talking Heads than any other band and Tom Waits more than any other solo/songwriter.

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The Red Sox disappointed down the stretch. Injuries and a lack of offense had them stumbling through the second half and they were lucky to even make the playoffs. We were beat handily by the Angels and I had to sit by and watch the Yankees win the championship. Oddly enough I didn’t yell that much at the TV this time. Liam has showed me that there are more important thing in life than baseball. Funny, it only took 32 years to learn that lesson. The Patriots stumbled through this current season but seem to be playing their best football of the season as the playoffs begin in two weeks. We’ll see what happens there.

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There you have it. My summary of my 2009. Family life is wonderful, work life not so much. I started the year writing (nearly) every day in my Carepage to get out updates to the family and I ended the year writing (nearly) every day for this blog to get out updates to the three or four of you out there reading this. Let’s see if we can’t keep the writing part going through next year.

Happy New Year All.

Oh, and P.S. that meaningful post for Liam’s first Christmas and First Birthday that I mentioned in the last couple of posts . . . just because its not posted doesn’t mean its not written. Just means I decided its none of your business. No offense.

When we were kids my brother and sister and I would call this Christmas Eve Eve.


Another award winning photo taken by Karin and sent by email to cheer me up at work. The Boy takes a nap on the couch just like his daddy.

I’ve been late to my blogging duties but the good news is that thanks to a whole new strategy my scores in Tower Defense have climbed considerably. (I have a problem with these addicting little flash games and this one has taken over the past few nights.)

Karin has a phobia of people dressed up in those big head costumes and holiday characters. She already has anxiety about the prospect of a future trip to Disneyland. Its the way you can’t see who people really are that bothers her. The Easter Bunny came to visit us all in the NICU on Easter and Karin’s expression is priceless in all of the photos. So it comes as no surprise that all responsibility of bringing Liam to sit on Santa’s Lap will fall on me. Still too susceptible to all the germs out there it isn’t possible this year but in the future you can bet that Karin will be on the other side of the mall when Liam screams about the scary man in red shouting “Ho, Ho, Ho.” in his face. Some of these Santas make me start rethinking whether or not I want to subject him to that either.

Liam and I are still plugging along with Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves of Middle Earth. I’m excited because Liam is about to meet Gollum. And The Ring. I on the other hand have taken a very short break from fiction to read Barry Moser’s In the Face of Presumptions. A gift from Mom for Christmas a few years ago I have read it a few times already but the essays lend themselves to re-reads. Born in the deep south and spending a few years as a Pentecostal preacher, Moser would later pick up and move to Massachusetts to become a master Print and Bookmaker as well as teaching at colleges all over the Northeast. My dad met him by taking his class at RISD. They would later become colleagues and friends. His pieces inspire art. His attitude that talent is far more common than the determination, and hard work needed to produce “good” art reminds me that anyone can do what they want as long as they are willing to do the work. A good read and helping me to tap back into my more creative side.

We are a bustle of energy here at the Olson house as we prepare for Liam’s 1st birthday with a frenzied sense of anticipation. A major milestone for sure. Christmas morning with my family will also happen here and so we are eagerly awaiting a fun weekend of holiday cheer.

It occurs to me that I have never introduced the cats. The Boys. Or at least that’s what we used to call them before The Boy came around. Linus and Calvin. They are incredibly good with the baby. Linus (the mostly black cat in the back of the photo) has been a part of the family since Karin and I first moved in together in Vermont. October 1998. Linus’ mother was a mostly feral Vermont barn cat. He was only 4 weeks old when we got him. Smart, fast, and strong he changed the way I always thought about cats, as I am partial to dogs. He has always ruled the house and now that he realizes he still comes before me in the pecking order is ok with handing over control to Liam. He is usually not far from Liam although he has only rarely gotten close enough for Liam to touch him. Protective and observant, the nurses have taken to calling him Nurse Linus as he is always there watching them. He’s my eyes on the boy when we aren’t around. Calvin is the mostly white cat front and center. Rescued from a New Jersey shelter at 9 months he is much less intelligent than Linus. Kind of fat, a bit lazy and always begging to be fed he would never survive outside but he is the affectionate one and loves to be around Karin. He is fine with Liam being around but shows little to no interest. He is much more interested in the stuffed animals in his crib than he is in the baby. There you have it, Mom and Dad, Liam and two cats, now you know the whole clan.

I hope Christmas treats you all well. I hope you all get to spend time with the ones you love because it really is all that is truly important. Night all.

Just closing up tabs.

A really extensive list of the first lines of novels. Very in depth and ordered by visitors votes for best first line. Fun to scroll through for sure.

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Gimme Friction Baby. Do not… wait, let me get this right…DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT click on the link to this addictive flash game if you have anything to do in the next hour. possibly 2.

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I think this is the coolest Tricycle for a kid I have ever seen. More pictures and the artist Sasha White talks of making it for his daughter Delilah here.
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Here’s a list of lists of the tops of the decade. Top books, movies, music and comics of the past decade from Paste magazine. And while we’re at it Kottke.org took on an intern of sorts to compile more lists of Best of’s for the Noughtie List. I love the term Noughties for this decade and hope it the one that sticks. That or the oughts.

Famous wartime photos with 100% more superhero action.****

I started a Posterous blog for any of my pictures from my phone or sent to my phone by my wife. Some fun spontaneous shots of Liam over there.

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