Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oliver Jeffers is cooler than, well, almost everyone

Great Paper Caper

June slipped home the other day with yet another book for Zo. She grabbed Oliver Jeffers latest, "The Great Paper Caper", and surprised both Zoey and I. Oliver has published some beauties. How to Catch a Star debuted in 2004 to critical acclaim, and Lost and Found (2005), won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize Gold Medal 2006, the Blue Peter Book Award 2006 and was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal the same year. The Incredible Book Eating Boy (2007) won the Irish Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year, and his fourth Book The Way Back Home was released in September 2007 and The Great Paper Caper just came out and to no surprise found it's way into out living room. We loves us some good books and Oliver Jeffers is a great place to start.

If you've never heard of Mr. Jeffers or, in an even worse case scenario, read any of his books then drag your bottom over here and buy some before your head explodes.

One and a half minutes of randomness...and snores

Perhaps no one but a parent could find this hilarious but it's been inspiring far too many giggles not to make it up here...whip it out when you're having a bad day...use it to score chicks...whatever. Here's a full one and a half minutes of a 5 week old snoring...awesome.

That's the Way...according to Dad and Robert Plant

Dad - Zo-Sleeping - Feb 09

"That's the Way" from Led Zeppelin III has become Dad's favorite calming song for those more intimate Zo moments. It's not Rockabye baby Zeppelin either. It's the same Zeppelin that Dad swooned over when he purchased the LP at the local record store when he was 13 years old and super easily influenced. Dad had the "Zoso" logo penned onto the fabric of his pencil case long before he knew what the hell Zoso even was. A rock 'n roll emblazoned pencil case was de facto style at W.T. Laing Elementary School when little Zo's Dad was on the very edge of pubescence (Hey...Zoey...Zoso...hmmmm?).

I remember my brother, Brad, purchasing In Through The Out Door with it's brown paper bag jacket cover and the effort it took to scratch through it's labyrinthian layers of sleeve after sleeve before you finally struck pay dirt and "In the Evening" groaned out of the turntable. We wore that LP out without even the faintest idea of the genius we were ingesting. Now, twenty-something years distant with a child in my lap and so much broader of a world view I'm only now beginning to "get it," and wow...oh so wow. #$%& the Rockabye Baby version of this classic Zeppeliny goodness. Zo's getting the real deal from day 1...well, day 33.

This post doesn't have much to do with anything but any chance you get to roll around in some Zeppelin, unabashedly and without regret, should be embraced wholeheartedly and without hesitation. In the time it took to type this we've gotten as far as Bron-Y-Aur Stomp and Zo's out like a light. With any luck, and all the right influences, Zo will be scratching Zoso into the hard plastic of her compass set just like Dad did. Let's just hope she's paying more attention to her math teacher than Dad was.

Zedder Meets Liam...gets accosted with affection

Liam and Zoey - Feb 27

What's a Friday night without a little affection? Honestly, if you're too lazy or disinclined to go looking for love on any Friday night at any age you're just not trying hard enough. Bake a pizza with your wife, rent a movie, skootch in tight on the couch...go out for something to make some laughs out of nuthin'...but for God's sake do something.

Zoey spent her Friday night getting hugged and loved up by Stu and Anne's little feller, Liam. He was more inclined to pay attention to the Little Einstein DVD that was flashing across the television screen than he was to the boob drunk babe sitting next to him on the sofa but we did get some pics snapped and he did offer up some sweet affection before we left. I don't think it takes much effort for Liam to let the love flow...He's kind of like his Dad that way but we'll tell those stories when he's much older and more easily embarrassed.

It was a late night for everyone. I don't think we got back to the house until after 1am and Zo was cool with that...of course, it's easy to be cool with something when you're passed out cold. There used to a time, not all that long ago, that it would have been Dad or Mom doing the passing out (Dad did a passable impression of the phenomenon on the way home from Delaware last night).

Now we're stuck with a couple of dreary eyed funsters (Dad and Zo) and a relatively vibrant (as always) Mom. We need a Saturday plan! The overwhelming factors we need to consider are these:

Zoey still doesn't have any ID to cross the border, so unless we hide can make some kind of sturdy argument that Zo's travel habits could jive with some kind of vague Free Trade clause somewhere, we're marooned in Canada.

There's not much entertainment action in late February in Southwestern Ontario that isn't a/ Shopping b/ Visiting c/ Movies d/ Hockey games e/ Sleeping

You can't watch "The Big Lebowski" or the UCLA - Cal game at other people's houses without asking first and even then there's a sense of imposition.

It's as cold as Dontrelle Willis' MLB career right now... -14 degrees or something similarly stupid.

We woke up to a smiling baby and on most days that's good enough but today we're feeling a little restless. The sun is out and the sky is blue, it would be some good driving if we could find a destination. We've got breakfast on our minds after flipping through this months' GQ and Esquire Magazines since they were both so kind as to offer up monster sized "Breakfast in America" the coffee is brewing and the bacon is on while we listen to a little Bruce and "Racing in the Street" to get our heads wrapped around an empty Saturday. It feels more like a Josh Rouse "Saturday" today than a Bruce Springsteen one. Once we get going I'm sure that will become more clear but right now the morning feels ripe with falsetto "hell yeah's" and strained middle western indie crooning, not at all like Jersey wailing. Right now it feels free and easy, not CSNY "free and easy" just a regular kind of free and easy.

So far the best part of this barren day has been watching Zo discover that the toy dangling from her bouncy chair is actuall for her entertainment. She used to hit by accident but just this morning she mustered some muscle co-ordination and connected that new skill with what happens when you actually hit the toy on purpose. The result was a supernormous grin and June squealing with pride. Regardless of soundtrack or destination that one might be a hard one to top.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Good Morning Little Zoey Sakura DeWagner

Sleeping Zo with bear

Waking up is pretty easy with little miss Zoey Sakura DeWagner there to coo and cry the sun up into a dark sky, in fact, it's never been easier. She changes every day which is hard to get accustomed to but I guess thes fastest part of growing up does that you.

Zoey is 8lbs and 10ozs now, a wee weight gain of 8 ozs in four and a half weeks, more if you consider the 6 oz loss she endured getting rid of that first poo and learning how t eat properly. You can see it in her face and there's a more subtle change overall. One full month has made her undeniably more little girl-like. There's some purpose and point to all that arm flailing and head flopping now which is funny. If her hand is resting on your cheek then she meant to put it there, either that or that's just where it landed and she's okay with the location so there it stays. Two weeks ago her arms could scare the hell out of her which is just about the funniest thing this side of a well timed fart. It used to crack me up beyond belief, that whole shocked look of, "What the hell is that," and the subsequent, "Oh, that's my arm,' was more than I could handle some days.

This morning I looked at Zoey and it struck me just how fast she's changing. Each day for the Zedder is like a month for each of us and I can come home at the end of the day and she's different. It's taught me to take it all in on my way out the door each day. I'm gone almost 9 hours a day (let's keep this simple) which equates to a depressing kind of absence-math. In a single month I miss approximately a week's worth of time with my daughter simply by going to work. That's a of of stuff that I miss. I don't even want to do such sad calculations across an entire year. In the end it all adds up to a Dad who never passes on the chance to say good morning to his daughter.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Zoey's a popular little girl...hope it doesn't go to her head

Zoey stats

Check out these absolutely ridiculous stats on The Zoey Blog. It kinda blew me away. Zo turned a month old two days ago and BLAM...1500 hits. If this kid gets cocky she's out on her ear!

We chucked an invisible stat counter onto the site and it's been awesome. We can see who's been on the site and when...even for how long etc...It's been a great way to see who's checkin' in on us here. Lots of hits from Chilliwack BC...dunno who that is? Somebody that likes us though...Gail maybe? One of the coolest ladies ever, so that'd be alright by us. A bunch of hits from Ann Arbor...mostly Kevin and Aimee, and some drive bys from Japan and Oregon and California, NYC, etc...

Wherever you're dropping in from keep stoppin' by...we love you for it and Zoey will smile someday when she knows how many cool people out there actually care about her existence.

I'm serious about that cocky thing though. The minute she starts talking trash she's moving out to Chilliwack, regardless of who's floatin' us some love from way out there. This kid gets an ego and they've just inherited a Zedder.

What exactly is a Samsquench?

The Samsquencher

What exactly is a Samsquench? Are you serious? The Samsquench is practically infamous...practically, which seems kind of impossible to achieve, right? Wrong...Samsquench has managed it.

The Samsquench or 'Squencher if you're not into that whole brevity thing, is an alleged baby-like creature purportedly inhabiting condos and forests, mainly in the Metropolitan Toronto area and Georgian Bay region of North America. Samsquench is usually described as a large, almost hairless, bipedal humanoid type child. Many believers in his existence contend that the same or similar creatures are found around the world under different regional names, but within tighter communities of Samsquench followers it is believed that there is only one solitary Samsquench.

The scientific community considers the 'Squencher to be a just a plain old human baby, and that the overwhelming bulk of Samsquench lore is largely misidentification, and hoaxes. Despite the repudiation of the Samsquench legend by science, it is one of the more famous examples of the kind of impressive immaturity and abuse of the English language that Brian DeWagner is capable of.

What exactly defines a Samsquench?

He squeals, pretty loudly, in fact.

A Samsquench always looks killer in a stylish button down onesie.

Samsquenches almost always enjoy a good visit or party provided he doesn't have to drive to get there.

Samsquenches don't like cars much.

Your average Samsquench, which very well could be the only Samsquench ever, likes to steal socks.

A Samsquench enjoys eating blueberry grossness after his carrots grossness.

A Samsquencher is capable of melting your heart with a single big eyed "I think I like you," kind of look followed by a smile and a poop sound.

Samsquenchers almost assuredly make for good adventuring partners.

Any Samsquench worth his salt knows how to keep you awake at night.

Lastly, it is widely presumed that a Samsquench has no less than four priorities consuming him at the same time. They are easily distracted.

If you spot a Samsquench you'll know it. Do your best to snap a pic or grab some video. He's an illusive fella but your efforts would be sure to benefit the greater scientific community. Oh, and keep your fingers and toes a safe distance away from his mouth...not so much your toes 'cause that's just gross, but your fingers for sure. Them 'Squenchers can get pretty hungry.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A cornucopia of photographic phreakology...yeah, that's what I said

Royal York Family Shot 1 - Feb 21

Sure it took a few days but we've got some pics from our super schwanky weekend at the Royal York with Samsquench and his fam. That's a beauty shot right above.

Cook sent a link over to some of the shots she squeezed in and June will be uploading all of hers onto her Flickr site just as soon as she can rip Zo from her, I was dying to use the word bosom.

You can see some of Stacey's pics here...and while you're there check out some of her other shots. She's a good hire I tell ya.

I'll toss a few of June's pics up here and you can get your glimpse on. None of us got the most stunning of images (we were enjoying the scene too much to take pictures of it) but there are a few cute ones in the mix. I chucked up these pics in black & white only because I didn't want to mess with saturation etc...well, that and I'm protesting colour for the next 2 days. I'm sick and tired of having to add an "o" here at home and then subtract the "o" for Kevin and Aimee I'm officially protesting color for the next 48 hours. Why 48 hrs? Because I just randomly picked that number and, of course, in tribute to both Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte. Why pay tribute to Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte? Well, because no one ever does and, honestly, someone's got to give Nick Nolte a break.

Anyway...the pics...

These are our favorites...they were taken at the end of the night when both Zo and Sammer had braved the elements all in the name of purchasing an extra cool hat. The first is pre-tears, and the second, well, pretty self-explanatory...
Sammer-Zedder pre-crying

Sammer-Zedder crying

Here's Aunt Mitch with Uncle Coop nowhere in sight...He can hit the curve ball just fine but don't chuck him a baby!
Mitch and Zo - Royal York

...and Uncle Ian meets niece Zoey...He seemed impressed. She seemed, well, indifferent...
Ian - Zo 2

We thought about photoshopping Zoey in so that she looked like a basketball that Ian was spinning Harlem Globetrotter style but thought it might reveal too much about our sad sense of humour...sorry 'Muricans...humor.
Ian Finger and Zo - Feb 22-09

Keep and eye on June's Flickr collections for more, and don't forget to have a peek at Cookie's Picasa site as well.

Of all of Cookie's pics this one is my fave...I hope there are about a billion more chances to snap these two in action, you know, before the cops come and get 'em.

Samaquench zedder

That whole "smiles are free" thing is bullsh!t

Sleeping Zo-Bri chest smile

Leaving the house in the morning or sometimes even getting out of bed after a simple nap is getting harder and harder now that Zo has learned to smile. Her newest thing is waking up, hearing your voice and grinning ear to ear. It's the most beautiful, sweetest thing ever but we had to earn that grin. Despite what McDonalds will tell you, smiles aren't free.

After a month of reassuring lil' Zo that we weren't going to abandon her and run off to the East Village she's finally feeling comfortable enough to let us know how much she digs us, and it seems to be a lot. So far the only thing that ranks even remotely close to a Zoey smile are:

When Eddie Vedder jumps off of the drum kit in a Roger Daltrey-esque leap of faith and fury...

When Curtis Granderson stretches a single into a triple...

When you step from the airplane onto the tarmack and that warm rush of tropical air smacks you in the face...

Your first glimpse of the Golden gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands...

The first time you hear a "Ripple" sang live...whoa...

Some sunsets...not all, but some...

Practically every sunrise ever...

The view from Griffith Observatory in LA...

Waking up under the Eiffel Tower...

That feeling of beer swishing down a dry throat and into an empty stomach to swoosh around down there...

That look you get when someone is proud of you...

Managing to avoid someone successfully in the grocery store...

Closing your eyes and basking in a Rose Bowl Stadium dusk...

Slipping on a custom tailored Thomas Pink shirt less than twenty feet off of a busy Madison Avenue...

What it feels like to try your first half pipe on a new deck in twenty-five years...

The taste of the first coffee of the day just off El Camino Real in San Clemente...

Hugging the people you love...

Making up kick ass nicknames for people, like "Samsquench" or like "Sammy Davis Gamgee Malone Cooper the fifth", or "The Sammer"...

Bacon wrapped Jalapeno's over the grill...

Singing "Sweet Caroline" at Fenway...

A hot shower...

The way June's hair feels...

Uhmmmmm....that's about it.

About the only thing better than a Zoey smile so far was the day her Mom said "yes." That one felt pretty good...tossed out into the great "can't take back" void right there beside a BART stop and a trash can on Sutter Street in San Francisco...with no ring...and no clue why it had to be then and there...or why she said yes...or what we'd do after she said "yes". There's not much better than a Zoey smile but that one's pretty good.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Zoey hits the road...not literally, of course

Our good fortune with this beeb just keeps on a flowing. We slipped up to Toronto this weekend for some time with Scott and Stace, a chance for Uncle Ian to meet his niece, and the overdue opportunity to grab some fun. Turns out with this little bundle of good times things might be easier than we thought.

Not a single issue with Zo on the trip up, she was conked out for the entire drive. We regularly count our blessings with car travel and the Zedder. She’s been nothing but a champ and we know how crippled we’d be if she weren’t. She slept right through her first valet experience, check in, the elevator ride up to our floor, and then barely shook loose the cobwebs to eat lunch. Both June and I were flabbergasted…we actually weren’t flabbergasted, I just wanted to use that word. It also seems to me that the word “flabbergasted” should have a letter “H” right after the “G”…you know, like ghastly does. It seems to make perfect sense but who are we to go changing what Merriam-Webster has set in stone?

We set up shop at the Fairmont Royal York and took visitors like we were promoting a film...little Samsquench arrived and June and I got our first in-person glimpse of the funster while Scott and Stace enjoyed the same with Zo. It was a blast, certainly much more fun that I would have thought something like that could be ten years earlier. Samsquench and Zedder were all rolling around the bed checking one another out. There were squeals of laughter and tears and some sweater pulling. I know, sounds like a random Friday night in college but keep in mind that these two are relatives and that they are also babies, and then shame your wicked self for even giggling at that.

The six of us (how weird is that?) tackled our first big adventure, and error in judgment, as we braved the cold and hiked the kiddies on over to the Eaton Centre for some warm indoor distractions. With the exception of stretching our legs, wandering aimlessly with people we love, and a really kick ass hat that the Sammer scored it was pretty much a trip to the mall capped off with the equivalent of a bid for the summit of Everest on our walk home to the hotel. By the time we got back out on the street it was a full on blizzard downtown and we hustled our hides back to the swanky confines of 100 Front Street West. Cookie (Stace for any of you not literate in Scooper lingo) walks faster than anyone I know and also enjoys the honor of attracting more snow than anyone I know as well. When we finally caught a glimpse of one another in the hotel lobby we all managed to look fairly composed, except Cook who had approx. 3 inches of snow clinging to her every limb. She looked like a jelly donut, you know, minus the jelly…actually minus everything but the frosting, so I guess she looked more like…forget it. My first mistake was making a jelly donut analogy with a girl in the first place. Cook looked wonderful but snowy…verrrry snowy.

The Samsquench wasn’t all that pleased with his first Zo adventure, as I’m sure he won’t be when he wakes up in that jail cell in Montreal 18 years from now, but he hammered on through it with some dignity and recuperated, or perhaps we should say recooperated just a little colder and snowier (not a word, I know) for his efforts. He actually had every reason to be a little cranked out at his surprise adventure since it was a pretty hairy wind whipping snow through the makeshift wind tunnels that downtown turns into during a storm. Getting back to the hotel was a damn Farley Mowat book with baby strollers. We knew the instant we stepped from the warmth of the Hudson’s Bay Company that we had tackled something stupid.

Before the evening was out we scored a visit from Andrew and Michelle (Coop and Mitch for the uninformed) and turned the night into a regular rotating door of loved ones. If you divided how much we adore Coop and Mitch by a factor of ten you’d still have a degree of affection so large that Stephen Hawking would have trouble with the math so it was pretty awesome to see them after adventuring with our other three most favorite people this side of Santa Claus and Eddie Vedder.

As if the weekend couldn’t get any better we had Uncle Ian catching his first glimpse of the Zedder on Sunday afternoon. He was boiled happy and she seemed to like him just fine so the cameras were clicking and June was grinning and all was right with the world.

Weekends don’t get a whole lot better in terms of surrounding yourself with people you truly dig. We nabbed Uncle Ian and Aunt Netta, Scitty and Cook avec the Samsquench, and Coop and Mitch all in a 24 hour period. That’s more efficient than an Obama campaign stop. It made for a stellar weekend that’s for sure…AND gave birth to the latest of children’s books falling out of the beach house presses…

SAMSQUENCH & ZEDDER…a Caldecott winner fer shur.

Look for pics of the weekend a little later. Junie forgot her camera in Mississauga. We'll get 'em up here pronto. Cook took some schweet ones so we'll try to get a few 'o dem too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Zoey meets Aunt Serree...and likes her...a lot

Serree and Zo - Feb 20-09

Aunt Serree, relatively fresh off of the plane from Australia, stopped by to visit Zo today. The two got along just fine which was no surprise to anyone. Serree has been waiting to meet Zoey for almost 10 years! Of course, Zoey wasn't even much of an idea 10 years ago but Serree was waiting for her nonetheless. That's how cool Aunt Serree is.

Top 5 Reasons We Love Aunt Serree

1. Probably one of the sweetest, kindest, most gentle, thoughtful souls ever.

2. More fun than a monkey with a tennis racket and a can of stewed tomatoes.

3. She's ridden an elephant before...seriously. That's maybe Zoey's favorite thing.

4. She had to sell her surfboard to get home...Zoey thought that was harsh but was happy that she did it.

5. She's got some wicked pissah good parents and they raised all their kids right...Serree, Sierra, Matt, and Chookie too.

Serree and Zo never left the couch this afternoon, for something like three and half hours the gruesome twosome just chilled with a sunny lake view. After a month we're pretty sure Zoey digs the low maintenance situations, and hanging out in Aunt Serree's lap with the sun on her face and waves easing themselves into the shore under a big blue sky certainly qualifies as "low maintenance." Zoey says that Serree can visit anytime but that next time she should bring her fiance, Mike. She doesn't really know what a fiance is but she wants to meet him anyway. We're pretty sure that she thinks fiance means someone who can hook her up with elephant rides.

Zoey hits the style

It's a big day tomorrow. Lil' Zo is headed to Toronto to visit her friend Sam and get introduced to Uncle Scitty and Aunt Roo. She's excited, you can tell by how easily she's been filling her diapers all day. We're staying at the Royal York Hotel downtown so she's also doing this first trip into the city with some serious style.

She's also going to meet her Uncle Ian on Sunday for the very first time! Ian's flying in from Red Lake for a wedding and is eager as a beaver to meet his one month old niece. Yeah, you heard that right...ONE MONTH OLD...Zoey has been on the planet sans umbilical cord for 26 days already! That's crazy! Almost as crazy as not meeting all those people already.

On a side note both June and I will be getting our first in-person glimpse of the Samsquench this weekend! We're pretty excited to meet little Sammy Sosa Malone Davis Jr. the fifth. We're embarrassed that it's taken this long.

It's a big weekend boyo...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

YMCA sign pic

Zoey had a little party at the YMCA today...uhmmm, it was her 23 day old party! Y staff grabbed some cake and well wishes and chucked 'em at us which was nice except the cake part...they didn't really chuck any cake.

Pseudo-Aunt Michelle Smith was all over Zo the minute she tripped into the room from the car and we were so on the ball we got exactly zero pictures. That's how we roll.

Everyone was so sweet. Barb McRitchie was tripping over herself to get a peek at the Zedder and Tracey Bolzon (of notorious "Summer of Bolzon" fame) was super kind and eager as well. Stacey Ross grabbed hold of Zo after putting down June's gift of mesh hospital underwear... weird inside joke type thing...and Erin, Flo, etc...all took hold of the funster. Zoey was perfect for all of it. She didn't put up any kind of fuss until a little later when the tired-zies were obviously drifting in...She stayed for almost three and a half hours and that's enough to tucker a 23 day old out it seems.

Great big giant smile type thanks to the Esso YMCA Learning & Career Centre and the LKDSB Alternative Learning Centre staff for being so cool to us. Zo scored her very first "big girl" dress from the Bolzons while Mom and Dad nabbed some killer lookin' Malbec from the coolest family we know, those same Bolzons...the staff all slapped together a WAY too generous gift certificate from Babies 'R Us for the Z-Girl and it was a gesture and half that we appreciate beyond this blog's ability to articulate.

Man, Daddy might not make much money but he's surrounded with the coolest people at every stop.

Thanks YMCA and to everyone at the school too. You guys are kinda alright in our books.

BTW...Sonic Youth's "Superstar" is bloody great...I mean great. Sorry, just an FYI type BTW thing for all you BFF's. TTYL.

Monday, February 16, 2009

We're a little confused about some things...a lot of things

Goofy faced Zo BW

So it seems as though letting go of every single pre-conception you've ever had about parenthood is the trick to all of this. Absolutely nothing makes much sense, no rules apply, and not a single thing means what you think it means, but that's okay. It's kind of liberating, I mean, if you can remind yourself of that every time you start to stutter and drool on yourself.
We've been pretty lucky. Lil' Zo sleeps like a champion and doesn't fuss too much malls, car rides, strip joints...everywhere. Of course, we were just kidding about the shopping mall thing, so don't start calling your local police.

Here are the Top Ten Most Confusing Things After Three Weeks of Parenting

1. Differentiating between poop faces and "you're pissing me off" faces

2. Why Zoey's head doesn't explode when she gets all amped up but doesn't release it until she's turned four shades of red.

3. Why between the hours of 10pm and 12pm she loses her freakin' mind and then just falls asleep.

4. How June can manage that whole breast feeding gong show.

5. Why we suddenly drink a lot of tea?

6. Whether Pampers or Huggies are better and how we actually got to give a damn.

7. Why it took so long to eat a meal pre-baby but how post-baby translates into two and a half minute scarf-fests.

8. Why we felt the need to sleep so much before.

9. How the sound of a running bath tub can do what two college educated parents can't.

10. At 3am wondering why we would ever consider paying for this little brats college education

For more awesome (if not entirely ridiculous) photographs of Zo acting like a git check out June's Flickr page...give her a few days to wrench Zo off of her chest.

Whenever I see your smiling face...

Zo smiling BW

June's got lil' Zo smiling these days. She does this smooch thing on each side of her mouth and then plants a big one right on her kisser and It's a melter, that's for sure. It is officially one of the best things I've ever seen. Your own child's smile is supposed to rank right up there with the best stuff ever...things like the Rose Bowl and seeing "Ripple" played live...If it doesn't then you've got some kind of hole in your heart and you probably shouldn't have reproduced at all.

Right now I've got Zoey's smile ranked firmly between meeting her mother and that time the world's worst hangover (Homecoming 1995) officially eased and then passed leaving me barely alive in it's terrible wake... which barely nudged Joshua Tree at dawn from a warm sleeping bag, and Pearl Jam singing "Baba O'Reilly" with the house lights on...all of 'em exceptional mind benders but not quite in the Zoey smiling catagory.

Little of this...Little of that...then some other stuff too

Zoey sleeping pillow - Feb 8-09

Got Ray LaMontagne cooing on the turntable, that's right, I said turntable ( I did say "cooing" too...sorry). If you thought Ray sounded like sunshine on bare skin before, you should hear the fella on vinyl. It's incredible. Let's be clear right up front, I'm not some closet vinyl aficionado, the kind who is often heard at parties spouting off drunken rants about how much better vinyl sounds that digital etc... glorious boring etc...Vinyl isn't necessarily better sounding (listen to "I wanna be sedated" on vinyl and then dare to say it sounds richer on the turntable. You'd sound like you needed speech therapy) and it most certainly isn't "cooler," it is however a great way to play the several hundred albums that you own & it's also a pretty nifty flash back to an almost ancient adolescence. People that tell you otherwise better be quality musicians with quality ears or they're full of Marmaduke poop.

I got into an annoying conversation backstage at The Troubadour in LA with Jason Collett about the "rich textures and tones" of vinyl and how it just kicked digital's ass (which is why it was a largely discarded technology in the first place, right Jason?) and that particular conversation ended with an artificial sincerity unmatched up to that point in my life. Vinyl is fun, and admittedly, at times golden sounding and syrupy rich and tasty with just the right tunes. Ray LaMontagne sounds great on vinyl, The Who's "Sparks" sounds great on vinyl. KISS' "I was made for loving you," sounds just like KISS' "I was made for loving you" regardless of vinyl, digital, or if it's hummed by a tone deaf eskimo with a speech impediment. Anyway, we're waaaaaaaaayoff track. An important discussion, I think, but off far off the beaten track.

The end of a long beautiful day full of smiling babies, naps, and family visits. I think I am liking this day smushed between Valentines Day and Family Day (American translation=Presidents Day...neither Upper or Lower Canada gave two #$%&s about George "wooden chompers" Washington). It feels like I remember every Sunday feeling when I was eight years old...easy.

It's just Debu and I now...both June and Zo have slipped off to bed and it's time to reflect on things -- random things.

I think that Paul Simon's American Tune is heart squeezing & beautiful. I listen to it and I realize that things have always been difficult and confusing. Sam Cooke's A change is gonna come nocks me flat as well. There is no such thing as better days, only days.

The pinnacle of proud must rest in a grandmother somewhere.

Friendship is a strange thing & I don't understand it. I should stop trying to, at least until I master it myself.

The saddest part of all this living and eventual dying is that the people you love change. The ironic part is that they say the exact same thing.

I think Zoey looks more grown up now and of course she actually is so that makes less sense on paper than thru my own astonished eyes.

All of the things that I used to think were important aren't. It didn't take having a child to feel that way, it just took time.

I'm a lucky man, and referring to myself as a "man" still feels awkward and strange.

We got a package in the mail from two friends of mine from college, a book for Zo, and the enormity of the kindness and thoughtfulness of such a simple gesture struck me with the most sincere gratitude I've felt in a long time, not because they were generous enough to send along a gift but because people like Kevin & Aimee are out there.

The Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil," from Dead Set eases my mind...almost instantly.

Tonight I watched my Mom glow little Zo in her arms. Shortly after, I watched June's father staring and smiling as his wife burned just as bright and I felt a wave of emotion drift past. Those moments felt exactly the way I imagined all of this was supposed to feel.

My Dad and brother are quickly becming best friends and I like my courtside seats for this one.

I need Spring and some sun dappled adventures with June.

Don't think twice, it's alright...some things are too genius to ignore.

Tonight, sheltered inside away from the cold my life feels obscenely and unfairly blessed.

Doing this, purging myself of just some of the things drifting about inside my head, has always felt good. Paper and pen, a keyboard, whatever the tools, I'd have fallen apart without the enterprise. Some people build things out of wood or metal...The words I feel lucky enough to use weigh significantly less, but maybe not.

It's time to go to bed. I see the freighters way out in the lake waiting for captains to take them down the river and I wonder who might still awake aboard those monsters. I wonder who could actually be sleeping aboard those hulking vessels? It's a different place in every direction you look even when it seems the same. There's not two miles separating us and I'm going to crawl inside a warm bed with my warm wife and smile myself to sleep.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dad gets all artsy fartsy with Mom's camera...and daughter

BW Sc ary Zo
Leave Dad alone with a creative instrument of unlimited potential and everyone is learning that it can only end badly. It's like the Knicks sucking, or Rasheed Wallace having more 3-point attempts than rebounds, it's practically a for sure thing.

So Momster leaves her oh-so expensive arsenal of Canon super cameras laying around while she catches a few more much deserved winks and Dad goes monkey-nuts. First, we (yeah "we," I dragged Zo into the fray with me...needed an accomplice to go half-sies on the inevitable blame) grab le instrument of mischief and start snappin' every which way but the right one. Naturally, it all started out fine...we were looking for some good shots, maybe surprise Mom with one or two...but then it got silly quick, maybe even stupid. It was mostly Zoey's fault (always is). Whoever was most to blame, by the time you could say Toronto Maple Leafs 6 -- Pittsburgh Crosbys 2 we were bustin' our bottoms off tryin' to score the most wretchedly cute and simultaneously frightening Valentines Day photo ever (that doesn't include photos of ex-girlfriends of questionable mental health or boyfriends before they found Jesus). We ended up with some beauts...some literally and some quite sarcastically.

My personal favourite is the one above but I have to admit it does scare me senseless. It scared me so silly that I had to twist it all up to the point of absolute no return, to depths of dumb no father has willingly gone to with their three week old daughter...and I made this...

BW Scary ZO 2 altered

This is the Harry Potter version of Zoey...She's a wizard...a really hilarious wizard of dubious, if not entirely inconsequential skills and abilities...things like pooping and freaking out at 3am...even spitting up directly into cleavage. It's magic, I know, but I thought she was kinda magical even before the dumb wizard outfit. I'm pretty sure Mom won't be leaving her camera gear laying around any more...but if she does...WIZAAAARD!

To compensate for the ridiculousness of this post here's one of the legit shots we took...probably accidentally and certainly with Mom' supervision (before she knew about the other ones)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentimes Day...that's right, Valentimes!

BW Love onzie

Zoey was making her own Valentines Day cards almost as soon as she woke this morning...little painted footprints for friends and family...and since she really doesn't have any friends yet, mostly just family. She was a sport about it, squishy toes and all.

It's been almost three weeks since Weezie was born and so a road trip was waaay overdue. She'd been back home to visit Baachan and Grandma etc... but she'd never bailed out on a perfectly good Saturday and just went wandering. Today's wandering led to London and Zoey got some shopping in. She was practically perfect...not a sound...she took time to eat in the car on a few occasions and for such acquiescence she was rewarded with some stellar gifts.

Zo scored this awesome set of pjs 'cause Dad was so smitten with them...we'll add some pink somewhere to girlie them up a little.

Skull Sleeper

...and then she scored the new Mo Willems book, "Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed," and all of that on top of an early morning Valentines present of Paul Frank's, "Only in Dreams." What a haul!

Her Mom also bought her this beauty zodiac onezy...Zodiac as in horoscope not as in 1968 San Francisco. Not a bad day for a three week old!

Now she's headed over to Uncle Corey and Aunt Stephanie's to watch the NBA Dunk Contest. Not a bad first ever Valentines Day...better than the blender that her husband will eventually buy her after he loses all of his creativity and romance. Jerk.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Drop, drop, drop, drop, drop....huh?

Zoey 2

June keeps doing this weird thing where she just keeps uttering, "drop, drop, drop, drop, drop,drop... in this frightening Beeker-like voice. I think it's in response to my observation that she's just dropped a tonne of baby weight. Regardless of the reason, it's just weird.

So we're watching the Bulls and Heat game tonight, laughing about June's shameless attempts to hook up previously mentioned uber-cool midwife (who we forgot to give wine to and maybe even sell drugs to) with her equally shameless pilot brother, Ian, when I realize that I have the urge to blog. It could just be gas but I'm convinced that blogging is what I should be doing right now...shamelessly, just because that seems to be the stance to take these days.

Our evening has been occupied with trying to make Zoey smile and doing our best to decide whether we (and by we I mean me) should become Dodgers fans this summer or Angels fans? A long fickle story so we won't get into it here but it's been great fun thus far...paired with burgers and some tasty cab it's been practically riotous. Add to the mix the fact that June is brainwashing Zoey into thinking that her Dad is more of a gaseous anomaly than even she herself is and boyo we're havin' a cranker of a night!

Really this post had nothing to do with anything, we just wanted to post another random picture and make another pathetic attempt at convincing Val that both Zoey and Ian are the coolest one-two combo on the planet, right behind Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammel, naturally.

We were just kidding about that whole "selling Val drugs" thing...little inside joke. We would, however, happily toss her a bottle of wine...maybe give her the phone number of some dealers we know but that's about all we can manage.

BTW...the name Vinny Del Negro has been making us laugh since 1986. Say it out loud and try not to giggle.

An update with weird Laverne & Shirley references

When we woke up this morning we realized that Zoey will be three weeks old on Monday...which means that 10 days from now she'll be one month old...which means... No, no more which means...

Time slips by so fast when you're not sleeping or leaving your house. Tossing the jokes aside, we've been really fortunate so far. Lil' Zo sleeps great for the most part...sometimes not so great...and she eats fine. She doesn't make too much of a fuss at all. Of course, we have absolutely no frame of reference here...none, so perhaps she's awful and we're just super optimistic about the whole thing? Who knows? Either way, the days fly past pretty quick.

The dynamic in three weeks time has fallen together like this...

Zoey and June are kinda like Laverne & Shirley...kinda inseparable but in a healthy way. I'm unfortunate enough to have slipped into the Carmine Ragusso role, making occasional appearances and somehow always managing some really bad hair. At this point we've really only got Aunt Anette and Baachan to take on the roles of Lenny & Squiggy but we couldn't tell you which one was which just yet.

June is breastfeeding so Zoey doesn't like to get too far from her own personal Drive-thru and usually when she's teary or good with the lungs its food and Mom that she wants. Dad is good for tolerating screaming, buying Mom time to shower etc...and falling asleep with...that's about it. Dad can manage diaper changes and help with baths as well but he smells more of Irish Spring than milk and so at this point Mom outranks him in popularity.

June's got a full year off, naturally (SOOOOO thankful to be living in Canada if only just for that!), and is hanging out with Zo at home most days. Now that Zoey is approaching the ancient age of four freaky weeks old I'm sure that the two of them will be venturing out more. The first few weeks were just for hanging on and then February weather makes it even easier to stay hunkered down.

Unfortunately Dad has to go to work each day and work hard at bringing home headaches and hang-ups to share with everyone...that's his sworn duty. When I get home I hope to see a happy Laverne & Shirley in which case I can breathe easy and know that I can be of some use that night. I can steal Zo away for a nap or to enlighten her on the difficulty of building schools in the Himalayan region of Pakistan (we 've been reading "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson) or to lay back and decide if we really like Bach more than Josh Rouse...lots of different stuff steals our attention...IF Zo is enjoying her day. If she is not, Dad tends to look like a prison guard.

We've been letting her wail away...mostly because we can't stop it anyway, but also because it can be kind of funny (please don't call Children's Aid). She's still got that silly donkey cry and watching her get angry is kind of like practice for later. We're looking for all of the little things that might help us in the future. We consider it a kind of Spring Training for her teenage years.

Zoey's been entirely unpredictable (yeah, I know, she's a baby...surprise, surprise...shut up) which is a shocker considering her parents. Sometimes she sleeps alone in her room and she's cool with that. Sometimes it better be Mom's chest she crashes on, and still at other times just laying between us in bed until she's out cold is good enough. There's no pattern or process to any of it. She just is and we just adapt...done.

Does anyone know when we get to sleep more? or when I don't have to be Carmine Ragusso anymore?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Zoey’s Peers are Hilarious, Look at ‘em…

So although Zoey doesn’t really have any friends just yet…wow, that sounds pathetic…she does have some pretty interesting peers. By peers we mean those chid-ren within a year of her. Actually by peers we mean those infants of friends who’s photos made us snort up our milk (typically Zoey’s domain)…

So here are a few of the funsters that Zoey will either see regularly, see once in awhile or meet in college.

The Sammer – a by-product of Brian’s cousin Scott and his wife Stacey’s voluminous love. He was born in May ’08 and probably will never own his own car or drive for that matter. He will constantly be bumming rides off of Zo.

Sammer, or as we like to call him Sammy Davis Gamgee Adams Malone Cooper Jr. the 5th is officially Zo’s second cousin but unofficially he’s a sure fire bet for an adventure and mischief partner for the rest of her life. “The Sam” lives quite a distance away so it’ll take some effort to get the two of them together but we’re confident we can manage the task.

We see a bright future for this relationship, a future in which Sam calls Zo when he gets thrown in the klink on Spring Break and Zo subsequently bails him out using her Dad’s credit card ‘cause that’s how lil’ Zo rolls…always got your back, with someone else’s cash. They’ll eventually end up living in the same city and warning one another off of relationships with their close friends. Neither will listen to the other and both will end up standing up in the same wedding as the other approx. 14 times. It’s gonna be ridiculous.

The Simmer (pronounced Sy-mer) - The second child of Kevin and Aimee Bergquist of Ann Arbor Michigan. His real name is Simon Abner and he may only meet Zo a few times before they inevitably date in college. Look at him in those star laden pj’s…He’s full of ‘tude already. Zo doesn’t stand a chance.
Simon Abner

Simon Abner Bergquist is gonna ruin my daughter. We’ve already predicted a short college fling with disasterous results (mostly Zo’s fault) that ends up with Zoey backpacking through Europe and Dad footing the bill. Naturally, as parents we’ll like Simon (Brian will be the only one who refers to him as The Simmer) and wish that he was the one, unfortunately Zoey will be unable to commit and she'll sabotage the whole thing. She'll eventually bring home one of Andrade’s seventeen kids and we’ll have to pay for the wedding and the divorce…all in the same friggin' year. Damned Michigan Sports Info Dept…you ruined my life!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A slight resemblance to Colin Wallace

Uncle Ian Uncle Pukey
Uncle Ian and Colin Wallace, October 2007 at the Beach House post-Wedding booze up.

June just noticed that Zoey is starting to resemble our good friend Colin Wallace. The observation made me laugh out loud.'s accurate (pronounced ack-ooo-rit) and second it was such a lovingly contrived statement that I nearly swooned. Strangely I didn't. I'm just not the swooning type, I guess.

Zo doesn't look like Colin, well, except for the hair maybe, but according to June, and uttered sweetly right in Zoey's face post-spit up...

"You're just like Colin drink and then you throw up and then you drink again. You're a little Colin Wallace."

If you know Colin you'll know that this is not only true but also that it has become a bit of a trademark for the ever-running new Oregonian and former Dubliner. The fact that Zoey is quickly resembling my friend Colin, even with the least admirable of his many fine qualities, is a smiler. It's a beauty trick if you can manage it. I never could, at least, not up to Mr. Wallace's standards. Once I expunge stuff I'm typically out for the count. Not Colin, and not Zo...that's one skill that makes me shudder.

Somehow I just knew that Colin Wallace would play a role in this child's life...thus far it's a fairly conspicuous one. And by conspicuous we mean it most sincerely by its third definition in the on-line Merriam-Websters Dictionary...

3. Marked by a noticable violation of good taste.

Yup, that's the one we mean. Thanks Uncle Pukey. You're an inspiration.

Faux hipster cred via children's literature...

June and lil 'Zo in her most favoritest position ever...well, for now

I'm watching my wife and child groove thru the kitchen to Bach's string concertos which I suppose doesn't typically lend itself to grooving in the traditional sense but there they are grooving nonetheless. The Bach a la Yo-Yo Ma is a generous gift from Uncle Scitty several hours distant and so far Zoey gets along just fine with the cello. In fact, aside from running tap water it might be her very best friend to date.

My eyes are heavy and my coffee is getting cold and for some unknown reason I've just spent five minutes considering purchasing PASTE Magazine's "Indie Rock Alphabet Book." I'm not really sure what I was thinking since I can't stand that kind of sh!t. Like I want my daughter to learn her ABC's using Animal Collective, Bon Iver, and Calexico? No. Whatever happened to A is for apple, B is for book, and C is for contemptuous? I am, however, supremely (and that means a whole lot) interested in the artwork credited conspicuously (another great C word) to "Owen the Owen." That sounds worth the effort of inspection. The rest is just silly. I can make my own book rather than pay $12.95 plus taxes and shipping and duty for faux hipster feelings of alternative parenting. thanks.

If you want to be a cool parent don't buy your way into the club. We're all allowed a few errors in judgement and some random transgressions, sure, but the PASTE Magazine "Indie Rock Alphabet Book? Nope.

If you want to be the cool parent, which we all do, then first you should distinguish who you want to be cool for...

If it's your kid then you're in trouble.

If it's your friends then you better work on your self-esteem.

If it for you and yourself alone, better, but not still not ideal.

You should be doing your best to be cool parents to impress Dennis Hopper...that's right, I said it...Dennis Hopper. There's really no other reason to waste the energy.

Seriously, it should be more about sincerity and genuine acts. If you can be yourself and somehow that translates into cool then smile and move along to soccer practice. You accomplished something so fleeting and transitory that only you will remember it.

The "Indie Rock Alphabet Book"...please. How 'bout some of these beauty titles? This is what my kid will be reading...

Sammy Gets Stoked...There's flip flops and sand and sun and Sammer.

Elli's Advice...There's this precocious little girl and an elephant in a tree.

Liam's Giant Job...A little boy, an unfortunately pink monster and an ending as sweet as a Timmy Ho's triple triple.

There are others too but those are my faves, homemade, so let the hipsters be damned. Them beauties are basement painted and carved out of bedroom imaginations and boredom. Just do a quick transfer over to le computer for some desktop this and thats and BLAM...straight to hipster hell for the "Indie Rock Alphabet Book."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Freaks, Geeks, and Heart & Stroke Volunteers

A semi-eventful Saturday afternoon of college basketball, naps and inconsolable babies...well, baby...was unceremoniously interrupted by a door to door canvasser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. It wouldn't have been a very memorable experience except for the fact that this woman was a freak! She didn't stop talking, not once, and rarely even completed a sentence. She was ADHD incarnate and probably a 1st Grade teacher if my freak-sense was working correctly. What a whirlwind of a woman. She told stories about going to school way up in Bramalea and walking down muddy roads and kilts that the nuns would measure with rulers...Jeez, I'm still dizzy. She dropped our neighbors names like long lost cousins and then when she finally caught a glimpse of Zoey she let out a sigh and exclaimed, "There's the baby."

I started wondering if she wasn't a Heart & Stroke Foundation canvasser at all but some kind of rogue element in the early childhood education field, out distracting new parents while co-conspirators slipped in thru basement windows to steal every last diaper in the house. I started wondering if she was dangerous and if, perhaps, I should throw her into a quick Full Nelson and squeeze the truth out of her. I gave her $5 instead and hoped for the best but I kept a sharp eye and tried to subtly flank her.

It took less than five minutes but it was a significant enough experience to merit a spot here. What really sealed the deal was when she asked if it was, Zoey with a Z?

We're lucky we made it out alive. That was the best $5 I ever spent.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Coincidence or Karma...?

Teets and Em

As I type this my wife and beeb are sleeping on our pathetic decade old futon and some weird English bloke is on the tube pronouncing garage as "gay-raaahj"'s wildly distracting.

Just settled in to an evening of Josh Rouse (do yourself a favour) and a Cab-Merlot blend to go with an intermittently contented and pissed off funster when I discovered this beauty:


It was the most pleasant of surprises to find out that Zoey shares a birthday with little Emelia, my once and always in some way, shape and form, best friend's daughter. She turned two just as Zoey turned...uhmmm, present and accounted for and I couldn't be more giggled about it all.

At one point in my life my social and emotional satellites all orbited around the Teeter household, and in a beauty exchange John's Mom recalls June as being the coolest of kids (Mama Teets was my hometown's most famous and popular kindergarden teacher) and the only one in her lengthy career in a classroom that she remembers bringing sushi for lunch in 1983 at the precious age of cinq. Beauty memory I think.

Anyway...just one more confirmation that our lives are touched by magic. That sounds dumb but too bad, I like the notion. I never see John anymore, and haven't for a long time but I love him nonetheless and shake my head at the notion of our daughters being born on the same day. Now we share more than just an uncomfortable strain in our shorts every time we see the water bottle scene in "Youngblood."

Chicken or the egg...or June

June and Zoey - post poop chair

Shes a summer love for spring, fall and winter,
she can make happy any man alive. - Sugar Magnolia, Grateful Dead - 1970

It's been a rough day, a long day of governmental jibberish and unfortunate obligation. I don't deal well with obligation. You'd think that after all these years I'd have learned to manage obligation or at the very least set it on the appropriate shelf. Nope. It still rankles me. Sometimes I wonder if the whole "square peg, round hole" thing applies when I look in the mirror of my career (BTW.I hate the term career but when you've been doing something similar for a decade I suppose that's what it is.the word is so, I dunno.egocentric). Regardless, I've got Jerry Garcia crooning a strained ancient voice into my ear and a wife and baby waiting at home. The pieces of that puzzle fit.

That's been the best part about this whole thing, this entire babyfication as it were. Coming home has never been so fun. Again, it's not exactly what you might imagine. I get kind of tired adding that disclaimer. Zoey, as thrilling as she is just isn't June. In my eyes that little girl is a direct result of the grown up one and I can't get enough of this freshly baked and straight out of the oven Mom. I love Zoey plenty, but I still love June more. Sue me. There's a little bit of "chicken or the egg" in that but carve it up any way you see fit. It was June who lay beside me on a bed in San Clemente , California and nodded at the notion of making us three. Laying there in that sunlight it was a bigger moment than the actual confirmation was so many months distant. In that room above a noisy El Camino Real with the ocean out the window we decided that we would have a family and although it would be weeks before the notion actually became a reality it was her face that stared back at me through those great big hopes and tears. That's the face that meets me at the door every day I come home. That's some tough competition for little Zo.

It's like my heart is a two sided coin these days and I win no matter which side it lands on.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What I've Learned...The Zoey Blog Edition

Here’s how What I’ve learned… works. Someone randomly writes the start of a sentence, sometimes it can be leading and sometimes it can just be the start of any old damn sentence…three or four words but that’s it. Then you hand it off and the other person finishes the sentence in a way that let’s you inside of them a little. You know, it allows you access to who they are as a person. Whether you finish the sentence as a belief statement or as a story it doesn’t matter. You just have to open the door and let us in.

I make my own What I’ve learned… lists when I’m struggling to understand things. It’s fun (yeah, my version of fun and yours might be a little different, but I hate Sudoku and I really don’t drink as much as I used to) and it really helps me to understand myself a little better. I mean, we’re all pretty busy fooling ourselves on a regular basis. It’s good to be honest with yourself once in awhile but its maybe better to be honest with others whenever you get the chance. I’ll admit that I enjoy making random lists anyway, but there is something about What I’ve learned.. that I love.

Anyway…for Zoey…and anyone else who wants in on the fun…Leave your own list in the comments, or don’t. This is the first of many that I’ll do here.

Whenever I… try explaining to people what it is that I do and what it is that I believe it always feels like I shouldn’t have to be explaining any of it to anyone. It’s surprising how we’ve gotten to this place in our lives where thinking liberally is something that you need to apologize for, or something that some people see as weak. If you just peek over your shoulder at our collective past the liberal view point has almost always been right. People used to think that women were inferior and they’re so obviously not, or that blacks didn’t share the same rights as whites and that’s ridiculous. People used to burn witches at the stake and we realize now how absolutely insane that was. The liberal view was that, sure, women can vote and there’s nothing that says that a woman can’t work just as hard as a man and we were right. We didn’t think that it was all that bad of an idea for blacks to sit at the same lunch counter as we did and the world didn’t implode. We were right on that one too. The next thing is gay rights and gay marriage. What’s the argument again? It destroys the fabric of the family unit? Huh? Something like 50 % of all marriages end in divorce and we’re talking about the sanctity of the family? In fact, we’re denying people their civil liberties and human rights because of that weak-ass argument? You gotta be kidding me. Find a tree and take a nap Rumplestiltskin, when you wake up gays will be married and no one will have infringed upon your rights or liberties in the process. Almost every injustice has been rooted out with the help of liberal perspectives. How do you even pose an argument against that kind of thinking? That’s not to say that conservative or right wing folks are bad people, not at all, it’s just that at some point some of them are going to look like those guys that turned fire hoses on black women and children in Selma, Alabama and feel like idiots in retrospect. Someday I’m going to have to explain those people to my daughter and it makes me shake my head with frustration.

Just when you think… that you’ve got it all figured out you grow up and realize that you never did, never will and never possibly could.

The trick is… to pay attention to the things that don’t work in your life. Those are the lessons that you’ll learn from. You won’t pick up half as much from your successes as you will your failures. I used to think that my Dad was just terrible at being a father. He just wasn’t any good at it. No one really showed him how to do it and, of course, he perpetuated a lot of the same shortcomings that he experienced but it was important for me to look past all that stuff and realize that he was never a bad person. No one witnesses their child’s birth and thinks, ”Man, I can’t wait to screw this up,” that just doesn’t happen. He didn’t want to flub this, shit just happens. It took a long time but I realized that I’d better be paying attention to all of this so that I get it right when it’s my turn. Now do you know what I think of whenever I think of my father? I look past what it felt like to be disappointed and focus on what it must have felt like to disappoint. Ever since Zoey arrived I understand that the emotions that fill the experience of disappointing someone are waaay more painful than being disappointed. Once I understood that it was easy to fix things between us. I didn’t need that clarity to love him but I did need it to understand him.

People ask me… what my secret is, how I stay so optimistic every day and I always tell them the same thing. My first inclination, as anyone’s might be, is to barricade myself off from all of the hurt and pain and confusion that every one of my days is full of. The kids I work with don’t always have much hope but here’s the thing, they embrace what hope they do have, even if it’s just a fragment, they clutch it pretty tightly. That’s inspiring to me. It helps me knock down the barricades I’m inclined to build and makes me feel a little more comfortable going to the places I don’t really understand or that I don’t feel very safe in. You always hope that you’re capable of this or of that but you never really know until you’re confronted with it. Once you stare at the scary stuff it’s never quite so scary. It’s kind of like looking under your bed when you were a child. Once you roll over and look you realize that there are no monsters under there.

If you only had… one leg then all of your throws to first would be off balance and probably in the dirt.

Never… try to tell people what they should be doing. You’re just pissing them off and wasting your own time. They’re gonna do exactly what they want to do. The difference is whether or not they’ll feel comfortable coming to you after they’ve screwed up or hating you beforehand.

I used to… be a lot more bold in my youth but a few extra years has made me re-evaluate what I stand up for and what I’m willing to sit down and watch pass. It’s not that I had any more convictions or courage when I was younger, not at all, in fact I had a good deal less, it’s just that I was ignorant and didn’t know the value and consequence of all that energy. I learned to wait and see what happens before you start pushing buttons and starting wars. Some things are worth fighting for and some things just cause fights, there’s a huge difference.

Don’t ever… pretend to know something when you don’t.

I feel… incredibly lucky to have the ability to make the choices that I do. Questioning things as a regular part of normal life, that didn't exist for my grandfather's generation, now I do it every single day.

It’s tricky… understanding other people’s beliefs. Devotion always clouds the details.

There's a point… when you have to separate yourself from your friends and family; that's when you become your own man. Later you can come back again.

I once… heard Angela Davis tell a story about how her mother used to talk to her about the racial inequity she was experiencing as a small child in the south during the 1950’s. Her mother used to say, “This may be how it is now but this is not how it’s supposed to be.” I never forgot that story.

If things aren’t going well… then go to bed early and get up earlier. You think I’m kidding but I’m not.

Wherever… I see people doing something the way it's always been done, the way it's "supposed" to be done, I get the urge to do the opposite. Ever since I was small I knew that I didn’t want to do things the same way everyone else did things. Somehow I just inherently knew that it wouldn’t take you where you needed or wanted to go. If you’re looking for answers in the same spot that everyone else is looking for answers then you’re looking in the wrong spot.

If I had to choose… between loving someone or being loved I’d take loving someone every time. It’s hard to screw up loving someone.

Becoming a Dad... made me realize that from this point forward I don't get a day off...I don't ever get to take the easy way out...I don't ever get to shove things under the rug. From now on everything has to be done the right way...with all of the tools I would want her to have and use...with humility and respect and selflessness, confidence and courage and compassion. From this point on someone is watching.

Monday, February 2, 2009

One Week Old...and baffling

Zoey sleeping - Week 1

Zoey is officially one week old today. It's been both a confusing and comforting week. Obviously that shouldn't need explaining but just in case you feel it does, here's why:

The Best of Week 1

Watching June transform into a Mom right before my eyes...unbelievable.

Wondering why Zoey had any other name other than the one we gave her.

An overdue and hilarious first poo.

This kid, thus far, is the sweetest, quietest, sleepingest (not a real word, I know), most friendly kid ever.

This isn't nearly as frightening or lifestyle infringing as we had anticipated, a direct result of the previous observation.

It's like I loved June before little Zo arrived and now I love her. Thus far I've had a far greater affinity for my wife than I have even had for my child yet. Is that normal?

Midwives...the best invention ever.

Coming home each day to a family full of pleasant surprises...a family...that's crazy.

The biological revelations of birthing and new parenthood.

The opportunity to tell everyone that they were full of sh!t.

If the very notion of Zoey wasn't enough to keep me awake at night her beautiful little face does the trick.

The Worst of Week 1

The first night at home...ahmmm, how do explain the complete absence of comprehension that the first night presents you? was a distant cloud before, now there's a faint smell of it all the time.

Watching June struggle with emotions and changes.

Feeling relatively helpless in the role of Dad.

Being relegated to second class citizenry in a lot of conversations simply because I'm just Dad. Never at home, but it's surprising how mean people can be (mostly women) without even knowing they are.

Catching yourself being hesitant or second guessing something.

Not knowing...period.

For more pics and ongoing photographic sighs scoot on over to June's Flickr page.