Monday, January 31, 2011

housekeeping

I decided a few weeks ago to roll back the commenting moderation on my 3 blogs a bit, removing the "captcha" step entirely...at this point, the process is basically that anyone is allowed to comment; all comments come to me for moderation, with my intention being to release all but the obvious spam or abusive type comments.

I have noticed, though, that some comments I "release" via my phone's email service do not necessarily get released to the blog.  If you see that a given comment of yours did not show up in a timely manner, please know that it will eventually appear.  I definitely value the community dialog here.

an awesome family Sunday

warning to those allergic to sentimentality: look away!

The weather in Chattaboogie was nice this weekend, a welcome reprieve from the cold and snow, which has fallen in atypically high amounts this year (possibly our fault, considering our move from Chicago this fall...perhaps the weather "followed" us?).

Inspired by the relative warmth and glimpses of sunshine, we packed up our month-old (!) baby boy, grabbed the Bjorn, and headed downtown.
A quick aside about the Bjorn (we also have an Infantino model, to use when he get's marginally bigger): during the pregnancy, I made several strident sounding declarations about strollers, and how I thought I would much prefer to either carry my infant in my arms, or in some sort of sling, wrap, papoose, etc.  Here's the thing: after having the baby, and seeing the stroller in action, and having also tried out the Bjorn, I can say without reservation: "I was right - all you doubters can suck it!"
So we are downtown, wondering around Coolidge park (a wonderland this particular Sunday with families of all sorts, kids of all ages; there were toddlers just trying out their stumpy little legs, there were kids on big wheels and others on inline scooters, and there was a healthy representation of babies in carriers); we grabbed Mom a sandwich (Dad having already eaten his meal at home, in keeping with the anti-social nature of his diet), and the bliss of the moment just rolled over me in successive and concussive waves.  These are the Dad-moments that make up for the fitful nights of rest-less sleep; these moments of feeling so alive and familial go some way to ameliorating the trennungsangst I have been feeling for my lovely wife's breasts...
Can we have another quick aside, in special regards to the aforementioned breasts?  I'm thinking since it's my blog, I can "aside" as often as I like...Is it some carefully considered sadism from the universe that the swelling of one's lover's breasts to porn-star proportions coincides precisely with the introduction of a living, breathing, crying, and pooping obstacle to access to those same?  Argh, Universe, argh.
We walked around the park, up and onto the pedestrian bridge from the North Shore to the true downtown, and back along Frazier avenue, in and out of some shops, including one make-it-yourself froyo vendor (Wife says, with all sincerity and no apparent malice in her face as she fills a couple-sized cup: "We can share this!"; it takes her until we are back out on the sidewalk to remember that small part of my diet that precludes the consumption of sugary carbs...)

Lastly, we took a swing through the Greenlife grocery, and then home...throughout this adventure, Baby Boy was perfect.  He must love the car, and the snuggly rocking action of being strapped to Dad's chest.  The whole experience was so fantastic, I can't wait to do it again.  It was also a bit bittersweet, as we were reminded of what we lost when we were unable to buy the home on the North Shore...where we ended up is great, too, and has much to recommend it over the other options we considered, but still, it was impossible not to think about how our days would look had be bought downtown.

It was a good day.

Friday, January 28, 2011

running brief

or brief run!

The weather today flirted with 60 degrees for a bit, so I took the bait and went out for a short run after work.  It felt good to be moving again (it seems like a very long time since I ran last...100s of diaper changes ago, for sure), but I also felt a little thick and plodding.

It turned out that I only ran about 1.5 miles, but at a sub-9 minute pace.  I'm hoping the weather stays relatively mild for a few days, long enough to give me a couple more decent runs before the next blizzard hits.

the end of the diet?

However you count it, I've been at this diet plan for at least a month.

Per the 4-Hour Body book, eating only meats, green veggies, and beans for 6 days and then carb-loading for one should result in average weight loss of 1 - 2 pounds per day.  Over the course of the last month (and a few days) I have lost weight, but more or less 5 pounds in total.

And over that same period I found that the diet required (for me, at least) additional lifestyle changes and the introduction of laxative pills and teas to help me along.  Needless to say, I'm disappointed.

Oh, the bread I could have eaten, the beers I could have had...

There has been some discussion outside of this blog as to whether or not I shifted my balance of fat/lean muscle in favor of the latter, and I guess it's possible, but my "measurements" haven't revealed much of a change (another 4-Hour Body promise unfulfilled), and my lovely wife hasn't seemed to notice anything different in my physique.

And I set a specific goal for this week, to lose 5 pounds (from last  Friday's level to today's) and I didn't even come close.  I followed the diet faithfully, and I might have lost 1/2 pound this week.

Where does that leave me?  Frankly, I would like to scuttle the whole thing and just go back to eating what I like.  It's not as though I had an outrageous diet before, by most standards.  We tend to favor whole grains, lean meats, little soda or other sugary treats...

I like to cook interesting meals from whole food ingredients.  I like nuts, and some fruits.  I like avocados, shallots, and mushrooms...argh.

So, if any of you care to vote with your comments in the next 12 - 24 hours: should I continue on with this current diet and see if it somehow "switches on" soon, or ditch and come up with another plan?

**************
Update!  Overnight, I lost another two pounds...it figures, because Friday nights have become the one evening a week I allow myself more than the prescribed 2 glasses of dry, red wine.  Maybe the secret missing ingredient of the diet is really a stiff pour of 4 Roses (thanks for the rec, Scott&Jill!)

More on health care

This article from the New Yorker is long, but should be required reading for every educated American.

If I may summarize here (please read the whole thing), the article suggests that a focused and holistic approach to the healthcare of the neediest (ie, costliest) healthcare users can bring about significant declines in the net expense for for both that needy subset AND the whole of the population.

Apparently, a few high demand patients can contribute a massively disproportionate amount to the total health care expenses of the broad population.

The article also teases out some other threads of interest to this blog: questionable care at the hands of doctors, the business-ification of health care, even the tension between the individual and the group referenced in the prior post.

The amazing success of some of these small scale projects, taken together with a recent NPR story I heard about Kaiser-Permanente and their model predicated on paying doctors fixed salaries with a bonus instead of a "bill for service" and the efficacy of this approach leads me to believe that we have real and scalable solutions to our health care mess at hand, but need a strong, collective push to get the nation on board.

the corporate vs the individual

the wide vs the narrow of experience
        society vs person
               church vs zealot

The dynamic between the "one" and the "many" is of tension and volatility.

"It's just business; it's not personal" can be a legitimate concept on a corporate level, but the actual incidence of application is inevitably personal.

The Twin Towers were not brought down by Islam, but by a handful of individuals, each autonomous beings.

"people" break up their relationships all the time and the world keeps turning; when it happens to you, the effects can be more profound.

One guy shot Gabby Giffords, not some organized group of political fanatics who also happen to suffer from mental illness; America really does care about our mentally ill, but guy was among those that "slipped through" the system.

This post is striking me as more jumbled and less coherent than most of mine, but this issue keeps presenting itself to me, and I just wonder sometimes how we humans have evolved the ability to manage two separate universes: the one that applies to us directly, and the one that applies to everyone else.


Ramble, ramble...Have you seen the polls that ask "ordinary Americans" if they favor cutting government spending?  People inevitably agree that the federal government should massively reign in their spending; when presented with options to cut, people largely fail to make the "cut" election on something that touches them personally.

And to file in the same category: "they ought to do something about that"; "people need to make some sacrifices"; "I deserve to be happy, don't I?"

ugh...is it obvious I didn't sleep much last night?  But, on the bright side, Baby's got a healthy set of lungs and a rapidly developing mastery of inflection and structure in his vocalizing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

proto-bloggers

alternate title:  Blogoneers?

My wife has long accused me of having "internet friends", people that I would reference casually in conversation around the house, as if I actually knew and interacted with them...

It's hard to explain to people that aren't into blogs (as I am) how a feeling develops that is reminiscent of a two-way relationship, even though the blogger on the other end is likely unaware of me in any real sense.

Anyway, Meg Hourihan has recently "re-activated" her blog at Megnut.com; Meg and her (now-)husband Jason Kottke were among the first of my "internet" friends and in many ways inspired my desire to blog for myself.

Check out Meg's blog; she is an interesting person and cares about many of the same things I do (food, being a parent, technology, etc).

Month 1


Welcome, Baby Boy.  The world is not ready for your kind of awesome, if this first month of your life is any indication.  There was definitely a time when I was on the fence about having a kid, and I'm not going to lie - when we first saw those pink lines on the TWO pregnancy tests...well, let's just say those people you know as "Mom&Dad" took a deep breath and a 15 second moment of silence to commemorate an unencumbered youth.  And then, BOOM - we were parents.  Sure, it took 37 and one half weeks for you to make your appearance from that time, but your mother and I were not the same after the realization that our love had been...fruitful.



Can I take a moment to talk about your mother?  (I know this is your story, but at this point in your life your story really has more to do with Mommy than any one other thing.)  By the time you are able to read this, you will have formed your own opinions...but those opinions will be somewhat the perspective of those living in Plato's Cave.  Let me give you a more meta impression:

Your mom made you, and damn well...she read every book, considered every option, and invested herself fully into the process to cook you up right.  So much of being Dad is about watching life happen to Mom&Baby; Mom, however, is both directing the movie, playing a starring role, building the sets, marketing the film...

I know you will love your mom; I hope you can understand what it means to a woman to conceive, carry, and deliver a baby.  If you don't right away, you probably will someday if you get the chance to stand by the bedside, a sweaty clenching hand squeezing yours as a woman you live to love stares down the fear and pain and anxiety and uncertainty and pushes her body like hell for the chance to see 9 month's work realized in baby form.


And she said then, immediately after seeing your squishy, fresh, beautiful face that it was all worth it, that she would change nothing.

You do seem pretty great, so far.  Cute, and mostly easy to be with.  You sleep prodigious amounts, long naps broken up by very focused attempts to get food out of my wife's breasts (this may not be the right time to address how it feels as a man to be shoved aside in a woman's affections by a needy, burpy, farty, crybaby...I self soothe by making jokes about how you ordered the Super Sized Milk Combo at the drive through - Mom does not laugh).

Little bits of personality are starting to peak out (the honest truth is that in the first few weeks, you were most similar to a bread starter: kind of lumpy, pretty demanding, and not ready to eat (this metaphor broke down somewhere)); but now, sometimes when you are awake, with those big eyes open and looking around, I can start to imagine what kind of dude you are going to be.


Something amazing about you is your ability to restart my day and reset my attitude, just by laying there in my arms for a few minutes.  I could have had the most crap-tacular of days at work, and in the span of 10 breaths while holding you, I feel so much better, so much more real, and so much more engaged in something important to me.

People ask me how it feels to be a dad; some ask if it has "sunk in" yet.  The question invariably makes me think of my own father, and further makes me wonder if it has "sunk in" yet to him, some 33 years after my birth.  I imagine that my (wonderful, in so many ways) dad is still finding out what it means to be a dad...you see, son, it changes for me every day, even every time I look at you, or hear you crying in the other room, or hear your mom talking about you when we sit together, quietly in the next room, and reflect on our new lives.

video

I say "new lives", because they are new, and different in some expected ways and in some ways unexpected.  We two have never been avid TV watchers, but now when we do watch, it is often baby TV.  If you had asked me a year ago if I would like to sit and watch a 3 inch screen of a baby sleeping, I doubt I would have shown any interest.

But now, you are forever a part of me, and everything in my life is colored and changed by you...and I am glad.

You were born healthy and beautiful; your mom came through the process well.

Who can say what comes next?  I can tell you that Mom&Dad have great plans for you: we intend to read to you constantly, to stimulate your mind and the development of your body; we are committed to wrapping you in love and encouragement; we aspire to help you find your voice and place in this community, this space in the world that is already made better by your arrival.


I love you little buddy, and I can't wait to see what month 2 brings us.


__________________________________________________________________________________
I am obviously inspired by Dooce.com in this post; One of the things that made me a consistent fan of Heather's site was my unexpected interest in and emotional response to her sincere and touching reflections offered in the monthly updates on Leta's young life.

Monday, January 24, 2011

medical sloppiness

Good (but disturbing) stuff from Newsweek on bad medical advice.

Sorry for the massive slow down in posting here - it will be pick up and in the meantime if I "reblog" something it is because I found it germane to the meta themes I'm concerned with in my writing and thinking.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

All I can say is "Amen"

Why write my own posts when this stuff exists on the web?

Dilbert creator Scott Adams writes on his blog:

Recently I discovered that spouses, like computers, must be booted up before they can hear what you say.  Try walking into a room where your spouse is otherwise engaged and simply launch into your statement or question. Notice that your first sentence doesn't count.

Again, Amen.

the mess in my mind

systematic/institutionalized waste

draft
1/15/11by deltaromeowhiskey
observer effect
draft
1/15/11by deltaromeowhiskey
more fun with statistics
draft
1/14/11by deltaromeowhiskey
your record collection? I laugh at it.
draft
1/13/11by deltaromeowhiskey
power of tradition
draft
12/23/10by deltaromeowhiskey
Gervais on God
draft
12/22/10by deltaromeowhiskey
the socialization of risk
draft
12/22/10by deltaromeowhiskey
on intellectual property
draft
12/10/10by deltaromeowhiskey
gestational diabetes
draft
12/9/10by deltaromeowhiskey
Ethics, Rules, Morals, Religion
draft
11/29/10by deltaromeowhiskey
rules are made to be rules
draft
11/28/10by deltaromeowhiskey
a different kind of casino
draft
11/23/10by deltaromeowhiskey
Tyranny of the Tails (pregnancy edition)
draft
11/23/10by deltaromeowhiskey
the selfish actor
draft
11/21/10by deltaromeowhiskey