Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rain, rain, go away!

We've been getting quite a bit of rain this year. Well, that's a gross understatement. I don't remember having this much rain, day after day, ever in my life. It does make it hard to do the things I would like to be doing with the kids, and thus limits us to indoor activates and turns my house into a powder keg of short tempers. Kole and I are so much alike that at times it seems to cause much more friction than any of us (esp. Nancy) would like to put up with. Plus, we're both stubborn as the proverbial mule. Luckily, today went very well, even when it was time to clean the boy-cave. I'm not too strict about how often he cleans his room, since that was one of the things I hated most about being a kid. I feel it's very important that he has his own space where he can be wild and messy...even though I HATE messes. Not that I'm a neat freak, by any stretch of the imagination. At any rate, here is a video I took this evening of Kole reading a story he wrote at school:

Sorry about the lazy link, you DO need to copy and paste. My Html skills are nonexistent.

After doing my morning chores and feeding the baby, we spent most of the day in the basement where I could do the treadmill and workout, and she could watch her "Signing Time" videos and play with Saetia (one of our two cats). We've been trying to teach Elliette to "do nice" to the kitties, but she gets very excited and the line between petting and pounding can get very thin. Saetia is very kind and affectionate, so he tends to be a bit more patient than our other cat, Claude. Claude is half Siamese and he don't take no garbage from no one. Word.

In more trivial news, I got my new Doc Martens in the mail today! Needless to say, I feel 80-85% more tough.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mondays, am I right? Eh?

I'm still having trouble getting to sleep at night, it happens every year at this time and I should learn to expect it by now. Luckily, Elliette still takes a two hour nap in the late morning, and I was able to recharge a bit more. So now I'm probably functioning on 70-80% power. Nothing copious amounts of caffeine won't remedy. Load me up and send me rattling down the street, oh yeah.

I made a good amount of headway into the mountains of laundry that amassed durring the summer break. Doing chores takes a backseat to more important things (like playing) on school break, haha. I got all the clean stuff folded, put away, or hung up, and tomorrow I'm going to really lay into the dirty stuff.

Koletrane Has two half days of school this week, and he has been asking to get back to Sleeping Giant so we can do a little rock climbing. I think I may surprise him soon and take him to Prime Climb, an indoor rock climbing facility in Wallingford (one town over from us). I'd feel a lot better about his reckless abandon and lack of concern for personal safety if there were pads under him in case he fell. I would also like to get out with him for one more overnight camping trip with him, too, before temps get below freezing at night. It'll probably have to this weekend or the next, if it's not too cold by then.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sleep Deprivation and jumping out of aeroplanes

From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile...

Long morning. Coffee rations were waning. After waiting to be debriefed (for almost 2 hours), orders were given, and the mission was on. Liz and Steve suited up, strapped in, signed the secret documents, hid the microfilm and took to the air.

When Steve and Liz were safely returned to the loving arms of the Earth, Caitlin and I had to do our duty fighting the Reds. The Big Bear never stood a chance.

With the American People safe from Matryoshka dolls, dreadfully dry and long winded existentialist literature, and furry hats, we once again slipped back into the guise of civilian life. And rode scooters.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Haven, I love you

Nancy came home early from work today because she didn't feel well. I always feel a little guilty being happy that she's coming home, since I should want her to feel well and not have to leave work. I like to tease and tell her she's pregnant whenever she's not well in the morning. Luckily, all she needed was some Tylenol and a nap and we had the rest of the day free. We decided to head out to New Haven to one of our favorite restaurants, Mamouns. I've been going there pretty regularly for the past 15 years, and still get the same thing every time, the combination plate without meat. I don't think I'll ever get sick of it, as long as I keep it to an every other month treat.

It comes with falafel balls, baba ghanoush, hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini sauce. Nancy usually gets the combination plate with lamb, which is the same thing as the combo plate without meat, except lamb replaces the falafel balls. I've tried it, but I don't really like lamb that much. In fact, I really DISlike it.

Elliette tried her first bit of falafel, and seemed to enjoy it, but after a few bites found it to be more fun to smoosh it up and drop it on the floor. She made quite a mess before we were able to intervene, so we made sure to leave a good tip. She also had a few bites of the Syrian rice, which we later discovered make her have sloppy, sloppy poops. Awesome. Got to file that away for future reference.

After gorging on some yum-yummies, we walked over to Cutlers Records to look for some CDs. Nancys new car has a CD player, so she was looking for some good jams for her hour commute to work. We got two "Decemberists" disks, The Crane Wife, and The Hazards of Love. I'm listening to The Crane Wife right now, and the title track is amazing (we have a Marianne Faithfull disk with her doing a cover of it), but the rest aren't, in my opinion, as good as anything from Picaresque (an older disk of theirs). As we left, we walked past this very cool mailbox.

Running has been on my mind more than usual lately, probably because the 50K trail race I was training all year for is this weekend. Unfortunately, due to a lingering foot injury, there is no way I would make it through. The race coordinator, Jerry, was nice enough to refund my entry fee and send a note wishing me a speedy recovery. I've been padding out and easy few miles on the treadmill twice a day, every other day, just to try and keep some sort of base fitness without over doing it. I'm really hoping that this winter will be injury free so I can get into the North Face Endurance Challenge next April in New York. The past three years I've remembered too late and it was all full. I know the trails around the Bear Mt. area pretty well, so even if I can't train up for the 50K or 50 miler, I can probably churn out a pretty fast 10K. Here's to hoping for at least 6 months without injury!

Sitting on Ledges with Kitties

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tattoos and pizza

Elliette is right in the middle of what every parent can agree is the best part of having a toddler: teething! It's sooo much fun to wake up at 1am to change a diaper, fix a small bottle, and snuggle. Then repeat at 4am. And the constant whining and generally poor disposition? It's just so precious. So this morning when Nancy got up with Kole at 6:00 this morning to see the meteor shower, I didn't really give much thought into getting out of my warm bed. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy for them to see the sky. That would have been really cool for Kole to share seeing a meteor shower at school during show and tell.

I got to sleep pretty late (9:45am) since Nancy was home and she got Kole on the bus. After a short breakfast, and one "Signing Time" video, I had to leave for a tattoo appointment. I booked a bunch of time with Lou Jacque at Transcend Tattoo to finish up my right sleeve, and all there is left is the underarm from armpit to elbow, and a few blank spots here and there.

It's a different take on the classic Greenman, using Elliette's face. There are probably two sittings left according to Lou. I'm very pleased with the way it's going so far.

Nancy went to Kole's parent/teacher conference today. We really like his teacher a lot, she's very sweet and great with the kids. Nothing really exciting to report, just that he excels at math, his reading and writing skills are above average, and he can get a bit chatty when other kids are distracting him...all of which we already knew.

When I got home from my appointment, there was this beautiful pizza from "Vespucci's" waiting for me. There is no pizza, I repeat, no pizza like those from the New Haven area.

Then Kole farted and made Papa-Grandma choke on her pizza.

Once the kids are in bed for the night, I have this to look forward to. Nancy has been really into making pies lately, and even though I have only had a few pieces, I love how the house smells like apple pie.

Fall for a bit...

Just a quick update with some pictures from yesterday. Elliette and I waited outside in the yard for Kole to get home from school, then we all played together with his friend Nora. Elliette LOVES to crawl around in the grass and pull up grass and try and put it in my mouth. One of the things we've been most blessed with is finding a place to live with such a huge yard. There are always lots of animals running around the edge of the woods, but that has to be the subject of its own post, for later time.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Passive/aggressive old women, ASL videos, and walks in the woods

I've been trying to get to the post office in the past few days to send back a leather jacket we had bought for Kole(it was a bit too small), but haven't been able to get there while it was open. Despite being kept up until 1AM last night with a very restless baby girl, we made it out on time, and shipped it off. Easy enough, right? Well, as I was waiting my turn to pull out of the parking lot, an elderly woman backed into the side of my car. We both got out to assess the damage, noting only cosmetic damage, she had the nerve to say "it was kind of both our fault", since I was just sitting behind her. I replied, "no, thats not it at all. I was behind two other cars waiting to leave." We agreed that insurance information should be exchanged, in case a claim had to be filed. As I was writing down her info, she asks again why and how I got behind her in the first place. I told her, again, I was unable to move forward because I was blocked by CARS. She shakes her head, and says "well, it was kind of stupid to just be sitting there." WHAT?!

It's just a little dent, the paint is still intact, and it isn't causing the wheel to rub on the body, so I'm not going to be vindictive and file a claim. If my car wasn't 11 years old with 165,000mi on it, I might care...but it is, so I don't. There was a nice couple there who gave me their phone number and said they witnessed the whole thing and would tell the police, or whomever, that I was not to blame.

When Elliette and I got home from the post office, we found that her two new "Signing Time" videos had arrived. Nancy and I have been teaching the kids ASL (American Sign Language)for a few months now, with the help of "Signing Time" Volume 1. Kole caught on VERY quickly, memorizing about 15-20 signs and figuring out how to string them together into short sentences. Elliette, being only one year old, is learning considerably slower, but catching on at her own pace. She knows "milk", "more", "eat", "sleep", and a few others that make communicating with a baby far, far easier. When we thought they were ready to go to the next level we ordered the next two in the series. These ones deal with "playtime signs", and "everyday signs", like "play", "friend", "please", "thank you", and a variety of common courtesy words. I'm very excited to learn more myself!

After Nancy got home from work we quickly emptied out our van, a 1995 Nissan Quest with 190,000mi, so we could donate it to NPR. It's so old and has so much work that needs to be done to register it I can't imagine it being worth it to any potential buyers.

After we did that I popped out to a local state park, Sleeping Giant. It's an old haunt of mine, and know every trail on the mountain very well. Today I made it out to the old quarry, and had a little impromptu rock climbing session.

I made it almost 3/4 of the way up the face, but the rocks got real loose up there, and figured it wasn't the most prudent idea to continue since no one knew where I was, and it was close to dusk.

It was my second hike/trail run with my new Vibram FiveFingers "shoes". The point of them is to mimic being barefoot, strengthening the foot and surrounding muscles and ligaments, therefore improving posture and reducing injury. I'm still getting used to them, but it's really neat learning to walk and run with a proper posture that won't thrash my knees. They also made GREAT climbing shoes.

The rest are pictures of some of the area surrounding the quarry. I'm not quite sure what the structures are, but when I was a child I imagined they were ruins from an ancient civilization. It's still fun to pretend when you're alone in the woods running like an animal.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Very rainy, dreary day here in Connecticut. Koles soccer game was rained out, again...I feel bad that he has only gotten to play 3 games in the 6 weeks since the season has started. He was so excited to play, but inclement weather and fevers have been keeping him off the field as much as he has been on it. So today we'll be eating pizza, drinking chocolate soy milk, and watching "Howls Moving Castle." We absolutely LOVE Hayo Miazaki's films, and Kole and I like to get excited and make an event out of watching them, even if it's one we've seen many times before. I wish we had gotten out to the theater to see "Ponyo" when it was being shown, it looks amazing. It's supposed to be a retelling of Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Mermaid", and I'm very excited to see the story through the eyes of Miazaki.